Mermaid of Druid Lake
CHARLES WEATHERS BUMP
Author of "His Baltimore Madonna," etc.
NUNN & COMPANY
Copyright 1906 by Charles Weathers Bump
All rights Reserved
Acknowledgement is Given to the Baltimore
News for Aid in Reprinting these Stories
The Horn-Shafer Company
Twelve More Stories
|The Mermaid of Druid Lake
|The Goddess of Truth
|A Daughter of Cuba Libre
|A Two-Party Line
|Timon Up To Date
|The Night That Patti Sang
|An Island On A Jamboree
|Alexander the Great
|Breaking Into Medicine
|The Pink Ghost of Franklin Square
|The Vanished Mummy
|"Mount Vernon 1-0-0-0"
The Mermaid of Druid Lake
If Edwin Horton had not had a sleepless time that hot June night it
probably would never have happened. As it was, after tossing and
pitching on an uncomfortably warm mattress for several hours, he had
dressed himself and left his Bolton-avenue home for a stroll in Druid
Hill Park just as the dawn made itself evident. That was the beginning
of the adventure.
Not a soul was in sight when he reached the driveway around the big
lake, and he let out to take a little vigorous exercise, breathing in
the fresh air with more enjoyment than had been his for some hours.
About half way around he stopped suddenly and rubbed his eyes to make
sure he was not dreaming. For a curve in the road had brought him the
knowledge that he was not alone in his appreciation of the early morning
hour. Seated beside the water, on the rocks that line the lake shore,
was a damsel—a rather good-looking one, as well as he could judge at
the distance of a hundred yards. She was leaning on her left elbow and
looking out over the lake in rather a pensive, dreamy attitude. Of
course, young ladies don't ordinarily get up before dawn to go out to
Druid Hill Park for the purpose of sitting alone beside the broad sweep
of city water, and Edwin naturally felt some surprise at the novelty of
the sight. Besides, she was inside the high iron railing, and he
wondered how she had got there.
In the intensity of his interest he slowed down his pace as he drew
nearer along the roadway. Should he watch her unobserved for a while to
ascertain her purpose? Should he frankly hail her and ask whether she
objected to company? Should he—well, the damsel settled his doubts for
him just then by discovering him. She appeared startled, and he fancied
she half meant to plunge into the lake. Then she changed her mind, gave
him a bewitching little smile and raised her free hand to beckon him.
Edwin needed no second invitation. The novelty of the situation was too
alluring to resist.
In another moment he had scaled the fence and was clambering awkwardly
down the rocks. And as he came close he found her a very pretty damsel
indeed, with youthful, rosy cheeks, fetching blue eyes and long, light
tresses that hung unconfined from her head down upon the sloping rocks
behind her. She was smiling, and yet he thought he detected a renewed
disposition to slip away from him before he had drawn too close.
Then he had a shock.
She was only half a woman!
The other half of her was fish—scaly fish—partly submerged in the
waters of the lake!
He paused irresolutely. It was all right, you know, to read about
mermaids in old mythologies and fairy tales. But to encounter one in
this year of Our Lord, so near home as Druid lake! Oh, fudge! the boys
at the Ariel Club would never get through "joshing" him should he ever
say he had seen such a thing. It could not be true; it was too amazing!
He was a fool to let his nerves get the better of him. He had better cut
out those visits to the river resorts, or next he would be seeing pink
elephants climbing trees. First thing he knew he would wake up in that
stuffy room at home. No, he couldn't be dreaming! There was the railing,
and the lake, and the white tower, and General Booth's home, and the
Madison-avenue entrance, and the Wallace statue and a dozen other
familiar spots in a most familiar perspective.
And there, too, was the damsel in flesh and blood, or, rather, flesh and
She was the first to speak.
"Good morning to you, stranger."
She spoke English—good, clear mother-tongue. Her lips were parted in
that alluring smile, and her manner was as saucy as that of any fair
flirt he had ever known of womankind.
"In the name of Heaven, who are you?" he stammered as he sat down,
awkwardly, beside her.
She laughed outright—mischievously, mockingly.
"I? I am the nymph of the lake. Long years ago I was the naiad of the
woodland spring that is now deep down yonder," indicating a spot out in
the lake. "But they dammed me in and turned great floods of water in
here, and mighty Jupiter gave me my new title."
"And are you really half fish?"
She laughed again.
"I am what you see."
As she spoke she gracefully swayed the lower half of her in the water. A
million glistening scales prismatically reflected the increasing morning
light. She was half fish, all right. There was no doubt about that.
"By gosh! here's a rum go!" muttered Edwin to himself.
"What did you say?" queried the mermaid.
"I said, if you must know, 'By Jove! you are a beauty,'" he replied,
gallantly and impetuously.
The mermaid smiled again. The feminine half of her was pleased with the
compliment to her good looks.
"I'm afraid you're a sad flatterer," she said, coquettishly. She lowered
her blue eyes, then uplifted the lashes and looked full into his face in
a manner that made his heart bound. One little finger was shaken
playfully at him. Edwin seized the hand. It was warm; human blood
pulsated through it! And as he held it his companion gave just a bit of
a squeeze. A score of girls had done the same in bygone sentimental
hours. But none so deftly.
"This is certainly an odd adventure," he remarked. "Tell me, lady of the
lake, do you often sit here in this unconventional fashion with
"What would you give to know?" she asked, teasingly.
"You are the first for a long, long time," she went on. "Last summer
there was a man in a gray uniform who saw me, but he looked so
uninteresting I swam away."
"When are you here?" he asked, earnestly.
"I love to sit on the bank when fair Aurora makes the dawning day grow
rosy," she acknowledged, "but I have to flee to the depths when the full
sun comes." She looked to the east. "It is growing late," she added,
hurriedly; "I must be going."
"Not yet, not yet," he pleaded.
"Do not detain me," she cried; "I must go. It means life to me."
Gracefully she glided into the water at his feet.
"You will come tomorrow?" he asked.
The coquettish mood returned to her.
"Perhaps," she said, as with long strokes she headed for the centre of
the lake. Edwin watched intently until she had gone a hundred yards and
more. Then she ceased swimming, kissed her hand to him and dived under
the surface as the single word "Farewell" floated over the water.
It seems superfluous to remark that he was in a trance that day. His
father, at the breakfast table, jovially prodded him about being late,
until he barely caught himself on the verge of telling his queer secret.
And so absent-minded was he at the office that he found he had entered
the account of a prosaic old firm as "Mermaid & Nymph."
Long before 4 A. M. the next day he was at the lake. The waning moon was
still in the west and there were few signs of the coming day. For half
an hour he kept his vigil alone, and had almost begun to think his
piscatorial charmer was not coming. Then suddenly he espied her out in
the lake, swimming toward him. When about 50 yards off shore she hailed
him jovially and bade him go around to the white tower. As he moved
along the driveway she kept him company, maintaining the pace with
graceful, tireless strokes and occasionally coming nearer to exchange a
"What made you change the trysting place?" he asked.
"Love of change, I suppose," she replied. "A water nymph does not get
much chance at novelty."
The half hour they spent upon the water's edge was largely one of
sentimental banter between merry maid and enamored man, in which Edwin
reached the conclusion that his charmer could give cards to the jolliest
little "jollier" in Baltimore. She asked him about his past and present
girl friends, and pouted deliciously when he frankly acknowledged them.
Finally they parted, she promising to appear the next morning.
The third meeting started a chain of events. They were comfortably
chatting on the rocks when Edwin heard the chug-chug of an automobile.
The mermaid clutched his arm in alarm. "What are those horrid things?"
she naively remarked. "They often make such an awful fuss I can hear
them down in my cozy corner."
Edwin's reply was suspended while the machine passed them. The two men
who were in it craned their necks most industriously at the sight of a
pair of lovers out so early and seated in such an unusual spot for
When he turned to make the explanations she had asked, he found it a
harder task than he had imagined. Her knowledge of human inventions, of
worldly means of locomotion, was not extensive, and he had to begin with
the A B C of it and go through a course in elementary mechanics. After
the forty-second paragraph of instructions the damsel clapped her hands
gleefully and cried:
"It would be great fun to take a trip in one!"
"It is great fun," declared Edwin, for a moment forgetting to whom he
"But then I couldn't do it!" she exclaimed in disappointment. "I
couldn't leave the lake."
The unshed tears in her eyes made him ardent.
"You could do it if you are willing," he avowed, earnestly. "You can
take the water with you." Visions of a tank lady in the "Greatest Circus
on Earth" came to him.
"You are fooling me," murmured the mermaid. And she pouted.
Edwin rose to the occasion. "I am not fooling," he protested. "It would
not be difficult to put a tank of water in the machine for you to put
your"——He was going to say feet, but he ended his sentence,
stumblingly, "your other half in."
In her joy the Lady of the Lake took his cheeks in her hands and gave
him an impulsive kiss. "You are the loveliest being on earth," she said,
That settled it. The rest of the conversation that morning was about
automobiles, and when they parted it was with a definite assurance on
his part that Edwin would be on hand the next morning with a motor car
suitably equipped for her use. It was only when he had gotten away that
he realized the ridiculous side of the job he had undertaken. He could
get an automobile all right. Tom Reese was a good friend, and a willing
one, and his car had a tonneau capacious enough to accommodate the
ex-naiad and her movable pool. But he would have to tell Tom the whole
peculiar adventure to get him to take his auto out at such an unearthly
"He'll think me clean daft when I unfold it to him," said Edwin to
And Tom did, too. He laughed loud and long when Edwin chose what he
thought to be a propitious moment and began his confession. "What are
you stuffing me with?" Tom demanded, with tears in his eyes. Edwin
renewed his explanations, only to bring on another explosion. "You'll be
the death of me yet, old fellow," asserted Tom. "You'd better cut out
those absinthes." Edwin added details most earnestly. "You're crazy,
boy," was the only reply he got. He grew angry and hurt. "Now, Tom
Reese," he demanded, "have I ever failed you when you wanted my help?"
Tom apologized and began to study Edwin with intentness. "Look here,
Edwin Horton," he said, "if there is any such girl at Druid lake as you
describe, she's a 'fake' and she's got you strung mightily." Edwin
swallowed this dig at his intelligence peacefully. He saw he had won.
"All I ask, Tom," he rejoined, "is that you will take me out in the car
and see for yourself." Tom gave him his hand. "I'm from Missouri, and
you'll have to show me," he chuckled.
A wash tub from Mrs. Reese's cellar was requisitioned at 3 A. M. for use
as a tank. After it had been lifted into the tonneau a hose supplied the
needed water. "Climb into the water wagon," ordered Tom, and he threw on
the lever and spun out to Druid Hill Park.
The day was still in embryo when the lake tower was reached. But the
nymph was there. Her trim blue blouse was still wet after her swim
ashore. The morning was summery, but Edwin had appreciated that the ride
might be cold for the water lady, and had thoughtfully brought his
Tom's astonishment at seeing a bona-fide mermaid was balm to Edwin. The
lad stood open-mouthed after Edwin had introduced them. In fact, he was
so dumfounded that he failed to notice the hand the damsel had extended
"Come on, Tom," said Edwin; "there isn't much time."
One on each side, the two boys supported the nymph as she cavorted as
gracefully as possible up the rocks. They hadn't thought of the iron
railing. "Caesar's ghost!" muttered Tom in dismay. "How are we going to
get her over that?" Edwin turned to the mermaid. "If you don't mind,"
said he, "we will have to lift you." "I don't mind," she said, simply,
"if you don't drop me."
At Edwin's suggestion he clambered over first, and then Tom raised the
young creature boldly until she was clear of the iron spikes. There
Edwin took hold of her and carried her to the auto. She was not a heavy
burden, but her wet condition and her combination shape increased the
From the moment she was once in the auto her joy was a pleasure to
observe. She began by expressing her delight at their thoughtfulness in
supplying the wash tub. When the machine began to move she clapped her
hands in childish glee. From glee to wonderment her mood changed as they
spun along the park roads. A hundred naive questions were asked about
the objects unfamiliar to a lady whose habitat was at the bottom of a
big pond. Edwin answered faithfully, and had his reward in his enjoyment
of her artlessness and winsomeness. Occasionally Tom looked round to
share in it.
At a good clip the auto was run out Park Heights avenue and back. The
dawn seemed most kindly disposed to the trio, for it was long in coming.
And when they had reached Pimlico, Tom proposed a detour by way of
Roland Park, to return to the lake across Cedar-avenue bridge. The
damsel hailed it with glee, only stipulating that she must be back by
They showed her the turf tracks on either side as they bowled along
Belvidere avenue eastward, and they were still engaged in explaining to
her the methods of horse racing when Tom started down the long hill
beside the Tyson place, Cylburn, leading down to the bridge across
Jones' Falls. The girl was asking questions, with her bewitching face
in close proximity to Edwin's, when there came a startling interruption
to their fun. Tom, again greatly interested in the talk, failed to
notice a large boulder in the road, and the auto shot over it with a
jolt that caused him to lose control of the wheel. The big machine
regained its balance, but not its course. Instead, it careened to the
right and bumped into the ditch before the alarmed occupants had
scarcely grasped their peril. Tom was tossed out on the roadway. Edwin
was pitched into the front seat, the mermaid shot past him and fell on a
clump of green turf and the tub of water upset, and, in seeking an
outlet, poured over the car, drenching Edwin.
"Look out for a gasoline explosion!" shrieked Tom, raising himself from
the road, apparently unhurt. Edwin knew he could do nothing to prevent
such a catastrophe, so he followed the other two out of the auto as
quickly as he could. For a moment he and Tom paid no attention to the
mermaid, so absorbed were they in the possibility of a blow-up. But when
this danger had apparently passed they discovered that she had lifted
herself from the grassy sward and was flip-flopping awkwardly in the
direction of the brook that runs through Cylburn near the road.
"Come back! Come back! There's no danger!" called Edwin, as he started
The damsel paid no heed. She was intent on getting to that stream of
Again Edwin called, this time more sharply. The mermaid stopped not, but
turned a tearful and much convulsed face to him.
Edwin raced after her. So did Tom. But when they got to the edge of the
brook the only sign of her was an increasing ripple on the surface of a
little pool. The stream was not so deep but that the bottom could be
studied. And yet they saw nothing of her. Evidently she had the
enchanted gift of being invisible in water.
Tom looked at Edwin. Edwin looked at Tom.
"That beats the Dutch!" said Tom.
"It's worse than that," replied Edwin, an odd catch in his voice. "We
certainly have queered her for good. We must find her and get her back
to the Park somehow."
For hours they moved up and down alongside the stream, calling
pleadingly, but without response, for their quondam friend. Edwin made a
little oration to her in absentia, in which he humbly begged her pardon
and swore by all the gods of Mount Olympus—by the great Jupiter, the
chaste Diana and all the rest of them, as far as he could remember their
names—that he would restore her safely to the lake. But she came not.
Tom added his entreaties, but she heeded not. Then Tom suggested that
perhaps she had worked her way down the brook and into Jones' Falls,
whence she could, if she but knew the pipes, get into her beloved lake
again. Edwin jumped at the idea, and, leaving Tom to look after the
auto, hastened down the ravine to Jones' Falls, and moved up and down
the Falls, calling for the vanished damsel with a fervor that might have
caused doubts as to his sanity had anyone heard it.
When he returned, terribly downcast, Tom had gotten the car righted and
had discovered that it was uninjured.
"No luck, I suppose?" said Tom.
"No," replied Edwin, moodily.
"Get in, then. We can't stay here all day."
Edwin required urging to leave the spot. Finally he consented to go. As
he climbed in he saw the overturned wash tub, and his concentrated wrath
and grief were heaped upon it. Picking it up, he hurled it savagely at a
tree, and, when it fell to pieces with the concussion, he exclaimed,
vehemently and inconsequentially:
"That's the blamed thing that got us into this muss!"
At Druid lake he insisted on another long search. Time and again the
auto was stopped that he might call aloud for his charmer. But no
answering sound came across the water.
"Curses!" said Edwin. "I'm afraid she's lost for good."
And that is probably the true explanation as to why there has been no
mermaid in Druid lake since. She may be in Cylburn brook, she may be in
Jones' Falls, she may have reached the Patapsco, but no one has ever
seen a creature answering her description and aquatic habits since the
damsel who once held the job got giddy and went motoring.
The Goddess of Truth
Not everybody was pleased among the many thousands who on September 12,
1906, saw the industrial parade with which Baltimore celebrated its
wonderful recovery from the blow given by the great fire of 1904. Tobias
Greenfield, head of a Lexington-street department store, was one who was
not. He was angry, violently so. He had been in a chipper mood all
morning and had enjoyed watching the long line from the windows of a
bedecorated wholesale house on Baltimore street. But when his eyes
alighted on the float of his own firm, the anger came. And the longer it
stayed with him, the worse it grew, especially as he could not escape
the prodding of the friends who had invited him to their warehouse.
When he could decently slip away from them he went to his office and
peremptorily called for his advertising manager.
"What the devil do you mean, Melvale," he shouted, "by putting such a
scrawny little girl on our float as the Goddess? She looked a fright in
the clothes made for Miss Preston, and everyone is laughing at us. Why
was not Miss Preston there? How came you to make such a mess?"
The advertising man was nervous under the volley of questions, but he
explained at length. Boiled down, it was plain he could give only one
reason why the float had been such a mess.
And that reason was William Henry Montgomery.
Miss Preston had been willing to be the Goddess, as planned, but William
Henry Montgomery said no. And that settled it.
And who was William Henry Montgomery? Why, Miss Preston loved William
You see, down on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where Maude Preston and
William Henry Montgomery were to the manor born, they had sought each
other's company so assiduously and for so long that in the length and
breadth of Accomac—from Chincoteague to Great Machipongo—every man and
woman regarded it as a sure thing that Maude and William Henry would hit
it off for a marriage. And they had talked, as people will, about their
being an ideal couple, so well suited—William Henry broad-shouldered
and solidly knit and Maude molded on classic Diana's lines, erect and
queenly, but sweet to look upon. The women thought William Henry a
fine-looking lad, while men and women alike regarded Maude as the
handsomest creature on the Peninsula below the Maryland line.
And then one day there had been a quarrel. Maude thought a bit of
William Henry's advice too assertive, too near to an injunction to obey,
and had flared up. And William Henry had flared up likewise. And when
the two came to count the cost, William Henry was moodily filling a job
in a cousin's lumber-yard in Philadelphia, while Maude, unknown to
William Henry, had come to Baltimore to remove herself and her
heart-wound from the well-meant, but too gossipy, neighbors in Accomac.
It was a matter of only a few months before she was the best-liked
saleswoman in Greenfield & Jacobs' big store. From Mr. Greenfield down
to the rawest cash girl all were glad to exchange a word with her,
because there was something delightful in Maude's way of expressing even
trivialities, and an especial joy in hearing her talk about "you all"
and call a car "kyar," a girl "giurl" and other idioms peculiar to
Tidewater Virginians. Besides that, she was too good-looking altogether
to be passed without notice. The elevator boys were both in love with
her, and their seniors—whether clerks, floor-walkers, salesmen or
owners—would walk two aisles out of the way any time to pass by Miss
Preston at the counter where she disposed of bolts of ribbon. But best
of all was the regard which her scores of girl associates had for her.
They liked her because they saw she made no effort to seek or to foster
the attentions which the masculines of the store thrust upon her. They
liked her, too, for the individuality and perfect neatness she showed in
her dress, from the bows of ribbon on her short sleeves to the set of
her skirts or the way her waists were arranged at the belt. As for her
hair, eight-ninths of the store, being the feminine portion, envied its
beautiful wave, and two-ninths mustered up courage to ask Maude how she
managed to keep it so splendidly. And the two-ninths, being told, let
the other six-ninths into the secret. Thus it was, in Greenfield &
Jacobs', that the Maude wave became more popular than the one named
And all the while Maude quietly went on thinking of William Henry. She
heard about him sometimes in letters from Accomac, and knew that he was
still in Philadelphia. And there were hours when she fought the
temptation to write to him there, and humbly tell him that she had been
wrong to grow angry with him. Perhaps he had forgotten her and was
having a good time—she recoiled from the thought, and yet it would come
now and then. And when it came, Maude had spells of the "blues" that she
found hard to conceal from her new-made friends at the department store
and in her boarding-house on Arlington avenue.
Greenfield & Jacobs was one of the first retail firms to take up the
notion of having a float in the Jubilee parade. And, having once decided
to exhibit, they went at the preparations with characteristic
thoroughness. "Let us do it right," said Jacobs to Greenfield. "Let us
spare no expense to have a car so beautiful that all Baltimore will
remember it as one of the hits of the parade. Let it be chaste and
symbolic, and not overloaded with bunting and people."
The head of the firm had the same thought. "We have always tried to tell
the truth to our customers," he rejoined. "Why not try to bring that
fact home to thousands by a float on which a handsome Goddess of Truth
will be giving a laurel crown to our firm?"
"Capital!" exclaimed Jacobs. "And Miss Preston can be the Goddess."
"I had her in mind when I proposed it," remarked Greenfield.
And both men laughed.
Neither partner was up on mythology, so they turned over to Melvale, the
advertising man, the duty of working out the details of the float. Now,
Melvale wasn't literary, either; but he knew an obliging young woman at
the Pratt Library, and he hied himself to her to ask who under Heaven
was the Goddess of Truth and how was she dressed. And the obliging young
woman looked up encyclopedias and finally handed Melvale an illustrated
copy of Spenser's "Faerie Queene." Melvale had never heard of Spenser,
and he had an idea that Spenser spelled his title badly, not even
according to the simplified method of Roosevelt and Carnegie. But he
took the book and read of the beautiful, pure and trustful Una, the
personification of Truth, the beloved of the Red Cross Knight. And when
he looked at the pictures he began to grow enthusiastic over the float.
"By George!" he exclaimed. "Miss Preston will look great in that Greek
And Melvale sketched the float as it afterward grew into being at the
hands of carpenters, painters and decorators at the old car shed on
Pennsylvania avenue. There was, first of all, a beautiful little model
of Greenfield & Jacobs' new store, about three feet high, over the
corner dome of which the charming Goddess, bending forward, was about
to place the laurel crown suggested by Greenfield. Behind her were
finely modeled figures of the lion and the lamb which are devoted
followers of Una. It was artistic; it was symbolic; it was chaste. There
was no word of advertising save the neatly lettered inscription:
The Truth stands by us.
We stand by the Truth.
It was a harder task than either partner imagined to win the consent of
Miss Preston to be a goddess for a few brief hours. She was not the sort
of girl to like conspicuousness or notoriety, and she flatly refused
when the float was first brought to her attention. Then they pleaded
with her. Jacobs told her how much she would be helping the firm if she
would only agree to oblige them. Greenfield promised to have the finest
of Greek gowns made in the store's dressmaking department. And Melvale,
clever man, deftly told her how beautiful and good Una was supposed to
be, and mildly intimated that there was no other young woman in
Baltimore who could possibly fill the bill on that float. Ultimately
Miss Preston's scruples were overcome.
And into the preparations she entered with pleasing enthusiasm. Melvale
took her several times to the shed to see the float materialize, and
stopped each morning at the ribbon counter to tell her about details.
The whole store told her a thousand times how glad each was that she was
to be the Goddess. Greenfield did as he promised about the costume—and
never was Greek gown made of more beautiful white goods, or more
exquisitely and perfectly fitted. Maude read Spenser's poem, more
understandingly than had Melvale, and the Goddess of Truth so completely
filled her mind during those summer weeks that William Henry Montgomery
was almost obscured except when she dreamed how she would like him to
see her triumph.
At last came the day of the parade. Melvale, always fertile with
expedients, had arranged with Townsend, floor-walker on the fourth
floor, who lived on Fulton avenue just where the big parade was to form,
that the Goddess Maude might array herself in her finery at his home.
Bright and early that morning he sent a carriage for Miss Preston, and
ordered the float to be at Townsend's curb by 9 o'clock. The beautiful
gown and its accessories, laid away in soft tissue paper, were brought
from the Lexington-street store, and a couple of the girls from the
dressmaking department were on hand to aid the final making of a
Maude would not have been a woman had she not taken her time to get into
such finery, and Melvale began to grow nervous as the parade hour grew
near. The street was in confusion with the gathering of floats and men
and curious crowds of onlookers. The chief marshal of the procession,
Col. William A. Boykin, had warned him that the line was to move on
time, and already there were signs of a start. Five times he dived into
the hallway of Townsend's home and called agonizingly upstairs to know
if Miss Preston was ready.
Finally she came. And Melvale held his breath as the beauty of the girl
burst upon him, even in the half-light of the hall. While it concealed
some of the lines of her figure, the gown accentuated her erect, queenly
carriage. Her exquisitely molded arms and her full, round throat had
been powdered, a bit or two of rouge had heightened the charm of her
face and a touch of black had increased the brilliancy of her eyes,
already flashing with the excitement of the moment. There was a
tremulous curve to her lips as she glanced at Melvale to note whether he
was pleased with her appearance.
"The goddess of men, as well as of truth," he murmured as he bent over
and gallantly kissed her hand. Una's flush heightened, but she was
pleased with the compliment.
Melvale opened the door and the goddess in white passed out into the
morning sunlight on Fulton avenue.
And as she did so she gave a faint scream of surprise.
For there, on the sidewalk, was William Henry Montgomery, her Red Cross
William Henry was as much surprised as the damsel Una. He had no idea
that Maude was nearer to him than Accomac, and he was in Baltimore for
the day merely to mingle with the holiday crowds and perhaps encounter
some Eastern Shore friend from whom he might learn news of her. His
presence on Fulton avenue was due to the identical reason as that which
inspired thousands of others curious to see the start of a big parade.
When he saw Maude come out of the doorway, a vision in white, he thought
for a moment he had gone insane and was having a hallucination. Then he
reflected that it could not possibly be Maude Preston in Baltimore and
wearing such theatrical clothes on the street in broad daylight. Then he
looked again and was certain it was Maude. Besides, hadn't she
recognized him and put out her arm to steady herself against the arch of
"Maude!" he exclaimed, simply, as he hurried up the marble steps.
"Bill Henry!" she cried, faintly.
She held out her hands and he took them.
"I've been sorry a long time, Bill Henry," she said.
"And I, too, sweetheart."
He would have kissed her in complete reconciliation, but Maude was
conscious of the crowd on the street. "Don't, Bill Henry," she whispered
as she laughed, flushed and tenderly pushed him away. He held on to both
Melvale, in the vestibule behind, had stood petrified as the incident
developed. He was wise enough to understand that a reconciliation of
lovers was in progress. Their words, and, above all, the ardency of
their glances betrayed that.
From down Fulton avenue came the sound of a great bell. The parade had
started. "Hurry," said Melvale, "you must take your position, Miss
"Take your position, Maude?" asked William Henry calmly, ignoring
"Yes, Bill Henry," said his sweetheart, hurriedly; "I'm to be the
Goddess of Truth on that float there."
William Henry turned and looked at the float. Then he stood off a step
or two and studied Maude's make up. "I've never seen you look
handsomer," he said, slowly, "but somehow you don't seem natural. I'd
rather have met you again when you were not so full of paint and powder.
I loved you always just as you were, without fancy fixings."
The bell was getting farther away.
"Come, Miss Preston," urged Melvale. "We will have to hurry."
For the first time William Henry recognized the presence of Melvale.
"She ain't going, Mister," declared William Henry, ungrammatically, but
"Not going!" screamed Melvale.
"Oh! Bill," stammered Maude, "they've gone to such a lot of expense and
trouble! And they've been so kind to me!"
"I don't care," returned William Henry. "Down in Accomac we don't like
this theatre business for girls we love, and I tell you I am not going
to see you in that parade, showing yourself off to all Baltimore and
thousands more, too. Who knows how many people are here from down home?
If you want this notoriety and fuss, Maude," he went on sternly, "I can
A tear made its way out of Maude's eyes and threatened the rouge on her
"Come, Miss Preston," said Melvale.
"No, no; I can't go against what Bill wants," she said, feebly; "not
Melvale saw that he faced a serious business dilemma. Cupid had butt in
at the wrong moment. It was necessary for Greenfield & Jacobs to be in
that parade, and he had about six minutes to get the float in line. As
he put it in his report to Mr. Greenfield, "There wasn't any use wasting
time trying to persuade Miss Preston with that hulking big Eastern
Shoreman menacing me. I had to let her do as William Henry wanted,
without bandying words. At the same time I had to find another Goddess
in a hurry. That's how I came to make use of Townsend's daughter."
"Was that thin girl Townsend's daughter?" asked Greenfield.
"There isn't any cause to be hard on the girl, Mr. Greenfield. She's not
so thin, and she is good looking and with a sweet expression. You put
any girl in clothes not made for her—just jump her into 'em without any
time for those little tricks that women know so well how to do—and
she's sure to feel a guy. And if she feels a guy, she's going to look
it. Why, it took those two girls just six minutes to transfer that
goddess rig from Miss Preston to Miss Townsend. She didn't have time to
powder, and she didn't have time to dab on paint, and, besides, she had
had no rehearsals. That's why she was so pale."
"And where did you leave Miss Preston and her mentor?"
"Sitting on the sofa in Townsend's parlor, wondering if they could get a
license to be married today, it being a holiday."
"Mr. Melvale," directed Mr. Greenfield, "I want you to find them again,
just as quick as you can, and if they are not already tied up I want you
to help them do it in the most handsome style possible in a hurry.
Reward Miss Townsend nicely, but get that gown from her and make a
present of it to the girl it was made for. She might like to have it for
a wedding gown. And as you go out, tell Mr. Stricker to send the bride
the handsomest thing he can find in the glass and china department."
"Miss Preston'll appreciate all that. I think she's sorry she couldn't
help you out. She has certainly missed a fine chance of being a
"You're wrong, Melvale; you're wrong! That girl doesn't need a Greek
gown and a float and a parade to make her a goddess."
"William Henry don't think so, sir."
A Daughter of Cuba Libre
When they had been at school together at Notre Dame, Catherine Franklin
had been most fond of the company of Manuela Moreto, and had listened
with wonder and admiration to the fluent stories of the dark-eyed,
olive-skinned girl from Cuba, tales of her father's desperate adventures
in the trocha in the years before American intervention had rid the
"Pearl of the Antilles" of Spanish rule. Spanish-American pupils,
daughters of wealthy tobacco, sugar or coffee planters, were not
infrequent at this and other convent schools around Baltimore, and
Catherine knew enough of them not to yield so precipitately as had many
girls to the romantic glamour cast around them by their coming from a
strange land. But Manuela Moreto was so winning, and her narratives of
bold deeds so piquant, that Catherine had taken her to her heart in a
school-girl friendship, had gloried in knowing the daughter of a Cuban
patriot and had liberally bedewed her handkerchief and made vows of
undying love when their June commencement brought the days of parting.
But that had been five years ago, and in five years, as everyone knows,
havoc can be played with a friendship of this sort. There had been a
correspondence, industrious at first, then flagging as each found new
friends and new interests, and finally ceasing altogether. There was no
hint of any misunderstanding, and Catherine felt that if anything
serious were to happen in Manuela's life, if she were to marry, for
instance, a letter would come from Cuba. Nothing came as the months
added up, and she was satisfied that Manuela was living out her rather
monotonous life on Senor Felipe Moreto's tobacco plantation in Pinar del
Last August came the new revolution in Cuba, and Catherine found all her
interest in Manuela reawakened as she read in daily dispatches of the
uprising in Pinar del Rio, of the raids of Pino Guerra, of the feeble
resistance of the Government forces, of the burning of plantations and
the seizure of horses and cattle. She wondered if her one-time chum
could be in any danger.
She had fully made up her mind to write to Manuela, when there came a
letter from the latter. Her mother handed it to her as Catherine sat
down to the supper table in her home on Caroline street, opposite St.
Joseph's Hospital, her cheeks flushed from a vigorous afternoon at
tennis in Clifton Park. "It's from Manuela Moreto!" she exclaimed in
surprise as she saw the handwriting on the envelope. Then, with
increased excitement, she added "She must be in Washington," for she had
by this time noted the postmark, the home stamp and the crest of the
The letter said:
Dearest Girlie—After all these months of silence, you will no doubt be
surprised to hear from your Cuban friend, and from Washington, too. You
have probably read of the new uprising against despotism in my oft-bled
country. We have suffered much, but hope for the best. I cannot tell you
now, but I want to come to Baltimore to see you and the dear old school,
and then we can have one of those outpourings of confidence such as used
to give us joy. Let me hear from you just as soon as you can.
Yours as ever,
"Write tonight and tell her to come and visit us," said Mrs. Franklin,
"I will if dad will promise to like Manuela," answered Catherine,
wistfully eying her father. The Captain was master and part owner of a
steamer in the Central American banana trade, and the family knew from
repeated outbursts that he had no very high opinion of the
"I'm not stuck on those Dagos as a rule," said the Captain, doubtfully,
"but if all you say is correct this s'norita must be a fine girl, and
you know I cotton all right to fine girls."
"Is she pretty?" asked Will Franklin of his sister. Will was at the age
when young men think a great deal of girls.
"She's dark," explained his mother, "and she was thin when I used to see
her with Catherine at Notre Dame. But if she has filled out as she
should have, she ought to be a handsome girl."
Two days later the whole family was at Camden Station to welcome their
foreign visitor. Will Franklin whistled as he saw the splendid-looking
young woman whom his sister rushed to kiss as she came through the gate.
"Gee!" he exclaimed, "she's a stunner!" For Senorita Manuela Teresa
Dolores Inez Moreto de la Rivera—to give her all of her names—had not
only "filled out" until she had a fine, well-rounded figure and a
handsome dark, oval face, but had also engaging animation and the gift
of wearing her clothes well. She looked as trim as can be imagined in
her cream-colored linen suit, with a couple of touches of light blue at
the wrists and neck.
They sat up late that night in the library of the Franklin home. After
supper they had begun to ask questions of Manuela, and she had in
response given them her own personal account of the new revolution. It
was a narrative that awakened their sympathies for her and her family
and all others who had suffered by the internal strife, and it made them
strong partisans of the rebels. "They call it Cuba libre, free Cuba!"
she exclaimed, with flashing eyes, "and yet the days of Spanish tyranny
were no worse than the oppression of Palma's crowd. They have held the
offices since Roosevelt gave them the government, and they lined their
pockets with what you Americans call 'graft.' That made them determined
to hold on at all costs, and so my father's party—the Liberals—was not
only over-taxed and annoyed by extortions on every hand, but was cheated
and robbed at the polls when it tried to get control by an honest
And then she told of a night in July when a half-drunken crowd of
Government rurales, sent to arrest her father, had set fire to his
tobacco houses when they found he had been forewarned and escaped them.
"I cannot repeat to you all the vile abuses they heaped upon me," she
added, quietly. "One of them, a mulatto who had been discharged by my
father, tried to kiss me. He is dead now." She shuddered with the
recollection. The Baltimore family shuddered at her matter-of-fact
"You mean—that he"——stammered placid, domestic Mrs. Franklin.
"I mean that two of my father's men singled him out and macheted him the
first time they met in a skirmish."
On only one point was she reticent. Her father, she said, had come to
this country on an errand for the rebels, but what that errand was she
did not explain. "He is General Moreto now," she remarked; "and if ever
Senor Zayas becomes President and our party comes into control at
Havana, they have promised my father greater honors."
For a week Senorita Moreto continued to add to the powerful interest she
had aroused in her hosts. By day they tried to entertain her—an
afternoon at Notre Dame with the school Sisters, a trip through the
rebuilt fire district, a ride to Bay Shore Park, an excursion to Port
Deposit by steamboat and other summer opportunities. But of an evening,
when the family was all collected in the library or on the front stoop,
the Cuban dispatches in that day's News were carefully gone over and
afforded texts upon which Manuela vivaciously and eloquently inveighed
against the despotism of the "ins" and predicted the triumph of the
"Upon my soul, Miss Moreto," said the usually level-headed Captain
Franklin, "your zeal stirs me so that I find myself wishing every moment
I was fighting on your side."
"I'd love to have you aid us," murmured the Cuban girl. And she lifted
her black eyelashes and cast her brilliant eyes at Catherine's father
with such intentness that he was confused and looked away without asking
her, as he had intended, just how it was possible for him to help the
The next morning Will, who had become the devoted admirer of the pretty
Cuban, carried two telegrams for General Moreto when he left home to go
to the Hopkins-place wholesale house where he was a clerk. One was
addressed to the Raleigh in Washington, the other to the Cuban junta
headquarters in New York. Each read:
"You must come at once. I want you."
A reply came that afternoon. It was from Wilmington, and it said:
"Union Station, 7.33 P. M."
Manuela and Catherine met the General at the hour named. The man who
alighted from the Congressional Limited and whom Manuela rushed to kiss
was slender and undersized, with a swarthy, weather-beaten face, curly
gray hair and a white moustache, twisted and re-twisted to the limit. He
was in white flannels and was so altogether neat and immaculate that
Catherine, perspiring under the sultriness of the August evening,
thought him the coolest person she had ever seen. He greeted her with
gallantry when introduced, and, though he spoke English with slowness,
his pronunciation was good and his voice musical.
After he had made a similarly good impression at the Caroline-street
dwelling it was Manuela who proposed that they should leave the two
fathers "to smoke together and get acquainted."
As the girls went out of the library Moreto laid half a dozen cigars on
the table. "From my own plantation," he said to Captain Franklin, with
rather a pompous manner. "I hope you'll like them." The Captain found
them the finest Havanas he had ever puffed.
"You go to Costa Rica for bananas, do you not?" the General asked in
"Sometimes Port Limon; sometimes Bocas del Toro," answered Catherine's
father, in the same tongue. "Bocas del Toro this trip."
"When do you sail?"
There was another silence. Franklin studied his cigar. Moreto studied
the fruit captain. Presently he leaned forward on the arm of his Morris
chair, in which, truth to tell, he looked rather insignificant.
"My daughter," he said, this time in English, "tells me you are with us
in our revolution."
The Captain turned his clear blue eyes on the Cuban.
"Your daughter, Senor," he replied, "is a fine girl." He saw the shadow
of disappointment pass over Moreto's countenance. "I'm not much on
revolutions. I've seen too many of the bloody things in the tropics, and
it pays me to keep out of 'em. But your girl Manuela has a powerful
strong way of putting things, and I'm bound to say, if all she tells is
not beyond the mark, my sympathies are with you and your crowd."
"Beyond the mark! Why, Dios, Senor Capitan!" cried the General, his eyes
gleaming with excitement. "Why, she could not tell you a tenth of the
truth." And he launched into a long narrative of the oppressions in
Cuba. The words came like a torrent, mostly Spanish, occasionally
English; and Franklin, sitting there fascinated, his cigar forgotten,
could think of nothing save that the daughter's fluency was a gift of
When Moreto had ended and had sunk back half exhausted on the cushions
the Captain, usually calm and self-contained, betrayed unwonted
"I'm with you through and through," he exclaimed as he rose from his
chair and sought the Cuban's hand. "You haven't had a square deal, and
I'd like to see you get it."
Moreto's black eyes seemed to pierce him.
"Would you help us?" he asked. His tone was so tense and low that
Franklin barely caught the words.
"Help you! How can I?"
Moreto paused again. He was not quite sure of his man. Finally he
uncovered his aim:
"Take rifles to Cuba."
Captain Franklin stepped back. He did not exactly like the proposal. He
had always kept out of such musses, and he knew it was violating Federal
law to be a filibuster.
"I'm only part owner of the Cristobal," he stammered. "I would not like
to involve the others."
"They need never know. I have a perfectly safe plan."
The Captain wavered. He would like to help Moreto and his daughter if it
were not for the risk.
"What is your plan?"
"If we had a thousand rifles to arm Pino Guerra," said Moreto, "we could
take San Luis. If we took San Luis we could control Pinar del Rio
province. My mission to your country is to get those rifles to a point
in that province. I have them boxed, ready for shipment as new machinery
for a sugar plantation. They are at Wilmington. I thought I had placed
them on a steamer in the Delaware last week, but your confounded Secret
Service agents are too vigilant, and they learned from members of the
crew that something unusual was up. If you will take those boxes on the
Cristobal I can get them here on Friday and will arrange for an
insurgent schooner to meet you at any point you name. Will you do it?"
"It's risky business," slowly said the Captain, lighting a fresh Vuelta
"It means liberty to us. Dios, Senor Captain, where would your country
be if the French had not helped Washington and his ragged rebels?"
Franklin puffed away slowly. The Cuban watched him. At last the Captain
made a decision.
"You may send those rifles along," he said.
The two men grasped hands again. They were in that position when
Catherine put her head in the library door. "You're as quiet as two
conspirators," she laughingly said. "Perhaps we are conspiring,
Senorita," called General Moreto as the girl shut herself from view
"That is a charming daughter of yours, Captain," said the Cuban, in his
"Ah! but your girl has the head and the wit. You find her a great help,
Moreto's smile was more frank than his reply. "Women take a bigger share
in revolutions than is generally believed." he said.
