Part 5 out of 6
backhand stroke. It is her bounden duty to inform the husband
forthwith. The letter may wreck two lives, but what is this beside
stern, implacable duty? When man writes an anonymous letter he is in
want of money; when woman writes one she is in want of a sensation. It
is easy to reject a demand for money, but we accept the lie and wrap
it to our bosoms, so quick are we to believe ill of those we love.
This is an aspect of human nature that eludes analysis, as quicksilver
eludes the pressure of the finger. The anonymous letter breeds
suspicion; suspicion begets tragedy. The greatest tragedy is not that
which kills, but that which prolongs mental agony. Honest men and
women, so we are told, pay no attention to anonymous letters. They
toss them into the waste-basket ... and brood over them in silence.
Now, Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was always considering her duty; her duty
to the church, to society, to charity, and, upon occasions, to her
lord and master.
"Bennington's men have gone out, the fools!" said Haldene from over
the top of his paper.
"Have they?" Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene nibbled the tip of her pen. She
sighed, tore up what she had written and filtered it through her
fingers into the waste-basket.
"Yes, they've gone out. I don't know what the business world is coming
to. Why, the brick-layer gets--I don't say earns--more than the
average clerk. And Bennington's men go out simply because he refuses
to discharge that young English inventor. ... What are you writing and
tearing up so often?" he asked, his curiosity suddenly aroused.
"It is a difficult letter to write."
"Then there can't be any gossip in it."
"I never concern myself with gossip, Franklyn. I wish I could make you
"I wish you could, too." He laid his paper down. "Well, I'm off to the
club, unless you are particularly in need of me."
"You are always going to the club."
"Or coming back."
"Yes, I know. But the men I play poker with are too much interested in
the draw to talk about other men's wives."
"It's the talk of the town the way you men play cards."
"Better the purse than the reputation."
"I haven't any doubt that you are doing your best to deplete both,"
Then she sighed profoundly. This man was a great disappointment to
her. He did not understand her at all. The truth was, if she but knew
it, he understood her only too well. She had married the handsomest
man in town because all the other belles had been after him; he had
married money, after a fashion. Such mistakes are frequent rather than
singular these days. The two had nothing in common. It is strange that
persons never find this out till after the honeymoon. Truly, marriage
is a voyage of discovery for which there are no relief expeditions.
So Haldene went to the club, while his wife squared another sheet of
writing-paper and began again. Half an hour went by before she
completed her work with any degree of satisfaction. Even then she had
some doubts. She then took a pair of shears and snipped the crest from
the sheet and sealed it in a government envelope. Next she threw a
light wrap over her shoulders and stole down to the first letter-box,
where she deposited the trifle. The falling of the lid broke sharply
on the still night. She returned to the house, feeling that a great
responsibility had been shifted from hers to another's shoulders.
Indeed, she would have gone to any lengths to save Patty a life of
misery. And to think of that woman! To think of her assuming a
quasi-leadership in society, as if she were to the manner born! The
impudence of it all! Poor Mrs. Bennington, with her grey hairs; it
would break her heart when she found out (as Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene
determined she should) the sort of woman her son had married. She
straightened her shoulders and pressed her lips firmly and
contemplated a duty, painfully but rigorously performed. She cast the
scraps of paper into the grate and applied a match. It is not always
well that duty should leave any circumstantial evidence behind.
The evening papers devoted a good deal of space to the strike at the
Bennington shops. They frankly upheld Bennington. They admitted that
employers had some individual rights. They berated the men for
quarreling over a matter so trivial as the employment of a single
non-union man, who was, to say the most, merely an experimenter.
However, they treated lightly Bennington's threat to demolish the
shops. No man in his right mind would commit so childish an act. It
would be revenge of a reactive order, fool matching fools, whereas
Bennington ought to be more magnanimous. The labor unions called
special meetings, and with one or two exceptions voted to stand by the
action of the men.
There was positively no politics behind this strike; everybody
understood that; at least, everybody thought he understood. But there
were some who smiled mysteriously and wagged their heads. One thing
was certain; Bennington's friend, Warrington would lose many hundred
votes in November. For everybody knew which way the Republican
convention would go; there was nobody in sight but Warrington.
Bennington and Mrs. Jack dined at the old home that evening. There was
plenty of gloom and forced gaiety around the board. John pretended
that he was well out of a bad job; he was not a dreamer nor a
socialist, not he; Utopia was not for the iron age. He told stories,
joked and laughed, and smoked frequently. No one but the mother had
the courage to ask if he really meant to tear down the mills. She came
around the table, smoothed his hair as she had done since he was a
boy, and leaned over his chair.
"Well, mother mine?"
"Shall you really do it?"
"Tear it down."
He did not answer at once, and she waited, trembling.
"You would not have me take back my words to the men, would you,
"Your father loved the place."
"And do I not?" a note of strong passion in his voice. "I shall tear
it down, if I live. Do not ask me anything more about it. Has Dick
been over to-day?"
"He telephoned that he would be over after dinner. He wants you to go
to the speech-making to-night." Patty rose from her seat at the table.
"Patty," said John, rather surprised at his discovery, "you are almost
"You men never see anything quickly," said Mrs. Jack. "Patty has been
a beautiful woman for several months."
Patty started, restrained the impulse to speak, and searched Mrs.
Jack's face. But Mrs. Jack had eyes for no one but John. Her thought
was far removed from her words. That telephone message rang in her
ears every hour of the day. One moment she was on the verge of telling
John, the next she dared not. What had that wretch found out? What
could he have found out? A lie; it could be nothing more nor less than
a lie; but the suspense and the waiting were killing her. Every beat
of her heart, every drop of her blood belonged to this man at her
side, and she would rather die than that doubt should mingle with his
love. She was miserable, miserable; she dared not confide in any one;
Patty was too young, for all her womanhood, to understand fully. Night
after night she forced her recollection through the dim past, but she
could find nothing but harmless, innocent follies. Alas, the
kaleidoscope of life has so many variant angles that no two eyes see
alike. What to her appeared perfectly innocent might appear evil in
the neighbors' eyes; what to her was sunshine, to another might be
"Think of it!" said John. "Patty will be marrying before long."
Mrs. Bennington looked at Patty and sighed. To rear up children and to
lose them, that was the mother's lot. To accept these aches with
resignation, to pass the days in reconciling what might be with what
shall be, that was the mother's portion. Yes, Patty must some day
"When Patty marries, mother," said John, "you shall come and live with
Kate and me."
"You are moving me around like a piece of useless furniture," replied
Patty, with some resentment. "I doubt if I shall ever marry."
"Bosh!" laughed John. "There'll come some bold Lochinvar for you, one
of these days; and then off you'll go. There's the bell. That must be
Patty and Mrs. Jack crossed glances quickly. John went to the door
himself and brought Warrington back with him.
"Won't you have a cup of tea, Mr. Warrington?" asked the mother.
"Thank you, I will." Warrington stirred the tea, gazing pleasantly
from face to face.
The lines in his face seemed deeper than usual; the under lids of the
eyes were dark, and the squareness of the jaw was more prominent. John
saw no change, but the three women did. Warrington looked careworn.
"Well, John, I see that you have done it."
"I'm terribly sorry, but you couldn't back down now and live in town."
"You see, mother?" John smiled sadly.
"Yes, my son. You will do what you think best and manliest."
"How's the cat?" asked Warrington.
"It still wanders about, inconsolable," answered Patty. How careworn
"Poor beast! It is lucky to have fallen in such good hands."
"When you are mayor," said Patty, "you must give me a permit to rescue
stray cats from the pound."
"I'll do more than that; I'll build a house of shelter for them."
"What time does your speaker begin?" inquired John, lighting a fresh
"John, you are smoking too much," remonstrated Mrs. Jack.
"I know it, honey."
"Rudolph begins at nine; if we go then that will be soon enough.
You'll be amused. Have you been riding lately?" Warrington directed
this question to Patty.
"Yes, regularly every morning." Patty dallied with the crumbs at the
side of her plate.
"I don't know what's the matter with me, but I find it wearies me to
climb on to a horse's back. I haven't got back to normal conditions
"I was wondering where you were."
"And how is Jove?" asked Mrs. Jack.
"He's snoozing out on the veranda. I take him everywhere now."
Presently they moved into the living-room. Warrington longed to sit
beside Patty, but of a sudden he had grown diffident. It amused him to
come into the knowledge that all his address and worldliness would not
stand him in good stead in the presence of Patty. Words were no longer
at his command; he was no longer at his ease. He was afraid of Patty;
and he was very, very lonely. That empty house over the way was no
longer home. There were moments when he regretted his plunge into
politics. He was not free to pack his luggage and speed away to lands
that urged his fancy. He had given his word, and he was too much of a
man to withdraw it. He must remain here and fight two battles.
Mrs. Jack had taken the seat next to him, and was asking him about the
progress of the play. It was going on so indifferently that he was of
half a mind to destroy it, which he did later. His glance always came
back to Patty. She was bent over her basket-work. She was calling him
Mr. Warrington again. Had he offended her in any manner? The light
from the lamp sparkled in her hair. She was as fresh and beautiful as
a July rose. But Mrs. Jack was an artist. She knew how to draw him
out; and shortly he was talking animatedly. It was now that Patty's
eyes began to rove.
John, his fingers meeting in an arch, one leg thrown restlessly across
the other, thoughtfully eyed his wife and his friend. ... It was a
lie; there was nothing in all the world so honest as Warrington's
hand, so truthful as his wife's eyes. Cursed be the doubt that had
wedged between these two he loved!
Time passes quickly or slowly, according to the state of mind. To John
the time was long; to Patty and Warrington it was too short; to Mrs.
Jack it was neither long nor short, but suspended.
"Time for us to go, John. You are not particular about a chair, are
you?" Warrington asked.
"Not I. I prefer to stand up in the rear of the hall. If I am bored I
can easily escape."
"Oh, the night will not be without some amusement."
"Take good care of John," whispered Mrs. Jack in Warrington's ear; as
the two men were about to depart.
"Trust me!" Warrington smiled.
Patty and John observed this brief intercourse. The eyes of love are
sharp. Patty was not jealous, neither was John; but something had
entered into their lives that gave to all trivial things a ponderous
"Don't let any reporters talk to John, Mr. Warrington," requested the
"I'll surround him."
"Shall we walk?" asked John.
"We can see better on foot."
"We'll walk, then."
So the two men went down town on foot, and Jove galloped back and
forth joyously. At any and all times he was happy with his master. The
one bane of his existence was gone, the cat. He was monarch of the
house; he could sleep on sofa-pillows and roll on the rugs, and
nobody stole his bones.
"Good dog," observed John.
"Money couldn't buy him. I saw that fellow Bolles to-day,"
"Bolles?" John did not recollect the name.
"The fellow you nearly throttled the other night," explained
Warrington. "He looked pretty well battered up. I never saw you lose
your temper so quickly before."
"He struck me without provocation, at the wrong moment. Who is going
to speak to-night?"
"Donnelly and Rudolph."
"What do you think? Donnelly called me up by 'phone this afternoon.
Wants to know if I really intend to tear down the shops. I told him I
had nothing to say on the subject."
"Tear them down. I should. You're a rich man."
"Money isn't the question. The thing is, what shall I do? I'm not
fitted for anything else."
"Tear down the shops and then build them up again, after a few years.
It will be a good lesson to these union leaders. And you could have
the fun of fighting to build up the trade your father left. You were
talking once of rebuilding entirely."
"Not a bad idea, Dick. Only, I feel sorry for the men."
"Why? Are they free men or are they not? It rested with them just as
much as it did with you. I am far removed from the principles of
unionism, as they stand to-day. I have no patience or sympathy with
men who can not, or will not, appreciate a liberal, honest employer."
"Let's change the subject, Dick."
For a block or so they proceeded in silence.
"John, you're the head of the family. I love Patty better than
anything else on God's earth. Do you mind?" Warrington uttered these
words swiftly, before his courage, which he had suddenly urged to its
highest, dropped back.
John swung round abruptly and brought his hands down heavily on
"Is that true, Dick?"
"As I stand here. Oh, I know; I'm not good enough for Patty. I haven't
lived as decently as I might. I haven't gone through life as
circumspectly as you have. I drank; success made me dizzy. But I love
Patty--God bless her!--as I never hoped or dreamed of loving any
woman. You're a man, John; you will understand. I've been alone all my
life; buffeted here and there, living haphazard, without any
particular restraint on my desires. The dear old aunt was the only
tie, and that was delicate till I came home and found how good and
kind she was. I miss her; months from now I shall miss her a
hundredfold. I'm very lonely. You've all been so good to me. To be
alone, and to think of living alone for the rest of my days, is a
torture. My nature craves companionship, and this craving has led me
into plenty of mischief. I love Patty. What do you say, John?"
"Say? Why, you are good enough for any woman alive. I am very glad,
Dick. Patty married to you! You old farmer," affectionately, "I've
always been mentally pairing off you two! Come on; let's hear what the
political windmill has to say. They're burning red fire in front of
But a moment gone their feet had dragged with each step; now there was
a lightness that was dancing. John knew that it was all a lie; and his
heart was as light as his feet. Kate, dear Kate! He was a wretch! He
slapped Warrington on the shoulder.
"To think of your marrying Patty, the little sister!"
"Don't go too fast, John," said Warrington with less enthusiasm. "I
haven't said a word to Patty yet; and if she's a sensible young woman,
she'll give me my conge first-off."
"By George, women are strange creatures. It's the truth, Dick; you
can't tell which way they'll go. But Patty's no fool." John hadn't
felt so good in many hours.
"But I love her, and God knows I shall try to be worthy of her, even
if I lose her. ... Sky-rockets!" with an upward glance. "That's the
signal for Rudolph's arrival at the hall."
"Come on, then!"
Rudolph was the great Jeffersonian Democrat, not by excellence, rather
by newspaper courtesy, and that, to be specific, by his own newspaper.
He had come up from New York that day to deliver his already famous
speech. He was one of the many possibilities in the political arena
for the governorship. And as he was a multimillionaire, he was sure of
a great crowd. As an Englishman loves a lord, so does the American
love a millionaire. Rudolph's newspaper was the only one in the
metropolis that patted him on the back regularly each morning. He was
the laboring man's friend; he was the arch enemy of the monopolies
(not yet called trusts); and so forth and so on. For all that some
laughed at him, he was an able politician, and was perfectly honest in
all his political transactions, which is something of a paradox. So he
came up to Herculaneum to convert the doubting. The laboring party
greeted him en masse, and stormed the hall for choice seats.
The hall was a low, rambling structure, bad for the voice, but capable
of seating a few thousands. The curbs glared with green and red fire,
and a band blared out the songs of freedom. The crowds surged back and
forth, grumbling and laughing and shouting. And the near-by saloons
did a land-office business. It was a great night for the man who had
nothing to do. All at once there was loud hurrahing. An open hack
drove up to the entrance, and the great Jeffersonian stood up, bowing,
bowing. The green light on one side and the red on the other gave to
his face a Gargantuan aspect rather than that of a Quixote, to whom he
was more often likened than to any other character in fiction. The
police cleared a pathway for the great man, and he hurried up the
steps. Another cheer, and another blast from the band. Great is
popularity, whose handmaiden is oblivion.
"They'll be doing all this to you some day," John declared, as he and
Warrington elbowed through the crowd, the dog between their legs.
"That's him!" cried a voice.
"The fellow that writes; Henderson's man."
"Salt licks for him!" came in derision.
"He'll give Donnelly a run for the money."
"Not in a thousand years!"
All this amused Warrington.
"How d' y' do, Mr. Warrington?"
A hand touched the prospective candidate on the arm. Warrington saw
Osborne's rubicund nose.
"So you're out, too, Mr. Osborne?"
"I never let meetings go by, Richard. Good evening, Mr. Bennington. A
man with ten millions doesn't look any different from ordinary
mortals, does he? But he is different, or he wouldn't have that
barrel. A million is like a light-house; it attracts all sorts of
Warrington laughed and went on. Once or twice he lost the dog, but
Jove managed to turn up each time.
"We'll stand at the left," said John; "it's nearer the exits."
"Just as you say. I wish I'd left the dog at home. He's a nuisance in
a crowd like this."
They presently stood with their backs to the wall and looked toward
the stage. Donnelly was already speaking about the great man who was
that night to address them.
"And," concluded the mayor, "Mr. Rudolph will lead us to a victory
such as the party in this state has not yet known." And half a hundred
more final words. Man approaches nearest woman's postscript when he
says: "And, gentlemen, just one word more!"
Meantime Warrington's gaze wandered here and there. He saw many
familiar faces,--politicians, prominent merchants of both parties, and
the usual exuberant hundreds drawn thither only by curiosity. These
were willing to applaud anything and anybody, without knowing or
caring what about. Quiet one moment, roaring the next; murmur, murmur,
like angry waters on shingle. These make and unmake public men; they
have nothing, but they can give everything. Strong tobacco smoke
rolled ceilingward, and those on the stage became blurred and
nebulous. Once Warrington caught a glimpse of a battered face, but it
disappeared quickly. However, he said nothing to Bennington. Again, he
saw McQuade moving about, within fifty feet. From time to time McQuade
stooped, and Warrington knew that the white dog was present.
"Gentlemen," concluded Donnelly, with a flourish, "William Henry
Rudolph, of New York, our next governor."
And, to quote the sympathetic reporters, "tremendous applause shook
the rafters." Mr. Rudolph rose majestically, and smiled and bowed.
Heigh-ho! man accepts applause so easily; the noise, not the heart
behind it; the uproar, not the thought. Man usually fools himself when
he opens his ears to these sounds, often more empty than brass. But so
porous is man's vanity that it readily absorbs any kind of noise
arranged for its benefit.
He began calmly. The orator always reserves his telling apostrophes
till that time when it is necessary to smite palm with fist. He spoke
of Jefferson, the simplicity of his life, the firmness of his purpose,
the height of his ideals. He forgot, as political speakers generally
forget who emulate their historic political forebears, that progress
rearranges principles and constitutions, that what passed as good
statesmanship in Jefferson's time is out of order in the present. Mr.
Rudolph paused in the middle of a metaphor. There was a sudden
commotion in the rear of the hall. Men were surging to and fro.
"Stand back!" cried a firm, resonant voice, full of anger.
The uproar increased. Those in the forward chairs craned their necks.
Some stood up to learn what the matter might be. Others mounted their
seats. A thousand absurd conjectures passed from mouth to mouth.
"Somebody's dropped dead!"
"Sit down in front! Sit down!"
"What's the matter?"
"Where are the police?"
"Put him out!"
Blue helmets moved toward the scene of action slowly. Mr. Rudolph
still paused and moistened his lips impatiently. Men can give and take
away popularity in the same breath, but a dog fight is arranged by
occult forces, and must, like opportunity, be taken when it comes. We
are educated to accept oratory, but we need no education in the matter
of a dog fight. This red corpuscle was transmitted to us from the
Stone Age, and the primordial pleasures alone resist enlightenment.
Two bulldogs, one tan, the other white, were fighting desperately,
near the exits. In between human legs, under chairs, this way and
that, snarling, snapping, dragging. Men called out, kicked, tried to
use canes and umbrellas, and some burned matches. The dogs were
impervious. Now the white dog was atop, now the tan. So many
interfered that there was no interference.
It was Warrington who had cried out. He had been listening to the
orator; and Jove, smelling his enemy from afar, slyly crept out of his
master's reach. The white dog had also been on the watch. In the drop
of an eyelid the battle was on. Warrington instantly comprehended the
situation, when he saw McQuade, who had every confidence in his dog,
clear a circle. He pushed his way through the swaying wall of men and
commanded those in front to stand back. He was furious. He had no
objections to human beings fighting, but he detested these bloody
conflicts between dumb brutes. He called to Jove, but Jove was past
hearing; he had tasted his enemy's blood. Once Warrington succeeded in
parting the dogs, but the crush prevented his making the separation
complete. Instantly they were at it again. The police made superhuman
efforts to arrive before it was all over. The fight, however, came to
an end as suddenly as it had begun. Jove found his grip. But for the
broad collar on McQuade's dog the animal would have been throttled
then and there.
McQuade lost his temper and his discretion. He kicked Jove cruelly in
the side, at the very moment when Warrington had succeeded in breaking
the grip. Bennington thrust McQuade back violently, and he would have
fallen but for the dense pack bolstering him up.
"I'll remember that kick, Mr. McQuade," said Warrington, white in the
"I don't think you'll be mayor of Herculaneum, Mr. Warrington,"
replied McQuade, glaring venomously at the man who had brushed him
aside so easily.
"Perhaps not, Mr. McQuade," said Warrington; "but at any rate there'll
be a reckoning for that kick. You've been trying for months to bring
these dogs together. You have finally succeeded, and your dog has been
licked soundly. You ought to be satisfied."
Warrington took Jove under his arm and pressed toward the door,
followed by Bennington, who was also in a fine rage. The dog, bloody
and excited, still struggled, though the brutal kick had winded him.
McQuade was no fool. He saw that if Warrington left this way the
impression would not be favorable to the boss contractor. So he made
haste to approach Warrington.
"Hold on there, Warrington. I apologize for kicking your dog. I admit
I was excited; and my dog was getting licked. I am sorry."
"All right, Mr. McQuade," said Warrington, who would have preferred
leaving, minus any apology. He understood perfectly well McQuade's
reason for bending.
"By George!" whispered Bennington, "I'd give a thousand for one good
punch at that ruffian's head. Brute, double-dealing brute! Look out
for him after this, Dick."
"I can take care of myself. Officer, will you kindly get a carriage
"Sure, Mr. Warrington," said the policeman.
The two managed to get out. In fact, everybody was moving toward the
exits. They had forgotten Mr. Rudolph, who completed his effort before
a two-thirds empty hall. They say that he went back to his hotel that
night disgusted with humanity and, mayhap, with the fact that the
fight had not occurred nearer the stage. Orators are human also.
As Warrington followed Bennington into the carriage the door closed
and a head was thrust inside the open window.
"Don't forget me when you're mayor, Mr. Warrington," said Bill
"Well?" Warrington was in no mood for banalities.
Bill glanced hastily from side to side, then said, in a stage whisper
that sent Bennington into a roar of laughter:
"I sick'd 'em!"
The Republican caucus or convention was uneventful. Warrington was
nominated for mayor of Herculaneum, with little or no opposition.
Everybody expected it. It was, in the phraseology of the day, cut and
dried. There was no surprise on the part of the public. Still, Senator
Henderson was jubilant; he had nominated his man.
The young candidate's speech, accepting the nomination, was reproduced
in full in all the newspapers, whose editorial writers frankly
admitted that the speech was one of the best heard in Herculaneum in
years. Reporters raked up anecdotes and old photographs; they enlarged
upon the history of his early struggles and his ultimate success; and
long despatches flashed over the wires. The whole continent was more
or less interested in the sudden political ambition of one of its
favorite dramatic writers.
It was true that Warrington's vanity was touched. It always touches
our vanity to be given something for which we have made no struggle
whatever. It was something to be followed by curious newsboys, to be
spoken to respectfully by Tom, Dick and Harry, who erstwhile hadn't
known of his existence. Warrington was human, and he laughed at his
vanity even as it was being gratified.
On the other side the Democrats perfunctorily nominated Donnelly. It
was the best they could do, and Donnelly had nothing to learn. And so
the fight was on. Donnelly went everywhere; so did Warrington. If
Donnelly spoke in the German district, Warrington spoke to the
Italians and in their native tongue. Warrington soon learned how to
shake hands in the manner of a candidate,--to take the whole hand and
squeeze it soundly. The coal-heaver whose hand the dramatist grasped
thereupon returned to his friends with the report that the candidate
had a good grip, that there was nothing namby-pamby about him, for all
his dude clothes. It is the gift of Heaven to win friends and keep
them, and Warrington possessed this gift. His good-humored smile, his
ready persiflage, his ease in all environments, and his common
sense--these were his bucklers. He spoke in dingy halls, on saloon
bars, everywhere and anywhere and at all times. It was a great sight
to see him lightly mount a bar and expound his politics, his nostrils
assailed by cheap tobacco and kerosene lamps. If Donnelly opened a keg
of beer, Warrington opened two; if Donnelly gave a picnic, Warrington
gave two. And once he presented free matinee tickets to a thousand
women. This was a fine stroke of policy. When a man wins a woman to
his cause, he wins a valiant champion. Here, then, were a thousand
tongues in his service.
His work put enthusiasm into the rank and file of the party, and soon
all half-heartedness disappeared and dissensions vanished. He
furnished foot-ball suits for the newsboys, torch-light regimentals
for the young men's Republican clubs; he spent his own money freely
but judiciously; and all the while Donnelly was not far behind. For
the first time in the history of local politics the two parties went
to work with solid ranks. It promised to be a great campaign.
Warrington's influence soon broke the local confines; and the
metropolitan newspapers began to prophesy that as Herculaneum went, so
would go the state.
Warrington's theatrical manager came up from New York and said he
wanted that play at once. The dramatist declared that there would be
no play that season. The manager threatened a lawsuit; Warrington
remained unmoved. His first duty was to his party; after the first
Tuesday in November he would see. This argument found its way to
reportorial ears, with the result that it merely added to the young
candidate's growing popularity.
It was only occasionally that he saw the Benningtons. His nights were
devoted to speech-making or conferences. Sometimes, however, on his
way home late at night, he would walk up as far as the old house and
look up at the windows; and if he saw a light in Patty's room he would
pause for a few minutes, then turn about, Jove limping at his heels.
Patty Bennington! The one idyl in his noisy life, the one uplifting
influence! He knew that he was not making this fight for clean
politics because his heart was in it, but because Patty's was. It is
thus that women make the world better, indirectly. Once or twice he
had seen Patty in the gallery at mass meetings; but, hurry as he
might, he never could get around to the entrance in time to speak to
As for McQuade, he knew that between him and that gentleman the war
had only begun. He was constantly wondering how McQuade would act; but
so far as he could see, McQuade had absolutely nothing to stand on.
McQuade would have to tunnel; he could not carry on the war above
ground. McQuade would never forgive the result of the dog fight. There
had been so much raillery in the newspapers that McQuade became
furious whenever it was mentioned. His dog was a professional fighter
and had made three kills, and here a "pet" had given him his first
licking. It rankled, and none of McQuade's friends dared refer to it.
So Warrington remained alert and watchful; it was all he could do.
In more ways than one Herculaneum became widely known. Other cities
realized that there was a peculiar strike in progress, upon the
outcome of which depended the principles of unionism. Here was an
employer who was making preparations to destroy his shops, regardless
of financial loss, regardless of public opinion, regardless of
everything but his right to employ and discharge whom he willed. Every
great employer in the country focused his eye upon Herculaneum; every
union leader did likewise. The outcome would mean a kind of
At the shops the men had placed the usual sentinels around the limits,
ready to repel the expected army of non-union workmen. But a day
passed, two, three, four; a week, then ten days; a month. Not a single
strange man approached the gates. Not one man among them had any
information whatever as to the movements of their whilom employer.
Scab labor never showed its head above the horizon. The men began to
wonder; they began to grow restless. But Morrissy always pacified them
with the word "wait."
"Vigilance, boys; that's the word," said the leader. "The moment we go
to sleep he'll have his men inside."
So the men relaxed none of their watching, night and day. It was
rather pathetic to see the children bringing scanty meals to the
guarding men. They were being misled, that was all, but they had to
find that out themselves. The city's bill-boards were covered with
"Boycott" and "Unfair" paper. The men were careful. They made no
effort to injure anything; they made no attempt to enter the shops;
they had had a brush with the militia once, and they were wise. They
could beat the new men and maim them, but so long as they did not
touch property there would be no call for the militia. They waited.
Mean-time Morrissy wore a new diamond.
One day a cry went up.
"Here's the scabs! Here they come!"
Word was sent immediately to the union's headquarters.
A body of twenty-odd men, carrying shovels and pickaxes and
dinner-pails, moved toward the gates. At their head was Bennington
himself. He placed the great key in the lock and swung the gates
inward. The men passed in quickly. Bennington was last. He turned for
a moment and gazed calmly at the threatening faces of the strikers. An
impulse came to him.
"Men," he said, "up to one o'clock this noon these gates will be open
to you. Each of you can take up your work where you left it, at the
same wages, at the same hours. This is the last chance. Later you will
learn that you have been betrayed."
"How about Chittenden?"
"Chittenden will return at the same time you do."
"The hell he will! Let him show his British face here, and we'll
change it so his mother won't know it."
Bennington went inside and shut the gates. There was nothing more to
be done. He did not slam the gates insolently, as some men would have
done; he simply shut them.
This event was also reported at headquarters. That afternoon all the
strikers were out in force. They congregated in groups and talked
angrily. Two policemen patrolled up and down. Bennington had had some
difficulty in securing even these. The men waited for the first sign
of smoke from the chimneys, but none came. No one was lighting the
furnaces; there was nothing but silence inside the shops. There was no
possible excuse as yet for deeds of violence, though many of the more
turbulent element urged riot at once. What was the use of waiting? In
the afternoon there appeared some fifty more strange men. These
carried tool-bags. They were challenged. They ignored the challenge
and pushed on resolutely. For the first time blows were struck. The
leader whirled around.
"Look here, men, you're making a big mistake. Your fists won't help
you. We are going inside, and if we can't go in peaceably, why, we'll
break some heads to get in. We have all been sworn in legally as
deputy police, and if we start in to break heads we promise to do it
"What are you going to do in there?" demanded Morrissy.
"None of your business, for one thing," answered the burly spokesman
of the interlopers. "I'll add this much, if it will ease your minds:
nobody's going to step into your jobs; when you went out you left your
"So you fellows are what they call strike-breakers, are you?" asked
"Oh, we aren't going to break your strike, my friend. You can call
this a strike as long as you please, so far as we're concerned. We've
got work to do here, though, and we are going to do it."
"Are you union men?"
"Not so you'd notice it," was the cool reply.
"All right. You fellows won't be here long."
"Stop us if you can. Now, stand aside!" commanded the stranger
"Let 'em by, men," cried Morrissy. "Don't touch 'em yet. You just
leave it to me. I know a way and a good one, too. You just leave it to
The angry strikers divided ranks and the strangers entered the shops.
Morrissy directed his steps to McQuade's office, and together they
paid a visit to the mayor.
"Look here, Donnelly, did you permit Bennington to swear in deputy
police?" asked McQuade.
"Deputy police? Bennington has no deputy police from this place,"
answered Donnelly hotly.
"Well, all we know is that he has them," snapped Morrissy.
"Then he has gone directly to the governor."
McQuade and Morrissy looked at each other blankly.
"He has that prerogative," said Donnelly.
"But he wouldn't dare!"
"Oh, yes, he would. It's his last term; he is without further
political ambition; he can act as he pleases, in the face of public
condemnation. There's one thing left, though."
"Injunction," said Donnelly tersely.
"With Republican judges on the benches?" replied McQuade ironically.
"And you can't enjoin private property," added Morrissy.
"I'll send for Bennington," Donnelly volunteered. "Perhaps I can talk
him into reason."
"It's up to you to block this move somehow," said McQuade. "It means
the labor vote. And we've got to have that."
"I'll do the best I can. I can stop his permit to tear down the
building, if he really intends to do that."
"It will be a good day's work for you."
"I'll act this very afternoon."
Once outside the mayor's office, McQuade turned to Morrissy.
"Where's that receipt you promised on oath?"
"Haven't you got it?" asked Morrissy, feigning surprise.
"No, and I doubt you sent it. But I want it at once, and no more
"Well, I sent it. I mailed it to your office. You've overlooked it."
"Come over to my office now and make it out," McQuade insisted.
"You've got plenty of grips on me without that," protested Morrissy
"But I want this one, and I'm going to have it."
"I'll go to your office. Will Donnelly be game?"
"He will if he knows which side his bread is buttered on,"
The two went up to McQuade's office. It was deserted.
"The girl's gone this afternoon," said McQuade, "but I can handle the
"All I've got to say is that I mailed you a receipt. What do you want
it for?" with a final protest.
"I've got an idea in my head, Morrissy. I want that receipt. Some day
you may take it into your head to testify that I offered you a
thousand to bring on the strike at Bennington's. That would put me in
and let you out, because I can't prove that I gave the cash to you.
Business is business."
"Hell! Any one would think, to hear you talk, that I had threatened to
"Every man to his own skin," replied McQuade philosophically. He then
sat down before the typewriter. There were two blank sheets in the
roller, with a carbon between. The girl had left her machine all ready
for the morrow's work. McQuade picked out his sentence laboriously.
"There, sign that."
The paper read:
"I, James Morrissy, the undersigned, do hereby declare that I have
received $1,000, in two sums of $500 each, from Daniel McQuade, these
sums being payment agreed upon for my bringing about the strike at the
Morrissy looked at the boss incredulously.
"I say, Mac, have you gone crazy?" he cried. "Do you want evidence
like this lying around in your safe? It's the penitentiary for both of
us if any one finds that."
"I know what I am doing," McQuade responded quietly, as indeed he did.
"But look; you've got the strike and I've got the cash; that makes us
"Sign it," was all McQuade replied to this argument.
"All right. What's bad for me is bad for you," and without further ado
Morrissy affixed his fist to the sheet.
"Here's the duplicate for you."
Morrissy lighted a match and set fire to the sheet; he stamped on the
ashes with grim satisfaction.
"Not for mine," with a laugh. "You're welcome to yours."
McQuade folded his deliberately and put it away in the safe. The sheet
of carbon paper he crumpled into a ball and tossed into the waste-
basket. We all commit blunders at one time or another, and McQuade had
just committed his.
"That's all, Morrissy. I think I can trust you fully. I mean no harm,
boy; 'tis only self-preservation."
"Oh, so long as your name's on it there's no kick coming from me; only
I never saw you do such a fool thing before. Anything else to-day?"
"No. You might keep tab on that fool Bolles. He's been drunk ever
since he came back from New York. And he doesn't know how to keep his
"I'll keep an eye on him."
"He's the only man we have who can handle the dagos. I'll see you up
at Dutch Hall to-night. Donnelly is making a speech there, and we'll
open a few kegs of beer for the boys."
When Morrissy was gone McQuade laughed softly and went to the safe
again. He proceeded to do to his receipt exactly what Morrissy had
done to his--burn it. So long as Morrissy believed that McQuade held
his signature, so long might Morrissy be trusted. It was only an idea,
but it proved that the boss knew his lieutenants tolerably well.
"The blackleg would sell the tomb off his father's grave," he mused,
brushing the ashes from his clothes.
Let Bennington rip up his shops; all the better for Donnelly's chances
of reelection. The laboring party would be sure to desert Warrington's
standard, since he was a personal and intimate friend of Bennington
the oppressor. He laughed again sinisterly. Presently he would have
them all by the throats. He would watch them squirm, too. This young
fool Warrington; he was the first real obstacle he (McQuade) had
encountered in his checkered career. Threats could not move him. He
had believed at the start that he could scare him away from the
convention; but the fool wouldn't be scared. And his damned dog!
"He'll never reach the City Hall, not while I live, damn his
impudence! That woman, though, is no fool. She's kept her mouth shut.
They don't always do that. Well, I can write more than receipts on the
machine. I'll ruin them both if I can. Ordered me out of the house,
and I honestly liked the woman! But I'll square accounts presently."
Meanwhile Donnelly set the wires humming. He finally got Bennington at
"This is Mr. Bennington. Who is it and what is wanted?"
"This is the mayor talking."
"Oh! Well, what is it, Mr. Donnelly?"
"I must see you at once in my office. This is an urgent request. I
can't explain the matter over the wire. But you'll do yourself and me
a great favor if you'll come into town at once."
"I shall be there at five o'clock."
"Thanks. I shall await you." Donnelly hung up the receiver, very well
Bennington understood. Politics was going to take a hand in the game.
After all, it was best to take the bull by the horns at once and have
it over with. He knew how well he had fortified himself against any
political machinery. So, promptly at a quarter to five, he departed,
leaving explicit orders with his subordinates. The strikers moved
aside for him, muttering and grumbling, but they made no effort to
impede his progress. There were groans and catcalls, but that was all.
He looked neither to the right nor to the left, but presented his back
to them fearlessly. Chittenden, upon Bennington's advice, had gone to
New York. The strikers would have used him roughly, could they have
laid hands on him.
Arriving in town, Bennington went at once to the City Hall and
straight to the mayor's private office.
"Well, Mr. Donnelly?" he began, his hat on his handsome head and his
cane behind his back, neither offensive nor defensive.
Donnelly closed the door leading to the clerk's office and came back
to his desk. He waved his hand toward a chair. If he could bend this
young hot-head, it would be a victory worth while, politically.
"In the first place, Mr. Bennington, aren't you going a little too
hard on the men?"
"That was their lookout; they had every chance to think the matter
over, to examine all sides of the question."
"You went personally to the governor for deputy police. Why didn't you
come to me?"
"The governor is a personal friend of mine."
"I don't believe that I have been found lacking in justice," said
"I can't say that you have. But I was in a hurry, and could not wait
for the local machinery to move."
"You have placed armed men in your shops without a justifiable cause."
"The men are mechanics, sworn in for their own self-protection."
Donnelly saw that he was making no impression.
"These men, then, are to tear down your shops?" not without
"Well, they are there to dismantle it."
"That building must not go down, Mr. Bennington."
"'Must not'? Do I understand you to say 'must not'?"
"Those words exactly."
"It is private property, Mr. Donnelly; it was not organized under
"You can not destroy even private property, in a city, without a legal
"I have that."
"And I shall call a special meeting of the Common Council to rescind
"Do so. I shall tear it down, nevertheless. I shall do what I please
with what is my own." Bennington balanced on his heels.
"The law is there."
"I shall break it, if need says must," urbanely.
Donnelly surveyed the end of his dead cigar.
"The men will become violent."
"Their violence will in no wise hinder me, so long as they confine it
to the shops. Even then I shall call upon you for police protection."
"And if I should not give it?"
"Just now I am sure you will. For the mayor of Herculaneum to refuse
me my rights would be a nice morsel for the Republican party."
Donnelly passed over this.
"I wish to protect the rights of the workman, just as you wish to
"What are the workman's rights?"
Donnelly did not reply.
"Well, I'll reply for you, then. His right is to sell his labor to the
highest bidder; his right is to work where he pleases; for what hours
he desires; his right is to reject abusive employers and to find those
congenial; his right is to produce as little or as much as he thinks
best; his right is to think for himself, to act for himself, to live
"You admit all this, then?" asked Donnelly in astonishment.
"I have never so much as denied a single right that belongs to the
"Then what the devil is all this row about?"
"If the workman has his rights, shall not the employer have his?"
Donnelly mused. He would not be able to do anything with this
"But the workman steps beyond. He has no right to dictate to his
employer as to what HIS rights shall be. Where there is no amity
between capital and labor there is never any justice; one or the other
becomes a despot. The workman has his rights, but these end where the
other man's rights begin. He shall not say that another man shall not
seek work, shall not sell his labor for what he can get; he has no
right to forbid another man's choosing freedom; he has no right to say
that a manufacturer shall produce only so much."
"Well, I've only to say," said Donnelly, hedging before this clear
argument, "I've only to say, if the men become violent, look out for
"I shall appeal to you for civic or military protection; if you refuse
it, to the governor; if politics there interferes, I shall appeal to
Washington, where neither your arm nor McQuade's can reach. I
understand the causes back of this strike; they are personal, and I'm
man enough to look out for myself. But if politics starts to work,
there will be a trouble to settle in the courts. You may not know the
true cause of this strike, Mr. Donnelly, but I do. The poor deluded
men believe it to be the English inventor, but he is only a blind. Had
you really wished to do me a favor, you would have spoken to the men
before they went out on this silly strike. But I am master of what is
mine, and I shall tear down that building. I shall tolerate no
interference from any man. The workman has his rights; this is one of
my rights, and I intend to use it."
"It's your business. If you are fool enough to kill a golden goose,
it's no affair of mine. But I shall rescind your permit, however. I
believe it to be my duty."
"Call your Council together, Mr. Donnelly. You can not get a quorum
together earlier than to-morrow night; and by that time I shall have
the work done. You say you will not afford me protection. Very well;
if the men become violent and burn the shops, I shall be relieved of
the expense of tearing them down. Good afternoon."
Donnelly sat in his chair for a quarter of an hour, silent and
thoughtful. Suddenly he slapped his thigh.
"I don't know what McQuade has against that man, but, by the Lord! he
IS a man!"
That night the strikers received several bottles of whisky and a keg
of beer. The source of these gifts was unknown. Some of the more
thoughtful were for smashing the stuff, but the turbulent majority
overruled them. They began to drink and jest. They did so with
impunity. For some reason the police had been withdrawn. The hammering
inside the shops puzzled them, but they still clung to the idea that
all this clamor was only a ruse to frighten them into surrendering.
From the interior the pounding gradually approached as far as the
walls of the courtyard. At midnight one of these walls went thundering
to the ground. A few minutes later another fell. The strikers grouped
"By God, boys," one of them yelled, "he's tearing it down!"
In that moment, and only then, did they realize that they had been
dealing with a man whose will and word were immutable. They saw all
their dreams of triumph vanish in the dust that rose from the
crumbling brick and plaster. And dismay gave way to insensate rage. It
would only be helping Bennington to riot and burn the shops, so now to
maim and kill the men who, at hire, were tearing down these walls.
"Come on, boys! We'll help the scabs finish the work! Come on!"
There was now a great breach in the wall. Men moving to and fro could
be seen. The strikers snatched up bricks and clubs and dashed toward
this. But ere they had set foot on the rubbish they stopped. Half a
dozen resolute men faced them. They were armed.
"That's far enough, boys," warned a powerful voice. "I told you we
have all been sworn in as deputy police, with all the laws of the
state back of us. The first man that steps across that pile of bricks
will go to the hospital, the second man to the undertaker."
Ah, the vanity of Dawn! Like a Venus she rises from her bath of
opalescent mists and dons a gown of pearl. But this does not please
the coquette. Her fancy turns from pearl to green, to amber, to pink,
to blue and gold and rose, an inexhaustible wardrobe. She blushes, she
frowns, she hesitates; she is like a woman in love. She casts abroad
her dewy jewels on the leaves, the blades of grass, the tangled laces
of the spiders, the drab cold stones. She ruffles the clouds on the
face of the sleeping waters; she sweeps through the forests with a low
whispering sound, taking a tithe of the resinous perfumes. Always and
always she decks herself for the coming of Phoebus, but, woman-like,
at first sight of him turns and flies.
Dawn is the most beautiful of all the atmospheric changes, but the
vision is a rarity to the majority of us.
Warrington was up and away on his hunter before Phoebus sent his
warning flashing over the hills. He took the now familiar road, and
urged his animal vigorously. Fine! Not a bit of dust rose from the
road, dew-wet and brown. The rime of the slight frost shone from the
fences and grasses and stacked corn, like old age that strikes in a
single night. Here and there a farmer could be seen pottering about
the yards, or there was a pale curl of smoke rising from the chimney.
The horse, loving these chill, exhilarating October mornings, went
drumming along the road. Occasionally Warrington would rise in the
stirrups and gaze forward over this elevation or that, and sometimes
behind him. No. For three mornings he had ridden out this old familiar
way, but alone. The hunger in his eyes remained unsatisfied.
For the first time in years he turned into a certain familiar fork in
the road, and all his youth came back to him as vividly as though it
had been but yesterday. Half a mile up this fork was the rambling old
farm-house. It was unchanged. The clapboards were still stained with
rust, the barns were still a dingy red, the stone and rail fences
needed the same repairs. Nothing had changed there but the masters.
And under that roof he had made his first feeble protest against life;
he had dreamed those valiant dreams of youth that never come true, no
matter how successful one may become in after life. Every waking means
an illusion gone, another twig pruned from the tree of ardent fancy;
and when one is old there is neither shade nor shelter.
Warrington stopped his horse. He had no desire to ride closer; he
could see everything well enough from where he sat. Rosy apples
twinkled in the orchard on the hill, and golden pumpkins glistened
afield, for by now Phoebus had come to his own. How many dawns had he
seen from yonder windows, in summer and winter, in autumn and spring?
How many times had he gone dreaming to the markets over this road? It
was beyond counting. Had any of those particular dreams come true? Not
that he could recollect, for he had never dreamed of being a
successful dramatist; that good fortune had been thrust upon him. He
tried to picture his father walking toward the fields; it was too
remote. His mother? Of her he could recollect positively nothing. But
the aunt, he saw her everywhere,--in the garden, in the doorway, in
the window, by the old well. Now she was culling hollyhocks along the
stone wall, now she was coming down the hill with an apron filled with
apples, now she was canning preserves and chili sauce in the hot
kitchen, or the steel-rimmed spectacles were shining over the worn
pages of the New Testament at night.
What was the use? To-day is alien to yesterday; an hour separates as
definitely as eternity. There was nothing there for him; so he wheeled
and rode back toward the city, conning over a speech he was to make
that night. Since Patty had not ridden this way, the zest of the
morning's ride was gone. Which road did she take now? To the west, to
the south, to the north round the lake? Twice the night before he had
started for the telephone to inquire, but had not taken down the
receiver. Was he afraid? He could not say. And afraid of what? Still
less could he tell. Three months ago he had called her Patty, had
jested and laughed with her; and now he hesitated to call her up by
telephone. No, he was not afraid of Patty; he was simply afraid of
himself. For he realized this--that in the moment he spoke to her
alone his love would spring from his lips like a torrent; nothing
could stop it; and he was not of that supreme courage at present that
spurs the lover to put it to the touch to win or lose it all.
So, then, he rode back to the city, hugging his doubt and his love,
with frequent lucid intervals that were devoted to his forthcoming
speech. When the battle was over, when he had won or lost, then he
would go to her and drink the cup, bitter or sweet.
Patty had not spent the night in comfort; her head had rolled from one
pillow to another, and the cases were not always dry. Indeed, it had
been some time since she had pressed her cheek tranquilly upon a
pillow. Night is either sweetest or most wretched; one spends it
recounting one's joys or one's sorrows. Patty was unhappy; and leave
it to youth to gain the full meed of misery. Youth has not the
philosophy of matured age to cast into the balance. Satisfaction in
this workaday world is only momentary. One is never wholly satisfied;
there is always some hidden barb. The child wears the mother's skirts
enviously while the mother mourns her youth. Expectation leads us to
the dividing line of life, and from there retrospection carries us to
the end. Experience teaches us that fire burns and that water
quenches; beyond this we have learned but little.
This morning Patty was up with the dawn. She did not trouble to wake
the groom, but saddled and bridled the horse herself. She mounted and
rode quietly into the street. She did not glance at Warrington's house
while approaching or passing it, but once she had left it in the rear
she turned quickly, flushing as if she had caught herself in some
weakness. She directed the horse toward the west, crossing the city
before she reached the open country. Here the west wind, young and
crisp, blew away the last vestige of heaviness from her eyes. She
urged the horse into a canter and maintained this gait for a mile or
more. Then she reined in to a walk.
Three weeks! And all this time she had not even breathed a word of it,
but had hugged the viper to her heart in silence. She dropped the
reins on the neck of the horse and took a letter from the pocket of
her riding-coat. How many times had she read it? How many times had
fury and rage and despair flashed from her eyes as she read it? She
hated him; she hated her. There was neither honesty nor goodness in
the world; those who preached it lied. Yes, yes! There was one. John,
dear, noble John, he at any rate was honest. But it was all acting on
her part, acting, acting. She had married John as a convenience; she
had made use of his honest love as a cloak. The despicable creature!
And yet, when in her presence, so great was her charm and magnetism,
Patty doubted. After all, it was an anonymous letter, and nothing is
more vile. But who can say to this viper Doubt--"Vanish!" It goes, it
goes again and again; which is to say it always returns. Long ago she
would have confronted her brother's wife with this letter, had not
John been in the heart of his battle at the shops. For the present he
had enough trouble. And yet, to see that woman with John, an angel
might be deceived. To see her weep and laugh over him, to see her
touch him with her hands, to caress him with her eyes, to be tender
and strong at his side. ... Could anybody be so wicked? True, her
transgression had been made, according to this letter, before John had
married her; but this lessened the enormity of it none in Patty's
"Oh, I was so happy, and now I am so miserable!" murmured the girl,
pressing her hand to her throat, which seemed to stifle her.
She read the letter again, through blurred vision. It was horrible.
One who takes a deep interest in your future welfare finds it a duty
to warn you against Richard Warrington, for whom it is being said you
have developed a strong sentiment. It is well known that he drank
deeply at one time and lived the life of a debauchee. Beware of the
woman, also, whom you call sister. The writer does not offer anything
detrimental to her married life, but it is known that she was
practically Warrington's mistress before she married your splendid
brother. She was seen frequently to enter his apartments at night, and
the writer can furnish abundant proof that she was seen to leave his
apartments one morning. This is not penned with malice. It is simply
that the writer knows and admires you and can not stand passively by
and see you humiliated by the attentions of a man who is unworthy to
lace your shoes. As for your sister-in-law, I have no desire to
meddle. Confront both her and Warrington, if the truth of the above
statement is doubted by you.
Upon these last words depended Patty's attitude. It must be true.
Whoever had written this abominable letter could write plain English,
despite the disguised hand. Patty recognized that it was disguised.
The capitals differed, so did the tails of the y's and f's; the
backhand slant was not always slanting, but frequently leaned toward
the opposite angle. She had but to confront them! It seemed simple;
but to bring herself to act upon it! She reviewed all the meetings
between Kate and Warrington. Never had her eyes discerned evidence of
anything other than frank good fellowship. She searched painfully;
there was not a single glance, a single smile upon which she could
build a guilty alliance. And yet this writer affirmed ... Oh, it was
monstrous! Those rumors she had heard months ago! The telephone call
from McQuade! Ah, that telephone call! Had Kate been guilty would she
have confided to her, Patty? She seemed to be pulled, now forward, now
backward. McQuade knew something, the wretch! but what? This letter
had never been written by him. A man would have used a pronoun, third
person, masculine; he would have shown some venom back of the
duplicity that affirmed an interest in her welfare.
The tears dried quickly; the heat of her renewed rage burned them up.
She set about to do something she had not thought of doing
before--investigating. She held the note-paper to the sun. The
water-mark of a fashionable paper manufacturer was easily observable.
Men did not write on that brand. So much gained. Then she recalled a
French play in which a perfume had convicted a person of theft. She
held the envelope to her nose; nothing, not even tobacco. She tried
the letter itself. Ah, here was something tangible: heliotrope, vague,
but perceptible. Who among her friends used heliotrope on her
kerchief? She could not remember; in fact, any or all of them might
have worn it, so far as she could recall. She would go over her
invitations and visitors' cards; she would play detective; she would
ferret out as a spy who took this amiable interest in her future. This
determination brightened her considerably. And woe to the meddler if
Patty found her! If it was a baseless lie (and she hoped against hope
in her loyal little heart!) she would make a pariah of the writer of
this particular anonymous letter. True or not, what was it to her?
What right had she to interfere? She was cowardly; of that Patty was
certain. True friends are the last in the world to inflict sorrow upon
us. Kith and kin may stab us, but never the loyal friend. Now that she
thought it all over, she was glad that she had repeatedly fought the
impulse to lay the matter before her sister. She would trace this
letter home first; she would find out upon what authority it was
written; there would be time enough after that to confront Kate, or
Warrington, or John. Ah, if she had stepped forward in the dark, to
wreck her brother's life needlessly. ... Heliotrope! She would never
forget that particular odor, never. She had a good idea of justice,
and she recognized the fact that any act on her part, against either
Kate or Warrington, before she found the writer of the letter, would
be rank injustice. Persons can not defend themselves against anonymous
letters; they can only ignore them.
She touched her horse again. She was now in feverish haste to get
home. She took the turn of the road which presently brought her in the
vicinity of the shops. It was practically in ruins. The courtyard
walls were all down, the building itself was totally empty of ore or
machinery. Bennington had disposed of these to Pennsylvanian concerns.
Patty rode up in time to see half a dozen urchins throwing stones at
the few window-panes that were still unbroken. She dispersed them
angrily, and they gathered at the side of the road, open-mouthed and
wide-eyed at the picture of this avenging angel.
"How dare you throw stones at those windows? How dare you?" she cried
After a while one of the lads found his voice.
"Why, nobody's in it. The man what owns it tored the insides outen it.
'Tain't no harm what we're doin'. Hey, fellers?"
"Naw. The cops don't say nothin'. An' my old man used to work there."
She saw that they were no more than ordinary boys to whom the panes of
glass in a deserted building were legitimate prey.
"So your father was one of the strikers?" said Patty, her lips
thinning. "Why did he strike?"
"I don't know; 'cause the others struck, I guess. They was an English
lobster workin' without bein' in my old man's union. Mebbe that was
it. Anyhow, we don't care; the old man's got another job."
With this the boys climbed the fence and moved across the field,
mutely rebellious, like puppies baffled in their pursuit of a cat.
Patty's eyes, moist and shining of a sudden, roved over the grim
ruins. Sparrows were chattering on the window ledges and swallows were
diving into the black mouths of the towering chimneys. The memory of
her father swelled her heart near to bursting. She could see his
iron-grey head bending over the desk; she could hear his rough but
kindly voice. Why, whenever he entered the house his splendid physical
energy seemed to radiate health and cheerfulness, infecting all those
about him. She could see the men, too, moving in the glow of ruddy
light; she could see again the brilliant sparks flying from under the
thundering trip-hammers, the cyclopean eyes that glared up at heaven
at night, the great rumbling drays, the freight moving to and from the
spur. Now there was no sound; nothing but silence, with the suggestion
of a tomb.
The end of the strike had been a nine days' wonder, for it proved that
there had actually been no strike at all, since the owner had simply
closed down the shops, torn down a few walls, sold the machinery and
ore, and canceled all his business obligations. No sensation, however
vital, lasts very long these days; and after these nine days it turned
its attention to other things, this mutable public. Employers,
however, and union leaders, all over the continent, went about their
affairs thoughtfully. If one man could do this unheard-of thing, so
might others, now that an example had been set before them. The
dispersed men harbored no ill feeling toward Morrissy; he, as they
supposed, had acted in good faith for the welfare of the union. But
for the man who had had the courage to make good his threats, for him
they had nothing but bitterness and hate.
Patty would always remember that final night of the strike when John
had come in early in the morning, his clothes torn, his hands bloody,
his hair matted to his forehead, and hatless. He had been last to
leave the shops, and he had, unarmed, run the gantlet of the maddened
strikers who had been held at bay for six long hours. Only his great
strength and physical endurance had pulled him out of the arms of
violent death. There had been no shot fired from the shops. The
strikers saw the utter futility of forcing armed men, so they had hung
about with gibe and ribald jeer, waiting for some one careless enough
to pass them alone. This Bennington did. His men had forgotten him.
Bennington's injuries had been rather trivial; it had been his
personal appearance that had terrified the women. He had fallen asleep
half an hour after reaching home, and he had slept till nine that
evening. Upon awakening he had begun at once to plan a trip to Europe,
to wander from capital to capital for a year or so. No one had
interrupted him; not even the mother, grown old in the past month, had
demurred at his plans. He would have none near him but Kate, and she
had hovered about him, ministering to his wants as a mother over a
sick child. ... Kate! It all came back with a rush. Kate! Oh, what was
she, Patty, to believe? That night she had loved Kate almost to
idolatry. She shuddered, turned away from the ruins, and set off at a
gallop till she came upon brick pavement. She rarely trotted upon
pavement, but this morning she had no thought for the horse; she
burned to be at work. She trotted rapidly into town, across the
principal thoroughfares, this way being the short cut. By this time
men were on the way to work. Many of them turned their heads to stare
at her. There was only one woman in town who sat a horse like this
one, and it could be no less a person than Patty Bennington. All the
men recognized her instantly. She had their good wishes, for all that
her brother had taken away the bread and butter of some of them. Many
touched their hats from mere force of habit.
There was one man, however, who glared evilly at her from the curb.
She recognized him in spite of his discolored face, the result of a
long, uninterrupted debauch. It was Bolles. As he caught her eye he
smiled evilly and leered at her.
"Wait, my beauty; wait. I'll kill that brother of yours one of these
fine days, damn him!" Bolles gave one more look at the swiftly-moving
figure on the horse, and shuffled away toward McQuade's office, to
await the arrival of that gentleman. Bolles needed money, and he knew
where to get it.
As she reached the foot of Williams Street Patty glanced up the hill.
A horseman had just entered Warrington's. She recognized both man and
horse. It was Warrington. She knew at once that he had ridden out her
favorite route, perhaps in the hope of seeing her. Her heart tightened
strangely as she walked her horse up the hill, and she would have
passed home but for the intelligence of her animal, which turned in
toward the house quite naturally. Her mother was on the side veranda.
"Patty, you have worried us all. The stableman, when he found your
horse gone, came in with the cry of thieves. I was frightened, too,
till I went to your room and found you gone. You mustn't go without
notifying the stableman or the groom."
"It was an impulse of the moment, mother. I couldn't sleep, and I saw
no need of waking up the boys in the stables."
Patty ran up stairs for a bath and a change of clothes for breakfast.
She ate little, however; the ride had not put the usual edge on her
"Mr. Warrington made a fine speech last night," said the mother,
handing the morning paper to Patty.
Patty accepted it mechanically. She had determined not to read the
paper. But she knew now, if she unfolded it, she would turn
immediately to the local pages and search for Warrington's speech. She
read it, and she hated herself for admiring it. The self-lie was not
among Patty's failings. There was no denying that Warrington's speech
was a good oratorical effort; every line of it rang sound and true;
but that might be a trick of the trade. He could make thieves and
villains on the stage speak glibly and plausibly; certainly he could
do as much for himself. One thing she could not deny him, and that was
frankness. He had confessed to her last summer that he was not, or had
not been, a good man in the strict sense of the word. She laid down
the paper and finished her coffee. She was glad that she did not have
to face Kate at each meal. She felt that she couldn't have trusted
herself; there were times when she spoke the first thought, and always
regretted it. Poor John, poor John!
From the table she went directly to the Indian basket that held all
the cards and invitations. The mother, concerned with her household
duties, left her to herself. Patty would have found some difficulty at
that moment in answering any curious questions. One by one she drew
out the envelopes and cards. There was a permanent scent of sweet
grass. She discovered nothing; she realized that her discovering
anything depended solely upon hazard. Excitement ebbed, leaving
nothing but hopelessness. She threw the cards and invitations into the
basket. She might have known that visiting-cards and printed
invitations are generally odorless. She sought the garden. The Angora
was prowling around, watching the bees and butterflies hovering over
wind-fallen fruit. Patty called to her, but the cat ignored the call.
From the garden Patty went to the stables, from the stables she
returned to the house. She was at peace nowhere. Later her mother
found her dreaming in the window-seat.
"Patty, Mrs. Haldene left her shopping-bag here yesterday afternoon. I
had forgotten it. Would you mind taking it over to her, or shall I
have the maid do it?"
"I have nothing to do, mother. I can take it over just as well as
not," said Patty listlessly.
She slipped her arm through the handles of the bag and proceeded into
the hall for a hat. As she lifted the hat to her head the bag slipped
along her arm close to her nose. Instantly her figure became tense and
rigid, her face grim and colorless.
There could be no doubt at all. The perfume on the letter and that on
the shopping-bag were identical. Indeed, she would take the bag over
to Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene; she would be very glad to do her that
trifling service. Oh! Patty's rage choked her. During the past three
weeks Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene had called at least a dozen times,
doubtless to observe the effect of her interest in Patty's welfare.
She might have known! Well, this very morning she would ascertain from
Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene's lips where she had secured her information.
She would do more than that; she would make her prove every word of
So Patty marched toward the Haldene place, marched, because that verb
suggests something warlike, something belligerent. And there was war
a-plenty in Patty's heart. Each step she took sang out a sharp
"Meddler-gossip! meddler-gossip!" A delivery horse went past, drumming
an irritating "Busybody! busybody! busybody!" What had she or hers
ever done to Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene that she should stoop to so base a
means of attack? An anonymous letter! War raged in Patty's heart; but
there was something warmer and clearer coursing through her
She went on. Not a particle of her courage deserted her as she mounted
the steps and pushed the bell. When Patty was genuinely roused in
anger she was afraid of little or nothing, animate or inanimate. A
maid answered the bell. As she recognized the caller she swung back
the door and nodded.
"Is Mrs. Haldene at home?" Patty inquired.
"Yes, Miss Patty."
The maid led Patty into the library, where Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was
busily engaged in making up an invitation list.
"Why, Patty, I am glad to see you," she cried, dropping her pen and
rising. But her curiosity rose at the same time. Patty here?
"You left your shopping-bag when you called yesterday," said Patty,
ominously calm. "I have brought it to you."
"It was very careless of me to forget it."
"Yes, it was," Patty assented, her heart beginning to throb violently.
"Thank you. And I have been looking for it high and low."
Patty passed the bag to her enemy. How to begin, how to begin!
"Mrs. Haldene!" Patty's voice was high-pitched and quavering.
"Why did you write this base letter to me!"--exhibiting the letter
resolutely. "Do not deny that you wrote it. It smells of
heliotrope--your favorite perfume."
"Patty Bennington, are you mad?" cried Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene. "What
letter? What do you mean?" She knew very well, but she had not
practised the control of her nerves all these years for nothing. "A
letter? I demand to see it."
But Patty reconsidered and withdrew her hand, concluding that Mrs.
Franklyn-Haldene could destroy the letter as easily as she had written
it; more easily, had Patty but known it.
"I prefer to read it to you." And Patty read, her tones sharp and
penetrating, finely tempered by anger.
"I write such a thing as that? You accuse me of writing an anonymous
letter of that caliber? You are mad, distinctly mad, and if I did what
was right I should ask you to leave this house instantly." Mrs.
Franklyn-Haldene rose to her full height, after the manner of
indignant persons on the stage.
Patty was not overcome in the least. An idea, bold, unconventional,
and not over-scrupulous, shot into her head. With her eyes holding
Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene's, she stepped toward the desk; then, in a
flash, she seized one of the sheets of note-paper that lay scattered
about. Mrs. Franklyn Haldene made a desperate effort to intercept
Patty; but Patty was young, slender and agile. She ran quickly to the
nearest window and compared the written sheet with the blank. The
paper and grain were the same, only one showed that the top had been
cut off. There was no shadow of doubt.
"You are a horrible woman," said Patty.
"Leave this house instantly!" Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was now
"Not till you have proved the truth of this letter," Patty declared.
"I refuse to submit to such gross insults in my own house!" Mrs.
Franklyn-Haldene's voice rose a key. She swept majestically toward the
Patty stepped bravely in front of her.
"Have you no breeding?" the storm in Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene's voice
"Who told you that my brother's wife was formerly--"
"I shall not leave this house or your presence till you have
answered," replied the little paladin. "You wrote this letter to me,
trusting it would make me miserable. It has. But I have not done what
you expected,--shown it. Who told you this base lie?"
"I refuse to answer your impudent questions. Will you stand aside?"
"There is a way to force you. I will know, Mrs. Haldene, I will know.
If you refuse, I shall turn these two sheets over to my brother's
"A lawyer?" with an hysterical laugh. "You would scarcely take a thing
like that to a lawyer, of all persons."
"I declare to you that that is exactly what I shall do. You wrote this
letter; I can prove that you wrote it. Afraid of publicity? You do not
know me. What I demand to know is, who gave you this information? That
I will know."
Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene saw that Patty would do what she promised; so
she took her stand boldly.
"Well, then, since you will have it. Yes, I wrote that letter, for I
could no longer stand the humiliation of meeting your sister-in-law in
decent houses, and that double hypocrite who pretends to be your
brother's friend and your admirer. Proof? I was at my hair-dresser's
one morning, when a woman who is an intimate of McQuade, the
politician, came in. She dropped a letter. McQuade had written it. It
told definitely the information you have in your hand."
"You have that letter?" Patty was conscious of a strange numbness
stealing over her.
"No, I haven't. I read it, and sent it to its owner. I consider myself
very fortunate. I always had my suspicions, and it was a relief to
find that they were not without foundation. You will now relieve me of
your unwelcome presence in this house." This time Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene
leveled her arm toward the door; the right was with her.
"In a moment," said a third voice, masculine.
Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene's arm dropped. Patty turned with a low cry. She
had forgotten that there might be some one else in the house.
Haldene entered through the door to the dining-room. His face was
hard and his eyes cold.
"I must ask your pardon, both of you, but I could not help overhearing
your voices. They ran somewhat high." He bowed to Patty deferentially;
he merely glanced at his wife.
"Franklyn!" This phase of the situation was altogether too unexpected
and embarrassing for Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene to accept it readily.
"I have heard words about an anonymous letter; I have heard
names,--McQuade, your brother, his wife, Warrington, and my wife. I
should like to know--"
"Franklyn!" his wife appealed. To be humiliated before this impudent
chit of a girl!
"Patience, my dear." Haldene held up his hand. "Well, Patty?"
"Mrs. Haldene has taken the trouble to meddle with my affairs by
writing me an anonymous letter concerning the conduct of my brother's
wife and his friend. I have traced the letter to Mrs. Haldene, and she
has confessed that she wrote it, also stating her reasons and the
source of her information." Patty spoke bravely, for she hadn't the
least idea whose side Mr. Haldene would take. She was not aware that,
for all his idle habits and failings, he had that quality of justice
which, upon occasions, makes a terrible judge of a just man.
"Will you let me see that letter?" he asked.
Patty gave it to him without conditions. He read it slowly, but
neither woman could discover the slightest emotion on the man's face.
He studied it carefully. He even compared the false hand with the
true. Then he addressed his wife.
"Did you write this?"
"Yes, I did. And if you have been listening, as you had the courage to
say you had, you already know my reasons for writing it." Mrs.
Franklyn-Haldene was recovering.
"You must apologize," he said.
"Apologize? I think not. On my part there is nothing more to be said."
"I see that I shall have to apologize for you. Patty, I am very sorry
that this has happened, and I can promise you that it shall end here.
Will you accept my apology?"
After some hesitance, Patty nodded. She could not very well refuse.
She had always liked Mr. Haldene. As hitherto remarked, Patty's was an
impulsive heart. Suddenly she stretched out her hands toward the wife.
"What have I or mine ever done to you that you should seek to injure
us so cruelly? Have we wronged you in thought or deed? What is it that
has made you my enemy?"
"I am not your enemy, Patty," said the elder woman, melting ever so
slightly. "I have told you that I did not wish to see your life made
wretched by marrying a man of Warrington's loose habits, and that I
could not tolerate the woman who is your brother's wife."
Patty held out her hand for the letter. She had no desire to remain
any longer. She wanted nothing but the privilege of being alone, that
she might weep the bitter, galling tears that were brimming her eyes.
... She had no recollection of gaining the street. It was true, it was
true! She did not even remember how she reached her room; but as her
blurred eyes saw the bed, she fell upon it in a stupor that for a long
while did not give any outlet to her tears.
In the meantime Haldene faced his wife.
"I am going down town presently," he said. "I shall send you up by
messenger several cabin-plans."
"Cabin-plans?" amazed at this odd turn in affairs.
"Yes. You will spend the winter either in Egypt or Italy, as it
"Europe? But my social obligations demand my presence here!" she
"You will cancel them. You will go to Europe. Anonymous letters!" He
struck the desk violently. It was the first touch of this kind he had
ever exhibited in her presence, and it terrified her. "When I married
you, people said I married your money. As God is above us, I loved
you. Yes, I loved you. But how long was it permitted that this love
should live? Six slender months! You, you of all women, you write
anonymous letters?" He laughed, but it was laughter that had nothing
human in it. "Madam, when I die my deposit box at the bank will be
turned over to you. In it you will find six anonymous letters. They
have lain there sixteen years. I took the advice of one and followed
you. So I let them believe that I had married you for your money. I
meant to have my revenge after I was dead. Madam, you will go to
Europe. I shall not be home to lunch, but you may expect me at dinner.
I am curious to learn whether it will be in Egypt and the Holy Land,
or Italy, the land of the fig-tree and the vine. Good morning."
When he was gone, Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene realized, for the first time
in sixteen years, that she had married a man. Suddenly her knees gave
from under her, and she sank into her chair, staring at the floor with
unseeing eyes. For sixteen years!
That afternoon Warrington had a visit. His visitors were Jordan, the
reporter, and Osborne. They appeared to be in high spirits.
"We've got him, Dick!" exclaimed Jordan, swinging his hat.
"Morrissy--Morrissy and McQuade," said Osborne, in his
whisky-roughened voice. "We've got 'em all right, Dick. Look at this,"
tossing a wrinkled sheet of carbon-paper on Warrington's desk.
Warrington spread it out. It took him but a minute to find out the
richness of his possession.
"Where did you come across this?" he asked eagerly.
"My niece found it in her waste-basket. I've sent her into the country
to visit relatives," said Osborne. "But if you use it, Dick, you'll
have to find the girl another job in some other town."
"You leave that to me. This is worth a thousand to me and a thousand
more to John Bennington. Now, both of you go down to any restaurant in
town and order what you like, and as long as you like, and you have
them call me up if there's any question."
The reporter and the semi-outcast smiled at each other. They saw their
appetites appeased to satiety.
"Does a bottle go with the order, Dick?" asked Jordan.
"Half a dozen!" laughed Warrington.
"I've put you in the City Hall, Dick," said Osborne. "And don't forget
me when you're there."
"Will there be a story for me?" Jordan asked.
"You'll have a page, Ben."
"That's enough. Well, come on, Bill; we'll show the new mayor that we
can order like gentlemen."
"I remember--" But Osborne never completed his reminiscence. Jordan
was already propelling him toward the door.
Once the door had closed upon them, Warrington capered around the room
like a school-boy. The publication of this confederacy between
Morrissy and McQuade would swing the doubting element over to his side
and split the ranks of the labor party.
Patty, Patty Bennington! He must see her. It was impossible to wait
another day. When was it he had seen her last? Patty, dark-eyed,
elfish, winsome, merry! Oh, yes, he must see her at once, this very
afternoon. He could no longer repress the tide of his love, which
surged at the flood-gates of his heart with mighty pressure. Patty!
"Patty is not feeling well," said Mrs. Bennington, as she welcomed
Warrington at the door, an hour later. "I will call her. I am sure she
will be glad to see you."
Warrington went into the music-room, placed his hat on the piano, and
idled about impatiently. That morning he had not possessed the
courage; now he was willing to face lions and tigers, anything rather
than permit another day to pass without telling Patty that he loved
her. When she finally appeared she was pale, her eyes were red, but
her head was erect and her lips firm.
"Patty, are you ill?" hastening toward her.
"I have a very bad headache," coldly. "You wished to see me?"
Where were all the tender words he had planned to speak? Patty had
"You have been crying. What has happened?" anxiously.
"It can not interest you," wearily. Men! She would have a horror of
them for the rest of her days.
"Not interest me? Don't you know, haven't you seen by this time, that
you interest me more than any other living being or any angel in
Patty caught at the portiere to steady herself. She had not expected
declarations of this kind.
"Don't you know," he hurried on, his voice gaining in passion and
tenderness, "don't you know that a pain to you means triple pain to
me? Don't you know that I love you? Patty, what is the trouble? You
are not a woman to weep over headaches."
"Do you wish to know, then?" bitterly. She hated him! How could he
stand there telling her that he loved her? "Read this," presenting the
letter. "I despise you!"
"Despise me? What in God's name is the matter?"
"Read, read!" vehemently.
Once the letter was in his hand, her arms dropped to her sides, tense.
It was best so, to have it over with at once. To crush the thought of
him out of her heart for ever, such a remedy was necessary. She
watched him. His hand fell slowly. It would have been difficult to say
which of the two was the whiter.
"You speak of love to me?"
He stood there, stunned. His silence spoke eloquently to her. He was
guilty. She leaped to this conclusion at once, not realizing that no
man can immediately defend himself when accused so abruptly.
"You speak of love!" Her wrath seemed to scorch her lips. "My poor
Warrington straightened. "Do you believe this?" He threw the letter
aside, as if the touch contaminated him, caring not where it fell.
"Is it true?"
"An anonymous letter?" he replied, contemptuously.
"I know who wrote it."
"You know who wrote it? Who?" There was terrible anger in his voice
"I decline to answer."
"So you give me not even the benefit of a doubt! You believe it!"
Patty was less observant than usual. "Will you please go now? I do not
think there is anything more to be said."
"No. I will go." He spoke quietly, but like a man who has received his
death-stroke. "One question more. Did McQuade write that letter?"
He picked up his hat. "So much for my dreams! Deny it? Deny calumny of
the anonymous order? No! Defend myself against such a lie? No!"
He walked from the room, his head erect. He did not turn to look at
her again. The hall door closed. He was gone.
Tragedy was abroad that day, crossing and recrossing Williams Street.