Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership





Title: Collected Stories
Author: Edward Page Mitchell
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 0606901.txt
Language:  English
Date first posted: September 2006
Date most recently updated: September 2006

This eBook was produced by: David Clarke and Colin Choat

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file.

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at
http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html

To contact Project Gutenberg of Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.au

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: Collected Stories
Author: Edward Page Mitchell




TABLE OF CONTENTS

[Classified by ebook editor]

Science Fiction

THE BALLOON TREE
OLD SQUIDS AND LITTLE SPELLER
THE FACTS IN THE RATCLIFF CASE
THE STORY OF THE DELUGE
THE PROFESSOR'S EXPERIMENT
THE INSIDE OF THE EARTH

Fantasy

AN UNCOMMON SORT OF SPECTRE
THE CAVE OF THE SPLURGLES
THE DEVIL'S FUNERAL
THE WONDERFUL COROT
THE TERRIBLE VOYAGE OF THE TOAD
THE PAIN EPICURES
A DAY AMONG THE LIARS
OUR WAR WITH MONACO

Supernatural

THE DEVILISH RAT
EXCHANGING THEIR SOULS
THE CASE OF THE DOW TWINS
AN EXTRAORDINARY WEDDING
BACK FROM THAT BOURNE
THE LAST CRUISE OF THE JUDAS ISCARIOT
THE FLYING WEATHERCOCK
THE LEGENDARY SHIP
THE SHADOW ON THE FANCHER TWINS


* * * * *


THE BALLOON TREE

The colonel said:

We rode for several hours straight from the shore toward the heart of the
island. The sun was low in the western sky when we left the ship. Neither
on the water nor on the land had we felt a breath of air stirring. The
glare was upon everything. Over the low range of hills miles away in the
interior hung a few copper-colored clouds. "Wind," said Briery. Kilooa
shook his head.

Vegetation of all kinds showed the effects of the long continued drought.
The eye wandered without relief from the sickly russet of the
undergrowth, so dry in places that leaves and stems crackled under the
horses' feet, to the yellowish-brown of the thirsty trees that skirted
the bridle path. No growing thing was green except the bell-top cactus,
fit to flourish in the crater of a living volcano.

Kilooa leaned over in the saddle and tore from one of these plants its
top, as big as a California pear and bloated with juice. He crushed the
bell in his fist, and, turning, flung into our hot faces a few grateful
drops of water.

Then the guide began to talk rapidly in his language of vowels and
liquids. Briery translated for my benefit.

The god Lalala loved a woman of the island. He came in the form of fire.
She, accustomed to the ordinary temperature of the clime, only shivered
before his approaches. Then he wooed her as a shower of rain and won her
heart. Kakal was a divinity much more powerful than Lalala, but malicious
to the last degree. He also coveted this woman, who was very beautiful.
Kakal's importunities were in vain. In spite, he changed her to a cactus,
and rooted her to the ground under the burning sun. The god Lalala was
powerless to avert this vengeance; but he took up his abode with the
cactus woman, still in the form of a rain shower, and never left her,
even in the driest seasons. Thus it happens that the bell-top cactus is
an unfailing reservoir of pure cool water.

Long after dark we reached the channel of a vanished stream, and Kilooa
led us for several miles along its dry bed. We were exceedingly tired
when the guide bade us dismount. He tethered the panting horses and then
dashed into the dense thicket on the bank. A hundred yards of scrambling,
and we came to a poor thatched hut. The savage raised both hands above
his head and uttered a musical falsetto, not unlike the yodel peculiar to
the Valais. This call brought out the occupant of the hut, upon whom
Briery flashed the light of his lantern. It was an old woman, hideous
beyond the imagination of a dyspeptic's dream.

"Omanana gelal!" exclaimed Kilooa.

"Hail, holy woman," translated Briery.

Between Kilooa and the holy hag there ensued a long colloquy, respectful
on his part, sententious and impatient on hers, Briery listened with
eager attention. Several times he clutched my arm, as if unable to
repress his anxiety. The woman seemed to be persuaded by Kilooa's
arguments, or won by his entreaties. At last she pointed toward the
southeast, slowly pronouncing a few words that apparently satisfied my
companions.

The direction indicated by the holy woman was still toward the hills, but
twenty or thirty degrees to the left of the general course which we had
pursued since leaving the shore.

"Push on! Push on!" cried Briery. "We can afford to lose no time."


II


We rode all night. At sunrise there was a pause of hardly ten minutes for
the scanty breakfast supplied by our haversacks. Then we were again in
the saddle, making our way through a thicket that grew more and more
difficult, and under a sun that grew hotter.

"Perhaps," I remarked finally to my taciturn friend, "you have no
objection to telling me now why two civilized beings and one amiable
savage should be plunging through this infernal jungle, as if they were
on an errand of life or death?"

"Yes," said he, "it is best you should know."

Briery produced from an inner breast pocket a letter which had been read
and reread until it was worn in the creases. "This," he went on, "is from
Professor Quakversuch of the University of Upsala. It reached me at
Valparaiso."

Glancing cautiously around, as if he feared that every tree fern in that
tropical wilderness was an eavesdropper, or that the hood-like spathes of
the giant caladiums overhead were ears waiting to drink in some mighty
secret of science, Briery read in a low voice from the letter of the
great Swedish botanist:

"You will have in these islands," wrote the professor, "a rare
opportunity to investigate certain extraordinary accounts given me years
ago by the Jesuit missionary Buteaux concerning the Migratory Tree, the
cereus ragrans of Jansenius and other speculative physiologists.

"The explorer Spohr claims to have beheld it; but there is reason, as you
know, for accepting all of Spohr's statements with caution.

"That is not the case with the assertions of my late valued
correspondent, the Jesuit missionary. Father Buteaux was a learned
botanist, an accurate observer, and a most pious and conscientious man.
He never saw the Migratory Tree; but during the long period of his labors
in that part of the world he accumulated, from widely different sources,
a mass of testimony as to its existence and habits.

"Is it quite inconceivable, my dear Briery, that somewhere in the range
of nature there is a vegetable organization as far above the cabbage, let
us say, in complexity and potentiality as the ape is above the polyp?
Nature is continuous. In all her schemes we find no chasms, no gaps.
There may be missing links in our books and classifications and cabinets,
but there are none in the organic world. Is not all of lower nature
struggling upward to arrive at the point of self-consciousness and
volition? In the unceasing process of evolution, differentiation,
improvement in special functions, why may not a plant arrive at this
point and feel, will, act, in short, possess and exercise the
characteristics of the true animal?"

Briery's voice trembled with enthusiasm as he read this.

"I have no doubt," continued Professor Quakversuch, "that if it shall be
your great good fortune to encounter a specimen of the Migratory Tree
described by Buteaux, you will find that it possesses a well-defined
system of real nerves and ganglia, constituting, in fact, the seat of
vegetable intelligence. I conjure you to be very thorough in your
dissections.

"According to the indications furnished me by the Jesuit, this
extraordinary tree should belong to the order of Cactaceae. It should be
developed only in conditions of extreme heat and dryness. Its roots
should be hardly more than rudimentary, affording a precarious attachment
to the earth. This attachment it should be able to sever at will, soaring
up into the air and away to another place selected by itself, as a bird
shifts its habitation. I infer that these migrations are accomplished by
means of the property of secreting hydrogen gas, with which it inflates
at pleasure a bladder-like organ of highly elastic tissue, thus lifting
itself out of the ground and off to a new abode.

"Buteaux added that the Migratory Tree was invariably worshiped by the
natives as a supernatural being, and that the mystery thrown by them
around its cult was the greatest obstacle in the path of the
investigator."

"There!" exclaimed Briery, folding up Professor Quakversuch's letter. "Is
not that a quest worthy the risk or sacrifice of life itself!? To add to
the recorded facts of vegetable morphology the proved existence of a tree
that wanders, a tree that wills, a tree, perhaps, that thinks--this is
glory to be won at any cost! The lamented Decandolle of Geneva--"

"Confound the lamented Decandolle of Geneva!" shouted I, for it was
excessively hot, and I felt that we had come on a fool's errand.


III


It was near sunset on the second day of our journey, when Kilooa, who was
riding several rods in advance of us, uttered a quick cry, leaped from
his saddle, and stooped to the ground.

Briery was at his side in an instant. I followed with less agility; my
joints were very stiff and I had no scientific enthusiasm to lubricate
them. Briery was on his hands and knees, eagerly examining what seemed to
be a recent disturbance of the soil. The savage was prostrate, rubbing
his forehead in the dust, as if in a religious ecstasy, and warbling the
same falsetto notes that we had heard at the holy woman's hut.

"What beast's trail have you struck?" I demanded.

"The trail of no beast," answered Briery, almost angrily. "Do you see
this broad round abrasion of the surface, where a heavy weight has
rested? Do you see these little troughs in the fresh earth, radiating
from the center like the points of a star? They are the scars left by
slender roots torn up from their shallow beds. Do you see Kilooa's
hysterical performance? I tell you we are on the track of the Sacred
Tree. It has been here, and not long ago."

Acting under Briery's excited instructions we continued the hunt on foot.
Kilooa started toward the east, I toward the west, and Briery took the
southward course.

To cover the ground thoroughly, we agreed to advance in gradually
widening zigzags, communicating with each other at intervals by pistol
shots. There could have been no more foolish arrangement. In a quarter of
an hour I had lost my head and my bearings in a thicket. For another
quarter of an hour I discharged my revolver repeatedly, without getting a
single response from east or south. I spent the remainder of daylight in
a blundering effort to make my way back to the place where the horses
were; and then the sun went down, leaving me in sudden darkness, alone in
a wilderness of, the extent and character of which I had not the faintest
idea.

I will spare you the history of my sufferings during the whole of that
night, and the next day, and the next night, and another day. When it was
dark I wandered about in blind despair, longing for daylight, not daring
to sleep or even to stop, and in continual terror of the unknown dangers
that surrounded me. In the daytime I longed for night, for the sun
scorched its way through the thickest roof that the luxuriant foliage
afforded, and drove me nearly mad. The provisions in my haversack were
exhausted. My canteen was on my saddle; I should have died of thirst had
it not been for the bell-top cactus, which I found twice. But in that
horrible experience neither the torture of hunger and thirst nor the
torture of heat equalled the misery of the thought that my life was to be
sacrificed to the delusion of a crazy botanist, who had dreamed of the
impossible.

The impossible?

On the second afternoon, still staggering aimlessly on through the
jungle, I lost my last strength and fell to the ground. Despair and
indifference had long since given way to an eager desire for the end. I
closed my eyes with indescribable relief; the hot sun seemed pleasant on
my face as consciousness departed.

Did a beautiful and gentle woman come to me while I lay unconscious, and
take my head in her lap, and put her arms around me? Did she press her
face to mine and in a whisper bid me have courage? That was the belief
that filled my mind when it struggled back for a moment into
consciousness; I clutched at the warm, soft arms, and swooned again.

Do not look at each other and smile, gentlemen; in that cruel wilderness,
in my helpless condition, I found pity and benignant tenderness. The next
time my senses returned I saw that Something was bending over
me--something majestic if not beautiful, humane if not human, gracious if
not woman. The arms that held me and drew me up were moist, and they
throbbed with the pulsation of life. There was a faint, sweet odor, like
the smell of a woman's perfumed hair. The touch was a caress, the clasp
an embrace.

Can I describe its form? No, not with the definiteness that would satisfy
the Quakversuches and the Brierys. I saw that the trunk was massive. The
branches that lifted me from the ground and held me carefully and gently
were flexible and symmetrically disposed. Above my head there was a
wreath of strange foliage, and in the midst of it a dazzling sphere of
scarlet. The scarlet globe grew while I watched it but the effort of
watching was too much for me.

Remember, if you please, that at this time, physical exhaustion and
mental torture had brought me to the point where I passed to and fro
between consciousness and unconsciousness as easily and as frequently as
one fluctuates between slumber and wakefulness during a night of fever.
It seemed the most natural thing in the world that in my extreme weakness
I should be beloved and cared for by a cactus. I did not seek an
explanation of this good fortune, or try to analyze it; I simply accepted
it as a matter of course, as a child accepts a benefit from an unexpected
quarter. The one idea that possessed me was that I had found an unknown
friend, instinct with womanly sympathy and immeasurably kind.

And as night came on it seemed to me that the scarlet bulb overhead
became enormously distended, so that it almost filled the sky. Was I
gently rocked by the supple arms that still held me? Were we floating off
together into the air? I did not know, or care. Now I fancied that I was
in my berth on board ship, cradled by the swell of the sea; now, that I
was sharing the flight of some great bird; now, that I was borne on with
prodigious speed through the darkness by my own volition. The sense of
incessant motion affected all my dreams. Whenever I awoke I felt a cool
breeze steadily beating against my face--the first breath of air since we
had landed. I was vaguely happy, gentlemen. I had surrendered all
responsibility for my own fate. I had gained the protection of a being of
superior powers.

"The brandy flask, Kilooa!"

It was daylight. I lay upon the ground and Briery was supporting my
shoulders. In his face was a look of bewilderment that I shall never
forget.

"My God!" he cried, "and how did you get here? We gave up the search two
days ago."

The brandy pulled me together. I staggered to my feet and looked around.
The cause of Briery's extreme amazement was apparent at a glance. We were
not in the wilderness. We were at the shore. There was the bay, and the
ship at anchor, half a mile off. They were already lowering a boat to
send for us.

And there to the south was a bright red spot on the horizon, hardly
larger than the morning star--the Balloon Tree returning to the
wilderness. I saw it, Briery saw it, the savage Kilooa saw it. We watched
it till it vanished. We watched it with very different emotions, Kilooa
with superstitious reverence, Briery with scientific interest and intense
disappointment, I with a heart full of wonder and gratitude.

I clasped my forehead with both hands. It was no dream, then. The Tree,
the caress, the embrace, the scarlet bulb, the night journey through the
air, were not creations and incidents of delirium. Call it tree, or call
it plant-animal--there it was! Let men of science quarrel over the
question of its existence in nature; this I know: It had found me dying
and had brought me more than a hundred miles straight to the ship where I
belonged. Under Providence, gentlemen, that sentient and intelligent
vegetable organism had saved my life.

At this point the colonel got up and left the club. He was very much
moved. Pretty soon Briery came in, briskly as usual. He picked up an
uncut copy of Lord Bragmuch's Travels in Kerguellon's Land, and settled
himself in an easy chair at the corner of the fireplace.

Young Traddies timidly approached the veteran globetrotter. "Excuse me,
Mr. Briery," said he, "but I should like to ask you a question about the
Balloon Tree. Were there scientific reasons for believing that its sex
was--"

"Ah," interrupted Briery, looking bored; "the colonel has been favoring
you with that extraordinary narrative? Has he honored me again with a
share in the adventure? Yes? Well, did we bag the game this time?"

"Why, no," said young Traddies. "You last saw the Tree as a scarlet spot
against the horizon."

"By Jove, another miss!" said Briery, calmly beginning to cut the leaves
of his book.



OLD SQUIDS AND LITTLE SPELLER


In the days of content, when wants were few and well supplied, when New
England rum was pure and cheap, and while the older generation still wore
the knee breeches and turkey-tailed coats of colonial days, and Bailey,
who kept a tollgate on the Hartford and Providence turnpike, died. For
forty years after the Revolution, Bailey lived in the solitary little
tollhouse, near the bridge over the turbulent Quinnebaug, and in all that
time had never failed to answer the call to come and take toll; but one
night he responded not, and they found him sitting in his chair with an
open Bible on his knees, and his spirit gone to the country of which he
had been reading.

So it happened that a few days after, the big coach left a tall young man
at the Quinnebaug tollhouse, who brought with him his possessions encased
in a handkerchief. The driver of the stage informed the young man that
here was the scene of his future activities for the turnpike company, and
added as he saw the young fellow staring at the board beside the door on
which, at a long distant time, the rates of toll had been painted, "See
here, Old Squids, you'd better chalk up some new figures. The old ones is
about washed out."

The driver called him Old Squids, but aside from the fact that such a
surname, if such it was, had never been heard before in that country, it
was strange that he should have been called old. He was, in fact, a young
fellow, not more than two or three and twenty, seemingly. Though his skin
was bronzed, it was smooth, and though his beard was tangled, each hair
at cross purposes, it had never known the razor, and was, therefore,
silky. He was sinewy, though his joints were protuberant, and his broad
shoulders were not erect. Yet, perhaps, they called him old because he
was moderate in his way, not so much because of laziness as by inborn
disposition.

When the coach rolled away Squids was left standing there, gazing with a
perplexed expression at the toll board and abstractedly tugging at his
beard. No wonder he was perplexed. There appeared only fragments of words
on the board, for the rains had washed the paint away with bewildering
irregularity. He could make nothing of it. The very first thing that
Squids did, therefore, was to tear down the board and take it into the
little cottage. Then, without any examination of his new home, he threw
his bundle upon the bed and began to repair the damage that time had done
to the board. But age had done its inevitable work with it, and as Squids
held it on his knees it crumbled in his strong grasp and broke into
fragments, as though the rude change, after forty years of unmeddled
security on the door, had been too much for it.

Squids sorrowfully looked at the fragments at his feet, then gathered
them up carefully, and gave them a decent interment in an old chest. For
a week Squids labored to make a new toll board. Not that the board itself
needed so much time, but, alas, the announcement on it did. For, skillful
as Squids was with the hammer and saw and nails, his fingers were clumsy
with the pencil and paint brush. Hour after hour he worked, studying the
printed card of rates which the company had given him, so that he might
transfer those figures and letters intelligibly upon the board. One night
he even dreamed how it should be done, and dreaming, awoke with delight,
lighted his candle, and down on his knees he went, to transfer the dream
to the board. But his fingers refused to respond to the picture in his
mind, and, with a sigh, Squids returned to bed.

At last Squids gave it up. He simply painted upon the board something
like this:

man        1 ct.
horse     to ct.
critters ask me.

The words and the spelling of them he slyly obtained from some passing
stranger who wrote them out for Squids upon a shingle. This new board he
hung up in the old place, and when he saw any one, man or beast,
approaching the gate, he brought out his tariff card in case anybody
should ask him the toll.

The manager of the company passing by in the stage, though he smiled at
the board, comforted Squids by saying that he had done well, and then the
manager told his companion that Squids was odd, but faithful, and had
given proof of his integrity to one of the company's directors. "He
doesn't know any name but Squids," said the manager, "and we suppose he
is some whaler's waif cast ashore in New London, and left to look out for
himself. But he is faithful."

But Squids, while pacified by the manager's approval, was by no means
content. "Some day," said he to himself, as he gazed sadly at his rather
abortive effort, "I'll put one up that'll be a credit."

Squids seemed happy enough in his lonely home. He made few friends, for
the spot was remote from the farms of that town. The stage drivers liked
him, for he always gave each of them a glass of cool milk. Squids's only
possession, besides his clothes, was a cow.

One day one of the drivers said to him: "See here, old Squids. I've been
a drinking your milk, off and on, a year or more for nothing. What can I
get for you up to Hartford that will sorter square it up?"

"You might bring me a spelling book," said Squids. "If you'll buy it and
bring it I'll pay what it costs: not more than a dollar, I guess."

On the next down trip the driver handed Squids a Webster's spelling book.
His blue eyes sparkled as he received it, but he said nothing except to
express his thanks. But when the stage rolled away, and Squids was alone,
he opened the book haphazard, and then, standing before the billboard,
said, with an accent of triumph in his tone and the gleam of victory in
his eye. "By moy I can paint one and put it up that will be a credit."

Squids could spell two- and three-letter words, but beyond that he found
himself mired in many difficulties very often. He struggled and wrestled
manfully, but rather despairingly, with the two-syllabled words in the
speller. "That's a B," he would say, "sure, and that's an A, and that
spells Ba. But I don't quite get this 'ere yet. That's a K, that's an E,
and that's an R. K is a K. E is an E. R is an R. Ker. That must be Keer.
Bakeer. Now what kind of word is that?"

Thus Baker overthrew him and he was very despondent. One night, as he lay
upon his bed, his eyes wide open and his brain throbbing with the misery
of the mystery of Bakeer, a great light came to him. He arose, lighted a
candle, and from his canvas bag drew forth ten copper pennies, which he
placed conspicuously upon his table. Then he no sooner touched his pillow
than he fell asleep.

In the morning the ten coppers were given to the driver, with the request
that they should be exchanged at Hartford for ten peppermint bull's-eyes,
streaked red and white. When Squids received the bull's-eyes he put them
away on a plate in his cupboard and bided his time until the next
Saturday afternoon. At that time, about an hour before sundown, he began
to peer up the road toward the bend, for it was at such time that he knew
that every Saturday a young lad came along with some good things from his
father's farm for the minister's Sunday dinner at the parsonage, a mile
away on the other side of the Quinnebaug. At last Squids caught sight of
the boy, who bore a basket on his arm seemingly heavily laden. Squids,
with a slyness born of some sense of shame, concealed himself in the
tollhouse. Soon the lad was at the gate calling upon Squids to come out
and pass him.

"Hulloo! It's you, is it, Ebenezer, going to the minister's? That basket
must be heavy. Should think you'd want to rest a bit."

"T'is heavy. There's a sparerib in it?"

"M'm. Want to know," said Squids, opening his eyes in surprise and
sympathy well simulated. "Come in and sit down. Mebbe I can give you
something kinder good."

"Now what's that air thing?" asked Squids, when he had Ebenezer in the
house, holding up the monstrously tempting confection before the boy's
eyes.

"Pepentink bull's-eyes," said the boy, delightedly.

"You like 'em. You shall have one." Here Squids seemed about
to give Ebenezer the candy, but suddenly restrained himself.

"Hold on," he said. "You've got to earn it. Oh! You go to school?"

"Yes, in winter."

"H'm-m. How far have you got?"

"I've got to fractions and second reader."

"Sho! No! I wan't to know. Now let's see." Here Squids meditatively
produced the Webster's speller from its place under his pillow, and
opening it, said: "H'm-m. Let's see. Now, here, if you will read that
colyumn down straight you shall have two bull's-eyes. Right here. Just to
see how much you know."

"That's easy," said Ebenezer. "I will read some harder ones."

Squids seemed a little perplexed. At length he said, "Let's try the easy
ones first. It'll be so much easier to earn the bull's-eyes. Don't you
see?" And Squids placed the point of his jackknife blade upon Baker.

"That's Baker," said Ebenezer.

"Baker," replied Squids, with the queerest accent in his voice. "Baker.
Sho! so 'tis." Here Squids abstractedly combed his beard with his
jackknife.

"Of course it's Baker. Ker don't spell keer. Anybody but a fool might a'
known that. Let me write it down, Ebenezer."

Then Squids, somewhat to the astonishment of Ebenezer, brought forth a
shingle, and on the smooth white side, with a piece of charcoal, spelled
out the word B-a-k-e-r.

"What do you write it down for, Squids?" asked the boy.

"What for? Oh, only to see how many you get right," replied the cunning
Squids.

Thus Squids mastered some ten or twelve words, and the boy received two
bull's-eyes, and Squids made a covenant with him that he should stop
there every Saturday afternoon and show Squids whether he could read
rightly such words in Webster's speller as Squids showed him, for which
he was to receive two or more bull's-eyes.

Thus Squids, taught by a bribed and unconscious teacher, mastered the
speller and began to make preparations to build a new toll board on which
he purposed to paint the tariff of prices in a manner that would be a
credit.

But something happened that made the new toll board and the credit that
it was to be seem of petty consequence to him. One evening in March, when
the line storm was raging without, Squids, with his speller on the table
between two candles, and a shingle on his knee, was painting out with
almost infinite pains the word cattle, so that he might be schooled in
printing it correctly and as artistically as possible upon the toll
board.

Suddenly Squids paused in his work and listened. There was surely a knock
upon his door. The sound was not made by the beating of the oak branches
on the roof. Squids took a candle and opened the door. A gust of wind
blew the light out, as well as the other one on the table, but Squids had
seen a woman's form on the doorstep, and he put forth his hand and drew
her within. He bade her be patient until he relighted the candle, but
before he could do so he heard her staggering step, and then he knew that
she had fallen.

When Squids at last with nervous fingers coaxed a spark into the tinder
and lighted a candle, he saw that the woman seemed to have sunk to the
floor. Her face, over which her hair had fallen and was matted by the
rain, was pale, and her eyes, half-opened with unconscious stare, seemed
to him like the eyes of the dead. Her head, having fallen back, rested
against the door. Squids held the candle to her parted lips and saw that
she was not dead, but faint, and even before he could apply the simple
remedies that he had she had somewhat recovered. She feebly rose,
tottered to a chair, and then for the first time Squids saw that which
startled him far more than her unconscious form had done. He saw in her
arms the peaceful face of a sleeping infant.

She drank a glass of water, and Squids bustled about to prepare for her a
cup of tea, for which he had made of great potency, so that, having taken
it, she greatly revived.

"You're very wet," said Squids, and he threw some logs upon the hearth,
urging her to draw near the fire. She did so, but with such manner of
indifference that it seemed to Squids that she cared little whether she
was wet or dry.

Though he had never touched the smooth, soft flesh of an infant before,
Squids gently took this one from her unresisting arms and laid it upon
his pillow. The child had not been wet by the storm, and Squids carefully
tucked the quilt under the pillow. It did not even awaken under his
unaccustomed touch, and as he looked upon the little sleeping one upon
his pillow, with a chubby hand resting beside its cheek, Squids vowed
that neither mother nor child should leave the house that night.

The woman watched him with the first sign of interest she had shown, and
she said at length, "You are kind, very kind."

"That air's a cute little beauty," was all the reply Squids made. The
woman told him an incoherent, rambling story about missing the stage and
losing her way, and she begged that she might rest there until the next
stage came. Squids urged her to make herself comfortable, and he set milk
and bread before her. Then, with cautions respecting the need of thorough
drying, Squids went away to the little loft. He listened as he lay upon
an extemporized bed, but all was silent below, and when he was assured
that the stranger was in comfort he fell asleep.

In the morning Squids knocked at the door, but there was no response.
"She is tired: let her sleep," said Squids to himself.

But by and by there being no sound within, Squids ventured to knock
again, and still getting no response opened the door. The room was
vacant.

"She went away before I awoke," reasoned Squids, and he set about getting
his breakfast.

Soon he heard that which caused him to stop and stand in utter amazement.
He did not stir until he heard the sound again.

"Ma! Mal" It came to him once more, and then, gently raising the
bedquilt, Squids's eyes met those of the baby.

The little thing put up its hands, chuckled, and bounced up and down upon
the pillow.

"Mo! Mo!" it said.

"Mo! Mo!" said Squids. "That means moolly, moolly. It wants milk."

In an instant Squids was warming a basin of milk. "I calculate it'll like
it sweet," he meditated. So he put in a heaping spoonful of sugar. Then,
with the tenderness of a mother, Squids fed the little one, spoonful by
spoonful, till at last it pushed the spoon away with its fat little
hands, and, reaching up, clung with gentle yet firm grasp to Squids's
long and silky beard, and then, tugging away, looked up into his eyes,
and laughed and crowed.

"Seems as though it knowed me," said Squids. "I vum, the cute little
rascal thinks it knows me," and two tears dropped from Squids' eyes right
down upon the baby's cheek, and it lifted up one hand in sport, and as it
felt of Squids's rough skin, it brushed away another tear or two with its
frolicking. And Squids held his face down to it, and clucked and clucked,
and spoke softly with all the instinct of paternity within him aroused.
At last the little one's hands relaxed, and its eyelids drooped, and it
fell asleep, and Squids stood there watching it, how long he knew not.

Thus Squids had a companion brought to him. He never knew why the mother,
if such she was, left the baby there, or where she had gone, and as the
days went by he began to have a secret terror lest she should sometime
come and claim it. But she did not. No more thought had Squids for the
new toll board, only as he set it before the child for a table whereon
were gathered the marvelous toys that Squids whittled for it with his
jackknife. Squids early discovered that the baby liked wheels above all
things, and that it displayed wonderful cunning in the arrangement of
them after he had whittled them out.

One day Squids found him gazing wonderingly at the Webster's speller, and
though fearful of the lawlessness of those little hands, Squids bound the
covers firmly together with cords and suffered him to play with the book.
Then Squids called the baby Little Speller, and never by any other name.
The little one tried hard to say Squids, but could only lisp "Thid," so
that Squids came to like this diminutive as spoken by the child better
than all other sounds.

"Some day you and me will rastle with this book, and I calculate we'll
get the best of it, won't we, sir?" Squids would say to the child when it
grew old enough to understand, and the little one would reply, "Yes we
will, Thid."

Thus they lived, day by day, Little Speller content, while Squids--his
happiness was a revelation of delight of which he had had no conception.
By and by, when the little one was older, Squids would take him on his
knee, and with the Webster speller and a new slate brought from Hartford,
they would take up their tasks.

"That's A, sir. See how I make it. One line down, so, and another down,
so, and one across, and that makes A." And Little Speller, with faltering
fingers, would draw the lines and say, "That's A, Thid," and Squids would
laugh and say, "We'll have a toll board by and by that will be a credit,
and no mistake."

One day Squids spelled out horse on the slate, and Little Speller took
the pencil and sketched a horse with very rectangular head and body and
very wavy legs, and he said, "No, that's horse, Thid."

Squids roared, and got a shingle and made Little Speller spell horse in
that way on it with a crayon. Then Squids nailed the shingle on the wall
over the fireplace, and when anybody came in he would point proudly to
it, saying, "See how Little Speller spells horse. He's a cute one!"

But before many months went by Squids found that the boy and he were
exchanging places, for the teacher was becoming the taught and the
scholar becoming the teacher. So Squids sent to Hartford and bought a
first reader and an arithmetic, and great was their delight in pondering
over the mysteries of these books and solving them.

"Little Speller," said Squids, one day, "you took to spelling natural,
but you take to 'rithmetic more natural. But it's beyond me. After this
you'll have to do the figgering and the spelling for me."

That the child had a talent for mathematics and mechanics Squids
understood fully, though he could not express it in any other way than by
saying: "He's mighty sharp at figgers and mighty cute with the
jackknife."

One morning, as Squids was opening the tollgate, he astonished the
traveler who waited to pass through by suddenly stopping and staring at
the house. The stranger feared he had gone mad, or was carrying too much
New England rum, till Squids, with triumphant utterance, said, "Look at
that air. That's a credit at last," and he pointed to a new toll board
neatly painted and accurately lettered. Then he rushed into the house and
brought forth the lad.

"This is the boy that done it," said Squids, "unbeknown to me, and nailed
her up unbeknown. Ain't that a credit? It is Little Speller, it is."

Then, when Little Speller grew older, he builded, with Squids's help, a
marvelous tollgate that opened and shut automatically by the touching of
a lever; and the fame of it spread, so that the manager even came, and
wondered, too, and praised the lad, saying: "Squids, that boy is a
genius, sure."

And Squids would watch Little Speller, when the lad knew it not, as an
enthusiast studies a painting, and many and many a time did Squids in the
night quietly arise from the bed, light a candle, and look, with
something like awe in his glance, upon the face of the sleeping boy.

One day there came to the Quinnebaug tollgate some men, and they drove
stakes and dug ditches, and builded a great dam across the river, half a
mile above. Then they put up a building, larger than any Little Speller
ever saw, and placed within it curious machines, and they put a huge
wheel outside the building. Little Speller seemed entranced as he watched
them day by day, and he caused the men to deal with him with great
respect, because at a critical time in setting up the wheel, when it
seemed as though something had gone wrong, they heard a little voice
shouting peremptorily, "Loose your ropes, quick," and they did so, and
the wheel settled properly in place. The men wondered how it was that
that little fellow standing there on a rock could have shouted so
commandingly that they trusted him. But they said: "He's got some
gumption, sure."

When the big wheel was set agoing and the machines in the mill began to
make a frightful clatter, then it was that Little Speller's enthusiasm
and delight seemed to be greater even than such a little body as his
could contain. He spent hours and hours in the mill watching the machines
as they wove the threads of wool into cloth.

By and by Squids saw that Little Speller was silent, dreaming abstracted,
and Squids became alarmed. "It's that air dreadful noise in the mill
that's confusing his little head," reasoned Squids: and he urged the boy
to go there less frequently, but Little Speller went as was his wont. At
length, Squids saw that the boy was busying himself day and night with
the jackknife and such other tools as were there, and Squids was pleased,
though he could not comprehend what this strange thing was that Little
Speller was building. The boy seemed absorbed by his work. When he ate,
his great dreamy eyes were fixed abstractedly upon his plate; but he
slept soundly, and Squids was not greatly alarmed.

"There's something in him that's working out," reasoned Squids, and when
he saw the fierce energy and enthusiasm with which Little Speller cut and
shaped and planed and fashioned the bits of wood, Squids was sure that
whatever it was that was working out of him was working out well.

One day Little Speller said, as he put his hand on the thing he had made,
"There, it's done, and it's all right. It's better than the ones they've
got in the mill, only it's wood."

"What might it be, Little Speller?" asked Squids.

"It's a weaving machine."

"It's worked out of you. Part of you is in that thing, Little Speller,
and it's a greater credit than the toll board or the gate."

Then Squids in great glee went and fetched the superintendent of the
mill. "See," said he, when he had brought the man, "that air is worked
out of Little Speller. Part of him is in it, and it's a credit."

The superintendent glanced with some interest at the model, more to
please the lad and Squids than for any other reason. "Show him how it
works," said Squids.

Little Speller did so. It was rude, clumsy; but as the boy explained the
working of it, the superintendent became excited. He fingered it himself.
He worked at it. Great beads of sweat stood on his forehead, for he was
intensely interested. At last he said: "That will revolutionize woolen
mills. The thing's built wrong, but the idea is there. Where did you get
that idea, Squids?"

"Me!" exclaimed Squids. "Me! 'Taint me. It worked out of Little Speller.
It's been working out of him ever since the mill was built. Ain't it a
credit?"

"Credit!" and the superintendent smiled. "What do you want for it?" he
asked.

"I want to see one built and set to working in the mill," said Little
Speller.

"Will you let me build it?"

"Oh, if you only will," begged Little Speller.

"Put that down in writing, and I'll promise you I'll fit the mill with
them; yes, and a hundred mills."

Squids and Little Speller seemed dazed by this unexpected glory.

"He's going to put what's worked out of you into a hundred mills, Little
Speller," said Squids, as he looked almost reverentially upon the boy.

It was as the superintendent had said. Seizing Little Speller's idea, he
had properly handled it, builded machines, obtained patents, therefore,
and had revolutionized the woolen mills that were then springing up
throughout eastern New England, and had he opened a mine of gold there on
the banks of the Quinnebaug, the superintendent could hardly have had
more riches.

But Squids and Little Speller were content. They would go up to the mill
and watch the new machine, weaving yards and yards of cloth, Little
Speller with the most ecstatic delight, and Squids with a sense of awe.
"That's you, Little Speller. That's you working. It ain't the machine.
That's only wood and iron."

By and by Little Speller began to appear abstracted again, and he spent
many hours watching the transmission of power from the water wheel to the
machinery. "Something more is working out," reasoned Squids, but he held
his peace.

One day Squids heard someone coming down the road. He went to open the
gate. There were four or five men, and they were bearing a burden. When
they were near, Squids saw that they moved gently and bore their burden
tenderly and that their faces were very grave. They did not try to pass
the gate, but instead entered Squids's little house and laid their burden
upon his bed. Then Squids saw Little Speller's pale face, and a little
red thread that was vividly tracing its way on the white cheek down from
the temple, and the eyes were closed and the hand hung limp. Squids stood
there motionless a long time, then, turning to the men, he said, with
dull, phlegmatic speech and a veiled appearance of his eyes,

"Was he working it out?"

"He was," said one, "and he forgot himself and got too near the shafting
and it--"

"Yes, yes. He was a-working it out," said Squids mechanically, and with
no intelligence in his eyes. Then suddenly he darted fiercely to the
bedside. Little Speller had opened his eyes. He saw Squids and knew him.

"Thid," he said.

Squids bent over him, but could not speak.

"Thid, I shall never work it out," he whispered.

Then he turned his eyes longingly to the old model across the room, and
then looked imploringly at Squids. The gatekeeper read his wishes. He
pushed the old model up to the bedside. Then Little Speller put one hand
upon it, and with the other outstretched till the palm rested gently upon
Squids's face, he looked up with one peaceful glance and the flicker of a
faint smile, and then the light passed out of Little Speller's eyes
forever.

The men saw what had happened and went quietly away, leaving Squids alone
with Little Speller.

In the afterdays, Squids would sit by the old model, gently speaking to
it, and affectionately causing its mechanism to be put in operation, and
he would say, "Little Speller is in there. He is in a hundred mills. You
can hear him, but I, when I look at this, I can see him, too."



THE FACTS IN THE RATCLIFF CASE


I first met Miss Borgier at a tea party in the town of R--, where I was
attending medical lectures. She was a tall girl, not pretty; her face
would have been insipid but for the peculiar restlessness of her eyes.
They were neither bright nor expressive, yet she kept them so constantly
in motion that they seemed to catch and reflect light from a thousand
sources. Whenever, as rarely happened, she fixed them even for a few
seconds upon one object, the factitious brilliancy disappeared, and they
became dull and somnolent. I am unable to say what was the color of Miss
Borgier's eyes.

After tea, I was one of a group of people whom our host, the Reverend Mr.
Tinker, sought to entertain with a portfolio of photographs of places in
the Holy Land. While endeavoring to appear interested in his descriptions
and explanations, all of which I had heard before, I became aware that
Miss Borgier was honoring me with steady regard. My gaze encountered hers
and I found that I could not, for the life of me, withdraw my own eyes
from the encounter. Then I had a singular experience, the phenomena of
which I noted with professional accuracy. I felt the slight constriction
of the muscles of my face, the numbness of the nerves that precedes
physical stupor induced by narcotic agency. Although I was obliged to
struggle against the physical sense of drowsiness, my mental faculties
were more than ordinarily active. Her eyes seemed to torpify my body
while they stimulated my mind, as opium does. Entirely conscious of my
present surroundings, and particularly alert to the Reverend Mr. Tinker's
narrative of the ride from Joppa, I accompanied him on that journey, not
as one who listens to a traveler's tale, but as one who himself travels
the road. When, finally, we reached the point where the Reverend Mr.
Tinker's donkey makes the last sharp turn around the rock that has been
cutting off the view ahead, and the Reverend Mr. Tinker beholds with
amazement and joy the glorious panorama of Jerusalem spread out before
him, I saw it all with remarkable vividness. I saw Jerusalem in Miss
Borgier's eyes.

I tacitly thanked fortune when her eyes resumed their habitual dance
around the room, releasing me from what had become a rather humiliating
captivity. Once free from their strange influence, I laughed at my
weakness. "Pshawl" I said to myself. "You are a fine subject for a young
woman of mesmeric talents to practice upon."

"Who is Miss Borgier?" I demanded of the Reverend Mr. Tinker's wife, at
the first opportunity.

"Why, she is Deacon Borgier's daughter," replied that good person, with
some surprise.

"And who is Deacon Borgier?"

"A most excellent man; one of the pillars of my husband's congregation.
The young people laugh at what they call his torpidity, and say that he
has been walking about town in his sleep for twenty years; but I assure
you that there is not a sincerer, more fervent Chris--"

I turned abruptly around, leaving Mrs. Tinker more astonished than ever,
for I knew that the subject of my inquiries was looking at me again. She
sat in one corner of the room, apart from the rest of the company. I
straightway went and seated myself at her side.

"That is right," she said. "I wished you to come. Did you enjoy your
journey to Jerusalem?"

"Yes, thanks to you."

"Perhaps. But you can repay the obligation. I am told that you are Dr.
Mack's assistant in surgery at the college. There is a clinic tomorrow. I
want to attend it."

"As a patient?" I inquired.

She laughed. "No, as a spectator. You must find a way to gratify my
curiosity."

I expressed, as politely as possible, my astonishment at so extraordinary
a fancy on the part of a young lady, and hinted at the scandal which her
appearance in the amphitheater would create. She immediately offered to
disguise herself in male attire. I explained that the nature of the
relations between the medical college and the patients who consented to
submit to surgical treatment before the class were such that it would be
a dishonorable thing for me to connive at the admission of any outsider,
male or female. That argument made no impression upon her mind. I was
forced to decline peremptorily to serve her in the affair. "Very well,"
she said. "I must find some other way."

At the clinic the next day I took pains to satisfy myself that Miss
Borgier had not surreptitiously intruded. The students of the class came
in at the hour, noisy and careless as usual, and seated themselves in the
lower tiers of chairs around the operating table. They produced their
notebooks and began to sharpen lead pencils. Miss Borgier was certainly
not among them. Every face in the lecture room was familiar to me. I
locked the door that opened into the hallway, and then searched the
anteroom on the other side of the amphitheater. There were a dozen or
more patients, nervous and dejected, waiting for treatment and attended
by friends hardly less frightened than themselves. But neither Miss
Borgier nor anybody resembling Miss Borgier was of the number.

Dr. Mack now briskly entered by his private door. He glanced sharply at
the table on which his instruments were arranged, ready for use, and,
having assured himself that everything was in its place, began the
clinical lecture. There were the usual minor operations--two or three for
strabismus, one for cataract, the excision of several cysts and tumors,
large and small, the amputation of a railway brakeman's crushed thumb. As
the cases were disposed of, I attended the patients back to the anteroom
and placed them in the care of their friends.

Last came a poor old lady named Wilson, whose leg had been drawn up for
years by a rheumatic affection, so that the joint of the knee had
ossified. It was one of those cases where the necessary treatment is
almost brutal in its simplicity. The limb had to be straightened by the
application of main force. Mrs. Wilson obstinately refused to take
advantage of anesthesia. She was placed on her back upon the operating
table, with a pillow beneath her head. The geniculated limb showed a
deflection of twenty or twenty-five degrees from a right line. As already
remarked, this deflection had to be corrected by direct, forcible
pressure downward upon the knee.

With the assistance of a young surgeon of great physical strength, Dr.
Mack proceeded to apply this pressure. The operation is one of the most
excruciating that can be imagined. I was stationed at the head of the
patient, in order to hold her shoulders should she struggle. But I
observed that a marked change had come over her since we established her
upon the table. Very much agitated at first, she had become perfectly
calm. As she passively lay there, her eyes directed upward with a fixed
gaze, the eyelids heavy as if with approaching slumber, the face
tranquil, it was hard to realize that this woman had already crossed the
threshold of an experience of cruel pain.

I had no time, however, to give more than a thought to her wonderful
courage. The harsh operation had begun. The surgeon and his assistant
were steadily and with increasing force bearing down upon the rigid knee.
Perhaps the Spanish Inquisition never devised a method of inflicting
physical torture more intense than that which this woman was now
undergoing, yet not a muscle of her face quivered. She breathed easily
and regularly, her features retained their placid expression, and, at the
moment when her sufferings must have been the most agonizing, I saw her
eyes close, as if in peaceful sleep.

At the same instant the tremendous force exerted upon the knee produced
its natural effect. The ossified joint yielded, and, with a sickening
noise--the indescribable sound of the crunching and gritting of the bones
of a living person, a sound so frightful that I have seen old surgeons,
with sensibilities hardened by long experience, turn pale at hearing
it--the crooked limb became as straight as its mate.

Closely following this horrible sound, I heard a ringing peal of
laughter.

The operating table, in the middle of the pit of the amphitheater, was
lighted from overhead. Directly above the table, a shaft, five or six
feet square, and closely boarded on its four sides, led up through the
attic story of the building to a skylight in the roof. The shaft was so
deep and so narrow that its upper orifice was visible from no part of the
room except a limited space immediately around the table. The laughter
which startled me seemed to come from overhead. If heard by any other
person present, it was probably ascribed to a hysterical utterance on the
part of the patient. I was in a position to know better. Instinctively I
glanced upward, in the direction in which the eyes of Mrs. Wilson had
been so fixedly bent.

There, framed in a quadrangle of blue sky, I saw the head and neck of
Miss Borgier. The sash of the skylight had been removed, to afford
ventilation. The young woman was evidently lying at full length upon the
fiat roof. She commanded a perfect view of all that was done upon the
operating table. Her face was flushed with eager interest and wore an
expression of innocent wonder, not =mingled with delight. She nodded
merrily to me when I looked up and laid a finger against her lips, as if
to warn me to silence. Disgusted, I withdrew my eyes hastily from hers.
Indeed, after my experience of the previous evening, I did not care to
trust my self-control under the influence of her gaze.

As Dr. Mack with his sharp scissors cut the end of a linen bandage, he
whispered to me: "This is without a parallel. Not a sign of syncope, no
trace of functional disorder. She has dropped quietly into healthy sleep
during an infliction of pain that would drive a strong man mad."

As soon as released from my duties in the lecture room, I made my way to
the roof of the building. As I emerged through the scuttle-way, Miss
Borgier scrambled to her feet and advanced to meet me without manifesting
the slightest discomposure. Her face fairly beamed with pleasure.

"Wasn't it beautiful?" she asked with a smile, extending her hand. "I
heard the bones slowly grinding and crushing!"

I did not take her hand. "How came you here?" I demanded, avoiding her
glance.

"Oh!" said she, with a silvery laugh. "I came early, about sunrise. The
janitor left the door ajar and I slipped in while he was in the cellar.
All the morning I spent in the place where they dissect; and when the
students began to come in downstairs I escaped here to the roof."

"Are you aware, Miss Borgier," I asked, very gravely, "that you have
committed a serious indiscretion, and must be gotten out of the building
as quickly and privately as possible?"

She did not appear to understand. "Very well," she said. "I suppose there
is nothing more to see. I may as well go."

I led her down through the garret, cumbered with boxes and barrels of
unarticulated human bones; through the medical library, unoccupied at
that hour; by a back stairway into and across the great vacant chemical
lecture room; through the anatomical cabinet, full of objects appalling
to the imagination of her sex. I was silent and she said nothing; but her
eyes were everywhere, drinking in the strange surroundings with an
avidity which I could feel without once looking at her. Finally we came
to a basement corridor, at the end of which a door, not often used, gave
egress by an alleyway to the street. It was through this door that
subjects for dissection were brought into the building. I took a bunch of
keys from my pocket and turned the lock. "Your way is clear now," I said.

To my immense astonishment, Miss Borgier, as we stood together at the end
of the dark corridor, threw both arms around my neck and kissed me.

"Good-by," she said, as she disappeared through the half-opened door.

When I awoke the next morning, after sleeping for more than fifteen
hours, I found that I could not raise my head from the pillow without
nausea. The symptoms were exactly like those which mark the effects of an
overdose of laudanum.


II


I have thought it due to myself and to my professional reputation to
recount these facts before briefly speaking of my recent testimony as an
expert, in the Ratcliff murder trial, the character of my relations with
the accused having been persistently misrepresented.

The circumstances of that celebrated case are no doubt still fresh in the
recollection of the public. Mr. John L. Ratcliff, a wealthy, middle-aged
merchant of Boston, came to St. Louis with his young bride, on their
wedding journey. His sudden death at the Planters' Hotel, followed by the
arrest of his wife, who was entirely without friends or acquaintances in
the city, her indictment for murder by poisoning, the conflict of medical
testimony at the trial, and the purely circumstantial nature of the
evidence against the prisoner, attracted general attention and excited
public interest to a degree that was quite extraordinary.

It will be remembered that the state proved that the relations of Mr. and
Mrs. Ratcliff, as observed by the guests and servants of the hotel, were
not felicitous; that he rarely spoke to her at table, habitually averting
his face in her presence; that he wandered aimlessly about the hotel for
several days previous to his illness, apparently half stupefied, as if by
the oppression of some heavy mental burden, and that when accosted by
anyone connected with the house he started as if from a dream, and
answered incoherently if at all.

It was also shown that, by her husband's death, Mrs. Ratcliff became the
sole mistress of a large fortune.

The evidence bearing directly upon the circumstances of Mr. Ratcliff's
death was very clear. For twenty-four hours before a physician was
summoned, no one had access to him save his wife. At dinner that day, in
response to the polite inquiry of a lady neighbor at table, Mrs. Ratcliff
announced, with great self-possession, that her husband was seriously
indisposed. Soon after eleven o'clock at night, Mrs. Ratcliff rang her
bell, and, without the least agitation of manner, remarked that her
husband appeared to be dying, and that it might be well to send for a
physician. Dr. Culbert, who arrived within a very few minutes, found Mr.
Ratcliff in a profound stupor, breathing stertorously. He swore at the
trial that when he first entered the room the prisoner, pointing to the
bed, coolly said, "I suppose that I have killed him."

