Part 2 out of 4
and the wily candidate did his best to make himself agreeable,
particularly to the women of the household. The Hon. William L.D. Ewing,
a Democrat who travelled with Lincoln in one campaign, used to tell a
story of how he and Lincoln were eager to win the favor of one of their
hostesses, whose husband was an important man in his neighborhood.
Neither had made much progress until at milking-time Mr. Ewing started
after the woman of the house as she went to the yard, took her pail, and
insisted on milking the cow himself. He naturally felt that this was a
master stroke. But receiving no reply from the hostess, to whom he had
been talking loudly as he milked, he looked around, only to see her and
Lincoln leaning comfortably over the bars, engaged in an animated
discussion. By the time he had his self-imposed task done, Lincoln had
captivated the hostess, and all Mr. Ewing received for his pains was
hearty thanks for giving her a chance to have so pleasant a talk with
[Footnote 5: Interview with Judge William Ewing of Chicago.]
[Illustration: THE CARTER SCHOOLHOUSE PRECINCT, INDIANA, WHERE LINCOLN
RENEWED ACQUAINTANCE WITH OLD NEIGHBORS IN 1844.]
Lincoln's speeches at this time were not confined to his own State. He
made several in Indiana, being invited thither by prominent Whig
politicians who had heard him speak in Illinois. The first and most
important of his meetings in Indiana was at Bruceville. The Democrats,
learning of the proposed Whig gathering, arranged one, for the same
evening, with Lieutenant William W. Carr of Vincennes as speaker. As
might have been expected from the excited state of politics at the
moment, the proximity of the two mass-meetings aroused party loyalty to
a fighting pitch. "Each party was determined to break up the other's
speaking," writes Miss O'Flynn, in a description of the Bruceville
meeting prepared for this Magazine from interviews with those who took
part in it. "The night was made hideous with the rattle of tin pans and
bells and the blare of cow-horns. In spite of all the din and uproar of
the younger element, a few grown-up male radicals and partisan women
sang and cheered loudly for their favorites, who kept on with their flow
of political information. Lieutenant Carr stood in his carriage, and
addressed the crowd around him, while a local politician acted as grand
marshal of the night, and urged the yelling Democratic legion to surge
to the schoolhouse, where Abraham Lincoln was speaking, and run the
Whigs from their headquarters. Old men now living, who were big boys
then, cannot remember any of the burning eloquence of either speaker. As
they now laughingly express it: 'We were far more interested in the
noise and fussing than the success of the speakers, and we ran backward
and forward from one camp to the other.'
Fortunately, the remaining speeches in Indiana were made under more
dignified conditions. One was delivered at Rockport; another "from the
door of a harness shop" near Gentryville, Lincoln's old home in Indiana;
and a third at the "Old Carter School" in the same neighborhood. At the
delivery of the last many of Lincoln's old neighbors were present, and
they still tell of the cordial way in which he greeted them and of the
interest he showed in every familiar spot.
"'I was a young fellow,' Mr. Redmond Grigsby says, 'and took a long time
to get to the speaking. When I got to the out-skirts of the crowd, Mr.
Lincoln saw me, and called out: "If that isn't Red Grigsby, then I'm a
ghost." He then came through the crowd and met me. We shook hands and
talked a little. His speech was good, and was talked about for a long
while around in this section. The last words of his speech at the Carter
schoolhouse were: 'My fellow-citizens, I may not live to see it, but
give us protective tariff, and we will have the greatest country on the
"After the speaking was over, Mr. Josiah Crawford invited Abraham
Lincoln and John W. Lamar to go home with him. As they rode along, Mr.
Lincoln talked over olden times. He asked about a saw pit in which he
had worked when a young boy. Mr. Crawford said it was still in
existence, and that he would drive around near it. The three men,
Lincoln, Crawford, and Lamar, went up into the woods where the old pit
was. It had partly fallen down; the northwest corner, where Lincoln used
to stand when working, was propped up by a large forked stick against a
tree. Mr. Lincoln said: 'This looks more natural than I thought it would
after so many years since I worked here.' During the time spent at Mr.
Crawford's home, Mr. Lincoln went around inspecting everything."
[Footnote 6: Lincoln in Indiana in 1844. Unpublished MS. by Anna
So vivid were the memories which this visit to Gentryville aroused, so
deep were Lincoln's emotions, that he even attempted to express them in
[Illustration: THE REV. PETER CARTWRIGHT.
The Rev. Peter Cartwright, the most famous itinerant preacher of the
pioneer era, was born in Amherst County, Virginia, on James River,
September 1, 1785. His father was a Revolutionary soldier, and soon
after peace was declared the family moved to the wildest region of
Kentucky. The migrating party consisted of two hundred families, guarded
by an armed escort of one hundred men. Peter was a wild boy; but in his
sixteenth year he was persuaded by his mother to join the Methodist
Church. He at once displayed a wonderful talent for exhorting, and at
the age of seventeen he became a licensed exhorter. A year later he
became a regular travelling preacher. His reputation soon spread over
Kentucky and Ohio. He hated slavery, and in 1823, to get into a free
State, he and his wife (he had married Frances Gaines in 1808) and their
seven children removed to Illinois. They settled in the Sangamon valley,
near Springfield. For the next forty years he travelled over the State,
most of the time on horseback, preaching the gospel in his unique and
rugged fashion. His district was at first so large (extending from
Kaskaskia to Galena) that he was unable to traverse the whole of it in
the same year. He was elected to the legislature in 1828 and again in
1832; Lincoln, in the latter year, being an opposing candidate. In 1846
he was the Democratic nominee for Congress against Lincoln, and was
badly beaten. Peter Cartwright enjoyed, perhaps, a larger personal
acquaintance with the people of Illinois than any other man ever had.
His name was familiar in every household in the West. Up to 1856 (he
wrote an autobiography in that year) he had baptized twelve thousand
persons and preached five hundred funeral sermons. His personality was
quaint and original. A native vigor of intellect largely overbalanced
the lack of education. He was a great wit, and often said startling
things. His religion sometimes bordered upon fanaticism. He was fearless
and aggressive, and was no respecter of persons. It was not a rare thing
for him to descend from the pulpit, and by sheer physical force subdue a
disorderly member of his congregation. On one occasion, attending a
dinner given by Governor Edwards, he requested the governor to "say
grace," observing that the ceremony was about to be dispensed with. The
wife of a Methodist brother objected to family worship; Peter Cartwright
shut her outdoors and kept her there until she became convinced of her
error. At Nashville, Tennessee, as he was about to begin a sermon, a
distinguished-looking stranger entered the church; some one whispered to
him that it was Andrew Jackson; whereupon he at once blurted out, "Who
is General Jackson? If he don't get his soul converted, God will damn
him as quick as he would a Guinea nigger!" Attending the general
conference in New York, he astonished the hotel clerk by asking for an
axe "to blaze his way" up the six flights of stairs, so that he would
not get lost on the return trip. He died in 1872, after having been a
member of the Methodist Church for more than seventy-one years.--_J.
LINCOLN'S POSITION IN 1845 ON THE SLAVERY QUESTION.
In this campaign of 1844 the annexation of Texas was one of the most
hotly discussed questions. The Whigs opposed annexation, but their
ground was not radical enough to suit the growing body of Abolitionists
in the country, who nominated a third candidate, James G. Birney.
Lincoln was obliged to meet the arguments of the Abolitionists
frequently in his campaigning. In 1845, while working for Congress, he
found the abolition sentiment stronger than ever. Prominent among the
leaders of the third party in the State were two brothers, Williamson
and Madison Durley of Hennepin, Illinois. They were outspoken advocates
of their principles, and even operated a station of the underground
railroad. Lincoln knew the Durleys, and, when visiting Hennepin to
speak, solicited their support. They opposed their liberty principles.
When Lincoln returned to Springfield he wrote Williamson Durley a letter
which has never before been published, and which sets forth with
admirable clearness his exact position on the slavery question at that
period. It must be regarded, we think, as the most valuable document on
the question which we have up to this point in Lincoln's life.
[Footnote 7: This letter is dated October 3, 1845. It is now owned by
the son of Williamson Durley, Mr. A.W. Durley of West Superior,
Wisconsin. Mr. C.W. Durley of Princeton, Illinois, kindly secured the
copy for us from his brother.]
[Illustration: SCHOOLHOUSE AT BRUCEVILLE, INDIANA, WHERE LINCOLN SPOKE
FOR CLAY IN 1844.]
"When I saw you at home," Lincoln began, "it was agreed that I
should write to you and your brother Madison. Until I then saw
you I was not aware of your being what is generally called an
Abolitionist, or, as you call yourself, a Liberty man, though I
well knew there were many such in your county.
"I was glad to hear that you intended to attempt to bring about,
at the next election in Putnam, a union of the Whigs proper and
such of the Liberty men as are Whigs in principle on all
questions save only that of slavery. So far as I can perceive,
by such union neither party need yield anything on _the_
point in difference between them. If the Whig abolitionists of
New York had voted with us last fall, Mr. Clay would now be
President, Whig principles in the ascendant, and Texas not
annexed; whereas, by the division, all that either had at stake
in the contest was lost. And, indeed, it was extremely probable,
beforehand, that such would be the result. As I always
understood, the Liberty men deprecated the annexation of Texas
extremely; and this being so, why they should refuse to cast
their votes [so] as to prevent it, even to me seemed wonderful.
What was their process of reasoning, I can only judge from what
a single one of them told me. It was this: 'We are not to do
_evil_ that _good_ may come.' This general proposition
is doubtless correct; but did it apply? If by your votes you
could have prevented the _extension_, etc., of slavery,
would it not have been _good_, and not _evil_, so to
have used your votes, even though it involved the casting of
them for a slave-holder? By the _fruit_ the tree is to be
known. An _evil_ tree cannot bring forth _good_ fruit.
If the fruit of electing Mr. Clay would have been to prevent the
extension of slavery, could the act of electing have been evil?
"But I will not argue further. I perhaps ought to say that
individually I never was much interested in the Texas question.
I never could see much good to come of annexation, inasmuch as
they were already a free republican people on our own model. On
the other hand, I never could very clearly see how the
annexation would augment the evil of slavery. It always seemed
to me that slaves would be taken there in about equal numbers,
with or without annexation. And if more _were_ taken
because of annexation, still there would be just so many the
fewer left where they were taken from. It is possibly true, to
some extent, that, with annexation, some slaves may be sent to
Texas and continued in slavery that otherwise might have been
liberated. To whatever extent this may be true, I think
annexation an evil. I hold it to be a paramount duty of us in
the free States, due to the Union of the States, and perhaps to
liberty itself (paradox though it may seem), to let the slavery
of the other States alone; while, on the other hand, I hold it
to be equally clear that we should never knowingly lend
ourselves, directly or indirectly, to prevent that slavery from
dying a natural death--to find new places for it to live in,
when it can no longer exist in the old. Of course I am not now
considering what would be our duty in cases of insurrection
among the slaves. To recur to the Texas question, I understand
the Liberty men to have viewed annexation as a much greater evil
than ever I did; and I would like to convince you, if I could,
that they could have prevented it, without violation of
principle, if they had chosen.
"I intend this letter for you and Madison together; and if you
and he or either shall think fit to drop me a line, I shall be
"Yours with respect,
LINCOLN AND HARDIN.
As the time drew near for the convention of 1846 Lincoln learned that
Hardin proposed to contest the nomination with him. Hardin certainly was
free to do this. He had voluntarily declined the nomination in 1844,
because of the events of the Pekin convention, but he had made no
promise to do so in 1846. Many of the Whigs of the district had not
expected him to be a candidate, however, arguing that Lincoln, because
of his relation to the party, should be given his turn. "We do not
entertain a doubt," wrote the editor of the "Sangamo Journal," in
February, 1846, "that if we could reverse the positions of the two men,
a very large portion of those who now support Mr. Lincoln most warmly
would support General Hardin quite as warmly." Although Lincoln had
anticipated that Hardin would enter the race, it made him anxious and a
"Since I saw you last fall," he wrote on January 7, 1846, to his friend
Dr. Robert Boal of Lacon, Illinois, in a letter hitherto unpublished,
"I have often thought of writing you, as it was then understood I would;
but, on reflection, I have always found that I had nothing new to tell
you. All has happened as I then told you I expected it would--Baker's
declining, Hardin's taking the track, and so on.
[Footnote 8: This letter is still in the possession of Dr. Boal of
Lacon, Illinois, and the right of publication was secured for the
Magazine by W.B. Powell of that city.]
"If Hardin and I stood precisely equal--that is, if _neither_ of us
had been to Congress, or if we _both_ had--it would not only accord
with what I have always done, for the sake of peace, to give way to him;
and I expect I should do it. That I _can_ voluntarily postpone my
pretensions, when they are no more than equal to those to which they are
postponed, you have yourself seen. But to yield to Hardin under present
circumstances seems to me as nothing else than yielding to one who would
gladly sacrifice me altogether. This I would rather not submit to. That
Hardin is talented, energetic, unusually generous and magnanimous, I
have, before this, affirmed to you, and do not now deny. You know that
my only argument is that 'turn about is fair play.' This he, practically
at least, denies.
"If it would not be taxing you too much, I wish you would write me,
telling the aspect of things in your county, or rather your district;
and also send the names of some of your Whig neighbors to whom I might,
with propriety, write. Unless I can get some one to do this, Hardin,
with his old franking list, will have the advantage of me. My reliance
for a fair shake (and I want nothing more) in your county is chiefly on
you, because of your position and standing, and because I am acquainted
with so few others. Let me hear from you soon."
[Illustration: HENRY CLAY.
From a carbon reproduction, by Sherman and McHugh of New York City, of a
daguerreotype in the collection of Peter Gilsey, Esq., and here
reproduced through his courtesy.]
Lincoln followed the vibrations of feeling in the various counties with
extreme nicety, studying every individual whose loyalty he suspected or
whose vote was not yet pledged. "Nathan Dresser is here," he wrote to
his friend Bennett, on January 15, 1846, "and speaks as though the
contest between Hardin and me is to be doubtful in Menard County. I know
he is candid, and this alarms me some. I asked him to tell me the names
of the men that were going strong for Hardin; he said Morris was about
as strong as any. Now tell me, is Morris going it openly? You remember
you wrote me that he would be neutral. Nathan also said that some man
(who, he could not remember) had said lately that Menard County was
again to decide the contest, and that made the contest very doubtful. Do
you know who that was?
"Don't fail to write me instantly on receiving, telling me
all--particularly the names of those who are going strong against
[Footnote 9: This letter, hitherto unpublished, is owned by E. R.
Oeltjen of Petersburg, Illinois.]
In January, General Hardin suggested that, since he and Mr. Lincoln were
the only persons mentioned as candidates, there be no convention, but
the selection be left to the Whig voters of the district. Lincoln
"It seems to me," he wrote Hardin, "that on reflection you will see the
fact of your having been in Congress has, in various ways, so spread
your name in the district as to give you a decided advantage in such a
stipulation. I appreciate your desire to keep down excitement; and I
promise you to 'keep cool' under all circumstances.... I have always
been in the habit of acceding to almost any proposal that a friend would
make, and I am truly sorry that I cannot in this. I perhaps ought to
mention that some friends at different places are endeavoring to secure
the honor of the sitting of the convention at their towns respectively,
and I fear that they would not feel much complimented if we shall make a
bargain that it should sit nowhere."
[Footnote 10: From a letter published in the "Sangamo Journal" of
February 26, 1846, and which is not found in any collection of Lincoln's
letters and speeches.]
After General Hardin received this refusal he withdrew from the contest,
in a manly and generous letter which was warmly approved by the Whigs of
the district. Both men were so much loved that a break between them
would have been a disastrous thing for the party. "We are truly glad
that a contest which in its nature was calculated to weaken the ties of
friendship has terminated amicably," said the "Sangamo Journal."
[Illustration: ROBERT C. WINTHROP, SPEAKER OF THE THIRTIETH CONGRESS.
Born in Boston in 1809, graduated at Harvard, and studied law with
Daniel Webster. Winthrop's career as a statesman began with his election
to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1834. He remained there
until elected to Congress in 1840, where he served ten years. In 1847 he
was elected Speaker by the Whigs. In 1850 Winthrop was appointed Senator
to take Daniel Webster's place, but he was defeated in his efforts to be
re-elected. Candidate for governor in the same year, he was also
defeated. He retired from politics after this, though often offered
various candidacies. Winthrop was especially noted as an orator.]
The charge that Hardin, Baker, and Lincoln tried to ruin one another in
this contest for Congress has often been denied by their associates, and
never more emphatically than by Judge Gillespie, an influential
politician of the State. In an unpublished letter Judge Gillespie says:
"Hardin was one of the most unflinching and unfaltering Whigs that ever
drew the breath of life. He was a mirror of chivalry, and so was Baker.
Lincoln had boundless respect for, and confidence in, them both. He knew
they would sacrifice themselves rather than do an act that could savor
in the slightest degree of meanness or dishonor. Those men, Lincoln,
Hardin, and Baker, were bosom friends, to my certain knowledge....
Lincoln felt that they could be actuated by nothing but the most
honorable sentiments towards him. For although they were rivals, they
were all three men of the most punctilious honor, and devoted friends. I
knew them intimately, and can say confidently that there never was a
particle of envy on the part of one towards the other. The rivalry
between them was of the most honorable and friendly character, and when
Hardin and Baker were killed (Hardin in Mexico, and Baker at Ball's
Bluff) Lincoln felt that in the death of each he had lost a dear and
[Footnote 11: From an unpublished letter by Joseph Gillespie, owned by
Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth of New York City.]
[Illustration: COURTHOUSE AT PETERSBURG, MENARD COUNTY, WHERE LINCOLN
WAS NOMINATED FOR CONGRESS.]
After Hardin's withdrawal, Lincoln went about in his characteristic way
trying to soothe his and Hardin's friends. "Previous to General Hardin's
withdrawal," he wrote one of his correspondents, "some of his
friends and some of mine had become a little warm; and I felt ... that
for them now to meet face to face and converse together was the best way
to efface any remnant of unpleasant feeling, if any such existed. I did
not suppose that General Hardin's friends were in any greater need of
having their feelings corrected than mine were."
[Footnote 12: From an unpublished letter to Judge James Berdan of
Jacksonville, Illinois, dated April 26, 1846. The original is now owned
by Mrs. Mary Berdan Tiffany of Springfield, Illinois.]
In May, Lincoln was nominated. His Democratic opponent was Peter
Cartwright, the famous Methodist exhorter. Cartwright had been in
politics before, and made an energetic canvass. His chief weapon against
Lincoln was the old charges of deism and aristocracy; but they failed of
effect, and in August, Lincoln was elected.
The contest over, sudden and characteristic disillusion seized him.
"Being elected to Congress, though I am grateful to our friends for
having done it, has not pleased me as much as I expected," he wrote
LINCOLN GOES TO WASHINGTON.
In November, 1847, Lincoln started for Washington. The city in 1848 was
little more than the outline of the Washington of 1896. The Capitol was
without the present wings, dome, or western terrace. The White House,
the City Hall, the Treasury, the Patent Office, and the Post-Office were
the only public buildings standing then which have not been rebuilt or
materially changed. The streets were unpaved, and their dust in summer
and mud in winter are celebrated in every record of the period. The
parks and circles were still unplanted. Near the White House were a few
fine old homes, and Capitol Hill was partly built over. Although there
were deplorable wastes between these two points, the majority of the
people lived in this part of the city, on or near Pennsylvania Avenue.
The winter that Lincoln was in Washington, Daniel Webster lived on
Louisiana Avenue, near Sixth Street; Speaker Winthrop and Thomas H.
Benton on C Street, near Third; John Quincy Adams and James Buchanan,
the latter then Secretary of State, on F Street, between Thirteenth and
Fourteenth. Many of the senators and congressmen were in hotels, the
leading ones of which were Willard's, Coleman's, Gadsby's, Brown's,
Young's, Fuller's, and the United States. Stephen A. Douglas, who was in
Washington for his first term as senator, lived at Willard's. So
inadequate were the hotel accommodations during the sessions that
visitors to the town were frequently obliged to accept most
uncomfortable makeshifts for beds. Seward, visiting the city in 1847,
tells of sleeping on "a cot between two beds occupied by strangers."
The larger number of members lived in "messes," a species of
boarding-club, over which the owner of the house occupied usually
presided. The "National Intelligencer" of the day is sprinkled with
announcements of persons "prepared to accommodate a mess of members."
Lincoln went to live in one of the best known of these clubs, Mrs.
Sprigg's, in "Duff Green's Row," on Capitol Hill. This famous row has
now entirely disappeared, the ground on which it stood being occupied by
the new Congressional Library.
[Illustration: ROBERT SMITH, COLLEAGUE OF LINCOLN'S IN CONGRESS.
Born in New Hampshire in 1802; removed to Illinois in 1832. A member of
the legislature from 1836 to 1840, and of Congress from 1843 to 1849.
During the war, paymaster in the United States Army at St. Louis. Died
at Alton in 1868.]
At Mrs. Sprigg's, Lincoln had as mess-mates several Congressmen: A.R.
McIlvaine, James Pollock, John Strohm, and John Blanchard, all of
Pennsylvania, Patrick Tompkins of Mississippi, Joshua R. Giddings of
Ohio, and Elisha Embree of Indiana. Among his neighbors in messes on
Capitol Hill were Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, Alexander H. Stephens of
Georgia, and Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. Only one of the members of
the mess at Mrs. Sprigg's in the winter of 1847-1848 is now living, Dr.
S.C. Busey of Washington, D.C. He sat nearly opposite Lincoln at the
"I soon learned to know and admire him," says Dr. Busey, "for his
simple and unostentatious manners, kind-heartedness, and amusing jokes,
anecdotes, and witticisms. When about to tell an anecdote during a meal
he would lay down his knife and fork, place his elbows upon the table,
rest his face between his hands, and begin with the words, 'That reminds
me,' and proceed. Everybody prepared for the explosions sure to follow.
I recall with vivid pleasure the scene of merriment at the dinner after
his first speech in the House of Representatives, occasioned by the
descriptions, by himself and others of the Congressional mess, of the
uproar in the House during its delivery.
[Footnote 13: "Personal Reminiscences and Recollections," by Samuel C.
Busey, M.D., LL.D., Washington, D.C., 1895.]
[Illustration: "LONG JOHN" WENTWORTH, COLLEAGUE OF LINCOLN'S IN
Wentworth removed to Chicago from New Hampshire in 1836, where he
published the "Chicago Democrat." He was twice Mayor of Chicago, and
served in Congress from 1843 to 1851. He was an ardent anti-slavery man.
He died in 1888.]
"Congressman Lincoln was always neatly but very plainly dressed, very
simple and approachable in manner, and unpretentious. He attended to his
business, going promptly to the House and remaining till the session
adjourned, and appeared to be familiar with the progress of
The town offered then little in the way of amusement. The Adelphi
Theatre was opened that winter for the first time, and presented a
variety of mediocre plays. At the Olympia were "lively and beautiful
exhibitions of model artists." Herz and Sivori, the pianists, then
touring in the United States, played several times in the season; and
there was a Chinese Museum. Add the exhibitions of Brown's paintings of
the heroes of Palo Alto, Resaca, Monterey, and Buena Vista, and of
Powers's "Greek Slave," the performances of Dr. Valentine, "Delineator
of Eccentricities," a few lectures, and numerous church socials, and you
have about all there was in the way of public entertainment in
Washington in 1848. But of dinners, receptions, and official gala
affairs there were many. Lincoln's name appears frequently in the
"National Intelligencer" on committees to offer dinners to this or that
great man. He was, in the spring of 1849, one of the managers of the
inaugural ball given to Taylor. His simple, sincere friendliness and his
quaint humor won him soon a sure, if quiet, social position. He was
frequently invited to Mr. Webster's Saturday breakfasts, where his
stories were highly relished for their originality and drollery.
[Illustration: STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS, COLLEAGUE OF LINCOLN'S IN CONGRESS.
Member of the United States House of Representatives during the
twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth Congresses. In 1846 Douglas was chosen
Senator by the Democrats.]
[Illustration: WILLIAM A. RICHARDSON, COLLEAGUE OF LINCOLN'S IN
Richardson removed to Illinois from Kentucky about 1831. He was a
prominent Democratic politician, serving in the state legislature and in
Congress. He was a captain in the Mexican War, Governor of the territory
of Nebraska in 1858, and in 1863 the successor of Douglas in the United
States Senate. He died in 1875.]
[Illustration: SIDNEY BREESE, COLLEAGUE OF LINCOLN'S IN CONGRESS.
Sidney Breese was born at Whitesboro, New York, July 15, 1800; graduated
from Union College, New York, in 1818; and at once removed to Illinois,
where he was admitted to the bar. He became active in the Democratic
party, and served in many important positions: United States District
Attorney, Judge of the Supreme Court, and United States Senator. He died
Dr. Busey recalls his popularity at one of the leading places of
amusement on Capitol Hill.
"Congressman Lincoln was very fond of bowling," he says, "and would
frequently join others of the mess, or meet other members in a match
game, at the alley of James Casparis, which was near the boarding-house.
He was a very awkward bowler, but played the game with great zest and
spirit, solely for exercise and amusement, and greatly to the enjoyment
and entertainment of the other players and bystanders by his criticisms
and funny illustrations. He accepted success and defeat with like good
nature and humor, and left the alley at the conclusion of the game
without a sorrow or disappointment. When it was known that he was in the
alley, there would assemble numbers of people to witness the fun which
was anticipated by those who knew of his fund of anecdotes and jokes.
When in the alley, surrounded by a crowd of eager listeners, he indulged
with great freedom in the sport of narrative, some of which were very
broad. His witticisms seemed for the most part to be impromptu, but he
always told the anecdotes and jokes as if he wished to convey the
impression that he had heard them from some one; but they appeared very
many times as if they had been made for the immediate occasion."
Another place where he became at home and was much appreciated was in
the post-office at the Capitol. "During the Christmas holidays," says
Ben: Perley Poore, "Mr. Lincoln found his way into the small room used
as the post-office of the House, where a few jovial _raconteurs_
used to meet almost every morning, after the mail had been distributed
into the members' boxes, to exchange such new stories as any of them
might have acquired since they had last met. After modestly standing at
the door for several days, Mr. Lincoln was reminded of a story, and by
New Year's he was recognized as the champion story-teller of the
Capitol. His favorite seat was at the left of the open fireplace, tilted
back in his chair, with his long legs reaching over to the chimney jamb.
He never told a story twice, but appeared to have an endless
_repertoire_ of them always ready, like the successive charges in a
magazine gun, and always pertinently adapted to some passing event. It
was refreshing to us correspondents, compelled as we were to listen to
so much that was prosy and tedious, to hear this bright specimen of
Western genius tell his inimitable stories, especially his reminiscences
of the Black Hawk War."
[Illustration: ORLANDO B. FICKLIN, COLLEAGUE OF LINCOLN'S IN CONGRESS.
Ficklin was a Kentuckian who settled in Illinois in 1830. He served four
terms in the state legislature, four terms in Congress, and filled many
important posts in the Democratic party, of which he was a leader. He
died in 1885.]
LINCOLN'S WORK IN THE THIRTIETH CONGRESS.
But Lincoln had gone to Washington for work, and he at once interested
himself in the Whig organization formed to elect the officers of the
House. There was only a small Whig majority, and it took skill and
energy to keep the offices in the party. Lincoln's share in achieving
this result was generally recognized. As late as 1860, twelve years
after the struggle, Robert C. Winthrop of Massachusetts, who was elected
speaker, said in a speech in Boston wherein he discussed Lincoln's
nomination to the Presidency: "You will be sure that I remember him with
interest, if I may be allowed to remind you that he helped to make me
the speaker of the Thirtieth Congress, when the vote was a very close
and strongly contested vote."
[Illustration: GENERAL JOHN A. MCCLERNAND, COLLEAGUE OF LINCOLN'S IN
Came to Illinois from Kentucky when a boy. Served in Black Hawk War, and
was one of the earliest editors of the State. Served three terms in the
state legislature, and in Congress. Was active in the war, rising to the
rank of major-general. General McClernand is still living in
A week after Congress organized, Lincoln wrote to Springfield: "As you
are all so anxious for me to distinguish myself, I have concluded to do
so before long;" and he did it--but not exactly as his Springfield
friends wished. The United States were then at war with Mexico, a war
that the Whigs abhorred. Lincoln had used his influence against it; but,
hostilities declared, he had publicly affirmed that every loyal man must
stand by the army. Many of his friends, Hardin, Baker, and Shields,
among others, were at that moment in Mexico. Lincoln had gone to
Washington intending to say nothing in opposition to the war. But the
administration wished to secure from the Whigs not only votes of
supplies and men, but a resolution declaring that the war was just and
right. Lincoln, with others of his party in Congress, refused his
sanction, voting a resolution that the war had been "unnecessarily and
unconstitutionally" begun. On December 22d he made his debut in the
House by the famous "Spot Resolutions," a series of searching questions
so clearly put, so strong historically and logically, that they drove
the administration step by step from the "spot" where the war began, and
showed that it had been the aggressor in the conquest. In January
Lincoln followed up these resolutions with a speech in support of his
position. His action was much criticised in Illinois, where the sound of
the drum and the intoxication of victory had completely turned attention
from the moral side of the question, and Lincoln found himself obliged
to defend his position with even his oldest friends.
[Illustration: THE CAPITOL AT WASHINGTON IN 1846]
The routine work assigned him in the Thirtieth Congress was on the
Committee on the Post-office and Post Roads. Several reports were made
by him from this committee. These reports, with a speech on internal
improvements, cover his published work in the House up to July. Then he
made a speech which was at the time quoted far and wide.
In July Zachary Taylor had been nominated at Philadelphia for President
by the Whigs. Lincoln had been at the convention, and went back to
Washington full of enthusiasm. "In my opinion we shall have a most
overwhelming, glorious triumph," he wrote a friend. "One unmistakable
sign is that all the odds and ends are with us--Barnburners, Native
Americans, Tyler men, disappointed office-seekers, Locofocos, and the
Lord knows what. This is important, if in nothing else, in showing which
way the wind blows."
In connection with Alexander H. Stephens, with whom he had become a warm
friend, Toombs, and Preston, Lincoln formed the first Congressional
Taylor Club, known as the "Young Indians." Campaigning had already begun
on the floor of Congress, and the members were daily making speeches for
the various candidates. On July 27th Lincoln made a speech for Taylor.
It was a boisterous election speech, full of merciless caricaturing, and
delivered with inimitable drollery. It kept the House in an uproar, and
was reported the country over by the Whig press. The "Baltimore
American," in giving a synopsis of it, called it the "crack speech of
the day," and said of Lincoln: "He is a very able, acute, uncouth,
honest, upright man, and a tremendous wag, withal.... Mr. Lincoln's
manner was so good-natured, and his style so peculiar, that he kept the
House in a continuous roar of merriment for the last half hour of his
speech. He would commence a point in his speech far up one of the
aisles, and keep on talking, gesticulating, and walking until he would
find himself, at the end of a paragraph, down in the centre of the area
in front of the clerk's desk. He would then go back and take another
_head_, and _work down_ again. And so on, through his capital
LINCOLN GOES TO NEW ENGLAND.--A NEW SPEECH.
This speech, as well as the respect Lincoln's work in the House had
inspired among the leaders of the party, brought him an invitation to
deliver several campaign speeches in New England at the close of
Congress, and he went there early in September. There was in New
England, at that date, much strong anti-slavery feeling. The Whigs
claimed to be "Free Soilers" as well as the party which appropriated
that name, and Lincoln, in the first speech he made, defined carefully
his position on the slavery question. This was at Worcester,
Massachusetts, on September 12th. The Whig State convention had met to
nominate a candidate for governor, and the most eminent Whigs of
Massachusetts were present. Curiously enough the meeting was presided
over by ex-Governor Levi Lincoln, a descendant, like Abraham Lincoln,
from the original Samuel of Hingham. There were many brilliant speeches
made; but if we are to trust the reports of the day, Lincoln's was the
one which by its logic, its clearness, and its humor, did most for the
Whig cause. "Gentlemen inform me," says one Boston reporter, who came
too late for the exercises, "that it was one of the best speeches ever
heard in Worcester, and that several Whigs who had gone off on the Free
Soil fizzle have come back again to the Whig ranks."
A report was made and printed in the Boston "Advertiser," though it has
hitherto been entirely overlooked by biographers of Lincoln. A search
made for this magazine through the files of the Boston and Worcester
papers of the year brought it to light, and we reprint it here for the
first time. It gives concisely what Lincoln thought about the slavery
question in 1848. The report reads:
"Mr. Lincoln has a very tall and thin figure, with an intellectual
face, showing a searching mind and a cool judgment. He spoke in a
clear and cool and very eloquent manner for an hour and a half,
carrying the audience with him in his able arguments and brilliant
illustrations--only interrupted by warm and frequent applause. He
began by expressing a real feeling of modesty in addressing an
audience this 'side of the mountains,' a part of the country where, in
the opinion of the people of his section, everybody was supposed to be
instructed and wise. But he had devoted his attention to the question
of the coming Presidential election, and was not unwilling to exchange
with all whom he might the ideas to which he had arrived. He then
began to show the fallacy of some of the arguments against General
Taylor, making his chief theme the fashionable statement of all those
who oppose him (the old Locofocos as well as the new), that he _has no
principles_, and that the Whig party have abandoned their principles
by adopting him as their candidate. He maintained that General Taylor
occupied a high and unexceptionable Whig ground, and took for his
first instance and proof of this his statement in the Allison
letter--with regard to the Bank, Tariff, Rivers and Harbors,
etc.--that the will of the people should produce its own results,
without executive influence. The principle that the people should do
what--under the Constitution--they please, is a Whig principle. All
that, General Taylor not only consents to, but appeals to the people
to judge and act for themselves. And this was no new doctrine for
Whigs. It was the 'platform' on which they had fought all their
battles, the resistance of executive influence, and the principle of
enabling the people to frame the government according to their will.
General Taylor consents to be the candidate, and to assist the people
to do what they think to be their duty, and think to be best in their
national affairs; but because _he don't want to tell what we ought to
do_, he is accused of having no principles. The Whigs have maintained
for years that neither the influence, the duress, nor the prohibition
of the executive should control the legitimately expressed will of the
people; and now that on that very ground General Taylor says that he
should use the power given him by the people to do, to the best of his
judgment, the will of the people, he is accused of want of principle
and of inconsistency in position.
"Mr. Lincoln proceeded to examine the absurdity of an attempt to make a
platform or creed for a national party, to _all_ parts of which
_all_ must consent and agree, when it was clearly the intention and
the true philosophy of our government, that in Congress all opinions and
principles should be represented, and that when the wisdom of all had
been compared and united, the will of the majority should be carried
out. On this ground he conceived (and the audience seemed to go with
him) that General Taylor held correct, sound republican principles.
[Illustration: LEVI LINCOLN, GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS FROM 1825 TO
From a photograph kindly loaned by Miss Frances M. Lincoln of Worcester,
Massachusetts, after a painting by Chester Harding. Levi Lincoln was
born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1782, and died there in 1868. He
was a fourth cousin of Thomas Lincoln, father of the President, being
descended from the oldest son of Samuel Lincoln of Hingham,
Massachusetts, from whose fourth son, Mordecai, Abraham Lincoln
descended. Levi Lincoln was a graduate of Harvard, and studied law,
practising in Worcester. He filled many important public positions in
the State, serving in the legislature, and as lieutenant-governor, judge
of the Supreme Court, and from 1825 to 1834 as governor. He represented
the Whigs in Congress from 1835 to 1841, and after the expiration of his
term was made collector of the port of Boston. Levi Lincoln was an
active member of several learned societies, and prominent in all the
public functions of his State. In 1848, when Abraham Lincoln, then
member of Congress, spoke in Worcester, ex-Governor Lincoln presided.]
"Mr. Lincoln then passed to the subject of slavery in the States, saying
that the people of Illinois agreed entirely with the people of
Massachusetts on this subject, except, perhaps, that they did not keep
so constantly thinking about it. All agreed that slavery was an evil,
but that we were not responsible for it, and cannot affect it in States
of this Union where we do not live. But the question of the
_extension_ of slavery to new territories of this country is a part
of our responsibility and care, and is under our control. In opposition
to this Mr. Lincoln believed that the self-named 'Free Soil' party was
far behind the Whigs. Both parties opposed the extension. As he
understood it, the new party had no principle except this opposition. If
their platform held any other, it was in such a general way that it was
like the pair of pantaloons the Yankee peddler offered for sale, 'large
enough for any man, small enough for any boy.' They therefore had taken
a position calculated to break down their single important declared
object. They were working for the election of either General Cass or
General Taylor. The speaker then went on to show, clearly and
eloquently, the danger of extension of slavery likely to result from the
election of General Cass. To unite with those who annexed the new
territory, to prevent the extension of slavery in that territory, seemed
to him to be in the highest degree absurd and ridiculous. Suppose these
gentlemen succeed in electing Mr. Van Buren, they had no specific means
to _prevent_ the extension of slavery to New Mexico and California;
and General Taylor, he confidently believed, would not encourage it, and
would not prohibit its restriction. But if General Cass was elected, he
felt certain that the plans of farther extension of territory would be
encouraged, and those of the extension of slavery would meet no check.
The 'Free Soil' men, in claiming that name, indirectly attempt a
deception, by implying that Whigs were _not_ Free Soil men. In
declaring that they would 'do their duty and leave the consequences to
God,' they merely gave an excuse for taking a course they were not able
to maintain by a fair and full argument. To make this declaration did
not show what their duty was. If it did, we should have no use for
judgment; we might as well be made without intellect; and when divine or
human law does not clearly point out what _is_ our duty, we have no
means of finding out what it is but using our most intelligent judgment
of the consequences. If there were divine law or human law for voting
for Martin Van Buren, or if a fair examination of the consequences and
first reasoning would show that voting for him would bring about the
ends they pretended to wish, then he would give up the argument. But
since there was no fixed law on the subject, and since the whole
probable result of their action would be an assistance in electing
General Cass, he must say that they were behind the Whigs in their
advocacy of the freedom of the soil.
"Mr. Lincoln proceeded to rally the Buffalo convention for forbearing to
say anything--after all the previous declarations of those members who
were formerly Whigs--on the subject of the Mexican War because the Van
Burens had been known to have supported it. He declared that of all the
parties asking the confidence of the country, this new one had
_less_ of principle than any other.
"He wondered whether it was still the opinion of these Free Soil
gentlemen, as declared in the 'whereas' at Buffalo, that the Whig and
Democratic parties were both entirely dissolved and absorbed into their
own body. Had the _Vermont election_ given them any light? They had
calculated on making as great an impression in that State as in any part
of the Union, and there their attempts had been wholly ineffectual.
Their failure there was a greater success than they would find in any
other part of the Union.
"Mr. Lincoln went on to say that he honestly believed that, if all those
who wished to keep up the character of the Union, who did not believe in
enlarging our field, but in keeping our fences where they are, and
cultivating our present possessions, making it a garden, improving the
morals and education of the people, devoting the administrations to this
purpose--all real Whigs, friends of good honest government--will unite,
the race was ours. He had opportunities of hearing from almost every
part of the Union, from reliable sources, and had not heard of a county
in which we had not received accessions from other parties. If the true
Whigs come forward and join these new friends, they need not have a
doubt. We had a candidate whose personal character and principles he had
already described, whom he could not eulogize if he would. General
Taylor had been constantly, perseveringly, quietly standing up, _doing
his duty_, and asking no praise or reward for it. He was and must be
just the man to whom the interests, principles, and prosperity of the
country might be safely intrusted. He had never failed in anything he
had undertaken, although many of his duties had been considered almost
"Mr. Lincoln then went into a terse though rapid review of the origin of
the Mexican War, and the connection of the administration and General
Taylor with it, from which he deduced a strong appeal to the Whigs
present to do their duty in the support of General Taylor, and closed
with the warmest aspirations for and confidence in a deserved success.
"At the close of this truly masterly and convincing speech, the audience
gave three enthusiastic cheers for Illinois, and three more for the
eloquent Whig member from that State."
After the speech at Worcester, Lincoln spoke at Dorchester, Dedham,
Roxbury, and Chelsea, and on September 22d, in Tremont Temple,
Boston, following a splendid oration by Governor Seward. His speech
on this occasion was not reported, though the Boston papers united in
calling it "powerful and convincing." His success at Worcester and
Boston was such that invitations came from all over New England asking
him to speak, and "The Atlas," to which many of these requests were
sent, was obliged finally to print the following note:
[Footnote 14: At this meeting the secretary was Ezra Lincoln, also a
descendant of Samuel Lincoln of Hingham.]
HON. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
In answer to the many applications which we daily receive from
different parts of the State for this gentleman to speak, we
have to say that he left Boston on Saturday morning on his way
home to Illinois.
But Lincoln won something in New England of vastly deeper importance
than a reputation for making popular campaign speeches. He for the first
time caught a glimpse of the utter irreconcilableness of the Northern
conviction that slavery was evil and unendurable, and the Southern claim
that it was divine and necessary; and he began here to realize that
something must be done. Listening to Seward's speech in Tremont Temple,
he seems to have had a sudden insight into the truth, a quick
illumination; and that night, as the two men sat talking, he said
gravely to the great anti-slavery advocate:
"Governor Seward, I have been thinking about what you said in your
speech. I reckon you are right. We have got to deal with this slavery
question, and got to give much more attention to it hereafter than we
have been doing."
[BEGUN IN THE APRIL NUMBER.]
A TALE OF BRAVE DEEDS AND PERILOUS VENTURES
BY ANTHONY HOPE,
Author of "The Prisoner of Zenda," "The Dolly Dialogues," etc.
SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS ALREADY PUBLISHED.
Lord Charles Wheatley, having taken leave in London (in a
parting not overcharged with emotion) of Miss Beatrice Hipgrave,
to whom he is to be married in a year; of her mother, Mrs.
Kennett Hipgrave. and of Mr. Bennett Hamlyn, a rich young man
who gives promise of seeing that Miss Hipgrave does not wholly
lack a man's attentions in the absence of her lover,--sets put
to enter possession of a remote Greek island, Neopalia, which he
has purchased of the hereditary lord, Stefanopoulos. But on
arriving he finds himself anything but welcome. He and his
companions,--namely, his cousin, Denny Swinton; his factotum,
Hogvardt; and his servant, Watkins,--are at once locked up; and
though released soon, it is with a warning from the populace,
headed by Vlacho, the innkeeper, that if found on the island
after six o'clock the next morning, their lives will not be
worth much. Toward midnight, little disposed to sleep, and
curious to look about somewhat before leaving the island, they
stroll inland, and come by chance upon the manor-house, still
and apparently deserted. Curiosity drives them to enter. They
find Lord Stefanopoulos, whom Vlacho had reported to them as
recently dead of a fever, not dead, but on the point of
dying--from a dagger wound. And the wound, they learn from his
own lips, was given him by his nephew, Constantine, in a tumult
that arose a few hours before when the people came up to protest
against the sale of the island, and to persuade the lord to send
the strangers away. Constantine, it further appears, is making
them all their trouble, having come to the island just ahead of
them to that end, after learning their plans by overhearing
Wheatley talking in a London restaurant. In the darkness, on
their way up, they have met a man and a woman going toward the
village. The man, by his voice, they knew to be Constantine. The
woman, they now learn, was the Lady Euphrosyne, cousin of
Constantine and heiress to the island. From talk overheard
between her and Constantine, she had seemed to be, while
desirous of their departure, also anxious to spare them harm. In
full possession of the house, they decide to stand siege, though
scant of provisions and ammunition, and armed only with their
own revolvers and a rifle left behind by Constantine. Soon
Stefanopoulos dies, and by an old serving-woman they send
warning to Constantine that he shall be brought to justice for
his crime. Thus passes the night. Next morning Wheatley's
attention is engaged by a woman studying them through a
field-glass from before a small bungalow, higher up the
mountain. Then Vlacho, the innkeeper, presents himself for a
parley, of which nothing comes but the disclosure that
Constantine is pledged to marry Euphrosyne, while already
secretly married to another woman. The evening falls with the
"death-chant" sounding in the air--a chant made by Alexander the
Bard when an earlier Lord Stefanopoulos was killed by the people
for having tried to sell the island. Lord Wheatley himself tells
A RAID AND A RAIDER.
It was between eight and nine o'clock when the first of the enemy
appeared on the road, in the persons of two smart fellows in gleaming
kilts and braided jackets. It was no more than just dusk, and I saw that
they were strangers to me. One was tall and broad, the other shorter,
and of very slight build. They came on towards us confidently enough. I
was looking over Denny's shoulder; he held Constantine's rifle, and I
knew that he was impatient to try it. But inasmuch as might was
certainly not on our side, I was determined that right should abide with
us, and was resolute not to begin hostilities. Constantine had at least
one powerful motive for wishing our destruction; I would not furnish him
with any plausible excuse for indulging his desire. So we stood, Denny
and I at one window, Hogvardt and Watkins at the other, and watched the
approaching figures. No more appeared; the main body did not show
itself, and the sound of the fierce chant had suddenly died away. But
all at once a third man appeared, running rapidly after the first two.
He caught the shorter by the arm, and seemed to argue or expostulate
with him. For a while the three stood thus talking; then I saw the last
comer make a gesture of protest, and they all came on together.
"Push the barrel of that rifle a little farther out," said I to Denny,
"It may be useful to them to know it's there."
Denny obeyed. The result was a sudden pause in our friends' advance; but
they were near enough now for me to distinguish the last comer, and I
discerned in him, although he wore the native costume, and had discarded
his tweed suit, Constantine Stefanopoulos himself.
"Here's an exercise of self-control," I groaned, laying a detaining hand
on Denny's shoulder.
As I spoke, Constantine put a whistle to his lips and blew loudly. The
blast was followed by the appearance of five more fellows. In three of
them I recognized old acquaintances--Vlacho, Demetri, and Spiro. These
three all carried guns; and the whole eight came forward again, till
they were within a hundred yards of us. There they halted, and, with a
sudden, swift movement, three barrels were levelled at the window where
Denny and I were looking out. Well, we ducked. There is no use in
denying it. For we thought that the fusillade had really begun. Yet no
shot followed, and, after an instant, holding Denny down, I peered out
cautiously myself. The three stood motionless, their aim full on us. The
other five were advancing cautiously, well under the shelter of the
rock, two on one side of the road and three on the other. The slim,
boyish fellow was with Constantine, on our right hand; a moment later
the other three dashed across the road and joined them. Suddenly what
military men call "the objective," the aim of these manoeuvres, flashed
across me. It was simple almost to ludicrousness; yet it was very
serious, for it showed a reasoned plan of campaign, with which we were
very ill prepared to cope. While the three held us in check, the five
were going to carry off our cows. And without our cows we should soon be
hard put to it for food. For the cows had formed in our plans a most
important _piece de resistance_.
"This won't do," said I. "They're after the cows." And I took the rifle
from Denny's hand, cautioning him not to show his face at the window.
Then I stood in the shelter of the wall, so that I could not be hit by
the three, and levelled the rifle, not at any human enemies, but at the
"A dead cow," I remarked, "is a great deal harder to move than a live
The five had now come quite near the pen of rude hurdles in which the
cows were. As I spoke, Constantine appeared to give some order; and
while he and the boy stood looking on, Constantine leaning on his gun,
the boy's hand resting with jaunty elegance on the handle of the knife
in his girdle, the others leaped over the hurdles. Crack, went the
rifle! A cow fell! I reloaded hastily. Crack! And the second cow fell.
It was very fair shooting in such a bad light, for I hit both mortally;
and my skill was rewarded by a shout of anger from the robbers (for
robbers they were; I had bought the live stock).
"Carry them off now!" I cried, carelessly showing myself at the window.
But I did not stay there long, for three shots rang out, and the bullets
pattered on the masonry above me. Luckily the covering party had aimed a
trifle too high.
"No more milk, my lord," observed Watkins, in a regretful tone. He had
seen the catastrophe from the other window.
The besiegers were checked. They leaped out of the pen with alacrity. I
suppose they realized that they were exposed to my fire, while at that
particular angle I was protected from the attack of their friends. They
withdrew to the middle of the road, selecting a spot at which I could
not take aim without showing myself at the window. I dared not look out
to see what they were doing. But presently Hogvardt risked a glance, and
called out that they were in retreat, and had rejoined the three, and
that the whole body stood together in consultation, and were no longer
covering my window. So I looked out, and saw the boy standing in an
easy, graceful attitude, while Constantine and Vlacho talked a little
apart. It was growing considerably darker now, and the figures became
dim and indistinct.
"I think the fun's over for to-night," said I, glad to have it over so
Indeed, what I said seemed to be true, for the next moment the group
turned, and began to retreat along the road, moving briskly out of our
sight. We were left in the thick gloom of a moonless evening and the
peaceful silence of still air.
"They'll come back and fetch the cows," said Hogvardt. "Could we not
drag one in, my lord, and put it where the goat is, behind the house?"
I approved of this suggestion, and Watkins having found a rope, I armed
Denny with the rifle, took from the wall a large, keen hunting-knife,
opened the door, and stole out, accompanied by Hogvardt and Watkins, who
carried their revolvers. We reached the pen without interruption, tied
our rope firmly round the horns of one of the dead beasts, and set to
work to drag it along. It was no child's play, and our progress was very
slow; but the carcass moved, and I gave a shout of encouragement as we
got it down to the smoother ground of the road and hauled it along with
a will. Alas! that shout was a great indiscretion. I had been too hasty
in assuming that our enemy was quite gone. We heard suddenly the rush of
feet; shots whistled over our heads; we had but just time to drop the
rope and turn round when Denny's rifle rang out, and then--somebody was
at us! I really do not know exactly how many there were. I had two at
me, but by great good luck I drove my big knife into one fellow's arm at
the first hazard, and I think that was enough for him. In my other
assailant I recognized Vlacho. The fat innkeeper had got rid of his gun,
and had a knife much like the one I carried myself. I knew him more by
his voice, as he cried fiercely, "Come on," than by his appearance, for
the darkness was thick now. Parrying his fierce thrusts--he was very
active for so stout a man--I called out to our people to fall back as
quickly as they could, for I did not know but that we might be taken in
the rear also.
But discipline is hard to maintain in such a force as mine.
"Bosh!" cried Denny's voice.
"Mein Gott, no!" exclaimed Hogvardt.
Watkins said nothing, but for once in his life he also disobeyed me.
Well, if they would not do as I said, I must do as they did. The line
advanced--the whole line, as at Waterloo. We pressed them hard. I heard
a revolver fired and a cry follow. Fat Vlacho slackened in his attack,
wavered, halted, turned and ran. A shout of triumph from Denny told me
that the battle was going well there. Fired with victory, I set myself
for a chase. But, alas! my pride was checked. Before I had gone two
yards I fell headlong over the body for which we had been fighting (as
Greeks and Trojans fought for the body of Hector), and came to an abrupt
stop, sprawling most ignominiously over the cow's broad back.
"Stop! stop!" I cried. "Wait a bit, Denny. I'm down over this infernal
cow!" It was an inglorious ending to the exploits of the evening.
Prudence, or my cry, stopped them. The enemy were in full retreat; their
steps pattered quick along the rocky road, and Denny observed in a tone
of immense satisfaction:
"I think that's our trick, Charlie,"
"Are you hurt?" I asked, scrambling to my feet.
Watkins owned to a crack from the stock of a gun on his right shoulder;
Hogvardt to a graze of a knife on the arm. Denny was unhurt. We had
reason to suppose that we had left our mark on at least two of the
enemy. For so great a victory it was cheaply bought.
"We'll just drag in the cow," said I--I like to stick to my point--"and
then we might see if there's anything in the cellar."
We did drag in the cow; we dragged it through the house, and finally
bestowed it in the compound behind. Hogvardt suggested that we should
fetch the other also; but I had no mind for another surprise, which
might not end so happily, and I decided to run the risk of leaving the
second animal till the morning. So Watkins went off to seek for some
wine, for which we all felt very ready, and I went to the door with the
intention of securing it. But before I did so I stood for a moment on
the step, looking out into the night, and snuffing the sweet, clear,
pure air. It was in quiet moments like this, not in the tumult that had
just passed, that I had pictured my beautiful island; and the love of it
came on me now, and made me swear that these fellows and their arch
ruffian Constantine should not drive me out of it without some more and
more serious blows than had been struck that night. If I could get away
safely, and return with enough force to keep them quiet, I would pursue
that course. If not--well, I believe I had very blood-thirsty thoughts
in my mind, as even the most peaceable man will have, when he has been
served as I had and his friends roughly handled on his account.
Having registered these determinations, I was about to proceed with my
task of securing the door, when I heard a sound that startled me. There
was nothing hostile or alarming about it, rather it was pathetic and
appealing; and, in spite of my previous truculence of mind, it caused me
to exclaim: "Hullo, is that one of those poor beggars mauled?" For the
sound was a slight, painful sigh, as of somebody in suffering, and it
seemed to come from out of the darkness about a dozen yards ahead of me.
My first impulse was to go straight to the spot; but I had begun by now
to doubt whether the Neopalians were not unsophisticated in quite as
peculiar a sense as that in which they were good-hearted; so I called
Denny and Hogvardt, bidding the latter to bring his lantern with him.
Thus protected, I stepped out of the door, in the direction from which
the sigh had come. Apparently we were to crown our victory by the
capture of a wounded enemy.
An exclamation from Hogvardt told me that he, aided by the lantern, had
come upon the quarry; but Hogvardt spoke in disgust rather than triumph.
"Oh, it's only the little one!" said he. "What's wrong with him, I
wonder." He stooped down, and examined the prostrate form. "By heaven, I
believe he's not touched! Yes, there's a bump on his forehead; but not
big enough for any of us to have given it."
By this time Denny and I were with him, and we looked down on the boy's
pale face, which seemed almost death-like in the glare of the lantern.
The bump was not such a very small one, but it would not have been made
by any of our weapons, for the flesh was not cut. A moment's further
inspection showed that it must be the result of a fall on the hard,
"Perhaps he tripped on the cord, as you did on the cow;" suggested
Denny, with a grin.
It seemed likely enough, but I gave very little thought to it, for I was
busy studying the boy's face.
"No doubt," said Hogvardt, "he fell in running away, and was stunned;
and they did not notice it in the dark, or were afraid to stop. But
they'll be back, my lord, and soon."
"Carry him inside," said I. "It won't hurt us to have a hostage."
Denny lifted the lad in his long arms--Denny was a tall, powerful
fellow--and strode off with him. I followed, wondering who it was that
we had got hold of; for the boy was strikingly handsome. I was last in,
and barred the door. Denny had set our prisoner down in an armchair,
where he sat now, conscious again, but still with a dazed look in his
large, dark eyes, as he looked from me to the rest, and back again to
me, finally fixing a long glance on my face.
"Well, young man," said I, "you've begun this sort of thing early.
Lifting cattle and taking murder in the day's work is pretty good for a
youngster like you. Who are you?"
"Where am I?" he cried, in that blurred, indistinct kind of voice that
comes with mental bewilderment.
"You're in my house," said I, "and the rest of your infernal gang's
outside, and going to stay there. So you must make the best of it."
The boy turned his head away and closed his eyes. Suddenly I snatched
the lantern from Hogvardt. But I paused before I brought it close to the
boy's face, as I had meant to do, and I said:
"You fellows go and get something to eat and a snooze, if you like. I'll
look after this youngster. I'll call you if anything happens outside."
After a few unselfish protests, they did as I bade them. I was left
alone in the hall with the prisoner, and merry voices from the kitchen
told me that the battle was being fought again over the wine. I set the
lantern close to the boy's face.
"H'm!" said I, after a prolonged scrutiny. Then I sat down on the table,
and began to hum softly that wretched chant of One-eyed Alexander's,
which had a terrible trick of sticking in a man's head.
For a few minutes I hummed. The lad shivered, stirred uneasily, and
opened his eyes. I had never seen such eyes, and I could not
conscientiously except even Beatrice Hipgrave's, which were in their way
quite fine. I hummed away, and the boy said, still in a dreamy voice,
but with an imploring gesture of his hand:
"Ah, no, not that! Not that, Constantine!"
"He's a tender-hearted youth," said I; and I was smiling now. The whole
episode was singularly unusual and interesting.
The boy's eyes were on mine again. I met his glance full and square.
Then I poured out some water, and gave it to him. He took it with
trembling hand--the hand did not escape my notice--and drank it eagerly,
setting the glass down with a sigh.
"I am Lord Wheatley," said I, nodding to him. "You came to steal my
cattle, and murder me, if it happened to be convenient, you know."
The boy flashed out at me in a minute:
"I didn't. I thought you'd surrender, if we got the cattle away."
"You thought," said I, scornfully. "I suppose you did as you were bid."
"No; I told Constantine that they weren't to--" The boy stopped short,
looked round him, and said in a questioning voice: "Where are all the
rest of my people?"
"The rest of your people," said I, "have run away. You are in my hands.
I can do just as I please with you."
His lips set in an obstinate curve, but he made no answer. I went on as
sternly as I could: "And when I think of what I saw here yesterday--of
that poor old man stabbed by your blood-thirsty crew--"
"It was an accident," he cried, sharply; the voice had lost its
dreaminess, and sounded clear now.
"We'll see about that when we get Constantine and Vlacho before a
judge," I retorted grimly. "Anyhow, he was foully stabbed in his own
house, for doing what he had a perfect right to do."
"He had no right to sell the island," cried the boy; and he rose for a
moment to his feet, with a proud air, only to sink back again into the
chair and stretch out his hand for water again.
Now at this moment Denny, refreshed by meat and drink, and in the
highest of spirits, bounded into the hall.
"How's the prisoner?" he cried.
"Oh, he's all right. There's nothing the matter with him," I said; and,
as I spoke, I moved the lantern, so that the boy's face and figure were
again in shadow.
"That's all right," observed Denny, cheerfully. "Because I thought,
Charlie, we might get a little information out of him."
"Perhaps he won't speak," I suggested, casting a glance at the captive,
who sat now motionless in the chair.
"Oh, I think he will," said Denny, confidently; and I observed for the
first time that he held a very substantial looking whip in his hand; he
must have found it in the kitchen. "We'll give the young ruffian a taste
of this, if he's obstinate," said Denny; and I cannot say that his tone
witnessed any great desire that the boy should prove at once compliant.
I shifted my lantern so that I could see the proud young face while
Denny could not. The boy's eyes met mine defiantly.
"You hear what he proposes?" I asked. "Will you tell us all we want to
The boy made no answer, but I saw trouble in his face, and his eyes did
not meet mine so boldly now.
"We'll soon find a tongue for him," said Denny, in cheerful barbarity;
"upon my word, he richly deserves a thrashing. Say the word, Charlie."
"We haven't asked him anything yet," said I.
"Oh, I'll ask him something. Look here, who was the fellow with you and
The boy was silent; defiance and fear struggled in the dark eyes.
"You see, he's an obstinate beggar," said Denny, as though he had
observed all necessary forms and could now get to business; and he drew
the lash of the whip through his fingers. I am afraid Denny was rather
looking forward to executing justice with his own hands.
The boy rose again, and stood facing that heartless young ruffian,
Denny--it was thus that I thought of Denny at the moment--then once
again he sank back into his seat, and covered his face with his hands.
"Well, I wouldn't go out killing if I hadn't more pluck than that," said
Denny, scornfully. "You're not fit for the trade, my lad."
The boy had no retort. His face was buried in those slim hands of his.
For a moment he was quite still. Then he moved a little; it was a
movement that spoke of helpless pain, and I heard something very like a
"Just leave us alone a little, Denny," said I. "He may tell me what he
won't tell you."
"Are you going to let him off?" demanded Denny, suspiciously. "You never
can be stiff in the back, Charlie."
"I must see if he won't speak to me first," I pleaded, meekly.
"But if he won't?" insisted Denny.
"If he won't," said I, "and you still wish it, you may do what you
Denny sheered off to the kitchen, with an air that did not seek to
conceal his opinion of my foolish tender-heartedness. Again I was alone
with the boy.
"My friend is right," said I, gravely. "You are not fit for the trade.
How came you to be in it?"
My question brought a new look, as the boy's hands dropped from his
"How came you," said I, "who ought to restrain these rascals, to be at
their head? How came you, who ought to shun the society of men like
Constantine Stefanopoulos and his tool Vlacho, to be working with them?"
I got no answer; only a frightened look appealed to me in the white
glare of Hogvardt's lantern. I came a step nearer, and leaned forward to
ask my next question:
"Who are you? What's your name?"
"My name--my name?" stammered the prisoner. "I won't tell my name."
"You'll tell me nothing? You heard what I promised my friend?"
"Yes, I heard," said the lad, with a face utterly pale, but with eyes
that were again set in fierce determination. I laughed a low laugh.
"I believe you are fit for the trade, after all," said I; and I looked
with mingled distaste and admiration on him. But I had my last weapon
still, my last question.
I turned the lantern full on his face; I leaned forward again, and said,
in distinct, low tones--and the question sounded an absurd one to be
spoken in such an impressive way:
"Do you generally wear clothes like these?"
I had got home with that question. The pallor vanished; the haughty eyes
sank. I saw long, drooping lashes and a burning flush; and the boy's
face once again sought his hands.
At the moment I heard chairs pushed back in the kitchen. In came
Hogvardt, with an amused smile on his broad face; in came Watkins, with
his impassive acquiescence in anything that his lordship might order; in
came Master Denny, brandishing his whip in jovial relentlessness.
"Well, has he told you anything?" cried Denny. It was plain that he
hoped for the answer "No."
"I have asked him half a dozen questions," said I, "and he has not
"All right," said Denny, with wonderful emphasis.
Had I been wrong to extort this much punishment for my most inhospitable
reception? Sometimes now I think that it was cruel. In that night much
had occurred to breed viciousness in a man of the most equable temper.
But the thing had now gone to the extreme limit to which it could; and I
said to Denny:
"It's a gross case of obstinacy, of course, Denny; but I don't see very
well how we can horsewhip the lady!"
A sudden, astounded cry, "The lady!" rang from three pairs of lips; the
lady herself dropped her head on the table, and fenced her face round
about with her protecting arms.
"You see," said I, "this lad is the Lady Euphrosyne."
For who else could it be that would give orders to Constantine
Stefanopoulos, and ask where "my people" were? Who else, I also asked
myself, save the daughter of the noble house, would boast the air, the
hands, the face, that graced our young prisoner? In all certainty it was
THE COTTAGE ON THE HILL.
The effect of my remark was curious. Denny turned scarlet, and flung his
whip down on the table; the others stood for a moment motionless, then
turned tail and slunk back to the kitchen. Euphrosyne's face remained
invisible. However, I felt quite at my ease. I had a triumphant
conviction of the importance of my capture, and a determination that no
misplaced chivalry should rob me of it. Politeness is, no doubt, a duty,
but only a relative duty; and, in plain English, men's lives were at
stake here. Therefore I did not make my best bow, fling open the door,
and tell the lady that she was free to go whither she would; but I said
to her in a dry, severe voice:
"You had better go, madam, to that room you usually occupy here, while
we consider what to do with you. You know where the room is; I don't."
She raised her head, and said in tones that sounded almost eager:
"My own room? May I go there?"
"Certainly," said I. "I shall accompany you as far as the door; and
when you've gone in, I shall lock the door."
This programme was duly carried out, Euphrosyne not favoring me with a
word during its progress. Then I returned to the hall, and said to
"Rather a trump card, isn't she?"
"Yes, but they'll be back pretty soon to look for her, I expect."
Denny accompanied this remark with such a yawn that I suggested he
should go to bed.
"And aren't you going to bed?" he asked.
"I'll take first watch," said I. "It's nearly twelve now. I'll wake you
at two, and you can wake Hogvardt at five, and Watkins will be fit and
well at breakfast time, and can give us roast cow."
Thus I was left alone again; and I sat, reviewing the position. Would
the islanders fight for their lady? Or would they let us go? They would
only let us go, I felt sure, if Constantine were outvoted, for he could
not afford to see me leave Neopalia with a head on my shoulders and a
tongue in my mouth. Then they probably would fight. Well, I calculated
that as long as our provisions held out, we could not be stormed; our
stone fortress was too strong. But we could be beleaguered and starved
out, and should be very soon, unless the lady's influence could help us.
I had just arrived at the conclusion that I would talk very seriously to
her in the morning, when I heard a remarkable sound.
"There never was such a place for queer noises," said I, pricking up my
The noise seemed to come from directly above my head; it sounded as
though a light, stealthy tread were passing over the roof of the hall in
which I sat. But the only person in the house besides ourselves was the
prisoner; she had been securely locked in her room; how then could she
be on the top of the hall? For her room was in the turret over the door.
Yet the steps crept over my head, going toward the kitchen. I snatched
up my revolver, and trod with a stealth equal to the stealth of the
steps overhead, across the hall and into the kitchen beyond. My three
companions slept the sleep of tired men, but I ruthlessly roused Denny.
"Go on guard in the hall," said I; "I want to have a look round."
Denny was sleepy, but obedient. I saw him start for the hall, and went
on till I reached the compound behind the house. Here I stood, deep in
the shadow of the wall. The steps were now over my head again. I glanced
up cautiously, and above me, on the roof, three yards to the right, I
saw the flutter of a white kilt.
"There are more ways out of this house than I know," I thought to
I heard next a noise as though of something being pushed cautiously
along the flat roof. Then there protruded from between two of the
battlements the end of a ladder! I crouched closer under the wall. The
light flight of steps was let down; it reached the ground; the kilted
figure stepped on it and began to descend. Here was the Lady Euphrosyne
again! Her eagerness to go to her own room was fully explained; there
was a way from it across the house and out on to the roof of the
kitchen; the ladder showed that the way was kept in use. I stood still.
She reached the ground, and as her foot touched it she gave the softest
possible little laugh of gleeful triumph. A pretty little laugh it was.
Then she stepped briskly across the compound, till she reached the rocks
on the other side. I crept forward after her, for I was afraid of losing
sight of her in the darkness, and yet did not desire to arrest her
progress till I saw where she was going. On she went, skirting the
perpendicular drop of rock, I was behind her now. At last she came to
the angle formed by the rock running north and that which, turning to
the east, enclosed the compound.
"How's she going to get up?" I asked myself.
But up she began to go--her right foot on the north rock, her left foot
on the east. She ascended with such confidence that it was evident that
steps were ready for her feet. She gained the top. I began to mount in
the same fashion, finding steps cut in the face of the cliff. I reached
the top, and I saw her standing still, ten yards ahead of me. She went
on. I followed. She stopped, looked, saw me, screamed. I rushed on her.
Her arms dealt a blow at me--I caught her hand, and in her hand there
was a little dagger. Seizing her other hand, I held her fast.
"Where are you going?" I asked in a matter-of-fact tone, taking no
notice of her hasty resort to the dagger. No doubt that was purely a
Seeing that she was caught, she made no attempt to struggle.
"I was trying to escape," she said. "Did you hear me?"
"Yes, I heard you. Where were you going?"
"Why should I tell you? Shall you threaten me with the whip again?"
I loosed her hands. She gave a sudden glance up the hill. She seemed to
measure the distance.
"Why do you want to go to the top of the hill?" I asked. "Have you
She denied the suggestion, as I thought she would.
"No, I have not. But anywhere is better than with you."
"Yet there is some one in the cottage up there," I observed. "It belongs
to Constantine, doesn't it?"
"Yes, it does," she answered, defiantly. "Dare you go and seek him
there? Or dare you only skulk behind the walls of the house?"
"As long as we are only four against a hundred I dare only skulk," I
answered. She did not annoy me at all by her taunts. "But do you think
"There! No, he's in the town--and he'll come from the town to kill you
"There is nobody there?" I pursued.
"Nobody," she answered.
"You're wrong," said I. "I saw somebody there to-day."
"Oh, a peasant, perhaps."
"Well, the dress didn't look like it. Do you really want to go there
"Haven't you mocked me enough?" she burst out. "Take me back to my
Her tragedy air was quite delightful. But I had been leading her up to
something which I thought she ought to know.
"There's a woman in that cottage," said I. "Not a peasant--a woman in
some dark-colored dress, who uses opera glasses."
I saw her draw back with a start of surprise.
"It's false," she cried. "There's no one there. Constantine told me no
one went there except Vlacho, and sometimes Demetri."
"Do you believe all Constantine tells you?" I asked.
"Why should I not? He's my cousin and--"
"And your suitor?"
She flung her head back proudly.
"I have no shame in that," she answered.
"You would accept his offer?"
"Since you ask, I will answer. Yes; I have promised my uncle I would."
"Good God!" said I, for I was very sorry for her.
The emphasis of my exclamation seemed to startle her afresh. I felt her
glance rest on me in puzzled questioning.
"Did Constantine let you see the old woman whom I sent to him?" I
"No," she murmured. "He told me what she said."
"That I told him he was his uncle's murderer?"
"Did you tell her to say that?" she asked, with a sudden inclination of
her body toward me.
"I did. Did he give you the message?"
She made no answer. I pressed my advantage.
"On my honor I saw what I have told you at the cottage," I said. "I know
what it means no more than you do. But before I came here I saw
Constantine in London. And there I heard a lady say she would come with
him. Did any lady come with him?"
"Are you mad?" she asked; but I could hear her breathing quickly, and I
knew that her scorn was assumed. I drew suddenly away from her, and put
my hands behind my back.
"Go to the cottage if you like," said I. "But I won't answer for what
you'll find there."
"You set me free?" she cried with eagerness.
"Free to go to the cottage. You must promise to come back. Or I'll go to
the cottage, if you'll promise to go back to your room and wait till I
She hesitated, looking again toward where the cottage was; but I had
stirred suspicion and disquietude in her. She dared not face what she
might find in the cottage.
"I'll go back and wait for you," she said. "If I went to the cottage
and--and all was well, I'm afraid I shouldn't come back."
The tone sounded softer. I would have sworn a smile or a half smile
accompanied the words, but it was too dark to be sure; and when I leaned
forward to look, Euphrosyne drew back.
"Then you mustn't go," said I decisively, "I can't afford to lose you,"
"But if you let me go, I could let you go," she cried.
"Could you? Without asking Constantine? Besides, it's my island, you
"It's not," she cried, with a stamp of her foot. And without more she
walked straight by me and disappeared over the ledge of rock. Two
minutes later I saw her figure defined against the sky, a black shadow
on the deep gray ground. Then she disappeared. I set my face straight
for the cottage under the summit of the hill. I knew that I had only to
go straight, and I must come to the little plateau, scooped out of the
hillside, on which the cottage stood. I found not a path, but a sort of
rough track that led in the desired direction, and along this I made my
way very cautiously. At one point it was joined at right angles by
another track, from the side of the hill where the main road across the
island lay. This, of course, afforded an approach to the cottage without
passing by my house. In twenty minutes the cottage loomed, a blurred
mass, before me. I fell on my knees and peered at it.
There was a light in one of the windows; I crawled nearer. Now I was on
the plateau; a moment later I was under the wooden veranda and beneath
the window where the light glowed. My hand was on my revolver. If
Constantine or Vlacho caught me here, neither side would be able to
stand on trifles; even my desire for legality would fail under the
strain. But for the minute everything was quiet, and I began to fear
that I should have to return empty-handed; for it would be growing light
in another hour or so, and I must be gone before the day began to
appear. Ah! There was a sound--a sound that appealed to me after my
climb--the sound of wine poured into a glass; and then came a voice I
"Probably they have caught her," said Vlacho the innkeeper. "What of
that? They will not hurt her. And she'll be kept safe."
"You mean she can't come spying about here?"
"Exactly. And that, my lord, is an advantage. If she came here--"
"Oh the deuce!" laughed Constantine. "But won't the men want me to free
her by letting that infernal crew go?"
"Not if they think Wheatley will go to Rhodes and get soldiers and
return. They love the island more than her. It will all go well, my
lord. And this other here?"
I strained my ears to listen. No answer came; yet Vlacho went on as
though he had received an answer.
"These cursed fellows make that difficult, too," he said. "It would be
an epidemic." Then he laughed, seeming to see wit in his own remark.
"Curse them, yes. We must move cautiously," said Constantine. "What a
nuisance women are, Vlacho."
"Ay, too many of them," laughed Vlacho.
"I had to swear my life out that no one was here--and then, 'If no one's
there, why mayn't I come?' You know the sort of thing."
"Indeed, no, my lord. You wrong me," protested Vlacho, humorously; and
Constantine joined in his laugh.
"You've made up your mind which, I gather?" asked Vlacho.
"Oh, this one, beyond doubt," answered his master.
Now, I thought that I understood most of this conversation, and I was
very sorry that Euphrosyne was not by my side to listen to it. But I had
heard about enough for my purpose, and I had turned to crawl away
stealthily--it is not well to try fortune too far--when I heard the
sound of a door opening in the house. Constantine's voice followed
directly on the sound.
"Ah, my darling, my sweet wife," he cried, "not sleeping yet? Where will
your beauty be. Vlacho and I must plot and plan for your sake, but you
need not spoil your eyes with sleeplessness."
Constantine did it uncommonly well. His manner was a pattern for
husbands. I was guilty of a quiet laugh all to myself, in the veranda.
"For me? You're sure it's for me?" came in that Greek tongue with a
strange accent which had first fallen on my ears in the Optimum
"She's jealous, she's most charmingly jealous!" cried Constantine, in
playful rapture. "Does your wife pay you such compliments, Vlacho?"
"She has not cause, my lord. Now my Lady Francesca thinks she has cause
to be jealous of the Lady Euphrosyne."
Constantine laughed scornfully at the suggestion.
"Where is she now?" came swift and sharp from the woman. "Where is
"Why, she's a prisoner to that Englishman," answered Constantine.
I suppose explanations passed on this point, for the voices fell to a
lower level, as is apt to happen in the telling of a long story, and I
could not catch what passed till Constantine's tones rose again, as he
"Oh, yes, we must have a try at getting her out, just to satisfy the
people. For me, she might stay there as long as she likes, for I care
for her just as little as, between ourselves, I believe she cares for
Really, this fellow was a very tidy villain; as a pair, Vlacho and he
would be hard to beat--in England, at all events. About Neopalia I had
learned to reserve my opinion. Such were my reflections as I turned to
resume my interrupted crawl to safety. But in an instant I was still
again--still, and crouching close under the wall, motionless as an
insect that feigns death, holding my breath, my hand on the trigger. For
the door of the cottage was flung open, and Constantine and Vlacho
appeared on the threshold.
"Ah," said Vlacho, "dawn is nearly on us. See, it grows lighter on the
A more serious matter was that, owing to the opened door and the lamp
inside, it had grown lighter on the veranda, so light that I saw the
three figures--for the woman had come also--in the doorway; so light
that my huddled shape would be seen if any of the three turned an eye
towards it. I could have picked off both men before they could move; but
a civilized education has drawbacks; it makes a man scrupulous; I did
not fire. I lay still, hoping that I should not be noticed. And I should
not have been noticed but for one thing. Acting up to his part in the
ghastly farce which these two ruffians were playing with the wife of one
of them, Constantine turned to bestow kisses on the woman before he
parted from her. Vlacho, in a mockery that was horrible to me who knew
his heart, must needs be facetious. With a laugh he drew back; he drew
back farther still; he was but a couple of feet from the wall of the
house, and that couple of feet I filled.
In a moment, with one step backward, he would be upon me. Perhaps he
would not have made that step; perhaps I should have gone, by grace of
that narrow interval, undetected. But the temptation was too strong for
me. The thought of the thing threatened to make me laugh. I had a
penknife in my pocket; I opened it, and I dug it hard into that portion
of Vlacho's frame which came most conveniently (and prominently) to my
hand. Then, leaving the penknife where it was, I leaped up, gave the
howling ruffian a mighty shove, and with a loud laugh of triumph bolted
for my life down the hill. But when I had gone twenty yards I dropped on
my knees, for bullet after bullet whistled over my head. Constantine,
the outraged Vlacho too, perhaps, carried a revolver. And the barrels
were being emptied after me. I rose and turned one hasty glance behind
me. Yes, I saw their dim shapes like moving trees. I fired once, twice,
thrice, in my turn, and then went crashing and rushing down the path
that I had ascended so cautiously.
I cannoned against the tree trunks; I tripped over trailing branches; I
stumbled over stones. Once I paused and fired the rest of my barrels; a
yell told me I had hit--but Vlacho, alas! not Constantine. At the same
instant my fire was answered, and a bullet went through my hat. I was
defenceless now, save for my heels, and to them I took again with all
speed. But as I crashed along, one, at least, of them came crashing
after me. Yes, it was only one. I had checked Vlacho's career. It was
Constantine alone. I suppose one of your heroes of romance would have
stopped and faced him, for with them it is not etiquette to run away
from one man. Ah, well, I ran away. For all I knew, Constantine might
still have a shot in the locker. I had none. And if Constantine killed
me, he would kill the only man who knew all his secrets. So I ran. And
just as I got within ten yards of the drop into my own territory I heard
a wild cry, "Charlie, Charlie! Where the devil are you, Charlie?"
"Why, here, of course," said I, coming to the top of the bank and
I have no doubt that it was the cry uttered by Denny which gave pause to
Constantine's pursuit. He would not desire to face all four of us. At
any rate the sound of his pursuing feet died away and ceased. I suppose
he went back to look after Vlacho and show himself safe and sound to
that most unhappy woman, his wife. As for me, when I found myself safe
and sound in the compound, I said, "Thank God!" And I meant it, too.
Then I looked round. Certainly the sight that met my eyes had a touch of
comedy in it.
Denny, Hogvardt, and Watkins stood in the compound. Their backs were
toward me, and they were all staring up at the roof of the kitchen, with
expressions which the cold light of morning revealed in all their
puzzled foolishness. On the top of the roof, unassailable and out of
reach--for no ladder ran from roof to ground now--stood Euphrosyne, in
her usual attitude of easy grace. And Euphrosyne was not taking the
smallest notice of the helpless three below, but stood quite still, with
unmoved face, gazing up toward the cottage. The whole thing reminded me
of nothing so much as of a pretty, composed cat in a tree, with three
infuriated, helpless terriers barking round the trunk. I began to laugh.
"What's all the shindy?" called out Denny. "Who's doing revolver
practice in the wood? And how the dickens did she get there, Charlie?"
But when the still figure on the roof saw me, the impassivity of it
vanished. Euphrosyne leant forward, clasping her hands, and said to me:
"Have you killed him?"
The question vexed me. It would have been civil to accompany it, at all
events, with an inquiry as to my own health.
"Killed him?" I answered gruffly. "No, he's sound enough."
"And--" she began; but now she glanced, seemingly for the first time, at
my friends below. "You must come and tell me," she said; and with that
she turned and disappeared from our gaze behind the battlements. I
listened intently. No sound came from the wood that rose gray in the new
light behind us.
"What have you been doing?" demanded Denny, surlily; he had not enjoyed
Euphrosyne's scornful attitude.
"I have been running for my life," said I, "from the biggest scoundrels
unhanged. Denny, make a guess who lives in that cottage."
"I don't mean him."
"Not Vlacho--he's at the inn."
"No, I don't mean Vlacho."
"Who, then, man?"
"Some one you've seen."
"Oh, I give it up. It's not the time of day for riddles."
"The lady who dined at the next table to us at the Optimum," said I.
Denny jumped back in amazement, with a long, low whistle.
"What, the one who was with Constantine?" he cried.
"Yes," said I. "The one who was with Constantine."
They were all three round me now; and, thinking that it would be better
that they should know what I knew, and four lives instead of one stand
between a ruffian and the impunity he hoped for, I raised my voice and
went on in an emphatic tone:
"Yes. She's there, and she's his wife."
A moment's astonished silence greeted my announcement. It was broken by
none of our party. But there came from the battlemented roof above us a
low, long, mournful moan that made its way straight to my heart, armed
with its dart of outraged pride and trust betrayed. It was not thus,
boldly and abruptly, that I should have told my news. But I did not know
that Euphrosyne was still above us, hidden by the battlements; nor had I
known that she understood English. We all looked up. The moan was not
repeated. Presently we heard slow steps retreating with a faltering
tread across the roof; and we also went into the house in silence and
sorrow. For a thing like that gets hold of a man; and when he has heard
it, it's hard for him to sit down and be merry till the fellow that
caused it has paid his reckoning--as I swore then and there that
Constantine Stefanopoulos should pay his.
THE POEM OF ONE-EYED ALEXANDER.
There is a matter on my conscience which I can't excuse, but may as well
confess. To deceive a maiden is a very sore thing--so sore that it had
made us all hot against Constantine; but it may be doubted by a cool
mind whether it is worse, nay, whether it is as bad, as to contrive the
murder of a lawful wife. Poets have paid more attention to the
first--maybe they know more about it; the law finds greater employment
on the whole in respect to the latter. For me, I admit that it was not
till I found myself stretched on a mattress in the kitchen, with the
idea of getting a few hours' sleep, that it struck me that Constantine's
wife deserved a share of my concern and care. Her grievance against him
was at least as great as Euphrosyne's; her peril was far greater. For
Euphrosyne was his object, Francesca (for that appeared from Vlacho's
mode of address to be her name) was an obstacle that prevented his
attaining that object.
For myself, I should have welcomed a cutthroat if it came as an
alternative to Constantine's society; but probably his wife would not
agree with me; and the conversation I had heard left me in little doubt
that her life was not safe. They could not have an epidemic, Vlacho had
prudently reminded his master; the island fever could not kill
Constantine's wife and our party all in a day or two. Men suspect such
obliging maladies, and the old lord had died of it, pat to the happy
moment, already. But if the thing could be done, if it could be so
managed that London, Paris, and the Riviera would find nothing strange
in the disappearance of one Madame Stefanopoulos and the appearance of
another, why, to a certainty, done the thing would be, unless I could
warn or save the woman in the cottage. But I did not see how to do
either. So (as I set out to confess) I dropped the subject. And when I
went to sleep I was thinking, not how to save Francesca, but how to
console Euphrosyne, a matter really of less urgency, as I should have
seen had not the echo of that sad little cry still filled my ears.
The news that Hogvardt brought me, when I woke in the morning and was
enjoying a slice of cow steak, by no means cleared my way. An actual
attack did not seem imminent--I fancy these fierce islanders were not
too fond of our revolvers--but the house was, if I may use the term,
carefully picketed; and that both before and behind. Along the road that
approached it in front, there stood sentries at intervals. They were
stationed just out of range of our only effective long-distance weapon,
but it was evident that egress on that side was barred; and the same was
the case on the other. Hogvardt had seen men moving in the wood, and had
heard their challenges to one another, repeated at regular intervals. We
were shut off from the sea; we were shut off from the cottage. A
blockade would reduce us as well as an attack. I had nothing to offer
except the release of Euphrosyne. And to release Euphrosyne would in all
likelihood not save us, while it would leave Constantine free to play
out his ghastly game to its appointed end.
I finished my breakfast in some perplexity of spirit. Then I went and
sat in the hall, expecting that Euphrosyne would appear from her room
before long. I was alone, for the rest were engaged in various
occupations, Hogvardt being particularly busy over a large handful of
hunting-knives that he had gleaned from the walls; I did not understand
what he wanted with them, unless he meant to arm himself in porcupine
Presently Euphrosyne came, but it was a transformed Euphrosyne. The
kilt, knee breeches, and gaiters were gone; in their place was the white
linen garment with flowing sleeves and the loose jacket over it, the
national dress of the Greek woman; but Euphrosyne's was ornamented with
a rare profusion of delicate embroidery, and of so fine a texture that
it seemed rather like some delicate, soft, yielding silk. The change of
attire seemed reflected in her altered manner. Defiance was gone and
appeal glistened from her eyes as she stood before me. I sprang up, but
she would not sit. She stood there, and, raising her glance to my face,
asked simply: "Is it true?"
In a business-like way I told her the whole story, starting from the
every-day scene at home in the restaurant, ending with the villainous
conversation and the wild chase of the night before. When I related how
Constantine had called Francesca his wife, Euphrosyne shivered; while I
sketched lightly my encounter with him and Vlacho, she eyed me with a
sort of grave curiosity; and at the end she said: "I'm glad you weren't
killed." It was not an emotional speech, nor delivered with any
_empressement_; but I took it for thanks, and made the best of it.
Then at last she sat down and rested her head on her hand. Her absent
air allowed me to study her closely, and I was struck by a new beauty
which the bizarre boy's dress had concealed. Moreover, with the doffing
of that, she seemed to have put off her extreme hostility; but perhaps
the revelation I had made to her, which showed her the victim of an
unscrupulous schemer, had more to do with her softened air. Yet she bore
the story firmly, and a quivering lip was her extreme sign of grief or
anger. And her first question was not of herself.
"Do you mean that they will kill this woman?" she asked.
"I'm afraid it's not unlikely that something will happen to her, unless,
of course--" I paused, but her quick wit supplied the omission.
"Unless," she said, "he lets her live now, because I am out of his
"Will you stay out of his hands?" I asked. "I mean, as long as I can
keep you out of them."
She looked round with a troubled expression.
"How can I stay here?" she said in a low tone.
"You will be as safe here as you were in your mother's arms," I
She acknowledged my promise with a movement of her head; but a moment
later she cried: