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Caesar's Column by Ignatius Donnelly

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Caesar's Column by Ignatius Donnelly

Redactor's note: In this one of his last books Donnelly presages
later futurist works such as "Brave New World" and "1984". The
original scans and OCR were provided by Mr. J.B. Hare; for further
information about Donnelly and this book see
http://www.sacred-texts.com/utopia/cc/index.htm. There is only one
footnote marked {fn1. ]



A Story of the Twentieth Century.


writing as


Chicago, F.J. Shulte & Co.




To the Public










































_"The true poet is only a masked father-confessor, whose special
function it is to exhibit what is dangerous in sentiment and
pernicious in action, by a vivid picture of the

To the Public

It is to you, O thoughtful and considerate public, that I dedicate
this book. May it, under the providence of God, do good to this
generation and posterity!

I earnestly hope my meaning, in the writing thereof, may not be

It must not be thought, because I am constrained to describe the
overthrow of civilization, that I desire it. The prophet is not
responsible for the event he foretells. He may contemplate it with
profoundest sorrow. Christ wept over the doom of Jerusalem.

Neither am I an anarchist: for I paint a dreadful picture of the
world-wreck which successful anarchism would produce.

I seek to preach into the ears of the able and rich and powerful the
great truth that neglect of the sufferings of their fellows,
indifference to the great bond of brotherhood which lies at the base
of Christianity, and blind, brutal and degrading worship of mere
wealth, must--given time and pressure enough--eventuate in the
overthrow of society and the destruction of civilization.

I come to the churches with my heart filled with the profoundest
respect for the essentials of religion; I seek to show them why they
have lost their hold upon the poor,--upon that vast multitude, the
best-beloved of God's kingdom,--and I point out to them how they may
regain it. I tell them that if Religion is to reassume her ancient
station, as crowned mistress of the souls of men, she must stand, in
shining armor bright, with the serpent beneath her feet, the champion
and defender of mankind against all its oppressors.

The world, to-day, clamors for deeds, not creeds; for bread, not
dogma; for charity, not ceremony; for love, not intellect.

Some will say the events herein described are absurdly impossible.

Who is it that is satisfied with the present unhappy condition of
society? It is conceded that life is a dark and wretched failure for
the great mass of mankind. The many are plundered to enrich the few.
Vast combinations depress the price of labor and increase the cost of
the necessaries of existence. The rich, as a rule, despise the poor;
and the poor are coming to hate the rich. The face of labor grows
sullen; the old tender Christian love is gone; standing armies are
formed on one side, and great communistic organizations on the other;
society divides itself into two hostile camps; no white flags pass
from the one to the other. They wait only for the drum-beat and the
trumpet to summon them to armed conflict.

These conditions have come about in less than a century; most of them
in a quarter of a century. Multiply them by the years of another
century, and who shall say that the events I depict are impossible?
There is an acceleration of movement in human affairs even as there
is in the operations of gravity. The dead missile out of space at
last blazes, and the very air takes fire. The masses grow more
intelligent as they grow more wretched; and more capable of
cooperation as they become more desperate. The labor organizations of
to-day would have been impossible fifty years ago. And what is to
arrest the flow of effect from cause? What is to prevent the coming
of the night if the earth continues to revolve on its axis? The fool
may cry out: "There shall be no night!" But the feet of the hours
march unrelentingly toward the darkness.

Some may think that, even if all this be true, "Csar's Column"
should not have been published. Will it arrest the moving evil to
ignore its presence? What would be thought of the surgeon who, seeing
upon his patient's lip the first nodule of the cancer, tells him
there is no danger, and laughs him into security while the roots of
the monster eat their way toward the great arteries? If my message be
true it should be spoken; and the world should hear it. The cancer
should be cut out while there is yet time. Any other course

"Will but skin and film the ulcerous place, While rank corruption,
mining all beneath, infects unseen."

Believing, as I do, that I read the future aright, it would be
criminal in me to remain silent. I plead for higher and nobler
thoughts in the souls of men; for wider love and ampler charity in
their hearts; for a renewal of the bond of brotherhood between the
classes; for a reign of justice on earth that shall obliterate the
cruel hates and passions which now divide the world.

If God notices anything so insignificant as this poor book, I pray
that he may use it as an instrumentality of good for mankind; for he
knows I love his human creatures, and would help them if I had the



[This book is a series of letters, from Gabriel Weltstein, in New
York, to his brother, Heinrich Weltstein, in the State of Uganda,

NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 1988

My Dear Brother:

Here I am, at last, in the great city. My eyes are weary with gazing,
and my mouth speechless with admiration; but in my brain rings
perpetually the thought: Wonderful!--wonderful!--most wonderful!

What an infinite thing is man, as revealed in the tremendous
civilization he has built up! These swarming, laborious, all-capable
ants seem great enough to attack heaven itself, if they could but
find a resting-place for their ladders. Who can fix a limit to the
intelligence or the achievements of our species?

But our admiration may be here, and our hearts elsewhere. And so from
all this glory and splendor I turn back to the old homestead, amid
the high mountain valleys of Africa; to the primitive, simple
shepherd-life; to my beloved mother, to you and to all our dear ones.
This gorgeous, gilded room fades away, and I see the leaning hills,
the trickling streams, the deep gorges where our woolly thousands
graze; and I hear once more the echoing Swiss horns of our herdsmen
reverberating from the snow-tipped mountains. But my dream is gone.
The roar of the mighty city rises around me like the bellow of many

New York contains now ten million inhabitants; it is the largest city
that is, or ever has been, in the world. It is difficult to say where
it begins or ends: for the villas extend, in almost unbroken
succession, clear to Philadelphia; while east, west and north noble
habitations spread out mile after mile, far beyond the municipal

But the wonderful city! Let me tell you of it.

As we approached it in our air-ship, coming from the east, we could
see, a hundred miles before we reached the continent, the radiance of
its millions of magnetic lights, reflected on the sky, like the glare
of a great conflagration. These lights are not fed, as in the old
time, from electric dynamos, but the magnetism of the planet itself
is harnessed for the use of man. That marvelous earth-force which the
Indians called "the dance of the spirits," and civilized man
designated "the aurora borealis," is now used to illuminate this
great metropolis, with a clear, soft, white light, like that of the
full moon, but many times brighter. And the force is so cunningly
conserved that it is returned to the earth, without any loss of
magnetic power to the planet. Man has simply made a temporary loan
from nature for which he pays no interest.

Night and day are all one, for the magnetic light increases
automatically as the day-light wanes; and the business parts of the
city swarm as much at midnight as at high noon. In the old times, I
am told, part of the streets was reserved for foot-paths for men and
women, while the middle was given up to horses and wheeled vehicles;
and one could not pass from side to side without danger of being
trampled to death by the horses. But as the city grew it was found
that the pavements would not hold the mighty, surging multitudes;
they were crowded into the streets, and many accidents occurred. The
authorities were at length compelled to exclude all horses from the
streets, in the business parts of the city, and raise the central
parts to a level with the sidewalks, and give them up to the
exclusive use of the pedestrians, erecting stone pillars here and
there to divide the multitude moving in one direction from those
flowing in another. These streets are covered with roofs of glass,
which exclude the rain and snow, but not the air. And then the wonder
and glory of the shops! They surpass all description. Below all the
business streets are subterranean streets, where vast trains are
drawn, by smokeless and noiseless electric motors, some carrying
passengers, others freight. At every street corner there are electric
elevators, by which passengers can ascend or descend to the trains.
And high above the house-tops, built on steel pillars, there are
other railroads, not like the unsightly elevated trains we saw
pictures of in our school books, but crossing diagonally over the
city, at a great height, so as to best economize time and distance.

The whole territory between Broadway and the Bowery and Broome Street
and Houston Street is occupied by the depot grounds of the great
inter-continental air-lines; and it is an astonishing sight to see
the ships ascending and descending, like monstrous birds, black with
swarming masses of passengers, to or from England, Europe, South
America, the Pacific Coast, Australia, China, India and Japan.

These air-lines are of two kinds: the anchored and the independent.
The former are hung, by revolving wheels, upon great wires suspended
in the air; the wires held in place by metallic balloons,
fish-shaped, made of aluminium, and constructed to turn with the wind
so as to present always the least surface to the air-currents. These
balloons, where the lines cross the oceans, are secured to huge
floating islands of timber, which are in turn anchored to the bottom
of the sea by four immense metallic cables, extending north, south,
east and west, and powerful enough to resist any storms. These
artificial islands contain dwellings, in which men reside, who keep
up the supply of gas necessary for the balloons. The independent
air-lines are huge cigar-shaped balloons, unattached to the earth,
moving by electric power, with such tremendous speed and force as to
be as little affected by the winds as a cannon ball. In fact, unless
the wind is directly ahead the sails of the craft are so set as to
take advantage of it like the sails of a ship; and the balloon rises
or falls, as the birds do, by the angle at which it is placed to the
wind, the stream of air forcing it up, or pressing it down, as the
case may be. And just as the old-fashioned steam-ships were provided
with boats, in which the passengers were expected to take refuge, if
the ship was about to sink, so the upper decks of these air-vessels
are supplied with parachutes, from which are suspended boats; and in
case of accident two sailors and ten passengers are assigned to each
parachute; and long practice has taught the bold craftsmen to descend
gently and alight in the sea, even in stormy weather, with as much
adroitness as a sea-gull. In fact, a whole population of air-sailors
has grown up to manage these ships, never dreamed of by our
ancestors. The speed of these aerial vessels is, as you know, very
great--thirty-six hours suffices to pass from New York to London, in
ordinary weather. The loss of life has been less than on the
old-fashioned steamships; for, as those which go east move at a
greater elevation than those going west, there is no danger of
collisions; and they usually fly above the fogs which add so much to
the dangers of sea-travel. In case of hurricanes they rise at once to
the higher levels, above the storm; and, with our increased
scientific knowledge, the coming of a cyclone is known for many days
in advance; and even the stratum of air in which it will move can be

I could spend hours, my dear brother, telling you of the splendor of
this hotel, called _The Darwin_, in honor of the great English
philosopher of the last century. It occupies an entire block from
Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue, and from Forty-sixth Street to
Forty-seventh. The whole structure consists of an infinite series of
cunning adjustments, for the delight and gratification of the human
creature. One object seems to be to relieve the guests from all
necessity for muscular exertion. The ancient elevator, or "lift," as
they called it in England, has expanded until now whole rooms, filled
with ladies and gentlemen, are bodily carried up from the first story
to the roof; a professional musician playing the while on the
piano--not the old-fashioned thing our grandmothers used, but a huge
instrument capable of giving forth all sounds of harmony from the
trill of a nightingale to the thunders of an orchestra. And when you
reach the roof of the hotel you find yourself in a glass-covered
tropical forest, filled with the perfume of many flowers, and bright
with the scintillating plumage of darting birds; all sounds of
sweetness fill the air, and many glorious, star-eyed maidens, guests
of the hotel, wander half seen amid the foliage, like the houris in
the Mohammedan's heaven.

