Part 7 out of 9
"Ten thousand Yankees will be here in the morning,
Horn!" be gasped, out of breath with his run
across the Square, holding one hand to his side as he
spoke, and waving an open telegram in the other.
"Stop! This is no time for fiddling. They're not
going round by water; they're coming here by train.
Read that," and he held out the bit of paper.
The Colonel's sudden entrance and the startling
character of the news, had brought every man to his
Richard laid down his violin, read the telegram
quietly, and handed it back.
"Well, suppose they do come, Clayton?"
His voice was so sustained, and his manner so temperate,
that a certain calming reassurance was felt.
"Suppose they DO come! They'll burn the town,
I tell you," shouted the infuriated man, suddenly
remembering his hat and handing it to Malachi. That's
what they're coming for. We want no troops in our
streets, and the Government ought to know it. It's
an outrage to send armed men here at this time!"
"You're all wrong, Clayton," answered Richard,
without raising his voice. "You have always been
wrong about this matter. There are two sides to this
question. Virginia troops occupied Harper's Ferry
yesterday. If the authorities consider that more
troops are needed to protect Washington, that's their
affair, not yours nor mine."
"We'll MAKE it our affair. What right has this
damnable Government to march their troops through
a free and sovereign State without its permission!
Whom do they think this town belongs to, I want to
know, that this Northern scum should foul it. Not
a man shall set foot here if I can help it. I would
Richard turned to stay the torrent of invectives
in which such words as "renegades," "traitors,"
"mud-sills," were heard, but the Colonel, completely
unmanned by the rage he was in, and seemingly unconscious
of the presence of the ladies, waved him
aside with his hand, and faced the row of frightened,
"Gentlemen, when you are through with this tom-
foolery, I shall be glad if you will come to the club;
any of you who have got guns had better look them
up; they'll be wanted before this is over. We'll meet
these dirty skinflints with cold lead and plenty of
Oliver's face flushed at the Colonel's words, and
he was about to speak, when his mother laid her hand
on his arm. Visions of the kindly face of Professor
Cummings, and the strong well-knit figure of Fred
Stone, John Grant, Hank, Jonathan Gordon, and the
others whom he loved came before his eyes.
Richard raised his hand in protest:
"You are mad, Clayton; you don't know what you
are doing. Stop these troops and our streets will run
blood. I beg and beseech you to keep cool. Because
South Carolina has lost her head, that is no reason
why we should. This is not our fight! If my State
called me to defend her against foreign invasion, old
as I am I would be ready, and so should you. But
the Government is part of ourselves, and should not
be looked upon as an enemy. You are wrong, I tell
"Wrong or right, they'll have to walk over my
dead body if they attempt to cross the streets of this
town. That's my right as a citizen, and that I shall
maintain. Gentlemen, I have called a meeting at the
club at ten o'clock to-night. All of you able to carry
a gun will do me the kindness to be present. I'd
rather die right here in my tracks than let a lot of
low-lived mud-sills who never entered a gentleman's
house in their lives come down here at the beck and
call of this rail-splitter they've put in the White
House and walk over us rough-shod! And you,
Horn, a Virginian, defend it! By God, sir, it's
enough to make a man's blood boil!"
The inventor's eyes flashed. They blazed now as
brightly as those of Clayton. Not even a life-long
friend had the right to use such language in his presence,
or in that of his guests. Richard's figure grew
tense with indignation. Confronting the now reckless
man, he raised his hand and was about to order
him out of the house when Oliver stepped quickly in
front of his father.
"You are unjust, Colonel Clayton." The words
came slowly between the boy's partly closed teeth.
"You know nothing of these people. I have lived
among them long enough not only to know but to
love them. There are as many gentlemen North as
South. If you would go among them as I have done,
you would be man enough to admit it."
The Colonel turned upon him with a snarl:
"And so you have become a dirty renegade, have
you, and gone back on your blood and your State?
That's what comes of sending boys like you away
The guests stood amazed. The spectacle of the
most courteous man of his time acting like a blackguard
was more astounding than the news be had
brought. Even Malachi, at the open door, trembled
As the words fell from his lips Mrs. Horn's firm,
clear voice, crying "Shame! Shame!" rang through
the room. She had risen from her seat and
was walking rapidly to where the Colonel was
"Shame, I say, John Clayton! How dare you
speak so? What has our young son ever done to you,
that you should insult him in his father's house!
What madness has come over you?"
The horrified guests looked from one to the other.
Every eye was fixed on the Colonel, shaking with
For a brief instant he faced his hostess, started to
speak, checked himself as if some better judgment
prevailed, and with upraised hands flung himself
from the room, shouting, as he went:
"Ten o'clock, gentlemen! Chesapeake Club!
Every man with a gun!"
Richard, astounded at Clayton's action and now
thoroughly convinced of the danger of the situation
and determined to do what he could to thwart the
efforts of such men as the Colonel and his following,
laid his violin in its case, turned to his frightened
guests and with a few calming words and a promise
to send each one of them word if any immediate
danger existed, called Oliver and Nathan to him,
and taking his cloak and hat from Malachi's outstretched
trembling hands started for the club.
Once outside it was easy to see that a feeling of
intense and ominous excitement was in the air.
Even on the sidewalk and on the street corners, men
stood silent, huddled together, their eyes on the
ground, the situation being too grave for spoken
On arriving they found its halls already filled
with angry and excited men discussing the threatened
invasion, many of whom met the young man
with scowling looks, the Colonel having evidently
informed them of Oliver's protest.
A few of the members had brought their sporting
guns. These had been handed to the gouty old porter,
who, half-frightened out of his wits, had stacked
them in a row against the wall of the outer hall.
Billy Talbot arrived a few moments later carrying
a heavy fowling-piece loaded for swan. He had been
dining out when summoned and had hurriedly left
the table, excusing himself on the ground that he had
been "called to arms." He had taken time, however,
to stop at his own house, slip out of his English dress-
suit and into a brown ducking outfit.
"We'll shoot 'em on the run, damn 'em--like rabbits,
sir," he said to Cobb as he entered, the Vermonter
being the only man likely to communicate
with the invaders and so make known the warlike intentions
of at least one citizen, and the utter hopelessness
of any prolonged resistance. Waggles, who
had followed close on his master's heels, was too excited
to sit down, but stood on three legs, his eye
turned toward Talbot, as if wanting to pick up any
game which Billy's trusty fowling-piece might bring
A quiet, repressed smile passed, over Oliver's
face as he watched Waggles and his master; but
he spoke no word to the Nimrod. He could not
help thinking how Hank Pollard would handle the
fashion-plate if he ever closed his great bony hands
Judge Bowman now joined the group, bowing to
Richard rather coldly and planting himself squarely
in front of Oliver.
"There's only one side to this question, young
man, for you," he said. "Don't be fooled by those
fellow up in New York. I know them--known them
for years. Look up there"--and he pointed to the
portrait of Oliver's ancestor above the mantel.
"What do you think he would do if he were alive
to-day! Stick to your own, my boy--stick to your
General Mactavish now hurried in, drawing off
his white gloves as he entered the room, followed by
Tom Gunning, Carter Thorn, and Mowbray, an up-
country man. The four had been dining together
and had also left the table on receipt of the Colonel's
message. They evidently appreciated the gravity of
the situation, for they stood just outside the excited
group that filled the centre of the large room, listening
eagerly to Richard's clear tones pleading for
moderation--"in a crisis which," he urged, "required
the greatest public restraint and self-control,"
and which would surely "plunge the State into
the most horrible of wars" if those about him
listened to the counsels of such men as Clayton and
During the whole discussion Amos Cobb stood
silent, leaning against the mantel-piece, his cold gray
eyes fixed on the excited throng, his thin lips curling
now and then. When the Defence Committee, in
spite of Richard's protest, had at last been formed,
and its members formally instructed to meet the
enemy outside the city and protest, first by voice and
then, if necessary, by arms, against the unwarrantable
invasion of the soil of their State, the Vermonter
buttoned up his coat slowly, one button after another,
fastened each one with a determined gesture, drew on
his gloves, set his lips tight, singled out Oliver and
Richard, shook their hands with the greatest warmth,
and walked straight out of the club-house. Some
time during the night he drove in a hack to Mr.
Stiger's house; roused the old cashier from his sleep;
took him and the big walled-town-key down to the
bank; unlocked the vault and dragged from it two
wooden boxes filled with gold coin, his own property,
and which the month before he had deposited there
for safe-keeping. These, with Stiger's assistance, he
carried to the hack. Within the hour, the two boxes
with their contents were locked up in bureau-drawer
in his own house awaiting their immediate shipment
to New York.
The next morning Malachi's wizened face was
thrust inside Oliver's bedroom door. He was shaking
with terror, his eyes almost starting from his
"Marse Ollie, Marse Ollie, git up quick as you kin!
De Yankees is come; de town is black wid 'em!"
Oliver sprang from his bed and stood half-dazed
looking into Malachi's eyes.
"How do you know? Who told you?"
"I done seen 'em. Been up since daylight. Dey
got guns wid 'em. Fo' Gawd dis is tur-ble!" The
old man's voice trembled--he could hardly articulate.
Oliver hurried into his clothes; stepped noiselessly
downstairs so as not to wake his father and mother,
and, closing the front door softly behind him, stood
for a moment on the top step. Should he forget the
insults of the night before and go straight to Colonel
Clayton, and try to dissuade him from his purpose, or
should he find the regiment and warn them of their
A vague sense of personal responsibility for whatever
the day might bring forth took possession of him
--as though the turning-point in his life had come,
without his altogether realizing it. These men from
the North were coming to his own town, where he
had been born and brought up, and where they should
be hospitably received. If Clayton had his way they
would be met with clenched hands and perhaps with
blows. That these invaders were armed, and that
each man carried forty rounds of ammunition and
was perfectly able to take care of himself, did not
impress him. He only remembered that they were
of the same blood as the men who had befriended
him, and that they were in great personal danger.
The angry shouts of a crowd of men and boys approaching
the Square from a side street, now attracted
his attention. They rushed past Oliver without
noticing him, and, hurrying on through the gate,
crossed the park, in the direction of the railroad
station and the docks. One of the mob, lacking a
club, stopped long enough to wrench a paling from
the rickety fence enclosing the Square, trampling the
pretty crocuses and the yellow tulips under foot.
Each new arrival, seeing the gap, followed the first
man's example, throwing the branches and tendrils
to the ground as they worked, until the whole panel
was wrecked and the vines were torn from their roots.
As they swept by the Clayton house, half a dozen
men, led by the Colonel, ran down the steps, and
joined the throng.
Oliver, seeing now that all his efforts for peace
would be hopeless, ran through the Square close behind
the shouting mob, dashed down a side street
parallel to that through which the cars carrying the
troops were to pass on their way to Washington,
turned into an alley, and found himself on the waterfront,
opposite one of the dock slips.
These slips were crowded with vessels, their bowsprits,
like huge bayonets, thrust out over the, car-
tracks, as if to protect the cellars of the opposite
warehouses, used by the ship-chandlers for the storage
of coarse merchandise, and always left open
during the day. The narrow strip of dock-front,
between the car-tracks and the water-line--an unpaved
strip of foot-trodden earth and rotting planks,
on which lay enormous ship-anchors, anchor-chains
in coils, piles of squared timber, and other maritime
properties, stored here for years--was now a seething
mass of people completely hiding the things on
which they stood.
Oliver mounted a pile of barrels in front of one
of these ship-chandler cellars, and, holding to an
awning-post, looked off over the heads of the surging
crowd and in the direction of the railroad station
at the end of the long street. From his position on
the top barrel he could see the white steam of the
locomotives rising above the buildings and the line
of cars. He could see, too, a yard engine backing
and puffing, as if making up a train.
Suddenly, without apparent cause, there rose
above the murmurs of the street an ominous sound,
like that of a fierce wind soughing through a forest of
pines. All eyes were directed down the long street
upon a line of cars that had been shunted on the
street-track; about these moved a group of men in
blue uniforms, the sun flashing on their bayonets
and the brass shields of their belts.
Oliver, stirred by the sound, climbed to the top of
the awning-post for a better view and clung to the
cross-piece. Every man who could gain an inch of
vantage, roused to an extra effort by the distinct roar,
took equal advantage of his fellows. Sailors sprang
farther into the rigging or crawled out to the end of
the bowsprits; the windows of the warehouses were
thrown up, the clerks and employees standing on the
sills, balancing themselves by the shutters; even the
skylights were burst open, men and boys crawling out
edging their way along the ridge-poles of the roofs
or holding to the chimneys. Every inch of standing-
room was black with spectators.
The distant roar died away in fitful gusts as suddenly
as it had arisen, and a silence even more terrifying
fell upon the throng as a body of police
poured out of a side street and marched in a compact
body toward the cars.
Then came long strings of horses, eight or ten in
tandem. These were backed down and hooked to the
The flash of bayonets was now cut off as the troops
crowded into the cars; the body of police wheeled
and took their places ahead of the horses; the tandems
straightened out and the leaders lunged forward
under the lash. The advance through the town had
All this time the mob about Oliver stood with
hands clenched, jaws tight shut, great lumps in their
throats. Their eyes were the eyes of hungry beasts
watching an approaching prey.
As the distant rumbling of the cars, drawn by
teams of straining horses, sounded the nearer, a bare-
headed man, with white hair and mustache and black
garments that distinguished him from the mob about
him, and whom Oliver instantly recognized as Colonel
Clayton, mounted a mass of squared timber lining
the track, ran the length of the pile, climbed to
the topmost stick, and shouted, in a voice which
reverberated throughout the street:
"Block the tracks!"
A torrent of oaths broke loose as the words left
his lips, and a rush was made for the pile of timber.
Men struggled and fought like demons for the end
of the great sticks, carrying them by main strength,
crossing them over the rails, heaping them one on
the other like a pile of huge jack-straws, a dozen men
to a length, the mobs on the house-tops and in the
windows cheering like mad. The ends of the heavy
chains resting on the strip of dirt were now caught
up and hauled along the cobbles to be intertwined
with the squared timber; anchors weighing tons were
pried up and dragged across the tracks by lines of
men urged on by gray-haired old merchants in
Quaker-cut dress coats, many of them bare-headed,
who had yielded to the sudden unaccountable delirium
that had seized upon everyone. Colonel Clayton,
Carter Thom, and Mowbray could be seen
working side by side with stevedores from the docks
and the rabble from the shipyards. John Camblin,
a millionnaire and nearly eighty years of age, head of
the largest East India house on the wharves, his hat
and wig gone, his coat split from the collar to the
tails, was tugging at an anchor ten men could not have
moved. Staid citizens, men who had not used an oath
for years, stood on the sidewalks swearing like street-
toughs; others looked out from their office-windows,
the tears streaming down their cheeks. A woman
with a coarse shawl about her shoulders, her hair
hanging loose, a broom in one hand, was haranguing
the mob from the top of a tobacco hogshead, her
curses filling the air.
Oliver held to his seat on the cross-piece of the
awning, his teeth set, his eye fixed on the rapidly
advancing cars, his mind wavering between two
opinions--loyalty to his home, now invaded by troops
whose bayonets might be turned upon his own people,
and loyalty to the friends he loved--and to the
woman who loved him!
The shouting now became a continuous roar. The
front line of policemen, as they neared the obstructions,
swung their clubs right and left, beating back
the crowd. Then the rumbling cars, drawn by the
horses, came to a halt. The barricades must be
Again there came the flashing of steel and the
intermingling of blue and white uniforms. The troops
were leaving the cars and were forming in line to
pass the barricades; the officers marching in front,
the compact mass following elbow to elbow, their eyes
straight before them, their muskets flat against their
The approaching column now deployed sharply,
wheeled to the right of the obstruction, and became
once more a solid mass, leaving the barricades behind
them, the Chief of Police at the head of the line
forcing the mob back to the curbstone, laying about
him with his club, thumping heads and cracking
wrists as he cleared the way.
The colonel of the regiment, his fatigue cap pulled
over his eyes, sword in hand, shoulders erect, cape
thrown back, was now abreast of the awning to which
Oliver clung. Now and then he would glance furtively
at the house-tops, as if expecting a missile.
The mob looked on sullenly, awed into submission
by the gleaming bayonets. But for the shouts of the
police, beating back the crowd, and the muttered
curses, one would have thought a parade was in
The first company had now passed--pale, haggard-
looking men, their lips twitching, showing little
flecks of dried saliva caked in the corners of their
mouths, their hands tight about the butts of their
Oliver looked on with beating heart. The dull,
monotonous tramp of their feet strangely affected
As the second line of bayonets came abreast of the
awning-post, a blacksmith in a red shirt and leather
apron, his arms bared to the elbow, sprang from the
packed sidewalk into the open space between the
troops and the gutter, lifted a paving stone high
above his head and hurled it, with all his might,
straight against the soldier nearest him. The man
reeled, clutched at the comrade next him, and sank
to the ground. Then, quick as an echo, a puff of
white smoke burst out down the line of troops, and a
sharp, ringing report split the air. The first shot of
defence had been fired.
The whole column swayed as if breasting a gale.
Another and an answering shot now rang through
the street. This came from a window filled with
men gesticulating wildly. Instantly the troop.
wheeled, raised their muskets, and a line of fire and
smoke belched forth.
A terrible fear, that paled men's faces, followed by
a moment of ominous silence, seized upon the mob,
and then a wild roar burst out from thousands of
human throats. The rectangular body of soldiers
and the ragged-edged mob merged into a common
mass. Men wrenched the guns from the soldiers
and beat them down with the butt ends of the muskets.
Frenzied policemen hurled themselves into the
midst of the disorganized militia, knocking up the
ends of their muskets, begging the men to hold their
fire. The air was thick with missiles; bricks from the
house-tops; sticks of wood and coal from the fireplaces
of the offices; iron bolts, castings, anything
the crazed mob could find with which to kill their
fellow-men. The roar was deafening, drowning the
orders of the officers.
Oliver clung to his post, not knowing whether to
drop into the seething mass or to run the risk of being
shot where he was. Suddenly his eye singled out a
soldier who stood at bay below him, swinging his musket,
widening the circle about him with every blow.
The soldier's movements were hampered by his heavy
overcoat and army blanket slung across his shoulder.
His face and neck were covered with blood and dirt,
disfiguring him beyond recognition.
At the same instant Oliver became conscious that
a man in blue overalls was creeping up on the soldier's
rear to brain him with a cart-rung that he held
in his hand.
A mist swam before the boy's eyes, and a great
lump rose in his throat. The cowardice of the attack
incensed him; some of the hot blood of the old ancestor
that had crossed the flood at Trenton flamed up
in his face. With the quickness of a cat he dropped
to the sidewalk, darted forward, struck the coward
full in the face with his clenched fist, tumbling him
to the ground, wrenched the rung from his hands,
and, jumping in front of the now almost overpowered
soldier, swung the heavy stick about him like a flail,
clearing the space before him.
The assaulting crowd wavered, fell back, and then,
maddened at Oliver's defence of the invader, with a
wild yell of triumph, swept the two young men off
their feet, throwing them bodily down the steps of
a ship-chandler's shop, the soldier knocked senseless
by a blow from a brick which had struck him full in
Oliver lay still for a moment, raised his head cautiously
and, putting forth all his strength, twisted his
arms around the stricken man and rolled with him
into the cellar. Then, springing to his feet, he
slammed the door behind them and slipped in the
bolt, before the mob could guess his meaning.
Listening at the crack of the door for a moment
and finding they were not pursued, he stood over
the limp body, lifted it in his arms, laid it on a pile of
sails, and ran to the rear of the cellar for a bucket
standing under a grimy window, scarcely visible in
the gloom, now that the door was shut.
Under the touch of the cold water, the soldier
slowly opened his eyes, straining them toward Oliver,
as if in pain.
The two men looked, intently at each other; the
soldier passing his hand across his forehead as if trying
to clear his brain. Then lifting himself up on his
elbow he gasped:
"Horn! Horn! My God!"
Oliver's heart stopped beating.
"Who are you?"
Oliver saw only Margaret's face!
As though he were working for the woman he
loved--doing what she would have done--he knelt
beside the wounded man, wiped the blood and grime
from his cheeks with his own handkerchief, loosening
his coat, rubbing his hands, murmuring "Old fellow,"
"Dear John ": there was no time for other
interchange of speech.
When at last Grant was on his feet the two men
barricaded the doors more strongly, rolling heavy
barrels against them, the sounds from the street seeming
to indicate that an attack might be made upon
them. But the mob had swept on and forgotten
them, as mobs often do, while the fugitives waited,
hardly daring to speak except in detached whispers,
lest some one of the inmates of the warehouse overhead
might hear them.
Toward noon a low tap was heard at the window,
which was level with an alley in the rear, and a man's
hand was thrust through a broken pane. Oliver
pressed Grant's arm, laid his finger on his lips,
caught up a heavy hammer lying on an oil-barrel,
crept noiselessly along the wall toward the sound,
and stopped to listen. Then he heard his name called
in a hoarse whisper.
"Marse Ollie! Marse Ollie! Is you in here?"
"Who is it?" Oliver called back, crouching beneath
the window, his fingers tight around the handle
of the hammer.
"It's me, Marse Ollie."
"Yassir, I'se been a-followin' ye all de mawnin';
I see 'em tryin' to kill ye an' I tried to git to ye. I
kin git through--yer needn't help me," and he
squeezed himself under the raised sash. "Malachi
like de snake--crawl through anywheres. An' ye
ain't hurted?" he asked when he was inside. "De
bressed Lord, ain't dat good! I been a-waitin' outside;
I was feared dey'd see me if I tried de door."
"Where are the soldiers?"
"Gone. Ain't nobody outside at all.Mos' to
de railroad by dis time, dey tells me. An' dere ain't
nary soul 'bout dis place--all run away. Come
'long wid me, son--I ain't gwine ter leabe ye
a minute. Marse Richard'll be waitin'. Come 'long
home, son. I been a-followin' ye all de mawnin'."
The tears were in his eyes now. "An' ye ain't
hurted," and he felt him all over with trembling.
John raised himself above the oil-barrels. He had
heard the strange talk and was anxiously watching
the approaching figures.
"It's all right, Grant--it's our Malachi," Oliver
called out in his natural voice, now that there was no
danger of being overheard.
The old man stopped and lifted both hands above
"Gor'-a-mighty! an' he ain't dead?" His eyes
had now become accustomed to the gloom.
"No; and just think, Mally, he is my own friend.
Grant, this is our Malachi whom I told you
Grant stepped over the barrel and held out his
hand to the old negro. There are no class distinctions
where life and death are concerned.
"Glad to see you. Pretty close shave, but I guess
I'm all right. They'd have done for me but for your
A council of war was now held. The uniform
would be fatal if Grant were seen in it on the street.
Malachi must crawl into the alley again, go over to
Oliver's house, and return at dusk with one of Oliver's
suits of clothes; the uniform and the blood-
stained shirt could then be hidden in the cellar, and
at dark, should the street still be deserted, the three
would put on a bold front and walk out of the front
door of the main warehouse over their heads. Once
safe in the Horn house, they could perfect plans for
Grant's rejoining his regiment.
Their immediate safety provided for, and Malachi
gone, Oliver could wait no longer to ask about Margaret.
He had been turning over in his mind how
he had best broach the subject, when her brother
solved the difficulty by saying:
"Father was the first man in Brookfleld to indorse
the President's call for troops. He'd have come himself,
old as he is, if I had not joined the regiment.
He didn't like you, Horn; I always told him he was
wrong. He'll never forgive himself now when he
hears what you have done for me," and he laid his
hand affectionately on Oliver's shoulder as he spoke.
"I liked you as soon as I saw you, and so did mother,
and so does Madge, but father was always wrong
about you. We told him so, again and again, and
Madge said that father would see some day that you
got your politeness from the Cavaliers and we got
our plain speaking from the Puritans. The old gentleman
was pretty mad about her saying so, I tell
you, but she stuck to it. Madge is a dear girl, Horn.
A fellow always knows just where to find Madge; no
nonsense about her. She's grown handsome, too--
handsomer than ever. There's a new look in her
face, somehow, lately. I tell her she's met somebody
in New York she likes, but she won't acknowledge
Oliver drank in every word, drawing out the
brother with skilful questions and little exclamatory
remarks that filled Grant with enthusiasm and induced
him to talk on. They were young men again
now--brothers once more, as they had been that first
afternoon in the library at Brookfield. In the joy
of hearing from her he entirely forgot his surroundings,
and the dangers that still beset them both;
a joy intensified because it was the first and only
time he had heard someone who knew her talk to
him of the woman he loved. This went on until
night fell and Malachi again crawled in through the
same low window and helped John into Oliver's
When all was ready the main door of the warehouse
above was opened carefully and the three men
walked out--Malachi ahead, John and Oliver following.
The moonlit street was deserted; only the barricades
of timber and the litter of stones and bricks
marked the events of the morning. Dodging into a
side alley and keeping on its shadow side they made
their way toward Oliver's home.
When the three reached the Square, the white light
of the moon lay full on the bleached columns of the
Clayton house. Outside on the porch, resting against
the wall, stood a row of long-barrelled guns glinting
in the moon's rays. Through the open doorway
could be seen the glow of the hall lantern, the hall
itself crowded with men. The Horn house was dark,
except for a light in Mrs. Horn's bedroom. The old
servant's visit had calmed their fears, and they had
only to wait now until Oliver's return.
Malachi stationed Oliver and John Grant in the
shadow of the big sycamore that overhung the house,
mounted the marble steps and knocked twice. Aunt
Hannah opened the door. She seemed to be expecting
someone, for the knock was instantly followed by
the turning of the knob.
Malachi spoke a few words in an undertone to Hannah,
and stepped back to where the two young men
"You go in, Marse Oliver. Leabe de gemman here
wid me under de tree. Everybody's got dere eye
wide open now--can't fool Malachi--I knows de
Oliver walked leisurely to the door, closed it softly
behind him, and ran upstairs into his mother's arms.
Malachi whispered to Grant, and the two disappeared
in the shadows. At the same moment a bolt
shot back in a gate in the rear of the yard--a gate
rarely unbolted. Old Hannah stood behind it shading
a candle with her hand. Malachi led the way
across the yard, through the green door of Richard's
shop, mounted the work-bench, felt carefully along
the edge of a trap-door in the ceiling, unhooked a
latch, pushed it up with his two hands, the dust
sifting down in showers on his head, and disclosed a
large, empty loft, once used by the slaves as a
sleeping-room, and which had not been opened for years.
Assisted by the negro's arms, Grant climbed to the
floor above, where a dim skylight gave him light and
air. A cup of hot coffee was then handed up and the
door of the trap carefully fastened, Malachi rumpling
the shavings on the work-bench to conceal the dust,
No trace of the hiding-place of the fugitive was
When Malachi again reached the front hall, it was
in response to someone who was hammering at the
door as if to break it down. The old man peered
cautiously out through the small panes of glass. The
sidewalk was crowded with men led by Colonel Clayton,
most of them carrying guns. They had marched
over from Clayton's house. Among them was a
posse of detectives from the Police Department.
In answer to their summons Richard had thrown
up the window of his bedroom and was talking to
Clayton, whose voice Malachi recognized above the
murmurs and threats of the small mob.
"Come down, Horn. Oliver has proved traitor,
just as I knew he would. He's been hiding one of
these damned Yankees all day. We want that man,
I tell you, dead or alive, and we are going to have
When the door was flung wide Clayton confronted,
not Richard, but Oliver.
"Where's that Yankee?" cried Clayton. He had
not expected to see Oliver. "We are in no mood for
nonsense--where have you hidden him?"
Malachi stepped forward before Oliver could
"Marse Oliver ain't hid him. If you want him go
"You speak like that to me, you black scoundrel,"
burst out the Colonel, and he raised his arm as if to
"Yes--me! Ain't nobody gwine ter tech Marse
Oliver while I lib. I's as free as you is, Marse Clayton.
Ain't no man can lay a han' on me!"
The Colonel wheeled angrily and gave an order to
one of the detectives in a low voice. Oliver stood
irresolute. He knew nothing of Grant's whereabouts.
The detective moved from the Colonel's side and
pushed his way closer to where Oliver stood.
"There's no use your denying it, young feller;
we've heard the whole story from one of our men
who saw you jump in front of him. You bring him
out or we'll go through the place from cellar to
Oliver gazed straight at the speaker and still held
his peace. He was wondering where Grant had hidden
himself and what John's chances were if the
crowd searched the house. Malachi's outburst had
left him in the dark.
Mrs. Horn and Richard, who had followed Oliver
and were standing half way down the stairs; looked
on in astonishment. Would Clayton dare to break
all the rules of good manners, and search the house,
she whispered to Richard.
Another of the detectives now stepped forward--
a dark, ugly-looking man, with the face of a bulldog.
"Look here! I'll settle this. You and two men
crossed the Square ten minutes ago. This nigger
one of 'em; where's the other?"
Malachi turned and smiled significantly at Oliver
--a smile he knew. It was the smile which the old
man's face always wore whenever some tortuous lie
of the darky's own concoction had helped his young
master out of one of his scrapes.
"I am not here to answer your questions,"
Oliver replied quietly, a feeling of relief in his
The officer turned quickly and said with an oath
to one of the detectives, "Send one man to the alley
in the rear, and place another at this door. I'll search
the yard and the house. Let no one of the family
leave this hall. If that nigger moves put the irons
The men outside made a circle about the house,
some of them moving up the alley to watch the rear.
Clayton leaned against the jamb of the door. He
addressed no word to Richard or Mrs. Horn, nor did
be look their way. Oliver stood with folded arms
under the eight-sided hall-lantern which an officer
had lighted. Now and then he spoke in restrained
tones to his mother, who had taken her seat on the
stairs, Richard standing beside her. It was not the
fate of the soldier that interested her--it was the
horror of the search. Richard had not spoken except
to direct Malachi to obey the officer's orders. The
horror of the search did not affect the inventor--that
only violated the sanctity of the home: it was the
brute force behind it which appalled him--that might
annihilate the Republic.
"It is the beginning of the end," he said to himself.
The tread of heavy feet was again heard coming
through the hall. Malachi turned quickly and a subdued
smile lighted his wrinkled face.
The two detectives were alone!
"He is not there, Colonel Clayton," said the man
with the bull-dog face, slipping his pistol into his
hip pocket. "We went through the yard and the out-
houses like a fine tooth-comb and made a clean sweep
of the cellar. He may have gotten over the wall, but
I don't think it. There's a lot of broken bottles on
top. I'll try the bedrooms now."
As the words fell from his lips Mrs. Horn rose
from her seat on the stairs, straight as a soldier on
guard. The light from the lantern illumined her
gray hair and threw into strong relief her upraised
hand--the first of millions raised in protest against
the invasion of the homes of the South. The detective
saw the movement and a grim smile came into his
"Unless they'll bring him out," he added, slowly.
"This young feller knows where he is. Make him
Colonel Clayton turned to Oliver. "Is he upstairs,
"You give me your word of honor. Oliver, that
he is not upstairs?"
"Of course he'd say that. Here, I'll know pretty
d-- quick," muttered the detective moving toward
The Colonel stepped forward and barred his way
with his arm.
"Stay where you are! You don't know these people.
If Oliver says he is not upstairs I believe him.
These Horns don't know how to lie. Your information
is wrong. The man never entered the house.
You must look for the Yankee somewhere else."
Waiting until the detectives had left the hall, he
raised his hat, and with some show of feeling said:
"I am sorry, Sallie, that we had to upset you so.
When you and Richard see this matter in its true
light you'll think as I do. If these scoundrels are to
be permitted to come here and burn our homes we
want to know which side our friends are on."
"You are the judge of your own conduct, John
Clayton," she answered, calmly. "This night's work
will follow you all your life. Malachi, show Colonel
Clayton to the door and close it behind him."
Three nights later Malachi admitted a man he had
never seen before. He was short and thick-set and
had a grim, firmly set jaw. Under the lapel of his
coat was a gold shield. He asked for Mr. Horn, who
had lately been living in New York. He would not
come inside the drawing-room, but sat in the hall on
the hair-cloth sofa, his knees apart, his cap in his
"I'm the Chief of Police," he said to Oliver, without
rising from his seat, "and I come because Mr.
Cobb sent me. That's between ourselves, remember.
You'll have to get out of here at once. They've got
a yarn started that you're a government detective
sent down here to spot rebel sympathizers and they'll
make it warm for you. I've looked into it and I know
it ain't so, but this town's in no shape to listen to
anything. Besides, a while ago one of my men found
your friend's uniform in the cellar where you hid it
behind the barrels and the handkerchief all blood,
with your name on it; and they've got you dead to
rights. That'll all be out in the morning papers and
make it worse for you. You needn't worry about
HIM. He's all right. Mr. Cobb found him at daylight
this morning just where your nigger left him and
drove him over to the junction. He's with his regiment
by this time. Get your things together quick
as you can. I'll wait for you and see you safe aboard
the owl train."
Within the hour Oliver had turned his back on his
home and all that he loved.
THE SETTLING OF THE SHADOW
The bruised crocuses never again lifted their
heads in Kennedy Square.
With the settling of the shadow--a shadow black
with hate--men forgot the perfume of flowers, the
rest and cool of shady nooks, the kindling touch of
warm hands, and stood apart with eyes askance;
women shuddered and grew pale, and sad-faced children
peered out through closed blinds.
Within the Square itself, along paths that had once
echoed to the tread of slippered feet, armed sentries
paced, their sharp challenges breaking the stillness
of the night. Outside its wrecked fences strange men
in stranger uniforms strode in and out of the joyless
houses; tired pickets stacked their arias on the unswept
piazzas, and panting horses nibbled the bark
from the withered trees; rank weeds choked the gardens;
dishevelled vines clung to the porches, and
doors that had always swung wide to the gentle tap
of loving fingers were opened timidly to the blow of
Kennedy Square became a tradition.
Some civilizations die slowly. This one was shattered
in a day by a paving-stone in the hands of a
THE STONE MUGS
Frederick Stone, N.A., member of the Stone
Mugs, late war correspondent and special artist on
the spot, paused before the cheerful blaze of his studio
fire, shaking the wet snow from his feet. He had
tramped across Washington Square in drifts that
were over his shoe-tops, mounted the three flights of
steps to his cosey rooms, and was at the moment
expressing his views on the weather, in terms more
forcible than polite, to our very old friend, Jack
Bedford, the famous marine-painter. Bedford, on hearing
the sound of Fred's footsteps, had strolled in from
his own studio, in the same building, and had thrown
himself into a big arm-chair, where he was sitting
hunched up, his knees almost touching his chin, his
round head covered by a skull-cap that showed above
"Nice weather for ducks, Jack, isn't it? Can't see
how anybody can get here to-night," cried Fred,
striking the mantel with his wet cap, and scattering
the rain-drops over the hearth. "Just passed a
Broadway stage stuck in a hole as I came by the New
York Hotel. Been there an hour, they told me."
"Shouldn't wonder. Whose night is it, Fred?"
asked Jack, stretching out one leg in the direction of
the cheery blaze.
"What's he going to do?"
"Give it up. Ask me an easy one. Said he wanted
a thirty by forty. There it is on the easel," and Fred
moved a chair out of his way, hung his wet coat and
hat on a peg behind the door, and started to clear up
a tangle of artillery harness that littered the floor.
"Thirty by forty, eh," grunted Jack, from the
depths of his chair. "Thunder and Mars! Is the
beggar going to paint a panorama? Thought that
canvas was for a new cavalry charge of yours!" He
had lowered the other leg now, making a double-
barrelled gun of the pair.
"No; it's Horn's. He's going to paint one of the
"In costume?" Jack's head was now so low in
the chair that his eyes could draw a bead along his
legs to the fire.
"Yes, as an old Burgomaster, or something with
a ruff," and he kicked an army blanket into a corner
as he spoke. "There's the ruff hanging on that pair
of foils, Waller sent it over." Then his merry eyes
fell on Jack's sprawled-out figure, his feet almost in
the grate--a favorite attitude of his neighbor's when
tired out with the day's work, comfortable perhaps,
but especially objectionable at the moment.
"Here--get up, you old stick-in-the-mud. Don't
sit there, doubled up like a government mule," he
laughed. (The army lingo still showed itself once
in a while in Fred's speech.) "Help me get this room
ready or I'll whale you with this," and he waved one
end of a trace over his head. "If the fellows are
coming they'll be here in half an hour. Shove back
that easel and bring in that beer--it's outside the door
in a box. I'll get out the tobacco and pipes."
Jack stretched both arms above his head, emitted
a yawn that could be heard in his room below, and
sprang to his feet.
Fred, by this time, had taken down from a closet
a tin box of crackers, unwrapped a yellow cheese,
and was trimming its raw edges with a palette knife.
Then they both moved out a big table from the inner
room to the larger one, and, while Jack placed the
eatables on its bare top, Fred mounted a chair, and
began lighting a circle of gas-jets that hung from the
ceiling of the skylight. The war-painter was host to-
night, and the task of arranging the rooms for the
comfort of his fellow-members consequently devolved
The refreshments having been made ready, Fred
roamed about the rooms straightening the pictures
on the walls--an old fad of his when guests of any
kind were expected--punching the cushions and
Turkish saddle-bags into plumpness, that he had
picked up in a flying trip abroad the year the war was
over, and stringing them along the divan ready for
the backs and legs of the club-members. Next he
stripped the piano of a collection of camp sketches
that had littered it up for a week, dumped the pile into
a closet, and, with a sudden wrench of his arms,
whirled the instrument itself close against the wall.
Then some fire-arms, saddles, and artillery trappings
were hidden away in dark corners, and a lay figure,
clothed in fatigue cap and blue overcoat, and which
had done duty as "a picket" during the day, was
wheeled around with its face to the wall, where it
stood guard over Fred's famous picture ofb"The Last
Gun at Appomattox." His final touches were bestowed
on the grate-fire and the coal-scuttle, both of
which were replenished from a big pine box in the
Jack Bedford, meanwhile, had busied himself rolling
another table--a long one--under the circle of
gas-jets so that the men could see to work the better,
and loading it with palettes, china tiles, canvases, etc.,
to be used by the members of the club in their
work of the evening. Last of all and not by any
means the least important, Jack, by the aid of a chair,
gathered together, on the top shelf of the closet, the
unique collection of stone beer-mugs from which the
club took its name. These he handed down one by
one to Fred, who arranged them in a row on one end
of the long table. The mugs were to hold the contents
of sundry bottles of beer, now safely stowed
away in the lidless, pigeon-holed box, standing in the
hall, which Fred unloaded later, placing the bottles
on the window-sill outside to cool.
Before they had ended their preparations, the
stamping of feet on the stair was heard, the door was
thrown back, and the several members of the club
began to arrive.
The great Waller came first, brushing the snow
from his shaggy coat, looking like a great bear, growling
as he rolled in, as was his wont. Close behind
him, puffing with the run upstairs, and half-hidden
behind Waller's broad shoulders, trotted Simmons,
Not the tousled, ill-clad Waller, the "Walrus"
of former days--no one dared to call the painter by
any such names since his picture took the Medaille
d'Honneur at Paris--and not the slender, smooth-
faced Simmons, who in the old days was content to
take his chances of filling a vacancy at Wallack's or
the Winter Garden, when some one of the regular
orchestra was under the weather; but a sleek, prosperous,
rotund Waller, with a bit of red in his button-
hole, a wide expanse of shirt-front, and a waxed
mustache; and a thoughtful, slightly bald, and well-
dressed Simmons, with gold eyeglasses, and his hair
worn long in his neck as befitted the leader of an
orchestra whose concerts crowded the Academy to
These two arrivals nodded to Jack and Fred, Waller
cursing the weather as he hung up his coat on a
peg behind the door (unnecessary formalities of every
kind, including the shaking of hands and asking after
each other's health, were dispensed with by men who
saw each other several times a day at their different
haunts), and Simmons, without stopping to take off
his wet coat, flung his hat on the divan, crossed the
room, and seated himself at the piano.
"Went this way, Waller, didn't it?" said Simmons
striking the keys, continuing the conversation the two
had evidently had on the stairs. "Never heard Parepa
in better voice. She filled every corner of the
house. Crug told me he was up in Africa in the back
row and never missed a note. Do you remember
this?" and the musician's fingers again slipped over
the keys, and one of the great singer's trills rippled
through the room, to which Waller nodded approvingly,
mopping his wet face with his handkerchief as
The opening and shutting of the door, the stamping
of feet, the general imprecations hurled at the climate,
and the scattering of wet snow and rain-drops
about the entrance became constant. Crug bustled
in--a short, thick-set, rosy-cheeked young fellow in
a black mackintosh and a white silk muffler--a 'cellist
of repute, who had spent two years at the conservatoire,
and who had once played for Eugenie at one of
her musicales at the Tuileries, a fact he never let you
forget. And close behind him came Watson, the
landscape-painter, who had had two pictures accepted
by the Royal Academy--one of them hung on the
line, a great honor for an American; and after them
blue-eyed, round-faced Munson, a pupil of Kaulbach,
and late from Munich; as well as Harry Stedman,
Post, the art-critic, and one or two others.
Each man as he entered divested himself of his
wet garments, warmed his hands at the blazing grate-
fire, and, reaching over the long table, picked up a
clay or corn-cob pipe, stuffing the bowl full of tobacco
from a cracked Japanese pot that stood on the mantel.
Then striking a match he settled himself into
the nearest chair, joining in the general talk or smoking
quietly, listening to what was being said about
him. Now and then one would walk to the window,
raise the sash, uncork a bottle of beer where Fred had
placed it, empty its contents into one of the mugs, and
resume his seat--mug in one hand, pipe in the other.
Up to this time no work had been done, the courtesies
of the club permitting none to begin until the
member whose night it was had arrived.
