Part 1 out of 9
This Etext prepared by Marleen Hugo
THE LOST ROAD
THE NOVELS AND STORIES OF
RICHARD HARDING DAVIS
THE LOST ROAD
THE MIRACLE OF LAS PALMAS
EVIL TO HIM WHO EVIL THINKS
THE MEN OF ZANZIBAR
THE LONG ARM
THE GOD OF COINCIDENCE
THE BURIED TREASURE OF COBRE
THE BOY SCOUT
SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE
AN INTRODUCTION BY
JOHN T. McCUTCHEON
WITH DAVIS IN VERA CRUZ, BRUSSELS, AND SALONIKA
In common with many others who have been with Richard Harding
Davis as correspondents, I find it difficult to realize that he
has covered his last story and that he will not be seen again
with the men who follow the war game, rushing to distant places
upon which the spotlight of news interest suddenly centres.
It seems a sort of bitter irony that he who had covered so many
big events of world importance in the past twenty years should
be abruptly torn away in the midst of the greatest event of
them all, while the story is still unfinished and its outcome
undetermined. If there is a compensating thought, it lies in the
reflection that he had a life of almost unparalleled fulness,
crowded to the brim, up to the last moment, with those
experiences and achievements which he particularly aspired to
have. He left while the tide was at its flood, and while he still
held supreme his place as the best reporter in his country. He
escaped the bitterness of seeing the ebb set in, when the youth
to which he clung had slipped away, and when he would have to sit
impatient in the audience, while younger men were in the thick of
great, world-stirring dramas on the stage.
This would have been a real tragedy in "Dick" Davis's case, for,
while his body would have aged, it is doubtful if his spirit ever
would have lost its youthful freshness or boyish enthusiasm.
It was my privilege to see a good deal of Davis in the last two
He arrived in Vera Cruz among the first of the sixty or seventy
correspondents who flocked to that news centre when the situation
was so full of sensational possibilities. It was a time when the
American newspaper-reading public was eager for thrills, and the
ingenuity and resourcefulness of the correspondents in Vera Cruz
were tried to the uttermost to supply the demand.
In the face of the fiercest competition it fell to Davis's lot to
land the biggest story of those days of marking time.
The story "broke" when it became known that Davis, Medill
McCormick, and Frederick Palmer had gone through the Mexican
lines in an effort to reach Mexico City. Davis and McCormick,
with letters to the Brazilian and British ministers, got through
and reached the capital on the strength of those letters, but
Palmer, having only an American passport, was turned back.
After an ominous silence which furnished American newspapers with
a lively period of suspense, the two men returned safely with
wonderful stories of their experiences while under arrest in the
hands of the Mexican authorities. McCormick, in recently speaking
of Davis at that time, said that, "as a correspondent in
difficult and dangerous situations, he was incomparable--cheerful,
ingenious, and undiscouraged. When the time came to choose
between safety and leaving his companion he stuck by his fellow
captive even though, as they both said, a firing-squad and a blank
wall were by no means a remote possibility."
This Mexico City adventure was a spectacular achievement
which gave Davis and McCormick a distinction which no other
correspondents of all the ambitious and able corps had managed to
Davis usually "hunted" alone. He depended entirely upon his own
ingenuity and wonderful instinct for news situations. He had the
energy and enthusiasm of a beginner, with the experience and
training of a veteran. His interest in things remained as keen
as though he had not been years at a game which often leaves a
man jaded and blase. His acquaintanceship in the American army
and navy was wide, and for this reason, as well as for the
prestige which his fame and position as a national character gave
him, he found it easy to establish valuable connections in the
channels from which news emanates. And yet, in spite of the fact
that he was "on his own" instead of having a working partnership
with other men, he was generous in helping at times when he was
able to do so.
Davis was a conspicuous figure in Vera Cruz, as he inevitably had
been in all such situations. Wherever he went, he was pointed
out. His distinction of appearance, together with a distinction
in dress, which, whether from habit or policy, was a valuable
asset in his work, made him a marked man. He dressed and looked
the "war correspondent," such a one as he would describe in one
of his stories. He fulfilled the popular ideal of what a member
of that fascinating profession should look like. His code of life
and habits was as fixed as that of the Briton who takes his
habits and customs and games and tea wherever he goes, no matter
how benighted or remote the spot may be.
He was just as loyal to his code as is the Briton. He carried his
bath-tub, his immaculate linen, his evening clothes, his war
equipment--in which he had the pride of a connoisseur--wherever
he went, and, what is more, he had the courage to use the evening
clothes at times when their use was conspicuous. He was the only
man who wore a dinner coat in Vera Cruz, and each night, at his
particular table in the crowded "Portales," at the Hotel
Diligencia, he was to be seen, as fresh and clean as though he
were in a New York or London restaurant.