Dr. Culbert's testimony seemed to point unmistakably to poisoning by
laudanum or morphine. The unconscious man's pulse was full but slow; his
skin cold and pallid; the expression of his countenance placid, yet
ghastly pale; lips livid. Coma had already supervened, and it was
impossible to rouse him. The ordinary expedients were tried in vain.
Flagellation of the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet,
electricity applied to the head and spine, failed to make any impression
on his lethargy. The eyelids being forcibly opened, the pupils were seen
to be contracted to the size of pinheads, and violently turned inward.
Later, the stertorous breathing developed into the ominously loud rattle
of mucous in the trachea; there were convulsions, attended by copious
frothings at the mouth; the under jaw fell upon the breast; and paralysis
and death followed, four hours after Dr. Culbert's arrival.

Several of the most eminent practitioners of the city, put upon the stand
by the prosecution, swore that, in their opinion, the symptoms noted by
Dr. Culbert not only indicated opium poisoning, but could have resulted
from no other cause.

On the other hand, the state absolutely failed to show either that opium
in any form had been purchased by Mrs. Ratcliff in St. Louis, or that
traces of opium in any form were found in the room after the event. It is
true that the prosecuting attorney, in his closing argument, sought to
make the latter circumstance tell against the prisoner. He argued that
the disappearance of any vessel containing or having contained laudanum,
in view of the positive evidence that laudanum had been employed, served
to establish a deliberate intention of murder and to demolish any theory
of accidental poisoning that the defense might attempt to build; and he
propounded half a dozen hypothetical methods by which Mrs. Ratcliff might
have disposed, in advance, of this evidence of her crime. The court, of
course, in summing up, cautioned the jury against attaching weight to
these hypotheses of the prosecuting attorney.

The court, however, put much emphasis on the medical testimony for the
prosecution, and on the calm declaration of Mrs. Ratcliff to Dr. Culbert,
"I suppose that I have killed him."

Having conducted the autopsy, and afterward made a qualitative analysis
of the contents of the dead man's stomach, I was put upon the stand as a
witness for the defense.

Then I saw the prisoner for the first time in more than five years. When
I had taken the oath and answered the preliminary questions, Mrs.
Ratcliff raised the veil which she had worn since the trial began, and
looked me in the face with the well-remembered eyes of Miss Borgier.

I confess that my behavior during the first few moments of surprise
afforded some ground for the reports that were afterward current
concerning my relations with the prisoner. Her eyes chained not only
mine, but my tongue also. I saw Jerusalem again, and the face framed in
blue sky peering down into the amphitheater of the old medical college.
It was only after a struggle which attracted the attention of judge,
jury, bar, and spectators that I was able to proceed with my testimony.

That testimony was strong for the accused. My knowledge of the case was
wholly post-mortem. It began with the autopsy. Nothing had been found
that indicated poisoning by laudanum or by any other agent. There was no
morbid appearance of the intestinal canal; no fullness of the cerebral
vessels, no serous effusion. Every appearance that would have resulted
from death by poison was wanting in the subject. That, of course, was
merely negative evidence. But, furthermore, my chemical analysis had
proved the absence of the poison in the system. The opium odor could not
be detected. I bad tested for morphine with nitric acid, permuriate of
iron, chromate of potash, and, most important of all, iodic acid. I had
tested again for meconic acid with the permuriate of iron. I had tested
by Lassaigne's process, by Dublane's, and by Flandin's. As far as the
resources of organic chemistry could avail, I had proved that,
notwithstanding the symptoms of Mr. Ratcliff's case before death, death
had not resulted from laudanum or any other poison known to science.

The questions by the prosecuting counsel as to my previous acquaintance
with the prisoner, I was able to answer truthfully in a manner that did
not shake the force of my medical testimony. And it was chiefly on the
strength of this testimony that the jury, after a short deliberation,
returned a verdict of not guilty.

Did I swear falsely? No; for science bore me out in every assertion. I
knew that not a drop of laudanum or a grain of morphine had passed
Ratcliff's lips. Ought I to have declared my belief regarding the true
cause of the man's death, and told the story of my previous observations
of Miss Borgier's case? No; for no court of justice would have listened
to that story for a single moment. I knew that the woman did not murder
her husband. Yet I believed and knew--as surely as we can know anything
where the basis of ascertained fact is slender and the laws obscure--that
she poisoned him, poisoned him to death with her eyes.

I think that it will be generally conceded by the profession that I am
neither a sensationalist nor prone to lose my self-command in the mazes
of physico-psychologic speculation. I make the foregoing assertion
deliberately, fully conscious of all that it implies.

What was the mystery of the noxious influence which this woman exerted
through her eyes? What was the record of her ancestry, the secret of
predisposition in her case? By what occult process of evolution did her
glance derive the toxical effect of the papaver somniferum? How did she
come to be a Woman-Poppy? I cannot yet answer these questions. Perhaps I
shall never be able to answer them.

But if there is need of further proof of the sincerity of my denial of
any sentiment on my part which might have led me to shield Mrs. Ratcliff
by perjury, I may say that I have now in my possession a letter from her,
written after her acquittal, proposing to endow me with her fortune and
herself; as well as a copy of my reply, respectfully declining the offer.



THE STORY OF THE DELUGE


THE REMARKABLE DISCOVERIES OF MR. GEORGE SMITH

Interesting Particulars Respecting the Translations of the Assyrian
Tablets in the British Museum--Newly Discovered Facts About the Flood and
Noah, Together with Some Light on the History of the Senator from Maine
and the Settlement of Brooklyn.

Boston, April 26--Mr. Jacob Rounds of London, one of the assistant
curators of the British Museum, in a private letter to a distinguished
Orientalist of this city, gives some interesting particulars regarding
the progress which has been made in the arrangement and translation of
the sculptured tablets and lateres coctiles brought from Assyria and
Chaldea by Mr. George Smith. The results of the past three or four months
are gratifying in the extreme. The work, which was begun three quarters
of a century ago by Grotefend, and pursued by archaeologists such as
Rask, St. Martin, Klaproth, Oppert, and the indefatigable Rawlinson, each
of whom was satisfied if he carried it forward a single step, has been
pushed far and fast by Mr. George Smith and his scholarly associates. The
Assyrio-Babylonian cuneiforms, the third and most complicated branch of
the trilogy, may fairly be said to have found their Oedipus.

The riddles of Accad and of Sumir are read at last. The epigraphs on
tablets dug from the earth and rubbish of the Ninevite mounds are now
translated by Mr. George Smith as readily as Professor Whitney translates
Greek, or a fifth-term schoolboy, the fable of the man and the viper.

It is not many years since the learned Witte declared that these
sphenographic characters, arranged so neatly upon the slabs of gray
alabaster, or the carefully prepared surface of clay--like specimen
arrowheads in the museum of some ancient war department--were entirely
without alphabetic significance, mere whimsical ornaments, or perhaps the
trail of worms! But their exegesis has been perfected. The mounds of
Nimroud, and Kouyunjik, and Khorsabad, and Nebbi Yunus have yielded up
their precious treasures, and are now revealing, page by page, the early
history of our globe.

Mr. Smith and Mr. Rounds are both confirmed in the belief, first
entertained by Westergaarde, that the cuneiform character is closely akin
to the Egyptian demotic; and also that its alphabet--which contains over
four hundred signs, some syllable, some phonetic, and some
ideographic--is of the most complicated and arbitrary nature. As already
intimated, the inscriptions which Mr. Smith and his colaborers have
deciphered are in the primitive or Babylonian character, which is much
more obscure than either of its successors and modifications, the
so-called Persian and Median cunei.

SENNACHERIB'S LIBRARY

The slabs of the greatest interest and importance were those found buried
in the famous Kouyunjik mound, first opened in 1843 by M. Paul Emile
Botta, and subsequently explored by Layard himself.

The inscriptions are mostly upon clay, and seem to have constituted the
walls of the great library of Assurbanipal in Sennacherib's palace.
Sennacherib was probably a monarch of a nautical turn of mind, for a
large portion of the inscriptions illustrate the history of the flood and
the voyage of Noah, or of Nyab, his Assyrian counterpart, who also
corresponds, in some particulars, with the Deucalion of the Grecian
myths. Piece by piece and fragment by fragment the diluvian narrative has
been worked out, until it stands complete, a distinct episode in the vast
epic which Mr. George Smith is engaged in reconstructing. Mr. Rounds may
certainly be pardoned for the naturally enthusiastic terms in which he
speaks of these labors.

And well may he be proud. These men in the British Museum are
successfully compiling, brick by brick, what they claim to be a complete
encyclopedia of sacred and profane history, beginning with the conception
of matter and the birth of mind. Their extraordinary researches have
placed them upon a pedestal of authority, from which they now gravely
pronounce their approval of the Holy Scriptures, and even stoop to pat
Moses on the head and to tell him that his inspired version was very
nearly correct.

So graphic is the account of the adventures of Nyab, or Noah as he may
more conveniently be called; so clear is the synopsis of his method of
navigation; so startling are the newly discovered facts regarding the Ark
and its passengers, that I am tempted to avail myself of the kind
permission of the Boston savant who has the honor to be Mr. Rounds's
esteemed correspondent, and to transcribe somewhat in detail, for the
benefit of your readers, the extraordinary story of the flood as told by
the Assyrian cuneiforms--cryptograms for four thousand years until the
genius of a Smith unveiled the mystery of their meaning.

THE RISING OF THE WATERS

Mr. Smith ascertains from these inscriptions that when Noah began to
build his Ark and prophesy a deluge, the prevailing opinion was that he
was either a lunatic or a shrewd speculator who proposed, by his glowing
predictions and appearance of perfect sincerity, so to depreciate real
estate that he might buy, through his brokers, to any extent at prices
merely nominal.

Even after the lowlands were submerged, and it was apparent that there
was to be a more than usually wet season, Noah's wicked neighbors were
accustomed to gather for no other purpose than to deride the ungainly
architecture of the Ark and to question its sailing qualities. They were
not wanting who asserted that the Thing would roll over at the first puff
of wind like a too heavily freighted tub. So people came from far and
near to witness and laugh at the discomfiture of the aged patriarch.

But there was no occasion for ridicule. The Ark floated like a cork. Noah
dropped his center board and stood at the helm waving graceful adieus to
his wicked contemporaries, while the good vessel caught a fresh southerly
breeze and moved on like a thing of life. There is nothing whatever in
the Assyrian account to confirm the tradition that Noah accelerated the
motion of the Ark by raising his own coattails. This would have been an
unnecessary as well as undignified proceeding. The tall house on deck
afforded sufficient resistance to the wind to drive the Ark along at a
very respectable rate of speed.

NOAH AS A NAVIGATOR

After the first novelty of the situation had worn off, and there was no
longer the satisfaction of kindly but firmly refusing applications for
passage, and seeing the lately derisive people scrambling for high land,
only to be eventually caught by and swallowed up in the roaring waters,
the voyage was a vexatious and disagreeable one. The Ark at the best was
an unwieldy craft. She fell off from the wind frightfully, and almost
invariably missed stays. Every choppy sea hammered roughly upon her flat
bottom, making all on board so seasick as to wish that they too had been
wicked, and sunk with the crowd.

Inside the miserable shanty which served for a cabin, birds, beasts, and
human beings were huddled promiscuously together. One of the deluge
tablets says, not without a touch of pathos: "It was extremely
uncomfortable [amakharsyar] to sleep with a Bengal tiger glaring at one
from a corner, and a hedgehog nestled up close against one's bare legs.
But it was positively dangerous when the elephant became restless, or the
polar bear took offense at some fancied slight."

I will not anticipate Mr. Smith's detailed account of the cruise of the
Ark. He has gathered data for a complete chart of Noah's course during
the many months of the voyage. The tortuous nature of the route pursued
and the eccentricity of Noah's great circle sailing are proof that the
venerable navigator, under the depressing influence of his surroundings,
had frequent recourse to ardent spirits, an infirmity over which we, his
descendants, should drop the veil of charity and of silence.

EXTRACT FROM NOAH'S LOG

The most astounding discovery of all, however, is a batch of tablets
giving an actual and literal transcript from Noah's logbook. The journal
of the voyage--which Noah, as a prudent navigator, doubtless kept with
considerable care--was probably bequeathed to Shem, eldest born and
executive officer of the Ark. Portions of the log, it may be, were handed
down from generation to generation among the Semitic tribes; and Mr.
Rounds does not hesitate to express his opinion that these tablets in the
British Museum were copied directly from the original entries made in the
ship's book by Noah or Shem.

He sends to his Boston correspondent early proofs of some of the
lithographic facsimiles which are to illustrate Mr. Smith's forthcoming
work, An Exhaustive History of the Flood and of the Noachic Voyage. They
should bear in mind that the inscription reads from left to right, and
not, like Arabic and numerous other Semitic languages, from right to
left.

Expressed in the English character, this inscription would read as
follows:

...dahyarva saka ormudzi...fraharram athura uvatish...kia rich thyar
avalna nyasadayram okanaus mana frabara ...gathava Hambi Humin
khaysathryam nam Buhmi...pasara ki hi baga Jethyths paruvnam oazarka...
Rhsayarsha ...

Such progress has been made in the interpretation of the Aramaic dialects
that it is comparatively an easy matter for Mr. Rounds to put this into
our vernacular, which he does as follows, supplying certain hiatuses to
the inscription where the connection is obvious:

SCOW "AHK," LATITUDE 44 15', LONGITUDE...Water falling rapidly. Ate our
last pterodactyl yesterday...Hambl Hamin [Hannibal Hamlin!] down with
scurvy. Must put him ashore...THURS, 7TH. Bitter ale and mastodons all
gone. Mrs. Japheth's had another pair of twins. All well.

The importance of this scrap of diluvian history can hardly be
overestimated. It throws light on three or four points which have been
little understood hitherto. Having viewed the subject in all its
bearings, and having compared the extract here quoted with numberless
other passages which I have not time to give, Mr. Smith and Mr. Rounds
arrive at the following

IMPORTANT CONCLUSIONS

I. When this entry was made in the logbook by Noah (or Shem ) the Ark was
somewhere off the coast of Maine. The latitude warrants this inference;
the longitude is unfortunately wanting. Parallel proof that Noah visited
the shores of North America is to be found in the old ballad, founded on
a Habbinical tradition, where mention is made of Barnegat. The singular
error which locates Ararat just three miles south of Barnegat is
doubtless due to some confusion in Noah's logarithms--the natural result
of his unfortunate personal habits.

II. "Ate our last pterodactyl yesterday...Bitter ale and mastodons all
gone." There we have a simple solution of a problem which has long
puzzled science. The provisions stowed away in the Ark did not prove
sufficient for the unexpectedly protracted voyage. Hard-pressed for food,
Noah and his family were obliged to fall back on the livestock. They
devoured the larger and more esculent animals in the collection. The only
living specimens of the icthyosaurus, the dodo, the silurian, the
pleisosaurus, the mastodon, were eaten up by the hungry excursionists. We
can therefore explain the extinction of certain species, which, as
geology teaches us, existed in antediluvian times. Were this revelation
the only result of Mr. Smith's researches he would not have dug in vain.
Mr. Rounds justly observes that the allusion to bitter ale affords strong
presumptive evidence that this entry in the log was made by the hand of
no other than Noah himself!

III. The allusion to the interesting increase of Japheth's family shows
that woman--noble woman, who always rises to the occasion--was doing her
utmost to repair the breaches made in the earth's population by the
whelming waters. The phrase hibaga may possibly signify triplets; but Mr.
Smith, with that conservatism and repugnance to sensation which ever
characterize the true archaeologist, prefers to be on the safe side and
call it twins.

HANNIBAL HAMLIN THE ORIGINAL HAM

IV. We now come to a conclusion which is as startling as it is
inevitable. It connects the Honorable Hannibal Hamlin with the diluvian
epoch, and thus with the other long-lived patriarchs who flourished
before the flood. Antiquarians have long suspected that the similarity
between the names Ham and Hamlin was something more than a coincidence.
The industry of a Smith has discovered among the Assyrian ruins the
medial link which makes the connection perfectly apparent. Ham, the
second son of Noah, is spoken of in these records from Kouyunjik as Hambl
Hamin; and no candid mind can fail to see that the extreme antiquity of
the senator from Maine is thus very clearly established!

"Hambl Hamin down with the scurvy. Must put him ashore." Buhmi literally
signifies earth, dirt: and the phrase nam Buhmi is often used in these
inscriptions in the sense of to put in the earth, or bury. This can
hardly be the meaning here, however, for the Ark was still afloat. Nam
Buhmi can therefore hardly be construed otherwise than "put ashore."

Note the significance. The Ark is beating up and down, off the coast of
Maine, waiting for a nor'west wind. Poor Ham, or Hambl Hamin, as he
should properly be called, has reason to regret his weakness for maritime
excursions and naval junketing parties. The lack of fresh vegetables, and
a steady diet of corned mastodon, have told upon his system. Poor Hambl!
When he was collector of a Mediterranean port just before the flood, he
was accustomed to have green peas and asparagus franked him daily from
the Garden of Eden. But now the franking privilege has been abrogated,
and the Garden of Eden is full forty fathoms under the brine. Everything
is salt. His swarthy face grows pale and haggard. His claw-hammer coat
droops upon an attenuated frame. He chews his cherrot moodily as he
stands upon the hurricane deck of the Ark with his thumbs in his vest
pocket, and thinks that he can hold office on this earth but little
longer. His gums begin to soften. He shows the ravages of the scurvy. And
Noah, therefore, after considerable argument--for Hambl is reluctant to
get out of any place he has once got into--nam Buhmi's him--puts him
ashore.

We have no further record of Hambl Hamin, but it is perfectly reasonable
to assume that after being landed on the rocky coast of Maine he
subsisted upon huckleberries until sufficiently recovered from the
scurvy, then sailed up the Penobscot upon a log, founded the ancient
village of Ham-den, which he named after himself, and was immediately
elected to some public position.

AN OPPOSITION ARK

In Mr. Rounds's long and profoundly interesting communication I have, I
fear, an embarras de richesses. From the many curious legends which Mr.
Smith has deciphered, I shall select only one more, and shall deal
briefly with that. It is the story of an opposition ark.

At the time of the flood there lived a certain merchant named Brith, who
had achieved a competence in the retail grocery business. In fact, he was
an antediluvian millionaire. Brith had been converted from heathenism by
the exceedingly effective preaching of Noah, but had subsequently
backslidden. When it began to thunder and lighten, however, and to grow
black in the northeast, Brith professed recurring symptoms of piety. He
came down to the gangway plank and applied for passage for himself and
family. Noah, who was checking off the animals on the back of an old tax
bill, sternly refused to entertain any such idea. Brith had recently
defeated him for the Common Council.

The worthy grocer's money now stood him in good stead. He did the most
sensible thing possible under the circumstances. He built an ark for
himself, painted in big letters along the side the words: "The Only Safe
Plan of Universal Navigation!" and named it the Toad. The Toad was
fashioned after the model of the Ark, and there being no copyright in
those days, Noah could only hope that it might prove unseaworthy.

In the Toad, Brith embarked his wife Briatha, his two daughters, Phessar
and Barran, his sons-in-law, Lampra and Pinnyish, and a select assortment
of beasts hardly inferior to that collected by Noah himself. Lampra and
Pinnyish, sly dogs, persuaded fifty of the most beautiful women they
could find to come along with them.

Brith was not so good a sailor as Noah. He put to sea full forty days too
soon. He lost his dead reckoning and beat around the ocean for the space
of seven years and a quarter, living mostly upon the rats that infested
the Toad. Brith had foolishly neglected to provision his craft for a long
voyage.

After this protracted sailing, the passengers and crew of the Toad
managed to make a landing one rainy evening and took ashore, with
themselves, their baggage and a coon and dromedary, the sole surviving
relics of their proud menagerie. Once on terra firma, the three men
separated, having drawn up a tripartite covenant of perpetual amity and
divided up the stock of wives. Brith took eighteen, Lampra took eighteen,
and Pinnyish, who seems to have been an easygoing sort of fellow, too
lazy to quarrel, had to be satisfied with the seventeen that remained.

Tablets from Nebbi Yunus throw some light on the interesting question as
to the landing place of this party. Khayarta certainly means island, and
Dyinim undeniably signifies long. Perhaps, therefore, Mr. Rounds is
justified in his opinion that the Toad dropped anchor in Wallabout Bay,
and that Brooklyn and the Plymouth society owe their origin to this
singular expedition.



THE PROFESSOR'S EXPERIMENT


The red wine of Affenthal has this quality, that one half-bottle makes
you kind but firm, two make you talkative and obstinate, and three,
recklessly unreasonable.

If the waiter at the Prinz Carl in Heidelberg had possessed a soul above
drink-money, he might have calculated accurately the effect of the six
half-bottles of Affenthaler which he fetched to the apartment of the
Reverend Dr. Bellglory at the six o'clock dinner for three. That is to
say, he might have deduced this story in advance by observation of the
fact that of the six half-bottles one was consumed by Miss Blanche
Bellglory, two went to the Reverend Doctor, her father, while the
remaining moiety fell to the share of young Strout, remotely of New York
and immediately of Professor Schwank's psycho-neurological section in the
university.

So when in the course of the evening the doctor fell asleep in his chair,
and young Strout took opportunity to put to Miss Blanche a question which
he had already asked her twice, once at Saratoga Springs and once in New
York city, she returned the answer he had heard on two former occasions,
but in terms even more firm, while not less kind than before. She
declared her unalterable determination to abide by her parent's wishes.

This was not exactly pleasing to young Strout. He knew better than
anybody else that, while approving him socially and humanly, the doctor
abhorred his opinions. "No man," the doctor had repeatedly said, "who
denies the objective verity of knowledge derived from intuition or
otherwise by subjective methods--no man who pushes noumena aside in his
impetuous pursuit of phenomena can make a safe husband for my child."

He said the same thing again in a great many words and with much
emphasis, after he awoke from his nap, Miss Blanche having discreetly
withdrawn.

"But, my dear Doctor," urged Strout, "this is an affair of the heart, not
of metaphysics; and you leave for Nuremberg tomorrow, and now is my last
chance."

"You are an excellent young man in several respects," rejoined the
doctor. "Abjure your gross materialism and Blanche is yours with all my
heart. Your antecedents are unexceptionable, but you are intellectually
impregnated with the most dangerous heresy of this or any other age. If I
should countenance it by giving you my daughter, I could never look the
Princeton faculty in the face."

"It appears to me that this doesn't concern the Princeton faculty in the
least," persisted Strout. "It concerns Blanche and me."

Here, then, were three people, two of them young and in love with each
other, divided by a question of metaphysics, the most abstract and
useless question that ever wasted human effort. But that same question
divided the schools of Europe for centuries and contributed largely to
the list of martyrs for opinion's sake. The famous old controversy was
now taken up by the six half-bottles of Affenthaler, three of them
stoutly holding ground against the other three.

"No argument in the world," said the doctor's two half-bottles, "can
shake my decision"; and off he went to sleep again.

"No amount of coaxing," said Miss Blanche's half-bottle, two hours later
in the evening, "can make me act contrary to Papa's wishes. But,"
continued the half-bottle in a whisper, "I am sorry he is so stubborn."

"I don't believe it," retorted Strout's three half-bottles. "You have no
more heart than one of your father's non-individualized ideas. You are
not real flesh and blood like other women. You are simply Extension, made
up of an aggregate of concepts, and assuming to be Entity, and imposing
your unreal existence upon a poor Devil like me. You are unreal, I say. A
flaw in logic, an error of the senses, a fallacy in reasoning, a
misplaced premise, and what becomes of you? Puff! Away you go into all.
If it were otherwise, you would care for me. What a fool I am to love
you! I might as well love a memory, a thought, a dream, a mathematical
formula, a rule of syntax, or anything else that lacks objective
existence."

She said nothing, but the tears came into her eyes.

"Good-by, Blanche," he continued at the door, pulling his hat over his
eyes and not observing the look of pain and bewilderment that clouded her
fair face--"Heaven bless you when your father finally marries you to a
syllogism!"

II

Strout went whistling from the Prinz Carl Hotel toward his rooms in the
Plckstrasse. He reviewed his parting with Blanche. "So much the better,
perhaps," he said to himself. "One dream less in life, and more room for
realities." By the clock in the market place he saw that it was half-past
nine, for the full moon hanging high above the Knigstuhle flooded the
town and valley with light. Up on the side of the hill the gigantic ruin
of the old castle stood boldly out from among the trees.

He stopped whistling and gritted his teeth.

"Pshaw!" he said aloud, "one can't take off his convictions like a pair
of uncomfortable boots. After all, love is nothing more nor less than the
disintegration and recombination of certain molecules of the brain or
marrow, the exact laws governing which have not yet been ascertained." So
saying, he ran plump into a portly individual coming down the street.

"Hallo! Herr Strout," said the jolly voice of Professor Schwank. "Whither
are you going so fast, and what kind of physiology talk you to the moon?"

"I am walking off three half-bottles of your cursed Affenthaler, which
have gone to my feet, Herr Professor," replied Strout, "and I am making
love to the moon. It's an old affair between us."

"And your lovely American friend?" demanded the fat professor, with a
chuckle.

"Departs by the morning train," replied Strout gravely.

"Himmelshitzen!" exclaimed the professor. "And grief has blinded you so
that you plunge into the abdomens of your elders? But come with me to my
room, and smoke yourself into a philosophic frame of mind."

Professor Schwank's apartments faced the university buildings in the
Ludwig-platz. Established in a comfortable armchair, with a pipe of
excellent tobacco in his mouth, Strout felt more at peace with his
environment. He was now in an atmosphere of healthful, practical,
scientific activity that calmed his soul. Professor Schwank had gone
further than the most eminent of his contemporaries in demonstrating the
purely physiological basis of mind and thought. He had gotten nearer than
any other man in Europe to the secrets of the nerve aura, the penetralia
of the brain, the memory scars of the ganglia. His position in philosophy
was the antipodes of that occupied by the Reverend Dr. Bellglory, for
example. The study reflected the occupations of the man. In one corner
stood an enormous Ruhmkorff coil. Books were scattered everywhere--on
shelves, on tables, on chairs, on the floor. A plaster bust of Aristotle
looked across the room into the face of a plaster bust of Leibnitz.
Prints of Gall, of Pappenheim, of Leeuwenhoek, hung upon the walls.
Varnished dissections and wet preparations abounded. In a glass vessel on
the table at Strout's elbow, the brain of a positivist philosopher
floated in yellow alcohol: near it, also suspended in spirits, swung the
medulla oblongata of a celebrated thief.

The appearance of the professor himself, as he sat in his arm-chair
opposite Strout, serenely drawing clouds of smoke from the amber
mouthpiece of his long porcelain pipe, was of the sort which, by
promising sympathy beforehand, seduces reserve into confidential
utterances. Not only his rosy face, with its fringe of yellow beard, but
his whole mountainous body seemed to beam on Strout with friendly good
will. He looked like the refuge of a broken heart. Drawn out in spite of
himself by the professor's kindly, attentive smile and discreet
questions, Strout found satisfaction in unbosoming his troubles. The
professor, smoking in silence, listened patiently to the long story. If
Strout had been less preoccupied with his own woes he might, perhaps,
have discovered that behind the friendly interest that glimmered on the
glasses of the professor's gold-bowed spectacles, a pair of small,
steel-gray eyes were observing him with the keen, unrelenting coldness of
scientific scrutiny.

"You have seen, Herr Professor," said Strout in conclusion, "that the
case is hopeless."

"My dear fellow," replied the professor, "I see nothing of the kind."

"But it is a matter of conviction," explained Strout. "One cannot
renounce the truth even to gain a wife. She herself would despise me if I
did."

"In this world everything is true and nothing is true," replied the
professor sententiously. "You must change your convictions." "That is
impossible!"

The professor blew a great cloud of smoke and regarded the young man with
an expression of pity and surprise. It seemed to Strout that Aristotle
and Leibnitz, Leeuwenhoek, Pappenheim, and Gall were all looking down
upon him with pity and surprise.

"Impossible did you say?" remarked Professor Schwank. "On the contrary,
my dear boy, nothing is easier than to change one's convictions. In the
present advanced condition of surgery, it is a matter of little
difficulty."

Strout looked at his respected instructor in blank amazement. "What you
call your convictions," continued the savant, "are matters of mental
constitution, depending on adventitious circumstances. You are a
positivist, an idealist, a skeptic, a mystic, a what-not, why? Because
nature, predisposition, the assimilation of bony elements, have made your
skull thicker in one place, thinner in another. The cranial wall presses
too close upon the brain in one spot; you sneer at the opinions of your
friend, Dr. Bellglory. It cramps the development of the tissues in
another spot; you deny faith a place in philosophy. I assure you, Herr
Strout, we have discovered and classified already the greater part of the
physical causes determining and limiting belief, and are fast reducing
the system to the certainty of science."

"Granting all that," interposed Strout, whose head was swimming under the
combined influence of Affenthaler, tobacco smoke, and startling new
ideas, "I fail to see how it helps my case. Unfortunately, the bone of my
skull is no longer cartilage, like an infant's. You cannot mold my
intellect by means of compresses and bandages."

"Ah! there you touch my professional pride," cried Schwank. "If you would
only put yourself into my hands!"

"And what then?"

"Then," replied the professor with enthusiasm, "I should remodel your
intellect to suit the emergency. How, you ask? If a blow on the head had
driven a splinter of bone down upon the gray matter overlaying the
cerebrum, depriving you of memory, the power of language, or some other
special faculty, as the case might be, how should I proceed? I should
raise a section of the bone and remove the pressure. Just so when the
physical conformation of the cranium limits your capacity to understand
and credit the philosophy which your American theologian insists upon in
his son-in-law. I remove the pressure. I give you a charming wife, while
science gains a beautiful and valuable fact. That is what I offer you,
Herr Strout!"

"In other words--" began Strout.

"In other words, I should trephine you," shouted the professor, jumping
from his chair and no longer attempting to conceal his eagerness.

"Well, Herr Professor," said Strout slowly, after a long pause, during
which he had endeavored to make out why the pictured face of Gall seemed
to wear a look of triumph "--Well, Herr Professor, I consent to the
operation. Trephine me at once--tonight."

The professor feebly demurred to the precipitateness of this course. "The
necessary preparations," he urged. "Need not occupy five minutes,"
replied Strout. "Tomorrow I shall have changed my mind."

This suggestion was enough to impel the professor to immediate action.
"You will allow me," asked he, "to send for my esteemed colleague in the
university, the Herr Dr. Anton Diggelmann?" Strout assented. "Do anything
that you think needful to the success of the experiment."

Professor Schwank rang. "Fritz," said he to the stupid-faced Black
Forester who answered the bell, "run across the square and ask Dr.
Diggelmann to come to me immediately. Request him to bring his surgical
case and sulphuric ether. If you find the doctor, you need not return."

Acting on a sudden impulse, Strout seized a sheet of paper that lay on
the professor's table and hastily wrote a few words. "Here!" he said,
tossing the servant a gold piece of ten marks. "Deliver this note at the
Prince Carl in the morning--mind you, in the morning."

The note which he had written was this:

Blanche: When you receive this I shall have solved the problem in one way
or another. I am about to be trephined under the superintendence of my
friend Professor Schwank. If the intellectual obstacle to our union is
removed by the operation, I shall follow you to Bavaria and Switzerland.
If the operation results otherwise, think sometimes kindly of your
unfortunate

G.S.
Ludwig-platz; 10:30 P.M.

Fritz faithfully delivered the message to Dr. Diggelmann, and then hied
toward the nearest wine shop. His gold piece dazed him. "A nice, liberal
gentleman that!" he thought. "Ten marks for carrying the letter to the
Prinz Carl in the morning--ten marks, a thousand pfennige; beer at five
pfennige the glass, two hundred glasses!" The immensity of the prospect
filled him with joy. How might he manifest his gratitude? He reflected,
and an idea struck him. "I will not wait till morning," he thought. "I
will deliver the gentleman's letter tonight, at once. He will say,
'Fritz, you are a prompt fellow. You do even better than you are told.'"

III

Strout was stretched upon a reclining chair, his coat and waistcoat off.
Professor Schwank stood over him. In his hand was a hollow cone, rolled
from a newspaper. He held the cone by the apex: the broad aperture at the
base was closely pressed against Strout's face, covering all but his eyes
and forehead.

"By long, steady, regular inspiration," said the professor, in a
soothing, monotonous voice. "That is right; that is right;
thatis--right--there--there--there!"

With every inhalation Strout drew in the pleasant, tingling coldness of
the ether fumes. At first his breathing was forced: at the end of each
inspiration he experienced for an instant a sensation as if mighty waters
were rushing through his brain. Gradually the period of the rushing
sensation extended itself, until it began with the beginning of each
breath. Then the ether seemed to seize possession of his breathing, and
to control the expansions and contractions of his chest independently of
his own will. The ether breathed for him. He surrendered himself to its
influence with a feeling of delight. The rushings became rhythmic, and
the intervals shorter and shorter. His individuality seemed to be wrapped
up in the rushings, and to be borne to and fro in their tremendous flux
and reflux. "I shall be gone in one second more," he thought, and his
consciousness sank in the whirling flood.

Professor Schwank nodded to Dr. Diggelmann. The doctor nodded back to the
professor.

Dr. Diggelmann was a dry little old man, who weighed hardly more than a
hundred pounds. He wore a black wig, too large for his head. His eyes
were deep set under corrugated brows, while strongly marked lines running
from the corners of his nostrils to the corners of his mouth gave his
face a lean, sardonic expression, in striking contrast with the jolly
rotundity of Professor Schwank's visage. Dr. Diggelmann was taciturn but
observant. At the professor's nod, he opened his case of surgical
instruments and selected a scalpel with a keen curved blade, and also a
glittering piece of steel which looked like an exaggerated auger bit with
a gimlet handle. Having satisfied himself that these instruments were in
good condition, he deliberately rolled up the sleeves of his coat and
approached the unconscious Strout.

"About on the median line, just behind the junction of the corona' and
sagittal sutures," whispered Professor Schwank eagerly.

"Yes. I know--I know," replied Diggelmann.

He was on the point of cutting away with his scalpel some of the brown
hair that encumbered operations on the top of Strout's head, when the
door was quickly opened from the outside and a young lady, attended by a
maid, entered without ceremony.

"I am Blanche Bellglory," the young lady announced to the astonished
savants, as soon as she had recovered her breath. "I have come to--"

At this moment she perceived the motionless form of Strout upon the
reclining chair, while the gleaming steel in Dr. Diggelmann's hand caught
her alert eyes. She uttered a little shriek and ran toward the group.

"Oh, this is terrible!" she cried. "I am too late, and you have already
killed him."

"Calm yourself, I beg you," said the polite professor. "No circumstance
is terrible to which we are indebted for a visit from so charming a young
lady."

"So great an honor!" added Dr. Diggelmann, grinning diabolically and
rubbing his hands.

"And Herr Strout," continued the professor, "is unfortunately not yet
trephined. As you entered, we were about beginning the operation."

Miss Bellglory gave a sob of relief and sank into a chair.

In a few well-chosen words the professor explained the theory of his
experiment, dwelling especially upon the effect it was expected to have
on the fortunes of the young people. When he finished, the American
girl's eyes were full of tears, but the firm lines of her mouth showed
that she had already resolved upon her own course.

"How noble in him," she exclaimed, "to submit to be trephined for my
sake! But that must not be. I can't consent to have his poor, dear head
mutilated. I should never forgive myself. The trouble all originates from
my decision not to marry him without Papa's approval. With my present
views of duty, I cannot alter that decision. But don't you think," she
continued, dropping her voice to a whisper, "that if you should trephine
me, I might see my duty in a different light?"

"It is extremely probable, my dear young lady," replied the professor,
throwing a significant glance at Dr. Diggelmann, who responded with the
faintest wink imaginable.

"Then," said Miss Blanche, arising and beginning to remove her bonnet,
"please proceed to trephine me immediately. I insist on it."

"What's all this?" demanded the deep voice of the Reverend Dr. Bellglory,
who had entered the room unnoticed, piloted by Fritz. "I came as rapidly
as I could, Blanche, but not early enough, it appears, to learn the first
principles of your singular actions."

"My papa, gentlemen," said Miss Bellglory.

The two Germans bowed courteously. Dr. Bellglory affably returned their
salutation.

"These gentlemen, Papa," Miss Blanche explained, "have kindly undertaken
to reconcile the difference of opinion between poor George and ourselves
by means of a surgical operation. I don't at all understand it, but
George does, for you see that he has thought best to submit to the
operation, which they were about to begin when I arrived. Now, I cannot
allow him to suffer for my obstinacy; and, therefore, dear Papa, I have
requested the gentlemen to trephine me instead of him."

Professor Schwank repeated for Dr. Bellglory's information the
explanation which he had already made to the young lady. On learning of
Strout's course in the matter, Dr. Bellglory was greatly affected.

"No, Blanche!" he said, "our young friend must not be trephined. Although
I cannot conscientiously accept him as a son-in-law while our views on
the verity of subjective knowledge differ so widely, I can at least
emulate his generous willingness to open his intellect to conviction. It
is I who will be trephined, provided these gentlemen will courteously
substitute me for the patient now in their hands."

"We shall be most happy," said Professor Schwank and Dr. Diggelman in the
same breath.

"Thanks! Thanks!" cried Dr. Bellglory, with genuine emotion.

"But I shall not permit you to sacrifice your lifelong convictions to my
happiness, Papa," interposed Blanche. The doctor insisted that he was
only doing his duty as a parent. The amiable dispute went on for some
time, the Germans listening with indifference. Sure of a subject for
their experiment at any rate, they cared little which one of the three
Americans finally came under the knife. Meanwhile Strout opened his eyes,
slowly raised himself upon one elbow, vacantly gazed about the room for a
few seconds, and then sank back, relapsing temporarily into
unconsciousness.

Professor Schwank, who perceived that father and daughter were equally
fixed in their determination, and each unlikely to yield to the other,
was on the point of suggesting that the question be settled by trephining
both of them, when Strout again regained his senses. He sat bolt upright,
staring fixedly at the glass jar which contained the positivist's brain.
Then he pressed both hands to his head, muttering a few incoherent words.
Gradually, as he recovered from the clutch of the ether one after another
of his faculties, his eyes brightened and he appeared to recognize the
faces around him. After some time he opened his lips and spoke.

"Marvelous!" he exclaimed.

Miss Bellglory ran to him and took his hand. The doctor hurried forward,
intending to announce his own resolution to be trephined. Strout pressed
Blanche's hand to his lips for an instant, gave the doctor's hand a
cordial grasp, and then seized the hand of Professor Schwank, which he
wrung with all the warmth of respectful gratitude.

"My dear Herr Professor," he said, "how can I ever repay you? The
experiment is a perfect success."

"But--" began the astounded professor.

"Don't try to depreciate your own share in my good fortune," interrupted
Strout. "The theory was yours, and all the triumph of the practical
success belongs to you and Dr. Diggelmann's skill."

Strout, still holding Blanche's hand, now turned to her father.

"There is now no obstacle to our union, Doctor," he said. "Thanks to
Professor Schwank's operation, I see the blind folly of my late attitude
toward the subjective. I recant. I am no longer a positivist. My
intellect has leaped the narrow limits that hedged it in. I know now that
there is more in our philosophy than can be measured with a metric ruler
or weighed in a coulomb balance. Ever since I passed under the influence
of the ether, I have been floating in the infinite. I have been freed
from conditions of time and space. I have lost my own individuality in
the immensity of the All. A dozen times I have been absorbed in Brahma; a
dozen times I have emanated from Brahma, a new being, forgetful of my old
self. I have stood face to face with the mystic and awful Om; my
world-soul, descending to the finite, has floated calmly over an ocean of
Affenthaler. My consciousness leaped back as far as the thirtieth century
before Christ and forward as far as the fortieth century yet to come.
There is no time; there is no space; there is no individual existence;
there is nothing save the All, and the faith that guides reason through
the changeless night. For more than one million years my identity was
that of the positivist in the glass jar yonder. Pardon me, Professor
Schwank, but for the same period of time yours was that of the celebrated
thief in the other jar. Great heavens! How mistaken I have been up to the
night when you, Herr Professor, took charge of my intellectual destiny."

He paused for want of breath, but the glow of the mystic's rapture still
lighted up his handsome features. There was an awkward silence in the
room for considerable time. Then it was broken by the dry, harsh voice of
Dr. Diggelmann.

"You labor under a somewhat ridiculous delusion, young gentleman. You
haven't been trephined yet."

Strout looked in amazement from one to another of his friends; but their
faces confirmed the surgeon's statement.

"What was it then?" he gasped.

"Sulphuric ether," replied the surgeon, laconically.

"But after all," interposed Dr. Bellglory, "it makes little difference
what agent has opened our friend's mind to a perception of the truth. It
is a matter for congratulation that the surgical operation becomes no
longer necessary."

The two Germans exchanged glances of dismay. "We shall lose the
opportunity for our experiment," the professor whispered to Diggelmann.
Then he continued aloud, addressing Strout: "I should advise you to
submit to the operation, nevertheless. There can be no permanent
intellectual cure without it. These effects of the ether will pass away."

"Thank you," returned Strout, who at last read correctly the cold,
calculating expression that lurked behind the scientist's spectacles.
"Thank you, I am very well as I am."

"But you might, for the sake of science, consent--" persisted Schwank.

"Yes, for the sake of science," echoed Diggelmann.

"Hang science!" replied Strout, fiercely. "Don't you know that I no
longer believe in science?"

Blanche also began to understand the true motives which had led the
German professor to interfere in her love affair. She cast an approving
glance at Strout and arose to depart. The three Americans moved toward
the door. Professor Schwank and Dr. Diggelmann fairly gnashed their teeth
with rage. Miss Bellglory turned and made them a low curtsey.

"If you must trephine somebody for the sake of science, gentlemen," she
remarked with her sweetest smile, "you might draw lots to see which of
you shall trephine the other."



THE INSIDE OF THE EARTH
A Big Hole Through the Planet from Pole to Pole

HOW CLALTUS TREATS THE THEORY OF THE OPEN POLAR SEA-WHAT HE SAYS ABOUT
THE GULF STREAM-LIFE OF A BROOKLYN DISCOVERER


He was an elderly man with a beard of grizzled gray unkempt hair, light
eyes that shot quick, furtive glances, pale lips that trembled often with
weak, uneasy smiles, and hands that restlessly rubbed each other, or else
groped unconsciously for some missing tool. His clothes were coarse and
in rags, and as he sat on a low upturned box, close before a half-warm
stove, he shivered sometimes when a fierce gust of freezing wind rattled
the patched and dingy windows. Behind him was a carpenter's bench, with a
rack of neatly kept woodworking tools above it; a lathe and a small stock
of very handsomely finished library stepladders. A great pile of black
walnut chips and lathe dust lay on the floor, and the air was full of the
clean, fresh smell of the wood. The room in which he sat was a garret, at
the top of two eroded flights of steep and rickety stairs, in a building
within three blocks of the southernmost extremity of that Lilliputian
railway on which Saratoga trunks, fitted up as horse cars, are run from
Fulton ferry to Hamilton ferry.

"Don't mention my name at all, sir," said he to the SUN reporter, who
perched upon an unsteady box before him, "nor don't give them the exact
place, please, for there are lots about who know me, and who'd be
bothering me, and maybe laughing at me. Call me John Claltus. That's the
name I was known by down in Charleston and all down South, and it did
very well while I was working there, so you can put it in that."

"But why, having a grand scientific idea, and being the originator of
novel and bold theories, do you shrink so modestly from public
recognition and admiration?"

"I don't want any glory. I've thought out what I have because I felt I
had a mission to do it, and maybe mightn't be let live if I didn't; but
I'm done now. I can't last much longer. I'm old and poor, and I don't
care to have folks bothering me and maybe laughing at me; and you see my
brother, my cousins, and sometimes some sailor friends come to see me,
and I'd rather you'd let it go as Claltus, sir."

"And as Claltus it shall go. But about your discovery. Was it not
Symmes's theory of a hole through the globe that first gave you the
idea?"

REMARKABLE VISIONS

"Oh, not at all! I was shown it all in a vision years before I ever heard
of him. It was more than thirty-eight years ago. I was only a
twelve-year-old boy. I was greatly afraid when I saw it; it was so
terrible to me. I really think, from what I saw, that the earth was all
in a sort of mist or fog once. I felt that I must go to sea and try to
find out what I could about it as a poor man; so as a sailor I went for
years, always thinking about it and inquiring when I could of them that
might have had a chance to know something. About two years ago I went
South and tried to establish myself there, and then I saw the vision
again, not so terrible as before, and I could understand it better. It
came to me like a globe, about two feet through, and a hole through it
one third of its diameter in bigness. I told it to people there and they
said I was crazy. I told it to two men I was working for--brothers they
were and Frenchmen. I built an extension table and raised the roof of
their house for them, and they said, 'How can it be that you do our work
so well and yet are not in your right mind?' So I quit saying anything
about it. This is a model of like what I saw in the vision."

The model of the vision as produced is a ball of black walnut wood, four
and a half inches in diameter, traversed by a round aperture whose
diameter seemed to be about one third the diameter of the ball or globe.
Around the exterior, lines have been traced by a lathe tool, the spaces
between them representing ten degrees each. A chalk mark on one side
represents New York. This ball is mounted between the points of an
inverted U of strong wire, so based upon a little board as to admit of
being tipped to change the angle at which the ball is poised. The points
of the wire are fastened near the edges of the ends of the hole at
opposite sides of the little globe, so as to admit of its turning, and
thus alternately raising and depressing, with reference to the false
poles, the ends of the hole. As the thing stood on a little stand, where
he placed it very carefully, the sunlight poured through the hole, and as
he turned it the area covered in the interior of the ball by the sun's
direct rays was gradually narrowed, shortened, and finally so diminished
as to extend inward only a very little way; then, as he continued turning
it, the patch of light once more widened and lengthened until the sun
again shone all the way through.

THE LESSON OF THE MODEL

"There," said he, "that represents a day and a night for the people in
the inside of the earth. I'm perfectly satisfied in my own mind that the
turn is made on about ten degrees, and about ten degrees from the outside
rim of it; them that goes there would get to the flat part on the inside.
When they get to the ninetieth degree that's the pole they've always been
trying to make. They'll be turning into the inside. Eighty degrees is the
furthest they've ever got yet, at least that's the furthest for anyone
that has come back to tell about it. Perry's Point is the furthest land
northward on this continent that has ever been reached, and Spitsbergen
is about as far on the other side. The furtherst they have gone south is
Victoria Island, opposite Cape Horn, maybe a thousand miles away from the
Cape, and that's only about eighty degrees. I've got a bit of stone here
that came from Victoria Island that a sailor man gave me, thinkin',
maybe, I might find out something about it from somebody that knew."

The discoverer arose and walked slowly to the further end of his garret,
where he took from a shelf a little piece of stone, about three inches in
length, two in width, and three quarters in thickness, soft as rotten
stone almost, light brown and looking like a bit of petrified wood.

"I don't know what it is. There isn't much curious about it. I've seen
bits of stone from the Central Park that looked much like it, but not
just the same. I tried to make a whetstone of it, but it was too soft; it
wouldn't take any polish."

"In your long sea service did you ever get far enough toward the poles to
find anything corroborative of your theories?"

"Not myself, though I've noticed things that confirmed me. Now, there's
the Gulf Stream, for instance. They say there's a current from the Gulf
of Mexico that goes across to Europe; but I've seen enough myself, in the
Indian Ocean, that I've crossed many a time and often, and round to Cape
Horn, that I'm convinced it's the polar stream and the action of the sun
on the narrow part of the rim there causes it. I studied it in the Gulf
of Mexico. They thought the pressure of them big rivers flowing into the
gulf made it. Now if that was so it would make a great pressure where it
rushes through the narrow place between Florida and the West Indies that
would set the stream going away to the other side of the ocean, but I
couldn't see any such pressure greater there than anywhere else. Them
rivers has no more effect there than a bucket of water poured into the
bay down beyond. It's the great heat of the sun at the narrow rim melting
the ice, and the current pouring out of that hole, that makes what they
call the Gulf Stream in the part of it they've observed."

WHAT A SAILOR SAID HE SAW

"Have you ever met any sailors who knew anything more about it than you
did yourself?"

"Yes," the discoverer answered quickly, ceasing to bore bits from the
soft stone with his thick thumbnail and looking up with an eager smile,
"I met a sailor man in Charleston--Tola or Toland his name was--and he
said he had been far enough to see a great, bright arch that rose out of
the water like, and I said, 'That's my arch; that's the rim of the hole
to the inside of the earth.' He was there in Charleston waiting for a
ship, and I was making patterns. We used to meet every night to talk
about the thing, for he was a knowledgeable man, and took an interest in
it, the same as I did. He saw that arch every night for two weeks while
the privateer he was on was in them waters, and all that was with him saw
it, but they couldn't make it out. Then they got frightened of it,
beating about in strange waters, and at last they got back to parts of
the ocean they knew, and so came away as fast as they could. Well,"
sighing as he spoke, "sailors sometimes make a heap of brag about what
they've seen and possibly there's nothing in it, but there may be. I know
it's there all the same, for I've seen it in the vision and it stands to
reason. I asked him if he could see anything in the daytime, and he said
no--nothing, only clouds and mists about him. And that stands to reason,
for in the night, you see, the reflected light would shine up the arch
and show it, but in daytime it would be so high and so far off that it
could not be seen. I had some hopes that he might have got the color of
land, but he didn't."