As the half-hour slipped away the men began to
"If it's Horn's night why the devil doesn't he
come, Fred?" asked Waller, in a querulous tone. Although
the great sheep-painter had lost his sobriquet
since the old days, he had never parted with his right
"He'll be here," cried Simmons from his seat by
the piano. His fingers were still rippling gently over
the keys, although he had stopped once just long
enough to strip off his wet overcoat. "I met him at
Margaret Grant's this afternoon. She had a little
"There every afternoon, isn't he, Simmons?"
asked Munson, who was smoking quietly:
"Shouldn't wonder," came the response between
"How's that affair coming on?" came a voice out
of the tobacco-smoke.
"Same old way," answered someone at the lower
end of the table--"still waiting for the spondulix."
"Seen her last picture?" remarked Watson,
knocking the ashes from his pipe. "The one she
scooped the medal with?"
"Yes. Rouser, isn't it?" called out Waller.
"Best thing she has done yet. She's a great woman.
Hello! there he is! This is a pretty time for him to
put in an appearance!"
The door opened and Oliver walked in, a wet umbrella
in one hand, his coat-collar turned up, his mustache
beaded with melted snow-drops.
"What's it doing outside, Ollie, raining cats and
dogs?" Jack called out.
"No, going to clear up. It's stopped snowing and
getting colder. Oh, what a night! I love a storm
like this, it sets my blood tingling. Sorry to keep you
waiting, gentlemen, but I couldn't help it. It won't
make any difference; I can't begin, anyway. Bianchi
won't be here for an hour. Just met him on the street
--he's going to bring a guest, he says."
"Who's he going to bring?" shouted Simmons,
who had risen from his seat at the piano, and was now
sorting out some sheets of music that Fred had just
laid on its top.
"He won't tell; says it's a surprise," answered
Oliver, slipping off his coat.
"A surprise, is it?" grumbled Waller. "I'll bet
it's some greasy foreigner." He had left Simmons's
side and was now standing by the mantel, filling a pipe
from the bowl. "Bianchi has always got a lot of
cranks about him."
Oliver hung his wet coat among the row of garments
lining the wall--he had come twice as far as
the others--crowded his dripping umbrella into a
broken Chinese jar that did duty as a rack, and, catching
sight of the canvas, walked toward the easel holding
the thirty by forty.
"Where did you get it, Freddie?" he said, putting
his arms around the shoulders of his old chum and
dragging him toward the easel for a closer inspection
of the grain of the canvas.
"Just right, old man. Much obliged," and he felt
the grain of the cloth with his thumb. "Got a ruff?"
and he glanced about him. "Oh, yes; I see.
The men, now that Oliver had arrived, drew up
around the long table. Some began setting their
palettes; others picked out, from the common stock
before them, the panels, canvases, china plates, or
sheets of paper, which, under their deft touches, were
so soon to be covered with dainty bits of color.
It was in many ways a remarkable club. Most of
its members had already achieved the highest rank
in their several professions and outside the walls of
this eyrie were known as earnest, thoughtful men,
envied and sought after by those who respected their
aims and successes.
Inside these cosey rooms all restraint was laid
aside and each man's personality and temperament
expressed itself without reserve. Harry Stedman,
who, perhaps, had been teaching a class of students all
the morning in the new building of the National
Academy of Design, each one of whom hung upon his
words as if he had been inspired, could be found here
a few hours later joining in a chorus with a voice
loud enough to rattle every mug on the table.
Waller, who doubtless that same night, had been
the bright particular star at some smart dinner uptown,
and whose red ribbon had added such eclat
to the occasion, and whose low voice and quiet manners
and correct, conventional speeches had so
charmed and captivated the lady on his right, would,
when once in this room, sit astride some chair, a pipe
in one hand, a mug of beer in the other. Here he
would discuss with Simmons or Jack or Oliver his
preference of Chopin over Beethoven, or the difference
between Parepa-Rosa and Jenny Lind, or any
topic which had risen out of the common talk, and all
too with a grotesqueness of speech and manner that
would have frozen his hostess of the dinner-table
dumb with astonishment could she have seen him.
And so with the others. Each man was frankly
himself and in undress uniform when under Fred's
skylight, or when the club was enjoying any one of
its various festivals and functions.
Oliver's election into the organization had, therefore,
been to him one of the greatest honors he had
received since his skill as a painter had been recognized
by his fellows--an honor not conferred upon
him because he had been one of the earlier members
of the old Union Square organization, many of whom
had been left out, but entirely because he was not
only the best of fellows, but among the best of painters
as well. An honor too, which brought with it
the possibility of a certain satisfying of his tastes.
Only once before had he found an atmosphere so congenial
and that was when the big hemlocks that he
loved stood firm and silent about him--companions
in a wilderness that rested him.
The coming together of such a body of men representing,
as they did, the choicest the city afforded
in art, literature and music, had been as natural
and unavoidable as the concentration of a mass of
iron filings toward a magnet. That insatiable
hunger of the Bohemian, that craving of the
craftsman for men of his kind, had at last overpowered
them, and the meetings in Fred's studio were
the inevitable result.
Many of these devotees of the arts had landed on
the barren shores of America--barren of even the
slightest trace of that life they had learned to love
so well in the Quartier Latin in Paris and in the
Rathskellers of Munich and Dusseldorf--and had
wandered about in the uncongenial atmosphere of
the commonplace until this retreat had been opened
to them. Some, like Fred Stone and Jack Bedford,
who had struggled on through the war, too much occupied
in the whirl of their life to miss at the time
the associations of men of similar tastes, had eagerly
grasped the opportunity when it came, and others,
like Oliver, who had had all they could do to get their
three meals during the day and a shelter for the
night, had hardly been conscious of what they wanted
until the club had extended to them its congenial
On the trio of painters we knew best in the old
days these privations and the uncertainties and
disappointments of the war had left their indelible mark.
You became aware of this when you saw them among
their fellow-workers. About Fred's temples many
tell-tale gray hairs were mingled with the brown, and
about his mouth and eyes were deeper lines than
those which hard work alone would have cut. He
carried a hole, too, in his right arm--or did until the
army surgeon sewed it up--you could see it as a blue
scar every time he rolled up his sleeve--a slight souvenir
of the Battle of Five Forks. It was bored out
by a bullet from the hands of a man in gray when
Fred, dropping his sketch-book, had bent to drag a
wounded soldier from under an overturned caisson.
He carried no scar, however, in his heart. That
organ beat with as keen a sympathy and as warm a
spirit of camaraderie as it did when it first opened
itself to Oliver's miseries in Union Square.
Jack Bedford, gaunt and strong of limb, looking
a foot taller, had more than once been compelled to
lay down his painter's palette and take up the sign-
painter's brush, and the tell-tale wrinkles about his
eyes and the set look about his mouth testified but
too plainly to the keenness of his sufferings.
Ah! what of Oliver, and of the changes in him
since that fatal night in Kennedy Square when he had
been driven away from his home and made an outcast
because he had been brave enough to defend a
You can see at a glance, as you watch him standing
by the big easel, his coat off, to give his arm freer play,
squeezing the tubes of color on his palette, that he is
not the boy you knew some years ago. He is, you
will admit, as strong and alert-looking as he was that
morning when he cleared the space in front of Margaret's
brother with a cart-rung. You will concede,
too, that the muscles about his chest and throat are
as firmly packed, the eyes as keen, and the smile as
winning, but you will acknowledge that the boy in
him ends there. As you look the closer you will note
that the line of the jaw is more cleanly cut than in
his younger days; that the ears are set closer to the
finely modelled head; that the nose is more aquiline,
the eyes deeper, and that the overhanging brow is
wrinkled with one or more tight knots that care has
tied, and which only loosen when his face breaks into
one of his old-time smiles. The mustache is still there
--the one which Sue once laughed at; but it has lost
its silky curl and stands straight out now from the
corners of his mouth, its points reaching almost to
the line of his ears. There is, too, beneath it a small
imperial, giving to his face the debonair look of a
cavalier, and which accentuates more than any other
one thing his Southern birth and training. As you
follow the subtle outlines of his body you find too,
that he is better proportioned than he was in his early
manhood; thinner around the waist, broader across
the shoulders; pressed into a closer mold; more compact,
more determined-looking. But for the gleam
that now and then flashes out of his laughing eyes
and the winning smile that plays about his mouth,
you would, perhaps, think that the years of hardship
through which he has passed have hardened his nature.
But you would be wrong about the hardening
process, although you would have been entirely right
about the hardship.
They had, indeed, been years of intense suffering,
full of privations, self-denial, and disappointments,
not only in his New York home but in Kennedy
Square, whenever at long intervals he had gone back
to the old house to cheer its inmates in their loneliness
--a loneliness relieved only by the loyalty of old
Malachi and Hannah and the affection and sympathy
of their immediate relatives and of such close friends
as Amos Cobb, who had never left his post, Miss
Clendenning, Dr. Wallace, Nathan and some others.
But this sympathy had not always been extended to
Oliver--not, by his old schoolmates and chums at
least. Even Sue had passed him in the street with a
cold stare and not a few of the other girls--girls he
had romped with many a night through the cool paths
of Kennedy Square, had drawn their skirts aside as
he passed lest he should foul them with his touch.
But his courage had not wavered nor had his
strength failed him. The same qualities that had
made Richard stick to the motor were in his own
blood. His delicately modelled slender fingers,
white as ivory, and as sure as a pair of callipers
--so like his father's--and which as we watch
him work so deftly arranging the colors on his
palette, adjusting the oil-cup, trying the points of
the brushes on his thumb-nail, gathering them in a
sheaf in his left hand as they answer his purpose, had
served him in more ways than one since he took that
midnight ride back from his old home in Kennedy
Square. These same hands that look so white and
well-kept as he stands by his easel in the full glare
of the gas-jets, had been his sole reliance during these
days of toil and suffering. They had provided all the
bread that had gone into his mouth, and every stitch
of clothes that had covered his back. And they had
not been over-particular as to how they had accomplished
it nor at what hours or places. They had
cleaned lithographic stones, the finger-nails stained
for weeks with colored inks; they had packed hardware;
they had driven a pen far into the night on
space work for the daily papers; they had carried
a dinner-pail to and from his lodgings to the factory
two miles away where he had worked--very little
in this pail some of the time; they had posted ledgers,
made office-fires, swept out stores--anything
and everything that his will compelled, and his
necessities made imperative. And they had done it
all forcefully and willingly, with the persistence
and sureness of machines accomplishing a certain
output in so many hours. Joyfully too, sustained
and encouraged by the woman he loved and whose
heart through all his and her vicissitudes was still
All this had strengthened him; had taught him that
any kind of work, no matter how menial, was worthy
of a gentleman; so long as his object was obtained--
in this case his independence and his livelihood. It
had been a bitter experience at first, especially for a
Southerner brought up as he had been; but he had
mastered it at last. His early training had helped
him, especially that part which he owed to his mother,
who had made him carry the market-basket as a boy,
to humble a foolish and hurtful pride. He was
proud enough of it now.
But never through all these privations had these
same white hands and this tired body and brain been
so occupied that they could not find time during some
one of the hours of the day and night to wield the
brush, no matter how urgent had been the call for
the week's board--wielding it, too, so lovingly and
knowingly, and with such persistency, that to-night
although still poor--he stood recognized as a rising
man by the men in the front rank of the painters of
And with his mother's consent, too. Not that he
had asked it in so many words and stood hesitating,
fearing to take the divergent path until he could
take her willing blessing with him. He had made his
decision firmly and against her wishes. She had kept
silent at first, and had watched his progress as she had
watched his baby steps, tearfully--prayerfully at
times--standing ready to catch him if he fell. But
that was over now. The bigness of her vision covering
margins wide enough for new impressions, impressions
which her broad mind, great enough and
honest enough to confess its mistakes, always welcomed
and understood, had long since made clear
to her what in her early anxiety she had ignored:
--that if her son had inherited the creative and
imaginative gifts of his father (those gifts which
she so little understood), he had also inherited
from her a certain spirit of determination, together
with that practical turn of mind which had
given the men of her own family their eminence. In
proof of this she could not but see that the instability
which she had so dreaded in his earlier years had
given way to a certain fixedness of purpose and firm
self-reliance. The thought of this thrilled her as
nothing else in his whole career had ever done. All
these things helped reconcile her to his choice of a
Oliver, now thoroughly warm and dry, busied himself
getting his brushes and paints together and
scraping off one of Fred's palettes. Bianchi's bald
head and fat, red, smooth-shaven face with its double
chin--time had not dealt leniently with the distinguished
lithographer--had inspired our hero to attempt
a "Franz Hals smear," as Waller called it, and
the Pole, when he arrived, was to sit for him in
the costume of an old Dutch burgomaster, the
big white ruff furnishing the high lights in the
By the time Oliver had arranged his palette the
club had settled itself for work, the smoke from the
pipes floating in long lines toward the ceiling, befogging
the big white albatross that hung from a wire in
the skylight. Munson, who had rubbed in a background
of bitumen over a square tile, sat next to
Fred, who was picking out, with the end of a wooden
match, the outlines of an army-wagon sketched on a
plate smeared with color. Simmons was looking over
a portfolio that Watson, a new member, had brought
with him, filled with a lot of his summer sketches
made on the Normandy coast.
One view of the fish-market at Dieppe caught Oliver's
eye. The slant of light burnishing the roof
of the church to silver and flooding the pavement of
the open square, crowded with black figures, the
white caps of the fish-women indicated by crisp pats
of the brush, pleased our painter immensely.
"Charming, old man," said Oliver, turning to
Watson. "How long did it take you?"
"About four hours."
"Looks like it," growled Waller, reaching over
Oliver's shoulder and drawing the sketch toward him.
"That's the gospel of 'smear,' Horn," and he tossed
it back. "Not a figure in the group has got any
drawing in it."
Waller had set his face against the new out-door
school, and never lost a chance to ridicule it.
"That's not what Watson is after," exclaimed Oliver.
"The figures are mere accessories. The dominating
light is the thing; he's got that"--and he held
the sketch close to the overhead gas-jets so that the
members could see it the better.
"Dominating light be hanged! What's the use of
slobbering puddles of paint over a canvas and calling
it plein air, or impressionism, or out-of-doors, or some
such rot? Get down to business and DRAW. When
you have done that you can talk. It can't be done in
four hours, and if some of you fellows keep on the
way you're going, you'll never do it in four years."
"A four hours' sketch handled as Watson has
this," said Oliver, thoughtfully, "is better than four
years' work on one of your Hudson Rivery things.
The sun doesn't stand still long enough for a man
to get more than an expression of what he sees--that
is if he's after truth. The angle of shadow changes
too quickly, and so do the reflected lights."
"What's the matter with the next day?" burst out
Waller. "Can't you take up your sketch where you
left off? You talk as if every great picture had to be
painted before luncheon."
"But there is no 'next day,'" interrupted Watson.
"I entirely agree with Horn." He had been
listening to the discussion with silent interest. "No
next day like the one on which you began your canvas.
The sky is different--gray, blue, or full of
fleecy, sunny clouds. Your shadows are more purple,
or blue or gray, depending on your sky overhead,
and so are your reflections. If you go on and try to
piece out your sketch, you make an almanac of it--
not a portrait of what you saw. I can pick out the
Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays on that kind of
a sketch as soon as I see it. Nature is like a bird--
if you want to surprise her, you must let go both
barrels when she rises; if you miss her at your first
shot you will never have another chance--not at that
"Well, but suppose you DO happen to have two
days alike," insisted Waller. "I have seen thirty
days on a stretch in Venice without a cloud. What
then?" The bird simile had evidently not appealed
to the great critic.
"Then ten chances to one you are not the same
man you were the day before," replied Watson,
calmly, laying down his pipe. "You have had bad
news from home or your liver is out of order, or worse
still, you have seen some new subject which has taken
hold of you and your first enthusiasm has oozed away.
If you persist in going on you will either undo what
you did yesterday or you will trust to your memory
of what you THINK yesterday was, to finish your sketch
by. The first fills it full of lies and the second full
of yourself; neither have anything to do with nature.
Four hours, Waller, not a minute more. You'll come
to it before you die."
"That depends on what you have got to paint
with," snapped out Jack Bedford, who was trying
to clean a dingy-looking palette with a knife.
"Whose dirt-dump is this, anyhow?" and he held it
up to view. "Might as well try to get sunlight out
of powdered brick. Look at that pile of mud," and
he pointed to some dry color near the thumb-hole.
"Which palette?" came a voice.
Jack held it up for the inspection of the room.
"Oh, that's Parker Ridgway's," answered Fred.
"He was here the other day and made a half-hour's
sketch of a model I had."
The announcement of Ridgway's name was greeted
with shouts of laughter. He was a society painter
of the day, pupil of Winterhalter and Meyer von
Bremen, and had carried off more portraits and at
higher prices than all the other men put together.
"Keep on! keep on! Laugh away," grumbled Waller
squeezing a tube of Prussian blue on his palette.
"When any one of you fellows can get $4,000 for a
season's work you can talk; until you do, you can
keep your mouths shut as tight as Long Island
"Who got it?"
"The Honorable Parker Ridgway, R.A., P.Q.,
and I don't know but X.Y.Z.," roared Waller.
"I'd like to know how?" asked Watson, reaching
over Fred's arm for the bottle of turpentine.
"That's what he did," snapped out Waller.
"But he doesn't know how," cried Munson from
across the table. "I sat alongside of that fellow at the
Ecole for two years. He can't draw, and never could.
His flesh was beastly, his modelling worse, and his
technique--a botch. You can see what color he
uses," and he pointed to the palette Jack was trying
"Granted, my boy," said Waller. "I didn't say
he could PAINT; I said he knew how to earn $4,000 in
three months painting portraits."
"He never painted a portrait worth four cents.
Why, I knew--"
"Dry up, Munson!" interrupted Jack. "Go on,
Waller, tell us how he did it."
"By using some horse-sense and a little tact; getting
in with the procession and bolding his cud up,"
retorted Waller, in a solemn tone.
"Give him room! Give him room!" cried Oliver,
with a laugh, pouring a little dryer into his oil-cup.
He loved to hear Waller talk. "He flings his words
about as if they were chunks of coal," he would always
The great man wheeled his chair around and faced
the room. Oliver's words had sounded like a challenge.
"Keep it up!--pound away," he cried, his face
reddening. "I've watched Ridgway ever since he
arrived here last spring, and I will give you his
recipe for success. He didn't fall overboard into a
second-rate club as soon as he got here and rub his
brushes on his coat-sleeve to look artistic. Not much!
He had his name put up at the Union; got Croney to
cut his clothes, and Leary to make his hats, played
croquet with the girls he knew, drove tandem--his
brother-in-law's--and dined out every night in the
week. Every day or two he would haul out one of his
six-foot canvases, and give it a coat of bitumen. Always
did this when some club swell was around who
would tell about it,"
"Did it with a sponge," muttered Munson. "Old
trick of his!"
"Next thing he did," continued Waller, ignoring
Munson's aside, "was to refuse a thousand-dollar
commission offered by a vulgar real-estate man to
paint a two-hundred-pound pink-silk sofa-cushion of a
wife in a tight-fitting waist. This spread like the
measles. It was the talk of the club, of dinner-tables
and piazzas, and before sundown Ridgway's exclusiveness
in taste and artistic instincts were established.
Then he hunted up a pretty young married woman
occupying the dead-centre of the sanctified social
circle, went into spasms over her beauty--so classic,
such an exquisite outline; grew confidential with the
husband at the club, and begged permission to make
just a sketch only the size of his hand--wanted it for
his head of Sappho, Berlin Exhibition. Next he
rented a suite of rooms, crowded in a lot of borrowed
tapestries, brass, Venetian chests, lamps and hangings;
gave a tea--servants this time in livery--exhibited
his Sappho; refused a big price for it from the
husband; got orders instead for two half-lengths,
$1,500 each, finished them in two weeks, declined
more commissions on account of extreme fatigue;
disappeared with the first frost and the best cottage
people; booked three more full-lengths in New York
--two to be painted in Paris and the other on his return
in the spring; was followed to the steamer by
a bevy of beauties, half-smothered in flowers, and
disappeared in a halo of artistic glory just $4,000 in."
Fred broke out into a roar, in which the whole
"And you call that art, do you?" cried Munson,
laying down his palette. His face was flushed, his
eyes snapping with indignation.
"I do, my babbling infant," retorted Waller. "I
call it the art of making the most of your opportunities
and putting your best foot foremost. That's
a thing you fellows never seem to understand. You
want to shuffle around in carpet-slippers, live in a
garret, and wait until some money-bags climbs up
your crazy staircases to discover you. Ridgway puts.
his foot in a patent-leather pump and silk stocking,
and never steps on a carpet that isn't two inches thick.
Merchants, engineers, manufacturers, and even scientists,
when they have anything to sell, go where there
is somebody to buy; why shouldn't an artist?"
"Just like a fakir peddling cheap jewelry," said
Stedman, in a low voice, sending a cloud of smoke to
"Or a bunco-man trading watches with a farmer,"
remarked Jack Bedford. "What do you say, My
Lord Tom-Noddy"--and he slapped Oliver on the
back. The sobriquet was one of Jack's pet names for
Oliver--all the Kennedy Square people were more
or less aristocrats to Jack Bedford, the sign-painter--
all except Oliver.
"I think Waller's about half-right, Jack. As far
as Ridgway's work goes, you know and I know that
there isn't one man or woman out of a hundred
among his brother-in-law's friends who knows
whether it's good or bad--that's the pity of it. If
it's bad and they buy it, that's their fault for not
knowing any better, not Ridgway's fault for doing
the best he knows how. By silk stockings and pumps
I suppose Waller means that Ridgway dressed himself
like a gentleman, had his hair cut, and paid some
attention to his finger-nails. That's why they were
glad to see him. The day has gone by when a painter
must affect a bob-tailed velveteen jacket, long hair,
and a slouch hat to help him paint, just as the day has
gone by when an artist is not an honored guest in
any gentleman's house in town."
"Bravo, Tom-Noddy!" shouted Jack and Fred in
a breath. "Drink, you dear old pressed brick. Put
your nose into this!" and Fred held a mug of beer to
Oliver laid down his sheaf of brushes--buried his
nose in the cool rim of the stone mug, the only beverage
the club permitted, and was about to continue
his talk, when his eye rested on Bianchi, who was
standing in the open door, his hand upraised so as to
"Here--you beautiful, bald-headed old burgomaster!"
shouted Oliver. "Get into your ruff right
away. Been waiting half an hour for you and--"
Bianchi put his fingers to his lips with a whispered
hush, knit his brow, and pointed significantly behind
him. Every eye turned, and a breathless silence fell
upon the group, followed by a scraping of chairs on
the floor as each man sprang to his feet.
Bianchi's surprise had arrived!
"THE WOMAN IN BLACK"
In the doorway, immediately behind Bianchi and
looking over the little man's head, stood a woman of
perhaps forty years of age in full evening toilet.
About her head was wound a black lace scarf, and
hanging from her beautiful shoulders, half-concealing
a figure of marvellous symmetry, was a long black
cloak, open at the throat, trimmed with fur, and lined
with watermelon pink silk. Tucked in her hair was
a red japonica. She was courtesying to the room
with all the poise and graciousness of a prima donna
saluting an audience.
Oliver sprang for his coat and was about to cram
his arms into the sleeves, when she cried:
"Oh, please don't! I wish I could wear a coat
myself, so that I could take it off and paint. Oh!
the smell of the lovely pipes! It's heavenly, and it's
so like home. Really," and she looked about her,
"this is the only place I have seen in America that I
can breathe in. I've heard of you all winter and I
so wanted to come. I would not give dear Bianchi
any rest till he brought me. Oh! I'm so glad to be
Oliver and the others were still standing, looking
in amazement at the new-corner. One of the unwritten
laws of the club was that no woman should ever
enter its doors, a law that until this moment had
never been broken.
While she was speaking Bianchi stepped back, and
took the tips of the woman's fingers within his own.
When she had finished he thrust out one foot and,
with the bow of an impresario introducing a new
"Gentlemen of the Stone Mugs, I have the honor
of presenting you to the Countess Kovalski."
Again the woman courtesied, sweeping the floor
with her black velvet skirt, broke out into a laugh,
handed her cloak and scarf to Bianchi, who threw
them over the shoulders of the lay figure, and moved
toward the table, Fred, as host, drawing out a chair
"Oh!--what lovely beginnings--" she continued,
examining the sketches with her lorgnette, after
the members had made their salutations, "Let me
make one. I studied two years with Achenbach.
You did not know that Bianchi, did you? There are
so many things you do not know, you lovely man."
She was as much at home as if she had been there
every evening of her life.
Still, with the same joyous self-contained air she
settled herself in Fred's proffered chair, picked up
one of Jack's brushes, reached over his shoulder, and
with a "please-hold-still, thank you," scooped up a
little yellow ochre from his palette, and unloaded it
on a corner of a tile. Then, stripping off her bracelets,
she piled them in a heap before her, selected a Greek
coin dangling from the end of one of them, propped
it up on the table and began to paint; the men,
all of whom were too astonished to resume their
work, crowding about her, watching the play of
her brush; a brush so masterful in its technique
that before the picture was finished the room broke
out in unrestrained applause.
During all this time she was talking in German to
Crug, or in French to Waller, only stopping to light
a fresh cigarette which she took from a jewelled
case and laid beside her. She could, no doubt, have
as easily lapsed into Russian, Choctaw, or Chinese
had there been any such strange people about.