Each day he was up early to take the train out to the "gap,"
across which came arrivals from Mexico City. Sometimes a good
"story" would come down, as when the long-heralded and long-
expected arrival of Consul Silliman gave a first-page "feature"
to all the American papers.
In the afternoon he would play water polo over at the navy
aviation camp, and always at a certain time of the day his
"striker" would bring him his horse and for an hour or more he
would ride out along the beach roads within the American lines.
After the first few days it was difficult to extract real thrills
from the Vera Cruz situation, but we used to ride out to El Tejar
with the cavalry patrol and imagine that we might be fired on at
some point in the long ride through unoccupied territory; or else
go out to the "front," at Legarto, where a little American force
occupied a sun-baked row of freight-cars, surrounded by malarial
swamps. From the top of the railroad water-tank, we could look
across to the Mexican outposts a mile or so away. It was not very
exciting, and what thrills we got lay chiefly in our imagination.
Before my acquaintanceship with Davis at Vera Cruz I had not
known him well. Our trails didn't cross while I was in Japan in
the Japanese-Russian War, and in the Transvaal I missed him by a
few days, but in Vera Cruz I had many enjoyable opportunities of
becoming well acquainted with him.
The privilege was a pleasant one, for it served to dispel a
preconceived and not an entirely favorable impression of his
character. For years I had heard stories about Richard Harding
Davis--stories which emphasized an egotism and self-assertiveness
which, if they ever existed, had happily ceased to be obtrusive
by the time I got to know him.
He was a different Davis from the Davis whom I had expected to
find; and I can imagine no more charming and delightful companion
than he was in Vera Cruz. There was no evidence of those
qualities which I feared to find, and his attitude was one of
unfailing kindness, considerateness, and generosity.
In the many talks I had with him, I was always struck by his
evident devotion to a fixed code of personal conduct. In his writings
he was the interpreter of chivalrous, well-bred youth, and his heroes
were young, clean-thinking college men, heroic big-game hunters,
war correspondents, and idealized men about town, who always did
the noble thing, disdaining the unworthy in act or motive. It seemed
to me that he was modelling his own life, perhaps unconsciously,
after the favored types which his imagination had created for his
stories. In a certain sense he was living a life of make-believe,
wherein he was the hero of the story, and in which he was bound
by his ideals always to act as he would have the hero of his
story act. It was a quality which only one could have who had
preserved a fresh youthfulness of outlook in spite of the
hardening processes of maturity.
His power of observation was extraordinarily keen, and he not
only had the rare gift of sensing the vital elements of a
situation, but also had, to an unrivalled degree, the ability to
describe them vividly. I don't know how many of those men at Verz
Cruz tried to describe the kaleidoscopic life of the city during
the American occupation, but I know that Davis's story was far
and away the most faithful and satisfying picture. The story was
photographic, even to the sounds and smells.
The last I saw of him in Vera Cruz was when, on the Utah, he
steamed past the flagship Wyoming, upon which I was quartered,
and started for New York. The Battenberg cup race had just been
rowed, and the Utah and Florida crews had tied. As the Utah was
sailing immediately after the race, there was no time in which to
row off the tie. So it was decided that the names of both ships
should be engraved on the cup, and that the Florida crew should
defend the title against a challenging crew from the British
Admiral Craddock's flagship.
By the end of June, the public interest in Vera Cruz had waned,
and the corps of correspondents dwindled until there were only a
Frederick Palmer and I went up to join Carranza and Villa, and on
the 26th of July we were in Monterey waiting to start with the
triumphal march of Carranza's army toward Mexico City. There was
no sign of serious trouble abroad. That night ominous telegrams
came, and at ten o'clock on the following morning we were on a
train headed for the States.
Palmer and Davis caught the Lusitania, sailing August 4 from New
York, and I followed on the Saint Paul, leaving three days later.
On the 17th of August I reached Brussels, and it seemed the most
natural thing in the world to find Davis already there. He was at
the Palace Hotel, where a number of American and English
correspondents were quartered.
Things moved quickly. On the 19th Irvin Cobb, Will Irwin, Arno
Dosch, and I were caught between the Belgian and German lines in
Louvain; our retreat to Brussels was cut, and for three days,
while the vast German army moved through the city, we were
detained. Then, the army having passed, we were allowed to go
back to the capital.
In the meantime Davis was in Brussels. The Germans reached the
outskirts of the city on the morning of the 20th, and the
correspondents who had remained in Brussels were feverishly
writing despatches describing the imminent fall of the city. One
of them, Harry Hansen, of the Chicago Daily News, tells the
following story, which I give in his words:
"While we were writing," says Hansen, "Richard Harding Davis
walked into the writing-room of the Palace Hotel with a bunch of
manuscript in his hand. With an amused expression he surveyed
the three correspondents filling white paper.
"'I say, men,' said Davis, 'do you know when the next train
"'There is one at three o'clock,' said a correspondent, looking
"'That looks like our only chance to get a story out,' said
Davis. 'Well, we'll trust to that.'
"The story was the German invasion of Brussels, and the train
mentioned was considered the forlorn hope of the correspondents
to connect with the outside world--that is, every correspondent
thought it to be the other man's hope. Secretly each had prepared
to outwit the other, and secretly Davis had already sent his
story to Ostend. He meant to emulate Archibald Forbes, who
despatched a courier with his real manuscript, and next day
publicly dropped a bulky package in the mail-bag.
"Davis had sensed the news in the occupation of Brussels long
before it happened. With dawn he went out to the Louvain road,
where the German army stood, prepared to smash the capital if
negotiations failed. His observant eye took in all the details.
Before noon he had written a comprehensive sketch of the
occupation, and when word was received that it was under way, he
trusted his copy to an old Flemish woman, who spoke not a word of
English, and saw her safely on board the train that pulled out
under Belgian auspices for Ostend."
With passes which the German commandant in Brussels gave us the
correspondents immediately started out to see how far those
passes would carry us. A number of us left on the afternoon of
August 23 for Waterloo, where it was expected that the great
clash between the German and the Anglo-French forces would occur.
We had planned to be back the same evening, and went prepared
only for an afternoon's drive in a couple of hired street
carriages. It was seven weeks before we again saw Brussels.
On the following day (August 24) Davis started for Mons. He wore
the khaki uniform which he had worn in many campaigns. Across his
breast was a narrow bar of silk ribbon indicating the campaigns
in which he had served as a correspondent. He so much resembled a
British officer that he was arrested as a British derelict and was informed
that he would be shot at once.
He escaped only by offering to walk to Brand Whitlock, in Brussels,
reporting to each officer he met on the way. His plan was approved,
and as a hostage on parole he appeared before the American minister,
who quickly established his identity as an American of good standing,
to the satisfaction of the Germans.
In the following few months our trails were widely separated. I read
of his arrest by German officers on the road to Mons; later I
read the story of his departure from Brussels by train to
Holland--a trip which carried him through Louvain while the town
still was burning; and still later I read that he was with the
few lucky men who were in Rheims during one of the early
bombardments that damaged the cathedral. By amazing luck,
combined with a natural news sense which drew him instinctively
to critical places at the psychological moment, he had been a
witness of the two most widely featured stories of the early
weeks of the war.
Arrested by the Germans in Belgium, and later by the French in
France, he was convinced that the restrictions on correspondents
were too great to permit of good work.
So he left the European war zone with the widely quoted remark:
"The day of the war correspondent is over."
And yet I was not surprised when, one evening, late in November
of last year, he suddenly walked into the room in Salonika where
William G. Shepherd, of the United Press, "Jimmy Hare," the
veteran war photographer, and I had established ourselves several
The hotel was jammed, and the city, with a normal capacity of
about one hundred and seventy-five thousand, was struggling to
accommodate at least a hundred thousand more. There was not a
room to be had in any of the better hotels, and for several days
we lodged Davis in our room, a vast chamber which formerly had
been the main dining-room of the establishment, and which now was
converted into a bedroom. There was room for a dozen men, if
necessary, and whenever stranded Americans arrived and could find
no hotel accommodations we simply rigged up emergency cots for
their temporary use.
The weather in Salonika at this time, late November, was
penetratingly cold. In the mornings the steam coils struggled
feebly to dispel the chill in the room.
Early in the morning after Davis had arrived, we were aroused by
the sound of violent splashing, accompanied by shuddering gasps,
and we looked out from the snug warmth of our beds to see Davis
standing in his portable bath-tub and drenching himself with
ice-cold water. As an exhibition of courageous devotion to an
established custom of life it was admirable, but I'm not sure
that it was prudent.
For some reason, perhaps a defective circulation or a weakened
heart, his system failed to react from these cold-water baths.
All through the days he complained of feeling chilled. He never
seemed to get thoroughly warmed, and of us all he was the one who
suffered most keenly from the cold. It was all the more
surprising, for his appearance was always that of a man in the
pink of athletic fitness--ruddy-faced, clear-eyed, and full of
On one occasion we returned from the French front in Serbia to
Salonika in a box car lighted only by candles, bitterly cold, and
frightfully exhausting. We were seven hours in travelling
fifty-five miles, and we arrived at our destination at three
o'clock in the morning. Several of the men contracted desperate
colds, which clung to them for weeks. Davis was chilled through,
and said that of all the cold he had ever experienced that which
swept across the Macedonian plain from the Balkan highlands was
the most penetrating. Even his heavy clothing could not afford him
When he was settled in his own room in our hotel he installed an
oil-stove which burned beside him as he sat at his desk and wrote
his stories. The room was like an oven, but even then he still
complained of the cold.
When he left he gave us the stove, and when we left, some time
later, it was presented to one of our doctor friends out in a
British hospital, where I'm sure it is doing its best to thaw the
Balkan chill out of sick and wounded soldiers.
Davis was always up early, and his energy and interest were as
keen as a boy's. We had our meals together, sometimes in the
crowded and rather smart Bastasini's, but more often in the
maelstrom of humanity that nightly packed the Olympos Palace
restaurant. Davis, Shepherd, Hare, and I, with sometimes Mr. and
Mrs. John Bass, made up these parties, which, for a period of
about two weeks or so, were the most enjoyable daily events of
Under the glaring lights of the restaurant, and surrounded by
British, French, Greek, and Serbian officers, German, Austrian,
and Bulgarian civilians, with a sprinkling of American, English,
and Scotch nurses and doctors, packed so solidly in the huge,
high-ceilinged room that the waiters could barely pick their way
among the tables, we hung for hours over our dinners, and left
only when the landlord and his Austrian wife counted the day's
receipts and paid the waiters at the end of the evening.
One could not imagine a more charming and delightful companion
than Davis during these days. While he always asserted that he
could not make a speech, and was terrified at the thought of
standing up at a banquet-table, yet, sitting at a dinner-table
with a few friends who were only too eager to listen rather than
to talk, his stories, covering personal experiences in all parts
of the world, were intensely vivid, with that remarkable
"holding" quality of description which characterizes his
He brought his own bread--a coarse, brown sort, which he preferred
to the better white bread--and with it he ate great quantities of
butter. As we sat down at the table his first demand was for
"Mastika," a peculiar Greek drink distilled from mastic gum, and
his second demand invariably was "Du beurre!" with the "r's" as
silent as the stars; and if it failed to come at once the waiter
was made to feel the enormity of his tardiness.
The reminiscences ranged from his early newspaper days in
Philadelphia, and skipping from Manchuria to Cuba and Central
America, to his early Sun days under Arthur Brisbane; they ranged
through an endless variety of personal experiences which very
nearly covered the whole course of American history in the past
Perhaps to him it was pleasant to go over his remarkable adventures,
but it could not have been half as pleasant as it was to hear them, told
as they were with a keenness of description and brilliancy of humorous
comment that made them gems of narrative.
At times, in our work, we all tried our hands at describing the
Salonika of those early days of the Allied occupation, for it was
really what one widely travelled British officer called it--"the
most amazingly interesting situation I've ever seen"---but Davis's
description was far and away the best, just as his description of
Vera Cruz was the best, and his wonderful story of the entry of
the German army into Brussels was matchless as one of the great
pieces of reporting in the present war.
In thinking of Davis, I shall always remember him for the
delightful qualities which he showed in Salonika. He was
unfailingly considerate and thoughtful. Through his narratives
one could see the pride which he took in the width and breadth of
his personal relation to the great events of the past twenty
years. His vast scope of experiences and equally wide
acquaintanceship with the big figures of our time, were amazing,
and it was equally amazing that one of such a rich and
interesting history could tell his stories in such a simple way
that the personal element was never obtrusive.
When he left Salonika he endeavored to obtain permission from
the British staff to visit Moudros, but, failing in this, he booked
his passage on a crowded little Greek steamer, where the only
obtainable accommodation was a lounge in the dining saloon.
We gave him a farewell dinner, at which the American consul
and his family, with all the other Americans then in Salonika, were
present, and after the dinner we rowed out to his ship and saw
him very uncomfortably installed for his voyage.
He came down the sea ladder and waved his hand as we rowed away.
That was the last I saw of Richard Harding Davis.
JOHN T. MCCUTCHEON.
THE LOST ROAD
During the war with Spain, Colton Lee came into the service as a
volunteer. For a young man, he always had taken life almost too
seriously, and when, after the campaign in Cuba, he elected to
make soldiering his profession, the seriousness with which he
attacked his new work surprised no one. Finding they had lost him
forever, his former intimates were bored, but his colonel was
enthusiastic, and the men of his troop not only loved, but
From the start he determined in his new life women should have no
part--a determination that puzzled no one so much as the women,
for to Lee no woman, old or young, had found cause to be
unfriendly. But he had read that the army is a jealous mistress
who brooks no rival, that "red lips tarnish the scabbard steel,"
that "he travels the fastest who travels alone."
So, when white hands beckoned and pretty eyes signalled, he did
not look. For five years, until just before he sailed for his
three years of duty in the Philippines, he succeeded not only in
not looking, but in building up for himself such a fine
reputation as a woman-hater that all women were crazy about him.
