Sixes and Sevens
Part 3 out of 4
suitable place for you. But what you need is rest -- absolute rest and
That night I went to a hotel in the city, and said to the clerk: "What I
need is absolute rest and exercise. Can you give me a room with one of
those tall folding beds in it, and a relay of bellboys to work it up and
down while I rest?"
The clerk rubbed a speck off one of his finger nails and glanced sidewise
at a tall man in a white hat sitting in the lobby. That man came over and
asked me politely if I had seen the shrubbery at the west entrance. I had
not, so he showed it to me and then looked me over.
"I thought you had 'em," he said, not unkindly, "but I guess you're all
right. You'd better go see a doctor, old man."
A week afterward my doctor tested my blood pressure again without the
preliminary stimulant. He looked to me a little less like Napoleon. And
his socks were of a shade, of tan that did not appeal to me.
"What you need," he decided, "is sea air and companionship."
"Would a mermaid --" I began; but he slipped on his professional manner.
"I myself," he said, "will take you to the Hotel Bonair off the coast of
Long Island and see that you get in good shape. It is a quiet,
comfortable resort where you will soon recuperate."
The Hotel Bonair proved to be a nine-hundred-room fashionable hostelry on
an island off the main shore. Everybody who did not dress for dinner was
shoved into a side dining-room and given only a terrapin and champagne
table d'hote. The bay was a great stamping ground for wealthy yachtsmen.
The Corsair anchored there the day we arrived. I saw Mr. Morgan standing
on deck eating a cheese sandwich and gazing longingly at the hotel.
Still, it was a very inexpensive place. Nobody could afford to pay their p
rices. When you went away you simply left your baggage, stole a skiff,
and beat it for the mainland in the night.
When I had been there one day I got a pad of monogrammed telegraph blanks
at the clerk's desk and began to wire to all my friends for get-away
money. My doctor and I played one game of croquet on the golf links and
went to sleep on the lawn.
When we got back to town a thought seemed to occur to him suddenly. "By
the way," he asked, "how do you feel?"
"Relieved of very much," I replied.
Now a consulting physician is different. He isn't exactly sure whether he
is to be paid or not, and this uncertainty insures you either the most
careful or the most careless attention. My doctor took me to see a
consulting physician. He made a poor guess and gave me careful
attention. I liked him immensely. He put me through some coordination
"Have you a pain in the back of your head?" he asked. I told him I had
"Shut your eyes," he ordered, "put your feet close together, and jump
backward as far as you can."
I always was a good backward jumper with my eyes shut, so I obeyed. My
head struck the edge of the bathroom door, which had been left open and
was only three feet away. The doctor was very sorry. He had overlooked
the fact that the door was open. He closed it.
"Now touch your nose with your right forefinger," he said.
"Where is it?" I asked.
"On your face," said he.
"I mean my right forefinger," I explained.
"Oh, excuse me," said he. He reopened the bathroom door, and I took my
finger out of the crack of it.
After I had performed the marvellous digito-nasal feat I said:
"I do not wish to deceive you as to symptoms, Doctor; I really have
something like a pain in the back of my head." He ignored the symptom and
examined my heart carefully with a latest-popular-air-penny-in-the-slot
ear-trumpet. I felt like a ballad.
"Now," he said, "gallop like a horse for about five minutes around the
I gave the best imitation I could of a disqualified Percheron being led
out of Madison Square Garden. Then, without dropping in a penny, he
listened to my chest again.
"No glanders in our family, Doc," I said.
The consulting physician held up his forefinger within three inches of my
nose. "Look at my finger," he commanded.
"Did you ever try Pears' --" I began; but he went on with his test rapidly.
"Now look across the bay. At my finger. Across the bay. At my finger.
At my finger. Across the bay. Across the bay. At my finger. Across the
bay." This for about three minutes.
He explained that this was a test of the action of the brain. It seemed
easy to me. I never once mistook his finger for the bay. I'll bet that
if he had used the phrases: "Gaze, as it were, unpreoccupied, outward --
or rather laterally -- in the direction of the horizon, underlaid, so to
speak, with the adjacent fluid inlet," and "Now, returning -- or rather,
in a manner, withdrawing your attention, bestow it upon my upraised digit"
-- I'll bet, I say, that Henry James himself could have passed the exami
After asking me if I had ever had a grand uncle with curvature of the
spine or a cousin with swelled ankles, the two doctors retired to the
bathroom and sat on the edge of the bath tub for their consultation. I
ate an apple, and gazed first at my finger and then across the bay.
The doctors came out looking grave. More: they looked tombstones and
Tennessee-papers-please-copy. They wrote out a diet list to which I was
to be restricted. It had everything that I had ever heard of to eat on
it, except snails. And I never eat a snail unless it overtakes me and
bites me first.
"You must follow this diet strictly," said the doctors.
"I'd follow it a mile if I could get one-tenth of what's on it," I
"Of next importance," they went on, "is outdoor air and exercise. And
here is a prescription that will be of great benefit to you."
Then all of us took something. They took their hats, and I took my
I went to a druggist and showed him the prescription.
"It will be $2.87 for an ounce bottle," he said.
"Will you give me a piece of your wrapping cord?" said I.
I made a hole in the prescription, ran the cord through it, tied it around
my neck, and tucked it inside. All of us have a little superstition, and
mine runs to a confidence in amulets.
Of course there was nothing the matter with me, but I was very ill. I
couldn't work, sleep, eat, or bowl. The only way I could get any sympathy
was to go without shaving for four days. Even then somebody would say:
"Old man, you look as hardy as a pine knot. Been up for a jaunt in the
Maine woods, eh?"
Then, suddenly, I remembered that I must have outdoor air and exercise.
So I went down South to John's. John is an approximate relative by
verdict of a preacher standing with a little book in his hands in a bower
of chrysanthemums while a hundred thousand people looked on. John has a
country house seven miles from Pineville. It is at an altitude and on the
Blue Ridge Mountains in a state too dignified to be dragged into this
controversy. John is mica, which is more valuable and clearer than gold.
He met me at Pineville, and we took the trolley car to his home. It is a
big, neighbourless cottage on a hill surrounded by a hundred mountains.
We got off at his little private station, where John's family and
Amaryllis met and greeted us. Amaryllis looked at me a trifle anxiously.
A rabbit came bounding across the hill between us and the house. I threw
down my suit-case and pursued it hotfoot. After I had run twenty yards
and seen it disappear, I sat down on the grass and wept disconsolately.
"I can't catch a rabbit any more," I sobbed. "I'm of no further use in
the world. I may as well be dead."
"Oh, what is it -- what is it, Brother John?" I heard Amaryllis say.
"Nerves a little unstrung," said John, in his calm way. "Don't worry.
Get up, you rabbit-chaser, and come on to the house before the biscuits
get cold." It was about twilight, and the mountains came up nobly to Miss
Murfree's descriptions of them.
Soon after dinner I announced that I believed I could sleep for a year or
two, including legal holidays. So I was shown to a room as big and cool
as a flower garden, where there was a bed as broad as a lawn. Soon
afterward the remainder of the household retired, and then there fell upon
the land a silence.
I had not heard a silence before in years. It was absolute. I raised
myself on my elbow and listened to it. Sleep! I thought that if I only
could hear a star twinkle or a blade of grass sharpen itself I could
compose myself to rest. I thought once that I heard a sound like the sail
of a catboat flapping as it veered about in a breeze, but I decided that
it was probably only a tack in the carpet. Still I listened.
Suddenly some belated little bird alighted upon the window-sill, and, in
what he no doubt considered sleepy tones, enunciated the noise generally
translated as "cheep!"
I leaped into the air.
"Hey! what's the matter down there?" called John from his room above mine.
"Oh, nothing," I answered, "except that I accidentally bumped my head
against the ceiling."
The next morning I went out on the porch and looked at the mountains.
There were forty-seven of them in sight. I shuddered, went into the big
hall sitting room of the house, selected "Pancoast's Family Practice of
Medicine" from a bookcase, and began to read. John came in, took the book
away from me, and led me outside. He has a farm of three hundred acres
furnished with the usual complement of barns, mules, peasantry, and
harrows with three front teeth broken off. I had seen such things in my
childhood, and my heart began to sink.
Then John spoke of alfalfa, and I brightened at once. "Oh, yes," said I,
"wasn't she in the chorus of -- let's see --"
"Green, you know," said John, "and tender, and you plow it under after the
"I know," said I, "and the grass grows over her."
"Right," said John. "You know something about farming, after all."
"I know something of some farmers," said I, "and a sure scythe will mow
them down some day."
On the way back to the house a beautiful and inexplicable creature walked
across our path. I stopped irresistibly fascinated, gazing at it. John
waited patiently, smoking his cigarette. He is a modern farmer. After
ten minutes he said: "Are you going to stand there looking at that chicken
all day? Breakfast is nearly ready."
"A chicken?" said I.
"A White Orpington hen, if you want to particularize."
"A White Orpington hen?" I repeated, with intense interest. The fowl
walked slowly away with graceful dignity, and I followed like a child
after the Pied Piper. Five minutes more were allowed me by John, and then
he took me by the sleeve and conducted me to breakfast.
After I had been there a week I began to grow alarmed. I was sleeping and
eating well and actually beginning to enjoy life. For a man in my
desperate condition that would never do. So I sneaked down to the
trolley-car station, took the car for Pineville, and went to see one of
the best physicians in town. By this time I knew exactly what to do when
I needed medical treatment. I hung my hat on the back of a chair, and
"Doctor, I have cirrhosis of the heart, indurated arteries, neurasthenia,
neuritis, acute indigestion, and convalescence. I am going to live on a
strict diet. I shall also take a tepid bath at night and a cold one in
the morning. I shall endeavour to be cheerful, and fix my mind on
pleasant subjects. In the way of drugs I intend to take a phosphorous
pill three times a day, preferably after meals, and a tonic composed of
the tinctures of gentian, cinchona, calisaya, and cardamom compound. Into
each teaspoonful of this I shall mix tincture of nux vomica, beginning
with one drop and increasing it a drop each day until the maximum dose is
reached. I shall drop this with a medicine-dropper, which can be procured
at a trifling cost at any pharmacy. Good morning."
I took my hat and walked out. After I had closed the door I remembered
something that I had forgotten to say. I opened it again. The doctor had
not moved from where he had been sitting, but he gave a slightly nervous
start when he saw me again.
"I forgot to mention," said I, "that I shall also take absolute rest and
After this consultation I felt much better. The reestablishing in my mind
of the fact that I was hopelessly ill gave me so much satisfaction that I
almost became gloomy again. There is nothing more alarming to a
neurasthenic than to feel himself growing well and cheerful.
John looked after me carefully. After I had evinced so much interest in
his White Orpington chicken he tried his best to divert my mind, and was
particular to lock his hen house of nights. Gradually the tonic mountain
air, the wholesome food, and the daily walks among the hills so alleviated
my malady that I became utterly wretched and despondent. I heard of a
country doctor who lived in the mountains nearby. I went to see him and
told him the whole story. He was a gray-bearded man with clear, blue, wr
inkled eyes, in a home-made suit of gray jeans.
In order to save time I diagnosed my case, touched my nose with my right
forefinger, struck myself below the knee to make my foot kick, sounded my
chest, stuck out my tongue, and asked him the price of cemetery lots in
He lit his pipe and looked at me for about three minutes. "Brother," he
said, after a while, "you are in a mighty bad way. There's a chance for
you to pull through, but it's a mighty slim one."
"What can it be?" I asked eagerly. "I have taken arsenic and gold,
phosphorus, exercise, nux vomica, hydrotherapeutic baths, rest,
excitement, codein, and aromatic spirits of ammonia. Is there anything
left in the pharmacopoeia?"
"Somewhere in these mountains," said the doctor, "there's a plant growing
-- a flowering plant that'll cure you, and it's about the only thing that
will. It's of a kind that's as old as the world; but of late it's
powerful scarce and hard to find. You and I will have to hunt it up. I'm
not engaged in active practice now: I'm getting along in years; but I'll
take your case. You'll have to come every day in the afternoon and help
me hunt for this plant till we find it. The city doctors may know a lot
about new scientific things, but they don't know much about the cures that
nature carries around in her saddlebags."
So every day the old doctor and I hunted the cure-all plant among the
mountains and valleys of the Blue Ridge. Together we toiled up steep
heights so slippery with fallen autumn leaves that we had to catch every
sapling and branch within our reach to save us from falling. We waded
through gorges and chasms, breast-deep with laurel and ferns; we followed
the banks of mountain streams for miles; we wound our way like Indians
through brakes of pine -- road side, hill side, river side, mountain side
we explored in our search for the miraculous plant.
As the old doctor said, it must have grown scarce and hard to find. But
we followed our quest. Day by day we plumbed the valleys, scaled the
heights, and tramped the plateaus in search of the miraculous plant.
Mountain-bred, he never seemed to tire. I often reached home too fatigued
to do anything except fall into bed and sleep until morning. This we kept
up for a month.
One evening after I had returned from a six-mile tramp with the old
doctor, Amaryllis and I took a little walk under the trees near the road.
We looked at the mountains drawing their royal-purple robes around them
for their night's repose.
"I'm glad you're well again," she said. "When you first came you
frightened me. I thought you were really ill."
"Well again!" I almost shrieked. "Do you know that I have only one chance
in a thousand to live?"
Amaryllis looked at me in surprise. "Why," said she, "you are as strong
as one of the plough-mules, you sleep ten or twelve hours every night, and
you are eating us out of house and home. What more do you want?"
"I tell you," said I, "that unless we find the magic -- that is, the plant
we are looking for -- in time, nothing can save me. The doctor tells me
"Doctor Tatum -- the old doctor who lives halfway up Black Oak Mountain.
Do you know him?"
"I have known him since I was able to talk. And is that where you go
every day -- is it he who takes you on these long walks and climbs that
have brought back your health and strength? God bless the old doctor."
Just then the old doctor himself drove slowly down the road in his rickety
old buggy. I waved my hand at him and shouted that I would be on hand the
next day at the usual time. He stopped his horse and called to Amaryllis
to come out to him. They talked for five minutes while I waited. Then
the old doctor drove on.
When we got to the house Amaryllis lugged out an encyclopaedia and sought
a word in it. "The doctor said," she told me, "that you needn't call any
more as a patient, but he'd be glad to see you any time as a friend. And
then he told me to look up my name in the encyclopaedia and tell you what
it means. It seems to be the name of a genus of flowering plants, and
also the name of a country girl in Theocritus and Virgil. What do you
suppose the doctor meant by that?"
"I know what he meant," said I. "I know now."
A word to a brother who may have come under the spell of the unquiet Lady
The formula was true. Even though gropingly at times, the physicians of
the walled cities had put their fingers upon the specific medicament.
And so for the exercise one is referred to good Doctor Tatum on Black Oak
Mountain -- take the road to your right at the Methodist meeting house in
Absolute rest and exercise!
What rest more remedial than to sit with Amaryllis in the shade, and, with
a sixth sense, read the wordless Theocritan idyl of the gold-bannered blue
mountains marching orderly into the dormitories of the night?
XV OCTOBER AND JUNE
The Captain gazed gloomily at his sword that hung upon the wall. In the
closet near by was stored his faded uniform, stained and worn by weather
and service. What a long, long time it seemed since those old days of
And now, veteran that he was of his country's strenuous times, he had been
reduced to abject surrender by a woman's soft eyes and smiling lips. As
he sat in his quiet room he held in his hand the letter he had just
received from her -- the letter that had caused him to wear that look of
gloom. He re-read the fatal paragraph that had destroyed his hope.
In declining the honour you have done me in asking me to be your wife, I
feel that I ought to speak frankly. The reason I have for so doing is the
great difference between our ages. I like you very, very much, but I am
sure that our marriage would not be a happy one. I am sorry to have to
refer to this, but I believe that you will appreciate my honesty in giving
you the true reason.
The Captain sighed, and leaned his head upon his hand. Yes, there were
many years between their ages. But he was strong and rugged, he had
position and wealth. Would not his love, his tender care, and the
advantages he could bestow upon her make her forget the question of age?
Besides, he was almost sure that she cared for him.
The Captain was a man of prompt action. In the field he had been
distinguished for his decisiveness and energy. He would see her and plead
his cause again in person. Age! -- what was it to come between him and
the one he loved?
In two hours he stood ready, in light marching order, for his greatest
battle. He took the train for the old Southern town in Tennessee where
Theodora Deming was on the steps of the handsome, porticoed old mansion,
enjoying the summer twilight, when the Captain entered the gate and came
up the gravelled walk. She met him with a smile that was free from
embarrassment. As the Captain stood on the step below her, the difference
in their ages did not appear so great. He was tall and straight and
clear-eyed and browned. She was in the bloom of lovely womanhood.
"I wasn't expecting you," said Theodora; "but now that you've come you may
sit on the step. Didn't you get my letter?"
"I did," said the Captain; "and that's why I came. I say, now, Theo,
reconsider your answer, won't you?"
Theodora smiled softly upon him. He carried his years well. She was
really fond of his strength, his wholesome looks, his manliness --
perhaps, if --
"No, no," she said, shaking her head, positively; "it's out of the
question. I like you a whole lot, but marrying won't do. My age and
yours are -- but don't make me say it again -- I told you in my letter."
The Captain flushed a little through the bronze on his face. He was
silent for a while, gazing sadly into the twilight. Beyond a line of
woods that he could see was a field where the boys in blue had once
bivouacked on their march toward the sea. How long ago it seemed now!
Truly, Fate and Father Time had tricked him sorely. Just a few years
interposed between himself and happiness!
Theodora's hand crept down and rested in the clasp of his firm, brown
one. She felt, at least, that sentiment that is akin to love.
"Don't take it so hard, please," she said, gently. "It's all for the
best. I've reasoned it out very wisely all by myself. Some day you'll be
glad I didn't marry you. It would be very nice and lovely for a while --
but, just think! In only a few short years what different tastes we would
have! One of us would want to sit by the fireside and read, and maybe
nurse neuralgia or rheumatism of evenings, while the other would be crazy
for balls and theatres and late suppers. No, my dear friend. While it isn
't exactly January and May, it's a clear case of October and pretty early
"I'd always do what you wanted me to do, Theo. If you wanted to --"
"No, you wouldn't. You think now that you would, but you wouldn't.
Please don't ask me any more."
The Captain had lost his battle. But he was a gallant warrior, and when
he rose to make his final adieu his mouth was grimly set and his shoulders
He took the train for the North that night. On the next evening he was
back in his room, where his sword was hanging against the wall. He was
dressing for dinner, tying his white tie into a very careful bow. And at
the same time he was indulging in a pensive soliloquy.
"'Pon my honour, I believe Theo was right, after all. Nobody can deny
that she's a peach, but she must be twenty-eight, at the very kindest
For you see, the Captain was only nineteen, and his sword had never been
drawn except on the parade ground at Chattanooga, which was as near as he
ever got to the Spanish-American War.
XVI THE CHURCH WITH AN OVERSHOT-WHEEL
Lakelands is not to be found in the catalogues of fashionable summer
resorts. It lies on a low spur of the Cumberland range of mountains on a
little tributary of the Clinch River. Lakelands proper is a contented
village of two dozen houses situated on a forlorn, narrow-gauge railroad
line. You wonder whether the railroad lost itself in the pine woods and
ran into Lakelands from fright and loneliness, or whether Lakelands got
lost and huddled itself along the railroad to wait for the ears to carry
You wonder again why it was named Lakelands. There are no lakes, and the
lands about are too poor to be worth mentioning.
Half a mile from the village stands the Eagle House, a big, roomy old
mansion run by Josiah Rankin for the accommodation of visitors who desire
the mountain air at inexpensive rates. The Eagle House is delightfully
mismanaged. It is full of ancient instead of modern improvements, and it
is altogether as comfortably neglected and pleasingly disarranged as your
own home. But you are furnished with clean rooms and good and abundant
fare: yourself and the piny woods must do the rest. Nature has provided a
mineral spring, grape-vine swings, and croquet -- even the wickets are
wooden. You have Art to thank only for the fiddle-and-guitar music twice
a week at the hop in the rustic pavilion.
The patrons of the Eagle House are those who seek recreation as a
necessity, as well as a pleasure. They are busy people, who may be
likened to clocks that need a fortnight's winding to insure a year's
running of their wheels. You will find students there from the lower
towns, now and then an artist, or a geologist absorbed in construing the
ancient strata of the hills. A few quiet families spend the summers
there; and often one or two tired members of that patient sisterhood known
to Lakelands as "schoolmarms."
A quarter of a mile from the Eagle House was what would have been
described to its guests as "an object of interest" in the catalogue, had
the Eagle House issued a catalogue. This was an old, old mill that was no
longer a mill. In the words of Josiah Rankin, it was "the only church in
the United States, sah, with an overshot-wheel; and the only mill in the
world, sah, with pews and a pipe organ." The guests of the Eagle House
attended the old mill church each Sabbath, and heard the preacher liken
the purified Christian to bolted flour ground to usefulness between the
millstones of experience and suffering.
Every year about the beginning of autumn there came to the Eagle House one
Abram Strong, who remained for a time an honoured and beloved guest. In
Lakelands he was called "Father Abram," because his hair was so white, his
face so strong and kind and florid, his laugh so merry, and his black
clothes and broad hat so priestly in appearance. Even new guests after
three or four days' acquaintance gave him this familiar title.
Father Abram came a long way to Lakelands. He lived in a big, roaring
town in the Northwest where he owned mills, not little mills with pews and
an organ in them, but great, ugly, mountain-like mills that the freight
trains crawled around all day like ants around an ant-heap. And now you
must be told about Father Abram and the mill that was a church, for their
stories run together.
In the days when the church was a mill, Mr. Strong was the miller. There
was no jollier, dustier, busier, happier miller in all the land than he.
He lived in a little cottage across the road from the mill. His hand was
heavy, but his toll was light, and the mountaineers brought their grain to
him across many weary miles of rocky roads.
The delight of the miller's life was his little daughter, Aglaia. That
was a brave name, truly, for a flaxen-haired toddler; but the mountaineers
love sonorous and stately names. The mother had encountered it somewhere
in a book, and the deed was done. In her babyhood Aglaia herself
repudiated the name, as far as common use went, and persisted in calling
herself "Dums." The miller and his wife often tried to coax from Aglaia
the source of this mysterious name, but without results. At last they
arrived at a theory. In the little garden behind the cottage was a bed of
rhododendrons in which the child took a peculiar delight and interest. It
may have been that she perceived in "Dums" a kinship to the formidable
name of her favourite flowers.
When Aglaia was four years old she and her father used to go through a
little performance in the mill every afternoon, that never failed to come
off, the weather permitting. When supper was ready her mother would brush
her hair and put on a clean apron and send her across to the mill to bring
her father home. When the miller saw her coming in the mill door he would
come forward, all white with the flour dust, and wave his hand and sing an
old miller's song that was familiar in those parts and ran something like
"The wheel goes round,
The grist is ground,
The dusty miller's merry.
He sings all day,
His work is play,
While thinking of his dearie."
Then Aglaia would run to him laughing, and call:
"Da-da, come take Dums home;" and the miller would swing her to his
shoulder and march over to supper, singing the miller's song. Every
evening this would take place.
One day, only a week after her fourth birthday, Aglaia disappeared. When
last seen she was plucking wild flowers by the side of the road in front
of the cottage. A little while later her mother went out to see that she
did not stray too faraway, and she was already gone.
Of course every effort was made to find her. The neighbours gathered and
searched the woods and the mountains for miles around. They dragged every
foot of the mill race and the creek for a long distance below the dam.
Never a trace of her did they find. A night or two before there had been
a family of wanderers camped in a grove near by. It was conjectured that
they might have stolen the child; but when their wagon was overtaken and
searched she could not be found.
The miller remained at the mill for nearly two years; and then his hope of
finding her died out. He and his wife moved to the Northwest. In a few
years he was the owner of a modern mill in one of the important milling
cities in that region. Mrs. Strong never recovered from the shock caused
by the loss of Aglaia, and two years after they moved away the miller was
left to bear his sorrow alone.
When Abram Strong became prosperous he paid a visit to Lakelands and the
old mill. The scene was a sad one for him, but he was a strong man, and
always appeared cheery and kindly. It was then that he was inspired to
convert the old mill into a church. Lakelands was too poor to build one;
and the still poorer mountaineers could not assist. There was no place of
worship nearer than twenty miles.
The miller altered the appearance of the mill as little as possible. The
big overshot-wheel was left in its place. The young people who came to
the church used to cut their initials in its soft and slowly decaying
wood. The dam was partly destroyed, and the clear mountain stream rippled
unchecked down its rocky bed. Inside the mill the changes were greater.
The shafts and millstones and belts and pulleys were, of course, all
removed. There were two rows of benches with aisles between, and a little
raised platform and pulpit at one end. On three sides overhead was a
gallery containing seats, and reached by a stairway inside. There was
also an organ -- a real pipe organ -- in the gallery, that was the pride
of the congregation of the Old Mill Church. Miss Phoebe Summers was the
organist. The Lakelands boys proudly took turns at pumping it for her at
each Sunday's service. The Rev. Mr. Banbridge was the preacher, and rode
down from Squirrel Gap on his old white horse without ever missing a
service. And Abram Strong paid for everything. He paid the preacher five
hundred dollars a year; and Miss Phoebe two hundred dollars.
Thus, in memory of Aglaia, the old mill was converted into a blessing for
the community in which she had once lived. It seemed that the brief life
of the child had brought about more good than the three score years and
ten of many. But Abram Strong set up yet another monument to her memory.
Out from his mills in the Northwest came the "Aglaia" flour, made from the
hardest and finest wheat that could be raised. The country soon found out
that the "Aglaia" flour had two prices. One was the highest market price,
and the other was -- nothing.
Wherever there happened a calamity that left people destitute -- a fire, a
flood, a tornado, a strike, or a famine, there would go hurrying a
generous consignment of the "Aglaia" at its "nothing" price. It was given
away cautiously and judiciously, but it was freely given, and not a penny
could the hungry ones pay for it. There got to be a saying that whenever
there was a disastrous fire in the poor districts of a city the fire
chief's buggy reached the scene first, next the "Aglaia" flour wagon, and
then the fire engines.
So this was Abram Strong's other monument to Aglaia. Perhaps to a poet
the theme may seem too utilitarian for beauty; but to some the fancy will
seem sweet and fine that the pure, white, virgin flour, flying on its
mission of love and charity, might be likened to the spirit of the lost
child whose memory it signalized.
There came a year that brought hard times to the Cumberlands. Grain crops
everywhere were light, and there were no local crops at all. Mountain
floods had done much damage to property. Even game in the woods was so
scarce that the hunters brought hardly enough home to keep their folk
alive. Especially about Lakelands was the rigour felt.
As soon as Abram Strong heard of this his messages flew; and the little
narrow-gauge cars began to unload "Aglaia" flour there. The miller's
orders were to store the flour in the gallery of the Old Mill Church; and
that every one who attended the church was to carry home a sack of it.
Two weeks after that Abram Strong came for his yearly visit to the Eagle
House, and became "Father Abram" again.
That season the Eagle House had fewer guests than usual. Among them was
Rose Chester. Miss Chester came to Lakelands from Atlanta, where she
worked in a department store. This was the first vacation outing of her
life. The wife of the store manager had once spent a summer at the Eagle
House. She had taken a fancy to Rose, and had persuaded her to go there
for her three weeks' holiday. The manager's wife gave her a letter to
Mrs. Rankin, who gladly received her in her own charge and care.
Miss Chester was not very strong. She was about twenty, and pale and
delicate from an indoor life. But one week of Lakelands gave her a
brightness and spirit that changed her wonderfully. The time was early
September when the Cumberlands are at their greatest beauty. The mountain
foliage was growing brilliant with autumnal colours; one breathed aerial
champagne, the nights were deliciously cool, causing one to snuggle cosily
under the warm blankets of the Eagle House.
Father Abram and Miss Chester became great friends. The old miller
learned her story from Mrs. Rankin, and his interest went out quickly to
the slender lonely girl who was making her own way in the world.
The mountain country was new to Miss Chester. She had lived many years in
the warm, flat town of Atlanta; and the grandeur and variety of the
Cumberlands delighted her. She was determined to enjoy every moment of
her stay. Her little hoard of savings had been estimated so carefully in
connection with her expenses that she knew almost to a penny what her very
small surplus would be when she returned to work.
Miss Chester was fortunate in gaining Father Abram for a friend and
companion. He knew every road and peak and slope of the mountains near
Lakelands. Through him she became acquainted with the solemn delight of
the shadowy, tilted aisles of the pine forests, the dignity of the bare
crags, the crystal, tonic mornings, the dreamy, golden afternoons full of
mysterious sadness. So her health improved, and her spirits grew light.
She had a laugh as genial and hearty in its feminine way as the famous
laugh of Father Abram. Both of them were natural optimists; and both knew
how to present a serene and cheerful face to the world.
One day Miss Chester learned from one of the guests the history of Father
Abram's lost child. Quickly she hurried away and found the miller seated
on his favourite rustic bench near the chalybeate spring. He was
surprised when his little friend slipped her hand into his, and looked at
him with tears in her eyes.
"Oh, Father Abram," she said, "I'm so sorry! I didn't know until to-day
about your little daughter. You will find her yet some day -- Oh, I hope
The miller looked down at her with his strong, ready smile.
"Thank you, Miss Rose," he said, in his usual cheery tones. "But I do not
expect to find Aglaia. For a few years I hoped that she had been stolen
by vagrants, and that she still lived; but I have lost that hope. I
believe that she was drowned."
"I can understand," said Miss Chester, "how the doubt must have made it so
hard to bear. And yet you are so cheerful and so ready to make other
people's burdens light. Good Father Abram!"
"Good Miss Rose!" mimicked the miller, smiling. "Who thinks of others
more than you do?"
A whimsical mood seemed to strike Miss Chester.
"Oh, Father Abram," she cried, "wouldn't it be grand if I should prove to
be your daughter? Wouldn't it be romantic? And wouldn't you like to have
me for a daughter?"
"Indeed, I would," said the miller, heartily. "If Aglaia had lived I
could wish for nothing better than for her to have grown up to be just
such a little woman as you are. Maybe you are Aglaia," he continued,
falling in with her playful mood; "can't you remember when we lived at the
Miss Chester fell swiftly into serious meditation. Her large eyes were
fixed vaguely upon something in the distance. Father Abram was amused at
her quick return to seriousness. She sat thus for a long time before she
"No," she said at length, with a long sigh, "I can't remember anything at
all about a mill. I don't think that I ever saw a flour mill in my life
until I saw your funny little church. And if I were your little girl I
would remember it, wouldn't I? I'm so sorry, Father Abram."
"So am I," said Father Abram, humouring her. "But if you cannot remember
that you are my little girl, Miss Rose, surely you can recollect being
some one else's. You remember your own parents, of course."
"Oh, yes; I remember them very well -- especially my father. He wasn't a
bit like you, Father Abram. Oh, I was only making believe: Come, now,
you've rested long enough. You promised to show me the pool where you can
see the trout playing, this afternoon. I never saw a trout."
Late one afternoon Father Abram set out for the old mill alone. He often
went to sit and think of the old days when he lived in the cottage across
the road. Time had smoothed away the sharpness of his grief until he no
longer found the memory of those times painful. But whenever Abram Strong
sat in the melancholy September afternoons on the spot where "Dums" used
to run in every day with her yellow curls flying, the smile that Lakelands
always saw upon his face was not there.
The miller made his way slowly up the winding, steep road. The trees
crowded so close to the edge of it that he walked in their shade, with his
hat in his hand. Squirrels ran playfully upon the old rail fence at his
right. Quails were calling to their young broods in the wheat stubble.
The low sun sent a torrent of pale gold up the ravine that opened to the
west. Early September! -- it was within a few days only of the
anniversary of Aglaia's disappearance.
The old overshot-wheel, half covered with mountain ivy, caught patches of
the warm sunlight filtering through the trees. The cottage across the
road was still standing, but it would doubtless go down before the next
winter's mountain blasts. It was overrun with morning glory and wild
gourd vines, and the door hung by one hinge.
Father Abram pushed open the mill door, and entered softly. And then he
stood still, wondering. He heard the sound of some one within, weeping
inconsolably. He looked, and saw Miss Chester sitting in a dim pew, with
her head bowed upon an open letter that her hands held.
Father Abram went to her, and laid one of his strong hands firmly upon
hers. She looked up, breathed his name, and tried to speak further.
"Not yet, Miss Rose," said the miller, kindly. "Don't try to talk yet.
There's nothing as good for you as a nice, quiet little cry when you are
It seemed that the old miller, who had known so much sorrow himself, was a
magician in driving it away from others. Miss Chester's sobs grew
easier. Presently she took her little plain-bordered handkerchief and
wiped away a drop or two that had fallen from her eyes upon Father Abram's
big hand. Then she looked up and smiled through her tears. Miss Chester
could always smile before her tears had dried, just as Father Abram could
smile through his own grief. In that way the two were very much alike.
The miller asked her no questions; but by and by Miss Chester began to
It was the old story that always seems so big and important to the young,
and that brings reminiscent smiles to their elders. Love was the theme,
as may be supposed. There was a young man in Atlanta, full of all
goodness and the graces, who had discovered that Miss Chester also
possessed these qualities above all other people in Atlanta or anywhere
else from Greenland to Patagonia. She showed Father Abram the letter over
which she had been weeping. It was a manly, tender letter, a little
superlative and urgent, after the style of love letters written by young
men full of goodness and the graces. He proposed for Miss Chester's hand
in marriage at once. Life, he said, since her departure for a
three-weeks' visit, was not to be endured. He begged for an immediate
answer; and if it were favourable he promised to fly, ignoring the
narrow-gauge railroad, at once to Lakelands.
"And now where does the trouble come in?" asked the miller when he had
read the letter.
"I cannot marry him," said Miss Chester.
"Do you want to marry him?" asked Father Abram.
"Oh, I love him," she answered, "but -- " Down went her head and she
"Come, Miss Rose," said the miller; "you can give me your confidence. I
do not question you, but I think you can trust me."
"I do trust you," said the girl. "I will tell you why I must refuse
Ralph. I am nobody; I haven't even a name; the name I call myself is a
lie. Ralph is a noble man. I love him with all my heart, but I can never
"What talk is this?" said Father Abram. "You said that you remember your
parents. Why do you say you have no name? I do not understand."
"I do remember them," said Miss Chester. "I remember them too well. My
first recollections are of our life somewhere in the far South. We moved
many times to different towns and states. I have picked cotton, and
worked in factories, and have often gone without enough food and clothes.
My mother was sometimes good to me; my father was always cruel, and beat
me. I think they were both idle and unsettled.
"One night when we were living in a little town on a river near Atlanta
they had a great quarrel. It was while they were abusing and taunting
each other that I learned -- oh, Father Abram, I learned that I didn't
even have the right to be -- don't you understand? I had no right even to
a name; I was nobody.
"I ran away that night. I walked to Atlanta and found work. I gave
myself the name of Rose Chester, and have earned my own living ever
since. Now you know why I cannot marry Ralph -- and, oh, I can never tell
Better than any sympathy, more helpful than pity, was Father Abram's
depreciation of her woes.
"Why, dear, dear! is that all?" he said. "Fie, fie! I thought something
was in the way. If this perfect young man is a man at all he will not
care a pinch of bran for your family tree. Dear Miss Rose, take my word
for it, it is yourself he cares for. Tell him frankly, just as you have
told me, and I'll warrant that he will laugh at your story, and think all
the more of you for it."
"I shall never tell him," said Miss Chester, sadly. "And I shall never
marry him nor any one else. I have not the right."
But they saw a long shadow come bobbing up the sunlit road. And then came
a shorter one bobbing by its side; and presently two strange figures
approached the church. The long shadow was made by Miss Phoebe Summers,
the organist, come to practise. Tommy Teague, aged twelve, was
responsible for the shorter shadow. It was Tommy's day to pump the organ
for Miss Phoebe, and his bare toes proudly spurned the dust of the road.
Miss Phoebe, in her lilac-spray chintz dress, with her accurate little
curls hanging over each ear, courtesied low to Father Abram, and shook her
curls ceremoniously at Miss Chester. Then she and her assistant climbed
the steep stairway to the organ loft.
In the gathering shadows below, Father Abram and Miss Chester lingered.
They were silent; and it is likely that they were busy with their
memories. Miss Chester sat, leaning her head on her hand, with her eyes
fixed far away. Father Abram stood in the next pew, looking thoughtfully
out of the door at the road and the ruined cottage.
Suddenly the scene was transformed for him back almost a score of years
into the past. For, as Tommy pumped away, Miss Phoebe struck a low bass
note on the organ and held it to test the volume of air that it
contained. The church ceased to exist, so far as Father Abram was
concerned. The deep, booming vibration that shook the little frame
building was no note from an organ, but the humming of the mill
machinery. He felt sure that the old overshot wheel was turning; that he
was back again, a dusty, merry miller in the old mountain mill. And now
evening was come, and soon would come Aglaia with flying colours, toddling
across the road to take him home to supper. Father Abram's eyes were
fixed upon the broken door of the cottage.
And then came another wonder. In the gallery overhead the sacks of flour
were stacked in long rows. Perhaps a mouse had been at one of them;
anyway the jar of the deep organ note shook down between the cracks of the
gallery floor a stream of flour, covering Father Abram from head to foot
with the white dust. And then the old miller stepped into the aisle, and
waved his arms and began to sing the miller's song:
"The wheel goes round,
The grist is ground,
The dusty miller's merry."
-- and then the rest of the miracle happened. Miss Chester was leaning
forward from her pew, as pale as the flour itself, her wide-open eyes
staring at Father Abram like one in a waking dream. When he began the
song she stretched out her arms to him; her lips moved; she called to him
in dreamy tones: "Da-da, come take Dums home!"
Miss Phoebe released the low key of the organ. But her work had been well
done. The note that she struck had beaten down the doors of a closed
memory; and Father Abram held his lost Aglaia close in his arms.
When you visit Lakelands they will tell you more of this story. They will
tell you how the lines of it were afterward traced, and the history of the
miller's daughter revealed after the gipsy wanderers had stolen her on
that September day, attracted by her childish beauty. But you should wait
until you sit comfortably on the shaded porch of the Eagle House, and then
you can have the story at your ease. It seems best that our part of it
should close while Miss Phoebe's deep bass note was yet reverberating
And yet, to my mind, the finest thing of it all happened while Father
Abram and his daughter were walking back to the Eagle House in the long
twilight, almost too glad to speak.
"Father," she said, somewhat timidly and doubtfully, "have you a great
deal of money?"
"A great deal?" said the miller. "Well, that depends. There is plenty
unless you want to buy the moon or something equally expensive."
"Would it cost very, very much," asked Aglaia, who had always counted her
dimes so carefully, "to send a telegram to Atlanta?"
"Ah," said Father Abram, with a little sigh, "I see. You want to ask
Ralph to come."
Aglaia looked up at him with a tender smile.
"I want to ask him to wait," she said. "I have just found my father, and
I want it to be just we two for a while. I want to tell him he will have
XVII NEW YORK BY CAMP FIRE LIGHT
Away out in the Creek Nation we learned things about New York.
We were on a hunting trip, and were camped one night on the bank of a
little stream. Bud Kingsbury was our skilled hunter and guide, and it was
from his lips that we had explanations of Manhattan and the queer folks
that inhabit it. Bud had once spent a month in the metropolis, and a week
or two at other times, and he was pleased to discourse to us of what he
Fifty yards away from our camp was pitched the teepee of a wandering
family of Indians that had come up and settled there for the night. An
old, old Indian woman was trying to build a fire under an iron pot hung
upon three sticks.
Bud went over to her assistance, and soon had her fire going. When he
came back we complimented him playfully upon his gallantry.
"Oh," said Bud, "don't mention it. It's a way I have. Whenever I see a
lady trying to cook things in a pot and having trouble I always go to the
rescue. I done the same thing once in a high-toned house in. New York
City. Heap big society teepee on Fifth Avenue. That Injun lady kind of
recalled it to my mind. Yes, I endeavours to be polite and help the
The camp demanded the particulars.
"I was manager of the Triangle B Ranch in the Panhandle," said Bud. "It
was owned at that time by old man Sterling, of New York. He wanted to
sell out, and he wrote for me to come on to New York and explain the ranch
to the syndicate that wanted to buy. So I sends to Fort Worth and has a
forty dollar suit of clothes made, and hits the trail for the big village.
"Well, when I got there, old man Sterling and his outfit certainly laid
themselves out to be agreeable. We had business and pleasure so mixed up
that you couldn't tell whether it was a treat or a trade half the time.
We had trolley rides, and cigars, and theatre round-ups, and rubber
"Rubber parties?" said a listener, inquiringly.
"Sure," said Bud. "Didn't you never attend 'em? You walk around and try
to look at the tops of the skyscrapers. Well, we sold the ranch, and old
man Sterling asks me 'round to his house to take grub on the night before
I started back. It wasn't any high-collared affair -- just me and the old
man and his wife and daughter. But they was a fine-haired outfit all
right, and the lilies of the field wasn't in it. They made my Fort Worth
clothes carpenter look like a dealer in horse blankets and gee strings.
And then the table was all pompous with flowers, and there was a whole kit
of tools laid out beside everybody's plate. You'd have thought you was
fixed out to burglarize a restaurant before you could get your grub. But
I'd been in New York over a week then, and I was getting on to stylish
ways. I kind of trailed behind and watched the others use the hardware
supplies, and then I tackled the chuck with the same weapons. It ain't
much trouble to travel with the high-flyers after you find out their gait.
I got along fine. I was feeling cool and agreeable, and pretty soon I
was talking away fluent as you please, all about the ranch and the West,
and telling 'em how the Indians eat grasshopper stew and snakes, and you
never saw people so interested.
"But the real joy of that feast was that Miss Sterling. Just a little
trick she was, not bigger than two bits worth of chewing plug; but she had
a way about her that seemed to say she was the people, and you believed
it. And yet, she never put on any airs, and she smiled at me the same as
if I was a millionaire while I was telling about a Creek dog feast and
listened like it was news from home.
"By and by, after we had eat oysters and some watery soup and truck that
never was in my repertory, a Methodist preacher brings in a kind of camp
stove arrangement, all silver, on long legs, with a lamp under it.
"Miss Sterling lights up and begins to do some cooking right on the supper
table. I wondered why old man Sterling didn't hire a cook, with all the
money he had. Pretty soon she dished out some cheesy tasting truck that
she said was rabbit, but I swear there had never been a Molly cotton tail
in a mile of it.
"The last thing on the programme was lemonade. It was brought around in
little flat glass bowls and set by your plate. I was pretty thirsty, and
I picked up mine and took a big swig of it. Right there was where the
little lady had made a mistake. She had put in the lemon all right, but
she'd forgot the sugar. The best housekeepers slip up sometimes. I
thought maybe Miss Sterling was just learning to keep house and cook --
that rabbit would surely make you think so -- and I says to myself,
'Little lady, sugar or no sugar I'll stand by you,' and I raises up my
bowl again and drinks the last drop of the lemonade. And then all the
balance of 'em picks up their bowls and does the same. And then I gives
Miss Sterling the laugh proper, just to carry it off like a joke, so she
wouldn't feel bad about the mistake.
"After we all went into the sitting room she sat down and talked to me
"'It was so kind of you, Mr. Kingsbury,' says she, to bring my blunder off
so nicely. It was so stupid of me to forget the sugar.'
"'Never you mind,' says I, 'some lucky man will throw his rope over a
mighty elegant little housekeeper some day, not far from here.'
"'If you mean me, Mr. Kingsbury,' says she, laughing out loud, 'I hope he
will be as lenient with my poor housekeeping as you have been.'
"'Don't mention it,' says I. 'Anything to oblige the ladies.'"
Bud ceased his reminiscences. And then some one asked him what he
considered the most striking and prominent trait of New Yorkers.
"The most visible and peculiar trait of New York folks, answered Bud, "is
New York. Most of 'em has New York on the brain. They have heard of
other places, such as Waco, and Paris, and Hot Springs, and London; but
they don't believe in 'em. They think that town is all Merino. Now to
show you how much they care for their village I'll tell you about one of
'em that strayed out as far as the Triangle B while I was working there.
"This New Yorker come out there looking for a job on the ranch. He said
he was a good horseback rider, and there was pieces of tanbark hanging on
his clothes yet from his riding school.
"Well, for a while they put him to keeping books in the ranch store, for
he was a devil at figures. But he got tired of that, and asked for
something more in the line of activity. The boys on the ranch liked him
all right, but he made us tired shouting New York all the time. Every
night he'd tell us about East River and J. P. Morgan and the Eden Musee
and Hetty Green and Central Park till we used to throw tin plates and
branding irons at him.
"One day this chap gets on a pitching pony, and the pony kind of sidled up
his back and went to eating grass while the New Yorker was coming down.
"He come down on his head on a chunk of mesquit wood, and he didn't show
any designs toward getting up again. We laid him out in a tent, and he
begun to look pretty dead. So Gideon Pease saddles up and burns the wind
for old Doc Sleeper's residence in Dogtown, thirty miles away.
"The doctor comes over and he investigates the patient.
"'Boys,' says he, 'you might as well go to playing seven-up for his saddle
and clothes, for his head's fractured and if he lives ten minutes it will
be a remarkable case of longevity.'
"Of course we didn't gamble for the poor rooster's saddle -- that was one
of Doc's jokes. But we stood around feeling solemn, and all of us forgive
him for having talked us to death about New York.
"I never saw anybody about to hand in his checks act more peaceful than
this fellow. His eyes were fixed 'way up in the air, and he was using
rambling words to himself all about sweet music and beautiful streets and
white-robed forms, and he was smiling like dying was a pleasure.
"'He's about gone now,' said Doc. 'Whenever they begin to think they see
heaven it's all off. '
"Blamed if that New York man didn't sit right up when he heard the Doc say
"'Say,' says he, kind of disappointed, 'was that heaven? Confound it all,
I thought it was Broadway. Some of you fellows get my clothes. I'm going
to get up.'
"And I'll be blamed," concluded Bud, "if he wasn't on the train with a
ticket for New York in his pocket four days afterward!"
XVIII THE ADVENTURES OF SHAMROCK JOLNES
I am so fortunate as to count Shamrock Jolnes, the great New York
detective, among my muster of friends. Jolnes is what is called the
"inside man" of the city detective force. He is an expert in the use of
the typewriter, and it is his duty, whenever there is a "murder mystery"
to be solved, to sit at a desk telephone at headquarters and take down the
messages of "cranks" who 'phone in their confessions to having committed
But on certain "off" days when confessions are coming in slowly and three
or four newspapers have run to earth as many different guilty persons,
Jolnes will knock about the town with me, exhibiting, to my great delight
and instruction, his marvellous powers of observation and deduction.
The other day I dropped in at Headquarters and found the great detective
gazing thoughtfully at a string that was tied tightly around his little
"Good morning, Whatsup," he said, without turning his head. "I'm glad to
notice that you've had your house fitted up with electric lights at last."
"Will you please tell me," I said, in surprise, "how you knew that? I am
sure that I never mentioned the fact to any one, and the wiring was a rush
order not completed until this morning."
"Nothing easier," said Jolnes, genially. "As you came in I caught the
odour of the cigar you are smoking. I know an expensive cigar; and I know
that not more than three men in New York can afford to smoke cigars and
pay gas bills too at the present time. That was an easy one. But I am
working just now on a little problem of my own."
"Why have you that string on your finger?" I asked.
"That's the problem," said Jolnes. "My wife tied that on this morning to
remind me of something I was to send up to the house. Sit down, Whatsup,
and excuse me for a few moments."
The distinguished detective went to a wall telephone, and stood with the
receiver to his ear for probably ten minutes.
"Were you listening to a confession?" I asked, when he had returned to his
"Perhaps," said Jolnes, with a smile, "it might be called something of the
sort. To be frank with you, Whatsup, I've cut out the dope. I've been
increasing the quantity for so long that morphine doesn't have much effect
on me any more. I've got to have something more powerful. That telephone
I just went to is connected with a room in the Waldorf where there's an
author's reading in progress. Now, to get at the solution of this string."
After five minutes of silent pondering, Jolnes looked at me, with a smile,
and nodded his head.
"Wonderful man!" I exclaimed; "already?"
"It is quite simple," he said, holding up his finger. "You see that
knot? That is to prevent my forgetting. It is, therefore, a
forget-me-knot. A forget-me-not is a flower. It was a sack of flour that
I was to send home!"
"Beautiful!" I could not help crying out in admiration.
"Suppose we go out for a ramble," suggested Jolnes.
"There is only one case of importance on hand just now. Old man McCarty,
one hundred and four years old, died from eating too many bananas. The
evidence points so strongly to the Mafia that the police have surrounded
the Second Avenue Katzenjammer Gambrinus Club No. 2, and the capture of
the assassin is only the matter of a few hours. The detective force has
not yet been called on for assistance."
Jolnes and I went out and up the street toward the corner, where we were
to catch a surface car.
Half-way up the block we met Rheingelder, an acquaintance of ours, who
held a City Hall position.
"Good morning, Rheingelder," said Jolnes, halting.
"Nice breakfast that was you had this morning." Always on the lookout for
the detective's remarkable feats of deduction, I saw Jolnes's eye flash
for an instant upon a long yellow splash on the shirt bosom and a smaller
one upon the chin of Rheingelder -- both undoubtedly made by the yolk of
"Oh, dot is some of your detectiveness," said Rheingelder, shaking all
over with a smile. "Vell, I pet you trinks und cigars all round dot you
cannot tell vot I haf eaten for breakfast."
"Done," said Jolnes. "Sausage, pumpernickel and coffee."
Rheingelder admitted the correctness of the surmise and paid the bet.
When we had proceeded on our way I said to Jolnes:
"I thought you looked at the egg spilled on his chin and shirt front."
"I did," said Jolnes. "That is where I began my deduction. Rheingelder
is a very economical, saving man. Yesterday eggs dropped in the market to
twenty-eight cents per dozen. To-day they are quoted at forty-two.
Rheingelder ate eggs yesterday, and to-day he went back to his usual
fare. A little thing like this isn't anything, Whatsup; it belongs to the
primary arithmetic class."
When we boarded the street car we found the seats all occupied --
principally by ladies. Jolnes and I stood on the rear platform.
About the middle of the car there sat an elderly man with a short, gray
beard, who looked to be the typical, well-dressed New Yorker. At
successive corners other ladies climbed aboard, and soon three or four of
them were standing over the man, clinging to straps and glaring meaningly
at the man who occupied the coveted seat. But he resolutely retained his
"We New Yorkers," I remarked to Jolnes, "have about lost our manners, as
far as the exercise of them in public goes."
"Perhaps so," said Jolnes, lightly; "but the man you evidently refer to
happens to be a very chivalrous and courteous gentleman from Old
Virginia. He is spending a few days in New York with his wife and two
daughters, and he leaves for the South to-night."
"You know him, then?" I said, in amazement.
"I never saw him before we stepped on the car," declared the detective,
"By the gold tooth of the Witch of Endor!" I cried, "if you can construe
all that from his appearance you are dealing in nothing else than black
"The habit of observation -- nothing more," said Jolnes. "If the old
gentleman gets off the car before we do, I think I can demonstrate to you
the accuracy of my deduction."
Three blocks farther along the gentleman rose to leave the car. Jolnes
addressed him at the door: "Pardon me, sir, but are you not Colonel
Hunter, of Norfolk, Virginia?"
"No, suh," was the extremely courteous answer. "My name, suh, is Ellison
-- Major Winfield R. Ellison, from Fairfax County, in the same state. I
know a good many people, suh, in Norfolk -- the Goodriches, the Tollivers,
and the Crabtrees, suh, but I never had the pleasure of meeting yo'
friend, Colonel Hunter. I am happy to say, suh, that I am going back to
Virginia to-night, after having spent a week in yo' city with my wife and
three daughters. I shall be in Norfolk in about ten days, and if you will
give me yo' name, suh, I will take pleasure in looking up Colonel Hunter
and telling him that you inquired after him, suh."
"Thank you," said Jolnes; "tell him that Reynolds sent his regards, if you
will be so kind."
I glanced at the great New York detective and saw that a look of intense
chagrin had come upon his clear-cut features. Failure in the slightest
point always galled Shamrock Jolnes.
"Did you say your _three_ daughters?" he asked of the Virginia gentleman.
"Yes, suh, my three daughters, all as fine girls as there are in Fairfax
County," was the answer.
With that Major Ellison stopped the car and began to descend the step.
Shamrock Jolnes clutched his arm.
"One moment, sir," he begged, in an urbane voice in which I alone detected
the anxiety -- "am I not right in believing that one of the young ladies
is an _adopted_ daughter?"
"You are, suh," admitted the major, from the ground, "but how the devil
you knew it, suh, is mo' than I can tell."
"And mo' than I can tell, too," I said, as the car went on.
Jolnes was restored to his calm, observant serenity by having wrested
victory from his apparent failure; so after we got off the car he invited
me into a cafe, promising to reveal the process of his latest wonderful
"In the first place," he began after we were comfortably seated, "I knew
the gentleman was no New Yorker because he was flushed and uneasy and
restless on account of the ladies that were standing, although he did not
rise and give them his seat. I decided from his appearance that he was a
Southerner rather than a Westerner.
"Next I began to figure out his reason for not relinquishing his seat to a
lady when he evidently felt strongly, but not overpoweringly, impelled to
do so. I very quickly decided upon that. I noticed that one of his eyes
had received a severe jab in one corner, which was red and inflamed, and
that all over his face were tiny round marks about the size of the end of
an uncut lead pencil. Also upon both of his patent leather shoes were a
number of deep imprints shaped like ovals cut off square at one end.
"Now, there is only one district in New York City where a man is bound to
receive scars and wounds and indentations of that sort -- and that is
along the sidewalks of Twenty-third Street and a portion of Sixth Avenue
south of there. I knew from the imprints of trampling French heels on his
feet and the marks of countless jabs in the face from umbrellas and
parasols carried by women in the shopping district that he had been in
conflict with the amazonian troops. And as he was a man of intelligent
appearance, I knew he would not have braved such dangers unless he had
been dragged thither by his own women folk. Therefore, when he got on the
car his anger at the treatment he had received was sufficient to make him
keep his seat in spite of his traditions of Southern chivalry."
"That is all very well," I said, "but why did you insist upon daughters --
and especially two daughters? Why couldn't a wife alone have taken him
"There had to be daughters," said Jolnes, calmly. "If he had only a wife,
and she near his own age, he could have bluffed her into going alone. If
he had a young wife she would prefer to go alone. So there you are."
"I'll admit that," I said; "but, now, why two daughters? And how, in the
name of all the prophets, did you guess that one was adopted when he told
you he had three?"
"Don't say guess," said Jolnes, with a touch of pride in his air; "there
is no such word in the lexicon of ratiocination. In Major Ellison's
buttonhole there was a carnation and a rosebud backed by a geranium leaf.
No woman ever combined a carnation and a rosebud into a boutonniere.
Close your eyes, Whatsup, and give the logic of your imagination a
chance. Cannot you see the lovely Adele fastening the carnation to the
lapel so that papa may be gay upon the street? And then the romping Edith
May dancing up with sisterly jealousy to add her rosebud to the adornment?"
"And then," I cried, beginning to feel enthusiasm, "when he declared that
he had three daughters" --
"I could see," said Jolnes, "one in the background who added no flower;
and I knew that she must be --"
"Adopted!" I broke in. "I give you every credit; but how did you know he
was leaving for the South to-night?"
"In his breast pocket," said the great detective, "something large and
oval made a protuberance. Good liquor is scarce on trains, and it is a
long journey from New York to Fairfax County."
"Again, I must bow to you," I said. "And tell me this, so that my last
shred of doubt will be cleared away; why did you decide that he was from
"It was very faint, I admit," answered Shamrock Jolnes, "but no trained
observer could have failed to detect the odour of mint in the car."
XIX THE LADY HIGHER UP
New York City, they said, was deserted; and that accounted, doubtless, for
the sounds carrying so far in the tranquil summer air. The breeze was
south-by-southwest; the hour was midnight; the theme was a bit of feminine
gossip by wireless mythology. Three hundred and sixty-five feet above the
heated asphalt the tiptoeing symbolic deity on Manhattan pointed her
vacillating arrow straight, for the time, in the direction of her exalted
sister on Liberty Island. The lights of the great Garden were out; the b
enches in the Square were filled with sleepers in postures so strange that
beside them the writhing figures in Dore's illustrations of the Inferno
would have straightened into tailor's dummies. The statue of Diana on the
tower of the Garden -- its constancy shown by its weathercock ways, its
innocence by the coating of gold that it has acquired, its devotion to
style by its single, graceful flying scarf, its candour and artlessness by
its habit of ever drawing the long bow, its metropolitanism by its posture
of swift flight to catch a Harlem train -- remained poised with its arrow
pointed across the upper bay. Had that arrow sped truly and horizontally
it would have passed fifty feet above the head of the heroic matron whose
duty it is to offer a cast-ironical welcome to the oppressed of other
Seaward this lady gazed, and the furrows between steamship lines began to
cut steerage rates. The translators, too, have put an extra burden upon
her. "Liberty Lighting the World" (as her creator christened her) would
have had a no more responsible duty, except for the size of it, than that
of an electrician or a Standard Oil magnate. But to "enlighten" the world
(as our learned civic guardians "Englished" it) requires abler qualities.
And so poor Liberty, instead of having a sinecure as a mere illuminator,
must be converted into a Chautauqua schoolma'am, with the oceans for her
field instead of the placid, classic lake. With a fireless torch and an
empty head must she dispel the shadows of the world and teach it its A, B,
"Ah, there, Mrs. Liberty!" called a clear, rollicking soprano voice
through the still, midnight air.
"Is that you, Miss Diana? Excuse my not turning my head. I'm not as
flighty and whirly-whirly as some. And 'tis so hoarse I am I can hardly
talk on account of the peanut-hulls left on the stairs in me throat by
that last boatload of tourists from Marietta, Ohio. 'Tis after being a
fine evening, miss."
"If you don't mind my asking," came the bell-like tones of the golden
statue, "I'd like to know where you got that City Hall brogue. I didn't
know that Liberty was necessarily Irish."
"If ye'd studied the history of art in its foreign complications ye'd not
need to ask," replied the offshore statue. "If ye wasn't so light-headed
and giddy ye'd know that I was made by a Dago and presented to the
American people on behalf of the French Government for the purpose of
welcomin' Irish immigrants into the Dutch city of New York. 'Tis that
I've been doing night and day since I was erected. Ye must know, Miss
Diana, that 'tis with statues the same as with people -- 'tis not their
makers nor the purposes for which they were created that influence the
operations of their tongues at all -- it's the associations with which
they become associated, I'm telling ye."
"You're dead right," agreed Diana. "I notice it on myself. If any of the
old guys from Olympus were to come along and hand me any hot air in the
ancient Greek I couldn't tell it from a conversation between a Coney
Island car conductor and a five-cent fare."
"I'm right glad ye've made up your mind to be sociable, Miss Diana," said
Mrs. Liberty. "'Tis a lonesome life I have down here. Is there anything
doin' up in the city, Miss Diana, dear?"
"Oh, la, la, la! -- no," said Diana. "Notice that 'la, la, la,' Aunt
Liberty? Got that from 'Paris by Night' on the roof garden under me.
You'll hear that 'la, la, la' at the Cafe McCann now, along with
'garsong.' The bohemian crowd there have become tired of 'garsong' since
O'Rafferty, the head waiter, punched three of them for calling him it.
Oh, no; the town's strickly on the bum these nights. Everybody's away.
Saw a downtown merchant on a roof garden this evening with his
stenographer. Show was so dull he went to sleep. A waiter biting on a
dime tip to see if it was good half woke him up. He looks around and sees
his little pothooks perpetrator. 'H'm!' says he, 'will you take a letter,
Miss De St. Montmorency?' 'Sure, in a minute,' says she, 'if you'll make
it an X.'
"That was the best thing happened on the roof. So you see how dull it
is. La, la, la!"
"'Tis fine ye have it up there in society, Miss Diana. Ye have the cat
show and the horse show and the military tournaments where the privates
look grand as generals and the generals try to look grand as
floor-walkers. And ye have the Sportsmen's Show, where the girl that
measures 36 19, 45 cooks breakfast food in a birch-bark wigwam on the
banks of the Grand Canal of Venice conducted by one of the Vanderbilts,
Bernard McFadden, and the Reverends Dowie and Duss. And ye have the
French ball, where the original Cohens and the Robert Emmet-Sangerbund
Society dance the Highland fling one with another. And ye have the grand
O'Ryan ball, which is the most beautiful pageant in the world, where the
French students vie with the Tyrolean warblers in doin' the cake walk. Ye
have the best job for a statue in the whole town, Miss Diana."
"'Tis weary work," sighed the island statue, "disseminatin' the science of
liberty in New York Bay. Sometimes when I take a peep down at Ellis
Island and see the gang of immigrants I'm supposed to light up, 'tis
tempted I am to blow out the gas and let the coroner write out their
"Say, it's a shame, ain't it, to give you the worst end of it?" came the
sympathetic antiphony of the steeplechase goddess. "It must be awfully
lonesome down there with so much water around you. I don't see how you
ever keep your hair in curl. And that Mother Hubbard you are wearing went
out ten years ago. I think those sculptor guys ought to be held for
damages for putting iron or marble clothes on a lady. That's where Mr.
St. Gaudens was wise. I'm always e little ahead of the styles; but
they're coming my way pretty fast. Excuse my back a moment -- I caught a
puff of wind from the north -- shouldn't wonder if things had loosened up
in Esopus. There, now! it's in the West -- I should think that gold plank
would have calmed the air out in that direction. What were you saying,
"A fine chat I've had with ye, Miss Diana, ma'am, but I see one of them
European steamers a-sailin' up the Narrows, and I must be attendin' to me
duties. 'Tis me job to extend aloft the torch of Liberty to welcome all
them that survive the kicks that the steerage stewards give 'em while
landin.' Sure 'tis a great country ye can come to for $8.50, and the
doctor waitin' to send ye back home free if he sees yer eyes red from
cryin' for it."
The golden statue veered in the changing breeze, menacing many points on
the horizon with its aureate arrow.
"So long, Aunt Liberty," sweetly called Diana of the Tower. "Some night,
when the wind's right. I'll call you up again. But -- say! you haven't
got such a fierce kick coming about your job. I've kept a pretty good
watch on the island of Manhattan since I've been up here. That's a pretty
sick-looking bunch of liberty chasers they dump down at your end of it;
but they don't all stay that way. Every little while up here I see guys
signing checks and voting the right ticket, and encouraging the arts and t
aking a bath every morning, that was shoved ashore by a dock labourer born
in the United States who never earned over forty dollars a month. Don't
run down your job, Aunt Liberty; you're all right, all right."
XX THE GREATER CONEY
"Next Sunday," said Dennis Carnahan, "I'll be after going down to see the
new Coney Island that's risen like a phoenix bird from the ashes of the
old resort. I'm going with Norah Flynn, and we'll fall victims to all the
dry goods deceptions, from the red-flannel eruption of Mount Vesuvius to
the pink silk ribbons on the race-suicide problems in the incubator kiosk.
"Was I there before? I was. I was there last Tuesday. Did I see the
sights? I did not.
"Last Monday I amalgamated myself with the Bricklayers' Union, and in
accordance with the rules I was ordered to quit work the same day on
account of a sympathy strike with the Lady Salmon Canners' Lodge No.2, of
"'Twas disturbed I was in mind and proclivities by losing me job, bein'
already harassed in me soul on account of havin' quarrelled with Norah
Flynn a week before by reason of hard words spoken at the Dairymen and
Street-Sprinkler Drivers' semi-annual ball, caused by jealousy and prickly
heat and that divil, Andy Coghlin.
"So, I says, it will be Coney for Tuesday; and if the chutes and the short
change and the green-corn silk between the teeth don't create diversions
and get me feeling better, then I don't know at all.
"Ye will have heard that Coney has received moral reconstruction. The old
Bowery, where they used to take your tintype by force and give ye knockout
drops before having your palm read, is now called the Wall Street of the
island. The wienerwurst stands are required by law to keep a news ticker
in 'em; and the doughnuts are examined every four years by a retired
steamboat inspector. The nigger man's head that was used by the old
patrons to throw baseballs at is now illegal; and, by order of the Police
Commissioner the image of a man drivin' an automobile has been
substituted. I hear that the old immoral amusements have been
suppressed. People who used to go down from New York to sit in the sand
and dabble in the surf now give up their quarters to squeeze through
turnstiles and see imitations of city fires and floods painted on canvas.
The reprehensible and degradin' resorts that disgraced old Coney are said
to be wiped out. The wipin'-out process consists of raisin' the price
from 10 cents to 25 cents, and hirin' a blonde named Maudie to sell
tickets instead of Micky, the Bowery Bite. That's what they say -- I
"But to Coney I goes a-Tuesday. I gets off the 'L' and starts for the
glitterin' show. 'Twas a fine sight. The Babylonian towers and the
Hindoo roof gardens was blazin' with thousands of electric lights, and the
streets was thick with people. 'Tis a true thing they say that Coney
levels all rank. I see millionaires eatin' popcorn and trampin' along
with the crowd; and I see eight-dollar-a-week clothin'-store clerks in red
automobiles fightin' one another for who'd squeeze the horn when they come
to a corner.
"'I made a mistake,' I says to myself. 'Twas not Coney I needed. When a
man's sad 'tis not scenes of hilarity he wants. 'Twould be far better for
him to meditate in a graveyard or to attend services at the Paradise Roof
Gardens. 'Tis no consolation when a man's lost his sweetheart to order
hot corn and have the waiter bring him the powdered sugar cruet instead of
salt and then conceal himself, or to have Zozookum, the gipsy palmist,
tell him that he has three children and to look out for another serious
calamity; price twenty-five cents.
"I walked far away down on the beach, to the ruins of an old pavilion near
one corner of this new private park, Dreamland. A year ago that old
pavilion was standin' up straight and the old-style waiters was slammin' a
week's supply of clam chowder down in front of you for a nickel and
callin' you 'cully' friendly, and vice was rampant, and you got back to
New York with enough change to take a car at the bridge. Now they tell me
that they serve Welsh rabbits on Surf Avenue, and you get the right change
back in the movin'-picture joints.
"I sat down at one side of the old pavilion and looked at the surf
spreadin' itself on the beach, and thought about the time me and Norah
Flynn sat on that spot last summer. 'Twas before reform struck the
island; and we was happy. We had tintypes and chowder in the ribald
dives, and the Egyptian Sorceress of the Nile told Norah out of her hand,
while I was waitin' in the door, that 'twould be the luck of her to marry
a red-headed gossoon with two crooked legs, and I was overrunnin' with joy
on account of the allusion. And 'twas there that Norah Flynn put her two
hands in mine a year before and we talked of flats and the things she
could cook and the love business that goes with such episodes. And that
was Coney as we loved it, and as the hand of Satan was upon it, friendly
and noisy and your money's worth, with no fence around the ocean and not
too many electric lights to show the sleeve of a black serge coat against
a white shirtwaist.
"I sat with my back to the parks where they had the moon and the dreams
and the steeples corralled, and longed for the old Coney. There wasn't
many people on the beach. Lots of them was feedin' pennies into the slot
machines to see the 'Interrupted Courtship' in the movin' pictures; and a
good many was takin' the sea air in the Canals of Venice and some was
breathin' the smoke of the sea battle by actual warships in a tank filled
with real water. A few was down on the sands enjoyin' the moonlight and
the water. And the heart of me was heavy for the new morals of the old
island, while the bands behind me played and the sea pounded on the bass
drum in front.
"And directly I got up and walked along the old pavilion, and there on the
other side of, half in the dark, was a slip of a girl sittin' on the
tumble-down timbers, and unless I'm a liar she was cryin' by herself
there, all alone.
"'Is it trouble you are in, now, Miss,' says I; 'and what's to be done
"' 'Tis none of your business at all, Denny Carnahan,' says she, sittin'
up straight. And it was the voice of no other than Norah Flynn.
"'Then it's not,' says I, 'and we're after having a pleasant evening, Miss
Flynn. Have ye seen the sights of this new Coney Island, then? I presume
ye have come here for that purpose,' says I.
"'I have,' says she. 'Me mother and Uncle Tim they are waiting beyond.
'Tis an elegant evening I've had. I've seen all the attractions that be.'
"'Right ye are,' says I to Norah; and I don't know when I've been that
amused. After disportin' me-self among the most laughable moral
improvements of the revised shell games I took meself to the shore for the
benefit of the cool air. 'And did ye observe the Durbar, Miss Flynn?'
"'I did,' says she, reflectin'; 'but 'tis not safe, I'm thinkin', to ride
down them slantin' things into the water.'
"'How did ye fancy the shoot the chutes?' I asks.
"'True, then, I'm afraid of guns,' says Norah. 'They make such noise in
my ears. But Uncle Tim, he shot them, he did, and won cigars. 'Tis a
fine time we had this day, Mr. Carnahan.'
"'I'm glad you've enjoyed yerself,' I says. 'I suppose you've had a
roarin' fine time seein' the sights. And how did the incubators and the
helter-skelter and the midgets suit the taste of ye?'
"'I -- I wasn't hungry,' says Norah, faint. 'But mother ate a quantity of
all of 'em. I'm that pleased with the fine things in the new Coney
Island,' says she, 'that it's the happiest day I've seen in a long time,
"'Did you see Venice?' says I.
"'We did,' says she. 'She was a beauty. She was all dressed in red, she
was, with --'
"I listened no more to Norah Flynn. I stepped up and I gathered her in my
"' 'Tis a story-teller ye are, Norah Flynn', says I. 'Ye've seen no more
of the greater Coney Island than I have meself. Come, now, tell the truth
-- ye came to sit by the old pavilion by the waves where you sat last
summer and made Dennis Carnahan a happy man. Speak up, and tell the
"Norah stuck her nose against me vest.
"'I despise it, Denny,' she says, half cryin'. 'Mother and Uncle Tim went
to see the shows, but I came down here to think of you. I couldn't bear
the lights and the crowd. Are you forgivin' me, Denny, for the words we
"' 'Twas me fault,' says I. 'I came here for the same reason meself.
Look at the lights, Norah,' I says, turning my back to the sea -- 'ain't
"'They are,' says Norah, with her eyes shinin'; 'and do ye hear the bands
playin'? Oh, Denny, I think I'd like to see it all.'
"'The old Coney is gone, darlin',' I says to her. 'Everything moves.
When a man's glad it's not scenes of sadness he wants. 'Tis a greater
Coney we have here, but we couldn't see it till we got in the humour for
it. Next Sunday, Norah darlin', we'll see the new place from end to end."
XXI LAW AND ORDER
I found myself in Texas recently, revisiting old places and vistas. At a
sheep ranch where I had sojourned many years ago, I stopped for a week.
And, as all visitors do, I heartily plunged into the business at hand,
which happened to be that of dipping the sheep.
Now, this process is so different from ordinary human baptism that it
deserves a word of itself. A vast iron cauldron with half the fires of
Avernus beneath it is partly filled with water that soon boils furiously.
Into that is cast concentrated lye, lime, and sulphur, which is allowed to
stew and fume until the witches' broth is strong enough to scorch the
third arm of Palladino herself.
Then this concentrated brew is mixed in a long, deep vat with cubic
gallons of hot water, and the sheep are caught by their hind legs and
flung into the compound. After being thoroughly ducked by means of a
forked pole in the hands of a gentleman detailed for that purpose, they
are allowed to clamber up an incline into a corral and dry or die, as the
state of their constitutions may decree. If you ever caught an
able-bodied, two-year-old mutton by the hind legs and felt the 750 volts
of kicking that he can send though your arm seventeen times before you can
hurl him into the vat, you will, of course, hope that he may die instead
But this is merely to explain why Bud Oakley and I gladly stretched
ourselves on the bank of the nearby _charco_ after the dipping, glad for
the welcome inanition and pure contact with the earth after our
muscle-racking labours. The flock was a small one, and we finished at
three in the afternoon; so Bud brought from the _morral_ on his saddle
horn, coffee and a coffeepot and a big hunk of bread and some side bacon.
Mr. Mills, the ranch owner and my old friend, rode away to the ranch with
his force of Mexican _trabajadores_.
While the bacon was frizzling nicely, there was the sound of horses' hoofs
behind us. Bud's six-shooter lay in its scabbard ten feet away from his
hand. He paid not the slightest heed to the approaching horseman. This
attitude of a Texas ranchman was so different from the old-time custom
that I marvelled. Instinctively I turned to inspect the possible foe that
menaced us in the rear. I saw a horseman dressed in black, who might have
been a lawyer or a parson or an undertaker, trotting peaceably along the
road by the _arroyo_.
Bud noticed my precautionary movement and smiled sarcastically and
"You've been away too long," said he. "You don't need to look around any
more when anybody gallops up behind you in this state, unless something
hits you in the back; and even then it's liable to be only a bunch of
tracts or a petition to sign against the trusts. I never looked at that
_hombre_ that rode by; but I'll bet a quart of sheep dip that he's some
double-dyed son of a popgun out rounding up prohibition votes."
"Times have changed, Bud," said I, oracularly. "Law and order is the rule
now in the South and the Southwest."
I caught a cold gleam from Bud's pale blue eyes.
"Not that I --" I began, hastily.
"Of course you don't," said Bud warmly. "You know better. You've lived
here before. Law and order, you say? Twenty years ago we had 'em here.
We only had two or three laws, such as against murder before witnesses,
and being caught stealing horses, and voting the Republican ticket. But
how is it now? All we get is orders; and the laws go out of the state.
Them legislators set up there at Austin and don't do nothing but make laws
against kerosene oil and schoolbooks being brought into the state. I re
ckon they was afraid some man would go home some evening after work and
light up and get an education and go to work and make laws to repeal
aforesaid laws. Me, I'm for the old days when law and order meant what
they said. A law was a law, and a order was a order."
"But --" I began.
"I was going on," continued Bud, "while this coffee is boiling, to
describe to you a case of genuine law and order that I knew of once in the
times when cases was decided in the chambers of a six-shooter instead of a
"You've heard of old Ben Kirkman, the cattle king? His ranch run from the
Nueces to the Rio Grande. In them days, as you know, there was cattle
barons and cattle kings. The difference was this: when a cattleman went
to San Antone and bought beer for the newspaper reporters and only give
them the number of cattle he actually owned, they wrote him up for a
baron. When he bought 'em champagne wine and added in the amount of
cattle he had stole, they called him a king.
"Luke Summers was one of his range bosses. And down to the king's ranch
comes one day a bunch of these Oriental people from New York or Kansas
City or thereabouts. Luke was detailed with a squad to ride about with
'em, and see that the rattlesnakes got fair warning when they was coming,
and drive the deer out of their way. Among the bunch was a black-eyed
girl that wore a number two shoe. That's all I noticed about her. But
Luke must have seen more, for he married her one day before the
_caballard_ started back, and went over on Canada Verde and set up a ranch
of his own. I'm skipping over the sentimental stuff on purpose, because I
never saw or wanted to see any of it. And Luke takes me along with him
because we was old friends and I handled cattle to suit him.
"I'm skipping over much what followed, because I never saw or wanted to
see any of it -- but three years afterward there was a boy kid stumbling
and blubbering around the galleries and floors of Luke's ranch. I never
had no use for kids; but it seems they did. And I'm skipping over much
what followed until one day out to the ranch drives in hacks and
buckboards a lot of Mrs. Summers's friends from the East -- a sister or so
and two or three men. One looked like an uncle to somebody; and one
looked like nothing; and the other one had on corkscrew pants and spoke in
a tone of voice. I never liked a man who spoke in a tone of voice.
"I'm skipping over much what followed; but one afternoon when I rides up
to the ranch house to get some orders about a drove of beeves that was to
be shipped, I hears something like a popgun go off. I waits at the
hitching rack, not wishing to intrude on private affairs. In a little
while Luke comes out and gives some orders to some of his Mexican hands,
and they go and hitch up sundry and divers vehicles; and mighty soon out
comes one of the sisters or so and some of the two or three men. But two
of the two or thee men carries between 'em the corkscrew man who spoke in
a tone of voice, and lays him flat down in one of the wagons. And they
all might have been seen wending their way away.
"'Bud,' says Luke to me, 'I want you to fix up a little and go up to San
Antone with me.'
"'Let me get on my Mexican spurs,' says I, 'and I'm your company.'
"One of the sisters or so seems to have stayed at the ranch with Mrs.
Summers and the kid. We rides to Encinal and catches the International,
and hits San Antone in the morning. After breakfast Luke steers me
straight to the office of a lawyer. They go in a room and talk and then
"'Oh, there won't be any trouble, Mr. Summers,' says the lawyer. 'I'll
acquaint Judge Simmons with the facts to-day; and the matter will be put
through as promptly as possible. Law and order reigns in this state as
swift and sure as any in the country.'
"'I'll wait for the decree if it won't take over half an hour,' says Luke.
"'Tut, tut,' says the lawyer man. 'Law must take its course. Come back
day after to-morrow at half-past nine.'
"At that time me and Luke shows up, and the lawyer hands him a folded
document. And Luke writes him out a check.
"On the sidewalk Luke holds up the paper to me and puts a finger the size
of a kitchen door latch on it and says:
"'Decree of ab-so-lute divorce with cus-to-dy of the child.'
"'Skipping over much what has happened of which I know nothing,' says I,
'it looks to me like a split. Couldn't the lawyer man have made it a
strike for you?'
"'Bud,' says he, in a pained style, 'that child is the one thing I have to
live for. She may go; but the boy is mine! -- think of it -- I have
cus-to-dy of the child.'
"'All right,' says I. 'If it's the law, let's abide by it. But I think,'
says I, 'that Judge Simmons might have used exemplary clemency, or
whatever is the legal term, in our case.'
"You see, I wasn't inveigled much into the desirableness of having infants
around a ranch, except the kind that feed themselves and sell for so much
on the hoof when they grow up. But Luke was struck with that sort of
parental foolishness that I never could understand. All the way riding
from the station back to the ranch, he kept pulling that decree out of his
pocket and laying his finger on the back of it and reading off to me the
sum and substance of it. 'Cus-to-dy of the child, Bud,' says he. 'Don't
forget it -- cus-to-dy of the child.'
"But when we hits the ranch we finds our decree of court obviated, _nolle_
_prossed_, and remanded for trial. Mrs. Summers and the kid was gone.
They tell us that an hour after me and Luke had started for San Antone she
had a team hitched and lit out for the nearest station with her trunks and
"Luke takes out his decree once more and reads off its emoluments.
"'It ain't possible, Bud,' says he, 'for this to be. It's contrary to law
and order. It's wrote as plain as day here -- "Cus-to-dy of the child."'
"'There is what you might call a human leaning,' says I, 'toward smashing
'em both -- not to mention the child.'
"'Judge Simmons,' goes on Luke, 'is a incorporated officer of the law.
She can't take the boy away. He belongs to me by statutes passed and
approved by the state of Texas.'
"'And he's removed from the jurisdiction of mundane mandamuses,' says I,
'by the unearthly statutes of female partiality. Let us praise the Lord
and be thankful for whatever small mercies -- ' I begins; but I see Luke
don't listen to me. Tired as he was, he calls for a fresh horse and
starts back again for the station.
"He come back two weeks afterward, not saying much.
"'We can't get the trail,' says he; 'but we've done all the telegraphing
that the wires'll stand, and we've got these city rangers they call
detectives on the lookout. In the meantime, Bud,' says he, 'we'll round
up them cows on Brush Creek, and wait for the law to take its course.'"
And after that we never alluded to allusions, as you might say.
"Skipping over much what happened in the next twelve years, Luke was made
sheriff of Mojada County. He made me his office deputy. Now, don't get
in your mind no wrong apparitions of a office deputy doing sums in a book
or mashing letters in a cider press. In them days his job was to watch
the back windows so nobody didn't plug the sheriff in the rear while he
was adding up mileage at his desk in front. And in them days I had
qualifications for the job. And there was law and order in Mojada County,
and schoolbooks, and all the whiskey you wanted, and the Government built
its own battleships instead of collecting nickels from the school children
to do it with. And, as I say, there was law and order instead of
enactments and restrictions such as disfigure our umpire state to-day. We
had our office at Bildad, the county seat, from which we emerged forth on
necessary occasions to soothe whatever fracases and unrest that might
occur in our jurisdiction.
"Skipping over much what happened while me and Luke was sheriff, I want to
give you an idea of how the law was respected in them days. Luke was what
you would call one of the most conscious men in the world. He never knew
much book law, but he had the inner emoluments of justice and mercy
inculcated into his system. If a respectable citizen shot a Mexican or
held up a train and cleaned out the safe in the express car, and Luke ever
got hold of him, he'd give the guilty party such a reprimand and a cussin'
out that he'd probable never do it again. But once let somebody steal a
horse (unless it was a Spanish pony), or cut a wire fence, or otherwise
impair the peace and indignity of Mojada County, Luke and me would be on
'em with habeas corpuses and smokeless powder and all the modern
inventions of equity and etiquette.
"We certainly had our county on a basis of lawfulness. I've known persons
of Eastern classification with little spotted caps and buttoned-up shoes
to get off the train at Bildad and eat sandwiches at the railroad station
without being shot at or even roped and drug about by the citizens of the
"Luke had his own ideas of legality and justice. He was kind of training
me to succeed him when he went out of office. He was always looking ahead
to the time when he'd quit sheriffing. What he wanted to do was to build
a yellow house with lattice-work under the porch and have hens scratching
in the yard. The one main thing in his mind seemed to be the yard.
"'Bud,' he says to me, 'by instinct and sentiment I'm a contractor. I
want to be a contractor. That's what I'll be when I get out of office.'
"'What kind of a contractor?' says I. 'It sounds like a kind of a
business to me. You ain't going to haul cement or establish branches or
work on a railroad, are you?'
"'You don't understand,' says Luke. 'I'm tired of space and horizons and
territory and distances and things like that. What I want is reasonable
contraction. I want a yard with a fence around it that you can go out and
set on after supper and listen to whip-poor-wills,' says Luke.
"That's the kind of a man he was. He was home-like, although he'd had bad
luck in such investments. But he never talked about them times on the
ranch. It seemed like he'd forgotten about it. I wondered how, with his
ideas of yards and chickens and notions of lattice-work, he'd seemed to
have got out of his mind that kid of his that had been taken away from
him, unlawful, in spite of his decree of court. But he wasn't a man you
could ask about such things as he didn't refer to in his own conversation.
"I reckon he'd put all his emotions and ideas into being sheriff. I've
read in books about men that was disappointed in these poetic and
fine-haired and high-collared affairs with ladies renouncing truck of that
kind and wrapping themselves up into some occupation like painting
pictures, or herding sheep, or science, or teaching school -- something to
make 'em forget. Well, I guess that was the way with Luke. But, as he
couldn't paint pictures, he took it out in rounding up horse thieves and
in making Mojada County a safe place to sleep in if you was well armed and
not afraid of requisitions or tarantulas.
"One day there passes through Bildad a bunch of these money investors from
the East, and they stopped off there, Bildad being the dinner station on
the I. & G. N. They was just coming back from Mexico looking after
mines and such. There was five of 'em -- four solid parties, with gold
watch chains, that would grade up over two hundred pounds on the hoof, and
one kid about seventeen or eighteen.
"This youngster had on one of them cowboy suits such as tenderfoots bring
West with 'em; and you could see he was aching to wing a couple of Indians
or bag a grizzly or two with the little pearl-handled gun he had buckled
around his waist.
"I walked down to the depot to keep an eye on the outfit and see that they
didn't locate any land or scare the cow ponies hitched in front of
Murchison's store or act otherwise unseemly. Luke was away after a gang
of cattle thieves down on the Frio, and I always looked after the law and
order when he wasn't there.
"After dinner this boy comes out of the dining-room while the train was
waiting, and prances up and down the platform ready to shoot all antelope,
lions, or private citizens that might endeavour to molest or come too near
him. He was a good-looking kid; only he was like all them tenderfoots --
he didn't know a law-and-order town when he saw it.
"By and by along comes Pedro Johnson, the proprietor of the Crystal Palace
_chili-con-carne_ stand in Bildad. Pedro was a man who liked to amuse
himself; so he kind of herd rides this youngster, laughing at him, tickled
to death. I was too far away to hear, but the kid seems to mention some
remarks to Pedro, and Pedro goes up and slaps him about nine feet away,
and laughs harder than ever. And then the boy gets up quicker than he
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