The Vision Splendid The Vision Spendid
William MacLeod Raine
Part 4 out of 5
into a cab to take them to their train. The other three walked
back down town.
As Jeff sat before his desk four hours later, busy with a tax levy
story, Miller came in and took a seat. Jeff waved a hand at him
and promptly forgot he was on earth until he rose and put on his
coat an hour later.
"Well! Did they get off all right?" he asked.
Miller nodded absently. Ten minutes later he let out what he was
"I wish to God I knew the man," he exploded.
Jeff looked at him quietly. "I'm glad you don't. Adding murder to
it wouldn't help the situation one little bit, my friend."
Only the man who is sheet-armored in a triple plate of selfishness
can be sure that weak hands won't clutch at him and delay his
march to success.--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.
THE HERO, CONFRONTED WITH AN UNPLEASANT POSSIBILITY, PROVES HIS
GREATNESS BY RISING SUPERIOR TO SENTIMENT
James came down to the office one morning in his car with a smile
of contentment on his handsome face. It had been decided that he
was to be made speaker of the House after the next election,
assuming that he and his party were returned to power. Jeff and
the progressives were to stand back of him, and he felt sure that
after a nominal existence the standpatters would accept him. He
intended by scrupulous fair play to win golden opinions for
himself. From the speakership to the governor's chair would not be
a large step. After that--well, there were many possibilities.
He did not for a moment admit to himself that there was anything
of duplicity in the course he was following. His intention was to
line up with the progressives during the campaign, to win his
reelection on that platform, and to support a rational liberal
program during the session. He would favor an initiative and
referendum amendment not so radical as the one Jeff offered, a
bill that would not cripple business or alarm capital. As he
looked at it life was a compromise. The fusion of many minds to a
practical result always demanded this. And results were more
important than any number of theories.
As James passed into his office the stenographer stopped him with
"A man has been in twice to see you this morning, Mr. Farnum."
"Did he leave his name?"
"No. He said he would call again."
James passed into his private office and closed the door.
A quarter of an hour later his stenographer knocked. "He's here
again, Mr. Farnum."
"The man I told you of."
"Oh!" James put down the brief he was reading. "Show him in."
A figure presently stood hesitating in the doorway. James saw an
oldish man, gray and stooped with a rather wistful lost-dog
expression on his face.
"What can I do for you, sir?" he questioned.
"Don't you know me?" the stranger asked with a quaver in his
The lawyer did not, but some premonition of disaster clutched at
his heart. He rose swiftly and closed the door behind his caller.
A faint smile doubtful of its right touched the weak face of the
little old man. "So you don't know your own father--boy!"
A sudden sickness ran through the lawyer and sapped his strength.
He leaned against the desk uncertainly. It had come at last. The
whole world would learn the truth about him. The Merrills, the
Fromes, Valencia Van Tyle--all of them would know it and scorn
"What are you doing here?" James heard himself say hoarsely.
"Why, I--I--I came to see my son."
Before so harsh and abrupt a reception the weak smile went out
like a blown candle.
"I thought you'd be glad to see me--after so many years."
"Why should I be glad to see you? What have you ever done for me
but disgrace me?"
Tears showed in the watery eyes. "That's right. It's gospel truth,
"And now, when I've risen above it, so that all men respect me,
you come back to drag me down."
"No--no, I wouldn't do that, son."
"That's what you'll do. Do you think my friends will want to know
a man who is the son of a convict? I've got a future before me.
Already I've been mentioned for governor. What chance would I have
when people know my father is a thief?"
"Son," winced the old man.
"Oh, well! I'm not picking my words," James went on with angry
impatience. "I'm telling you the facts. I've got enemies. Every
strong man has. They'll smash me like an empty eggshell."
"They don't need to know about me. I'll not do any talking."
"That's all very well. Things leak out," James grumbled a little
more graciously. "Well, you better sit down now you're here. I
thought you were living in Arkansas."
"So I am. I've done right well there. And I thought I'd take a
little run out to see you. I didn't know but what you might need a
little help." He glanced aimlessly around the well-furnished
office. "But I expect you don't, from the looks of things."
"If you think I've got money you're wrong," James explained. "I'm
just starting in my profession, and of course I owe a good deal
here and there. I've been hard pressed ever since I left college."
His father brightened up timidly. "I owe you money. We can fix
that up. I've got a little mill down there and I've done well,
though it was hard sledding at first."
James caught at a phrase. What do you mean?"
"Owe me money!
"I knew it must be you paid off the shortage at the Planters'
National. When I sent the money it was returned. You'd got ahead
of me. I was THAT grateful to you, son."
The lawyer found himself flushing. "Oh, Jeff paid that. He was
earning money at the time and I wasn't. Of course I intended to
pay him back some day."
"Did Jeff do that? Then you and he must be friends. Tell me about
"There's not much to tell. He's managing editor of a paper here
that has a lot of influence. Yes. Jeff has been a staunch friend
to me always. He recognizes that I'm a rising man and ought to be
kept before the public."
"I wonder if he's like his father."
"Can't tell you that," his son replied carelessly. "I don't
remember Uncle Phil much. Jeff's a queer fellow, full of Utopian
notions about brotherhood and that sort of thing. But he's
practical in a way. He gets things done in spite of his
There was a knock at the door. "Mr. Jefferson Farnum, sir."
James considered for a second. "Tell him to come in, Miss Brooks."
The lawyer saw that the door was closed before he introduced Jeff
to his father. It gave him a momentary twinge of conscience to see
his cousin take the old man quickly by both hands. It was of
course a mere detail, but James had not yet shaken hands with his
"I'm glad to see you, Uncle Robert," Jeff said.
His voice shook a little. There was in his manner that hint of
affection which made him so many friends, the warmth that
suggested a woman's sympathy, but not effeminacy.
The ready tears brimmed into his uncle's eyes. "You're like your
father, boy. I believe I would have known you by him," he said
"You couldn't please me better, sir. And what about James--would
you have known him?"
The old man looked humbly at his handsome, distinguished son. "No,
I would never have known him."
"He's becoming one of our leading citizens, James is. You ought to
hear him make a speech. Demosthenes and Daniel Webster hide their
heads when the Honorable James K. Farnum spellbinds," Jeff joked.
"I've read his speeches," the father said unexpectedly. "For more
than a year I've taken the _World_ so as to hear of him."
"Then you know that James is headed straight for the Hall of Fame.
Aren't you, James?"
"Nonsense! You've as much influence in the state as I have, or you
would have if you would drop your fight on wealth."
"Bless you, I'm not making a fight on wealth," Jeff answered with
good humor. "It's illicit wealth we're hammering at. But when you
compare me to James K. I'll have to remind you that I'm not a
silver-tongued orator or Verden's favorite son."
The father's wistful smile grew bolder. Somehow Jeff's arrival had
cleared the atmosphere. A Scriptural phrase flashed into his mind
as applicable to this young man. Thinketh no evil. His nephew did
not regard him with suspicion or curiosity. To him he was not a
sinner or an outcast, but a brother. His manner had just the right
touch of easy deference youth ought to give age.
"Of course you're going to make us a long visit, Uncle Robert."
The old man's propitiating gaze went to his son. "Not long, I
reckon. I've got to get back to my business."
"Nonsense! We'll not let you go so easily. Eh, James?"
"No, of course not," the lawyer mumbled. He was both annoyed and
"I don't want to be selfish about it, but I do think you had
better put up with me, Uncle. James is at the University Club, and
only members have rooms there. We'll let him come and see you if
he's good," Jeff went on breezily.
James breathed freer. "That might be the best way, if it wouldn't
put you out, Jeff."
"I wouldn't want to be any trouble," the old man explained.
"And you won't be. I want you. James wants you, too, but he can't
very well arrange it. I can. So that's settled."
In his rooms that evening Jeff very gently made clear to his uncle
that Verden believed him to be his son.
"If you don't mind, sir, we'll let it go that way in public. We
don't want to hurt the political chances of James just now. And
there are other things, too. He'll tell you about them himself
"That's all right. Just as you say. I don't want to disturb
"I adopted you as a father about a year ago without your
permission. It won't do for you to give me away now," the nephew
Robert Farnum nodded without speaking. A lump choked his throat.
He had found a son after all, but not the one he had come to meet.
At the ensuing election the progressives swept the state in spite
of all that the allied corporations could do. James was returned
to the legislature with an increased majority and was elected
speaker of the House according to program. His speech of
acceptance was the most eloquent that had ever been heard in the
assembly hall. The most radical of his party felt that the
committees appointed by him were in their personnel a little too
friendly to the vested interests of Verden, but the _World_ took
the high ground that he could render his party no higher service
than absolute fair play, that the bills for the rights of the
people ought to pass on their merits and not by tricky politics.
Never before had there been seen at the State House a lobby like
the one that filled it now. The barrel was tapped so that the
glint of gold flowed through the corridors, into committee rooms,
and to out of the way corners where legislators fought for their
honor against an attack that never ceased. Sometimes the
corruption was bold. More often it was insidious. To see how one
by one men hitherto honest surrendered to bribery was a sight
pathetic and tragic.
The Farnum cousins were the centers around whom the reformers
rallied. James directed their counsels in the House and Jeff
pounded away in the _World_ with vital trenchant editorials and
news stories. Every day that paper carried to the farthest corner
of the state bulletins of the battle. Farmers and miners and
laboring men watched its roll of honor to see if the local
representatives were standing firm. As the weeks passed the fight
grew more bitter. Now and again men fell by the wayside disgraced.
But the pressure from their constituents was so strong that Jeff
believed his bill would go through.
His friends forced it through the committee and pushed it to a
vote. House Bill 33, as the initiative and referendum amendment
was called, passed the lower legislative body with a small
majority. The pool rooms offered five to four that it would carry
in the senate.
It was on the night of the twenty-first of December that the
amendment passed the House. On the morning of the twenty-third the
_Herald_ sprang a front page sensation. It charged that the editor
of the _World_ had ruined a girl named Nellie Anderson at a house
where he had boarded and that she had subsequently disappeared. It
featured also a story of how he had been seen to enter his rooms
at midnight with a woman of the street, who remained there until
morning reveling with him. Attached to this were the affidavits of
two detectives, a police officer, and the druggist who had
furnished the liquor.
The story exploded like a bomb shell in the camp of the
progressives. Rawson tried at once without success to get Jeff on
the telephone. He was not at the office, nor had he reached his
rooms at all after leaving the _World_ building on the previous
night. None of his friends had seen or heard of him.
The afternoon papers had a sensation of their own. Jefferson
Farnum had left Verden secretly without leaving an address.
Evidently he had been given a hint of the exposure that was to be
made of his life and had decamped rather than face the charges.
Rumor had a hundred tales to tell. The waverers at the State House
chose to believe that Jeff had sold them out and fled with his
price. It was impossible to deny the stories of his immorality,
since it happened that Sam Miller, the only man who knew the whole
story, was far up in the mountains arranging for a shipment of
Rocky Mountain sheep to the state museum. Farnum's friends could
only affirm their faith in him or surrender. Some gave way, some
stood firm. The lobbyists and the opposition went about with
confident, "I-told-you-so" smiles writ large on their faces.
Within a few days it became apparent that the reform bill would be
defeated in the senate. Its fate had been so long tied up with the
people's belief in Jeff that with his collapse the general opinion
condemned it to defeat. Its friends hung back, unwilling to risk a
vote as yet.
The situation called for a leader and developed one. James Farnum
stepped into the breach and took command. In a ringing speech he
called for a new alignment. He would yield to none in the devotion
he had given to House Bill Number 33. But it needed no prophet to
see that now this amendment was doomed. Better half a loaf than no
bread. He was a practical man and wanted to see practical results.
Rather than see the will of the people frustrated he felt that
House Bill I7 should be passed. While not an ideal bill it was far
better than none. The principle of direct legislation at least
would be established.
H. B. No. I7 was brought hurriedly out of committee. It had been
introduced as a substitute measure to defeat the real reform.
According to its provision legislation could be initiated by the
people, but to make it valid as a law the legislature had to
approve any bill so passed. The people could advise. They could
The speech of the speaker of the House precipitated a bitter
fight. The more eager friends of H. B. No. 33 accused him of
treachery, but many felt that it was the best possible practical
politics under the circumstances. For weeks the issue hung in
doubt, but gradually James gathered adherents among both
progressives and conservatives. It became almost a foregone
conclusion that H. B. No. I7 would pass.
"Old Capting Pink of the Peppermint,
Though kindly at heart and good,
Had a blunt, bluff way of a-gittin' 'is say
That we all of us understood.
When he brained a man with a pingle spike
Or plastered a seaman flat,
We should 'a' been blowed but we all of us knowed
That he didn't mean nothin' by that.
I was wonderful fond of old Capting Pink,
And Pink he was fond o' me,
As he frequently said when he battered me head
Or sousled me into the sea."
BULLY GREEN PRESERVES DISCIPLINE AND THE REBEL LEARNS TO SAY "SIR"
On the night of the twenty-second of December Jeff left the
_World_ building and moved down Powers Avenue to the all night
restaurant he usually frequented. The man who was both cook and
waiter remembered afterwards that Farnum called for coffee,
sausage, and a waffle.
Before the editor left the waffle house it was the morning of the
twenty-third. He had never felt less sleepy. Nor did a book and a
pipe before his gas log seem quite what he wanted. The vagabond
streak in him was awake, the same potent wanderlust that as a boy
had driven him to the solitude of the forests and the hills. This
morning it sent him questing down Powers Avenue to that lower town
where the derelicts of the city floated without a rudder.
A cold damp mist had crept up from the water front and enwrapped
the city so that its lights showed like blurred moons. Some
instinct took him toward the wharves. He could hear the distant
cough of a tug as it fussed across the bay, and as he drew near
the big Transcontinental wharves of Joe Powers the black hulk of a
Japanese liner rose black out of the gray fog shadow. But the
freighters, the coasters, tramps that went hither and thither over
the earth wherever fat cargoes lured them--they were either
swallowed in the mist or shadowed to a ghost-like wraith of
themselves so tenuous that all detail was lost in the haze.
Jeff leaned on a pile and let his imagination people the harbor
with the wandering children of the earth who had been drawn from
all its seafaring corners to this Mecca of trade. He knew that
here were swarthy little Japanese with teas and silks, dusky
Kanakas with copra, and Alaskan liners carrying gold and returning
miners. There would be brigs from Buenos Ayres and schooners that
had nosed into Robert Louis Stevenson's magic South Sea islands.
Puffy London steamers, Nome and Skagway liners condemned long
since on the Atlantic Coast, queer rigged hybrids from Rio and
other South American ports, were gorging themselves with lumber or
wheat or provisions according to their needs. Here truly lay
before him the romance of the nations.
The sound of a stealthy footfall warned him of impending danger.
He whirled, and faced three men who were advancing on him. A vague
suspicion that had oppressed him more than once in the past week
leaped to definite conviction in his brain. He was the victim of a
plot to waylay--perhaps to murder him. One of these men was a huge
Swede, another a swarthy Italian with rings in his ears. He had
seen them before, lurking in the shadows of an alley outside the
_World_ building. Last night he had come out from the office with
Jenkins, which no doubt had saved him for the time. This morning
he had played into the hands of these men, had obligingly wandered
down to the waterfront where they could so easily conceal murder
in a tide running out fast.
Strangely enough he felt no fear; rather a fierce exultant
drumming of the blood that braced him for the struggle. His eyes
swept the wharf for a weapon and found none.
"What do you want?" he demanded sharply.
The man in command ignored his question. "Stand by and down him."
The Italian crouched and leaped. Jeff's fist caught him fairly
between the eyes. He went down like a log, rolled over once and
lay still. The others closed instantly with Farnum and the three
swayed in a fierce silent struggle.
Both of his attackers were more powerful than Jeff, but he was far
more active. The darkness, too, aided him and hampered them. The
Swede he could have managed, for the fellow was awkward as a bear.
But the leader stuck to him like a burr. They went down together
over a cleat in the flooring, rolling over and over each other as
Somehow Jeff emerged out of the tangle. He dragged himself to his
knees and hammered with his fist at an upturned face beside him.
Battered, bleeding, and winded, he got to his feet and shook off
the hands that reached for him. Dodging past, he lurched along the
wharf like a drunken man. The Italian had gathered himself to his
knees. When Jeff came opposite him he dived like a football tackle
and threw his arms around the moving legs. The newspaper man
crashed heavily down to unconsciousness.
When Farnum opened his eyes upon a world strangely hazy he found
himself lying in a row boat, his head bolstered by a man's knees.
"Drink this, mate," ordered a voice that seemed very far away.
The neck of a bottle was thrust between his lips and tilted so
that he could not escape drinking.
"That dope'll hold him for a while, Say, Johnny Dago, put your
back into them oars," he heard indistinctly.
Faintly there came to him the slap of the waves against the side
of the boat. These presently died rhythmically away.
It was daylight when he awakened again. His throbbing head slowly
definitized the vile hole in which he lay as the forecastle of a
ship. Gradually the facts sifted back to him. He recalled the
fight on the wharf and the drink in the boat. In this last he
suspected knockout drops. That he had been shanghaied was beyond
Laboriously he sat up on the side of his bunk and in doing so
became aware of a sailor asleep in the crib opposite. His
stertorous breathing stirred a doubt in Jeff's mind. Perhaps the
crimps had taken him too.
The ship was rolling a good deal, but by a succession of tacks
Jeff staggered to the scuttle and climbed the hatchway to the
deck. A wintry sun was shining, and for a few moments he stood
blinking in the light.
She was a three-masted schooner and was plunging forward into the
choppy seas outside the jaws of the harbor. He whiffed the salt
tang of the air and tasted the flying spray. An ebb tide was
lifting the vessel forward on a freshening wind, and trim as a
greyhound she slipped through the cat's-paws.
A thickset, powerful figure paced to and fro on the quarter-deck,
occasionally bellowing an order in a tremendous voice like the
roar of a bull. He was getting canvas set for the fresh breeze of
the open seas that was catching him astern, and the sailors were
jumping to obey his orders. The pounding sails and the singing
cordage, the rattling blocks and the whipping ropes, would have
told Jeff they were scudding along fast, even if the heeling of
the schooner and its swift forward leaps had not made it plain.
"By God, Jones, she's walking," he heard the captain boom across
to the mate.
Just then a figure cut past him and made straight for the captain.
Farnum recognized in it the sailor whom he had left asleep in the
forecastle and even in that fleeting glance was aware of the man's
livid fury. Up the steps he went like a wild beast.
"What kind of a boat is this?" he panted hoarsely.
The captain turned toward him. His eyes were shining wickedly, but
his voice was ominously suave and honeyed. "This boat, son, is a
threemasted schooner, name of _Nancy Hanks_ , Master Joshua Green,
bound for the Solomon Islands with a cargo of Oregon fir."
"I've been shanghaied. This is a nest of crimps," the man
Joshua Green's salient jaw came forward. "Been shanghaied, have
you? And we're a nest of crimps, are we? Son, the less I hear of
that line of talk the better. Put that in your pipe and smoke it."
The man turned loose a flood of profanity and swore he would rot
in hell before he would touch a rope on that ship.
Out went Green's great gnarled fist. The seaman shot back from the
quarterdeck and struck a pile of rope below. He was up again and
down again almost quicker than it takes to tell. Three times he
hit the planks before he lay still.
The captain stood over him, his eyes blazing. He looked the
savage, barbaric slavedriver he was.
"Me, I'm Bully Green, and don't you forget it. Been shanghaied,
have you? Not going to touch a rope? Then, by thunder, you
white-livered beachcomber, a rope will touch you till you're
flayed. Get this in your coconut. You'll walk chalk, you lazy son
of a sea cook, or I'll haze you till you wish you'd never been
born." He punctuated his remarks with vigorous kicks. "Bully Green
runs this tub, strike me dead if he don't. Now you hump for'ard
and clap a hand to them sheets. Walk, you shanghaied Dutchman!"
The sailor crawled away, completely cowed. For one day he had had
more than enough. The captain watched him for a moment, his great
jaw thrust grimly out. Then, as on a pivot, he whirled toward
"Come here, you! Step lively, Sport!"
Farnum wondered whether he was about to undergo an experience
similar to that of the sailor. "Do you want to know what kind of a
ship this is?"
"No, sir. I'm perfectly satisfied about that," smiled his victim.
"Got no opinions you want to hand out free, son?"
"Think I'll keep them bottled."
"Say 'sir,' Sport!"
"Yes, sir," answered Farnum, his quiet eyes steady and unafraid.
"When I give an order you expect to jump?"
"Jump isn't the word."
"Sir!" thundered Green, and "Sir" the newspaper man corrected
"Got no story to spiel about being shanghaied, son?"
"Would it do any good, sir?"
"Not unless you're aching to get what that son of a Dutchman got.
See here, sport! You walk the chalk line, and Bully Green and
you'll get along fine. I'm a lamb, I am, when I'm not riled. But
get gay--and you'll have a hectic time. I'll rough you till you're
shark-food. Get that through your teeth?"
"Now you trot down to the fo'c'sle and dive into them slops you
find there. You got just three minutes to do the dress-suit act."
Jeff, as he passed below, could hear the great bull voice roaring
orders to the men. "Set y'r topsails! Jam 'er down hard, Johnnie
Dago! Stand by, you lubbers! . . . Now then, easy does it . . .
Within the allotted three minutes Farnum had climbed into the foul
oilskin coat and tarry breeches he found below and was ready for
"Clap on to that windlass, sport! No loafing here. . . . Hump
y'rself. D'ye hear me? Hump?"
Jeff threw his one hundred and fifty pounds of bone and muscle
against the crank of the windlass. Some men would have fought
first as long as they could stand and see. Others would have
begged, argued, or threatened. But Jeff had schooled himself to
master impulses of rage. He knew when to fight and when to yield.
Nor did he give way sullenly or passionately. It was an outrage--
highhanded tyranny--but at the worst it was a magnificent
adventure. As he flung his weight into the crank he smiled.
Before the trade winds the _Nancy Hanks_ foamed along day after
day, all sails set, making excellent time. But for his anxiety as
to the effect his disappearance would have upon the political
situation, Jeff would have enjoyed immensely the wild rough life
aboard the schooner. But he could not conceal from himself the
interpretation of his absence the machine agents would scatter
broadcast. He foresaw a reaction against his bill and its probable
The issue was on the knees of chance. The fact that could not be
obliterated was that he had been wiped from the slate until after
the legislature would adjourn. For every hour was carrying him
farther from the scene of action.
His only hope was that the _Nancy Hanks_ might put in at the
Hawaiian Islands, from which place he might get a chance to write,
or, better still, to cable the reason of his absence. Captain
Green himself wiped out this expectation. He jocosely intimated to
Farnum one afternoon that he had no intention of calling the
"When we get through this six months' cruise you'll be a first-
rate sailorman, son, and you'll get a sailorman's wages," he added
The shanghaied man met his eye squarely. "I think I could arrange
to draw on Verden for a thousand dollars if you would drop me at
"Not for twenty thousand. You're going to stay with us till we get
to the Solomon Islands, and don't you forget it."
Bully Green had taken rather a fancy to this amiable young man who
had taken so sensible a view of the little misadventure that had
befallen him, but of course business was business. He had been
paid to keep him out of the way and he intended to fulfil the
"Here I'm educatin' you, makin' an able-bodied seaman out of you,
son. You had ought to be grateful," he grinned.
"Oh, I am," Jeff agreed with a twinkle.
But Captain Green had reckoned without the weather. The _Nancy
Hanks_ drifted into three days of calm and sultry heat. At the
end of the third day she began to rock gently beneath a murky sky.
"Dirty weather," predicted the mate, the same who had assisted at
the shanghaing. "When you see a satin sea turn indigo and that
peculiar shade in the sky you want to look out for squalls," he
explained to Jeff.
It came on them in a rush. The sun went out of a black sky like a
blown candle and the sea began to whip itself to a froth. The wind
quickened, boomed to a roar, and sent the schooner heeling to a
squall across the leaden waters. The open sea closed in on them.
Before they could get in sail and make secure the sheets ripped
with a scream, braces parted and the topmasts snapped off. The
_Nancy_ went pitching forward into the yawning deeps with drunken
plunges from which it seemed she would never emerge. Great combing
seas toppled down and pounded the decks, while the sailors clung
to stays or whatever would give them a hold.
The squall lasted scarce an hour, but it left the schooner
dismantled. Her sheets were in ribbons, her topmasts and bowsprit
gone. There was nothing for it but a crippled beat toward the
Four days later she made an offing in the harbor at Honolulu just
as a liner was nosing her way out.
Bully Green ranged up beside Farnum and cast a speculative eye on
"Sport, I had ought to iron you and keep you in the fo'c'sle until
we leave here. It's the only square thing to do."
Jeff's gaze was on the advancing steamer. She was scarce two
hundred yards away now and he could plainly read the name painted
on her side. She was the _Bellingham_ of Verden.
"I don't see the necessity, sir," he answered.
"I reckon you do, son. Samuel Green stands by his word to a
finish. Now I've promised to keep you safe, and you can bet your
last dollar I'm a-going to do it."
His prisoner turned from the rail against which he was leaning to
the captain. Pinpoints of light were gleaming in the big eyes.
"How much safer do you want me than this?"
Green expectorated at a chip in the water and shifted his quid.
"You've got brains, son. No telling what you might try to do. But
see here. You're no drunken beachcomber. I know a gentleman when I
see one. Gimme your word you'll not try to skip out or send a
message back to the States and I'll go easy on you. I'm so dashed
kindhearted, I am, that--"
Jeff leaped to the rail, stood poised an instant, and dived into
the blue Pacific.
"Well, I'll be " Bully Green interrupted himself to roar an order
to lower a boat.
A young man left his father's house to see the world. Everywhere
he found busy human beings. Cities were rising toward the skies,
seas and plains were being lined with traffic, school, mill and
office hummed with life. He wondered why men were so busy and what
they were trying to do.
He went to a railroad director and asked: "Why are you building
railroads?" "For profits," was the answer. But a laborer beckoned
him aside and whispered: "No--we are making the _World_ one
neighborhood. East is now next door to West, and all peoples dwell
in one continuing city."
The young man went to the boss of a labor union. "Why," he asked,
"do you spend your days breeding discontent and leading strikes?"
"Why?" repeated the leader fiercely, "that the workers receive
more pay for shorter hours." "No," whispered a laborer, "we are
teaching the _World_ the sacred value of human beings. We are
learning how to be brotherly--how to stand up for each other.
UNDER STRANGE CIRCUMSTANCES THE REBEL MAKES HIS BOW TO POLITE
SOCIETY. TAKING AN APPLE AS A TEXT, HE PREACHES ON THE RISE OF
Somebody on the liner sang it out. Instantly there was a rush of
passengers to the side. From the schooner a boat was being
lowered and manned.
"I see him. He's swimming this way. I believe he's trying to
escape," one slender young woman cried.
"Nonsense, Alice! He fell overboard and he's probably so
frightened he doesn't know which way he is swimming." This
suggestion was from the beautiful blonde with bronze hair who
stood beside her under a tan parasol held by a fresh-faced
"Don't you believe it, Val. Look how he's cutting through the
water. He's trying to reach us. Oh, I hope they won't get him.
Somebody get a rope to throw out."
"By Jove, you're right, Miss Alice," cried the Englishman. "It's a
race, and it's going to be a near thing." He disappeared and was
presently back with a rope.
"Come on! Come on!" screamed the passengers to the swimmer.
"He's ripping strong with that overhead stroke. Ye gods, it's
close!" exclaimed the Britisher.
It was. The swimmer reached the side of the ship not four yards in
front of the pursuing boat. He caught at the trailing rope and
began to clamber up hand over hand, while the Englishman, a man
standing near, and Alice Frome dragged him up.
The mate of the Nancy Hanks, standing up in the boat, caught at
his foot and pulled. The man's hold loosened on the rope. He slid
down a foot, steadied himself. Suddenly the left leg shot out and
caught the grinning mate in the mouth. He went over backward into
the bottom of the boat. Before he could extricate himself from the
tangle his fall had precipitated, the dripping figure of the
swimmer stood safely on the deck of the _Bellingham._
In his wet foul slops the man was a sight to draw stares. The
cabin passengers moved back to give him a wide circle, as men do
with a wet retriever.
"What does this mean, my man?" demanded the captain of the
_Bellingham,_ pushing forward. He was a big red-faced figure with
a heavy roll of fat over his collar.
"I have been shanghaied, sir. From Verden. I'm the editor of the
_World_ of that city."
"That's a lie," proclaimed the mate of the _Nancy Hanks_ , who by
this time had reached the deck. "He's a nutty deckswabber we
picked up at 'Frisco."
"Why, it's Mr. Farnum," cried a fresh young voice from the circle.
The rescued man turned. His eyes joined those of a slim golden
girl and he was struck dumb.
"You know this man, Miss Frome?" the captain asked.
"I know him by sight." She stepped to the front. "There can't be
any doubt about it. He's Mr. Farnum of Verden, the editor of the
"You're quite sure?"
"Quite sure, Captain Barclay. My cousin knows him, too."
The captain turned to Mrs. Van Tyle. She nodded languidly.
Barclay swung back to the mate of the _Nancy Hanks_ . "I know your
kind, my man, and I can tell you that I think the penitentiary
would be the proper place for you and your captain, with my
compliments to him."
"Better come and pay 'em yourself, sir," sneered the mate.
"Get off my deck, you dirty crimp," roared the captain. "Slide
now, or I'll have you thrown off."
Mr. Jones made a hurried departure. Once in the boat, he shook his
fist at Barclay and cursed him fluently.
The captain turned away promptly. "Mr. Farwell, if you'll step
this way the steward will outfit you with some clothes. If they
don't fit they'll do better than those togs you're wearing."
The English youth came forward with a suggestion. "Really, I think
I can do better than that for Mr. Far--" He hesitated for the
"Farnum," supplied the owner of it.
"Ah! You're about my size, Mr. Farnum. If you don't mind, you
know, you're quite welcome to anything I have."
"Thank you very much."
"Very well. Mr. Farwell--Farnum, I mean--shake hands with
Lieutenant Beauchamp," and with the sense of duty done the worthy
captain dismissed the new arrival from his mind.
Jeff bowed to Miss Frome and followed his broad-shouldered guide
to a cabin. He was conscious of an odd elation that had not
entirely to do with a brave adventure happily ended. The impelling
cause of it was rather the hope of a braver adventure happily
"By Jove, I envy you, Mr. Farnum. Didn't know people bucked into
adventures like that these tame days. Think of actually being
shanghaied. It's like a novel. My word, the ladies will make a
lion of you!"
The Englishman was dragging a steamer trunk from under his bed. It
needed no second glance at his frank boyish face to divine him a
friend worth having. Fresh-colored and blue-eyed, he looked very
much the country gentleman Jeff had read about but never seen. It
was perhaps by the gift of race that he carried himself with
distinction, though the flat straight back and the good shoulders
of the cricketer contributed somewhat, too. Jeff sized him up as a
resolute, clean-cut fellow, happily endowed with many gifts of
fortune to make him the likable chap he was.
Beauchamp threw out some clothes from a steamer trunk and left the
rescued man alone to dress. Ten minutes later he returned.
"Expect you'd like an interview with the barber. I'll take you
round. By the way, you'll let me be your banker till you reach
"Thank you. Since I must."
From the barber shop the Englishman took him to the dining saloon.
"Awfully sorry you can't sit at our table, Mr. Farnum. It's full
up. You're to be at the purser's."
Jeff let a smile escape into his eyes. "Suits me. I've been at the
bos'n's for several weeks."
"Beastly outrage. We'll want to hear all about it. Miss Frome's
tremendously excited. Odd you and she hadn't met before. Didn't
know Verden was such a big town."
"I'm not a society man," explained Jeff. "And it happens I've been
fighting her father politically for years. Miss Frome and Mrs. Van
Tyle are about the last people I would be likely to meet."
From his seat Jeff could see the cousins at the other end of the
room. They were seated near the head of the captain's table, and
that officer was paying particular attention to them, perhaps
because the _Bellingham_ happened to be one of a line of boats
owned by Joe Powers, perhaps because both of them were very
attractive young women. They were types entirely outside Farnum's
very limited experience. The indolence, the sheathed perfection,
the soft sensuous allure of the young widow seemed to Jeff a
product largely of her father's wealth. But the charm of her
cousin, with its sweet and mocking smile, its note of youthful
austerity, was born of the fine and gallant spirit in her.
Beauchamp sat beside Miss Frome and the editor observed that they
were having a delightful time. He wondered what they could be
talking about. What did a man say to bring such a glow and sparkle
of life into a girl's face? It came to him with a wistful regret
for his stolen youth that never yet had he sat beside a young
woman at dinner and entertained her in the gay adequate manner of
Lieutenant Beauchamp. James could do it, had done it a hundred
times. But he had been sold too long to an urgent world of battle
ever to know such delights.
After dinner Jeff lost no time in waiting upon Miss Frome to thank
her for her assistance. It was already dark. When he found her it
was not in one of the saloons, but on deck. She was leaning
against the deck railing in animated talk with Beauchamp, the
while Mrs. Van Tyle listened lazily from a deck chair.
"I like the way that red head of his came bobbing through the
water," Beauchamp was saying. "Looks to me as if he would take a
lot of beating. He's no quitter. Since I haven't the pleasure of
knowing Mr. Powers or Senator Frome, I think I'll back Farnum to
"It's very plain you don't know Joe Powers. He always wins,"
contributed his daughter blandly.
"But Mr. Farnum is a remarkable man just the same," Alice added.
