The Monster by Stephen Crane
Little Jim was, for the time, engine Number 36, and he was
making the run between Syracuse and Rochester. He was fourteen
minutes behind time, and the throttle was wide open. In
consequence, when he swung around the curve at the flower-bed, a
wheel of his cart destroyed a peony. Number 36 slowed down at once
and looked guiltily at his father, who was mowing the lawn. The
doctor had his back to this accident, and he continued to pace
slowly to and fro, pushing the mower.
Jim dropped the tongue of the cart. He looked at his father and
at the broken flower. Finally he went to the peony and tried to
stand it on its pins, resuscitated, but the spine of it was hurt,
and it would only hang limply from his hand. Jim could do no
reparation. He looked again towards his father.
He went on to the lawn, very slowly, and kicking wretchedly at
the turf. Presently his father came along with the whirring
machine, while the sweet, new grass blades spun from the knives. In
a low voice, Jim said, "Pa!"
The doctor was shaving this lawn as if it were a priest's chin.
All during the season he had worked at it in the coolness and peace
of the evenings after supper. Even in the shadow of the
cherry-trees the grass was strong and healthy. Jim raised his voice
a trifle. "Pa!"
The doctor paused, and with the howl of the machine no longer
occupying the sense, one could hear the robins in the cherry-trees
arranging their affairs. Jim's hands were behind his back, and
sometimes his fingers clasped and unclasped. Again he said, "Pa!"
The child's fresh and rosy lip was lowered.
The doctor stared down at his son, thrusting his head forward
and frowning attentively. "What is it, Jimmie?"
"Pa!" repeated the child at length. Then he raised his finger
and pointed at the flowerbed. "There!"
"What?" said the doctor, frowning more. "What is it, Jim?"
After a period of silence, during which the child may have
undergone a severe mental tumult, he raised his finger and repeated
his former word—"There!" The father had respected this
silence with perfect courtesy. Afterwards his glance carefully
followed the direction indicated by the child's finger, but he
could see nothing which explained to him. "I don't understand what
you mean, Jimmie," he said.
It seemed that the importance of the whole thing had taken away
the boy's vocabulary, He could only reiterate, "There!"
The doctor mused upon the situation, but he could make nothing
of it. At last he said, "Come, show me."
Together they crossed the lawn towards the flower-bed. At some
yards from the broken peony Jimmie began to lag. "There!" The word
came almost breathlessly.
"Where?" said the doctor.
Jimmie kicked at the grass. "There!" he replied.
The doctor was obliged to go forward alone. After some trouble
he found the subject of the incident, the broken flower. Turning
then, he saw the child lurking at the rear and scanning his
The father reflected. After a time he said, "Jimmie, come here."
With an infinite modesty of demeanor the child came forward.
"Jimmie, how did this happen?"
The child answered, "Now—I was playin'
train—and—now—I runned over it."
"You were doing what?"
"I was playin' train."
The father reflected again. "Well, Jimmie," he said, slowly, "I
guess you had better not play train any more to-day. Do you think
you had better?"
"No, sir," said Jimmie.
During the delivery of the judgment the child had not faced his
father, and afterwards he went away, with his head lowered,
shuffling his feet.
It was apparent from Jimmie's manner that he felt some kind of
desire to efface himself. He went down to the stable. Henry
Johnson, the negro who cared for the doctor's horses, was sponging
the buggy. He grinned fraternally when he saw Jimmie coming. These
two were pals. In regard to almost everything in life they seemed
to have minds precisely alike. Of course there were points of
emphatic divergence. For instance, it was plain from Henry's talk
that he was a very handsome negro, and he was known to be a light,
a weight, and an eminence in the suburb of the town, where lived
the larger number of the negroes, and obviously this glory was over
Jimmie's horizon; but he vaguely appreciated it and paid deference
to Henry for it mainly because Henry appreciated it and deferred to
himself. However, on all points of conduct as related to the
doctor, who was the moon, they were in complete but unexpressed
understanding. Whenever Jimmie became the victim of an eclipse he
went to the stable to solace himself with Henry's crimes. Henry,
with the elasticity of his race, could usually provide a sin to
place himself on a footing with the disgraced one. Perhaps he would
remember that he had forgotten to put the hitching-strap in the
back of the buggy on some recent occasion, and had been reprimanded
by the doctor. Then these two would commune subtly and without
words concerning their moon, holding themselves sympathetically as
people who had committed similar treasons. On the other hand, Henry
would sometimes choose to absolutely repudiate this idea, and when
Jimmie appeared in his shame would bully him most virtuously,
preaching with assurance the precepts of the doctor's creed, and
pointing out to Jimmie all his abominations. Jimmie did not
discover that this was odious in his comrade. He accepted it and
lived in its shadow with humility, merely trying to conciliate the
saintly Henry with acts of deference. Won by this attitude, Henry
would sometimes allow the child to enjoy the felicity of squeezing
the sponge over a buggy-wheel, even when Jimmie was still gory from
Whenever Henry dwelt for a time in sackcloth, Jimmie did not
patronize him at all. This was a justice of his age, his condition.
He did not know. Besides, Henry could drive a horse, and Jimmie had
a full sense of this sublimity. Henry personally conducted the moon
during the splendid journeys through the country roads, where farms
spread on all sides, with sheep, cows, and other marvels
"Hello, Jim!" said Henry, poising his sponge. Water was dripping
from the buggy. Sometimes the horses in the stalls stamped
thunderingly on the pine floor. There was an atmosphere of hay and
For a minute Jimmie refused to take an interest in anything. He
was very downcast. He could not even feel the wonders of wagon
washing. Henry, while at his work, narrowly observed him.
"Your pop done wallop yer, didn't he?" he said at last.
"No," said Jimmie, defensively; "he didn't."
After this casual remark Henry continued his labor, with a scowl
of occupation. Presently he said: "I done tol' yer many's th' time
not to go a-foolin' an' a-projjeckin' with them flowers. Yer pop
don' like it nohow." As a matter of fact, Henry had never mentioned
flowers to the boy.
Jimmie preserved a gloomy silence, so Henry began to use
seductive wiles in this affair of washing a wagon. It was not until
he began to spin a wheel on the tree, and the sprinkling water flew
everywhere, that the boy was visibly moved. He had been seated on
the sill of the carriage-house door, but at the beginning of this
ceremony he arose and circled towards the buggy, with an interest
that slowly consumed the remembrance of a late disgrace.
Johnson could then display all the dignity of a man whose duty
it was to protect Jimmie from a splashing. "Look out, boy! look
out! You done gwi' spile yer pants. I raikon your mommer don't 'low
this foolishness, she know it. I ain't gwi' have you round yere
spilin' yer pants, an' have Mis' Trescott light on me pressen'ly.
'Deed I ain't." He spoke with an air of great irritation, but he
was not annoyed at all. This tone was merely a part of his
importance. In reality he was always delighted to have the child
there to witness the business of the stable. For one thing, Jimmie
was invariably overcome with reverence when he was told how
beautifully a harness was polished or a horse groomed. Henry
explained each detail of this kind with unction, procuring great
joy from the child's admiration.
After Johnson had taken his supper in the kitchen, he went to
his loft in the carriage house and dressed himself with much care.
No belle of a court circle could bestow more mind on a toilet than
did Johnson. On second thought, he was more like a priest arraying
himself for some parade of the church. As he emerged from his room
and sauntered down the carriage-drive, no one would have suspected
him of ever having washed a buggy.
It was not altogether a matter of the lavender trousers, nor yet
the straw hat with its bright silk band. The change was somewhere,
far in the interior of Henry. But there was no cake-walk hyperbole
in it. He was simply a quiet, well-bred gentleman of position,
wealth, and other necessary achievements out for an evening stroll,
and he had never washed a wagon in his life.
In the morning, when in his working-clothes, he had met a
friend—"Hello, Pete!" "Hello, Henry!" Now, in his effulgence,
he encountered this same friend. His bow was not at all haughty. If
it expressed anything, it expressed consummate
generosity—"Good-evenin', Misteh Washington." Pete, who was
very dirty, being at work in a potato-patch, responded in a mixture
of abasement and appreciation—Good-evenin', Misteh
The shimmering blue of the electric arc lamps was strong in the
main street of the town. At numerous points it was conquered by the
orange glare of the outnumbering gaslights in the windows of shops.
Through this radiant lane moved a crowd, which culminated in a
throng before the post-office, awaiting the distribution of the
evening mails. Occasionally there came into it a shrill electric
street-car, the motor singing like a cageful of grasshoppers, and
possessing a great gong that clanged forth both warnings and simple
noise. At the little theatre, which was a varnish and red plush
miniature of one of the famous New York theatres, a company of
strollers was to play "East Lynne." The young men of the town were
mainly gathered at the corners, in distinctive groups, which
expressed various shades and lines of chumship, and had little to
do with any social gradations. There they discussed everything with
critical insight, passing the whole town in review as it swarmed in
the street. When the gongs of the electric cars ceased for a moment
to harry the ears, there could be heard the sound of the feet of
the leisurely crowd on the bluestone pavement, and it was like the
peaceful evening lashing at the shore of a lake. At the foot of the
hill, where two lines of maples sentinelled the way, an electric
lamp glowed high among the embowering branches, and made most
wonderful shadow-etchings on the road below it.
When Johnson appeared amid the throng a member of one of the
profane groups at a corner instantly telegraphed news of this
extraordinary arrival to his companions. They hailed him. "Hello,
Henry! Going to walk for a cake to-night?"
"Ain't he smooth?"
"Why, you've got that cake right in your pocket, Henry!"
"Throw out your chest a little more."
Henry was not ruffled in any way by these quiet admonitions and
compliments. In reply he laughed a supremely good-natured,
chuckling laugh, which nevertheless expressed an underground
complacency of superior metal.
Young Griscom, the lawyer, was just emerging from Reifsnyder's
barber shop, rubbing his chin contentedly. On the steps he dropped
his hand and looked with wide eyes into the crowd. Suddenly he
bolted back into the shop. "Wow!" he cried to the parliament; "you
ought to see the coon that's coming!"
Reifsnyder and his assistant instantly poised their razors high
and turned towards the window. Two belathered heads reared from the
chairs. The electric shine in the street caused an effect like
water to them who looked through the glass from the yellow glamour
of Reifsnyder's shop. In fact, the people without resembled the
inhabitants of a great aquarium that here had a square pane in it.
Presently into this frame swam the graceful form of Henry
"Chee!" said Reifsnyder. He and his assistant with one accord
threw their obligations to the winds, and leaving their lathered
victims helpless, advanced to the window. "Ain't he a taisy?" said
But the man in the first chair, with a grievance in his mind,
had found a weapon. "Why, that's only Henry Johnson, you blamed
idiots! Come on now, Reif, and shave me. What do you think I
Reifsnyder turned, in a great excitement. "I bait you any money
that vas not Henry Johnson! Henry Johnson! Rats!" The scorn put
into this last word made it an explosion. "That man was a
Pullman-car porter or someding. How could that be Henry Johnson?"
he demanded, turbulently. "You vas crazy."
The man in the first chair faced the barber in a storm of
indignation. "Didn't I give him those lavender trousers?" he
And young Griscom, who had remained attentively at the window,
said: "Yes, I guess that was Henry. It looked like him."
"Oh, vell," said Reifsnyder, returning to his business, "if you
think so! Oh, vell!" He implied that he was submitting for the sake
Finally the man in the second chair, mumbling from a mouth made
timid by adjacent lather, said: "That was Henry Johnson all right.
Why, he always dresses like that when he wants to make a front!
He's the biggest dude in town—anybody knows that."
"Chinger!" said Reifsnyder.
Henry was not at all oblivious of the wake of wondering
ejaculation that streamed out behind him. On other occasions he had
reaped this same joy, and he always had an eye for the
demonstration. With a face beaming with happiness he turned away
from the scene of his victories into a narrow side street, where
the electric light still hung high, but only to exhibit a row of
tumble-down houses leaning together like paralytics.
The saffron Miss Bella Farragut, in a calico frock, had been
crouched on the front stoop, gossiping at long range, but she
espied her approaching caller at a distance. She dashed around the
corner of the house, galloping like a horse. Henry saw it all, but
he preserved the polite demeanor of a guest when a waiter spills
claret down his cuff. In this awkward situation he was simply
The duty of receiving Mr. Johnson fell upon Mrs. Farragut,
because Bella, in another room, was scrambling wildly into her best
gown. The fat old woman met him with a great ivory smile, sweeping
back with the door, and bowing low. "Walk in, Misteh Johnson, walk
in. How is you dis ebenin', Misteh Johnson—how is you?"
