The Monster

Stephen Crane


LITTLE JIM was, for the time, engine Number 36, and he was making the run between Syracuse and Rochester. He was fourteen minutes behind time, and the throttle was wide open. In consequence, when he swung around the curve at the flower-bed, a wheel of his cart destroyed a peony. Number 36 slowed down at once and looked guiltily at his father, who was mowing the lawn. The doctor had his back to this accident, and he continued to pace slowly to and fro, pushing the mower.

Jim dropped the tongue of the cart. He looked at his father and at the broken flower. Finally he went to the peony and tried to stand it on its pins, resuscitated, but the spine of it was hurt, and it would only hang limply from his hand. Jim could do no reparation. He looked again toward his father.

He went on to the lawn, very slowly, and kicking wretchedly at the turf. Presently his father came along with the whirring machine, while the sweet new grass blades spun from the knives. In a low voice, Jim said, "Pa!"

The doctor was shaving this lawn as if it were a priest's chin. All during the season he had worked at it in the coolness and peace of the evenings after supper. Even in the shadow of the cherry-trees the grass was strong and healthy. Jim raised his voice a trifle. "Pa!"

The doctor paused, and with the howl of the machine no longer occupying the sense, one could hear the robins in the cherry-trees arranging their affairs. Jim's hands were behind his back, and sometimes his fingers clasped and unclasped. Again he said, "Pa!" The child's fresh and rosy lip was lowered.

The doctor stared down at his son, thrusting his head forward and frowning attentively. "What is it, Jimmie?"

"Pa!" repeated the child at length. Then he raised his finger and pointed at the flower-bed. "There!"

"What?" said the doctor, frowning more. "What is it, Jim?"

After a period of silence, during which the child may have undergone a severe mental tumult, he raised his finger and repeated his former word -- "There!" The father had respected this silence with perfect courtesy.

Afterward his glance carefully followed the direction indicated by the child's finger, but he could see nothing which explained to him. "I don't understand what you mean, Jimmie," he said.

It seemed that the importance of the whole thing had taken away the boy's vocabulary. He could only reiterate, "There!"

The doctor mused upon the situation, but he could make nothing of it. At last he said, "Come, show me."

Together they crossed the lawn toward the flower-bed. At some yards from the broken peony Jimmie began to leg. "There!" The word came almost breathlessly.

"Where?" said the doctor.

Jimmie kicked at the grass. "There!" he replied.

The doctor was obliged to go forward alone. After some trouble he found the subject of the incident, the broken flower. Turning then, he saw the child lurking at the rear and scanning his countenance.

The father reflected. After a time he said, "Jimmie, come here." With an infinite modesty of demeanor the child came forward. "Jimmie, how did this happen?"

The child answered, "Now -- I was playin' train -- and -- now -- I runned over it."

"You were doing what?"

"I was playin' train."

The father reflected again. "Well, Jimmie," he said, slowly, "I guess you had better not play train any more today. Do you think you had better?"

"No, sir," said Jimmie.

During the delivery of the judgment the child had not faced his father, and afterward he went away, with his head lowered, shuffling his feet.


It was apparent from Jimmie's manner that he felt some kind of desire to efface himself. He went down to the stable.

Henry Johnson, the negro who cared for the doctor's horses, was sponging the buggy. He grinned fraternally when he saw Jimmie coming. These two were pals. In regard to almost everything in life they seemed to have minds precisely alike. Of course there were points of emphatic divergence. For instance, it was plain from Henry's talk that he was a very handsome negro, and he was known to be a light, a weight, and an eminence in the suburb of the town, where lived the larger number of the negroes, and obviously this glory was over Jimmie's horizon; but he vaguely appreciated it and paid deference to Henry for it mainly because Henry appreciated it and deferred to himself. However, on all points of conduct as related to the doctor, who was the moon, they were in complete but unexpressed understanding. Whenever Jimmie became the victim of an eclipse he went to the stable to solace himself with Henry's crimes. Henry, with the elasticity of his race, could usually provide a sin to place himself on a footing with the disgraced one.

Perhaps he would remember that he had forgotten to put the hitching strap in

the back of the buggy on some recent occasion, and had been reprimanded by

the doctor. Then these two would commune subtly and without words concerning

their moon, holding themselves sympathetically as people who had committed

similar treasons. On the other hand, Henry would sometimes choose to

absolutely repudiate this idea, and when Jimmie appeared in his shame would

bully him most virtuously, preaching with assurance the precepts of the

doctor's creed, and pointing out to Jimmie all his abominations. Jimmie did

not discover that this was odious in his comrade. He accepted it and lived

in its shadow with humility, merely trying to conciliate the saintly Henry

with acts of deference. Won by this attitude, Henry would sometimes allow

the child to enjoy the felicity of squeezing the sponge over a buggy-wheel,

even when Jimmie was still gory from unspeakable deeds.

Whenever Henry dwelt for a time in sackcloth, Jimmie did not patronize

him at all. This was a justice of his age, his condition. He did not know.

Besides, Henry could drive a horse, and Jimmie had a full sense of this

sublimity. Henry personally conducted the moon during the splendid journeys

through the country roads, where farms spread on all sides, with sheep,

cows, and other marvels abounding.

"Hello, Jim!" said Henry, poising his sponge. Water was dripping from the

buggy. Sometimes the horses in the stalls stamped thunderingly on the pine

floor. There was an atmosphere of hay and of harness.

For a minute Jimmie refused to take an interest in anything. He was very

downcast. He could not even feel the wonders of wagon-washing. Henry, while

at his work, narrowly observed him.

"Your pop done wallop yer, didn't he?" he said at last.

"No," said Jimmie, defensively; "he didn't."

After this casual remark Henry continued his labor, with a scowl of

occupation. Presently he said: "I done tol' yer many's th' time not to go

a-foolin' an' a-projjeckin' with them flowers. Yer pop don' like it nohow."

As a matter of fact, Henry had never mentioned flowers to the boy.

Jimmie preserved a gloomy silence, so Henry began to use seductive wiles

in this affair of washing a wagon. It was not until he began to spin a wheel

on the tree, and the sprinkling water flew everywhere, that the boy was

visibly moved. He had been seated on the sill of the carriage-house door,

but at the beginning of this ceremony he arose and circled toward the buggy,

with an interest that slowly consumed the remembrance of a late disgrace.

Johnson could then display all the dignity of a man whose duty it was to

protect Jimmie from a splashing. "Look out, boy! look out! You done gwi'

spile yer pants. I raikon your mommer don't 'low this foolishness, she know

it. I ain't gwi' have you round yere spilin' yer pants, an' have Mis'

Trescott light on me pressen'ly. 'Deed I ain't."

He spoke with an air of great irritation, but he was not annoyed at all.

This tone was merely a part of his importance. In reality he was always

delighted to have the child there to witness the business of the stable. For

one thing, Jimmie was invariably overcome with reverence when he was told

how beautifully a harness was polished or a horse groomed. Henry explained

each detail of this kind with unction, procuring great joy from the child's



After Johnson had taken his supper in the kitchen, he went to his loft in

the carriage-house and dressed himself with much care. No belle of a court

circle could bestow more mind on a toilet than did Johnson. On second

thought, he was more like a priest arraying himself for some parade of the

church. As he emerged from his room and sauntered down the carriage drive,

no one would have suspected him of ever having washed a buggy.

"No one would have suspected him of ever having washed a buggy."

It was not altogether a matter of the lavender trousers, nor yet the

straw hat with its bright silk band. The change was somewhere far in the

interior of Henry. But there was no cake-walk hyperbole in it. He was simply

a quiet, well-bred gentleman of position, wealth, and other necessary

achievements out for an evening stroll, and he had never washed a wagon in

his life.

In the morning, when in his working-clothes, he had met a friend --

"Hello, Pete!" "Hello, Henry!" Now, in his effulgence, he encountered this

same friend. His bow was not at all haughty. If it expressed anything, it

expressed consummate generosity -- "Good-evenin', Misteh Washington." Pete,

who was very dirty, being at work in a potato-patch, responded in a mixture

of abasement and appreciation -- "Good-evenin', Misteh Johnsing."

The shimmering blue of the electric arc-lamps was strong in the main

street of the town. At numerous points it was conquered by the orange glare

of the outnumbering gas-lights in the windows of shops. Through this radiant

lane moved a crowd, which culminated in a throng before the post-office,

awaiting the distribution of the evening mails. Occasionally there came into

it a shrill electric street-car, the motor singing like a cageful of

grasshoppers, and possessing a great gong that clanged forth both warnings

and simple noise. At the little theatre, which was a varnish and red-plush

miniature of one of the famous New York theatres, a company of strollers was

to play East Lynne. The young men of the town were mainly gathered at the

corners, in distinctive groups, which expressed various shades and lines of

chumship, and had little to do with any social gradations. There they

discussed everything with critical insight, passing the whole town in review

as it swarmed in the street. When the gongs of the electric cars ceased for

a moment to harry the ears, there could be heard the sound of the feet of

the leisurely crowd on the blue-stone pavement, and it was like the peaceful

evening lashing at the shore of a lake. At the foot of the hill, where two

lines of maples sentinelled the way, an electric lamp glowed high among the

embowering branches, and made most wonderful shadow-etchings on the road

below it.

When Johnson appeared amid the throng a member of one of the profane

groups at a corner instantly telegraphed news of this extraordinary arrival

to his companions. They hailed him. "Hello, Henry! Going to walk for a cake


"Ain't he smooth?"

"Why, you've got that cake right in your pocket, Henry!"

"Throw out your chest a little more."

Henry was not ruffled in any way by these quiet admonitions and

compliments. In reply he laughed a supremely good-natured, chuckling laugh,

which nevertheless expressed an underground complacency of superior metal.

Young Griscom, the lawyer, was just emerging from Reifsnyder's barber

shop, rubbing his chin contentedly. On the steps he dropped his hand and

looked with wide eyes into the crowd. Suddenly he bolted back into the shop.

"Wow!" he cried to the parliament; "you ought to see the coon that's


Reifsnyder and his assistant instantly poised their razors high and

turned toward the window. Two belathered heads reared from the chairs. The

electric shine in the street caused an effect like water to them who looked

through the glass from the yellow glamour of Reifsnyder's shop. In fact, the

people without resembled the inhabitants of a great aquarium that here had a

square pane in it. Presently into this frame swam the graceful form of Henry


"Chee!" said Reifsnyder. He and his assistant with one accord threw their

obligations to the winds, and leaving their lathered victims helpless,

advanced to the window. "Ain't he a taisy?" said Reifsnyder, marvelling.

But the man in the first chair, with a grievance in his mind, had found a

weapon. "Why, that's only Henry Johnson, you blamed idiots! Come on now,

Reif, and shave me. What do you think I am -- a mummy?"

Reifsnyder turned, in a great excitement. "I bait you any money that vas

not Henry Johnson! Henry Johnson! Rats!" The scorn put into this last word

made it an explosion. "That man vas a Pullman-car porter or someding. How

could that be Henry Johnson?" he demanded, turbulently. "You vas crazy."

The man in the first chair faced the barber in a storm of indignation.

"Didn't I give him those lavender trousers?" he roared.

And young Griscom, who had remained attentively at the window, said:

"Yes, I guess that was Henry. It looked like him."

"Oh, vell," said Reifsnyder, returning to his business, "if you think so!

Oh, vell!" He implied that he was submitting for the sake of amiability.

Finally the man in the second chair, mumbling from a mouth made timid by

adjacent lather, said: "That was Henry Johnson all right. Why, he always

dresses like that when he wants to make a front! He's the biggest dude in

town -- anybody knows that."

"Chinger!" said Reifsnyder.

Henry was not at all oblivious of the wake of wondering ejaculation that

streamed out behind him. On other occasions he had reaped this same joy, and

he always had an eye for the demonstration. With a face beaming with

happiness he turned away from the scene of his victories into a narrow side

street, where the electric light still hung high, but only to exhibit a row

of tumble-down houses leaning together like paralytics.

The saffron Miss Bella Farragut, in a calico frock, had been crouched on

the front stoop, gossiping at long range, but she espied her approaching

caller at a distance. She dashed around the corner of the house, galloping

like a horse. Henry saw it all, but he preserved the polite demeanor of a

guest when a waiter spills claret down his cuff. In this awkward situation

he was simply perfect.

The duty of receiving Mr. Johnson fell upon Mrs. Farragut, because Bella,

in another room, was scrambling wildly into her best gown. The fat old woman

met him with a great ivory smile, sweeping back with the door, and bowing

low. "Walk in, Misteh Johnson, walk in. How is you dis ebenin', Misteh

Johnson -- how is you?"

