The Conquest of Canaan
Part 5 out of 7
rising shrilly. She could hear only fragments.
Once she heard the client cry, almost scream:
"By God! Joe, I thought Claudine had chased him
around there to DO me!" And, instantly, followed
"STEADY, HAPPY, STEADY!"
The name "Claudine" startled her; and although
she had had no comprehension of the argot of
Happy Fear, the sense of a mysterious catastrophe
oppressed her; she was sure that something horrible
had happened. She went to the window;
touched the shade, which disappeared upward
immediately, and lifted the sash. The front of a
square building in the Court-house Square was
bright with lights; and figures were passing in and
out of the Main Street doors. She remembered
that this was the jail.
"Claudine!" The voice of the husband of
Claudine was like the voice of one lamenting over
"STEADY, HAPPY, STEADY!"
"But, Joe, if they git me, what'll she do? She
can't hold her job no longer--not after this. . . ."
The door opened, and the two men came out,
Joe with his hand on the other's shoulder. The
splotches had gone from Happy's face, leaving it
an even, deathly white. He did not glance toward
Ariel; he gazed far beyond all that was about
him; and suddenly she was aware of a great tragedy.
The little man's chin trembled and he swallowed
painfully; nevertheless he bore himself upright
and dauntlessly as the two walked slowly to
the door, like men taking part in some fateful
ceremony. Joe stopped upon the landing at the
head of the stairs, but Happy Fear went on, clumping
heavily down the steps.
"It's all right, Happy," said Joe. "It's better
for you to go alone. Don't you worry. I'll see
you through. It will be all right."
"Just as YOU say, Joe," a breaking voice came
back from the foot of the steps,--"just as YOU say!"
The lawyer turned from the landing and went
rapidly to the window beside Ariel. Together they
watched the shabby little figure cross the street
below; and she felt an infinite pathos gathering
about it as it paused for a moment, hesitating,
underneath the arc-lamp at the corner. They saw
the white face lifted as Happy Fear gave one last
look about him; then he set his shoulders sturdily,
and steadfastly entered the door of the jail.
Joe took a deep breath. "Now we'll go," he
said. "I must be quick."
"What was it?" she asked, tremulously, as they
reached the street. "Can you tell me?"
"Nothing--just an old story."
He had not offered her his arm, but walked on
hurriedly, a pace ahead of her, though she came
as rapidly as she could. She put her hand rather
timidly on his sleeve, and without need of more
words from her he understood her insistence.
"That was the husband of the woman who told
you her story," he said. "Perhaps it would shock
you less if I tell you now than if you heard it to-
morrow, as you will. He's just shot the other
"Killed him!" she gasped.
"Yes," he answered. "He wanted to run away,
but I wouldn't let him. He has my word that
I'll clear him, and I made him give himself up."
THE TWO CANAANS
When Joe left Ariel at Judge Pike's
gate she lingered there, her elbows
upon the uppermost cross-bar, like
a village girl at twilight, watching
his thin figure vanish into the heavy
shadow of the maples, then emerge momentarily,
ghost-gray and rapid, at the lighted crossing down
the street, to disappear again under the trees
beyond, followed a second later by a brownish streak
as the mongrel heeled after him. When they had
passed the second corner she could no longer be
certain of them, although the street was straight,
with flat, draughtsmanlike Western directness:
both figures and Joe's quick footsteps merging
with the night. Still she did not turn to go; did
not alter her position, nor cease to gaze down the
dim street. Few lights shone; almost all the windows
of the houses were darkened, and, save for
the summer murmurs, the faint creak of upper
branches, and the infinitesimal voices of insects in
the grass, there was silence: the pleasant and
somnolent hush, swathed in which that part of Canaan
crosses to the far side of the eleventh hour.
But Ariel, not soothed by this balm, sought
beyond it, to see that unquiet Canaan whither her
old friend bent his steps and found his labor and
his dwelling: that other Canaan where peace did
not fall comfortably with the coming of night; a
place as alien in habit, in thought, and almost in
speech as if it had been upon another continent.
And yet--so strange is the duality of towns--it lay
but a few blocks distant.
Here, about Ariel, as she stood at the gate of the
Pike Mansion, the houses of the good (secure of
salvation and daily bread) were closed and quiet,
as safely shut and sound asleep as the churches;
but deeper in the town there was light and life
and merry, evil industry,--screened, but strong to
last until morning; there were haunts of haggard
merriment in plenty: surreptitious chambers where
roulette-wheels swam beneath dizzied eyes; ill-
favored bars, reached by devious ways, where
quavering voices offered song and were harshly
checked; and through the burdened air of this
Canaan wandered heavy smells of musk like that
upon Happy Fear's wife, who must now be so pale
beneath her rouge. And above all this, and for
all this, and because of all this, was that one re-
sort to which Joe now made his way; that haven
whose lights burn all night long, whose doors are
never closed, but are open from dawn until dawn
There, in that desolate refuge, lay Happy Fear,
surrendered sturdily by himself at Joe's word.
The picture of the little man was clear and fresh
in Ariel's eyes, and though she had seen him when
he was newly come from a thing so terrible that
she could not realize it as a fact, she felt only an
overwhelming pity for him. She was not even
horror-stricken, though she had shuddered. The
pathos of the shabby little figure crossing the street
toward the lighted doors had touched her. Something
about him had appealed to her, for he had
not seemed wicked; his face was not cruel, though
it was desperate. Perhaps it was partly his very
desperation which had moved her. She had
understood Joe, when he told her, that this man was
his friend; and comprehended his great fear when
he said: "I've got to clear him! I promised him."
Over and over Joe had reiterated: "I've got to
save him! I've got to!" She had answered
gently, "Yes, Joe," hurrying to keep up with him.
"He's a good man," he said. "I've known few
better, given his chances. And none of this would
have happened except for his old-time friendship
for me. It was his loyalty--oh, the rarest and
absurdest loyalty!--that made the first trouble
between him and the man he shot. I've got to clear
"Will it be hard?"
"They may make it so. I can only see part of
it surely. When his wife left the office, she met
Cory on the street. You saw what a pitiful kind of
fool she was, irresponsible and helpless and feather-
brained. There are thousands of women like that
everywhere--some of them are `Court Beauties,'
I dare say--and they always mix things up; but
they are most dangerous when they're like Claudine,
because then they live among men of action
like Cory and Fear. Cory was artful: he spent the
day about town telling people that he had always
liked Happy; that his ill feeling of yesterday was
all gone; he wanted to find him and shake his hand,
bury past troubles and be friends. I think he
told Claudine the same thing when they met, and
convinced the tiny brainlet of his sincerity. Cory
was a man who `had a way with him,' and I can
see Claudine flattered at the idea of being peace-
maker between `two such nice gen'lemen as Mr.
Cory and Mr. Fear.' Her commonest asseveration--
quite genuine, too--is that she doesn't like to have
the gen'lemen making trouble about her! So the
poor imbecile led him to where her husband was
waiting. All that Happy knew of this was in her
cry afterwards. He was sitting alone, when Cory
threw open the door and said, `I've got you this
time, Happy!' His pistol was raised but never
fired. He waited too long, meaning to establish
his case of `self-defence,' and Fear is the quickest
man I know. Cory fell just inside the door. Claudine
stumbled upon him as she came running after
him, crying out to her husband that she `never
meant no trouble,' that Cory had sworn to her that
he only wanted to shake hands and `make up.'
Other people heard the shot and broke into the
room, but they did not try to stop Fear; he warned
them off and walked out without hindrance, and
came to me. I've got to clear him."
Ariel knew what he meant: she realized the
actual thing as it was, and, though possessed by a
strange feeling that it must all be medieval and
not possibly of to-day, understood that he would
have to fight to keep his friend from being killed;
that the unhappy creature who had run into the
office out of the dark stood in high danger of having
his neck broken, unless Joe could help him.
He made it clear to her that the State would kill
Happy if it could; that it would be a point of pride
with certain deliberate men holding office to take
the life of the little man; that if they did secure his
death it would be set down to their efficiency, and
was even competent as campaign material. "I
wish to point out," Joe had heard a candidate for
re-election vehemently orate, `that in addition to
the other successful convictions I have named, I
and my assistants have achieved the sending of
three men to the gallows during my term of office!"
"I can't tell yet," said Joe, at parting. "It
may be hard. I'm so sorry you saw all this. I--"
"Oh NO!" she cried. "I want to UNDERSTAND!"