Henry's face showed like a reflector as he bowed and bowed,
bending almost from his head to his ankles, "Good-evenin', Mis'
Fa'gut; good-evenin'. How is you dis evenin'? Is all you' folks
well, Mis' Fa'gut?"
After a great deal of kowtow, they were planted in two chairs
opposite each other in the living-room. Here they exchanged the
most tremendous civilities, until Miss Bella swept into the room,
when there was more kowtow on all sides, and a smiling show of
teeth that was like an illumination.
The cooking-stove was of course in this drawing-room, and on the
fire was some kind of a long-winded stew. Mrs. Farragut was obliged
to arise and attend to it from time to time. Also young Sim came in
and went to bed on his pallet in the corner. But to all these
domesticities the three maintained an absolute dumbness. They bowed
and smiled and ignored and imitated until a late hour, and if they
had been the occupants of the most gorgeous salon in the world they
could not have been more like three monkeys.
After Henry had gone, Bella, who encouraged herself in the
appropriation of phrases, said, "Oh, ma, isn't he divine?"
A Saturday evening was a sign always for a larger crowd to
parade the thoroughfare. In summer the band played until ten
o'clock in the little park. Most of the young men of the town
affected to be superior to this band, even to despise it; but in
the still and fragrant evenings they invariably turned out in
force, because the girls were sure to attend this concert,
strolling slowly over the grass, linked closely in pairs, or
preferably in threes, in the curious public dependence upon one
another which was their inheritance. There was no particular social
aspect to this gathering, save that group regarded group with
interest, but mainly in silence. Perhaps one girl would nudge
another girl and suddenly say, "Look! there goes Gertie Hodgson and
her sister!" And they would appear to regard this as an event of
On a particular evening a rather large company of young men were
gathered on the sidewalk that edged the park. They remained thus
beyond the borders of the festivities because of their dignity,
which would not exactly allow them to appear in anything which was
so much fun for the younger lads. These latter were careering madly
through the crowd, precipitating minor accidents from time to time,
but usually fleeing like mist swept by the wind before retribution
could lay hands upon them.
The band played a waltz which involved a gift of prominence to
the bass horn, and one of the young men on the sidewalk said that
the music reminded him of the new engines on the hill pumping water
into the reservoir. A similarity of this kind was not
inconceivable, but the young man did not say it because he disliked
the band's playing. He said it because it was fashionable to say
that manner of thing concerning the band. However, over in the
stand, Billie Harris, who played the snare-drum, was always
surrounded by a throng of boys, who adored his every whack.
After the mails from New York and Rochester had been finally
distributed, the crowd from the post-office added to the mass
already in the park. The wind waved the leaves of the maples, and,
high in the air, the blue-burning globes of the arc lamps caused
the wonderful traceries of leaf shadows on the ground. When the
light fell upon the upturned face of a girl, it caused it to glow
with a wonderful pallor. A policeman came suddenly from the
darkness and chased a gang of obstreperous little boys. They hooted
him from a distance. The leader of the band had some of the
mannerisms of the great musicians, and during a period of silence
the crowd smiled when they saw him raise his hand to his brow,
stroke it sentimentally, and glance upward with a look of poetic
anguish. In the shivering light, which gave to the park an effect
like a great vaulted hall, the throng swarmed, with a gentle murmur
of dresses switching the turf, and with a steady hum of voices.
Suddenly, without preliminary bars, there arose from afar the
great hoarse roar of a factory whistle. It raised and swelled to a
sinister note, and then it sang on the night wind one long call
that held the crowd in the park immovable, speechless. The
band-master had been about to vehemently let fall his hand to start
the band on a thundering career through a popular march, but,
smitten by this giant voice from the night, his hand dropped slowly
to his knee, and, his mouth agape, he looked at his men in silence.
The cry died away to a wail and then to stillness. It released the
muscles of the company of young men on the sidewalk, who had been
like statues, posed eagerly, lithely, their ears turned. And then
they wheeled upon each other simultaneously, and, in a single
explosion, they shouted, "One!"
Again the sound swelled in the night and roared its long ominous
cry, and as it died away the crowd of young men wheeled upon each
other and, in chorus, yelled, "Two!"
There was a moment of breathless waiting. Then they bawled,
"Second district!" In a flash the company of indolent and cynical
young men had vanished like a snowball disrupted by dynamite.
Jake Rogers was the first man to reach the home of Tuscarora
Hose Company Number Six. He had wrenched his key from his pocket as
he tore down the street, and he jumped at the spring-lock like a
demon. As the doors flew back before his hands he leaped and kicked
the wedges from a pair of wheels, loosened a tongue from its clasp,
and in the glare of the electric light which the town placed before
each of its hose-houses the next comers beheld the spectacle of
Jake Rogers bent like hickory in the manfulness of his pulling, and
the heavy cart was moving slowly towards the doors. Four men joined
him at the time, and as they swung with the cart out into the
street, dark figures sped towards them from the ponderous shadows
back of the electric lamps. Some set up the inevitable question,
"Second," was replied to them in a compact howl. Tuscarora Hose
Company Number Six swept on a perilous wheel into Niagara Avenue,
and as the men, attached to the cart by the rope which had been
paid out from the windlass under the tongue, pulled madly in their
fervor and abandon, the gong under the axle clanged incitingly. And
sometimes the same cry was heard, "What district?"
On a grade Johnnie Thorpe fell, and exercising a singular
muscular ability, rolled out in time from the track of the
on-coming wheel, and arose, dishevelled and aggrieved, casting a
look of mournful disenchantment upon the black crowd that poured
after the machine. The cart seemed to be the apex of a dark wave
that was whirling as if it had been a broken dam. Back of the lad
were stretches of lawn, and in that direction front-doors were
banged by men who hoarsely shouted out into the clamorous avenue,
At one of these houses a woman came to the door bearing a lamp,
shielding her face from its rays with her hands. Across the cropped
grass the avenue represented to her a kind of black torrent, upon
which, nevertheless, fled numerous miraculous figures upon
bicycles. She did not know that the towering light at the corner
was continuing its nightly whine.
Suddenly a little boy somersaulted around the corner of the
house as if he had been projected down a flight of stairs by a
catapultian boot. He halted himself in front of the house by dint
of a rather extraordinary evolution with his legs. "Oh, ma," he
gasped, "can I go? Can I, ma?"
She straightened with the coldness of the exterior
mother-judgment, although the hand that held the lamp trembled
slightly. "No, Willie; you had better come to bed."
Instantly he began to buck and fume like a mustang. "Oh, ma," he
cried, contorting himself—"oh, ma, can't I go? Please, ma,
can't I go? Can't I go, ma?"
"It's half-past nine now, Willie."
He ended by wailing out a compromise: "Well, just down to the
corner, ma? Just down to the corner?"
From the avenue came the sound of rushing men who wildly
shouted. Somebody had grappled the bell-rope in the Methodist
church, and now over the town rang this solemn and terrible voice,
speaking from the clouds. Moved from its peaceful business, this
bell gained a new spirit in the portentous night, and it swung the
heart to and fro, up and down, with each peal of it.
"Just down to the corner, ma?"
"Willie, it's half-past nine now."
The outlines of the house of Dr. Trescott had faded quietly into
the evening, hiding a shape such as we call Queen Anne against the
pall of the blackened sky. The neighborhood was at this time so
quiet, and seemed so devoid of obstructions, that Hannigan's dog
thought it a good opportunity to prowl in forbidden precincts, and
so came and pawed Trescott's lawn, growling, and considering
himself a formidable beast. Later, Peter Washington strolled past
the house and whistled, but there was no dim light shining from
Henry's loft, and presently Peter went his way. The rays from the
street, creeping in silvery waves over the grass, caused the row of
shrubs along the drive to throw a clear, bold shade.
A wisp of smoke came from one of the windows at the end of the
house and drifted quietly into the branches of a cherry-tree. Its
companions followed it in slowly increasing numbers, and finally
there was a current controlled by invisible banks which poured into
the fruit-laden boughs of the cherry-tree. It was no more to be
noted than if a troop of dim and silent gray monkeys had been
climbing a grapevine into the clouds.
After a moment the window brightened as if the four panes of it
had been stained with blood, and a quick ear might have been led to
imagine the fire-imps calling and calling, clan joining clan,
gathering to the colors. From the street, however, the house
maintained its dark quiet, insisting to a passer-by that it was the
safe dwelling of people who chose to retire early to tranquil
dreams. No one could have heard this low droning of the gathering
Suddenly the panes of the red window tinkled and crashed to the
ground, and at other windows there suddenly reared other flames,
like bloody spectres at the apertures of a haunted house. This
outbreak had been well planned, as if by professional
A man's voice suddenly shouted: "Fire! Fire! Fire!" Hannigan had
flung his pipe frenziedly from him because his lungs demanded room.
He tumbled down from his perch, swung over the fence, and ran
shouting towards the front-door of the Trescotts'. Then he hammered
on the door, using his fists as if they were mallets. Mrs. Trescott
instantly came to one of the windows on the second floor.
Afterwards she knew she had been about to say, "The doctor is not
at home, but if you will leave your name, I will let him know as
soon as he comes."
Hannigan's bawling was for a minute incoherent, but she
understood that it was not about croup.
"What?" she said, raising the window swiftly.
"Your house is on fire! You're all ablaze! Move quick if—"
His cries were resounding, in the street as if it were a cave of
echoes. Many feet pattered swiftly on the stones. There was one man
who ran with an almost fabulous speed. He wore lavender trousers. A
straw hat with a bright silk band was held half crumpled in his
As Henry reached the front-door, Hannigan had just broken the
lock with a kick. A thick cloud of smoke poured over them, and
Henry, ducking his head, rushed into it. From Hannigan's clamor he
knew only one thing, but it turned him blue with horror. In the
hall a lick of flame had found the cord that supported "Signing the
Declaration." The engraving slumped suddenly down at one end, and
then dropped to the floor, where it burst with the sound of a bomb.
The fire was already roaring like a winter wind among the
At the head of the stairs Mrs. Trescott was waving her arms as
if they were two reeds.
"Jimmie! Save Jimmie!" she screamed in Henry's face. He plunged
past her and disappeared, taking the long-familiar routes among
these upper chambers, where he had once held office as a sort of
second assistant house-maid.
Hannigan had followed him up the stairs, and grappled the arm of
the maniacal woman there. His face was black with rage. "You must
come down," he bellowed.
She would only scream at him in reply: "Jimmie! Jimmie! Save
Jimmie!" But he dragged her forth while she babbled at him.
As they swung out into the open air a man ran across the lawn,
and seizing a shutter, pulled it from its hinges and flung it far
out upon the grass. Then he frantically attacked the other shutters
one by one. It was a kind of temporary insanity.
"Here, you," howled Hannigan, "hold Mrs. Trescott—And
The news had been telegraphed by a twist of the wrist of a
neighbor who had gone to the fire-box at the corner, and the time
when Hannigan and his charge struggled out of the house was the
time when the whistle roared its hoarse night call, smiting the
crowd in the park, causing the leader of the band, who was about to
order the first triumphal clang of a military march, to let his
hand drop slowly to his knees.
Henry pawed awkwardly through the smoke in the upper halls. He
had attempted to guide himself by the walls, but they were too hot.
The paper was crimpling, and he expected at any moment to have a
flame burst from under his hands.
He did not call very loud, as if in fear that the humming flames
below would overhear him.
"Jimmie! Oh, Jimmie!"
Stumbling and panting, he speedily reached the entrance to
Jimmie's room and flung open the door. The little chamber had no
smoke in it at all. It was faintly illuminated by a beautiful rosy
light reflected circuitously from the flames that were consuming
the house. The boy had apparently just been aroused by the noise.
He sat in his bed, his lips apart, his eyes wide, while upon his
little white-robed figure played caressingly the light from the
fire. As the door flew open he had before him this apparition of
his pal, a terror-stricken negro, all tousled and with wool
scorching, who leaped upon him and bore him up in a blanket as if
the whole affair were a case of kidnapping by a dreadful robber
chief. Without waiting to go through the usual short but complete
process of wrinkling up his face, Jimmie let out a gorgeous bawl,
which resembled the expression of a calf's deepest terror. As
Johnson, bearing him, reeled into the smoke of the hall, he flung
his arms about his neck and buried his face in the blanket. He
called twice in muffled tones: "Mam-ma! Mam-ma!" When Johnson came
to the top of the stairs with his burden, he took a quick step
backward. Through the smoke that rolled to him he could see that
the lower hall was all ablaze. He cried out then in a howl that
resembled Jimmie's former achievement. His legs gained a frightful
faculty of bending sideways. Swinging about precariously on these
reedy legs, he made his way back slowly, back along the upper hall.
From the way of him then, he had given up almost all idea of
escaping from the burning house, and with it the desire. He was
submitting, submitting because of his fathers, bending his mind in
a most perfect slavery to this conflagration.
He now clutched Jimmie as unconsciously as when, running toward
the house, he had clutched the hat with the bright silk band.
Suddenly he remembered a little private staircase which led from
a bedroom to an apartment which the doctor had fitted up as a
laboratory and work-house, where he used some of his leisure, and
also hours when he might have been sleeping, in devoting himself to
experiments which came in the way of his study and interest.
When Johnson recalled this stairway the submission to the blaze
departed instantly. He had been perfectly familiar with it, but his
confusion had destroyed the memory of it.
In his sudden momentary apathy there had been little that
resembled fear, but now, as a way of safety came to him, the old
frantic terror caught him. He was no longer creature to the flames,
and he was afraid of the battle with them. It was a singular and
swift set of alternations in which he feared twice without
submission, and submitted once without fear.
"Jimmie!" he wailed, as he staggered on his way. He wished this
little inanimate body at his breast to participate in his
tremblings. But the child had lain limp and still during these
headlong charges and countercharges, and no sign came from him.
Johnson passed through two rooms and came to the head of the
stairs. As he opened the door great billows of smoke poured out,
but gripping Jimmie closer, he plunged down through them. All
manner of odors assailed him during this flight. They seemed to be
alive with envy, hatred, and malice. At the entrance to the
laboratory he confronted a strange spectacle. The room was like a
garden in the region where might be burning flowers. Flames of
violet, crimson, green, blue, orange, and purple were blooming
everywhere. There was one blaze that was precisely the hue of a
delicate coral. In another place was a mass that lay merely in
phosphorescent inaction like a pile of emeralds. But all these
marvels were to be seen dimly through clouds of heaving, turning,
Johnson halted for a moment on the threshold. He cried out again
in the negro wail that had in it the sadness of the swamps. Then he
rushed across the room. An orange-colored flame leaped like a
panther at the lavender trousers. This animal bit deeply into
Johnson. There was an explosion at one side, and suddenly before
him there reared a delicate, trembling sapphire shape like a fairy
lady. With a quiet smile she blocked his path and doomed him and
Jimmie. Johnson shrieked, and then ducked in the manner of his race
in fights. He aimed to pass under the left guard of the sapphire
lady. But she was swifter than eagles, and her talons caught in him
as he plunged past her. Bowing his head as if his neck had been
struck, Johnson lurched forward, twisting this way and that way. He
fell on his back. The still form in the blanket flung from his
arms, rolled to the edge of the floor and beneath the window.
Johnson had fallen with his head at the base of an old-fashioned
desk. There was a row of jars upon the top of this desk. For the
most part, they were silent amid this rioting, but there was one
which seemed to hold a scintillant and writhing serpent.
Suddenly the glass splintered, and a ruby-red snakelike thing
poured its thick length out upon the top of the old desk. It coiled
and hesitated, and then began to swim a languorous way down the
mahogany slant. At the angle it waved its sizzling molten head to
and fro over the closed eyes of the man beneath it. Then, in a
moment, with a mystic impulse, it moved again, and the red snake
flowed directly down into Johnson's upturned face.
Afterwards the trail of this creature seemed to reek, and amid
flames and low explosions drops like red-hot jewels pattered softly
down it at leisurely intervals.
Suddenly all roads led to Dr. Trescott's. The whole town flowed
towards one point. Chippeway Hose Company Number One toiled
desperately up Bridge Street Hill even as the Tuscaroras came in an
impetuous sweep down Niagara Avenue. Meanwhile the machine of the
hook-and-ladder experts from across the creek was spinning on its
way. The chief of the fire department had been playing poker in the
rear room of Whiteley's cigar-store, but at the first breath of the
alarm he sprang through the door like a man escaping with the
In Whilomville, on these occasions, there was always a number of
people who instantly turned their attention to the bells in the
churches and school-houses. The bells not only emphasized the
alarm, but it was the habit to send these sounds rolling across the
sky in a stirring brazen uproar until the flames were practically
vanquished. There was also a kind of rivalry as to which bell
should be made to produce the greatest din. Even the Valley Church,
four miles away among the farms, had heard the voices of its
brethren, and immediately added a quaint little yelp.
Dr. Trescott had been driving homeward, slowly smoking a cigar,
and feeling glad that this last case was now in complete obedience
to him, like a wild animal that he had subdued, when he heard the
long whistle, and chirped to his horse under the unlicensed but
perfectly distinct impression that a fire had broken out in
Oakhurst, a new and rather high-flying suburb of the town which was
at least two miles from his own home. But in the second blast and
in the ensuing silence he read the designation of his own district.
He was then only a few blocks from his house. He took out the whip
and laid it lightly on the mare. Surprised and frightened at this
extraordinary action, she leaped forward, and as the reins
straightened like steel bands, the doctor leaned backward a trifle.
When the mare whirled him up to the closed gate he was wondering
whose house could be afire. The man who had rung the signal-box
yelled something at him, but he already knew. He left the mare to
In front of his door was a maniacal woman in a wrapper. "Ned!"
she screamed at sight of him. "Jimmie! Save Jimmie!"
Trescott had grown hard and chill. "Where?" he said.
Mrs. Trescott's voice began to bubble.
"Up—up—up—" She pointed at the second-story
Hannigan was already shouting: "Don't go in that way! You can't
go in that way!"
Trescott ran around the corner of the house and disappeared from
them. He knew from the view he had taken of the main hall that it
would be impossible to ascend from there. His hopes were fastened
now to the stairway which led from the laboratory. The door which
opened from this room out upon the lawn was fastened with a bolt
and lock, but he kicked close to the lock and then close to the
bolt. The door with a loud crash flew back. The doctor recoiled
from the roll of smoke, and then bending low, he stepped into the
garden of burning flowers. On the floor his stinging eyes could
make out a form in a smouldering blanket near the window. Then, as
he carried his son towards the door, he saw that the whole lawn
seemed now alive with men and boys, the leaders in the great charge
that the whole town was making. They seized him and his burden, and
overpowered him in wet blankets and water.
But Hannigan was howling: "Johnson is in there yet! Henry
Johnson is in there yet! He went in after the kid! Johnson is in
These cries penetrated to the sleepy senses of Trescott, and he
struggled with his captors, swearing, unknown to him and to them,
all the deep blasphemies of his medical-student days. He rose to
his feet and went again towards the door of the laboratory. They
endeavored to restrain him, although they were much affrighted at
But a young man who was a brakeman on the railway, and lived in
one of the rear streets near the Trescotts, had gone into the
laboratory and brought forth a thing which he laid on the
There were hoarse commands from in front of the house. "Turn on
your water, Five!" "Let 'er go, One!" The gathering crowd swayed
this way and that way. The flames, towering high, cast a wild red
light on their faces. There came the clangor of a gong from along
some adjacent street. The crowd exclaimed at it. "Here comes Number
Three!" "That's Three a-comin'!" A panting and irregular mob dashed
into view, dragging a hose-cart. A cry of exultation arose from the
little boys. "Here's Three!" The lads welcomed Never-Die Hose
Company Number Three as if it was composed of a chariot dragged by
a band of gods. The perspiring citizens flung themselves into the
fray. The boys danced in impish joy at the displays of prowess.
They acclaimed the approach of Number Two. They welcomed Number
Four with cheers. They were so deeply moved by this whole affair
that they bitterly guyed the late appearance of the hook and ladder
company, whose heavy apparatus had almost stalled them on the
Bridge Street hill. The lads hated and feared a fire, of course.
They did not particularly want to have anybody's house burn, but
still it was fine to see the gathering of the companies, and amid a
great noise to watch their heroes perform all manner of
They were divided into parties over the worth of different
companies, and supported their creeds with no small violence. For
instance, in that part of the little city where Number Four had its
home it would be most daring for a boy to contend the superiority
of any other company. Likewise, in another quarter, where a strange
boy was asked which fire company was the best in Whilomville, he
was expected to answer "Number One." Feuds, which the boys forgot
and remembered according to chance or the importance of some recent
event, existed all through the town.
They did not care much for John Shipley, the chief of the
department. It was true that he went to a fire with the speed of a
falling angel, but when there he invariably lapsed into a certain
still mood, which was almost a preoccupation, moving leisurely
around the burning structure and surveying it, putting meanwhile at
a cigar. This quiet man, who even when life was in danger seldom
raised his voice, was not much to their fancy. Now old Sykes
Huntington, when he was chief, used to bellow continually like a
bull and gesticulate in a sort of delirium. He was much finer as a
spectacle than this Shipley, who viewed a fire with the same
steadiness that he viewed a raise in a large jack-pot. The greater
number of the boys could never understand why the members of these
companies persisted in re-electing Shipley, although they often
pretended to understand it, because "My father says" was a very
formidable phrase in argument, and the fathers seemed almost
unanimous in advocating Shipley.
At this time there was considerable discussion as to which
company had gotten the first stream of water on the fire. Most of
the boys claimed that Number Five owned that distinction, but there
was a determined minority who contended for Number One. Boys who
were the blood adherents of other companies were obliged to choose
between the two on this occasion, and the talk waxed warm.
But a great rumor went among the crowds. It was told with hushed
voices. Afterwards a reverent silence fell even upon the boys.
Jimmie Trescott and Henry Johnson had been burned to death, and Dr.
Trescott himself had been most savagely hurt. The crowd did not
even feel the police pushing at them. They raised their eyes,
shining now with awe, towards the high flames.
The man who had information was at his best. In low tones he
described the whole affair. "That was the kid's room—in the
corner there. He had measles or somethin', and this
coon—Johnson—was a-settin' up with 'im, and Johnson got
sleepy or somethin' and upset the lamp, and the doctor he was down
in his office, and he came running up, and they all got burned
together till they dragged 'em out."
Another man, always preserved for the deliverance of the final
judgment, was saying: "Oh, they'll die sure. Burned to flinders. No
chance. Hull lot of 'em. Anybody can see." The crowd concentrated
its gaze still more closely upon these flags of fire which waved
joyfully against the black sky. The bells of the town were clashing
A little procession moved across the lawn and towards the
street. There were three cots, borne by twelve of the firemen. The
police moved sternly, but it needed no effort of theirs to open a
lane for this slow cortege. The men who bore the cots were well
known to the crowd, but in this solemn parade during the ringing of
the bells and the shouting, and with the red glare upon the sky,
they seemed utterly foreign, and Whilomville paid them a deep
respect. Each man in this stretcher party had gained a reflected
majesty. They were footmen to death, and the crowd made subtle
obeisance to this august dignity derived from three prospective
graves. One woman turned away with a shriek at sight of the covered
body on the first stretcher, and people faced her suddenly in
silent and mournful indignation. Otherwise there was barely a sound
as these twelve important men with measured tread carried their
burdens through the throng.
The little boys no longer discussed the merits of the different
fire companies. For the greater part they had been routed. Only the
more courageous viewed closely the three figures veiled in yellow
Old Judge Denning Hagenthorpe, who lived nearly opposite the
Trescotts, had thrown his door wide open to receive the afflicted
family. When it was publicly learned that the doctor and his son
and the negro were still alive, it required a specially detailed
policeman to prevent people from scaling the front porch and
interviewing these sorely wounded. One old lady appeared with a
miraculous poultice, and she quoted most damning Scripture to the
officer when he said that she could not pass him. Throughout the
night some lads old enough to be given privileges or to compel them
from their mothers remained vigilantly upon the kerb in
anticipation of a death or some such event. The reporter of the
Morning Tribune rode thither on his bicycle every hour until three
Six of the ten doctors in Whilomville attended at Judge
Almost at once they were able to know that Trescott's burns were
not vitally important. The child would possibly be scarred badly,
but his life was undoubtedly safe. As for the negro Henry Johnson,
he could not live. His body was frightfully seared, but more than
that, he now had no face. His face had simply been burned away.
Trescott was always asking news of the two other patients. In
the morning he seemed fresh and strong, so they told him that
Johnson was doomed. They then saw him stir on the bed, and sprang
quickly to see if the bandages needed readjusting. In the sudden
glance he threw from one to another he impressed them as being both
leonine and impracticable.
The morning paper announced the death of Henry Johnson. It
contained a long interview with Edward J. Hannigan, in which the
latter described in full the performance of Johnson at the fire.