Had he not been ordered to Agawamsett that fact would not have
affected him. But at the Officers' School he had indulged in hard
study rather than in hard riding, had overworked, had brought
back his Cuban fever, and was in poor shape to face the tropics.
So, for two months before the transport was to sail, they ordered
him to Cape Cod to fill his lungs with the bracing air of a New
He selected Agawamsett, because, when at Harvard, it was there he
had spent his summer vacations, and he knew he would find
sailboats and tennis and, through the pine woods back of the
little whaling village, many miles of untravelled roads. He
promised himself that over these he would gallop an imaginary
troop in route marches, would manoeuvre it against possible
ambush, and, in combat patrols, ground scouts, and cossack
outposts, charge with it "as foragers." But he did none of these
things. For at Agawamsett he met Frances Gardner, and his
experience with her was so disastrous that, in his determination
to avoid all women, he was convinced he was right.
When later he reached Manila he vowed no other woman would
ever again find a place in his thoughts. No other woman did.
Not because he had the strength to keep his vow, but because he
so continually thought of Frances Gardner that no other woman
had a chance.
Miss Gardner was a remarkable girl. Her charm appealed to all
kinds of men, and, unfortunately for Lee, several kinds of men
appealed to her. Her fortune and her relations were bound up in
the person of a rich aunt with whom she lived, and who, it was
understood, some day would leave her all the money in the world.
But, in spite of her charm, certainly in spite of the rich aunt,
Lee, true to his determination, might not have noticed the girl
had not she ridden so extremely well.
It was to the captain of cavalry she first appealed. But even a
cavalry captain, whose duty in life is to instruct sixty men in
the art of taking the life of as many other men as possible, may
turn his head in the direction of a good-looking girl. And when
for weeks a man rides at the side of one through pine forests as
dim and mysterious as the aisles of a great cathedral, when he
guides her across the wet marshes when the sun is setting crimson
in the pools and the wind blows salt from the sea, when he loses
them both by moonlight in wood-roads where the hoofs of the
horses sink silently into dusty pine needles, he thinks more
frequently of the girl at his side than of the faithful troopers
waiting for him in San Francisco. The girl at his side thought
frequently of him.
With the "surface indications" of a young man about to ask her
to marry him she was painfully familiar; but this time the possibility
was the reverse of painful. What she meant to do about it she did
not know, but she did know that she was strangely happy. Between
living on as the dependent of a somewhat exacting relative and
becoming the full partner of this young stranger, who with men
had proved himself so masterful, and who with her was so gentle,
there seemed but little choice. But she did not as yet wish to make
the choice. She preferred to believe she was not certain. She assured
him that before his leave of absence was over she would tell him
whether she would remain on duty with the querulous aunt, who had
befriended her, or as his wife accompany him to the Philippines.
It was not the answer he wanted; but in her happiness, which was
evident to every one, he could not help but take hope. And in the
questions she put to him of life in the tropics, of the life of
the "officers' ladies," he saw that what was in her mind was a
possible life with him, and he was content.
She became to him a wonderful, glorious person, and each day she
grew in loveliness. It had been five years of soldiering in Cuba,
China, and on the Mexican border since he had talked to a woman
with interest, and now in all she said, in all her thoughts and
words and delights, he found fresher and stronger reasons for
discarding his determination to remain wedded only to the United
States Army. He did not need reasons. He was far too much in love
to see in any word or act of hers anything that was not fine and
In their rides they had one day stumbled upon a long-lost and
long-forgotten road through the woods, which she had claimed as
their own by right of discovery, and, no matter to what point
they set forth each day, they always returned by it. Their way
through the woods stretched for miles. It was concealed in a
forest of stunted oaks and black pines, with no sign of human
habitation, save here and there a clearing now long neglected and
alive only with goldenrod. Trunks of trees, moss-grown and
crumbling beneath the touch of the ponies' hoofs, lay in their
path, and above it the branches of a younger generation had
clasped hands. At their approach squirrels raced for shelter,
woodcock and partridge shot deeper into the network of vines and
saplings, and the click of the steel as the ponies tossed their
bits, and their own whispers, alone disturbed the silence.
"It is an enchanted road," said the girl; "or maybe we are
"Not I," cried the young man loyally. "I was never so sane, never
so sure, never so happy in knowing just what I wanted! If only
you could be as sure!"
One day she came to him in high excitement with a book of verse.
"He has written a poem," she cried, "about our own woods, about
our lost road! Listen" she commanded, and she read to him:
"'They shut the road through the woods
Seventy years ago.
Weather and rain have undone it again,
And now you would never know
There was once a road through the woods
Before they planted the trees.
It is underneath the coppice and heath,
And the thin anemones.