In another half hour the details of their filibuster were arranged. A
point in the Caribbean, near the Isle of Pines, was selected for a
rendezvous. There the Cuban schooner would take aboard the contraband
cargo and Franklin go on his way after bananas.
"Do you wish your family to know?" asked Moreto as they were about to
leave the library. "My daughter knows all my business."
"Catherine is all right," replied Captain Franklin, "and so is Will, but
his mother would worry too much."
And so for the next three days there was a great secret in the Franklin
home, shared by the young people with the two gray-haired men. They made
trips to the steamer, at the foot of Centre-Market space, a slender,
white-painted craft, looking more like a private yacht or a revenue
cutter than a tropical trader; they heard the arrangements made for
prompt transfer of the boxes across the city; they stopped with General
Moreto at the telegraph offices on Calvert street when he sent off
cipher wires to the junta and its agents, and sometimes cabled to Cuba.
And on the Friday when the boxes were due they pestered the clerks at
Bolton freight yards with 'phone inquiries. "It's great fun," confided
Catherine to Manuela. "I feel just like a heroine doing a great deed.
And we have to be so mysterious, too." Manuela smiled indulgently. She
had got past the stage of thinking conspiracies fun.
No untoward incident occurred while the boxes of rifles labeled "Sugar
machinery" were being loaded into the Cristobal's hold. There was no one
on the dock or steamer who could be suspected of being a Government
agent. General Moreto kept away, and the presence of Miss Catherine with
the Cuban girl could never have aroused the doubts of the crew. The
boxes were taken on without accident, and by Friday dusk the Cristobal
had a thousand weapons aboard for the rebels of Pinar del Rio.
There were tears in the eyes of both girls as Captain Franklin waved
them goodbye from his bridge when he was being pulled out into the
Patapsco the next morning. A shade of extra seriousness had tinged his
parting from them as they went ashore from the steamer, and Catherine,
no longer thinking conspiracies "great fun," began to have doubts
whether she might not have her father landed in jail somewhere.
"I do hope no harm will come to dad," she said. "I never felt so queer
when he went away before."
"Let us pray that all goes well," replied Manuela.
And so for eleven whole long days, in their petitions to God, in church
and night and morning in their room, they invoked His blessing upon the
Cristobal's filibustering mission. It was an anxious time. The period of
excitement over, the interval of suspense made their spirits droop. None
of the usual amusements diverted them. Even Will's now ardent
attentions, which had provoked some teasing in the bosom of his family,
were slighted in the strain of the long wait until, boylike, and chafing
under the apparent neglect, he had impetuously sought explanations from
Manuela. What she told him is not a part of the conspiracy, but from
that hour there were two secrets kept in the Franklin dwelling. And when
he hurried home each afternoon with The News, that they might carefully
examine it for anything bearing on his father's expedition, there was a
double motive in the eagerness with which Manuela met him at the door.
It was Wednesday week before the first news came. General Moreto, who
had left them on the day after Captain Franklin had passed Cape Henry
outward bound, telegraphed as follows:
Glorious news; San Luis taken. We must have done it.
The girls were excitedly reading the account in The News of the victory
by Pino Guerra when this cable dispatch came to them from Catherine's
Bocas del Toro.
Costa Rica, Aug. 22.
Machinery transferred; no trouble.
Both girls cried from happiness at the relief.
"Oh! Catherine," said Manuela as she sobbed on the latter's neck, "I'm
so glad I knew you at Notre Dame!"
"And I'm glad we struck a blow for Cuba libre," rejoined Catherine.
"It may mean annexation," said Will, as he deftly slipped his arm around
The Cuban girl grew rosy red.
Catherine was quick to understand: Cuba might be freed, but one
individual who had labored for it was going to be annexed.
"I'm so happy!" she cried. And she kissed both warmly and left them to
tell her mother of the latest beneficent example of American
A Two-Party Line
(Tuesday, October 23, 1906.)
HE—Hello! Is this Central? Well, give——
SHE—No, it is not Central, and I wish you'd please get off the line.
HE—I beg your pardon, I thought you were the girl at Central.
SHE—No, I am not. I wish you wouldn't break in. The line's busy. You
were saying, Evelyn——
HE—I'm sorry to bother you. I don't seem to be able to get Central.
SHE—I do wish you would leave us alone! You were describing that dress
you wore at the Marlborough dance, Evelyn.
EVELYN—How is he on this wire?
SHE—I don't know. I suppose he has the other 'phone on this line.
HE—I beg your pardon again. Do I understand you to say this is a
SHE—What number are you?
HE—Wait till I read it. Why this is Madison 7-9-3-1-y.
SHE—And I'm Madison 7-9-3-1-m. So you see, we're on the same wire.
Please get off.
HE—I beg both of your pardons, ladies. But I'm trying to get a doctor
for my mother.
EVELYN—I'll call you up later, Genevieve. I can tell you all about
Atlantic City then.
SHE—He had no business coming in like that, Evelyn. But I suppose we'll
have to let him have it. Goodbye.
HE—I'm very grateful to both of you, I'm sure.
SHE—Well, after all, we were only gossiping, and I'm sorry we did not
HE—Thank you again. (After a pause.) There goes a click. I guess I can
call Central now. By Jove! that girl had spirit, and at the same time
showed generosity in saying she was sorry. I wonder who she is.
Genevieve the other one called her. Genevieve who?
(Five Minutes Later.)
SHE—Hello, Central. Please give me "Information." Is that
"Information"? I want to know who has 'phone Madison 7-9-3-1-y. My
number? I'm on the same line. No, no trouble. Just want to know. Who'd
you say? Mrs. Mary Vincent, 286 West Lanvale street. Thank you so much.
(Ten Minutes Later.)
HE—Hello, Central, I want to know who has 'phone Madison 7-9-3-1-m.
What's that? You'll give me "Information"? All right. Hello,
"Information," I want to find out who leases 'phone Madison 7-9-3-1-m.
No, not "y." I said "m." Somebody else wanted "y"? Well, that's my
number. I want "m." Mr. John D. Platt, 1346 Linden avenue? What's that?
Oh, Pratt. Thank you.
(Wednesday, October 24.)
SHE—Oh! Evelyn, I've got something great to tell you. You remember that
man who "butt in" last night on our chat? Well, I've found out all about
him. His name is Carroll Vincent, and he's just out of Princeton and is
going to study law at the University of Maryland. How did I find out?
Oh! I can't tell you all that over the 'phone. I just used my wits. You
know Genevieve isn't going to get left. I'd die if he——
HE—Is this Cent——
SHE—Goodness gracious! there he is on the line again!
HE—I beg your pardon. I'll retire gracefully.
SHE—Don't apologize. You could not help it.
HE—I don't like to be a "butter-in," don't you know?
SHE—I hope you got the doctor all right last night. I'd be so sorry if
my foolish delay caused you any trouble.
HE—Thank you, I got him all right.
EVELYN (at the other end)—I'll call you some other time, Genevieve.
HE—No; let me get off this time.
SHE (after a pause)—I wonder if he has really gone.
EVELYN—How did you find out who he was? Go on, tell me.
SHE—I'm afraid he may be listening.
EVELYN—Do you think he'd do that deliberately?
SHE—Certainly, I don't. I think he must be just fine. Jack Smallwood
says he's a stunning-looking fellow. I'm just crazy to see him.
EVELYN—Did you ask Jack Smallwood about him?
SHE—Why, of course, you goose! They live in the same block.
EVELYN—You're getting on famously, Genevieve.
SHE—That's another slam, Evelyn. You're just jealous, that's what the
matter with you. Next time I call you up you'll know it.
EVELYN—I'm sorry, Genevieve. I was only teasing you.
SHE—Well, I can't stand for it. I'll forgive you, though. Say, are you
going to see "Madam Butterfly"? You don't know? Well, I'm going tomorrow
night with Jack. He asked me today when I called him up about the other.
He has got seats in the second row. I'm going to put on all my best
regalia. No, not the blue. A pink chiffon. You've never seen it. It's a
beauty. Well, goodbye. See you Friday.
(Ten Minutes Later.)
HE—Please give me Madison 6-4-8-6-y. Is this Mr. Smallwood's home? Is
Mr. Jack Smallwood there? No? Well, when do you expect him? You don't
know? Thank you. Curse the luck! Just when I thought it looked easy.
(9 A. M. Friday, October 26.)
HE—St. Paul 9-8-6-3. Hello! is Mr. Jack Smallwood in the office? Yes,
if you please. Jack, this is Carroll Vincent—no, no, Vincent. Say, old
man, saw you at Ford's last night. Fine-looking girl with
you—stunningly dressed—beautiful features—who is she?
JACK—Say, Carroll, what the devil is all this between you two who have
never met? I'm over seven, you know, and I've shed my sweet innocence.
HE—I don't know what you mean, old man.
JACK—Ah yes, you do! And if you don't come up to the Captain's office
and settle I'll blast your reputation with her forever. There's some
mystery in it all. First, Genevieve Pratt asks me about you. Then when I
saw you last night she twisted her neck so, to look at you, that I
thought I'd have to summon medical help. Now you call me up to talk
about her. What's the game? Put me wise.
HE—Fact is, old man, Miss Pratt and I are on the same line.
JACK—Same line? What kind of line?
HE—Same 'phone. Two-party line. Butt in on her the other night. Butt
out. Butt in again next night. Apologized eighteen times. Must meet her,
especially since she's such a smasher.
JACK—All right, Carroll boy. I'll fix it for you, now I understand.
HE—Make it soon, for Heaven's sake.
(Friday, November 2.)
HE—Give me Madison 7-9-3-1-m, please. No, no; I want the other party on
this line. Don't buzz that bell so loud in my ears. Hello! Is that Mr.
Pratt's? Oh! is this you, Miss Pratt? You're looking well this evening.
This is Carroll Vincent.
SHE—Feeling tiptop, thank you. Did you get wet in the rain last night?
HE—No; it stopped pouring almost as soon as we left your house.
SHE—I'm glad of that. I want to thank you for the chocolates you sent
this evening. You said you were going to send a book.
HE—I know I did. I tramped the town over to get that novel, but every
shop was out of it. Then I did not like you to think I had forgotten you
so soon, and I sent the bonbons.
SHE—It certainly was sweet of you. They're nearly all gone already.
HE—Mercy, mercy—don't make yourself sick! I wouldn't have you that
SHE—You wouldn't have me any way, would you?
HE—Give me the chance. But I'm afraid you're a "jollier," Miss Pratt.
SHE—You're the first to tell me.
HE—Did you say "first" or "fiftieth"? There was a noise on the wire
SHE—I know you're a flirt.
HE—Never! I've got my fingers crossed.
SHE—Those eyes of yours were not made for nothing.
HE—Neither were yours. Jack said so last night. By the by, he's a
capital fellow. I'll never get over being grateful to him for bringing
SHE—I think he's just fine.
HE—You're speaking very zealously. Do you know I'm almost jealous of
him when I hear you talk like that.
SHE—I'm a loyal champion for my friends, you'll find. I have but few,
and those I keep.
HE—Do you ever add to the list?
SHE—That's for you to discover.
HE—Count me in, please.
SHE—Well—I'm willing to try to do so.
HE—Thanks, awfully. By the way, they've pledged me their word that a
copy of that novel will be here tomorrow. May I bring it around Sunday
SHE—Why, I could be reading the book all day Sunday.
HE—Then I'll make it tomorrow night. Will that suit?
SHE—I have no engagement, and will be glad to have you.
HE—Good-bye until then.
(Thursday, December 6.)
HE—Madison 7-9-3-1-m, please. Yes. Is that Mr. Pratt's? Is Miss
SHE—No, she is not in. Who shall I tell her called?
HE—You didn't disguise your voice, Miss Genevieve? I knew you right
SHE—I thought I might learn something, Mr. Vincent.
HE—I might have told my real name.
SHE—That would have been disastrous.
HE—It would, if I had started confessing things.
SHE—What's the matter? Have you anything on your conscience?
HE—Not my conscience, but my heart.
SHE—There you go again. You promised me last night at the Academy you
wouldn't jolly any more.
HE—I haven't. I'm desperately in earnest. I swear it.
SHE—I wish I could believe you.
HE—Why don't you?
SHE—It might disturb my peace of mind.
HE—Would that be so bad?
HE—I can see those mocking eyes of yours now.
SHE—I don't like that, Mr. Vincent. That's rude.
HE—I'll beg your pardon when next I can look at you. That reminds me.
Have you anything on for tomorrow night?
HE—I'd like to take you to Albaugh's. You've seen a musical comedy at
the Academy, and a serious drama at Ford's, and it might be well to take
a dash into "vodevil" before the week is over.
SHE—Do you know you're too good to me. I can never repay you.
HE—Yes, you can. By agreeing to go every time I ask.
SHE—Haven't I done it?
HE—Yes, you've never failed me. It's settled, then, for "vodevil?"
SHE—Come early and avoid the rush.
HE—And can you stay late? Because—well, I thought you might like a
bite to eat at the Stafford after the show.
SHE—Another of your surprises. Do you treat all of the girls so finely?
HE—No; only you.
(Monday, January 21, 1907.)
SHE—Please ring the other party on this line. Is that Madison
7-9-3-1-y? Mrs. Vincent, isn't it? This is Genevieve Pratt, Mrs.
Vincent. I hope you're feeling better than when I saw you? So glad to
hear it. Isn't this fine, crisp weather? Do I want to speak to your
son? If I may. Is that you, Carroll?
HE—Why, little girl!
SHE—Surprised to hear from me so soon? Well, after I came in the house
I found an invitation to a private dance at the Belvedere two weeks from
tonight. Lida and her husband are to give it. I've heard it's to be a
swell affair—big ballroom decorated, orchestra and seated supper. I
want you to go with me. Will you?
HE—Now, you know very well I will, little girl.
SHE—Oh, I'm so glad! I'll see everybody I know; I'll have you with me,
and—you know how to dance so well.
HE—You mean we know how to dance together. Listen, Genevieve: If I go,
are you going to give me every dance?
SHE—Certainly not. People would talk too much. If you're good, you may
have every other one.
HE—And sit out the rest with you?
SHE—Perhaps. All right, mother.
HE—What did you say?
SHE—Did you hear? That was mother insisting that I come to dinner.
HE—I'll let you go, then. You promised me every one, don't forget.
SHE—No, I didn't.
HE—Do you remember what I told you coming uptown this afternoon?
SHE—You told me a lot of things.
HE—I told you you were the most tormenting little vixen on earth.
SHE—You didn't mean it, did you? All right, mother. Listen, Carroll, I
really must go. Tell me you didn't mean it.
HE—I did mean it. You are the most tormenting, also the most lovable. I
wouldn't have you otherwise.
(Tuesday, February 5.)
SHE—Madison 7-9-3-1-y, please. Is Mr. Carroll Vincent up? At breakfast?
Please tell him Miss Pratt wishes to speak to him. Oh, Carroll, I
haven't slept a wink since you left me at the door! I'm so happy! I just
lay awake thinking of last night, and then I thought I'd get up and
'phone you before you went downtown. I'm so happy!
HE—I'm glad you are, sweetheart. I'll try all my life to keep you so. I
wish I could get closer to you than over this 'phone.
SHE—What would you do?
HE—I'd kiss you and whisper how I love you.
SHE—Don't, Carroll, don't! The telephone girl will hear you.
HE—What do I care? I feel like going around and shouting to all the
world, "She loves me, she loves me, she loves me!" just to tell them how
happy I am.
SHE—Oh, Carroll, don't do that!
HE—You don't suppose I'd do it, little darling, do you? No, this is our
precious little secret. Just we two.
SHE—I don't deserve all this joy, Carroll. I don't feel I'm good enough
for you—indeed, I don't.
HE—I thought you promised me in the carriage that you would never talk
like that again.
SHE—I can't help it, Carroll. I feel so unworthy of you. I never felt
like that before in my life. But when—when you put your arm around
me—I just thought—well, I just thought how grand and noble you are and
how trifling and insignificant I am.
HE—Don't, don't say that, little sweetheart.
SHE—I just can't help it. I'm so happy I want to cry.
HE—I understand, dear girl.
SHE—And when you asked me in the alcove if I—whether I would give
myself to you for keeps—and you spoke so beautifully, Carroll!—indeed,
I had trouble to keep back the tears. Love is a wonderful thing, isn't
HE—It is, dearest.
SHE—You are coming early tonight, aren't you?
HE—I will fly to you as soon as I can. I tell you what, can't you meet
me downtown and have lunch with me?
SHE—Oh! may I? You know I'd just love to!
HE—Well, meet me at half-past 12. Usual corner, you know—Fidelity
Building. Goodbye until then.
(Wednesday, April 10.)
SHE—Madison 7-9-3-1-y, please. Is that you, Carroll?
HE—Yes, it is I.
SHE—I think it perfectly hateful of you to send me that mean note,
HE—Now, look here, girlie, don't you think you're to blame?
SHE—I? Why, the idea!
HE—Yes, you. I don't believe you care for me at all.
SHE—Why, Carroll Vincent, how can you say that?
HE—Now, say, Genevieve, don't take that tone with me. You know you had
no business flirting with Jack Smallwood as you did last night at
SHE—Flirting? Why, Mr. Vincent, how dare you?
HE—Yes, flirting. I said it. If you cared anything for me, you wouldn't
treat me so contemptibly as you have been lately.
SHE—Contemptibly? What have I been doing, I'd like to know?
HE—I think the way you carried on with Jack was perfectly outrageous.
As for him, when——
SHE—Carroll Vincent, you ought to be grateful to him, if you love me.
HE—If I love you?
SHE—Yes, if you love me. You know very well he introduced us. And Jack
isn't anything to me.
HE—And you don't care for him?
SHE—Certainly I like him. He's one of my oldest friends.
HE—Oh, those friends!
SHE—You're letting your jealousy run away with you.
HE—Maybe I am, but I'm glad I found him out before it was too late.
SHE—Indeed! And do you think it is too late? (Pause) What did you say?
HE—I didn't say anything. I was thinking. Listen, Genevieve, what's the
use of our going on like this? I see now I was pig-headed to send that
note. It was cruel to you. I'll never forgive myself.
SHE—I'm glad you're coming to your senses.
HE—I don't blame you for being angry, Genevieve, dear.
SHE—Oh! Carroll, how could you be so unjust?
HE—I'm awfully remorseful. Can't I come tonight and tell you more?
SHE—Why, certainly, you old goose. I'll forgive you.
HE—I'm so glad, Genevieve. But, tell me, dearest girl, you don't care
for Jack Smallwood.
SHE—No, you silly boy. He isn't worth your little finger.
HE—Thank you, sweetheart. Goodbye.
(Wednesday, June 4.)
SHE—Madison 7-9-3-1-y, please. Is that you, dearest? Oh! Carroll, I'm
all so topsy-turvy I don't know what I'm doing. But I just couldn't go
to bed without talking to you again.
HE—You know I'm glad.
SHE—And I——Oh! I'm so full of joy I can't wait for tomorrow to come.
Doesn't it seem like a dream to think of our being married? It's all so
strange, and yet I'm so happy! You don't think me unwomanly for telling
you so, do you, dearest? I'm so frightened, and yet my heart is
beating—trip—trip—for you. Can't you hear it?
HE—Keep still a moment. Yes, I can. One, two, three——
SHE—Oh, you tease! Such nonsense!
HE—It must be my own then, beating for you.
SHE—You're not nervous, are you?
HE—Of course I am. Am I not going to get the best, sweetest, prettiest,
dearest, most lovable girl in the world for a wife? Tomorrow at high
noon seems a long way off, doesn't it?
SHE—Oh! Carroll, we won't need a 'phone then, will we?
HE—It has been a dear old two-party line, though, hasn't it?
SHE—It knows an awful lot of our secrets. I wonder how much the
exchange girl has heard?
HE—Oh! I guess she got tired of us long ago.
SHE—Then she won't be listening if I send you a kiss over the wire.
Um—m—m—m—did you get it?
HE—I'll give it back with interest tomorrow.
SHE—Everything's tomorrow, isn't it?
HE—There's the clock striking midnight. It's today now, and our wedding
HE—Don't come late, little bride. I'll be "waiting at the church."
Timon Up To Date
The Doctor and his wife waited until their half dozen guests had
finished the tasty supper Mrs. Harford had provided before they sprung
upon them the purpose which had moved them to invite them. The entire
party was made up of West Arlingtonites, neighbors from across the way,
from down the block and from up near Carter Station. They had chatted
gaily over neighborhood gossip in the dining-room, intermingled with
nonsense of the sort that passes between people who have been a great
deal in the same set. And now that they were seated on the front porch,
two in a hammock and the others in comfortable rockers, the badinage
continued as Dr. Harford passed cigars to the men and pretended to give
them to the ladies, too.
"They don't seem to have taken offense at our not asking them,"
whispered Mrs. Caswell to plump little Mrs. Fremont.
"No, not a bit," responded Mrs. Fremont, in the same low tone. "All the
same, I feel like a hypocrite for coming."
"Nonsense," said Mrs. Caswell; "you're too soft."
She might have added more, but Dr. Harford, who had been lounging
against a post since he had handed around the cigars, was evidently
trying to attract the attention of the entire group.
"I am reminded tonight," he began, slowly, "by this little affair of a
larger party here last summer, when we entertained the card club."
In the stillness that ensued the song of the crickets in the fields
beyond the town sounded most strangely plain.
"Mrs. Harford and I," pursued the Doctor, his voice growing more
incisive, his manner more stern, "both enjoyed ourselves in that club,
and we are most curious to know why we were not included this year."
The pair in the hammock stopped swinging so suddenly that their feet
scraped the floor vigorously. Mrs. Fremont cleared her throat with
evident nervousness. The others were still dumb—that is, all except Mr.
"Why, old man," he burst out, "I was told you did not want to"——
"Joseph!" interrupted Mrs. Caswell, turning herself so that her husband
could see her more plainly in the white light from the arc lamp at the
corner. There was the menace of a curtain lecture in her face.
"We did want to join, Caswell," exclaimed Dr. Harford, quickly. "The
plain fact is that we were not asked."
"There must be some mistake," said Mr. Caswell. "I'm sure I, for one,
have been sorry"——
"Joseph!" again exclaimed Mrs. Caswell. This time she was unmistakably
severe. Caswell subsided.
Dr. Harford addressed himself directly to Mrs. Caswell. "I intend to get
to the bottom of this affair tonight," he said. "I have asked questions
of several of you, and so has Effie, and the excuses given have been so
various that they would be funny if I did not feel they are doing injury
to me professionally, as well as socially. My purpose in having you all
A Garrison-avenue car crowded with Electric Park visitors rumbled
noisily by and drowned some of the words of his sentence.
"I want it sifted thoroughly now."
Little Mrs. Fremont half rose from her chair, as she said weakly to her
husband: "I don't feel well. I think I'd better be going."
"Pardon me, Mrs. Fremont," said Dr. Harford, "I beg of you that you will
"Stick it out, Emily," remarked Mr. Fremont. "Harford has got us here to
learn the truth." Nothing ever seemed to worry Fremont.
"Now, Mrs. Caswell," continued Dr. Harford, still addressing that lady
directly and drawing nearer to her by a foot or two, "I will begin with
you. Last week when you were in my office I asked you to tell me just
what stories were being circulated about me in West Arlington, and after
some demur you told me. Do you mind repeating them?"
Mrs. Caswell was scornful. "I have nothing to say," she exclaimed. "I
think it better to hush the whole affair."
"Then, my dear madam, I am forced to repeat to my guests what you told
me. You said, you will recollect, that one resident had accused me of
having cheated at cards, and that another party had called me a 'tooth
butcher,' and had declared I could not fix the teeth of her little dog.
Was not that it?"
It was Mrs. Caswell's turn to rise. "This is a contemptible outrage,"
she cried. "I demand that it stop."
"No more contemptible than the injury you have done us," spiritedly said
Mrs. Harford, speaking for the first time.
"Have I not quoted you right?" asked Dr. Harford of Mrs. Caswell.
"I shall say nothing," returned she. "You have cooked up a vile plot to
trap us here."
"Then, my dear Mrs. Caswell, if you will affirm nothing, I have a way to
make you speak." He stepped inside his hallway for an instant, while the
others, all except his wife, watched him with great curiosity and some
alarm. When he reappeared he was carrying a table on which was some
large, heavy article hidden under a tablecloth. "There's a little
surprise coming to you and the rest," he resumed. "You did not know,
madame, that when I was pressing you with questions as you sat in my
dental chair a phonograph was making a record of your answers." He
whipped off the cover of the talking machine and busied himself with
preparing it for action.
Consternation was writ large upon the countenances of those who could be
seen in the stray beams of light that countered through the porch. But
Mrs. Caswell's was the only voice heard. Again she protested against
having been trapped.
"Silence," said Dr. Harford, and he started the machine to whirring.
Everybody bent forward so as to miss nothing. But there was no need, for
the familiar tones of Mrs. Caswell had been well recorded by the Edison
invention and floated out in full and plain confirmation of the charges
Dr. Harford had so carefully repeated.
Fremont's "Thunderation!" was the only audible one of several
exclamations that were murmured as the quoted phrases died away. Dr.
Harford raised a warning finger.
"Wait," he said; "there's more."
And as the machine kept revolving they heard his own voice say:
"And who was it, Mrs. Caswell, who told you that I had cheated at
There came a sharp interruption.
"Stop!" cried Mrs. Caswell, as in sheer desperation she bounced from her
chair and made a vicious dive toward the tell-tale recording angel, only
to be blocked by the watchful Dr. Harford. "Let go of me," she cried, as
she shook off his restraining hand in furious anger. "I insist that you
stop this outrage. Joseph, how can you stand idly by and see me so
There was no answer to the summons from Caswell. His wife evidently
expected none, for she continued right along in wrathful denunciations
of Harford, threatening law suits and other means of dire vengeance. "I
declare she frightens me," whispered timid Mrs. Fremont, as she drew her
chair closer to that of her husband.
The phonograph was pursuing the even tenor of its paraffine way. Those
who could hearken to it above the irate tones of Mrs. Caswell heard her
refuse several times to name her informant; heard the Doctor's earnest
pleading for no concealment, and finally heard her say:
"Well, if you really must know, Doctor, who it was who said you cheated
at cards, it was Mrs. Fremont."
Dr. Harford quickly shut off the record and turned to face the others.
Mrs. Fremont had risen from her chair and leveled her finger at Mrs.
Caswell. She was timid no longer.
"How dared you tell such a lie about me, Irene Caswell?" she gasped.
"You know you said it, Mary Fremont."
"I did not. She is telling what is not true, Dr. Harford. She came to me
when we were re-forming the club and said she would not join this year
if you were to be a member. She uttered a lot of things against you, and
finally she said she was sure you would not hesitate to cheat at cards,
and she only wished she could catch you once. And then I reminded
her—perhaps I was wrong to do it—of the time when I was your partner
and you sprouted an extra point and presently we got into a dispute
about the score."
"You mean the night at Mrs. Parkin's?"
"Yes; don't you remember you were the first one to call attention to it
and wanted to take off the point, but after some time it was shown that
we had the right number? That's honestly all I said to her about you and
"I believe you, Mrs. Fremont."
From the chair into which Mrs. Caswell had subsided there came a snort.
"Go ahead," she sneered. "Play out your little comedy. You're all in it
together. Nobody will believe me."
"We take you at your word, Mrs. Caswell," rejoined Dr. Harford. "There
is more of the truth to be got at."
Again the phonograph was in motion, and the listeners heard these
questions and answers:
"And who was it, Mrs. Caswell, who told you I was a 'tooth butcher' and
could not fix the teeth of her little dog?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, Doctor, it was Mrs. Parkin who said her
husband had called you a 'tooth butcher,' and it was Mrs. Somerset who
said you could not fix the teeth of her little dog."
Both the Parkins rose from their place in the hammock. The husband was
so angry that he moved toward Mrs. Caswell with upraised hand until he
recollected himself and halted with a muttered exclamation. The wife, a
tall, graceful blonde, who had made herself well liked since they had
moved out to West Arlington, chose to ignore the woman who had involved
her, and so addressed herself directly to the host.
"My husband and I," she began, coolly and cuttingly, "are very much
indebted to you, Dr. Harford, for so cleverly unmasking the traitor in
our midst. This woman has called it a miserable trap, and I want to say
that I feel that only by such a contrived plot has it been possible to
uncover the truth and lay the trouble at the door of the right
"Of course, it is unnecessary to say to you," and she pulled herself up
to her full queenly height and spoke with most dignified impressiveness,
"that my husband did not call you a 'tooth butcher' and that I did not
tell her he had said so. What he did say was merely to repeat jokingly
that old jest about a dentist being a 'tooth carpenter.' I forget the
way he put it, but it sounded funny to me at the time, and when I was
out with Mrs. Caswell in her auto that very afternoon I told her. She
laughed, but Mrs. Somerset, who was with us, thought the expression
horrid, and said if she were to think of you as a 'tooth carpenter' and
not as a good, careful dentist, she would not let you attend her dog.
Thus, you see, Doctor, how two harmless little expressions have been
perverted into nasty gossip against you.
"I cannot tell you of the things that she alleged against you that
afternoon or at other times. I did not give heed to them, and I have too
much respect for you to repeat them here just now. I am only sorry that
we yielded to Mrs. Caswell's insistent urging that we exclude you from
the card club this summer. I am sure it was only done because we felt
there had been ill feeling between you and her and because she had been
the one to start the club and lead it each year."
"And I want to add, Harford," said Parkin, heartily, "that you will
either be in the club henceforth or there will be no club. Am I not
right?" he queried, turning to the Fremonts.
The prompt assent from both must have settled Mrs. Caswell's last hope
of appeal from a unanimous verdict. She rose and made a sign to her
husband. Her blazing anger had given way to a chilly hauteur that showed
that, although beaten, she had not hauled down the flag. "I hope your
little farce has quite ended," she remarked to Dr. Harford, with
"Quite," he replied, with sweet acquiescence.
"Then I suppose I will be allowed to go?"
"As soon as convenient."
"I leave you," she pursued, "in the hands of your friends. Oh! if you
only knew the things they have said about you! And now they honey you!"
"I am willing to trust them," he said, equably.
For the life of her, Mrs. Caswell could think of no other biting thing
to say, so she took her departure.
"Come, Joseph," she ordered, as she passed down the steps to the
Caswell stopped for an instant to hold out his hand to the dentist.
"Sorry, immensely sorry, old chap. Awful mess she's made. If there's any
way I can"——
"Joseph!" reiterated Mrs. Caswell from the gateway.
And Joseph obeyed.
"Have a fresh cigar, Parkin. And you, Fremont," said Dr. Harford, as the
six left behind settled back in their chairs and hammock for a good
half-hour review of Mrs. Caswell and her mischief-making.
"By George! this was an original plan of yours, Harford," exclaimed
"Indeed it was," murmured little Mrs. Fremont.
"It was not my idea at all. I got it from Shakespeare. Do you not recall
a scene in 'Timon of Athens' where Timon invites his false friends to a
banquet to show them up?"
"Well, you worked it neatly, anyhow," said Parkin, who had never read
Shakespeare in his life.
"I had one great advantage over 'old Bill,'" continued Dr. Harford.
"In what way?" asked Mrs. Parkin, smiling at him.
"I had the phonograph."
The Night That Patti Sang
When I moved there 10 years ago that Franklin-street block just west of
Charles was even then known as "Doctors' Row," though there was by no
means the number of professional men the street now has. From Dr.
Osler's at the Charles-street corner of the south side—in the old
Colonial mansion where now the Rochambeau apartments stand—to Dr. Alan
P. Smith's on the north side next to the old Maryland Club building at
Cathedral street, there were in all five doctors. And my own
shingle—newly painted in gilt letters as befitted a specialist freshly
returned from the Vienna hospitals—made the sixth sign of the kind.
On the south side not far from Dr. Osler's, the front of one of those
fine old houses erected in the thirties, and the homes of the elite of
Baltimore for many years before Mount Vernon place was built up, bore
the announcement of:
JAMES COURSEY DUNTON, M. D.
The sign was of a very old pattern, and was so rain-washed that the name
could scarcely be deciphered. This, too, was the case with a frosted
pane in the front window, on which—perhaps 40 years ago—Dr. Dunton had
had his name painted in black letters. The house, too, showed the same
lack of paint and care.
In my student days at the Johns Hopkins Medical School I had never heard
the name of Dr. Dunton, and this led me to make inquiries of a
professional neighbor. I learned that Dunton was in effect an elderly
hermit, that for years he had abandoned his practice and had declined to
respond to calls. His self-enforced isolation had grown to such a degree
that he was rarely seen on the street and made all his household
purchases through notes stuck in his vestibule door for "order boys". "I
have seen Dunton only once in eight years," said my informant. "They
say, too, he used to be an excellent practitioner, an Edinburgh
graduate, with a patronage of the best classes—a courtly gentleman who
was well liked by his patients."
"What was the cause for the change?" I asked.
"A love tragedy of some kind, they told me, though I never got the
I developed a lively curiosity in the elderly recluse, and nearly every
time I moved in or out of my own residence, or passed my front windows,
I glanced at Dr. Dunton's house in hopes of seeing him. My first glimpse
was, perhaps, a month after I had been told about him. The sun had gone
down, save where I could see the gilded tops of the Cathedral with a red
glint upon them. In the half-light Dr. Dunton came to his second-story
window—I knew it must be he—a tall, slender figure, somewhat bent,
garbed in unrelieved black, save for the open white collar of
ante-bellum style. Scant white hair extended from his temples back over
his ears and framed a face that seemed, in the dusk, refined and kindly,
though seared with many wrinkles. I watched the silent figure at the
window unnoticed by him, for he gazed with intentness at the
vine-adorned front of the old Unitarian Church at the corner, until the
real darkness came upon us both.
It was, I think, about a week later when I again encountered Dr. Dunton.
The Edmondson-avenue trolley line had just been completed up Charles
street, and for the first time this old residential section resounded
with the clangor that betokened rapid transit. About 9 one night I
observed Dr. Dunton stepping down from the pavement of the Athenaeum
Club to cross the street. A trolley car was coming rapidly, but the old
gentleman, his head bent in thought and unused as he was to modern
inventions and modern bursts of speed, paid no attention and moved in
front of it. The motorman threw off his current, tried to reverse, and
rang his gong furiously, but saw that he could not stop in time to avoid
hitting the Doctor. I had bounded into the street, and when the car was
only half a dozen feet off I was fortunately able to draw the old chap
back and hold him clear of the Juggernaut that had so nearly wrought his
His first impulse, as he turned toward me, was one of anger that I had
presumed to intrude so violently upon his thoughts. Then he saw what a
narrow escape he had had, and anger gave place to a courtly smile and a
slight twinkle in his sunken eyes.
"We young fellows are not so careful as we ought to be," he said. "I owe
you my life."
I hastened to assure him that my act was one of simple kindness, but he
renewed his expressions of thanks in even more polished phrases. The car
had gone on and we had crossed to the church corner.
"I am Dr. Dunton," he said. "My house is yonder and, though I dwell
alone, and with little ceremony, I will be pleased to have you partake
of such hospitality as I can offer."
I accepted with alacrity. "I am Dr. Seaman," I responded. "I have just
moved into the block." And I indicated my own home.
We crossed Franklin street to Dr. Dunton's house. He opened the heavy
door with a latch-key, but before I could enter it was necessary for him
to go ahead and light up. He was profuse in his apologies for the
disorder of everything as he led me into the room behind the parlor, but
beyond a thick coating of dust the dark mahogany furniture showed no
signs of the absence of servants.
"I suppose you younger men might call this your 'den,'" he said as he
applied a match to the centre chandelier, "but I prefer to name it my
study." There were rows upon rows of medical works of a past generation
on the shelves around the room, a familiar bust of Esculapius, a skull
or two, some assorted bones and other signs of my host's former
profession. A worn leather arm-chair sat behind the table under the
chandelier, another arm-chair on the right. Dr. Dunton drew the latter
forward for me and dropped into the other one. As the light fell full
upon him I noted that he was not only thin, but gaunt, and that his
face, which interested me strangely, was marked by hollow places that
gave him an almost uncanny appearance, despite its refinement and
intellectuality. His eyes had a haunting expression, as if at times he
suffered much physical pain, and there was a sadness in them that
quickened my sympathies.
For a minute or so there was silence. I felt that he was at a loss for
topics upon which to converse on common ground. Finally he said:
"You are the first visitor I have had here since poor Wallis sat in that
chair a dozen years ago."
"You mean Mr. Wallis the lawyer?" I asked.
"He was my good friend in many dark days," he answered gently. I felt
that he was slipping away from me into the past.
"You must have it lonely here," I remarked.
"Not lonely," was the response. "I live with my memories."
The shadow on his face grew deeper.
"Why not practice your profession," I hazarded, "and forget some part of
your past sorrows in a busy life?"
He leaned forward, looking intently at me and yet beyond. "Ah! lad," he
said, as he laid a thin hand upon my wrist, "if you but knew, if you
but knew! I tried hard, and then I found I couldn't, and then I gave up
trying. There are griefs so great that one cannot lose them until the
last sleep. I am not lonely, for I have Her always with me here."
It was best for me to remain silent. He was almost unaware of my
presence. I felt he would go on if I did not divert his train of
"Night after night She sits here with me," he pursued; "day after day
She is by my side. In spirit the loving companionship I sought is ever
mine, and yet, great God, how different!" His face he buried in his
hands. In my eyes the tears could not be kept back.
Presently he rose from his seat and moved to the wall next to the
parlor. To my surprise, the pressure of his finger against a spot in the
wooden door pillar opened up a secret cupboard in the partition. The
Doctor reached in and lifted out an arm chair of the same pattern as
that upon which I was seated. It was heavy and I jumped to aid him, but
he negatived me with a short, sharp twist of his head. As he came into
the full light I saw that the chair contained a woman's cloak, one of
shimmery gray satin, but now sadly faded and time-stained. Reverently he
lifted the cloak and laid it across the back of the chair.
"That's as it was the night she sat there and passed away," said the
For several minutes there was no word between us. The Doctor, his mouth
twitching, his thoughts far from me, stared intently at the old cloak.
"How I loved her, how I loved her!" he finally murmured. Again he was
becoming aware of my presence. "You can't understand, sir, the depth of
my devotion. It stood the test of years—it stood even her marriage to
"She was the prettiest and merriest child you ever saw," he finally went
on. "Had she been an Indian maid they would have called her 'Dancing
Sunshine.' But being just a Baltimore girl, with her parents more fond
of reading Scott than of any other literature save the Bible, she was
named Geraldine. You remember that line in the 'Lay of the Last
The fair and lovely form, the Lady Geraldine.
"That's where she got her romantic and historic name. To us boys—my
brother Tom and myself—she was always Dina. She was our cousin. Her
father had died when she was but a babe. So had my mother, and Aunt
Patty thenceforth was the housewife with us. Father was one of those
merchants and ship owners who have long passed away in Baltimore. No
firm was better known around the Basin than that of Dunton & Jameson,
and no clipper ships were faster than those with the Dunton signal.
"Dina was Tom's age, some years younger than I, but both of us made her
our playmate. We didn't have the hundred and one diversions and sports
that young people seem to have nowadays—no suburban clubs, no motoring,
little driving. We roamed through Howard's woods around and beyond the
Washington Monument, and we strolled the banks of the 'canal' that used
to parallel Jones' Falls down there above Centre street. And in all our
rambles and excursions Dina was our joyous, care-free companion. I can
see her now, as she was at 14, a simply dressed school girl, with her
olive complexion, her clear, trustful gray eyes, her trim, petite,
lissom figure and her rosebud mouth, ready ever to kiss either of us in
fond sisterly affection.
"She was 16 when I was sent to Edinburgh on one of father's ships, to
become a doctor. For once her laughter deserted her, and the last
picture I had of her as our boat headed down the Patapsco on a bright,
blue morning was of a tearful miss on Bowly's wharf, waving a bedewed
handkerchief and watching through misty eyes the going of Cousin Jim
across the water. There had been a tender farewell between us, and
though no word of love was spoken, I tell you, lad, I knew I was leaving
my heart behind.
"My three years in Scotland were ones of hard work, and the chief joy I
knew came with Dina's letters. The mails were slow in those days, and
they came too uncertainly for me, you may be sure. But each brought me,
in addition to a budget of news, just a bit of Dina's lovely
personality. I saw her, in her letters, growing into sweet womanhood,
and, as I sometimes stretched myself in meditation on Arthur's Seat, far
above old Edinburgh, my thoughts were not of the city, nor of my own
lifework, but of the little girl at home.
"I was just completing my course, when there came my first terrible
blow. A letter came from Dina, the first in two months, and it brought
me word, lad, that she was married! Married! Just think of it! And to
Tom. He had been with Watson and Ringgold in the Mexican War, and
clippings they sent me had recounted the bravery of young Captain
Dunton. I confess to you, sir, that for days I had murder in my heart,
and against my own brother. I went off on a walking trip in the
Trossachs, and a savage time I had of it with myself; I had schemes of
petty revenge; I abused Dina; I vowed she could not love Tom; that she
must have been swept off her feet by the brass buttons and the war
glamour about him.
"By the time I came back to Baltimore I had regained self-control, and
when I met Tom and his wife it was with the determination to do
everything for Dina's happiness, even though she were another's. I was
not wrong in my prophecy that she would develop into sweet womanhood,
only I underestimated it. In all our circle of acquaintances in
Baltimore there was no more beautiful young matron than Mrs. Dunton; no
more sprightly and piquant bride; no hostess more gracious, as she
presided over the dinners and 'small and early' affairs that were given
at our home here.
"But, alas! it was not long before sorrows came to her. Tom began to
drink heavily. He got in with a gay set at Barnum's Hotel, his hours
grew irregular, his absences from home more numerous and more
prolonged. Father and I remonstrated ineffectually, at first pleadingly
and then in anger. We did our best to keep Dina ignorant of some of the
worst stories out concerning Tom's dissipation, but she knew. And though
she loyally never criticised him in talking to us, we saw the joy fade
out of her heart and lips, and the glint of ineffaceable sadness come
into those pure gray eyes. God only knows what she suffered in the nine
years before death, invited by alcohol, came and took Tom.
"It may sound brutal, but I was glad when besotted Tom was gone. It
ended Dina's terrible worry, it relieved father and myself of
unexplainable trouble, expense and annoyance, it laid to rest a family
skeleton of whose existence all Baltimore seemed to know. And deep down
in my heart, I confess it, there was a thrill that the woman I loved
above all was free.
"Of course, being a true woman, and a tender-hearted one, Dina grieved
long over Tom's death. She had loved him sincerely despite his grievous
faults, and ours was a melancholy household for another year. In those
days our women wore deep black mourning and veils, and sombre, indeed,
was Dina as she went out to church, to Tom's grave, or to half a dozen
poor households she had taken under her wing. But most of the time she
was at home ministering to father, whose declining health was a cause of
alarm to both of us.
"Presently I began to urge her to go about with me. At first she said
no, then with her characteristic considerateness she seemed unwilling to
hurt me by refusing further. I took her to the homes of our friends for
an evening of music or whist, or to an occasional public concert. The
color began to come back into the cheeks whence it had been so long
absent, and that glint of grief in the gray eyes grew dimmer. I spoke no
word of love, but unobtrusively carried on a campaign to let her see how
badly I yearned for her. The new books, the best sweets, the prettiest
flowers, such delicate compliments as sincerity could dictate—all these
I gave her and watched patiently to see the dawning of love on her part.
I had always had her fond affection, but I wanted more and strove in
every way to gain it.
"Two years passed and there came a night memorable in Baltimore when
18-year-old Adelina Patti—a singer in the first flush of youth and
beauty, fresh from triumphs in New York—was brought to Holliday-Street
Theatre to sing 'La Somnambula.' Strakosch had stirred up a furore about
Patti and Brignoli in Gotham, and Baltimore was curious to hear them. I
took Dina, and proud was I of her beauty and her sweet garb as we sat in
the midst of a hundred acquaintances in an audience the newspapers
called 'brilliant'. She had abandoned black and wore a satin gown of a
soft color, shimmery and splendidly adorned with lace. Her matured
beauty seemed to me more glorious than the promise of childhood, which
had first captured me. She was entranced with the music, but I had no
ears for the diva, and was there only to enjoy the divinity by my side.
I had a feeling that the end of my probation was near. I believed she
would say 'yes' should I ask her, and I determined to do so that night.
"After we had gotten away from our friends she talked animatedly of the
opera in the carriage, and I listened contentedly all the while I kept
saying 'Tonight, Jim, tonight!' As we came into the house she led the
way into this office, and with a smile dropped into that chair you see.
She allowed me to unfasten her opera cloak and draw it across the back
of the chair, but she playfully bade me sit down, when I let my arm
steal caressingly about her neck. Ah! man, if you could but know how I
loved her that minute!"——
The Doctor's voice broke. There were tears in his eyes. As for me, I was
profoundly moved, and my own eyelashes were wet.
"I passed into the dining-room to get her some sherry and cake. I was
gone but a moment, but in that instant she was lost to me forever."
The veins in the old man's forehead stood out like whipcords. He resumed
fiercely after a pause:
"She was dead, sir. She was dead. She sat in the same position in that
chair as when I had left her, but her hand clutched her side and the
smile she had given me was replaced by a sharp contraction, as if from
pain. Swiftly her heart action had been gripped by an unseen force and
stopped forever. I grew frantic when I found I could not revive her; I
shrieked aloud in the agony of my heart, and father and the servants
rushed here in alarm. They tell me I was mad for days; that I raved and
called incessantly. I do not remember. I knew nothing for a long time,
and then I cursed myself for living on when memory returned. Twice I had
lost her—once by marriage and once by death—and the joy of living was
never to be mine again. I have survived, sir, these many years. I buried
Father after Dina, and I am alone here. But, God, man! I died long ago.
My soul is with her I adored."
He arose and I followed. I felt that he meant to end our talk. He wiped
away the tears from his cheek with a silk handkerchief, and then,
placing his gaunt hand on my right shoulder, he moved his face close to
mine and spoke earnestly:
"I never dare visit her grave in Greenmount. I am afraid of myself. But
if you can, to please an old man whose wretched life you have saved
tonight, will you go there some time and see that her resting place has
been tended reverently? I have paid them for it."
I promised him I would, and then I passed out into the starlit night
with a thousand impressions of the terrible tragedy of this man's life
crowding my excited brain. I could not sleep, and I lay in bed for hours
reconstructing the tale and fancying many details he had not supplied.
The next morning I went to the Dunton lot in Greenmount and found it
well cared for. Over his loved Dina's grave was a handsome stone of
Carrara marble, with this inscription:
Beloved wife of Thomas Bowly Dunton.
Passed away suddenly,
Aged 30 years.
"God is love."
On one side was the grave of the ill-fated Tom. On the other the green
turf waited to be disturbed to make room for the last of the Duntons,
and there, on a raw day in the following March, I saw the body of the
old Doctor laid beside her whom he had loved so long and with such
An Island On A Jamboree
For three days the shipping of Baltimore, large and small, had been held
in leash by a great storm upon the bay. One of those West India autumn
hurricanes coming suddenly had whipped the Chesapeake into such a fury
with its fierce southeast blow that steamboats and small sailing craft
alike heeded the Weather Bureau warning and remained in Baltimore.
On the third night the gale had spent its fury, and, with a rising
barometer and a favorable Government forecast, Captain Cromwell, eager
to get home, ventured out with his bugeye as soon as the dawn came. The
Patapsco was full of white caps, but the wind had softened and the skies
were clear, and the Tuckahoe met with no misadventure as it passed down.
A hundred other vessels were making ready to follow, but he had the
start of them and the river to himself. In a few hours he would be with
his family at Rock Hall.
But as he rounded Seven-Foot Knoll and headed across the bay he suddenly
grew excited, and shouted the name of his favorite patron, the great
Then he yelled to his crew:
"What in the devil is that ahead, you lazy loafer?"
The crew rose up en masse—being only one—from its lolling position
beside the mainmast, and looked out over the disturbed waters. And then
it was the crew's turn to become excited.
"Golly, Cap. Jim, I ain't never done seen nuthin' like that afore. What
the debbil am it?"
The commander of the Tuckahoe responded:
"I'll be jiggered if I know."
The crew instinctively moved back to a position close to the master, and
both, with mixed feelings of alarm and curiosity, concentrated their
gaze upon the strange sight that had aroused them.
"I've been running to Baltimore these ten years, John Washington," said
the Captain to the crew, "and I've seen queer things on the bay and the
river. I'll never forget how them blamed naval fellers from Annapolis
frightened me by coming up out of the water with one of them durned
submarines. But I'll be blowed if ever I have seen anything to beat
this. There warn't no island out there when we run past the Knoll going
"'Deed there warn't, Cap. Jim. Golly, I'se scared, I is. Ain't you
'fraid it's one of Satan's traps, Cap. Jim? The debbil am mighty
cunnin', you knows dat."
"Devil or not, John, I'm going to see what it really is."
And the captain of the Tuckahoe gave the command "Hard lee!" so as to
head the bay craft more directly toward the centre of the mysterious
island that they had discovered. It was now about a half mile distant
and, as seen in the morning light, low-lying and ten acres or so in
extent. Its most peculiar feature to the pair on the bugeye was a grove
of tall trees, naked to a height of 60 or 80 feet, and then crowned by
enormous spreading leaves, or branches.
"Them's powerful funny trees, Cap. Jim," said the colored deckhand,
"Never seen anything like 'em in this bay before," replied Captain
Cromwell. "I ain't never been in the tropics, John, but they look mighty
like pictures of cocoanut palms."
"Tropics, Cap. Jim?"
"Yes; the West Indies."
"In de name of de Lawd, Cap. Jim, how dem trees done get here from de
West Indies? Dat a long way off, ain't it?"
Captain Cromwell made no reply. He was too intently studying the island.
All of a sudden he was startled by his crew sinking on its knees on the
deck with an exclamation. He turned and saw the negro's skin blanched
"Fo' de Lawd Gawd, Cap. Jim, dat thing am movin'."
"Skidoo, John, skidoo," said the Captain, skeptically.
"'Deed an' double-deed, it is, Cap. Jim. You jes' look behind it ober
dar at Kent Island."
The Captain peered as directed, while the negro eyed him doubtfully.
"Great Jehoshaphat!" the white man cried. "You're right, John, you're
right. That there island is a-movin' up the bay."
"Ain't yer skeered, Cap. Jim?" asked the crew, with a shudder. "'Pears
to me it's mighty like de debbil."
Captain Cromwell was doubtful himself. He laid his hand on the tiller
and was about to change his course when he made a fresh discovery.
"There's a man on that island, as I'm a-livin'," he exclaimed.
"Whar is he, Cap. Jim?" cried the negro.
"Right by that grove of trees, John. He's waving his arms at us. He's
standing by some kind of a hut and there's a tall pole with the stars
and stripes turned upside down."
"Maybe dey's pirates, Cap. Jim." Visions of the dreaded skull and
cross-bones and of a horrible death at the yardarm, whatever that was,
made John Washington's teeth and knees knock together violently.
"Pirates, the deuce! They're Americans that want help."
"And is you gwine close, Cap. Jim? Lawdy."
The crew started forward and the Captain held the bugeye to its course
to the strange island. The man by the grove of palms waved his arms and
ran toward the shore nearest to them. He shouted several times, but
Captain Cromwell could not hear him. Finally, the man picked up a huge
leaf, and, twisting it into a cornucopia shape, made a megaphone of it.
With this aid his voice came floating over the bay.
"Keep off!" he called. "There is a sunken reef on this side. Head for
the cove." He pointed to the north end of the floating mass, and
Captain Cromwell put about. The island, now that he was close, appeared
to be making good headway—at least four or five miles an hour. There
was a swish and a swirl of water on the sides that showed it would have
been folly to have run in shore there. But after he had rounded a
hummock of glistening sand he saw the cove, and in a few minutes more
had entered it and discovered a roughly constructed wharf. John
Washington reluctantly obeyed a sharp order to take in sail, and, with
the aid of the stranger ashore, the Tuckahoe was presently moored.
Captain Cromwell's first impulse was to laugh at a near view of the man
on the island. "Powerful funny lookin'," was John Washington's comment.
His hair and whiskers were of the red hue that could never by courtesy
be called auburn. Both whiskers and hair were long and ragged and would
have provoked despair in any aseptic barber shop in Baltimore. For coat
the islander had on a baggy affair, roughly fashioned out of jute, and
his trousers were of sailcloth, cut in a style that would not have met
the approval of a Maryland Club member. He was thick-set, with a slight
stoop. His wrists were tattooed, his hands horny. His eyes were a placid
blue pair. Above the left one was a scar.
"Where in blazes am I?" he yelled to Captain Cromwell as the Tuckahoe
was nearing the wharf. "Blazes" is a mild translation of the expletive
"Chesapeake bay, mate."
"Chesapeake bay! Jiminy crickets! Blown all the way from the Bahamas!
Well, I'm danged!"
"How did it happen?" asked the master of the Tuckahoe. The newest
Robinson Crusoe didn't hear him.
"How in blazes did I pass in the Capes and not know it?" Again "blazes"
is putting it mildly. "Durned thick, nasty weather yesterday. Couldn't
see a half mile. Must a passed in then. How far up am I?"
"Mouth of the Patapsco."
"By jinks, so it is. I might a knowed it. There's the Knoll. And there's
North P'int. Many's the time I sighted them when I used to run here in a
five-master from Bath."
"How did you come—this time?" again asked Captain Cromwell.
Again his curiosity had to wait. "Got a quid of 'baccy, mate?" asked the
red-bearded man as he stood on the wharf beside the bugeye. "Ain't had a
chaw in four years." He seized eagerly the plug that was handed to him,
broke off a generous "chaw" and thrust it into his mouth. Then, and not
until then, did he make reply.
"How did I come? Caught in a sou'easter, that's all. Nastiest storm you
ever want to see. Hit us suddenly five nights ago. Them palms was bent
double with the wind. Lord only knows why my mansion yonder didn't go.
After while sort a felt we were driftin'. When mornin' broke there was
my kingdom afloat in the ocean cut in two, me alone on this bit and the
biggest half gone off with my subjects on it."
"Yes, my people."
The Captain looked at John and John edged off from the stranger and made
a sign suggestive of deficient mentality.
"Your people?" asked Captain Cromwell.
"Yes, man. Why, I am the King of Tortilla Key."
John renewed the aforesaid sign and edged still farther away. Captain
Cromwell laughed. The stranger chimed in.
"Does sound funny, don't it. Fact is I made myself King. I've got a
crown up at the palace there. Rusty tin saucepan afore I knocked the
The Captain laughed again.
"You're an odd fish," he remarked. "What was your name before you were
"Me? Oh! I'm a 'down Easter.' Peleg Timrod of Squan, Mass., U. S. A. Of
course, I knowed Peleg was no royal name, so I just dubbed myself Victor
Fust when I annexed this here island."
"It ain't much of a kingdom."
"About four times as large as you see afore the rest broke away. Anyway,
I thought it a mighty big place when I got tossed up here goin' on four
year ago. I'd been afloat on the roof of a deckhouse for three days
arter the fruiter Bainbridge were cast away, and I tell you, mate, I was
powerful glad to hit any old kind of terra firma then. The bunch of
natives who fed me and sheltered me was a kind lot. They didn't seem to
belong to no country in partikler, and though I knowed Britain claimed
the Bahamas, I jes' kind a thought Teddy might want the place for a
coaling station some time. So I let 'em know I was their King, and I
reckon I ain't had any more trouble with them than Peter Leary had in
Guam. Of course, I couldn't make it plain to 'em how the Constitution
follows the flag, 'cos I didn't know myself."
"Where did you get your American flag?"
"American flag, mate?" Victor I. was offended. "Why, bless you, that
ain't no stars and stripes. That there's the flag of Tortilla. There's
no stars there. The red's my old undershirt, the blue I found thrown up
in the surf one day and the white is a bit of sail I had with me when I
dropped in to take my throne. That flag means business. I"——
His Majesty was interrupted by a shout from John Washington:
"Golly, Cap. Jim, the island's stopped!"
"Stopped, you lunkhead?"
"Yes, Cap. Jim. It ain't movin' no more. I'se been watchin' Poole's
Island yonder, and we done ceased."
"Maybe it's aground," suggested the King.
"Maybe it is," replied the Rock Hall captain, "but it's more likely to
have run into a current down the bay from the Susquehanna. It's just as
well for you, I guess, or you'd a bumped into Cecil county so hard you
wouldn't a voted next 'lection."
For some minutes the trio studied the island and its surroundings with
intentness. The King was the first to notice when his kingdom got to
"It's headin' down the bay this time," he cheerily declared. "Reckon you
were right about getting into a current. S'pose I'm off on another
"Sail away with me, and let it go," urged Captain Cromwell.
"What! desert my kingdom in such a economic crisis! Not this King. No,
siree. Victor I. stays right here as long as there's a Tortilla to king
it over. There's no kin in Squan to lament the loss of Peleg Timrod, and
I've had a bully time here. Plenty of bananas, pineapples and cocoanuts
to live on, no work to do, and a couple of queens to boot."
"Queens?" cried Captain Cromwell.
"Golly!" exclaimed his crew.
"Yes; two as fine-looking girls as you'd want to see. I'm powerful sorry
they ain't here now to give you a royal welcome. They're gone with the
rest of the island and the rest of the subjects. I miss 'em."
Victor I. sighed. Then he resumed after a pause:
"Women certainly are the curiousest things. They're the same everywhere.
Life's no good without 'em, and they plague you to death while you're
trying to live with 'em. Now, there's those two queens. I loved both,
and yet I had such trouble with 'em last week I made 'em go home to
their father's hut. Ain't I sorry they wasn't at the palace when the
"How did I get 'em? Oh, they were given to me when I first came to
Tortilla. You see, when I got throwed up here there was a family of
natives, eight in all—the old man, the old woman, three daughters, the
husband of one of them and two young boys. The two girls who didn't have
no husbands took a shine to me as soon as I came and dad just passed me
along to both. That was before I declaimed myself King. I was brought up
in Sunday-school all right and I knowed well only Turks and Mormons had
two wives at a time. But, under the circumstances, I couldn't offend
anybody, so I just took both. Eugenie—that's the name I give her—she
could cook and keep house out of sight. The little one—Marie
Antoinette—was the cutest and soon had the biggest corner of my heart.
That's what got me into trouble. You see, new clothes was scarce on
Tortilla, and when I gave a bit of my old sail to Marie Antoinette for a
Sunday-go-to-meetin' dress and didn't give none to Eugenie their oldest
sister put the devil into Eugenie's head. She"——
The further recital of the tale of a pair of queens was cut short by a
terrible roaring. A piece of the island behind the wharf broke loose and
sank into the bay with a suddenness that put the Tuckahoe in dire peril.
The wave that followed the engulfing of an acre of land lifted the
little bugeye and nearly capsized it, at the same time ripping the wharf
to pieces and snapping the moorings. Captain Cromwell and his negro
sprang to the tiller and succeeded in steadying her. When they had time
to look about them they saw the red-headed King in the water a hundred
feet away, swimming for what was left of his kingdom.
"Come nearer; I'll throw you a line," shouted Captain Cromwell.
"No; I'll stick to my kingdom," answered Victor I., alias Peleg Timrod.
"You'd better sheer off; you'll hit a coral reef or get drawn under."
The Tuckahoe's master saw that it was good advice, and he ordered John
Washington to hoist sail. By the time this was done they were a quarter
of a mile out in the bay, and Victor I., wet and dripping, was again on
his terra firma.
"Goodbye," yelled the bay captain.
"Bye-bye," returned the King, nonchalantly.
And soon he was but a speck on the strand of the floating island, which
was making good progress southward.
For half an hour Tortilla Key was visible in the bay. Captain Cromwell
and John watched it unceasingly, the latter growing more and more
relieved as the bugeye scudded nearer home and farther from the moving
marvel. Strange to relate, over the bay, usually dotted with small or
large vessels, there was no steamer or sailing craft to be seen up to
the time that the bunch of tall palms became a speck off Annapolis and
was finally lost in the south horizon. This evidently suggested a line
of action to the master of the Tuckahoe.
"John Washington," he said, as he mustered his crew aft and addressed it
sternly, "don't you ever breathe a word about that floatin' island to a
living soul, or I'll skin you alive."
"Golly, Cap. Jim, you knows I ain't."
"Well, you'd better not, because folks is liable to think we made a
round of Pratt-street saloons afore we boarded the Tuckahoe."
"Dey sutt'nly 'll think we's liars, Cap. Jim."
"They certainly will, John."
For a week Captain Cromwell scanned the daily papers anxiously for news
of the progress of the queer derelict. And each day, with equal
curiosity, John Washington visited him to learn what he could.
"Thought as how it mout a bumped up down Norfolk way," said the crew.
"No, it hasn't," replied the Captain. "I guess it must be chasing up and
down the ocean now."
"Golly, Cap. Jim, but dat dere was powerful queer."
"Are you sure, John, you've never told any one—not even Liza?"
"Go 'way, Cap'n, wha' for you s'pose I'se gwine tell de old woman?"
But he had. And her narrative, as circulated in Eastern-Shore cabins,
was a vastly more moving tale than the simple unvarnished truth as you
and I know it.
Alexander the Great
Alexander loved everything about Antoinette except her too pronounced
fondness for the romantic. That perturbed him greatly. Nobody liked to
be sentimental with a pretty girl more than did Alexander. If he could
squeeze Antoinette's hand slyly at Ford's or the Academy when a "dark
scene" was on, and get a sweet answering pressure; if he engineered his
arm about her undisturbed when he took her driving on Druid Hill's
unlighted roads of a summer night; if he hazarded an occasional kiss on
her warm, cherry-red lips as they lingered in the parting on the front
steps of her Harlem-avenue home—he was as pleased as any admiring lover
could well be. And the next day in that dull, prosaic German-street
office, pictures of Antoinette as she laughed, of Antoinette as she
lowered her clear brown eyes after that kiss, would thrust themselves
most impertinently into each page of the big ledger he had to post.
The trouble, however, with Antoinette from Alexander's viewpoint was
that she was more romantic than that. It was all right for her to be a
trusting little dear and allow him the occasional kiss or hug. But no
adorer likes to be told that he doesn't come up to the lady's ideal, and
that was what Antoinette had plainly given Alexander to understand in
those moments when, spurred on by the kiss or the hug, he had sought to
make her more truly his only and own. "The man I marry," vowed the
darling Antoinette, "must be a hero. You're just an ordinary fellow.
You're better than the rest I know, and I like you awfully much. But
Alexander, dear," and she gave a little twist to the top button of his
coat, "I don't love you, because you have never shown yourself capable
of bold deeds or brave actions. I am woman enough to worship a man who
can do things of that kind. The age of chivalry is not dead. There are
heroes in this world, and though I'm awfully fond of you, Alexander, I'm
going to wait until I meet my ideal." Then Alexander would hie himself
to his Gilmor-street home and curse his luck. What could a plain,
unassuming, workaday clerk do in the way of being a hero? Where did he
have opportunities of meeting situations of peril in which he could
prove his valor?
One of those evenings when Antoinette waxed confidential and revealed
her true thoughts—evenings rare, because, as a rule, she was fencing
coquettishy with tongue and eyes—she acknowledged that the nearest
approach to her ideal that she had ever seen was a handsome, lithe young
Atlantic City life guard. She put such a valuation upon the courage of
this sun-bronzed, red-shirted Adonis that Alexander's jealousy rose to
the fuming point. There pressed upon him the notion of going to the
City-by-the-Sea, either to challenge this approximate ideal to mortal
combat or of emulating his choice of occupation and working a lifeboat
and a rescue-line himself. Then he reflected that, after all, he would
rather be a live clerk in Baltimore than a dead hero in the restless
"It's all the fault of those blamed novels," muttered Alexander, in his
wrath. "She has filled up her head with that silly trash until she has
spoiled the finest girl on earth." He never met her on Lexington street
that she was not on her way to or from the Enoch Pratt Library, or was
carrying home the latest bit of fiction from the bookstores. The old and
the new alike fed her imagination—Scott, the elder Dumas, the King
Arthur romances, Stanley Weyman, Anthony Hope, Hallie Erminie Rives,
Laura Jean Libbey, Bertha M. Clay, Mrs. Alexander—all were fish for her
net, tabloids for her mental digestion. "If she had her way, she would
make me a Rob Roy, a Romeo, a Prisoner of Zenda, a Sir Gal—or whatever
the dickens that old fellow's name was," vowed Alexander, who, it must
be confessed, was not strong on literature.
For three hours and more he lay awake on his bed that night. He knew the
length of time, because the wind was from the east and brought the sound
of the City Hall's strike to him. How to gain Antoinette in marriage,
how to meet her fancy of what a man ought to be, how to be a hero
without an untimely fate in the flower of his youth—was ever lover more
perplexed, more worried!
The next morning brought his deliverance. It came to him as he held
himself in place on two inches of the footboard of a crowded open car.
A queer spot for salvation to be handed to a despairing lover! Yet
salvation is accustomed to odd performances. In this instance it popped
into Alexander's mind so unexpectedly that he chuckled and made a seated
individual think Alexander was reading the jokes of his penny paper over
his shoulder. As a matter of fact, Alexander was soaring into a new and
unexplored world. A great white light was leading him far from the
For three days chuckling alternated with heavy thinking. His mind was so
engrossed with the probability of his deliverance from the trials and
anxieties of trying vainly to please Antoinette that when he went, by
appointment, to take her to Electric Park to see the vaudeville show he
came perilously near telling her all about it. And that to the swain who
hopes to capture a hesitating maiden would, as every masculine knows,
have been fatal. As it was, Alexander's countenance was so benign and
cheerful that the little lady noticed it.
"You've got a surprise for me, I know," she declared as she eyed him,
pouting most charmingly.
She had hit so near the truth that Alexander, helpless masculine,
floundered. "N—n—no. I—I—I haven't," he vowed.
"Yes, you have, Alexander Brotherton," she replied, spiritedly; and at
midnight as they were crossing Harlem square, homeward bound, she
snuggled up to him confidingly and intimated that it was about time to
Alexander weakened. When a fellow is 24 and a girl is 22 and unusually
pretty and winsome, his heart must be adamant to withstand that little
trick of snuggling up. Alexander gasped, but with the gasp gained sense
enough to see he couldn't tell her about the "great white light."
Antoinette, girl like, was miffed. It was the first time in her
experience with Alexander, and in fact with several other adorers, that
she had not been able to operate that little device successfully. As a
result, she was rather cool when they parted.
The next evening Alexander went around to make it up. He had to "crawl,"
of course. They all do. The girls make them do it. And when he had
apologized earnestly for the eleventh time and vowed with a double
criss-cross that there really wasn't any secret, Antoinette was
partially mollified and allowed Alexander to stay until past 11 o'clock
without a recurrence of pouting on her part.
The next night she was in a lovely humor when Alexander came around. It
was close and hot, and, after buying sondaes at the drug store on the
corner below, Alexander suggested riding out and strolling along some of
the paths of Druid Hill Park. He put it humbly, but he was most blithe
and joyous when she consented.
They were walking up the Mall on their way to the boat lake half an hour
later. It was dark just there, and, as no one seemed to be near,
Alexander let his hand steal around Antoinette's little waist.
"You shouldn't do that," said Antoinette slipping away from him, but not
angrily. "We're not engaged, you know."
"I'd like to be," asserted Alexander ardently.
What answer she would have made can only be guessed at, for just at this
moment two muscular fellows sprang in front of them from behind a tree.
In the few arc-light rays that penetrated the low-hanging limbs
Antoinette could see that both were masked and that one held a pistol at
her. Antoinette backed close to Alexander and screamed. It was a good,
lusty scream, far stronger than Alexander had thought her capable of
"Hand over your money and valuables," gruffly said the companion of him
who held the pistol.
Antoinette could feel Alexander double his fists and his muscles grow
hard. He started toward the two highwaymen. "Don't! don't!" she cried,
as she threw her arms around him. "They'll kill you!"
But Alexander heeded her not. Instead, he pushed her aside and sprang
determinedly at the other pair. With his left hand he knocked up the
pistol and caused it to fall to the ground. With his right he delivered
a swinging blow on the shoulder that staggered the other fellow.
Apparently the pair had not expected resistance, for they darted off in
the shadows, with Alexander in stern pursuit.
"Don't leave me alone," called Antoinette agonizingly. Visions of dire
peril to distressed womanhood leaped into her brain from a score of
favorite novels. She might be kidnapped and confined in some dark
tower—she might be shot down from ambush—she might—but, ah, now! her
fears were dissipated, for the doughty Alexander was back. He was
puffing most unromantically, but was overjoyed at the turn that enabled
him to show himself so valiant.
Several strangers had been attracted by Antoinette's scream. Alexander
satisfied their curiosity by a modest recital of the incident. And then
with the adoring Antoinette holding close to him he turned away. One of
the strangers stopped him.
"You've left the pistol," he said.
"By George! so I did," said Alexander.
"Don't take that awful thing," said Antoinette with a shudder.
"It will be a prize trophy," said Alexander, and Antoinette with this
point of view was content. Under the first light he showed the weapon to
her. She needed to be encouraged to handle the pistol, but finally she
inspected it closely. "It has your initials—'A. B.'—on it," she
"Why so it has," stammered Alexander. Without further ado he put the
revolver in his pocket.
"Hadn't you better tell the park gateman about the outrage?" asked
"No; I think it wiser to keep it out of the papers," returned Alexander.
"After all, it was only a little incident, with no serious
But Antoinette did not regard it in that light. To her it was a
valorous deed, and she rehearsed her view of it all the way home.
"You are my hero, my first hero," she said to the proud Alexander on her
stoop, and reaching up to his face she impulsively gave him the warmest
kiss he had ever secured from her. The hero business wasn't so bad after
Some evenings later they were again strolling in the park. Alexander had
received permission to smoke a cigarette as they walked, but could not
light it in the breeze that was blowing. "Wait a moment, little girl,"
he finally said, and he stepped aside to the protection of a broad tree
trunk, perhaps forty feet away, leaving Antoinette on the path. It was
the main-traveled way from Madison-avenue gate to the Mansion House, but
at the time no one was near. Suddenly, however, a tall man loomed up
from behind Antoinette and seized her rudely in his arms.
"A kiss, my little beauty," he said as he put his face close to hers.
Antoinette would have dropped with fright had not his firm grasp upheld
her. She was too scared to scream, but she did have presence of mind
enough to turn her face aside. What she saw when she did turn overjoyed
her, for Alexander was coming agilely over the turf to her rescue.
"Here, let go of that lady, you dirty whelp!" cried Alexander, when yet
some paces away. The man relaxed his hold on her, but, instead of
running as her hold-up man had done, he turned to meet the oncoming
champion. Alexander grappled with him and there was a stout tussle. It
seemed ages to Antoinette, who was watching the struggle with tense,
strained eyes, before Alexander proved his redoubtability by throwing
her insulter over on the grass.
"Oh, Alexander!" she cried in exultation and relief. "You are so strong
Alexander, panting, swelled his chest. Such praise from the girl he
loved was like divine, enchanting wine. He took her to his bosom, as
they say. But the fond embrace was cut short by a snicker from the
onlooker. He had not risen from the recumbent position in which
Alexander's prowess had placed him. Antoinette's beloved turned angrily
on him, "Get you gone, you vile dog!" he exclaimed theatrically. And
then he kicked him, not gently, but positively.
In a flash the other man was up and had grabbed the surprised Alexander.
It was such a grab that Alexander murmured in pain. Antoinette thought
she heard one of them say something about "Not in the bargain." She was
not sure. But she was sure that Alexander was not doing so well in the
second round of combat as in the first. Then he whispered to his
opponent, and almost immediately the strength of the other diminished,
even as did Samson's when shorn of his locks. Presently the other broke
away and ran, and Alexander stood breathless, master of the field.
On the walk back to the Druid Hill-avenue entrance to take a car for
home Antoinette again proposed that they tell the authorities of the
two attacks. Alexander was against it. He said he dreaded the mire of
publicity for the sweetest creature on earth. And he looked at her
lovingly as he said it. Antoinette's purpose weakened, but she had
enough strength of will left to declare she was almost sure she could
identify her assailant. "He had an odd-shaped mole on his right cheek,"
she remarked. "And, do you know, it's curious that I think I am nearly
certain that one of our highwaymen of last week had a similar mark. I
got a glimpse of it once when a puff of air caught his mask." Alexander
redoubled his urgings that they keep silent. He breathed easier when
they were past the gateman and on the car.
For a week he basked in the glory of her adulation. Never was a hero so
worshiped as this proven one. Never was a sweet girl so happy as
Antoinette. She had met her ideal, and he was hers. Twenty hours of the
twenty-four she dreamed of him; the other four she rejoiced at being
The eighth night after the second encounter in Druid Hill he had taken
her to Gwynn Oak Park to dance. Until the sixth number, the waltzes and
two-steps were all his. Then Will Harrison, an old acquaintance, came
up. "I hate to leave you," whispered Antoinette, as she gazed up into
her hero's face, "but Will is a nice boy, and I don't like to refuse him
one." Alexander smiled in return, and told her to enjoy herself. As she
floated around on Will's arm she took advantage of every turn to watch
the adored Alexander. She thought he looked lonely, and she wished she
could decently end her waltz and get back to him. For a moment, in a
reverse step, she lost sight of him, and when she saw him again a tall
young fellow was talking to him. Alexander seemed ill at ease and
perturbed. In fact, he quite failed to notice that she was nearing him
again in the dance. "I want that extra five you whispered you'd give
me," Antoinette heard the tall chap say. "That kick was worth it. If you
don't cough up I'll tell the lady how much it cost you, you coward, to
be a hero twice." Antoinette looked intently at the tall man. There was
a mole on his right cheek. She was wise all of a sudden. Then she grew
faint with the shock of the knowledge.
"Take me out of here," she muttered to her partner. He obeyed. A car was
fast filling up to leave for Walbrook. Antoinette made a dash for it.
"Come, take me home, Will!" she called. Again he obeyed, and bounced her
into a seat.
"I'll never speak to that awful wretch again," said Antoinette to the
curious Will. "I am ashamed of myself."
And thus was Alexander the Great dethroned.
Breaking Into Medicine
To MR. JOHN IREDELL,
Baltimore, Oct. 1, 1906.
I have been here nearly a week now, and have got pretty well fixed, so I
thought I would report to you tonight. I find that there will be a lot
of hard work with classes, laboratory hours and study, but, as I told
you before I left, I intend to put my shoulder to the wheel and aim so
high that you will have just cause to be proud of me when I become a
Doctor of Medicine. I see that I shall have to cut out all idea of
amusements and pleasure and put my nose to the grindstone.
My college—the P. & S.—opened last Thursday with an address by the
Dean, a helpful speech that I should like you to have heard. For,
although I chose medicine chiefly because Uncle Will made a success of
it out in Texas, I was glad to hear the Dean tell what a noble
profession it was to relieve suffering millions.
The college occupies a red brick building at Calvert and Saratoga
streets, and is operated in connection with the City Hospital, which
adjoins it and where there are hundreds of patients. I don't know
whether you remember the locality, as it has been so many years since
you were in Baltimore. It is close to the business centre, only a block
north of the Courthouse and the Postoffice. There are about 300
students. They come from all parts of this country, and even from
foreign lands. I will bear in mind what you said about not being too
thick with any of them.
I have secured a boarding-house on North Calvert street—No. 641. It is
kept by a widow lady from Mecklenburg county, and she calls it the
Yadkin and makes a special effort to attract "Tarheels." Nearly all her
boarders are from North Carolina, and we get the papers from Raleigh and
other places, so that it is quite homelike for me.
I pay $5 a week board, and there ought not to be many extra expenses,
except for books, so I can get along nicely on the $35 a month you said
you would give me. But I told them at the College to send you the
tuition bill. That was all right, wasn't it?
Your devoted son,
To MISS GRACE IREDELL,
Baltimore, Oct. 4, 1906.
Dear Little Sis:
I wrote Father the other day and told how I had got started at the
College. I suppose you read the letter or heard all the news in it. I
really haven't buckled down to hard work, because there has been such a
lot of "hazing" that we "freshies" are being captured all the time.
Last Friday the older fellows actually made a line of us walk up and
down some of the principal streets with our trousers and coats turned
inside out, our stockings down over our shoes, our bare legs tattooed
and crazy signs on our backs. Just fancy what a guy your big brother
looked on Lexington street, where all the ladies here go shopping! I
should have died if I had seen anybody from home. There wasn't any
breaking away, because they were too many for us. One "freshy" tried it,
and he's going around with a bum eye and his hand in a sling.
After the parade they took us in a back yard and made us do "stunts."
One prisoner had to deliver a solemn oration from a beer keg on "Whether
Cuba ought to be annexed to the United States." When it came my turn I
thought I'd get off easy by giving some of those imitations of dogs and
cats and roosters that I used to get off with the crowd at home. But
they made such a hit that now they have me doing them all the time.
Every time I come out of class a gang of yelling Indians grab me and
carry me off to do imitations. I'm tired of it, but I can't help it.
Two of the fellows at my boarding-house got me to go to a theatre on
Baltimore street last night. It was a variety show, a mixed programme of
acrobatic feats, singing and girls dancing. I thought it all fine, but
the crowd didn't like every bit of it, for at places they began to yell
"Get the hook!" whatever that means.
I intended to hunt up a Methodist church last Sunday, but one of the
associate professors at the college was a classmate of Uncle Will's, and
he invited me to evening service at a Congregational church, a beautiful
edifice on Maryland avenue, looking more like a costly college building
than a church. I enjoyed myself, for there was some fine singing, and we
sat right behind one of the prettiest girls I have ever seen. At the end
I was introduced to some of the people and they invited me to a social
at the church one evening next week.
Maybe you had better not let Father read this. He might get the idea I
wasn't taking my studies seriously enough.
To MR. HUGH IREDELL,
641 North Calvert Street,
Summerfield, N. C., Oct. 6, 1906.
I am glad you are settled in Baltimore and so well satisfied with your
choice of a dignified and honorable profession. I expect to see you
buckle right down to hard work and study, for I will not support a grown
son in idleness. I am not so well pleased at what your mother tells me
you wrote Grace, that you went to a theatre and that you did not go to a
Methodist church last Sunday, as you promised. You remember what Pastor
told you about the danger to young men of drifting from church to church
in a large city like Baltimore, and not sticking to any.
I got the bill for your college fees today. I was surprised that you did
this, for you told me when I agreed to let you go that you would pay
everything out of $35 a month. I will send a money order for it this
time, but you must settle it yourself next term.
To MISS GRACE IREDELL,
Summerfield, N. C.
Baltimore, Oct. 10, 1906.
Dear Little Sis:
What in the world made you blab about what I wrote you last week? Father
sends me a roast about going to a theatre and not going to a Methodist
church. You know a fellow should not be expected to work all the time,
but Father's old-fashioned and can't see it that way. Don't tell him
anything like that again.
I have been to theatres a couple more times. You know it doesn't cost
much if you sit with the "gods" in the cheaper seats. All the fellows
pay Dutch and we have a jolly time. One night we went into a lunchroom
on Fayette street and enjoyed fried oysters. Another night we went to a
German place downtown and had a bottle of beer and a cheese sandwich. It
was lively there; such a nice lot of people.
I haven't been to a Methodist church yet. I intended to go Sunday
morning, but I was out late Saturday night and I didn't get up in time.
Sunday night I went to that Associate Church again. I saw my pretty
girl—I tell you she's a beauty. She had a fellow with her. Wish I had
been in his place. Going to a blow-out at the church tomorrow night.
Maybe she'll be there. Hope so....
To MR. CLARENCE ROWAN,
Raleigh, N. C.
Baltimore, Oct. 25, 1906.
Dear Old Chum:
Haven't heard a word since I wrote you from home to say I was coming to
Baltimore to study medicine, but suppose you're too busy rushing the
lady you're going to marry. Say, old man, I'm clean gone myself.
Prettiest girl I ever looked at. Saw her two Sunday nights in church
when I first came, and then was lucky enough to meet her at a church
social. I wish you could have seen her. No, I don't, because if you had
I should have had you for a rival. Anyway, she looked a vision. She's
tall, with a stunning figure and a graceful way of holding herself.
She's a blonde, her hair glinted with gold, her eyes as blue as—I was
going to say indigo, but nothing about her is as blue as that. I never
did take to blondes, you know, but this one has got me, because she has
vivacity and unbends most delightfully. I talked to her half an hour the
night I met her. Gee, but the fellow who brought her looked sour! I must
have made some kind of an impression, for when she was bidding me
good-night she asked me to call. She lives on a street called Guilford
avenue, in North Baltimore. I was over there last Tuesday night. Asked
her if I might come when I saw her at church Sunday. I tell you she was
a dream in a pink gown, with her golden hair all done up on her head in
some kind of a way I can't describe, but looking magnificent. She told
me about a fellow who wanted to come see her that night, but she let him
know she had another engagement, and the way she told me, looking at me
with those splendid blue eyes, just made me feel I was cutting some ice
there. She can tickle the ivories in great shape, and spent most of the
evening at the piano. She goes to the theatre a lot, and she had all the
latest comic opera songs, like those of Anna Held and Marie Cahill, and
she can play ragtime out of sight. I tried to get her to play some
sentimental things, but she said she wasn't in that mood. I'd like to
catch her when she is.
Tomorrow afternoon I expect to be a great occasion. She studies painting
at the Maryland Institute, an art school here, and she has asked me to
go sketching with her out in the country. I'll have to cut some of my
college work, but you can bet I'm going to do that all right.
To MR. CLARENCE ROWAN,
Baltimore, Nov. 1, 1906.
Dear Old Chum:
Glad to hear from you so soon, and glad to hear you are interested in
Miss Edith Wolfe. No, I don't think you'd better come to Baltimore. But,
if you're good and stay away, I'll send you a photo of her she has
promised to give me and let you see what she looks like. No picture of
her can do her justice, however, for she's just the liveliest girl you
ever knew, beside being so handsome.
I've been up to her home twice in a week, took her to the theatre last
night and went to church with her Sunday. But the bulliest time of all
was that sketching trip last Friday, of which I wrote you. It was a
magnificent October afternoon, and the country was simply superb, with
the trees all tinted to glorious hues by a frost two weeks ago. I
carried her little easel and canvas stool, and we got in a car near her
home and rode out to a suburb called Mount Holly. I had no idea there
was such beautiful scenery near Baltimore, so bold and mountainous
looking. We strolled first along a path beside a millrace, high up on a
hillside, a path overhung by arching trees, with Gwynn's Falls tumbling
over the rocks in cascades far beneath, and a beautiful outlook across
the valley to some handsome wooded country estates. After that we went
down beside the stream and sat under a great rock, while Miss Wolfe made
a sketch of the Falls. It didn't take her long—just a rough painted
outline, you know. She's going to fill it in at home, and she has
promised me a copy for my room. She was in the jolliest mood imaginable,
and we had a merry hour there "far from the madding crowd." I shall
always call it a "red day," because then I got my first kiss from her.
It came about in this way. She dropped her paint brush while we were
sitting on a rock at the water's edge, and it floated down stream. She
said she wouldn't lose it for worlds. "Will you reward me if I recover
it?" I asked. She said she would. "A kiss?" I asked. "Oh! stop your
nonsense, you foolish boy!" she said, with a laugh. I ran down the bank,
clambered out on some rocks, steered the brush in with a stick and took
it to her. Then we wrangled for ten minutes gaily about whether she had
or had not promised me that kiss. Suddenly she leaned forward and met my
lips with hers. "There, let that end it," she cried, as she blushed. It
didn't end it, for it was so good I wanted more out of the same package.
But she wouldn't let me have any more. Aren't girls mean? I suppose I'll
have to make more bargains with her or I'll get no more kisses. She says
she always sticks to a bargain.
You have no idea how clever she is in dodging if I try to steer the talk
to sentimental ground. I have called her an arrant flirt a score of
times, but she just laughs. And such a laugh!
The show last night hit me $3.20, counting car fares, and my allowance
from the old man is running short. I'm glad she didn't accept my
invitation to go to the Rennert to eat after "The Lion and the Mouse."
She said she would like to, but we'd better go straight home from
Ford's, as her mother would prefer it that way.
Wish me success, old fellow, with my love affair. I tell you, that girl
has got me going so I can't get interested in dry old stuff about bones.
To MISS GRACE IREDELL,
Summerfield, N. C.
Baltimore, Nov. 21, 1906.
Dear Little Sis:
I wish you had been with me last night to see the largest dance you ever
set your eyes on. It was a regimental hop at the Fifth Regiment Armory,
an enormous big building that can accommodate, they say, about 15,000
people. They hold there all the biggest conventions that Baltimore has.
It was a grand sight, with a crowd of girls in pretty clothes and
fellows in uniform and dress suits, dancing to the music of the regiment
band. Edith Wolfe's brother is a lieutenant in the regiment, and she
invited me to be her escort. We had our own party—Lieutenant Wolfe,
another soldier boy, a third chap not in uniform and a couple of girl
friends of Edith, petite, pretty, sweet-natured sisters, whom I liked
very much. I danced with all three girls, but especially with Edith, who
looked radiant in a black sequin gown that was unusually well suited to
her blonde type. One waltz to the dreamy music of "Mlle. Modiste" was
The only drawback to me was the expense. I had to pay $4 for a carriage
and $3 for roses. Besides, I had to hire a dress suit, as I could not
have gone without one. Some of the students sent me to a place kept by
twin brothers, identical in appearance, and it was a funny sight to see
them making me into one of their swallow-tails, taking in here and
letting out there. Anyhow, it took the last dollar I had, and I've got
to borrow to get along for two weeks.
To MR. HUGH IREDELL,
College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Baltimore, Nov. 27, 1906.
The faculty desires to notify you that your record is unsatisfactory,
both in regard to attendance and preparedness in class, and it expects
you to show improvement therein or suffer the consequences.
To MRS. JOHN IREDELL,
Summerfield, N. C.
Baltimore, Dec. 2, 1906.
I want you to do me a great favor. I do not dare write Father about it,
but I find I must have a black dress suit in order to look as well as
the other fellows when I go around of an evening. It will cost $40, I
learn, and, of course, I cannot pay for it out of the small monthly sum
Father sends me for my board. Tell him it is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and
urge him please to let me have it. If he will not send the money, I
shall have to borrow it or get the suit somewhere on the instalment
plan. Your devoted son,
To MR. HUGH IREDELL,
641 North Calvert street,
Summerfield, N. C., Dec. 6, 1906.
What is this nonsense about you must have a black swallow-tail? You had
a black suit when you went away. It was good enough to go to parties
here. Are your Baltimore friends so much more aristocratic? Besides,
didn't you go there to study and not to play? You are writing home too
much about girls and society and dances and theatres, and nothing about
work. Remember, I am footing the bills. When I was your age I got up at
4 in the morning and toiled away in the fields till sundown, and then I
was too tired to spruce up and play at being a gentleman. If you're
going to be a doctor, you'd better take a different course.
To MR. CLARENCE ROWAN,
Baltimore, Dec. 10, 1906.
Dear Old Chum:
You're right for complaining I have neglected you, but I have been
having the time of my life. Edith and I have been going it heavy for
nearly two months. I am hit harder than ever. She's a wonderful girl. I
manage to see her every day—meet her down on Lexington street shopping,
take long walks with her out Charles-Street extended, go to church with
her, take her to the theatre and elsewhere at night. She has invited me
into a euchre that meets every three weeks—fine crowd. You ought to see
me in a swell dress suit. Went broke to get it, but it's worth it for
style. You wouldn't know me for a country "Tarheel."
Edith's as cute as they make them. Last night, at the euchre, she found
a double almond, and we ate filopena for a box of candy against a kiss.
I got caught, of course, but she gave me the kiss on her doorstep as we
parted. Then she dropped a hint that it was for a five-pound box. Just
think of that! You remember that line out of "A Texas Steer," "I wonder
if it cost Daniel Webster a hundred to kiss her mother."
Bye bye, old chap; got a date to bowl with Edith at the Garage tonight.
Ought to be studying for "exams," but simply can't.
To MR. JOHN IREDELL,
Summerfield, N. C.
Baltimore, Dec. 20, 1906.
I am requested by the faculty of the College of Physicians and Surgeons
to say that the record of your son is so poor that he cannot be
permitted to continue his studies here. He has more than 50 absences
charged against him, continued unpreparedness in classes and a wretched
showing in the recent examinations.
C. F. B. EVAN,
To HUGH IREDELL,
641 N. Calvert St., Baltimore.
Summerfield, N. C., Dec. 21, 1906.
Come home at once. Letter from faculty.
To JOHN IREDELL,
Summerfield, N. C.
Baltimore, Dec. 21, 1906.
Wire me $75 first. Owe that much board, etc.
To HUGH IREDELL,
641 N. Calvert Street. Baltimore.
Summerfield, N. C., Dec. 21, 1906.
Sell dress suit and pawn watch. Wait till I see you.
To MISS EDITH WOLFE,
1746 Guilford Ave., Baltimore.
Washington, Dec. 22, 1906.
Sorry I can't see you tonight. Called home suddenly by my father. Don't
know why. Will write long letter when I get home. Hope to be back soon.
Until then fond love and kisses, from
To MRS. CLARA YANCY,
The Yadkin, Baltimore.
Washington, Dec. 22, 1906.
I regret very much leaving you so abruptly today. I will send you money
for the board owing as soon as I can. Until then will you please take
good care of my trunk. Respectfully,
The Pink Ghost of Franklin Square
The Ghost appeared very modestly at first. Some children sitting on a
bench just before dark saw it in the second-story window of one of those
big old brownstone fronts on Fayette street, on the south side of
Franklin Square. It seemed so uncanny and weird to them that they talked
a lot about it when they went that evening to their homes on South
Stricker street. The parents pooh-poohed it, of course, and told the
children there was no cause for alarm. But when one of the little girls,
after a restless, troubled effort to get to sleep, had had a strenuous
nightmare, and had alarmed the household by shrieking that the woman in
pink was beckoning, the older folk decided to investigate.
The next night there was no ghost. Two fathers sat with the children in
the Square from supper time until after 9 o'clock, but nothing happened.
Naturally, the fathers thought it a pure case of nerves. But the
children were so insistent and so circumstantial in their story that the
older heads wavered and returned on the following evening.
And then they saw the Ghost!
Just after the June sun had left the trees and a few dying gleams were
coloring the tops of the tall houses on Carey street, on the east side
of the Square, the Ghost showed itself at the window the children had
pointed out. It was a figure nebulous and hazy, but undeniably pink. It
appeared right at the window, and after standing still for a moment
began to wave its long arms with fantastic gestures, and to make other
movements which the children interpreted as beckoning to them. Then it
evaporated, but in another moment reappeared and went through more
The exclamations of the children attracted the attention of others in
the Square, and soon a score of people stood fascinated and puzzled by
the weird vision. It lasted perhaps five minutes more, quite up to when
darkness settled down on the Square, and none was able to explain or
give any reasonable solution of what all had undeniably seen. They
continued to watch, and continued to discuss, but the vanished Ghost
came no more that evening.
The next night, the news having spread, there were a hundred persons or
more in the southeast part of the Square. The Ghost came on time and
went through the same antics. The wonderment and the mystery grew. And
still none could explain, though a resident of the block stated that the
house under watch was temporarily without occupants, as the family who
dwelt in it had been gone to Europe for some weeks.
It was four days after this before the police heard of it. By that time,
with the exception of the "cops," it seemed as though everybody in
Southwest Baltimore was discussing the Ghost. A reporter worked up a
lively tale about it for an afternoon paper, and Round Sergeant Norman,
as he left the station-house that evening, was instructed to "lay the
Ghost." You know the police don't believe in the supernatural. Too often
etherealized ghosts turn out to be most mundane burglars and
The Sergeant found a thousand eager watchers in the Square when he
arrived. The afternoon paper had evidently been digested well. Each
watcher was straining his eyes at the brownstone mansion on Fayette
street. From the windows of several Carey-street houses curious persons
leaned out, and even on the west, at the Franklin-Square Hospital, there
were other interested observers.
"It's either a 'fake' or a burglar," declared the Sergeant positively,
as he took the "cub" reporter to task for making such capital out of the
Ghost. He was just about to narrate some of his own experiences with
bogus spooks when the Pink Ghost became visible, and the Sergeant
started and uttered a surprised exclamation. A thousand other pairs of
eyes had seen it, and a thousand throats called out, in varied strength
"There it is! There it is!"
A hush fell over the crowd as they watched the figure in pink. The
deepening shadows toned the dark-brown front of the mansion until it
framed the outlines in the window with considerable positiveness. But
the uncanny nature of the appearance was also in evidence, for one could
see right through the figure in pink to the room behind it. Those near
the Round Sergeant saw him remove his helmet and mop the increasing
perspiration from his forehead.
"That beats the devil," he muttered.
The Ghost began to wave its arms, to bend over and then straighten up;
to beckon and then to make gestures as if of denial. The Sergeant's awe
was great, but no whit more intense than that of the crowd. They were
face to face with a bit of the supernatural, puzzled, wondering,
doubting, scoffing, fascinated, alarmed.
"By Jiminy!" exclaimed the Sergeant. "That's the strangest thing I've
ever seen, Howard. We'll have to go into that house."
But their visit that night was destined to be futile. Some minutes were
lost in gaining access to the rear roof through the house next on the
west, and some minutes more in prying open a shutter and forcing a
carefully locked sash. By this time the twilight had deepened into
night, and the Sergeant lit a borrowed lantern to make the trip down the
stairway to the second-story front. There was nothing strange or
supernatural in the room; no sign of a pink ghost or any other being,
human or spiritual. The furniture and other fittings seemed undisturbed
and as regularly arranged as they had probably been when the owners went
away. And when Howard, the reporter, raised a window, a hundred watchers
in the street and Square were ready to vouchsafe the information that
the Ghost had been gone quite ten minutes.
The Sergeant swore. Then he muttered: "It certainly is queer." Then he
took Howard on a thorough inspection of the house, from cellar to roof.
They poked into cupboards, turned over mattresses, peeped into bureau
drawers and boxes and a score of other articles too small to have hidden
anything human. But nary a sign was there of ghost, burglar or joker.
"It beats the devil," again remarked the Sergeant as he and Howard,
perspiringly hot, left the house about 9 o'clock.
The following morning the papers were full of it. Southwest Baltimore no
longer mortgaged the new sensation. All Baltimore discussed it and
speculated what it might be. And, as a result, the crowd of watchers as
the June day drew to a close numbered not one, but many, thousands.
Around at the Concord Club they said it beat any political mass-meeting
ever seen. The Square was overrun, and everybody talked "Pink Ghost."
Captain Delany ordered out the police reserves to keep the crowd in
check and give the cars a chance to get by. With Round Sergeant Norman,
the Captain personally superintended the preparations to lay the ghost.
The Pink Ghost did not disappoint them. It came to the window on
scheduled time—just as the shadows deepened in Franklin Square—and it
waved its arms from the window and beckoned to the awed and puzzled
multitude. Captain Delany gave a signal, and from front and rear his
picked men swarmed into the empty house and rushed up the stairway. The
Round Sergeant was in the van. He had been berated and ridiculed for
not solving the mystery the night before, and he determined to be in at
the death now. But as he crossed the threshold of the front room he
started back in amazement and fell against the bluecoat behind him. The
Pink Ghost was not in the window, but swaying and frantically waving on
the west wall of the room.
"My God! what is it?" cried the man behind.
Norman could only point to the wall. His own hair was, he felt, actually
raising his helmet off his head, and there was a curious contraction in
his throat. In an instant, however, this had passed, and, with club in
hand, he charged bravely upon the Ghost. As he neared it, however, a
surprise awaited him. Instead of waving arms, he saw his own burly form
shadowed on the outer edge of the pink nebula. He turned upon his heel,
quickly bent over, and then burst into loud laughter. For him the riddle
of the Pink Ghost was solved.
"What is it, Norman? What is it, man? Is he crazy?"
The other policemen pushed into the room to be enlightened, but the
Sergeant only laughed the more immoderately. Delany became angry and
started to seize Norman by the shoulder. This brought the Captain into
the pink nebula and he understood Norman's hilarity.
"By gad, that's funny," he cried, and he entered upon a joint spasm of
mirth. The other bluecoats drew near, and as each came into the pink
glow the chorus swelled. Such a lot of uproarious policemen had rarely
been known in Baltimore.
Five minutes later Captain Delany and Sergeant Norman, having at last
controlled themselves, left the closing of the house to subordinates and
crossed the square to a house on Carey street, where they asked to see a
young lady abiding there. She was a very stately and fine-looking young
woman, and when she tripped down into the parlor the attractiveness of
her face was heightened by a slight flush, due most likely to her
wonderment at a visit from two policemen. When they left her ten minutes
later her face was rosy red and her stately carriage had given way to a
combination of mirth and embarrassment. But Delany had her positive
assurance that there would be no more Pink Ghost.
"For, you see, it was this way," he explained to the reporters who
stopped him outside. "The young woman seems to have a steady beau every
evening, for whom she likes to do a bit of fixin' up and primping. And
after supper she makes her way to her room, which is in the front of the
top floor, and there she combs and rearranges her hair and puts on
gew-gaws and trimmings. And in these long summer days, when the sun has
left the square, it is still comin' into those high windows."
"But what has she to do with the Ghost?" asked one irrepressible.
"I was a-comin' to that, youngster," retorted the man in blue; "but if
ye're overanxious, it may satisfy yer to know she was the Pink Ghost.
Leastwise, the sun's reflection was the ghost and she was the movin'
figure that made the shadow do such queer antics. She had a bureau in
the back of her room so fixed that when the rays of the dying sun come
into the window on the north they are reflected in the bureau glass and
pass out of the south window and across the square to that there
brownstone front where you all saw the Ghost. Every time she raised her
arms to her hair or made any other movement in dressing before the
mirror she butt into the reflection and caused your Pink Ghost to do
"And you say there won't be any more Pink Ghost?"
"Not unless the young woman gets careless and leaves up that south
blind. For she sort o' has an idea tonight that the whole of this end of
town has been watching her get ready to meet her beau."
The Vanished Mummy
In the detective headquarters in the Courthouse they have mistakenly
built up a very high notion of my sleuth qualities. Personally I have
always felt that such help as I have been able to render them in two or
three different cases was most largely due to luck, and only in a small
degree to the exercise of logic and common sense in making deductions of
subsequently proven importance from apparently trivial facts.
Nevertheless, the good fortune that attended me in those cases fixed my
reputation with them as the Sherlock Holmes of Baltimore, while the
generosity with which I permitted them to take all the glory of solving
the mysteries made me solid and caused them to consult me the more
frequently in hours of perplexity. At the same time, I confess it, the
love of the game made me eager to be in it and I not only installed a
'phone in my apartment in the Arundel, but I was always careful, in
absenting myself from my office or my flat, to leave word where I would
most likely be found during the next few hours. In this way the puzzled
Vidocqs were usually able to reach me when my help was needed.
I was whiling away a rainy Saturday afternoon at the Maryland a few
weeks ago when I saw Dorland making signs to me from the passageway
behind the boxes on the right of the theatre. Lieutenant Amers'
redcoated British band, of which I had grown very fond, was rendering
the final crashing bars of the overture to "Wilhelm Tell," and, with my
passionate love for music, I was loth to leave until the programme was
completed. But Dorland was a detective who never came for me unless
there was an interesting mystery to offer and I left my seat at once and
joined him in the lobby.
"Which way, Dorland?" I asked.
"Woman's College, sir," he answered, just as briefly.
I gave an exclamation of surprise. An institution attended by hundreds
of girls from the best families of America was not the place one would
expect a mystery of crime.
"Very curious case, sir. Mummy of an Egyptian princess stolen."
"Odd affair," I remarked. "Gives promise of being most unusual. Any
"Not a shred, sir."
On our way out to the College on a Roland-Park car, Dorland gave me a
recital of such facts as he had learned. The mummy had been secured in
Egypt with much difficulty by President Goucher and was one of the
prized possessions of the College museum. Partly divested of its
wrappings of fine linen turned brown with the centuries, the body of
this daughter of the Pharaohs had been exhibited in a glass case on the
second floor of Goucher Hall, while nearby had been placed the case in
which it had rested for ages, a case of wood painted with figures and
hieroglyphics that told the rank and virtues of the little lady. The
night before at 6 o'clock the mummy had been in its place. In the
morning when the janitor's wife was sweeping she discovered the glass
lid prized open and the mummy gone. The night watchman saw nothing,
"And what are your theories?" I asked Dorland, as we passed along
"That it was taken to be sold at a good figure to some other museum;
that it was taken to be sold back to the College; that it was a
students' prank; or that it was done by girls being initiated into one
of the College secret societies."
When I had been introduced to and cordially welcomed by a trio of
anxious College officials, the dean hastened to assure me of their
desire to avoid publicity and notoriety.
"Have you questioned any of the girls today?" I asked.
"No," replied the dean; "it being Saturday, there have been few of them
here, and we have sent for none, so that the loss might be kept secret
until we determine on the motive."
A close examination of the empty glass case and its surroundings was
fruitless. Nor did questioning of the janitor and his wife elicit
"You cleaned very thoroughly," I said to the woman. "What did you do
with the sweepings?"
"They're in a box in the basement, sir."
At my request the box was brought up. It was a soap box almost full.
"Are these only the sweepings of today?" I asked. The janitor spoke up.
"I emptied all the others yesterday, sir," he declared. With this
assurance, I plunged my hands into the pile and began a minute and
careful search of it, dumping handful after handful on newspapers spread
over a table in Dr. Goucher's office. Dorland kept the others in
conversation, and this fortunately enabled me to make a couple of finds
unnoticed by them.
At the end of 10 minutes I had reached the bottom of the box. Turning
then to the dean, I said:
"How many Canadian students have you here?"
"Canadians? Oh, two—Miss Carothers and Miss Anstey."
"And may I see them?"
"I cannot see"——began the dean warmly.
I hastened to assure him I had no idea of suspecting them.
"Nevertheless," I added, "I should like to question them. I have a
theory that one or the other may help me."
The dean was mollified. "Miss Carothers has been absent sick for several
days. Miss Anstey you can see. She is a charming girl. Her father is one
of the leading Methodist divines of Canada, and an old friend of Dr.
Goucher and myself. She does not live in the College homes, but with a
lady around the corner on Charles street, who is also an old family
friend. I will send you there. She may not be at home just now, but you
The janitor's wife spoke up, "Miss Anstey was here an hour or so ago,
sir. She was upstairs for a few minutes, and then went out and got in
an auto with a young gentleman."
"I will go around to her home at any rate," I said.
"You have very little hope of finding the mummy, have you not, Mr.
McIver?" asked the dean, anxiously.
"On the contrary," I replied confidently. "I expect to bring back the
Egyptian princess in an hour or two."
He accepted my boast dubiously. "Whatever you do," he urged, "use no
questionable methods, for the sake of the College. If you find the
thief, let me decide whether to prosecute him. If you can get back the
mummy without injury, I would prefer to hush up the affair."
I promised him I would. "I consider this a very unusual case," I said,
"and I believe you will be satisfied with my disposition of it." With
this I left him.
Dorland and the College professor who accompanied us were both eager to
know what clue I had, but I stood them off as we walked round to the
Miss Anstey was out, as I had anticipated, but we were graciously
received by Mrs. Eden, her hostess. It was a home of culture and
refinement, and the large parlor abounded in paintings, art objects and
other curios evidently picked up in foreign travel. "I expect Ethel home
soon," said the sweet-faced and sweet-voiced old lady. "She went
motoring this afternoon with a friend, and she said she would be home
"We called to ask," I remarked, "whether she had not lost this bit of
jewelry." And to the surprise of Dorland and the professor I produced a
pin I had found in the sweepings of Goucher Hall, a tiny enameled maple
leaf, set around with pearls.
"Yes, that is Ethel's!" exclaimed Mrs. Eden. "I don't think she lost it,
however, for she had recently loaned it to a friend." She smiled. "You
know, young girls nowadays have a great habit of exchanging tokens like
this with young men. It was not so in my day."
"And if I be not rude," I continued, "may I not know the name of this
"Why, certainly," replied the lady. "He is Mr. Raymond Harding."
"You mean," I inquired, "the son of Mr. Harding, the bank president?"
The Hardings, as everybody knows, are among the best-known millionaire
families in Baltimore society.
"The same," replied Mrs. Eden. "Miss Anstey and he have been friends for
a couple of years. I am sure both will be grateful to you for finding
this pin. Now that I recall it, it may be that they have already had
words about it being lost. He was here last evening and they were both
rather excited. At breakfast Ethel complained of having a headache and
looked as though she had been crying. They called each other up several
times by 'phone during the morning, but Ethel told me nothing, and I
thought it tactful to say nothing to her. When he came this afternoon I
told her she looked so pale she ought to rest, but she laughed me off."
"We will come again after they have returned," I said to Mrs. Eden as I
rose to go. "Perhaps, as you say, I may be able to straighten out the
little trouble. Meanwhile, I would suggest that you say nothing to
It had grown dark when we stepped outside. Dorland gripped my hand
warmly. "McIver," he exclaimed, "you're a wonder! I see the whole case
now. Gee, but its a rum affair!"
The professor was mystified. "I don't quite see, gentlemen, how the
whole affair is settled. Where is the mummy? And who was the thief?"
"The mummy, professor," I remarked, oracularly, "is most probably in the
automobile of Mr. Raymond Harding."
"You don't mean that he is the thief?"
"I believe he took the mummy. I believe he dropped the pin in doing it.
This also fell out of his auto cap." I produced a gilt paper initial
"H," such as hatters put in headwear for their customers. It was my
second find in the sweepings.
"But the motive, man, the motive!" persisted the professor. "Why should
a millionaire's son break into a Woman's College building to steal a
mummy? It sounds ridiculous."
"That, sir, is the part I want Miss Anstey to explain. It is the only
element of doubt in a perfectly plain chain of circumstances. Raymond
Harding I know slightly, and he has a certain reputation for reckless
pranks, although he's not a bad fellow."
"But surely you don't suspect Ethel Anstey. Why, man, she's a"——
The mournful notes of a Gabriel's horn down at Twenty-second street
betokened the approach of an auto, and interrupted the professor's
eulogium of one who was manifestly a favorite pupil. "Quick!" I
exclaimed; "saunter to the corner." A big touring car came up Charles
street and stopped in front of the Eden home. A slender young chap
stepped out and aided a young lady to descend. They stood for a minute
on the curb beside the machine—undecided, as I figured out, whether the
mummy would be safe there if left alone—and then both passed into the
The three of us with one accord moved down the pavement. "Look on the
rear seat, Dorland," I said, as the headquarters man ran to the auto. A
great part of my confidence in my well-developed solution of the mystery
would have gone to smash if the mummy had not been there. But Dorland
gave a little cry of triumph. "It's here, all right," he called,
"wrapped up in a rubber blanket." We tried to lift the bundle, but the
petrified daughter of the Pharaohs was heavier than he had calculated.
"Be careful, Mr. Dorland," the professor entreated; "don't smash her."
"Now for the young man," said Dorland, jumping down to the curb.
"No," said I. "I have a better plan. Can you run an auto?"
"And have you a key to Goucher Hall?" I asked the professor.
The professor had.
"Then you two quietly take the mummy back to her box while I go in and
question Miss Anstey."
They got off without fuss, and when I had seen them turn the corner I
rang the bell and asked for Miss Anstey. In placing my hat on the
hallrack I moved Harding's cap to another peg and observed, as I had
thought, that the "H" had parted company with the other gilt initials.
I felt unfeignedly sorry for the girl when she came into the parlor a
few minutes later. She had fine regular features, and with her limpid
blue eyes was unquestionably pretty when the flush of youth and vivacity
had full play. But that day there were dark circles under her eyes, her
lids were suspiciously red and there was a pallid hue in her cheeks that
was accentuated by the dark blue silk suit she wore. A novice at reading
character could have told she had been spending hours in worry and
"You wished to see me?" she said, inquiringly, as she slowly advanced to
where I had risen to meet her.
"To return this," I answered. And I held out the maple leaf pin to her.
She grew, if possible, more white and sought the help of the piano to
"I—I—It is not——Where did you get it?" she said, with several gulps
to keep down the sobs.
"It was found in Goucher Hall near the mummy case."
She stepped back uncertainly. Then she pulled herself together.
"You are a detective?"
I winced. "No," I said; "I am a friend of the College and of Mr.
At the mention of his name she broke down completely and, sinking on the
stool, leaned her head and began to cry. "Oh, Raymond!" I heard her say.
"It means disgrace. It means the penitentiary." Her form shook violently
with her emotion. It was more than I could stand.
"Listen, Miss Anstey," I said, and I laid my hand lightly on her
shoulder. "It means nothing of the kind. You have my word as a gentleman
that no one shall know the story save the two or three who already know
She lifted her tear-stained face and studied me earnestly. "It was a mad
prank," she sobbed. "I am to blame. I ought to be punished. It started
as a joke. I had no idea he'd do it."
"Call Raymond down."
She went out into the hallway and a whistled signal brought Harding to
us. When he entered the parlor his surprise at seeing me was great.
"He knows about the mummy," said the girl faintly.
Harding stepped away from us both. "He knows?"
"Yes, he wants to help us."
"I want to get you out of a nasty scrape, Raymond," I remarked.
The boy eyed me intently. Then he put out his hand and gripped mine.
"Thank you, McIver," he said, simply. And the three of us sitting down,
the boy and the girl told me the whole truth about the kidnapping of
the Egyptian princess. Each supplied parts of the narrative. Raymond, I
learned, had prized open the case on a visit to the College museum on
Friday afternoon and had then secreted himself in the building. When the
watchman was in a remote corner, it had taken but a minute to lift the
mummy, carry it downstairs, unlock the north door and slip out to where
he had left his auto. "Then he came here to show it to me," said Miss
Anstey. "And then I went to take it back," pursued the boy. "And, Lord,
McIver, I found the watchman had locked the door. Ever since then we've
been in an awful fright. I didn't know what to do with the bloody
"What on earth made you take it?" I asked.
The boy turned a troubled eye on the girl. "I did it on a dare," he said
after a pause.
A rosy flush had replaced her pallor. "That isn't the whole truth, Mr.
McIver," she said. "There was a wager, and a lot of teasing, and talk
about a kiss. It sounds so silly now, but it was all in fun. I didn't
expect him to do it. And, oh! how sorry I am!"
"The question is, McIver," said the boy, "how on earth am I to get it
"That's the easiest part," I said. "In fact, it is already back." I
paused to enjoy their pleased surprise. "And if I mistake not here are
the two gentlemen that did it." The doorbell had rung and I stepped out
to admit Dorland and the professor.
The next 15 minutes was a medley of questions, of explanations, of
promises to keep mum and of expressions of heartfelt thanks from the
young couple. The professor was the only one who thought it incumbent to
scold them for a silly prank and to point out the serious danger in
which they had been involved. It sobered them, and at the same time it
made them realize what a tremendous service I had done them.
One point puzzled Dorland. When we had left the house and parted from
the professor, he asked me:
"How on earth did you know that pin was Miss Anstey's?"
"Had it been a thistle design," I said, "I should have begun a search
for that 'bonnie sweet lass, the Maid o' Dundee."
"I don't exactly see," he ejaculated.
"The maple leaf, my son, is the national emblem of Canada."
"Ah," said Dorland, "that's what you get by book-larnin'."
"Yes," I admitted; "it helps some."
"Mount Vernon 1-0-0-0"
They were getting to the sad point where each was growing tired of the
other. The crescendo of love's young dream had passed. Each was
sub-consciously realizing that while the springtime of their romance had
been full of glorious days the summer was destined to be damp and
showery. Daniel was beginning to find faults in Jennie that he had not
believed could exist in her, and Jennie in turn was more and more
provoked with Daniel, more and more exacting in what she required of
him, and more and more disposed to accuse him of not keeping up with the
devoted pace he had set when he first began to pay her definite
attentions the winter before. Daniel sometimes would dance with other
girls, a thing he had not dreamt of doing in the heyday of their affair,
and Jennie did not hesitate to accept invitations from men who were as
deferential and admiring as Daniel had been in the beginning. Their
friends, those at least who were discerning, realized that the
probability of a marriage between them was becoming more and more
Jennie and her parents were spending the summer at Mount Holly Inn, and,
among other instances of his growing restiveness, Daniel was inclined to
grumble at having to bolt his dinner, dress hurriedly in his sun-baked
room on Park avenue, and make the suburban car journey nightly in order
to reach her side. Sometimes he balked and called her up by 'phone
instead, and though she professed her disappointment and scolded him, he
was almost sure to learn the next day she had enjoyed her evening at
dancing or bowling. Then again there were occasions when he had made up
his mind to be on hand, according to promise, and had started to get
ready when called off by a message from Jennie, telling him that she had
been invited to enjoy a moonlight auto spin with Mr. and Mrs. Chester,
fellow-guests with whom she had grown most friendly.
And so it came to an evening in September when Daniel and Jennie had not
seen each other for as many as three days, the longest period of absence
in the history of their attachment. Work was slack with the trust
company that day, and Daniel had seized the opportunity to leave the
Equitable Building early and see the Baltimores inflict a defeat on the
Buffalo nine at Union Park, in the homestretch of the pennant race. As
he was cutting across lots after the game, hurrying to catch a St.
Paul-street car ahead of the crowd, he ran into Tom Oliver, and from the
moment of the encounter realized that it was all off for a visit to
Mount Holly that night. For Tom was a jolly soul and a generous one, and
they had been strong chums before Tom had struck out into the wilds of
West Virginia for a lumber company. So that when Master Thomas, as
expected, proposed that they make an evening of it, for old times'
sake, with dinner at the Belvedere and a jaunt later to River View,
Electric Park or the Suburban, Daniel's demur that he already had an
engagement was a very weak one indeed. It was, in fact, such a wobbly
little demur that one more word from Tom and he had promised to call up
and break the date. He did not mention that it was with Jennie, for
Jennie had come into Daniel's life after Tom had vanished into the
Half an hour later found him in the telephone-room of the Belvedere. The
trimly dressed young woman who took his money gave him no second glance
as she automatically murmured "Walbrook 1-8-6, please," into the
mouthpiece hanging before her, and an instant later, just as
automatically, waved him into one of the booths against the wall.
He had not fully made up his mind what excuse he would give Jennie for
staying away, and the wait after a bellboy at Mount Holly Inn had been
sent to find Miss Jennie gave him time to think this over. Two nights
before he had 'phoned her that he was working late at the office. That
would not do again. Still, he felt that he could not well tell the truth
and say an intimate friend from West Virginia had turned up. Ultimately,
he reached the conclusion that it was best to say he was not feeling
well, even though he ran the risk that some friend of hers, or some
guest at Mount Holly who knew him, might have seen him at the ball game
that afternoon and might mention it.
There came a feminine voice across the wire. Daniel perceived at once
that it was not Jennie, but her mother.
"Is that you, Mr. Carey?" she inquired, rather coolly. Jennie's mother
was one of those mothers who are jealous of every young man who pays
their daughters attention, for fear that some day Mr. Wright will come
along and take the daughter away.
"Yes, it is I, Mrs. Poppleton," he replied. "I asked for Miss Jennie."
"She has gone out, Mr. Carey. She telephoned this afternoon to your
office and your home, but you were not at either place. She was invited
out by Mr. and Mrs. Chester, and said she knew you would excuse her, but
please to call up Mount Vernon one thousand and ask them to send for
"Thank you, Mrs. Poppleton. What number did you say it was?"
"Mount Vernon one thousand."
"Thank you. Goodby."
After he had hung up the receiver, Daniel sat for a moment in the booth,
undecided whether to pursue Jennie further by wire. He was inclined to
feel miffed that she was not demurely waiting for him. Then his sense of
fair play got the better of his selfishness, and he reflected that after
all she was doing only what he had called her up to say he was going to
do. He lifted the receiver.
"Mount Vernon one thousand, please," he asked, when the operator outside
had acknowledged his call.
"What number did you say?" she queried. Her tone was sharp, as though
surprised or puzzled.
"Mount Vernon one thousand."
There was a pause, but Daniel could not hear any click or other sound to
indicate that she was trying to give him the connection. Finally he
heard her ask slowly:
"Whom do you wish to speak to?"
"To Miss Poppleton," he replied, "who is taking dinner with Mr. and Mrs.
"Just hold the line, please."
The second wait for Jennie seemed longer than the first, and Daniel not
only grew restive in the booth, but began again to asseverate that
Jennie had not behaved quite properly by him. If she was out with Mr.
and Mrs. Chester for a good time, it was dollars to doughnuts that a
fourth member of the party was that chap Pratt. Jennie was going
altogether too much with the fellow anyhow, and though he was an
ill-mannered cur (this was Daniel's opinion), he had money, and seemed
to be pretty popular with other people. He certainly was blamed popular
with Jennie and the Chesters. Confound it all, the Chesters were not so
many! (this also was Daniel's opinion).
There is no telling to what lengths he might have gone had not the voice
of Jennie sailed sweetly over the wire at this juncture. He knew it to
be Jennie instantaneously; never had her tones sounded so clear and
close. It was as if she were only a few feet away.
"Is that you, Dan?" he heard her say.
"Yes, Jennie," he replied; "your mother gave me your message to call
After this came a pause, a bit of awkwardness, due to the fact that each
was fencing for the best position to deliver his or her excuse for not
coming up to the mark that evening. It was Jennie who spoke first.
"You did not intend to come out to the hotel tonight?"
Daniel had an inspiration.
"Yes, I had a little surprise for you. You remember hearing me talk of
Tom Oliver, who used to be one of my closest friends. Well, he's in town
today and I was going to ask you if I might not bring him out and
"Oh! I'm so sorry." Then after a pause, as if an idea had occurred to
her, she asked:
"Where are you now?"
It was on the tip of his tongue to say the Belvedere, but he reflected
quickly that if he did Jennie's tone of sorrow was so apparently sincere
that she might propose to hurry back to Mount Holly and be ready to
receive them. And this, he knew, would not fall in with Tom Oliver's
notion of a "fine, large evening." So he fibbed unreservedly.
"Oh! we're down to the Baltimore Yacht Club."
That was about as far as it was convenient to transport himself beyond
the radius of accessibility to Mount Holly.
"My! your voice sounds distinct for that distance," remarked Jennie.
"Yes, doesn't it?" replied Daniel.
Then he took up her story.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Mr. and Mrs. Chester had an anniversary today, a wedding anniversary,
and they invited us to celebrate it with them by a long motor trip and a
little supper. I'm having a fine time."
"Who is us?"
The answer he got he expected.
"Why, those two, and myself and Mr. Pratt."
He gritted his teeth to keep his jealousy from vocal expression.
"What did you say?" queried Jennie sweetly from the other end.
"Nothing," responded Daniel, grimly.
"I'll have to be going. They're waiting supper for me."
"May I come out tomorrow night?"
"No, Mr. Pratt has invited us to a launch party."
Daniel burst out:
"Pratt! Pratt! It's always that blamed fool!"
"See here, Daniel Carey, you nor no other man can take that tone with
me, I'll have you know. You can stay away now until you get over that
"But, Jennie"——He heard a click, and knew for a certainty that she had
hung up the receiver on him. Twice he hurriedly called her name, and,
getting no reply, angrily jammed his own receiver on its hook and rose
to leave the booth.
As he turned he got the biggest shock of his young life.
For, mind you, there was Jennie Poppleton coming out of another booth.
There was no mistaking her. She had on the well-remembered light-blue
princess gown in which he had told her she looked so pretty, and the
long white kid gloves he had bought her for a philopena debt. And as she
walked quickly out of the telephone room and disappeared down the
corridor without looking back, her carriage was that graceful one that
had always pleased him.
Daniel fell back into the booth seat in sheer desperation. Great Caesar!
what a close shave he had had! Suppose he had run into Jennie just then,
after telling her he was down the river! Whew!
Presently it occurred to him that Jennie was practising as much
deception as he. She had left word for him to call up "Mount Vernon one
thousand." Where in the deuce was "Mount Vernon one thousand"? He looked
at the number card in the booth and got another shock. It read as plain
"Mount Vernon 1000."
"What a bally idiot I am!" he muttered. "Know the Belvedere number as
well as my own home. Always called it 'Mount Vernon ten hundred' or
'Mount Vernon one-o-double o.' Dumb jackass! Gee! what a close shave!
Wonder Jennie didn't see me when she went in that other booth."
Then the funny side of it struck him, and he laid his head on the desk
and laughed unrestrainedly. Was ever a contretemps more ridiculous?
When he at last emerged from the booth the demure operator looked up at
him without the trace of a smile.
"Twenty cents, please," she said.
"It's worth more than that," remarked Daniel cheerfully. "Gosh, but
you're a wonder! I take off my hat to you." He made a low sweeping bow.
The girl smiled. "It was funny," she admitted.
"How on earth did you manage it?"
"You asked for somebody at 'Mount Vernon one-o-double-o', didn't you?
You got them, didn't you?"
"All the same, you're a wonder!" he rejoined, with undisguised
An incoming call enabled her to turn aside the flush that rose to her
cheeks. When she had attended to it she glanced up again at Carey with
her prior calmness.
"Which do you prefer," he asked, "candy or a pair of those long gloves?"
"Candy isn't good for the complexion."
Daniel noted her fine color, then promised the gloves. He was about to
say more when Tom Oliver bolted into the room.
"Say, old man," he cried, "when on earth will you be through here?
There's the prettiest girl in the tearoom, and maybe you know her. I've
ordered supper over there, so I can look at her."
"What is she wearing?" asked Daniel, with a note of alarm.
"She's a vision in light blue."
The hello girl looked quizzically at Daniel and it was Daniel's turn to
"I can't eat supper there, Tom," he said, slowly. "Fact is, I'd rather
be anywhere else than in that room."
"But why?" persisted Tom.
"You tell him," said Daniel to the telephone girl.
"He has an engagement at South six-eight-k."
The mystified Tom eyed first one, then the other.
"What on earth is that?" he asked.
"The Baltimore Yacht Club."
He was still unenlightened.
"But why"—he began.
"Come on, old hayseed," said Daniel, taking Tom's arm. "Let's go into
the palmroom, and I'll tell you all about it."
"I'll call you up tomorrow to get your size for the gloves," he remarked
to the telephone genius as he bade her good night.
"You know what number to call?"
"Am I likely to forget it?" he asked.