There was also an editorial built from all the best words in the
vocabulary of the staff. The town halted in its accustomed road of
thought, and turned a reverent attention to the memory of this
hostler. In the breasts of many people was the regret that they had
not known enough to give him a hand and a lift when he was alive,
and they judged themselves stupid and ungenerous for this
The name of Henry Johnson became suddenly the title of a saint
to the little boys. The one who thought of it first could, by
quoting it in an argument, at once overthrow his antagonist,
whether it applied to the subject or whether it did not.
"Nigger, nigger, never die.
Black face and shiny eye."
Boys who had called this odious couplet in the rear of Johnson's
march buried the fact at the bottom of their hearts.
Later in the day Miss Bella Farragut, of No. 7 Watermelon Alley,
announced that she had been engaged to marry Mr. Henry Johnson.
The old judge had a cane with an ivory head. He could never
think at his best until he was leaning slightly on this stick and
smoothing the white top with slow movements of his hands. It was
also to him a kind of narcotic. If by any chance he mislaid it, he
grew at once very irritable, and was likely to speak sharply to his
sister, whose mental incapacity he had patiently endured for thirty
years in the old mansion on Ontario Street. She was not at all
aware of her brother's opinion of her endowments, and so it might
be said that the judge had successfully dissembled for more than a
quarter of a century, only risking the truth at the times when his
cane was lost.
On a particular day the judge sat in his armchair on the porch.
The sunshine sprinkled through the lilac-bushes and poured great
coins on the boards. The sparrows disputed in the trees that lined
the pavements. The judge mused deeply, while his hands gently
caressed the ivory head of his cane.
Finally he arose and entered the house, his brow still furrowed
in a thoughtful frown. His stick thumped solemnly in regular beats.
On the second floor he entered a room where Dr. Trescott was
working about the bedside of Henry Johnson. The bandages on the
negro's head allowed only one thing to appear, an eye, which
unwinkingly stared at the judge. The later spoke to Trescott on the
condition of the patient. Afterward he evidently had something
further to say, but he seemed to be kept from it by the scrutiny of
the unwinking eye, at which he furtively glanced from time to
When Jimmie Trescott was sufficiently recovered, his mother had
taken him to pay a visit to his grandparents in Connecticut. The
doctor had remained to take care of his patients, but as a matter
of truth he spent most of his time at Judge Hagenthorpe's house,
where lay Henry Johnson. Here he slept and ate almost every meal in
the long nights and days of his vigil.
At dinner, and away from the magic of the unwinking eye, the
judge said, suddenly, "Trescott, do you think it is—" As
Trescott paused expectantly, the judge fingered his knife. He said,
thoughtfully, "No one wants to advance such ideas, but somehow I
think that that poor fellow ought to die."
There was in Trescott's face at once a look of recognition, as
if in this tangent of the judge he saw an old problem. He merely
sighed and answered, "Who knows?" The words were spoken in a deep
tone that gave them an elusive kind of significance.
The judge retreated to the cold manner of the bench. "Perhaps we
may not talk with propriety of this kind of action, but I am
induced to say that you are performing a questionable charity in
preserving this negro's life. As near as I can understand, he will
hereafter be a monster, a perfect monster, and probably with an
affected brain. No man can observe you as I have observed you and
not know that it was a matter of conscience with you, but I am
afraid, my friend, that it is one of the blunders of virtue." The
judge had delivered his views with his habitual oratory. The last
three words he spoke with a particular emphasis, as if the phrase
was his discovery.
The doctor made a weary gesture. "He saved my boy's life."
"Yes," said the judge, swiftly—"yes, I know!"
"And what am I to do?" said Trescott, his eyes suddenly lighting
like an outburst from smouldering peat. "What am I to do? He gave
himself for—for Jimmie. What am I to do for him?"
The judge abased himself completely before these words. He
lowered his eyes for a moment. He picked at his cucumbers.
Presently he braced himself straightly in his chair. "He will be
your creation, you understand. He is purely your creation. Nature
has very evidently given him up. He is dead. You are restoring him
to life. You are making him, and he will be a monster, and with no
"He will be what you like, judge," cried Trescott, in sudden,
polite fury. "He will be anything, but, by God! he saved my
The judge interrupted in a voice trembling with emotion:
"Trescott! Trescott! Don't I know?"
Trescott had subsided to a sullen mood. "Yes, you know," he
answered, acidly; "but you don't know all about your own boy being
saved from death." This was a perfectly childish allusion to the
judge's bachelorhood. Trescott knew that the remark was infantile,
but he seemed to take desperate delight in it.
But it passed the judge completely. It was not his spot.
"I am puzzled," said he, in profound thought. "I don't know what
Trescott had become repentant. "Don't think I don't appreciate
what you say, judge. But—"
"Of course!" responded the judge, quickly. "Of course."
"It—" began Trescott.
"Of course," said the judge.
In silence they resumed their dinner.
"Well," said the judge, ultimately, "it is hard for a man to
know what to do."
"It is," said the doctor, fervidly.
There was another silence. It was broken by the judge:
"Look here, Trescott; I don't want you to think—"
"No, certainly not," answered the doctor, earnestly.
"Well, I don't want you to think I would say anything
to—It was only that I thought that I might be able to suggest
to you that—perhaps—the affair was a little
With an appearance of suddenly disclosing his real mental
perturbation, the doctor said: "Well, what would you do? Would you
kill him?" he asked, abruptly and sternly.
"Trescott, you fool," said the old man, gently.
"Oh, well, I know, judge, but then—" He turned red, and
spoke with new violence: "Say, he saved my boy—do you see? He
saved my boy."
"You bet he did," cried the judge, with enthusiasm. "You bet he
did." And they remained for a time gazing at each other, their
faces illuminated with memories of a certain deed.
After another silence, the judge said, "It is hard for a man to
know what to do."
Late one evening Trescott, returning from a professional call,
paused his buggy at the Hagenthorpe gate. He tied the mare to the
old tin-covered post, and entered the house. Ultimately he appeared
with a companion—a man who walked slowly and carefully, as if
he were learning. He was wrapped to the heels in an old-fashioned
ulster. They entered the buggy and drove away.
After a silence only broken by the swift and musical humming of
the wheels on the smooth road, Trescott spoke. "Henry," he said,
"I've got you a home here with old Alek Williams. You will have
everything you want to eat and a good place to sleep, and I hope
you will get along there all right. I will pay all your expenses,
and come to see you as often as I can. If you don't get along, I
want you to let me know as soon as possible, and then we will do
what we can to make it better."
The dark figure at the doctor's side answered with a cheerful
laugh. "These buggy wheels don' look like I washed 'em yesterday,
docteh," he said.
Trescott hesitated for a moment, and then went on insistently,
"I am taking you to Alek Williams, Henry, and I—"
The figure chuckled again. "No, 'deed! No, seh! Alek Williams
don' know a hoss! 'Deed he don't. He don' know a hoss from a pig."
The laugh that followed was like the rattle of pebbles.
Trescott turned and looked sternly and coldly at the dim form in
the gloom from the buggy-top. "Henry," he said, "I didn't say
anything about horses. I was saying—"
"Hoss? Hoss?" said the quavering voice from these near shadows.
"Hoss? 'Deed I don' know all erbout a boss! 'Deed I don't." There
was a satirical chuckle.
At the end of three miles the mare slackened and the doctor
leaned forward, peering, while holding tight reins. The wheels of
the buggy bumped often over out-cropping bowlders. A window shone
forth, a simple square of topaz on a great black hill-side. Four
dogs charged the buggy with ferocity, and when it did not promptly
retreat, they circled courageously around the flanks, baying. A
door opened near the window in the hill-side, and a man came and
stood on a beach of yellow light.
"Yah! yah! You Roveh! You Susie! Come yah! Come yah this
Trescott called across the dark sea of grass, "Hello, Alek!"
"Come down here and show me where to drive."
The man plunged from the beach into the surf, and Trescott could
then only trace his course by the fervid and polite ejaculations of
a host who was somewhere approaching. Presently Williams took the
mare by the head, and uttering cries of welcome and scolding the
swarming dogs, led the equipage towards the lights. When they
halted at the door and Trescott was climbing out, Williams cried,
"Will she stand, docteh?"
"She'll stand all right, but you better hold her for a minute.
Now, Henry." The doctor turned and held both arms to the dark
figure. It crawled to him painfully like a man going down a ladder.
Williams took the mare away to be tied to a little tree, and when
he returned he found them awaiting him in the gloom beyond the rays
from the door.
He burst out then like a siphon pressed by a nervous thumb.
"Hennery! Hennery, ma ol' frien'. Well, if I ain' glade. If I ain'
Trescott had taken the silent shape by the arm and led it
forward into the full revelation of the light. "Well, now, Alek,
you can take Henry and put him to bed, and in the morning I
Near the end of this sentence old Williams had come front to
front with Johnson. He gasped for a second, and then yelled the
yell of a man stabbed in the heart.
For a fraction of a moment Trescott seemed to be looking for
epithets. Then he roared: "You old black chump! You old
black—Shut up! Shut up! Do you hear?"
Williams obeyed instantly in the matter of his screams, but he
continued in a lowered voice: "Ma Lode amassy! Who'd ever think? Ma
Trescott spoke again in the manner of a commander of a
The old negro again surrendered, but to himself he repeated in a
whisper, "Ma Lode!" He was aghast and trembling.
As these three points of widening shadows approached the golden
doorway a hale old negress appeared there, bowing. "Good-evenin',
docteh! Good-evenin'! Come in! come in!" She had evidently just
retired from a tempestuous struggle to place the room in order, but
she was now bowing rapidly. She made the effort of a person
"Don't trouble yourself, Mary," said Trescott, entering. "I've
brought Henry for you to take care of, and all you've got to do is
to carry out what I tell you." Learning that he was not followed,
he faced the door, and said, "Come in, Henry."
Johnson entered. "Whee!" shrieked Mrs. Williams. She almost
achieved a back somersault. Six young members of the tribe of
Williams made a simultaneous plunge for a position behind the
stove, and formed a wailing heap.
"You know very well that you and your family lived usually on
less than three dollars a week, and now that Dr. Trescott pays you
five dollars a week for Johnson's board, you live like
millionaires. You haven't done a stroke of work since Johnson began
to board with you—everybody knows that—and so what are
you kicking about?"
The judge sat in his chair on the porch, fondling his cane, and
gazing down at old Williams, who stood under the lilac-bushes.
"Yes, I know, jedge," said the negro, wagging his head in a puzzled
manner. "Tain't like as if I didn't 'preciate what the docteh done,
but—but—well, yeh see, jedge," he added, gaining a new
impetus, "it's—it's hard wuk. This ol' man nev' did wuk so
hard. Lode, no."
"Don't talk such nonsense, Alek," spoke the judge, sharply. "You
have never really worked in your life—anyhow, enough to
support a family of sparrows, and now when you are in a more
prosperous condition than ever before, you come around talking like
an old fool."
The negro began to scratch his head. "Yeh see, jedge," he said
at last, "my ol' 'ooman she cain't 'ceive no lady callahs,
"Hang lady callers'" said the judge, irascibly. "If you have
flour in the barrel and meat in the pot, your wife can get along
without receiving lady callers, can't she?"
"But they won't come ainyhow, jedge," replied Williams, with an
air of still deeper stupefaction. "Noner ma wife's frien's ner
noner ma frien's 'll come near ma res'dence."
"Well, let them stay home if they are such silly people."
The old negro seemed to be seeking a way to elude this argument,
but evidently finding none, he was about to shuffle meekly off. He
halted, however. "Jedge," said he, "ma ol' 'ooman's near driv'
"Your old woman is an idiot," responded the judge.
Williams came very close and peered solemnly through a branch of
lilac. "Judge," he whispered, "the chillens."
"What about them?"
Dropping his voice to funereal depths, Williams said,
"They—they cain't eat."
"Can't eat!" scoffed the judge, loudly. "Can't eat! You must
think I am as big an old fool as you are. Can't eat—the
little rascals! What's to prevent them from eating?"
In answer, Williams said, with mournful emphasis, "Hennery."
Moved with a kind of satisfaction at his tragic use of the name, he
remained staring at the judge for a sign of its effect.
The judge made a gesture of irritation. "Come, now, you old
scoundrel, don't beat around the bush any more. What are you up to?
What do you want? Speak out like a man, and don't give me any more
of this tiresome rigamarole."
"I ain't er-beatin' round 'bout nuffin, jedge," replied
Williams, indignantly. "No, seh; I say whatter got to say right
out. 'Deed I do."
"Well, say it, then."
"Jedge," began the negro, taking off his hat and switching his
knee with it, "Lode knows I'd do jes 'bout as much fer five dollehs
er week as ainy cul'd man, but—but this yere business is
awful, jedge. I raikon 'ain't been no sleep in—in my house
sence docteh done fetch 'im."
"Well, what do you propose to do about it?"
Williams lifted his eyes from the ground and gazed off through
the trees. "Raikon I got good appetite, an' sleep jes like er dog,
but he—he's done broke me all up. 'Tain't no good, nohow. I
wake up in the night; I hear 'im, mebbe, er-whimperin' an'
er-whimperin', an' I sneak an' I sneak until I try th' do' to see
if he locked in. An' he keep me er-puzzlin' an' er-quakin' all
night long. Don't know how'll do in th' winter. Can't let 'im out
where th' chillen is. He'll done freeze where he is now." Williams
spoke these sentences as if he were talking to himself. After a
silence of deep reflection he continued: "Folks go round sayin' he
ain't Hennery Johnson at all. They say he's er devil!"
"What?" cried the judge.
"Yesseh," repeated Williams, in tones of injury, as if his
veracity had been challenged. "Yesseh. I'm er-tellin' it to yeh
straight, jedge. Plenty cul'd people folks up my way say it is a
"Well, you don't think so yourself, do you?"
"No. 'Tain't no devil. It's Hennery Johnson."
"Well, then, what is the matter with you? You don't care what a
lot of foolish people say. Go on 'tending to your business, and pay
no attention to such idle nonsense."
"'Tis nonsense, jedge; but he looks like er devil."
"What do you care what he looks like?" demanded the judge.
"Ma rent is two dollehs and er half er month," said Williams,
"It might just as well be ten thousand dollars a month,"
responded the judge. "You never pay it, anyhow."
"Then, anoth' thing," continued Williams, in his reflective
tone. "If he was all right in his haid I could stan' it; but,
jedge, he's crazier 'n er loon. Then when he looks like er devil,
an' done skears all ma frien's away, an' ma chillens cain't eat,
an' ma ole 'ooman jes raisin' Cain all the time, an' ma rent two
dollehs an' er half er month, an' him not right in his haid, it
seems like five dollehs er week—"
The judge's stick came down sharply and suddenly upon the floor
of the porch. "There," he said, "I thought that was what you were
Williams began swinging his head from side to side in the
strange racial mannerism. "Now hol' on a minnet, jedge," he said,
defensively. "'Tain't like as if I didn't 'preciate what the docteh
done. 'Tain't that. Docteh Trescott is er kind man, an' 'tain't
like as if I didn't 'preciate what he done;
"But what? You are getting painful, Alek. Now tell me this: did
you ever have five dollars a week regularly before in your
Williams at once drew himself up with great dignity, but in the
pause after that question he drooped gradually to another attitude.
In the end he answered, heroically: "No, jedge, I 'ain't. An'
'tain't like as if I was er-sayin' five dollehs wasn't er lot er
money for a man like me. But, jedge, what er man oughter git fer
this kinder wuk is er salary. Yesseh, jedge," he repeated, with a
great impressive gesture; "fer this kinder wuk er man oughter git
er Salary." He laid a terrible emphasis upon the final word.
The judge laughed. "I know Dr. Trescott's mind concerning this
affair, Alek; and if you are dissatisfied with your boarder, he is
quite ready to move him to some other place; so, if you care to
leave word with me that you are tired of the arrangement and wish
it changed, he will come and take Johnson away."
Williams scratched his head again in deep perplexity. "Five
dollehs is er big price fer bo'd, but 'tain't no big price fer the
bo'd of er crazy man," he said, finally.
"What do you think you ought to get?" asked the judge.
"Well," answered Alek, in the manner of one deep in a balancing
of the scales, "he looks like er devil, an' done skears e'rybody,
an' ma chillens cain't eat, an' I cain't sleep, an' he ain't right
in his haid, an'—"
"You told me all those things."
After scratching his wool, and beating his knee with his hat,
and gazing off through the trees and down at the ground, Williams
said, as he kicked nervously at the gravel, "Well, jedge, I think
it is wuth—" He stuttered.
"Six dollehs," answered Williams, in a desperate outburst.
The judge lay back in his great arm-chair and went through all
the motions of a man laughing heartily, but he made no sound save a
slight cough. Williams had been watching him with apprehension.
"Well," said the judge, "do you call six dollars a salary?"
"No, seh," promptly responded Williams. "'Tain't a salary. No,
'deed! 'Tain't a salary." He looked with some anger upon the man
who questioned his intelligence in this way.
"Well, supposing your children can't eat?"
"And supposing he looks like a devil? And supposing all those
things continue? Would you be satisfied with six dollars a
Recollections seemed to throng in Williams's mind at these
interrogations, and he answered dubiously. "Of co'se a man who
ain't right in his haid, an' looks like er devil—But six
dollehs—" After these two attempts at a sentence Williams
suddenly appeared as an orator, with a great shiny palm waving in
the air. "I tell yeh, jedge, six dollehs is six dollehs, but if I
git six dollehs for bo'ding Hennery Johnson, I uhns it! I uhns
"I don't doubt that you earn six dollars for every week's work
you do," said the judge.
"Well, if I bo'd Hennery Johnson fer six dollehs er week, I uhns
it! I uhns it!" cried Williams, wildly.
Reifsnyder's assistant had gone to his supper, and the owner of
the shop was trying to placate four men who wished to be shaved at
once. Reifsnyder was very garrulous—a fact which made him
rather remarkable among barbers, who, as a class, are austerely
speechless, having been taught silence by the hammering reiteration
of a tradition. It is the customers who talk in the ordinary
As Reifsnyder waved his razor down the cheek of a man in the
chair, he turned often to cool the impatience of the others with
pleasant talk, which they did not particularly heed.
"Oh, he should have let him die," said Bainbridge, a railway
engineer, finally replying to one of the barber's orations. "Shut
up, Reif, and go on with your business!"
Instead, Reifsnyder paused shaving entirely, and turned to front
the speaker. "Let him die?" he demanded. "How vas that? How can you
let a man die?"
"By letting him die, you chump," said the engineer. The others
laughed a little, and Reifsnyder turned at once to his work,
sullenly, as a man overwhelmed by the derision of numbers.
"How vas that?" he grumbled later. "How can you let a man die
when he vas done so much for you?"
"'When he vas done so much for you?'" repeated Bainbridge. "You
better shave some people. How vas that? Maybe this ain't a barber
A man hitherto silent now said, "If I had been the doctor, I
would have done the same thing."
"Of course," said Reifsnyder. "Any man vould do it. Any man that
vas not like you, you—old—flint-hearted—fish." He
had sought the final words with painful care, and he delivered the
collection triumphantly at Bainbridge. The engineer laughed.
The man in the chair now lifted himself higher, while Reifsnyder
began an elaborate ceremony of anointing and combing his hair. Now
free to join comfortably in the talk, the man said: "They say he is
the most terrible thing in the world. Young Johnnie
Bernard—that drives the grocery wagon—saw him up at
Alek Williams's shanty, and he says he couldn't eat anything for
"Chee!" said Reifsnyder.
"Well, what makes him so terrible?" asked another.
"Because he hasn't got any face," replied the barber and the
engineer in duct.
"Hasn't got any face!" repeated the man. "How can he do without
"He has no face in the front of his head.
In the place where his face ought to grow."
Bainbridge sang these lines pathetically as he arose and hung
his hat on a hook. The man in the chair was about to abdicate in
his favor. "Get a gait on you now," he said to Reifsnyder. "I go
out at 7.31."
As the barber foamed the lather on the cheeks of the engineer he
seemed to be thinking heavily. Then suddenly he burst out. "How
would you like to be with no face?" he cried to the assemblage.
"Oh, if I had to have a face like yours—" answered one
Bainbridge's voice came from a sea of lather. "You're kicking
because if losing faces became popular, you'd have to go out of
"I don't think it will become so much popular," said
"Not if it's got to be taken off in the way his was taken off,"
said another man. "I'd rather keep mine, if you don't mind."
"I guess so!" cried the barber. "Just think!"
The shaving of Bainbridge had arrived at a time of comparative
liberty for him. "I wonder what the doctor says to himself?" he
observed. "He may be sorry he made him live."
"It was the only thing he could do," replied a man. The others
seemed to agree with him.
"Supposing you were in his place," said one, "and Johnson had
saved your kid. What would you do?"
"Of course! You would do anything on earth for him. You'd take
all the trouble in the world for him. And spend your last dollar on
him. Well, then?"
"I wonder how it feels to be without any face?" said Reifsnyder,
The man who had previously spoken, feeling that he had expressed
himself well, repeated the whole thing. "You would do anything on
earth for him. You'd take all the trouble in the world for him. And
spend your last dollar on him. Well, then?"
"No, but look," said Reifsnyder; "supposing you don't got a
As soon as Williams was hidden from the view of the old judge he
began to gesture and talk to himself. An elation had evidently
penetrated to his vitals, and caused him to dilate as if he had
been filled with gas. He snapped his fingers in the air, and
whistled fragments of triumphal music. At times, in his progress
towards his shanty, he indulged in a shuffling movement that was
really a dance. It was to be learned from the intermediate
monologue that he had emerged from his trials laurelled and proud.
He was the unconquerable Alexander Williams. Nothing could exceed
the bold self-reliance of his manner. His kingly stride, his heroic
song, the derisive flourish of his hands—all betokened a man
who had successfully defied the world.
On his way he saw Zeke Paterson coming to town. They hailed each
other at a distance of fifty yards.
"How do, Broth' Paterson?"
"How do, Broth' Williams?"
They were both deacons.
"Is you' folks well, Broth' Paterson?"
"Middlin', middlin'. How's you' folks, Broth' Williams?"
Neither of them had slowed his pace in the smallest degree. They
had simply begun this talk when a considerable space separated
them, continued it as they passed, and added polite questions as
they drifted steadily apart. Williams's mind seemed to be a
balloon. He had been so inflated that he had not noticed that
Paterson had definitely shied into the dry ditch as they came to
the point of ordinary contact.
Afterwards, as he went a lonely way, he burst out again in song
and pantomimic celebration of his estate. His feet moved in
When he came in sight of his cabin, the fields were bathed in a
blue dusk, and the light in the window was pale. Cavorting and
gesticulating, he gazed joyfully for some moments upon this light.
Then suddenly another idea seemed to attack his mind, and he
stopped, with an air of being suddenly dampened. In the end he
approached his home as if it were the fortress of an enemy.
Some dogs disputed his advance for a loud moment, and then
discovering their lord, slunk away embarrassed. His reproaches were
addressed to them in muffled tones.
Arriving at the door, he pushed it open with the timidity of a
new thief. He thrust his head cautiously sideways, and his eyes met
the eyes of his wife, who sat by the table, the lamp-light defining
a half of her face. '"Sh!" he said, uselessly. His glance travelled
swiftly to the inner door which shielded the one bed-chamber. The
pickaninnies, strewn upon the floor of the living-room, were softly
snoring. After a hearty meal they had promptly dispersed themselves
about the place and gone to sleep. "'Sh!" said Williams again to
his motionless and silent wife. He had allowed only his head to
appear. His wife, with one hand upon the edge of the table and the
other at her knee, was regarding him with wide eyes and parted lips
as if he were a spectre. She looked to be one who was living in
terror, and even the familiar face at the door had thrilled her
because it had come suddenly.
Williams broke the tense silence. "Is he all right?" he
whispered, waving his eyes towards the inner door. Following his
glance timorously, his wife nodded, and in a low tone answered:
"I raikon he's done gone t' sleep."
Williams then slunk noiselessly across his threshold.
He lifted a chair, and with infinite care placed it so that it
faced the dreaded inner door. His wife moved slightly, so as to
also squarely face it. A silence came upon them in which they
seemed to be waiting for a calamity, pealing and deadly.
Williams finally coughed behind his hand. His wife started, and
looked upon him in alarm. "Pears like he done gwine keep quiet
ternight," he breathed. They continually pointed their speech and
their looks at the inner door, paying it the homage due to a corpse
or a phantom. Another long stillness followed this sentence. Their
eyes shone white and wide. A wagon rattled down the distant road.
From their chairs they looked at the window, and the effect of the
light in the cabin was a presentation of an intensely black and
solemn night. The old woman adopted the attitude used always in
church at funerals. At times she seemed to be upon the point of
breaking out in prayer.
"He mighty quiet ter-night," whispered Williams. "Was he good
ter-day?" For answer his wife raised her eyes to the ceiling in the
supplication of Job. Williams moved restlessly. Finally he tiptoed
to the door. He knelt slowly and without a sound, and placed his
ear near the key-hole. Hearing a noise behind him, he turned
quickly. His wife was staring at him aghast. She stood in front of
the stove, and her arms were spread out in the natural movement to
protect all her sleeping ducklings.
But Williams arose without having touched the door. "I raikon he
er-sleep," he said, fingering his wool. He debated with himself for
some time. During this interval his wife remained, a great fat
statue of a mother shielding her children.
It was plain that his mind was swept suddenly by a wave of
temerity. With a sounding step he moved towards the door. His
fingers were almost upon the knob when he swiftly ducked and dodged
away, clapping his hands to the back of his head. It was as if the
portal had threatened him. There was a little tumult near the
stove, where Mrs. Williams's desperate retreat had involved her
feet with the prostrate children.
After the panic Williams bore traces of a feeling of shame. He
returned to the charge. He firmly grasped the knob with his left
hand, and with his other hand turned the key in the lock. He pushed
the door, and as it swung portentously open he sprang nimbly to one
side like the fearful slave liberating the lion. Near the stove a
group had formed, the terror stricken mother, with her arms
stretched, and the aroused children clinging frenziedly to her
The light streamed after the swinging door, and disclosed a room
six feet one way and six feet the other way. It was small enough to
enable the radiance to lay it plain. Williams peered warily around
the corner made by the door-post.
Suddenly he advanced, retired, and advanced again with a howl.
His palsied family had expected him to spring backward, and at his
howl they heaped themselves wondrously. But Williams simply stood
in the little room emitting his howls before an open window. "He's
gone! He's gone! He's gone!" His eye and his hand had speedily
proved the fact. He had even thrown open a little cupboard.
Presently he came flying out. He grabbed his hat, and hurled the
outer door back upon its hinges. Then he tumbled headlong into the
night. He was yelling: "Docteh Trescott! Docteh Trescott!" He ran
wildly through the fields, and galloped in the direction of town.
He continued to call to Trescott, as if the latter was within easy
hearing. It was as if Trescott was poised in the contemplative sky
over the running negro, and could heed this reaching
In the cabin, Mrs. Williams, supported by relays from the
battalion of children, stood quaking watch until the truth of
daylight came as a reinforcement and made the arrogant, strutting,
swashbuckler children, and a mother who proclaimed her illimitable
Theresa Page was giving a party. It was the outcome of a long
series of arguments addressed to her mother, which had been
overheard in part by her father. He had at last said five words,
"Oh, let her have it." The mother had then gladly capitulated.
Theresa had written nineteen invitations, and distributed them
at recess to her schoolmates. Later her mother had composed five
large cakes, and still later a vast amount of lemonade.
So the nine little girls and the ten little boys sat quite
primly in the dining-room, while Theresa and her mother plied them
with cake and lemonade, and also with ice-cream. This primness sat
now quite strangely upon them. It was owing to the presence of Mrs.
Page. Previously in the parlor alone with their games they had
overturned a chair; the boys had let more or less of their hoodlum
spirit shine forth. But when circumstances could be possibly
magnified to warrant it, the girls made the boys victims of an
insufferable pride, snubbing them mercilessly. So in the
dining-room they resembled a class at Sunday-school, if it were not
for the subterranean smiles, gestures, rebuffs, and poutings which
stamped the affair as a children's party.
Two little girls of this subdued gathering were planted in a
settle with their backs to the broad window. They were beaming
lovingly upon each other with an effect of scorning the boys.
Hearing a noise behind her at the window, one little girl turned
to face it. Instantly she screamed and sprang away, covering her
face with her hands. "What was it? What was it?" cried every one in
a roar. Some slight movement of the eyes of the weeping and
shuddering child informed the company that she had been frightened
by an appearance at the window. At once they all faced the
imperturbable window, and for a moment there was a silence. An
astute lad made an immediate census of the other lads. The prank of
slipping out and looming spectrally at a window was too venerable.
But the little boys were all present and astonished.
As they recovered their minds they uttered warlike cries, and
through a side door sallied rapidly out against the terror. They
vied with each other in daring.
None wished particularly to encounter a dragon in the darkness
of the garden, but there could be no faltering when the fair ones
in the dining-room were present. Calling to each other in stern
voices, they went dragooning over the lawn, attacking the shadows
with ferocity, but still with the caution of reasonable beings.
They found, however, nothing new to the peace of the night. Of
course there was a lad who told a great lie. He described a grim
figure, bending low and slinking off along the fence. He gave a
number of details, rendering his lie more splendid by a repetition
of certain forms which he recalled from romances. For instance, he
insisted that he had heard the creature emit a hollow laugh.
Inside the house the little girl who had raised the alarm was
still shuddering and weeping. With the utmost difficulty was she
brought to a state approximating calmness by Mrs. Page. Then she
wanted to go home at once.
Page entered the house at this time. He had exiled himself until
he concluded that this children's party was finished and gone. He
was obliged to escort the little girl home because she screamed
again when they opened the door and she saw the night.
She was not coherent even to her mother. Was it a man? She
didn't know. It was simply a thing, a dreadful thing.
In Watermelon Alley the Farraguts were spending their evening as
usual on the little rickety porch. Sometimes they howled gossip to
other people on other rickety porches. The thin wail of a baby
arose from a near house. A man had a terrific altercation with his
wife, to which the alley paid no attention at all.
There appeared suddenly before the Farraguts a monster making a
low and sweeping bow. There was an instant's pause, and then
occurred something that resembled the effect of an upheaval of the
earth's surface. The old woman hurled herself backward with a
dreadful cry. Young Sim had been perched gracefully on a railing.
At sight of the monster he simply fell over it to the ground. He
made no sound, his eyes stuck out, his nerveless hands tried to
grapple the rail to prevent a tumble, and then he vanished. Bella,
blubbering, and with her hair suddenly and mysteriously
dishevelled, was crawling on her hands and knees fearsomely up the
Standing before this wreck of a family gathering, the monster
continued to bow. It even raised a deprecatory claw. "Doh' make no
botheration 'bout me, Miss Fa'gut," it said, politely. "No, 'deed.
I jes drap in ter ax if yer well this evenin', Miss Fa'gut. Don'
make no botheration. No, 'deed. I gwine ax you to go to er daince
with me, Miss Fa'gut. I ax you if I can have the magnifercent
gratitude of you' company on that 'casion, Miss Fa'gut."
The girl cast a miserable glance behind her. She was still
crawling away. On the ground beside the porch young Sim raised a
strange bleat, which expressed both his fright and his lack of
wind. Presently the monster, with a fashionable amble, ascended the
steps after the girl.
She grovelled in a corner of the room as the creature took a
chair. It seated itself very elegantly on the edge. It held an old
cap in both hands. "Don' make no botheration, Miss Fa'gut. Don'
make no botherations. No, 'deed. I jes drap in ter ax you if you
won' do me the proud of acceptin' ma humble invitation to er
daince, Miss Fa'gut."
She shielded her eyes with her arms and tried to crawl past it,
but the genial monster blocked the way. "I jes drap in ter ax you
'bout er daince, Miss Fa'gut. I ax you if I kin have the
magnifercent gratitude of you' company on that 'casion, Miss
In a last outbreak of despair, the girl, shuddering and wailing,
threw herself face downward on the floor, while the monster sat on
the edge of the chair gabbling courteous invitations, and holding
the old hat daintily to his stomach.
At the back of the house, Mrs. Farragut, who was of enormous
weight, and who for eight years had done little more than sit in an
armchair and describe her various ailments, had with speed and
agility scaled a high board fence.
The black mass in the middle of Trescott's property was hardly
allowed to cool before the builders were at work on another house.
It had sprung upward at a fabulous rate. It was like a magical
composition born of the ashes. The doctor's office was the first
part to be completed, and he had already moved in his new books and
instruments and medicines.
Trescott sat before his desk when the chief of police arrived.
"Well, we found him," said the latter.
"Did you?" cried the doctor. "Where?"
"Shambling around the streets at daylight this morning. I'll be
blamed if I can figure on where he passed the night."
"Where is he now?"
"Oh, we jugged him. I didn't know what else to do with him.
That's what I want you to tell me. Of course we can't keep him. No
charge could be made, you know."
"I'll come down and get him."
The official grinned retrospectively. "Must say he had a fine
career while he was out. First thing he did was to break up a
children's party at Page's. Then he went to Watermelon Alley. Whoo!
He stampeded the whole outfit. Men, women, and children running
pell-mell, and yelling. They say one old woman broke her leg, or
something, shinning over a fence. Then he went right out on the
main street, and an Irish girl threw a fit, and there was a sort of
a riot. He began to run, and a big crowd chased him, firing rocks.
But he gave them the slip somehow down there by the foundry and in
the railroad yard. We looked for him all night, but couldn't find
"Was he hurt any? Did anybody hit him with a stone?"
"Guess there isn't much of him to hurt any more, is there? Guess
he's been hurt up to the limit. No. They never touched him. Of
course nobody really wanted to hit him, but you know how a crowd
gets. It's like—it's like—"
"Yes, I know."
For a moment the chief of the police looked reflectively at the
floor. Then he spoke hesitatingly. "You know Jake Winter's little
girl was the one that he scared at the party. She is pretty sick,
"Is she? Why, they didn't call me. I always attend the Winter
"No? Didn't they?" asked the chief, slowly. "Well—you
know—Winter is—well, Winter has gone clean crazy over
this business. He wanted—he wanted to have you arrested."
"Have me arrested? The idiot! What in the name of wonder could
he have me arrested for?"
"Of course. He is a fool. I told him to keep his trap shut. But
then you know how he'll go all over town yapping about the thing. I
thought I'd better tip you."
"Oh, he is of no consequence; but then, of course, I'm obliged
to you, Sam."
"That's all right. Well, you'll be down tonight and take him
out, eh? You'll get a good welcome from the jailer. He don't like
his job for a cent. He says you can have your man whenever you want
him. He's got no use for him."
"But what is this business of Winter's about having me
"Oh, it's a lot of chin about your having no right to allow
this—this—this man to be at large. But I told him to
tend to his own business. Only I thought I'd better let you know.
And I might as well say right now, doctor, that there is a good
deal of talk about this thing. If I were you, I'd come to the jail
pretty late at night, because there is likely to be a crowd around
the door, and I'd bring a—er—mask, or some kind of a
Martha Goodwin was single, and well along into the thin years.
She lived with her married sister in Whilomville. She performed
nearly all the house-work in exchange for the privilege of
existence. Every one tacitly recognized her labor as a form of
penance for the early end of her betrothed, who had died of
small-pox, which he had not caught from her.
But despite the strenuous and unceasing workaday of her life,
she was a woman of great mind. She had adamantine opinions upon the
situation in Armenia, the condition of women in China, the
flirtation between Mrs. Minster of Niagara Avenue and young
Griscom, the conflict in the Bible class of the Baptist
Sunday-school, the duty of the United States towards the Cuban
insurgents, and many other colossal matters. Her fullest experience
of violence was gained on an occasion when she had seen a hound
clubbed, but in the plan which she had made for the reform of the
world she advocated drastic measures. For instance, she contended
that all the Turks should be pushed into the sea and drowned, and
that Mrs. Minster and young Griscom should be hanged side by side
on twin gallows. In fact, this woman of peace, who had seen only
peace, argued constantly for a creed of illimitable ferocity. She
was invulnerable on these questions, because eventually she
overrode all opponents with a sniff. This sniff was an active
force. It was to her antagonists like a bang over the head, and
none was known to recover from this expression of exalted contempt.
It left them windless and conquered. They never again came forward
as candidates for suppression. And Martha walked her kitchen with a
stern brow, an invincible being like Napoleon.
Nevertheless her acquaintances, from the pain of their defeats,
had been long in secret revolt. It was in no wise a conspiracy,
because they did not care to state their open rebellion, but
nevertheless it was understood that any woman who could not
coincide with one of Martha's contentions was entitled to the
support of others in the small circle. It amounted to an
arrangement by which all were required to disbelieve any theory for
which Martha fought. This, however, did not prevent them from
speaking of her mind with profound respect.
Two people bore the brunt of her ability. Her sister Kate was
visibly afraid of her, while Carrie Dungen sailed across from her
kitchen to sit respectfully at Martha's feet and learn the business
of the world. To be sure, afterwards, under another sun, she always
laughed at Martha and pretended to deride her ideas, but in the
presence of the sovereign she always remained silent or admiring.
Kate, the sister, was of no consequence at all. Her principal
delusion was that she did all the work in the up-stairs rooms of
the house, while Martha did it down-stairs. The truth was seen only
by the husband, who treated Martha with a kindness that was half
banter, half deference. Martha herself had no suspicion that she
was the only pillar of the domestic edifice. The situation was
without definitions. Martha made definitions, but she devoted them
entirely to the Armenians and Griscom and the Chinese and other
subjects. Her dreams, which in early days had been of love of
meadows and the shade of trees, of the face of a man, were now
involved otherwise, and they were companioned in the kitchen
curiously, Cuba, the hot-water kettle, Armenia, the washing of the
dishes, and the whole thing being jumbled. In regard to social
misdemeanors, she who was simply the mausoleum of a dead passion
was probably the most savage critic in town. This unknown woman,
hidden in a kitchen as in a well, was sure to have a considerable
effect of the one kind or the other in the life of the town. Every
time it moved a yard, she had personally contributed an inch. She
could hammer so stoutly upon the door of a proposition that it
would break from its hinges and fall upon her, but at any rate it
moved. She was an engine, and the fact that she did not know that
she was an engine contributed largely to the effect. One reason
that she was formidable was that she did not even imagine that she
was formidable. She remained a weak, innocent, and pig-headed
creature, who alone would defy the universe if she thought the
universe merited this proceeding.
One day Carrie Dungen came across from her kitchen with speed.
She had a great deal of grist. "Oh," she cried, "Henry Johnson got
away from where they was keeping him, and came to town last night,
and scared everybody almost to death."
Martha was shining a dish-pan, polishing madly. No reasonable
person could see cause for this operation, because the pan already
glistened like silver. "Well!" she ejaculated. She imparted to the
word a deep meaning. "This, my prophecy, has come to pass." It was
The overplus of information was choking Carrie. Before she could
go on she was obliged to struggle for a moment. "And, oh, little
Sadie Winter is awful sick, and they say Jake Winter was around
this morning trying to get Doctor Trescott arrested. And poor old
Mrs. Farragut sprained her ankle in trying to climb a fence. And
there's a crowd around the jail all the time. They put Henry in
jail because they didn't know what else to do with him, I guess.
They say he is perfectly terrible."
Martha finally released the dish-pan and confronted the headlong
speaker. "Well!" she said again, poising a great brown rag. Kate
had heard the excited new-comer, and drifted down from the novel in
her room. She was a shivery little woman. Her shoulder-blades
seemed to be two panes of ice, for she was constantly shrugging and
shrugging. "Serves him right if he was to lose all his patients,"
she said suddenly, in blood-thirsty tones. She snipped her words
out as if her lips were scissors.
"Well, he's likely to," shouted Carrie Dungen. "Don't a lot of
people say that they won't have him any more? If you're sick and
nervous, Doctor Trescott would scare the life out of you, wouldn't
he? He would me. I'd keep thinking."
Martha, stalking to and fro, sometimes surveyed the two other
women with a contemplative frown.
After the return from Connecticut, little Jimmie was at first
much afraid of the monster who lived in the room over the
carriage-house. He could not identify it in any way. Gradually,
however, his fear dwindled under the influence of a weird
fascination. He sidled into closer and closer relations with
One time the monster was seated on a box behind the stable
basking in the rays of the afternoon sun. A heavy crepe veil was
swathed about its head.
Little Jimmie and many companions came around the corner of the
stable. They were all in what was popularly known as the baby
class, and consequently escaped from school a half-hour before the
other children. They halted abruptly at sight of the figure on the
box. Jimmie waved his hand with the air of a proprietor.
"There he is," he said.
"O-o-o!" murmured all the little boys—"o-o-o!" They shrank
back, and grouped according to courage or experience, as at the
sound the monster slowly turned its head. Jimmie had remained in
the van alone. "Don't be afraid! I won't let him hurt you," he
"Huh!" they replied, contemptuously. "We ain't afraid."
Jimmie seemed to reap all the joys of the owner and exhibitor of
one of the world's marvels, while his audience remained at a
distance—awed and entranced, fearful and envious.
One of them addressed Jimmie gloomily. "Bet you dassent walk
right up to him." He was an older boy than Jimmie, and habitually
oppressed him to a small degree. This new social elevation of the
smaller lad probably seemed revolutionary to him.
"Huh!" said Jimmie, with deep scorn. "Dassent I? Dassent I, hey?
The group was immensely excited. It turned its eyes upon the boy
that Jimmie addressed. "No, you dassent," he said, stolidly, facing
a moral defeat. He could see that Jimmie was resolved. "No, you
dassent," he repeated, doggedly.
"Ho?" cried Jimmie. "You just watch!—you just watch!"
Amid a silence he turned and marched towards the monster. But
possibly the palpable wariness of his companions had an effect upon
him that weighed more than his previous experience, for suddenly,
when near to the monster, he halted dubiously. But his playmates
immediately uttered a derisive shout, and it seemed to force him
forward. He went to the monster and laid his hand delicately on its
shoulder. "Hello, Henry," he said, in a voice that trembled a
trifle. The monster was crooning a weird line of negro melody that
was scarcely more than a thread of sound, and it paid no heed to
Jimmie: strutted back to his companions. They acclaimed him and
hooted his opponent. Amid this clamor the larger boy with
difficulty preserved a dignified attitude.
"I dassent, dassent I?" said Jimmie to him.
"Now, you're so smart, let's see you do it!"
This challenge brought forth renewed taunts from the others. The
larger boy puffed out his checks. "Well, I ain't afraid," he
explained, sullenly. He had made a mistake in diplomacy, and now
his small enemies were tumbling his prestige all about his ears.
They crowed like roosters and bleated like lambs, and made many
other noises which were supposed to bury him in ridicule and
dishonor. "Well, I ain't afraid," he continued to explain through
Jimmie, the hero of the mob, was pitiless. "You ain't afraid,
hey?" he sneered. "If you ain't afraid, go do it, then."
"Well, I would if I wanted to," the other retorted. His eyes
wore an expression of profound misery, but he preserved steadily
other portions of a pot-valiant air. He suddenly faced one of his
persecutors. "If you're so smart, why don't you go do it?" This
persecutor sank promptly through the group to the rear. The
incident gave the badgered one a breathing-spell, and for a moment
even turned the derision in another direction. He took advantage of
his interval. "I'll do it if anybody else will," he announced,
swaggering to and fro.
Candidates for the adventure did not come forward. To defend
themselves from this counter-charge, the other boys again set up
their crowing and bleating. For a while they would hear nothing
from him. Each time he opened his lips their chorus of noises made
oratory impossible. But at last he was able to repeat that he would
volunteer to dare as much in the affair as any other boy.
"Well, you go first," they shouted.
But Jimmie intervened to once more lead the populace against the
large boy. "You're mighty brave, ain't you?" he said to him. "You
dared me to do it, and I did—didn't I? Now who's afraid?" The
others cheered this view loudly, and they instantly resumed the
baiting of the large boy.
He shamefacedly scratched his left shin with his right foot.
"Well, I ain't afraid." He cast an eye at the monster. "Well, I
ain't afraid." With a glare of hatred at his squalling tormentors,
he finally announced a grim intention. "Well, I'll do it, then,
since you're so fresh. Now!"
The mob subsided as with a formidable countenance he turned
towards the impassive figure on the box. The advance was also a
regular progression from high daring to craven hesitation. At last,
when some yards from the monster, the lad came to a full halt, as
if he had encountered a stone wall. The observant little boys in
the distance promptly hooted. Stung again by these cries, the lad
sneaked two yards forward. He was crouched like a young cat ready
for a backward spring. The crowd at the rear, beginning to respect
this display, uttered some encouraging cries. Suddenly the lad
gathered himself together, made a white and desperate rush forward,
touched the monster's shoulder with a far-outstretched finger, and
sped away, while his laughter rang out wild, shrill, and
The crowd of boys reverenced him at once, and began to throng
into his camp, and look at him, and be his admirers. Jimmie was
discomfited for a moment, but he and the larger boy, without
agreement or word of any kind, seemed to recognize a truce, and
they swiftly combined and began to parade before the others.
"Why, it's just as easy as nothing," puffed the larger boy.
"Ain't it, Jim?"
"Course," blew Jimmie. "Why, it's as e-e-easy."
They were people of another class. If they had been decorated
for courage on twelve battle-fields, they could not have made the
other boys more ashamed of the situation.
Meanwhile they condescended to explain the emotions of the
excursion, expressing unqualified contempt for any one who could
hang back. "Why, it ain't nothin'. He won't do nothin' to you,"
they told the others, in tones of exasperation.
One of the very smallest boys in the party showed signs of a
wistful desire to distinguish himself, and they turned their
attention to him, pushing at his shoulders while he swung away from
them, and hesitated dreamily. He was eventually induced to make
furtive expedition, but it was only for a few yards. Then he
paused, motionless, gazing with open mouth. The vociferous
entreaties of Jimmie and the large boy had no power over him.
Mrs. Hannigan had come out on her back porch with a pail of
water. From this coign she had a view of the secluded portion of
the Trescott grounds that was behind the stable. She perceived the
group of boys, and the monster on the box. She shaded her eyes with
her hand to benefit her vision. She screeched then as if she was
being murdered. "Eddie! Eddie! You come home this minute!"
Her son querulously demanded, "Aw, what for?"
"You come home this minute. Do you hear?"
The other boys seemed to think this visitation upon one of their
number required them to preserve for a time the hang-dog air of a
collection of culprits, and they remained in guilty silence until
the little Hannigan, wrathfully protesting, was pushed through the
door of his home. Mrs. Hannigan cast a piercing glance over the
group, stared with a bitter face at the Trescott house, as if this
new and handsome edifice was insulting her, and then followed her
There was wavering in the party. An inroad by one mother always
caused them to carefully sweep the horizon to see if there were
more coming. "This is my yard," said Jimmie, proudly. "We don't
have to go home."
The monster on the box had turned its black crepe countenance
towards the sky, and was waving its arms in time to a religious
chant. "Look at him now," cried a little boy. They turned, and were
transfixed by the solemnity and mystery of the indefinable
gestures. The wail of the melody was mournful and slow. They drew
back. It seemed to spellbind them with the power of a funeral. They
were so absorbed that they did not hear the doctor's buggy drive up
to the stable. Trescott got out, tied his horse, and approached the
group. Jimmie saw him first, and at his look of dismay the others
"What's all this, Jimmie?" asked Trescott, in surprise.
The lad advanced to the front of his companions, halted, and
said nothing. Trescott's face gloomed slightly as he scanned the
"What were you doing, Jimmie?"
"We was playin'," answered Jimmie, huskily.
"Playing at what?"
Trescott looked gravely at the other boys, and asked them to
please go home. They proceeded to the street much in the manner of
frustrated and revealed assassins. The crime of trespass on another
boy's place was still a crime when they had only accepted the other
boy's cordial invitation, and they were used to being sent out of
all manner of gardens upon the sudden appearance of a father or a
mother. Jimmie had wretchedly watched the departure of his
companions. It involved the loss of his position as a lad who
controlled the privileges of his father's grounds, but then he knew
that in the beginning he had no right to ask so many boys to be his
Once on the sidewalk, however, they speedily forgot their shame
as trespassers, and the large boy launched forth in a description
of his success in the late trial of courage. As they went rapidly
up the street, the little boy who had made the furtive expedition
cried out confidently from the rear, "Yes, and I went almost up to
him, didn't I, Willie?"
The large boy crushed him in a few words. "Huh!" he scoffed.
"You only went a little way. I went clear up to him."
The pace of the other boys was so manly that the tiny thing had
to trot, and he remained at the rear, getting entangled in their
legs in his attempts to reach the front rank and become of some
importance, dodging this way and that way, and always piping out
his little claim to glory.
"By-the-way, Grace," said Trescott, looking into the dining-room
from his office door, "I wish you would send Jimmie to me before
When Jimmie came, he advanced so quietly that Trescott did not
at first note him. "Oh," he said, wheeling from a cabinet, "here
you are, young man."
Trescott dropped into his chair and tapped the desk with a
thoughtful finger. "Jimmie, what were you doing in the back garden
yesterday—you and the other boys—to Henry?"
"We weren't doing anything, pa."
Trescott looked sternly into the raised eyes of his son. "Are
you sure you were not annoying him in any way? Now what were you
"Why, we—why, we—now—Willie Dalzel said I
dassent go right up to him, and I did; and then he did; and
then—the other boys were 'fraid; and then—you
Trescott groaned deeply. His countenance was so clouded in
sorrow that the lad, bewildered by the mystery of it, burst
suddenly forth in dismal lamentations. "There, there. Don't cry,
Jim," said Trescott, going round the desk. "Only—" He sat in
a great leather reading-chair, and took the boy on his knee. "Only
I want to explain to you—"
After Jimmie had gone to school, and as Trescott was about to
start on his round of morning calls, a message arrived from Doctor
Moser. It set forth that the latter's sister was dying in the old
homestead, twenty miles away up the valley, and asked Trescott to
care for his patients for the day at least. There was also in the
envelope a little history of each case and of what had already been
done. Trescott replied to the messenger that he would gladly assent
to the arrangement.
He noted that the first name on Moser's list was Winter, but
this did not seem to strike him as an important fact. When its turn
came, he rang the Winter bell. "Good-morning, Mrs. Winter," he
said, cheerfully, as the door was opened. "Doctor Moser has been
obliged to leave town to-day, and he has asked me to come in his
stead. How is the little girl this morning?"
Mrs. Winter had regarded him in stony surprise. At last she
said: "Come in! I'll see my husband." She bolted into the house.
Trescott entered the hall, and turned to the left into the
Presently Winter shuffled through the door. His eyes flashed
towards Trescott. He did not betray any desire to advance far into
the room. "What do you want?" he said.
"What do I want? What do I want?" repeated Trescott, lifting his
head suddenly. He had heard an utterly new challenge in the night
of the jungle.
"Yes, that's what I want to know," snapped Winter. "What do you
Trescott was silent for a moment. He consulted Moser's
memoranda. "I see that your little girl's case is a trifle
serious," he remarked. "I would advise you to call a physician
soon. I will leave you a copy of Dr. Moser's record to give to any
one you may call." He paused to transcribe the record on a page of
his note-book. Tearing out the leaf, he extended it to Winter as he
moved towards the door. The latter shrunk against the wall. His
head was hanging as he reached for the paper. This caused him to
grasp air, and so Trescott simply let the paper flutter to the feet
of the other man.
"Good-morning," said Trescott from the hall. This placid retreat
seemed to suddenly arouse Winter to ferocity. It was as if he had
then recalled all the truths which he had formulated to hurl at
Trescott. So he followed him into the hall, and down the hall to
the door, and through the door to the porch, barking in fiery rage
from a respectful distance. As Trescott imperturbably turned the
mare's head down the road, Winter stood on the porch, still
yelping. He was like a little dog.
"Have you heard the news?" cried Carrie Dungen as she sped
towards Martha's kitchen. "Have you heard the news?" Her eyes were
shining with delight.
"No," answered Martha's sister Kate, bending forward eagerly.
"What was it? What was it?"
Carrie appeared triumphantly in the open door. "Oh, there's been
an awful scene between Doctor Trescott and Jake Winter. I never
thought that Jake Winter had any pluck at all, but this morning he
told the doctor just what he thought of him."
"Well, what did he think of him?" asked Martha.
"Oh, he called him everything. Mrs. Howarth heard it through her
front blinds. It was terrible, she says. It's all over town now.
Everybody knows it."
"Didn't the doctor answer back?"
"No! Mrs. Howarth—she says he never said a word. He just
walked down to his buggy and got in, and drove off as co-o-o-l. But
Jake gave him jinks, by all accounts."
"But what did he say?" cried Kate, shrill and excited. She was
evidently at some kind of a feast.
"Oh, he told him that Sadie had never been well since that night
Henry Johnson frightened her at Theresa Page's party, and he held
him responsible, and how dared he cross his
"And what?" said Martha.
"Did he swear at him?" said Kate, in fearsome glee.
"No—not much. He did swear at him a little, but not more
than a man does anyhow when he is real mad, Mrs. Howarth says."
"O-oh!" breathed Kate. "And did he call him any names?"
Martha, at her work, had been for a time in deep thought. She
now interrupted the others. "It don't seem as if Sadie Winter had
been sick since that time Henry Johnson got loose. She's been to
school almost the whole time since then, hasn't she?"
They combined upon her in immediate indignation. "School?
School? I should say not. Don't think for a moment. School!"
Martha wheeled from the sink. She held an iron spoon, and it
seemed as if she was going to attack them. "Sadie Winter has passed
here many a morning since then carrying her schoolbag. Where was
she going? To a wedding?"
The others, long accustomed to a mental tyranny, speedily
"Did she?" stammered Kate. "I never saw her."
Carrie Dungen made a weak gesture.
"If I had been Doctor Trescott," exclaimed Martha, loudly, "I'd
have knocked that miserable Jake Winter's head off."
Kate and Carrie, exchanging glances, made an alliance in the
air. "I don't see why you say that, Martha," replied Carrie, with
considerable boldness, gaining support and sympathy from Kate's
smile. "I don't see how anybody can be blamed for getting angry
when their little girl gets almost scared to death and gets sick
from it, and all that. Besides, everybody says—"
"Oh, I don't care what everybody says," said Martha.
"Well, you can't go against the whole town," answered Carrie, in
sudden sharp defiance.
"No, Martha, you can't go against the whole town," piped Kate,
following her leader rapidly.
"'The whole town,'" cried Martha. "I'd like to know what you
call 'the whole town.' Do you call these silly people who are
scared of Henry Johnson 'the whole town'?"
"Why, Martha," said Carrie, in a reasoning tone, "you talk as if
you wouldn't be scared of him!"
"No more would I," retorted Martha.
"O-oh, Martha, how you talk!" said Kate. "Why, the idea!
Everybody's afraid of him."
Carrie was grinning. "You've never seen him, have you?" she
"No," admitted Martha.
"Well, then, how do you know that you wouldn't be scared?"
Martha confronted her. "Have you ever seen him? No? Well, then,
how do you know you would be scared?"
The allied forces broke out in chorus: "But, Martha, everybody
says so. Everybody says so."
"Everybody says what?"
"Everybody that's seen him say they were frightened almost to
death. Tisn't only women, but it's men too. It's awful."
Martha wagged her head solemnly. "I'd try not to be afraid of
"But supposing you could not help it?" said Kate.
"Yes, and look here," cried Carrie. "I'll tell you another
thing. The Hannigans are going to move out of the house next
"On account of him?" demanded Martha.
Carrie nodded. "Mrs. Hannigan says so herself."
"Well, of all things!" ejaculated Martha. "Going to move, eh?
You don't say so! Where they going to move to?"
"Down on Orchard Avenue."
"Well, of all things! Nice house?"
"I don't know about that. I haven't heard. But there's lots of
nice houses on Orchard."
"Yes, but they're all taken," said Kate. "There isn't a vacant
house on Orchard Avenue."
"Oh yes, there is," said Martha. "The old Hampstead house is
"Oh, of course," said Kate. "But then I don't believe Mrs.
Hannigan would like it there. I wonder where they can be going to
"I'm sure I don't know," sighed Martha. "It must be to some
place we don't know about."
"Well." said Carrie Dungen, after a general reflective silence,
"it's easy enough to find out, anyhow."
"Who knows—around here?" asked Kate.
"Why, Mrs. Smith, and there she is in her garden," said Carrie,
jumping to her feet. As she dashed out of the door, Kate and Martha
crowded at the window. Carrie's voice rang out from near the steps.
"Mrs. Smith! Mrs. Smith! Do you know where the Hannigans are going
to move to?"
The autumn smote the leaves, and the trees of Whilomville were
panoplied in crimson and yellow. The winds grew stronger, and in
the melancholy purple of the nights the home shine of a window
became a finer thing. The little boys, watching the sear and
sorrowful leaves drifting down from the maples, dreamed of the near
time when they could heap bushels in the streets and burn them
during the abrupt evenings.
Three men walked down the Niagara Avenue. As they approached
Judge Hagenthorpe's house he came down his walk to meet them in the
manner of one who has been waiting.
"Are you ready, judge?" one said.
"All ready," he answered.
The four then walked to Trescott's house. He received them in
his office, where he had been reading. He seemed surprised at this
visit of four very active and influential citizens, but he had
nothing to say of it.
After they were all seated, Trescott looked expectantly from one
face to another. There was a little silence. It was broken by John
Twelve, the wholesale grocer, who was worth $400,000, and reported
to be worth over a million.
"Well, doctor," he said, with a short laugh, "I suppose we might
as well admit at once that we've come to interfere in something
which is none of our business."
"Why, what is it?" asked Trescott, again looking from one face
to another. He seemed to appeal particularly to Judge Hagenthorpe,
but the old man had his chin lowered musingly to his cane, and
would not look at him.
"It's about what nobody talks of—much," said Twelve. "It's
about Henry Johnson."
Trescott squared himself in his chair. "Yes?" he said.
Having delivered himself of the title, Twelve seemed to become
more easy. "Yes," he answered, blandly, "we wanted to talk to you
"Yes?" said Trescott.
Twelve abruptly advanced on the main attack. "Now see here,
Trescott, we like you, and we have come to talk right out about
this business. It may be none of our affairs and all that, and as
for me, I don't mind if you tell me so; but I am not going to keep
quiet and see you ruin yourself. And that's how we all feel."
"I am not ruining myself," answered Trescott.
"No, maybe you are not exactly ruining yourself," said Twelve,
slowly, "but you are doing yourself a great deal of harm. You have
changed from being the leading doctor in town to about the last
one. It is mainly because there are always a large number of people
who are very thoughtless fools, of course, but then that doesn't
change the condition."
A man who had not heretofore spoken said, solemnly, "It's the
"Well, what I want to say is this," resumed Twelve: "Even if
there are a lot of fools in the world, we can't see any reason why
you should ruin yourself by opposing them. You can't teach them
anything, you know."
"I am not trying to teach them anything." Trescott smiled
wearily. "I—It is a matter of—well—"
"And there are a good many of us that admire you for it
immensely," interrupted Twelve; "but that isn't going to change the
minds of all those ninnies."
"It's the women," stated the advocate of this view again.
"Well, what I want to say is this," said Twelve. "We want you to
get out of this trouble and strike your old gait again. You are
simply killing your practice through your infernal pigheadedness.
Now this thing is out of the ordinary, but there must be ways
to—to beat the game somehow, you see. So we've talked it
over—about a dozen of us—and, as I say, if you want to
tell us to mind our own business, why, go ahead; but we've talked
it over, and we've come to the conclusion that the only way to do
is to get Johnson a place somewhere off up the valley,
Trescott wearily gestured. "You don't know, my friend. Everybody
is so afraid of him, they can't even give him good care. Nobody can
attend to him as I do myself."
"But I have a little no-good farm up beyond Clarence Mountain
that I was going to give to Henry," cried Twelve, aggrieved. "And
if you—and if you—if you—through your house
burning down, or anything—why, all the boys were prepared to
take him right off your hands, and—and—"
Trescott arose and went to the window. He turned his back upon
them. They sat waiting in silence. When he returned he kept his
face in the shadow. "No, John Twelve," he said, "it can't be
There was another stillness. Suddenly a man stirred on his
"Well, then, a public institution—" he began.
"No," said Trescott; "public institutions are all very good, but
he is not going to one."
In the background of the group old Judge Hagenthorpe was
thoughtfully smoothing the polished ivory head of his cane.
Trescott loudly stamped the snow from his feet and shook the
flakes from his shoulders. When he entered the house he went at
once to the dining-room, and then to the sitting-room. Jimmie was
there, reading painfully in a large book concerning giraffes and
tigers and crocodiles.
"Where is your mother, Jimmie?" asked Trescott.
"I don't know, pa," answered the boy. "I think she is
Trescott went to the foot of the stairs and called, but there
came no answer. Seeing that the door of the little drawing-room was
open, he entered. The room was bathed in the half-light that came
from the four dull panes of mica in the front of the great stove.
As his eyes grew used to the shadows he saw his wife curled in an
arm-chair. He went to her. "Why, Grace." he said, "didn't you hear
me calling you?"
She made no answer, and as he bent over the chair he heard her
trying to smother a sob in the cushion.
"Grace!" he cried. "You're crying!"
She raised her face. "I've got a headache, a dreadful headache,
"A headache?" he repeated, in surprise and incredulity.
He pulled a chair close to hers. Later, as he cast his eye over
the zone of light shed by the dull red panes, he saw that a low
table had been drawn close to the stove, and that it was burdened
with many small cups and plates of uncut tea-cake. He remembered
that the day was Wednesday, and that his wife received on
"Who was here to-day, Gracie?" he asked.
From his shoulder there came a mumble, "Mrs. Twelve."
"Was she—um," he said. "Why—didn't Anna Hagenthorpe
The mumble from his shoulder continued, "She wasn't well
Glancing down at the cups, Trescott mechanically counted them.
There were fifteen of them. "There, there," he said. "Don't cry,
Grace. Don't cry."
The wind was whining round the house, and the snow beat aslant
upon the windows. Sometimes the coal in the stove settled with a
crumbling sound, and the four panes of mica flashed a sudden new
crimson. As he sat holding her head on his shoulder, Trescott found
himself occasionally trying to count the cups. There were fifteen