But as I found myself growing hungry I descended to the dining-room.
It is three hundred feet long: a vast multitude were there eating in
perfect silence. It is considered bad form to interrupt digestion
with speech, as such a practice tends to draw the vital powers, it is
said, away from the stomach to the head. Our forefathers were
expected to shine in conversation, and be wise and witty while
gulping their food between brilliant passages. I sat down at a table
to which I was marshaled by a grave and reverend seignior in an
imposing uniform. As I took my seat my weight set some machinery in
motion. A few feet in front of me suddenly rose out of the table a
large upright mirror, or such I took it to be; but instantly there
appeared on its surface a grand bill of fare, each article being
numbered. The whole world had been ransacked to produce the viands
named in it; neither the frozen recesses of the north nor the
sweltering regions of the south had been spared: every form of food,
animal and vegetable, bird, beast, reptile, fish; the foot of an
elephant, the hump of a buffalo, the edible bird-nests of China;
snails, spiders, shell-fish, the strange and luscious creatures
lately found in the extreme depths of the ocean and fished for with
dynamite; in fact, every form of food pleasant to the palate of man
was there. For, as you know, there are men who make fortunes now by
preserving and breeding the game animals, like the deer, the moose,
the elk, the buffalo, the antelope, the mountain sheep and goat, and
many others, which but for their care would long since have become
extinct. They select barren regions in mild climates, not fit for
agriculture, and enclosing large tracts with wire fences, they raise
great quantities of these valuable game animals, which they sell to
the wealthy gourmands of the great cities, at very high prices.

I was perplexed, and, turning to the great man who stood near me, I
began to name a few of the articles I wanted. He smiled complacently
at my country ignorance, and called my attention to the fact that the
table immediately before me contained hundreds of little knobs or
buttons, each one numbered; and he told me that these were connected
by electric wires with the kitchen of the hotel, and if I would
observe the numbers attached to any articles in the bill of fare
which I desired, and would touch the corresponding numbers of the
knobs before me, my dinner would be ordered on a similar mirror in
the kitchen, and speedily served. I did as he directed. In a little
while an electric bell near me rang; the bill of fare disappeared
from the mirror; there was a slight clicking sound; the table parted
in front of me, the electric knobs moving aside; and up through the
opening rose my dinner carefully arranged, as upon a table, which
exactly filled the gap caused by the recession of that part of the
original table which contained the electric buttons. I need not say I
was astonished. I commenced to eat, and immediately the same bell,
which had announced the disappearance of the bill of fare, rang
again. I looked up, and the mirror now contained the name of every
state in the Republic, from Hudson's Bay to the Isthmus of Darien;
and the names of all the nations of the world; each name being
numbered. My attendant, perceiving my perplexity, called my attention
to the fact that the sides of the table which had brought up my
dinner contained another set of electric buttons, corresponding with
the numbers on the mirror; and he explained to me that if I would
select any state or country and touch the corresponding button the
news of the day, from that state or country, would appear in the
mirror. He called my attention to, the fact that every guest in the
room had in front of him a similar mirror, and many of them were
reading the news of the day as they ate. I touched the knob
corresponding with the name of the new state of Uganda, in Africa,
and immediately there appeared in the mirror all the doings of the
people of that state--its crimes, its accidents, its business, the
output of its mines, the markets, the sayings and doings of its
prominent men; in fact, the whole life of the community was unrolled
before me like a panorama. I then touched the button for another
African state, Nyanza; and at once I began to read of new lines of
railroad; new steam-ship fleets upon the great lake; of large
colonies of white men, settling new States, upon the higher lands of
the interior; of their colleges, books, newspapers; and particularly
of a dissertation upon the genius of Chaucer, written by a Zulu
professor, which had created considerable interest among the learned
societies of the Transvaal. I touched the button for China and read
the important news that the Republican Congress of that great and
highly civilized nation had decreed that English, the universal
language of the rest of the globe, should be hereafter used in the
courts of justice and taught in all the schools. Then came the news
that a Manchurian professor, an iconoclast, had written a learned
work, in English, to prove that George Washington's genius and moral
greatness had been much over-rated by the partiality of his
countrymen. He was answered by a learned doctor of Japan who argued
that the greatness of all great men consisted simply in opportunity,
and that for every illustrious name that shone in the pages of
history, associated with important events, a hundred abler men had
lived and died unknown. The battle was raging hotly, and all China
and Japan were dividing into contending factions upon this great

Our poor ignorant ancestors of a hundred years ago drank alcohol in
various forms, in quantities which the system could not consume or
assimilate, and it destroyed their organs and shortened their lives.
Great agitations arose until the manufacture and sale of alcoholic
beverages was prohibited over nearly all the world. At length the
scientists observed that the craving was based on a natural want of
the system; that alcohol was found in small quantities in nearly
every article of food; and that the true course was to so increase
the amount of alcohol in the food, without gratifying the palate, as
to meet the real necessities of the system, and prevent a decrease of
the vital powers.

It is laughable to read of those days when men were drugged with
pills, boluses and powders. Now our physic is in our food; and the
doctor prescribes a series of articles to be eaten or avoided, as the
case may be. One can see at once by consulting his "vital-watch,"
which shows every change in the magnetic and electric forces of the
body, just how his physical strength wanes or increases; and he can
modify his diet accordingly; he can select, for instance, a dish
highly charged with quinine or iron, and yet perfectly palatable;
hence, among the wealthier classes, a man of one hundred is as common
now-a-days as a man of seventy was a century ago; and many go far
beyond that point, in full possession of all their faculties.

I glanced around the great dining-room and inspected my neighbors.
They all carried the appearance of wealth; they were quiet, decorous
and courteous. But I could not help noticing that the women, young
and old, were much alike in some particulars, as if some general
causes had molded them into the same form. Their brows were all
fine--broad, square, and deep from the ear forward; and their jaws
also were firmly developed, square like a soldier's; while the
profiles were classic in their regularity, and marked by great
firmness. The most peculiar feature was their eyes. They had none of
that soft, gentle, benevolent look which so adorns the expression of
my dear mother and other good women whom we know. On the contrary,
their looks were bold, penetrating, immodest, if I may so express it,
almost to fierceness: they challenged you; they invited you; they
held intercourse with your soul.

The chief features in the expression of the men were incredulity,
unbelief, cunning, observation, heartlessness. I did not see a good
face in the whole room: powerful faces there were, I grant you; high
noses, resolute mouths, fine brows; all the marks of shrewdness and
energy; a forcible and capable race; but that was all. I did not see
one, my dear brother of whom I could say, "That man would sacrifice
himself for another; that man loves his fellow man."

I could not but think how universal and irresistible must have been
the influences of the age that could mold all these Men and women
into the same soulless likeness. I pitied them. I pitied mankind,
caught in the grip of such wide-spreading tendencies. I said to
myself: "Where is it all to end? What are we to expect of a race
without heart or honor? What may we look for when the powers of the
highest civilization supplement the instincts of tigers and wolves?
Can the brain of man flourish when the heart is dead?"

I rose and left the room.

I had observed that the air of the hotel was sweeter, purer and
cooler than that of the streets outside. I asked one of the
attendants for an explanation. He took me out to where we could
command a view of the whole building, and showed me that a great
canvas pipe rose high above the hotel, and, tracing it upwards, far
as the eye could reach, he pointed out a balloon, anchored by cables,
so high up as to be dwarfed to a mere speck against the face of the
blue sky. He told me that the great pipe was double; that through one
division rose the hot, exhausted air of the hotel, and that the
powerful draft so created operated machinery which pumped down the
pure, sweet air from a higher region, several miles above the earth;
and, the current once established, the weight of the colder
atmosphere kept up the movement, and the air was then distributed by
pipes to every part of the hotel. He told me also that the hospitals
of the city were supplied in the same manner; and the result had
been, be said, to diminish the mortality of the sick one-half; for
the air so brought to them was perfectly free from bacteria and full
of all life-giving properties. A company had been organized to supply
the houses of the rich with his cold, pure air for so much a thousand
feet, as long ago illuminating gas was furnished.

I could not help but think that there was need that some man should
open connection with the upper regions of God's charity, and bring
down the pure beneficent spirit of brotherly love to this afflicted
earth, that it might spread through all the tainted hospitals of
corruption for the healing of the hearts and souls of the people.

This attendant, a sort of upper-servant, I suppose, was quite
courteous and polite, and, seeing that I was a stranger, he proceeded
to tell me that the whole city was warmed with hot water, drawn from
the profound depths of the earth, and distributed as drinking water
was distributed a century ago, in pipes, to all the houses, for a
fixed and very reasonable charge. This heat-supply is so uniform and
so cheap that it has quite driven out all the old forms of
fuel--wood, coal, natural gas, etc.

And then he told me something which shocked me greatly. You know that
according to our old-fashioned ideas it is unjustifiable for any
person to take his own life, and thus rush into the presence of his
Maker before he is called. We are of the opinion of Hamlet that God
has "fixed his canon 'gainst self-slaughter." Would you believe it,
my dear brother, in this city they actually facilitate suicide! A
race of philosophers has arisen in the last fifty years who argue
that, as man was not consulted about his coming into the world, he
has a perfect right to leave it whenever it becomes uncomfortable.
These strange arguments were supplemented by the economists, always a
powerful body in this utilitarian land, and they urged that, as men
could not be prevented from destroying themselves, if they had made
up their minds to do so, they might just as well shuffle off the
mortal coil in the way that would give least trouble to their
surviving fellow-citizens. That, as it was, they polluted the rivers,
and even the reservoirs of drinking-water, with their dead bodies,
and put the city to great expense and trouble to recover and identify
them. Then came the humanitarians, who said that many persons, intent
on suicide, but knowing nothing of the best means of effecting their
object, tore themselves to pieces with cruel pistol shots or knife
wounds, or took corrosive poisons, which subjected them to agonizing
tortures for hours before death came to their relief; and they argued
that if a man had determined to leave the world it was a matter of
humanity to help him out of it by the pleasantest means possible.
These views at length prevailed, and now in all the public squares or
parks they have erected hand some houses, beautifully furnished, with
baths and bedrooms. If a man has decided to die, he goes there. He is
first photographed; then his name, if he sees fit to give it, is
recorded, with his residence; and his directions are taken as to the
disposition of his body. There are tables at which he can write his
farewell letters to his friends. A doctor explains to him the nature
and effect of the different poisons, and he selects the kind he
prefers. He is expected to bring with him the clothes in which he
intends to be cremated. He swallows a little pill, lies down upon a
bed, or, if he prefers it, in his coffin; pleasant music is played
for him; he goes to sleep, and wakes up on the other side of the
great line. Every day hundreds of people, men and women, perish in
this way; and they are borne off to the great furnaces for the dead,
and consumed. The authorities assert that it is a marked improvement
over the old-fashioned methods; but to my mind it is a shocking
combination of impiety and mock-philanthropy. The truth is, that, in
this vast, over-crowded city, man is a drug,--a superfluity,--and I
think many men and women end their lives out of an overwhelming sense
of their own insignificance;--in other words, from a mere weariness
of feeling that they are nothing, they become nothing.

I must bring this letter to an end, but before retiring I shall make
a visit to the grand parlors of the hotel. You suppose I will walk
there. Not at all, my dear brother. I shall sit down in a chair;
there is an electric magazine in the seat of it. I touch a spring,
and away it goes. I guide it with my feet. I drive into one of the
great elevators. I descend to the drawing-room floor. I touch the
spring again, and in a few moments I am moving around the grand
salon, steering myself clear of hundreds of similar chairs, occupied
by fine-looking men or the beautiful, keen-eyed, unsympathetic women
I have described. The race has grown in power and loveliness--I fear
it has lost in lovableness.

Good-by. With love to all, I remain your affectionate brotherly

Gabriel Weltstein.



My Dear Heinrich:

I little supposed when I wrote you yesterday that twenty four hours
could so completely change my circumstances. Then I was a dweller in
the palatial Darwin Hotel, luxuriating in all its magnificence. Now I
am hiding in a strange house and trembling for my liberty;--but I
will tell you all.

Yesterday morning, after I had disposed by sample of our wool, and
had called upon the assayer of ores, but without finding him, to show
him the specimens of our mineral discoveries, I returned to the
hotel, and there, after obtaining directions from one of the clerks
at the "Bureau of Information," I took the elevated train to the
great Central Park.

I shall not pause to describe at length the splendors of this
wonderful place; the wild beasts roaming about among the trees,
apparently at dangerous liberty, but really inclosed by fine steel
wire fences, almost invisible to the eye; the great lakes full of the
different water fowl of the world; the air thick with birds
distinguished for the sweetness of their song or the brightness of
their plumage; the century-old trees, of great size and artistically
grouped; beautiful children playing upon the greensward, accompanied
by nurses and male servants; the whole scene constituting a holiday
picture. Between the trees everywhere I saw the white and gleaming
statues of the many hundreds of great men and women who have adorned
the history of this country during the last two hundred years--poets,
painters, musicians, soldiers, philanthropists, statesmen.

After feasting my eyes for some time upon this charming picture of
rural beauty, I left the Park. Soon after I had passed through the
outer gate,-guarded by sentinels to exclude the ragged and wretched
multitude, but who at the same time gave courteous admission to
streams of splendid carriages,--I was startled by loud cries of "Look
out there!" I turned and saw a sight which made my blood run cold. A
gray-haired, hump-backed beggar, clothed in rags, was crossing the
street in front of a pair of handsome horses, attached to a
magnificent open carriage. The burly, ill-looking flunkey who, clad
in gorgeous livery, was holding the lines, had uttered the cry of
warning, but at the same time had made no effort to check the rapid
speed of his powerful horses. In an instant the beggar was down under
the hoofs of the steeds. The flunkey laughed! I was but a few feet
distant on the side-walk, and, quick as thought, I had the horses by
their heads and pushed them back upon their haunches. At this moment
the beggar, who had been under the feet of the horses, crawled out
close to the front wheels of the carriage; and the driver, indignant
that anything so contemptible should arrest the progress of his
magnificent equipage, struck him a savage blow with his whip, as he
was struggling to his feet. I saw the whip wind around his neck; and,
letting go the horses' heads, who were now brought to a stand-still,
I sprang forward, and as the whip descended for a second blow I
caught it, dragged it from the hand of the miscreant, and with all my
power laid it over him. Each blow where it touched his flesh brought
the blood, and two long red gashes appeared instantaneously upon his
face. He dropped his lines and shrieked in terror, holding his hands
up to protect his face. Fortunately a crowd had assembled, and some
poorly dressed men had seized the horses' heads, or there would have
been a run-away. As I raised my hand to lash the brute again, a
feminine shriek reached my ears, and I became aware that there were
ladies in the open barouche. My sense of politeness overcame in an
instant my rage, and I stepped back, and, taking off my hat, began to
apologize and explain the cause of the difficulty. As I did so I
observed that the occupants of the carriage were two young ladies,
both strikingly handsome, but otherwise very unlike in appearance.
The one nearest me, who had uttered the shrieks, was about twenty
years of age, I should think, with aquiline features, and black eyes
and hair; every detail of the face was perfect, but there was a bold,
commonplace look out of the bright eyes. Her companion instantly
arrested all my attention. It seemed to me I had never beheld a more
beautiful. and striking countenance. She was younger, by two or three
years, than her companion; her complexion was fairer; her long golden
hair fell nearly to her waist, enfolding her like a magnificent,
shining garment; her eyes were blue and large and set far apart; and
there was in them, and in the whole contour of the face, a look of
honesty and dignity, and calm intelligence, rarely witnessed in the
countenance of woman. She did not appear to be at all alarmed; and
when I told my story of the driver lashing the aged beggar, her face
lighted up, and she said, with a look that thrilled me, and in a soft
and gentle voice: "We are much obliged to you, sir; you did perfectly

I was about to reply, when I felt some one tugging fiercely at my
coat, and turning around, I was surprised to find that the beggar was
drawing me away from the carriage by main force. I was astonished
also at the change in his appearance. The aspect of decrepitude had
disappeared, a green patch that I had noticed covering one of his
eyes had fallen off, and his black eyes shone with a look of command
and power that was in marked contrast with his gray hair, his crooked
back, and his rags.

"Come," he said, in a hoarse whisper, "come quickly, or you will be
arrested and cast into prison."

"What for?" I asked.

"I will tell you hereafter--look!"

I looked around me and saw that a great crowd had collected as if by
magic, for this city of ten millions of people so swarms with
inhabitants that the slightest excitement will assemble a multitude
in a few minutes. I noticed, too, in the midst of the mob, a
uniformed policeman. The driver saw him also, and, recovering his
courage, cried out, "Arrest him--arrest him." The policeman seized me
by the collar. I observed that at that instant the beggar whispered
something in his ear: the officer's hand released its hold upon my
coat. The next moment the beggar cried out, "Back! Back! Look out!
Dynamite!" The crowd crushed back on each other in great confusion;
and I felt the beggar dragging me off, repeating his cry of
warning--"Dynamite! Dynamite!"--at every step, until the mob
scattered in wild confusion, and I found myself breathless in a small
alley. "Come, come," cried my companion, "there is no time to lose.
Hurry, hurry!" We rushed along, for the manner of the beggar inspired
me with a terror I could not explain, until, after passing through
several back streets and small alleys, with which the beggar seemed
perfectly familiar, we emerged on a large street and soon took a
corner elevator up to one of the railroads in the air which I have
described. After traveling for two or three miles we exchanged to
another train, and from that to still another, threading our way
backward and forward over the top of the great city. At length, as if
the beggar thought we had gone far enough to baffle pursuit, we
descended upon a bustling business street, and paused at a corner;
and the beggar appeared to be looking out for a hack. He permitted a
dozen to pass us, however, carefully inspecting the driver of each.
At last he hailed one, and we took our seats. He gave some whispered
directions to the driver, and we dashed off.

"Throw that out of the window," he said.

I followed the direction of his eyes and saw that I still held in my
hand the gold-mounted whip which I had snatched from the hand of the
driver. In my excitement I had altogether forgotten its existence,
but had instinctively held on to it.

"I will send it back to the owner," I said.

"No, no; throw it away: that is enough to convict you of highway

I started, and exclaimed:

"Nonsense; highway robbery to whip a blackguard?"

"Yes. You stop the carriage of an aristocrat; you drag a valuable
whip out of the hand of his coachman; and you carry it off. If that
is not highway robbery, what is it? Throw it away."

His manner was imperative. I dropped the whip out of the window and
fell into a brown study. I occasionally stole a glance at my strange
companion, who, with the dress of extreme poverty, and the gray hair
of old age, had such a manner of authority and such an air of
promptitude and decision.

After about a half-hour's ride we stopped at the corner of two
streets in front of a plain but respectable-looking house. It seemed
to be in the older part of the town. My companion paid the driver and
dismissed him, and, opening the door, we entered.

I need not say that I began to think this man was something more than
a beggar. But why this disguise? And who was he?



The house we entered was furnished with a degree of splendor of which
the external appearance gave no prophecy. We passed up the stairs and
into a handsome room, hung around with pictures, and adorned with
book-cases. The beggar left me.

I sat for some time looking at my surroundings, and wondering over
the strange course of events which had brought me there, and still
more at the actions of my mysterious companion. I felt assured now
that his rags were simply a disguise, for he entered the house with
all the air of a master; his language was well chosen and correctly
spoken, and possessed those subtle tones and intonations which mark
an educated mind. I was thinking over these matters when the door
opened and a handsome young gentleman, arrayed in the height of the
fashion, entered the room. I rose to my feet and began to apologize
for my intrusion and to explain that I had been brought there by a
beggar to whom I had rendered some trifling service in the street.
The young gentleman listened, with a smiling face, and then,
extending his hand, said:

"I am the beggar; and I do now what only the hurry and excitement
prevented me from doing before--I thank you for the life you have
saved. If you had not come to my rescue I should probably have been
trampled to death under the feet of those vicious horses, or sadly
beaten at least by that brutal driver."

The expression of my face doubtless showed my extreme astonishment,
for he proceeded:

"I see you are surprised; but there are many strange things in this
great city. I was disguised for a particular purpose, which I cannot
explain to you. But may I not request the name of the gentleman to
whom I am under so many obligations? Of course, if you have any
reasons for concealing it, consider the question as not asked."

"No," I replied, Smiling, "I have no concealments. My name is Gabriel
Weltstein; I live in the new state of Uganda, in the African
confederation, in the mountains of Africa, near the town of Stanley;
and I am engaged in sheep-raising, in the mountains. I belong to a
colony of Swiss, from the canton of Uri, who, led by my grandfather,
settled there. seventy years ago. I came to this city yesterday to
see if I could not sell my wool directly to the manufacturers, and
thus avoid the extortions of the great Wool Ring, which has not only
our country but the whole world in its grasp; but I find the
manufacturers are tied hand and foot, and afraid of that powerful
combination; they do not dare to deal with me; and thus I shall have
to dispose of my product at the old price. It is a shameful state of
affairs in a country which calls itself free."

"Pardon me for a moment," said the young gentleman, and left the
room. On his return I resumed:

"But now that I have told you who I am, will you be good enough to
tell me something about yourself?"

"Certainly," he replied, "and with pleasure. I am a native of this
city; my name is Maximilian Petion; by profession I am an attorney; I
live in this house with my mother, to whom I shall soon have the
pleasure of introducing you."

"Thank you," I replied, still studying the face of my new
acquaintance. His complexion was dark, the eyes and hair almost
black; the former very bright and penetrating; his brow was high,
broad and square; his nose was prominent, and there was about the
mouth an expression of firmness, not unmixed with kindness.
Altogether it was a face to inspire respect and confidence. But I
made up my mind not to trust too much to appearances. I could not
forget the transformation which I had witnessed, from the rags of the
ancient beggar to this well-dressed young gentleman. I knew that the
criminal class were much given to such disguises. I thought it better
therefore to ask some questions that might throw light upon the

"May I inquire," I said, "what were your reasons for hurrying me away
so swiftly and mysteriously from the gate of the Park?"

"Because," he replied, "you were in great danger, and you had
rendered me a most important service. I could not leave you there to
be arrested, and punished with a long period of imprisonment,
because, following the impulse of your heart, you had saved my life
and scourged the wretch who would have driven his horses over me."

"But why should I be punished with a long term of imprisonment? In my
own country the act I performed would have received the applause of
every one. Why did you not tell me to throw away that whip on the
instant, so as to avoid the appearance of stealing it, and then
remain to testify in my behalf if I had been arrested?"

"Then you do not know," he replied, "whose driver it was you

"No," I said; "how should I? I arrived here but yesterday."

"That was the carriage of Prince Cabano, the wealthiest and most
vindictive man in the city. If you had been taken you would have been
consigned to imprisonment for probably many years."

"Many years," I replied; "imprisoned for beating an insolent driver!
Impossible. No jury would convict me of such an offense."

"Jury!" he said, with a bitter smile; "it is plain to see you are a
stranger and come from a newly settled part of the world, and know
nothing of our modern civilization. The jury would do whatever Prince
Cabano desired them to do. Our courts, judges and juries are the
merest tools of the rich. The image of justice has slipped the
bandage from one eye, and now uses her scales to weigh the bribes she
receives. An ordinary citizen has no more prospect of fair treatment
in our courts, contending with a millionaire, than a new-born infant
would have of life in the den of a wolf."

"But," I replied, rather hotly, "I should appeal for justice to the
public through the newspapers."

"The newspapers!" he said, and his face darkened as he spoke; "the
newspapers are simply the hired mouthpieces of power; the devil's
advocates of modern civilization; their influence is always at the
service of the highest bidder; it is their duty to suppress or
pervert the truth, and they do it thoroughly. They are paid to
mislead the people under the guise of defending them. A century ago
this thing began, and it has gone on, growing worse and worse, until
now the people laugh at the opinions of the press, and doubt the
truth even of its reports of occurrences."

"Can this be possible?" I said.

"Let me demonstrate it to you," he replied, and, stepping to the
wall, he spoke quietly into a telephone tube, of which there were a
number ranged upon the wall, and said:

"Give me the particulars of the whipping of Prince Cabano's coachman,
this afternoon, at the south gate of Central Park."

Almost immediately a bell rang, and on the opposite wall, in What I
had supposed to be a mirror, appeared these words:

_From the Evening Guardian:_



This afternoon, about three o'clock, an event transpired at
the south gate of Central Park which shows the turbulent
and vicious

spirit of the lower classes, and reinforces the demand we
have so often made for repressive measures and a stronger

As the carriage of our honored fellow-citizen Prince
Cabano, containing two ladies, members of his family, was
quietly entering the Park, a tall, powerful ruffian,
apparently a stranger, with long yellow hair, reaching to
his shoulders, suddenly grasped a valuable gold-mounted
whip out of the hands of the driver, and, because he
resisted the robbery, beat him across the face, inflicting
very severe wounds. The horses became very much terrified,
and but for the fact that two worthy men, John Henderson of
5222 Delavan Street, and William Brooks of 7322 Bismarck
Street, seized them by the head, a terrible accident would
undoubtedly have occurred. Policeman number B 17822 took
the villain prisoner, but he knocked the guardian of the
law down and escaped, accompanied by a ragged old fellow
who seemed to have been his accomplice. It is believed that
the purpose of the thieves was to rob the occupants of the
carriage, as the taller one approached the ladies, but just
then his companion saw the policeman coming and gave him
warning, and they fled together. Prince Cabano is naturally
very much incensed at this outrage, and has offered a
reward of one thousand dollars for the apprehension of
either of the ruffians. They have been tracked for a
considerable distance by the detectives; but after leaving
the elevated cars all trace of them was suddenly and
mysteriously lost. The whip was subsequently found on Bomba
Street and identified. Neither of the criminals is known to
the police. The taller one was quite young and fairly well
dressed, and not ill-looking, while his companion had the
appearance of a beggar, and seemed to be about seventy
years of age. The Chief of Police will pay liberally for
any information that may lead to the arrest of the robbers.

"There," said my companion, "what do you think of that?"

I need not say that I was paralyzed with this adroit mingling of fact
and falsehood. I realized for the first time the perils of my
situation. I was a stranger in the great city, without a friend or
acquaintance, and hunted like a felon! While all these thoughts
passed through my brain, there came also a pleasing flash of
remembrance of that fair face, and that sweet and gentle smile, and
that beaming look of gratitude and approval of my action in whipping
the brutal driver. But if my new acquaintance was right; if neither
courts nor juries nor newspapers nor public opinion could be appealed
to for justice or protection, then indeed might I be sent to prison
as a malefactor, for a term of years, for performing a most righteous
act. If it was true, and I had heard something of the same sort in my
far-away African home, that money ruled everything in this great
country; and if his offended lordship desired to crush me, he could
certainly do so. While I was buried in these reflections I had not
failed to notice that an electric bell rang upon the side of the
chamber and a small box opened, and the young gentleman advanced and
took from the box a sheet of tissue paper, closely written. I
recognized it as a telegram. He read it carefully, and I noticed him
stealing glances at me, as if comparing the details of my appearance
with something written on the paper. When he finished he advanced
toward me, with a brighter look on his face, and, holding out his
hand, said:

"I have already hailed you as my benefactor, my preserver; permit me
now to call you my friend."

"Why do you say so?" I asked.

"Because," he replied, "I now know that every statement you made to
me about yourself is literally true; and that in your personal
character you deserve the respect and friendship of all men. You look
perplexed. Let me explain. You told me some little time since your
name and place of residence. I belong to a society which has its
ramifications all over the world. When I stepped out of this room I
sent an inquiry to the town near which you reside, and asked if such
a person as you claimed to be lived there; what was his appearance,
standing and character, and present residence. I shall not shock your
modesty by reading the reply I have just received. You will pardon
this distrust, but we here in the great city are suspicious, and
properly so, of strangers, and even more so of each other. I did not
know but that you were in the employment of the enemies of our
society, and sought to get into my confidence by rendering me a
service,--for the tricks to which the detectives resort are infinite.
I now trust you implicitly, and you can command me in everything."

I took his hand warmly and thanked him cordially. It was impossible
to longer doubt that frank and beaming face.

"But," I said, "are we not in great danger? Will not that hackman,
for the sake of the reward, inform the police of our whereabouts?"

"No!" he said; "have no fears upon that score. Did you not observe
that I permitted about a dozen hacks to pass me before I hailed the
one that brought us here? That man wore on his dress a mark that told
me he belonged to our Brotherhood. He knows that if he betrays us he
will die within twenty-four hours, and that there is no power on
earth could save him; if he fled to the uttermost ends of the earth
his doom would overtake him with the certainty of fate. So have no
uneasiness. We are as safe here as if a standing army of a hundred
thousand of our defenders surrounded this house."

"Is that the explanation," I asked, "of the policeman releasing his
grip upon my coat?"

"Yes," he replied, quietly.

"Now," said I, "who is this Prince Cabano, and how does he happen to
be called Prince? I thought your Republic eschewed all titles of

"So it does," he replied, "by law. But we have a great many titles
which are used socially, by courtesy. The Prince, for instance, when
he comes to sign his name to a legal document, writes it Jacob
Isaacs. But his father, when he grew exceedingly rich and ambitious,
purchased a princedom in Italy for a large sum, and the government,
being hard up for money, conferred the title of Prince with the
estate. His son, the present Isaacs, succeeded, of course, to his
estates and his title."

"'Isaacs," I said, "is a Jewish name?"

"Yes," he replied, "the aristocracy of the world is now almost
altogether of Hebrew origin."

"Indeed," I asked, "how does that happen?"

"Well," he replied, "it was the old question of the survival of the
fittest. Christianity fell upon the Jews, originally a race of
agriculturists and shepherds, and forced them, for many centuries,
through the most terrible ordeal of persecution the history of
mankind bears any record of. Only the strong of body, the cunning of
brain, the long-headed, the persistent, the men with capacity to live
where a dog would starve, survived the awful trial. Like breeds like;
and now the Christian world is paying, in tears and blood, for the
sufferings inflicted by their bigoted and ignorant ancestors upon a
noble race. When the time came for liberty and fair play the Jew was
master in the contest with the Gentile, who hated and feared him.

"They are the great money-getters of the world. They rose from
dealers in old clothes and peddlers of hats to merchants, to bankers,
to princes. They were as merciless to the Christian as the Christian
had been to them. They said, with Shylock: 'The villainy you teach me
I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the
instruction.' The 'wheel of fortune has come full circle;' and the
descendants of the old peddlers now own and inhabit the palaces where
their ancestors once begged at the back doors for secondhand clothes;
while the posterity of the former lords have been, in many cases,
forced down into the swarming misery of the lower classes. This is a
sad world, and to contemplate it is enough to make a man a
philosopher; but he will scarcely know whether to belong to the
laughing or the weeping school--whether to follow the example of
Democritus or Heraclitus."

"And may I ask," I said, "what is the nature of your society?"

"I cannot tell you more at this time," he replied, "than that it is a
political secret society having a membership of millions, and
extending all over the world. Its purposes are the good of mankind.
Some day, I hope, you may learn more about it. Come," he added, "let
me show you my house, and introduce you to my mother."

Touching a secret spring in the wall, a hidden door flew open, and we
entered a small room. I thought I had gotten into the dressing-room
of a theater. Around the walls hung a multitude of costumes, male and
female, of different sizes, and suited for all conditions of life. On
the table were a collection of bottles, holding what I learned were
hair dyes of different colors; and there was also an assortment of
wigs, beards and mustaches of all hues. I thought I recognized among
the former the coarse white hair of the quondam beggar. I pointed it
out to him.

"Yes," he said, with a laugh, "I will not be able to wear that for
some time to come."

Upon another table there was a formidable array of daggers, pistols
and guns; and some singular-looking iron and copper things, which he
told me were cartridges of dynamite and other deadly explosives.

I realized that my companion was a conspirator. But of what kind? I
could not believe evil of him. There was a manliness and kindliness
in his face which forbade such a thought; although the square chin
and projecting jaws and firm-set mouth indicated a nature that could
be most dangerous; and I noticed sometimes a restless, wild look in
his eyes.

I followed him into another room, where he introduced me to a
sweet-faced old lady, with the same broad brow and determined, but
gentle, mouth which so distinguished her son. It was evident that
there was great love between them, although her face wore a troubled
and anxious look, at times, as she regarded him. It seemed to me that
she knew he was engaged in dangerous enterprises.

She advanced to me with a smile and grasped both my hands with her
own, as she said:

"My son has already told me that you have this day rendered him and
me an inestimable service. I need not say that I thank you with all
my heart."

I made light of the matter and assured her that I was under greater
obligations to her son than he was to me. Soon after we sat down to
dinner, a sumptuous meal, to which it seemed to me all parts of the
world had contributed. We had much pleasant conversation, for both
the host and hostess were persons of ripe information. In the old
days our ancestors wasted years of valuable time in the study of
languages that were no longer spoken on the earth; and civilization
was thus cramped by the shadow of the ancient Roman Empire, whose
dead but sceptered sovereigns still ruled the spirits of mankind from
their urns. Now every hour is considered precious for the
accumulation of actual knowledge of facts and things, and for the
cultivation of the graces of the mind; so that mankind has become
wise in breadth of knowledge, and sweet and gentle in manner. I
expressed something of this thought to Maximilian, and he replied:

"Yes; it is the greatest of pities that so noble and beautiful a
civilization should have become so hollow and rotten at the core."

"Rotten at the core!" I exclaimed, in astonishment; "what do you

"What I mean is that our civilization has grown to be a gorgeous
shell; a mere mockery; a sham; outwardly fair and lovely, but
inwardly full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. To think that
mankind is so capable of good, and now so cultured and polished, and
yet all above is cruelty, craft and destruction, and all below is
suffering, wretchedness, sin and shame."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"That civilization is a gross and dreadful failure for seven-tenths
of the human family; that seven-tenths of the backs of the world are
insufficiently clothed; seven-tenths of the stomachs of the world are
insufficiently fed; seven-tenths of the minds of the world are
darkened and despairing, and filled with bitterness against the
Author of the universe. It is pitiful to think what society is, and
then to think what it might have been if our ancestors had not cast
away their magnificent opportunities--had not thrown them into the
pens of the swine of greed and gluttony."

"But," I replied, "the world does not look to me after that fashion.
I have been expressing to my family my delight at viewing the vast
triumphs of man over nature, by which the most secret powers of the
universe have been captured and harnessed for the good of our race.
Why, my friend, this city preaches at every pore, in every street and
alley, in every shop and factory, the greatness of humanity, the
splendor of civilization!"

"True, my friend," replied Maximilian; "but you see only the surface,
the shell, the crust of life in this great metropolis. To-morrow we
will go out together, and I shall show you the fruits of our modern
civilization. I shall take you, not upon the upper deck of society,
where the flags are flying, the breeze blowing, and the music
playing, but down into the dark and stuffy depths of the hold of the
great vessel, where the sweating gnomes, in the glare of the
furnace-heat, furnish the power which drives the mighty ship
resplendent through the seas of time. We will visit the

But I must close for tonight, and subscribe myself affectionately
your brother,




My Dear Heinrich:

Since I wrote you last night I have been through dreadful scenes. I
have traversed death in life. I have looked with my very eyes on
Hell. I am sick at heart. My soul sorrows for humanity.

Max (for so I have come to call my new-found friend) woke me very
early, and we breakfasted by lamp-light.

Yesterday he had himself dyed my fair locks of a dark brown, almost
black hue, and had cut off some of my hair's superfluous length. Then
he sent for a tailor, who soon arrayed me in garments of the latest
fashion and most perfect fit. Instead of the singular-looking
mountaineer of the day before, for whom the police were diligently
searching, and on whose head a reward of one thousand dollars had
been placed (never before had my head been valued so highly), there
was nothing in my appearance to distinguish me from the thousands of
other gallant young gentlemen of this great city.

A carriage waited for us at the door. We chatted together as we drove
along through the quiet streets.

I asked him:

"Are the degraded, and even the vicious, members of your Brotherhood?"

"No; not the criminal class," he replied, "for there is nothing in
their wretched natures on which you can build confidence or trust.
Only those who have fiber enough to persist in labor, under
conditions which so strongly tend to drive them into crime, can be
members of our Brotherhood."

"May I ask the number of your membership?"

"In the whole world they amount to more than one hundred millions."

I started with astonishment.

"But amid such numbers," I said, "there must certainly be some

"True, but the great multitude have nothing to tell. They are the
limbs and members, as it were, of the organization; the directing
intelligence dwells elsewhere. The multitude are like the soldiers of
an army; they will obey when the time comes; but they are not taken
into the councils of war."

A half hour's ride brought us into the domain of the poor.

An endless procession of men and women with pails and
baskets--small-sized pails and smaller baskets--streamed along the
streets on their way to work. It was not yet six o'clock. I observed
that both men and women were undersized, and that they all very much
resembled each other; as if similar circumstances had squeezed them
into the same likeness. There was no spring to their steps and no
laughter in their eyes; all were spare of frame and stolid or
hungry-looking. The faces of the middle-aged men were haggard and
wore a hopeless expression. Many of them scowled at us, with a look
of hatred, as we passed by them in our carriage. A more joyless,
sullen crowd I never beheld. Street after street they unrolled before
us; there seemed to be millions of them. They were all poorly clad,
and many of them in rags. The women, with the last surviving instinct
of the female heart, had tried to decorate themselves; and here and
there I could observe a bit of bright color on bonnet or apron; but
the bonnets represented the fashions of ten years past, and the
aprons were too often frayed and darned, and relics of some former,
more opulent owners. There were multitudes of children, but they were
without the gambols which characterize the young of all animals; and
there was not even the chirp of a winter bird about them; their faces
were prematurely aged and hardened, and their bold eyes revealed that
sin had no surprises for them. And every one of these showed that
intense look which marks the awful struggle for food and life upon
which they had just entered. The multitude seemed, so far as I could
judge, to be of all nations commingled--the French, German, Irish,
English--Hungarians, Italians, Russians, Jews, Christians, and even
Chinese and Japanese; for the slant eyes of many, and their
imperfect, Tartar-like features, reminded me that the laws made by
the Republic, in the elder and better days, against the invasion of
the Mongolian hordes, had long since become a dead letter.

What struck me most was their incalculable multitude and their
silence. It seemed to me that I was witnessing the resurrection of
the dead; and that these vast, streaming, endless swarms were the
condemned, marching noiselessly as shades to unavoidable and
everlasting misery. They seemed to me merely automata, in the hands
of some ruthless and unrelenting destiny. They lived and moved, but
they were without heart or hope. The illusions of the imagination,
which beckon all of us forward, even over the roughest paths and
through the darkest valleys and shadows of life, had departed from
the scope of their vision. They knew that to-morrow could bring them
nothing better than today--the same shameful, pitiable, contemptible,
sordid struggle for a mere existence. If they produced children it
was reluctantly or unmeaningly; for they knew the wretches must tread
in their footsteps, and enter, like them, that narrow, gloomy,
high-walled pathway, out of which they could never climb; which began
almost in infancy and ended in a pauper's grave--nay, I am wrong, not
even in a pauper's grave; for they might have claimed, perhaps, some
sort of ownership over the earth which enfolded them, which touched
them and mingled with their dust. But public safety and the demands
of science had long ago decreed that they should be whisked off, as
soon as dead, a score or two at a time, and swept on iron tram-cars
into furnaces heated to such intense white heat that they dissolved,
crackling, even as they entered the chamber, and rose in nameless
gases through the high chimney. That towering structure was the sole
memorial monument of millions of them. Their graveyard was the air.
Nature reclaimed her own with such velocity that she seemed to grudge
them the very dust she had lent them during their wretched
pilgrimage. The busy, toiling, rushing, roaring, groaning universe,
big with young, appeared to cry out: "Away with them! Away with them!
They have had their hour! They have performed their task. Here are a
billion spirits waiting for the substance we loaned them. The spirits
are boundless in number; matter is scarce. Away with them!"

I need not tell you, my dear brother, of all the shops and factories
we visited. It was the same story everywhere. Here we saw
exemplified, in its full perfection, that "iron law of wages" which
the old economists spoke of; that is to say, the reduction, by
competition, of the wages of the worker to the least sum that will
maintain life and muscular strength enough to do the work required,
with such little surplus of vitality as might be necessary to
perpetuate the wretched race; so that the world's work should not end
with the death of one starved generation. I do not know if there is a
hell in the spiritual universe, but if there is not, one should
certainly be created for the souls of the men who originated, or
justified, or enforced that damnable creed. It is enough, if nothing
else, to make one a Christian, when he remembers how diametrically
opposite to the teaching of the grand doctrine of brotherly love,
enunciated by the gentle Nazarene, is this devil's creed of cruelty
and murder, with all its steadily increasing world-horrors, before
which to-day the universe stands appalled.

Oh! the pitiable scenes, my brother, that I have witnessed! Room
after room; the endless succession of the stooped, silent toilers;
old, young; men, women, children. And most pitiable of all, the
leering, shameless looks of invitation cast upon us by the women, as
they saw two well-dressed men pass by them. It was not love, nor
license, nor even lust; it was degradation,--willing to exchange
everything for a little more bread. And such rooms--garrets,
sheds--dark, foul, gloomy; overcrowded; with such a stench in the
thick air as made us gasp when entering it; an atmosphere full of
life, hostile to the life of man. Think, my brother, as you sit upon
your mountain side; your gentle sheep feeding around you; breathing
the exquisite air of those elevated regions; and looking off over the
mysterious, ancient world, and the great river valleys leading down
to the marvelous Nile-land afar,--land of temples, ruins,
pyramids,--cradle of civilization, grave of buried empires,--think, I
say, of these millions condemned to live their brief, hopeless span
of existence under such awful conditions! See them as they eat their
mid-day meal. No delightful pause from pleasant labor; no brightly
arrayed table; no laughing and loving faces around a plenteous board,
with delicacies from all parts of the world; no agreeable interchange
of wisdom and wit and courtesy and merriment. No; none of these.
Without stopping in their work, under the eyes of sullen
task-masters, they snatch bites out of their hard, dark bread, like
wild animals, and devour it ravenously.{fr. 1}

Toil, toil, toil, from early morn until late at night; then home they
swarm; tumble into their wretched beds; snatch a few hours of
disturbed sleep, battling with vermin, in a polluted atmosphere; and
then up again and to work; and so on, and on, in endless, mirthless,
hopeless round; until, in a few years, consumed with disease, mere
rotten masses of painful wretchedness, they die, and are wheeled off
to the great

I asked one of the foremen what wages these men and women received.
He told me. It seemed impossible that human life could be maintained
upon such a pittance. I then asked whether they ever ate meat. "No,"
he said, "except when they had a rat or mouse" "A rat or mouse!" I
exclaimed. "Oh yes," he replied, "the rats and mice were important
articles of diet,--just as they had been for centuries in China. The
little children, not yet able to work, fished for them in the sewers,
with hook and line, precisely as they had done a century ago in
Paris, during the great German siege. A dog," he added, "was a great
treat. When the authorities killed the vagrant hounds there was a big
scramble among the poor for the bodies."

I was shocked at these statements; and then I remembered that some
philosopher had argued that cannibalism had survived almost to our
own times, in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, because they had
contained no animals of large size with which the inhabitants could
satisfy the dreadful craving of the system for flesh-food; and hence
they devoured their captives.

"Do these people ever marry?" I inquired.

"Marry!" he exclaimed, with a laugh; "why, they could not afford to
pay the fee required by law. And why should they marry? There is no
virtue among them. No," he said, "they had almost gotten down to the
condition of the Australian savages, who, if not prevented by the
police, would consummate their animal-like nuptials in the public

Maximilian told me that this man was one of the Brotherhood. I did
not wonder at it.

From the shops and mills of honest industry, Maximilian led me--it
was still broad daylight--into the criminal quarters. We saw the wild
beasts in their lairs; in the iron cages of circumstance which
civilization has built around them, from which they too readily break
out to desolate their fellow-creatures. But here, too, were the
fruits of misgovernment. If it were possible we might trace back from
yonder robber and murderer--a human hyena--the long ancestral line of
brutality, until we see it starting from some poor peasant of the
Middle Ages, trampled into crime under the feet of feudalism. The
little seed of weakness or wickedness has been carefully nursed by
society, generation after generation, until it has blossomed at last
in this destructive monster. Civilization has formulated a new
variety of the genus _homo_--and it must inevitably perpetuate its

The few prey on the many; and in turn a few of the many prey upon
all. These are the brutal violators of justice, who go to prison, or
to the scaffold, for breaking through a code of laws under which
peaceful but universal injustice is wrought. If there were enough of
these outlaws they might establish a system of jurisprudence for the
world under which it would be lawful to rob and murder by the rule of
the strong right hand, but criminal to reduce millions to
wretchedness by subtle and cunning arts; and, hoity-toity, the
prisons would change their tenants, and the brutal plunderers of the
few would give place to the cultured spoilers of the many.

And when you come to look at it, my brother, how shall we compare the
conditions of the well-to-do-man, who has been merely robbed of his
watch and purse, even at the cost of a broken head, which will heal
in a few days, with the awful doom of the poor multitude, who from
the cradle to the grave work without joy and live without hope? Who
is there that would take back his watch and purse at the cost of
changing places with one of these wretches?

And who is there that, if the choice were presented to him, would not
prefer instant death, which is but a change of conditions, a flight
from world to world, or at worst annihilation, rather than to be
hurled into the living tomb which I have depicted, there to grovel
and writhe, pressed down by the sordid mass around him, until death
comes to his relief?

And so it seems to me that, in the final analysis of reason, the
great criminals of the world are not these wild beasts, who break
through all laws, whose selfishness takes the form of the bloody
knife, the firebrand, or the bludgeon; but those who, equally
selfish, corrupt the foundations of government and create laws and
conditions by which millions suffer, and out of which these murderers
and robbers naturally and unavoidably arise.

But I must bring this long letter to a conclusion, and subscribe
myself, with love to all,

Your affectionate brother,



My Dear Heinrich:

One morning after breakfast, Max and I were seated in the library,
enjoying our matutinal cigars, when, the conversation flagging, I
asked Maximilian whether he had noticed the two young ladies who were
in the Prince of Cabano's carriage the morning I whipped the driver.
He replied that he had not observed them particularly, as he was too
much excited and alarmed for my safety to pay especial attention to
anything else; but he had seen that there were two young women in the
barouche, and his glance had shown him they were both handsome.

"Have you any idea who they were?" I asked after a pause, for I
shrank from revealing the interest I took in one of them.

"No," said he, indifferently; "probably a couple of the Prince's

The word stung me like an adder; and I half rose from my chair, my
face suffused and my eyes indignant.

"Why, what is the matter?" asked Maximilian; "I hope I have said
nothing to offend you."

I fell back in my chair, ashamed of the exhibition of feeling into
which I had been momentarily betrayed, and replied:

"Oh, no; but I am sure you are wrong. If you had looked, for but a
moment, at the younger of the two, you would never have made such a

"I meant no harm," he answered, "but the Prince is a widower; he has
a perfect harem in his palace; he has his agents at work everywhere
buying up handsome women; and when I saw two such in his carriage, I
naturally came to the conclusion that they were of that character."

"Buying up women!" I exclaimed; "what are you talking about? This is
free America, and the twentieth century. Do you dream that it is a
Mohammedan land?"

"It isn't anything half so good," he retorted; "it is enslaved
America; and the older we grow the worse for us. There was a golden
age once in America--an age of liberty; of comparatively equal
distribution of wealth; of democratic institutions. Now we have but
the shell and semblance of all that. We are a Republic only in name;
free only in forms. Mohammedanism--and we must do the Arabian prophet
the justice to say that he established a religion of temperance and
cleanliness, without a single superstition--never knew, in its worst
estate, a more complete and abominable despotism than that under
which we live. And as it would be worse to starve to death in sight
of the most delicious viands than in the midst of a foodless desert,
so the very assertions, constantly dinned in our ears by the hireling
newspapers, that we are the freest people on earth, serve only to
make our slavery more bitter and unbearable. But as to the buying up
of women for the harems of the wealthy, that is an old story, my dear
friend. More than a century ago the editor of a leading journal in
London was imprisoned for exposing it. The virtuous community
punished the man who protested against the sin, and took the sinners
to its loving bosom. And in this last century matters have grown
every day worse and worse. Starvation overrides all moralities; the
convictions of the mind give way to the necessities of the body. The
poet said long ago:

"'Women are not
In their best fortunes strong, but want will perjure
The ne'er-touched vestal.'

"But he need not have confined this observation to women. The
strongest resolves of men melt in the fire of want like figures of
wax. It is simply a question of increasing the pressure to find the
point where virtue inevitably breaks. Morality, in man or woman, is a
magnificent flower which blossoms only in the rich soil of
prosperity: impoverish the land and the bloom withers. If there are
cases that seem to you otherwise, it is simply because the pressure
has not been great enough; sufficient nourishment has not yet been
withdrawn from the soil. Dignity, decency, honor, fade away when man
or woman is reduced to shabby, shameful, degrading, cruel
wretchedness. Before the clamors of the stomach the soul is silent."

"I cannot believe that," I replied; "look at the martyrs who have
perished in the flames for an opinion."

"Yes," he said, "it is easy to die in an ecstasy of enthusiasm for a
creed, with all the world looking on; to exchange life for eternal
glory; but put the virgin, who would face without shrinking the
flames or the wild beasts of the arena, into some wretched garret, in
some miserable alley, surrounded by the low, the ignorant, the vile;
close every avenue and prospect of hope; shut off every ennobling
thought or sight or deed; and then subject the emaciated frame to
endless toil and hopeless hunger, and the very fibers of the soul
will rot under the debasing ordeal; and there is nothing left but the
bare animal, that must be fed at whatever sacrifice. And remember, my
dear fellow, that chastity is a flower of civilization. Barbarism
knows nothing of it. The woman with the least is, among many tribes,
mostly highly esteemed, and sought after by the young men for

"My dear Maximilian," I said, "these are debasing views to take of
life. Purity is natural to woman. You will see it oftentimes among
savages. But, to recur to the subject we were speaking of. I feel
very confident that the younger of those two women I saw in that
carriage is pure. God never placed such a majestic and noble
countenance over a corrupt soul. The face is transparent; the spirit
looks out of the great eyes; and it is a spirit of dignity,
nobleness, grace and goodness."

"Why," said he, laughing, "the barbed arrow of Master Cupid, my dear
Gabriel, has penetrated quite through all the plates of your

"I will not confess that," I replied; "but I will admit that I would
like to know something more about that young lady, for I never saw a
face that interested me half so much."

"Now," said he, "see what it is to have a friend. I can find out for
you all that is known about her. We have members of our society in
the household of every rich man in New York. I will first find out
who she is. I will ask the Master of the Servants, who is a member of
our Brotherhood, who were the two ladies out riding at the time of
our adventure. I can communicate with him in cipher."

He went to the wall; touched a spring; a door flew open; a receptacle
containing pen, ink and paper appeared; he wrote a message, placed it
in an interior cavity, which connected with a pneumatic tube, rang a
bell, and in a few minutes another bell rang, and he withdrew from a
similar cavity a written message. He read out to me the following:

"The elder lady, Miss Frederika Bowers; the younger, Miss Estella
Washington; both members of the Prince of Cabano's household."

"Estella Washington," I repeated; "a noble name. Can you tell me
anything about her?"

"Certainly," he replied; "we have a Bureau of Inquiry connected with
our society, and we possess the most complete information, not only
as to our own members, but as to almost every one else in the
community of any note. Wait a moment."

He opened the same receptacle in the wall, wrote a few words on a
sheet of paper, and dispatched it by the pneumatic tube to the
central office of that district, whence it was forwarded at once to
its address. It was probably fifteen minutes before the reply
arrived. It read as follows:

Miss ESTELLA WASHINGTON.--Aged eighteen. _Appearance_:
Person tall and graceful; complexion fair; eyes blue; hair
long and golden; face handsome. _Pedigree_: A lineal
descendant of Lawrence Washington, brother of the first
President of the Republic. _Parents_: William Washington
and Sophia, his wife. Father, a graduate of the University
of Virginia; professor of Indo-European literature for ten
years in Harvard University. Grandfather, Lawrence
Washington, a judge of the Supreme Court of the United
States for fifteen years. Sophia, mother of Estella, _ne_
Wainwright, an accomplished Greek and Sanscrit scholar,
daughter of Professor Elias Wainwright, who occupied the
chair of psychological science in Yale College for twenty
years. Families of both parents people of great learning
and social position, but not wealthy in any of the
branches. _History_: Father died when Estella was eight
years old, leaving his family poor. Her mother, after a
hard struggle with poverty, died two years later. Estella,
then ten years old, was adopted by Maria, widow of George
Washington, brother of Estella's father, who had
subsequently married one Ezekiel Plunkett, who is also
dead. Maria Plunkett is a woman of low origin and sordid
nature, with a large share of cunning; she lives at No.
2682 Grand Avenue. She had observed that Estella gave
promise of great beauty, and as none of the other

relatives put in a claim for the child, she took possession
of her, with intent to educate her highly, improve her
appearance by all the arts known to such women, and
eventually sell her for a large sun, to some wealthy
aristocrat as a mistress; believing that her honorable
descent would increase the price which her personal charms
would bring. On the 5th day of last month she sold her, for
$5,000, to the Master of the Servants of the so-called
Prince of Cabano; and she was taken to his house. Estella
who is quite ignorant of the wickedness of the world, or
the true character of her aunt, for whom she entertains a
warm feeling of gratitude and affection, believes that she
is to serve as lady-companion for Miss Frederika Bowers,
the favorite mistress of the Prince, but whom Estella
supposes to be his niece.

You can imagine, my dear brother--for you have a kind and sensitive
heart, and love your wife--the pangs that shot through me, and
distorted my very soul, as I listened to this dreadful narrative. Its
calm, dispassionate, official character, while it confirmed its
truth, added to the horrors of the awful story of crime! Think of it!
a pure, beautiful, cultured, confiding girl, scarcely yet a woman,
consigned to a terrible fate, by one whom she loved and trusted. And
the lurid light it threw on the state of society in which such a
sacrifice could be possible! I forgot every pretense of indifference,
which I had been trying to maintain before Maximilian, and, springing
up, every fiber quivering, I cried out:

"She must be saved!"

Maximilian, too, although colder-blooded, and hardened by contact
with this debased age, was also stirred to his depths; his face was
flushed, and he seized me by the hand. He said:

"I will help you, my friend."

"But what can we do?" I asked.

"We should see her at once," he replied, "and, if it is not yet too
late, carry her away from that damnable place, that house of hell,
and its devilish owner, who preys on innocence and youth. We have one
thing in our favor: the Master of the Servants, who bought Estella,
is the same person who answered my first message. He belongs, as I
told you, to our Brotherhood. He is in my power. He will give us
access to the poor girl, and will do whatever is necessary to be
done. Come, let us go!"

Those thin, firm lips were more firmly set than ever; the handsome
eyes flashed with a fierce light; he hurried for an instant into his
secret room.

"Take this magazine pistol," he said, "and this knife," handing me a
long bowie-knife covered with a handsome, gold-embossed sheath; "we
are going into a den of infamy where everything is possible. Never
unsheathe that knife until you are compelled to use it, for a scratch
from it is certain and instant death; it is charged with the most
deadly poison the art of the chemist has been able to produce; the
secret is known only to our Brotherhood; the discoverer is an Italian
professor, a member of our society."



Mounting to one of the electrical railroads, we were soon at the
house of the Prince. Passing around to the servants' entrance of the
palace, Maximilian sent in his card to the Master of the Servants,
who soon appeared, bowing deferentially to my friend. We were ushered
into his private room. Maximilian first locked the door; he then
examined the room carefully, to see if there was any one hidden
behind the tapestry or furniture; for the room, like every part of
the palace, was furnished in the most lavish and extravagant style.
Satisfied with his search, he turned to Rudolph, as the Master of the
Servants was called, and handed him the message he had received,
which gave the history of Estella.

"Read it," he said.

Rudolph read it with a troubled countenance.

"Yes," he said, "I am familiar with most of the facts here stated,
and believe them all to be true. What would you have me do?"

"First," said Maximilian, "we desire to know if Estella is still in
ignorance of the purpose for which she was brought here."

"Yes," he replied; "Frederika is jealous of her, as I can see, and
has contrived to keep her out of the Prince's sight. She has no
desire to be supplanted by a younger and fairer woman."

"God be praised for that jealousy," exclaimed Maximilian. "We must
see Estella; can you manage it for us?"

"Yes," he said, "I will bring her here. I know she is in the palace.
I saw her but a few moments since. Wait for Me." "Stop," said
Maximilian, "have you the receipt for the $5,000 signed by Mrs.

"No; but I can get it."

"Do so, pray; and when you bring her here introduce me to her as Mr.
Martin, and my friend here as Mr. Henry. She may refuse our
assistance, and we must provide against the revenge of the Prince."

"I will do as you command," replied Rudolph, who acted throughout as
if he felt himself in the presence of a superior officer.

As we sat waiting his return I was in a state of considerable
excitement. Delight, to know that she was still the pure angel I had
worshiped in my dreams, contended with trepidation as I felt I must
soon stand in her presence.

The door opened and Rudolph entered; behind him came the tall form of
the beautiful girl I had seen in the carriage: she seemed to me
fairer than ever. Her eyes first fell upon me; she started and
blushed. It was evident she recognized me; and I fancied the
recognition was not unpleasant to her. She then turned to Maximilian
and then to Rudolph, who introduced us as we had requested. I offered
her a chair. She sat down, evidently astonished at such an interview,
and yet entirely mistress of herself. After a moment's pause,--for
Maximilian, as he told me afterwards, was too bewildered with her
splendid beauty to speak,--she said, in a sweet and gentle voice:

"Mr. Rudolph tells me that you desire to speak to me on matters of

At a sign from Maximilian Rudolph closed and locked the door. She
started, and it seemed to me that her eyes turned to me with more
confidence than to either of the others.

"Miss Washington," said Maximilian, "it is true we desire to speak
with you on matters of the greatest moment to yourself. But we shall
say things so surprising to you, so harsh and cruel, so utterly in
conflict with your present opinions, that I scarce know how to begin."

She had grown paler during this speech, and I then said:

"Be assured that nothing but the profound respect we feel for you,
and the greatest desire to serve you, and save you from ruin, could
have induced us to intrude upon you."

Her face showed her increasing alarm; she placed her hand on her
heart, as if to still its beatings, and then, with constrained
dignity, replied:

"I do not understand you, gentlemen. I do not know what the dangers
are to which you allude. Can you not speak plainly?"

"My friend here, Mr. Henry," said Maximilian, looking at me, "you
have, I perceive, already recognized."

"Yes," she said, with another blush, "if I am not mistaken, he is the
gentleman who saved the life of a poor beggar, some days since, and
punished, as he deserved, our insolent driver. Miss Frederika, the
Prince's niece, has, at my request, refused since that time to permit
him to drive us when we go out together, as we often do. I am glad to
thank you again," she said, with a charmingly ingenuous air, "for
your noble act in saving that poor man's life."

"It was nothing," I said, "but if the service was of any value it has
been a thousand times repaid by your kind words."

"You can easily imagine," said Maximilian, "that my friend here,
after that interview, was naturally curious to find out something
about you."

She blushed and cast down her eyes; and the thought flashed across my
mind that perhaps she had been likewise curious to find out something
about me.

"I am a member," said Maximilian, "of a secret society. We have a
'Bureau of Inquiry' whose business it is to collect information, for
the use of the society, concerning every person of any note. This
information is carefully tabulated and preserved, and added to from
day to day; so that at any moment it is subject to the call of our
officers. When my friend desired to know something about you" (here
the blue, wondering eyes were cast down again), "I sent a message to
our Bureau of Inquiry, and received a reply which I have here. I fear
to show it to you. The shock will be too great to learn in a moment
the utter baseness of one in whom you have trusted. I fear you have
not the courage to endure such a blow; and at the same time I know of
no better way to communicate to your purity and innocence the
shocking facts which it is my duty to disclose."

Estella smiled, and reached forth her hand for the paper with the
dignity of conscious courage and high blood.

"Let me read it," she said; "I do not think it can tell me anything I
cannot endure."

Maximilian delivered the paper into her hand. I watched her face as
she read it. At first there was a look of wonder at the minuteness of
the knowledge of her family which the paper revealed; then the
interest became more intense; then the eyebrows began to rise and the
blue eyes to dilate with horror; then an expression of scorn swept
over her face; and as she read the last word she flung the paper from
her as if it had been a serpent, and rising up, yes, towering, a
splendid image of wrath, she turned upon us and cried out:

"This is a base falsehood! A cowardly trick to wound me! A shameful
attempt to injure my dear aunt."

And, wheeling around on Rudolph, her eyes blazing, she said:

"Unlock that door! I shall reveal at once to the Prince this attack
on his good name and Miss Frederika. How dare you bring these men
here with such falsehoods?"

Rudolph, alarmed for himself, hung his head in silence. He was
trembling violently.

"Rudolph," said Maximilian, solemnly, "I call upon you, by the oath
you have taken, to say to this lady whether or not the contents of
that paper are true."

"I believe them to be true," responded Rudolph, in a low tone.

It was wonderful to see the fine indignation, the keen penetration
that shone in Estella's eyes, as she looked first at Rudolph and then
at Maximilian.

"Rudolph," said Maximilian, "by the oath you have taken, tell Miss
Washington whether or not you paid $5,000 to her aunt, Maria
Plunkett, for the purchase of her body, as set forth in that paper."

"It is true," replied Rudolph, in the same low tone.

"It is false!" cried Estella,--and yet I thought there was that in
her tone which indicated that the hideous doubt had begun to enter
her soul.

"Rudolph," said Maximilian, "tell this lady whether you took a
receipt from her aunt for the money you paid for her."

"I did," replied Rudolph.

"Miss Washington," said Maximilian, like a lawyer who has reached his
crucial question, for he was a trained attorney, "would you recognize
your aunt's signature if you saw it?"


"You have often seen her write?"

"Yes; hundreds of times."

"Have you any reason to distrust this good man, Rudolph? Do you not
know that in testifying to the truth he runs the risk of his own

"Yes, yes," she said, and there was a wild and worried look in her

"Read the receipt, Rudolph," said Maximilian.

Rudolph read, in the same low and almost trembling tones, the

NEW YORK, August 5th, 1988.--Received of Matthew Rudolph,

for the Prince of Cabano, the sum of five thousand dollars,
in consideration of which I have delivered to the said
Prince of Cabano the body of my niece, Estella Washington;
and I hereby agree, as the custodian of the said Estella
Washington, never to demand any further payment, from the
said Prince of Cabano, on account of my said niece, and
never to reclaim her; and I also pledge myself never to
reveal to any of the relatives of the said Estella
Washington her place of residence.

(Signed) Maria Plunkett.

As he finished reading Estella seized the receipt quickly out of his
hands, and fixed her eyes eagerly upon the signature. In a moment she
became deadly pale, and would have fallen on the floor, but that I
caught her in my arms--(oh, precious burden!)--and bore her to a
sofa. Rudolph brought some water and bathed her face. In a few
minutes she recovered consciousness. She looked at us curiously at
first, and then, as memory returned to her, an agonized and
distraught look passed over her features, and I feared she would
faint again. I held some water to her lips. She looked at me with an
intense look as I knelt at her side. Then hey eyes passed to
Maximilian and Rudolph, who stood respectfully a little distance from
her. The tears flowed down her face. Then a new thought seemed to
strike her, and she rose to a sitting posture.

"It cannot be true. My aunt could not do it. You are strangers to me.
It is a conspiracy. I will ask Frederika."

"No! no!" said Rudolph; "not Frederika; it would not be to her
interest to tell you the truth. But is there any one of the servants
in whom you have more confidence than all the others?"

"Yes," she said, "there is Mary Callaghan, an honest girl, if there
is one anywhere. I think she loves me; and I do not believe she would
deceive me."

"Then," said Rudolph, "you shall send for her to come here. None of
us shall speak to her lest you might think we did so to prompt her.
We will hide behind the tapestry. Dry your tears; ring for a servant,
and request Mary to come to you, and then ask her such questions as
you choose."

This was done, and in a few moments Mary appeared--an honest, stout,
rosy-cheeked Irish girl, with the frank blue eyes and kindly smile of
her people.

"Mary," said Estella, "you have always been kind to me. Do you love
me sufficiently to tell me the truth if I ask you some questions?"

"Sure, and you may do so, my dear," said Mary.

"Then, Mary, tell me, is Frederika the Prince of Cabano's niece?"

"Niver a drop's blood to him," replied Mary.

"What is she doing in his house, then?" asked Estella.

"Sure, it would be as much as my place is worth, ma'am, to answer
that question; and hard enough it is for an honest girl to get a
place now-a-days. If it hadn't been for Barney McGuiggan, who married
my brother's sister-in-law, and who is own cousin to Mr. Flaherty,
the butler's second assistant, I couldn't have got the place I have
at all, at all. And if I said a word against Miss Frederika, out I
would go, and where would I find another place?"

"But, Mary, if you speak the truth no harm shall follow to you. I
shall never repeat what you say. I do not ask out of idle curiosity,
but much depends on your answer."

"Indeed, ma'am," replied Mary, "if you weren't as innocent as ye're
purty, you would have found out the answer to your own question long
ago. Faith, an' don't everybody in the house know she's"--here she
approached, and whispered solemnly in her ear--"she's the Prince's
favorite mistress?"

Estella recoiled. After a pause she said:

"And, Mary, who are the other young ladies we call the Prince's
cousins--Miss Lucy, Miss Julia and the rest?"

"Ivery one of them's the same. It's just as I told Hannah, the cook's
scullion; I didn't belave ye knew a word of what was going on in this
house. And didn't I tell her that Miss Frederika was contriving to
kape you out of the Prince's sight.; and that was the rason she took
you out riding for hours ivery day, and made you sleep in a remote
part of the palace; for if the Prince ever clapped his two ougly eyes
upon you it would be all up wid Madame Frederika."

I could see from where I was hidden that Estella grasped the back of
a chair for support, and she said in a low voice:

"You may go, Mary; I am much obliged to you for your friendship and

We found her sitting in the chair, with her hands over her face,
sobbing convulsively. At last she looked around upon us and cried out:

"Oh my God! What shall I do? I am sold--sold--a helpless slave. Oh,
it is horrible!"

"You will never be without friends while we live," I said, advancing
to her side.

"But I must fly," she cried out, "and how--where?"

"My dear Miss Washington," said Maximilian, in his kindest tones, "I
have a dear mother, who will be glad to welcome you as her own child;
and in our quiet home you can remain, safe from the power of the
Prince, until you have time to think out your future course of life;
and if you conclude to remain with us forever you will be only the
more welcome. Here is Rudolph, who will vouch for me that I am an
honorable man, and that you can trust yourself to me with safety."

"Yes," said Rudolph; "Maximilian Petion is the soul of honor. His
simple word is more than the oath of another."

"Then let us fly at once," said Estella.

"No," replied Rudolph, "that would not do; this house is guarded and
full of spies. You would be followed and reclaimed."

"What, then, do you advise?" asked Maximilian.

"Let me see," replied the old man, thinking; "this is Thursday. On
Monday night next the members of 'the government' have their meeting
here. There will be a number of visitors present, and more or less
confusion; more guards will be necessary also, and I can contrive to
have one of the Brotherhood act as sentinel at the door which opens
into a hall which connects with this room; for you see here is a
special entrance which leads to a stairway and to the door I speak
of. I will procure a gentleman's dress for Miss Estella; she is tall

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