Then, with a little cry to cover her flushed embarrassment: "Here
he is. We do hope you're a little deaf, Mr. Farnum. We've been
talking about you."
"You may say anything you like about me, Miss Frome, except that
I'm not grateful for the lift aboard you gave me this afternoon,"
He found himself presently giving the story of his adventure. He
did not look at Alice, but he told the tale to her alone and was
aware of the eagerness with which she listened.
"But why should they want to kidnap you? I don't see any reason
for it," Alice protested.
A shadowy smile lay in the eyes of Mrs. Van Tyle. "Mr. Farnum is
in politics, my dear."
A fat pork packer from Chicago joined the group. "I've been
thinking about the sharks, Mr. Farnum. You played in great luck to
"Sharks!" Jeff heard the young woman beside him give a gasp. In
the moonlight her face showed white.
"These waters are fairly infested with them," the Chicagoan
explained. "We saw two this morning in the harbor. It was when the
stewards threw out the scraps. They turned over on their--"
"Don't!" cried Alice Frome sharply.
The petrified horror on the vivid mobile face remained long as a
sweet memory to Jeff. It had been for him that she had known the
swift heart clutch of terror.
Farnum, pacing the deck as he munched at an apple, heard himself
hailed from the bridge above. He looked up, to see Alice Frome,
caught gloriously in the wind like a winged Victory. Her hair was
parted in the middle with a touch of Greek simplicity and fell in
wavy ripples over her temples beneath the jaunty cap. She put her
arms on the railing and leaned forward, her chin tilted to an
oddly taking boyish piquancy.
"I say, give a fellow a bite."
By no catalogue of summarized details could this young woman have
laid claim to beauty, but in the flashing play of her expression,
the exquisite golden coloring, one could not evade the charm of a
certain warm witchery, of the passionate beat of innocent life.
The wonder of her lay in the sparkle of her inner self. Every
gleam of the deep true eyes, every impulsive motion of the slight
supple body, expressed some phase of her infinite variety. Her
flying moods swept her from demure to daring, from warm to cool.
And for all her sweet derision her friends knew a heart full of
pure, brave enthusiasms that would endure.
"I don't believe in indiscriminate charity," Jeff explained, and
he took another bite.
"Have you no sympathy for the deserving poor?" she pleaded.
"Besides, since you're a socialist, it isn't your apple any more
than it is mine. Bring my half up to me, sir."
"Your half is the half I've already eaten. And if you knew as much
as you pretend to about socialism you'd know it isn't yours until
you've earned it."
Her eyes danced. He noticed that beneath each of them was a
sprinkle of tiny powdered freckles. "But haven't I earned it?
Didn't I blister my hands pulling you aboard?"
He promptly shifted ground. "We're living under the capitalistic
system. You earn it and I eat it," he argued. "The rest of this
apple is my reward for having appropriated what didn't belong to
"But that's not fair. It's no better than stealing."
"Sh--h! It's high finance. Don't use that other word," he
whispered. "And what's fair hasn't a thing to do with it. It's my
apple because I've got it."
He waved her protest aside blandly. "Now try to be content with
the lot a wise Providence has awarded you. I eat the apple. You
see me eat it.
That's the usual division of profits. Don't be an agitator, or an
"Don't I get even the core?" she begged.
"I'd like to give it to you, but it wouldn't be best. You see I
don't want to make you discontented with your position in life."
He flung what was left of the apple into the sea and came up the
steps to join her.
Laughter was in the eyes of both, but it died out of hers first.
"Mr. Farnum, is it really as bad as that?" Before he could find an
answer she spoke again. "I've wanted for a long time to talk with
some one who didn't look at things as we do. I mean as my father
does and my uncle does and most of my friends. Tell me what you
think of it--you and your friends."
"That's a large order, Miss Frome. I hardly know where to begin."
"Wait! Here comes Lieutenant Beauchamp to take me away. I promised
to play ring toss with him, but I don't want to go now." She led a
swift retreat to a spot on the upper deck shielded from the wind
and warmed by the two huge smokestacks. Dropping breathless into a
chair, she invited him with a gesture to take another. Little imps
of mischief flashed out at him from her eyes. In the adventure of
the escape she had made him partner. A rush of warm blood danced
through his veins.
"Now, sir, we're safe. Begin the propaganda. Isn't that the word
you use? Tell me all about everything. You're the first real live
socialist I ever caught, and I mean to make the most of you."
"But I'm unfortunately not exactly a socialist."
"An anarchist will do just as well."
"Nor an anarchist. Sorry."
"Oh, well, you're something that's dreadful. You haven't the
proper bump of respect for father and for Uncle Joe. Now why
And before he knew it this young woman had drawn from him glimpses
of what life meant to him. He talked to her of the pressure of the
struggle for existence, of the poverty that lies like a blight
over whole sections of cities, spreading disease and cruelty and
disorder, crushing the souls of its victims, poisoning their
hearts and bodies. He showed her a world at odds and ends, in
which it was accepted as the natural thing that some should starve
while others were waited upon by servants.
He made her see how the tendency of environment is to reduce all
things to a question of selfinterest, and how the great triumphant
fact of life is that love and kindness persist. Her interest was
insatiable. She poured questions upon him, made him tell her
stories of the things he had seen in that strange underworld that
was farther from her than Asia. So she learned of Oscar Marchant,
coughing all day over the shoes he half-soled and going out at
night to give his waning life to the service of those who needed
him. He told her--without giving names--the story of Sam Miller
and his wife, of shop girls forced by grinding poverty to that
easier way which leads to death, of little children driven by want
into factories which crushed the youth out of them.
Her eyes with the star flash in them never left his face. She was
absorbed, filled with a strange emotion that made her lashes
moist. She saw not only the tragedy and waste of life, but a
glorious glimpse of the way out. This man and his friends set the
common good above their private gain. For them a new heart was
being born into the world. They were no longer consumed with blind
greed, with love of their petty selves. They were no longer full
of cowardice and distrust and enmity. Life was a thing beautiful
to them. It was flushed with the color of hope, of fine
enthusiasms. They might suffer. They might be defeated. But
nothing could extinguish the joy in their souls. They walked like
gods, immortals, these brothers to the spent and the maimed. For
they had found spiritual values in it that made any material
profit of small importance. Alice got a vision of the great truth
that is back of all true reforms, all improvement, all progress.
"Love," she said almost in a whisper, "is forgetting self."
Jeff lost his stride and pulled up. He thought he could not have
heard aright. "I beg your pardon?"
"Nothing. I was just thinking out loud. Go on please."
But she had broken the thread of his talk. He attempted to take it
up again, but he was still trying for a lead when Alice saw Mrs.
Van Tyle and Beauchamp coming toward them.
She rose. Her eyes were the brightest Jeff had ever seen. They
were filled with an ardent tenderness. It was as if she were
wrapped in a spiritual exaltation.
"Thank you. Thank you. I can't tell you what you've done for me."
She turned and walked quickly away. To be dragged back to the
commonplace at once was more than she could bear. First she must
get alone with herself, must take stock of this new emotion that
ran like wine through her blood. A pulse throbbed in her throat,
for she was in a passionate glow of altruism.
"I'm glad of life--glad of it--glad of it!" she murmured through
the veil she had lowered to screen her face from observation.
It had come to her as a revelation straight from Heaven that there
can be no salvation without service. And the motive back of
service must be love. Love! That was what Jesus had come to teach
the world, and all these years it had warped and mystified his
She felt that life could never again be gray or colorless. For
there was work waiting that she could do, service that she could
give. And surely there could be no greater happiness than to find
her work and do it gladly.
All sorts of absurd assumptions pass current as fixed and non-
debatable standards. We might be free, and we tie ourselves to the
slavery of rutted convention. Afraid of ideas, we come to no
definite philosophy of life that is the result of clear and
We must get rid of our bonds, but only in order to take on new
ones. For our convictions will shackle us. The difference is that
then we shall be servants of Truth and not of dead Tradition.
--From the Note Book of a Dreamer.
THE CHAPERONE EXPLAINS THAT THE REBEL IS IMPOSSIBLE AND THE
CHAPERONED BEGS LEAVE TO DIFFER
"And why mustn't I?" Alice demanded vigorously.
Her cousin regarded her with indolent amusement. "My dear, you are
positively the most energetic person I know. It is refreshing to
see with what interest you enter into a discussion."
Miss Frome, very erect and ready for argument, watched her
steadily from the piano stool of their joint sitting room. "Well?"
"I didn't say you mustn't, my dear. I know better than to deal in
imperatives with Miss Alice. What I did was mildly to suggest that
you are going rather far. It's all very well to be civil, but--"
Mrs. Van Tyle shrugged her shoulders and let it go at that. She
was leaning back in an easychair and across its arm her wrist
hung. Between the fingers, polished like old ivory to the tapering
pink nails, was a lighted cigarette.
"Why shouldn't I be--pleasant to him? I like him." Her color
deepened, but the eyes of the girl did not give way. There was in
them a little flare of defiance.
"Be pleasant to him if you like, and if it amuses you. But--"
Again Valencia stopped, but after a puff or two at her cigarette
she added presently: "Don't get too interested in him."
"I'm not likely to," Alice returned with a touch of scorn. "Can't
I like a man and admire him without wanting to marry him? I think
that's a hateful way to look at it."
"It's your interpretation, not mine," Mrs. Van Tyle answered with
perfect good humor. "Of course you couldn't want to marry him
under any circumstances. His station in life--his anarchistic
ideas--his reputation as a confirmed libertine--all of them make
the thought of such a thing impossible."
Miss Frome's mind seized on only one of the charges. "I don't
believe it. I don't believe a word of it. Anybody can throw
mud--and some of it is bound to stick. He's a good man. You can
see that in his face."
"You can perhaps. I can't." Valencia studied her beneath a droop
of eyelids behind which she was very alert. "Those things aren't
said about a man unless they are true. Moreover, it happens we
don't have to depend on hearsay."
"What do you mean?"
"Do you remember that night we saw the Russian dancers?"
"On the way home our car passed him. He was helping a woman out of
a cab in front of the building where he rooms. She was
intoxicated, and--his arm was round her waist."
"I don't believe it. It was somebody else," the young woman
"His cousin recognized him. So did I."
"There must be some explanation. I'll ask him."
"Ask him!" Valencia's level eyebrows lifted "Really, I don't think
that will do. Better quietly eliminate him."
"You mean treat him as if he were guilty when, I am sure he is
Mrs. Van Tyle's little laugh rippled out. "You're quite dramatic
about it, my dear. The man's of no importance. He's a _poseur_, a
demagogue, and one with a vicious streak in him. I understand, of
course, that you're interested only because he different from the
other men you know. That merely a part of his pose."
"I'm sure it isn't."
"You're romantic, my dear. I'll admit his arrival on this ship was
dramatic. No doubt you're imagining him a knight going back to
save gallantly a day that is lost. He's only a politician, and so
far as I can understand they are almost all a bad lot."
"Including Father and Uncle Joe and Ned Merrill?" Alice asked
"They are not politicians, but business men. They are in politics
merely to protect their interests. But I didn't intend to start a
discussion about Mr. Farnum. I ask you to remember that as your
chaperone I'm here to represent your father. Would he wish you to
be friendly with this man?"
Alice was silent. What her father would think was not a matter of
"The man's impossible," Mrs. Van Tyle went on pleasantly. "And
it's just as well to be careful. Not that I'm very prudish myself.
But if you're going to marry Ned Merrill--"
She had struck the wrong note. Like a flash Alice answered.
"I'm not. That's definitely decided."
"Really! I thought it was rather arranged," Valencia smiled
It was all very well for Alice to protest, but in the end she
would be a good girl and do as she was told. Not that her cousin
objected to her having a little fling before the fatal day. But
why couldn't the girl do her flirting with Beauchamp instead of
with this wild socialist?
Valencia reflected that at any rate she had done her duty.
Jeff was tramping the deck, his hands in his coat pockets, waiting
for the trumpeter to fling out the two bars of music that would
summon him to breakfast. He walked vigorously? drawing in deep
breaths of the salt sea air. His thoughts were of Alice Frome. He
was a lover, and in his imagination she embodied all things
beautiful. Her charm flowed through him, pierced him with delight.
When he heard music his mind flew to her. It voiced the rhythm of
her motions and the sound of her warm laughter. The sunshine but
reflected the golden gleams of light in her wavy hair.
As he swung round the smoking saloon Jeff came face to face with
Alice. He turned and caught step with her. The coat she wore came
to her ankles, but it could not conceal her light, strong tread
nor the long lines of the figure that gave her the grace of a
captured wood nymph.
"Only five hundred miles from Verden. By night we ought to be in
wireless communication," he suggested.
Her glance flashed at him. "You'll be glad to get home."
"I will and I won't. There's work for me to do there. But it's the
first real vacation I ever had in my life that lasted over a week.
You can't think how I've enjoyed it."
"So have I. More than anything I can remember." They stopped to
look at a steamer which lay low on the distant horizon line. After
they had fallen into step again she continued at the point where
they had been interrupted: "And after we reach home? Are you going
to come and see me? Are you going to let me meet your friends,
those dear people who are giving themselves to make life less
hideous and harsh for the weak? Shall I meet Mr. Mifflin . . . and
Mr. Miller and your little Socialist poet? Or are you going to
He smiled a little at her way of putting it, but he was troubled
none the less. "Are you sure that your way is our way? One can
give service on the Hill just as much as down in the bottoms.
There's no moral grandeur in rags or in dirt. Isn't your place
with your friends?"
"Haven't I a right to take hold of life for myself at first hand?
Haven't I a right to know the truth? What have I done that I
should be walled off from all these people who earn the bread I
"But your friends . . . your father. . ."
Her ironic smile derided him. "So after all you haven't the
courage of your convictions. Because I'm Peter C. Frome's daughter
I'm not to have the right to live."
"No, it's your right to take hold of life with both hands. But
surely you must live it among your own people."
"I've got to learn how to live it first, haven't I?
Most of my friends are not even aware there a problem of poverty.
They thrust the thought of it from them. Our wealthy class has no
social consciousness. Take my father. He thinks the submerged are
lost because they are thriftless and that all would be right if
they wouldn't drink. To him they are just a waste product of
"But can you study the life of the people without growing
discontented with the life you must lead?"
"There is a divine discontent, you know. I've got to see things
for myself. Why should all my opinions, my faith, be given to me
ready-made. Why must I live by a formula I have never examined? If
it isn't true I want to know it. And if it is true I want to know
it." She had been looking straight before them toward the rising
sun but now her gaze swept round on him. "Don't blame yourself for
giving me new thoughts. I suppose all new ideas are likely to make
trouble. But I've been working in this direction for years. Ever
since I've been a little girl my heresies have puzzled my father.
Meeting you has shown me a short cut. That's all."
Something she had said recalled to him a fugitive memory.
"Do you know, I think I saw you once when you were a little bit of
"On the doorstep of your old place. I was rather busy at the time
fighting Edward Merrill."
She stopped, looking at him in surprise. "Were you that boy?"
"I was that boy."
"You fought him to help a little ragged girl. She was a
"I've forgotten why I fought him. The reason I remember the
occasion is that I met then for the first time two of my friends."
She claimed a place immediately. "Who was the other one?"
Presently she bubbled into a little laugh. "How did the fight come
out? My nurse dragged me into the house."
"Don't remember. I know the school principal licked me next day. I
had been playing hookey."
They made another turn of the deck before she spoke again.
"So we're old acquaintances, and I didn't know it. That was nearly
eighteen years ago. Isn't it strange that after so long we should
meet again only last week?"
Jeff felt the blood creep into his face. "We met once before, Miss
"Oh, on the street. I meant to speak."
"So did I."
With his eyes meeting hers steadily Jeff told her of the time she
had found him in the bushes and mistaken him for a sick man. He
could see that he had struck her dumb. She looked at him and
looked away again.
"Why do you tell me this?" she asked at last in a low voice.
"It's only fair you should know the truth about me."
They tramped the circuit once more. Neither of them spoke. The
trumpeter's bugle call to breakfast rang out.
At the bow she stopped and looked down at the waters they were
furrowing. It was a long time before she raised her head and met
his eyes. The color had whipped into her cheeks, but she put her
"Are you telling me. . . that I must lose my friend?"
"Isn't that for you to say?"
"I don't know." She faltered for words, but not the least in her
intention. "Are you--what I have always heard you are?"
"Can you be a little more definite?" he asked gently.
"Well--dissipated! You're not that?"
"No. I've trodden down the appetite. I'm a total abstainer."
"And you're not. . . those worse things that the papers say?"
"I knew it." Triumph rang in her voice. She breathed a generous
trust. To know him for a true man it was necessary only to look
into his fearless eyes set deep in the thin tanned face. It was
impossible for anything unclean to survive with his humorous
humility and his pervading sympathy and his love of truth. "I
didn't care what they said. I knew it all the time."
Her sweet faith was a thing to see with emotion. He felt tears
scorch the back of his eyes.
"The thing you know is bad enough."
"Oh, that! That is nothing . . . now. It doesn't matter."
Lieutenant Beauchamp emerged from a saloon and bore down upon
"Mrs. Van Tyle has sent me to bring you to breakfast, Miss Frome.
Mornin', Mr. Farnum."
"And I'm ready for it, We've been round the deck ever so many
times. Haven't we, Mr. Farnum?"
She nodded lightly to Jeff and walked away with the Englishman.
The sunshine of her warm vitality was like quicksilver in Farnum's
veins. What a gallant spirit, at once delicate and daring, dwelt
in that vivid slender form! A snatch of Chesterton came to his
Her face was like an open word
When brave men speak and choose,
The very colors of her coat
Were better than good news.
"It is the hour of man: new purposes,
Broad shouldered, press against the world's slow gate;
And voices from the vast eternities
Publish the soul's austere apostolate.
Man bursts the chains that his own hands have made;
Hurls down the blind, fierce gods that in blind years
He fashioned, and a power upon them laid
To bruise his heart and shake his soul with fears."
THE PILLARS OF SOCIETY ARE GIVEN AN ILLUSTRATION OF A ROORBACK
Rawson sat in the rotunda of the Pacific Hotel in desultory
conversation with Captain Chunn, Hardy and Rogers. He brought his
clenched hand down on the padded leather arm of the big chair.
"They'll jam it through to-morrow. That's what they'll do. James
K. Farnum's been playing mighty pretty politics and he has got the
votes to deliver the goods."
Hardy nodded as he knocked the ash from his cigar. "Now that it's
all over we can see James K.'s trail easily enough. He meant to
defeat the initiative and referendum amendment, and he meant to do
it without losing his popularity. He's done it too. Jeff's
disappearance made it certain our bill wouldn't go through. James
jumps in with a hurrah and passes one that isn't worth the powder
to blow it up. But he's going to claim it as a great victory for
the people--and if I know that young man he'll get away with his
bluff. Yet it's certain as taxes that he's been working for Joe
Powers all the time."
"I wouldn't put it past him to have engineered some deal to get
rid of his cousin," Chunn suggested.
Rawson shook his head. "No. Not respectable enough for James. And
he's not fool enough to run his head into a trap. But I'd bet my
head Big Tim gave him a tip it was to be pulled off. J. K. had to
know. Otherwise he wouldn't have been in a position to play the
game for them. But he didn't know any details--just a suggestion.
Enough to wise him without making him responsible."
"And the play he's been making in the papers. Offering a reward
for information about Jeff, insisting publicly that he has
absolute confidence in his cousin's integrity while he shakes his
head in private. If you want my opinion, that young man is a
whited sepulchre. I never did believe in him."
Rogers turned to Captain Chunn with an incredulous smile. "But you
still believe in Jeff. Frankly, it looks to me like a double sell
The old Confederate's eyes gleamed. "Sir, I've known that boy
since he was a little tad. He's never told me a lie. He's square
as they make them."
"I used to believe in his cousin James, too," Rogers commented.
"Oh, James! He's another proposition." Rawson's voice was sour
with disgust. "He just naturally looked to see where his bread was
buttered. He's as selfish as the devil for all that suave, cordial
way of his. Right from the first his idea has been to make a big
personal hit. And he figured out he could do it easier with Joe
Powers back of him than against him. James K. is the smoothest
fraud on the Pacific Coast. But Jeff--why, every hair of his head
is straight. He's one out of a million, believe me."
"You've said it," Chunn agreed.
Rogers smiled across at them. "He's left a lot of good friends
behind him anyhow. But it's strange he could drop off the earth
without a soul knowing about it."
"The men who murdered him know about it," Rawson answered
Captain Chunn shook his head. "No, that boy will turn up yet."
"But not in time to save us. We're licked. There's not one chance
in a million for us. That's the discouraging feature of it, to be
sold out after we had won our fight."
Rawson agreed with Hardy. "Yes, we're licked. Even if Jeff were to
show up, with all these stories against him, we wouldn't be able
to stem the tide now."
"Mister Raw-w-son--Mister Raw-w-son." The singsong voice of a
bellhop echoed through the rotunda.
Captain Chunn's walking stick flagged the lad and brought him
sliding across the polished floor.
"Telegram for Mr. Rawson."
The big politician ripped it open and ran his eyes rapidly over
the yellow slip. From his lips burst a sudden oath of surprise.
"By Jupiter, the miracle's happened. Jeff is alive and on his way
here. He's sent me a wireless from out at sea somewhere."
"What!" Captain Chunn let out a whoop of joy.
"Listen here." Rawson read aloud his message. "'Shanghaied on
schooner _Nancy Hanks_ . Escaped at Honolulu. Back in Verden
to-night. Keep up the fight.'"
"Didn't I say Jeff was alive? Didn't I say he would come back and
beat those robbers yet?" the owner of the _World_ demanded.
"Don't get excited. It may be a fake." This from Hardy, who was
almost as much moved himself.
"Fake nothing! We'll go down to the telegraph office and make sure
it's 0. K. Won't this make a bully story for the _World_
'Shanghaied' in big letters across the top, and underneath a red
hot roast of the old city hall gang's methods of trying to defeat
the will of the people." Rawson laughed aloud as his imagination
pictured the story.
The old soldier's eyes gleamed. "I'll run twice as many copies as
usual. We'll plaster the state with them, calling for mass
meetings everywhere to insist on the legislature passing our
"Go easy, gentlemen," advised Rogers. "If it's true we hold a
trump card, but we want to play it mighty carefully so as to make
it carry as much dynamite as possible."
The company could give no information more definite than that the
message had come from the _Bellingham,_ which was still a couple
of hundred miles out at sea.
In view of the value of the news from a strategic slant his
friends succeeded in keeping the lid on Captain Chunn's enthusiasm
until the party was safe aboard a fast yacht steaming out of the
harbor to meet the _Bellingham._ The old Confederate's first
impulse had been to run an extra immediately, but he was argued
out of it.
"We don't want to go off half cocked. We've got a beautiful
comeback if we play it right. That is, if Jeff's got any proof.
But we better wait and let Jeff run the newspaper end of it,
This was Hardy's view, and it was indorsed by the others.
"Another thing. This story has got to come just like an explosion
on James K. Farnum's supporters. We've got to sweep them right
back to our bill. Now if we break the force of it by giving them
warning that swarm of lobbyists will get busy and stay busy all
night," Rawson added.
Jim Dunn, the star reporter of the _World,_ was hurriedly summoned
by telephone. Chunn explained to the city editor that Dunn and the
staff photographer were needed to cover a big story, but of what
the story was no mention was made to the office. As soon as Dunn
and Quillen reached the wharf the _Fly by Night_ shot out of the
In the wintry afternoon sunlight Beauchamp and Alice were playing
a match of shuffleboard against Jeff and the daughter of a
Honolulu missionary. The game had reached an exciting and critical
stage when they noticed that the ship was no longer quivering from
the throb of the engines.
"A steam yacht, probably from Verden," the ship purser remarked to
the first mate as they passed.
The players gave up their game to watch the boat that was being
lowered from the deck of a yacht close at hand. Into it stepped
five men in addition to the crew. Presently Jeff, leaning against
the rail, borrowed the glasses of a man near. After Alice had
looked she handed them to Farnum.
He gave a little exclamation of surprise.
"I beg your pardon?" the girl beside him murmured.
"They are my friends, Miss Frome. Come to meet me, I expect. The
little man in gray with one arm is Captain Chunn."
She was all excitement at once. "Then they must have received your
Jeff was the first man to meet Captain Chunn as he walked up the
steps. The gray little man gave a whoop of joy.
Their hands gripped.
Rawson fell on Farnum from behind and pounded him jubilantly.
Instantly the editor was the center of a group of eager, urgent
Alice explained to Captain Barclay what it was all about and stood
back smiling while questions and answers flew back and forth.
"What about our bill?" Jeff inquired as soon as the first hubbub
"Dead as a door nail. Your cousin has substituted H. B. I7. They
will pass it to-morrow or the next day."
A swift sickness ran through Farnum. "James gone back on us?"
"That's what. He's double-crossed us." Rawson snapped the words
"Why--why--surely not James." Jeff's mind groped for some possible
"Says our bill was lost anyhow and it was a question of getting
through Garman's bill or none."
"But Garman's bill was framed by Ned Merrill. It doesn't give us
Rawson nodded grimly. "That's the idea. We're to get nothing, but
it's to be wrapped up like a Christmas present so as to fool us."
"And isn't there any chance at all for our bill?"
"Just this one chance." Rawson leaned forward and spoke in a low
voice, driving his hand down on the deck railing. "That you've got
a charge of dynamite up your sleeve to throw into their camp. If
you can't stampede them we're down and out."
Jeff and his allies presently moved away together to hold a
conference of ways and means. The boat crew pulled back to the
yacht. The engines began to throb once more. The _Bellingham_
gathered momentum and was soon plunging forward at full speed.
With a queer little surge of pride in him Alice watched Jeff and
his friends move away. They depended on him. Unless he could save
it their fight was lost. To her he was a prophet of the better
civilization that would some day rise on the ruins of an
Individualism grown topheavy. But he was neither a dreamer nor
a weakling. His idealism was sane and practical, and he would
fight to the last ditch when he must.
And this was another strange thing about him, that though his
democracy was a faith, vital and ardent, it was tempered with the
liberal spirit. He could make allowances; held no grudges, would
laugh away insults at which another man would have raged. Out of
her very limited experience Alice decided that he was a great man.
That he was so warm and human with it all was one of his seizing
charms. No boy could have been more interested in winning the
shuffleboard game than he.
The fat pork packer from Chicago came wheezing toward her. He took
the steamer chair beside Alice and jerked his head toward the spot
where Jeff had disappeared.
"Now if you want my notion, Miss Frome, that's the kind of a man
that breeds anarchy. I've seen his paper. He fills it full of
stuff that makes the workingman discontented with his lot. A
trouble maker, that's what he is. Stops the wheels of industry.
Gets in the road of the boosters to croak hard times."
Alice observed the thick rolls of purple fat that bulged over his
"Progress now," he went on. "I'm for progress. Develop the
country. That gives work to the laborers and keeps them contented.
But men like Farnum are always hampering development by annoying
capital. Now that's foolish because capital employs labor."
The young woman suggested another possibility. "Or else labor
"What!" The fat little man sat bolt upright in surprise. "I guess
you never heard your Uncle Joe Powers talk any such foolishness."
He snorted indignantly. "Hmp! The best friend labor has got is
capital. If I had the say so I'd crush every labor union--for the
good of the working people themselves."
Alice decided that the mental indigestion of the rich sat heavily
upon him. She felt her temper rising and took advantage of the
approach of Beauchamp to leave quickly.
"Oh, Lieutenant! Have you seen Valencia?"
The Englishman showed surprise. It happened that Alice had at that
moment a view of Mrs. Van Tyle stretched on a deck chair some
thirty feet away.
Miss Frome hurried him along. Presently, with a low laugh, she
explained. "I wanted to get away from him. Carelessly, I dropped a
new idea there. It's likely to go off. You know how dangerous they
"To people who haven't many. Had it anything to do with making
"Then you needn't be alarmed on our stout friend's account. He's
immune to all ideas not connected with that subject."
The double blast of a trumpet invited them to dinner down stairs.
Dunn was sitting in the smoking room writing his story of the
kidnapping when a ruddy young Englishman stopped opposite him.
"You're Mr. Dunn, are you not? Reporter for the _World?_"
"Yes." The newspaper man looked him over with a swift, trained
"A young lady would like to see you for a few minutes. She is
interested in this shanghaing of Mr. Farnum."
Dunn's black gimlet eyes searched Beauchamp's face.
"All right. Glad to see her." Dunn's story was being transferred
to his pocket as he rose.
He followed his guide to the ladies' writing room. A slender young
woman was standing in front of the bookcase. She turned as they
entered. Beauchamp introduced the reporter to her, but Dunn failed
to catch the name of this rather remarkable looking young lady.
"You are to write the story of Mr. Farnum's adventure?" she asked.
The reporter's eyes narrowed very slightly. "What story?"
"The account of the shanghaing. Oh, I know all about it. Have you
all the facts?"
"I'll be glad to hear what you know, Miss--"
She answered his hesitation by mentioning her name.
Dunn grew more wary. "Miss Alice Frome, daughter of Senator
"Anything you have to say I'll be pleased to hear, Miss Frome."
To his surprise she broke through the hedge of reserve he had
"You distrust me. You think because I'm Senator Frome's daughter
that I must be against Mr. Farnum. Is that it?"
"I didn't say that," he sparred.
"I'm not against him. It's because I'm anxious to see him win that
I want to be sure he has given you the whole story."
"Why shouldn't he give me the whole story?"
"Because he isn't the kind to boast. Did he tell you about the
"Or how Miss Frome helped pull him aboard just in time to save him
from the crimps?"
The reporter's eyes gleamed. "What's that?" he snapped quickly.
"And all about the race from the schooner to the _Bellingham,_ It
was the most exciting thing I ever saw."
"Great guns! What's the matter with Jeff Farnum? He didn't say a
word about that--missed the cream of the story."
Alice smiled. "I thought perhaps he might have."
"He said he saw a chance to swim across to the _Bellingham._ That
made a pretty good story. But sharks--and the shanghaiers chasing
him--and a young lady helping to haul him aboard to safety--and
that young lady Miss Alice Frome! Say, this is the biggest story
that ever broke in Verden. If I fall down on it I'm a dead one
"You think it will help Mr. Farnum's fight for his bill?"
"Help it. Say, I'd give fifty dollars to see James K. Farnum's
face when he reads the _World_ tomorrow morning. The town will go
right up in the air. Hundreds of telegrams are going to pour in to
members of the assembly from their constituents. We'll make a Yale
finish of this yet."
"It's lucky Miss Frome recognized Mr. Farnum. Otherwise I suppose
he would have been sent back to the _Nancy Hanks_ ."
"Oh, Miss Frome recognized him? Jeff said one of the passengers
did. He couldn't remember who."
"I don't suppose my name is necessary to the story. Just say a
young woman on board," Alice suggested.
Dunn's black eyes questioned her. "Are you for us, Miss Frome?"
She smiled. "I'm for you."
"Against Senator Frome and Mr. Powers?"
"I think the bill ought to be passed. I'm not against anybody."
"Well, I'll tell you this. It will help the story a lot to have
you in it. Some people might say we framed the whole thing up. But
with Senator Frome's daughter starring in it."
"Oh, no, Mr. Farnum's the star."
"Well, you're the leading lady. Don't you see how it helps?
Clinches the whole thing as genuine. It's as good as putting the
Senator himself on the stand as a witness for us. We've just got
to have you."
"It will really help, you think?"
"And photographs. You'll stand for one, of course."
"Now really I don't see "
"They can't get back of a photograph. It carries conviction. Of
course we've got pictures of you at the office, Miss Frome. But I
want to play fair with you. Besides, I want them to show the ship
She laughed. "Don't worry. Your enterprising photographer caught
me twice before I knew it. And he got one of my cousin, Mrs. Van
Tyle. She doesn't know it, though."
"Good boy, Quillen. Now, if you'll begin at the beginning, Miss
Frome, I'll listen to your story.
When she had finished his eyes were gleaming. "It's the biggest
scoop I ever got in on. Sounds too good to be true."
At Gillam's Point Jeff and his friends, with Dunn and Quillen,
left the _Bellingham_ on the launch which brought the pilot. They
caught the fast express a half hour later and reached Verden
shortly after midnight. His hat drawn down over his eyes and
muffied to the ears in an ulster so that he might not be
recognized, Farnum took a cab with Captain Chunn, Dunn and
Quillen for the office of the World. He slipped into the building
and his private room unnoticed by any member of the staff.
Dunn presently brought to him Jenkins, the make-up man.
"Rip your front page to pieces. We've got the story of a life
time," Captain Chunn exploded.
Jenkins opened his eyes and grinned at Jeff. "That's what Jim
tells me. Have you got the proof to hang the thing on Big Tim?"
"I've got a letter he wrote to Captain Green of the_Nancy
Hanks_ . It's on city hall stationery of the last administration."
"Funny he used that paper."
"Someone usually makes a slip in putting a deal of this kind
"And the letter?"
"Just a line, signed with O'Brien's initials. 'The terms agreed on
are satisfactory.' I found the letter in Green's cabin. As I
thought I might make use of it I helped myself."
"Bully! We'll run a fac-simile of it on the front page."
"Dunn's story covers the whole affair. I don't like some features
of it, but our friends say it ought to be run as it stands. I've
written three columns of editorial stuff dealing with the
situation. And here's a story calling for a mass meeting in front
of the State House to-morrow morning."
"You'll speak to the people?"
"I'll say a few words. Hardy and Rawson will be the speakers."
"Pity we've lost your cousin. He'd stir them up."
Back to Full Books