"What do you suppose is the character of the country in there?"

"Oh! I don't know, but it's likely there are mountains and rivers
in there. I think it's most likely they have most water in there, but
maybe a good deal of land, too; and maybe gold and various kinds of
things that's scarce on the outside."

"And people, too?"

"I shouldn't wonder at all if there was people there, driven in there by
the storms, and that couldn't find their way out again." "And how do you
suppose they support life?"

"Why shouldn't they the same as people on the outside? Haven't they got
air and light and heat and the change of seasons, and water and soil, the
same as there is outside? It's a big place in there. The open polar
circle, I calculate, is in circumference about the diameter of the earth,
and that would give one third of the earth open inside. They get light
and heat from the sun, and maybe a good deal of reflected light and heat
all the way through from the south end of the hole. That's where it all
goes in at."

THE MEN WHO LIVE INSIDE

"And what sort of folks do you suppose are in there?"

"Ah! I don't know. There may be Irishmen there, and there may be Dutch
there, and there may be Malays there, and other kinds of people, and
there may be Danes there, too--they were good smart sailor people, too,
in their time, always beating about the waters and they might have got
drifted in there and couldn't get out."

"How do you mean 'couldn't get out'?"

"Couldn't find their way. There's no charts of them waters, and maybe the
needle won't work the same there, and the place is so big they may go on
sailing there and never going straight or finding their way back. Maybe
they've been wrecked, and had no means of coming away. Sure there must be
mighty storms in there. Great storms come out of that hole in the south.
'Great storms come out of the South,' the Scriptures say. You'll find
that in the Book of Job, that and lots more about the earth. He talks
about it as if he knew all about it. He knew all about that hole in the
inside of the earth, and as he wasn't with the Creator when He made it,
he must have seen it to know so much about it as he shows he did.

"And yet--" he murmured in a lower voice, meditatively digging off little
bits from a piece of chalk with his fingernails, and touching up the spot
representing New York on the wooden ball--"you'll find a good many
things in the Scriptures if you search them, about the interior of the
earth."

"Have you ever tried to enlist government or private enterprise to
prosecute an investigation of the correctness of your theories?"

"No. What could I do? I was always only a poor, hard-working, ignorant
man, but I seen it in a vision and I felt it my duty to study on it and
make it known. But I think if a good steamship was laid on her course
proper from New York, set in the way I know she would have to be, and
provided for rightly, in about ten weeks she would get there and into the
inside of the earth. Her wheels would never stop until she got there, for
there's more than human thought about it. It's Cod's will it should be
known, and her machinist couldn't stop her wheels if she was going the
right way for it. But she would have to be provided with a good shower
bath to keep her wet all the time, for on the rim there, on the narrow
part, it will be five times as hot as at the equator. If they get up an
expedition to go there, it will have to be well armed, too. If they find
them Irish and Danes in there, there will be fighting, for they are
hostile people. Yes, and them Malays, too. They know how to navigate
ships, too, and they're warlike chaps and they'll give them some trouble.
Yes, the expedition will have to be well armed."



OF LIGHT


"Do the inhabitants of the hole see the moon and the stars?"

"Partly, I conceive. They get the good of the moon about nine
days in the month, and can see such parts of the heavens as are visible
out of the ends of the hole. That's all; but it would never be real night
there, for even when the sun would be off on one side its light would be
reflected from the walls of the other side. You see the earth is moving
about the sun all the time. Not that I think it goes round in the form
them astronomers say it does. I think it goes round on the high and low
orbit, that is, one side of the circle is raised in coming down from the
sun--and always at the same distance from the sun. Any globe working
about the sun must have the same force and the same balance all the time
to keep face. The theory of the astronomers is that it goes out many
millions of miles at certain times of the year and comes back. Now, there
would be no order or regularity about that. It isn't reason. It would
make a regular hurly-burly of everything if the earth was allowed to run
around in that wild way. And there's another thing that goes to show the
world is hollow inside. A solid globe you can't make roll of itself in
the sunlight but a hollow one will. You go to work and make a globe of
fine silk and fill it with gas, or make it of cork and hollow, and put it
into a glass jar in the sun, and pump the air out, and raise it up to a
certain temperature--about 180 degrees or maybe 200, I think--and it'll
roll in the sun, but a solid one won't do it. So it stands to reason the
earth is hollow, so it will roll in the sun. I've tried that experiment
in my shop during the war. I made it up nice, but I haven't got it now,
for my shop was robbed three years ago, and I lost that and a lot more
things, and all my tools. The model I had for the Patent Office was
carried away, too."

"But let us get back to our hole. Beyond what the sailor told you, you
have nothing more than theory?"

"Not altogether. There are signs of life from further to the south than
anybody has ever gone yet that we know of. I read in a paper last August
that an English captain went far enough south to get into warm water; and
there he picked up a log drifting from still further south, with nails in
it and marks of an ax on it, and that log he brought back with him to
England, and it's there now. Anyway, I read that in the paper--but,"
speaking in a tone of regretful sadness, "these newspapers start so many
curious things and ideas that you can't always be certain about what they
say. But other sailor men than that captain have found the water growing
warmer, and had reason to know of open seas at the poles. Besides,
there's another thing that goes to show that there's life inside the
earth, and that is the great bones and tusks of animals, so big that no
animals on the earth now can carry them or have such things, that they
find away up in Siberia. Them came from the inside of the earth, I've no
doubt, drifted out in the ice that was parted there when the sun cracked
the floes and set them drifting out in a polar current."

SURELY HOLLOW

"You are, of course, aware that many people have a theory that the
interior of the earth is in a state of fusion, and others that there are
vast internal seas, whose waves act upon chemical substances in the
earth, and produce spontaneous combustion and earthquakes and volcanoes?"

"Yes, and what's to hinder. The crust of the earth, between the hole
inside and the outside surface, is nearly three thousand miles thick, and
surely in all that there's a heap of room for many strange things. But as
sure as you live and I live the earth is hollow inside, and there's a
great country there where people can live, and where I've no doubt they
do live, and some day it will all be found out about it."



AN UNCOMMON SORT OF SPECTRE


The ancient castle of Weinstein, on the upper Rhine, was, as everybody
knows, inhabited in the autumn of 1352 by the powerful Baron Kalbsbraten,
better known in those parts as Old Twenty Flasks, a sobriquet derived
from his reputed daily capacity for the product of the vineyard. The
baron had many other admirable qualities. He was a genial, whole-souled,
public-spirited gentleman, and robbed, murdered, burned, pillaged, and
drove up the steep sides of the Weinstein his neighbors' cattle, wives,
and sisters, with a hearty bonhomie that won for him the unaffected
esteem of his contemporaries.

One evening the good baron sat alone in the great hall of Weinstein, in a
particularly happy mood. He had dined well, as was his habit, and twenty
empty bottles stood before him in a row upon the table, like a train of
delightful memories of the recent past. But the baron had another reason
to be satisfied with himself and with the world. The consciousness that
he had that day become a parent lit up his countenance with a tender glow
that mere wine cannot impart.

"What ho! Without! Hi! Seneschal!" he presently shouted, in a tone that
made the twenty empty bottles ring as if they were musical glasses, while
a score of suits of his ancestors' armor hanging around the walls gave
out in accompaniment a deep metallic bass. The seneschal was speedily at
his side.

"Seneschal," said Old Twenty Flasks, "you gave me to understand that the
baroness was doing finely?"

"I am told," replied the seneschal, "that her ladyship is doing as well
as could be expected."

The baron mused in silence for a moment, absently regarding the empty
bottles. "You also gave me to understand," he continued, "that there
were--"

"Four," said the seneschal, gravely. "I am credibly informed that there
are four, all boys."

"That," exclaimed the baron, with a glow of honest pride, bringing a
brawny fist down upon the table--"That, in these days, when the
abominable doctrines of Malthus are gaining ground among the upper
classes, is what I call creditable--creditable, by Saint Christopher. If
I do say it!" His eyes rested again upon the empty bottles. "I think,
Seneschal," he added, after a brief pause, "that under the circumstances
we may venture--"

"Nothing could be more eminently proper," rejoined the seneschal. "I will
fetch another flask forthwith, and of the best. What says Your Excellency
to the vintage of 1304, the year of the comet?"

"But," hesitated the baron, toying with his mustache, "I understood you
to say that there were four of 'em--four boys?"

"True, my lord," replied the seneschal, snatching the idea with the
readiness of a well-trained domestic. "I will fetch four more flasks."

As the excellent retainer deposited four fresh bottles upon the table
within the radius of the baron's reach, he casually remarked, "A pious
old man, a traveler, is in the castle yard, my lord, seeking shelter and
a supper. He comes from beyond the Alps, and fares toward Cologne."

"I presume," said the baron, with an air of indifference, "that he has
been duly searched for plunder."

"He passed this morning," replied the retainer, "through the domain of
your well-born cousin, Count Conrad of Schwinkenfels. Your lordship will
readily understand that he has nothing now save a few beggarly Swiss
coins of copper."

"My worthy cousin Conrad!" exclaimed the baron, affectionately. "It is
the one great misfortune of my life that I live to the leeward of
Schwinkenfels. But you relieved the pious man of his copper?"

"My lord," said the seneschal, with an apologetic smile, "it was not
worth the taking."

"Now by my soul," roared the baron, "you exasperate me! Coin, and not
worth the taking! Perhaps not for its intrinsic value, but you should
have cleaned him out as a matter of principle, you fool!"

The seneschal hung his head and muttered an explanation. At the same time
he opened the twenty-first bottle.

"Never," continued the baron, less violently but still severely, "if you
value my esteem and your own paltry skin, suffer yourself to be swerved a
hair's breadth from principle by the apparent insignificance of the loot.
A conscientious attention to details is one of the fundamental elements
of a prosperous career--in fact, it underlies all political economy."

The withdrawal of the cork from the twenty-second bottle emphasized this
statement.

"However," the baron went on, somewhat mollified, "this is not a day on
which I can consistently make a fuss over a trifle. Four, and all boys!
This is a glorious day for Weinstein. Open the two remaining flasks,
Seneschal, and show the pious stranger in. I fain would amuse myself with
him."

II

Viewed through the baron's twenty-odd bottles, the stranger appeared to
be an aged man--eighty years, if a day. He wore a shabby gray cloak and
carried a palmer's staff, and seemed an innocuous old fellow, cast in too
commonplace a mold to furnish even a few minutes' diversion. The baron
regretted sending for him, but being a person of unfailing politeness,
when not upon the rampage, he bade his guest be seated and filled him a
beaker of the comet wine.

After an obeisance, profound yet not servile, the pilgrim took the glass
and critically tasted the wine. He held the beaker up athwart the light
with trembling hand, and then tasted again. The trial seemed to afford
him great satisfaction, and he stroked his long white beard.

"Perhaps you are a connoisseur. It pleases your palate, eh?" said the
baron, winking at the full-length portrait of one of his ancestors.

"Proper well," replied the pilgrim, "though it is a trifle syrupy from
too long keeping. By the bouquet and the tint, I should pronounce it of
the vintage of 1304, grown on the steep slope south southeast of the
castle, in the fork of the two pathways that lead to under the hill. The
sun's rays reflected from the turret give a peculiar excellence to the
growth of that particular spot. But your rascally varlets have shelved
the bottle on the wrong side of the cellar. It should have been put on
the dry side, near where your doughty grandsire Sigismund von Weinstein,
the Hairy Handed, walled up his third wife in preparation for a fourth."

The baron regarded his guest with a look of amazement. "Upon my life!"
said he, "but you appear to be familiar with the ins and outs of this
establishment."

"If I do," rejoined the stranger, composedly sipping his wine, "'tis no
more than natural, for I lived more than sixty years under this roof and
know its every leak. I happen to be a Von Weinstein myself."

The baron crossed himself and pulled his chair a little further away from
the bottles and the stranger.

"Oh no," said the pilgrim, laughing; "quiet your fears. I am aware that
every well-regulated castle has an ancestral ghost, but my flesh and
blood are honest. I was lord of Weinstein till I went, twelve years ago,
to study metaphysics in the Arabic schools, and the cursed scriveners
wrote me out of the estate. Why, I know this hall from infancy! Yonder is
the fireplace at which I used to warm my baby toes. There is the
identical suit of armor into which I crawled when a boy of six and hid
till my sainted mother--heaven rest her!--nigh died of fright. It seems
but yesterday. There on the wall hangs the sharp two-handed sword of our
ancestor, Franz, the One-Eared, with which I cut off the mustaches of my
tipsy sire as he sat muddled over his twentieth bottle. There is the very
casque--but perhaps these reminiscences weary you. You must pardon the
garrulity of an old man who has come to revisit the home of his childhood
and prime."

The baron pressed his hand to his forehead. "I have lived in this castle
myself for half a century," said he, "and am tolerably familiar with the
history of my immediate progenitors. But I can't say that I ever had the
pleasure of your acquaintance. However, permit me to fill your glass."

"It is good wine," said the pilgrim, holding out his glass. "Except,
perhaps, the vintage of 1392, when the grapes--"

The baron stared at his guest. "The grapes of 1392," said he dryly, "lack
forty years of ripening. You are aged, my friend, and your mind wanders."

"Excuse me, worthy host," calmly replied the pilgrim. "The vintage of
1392 has been forty years cellared. You have no memory for dates."

"What call you this year?" demanded the baron.

"By the almanacs, and the stars, and precedent, and common consent, it is
the year of grace 1433."

"By my soul and hope of salvation," ejaculated the baron, "it is the year
of grace 1352."

"There is evidently a misunderstanding somewhere," remarked the venerable
stranger. "I was born here in the year 1352, the year the Turks invaded
Europe."

"No Turk has invaded Europe, thanks be to heaven," replied Old Twenty
Flasks, recovering his self-control. "You are either a magician or an
imposter. In either case I shall order you drawn and quartered as soon as
we have finished this bottle. Pray proceed with your very interesting
reminiscences, and do not spare the wine."

"I never practice magic," quietly replied the pilgrim, "and as to being
an imposter, scan well my face. Don't you recognize the family nose,
thick, short, and generously colored? How about the three lateral and two
diagonal wrinkles on my brow? I see them there on yours. Are not my chaps
Weinstein chaps? Look closely. I court investigation."

"You do look damnably like us," the baron admitted.

"I was the youngest," the stranger went on, "of quadruplets. My three
brothers were puny, sickly things, and did not long survive their birth.
As a child I was the idol of my poor father, who had some traits worthy
of respectful mention, guzzing old toper and unconscionable thief though
he was."

The baron winced.

"They used to call him Old Twenty Flasks. It is my candid opinion, based
on memory, that Old Forty Flasks would have been nearer the truth."

"It's a lie!" shouted the baron, "I rarely exceeded twenty bottles."

"And as for his standing in the community," the pilgrim went on, without
taking heed of the interruption, "it must be confessed that nothing could
be worse. He was the terror of honest folk for miles around. Property
rights were extremely insecure in this neighborhood, for the rapacity of
my lamented parent knew no bounds. Yet nobody dared to complain aloud,
for lives were not much safer than sheep or ducats. How the people hated
his shadow, and roundly cursed him behind his back! I remember well that,
when I was about fourteen--it must have been in '66, the year the Grand
Turk occupied Adrianople--tall Hugo, the miller, called me up to him, and
said: 'Boy, thou has a right pretty nose.' 'It is a pretty nose, Hugo,'
said I, straightening up. 'Is it on firm and strong?' asked Hugo, with a
sneer. 'Firm enough, and strong enough, I dare say,' I answered; 'but why
ask such a fool's question?' 'Well, well, boy,' said Hugo, turning away,
gook sharp with thine eyes after thy nose when thy father is unoccupied,
for he has just that conscience to steal the nose off his son's face in
lack of better plunder.'"

"By St. Christopher!" roared the baron, "tall Hugo, the miller, shall pay
for this. I always suspected him. By St. Christopher's burden, I'll break
every bone in his villainous body."

"'Twould be an ignoble vengeance," replied the pilgrim, quietly, "for
tall Hugo has been in his grave these sixty years."

"True," said the baron, putting both hands to his head, and gazing at his
guest with a look of utter helplessness. "I forget that it is now next
century--that is to say, if you be not a spectre."

"You will excuse me, my respected parent," returned the pilgrim, "if I
subject your hypothesis to the test of logic, for it touches me upon a
very tender spot, impugning, as it does, my physical verity and my status
as an actual individualized ego. Now, what is our relative position? You
acknowledge the date of my birth to have been the year of grace 1352.
That is a matter in which your memory is not likely to be at fault. On
the other hand, with a strange inconsistency, you maintain, in the face
of almanacs, chronologies, and the march of events, that it is still the
year of grace 1352. Were you one of the seven sleepers, your
hallucination [to use no harsher term] might be pardoned, but you are
neither a sleeper nor a saint. Now, every one of the eighty years that
are packed away in the carpet bag of my experience protests against your
extraordinary error. It is I who have a prima facie right to question
your physical existence, not you mine. Did you ever hear of a ghost,
spectre, wraith, apparition, eldolon, or spook coming out of the future
to haunt, annoy, or frighten individuals of an earlier generation?"

The baron was obliged to admit that he never had.

"But you have heard of instances where apparitions, ghosts, spooks, call
them what you will, have invaded the present from out the limbo of the
past?"

The baron crossed himself a second time and peered anxiously into the
dark corners of the apartment. "If you are a genuine Von Weinstein," he
whispered, "you already know that this castle is overrun with spectres of
that sort. It is difficult to move about after nightfall without tumbling
over half a dozen of them."

"Then," said the placid logician, "you surrender your case. You commit
what, my revered preceptor in dialectics, the learned Arabian Ben Dusty,
used to style syllogistic suicide. For you allow that, while ghosts out
of the future are unheard of, ghosts from the past are not infrequently
encountered. Now I submit to you as a man, this proposition: That it is
infinitely more probable that you are a ghost than that I am one!"

The baron turned very red. "Is this filial," he demanded, "to deny the
flesh and blood of your own father?"

"Is it paternal," retorted the pilgrim, not losing his composure, "to
insinuate the unrealness of the son of your own begetting?"

"By all the saints!" growled the baron, growing still redder, "this
question shall be settled, and speedily. Halloo, there, Seneschal!" He
called again and again, but in vain.

"Spare your lungs," calmly suggested the pilgrim. "The best-trained
domestic in the world will not stir from beneath the sod for all your
shouting."

Twenty Flasks sank back helplessly in his chair. He tried to speak, but
his tongue and throat repudiated their functions. They only gurgled.

"That is right," said his guest, approvingly. "Conduct yourself as befits
a venerable and respectable ghost from the last century. A well-behaved
apparition neither blusters nor is violent. You can well afford to be
peaceable in your deportment now; you were turbulent enough before your
death."

"My death?" gasped the baron.

"Excuse me," apologized the pilgrim, "for referring to that unpleasant
event."

"My death!" stammered the baron, his hair standing on end. "I should like
to hear the particulars."

"I was hardly more than fifteen at the time," said the pilgrim musingly;
"but I shall never forget the most trifling circumstances of the great
popular arising that put an end to my worthy sire's career. Exasperated
beyond endurance by your outrageous crimes, the people for miles around
at last rose in a body, and, led by my old friend tall Hugo, the miller,
flocked to Schwinkenfels and appealed to your cousin, Count Conrad, for
protection against yourself, their natural protector. Von Schwinkenfels
heard their complaints with great gravity. He replied that he had long
watched your abominable actions with distress and consternation; that he
had frequently remonstrated with you, but in vain; that he regarded you
as the scourge of the neighborhood; that your castle was full of
blood-stained treasure and shamefully acquired booty; and that he now
regarded it as the personal duty of himself, the conservator of lawful
order and good morals, to march against Weinstein and exterminate you for
the common good."

"The hypocritical pirate!" exclaimed Twenty Flasks.

"Which he proceeded to do," continued the pilgrim, "supported not only by
his retainers but by your own. I must say that you made a sturdy defense.
Had not your rascally seneschal sold you out to Schwinkenfels and let
down the drawbridge one evening when you were as usual fuddling your
brains with your twenty bottles, perhaps Conrad never would have gained
an entrance, and my young eyes would have been spared the horrid task of
watching the body of my venerated parent dangling at the end of a rope
from the topmost turret of the northwest tower."

The baron buried his face in his hands and began to cry like a baby.
"They hanged me, did they?" he faltered.

"I am afraid no other construction can be put on it," said the pilgrim.
"It was the inevitable termination of such a career as yours had been.
They hanged you, they strangled you, they choked you to death with a
rope; and the unanimous verdict of the community was Justifiable
Homicide. You weep! Behold, Father, I also weep for the shame of the
house of Von Weinstein! Come to my arms."

Father and son clasped each other in a long, affectionate embrace and
mingled their tears over the disgrace of Weinstein. When the baron
recovered from his emotion he found himself alone with his conscience and
twenty-four empty bottles. The pilgrim had disappeared.

III

Meanwhile, in the aparilnents consecrated to the offices of maternity,
all had been confusion, turmoil, and distress. In four huge armchairs sat
four experienced matrons, each holding in her lap a pillow of
swan's-down. On each pillow had reposed an infinitesimal fraction of
humanity, recently added to the sum total of Von Weinstein. One
experienced matron had dozed over her charge; when she awoke the pillow
in her lap was unoccupied. An immediate census taken by the alarmed
attendants disclosed the startling fact that, although there were still
four armchairs, and four sage women, and four pillows of swan's-down,
there were but three infants. The seneschal, as an expert in mathematics
and accounts, was hastily summoned from below. His reckoning merely
confirmed the appalling suspicion. One of the quadruplets was gone.

Prompt measures were taken in this fearful emergency. The corners of the
rooms were ransacked in vain. Piles of bedclothing and baskets of linen
were searched through and through. The hunt extended to other parts of
the castle. The seneschal even sent out trusted and discreet retainers on
horseback to scour the surrounding country. They returned with downcast
countenances; no trace of the lost Von Weinstein had been found.

During one terrible hour the wails of the three neglected infants mingled
with the screams of the hysterical mother, to whom the attention of the
four sage women was exclusively directed. At the end of the hour her
ladyship had sufficiently recovered to implore her attendants to make a
last, though hopeless count. On three pillows lay three babies howling
lustily in unison. On the fourth pillow reposed a fourth infant, with a
mysterious smile upon his face, but cheeks that bore traces of recent
tears.

THE CAVE OF THE SPLURGLES

One October afternoon, as I was scrambling through the woods on my way to
the best of the trout brooks that abound in the neighborhood of Canaan,
Vermont, I nearly broke my left leg in a deep hole in the ground.

The first thought was for my rod, which had become involved in certain
complications with the underbrush; the second was for my left leg, which,
fortunately, had sustained no serious damage; and the third for the
pitfall into which I had stumbled. The hole was directly under the
branches of a big red oak that grew on the slope of a hill, or ledge, of
metamorphic limestone. Juniper bushes and brambles almost hid the
orifice. Pulling these aside, I got on all fours and peered down into the
black hole, for what purpose I do not know. My left leg was no longer
there, and I certainly had no interest in the inhabitants of the burrow,
whatever they might be--undoubtedly either snakes, woodchucks, or skunks,
with the weight of probability in favor of the last-mentioned species. So
I did not crawl in to explore the cavity, although by a tight squeeze I
could have done so, but pursued my way across Rodney Prince's pasture to
Rodney Prince's brook, and brought home at sundown a string which weighed
so many pounds that, out of consideration for Rodney Prince's feelings, I
shall say nothing about it. The hospitable Granger had assured me with
friendly earnestness the evening before that there had never been any
trout in his brook, that the boys had long since fished them out, and
that if there were anything there now they were miserable little
finger-long specimens, unworthy of the attention of a city man with a
fifteen-dollar rod and a book full of flies.

After supper I joined as usual the small circle of choice spirits who
gather every evening in the back part of Deacon Plympton's grocery to
smoke their pipes and to profit by the oracular wisdom of the proprietor
of the store. In a humble attempt to contribute to the conversational
interest of the occasion, I casually remarked that I had stepped into a
deep hole that afternoon while going a fishing. I was flattered to find
that my insignificant adventure was treated with respect by the company,
and that even the taciturn deacon, from his seat on the pork barrel,
condescended to lend an attentive ear.

"Sho!" said he. "In Rodney's palter?"

"Yes."

"Under red oak?"

"Yes."

"Humph!" he grunted, blowing out a cloud of smoke, "narrer escape."

"Why?" I asked, resolved to be no less laconic than he. "Skunks?"

"No--Splurgles!"

And Andrew Hinckley, from a barrel of the deacon's highest-priced flour,
whispered "Splurgles." And his brother John, from a box of washing soap,
echoed the mysterious word. And Squire Trull on the platform scales, and
old Orrison Ripley on a barrel of the sweetened bar, which the honest
deacon sold as powdered sugar at a shilling the pound, took up the
refrain, and solemnly remarked in concert, "Yes, the Splurgles!"

I knew that to ask a question would be to put myself at a disadvantage
with these worthy citizens, so I merely said, "Ah, Splurgles," and nodded
my head, as if to escape the Splurgles were a matter of common experience
with me.

"It's providence," said Squire Trull, after a few moments' silence, "that
they didn't pull ye in."

"Ain't ben no closer shave sence Fuller stumbled in when he was drunk and
had the boot thawed clean off his fut. Has there, Deacon?"

The deacon, thus appealed to, descended from the pork barrel, walked to
the other end of the store, returned with a sulphur match in his hand,
relit his pipe, and gravely shook his head.

From the rambling conversation which ensued and lasted till the nine
o'clock bell inspired the deacon to take in his designatory hams and put
up shutters, I gathered the following facts and allegations:

For many years, indeed ever since the infancy of the venerable Orrison
Ripley, the people of Canaan had regarded the hole in the side of the
hill under the red oak tree with superstitious awe. There were few who
would venture near the spot in broad daylight; none after dark. The
popular opinion of the hole seemed to be well grounded. Sounds as of
demoniac laughter were frequently heard issuing from the
cavern--indescribable sounds, guttural and gurgling. As far as I could
learn, this circumstance was the only explanation of the etymology of the
name Splurgles, applied by tradition and usage to the inhabitants of the
cave. These supernatural beings were believed to be malevolent, not only
from the peculiar harshness of their laughter, which had been heard by
many at different times during the last half century, but also on the
testimony of a few who claimed to have seen diabolical heads protruding
from the hole as if demons had come up from below to get a breath of
fresh air. Moreover, there was the horrible fate of Jeremiah Stackpole, a
reckless, atheistical young man, who, on the twenty-first of October
1858, had boasted of his intention to gather acorns under the red oak by
the bill, and whose hat, discovered afterward beside the hole, was the
only trace of him that could ever be found. There was also the experience
of Jack Fuller, the brother of the town clerk. Fuller, in a maudlin
condition, had wandered into Rodney Prince's pasture about four years
ago, and had come home perfectly sobered and minus one boot. He declared
that while rambling about in search of boxberry plums, he had stumbled
into the Splurgle hole. His leg had been grasped from below by fiery
hands--fingers that burned his foot through leather and woolen--and it
was only by an almost superhuman effort on his part that he escaped being
pulled bodily into the hole. Fortunately, being afflicted with corns, he
wore very loose boots, and to this circumstance he owed his deliverance
from the awful grip of the Splurgles. Fuller solemnly affirmed that long
after he had pulled out his stocking foot and fled to a place of safety,
he felt the burning reminder of the red-hot fingers and thumb that had
clasped his instep.

The laconic deacon's summing up of the various stories about the Splurgle
hole with which I had been regaled, was concise, comprehensive, and
startling. "It's the back door of hell," he said.

"Fuller," said I the next day to the hero of the demon-snatched boot,
"how much rum would it take to work up your courage to the point of
visiting the Splurgle hole with me this afternoon?"

"Nigh onto a quart, I guess," replied Fuller, after an inspection of my
features had satisfied him that I was not quizzing. "Best to be on the
safe side and call it a full quart. I calculate I should have to be pooty
drunk."

"Will you go with me first," I then inquired, "and take the quart of rum
afterward, and a five-dollar bill into the bargain?"

Fuller balanced the risk against the gain. You could almost watch through
his skin the temptation wrestling with the fear. Rum conquered, as it
will. At three o'clock, Mr. Fuller, carrying a rope, a dark lantern, and
a perfectly sober head, accompanied me across Rodney Prince's pasture to
the red oak on the side of the hill.

A close examination of the hole convinced me that it was not the burrow
of any animal, Exploring it with a long stick, I found that beyond the
dirt lining, near the orifice, its walls were of solid rock. It was, in
fact, a tunnel into the ledge--a natural tunnel, old as the hills of
Vermont, and therefore, dating back to the Lower Bilurian period. Beyond
the mouth of the tunnel, where the debris and soil from the surface had
partially choked it up, the passage was as large as a Croton main. For
about ten feet the shaft trended downward at an angle of sixty or seventy
degrees. Thence its course, as far as I could determine with my pole, was
nearly horizontal, and directly toward the heart of the hill.

I stepped down and shouted into the mouth of the cave. There came back
the confused and rambling echoes of my voice and then, when they had
ceased, I distinctly heard a low, strange laugh, intelligent, yet not
human, close to my ear and yet of another and unknown world.

Fuller heard it too. He turned pale and ran a rod or two away. I called
to him sharply, and he came back trembling.

"That laugh we heard," said I, "is half in the peculiar echoes of the
hole and half in our imaginations. I am going to crawl in."

By Fuller's earnest advice, I decided to enter the cave backward, so
that, in an emergency, I might scramble out with the more expedition. I
lit the dark lantern and tied one end of our rope under my arms. The
other end I gave to Fuller. "If I call out," I said, "pull with all your
might, and if necessary take a double turn around the oak." Then I backed
slowly and cautiously down into the cave of the Splurgles.

Before my head and shoulders had left the daylight I felt both ankles
grasped from below with a powerful grip, and knew that I was being drawn
with superhuman strength down into the bowels of the hill. I shouted to
Fuller in desperation, but my cry was almost drowned by a ringing peal of
terrible, triumphant laughter. I saw my companion jump toward the trunk
of a big tree. He did his best to save me, but his foot caught in the
juniper bushes, and he fell to the ground, the rope slipping from his
fear-benumbed fingers. My own fingers caught in vain at the loose dirt at
the mouth of the hole. The power that dragged me downward was
irresistible. My eyes met his, and his were full of horror. "Cod help
you!" he cried, as the darkness closed around me.

As I was pulled down and down with constantly increasing speed, I lost my
terror in the strange exhilaration of the motion. I fancied that I was a
flying express train tearing through the night. I knew not, cared not
whither. There I was, a light boat towed in the hissing wake of a swift
steamer. The roar of the water took the rhythm of the singing, rushing
sensation that precedes a swoon, and consciousness left me.

The first of my senses to return, after an indefinite lapse of time, was
that of taste. The taste was that of incomparably good brandy.

"He is reviving. You need attend no longer," said a voice, harsh, yet not
unkind.

I opened my eyes and looked around me. I lay in a small apartment upon a
comfortable couch. On every side heavy curtains limited the field of
vision. The one striking peculiarity of the place is difficult to
describe, for it involves a quality which has no exact equivalent in any
of the languages which men speak. Every object was self-luminous,
radiating light, so to speak, instead of reflecting it. The crimson
drapery shone with a crimson glow, and yet it was opaque--not even
translucent. A couch was apparently wrought in copper, and yet the copper
glowed as if copper were a source of light. The tall person who stood
over me, looking down into my face with friendly and compassionate
regard, was also self-luminous. His features radiated light; even his
boots, which bore an immaculate polish, shone with an indescribable sort
of radiant blackness. I believed that I could have read a newspaper by
the light of his boots alone.

The effect of this singular phenomenon was so grotesque that I was
impolite enough to laugh aloud.

"Pardon me," I said, "but you look so deucedly like a Chinese lantern
that I can't help it."

"I see nothing to excite mirth," he gravely replied. "Do you refer to my
luster?"

His sublime unconsciousness set me off again. Afterward, when I had
become accustomed to the phenomenon of universally diffused light, each
luminous color seemed perfectly natural, and I saw no more reason for
mirth than he did.

"My friend," I remarked, to turn the conversation, seeing that he was a
little piqued, "that was admirable brandy you were kind enough to give me
just now. Perhaps you have no objection to telling me where I am."

"I can assure you that you are among those who are well disposed toward
you, notwithstanding your sinful follies and weaknesses. We shall try to
make you cease to regret the frivolous world which you have left
forever."

"You are altogether too hospitable," I said. "I shall get back to Canaan
as soon as possible."

"You will never get back to Canaan. The road by which you came is
traveled in one direction only."

"And you intend to keep me here in this infernal cave?" "For your own
good."

"It strikes me," I rejoined, with some heat, "that you are too much
interested in my moral welfare."

It must have been for full a week--although I had no means of measuring
time, my watch obstinately refusing to go--that I was kept a close
prisoner inside the luminous curtains. At regular intervals my
jack-o'-lantern guardian visited me, bringing food which shone as if it
were phosphorescent, but which, nevertheless, I ate with infinite relish,
finding it very good. He seemed disinclined to converse, but always kind
and courteous, and invariably greeted and left me with a calm, superior
smile that came to be at last in the highest degree exasperating.

"Look here," I said one day, finally losing all patience, "you know very
well that I don't lack the disposition to strangle you and kick my way
out of this place back to honest daylight. Still, I am weak and human
enough to say that you will oblige me exceedingly by stating who you are,
why you always smile on me in that superior manner, and what you propose
to do with me. Who the devil are you, anyway?"

"All that you will speedily learn," he replied with unlimited politeness,
"for I am directed to conduct you at once to my lord." "The lord of the
Splurgles?"

"Splurgles, if you choose. I believe that that is the name given us in
the wretched world which you are fortunate enough to have escaped.
Accompany me, if you please, to the audience chamber of my lord."

The lord of the Splurgles was a personage of severe gravity of
countenance. Like my guardian and the counselors and courtiers (with one
exception) who surrounded him in the comfortably appointed apartment, he
was self-luminous. The exception was an individual who seemed to be
present in a menial capacity. This person, apparently a human being like
myself, had done his best to remedy his natural deficiency in this
respect. He had rubbed his face, his hands, and his habiliments with
phosphorus, and shone artificially with a poor imitation of the genuine
illuminating principle of the Splurgle world. That this imitation was in
his case the sincerest form of flattery was evident from his actions and
looks. His bearing toward the Splurgles was subservient in the extreme.
He ran at their beck and call, rejoiced under their approving notice, and
seemed to swell with conscious importance whenever the lord of these
strange beings deigned to give him a patronizing word or look.

"Worm of the earth!" said the principal Splurgle. "Are you disposed to
embrace a great opportunity?"

"I am disposed," I replied, "to crawl back to my groveling life at the
first chance."

"Poor fool," said the lord Splurgle, without the least sign of
impatience.

"Thank you," I replied, with a bow that was intended to be ironical, "and
what shall I call your lordship?"

"Oh, I am Ahriman," he returned, "the great Ahriman, the powerful devil
Ahriman. Mortals tremble at the thought of me, and my name they dare not
speak. I ruled over a vast empire of Devs and Archdevs in my time, and
wrought a great deal of mischief in Persia and thereabouts. I am a
tremendous fiend, I assure you. I inspire much terror."

"Pardon me, Uncle Ahriman," I remarked, "but are you sure you are quite
as terrible as you used to be?"

An expression of mortified vanity stole over his countenance. "Perhaps,"
he answered, hesitating a little, "perhaps I am a little out of practice.
Years and circumstances have limited my field of action. But I am still
very terrible. Beelzebub, am I not very terrible?"

"My lord Ahriman," said a familiar voice behind me, "you are
inexpressibly terrible." I looked around and saw that this opinion
proceeded from my old acquaintance and custodian.

"You hear Beelzebub," continued Ahriman; "he says that I am inexpressibly
terrible. You may believe Beelzebub, he is one of the most truthful and
conscientious devils in our community. He takes rather a low view of
human nature, but in matters like this his opinion is as good as
anybody's. Yes, I'm undeniably awful. Isn't that so, Stackpole?"

The fellow whom I had previously noted as a mortal like myself, and a
base truckler withal to the ways and whims of the Splurgles, stepped
forward from the throng, raised his eyes from the ground until they met
those of Ahriman, and forthwith began to shake and shiver as if stricken
speechless with terror. I believed at the time that the rascal simulated
it all. I even thought he gave me a sly wink as he retired when he had
got through trembling.

"You see," said Ahriman, turning proudly to me, "what a marked effect my
presence has on our worthy friend Jeremiah Stackpole, though he has been
accustomed to the sight of me for nearly twenty years."

This mortal, then, was the atheistical young man of Canaan, of whose
mysterious disappearance in 1858 I had been informed in Deacon Plympton's
grocery. I afterward learned that the manner of his introduction to the
cave of the Splurgles was identical with my own. Unlike me, he had
speedily become reconciled to the situation. The society of the retired
devils in the bowels of the earth exactly suited his tastes. Assured of a
comfortable subsistence as long as he lived, he made no attempt to escape
from the cave and found it to his interest to earn the good will of his
captors by toadying to their harmless vanity.

"Now, mortal," resumed Ahriman with a lofty air, "you may think it
strange that evil spirits, so powerful and terrible as we are, should
contemplate any other disposition of your worthless body and totally
depraved nature than to wipe you out of existence altogether. To tell the
truth, however, we find it convenient to have a mortal or two on hand to
do the hard work of the community--to assist in the development of the
immense natural resources of the cave. Not that we are lazy," he added,
"but in our honorable retirement we are perhaps less active and energetic
than we used to be. It is for this reason that you are offered the
opportunity to enjoy the remarkable advantages of perpetual companionship
with beings so great as we are. Dear, dear," continued this awe-inspiring
demon, fanning himself with a barbed tail, which I had not previously
noticed, "it is rather warm! Moloch, take this mortal away. I find it
very fatiguing to talk so much."

I confess that I felt a trifle uneasy at the mention of a name which had
been awful to the ears of men for centuries. There was something ghoulish
in the idea of being turned over to the cruel and bloodthirsty Moloch, at
whose red altars thousands of human lives had been sacrificed. The
appearance of my new custodian, however, was reassuring. Moloch came up
with a friendly smile, patted me on the head, and offered to show me over
the cave. He was a fat demon, good-natured, and apparently lazy, with a
grotesque face and a merry twinkle in his eyes. I liked Moloch from the
first.

"I'll tell you a good one," he whispered in my ear. "What were the
silliest nations that ever lived on the face of the earth? Ha, ha! It's a
good one, I assure you."

"I give it up," I said.

"Why," he said, beginning to shake like a jellyfish with suppressed
mirth, "the silliest nations were the Ass-yrians and the Ninny-vites and
the Babble-onians. D'ye see?" And Moloch went off into a convulsion of
merriment.

I laughed heartily, and he seemed to be much gratified at my appreciation
of his humor. "I'll tell you a better one than that," he said
confidentially, "as soon as I think of the answer. I've quite forgotten
how the answer comes in. It's something about a frisky rogue and a risky
frog--no, I'm not certain that's just it. But it's one of the best jokes
you've ever heard when it's put properly.

"Those devils over there," said Moloch, as we walked out of the audience
chamber into a field, under the overhanging roof of the cave, where
sundry rather innocuous-looking demons were hoeing corn, "are the asuras
and goblin Pretas and terrible rakshashas of the Hindoca. They used to
range the earth with bloody tongues and ogre teeth and cannibal
appetites. Now they are strictly graminivorous devils. Oh, I tell you
there has been a vast improvement in our race since we retired from
active business. You might call it the march of civilization," he added,
with violent symptoms of inward laughter.

We came upon a gigantic demon sitting unsteadily on a rock, his huge
right fist clasping a wicker flask. "It's Typhon," whispered Moloch, "the
Set of the ancient Egyptians. Set used to breathe smoke and pelt his
enemies with red-hot boulders. He frightened all the gods once, if you
remember, and drove them out of the country. He won't hurt you. He's very
peaceable now, even when he's fuddled. Set has a great gullet for liquor
and he is the worse for it now, as you observe. Set has declined, you
see," added Moloch chuckling, "Set, sat, sot."

"You are a mad wag, Moloch," said I.

"It's only my joking way," he replied. "I do enjoy a good joke. Sometimes
they get me up by the Canaan outlet and set me laughing to scare the
countrymen outside. Do you notice my peculiarly merry eyes?"

In the course of my walk with Moloch through the Splurgle community I
came to understand how harmless and even simpleminded these ancient
bugaboos really were. If they were ever malevolent, they had discarded
their malevolence when superstition discarded them. Like decayed
gentlemen in other branches of industry, some of them retained a certain
pride in their whilom fiendishness, but the shadow was ludicrously unlike
the substance. One by one, as the friendly Moloch told me with many
brilliant jeux d'esprit, which I regret that I am unable to remember, the
devils of antiquity, superseded in dogma and creed by newer and more
fashionable devils, had withdrawn from the face of the earth and gone
into retirement in this cavern under the roots of the three-pronged
mountain. Here the played-out fiends of forty centuries had gradually
rusted into the condition in which I found them when dragged by the heels
into their community.

"Ahriman has kept his head better than the rest of us," explained my
guide, the cheerful Moloch, "and therefore he bosses us, but privately,
between you and me, I don't believe he is more formidable or devilish
than any man of the lot."

I saw and talked with Baal. He seemed a little weak in his head, and was
employed in the kitchen of the establishment, dealing out rations of
phosphorescent soup. "Your soup shines today," I remarked, for the want
of anything better to say.

"Yes, it shines, it shines," replied the superannuated fiend, apparently
struck with the force of my remark. Then he paused, as if unable to grasp
the immensity of the idea, and put his ladle hand to his forehead,
spilling a stream of soup down over his clothes. "It shines, it shines,"
he repeated, not noticing his mishap, "and there's something in my head
that buzzes and buzzes." Then he went on ladling out soup and muttering
to himself the feeble analogy, "It shines, it shines; it buzzes, it
buzzes."

"Some of us are farther gone than Baal is," said Moloch. "There is a
houseful of 'em in the institution over there poor devils who sit and
moon and hardly know enough to eat and drink. You ought to see Abaddon.
He's a sad sight. So far gone that he can't appreciate a good conundrum."

Afterward I had the honor of an introduction to Lilith, the mistress of
Adam, and by him the mother of a pernicious brood of devils. She was a
sweet-tempered, grandmotherly old lady, and, when I saw her, was knitting
a pair of warm woolen socks for Belial, a shiftless ne'er-do-well sort of
fiend. I saw Asmodeus; he was reading, with evident enjoyment, Timothy
Titcomb's Letters to Young Men. I met Leviathan, Nergal, and Belphegor;
they would have cowed and trembled had I said a harsh word. I talked with
Rimnon, Dagon, Kohai, Behemoth, and Antichrist; they were as staid and
respectable as the honest citizens who met nightly in Deacon Plympton's
grocery.

During a residence of several weeks with the Splurgles, I was somewhat
mortified to find that their moral standards put to shame the common
practices of mankind. Harmless fellows, vain of their reputation for
diabolical malignity, their private lives were above reproach. They
neither lied nor stole. They held every trust to be sacred. Of their
hospitality, I bear willing testimony. The only form of vice which I
discovered among them was drunkenness, and that was confined to Typhon
and one or two others. Yet, while I credit them with virtues
unfortunately rare on earth, candor compels me to add that the Splurgles
were rather tedious companions, and I was glad when, having learned the
secret of the outlet through the good nature of my friend Moloch, I stood
once more under the red oak in Rodney Prince's pasture.

Black and dead as every color looked after the self-luminous hues of the
Splurgle cave, the contrast was not so great as that which oppressed me
when I began to associate again with mankind. The venality of trade, the
petty malice of society, the degradation of humanity, assumed a new and
repulsive aspect. I shared the pity of Beelzebub for mortal imperfection.



THE DEVIL'S FUNERAL


I felt myself lifted up from my bed by hands invisible and swiftly borne
down the ever-narrowing avenue of Time. Each moment I passed a century
and encountered new empires, new peoples, strange ideas, and unknown
faiths. So at last I found myself at the end of the avenue, at the end of
Time, under a blood-red sky more awful than the deepest black.

Men and women hurried to and fro, their pale faces reflecting the
accursed complexion of the heavens. A desolate silence rested upon all
things. Then I heard afar a low wail, indescribably grievous, swelling
and falling again and blending with the notes of the storm that began to
rage. The wailing was answered by a groan, and the groaning grew into
thunder. The people wrung their hands and tore their hair, and a voice,
piercing and persistent, shrieked above the turmoil, "Our lord and
master, the Devil, is no more! Our lord and master is no more!" Then I,
too, joined the mourners who bewailed the Devil's death.

An old man came to me and took me by the hand. "You also loved and served
him?" he asked. I made no reply, for I knew not wherefore I lamented. He
gazed steadfastly into my eyes. "There are no sorrows," he said,
meaningly, "that are beyond utterance." "Not, then, like your sorrow," I
retorted, "for your eyes are dry, and there is no grief behind their
pupils." He placed his finger on my lips and whispered, "Wait!"

The old man led the way to a vast and lofty hall, filled to the farthest
corner with a weeping crowd. The multitude was, indeed, a mighty one, for
all the people of every age of the world who had worshiped and served the
Devil were assembled there to do for him the last offices for the dead. I
saw there men of my own day and recognized others of earlier ages, whose
faces and fame had been brought down to me by art and by history; and I
saw many others who belonged to the later centuries through which I had
passed in my night progress down the avenue of Time. But as I was about
to inquire concerning these, the old man checked me. "Hush," he said,
"and listen." And the multitude cried with one voice, "Hark and hear the
report of the autopsy!"

From another apartment there came forth surgeons and physicians and
philosophers and learned faculties of all times charged to examine the
Devil's body and to discover, if they could, the mystery of his
existence. "For," the people had said, "if these men of science can tell
us wherein the Devil was the Devil, if they can separate from his mortal
parts the immortal principle which distinguished him from ourselves, we
may still worship that immortal principle to our own continued profit and
to the unending glory of our late lord and master."

With grave looks upon their countenances, and with reluctant steps, three
delegates advanced from among the other sages. The old man beside me
raised his hand to command perfect silence. Every sound of woe was at the
instant suppressed. I saw that one was Galen, Paracelsus another, and
Corneilus Agrippa the third.

"Ye who have faithfully served the master," said Agrippa in a loud voice,
"must listen in vain for the secret which our scalpels have disclosed. We
have lain bare both the heart and the soul of him who lies yonder. His
heart was like our own hearts, fitly formed to throb with hot passions,
to shrink with hatred, and to swell with rage. But the mystery of his
soul would blast the lips that uttered it."

The old man hurriedly drew me a little way apart, out of the throng. The
multitude began to surge and sway with furious wrath. It sought to seize
and rend to pieces the learned and venerable men who had dissected the
Devil, yet refused to publish the mystery of his existence. "What rubbish
is this you tell us, you charlatan hackers and hewers of corpses?"
exclaimed one. "You have discovered no mystery; you lie to our faces."
"Put them to death!" screamed others. "They wish to hoard the secret for
their own advantage. We shall presently have a triumvirate of quacks
setting themselves up above us, in place of him whom we have worshiped
for the dignity of his teachings, the ingenuity of his intellect, the
exalted character of his morality. To death with these upstart
philosophers who would usurp the Devil's soul."

"We have sought only the Truth," replied the men of science, soberly,
"but we cannot give you the Truth as we found it. Our functions go not
further." And thereupon they withdrew.

"Let us see for ourselves," shouted the foremost in the angry crowd. So
they made their way into the inner apartment where the Devil's body lay
in state. Thousands pressed after them and struggled in vain to enter the
presence of death that they, too, might discover the true essential
quality of the departed. Those who gained entrance reverently but eagerly
approached the massive bier of solid gold, studded with glistening
stones, and resplendent with the mingled lustre of the emerald, the
chrysolite, and jasper. Dazzled, they shrank back with wild faces and
bewildered looks. Not a man among them dared stretch forth his hand to
tear away the bandages and coverings with which the surgeons had veiled
their work.

Then the old man who with me had silently witnessed the tumultuous scene
drew himself up to a grand height and said aloud: "Worshipers of the
Devil, whose majesty even in death holds you subject! It is well that you
have not seized the mystery before the time. A variety of signs combine
to inspire me with hope that that which has sealed the lips of the men of
science may yet be revealed through faith. Let us forthwith pay the last
sad tribute to our departed lord. Let us make to his memory a sacrifice
worthy of our devotion. My art can kindle a fire which consumes weighty
ingots of gold as readily as it burns tinsel paper, and which leaves
behind no ashes and no regrets. Let every man bring hither all the gold,
whether in coin, or in plate, or in trinkets, that he has earned in
serving the Devil, and every woman the gold that she has earned, and cast
it into the consuming fire. Then will the funeral pyre be worthy of him
whom we mourn."

"Well said, old man!" cried the Devil worshipers. "Thus we will prove
that our worship has not been base. Build you the pyre while we go to
fetch our gold."

My eyes were fixed upon the face of my companion, but I could not read
the thoughts that occupied his brain. When I turned again the vast hall
was empty of all save him and me.

Slowly and laboriously we built the funeral pile in the centre of the
apartment. We built it of the costly woods that were at hand, already
sprinkled by devout mourners with the choicest spices. We built the pile
broad and high, and draped it with gorgeous stuffs. The old man smiled as
he prepared the magic fire that was to consume the gold which the Devil
worshipers had gone to fetch. Within the pyre he left an ample space for
their sacrifice.

Together we brought forth the Devil's body and placed it carefully in
position at the top of the pile. Thunders rolled in the lofty space above
our heads, and the whole building shook so terribly that I expected it to
fall, crushing us between roof and pavement. Crash came after crash of
thunder, nearer and nearer to the pyre. Lightnings played close around
us--around the old man, the Devil's corpse, and me. Still we waited for
the multitude, but the multitude returned not.

"Behold the obsequies!" said the old man at last, thrusting his lighted
torch into the midst of the pile. "You and I are the only mourners, and
we have not a single ounce of gold to offer. Go you now forth and bid all
the Devil worshipers to the reading of the last will and testament. They
will come."

I hastened forth to obey the old man's command, and speedily the funeral
hall was thronged again. This time the Devil worshipers brought their
gold, and every man sought to make excuse for his tardiness at the pyre.
The air was thick with explanations. "I tarried only," said one, "to be
sure that I had gathered all--all to the very last piece of gold in my
possession." "I have fetched," said another, "the laborious accumulations
of fifty years, but I cheerfully sacrifice it all to the memory of our
dear lord." A third said, "See, I bring all of mine, even to the wedding
ring of my dead wife."

There was a contention among the Devil worshipers to be first to cast
treasure into the fire. The charmed flames caught up the gold, and
streamed high above the corpse, casting upon every eager face in the vast
room a fierce yellow glare. Still the fire was fed by hands innumerable,
and still the old man stood beside the pyre, smiling strangely.

The Devil worshipers now cried out with hoarse voices: "The will! The
will! Let us hear the last testament of our dead lord!"

The old man opened a roll of asbestos paper and began to read aloud,
while the hubbub of the great throng died away into silence and the angry
roar of the consuming flames subsided into a dull murmur. What the old
man read was this:

"'To my well-beloved subjects, the whole world, my faithful worshipers
and loyal servitors, greeting, and the Devil's only blessing, a perpetual
curse!

"'For as much as I am conscious of the approach of the Change that hunts
every active existence, yet being of sound mind and firm purpose, I do
declare this to be my last will, pleasure, and command as to the disposal
of my kingdom and effects.

"'To the wise I bequeath folly, and to the fools, pain. To the rich I
leave the wretchedness of the earth, and to the poor the anguish of the
unattainable; to the just, ingratitude, and to the unjust, remorse; and
to the theologians I bequeath the ashes of my bones.

"I decree that the place called hell be closed forever.

"I decree that the torments, in fee simple, be divided among all my
faithful subjects, according to their merit, that the pleasure and the
treasure shall also be divided equitably among my subjects.'"

Thereupon the Devil worshipers shrieked with one accord: "There is no God
but the Lord Devil, and he is dead! Now let us enter into our
inheritance."

But the old man replied, "Ye wretched! The Devil is dead, and with the
Devil died the world. The world is dead."

Then they stood aghast, looking at the pyre. All at once the gold-laden
flames leaped into a blazing column to the roof and expired. And forth
from the red embers of the Devil's heart there crept a small snake,
hissing hideously. The old man clutched at the snake to crush it, but it
slipped through his hands and made its way into the midst of the crowd.
Judas Iscariot caught up the snake and placed it in his bosom. And when
he did so, the earth beneath us began to quiver as if in the convulsion
of death. The lofty pillars of the funeral chamber reeled like giants
seized with dizziness. The Devil worshipers fell flat upon their faces;
the old man and I stood alone. Crash followed quick on crash on every
side of us, but it was not this time the concussions of thunder. It was
the hopeless sound of the tumbling of man's structures and fabrics and
the echo from the other worlds of this world's crack of doom. Then the
stars began to fall, and the fainter lights of heaven came down upon us
like a driving sleet of frozen fire. And children died of terror, and
mothers clasped their dead babes to their own cold breasts and hurried
this way and that for shelter that was never found. Light became black,
fire lost its heat in the utter disorganization of Nature, and a whelming
flood of chaos surged from the womb of the universe and swallowed up the
Devil worshipers and their dead world.

Then I said to the old man as we stood in the void, "Now there is surely
no evil and no good; no world and no God."

But he smiled and shook his head, and left me to wander back unguided
through the centuries. Yet as he disappeared I saw that high over the
ruins of the world a rainbow of infinite brightness stretched its arch.



THE WONDERFUL COROT


On the twentieth of May, 1881 (said John Nicholas, in the smoking room of
the Gallia), I spent the day and part of the night at the house of my
good friend Scott Jordan, President of the Bloomsburgh and Lycoming
Railroad. Jordan has a place in one of the charming suburban
neighborhoods a few miles out of Philadelphia. His character deserves a
word.

He is an intensely superstitious, intensely practical man--a type of a
class much more numerous than people will readily believe. Half a dozen
railroads, conceived, built, equipped, and run to the profit of their
legitimate owners, bear witness to his honesty and sound business sense.
If further evidence of his worldly judgment is wanted, it may be found in
a safe full of marketable securities. In his power of managing men and
handling complicated enterprises, Scott Jordan comes nearer to my idea of
Thomas Brassey than does any other capitalist-contractor I know. His name
on a Board of Direction is a guarantee of conservative, prudent, yet
never timid management. I wish he would undertake the comptrollership of
my modest finances, to the last dollar I possess. He is a companionable
old gentleman, and likes to be considered as a man of taste. He is in the
full sense a man of the world while concerned with the affairs of this
world, yet he spends nearly half his life in another--a strange world
where banjos play and bells ring without human hands, where ghostly arms
are stretched forth from behind the curtains of the unknown, and dim
forms belonging to every age of history meet face to face.

Jordan's house is the happy hunting ground of all the professional
charlatans in the spirit-raising line. They fasten to him like
leeches--the rappers, the test mediums, the healing mediums, the
physical-manifestation people and the rope tiers, the clairvoyants, the
controlled of every sort, male and female, young and old, prosperous and
shabby.

Jordan has told me that these gentry cost him twelve or fifteen thousand
dollars a year. When they come to his door he welcomes them as aids in
his tireless investigation of truth. They live like princes in his
establishment; every morning brings its honorarium for the performance of
the night before. Jordan royally entertains his Egyptians and Greeks
until he detects them in some piece of imposture cruder than usual. Then
he talks to them like a grieved parent, ships them off with a free pass
over one of his railroads, and is all ready to go through the same
process with the next corner.

You will understand now, gentlemen, that I had looked forward with
considerable interest to my visit to Jordan's house.

Although the family was entertaining several professionals, I found that
I was the only social guest. I make this distinction, but Jordan never
does. You can hardly help liking the old fellow the better for the
magnificent old-school courtesy with which he treats the seediest humbug
of the lot.

"It is they who condescend," he is accustomed to say, somewhat pompously,
"when they honor me with their company; for do they not bring with them
the kings and great poets and artists and the wisest and best of every
century?"

And if Jordan's testimony is accorded the same weight in this matter as
it would have in any railroad suit in any court in Pennsylvania, the
wisest and best of every century, from Socrates down to George
Washington, have, in fact, visited his private cabinet.

At the dinner table I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. John Roberts and
his brother William, the celebrated cabinet mediums; fellows with
villainous faces. I was also presented in due form to Mr. Helder, a
gentleman of consumptive appearance, who is said to possess remarkable
developing powers; a fat lady whose name I have forgotten, but who
practices medicine under inspiration of the eminent Dr. Rush; Mrs.
Blackwell, the materializing medium, and her daughter, introduced as Mrs.
Work, a young lady with black eyes, said to be a flower and modeling
medium of rare promise. At no time did I see any Mr. Work.

I thought the flower and modeling medium looked at me with not unkind
eyes during dinner. The behavior of the other professionals indicated
suspicious reserve. They furtively watched me, as if trying to guess the
depth of my penetration. I contrived to drop a few remarks that seemed to
encourage them. Jordan was jovial, and wholly unconscious of all this
byplay.

In my friend's library after dinner, there was the usual jugglery, with
the gas turned halfway down. A small extension room, separated by a
portiere from the library, served as a cabinet. William Roberts suffered
me to tie him with a clothesline. He produced some of the commoner
manifestations, and then declared that the conditions were unfavorable.
At Jordan's urgent request, Mrs. Blackwell went into the cabinet. Hands
and vague white faces were shown between the curtains. The lights were
turned still lower. Mrs. Work touched the piano, singing in a very
musical voice, "Scots wha hae" and "Coming through the Rye." The
persistent repetition of these airs finally elicited a full-length figure
in a cloud of white, and the apparition was pronounced to be Mary, Queen
of Scots. Mary withdrew and reappeared several times. At last, as if
gaining courage, she ventured forth from the cabinet, advanced a yard or
more into the room, and curtsied. Jordan called my attention in a whisper
to the supernal beauty of her face and apparel. In a reverent voice he
inquired if she would permit a stranger to approach. A slight inclination
of Mary's head granted the boon. I stood face to face with the Queen; she
allowed my hand to rest lightly for a second upon one of the folds of
mull that draped her form. Her face was so near mine that even in the dim
light I could see her eyes shining through the eye holes of her absurd
papier-mache mask.

The impulse to seize Mary and expose the ridiculous imposture was almost
irresistible. I must have raised my hands unconsciously, for the Queen
took fright and disappeared behind the portiere. Mrs. Work hastily left
the piano and turned up the gas. In the glance that she gave me I read a
piteous appeal.

Jordan's face was beaming with satisfaction. "So beautiful," he murmured,
"and so gracious!"

"Yes, beautiful," I repeated, still looking at the flower and modeling
medium; "beautiful and uncommonly gracious!" "Thanks!" she whispered.
"You are generous."

Half ashamed of myself as the voluntary accomplice of vulgar tricksters,
I listened with growing impatience to Jordan's ecstatic account of other
materializations not less marvelous and convincing than this of Mary,
Queen of Scots. The mediums had returned to the ordinary occupations of
evening leisure. The younger Roberts and Mr. Helder were playing
backgammon, conversing at the same time in low voices. The fat
representative of Dr. Rush was asleep in her chair. Mrs. Work was
crocheting. Her mother was sipping brandy and water--a necessary
restorative, Jordan was careful to tell me, after the draft made upon her
vital forces by the recent materialization of Mary. The situation would
have been thoroughly commonplace had it not been for occasional rattling
detonations, or successions of sharp raps, apparently in the ceiling, in
the partition walls, all over the furniture, and underneath the floor.

"They are playful tonight," said Roberts, looking up from his backgammon
board.

"Yes," said Mrs. Work's mother, as she stirred her brandy and water.
"They are very fond of Mr. Jordan. They hover around him always.
Sometimes, when my inner vision is clearer, I see the air full of their
beautiful forms, following him wherever he goes. They love and reward him
for his great interest in them and us."

"Mr. Jordan," said I, "do you never find yourself imposed on?"

"Oh, often," he replied. "Frequently by wicked spirits; frequently by
fraudulent mediums."

"There are frauds in every profession, you know," said Mrs. Blackwell.

"There would be no paste diamonds," suggested Helder, "if there were no
real diamonds."

"And your repeated discoveries of imposture," I persisted, "have not
shaken your faith?"

"Why should they?" replied the railroad president "Nine hundred and
ninety-nine experiments with negative results prove nothing; but the
one-thousandth case, if established, proves everything. Demonstrated
once, the possibility of communication with disembodied spirits is
demonstrated forever."

A fusillade of raps in every part of the room greeted this proposition.

"I grant that," said I. "Prove one instance of the interference of
spirits in the affairs of men and you have established the whole case."

"But you believe," he rejoined, with a smile, "that the thousandth and
absolutely authentic instance will never be proved; and meanwhile you
reserve the right to explain away all such things as you have seen
tonight by the hypothesis of jugglery."

"I'm sure the gentleman doesn't think that," insinuated Mrs. Blackwell,
who had now finished her brandy and water.

"Nevertheless," continued Jordan, "the one-thousandth instance may
happen, may happen at any time, and may happen to you. Come and see my
pictures."

I tried to keep a grave face while my host did the honors of a score or
more of Raphaels, Titans, Correggios, Guidos, and what not, all painted
in his own house by mediums under inspiration. Jordan's old masters make
a collection probably unlike any other on earth. When he demanded what I
thought of the internal evidence of their authenticity, I was able to
reply with perfect truthfulness that nobody could mistake them.

From this amazing trash I turned with feelings of relief to a landscape
hanging in the hallway. "I moved it out here," said Jordan, "to make room
for that superb Carracci, 'Daniel in the Lion's Den'--the large canvas
you particularly admired."

I looked at the old gentleman to see if he was in earnest. Then I looked
again at the glorious landscape.

Here was no painted fiction, but truth itself: A clump of rounded
willows, seen by early morning light and seen again in the perfectly calm
water of the canal or sluggish stream which they overhung; a skiff,
resting partly on the water and partly on the wet grass of the nearer
bank; beyond, an indistinct distance and the outline of a chteau tower
with the conical Burgundian peak; a marvelous humid atmosphere of blue
and mist, a soft light enveloping everything and caressing everything. No
painted fiction, I say, but a window through which anyone having eyes
might survey nature in her eternal truth.

I said: "That comes nearer to the supernatural than anything I have ever
seen. It is worth all your old masters together."

"You like it?" said he. "It is well enough, I suppose, though of a school
for which I have no particular fancy. It was painted here about a year
ago by a spirit who did not choose to identify himself."

"Nonsense," said I, for this passed all endurance, "Corot has been dead
six years."

Jordan led the way back into the library. "Mrs. Work," said he, "do you
remember the circumstances under which the large landscape in the
hall--the hazy green one--was painted?"

"Certainly," replied the young lady, looking up from her needles; "I
recollect very well. It was painted through me."

In claiming the authorship of this wonderful work of genius, she used the
matter-of-fact tone in which she would have acknowledged a stork and
sunflower in crewel, or a sleeping pussy cat in Berlin wools.

"And you are an artist yourself--that is to say, when not in the trance
state?"

"Oh, yes," she replied, returning my gaze with unflinching eyes; and
thereupon she produced from one of Mr. Jordan's portfolios a preposterous
bunch of lilacs in water color. Meanwhile, Jordan had been rummaging in
his desk. He now brought forth an account book. "Here we have it," he
said, "all set down in black and white." In the middle of a page of
similar memoranda I read this item:

1880, May i3--Pd. M. A. Work for painting done under control; large view
(trees, stream, boat, etc.)...$25.00

"All I can say, madam," I exclaimed, turning to Mrs. Work, "is that
Knoedler or Avery would have been most happy to pay you ten thousand
dollars for that Corot, for Corot it is, and a masterpiece at that."

"Good night," said Jordan, a little later, when I rose to retire. "After
what you have already experienced I need hardly warn you not to be
disturbed by any noises you may hear in your bedroom." A hailstorm of
raps punctuated his sentence. "They hover, hover around," Mrs. Blackwell
was saying, as I left the library; "but in this house it is as
guardian--"

I went to bed thoroughly bewildered. Was there, after all, behind this
wretched jack-in-the-box jugglery something incomprehensible,
unexplainable, unspeakable--something which the jugglers themselves
understood no better than their dupes? When I thought of Mary, Queen of
Scots, ogling me through her pasteboard mask, and of Jordan's rhapsody
over her unearthly beauty, the problem seemed too ignoble to engage an
intelligent man's attention for a single minute; but there was the Corot.
The whole machinery of raps, hands, ropes, apparitions, guitars,
Raphaels, Correggios, and Carraccis was almost childish in its
simplicity; but there again was the Corot. Every train of logical
thought, every analytical process led me back to the marvelous Corot.

One of three things must be true: The picture was a commonplace daub,
like the old masters, and I was laboring under a strange delusion or
hallucination in regard to its merits. Or, Mrs. Work and her accomplices
had procured a Corot unknown to connoisseurs and had sold it for one
five-hundredth part of its market value, to bolster up a petty deception.
Or, the landscape was a marvel and the manner of its production a
miracle. The first supposition was the most plausible, yet I was not
disposed to accept it at the expense of my self-possession and judgment;
no doubt daylight would confirm my estimate of the picture. The second
supposition involved a degree of folly--disinterested and expensive
folly--on the part of these precious mediums that did not tally with my
observations of their character. To accept the third supposition was, of
course, to accept the theory of the spiritualists. Thus reasoning I fell
asleep, and was awakened, about half-past two o'clock, by a muffled
hammering directly beneath my bed.

Now, gentlemen, what followed passed very rapidly, but every incident is
distinct in my memory, and I ask you to reserve judgment until you have
heard me through.

The noise came from the room under mine. As nearly as I could judge, this
was the library. Notwithstanding Jordan's advice, I determined to see
what was the matter. I jumped into my trousers and cautiously proceeded
toward the stairway. At the head of the stairs a door opened as I passed
and a hand was laid upon my shoulder.

"Don't go down!" was eagerly whispered into my ear. "Don't go down!
Return to your chamber!"

A white figure stood before me. It was the flower and modeling medium in
her nightdress, her black hair all loose.

"Why should I not go down?" I demanded. "Are you afraid that I shall
embarrass the spirits in their carpenter work?"

She spoke hurriedly and with evident excitement: "You believe it all a
fraud, but it isn't. There's fraud enough, Lord knows, for mediums must
live; but, then, there are things--once in a while, not often--that stun
us."

"Tell me the truth about the Corot."

"As truly as I stand here, it was produced in the way we said--on my
easel, with my brush held in my hand, yet not by me. I can tell you no
more, for I know no more." The noise of pounding downstairs increased.

"And if I go down, shall I encounter one of the mysteries that you speak
of!"

"No, but you will run into great danger. It is for your own sake I ask
you not to go." By this time I was in the lower hall.

Downstairs I discovered the Roberts brothers holding a seance at Jordan's
plate closet, while the developing medium, Mr. Helder, with a dark
lantern in his hand, was developing the combination lock of Jordan's
safe.

In my brief and not victorious struggle with the three rascals I must
have received some hurt upon the head. My eyes were half blinded with
blood. With a vague idea of shouting for help at the foot of the stairs,
I staggered back into the lower hall, closely pushed by two of the
mediums. I heard one of them whisper, "Hit hard! It's got to be done,"
and saw a heavy iron bar raised and aimed at my head.

At this moment I stood directly in front of the Corot. Even in the
imperfect light, that wonderful glimpse of nature opened beside me like a
window in the wall. In another instant the crowbar would have buried
itself in my skull. Then there reached my ears a cry from the head of the
stairs, where I had left the flower medium standing, "Jump! Jump into the
picture! For God's sake, jump!"

Resting one hand upon the frame, as upon a window sill, I launched myself
against the canvas. The weapon descended, but I was already beyond its
range. I fell, fell, fell, as if falling through infinite space, yet
partially borne up by invisible hands. Then I found myself upon the wet
grass of the canal bank. I jumped into the skiff and hurriedly poled it
across the stream; and then, having reached the other bank, I fainted
dead away under the willows.

When I came to my senses I was lying in snowy linen in the Htel Dieu at
Dijon, with a good sister to take care of me. Here is a translation of
the entry in the hospital books:

1881, May 21--Received from Monsieur the Mayor of Flavigny an Unknown,
found early this morning, unconscious, and only partially clad, on the
bank of the canal of Burgundy, near the limits of the arrondissement.
Injuries--Severe scalp wound and slight fracture of the right parietal
bone. Property--One pair of trousers, one nightshirt, pair slippers.
Means of identification--None.

Gentlemen, that is the end of my statement of facts. I am now on my way
back to America. I shall establish the interference of spirits in human
affairs by affording conclusive evidence that a wonderful picture was
painted by a dead artist; that this picture was used by the spirits in my
behalf as a way of escape out of mortal danger, and that, by the most
extraordinary instance of levitation on record, I was borne bodily more
than three thousand miles in a few seconds.

Do not laugh just yet. To the scientific world and to all fair-minded
investigators of the truth of spiritualism, I shall soon offer in the way
of evidence:

1. The register of the Continental Hotel in Philadelphia for May 19,
1881. I stopped there on my way to visit Jordan. My name will be found
under that date.

2. The testimony of Mr. Jordan and his family that I was with them at
Bryn Mawr on May 20, 1881, up to eleven o'clock at night.

3. The duly attested record of my admission to the hospital at Dijon,
France, on May 21, 1881.

4. The wonderful picture now in the possession of Jordan.


II


Dear Sir: In reply to your note of inquiry, I beg leave to say that our
common friend, Mr. John Nicholas, has been under my care for more than a
year, with the exception of two months spent in the Cte d'Or in charge
of another medical attendant.

The facts in his unfortunate case are accurately set forth (up to a
certain point) in his own narrative, as outlined by you. Mr. Nicholas'
recollection is not trustworthy in regard to events happening after he
had suffered a severe blow on the head in his encounter with thieves.

As to the value of his estimate of the merits of the picture upon which
his delusion is founded, I cannot speak. I have never seen it. It may be
well to say, however, that prior to his departure for France, Mr.
Nicholas was in the habit of attributing the picture to an American
artist, some years ago deceased. As he used to tell the story, it was not
to Burgundy but to Wissahickon Valley that he was transported by
levitation.

I also beg leave to say that this mania does not affect his sanity in all
other respects; nor do I see reason to despair of his entire recovery.

Yours respectfully,

HORACE F. DANIELS, M.D.



THE TERRIBLE VOYAGE OF THE TOAD


It was not owing to any lack of enterprise or courage that Captain Peter
Crum of Mackerel Cove, Maine, did not visit the Paris Exposition in his
own sloop yacht, the Toad. Nor was the failure of his famous expedition
due to any demerit in the craft which he commanded. Ever since Captain
Crum sailed his sloop by dead reckoning to Boston, in spite of
unpropitious weather, including a heavy sou'east blow off Cape Elizabeth,
and returned in safety with a cargo of Medford rum to discomfit the
critics who had predicted certain disaster, there had been no question as
to the seagoing qualities of the Toad. It is generally conceded at
Mackerel Cove that Captain Peter Crum would have reached Paris in triumph
but for the malignant hostility of a power justly abhorred and dreaded by
all serious-minded men.

"Oh, the Toad sails, she does!" Captain Crum carelessly remarked to his
neighbor, Deacon Silsbee, in the deacon's store one day early in June.

"The Toad does sail," allowed the deacon.

The captain gazed significantly at the deacon, whose face put on a
receptive expression, as if to say the court awaits further
communications.

"An of you kin diskiver any rashn'l reason," continued Captain Crum,
lowering his voice to a confidential whisper, "why she shouldn't carry
you and me and Andrew Jackson's son Tobias to the big show over yonder,
it's more'n    Deacon."

The deacon bore the reputation of being, when sober, the subtlest
logician, both in theological and secular matters, on that section of the
coast. He sympathized heartily in the captain's project, but felt it due
to himself to proceed deliberately, analytically, and cautiously.

"Hum!" said he, wagging his head; "the Toad's a toler'b'l old boat."

"She is," assented the captain. "Old an' thurowly seasoned." "Without
intendin' to disperidge," continued the deacon, "her bottom's more
putty'n timber."

"Putty or no putty," rejoined the owner of the Toad, "she sails afore the
wind like a thing of life and minds her helium like a lady."

"It's a long tack to Paris," suggested the deacon, shifting his ground,
"and them that go down upon the sea in ships [so to speak of the Toad]
take their lives in the palms of their hands."

"Deacon!" said the captain, solemnly; "you ain't actin' up fer to deny an
overrulin' Providence, or the efficacy of prayer? Won't you be along?"

"True," said the deacon, mollified by the compliment to his powers of
intercession. "The godly man feareth neither the hurricane's fury nor the
leviathan's rage. Are you certain you kin lay the course?"

"Unless the geographies lie like Anemias," continued the captain, growing
more earnest as the details of the adventurous scheme presented
themselves to his mind, "it's as plain a course to Havy-de-Grass as it is
to Bangor. You take a short hitch round Cape Sable and then you're
practically thar. Who says the Toad won't sail? Gimme a sou'east or
sou'west wind, Andrew Jackson's old compass out of the schooner Parida
P., a good stock of pervisions, two or three of them twenty-gallon kags
of rum, and the benefit of your petitions mornin' and evenin', and I'll
allow I'll lay the Toad 'longside the city landin' in Paris in sixty
days, spite of blows or Beelzebub!"

The captain brought his fist down upon the cover of Deacon Silsbee's pork
barrel with a vigor that denoted fixed determination. Several neighbors
who had dropped into the store while he was speaking and had gathered
around him, attracted by the energy of his utterances, applauded the
daring vow. "In spite," he repeated, "of blows or Beelzebub!"

"Cap'n! Cap'n!" said the deacon, coming round from behind his counter and
holding up both hands in protest, "say nothing thet's rash. While I hold
that prayerful navigators, sailing so seaworthy and serious a craft as
the Toad, hey little or nothin' to fear from Satan's wiles, I hold it
likewise that a willful and froward sperrit of defiance at sech a mement
is onnecessary and foolish. And I would also remark that if it's a
question in your mind between two and three of them kags of rum for so
long a v'yage, it's a dooty and a vartue to be on the safe side, Cap'n
Crum!"

It is as well authenticated a fact as any in the history of Mackerel Cove
that on the morning of Monday, June 17, 1878, the sloop Toad, of
8,825-10,000 registered tonnage, Crum master, cleared for Havre with a
cargo consisting of Deacon Silsbee, Andrew Jackson's son Tobias, and
nearly eighty gallons of Medford rum. Deacon Silsbee and Tobias Jackson
are advisedly classed with the cargo rather than with the working crew of
the vessel. In order to be on hand for an early departure they had
thought it prudent to embark the night before. In accordance with a
suggestion of the deacon's, namely, that any surplus of rum left over
from the outward voyage could be profitably disposed of in Paris for such
articles of merchandise as the natives might have to offer in exchange,
the captain had added a fourth keg to the stock already on board. When
the captain took command of the craft in the morning, he found his
younger passenger curled up in the cuddy, utterly insensible to the
momentous character of the occasion. By comparison with Tobias Jackson,
Deacon Silsbee was very sober, but judged by any other standard he was
very drunk. The deacon sat on the heel of the bowsprit, his chin resting
heavily on both hands, singing in a dismal voice hymn after hymn of
various metres, but to one unvarying tune. An invitation from the captain
to lend a hand at the jib halyard met with no response. The deacon did
not stir, but sat with his bleary eyes glued on the rum kegs in the
standing room aft and began, "The voice of free grace cries escape to the
mountain!" in a louder and more melancholy intonation than before.

The entire population of the cove had come down to the shore to witness
the departure of the Toad. Many were the weather prophecies and the
arguments of dissuasion shouted at the bold skipper. Even those of his
neighbors who had been friendliest to the undertaking urged him to
postpone his start until a more favorable day. They pointed to the long
fog bank that lined the horizon to the seaward and had already shut in
Damiscove Island and was hurrying toward Bald Head light and the main
shore. "I calkilate to hey considerable fog more or less till I fetch
beyond the Banks," returned the captain, cheerfully. "Guess I mought as
well overhaul thet air compass of Andrew Jackson now ez later on."

Under these discouraging circumstances, with prophecies of evil sounding
behind him and a thick fog dead ahead, with one of his companions
helplessly drunk below deck and the other uncomfortably noisy above,
Captain Peter Crum began his memorable voyage. Standing erect at the
stern sheets, he poured out for himself a brimming tumblerful of rum as a
sort of first line of fortifications against the fog. Then, alone and
unaided, he ran up his mainsail and his jib and resumed his position at
the helm. He had sworn in the presence of all Mackerel Cove to sail the
Toad across the Atlantic in spite of Beelzebub. He would do it or perish
in the attempt, along with Deacon Silsbee and Andrew Jackson's son
Tobias. Captain Crum drank another tumblerful of rum. The mainsail
fluttered in the first flurry of the fog breeze. Waving a graceful adieu
to the assembled multitude on shore, and throwing an affectionate kiss to
his weeping wife, who already considered herself in effect his widow, and
whom he could readily distinguish in the distance by her pocket
handkerchief, he grasped the tiller and brought the Toad round into the
wind. The sails filled and the gallant though rather aged craft bounded
off toward the open sea, while loud above the splash of the waves and the
shouts of the crowd on shore rang out the deep voice of Deacon Silsbee,
as he sang at the top of his lungs:

"My willing soul wo-o-od shtay
In slusha framer zish;
An' sit an sing her shellaway
To efferlash [hic] blish."

The first news of the Toad's progress was brought to Mackerel Cove
twenty-eight hours after her departure, by the crew of a Halifax
lumberman which put in on account of the fog. The lumberman reported it
very thick outside--thicker than anything he remembered at that time of
year. He had narrowly escaped running on to the Clamshell, a well-known
rock in the shelter of Pumpkin Island, twenty miles out. As he sheered
off he had perceived a small sloop, apparently fast hung on the ledge. To
his hailing there had come the answer, in a voice as thick, if not
thicker than the fog and much more unsteady, that the stranded sloop was
the Toad of Mackerel Cove, bound for the Paris Exposition with a cargo of
rum. The captain of the Toad confidently expected to get off at the next
flood tide. Offers of assistance were received by the Toad's crew with
derisive howls, and with some insulting reference to Beelzebub, which the
lumberman could not distinctly understand.

"As I had no call to stand thar and be sarsed," concluded the lumberman's
captain, "I put round agin and left the critter on the Clamshell. It's my
private opinion that all hands on board had been splicin' the main brace
a good many times too often."

For the next three weeks the anxious population of Mackerel Cove heard
nothing further of the fortunes of their adventurous townsmen. The fog
clung to the coast relentlessly for all that time. At last a northwest
wind drove it off the shore, and on the second clear day the little
steamer Moonbeam, engaged in the porgy fishery, came up to the cove with
a small sloop in tow and three dejected, exhausted, and thoroughly
disgusted navigators on board. This sloop was the Toad.

The master of the porgy boat reported that he had found the Toad aground
on the Clamshell. At first he had seen no signs of life on board, but
upon running as near to the rock as the draft of his steamer would allow,
he discovered three human beings lying unconscious in the cuddy, together
with several empty kegs that still smelled strong of rum. He took off the
men, and by attaching a rope to the sloop, succeeded in dragging her into
deep water. The rescued sailors partially recovered their senses under
the influence of hot coffee, dry clothing, and kind treatment, but they
still appeared to be in a state of semi-stupefaction, and the story they
told was so deliriously incoherent that he could make neither head nor
tail of it.

Of course the first inference drawn by the people of the Mackerel Cove
was that the Toad, seen aground on the Clamshell June 19 by the Halifax
lumberman, and found aground on the same ledge July 11 by the porgy
steamer, had remained aground uninterruptedly between those two dates,
the crew, meanwhile, consuming the four kegs of rum. This theory implied
so inglorious a termination to an adventure begun with so much bravado
that for several weeks Captain Crum, Deacon Silsbee, and Tobias Jackson
were subject to a great deal of ridicule on the part of their neighbors
and friends, and even the Toad itself became an object of derision in the
cove.

The returned voyagers bore all this with extraordinary meekness for a
while. At last, however, they began to hint that the reproach was
unmerited: that there was a marvelous and mysterious history behind their
apparent failure; and that if the whole truth were known, they would
figure for all time as the heroes of one of the most protracted and
terrific encounters with diabolical agencies in this or any other age.

Little by little the story came out: partly in conversations at Deacon
Silsbee's store, partly in Tobias Jackson's communications to boon
companions in convivial hours, and partly in allusions made by the deacon
himself in prayer and exhortation in the vestry of the Baptist
meetinghouse. When the whole story became known, it was so consistent and
conclusive that it carried conviction at the first recital.

The hostility of a malign power had confronted the voyagers at the outset
and driven them upon the Clamshell, in spite of Captain Crum's positive
knowledge that he was at least seventeen miles to the southward of that
rock at the moment when the Toad struck it. Once aground and waiting for
the tide to flow, it became necessary, as a precaution against the
chilling fog, to use a good deal of the rum medicinally. The voyagers did
not remember being hailed by any Halifax lumberman. They did remember,
however, that a huge black craft sailing without sails in the very teeth
of the wind, yet not propelled by steam, and manned by no earthly crew,
loomed up in the fog close to the Clamshell. There came to the rail of
this apparitional vessel a monster with a head four times as big as a rum
keg, and eyes that shone like coals of green fire, who demanded, in a
supernally awful voice, who it was that proposed to cross the sea in
spite of Beelzebub. Upon their shouting back defiance and the deacon's
repeating a text from Job, the phantom (for phantom they believed it to
be) vanished as suddenly as it had appeared.

That, however, was only an unimportant episode, and one that had almost
escaped their memories in the press of later and more terrible
experiences. It was Tobias Jackson, who, when they found that the Toad
did not float at flood tide, suggested that the only way to get off was
to lighten the cargo. They, therefore, went to work industriously on the
contents of one of the rum kegs, and by nightfall, to their unspeakable
satisfaction, felt the Toad rising and falling beneath them with the
motion of the water. Captain Crum then laid a course for Havre, as
straight as he could, allowing always for the hitch round Cape Sable.

From the moment when the Toad got fairly afloat the voyage was like a
continuous succession of nightmares. After they had cleared the fog the
atmosphere became hot and heavy and mysteriously oppressive to the lungs,
though the sun was shining brightly and there was, to all appearances, a
fine fresh breeze. Sometimes even at noonday the heavens would suddenly
turn as dark as pitch while strange phosphorescent lights played around
the mast of the Toad and the bungholes of the rum kegs. The air seemed to
be charged with electricity. One day the compass acted as if possessed
with the Devil. As an aid to navigation it was very much worse than
useless. The needle swung round and round without any obvious cause, with
a rapidity which no one could contemplate without becoming dizzy and
bewildered. Captain Crum at last wedged the needle so that it could not
move in the box. But as soon as the compass stood still the Toad itself
began to spin round so viciously that they hastened to release the
needle.

On the fourth or fifth day out the wind freshened, and the sloop went
bounding over the billows. The deacon and Tobias Jackson were seriously
affected by the motion, and retired to the cuddy. Even the captain
himself, an old sailor who had weathered many storms, was obliged to
succumb to the nausea; but though deadly sick, he held his post at the
helm, and kept the bowsprit pointed straight for Havre. The breeze
increased to a gale, the waves seemed animated with a merciless desire to
overwhelm and swallow up the frail Toad, appalling thunders filled the
sky, lightnings darted from every square inch of the heavens, and the
sloop labored fearfully. In this emergency it became necessary, as a
matter of self-preservation, to lighten the cargo still further. The
captain, after some trouble, succeeded in arousing his sick and
discouraged companions, and all hands went to work on the second keg with
an energy born of desperation. Thus the Toad outrode the storm.

According to the best recollection of the sorely tried navigators, who
about this time lost all reckoning of days and hours and began to measure
events by another chronology, it was either in the last quarter of the
second keg or the first quarter of the third keg that the sea suddenly
became populous with reptiles of vast dimensions and manifestly hostile
disposition. Captain Crum, Deacon Silsbee, and Tobias Jackson are agreed
in affirming most positively that it was neither whales nor porpoises
that they saw. The monsters which crowded the water around the Toad, and
fairly tumbled over each other in their malignant eagerness to get at and
annihilate that little craft, were far larger than any whale, far
livelier than any porpoise. They were gigantic, antediluvian creatures of
hideous shape, with eyes that shone with malevolent purpose, and voices
that bellowed loud enough to strike you dumb with fear. They swam round
and round the Toad, glaring with hungry eyes upon her unfortunate crew,
and lashing the sea with their huge tails until it was foam white as far
as sight could reach. In the largest of all these alarming monsters
Deacon Silsbee was confident that he identified the terrible beast with
seven heads and ten horns mentioned in Revelations.

"It is Beelzebub," whispered the deacon to the captain, as soon as horror
allowed him the use of his tongue. "It is the old horned beast himself!"

As if to confirm the deacon's recognition, the air rang with a diabolical
laugh, and the principal beast reared its seven heads high out of the
water, and bore down directly upon the Toad, while all the other beasts
gave way.

"The critter come right on," said the deacon afterward in describing the
crisis, "and the cap'n and Tobias Jackson flopped down among the kags,
limp ez dead flounders. I knew the righteous need not fear, so I stood
firm and looked the sarpint squar in the eyes. At this he begun to show
symptoms of oneasiness. He hitched an' backed an' sheered off a bit,
glarin' at me ez fierce ez ever. I felt encouraged, but bein' a little
shaky in the legs, reached down for the tin dipper and began fumblin' at
the plug in the bung of one of the kags. This giv him a minnit's
advantage, and he swum up close alongside; but I cotched his eye agin,
and he stopped short ez if shot. 'Beelzebub, begone!' sez I. 'You are
known, and you'd better begone!' 'Ho! Ho!' sez he, in an aggravatin'
tone, 'you're known likewise, Deacon Silsbee, an' you'd better put round
for Mackerel Cove, if you valley your health. Crost the Atlantic in spite
of me, ho! ho!' With that he roars an onearthly roar, and I could feel
Tobias Jackson, who was lyin' agin my right leg, shake like a jellyfish."

"How about the cap'n?" asked one of the deacon's audience.

"The cap'n," continued the deacon, "had crawled into the cuddy. It's no
discredit to him ez a sailor or ez a man, for the critter's roar was
powerful skeerin'. But I, you see, bein' varsed in Scripter and familiar
with doctrine, knew the beast's weak pints. 'Beelzebub!' sez I, looking
him squar in the eye, 'you may roar and lash, but you can't intimidate
me. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you. You old serpent, you
adversary, you tormenter, you prince of unholiness, begone! Now git!'"

"And did he git?" inquired one of the deacon's neighbors.

"Not at wunst," said the deacon. "The old liar is dreadf'l sub-tile. He
swam off a few hundred rods in a hesitatin' uncertain fashion and then
turned round agin. 'Look here, Deacon Silsbee,' sez he in an insinuatin'
voice, 'I come in a friendly, neighborly sperrit, and it's onnecessary
fer you to speak so ha'sh. Ez long ez you're bound to crost, and won't be
balked of it, I mought ez well give ye a lift an' save ye a sight of
trouble. Jest turn your eyes the tother way a jiffy till I git alongside
the Toad. Then take a double hitch with your tow line round one of my
horns and I'll snake ye over to the French coast in less than it takes a
cable despatch to crost. That's solid!' 'It's solid,' replied I, waxin'
very wrothy, 'that I know you and your lyin' ways. The Toad wants none of
your unholy towin', Beelzebub. Now git!'

"That time," added the deacon, "he did git. He and all of his ten
thousand lesser devils sot up a howl of baffled rage so loud that I
thought it would shake the sun out of the sky down on to our heads, and
then of a suddin they all dove under. The sea was smooth, the weather
fair, with a good, fav'able sou'wester, and the Toad seemed to be bowfin'
along to the Exposishun. We were so delighted at havin' escaped Satan's
wiles that we forgot the commercial featur of the enterprise, and went
straight through the third kag, plum into the fourth."

Captain Crum's version of this encounter with the demon monster in
mid-ocean agreed substantially with the deacon's, except in one
unimportant particular. According to the captain's recollection, it was
Deacon Silsbee who sought shelter in the cuddy when Beelzebub began to
roar, and he, the captain, who repulsed the arch enemy by the firmness of
his demeanor. On being questioned as to the relative accuracy of those
two versions, Tobias Jackson privately confessed that the memory of both
the captain and the deacon was at fault, and that it was he, Tobias, that
had saved the Toad. The diabolical fish had swum up to the sloop and
seized hold of the gunwale with its huge, talon-like fins, the captain
and the deacon had taken refuge below deck, and the destruction of all on
board seemed imminent, when Tobias, who alone preserved his presence of
mind, grasped a belaying pin that happened to be within reach and beat
Beelzebub so lustily about the head and claws that he was glad to
relinquish his infernal clutch. This trifling discrepancy in the
narratives of the three navigators need not distract attention from the
main facts, namely, that Beelzebub did appear, was boldly met, and was
put to flight.

As to the remainder of the voyage, there was no disagreement. The
navigators again found that they were no match for Beelzebub, who, though
defeated in the face to face encounter, was a wily and persevering foe
and possessed a great advantage by reason of his unfair and unscrupulous
employment of supernatural agencies. If Captain Crum attempted to take an
observation of the sun to determine the latitude and longitude of the
Toad, the sun would not stand still, but at Satan's instigation bobbed
and wobbled around the heavens in a manner that made nautical reckoning
an impossibility. Nor did the stars at night afford any better data for
calculation. They danced about through each other's constellations with
utter recklessness of consequences, and all three of the Toad's crew
testify that four moons often appeared simultaneously, and the dipper
frequently rose in the west and set in the southeast. At times the wind
would blow from all points of the compass and the Toad would remain
stationary for hours, buffeted by conflicting breezes.

Notwithstanding these impediments to a prosperous passage, Captain Crum
believes that he finally would have made the coast of France had not
Beelzebub resorted to an unexpected and insuperable trick. It was a foul
blow to navigation--a blow beneath the belt.

For day after day the Toad, to all appearances, had been making good
progress and the Toad's crew were well along in the last half of the
fourth and last keg. The wind blew steadily abaft, the jib and mainsail
drew finely, the water rippled about the bows, and the captain had begun
to look sharp ahead for signs of land. By his rough reckoning the Toad
ought to have been in west longitude 5 40', somewhere off Ushant. At
length land appeared--a faint blue line of land--but, to their complete
bewilderment, it was neither ahead nor on either beam. It was directly
behind the Toad, and although by the wind, by the compass, by the swash
of waves, and by every other indication known to navigators they were
sailing directly away from it, its outlines every moment became more
distinct. Captain Crum caught up an empty rum keg (they were all empty
now) and threw it overboard. The keg rapidly passed by the Toad from
stern to stem, disappeared for a second under the bowsprit, and was soon
lost in the horizon to the eastward.

The three bold sailors looked at each other with despairing eyes. By this
infallible test they knew that the Toad was sailing, and had for days
been sailing, directly backward, in the teeth of the wind and in the face
of all natural laws. It was no use contending against an enemy who had
such diabolical resources at his command. Discouraged and sick at heart,
they sank down under the weight of their terrible disappointment and knew
nothing more until they found themselves on board the porgy steamer
Moonbeam, steaming up Mackerel Cove. Of the Toad's second grounding upon
the Clamshel! they knew nothing. It was a singular coincidence, but what
event could surprise them now?

Such was the story told of the Toad's voyage to France by the courageous
navigators who had fought hard against unearthly odds. The inhabitants of
Mackerel Cove, after hearing it attentively, weighing it judicially, and
cross-examining closely, are unanimously agreed on three points:

1. That the voyage, although unsuccessful, is highly creditable to the
Toad, to the Toad's crew, and, by reflex glory, to Mackerel Cove.

2. That Beelzebub, when actuated by motives of spite, is a hard fellow to
beat; yet

3. That if the rum had held out long enough, the three navigators would
finally have got across and viewed the splendors of the Exhibition in
spite of him.



THE PAIN EPICURES


I

Nicholas Vance, a student in Harvard University, had the misfortune to
suffer almost incessantly with acute neuralgia during the second term of
his senior year. The malady not only caused him great anguish of face,
but it also deprived him of the benefit of Professor Surdity's able
lecture on speculative logic, a study of which Vance was passionately
fond.

If Vance had gone in the first place to a sensible physician, as Miss
Margaret Stull urged him to do, he would undoubtedly have been advised
that it was mental friction that had set his face on fire. To extinguish
the conflagration he would have been told to abandon speculative logic
for a time and go a fishing.

But although the young man loved Miss Margaret Stull, or at least loved
her as much as it is possible to love one who feels no interest in
hypotheses, he had little respect for her opinion in a matter such as the
neuralgia. Instead of consulting with a duly qualified member of the
faculty of medicine, he rushed across the bridge one morning, in a
paroxysm of pain, to seek counsel of Tithami Concannon, the very worst
person, under the circumstances, to whom he possibly could have applied.

Tithami was himself a speculative logician. He lived up four pairs of
stairs, and his one window overlooked a dreary expanse of back yards and
clotheslines. By a subtle process of reasoning he knew that the window
commanded a superb view of the sunset, granted only that the sun rose in
the west and set in the east. As Tithami was aware, moreover, that east
and west are relative terms, arbitrarily employed, and that inherently
and absolutely there is no more reason why the sun should travel from
east to west than from west to east, he derived a great deal of enjoyment
from the sunsets he did notice. Such are the resources of speculative
logic.

Tithami owed his education to his name. Thomas Concannon, who thirty
years ago taught the Harvard freshmen how to pronounce the digamma, died
a month before Tithami was born. Poor little Mrs. Concannon, sincerely
desiring to compliment the memory of her deceased husband, named the
infant after a Greek verb which the tutor had held in especial esteem,
and of whose capabilities she had often heard him speak with enthusiasm.
Her family tried in vain to persuade the simple-minded mother to give up
the idea, or at least to compromise on Timothy, approximate in form to
the heathen verb, but thoroughly respectable in its associations. She
would not yield--not one final iota--and Tithami the baby was baptized.
This queer christening proved both the making and the marring of the
child. A rich, eccentric great uncle, mightily tickled by the unconscious
humor of the appellation, offered to give young Tithami the best
schooling that money could buy, and he kept his word, all the way from a
kindergarten to Heidelberg. At the latter institution Tithami learned so
much logic from the renowned Speisecartius, and went so deep into
metaphysics with the profound Zundholzer, that he thoroughly unfitted
himself for all practical work in life. He came home and speedily argued
his benevolent uncle to death, but not before the old gentleman had
stricken the logician from his will and diverted his entire property to
the endowment of an asylum for deaf mutes.

"My dear Nicholas," said Tithami, when Vance had sung all twelve books of
his epic of pain, "you are the luckiest individual in the city of Boston.
I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. Take your hand away from
your cheek and sit down in that easy chair and rejoice."

"Thank you," groaned Vance, who knew the chair. "I prefer to stand up."

"Well," said Tithami cheerfully, "stand up if it pleases you so long as
you stand still. The floor creaks and my landlady, who is absurdly fussy
over a trifle of rent, has a way of rushing in when the slightest noise
reminds her of the fact of my existence. You've read how, in the Alps, a
breeze sometimes brings down an avalanche?"

"Hang your landlady!" shouted Nicholas. "I came to you as a friend, for
sympathy, not to be jeered at."

"If you must walk up and down like a maniac, Nicholas," continued
Tithami, "pardon me for suggesting that you keep off that third plank
from the fireplace. It's particularly loose. I repeat, Nicholas, that you
are a lucky dog. I would give my dinners for a week for such a
neuralgia."

"Can you do anything for me or not?" demanded Nicholas, fiercely. "I
don't like to exercise intimidation, but, by Jupiter, if you don't stop
chaffing, I'll raise a yell that will start the avalanche."

A perceptible tremor passed over Tithami's frame. It was evident that the
threat was not ineffectual. He arose hastily and assured himself that the
door was securely bolted. Then he returned to Vance and addressed him
with considerable impressiveness of manner.

"Nicholas," said he, "I was perfectly serious when I congratulated you
upon your neuralgia. You, like myself, are a speculative logician.
Although not in an entirely candid and reasonable frame of mind just now,
you will not, I am sure, refuse a syllogism. Let me ask you two plain
Socratic questions and present one syllogism, and then I'll give you
something that will subdue your pain--under protest, mind you, for I
shall feel that I am wronging you, Nicholas."

"Confound your sense of justice!" exclaimed Nicholas. "I accept the
proposition."

"Well, answer me this. Do you like a hot Indian curry?" "Nothing better,"
said Nicholas.

"But suppose someone had offered you a curry when you were fifteen years
younger--during the bread and milk era of your gastronomic evolution.
Would you have partaken of it with signal pleasure?"

"No," said Vance. 'I should have as soon thought of sucking the red-hot
end of a poker."

"Good. Now we will proceed to our syllogism. Here it is. Sensations that
are primarily disagreeable may become more or less agreeable by a proper
education of the senses. Physical pain is primarily disagreeable.
Therefore, even physical pain, by judicious cultivation, may be made a
source of exquisite pleasure"

"That doesn't help my neuralgia," said Nicholas. "What does it all mean,
anyway?"

"I never heard you speak unkindly of a syllogism before," said Tithami,
sorrowfully. Then he took a small jar from a closet in the corner and
shook out of it a little pile of fine white powder, of which he gave
Nicholas as much as would cover an old-fashioned copper cent. This he did
with evident reluctance.

"Come here tonight," he added, "at half past nine, and I will try to show
you what it all means, my young friend."

II

The apprehension of a new and profoundly significant truth is a slow
process. As Nicholas walked home over the bridge he pondered the
syllogism which Tithami had advanced. When he reached the front gate of
the house where Miss Margaret Stull lived, and saw that young lady in her
flower garden watering polyanthuses, it occurred to him for the first
time that he had forgotten his neuralgia.

He sat down on the doorstep and lighted a cigar. The kind inquiries and
gentle solicitude of his sweetheart made him rather ashamed of himself.
It was not dignified that a young philosopher with a heroic malady should
be sitting among polyanthuses, forgetful of his misery, and actually
experiencing that dull glow of bodily self-satisfaction which a well-fed
Newfoundland dog may be supposed to enjoy when he lies in the sunshine.
Nicholas felt it his duty to subject the facts of the case to logical
analysis.

The first result obtained was the remarkable fact that the pain was still
present in all its intensity.

Upon closely examining his sensations, Vance could discover no change in
either the frequency or the acuteness of the nervous pangs. At tolerably
regular periods the stream of fire ran throbbing through his face and
temples. In the intervals of recurrence there was the same dull aching
which had made life intolerable for days before. Nicholas, therefore,
felt safe in the induction that the powder administered by Tithami had
not cured the pain.

The astonishing thing was that ever since he had taken the powder the
pain had been a matter of indifference. Nicholas was compelled to admit,
as a candid logician, that he would not raise a finger to rid himself of
the neuralgia now. So strange was the transformation wrought in his
sensatory system that he even felt a sort of satisfaction in the
throbbing and the aching, and would have been sorry, rather than glad, to
have them cease. Indeed, the more he thought about it the nearer he
approached to the conclusion that neuralgia, under the existing
conditions, was a luxury and something to be cherished.

When this idea was communicated to Miss Margaret Stull, she at once
became alarmed for his sanity, and ran to fetch her aunt Penelope. That
respectable and experienced maiden heard the proposition stated without
showing surprise or other emotion. Her comment was comprised in a single
word.

"Morphia," said Miss Penelope.

"Call it lotus or ambrosia," exclaimed Nicholas, "call it morphia, or
what you will. If there is a potency in the blessed drug that can
transform agony into joy, torment into delight, make the forenoon's
paroxysms of torture the pulsations of ecstasy in the afternoon, why may
it not be, as Tithami said, that--but I'll go to Boston and ask him this
very hour."

Nicholas paused, for both Miss Penelope and Margaret were regarding him
with amazement. Margaret looked bewildered, but on her aunt's face there
was a very peculiar expression, which he afterward recalled most vividly.

"Mr. Vance," said Miss Penelope calmly, "the morphia is acting on your
head. Suppose you lie down on the sofa in the back parlor, where it's
cool and quiet, until suppertime. After a good cup of tea you'll be in
better condition to go to Boston, and I shall be very glad of your
escort. I'm to spend the evening with some friends at the West End."

At twenty-five minutes past nine Vance climbed the stairs that led to
Tithami's abode. He found the speculative logician arrayed in full
evening dress and just drawing on a pair of tight boots. This surprised
Nicholas. He had never known his friend to be guilty of that folly
before.

"Neuralgia's not so bad a thing, eh, Nicholas?" said Tithami, gaily.
"Something like a hot curry when your taste's educated up to it. Great
pity, though, to blunt the edge of your enjoyment with morphine. It's
like sprinkling sawdust over a fine raw oyster. However, we'll soon have
you educated beyond such crude practices. I want you to go out with me."

"But I'm not dressed," said Nicholas.

Tithami went to the looking glass and complacently surveyed his own
rather rusty attire. "That makes no difference," said he; "it won't be
noticed. Now, if you'll have the goodness to go downstairs first. If the
coast is clear, whistle 'Annie Laurie,' and I'll come right along. But if
you observe at the foot of the stairs a she-dragon, a female Borgia, a
gorgon, a raging Tisiphone in a black bombazine dress, whistle the 'Dead
March' from Saul, and I'll climb down the gutter pipe and join you at the
corner."

The coast happened to be clear, and the notes of "Annie Laurie" brought
Tithami to the street door close upon Nicholas' heels. He led Vance
through street after street, and turned corner after corner, discoursing
the while upon light topics with the rattling air of a man about town.
Nicholas had never seen Tithami display such animal spirits before. He
seemed to have shaken off the mustiness of scholastic logic, and walked
and talked like a nineteenth-century blade on his way to a congenial
debauch.

"You were saying this morning," said Nicholas--timidly opening a subject
on which he very much desired instruction--"you were saying that physical
pain, being only a relative term, inasmuch as the same sensations in a
modified degree often yield us what we call physical pleasure, might be
cultivated so as to be a source of exquisite enjoyment. Now it seems to
me that this theory--"

"Oh, bother theory," said Tithami, smartly and apparently with purpose
rapping his knuckles against a lamp post they were just then passing.
"What's the use talking of theory when you'll shortly see the idea in
actual practice?"

"But please tell me what you mean," persisted Nicholas, "by pain's being
only relative."

"Why," said Tithami, "who can draw the line, for example, that marks the
boundary between the comfortable feeling you have after a good dinner,
and the uncomfortable feeling you have after eating too much? In one case
the sensation is translated by your brain into pleasure. In the other,
the same sensation, only a trifle more pronounced, is called pain. Are
you as blind as a newborn rabbit that you can't see, after sitting so
long under Professor Surdity, that the distinction between pain and
pleasure is nothing but a fallacy of words? Didn't your morphine
experience today prove that? Throw away the morphine and educate your
intelligence up to the proper standard and you get the same result."

Here Tithami, as if wearied of parleying, stopped short and began to
dance a vigorous jig upon the pavement.

"Why do you dance if your boots are tight?" Nicholas ventured to inquire.

"Simply because they are tight, and my feet very tender," replied
Tithami.

Nicholas walked on in silence. Tithami's conduct became more and more
astonishing every minute. But Nicholas' surprise culminated when his
friend halted in front of a brick mansion which had once been
aristocratic. Tithami ascended the steps and rang the doorbell with the
air of one who has reached his destination. No wonder Nicholas was
surprised. It was to that same door that he had escorted Margaret's aunt
Penelope, not half an hour earlier that very evening.

IV

Nicholas had once attended a meeting of the First Radical Club in a
private house not far from the one which he now entered. The scene in the
parlor recalled the session of the Advanced Thinkers. About a dozen men
and women, more or less progressive in appearance, were sitting in chairs
or on sofas listening to a paper read in a mumbling voice by a tall
gentleman who stood in a corner and held his manuscript close to his
spectacles. The essay did not seem to excite much enthusiasm. There were
more empty chairs than auditors.

When Nicholas and Tithami were ushered in, nearly all the company arose
and greeted the latter silently but with every evidence of profound
respect. Indeed, the salutations were almost oriental in their
obsequiousness.

"You are quite a rooster here, Tithami," whispered Vance, irreverently.

"Hush!" Tithami whispered in return. "It was I who first brought this
idea from Heidelberg to Boston. It is simply their gratitude for a great
boon. But listen to the essay."

The speaker was just then saying: "Let it be postulated that the
principle which we hold is the true arcanum, the actual earthly paradise,
and let it be also postulated that we shall progress from the material to
the intellectual in the development of this principle, and who can escape
the conclusion from these premises? As we advance in the self-discipline
that already enables us to derive the highest physical pleasure from
sensations that have been deemed a curse since Cain's first colic, we
shall find still loftier joys in the region of mental pain. I firmly
believe that the time is not distant when to the initiated the death of a
wife or husband will be a keener joy than the first kiss at the altar,
the bankruptcy of a fortune a truer source of elation than the receipt of
a legacy, the disappointment of ambition more welcome than the fruition
of hope. This is but the logical--"

Nicholas could no longer contain himself. He knew the voice, the style of
reasoning, the spectacles. He had listened too often and too intently to
the lectures of Professor Surdity of Harvard College to mistake him for
another, or another for him. He uttered a low whistle. Tithami checked
him on the very edge of another.

"Above all things," he whispered, "show no astonishment at anything you
may see or hear. And take special care to recognize nobody you meet, even
if it is your own grandmother. The etiquette of the place requires that
much of you."

Tithami now arose and beckoned Nicholas to follow him out of the room.
"This is slow," said he. "The professor is inclined to be prosy. A few of
the old fogies of our number like to sit and listen to him. They are
probably trying to carry his principle to the extent of deriving
excitement from a painful bore. We mustn't waste time here. Let's go to
the symposium."

A passageway, screened by heavy curtains, led to an extension apartment
that originally bad been built for a painting gallery. It had no windows.
The skylight overhead had been removed and the room was as completely
sequestered as the inner chamber of one of the pyramids of Gizeh. On a
table in the middle of the apartment a repast was laid. The table was
surrounded by broad couches, like the lecti of the Romans, on which
several persons were reclining. A few were eating, but the majority
seemed wrapped in the sufficiency of inactive bliss. In the corners of
the room Nicholas observed several bulky machines of wood. The place
seemed half banquet hall, half gymnasium.

As had been the case in the outer parlors, all the company arose and
saluted Tithami with marked deference. This was done almost mechanically,
and as if a matter of course. Of Nicholas' presence the Pain Epicures
apparently took no more notice than the inmates of a Chinese opium den
would have done. There was a dreamy languor upon the company that made
the locality seem not unlike an opium den.

Tithami went directly to a sideboard and poured from a decanter a
brimming draft.

"It is aqua fortis," he explained, "diluted, of course, but strong enough
to take the skin from the lips, and set the mouth and throat a burning.
You will try a glass? No? It would be no stronger to your taste than raw
brandy is to a child's. The child grows up and learns to like brandy. You
will grow to esteem this tipple. Ah, Doctor! A glass with you. How are
you enjoying yourself nowadays?"

In the gentleman who approached at this moment, and whom Tithami thus
addressed, Nicholas recognized one of the most eminent of Boston
physicians, celebrated as a skillful practitioner all through the eastern
States. The doctor shook his head at Tithami's polite question.

"Poorly, very poorly," he replied. "The moxa yields me no more pleasure
now than a mere cup blister or leeching. I'd give half my income to be
able to enjoy a simple neuralgia as I used to."

Tithami gave Nicholas a significant look.

"And yet," continued the doctor, musingly, "the blind, ignorant fools who
employ me professionally insist on taking chloroform for a trifling
amputation. I suppose they won't have a tooth drawn without anesthesia.
What a pity that a luxury like pain cannot be monopolized by those who
can appreciate it!"

"With your resources and pathological knowledge," suggested Tithami, "you
ought to keep abreast of your pain progress and avoid ennui."

"I try everything," rejoined the medical gentleman, with a sigh. "Did it
ever occur to you, Tithami," he continued, with more animation, "that if
one could find some stimulant that would arouse the entire nervous system
to acuter sensibility than any agent now known, he might make himself
conscious of the circulation of the blood. How delightful it would be to
actually feel the hot tide rushing along the arteries, oozing through the
capillaries, coursing the veins, and surging into the aorta! Why, it
would lend a new piquancy to existence."

"He is one of the most advanced of us," said Tithami to Nicholas after
the doctor had passed on. "But he goes too fast. I believe in moderation
in pain, as in all other enjoyments. By being temperate in my indulgences
I keep the edge keen. By using the moxa three or four times a day the
doctor killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. He's not enough of a
philosopher to be an epicure."

"Have all your friends here advanced as far as the doctor?" asked
Nicholas.

"Oh dear no! You understand that as one progresses the dose must be
increased. While a beginner may be contented with a toothache, or may
satiate himself by eating green watermelons for the colic, like that
young man yonder, or by sticking pins in the calf of his leg, as those
three gentlemen on the left-hand couch are doing at this moment, there
are others, of more cultivated appetites, who must have the higher grades
of pain. Yet it's the same thing in all stages. Some are content to be
rational in their dissipations; others plunge into extremes. I have in
mind a banker, not present tonight, who became so infatuated with the use
of an old-fashioned thumbscrew which he picked up in some curiosity shop,
that he takes it in his pocket to the office and uses it surreptitiously
during business hours. I have no patience with such a man. He must either
degenerate into a secret voluptuary or else set a bad example to his
clerks."

"I should think so!" said Nicholas.

"Now here's a very different character," continued Tithami, as a burly
German approached. "He's satisfied with the simplest pleasures. Good
evening, mein Herr. You are all smiles tonight."

"Ach Gott!" said the Teuton, "but I have one lovely head woe. I have
been--how say you it?--ge-butting mein kopf unt de wall."

"And over there," Tithami went on, after congratulating the German on his
method, "is one of the rarest examples of besotted folly that I could
possibly show you. That man with his hand tied up in a cloth and a serene
smile on his face was ass enough one day to cut off the tip of his little
finger for the sake of the temporary gratification he had from the smart.
He is a lawyer in good practice and ought to know better. Well, the wound
healed, and his enjoyment was over. So he cut off a fresh slice, a little
further down. Thus it went on, little by little, till now he has nothing
but the stumps of seven fingers and a thumb to show for his sport. He's
begun on the eighth finger already, and I'll wager that he lays his next
case before the jury with a solitary thumb."

A strident creaking now attracted Nicholas' attention to one of the
wooden machines in the corner. Proceeding thither, followed by Tithami,
he beheld an extraordinary spectacle. The machine rudely resembled an
overshot water wheel. It was operated by a crank at which a brawny
African of decorous demeanor was laboring. Upon the rim of the wheel,
lashed hand and foot, was stretched a fleshy citizen of middle age and
highly respectable appearance. He was in his shirt sleeves, and the
perspiration stood in great beads upon his brow, but his face bore an
expression of ineffable felicity. At every exertion of the darky at the
crank the strain upon the fat epicure's muscles and joints increased. The
tension seemed to be terrific, yet Nicholas heard him whisper, in a voice
almost inaudible, but ecstatic beyond description, "Give her one more
turn, George Washington, one--more--little--yank-"

"I was just now speaking," said Tithami, "of the higher grades of pain.
Here you have an example. The fat gentleman is a well-known capitalist
and also a man of leisure, like myself. He lives on Beacon Street. He is
something of an enthusiast in the pursuit of pain novelties. He bought
that machine at Madrid and presented it to the association. It is an
undoubted original of the instrument of torture known as the rack, and is
said to have been used by the Inquisition. At all events it is still in
good working order. With a capable man at the crank it affords an amount
of refined pleasure which I hope you will some day be able to
appreciate."

Nicholas shuddered and turned away from the rack. By this time there were
thirty-five or forty epicures in the room. The company had been increased
by the party from the parlors, Professor Surdity's essay being at last
concluded. There was more bustle and activity among the epicures than
earlier in the evening. The intoxication of pain was working its effect
and the revel was growing reckless and noisy.

"Let us see what they are doing," said Nicholas.

"Make yourself perfectly at home," replied Tithami, politely. "I told you
your presence would not be noticed. Go wherever you please, and if you
feel like testing any of our appliances, don't hesitate to do so. But if
you'll kindly excuse me for a few minutes, I think I'll take the next
turn on the rack."

The revel went on with increasing zest. The hum of delirious voices
mingled with the creaking of two or three of the instruments of torture.
On one side Nicholas saw a sedate party consisting of two philosophers
and half a dozen theological students. They were sitting on a bench
cushioned with the sharp points of tacks, and were discussing the
immortality of the soul in a most animated manner. Several epicures had
taken a hint from the German, and were butting their craniums against the
wall. A young man, evidently inexperienced in the luxuries of pain,
seemed to derive exquisite pleasure from the simplest form of torture. He
had inserted one finger in the joint of a lemon squeezer, and was
grimacing with callow delight as he pressed together the handles of the
utensil with his other hand. Two doctors of divinity had stripped
themselves to the waist, and were obligingly flagellating each other in
turn with willow switches. It was creditable to their sense of equity
that the reciprocal service was performed with exact fairness, both in
regard to time and in regard to the energy with which the blows were
administered. Nicholas observed that, as a rule, the intoxication of pain
made men selfish. Wrapped in the felicity of his own sensations, each
epicure had little concern for the enjoyment of those around him.

That, however, was not the case with a group of men and women who had
gathered at the remotest end of the apartment. There was a buzz of
conversation there, and a manifest display of interest, as over some
great novelty. The crowd was applauding the inventor of a new appliance.
Nicholas pushed his way into the group, and then suddenly started back
dumbfounded.

A woman of middle age sat on an ottoman, her foot in a basket that was
tightly covered over with cloth. A shoe and a stocking lay on the floor.
The woman's hair was disordered and her face flushed with unhealthy
excitement. With the abandon of a mad bacchante, she began to sing a
lively but incoherent song. Her rather shrill voice floated into the
uncertain quavers of hysterical rapture. Nicholas turned to a bystander.
"What has she in the basket?" he demanded.

"Six nests of hornets," was the answer. "Isn't it beautiful? It's the
discovery of the age, and to think that a lady should be the first!"

Nicholas was almost stupefied with horror and disgust. He knew the
basket, for he had brought it from Cambridge. He knew the lady, for she
was Margaret's aunt Penelope. Margaret's aunt the central figure in such
an orgy! He pushed his way to the front and stood before the frantic
woman. She looked up, and a cloudy expression of dim remembrance and
uncertain shame came over her face. "Put on your shoe!" he sternly said.
Mechanically she obeyed. Nicholas kicked aside the basket, and there was
a fierce struggle among the epicures for the possession of the treasure.
The young man heeded not their rivalry. He took Miss Penelope by the arm
and led her out of the unholy place, out of the house. The fresh night
air brought her partially to her senses. She hung her head and
accompanied him in silence.

The last car for Cambridge was just starting from the square. During the
long ride not a word was said by Nicholas, and not a word by his
companion. At the door of the house the silence was first broken.
Nicholas looked up from the ground. The moon lighted the window of the
room where Margaret was innocently sleeping.

"For Margaret's sake and for your own sake, Miss Penelope," said
Nicholas, in a low but firm voice, "swear to me never to visit that place
again."

Miss Penelope's frame shook with agitation. She sobbed violently. She
looked first at Nicholas and then at Margaret's window. At last she
spoke.

"I swear it!" said Miss Penelope.



A DAY AMONG THE LIARS


MY DEAR FRIEND: You will no doubt be glad to hear about the newly
established infirmary at Lugville. I visited it a few days ago in company
with Mr. Merkle, a Boston lawyer, whom I happened to meet upon the train.
On the way down he gave me a most interesting account of the endowment of
this institution by the late Lorin Jenks, to whose discriminating
philanthropy the world owes a charity that is not less novel in its
conception than noble and practical in its aim.

Mr. Lorin Jenks, as you know, was president of the Saco Stocking and Sock
Mills. He was a bachelor, and a very remarkable man. He made a million
dollars one day by observing women as they purchased hose in a cheap
store in Tremont Row. Mr. Jenks noticed that females who hesitated a good
while about paying fifty cents a pair for plain white stockings eagerly
paid seventy-five cents for the same quality ornamented with red clocks
at the ankles. It cost twenty-two cents a pair to manufacture the
stockings. The red flosselle for the clocks cost a quarter of a cent.

"That observation," said Mr. Merkle, "was the foundation of Jenks's great
fortune. The Saco Mills immediately stopped making plain hosiery. From
that time forth Jenks manufactured nothing but stockings with red clocks,
which he retailed at sixty cents. I am told that there is not a woman
under sixty-five in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, or Vermont who
does not own at least half a dozen pairs of poor Jenks's sixty-cent red
dockers."

"That fact," said I, "would interest Mr. Matthew Arnold. It shows that
sweetness and light--"

"Pardon me. It shows that Jenks was a practical man, as well as a
philosopher. Busy as he was during his life, he took great interest in
politics, like all sensible citizens. He was also a metaphysician. He
closely followed contemporary speculative thought, inclining, until
shortly before his death, to the Hegelian school. Every midsummer, he
left the stocking mill to run itself and repaired joyfully to Concord to
listen to the lectures in the apple orchard. It is my private opinion
that Messrs. Plato, Kant & Co. bled him pretty heavily for the privilege.
But at Concord Jenks acquired new ideas as to his duty to the race."

Mr. Merkle paused to hand his ticket to the conductor.

"During the last years of his life, inasmuch as he was known to be
eccentric, philanthropic, and without a family, Jenks was much beset by
people who sought to interest him in various schemes for the amelioration
of the human race. A week before he died he sent for me.

"'Merkle,' says he, 'I want you to draw me a will so leathery that no
shark in Pemberton Square can bite it in two.'

"'Well,' says I, 'what is it now, Jenks?'

"'I wish,' says he, 'to devote my entire fortune to the endowment of an
institution, the idea of which occurred to me at Concord.'

"'That's right,' said I, rather sharply. 'Put honest money made in red
clock hose into the Concord windmill--that's a fine final act for a
summer philosopher.'

"'Wait a minute,' said Jenks, and I fancied I saw a smile around the
corners of his mouth. 'It isn't the Concord school I want to endow,
although I don't deny there may be certain expectations in and around the
orchard. But why spend money in teaching wisdom to the wise?' And then he
proceeded to unfold his noble plan for the foundation of an Infirmary for
the Mendacious."

The train was hauling up at the platform of the Lugville station.

"A few days later," continued the lawyer, as we arose from our seats,
"this far-seeing and public-spirited citizen died. By the terms of his
will, the income of $1,500,000 in governments, Massachusetts sixes,
Boston and Albany stock, and sound first mortgages on New England
property is devoted to the infirmary, under the direction of thirteen
trustees. How the trust has been administered, you will see for yourself
in a few minutes."

We were met at the door of the infirmary by a pleasant-faced gentleman
who spoke with a slight German accent and introduced himself as the
assistant superintendent.

"Excuse me," said he, politely, "but which of you is the patient?"

"Oh, neither," replied Merkle, with a laugh. "I am the counsel for the
Board, and this gentleman is merely a visitor who is interested in the
workings of the institution."

"Ah, I see," said the assistant superintendent. "Will you kindly walk
this way?"

We entered the office, and he handed me a book and a pen. "Please
inscribe your name," said he, "in the Visitors' Book." I did so, and then
turned to speak to Merkle, but the lawyer had disappeared.

"Our system," said the assistant superintendent, "is very simple. The
theory of the institution is that the habit of mendacity, which in many
cases becomes chronic, is a moral disease, like habitual inebriety, and
that it can generally be cured. We take the liar who voluntarily submits
himself to our treatment, and for six months we submit him to the forcing
process. That is, we encourage him in lying, surround him with liars, his
equals and superiors in skill, and cram him with falsehood until he is
fairly saturated. By this time the reaction has set in, and the patient
is usually starved for the truth. He is prepared to welcome the second
course of treatment. For the next half year the opposite method is
pursued. The satiated and disgusted liar is surrounded by truthful
attendants, encouraged to peruse veracious literature, and by force of
lectures, example, and moral influence brought to understand how much
more creditable it is to say the thing which is than the thing which is
not. Then we send him back into the world; and I must say that cases of
relapse are infrequent"

"Do you find no incurables?" I asked.

"Yes," said the assistant superintendent, "once in a while. But an
incurable liar is better off here in the infirmary than outside, and it
is better for the outside community to have him here."

Somebody came in, bringing a new patient. After sending for the
superintendent, the assistant invited me to follow him. "I will show you
how our patients live, and how they amuse themselves," he said. "We will
go first, if you please, through the left wing, where the saturating
process may be observed."

He led the way across a hall into a large room, comfortably furnished,
and occupied by two dozen or more gentlemen, some reading, some writing,
while others sat or stood in groups engaged in animated talk. Indeed, had
it not been for the iron bars at the windows, I might have fancied myself
in the lounging room of a respectable club. My guide stopped to speak to
an inmate who was listlessly turning the leaves of a well-thumbed copy of
Baron Mnchausen, and left me standing near enough to one of the groups
to overhear parts of the conversation.

"My rod creaked and bent double," a stout, red-faced gentleman was
saying, "and the birch spun like a testotum. I tell you if Pierre Chaveau
hadn't had the presence of mind to grip the most convenient part of my
trousers with the boat hook, I should have been dragged into the lake in
two seconds or less. Well, sir, we fought sixty-nine minutes by actual
time taking, and when I had him in, and had got him back to the hotel, he
tipped the scale, the speckled beauty did, at thirty-seven pounds and
eleven-sixteenths, whether you believe it or not."

"Nonsense," said a quiet little gentleman who sat opposite. "That is
impossible."

The first speaker looked flattered at this and colored with pleasure.
"Nevertheless," he retorted, "it's a fact, on my honor as a sportsman.
Why do you say it's impossible?"

"Because," said the other, calmly, "it is an ascertained scientific fact,
as every true fisherman in this room knows perfectly well, that there are
no trout in Mooselemagunticook weighing under half a hundred."

"Certainly not," put in a third speaker. "The bottom of the lake is a
sieve--a sort of schistose sieve formation--and all the fish smaller than
the fifty-pounders fall through."

"Why doesn't the water drop through, too?" asked the stout patient, in a
triumphant tone.

"It used to," replied the quiet gentleman gravely, "until the Maine
legislature passed an act preventing it."

My guide rejoined me and we went on across the room. "These sportsman
liars," he said, "are among the mildest and most easily cured cases that
come here. We send them away in from six to nine weeks' time with the
habit broken up and pledged not to fish or hunt any more. The man who
lies about the fish he has caught, or about the intelligence of his red
setter dog is often in all other respects a trustworthy citizen. Yet such
cases form nearly forty per cent of all our patients."

"What are the most obstinate cases?"

"Undoubtedly those which you will see in the Travelers' and Politicians'
wards of the infirmary. The more benign cases, such as the fishermen
liars, the society liars, the lady-killer or bonnes fortunes liars, the
Rocky Mountain and frontier liars [excepting Texas cases], the railroad
prospectus liars, the psychical research liars, and the miscellaneous
liars of various classes, we permit during the first stage of treatment
to mingle freely with each other. The effect is good. But we keep the
Travelers and the Politicians strictly isolated."

He was about to conduct me out of the room by a door opposite that
through which we had entered when a detached phrase uttered by a pompous
gentleman arrested my attention.

"Scipio Africanus once remarked to me--"

"There couldn't be a better example," said my guide, as we passed out of
the room, "of what we call the forcing system in the treatment of
mendacity. That patient came to us voluntarily about two months ago. The
form of his disease is a common one. Perfectly truthful in all other
respects, he cannot resist the temptation to claim personal acquaintance
and even intimacy with distinguished individuals. His friends laughed at
him so much for this weakness that when he heard of the establishment of
the infirmary he came here like a sensible man, and put himself under our
care. He is doing splendidly. When he found that his reminiscences of
Beaconsfield and Bismarck and Victor Hugo created no sensation here, but
were, on the contrary, at once matched and capped by still more
remarkable experiences narrated by other inmates, he was at first a
little staggered. But the habit is so strong, and the peculiar vanity
that craves admiration on this score is so exacting, that he began to
extend his acquaintance, gradually and cautiously, back into the past.
Soon we had him giving reminiscences of Talleyrand, of Thomas Jefferson,
and of Lord Cornwallis. Observe the psychologic effect of our system. The
ordinary checks on the performances of such a liar being removed, and, no
doubt, suspicion, nor even wonder being expressed at any of his
anecdotes, he has gone back through Voltaire and William the Silent to
Charlemagne, and so on. There happens to be in the institution another
patient with precisely the same trouble. They are, therefore, in active
competition, and each serves to force the other back more rapidly. Not
long ago I heard our friend in here describing one of Heliogabalus'
banquets, which he had attended as an honored guest. Why, I was there,
too!' cried the other liar. 'It was the night they gave us the boar's
head stuffed with goose giblets and that delicious dry Opimian
muscadine.'"

"Well," I asked, "and what is your prognosis in this case?"

"Just now the two personal reminiscence liars are driving each other back
through ancient history at the rate of about three centuries a week. The
flood isn't likely to stop them. Before long they will be matching
reminiscences of the antediluvian patriarchs, and then they'll bring up
square on Adam. They can't go any further than Adam. By that time they
will be ready for the truth-cure process; and after a few weeks spent in
an atmosphere of strict veracity in the other wing of the infirmary,
they'll go out into the world again perfectly cured, and much more useful
citizens than before they came to us."

We went upstairs and saw the scrupulously neat bedrooms which the
patients occupy; through the separate wards where the isolated classes
are treated; across to the right wing of the building and into a lecture
room where the convalescent liars were gathered to hear a most
interesting dissertation on "The Inexpediency of Falsehood from the Legal
Point of View." I was not surprised to recognize in the lecturer my
railroad acquaintance, the Boston lawyer, Merkle.

On our way back to the reception room, or office, we met a
pleasant-looking gentleman about forty years old. "He is a well-known
society man," the assistant superintendent whispered as the inmate
approached, "and he was formerly the most politely insincere person in
America. Nobody could tell when he was uttering the truth, or, indeed,
whether he ever did utter the truth. His habit became so exaggerated that
his relatives induced him to come to Lugville for treatment. I am glad to
have you see him, for he is a good example of a radical cure. We shall be
ready to discharge him by the first of next week."

The cured liar was about to pass us, but the assistant superintendent
stopped him. "Mr. Van Ransevoort," he said, "let me make you acquainted
with this gentleman, who has been inspecting our system."

"I am glad to meet you, Mr. Van Ransevoort," I said.

He raised his hat and made me an unexceptionable bow. "And I," he
replied, with a smile of charming courtesy, "am neither glad nor sorry to
meet you, sir. I simply don't care a d--n."

The somewhat startling candor of his words was so much at variance with
the perfect politeness of his manner that I was taken aback. I stammered
something about not desiring to intrude. But as he still stood there as
if expecting the conversation to be continued, I added, "I suppose you
are looking forward to your release next week?"

"Yes, sir," he replied, "I shall be rather glad to get out again, but my
wife will be sorry."

I looked at the assistant superintendent. He returned a glance full of
professional pride.

"Well, good-by, Mr. Van Ransevoort," I said. "Perhaps I shall have the
pleasure of meeting you again."

"I hope not, sir; it's rather a bore," said he, shaking my hand most
cordially, and giving the assistant superintendent a friendly nod as he
passed on.

I could fill many more pages than I have time to write with descriptions
of what I saw in the infirmary. Intelligence and thoroughness were
apparent in all of the arrangements. I encountered and conversed with
liars of more variation and degree of mendacity than you would believe
had distinct existence. The majority of the cases were commonplace
enough. Liars of real genius seem to be as rare inside the establishment
as they are outside. I became convinced from my observations during the
profitable afternoon which I spent at Lugville that chronic mendacity is
a disease, as the assistant superintendent said, and that it is amenable,
in a great number of cases, to proper treatment. On the importance of the
experiment that is being carried on at Lugville with so much energy and
apparent success, it is not necessary to dilate.

I sincerely hope that you will not misconstrue my motives in laying the
matter before you; and I cannot too strongly urge you to go down to
Lugville yourself at the earliest opportunity. You ought to see with your
own eyes how admirably Lorin Jenks's bequest is administered, and what a
prospect of reform and regeneration the infirmary's system holds out to
unfortunates. The regular visitors' day is Wednesday. No doubt they would
admit you at any time.



OUR WAR WITH MONACO

I

When I last visited Monaco I found that enlightened community in a state
of exasperation against everything that is American. I even detected
covert hostility in the manner of M. Berg of the Beau Rivage Hotel, who
had formerly received me with so much politeness. After breakfast, during
which meal the waiter glared at me with undisguised hatred, I went to pay
my respects to our diplomatic representative, an acquaintance of old in
Ohio. The consul's face was haggard, as if from protracted anxiety. He
was putting the final touches to an elaborate toilet.

"What is the trouble, Green?" I demanded.

The consul sighed repeatedly while he was framing his reply. The
excellent fellow had a habit of adorning his ordinary conversation with
the phraseology of an official dispatch. This process required more or
less time, but the effect was impressive.

"I must inform you," he said, "that the relations between the United
States and the Independent Principality of Monaco, cordial as they have
been in the past, are approaching a crisis full of peril. Recent events
justify the apprehensions which I have from time to time expressed in my
communications to the Department of State at Washington. It would be
folly to conceal the fact that the present attitude of the court of
Prince Charles III is anything but friendly to our own government; or
that the situation is one which calls for the utmost watchfulness and the
most delicate diplomacy. I have the honor to add that I shall be both
prudent and firm."

"Yes," said I; "but what is the row about?"

"The complication," he replied, emphasizing that word, "arises partly
from the dark intrigues of the crafty statesmen who surround the prince,
and partly from the behavior of Americans here and at Nice, particularly
Titus."

"And who the deuce is Titus?"

"George Washington Titus," he replied, with a look full of gloom, "is a
man whose existence and acts embitter my official career; yet I am
constantly yielding to the remarkable influence which he exerts over me,
as over most people with whom he comes in contact. George Washington
Titus is a perpetual source of danger to the peace that has been
maintained so long between the United States and Monaco; yet when he is
with me I cannot help being carried away by the reckless enthusiasm of
his nature. To employ a colloquialism, he has kept me in hot water ever
since he arrived. Pardon me; but, privately and personally and apart from
my official capacity, I sometimes say to myself, 'Confound George
Washington Titus!'"

"Now," I remarked, "I am just as wise as I was before."

"The story is a long one, and, as in every affair of international
moment, the details are many and complicated. I am about to have an
interview with the hereditary prince, and shall officially request an
explanation of certain things. Come with me to the palace. I will give
you the facts as we walk."

It is only a step from the American consulate to the palace, and the
consul's narrative advanced slowly, owing to the dignity of its periods.
For convenience, I had better join what he told me on this occasion with
what I afterward learned respecting the difficulty.

Since 1869, when Prince Charles III abolished taxation, the revenue of
the government of Monaco has been derived exclusively from the gaming
tables at the casino. The prince's subjects, nearly six thousand souls,
have been prosperous and happy, having no taxes to pay and plenty of
travelers to fleece. The income from the casino has been large enough to
meet all administrative expenses, to support the court in a style
befitting the importance of the oldest reigning family in Europe--for
Prince Charles traces his line of descent directly back to the Grimaldi
of the tenth century--and to leave a handsome annual surplus, part of
which has been wisely devoted to a system of internal improvements.

In pursuit of this policy, it had been determined about a year before to
blast out the large rock at the mouth of the cove behind the palace. The
prince's Navy, which consists of a steam launch of about twelve tons
burden, armed with a swivel gun, is accustomed to ride at anchor in this
cove when not actively engaged. The rock seriously impeded the free
ingress and egress of the Navy. The contract for the work of removal was
awarded by Roasio, Minister of Marine, to Titus, an American engineer.

Up to the time of Titus' arrival in Monaco, the Americans had been
popular with the subjects of the prince. They were liberal in expending
money, rarely disputed reckoning at the hotels, cafes, and shops, and
contributed largely to the revenue of the casino. The official pathway of
my friend, the consul, had lain over rose beds. Titus himself won much
applause at first. He was a tall, good-looking Baltimorean, who had been
major of Engineers in the Union Army. A genial and sometimes roistering
companion of men, gallant in his bearing toward the ladies of the court,
skillful in his attack on the obnoxious rock, he had enjoyed for a time a
pronounced success in Monaco. The people watched with pride the
operations of his divers, the work of his steam dredge, the arrival and
unloading of the square tin cans of dynamite which came consigned to him
from Marseilles. He was in a measure identified with the mysterious
forces of nature, and therefore a little feared; but it was generally
conceded that he deserved well of the inhabitants.

Soon, however, he was unfortunate enough to incur the displeasure of
several very influential personages; and although he himself cared not a
copper for the frown of any dignitary on the peninsula, the consul, who
felt more or less responsible for him, thenceforth trod on thorns. Titus'
decline in prestige was due to several causes.

One night, being in his cups, he had knocked down M. De Mussly, the
generalissimo of the Army, who had ventured to remonstrate with him for
practicing the war whoop of the American Indian in the public square in
front of the palace. On receiving a challenge the next morning from the
outraged warrior, Titus had laughed, and offered to swim with De Mussly
due south across the Mediterranean until one or the other should be
drowned. The affair was brought to the attention of the Tribunal
Superieur by M. Goybet, Advocate-General, but Consul Green succeeded in
having the charge suppressed.

Then followed another misadventure, far worse than the De Mussly
incident. At a grand ball at the casino, Titus deliberately excused
himself from dancing a fifth polka with the Princess Florestine, sister
of the reigning prince. This august lady is a widow, who, in spite of her
fifty years and two hundred pounds, has managed to preserve the impulses
and tastes of maiden youth. If rumor was to be credited, she was not
unkindly disposed toward the good-looking American engineer. When Titus
was asked by a friend why he chose to fly in the face of Providence, he
replied, "I had already danced four times with the princess. The old lady
ought to remember that people go to balls for pleasure." This remark, of
course, came to the ears of the princess, and thereafter she devoted
every energy to the accomplishment of Titus' ruin.

The unlucky American next provoked the hostility of the all-powerful
authorities at the casino, by introducing the game of poker as a rival,
in private society, to the public attractions of roulette and rouge et
noir. The new heresy spread like wildfire. In Monaco and in Nice people
lost money to each other, instead of to the bank, as formerly. Receipts
at the casino fell off more than one half. In vain the Administration
procured a deliverance from the ecclesiastical authorities, declaring
the game immoral. People still played poker. Worse than all, Titus and
his disciples turned the terrible new engine against the subjects of the
prince, and won their money. This was a start!ing innovation, and it
awakened deep resentment. It was said that no less a personage than
Monsignor Theuret, the Grand Almoner, having won thirteen thousand
francs at roulette on a succession of three seventeens, lost the entire
amount the next night at poker to Titus, and as much more besides; and
that he was obliged to give his note for a large sum to the American.
This was a specimen case.

As the prosperity of the people of Monaco rested wholly upon the
prosperity of the casino, popular indignation rose high against the
Americans, especially Titus. The poker question found a place in
politics. Titus' enemies were unceasing in their efforts to undermine him
at the court and neglected no means to inflame the prejudices of the
populace.

II

Such, then, was the situation when I accompanied Consul Green to the
palace.

At the threshold of the mansion inhabited by the descendants of the
Grimaldi, we encountered a gorgeous usher wearing a heavy gold chain
upon the breast of his crimson velvet robe. He led the way across an
inner court and up a flight of marble steps, at the top of which he
surrendered us, with a magnificent bow, to the keeping of M. Ponsard,
Commandant of the Palace. Ponsard, in his turn, conducted us along a
corridor and through a series of stately apartments to the office of the
First Chamberlain, who after some delay ushered us into the presence of
the Grand Almoner of the prince's Household. This eminent individual was
seated at a desk writing. He greeted Green ceremoniously. He was aware
that Monsieur the American Minister had audience that morning of the
hereditary prince; but His Serene Highness was just now reviewing the
Army in the piazza before the palace. His Serene Highness would soon
return. If Monsieur the Minister and his friend would like to witness
the pageant, there was an admirable view of the piazza from the balcony
of the Salon des Muses, the third apartment to the left. The chamberlain
would show the way.

"A polite old gentleman," I remarked, as we followed the chamberlain to
the Salon des Muses.

"That extraordinary man," whispered Green, with a touch of awe in his
voice, "is Monsignor Theuret, one of the most astute statesmen in Europe.
His influence at court is practically boundless. He combines
ecclesiastical with secular functions, being apostolic administrator and
bishop of Hermopolis, and at the same time Grand Almoner of the household
and superintendent of the third Salle of the casino. Being one of the
chief leaders of the anti-Titus party, he both hates and fears me; yet
did you observe how well he dissembled?"

"It strikes me," said I, "that this doubling up of offices is rather
droll."

"It is necessary," returned Green, with perfect gravity, "in Monaco,
where the total population is not large. The First Chamberlain, ahead of
us here, as well as the Commandant of the Palace, and the usher with the
gold chain act at night as croupiers at the casino. Chevalier Voliver,
Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads the casino orchestra. He is an
excellent musician and rather friendly to our interests, inasmuch as I
have on several occasions rendered him trifling services of a pecuniary
nature. But I must admit that, in statecraft, the Chevalier is weak and
irresolute. He is hardly more than the tool and creature of Monsignor
Theuret, whose ambition is as limitless as his ability is diabolical."

The First Chamberlain left us on the balcony. Thence we commanded a
view, not only of the piazza below, but of nearly the entire
principality. One could have fired a pistol ball into the Mediterranean,
either to the west or to the south, and to the north the French frontier
was within long rifle range. The palace itself shut off the eastward
view, but Green informed me that the sea boundary on that side, with the
cove where the Navy rode at anchor, was scarcely a stone's throw away.
Opposite us were the grounds of the casino, the long stuccoed faade,
the round concert kiosque, the theater, the restaurants, and the shops
of the bazaar. Above this seductive establishment floated a captive
balloon, in which visitors might ascend to the length of the rope for
twenty francs the trip.

From the balloon overhead I turned my attention to the spectacle in the
open piazza in front of the palace. Sidewalks, steps, doorways, and
windows were thronged with loyal subjects of Charles III. Directly
beneath us, on a fine black stallion, sat the hereditary prince,
motionless as a statue. The Army of Monaco, commanded by the intrepid De
Mussly, marched and countermarched before him, exhibiting its proficiency
in al! the evolutions known to modern military science. In their smart
red uniforms and white cockades, the thirty-two carabineers, who
constitute the effective force under De Mussly, presented a truly
formidable appearance, wheeling to and fro. The generalissimo had drilled
them to march with that peculiarly vicious fling of the legs which is
taught in Prussian tactics; and when they came kicking across the square
in fours, wheeled suddenly into a sixteen-front line, halted before the
hereditary prince, and grounded arms with a simultaneous clang of
thirty-two carbine butts against the pavement, bravo after bravo arose
from the delighted spectators, while a smile of proud gratification
rested for an instant upon His Serene Highness's countenance.

Just then I observed the eccentric actions of an individual halfway
across the square, who seemed to be trying to attract our notice. He
whistled through his knuckles, waved both arms in the air, and then,
apparently dissatisfied with the result of these demonstrations, snatched
a gun from the nearest soldier and raised his own silk hat on the muzzle
high above the heads of the crowd. Having restored the gun to the
astonished warrior, he expressed his low opinion of the Army, for our
benefit, by means of a derisive pantomime, and began to elbow his way
through the ranks toward us.

"It is Titus," groaned Green. "He is continually compromising me in some
such way."

The consul endeavored in vain to discountenance our fellow citizen below,
by staring fixedly in another direction. Titus was not to be snubbed. He
shouted, "Hi! Green," and, "Oh! Green," until he obtained the full
attention of my embarrassed companion.

"Be sure to be at home by two o'clock, Green," roared Titus. "I have
important news." Thereupon he gleefully flourished before our faces what
looked like an official document and hurried away.

When the First Chamberlain came to summon Green to his interview with the
hereditary prince, I returned to the consulate to await him. He rejoined
me at a little before two o'clock. "Well, what luck?" I inquired.

"The outlook is gloomy," he replied, nervously. "The interview was most
unsatisfactory. In order to commit the government of Monaco to some
definite form of complaint, I requested His Highness to say candidly in
what the American people had offended him. The prince regarded me
steadily with his dark, piercing eyes, and at last replied, 'Pouf! You
Americans talk loudly at our tables d'hte, bully our croupiers, browbeat
our gendarmes before our very face, and make yourself generally
obnoxious.' I perceived, of course, the disingenuousness of this answer,
but managed to control my indignation. His Highness next asked me a good
many questions about the financial and material resources of the United
States Government, the efficiency of its military and naval forces, its
debt, annual revenue, and so on. I need not say that my answers to all
these questions were guarded and discreet. I then pressed the prince to
tell me if there was any truth in the report that a personage high in the
court had a pecuniary interest in fomenting trouble between the United
States and Monaco. I thought the prince winced a little at this home
thrust; but he replied in the negative, referring to the story as an
'idle bruit.' The interview then ended; but as I came away I observed on
the face of the crafty Monsignor Theuret an expression which I could not
fathom. It seemed very like mirth, untimely as--"

Here the consul was interrupted by the precipitate entrance of Titus,
followed by three or four other Americans.

"Hallo, Green!" said this brusque individual. "Are you in the dumps? I'll
enliven you presently."

There was something in his tone, careless as it was, that fairly startled
Green out of his official dignity.

"Merciful heavens!" exclaimed the consul; "what has happened now?"

Titus winked at the rest of the company. He took a pipe from his pocket
and reached for the tobacco box on the table, upsetting, as he did so,
the contents of the consul's inkstand over a pile of official papers.
This accident did not discompose him in the least. He coolly filled his
pipe and occupied himself for some minutes in emitting large rings of
smoke, one after another, and then shooting little rings through the
series.

"We are all of the Yankee persuasion, I suppose," he said at last,
casting a glance of inquiry at me. I nodded in reply. Then Titus produced
the document which we had seen him waving in the piazza.

"Here's a lark," said he. "I took this down from the bulletin board in
front of Papa Voliver's Foreign Office this forenoon. Lord forgive the
theft! I did it for my country's sake."

Then he proceeded to read, rapidly translating the French into English.
We listened, dumfounded. Great beads of perspiration stood upon Green's
forehead. He clutched mechanically at the papers on the table and inked
the ends of his fingers.

The document was an edict, signed by Charles III himself, countersigned
by the Chevalier Voliver, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and sealed with
the great seal of the principality. Stripped of verbiage, the edict
decreed:

First, that it should be unlawful for any subject of the prince, or any
foreigner sojourning within the boundaries of the principality, to engage
in the American game called poker, said game being dangerous to the
public morals and subversive of existing institutions.

Secondly, that all obligations contracted by subjects of the prince to
subjects of the American President, through the game called poker, or
otherwise, be thereby repudiated.

Thirdly, that thenceforth no American subject be permitted to enter the
Principality of Monaco, for business or for pleasure; that American
subjects then in Monaco be allowed twenty-four hours from the
promulgation of this edict, within which time they must leave the
principality, under penalty of imprisonment at the discretion of the
Tribunal Superieur and confiscation of their effects.

All eyes were turned upon Green. It was some time before the consul
recovered the faculty of speech. "But this is unprecedented!" he
exclaimed. "It is not only outrageous in a general way, but it is
specifically discourteous to me, personally and officially. I am the
diplomatic representative of the United States, duly accredited to this
court. Here is an important paper, seriously affecting the relations
between the two governments, which, instead of being conveyed to me in
the proper manner, has been tacked on a bulletin board, like a miserable
writ of attachment. Furthermore," he added, as the enormity of the
outrage grew upon him, "I have not only been ignored, insulted, but I
have been trifled with. This edict must have been posted before my
interview with the hereditary prince. It is infamous!"

"Well, fellow citizens," said Titus, with a light laugh, "what are we
going to do about it?"

"There is only one thing to do," replied Green. "Dispatch a full and
carefully worded statement of the affair to the Department of State at
Washington, in order that Congress may take appropriate action."

Titus sent forth a roar of laughter along with a cloud of smoke. "And
meanwhile?" he demanded. "I am inclined to think that in the present
condition of our glorious Navy it will be about two years and six months
before we can expect to have a fleet of iron-dads here."

"I suppose we must leave Monaco," said the consul, sadly. "We are at the
mercy of an absolute and remorseless power." "LEAVE?" thundered Titus.

"Let us have your ideas, Mr. Titus," said I.

"Well," said Titus. "I propose to try my hand at a state paper. I've
undertaken tougher jobs in my day. Get a sheet of clean foolscap, Green,
and a good, sharp pen. Now write down what I say."

He then dictated the following manifesto:

To Charles Honore, Prince of Monaco:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a mighty
nation to avenge an injury sustained by her in the persons of some of her
most valued citizens, the visitation of her wrath upon the offender is
apt to be sharp, sudden, and overwhelming.

Unless your edict of this date be revoked before nine o'clock tomorrow,
and due apology made for the same, we, the United States of America, do
hereby declare war against the Principality of Monaco on land, sea,
underground, and in the skies; and God have mercy upon your soul!

(Signed)
GEORGE WASHINGTON TITUS, Commander in Chief
JOHN J. GREEN,
Minister Plenipotentiary

"There! Green," said Titus, complacently, "now tell your man Giovanni to
go and tack this little composition upon the bulletin board of the
Foreign Office, and leave the rest to me."

"But this is very irregular," protested the consul. "The power to declare
war is vested by the Constitution in Congress. We can't declare war.
Besides, there are always certain formalities to be observed."

"Damn your formalities!" rejoined Titus. "In times of great national
emergency like the present there is a higher law than the Constitution.
In such a crisis men of action must come to the front. You can come in
with your protocols and preliminary drafts, and all that solemn rot, when
we get to the negotiations for peace. I'm commander in chief just now.
You and these other gentlemen must go around among the Americans here and
tell 'em not to be alarmed, but to act precisely as if nothing had
happened. That's General Order number one. Hold on a minute, though. Is
there anybody who understands the army signals?"

I respectfully informed the commander in chief that I was familiar with
the code.

"Good!" said he. "You've got grit. I like the build of your chin. Stay
here with me. I constitute you chief of staff."

"Now," he continued, after the others had departed, "take four of the
consul's red silk handkerchiefs and make some little signal flags. I have
another important letter to write."

The composition of this missive seemed to give him considerable trouble,
for I had finished the flags long before he stopped writing. Finally he
tossed me a sheet of note paper. "I hate infernally to do this," he said,
giving his mustache a tug, "but, hang it all, everything is fair in love
and war."

The letter bore no address or signature:

MADAME: I have read your eyes, and my heart is full of joy. I have also
read the black looks on the faces of your jealous and powerful relatives.
If I have seemed cold and indifferent, it is because I cared for your
peace of mind--not because I feared for myself, believe me, Madame.

And now the cruel edict has gone forth. Exile from Monaco is nothing, for
the world is wide. Exile from you is death; for my poor life is in your
adorable smile.

If you are as bold as you are beautiful; if wide difference of rank
weighs less in the balance than an absorbing passion; if you can dare
everything for the sake of one who has suffered and been silent, be at
the pump behind the equestrian statue of your noble ancestor, Vincenzio
Grimaldi, one hour before sunrise tomorrow morning, and be alone.

"It's a confounded shame," remarked Titus, half to me, half to himself,
"to bring her out into the damp early air at her age; but it can't be
helped."

The consul's valet now returned. He had nailed the document upon the
bulletin board, as Excellency had commanded, and there was already an
immense crowd collected around it.

"Buono!" cried Titus. "Now, Giovanni, I have another commission for you.
You are discreet." He gave him the letter and whispered a few words of
direction. The intelligent fellow nodded.

"And, by the way, Giovanni, you are on pretty good terms with the Army?"

"Yes, Excellency."

"How much will it cost to get the Army drunk tonight?" "Very drunk,
Excellency?"

"That is what I mean."

Giovanni made a rapid calculation with the aid of his fingers. "About
sixty francs, I think, Excellency," he replied, with a broad grin. Titus
handed him five napoleons.

An hour later I walked with the commander in chief along the western
rampart--the fashionable afternoon promenade in Monaco. Few Americans
were to be seen, but on every hand there was evidence of an unusually
excited state of popular feeling. We encountered scowls and audibly
whispered insults at every step; but my companion walked on unconcerned,
with his long, swinging gait. "The Council of State is in session. There
will be hot work tomorrow," I overheard one subject of the prince
remarking to another. A rattle of drums, and De Mussly marched briskly
past us, at the head of a detachment of four carabineers. Ladies waved
their handkerchiefs at the military. "The generalissimo is posting his
sentinels," said Titus. "Luckily there are two cafes in Monaco to one
soldier." Some of the shopkeepers were putting up their shutters, early
in the day as it was. Suddenly Titus modified his pace, and his
countenance assumed a singularly pensive expression. Three ladies were
approaching us. I had only time to see that one of these, walking
slightly in advance of the others, was a very stout person of middle age,
ostentatiously dressed and heavily rouged. As she passed us Titus took
off his hat and made a profound and rather melancholy bow. The fat lady
bent her eyes to the ground. I thought I detected traces of a blush on
those parts of her face which were not factitiously red.

"It's all right," Titus whispered in my ear. "The battle's ours."

III

At half past five o'clock on the morning of the momentous day, a strange
thing happened near the casino. The captive balloon, set free from the
moorings that tied it to the earth at night, began to rise slowly and
majestically through the mists of the early twilight. With a plunge or
two to the right and left, and a flutter as if of astonishment at being
disturbed at such an unwonted hour, the vast spheroid settled its course
straight toward the zenith, as rapidly as the paying out of the rope
permitted. A single individual operated the brake of the cylinder from
which the rope unwound. That individual was myself. The car of the
balloon carried two passengers. One was Titus; the other, a woman muffled
in many wraps and closely veiled.

"Carissima!" Titus had whispered to his trembling companion as he helped
her into the basket. "It is our only chance of flight. We should
certainly be arrested at the frontier if we attempted to escape by land."
A gentle gurgle of tenderness and helplessness was the only response.

I watched the vaguely outlined bulk as it ascended to the length of the
rope. The light breeze from the west carried the balloon directly over
the palace, where it rested motionless at a height of five or six hundred
feet.

When I left the casino grounds I stepped over the prostrate form of a
sentinel, snoring lustily upon the pavement. The streets were deserted,
but I passed one cafe which had been open all night. Glancing through the
doorway, I saw a dozen of De Mussly's red-uniformed veterans in various
stages of intoxication. Those who were still sober enough to sing were
shouting a war song, the refrain of which menaced my native land with
unutterable doom. Giovanni's five napoleons had done their work.

Three hours later I finished a comfortable breakfast at my hotel and
sallied forth to find the consul. The situation had changed. The city was
wide awake now, and indescribable confusion prevailed. The entire
population surged through the streets leading to the palace and the
casino. Business was everywhere suspended. A few carabineers were seen
here and there, seedy in the face and shaky in the legs. The
generalissimo was making desperate efforts to collect his demoralized
army. On the balcony in front of the palace, whence we had witnessed the
brilliant review of the Army on the day before, stood the prince and
several members of his family, surrounded by Ministers of State. Among
the latter I recognized the sinister visage of Monsignor Theuret. The
piazza and the adjoining streets were thronged with people. All eyes were
turned upward to the balloon, which still floated over the palace, the
only tranquil object in the tumultuous scene.

As soon as Titus had shown his face to the crowd below, there had been a
rush to the windlass with the intention of winding in the rope and
recapturing the balloon. But Titus, leaning over the side of the basket,
had brandished a long bowie knife in a way that left no doubt of his
purpose to cut the balloon free if any attempt should be made to haul it
down. He was thus far master of the situation. The enemy remained
inactive, undecided what course to pursue; the dignitaries upon the
balcony were earnestly engaged in conference.

In the piazza, just under the balcony, I espied the consul in the center
of a little knot of Americans. With some difficulty I elbowed my way to
the spot.

A murmur from the crowd drew my attention to the balloon. Titus was
making certain motions with two small red flags. I produced two similar
flags from beneath my waistcoat. Communication was thus established
between the two divisions of the United States Army. The Duomo clock
struck nine.

"Ask if the edict is revoked," signaled Titus.

I translated the message to the consul, who put the question to the
balcony in a loud voice and in the most approved terms of diplomacy.

Monsignor Theuret, speaking for the government of Monaco, replied with a
sneer: "The edict is not revoked. Its provisions relating to the arrest
of Americans found within our territories will be carried into effect in
precisely one hour." This answer was conveyed to Titus.

"Declare Monaco in a state of siege!" was his prompt rejoinder.

The cool audacity of this announcement produced a visible effect upon the
populace. What mysterious power had this man in the sky, who talked with
little flags and calmly defied a prince with an Army and Navy? What was
coming next?

Theuret retained his presence of mind. "Let the rope be cut," he shouted.
"Then the wind will blow this impudent American scoundrel over into
Italy. We shall be well rid of him at the price of a balloon."

Again there was a rush toward the rope and a hundred knives were ready to
do the work. But Theuret, who had been steadily gazing upward, was seen
to turn as pale as death and to grasp at the balustrade for support.

"Basta! Basta!" he cried. "Cut not that rope, if you value your lives!
The princess is in the balloon!"

Sure enough, the round, red face of the princess was visible over the
wickerwork of the car. A howl of astonishment and dismay went up from the
crowd. The little knot of Americans answered the howl with a cheer.

"Titus has won the game!" said the consul.

But the agitation of Monsignor Theuret was even greater than
circumstances appeared to warrant. The sight of the princess in the car
seemed to drive him to madness. He tore his hair, shook both fists at the
balloon, and shrieked as if he expected Madame to hear. "Ah, Florestine,
faithless! I suspected as much. Monster of perfidy! Cuor' miol Wretched,
wretched woman!"

"I suspected as much, also," said the consul, in an undertone. "We
diplomats have eyes everywhere. Look at Theuret! What a scandal!"

The prince was regarding Theuret's manifestations of jealous frenzy with
searching eyes. Then he summoned De Mussly and gave him a command,
inaudible to those below. Two soldiers removed Monsignor Theuret from the
balcony. "The bishop is arrested!" cried the crowd, all agape at the
unexpected incident.

"Now, monsieur," said the prince, addressing Consul Green, "what are your
demands? It seems that in some inexplicable way you have succeeded in
kidnaping our sister. What ransom do you require of us?"

After some signaling, Green reported the ultimatum which Titus
propounded: The revocation of the edict, the restoration of American
citizens to an equality with the subjects of the most privileged nation,
the re-establishment of the game of poker, the prince's own guarantee for
the payment of all debts due to American citizens, and an indemnity of
ten thousand francs for the expenses and anxieties of the war.

There was a long consultation upon the balcony. At last the prince was
seen to shake his head, as if in reply to arguments intended to dissuade
him from some settled plan of action. The Chevalier Voliver stepped
forward from the group and said, "His Serene and Most Christian Highness
has wavered between the natural affection which he entertains for his
sister, Madame the Princess, and his duty toward his subjects. The
struggle is now at an end. Bitterly as he regrets one result of his
decision, he feels that he must place the interests of the people of
Monaco above family ties. He sacrifices Her Highness to duty. The edict
will go into effect at ten o'clock. He commands that the rope be cut, and
the balloon set adrift."

"That is the diplomatic way of saying that he is rather glad to get rid of
the foolish and troublesome old lady," I remarked to Green after I had
reported the speech to Titus.

But the consul and the rest of the Americans had fallen from hope into
dejection. They felt that the commander in chief had played his last card
and lost.

Not so Titus. His flags were plied vigorously for a brief space of time,
and then, reaching his arm at full length from the network of ropes
around the car, he held forth a large tin canister that glittered in the
sunlight.

The effect of this simple act was marvelous. It paralyzed the arms of
those who were about to cut the rope. It carried consternation to the
group upon the balcony. It created a panic in the crowd, which scattered
in every direction. A cry of horror went up from a thousand throats. In
all the noise and confusion only one word was distinguishable:

"Dynamite!"

The people of Monaco had learned, from Titus' own teaching, how terribly
potent, even in small quantities, was this agent of destruction. Now they
felt that an unknown quantity of the awful, mysterious thing was
suspended, so to say, by a single hair, over their heads and homes. The
prince himself blanched at the possibilities of the next moment.

"He says," I yelled at the top of my voice, "that if his conditions are
not accepted in three minutes by his watch, and without further parley,
he will drop the can and blow your principality into smithereens."

In two minutes peace was re-established.

IV

The war was over. Secured by the most explicit guarantees from the
government of Charles III, the victorious commander allowed himself to be
pulled down from the skies. Still holding the dreaded fin can in one
hand, with the other he gallantly assisted his lady captive from the car
of the balloon, and led her to the balcony of the palace.

"Serene Highness," he said, as he respectfully consigned the Princess
Florestine to the care of her august brother, "I regret that the
necessities of war compelled me to make a prisoner of Madame the
Princess, who was abroad early this morning on a mission of charity."

The prince bowed in silence. The princess's eyes were fixed upon the
floor.

"And, Serene Highness," continued Titus, "I implore you to believe that I
would not risk the precious life of so exalted a lady by putting her in
proximity with a dangerously large amount of dynamite."

So saying, he tossed the can over the balustrade. It fell upon the
pavement with an empty rattle.



THE DEVILISH RAT


You know that when a man lives in a deserted castle on the top of a great
mountain by the side of the river Rhine, he is liable to
misrepresentation. Half the good people of the village of
Schwinkenschwank, including the burgomaster and the burgomaster's nephew,
believed that I was a fugitive from American justice. The other half were
just as firmly convinced that I was crazy, and this theory had the
support of the notary's profound knowledge of human character and acute
logic. The two parties to the interesting controversy were so equally
matched that they spent all their time in confronting each other's
arguments, and I was left pretty much to myself.

As everybody with the slightest pretension to cosmopolitan knowledge is
already aware, the old Schloss Schwinkenschwank is haunted by the ghosts
of twenty-nine medieval barons and baronesses. The behavior of these
ancient spectres was very considerate. They annoyed me, on the whole, far
less than the rats, which swarmed in great numbers in every part of the
castle. When I first took possession of my quarters, I was obliged to
keep a lantern burning all night, and continually to beat about me with a
wooden club in order to escape the fate of Bishop Hatto. Afterward I sent
to Frankfort and had made for me a wire cage in which I was able to sleep
with comfort and safety as soon as I became accustomed to the sharp
gritting of the rats' teeth as they gnawed the iron in their impotent
attempts to get in and eat me.

Barring the spectres and the rats, and now and then a transient bat or
owl, I was the first tenant of the Schloss Schwinkenschwank for three or
four centuries. After leaving Bonn, where I had greatly profited by the
learned and ingenious lectures of the famous Calcarius, Herr Professor of
Metaphysical Science in that admirable university, I had selected this
ruin as the best possible place for the trial of a certain experiment in
psychology. The hereditary landgraf Von Toplitz, who owned Schloss
Schwinkenschwank, showed no signs of surprise when I went to him and
offered six thalers a month for the privilege of lodging in his
ramshackle castle. The clerk of a Broadway hotel could not have taken my
application more coolly or my money in a more businesslike spirit.

"It will be necessary to pay the first month's rent in advance," said he.

"That I am fortunately prepared to do, my well-born hereditary landgraf,"
I replied, counting out six dollars. He pocketed them and gave me a
receipt for the same. I wonder whether he ever tried to collect rent from
his ghosts.

The most inhabitable room in the castle was that in the northwest tower,
but it was already occupied by the Lady Adelaide Maria, eldest daughter
of the Baron von Schotten, and starved to death in the thirteenth century
by her affectionate papa for refusing to wed a one-legged freebooter from
over the river. As I could not think of intruding upon a lady, I took up
my quarters at the head of the south turret stairway, where there was
nobody in possession except a sentimental monk, who was out a good deal
nights and gave me no trouble at any time.

In such calm seclusion as I enjoyed in the Schloss it is possible to
reduce physical and mental activity to the lowest degree consistent with
life. St. Pedro of Alcantara, who passed forty years in a convent cell,
schooled himself to sleep only an hour and a half a day, and to take food
but once in three days. While diminishing the functions of his body to
such an extent he must also, I firmly believe, have reduced his soul
almost to the negative character of an unconscious infant's. It is
exercise, thought, friction, activity, that bring out the individuality
of a man's nature. Professor Calcarius' pregnant words remained burned
into my memory:

"What is the mysterious link that binds soul to the living body? Why am I
Calcarius, or rather why does the soul called Calcarius inhabit this
particular organism? [Here the learned professor slapped his enormous
thigh with his pudgy hand.] Might not I as well be another, and might not
another be I? Loosen the individualized ego from the fleshy surroundings
to which it coheres by force of habit and by reason of long contact, and
who shall say that it may not be expelled by an act of volition, leaving
the living body receptive, to be occupied by some non-individualized ego,
worthier and better than the old?"

This profound suggestion made a lasting impression upon my mind. While
perfectly satisfied with my body, which is sound, healthy, and reasonably
beautiful, I had long been discontented with my soul, and constant
contemplation of its weakness, its grossness, its inadequacy, had
intensified discontentment to disgust. Could I, indeed, escape myself,
could I tear this paste diamond from its fine casket and replace it with
a genuine jewel, what sacrifices would I not consent to, and how
fervently would I bless Calcarius and the hour that took me to Bonn!

It was to try this untried experiment that I shut myself up in the
Schloss Schwinkenschwank.

Excepting little Hans, the innkeeper's son, who climbed the mountain
three times a week from the village to bring me bread and cheese and
white wine, and afterward Hans's sister, my only visitor during the
period of my retirement was Professor Calcarius. He came over from Bonn
twice to cheer and encourage me.

On the occasion of his first visit night fell while we were still talking
of Pythagoras and metempsychosis. The profound metaphysicist was a
corpulent man and very short-sighted.

"I can never get down the hill alive," he cried, wringing his hands
anxiously. "I should stumble, and, Gott in Himmel, precipitate myself
peradventure upon some jagged rock."

"You must stay all night, Professor," said I, "and sleep with me in my
wire cage. I should like you to meet my roommate, the monk."

"Subjective entirely, my dear young friend," he said. "Your apparition is
a creature of the optic nerve and I shall contemplate it without alarm,
as becomes a philosopher."

I put my herr professor to bed in the wire cage and with extreme
difficulty crowded myself in by his side. At his especial request I left
the lantern burning. "Not that I have any apprehension of your subjective
spectres," he explained. "Mere figments of the brain they are. But in the
dark I might roll over and crush you."

"How progresses the self-suppression," he asked at length, "the
subordination of the individual soul? Eh! What was that?"

"A rat, trying to get in at us," I replied. "Be calm: you are in no
peril. My experiment proceeds satisfactorily. I have quite eliminated all
interest in the outside world. Love, gratitude, friendship, care for my
own welfare and the welfare of my friends have nearly disappeared. Soon,
I hope, memory will also fade away, and with my memory my individual
past."

"You are doing splendidly!" he exclaimed with enthusiasm, "and rendering
to psychologic science an inestimable service. Soon your psychic nature
will be a blank, a vacuum, ready to receive--God preserve me! What was
that?"

"Only the screech of an owl," said I, reassuringly, as the great gray
bird with which I had become familiar fluttered noisily down through an
aperture in the roof and lit upon the top of our wire cage.

Calcarius regarded the owl with interest, and the owl blinked gravely at
Calcarius.

"Who knows," said the herr professor, "but what that owl is animated by
the soul of some great dead philosopher? Perhaps Pythagoras, perhaps
Plotinus, perhaps the spirit of Socrates himself abides temporarily
beneath those feathers."

I confessed that some such idea had already occurred to me.

"And in that case," continued the professor, "you have only to negative
your own nature, to nullify your own individuality, in order to receive
into your body this great soul, which, as my intuitions tell me, is that
of Socrates, and is hovering around your physical organization, hoping to
effect an entrance. Persist, my worthy young student, in your most
laudable experiment, and metaphysical science--Merciful heaven! Is that
the Devil?"

It was the huge gray rat, my nightly visitor. This hideous creature had
grown in his life, perhaps of a century, to the size of a small terrier.
His whiskers were perfectly white and very thick. His immense tushes had
become so long that they curved over till the points almost impaled his
skull. His eyes were big and blood red. The corners of his upper lip were
so shriveled and drawn up that his countenance wore an expression of
diabolical malignity, rarely seen except in some human faces. He was too
old and knowing to gnaw at the wires; but he sat outside on his haunches,
and gazed in at us with an indescribable look of hatred. My companion
shivered. After a while the rat turned away, rattled his callous tail
across the wire netting, and disappeared in the darkness. Professor
Calcarius breathed a deep sigh of relief, and soon was snoring so
profoundly that neither owls, rats, nor spectres ventured near us till
morning.

I had so far succeeded in merging my intellectual and moral qualities in
the routine of mere animal existence that when it was time for Calcarius
to come again, as he had promised, I felt little interest in his
approaching visit. Hansel, who constituted my commissariat, had been
taken sick of the measles, and I was dependent for my food and wine upon
the coming of his pretty sister Emma, a flaxen-haired maiden of eighteen,
who climbed the steep path with the grace and agility of a gazelle. She
was an artless little thing, and told me of her own accord the story of
her simple love. Fritz was a soldier in the Emperor Wilhelm's army. He
was now in garrison at Cologne. They hoped that he would soon get a
lieutenancy, for he was brave and faithful, and then he would come home
and marry her. She had saved up her dairy money till it amounted to quite
a little purse, which she had sent him that it might help purchase his
commission. Had I ever seen Fritz? No? He was handsome and good, and she
loved him more than she could tell.

I listened to this prattle with the same amount of romantic interest that
a proposition in Euclid would excite and congratulated myself that my old
soul had so nearly disappeared. Every night the gray owl perched above
me. I knew that Socrates was waiting to take possession of my body, and I
yearned to open my bosom and receive that grand soul. Every night the
detestable rat came and peered through the wires. His cool, contemptuous
malice exasperated me strangely. I longed to reach out from beneath my
cage and seize and throttle him, but I was afraid of the venom of his
bite.

My own soul had by this time nearly wasted away, so to speak, through
disciplined disuse. The owl looked down lovingly at me with his great
placid eyes. A noble spirit seemed to shine through them and to say, "I
will come when you are ready." And I would look back into their lustrous
depths and exclaim with infinite yearning, "Come soon, oh Socrates, for I
am almost ready!" Then I would turn and meet the devilish gaze of the
monstrous rat, whose sneering malevolence dragged me back to earth and to
earth's hatreds.

My detestation of the abominable beast was the sole lingering trace of
the old nature. When he was not by, my soul seemed to hover around and
above my body, ready to take wing and leave it free forever. At his
appearance, an unconquerable disgust and loathing undid in a second all
that had been accomplished, and I was still myself. To succeed in my
experiment I felt that the hateful creature whose presence barred out the
grand old philosopher's soul must be dispatched at any cost of sacrifice
or danger.

"I will kill you, you loathsome animal!" I shouted to the rat; "and then
to my emancipated body will come the soul of Socrates which awaits me
yonder."

The rat turned on me his leering eyes and grinned more sardonically than
ever. His scorn was more than I could bear. I threw up the side of the
wire cage and clutched desperately at my enemy. I caught him by the tail.
I drew him close to me. I crunched the bones of his slimy legs, felt
blindly for his head, and when I got both hands to his neck, fastened
upon his life with a terrible grip. With all the strength at my command,
and with all the recklessness of a desperate purpose, I tore and twisted
the flesh of my loathsome victim. He gasped, uttered a horrible cry of
wild pain, and at last lay limp and quiet in my clutch. Hate was
satisfied, my last passion was at an end, and I was free to welcome
Socrates.

When I awoke from a long and dreamless sleep, the events of the night
before and, indeed, of my whole previous life were as the dimly
remembered incidents in a story read years ago.

The owl was gone but the mangled carcass of the rat lay by my side. Even
in death his face wore its horrible grin. It now looked like a Satanic
smile of triumph.

I arose and shook off my drowsiness. A new life seemed to tingle in my
veins. I was no longer indifferent and negative. I took a lively interest
in my surroundings and wanted to be out in the world among men, to plunge
into affairs and exult in action.

Pretty Emma came up the bill bringing her basket. "I am going to leave
you," said I. "I shall seek better quarters than the Schloss
Schwinkenschwank."

"And shall you go to Cologne," she eagerly asked, "to the garrison where
the Emperor's soldiers are?"

"Perhaps so--on my way to the world."

"And will you go for me to Fritz?" she continued, blushing. "I have good
news to send him. His uncle, the mean old notary, died last night. Fritz
now has a small fortune and he must come home to me at once."

"The notary," said I slowly, "died last night?"

"Yes, sir; and they say he is black in the face this morning. But it is
good news for Fritz and me."

"Perhaps--" continued I, still more slowly "--perhaps Fritz would not
believe me. I am a stranger, and men who know the world, like your young
soldier, are given to suspicion."

"Carry this ring," she quickly replied, taking from her finger a
worthless trinket. "Fritz gave it to me and he will know by it that I
trust you."

My next visitor was the learned Calcarius. He was quite out of breath
when he reached the apartment I was preparing to leave.

"How goes our metempsychosis, my worthy pupil?" he asked. "I arrived last
evening from Bonn, but rather than spend another night with your horrible
rodents, I submitted my purse to the extortion of the village innkeeper.
The rogue swindled me," he continued, taking out his purse and counting
over a small treasure of silver. "He charged me forty groschen for a bed
and breakfast."

The sight of the silver, and the sweet clink of the pieces as they came
in contact in Professor Calcarius' palm, thrilled my new soul with an
emotion it had not yet experienced. Silver seemed the brightest thing in
the world to me at that moment, and the acquisition of silver, by
whatever means, the noblest exercise of human energy. With a sudden
impulse that I was unable to resist, I sprang upon my friend and
instructor and wrenched the purse from his hands. He uttered a cry of
surprise and dismay.

"Cry away!" I shouted; "it will do no good. Your miserly screams will be
heard only by rats and owls and ghosts. The money is mine."

"What's this?" he exclaimed. "You rob your guest, your friend, your guide
and mentor in the sublime walks of metaphysical science? What perfidy has
taken possession of your soul?"

I seized the herr professor by the legs and threw him violently to the
floor. He struggled as the gray rat had struggled. I tore pieces of wire
from my cage, and bound him hand and foot so tightly that the wire cut
deep into his fat flesh.

"Ho! Ho!" said I, standing over him; "what a feast for the rats your
corpulent carcass will make," and I turned to go.

"Good Gott!" he cried. "You do not intend to leave me: No one ever comes
here."

"All the better," I replied, gritting my teeth and shaking my fist in his
face; "the rats will have uninterrupted opportunity to relieve you of
your superfluous flesh. Oh, they are very hungry, I assure you, Herr
Metaphysician, and they will speedily help you to sever the mysterious
link that binds soul to living body. They well know how to loosen the
individualized ego from the fleshly surroundings. I congratulate you on
the prospect of a rare experiment."

The cries of Professor Calcarius grew fainter and fainter as I made my
way down the hill. Once out of hearing I stopped to count my gains. Over
and over again, with extraordinary joy, I told the thalers in his purse,
and always with the same result. There were just thirty pieces of silver.

My way into the world of barter and profit led me through Cologne. At the
barracks I sought out Fritz Schneider of Schwinkenschwank.

"My friend," said I, putting my hand upon his shoulder, "I am going to do
you the greatest service which one man may do another. You love little
Emma, the innkeeper's daughter?"

"I do indeed," he said. "You bring news of her?"

"I have just now torn myself away from her too ardent embrace."

"It is a lie!" he shouted. "The little girl is as true as gold."

"She is as false as the metal in this trinket," said I with composure,
tossing him Emma's ring. "She gave it to me yesterday when we parted."

He looked at the ring and then put both hands to his forehead. "It is
true," he groaned. "Our betrothal ring!" I watched his anguish with
philosophical interest.

"See here," he continued, taking a neatly knitten purse from his bosom.
"Here is the money she sent to help me buy promotion. Perhaps that
belongs to you?"

"Quite likely," I replied, very coolly. "The pieces have a familiar
look."

Without another word the soldier flung the purse at my feet and turned
away. I heard him sobbing, and the sound was music. Then I picked up the
purse and hastened to the nearest caf to count the silver. There were
just thirty pieces again.

To acquire silver, that is the chief joy possible to my new nature. It is
a glorious pleasure, is it not? How fortunate that the soul, which took
possession of my body in the Schloss, was not Socrates', which would have
made me, at best, a dismal ruminator like Calcarius; but the soul that
had dwelt in the gray rat till I strangled him. At one time I thought
that my new soul came to me from the dead notary in the village. I know,
now, that I inherited it from the rat, and I believe it to be the soul
that once animated Judas Iscariot, that prince of men of action.



EXCHANGING THEIR SOULS

Prince Michalskovich and Dr. Harwood's Wonderful Cure

THE STRANGE CONFESSION OF A NEW YORK PHYSICIAN--A CASE THAT HAS PUZZLED
THE MEDICAL FRATERNITY FOR MANY YEARS PAST

Dr. James Harwood, who died last week, stood for more than twenty years
very near the head of the medical profession. His fame extended also to
the other side of the water, and when traveling in Europe other
celebrated physicians availed themselves of the opportunity of consulting
him. On one of his Continental tours, Dr. James Harwood effected a most
marvelous cure which soon made the rounds of the papers and helped
materially in establishing his world-wide reputation. He succeeded in
curing the Russian Prince Michalskovich of an almost hopeless form of
monomania. What made the case of such interest to the medical profession
was the extraordinary and strange means which the doctor had employed to
effect the cure. Dr. James Harwood maintained, verbally and in print,
that he had restored the prince to a sound mind by means of mesmerizing
him. This occurred about twenty or thirty years ago, and mesmerism was
then all the rage, and there were many intelligent persons who fully
believed in all the wonderful things told of its power. Naturally, the
case formed for a long time a fertile subject for discussion in medical
circles and periodicals, and after a while, in view of the high
respectability of the practitioner and the testimony corroborating it,
the prince's strange case of insanity and Dr. James Harwood's wonderful
cure was entered as a fact into the various medical annals and finally
found also a place in the textbooks used in our medical schools and
colleges.

But scientific men are always somewhat skeptical, and to this day some
members of the medical profession continue to look with suspicion upon
the doctor's account of the cure.

Six or seven years ago the prince himself paid a visit to this city. He
had scarcely looked at his new quarters in the hotel when he was told
that two celebrated New York physicians, father and son, begged the favor
of an interview. When admitted, the older explained that he was a
professor of medicine, and now engaged on an elaborate work on
physiology, and that he would feel obliged if the prince would give him a
detailed account of his own famous case, to be incorporated in the
chapter on insanity. The prince graciously complied and, entering upon
every particular connected with his cure, he ascribed it again to the
effects of mesmerism. The aged professor thereupon ventured on letting an
incredulous smile flit across his face. But the moment the prince had
seen and interpreted this treacherous smile, the medical gentleman became
aware of having been seized by the coat collar and deposited on the soft
carpet of the corridor outside of the prince's door, where his son soon
came rushing after him, followed by his hat and cane. There is a rumor in
medical circles that this is the reason why the prince's curious case is
not mentioned in a recently published great American work on physiology.

The original account of the marvelous cure of the insane prince as Dr.
James Harwood first gave it reads as follows:

"I was called to St. Petersburg to examine the case of Prince
Michalskovich, who was suffering from a very curious mental affection. I
found him raving in a language wholly unknown, at least to the attending
physicians and several linguists who had been invited to his bedside.
After having succeeded in allaying his brain fever, I was in hopes of
hearing him resume the use of Russian, French, or English, in which he
was in the habit of conversing, but he persisted in using his
unintelligible gibberish. Otherwise he was quiet and inoffensive. His
deportment toward his numerous serfs and servants was, in fact,
wondrously gentle and courteous while, when sane, he exhibited always to
them the most irascible temper, and treated them habitually brutally and
cruelly. He began to show also an extraordinary preference for coarse
clothing and frugal meats. One day he showed a desire to leave the
palace. I instructed his attendants to give him as much liberty as
possible, and to follow him only at a distance. In the evening these men
reported that the prince had been at work all day in the shop of a
carriage maker. He had gone into the shop and, without saying a word, had
taken hammer and hatchet and assisted the workmen in making a carriage.
The wheelwright said that he had let the prince have his way because he
saw at once that he was a very skilled laborer. Early in the morning, the
prince was at work again in the wheelwright's shop, and continued there
until evening. In a week or two it became perfectly plain that the prince
had the monomania of being nothing but a simple carriage maker. I tried
at first to prevent him from going to the shop, but seeing that it
distracted his mind only more, I consented to let him go on, trusting
that something would occur which would lead his mind back into its proper
channels.

"I was very near fixing a day for my return to New York, and about to
decide that the prince was an incurable lunatic, when my eyes fell on a
paragraph in a medical journal speaking of the case of an insane
journeyman in Tiflis, who imagined himself to be a powerful and wealthy
prince. I read the account through a second time, feeling peculiarly
impressed by the singular coincidences that this poor fellow was a
carriage maker by trade, and that, while he had never been heard to speak
anything but an obscure Georgian dialect of Mingrolia, and had always
been known as a low and ignorant peasant, he was now heard in his ravings
to make a fluent and cultured use of Russian, German, French, and
English. It was this unexpected talking in foreign languages which had
caused this journeyman's case to make the rounds of the papers. I could
not help observing that it was exactly the same case as that of Prince
Michalskovich, only inverted. The prince wanted to be a wheelwright; the
wheelwright wanted to be a prince. The one had given up talking in
civilized languages, and talked gibberish; the other had given up his
gibberish, and talked Russian, English, and other tongues. Naturally
enough I took at once the necessary steps to have the man removed from
the Tiflis to the St. Petersburg insane asylum. I claimed him there and
found that the correspondence between his case and that of the prince was
most surprising. After consulting the family of Prince Michalskovich, I
had the fellow taken to the palace with all the pomp and ceremony that
was due a prince, just out of sheer curiosity to see what the development
would be. He confounded everybody. He took possession of the prince's
private apartments as if he had occupied them all of his life. He greeted
the parents, relatives, and friends of the prince by name, used the
wardrobe, and ordered the servants, as if he were really the prince
himself. The grace of his manners and the elegance with which he
expressed himself in various languages were most astonishing, and withal
he had the build, the hands, and features of a rough artisan. I put him
to another test. I confronted him with the veritable prince in the
carriage factory. He spoke to the prince patronizingly, even somewhat
familiarly, but still preserving always a certain distance and showing at
times unmistakable haughtiness. He did not seem to notice the fact that
the prince gave him no answer in return to anything he said.

"Thus another week or two passed by, and I had made no progress in the
case of the prince, except that instead of one insane man I had now two
on my hands. I was again on the point of abandoning the prince when one
day a seedy-looking individual paid me a visit and offered to cure the
prince instantly if I guaranteed that he should be paid well for his
services. A thousand rubles was his price. I made the bargain with him,
but put in the condition that I was to be present at every step of the
operation.

"At the appointed time I had the prince and the artisan in the palace.
The mysterious stranger made me order them to sit side by side as closely
as possible. Then he passed his hands over their faces, moving them
continually to and fro as if mesmerizing the two men, who soon fell into
a state of the most complete unconsciousness which I have ever witnessed.
Thereupon he stripped them of every garment on their bodies, continuing
all the time his mesmerizing manipulations. Suddenly the prince and the
artisan felt simultaneously a heavy shock, after which their bodies lay
as rigid as in death.

"I have caused their spirits to depart from them,' said the stranger, in
an explanatory tone. 'Now I shall order the spirit of this one to enter
the body of the other, and shall make the spirit of the other come into
this body.'

"He stretched out his hands and commanded, 'Now!'

"The very instant he uttered the word the two bodies shook and trembled.

"The stranger then came up to me and said, 'Have you the money ready for
me? Take it out, if you please, and hold it in your hand. The moment I
order the bodies to move, and you hear the prince talk Russian and see
him act like a prince, while the journeyman looks around bewildered and
abashed as a peasant would, you will know that I have performed the cure,
and you must slip the thousand rubles into my hand. I have not the time
to wait another moment. Are you ready? All right, then. Now!'

"Instantly the prince jumped up in full possession of his mind, called in
Russian for his servants, and stepped up to me and demanded an
explanation of the strange condition in which he had been placed--he was
still naked. The Tiflis artisan looked as stupid and terrified as he
could. To make the matter short, the stranger had indeed effected a
perfect cure; both men were again of a sound mind.

"I turned to the stranger and handed him his thousand rubles, adding that
I should like to see him at my hotel and converse with him about the
strange methods of his cure. But he shook his head and stole quietly out
of the room.

"Mesmerism or no mesmerism," said Dr. James Harwood, in conclusion, "this
is the way Prince Michalskovich was cured, and this is all that I have to
state in regard to it."

Such was the great sensation of about twenty years ago. The papers were
full of it, everybody was full of it, and nobody knew what to make of it.
Spiritualists and mesmerizers, of course, were proud of it, and felt
triumphant. There was, in fact, no possibility of denying the case.
Prince Michalskovich was a well-known character, and his prolonged
sickness and final monomania of believing himself a simple carriage maker
were well-authenticated facts. Also the Tiflis artisan's sudden and
wonderful gift of tongues was attested to by several eminent physicians
who had examined and treated him in the early stages of his insanity.

Several years ago, when the doctor was still residing in this city, he
was urged by a colleague to come forward with the real facts of the case,
and thereby save the honor of the profession as well as his own. The
doctor acceded in so far to the demand that he deposited with a friend a
full account of the case, taking a solemn promise that the same should
not be published before the prince and he himself were dead and buried.
This confession is now laid before the world, and though rather strange
and unexpected, yet it cannot be said of the doctor that the course he
pursued was entirely unjustifiable. He says:

"The medical world will not be very much surprised when they read that I
acknowledge the stranger's cure of the prince and the artisan to have
been a deception, and that I knew it at the time to have been such,
because the whole scene was of my own devising. From the first I have
always felt confident that the better class of physicians would not fail
to perceive that my making use of a magician to cure an insane man was
one of those tricks to which a physician has sometimes to resort in the
treatment of the insane, especially of those who are laboring under a
great self-deception. But the great credulity of the masses took me by
surprise. In a fortnight all the papers had copied the nonsensical
account of the prince's cure, and I was at once besieged with thousands
of letters from medical men and associations, and everybody I met wanted
me to tell him the story over again. I could not do otherwise than give
the same version of the case to all inquirers, for in cures of insanity
effected by deception it is of the utmost importance that the patient
does never discover that his physician only deceived him. Here is a case
in point: A merchant once imagined that he had a watch in his head, and
that the never-ceasing ticking prevented him from thinking and sleeping.
When placed in an asylum, he was told that he had to submit to the very
dangerous operation of having the watch got out of his head. He was
chloroformed, a deep cut was made into a safe spot, and when he awoke a
small blood-stained mechanism was shown and given him with the assurance
that it had been taken out of his head. He believed it, and was cured. He
resumed his commercial pursuits and made a great fortune.

"But now comes the terrible sequel. One day, after ten or twenty years,
he met in the street the physician who had cured him of his insanity. The
doctor, attempting to joke with him about the former monomania, said
laughingly, 'What a funny fancy that was of yours to think that you
carried a watch in your brain. Don't you now sometimes laugh at yourself
when you recollect it?'

"The merchant looked at him in surprise. 'Then you did not cut it out of
my head! I thought so. I always thought so. I never believed it. I heard
it tick all the time just the same. Now put your ear right here. How it
ticks! Don't you hear it tick? Tick, tick, tick!'

"The man was insane again. Nothing could cure him now, for nobody could
deceive him again.

"I determined to manage my own case better. I resolved to tell my secret
to nobody in order to be sure that nobody would tell it again. If a
single word of it had at any time crept out, it would have reached the
prince by some means or other, sooner or later. Luckily, the mystery was
deepened by the strange coincidence of the Tiflis carriage maker, and
whenever I could, I drew the attention of medical men away from my trick
with the magician to the real and well-authenticated fact of the
wonderful similarity and simultaneousness of the insanity of the artisan
and the prince. It cannot be denied that the case is one of the most
wonderful occurrences in medical practice, and I shall proceed to present
it, shorn of everything but what actually happened.

"Prince Michalskovich's nurse was a beautiful Georgian woman whose own
child was made his playfellow, and shared his tuition until he was about
fourteen years of age. Then the prince went on his travels, and his
foster brother returned with his mother to the district of Mingrolia, in
Russian Georgia, where he learned the trade of a carriage maker. The
prince loved the nurse and his foster brother dearly, and he spent many a
season in the Transcaucasian mountains in order to be near them. He was a
very active youth, fond of hunting and fishing, and taking delight in
mechanical employments, he spent many a day in the wheelwright's shop
working at the side of his foster brother.

"Unfortunately the prince fell in love with the same young peasant woman
whom his foster brother was about to marry. When the young artisan
discovered the unfaithfulness of his betrothed he had a violent scene
with the prince and the very day, as misfortune would have it, the young
woman died, suddenly and unexpectedly. Her two lovers were then equally
wretched. Both left Mingrolia. The wheelwright went to Tiflis and worked
there under an assumed name to prevent the prince from finding him again.
The prince returned to St. Petersburg and it was soon discovered that he
was subject to abnormal fits of melancholia. His yearning for his foster
brother, coupled with the unfortunate termination of his love affair,
finally developed the peculiar form of insanity already described.

"The young artisan continued at work in Tiflis. He spoke to no one of his
past history and formed no friendships among his fellow workmen. The
day's work done, he returned at night to his hovel where he spent the
remainder of the day in strict seclusion. He became insane, too,
imagining on a sudden to be his own foster brother, Prince Michalskovich.
This considering one's self to be some great and powerful person is quite
a common form of monomania, and hence the artisan's case would hardly
have attracted attention if it had not been coupled with his surprising
use of foreign languages. He had never been known to speak anything but
his peasant dialect, and nobody suspected to think that he was a man of
education and refinement. The physician who attended him at once
pronounced his case the great marvel of the age. The story of the sudden
gift of tongues traveled over the world, and at last reached me also. You
know how I sent for the young man and finally took him into the palace.
He was instantly recognized as the foster brother of the prince. One day
he startled me by inquiring for his brother Paul. I perceived at once
that his reason was dawning again, and by careful treatment I succeeded
in restoring him to his senses.

"When I told him of the prince's mental malady and of the wonderful
coincidence of his own, the young man's affection for the prince revived
and he was full of ardor to assist me to set up the situation by which I
hoped to bring about a cure. In the course of a conversation he told me
one day some anecdotes illustrative of the gross superstition of the
prince. He mentioned, among other things, the prince's strong faith in
the transmigration of souls, and his firm belief in the pretensions of
persons like Cagliostro or Joseph Balsamo. I saw at once an opportunity
for another experiment, and I quickly concocted the scene with the
magician which I described. When the prince came to his senses again, he
listened to my account of his wonderful cure by the mysterious stranger
in perfect good faith, and when he saw his foster brother and heard him
say that he had also been cured that very moment, he was perfectly
satisfied, and acted again the sane man.

"The notoriety which the prince attained through the widespread accounts
of his wonderful cure flattered him very much, and if anybody had
insinuated to him that he had been duped, he would have regarded it as a
great insult. It is rumored that some New York physician was made to feel
his wrath when he called on the prince and wished him to understand that
he believed that I had only deceived him. Of course, if somebody had told
the prince that he had heard me say that his cure was effected simply by
a medical trick, the consequences would have been of a very serious
nature."

Such is Dr. James Harwood's confession. Does it justify him?



THE CASE OF THE DOW TWINS


"My notions about soul's influence on soul," said Dr. Richards of
Saturday Cove to me one day last September, "are a little peculiar. I
don't make a practice of giving 'em away to the folks around here. The
cove people hold that when a doctor gets beyond jalap and rhubarb he's
trespassing on the parson's property. Now it's a long road from jalap to
soul, but I don't see why one man mightn't travel as well as another.
Will you oblige me with a clam?"

I obliged him with a clam. We were sitting together on the rocks, fishing
for tomcod. Saturday Cove is a small watering place a few miles below
Belfast, on the west shore of Penobscot bay. It apparently derives its
name from a belief, generally entertained by the covers, that this spot
was the final and crowning achievement of the Creator before resting on
the seventh day. The cove village consists of a hotel, two churches,
several stores, and a graveyard containing former generations of
Saturdarians. It is a favorite gibe among outsiders, who envy the placid
quiet of the place, that if the population of the graveyard should be dug
up and distributed through the village, and the present inhabitants laid
away beneath the sod, there would be no perceptible diminution in the
liveliness of the settlement. The cove proper abounds with tomcod, which
may be caught with clams.

"Yes," continued Dr. Richards, as he forced the barb of his jig hook into
the tender organism of the clam, "my theory is that a strong soul may
crowd a weak soul out of the body which belongs to the weak soul and
operate through that body, even though miles away and involuntarily. I
believe, moreover, that a man may have two souls, one his own by right
and the other an intruder. In fact I know that this is so and it being so
what becomes of your moral responsibility? What, I ask, becomes of your
moral responsibility?"

I replied that I could not imagine.

"Your doctrine of moral responsibility," said the doctor sternly, as if
it were my doctrine and I were responsible for moral responsibility,
"isn't worth this tomcod." And he took a small fish off his hook and
contemptuously tossed it back into the cove. "Did you ever hear of the
case of the Dow twins?"

I had never heard of the case of the Dow twins.

"Well," resumed the doctor, "they were born into the family of Hiram Dow,
thirty years or more ago, in the red farmhouse just over the hill back of
us. My predecessor, old Dr. Gookin, superintended their birth, and has
often told me the circumstances. The Dow twins came into the world bound
back to back by a fleshy ligature which extended half the length of the
spinal processes. They would probably have traveled through life in an
intimate juxtaposition had the matter depended on your great city
surgeons--your surgeons who were afraid to disconnect Chang and Eng, and
who discussed the operation till the poor fellows died without parting
company. Old Dr. Gookin, however, who hadn't attempted anything for years
in the surgical line, more than to pull a tooth or to cut out an
occasional wen, calmly went to work and sharpened up his rusty old
operating knife and slashed and gashed the twins apart before they had
been three hours breathing. This promptitude of Gookin's saved the Dow
twins a good deal of inconvenience."

"I should think so."

"And yet," added the doctor, reflectively, "perhaps it might have been
better for 'em both if they hadn't been separated. Better for Jehiel,
especially, since he wouldn't have been put in a false position. Then, on
the other hand, my theory would have lacked the confirmation of an
illustrative example. Do you want the story?"

"By all means."

"Well, Jacob and Jehiel grew up healthy, strapping boys, like as two peas
physically, but not mentally and morally. Jehiel was all Dow--slow,
slow-witted, melancholy inclined, and disposed to respect the Ten
Commandments. Jake, he had his mother's git-up-and-git--she was a Fox of
Fox Island--and was into mischief from the time he was tall enough to
poke burdock burrs down his grandmother's back. Dr. Gookin watched the
development of the twins with great interest. He used to say that there
was an invisible nerve telegraph between Jake and Jehiel. Jehiel seemed
to sense whenever Jacob was up to any of his pranks. One night, for
instance, when Jake was off robbing a hen roost, Jehiel sat up in bed in
his sleep and crowed like a frightened cock until the whole family was
aroused.

"I came here and opened my office about ten years ago. At that time
Jehiel had grown into a steady, tolerably industrious young man,
prominent in the Congregational Church, and so sober and decorous that
the village people had trusted him with the driving of the town hearse.
When I first knew him he was courting a young woman by the name of Giles,
who lived about seven miles out in the country. Jehiel was a tin knocker
by trade, and a more pious, respectable, reliable tin knocker you never
saw.

"Jake had turned out very differently. By the time he was twenty-one he
had made Saturday Cove too hot to hold him, and everybody, including his
twin Jehiel, was glad when he enlisted in a Maine regiment. I never saw
Jake in my life, for I came here after he had departed, but I had a
pretty good notion of what a reckless, loud-mouthed, harum-scarum
reprobate he must have been. After the war he drifted into the western
country, and we heard of him occasionally, first as a steamboat runner at
St. Louis, then in jail at Jefferson for swindling a blind Dutchman, then
as a gambler and rough in Cheyenne, and finally as a debt beat in Frisco.
You could tell pretty well when Jake was in deviltry by watching the
actions of Jehiel. At such times, Jehiel was restless. Knocked tin with
an uneasy impatience that wasn't natural with him, was as solemn and glum
as an undertaker.

"He was impatient and short to the people of Saturday Cove, and evidently
had to struggle hard to be good. It seemed as if Dr. Gookin's knife had
severed the physical bond but not the mental one.

"The strangest thing of all was in regard to Jehiel's attentions to the
young woman named Giles. She was a sober, demure, church-going person,
whom Jacob had never been able to interest, but who, as everybody said,
would make an excellent helpmate for Jehiel. He seemed to care a good
deal for her in his steady, slow way and made a point twice a week of
driving over to bring her to prayer-meeting at the cove. But when one of
his odd spells was on him he forsook her altogether, and weeks would go
by, to her great distress, without his appearing at the Giles gate. As
Jake went from bad to worse these periods of indifference became more
frequent and prolonged, and occasioned the young woman named Giles much
misery and a good many tears.

"One fine afternoon in the summer of 1871, Jacob Dow, as we afterward
learned, was shot through the heart by a Mexican in a drunken row at San
Diego. He sprang high into the air and fell upon his face, and when they
laid him away a good Catholic priest said mass for the repose of his
soul.

"That same afternoon, as it happened, old Dr. Gookin was to have been
buried in the graveyard yonder. He had died a day or two before, at an
extreme age, but in the full possession of his faculties, and one of the
last remarks he made was to express regret that he would be unable to
follow the career of the Dow twins any further.

"It became Jehiel's melancholy duty to harness up his hearse on account
of old Dr. Gookin's funeral, and as he dusted the plumes and polished the
ebony panels of the vehicle, his thoughts naturally recurred to the great
service which that excellent physician had rendered him in early youth.
Then he thought of his twin brother Jacob, and wondered where he was and
how he prospered. Then his eyes wandered over the hearse, and he felt a
dull pride in its creditable appearance. It looked so bright and shiny in
the sun that he resolved, as it still wanted a couple of hours of the
time appointed for the funeral, to drive it over to the Giles farm and
fetch his sweetheart to the village on the box with him. The young woman
named Giles had frequently ridden with Jehiel on the hearse, her demure
features and sober apparel detracting nothing from the respectable
solemnity of the equipage.

"Jehiel drew up in state to the door of his betrothed, and she, not at
all reluctant to enjoy the mild excitement of a funeral, mounted to the
box and settled herself comfortably beside him. Then they started for
Saturday Cove, and jogged along on the hearse, discoursing affectionately
as they went.

"Miss Giles affirms that it was at the third apple tree next the stone
wall of Hosea Getchell's orchard, just opposite the bars leading to Mr.
Lord's private road, that a sudden and most extraordinary change came
over Jehiel. He jumped, she says, high into the air and landed sprawling
in the sandy road alongside the hearse, yelling so hideously that it was
with difficulty that she held the frightened horses. Picking himself up
and uttering a round oath ( something that had never before passed the
virtuous lips of Jehiel), he turned his attention to the horses, kicking
and beating them until they stood quiet. He next proceeded to cut and
trim a willow switch at the roadside, and putting his decent silk hat
down over one eye, and darting from the other a surly glance at the
astonished Miss Giles, he climbed to his seat on the hearse.

"'Dow!' said she, 'what does this mean?'

"'It means,' he replied, giving the horses a vicious cut with his switch,
'that I have been goin' slow these thirty year, and now I'm goin' to put
a little ginger in my gait. Gelang!'

"The hearse horses jumped under the unaccustomed lash and broke into a
gallop. Jehiel applied the switch again and again, and the dismal vehicle
was soon bumping over the road at a tremendous pace, Jehiel shouting all
the time like a circus rider, and Miss Giles clinging to his side in an
agony of terror. The people in the farmhouses along the way rushed to
doors and windows and gazed in amazement at the unprecedented spectacle.
Jehiel had a word for each--a shout of derision for one, a blast of
blasphemy for another, and an invitation to ride for a third--but he
reined in for nobody, and in a twinkling the five miles between Hosea
Cetchell's farm at Duck Trap at the village at Saturday Cove had been
accomplished. I think I am safe in saying that never before did hearse
rattle over five miles of hard road so rapidly.

"'Oh, Jehiel, Jehiel' said Miss Giles, as the hearse entered the village,
'are you took crazy of a sudden?'

"'No,' said Jehiel curtly, 'but my eyes are open now. Gelang, you beasts!
You get out here; I'm going to Belfast.'

"'But, Jehiel, dear,' she protested, with many sobs, 'remember Dr.
Gookin.'

"'Dang Gookin!' said Jehiel.

"'And for my sake,' she continued. 'Dear Jehiel, for my sake.' "'Dang
you, too!' said Jehiel.

"Drawing up his team in magnificent style before the village hotel, he
compelled the weeping Miss Giles to alight, and then, with an admirable
imitation of the war whoop of a Sioux brave, started his melancholy
vehicle for Belfast, and was gone in a flash, leaving the entire
population of Saturday Cove in a state of bewilderment that approached
coma.

"The remains of the worthy Dr. Gookin were borne to the graveyard that
afternoon upon the shoulders of half a dozen of the stoutest farmers in
the neighborhood. Jehiel came home long after midnight, uproariously
intoxicated. The revolution in his character had been as complete as it
was sudden. From the moment of Jacob's death, he was a dissipated,
dishonest scoundrel, the scandal of Saturday Cove, and the terror of
quiet respectable folks for miles around. After that day he never could
be persuaded to speak to or even to recognize the young woman named
Giles. She, to her credit, remained faithful to the memory of the lost
Jehiel. His downward course was rapid. He gambled, drank, quarreled, and
stole; and he is now in state prison at Thomaston, serving out a sentence
for an attempt to rob the Northport Bank. Miss Giles goes down every year
in the hopes that he will see her, but he always refuses. He is in for
ten years."

"And he, does he feel no remorse for what he did?" I asked.

"See here," said Dr. Richards, turning suddenly and looking me square in
the face. "Do you think of what you are saying? Now I hold that he is as
innocent as you or I. I believe that the souls of the twins were bound by
a bond which Dr. Gookin's knife could not dissect. When Jacob died, his
soul, with all its depravity, returned to its twin soul in Jehiel's body.
Being stronger than the Jehiel soul it mastered and overwhelmed it. Poor
Jehiel is not responsible; he is suffering the penalty of a crime that
was clearly Jake's."

My friend spoke with a good deal of earnestness and some heat, and
concluding that Jehiel's personality was submerged. I did not press the
discussion. That evening, in conversation with the village clergyman, I
remarked:

"Strange case that of the Dow twins."

"Ah," said the parson, "you have heard the story. Which way did the
doctor end it?"

"Why, with Jehiel in jail, of course. What do you mean?"

"Nothing," replied the parson with a faint smile. "Sometimes when he
feels well disposed toward humanity, the doctor lets Jehiel's soul take
possession of Jacob and reform him into a pious, respectable Christian.
In his pessimistic moods, the story is just as you heard it. So this is
one of his Jacob days. He should take a little vacation."



AN EXTRAORDINARY WEDDING


Professor Daniel Dean Moody of Edinburgh, a gentleman equally well known
as a profound psychologist and as an honest and keen-eyed investigator of
the phenomena sometimes called spiritualistic, visited this country not
many months ago and was entertained in Boston by Dr. Thomas Fullerton at
his delightful home on Mount Vernon Street. One evening when there were
present in Dr. Fullerton's parlors, besides himself and his Scotch guest,
Dr. Curtis of the medical school of the Boston University, the Reverend
Dr. Amos Cutler of the Lynde Street Church, Mr. Magnus of West Newton,
three ladies, and the writer, the conversation turned to subjects of an
occult character.

"There once lived in Aberdeen," said Professor Moody, "a medium named
Jenny McGraw, of slender intellectuality, but of remarkable psychic
strength. Two hundred years ago you good people of Boston would have
hanged Jenny for a witch. I have seen in her cottage materialization for
which I could not and cannot account by any hypothesis of deception or of
hallucination. I have seen forms come forth, not from any cabinet or
trick closet, but extruded before my eyes from the person of Jenny
herself, hanging nebulous in the air for a moment and then slowly taking
corporate shape. That there was no vulgar trick about this I am willing
to stake my scientific reputation. One night Plato himself, or an eidolon
claiming to be Plato, emerged from Jenny McGraw's bosom and conversed
with me for full fifteen minutes upon the duality of the idea, the
medium, in the meanwhile, remaining entranced."

Dr. Fullerton exchanged a significant glance with his wife. Their guest
intercepted it and said:

"You don't believe me? No wonder."

"Not that," rejoined Dr. Fullerton. "Your testimony as a scientific
observer is worthy of all possible respect. But what became of Jenny
McGraw?"

"She was a dull, unsympathetic young woman, hardly to be classed as a
rational being. So far from becoming interested in these wonderful
manifestations exhibited through her organization, she was excessively
annoyed by them, and I believe she finally left Scotland to escape the
troublesome spirits and the still more troublesome mortals who flocked to
her cottage and sadly interfered with her washing, ironing, and baking."

"A Yankee girl," said Mr. Magnus, "would have turned such powers to
account and have made her fortune."

"Jenny McGraw," replied Professor Moody, "whom I believe to be the only
medium in the world capable of producing materializations in the broad
light and independently of her surroundings, was thrifty enough, like all
Scotchwomen, but she hadn't the intelligence to recognize the
opportunity. She was frequently advised to go before the public. Advice
is wasted on the Scotch. I don't know where she is at present"

Dr. Fullerton again glanced at his wife. Mrs. Fullerton arose and touched
a bell.

The door soon opened, and there appeared a lumpy, red-haired domestic,
who curtsied awkwardly as she entered the room.

"Did ye rang, ma'am?" she asked.

"Jenny," said Mrs. Fullerton, "here is an old friend of yours from
Scotland."

The girl showed no sign of surprise. Scarcely a shade of recognition
passed over her stupid countenance as she walked sullenly up to the
professor and sullenly took his extended hand.

"I didna ken ye was cam to America, Maister Moody," she said, and looked
around as if she would be glad to escape the learned company.

"Now, with your permission, Mrs. Fullerton," said the professor, looking
over Jenny McGraw's shoulder toward his hostess, "we will ask the young
woman if she will kindly assist us in an investigation which we purpose
to make."

Jenny looked up suspiciously and turned her small, dull eyes from her
master to her mistress, and from her mistress to the door.

"I'm na ower fond of sic investigatin'," she stolidly remarked, "an' it
gies me a pain in the breast to brang oot the auld ghaists, as ye na doot
remember wull, Maister Moody."

For a long time the girl stubbornly refused to renew her relations with
the mysterious yonder. I have forgotten what argument or plea it was that
at last won her to a reluctant consent. I have not forgotten what
followed.

The room was as light as the full blaze of five gas jets could make it.
Under this blaze, and surrounded by the partly amused, partly skeptical
company, jenny was seated in a Turkish easy chair. She did not form an
attractive picture, short, squat, sandy, freckled, and peevish-eyed as
she was. "Good Lord!" I whispered to a neighbor. "Do glorified spirits
choose such a channel as that when they wish to come back to us?"

"Hush!" said Professor Moody. "The girl is passing into a trance."

The swinish eyes opened and closed. A sluggish convulsion fluttered
across the flabby cheeks. A sigh or two, a nervous twitching of her
chair, breathing heavily.

"Ineffectively simulated coma," whispered Dr. Curtis to me, "and not the
work of an artist. This is a farce."

For fifteen or twenty minutes we sat in patience, the stillness broken
only by the rough respiration of the girl. Then one or two of the party
began to yawn, and the hostess, fearing that the experiment was becoming
a bore, moved as if to break up the circle. But Professor Moody raised
his hand in protest. Before he dropped it he made a rapid gesture which
directed all our eyes toward Jenny McGraw.

Her head and bust seemed to be enveloped in a dim, thin film of
opalescent vapor, which floated free about her, yet was fixed at one
point, as a wreath of blue smoke hangs at the end of a good cigar. The
point of attachment appeared to be in the neighborhood of Jenny's heart.
She had stopped breathing loudly, and was as pale as the dead; but her
face was no whiter than that of Dr. Curtis. I felt his hand groping for
mine. He found it and clutched it till it was numb.

While we watched, the vapor that proceeded from Jenny's bosom grew in
volume and became opaque. It was like a dark, well-defined cloud,
floating before our eyes, here gathering itself in and extending itself
there, till at last the shape was perfect.

You have seen a dim, meaningless object under a lens gradually define
itself as it was brought into focus, and suddenly stand out clear and
sharp. Or, better, you have seen at a shadow pantomime a vague, amorphous
cloudiness intensify and take shape as the person approached the screen,
until it became a perfect silhouette. Now, imagine the silhouette
stepping forth into your presence a solidified fact, and you get some
idea of the marvelous transition by which this shadow from a world we
know not of stepped forth into the midst of our little company.

I looked across the room at the Reverend Dr. Cutler. He was clasping his
forehead with both hands. I have never seen a more striking picture of
mingled horror, terror, and perplexity.

The newcomer was a man of twenty-eight or thirty, of fine features and
dignified bearing. He made a courteous bow to the assemblage, but when he
saw that Professor Moody was about to speak put his finger to his lips
and glanced back uneasily at the medium. I fancied that an expression of
disgust stole over his handsome countenance when he perceived how
unlovely was the gateway through which he had returned to earth.
Nevertheless, he kept his eyes fixed upon Jenny McGraw's pallid face and
folded his arms as if waiting.

We were now thoroughly under the spell of this mysterious happening. With
eager expectation, but without surprise, we saw again the phenomena of
the cloud, the shadow, the concentration, and the presence.

Slowly out of the white mist and nebulous shadow there took form the most
beautiful woman that mortal eyes ever beheld. It was a woman--a living,
breathing woman, her magnificent lips slightly parted, her bosom rising
and falling beneath a garment of wonderfully woven texture, her glorious
black eyes shining upon us till our heads swam and our thoughts reeled.
It would be easier to fathom the secret of her being than to describe the
unearthly beauty that startled and awed us.

The first corner unfolded his arms, and with the tenderness of a lover
and the deference due a queen, took the shapely white hand of the
marvelous lady and led her forth to the middle of the room. She said no
word, but suffered herself to be guided by his hand, and stood like an
empress scanning our faces and habiliments with a puzzled curiosity in
which it was possible to detect the slightest trace of disdain. He spoke
at last in a low voice.

"Friends," he slowly said, "a great love carried one who was lately a
mortal into the presence of a goddess. A greater good fortune befell him
than his small sacrifices had earned. I cannot speak more plainly. Hear
our entreaty and grant it without questioning. There is here a servant of
the church, duly qualified to pronounce the only words that can crown a
love like mine. That love reached back over centuries to meet its object,
and was sealed by a willing death. We come from another world to ask to
be joined in wedlock according to the forms of this world."

Strange as it may seem, the preceding events had so attuned our
consciousness to the spirit of the surroundings that we heard this
extraordinary speech without amazement. And when Mr. Magnus of West
Newton, who would preserve his cool, matter-of-fact manner in the company
of archangels, audibly whispered, "Eloped, by Jove, from the spirit
land!" His words jarred harshly in our ears.

The Reverend Dr. Amos Cutler displayed most strikingly the effect of the
glamor that had been thrown over our nineteenth-century common sense.
That pious man rose from his chair with a dazed and helpless look in his
face, and, like one walking in his sleep, advanced toward the couple.

Raising his hand to command silence, he solemnly and deliberately asked
the questions that by usage of the church are preliminary to the marriage
rite. The man responded in a clear, triumphant tone. The bride answered
only by a slight inclination of her beautiful head.

"Then," continued Dr. Cutler, "in the presence of these witnesses, I
pronounce you man and wife. And God forgive me," he added, "for lending
myself to the Devil's works by the sacrilege of this act."

One by one we passed up to take the bridegroom's hand and salute the
bride. His hand was like the hand of a marble statue, but a radiant smile
brightened his face. At a whispered suggestion from him, she bent her
regal head, and allowed each one of us to kiss her cheek. It was soft and
blood-warm.

When Dr. Cutler saluted her she smiled for the first time and, with a
rapid, graceful movement detached from her black hair a great pearl and
put it in his hand. He gazed at it a moment and, then on a sudden
impulse, flung it into the open grate. In the hot blaze, Dr. Cutler's
wedding fee whitened, calcined, crumbled, and disappeared.

Then the bridegroom led his wife back to the chair where the medium still
sat entranced. He clasped her close in his arms. Their melting forms
interblended in shadowy vapor, and, fading slowly away, this newly
married couple found their nuptial pillow in the bosom of Jenny McGraw.

II

One day after Professor Moody had left Boston, I went to the Athaeneum
Library in search of certain facts and dates regarding the
Franco-Prussian war. While turning over the leaves of a bound file of the
London DAILY NEVVS for 1871 my eyes happened to fall upon the following
paragraph:

The Vienna FREIE PRESSE says that at four o'clock in the afternoon of
July 12 a young man of good appearance shot himself through the heart in
the east corridor of the Imperial Gallery. It was at the hour of closing
the gallery, and the young man had been warned by an attendant that he
must depart. He was standing motionless before Herr Hans Makart's fine
picture of "Cleopatra's Barge," and paid no heed to the admonition. When
it was repeated more emphatically he pointed in an absent manner to the
painting, and having remarked, "Is not that a woman worth dying for!"
drew a pistol and fired with fatal effect.

There is no clue to the suicide's individuality except that afforded at
the Golden Lamb Hotel, where he was registered simply as "Cotton." He had
been in Vienna several weeks, had spent money freely, and had frequently
been observed at the Imperial Gallery, always before this picture of
Cleopatra. The unfortunate youth is believed to have been insane.

I made a careful copy of this brief story, and sent it, without comment,
to the Reverend Dr. Cutler. A day or two later he returned it with a
note.

"The events of that night at Dr. Fullerton's," he wrote, "are to me as
the events of a dimly remembered dream. Pardon me if I say that it will
be a kindness to let me forget them altogether."



BACK FROM THAT BOURNE


Practical Working of Materialization in Maine

A STRANGE STORY FROM POCOCK ISLAND--A MATERIALIZED SPIRIT THAT WILL
NOT GO BACK--THE FIRST GLIMPSE OF WHAT MAY YET CAUSE VERY EXTENSIVE
TROUBLE IN THE WORLD

We are permitted to make extracts from a private letter which bears the
signature of a gentleman well known in business circles, and whose
veracity we have never heard called in question. Ills statements are
startling and well nigh incredible, but, if true, they are susceptible of
easy verification. Yet the thoughtful mind will hesitate about accepting
them without the fullest proof, for they spring upon the world a social
problem of stupendous importance. The dangers apprehended by Mr. Malthus
and his followers become remote and commonplace by the side of this new
and terrible issue.

The letter is dated at Pocock Island, a small township in Washington
County, Maine, about seventeen miles from the mainland, and nearly midway
between Mt. Desert and the Grand Marian. The last state census accords to
Pocock Island a population of 311, mostly engaged in the porgy fisheries.
At the presidential election of 1872 the island gave Grant a majority of
three. These two facts are all that we are able to learn of the locality
from sources outside of the letter already referred to.

The letter, omitting certain passages which refer solely to private
matters, reads as follows:

"But enough of the disagreeable business that brought me here to this
bleak island in the month of November. I have a singular story to tell
you. After our experience together at Chittenden I know you will not
reject statements because they are startling.

"My friend, there is upon Pocock Island a materialized spirit which [or
who] refuses to be dematerialized. At this moment and within a quarter of
a mile from me as I write, a man who died and was buried four years ago,
and who has exploited the mysteries beyond the grave, walks, talks, and
holds intercourse with the inhabitants of the island, and is, to all
appearances, determined to remain permanently upon this side of the
river. I will relate the circumstances as briefly as I can.

JOHN NEWBEGIN

"In April 1870, John Newbegin died and was buried in the little cemetery
on the landward side of the island. Newbegin was a man of about
forty-eight, without family or near connections, and eccentric to a
degree that sometimes inspired questions as to his sanity. What money he
had earned by many seasons' fishing upon the banks was invested in
quarters of two small mackerel schooners, the remainder of which belonged
to John Hodgdon, the richest man on Pocock, who was estimated by good
authorities to be worth thirteen or fourteen thousand dollars.

"Newbegin was not without a certain kind of culture. He had read a good
deal of the odds and ends of literature, and, as a simple-minded islander
expressed it in my hearing, 'knew more bookfuls than anybody else on
Pocock.' He was naturally an intelligent man; and he might have attained
influence in the community had it not been for his utter aimlessness of
character, his indifference to fortune, and his consuming thirst for rum.

"Many yachtsmen, who have had occasion to stop at Pocock for water or for
harbor shelter during eastern cruises, will remember a long, listless
figure, astonishingly attired in blue army pants, rubber boots, loose
toga made of some bright chintz material, and very bad hat, staggering
through the little settlement, followed by a rabble of jeering brats, and
pausing to strike uncertain blows at those within reach of the dead
sculpin which he usually carried around by the tail. This was John
Newbegin."

HIS SUDDEN DEATH

"As I have already remarked, he died four years ago last April. The Mary
Emmeline, one of the little schooners in which he owned, had returned
from the eastward, and had smuggled, or 'run in,' a quantity of St. John
brandy. Newbegin had a solitary and protracted debauch. He was missed
from his accustomed walks for several days, and when the islanders broke
into the hovel where he lived, close down to the seaweed, and almost
within reach of the incoming tide, they found him dead on the floor, with
an emptied demijohn hard by his head.

"After the primitive custom of the island, they interred John Newbegin's
remains without coroner's inquest, burial certificate, or funeral
services, and, in the excitement of a large catch of porgies that summer,
soon forgot him and his friendless life. His interest in the Mary
Emmeline and the Puttyboat recurred to John Hodgdon; and as nobody came
forward to demand an administration of the estate, it was never
administered. The forms of the law are but loosely followed in some of
these marginal localities."

HIS REAPPEARANCE AT POCOCK

"Well, my dear ----, four years and four months had brought their quota of
varying seasons to Pocock Island, when John New-begin reappeared, under
the following circumstances:

"In the latter part of last August, as you may remember, there was a
heavy gale all along our Atlantic coast. During this storm the squadron
of the Naugatuck Yacht Club, which was returning from a summer cruise as
far as Campobello, was forced to take shelter in the harbor to the
leeward of Pocock Island. The gentlemen of the club spent three days at
the little settlement ashore. Among the party was Mr. R.---E.--, in which
name you will recognize a medium of celebrity, and one who has been
particularly successful in materializations. At the desire of his
companions, and to relieve the tedium of their detention, Mr. E.--.
improvised a cabinet in the little schoolhouse at Pocock, and gave a
seance, to the delight of his fellow yachtsmen and the utter bewilderment
of such natives as were permitted to witness the manifestations.

"The conditions seemed unusually favorable to spirit appearances, and the
seance was, upon the whole, perhaps the most remarkable that Mr. E.--
ever held. It was all the more remarkable because the surroundings were
such that the most prejudiced skeptic could discover no possibility of
trickery.

"The first form to issue from the wood closet which constituted the
cabinet, when Mr. E.---- had been tied therein by a committee of old
sailors from the yachts, was that of an Indian chief who announced
himself as Hock-a-mock, and who retired after dancing a 'Harvest moon'
pas seul and declaring himself, in very emphatic terms, opposed to the
present Indian policy of the Administration. Hock-a-mock was succeeded by
the aunt of one of the yachtsmen, who identified herself beyond question
by allusion to family matters and by displaying the scar of a burn upon
her left arm, received while making tomato catsup upon earth. Then came
successively a child whom no one present recognized, a French-Canadian
who could not talk English, and a portly gentleman who introduced himself
as William King, first governor of Maine. These in turn re-entered the
cabinet, and were seen no more.

"It was some time before another spirit manifested itself, and Mr. E.--
gave directions that the light be turned down still further. Then the
door of the wood closet was slowly opened and a singular figure in rubber
boots and a species of Dolly Varden garment emerged, bringing a dead fish
in his right hand."

HIS DETERMINATION TO REMAIN

"The city men who were present, I am told, thought that the medium was
masquerading in grotesque habiliments for the more complete astonishment
of the islanders, but these latter rose from their seats and exclaimed
with one consent: a is John Newbegin! It is Johnny for sartain!' And
then, in not unnatural terror at the apparition, they turned and fled
from the schoolroom, uttering dismal cries.

"John Newbegin came calmly forward and turned up the solitary kerosene
lamp that shed uncertain light over the proceedings. He then sat down in
the teacher's chair, folded his arms, and looked complacently around him.

"'You might as well untie the medium,' he at length remarked. 'I propose
to remain in the materialized condition.'

"And he did remain. When the party left the schoolhouse among them walked
John Newbegin, as truly a being of flesh and blood as any man of them.
From that day to this he has been a living inhabitant of Pocock Island,
eating, drinking ( water only ), and sleeping after the manner of men.
The yachtsmen, who made sail for Bar Harbor the very next morning,
probably believe that he was a fraud hired for the occasion by Mr. E.--.
But the people of Pocock, who laid him out, dug his grave, and put him
into it four years ago, know that John Newbegin has come back to them
from a land they know not of."

A SINGULAR MEMBER OF SOCIETY

"The idea of having a ghost--somewhat more condensed, it is true, than
the traditional ghost--as a member was not at first over-pleasing to the
311 inhabitants of Pocock Island. To this day they are a little sensitive
upon the subject, feeling evidently that if the matter got abroad, it
might injure the sale of the really excellent porgy oil which is the
product of their sole manufacturing interest. This reluctance to
advertise the skeleton in their closet, superadded to the slowness of
these obtuse, fishy, matter-of-fact people to recognize the transcendent
importance of the case, must be accepted as an explanation of the fact
that John Newbegin's spirit has been on earth between three and four
months, and yet the singular circumstance is not known to the whole
country.

"But the Pocockians have at last come to see that a spirit is not
necessarily a malevolent spirit, and, accepting his presence as a fact in
their stolid, unreasoning way, they are quite neighborly and sociable
with Mr. Newbegin.

"I know that your first question will be: 'Is there sufficient proof of
his ever having been dead?' To this I answer unhesitatingly, 'Yes.' He
was too well known a character and too many people saw the corpse to
admit of any mistake on this point. I may here add that it was at one
time proposed to disinter the original remains, but that the project was
abandoned in deference to the wishes of Mr. Newbegin, who feels a natural
delicacy about having his first set of bones disturbed from motives of
mere curiosity."

AN INTERVIEW WITH A DEAD MAN

"You will readily believe that I took occasion to see and converse with
John Newbegin. I found him affable and even communicative. He is
perfectly well aware of his doubtful status as a being, but is in hopes
that at some future time there may be legislation which shall correctly
define his position and the position of any spirit who may follow him
into the material world. The only point upon which he is reticent is his
experience during the four years that elapsed between his death and his
reappearance at Pocock. It is to be presumed that the memory is not a
pleasant one; at least he never speaks of this period. He candidly
admits, however, that he is glad to get back to earth, and that he
embraced the very first opportunity to be materialized.

"Mr. Newbegin says that he is consumed with remorse for the wasted years
of his previous existence. Indeed, his course during the past three
months would show that this regret is genuine. He has discarded his
eccentric costume, and dresses like a reasonable spirit. He has not
touched liquor since his reappearance. He has embarked in the porgy oil
business, and his operations already rival those of Hodgdon, his old
partner in the Mary Emmeline and the Puttyboat. By the way, Newbegin
threatens to sue Hodgdon for his undivided quarter in each of these
vessels, and this interesting case therefore bids fair to be thoroughly
investigated in the courts.

"As a businessman he is generally esteemed on the island, although there
is a noticeable reluctance to discount his paper at long dates. In short,
Mr. John Newbegin is a most respectable citizen [if a dead man can be a
citizen], and has announced his intention of running for the next
legislature!"

IN CONCLUSION

"And now, my dear ----, I have told you the substance of all I know
respecting this strange, strange case. Yet, after all, why so strange? We
accepted materialization at Chittenden. Is this any more than the logical
issue of that admission? If the spirit may return to earth, clothed in
flesh and blood and all the physical attributes of humanity, why may it
not remain on earth as long as it sees fit?

"Thinking of it from whatever standpoint, I cannot but regard John
Newbegin as the pioneer of a possibly large immigration from the spirit
world. The bars once down, a whole flock will come trooping back to
earth. Death will lose its significance altogether. And when I think of
the disturbance which will result in our social relations, of the
overthrow of all accepted institutions, and of the nullification of all
principles of political economy, law, and religion, I am lost in
perplexity and apprehension."



THE LAST CRUISE OF THE JUDAS ISCARIOT


"She formerly showed the name Flying Sprite on her starn moldin'," said
Captain Trumbull Cram, "but I had thet gouged out and planed off, and
Judas Iscariot in gilt sot thar instid."

"That was an extraordinary name," said I.

"'Strornary craft," replied the captain, as he absorbed another inch and
a half of niggerhead. "I'm neither a profane man or an irreverend; but
sink my jig if I don't believe the sperrit of Judas possessed thet
schooner. Hey, Ammi?"

The young man addressed as Ammi was seated upon a mackerel barrel. He
deliberately removed from his lips a black brierwood and shook his head
with great gravity.

"The cap'n," said Ammi, "is neither a profane or an irreverend. What he
says he mostly knows; but when he sinks his jig he's allers to be
depended on."

Fortified with this neighborly estimate of character, Captain Cram
proceeded. "You larf at the idea of a schooner's soul? Perhaps you hey
sailed 'em forty-odd year up and down this here coast, an' 'quainted
yourself with their dispositions an' habits of mind. Hey, Ammi?"

"The cap'n," explained the gentleman on the mackerel keg, "hez coasted
an' hez fished for forty-six year. He's lumbered and he's iced. When the
cap'n sees fit for to talk about schooners he understands the subjeck."

"My friend," said the captain, "a schooner has a soul like a hu man
being, but considerably broader of beam, whether for good or for evil. I
ain't a goin' to deny thet I prayed for the Judas in Tuesday 'n' Thursday
evenin' meetin', week arter week an' month arter month. I ain't a goin'
to deny thet I interested Deacon Plympton in the 'rastle for her
redemption. It was no use, my friend; even the deacon's powerful
p'titions were clear waste."

I ventured to inquire in what manner this vessel had manifested its
depravity. The narrative which I heard was the story of a demon of
treachery with three masts and a jib boom.

The Flying Sprite was the first three-master ever built at Newaggen, and
the last. People shook their heads over the experiment. "No good can come
of sech a critter," they said. "It's contrairy to natur. Two masts is
masts enough." The Flying Sprite began its career of base improbity at
the very moment of its birth. Instead of launching decently into the
element for which it was designed, the three-masted schooner slumped
through the ways into the mud and stuck there for three weeks, causing
great expense to the owners, of whom Captain Trumbull Cram was one to the
extent of an undivided third. The oracles of Newaggen were confirmed in
their forebodings. "Two masts is masts enough to sail the sea," they
said; "the third is the Devil's hitchin' post."

On the first voyage of the Flying Sprite, Captain Cram started her for
Philadelphia, loaded with ice belonging to himself and Lawyer Swanton;
cargo uninsured. Ice was worth six dollars a ton in Philadelphia; this
particular ice had cost Captain Cram and Lawyer Swanton eighty-five cents
a ton shipped, including sawdust. They were happy over the prospect. The
Flying Sprite cleared the port in beautiful shape, and then suddenly and
silently went to the bottom in Fiddler's Reach, in eleven feet of salt
water. It required only six days to float her and pump her out, but owing
to a certain incompatibility between ice and salt water, the salvage
consisted exclusively of sawdust.

On her next trip the schooner carried a deckload of lumber from the St.
Croix River. It was in some sense a consecrated cargo, for the lumber was
intended for a new Baptist meetinghouse in southern New Jersey. If the
prayerful hopes of the navigators, combined with the prayerful
expectations of the consignees had availed, this voyage, at least, would
have been successfully made. But about sixty miles southeast of Nantucket
the Flying Sprite encountered a mild September gale. She ought to have
weathered it with perfect ease, but she behaved so abominably that the
church timber was scattered over the surface of the Atlantic Ocean from
about latitude 40 15' to about latitude 43 50'. A month or two later
she contrived to go on her beam ends under a gentle land breeze, dumping
a lot of expensively carved granite from the Fox Island quarries into a
deep hole in Long Island Sound. On the very next trip she turned
deliberately out of her course in order to smash into the starboard bow
of a Norwegian brig, and was consequently libeled for heavy damages.

It was after a few experiences of this sort that Captain Cram erased the
old name from the schooner's stern and from her quarter, and substituted
that of Judas Iscariot. He could discover no designation that expressed
so well his contemptuous opinion of her moral qualities. She seemed
animate with the spirit of purposeless malice, of malignant perfidy. She
was a floating tub of cussedness.

A board of nautical experts sat upon the Judas Iscariot, but could find
nothing the matter with her, physically. The lines of her hull were all
right, she was properly planked and ceiled and calked, her spars were of
good Oregon pine, she was rigged taut and trustworthy, and her canvas had
been cut and stitched by a God-fearing sailmaker. According to all
theory, she ought to have been perfectly responsible as to her keel. In
practice, she was frightfully cranky. Sailing the Judas Iscariot was like
driving a horse with more vices than hairs in his tail. She always did
the unexpected thing, except when bad behavior was expected of her on
general principles. If the idea was to luff, she would invariably fall
off; if to jibe, she would come round dead in the wind and hang there
like Mohammed's coffin. Sending a man to haul the jib sheet to windward
was sending a man on a forlorn hope: the jib habitually picked up the
venturesome navigator, and, after shaking him viciously in the air for a
second or two, tossed him overboard. A boom never crossed the deck
without breaking somebody's head. Start on whatever course she might, the
schooner was certain to run before long into one of three things, namely,
some other vessel, a fog bank, or the bottom. From the day on which she
was launched her scent for a good, sticky mud bottom was unerring. In the
clearest weather fog fob lowed and enveloped her as misfortune follows
wickedness. Her presence on the Banks was enough to drive every codfish
to the coast of Ireland. The mackerel and porgies were always where the
Judas Iscariot was not. It was impossible to circumvent the schooner's
fixed purposes to ruin everybody who chartered her. If chartered to carry
a deckload, she spilled it; if loaded between decks, she dived and
spoiled the cargo. She was like one of the trick mules which, if they
cannot otherwise dislodge the rider, get down and roll over and over. In
short, the Judas Iscariot was known from Marblehead to the Bay of Chaleur
as the consummate schooneration of malevolence, turpitude, and treachery.

After commanding the Judas Iscariot for five or six years, Captain Cram
looked fully twenty years older. It was in vain that he had attempted to
sell her at a sacrifice. No man on the coast of Maine, Massachusetts, or
the British provinces would have taken the schooner as a gift. The belief
in her demoniac obsession was as firm as it was universal.

Nearly at the end of a season, when the wretched craft had been even more
unprofitable than usual a conference of the owners was held in the
Congregational vestry one evening after the monthly missionary meeting.
No outsider knows exactly what happened, but it is rumored that in the
two hours during which these capitalists were closeted certain
arithmetical computations were effected which led to significant results
and to a singular decision.

On the forenoon of the next Friday there was a general suspension of
business at Newaggen. The Judas Iscariot, with her deck scoured and her
spars scraped till they shone in the sun like yellow amber, lay at the
wharf by Captain Cram's fish house. Since Monday the captain and his
three boys and Andrew Jackson's son Tobias from Mackerel Cove had been
busy loading the schooner deep. This time her cargo was an extraordinary
one. It consisted of nearly a quarter of a mile of stone wall from the
boundaries of the captain's shore pasture. "I calklet," remarked the
commander of the Judas Iscariot, as he saw the last boulder disappearing
down the main hatch, "thar's nigh two hundud'n fifty ton of stone fence
aboard thet schoon'r."

Conjecture was wasted over this unnecessary amount of ballast. The owners
of the Judas Iscariot stood up well under the consolidated wit of the
village; they returned witticism for witticism, and kept their secret.
"Ef you must know, I'll tell ye," said the captain. "I hear thar's a
stone-wall famine over Machias way. I'm goin' to take mine over'n peddle
it out by the yard." On this fine sunshiny Friday morning, while the
luckless schooner lay on one side of the wharf, looking as bright and
trim and prosperous as if she were the best-paying maritime investment in
the world, the tug Pug of Portland lay under the other side, with steam
up. She had come down the night before in response to a telegram from the
owners of the Judas Iscariot. A good land breeze was blowing, with the
promise of freshening as the day grew older.

At half past seven o'clock the schooner put off from the landing,
carrying not only the captain's pasture wall, but also a large number of
his neighbors and friends, including some of the solidest citizens of
Newaggen. Curiosity was stronger than fear. "You know what the critter,"
the captain had said, in reply to numerous applications for passage. "Ef
you're a mind to resk her antics, come along, an' welcome." Captain Cram
put on a white shirt and a holiday suit for the occasion. As he stood at
the wheel shouting directions to his boys and Andrew Jackson's son Tobias
at the halyards, his guests gathered around him--a fair representation of
the respectability, the business enterprise, and the piety of Newaggen
Harbor. Never had the Judas Iscariot carried such a load. She seemed
suddenly struck with a sense of decency and responsibility, for she came
around into the wind without balking, dived her nose playfully into the
brine, and skipped off on the short hitch to clear Tumbler Island, all in
the properest fashion. The Pug steamed after her.

The crowd on the wharf and the boys in the small boats cheered this
unexpectedly orthodox behavior, and they now saw for the first time that
Captain Cram had painted on the side of the vessel in conspicuous white
letters, each three or four feet long, the following legend:

THIS IS THE SCHOONER JUDAS ISCARIOT
N.B.--GIVE HER A WIDE BERTH!!

Hour after hour the schooner bounded along before the northwest wind,
holding to her course as straight as an arrow. The weather continued
fine. Every time the captain threw the log he looked more perplexed.
Eight, nine, nine and a half knots! He shook his head as he whispered to
Deacon Plympton: "She's meditatin' mischief o' some natur or other." But
the Judas led the Pug a wonderful chase, and by half past two in the
afternoon, before the demijohn which Andrew Jackson's son Tobias had
smuggled on board was three quarters empty, and before Lawyer Swanton had
more than three quarters finished his celebrated story about Governor
Purington's cork leg, the schooner and the tug were between fifty and
sixty miles from land.

Suddenly Captain Cram gave a grunt of intelligence. He pointed ahead,
where a blue line just above the horizon marked a distant fog bank. "She
smelt it an' she run for it," he remarked, sententiously. "Time for
business."

Then ensued a singular ceremony. First Captain Cram brought the schooner
to, and transferred all his passengers to the tug. The wind had shifted
to the southeast, and the fog was rapidly approaching. The sails of the
Judas Iscariot flapped as she lay head to the wind; her bows rose and
fell gently under the influence of the long swell. The Pug bobbed up and
down half a hawser's length away.

Having put his guests and crew aboard the tug, Captain Cram proceeded to
make everything shipshape on the decks of the schooner. He neatly coiled
a loose end of rope that had been left in a snarl. He even picked up and
threw overboard the stopper of Andrew Jackson's son Tobias' demijohn. His
face wore an expression of unusual solemnity. The people on the tug
watched his movements eagerly, but silently. Next he tied one end of a
short rope to the wheel and attached the other end loosely by means of a
running bowline to a cleat upon the rail. Then he was seen to take up an
ax, and to disappear down the companionway. Those on the tug distinctly
heard several crashing blows. In a moment the captain reappeared on deck,
walked deliberately to the wheel, brought the schooner around so that her
sails filled, pulled the running bowline taut, and fastened the rope with
several half hitches around the cleat, thus lashing the helm, jumped into
a dory, and sculled over to the tug.

Left entirely to herself, the schooner rolled once or twice, tossed a few
bucketfuls of water over her dancing bows, and started off toward the
South Atlantic. But Captain Trumbull Cram, standing in the bow of the
tugboat, raised his hand to command silence and pronounced the following
farewell speech, being sentence, death warrant, and funeral oration, all
in one:

"I ain't advancin' no theory to 'count for her cussedness. You all know
the Judas. Mebbe thar was too much fore an' aff to her. Mebbe the
inickerty of a vessel's in the fore an' aff, and the vartue in the squar'
riggin'. Mebbe two masts was masts enough. Let that go; bygones is
bygones. Yonder she goes, carryin' all sail on top, two hundred'n-odd ton
o' stone fence in her holt, an' a hole good two foot acrost stove in her
belly. The way of the transgressor is hard. Don't you see her settlin'?
It should be a lesson, my friends, for us to profit by; there's an end to
the long-sufferin'est mercy, and unless--Oh, yer makin' straight for the
fog, are ye? Well, it's your last fog bank. The bottom of the sea's the
fust port you'll fetch, you critter, you! Git, and be d--d to ye!"

This, the only occasion on which Captain Cram was ever known to say such
a word, was afterward considered by a committee of discipline of the
Congregational Church at Newaggen; and the committee, after pondering all
the circumstances under which the word was uttered, voted unanimously to
take no action.

Meanwhile, the fog had shut in around the tug, and the Judas Iscariot was
lost to view. The tug was put about and headed for home. The damp wind
chilled everybody through and through. Little was said. The contents of
the demijohn had long been exhausted. From a distance to the south was
heard at intervals the hoarse whistling of an ocean steamer.

"I hope that feller's well underwrit," said the captain grimly, "for the
Judas'll never go down afore she's sarched him out'n sunk him."

"And was the abandoned schooner ever heard of?" I asked, when my
informant had reached this point in the narrative.

The captain took me by the arm and led me out of the grocery store down
to the rocks. Across the mouth of the small cove back of his house,
blocking the entrance to his wharf and fishhouse, was stretched a
skeleton wreck.

"Thar she lays," he said, pointing to the blackened ribs. "That's the
Judas. Did yer suppose she'd sink in deep water, where she could do no
more damage? No, sir, not if all the rocks on the coast of Maine was
piled onto her, and her hull bottom knocked clean out. She come home to
roost. She come sixty mile in the teeth of the wind. When the tug got
back next mornin' thar lay the Judas Iscariot acrost my cove, with her
jib boom stuck through my kitchen winder. I say schooners has souls."



THE FLYING WEATHERCOCK


There were two peculiar things that I remarked about the little brick
meetinghouse on the hill at Newaggen. The first was the fact that it had
once been chained to the ground, as are some structures on mountain
summits. Big iron eyebolts were to be seen in the ledge on each side of
the meetinghouse, and to one of them was still attached a rusty link of
heavy chain. The hill was not high. A steep path led down to the harbor,
and you could count the shingles on the roofs of the square,
old-fashioned houses. On the other side of the hill was a boggy meadow,
with scattering ricks of salt hay, bonneted with aged canvas. The front
of the church breasted the wind that blew in across the islands from the
ocean.

The second unusual feature was the vane on the stubby steeple. The vane
was a great gilt codfish, evidently very sensitive to atmospheric
influences. Its nose wavered nervously between south-southeast and
southeast by east.

"Why was the meetin'house tied down to the rock?" repeated my companion,
Deacon and Captain Silas Bibber. "Well, I'll tell ye. Because the
congregation allowed that this here hill was a fittiner location for a
house o' worship than the salt ma'sh yonder."

The deacon and captain paused to shy a stone at a disreputable sheep that
was foraging among the gravestones.

"Why do we fly a weathercod instid of a weathercock?" he continued. "I'll
tell ye. Because the rooster's the Devil's own bird."

He stooped for another missile just as the excited sheep, which had been
surreptitiously flanking him while watching his movements with vigilant
eyes, cleared the stone wall at a plunge and disappeared over the edge of
the hill.

"Durn the critter!" remarked the deacon and captain.

The unwritten legends of the coast of Maine are kept by a generation that
is rapidly going. Men and women are pretty old now who were young in the
golden age of the seaport towns; when not only Portland and Bath and
Wiscasset and the places to the eastward but also all the little
settlements wedged in between rock and wave enjoyed a solid prosperity,
based on an adventurous spirit and keen commercial insight in the matters
of Matanzas molasses and Jamaica rum. Between the Maine towns and the
West Indian ports there was and is a straight ocean way. Time was when
direct communication with foreign parts brought sharp and increasing
contrasts into the daily life of the coast people. This was the time,
too, when the prevailing orthodoxy in theological doctrine still left
room for a curious and in some respects peculiar supernaturalism that
concerned itself chiefly with the malevolent enterprises of the Enemy of
Mankind.

I

It appears from Captain Silas' narrative that about fifty years ago
Parson Purington was the chief bulwark of the faithful against the
Devil's assaults upon Newaggen. The parson was a hard hitter, both in
petition and in exhortation. It was generally believed at the harbor, and
for miles both ways along the coast, that nothing worried the evil one
half so much as Parson Purington's double-hour discourses, mercilessly
exposing his character, exhibiting his most secret plans, and defying his
worst endeavors.

It was partly this feeling of triumph and pride in the prowess of their
champion that led the congregation to construct a substantial church
edifice, conspicuously situated on top of the hill, and possessing both a
steeple and a bell that could be heard as far out at sea as Ragged Tail
Island, with the wind favorable. The parson himself chose the site. He
eagerly watched the progress of the workmen, and his heart was in every
additional brick that went into the walls.

At half past eleven o'clock one moonlight Saturday night, just after the
last touch of gilt had been put on the fine rooster vane--the donation
of an unknown friend--Parson Purington ascended the hill on purpose to
delight his eyes with the completed structure. Imagine the astonishment
with which the good man discovered that no meetinghouse was there! No
weathercock, no steeple, no belfry, no brick walls and wooden portico,
not even the faintest trace of foundation or cellar!

The parson stamped his feet to see if he was awake. He wondered if the
three tumblerfuls of hot rum toddy with which his daughter Susannah had
fortified him against the night air could have played his senses such a
trick. He rubbed his eyes and stared at the moon. The round face of that
luminary presented its usual aspect. He gazed at the village under the
hill. The well-known houses in which his parishioners slumbered were all
distinctly visible in the moonlight. He saw the ocean, the islands, the
harbor, the schooners at the wharves, the streets. He even made out the
solitary figure of Peleg Trott, zigzagging home from the tavern, as if
beating against a head wind. The parson tried to shout to Peleg Trott,
but found that he had no voice for the effort. Everything in the
neighborhood was as it should be, except that the new meetinghouse had
disappeared.

Dazed by that tremendous fact, the parson wandered aimlessly about the
summit of the hill for fully half an hour. Then he perceived that he was
not alone, for a tal! individual, wrapped in a black coat, sat upon the
stone wall. The stranger looked like a Spaniard or a Portugee. His elbows
were on his knees, his chin was in his hands, and he was watching the
parson's movements with obvious interest.

"May I venture to inquire," said the stranger, "whether you are looking
for anything?"

"Sir," the parson replied, "I am sorely perplexed. I came hither
expecting to behold the sacred edifice in which I am to preach tomorrow
morning for the first time, from a text in thirteenth Revelations. Not
longer ago than this afternoon it occupied the very spot on which we
stand."

"Ah, a lost meetinghouse!" said the stranger, carelessly. "Pray, is it
not customary in this part of the world to send out the crier with his
bell when they stray or are stolen?"

There was something in the tone of voice which caused the parson to
inspect his companion more closely than before. The tall foreigner
withstood the scrutiny with perfect composure, twirling his black
mustachios. His eyes were bright and steady, and they seemed to grow
brighter as the parson gazed into them.

"Well," said the stranger at last, "I fancy you would know me again."

"I think I know you now," retorted the parson, "although I do not fear
you. If I am not prodigiously mistaken, it is you who have destroyed our
meetinghouse."

The other smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "Since you press me on that
point, I must admit that I have taken a trifling liberty with your
property. Destroyed it? Oh, no; I have simply moved it off my land. The
truth is, this hill is an old camping ground of mine, and I can't bear to
see it encumbered with such a villainous piece of architecture as your
brick meetinghouse. You'll find the whole establishment, to the last pew
cushion and hymnbook, clown yonder in the meadow; and if you are a man of
taste, you'll agree with me that the new site is a great improvement."

The parson glanced over the edge of the hill. True enough, there stood
the new meetinghouse in the middle of the marsh.

"I know not," said the parson resolutely, "by what diabolical jugglery
you have done it, but I do know that you have no just claim to the hill.
It has been deeded us by Elijah Trufant, whose father and grandfather
pastured sheep here."

"My pious friend," returned the other calmly, "when Adam was an infant
this hill had been in the possession of my family for millions of years.
Would it interest you to peruse the original deed?"

He produced from beneath his cloak a roll of parchment, which he handed
to the parson. The parson unrolled the document and tried to read it.
Strange characters, faintly luminous, covered the page. They grew fiery
bright, and as the parson's hand trembled--for he afterward admitted
that it did tremble--they danced over the parchment charring the surface
wherever they touched. At last Parson Purington's hand shook some of the
fiery hieroglyphics quite to the margin of the sheet, the edge curled and
crinkled, a thin line of smoke went up, and presently the entire document
was ablaze.

"Rather awkward in you," said the stranger, "but it's of no great
consequence. I happen to have a duplicate of the deed."

He waved his hand. The same flaming characters, enormously enlarged,
danced now all over the ground where the meetinghouse should have stood.
The parson's head swam as his eyes sought in vain to decipher the
unhallowed inscription. There lay the claimant's title, burned into the
top of the hill. The dry grass caught fire, the twigs and blueberry bush
stems crackled in the heat, and for a moment the tall stranger was
enveloped in smoke and flame that cast a lurid light over the features of
his forbidding countenance. He stamped his feet and the unnatural
conflagration was immediately extinguished.

"You perceive that my title is perfectly valid. Nevertheless, I am not a
hard landlord. You have set your heart upon this location. Suppose you
occupy it as my tenant at will. It will only be necessary, as the merest
form, to sign this little--"

"No, sir," shouted the parson, now thoroughly aroused. "I make no
compact. Whether you be indeed Beelzebub in person, or only one of his
subordinate devils, your claim is a lie, your title of fire is forged,
and I shall defy you and all your works in the sermon which I shall
preach tomorrow morning in that brick meetinghouse, no matter if it is on
the hill or on the marsh, no matter if you have meanwhile spirited it
away to the bottom of the bottomless pit!"

"I shall do myself the honor to listen to your discourse," replied the
stranger, with an exasperating grin.

When the parson reached home his daughter Susannah heard his story, gave
him another glass of hot rum toddy, tucked him comfortably in bed, and
then dispatched the hired help to the other end of the village with
instructions to arouse Peletiah Jackson, first mate of the hermaphrodite
brig Sister Sal.

II

After beating through all the streets of the little settlement, and
sailing in great circles over several of the outlying pastures without
making a port, Peleg Trott found himself about an hour after midnight
halfway up the hill path, with a heavy sea on and the wind still dead
ahead.

He sat down on a rock to take his bearings. "Peleg!" he shouted from his
lookout on the forecastle deck.

"Aye, aye, Cap'n Trott!" he responded from the wheel. "Howz hellum?" he
demanded from the forecastle.

"Har' down, Cap'n Trott," he reported from the wheel. "Makin' much
starnway?"

"Beat's nater, the starnway, Cap'n Trott."

"Shake down the centerboard a peg, Peleg."

"It's clean chapped now, Cap'n Trott."

"Lez hear box ze compash. Believe ye're drunk agen; ye clapper-clawed--"

"Sartainly, Cap'n Trott. Cod, codcodfish, codfish becod, codfish;
codfish-befish; fishcodfish, fish becod, FISH, Cap'n Trott."

"Whazzat light, Peleg, bearin' codfish becod, half fish?"

"Make it out for the moon, Cap'n Trott."

"Orright, Peleg. Head's she is till the moon's astarn, then make a half
hitch an' drap anchor to low'rd new meetin'house to take 'zervation' ze
wezzercock."

"Aye, aye, sir," and the difficult navigation was resumed, with Peleg and
Trott both on deck.

At the brow of the hill Trott encountered the same surprising fact which
had stupefied the parson an hour or more earlier in the night. The
meetinghouse was not there.

"Salt me down ef the gale hain't blowed her off her moorin's," he
muttered.

After carefully scrutinizing the horizon on every side, he continued:

"I'll be salted an' flaked ef she hain't adrift yonder on the ma'sh!"

Peleg studied the situation attentively. In none of his nocturnal voyages
had he run against anything so extraordinary. His spiritual interest in
the new edifice was perhaps less than that of any other inhabitant of the
harbor, since he never went to meeting. Yet he had transported several
cargoes of brick for the church from Wiscasset in his celebrated
four-cornered clipper, the scow Dandelion, and his interest in the
progress of the building had been greatly enlarged by an incident which
happened several weeks before the night of which we are speaking.

One afternoon a tall, dark man, in an outlandish cloak, stood on the
wharf at Wiscasset watching Peleg as he thrust bricks into the capacious
maw of the Dandelion. "What's building?" asked the foreigner in excellent
English. "Meetin'house," said Peleg. "Orthodox?" persisted the inquiring
stranger. "No, Parson Purin'ton's at N'waggen," replied Peleg curtly.
"Ali!" said the man on the wharf, "I have heard of that eminent divine. I
am glad he is to have a new church. Have they everything they need?"

Peleg was about to say yes, for that was the last cargo of bricks and the
other material was already on the ground. But his eye happened to wander
to the steeple of the Wiscasset church, and an idea struck him. "Ef
you're minded to contribute," said he, "they're desprit for a rooster
vane like the there." The mysterious benefactor smiled. "I'll send them a
bird," said he. In due course of time there arrived by schooner from
Portland a fine wooden weathercock, properly boxed and ready for mounting
and gilding. Peleg's story had been received with some incredulity at
Newaggen, but now he found himself a hero. His presence of mind was
highly commended by the deacons of the church, and they presented him
with half a barrel of Medford rum. By the time the weathercock went aloft
the half barrel was empty, and Peleg was chock full of rum and
theological enthusiasm.

There was the meetinghouse fully a quarter of a mile off its anchorage.
There was the well-known chanticleer--Peleg's especial joy and
pride--resplendently conspicuous in the moonlight. But what strange spell
was on the world that night? As Peleg gazed upon the bird, it appeared to
him to be disproportionately large. There was no wind, and yet it began
to revolve violently. Peleg distinctly heard a prolonged crow and the
gilt rooster flapped its wings as if about to assay a flight into the
upper air. True enough, up it went, carrying the meetinghouse with it,
the church swaying and the bell tolling sadly as it rose, until the brick
walls of the structure actually eclipsed the moon. Then the weathercock
and its quarry slowly settled back to earth, hovering an instant over the
waters of the harbor, and finally landing not in the meadow, but on top
of the hill, not a dozen yards from where Peleg stood, his knees shaking,
his teeth chattering, and his heart a-thump like the flat bottom of the
Dandelion in a chopping cross sea.

"You may split me, salt me, and flake me!" ejaculated the mariner when he
had partially recovered from his stupefaction. "Am I Peleg Trott, marster
'n eighth owner of the skeow Dandy-line, or am I a blind haddock, a crazy
hake, or a goramighty tomcod?"

Thus it happened that the people of Newaggen Harbor had information, more
or less trustworthy, as to what occurred on the disputed territory that
memorable night between the time of Parson Purington's departure and the
arrival of the army of relief, led by Susannah and Peletiah Jackson.

When Peleg's somewhat incoherent story had been told, the parson's
daughter turned to the first mate of the Sister Sal. "Peletiah," said
she, "what is to be done?"

"My idee," remarked Deacon Trufant, "is that the adversary purposes to
sperrit away the parson and the whole congregation. He is subtile and
fule of wiles."

Peletiah Jackson was not a theologian, but he was a practical young man
and very fond of Susannah. He took off his coat. "My idee," he said, "is
that if we cut away the mainmast, the ship'll weather any gale the Devil
can send. Somebody fetch a hatchet."

In ten minutes Peletiah Jackson's head was seen to emerge through the
window opening above the bell deck. Two minutes later he was clasping one
of the four little pinnacles that surrounded the base of the steeple. In
a surprisingly short time he had a running noose around the stubby spire,
high above his head. The story of his ascent is the heroic episode in the
annals of Newaggen. A dark cloud threatened to obscure the moon. The
group of eager spectators on the ground below watched with breathless
interest the slow progress of the first mate up the steeple. If he should
lose his hold? If the running knot in his rope should slip? If the moon
should go behind the cloud? Worse than all, as Peleg Trott suggested, if
the weathercock should choose this moment for another flight?

Up went Peletiah, hand over hand, until his arms, and then his legs,
encircled the steeple. Now he scrambled aloft with the agility of a
monkey. The free end of the rope was thrown around the very apex of the
steeple, and in no time at all Peletiah, seated comfortably in a sling,
was hacking vigorously at the woodwork under the gilt ball on which the
diabolical rooster was perched.

Blow after blow resounded in the still night air. Down in the harbor
settlement windows were thrown open and nightcapped heads appeared. The
racket was infernal. The edge of the cloud covered the moon, and it was
difficult to distinguish Peletiah's form, except now and then when a
flash of lightning lit up the weathercock and its bold assailant. The
strokes of the hatchet ceased. It began to rain and blow. The hatchet
strokes were heard again. The people huddled together. "My idee," said
Deacon Trufant, "is that the adversary will presently come in a cherriat
of fire and--" A clap of thunder interrupted the development of the idea.
Thud, thud, thud, thud went the hatchet, more viciously persistent than
before. Another brilliant flash--was the weathercock toppling at last?
Peleg Trott declared in an awestruck whisper that he saw the cock's wings
flapping, as a preliminary to another flight, with meetinghouse,
Peletiah, and all. At that instant the storm burst in full fury. There
came a blinding glare, a deafening peal, a blast of thunder and hurricane
combined that shook the church and the hill itself, a wild shriek
overhead, half a human yell of triumph and half a chanticleer's defiant
cry, and with a tremendous crash something like a ball of fire fell to
the ground not a dozen yards from the affrighted group by the
meetinghouse portico.

A moment later, Peletiah came down the rope on a run, dripping wet.
Susannah put her arms around his neck and gave him a kiss which could be
heard even above the uproar of the elements.

They searched the hill all over next morning for some trace of the flying
weathercock. Not a splinter of wood nor a spangle of gilt was ever
discovered, but on the ledge near where the fiery ball must have fallen
there was found a mark like this, burned deeply in the granite:

[Similar to footprint of three-toed bird--ebook ed.]

On the highest point of Ragged Tail Island, seven miles out to sea, they
still show you another footprint, also deeply indented in the rock. It is
precisely similar to the first, and it points the same way. Taken
together, the two tracks are held by the local demonologists to indicate
a flying stride from the mainland to the island, a hasty departure from
the latter point, and--who knows?--either a final flight into the upper
air, or a despairing plunge into the deepest depths of the Atlantic
Ocean.



THE LEGENDARY SHIP


A Tale of the Early Days of New Haven Colony

An unexpected and very profitable growth of our business made the
immediate purchase of a piece of land necessary. My partners requested me
to negotiate for a few acres in the vicinity of New Haven, and I at once
began to do so. An annoying delay occurred owing to the illegibility of
an ancient record which made it impossible to obtain a perfect title. I
was about to abandon the attempt to buy the property, when I was reminded
that a gentleman well known to me might be able to give the information
that could not be deciphered from the record. This person was a professor
in the college, a man of wide repute as a scholar, and an ardent student
of the Colonial epoch of the town.

I found him in his library, and he, without any hesitation, gave me the
information which I sought, and told me where I would find such legal
proofs of clear title as I desired. I was impressed with the accuracy of
his learning and the readiness with which it responded to his demands,
and I ventured to say to him that the acquisition of such a mass of names
and dates must have cost him great labor. To my surprise he replied that
I was mistaken, the truth being that he mastered such incidents with
ease. His great mental efforts, he said, were required by the processes
of analysis and comparison which were necessary to separate truth from
the rubbish and chaff of tradition and record, and by the reasoning
necessary accurately to trace causes to those results which, when
grouped, constituted trustworthy history.

"For instance," said he, "I have here a document which will cost me the
most severe application before I am through with it."

I had observed that there lay upon the table a roll of manuscript. The
table was littered with pamphlets, documents, aged and worm-eaten books,
and I do not know why my attention was specially fixed upon this
particular roll of paper. It was plainly an aged manuscript. The paper
was ribbed and unruled, like that in use a century or more ago; and if it
once was white, the years had faded it to a dull buff leathery hue, while
the care with which he afterward handled it indicated that it had little
tenacity of fiber. I knew that he referred to this old roll of
manuscript, and, as I expected, he took it up.

"I have here," he continued, "a remarkable historical narrative which I
found among some refuse in a garret, where it had lain for more than a
hundred years. It is an account of a strange, unnatural occurrence, of
which I have heard by tradition, and which is even casually mentioned in
Mather's Marginalia. I have, however, always regarded it as unworthy of
serious consideration, believing that there was either no foundation for
the tradition or else that it could be traced to the hallucinations of a
disordered brain. I now, however, have an account of it which I cannot
ignore. It was written by a clergyman of the most godly character, a man
who could not, even in jest, speak falsehoods, and he asserts that he was
almost an eyewitness of what he describes. How, then, can I refuse to
accept this record? It gives all that a historian requires to satisfy him
of the authenticity of any alleged occurrence. It is the genuine
manuscript of a man whom I know to have lived, and it is not a hearsay
account. If we are to put faith in any of the records of the past, we
must accept this one. I do not know of an established fact of history
that has any better basis than this document gives to substantiate the
wonderful phenomenon which it records.

"I confess," continued the professor with some animation of speech, "that
such a problem as is presented by this manuscript has never before been
given to me to solve. As a historian, I am compelled to accept as true
what I here read, while as a physicist I must regard the record as the
wildest and most improbable of romances. Were it based on the testimony
of one person it could easily be rejected as a vision or alienation of
mind, to which the austerity of the Puritans seems to have rendered some
of them peculiarly liable. I am confronted, however, with the assertion
of this writer, as well as with the inherent proof of the assertion, that
he was one of many witnesses. It is, indeed, an interesting problem, and
the difficulty of reconciling an account that must be accepted as
truthful history with the fact that it must be denied as physical
possibility makes the task fascinating."

Doubtless Professor M---- observed that he had awakened a pleasing interest
in me. Indeed, I took no pains to conceal it, and told him that I would
gladly hear the story that had so puzzled him. He at once unrolled the
manuscript.

"This appears," said he, "to have been written by the Reverend Dr.
Prentice, and in the year 1680. I judge it was a letter to a friend,
although the ravages of time have made the first few sentences illegible.
I have other manuscripts of the clergyman, a few sermons, and having thus
been enabled to make comparison, I find the handwriting of all to be
identical. I will not read it in full, and will paraphrase some of the
text, for it is written in the stiff, formal manner of that day, many of
the words found in it now being obsolete.

"'There had come,' began the professor, 'upon the tradesmen and those
engaged in commerce a season of adversity in the year 1646, such as they
had not known even in the earliest days of the settlement of the New
Haven Colony. The vessels lay idle in the harbor, trade with the other
colonies languished, and as the New Haven colonists were familiar with
commerce rather than agriculture, they were embarrassed even for the
necessaries of life. But for the energy and determination of some of the
men of character, the colony must have found its existence imperiled, for
many had determined to depart, some even making arrangements to emigrate
to Ireland. A less courageous and tenacious race must have succumbed. It
was determined as a last resort to build a ship large enough to cross the
ocean, freight her, and send her to England in the hope that the
disheartening losses would be retrieved by the development of commerce
with the mother country. Overcoming great obstacles they built a ship in
Rhode Island Colony.

"'The frost had closed the smaller streams, and the ground was whitened
with snow when the ship entered New Haven harbor. There was great
rejoicing at the sight of her, and her size, being fully 150 tons
measurement, was a cause for wonder, for such a monster had never been
seen before in that harbor. With her sails all set and her colors abroad,
she came up to her anchoring place with such grace and speed as greatly
delighted the people who had assembled at the water's edge to greet her.
Courage was revived by the sight of her, and the people said, "Now we
shall again have plenty and add to our possessions, if Cod be willing."'

"The master of the ship, Mr. Lamberton, was found to be somewhat gloomy,
and Dr. Prentice records that Lamberton told him in confidence that
though the ship was of the model and a fast sailer, yet she was so
wilty--meaning thereby of such disposition to roll in rough water--that
he feared she would prove the grave of all who sailed in her. However, he
breathed his suspicions to no one else. The ship was laden and ready for
departure early in January 1647.

"The cold that prevailed for five days and nights before the time fixed
for clearing for London was such as the people had never before known. It
must have remained many degrees below zero, for the salt water was frozen
far down the harbor, and the ship was riveted by the ice as firmly as
though by many anchors. There were no lazy bones among the people, and
with prodigious industry the men cut a canal through the ice forty feet
wide and five miles long to the never-freezing waters of the sound. The
vessel was frozen in with her bow pointing toward the shore, and it was
necessary to propel her to clear water stern foremost.

"'This was an unlucky omen. Captain Lamberton avowed that the sea and the
conflicting powers that struggled for its mastery were controlled by
whims and freaks, which would be sure to be excited by such an insult as
that of a ship entering the water stern first. An old sailor, too,
informed them all that a ship that sailed stern first always returned
stern first, meaning by that that she never came back to the harbor from
which she thus departed.'

"You will observe," said the professor, putting down the manuscript for a
moment, "that in these gloomy forebodings are to be detected traces of
the mythological conception of the mystery of the sea, with which all
sailors, even to the present time, are more or less tinctured. I am
especially impressed with the manner in which these colonists acted.
Believing in predestination in spiritual matters, their lives in worldly
affairs conformed more or less thereto. So, in spite of these omens,
there was no thought of delay. They had fixed the time for sailing, and
they meant to sail. So godly a man as the Reverend Mr. Davenport
expressed this feeling in his prayer as reported by this writer. Mr.
Davenport, as the ship began slowly to move, used these words: 'Lord, if
it be Thy pleasure to bury these our friends in the bottom of the sea,
they are Thine. Save them.'

"Men less completely under the domination of their religious belief would
never have gone to sea without exorcising in some way the evil influences
which these omens seemed to indicate would prevail. There had gathered on
the ice all the people of the colony except the sick and feeble, perhaps
eight hundred or a thousand souls. On the departing vessel were some of
their friends and kin. The farewells were said with the expression
neither of grief nor of joy. Restraint, the subjugation, even the
quenching of all emotions, was the rule of life with these people, and I
gather from one or two expressions in this account that never was there
more formal, less demonstrative leave-taking.

"When the vessel reached deep water, and just as one of the great sails
was beginning to belly with the wind, the people with one accord fell on
their knees on the ice and prayed. The ship was five miles away. The air
was clarified by the cold, and the vessel could be distinctly seen, and
as the people prayed with open eyes that were fixed upon the distant and
receding ship, she suddenly disappeared, vanished as quickly as though
her bottom had fallen out and she had sunk on the instant. 'Yes,' says
this writer, 'more suddenly for whereas at one moment the eyes of all of
us were fixed upon her, at the next, as in the wink of the eye, she was
not. We rose, gazed fixedly into the vacant space where we last saw her,
and then with wonder turned to each other. Yet in another moment she was
disclosed to us as she was before, and we watched her until she
disappeared behind the neck of land that bounds the harbor to the east.
So we dispersed, wondering at this strange manifestation whose meaning
was hidden from us. Some there were who were convinced that it betokened
that even as she had disappeared only to be seen again, so we should
again behold her after her voyage. But there were many who were impressed
that though we should again see her, the sight would be but a partial
one. With reverent submission to the will of God, the people repaired to
their homes.

"You see," said the professor, again putting down the manuscript, "in all
this that inexplicable commingling of hope and fatalism which was, I
imagine, one of the inevitable conditions of mind of this austere and
intensely religious people. The mere fact of the sudden disappearance and
renewed sight of the ship may perhaps be explained by natural and simple
causes, but not so the phenomena afterward described.

"In the natural order of events the colonists would have had some tidings
of their ship after three months had passed. None came, however. Ships
that sailed from England in March, April, May, and even June, brought no
word of her arrival. Their suspense could be relieved only in one way. I
should have asserted, even had I no evidence of it, that the colonists
sought the relief they always thought they found in prayer. I should also
have unhesitatingly said that they did not, in their prayers, ask that
the inevitable be averted, but simply prayed that they might be prepared
to receive with submission whatever was in store for them to know. I
should have been justified in so asserting, as I find by reference to
their manuscript. The account has it"--here the professor again read from
the manuscript--"'The failure to learn what was the fate of their ship
did put the godly people in much prayer, both public and private, and
they prayed that the Lord would, if it was His pleasure, let them hear
what He had done with their dear friends, and prepare them for a suitable
submission to His holy will.'

"In all the accounts that we have of prayer," said the professor, "I know
of nothing equal to that. It contains volumes of history. With that
simple text the ethnologist and historian might construct the history of
a people. Observe the human nature of it, that is, the intolerable burden
of suspense, and see the religious faith of it, both of submission and
the trust that the prayer would be answered.

"These people seem to have rested with the conviction that this
remarkable supplication would be effective. Dr. Prentice continues his
narrative, after quoting the prayer, with an account of what happened, as
though it were the expected answer. He writes, too, with the vividness
and accuracy of detail to be expected of the eyewitness, as inherent
proof of the truth of his narration. I infer that within a day or two
after the prayer the manifestation was received. There arose a great
thunderstorm from the northwest, such a tempest of fury as sometimes
follows elemental disturbances from that quarter. It seems to have been
accepted as the presage of the manifestation that followed. After it
passed away it left the atmosphere unusually clear. An hour before sunset
the reward of their faith came. Far off, where the shores of Long Island
are just dimly visible, a ship was discovered by a man who made haste to
tell all the colonists. They gathered on the shore and saw a vessel, full
rigged, every sail puffed out by the wind and the hull listed to one side
by reason of the strain upon the masts and the speed with which the
breeze carried her.

"'It is our vessel,' they cried. 'God be praised, for He has heard and
answered our prayer.'

"Yet while they saw her straining with the wind, and seemingly speeding
with such rapidity as should bring her to them in an hour, they also
observed that she made no progress. Thus she continued to appear to them
for half an hour. While they were still astounded by the mystery, they
saw that she had of a sudden approached, and was coming with what seemed
most reckless and foolhardy speed, for she was in the channel, which is
narrow and of sufficient depth only to permit the passage of a vessel of
her size with skillful handling. The children cried, 'There's a brave
ship,' but the older people were filled with apprehension lest she should
go upon the shoals or be dashed upon the shore. They thereupon made
warning gestures, although they could see no one upon the deck.

"At last they observed something of which in their excitement they had
taken no heed. The harbor lies in a southerly direction, and the channel
itself runs due north and south. The vessel was making toward them with
great speed, every sail curved stiff with the steady force of the wind
that seemed to come in a gale from the south, and yet the wind was
actually north. Thus holding her course due north, they saw her sailing
directly against the wind. Then they knew that they were witnessing a
mysterious manifestation. As she approached so near that some imagined
they could easily hurl a stone aboard her, they could see the smaller
details, the rivets, the anchor and its chains, the capping of the
smaller ropes, and the rhythmic quivering of the ribbonlike pennant that
was flying in the face of the wind. Yet they saw no man aboard her.

"The people awaited with sober resignation such further manifestations as
were to be given them. Suddenly, and when she seemed right upon them, her
maintop was blown over, noiselessly as the parting of a cloud, and was
left hanging in the shrouds. Then the mizzentop went over, making great
destruction, and next, as though struck by the fiercest hurricane, all
the masts went by the board, being twisted as by the wrenching of a wind
that blew in resistless circles. The sails were torn in narrow ribbons,
whirling round and round in the air, while the ropes snapped and were
unraveled into shreds, and beat with noiseless force upon the decks. Soon
her hull began to careen, and at last, being lifted by a mighty wave, it
dived into the water. Then a smoky cloud fell in that particular place,
as though a curtain had dropped from heaven, and when, in a moment, it
vanished, the sea was smooth, and nothing was to be seen there. The
people believed that thus the Almighty had told them of the tragic end of
their ship, and they renewed their thanks to Him that He had answered
their prayer. The Reverend Mr. Davenport, in public, declared 'that God
had condescended for the quieting of their afflicted spirits this
extraordinary account of His sovereign disposal of those for whom so many
fervent prayers were continually made.'

"You will see," said the professor, as he carefully laid the manuscript
away, "what an extraordinary problem is here presented to me. If I accept
any recorded evidence, I must accept this; yet science teaches me that
the laws of nature are inexorable, as much so now as ever. What is the
truth?"



THE SHADOW ON THE FANCHER TWINS


King Street is a highway that winds along the crest of the sightly ridge
in the southeast corner of Westchester County, doubling and curving to
conform to the contour of the land, and permitting, in these swervings
from right to left, superb views of the distant waters of the sound and
of the hazy blue hills of Long Island to be obtained. It is a noble
highway, broad--for men, when in colonial days this road was built, were
generous of their land--and finely drooping elms and here and there a
warty oak stand like sentinels upon each side. It serves not only its
original purpose as a means for passing to and fro between the harbor on
the sound and the fertile and romantic valley to the north, but has also
in some places been fixed upon as a boundary; so that if anyone riding
from White Plains to the sea should meet another driving north, and
should, therefore, turn to the right, the other turning to the left to
permit easy passage, one would be upon the very outermost easterly rim of
New York State, while the other would be skirting the extreme western
edge of Connecticut. At one point, some six miles from the sea, the road
makes a majestic sweep from east to west, revealing a glorious panorama
of sea as far east as the bluffs that hem in Huntington Bay, and to the
west until the waters appear to be brought to an abrupt halt by the
gloomy Fort Schuyler; while a far-reaching view of the dissolute rocks of
Connecticut gives contrast to the scene. Back from this point, and
concealed from the highway by a scrubby piece of woodland, stand the
melancholy ruins of a house set in the middle of a dreary and deserted
field. So fragile and decayed with age and neglect does it appear that
the wonder is that even the gentlest breeze had not long ago leveled it.
Yet it has resisted tempests and solitude for more than a hundred years,
and when it at last succumbs it will be with sudden dissipation into
natural elements. It seems now like the skull and skeleton of something
once alive. Great gaping holes, which brown and ragged shingles fringe
like shaggy eyebrows, were once windows, and a yawning, cavernous space
below, defined by moldering beams and scantling, articulated with bent
and rusty nails, tells where once hung a heavy oaken door, now fallen
upon the stone steps that show no signs of age except a cloak of greenish
moss.

The wind seems always to be moaning about this remnant, and at night the
screech of the owls awakens echoes of a century, for it is more than a
hundred years since any sound was heard within these walls, except the
mysterious tickings and rumblings with which the forces of nature destroy
what man has made and then neglected, or the fearless twittering or
screech of birds that occupy when men desert. But why so sightly and
pleasing a spot as this must once have been, and might be, too, again,
should have been deserted as though plague-stricken none are now left to
tell. Was it the subtle influences that, like another atmosphere, were
ever present with the Fancher boys and led them to their irresistible
fate? If this be the real though perhaps the unconscious reason, may it
not be true that even in lands where superstition is believed to be
conquered, and facts alone command, there remain mysterious and
unacknowledged tributes in human nature to the powers which the
astrologers and necromancers of the Orient worship? It is certain that
none ever occupied the place after the Fancher boys had quitted it, and
after reading this tradition of their lives one may judge for himself
whether reasons are good for thinking that in the olden times people
believed there rested an evil spell upon this home.

When the earth was shadowed and palled in that great eclipse in the year
1733, terror seized the people, for nature seemed reversed, and a
stifling calm came over all things, so that the beasts in the field gave
frightened cries, and the dogs bayed, and the fowls, even at midday,
sought their perches. For people were not prepared as now, to the
accuracy of a science, to witness this awful proof of the stupendous
powers and laws of the Almighty.

Just at that hour there had gathered in the Fancher homestead neighbors,
kindly bent on ministering to one in the most sacred of all necessities.
And when the midday shadow began to permeate the atmosphere, and to grow
deeper and denser, and the ghastly light revealed the other and unusual
sights without, the neighbors sat crouched before the great fire in the
living room, close together, and speaking only in hoarse whispers,
casting half-averted glances from the window into the weird light beyond.
But one, a motherly matron, was in the inner room, whence once she
appeared with gloomy countenance, saying, "It were better that it were
dead, for this will blight its life."

And the neighbors asked in whispers, not for the child but for the
mother, and the matron replied, "She does not know that the sun was
darkened when the baby came to us."

By and by the matron came into the great room bearing a burden in her
pillowed arms and, having lifted the blanket of soft wool, she permitted
her friends to peer at the little child.

"Is it--does it live?" one asked.

"Pity it, for it does. It is a boy, and he will be dark, and fierce, and
who knows what; for do you suppose that such a thing as that which
happened to the sun will not prevail over one who at that moment came to
us?"

And the infant even then opened his eyes upon them, and they saw that,
though so long as women remembered there had been none of the Fanchers,
or the maternal Brushes, whose eyes were not the gentlest blue, yet this
one stretched apart lids that revealed eyes that were surely dark and
promised, when puerility had gone, to be the deepest black; and even the
little tufts of hair were dark, and some of the matrons were sure that
their penetrating eyes detected a swarthy undercolor beneath the smooth
skin of the cheek.

"He does not cry," said one.

"No, but his fists are doubled," said another.

"They always are: that signifies nothing," said the matron. "Aye, but not
clenched and firm with resistance like his." "If he would cry, I would
like it," continued the first.

"I doubt if he ever sheds a tear," said the matron who bore him upon her
arms.

And then the father came and looked for many moments upon his first born,
and at length he said, "His name shall be Daniel."

Then, when the shadow on the earth had gone and the women were about to
go, there came again a moment when the motherly matron looked from the
inner room for an instant, and though she did not speak not a woman there
failed to read her thoughts, so fine is women's intuition at such times,
and they gathered about the fire again speaking with hushed voices and
looking upon each other with anxious glances. And just as the sun was
setting behind White Plains hills the matron came again, bearing another
burden gently, and, as she lifted the tip of the covering to let them
see, she said, "'Twas when the sun was shining brightly this one came to
us, and he will be fair and gentle and comely, but the shadow of his
brother's birth will be upon him all his days."

The women, when they saw this infant, said that his eyes were Fancher
eyes--that is to say were very blue; and his hair, which was like a
little ray of sunlight, was fair, like his mother's and all her kin.

When the father had looked upon this one he said, "He shall be called
David."

Of course so unusual was all this that there was much conversation about
it, far and near, and the little Fancher twins were observed above all
children thereabout, for there was no small curiosity to note what the
effect might be upon them of the strange and unnatural event that
happened at their birth. As they grew older the people all agreed that
rather than Daniel and David their names might better have been Esau and
Jacob, for Daniel was dark, like some of the Indians that lived near by,
and his head was shaggy with thick black hair. He was fierce, and
imperious, and promised to become a mighty hunter or else a warrior, for
he talked of war and bloodshed, and before he was ten years old had led
his brother far away in search of Indians to conquer. But David was
gentle. He loved the farm and the cattle. But he cared for no other
mates, because he was content with Daniel. So the twin brothers grew,
David dependent upon and yielding to his swarthy brother like a vine to
the tree it embraces. They slept together, and they ate together, and
learned their letters and did their sums from the same book, so that what
one knew the other knew, and though so different as to seem to have
sprung from distinct races, yet they had but one mind between them, and
that was Daniel's, and all the people said, "The shadow of the brother is
upon David and will be always till it puts out his life."

Once their father said as he looked out in the morning upon his farm,
"'Twill storm, I fear, before the night. The wind comes from the
southeast. Mayhap 'twill bring rain."

And Daniel contradicted, saying, "Not southeast, but southwest."

"You are wrong, my son."

"Not wrong. I am never wrong. I would not have spoken if I was wrong. Ask
David. He will tell you."

"David will say as you have said. You are two bodies and one mind, I tell
you."

"We are one mind because we say and think the truth."

The father smiled when he heard the imperious little son say this, and
then went away; and when he had gone, David said, "Daniel, we will
prevail upon our father that he is wrong and we are right."

"If he will not believe our word he will believe nothing." "Then he shall
see."

"We will make a weathercock."

"It shall not be a cock, David."

"No, it shall not. What, then, shall it be?"

"It shall be a warrior."

"It shall. Can we make one?"

"You shall make the head and arms, for you have skill with the knife, and
I will make the body and legs. Then we will join the parts, and if you
make the arms with broad swords at the end, then the wind will strike
them, and they will point the way it comes from. Our father shall not
think we babble when we contradict him."

So the lads went to the shed, and by noon had constructed a marvelous
image that they called a warrior, and its arms were elongated into broad
swords shaped from tough hemlock shingles, and when one arm was lifted
high above its head the other pointed rigidly to the earth, and if there
was a breeze the arms were to gyrate with bewildering rapidity.

"A warrior should have color, Daniel," said David, when they looked upon
the image.

"He should have a red coat," replied Daniel.

"And his breeches?"

"They should be white, and he should have a fierce beard and a stern
eye."

So they thus decorated the image and set it up on the ridge piece of the
shed, and when their father saw it its arms and sword were whirling away
in a southwest breeze, and it was staring fiercely, though with
irregularly marked eyes, away upon the horizon where the Long Island
hills touch the sky. And there the warrior stayed, long after the storm
had begun, and until the arms had become wounded in battling with the
winds until one night it tottered and fell beneath a vigorous blast and
lay unburied on the ground until the worms finished it. Daniel said, when
his father saw it: "When you look upon it remember that David and I will
not be disputed."

The neighbors heard this story of the warrior, and they said, "The shadow
is upon the lads. Who can tell what yet may happen?"

When Daniel had come into possession of his strength, his fame as a
strong man spread far and near, and they said that he had felled an ox
with a blow, and had captured two robbers from the town below and held
them with a grip of steel, each by an arm; and no one said yes or no to
him until his desire was first ascertained. But David they loved because
of his gentleness, and respected because of his skill with tools, and he
was of such kindly disposition that he had but to surmise a desire of any
of the neighbors when he would try to gratify it. So that when it was
their desire that Daniel should do some act or lend some help, the wish
was made known to David and Daniel was then overcome. For as they grew
older so they seemed more and more closely to be united in common
impulses and purposes, though the people asserted that the shadow was
more and more potent, and that David's heart and mind were surely being
absorbed, and that before many years he would simply be the shadow of his
brother.

There lived in the town of Bedford, some miles distant, Miss Persia
Rowland, and it was said of her that, fair as all other maids were, there
was none like her, and she knew it, and was pleased thereat, and that she
coveted not only admiration but the acknowledgment of it, whereby many a
stalwart young fellow had favored her wish to his sorrow.

One day Miss Persia summoned one who obeyed her always, and said to him,
"There is to be the great assembly of the year on St. Valentine's eve,
and the sleighing is fine."

"That will be well, mistress. But whether the sleighing was fine or not
the young fellows from miles around would come." "No doubt. The winter is
dull."

"Aye, but not that, and you know well, mistress, why they come, and why,
if you were not there, they would quickly depart"

"But it tires me to see the same faces, with their staring, yearning
eyes. There's no spunk to them. I hear of one below who, they say, never
even so much as lets his eyes rest on a maid; not from abashment, but
because he cares not for them at all, being in love with his own
shadow--that is, his twin brother. It would please me to set my eyes upon
such a man."

"Ah, be never saw you, mistress, for if he had, the brother would be
forgot."

"Have you seen him?"

"Often."

"And what looks he like? Is he strong and fierce, and does he scowl, and
does he permit himself a beard?"

"He is all these things, and all men seem to fear him but the brother,
and he says nothing to the women."

"If you wish to please me, as so often you assert you do, you will see
that this strange being and his brother are present at the assembly. The
sleighing will be fine, I said."

So it happened that the young man, being greatly desirous of doing
whatever might make this woman smile even for an instant upon him, with
caution approached David, and at last won his promise that he and Daniel
would attend the assembly. But when David and his brother talked about
it, Daniel said, "You have said we would go; therefore we will. But why
do they chatter so of this young woman? Is she unlike others? Have they
not all eyes that they cast on young men, David, and do they not all
pucker their lips that their smiles may seem more pleasing? Fools they be
who are bewitched thereby; but you have said we will go, and we do what
we say, David."

So, as the young men and women were engaged in the courtly minuet in the
great assembly room, there came among them the Fancher twins. They stood
side by side in the further end of the room, where the light from the
great burning logs revealed them clearly. They were of an even height and
tall, but one was muscular and strongly built and his face seemed in the
dim light more swarthy than it really was, and his thick black hair stood
in shaggy masses, as nature had arranged it, and without the rigid
dressing of the time. The other was slight and fair as a maid, and there
was a smile upon his face, for the bright faces and the gay dresses and
the dance and the twinkling of candles pleased him.

Miss Persia had seen them enter, and though with demure and graceful
manner she seemed occupied with the evolutions of the dance, yet she saw
them all the while. When the cotillion was ended she summoned her adorer
and said, "The dark one, that is he. Why do you permit them to stand
there? Will his brother be his partner in the next set? He must not. Why
do you not bring him to me?"

And so the youth, in stiff peruke and silken stockings and satin
breeches, went to Daniel, and bowing, said, "'Tis dull for you, I fear."

"If so we can go as we came."

"But not until you have been presented?"

"We came to see, not to be seen."

"He wishes to present you, Daniel," said his twin brother David.

"Well, he may do it."

But the youth with some embarrassment perceived that Daniel had no
thought of moving when David were by, and he thought how often had he
heard it said, "The fair one is the other's shadow." But he led them both
to the high-backed chair wherein the fair Persia sat; and though Daniel
stood before her staring grimly at her without abashment, and David, with
becoming humility, bowed low before her beauty, yet she took no heed of
the fair one but spoke to the dark one only.

"We have heard of you, but we have never seen you here before," she said.
"Why is it?"

"Because it has not been our wish," Daniel replied with grave dignity.

"But it should have been. Such men as you do wrong yourself and others by
living as hermits." She perceived that by bold self-assertion and
fearlessness of manner she could alone interest this man. "Come with me,"
she added. "Your arm, if you would be considerate. 'Tis a strong arm, I
perceive. No wonder they tell us of your feats of strength. I wish to
hear you talk and it is pleasanter to stroll about. Here, let me present
your brother to a fair young woman. For once, sir, give me the
preference, and permit him to entertain Miss Nancy Brush."

And before he knew it the fierce Daniel was promenading with the beauty
on his arm, while David--Daniel for once forgot him.

"It is a delight for us to see a strong man here," she said. "A woman
might almost lose her faith in men, did not such as you appear once in a
while."

"My strength is my own, and David's. What is it to you?" he said.

"What to me? The pleasure of novelty. They say there is a war brooding,
and troops have fought already on Bunker Hill. It is that to me that
gives me and all women sense of safety, for I now know that there are men
fearless and brave, and quick to fight an enemy, and we shall, therefore,
be safe. Ali! why was I a woman?"

"You talk of strength. It is weak to bemoan your fate."

"Would you not bemoan too had you been born without arms?" "If you were a
man what would you do?"

"Be strong and glory in it. If there were war, I would command an army,
as you might, and if there were peace, I would compel the homage and
affection of every fair maid."

"To command an army is well; to woo and will is pastime for puerile men."

"So little do you know and realize the power of strength. The greatest
victories that a man can win are those which enable him to woo and wed
whichever of all the maids he ever saw that he desires. If she be proud,
he can subdue her pride, and that is a greater feat than winning a
battle; and if she be vain, he can humble her vanity, and if she be
selfish, he can make her forget herself, and if she be well favored above
all other maids, he can be conscious that, if he wed, the beauty is for
him, and that is a conquest of all other men."

As she said this she looked up at him, bending her graceful neck that she
might obtain full view of his stern face and compel him thereby to look
upon her. And when he had perceived her face and the beauty of it he did
not speak, but led her to the remote corner of the great room, and then,
unloosing his arm, turned so that he might stand squarely before her. He
looked at her steadily for a moment, she not quailing. She asked at
length, "What is it? Why do you look so fiercely at me?"

"Because you spoke as you did, and I perceive now what woman's beauty is.
Have you not more strength than I?" "I? I stronger than you?"

"Yes, you think you are. I think you may be, but you are subtle. Is that
one form of strength? Is there one of the men here, or whom you ever saw,
who would not with joy obey you? And if that be so, is that not due to
the very strength you just now complimented in men?"

"There may be some, who knows? I can be as frank as you. There is one who
would not."

"I don't know whether I would not, for you mean me."

"Yes, and you don't know? Well, I'll try you. I have a powerful but
vicious colt; no man dares approach him. I think you would dare. Will you
come tomorrow and break it for me?"

"I will come with my brother."

"Then you dare not come alone."

He looked half angrily upon her a moment, and then said, "I will come
alone."

"Now go and fetch your brother to me. He stands there now alone, looking
with great eyes at you. Is there some intangible bond between you?"

"My brother is myself and I am he."

"Then bring him quickly, and leave us for a while, that I may perceive
how Daniel acts in David's person, as I have already by your strange
admission seen how David appears in Daniel's person."

"You are a strange woman," said he, looking almost fiercely upon her with
his eyes black as the ornament of jet she wore, and reflecting brighter
light. But he brought David, and then stepped aside and watched that
supple, slender figure as, on David's arm, she walked, as the swan sails,
without apparent volition; and he saw how white and graceful her neck
was, as it was revealed above the soft lace about it, and how like a
crown her dark hair was gathered upon her head, twinkling like stars in
winter's night with the jewels set there; and he could hear the whistle
of her silks as she once passed close by him, looking up with serious
face at him, and he perceived that her feet in slippers white and supple
did now and then peep from her skirt like little chicks that thrust and
withdrew their heads from their mother's wing.

"What is my strength and determination beside this power?" he thought. "I
could crush, but this supple thing can compel."

While she was walking with David, Miss Persia had said, "Who would
surmise that you and he were brothers?"

"Why not?" asked David.

"Have you never surveyed yourselves side by side in the mirror?" she
asked.

"Why should we do that? I think the mirror belies, for no reflection
would put out of my mind the conviction that I am like him and he like
me. We cannot see ourselves."

"But your brother is so fierce and gloomy and imperious." "Ah, that is
but the other side of myself."

"And you, shall I say it? They say you are gentle and kindly and
peaceful."

"Ah, but that is the other side of him."

"Being the complement of each other, together you make a man," she said.

He laughed, and she continued, "But you cannot live always thus. There is
a better complement even than a brother." "Tell me what you think it is."

"A fair maid: and there will come the realization of this to you. But you
are most unneighborly. We have never seen you before. Come and be better
friends. Come for I want to talk with you more. Will you?"

"We will come."

"Not together. You would embarrass me. I should not know to which I
spoke. Come you the day after tomorrow and pay me a little visit at my
home. My father would be glad to know you," and she looked up, pleadingly
with an arch smile, and not serious and demure as she had when she
obtained Daniel's promise to come. So he promised her.

On their way home in the still hour before dawn the twins were silent for
a long time perhaps because Daniel drove furiously. At length Daniel
said:

"She is not like other women, David."

"She is not, Daniel."

"She hath a luminous eye."

"And a cheek like the pink shell in our best room, Daniel." "And her
smile, it pleases, for it hath meaning, David." "Yes, it pleases, but
more her serious face."

"Even more that, and there is great power in her supple motion."

"So I surmise."

The next afternoon Daniel mounted his horse and went flying along the
King Street to Bedford and when he returned he limped as though lamed,
but he said nothing.

"You are lamed, Daniel," said David.

"Yes, a colt kicked me but I mastered him."

On the next day David mounted the horse and away he went, Daniel paying
no heed to his departure. When he came back he said nothing.

"Are you going supperless to bed?" asked his twin brother.

"I have eaten supper with friends," said David quietly.

Then until the winter frosts were yielding to the summer sun Daniel and
David ate and slept and worked together, but in silence, and almost every
day one or the other went hurrying off toward the north, but never
together.

One day after David had gone, Daniel an hour later followed. He drove
straight to the door of Esquire Rowland's mansion, and without ceremony,
entered, passing to the best room. There he saw David sitting beside the
fair Persia, who had not heard Daniel enter.

He stood on the threshold for a moment Then he said, "David, I sat there
yesterday and should tomorrow. Is it to be our curse that we have no mind
except in common? Come, my brother; I say come."

He did not speak to Persia but turned abruptly and quitted the house; and
David, without one word, arose and followed him.

The girl sat there like one bewildered, speechless; and when at length
her wits came she perceived that the brothers were far down the highway.

"Oh were there but one, and that one the dark one," she said, as she
stood peering through the little windowpanes and watching until the twins
had passed out of sight.

Not a word did Daniel or David speak until they reached their home. Then
Daniel said:

"David, in this, as in all things wise, we are agreed. You love the maid,
as I love her. If you hated her, I should hate her. But though we may be
one, we are to the world as two. We love her, and must be content with
that."

"That is true, Daniel. She cannot cut the bond that binds us."

"I love you as myself, David, and you me, for we are indeed in all but
body one. Therefore we must see her no more. And, as in men contrary
customs part them this way and that, so one of us may be overcome by our
passion, and visit the girl again. If so, whichever does shall go to the
other and confess, and say, 'What shall I do? What will you do with me?'
And what the other says, that will be done."

"There is reason and purpose in this pledge, Daniel, and we will make
it."

"David, if it is you who comes to me I shall say what I hope you will say
to me if I fail."

"And that is to end my life?"

"That is what it is."

One day some weeks later Daniel came to David and led him to the glen
that even to this day may be seen beyond the old house.

"David, I am a poor weakling. I have seen her again yesterday. You know
our pledge," and here Daniel drew from his pocket a pistol.

David looked upon his brother with an agonizing glance, while Daniel
stood before him grim and fierce, and very dark. His hand was upon the
trigger.

"I can't, I can't, Daniel," David said.

"You can, for if I were in your place I could and would command you to
keep your pledge and do as I bid. There is no escape, but here," and he
held up the weapon.

"No, I cannot bid you do it, though 'twas our pledge," said David, and
put his hands to his eyes and shuddered.

"You are a babe," said Daniel, with contempt.

"But, Daniel, there is another thing that can be done. The war has come.
Washington is below. You shall enlist, and be a soldier. Perhaps you will
become a great commander, as you once felt sure you would."

"You tell me to enlist, I will do it." And that night Daniel quitted his
home and within three days was with Washington at Harlem.

Some months later the army was gathering near the natural fortification
at White Plains, preparing there to resist the oncoming of the soldiers
of King George. It was a time when men were gloomy, but determined, for
the shadow of battle was upon them, and their courage was greater than
their hopes. One morning the sentry on the extreme left wing that was
encamped in the outskirts of the town of Bedford brought in a sad and
sullen man. They said to the officer in command that he was a deserter
whom they had captured that night.

"Who are you?" asked the officer.

"I am known as David Fancher"

"You heard the accusation?"

"It is the truth. Do as you please with me. But let me say this
thing--'twas not from cowardice I went away."

"If not, what then?"

"That is my affair."

"You know the penalty unless there be good excuse?" he was asked.

"I know the penalty. Perhaps I am glad of it. Who knows?"

They led him away, and as he stood sullenly before the officers of the
court-martial and admitted his guilt and would say no word in
extenuation. They pronounced his sentence--to be shot at sunrise the next
morning.

In the evening David sent a communication to the officer, saying that if
it were not too late he would like to speak to one of the soldiers who
were detailed to execute him, and the officer said, "Let his wish be
granted."

So it happened that in the darkness of the night a soldier was brought to
the guardhouse and admitted. He stood by the door, for he could not see
within, but he said: "Who is it that has sent for me and why?"

"It is I, Daniel."

"That is David's voice."

"Yes, Daniel. Daniel, do you remember how you used, with the musket at
fifty paces, to send a ball unerringly through a bit of wood no larger
than my hand?"

"That I remember."

"Remember that tomorrow when you see my hand."

"Do not speak in riddles, David."

"You remember the pledge we gave and that you promised that if I came to
you and said 'Daniel, I have seen her again,' that you would do what I
asked in recompense?"

"I remember that you would not keep your pledge with me." "But you said
you would had you been in my place. Daniel, I have seen her again."

'I knew you would, and so must I if I live. 'Tis a common impulse."

"Daniel, when I am led out tomorrow, and you stand facing me, promise me
that you will mark well the spot where my hand is placed. 'Twill be over
my heart."

"Is that in pursuance of our pledge?"

"It is."

"Then I will do it. But wait: there is military order about this. The
file will be selected."

"It is selected, and you are one."

"How know you that?"

"Because it was inevitable. No one told me, but I knew it." "Then I will
do as you say," and he turned to go away. "Wait, Daniel. What happens to
one will happen to both." "I know that. We cannot escape that."

"Daniel, in my hand will be a tress of hair."

"She gave it to you. Give me my part at once. No, keep it. What matters
whether your hand or mine hold it?"

"When you enlisted I had to follow and though I could not find your
regiment yet I knew we should be brought together." "I knew that."

"We were in camp near Bedford, and, by chance, she strayed with some
mates near us. She saw me first, and pleaded with me to return with her.
Though I was on guard I could not resist, and I went. They found me and
brought me here, and tomorrow morning the mystery of it all, of our
lives, will be cut short."

"It is better so, David. I am glad."

"You loved her, Daniel?"

"Better than I loved myself, and therefore better than I loved you."

"And so, of course, it was with me. And I told her in my frenzy that I
did."

"As I had the day I came and demanded the fulfillment of your pledge."

"She said that were we one she could have smiled on us. She could not
marry both."

"Those were her words to me. We could not escape our fate, Daniel.
Together we came into the world, and under mysterious beclouding of
nature."

"Together we shall go out, David. And if such a thing is possible let us
hope that there may be reunion complete, if so be it happens men's
spirits live after them.

"Sit here by me, Daniel for a while. You are not unhappy for I am not."

"No, David, we are content."

They sat there side by side for many moments, until at last the guard
came and took the brother of the condemned away.

In the morning they led David out into the meadow beyond the encampment,
and there followed a line of soldiers, at the head of which marched a
swarthy and stern man whom not one of all that company knew to be the
brother of that man who, with bared head, was kneeling, proudly and
unflinchingly, some twenty paces away. He had asked that he might give
the signal, and the request had been granted, and he told them that he
would be ready when he passed his hand on his heart.

The file of soldiers stood before him with leveled muskets awaiting the
word, and David looked upon Daniel for a moment--and the soldiers said he
smiled--and then he placed his hand upon his heart.

There was a quick report. The swarthy soldier had fired before the word,
and then the volley of the others was delivered, but David Fancher had
fallen prone before their bullets reached him.

Then the soldiers saw a strange thing. The swarthy companion, unmindful
of regulation, went forward to the dead man and seemed to be leaning over
him, and then lay prostrate beside him; and when the soldiers went there
they found that two were dead instead of one.

Though soldiers are accustomed to things that startle, this was such a
mystery that much inquiry was made. At last one came and looked upon the
faces of the dead.

"Those are the Faucher brothers. Twins," he said.


THE END




This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia