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

The Boy With the U.S. Census by Francis Rolt-Wheeler

Part 1 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.5 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.

Produced by Steven desJardins and Distributed Proofreaders.

[Illustration: THE STATUE OF LIBERTY. The welcome of New York, the
gateway of the New World, to all races and peoples of the earth.
(_Courtesy of U.S. Immigration Station, Ellis Island._)]



[Illustration: The Boy With the U.S. Census]

With Thirty-eight Illustrations, principally from
Bureaus of the United States Government

November, 1911

To My Son Roger's Friend



Life in America to-day is adventurous and thrilling to the core. Border
warfare of the most primitive type still is waged in mountain
fastnesses, the darkest pages in the annals of crime now are being
written, piracy has but changed its scene of operations from the sea to
the land, smugglers ply a busy trade, and from their factory prisons a
hundred thousand children cry aloud for rescue. The flame of Crusade
sweeps over the land and the call for volunteers is abroad.

In hazardous scout duty into these fields of danger the Census Bureau
leads. The Census is the sword that shatters secrecy, the key that opens
trebly-guarded doors; the Enumerator is vested with the Nation's
greatest right--the Right To Know--and on his findings all battle-lines
depend. "When through Atlantic and Pacific gateways, Slavic, Italic, and
Mongol hordes threaten the persistence of an American America, his is
the task to show the absorption of widely diverse peoples, to chronicle
the advances of civilization, or point the perils of illiterate and
alien-tongue communities. To show how this great Census work is done,
to reveal the mysteries its figures half-disclose, to point the paths to
heroism in the United States to-day, and to bind closer the kinship
between all peoples of the earth who have become "Americans" is the aim
and purpose of














The Statue of Liberty (_Frontispiece_)
Taking the Census in Old Kentucky
Kentucky Mountaineer Family
Bill Wilsh's Home in the Gully
Bill Wilsh in the School
The Census Building
Making Gun-sights True
"A Bull's-eye Every Time!"
Young Boys from the Pit
"I 'ain't Seen Daylight for Two Years"
Eight Years Old and "Tired of Working"
The Biggest Liner in the World Coming in
Immigration Station, Ellis Island
Where the Workers Come from
On a Peanut Farm
In an All-Negro Town
"'Way down Yonder in de Cotton Fiel'"
How Most of the Negroes Live
Facsimile of Punched Census Card
Tabulating Machine
Pin-box and Mercury Cups
Over the Trackless Snow with Dog-team
The Census in the Aleutian Islands
"Can We Make Camp?"
To Eskimo Settlements by Reindeer
Gathering Cocoanuts
Taking the Census in a City
Festa in the Italian Quarter
The Fighting Men of the Tongs
Arrested as the Firing Stops
Work for Americans




"Uncle Eli," said Hamilton suddenly, "since I'm going to be a
census-taker, I think I'd like to apply for this district."

The old Kentucky mountaineer, who had been steadily working his way
through the weekly paper, lowered it so that he could look over the top
of the page, and eyed the boy steadfastly.

"What for?" he queried.

"I think I could do it better than almost anybody else in this section,"
was the ready, if not modest, reply.

"Wa'al, perhaps yo' might," the other assented and took up the paper
again. Hamilton waited. He had spent but little time in the mountains
but he had learned the value of allowing topics to develop slowly, even
though his host was better informed than most of the people in the
region. Although not an actual relative, Hamilton always called him
"Uncle" because he had fought with distinguished honor in the regiment
that Hamilton's father commanded during the Civil War, and the two men
ever since had been friends.

"I don't quite see why any one sh'd elect to take a hand in any such
doin's unless he has to," the Kentuckian resumed, after a pause; "that
census business seems kind of inquisitive some way to me."

"But it seems to me that it's the right kind of 'inquisitive.'"

"I reckon I hadn't thought o' there bein' more'n one kind of
inquisitiveness," the mountaineer said, with a smile, "but if you say
so, I s'pose it's all right."

"But don't you think the questions are easy enough?" asked the boy.

"They may be easy, but thar's no denyin' that some of 'em are mighty
unpleasant to answer."

"But if they are necessary?"

"Thar's a-plenty o' folks hyeh in the mount'ns that yo' c'n never make
see how knowin' their private affairs does the gov'nment any good."

"But you don't feel that way, Uncle Eli, surely?"

"Wa'al, I don' know. Settin' here talkin' about it, I know it's all
right, an' I'm willin' to tell all I know. But I jes' feel as sure as
c'n be, that befo' the census-taker gets through hyeh, I'm goin' to be
heated up clar through."

"But why?" queried the lad again. "The questions are plain enough, and
there was practically no trouble at the last census. I think it's a fine
thing, and every one ought to be glad to help. And it's so important,

"Important!" protested the old man. "Did yo' ever see any one that ever
sat down an' read those tables an' tables o' figures?"

"Not for fun, perhaps," the boy admitted. "But it isn't done for the
sake of getting interesting reading matter; it's because those figures
really are necessary. Why there's hardly a thing that you can think of
that the census isn't at the back of."

"I don't see how that is. They don't ask about a man's politics, I
notice," the mountaineer remarked.

"No," answered Hamilton promptly, "but the number of members a State
sends to Congress depends on the figures of the population that the
census-takers gather, and the only claim that any legislator has to his
seat is based on their information."

"I suppose you'd say the same about schools, too."

"Of course," the boy answered.

"But I hear the Census Bureau this year wants all sorts of information
about the crops an' the number of pigs kept an' all that sort o' stuff."

"Don't you think the food of all the people of the United States is
important enough, Uncle Eli? And then the railroads, too,--they depend
on the figures about the crops and all sorts of other things which go as

"You seem to know a lot about it," the mountaineer said, looking
thoughtfully at the boy.

"I ought to," Hamilton said, "because I'm going to be an assistant
special agent in the Census of Manufactures right away. I applied last
October and took the exam a couple of weeks before coming here on this

"What makes yo' so cocksure that you've passed the examination?" he was

"I didn't find it so hard," Hamilton replied, "figures have always been
easy for me, and when my brother was studying for that chartered
accountant business I learned a lot from him."

"Your dad, he was a great hand fo' figures, so I s'pose yo' come by it
naturally enough. An' you're jes' sure you've passed?"

"I haven't heard one way or the other," said Hamilton, "but I'm pretty

"Wa'al, thar's no use sayin' anythin' if you're all sot, but it's the
business of the gov'nment, an' I'd let them do it."

"But I'm hoping to work right with the government all the time, Uncle
Eli," the boy explained "either with the Census Bureau or the Bureau of
Statistics or some work like that. And anyway, if it's the government's
business, I'm an American and it's my business."

"Yo' have the right spirit, boy," the old man said, "an' I like to see
it, but you're huntin' trouble sure's you're born. S'posin' yo' asked
the questions of some ol' sorehead that wouldn' answer?"

"He'd have to answer," replied Hamilton stoutly, "there's a law to make

"I don't believe that law's used much," hazarded the old man.

"It isn't," Hamilton found himself forced to admit. "I believe there
were not very many arrests all over the country last census. But the
law's there, just the same."

"It wouldn' be a law on the Ridge," the mountaineer said, "an' I don'
believe it would do yo' any good anywhar else. On the mount'ns, I know,
courtesy is a whole lot bigger word than constitution. Up hyeh, we
follow the law when we're made to, follow an idee backed up by a
rifle-barrel because we have to, but there's not many men hyeh that won'
do anythin' yo' ask if yo' jes' ask the right way."

"But there are always some that give trouble," Hamilton protested,
trying to defend his position.

The old Kentuckian slowly shook his head from side to side.

"If yo' don' win out by courtesy," he said, "it's jes' because yo'
haven' been courteous enough, because yo' haven' taken yo' man jes'
right. Thar isn't any such thing as bein' too gracious. An' anyway, a
census-taker with any other idee up hyeh would be runnin' chances right

"You mean they would shoot him up?" asked Hamilton.

"I think if he threatened some folks up hyeh an' in the gullies thar
might be trouble."

"But the fact that he represented the government would insure him from
harm, I should think."

"I don't think much of that insurance idee," the old man said. "I can't
remember that it helped the revenue men sech a great deal. The only
insurance I ever had was a quick ear, an' even now, I c'n hear a twig
snap near a quarter of a mile away. An' that used to be good insurance
in the ol' days when, if yo' weren't gunnin' for somebody, thar was
somebody gunnin' fo' you."

"But there's no one 'gunning' for you now, is there, Uncle Eli?" asked
the boy amusedly.

"I haven't b'n lookin' out especially," the Kentuckian responded, with
an answering slow smile, "an' I reckon sometimes that I might jes' as
well leave the ol' rifle in the house when I go out."

"But you never do," put in Hamilton quickly.

"I reckon that's jes' a feelin'," rejoined the mountaineer, "jes' one o'
these habits that yo' hate to give up. I'd sort o' be lost without it
now, after all these years. Thar's no one to worry about, anyway,
savin' Jake Howkle, an' I don' believe he's hankerin' for

"Jake? Oh, never," Hamilton replied with assurance; "why, he's only
about my age."

"That's only partly why," the old man said, "not only because he's your
age, but because he's b'n at school. Shootin' an' schoolin' don' seem to
hit it off. I reckon thar would have b'n a sight less trouble in the
mount'ns if thar had b'n mo' schools."

"There are plenty of schools in the mountains now, aren't there?" asked
Hamilton. "It must be very different here, Uncle Eli, from what it was
when you were a boy."

"Thar has been quite a change, an' the change is comin' faster now. But
thar's still a lot o' folk who a'nt altered a bit sence the war. You
city people call us slow-movin' up hyeh, an' as long as thar's any o'
the ol' spirit abroad thar's a chance o' trouble. If yo' really are
goin' in for this census-takin', I'd keep clar o' the mount'ns."

"You really would?" queried the boy thoughtfully.

"An' what's more," continued his Uncle, "I would jes' as soon that yo'
didn' have anythin' to do with it near hyeh. I don' want to see any
little differences between families, such as census-takin' is likely
to provoke."

[Illustration: TAKING THE CENSUS IN OLD KENTUCKY: Typical conditions of
an enumerator's work in the mountain districts. (_Courtesy of Art
Manufacturing Co., Amelia, O._)]

"Why, Uncle Eli!" cried Hamilton in amazement, "you talk as though the
days of the feuds were not over."

"Are yo' sure they're all over?" the Kentuckian said.

"I had supposed so," the boy replied. "I thought the Kentucky 'killings'
had stopped ten or fifteen years ago."

"It's a little queer yo' sh'd bring that up today," the old man said,
"for I was jes' readin' in the paper some figures on that very thing.
Yo' like figures, this will jes' suit you. Where was it now?" he
continued, rustling the paper; then, a moment later, "Oh, yes, I have

"'During the terms of the last three Kentucky governors,'" he read,
"'over thirteen hundred criminals have been pardoned, five hundred of
them being for murder or manslaughter.' It says fu'ther on," the old man
added, "that pardonin' is jes' as frequent now as it ever was. I don'
believe it is, myself, but if thar is such a lot o' pardonin' goin' on
for shootin', thar must have been a powerful lot o' shootin'."

"But that's for all the State," objected the boy, "not for the
mountains only. That must be for crimes in the cities and all sorts of
things. You can't make the feuds responsible for those."

"Not altogether," the mountaineer agreed, "the real ol'-time feud is
peterin' out, an' it's mainly due to the schoolin'. The young folks
ain't ready fo' revenge now, an' that sort o' swings the women around.
An' up hyeh in the mount'ns, same as everywhar else, I reckon, the idees
o' the women make a pile o' difference."

"But I should have thought the women would always have been against the
feuds," said Hamilton.

"Yo'd think so, but they weren't. They helped to keep up the grudges a
whole lot."

"Aunt Ab hasn't changed much," volunteered the lad.

"She hasn't for a fact. Ab is powerful sot. She holds the grudge against
the Howkles in the ol' style. But the feelin' is dyin' out fast, an'
soon it'll be like history,--only jes' read of in books."

"What I never could see," remarked Hamilton, "was what started it all.
It isn't as if the people in the mountains had come from some part of
the world where vendettas and that sort of thing had been going on for
generations. There must have been some kind of reason for it in this
section of the country. Feuds don't spring up just for nothing."

"Thar was a while once we had a powerful clever talker up hyeh," the
Kentuckian answered, "actin' as schoolmaster for a few weeks. I reckon
he'd offered to substitute jes' to get a chance to see for himself what
life in the mount'ns was like. He was writin' a book about it. We got
right frien'ly, an' he knew he was always welcome hyeh, an' one day I
asked him jes' that question. It was shortly befo' he lef' an' I wanted
to know what he thought about us all up hyeh."

The mountaineer leaned back in his chair and chuckled with evident
enjoyment of the recollection.

"I jes' put the question to him," he said, "in the mildes' way, an' he
started right in to talk. Thar was no stoppin' him, an' I couldn'
remember one-half o' what he said. But I reckon he had it about right."

"How did he explain the feuds, Uncle Eli?" asked the boy.

"Wa'al," said the mountaineer, with a short laugh, "he begun by sayin'
we were savages."


"Not jes' with war-paint an' tomahawk, yo' understan'," continued the
old man, enjoying the boy's astonishment, "but uncivilized an' wild.
Thar an't any finer stock in the world, he said, than the mount'neers o'
the Ridge, clar down to Tennessee, an' he said, too, that they were o'
the good old English breed, not foreigners like are comin' in now."

"That's right enough," Hamilton agreed, "and, what's more, they were
gentlemen of good birth, most of them; there was not much of the peasant
in the early colonists."

"So this author chap said. But he explained that was the very reason
they got so wild."

"I don't see that," objected Hamilton, "and I certainly don't see where
the 'savage' idea comes in."

"Wa'al, he said that when you slid down from a high place it was harder
to climb back than if the fall had b'n small. An' that's why it's so
hard for those who have gone down,--they can see the depth o' the fall."

Hamilton, who was of an argumentative turn of mind, would have protested
at this, but the old mountaineer proceeded.

"When the pioneers settled in the mount'ns they kind o' stuck. Those
that went on, down into the Blue Grass region, went boomin' right ahead,
but those that stayed in the mount'ns had no chance."

"I don't see why not?" objected the boy.

"They were jes' cut off from everywhar. We are to-day, for that matter.
When a place gets settled, an' starts to try an' raise somethin' to
sell, the product has got to be taken to market. But thar was no
railroad up in the mount'ns. Children were easy to raise, an' a
population grew up in a hurry, but the land was too poor for good
farmin', the roads were too bad for takin' corn to market, an' thar was
no way o' gettin' to a town."

"You are pretty well cut off," said Hamilton.

"We were more so then," the mountaineer said. "An' so, while all the
country 'round was advancin' up in the mount'ns, fifty years ago, we
were livin' jes' like pioneers. An' some, not bein' able to keep up the
strain, fell back."

"So it really isn't the fault of the mountaineers at all," cried the
boy, "but because they were sort of marooned."

"It was unfortunate," replied the old man, "but it really was our own
fault. If the mount'n country was worth developin', we should have
developed it; if not, we should have left."

"I've often wondered why you didn't, Uncle Eli," said Hamilton.

"Yo' must remember," the Kentuckian said, "that the mount'neers are a
most independent lot. They want to be independent, an' up hyeh, every
man is his own master. But, thar bein' no available market if they did
work hard, what was the use o' workin'? Some o' them, 'specially down in
the gullies, got lazy an' shif'less. But they hung on all the harder to
the idees o' the old times,--honor an' hospitality."

"I've always understood," said Hamilton, "that there was more
hospitality to be found up here in the mountains than in almost any
place on the globe."

"As yo' said," the old man continued, "we're jes' like a crew o'
shipwrecked sailors marooned on an island without a boat, without any
means o' gettin' away. If some o' the families high up in the gullies
are ignorant, it's because they've had no schoolin', not because they
haven' got the makin's o' good citizens; if they're a bit careless about
religion, it's because they've had no churchin', an' if they don' pay
much heed to law, it's because the law has never done much for them.
The ocean o' progress," went on the mountaineer, with a flourish, "has
rolled all 'roun' the mount'ns, but of all the fleets o' commerce in all
these years, thar has not been one to send out a boat to help the
marooned mount'neer."

"Didn't they ever try to get help?" queried the boy.

"We're not askin' help," the Kentuckian said, "thar's no whinin' on the
mount'ns. I jes' tell yo' that when the time comes for the mount'neers
o' Kentucky an' Virginia an' Tennessee an' Carolina to get a fair
chance, they'll show yo' as fine a race o' men an' women as the Stars
an' Stripes flies over."

"They are mighty fine right now, I think," the boy said.

"They have their good points," the Kentuckian agreed; "thar's nothin'
sneakin' in the men up hyeh, an' thar an't any lengths to which a man
won't go, to do what he thinks is the squar thing. You've heard about
the Beaupoints?"

"No," the boy answered, "what was that?"

"It was jes' an incident in one o' these feuds that you were talkin' of,
an' I'm goin' to tell yo' about it, to show yo' what a mount'neer's
idee o' honor is like. Thar was a family livin' on the other side o' the
Ridge, not a great ways from hyeh, by the name o' Calvern, an' in some
way or other--I never heard the rights of it--they took to shootin' up
the Beaupoints every chance that come along. One day Dandie Beaupoint
found a little girl that had hurt herself, an' he picked her up in his
arms an' was carryin' her home when one o' the Calvern boys shot him in
his tracks. One o' the Beaupoint brothers was away at the time, but the
others felt that the Calverns hadn't b'n playin' fair, an' they reckoned
to lay them all out. They did, too, all but one, an', although they had
a chance to nail him, they let him alone."

"Why was he let off?" queried Hamilton.

"I reckon it was because he had a young wife an' a little child," the
old man answered. "Now Jim Beaupoint, the one that had been away, he
come home after a while, an' hadn't happened to hear about the wipin'
out o' the Calverns. On his way home, he had to pass the Calvern place,
an' so he made a wide cast aroun' the hill to keep out o' sight, when
suddenly, up a gully, he saw this Hez Calvern standin' there with his
rifle on his arm, an', quick as he could move, Jim grabbed his gun an'
fired. It was a long shot an' a sure one."

"Was it--" the boy began, but the old man waved the interruption aside
and proceeded.

"Reloadin' his rifle, Jim Beaupoint rode slowly to whar Hez Calvern was
lyin', when suddenly, from a clump o' bushes close by, there come a
rifle shot, an' the rider got the bullet in his chest. Befo' fallin'
from the saddle, however, the young fellow fired at the bushes from
which smoke was driftin', an' a shrill scream told him that the
sharpshooter was a woman."

"Some one who had been with Hez Calvern?" asked Hamilton.

"His wife. Well, although Jim was mortally hurt an' sufferin'--as the
tracks showed afterwards--he tried to drag himself to the bushes in
order to help the woman who had shot him an' who he had shot unknowin';
but he was too badly hurt, an' he died twenty yards from the place whar
he fell."

"Was the woman dead, too?" asked Hamilton.

"No, but terrible badly hurt. What I was wantin' to tell yo', though,
was the result of all this. Wa'al, the Beaupoints took the woman to
their home an' nursed her night an' day for five long years. She was
helpless, only for her tongue, an' she lashed an' abused them till the
day she died, an' never once, in all those years, did any one o' the
Beaupoints reproach her in return."

"And the youngster?"

"They took the boy, too, an' reared him the bes' they knew how, jes' the
same as one o' their own. One o' the Beaupoint boys went an' lived on
the Calvern place, an' worked it,--worked it fair an' squar', an' put
aside every cent that come out o' the farm. For thirteen years the
Beaupoints looked after the farm an' reared the boy. On the day he was
fourteen year old, Jed Beaupoint--that was the father--called the lad,
told him the whole story, give him a new rifle an' a powder horn, an'
handed over the little bag o' coin that represented thirteen years o'
work on the Calvern holdin'."

"There certainly couldn't be anything squarer than that!" exclaimed
Hamilton. "And he gave the boy the farm, too?"

"Every inch of it. Jed Beaupoint was a squar' man, cl'ar through. An' he
said to the boy--he tol' me the story himself--'Johnny Calvern, thar's
yo' farm an' yo' rifle. Now, if yo're willin', I'll see that thar's no
trouble until yo're twenty-one, an' then yo' c'n go huntin' revenge if
yo've a mind to, or, if you're willin', we'll call the trouble off now,
an' thar won't be any need o' rakin' it up again.'"

"He made it up on the spot, of course?" questioned Hamilton.

The Kentuckian shook his head.

"He did not," he replied. "The boy thought a minute or two an' then said
he'd wait until he was grown up, an' let him know then."

"Although he had been brought up by the Beaupoints!" exclaimed the boy
in surprise. "But surely it never came up again."

"Well, not exac'ly. When Johnny Calvern was about nineteen he got
married, an' a few days befo' the time when he would be twenty-one, he
rode up to the Beaupoint place, an' tol' the ol' man that he was willin'
to let the feud rest another ten years, because of his wife an' little
baby, but that he would be ready to resume shootin' at that time."

"But he had no real grudge against the Beaupoints had he, Uncle Eli?
They had always been kind to him, you said."

"Not a bit o' grudge," the mountaineer answered, "they were good
friends. An' I reckon it wasn't Johnny that wanted the trouble to begin
again, but thar's always a lot o' hotheads pryin' into other folks'
business. However, ol' Jed Beaupoint didn't mind; he agreed to another
ten years' truce, an' all went on peacefully as befo'. Durin' those ten
years, however, Johnny's wife died, an' he got married again, this time
to the sister o' a wanderin' preacher, a girl who had once lived in
cities, an' she soon showed him that the ol' feud business must be
forgotten. But it is a mite unusual, even hyeh, to farm a man's land an'
bring up his child fo' thirteen years, an' then give him everythin' yo'
can with the privilege o' shootin' yo' at sight for all the favors

"It doesn't sound a bit like the usual feud story," said Hamilton, "one
always thinks of those as being cold-blooded and cruel."

"Thar an't a mite o' intentional cruelty in them; it's jes' that life is
held cheap. Most o' them begun over some small thing like an election."

"There were quite a number of them, Uncle Eli, weren't there?"

"One ran into the other so easily that one feud would often look like
half a dozen, an' trouble would be goin' on in various places. But
there were really seven of them, all big ones."

[Illustration: KENTUCKY MOUNTAINEER FAMILY. In the heart of the feud
district, where the rifle is never out of reach. (_Courtesy of the
Spirit of Missions._)]

"What were they, Uncle Eli?"

"Wa'al, thar was the McCoy-Hatfield feud in Pike County, that started
over the ownership o' two plain razorback hogs, but afterwards got very
bitter, owin' to the friendship o' one o' the McCoy girls with the son
o' Bad Anse Hatfield. Then thar was the Howard-Turner feud in Harlan
County. An' then--"

"What started the Howard-Turner feud?" interrupted the boy.

"That was over a game o' cards. One o' the Howards had been winnin', an'
Jim Turner, with a pistol, forced him to give back the money he had won.
That affair raged a long time. The Logan-Tolliver feud in Rowan County
was over an election fo' sheriff. The Logans elected their candidate,
an' so the Tollivers killed one o' the Logans at the polls and wounded
three others."

"That's expressing dissatisfaction with an election with some spirit,"
Hamilton remarked.

"Then thar was the French-Eversole feud in Perry County," continued the
Kentuckian, reminiscently. "Ol' Joe Eversole was a merchant in a town
called Hazard, an' he helped Fulton French to start a little store. In
time French almos' drove Eversole out o' business. That was a strange
fight, because neither French nor Eversole ever got into the
shootin',--indeed they remained frien'ly even when their supporters were
most bitter."

"Who carried on the feud, then?" asked Hamilton in surprise, "if the
principals didn't?"

"Wa'al, I guess the worst was a minister, the Rev. Bill Gambrill. Ho ran
the French side an' kep' the trouble stirred up all the time."

"I think I've heard of the Turner war, too," said the boy. "Was that the
same as the Howard-Turner fighting?"

"All of them were mixed up in each other's feuds in that Turner family,"
the Kentuckian replied, "but the 'Turner War' or the 'Hell's Half-Acre'
feud was in Bell County, an' it started over some question o' water
rights in Yellow Creek. It was a sayin' down in Bell County that it
couldn't rain often enough to keep Hell's Half-Acre free from stains o'

"It is a fearful record, Uncle Eli, when you put them together that
way," the boy said.

"An' I haven't even mentioned the worst o' them, the Hargis-Cockrill
feud in Breathitt County. That lasted for generations, an' started over
some election for a county judge. I don' know that any one rightly
remembers the time when Breathitt County wasn't the scene of some such
goin's on."

"But they are all over now, aren't they?"

"I was jes' goin' to tell yo'. They're all over but one, an' that one is
sometimes called the Baker-Howard or the Garrard-White feud, for all
four families were mixed up in it. Not so very long ago I was talkin' to
the widow o' one o' the men slain in that fightin', an' sayin' to her
how good it was that the feelin' had all died out, an' she said--thar
was a lot of us thar at the time--'I have twelve sons. Each day I tell
them who shot their father. I'm not goin' to die till one o' them shoots
him.' I'm reckonin' to hear o' trouble in Clay County mos' any time, but
I really think that is the last o' them."

"What started that?"

"An argument over a twenty-five dollar note," was the response. "But you
don't want to think these were the real causes; they were usually jes'
firebrands that made things worse. Most o' these hyeh feuds date back to
enmities made in the Civil War an' in moonshinin'."

"But why the war?" asked Hamilton. "I thought nearly all the
mountaineers in Kentucky fought for the North--I know you were with Lee,
of course, but I thought that was exceptional."

"None o' them fought for the No'th!" exclaimed the old Confederate
soldier indignantly.

"Why, Uncle Eli!" said Hamilton, in surprise, "I was sure that most of
them went into the Union army."

"So they did, boy, so they did, but those who did it thought they were
fightin' for the nation, not for the No'th. An' the slavery question
didn' matter much hyeh. Don' yo' let any one tell yo' that the Union
army was made up o' abolitionists, because it wasn't. It was made up o'
bigger men than that. It was made up o' patriots. I thought them wrong
then,--I do yet; but thar ain't no denyin' that they were fightin' for
what they thought was right."

"But why did you join the South, Uncle Eli?" asked the boy. "I can
understand father doing it, because he was a South Carolinian."

"I was workin' fo' peace," the mountaineer rejoined "When No'th and
South was talkin' war, Kentucky, as yo' will remember havin' read,
decided to remain neutral, an' organized the State Guards to preserve
that neutrality. I was willin' to let well enough alone, but when the
No'th come down an' tried to force the State Guards to join their cause,
I went with the rest to Dixie. I don' believe," added the old man
solemnly, "that thar ever was a war like that befo', where every man on
both sides fought for a principle, an' where there was no selfish motive

"The Howkles were with the Federals, weren't they?" prompted Hamilton,
fearing lest the old man should drift into war reminiscences, when he
wanted to hear about feuds.

"Ol' Isaac Howkle was," the mountaineer replied "an' that was how the
little trouble we had begun. At least, it had a good deal to do with it.
Isaac an' I had never got along, an' jes' befo' the war, we had some
words about the Kentucky State Guards. But I wasn't bearin' any grudge,
an' I never supposed Isaac was. However, in a skirmish near Cumberland
Gap, I saw that he was jes' achin' to get me, an' the way he tried was
jes' about the meanes' thing I ever heard o' any one doin' on the

"How was it, do tell me?" pleaded Hamilton, his eyes shining with

"Howkle was with Wolford's cavalry, an' I was under 'Fightin''
Zollicoffer, as they called him," the old man began. "Thar had been a
little skirmish,--one o' these that never get into the dispatches that
don' do any good, but after which thar's always good men lef' lyin' on
the ground. We had driven 'em back a bit, an' I was comin' in when I saw
a lad--he didn't look more'n about fifteen--lyin' in a heap an'
groanin'. Knowin' a drink would do him more good than an'thin' else, I
reached for my canteen, an' stooped down. Jes' about then, a horseman
dashed out o' the scrub an', almos' befo' I could think o' what was
comin', he struck at me with his sabre."

"When you were giving drink to a wounded soldier!" cried Hamilton
indignantly. "What a cowardly trick!"

"It was ol' Isaac Howkle," nodded his uncle, "an' I s'pose he reckoned
this was a chance to get even on the ol' grudge. But I rolled over on
the grass jes' out o' reach o' his stroke, an' he missed. I grabbed my
rifle an' blazed at him as soon as I could get on my feet, but he had
reached the shelter of the trees again an' I missed him."

"That's about the meanest thing I ever heard," said the boy.

"So I thought," the Kentuckian answered, "an' so the poor lad seemed to
think too. I saw he was tryin' to speak, an' I put my ear close to his
lips, thinkin' he might have some message he wanted to give. But, tryin'
to look in the direction where Howkle had gone, he whispered, 'Don't
blame the Union.' He was thinkin' more o' the credit o' his side than of
his own sufferin's."

"That was grit," said Hamilton approvingly. "Did he die, Uncle Eli?"

"Not a bit of it. We got him back into our lines an' he was exchanged, I
believe. Anyway, I know he was livin' after the war, fo' I saw his name
once on a list o' veterans. But most o' the boys were like that--mostly
young, too--an' men o' the stripe of Isaac Howkle were very few."

"But you got him in the end, didn't you?"

The old mountaineer looked intently at the boy's excited face.

"I didn't," he said, "an' I don' rightly know that it's good for yo' to
be hearin' all these things. Yo' might hold it against Jake Howkle."

"That I wouldn't," protested Hamilton. "Jake isn't to blame for his
father's meanness."

"That's the right way to talk," the old soldier agreed. "Wa'al, if yo'
feel that way about it, I reckon thar's no harm in my tellin' yo' the
rest of it, now that I've got started. When the war was all over an' I
got back hyeh, I remembered what had happened, an' I sent word to Isaac
Howkle that I didn' trust him, an' after what he had done I was
reckonin' that he was waitin' his chance to get me, an' that he'd better
keep his own side o' the mountain."

"But, Uncle Eli," said the boy, "that didn't make a feud surely; that
was only a warning."

"I wasn't reckonin' to start a feud at all," said the old man
thoughtfully, "an' it really never was one. It was jes' a personal
difference between Isaac Howkle an' me. Thar was lots o' times that I
could have picked off either o' his two brothers, but I was jes'
guardin' myself against Isaac."

"But you said he got there first!" said the boy. "Did he shoot some one
in your family?"

"Wa'al, yes, he did," the mountaineer admitted "Yo' never knew the one.
He was my brother-in-law,--Ab's younges' sister's first husband. He had
been married jes' two months, an' was only a hundred yards from this
house when Isaac shot him."

"How did you know for sure that it was Howkle who had done the
shooting?" asked Hamilton.

"We didn't know for sure, at first. A week or two after, a boy from the
Wilshes' place come up with a message sayin' that Isaac Howkle had tol'
him to say that he'd get the ol' man nex' time."

"I shouldn't have thought a boy would have had the nerve to bring such a
message," said Hamilton thoughtfully. "Wouldn't bringing word like that
look like taking sides, and wouldn't it bring his own family into the

The old man shook his head in instant denial.

"Po' white trash from the gullies," he said, "no, they don't count one
way or the other."

"What happened after you got that message?" asked the boy.

"Nothin' much, for a while, though I was snoopin' aroun' the mount'ns
consid'rable. I met the brothers sev'ral times, an' I know they could
have had me. But I had nothin' against them, nor they me, an' so it was
jes' left to Isaac an' me. Once I found him over near our pasture, but
he saw me an' got into cover. At last I found him in the open near our
house again, an' in easy range."

"Did you fire right away?" asked Hamilton excitedly.

"I didn't shoot. I got a lead on him, sure, but I jes' couldn't shoot
without warnin' him. It seemed kind o' mean to shoot him unawares, an'
as I didn't want to take an unfair advantage, I shouted to him. It was
pretty far off to be heard, but I could see that he recognized me. I was
only waitin' long enough to let him get his gun to his shoulder when
some one fired jes' behin' me. Howkle's bullet went through my arm, but
he dropped in his tracks. He thought I had shot him but my gun was never
fired off."

"Who was it that fired, Uncle Eli!"

"The brother o' the young fellow he had shot befo'."

"Was he dead?" asked the boy.

"Wa'al," said the mountaineer, a little grimly, "I didn' go down to see
an' wait aroun' 'till all his friends gathered. But I reckon he was dead
when they found him later."

"And the brothers?"

"They never came into the story at all. I'm jes' mentionin' this to yo'
to show yo' that thar's reason in my advisin' yo' to keep clar o' this
district. If you're reckonin' on doin' census work, yo' go somewhar that
you're not known to any one. Thar's trouble enough even for a stranger
in the mount'ns, an' a stranger would find it easier than any one else."

"Why is that, Uncle Eli?" asked the boy.

"In the first place, yo' can't show discourtesy to a stranger, an' yo'
know that if he doesn' do things jes' the way yo' like to have 'em done,
it's because he doesn' know, an' so he's not to blame. I like your
spirit about the census, Hamilton," the old mountaineer continued, "an'
if yo' can give the gov'nment any service, I reckon yo'd better try, but
leave the mount'n districts either to popular favorites or to a



That same evening, as it chanced, one of the younger Wilsh boys came up
to the house on an errand from a neighbor, and Hamilton, remembering
that the messenger's father had been a go-between in the feud story he
had been hearing, noted the lad with interest. Indeed, his appearance
was striking enough in itself, with his drooping form, his extreme
paleness, and his look of exhaustion.

"How far is it from the Burtons, Uncle Eli?" asked Hamilton.

"Eight miles," was the reply.

Hamilton stared at the mountain boy. Judging from his looks he was not
strong enough to walk a hundred yards, yet he had just come eight miles,
and evidently was intending to walk back home that evening. Then
Hamilton remembered that this lad was one of the "poor whites" of whom
he had read so much, and he strolled toward the messenger who was
sitting listlessly on one of the steps.

"Howdy!" said the newcomer in a tired voice.

Hamilton answered his greeting, and, after a few disjointed sentences,

"You look tired. It must be a long walk from the Burtons."

"Jes' tol'able," the boy answered. "I'm not so tired. You f'm the city?"
he queried a few minutes later, evidently noting the difference between
Hamilton's appearance and that of the boys in the neighborhood.

"Yes, New York," answered Hamilton.

But the stranger did not show any further curiosity and Hamilton was
puzzled to account for his general listlessness. He thought perhaps it
might be that the boy was unusually dull and so he asked:

"Are you still going to school?"

A negative shake of the head was the only reply.

"Why not? Isn't there a school near where you live?"

"Close handy, 'bout five miles," was the reply.

"Then why don't you go there?" questioned Hamilton further.

"Teacheh's gone."

"Funny time for holidays," the city boy remarked.

"Not gone fo' holidays."

"Oh, I see," said Hamilton, "you mean he's gone for good. But aren't you
going to have another one?"

"Dunno if he's gone for good," the mountain boy answered.

Hamilton stared in bewilderment.

"Cunjer got him," the other continued.

But this did not explain things any better.

"Cunjer?" repeated Hamilton. "You mean magic?"

The mountain boy nodded.

"Yes, cunjer," he affirmed.

"You're fooling, aren't you?" said Hamilton questioningly, "you can't
mean it. I never heard of 'cunjer' as a real thing. There's lots about
it in books, of course, but those are fairy tales and things of that

"An' yo' never saw a cunjer?"

"Of course not."

"Reckon they don' know as much in cities as they think they do," the
youngster retorted.

"Just what do you mean by 'cunjer'?" asked Hamilton, knowing that it
would be useless to argue the conditions of a modern city with a boy who
had never seen one.

"Bein' able to put a cunjer on, so's the one yo' cunjer has got to do
anythin' yo' want."

"Sort of hypnotism business," commented the older boy.

"Dunno' what yo' call it in the city. Up hyeh in the mount'ns we call it
cunjer, an' thar's some slick ones hyeh, too."

"But how did the teacher get mixed up in it?" queried Hamilton. "It
doesn't sound like the sort of thing you'd expect to find a schoolmaster

"He wasn't doin' it, it was again' him," the mountain boy explained.
"The folks hyeh suspicioned as he was tippin' o' the revenoo men."

"Who did? Moonshiners?"

"Easy on that word, Hamilton," suddenly broke in the old Kentuckian, who
had overheard part of the conversation, "thar's plenty up hyeh that don'
like it."

"All right, Uncle Eli, I'll remember," the boy answered; then, turning
to his companion, he continued "You were saying that some of the people
in the mountains thought the schoolmaster was giving information to the
revenue men."

"Some said he was. I don' believe it myself, an' most of us boys didn'
believe it, but then the teacheh was allers mighty good to us."

"Did the revenue officers come up here!"

The mountain lad nodded his head.

"Often," he said, "an' when they come to the stills they seemed to know
ev'rythin' an' ev'rybody. An' then some one tol' that it could be proved
on the teacheh. It never was, but thar was a plenty o' people who
believed the story. I didn't, but then the teacheh was allers good to

"But what did the revenue men have to do with the 'cunjering'?" asked
Hamilton, desiring to keep his informant to the point.

"They didn't, it was the men on the Ridge."

"Do you know how it happened?"

"I know all about it," the lad answered, with a slightly less listless
air, "for I was in school that mornin'. For a week or more we boys had
seen ol' Blacky Baldwin sort o' snoopin' aroun' near the school, but as
we allers crossed our fingers an' said nothin' so long as he was in
hearin', we weren't afraid."

"What did you do that for?"

The younger boy looked at the city-bred lad with an evident pity for his

[Illustration: MOONSHINING. Revenue officers hot on the trail. (_Brown

[Illustration: MOONSHINING. Revenue officers hot on the trail; the fire
is burning, the still working, and the moonshiner's coat hangs on a
tree. (_Brown Bros._)]

"So's he couldn't cunjer us, O' course," he said. "Don' yo' even know
that? Ol' Blacky Baldwin is a first-class cunjer, an' any one o' them
can cunjer you with the words he hears yo' sayin'."

"But if this 'cunjer-fellow' was hanging around the school," suggested
Hamilton, "why didn't you tell the master?"

"An' get Blacky down on us? You-all can bet we kep' quiet an' didn' even
talk about Blacky to each other. Wa'al, that went on for a week or two.
Then, one mornin', while we was all in school, a big storm come up,
thunder an' lightnin' an' all. Suddenly, jes' after a clap o' thunder
that sounded almos' as if it had hit the schoolhouse Ol' Blacky Baldwin
walked through the door an' up to the teacheh's table. He was carryin a
twisted thing in his hand, like a ram's horn, an' I knew it was his
cunjerin' horn, although I hadn't even seen it befo'."

"What did the master say when he came in?"

"Nary a word. It was awful dark an' the thunder was rumbling aroun'
among the hills. I took one look at Ol' Blacky Baldwin's face, an' then
hid my eyes. I reckon the others did the same."


"His face was all shiny with a queer green light, sendin' up smoke,
like ol' dead wood does sometimes after a rain."

"Phosphorus evidently," muttered Hamilton to himself, but he did not
want to interrupt the lad now that he had started, and therefore did not
discuss the point.

"He walked right up to the teacheh's table," continued the younger boy,
"an' he pointed the horn at him, accordin' to one o' the boys who says
he was peepin' through his fingers. I wasn't lookin', I wasn't takin'
any chances. And then we all heard him say to the teacheh:

"'You air goin' to have a fall an' be killed. You air goin' to have a
fear o' fallin' all your days, an' you air goin' to be drove to places
where you're like to fall. By night you air goin' to dream o' fallin',
an', wakin' an' sleepin', the fear is laid upon you.'"

"And that was all?"

"That was all," the mountain boy replied. "After a bit, I looked up and
Ol' Blacky Baldwin was gone; the teacheh looked peaked an' seemed kind
o' skeered, but he didn't say anythin'."

"Well, it was a little scary," said Hamilton. "I don't wonder it shook
him up."

"That was only the beginnin'," the storyteller went on. "About half an
hour after that, one o' the boys dropped his slate pencil on the floor
an' it broke, so he asked the teacheh for a new one. The slates 'n'
pencils was kep' on a shelf over the teacheh's chair, an' he got on the
chair to reach one down. We was all watchin' him, when suddintly he give
a groan an' his eyes rolled back so's we couldn't see nothin' but the
whites; his face got all pale, an' his lips sort o' blue; he reeled an'
was jes' goin' to fall when he sort o' made a grab at the shelf an' hung
on as though he was fallin' off a cliff.

"Two of the bigger boys, thinkin' he had a stroke or somethin', went up
an' spoke, but he didn't answer, jes' hung on to that shelf. Standin' on
the chair as he was, of course the boys couldn' make him let go, an'
they couldn' make him hear or understan' a mite. So they pulled up a
bench and one of 'em climbed up an' forced his hand open. Jes' like a
flash Teacheh grabbed him so hard that he yelled."

"Just with one hand?" Hamilton queried.

"One hand. Wa'al, they pretty soon made Teacheh let go the other hand,
an' helped him down fr'm the chair an' sat him down in it. As soon as
his feet touched the floor, he let go the feller's shoulder an' sort o'
lay back in his chair. He sat there for a bit an' then he leaned
forward, put his hands on the desk, an' stared right in front of him,
jes' as if we wa'n't there at all.

"'I thought I was fallin',' he said gruffly.

"We waited a while for him to begin agin, but he jes' sit there, lookin'
straight in front of him, an' repeatin' ev'ry minute or two: 'I thought
I was fallin'! I thought I was fallin'!'"

Hamilton shivered a little, for the mountain boy told the story as
though he were living through the scene again.

"I don't wonder you got scared," he said. "Did he come to?"

"Not right then," the boy answered. "We waited a while an' then some of
the fellers got up an' went out sof'ly. I went, too, an' the teacheh
never even seemed to see us go."

"Didn't you think he had gone crazy?"

"We all knew it was cunjerin'," the lad rejoined "an' when we got
outside the door thar was Ol' Blacky Baldwin waitin', lookin' jes' the
same as usual. As I come by, he said, jes' as smooth, 'School's out
early to-day, boys.' But I don't think any of us answered him. I know I
didn't. I jes' took and run as hard as I knew how. An' when I got to the
top o' the hill an' looked back, an' saw Blacky goin' into the
schoolhouse again, I couldn' get home fast enough."

"Was that what broke up the school?"

"Not right away," the other replied. "Thar was some that never come nigh
the place agin, but befo' two weeks most of us was back. Teacheh allers
seemed diff'rent; ev'ry once in a while, one of us would see him walkin'
on the edge of a cliff, or fin' him dizzily hangin' on to somethin' for
fear o' fallin'."

"How long did that go on?" queried Hamilton.

"'Bout a month, I reckon. An' Teacheh was in trouble more'n more all the
time, because folks wouldn' have him boardin' 'roun', same's he'd allers

"Why not?"

"Wa'al, he'd wake up in the night screamin', 'I'm fallin', I'm fallin','
and no one wanted to have a ha'nted teacher in the house. An' Blacky
Baldwin, he jes' hung aroun' the school, and we-all would see him every
day, mutterin' an' laughin' to himself. Then, suddintly, Teacheh
disappeared, an' though we hunted fo' him everywhar, he wasn' found.
We-all reckoned he had fallen somewhars, but I've thought sence that
p'r'aps he jes' went away, goin' back to the city, and leavin' no tracks
so's to make Ol' Blacky Baldwin believe he'd be'n killed."

"That sounds likely enough," Hamilton said. "But even if he did get
away, I don't believe that he'd want to come back."

"I reckon not," the mountain boy agreed. "Anyway, the school's shut up

"How about the revenue men?" asked Hamilton.

"They haven't be'n here sence Teacheh went away," was the reply. "An' I
reckon they're not wanted."

The boy stopped short as the old mountaineer came over to where he was
squatting and gave him a long answer to the message he had brought. The
old man read it to him from a sheet of paper on which he had penciled it
roughly. Bill Wilsh listened in a dreamy way, and Hamilton wondered at
his seeming carelessness. The old man read it twice, then, rising to his
feet, the boy repeated it word for word and without so much as a nod to
Hamilton, slouched off in a long, lazy stride that looked like loafing,
but which, as Hamilton afterwards found out, covered the ground rapidly.

"Do you suppose he'll remember all that, Uncle Eli?" asked Hamilton in

"He? Oh, yes," the mountaineer replied, "word for word, syllable for
syllable--that is, fo' to-day."

"He must have a good memory," the boy exclaimed "I'm sure I couldn't."

"But he'll forget every word by to-morrow," the other continued, "almost
forget that he was hyeh to-day at all. That's why they're so hard to
teach, those po' whites, what they learn doesn't stick. I heard him
tellin' yo' about the disappearance o' the last teacheh."

"Yes, he was putting it down to 'cunjering.' Is there much of that sort
of idea in the mountains?"

"None among the mount'neers proper," replied the old man. "Some o' the
po' whites down in the gullies talk about it, but thar's mo' difference
between the folks in the gullies an' on the Ridge th'n there is between
the mount'ns an' the Blue Grass. They are different, an' they look
different, too."

"Bill Wilsh certainly does," agreed Hamilton, "but I thought at first it
was because he was tired out with a long walk after a day's work."

The Kentuckian shook his head.

"They're all that way," he said. "They jes' look all beaten out as if
they hadn't any life left in them at all. I reckon the most o' them have
hookworm, too, an' they just look fit to drop."

"Hookworm, Uncle Eli? What is that?" asked the boy.

"It's a queer kind o' disease," the old man answered, "that comes from
goin' barefoot. There's a kind o' grub in the soil, and it works its way
in. It's only jes' recently that it's be'n found out that the po' whites
are peaked and backward because they're sick, and now they know a cure
fo' it, why hookworm is being driven right out o' the South."

"Was there so much of it?"

"Puttin' an end to it will make useful American citizens out o'
thousands o' poor critters that never knew what ailed them."

"But where did the 'poor whites' come from, Uncle Eli? What made them
that way?"

"Whar they come from I jes' don' rightly know. I reckon I saw more o'
them when I was down in Georgia, but the Florida 'crackers' are still
worse off. Thar's not so many in the mount'ns an' those that are here
live 'way up in the gullies. The sure 'nough po' whites, or 'Crackers'
as they call them, belong to the pine belt, between the mount'ns an' the
swamps o' the coast."

"Why are they called 'Crackers'?"

"I don' know, unless because they live on cracked corn and razor-back
hog. It an't so easy to say how they begun. Thar's a lot o' French
names, an' thar's a tradition that two shiploads o' Huguenots were
wrecked off Georgia in the early days an' foun' their way inland,
settlin' down without anythin' to start with, an' not knowin' for a
generation or two whar any settlements could be foun'. An' thar's a lot
o' folks that have just drifted down, down,--livin' jes' like the
'Crackers' an' often taken to be the same. An' the slavery system made
it worse because thar was no middle white class--either rich or po',
thar was nothin' between,--that is, down in that part o' the country.
But yo' mus' remember that thar has been a great change in the last
twenty years, an' that the children o' 'Cracker' families are doin' jes'
as well as anybody in the South."

"How is that, Uncle Eli?"

"Wa'al, in the days befo' the war, the po' whites were jes' trash. The
planters wouldn' have 'em, because the slaves did all the work; they
wouldn' work themselves, an' they didn' own slaves. So they were worse
off than the negroes an' even the black race looked down on 'em. But the
war waked them up."

"They all fought for the South, didn't they?"

"Mos'ly all. They were food fo' powder, but I always reckoned they
hindered more'n they helped. For the 'Cracker,' however, the war meant
everythin'. It placed him side by side with the Southern gentleman, it
strengthened the color line, an' jes' enough o' them made good to show
the others thar was a chance fo' them, too."

"Then they started in to improve right after the war, did they?"

The Kentuckian shook his head negatively.

"No," he said, "at first they were far worse off than befo' because the
Freedman's Bureau an' the carpet-baggers made trouble right an' lef'.
The No'th had a fine chance, but the carpet-baggers were jes' blind to
everythin' excep' the negro, an' the po' white was jes' as shabbily
treated by the No'th as he had be'n by the South. Now that everybody is
seein' that yo' can't make a negro jes' the same as a white man by
givin' him a vote, thar's a chance fo' the po' white. I reckon the
'Cracker' as a 'Cracker' is goin' to be extinct pretty soon, an' the
South is goin' to be proud o' the stock it once despised. Atlanta is the
fastes' growin' city in the South, an' Atlanta is jes' full o' men whose
folks weren't much more'n 'Crackers.' The po' white, in a few years, is
goin' to be only a memory like the backwoodsman o' the time o' Dan'l

"That promises well for the South," said Hamilton.

"The boom o' the South is jes' beginnin'," the old man said, "an' if
you're goin' to do census work this next year, yo' jes' watch the
figures an' see whar the old South comes in. It's a pity you're goin'
back to Wash'n'ton to-morrow, as I think yo' ought to see more o' this
country befo' yo' go."

"I'd like to, ever so much, Uncle Eli," the boy answered, as he got up
from the step and started for the big loft where he slept with the
mountaineer's two sons, "but, even if I don't get a chance, I've learned
a lot from you about the folk on the mountains and about the South

The mountaineer nodded a good-night as the boy disappeared.

"Now thar," he said to his wife, who had been knitting stockings during
the latter part of the conversation, and occasionally interjecting a
word, "thar is a boy that is really achin' to know things. I wish Rube
and Eph were more like him."

"Nothin' but hounds an' vittles worries them," the woman replied
sharply, "but they an't none like city boys, an' I'd ruther have 'em the
way they air than to come pesterin' with questions like Hamilton does
you. I don't set any sort o' stock in it, an' I don't encourage him in
sech nonsense."

The big Kentuckian smiled, and filled his corn-cob leisurely as he
turned the talk to other things.

Early the next morning, Hamilton and the oldest of the two boys started
on their fourteen-mile ride to the station, where the lad was to take an
afternoon train for Washington. They had gone about three miles, when
they came upon Bill Wilsh sitting on the stump of a tree by the

"I reckoned you-all would come along this way," he said, "an' I've be'n
thinkin' more'n more 'bout Teacheh havin' likely gone to the city, an'
not bein' dead after all. Yo' goin' to the city now?"

[Illustration: BILL WILSH'S HOME IN THE GULLY. (_Courtesy of Doubleday,
Page & Co._)]

[Illustration: BILL WILSH IN THE SCHOOL. (_Courtesy of Doubleday, Page
& Co._)]

"I'm going to Washington, Bill," Hamilton answered.

"Is that the city?"

"It's one of them."

"Do yo' s'pose that'd be the city Teacheh went to?"

"I couldn't say, Bill," the lad replied, "there's no way of knowing, but
it's likely enough."

"I was thinkin'--" the mountain boy began then he broke off suddenly.
"I'm mighty partial to whittlin'," he continued irrelevantly.

"The best ever," interjected Hamilton's companion. "Yo' ought to have
shown him some of your work, Bill."

"I was allers hopin' Teacheh would come back," said the boy in his
listless, passionless way, "an' he seemed so fond o' the school that I
whittled a piece to give him when he showed up agin. But now I reckon he
an't a-goin' to come back. Does you-all reckon he'll come back from the

Hamilton looked down at the lad, and wanted to cheer him up, but he
could not see what would be likely to bring the schoolmaster back, and
so he answered:

"I'm afraid not, Bill. But he might, you know."

"I reckon not. But I'd like him to know he a'nt fo'gotten in the
mount'ns. I want yo' to tell him that thar a'nt be'n a week sence he
went away that I an't be'n down to the school an' swep' the floor an'
seen that his books was in the place he liked to have 'em be. I wouldn'
want him to come back from his wanderin', if he still is wanderin', an'
think he was fo'gotten. It an't much, I know, to sweep a floor," he
added, looking up to Hamilton, "but yo' tell him an' he'll understan'.
It's about all that I kin do. He'll understan' if yo' tell him."

Neither of the other boys spoke, and after a moment the mountain lad
went on:

"An' when yo' see him, give him this, an' tell him it comes from Bill,
his 'tryin' scholar.' He used to call me that because, although I wasn't
learnin' much, I was always tryin'. An' yo' can tell him I'm tryin'

Reaching his hand into the bosom of his ragged shirt the boy pulled out
a slab of wood four inches square. It was carved as a bas-relief,
showing the schoolhouse in the foreground in high relief, with the
wooded hills beyond.

"That's great!" exclaimed Hamilton. "I don't believe I ever saw better
carving than that anywhere."

A momentary gleam of pleasure flashed into the boy's dull eyes, but he
went on again in the same lifeless voice.

"Thar's the schoolhouse jes' as it was when he was here last, but it's
never looked the same to me sence. I want yo' to give this to him an'
show him, if yo' will, that I whittled it with the door open, jes' to
show him we're lookin' for him back."

"But supposing I shouldn't meet him in the city?" queried Hamilton
gently. "Washington is a large place and there are many other cities."

"I reckon you-all have mo' chance o' findin' him thar than I have hyeh.
I reckon he an't goin' to come back hyeh, an' then he'd never know that
we an't fo'gotten him, an' he'd think we was ungrateful. But yo'll try
an' find him?"

Hamilton was conscious of a lump in his throat at the simple
faithfulness of the mountain boy, and he said gently:

"Very well, Bill, if you feel that way about it, of course I'll try.
But you haven't told me his name as yet."

"I was thinkin' o' that," the boy answered. Then he took from his pocket
a home-made gum-wood case, and opening it, took out a small piece of
paper and handed it to Hamilton.

"Be keerful of it," he said, "that paper tears mighty easy."

Hamilton smoothed the paper out on the palm of his hand, and looked at
it carefully. It was a "copy," merely of pothooks, done in lead pencil,
the strokes wavering and of differing slopes, and the whole so smudged
as scarcely to be recognizable But, down in the corner, written in ink,
in a firm, bold hand, were the words, "Very Good, Gregory Sinclair."

Hamilton copied the name into his notebook and, refolding the paper as
carefully as possible in the same folds, he handed it to the barefooted
boy standing on the road beside his horse's head.

"Did you-all read it?" he asked.

"Yes," said Hamilton.

"Did you-all see that he said 'Very Good'?"

"'Very Good' was what was written," agreed Hamilton, thinking of the
wavering and smudged pothooks.

"I c'n do better now," the boy said quietly, "an' I've been tryin' jes'
as hard as though Teacheh was in yonder schoolhouse. But thar's no one
to write 'Very Good' on 'em any mo', an' I reckon thar an't goin' to be.
But I'm trustin' that you'll fin' him an' you'll tell him that he an't

Without a word of farewell, the boy struck into the woods and was lost
to sight. The two lads started on their way, but they had not ridden a
hundred yards when they heard a hail; looking back, they saw the
mountain boy standing on a point of the ridge; and echoing down to them
came the lonely cry:

"Fin' him, an' tell him he an't fo'gotten."



Settling himself comfortably in the train for his long journey to the
capital, one of the first things that Hamilton did was to take from his
pocket the little carving that had been given him by the mountain lad
and put it away carefully in his grip. Examining it closely as he did
so, the boy was astonished to note the fineness of the work, and he
realized that it must have taken Bill Wilsh all the spare moments of a
long winter to finish it. The work was all the more surprising, Hamilton
thought, since it had been done just with a single tool, a common
pocketknife, and was yet as fine and delicate as though carved with a
set of costly tools. He made up his mind to buy a set and send them to
Bill Wilsh with the first pay that he got from his Census Bureau work.

Seated across the aisle from him was another lad about his own age, with
whom Hamilton rather wanted to make acquaintance, but the opportunity
did not arrive until the first meal, when, by chance, they found
themselves on opposite sides of one of the small tables in the dining
car. The usual courtesies of the table led to conversation, in the
course of which Hamilton's companion dropped the word "census" in a
manner which showed his familiarity with the progress of the work of

"Are you interested in the census?" asked Hamilton promptly.

"Rather," the other replied. "I'm going to work in the Bureau. As a
matter of fact, I'm just going to Washington to get my appointment now."

"You are!" exclaimed Hamilton. "Why, that's exactly what I'm doing. It's
queer we should meet this way."

"Are you going as an assistant special agent, too?" his new friend

"I'm going to start in that way," the boy replied

"How do you mean 'start'?" the other queried. "I understand that work on
the manufactures will last three or four months, and by that time all
the other census-taking will be over."

"I'm going to try to get some of the population work as well," Hamilton
explained. "I think it will be even more fun than the manufactures end,
and I heard that they're going to put on a few population enumerators
from those who have been on the manufactures work, admitting them
without an exam. I think the population census gathering will be fine."

The other boy shook his head.

"I don't think I'd want it," he said, "at least not in a city, and I'm
going to do the manufacturing work, of course, in a city."

"Where are you going to be?" asked Hamilton.

"I took the exam in 'Frisco," the older boy replied; "that's my home
town, and I expect to work out there."

"That's quite a walk from here!" exclaimed Hamilton.

"I had to come to Washington," the boy answered "and so my people wanted
me to go and see my sister down in Florida. She married a fellow who's
busy reclaiming some swamp land down there, and he promised me a try at
alligator hunting."

"That sounds prime," suggested Hamilton, "and I should think that in
that reclamation work there would be lots of chance for it. It would
be worth watching, too, just to see how they got at that work. I should
think they would find themselves up against a pretty stiff job,
engineering down in those swamps. And then there must be barrels of
snakes, too?"

[Illustration: ALLIGATOR-CATCHING. The sport at its best; tackling a
fair sized reptile with bare hands. (_Courtesy of Outing Magazine._)]

"Water moccasins and copper-heads mostly," said his friend cheerfully,
"but you soon get so used to them that you don't mind them. It's very
seldom that you ever hear of any one being bitten by a snake. They all
seem more anxious to get out of your way than you out of theirs."

"And you're anxious enough, too!" remarked Hamilton.

"That's pretty good security, don't you think?" queried the older boy
with a laugh. "When both sides want to get away, there's not much chance
of a meeting."

"But how about the alligators?"

"That was real good sport," the other rejoined. "But I kept down to the
smaller chaps most of the time. I don't suppose there's really very much
danger, even in the big fellows, as long as you know just how to handle

"I don't think I'm particularly keen about handling them," answered
Hamilton. "I shouldn't think the big ones would want more than about one
bite to put you out of business."

"That's all right," the older boy admitted, "but what's the use of
giving one that chance? Anyway, so I learned down there, it's not so
much the bite that the hunters are afraid of as the stroke of the tail.
It doesn't take such a big alligator to break your leg like a pipestem
with a sweep of that long, scaly tail of his."

"But how do they catch them?"

"With a noose, when they're sunning themselves. An alligator lies on a
bank, half in and half out of the water, most of the time, with his eyes
shut. Sometimes he really is asleep, and sometimes he isn't. That's
where the fun comes in. Of course, if you can get the boat right up to
where he is, close enough to slip the noose over his jaws, you've got
him all right. There's a knob on the snout that keeps the noose from
slipping off, and he sort of strangles when you tow him through the
water. But if you can't get there with the boat you have to go it on

"You mean you have to get out of the boat and walk right up to his

"Yes, just that."

"It doesn't sound particularly good to me," Hamilton remarked.

"It isn't nearly as bad as it sounds," the other replied. "As long as
you don't make too much noise, and keep out of reach of his tail, you're
all right. If you slip up, you want to jump out of the way about as
lively as you know how. But he'll never come after you, or mighty
seldom. If you get a slip-knot over his snout, and can throw a
half-hitch over his tail, why, the biggest of them is easy enough to

"But what are they caught for?"

"There's quite a steady sale. The big fellows are sometimes sold alive
to parks and aquariums and circuses, but most of them are killed and the
whole skins dressed and used for hanging on the walls of dens, like
trophies. The real market is for the skins of the little fellows, which
are made up into all sorts of alligator leather bags. Most of that stuff
is imitation, but still quite a lot of it is real. It's plenty of fun
catching the little 'gators, because even the smallest of them can give
you quite a nip and a reptile three feet long is a handful. I did well
enough out of it, because in addition to the sport I had, my
brother-in-law let me have the skins of all those I caught myself. Some
people, too, want to have baby ones as pets, but I don't think I'd want
to have them around, myself, after they grew to any size," he added, as
the boys rose and went back to the Pullman.

By the time the train had reached Washington the two had become
thoroughly friendly, and Hamilton liked his new acquaintance so much
that he would gladly have seen more of him than merely as a traveling
companion. But as the other lad was going out to San Francisco, there
was no likelihood of their being thrown together at all. Indeed, on his
arrival, Hamilton found that he had been assigned to an Eastern city, so
he had to bid his new-made friend "Good-by."

The exterior of the Census Bureau building was a disappointment to
Hamilton, by reason of its unimposing appearance. Indeed, it was
altogether too small for the purposes of the census, and during the rush
of the decennial work, there were departments of the census scattered
through various other buildings, adding no little inconvenience to the
work. Accustomed to the New York structures, towering tens of stories
into the air, the two-story red brick building of the census looked
small to Hamilton, though comfortable and pleasant to work in. It was
deceiving in its size, however, for the floor space was big and not
much broken, and there seemed to be plenty of room. But it was not until
the boy returned after his population work some months later, that he
saw this building as the center of unparalleled activity.

[Illustration: THE CENSUS BUILDING. Where Hamilton learned the immense
importance of this great function of the government. (_Walden

"I understand," said the chief of the manufacturing division to him,
"that you are desirous of coming to the Census Bureau as one of the
permanent force, not just for the decennial period only?"

"Yes, Mr. Clan," was the boy's reply, "that is, if the Bureau is

"That will depend entirely on the work you do. I didn't see your papers
personally, but I understand you received a high rating, and that you
have had a good deal to do with figures.--That is, for a youngster," he
added, noting the youthfulness of the lad standing before him.

"Yes, sir, I have," answered Hamilton.

"What made you think of taking this work up?" was the next question.

"Because I like it, sir."

The divisional chief leaned back in his chair, put his fingers together
in characteristic attitude, and smiled.

"Eh," he said, "you are sure you will like the work?"

"Quite, sir," said Hamilton in his decided way. "I looked it all over,
and I know."

"You will be less sure of the future when you are older," the Scotchman
said, "but if you 'know,' there's nothing more to be said. I'm going to
put you under the care of Mr. Burns, and he will instruct you further in
the work."

"But, Mr. Clan--" began the boy.


"Where am I going, sir?"

"New Haven, Connecticut--a good town, and one that will give you plenty
of work. You'd better start for there to-night. I hope you will like it
as much as you expect."

"Thank you, sir," Hamilton replied, seeing that his superior deemed the
interview at an end. "I'll do the very best I can."

On arriving in New Haven the following day, Hamilton made his way to the
local Census Office opened by his new leader. He found Mr. Burns to be a
typical statistician, to whom figures had a meaning beyond themselves,
but to whom little was of value unless it could be expressed in figures.
Hamilton introduced himself briefly.

"You're Noble," the other said abruptly. "When will you be ready to

"Any time," answered Hamilton. "Right after lunch, sir, if you want me
to make a start."

"There's a portfolio," the census agent answered, "take it along and you
can begin just as soon as you're ready."

"What instructions have you to give me, sir?" asked Hamilton.

"I save eleven and a half per cent of the time given to instructions by
writing them. You'll find a copy in there," he said, pointing to the

"Very well, sir," the boy replied, "I'll go ahead, and if I find
anything I don't understand, shall I come and ask you?"

"Telephone!" the census agent said. "Quicker to 'phone even if only in
the next room. Average conversation, six minutes; average telephone
conversation, two minutes; average value of my time for six minutes,
eighteen cents; average cost of 'phone for two minutes, one cent; direct
saving to me seventeen cents, not counting time of your traveling to
come and talk. No! Telephone!"

"All right, sir," Hamilton answered, "I'll 'phone," and realizing that
his new chief had the question of the valuation of time down to a fine
point, he hurried away.

On reaching the hotel he examined his portfolio with a great deal of
curiosity. The schedules were familiar, for one of the features of the
examination he had taken had been the filling out of such a census
schedule from financial statements of a group of factories. The written
instructions, however, were thoroughly characteristic of the man, and
percentage figures were scattered around like punctuation marks. But the
explanations were clear as crystal, none the less, and gave no
opportunity even for telephoning.

An old New England center, and a college town, New Haven proved a most
interesting field in which to work. By far the larger number of people
with whom the boy came in contact were of old American stock and gave
him every assistance possible.

"The census-taker?" one old man said, when Hamilton called. "Come right
in the office and sit down. Now tell me what I can do for you," and when
the boy mentioned the principal items of the schedule, the manufacturer
spent a good hour working over the books with his office force to get
out the figures desired. When Hamilton thanked him, he replied:

"I'm an American, Mr. Noble, and one of the stones they moved from the
old churchyard of the Old Center Church and that bore the date 1681 was
the tombstone of my direct ancestor. I think you'll find most of the New
England stock proud of the United States and only too glad to do
anything they can to help the government in its census or anything else
for the good of the country."

"I'm sure of it," the boy said heartily, "but there's mighty few of that
old type left. There's not ten per cent of the people in the country now
that are real bred-in-the-bone Americans."

"It is a pity," the old man said, shaking his head, "and the worst of it
is that even that ten per cent lives principally in the country. It's
the cities that influence the progress of the nation. We talk about
making these foreigners over into our idea of what Americans should be,
and we forget that all the time they are influencing us to become the
kind of Americans they think we ought to be."

"I guess that's true," the boy said, "because in New York, where my
folks live, the old New Yorkers seem entirely strange and out-of-place
in the dash and glitter."

"Of course," the New Englander replied. "The real Americans are plain,
solid people; it's the Jewish strain in New York that has brought about
the display of wealth, and to the large number of Southern Europeans are
due the colors, the lights, the music, the public dining, and all the
rest of it. It may be the American of to-day, but it isn't what
Americanism meant a few years ago."

"A good deal of New York life does seem foreign in a kind of way," said
Hamilton, "and I'm glad," he added, as he closed his portfolio, "that
the Census Bureau put me at work in one of the old-fashioned towns

As the boy went on in his work he came to find how thoroughly the spirit
of Yale was felt in the town. Almost all the leading business men were
Yale graduates, and instead of displaying the "town and gown" hostility
of some university places, New Haven was inordinately proud of its
college. Of course, even in such a town, there was quite a proportion of
foreign-born manufacturers but the boy found that the Jewish
establishments were even easier to tabulate than those owned by
Americans, the Hebrew understanding of the details of business being so

"That's not so very detailed!" one of these remarked to Hamilton when
the boy had come to the end of his list of questions.

"It's a relief to hear somebody say that," answered the young
census-taker with a laugh, "because I hear a dozen times a day the
complaint that no one could be expected to know as much about a business
as these schedules require."

It was not to be expected that the work would proceed without an
occasional hitch, and Hamilton had one such with a firm of Italian
marble-cutters in which the bookkeeping had been of so curious a
character that it was next to impossible to get out the kind of figures
the government wanted. Another was in a small Chinese place, where they
made little trinkets to sell to tourists in the "Chinatown" districts of
the larger cities, representing them to be imported articles of value.
Another was with a small place run by two brothers, Persians, making
fringes and tassels for fraternal order badges and matters of that kind.
It was interesting to the lad, for he had the chance to see the works in
a number of cases, and he learned a lot about the way many queer things
were made.

But Hamilton's hopes were set on visiting one especial manufacturing
plant in New Haven, and he had determined to ask that he be allowed to
go over it before he left the town. This was the great sporting gun
works. Hamilton was passionately fond of sport, and had owned a
Winchester ever since he was twelve years old. Indeed, he had read up on
guns a good deal, and it was one of his hobbies.

His delight was great, therefore, when at the end of a long day, after
he had turned in his schedule to his chief, the latter said:

"Noble, your work is good. Johnson is faster. Up to last night he had
turned in one, decimal five-two per cent more establishments than you,
but your proportion of capital invested is larger, showing that the
works you went to took more time. Your schedules are better. This takes
a little over one-fifth more of my own time than I had figured at first.
I was going to do the Winchester works myself. I think you can do it.
You had better go ahead. It's complicated, but they'll help you all they
can. There's not much time left."

"Very well, Mr. Burns," said Hamilton decisively with the
characteristic raising and lowering of his eyebrows, "I'll get all there
is, all right."

The next morning, about ten o'clock, Hamilton presented himself at the
general offices of the company on the outskirts of the town, about a
mile from the college. He asked to see the business manager, and was
granted an interview.

"Mr. Arverne," said the boy, "I called with regard to securing the
figures for the census of nineteen hundred and ten."

"But you are not the special agent surely?" said the manager, looking at
him sharply.

"No, sir," the boy answered, "Mr. Burns is the special agent, and I am
one of his assistants."

"I should have thought Mr. Burns would have come himself," the man said;
"you are young for this work, aren't you?"

Hamilton flushed at this reference to his boyish appearance, but he
answered steadily: "Yes, sir, I believe I am younger than most of the
assistant special agents, but I have had a good deal to do with

"Burns is a good man," the manager continued. "If the government has
men of that stamp all over the country, the statistics will be
invaluable. You know Mr. Burns?" he added suddenly.

"Only just since this work began, Mr. Arverne," the boy replied.

"Queer chap. I don't believe he eats a bit of food or drinks a glass of
water without mentally figuring the nutritious percentage in the food,
and the effect of his drink upon the water supply of the world."

Hamilton laughed.

"He is a little that way, sir," he said.

"A little!" the manager exclaimed. "But to return to the point. You
didn't tell me why Mr. Burns didn't come himself."

"He said that the office work was piling up, sir," answered the boy,
"and--if you don't mind my saying so, Mr. Arverne--he spoke of it as an
opportunity for me, since it was the largest plant in the city and my
schedules had been the most complete of those turned in to him."

The manager eyed the boy keenly.

"Mr. Burns doesn't make many mistakes," he said, after a moment, "and if
he has confidence in you, he knows what he is talking about. This is a
country of young men anyway, and it seems to be getting younger all the
time. Where is the schedule?"

Hamilton handed him the paper and sat back, waiting. Several minutes
passed, while the manager went over the questions item by item.

"Yes," he said at last, "I think our books can answer every question
there without difficulty. We keep very complete books. I am not so sure,
Mr. Noble," he continued, "that I can give you those figures immediately
in just exactly that form."

"In what points do your books differ?" asked Hamilton quietly.

"Not in any essentials, but in a few minor points," the manager replied.
"For example, you want to know here the exact number of employees on our
pay roll on December 15th. Now I could have the pay roll department--we
keep it as an entirely separate department here--turn up instantly the
payments for the week in which that date occurs, but in order to
separate that one day from the week, reference will have to be made to
the Employment Bureau to find out what workers left, and how many were
added, and the day of the week on which each of these left or began
work in that week, and to add or to deduct such sums from the weekly
pay roll."

"That difficulty has come up several times," said Hamilton, "because not
many people pay their employees by the day. But in nine cases out of
ten, an average for that week is usually struck, figuring in some cases
by the days and in others by the hours. I suppose you noticed that the
schedule itself states that what is sought is 'a normal day'?"

"I saw that," was the reply, "but it seems to me that when possible it
is better to have all the details carried out to the full. However, even
that is not the most serious difficulty of these questions."

"No," said Hamilton, "that one hasn't given much trouble. The hitch
usually comes just at the point you're looking at now--the cost of

"That's just exactly it. Our non-productive departments consume a great
deal of material, mill-supplies and fuels, but if we include those with
all the rest of it, our figures will not show a right proportion."

"What do you mean by your non-productive departments?" asked the boy.
"That seems rather a curious phrase."

"Those in which the work done is not directly a part of the making of
guns or ammunition. For example, we have a large force of draughtsmen
working on new models of rifles and mechanisms and on machinery to
enable us to make the new types. We make all the machinery that we use,
right here in the plant. We make our own tools, too, so that there is a
great deal of designing."

"Those are not non-productive," commented Hamilton.

"We call them so," was the reply.

"I don't think the Census Bureau considers them as such," said Hamilton,
feeling rather proud of this opportunity to explain some of the workings
of the Bureau; "it seems to me more satisfactory to consider that these
works not only manufacture guns, rifles, and ammunition, but also
machinery and tools."

"But those are for our own use!" objected the manager.

"Yes, of course, I see that," said the boy. "But even if you do use them
yourselves, you make them yourselves. If you leave them out in the
schedule it would make the figures all wrong."

"How would it?"

"Well, the schedule wouldn't show anything paid out for machinery, and
you've got to have machinery, and you'd seem to be paying wages, without
getting anything for it. It seems to me that even if you do use the
machinery yourselves you really sell it to yourselves, only at cost
price or at whatever figure you name."

"I suppose in a sense we do," said the business manager, "but that seems
a very roundabout way of getting at it."

"I don't think it is," Hamilton replied. "If you bought the machinery
you would have to pay the manufacturer his profit. Instead of that you
make the profit yourselves. The value, of course, should also be carried
to the capital account."

"Well," the older man said, "I'm willing to put it down either way, and
in that light these departments might be called productive, although not
directly productive. You seem to have figured this sort of business out
pretty well for a youngster," he added.

"I suppose that's natural," Hamilton answered, "because I've been doing
nothing else for the past two weeks."

"Then how about advertising," the manager suggested; "perhaps you can
tell me where that is usually listed? As part of the sales force?"

"No, sir," was the prompt reply; "it is reported as a miscellaneous

"Very well," the official said, "if you come back at four o'clock this
afternoon I will have the schedule ready for you." Then, seeing that the
boy hesitated, he said, "Did you want it before then?"

"Oh, no, Mr. Arverne, thank you," the boy answered "that wasn't what I
had in mind at all. I was wondering whether, if I came back at three
o'clock, I would be allowed to see something of the works. In quite a
number of places I have been shown through the plant, sometimes because
I had to get figures from managers of different departments, sometimes
because I had a few minutes to spare while a clerk was filling up the
schedule. But I've always been so interested in guns, and especially in
Winchesters, that I really should like to find out how they're made."

The business manager shook his head dubiously.

"We very rarely show any one over the plant," he said, "because there
is very little to be gained by it. And in any case, there are some
portions of the works where visitors are never allowed, such as
ammunition rooms where there are quantities of powder about, and similar

"I'd like to be able to say that there was a desire on the part of the
Census Bureau for a report," said Hamilton, "but honestly I haven't the
right to say so. I'm only asking as a favor. At the same time I have
seen special reports on selected industries issued by the Bureau, and
possibly my information might chance to be of value to the special agent
who was getting it up."

"Come back at two o'clock, then," said the manager. "One of the members
of the Board, Mr. Nebett, is here to-day, and if he has no objection
I'll try to find some one to show you round."

Promptly at the appointed hour, Hamilton handed his card to the doorman,
who showed him into a waiting-room. In a few minutes the door opened,
and a keen-looking, well-set-up man appeared who came forward and held
out his hand.

Book of the day: