The Conquest of Canaan
Part 6 out of 7
"Well, I'm damned!" was the simple comment
of the elder Louden when his step-son sought him
out at the factory and repeated this statement to
"So am I, I think," said Eugene, wanly. "Good-
bye. I'm going now to see mother, but I'll be gone
before you come home."
"Just away. I don't know where," Eugene
answered from the door. "I couldn't live here any
"You've been drinking," said Mr. Louden,
inspired. "You'd better not let Mamie Pike see
Eugene laughed desolately. "I don't mean to.
I shall write to her. Good-bye," he said, and was
gone before Mr. Louden could restore enough
order out of the chaos in his mind to stop him.
Thus Mrs. Louden's long wait at the window
was tragically rewarded, and she became an
unhappy actor in Canaan's drama of that day. Other
ladies attended at other windows, or near their
front doors, throughout the afternoon: the families
of the three patriarchs awaiting their return, as
the time drew on, with something akin to frenzy.
Mrs. Flitcroft (a lady of temper), whose rheumatism
confined her to a chair, had her grandson
wheel her out upon the porch, and, as the dusk
fell and she finally saw her husband coming at a
laggard pace, leaning upon his cane, his chin sunk
on his breast, she frankly told Norbert that
although she had lived with that man more than
fifty-seven years, she would never be able to
understand him. She repeated this with genuine
symptoms of hysteria when she discovered that the
Colonel had not come straight from the Tabor
house, but had stopped two hours at Peter Bradbury's
to "talk it over."
One item of his recital, while sufficiently
startling to his wife, had a remarkable effect upon his
grandson. This was the information that Ariel
Tabor's fortune no longer existed.
"What's that?" cried Norbert, starting to his
feet. "What are you talking about?"
"It's true," said the Colonel, deliberately. "She
told me so herself. Eskew had dropped off into
a sort of doze--more like a stupor, perhaps,--and
we all went into Roger's old studio, except Louden
and the doctor, and while we were there, talkin',
one of Pike's clerks came with a basket full of tin
boxes and packages of papers and talked to Miss
Tabor at the door and went away. Then old Peter
blundered out and asked her point-blank what it
was, and she said it was her estate, almost everything
she had, except the house. Buckalew, tryin'
to make a joke, said he'd be willin' to swap HIS
house and lot for the basket, and she laughed and
told him she thought he'd be sorry; that all there
was, to speak of, was a pile of distillery stock--"
"What?" repeated Norbert, incredulously.
"Yes. It was the truth," said the Colonel,
solemnly. "I saw it myself: blocks and blocks of
stock in that distillery trust that went up higher'n
a kite last year. Roger had put all of Jonas's good
"Not into that!" shouted Norbert, uncontrollably
"Yes, he did. I tell you I saw it!"
"I tell you he didn't. He owned Granger Gas,
worth more to-day than it ever was! Pike was
Roger's attorney-in-fact and bought it for him
before the old man died. The check went through
my hands. You don't think I'd forget as big a
check as that, do you, even if it was more than a
year ago? Or how it was signed and who made
out to? It was Martin Pike that got caught with
distillery stock. He speculated once too often!"
"No, you're wrong," persisted the Colonel. "I
tell you I saw it myself."
"Then you're blind," returned his grandson,
disrespectfully; "you're blind or else--or else--"
He paused, open-mouthed, a look of wonder struggling
its way to expression upon him, gradually
conquering every knobby outpost of his countenance.
He struck his fat hands together. "Where's
Joe Louden?" he asked, sharply. "I want to see
him. Did you leave him at Miss Tabor's?"
"He's goin' to sit up with Eskew. What do you
want of him?"
"I should say you better ask that!" Mrs.
Flitcroft began, shrilly. "It's enough, I guess, for one
of this family to go runnin' after him and shakin'
hands with him and Heaven knows what not! NORBERT
But Norbert jumped from the porch, ruthlessly
crossed his grandmother's geranium-bed, and, making
off at as sharp a pace as his architecture permitted,
within ten minutes opened Ariel's gate.
Sam Warden came forward to meet him.
"Don't ring, please, suh," said Sam. "Dey sot
me out heah to tell inquirin' frien's dat po' ole Mist'
Arp mighty low."
"I want to see Mr. Louden," returned Norbert.
"I want to see him immediately."
"I don' reckon he kin come out yit," Sam said,
in a low tone. "But I kin go in an' ast 'em."
He stepped softly within, leaving Norbert waiting,
and went to the door of the sick-room. The
door was open, the room brightly lighted, as
Eskew had commanded when, a little earlier, he
Joe and Ariel were alone with him, leaning
toward him with such white anxiety that the colored
man needed no warning to make him remain silent
in the hallway. The veteran was speaking and
his voice was very weak, seeming to come from a
"It's mighty funny, but I feel like I used to
when I was a little boy. I reckon I'm kind of
scared--after all. Airie Tabor,--are you--here?"
"Yes, Mr. Arp."
"I thought--so--but I--I don't see very well--
lately. I--wanted--to--know--to know--"
"Yes--to know?" She knelt close beside him.
"It's kind of--foolish," he whispered. "I just
--wanted to know if you was still here. It--don't
seem so lonesome now that I know."
She put her arm lightly about him and he smiled
and was silent for a time. Then he struggled
to rise upon his elbow, and they lifted him a
"It's hard to breathe," gasped the old man.
"I'm pretty near--the big road. Joe Louden--"
"You'd have been--willing--willing to change
places with me--just now--when Airie--"
Joe laid his hand on his, and Eskew smiled again.
"I thought so! And, Joe--"
"You always--always had the--the best of that
joke between us. Do you--you suppose they
charge admission--up there?" His eyes were
lifted. "Do you suppose you've got to--to show
your good deeds to git in?" The answering
whisper was almost as faint as the old man's.
"No," panted Eskew, "nobody knows. But I
hope--I do hope--they'll have some free seats.
It's a--mighty poor show--we'll--all have--if
He sighed peacefully, his head grew heavier on
Joe's arm; and the young man set his hand gently
upon the unseeing eyes. Ariel did not rise from
where she knelt, but looked up at him when, a little
later, he lifted his hand.
"Yes," said Joe, "you can cry now."
MR. SHEEHAN SPEAKS
Joe helped to carry what was mortal
of Eskew from Ariel's house to its
final abiding-place. With him, in
that task, were Buckalew, Bradbury,
the Colonel, and the grandsons of the
two latter, and Mrs. Louden drew in her skirts
grimly as her step-son passed her in the mournful
procession through the hall. Her eyes were red
with weeping (not for Eskew), but not so red as
those of Mamie Pike, who stood beside her.
On the way to the cemetery, Joe and Ariel were
together in a carriage with Buckalew and the
minister who had read the service, a dark, pleasant-
eyed young man;--and the Squire, after being almost
overcome during the ceremony, experienced
a natural reaction, talking cheerfully throughout
the long drive. He recounted many anecdotes of
Eskew, chuckling over most of them, though filled
with wonder by a coincidence which he and Flitcroft
had discovered; the Colonel had recently been
made the custodian of his old friend's will, and it
had been opened the day before the funeral. Eskew
had left everything he possessed--with the
regret that it was so little--to Joe.
"But the queer thing about it," said the Squire,
addressing himself to Ariel, "was the date of it,
the seventeenth of June. The Colonel and I got
to talkin' it over, out on his porch, last night,
tryin' to rec'lect what was goin' on about then,
and we figgered it out that it was the Monday
after you come back, the very day he got so upset
when he saw you goin' up to Louden's law-
office with your roses."
Joe looked quickly at Ariel. She did not meet
his glance, but, turning instead to Ladew, the
clergyman, began, with a barely perceptible blush,
to talk of something he had said in a sermon two
weeks ago. The two fell into a thoughtful and
amiable discussion, during which there stole into
Joe's heart a strange and unreasonable pain. The
young minister had lived in Canaan only a few
months, and Joe had never seen him until that
morning; but he liked the short, honest talk he had
made; liked his cadenceless voice and keen, dark
face; and, recalling what he had heard Martin
Pike vociferating in his brougham one Sunday,
perceived that Ladew was the fellow who had
"got to go" because his sermons did not please
the Judge. Yet Ariel remembered for more than
a fortnight a passage from one of these sermons.
And as Joe looked at the manly and intelligent face
opposite him, it did not seem strange that she
He resolutely turned his eyes to the open window
and saw that they had entered the cemetery, were
near the green knoll where Eskew was to lie beside
a brother who had died long ago. He let the minister
help Ariel out, going quickly forward himself
with Buckalew; and then--after the little
while that the restoration of dust to dust
mercifully needs--he returned to the carriage only to
get his hat.
Ariel and Ladew and the Squire were already
seated and waiting. "Aren't you going to ride
home with us?" she asked, surprised.
"No," he explained, not looking at her. "I
have to talk with Norbert Flitcroft. I'm going
back with him. Good-bye."
His excuse was the mere truth, his conversation
with Norbert, in the carriage which they managed
to secure to themselves, continuing earnestly until
Joe spoke to the driver and alighted at a corner,
near Mr. Farbach's Italian possessions. "Don't
forget," he said, as he closed the carriage door,
"I've got to have both ends of the string in my
"Forget!" Norbert looked at the cupola of
the Pike Mansion, rising above the maples down
the street. "It isn't likely I'll forget!"
When Joe entered the "Louis Quinze room"
which some decorator, drunk with power, had
mingled into the brewer's villa, he found the owner
and Mr. Sheehan, with five other men, engaged in
a meritorious attempt to tone down the apartment
with smoke. Two of the five others were prosperous
owners of saloons; two were known to the
public (whose notion of what it meant when it
used the term was something of the vaguest) as
politicians; the fifth was Mr. Farbach's closest
friend, one who (Joe had heard) was to be the next
chairman of the city committee of the party.
They were seated about a table, enveloped in blue
clouds, and hushed to a grave and pertinent silence
which clarified immediately the circumstance that
whatever debate had preceded his arrival, it was
Their greeting of him, however, though exceedingly
quiet, indicated a certain expectancy, as he
accepted the chair which had been left for him at
the head of the table. He looked thinner and
paler than usual, which is saying a great deal; but
presently, finding that the fateful hush which his
entrance had broken was immediately resumed,
a twinkle came into his eye, one of his eyebrows
went up and a corner of his mouth went down.
"Well, gentlemen?" he said.
The smokers continued to smoke and to do
nothing else; the exception being Mr. Sheehan,
who, though he spoke not, exhibited tokens of
agitation and excitement which he curbed with
difficulty; shifting about in his chair, gnawing his
cigar, crossing and uncrossing his knees, rubbing
and slapping his hands together, clearing his throat
with violence, his eyes fixed all the while, as were
those of his companions, upon Mr. Farbach; so
that Joe was given to perceive that it had been
agreed that the brewer should be the spokesman.
Mr. Farbach was deliberate, that was all, which
added to the effect of what he finally did say.
"Choe," he remarked, placidly, "you are der
next Mayor off Canaan."
"Why do you say that?" asked the young man,
"Bickoss us here," he answered, interlocking the
tips of his fingers over his waistcoat, that being as
near folding his hands as lay within his power,--
"bickoss us here shall try to fix it so, und so hef
Joe took a deep breath. "Why do you want me?"
"Dot," replied the brewer, "iss someding I shall
tell you." He paused to contemplate his cigar.
"We want you bickoss you are der best man fer
"Louie, you mustn't make a mistake at the
beginning," Joe said, hurriedly. "I may not be the
kind of man you're looking for. If I went in--"
He hesitated, stammering. "It seems an ungrateful
thing to say, but--but there wouldn't be any
slackness--I couldn't be bound to anybody--"
"Holt up your hosses!" Mr. Farbach, once in
his life, was so ready to reply that he was able to
interrupt. "Who hef you heert speak off bounding?
Hef I speakt off favors? Dit I say der shoult
be slackness in der city gofer'ment? Litsen to me,
Choe." He renewed his contemplation of his
cigar, then proceeded: "I hef been t'inkin' it ofer,
now a couple years. I hef mate up my mind. If
some peobles are gombelt to keep der laws and
oders are not, dot's a great atwantitch to der oders.
Dot iss what iss ruining der gountry und der peobles
iss commencement to take notice. Efer'veres
in oder towns der iss housecleaning; dey are
reforming und indieding, und pooty soon dot mofement
comes here--shoo-er! If we intent to holt
der parsly in power, we shoult be a leetle ahead off
dot mofement so, when it shoult be here, we hef
a goot 'minadstration to fall beck on. Now, dere
iss anoder brewery opened und trying to gombete
mit me here in Canaan. If dot brewery owns der
Mayor, all der tsaloons buying my bier must shut
up at 'leven o'glock und Sundays, but der oders
keep open. If I own der Mayor, I make der same
against dot oder brewery. Now I am pooty sick
off dot ways off bitsness und fighting all times.
Also," Mr. Farbach added, with magnificent calmness,
"my trade iss larchly owitside off Canaan,
und it iss bedder dot here der laws shoult be
enforced der same fer all. Litsen, Choe; all us here
beliefs der same way. You are square. Der
whole tsaloon element knows dot, und knows dot
all voult be treated der same. Mit you it voult be
fairness fer each one. Foolish peobles hef sait you
are a law-tricker, but we know dot you hef only
mate der laws brotect as well as bunish. Und at
such times as dey het been broken, you hef made
dem as mertsiful as you coult. You are no tricker.
We are willing to help you make it a glean town.
Odervise der fightin' voult go on until der mofement
strikes here und all der granks vake up und
we git a fool reformer fer Mayor und der town goes
to der dogs. If I try to put in a man dot I own,
der oder brewery iss goin' to fight like hell, but if
I work fer you it will not fight so hart."
"But the other people," Joe objected. "those
outside of what is called the saloon element--do you
understand how many of them will be against me?"
"It iss der tsaloon element," Mr. Farbach
returned, peacefully, "dot does der fightin'."
"And you have considered my standing with
that part of Canaan which considers itself the most
respectable section?" He rose to his feet, standing
straight and quiet, facing the table, upon
which, it chanced, there lay a copy of the Tocsin.
"Und yet," observed Mr. Farbach, with mildness,
"we got some pooty risbecdable men right
"Except me," broke in Mr. Sheehan, grimly,
"Have you thought of this?" Joe leaned
forward and touched the paper upon the table.
"We hef," replied Mr. Farbach. "All of us.
You shall beat it,"
There was a strong chorus of confirmation from
the others, and Joe's eyes flashed.
"Have you considered," he continued, rapidly,
while a warm color began to conquer his pallor,--
"have you considered the powerful influence which
will be against me, and more against me now, I
should tell you, than ever before? That influence,
I mean, which is striving so hard to discredit me
that lynch-law has been hinted for poor Fear if I
should clear him! Have you thought of that?
Have you thought--"
"Have we thought o' Martin Pike?" exclaimed
Mr. Sheehan, springing to his feet, face aflame and
beard bristling. "Ay, we've thought o' Martin
Pike, and our thinkin' of him is where he begins
to git what's comin' to him! What d'ye stand
there pickin' straws fer? What's the matter with
ye?" he demanded, angrily, his violence tenfold
increased by the long repression he had put upon
himself during the brewer's deliberate utterances.
"If Louie Farbach and his crowd says they're fer
ye, I guess ye've got a chanst, haven't ye?"
"Wait," said Joe. "I think you underestimate
"Underestimate the devil!" shouted Mr. Sheehan,
uncontrollably excited. "You talk about
influence! He's been the worst influence this town's
ever had--and his tracks covered up in the dark
wherever he set his ugly foot down. These men
know it, and you know some, but not the worst of
it, because none of ye live as deep down in it as I
do! Ye want to make a clean town of it, ye want
to make a little heaven of the Beach--"
"And in the eyes of Judge Pike," Joe cut him
off, "and of all who take their opinions from him,
I REPRESENT Beaver Beach!"
Mike Sheehan gave a wild shout. "Whooroo!
It's come! I knowed it would! The day I couldn't
hold my tongue, though I passed my word I would
when the coward showed the deed he didn't dare
to git recorded! Waugh!" He shouted again,
with bitter laughter. "Ye do! In the eyes o'
them as follow Martin Pike ye stand fer the Beach
and all its wickedness, do ye? Whooroo! It's
come! Ye're an offence in the eyes o' Martin Pike
and all his kind because ye stand fer the Beach,
"You know it!" Joe answered, sharply. "If
they could wipe the Beach off the map and me
"Martin Pike would?" shouted Mr. Sheehan,
while the others, open-mouthed, stared at him.
"Martin Pike would?"
"I don't need to tell you that," said Joe.
Mr, Sheehan's big fist rose high over the table
and descended crashing upon it. "It's a damn
lie !" he roared. "Martin Pike owns Beaver
JOE WALKS ACROSS THE COURT-HOUSE YARD
From within the glossy old walnut
bar that ran from wall to wall, the
eyes of the lawyers and reporters
wandered often to Ariel as she sat in
the packed court-room watching Louden's
fight for the life and liberty of Happy Fear.
She had always three escorts, and though she did
not miss a session, and the same three never failed
to attend her, no whisper of scandal arose. But
not upon them did the glances of the members of
the bar and the journalists with tender frequency
linger; nor were the younger members of these
two professions all who gazed that way. Joe had
fought out the selection of the jury with the
prosecutor at great length and with infinite pains;
it was not a young jury, and IT stared at her. The
"Court" wore a gray beard with which a flock
of sparrows might have villaged a grove, and yet,
in spite of the vital necessity for watchfulness over
this fighting case, IT once needed to be stirred from
a trancelike gaze in Miss Tabor's direction and
aroused to the realization that It was there to Sit
and not to dream.
The August air was warm outside the windows,
inviting to the open country, to swimmin'-hole,
to orchard reveries, or shaded pool wherein to
drop a meditative line; you would have thought no
one could willingly coop himself in this hot room
for three hours, twice a day, while lawyers wrangled,
often unintelligibly, over the life of a dingy little
creature like Happy Fear, yet the struggle to
swelter there was almost like a riot, and the bailiffs
were busy men.
It was a fighting case throughout, fought to a
finish on each tiny point as it came up, dragging,
in the mere matter of time, interminably, yet the
people of Canaan (not only those who succeeded
in penetrating to the court-room, but the others
who hung about the corridors, or outside the building,
and the great mass of stay-at-homes who read
the story in the Tocsin) found each moment of it
enthralling enough. The State's attorney, fearful of
losing so notorious a case, and not underestimating
his opponent, had modestly summoned others
to his aid; and the attorney for the defence, single-
handed, faced "an array of legal talent such as
seldom indeed had hollered at this bar"; faced it
good-naturedly, an eyebrow crooked up and his
head on one side, most of the time, yet faced it
indomitably. He had a certain careless and
disarming smile when he lost a point, which carried
off the defeat as of only humorous account and
not at all part of the serious business in hand; and
in his treatment of witnesses, he was plausible,
kindly, knowing that in this case he had no
intending perjurer to entrap; brought into play the
rare and delicate art of which he was a master,
employing in his questions subtle suggestions and
shadings of tone and manner, and avoiding words
of debatable and dangerous meanings;--a fine craft,
often attempted by blunderers to their own undoing,
but which, practised by Joseph Louden,
made inarticulate witnesses articulate to the
precise effects which he desired. This he accomplished
as much by the help of the continuous fire
of objections from the other side as in spite of
them. He was infinitely careful, asking never an
ill-advised question for the other side to use to
his hurt, and, though exhibiting only a pleasant
easiness of manner, was electrically alert.
A hundred things had shown Ariel that the feeling
of the place, influenced by "public sentiment"
without, was subtly and profoundly hostile to Joe
and his client; she read this in the spectators, in
the jury, even in the Judge; but it seemed to her
that day by day the inimical spirit gradually failed,
inside the railing, and also in those spectators who,
like herself, were enabled by special favor to be
present throughout the trial, and that now and
then a kindlier sentiment began to be manifested.
She was unaware how strongly she contributed to
effect this herself, not only through the glow of
visible sympathy which radiated from her, but
by a particular action. Claudine was called by
the State, and told as much of her story as the
law permitted her to tell, interlarding her replies
with fervent protestations (too quick to be prevented)
that she "never meant to bring no trouble
to Mr. Fear" and that she "did hate to have gen'lemen
starting things on her account." When the
defence took this perturbed witness, her
interpolations became less frequent, and she described
straightforwardly how she had found the pistol on
the floor near the prostrate figure of Cory, and
hidden it in her own dress. The attorneys for the
State listened with a somewhat cynical amusement
to this portion of her testimony, believing it of no
account, uncorroborated, and that if necessary the
State could impeach the witness on the ground
that it had been indispensable to produce her.
She came down weeping from the stand; and, the
next witness not being immediately called, the
eyes of the jurymen naturally followed her as she
passed to her seat, and they saw Ariel Tabor bow
gravely to her across the railing. Now, a thousand
things not set forth by legislatures, law-men
and judges affect a jury, and the slight salutation
caused the members of this one to glance at one
another; for it seemed to imply that the exquisite
lady in white not only knew Claudine, but knew
that she had spoken the truth. It was after this,
that a feeling favorable to the defence now and
then noticeably manifested itself in the court-
room. Still, when the evidence for the State was
all in, the life of Happy Fear seemed to rest in a
balance precarious indeed, and the little man,
swallowing pitifully, looked at his attorney with
the eyes of a sick dog.
Then Joe gave the prosecutors an illuminating
and stunning surprise, and, having offered in
evidence the revolver found upon Claudine, produced
as his first witness a pawnbroker of Denver, who
identified the weapon as one he had sold to Cory,
whom he had known very well. The second witness,
also a stranger, had been even more intimately
acquainted with the dead man, and there began to
be an uneasy comprehension of what Joe had
accomplished during that prolonged absence of his
which had so nearly cost the life of the little mongrel,
who was at present (most blissful Respectability!)
a lively convalescent in Ariel's back yard. The
second witness also identified the revolver,
testifying that he had borrowed it from Cory in St.
Louis to settle a question of marksmanship, and
that on his returning it to the owner, the latter,
then working his way eastward, had confided to
him his intention of stopping in Canaan for the
purpose of exercising its melancholy functions upon
a man who had once "done him good" in that
By the time the witness had reached this point,
the Prosecutor and his assistants were on their
feet, excitedly shouting objections, which were
promptly overruled. Taken unawares, they fought
for time; thunder was loosed, forensic bellowings;
everybody lost his temper--except Joe; and
the examination of the witness proceeded. Cory,
with that singular inspiration to confide in some
one, which is the characteristic and the undoing
of his kind, had outlined his plan of operations to
the witness with perfect clarity. He would first
attempt, so he had declared, to incite an attack
upon himself by playing upon the jealousy of his
victim, having already made a tentative effort in
that direction. Failing in this, he would fall back
upon one of a dozen schemes (for he was ready in
such matters, he bragged), the most likely of which
would be to play the peacemaker; he would talk
of his good intentions toward his enemy, speaking
publicly of him in friendly and gentle ways; then,
getting at him secretly, destroy him in such a
fashion as to leave open for himself the kind gate
of self-defence. In brief, here was the whole tally
of what had actually occurred, with the exception
of the last account in the sequence which had
proved that demise for which Cory had not
arranged and it fell from the lips of a witness whom
the prosecution had no means of impeaching.
When he left the stand, unshaken and undiscredited,
after a frantic cross-examination, Joe,
turning to resume his seat, let his hand fall lightly
for a second upon his client's shoulder.
That was the occasion of a demonstration which
indicated a sentiment favorable to the defence (on
the part of at least three of the spectators); and it
was in the nature of such a hammering of canes
upon the bare wooden floor as effectually stopped
all other proceedings instantly. The indignant
Judge fixed the Colonel, Peter Bradbury, and
Squire Buckalew with his glittering eye, yet the
hammering continued unabated; and the offenders
surely would have been conducted forth in
ignominy, had not gallantry prevailed, even in
that formal place. The Judge, reluctantly realizing
that some latitude must be allowed to these
aged enthusiasts, since they somehow seemed to
belong to Miss Tabor, made his remarks general,
with the time-worn threat to clear the room,
whereupon the loyal survivors of Eskew relapsed
into unabashed silence.
It was now, as Joe had said, a clear-enough case.
Only the case itself, however, was clear, for, as
he and his friends feared, the verdict might possibly
be neither in accordance with the law, the
facts, nor the convictions of the jury. Eugene's
defection had not altered the tone of the Tocsin.
All day long a crowd of men and boys hung
about the corridors of the Court-house, about
the Square and the neighboring streets, and from
these rose sombre murmurs, more and more ominous.
The public sentiment of a community like
Canaan can make itself felt inside a court-room;
and it was strongly exerted against Happy Fear.
The Tocsin had always been a powerful agent;
Judge Pike had increased its strength with a
staff which was thoroughly efficient, alert, and
always able to strike centre with the paper's
readers; and in town and country it had absorbed
the circulation of the other local journals, which
resisted feebly at times, but in the matter of the
Cory murder had not dared to do anything except
follow the Tocsin's lead. The Tocsin, having lit
the fire, fed it--fed it saltpetre and sulphur--for
now Martin Pike was fighting hard.
The farmers and people of the less urban parts
of the country were accustomed to found their
opinions upon the Tocsin. They regarded it as
the single immutable rock of journalistic
righteousness and wisdom in the world. Consequently,
stirred by the outbursts of the paper, they came
into Canaan in great numbers, and though the
pressure from the town itself was so strong that
only a few of them managed to crowd into the
court-room, the others joined their voices to those
sombre murmurs outdoors, which increased in
loudness as the trial went on.
The Tocsin, however, was not having everything
its own way; the volume of outcry against
Happy Fear and his lawyer had diminished, it was
noticed, in "very respectable quarters." The
information imparted by Mike Sheehan to the politicians
at Mr. Farbach's had been slowly seeping
through the various social strata of the town, and
though at first incredulously rejected, it began to
find acceptance; Upper Main Street cooling appreciably
in its acceptance of the Tocsin as the law
and the prophets. There were even a few who
dared to wonder in their hearts if there had not
been a mistake about Joe Louden; and although
Mrs. Flitcroft weakened not, the relatives of
Squire Buckalew and of Peter Bradbury began to
hold up their heads a little, after having made
home horrible for those gentlemen and reproached
them with their conversion as the last word of
senile shame. In addition, the Colonel's grandson
and Mr. Bradbury's grandson had both mystifyingly
lent countenance to Joe, consorting with
him openly; the former for his own purposes--the
latter because he had cunningly discovered that
it was a way to Miss Tabor's regard, which, since
her gentle rejection of him, he had grown to
believe (good youth!) might be the pleasantest thing
that could ever come to him. In short, the question
had begun to thrive: Was it possible that Eskew
Arp had not been insane, after all?
The best of those who gathered ominously about
the Court-house and its purlieus were the young
farmers and field-hands, artisans and clerks; one
of the latter being a pimply faced young man
(lately from the doctor's hands), who limped, and
would limp for the rest of his life, he who, of all
men, held the memory of Eskew Arp in least respect,
and was burningly desirous to revenge himself
upon the living.
The worst were of that mystifying, embryonic,
semi-rowdy type, the American voyou, in the
production of which Canaan and her sister towns
everywhere over the country are prolific; the
young man, youth, boy perhaps, creature of nameless
age, whose clothes are like those of a brakeman
out of work, but who is not a brakeman in
or out of work; wearing the black, soft hat tilted
forward to shelter--as a counter does the contempt
of a clerk--that expression which the face does not
dare wear quite in the open, asserting the possession
of supreme capacity in wit, strength, dexterity,
and amours; the dirty handkerchief under the collar;
the short black coat always double-breasted;
the eyelids sooty; one cheek always bulged; the
forehead speckled; the lips cracked; horrible teeth;
and the affectation of possessing secret information
upon all matters of the universe; above all,
the instinct of finding the shortest way to any
scene of official interest to the policeman, fireman,
or ambulance surgeon,--a singular being, not
professionally criminal; tough histrionically rather than
really; full of its own argot of brag; hysterical when
crossed, timid through great ignorance, and therefore
dangerous. It furnishes not the leaders but
the mass of mobs; and it springs up at times of
crisis from Heaven knows where. You might have
driven through all the streets of Canaan, a week
before the trial, and have seen four or five such
fellows; but from the day of its beginning the
Square was full of them, dingy shuttlecocks batted
up into view by the Tocsin.
They kept the air whirring with their noise.
The news of that sitting which had caused the
Squire, Flitcroft, and Peter Bradbury to risk the
Court's displeasure, was greeted outside with loud
and vehement disfavor; and when, at noon, the
jurymen were marshalled out to cross the yard
to the "National House" for dinner, a large crowd
followed and surrounded them, until they reached
the doors of the hotel. "Don't let Lawyer Louden
bamboozle you!" "Hang him!" "Tar and feathers
fer ye ef ye don't hang him!" These were the
mildest threats, and Joe Louden, watching from
an upper window of the Court-house, observed
with a troubled eye how certain of the jury shrank
from the pressure of the throng, how the cheeks
of others showed sudden pallor. Sometimes "public
sentiment" has done evil things to those who
have not shared it; and Joe knew how rare a thing
is a jury which dares to stand square against a
town like Canaan aroused.
The end of that afternoon's session saw another
point marked for the defence; Joe had put the
defendant on the stand, and the little man had proved
an excellent witness. During his life he had been
many things--many things disreputable; high
standards were not brightly illumined for him in
the beginning of the night-march which his life
had been. He had been a tramp, afterward a
petty gambler; but his great motive had finally
come to be the intention to do what Joe told him
to do: that, and to keep Claudine as straight as he
could. In a measure, these were the two things
that had brought him to the pass in which he now
stood, his loyalty to Joe and his resentment of
whatever tampered with Claudine's straightness.
He was submissive to the consequences: he was
still loyal. And now Joe asked him to tell "just
what happened," and Happy obeyed with crystal
clearness. Throughout the long, tricky cross-
examination he continued to tell "just what
happened" with a plaintive truthfulness not to
be imitated, and throughout it Joe guarded him
from pitfalls (for lawyers in their search after
truth are compelled by the exigencies of their
profession to make pitfalls even for the honest), and
gave him, by various devices, time to remember,
though not to think, and made the words "come
right" in his mouth. So that before the sitting
was over, a disquieting rumor ran through the
waiting crowd in the corridors, across the Square,
and over the town, that the case was surely going
"Louden's way." This was also the opinion of
a looker-on in Canaan--a ferret-faced counsellor
of corporations who, called to consultation with
the eminent Buckalew (nephew of the Squire),
had afterward spent an hour in his company at
the trial. "It's going that young fellow Louden's
way," said the stranger. "You say he's a shyster,
"Well," admitted Buckalew, with some
reluctance, "I don't mean that exactly. I've got an
old uncle who seems lately to think he's a great man."
"I'll take your uncle's word for it," returned
the other, smiling. "I think he'll go pretty far."
They had come to the flight of steps which
descended to the yard,--and the visitor, looking down
upon the angry crowd, added, "If they don't kill him!"
Joe himself was anxious concerning no such
matter. He shook hands with Happy at the end
of the sitting, bidding him be of good cheer, and,
when the little man had marched away, under a
strong guard, began to gather and sort his papers
at a desk inside the bar. This took him perhaps
five minutes, and when he had finished there were
only three people left in the room: a clerk, a negro
janitor with a broom, and the darky friend who
always hopefully accompanies a colored man holding
high public office. These two approvingly
greeted the young lawyer, the janitor handing him
a note from Norbert Flitcroft, and the friend
mechanically "borrowing" a quarter from him as he
opened the envelope.
"I'll be roun' yo' way to git a box o' SE-gahs,"
laughed the friend, "soon ez de campaign open up
good. Dey all goin' vote yo' way, down on the
levee bank, but dey sho' expecks to git to smoke
a little 'fo' leckshun-day! We knows who's OW
Norbert's missive was lengthy and absorbing;
Joe went on his way, perusing it with profound
attention; but as he descended the stairway to the
floor below, a loud burst of angry shouting, outside
the building, caused him to hasten toward
the big front doors which faced Main Street. The
doors opened upon an imposing vestibule, from
which a handsome flight of stone steps, protected
by a marble balustrade, led to the ground.
Standing at the top of these steps and leaning
over the balustrade, he had a clear view of half the
yard. No one was near him; everybody was running
in the opposite direction, toward that corner
of the yard occupied by the jail, the crowd centring
upon an agitated whirlpool of men which
moved slowly toward a door in the high wall that
enclosed the building; and Joe saw that Happy
Fear's guards, conducting the prisoner back to his
cell, were being jostled and rushed. The distance
they had made was short, but as they reached the
door the pressure upon them increased dangerously.
Clubs rose in the air, hats flew, the whirlpool
heaved tumultuously, and the steel door clanged.
Happy Fear was safe inside, but the jostlers were
outside--baffled, ugly, and stirred with the passion
that changes a crowd into a mob.
Then some of them caught sight of Joe as he
stood alone at the top of the steps, and a great
shout of rage and exultation arose.
For a moment or two he did not see his danger.
At the clang of the door, his eyes, caught by the
gleam of a wide white hat, had turned toward the
street, and he was somewhat fixedly watching Mr.
Ladew extricate Ariel (and her aged and indignant
escorts) from an overflow of the crowd in which
they had been caught. But a voice warned him:
the wild piping of a newsboy who had climbed into
a tree near by.
"JOE LOUDEN!" he screamed. "LOOK OUT!"
With a muffled roar the crowd surged back from
the jail and turned toward the steps. "Tar and
feather him!" "Take him over to the river and
throw him in!" "Drown him!" "Hang him!"
Then a thing happened which was dramatic
enough in its inception, but almost ludicrous in its
effect. Joe walked quietly down the steps and
toward the advancing mob with his head cocked
to one side, one eyebrow lifted, and one corner of
his mouth drawn down in a faintly distorted smile.
He went straight toward the yelling forerunners,
with only a small bundle of papers in his hands,
and then--while the non-partisan spectators held
their breath, expecting the shock of contact--
straight on through them.
A number of the bulge-cheeked formed the
scattering van of these forerunners, charging with
hoarse and cruel shrieks of triumph. The first,
apparently about to tear Joseph Louden to pieces,
changed countenance at arm's-length, swerved
violently, and with the loud cry, "HEAD HIM OFF!"
dashed on up the stone steps. The man next
behind him followed his lead, with the same shout,
strategy, and haste; then the others of this advance
attack, finding themselves confronting the quiet
man, who kept his even pace and showed no
intention of turning aside for them, turned suddenly
aside for HIM, and, taking the cue from the first,
pursued their way, bellowing: "HEAD HIM OFF!
HEAD HIM OFF!" until there were a dozen and more
rowdyish men and youths upon the steps, their
eyes blazing with fury, menacing Louden's back
with frightful gestures across the marble balustrade,
as they hysterically bleated the chorus,
"HEAD HIM OFF!"
Whether or not Joe could have walked through
the entire mob as he had walked through these is
a matter for speculation; it was believed in Canaan
that he could. Already a gust of mirth began to
sweep over the sterner spirits as they paused to
marvel no less at the disconcerting advance of
the lawyer than at the spectacle presented by the
intrepid dare-devils upon the steps; a kind of lane
actually opening before the young man as he walked
steadily on. And when Mr. Sheehan, leading half
a dozen huge men from the Farbach brewery,
unceremoniously shouldered a way through the mob to
Joe's side, reaching him where the press was thickest,
it is a question if the services of his detachment
The laughter increased. It became voluminous.
Homeric salvos shook the air. And never one of
the fire-eaters upon the steps lived long enough
to live down the hateful cry of that day, "HEAD
HIM OFF!" which was to become a catch-word on
the streets, a taunt more stinging than any devised
by deliberate invention, an insult bitterer than the
ancestral doubt, a fighting-word, and the great
historical joke of Canaan, never omitted in after-
days when the tale was told how Joe Louden took
that short walk across the Court-house yard which
made him Mayor of Canaan.
MARTIN PIKE KEEPS AN ENGAGEMENT
An hour later, Martin Pike, looking
forth from the Mansion, saw a man
open the gate, and, passing between
the unemotional deer, rapidly
approach the house. He was a thin
young fellow, very well dressed in dark gray, his
hair prematurely somewhat silvered, his face
prematurely somewhat lined, and his hat covered a
scar such as might have been caused by a blow
from a blunt instrument in the nature of a poker.
He did not reach the door, nor was there necessity
for him to ring, for, before he had set foot on
the lowest step, the Judge had hastened to meet
him. Not, however, with any fulsomely hospitable
intent; his hand and arm were raised to execute
one of his Olympian gestures, of the kind which
had obliterated the young man upon a certain by-
Louden looked up calmly at the big figure
towering above him.
"It won't do, Judge," he said; that was all, but
there was a significance in his manner and a certainty
in his voice which caused the uplifted hand
to drop limply; while the look of apprehension
which of late had grown more and more to be
Martin Pike's habitual expression deepened into
something close upon mortal anxiety.
"Have you any business to set foot upon my
property?" he demanded.
"Yes," answered Joe. "That's why I came."
"What business have you got with me?"
"Enough to satisfy you, I think. But there's
one thing I don't want to do"--Joe glanced at the
open door--"and that is to talk about it here--for
your own sake and because I think Miss Tabor
should be present. I called to ask you to come
to her house at eight o'clock to-night."
"You did!" Martin Pike spoke angrily, but
not in the bull-bass of yore; and he kept his voice
down, glancing about him nervously as though
he feared that his wife or Mamie might hear.
"My accounts with her estate are closed," he said,
harshly. "If she wants anything, let her come here."
Joe shook his head. "No. You must be there
at eight o'clock "
The Judge's choler got the better of his uneasiness.
"You're a pretty one to come ordering me
around!" he broke out. "You slanderer, do you
suppose I haven't heard how you're going about
traducing me, undermining my character in this
community, spreading scandals that I am the real
owner of Beaver Beach--"
"It can easily be proved, Judge," Joe interrupted,
quietly, "though you're wrong: I haven't
been telling people. I haven't needed to--even
if I'd wished. Once a thing like that gets out you
can't stop it--ever! That isn't all: to my knowledge
you own other property worse than the Beach;
I know that you own half of the worst dens in
the town: profitable investments, too. You bought
them very gradually and craftily, only showing
the deeds to those in charge--as you did to Mike
Sheehan, and not recording them. Sheehan's
betrayal of you gave me the key; I know most of the
poor creatures who are your tenants, too, you
see, and that gave me an advantage because they
have some confidence in me. My investigations
have been almost as quiet and careful as your purchases."
"You damned blackmailer!" The Judge bent
upon him a fierce, inquiring scrutiny in which, oddly
enough, there was a kind of haggard hopefulness.
"And out of such stories," he sneered,
"you are going to try to make political capital
against the Tocsin, are you?"
"No," said Joe. "It was necessary in the
interests of my client for me to know pretty thoroughly
just what property you own, and I think I do.
These pieces I've mentioned are about all you
have not mortgaged. You couldn't do that without
exposure, and you've kept a controlling interest
in the Tocsin clear, too--for the sake of its
influence, I suppose. Now, do you want to hear
any more, or will you agree to meet me at Miss
Tabor's this evening?"
Whatever the look of hopefulness had signified,
it fled from Pike's face during this speech, but he
asked with some show of contempt, "Do you
think it likely?"
"Very well," said Joe, "if you want me to
speak here." And he came a little closer to him.
"You bought a big block of Granger Gas for Roger
Tabor," he began, in a low voice. "Before his
death you sold everything he had, except the old
house, put it all into cash for him, and bought that
stock; you signed the check as his attorney-in-fact,
and it came back to you through the Washington
National, where Norbert Flitcroft handled it. He
has a good memory, and when he told me what he
knew, I had him to do some tracing; did a little
myself, also. Judge Pike, I must tell you that
you stand in danger of the law. You were the
custodian of that stock for Roger Tabor; it was
transferred in blank; though I think you meant
to be `legal' at that time, and that was merely for
convenience in case Roger had wished you to sell
it for him. But just after his death you found
yourself saddled with distillery stock, which was
going bad on your hands. Other speculations of
yours were failing at the same time; you had to
have money--you filed your report as administrator,
crediting Miss Tabor with your own stock
which you knew was going to the wall, and transferred
hers to yourself. Then you sold it because
you needed ready money. You used her fortune
to save yourself--but you were horribly afraid!
No matter how rotten your transactions had been,
you had always kept inside the law; and now that
you had gone outside of it, you were frightened.
You didn't dare come flat out to Miss Tabor with
the statement that her fortune had gone; it had
been in your charge all the time and things might
look ugly. So you put it off, perhaps from day
to day. You didn't dare tell her until you were
forced to, and to avoid the confession you sent her
the income which was rightfully hers. That was
your great weakness."
Joe had spoken with great rapidity, though keeping
his voice low, and he lowered it again, as he
continued: "Judge Pike, what chance have you
to be believed in court when you swear that you
sent her twenty thousand dollars out of the goodness
of your heart? Do you think SHE believed
you? It was the very proof to her that you had
robbed her. For she knew you! Do you want
to hear more now? Do you think this is a good
place for it? Do you wish me to go over the
details of each step I have taken against you, to land
you at the bar where this poor fellow your paper
is hounding stands to-day?"
The Judge essayed to answer, and could not.
He lifted his hand uncertainly and dropped it,
while a thick dew gathered on his temples.
Inarticulate sounds came from between his teeth.
"You will come?" said Joe.
Martin Pike bent his head dazedly; and at that
the other turned quickly from him and went away
without looking back.
Ariel was in the studio, half an hour later, when
Joe was announced by the smiling Mr. Warden.
Ladew was with her, though upon the point of
taking his leave, and Joe marked (with a sinking
heart) that the young minister's cheeks were
flushed and his eyes very bright.
"It was a magnificent thing you did, Mr. Louden,"
he said, offering his hand heartily; "I saw
it, and it was even finer in one way than it was
plucky. It somehow straightened things out with
such perfect good nature; it made those people feel
that what they were doing was ridiculous."
"So it was," said Joe.
"Few, under the circumstances, could have
acted as if they thought so! And I hope you'll
let me call upon you, Mr. Louden."
"I hope you will," he answered; and then, when
the minister had departed, stood looking after him
with sad eyes, in which there dwelt obscure meditations.
Ladew's word of farewell had covered a
deep look at Ariel, which was not to be mistaken
by Joseph Louden for anything other than what
it was: the clergyman's secret was an open one,
and Joe saw that he was as frank and manly in
love as in all other things. "He's a good fellow,"
he said at last, sighing. "A good man."
Ariel agreed. "And he said more to me than
he did to you."
"Yes, I think it probable," Joe smiled sorrowfully.
"About YOU, I mean." He had time to fear
that her look admitted confusion before she
proceeded: "He said he had never seen anything so
fine as your coming down those steps. Ah, he
was right! But it was harder for me to watch
you, I think, than for you to do it, Joe. I was so
horribly afraid--and the crowd between us--if we
could have got near you--but we couldn't--we--"
She faltered, and pressed her hand close upon
"We?" asked Joe, slowly. "You mean you
and Mr. Ladew?"
"Yes, he was there; but I mean"--her voice
ran into a little laugh with a beatific quaver in it
--"I mean Colonel Flitcroft and Mr. Bradbury
and Mr. Buckalew, too--we were hemmed in together
when Mr. Ladew found us--and, oh, Joe,
when that cowardly rush started toward you,
those three--I've heard wonderful things in Paris
and Naples, cabmen quarrelling and disappointed
beggars--but never anything like them to-day--"
"You mean they were profane?"
"Oh, magnificently--and with such inventiveness!
All three begged my pardon afterwards. I
didn't grant it--I blessed them!"
"Did they beg Mr. Ladew's pardon?"
"Ah, Joe!" she reproached him. "He isn't a
prig. And he's had to fight some things that you
of all men ought to understand. He's only been
here a few months, but he told me that Judge Pike
has been against him from the start. It seems that
Mr. Ladew is too liberal in his views. And he told
me that if it were not for Judge Pike's losing
influence in the church on account of the Beaver
Beach story, the Judge would probably have been
able to force him to resign; but now he will stay."
"He wishes to stay, doesn't he?"
"Very much, I think. And, Joe," she continued,
thoughtfully, "I want you to do something for me.
I want you to go to church with me next Sunday."
"To hear Mr. Ladew?"
"Yes. I wouldn't ask except for that."
"Very well," he consented, with averted eyes.
Her face was radiant with the smile she gave
him. "It will make me very happy," she said.
He bent his head and fumbled over some papers
he had taken from his pocket. "Will you listen to
these memoranda? We have a great deal to go
over before eight o'clock."
Judge Pike stood for a long while where Joe had
left him, staring out at the street, apparently.
Really he saw nothing. Undoubtedly an image
of blurring foliage, cast-iron, cement, and turf,
with sunshine smeared over all, flickered upon the
retinas of his eyes; but the brain did not accept the
picture from the optic nerve. Martin Pike was
busy with other visions. Joe Louden had followed
him back to his hidden deeds and had read them
aloud to him as Gabriel would read them on Judgment-
day. Perhaps THIS was the Judgment-day.
Pike had taken charge of Roger Tabor's affairs
because the commissions as agent were not too
inconsiderable to be neglected. To make the
task simpler, he had sold, as time went on, the
various properties of the estate, gradually
converting all of them into cash. Then, the
opportunity offering, he bought a stock which paid
excellent dividends, had it transferred in blank,
because if it should prove to Roger's advantage to
sell it, his agent could do so without any formal
delays between Paris and Canaan. At least, that
is what the Judge had told himself at the time,
though it may be that some lurking whisperer in
his soul had hinted that it might be well to preserve
the great amount of cash in hand, and Roger's
stock was practically that. Then came the evil
days. Laboriously, he had built up a name for
conservatism which most of the town accepted,
but secretly he had always been a gambler: Wall
Street was his goal; to adventure there, as one of
the great single-eyed Cyclopean man-eaters, his
fond ambition; and he had conceived the distillery
trust as a means to attain it; but the structure
tumbled about his ears; other edifices of his
crumbled at the same time; he found himself beset, his
solvency endangered, and there was the Tabor
stock, quite as good as gold; Roger had just died,
and it was enough to save him.--Save? That was
a strange way to be remembering it to-day, when
Fate grinned at him out of a dreadful mask contorted
like the face of Norbert Flitcroft.
Martin Pike knew himself for a fool. What
chance had he, though he destroyed the check a
thousand times over, to escape the records by
which the coil of modern trade duplicates and
quadruplicates each slip of scribbled paper? What
chance had he against the memories of men?
Would the man of whom he had bought, forget
that the check was signed by Roger's agent? Had
the bank-clerk forgotten? Thrice fool, Martin Pike,
to dream that in a town like Canaan, Norbert or
any of his kind could touch an order for so great
a sum and forget it! But Martin Pike had not
dreamed that; had dreamed nothing. When failure
confronted him his mind refused to consider
anything but his vital need at the time, and he
had supplied that need. And now he grew busy
with the future: he saw first the civil suit for
restitution, pressed with the ferocity and cunning of
one who intended to satisfy a grudge of years;
then, perhaps, a criminal prosecution. . . . But he
would fight it! Did they think that such a man
was to be overthrown by a breath of air? By a
girl, a bank-clerk, and a shyster lawyer? They
would find their case difficult to prove in court.
He did not believe they COULD prove it. They
would be discredited for the attempt upon him
and he would win clear; these Beaver Beach scandals
would die of inertia presently; there would he
a lucky trick in wheat, and Martin Pike would be
Martin Pike once more; reinstated, dictator of
church, politics, business; all those things which
were the breath of his life restored. He would
show this pitiful pack what manner of man they
hounded! Norbert Flitcroft. . . .
The Judge put his big hand up to his eyes and
rubbed them. Curious mechanisms the eyes. . . .
That deer in line with the vision--not a zebra?
A zebra after all these years? And yet . . . curious,
indeed, the eyes! . . . a zebra. . . . Who ever heard
of a deer with stripes? The big hand rose from
the eyes and ran through the hair which he had
always worn rather long. It would seem strange
to have it cut very short. . . . Did they use clippers,
perhaps? . . .
He started suddenly and realized that his next-
door neighbor had passed along the sidewalk with
head averted, pretending not to see him. A few
weeks ago the man would not have missed the
chance of looking in to bow--with proper deference,
too! Did he know? He could not know THIS!
It must be the Beaver Beach scandal. It must be.
It could not be THIS--not yet! But it MIGHT be.
How many knew? Louden, Norbert, Ariel--who else?
And again the deer took on the strange zebra look.
The Judge walked slowly down to the gate; spoke
to the man he had employed in Sam Warden's
place, a Scotchman who had begun to refresh the
lawn with a garden hose; bowed affably in response
to the salutation of the elder Louden, who was
passing, bound homeward from the factory, and
returned to the house with thoughtful steps. In
the hall he encountered his wife; stopped to speak
with her upon various household matters; then
entered the library, which was his workroom. He
locked the door; tried it, and shook the handle.
After satisfying himself of its security, he pulled
down the window-shades carefully, and, lighting
a gas drop-lamp upon his desk, began to fumble
with various documents, which he took from a
small safe near by. But his hands were not steady;
he dropped the papers, scattering them over the
floor, and had great difficulty in picking them up.
He perspired heavily: whatever he touched became
damp, and he continually mopped his forehead
with his sleeve. After a time he gave up the
attempt to sort the packets of papers; sank into a
chair despairingly, leaving most of them in disorder.
A light tap sounded on the door.
"Martin, it's supper-time."
With a great effort he made shift to answer:
"Yes, I know. You and Mamie go ahead. I'm
too busy to-night. I don't want anything."
A moment before, he had been a pitiful figure,
face distraught, hands incoherent, the whole body
incoordinate, but if eyes might have rested upon
him as he answered his wife they would have seen
a strange thing; he sat, apparently steady and
collected, his expression cool, his body quiet, poised
exactly to the quality of his reply, for the same
strange reason that a young girl smiles archly and
coquettes to a telephone.
"But, Martin, you oughtn't to work so hard.
You'll break down--"
"No fear of that," he replied, cheerfully. "You
can leave something on the sideboard for me."
After another fluttering remonstrance, she went
away, and the room was silent again. His arms
rested upon the desk, and his head slowly sank
between his elbows. When he lifted it again the
clock on the mantel-piece had tinkled once. It
was half-past seven. He took a sheet of note-
paper from a box before him and began to write,
but when he had finished the words, "My dear
wife and Mamie," his fingers shook so violently
that he could go no further. He placed his left
hand over the back of his right to steady it, but
found the device unavailing: the pen left mere
zigzags on the page, and he dropped it.
He opened a lower drawer of the desk and took
out of it a pistol; rose, went to the door, tried it
once more, and again was satisfied of his seclusion.
Then he took the weapon in both hands, the
handle against his fingers, one thumb against the
trigger, and, shaking with nausea, lifted it to the
level of his eyes. His will betrayed him; he could
not contract his thumb upon the trigger, and,
with a convulsive shiver, he dropped the revolver
upon the desk.
He locked the door of the room behind him,
crept down the stairs and out of the front-door.
He walked shamblingly, when he reached the
street, keeping close to the fences as he went on,
now and then touching the pickets with his hands
like a feeble old man.
He had always been prompt; it was one of the
things of which he had been proud: in all his life
he had never failed to keep a business engagement
precisely upon the appointed time, and the Court-
house bell clanged eight when Sam Warden opened
the door for his old employer to-night.
The two young people looked up gravely from
the script-laden table before them as Martin Pike
came into the strong lamplight out of the dimness
of the hall, where only a taper burned. He shambled
a few limp steps into the room and came to
a halt. Big as he was, his clothes hung upon him
loosely, like coverlets upon a collapsed bed; and
he seemed but a distorted image of himself, as if
(save for the dull and reddened eyes) he had been
made of yellowish wax and had been left too long
in the sun. Abject, hopeless, his attitude a
confession of ruin and shame, he stood before his
judges in such wretchedness that, in comparison,
the figure of Happy Fear, facing the court-room
through his darkest hour, was one to be envied.
"Well," he said, brokenly, "what are you going
Joe Louden looked at him with great intentness
for several moments. Then he rose and came
forward. "Sit down, Judge," he said. "It's all
right. Don't worry "
THE JURY COMES IN
Mrs. Flitcroft, at breakfast on
the following morning, continued a
disquisition which had ceased, the
previous night, only because of a
provoking human incapacity to exist
without sleep. Her theme was one which had
exclusively occupied her since the passing of
Eskew, and, her rheumatism having improved so
that she could leave her chair, she had become a
sort of walking serial; Norbert and his grandfather
being well assured that, whenever they left the
house, the same story was to be continued upon
their reappearance. The Tocsin had been her great
comfort: she was but one helpless woman against
two strong men; therefore she sorely needed assistance
in her attack upon them, and the invaluable
newspaper gave it in generous measure.
"Yes, young man," she said, as she lifted her
first spoonful of oatmeal, "you BETTER read the
"I AM reading it," responded Norbert, who was
almost concealed by the paper.
"And your grandfather better read it!" she
"I already have," said the Colonel, promptly.
"No, but you can be sure I will!" The good
lady gave the effect of tossing her head. "And
you better take what it says to heart, you and
some others. It's a wonder to me that you and
Buckalew and old Peter don't go and hold that
Happy Fear's hand durin' the trial! And as for
Joe Louden, his step-mother's own sister, Jane,
says to me only yesterday afternoon, `Why, law!
Mrs. Flitcroft,' she says, `it's a wonder to me,'
she says, `that your husband and those two other
old fools don't lay down in the gutter and let that
Joe Louden walk over 'em.' "
"Did Jane Quimby say `those two other old
fools'?" inquired the Colonel, in a manner which
indicated that he might see Mr. Quimby in regard
to the slander.
"I can't say as I remember just precisely her
exact words," admitted Mrs. Flitcroft, "but that
was the sense of 'em! You've made yourselves
the laughin'-stock of the whole town!"
"Oh, we have?"
"And I'd like to know"--her voice became shrill
and goading--"I'd like to know what Judge Pike
thinks of you and Norbert! I should think you'd
be ashamed to have him pass you in the street."
"I've quit speaking to him," said Norbert, coldly,
"ever since I heard he owned Beaver Beach."
"That story ain't proved yet!" returned his
grandmother, with much irascibility.
"Well, it will be; but that's not all." Norbert
wagged his head. "You may be a little surprised
within the next few days."
"I've been surprised for the PAST few!" she
replied, with a bitterness which overrode her
satisfaction in the effectiveness of the retort.
"Surprised! I'd like to know who wouldn't be
surprised when half the town acts like it's gone crazy.
People PRAISIN' that fellow, that nobody in their
sober minds and senses never in their lives had a
good word for before! Why, there was more talk
yesterday about his doin's at the Court-house--
you'd of thought he was Phil Sheridan! It's `Joe
Louden' here and `Joe Louden' there, and `Joe
Louden' this and `Joe Louden' that, till I'm sick
of the name!"
"Then why don't you quit saying it?" asked the
"Because it'd OUGHT to be said!" she exclaimed,
with great heat. "Because he'd ought to be held
up to the community to be despised. You let me
have that paper a minute," she pursued, vehemently;
"you just let me have the Tocsin and I'll read
you out some things about him that 'll show him
in his true light!"
"All right," said Norbert, suddenly handing her
the paper. "Go ahead."
And after the exchange of a single glance the
two gentlemen composed themselves to listen.
"Ha!" exclaimed Mrs. Flitcroft. "Here it is in
head-lines on the first page. `Defence Scores
Again and Again. Ridiculous Behavior of a
Would-Be Mob. Louden's--"' She paused,
removed her spectacles, examined them dubiously,
restored them to place, and continued: "`Louden's
Masterly Conduct and Well-Deserved--' " she
paused again, incredulous--"`Well-Deserved Triumph--' "
"Go on," said the Colonel, softly.
"Indeed I will!" the old lady replied. "Do you
think I don't know sarcasm when I see it? Ha,
ha!" She laughed with great heartiness. "I
reckon I WILL go on! You listen and try to LEARN
something from it!" She resumed the reading:
"`It is generally admitted that after yesterday's
sitting of the court, the prosecution in the Fear-
Cory murder trial has not a leg to stand on. Louden's
fight for his client has been, it must be confessed,
of a most splendid and talented order, and
the bottom has fallen out of the case for the State,
while a verdict of Not Guilty, it is now conceded,
is the general wish of those who have attended and
followed the trial. But the most interesting event
of the day took place after the session, when some
miscreants undertook to mob the attorney for the
defence in the Court-house yard. He met the
attack with a coolness and nerve which have won
him a popularity that--' " Mrs. Flitcroft again
"Go on," repeated the Colonel. "There's a
great deal more."
"Look at the editorials," suggested Norbert.
"There's one on the same subject."
Mrs. Flitcroft, her theory of the Tocsin's sarcasm
somewhat shaken, turned the page. "We Confess
a Mistake" was the rubric above the leader, and
she uttered a cry of triumph, for she thought the
mistake was what she had just been reading, and
that the editorial would apologize for the
incomprehensible journalistic error upon the first page.
"`The best of us make mistakes, and it is well
to have a change of heart sometimes.' " (Thus
Eugene's successor had written, and so Mrs. Flitcroft
read.) "`An open confession is good for the
soul. The Tocsin has changed its mind in regard
to certain matters, and means to say so freely and
frankly. After yesterday's events in connection
with the murder trial before our public, the evidence
being now all presented, for we understand
that neither side has more to offer, it is generally
conceded that all good citizens are hopeful of a
verdict of acquittal; and the Tocsin is a good
citizen. No good citizen would willingly see an
innocent man punished, and that our city is not
to be disgraced by such a miscarriage of justice is
due to the efforts of the attorney for the defendant,
who has gained credit not only by his masterly
management of this case, but by his splendid conduct
in the face of danger yesterday afternoon.
He has distinguished himself so greatly that we
frankly assert that our citizens may point with
pride to--' " Mrs. Flitcroft's voice, at the beginning
pitched to a high exultation, had gradually
lowered in key and dropped down the scale till
it disappeared altogether.
"It's a wonder to me," the Colonel began, "that
the Tocsin doesn't go and hold Joe Louden's hand."
"I'll read the rest of it for you," said Norbert,
his heavy face lighting up with cruelty. "Let's
see--where were you? Oh yes--`point with
pride'? `Our citizens may point with pride to . . .' "
Let us not linger to observe the unmanly
behavior of an aged man and his grandson left alone
at the breakfast-table by a defenceless woman.
The Tocsin's right-about-face undermined others
besides Mrs. Flitcroft that morning, and rejoiced
greater (though not better) men than the Colonel.
Mr. Farbach and his lieutenants smiled, yet stared,
amazed, wondering what had happened. That
was a thing which only three people even certainly
knew; yet it was very simple.
The Tocsin was part of the Judge's restitution.
"The controlling interest in the paper, together
with the other property I have listed," Joe had
said, studying his memoranda under the lamp in
Roger's old studio, while Martin Pike listened with
his head in his hands, "make up what Miss Tabor
is willing to accept. As I estimate it, their total
value is between a third and a half of that of the
stock which belonged to her."
"But this boy--this Flitcroft," said Pike, feebly;
"He will do nothing," interrupted Joe. "The
case is `settled out of court,' and even if he were
disposed to harass you, he could hardly hope to
succeed, since Miss Tabor declines either to sue
or to prosecute."
The Judge winced at the last word. "Yes--yes,
I know; but he might--he might--tell."
"I think Miss Tabor's influence will prevent.
If it should not--well, you're not in a desperate
case by any means; you're involved, but far from
stripped; in time you may be as sound as ever.
And if Norbert tells, there's nothing for you to do
but to live it down." A faint smile played upon
Joe's lips as he lifted his head and looked at the
other. "It can be done, I think."
It was then that Ariel, complaining of the warmth
of the evening, thought it possible that Joe might
find her fan upon the porch, and as he departed,
whispered hurriedly: "Judge Pike, I'm not
technically in control of the Tocsin, but haven't I the
right to control its policy?"
"I understand," he muttered. "You mean
about Louden--about this trial--"
"That is why I have taken the paper."
"You want all that changed, you mean?"
She nodded decisively. "From this instant.
"Oh, well, I'll go down there and give the word."
He rubbed his eyes wearily with big thumbs.
"I'm through fighting. I'm done. Besides, what's
the use? There's nothing more to fight."
"Now, Judge," Joe said, as he came in briskly,
"we'll go over the list of that unencumbered property,
if you will."
This unencumbered property consisted of Beaver
Beach and those other belongings of the Judge
which he had not dared to mortgage. Joe had
somehow explained their nature to Ariel, and
these with the Tocsin she had elected to accept
"You told me once that I ought to look after
my own property, and now I will. Don't you see?"
she cried to Joe, eagerly. "It's my work!" She
resolutely set aside every other proposition; and
this was the quality of mercy which Martin Pike
found that night.
There was a great crowd to hear Joe's summing-
up at the trial, and those who succeeded in getting
into the court-room declared that it was worth the
struggle. He did not orate, he did not "thunder
at the jury," nor did he slyly flatter them; he did
not overdo the confidential, nor seem so secure
of understanding beforehand what their verdict
would be that they felt an instinctive desire to
fool him. He talked colloquially but clearly,
without appeal to the pathetic and without
garnitures, not mentioning sunsets, birds, oceans,
homes, the glorious old State, or the happiness of
liberty; but he made everybody in the room quite
sure that Happy Fear had fired the shot which
killed Cory to save his own life. And that, as Mr.
Bradbury remarked to the Colonel, was "what Joe
was THERE for!"
Ariel's escort was increased to four that day:
Mr. Ladew sat beside her, and there were times
when Joe kept his mind entirely to the work in
hand only by an effort, but he always succeeded.
The sight of the pale and worshipping face of
Happy Fear from the corner of his eye was enough
to insure that. And people who could not get
near the doors, asking those who could, "What's
he doin' now?" were answered by variations of the
one formula, "Oh, jest walkin' away with it!"
Once the court-room was disturbed and set in
an uproar which even the Judge's customary
threat failed to subdue. Joe had been talking very
rapidly, and having turned the point he was making
with perfect dexterity, the jury listening eagerly,
stopped for a moment to take a swallow of
water. A voice rose over the low hum of the
crowd in a delirious chuckle: "Why don't somebody
`HEAD HIM OFF!' " The room instantly rocked
with laughter, under cover of which the identity
of the sacrilegious chuckler was not discovered,
but the voice was the voice of Buckalew, who was
incredibly surprised to find that he had spoken
The jury were "out," after the case had been
given to them, seventeen minutes and thirty seconds
by the watch Claudine held in her hand. The
little man, whose fate was now on the knees of the
gods, looked pathetically at the foreman and
then at the face of his lawyer and began to shake
violently, but not with fright. He had gone to
the jail on Joe's word, as a good dog goes where
his master bids, trustfully; and yet Happy had
not been able to keep his mind from considering
the horrible chances. "Don't worry," Joe had
said. "It's all right. I'll see you through."
And he had kept his word.
The little man was cleared.
It took Happy a long time to get through what
he had to say to his attorney in the anteroom,
and even then, of course, he did not manage to put
it in words, for he had "broken down" with sheer
gratitude. "Why, damn ME, Joe," he sobbed,
"if ever I--if ever you--well, by God! if you
ever--" This was the substance of his lingual
accomplishment under the circumstances. But
Claudine threw her arms around poor Joe's neck
and kissed him.
Many people were waiting to shake hands with
Joe and congratulate him. The trio, taking
advantage of seats near the rail, had already done
that (somewhat uproariously) before he had followed
Happy, and so had Ariel and Ladew, both,
necessarily, rather hurriedly. But in the
corridors he found, when he came out of the anteroom,
clients, acquaintances, friends: old friends,
new friends, and friends he had never seen before
--everybody beaming upon him and wringing his
hand, as if they had been sure of it all from the
"KNOW him?" said one to another. "Why, I've
knowed him sence he was that high! SMART little
feller he was, too!" This was a total stranger.
"I said, years ago"--thus Mr. Brown, the
"National House" clerk, proving his prophetic vision
--"that he'd turn out to be a big man some day."
They gathered round him if he stopped for an
instant, and crowded after him admiringly when
he went on again, making his progress slow. When
he finally came out of the big doors into the
sunshine, there were as many people in the yard as
there had been when he stood in the same place
and watched the mob rushing his client's guards.
But to-day their temper was different, and as he
paused a moment, looking down on the upturned,
laughing faces, with a hundred jocular and
congratulatory salutations shouted up at him,
somebody started a cheer, and it was taken up with
There followed the interrogation customary in
such emergencies, and the anxious inquirer was
informed by four or five hundred people simultaneously
that Joe Louden was all right.
"HEAD HIM OFF!" bellowed Mike Sheehan,
suddenly darting up the steps. The shout increased,
and with good reason, for he stepped quickly back
within the doors; and, retreating through the building,
made good his escape by a basement door.
He struck off into a long detour, but though he
managed to evade the crowd, he had to stop and
shake hands with every third person he met. As
he came out upon Main Street again, he encountered
"Howdy do, Joe?" said this laconic person, and
offered his hand. They shook, briefly. "Well,"
he continued, rubbing his beard, "how are ye?"
"All right, father, I think."
"Satisfied with the verdict?"
"I'd be pretty hard to please if I weren't," Joe
Mr. Louden rubbed his beard again. "I was
there," he said, without emotion.
"At the trial, you mean?"
"Yes." He offered his hand once more, and
again they shook. "Well, come around and see
us," he said.
"Thank you. I will."
"Well," said Mr. Louden, "good-day, Joe."
The young man stood looking after him with a
curious smile. Then he gave a slight start. Far
up the street he saw two figures, one a lady's, in
white, with a wide white hat; the other a man's,
wearing recognizably clerical black. They seemed
to be walking very slowly.
It had been a day of triumph for Joe; but in
all his life he never slept worse than he did that
ANCIENT OF DAYS
He woke to the chiming of bells, and,
as his eyes slowly opened, the sorrowful
people of a dream, who seemed
to be bending over him, weeping,
swam back into the darkness of the
night whence they had come, and returned to the
imperceptible, leaving their shadows in his heart.
Slowly he rose, stumbled into the outer room, and
released the fluttering shade; but the sunshine,
springing like a golden lover through the open
window, only dazzled him, and found no answering
gladness to greet it, nor joy in the royal day it
And yet, to the newly cleaned boys on their
way to midsummer morning Sunday-school, the
breath of that cool August day was as sweet as
stolen apples. No doubt the stir of far, green
thickets and the twinkle of silver-slippered creeks
shimmered in the longing vision of their minds'
eyes; even so, they were merry. But Joseph
Louden, sighing as he descended his narrow stairs,
with the bitterness still upon his lips of the frightful
coffee he had made, heard the echo of their
laughter with wonder.
It would be an hour at least before time to start
to church, when Ariel expected him; he stared
absently up the street, then down, and, after that,
began slowly to walk in the latter direction, with
no very active consciousness, or care, of where he
went. He had fallen into a profound reverie, so
deep that when he had crossed the bridge and
turned into a dusty road which ran along the
river-bank, he stopped mechanically beside the
trunk of a fallen sycamore, and, lifting his head,
for the first time since he had set out, looked
about him with a melancholy perplexity, a little
surprised to find himself there.
For this was the spot where he had first seen the
new Ariel, and on that fallen sycamore they had
sat together. "REMEMBER, ACROSS MAIN STREET
BRIDGE AT NOON!" And Joe's cheeks burned, as he
recalled why he had not understood the clear
voice that had haunted him. But that shame had
fallen from him; she had changed all that, as she
had changed so many things. He sank down in
the long grass, with his back against the log, and
stared out over the fields of tall corn, shaking in
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