Henry's face showed like a reflector as he bowed and bowed, bending

almost from his head to his ankles. "Good-evenin', Mis' Fa'gut;

good-evenin'. How is you dis evenin'? Is all you' folks well, Mis' Fa'gut?"

After a great deal of kowtow, they were planted in two chairs opposite

each other in the living-room. Here they exchanged the most tremendous

civilities, until Miss Bella swept into the room, when there was more kowtow on all sides, and a smiling show of teeth that

was like an illumination.

The cooking-stove was of course in this drawing-room, and on the fire was

some kind of a long-winded stew. Mrs. Farragut was obliged to arise and

attend to it from time to time. Also young Sim came in and went to bed on

his pallet in the corner. But to all these domesticities the three

maintained an absolute dumbness. They bowed and smiled and ignored and

imitated until a late hour, and if they had been the occupants of the most

gorgeous salon in the world they could not have been more like three


After Henry had gone, Bella, who encouraged herself in the appropriation

of phrases, said, "Oh, ma, isn't he divine?"


A Saturday evening was a sign always for a larger crowd to parade the

thoroughfare. In summer the band played until ten o'clock in the little

park. Most of the young men of the town affected to be superior to this

band, even to despise it; but in the still and fragrant evenings they

invariably turned out in force, because the girls were sure to attend this

concert, strolling slowly over the grass, linked closely in pairs, or

preferably in threes, in the curious public dependence upon one another

which was their inheritance. There was no particular social aspect to this

gathering, save that group regarded group with interest, but mainly in

silence. Perhaps one girl would nudge another girl and suddenly say, "Look!

there goes Gertie Hodgson and her sister!" And they would appear to regard

this as an event of importance.

On a particular evening a rather large company of young men were gathered

on the sidewalk that edged the park. They remained thus beyond the borders

of the festivities because of their dignity, which would not exactly allow

them to appear in anything which was so much fun for the younger lads. These

latter were careering madly through the crowd, precipitating minor accidents

from time to time, but usually fleeing like mist swept by the wind before

retribution could lay its hands upon them.

The band played a waltz which involved a gift of prominence to the bass

horn, and one of the young men on the sidewalk said that the music reminded

him of the new engines on the hill pumping water into the reservoir. A

similarity of this kind was not inconceivable, but the young man did not say

it because he disliked the band's playing. He said it because it was

fashionable to say that manner of thing concerning the band. However, over

in the stand, Billie Harris, who played the snare-drum, was always

surrounded by a throng of boys, who adored his every whack.

After the mails from New York and Rochester had been finally distributed,

the crowd from the post-office added to the mass already in the park. The

wind waved the leaves of the maples, and, high in the air, the blue-burning

globes of the arc lamps caused the wonderful traceries of leaf shadows on

the ground. When the light fell upon the upturned face of a girl, it caused

it to glow with a wonderful pallor. A policeman came suddenly from the

darkness and chased a gang of obstreperous little boys. They hooted him from

a distance. The leader of the band had some of the mannerisms of the great

musicians, and during a period of silence the crowd smiled when they saw him

raise his hand to his brow, stroke it sentimentally, and glance upward with

a look of poetic anguish. In the shivering light, which gave to the park an

effect like a great vaulted hall, the throng swarmed with a gentle murmur of

dresses switching the turf, and with a steady hum of voices.

Suddenly, without preliminary bars, there arose from afar the great

hoarse roar of a factory whistle. It raised and swelled to a sinister note,

and then it sang on the night wind one long call that held the crowd in the

park immovable, speechless. The band-master had been about to vehemently let

fall his hand to start the band on a thundering career through a popular

march, but, smitten by this giant voice from the night, his hand dropped

slowly to his knee, and, his mouth agape, he looked at his men in silence.

The cry died away to a wail, and then to stillness. It released the muscles

of the company of young men on the sidewalk, who had been like statues,

posed eagerly, lithely,

their ears turned. And then they wheeled upon each other simultaneously,

and, in a single explosion, they shouted, "One!"

Again the sound swelled in the night and roared its long ominous cry, and

as it died away the crowd of young men wheeled upon each other and, in

chorus, yelled, "Two!"

There was a moment of breathless waiting. Then they bawled, "Second

district!" In a flash the company of indolent and cynical young men had

vanished like a snowball disrupted by dynamite.


Jake Rogers was the first man to reach the home of Tuscarora Hose Company

Number Six. He had wrenched his key from his pocket as he tore down the

street, and he jumped at the spring-lock like a demon. As the doors flew

back before his hands he leaped and kicked the wedges from a pair of wheels,

loosened a tongue from its clasp, and in the glare of the electric light

which the town placed before each of his hose-houses the next comers beheld

the spectacle of Jake Rogers bent like hickory in the manfulness of his

pulling, and the heavy cart was moving slowly towards the doors. Four men

joined him at the time, and as they swung with the cart out into the street,

dark figures sped towards them from the ponderous shadows back of the

electric lamps. Some set up the inevitable question, "What district?"

"Second," was replied to them in a compact howl. Tuscarora Hose Company

Number Six swept on a perilous wheel into Niagara Avenue, and as the men,

attached to the cart by the rope which had been paid out from the windlass

under the tongue, pulled madly in their fervor and abandon, the gong under

the axle clanged incitingly. And sometimes the same cry was heard, "What



On a grade Johnnie Thorpe fell, and exercising a singular muscular

ability, rolled out in time from the track of the on-coming wheel, and

arose, dishevelled and aggrieved, casting a look of mournful disenchantment

upon the black crowd that poured after the machine. The cart seemed to be

the apex of a dark wave that was whirling as if it had been a broken dam.

Back of the lad were stretches of

lawn, and in that direction front doors were banged by men who hoarsely

shouted out into the clamorous avenue, "What district?"

At one of these houses a woman came to the door bearing a lamp, shielding

her face from its rays with her hands. Across the cropped grass the avenue

represented to her a kind of black torrent, upon which, nevertheless, fled

numerous miraculous figures upon bicycles. She did not know that the

towering light at the corner was continuing its nightly whine.

Suddenly a little boy somersaulted around the corner of the house as if

he had been projected down a flight of stairs by a catapultian boot. He

halted himself in front of the house by dint of a rather extraordinary

evolution with his legs. "Oh, ma," he gasped, "can I go? Can I, ma?"

She straightened with the coldness of the exterior mother-judgment,

although the hand that held the lamp trembled slightly. "No, Willie; you had

better come to bed."

Instantly he began to buck and fume like a mustang. "Oh, ma," he cried,

contorting himself -- "oh, ma, can't I go? Please, ma, can't I go? Can't I

go, ma?"

"It's half past nine now, Willie."

He ended by wailing out a compromise: "Well, just down to the corner, ma?

Just down to the corner?"

From the avenue came the sound of rushing men who wildly shouted.

Somebody had grappled the bell-rope in the Methodist church, and now over

the town rang this solemn and terrible voice, speaking from the clouds.

Moved from its peaceful business, this bell gained a new spirit in the

portentous night, and it swung the heart to and fro, up and down, with each

peal of it.

"Just down to the corner, ma?"

"Willie, it's half past nine now."


The outlines of the house of Dr. Trescott had faded quietly into the

evening, hiding a shape such as we call Queen Anne against the pall of the

blackened sky. The neighborhood was at this time so quiet, and seemed so

devoid of obstructions, that Hannigan's dog thought it a good opportunity to

prowl in forbidden precincts, and so came and pawed Trescott's lawn,

growling, and considering himself a formidable beast. Later, Peter

Washington strolled past the house and whistled, but there was no dim light

shining from Henry's loft, and presently Peter went his way. The rays from

the street, creeping in silvery waves over the grass, caused the row of

shrubs along the drive to throw a clear, bold shade.

A wisp of smoke came from one of the windows at the end of the house and

drifted quietly into the branches of a cherry-tree. Its companions followed

it in slowly increasing numbers, and finally there was a current controlled

by invisible banks which poured into the fruit-laden boughs of the

cherry-tree. It was no more to be noted than if a troop of dim and silent

gray monkeys had been climbing a grape-vine into the clouds.

After a moment the window brightened as if the four panes of it had been

stained with blood, and a quick ear might have been led to imagine the

fire-imps calling and calling, clan joining clan, gathering to the colors.

From the street, however, the house maintained its dark quiet, insisting to

a passer-by that it was the safe dwelling of people who chose to retire

early to tranquil dreams. No one could have heard this low droning of the

gathering clans.

Suddenly the panes of the red window tinkled and crashed to the ground,

and at other windows there suddenly reared other flames, like bloody

spectres at the apertures of a haunted house. This outbreak had been well

planned, as if by professional revolutionists.

A man's voice suddenly shouted: "Fire! Fire! Fire!" Hannigan had flung

his pipe frenziedly from him because his lungs demanded room. He tumbled

down from his perch, swung over the fence, and ran shouting towards the

front door of the Trescotts'. Then he hammered on the door, using his fists

as if they were mallets. Mrs. Trescott instantly came to one of the windows

on the second floor. Afterwards she knew she had been about to say, "The

doctor is not at home, but if you will leave your name, I will let him know

as soon as he comes."

Hannigan's bawling was for a minute incoherent, but she understood that

it was not about croup.

"What?" she said, raising the window swiftly.

"Your house is on fire! You're all ablaze! Move quick if -- " His cries


resounding in the street as if it were a cave of echoes. Many feet pattered

swiftly on the stones. There was one man who ran with an almost fabulous

speed. He wore lavender trousers. A straw hat with a bright silk band was

held half crumpled in his hand.

As Henry reached the front door, Hannigan had just broken the lock with a

kick. A thick cloud of smoke poured over them, and Henry, ducking his head,

rushed into it. From Hannigan's clamor he knew only one thing, but it turned

him blue with horror. In the hall a lick of flame had found the cord that

supported "Signing the Declaration." The engraving slumped suddenly down at

one end, and then dropped to the floor, where it burst with the sound of a

bomb. The fire was already roaring like a winter wind among the pines.

At the head of the stairs Mrs. Trescott was waving her arms as if they

were two reeds. "Jimmie! Save Jimmie!" she screamed in Henry's face. He

plunged past her and disappeared, taking the long-familiar routes among

these upper chambers, where he had once held office as a sort of second

assistant house-maid.

Hannigan had followed him up the stairs, and grappled the arm of the

maniacal woman there. His face was black with rage. "You must come down," he


She would only scream at him in reply: "Jimmie! Jimmie! Save Jimmie!" But

he dragged her forth while she babbled at him.

As they swung out into the open air a man ran across the lawn, and

seizing a shutter, pulled it from its hinges and flung it far out upon the

grass. Then he frantically attacked the other shutters one by one. It was a

kind of temporary insanity.

"Here, you," howled Hannigan, "hold Mrs. Trescott -- And stop -- "

The news had been telegraphed by a twist of the wrist of a neighbor who

had gone to the fire-box at the corner, and the time when Hannigan and his

charge struggled out of the house was the time when the whistle roared its

hoarse night call, smiting the crowd in the park, causing the leader of the

band, who was about to order the first triumphal clang of a military march,

to let his hand drop slowly to his knees.


Henry pawed awkwardly through the smoke in the upper halls. He had

attempted to guide himself by the walls, but they were too hot. The paper

was crimpling, and he expected at any moment to have a flame burst from

under his hands.


He did not call very loud, as if in fear that the humming flames below

would overhear him.

"Jimmie! Oh, Jimmie!"

Stumbling and panting, he speedily reached the entrance to Jimmie's room

and flung open the door. The little chamber had no smoke in it at all. It

was faintly illumined by a beautiful rosy light reflected circuitously from

the flames that were consuming the house. The boy had apparently just been

aroused by the noise. He sat in his bed, his lips apart, his eyes wide,

while upon his little white-robed figure played caressingly the light from

the fire. As the door flew open he had before him this apparition of his

pal, a terror-stricken negro, all tousled and with wool scorching, who

leaped upon him and bore him up in a blanket as if the whole affair were a

case of kidnapping by a dreadful robber chief. Without waiting to go through

the usual short but complete process of wrinkling up his face, Jimmie let

out a gorgeous bawl, which resembled the expression of a calf's deepest

terror. As Johnson, bearing him, reeled into the smoke of the hall, he flung

his arms about his neck and buried his face in the blanket. He called twice

in muffled tones: "Mam-ma! Mam-ma!"

When Johnson came to the top of the stairs with his burden, he took a

quick step backwards. Through the smoke that rolled to him he could see that

the lower hall was all ablaze. He cried out then in a howl that resembled

Jimmie's former achievement. His legs gained a frightful faculty of bending

sideways. Swinging about precariously on these reedy legs, he made his way

back slowly, back along the upper hall. From the way of him then, he had

given up almost all idea of escaping from the burning house, and with it the

desire. He was submitting, submitting because of his fathers, bending his

mind in a most perfect slavery to this conflagration.

He now clutched Jimmie as unconsciously as when, running toward the

house, he had clutched the hat with the bright silk band.

Suddenly he remembered a little private staircase which led from a

bedroom to an apartment which the doctor had fitted up as a laboratory and

work-house, where he used some of his leisure, and also hours when he might

have been sleeping, in devoting himself to experiments which came in the way

of his study and interest.

When Johnson recalled this stairway the submission to the blaze departed

instantly. He had been perfectly familiar with it, but his confusion had

destroyed the memory of it.

In his sudden momentary apathy there had been little that resembled fear,

but now, as a way of safety came to him, the old frantic terror caught him.

He was no longer creature to the flames, and he was afraid of the battle

with them. It was a singular and swift set of alternations in which he

feared twice without submission, and submitted once without fear.

"Jimmie!" he wailed, as he staggered on his way. He wished this little

inanimate body at his breast to participate in his tremblings. But the child

had lain limp and still during these headlong charges and countercharges,

and no sign came from him.

Johnson passed through two rooms and came to the head of the stairs. As

he opened the door great billows of smoke poured out, but gripping Jimmie

closer, he plunged down through them. All manner of odors assailed him

during this flight. They seemed to be alive with envy, hatred, and malice.

At the entrance to the laboratory he confronted a strange spectacle. The

room was like a garden in the region where might be burning flowers. Flames

of violet, crimson, green, blue, orange, and purple were blooming

everywhere. There was one blaze that was precisely the hue of a delicate

coral. In another place was a mass that lay merely in phosphorescent

inaction like a pile of emeralds. But all these marvels were to be seen

dimly through clouds of heaving, turning, deadly smoke.

Johnson halted for a moment on the threshold. He cried out again in the

negro wail that had in it the sadness of the swamps. Then he rushed across

the room. An orange-colored flame leaped like a panther at the lavender

trousers. This animal bit deeply into Johnson. There was an explosion at one

side, and suddenly before him there reared a delicate, trembling sapphire

shape like a fairy lady. With a quiet smile she blocked his path and doomed

him and Jimmie. Johnson shrieked, and then ducked in the manner of his race

in fights. He aimed to pass under the left guard of the sapphire

lady. But she was swifter than eagles, and her talons caught in him as he

plunged past her. Bowing his head as if his neck had been struck, Johnson

lurched forward, twisting this way and that way. He fell on his back. The

still form in the blanket flung from his arms, rolled to the edge of the

floor and beneath the window.

Johnson had fallen with his head at the base of an old-fashioned desk.

There was a row of jars upon the top of this desk. For the most part, they

were silent amid this rioting, but there was one which seemed to hold a

scintillant and writhing serpent.

Suddenly the glass splintered, and a ruby-red snakelike thing poured its

thick length out upon the top of the old desk. It coiled and hesitated, and

then began to swim a languorous way down the mahogany slant. At the angle it

waved its sizzling molten head to and fro over the closed eyes of the man

beneath it. Then, in a moment, with mystic impulse, it moved again, and the

red snake flowed directly down into Johnson's upturned face.

Afterwards the trail of this creature seemed to reek, and amid flames and

low explosions drops like red-hot jewels pattered softly down it at

leisurely intervals.


Suddenly all roads led to Dr. Trescott's. The whole town flowed toward

one point. Chippeway Hose Company Number One toiled desperately up Bridge

Street Hill even as the Tuscaroras came in an impetuous sweep down Niagara

Avenue. Meanwhile the machine of the hook-and-ladder experts from across the

creek was spinning on its way. The chief of the fire department had been

playing poker in the rear room of Whiteley's cigar-store, but at the first

breath of the alarm he sprang through the door like a man escaping with the


In Whilomville, on these occasions, there was always a number of people

who instantly turned their attention to the bells in the churches and

school-houses. The bells not only emphasized the alarm, but it was the habit

to send these sounds rolling across the sky in a stirring brazen uproar

until the flames were practically vanquished. There was also a kind of

rivalry as to which bell should be made to produce the greatest din. Even

the Valley Church, four miles away among the farms, had heard the voices of

its brethren, and immediately added a quaint little yelp.

Doctor Trescott had been driving homeward, slowly smoking a cigar, and

feeling glad that this last case was now in complete obedience to him, like

a wild animal that he had subdued, when he heard the long whistle, and

chirped to his horse

under the unlicensed but perfectly distinct impression that a fire had

broken out in Oakhurst, a new and rather high-flying suburb of the town

which was at least two miles from his own home. But in the second blast and

in the ensuing silence he read the designation of his own district. He was

then only a few blocks from his house. He took out the whip and laid it

lightly on the mare. Surprised and frightened at this extraordinary action,

she leaped forward, and as the reins straightened like steel bands, the

doctor leaned backward a trifle. When the mare whirled him up to the closed

gate he was wondering whose house could be afire. The man who had rung the

signal-box yelled something at him, but he already knew. He left the mare to

her will.

In front of his door was a maniacal woman in a wrapper. "Ned!" she

screamed at sight of him. "Jimmie! Save Jimmie!"

Trescott had grown hard and chill.

"Where?" he said. "Where?"

Mrs. Trescott's voice began to bubble. "Up -- up -- up -- " She pointed

at the second-story windows.

Hannigan was already shouting: "Don't go in that way! You can't go in

that way!"

Trescott ran around the corner of the house and disappeared from them. He

knew from the view he had taken of the main hall that it would be impossible

to ascend from there. His hopes were fastened now to the stairway which led

from the laboratory. The door which opened from this room out upon the lawn

was fastened with a bolt and lock, but he kicked close to the lock and then

close to the bolt. The door with a loud crash flew back. The doctor recoiled

from the roll of smoke, and then bending low, he stepped into the garden of

burning flowers. On the floor his stinging eyes could make out a form in a

smouldering blanket near the window. Then, as he carried his son toward the

door, he saw that the whole lawn seemed now alive with men and boys, the

leaders in the great charge that the whole town was making. They seized him

and his burden, and overpowered him in wet blankets and water.

But Hannigan was howling: "Johnson is in there yet! Henry Johnson is in

there yet! He went in after the kid! Johnson is in there yet!"

These cries penetrated to the sleepy senses of Trescott, and he struggled

with his captors, swearing unknown to him and to them, all the deep

blasphemies of his medical-student days. He arose to his feet and went again

toward the door of the laboratory. They endeavored to restrain him, although

they were much affrighted at him.

But a young man who was a brakeman on the railway, and lived in one of

the rear streets near the Trescotts, had gone into the laboratory and

brought forth a thing which he laid on the grass.


There were hoarse commands from in front of the house. "Turn on your water,

Five!" "Let 'er go, One!" The gathering crowd swayed this way and that way.

The flames, towering high, cast a wild red light on their faces. There came

the clangor of a gong from along some adjacent street. The crowd exclaimed

at it. "Here comes Number Three!" "That's Three a-comin'!" A panting and

irregular mob dashed into view, dragging a hose-cart. A cry of exultation

arose from the little boys. "Here's Three!" The lads welcomed Never-Die Hose

Company Number Three as if it was composed of a chariot dragged by a band of

gods. The perspiring citizens flung themselves into the fray. The boys

danced in impish joy at the displays of prowess. They acclaimed the approach

of Number Two. They welcomed Number Four with cheers. They were so deeply

moved by this whole affair that they bitterly guyed the late appearance of

the hook and ladder company, whose heavy apparatus had almost stalled them

on the Bridge Street hill. The lads hated and feared a fire, of course. They

did not particularly want to have anybody's house burn, but still it was

fine to see the gathering of the companies, and amid a great noise to watch

their heroes perform all manner of prodigies.

They were divided into parties over the worth of different companies, and

supported their creeds with no small violence. For instance, in that part of

the little city where Number Four had its home it would be most daring for a

boy to contend the superiority of any other company. Likewise, in another

quarter, when a strange boy was asked which fire company was the best in

Whilomville, he was expected to answer "Number One." Feuds, which the boys

forgot and remembered according to chance or the importance of some recent

event, existed all through the town.

They did not care much for John Shipley, the chief of the department. It

was true that he went to a fire with the speed of a falling angel, but when

there he invariably lapsed into a certain still mood, which was almost a

preoccupation, moving leisurely around the burning structure and surveying

it, puffing meanwhile at a cigar. This quiet man, who even when life was in

danger seldom raised his voice, was not much to their fancy. Now old Sykes

Huntington, when he was chief, used to bellow continually like a bull and

gesticulate in a sort of delirium. He was much finer as a spectacle than

this Shipley, who viewed a fire with the same steadiness that he viewed a

raise in a large jackpot. The greater number of the boys could never

understand why the members of these companies persisted in re-electing

Shipley, although they often pretended to understand it, because "My father

says" was a very formidable phrase in argument, and the fathers seemed

almost unanimous in advocating Shipley.

At this time there was considerable discussion as to which company had

gotten the first stream of water on the fire. Most of the boys claimed that

Number Five owned that distinction, but there was a determined minority who

contended for Number One. Boys who were the blood adherents of other

companies were obliged to choose between the two on this occasion, and the

talk waxed warm.

But a great rumor went among the crowds. It was told with hushed voices.

Afterward a reverent silence fell even upon the boys. Jimmie Trescott and

Henry Johnson had been burned to death, and Dr. Trescott himself had been

most savagely hurt. The crowd did not even feel the police pushing at them.

They raised their eyes, shining now with awe, toward the high flames.

The man who had information was at his best. In low tones he described

the whole affair. "That was the kid's room -- in the corner there. He had

measles or somethin', and this coon -- Johnson -- was a-settin' up with 'im,

and Johnson got sleepy or somethin' and upset the lamp, and the doctor he

was down in his office, and he came running up, and they all got burned

together till they dragged 'em out."

Another man, always preserved for the deliverance of the final judgment,

was saying: "Oh, they'll die sure. Burned to flinders. No chance. Hull lot

of 'em. Anybody can see." The crowd concentrated its gaze still more closely

upon these flags of fire which waved joyfully against the black sky. The

bells of the town were clashing unceasingly.

A little procession moved across the lawn and toward the street. There

were three cots, borne by twelve of the firemen. The police moved sternly,

but it needed no effort of theirs to open a lane for this slow corte'ge. The

men who bore the cots were well known to the crowd, but in this solemn

parade during the ringing of the bells and the shouting, and with the red glare upon the sky, they seemed utterly foreign, and Whilomville paid them a deep respect. Each man in this stretcher party had gained a reflected majesty. They were

footmen to death, and the crowd made subtle obeisance to this august dignity

derived from three prospective graves. One woman turned away with a shriek

at sight of the covered body on the first stretcher, and people faced her

suddenly in silent and mournful indignation. Otherwise there was barely a

sound as these twelve important men with measured tread carried their

burdens through the throng.

The little boys no longer discussed the merits of the different fire

companies. For the greater part they had been routed. Only the more

courageous viewed closely the three figures veiled in yellow blankets.


Old Judge Denning Hagenthorpe, who lived nearly opposite the Trescotts,

had thrown his door wide open to receive the afflicted family. When it was

publicly learned that the doctor and his son and the negro were still alive,

it required a specially detailed policeman to prevent people from scaling

the front porch and interviewing these sorely wounded. One old lady appeared

with a miraculous poultice, and she quoted most damning scripture to the

officer when he said that she could not pass him. Throughout the night some

lads old enough to be given privileges or to compel them from their mothers

remained vigilantly upon the kerb in anticipation of a death or some such

event. The reporter of the Morning Tribune rode thither on his bicycle every

hour until three o'clock.

Six of the ten doctors in Whilomville attended at Judge Hagenthorpe's


Almost at once they were able to know that Trescott's burns were not

vitally important. The child would possibly be scarred badly, but his life

was undoubtedly safe. As for the negro Henry Johnson, he could not live. His

body was frightfully seared, but more than that, he now had no face. His

face had simply been burned away.

Trescott was always asking news of the two other patients. In the morning

he seemed fresh and strong, so they told him that Johnson was doomed. They

then saw him stir on the bed, and sprang quickly to see if the bandages

needed readjusting. In the sudden glance he threw from one to another he

impressed them as being both leonine and impracticable.

The morning paper announced the death of Henry Johnson. It contained a

long interview with Edward J. Hannigan, in which the latter described in

full the performance of Johnson at the fire. There was also an editorial

built from all the best words in the vocabulary of the staff. The town

halted in its accustomed road of thought, and turned a reverent attention to

the memory of this hostler. In the breasts of many people was the regret

that they had not known enough to give him a hand and a lift when he was

alive, and they judged themselves stupid and ungenerous for this failure.

The name of Henry Johnson became suddenly the title of a saint to the

little boys. The one who thought of it first could, by quoting it in an

argument, at once overthrow his antagonist, whether it applied to the

subject or whether it did not.

Nigger, nigger, never die,

Black face and shiny eye.

Boys who had called this odious couplet in the rear of Johnson's march

buried the fact at the bottom of their hearts.

Later in the day Miss Bella Farragut, of No. 7 Watermelon Alley,

announced that she had been engaged to marry Mr. Henry Johnson.


The old judge had a cane with an ivory head. He could never think at his

best until he was leaning slightly on this stick and smoothing the white top

with slow movements of his hands. It was also to him a kind of narcotic. If

by any chance he mislaid it, he grew at once very irritable, and was likely

to speak sharply to his sister, whose mental incapacity he had patiently

endured for thirty years in the old mansion on Ontario Street. She was not

at all aware of her brother's opinion of her endowments, and so it might be

said that the judge had successfully dissembled for more than a quarter of a

century, only risking the truth at the times when his cane was lost.

On a particular day the judge sat in his arm-chair on the porch. The

sunshine sprinkled through the lilac-bushes and poured great coins on the boards. The sparrows disputed in the trees that lined the pavements. The judge mused deeply, while his hands gently caressed the ivory head of his cane.

Finally he arose and entered the house, his brow still furrowed in a

thoughtful frown. His stick thumped solemnly in regular beats. On the second

floor he entered a room where Dr. Trescott was working about the bedside of

Henry Johnson. The bandages on the negro's head allowed only one thing to

appear, an eye, which unwinkingly stared at the judge. The latter spoke to

Trescott on the condition of the patient. Afterward he evidently had

something further to say, but he seemed to be kept from it by the scrutiny

of the unwinking eye, at which he furtively glanced from time to time.

When Jimmie Trescott was sufficiently recovered, his mother had taken him

to pay a visit to his grandparents in Connecticut. The doctor had remained

to take care of his patients, but as a matter of truth he spent most of his

time at Judge Hagenthorpe's house, where lay Henry Johnson. Here he slept

and ate almost every meal in the long nights and days of his vigil.

At dinner, and away from the magic of the unwinking eye, the judge said,

suddenly, "Trescott, do you think it is -- " As Trescott paused expectantly,

the judge fingered his knife. He said, thoughtfully, "No one wants to

advance such ideas, but somehow I think that that poor fellow ought to die."

There was in Trescott's face at once a look of recognition, as if in this

tangent of the judge he saw an old problem. He merely sighed and answered,

"Who knows?" The words were spoken in a deep tone that gave them an elusive

kind of significance.

The judge retreated to the cold manner of the bench. "Perhaps we may not

talk with propriety of this kind of action, but I am induced to say that you

are performing a questionable charity in preserving this negro's life. As

near as I can understand, he will hereafter be a monster, a perfect monster,

and probably with an affected brain. No man can observe you as I have

observed you and not know that it was a matter of conscience with you, but I

am afraid, my friend, that it is one of the blunders of virtue." The judge

had delivered his views with his habitual oratory. The last three words he

spoke with a particular emphasis, as if the phrase was his discovery.

The doctor made a weary gesture. "He saved my boy's life."

"Yes," said the judge, swiftly -- "yes, I know!"

"And what am I to do?" said Trescott, his eyes suddenly lighting like an

outburst from smouldering peat. "What am I to do? He gave himself for -- for

Jimmie. What am I to do for him?"

The judge abased himself completely before these words. He lowered his

eyes for a moment. He picked at his cucumbers.

Presently he braced himself straightly in his chair. "He will be your

creation, you understand. He is purely your creation. Nature has very

evidently given him up. He is dead. You are restoring him to life. You are

making him, and he will be a monster, and with no mind."

"He will be what you like, judge," cried Trescott, in sudden, polite

fury. "He will be anything, but, by God! he saved my boy."

The judge interrupted in a voice trembling with emotion: "Trescott!

Trescott! Don't I know?"

Trescott had subsided to a sullen mood. "Yes, you know," he answered,

acidly; "but you don't know all about your own boy being saved from death."

This was a perfectly childish allusion to the judge's bachelorhood. Trescott

knew that the remark was infantile, but he seemed to take desperate delight

in it.

But it passed the judge completely. It was not his spot.

"I am puzzled," said he, in profound thought. "I don't know what to say."

Trescott had become repentant. "Don't think I don't appreciate what you

say, judge. But -- "

"Of course!" responded the judge, quickly. "Of course."

"It -- " began Trescott.

"Of course," said the judge.

In silence they resumed their dinner.

"Well," said the judge, ultimately, "it is hard for a man to know what to


"It is," said the doctor, fervidly.

There was another silence. It was broken by the judge:

"Look here, Trescott; I don't want you to think -- "

"No, certainly not," answered the doctor, earnestly.

"Well, I don't want you to think I would say anything to -- It was only

that I thought that I might be able to suggest to you that -- perhaps -- the

affair was a little dubious."

With an appearance of suddenly disclosing his real mental perturbation,

the doctor said: "Well, what would you do? Would you kill him?" he asked,

abruptly and sternly.

"Trescott, you fool," said the old man, gently.

"Oh, well, I know, judge, but then -- " He turned red, and spoke with new

violence: "Say, he saved my boy -- do you see? He saved my boy."

"You bet he did," cried the judge, with enthusiasm. "You bet he did." And

they remained for a time gazing at each other, their faces illuminated with

memories of a certain deed.

After another silence, the judge said, "It is hard for a man to know what

to do."


Late one evening Trescott, returning from a professional call, paused his

buggy at the Hagenthorpe gate. He tied the mare to the old tin-covered post,

and entered the house. Ultimately he appeared with a companion -- a man who

walked slowly and carefully, as if he were learning. He was wrapped to the

heels in an old-fashioned ulster. They entered the buggy and drove away.

After a silence only broken by the swift and musical humming of the

wheels on the smooth road, Trescott spoke. "Henry," he said, "I've got you a

home here with old Alek Williams. You will have everything you want to eat

and a good place to sleep, and I hope you will get along there all right. I

will pay all your expenses, and come to see you as often as I can. If you

don't get along, I want you to let me know as soon as possible, and then we

will do what we can to make it better."

The dark figure at the doctor's side answered with a cheerful laugh.

"These buggy wheels don' look like I washed 'em yesterday, docteh," he said.

Trescott hesitated for a moment, and then went on insistently, "I am

taking you to Alek Williams, Henry, and I -- "

The figure chuckled again. "No, 'deed! No, seh! Alek Williams don' know a

hoss! 'Deed he don't. He don' know a hoss from a pig." The laugh that

followed was like the rattle of pebbles.

Trescott turned and looked sternly and coldly at the dim form in the

gloom from the buggy-top. "Henry," he said, "I didn't say anything about

horses. I was saying -- "

"Hoss? Hoss?" said the quavering voice from these near shadows. "Hoss?

'Deed I don' know all erbout a hoss! 'Deed I don't." There was a satirical


At the end of three miles the mare slackened and the doctor leaned

forward, peering, while holding tight reins. The wheels of the buggy bumped

often over out-cropping bowlders. A window shone forth, a simple square of

topaz on a great black hill-side. Four dogs charged the buggy with ferocity,

and when it did not promptly retreat, they circled courageously around the

flanks, baying. A door opened near the window in the hill-side, and a man

came and stood on a beach of yellow light.

"Yah! yah! You Roveh! You Susie! Come yah! Come yah this minit!"

Trescott called across the dark sea of grass, "Hello, Alek!"


"Come down here and show me where to drive."

The man plunged from the beach into the surf, and Trescott could then

only trace his course by the fervid and polite ejaculations of a host who

was somewhere approaching. Presently Williams took the mare by the head, and

uttering cries of welcome and scolding the swarming dogs, led the equipage

toward the lights. When they halted at the door and Trescott was climbing

out, Williams cried, "Will she stand, docteh?"

"She'll stand all right, but you better hold her for a minute. Now,

Henry." The doctor turned and held both arms to the dark figure. It crawled

to him painfully like a man going down a ladder. Williams took the mare away

to be tied to a little tree, and when he returned he found them awaiting him

in the gloom beyond the rays from the door.

He burst out then like a siphon pressed by a nervous thumb. "Hennery!

Hennery, ma ol' frien'. Well, if I ain' glade. If I ain' glade!"

Trescott had taken the silent shape by the arm and led it forward into

the full revelation of the light. "Well, now, Alek, you can take Henry and put him to

bed, and in the morning I will -- "

Near the end of this sentence old Williams had come front to front with

Johnson. He gasped for a second, and then yelled the yell of a man stabbed

in the heart.

For a fraction of a moment Trescott seemed to be looking for epithets.

Then he roared: "You old black chump! You old black -- Shut up! Shut up! Do

you hear?"

Williams obeyed instantly in the matter of his screams, but he continued

in a lowered voice: "Ma Lode amassy! Who'd ever think? Ma Lode amassy!"

Trescott spoke again in the manner of a commander of a battalion. "Alek!"

The old negro again surrendered, but to himself he repeated in a whisper,

"Ma Lode!" He was aghast and trembling.

As these three points of widening shadows approached the golden doorway a

hale old negress appeared there, bowing. "Good-evenin', docteh!

Good-evenin'! Come in! come in!" She had evidently just retired from a

tempestuous struggle to place the room in order, but she was now bowing

rapidly. She made the effort of a person swimming.

"Don't trouble yourself, Mary," said Trescott, entering. "I've brought

Henry for you to take care of, and all you've got to do is to carry out what

I tell you." Learning that he was not followed, he faced the door, and said,

"Come in, Henry."

Johnson entered. "Whee!" shrieked Mrs. Williams. She almost achieved a

back somersault. Six young members of the tribe of Williams made

simultaneous plunge for a position behind the stove, and formed a wailing



"You know very well that you and your family lived usually on less than

three dollars a week, and now that Doctor Trescott pays you five dollars a

week for Johnson's board, you live like millionaires. You haven't done a

stroke of work since Johnson began to board with you -- everybody knows that

-- and so what are you kicking about?"

The judge sat in his chair on the porch, fondling his cane, and gazing

down at old Williams, who stood under the lilac-bushes. "Yes, I know,

jedge," said the negro, wagging his head in a puzzled manner. "'Tain't like

as if I didn't 'preciate what the docteh done, but -- but -- well, yeh see,

jedge," he added, gaining a new impetus, "it's -- it's hard wuk. This ol'

man nev' did wuk so hard. Lode, no."

"Don't talk such nonsense, Alek," spoke the judge, sharply. "You have

never really worked in your life -- anyhow enough to support a family of

sparrows, and now when you are in a more prosperous condition than ever

before, you come around talking like an old fool."

The negro began to scratch his head. "Yeh see, jedge," he said at last,

"my ol' 'ooman she cain't 'ceive no lady callahs, nohow."

"Hang lady callers!" said the judge, irascibly. "If you have flour in the

barrel and meat in the pot, your wife can get along without receiving lady

callers, can't she?"

"But they won't come ainyhow, jedge," replied Williams, with an air of

still deeper stupefaction. "Noner ma wife's frien's ner noner ma frien's'll

come near ma res'dence."

"Well, let them stay home if they are such silly people."

The old negro seemed to be seeking a way to elude this argument, but

evidently finding none, he was about to shuffle meekly off. He halted,

however. "Jedge," said he, "ma ol' 'ooman's near driv' abstracted."

"Your old woman is an idiot," responded the judge.

Williams came very close and peered solemnly through a branch of lilac.

"Jedge," he whispered, "the chillens."

"What about them?"

Dropping his voice to funereal depths, Williams said, "They -- they

cain't eat."

"Can't eat!" scoffed the judge, loudly. "Can't eat! You must think I am

as big an old fool as you are. Can't eat -- the little rascals! What's to

prevent them from eating?"

In answer, Williams said, with mournful emphasis, "Hennery." Moved with a

kind of satisfaction at his tragic use of the name, he remained staring at

the judge for a sign of its effect.

The judge made a gesture of irritation. "Come, now, you old scoundrel,

don't beat around the bush any more. What are you up to? What do you want?

Speak out like a man, and don't give me any more of this tiresome


"I ain't er-beatin' round 'bout nuffin, jedge," replied Williams,

indignantly. "No, seh; I say whatter got to say right out. 'Deed I do."

"Well, say it, then."

"Jedge," began the negro, taking off his hat and switching his knee with

it, "Lode knows I'd do jes 'bout as much fer five dollehs er week as ainy

cul'd man, but -- but this yere business is awful, jedge. I raikon 'ain't

been no sleep in -- in my house sence docteh done fetch 'im."

"Well, what do you propose to do about it?"

Williams lifted his eyes from the ground and gazed off through the trees.

"Raikon I got good appetite, an' sleep jes like er dog, but he -- he's done

broke me all up. 'Tain't no good, nohow. I wake up in the night; I hear 'im,

mebbe, er-whimperin' an' er-whimperin', an' I sneak an' I sneak until I try

th' do' to see if he locked in. An' he keep me er-puzzlin' an' er-quakin'

all night long. Don't know how 'll do in th' winter. Can't let 'im out where

th' chillen is. He'll done freeze where he is now." Williams spoke these

sentences as if he were talking to himself. After a silence of deep

reflection he continued: "Folks go round sayin' he ain't Hennery Johnson at

all. They say he's er devil!"

"What?" cried the judge.

"Yesseh," repeated Williams in tones of injury, as if his veracity had

been challenged. "Yesseh. I'm er-tellin' it to yeh straight, jedge. Plenty

cul'd people folks up my way say it is a devil."

"Well, you don't think so yourself, do you?"

"No. 'Tain't no devil. It's Hennery Johnson."

"Well, then, what is the matter with you? You don't care what a lot of

foolish people say. Go on 'tending to your business, and pay no attention to

such idle nonsense."

"'Tis nonsense, jedge; but he looks like er devil."

"What do you care what he looks like?" demanded the judge.

"Ma rent is two dollehs and er half er month," said Williams, slowly.

"It might just as well be ten thousand dollars a month," responded the

judge. "You never pay it, anyhow."

"Then, anoth' thing," continued Williams, in his reflective tone. "If he

was all right in his haid I could stan' it; but, jedge, he's crazier 'n er

loon. Then when he looks like er devil, an' done skears all ma frien's away,

an' ma chillens cain't eat, an' ma ole 'ooman jes raisin' Cain all the time,

an' ma rent two dollehs an' er half er month, an' him not right in his haid,

it seems like five dollehs er week -- "

The judge's stick came down sharply and suddenly upon the floor of the

porch. "There," he said, "I thought that was what you were driving at."

Williams began swinging his head from side to side in the strange racial

mannerism. "Now hol' on a minnet, jedge," he said, defensively. "'Tain't

like as if I didn't 'preciate what the docteh done. 'Tain't that. Docteh

Trescott is er kind man, an' 'tain't like as if I didn't 'preciate what he

done; but -- but -- "

"But what? You are getting painful, Alek. Now tell me this: did you ever

have five dollars a week regularly before in your life?"

Williams at once drew himself up with great dignity, but in the pause

after that question he drooped gradually to another attitude. In the end he

answered, heroically: "No, jedge, I 'ain't. An' 'tain't like as if I was

er-sayin' five dollehs wasn't er lot er money for a man like me. But, jedge,

what er man oughter git fer this kinder wuk is er salary. Yesseh, jedge," he

repeated, with a great impressive gesture; "fer this kinder wuk er man

oughter git er Salary." He laid a terrible emphasis upon the final word.

The judge laughed. "I know Dr. Trescott's mind concerning this affair,

Alek; and if you are dissatisfied with your boarder, he is quite ready to

move him to some other place; so, if you care to leave word with me that you

are tired of the arrangement and wish it changed, he will come and take

Johnson away."

Williams scratched his head again in deep perplexity. "Five dollehs is er

big price fer bo'd, but 'tain't no big price fer the bo'd of er crazy man,"

he said, finally.

"What do you think you ought to get?" asked the judge.

"Well," answered Alek, in the manner of one deep in a balancing of the

scales, "he looks like er devil, an' done skears e'rybody, an' ma chillens

cain't eat, an' I cain't sleep, an' he ain't right in his haid, an' -- "

"You told me all those things."

After scratching his wool, and beating his knee with his hat, and gazing

off through the trees and down at the ground, Williams said, as he kicked

nervously at the gravel, "Well, jedge, I think it is wuth -- " He stuttered.

"Worth what?"

"Six dollehs," answered Williams, in a desperate outburst.

The judge lay back in his great arm-chair and went through all the

motions of a man laughing heartily, but he made no sound save a slight

cough. Williams had been watching him with apprehension.

"Well," said the judge, "do you call six dollars a salary?"

"No, seh," promptly responded Williams. "'Tain't a salary. No, 'deed!

'Tain't a salary." He looked with some anger upon the man who questioned his

intelligence in this way.

"Well, supposing your children can't eat?"

"I -- "

"And supposing he looks like a devil? And supposing all those things

continue? Would you be satisfied with six dollars a week?"

Recollections seemed to throng in Williams's mind at these

interrogations, and he answered dubiously. "Of co'se a man who ain't right

in his haid, an' looks like er devil -- But six dollehs -- " After these two

attempts at a sentence Williams suddenly appeared as an orator, with a great

shiny palm waving in the air. "I tell yeh, jedge, six dollehs is six

dollehs, but if I git six dollehs for bo'ding Hennery Johnson, I uhns it! I

uhns it!"

"I don't doubt that you earn six dollars for every week's work you do,"

said the judge.

"Well, if I bo'd Hennery Johnson fer six dollehs a week, I uhns it! I

uhns it!" cried Williams, wildly.


Reifsnyder's assistant had gone to his supper, and the owner of the shop

was trying to placate four men who wished to be shaved at once. Reifsnyder

was very garrulous -- a fact which made him rather remarkable among barbers,

who, as a class, are austerely speechless, having been taught silence by the

hammering reiteration of a tradition. It is the customers who talk in the

ordinary event.

As Reifsnyder waved his razor down the cheek of a man in the chair, he

turned often to cool the impatience of the others with pleasant talk, which

they did not particularly heed.

"Oh, he should have let him die," said Bainbridge, a railway engineer,

finally replying to one of the barber's orations. "Shut up, Reif, and go on

with your business!"

Instead, Reifsnyder paused shaving entirely, and turned to front the

speaker. "Let him die?" he demanded. "How vas that? How can you let a man


"By letting him die, you chump," said the engineer. The others laughed a

little, and Reifsnyder turned at once to his work, sullenly, as a man

overwhelmed by the derision of numbers.

"How vas that?" he grumbled later. "How can you let a man die when he vas

done so much for you?"

"'When he vas done so much for you?'" repeated Bainbridge. "You better

shave some people. How vas that? Maybe this ain't a barber shop?"

A man hitherto silent now said, "If I had been the doctor, I would have

done the same thing."

"Of course," said Reifsnyder. "Any man vould do it. Any man that vas not

like you, you -- old -- flint-hearted -- fish." He had sought the final

words with painful care, and he delivered the collection triumphantly at

Bainbridge. The engineer laughed.

The man in the chair now lifted himself higher, while Reifsnyder began an

elaborate ceremony of anointing and combing his hair. Now free to join

comfortably in the talk, the man said: "They say he is the most terrible

thing in the world. Young Johnnie Bernard -- that drives the grocery wagon

-- saw him up at Alek Williams's shanty, and he says he couldn't eat

anything for two days."

"Chee!" said Reifsnyder.

"Well, what makes him so terrible?" asked another.

"Because he hasn't got any face," replied the barber and the engineer in


"Hasn't got any face?" repeated the man. "How can he do without any

face!" "He has no face in the front of his head, In the place where his face

ought to grow."

Bainbridge sang these lines pathetically as he arose and hung his hat on

a hook. The man in the chair was about to abdicate in his favor. "Get a gait

on you now," he said to Reifsnyder. "I go out at 7.31."

As the barber foamed the lather on the cheeks of the engineer he seemed

to be thinking heavily. Then suddenly he burst out. "How would you like to

be with no face?" he cried to the assemblage.

"Oh, if I had to have a face like yours -- " answered one customer.

Bainbridge's voice came from a sea of lather. "You're kicking because if

losing faces becomes popular, you'd have to go out of business."

"I don't think it will become so much popular," said Reifsnyder.

"Not if it's got to be taken off in the way his was taken off," said

another man. "I'd rather keep mine, if you don't mind."

"I guess so!" cried the barber. "Just think!"

The shaving of Bainbridge had arrived at a time of comparative liberty

for him. "I wonder what the doctor says to himself?" he observed. "He may be

sorry he made him live."

"It was the only thing he could do," replied a man. The others seemed to

agree with him.

"Supposing you were in his place," said one, "and Johnson had saved your

kid. What would you do?"


"Of course! You would do anything on earth for him. You'd take all the

trouble in the world for him. And spend your last dollar on him. Well,


"I wonder how it feels to be without any face?" said Reifsnyder,


The man who had previously spoken, feeling that he had expressed himself

well, repeated the whole thing. "You would do anything on earth for him.

You'd take all the trouble in the world for him. And spend your last dollar

on him. Well, then?"

"No, but look," said Reifsnyder; "supposing you don't got a face!"


As soon as Williams was hidden from the view of the old judge he began to

gesture and talk to himself. An elation had evidently penetrated to his

vitals, and caused him to dilate as if he had been filled with gas. He

snapped his fingers in the air, and whistled fragments of triumphal music.

At times, in his progress toward his shanty, he indulged in a shuffling

movement that was really a dance. It was to be learned from the intermediate

monologue that he had emerged from his trials laurelled and proud. He was

the unconquerable Alexander Williams. Nothing could exceed the bold

self-reliance of his manner. His kingly stride, his heroic song, the

derisive flourish of his hands -- all betokened a man who had successfully

defied the world.

On his way he saw Zeke Paterson coming to town. They hailed each other at

a distance of fifty yards.

"How do, Broth' Paterson?"

"How do, Broth' Williams?"

They were both deacons.

"Is you' folks well, Broth' Paterson?"

"Middlin', middlin'. How's you' folks, Broth' Williams?"

Neither of them had slowed his pace in the smallest degree. They had

simply begun this talk when a considerable space separated them, continued

it as they passed, and added polite questions as they drifted steadily

apart. Williams's mind seemed to be a balloon. He had been so inflated that

he had not noticed that Paterson had definitely shied into the dry ditch as

they came to the point of ordinary contact.

Afterward, as he went a lonely way, he burst out again in song and

pantomimic celebration of his estate. His feet moved in prancing steps.

When he came in sight of his cabin, the fields were bathed in a blue

dusk, and the light in the window was pale. Cavorting and gesticulating, he

gazed joyfully for some moments upon this light. Then suddenly another idea

seemed to attack his mind, and he stopped, with an air of being suddenly

dampened. In the end he approached his home as if it were the fortress of an


Some dogs disputed his advance for a loud moment, and then discovering

their lord, slunk away embarrassed. His reproaches were addressed to them in

muffled tones.

Arriving at the door, he pushed it open with the timidity of a new thief.

He thrust his head cautiously sideways, and his eyes met the eyes of his

wife, who sat by the table, the lamp-light defining a half of her face.

"Sh!" he said, uselessly. His glance travelled swiftly to the

"If I git six dollehs for bo'ding Hennery Johnson, I uhns it!"

inner door which shielded the one bed-chamber. The pickaninnies, strewn upon

the floor of the living-room, were softly snoring. After a hearty meal they

had promptly dispersed themselves about the place and gone to sleep. "Sh!"

said Williams again to his motionless and silent wife. He had allowed only

his head to appear. His wife, with one hand upon the edge of the table and

the other at her knee, was regarding him with wide eyes and parted lips as

if he were a spectre. She looked to be one who was living in terror, and

even the familiar face at the door had thrilled her because it had come


Williams broke the tense silence. "Is he all right?" he whispered, waving

his eyes toward the inner door. Following his glance timorously, his wife

nodded, and in a low tone answered,

"I raikon he's done gone t'sleep."

Williams then slunk noiselessly across his threshold.

He lifted a chair, and with infinite care placed it so that it faced the

dreaded inner door. His wife moved slightly, so as to also squarely face it.

A silence came upon them in which they seemed to be waiting for a calamity,

pealing and deadly.

Williams finally coughed behind his hand. His wife started, and looked

upon him in alarm. "'Pears like he done gwine keep quiet ter-night," he

breathed. They continually pointed their speech and their looks at the inner

door, paying it the homage due to a corpse or a phantom. Another long

stillness followed this sentence. Their eyes shone white and wide. A wagon

rattled down the distant road. From their chairs they looked at the window,

and the effect of the light in the cabin was a presentation of an intensely

black and solemn night. The old woman adopted the attitude used always in

church at funerals. At times she seemed to be upon the point of breaking out

in prayer.

"He mighty quiet ter-night," whispered Williams. "Was he good ter-day?"

For answer his wife raised her eyes to the ceiling in the supplication of

Job. Williams moved restlessly. Finally he tip-toed to the door. He knelt

slowly and without a sound, and placed his ear near the key-hole. Hearing a

noise behind him, he turned quickly. His wife was staring at him aghast. She stood in front of the stove, and her arms were spread out in the natural movement to protect all her sleeping ducklings.

But Williams arose without having touched the door. "I raikon he

er-sleep," he said, fingering his wool. He debated with himself for some

time. During this interval his wife remained, a great fat statue of a mother

shielding her children.

It was plain that his mind was swept suddenly by a wave of temerity. With

a sounding step he moved toward the door. His fingers were almost upon the

knob when he swiftly ducked and dodged away, clapping his hands to the back

of his head. It was as if the portal had threatened him. There was a little

tumult near the stove, where Mrs. Williams's desperate retreat had involved

her feet with the prostrate children.

After the panic Williams bore traces of a feeling of shame. He returned

to the charge. He firmly grasped the knob with his left hand, and with his

other hand turned the key in the lock. He pushed the door, and as it swung

portentously open he sprang nimbly to one side like the fearful slave

liberating the lion. Near the stove a group had formed, the terror-stricken

mother with her arms stretched, and the aroused children clinging frenziedly

to her skirts.

The light streamed after the swinging door, and disclosed a room six feet

one way and six feet the other way. It was small enough to enable the

radiance to lay it plain. Williams peered warily around the corner made by

the door-post.

Suddenly he advanced, retired, and advanced again with a howl. His

palsied family had expected him to spring backward, and at his howl they

heaped themselves wondrously. But Williams simply stood in the little room

emitting his howls before an open window. "He's gone! He's gone! He's gone!"

His eye and his hand had speedily proved the fact. He had even thrown open a

little cupboard.

Presently he came flying out. He grabbed his hat, and hurled the outer

door back upon its hinges. Then he tumbled headlong into the night. He was

yelling: "Docteh Trescott! Docteh Trescott!" He ran wildly through the

fields, and galloped in the direction of town. He continued to call to

Trescott as if the latter was within easy hearing. It was as if Trescott was

poised in the contemplative sky over the running negro, and could heed this

reaching voice -- "Docteh Trescott!"

In the cabin, Mrs. Williams, supported by relays from the battalion of

children, stood quaking watch until the truth of daylight came as a

re-enforcement and made them arrogant, strutting, swashbuckler children, and

a mother who proclaimed her illimitable courage.


Theresa Page was giving a party. It was the outcome of a long series of

arguments addressed to her mother, which had been overheard in part by her

father. He had at last said five words, "Oh, let her have it." The mother

had then gladly capitulated.

Theresa had written nineteen invitations, and distributed them at recess

to her schoolmates. Later her mother had composed five large cakes, and

still later a vast amount of lemonade.

So the nine little girls and the ten little boys sat quite primly in the

dining-room, while Theresa and her mother plied them with cake and lemonade,

and also with ice-cream. This primness sat now quite strangely upon them. It

was owing to the presence of Mrs. Page. Previously in the parlor alone with

their games they had overturned a chair; the boys had let more or less of

their hoodlum spirit shine forth. But when circumstances could be possibly

magnified to warrant it, the girls made the boys victims of an insufferable

pride, snubbing them mercilessly. So in the dining-room they resembled a

class at Sunday-school, if it were not for the subterranean smiles,

gestures, rebuffs, and poutings which stamped the affair as a children's


Two little girls of this subdued gathering were planted in a settle with

their backs to the broad window. They were beaming lovingly upon each other

with an effect of scorning the boys.

Hearing a noise behind her at the window, one little girl turned to face

it. Instantly she screamed and sprang away, covering her face with her

hands. "What was it? What was it?" cried every one in a roar. Some slight

movement of the eyes of the weeping and shuddering child informed the

company that she had been frightened by an appearance at the window. At once

they all faced the imperturbable window, and for a moment there

was a silence. An astute lad made an immediate census of the other lads. The

prank of slipping out and looming spectrally at a window was too venerable.

But the little boys were all present and astonished.

As they recovered their minds they uttered warlike cries, and through a

side-door sallied rapidly out against the terror. They vied with each other

in daring.

None wished particularly to encounter a dragon in the darkness of the

garden, but there could be no faltering when the fair ones in the

dining-room were present. Calling to each other in stern voices, they went

dragooning over the lawn, attacking the shadows with ferocity, but still

with the caution of reasonable beings. They found, however, nothing new to

the peace of the night. Of course there was a lad who told a great lie. He

described a grim figure, bending low and slinking off along the fence. He

gave a number of details, rendering his lie more splendid by a repetition of

certain forms which he recalled from romances. For instance, he insisted

that he had heard the creature emit a hollow laugh.

Inside the house the little girl who had raised the alarm was still

shuddering and weeping. With the utmost difficulty was she brought to a

state approximating calmness by Mrs. Page. Then she wanted to go home at


Page entered the house at this time. He had exiled himself until he

concluded that this children's party was finished and gone. He was obliged

to escort the little girl home because she screamed again when they opened

the door and she saw the night.

She was not coherent even to her mother. Was it a man? She didn't know.

It was simply a thing, a dreadful thing.


In Watermelon Alley the Farraguts were spending their evening as usual on

the little rickety porch. Sometimes they howled gossip to other people on

other rickety porches. The thin wail of a baby arose from a near house. A

man had a terrific altercation with his wife, to which the alley paid no

attention at all.

There appeared suddenly before the Farraguts a monster making a low and

sweeping bow. There was an instant's pause, and then occurred something that

resembled the effect of an upheaval of the earth's surface. The old woman

hurled herself backward with a dreadful cry. Young Sim had been perched

gracefully on a railing. At sight of the monster he simply fell over it to

the ground. He made no sound, his eyes stuck out, his nerveless hands tried

to grapple the rail to prevent a tumble, and then he vanished. Bella,

blubbering, and with her hair suddenly and mysteriously dishevelled, was

crawling on her hands and knees fearsomely up the steps.

Standing before this wreck of a family gathering, the monster continued

to bow. It even raised a deprecatory claw. "Don' make no botheration 'bout

me, Miss Fa'gut," it said, politely. "No, 'deed. I jes drap in ter ax if yer

well this evenin', Miss Fa'gut. Don' make no botheration. No, 'deed. I gwine

ax you to go to er daince with me, Miss Fa'gut. I ax you if I can have the

magnifercent gratitude of you' company on that 'casion, Miss Fa'gut."

The girl cast a miserable glance behind her. She was still crawling away.

On the ground beside the porch young Sim raised a strange bleat, which

expressed both his fright and his lack of wind. Presently the monster, with

a fashionable amble, ascended the steps after the girl.

She grovelled in a corner of the room as the creature took a chair. It

seated itself very elegantly on the edge. It held an old cap in both hands.

"Don' make no botheration, Miss Fa'gut. Don' make no botherations. No,

'deed. I jes drap in ter ax you if you won' do me the proud of acceptin' ma

humble invitation to er daince, Miss Fa'gut."

She shielded her eyes with her arms and tried to crawl past it, but the

genial monster blocked the way. "I jes drap in ter ax you 'bout er daince,

Miss Fa'gut. I ax you if I kin have the magnifercent gratitude of you'

company on that 'casion, Miss Fa'gut."

In a last outbreak of despair, the girl, shuddering and wailing, threw

herself face downward on the floor, while the monster sat on the edge of the

chair gabbling courteous invitations, and holding the old hat daintily to

its stomach.

At the back of the house, Mrs. Farragut, who was of enormous weight, and

who for eight years had done little more than sit in an arm-chair and

describe her various ailments, had with speed and agility scaled a high

board fence.


The black mass in the middle of Trescott's property was hardly allowed to

cool before the builders were at work on another house. It had sprung upward

at a fabulous rate. It was like a magical composition born of the ashes. The

doctor's office was the first part to be completed, and he had already moved in his new books and instruments and medicines.

Trescott sat before his desk when the chief of police arrived. "Well, we

found him," said the latter.

"Did you?" cried the doctor. "Where?"

"Shambling around the streets at daylight this morning. I'll be blamed if

I can figure on where he passed the night."

"Where is he now?"

"Oh, we jugged him. I didn't know what else to do with him. That's what I

want you to tell me. Of course we can't keep him. No charge could be made,

you know."

"I'll come down and get him."

The official grinned retrospectively. "Must say he had a fine career

while he was out. First thing he did was to break up a children's party at

Page's. Then he went to Watermelon Alley. Whoo! He stampeded the whole

outfit. Men, women, and children running pell-mell, and yelling. They say

one old woman broke her leg, or something, shinning over a fence. Then he

went right out on the main street, and an Irish girl threw a fit, and there

was a sort of riot. He began to run, and a big crowd chased him, firing

rocks. But he gave them the slip somehow down there by the foundry and in

the railroad yard. We looked for him all night, but couldn't find him."

"Was he hurt any? Did anybody hit him with a stone?"

"Guess there isn't much of him to hurt any more, is there? Guess he's

been hurt up to the limit. No. They never touched him. Of course nobody

really wanted to hit him, but you know how a crowd gets. It's like -- it's

like -- "

"Yes, I know."

For a moment the chief of the police looked reflectively at the floor.

Then he spoke hesitatingly. "You know Jake Winter's little girl was the one

that he scared at the party. She is pretty sick, they say."

"Is she? Why, they didn't call me. I always attend the Winter family."

"No? Didn't they?" asked the chief, slowly. "Well -- you know -- Winter

is -- well, Winter has gone clean crazy over this business. He wanted -- he

wanted to have you arrested."

"Have me arrested? The idiot! What in the name of wonder could he have me

arrested for?"

"Of course. He is a fool. I told him to keep his trap shut. But then you

know how he'll go all over town yapping about the thing. I thought I'd

better tip you."

"Oh, he is of no consequence; but then, of course, I'm obliged to you,


"That's all right. Well, you'll be down to-night and take him out, eh?

You'll get a good welcome from the jailer. He don't like his job for a cent.

He says you can have your man whenever you want him. He's got no use for


"But what is this business of Winter's about having me arrested?"

"Oh, it's a lot of chin about your having no right to allow this -- this

-- this man to be at large. But I told him to tend to his own business. Only

I thought I'd better let you know. And I might as well say right now,

doctor, that there is a good deal of talk about this thing. If I were you,

I'd come to the jail pretty late at night, because there is likely to be a

crowd around the door, and I'd bring a -- er -- mask, or some kind of a

veil, anyhow."


Martha Goodwin was single, and well along into the thin years. She lived

with her married sister in Whilomville. She performed nearly all the

house-work in exchange for the privilege of existence. Every one tacitly

recognized her labor as a form of penance for the early end of her

betrothed, who had died of small-pox, which he had not caught from her.

But despite the strenuous and unceasing workaday of her life, she was a

woman of great mind. She had adamantine opinions upon the situation in

Armenia, the condition of women in China, the flirtation between Mrs.

Minster of Niagara Avenue and young Griscom, the conflict in the Bible class

of the Baptist Sunday-school, the duty of the United States toward the Cuban

insurgents, and many other colossal matters. Her fullest experience of

violence was gained on an occasion when she had seen a hound clubbed, but in

the plan which she had made for the reform of the world she advocated

drastic measures. For instance, she contended that all the Turks should be

pushed into the sea and drowned, and that Mrs. Minster and young Griscom

should be hanged side by side on twin gallows. In fact, this woman of peace,

who had seen only peace, argued constantly for a creed of illimitable

ferocity. She was invulnerable on these questions, because eventually she

overrode all opponents with a sniff. This sniff was an active force. It was

to her antagonists like a bang over the head, and none was known to recover

from this expression of exalted contempt. It left them windless and

conquered. They never again came forward as candidates for suppression. And

Martha walked her kitchen with a stern brow, an invincible being like


Nevertheless her acquaintances, from the pain of their defeats, had been

long in secret revolt. It was in no wise a conspiracy, because they did not

care to state their open rebellion, but nevertheless it was understood that

any woman who could not coincide with one of Martha's contentions was

entitled to the support of others in the small circle. It amounted to an

arrangement by which all were required to disbelieve any theory for which

Martha fought. This, however, did not prevent them from speaking of her mind

with profound respect.

Two people bore the brunt of her ability. Her sister Kate was visibly

afraid of her, while Carrie Dungen sailed across from her kitchen to sit

respectfully at Martha's feet and learn the business of the world. To be

sure, afterwards, under another sun, she always laughed at Martha and

pretended to deride her ideas, but in the presence of the sovereign she

always remained silent or admiring. Kate, the sister, was of no consequence

at all. Her principal delusion was that she did all the work in the upstairs

rooms of the house, while Martha did it downstairs. The truth was seen only

by the husband, who treated Martha with a kindness that was half banter,

half deference. Martha herself had no suspicion that she was the only pillar

of the domestic edifice. The situation was without definitions. Martha made

definitions, but she devoted them entirely to the Armenians and Griscom and

the Chinese and other subjects. Her dreams, which in early days had been of

love of meadows and the shade of trees, of the face of a man, were now

involved otherwise, and they were companioned in the kitchen curiously,

Cuba, the hot-water kettle, Armenia, the washing of the dishes, and the

whole thing being jumbled. In regard to social misdemeanors, she who was

simply the mausoleum of a dead passion was probably the most savage critic

in town. This unknown woman, hidden in a kitchen as in a well, was sure to

have a considerable effect of the one kind or the other in the life of the

town. Every time it moved a yard, she had personally contributed an inch.

She could hammer so stoutly upon the door of a proposition that it would

break from its hinges and fall upon her, but at any rate it moved. She was

an engine, and the fact that she did not know that she was an engine

contributed largely to the effect. One reason that she was formidable was

that she did not even imagine that she was formidable. She remained a weak,

innocent, and pig-headed creature, who alone would defy the universe if she

thought the universe merited this proceeding.

One day Carrie Dungen came across from her kitchen with speed. She had a

great deal of grist. "Oh," she cried, "Henry Johnson got away from where

they was keeping him, and came to town last night, and scared everybody

almost to death."

Martha was shining a dish-pan, polishing madly. No reasonable person

could see cause for this operation, because the pan already glistened like

silver. "Well!" she ejaculated. She imparted to the word a deep meaning.

"This, my prophecy, has come to pass." It was a habit.

The overplus of information was choking Carrie. Before she could go on

she was obliged to struggle for a moment. "And, oh, little Sadie Winter is

awful sick, and they say Jake Winter was around this morning trying to get

Doctor Trescott arrested. And poor old Mrs. Farragut sprained her ankle in

trying to climb a fence. And there's a crowd around the jail all the time.

They put Henry in jail because they didn't know what else to do with him, I

guess. They say he is perfectly terrible."

Martha finally released the dish-pan and confronted the headlong speaker.

"Well!" she said again, poising a great brown rag. Kate had heard the

excited new-comer, and drifted down from the novel in her room. She was a

shivery little woman. Her shoulder-blades seemed to be two panes of ice, for

she was constantly shrugging and shrugging. "Serves him right if he was to

lose all his patients," she said suddenly, in bloodthirsty tones. She

snipped her words out as if her lips were scissors.

"Well, he's likely to," shouted Carrie Dungen. "Don't a lot of people say

that they won't have him any more? If you're sick and nervous, Doctor

Trescott would scare the life out of you, wouldn't he? He would me. I'd keep


Martha, stalking to and fro, sometimes surveyed the two other women with

a contemplative frown.


After the return from Connecticut, little Jimmie was at first much afraid

of the monster who lived in the room over the carriage-house. He could not

identify it in any way. Gradually, however, his fear dwindled under the

influence of a weird fascination. He sidled into closer and closer relations

with it.

One time the monster was seated on a box behind the stable basking in the

rays of the afternoon sun. A heavy crêpe veil was swathed about its head.

Little Jimmie and many companions came around the corner of the stable.

They were all in what was popularly known as the baby class, and

consequently escaped from school a half-hour before the other children. They

halted abruptly at sight of the figure on the box. Jimmie waved his hand

with the air of a proprietor.

"There he is," he said.

"O-o-o!" murmured all the little boys -- "o-o-o!" They shrank back, and

grouped according to courage or experience, as at the sound the monster

slowly turned its head. Jimmie had remained in the van alone. "Don't be

afraid! I won't let him hurt you," he said, delighted.

"Huh!" they replied, contemptuously. "We ain't afraid."

Jimmie seemed to reap all the joys of the owner and exhibitor of one of

the world's marvels, while his audience remained at a distance -- awed and

entranced, fearful and envious.

One of them addressed Jimmie gloomily. "Bet you dassent walk right up to

him." He was an older boy than Jimmie, and habitually oppressed him to a

small degree. This new social elevation of the smaller lad probably seemed

revolutionary to him.

"Huh!" said Jimmie, with deep scorn. "Dassent I? Dassent I, hey? Dassent


The group was immensely excited. It turned its eyes upon the boy that

Jimmie addressed. "No, you dassent," he said, stolidly, facing a moral

defeat. He could see that Jimmie was resolved. "No, you dassent," he

repeated, doggedly.

"Ho!" cried Jimmie. "You just watch! -- you just watch!"

Amid a silence he turned and marched toward the monster. But possibly the

palpable wariness of his companions had an effect upon him that weighed more

than his previous experience, for suddenly, when near to the monster, he

halted dubiously. But his playmates immediately uttered a derisive shout,

and it seemed to force him forward. He went to the monster and laid his hand

delicately on its shoulder. "Hello, Henry," he said, in a voice that

trembled a trifle. The monster was crooning a weird line of negro melody

that was scarcely more than a thread of sound, and it paid no heed to the


Jimmie strutted back to his companions. They acclaimed him and hooted his

opponent. Amidst this clamor the larger boy with difficulty preserved a

dignified attitude.

"I dassent, dassent I?" said Jimmie to him. "Now, you're so smart, let's

see you do it!"

This challenge brought forth renewed taunts from the others. The larger

boy puffed out his cheeks. "Well, I ain't afraid," he explained, sullenly.

He had made a mistake in diplomacy, and now his small enemies were tumbling

his prestige all about his ears. They crowed like roosters and bleated like

lambs, and made many other noises which were supposed to bury him in

ridicule and dishonor. "Well, I ain't afraid," he continued to explain

through the din.

Jimmie, the hero of the mob, was pitiless. "You ain't afraid, hey?" he

sneered. "If you ain't afraid, go do it, then."

"Well, I would if I wanted to," the other retorted. His eyes wore an

expression of profound misery, but he preserved steadily other portions of a

pot-valiant air. He suddenly faced one of his persecutors. "If you're so

smart, why don't you go do it?" This persecutor sank promptly through the

group to the rear. The incident gave the badgered one a breathing-spell, and

for a moment even turned the derision in another direction. He took

advantage of his interval. "I'll do it if anybody else will," he announced,

swaggering to and fro.

Candidates for the adventure did not come forward. To defend themselves

from this counter-charge, the other boys again set up their crowing and

bleating. For a while they would hear nothing from him. Each time he opened

his lips their chorus of noises made oratory impossible. But at last he was

able to repeat that he would volunteer to dare as much in the affair as any

other boy.

"Well, you go first," they shouted.

But Jimmie intervened to once more lead the populace against the large

boy. "You're mighty brave, ain't you?" he said to him. "You dared me to do

it, and I did -- didn't I? Now who's afraid?" The others cheered this view

loudly, and they instantly resumed the baiting of the large boy.

He shamefacedly scratched his left shin with his right foot. "Well, I

ain't afraid." He cast an eye at the monster. "Well, I ain't afraid." With a

glare of hatred at his squalling tormentors, he finally announced a grim

intention. "Well, I'll do it, then, since you're so fresh. Now!"

The mob subsided as with a formidable countenance he turned toward the

impassive figure on the box. The advance was also a regular progression from

high daring to craven hesitation. At last, when some yards from the monster,

the lad came to a full halt, as if he had encountered a stone wall. The

observant little boys in the distance promptly hooted. Stung again by these

cries, the lad sneaked two yards forward. He was crouched like a young cat

ready for a backward spring. The crowd at the rear, beginning to respect

this display, uttered some encouraging cries. Suddenly the lad gathered

himself together, made a white and desperate rush forward, touched the

monster's shoulder with a far-outstretched finger, and sped away, while his

laughter rang out wild, shrill, and exultant.

The crowd of boys reverenced him at once, and began to throng into his

camp, and look at him, and be his admirers. Jimmie was discomfited for a

moment, but he and the larger boy, without agreement or word of any kind,

seemed to recognize a truce, and they swiftly combined and began to parade

before the others.

"Why, it's just as easy as nothing," puffed the larger boy. "Ain't it,


"Course," blew Jimmie. "Why, it's as e-e-easy."

They were people of another class. If they had been decorated for courage

on twelve battle-fields, they could not have made the other boys more

ashamed of the situation.

Meanwhile they condescended to explain the emotions of the excursion,

expressing unqualified contempt for any one who could hang back. "Why, it

ain't nothin'. He won't do nothin' to you," they told the others, in tones

of exasperation.

One of the very smallest boys in the party showed signs of a wistful

desire to distinguish himself, and they turned their attention to him,

pushing at his shoulders while he swung away from them, and hesitated

dreamily. He was eventually induced to make furtive expedition, but it was

only for a few yards. Then he paused, motionless, gazing with open mouth.

The vociferous entreaties of Jimmie and the large boy had no power over him.

Mrs. Hannigan had come out on her back porch with a pail of water. From

this coign she had a view of the secluded portion of the Trescott grounds

that was behind the stable. She perceived the group of boys, and the monster

on the box. She shaded her eyes with her hand to benefit her vision. She

screeched then as if she was being murdered. "Eddie! Eddie! You come home

this minute!"

Her son querulously demanded, "Aw, what for?"

"You come home this minute. Do you hear?"

The other boys seemed to think this visitation upon one of their number

required them to preserve for a time the hang-dog air of a collection of

culprits, and they remained in guilty silence until the little Hannigan,

wrathfully protesting, was pushed through the door of his home. Mrs.

Hannigan cast a piercing glance over the group, stared with a bitter face at

the Trescott house, as if this new and handsome edifice was insulting her,

and then followed her son.

There was wavering in the party. An inroad by one mother always caused

them to carefully sweep the horizon to see if there were more coming. "This

is my yard," said Jimmie, proudly. "We don't have to go home."

The monster on the box had turned his black crêpe countenance toward the

sky, and was waving its arms in time to a religious chant. "Look at him now," cried a little boy. They turned, and were transfixed by the solemnity and mystery of the indefinable gestures. The wail of the melody was mournful and slow. They drew back. It seemed to spellbind them with the power of a funeral. They were so absorbed that they did not hear the doctor's buggy drive up to the stable. Trescott got out, tied his horse, and approached the group. Jimmie saw him first, and at his

look of dismay the others wheeled.

"What's all this, Jimmie?" asked Trescott, in surprise.

The lad advanced to the front of his companions, halted, and said

nothing. Trescott's face gloomed slightly as he scanned the scene.

"What were you doing, Jimmie?"

"We was playin'," answered Jimmie, huskily.

"Playing at what?"

"Just playin'."

Trescott looked gravely at the other boys, and asked them to please go

home. They proceeded to the street much in the manner of frustrated and

revealed assassins. The crime of trespass on another boy's place was still a

crime when they had only accepted the other boy's cordial invitation, and

they were used to being sent out of all manner of gardens upon the sudden

appearance of a father or a mother. Jimmie had wretchedly watched the

departure of his companions. It involved the loss of his position as a lad

who controlled the privileges of his father's grounds, but then he knew that

in the beginning he had no right to ask so many boys to be his guests.

Once on the sidewalk, however, they speedily forgot their shame as

trespassers, and the large boy launched forth in a description of his

success in the late trial of courage. As they went rapidly up the street,

the little boy, who had made the furtive expedition cried out confidently

from the rear, "Yes, and I went almost up to him, didn't I, Willie?"

The large boy crushed him in a few words. "Huh!" he scoffed. "You only

went a little way. I went clear up to him."

The pace of the other boys was so manly that the tiny thing had to trot,

and he remained at the rear, getting entangled in their legs in his attempts

to reach the front rank and become of some importance, dodging this way and

that way, and always piping out his little claim to glory.


"By-the-way, Grace," said Trescott, looking into the dining-room from his

office door, "I wish you would send Jimmie to me before school-time."

When Jimmie came, he advanced so quietly that Trescott did not at first

note him. "Oh," he said, wheeling from a cabinet, "here you are, young man."

"Yes, sir."

Trescott dropped into his chair and tapped the desk with a thoughtful

finger. "Jimmie, what were you doing in the back garden yesterday -- you and

the other boys -- to Henry?"

"We weren't doing anything, pa."

Trescott looked sternly into the raised eyes of his son. "Are you sure

you were not annoying him in any way? Now what were you doing, exactly?"

"Why, we -- why, we -- now -- Willie Dalzel said I dassent go right up to

him, and I did; and then he did; and then -- the other boys were 'fraid; and

then -- you comed."

Trescott groaned deeply. His countenance was so clouded in sorrow that

the lad, bewildered by the mystery of it, burst suddenly forth in dismal

lamentations. "There, there. Don't cry, Jim," said Trescott, going round the

desk. "Only -- " He sat in a great leather reading-chair, and took the boy

on his knee. "Only I want to explain to you -- "

After Jimmie had gone to school, and as Trescott was about to start on

his round of morning calls, a message arrived from Doctor Moser. It set

forth that the latter's sister was dying in the old homestead, twenty miles

away up the valley, and asked Trescott to care for his patients for the day

at least. There was also in the envelope a little history of each case and

of what had already been done. Trescott replied to the messenger that he

would gladly assent to the arrangement.

He noted that the first name on Moser's list was Winter, but this did not

seem to strike him as an important fact. When its turn came, he rang the

Winter bell. "Good-morning, Mrs. Winter," he said, cheerfully, as the door

was opened. "Doctor Moser has been obliged to leave town to-day, and he has

asked me to come in his stead. How is the little girl this morning?"

Mrs. Winter had regarded him in stony surprise. At last she said: "Come

in! I'll see my husband." She bolted into the house. Trescott entered the

hall, and turned to the left into the sitting-room.

Presently Winter shuffled through the door. His eyes flashed toward

Trescott. He did not betray any desire to advance far into the room. "What

do you want?" he said.

"What do I want? What do I want?" repeated Trescott, lifting his head

suddenly. He had heard an utterly new challenge in the night of the jungle.

"Yes, that's what I want to know," snapped Winter. "What do you want?"

Trescott was silent for a moment. He consulted Moser's memoranda. "I see

that your little girl's case is a trifle serious," he remarked. "I would

advise you to call a physician soon. I will leave you a copy of Doctor

Moser's record to give to any one you may call." He paused to transcribe the

record on a page of his note-book. Tearing out the leaf, he extended it to

Winter as he moved toward the door. The latter shrunk against the wall. His

head was hanging as he reached for the paper. This caused him to grasp air,

and so Trescott simply let the paper flutter to the feet of the other man.

"Good-morning," said Trescott from the hall. This placid retreat seemed

to suddenly arouse Winter to ferocity. It was as if he had then recalled all

the truths, which he had formulated to hurl at Trescott. So he followed him

into the hall, and down the hall to the door, and through the door to the

porch, barking in fiery rage from a respectful distance. As Trescott

imperturbably turned the mare's head down the road, Winter stood on the

porch, still yelping. He was like a little dog.


"Have you heard the news?" cried Carrie Dungen, as she sped toward

Martha's kitchen. "Have you heard the news?" Her eyes were shining with


"No," answered Martha's sister Kate, bending forward eagerly. "What was

it? What was it?"

Carrie appeared triumphantly in the open door. "Oh, there's been an awful

scene between Doctor Trescott and Jake Winter. I never thought that Jake

Winter had any pluck at all, but this morning he told the doctor just what

he thought of him."

"Well, what did he think of him?" asked Martha.

"Oh, he called him everything. Mrs. Howarth heard it through her front

blinds. It was terrible, she says. It's all over town now. Everybody knows


"Didn't the doctor answer back?"

"No! Mrs. Howarth -- she says he never said a word. He just walked down

to his buggy and got in, and drove off as co-o-o-l. But Jake gave him jinks,

by all accounts."

"But what did he say?" cried Kate, shrill and excited. She was evidently

at some kind of a feast.

"Oh, he told him that Sadie had never been well since that night Henry

Johnson frightened her at Theresa Page's party, and he held him responsible,

and how dared he cross his threshold -- and -- and -- and -- "

"And what?" said Martha.

"Did he swear at him?" said Kate, in fearsome glee.

"No -- not much. He did swear at him a little, but not more than a man

does anyhow when he is real mad, Mrs. Howarth says."

"O-oh!" breathed Kate. "And did he call him any names?"

Martha, at her work, had been for a time in deep thought. She now

interrupted the others. "It don't seem as if Sadie Winter had been sick

since that time Henry Johnson got loose. She's been to school almost the

whole time since then, hasn't she?"

They combined upon her in immediate indignation. "School? School? I

should say not. Don't think for a moment. School!"

Martha wheeled from the sink. She held an iron spoon, and it seemed as if

she was going to attack them. "Sadie Winter has passed here many a morning

since then carrying her school-bag. Where was she going? To a wedding?"

The others, long accustomed to a mental tyranny, speedily surrendered.

"Did she?" stammered Kate. "I never saw her."

Carrie Dungen made a weak gesture.

"If I had been Doctor Trescott," exclaimed Martha, loudly, "I'd have

knocked that miserable Jake Winter's head off."

Kate and Carrie, exchanging glances, made an alliance in the air. "I

don't see why you say that, Martha," replied Carrie, with considerable

boldness, gaining support and sympathy from Kate's smile. "I don't see how

anybody can be blamed for getting angry when their little girl gets almost

scared to death and gets sick from it, and all that. Besides, everybody says

-- "

"Oh, I don't care what everybody says," said Martha.

"Well, you can't go against the whole town," answered Carrie, in sudden

sharp defiance.

"No, Martha, you can't go against the whole town," piped Kate, following

her leader rapidly.

"'The whole town,'" cried Martha. "I'd like to know what you call 'the

whole town.' Do you call these silly people who are scared of Henry Johnson

'the whole town'?"

"Why, Martha," said Carrie, in a reasoning tone, "you talk as if you

wouldn't be scared of him!"

"No more would I," retorted Martha.

"O-oh, Martha, how you talk!" said Kate. "Why, the idea! Everybody's

afraid of him."

Carrie was grinning. "You've never seen him, have you?" she asked,


"No," admitted Martha.

"Well, then, how do you know that you wouldn't be scared?"

Martha confronted her. "Have you ever seen him? No? Well, then, how do

you know you would be scared?"

The allied forces broke out in chorus: "But, Martha, everybody says so.

Everybody says so."

"Everybody says what?"

"Everybody that's seen him say they were frightened almost to death.

'Tisn't only women, but it's men too. It's awful."

Martha wagged her head solemnly. "I'd try not to be afraid of him."

"But supposing you could not help it?" said Kate.

"Yes, and look here," cried Carrie. "I'll tell you another thing. The

Hannigans are going to move out of the house next door."

"On account of him?" demanded Martha.

Carrie nodded. "Mrs. Hannigan says so herself."

"Well, of all things!" ejaculated Martha. "Going to move, eh? You don't

say so! Where they going to move to?"

"Down on Orchard Avenue."

"Well, of all things! Nice house?"

"I don't know about that. I haven't heard. But there's lots of nice

houses on Orchard."

"Yes, but they're all taken," said Kate. "There isn't a vacant house on

Orchard Avenue."

"Oh yes, there is," said Martha. "The old Hampstead house is vacant."

"Oh, of course," said Kate. "But then I don't believe Mrs. Hannigan would

like it there. I wonder where they can be going to move to?"

"I'm sure I don't know," sighed Martha. "It must be to some place we

don't know about."

"Well," said Carrie Dungen, after a general reflective silence, "it's

easy enough to find out, anyhow."

"Who knows -- around here?" asked Kate.

"Why, Mrs. Smith, and there she is in her garden," said Carrie, jumping

to her feet. As she dashed out of the door, Kate and Martha crowded at the

window. Carrie's voice rang out from near the steps. "Mrs. Smith! Mrs.

Smith! Do you know where the Hannigans are going to move to?"


The autumn smote the leaves, and the trees of Whilomville were panoplied

in crimson and yellow. The winds grew stronger, and in the melancholy purple

of the nights the home shine of a window became a finer thing. The little

boys, watching the sear and sorrowful leaves drifting down from the maples,

dreamed of the near time when they could heap bushels in the streets and

burn them during the abrupt evenings.

Three men walked down the Niagara Avenue. As they approached Judge

Hagenthorpe's house he came down his walk to meet them in the manner of one

who has been waiting.

"Are you ready, judge?" one said.

"All ready," he answered.

The four then walked to Trescott's house. He received them in his office,

where he had been reading. He seemed surprised at this visit of four very

active and influential citizens, but he had nothing to say of it.

After they were all seated, Trescott looked expectantly from one face to

another. There was a little silence. It was broken by John Twelve, the

wholesale grocer, who was worth $400,000, and reported to be worth over a


"Well, doctor," he said, with a short laugh, "I suppose we might as well

admit at once that we've come to interfere in something which is none of our


"Why, what is it?" asked Trescott, again looking from one face to

another. He seemed to appeal particularly to Judge Hagenthorpe, but the old

man had his chin lowered musingly to his cane, and would not look at him.

"It's about what nobody talks of -- much," said Twelve. "It's about Henry


Trescott squared himself in his chair. "Yes?" he said.

Having delivered himself of the title, Twelve seemed to become more easy.

"Yes," he answered, blandly, "we wanted to talk to you about it."

"Yes?" said Trescott.

Twelve abruptly advanced on the main attack. "Now see here, Trescott, we

like you, and we have come to talk right out about this business. It may be

none of our affairs and all that, and as for me, I don't mind if you tell me

so; but I am not going to keep quiet and see you ruin yourself. And that's

how we all feel."

"I am not ruining myself," answered Trescott.

"No, maybe you are not exactly ruining yourself," said Twelve, slowly,

"but you are doing yourself a great deal of harm. You have changed from

being the leading doctor in town to about the last one. It is mainly because

there are always a large number of people who are very thoughtless fools, of

course, but then that doesn't change the condition."

A man who had not heretofore spoken said, solemnly, "It's the women."

"Well, what I want to say is this," resumed Twelve: "Even if there are a

lot of fools in the world, we can't see any reason why you should ruin

yourself by opposing them. You can't teach them anything, you know."

"I am not trying to teach them anything." Trescott smiled wearily. "I --

It is a matter of -- well -- "

"And there are a good many of us that admire you for it immensely,"

interrupted Twelve; "but that isn't going to change the minds of all those


"It's the women," stated the advocate of this view again.

"Well, what I want to say is this," said Twelve. "We want you to get out

of this trouble and strike your old gait again. You are simply killing your

practice through your infernal pig-headedness. Now this thing is out of the

ordinary, but there must be ways to -- to beat the game somehow, you see. So

we've talked it over -- about a dozen of us -- and, as I say, if you want to

tell us to mind our own business, why, go ahead; but we've talked it over,

and we've come to the conclusion that the only way to do is to get Johnson a

place somewhere off up the valley, and -- "

Trescott wearily gestured. "You don't

know, my friend. Everybody is so afraid of him, they can't even give him

good care. Nobody can attend to him as I do myself."

"But I have a little no-good farm up beyond Clarence Mountain that I was

going to give to Henry," cried Twelve, aggrieved. "And if you -- and if you

-- if you -- through your house burning down, or anything -- why, all the

boys were prepared to take him right off your hands, and -- and -- "

Trescott arose and went to the window. He turned his back upon them. They

sat waiting in silence. When he returned he kept his face in the shadow.

"No, John Twelve," he said, "it can't be done."

There was another stillness. Suddenly a man stirred on his chair.

"Well, then, a public institution -- " he began.

"No," said Trescott; "public institutions are all very good, but he is

not going to one."

In the background of the group old Judge Hagenthorpe was thoughtfully

smoothing the polished ivory head of his cane.


Trescott loudly stamped the snow from his feet and shook the flakes from

his shoulders. When he entered the house he went at once to the dining-room,

and then to the sitting-room. Jimmie was there, reading painfully in a large

book concerning giraffes and tigers and crocodiles.

"Where is your mother, Jimmie?" asked Trescott.

"I don't know, pa," answered the boy. "I think she is upstairs."

Trescott went to the foot of the stairs and called, but there came no

answer. Seeing that the door of the little drawing-room was open, he

entered. The room was bathed in the half-light that came from the four dull

panes of mica in the front of the great stove. As his eyes grew used to the

shadows he saw his wife curled in an arm-chair. He went to her. "Why,

Grace," he said, "didn't you hear me calling you?"

She made no answer, and as he bent over the chair he heard her trying to

smother a sob in the cushion.

"Grace!" he cried. "You're crying!"

She raised her face. "I've got a headache, a dreadful headache, Ned."

"A headache?" he repeated, in surprise and incredulity.

He pulled a chair close to hers. Later, as he cast his eye over the zone

of light shed by the dull red panes, he saw that a low table had been drawn

close to the stove, and that it was burdened with many small cups and plates

of uncut tea-cake. He remembered that the day was Wednesday, and that his

wife received on Wednesdays.

"Who was here to-day, Gracie?" he asked.

From his shoulder there came a mumble, "Mrs. Twelve."

"Was she -- um," he said. "Why -- didn't Anna Hagenthorpe come over?"

The mumble from his shoulder continued, "She wasn't well enough."

Glancing down at the cups, Trescott mechanically counted them. There were

fifteen of them. "There, there," he said. "Don't cry, Grace. Don't cry."

The wind was whining round the house, and the snow beat aslant upon the

windows. Sometimes the coal in the stove settled with a crumbling sound, and

the four panes of mica flashed a sudden new crimson. As he sat holding her

head on his shoulder, Trescott found himself occasionally trying to count

the cups. There were fifteen of them.