She was still there, at the gate, her elbows resting
upon the cross-bar, when, a long time after Joe
had gone, there came from the alley behind the
big back yard the minor chordings of a quartette
of those dark strollers who never seem to go to
bed, who play by night and playfully pretend to
work by day:
"You know my soul is a-full o' them-a-trub-bils,
I cain' a-walk withouten I stum-bils!
Then le'ss go on--
Keep walkin' on!
These times is sow'owful, an' I am pow'owful
Sick an' fo'lawn!"
She heard a step upon the path behind her, and,
turning, saw a white-wrapped figure coming toward her.
"Mamie?" she called.
"Hush!" Mamie lifted a warning hand. "The
windows are open," she whispered. "They might
"Why haven't you gone to bed?"
"Oh, don't you see?" Mamie answered, in deep
distress,--"I've been sitting up for you. We all
thought you were writing letters in your room,
but after papa and mamma had gone to bed I
went in to tell you good night, and you weren't
there, nor anywhere else; so I knew you must have
gone out. I've been sitting by the front window,
waiting to let you in, but I went to sleep until a
little while ago, when the telephone-bell rang and
he got up and answered it. He kept talking a long
time; it was something about the Tocsin, and I'm
afraid there's been a murder down-town. When
he went back to bed I fell asleep again, and then
those darkies woke me up. How on earth did
you expect to get in? Don't you know he always
locks up the house?"
"I could have rung," said Ariel.
"Oh--oh!" gasped Miss Pike; and, after she had
recovered somewhat, asked: "Do you mind telling
me where you've been? I won't tell him--nor
mamma, either. I think, after all, I was wrong
yesterday to follow Eugene's advice. He meant
for the best, but I--"
"Don't think that. You weren't wrong." Ariel
put her arm round the other's waist. "I went to
talk over some things with Mr. Louden."
"I think," whispered Mamie, trembling, "that
you are the bravest girl I ever knew--and--and--I
could almost believe there's some good in him,
since you like him so. I know there is. And I--I
think he's had a hard time. I want you to know
I won't even tell Eugene!"
"You can tell everybody in the world," said
Ariel, and kissed her.
MR. SHEEHAN'S HINTS
"Never," said the Tocsin on the morrow,
"has this community been stirred
to deeper indignation than by the
cold-blooded and unmitigated brutality
of the deliberate murder committed
almost under the very shadow of the Court-
house cupola last night. The victim was not a
man of good repute, it is true, but at the moment
of his death he was in the act of performing a noble
and generous action which showed that he might
have become, if he lived, a good and law-fearing
citizen. In brief, he went to forgive his enemy
and was stretching forth the hand of fellowship
when that enemy shot him down. Not half an
hour before his death, Cory had repeated within
the hearing of a dozen men what he had been saying
all day, as many can testify: `I want to find
my old friend Fear and shake hands with him. I
want to tell him that I forgive him and that I am
ashamed of whatever has been my part in the
trouble between us.' He went with that intention
to his death. The wife of the murderer has
confessed that this was the substance of what he said
to her, and that she was convinced of his peaceful
intentions. When they reached the room where
her husband was waiting for her, Cory entered
first. The woman claims now that as they neared
the vicinity he hastened forward at a pace which
she could not equal. Naturally, her testimony on
all points favoring her husband is practically
worthless. She followed and heard the murdered man
speak, though what his words were she declares
she does not know, and of course the murderer,
after consultation with his lawyer, claims that their
nature was threatening. Such a statement, in
determining the truth, is worse than valueless. It is
known and readily proved that Fear repeatedly
threatened the deceased's life yesterday, and there
is no question in the mind of any man, woman, or
child, who reads these words, of the cold blooded
nature of the crime. The slayer, who had formerly
made a murderous attack upon his victim, lately
quarrelled with him and uttered threats, as we
have stated, upon his life. The dead man came
to him with protestations of friendship and was
struck down a corpse. It is understood that the
defence will in desperation set up the theory of
self-defence, based on an unsubstantiated claim that
Cory entered the room with a drawn pistol. No
pistol was found in the room. The weapon with
which the deed was accomplished was found upon
the person of the murderer when he was seized by
the police, one chamber discharged. Another
revolver was discovered upon the person of the
woman, when she was arrested on the scene of the
crime. This, upon being strictly interrogated, she
said she had picked up from the floor in the
confusion, thinking it was her husband's and hoping
to conceal it. The chambers were full and undischarged,
and we have heard it surmised that the
defence means to claim that it was Cory's. Cory
doubtless went on his errand of forgiveness
unarmed, and beyond doubt the second weapon
belonged to the woman herself, who has an unenviable
"The point of it all is plainly this: here is an
unquestionable murder in the first degree, and the
people of this city and county are outraged and
incensed that such a crime should have been committed
in their law-abiding and respectable community.
With whom does the fault lie? On
whose head is this murder? Not with the
authorities, for they do not countenance crime. Has
it come to the pass that, counting on juggleries of
the law, criminals believe that they may kill,
maim, burn, and slay as they list without
punishment? Is this to be another instance of the law's
delays and immunity for a hideous crime,
compassed by a cunning and cynical trickster of legal
technicalities? The people of Canaan cry out for
a speedy trial, speedy conviction, and speedy
punishment of this cold-blooded and murderous
monster. If he is not dealt with quickly according
to his deserts, the climax is upon us and the limit
of Canaan's patience has been reached.
"One last word, and we shall be glad to have
its significance noted: J. Louden, Esq., has been
retained for the defence! The murderer, before
being apprehended by the authorities, WENT STRAIGHT
FROM THE SCENE OF HIS CRIME TO PLACE HIS RETAINER
IN HIS ATTORNEY'S POCKET! HOW LONG IS THIS TO
The Tocsin was quoted on street corners that
morning, in shop and store and office, wherever
people talked of the Cory murder; and that was
everywhere, for the people of Canaan and of the
country roundabout talked of nothing else. Women
chattered of it in parlor and kitchen; men gathered
in small groups on the street and shook their
heads ominously over it; farmers, meeting on the
road, halted their teams and loudly damned the
little man in the Canaan jail; milkmen lingered on
back porches over their cans to agree with cooks
that it was an awful thing, and that if ever any
man deserved hanging, that there Fear deserved it
--his lawyer along with him! Tipsy men hammered
bars with fists and beer-glasses, inquiring
if there was no rope to be had in the town; and
Joe Louden, returning to his office from the little
restaurant where he sometimes ate his breakfast,
heard hisses following him along Main Street. A
clerk, a fat-shouldered, blue-aproned, pimple-
cheeked youth, stood in the open doors of a grocery,
and as he passed, stared him in the face and said
"Yah!" with supreme disgust.
Joe stopped. "Why?" he asked, mildly.
The clerk put two fingers in his mouth and
whistled shrilly in derision. "You'd ort to be
run out o' town!" he exclaimed.
"I believe," said Joe, "that we have never met
"Go on, you shyster!"
Joe looked at him gravely. "My dear sir," he
returned, "you speak to me with the familiarity
of an old friend."
The clerk did not recover so far as to be capable
of repartee until Joe had entered his own stairway.
Then, with a bitter sneer, he seized a bad potato
from an open barrel and threw it at the mongrel,
who had paused to examine the landscape. The
missile failed, and Respectability, after bestowing a
slightly injured look upon the clerk, followed his
In the office the red-bearded man sat waiting.
Not so red-bearded as of yore, however, was Mr.
Sheehan, but grizzled and gray, and, this morning,
gray of face, too, as he sat, perspiring and anxious,
wiping a troubled brow with a black silk handkerchief.
"Here's the devil and all to pay at last, Joe,"
he said, uneasily, on the other's entrance. "This
is the worst I ever knew; and I hate to say it, but I
doubt yer pullin' it off."
"I've got to, Mike."
"I hope on my soul there's a chanst of it! I
like the little man, Joe."
"So do I."
"I know ye do, my boy. But here's this Tocsin
kickin' up the public sentiment; and if there ever
was a follerin' sheep on earth, it's that same public
"If it weren't for that"--Joe flung himself
heavily in a chair--"there'd not be so much
trouble. It's a clear enough case."
"But don't ye see," interrupted Sheehan, "the
Tocsin's tried it and convicted him aforehand?
And that if things keep goin' the way they've
started to-day, the gran' jury's bound to indict
him, and the trial jury to convict him? They
wouldn't dare not to! What's more, they'll want
to! And they'll rush the trial, summer or no
"I know, I know."
"I'll tell ye one thing," said the other, wiping his
forehead with the black handkerchief, "and that's
this, my boy: last night's business has just about
put the cap on the Beach fer me. I'm sick of it
and I'm tired of it! I'm ready to quit, sir!"
Joe looked at him sharply. "Don't you think
my old notion of what might be done could be
made to pay?"
Sheehan laughed. "Whoo! You and yer hints,
Joe! How long past have ye come around me
with 'em! `I b'lieve ye c'd make more money,
Mike'--that's the way ye'd put it,--`if ye altered
the Beach a bit. Make a little country-side
restaurant of it,' ye'd say, `and have good cookin',
and keep the boys and girls from raisin' so much
hell out there. Soon ye'd have other people
comin' beside the regular crowd. Make a little
garden on the shore, and let 'em eat at tables
under trees an' grape-arbors--' "
"Well, why not?" asked Joe.
"Haven't I been tellin' ye I'm thinkin' of it?
It's only yer way of hintin' that's funny to me,--yer
way of sayin' I'd make more money, because ye're
afraid of preachin' at any of us: partly because ye
know the little good it 'd be, and partly because
ye have humor. Well, I'm thinkin' ye'll git yer
way. I'M willin' to go into the missionary business
"Mike!" said Joe, angrily, but he grew very red
and failed to meet the other's eye, "I'm not--"
"Yes, ye are!" cried Sheehan. "Yes, sir! It's
a thing ye prob'ly haven't had the nerve to say
to yerself since a boy, but that's yer notion inside:
ye're little better than a missionary! It took me a
long while to understand what was drivin' ye, but
I do now. And ye've gone the right way about it,
because we know ye'll stand fer us when we're in
trouble and fight fer us till we git a square deal, as
ye're goin' to fight for Happy now."
Joe looked deeply troubled. "Never mind,"
he said, crossly, and with visible embarrassment.
"You think you couldn't make more at the Beach
if you ran it on my plan?"
"I'm game to try," said Sheehan, slowly. "I'm
too old to hold 'em down out there the way I yoosta
could, and I'm sick of it--sick of it into the very
bones of me!" He wiped his forehead. "Where's
"Held as a witness."
"I'm not sorry fer HER!" said the red-bearded
man, emphatically. "Women o' that kind are so
light-headed it's a wonder they don't float. Think
of her pickin' up Cory's gun from the floor and
hidin' it in her clothes! Took it fer granted it was
Happy's, and thought she'd help him by hidin' it!
There's a hard point fer ye, Joe: to prove the gun
belonged to Cory. There's nobody about here
could swear to it. I couldn't myself, though I
forced him to stick it back in his pocket yesterday.
He was a wanderer, too; and ye'll have
to send a keen one to trace him, I'm thinkin',
to find where he got it, so's ye can show it in
"I'm going myself. I've found out that he came
here from Denver."
"And from where before that?"
"I don't know, but I'll keep on travelling till I
get what I want."
"That's right, my boy," exclaimed the other,
heartily, "It may be a long trip, but ye're all the
little man has to depend on. Did ye notice the
Tocsin didn't even give him the credit fer givin'
"Yes," said Joe. "It's part of their game."
"Did it strike ye now," Mr. Sheehan asked,
earnestly, leaning forward in his chair,--"did it
strike ye that the Tocsin was aimin' more to do
Happy harm because of you than himself?"
"Yes." Joe looked sadly out of the window.
"I've thought that over, and it seemed possible
that I might do Happy more good by giving his
case to some other lawyer."
"No, sir!" exclaimed the proprietor of Beaver
Beach, loudly. "They've begun their attack;
they're bound to keep it up, and they'd manage to
turn it to the discredit of both of ye. Besides,
Happy wouldn't have no other lawyer; he'd ruther
be hung with you fightin' fer him than be cleared
by anybody else. I b'lieve it,--on my soul I do!
But look here," he went on, leaning still farther
forward; "I want to know if it struck ye that this
morning the Tocsin attacked ye in a way that was
somehow vi'lenter than ever before?"
"Yes," replied Joe, "because it was aimed to
strike where it would most count."
"It ain't only that," said the other, excitedly.
"It ain't only that! I want ye to listen. Now
see here: the Tocsin is Pike, and the town is Pike--
I mean the town ye naturally belonged to. Ain't
"In a way, I suppose--yes."
"In a way!" echoed the other, scornfully. "Ye
know it is! Even as a boy Pike disliked ye and
hated the kind of a boy ye was. Ye wasn't
respectable and he was! Ye wasn't rich and he was!
Ye had a grin on yer face when ye'd meet him on
the street." The red-bearded man broke off at a
gesture from Joe and exclaimed sharply: "Don't
deny it! _I_ know what ye was like! Ye wasn't
impudent, but ye looked at him as if ye saw through
him. Now listen and I'll lead ye somewhere! Ye
run with riffraff, naggers, and even"--Mr. Sheehan
lifted a forefinger solemnly and shook it at his
auditor--"and even with the Irish! Now I ask
ye this: ye've had one part of Canaan with ye from
the start, MY part, that is; but the other's against
ye; that part's PIKE, and it's the rulin' part--"
"Yes, Mike," said Joe, wearily. "In the spirit
of things. I know."
"No, sir," cried the other. "That's the trouble:
ye don't know. There's more in Canaan than ye've
understood. Listen to this: Why was the Tocsin's
attack harder this morning than ever before? On
yer soul didn't it sound so bitter that it sounded
desprit? Now why? It looked to me as if it
had started to ruin ye, this time fer good and all!
Why? What have ye had to do with Martin Pike
lately? Has the old wolf GOT to injure ye?" Mr.
Sheehan's voice rose and his eyes gleamed under
bushy brows. "Think," he finished. "What's
happened lately to make him bite so hard?"
There were some faded roses on the desk, and as
Joe's haggard eyes fell upon them the answer
came. "What makes you think Judge Pike isn't
trustworthy?" he had asked Ariel, and her reply
had been: "Nothing very definite, unless it was his
look when I told him that I meant to ask you to
take charge of things for me."
He got slowly and amazedly to his feet. "You've
got it!" he said.
"Ye see?" cried Mike Sheehan, slapping his
thigh with a big hand. "On my soul I have the
penetration! Ye don't need to tell me one thing
except this: I told ye I'd lead ye somewhere;
haven't I kept me word?"
"Yes," said Joe.
"But I have the penetration!" exclaimed Mr.
Sheehan. "Should I miss my guess if I said that
ye think Pike may be scared ye'll stumble on his
track in some queer performances? Should I
"No," said Joe. "You wouldn't miss it."
"Just one thing more." The red-bearded man
rose, mopping the inner band of his straw hat.
"In the matter of yer runnin' fer Mayor, now--"
Joe, who had begun to pace up and down the
room, made an impatient gesture. "Pshaw!" he
interrupted; but his friend stopped him with a
hand laid on his arm.
"Don't be treatin' it as clean out of all possibility,
Joe Louden. If ye do, it shows ye haven't sense
to know that nobody can say what way the wind's
blowin' week after next. All the boys want ye;
Louie Farbach wants ye, and Louie has a big say.
Who is it that doesn't want ye?"
"Canaan," said Joe.
"Hold up! It's Pike's Canaan ye mean. If ye
git the nomination, ye'd be elected, wouldn't ye?"
"I couldn't be nominated."
"I ain't claimin' ye'd git Martin Pike's vote,"
returned Mr. Sheehan, sharply, "though I don't
say it's impossible. Ye've got to beat him, that's
all. Ye've got to do to him what he's done to YOU,
and what he's tryin' to do now worse than ever
before. Well--there may be ways to do it; and
if he tempts me enough, I may fergit my troth and
honor as a noble gentleman and help ye with a
word ye'd never guess yerself."
"You've hinted at such mysteries before, Mike,"
Joe smiled. "I'd be glad to know what you mean,
if there's anything in them."
"It may come to that," said the other, with
some embarrassment. "It may come to that some
day, if the old wolf presses me too hard in the
matter o' tryin' to git the little man across the
street hanged by the neck and yerself mobbed fer
helpin' him! But to-day I'll say no more."
"Very well, Mike." Joe turned wearily to his
desk. "I don't want you to break any promises."
Mr. Sheehan had gone to the door, but he paused
on the threshold, and wiped his forehead again.
"And I don't want to break any," he said, "but if
ever the time should come when I couldn't help
it"--he lowered his voice to a hoarse but piercing
whisper--"that will be the devourin' angel's day
fer Martin Pike!"
IN THE HEAT OF THE DAY
It was a morning of the warmest week
of mid-July, and Canaan lay inert
and helpless beneath a broiling sun.
The few people who moved about
the streets went languidly, keeping
close to the wall on the shady side; the women in
thin white fabrics; the men, often coatless, carrying
palm-leaf fans, and replacing collars with
handkerchiefs. In the Court-house yard the maple
leaves, gray with blown dust and grown to great
breadth, drooped heavily, depressing the long,
motionless branches with their weight, so low that
the four or five shabby idlers, upon the benches
beneath, now and then flicked them sleepily with
whittled sprigs. The doors and windows of the
stores stood open, displaying limp wares of trade,
but few tokens of life; the clerks hanging over dim
counters as far as possible from the glare in front,
gossiping fragmentarily, usually about the Cory
murder, and, anon, upon a subject suggested by
the sight of an occasional pedestrian passing
perspiring by with scrooged eyelids and purpling skin.
From street and sidewalk, transparent hot waves
swam up and danced themselves into nothing;
while from the river bank, a half-mile away, came
a sound hotter than even the locust's midsummer
rasp: the drone of a planing-mill. A chance boy,
lying prone in the grass of the Court-house yard,
was annoyed by the relentless chant and lifted his
head to mock it: "AWR-EER-AWR-EER! SHUT UP,
CAN'T YOU?" The effort was exhausting: he
relapsed and suffered with increasing malice but in
Abruptly there was a violent outbreak on the
"National House" corner, as when a quiet farm-
house is startled by some one's inadvertently bringing
down all the tin from a shelf in the pantry. The
loafers on the benches turned hopefully, saw what
it was, then closed their eyes, and slumped back
into their former positions. The outbreak subsided
as suddenly as it had arisen: Colonel Flitcroft
pulled Mr. Arp down into his chair again, and it
was all over.
Greater heat than that of these blazing days
could not have kept one of the sages from attending
the conclave now. For the battle was on in
Canaan: and here, upon the National House corner,
under the shadow of the west wall, it waxed even
keener. Perhaps we may find full justification for
calling what was happening a battle in so far as we
restrict the figure to apply to this one spot; else
where, in the Canaan of the Tocsin, the conflict
was too one-sided. The Tocsin had indeed tried
the case of Happy Fear in advance, had convicted
and condemned, and every day grew more bitter.
Nor was the urgent vigor of its attack without
effect. Sleepy as Main Street seemed in the heat,
the town was incensed and roused to a tensity of
feeling it had not known since the civil war, when,
on occasion, it had set out to hang half a dozen
"Knights of the Golden Circle." Joe had been
hissed on the street many times since the inimical
clerk had whistled at him. Probably demonstrations
of that sort would have continued had he
remained in Canaan; but for almost a month he
had been absent and his office closed, its threshold
gray with dust. There were people who believed
that he had run away again, this time never to
return; among those who held to this opinion being
Mrs. Louden and her sister, Joe's step-aunt. Upon
only one point was everybody agreed: that twelve
men could not be found in the county who could
be so far persuaded and befuddled by Louden
that they would dare to allow Happy Fear to
escape. The women of Canaan, incensed by the
terrible circumstance of the case, as the Tocsin
colored it--a man shot down in the act of begging
his enemy's forgiveness--clamored as loudly as
the men: there was only the difference that the
latter vociferated for the hanging of Happy; their
good ladies used the word "punishment."
And yet, while the place rang with condemnation
of the little man in the jail and his attorney,
there were voices, here and there, uplifted on the
other side. People existed, it astonishingly
appeared, who LIKED Happy Fear. These were for the
greater part obscure and even darkling in their
lives, yet quite demonstrably human beings, able
to smile, suffer, leap, run, and to entertain fancies;
even to have, according to their degree, a certain
rudimentary sense of right and wrong, in spite of
which they strongly favored the prisoner's acquittal.
Precisely on that account, it was argued, an
acquittal would outrage Canaan and lay it open
to untold danger: such people needed a lesson.
The Tocsin interviewed the town's great ones,
printing their opinions of the heinousness of the
crime and the character of the defendant's lawyer.
. . . "The Hon. P. J. Parrott, who so ably represented
this county in the Legislature some fourteen
years ago, could scarcely restrain himself when
approached by a reporter as to his sentiments anent
the repulsive deed. `I should like to know how
long Canaan is going to put up with this sort of
business,' were his words. `I am a law-abiding
citizen, and I have served faithfully, and with my
full endeavor and ability, to enact the laws and
statutes of my State, but there is a point in my
patience, I would state, which lawbreakers and
their lawyers may not safely pass. Of what use
are our most solemn enactments, I may even ask
of what use is the Legislature itself, chosen by the
will of the people, if they are to ruthlessly be set
aside by criminals and their shifty protectors?
The blame should be put upon the lawyers who by
tricks enable such rascals to escape the rigors of
the carefully enacted laws, the fruits of the Solon's
labor, more than upon the criminals themselves.
In this case, if there is any miscarriage of justice, I
will say here and now that in my opinion the
people of this county will be sorely tempted; and
while I do not believe in lynch-law, yet if that
should be the result it is my unalterable conviction
that the vigilantes may well turn their attention
to the lawyers--OR LAWYER--who bring about
such miscarriage. I am sick of it.' "
The Tocsin did not print the interview it obtained
from Louie Farbach--the same Louie Farbach who
long ago had owned a beer-saloon with a little room
behind the bar, where a shabby boy sometimes
played dominoes and "seven-up" with loafers:
not quite the same Louie Farbach, however, in
outward circumstance: for he was now the brewer
of Farbach Beer and making Canaan famous. His
rise had been Teutonic and sure; and he
contributed one-twentieth of his income to the
German Orphan Asylum and one-tenth to his party's
campaign fund. The twentieth saved the orphans
from the county, while the tithe gave the county
to his party.
He occupied a kitchen chair, enjoying the society
of some chickens in a wired enclosure behind the
new Italian villa he had erected in that part of
Canaan where he would be most uncomfortable,
and he looked woodenly at the reporter when the
latter put his question.
"Hef you any aguaintunce off Mitster Fear?"
he inquired, in return, with no expression
decipherable either upon his Gargantuan face or in
his heavily enfolded eyes.
"No, sir," replied the reporter, grinning. "I
never ran across him."
"Dot iss a goot t'ing fer you," said Mr. Farbach,
stonily. "He iss not a man peobles bedder try to
run across. It iss what Gory tried. Now Gory iss
The reporter, slightly puzzled, lit a cigarette.
"See here, Mr. Farbach," he urged, "I only want
a word or two about this thing; and you might
give me a brief expression concerning that man
Louden besides: just a hint of what you think of
his influence here, you know, and of the kind of
sharp work he practises. Something like that."
"I see," said the brewer, slowly. "Happy Fear
I hef knowt for a goot many years. He iss a goot
frient of mine."
"Choe Louten iss a bedder one," continued Mr.
Farbach, turning again to stare at his chickens.
"Git owit," repeated the other, without passion,
without anger, without any expression whatsoever.
The reporter's prejudice against the German
nation dated from that moment.
There were others, here and there, who were less
self-contained than the brewer. A farm-hand
struck a fellow laborer in the harvest-field for
speaking ill of Joe; and the unravelling of a strange
street fight, one day, disclosed as its cause a like
resentment, on the part of a blind broom-maker,
engendered by a like offence. The broom-maker's
companion, reading the Tocsin as the two walked
together, had begun the quarrel by remarking that
Happy Fear ought to be hanged once for his own
sake and twice more "to show up that shyster
Louden." Warm words followed, leading to
extremely material conflict, in which, in spite of
his blindness, the broom-maker had so much the
best of it that he was removed from the triumphant
attitude he had assumed toward the person of
his adversary, which was an admirable imitation
of the dismounted St. George and the Dragon, and
conveyed to the jail. Keenest investigation failed
to reveal anything oblique in the man's record; to
the astonishment of Canaan, there was nothing
against him. He was blind and moderately poor;
but a respectable, hard-working artisan, and a
pride to the church in which he was what has
been called an "active worker." It was discovered
that his sensitiveness to his companion's
attack on Joseph Louden arose from the fact that
Joe had obtained the acquittal of an imbecile sister
of the blind man, a two-thirds-witted woman who
had been charged with bigamy.
The Tocsin made what it could of this, and so
dexterously that the wrath of Canaan was one
farther jot increased against the shyster. Ay, the
town was hot, inside and out.
Let us consider the Forum. Was there ever
before such a summer for the "National House"
corner? How voices first thundered there, then
cracked and piped, is not to be rendered in all the
tales of the fathers. One who would make vivid
the great doings must indeed "dip his brush in
earthquake and eclipse"; even then he could but
picture the credible, and must despair of this: the
silence of Eskew Arp. Not that Eskew held his
tongue, not that he was chary of speech--no!
O tempora, O mores! NO! But that he refused the
subject in hand, that he eschewed expression upon
it and resolutely drove the argument in other
directions, that he achieved such superbly un-Arplike
inconsistency; and with such rich material for his
sardonic humors, not at arm's length, not even so
far as his finger-tips, but beneath his very palms,
he rejected it: this was the impossible fact.
Eskew--there is no option but to declare--was
no longer Eskew. It is the truth; since the morning
when Ariel Tabor came down from Joe's office,
leaving her offering of white roses in that dingy,
dusty, shady place, Eskew had not been himself.
His comrades observed it somewhat in a physical
difference, one of those alterations which may
come upon men of his years suddenly, like a "sea
change": his face was whiter, his walk slower, his
voice filed thinner; he creaked louder when he rose
or sat. Old always, from his boyhood, he had,
in the turn of a hand, become aged. But such
things come and such things go: after eighty there
are ups and downs; people fading away one week,
bloom out pleasantly the next, and resiliency is
not at all a patent belonging to youth alone. The
material change in Mr. Arp might have been
thought little worth remarking. What caused
Peter Bradbury, Squire Buckalew, and the Colonel
to shake their heads secretly to one another and
wonder if their good old friend's mind had not
"begun to go" was something very different. To
come straight down to it: he not only abstained
from all argument upon the "Cory Murder" and
the case of Happy Fear, refusing to discuss either
in any terms or under any circumstances, but he
also declined to speak of Ariel Tabor or of Joseph
Louden; or of their affairs, singular or plural,
masculine, feminine, or neuter, or in any declension
Not a word, committal or non-committal. None!
And his face, when he was silent, fell into
sorrowful and troubled lines.
At first they merely marvelled. Then Squire
Buckalew dared to tempt him. Eskew's faded
eyes showed a blue gleam, but he withstood, speaking
of Babylon to the disparagement of Chicago.
They sought to lead him into what he evidently
would not, employing many devices; but the old
man was wily and often carried them far afield by
secret ways of his own. This hot morning he had
done that thing: they were close upon him, pressing
him hard, when he roused that outburst which
had stirred the idlers on the benches in the Court-
house yard. Squire Buckalew (sidelong at the
others but squarely at Eskew) had volunteered
the information that Cory was a reformed priest.
Stung by the mystery of Eskew's silence, the
Squire's imagination had become magically
gymnastic; and if anything under heaven could have
lifted the veil, this was the thing. Mr. Arp's reply
may be reverenced.
"I consider," he said, deliberately, "that James
G. Blaine's furrin policy was childish, and, what's
more, I never thought much of HIM!"
This outdefied Ajax, and every trace of the matter
in hand went to the four winds. Eskew, like
Rome, was saved by a cackle, in which he joined,
and a few moments later, as the bench loafers saw,
was pulled down into his seat by the Colonel.
The voices of the fathers fell to the pitch of
ordinary discourse; the drowsy town was quiet
again; the whine of the planing-mill boring its way
through the sizzling air to every wakening ear.
Far away, on a quiet street, it sounded faintly,
like the hum of a bee across a creek, and was drowned
in the noise of men at work on the old Tabor
house. It seemed the only busy place in Canaan
that day: the shade of the big beech-trees which
surrounded it affording some shelter from the
destroying sun to the dripping laborers who were
sawing, hammering, painting, plumbing, papering,
and ripping open old and new packing-boxes.
There were many changes in the old house
pleasantly in keeping with its simple character:
airy enlargements now almost completed so that
some of the rooms were already finished, and
stood, furnished and immaculate, ready for tenancy.
In that which had been Roger Tabor's studio
sat Ariel, alone. She had caused some chests and
cases, stored there, to be opened, and had taken
out of them a few of Roger's canvases and set them
along the wall. Tears filled her eyes as she looked
at them, seeing the tragedy of labor the old man
had expended upon them; but she felt the recompense:
hard, tight, literal as they were, he had had
his moment of joy in each of them before he saw
them coldly and knew the truth. And he had
been given his years of Paris at last: and had seen
"how the other fellows did it."
A heavy foot strode through the hall, coming
abruptly to a halt in the doorway, and turning, she
discovered Martin Pike, his big Henry-the-Eighth
face flushed more with anger than with the heat.
His hat was upon his head, and remained there,
nor did he offer any token or word of greeting
whatever, but demanded to know when the work
upon the house had been begun.
"The second morning after my return," she
"I want to know," he pursued, "why it was
kept secret from me, and I want to know quick."
"Secret?" she echoed, with a wave of her hand
to indicate the noise which the workmen were
"Upon whose authority was it begun?"
"Mine. Who else could give it?"
"Look here," he said, advancing toward her,
"don't you try to fool me! You haven't done all
this by yourself. Who hired these workmen?"
Remembering her first interview with him, she
rose quickly before he could come near her. "Mr.
Louden made most of the arrangements for me,"
she replied, quietly, "before he went away. He
will take charge of everything when he returns.
You haven't forgotten that I told you I intended
to place my affairs in his hands?"
He had started forward, but at this he stopped
and stared at her inarticulately.
"You remember?" she said, her hands resting
negligently upon the back of the chair. "Surely
She was not in the least afraid of him, but coolly
watchful of him. This had been her habit with
him since her return. She had seen little of him,
except at table, when he was usually grimly
laconic, though now and then she would hear him
joking heavily with Sam Warden in the yard, or,
with evidently humorous intent, groaning at Mamie
over Eugene's health; but it had not escaped Ariel
that he was, on his part, watchful of herself, and
upon his guard with a wariness in which she was
sometimes surprised to believe that she saw an
almost haggard apprehension.
He did not answer her question, and it seemed
to her, as she continued steadily to meet his hot
eyes, that he was trying to hold himself under some
measure of control; and a vain effort it proved.
"You go back to my house!" he burst out,
shouting hoarsely. "You get back there! You
"No," she said, moving between him and the
door. "Mamie and I are going for a drive."
"You go back to my house!" He followed her,
waving an arm fiercely at her. "Don't you come
around here trying to run over me! You talk
about your `affairs'! All you've got on earth
is this two-for-a-nickel old shack over your head
and a bushel-basket of distillery stock that you
can sell by the pound for old paper!" He threw
the words in her face, the bull-bass voice seamed
and cracked with falsetto. "Old paper, old rags,
old iron, bottles, old clothes! You talk about
your affairs! Who are you? Rothschild? You
haven't GOT any affairs!"
Not a look, not a word, not a motion of his
escaped her in all the fury of sound and gesture in
which he seemed fairly to envelop himself; least of
all did that shaking of his--the quivering of jaw
and temple, the tumultuous agitation of his hands
--evade her watchfulness.
"When did you find this out?" she said, very
quickly. "After you became administrator?"
He struck the back of the chair she had vacated
a vicious blow with his open hand. "No, you
spendthrift! All there was TO your grandfather
when you buried him was a basket full of distillery
stock, I tell you! Old paper! Can't you hear me?
Old paper, old rags--"
"You have sent me the same income," she
lifted her voice to interrupt; "you have made the
same quarterly payments since his death that you
made before. If you knew, why did you do that?"
He had been shouting at her with the frantic and
incredulous exasperation of an intolerant man
utterly unused to opposition; his face empurpled, his
forehead dripping, and his hands ruthlessly pounding
the back of the chair; but this straight question
stripped him suddenly of gesture and left him
standing limp and still before her, pale splotches
beginning to show on his hot cheeks.
"If you knew, why did you do it?" she repeated.
"You wrote me that my income was from dividends,
and I knew and thought nothing about it;
but if the stock which came to me was worthless,
how could it pay dividends?"
"It did not," he answered, huskily. "That
distillery stock, I tell you, isn't worth the matches to
"But there has been no difference in my income,"
she persisted, steadily. "Why? Can you explain
that to me?"
"Yes, I can," he replied, and it seemed to her
that he spoke with a pallid and bitter desperation,
like a man driven to the wall. "I can if you
think you want to know."
"I sent it."
"Do you mean from you own--"
"I mean it was my own money."
She had not taken her eyes from his, which met
hers straightly and angrily; and at this she leaned
forward, gazing at him with profound scrutiny.
"Why did you send it?" she asked.
"Charity," he answered, after palpable hesitation.
Her eyes widened and she leaned back against
the lintel of the door, staring at him incredulously.
"Charity!" she echoed, in a whisper.
Perhaps he mistook her amazement at his
performance for dismay caused by the sense of her
own position, for, as she seemed to weaken before
him, the strength of his own habit of dominance
came back to him. "Charity, madam!" he broke
out, shouting intolerably. "Charity, d'ye hear?
I was a friend of the man that made the money you
and your grandfather squandered; I was a friend
of Jonas Tabor, I say! That's why I was willing
to support you for a year and over, rather than let
a niece of his suffer."
"`Suffer'!" she cried. "`Support'! You sent
me a hundred thousand francs!"
The white splotches which had mottled Martin
Pike's face disappeared as if they had been suddenly
splashed with hot red. "You go back to
my house," he said. "What I sent you only
shows the extent of my--"
"Effrontery!" The word rang through the
whole house, so loudly and clearly did she strike
it, rang in his ears till it stung like a castigation.
It was ominous, portentous of justice and of
disaster. There was more than doubt of him in it:
there was conviction.
He fell back from this word; and when he again
advanced, Ariel had left the house. She had
turned the next corner before he came out of the
gate; and as he passed his own home on his way
down-town, he saw her white dress mingling with
his daughter's near the horse-block beside the fire,
where the two, with their arms about each other,
stood waiting for Sam Warden and the open
Judge Pike walked on, the white splotches
reappearing like a pale rash upon his face. A yellow
butterfly zigzagged before him, knee-high, across
the sidewalk. He raised his foot and half kicked
As the Judge continued his walk down
Main Street, he wished profoundly
that the butterfly (which exhibited
no annoyance) had been of greater
bulk and more approachable; and it
was the evil fortune of Joe's mongrel to encounter
him in the sinister humor of such a wish unfulfilled.
Respectability dwelt at Beaver Beach under the
care of Mr. Sheehan until his master should return;
and Sheehan was kind; but the small dog found
the world lonely and time long without Joe. He
had grown more and more restless, and at last, this
hot morning, having managed to evade the eye of
all concerned in his keeping, made off unobtrusively,
partly by swimming, and reaching the road,
cantered into town, his ears erect with anxiety.
Bent upon reaching the familiar office, he passed
the grocery from the doorway of which the pimply
cheeked clerk had thrown a bad potato at him a
month before. The same clerk had just laid down
the Tocsin as Respectability went by, and,
inspired to great deeds in behalf of justice and his
native city, he rushed to the door, lavishly seized,
this time, a perfectly good potato, and hurled it
with a result which ecstasized him, for it took the
mongrel fairly aside the head, which it matched in
The luckless Respectability's purpose to reach
Joe's stairway had been entirely definite, but upon
this violence he forgot it momentarily. It is not
easy to keep things in mind when one is violently
smitten on mouth, nose, cheek, eye, and ear by a
missile large enough to strike them simultaneously.
Yelping and half blinded, he deflected to cross
Main Street. Judge Pike had elected to cross in
the opposite direction, and the two met in the
middle of the street.
The encounter was miraculously fitted to the
Judge's need: here was no butterfly, but a solid
body, light withal, a wet, muddy, and dusty yellow
dog, eminently kickable. The man was heavily
built about the legs, and the vigor of what he did
may have been additionally inspired by his recognition
of the mongrel as Joe Louden's. The impact
of his toe upon the little runner's side was
momentous, and the latter rose into the air. The
Judge hopped, as one hops who, unshod in the
night, discovers an unexpected chair. Let us be
reconciled to his pain and not reproach the gods
with it,--for two of his unintending adversary's
ribs were cracked.
The dog, thus again deflected, retraced his
tracks, shrieking distractedly, and, by one of those
ironical twists which Karma reserves for the tails
of the fated, dived for blind safety into the store
commanded by the ecstatic and inimical clerk.
There were shouts; the sleepy Square beginning to
wake up: the boy who had mocked the planing-mill
got to his feet, calling upon his fellows; the bench
loafers strolled to the street; the aged men stirred
and rose from their chairs; faces appeared in the
open windows of offices; sales ladies and gentlemen
came to the doorways of the trading-places; so
that when Respectability emerged from the grocery
he had a notable audience for the scene he
enacted with a brass dinner-bell tied to his tail.
Another potato, flung by the pimpled, uproarious,
prodigal clerk, added to the impetus of his
flight. A shower of pebbles from the hands of
exhilarated boys dented the soft asphalt about
him; the hideous clamor of the pursuing bell
increased as he turned the next corner, running
distractedly. The dead town had come to life, and
its inhabitants gladly risked the dangerous heat in
the interests of sport, whereby it was a merry
chase the little dog led around the block, For thus
some destructive instinct drove him; he could not
stop with the unappeasable Terror clanging at his
heels and the increasing crowd yelling in pursuit;
but he turned to the left at each corner, and thus
came back to pass Joe's stairway again, unable to
pause there or anywhere, unable to do anything
except to continue his hapless flight, poor meteor.
Round the block he went once more, and still no
chance at that empty stairway where, perhaps, he
thought, there might be succor and safety. Blood
was upon his side where Martin Pike's boot had
crashed, foam and blood hung upon his jaws and
lolling tongue. He ran desperately, keeping to
the middle of the street, and, not howling, set
himself despairingly to outstrip the Terror. The mob,
disdaining the sun superbly, pursued as closely as
it could, throwing bricks and rocks at him, striking
at him with clubs and sticks. Happy Fear,
playing "tic-tac-toe," right hand against left, in
his cell, heard the uproar, made out something of
what was happening, and, though unaware that
it was a friend whose life was sought, discovered a
similarity to his own case, and prayed to his dim
gods that the quarry might get away.
"MAD DOG!" they yelled. "MAD DOG!" And
there were some who cried, "JOE LOUDEN'S DOG!"
that being equally as exciting and explanatory.
Three times round, and still the little fugitive
maintained a lead. A gray-helmeted policeman,
a big fellow, had joined the pursuit. He had
children at home who might be playing in the street,
and the thought of what might happen to them
if the mad dog should head that way resolved him
to be cool and steady. He was falling behind, so
he stopped on the corner, trusting that Respectability
would come round again. He was right,
and the flying brownish thing streaked along Main
Street, passing the beloved stairway for the fourth
time. The policeman lifted his revolver, fired
twice, missed once, but caught him with the second
shot in a forepaw, clipping off a fifth toe, one of
the small claws that grow above the foot and are
always in trouble. This did not stop him; but the
policeman, afraid to risk another shot because of
the crowd, waited for him to come again; and
many others, seeing the hopeless circuit the mongrel
followed, did likewise, armed with bricks and
clubs. Among them was the pimply clerk, who
had been inspired to commandeer a pitchfork from
a hardware store.
When the fifth round came, Respectability's
race was run. He turned into Main Street at a
broken speed, limping, parched, voiceless, flecked
with blood and foam, snapping feebly at the showering
rocks, but still indomitably a little ahead of
the hunt. There was no yelp left in him--he was
too thoroughly winded for that,--but in his brilliant
and despairing eyes shone the agony of a cry
louder than the tongue of a dog could utter: "O
master! O all the god I know! Where are you in
my mortal need?"
Now indeed he had a gauntlet to run; for the
street was lined with those who awaited him, while
the pursuit grew closer behind. A number of the
hardiest stood squarely in his path, and he hesitated
for a second, which gave the opportunity for
a surer aim, and many missiles struck him. "Let
him have it now, officer," said Eugene Bantry,
standing with Judge Pike at the policeman's elbow.
"There's your chance."
But before the revolver could be discharged,
Respectability had begun to run again, hobbling
on three legs and dodging feebly. A heavy stone
struck him on the shoulder and he turned across
the street, making for the "National House" corner,
where the joyful clerk brandished his pitchfork.
Going slowly, he almost touched the pimply one
as he passed, and the clerk, already rehearsing in
his mind the honors which should follow the brave
stroke, raised the tines above the little dog's head
for the coup de grace. They did not descend, and
the daring youth failed of fame as the laurel
almost embraced his brows. A hickory walking-
stick was thrust between his legs; and he,
expecting to strike, received a blow upon the temple
sufficient for his present undoing and bedazzlement.
He went over backwards, and the pitchfork
(not the thing to hold poised on high when
one is knocked down) fell with the force he
had intended for Respectability upon his own
A train had pulled into the station, and a tired,
travel-worn young man, descending from a sleeper,
walked rapidly up the street to learn the occasion
of what appeared to be a riot. When he was close
enough to understand its nature, he dropped his
bag and came on at top speed, shouting loudly to
the battered mongrel, who tried with his remaining
strength to leap toward him through a cordon
of kicking legs, while Eugene Bantry again called
to the policeman to fire.
"If he does, damn you, I'll kill him!" Joe saw
the revolver raised; and then, Eugene being in his
way, he ran full-tilt into his stepbrother with all
his force, sending him to earth, and went on
literally over him as he lay prone upon the asphalt,
that being the shortest way to Respectability.
The next instant the mongrel was in his master's
arms and weakly licking his hands.
But it was Eskew Arp who had saved the little
dog; for it was his stick which had tripped the clerk,
and his hand which had struck him down. All his
bodily strength had departed in that effort, but he
staggered out into the street toward Joe.
"Joe Louden!" called the veteran, in a loud
voice. "Joe Louden!" and suddenly reeled. The
Colonel and Squire Buckalew were making their
way toward him, but Joe, holding the dog to his
breast with one arm, threw the other about Eskew.
"It's a town--it's a town"--the old fellow flung
himself free from the supporting arm--"it's a
town you couldn't even trust a yellow dog to!"
He sank back upon Joe's shoulder, speechless.
An open carriage had driven through the crowd,
the colored driver urged by two ladies upon the
back seat, and Martin Pike saw it stop by the
group in the middle of the street where Joe stood,
the wounded dog held to his breast by one arm, the
old man, white and half fainting, supported by the
other. Martin Pike saw this and more; he saw
Ariel Tabor and his own daughter leaning from the
carriage, the arms of both pityingly extended to
Joe Louden and his two burdens, while the stunned
and silly crowd stood round them staring, clouds
of dust settling down upon them through the hot
THREE ARE ENLISTED
Now in that blazing noon Canaan looked
upon a strange sight: an open carriage
whirling through Main Street
behind two galloping bays; upon the
back seat a ghostly white old man
with closed eyes, supported by two pale ladies, his
head upon the shoulder of the taller; while beside
the driver, a young man whose coat and hands
were bloody, worked over the hurts of an injured
dog. Sam Warden's whip sang across the horses;
lather gathered on their flanks, and Ariel's voice
steadily urged on the pace: "Quicker, Sam, if
you can." For there was little breath left in the
body of Eskew Arp.
Mamie, almost as white as the old man, was
silent; but she had not hesitated in her daring,
now that she had been taught to dare; she had not
come to be Ariel's friend and honest follower for
nothing; and it was Mamie who had cried to Joe
to lift Eskew into the carriage. "You must come
too," she said. "We will need you." And so it
came to pass that under the eyes of Canaan Joe
Louden rode in Judge Pike's carriage at the bidding
of Judge Pike's daughter.
Toward Ariel's own house they sped with the
stricken octogenarian, for he was "alone in the
world," and she would not take him to the cottage
where he had lived for many years by himself, a
bleak little house, a derelict of the "early days"
left stranded far down in the town between a
woollen-mill and the water-works. The workmen
were beginning their dinners under the big
trees, but as Sam Warden drew in the lathered
horses at the gate, they set down their tin buckets
hastily and ran to help Joe lift the old man out.
Carefully they bore him into the house and laid
him upon a bed in one of the finished rooms. He
did not speak or move and the workmen uncovered
their heads as they went out, but Joe knew that
they were mistaken. "It's all right, Mr. Arp,"
he said, as Ariel knelt by the bed with water and
restoratives. "It's all right. Don't you worry."
Then the veteran's lips twitched, and though his
eyes remained closed, Joe saw that Eskew understood,
for he gasped, feebly: "Pos-i-tive-ly--no--
To Mrs. Louden, sewing at an up-stairs window,
the sight of her stepson descending from Judge
Pike's carriage was sufficiently startling, but when
she saw Mamie Pike take Respectability from his
master's arms and carry him tenderly indoors,
while Joe and Ariel occupied themselves with Mr.
Arp, the good lady sprang to her feet as if she had
been stung, regardlessly sending her work-basket
and its contents scattering over the floor, and ran
down the stairs three steps at a time.
At the front door she met her husband, entering
for his dinner, and she leaped at him. Had he
seen? What was it? What had happened?
Mr. Louden rubbed his chin-beard, indulging himself
in a pause which was like to prove fatal to his
companion, finally vouchsafing the information that
the doctor's buggy was just turning the corner;
Eskew Arp had suffered a "stroke," it was said,
and, in Louden's opinion, was a mighty sick man.
His spouse replied in no uncertain terms that she
had seen quite that much for herself, urging him
to continue, which he did with a deliberation that
caused her to recall their wedding-day with a gust
of passionate self-reproach. Presently he managed
to interrupt, reminding her that her dining-
room windows commanded as comprehensive a
view of the next house as did the front steps, and
after a time her housewifely duty so far prevailed
over her indignation at the man's unwholesome
stolidity that she followed him down the hall to
preside over the meal, not, however, to partake
largely of it herself.
Mr. Louden had no information of Eugene's
mishap, nor had Mrs. Louden any suspicion that
all was not well with the young man, and, hearing
him enter the front door, she called to him that his
dinner was waiting. Eugene, however, made no
reply and went up-stairs to his own apartment
without coming into the dining-room.
A small crowd, neighboring children, servants,
and negroes, had gathered about Ariel's gate, and
Mrs. Louden watched the working-men disperse
this assembly, gather up their tools, and depart;
then Mamie came out of the house, and, bowing
sadly to three old men who were entering the gate
as she left it, stepped into her carriage and drove
away. The new-comers, Colonel Flitcroft, Squire
Buckalew, and Peter Bradbury, glanced at the
doctor's buggy, shook their heads at one another,
and slowly went up to the porch, where Joe met
them. Mrs. Louden uttered a sharp exclamation,
for the Colonel shook hands with her stepson.
Perhaps Flitcroft himself was surprised; he had
offered his hand almost unconsciously, and the
greeting was embarrassed and perfunctory; but
his two companions, each in turn, gravely followed
his lead, and Joe's set face flushed a little. It
was the first time in many years that men of
their kind in Canaan had offered him this salutation.
"He wouldn't let me send for you," he told
them. "He said he knew you'd be here soon
without that." And he led the way to Eskew's
Joe and the doctor had undressed the old man,
and had put him into night-gear of Roger Tabor's,
taken from an antique chest; it was soft and yellow
and much more like color than the face above it,
for the white hair on the pillow was not whiter
than that. Yet there was a strange youthfulness
in the eyes of Eskew; an eerie, inexplicable,
luminous, LIVE look; the thin cheeks seemed fuller than
they had been for years; and though the heavier
lines of age and sorrow could be seen, they appeared
to have been half erased. He lay not in sunshine,
but in clear light; the windows were open, the
curtains restrained, for he had asked them not to
darken the room.
The doctor was whispering in a doctor's way to
Ariel at the end of the room opposite the bed, when
the three old fellows came in. None of them spoke
immediately, and though all three cleared their
throats with what they meant for casual cheerfulness,
to indicate that the situation was not at all
extraordinary or depressing, it was to be seen that
the Colonel's chin trembled under his mustache,
and his comrades showed similar small and unwilling
signs of emotion.
Eskew spoke first. "Well, boys?" he said, and
That seemed to make it more difficult for the
others; the three white heads bent silently over the
fourth upon the pillow; and Ariel saw waveringly,
for her eyes suddenly filled, that the Colonel laid
his unsteady hand upon Eskew's, which was outside
"It's--it's not," said the old soldier, gently--
"it's not on--on both sides, is it, Eskew?"
Mr. Arp moved his hand slightly in answer. "It
ain't paralysis," he said. "They call it `shock
and exhaustion'; but it's more than that. It's
just my time. I've heard the call. We've all
been slidin' on thin ice this long time--and it's
broke under me--"
"Eskew, Eskew!" remonstrated Peter Bradbury.
"You'd oughtn't to talk that-a-way! You
only kind of overdone a little--heat o' the day,
"Peter," interrupted the sick man, with feeble
asperity, "did you ever manage to fool me in your
"Well, you're not doin' it now!"
Two tears suddenly loosed themselves from
Squire Buckalew's eyelids, despite his hard
endeavor to wink them away, and he turned from the
bed too late to conceal what had happened.
"There ain't any call to feel bad," said Eskew.
"It might have happened any time--in the night,
maybe--at my house--and all alone--but here's
Airie Tabor brought me to her own home and
takin' care of me. I couldn't ask any better way
to go, could I?"
"I don't know what we'll do," stammered the
Colonel, "if you--you talk about goin' away from
us, Eskew. We--we couldn't get along--"
"Well, sir, I'm almost kind of glad to think,"
Mr. Arp murmured, between short struggles for
breath, "that it 'll be--quieter--on the--"National
A moment later he called the doctor faintly and
asked for a restorative. "There," he said, in a
stronger voice and with a gleam of satisfaction in
the vindication of his belief that he was dying. "I
was almost gone then. _I_ know!" He lay panting
for a moment, then spoke the name of Joe Louden.
Joe came quickly to the bedside.
"I want you to shake hands with the Colonel
and Peter and Buckalew.
"We did," answered the Colonel, infinitely
surprised and troubled. "We shook hands outside
before we came in."
"Do it again," said Eskew. "I want to see you."
And Joe, making shift to smile, was suddenly
blinded, so that he could not see the wrinkled hands
extended to him, and was fain to grope for them.
"God knows why we didn't all take his hand
long ago," said Eskew Arp. "I didn't because I
was stubborn. I hated to admit that the argument
was against me. I acknowledge it now before
him and before you--and I want the word of
"It's all right, Mr. Arp," began Joe, tremulously.
"Hark to me"--the old man's voice lifted
higher: "If you'd ever whimpered, or give back-
talk, or broke out the wrong way, it would of been
different. But you never did. I've watched you
and I know; and you've just gone your own way
alone, with the town against you because you got
a bad name as a boy, and once we'd given you that,
everything you did or didn't do, we had to give
you a blacker one. Now it's time some one stood
by you! Airie Tabor 'll do that with all her soul
and body. She told me once I thought a good
deal of you. She knew! But I want these three
old friends of mine to do it, too. I was boys with
them and they'll do it, I think. They've even
stood up fer you against me, sometimes, but mostly
fer the sake of the argument, I reckon; but now
they must do it when there's more to stand against
than just my talk. They saw it all to-day--the
meanest thing I ever knew! I could of stood it
all except that!" Before they could prevent him
he had struggled half upright in bed, lifting a
clinched fist at the town beyond the windows.
"But, by God! when they got so low down they
tried to kill your dog--"
He fell back, choking, in Joe's arms, and the
physician bent over him, but Eskew was not gone,
and Ariel, upon the other side of the room, could
hear him whispering again for the restorative.
She brought it, and when he had taken it, went
quickly out-of-doors to the side yard.
She sat upon a workman's bench under the big
trees, hidden from the street shrubbery, and
breathing deeply of the shaded air, began to cry
quietly. Through the windows came the quavering
voice of the old man, lifted again, insistent, a
little querulous, but determined. Responses sounded,
intermittently, from the Colonel, from Peter,
and from Buckalew, and now and then a sorrowful,
yet almost humorous, protest from Joe; and
so she made out that the veteran swore his three
comrades to friendship with Joseph Louden, to lend
him their countenance in all matters, to stand by
him in weal and woe, to speak only good of him
and defend him in the town of Canaan. Thus did
Eskew Arp on the verge of parting this life render
The gate clicked, and Ariel saw Eugene
approaching through the shrubbery. One of his
hands was bandaged, a thin strip of court-plaster
crossed his forehead from his left eyebrow to his
hair, and his thin and agitated face showed several
"I saw you come out," he said. "I've been
waiting to speak to you."
"The doctor told us to let him have his way in
whatever he might ask." Ariel wiped her eyes.
"I'm afraid that means--"
"I didn't come to talk about Eskew Arp,"
interrupted Eugene. "I'm not laboring under any
anxiety about him. You needn't be afraid; he's
too sour to accept his conge so readily."
"Please lower your voice," she said, rising
quickly and moving away from him toward the house;
but, as he followed, insisting sharply that he must
speak with her, she walked out of ear-shot of the
windows, and stopping, turned toward him.
"Very well," she said. "Is it a message from
At this he faltered and hung fire.
"Have you been to see her?" she continued.
"I am anxious to know if her goodness and bravery
caused her any--any discomfort at home."
"You may set your mind at rest about that,"
returned Eugene. "I was there when the Judge
came home to dinner. I suppose you fear he may
have been rough with her for taking my step-
brother into the carriage. He was not. On the
contrary, he spoke very quietly to her, and went
on out toward the stables. But I haven't come
to you to talk of Judge Pike, either!"
"No," said Ariel. "I don't care particularly to
hear of him, but of Mamie."
"Nor of her, either!" he broke out. "I want to
talk of you!"
There was not mistaking him; no possibility of
misunderstanding the real passion that shook him,
and her startled eyes betrayed her comprehension.
"Yes, I see you understand," he cried, bitterly.
"That's because you've seen others the same way.
God help me," he went on, striking his forehead
with his open hand, "that young fool of a Bradbury
told me you refused him only yesterday! He
was proud of even rejection from you! And there's
Norbert--and half a dozen others, perhaps, already,
since you've been here." He flung out his arms
in ludicrous, savage despair. "And here am I--"
"Ah yes," she cut him off, "it is of yourself that
you want to speak, after all--not of me!"
"Look here," he vociferated; "are you going to
marry that Joe Louden? I want to know whether
you are or not. He gave me this--and this to-
day!" He touched his bandaged hand and plastered
forehead. "He ran into me--over me--for
nothing, when I was not on my guard; struck me
down--stamped on me--"
She turned upon him, cheeks aflame, eyes
sparkling and dry.
"Mr. Bantry," she cried, "he did a good thing!
And now I want you to go home. I want you to
go home and try if you can discover anything in
yourself that is worthy of Mamie and of what she
showed herself to be this morning! If you can,
you will have found something that I could like!"
She went rapidly toward the house, and he was
senseless enough to follow, babbling: "What do
you think I'm made of? You trample on me--as
he did! I can't bear everything; I tell you--"
But she lifted her hand with such imperious will
that he stopped short. Then, through the window
of the sick-room came--clearly the querulous voice:
"I tell you it was; I heard him speak just now--
out there in the yard, that no-account step-brother
of Joe's! What if he IS a hired hand on the Tocsin?
He'd better give up his job and quit, than
do what he's done to help make the town think
hard of Joe. And what IS he? Why, he's worse
than Cory. When that Claudine Fear first came
here, 'Gene Bantry was hangin' around her himself.
Joe knew it and he'd never tell, but I will.
I saw 'em buggy-ridin' out near Beaver Beach
and she slapped his face fer him. It ought to be
"I didn't know that Joe knew--that!" Eugene
stammered huskily. "It was--it was--a long time
"If you understood Joe," she said, in a low
voice, "you would know that before these men
leave this house, he will have their promise never
His eyes fell miserably, then lifted again; but in
her clear and unbearable gaze there shone such a
flame of scorn as he could not endure to look upon.
For the first time in his life he saw a true light
upon himself, and though the vision was darkling,
the revelation was complete.
"Heaven pity you!" she whispered.
Eugene found himself alone, and stumbled away,
his glance not lifted. He passed his own home
without looking up, and did not see his mother
beckoning frantically from a window. She ran
to the door and called him. He did not hear her,
but went on toward the Tocsin office with his head
NORBERT WAITS FOR JOE:
There was meat for gossip a plenty
in Canaan that afternoon and evening;
there were rumors that ran
from kitchen to parlor, and rumors
that ran from parlor to kitchen; speculations
that detained housewives in talk across
front gates; wonderings that held cooks in converse
over shadeless back fences in spite of the heat;
and canards that brought Main Street clerks
running to the shop doors to stare up and down the
sidewalks. Out of the confusion of report, the
judicious were able by evenfall to extract a fair
history of this day of revolution. There remained
no doubt that Joe Louden was in attendance at
the death-bed of Eskew Arp, and somehow it
came to be known that Colonel Flitcroft, Squire
Buckalew, and Peter Bradbury had shaken hands
with Joe and declared themselves his friends.
There were those (particularly among the relatives
of the hoary trio) who expressed the opinion that
the Colonel and his comrades were too old to be
responsible and a commission ought to sit on them;
nevertheless, some echoes of Eskew's last "argument"
to the conclave had sounded in the town
and were not wholly without effect.
Everywhere there was a nipping curiosity to
learn how Judge Pike had "taken" the strange
performance of his daughter, and the eager were
much disappointed when it was truthfully
reported that he had done and said very little. He
had merely discharged both Sam Warden and
Sam's wife from his service, the mild manner of
the dismissal almost unnerving Mr. Warden,
although he was fully prepared for bird-shot; and
the couple had found immediate employment in
the service of Ariel Tabor.
Those who humanly felt the Judge's behavior
to be a trifle flat and unsensational were
recompensed late in the afternoon when it became known
that Eugene Bantry had resigned his position on
the Tocsin. His reason for severing his connection
was dumfounding; he had written a formal letter
to the Judge and repeated the gist of it to his
associates in the office and acquaintances upon the
street. He declared that he no longer sympathized
with the attitude of the Tocsin toward his step-
brother, and regretted that he had previously
assisted in emphasizing the paper's hostility to Joe,
particularly in the matter of the approaching murder
trial. This being the case, he felt that his
effectiveness in the service of the paper had ceased,
and he must, in justice to the owner, resign.
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