Only the keeper sees
That, where the ringdove broods,
And the badgers roll at ease,
There was once a road through the woods.
"'Yet, if you enter the woods
Of a summer evening late,
When the night air cools on the trout-ringed pools
Where the otter whistles his mate
(They fear not men in the woods
Because they see so few),
You will hear the beat of a horse's feet,
And the swish of a skirt in the dew,
Steadily cantering through
The misty solitudes,
As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods. . . .
But there is no road through the woods.'"
"I don't like that at all," cried the soldierman. "It's too--too
sad--it doesn't give you any encouragement. The way it ends, I
mean: 'But there is no road through the woods.' Of course there's
a road! For us there always will be. I'm going to make sure. I'm
going to buy those woods, and keep the lost road where we can
always find it."
"I don't think," said the girl, "that he means a real road."
"I know what he means," cried the lover, "and he's wrong! There
is a road, and you and I have found it, and we are going to
follow it for always."
The girl shook her head, but her eyes were smiling happily.
The "season" at Agawamsett closed with the tennis tournament, and
it was generally conceded fit and proper, from every point of
view, that in mixed doubles Lee and Miss Gardner should be
partners. Young Stedman, the Boston artist, was the only one who
made objection. Up in the sail-loft that he had turned into a
studio he was painting a portrait of the lovely Miss Gardner, and
he protested that the three days' tournament would sadly
interrupt his work. And Frances, who was very much interested in
the portrait, was inclined to agree.
But Lee beat down her objections. He was not at all interested in
the portrait. He disapproved of it entirely. For the sittings
robbed him of Frances during the better part of each morning, and
he urged that when he must so soon leave her, between the man who
wanted her portrait and the man who wanted her, it would be kind
to give her time to the latter.
"But I had no idea," protested Frances, "he would take so long.
He told me he'd finish it in three sittings. But he's so critical
of his own work that he goes over it again and again. He says
that I am a most difficult subject, but that I inspire him. And
he says, if I will only give him time, he believes this will be
the best thing he has done."
"That's an awful thought," said the cavalry officer.
"You don't like him," reproved Miss Gardner. "He is always very
polite to you."
"He's polite to everybody," said Lee; "that's why I don't like
him. He's not a real artist. He's a courtier. God gave him a
talent, and he makes a mean use of it. Uses it to flatter people.
He's like these long-haired violinists who play anything you ask
them to in the lobster palaces."
Miss Gardner looked away from him. Her color was high and her
eyes very bright.
"I think," she said steadily, "that Mr. Stedman is a great
artist, and some day all the world will think so, too!"
Lee made no answer. Not because he disagreed with her estimate of
Mr. Stedman's genius-he made no pretense of being an art
critic--but because her vehement admiration had filled him with
sudden panic. He was not jealous. For that he was far too humble.
Indeed, he thought himself so utterly unworthy of Frances Gardner
that the fact that to him she might prefer some one else was in
no way a surprise. He only knew that if she should prefer some
one else not all his troop horses nor all his men could put
Humpty Dumpty back again.
But if, in regard to Mr. Stedman, Miss Gardner had for a moment
been at odds with the man who loved her, she made up for it the
day following on the tennis court. There she was in accord with
him in heart, soul, and body, and her sharp "Well played,
partner!" thrilled him like one of his own bugle calls. For two
days against visiting and local teams they fought their way
through the tournament, and the struggle with her at his side
filled Lee with a great happiness. Not that the championship of
Agawamsett counted greatly to one exiled for three years to live
among the Moros. He wanted to win because she wanted to win.
But his happiness came in doing something in common with her,
in helping her and in having her help him, in being, if only in
play, if only for three days, her "partner."
After they won they walked home together, each swinging a fat,
heavy loving-cup. On each was engraved:
"Mixed doubles, Agawamsett, 1910."
Lee held his up so that the setting sun flashed on the silver.
"I am going to keep that," he said, "as long as I live. It means
you were once my 'partner.' It's a sign that once we two worked
together for something and won." In the words the man showed
such feeling that the girl said soberly:
"Mine means that to me, too. I will never part with mine,
Lee turned to her and smiled, appealing wistfully.
"It seems a pity to separate them," he said. "They'd look well
together over an open fireplace."
The girl frowned unhappily. "I don't know," she protested. "I
The next day Lee received from the War Department a telegram
directing him to "proceed without delay" to San Francisco, and
there to embark for the Philippines.
That night he put the question to her directly, but again she
shook her head unhappily; again she said: "I don't know!"
So he sailed without her, and each evening at sunset, as the
great transport heaved her way across the swell of the Pacific,
he stood at the rail and looked back. With the aid of the first
officer he calculated the difference in time between a whaling
village situated at forty-four degrees north and an army
transport dropping rapidly toward the equator, and so, each day,
kept in step with the girl he loved.
"Now," he would tell himself, "she is in her cart in front of the
post-office, and while they sort the morning mail she gossips
with the fisher folks, the summer folks, the grooms, and
chauffeurs. Now she is sitting for her portrait to Stedman" (he
did not dwell long on that part of her day), "and now she is at
tennis, or, as she promised, riding alone at sunset down our lost
road through the woods."
But that part of her day from which Lee hurried was that part
over which the girl herself lingered. As he turned his eyes from
his canvas to meet hers, Stedman, the charming, the deferential,
the adroit, who never allowed his painting to interrupt his talk,
told her of what he was pleased to call his dreams and ambitions,
of the great and beautiful ladies who had sat before his easel,
and of the only one of them who had given him inspiration.
Especially of the only one who had given him inspiration. With
her always to uplift him, he could become one of the world's most
famous artists, and she would go down into history as the
beautiful woman who had helped him, as the wife of Rembrandt
had inspired Rembrandt, as "Mona Lisa" had made Leonardo.
Gilbert wrote: "It is not the lover who comes to woo, but the
lover's way of wooing!" His successful lover was the one who
threw the girl across his saddle and rode away with her. But one
kind of woman does not like to have her lover approach shouting:
"At the gallop! Charge!"
She prefers a man not because he is masterful, but because he is
not. She likes to believe the man needs her more than she needs
him, that she, and only she, can steady him, cheer him, keep him
true to the work he is in the world to perform. It is called the
Frances felt this mothering instinct toward the sensitive,
imaginative, charming Stedman. She believed he had but two
thoughts, his art and herself. She was content to place his art first.
She could not guess that to one so unworldly, to one so wrapped up
in his art, the fortune of a rich aunt might prove alluring.
When the transport finally picked up the landfalls of Cavite
Harbor, Lee, with the instinct of a soldier, did not exclaim:
"This is where Dewey ran the forts and sank the Spanish fleet!"
On the contrary, he was saying: "When she comes to join me, it
will be here I will first see her steamer. I will be waiting with
a field-glass on the end of that wharf. No, I will be out here in
a shore-boat waving my hat. And of all those along the rail, my
heart will tell me which is she!"
Then a barefooted Filipino boy handed him an unsigned cablegram.
It read: "If I wrote a thousand words I could not make it easier
for either of us. I am to marry Arthur Stedman in December."
Lee was grateful for the fact that he was not permitted to linger
in Manila. Instead, he was at once ordered up-country, where at a
one-troop post he administered the affairs of a somewhat hectic
province, and under the guidance of the local constabulary chased
will-o'-the-wisp brigands. On a shelf in his quarters he placed
the silver loving-cup, and at night, when the village slept, he
would sit facing it, filling one pipe after another, and through
the smoke staring at the evidence to the fact that once Frances
Gardner and he had been partners.
In these post-mortems he saw nothing morbid. With his present
activities they in no way interfered, and in thinking of the days
when they had been together, in thinking of what he had lost, he
found deep content. Another man, having lost the woman he loved,
would have tried to forget her and all she meant to him. But Lee
was far too honest with himself to substitute other thoughts for
those that were glorious, that still thrilled him. The girl could
take herself from him, but she could not take his love for her
from him. And for that he was grateful. He never had considered
himself worthy, and so could not believe he had been ill used. In
his thoughts of her there was no bitterness: for that also he was
grateful. And, as he knew he would not care for any other woman
in the way he cared for her, he preferred to care in that way,
even for one who was lost, than in a lesser way for a possible
she who some day might greatly care for him. So she still
remained in his thoughts, and was so constantly with him that he
led a dual existence, in which by day he directed the affairs of
an alien and hostile people and by night again lived through the
wonderful moments when she had thought she loved him, when he
first had learned to love her. At times she seemed actually at
his side, and he could not tell whether he was pretending that
this were so or whether the force of his love had projected her
image half around the world.
Often, when in single file he led the men through the forest, he
seemed again to be back on Cape Cod picking his way over their
own lost road through the wood, and he heard "the beat of a
horse's feet and the swish of a skirt in the dew." And then a
carbine would rattle, or a horse would stumble and a trooper
swear, and he was again in the sweating jungle, where men, intent
upon his life, crouched in ambush.
She spared him the mockery of wedding-cards; but the announcement
of the wedding came to him in a three-months-old newspaper. Hoping
they would speak of her in their letters, he kept up a somewhat one-sided
correspondence with friends of Mrs. Stedman's in Boston, where she now
lived. But for a year in none of their letters did her name appear. When
a mutual friend did write of her Lee understood the silence.
From the first, the mutual friend wrote, the life of Mrs. Stedman
and her husband was thoroughly miserable. Stedman blamed her
because she came to him penniless. The rich aunt, who had
heartily disapproved of the artist, had spoken of him so frankly
that Frances had quarrelled with her, and from her no longer
would accept money. In his anger at this Stedman showed himself
to Frances as he was. And only two months after their marriage
she was further enlightened.
An irate husband made him the central figure in a scandal that
filled the friends of Frances with disgust, and that for her was
an awakening cruel and humiliating. Men no longer permitted their
womenfolk to sit to Stedman for a portrait, and the need of money
grew imperative. He the more blamed Frances for having quarrelled
with her aunt, told her it was for her money he had married her,
that she had ruined his career, and that she was to blame for his
ostracism--a condition that his own misconduct had brought upon
him. Finally, after twelve months of this, one morning he left a
note saying he no longer would allow her to be a drag upon him,
and sailed for Europe.
They learned that, in Paris, he had returned to that life which
before his marriage, even in that easy-going city, had made him
notorious. "And Frances," continued Lee's correspondent, "has
left Boston, and now lives in New York. She wouldn't let any of
us help her, nor even know where she is. The last we heard of her
she was in charge of the complaint department of a millinery
shop, for which work she was receiving about the same wages I
give my cook."
Lee did not stop to wonder why the same woman, who to one man was
a "drag," was to another, even though separated from her by half
the world, a joy and a blessing. Instead, he promptly wrote his
lawyers to find Mrs. Stedman, and, in such a way as to keep her
ignorant of their good offices, see that she obtained a position
more congenial than her present one, and one that would pay her
as much as, without arousing her suspicions, they found it
possible to give.
Three months had passed, and this letter had not been answered,
when in Manila, where he had been ordered to make a report, he
heard of her again. One evening, when the band played on the
Luneta, he met a newly married couple who had known him in
Agawamsett. They now were on a ninety-day cruise around the
world. Close friends of Frances Gardner, they remembered him as
one of her many devotees and at once spoke of her.
"That blackguard she married," the bridegroom told him, "was
killed three months ago racing with another car from Versailles
back to Paris after a dinner at which, it seems, all present
drank 'burgundy out of the fingerbowls.' Coming down that steep
hill into Saint Cloud, the cars collided, and Stedman and a
woman, whose husband thought she was somewhere else, were killed.
He couldn't even die without making a scandal of it."
"But the worst," added the bride, "is that, in spite of the way
the little beast treated her, I believe Frances still cares for
him, and always will. That's the worst of it, isn't it?" she
In words, Lee did not answer, but in his heart he agreed that was
much the worst of it. The fact that Frances was free filled him
with hope; but that she still cared for the man she had married,
and would continue to think only of him, made him ill with
He cabled his lawyers for her address. He determined that, at
once, on learning it, he would tell her that with him nothing was
changed. He had forgotten nothing, and had learned much. He had
learned that his love for her was a splendid and inspiring
passion, that even without her it had lifted him up, helped and
cheered him, made the whole world kind and beautiful. With her he
could not picture a world so complete with happiness.
Since entering the army he had never taken a leave of absence, and he
was sure, if now he asked for one, it would not be refused. He determined,
if the answer to his cable gave him the address, he would return at once,
and again offer her his love, which he now knew was deeper, finer, and
infinitely more tender than the love he first had felt for her. But the cable
balked him. "Address unknown," it read; "believed to have gone abroad in
capacity of governess. Have employed foreign agents. Will cable their
Whether to wait for and be guided by the report of the
detectives, or to proceed to Europe and search for her himself,
Lee did not know. He finally determined that to seek for her with
no clew to her whereabouts would be but a waste of precious
moments, while, if in their search the agents were successful, he
would be able to go directly to her. Meanwhile, by cable, he
asked for protracted leave of absence and, while waiting for his
answer, returned to his post. There, within a week, he received
his leave of absence, but in a fashion that threatened to remove
him forever from the army.
The constabulary had located the will-o'-the-wisp brigands behind
a stockade built about an extinct volcano, and Lee and his troop
and a mountain battery attempted to dislodge them. In the fight that
followed Lee covered his brows with laurel wreaths and received
two bullet wounds in his body.
For a month death stood at the side of his cot; and then, still weak
and at times delirious with fever, by slow stages he was removed to the
hospital in Manila. In one of his sane moments a cable was shown
him. It read: "Whereabouts still unknown." Lee at once rebelled
against his doctors. He must rise, he declared, and proceed to
Europe. It was upon a matter of life and death. The surgeons
assured him his remaining exactly where he was also was a matter
of as great consequence. Lee's knowledge of his own lack of
strength told him they were right.
Then, from headquarters, he was informed that, as a reward for
his services and in recognition of his approaching convalescence,
he was ordered to return to his own climate and that an easy
billet had been found for him as a recruiting officer in New York
City. