Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Stories from Everybody's Magazine

Part 7 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Means drew a cupful and sipped deliberately.

"It might be the weeds," he finally remarked. "It's not really
bad--only tastes bad."

So in the end we begged the question by setting the drum aside
and deciding to use it only if we had to.

But there were other matters to be determined that evening.

In the Colonel's opinion the time had come for us to try to find
a trail at the carcass of the rhino, and the talk lasted far into
the night. When finally evolved, the plan of campaign was simple.

It was arranged that the Colonel, with the dogs, should go to the
southeast, where the dead rhino lay, the two cowboys should ride
about two miles to the southwest and wait near the lower end of
the big donga, and Kearton, Ulyate, and myself should scale the
southern face of the Black Reef, where, with the aid of glasses,
we could keep in touch with the Colonel and the boys on the plain
below. Thus the men would be stationed at each corner of a vast
triangle. If the Colonel flushed a lion, the animal would
probably break for either the rocks or the donga, and so either
the cowboys or the camera department could cut him off. Because
the distances were so great, the customary signal of two revolver
shots to "gather" could not be relied upon; the lighting of a
fire would mean the same.

The morning star was still bright in the eastern heavens when the
expedition rode out of camp in the early hours of April 8th. At
the end of half a mile the three parties gradually separated on
slightly diverging lines and moved silently to their appointed
stations. Leaving the horses and the camera porters at the base
of the reef, the three of us of the center station climbed the
rocks in the darkness and waited for the dawn.

Slowly the first signs of day appeared over the hills and the
morning star commenced to fade. As the light strengthened, the
wide panorama of the plains and the far off mountains unfolded
and the individual patches of scrub and single trees began to
stand out distinctly from the general blur of the darker reaches.

For fully half an hour everything was still and the light
steadily broadened. Then suddenly Ulyate pointed.

In the plain to the southeast we could see a black speck moving
about in a strange manner--first one way, then another, then
stopping and moving on again.

"It's the Colonel," said Kearton, who had the glasses. "I think I
can see the dogs. He's up to something."

It was not many minutes before the Colonel's actions took on a
different trend. For a space he rode straight for the reef. There
the smaller black specks of the dogs appeared on the plain in
front. No doubt remained now of what the Colonel was up to. The
dogs were on the trail of some animal--lion or hyena, there was
no telling which--but the scent was hot and the hunt was coming

At one place the dogs made a big bend to the north toward our
camp. So the beast, whatever it was, had come to have a look at
us in the night.

For the first time then, as they swung back for the rocks, we
faintly heard a hound give tongue. It was the only sound in the

Kearton began tearing up the dry grass that grew in the cracks
between the rocks, and piled it in a heap.

"Not yet," said Ulyate; "wait till we're sure."

On came the hunt, following close to the southern base of the
reef. The hounds could be heard giving tongue in turn now. The
Colonel rode behind, leaning forward and cheering on the dogs.

"He's made for the rocks all right--come on," said Ulyate as,
rifle in hand, he started down the cliff.

Kearton touched a match to the pile of grass, and blew on it in
his hurry, and as the small flame sprang into life he threw on
some green stuff and in a thin blue column the smoke rose up
straight into the air.

"That will fetch the boys, all right," he said, and we followed
Ulyate down to the plain.

Although the delay in lighting the fire was brief, yet by the
time we had reached the base and had mounted the horses, the
Colonel, Ulyate, and the dogs had already passed out of sight
beyond a farther out-jutting buttress of rock.

We rounded the buttress only to find that the chase had vanished.
The almost perpendicular wall of rocks was empty. There was a
moment's halt. Then two quick shots rang out, and at once there
began a general chorus of baying, yelping dogs, intermingled with
the deep, heavy roar of a lion.

The sounds came from somewhere in the thick growth on top of the
Reef, so we left the horses and climbed toward the sound. On the
plateau the ground was covered with rugged lava blocks, and the
scrub and creepers were so dense that when Kearton shouted
Ulyate's name the white hunter answered from not more than ten
yards away.

"It's a lioness," said Ulyate. "The dogs have got her bayed. Look
out! She's just on the other side of that bush. When I got here I
found the Colonel seated on his horse, facing the beast and
trying to rope her. He didn't even have a knife on him. Why she
didn't charge him, I don't know. He couldn't get away over this
kind of ground. He told me to call the others and so I fired."

When the cowboys arrived from the distant donga, they came
threading their way toward us through the brush, leading their
horses. A short consultation was held.

"We've got to shift her," said the Colonel. "Can't do anything
with her here. Bring the firecrackers. Bring--there she goes!"

The lioness had decided the issue and had bolted of her own
accord. There was a streak of yellow through the bushes, a
scrambling of dogs, wild, frightened cries from the approaching
camera porters, and the hunt was on once more.

The beast ran to an open cave at the edge of the plateau and
crouched there facing the dogs. To maneuver the horses was
absolutely out of the question, so the lioness had to be shifted
again. For upwards of two hours then, by means of the dogs,
firecrackers, and lighting the grass, we drove her from one
stronghold to another, from crevasse to crevasse, in trying to
force her down off the reef.

The sun rose and the heat commenced. The dogs were feeling the
strain of the constant baying. One by one they would seek a spot
of shade and lie panting there for a while and then return to the
fray. Sounder, being weak from distemper, was the first to give
out, but he had done his share of the work. Porters were sent
back to camp to bring water. Because the ground was bad and the
beast was on the defensive, photography was difficult, but
Kearton managed to catch small bits of action here and there,
with Ulyate standing by him.

The day advanced and the dogs showed signs of tiring fast, yet
the lioness still clung to the stronghold of the rocks. Every
means at hand to drive her into the open had been tried time and
again without avail. The task began to look hopeless. We had
already reached the stage when we saw our resources coming to an

"Get a pole," said the Colonel, "and we'll poke a noose over

"It won't work," said Loveless. "We've tried that often enough to
show it won't work."

"Just the same we'll try it again," replied the Colonel.

Loveless had just started to hunt for the pole when, without
warning, the beast gave a quick, savage snarl, scattered the dogs
from in front of her, and, dropping down the face of the reef to
the plain below, ran straight for the distant donga.

Old John led the chase, with the rest of the dogs trailing along
as best they could, and behind them the men and horses, camera
porters, saises, and dog-boys went scrambling down the rocks in

On the bank of the donga the lioness stopped to fight the ropers.
She had run far enough and meant business now, and the hunt came
up and halted a short distance away for a breathing spell.

The lioness had taken up her position at the end of a short
tongue of land projecting into the donga, so that she was
partially protected on three sides. The yelping dogs had quickly
surrounded her, but she paid little heed to them now. Crouched by
the side of a small thorn bush, she watched every move of the
horsemen preparing to advance.

Kearton mounted his camera at one side of the scene, selecting
his position with care to obtain the best background and general
composition. He shifted about two or three times before he was

"Of course there's no telling which way she's going to jump," he
explained. "But we might as well get the beginning of it right."

Means went first. Slowly he maneuvered toward her for a chance to
throw his rope, and the lioness, alert, opened her jaws and
snarled at the horseman circling near.

Closer and closer Means approached. Then all at once she charged.
Means wheeled and spurred his horse to escape. For the first
thirty yards of the race the lioness gained rapidly. Then the bay
began to gather headway and slowly forged ahead.

With a quick change of front the lioness turned and charged the
Colonel, who was sitting on his horse nearby. Again the lioness
gained at first and again the horse drew away from her, and so,
giving up the charge, she returned to another thorn bush, where
she crouched down low and snarled and growled as before. And all
the while Kearton, on foot with his tripod, was busy taking
pictures of the show.

This second position of hers gave the horsemen a better chance.
There was now more room in which to get near her by a quick dash
past the bush. While Means edged around on the northern side, the
Colonel moved to the south, and by tossing his rope about and
shouting he managed to attract and hold her attention. In fact,
he nearly succeeded too well, for once she rose to the first
spring of the charge and the Colonel half wheeled his horse for
flight, but the beast sank back again and glared at him.

Then from behind her Means darted forward on the run, swinging
his rope free round and round his head. Kearton began shouting.

"Wait--the camera's jammed! Wait a bit--she's jammed here!"

But there was no stopping then, and before the lioness knew what
he was up to, Means dashed by within a few feet of her and roped
her round the neck. But a lioness's neck is short and thick, and
with a quick, catlike twist she slipped the noose over her ears.

"Why can't they wait?" complained Kearton. "Somebody tell them to
wait till I fix this. It's jammed. It must have got knocked on a
rock somewhere. It never acted this way before." And all the
while he talked his fingers were busy ripping out the jammed
piece of film and loading up afresh.

When he declared himself ready, Loveless, this time, had already
taken up his position to the north. Again the Colonel waved his
rope and shouted, and when the right moment came Loveless dashed
past her and likewise roped her round the neck. Again the beast
slipped the noose.

Here a rather strange thing happened. We had been told on many
occasions that in shooting lions the beast will give its
attention to the man who has the rifle, as if the instinct of the
animal told it which man to fear. Up to this moment the lioness
had held off the horsemen easily, but no sooner had she freed
herself from Loveless's rope than she fled into the donga and hid
herself in a thicket of scrub and grass. For a time then it
seemed that nothing would move her from out this scrub. The dogs
were finished. Men and horses were becoming played out.
Firecrackers and burning grass were used without result.
Eventually the Colonel fastened a forked stick to his rope and
dragged it across her hiding place to uncover her. This maneuver
partly succeeded--succeeded enough, at least, for Loveless to
throw his rope at her. And at the sight of the rope coming toward
her through the air she hurled herself at him like a flash, so
that it was only the side jump of his horse that saved him; then
she turned and broke away along the donga.

At once Means was after her, galloping hard, for without the dogs
there was danger of our losing sight of her.

But the lioness did not run far. Her next and last position was
in the bed of a small gully about three feet deep in the bottom
of the donga and thickly grown with grasses. Here the ropers held
a brief consultation and planned a final attempt.

Loveless made a throw and the noose landed fairly above the
beast's head, but the thick grasses held it up. Loveless passed
the other end of his rope over the branch of a near-by tree and
down to the horn of his saddle.

The rest of us, with the cameras trained on the scene, had no
knowledge of the plan. We had not the slightest idea what the
Colonel intended to do. Still wondering, we watched him procure a
long pole and ride quietly along the edge of the ditch toward the
place where the lioness crouched.

For a moment there was intense silence. The Colonel stopped his
horse. Then, leaning over from his saddle, he poked the noose
down through the grass.

With a roar the beast sprang at him--sprang through the loop--and
at the other end of the rope Loveless yanked quickly and caught
her by the last hind leg going through. Putting spurs to his
horse, Loveless galloped away, hauling the lioness back across
the gully and up into the tree, where she swung to and fro,
dangling by the one hind foot and snapping upward at the rope she
could not reach.

"Got her!" yelled the Colonel. "Now the rains can come when they

The beast was furious. She was still swinging, head down like a
pendulum, from the limb of the tree, and was tossing her body
about in frantic endeavor to get loose. Means approached close
and deftly slipped a noose over one of the wildly gyrating
fore-legs. Leading his rope over the branch of another tree, he
stretched her out in a helpless position parallel with the

"Now lower away on both lines," said the Colonel.

He dismounted and stood beneath her, directing affairs as
methodically as the foreman of a construction gang.

"Steady, Means--a little more, Loveless--now together--easy."

She came within his reach and with a quick grab he caught and
held her two hind legs with both hands while Kearton bound them
together with a piece of light line.

The rest was easy. In less than five minutes she was bound
securely and lowered all the way to the ground to rest in the

It was nearly noon, and time to call a halt to let the heat of
the day pass over before attempting to bring her back to camp.
Porters were sent to fetch food and more water, horses were
off-saddled and turned loose to graze, and one by one the dogs
came straggling in.

The men stretched themselves out on the ground where a bush or a
tree afforded some protection from the sun. But the Colonel kept
wandering over to the prize, to examine a knot, to arrange a
better shade, or to pour the last drops of water from his canteen
into her open mouth. Once he stood over her for a while, watching
her vain attempts to cut the ropes with her teeth.

"Yes, you're a beauty," he finally said. "You're certainly a
beauty. I guess we'll just have to take you home with us as a
souvenir of the trip."

Vol. XXIII December 1910 No. 6

THE WOMEN OF TO-MORROW {page 767-777 part 4.}




It got talked around among Marie's friends that she didn't want
children. This was considered very surprising, in view of all
that her father and husband had done for her.

Here is what they had done for her:

They had removed from her life all need, and finally all desire,
to make efforts and to accomplish results through struggle in
defiance of difficulty and at the cost of pain.

Work and pain were the two things Marie was on no account to be
exposed to. With this small but important reservation: she might
work at avoiding pain.

When the cook had a headache she took Getting-Breakfast for it.
When Marie had a headache she worked not at breakfast but at the

It was a social ceremony of large proportions, with almost
everybody among those present, from the doctor down through
Mother and Auntie to Little Sister. The decorations, which were
very elaborate, comprised, besides the usual tasteful arrangement
of thermometers, eau-de-Karlsbad, smelling-salts bottles, cracked
ice, and chocolate creams, a perfect shower of tourmaline roses,
the odor of which, alone among all the vegetable odors in the
world, had been round after long experimentation to be soothing
to Marie on such occasions. It was not thought that Marie could
vanquish a headache except after a plucky fight of at least one
day's duration.

Actresses go on and do their turns day after day and night after
night with hardly a miss. Marie's troubles were no more numerous
than theirs. But they were much larger. Troubles are like gases.
They expand to fill any void into which they are introduced.
Marie's spread themselves through a vacuum as large as her life.

The making of that vacuum and the inserting of Marie into it cost
her father and her husband prodigious toil and was a great
pleasure to them. Marie belonged to the Leisure Class. Socially,
she was therefore distinctly superior to her father and her

President Thomas of Bryn Mawr had Marie in mind when she said:

"By the leisured class we mean in America the class whose men
work harder than any other men in the excitement of professional
and commercial rivalry, but whose women constitute the only
leisured class we have and the most leisured class in the world."

Marie's father wasn't so very rich either. He was engaged in a
business so vividly competitive that Marie's brother was hurried
through college as fast as possible and brought into the game at
twenty-two with every nerve stretched taut.

Nothing like that was expected of Marie. She was brought up to
think that leisure was woman's natural estate. Work, for any
girl, she regarded as an accident due to the unexpected and
usually reprehensible collapse of the males of the poor girl's

This view of the matter gave Marie UNCONSCIOUSLY TO HERSELF, what
morality she had. Hard drinking, "illegitimate" gambling, and
excessive dissipations of all sorts are observed commonly to have
a prejudicial effect on male efficiency and family prosperity.
Against all "vices," therefore (although she didn't catch the
"therefore"), Marie was a Moral Force of a million angel-power.

Aside from "vices," however, all kinds of conduct looked much
alike to her. Ethics is the rules of the game, the decencies of
the struggle for existence. Marie had no part in the struggle.
She violated its decencies without being at all aware of it.

All the way, for instance, from stealing a place in the line in
front of a box-office window ahead of ten persons who were there
before her, up the tiny scale of petty aggressions within her
narrow reach to the cool climax of spending three months every
summer in a pine-wood mountain resort (thus depriving her
city-bound husband of the personal companionship which was the
one best thing she had to give him in return for what he gave
her), she was as competent a little grafter as the town afforded.

But she was a perfectly logical one. Her family had trained her
to deadhead her way through life and she did it. Finally she went
beyond their expectations. They hadn't quite anticipated all of
the sweetly undeviating inertia of her mind.

Nevertheless she was a nice girl. In fact; she was The Nice Girl.
She was sweet-tempered, sweet-mannered, and sweet-spoken--a
perfect dear. She never did a "bad" thing in her life. And she
never ceased from her career of moral forcing. She wrote to her
husband from her mountain fastness, warning him against
high-balls in hot weather. She went twice a month during the
winter to act as librarian for an evening at a settlement in a
district which was inhabited by perfectly respectable working
people but which, while she passed out the books, she
sympathetically alluded to as a "slum."

It is hardly fair, however, to lay the whole explanation of Marie
on her father, her husband, and herself.

A few years ago, in the churchyard of St. Philip's Church at
Birmingham, they set up a tombstone which had fallen down, and
they re-inscribed it in honor of the long-neglected memory of the
man who had been resting beneath it for a century and a half. His
name was Wyatt. John Wyatt. He had a good deal to do with making
Marie what she was.

What toil, what tossing nights, what sweating days, what agonized
wrenching of the imagination toward a still unreached idea, have
gone into the making of leisure--for other people!

Wyatt strained toward, and touched, the idea which was the real
start of modern leisure.

In the year 1733, coming from the cathedral town of Lichfield,
where the Middle Ages still lingered, he set up, in a small
building near Sutton Coldfields, a certain machine. That machine
inaugurated, and forever symbolizes, the long and glorious series
of mechanical triumphs which has made a large degree of leisure
possible, not for a few thousand women, as was previously the
case, but for millions and millions of them.

It was only about two feet square. But it accomplished a thing
never before accomplished. It spun the first thread ever spun in
the history of the world without the intervention of human

On that night woman lost her oldest and most significant title
and function. The Spinster ceased to be.

The mistress and her maid, spinning together in the Hall, their
fingers drawing the roving from the distaff and stretching it out
as the spindle twisted it, were finally on the point of
separating forever.

We all see what Wyatt's machine did to the maids. We all
understand that when he started his mill at Birmingham and hired
his working force of TEN GIRLS, he prophesied the factory "slum."

We do not yet realize what he did to the mistresses, how he
utterly changed their character and how he marvelously increased
their number.

But look! His machine, with the countless machines which followed
it, in the spinning industry and in all other industries, made it
possible to organize masses of individuals into industrial
regiments which required captains and majors and colonels and
generals. It created the need of leadership, of MULTITUDINOUS
leadership. And with leadership came the rewards of leadership.
And the wives and daughters of the leaders (a race of men
previously, by comparison, nonexistent) arose in thousands and
hundreds of thousands and millions to live in leisure and
semi-leisure on the fruits of the new system.

While the maids went to the "slums," the mistresses went to the

Looking at it in that way, one sometimes doesn't feel so sorry
for the maids.

What did Wyatt get out of it? Imprisonment for debt and the buzz
of antiquarians above his rotted corpse.

Wyatt and his equally humble successors in genius, Hargreaves and
Crompton, artisans! Where in history shall we find men the world
took more from, gave less to?

To Hargreaves, inventing the spinning jenny, a mob and a flight
from Lancashire, a wrecked machine and a sacked house! To
Crompton, inventing the spinning-mule (which, in simulating,
surpassed the delicate pulling motion of the spinster's arm)--to
Crompton, poverty so complete that the mule, patient bearer of
innumerable fortunes to investors, was surrendered to them
unpatented, while its maker retired to his "Hall-in-the-Wood" and
his workman wages!

Little did Wyatt and Hargreaves and Crompton eat of the bread of
idleness they built the oven for.

But Arkwright! There was the man who foreshadowed, in his own
career, the new aristocracy about to be evoked by the new
machinery. He made spinning devices of his own. He used everybody
else's devices. He patented them all. He lied in the patents. He
sued infringers of them. He overlooked his defeats in the courts.
He bit and gouged and endured and invented and organized till,
from being a barber and dealing in hair-dyes and bargaining for
the curls of pretty girls at country fairs, he ended up Sir
Richard Arkwright and--last perfect touch in a fighting
career--was building a church when he died.

And his son was England's richest commoner.

It was the dawn of the day of common richness.

The new aristocracy was as hospitably large as the old
aristocracy had been sternly small. Before Wyatt, leisure had
been the thinnest of exhalations along the very top of society.
Since Wyatt, it has got diffused in greater and greater density
through at least the upper third of it. And for all that magical
extension of free time, wrested from the ceaseless toil with
which God cursed Adam, we stand indebted (and so recently!) to
the machinery SET going by that spontaneous explosion of artisan
genius in England only a hundred and fifty years ago, KEPT going
(and faster and faster) by the labor of men, women, and children
behind factory windows, the world over, to-day.

Marie's view of the situation, however, is the usual one. We are
billions of miles from really realizing that leisure is produced
by somebody's work, that just "Being a Good Woman" or "Being a
Decent Fellow" is so far from being an adequate return for the
toil of other people that it is just exactly no return at all. We
are billions of miles from admitting that the virtuous parasite
is just as much a parasite as the vicious parasite:--that the
former differs from the latter in the use of the money but not at
all in the matter of getting it in return for nothing.

To get something for nothing is the fundamental immorality in the
world. But we don't believe it. There will be a revolution before
we get it into our heads that trying to trade a sweet disposition
or an intelligent appreciation of opera or a proficiency at
amateur tennis for three meals a day is a fraud.

Marie didn't mean to commit a fraud. She just dropped a
sentimental, non-negotiable plugged nickel into the slot-machine
of life and drew out a motor car and a country place, and was
innocently pleased. Such a wonderful slot-machine! She never saw
the laboring multitudes behind it, past and present multitudes,
dead fingers, living fingers, big men's fingers, little
children's fingers, pulling the strings, delivering the prizes,
laying aside the plugged nickel in the treasury of a remote

Perhaps the reason why she didn't catch on to the fact that,
instead of being the world's creditor, she was really inhabiting
an almshouse was that she was so busy.

You see, she not only did things all the time but she had to find
and invent them to do. Her life, even before she was married, was
much more difficult than her brother's, who simply got up in the
morning and took the same old 7:42 to the same old office.

When he wanted clothes he went to the nearest decent tailor.

No such cinch for Marie. Her tailor lived in Sutherton, on the
directly opposite side of the city from the suburb in which Marie
lived. Just to get to that tailor's cost Marie an hour and a half
of effort. She had got up early, but by the time the tailor had
stuck the world's visible supply of pins into the lines of her
new coat, most of the forenoon had been arduously occupied.

Of course many forenoons had to be thus occupied. Never forget
it! The modish adaptation of woven fabrics to the female contour
becomes increasingly complex and minute and exacting and
time-occupying in precise proportion as the amount of time
increases for which occupation must be devised.

Besides, it gives employment to the tailors.

This is the really meritorious function of the leisure class. It
gives employment. And every extension of its tastes and needs
gives more employment. Marie and her friends greatly increased
the number and prosperity of tailors and milliners and
candy-dippers and perfume-manufacturers and manicurists and
hair-dressers and plumed-bird hunters and florists and
cab-drivers and Irish lace-makers and Chinese silkworm tenders
and violet-and-orris sachet-powder makers and matinee heroes and
French nuns who embroider underwear and fur-traders and
pearl-divers and other deserving persons, not forgetting the
multitudes of Turks who must make nougat or perish.

In fact, Marie and her friends, in the course of a year, gave as
much employment as a fair-sized earthquake. That is, in the
course of a year, they destroyed, without return, a large amount
of wealth and set many people to work replacing it. If we had a
large enough leisure class we should have no need of fires and
railroad wrecks and the other valuable events which increase our
prosperity by consuming it.

Marie belonged to the real Consumers' League. And she consumed
prettily and virtuously. It wasn't bad air that suffocated her
soul. It was no air.

She thought she was breathing, however, and breathing fast. Why,
it was half-past eleven before she got back down-town from her
tailor, and she bought a wedding present till one, and she was
just famished and ran to a tea-room, but she had hardly touched a
mouthful when she remembered there was a girl from out of town
who had come in to spend a month doing nothing and had to be
helped, but though she rushed to the 'phone she couldn't get her
friend before it was time to catch her suburban train home; in
order to do which she jumped into the station 'bus, only to
remember she had forgotten to buy a ribbon for her Siamese
costume for the Benefit Ball; but it was too late now and she
spent her time, going out on the train, trying to think of some
way of getting along without it, and her head began to ache; but
luckily she met some of the girls on her way from the station to
her high-school sorority alumnae reunion and they began to tell
her how to do it; but she had to hurry away because she had
promised to go to the house of one of the girls and do stencil
patterns, which started to be beautiful, but before she could get
any of them really done she recollected that Chunk Brown had sent
over a bunch of new songs and was coming to call to-night and she
had to scoot home and practice "June time is moon time and tune
time and spoon time," as well as "The grass is blue o'er little
Sue" till there was just one hour left before dinner and she was
perfectly crazy over the new "do" which one of the girls had
showed her and she rushed upstairs and went at that do and by
dinner time she had got it almost right, so that Father told her
always to do her hair like that and Brother wished he had it down
at the factory to replace a broken dynamo brush, while as for
Chunk, he was nicer than ever till he learned he had to take her
to a rehearsal of the Siamese Group for the Benefit Ball: so
that, what with having to coax him to go and what with changing
into her costume, she got to the rehearsal so tired she couldn't
stand up to go through the figures till she caught sight of the
celebrated esthete, the Swami Ram Chandra Gunga Din, who was
there to hand out the right slants about oriental effects and who
had persuaded Marie there was great consolation to be found in
realizing that life is a spiral and that therefore you can't make
progress straight up but must go round and round through rhythmic
alternations of joy and sorrow, which caused Chunk to relapse
again from his attentiveness but which pleased Marie greatly
because she was always unhappy in between two periods of
happiness and therefore felt she was getting along the spiral and
into Culture pretty well, till it was eleven o'clock and she
waked Chunk up out of a chair in the hall and made him take her
home; and he said the Swami was a VERY CLEVER man and she said
American men had no culture and didn't understand women, and
Chunk didn't even say good-night to her, and she went to sleep
crying, and remembering she hadn't after all learned from the
girls how to get along without that ribbon in her costume and she
must get up early and buy it, which made her utter one final
little plaintive sniffle of vexation.

It was a nice child's life, full of small things which looked
big, uncorrected in its view of Love, Culture, Charity, or
anything else by any carrying of the burdens, enduring of the
shocks, or thrilling to the triumphs, of a really adult life. Her
brother, when he went to work, was her junior. In five years he
was much her senior. (You may verify this by observations among
your own acquaintances.) Marie was not a minute older now than
when she left school. Talking to her at twenty-six was exactly
the same experience as talking to her at twenty-one. That was
what the world, from John Wyatt to her father, had done for her.

From such a life there are necessarily revulsions. The empty
leisure of the Nice Girl is quite successfully total waste. But
it becomes intolerable to that waster who, though not desiring
genuine occupation, desires genuine sensation.

Hence smart sets.

Every social group in which there is much leisure has its own
smart set. There may be a million dollars a year to spend. There
may be only a few thousands. But there is always a smart set.

How suddenly its smartness may follow its leisure, how accurately
its plunge into luxury may duplicate the suddenness of modern
luxury itself, you may observe with your own eyes almost

You see a little crowd of women come into the Mandarin Tea Room
of the St. DuBarry in Novellapolis in the fresh West. When they
remove their automobile veils you see that they were once, and
very recently, the nicest sort of members of the sewing circle
and the W. C. T. U. of Lone Tree Crossing.

When the waiter comes along with their cocktails and they begin
to sip them out of their tea-cups, you wake up with a jerk to
realize that it's half-past three in the afternoon and the
evening has begun.

How rapid it all is!

There's Margaret Simpson. A few years ago you might have seen her
pumping the water for Jim's breakfast, cleaning the lamps, and
picking bugs off the potato vines.

Jim came to town. He struck it poor. Then he struck it rich. He
owns a bunch of moving-picture places. He manufactures a patented
bottle-stopper. He's a pavement contractor. His wife has just as
much leisure as any duchess.

The duchess has her individual estate and resources, which make
it possible for her to lead an almost complete social life within
her own walls. But never mind! Margaret has the Down-town
District, cooperatively owned, cooperatively maintained,
magnificently equipped with bright boudoirs in the rest-rooms of
the department stores, with wonderful conservatories where one
may enter and gaze and pay no more attention to the florist than
to one's own gardener, with sumptuous drawing-rooms, like the
Purple Parlor of the St. DuBarry, with body-servants in the
beauty-shops, with coachmen on the taxi-cabs, with seclusion in
the Ladies' Department of the Novellapolis Athletic Club--an
infinitely resourceful estate, which Margaret knows as intimately
as the duchess knows hers.

This morning she hunted down a new reduction plant on the
eighteenth floor of the Beauty Block and weighed in at 185 on the
white enamel scales, and after an hour of
Thermo-Vibro-Magneto-Magenta-Edison-Company-light-therapy weighed
out at 182-6.

At luncheon she ate only puree of tomatoes, creamed
chicken-and-sweetbreads, Boston brown bread and butter, orange
punch and Lady Baltimore cake, severely cutting out the potatoes.

After luncheon she spent an hour in a tiny room which had mirrors
all around it and a maid (as trim and French-accented as any maid
any duchess could have) and a couple of fitters and a head
fitter. It ended up with: "Do you mean to tell me that after all
the reducing and dieting I've been doing I can't wear under a
twenty-seven? It's ridiculous. I tell you what. Measure me for a
made-to-order. These stock sizes all run large. If it's
made-to-order I can wear a twenty-six as easy as anybody."

Then she met up with her friends at the St. DuBarry.

You watch the waiter bring another round of drinks and you
perceive that the evening is well under way and that the peak of
the twenty-four hours is being disputatiously approached.

It appears that Perinique's is a swell place to dine, but that
the cheese is bad. The cheese is good right here at the St.
DuBarry, but they don't know how to toast the biscuits. At the
Grunewurst the waiters are poor. At Max's the soup is always
cold. The mural decorations at the Prince Eitel are so gloomy
they give you a chill.

Despair settles down on the scene. There seems to be no
likelihood that there will be any dinner at all anywhere. A ray
of light penetrates with the inquiry whether you saw the way Jim
looked at Dora last night. If _I_ was you, Margaret, and MY
husband looked at Dora like that, _I_--. . . No wonder Dora's
husband divorced her. . . . The trouble with Margaret is she's
too good to Jim. If she had any sense she could make him so
jealous he'd stand on his head for her. . . . Why don't you tell
Ned to cut in there and pay a little attention to Marge? . . .
Oh, Ned's no good. . . . Well, I'll tell MY HUSBAND--. . . Don't
you do it: I started my husband once on a thing like that and
he--. . . That's right. Ned's not married. Let him do it. . . .
Somebody ought to. . . . Call Ned on the 'phone. . . . We'll eat
at the Royal Gorge and I'll put 'em side by side. . . . I'LL sit
next to Jim and point it out to him. . . . Say, Marge, it's a
good thing you've got on your white broadcloth and those willow
plumes. . . . You can get 'em at Delatour's now for twenty-five
dollars. . . . Say, I called Ned on the 'phone and what do you
think? He's got an engagement for to-night. . . . Say, here's
Dora now.

Dora: "Got to sweep right along. Goin' to buzz out to the Inland
Inn for dinner with Ned."

Talk of nerve!

Exit Dora.

Enter Stern Moralist. Points gaunt finger at ex-members of Lone
Tree Crossing Sewing Circle. Says: "Back to your kitchens, women,
and get supper for your husbands."

Onlookers: "Great!"

Enter husbands, about to dine with the women right there, or at
some other place where dinner is cooked and ready.

Stern Moralist turns to husbands.

Does he? Why not?

Stern Moralist: "Back to the woodshed and chop the kindling for
your wife to get supper with."

Onlookers: "Police! Arrest that man! He's crazy."

Stern Moralist, being propelled down corridor: "Well, if the way
to restore women to womanliness is to make them do drudgery which
they can hire somebody else to do, why isn't----"

His voice dies away.

Jim asks where Dora is. Loud chorus tells him. Details of Dora's
divorce begin to fly about. Harry orders a round of drinks.
Somebody praises the drawn butter sauce at the Suddington. This
is met with the merits of the pineapple parfait at the La
Fontaine. Jim thinks Dora's divorce was her husband's fault.
Margaret gets up and goes back to the Purple Parlor and cries.
Bessie begins to tell Jim how attentive Ned is to Margaret. This
is so helpful that Jim gets up to find Margaret and tell her what
he thinks of her. Finds her crying and thinks she is crying
because Ned is away with Dora. Terrible row in Purple Parlor.
Bessie starts in to explain. Everybody stands about in couples
explaining. Waiter runs around trying to find gen'l'man to pay
for undrunk drinks. Poor Frank, being the only member of the
party who hasn't been drinking, is so sober that he pays. He
finally corrals the whole crowd into a couple of taxi-cabs. They
go down the street with everybody's head out of the cab-window
and everybody's voice saying "The Suddington," "The Grunewurst,"
"Max's," "The Royal Gorge," "Perinique's."

The revulsion from empty leisure in the direction of
full-every-night leisure is balanced to some extent by a
revulsion toward activity of a useful sort. This latter revulsion
has two phases: Economic Independence, which has been spoken of
in former articles; Social Service and Citizenship, which will be
spoken of next month.

Which one of these two revulsions will be the stronger? If it is
the one toward useful activity, we shall see a dam erected
against the current which, in carrying women out of the struggle
for existence, carries them out of the world's mental strife. If
it is the one toward frivolity, we shall see simply an
acceleration of that current and a quicker and larger departure
from all those habits of toil and service which produce power and

With marriage, of course, Marie had a certain opportunity to get
back into life. She had before her at least fifteen years of real
work. And it would have been work of the realest sort. Effort--to
and beyond all other effort! The carrying of new life in fear,
the delivery of it in torture, the nourishing of it in
relinquishment f all the world's worldliness, the watching over
it in sleeplessness, the healing of its sickness in
heart-sickness, the bringing of it, with its body strong, its
mind matured, up into the world of adults, up into the struggle
for existence! What a work!

But what a preparation for it had Marie!

She flinched from it. The inertia of her mind carried her to the
ultimate logic of her life. Along about the time of her marriage
she began to cease to be the typical normal girl of her type.

She became a woman of the future--OF HER TYPE.

From the facts of modern idleness the positive character reacts
toward new-found activity: toward an enormous,
never-before-witnessed expenditure of intelligent care on
children; toward self-support; toward civic service. The
character which is neither positive nor negative runs along as a
neutral mixture of modern facts and of old ideals of casual
idling and of casual child-rearing. The negative character--like
Marie's--just yields to the facts and is swept along by them into
final irresponsibility and inutility.

Marie wasn't negative enough--she wasn't positive enough in her
negativeness--to plunge into dissipation. It wasn't in her nature
to do any plunging of any kind. Good, safe, motionless sponging
was her instinct. And she will die in the odor of tubbed and
scrubbed respectability. And if you knew her you would like her
very much. She is charming.

When she and Chunk were married, they went to live in an
apartment appropriate to a rising young man, and Marie's job was
on all occasions to look as appropriate as the apartment.

No shallow cynicism, this! Just plain, bald truth without any wig
on it. The only thing that you could put your finger on that
Marie really did was so to wear clothes and so to give parties as
to be the barometer of her husband's prosperity. And in every
city you can see lots of such barometers giving themselves an
artificially high reading in order to create that "atmosphere" of
success which is a recognized commercial asset.

Chunk was hugely pleased with Marie. She looked good at the
dinner-table in the cafe of their apartment building. She knew
how to order the right dishes when they entertained and dined
down-town. She made it possible for him to return deftly and
engagingly the social attentions of older people. She completed
the "front" of his life, and he not only supported her but, as
Miss Salmon, of Vassar, flippantly and seriously says, he
"sported" her as he might a diamond shirt stud.

No struggle in Marie's life so far! No HAVING to swim in the cold
water of daily enforced duty or else sink. NO BEING ACCUSTOMED TO

She had missed work. That was nothing. She had missed being
HARDENED to work. That was everything.

The first demand ever made on her for really disagreeable effort
came when Chunk, in order to get a new factory going, had to move
for a while to Junction City. When Marie bitterly and furiously
objected, Chunk was severely astonished. Why, he had to go! It
was necessary. But there had been no necessity in Marie's
experience. They became quarrelsome about it. Then stubborn.
Marie talked about her mother and her friends and how she loved
them (which was true) and stayed.

For two years she inhabited Chunk's flat in the city and lived on
Chunk's monthly check.

She and Chunk were married. Chunk was to support her. Her father
used to support her. Her job then was being nice. That was her
job now. And she was nice. And she was still supported. Perfectly

For two years, neither really daughter now nor really wife, not
being obliged any longer even to make suggestions to her mother
about what to have for dinner, not being obliged any longer even
to think out the parties for Chunk's business friends, she did
nothing but become more and more firmly fixed in her inertia, in
her incapacity for hardship, in her horror of pain.

When Chunk came back from Junction City and was really convinced
that she didn't want children he was not merely astonished. He
thought the world had capsized.

In a way he was right. The world is turning round and over and
back to that one previous historical era when the aversion to
childbearing was widespread.

Once, just once, before our time, there was a modern world. Once,
just once, though not on the scale we know it, there was, before
us, a diffusion of leisure.

The causes were similar.

The Romans conquered the world by military force, just as we have
conquered it by mechanical invention. They lived on the plunder
of despoiled peoples just as we live on the products of exploited
continents. They had slaves in multitudes just as we have
machines in masses. Because of the slaves, there were hundreds of
thousands of their women, in the times of the Empire, who had
only denatured housekeeping to do, just as to-day there are
millions of our women who, because of machines, have only that
kind of housekeeping to do. Along with leisure and semi-leisure,
they acquired its consequences, just as we have acquired them.
And the sermons of Augustus Caesar, first hero of their completed
modernity, against childlessness are perfect precedents for those
of Theodore Roosevelt, first hero of ours.

Augustus, however, addressed himself mainly to the men, who
entered into marriage late, or did not enter into it at all, for
reasons identical with ours--the increased competitiveness of the
modern life and the decreased usefulness of the modern wife. It
was the satirists who addressed themselves particularly to the
women. And their tirades against idleness, frivolity, luxury,
dissipation, divorce, and aversion to child-bearing leave nothing
to be desired, in comparison with modern efforts, for
effectiveness in rhetoric--or for ineffectiveness in result.

Now it could not have been the woman who desires economic
independence through self-support who was responsible for the
ultimate aversion to childbearing in the Roman world--for SHE did
not exist. It could not have been the woman who desires full
citizenship--for she did not exist. What economic power and what
political power the Roman Empire woman desired and achieved was
parasitic--the economic power which comes from the inheritance of
estates, the political power which comes from the exercise of
sexual charm.

The one essential difference between the women of that ancient
modern world and the women of this contemporary modern world is
in the emergence, along with really democratic ideals, of the
agitation for equal economic and political opportunity.

The other kind of New Woman, the woman brought up throughout her
girlhood in a home in which there is no adequate employment for
her; trained to no tasks, or, at any rate, to tasks (like dusting
the dining-room and counting the laundry) so petty, so
ridiculously irrelevant that her great-grandmother did them in
the intervals of her real work; going then into marriage with
none of the discipline of habitual encounter with inescapable
toil; taken by her husband not to share his struggle but his
prosperity--that sort of New Woman they had, just as we have her
in smaller number, it is true, but in identical character.

They tell us it was "luxury" that ruined the Romans. But was
luxury the START? Wasn't it only the means to the FINISH?

Eating a grouse destroys in itself, no more moral fiber than
eating a ham sandwich. Bismarck, whether he slept on eider-down
or on straw, arose Bismarck.

The person who has a job and who does it is very considerably
immunized against the consequences of luxury. First, because he
is giving a return for it. Second, because he hasn't much time
for it.

On the other hand we see the hobo who won't work ruining himself
on the luxury of stable-floors and of free-lunch counters, just
as thoroughly as any nobleman who won't work can ever ruin
himself on the luxury of castles and game preserves.

It is clearly the habitual enjoyment of either grouse or ham
sandwiches, of either eiderdown or straw, WITHOUT SERVICE
RENDERED AND WITHOUT FATIGUE ENDURED, that ultimately desiccates
the moral character and drains it of all capacity for effort.

Marie was as reasonable a proposition as that two and two make

She had given her early, plastic, formative years to acquiring
the HABIT of effortless enjoyment, and when the time for making
an effort came, the effort just wasn't in her.

Her complete withdrawal from the struggle for existence had at
last, in her negative, non-resistive mind atrophied all the
instincts of that struggle including finally the instinct for

The instinct for reproduction is intricately involved in the
struggle for existence. The individual struggles for
perpetuation, for perpetuation in person, for perpetuation in
posterity. Work, the perpetuation of one's own life in strain and
pain; work, the clinging to existence in spite of its blows;
work, the inuring of the individual to the penalties of
existence, is linked psychologically to the power and desire for
continued racial life. The individual, the class, which struggles
no more will in the end reproduce itself no more. In not having
had to conquer life, it has lost its will to live.

The detailed daily reasons for this ultimate social law stand
clear in Marie's life. And remember what sort of woman she was.
The woman who is coerced by external, authoritative ideals will
bear children even when the wish to bear them is really absent.
She will bear them without thinking. She will bear them because
she has never thought that anything else was possible. But Marie
(and this means millions of women throughout the modern world)
was free, wonderfully, unparalleledly free.

She was free, though a leisured woman, from the requirement of an
heir for a great family estate. She was free from the dictates of
historic Christianity about conjugal duty and unrestricted
reproduction. She was free from the old uncomplaining compliance
with a husband's will.

Modern life had done all this for her. She was uncoerced by
family authority, ecclesiastical authority, or marital authority.
She was limitlessly free, limitlessly irresponsible, a creature
of infinite opportunities and no duties.

All social coercion toward childbearing having been withdrawn
from her, the only guide she had left (and it would have been her
best one) was instinct and impulse.

But with the cessation from struggle, with the cessation from
effort and from fatigue and from discipline, and from the sorrow
of pain that brings the joy of accomplishment, that instinct and
impulse had disappeared. With the petrifaction of its soil, it
had withered away.

She had been sedulously trained to sterility.

Nevertheless, when it got talked around among her friends that
she didn't want children, everybody thought it very surprising,
in view of all that had been done for her.

In the January number Mr. Hard will discuss "The Women of
To-morrow" in "Civic Service."

Vol. XXIII December 1910 No. 6

{pages 778-783 are NOT numbered in the printed copy!}

"And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead
men." Matthew xxviii. 4


My Claudia, it is long since we have met,
So kissed, so held each other heart to heart!
I thought to greet thee as a conqueror comes,
Bearing the trophies of his prowess home.
But Jove hath willed it should be otherwise--
Jove, say I? Nay, some mightier, stranger god,
Who thus hath laid his heavy hand on me,
No victor, Claudia, but a broken man
Who seeks to hide his weakness in thy love.

How beautiful thou art! The years have brought
An added splendor to thy loveliness,
With passion of dark eye and lip rose-red,
Struggling between its dimple and its pride.
And yet there is somewhat that glooms between
Thy love and mine; come, girdle me about
With thy true arms, and pillow on thy breast
This aching and bewildered head of mine;
Here, where the fountain glitters in the sun
Among the saffron lilies I will tell--
If so that words will answer my desire--
The shameful fate that hath befallen me.

Down in Jerusalem they slew a man,
Or god . . . it may be that he was a god . . .
Those mad, wild Jews whom Pontius Pilate rules.
Thou knowest Pilate, Claudia--a vain man,
Too weak to govern such a howling horde
As those same Jews. This man they crucified.
I knew naught of him--never heard his name
Until the day they dragged him to his death;
Then all tongues wagged about him and his deeds;
Some said that he had claimed to be their king,
Some that he had blasphemed their deity.
'Twas certain he was poor and meanly born,
No warrior he, nor hero; and he taught
Doctrines that surely would upset the world;
And so they killed him to be rid of him.
Wise, very wise, if he were only man,
Not quite so wise if he were half a god!

I know that strange things happened when he died . . .
There was a darkness and an agony,
And some were vastly frightened--not so I!
What cared I if that mob of reeking Jews
Had brought a nameless curse upon their heads?
_I_ had no part in that bloodguiltiness.
At least he died; and some few friends of his
Took him and laid him in a garden tomb.
A watch was set about the sepulchre,
Lest these, his friends, should hide him and proclaim
That he had risen as he had foretold.
Laugh not, my Claudia. _I_ laughed when I heard
The prophecy; I would I had not laughed!

I Maximus, was chosen for the guard,
With all my trusty fellows.
Pilate knew I was a man who had no foolish heart
Of softness all unworthy of a man!
I was a soldier who had slain my foes;
My eyes had looked upon a tortured slave
As on a beetle crushed beneath my tread;
I gloried in the splendid strife of war,
Lusting for conquest; I had won the praise
Of our stern general on a scarlet field,
Red in my veins the warrior passion ran,
For I had sprung from heroes, Roman born!

That second night we watched before the tomb;
My men were merry; on the velvet turf,
Bestarred with early blossoms of the spring,
They diced with jest and laughter; all around
The moonlight washed us like a silver lake,
Save where that silent, sealed sepulchre
Was hung with shadow as a purple pall.
A faint wind stirred among the olive boughs . . .
Methinks I hear the sighing of that wind
In all sounds since, it was so dumbly sad;
But as the night wore on it died away,
And all was deadly stillness; Claudia,
That stillness was most awful, as if some
Great heart had broken and so ceased to beat!
I thought of many things, but found no joy
In any thought, even the thought of thee;
The moon waned in the west and sickly grew,
Her light sucked from her in the breaking dawn . . .
Never was dawn so welcome as that pale,
Faint glimmer in the cloudless, brooding sky!

Claudia, how may I tell what came to pass?
I have been mocked at, when I told the tale,
For a crazed dreamer punished by the gods
Because he slept on guard; but mock not THOU!
I could not bear it if thy lips should mock
The vision dread of that Judean morn.

Sudden the pallid east was all aflame
With radiance that beat upon our eyes
As from the noonday sun; and then we saw
Two shapes that were as the immortal gods
Standing before the tomb; around me fell
My men as dead; but I, though through my veins
Ran a cold tremor never known before,
Withstood the shock and saw one shining shape
Roll back the stone; the whole world seemed ablaze,
And through the garden came a rushing wind
Thundering a paean as of victory.
Then that dead man came forth . . . oh, Claudia,
If thou couldst but have seen the face of him!
Never was such a conqueror! Yet no pride
Was in it . . . naught but love and tenderness,
Such as we Romans scoff at, and his eyes
Bespake him royal. Oh, my Claudia,
Surely he was no Jew but very god!

Then he looked full upon me; I had borne
Much staunchly, but that look I could not bear!
What man may front a god and live? I fell
Prone, as if stricken by a thunderbolt;
And though I died not, somewhat of me died
That made me man; when my long stupor passed
I was no longer Maximus . . . I was
A weakling with a piteous woman soul,
All strength and pride, joy and ambition gone!
My Claudia, dare I tell thee what foul curse
Is mine because I looked upon a god?

I care no more for glory; all desire
For honor and for strife is gone from me,
All eagerness for war. I only care
To help and save bruised beings, and to give
Some comfort to the weak and suffering;
I cannot even hate those Jews; my lips
Speak harshly of them, but within my heart
I only feel compassion; and I love
All creatures, to the vilest of the slaves,
Who seem to me as brothers. Claudia,
Scorn me not for this weakness; it will pass--
Surely 'twill pass in time and I shall be
Maximus strong and valiant once again,
Forgetting that slain god. And yet . . .and yet . . . .
He looked as one who could not be forgot!

Vol. XXIII December 1910 No. 6

THE MAN WHO MADE GOOD {pages 784-799}



Trotter opened his door and listened. Then he tiptoed out to the
stairhead. The coast seemed clear. The house lay beneath him as
still as a well. It was nothing more than a three-tiered cavern
of quietness.

So he crept back to his own room and closed and locked the door
after him. It was a top-floor rear, where a hip-roof gave his
back wall the rake of a Baltimore buckeye, and a dismantled
electric call-bell bore ignominious testimony to the fact that
his skyey abode had once been a servant's quarters.

But the room was quiet, and, what counted more, it was cheap. The
thought of ever being put out of it terrified the frugal-minded
Trotter. For seven weary months he had wandered about New York's
skyline, looking for just the right corner, as peevish as a
cow-bird looking for a copse nest.

Yet Mrs. Teetzel's laws were adamantine. Her rule was as
Procrustean as her thin-lashed eyes were inquisitive. She daily
inspected both her lavishly distributed lambrequins and her
"gentleman roomers'" mail, with an occasional discreet excursion
into their unlocked trunks. Cooking in a bedroom was as illicit
as private laundry work in the second-floor bathtub. A young
Toronto poet who had learned the trick of buttering an envelope
and in it neatly shirring an egg over a gas jet was first
reminded that he was four weeks behind in his rent and then sadly
yet firmly ejected from the top-floor skylight room.

So Trotter, once back in his own quarters, moved about with a
caution not untouched with apprehension. Mrs. Teetzel, he knew
had a tread that was noiseless. She also had the habit of
appearing, in curl-papers, at uncouth moments, as unheralded as
an apparition from the other world. And Trotter's conscience was
not clear. For months past he had kept secreted in his trunk one
of those single-holed gas heaters known as a "hot plate." This he
surreptitiously attached to the gas jet, and secretly thereon
made coffee and cooked his matutinal hard-boiled egg. There was a
thrill of excitement about it, a tang of outlawry, a touch of
danger. It took on the romance of a vast hazard. And it also
rather suited his purse, since that particular newspaper office
which he had journeyed to New York both to augment and to uplift
showed no undue haste in receiving him.

His third and last assault on the Advance office, in fact, had
amounted to an unequivocal ejection. Three short questions from
the shirt-sleeved autocrat of that benzine-odored bedlam had led
to Trotter's undoing. He wasn't expected to know much about
newspaper work, but before he came bothering people he ought at
least to know a shadow of something about the city he was living
in! And the one-time class orator of the University of Michigan
was calmly and pointedly advised to go and cut his eyeteeth on
the coral of adversity. He was disgustedly told to go out and
make good, instead of coming round and bothering busy people.

And Trotter went meekly out. But he had not made good.

He drifted hungrily about the great new city, the city that
seemed written in a cipher to which he could find no key. He even
guardedly shadowed the resentful-eyed Advance reporters on their
morning assignments, to get some chance inkling of the magic by
which the trick was turned. He wandered about the river front and
the ship wharves and the East Side street markets. He nosed
inquisitively and audaciously about anarchists' cellars and
lodging-houses; he found saloons where for a nickel very
palatable lamb stew could be purchased; he located those
swing-door corners where the most munificent free lunches were on
display; he dipped into halls where Socialistic fire-eaters
nightly stilettoed modern civilization; he invaded ginmills where
strange and barbaric sailors foregathered and talked. From all
this he was not learning Journalism. He was, however, learning
New York.

But now he had struck luck--sudden and unlooked for--in the
humble creation of "rhyme-ads" for a Sixth Avenue furniture
store. So, having his Bohemian young head somewhat turned by his
first check of twenty dollars, he had promptly celebrated his
return to affluence by as promptly spending a goodly portion of
that wealth. He had bidden a cadaverous animal painter named
Mershon and two equally hungry-eyed Michiganders yclept Albright
to his room with the rakish back wall, where the feast had been a
regal if somewhat subdued one.

And now Trotter looked about the room, thoughtfully, and decided
it was time to act. All record of this past orgy would have to be
wiped out. The window, he knew, was impossible, for already there
had been divers complaints as to the mysterious showers of
eggshell which day by day fell into the area below.

So Trotter laid several newspapers together. On these outspread
newspapers he placed four empty beer bottles, a sardine can, odds
and ends of biscuit and zwieback, a well-scraped wooden butter
tray, and--what had troubled and haunted him most, from the
moment of its purchase in a Sixth Avenue delicatessen store--the
lugubrious and clean-picked carcass of a roast turkey.

It had been a fine turkey, and done to a turn. But all along
Trotter had been wondering just how he was going to get rid of
those telltale bones. At the merriest moments of the feast the
question of the corner in which they could be secreted or the
aperture out of which they could be thrust had hung over him like
a veritable sword of Damocles.

But now he knew there was only one way to solve the problem. And
that was to wrap the remains carefully together, tie them up, and
make his escape down through the quiet house into the midnight
street. There the ever-damnatory parcel could be casually dropped
into a near-by ash barrel or tossed into a refuse can, and he
could aimlessly round the block, like a sedentary gentleman
enjoying his belated airing.


Trotter crept down through the quiet house with all the
trepidation of a sneak-thief. His one dread was the apparition of
Mrs. Teetzel; she would naturally surmise he was making away with
the bedroom stoneware, or the door knobs, or even the lead

He felt freer when he had once gained the street. But no peace of
mind could be his, he knew, until he had utterly discarded those
carefully wrapped turkey bones. It would be easy enough to toss
them into an areaway, if the worst came to the worst.

He looked up and down the street for a garbage can. But there was
none in sight. So he walked toward the avenue corner, with his
parcel under his arm. There he turned south, and at the next
corner swung about west again. But the right chance to get rid of
his turkey bones had not come. He glanced uneasily about. He
suddenly remembered that the police had the habit of holding up
belated parcel carriers and inspecting what they carried. So he
quickened his steps. But all the while he was covertly on the
lookout for his dumping spot.

A moment later he saw a patrolman on the street corner ahead of
him. He dreaded the thought of passing those scrutinizing eyes.
He eventually decided it would be too risky. So he doubled on his
own tracks, rabbit-like, crossing the street and turning north at
the next corner. He had had enough of the whole thing. It was
getting to be more than a joke. He would shilly-shally no longer,
even though he had to toss the cursed thing up on a house step.

He let the parcel slip lower down on his arm, with one finger
crooked through the string that tied it together. He was about to
fling it into the gloom of a brownstone step shadow when the door
above opened and a housemaid in cap and apron thrust a
plaintively meowing cat from the portico into the street. Trotter
quickened his steps, tingling, abashed, shaken with an inordinate
and ridiculous sense of guilt. He felt that he wanted to keep out
of the light, that he ought to skulk in the shadows until he was
free of the weight on his arm. He hurried on until he became
desperate, determined to end the farce at any hazard. So, as he
passed a building where a house front was being converted into a
low-windowed shop face, he dropped the paper package into an
abandoned mortar box.

He was startled, a moment later, by a voice calling sharply after
him: "Hi, yuh! You've dropped y'ur bundle!"

Trotter turned guiltily about. It was a night watchman. He
stepped slowly out to the mortar box as he spoke, and picked up
the parcel.

There was nothing for Trotter to do but go back and take it. He
mumbled something--he scarcely remembered whether it was a word
of explanation or of thanks. But he felt the eye of the night
watchman boring through him like a gimlet, and he was glad to
edge off and be on his way again.

By this time Trotter could feel the sweat of embarrassment on his
tingling body. He began to dramatize ridiculous contingencies. He
pictured himself as haled into night court, as cross-examined by
domineering and incredulous magistrates, who would send him to
the Island as a suspicious person. He began to be haunted by the
impression that he was being followed. The parcel became a weight
to him, a disheartening and dragging weight. He was now sure he
was being followed. He squinted back over his shoulders, only to
catch sight of a nocturnal "bill-sniper" placarding vulnerable
areas with his lithographed laudations of a vaudeville dancing
woman. A child murderer burdened with the body of his victim
could not have been more ill at ease, more timorous, more

A sudden idea came to him as he passed a Chinese laundry in which
lights still burned and irons still thumped on an ironing board.
It was an audacious one, but it pointed toward deliverance.

His plan was to enter the laundry and pass over his parcel, as
though it were his week's washing. He would be gone before they
had discovered its contents. He merely needed to be offhand and
nonchalant. More than once he had seen dilapidated actors
carrying a limited wardrobe to the laundry at equally small hours
of the night. And the sloe-eyed iron-thumpers would never again
get sight of him!

But it took a moment or two to key himself up to the right pitch.
He stepped in beside one of the granite column bases of the First
National Trust, to give an extra tug to his still lagging
courage. He leaned for a moment against the huge steel grillwork
that covered the wide bank window behind him, looking eastward
along the side street to where he could see the oblong of light
from the laundry front.

A wave of exasperation swept through him at the thought of his
own white-livered irresolution. He was about to step forward to
face the end of his dilemma when an unlooked-for movement
occurred between him and the illuminated laundry front.

It was the movement of a shadowy figure which seemed, at first
sight, to erupt from the earth itself. It was several moments, in
fact, before Trotter realized that the figure had come up from
the basement of the building which stood immediately at the rear
of the bank, the building which also contained the laundry. But
this was not the thing that held Trotter's attention. The
discovery which was causing his eyes to follow every step of the
stranger was the fact that this second man ALSO CARRIED A LARGE

He turned eastward without looking back. Yet there was something
circumspect in his footfall, something suspicious in the very
casualness of his movements. Trotter leaned out and looked after
him, nonplused by the coincidence, wondering if this second man's
mission was the same as his own. He was almost glad to see
somebody in the same boat.

Then curiosity overcame him. He turned and followed the other
man. He walked eastward, keeping as well in to the house shadows
as he could. He saw the man cross the wider traffic-way that ran
north and south, look quickly up and down the deserted street and
then, as he gained the shadow of the next house wall, veer close
in to an iron paling. Then there was a movement which Trotter
could not quite make out.

It was not until he crossed the street that he saw what the
movement meant. It was not until he caught sight of a galvanized
ash barrel standing beside the basement step and the stranger
ahead of him walking empty-handed away, that Trotter realized the
completeness of the coincidence.

The other man, without so much as stopping for a second, had
quietly dropped his paper-wrapped parcel on the top of the
galvanized barrel.

At no time did Trotter feel that there was anything momentous in
the movement. But it aroused his curiosity. It challenged
investigation. It set off his inquisitive young soul into
spreading pyrotechnics of imagination. And he realized, as he
walked up to the barrel, that his earlier sense of timidity had
disappeared. He quite calmly lifted the parcel from the barrel
top. Then he quite calmly dropped the other parcel in its place.

He was a little astonished, as he started on again, at the
pregnant weight of this new parcel. But he did not stop to
investigate. He did not care to gulp and lose the mystery at one
swallow. He scurried off with it, chucklingly, like a barnyard
hen with a corncob, to peck at it in solitude. He swung south and
then west again, to his own street. He went up his own steps,
through his own door, and up to his own top-floor room with the
rakish back wall. There he cautiously lighted the gas, drew the
blinds, and locked himself in. Next, he dragged a chair over to
the bedside, sat down on it, and carefully untied the parcel
string. Then, with somewhat accelerated pulse, he unwrapped the
paper-screened enigma.

A little puff of ironic disappointment escaped his pursed-up
lips. For at one glance he could see that it held no mystery. The
only mystery about it all was that he had been theatrical enough
to imagine it could prove anything that was not sordid and

For lying on the paper before him was nothing more than a litter
of mortar and wall plaster, interspersed with stone chips. It was
nothing more than the sweepings a brick-layer had left behind
him, a pile of worthless rubbish, a bundle of refuse, another
white elephant on his hands.

Trotter stirred the heap of dust and lime, impassively,
disdainfully. There was nothing more than an occasional brick
corner, an occasional piece of wall plaster. The only other thing
was one larger fragment of stone. Trotter looked at it
indolently. It was merely a piece of granite--an ounce or two of
stone with one highly polished end, a bit of refuse which a
hurrying mason might have used to "rubble" a wall crevice. And he
had been fool enough to cart it up four flights of stairs!

He turned the piece of stone over in his hands. It was of
porphyritic granite, with distinct crystals of feldspar embedded
in a fine grained matrix. Trotter's brow wrinkled in vague
thought as he peered down at it. He was trying to think what it
reminded him of, what possible link it made in a chain of lost

Then he remembered. It was toward the pillars of the First
National Trust Building that his mind was trying to grope. They
were of the same stuff, highly polished porphyritic granite, the
pride and wonder of the avenue along which they made a burnished
and flashing peristyle.

Trotter rubbed his chin, meditatively, and once more examined the
stone. Then he took a sudden deeper breath, and, leaning
hurriedly forward, raked through the parcel with his fingers. He
found nothing of note.

But as he sat there, stupidly staring at the fragment of granite,
his crouching body, with his feet tucked in under the chair
rungs, was startlingly like that familiar figure known as an
interrogation mark.


It was nine o'clock the next morning when Trotter, carrying a
parcel of laundry, walked casually past the First National Trust
Building and turned the corner. He also made note, as he stepped
into the open-fronted Chinese laundry, of this incongruous
side-street neighbor, its squalid meanness cheek by jowl with the
lordly magnificence of the many-columned bank structure.

On a narrow-fronted ground floor was the crowded little laundry
with its red-lettered sign, its uncurtained windows, its shelves
of red-tagged parcels, and its ever-present odor of borax. Below
this was a basement, a cellar as narrow and dark as a cistern. A
flight of perilously inclined steps led to the door of this
basement. This door, in turn, was glass-fronted, but protected by
a heavy woven-wire grating. On it was a sign which read:


It was this basement which so inordinately interested Trotter. He
essayed several mild inquiries, in handing his frugal parcel of
washing over the Chinaman's counter, as to the occupant of the
cellar below. About "J. Heeney," however, he discovered nothing
beyond the fact that he had occupied the cellar for several
months. Trotter did not want to arouse unnecessary suspicion by
overinterrogating "J. Heeney's" neighbors.

So he went mildly back to his top-floor room, and sat down and
tried to study things out. As he sat there wrapped in thought,
his idly wandering gaze rested on the electric bell above the
door. He looked at it for several seconds. Then he stood on a
chair and twisted away the bell's wiring. Using his pocket knife
as a screwdriver, he released the bell from the door lintel. Then
he cleaned and polished it. This done, he removed the clapper,
wrapped the bell up in a piece of newspaper, and made his
unhesitating way back to the cellar beneath the Chinese laundry.
He was very much awake as he went slowly down the narrow steps.
He wanted nothing to escape his notice.

He found the wire-screened door at the bottom locked. But he
could get a clear enough view of the interior, even through the
dirty glass. The entire space within was not more than ten feet
wide and eight feet deep. It held a litter of plumber's tools, a
few lengths of gas piping, a row of batteries, a blowpipe, a
small hand-forge, a couple of porcelain washbowls, a deal table
and chair and what seemed to be an electric transformer in a
sadly battered case.

Across the back of the shop ran a wooden partition, plainly
shutting off the main part of the cellar. In this partition,
Trotter's careful scrutiny discovered, stood a narrow door. He
ached to know what lay behind that door and that partition. But
he had to be content with the shallower shop front. So he was not
hurried in his inspection of it. It was not until he had fixed
the details of the entire place in his mind that he ventured to

There was no answer to his knock. Yet it was plain that some one
was inside, for he could see the key in the lock, through the
dirty glass. Who that person was he intended to find out.

He was rattling the wire fretwork, impatiently, loudly, when the
partition door swung open.

Through this door stepped a short and extremely broad-shouldered
man. There was no trace of annoyance on his face. In fact, much
to Trotter's vague disappointment, he was smiling, smiling easily
and broadly. He wore a workman's jumper, stained with oil and
iron rust, and in his hand he carried a large pair of pipe tongs.
But these did not interest Trotter. What caught his eye was the
fact that the man's boots were white with lime dust.

"Hold on, sister; hold on!" said the man, with a laugh, for
Trotter was still rattling the door. The owner stepped across his
shop and turned the key in the lock.

"Hard to hear when I'm in doin' my lathe work," he explained, as
he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. All the while, as
he swung back the door, his eyes were closely studying the eyes
of the other man. Trotter noticed the row of matches stuck in the
soiled hatband, and the cotton bag of "Durham" that swung from
his sweat-stained belt.

"What can I do for you, sister?" was his companionable greeting.
Trotter unwrapped his electric bell.

"Can you give me a clapper for this?" he asked.

The other man took the bell in his hand. Trotter could see
powdered lime under his nails.

"I guess I can fix you out," said the shop owner. "Wait a

He turned to the door in the partition, and disappeared from
sight, closing the door after him.

Trotter's first decision had been to take the key from the outer
door lock. But some sixth sense made him hesitate, prompted him
to turn and look at the inner door.

His stare was rewarded by the discovery of a hole in this door,
about five feet from the floor. It was a lookout; he felt sure he
was being watched. So he thrust his hands into his pockets, gazed
carelessly about the shop, and waited.

The man reappeared, shaking his head.

"Nothing doing," he said. He was not able to fit a clapper to the

"But I thought you kept electric supplies here," objected

The other man smiled. His good nature was impregnable.

"Oh, I can get it, if you've got to have it. Come back about ten

"All right," was Trotter's indifferent answer, as he turned
languidly away. He went up the steps with equal languor, humming
as he went.


Trotter kept guarded watch on "J. Heeney's" plumbing
establishment. He watched it like a hungry cat watching a rat
hole. And it was three hours later that he had the satisfaction
of seeing the plumber ascend to the street and walk hurriedly
westward. Trotter could see that he carried a kit of tools under
his arm. But to follow him in open daylight was too great a risk.
Instead of that, he went down the narrow steps, and through the
dusty glass examined the doorlock.

Fifteen minutes later he went down another flight of basement
steps, this time to the cellar of a Sixth Avenue locksmith.

"I've got a closet door locked shut on me," he explained. "And I
want a key to get it open."

The locksmith looked him up and dow.n He seemed respectable
enough, this mild-eyed youth with the locked closet.

But the locksmith knew the tricks of his trade.

"Then I'll take a bunch of `blanks' over with me and open her up
for you."

"I'd rather get her open by myself."

"It will cost you a dollar," was the locksmith's ultimatum.

"It's worth a dollar," agreed Trotter. "But how'll we do it?"

"I'll dip a skeleton blank in hot wax and lampblack. Then you put
the key in the lock and turn it as far as you can. That'll show
the ward marks, where they bite the wax. Then bring me the key
and I'll cut it. Maybe it'll take two cuttings. That'll be two

Trotter paid a quarter deposit and took the key, made a
circuitous way to the plumber's cellar, descended the steps,
knocked, got no answer, and quietly inserted the key in the lock,
turning it as far as it would go.

Instead of going back to the locksmith, he bought a ten-cent
file, and with his own hand cut away the blank according to the
ward marks. Once more he made his way to the door of the empty
shop and fitted his key. It turned part way round in the lock,
but did not throw back the bar. He recoated the key flange with
the black wax by holding it to a lighted match and letting it
cool again.

He at once saw where his cutting had been imperfect. A few
strokes of his file remedied this. He once more fitted the key to
the lock, and found that he was free to pass in and out of the

Yet he deferred forcing an entrance, at the moment, hungrily as
he studied the inner partition door through the iron-grated
glass. He knew what such a movement meant. He could not count on
Heeney's continued absence. Above all, at this, the beginning of
things, he wanted to avoid any untimely mis-step. So he made his
way to the street, shuttling cautiously back and forth across the
avenue, aimless of demeanor, diffident of step, yet ever and
always on the lookout. From half a block away he saw Heeney
return to his cellar. From an even remoter stand, two hours
later, he perceived the plumber emerge, like a rabbit out of its
warren. He also perceived that the rapidly disappearing man
carried a large paper parcel under his arm.

As before, this parcel was carried for three blocks and then
adroitly deposited on the top of an ash barrel.

Trotter, once Heeney had skulked about the next corner, quietly
crossed the street and sauntered past the parcel-crowned barrel,
with his open pocketknife in his hand. One sweep of the knife
blade slit the paper wrapper, and without so much as stopping on
his way Trotter was able to catch up a handful of the litter it
held. This litter, as before, was made up of ground mortar and
plaster and stone chips. But this time, amid the lime and dust,
he could detect the glitter of minute particles of steel.

He tested the larger fragments of these with his knife point.
They were very hard, harder even than his tempered blade steel,
diamond-like in their durity. He concluded, as he sat on the edge
of his bed that night, rubbing them between his fingers, that
they could be nothing but particles of keenly-tempered chromium
steel. And chromium steel, he knew, was not used in gas pipes. It
was foolish to think of it as a subject for lathe work. It was
equally absurd to accept it as an everyday element in any
plumber's everyday work. Trotter was not ignorant of the fact
that steel of this character was used almost exclusively in the
construction of high grade safes and bank vaults.

He stood up, suddenly, and crossed the room to his little
bookshelf. From this shelf he took down a much-thumbed "World
Almanac," a paper-bound volume which for months past had been
serving as his only guide to New York. He turned to the pages
headed "Banks in Manhattan and Bronx." It took but a minute's
search to secure the names of the president and cashier of the
First National Trust Company. But when he further read that its
capital was three million five hundred thousand, and that its
total resources amounted to forty-seven million three hundred
thousand dollars, his breath came in shorter gasps of excitement.
He began to realize the colossal wealth which lay guarded behind
the great porphyritic granite pillars. He also began to realize
some new and as yet undefined responsibility. The mere thought of
the magnitude of the movement in which he was being made a
deliberate and yet disinterested factor brought him once more to
his feet, pacing his little den of a room with thoughtful and
preoccupied steps.


Early the next morning Trotter was back at the bank corner, like
a guard at his sentry-box. He kept watch there, with that
pertinacious alertness peculiar to the idler, until he had the
satisfaction of witnessing Heeney's early departure from the
cellar, with a tool kit under his arm.

Five minutes later Trotter was descending the stairs that led to
the plumber's shop. Once there, he took out his key, fitted it to
the lock, opened the door, stepped quietly inside, and locked the
outer door after him. Before venturing to open the inner door he
pressed an ear flat against the wooden partition and stood there
listening. The silence was unbroken.

He stepped to the side of the shop and caught up a plumber's
thick-bodied tallow candle. Then he softly opened the second
door, stepped inside, and as softly closed the door after him.

He found himself in perfect darkness. But he stood there,
waiting, before venturing to move forward, before daring to
strike a light. He knew, as he peered about the blackness that
engulfed him, that he was now facing more than an indeterminate
responsibility. He was confronting actual and immediate danger.
Even as he stood there, sniffing at the air, so heavy with its
smell of damp lime and its undecipherable underground gases, a
sudden fuller consciousness of undefined and yet colossal peril
sent a telegraphing tingle of nerves up and down his body.

The only thing that broke the silence was the faint sound of
footsteps on the laundry floor above him, together with the
steady thump of irons on the ironing table. There was something
fortifying, something consoling, in those neighborly and
sedentary little noises.

Trotter struck a match and lighted his candle. He waited without
moving for the flame to grow. Then he thrust the candle up before
him. As he did so, his hand came in contact with the rough
surface of what at first he took to be a stone wall. But as he
looked closer he saw that it was not masonry. It was nothing more
nor less than a carefully piled mass of stone and brick. Each
fragment had been carefully placed on top of its fellow, each
interstice had been carefully filled with rubble.

The pile extended from floor to ceiling. It filled the entire
cellar. It left only space enough for a man to pass inward from
the opened door. It was nothing more than the dump of a mine, the
rock and brick from a tunnel, not flung loosely about, but
scrupulously stowed away.

Holding the candle in front of him, Trotter bent low and groped
his way in through the narrow passage. Everything was as orderly
and hidden as the approach to a wild animal's lair. Everything
was eloquent of a keen secretiveness. No betraying litter met his
eye. Each move had been calmly and cautiously made. Each step of
a complicated campaign had been quietly engineered. Trotter could
even decipher a series of electric wires festooned from the
little tunnel's top. He could see where the passage had gone
around obstacles, where it had curled about a dishearteningly
heavy buttress base, where it had dipped lower to underrun a
cement vault bed, where it had sheered off from the tin-foiled
surface of a "closed-curcuit" protective system, and where it had
dipped and twisted about to advance squarely into a second blind
wall at right angles to the first.

A portion of this wall had been torn away. With equal care an
inner coating of cement had been chiseled off, exposing to view
an unbroken dark surface.

As Trotter held the candle closer, he could see this dark surface
marked off with chalk lines, sometimes with crosses, sometimes
with figures he could not decipher. On it, too, he could see a
solitary depression, as round and bright as a silver coin, as
though a diamond drill had been testing the barrier.

He knew, even before he touched the chill surface with his hand,
that it was a wall of solid steel, that it was the steel of the
bank vault itself, the one deep-hidden and masonry-embedded area
which stood without its ever-vigilant closed-circuit sentry. And
he knew that Heeney had grubbed and eaten and burrowed his way,
like a woodchuck, to the very heart of the First National Trust's

It was only then that the stupendousness of the whole thing came
home to Trotter. It was only then that he realized the almost
superhuman cunning and pertinacity in this guileless-eyed cellar
plotter called Heeney. He could see the hours of patient labor it
had involved, the days and days of mole-like tunneling, the weeks
and weeks of gnome-like burrowing and carrying and twisting and
loosening and piling, the months of ant-like industry which one
blow of the Law's heel would make as nothing.

It rather bewildered Trotter. It filled him with an
ever-increasing passion to get away from the place, to escape
while he still had a chance. It turned the gaseous underground
tunnel into a stifling pit, making his breath come in short and
wheezing gasps. It brought a tiny-beaded sweat out on his chilled

Then he stopped breathing altogether. He wheeled about and
suddenly brought his thumb and forefinger together on the candle
flame, pinching it out as one might pinch the life out of a moth.

For on his straining ears fell the sound of a door slammed shut.
There was no mistake, no illusion about it. Some one had entered
the shop. Then came the sound of a second door. This time it was
being opened. And it was the door leading into the tunnel.

Trotter could see the momentary efflorescence of pale light at
the bend in the passage before him. And he realized that he was
unarmed. He had not even a crowbar, not even a chisel or wrench,
with which to defend himself. He knew he stood there trapped and

He shrank back, instinctively, without being conscious of the
movement. He heard the sound of steps, shuffling and short. Then
came an audible grunt, a grunt of relief. This was followed by
the thump of a heavy weight dropped to the brick floor. Then came
the sound of steps again, still shuffling and short.

Trotter leaned forward, listening, waiting, with every nerve
strained. He concentrated every sense on the blur of light along
the tunnel wall before him.

As he peered forward, scarcely daring to breathe, he was
conscious of the fact that the light had suddenly withered. It
vanished from the refracting tunnel sides, as though wiped away
by an obliterating black sponge. Even before the truth of the
thing had come home to him, he heard the sound of a quietly
closed door.

Heeney had gone. He had merely crept into his tunnel mouth,
dropped some tools, and then quietly crept out again.

It was not until he heard the slam of the outer door, a moment or
two later, that Trotter felt sure of his deliverance. It was not
until he knew his enemy was up the steps that he let his aching
lungs gulp in the fetid tunnel air.

Then he crept forward cautiously, obsessed by one impulse, the
impulse of escape, the passion to reach the open, to find air and
light and space once more about him. He did nothing more than
feel hurriedly over the bundle that lay in his path. It seemed an
instrument of steel tied up in a cloth. He could feel strand
after strand of wires, ductile and cloth-covered wires. He could
also decipher a disk through which ran a piece of metal, like a
blade through a sword guard. He felt sure it was an electrode of
some sort, a tool to convert stolen electricity into a weapon of
offense and assault. But he neither waited to strike a light nor
stooped to puzzle over the bundle.

He paused for a minute to listen at the closed partition door.
The only sound that came to his ears was the shuffle of feet and
the thump from the ironing board above him. Yet when he opened
this partition door he did so noiselessly, cautiously, slowly,
inch by inch. Still screened in shadow, he studied the shop, the
steps, the wire-blurred window, the street above him. Then he
took a deep breath, crossed to the shop door, unlocked it,
stepped outside, relocked it after him, and, pocketing the key,
climbed the steps to the sidewalk.

His face, as he came out to the light, was almost colorless. His
eyes were wide and staring with wonder. He kept telling himself
that he must walk slowly, that he must in no way betray himself,
that he must appear indifferent and offhand and inconspicuous to
every one he chanced to pass. He felt the necessity of guarding
himself, for he was now a person of importance. He was an
emissary of destiny, an agent entrusted with a vast issue.

The streets through which he passed no longer frowned down at him
from their inhospitable skylines. He was no longer an unattached
and meaningless unit in the life that throbbed and roared all
about him. He meant something to it. He was part of it. He was
its guardian. And it would acknowledge him, in the end, or he
would know the reason why.


Trotter sat peering mildly about him as that Gargantuan organism
known as a newspaper office labored and shrieked in the birth of
an afternoon edition. Subterranean Hoe presses roared and hummed,
telegraph keys clicked and cluttered, typewriters tapped and
clattered like a dozen highholders on a hollow elm, telephone
bells shrilled, shouting pressmen came and went, unkempt copy
boys trailed back and forth with their festoons of limp galley
proof, and Hubbart, with close-set eyes and a forehead like a
bisected ostrich egg, sat at the City Desk, calmly presiding over
an otherwise frenzied accouchement.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest