Part 4 out of 6
he'd done to Loveland. I don't know where Bradbury and the widow
went. As for me, I went aloft and turned in. And 'twas two days
and nights afore I got up again. I had a cold, anyway, and what
I'd been through didn't help it none.
"The afternoon of the second day, Bradbury come up to see me. He
was dressed in his city clothes and looked as if he was goin' away.
Sure enough, he was; goin' on the next train.
"'Where's Jonadab?' says I.
"'Oh, he's out in his car,' he says. 'Huntin' for Loveland again,
"'HIS car? You mean yours.'
"'No, I mean his. I sold my car to him yesterday mornin' for
twenty-five hundred dollars cash.'
"I set up in bed. 'Go 'long!' I sings out. 'You didn't nuther!'
"'Yes, I did. Sure thing. After that ride, you couldn't have
separated him from that machine with blastin' powder. He paid over
the money like a little man.'
"I laid down again. Jonadab Wixon payin' twenty-five hundred
dollars for a plaything! Not promisin', but actually PAYIN' it!
"'Has--has the widow gone with him?' I asked, soon's I could get my
"He laughed sort of queer. 'No,' he says, 'she's gone out of town
for a few days. Ha, ha! Well, between you and me, Wingate, I
doubt if she comes back again. She and I have made all we're
likely to in this neighborhood, and she's too good a business woman
to waste her time. Good-by; glad to have met you.'
"But I smelt rat strong and wouldn't let him go without seein' the
"'Hold on!' I says. 'There's somethin' underneath all this. Out
with it. I won't let on to the Cap'n if you don't want me to.'
"'Well,' says he, laughin' again, 'Mrs. Bassett WON'T come back and
I know it. She and I have sold four cars on the Cape in the last
five weeks, and the profits'll more'n pay vacation expenses. Two
up in Wareham, one over in Orham, to Loveland--'
"'Did YOU sell Tobias his?' I asks, settin' up again.
"'Hettie and I did--yes. Soon's we landed him, we come over to bag
old Wixon. I thought one time he'd kill us before we got him, but
he didn't. How he did run that thing! He's a game sport.'
"'See here!' says I. 'YOU and Hettie sold-- What do you mean by
"'Mrs. Bassett is my backer in the auto business,' says he. 'She
put in her money and I furnished the experience. We've got a big
plant up in--' namin' a city in Connecticut.
"I fetched a long breath. 'WELL!' says I. 'And all this makin'
eyes at Tobe and Jonadab was just--just--'
"'Just bait, that's all,' says he. 'I told you she was a good
"I let this sink in good. Then says I, 'Humph! I swan to man! And
how's your heart actin' now?'
"'Fine!' he says, winkin'. 'I had that attack so's the Cap'n would
learn to run on his own hook. I didn't expect quite so much of a
run, but I'm satisfied. Don't you worry about my heart disease.
That twenty-five hundred cured it. 'Twas all in the way of
business,' says Henry G. Bradbury."
"Whew!" whistled Captain Hiram as Barzilla reached into his pocket
for pipe and tobacco. "Whew! I should say your partner had a
narrer escape. Want to look out sharp for widders. They're
dangerous, hey, Sol?"
The depot master did not answer. Captain Hiram asked another
question. "How'd Jonadab take Hettie's leavin'?" he inquired.
"Oh," said Barzilla, "I don't think he minded so much. He was too
crazy about his new auto to care for anything else. Then, too, he
was b'ilin' mad 'cause Loveland swore out a warrant against him for
"'Nice trick, ain't it?' he says. 'I knew Tobe was a poor loser,
but I didn't think he'd be so low down as all that. Says I was
goin' fifty mile an hour. He! he! Well, I WAS movin', that's a
fact. I don't care. 'Twas wuth the twenty-dollar fine.'
"'Maybe so,' I says, 'but 'twon't look very pretty to have a
special auto constable hauled up and fined for breakin' the law
he's s'posed to protect.'
"He hadn't thought of that. His face clouded over.
"'No use, Barzilla,' says he; 'I'll have to give it up.'
"'Guess you will,' says I. 'Automobilin' is--'
"'I don't mean automobilin',' he snorts disgusted. 'Course not! I
mean bein' constable.'
"So there you are! From cussin' automobiles he's got so that he
can't talk enough good about 'em. And every day sence then he's
out on the road layin' for another chance at Tobias. I hope he
gets that chance pretty soon, because--well, there's a rumor goin'
round that Loveland is plannin' to swap his car for a bigger and
faster one. If he does . . ."
"If he does," interrupted Captain Sol, "I hope you'll fix the next
race for over here. I'd like to see you go by, Barzilla."
"Guess you'd have to look quick to see him," laughed Stitt.
"Speakin' about automobiles--"
"By gum!" ejaculated Wingate, "you'd have to look somewheres else
to find ME. I've got all the auto racin' I want!"
"Speakin' of automobiles," began Captain Bailey again. No one paid
the slightest attention.
"How's Dusenberry, your baby, Hiram?" asked the depot master,
turning to Captain Baker. "His birthday's the Fourth, and that's
only a couple of days off."
The proud parent grinned, then looked troubled.
"Why, he ain't real fust-rate," he said. "Seems to be some under
the weather. Got a cold and kind of sore throat. Dr. Parker says
he cal'lates it's a touch of tonsilitis. There's consider'ble
fever, too. I was hopin' the doctor'd come again to-day, but he's
gone away on a fishin' cruise. Won't be home till late to-morrer.
I s'pose me and Sophrony hadn't ought to worry. Dr. Parker seems
to know about the case."
"Humph!" grunted the depot master, "there's only two bein's in
creation that know it all. One's the Almighty and t'other's young
Parker. He's right out of medical school and is just as fresh as
his diploma. He hadn't any business to go fishin' and leave his
patients. We lost a good man when old Dr. Ryder died. He . . .
Oh, well! you mustn't worry, Hiram. Dusenberry'll pull out in time
for his birthday. Goin' to celebrate, was you?"
Captain Baker nodded. "Um-hm," he said. "Sophrony's goin' to bake
a frosted cake and stick three candles on it--he's three year old,
you know--and I've made him a 'twuly boat with sails,' that's what
he's been beggin' for. Ho! ho! he's the cutest little shaver!"
"Speakin' of automobiles," began Bailey Stitt for the third time.
"That youngster of yours, Hiram," went on the depot master, "is the
right kind. Compared with some of the summer young ones that
strike this depot, he's a saint."
Captain Hiram grinned. "That's what I tell Sophrony," he said.
"Sometimes when Dusenberry gets to cuttin' up and she is sort of
provoked, I say to her, 'Old lady,' I say, 'if you think THAT'S a
naughty boy, you ought to have seen Archibald.'"
"Who was Archibald?" asked Barzilla.
"He was a young rip that Sim Phinney and I run across four years
ago when we went on our New York cruise together. The weir
business had been pretty good and Sim had been teasin' me to go on
a vacation with him, so I went. Sim ain't stopped talkin' about
our experiences yet. Ho! ho!"
"You bet he ain't!" laughed the depot master. "One mix-up you had
with a priest, and a love story, and land knows what. He talks
about that to this day."
"What was it? He never told me," said Wingate.
"Why, it begun at the Golconda House, the hotel where Sim and I was
"Did YOU put up at the Golconda?" interrupted Barzilla. "Why,
Cap'n Jonadab and me stayed there when we went to New York."
"I know you did. Jonadab recommended it to Sim, and Sim took the
recommendation. That Golconda House is the only grudge I've got
against Jonadab Wixon. It sartin is a tough old tavern."
"I give in to that. Jonadab's so sot on it account of havin'
stopped there on his honeymoon, years and years ago. He's too
stubborn to own it's bad. It's a matter of principle with him, and
he's sot on principle."
"Yes," continued Baker. "Well, Sim and me had been at that
Golconda three days and nights. Mornin' of the fourth day we
walked out of the dinin' room after breakfast, feelin' pretty
average chipper. Gettin' safe past another meal at that hotel was
enough of itself to make a chap grateful.
"We walked out of the dinin' room and into the office. And there,
by the clerk's desk, was a big, tall man, dressed up in clothes
that was loud enough to speak for themselves, and with a shiny new
tall hat, set with a list to port, on his head. He was smooth-
faced and pug-nosed, with an upper lip like a camel's.
"He didn't pay much attention to us, nor to anybody else, for the
matter of that. He was as mournful as a hearse, for all his joyful
"'Fine day, ain't it?' says Sim, social.
"The tall chap looked up at him from under the deck of the beaver
"'Huh!' he growls out, and looks down again.
"'I say it's a fine day,' said Phinney again.
"'I was after hearin' yez say it,' says the man, and walks off,
scowlin' like a meat ax. We looked after him.
"'Who was that murderer?' asks Sim of the clerk. 'And when are
they going to hang him?'
"'S-sh-sh!' whispers the clerk, scart. ''Tis the boss. The bloke
what runs the hotel. He's a fine man, but he has troubles. He's
"'So that's the boss, hey?' says I. 'And he's blue. Well, he
looks it. What's troublin' him? Ain't business good?'
"'Never better. It ain't that. He has things on his mind. You
"I cal'late he'd have told us the yarn, only Sim wouldn't wait to
hear it. We was goin' sight-seein' and we had 'aquarium' and
'Stock Exchange' on the list for that afternoon. The hotel clerk
had made out a kind of schedule for us of things we'd ought to see
while we was in New York, and so fur we'd took in the zoological
menagerie and the picture museum, and Central Park and Brooklyn
"On the way downtown in the elevated railroad Sim done some
preachin'. His text was took from the Golconda House sign, which
had 'T. Dempsey, Proprietor,' painted on it.
"'It's that Dempsey man's conscience that makes him so blue,
Hiram,' says Sim. 'It's the way he makes his money. He sells
"'Oh!' says I. 'Is THAT it? I thought maybe he'd been sleepin' on
one of his own hotel beds. THEY'RE enough to make any man blue--
black and blue.'
"The 'aquarium' wa'n't a success. Phinney was disgusted. He give
one look around, grabbed me by the arm, and marched me out of that
building same as Deacon Titcomb, of the Holiness Church at Denboro,
marched his boy out of the Universalist sociable.
"'It's nothin' but a whole passel of fish,' he snorts. 'The idea
of sendin' two Cape Codders a couple of miles to look at FISH.
I've looked at 'em and fished for 'em, and et 'em all the days of
my life,' he says, 'and when I'm on a vacation I want a change.
I'd forgot that "aquarium" meant fish, or you wouldn't have got me
within smellin' distance of it. Necessity's one thing and
pleasure's another, as the boy said about takin' his ma's spring
"So we headed for the Stock Exchange. We got our gallery tickets
at the bank where the Golconda folks kept money, and in a little
while we was leanin' over a kind of marble bulwarks and starin'
down at a gang of men smokin' and foolin' and carryin' on. 'Twas a
dull day, so we found out afterward, and I guess likely that was
true. Anyway, I never see such grown-up men act so much like
children. There was a lot of poles stuck up around with signs on
'em, and around every pole was a circle of bedlamites hollerin'
like loons. Hollerin' was the nighest to work of anything I see
them fellers do, unless 'twas tearin' up papers and shovin' the
pieces down somebody's neck or throwin' 'em in the air like a play-
"'What's the matter with 'em?' says I. 'High finance taken away
"But Phinney was awful interested. He dumped some money in a mine
once. The mine caved in on it, I guess, for not a red cent ever
come to the top again, but he's been a kind of prophet concernin'
finances ever sence.
"'I want to see the big fellers,' says he. 'S'pose that fat one is
"'I don't know,' says I. 'Me and Pierpont ain't met for ever so
long. Don't lean over and point so; you're makin' a hit.'
"He was, too. Some of the younger crew on the floor was lookin' up
and grinnin', and more kept stoppin' and joinin' in all the time.
I cal'late we looked kind of green and soft, hangin' over that
marble rail, like posies on a tombstone; and green is the favorite
color to a stockbroker, they tell me. Anyhow, we had a good-sized
congregation under us in less than no time. Likewise, they got
chatty, and commenced to unload remarks.
"'Land sakes!' says one. 'How's punkins?'
"'How's crops down your way?' says another.
"Now there wa'n't nothin' real bright and funny about these
questions--more fresh than new, they struck me--but you'd think
they was gems from the comic almanac, jedgin' by the haw-haws.
Next minute a little bald-headed smart Alec, with clothes that had
a tailor's sign hull down and out of the race, steps to the front
and commences to make a speech.
"'Gosh t'mighty, gents,' says he. 'With your kind permission, I'll
sing "When Reuben Comes to Town."
"And he did sing it, too, in a voice that needed cultivatin'
worse'n a sandy front yard. And with every verse the congregation
whooped and laughed and cheered. When the anthem was concluded,
all hands set up a yell and looked at us to see how we took it.
"As for me, I was b'ilin' mad and mortified and redhot all over.
But Sim Phinney was as cool as an October evenin'. Once in a while
old Sim comes out right down brilliant, and he done it now. He
smiled, kind of tolerant and easy, same as you might at the tricks
of a hand-organ monkey. Then he claps his hands, applaudin' like,
reaches into his pocket, brings up a couple of pennies, and tosses
'em down to little baldhead, who was standin' there blown up with
"For a minute the crowd was still. And THEN such a yell as went
up! The whole floor went wild. Next thing I knew the gallery was
filled with brokers, grabbin' us by the hands, poundin' us on the
back, beggin' us to come have a drink, and generally goin' crazy.
We was solid with the 'system' for once in our lives. We could
have had that whole buildin', from marble decks to gold maintruck,
if we'd said the word. Fifty yellin' lunatics was on hand to give
it to us; the other two hundred was joyfully mutilatin' the
"Well, I wanted to get away, and so did Sim, I guess; but the crowd
wouldn't let us. We'd got to have a drink; hogsheads of drinks.
That was the best joke on Eddie Lewisburg that ever was. Come on!
We MUST come on! Whee! Wow!
"I don't know how it would have ended if some one hadn't butted
head first through the mob and grabbed me by the shoulder. I was
ready to fight by this time, and maybe I'd have begun to fight if
the chap who grabbed me hadn't been a few inches short of seven
foot high. And, besides that, I knew him. 'Twas Sam Holden, a
young feller I knew when he boarded here one summer. His wife
boarded here, too, only she wa'n't his wife then. Her name was
Grace Hargrave and she was a fine girl. Maybe you remember 'em,
The depot master nodded.
"I remember 'em well," he said. "Liked 'em both--everybody did."
"Yes. Well, he knew us and was glad to see us.
"'It IS you!' he sings out. 'By George! I thought it was when I
came on the floor just now. My! but I'm glad to see you. And Mr.
Phinney, too! Bully! Clear out and let 'em alone, you Indians.'
"The crowd didn't want to let us alone, but Sam got us clear
somehow, and out of the Exchange Buildin' and into the back room of
a kind of restaurant. Then he gets chairs for us, orders cigars,
and shakes hands once more.
"'To think of seein' you two in New York!' he says, wonderin'.
'What are you doin' here? When did you come? Tell us about it.'
"So we told him about our pleasure cruise, and what had happened to
us so fur. It seemed to tickle him 'most to death.
"'Grace and I are keepin' house, in a modest way, uptown,' says
Sam, 'and she'll be as glad to see you as I am. You're comin' up
to dinner with me to-night, and you're goin' to make us a visit,
you know,' he says.
"Well, if we didn't know it then, we learned it right away.
Nothin' that me or Simeon could say would make him change the
course a point. So Phinney went up to the Golconda House and got
our bags, and at half-past four that afternoon the three of us was
in a hired hack bound uptown.
"On the way Sam was full of fun as ever. He laughed and joked, and
asked questions about East Harniss till you couldn't rest. All of
a sudden he slaps his knee and sings out:
"'There! I knew I'd forgotten somethin'. Our butler left
yesterday, and I was to call at the intelligence office on my way
home and see if they'd scared up a new one.'
"I looked at Simeon, and he at me.
"'Hum!' says I, thinkin' about that 'modest' housekeepin'. 'Do you
keep a butler?'
"'Not long,' says he, dry as a salt codfish. And that's all we
could get out of him.
"I s'pose there's different kinds of modesty. We hadn't more'n got
inside the gold-plated front door of that house when I decided that
the Holden brand of housekeepin' wa'n't bashful enough to blush.
If I'D been runnin' that kind of a place, the only time I'd felt
shy and retirin' was when the landlord came for the rent.
"One of the fo'mast hands--hired girls, I mean--went aloft to fetch
Mrs. Holden, and when Grace came down she was just as nice and
folksy and glad to see us as a body could be. But she looked sort
of troubled, just the same.
"'I'm ever so glad you're here,' says she to me and Simeon. 'But,
oh, Sam! it's a shame the way things happen. Cousin Harriet and
Archie came this afternoon to stay until to-morrow. They're on
their way South. And I have promised that you and I shall take
Harriet to see Marlowe to-night. Of course we won't do it now,
under any consideration, but you know what she is.'
"Sam seemed to know. He muttered somethin' that sounded like a
Scripture text. Simeon spoke up prompt.
"'Indeed you will,' says he, decided. 'Me and Hiram ain't that
kind. We've got relations of our own, and we know what it means
when they come a-visitin'. You and Mr. Holden'll take your comp'ny
and go to see--whatever 'tis you want to see, and we'll make
ourselves to home till you get back. Yes, you will, or we clear
out this minute.'
"They didn't want to, but we was sot, and so they give in finally.
It seemed that this Cousin Harriet was a widow relation of the
Holdens, who lived in a swell country house over in Connecticut
somewhere, and was rich as the rest of the tribe. Archie was her
son. 'Hers and the Evil One's,' Sam said.
"We didn't realize how much truth there was in this last part until
we run afoul of Archie and his ma at dinner time. Cousin Harriet
was tall and middlin' slim, thirty-five years old, maybe, at a sale
for taxes, but discounted to twenty at her own valuation. She was
got up regardless, and had a kind of chronic, tired way of talkin',
and a condescendin' look to her, as if she was on top of Bunker
Hill monument, and all creation was on its knees down below. She
didn't warm up to Simeon and me much; eyed us over through a pair
of gilt spyglasses, and admitted that she was 'charmed, I'm sure.'
Likewise, she was afflicted with 'nerves,' which must be a divil of
a disease--for everybody but the patient, especial.
"Archie--his ma hailed him as 'Archibald, dear'--showed up pretty
soon in tow of his 'maid,' a sweet-faced, tired-out Irish girl
named Margaret. 'Archibald, dear,' was five years old or so,
sufferin' from curls and the lack of a lickin'. I never see a
young one that needed a strap ile more.
"'How d'ye do Archie?' says Simeon, holdin' out his hand.
"Archie didn't take the hand. Instead of that he points at Phinney
and commences to laugh.
"'Ho, ho!' says he, dancin' and pointin'. 'Look at the funny
"Sim wa'n't expectin' that, and it set him all aback, like he'd run
into a head squall. He took hold of his beard and looked foolish.
Sam and Grace looked ashamed and mad. Cousin Harriet laughed one
of her lazy laughs.
"'Archibald, de-ar,' she drawls, 'you mustn't speak that way. Now
be nice, and play with Margaret durin' dinner, that's a good boy.'
"'I won't,' remarks Archie, cheerful. 'I'm goin' to dine with you,
"'Oh, no, you're not, dear. You'll have your own little table,
"Then 'twas' Hi, yi!' 'Bow, wow!' Archibald wa'n't hankerin' for
little tables. He was goin' to eat with us, that's what. His ma,
she argued with him and pleaded, and he yelled and stamped and
hurrahed. When Margaret tried to soothe him he went at her like a
wild-cat, and kicked and pounded her sinful. She tried to take him
out of the room, and then Cousin Harriet come down on her like a
scow load of brick.
"'Haven't I told you,' says she, sharp and vinegary, 'not to oppose
the child in that way? Archibald has such a sensitive nature,' she
says to Grace, 'that opposition arouses him just as it did me at
his age. Very well, dear; you MAY dine with us to-night, if you
wish. Oh, my poor nerves! Margaret, why don't you place a chair
for Master Archibald? The creature is absolutely stupid at times,'
she says, talkin' about that poor maid afore her face with no more
thought for her feelin's than if she was a wooden image. 'She has
no tact whatever. I wouldn't have Archibald's spirit broken for
"'Twas his neck that needed breakin' if you asked ME. That was a
joyful meal, now I tell you.
"There was more joy when 'twas over. Archie didn't want to go to
bed, havin' desires to set up and torment Simeon with questions
about his whiskers; askin' if they growed or was tied on, and
things like that. Course he didn't know his ma was goin' to the
show, or he wouldn't have let her. But finally he was coaxed
upstairs by Margaret and a box of candy, and, word havin' been sent
down that he was asleep, Sam got out his plug hat, and Grace and
Cousin Harriet got on their fur-lined dolmans and knit clouds, and
was ready for the hack.
"'I feel mighty mean to go off and leave you this way,' says Sam to
me and Simeon. 'But you make yourself at home, won't you? This is
your house to-night, you know; servants and all.'
"'How about that boy's wakin' up?' says I.
"'Oh, his maid'll attend to him. If she needs any help you can
give it to her,' he says, winkin' on the side.
"But Cousin Harriet was right at his starboard beam, and she heard
him. She flew up like a settin' hen.
"'Indeed they will NOT!' she sings out. 'If anyone but Margaret
was to attempt to control Archibald, I don't dare think what might
happen. I shall not stir from this spot until these persons
promise not to interfere in ANY way; Archibald, dear, is such a
"So we promised not to interfere, although Sim Phinney looked
disappointed when he done it. I could see that he'd had hopes
afore he give that promise."
IN THE GREAT METROPOLIS
"So they left you and Sim Phinney to keep house, did they, Hiram?"
"They did. And, for a spell, we figgered on bein' free from too
"After they'd gone we loafed into the settin' room or libr'ry, or
whatever you call it, and come to anchor in a couple of big lazy
"'Now,' says I, takin' off my coat, 'we can be comf'table.'
"But we couldn't. In bobs a servant girl to know if we 'wanted
anything.' We didn't, but she looked so shocked when she see me in
my shirt sleeves that I put the coat on again, feelin' as if I'd
ought to blush. And in a minute back she comes to find out if we
was SURE we didn't want anything. Sim was hitchin' in his chair.
Between 'nerves' and Archibald, his temper was raw on the edges.
"'Say,' he bursts out, 'you look kind of pale to me. What you need
is fresh air. Why don't you go take a walk?'
"The girl looked at him with her mouth open.
"'Oh,' says she, 'I couldn't do that, thank you, sir. That would
leave no one but the cook and the kitchen girl. And the master
said you was to be made perfectly comf'table, and--'
"'Yes,' says Sim, dry, 'I heard him say it. And we can't be
comf'table with you shut up in the house this nice evenin'. Go and
take a walk, and take the cook and stewardess with you. Don't
argue about it. I'm skipper here till the boss gets back. Go, the
three of you, and go NOW. D'ye hear?'
"There was a little more talk, but not much. In five minutes or so
the downstairs front door banged, and there was gigglin' outside.
"'There,' says Simeon, peelin' off HIS coat and throwin' himself
back in one chair with his feet on another one. 'Now, by Judas,
I'm goin' to be homey and happy like poor folks. I don't wonder
that Harriet woman's got nerves. Darn style, anyhow! Pass over
that cigar box, Hiram.'
"'Twas half an hour later or so when Margaret, the nursemaid, came
downstairs. I'd almost forgot her. We was tame and toler'ble
contented by that time. Phinney called to her as she went by the
"'Is that young one asleep?' he asked.
"'Yes, sir,' says she, 'he is. Is there anything I can do? Did
you want anything?'
"Simeon looks at me. 'I swan to man, it's catchin'!' he says.
'They've all got it. No, we don't want anything, except-- What's
the matter? YOU don't need fresh air, do you?'
"The girl looked as if she'd lost her last friend. Her pretty face
was pale and her eyes was wet, as if she'd been cryin'.
"'No, sir,' says she, puzzled. 'No, sir, thank you, sir.'
"'She's tired out, that's all,' says I. I swan, I pitied the poor
thing. 'You go somewheres and take a nap,' I told her. 'Me and my
friend won't tell.'
"Oh, no, she couldn't do that. It wa'n't that she was tired--no
more tired than usual--but she'd been that troubled in her mind
lately, askin' our pardon, that she was near to crazy.
"We was sorry for that, but it didn't seem to be none of our
business, and she was turnin' away, when all at once she stops and
turns back again.
"'Might I ask you gintlemen a question?' she says, sort of
pleadin'. 'Sure I mane no harm by it. Do aither of you know a man
be the name of Michael O'Shaughnessy?'
"Me and Sim looked at each other. 'Which?' says I. 'Mike O' who?'
"'Aw, don't you know him?' she begs. 'DON'T you know him? Sure I
hoped you might. If you'd only tell me where he is I'd git on me
knees and pray for you. O Mike, Mike! why did you leave me like
this? What'll become of me?'
"And she walks off down the hall, coverin' her face with her hands
and cryin' as if her heart was broke.
"'There! there!' says Simeon, runnin' after her, all shook up.
He's a kind-hearted man--especially to nice-lookin' females.
'Don't act so,' he says. 'Be a good girl. Come right back into
the settin' room and tell me all about it. Me and Cap'n Baker
ain't got nerves, and we ain't rich, neither. You can talk to us.
"She didn't know how to act, seemingly. She was like a dog that's
been kicked so often he's suspicious of a pat on the head. And she
was cryin' and sobbin' so, and askin' our pardon for doin' it, that
it took a good while to get at the real yarn. But we did get it,
after a spell.
"It seems that the girl--her whole name was Margaret Sullivan--had
been in this country but a month or so, havin' come from Ireland in
a steamboat to meet the feller who'd kept comp'ny with her over
there. His name was Michael O'Shaughnessy, and he'd been in
America for four years or more, livin' with a cousin in Long Island
City. And he'd got a good job at last, and he sent for her to come
on and be married to him. And when she landed 'twas the cousin
that met her. Mike had drawn a five-thousand-dollar prize in the
Mexican lottery a week afore, and hadn't been seen sence.
"So poor Margaret goes to the cousin's to stay. And she found them
poor as Job's pet chicken, and havin' hardly grub enough aboard to
feed the dozen or so little cousins, let alone free boarders like
her. And so, havin' no money, she goes out one day to an
intelligence office where they deal in help, and puts in a blank
askin' for a job as servant girl. 'Twas a swell place, where
bigbugs done their tradin', and there she runs into Cousin Harriet,
who was a chronic customer, always out of servants, owin' to the
complications of Archibald and nerves. And Harriet hires her,
because she was pretty and would work for a shavin' more'n nothin',
and carts her right off to Connecticut. And when Margaret sets out
to write for her trunk, and to tell where she is, she finds she's
lost the cousin's address, and can't remember whether it's Umpty-
eighth Street or Tin Can Avenue.
"'And, oh,' says she, 'what SHALL I do? The mistress is that hard
to please, and the child is that wicked till I want to die. And I
have no money and no friends. O Mike! Mike!' she says. 'If you
only knew you'd come to me. For it's a good heart he has, although
the five thousand dollars carried away his head,' says she.
"I don't believe I ever wanted to make a feller's acquaintance more
than I done that O'Shaughnessy man's. The mean blackguard, to
leave his girl that way. And 'twas easy to see what she'd been
through with Cousin Harriet and that brat. We tried to comfort her
all we could; promised to have a hunt through Long Island and the
directory, and to help get her another place when she got back from
the South, and so on. But 'twas kind of unsatisfactory. 'Twas her
Mike she wanted.
"'I told the Father about it at the church up there,' she says,
'and he wrote, but the letters was lost, I guess. And I thought if
I might see a priest here in New York he might help me. But the
mistress is to go at noon to-morrer, and I'll have no time. What
SHALL I do?' says she, and commenced to cry again.
"Then I had an idea. 'Priest?' says I. 'There's a fine big
church, with a cross on the ridgepole of it, not five minutes' walk
from this house. I see it as we was comin' up. Why don't you run
down there this minute?' I says.
"No, she didn't want to leave Archibald. Suppose he should wake
"'All right,' says I. 'Then I'll go myself. And I'll fetch a
priest up here if I have to tote him on my back, like the feller
does the codfish in the advertisin' picture.'
"I didn't have to tote him. He lived in a mighty fine house,
hitched onto the church, and there was half a dozen assistant
parsons to help him do his preachin'. But he was big and fat and
gray-haired and as jolly and as kind-hearted a feller as you'd want
to meet. He said he'd come right along; and he done it.
"Phinney opened the door for us. 'What's the row?' says I, lookin'
at his face.
"'Row?' he snorts; 'there's row enough for six. That da--excuse
me, mister--that cussed Archibald has woke up.'
"He had; there wa'n't no doubt about it. And he was raisin' hob,
too. The candy, mixed up with the dinner, had put his works in
line with his disposition, and he was poundin' and yellin' upstairs
enough to wake the dead. Margaret leaned over the balusters.
"'Is it the Father?' she says. 'Oh, dear! what'll I do?'
"'Send some of the other servants to the boy,' says the priest,
'and come down yourself.'
"Simeon, lookin' kind of foolish, explained what had become of the
other servants. Father McGrath--that was his name--laughed and
shook all over.
"'Very well,' says he. 'Then bring the young man down. Perhaps
he'll be quiet here.'
"So pretty soon down come Margaret with Archibald, full of the Old
Scratch, as usual, dressed up gay in a kind of red blanket nighty,
with a rope around the middle of it. The young one spotted Simeon,
and set up a whoop.
"'Oh! there's the funny whiskers,' he sings out.
"'Good evenin', my son,' says the priest.
"'Who's the fat man?' remarks Archibald, sociable. 'I never saw
such a red fat man. What makes him so red and fat?'
"These questions didn't make Father McGrath any paler. He laughed,
of course, but not as if 'twas the funniest thing he ever heard.
"'So you think I'm fat, do you, my boy?' says he.
"'Yes, I do,' says Archibald. 'Fat and red and funny. Most as
funny as the whisker man. I never saw such funny-lookin' people.'
"He commenced to point and holler and laugh. Poor Margaret was so
shocked and mortified she didn't know what to do.
"'Stop your noise, sonny,' says I. 'This gentleman wants to talk
to your nurse.'
"The answer I got was some unexpected.
"'What makes your feet so big?' says Archie, pointin' at my Sunday
boots. 'Why do you wear shoes like that? Can't you help it?
You're funny, too, aren't you? You're funnier than the rest of
"We all went into the library then, and Father McGrath tried to ask
Margaret some questions. I'd told him the heft of the yarn on the
way from the church, and he was interested. But the questionin'
was mighty unsatisfyin'. Archibald was the whole team, and the
rest of us was yeller dogs under the wagon.
"'Can't you keep that child quiet?' asks the priest, at last,
losin' his temper and speakin' pretty sharp.
"'O Archie, dear! DO be a nice boy,' begs Margaret, for the eight
"'Why don't you punish him as he deserves?'
"'Father, dear, I can't. The mistress says he's so sensitive that
he has to have his own way. I'd lose my place if I laid a hand on
"'Come on into the parlor and see the pictures, Archie,' says I.
"'I won't,' says Archibald. 'I'm goin' to stay here and see the
fat man make faces.'
"'You see,' says Sim, apologizin' 'we can't touch him, 'cause we
promised his ma not to interfere. And my right hand's got cramps
in the palm of it this minute,' he adds, glarin' at the young one.
"Father McGrath stood up and reached for his hat. Margaret began
to cry. Archibald, dear, whooped and kicked the furniture. And
just then the front-door bell rang.
"For a minute I thought 'twas Cousin Harriet and the Holdens come
back, but then I knew it was hours too early for that. Margaret
was too much upset to be fit for company, so I answered the bell
myself. And who in the world should be standin' on the steps but
that big Dempsey man, the boss of the Golconda House, where me and
Simeon had been stayin'; the feller we'd spoke to that very
"'Good evenin', sor,' says he, in a voice as deep as a well. 'I'm
glad to find you to home, sor. There's a telegram come for you at
my place,' he says, 'and as your friend lift the address when he
come for the baggage this afternoon, I brought it along to yez. I
was comin' this way, so 'twas no trouble.'
"'That's real kind of you,' I says. 'Step inside a minute, won't
"So in he comes, and stands, holdin' his shiny beaver in his hand,
while I tore open the telegram envelope. 'Twas a message from a
feller I knew with the Clyde Line of steamboats. He had found out,
somehow, that we was in New York, and the telegram was an order for
us to come and make him a visit.
"'I hope it's not bad news, sor,' says the big chap.
"'No, no,' says I. 'Not a bit of it, Mr. Dempsey. Come on in and
have a cigar, won't you?'
"'Thank you, sor,' says he. 'I'm glad it's not the bad news.
Sure, I ax you and your friend's pardon for bein' so short to yez
this mornin', but I'm in that throuble lately that me timper is all
"'That so?' says I. 'Trouble's thick in this world, ain't it? Me
and Mr. Phinney got a case of trouble on our hands now, Mr.
"'Excuse me, sor,' he says. 'My name's not Dempsey. I suppose you
seen the sign with me partner's name on it. I only bought into the
business a while ago, and the new sign's not ready yit. Me name is
"'What?' says I. And then: 'WHAT?'
"'O'Shaughnessy. Michael O'Shaughnessy. I--'
"'Hold on!' I sung out. 'For the land sakes, hold on! WHAT'S your
"He bristled up like a cat.
"'Michael O'Shaughnessy,' he roars, like the bull of Bashan.
'D'yez find any fault with it? 'Twas me father's before me--
Michael Patrick O'Shaughnessy, of County Sligo. I'll have yez
know-- WHAT'S THAT?'
"'Twas a scream from the libr'ry. Next thing I knew, Margaret, the
nurse girl, was standin' in the hall, white as a Sunday shirt, and
swingin' back and forth like a wild-carrot stalk in a gale.
"'Mike!' says she, kind of low and faint. 'Mary be good to us!
"And the big chap dropped his tall hat on the floor and turned as
white as she was.
"'MAGGIE!' he hollers. And then they closed in on one another.
"Sim and the priest and Archie had followed the girl into the hall.
Me and Phinney was too flabbergasted to do anything, but big Father
McGrath was cool as an ice box. When Archibald, like the little
imp he was, sets up a whoop and dives for them two, the priest
grabs him by the rope of the blanket nighty and swings him into the
libr'ry, and shuts the door on him.
"'And now,' says he, takin' Sim and me by the arms and leadin' us
to the parlor, 'we'll just step in here and wait a bit.'
"We waited, maybe, ten minutes. Archibald, dear, shut up in the
libr'ry, was howlin' blue murder, but nobody paid any attention to
him. Then there was a knock on the door between us and the hall,
and Father McGrath opened it. There they was, the two of 'em--Mike
and Maggie--lookin' red and foolish--but happy, don't talk!
"'You see, sor,' says the O'Shaughnessy man to me, ''twas the five-
thousand-dollar prize that done it. I'd been workin' at me trade,
sor--larnin' to tind bar it was--and I'd just got a new job where
the pay was pretty good, and I'd sint over for Maggie, and was
plannin' for the little flat we was to have, and the like of that,
when I drew that prize. And the joy of it was like handin' me a
jolt on the jaw. It put me out for two weeks, sor, and when I come
to I was in Baltimore, where I'd gone to collect the money; and two
thousand of the five was gone, and I knew me job in New York was
gone, and I was that shamed and sick it took me three days more to
make up me mind to come to me Cousin Tim's, where I knew Maggie'd
be waitin' for me. And when I did come back she was gone, too.'
"'And then,' says Father McGrath, sharp, 'I suppose you went on
another spree, and spent the rest of the money.'
"'I did not, sor--axin' your pardon for contradictin' your
riverence. I signed the pledge, and I'll keep it, with Maggie to
help me. I put me three thousand into a partnership with me friend
Dempsey, who was runnin' the Golconda House--'tis over on the East
Side, with a fine bar trade--and I'm doin' well, barrin' that I've
been crazy for this poor girl, and advertisin' and--'
"'And look at the clothes of him!' sings out Margaret, reverentlike.
'And is that YOUR tall hat, Mike? To think of you with a tall hat!
Sure it's a proud girl I am this day. Saints forgive me, I've
"And afore we could stop her she'd run into the hall and unfastened
the libr'ry door. It took her some time to smooth down the young
one's sensitive feelin's, and while she was gone, me and Simeon
told the O'Shaughnessy man a little of what his girl had had to put
up with along of Cousin Harriet and Archibald. He was mad.
"'Is that the little blackguard?' he asks, pointin' to Archibald,
who had arrived by now.
"'That's the one,' says I.
"Archibald looked up at him and grinned, sassy as ever.
"'Father McGrath,' asks O'Shaughnessy, determined like, 'can you
marry us this night?'
"'I can,' says the Father.
"'And will yez?'
"'I will, with pleasure.'
"'Maggie,' says Mike, 'get your hat and jacket on and come with the
Father and me this minute. These gintlemen here will explain to
your lady when she comes back. But YOU'LL come back no more.
We'll send for your trunk to-morrer.'
"Even then the girl hesitated. She'd been so used to bein' a slave
that I suppose she couldn't realize she was free at last.
"'But, Mike, dear,' she says. 'I--oh, your lovely hat! Put it
down, Archie, darlin'. Put it down!'
"Archibald had been doin' a little cruisin' on his own hook, and
he'd dug up Mike's shiny beaver where it had been dropped in the
hall. Now he was dancin' round with it, bangin' it on the top as
if it was a drum.
"'Put it down, PLEASE!' pleads Margaret. 'Twas plain that that
plug was a crown of glory to her.
"'Drop it, you little thafe!' yells O'Shaughnessy, makin' a dive
for the boy.
"'I won't!' screams Archibald, and starts to run. He tripped over
the corner of a mat, and fell flat. The plug hat was underneath
him, and it fell flat, too.
"'Oh! oh! oh!' wails Margaret, wringin' her hands. 'Your beautiful
"Mike's face was like a sunset.
"'Your reverence,' says he, 'tell me this; don't the wife promise
to "obey" in the marriage service?'
"'She does,' says Father McGrath.
"'D'ye hear that, you that's to be Margaret O'Shaughnessy? You do?
Well, then, as your husband that's to be in tin minutes, I order
you to give that small divil what's comin' to him. D'ye hear me?
Will yez obey me, or will yez not?'
"She didn't know what to do. You could see she wanted to--her
fingers was itchin' to do it, but-- And then Archie held up the
ruins of the hat and commenced to laugh.
"That settled it. Next minute he was across her knee and gettin'
what he'd been sufferin' for ever sence he was born; and gettin'
all the back numbers along with it, too.
"And in the midst of the performance Sim Phinney leans over to me
with the most heavenly, resigned expression on his face, and says
"'It ain't OUR fault, Hiram. We promised not to interfere.'"
"What did Sam Holden and his wife say when they got home?" asked
Captain Sol, when the triumphant whoops over Archibald's righteous
chastisement had subsided.
"We didn't give him much of a chance to say anything. I laid for
him in the hall when he arrived and told him that Phinney had got a
telegram and must leave immediate. He wanted to know why, and a
whole lot more, but I told him we'd write it. Neither Sim nor me
cared to face Cousin Harriet after her darlin' son had spun his
yarn. Ha! ha! I'd like to have seen her face--from a safe
Captain Bailey Stitt cleared his throat. "Referrin' to them
automobiles," he said, "I--"
"Say, Sol," interrupted Wingate, "did I ever tell you of Cap'n
Jonadab's and my gettin' took up by the police when WE was in New
"No," replied the astounded depot master. "Took up by the POLICE?"
"Um--hm. Surprises you, don't it? Well, that whole trip was a
surprise to me.
"When Laban Thorp set out to thrash his son and the boy licked him
instead, they found the old man settin' in the barnyard, holdin' on
to his nose and grinnin' for pure joy.
"'Hurt?' says he. 'Why, some. But think of it! Only think of it!
I didn't believe Bill had it in him.'
"Well, that's the way I felt when Cap'n Jonadab sprung the New York
plan on to me. I was pretty nigh as much surprised as Labe. The
idea of a man with a chronic case of lockjaw of the pocketbook,
same as Jonadab had worried along under ever sence I knew him,
suddenly breakin' loose with a notion to go to New York on a
pleasure cruise! 'Twas too many for me. I set and looked at him.
"'Oh, I mean it, Barzilla,' he says. 'I ain't been to New York
sence I was mate on the Emma Snow, and that was 'way back in the
eighties. That is, to stop I ain't. That time we went through on
the way to Peter T.'s weddin' don't count, 'cause we only went in
the front door and out the back, like Squealer Wixon went through
high school. Let's you and me go and stay two or three days and
have a real high old time,' says he.
"I fetched a long breath. 'Jonadab,' I says, don't scare a feller
this way; I've got a weak heart. If you're goin' to start in and
be divilish in your old age, why, do it kind of gradual. Let's go
over to the billiard room and have a bottle of sass'parilla and a
five-cent cigar, just to break the ice.'
"But that only made him mad.
"'You talk like a fish,' he says. 'I mean it. Why can't we go?
It's September, the Old Home House is shut up for the season, you
and me's done well--fur's profits are concerned--and we ought to
have a change, anyway. We've got to stay here in Orham all
"'Have you figgered out how much it's goin' to cost?' I asked him.
"Yes, he had. 'It won't be so awful expensive,' he says. 'I've
got some stock in the railroad and that'll give me a pass fur's
Fall River. And we can take a lunch to eat on the boat. And a
stateroom's a dollar; that's fifty cents apiece. And my daughter's
goin' to Denboro on a visit next week, so I'd have to pay board if
I stayed to home. Come on, Barzilla! don't be so tight with your
"So I said I'd go, though I didn't have any pass, nor no daughter
to feed me free gratis for nothin' when I got back. And when we
started, on the followin' Monday, nothin' would do but we must be
at the depot at two o'clock so's not to miss the train, which left
at quarter past three.
"I didn't sleep much that night on the boat. For one thing, our
stateroom was a nice lively one, alongside of the paddle box and
just under the fog whistle; and for another, the supper that
Jonadab had brought, bein' mainly doughnuts and cheese, wa'n't the
best cargo to take to bed with you. But it didn't make much
diff'rence, 'cause we turned out at four, so's to see the scenery
and git our money's worth. What was left of the doughnuts and
cheese we had for breakfast.
"We made the dock on time, and the next thing was to pick out a
hotel. I was for cruisin' along some of the main streets until we
hove in sight of a place that looked sociable and not too
expensive. But no; Jonadab had it all settled for me. We was
goin' to the 'Wayfarer's Inn,' a boardin' house where he'd put up
once when he was mate of the Emma Snow. He said 'twas a fine place
and you could git as good ham and eggs there as a body'd want to
"So we set sail for the 'Wayfarer's,' and of all the times gittin'
to a place--don't talk! We asked no less than nine policemen and
one hundred and two other folks, and it cost us thirty cents in car
fares, which pretty nigh broke Jonadab's heart. However, we found
it, finally, 'way off amongst a nest of brick houses and peddler
carts and children, and it wa'n't the 'Wayfarer's Inn' no more, but
was down in the shippin' list as the 'Golconda House.' Jonadab
said the neighborhood had changed some sence he was there, but he
guessed we'd better chance it, 'cause the board was cheap.
"We had a nine-by-ten room up aloft somewheres, and there we set
down on the edge of the bed and a chair to take account of stock,
as you might say.
"'Now, I tell you, Jonadab,' says I; 'we don't want to waste no
time, and we've got the day afore us. What do you say if we cruise
along the water front for a spell? There's ha'f a dozen Orham
folks aboard diff'rent steamers that hail from this port, and
'twouldn't be no more'n neighborly to call on 'em. There's Silas
Baker's boy, Asa--he's with the Savannah Line and he'd be mighty
glad to see us. And there's--'
"But Jonadab held up his hand. He'd been mysterious as a baker's
mince pie ever sence we started, hintin' at somethin' he'd got to
do when we'd got to New York. And now he out with it.
"'Barzilla,' he says, 'I ain't sayin' but what I'd like to go to
the wharves with you, first rate. And we will go, too. But afore
we do anything else I've got an errand that must be attended to.
'Twas give to me by a dyin' man,' he says, 'and I promised him I'd
do it. So that comes first of all.'
"He got his wallet out of his inside vest pocket, where it had been
pinned in tight to keep it safe from robbers, unwound a foot or so
of leather strap, and dug up a yeller piece of paper that looked
old enough to be Methusalem's will, pretty nigh.
"'Do you remember Patrick Kelly in Orham?' he asks.
"'Who?' says I. 'Pat Kelly, the Irishman, that lived in the little
old shack back of your barn? Course I do. But he's been dead for
I don't know how long.'
"'I know he has. Do you remember his boy Jim that run away from
"'Let's see,' I says. 'Seems to me I do. Freckled, red-headed
rooster, wa'n't he? And of all the imps of darkness that ever--'
"'S-sh-sh!' he interrupted solemn. 'Don't say that now, Barzilla.
Sounds kind of irreverent. Well, me and old Pat was pretty
friendly, in a way, though he did owe me rent. When he was sick
with the pleurisy he sends for me and he says, "Cap'n 'Wixon," says
he, "you're pretty close with the money," he says--he was kind of
out of his head at the time and liable to say foolish things--
"you're pretty close," he says, "but you're a man of your word. My
boy Jimmie, that run away, was the apple of my eye."'
"'That's what he said about his girl Maggie that was took up for
stealin' Mrs. Elkanah Higgins's spoons,' I says. 'He had a healthy
crop of apples in HIS orchard.'
"'S-sh-h! DON'T talk so! I feel as if the old man's spirit was
with us this minute. "He's the apple of my eye," he says, "and he
run away, after me latherin' the life out of him with a wagon
spoke. 'Twas all for his good, but he didn't understand, bein' but
a child. And now I've heard," he says, "that he's workin' at 116
East Blank Street in the city of New York. Cap'n Wixon, you're a
man of money and a travelin' man," he says (I was fishin' in them
days). "When you go to New York," he says, "I want you to promise
me to go to the address on this paper and hunt up Jimmie. Tell him
I forgive him for lickin' him," he says, "and die happy. Will you
promise me that, Cap'n, on your word as a gentleman?" And I
promised him. And he died in less than ten months afterwards, poor
"'But that was sixteen--eighteen--nineteen years ago,' says I.
'And the boy run away three years afore that. You've been to New
York in the past nineteen years, once anyhow.'
"'I know it. But I forgot. I'm ashamed of it, but I forgot. And
when I was goin' through the things up attic at my daughter's last
Friday, seein' what I could find for the rummage sale at the
church, I come across my old writin' desk, and in it was this very
piece of paper with the address on it just as I wrote it down. And
me startin' for New York in three days! Barzilla, I swan to man, I
believe something SENT me to that attic.'
"I knew what sent him there and so did the church folks, judgin' by
their remarks when the contribution came in. But I was too much
set back by the whole crazy business to say anything about that.
"'Look here, Jonadab Wixon,' I sings out, 'do you mean to tell me
that we've got to put in the whole forenoon ransackin' New York to
find a boy that run off twenty-two years ago?'
"'It won't take the forenoon,' he says. 'I've got the number,
"'Yes, you've got the number where he WAS. If you want to know
where I think he's likely to be now, I'd try the jail.'
"But he said I was unfeelin' and disobligin' and lots more, so, to
cut the argument short, I agreed to go. And off we put to hunt up
116 East Blank Street. And when we located it, after a good hour
of askin' questions, and payin' car fares and wearin' out shoe
leather, 'twas a Chinese laundry.
"'Well,' I says, sarcastic, 'here we be. Which one of the heathen
do you think is Jimmie? If he had an inch or so more of upper lip,
I'd gamble on that critter with the pink nighty and the baskets on
his feet. He has a kind of familiar chicken-stealin' look in his
eye. Oh, come down on the wharves, Jonadab, and be sensible.'
"Would you believe it, he wa'n't satisfied. We must go into the
wash shop and ask the Chinamen if they knew Jimmie Kelly. So we
went in and the powwow begun.
"'Twas a mighty unsatisfyin' interview. Jonadab's idea of talkin'
to furriners is to yell at 'em as if they was stone deef. If they
don't understand what you say, yell louder. So between his yells
and the heathen's jabber and grunts the hullabaloo was worse than a
cat in a hen yard. Folks begun to stop outside the door and listen
"'What did he say?' asks the Cap'n, turnin' to me.
"'I don't know,' says I, 'but I cal'late he's gettin' ready to send
a note up to the crazy asylum. Come on out of here afore I go
"So he done it, finally, cross as all get out, and swearin' that
all Chinese was no good and oughtn't to be allowed in this country.
But he wouldn't give up, not yet. He must scare up some of the
neighbors and ask them. The fifth man that we asked was an old
chap who remembered that there used to be a liquor saloon once
where the laundry was now. But he didn't know who run it or what
had become of him.
"'Never mind,' I says. 'You're as warm as you're likely to be this
trip. A rum shop is just about the place I'd expect that Kelly boy
WOULD be in. And, if he's like the rest of his relations on his
dad's side, he drank himself to death years ago. NOW will you head
for the Savannah Line?'
"Not much, he wouldn't. He had another notion. We'd look in the
directory. That seemed to have a glimmer of sense somewheres in
its neighborhood, so we found an apothecary store and the clerk
handed us out a book once again as big as a church Bible.
"'Kelly,' says Jonadab. 'Yes, here 'tis. Now, "James Kelly."
Land of Love! Barzilla, look here.'
"I looked, and there wa'n't no less than a dozen pages of James
Kellys beginning with fifty James A.'s and endin' with four James
Z.'s. The Y in 'New York' ought to be a C, judgin' by that
"'Godfrey mighty!' I says. 'This ain't no forenoon's job, Jonadab.
If you're goin' through that list you'll have to spend the rest of
your life here. Only, unless you want to be lonesome, you'll have
to change your name to Kelly.'
"'If I'd only got his middle letter,' says he, mournful, ''twould
have been easier. He had four middle names, if I remember right--
the old man was great on names--and 'twas too much trouble to write
'em all down. Well, I've done my duty, anyhow. We'll go and call
on Ase Baker.'
"But 'twas after eleven o'clock then, and the doughnuts and cheese
I had for breakfast was beginnin' to feel as if they wanted
company. So we decided to go back to the Golconda and have some
"We had ham and eggs for dinner, some that was left over from the
last time Jonadab stopped there, I cal'late. Lucky there was hot
bread and coffee on the bill or we'd never got a square meal. Then
we went up to our room and the Cap'n laid down on the bed. He was
beat out, he said, and wanted to rest up a spell afore haulin'
anchor for another cruise."
A VISION SENT
"Where's the arrestin' come in?" demanded Stitt.
"Comes quick now, Bailey. Plenty quick enough for me and Jonadab,
I tell you that! After we got to our room the Cap'n went to sleep
pretty soon and I set in the one chair, readin' the newspaper and
wishin' I hadn't ate so many of the warm bricks that the Golconda
folks hoped was biscuit. They made me feel like a schooner goin'
home in ballast. I guess I was drowsin' off myself, but there
comes a most unearthly yell from the bed and I jumped ha'f out of
the chair. There was Jonadab settin' up and lookin' wild.
"'What in the world?' says I.
"'Oh! Ugh! My soul!' says he.
"'Your soul, hey?' says I. 'Is that all? I thought mebbe you'd
lost a quarter.'
"'Barzilla,' he says, comin' to and starin' at me solemn,
'Barzilla, I've had a dream--a wonderful dream.'
"'Well,' I says, 'I ain't surprised. A feller that h'isted in as
much fried dough as you did ought to expect--'
"'But I tell you 'twas a WONDERFUL dream,' he says. 'I dreamed I
was on Blank Street, where we was this mornin', and Patrick Kelly
comes to me and p'ints his finger right in my face. I see him as
plain as I see you now. And he says to me--he said it over and
over, two or three times--Seventeen," says he, "Seventeen." Now
what do you think of that?'
"'Humph!' I says. 'I ain't surprised. I think 'twas just
seventeen of them biscuits that you got away with. Wonder to me
you didn't see somebody worse'n old Pat.'
"But he was past jokin'. You never see a man so shook up by the
nightmare as he was by that one. He kept goin' over it and tellin'
how natural old Kelly looked and how many times he said 'Seventeen'
"'Now what did he mean by it?' he says. 'Don't tell me that was a
common dream, 'cause twa'n't. No, sir, 'twas a vision sent to me,
and I know it. But what did he mean?'
"'I think he meant you was seventeen kinds of an idiot,' I snorts,
disgusted. 'Get up off that bed and stop wavin' your arms, will
you? He didn't mean for you to turn yourself into a windmill,
that's sartin sure.'
"Then he hits his knee a slap that sounds like a window blind
blowin' to. 'I've got it!' he sings out. 'He meant for me to go
to number seventeen on that street. That's what he meant.'
"I laughed and made fun of him, but I might as well have saved my
breath. He was sure Pat Kelly's ghost had come hikin' back from
the hereafter to tell him to go to 17 Blank Street and find his
boy. 'Else why was he ON Blank Street?' he says. 'You tell me
"I couldn't tell him. It's enough for me to figger out what makes
live folks act the way they do, let alone dead ones. And Cap'n
Jonadab was a Spiritu'list on his mother's side. It ended by my
agreein' to give the Jimmie chase one more try.
"'But it's got to be the last,' I says. 'When you get to number
seventeen don't you say you think the old man meant to say
"seventy" and stuttered.'
"Number 17 Blank Street was a little combination fruit and paper
store run by an Eyetalian with curly hair and the complexion of a
molasses cooky. His talk sounded as if it had been run through a
meat chopper. All he could say was, 'Nica grape, genta'men? On'y
fifteen cent a pound. Nica grape? Nica apple? Nica pear? Nica
"'Kelly?' says Jonadab, hollerin' as usual. 'Kelly! d'ye
understand? K-E-L-Kel L-Y-ly, Kelly. YOU know, KELLY! We want to
"And just then up steps a feller about six feet high and three foot
through. He was dressed in checkerboard clothes, some gone to
seed, and you could hardly see the blue tie he had on for the glass
di'mond in it. Oh, he was a little wilted now--for the lack of
water, I judge--but 'twas plain that he'd been a sunflower in his
time. He'd just come out of a liquor store next door to the fruit
shop and was wipin' his mouth with the back of his hand.
"'What's this I hear?' says he, fetchin' Jonadab a welt on the back
like a mast goin' by the board. 'Is it me friend Kelly you're
"I was just goin' to tell him no, not likin' his looks, but Jonadab
cut in ahead of me, out of breath from the earthquake the feller
had landed him, but excited as could be.
"'Yes, yes!' says he. 'It's Mr. Kelly we want. Do you know him?'
"'Do I know him? Why, me bucko, 'tis me old college chum he is.
Come on with me and we'll give him the glad hand.'
"He grabs Jonadab by the arm and starts along the sidewalk,
steerin' a toler'ble crooked course, but gainin' steady by jerks.
"'I was on me way to Kelly's place now,' says he. 'And here it is.
Sure didn't I bate the bookies blind on Rosebud but yesterday--or
was it the day before? I don't know, but come on, me lads, and
we'll do him again.'
"He turned in at a little narrer entry-like, and went stumblin' up
a flight of dirty stairs. I caught hold of Jonadab's coat tails
and pulled him back.
"'Where you goin', you crazy loon?' I whispered. 'Can't you see
he's three sheets in the wind? And you haven't told him what Kelly
you want, nor nothin'.'
"But I might as well have hollered at a stone wall. 'I don't care
if he's as fur gone in liquor as Belshazzer's goat,' sputters the
Cap'n, all worked up. 'He's takin' us to a Kelly, ain't he? And
is it likely there'd be another one within three doors of the
number I dreamed about? Didn't I tell you that dream was a vision
sent? Don't lay to NOW, Barzilla, for the land sakes! It's
"'Cording to my notion the sunflower looked more like an agent from
t'other end of the line than one from Providence, but just then he
commenced to yell for us and upstairs we went, Jonadab first.
"'Whisht!' says the checkerboard, holdin' on to Jonadab's collar
and swingin' back and forth. 'Before we proceed to blow in on me
friend Kelly, let us come to an understandin' concernin' and
touchin' on--and--and--I don't know. But b'ys,' says he, solemn
and confidential, 'are you on the square? Are yez dead game
"'Yes, yes!' says Jonadab. 'Course we be. Mr. Kelly and us are
old friends. We've come I don't know how fur on purpose to see
him. Now where's--'
"'Say no more,' hollers the feller. 'Say no more. Come on with
yez.' And he marches down the dark hall to a door with a 'To let'
sign on it and fetches it a bang with his fist. It opens a little
ways and a face shows in the crack.
"'Hello, Frank!' hails the sunflower, cheerful. 'Will you take
that ugly mug of yours out of the gate and lave me friends in?'
"'What's the matter wid you, Mike?' asks the chap at the door.
'Yer can't bring them two yaps in here and you know it. Gwan out
"He tried to shut the door, but the checkerboard had his foot
between it and the jamb. You might as well have tried to shove in
the broadside of an ocean liner as to push against that foot.
"'These gents are friends of mine,' says he. 'Frank, I'll do yez
the honor of an introduction to Gin'ral Grant and Dan'l O'Connell.
Open that door and compose your face before I'm obliged to break
both of 'em.'
"'But I tell you, Mike, I can't,' says the door man, lookin'
scared. 'The boss is out, and you know--'
"'WILL you open that door?' roars the big chap. And with that he
hove his shoulder against the panels and jammed the door open by
main force, all but flattenin' the other feller behind it. 'Walk
in, Gin'ral,' he says to Jonadab, and in we went, me wonderin' what
was comin' next, and not darin' to guess.
"There was a kind of partitioned off hallway inside, with another
door in the partition. We opened that, and there was a good-sized
room, filled with men, smokin' and standin' around. A high board
fence was acrost one end of the room, and from behind it comes a
jinglin' of telephone bells and the sounds of talk. The floor was
covered with torn papers, the window blinds was shut, the gas was
burnin' blue, and, between it and the smoke, the smells was as
various as them in a fish glue factory. On the fence was a couple
of blackboards with 'Belmont' and 'Brighton' and suchlike names in
chalk wrote on 'em, and beneath that a whole mess in writin' and
figures like, 'Red Tail 4--Wt--108--Jock Smith--5--1,' 'Sourcrout
5--Wt--99--Jock Jones--20--5,' and similar rubbish. And the gang--
a mighty mixed lot--was scribblin' in little books and watchin'
each other as if they was afraid of havin' their pockets picked;
though, to look at 'em, you'd have guessed the biggest part had
nothin' in their pockets but holes.
"The six-foot checkerboard--who, it turned out, answered to the
hail of 'Mike'--seemed to be right at home with the gang. He
called most of 'em by their first names and went sasshayin' around,
weltin' 'em on the back and tellin' 'em how he'd 'put crimps in the
bookies rolls t'other day,' and a lot more stuff that they seemed
to understand, but was hog Greek to me and Jonadab. He'd forgot us
altogether which was a mercy the way I looked at it, and I steered
the Cap'n over into a corner and we come to anchor on a couple of
"'What--why--what kind of a place IS this, Barzilla?' whispers
"'Sh-h-h!' says I. 'Land knows. Just set quiet and hang on to
"'But--but I want to find Kelly,' says he.
"'I'd give somethin' to find a back door,' says I. 'Ain't this a
collection of dock rats though! If this is a part of your dream,
Jonadab, I wish you'd turn over and wake up. Oh land! here's one
murderer headin' this way. Keep your change in your fist and keep
the fist shut.'
"A more'n average rusty peep, with a rubber collar on and no
necktie, comes slinkin' over to us. He had a smile like a crack in
"'Say, gents,' he says, 'have you made your bets yet? I've got a
dead straight line on the handicap,' says he, 'and I'll put you
next for a one spot. It's a sure t'ing at fifteen to three. What
do you say?'
"I didn't say nuthin'; but that fool dream was rattlin' round in
Jonadab's skull like a bean in a blowgun, and he sees a chance for
"'See here, mister,' he says. 'Can you tell me where to locate Mr.
"'Who--Pete?' says the feller. 'Oh, he ain't in just now. But
about that handicap. I like the looks of youse and I'll let youse
in for a dollar. Or, seein' it's you, we'll say a half. Only
fifty cents. I wouldn't do better for my own old man,' he says.
"While the Cap'n was tryin' to unravel one end of this gibberish I
spoke up prompt.
"'Say,' says I, 'tell me this, will you? Is the Kelly who owns
this--this palace, named Jimmie--James, I mean?'
"'Naw,' says he. 'Sure he ain't. It's Pete Kelly, of course--
Silver Pete. But what are you givin' us? Are you bettin' on the
race, or ain't you?'
"Well, Jonadab understood that. He bristled up like a brindled
cat. If there's any one thing the Cap'n is down on, it's gamblin'
and such--always exceptin' when he knows he's won already. You've
seen that kind, maybe.
"'Young feller,' he says, perkish, 'I want you to know that me and
my friend ain't the bettin' kind. What sort of a hole IS this,
"The rubber collared critter backed off, lookin' worried. He goes
acrost the room, and I see him talkin' to two or three other
thieves as tough as himself. And they commenced to stare at us and
"'Come on,' I whispered to Jonadab. 'Let's get out of this place
while we can. There ain't no Jimmie Kelly here, or if there is you
don't want to find him.'
"He was as willin' to make tracks as I was, by this time, and we
headed for the door in the partition. But Rubber Collar and some
of the others got acrost our bows.
"'Cut it out,' says one of 'em. 'You can't get away so easy. Hi,
Frank! Frank! Who let these turnip pullers in here, anyhow? Who
"The chap who was tendin' door comes out of his coop. 'You've got
me,' he says. 'They come in with Big Mike, and he was loaded and
scrappy and jammed 'em through. Said they was pals of his. Where
"There was a hunt for Mike, and, when they got his bearin's, there
he was keeled over on a bench, breathin' like an escape valve. And
an admiral's salute wouldn't have woke him up. The whole crew was
round us by this time, some ugly, and the rest laffin' and carryin'
"'It's the Barkwurst gang,' says one.
"'It's old Bark himself,' says another. 'Look at them lace
curtains.' And he points to Jonadab's whiskers.
"'This one's Jacobs in disguise,' sings out somebody else. 'You
can tell him by the Rube get-up. Haw! haw!'
"'Soak 'em! Do 'em up! Don't let 'em out!' hollers a ha'f dozen
"Jonadab was game; I'll say that for him. And I hadn't been second
mate in my time for nothin'.
"'Take your hands off me!' yells the Cap'n. 'I come in here to
find a man I'm lookin' for, James Kelly it was, and-- You would,
would you! Stand by, Barzilla!'
"I stood by. Rubber Collar got one from me that made him remember
home and mother, I'll bet. Anyhow, my knuckles ached for two days
afterwards. And Jonadab was just as busy. But I cal'late we'd
have been ready for the oven in another five minutes if the door
hadn't bu'st open with a bang, and a loud dressed chap, with the
sweat pourin' down his face, come tearin' in.
"'Beat it, fellers!' he yells. 'The place is goin' to be pinched.
I've just had the tip, and they're right on top of me.'
"THEN there was times. Everybody was shoutin' and swearin' and
fallin' over each other to get out. I was kind of lost in the
shuffle, and the next thing I remember for sartin is settin' up on
Rubber Collar's stomach and lookin' foggy at the door, where the
loud dressed man was wrestlin' with a policeman. And there was
police at the windows and all around.
"Well, don't talk! I got up, resurrects Jonadab from under a heap
of gamblers and furniture, and makes for harbor in our old corner.
The police was mighty busy, especially a fat, round-faced, red-
mustached man, with gold bands on his cap and arms, that the rest
called ' Cap'n.' Him and the loud dressed chap who'd give the
alarm was talkin' earnest close to us.
"'I can't help it, Pete,' says the police cap'n. "Twas me or the
Vice Suppression crowd. They've been on to you for two weeks back.
I only just got in ahead of 'em as it was. No, you'll have to go
along with the rest and take your chances. Quiet now, everybody,
or you'll get it harder,' he roars, givin' orders like the skipper
of a passenger boat. 'Stand in line and wait your turns for the
"Jonadab grabbed me by the wrist. He was pale and shakin' all
"'Oh, Lordy!' says he, 'we're took up. Will we have to go to jail,
do you think?'
"'I don't know,' I says, disgusted. 'I presume likely we will.
Did you dream anything like this? You'd better see if you can't
dream yourself out now.' Twas rubbin' it in, but I was mad.
"'Oh! oh!' says he, flappin' his hands. 'And me a deacon of the
church! Will folks know it, do you think?'
"'Will they know it! Sounds as if they knew it already. Just
listen to that.'
"The first wagon full of prizes was bein' loaded in down at the
front door, and the crowd outside was cheerin' 'em. Judgin' by the
whoops and hurrahs there wa'n't no less than a million folks at the
show, and they was gettin' the wuth of admission.
"'Oh, dear!' groans Jonadab. 'And it'll be in the papers and all!
I can't stand this.'
"And afore I could stop him he'd run over and tackled the head
"'Mister--Mister Cap'n,' he says, pantin', 'there's been a mistake,
an awful mis--take--'
"'That's right,' says the police cap'n, 'there has. Six or eight
of you tin horns got clear. But--' Then he noticed who was
speakin' to him and his mouth dropped open like a hatch. 'Well,
saints above!' he says. 'Have the up-state delegates got to
buckin' the ponies, too? Why ain't you back home killin' pertater
bugs? You ought to be ashamed.'
"'But we wa'n't gamblin'--me and my friend wa'n't. We was led in
here by mistake. We was told that a feller named Kelly lived here
and we're huntin' for a man of that name. I've got a message to
him from his poor dead father back in Orham. We come all the way
from Orham, Mass.--to find him and--'
"The police cap'n turned around then and stared at him hard.
'Humph!' says he, after a spell. 'Go over there and set down till
I want you. No, you'll go now and we'll waste no breath on it. Go
on, do you hear!'
"So we went, and there we set for ha'f an hour, while the rest of
the gang and the blackboards and the paper slips and the telephones
and Big Mike and his chair was bein' carted off to the wagon.
Once, when one of the constables was beatin' acrost to get us, the
police cap'n spoke to him.
"'You can leave these two,' he says. 'I'll take care of them.'
"So, finally, when there was nothin' left but the four walls and us
and some of the police, he takes me and Jonadab by the elbows and
heads for the door.
"'Now,' says he, 'walk along quiet and peaceable and tell me all
about it. Get out of this!' he shouts to the crowd of small boys
and loafers on the sidewalk, 'or I'll take you, too.'
"The outsiders fell astern, lookin' heartbroke and disapp'inted
that we wa'n't hung on the spot, and the fat boss policeman and us
two paraded along slow but grand. I felt like the feller that was
caught robbin' the poorhouse, and I cal'late Jonadab felt the same,
only he was so busy beggin' and pleadin' and explainin' that he
couldn't stop to feel anything.
"He told it all, the whole fool yarn from one end to t'other. How
old Pat give him the message and how he went to the laundry, and
about his ridiculous dream, every word. And the fat policeman
shook all over, like a barrel of cod livers.
"By and by we got to a corner of a street and hove to. I could see
the station house loomin' up large ahead. Fatty took a card from
his pocketbook, wrote on it with a pencil, and then hailed a hack,
one of them stern-first kind where the driver sits up aloft 'way
aft. He pushed back the cap with the gilt wreath on it, and I
could see his red hair shinin' like a sunset.
"'Here,' says he to the hack driver, 'take these--this pair of
salads to the--what d'ye call it?--the Golconda House, wherever on
top of the pavement that is. And mind you, deliver 'em safe and
don't let the truck horses get a bite at 'em. And at half-past
eight to-night you call for 'em and bring 'em here,' handin' up the
card he'd written on.
"''Tis the address of my house, I'm givin',' he says, turnin' to
Jonadab. 'I'll be off duty then and we'll have dinner and talk
about old times. To think of you landin' in Silver Pete's pool
room! Dear! dear! Why, Cap'n Wixon, barrin' that your whiskers
are a bit longer and a taste grayer, I'd 'a' known you anywheres.
Many's the time I've stole apples over your back fence. I'm Jimmie
Kelly,' says he."
"Well, by mighty!" exclaimed the depot master, slapping his knee.
"So HE was the Kelly man! Humph!"
"Funny how it turned out, wa'n't it?" said Barzilla. "Course,
Cap'n Jonadab was perfectly sat on spiritu'lism and signs and omens
and such after that. He's had his fortune told no less'n eight
times sence, and, nigh's I can find out, each time it's different.
The amount of blondes and brunettes and widows and old maids that
he's slated to marry, accordin' to them fortune tellers, is
perfectly scandalous. If he lives up to the prophecies, Brigham
Young wouldn't be a twospot 'longside of him."
"It's funny about dreams," mused Captain Hiram. "Folks are always
tellin' about their comin' true, but none of mine ever did. I used
to dream I was goin' to be drowned, but I ain't been yet."
The depot master laughed. "Well," he observed, "once, when I was a
youngster, I dreamed two nights runnin' that I was bein' hung. I
asked my Sunday school teacher if he believed dreams come true, and
he said yes, sometimes. Then I told him my dream, and he said he
believed in that one. I judged that any other finish for me would
have surprised him. But, somehow or other, they haven't hung me
"There was a hired girl over at the Old Home House who was sat on
fortune tellin'," said Wingate. "Her name was Effie, and--"
"Look here!" broke in Captain Bailey Stitt, righteous indignation
in his tone, "I've started no less than nineteen different times to
tell you about how I went sailin' in an automobile. Now do you
want to hear it, or don't you?"
"How you went SAILIN' in an auto?" repeated Barzilla. "Went
ridin', you mean."
"I mean sailin'. I went ridin', too, but--"
"You'll have to excuse me, Bailey," interrupted Captain Hiram,
rising and looking at his watch. "I've stayed here a good deal
longer'n I ought to, already. I must be gettin' on home to see how
poor little Dusenberry, my boy, is feelin'. I do hope he's better
by now. I wish Dr. Parker hadn't gone out of town."
The depot master rose also. "And I'll have to be excused, too," he
declared. "It's most time for the up train. Good-by, Hiram. Give
my regards to Sophrony, and if there's anything I can do to help,
in case your baby should be sick, just sing out, won't you?"
"But I want to tell about this automobilin' scrape," protested
Captain Bailey. "It was one of them things that don't happen every
"So was that fortune business of Effie's," declared Wingate.
"Honest, the way it worked out was queer enough."
But the train whistled just then and the group broke up. Captain
Sol went out to the platform, where Cornelius Rowe, Ed Crocker,
Beriah Higgins, Obed Gott, and other interested citizens had
already assembled. Wingate and Stitt followed. As for Captain
Hiram Baker, he hurried home, his conscience reproving him for
remaining so long away from his wife and poor little Hiram Joash,
more familiarly known as "Dusenberry."
Mrs. Baker met her husband at the door.
"How is he?" was the Captain's first question. "Better, hey?"
"No," was the nervous answer. "No, I don't think he is. His
throat's terrible sore and the fever's just as bad."
Again Captain Hiram's conscience smote him.
"Dear! dear!" he exclaimed. "And I've been loafin' around the
depot with Sol Berry and the rest of 'em instead of stayin' home
with you, Sophrony. I KNEW I was doin' wrong, but I didn't
"Course you didn't, Hiram. I'm glad you got a few minutes' rest,
after bein' up with him half the night. I do wish the doctor was
home, though. When will he be back?"
"Not until late to-morrer, if then. Did you keep on givin' the
"Yes, but it don't seem to do much good. You go and set with him
now, Hiram. I must be seein' about supper."
So into the sick room went Captain Hiram to sit beside the crib and
sing "Sailor boy, sailor boy, 'neath the wild billow," as a
Little Hiram Joash tossed and tumbled. He was in a fitful slumber
when Mrs. Baker called her husband to supper. The meal was
anything but a cheerful one. They talked but little. Over the
home, ordinarily so cheerful, had settled a gloom that weighed upon
"My! my!" sighed Captain Hiram, "how lonesome it seems without him
chatterin' and racketin' sound. Seems darker'n usual, as if there
was a shadow on the place."
"Hush, Hiram! don't talk that way. A shadow! Oh, WHAT made you
say that? Sounds like a warnin', almost."
"Yes, a forewarnin', you know. 'The valley of the shadow--'"
"HUSH!" Captain Baker's face paled under its sunburn. "Don't say
such things, Sophrony. If that happened, the Lord help you and me.
But it won't--it won't. We're nervous, that's all. We're always
so careful of Dusenberry, as if he was made out of thin china, that
we get fidgety when there's no need of it. We mustn't be foolish."
After supper Mrs. Baker tiptoed into the bedroom. She emerged with
a very white face.
"Hiram," she whispered, "he acts dreadful queer. Come in and see
The "first mate" was tossing back and forth in the crib, making odd
little choky noises in his swollen throat. When his father entered
he opened his eyes, stared unmeaningly, and said: "'Tand by to det
der ship under way."
"Good Lord! he's out of his head," gasped the Captain. Sophronia
and he stepped back into the sitting room and looked at each other,
the same thought expressed in the face of each. Neither spoke for
a moment, then Captain Hiram said:
"Now don't you worry, Sophrony. The Doctor ain't home, but I'm
goin' out to--to telegraph him, or somethin'. Keep a stiff upper
lip. It'll be all right. God couldn't go back on you and me that
way. He just couldn't. I'll be back in a little while."
"But, oh, Hiram! if he should--if he SHOULD be taken away, what
WOULD we do?"
She began to cry. Her husband laid a trembling hand on her
"But he won't," he declared stoutly. "I tell you God wouldn't do
such a thing. Good-by, old lady. I'll hurry fast as I can."
As he took up his cap and turned to the door he heard the voice of
the weary little first mate chokily calling his crew to quarters.
"All hands on deck!"
The telegraph office was in Beriah Higgins's store. Thither ran
the Captain. Pat Sharkey, Mr. Higgins's Irish helper, who acted as
telegraph operator during Gertie Higgins's absence, gave Captain
Hiram little satisfaction.
"How can I get Dr. Parker?" asked Pat. "He's off on a cruise and
land knows where I can reach him to-night. I'll do what I can,
Cap, but it's ten chances out of nine against a wire gettin' to
Captain Hiram left the store, dodging questioners who were anxious
to know what his trouble might be, and dazedly crossed Main Street,
to the railway station. He thought of asking advice of his friend,
the depot master.
The evening train from Boston pulled out as he passed through the
waiting room. One or two passengers were standing on the platform.
One of these was a short, square-shouldered man with gray side
whiskers and eyeglasses. The initials on his suit case were J. S.
M., Boston, and they stood for John Spencer Morgan. If the bearer
of the suit case had followed the fashion of the native princes of
India and had emblazoned his titles upon his baggage, the
commonplace name just quoted might have been followed by "M.D.,
LL.D., at Harvard and Oxford; vice president American Medical
Society; corresponding secretary Associated Society of Surgeons;
lecturer at Harvard Medical College; author of 'Diseases of the
Throat and Lungs,' etc., etc."
But Dr. Morgan was not given to advertising either his titles or
himself, and he was hurrying across the platform to Redny Blount's
depot wagon when Captain Hiram touched him on the arm.
"Why, hello, Captain Baker," exclaimed the Doctor, "how do you do?"
"Dr. Morgan," said the Captain, "I--I hope you'll excuse my
presumin' on you this way, but I want to ask a favor of you, a
great favor. I want to ask if you'll come down to the house and
see the boy; he's on the sick list."
"Yes, sir. He's pretty bad, I'm 'fraid, and the old lady's
considerable upsot about him. If you just come down and kind of
take an observation, so's we could sort of get our bearin's, as you
might say, 'twould be a mighty help to all hands."
"But where's your town physician? Hasn't he been called?"
The Captain explained. He had inquired, and he had telegraphed,
but could get no word of Dr. Parker's whereabouts.
The great Boston specialist listened to Captain Hiram's story in an
absent-minded way. Holidays were few and far between with him, and
when he accepted the long-standing invitation of Mr. Ogden Williams
to run down for the week end he determined to forget the science of
medicine and all that pertained to it for the four days of his
outing. But an exacting patient had detained him long enough to
prevent his taking the train that morning, and now, on the moment
of his belated arrival, he was asked to pay a professional call.
He liked the Captain, who had taken him out fishing several times
on his previous excursions to East Harniss, and he remembered
Dusenberry as a happy little sea urchin, but he simply couldn't
interrupt his pleasure trip to visit a sick baby. Besides, the
child was Dr. Parker's patient, and professional ethics forbade
"Captain Hiram," he said, "I am sorry to disappoint you, but it
will be impossible for me to do what you ask. Mr. Williams
expected me this morning, and I am late already. Dr. Parker will,
no doubt, return soon. The baby cannot be dangerously ill or he
would not have left him."
The Captain slowly turned away.
"Thank you, Doctor," he said huskily. "I knew I hadn't no right to
He walked across the platform, abstractedly striking his right hand
into his left. When he reached the ticket window he put one hand
against the frame as if to steady himself, and stood there
The enterprising Mr. Blount had been hanging about the Doctor like
a cat about the cream pitcher; now he rushed up, grasped the suit
case, and officiously led the way toward the depot wagon. Dr.
Morgan followed more slowly. As he passed the Captain he glanced
up into the latter's face, lighted, as it was, by the lamp inside
The Doctor stopped and looked again. Then he took another step
forward, hesitated, turned on his heel, and said:
"Wait a moment, Blount. Captain Hiram, do you live far from here?"
The Captain started. "No, sir, only a little ways."
"All right. I'll go down and look at this boy of yours. Mind you,
I'll not take the case, simply give my opinion on it, that's all.
Blount, take my grip to Mr. Williams's. I'm going to walk down
with the Captain."
"Haul on ee bowline, ee bowline, haul!" muttered the first mate, as
they came into the room. The lamp that Sophronia was holding
shook, and the Captain hurriedly brushed his eyes with the back of
Dr. Morgan started perceptibly as he bent forward to look at the
little fevered face of Dusenberry. Graver and graver he became as
he felt the pulse and peered into the swollen throat. At length he
rose and led the way back into the sitting room.
"Captain Baker," he said simply, "I must ask you and your wife to
be brave. The child has diphtheria and--"
"Diphthery!" gasped Sophronia, as white as her best tablecloth.
"Good Lord above!" cried the Captain.
"Diphtheria," repeated the Doctor; "and, although I dislike
extremely to criticize a member of my own profession, I must say
that any physician should have recognized it."
Sophronia groaned and covered her face with her apron.
"Ain't there--ain't there no chance, Doctor?" gasped the Captain.
"Certainly, there's a chance. If I could administer antitoxin by
to-morrow noon the patient might recover. What time does the
morning train from Boston arrive here?"
"Ha'f-past ten or thereabouts."
Dr. Morgan took his notebook from his pocket and wrote a few lines
in pencil on one of the pages. Then he tore out the leaf and
handed it to the Captain.
"Send that telegram immediately to my assistant in Boston," he
said. "It directs him to send the antitoxin by the early train.
If nothing interferes it should be here in time."
Captain Hiram took the slip of paper and ran out at the door
Dr. Morgan stood in the middle of the floor absent-mindedly looking
at his watch. Sophronia was gazing at him appealingly. At length
he put his watch in his pocket and said quietly:
"Mrs. Baker, I must ask you to give me a room. I will take the
case." Then he added mentally: "And that settles my vacation."
Dr. Morgan's assistant was a young man whom nature had supplied
with a prematurely bald head, a flourishing beard, and a way of
appearing ten years older than he really was. To these gifts,
priceless to a young medical man, might be added boundless ambition
and considerable common sense.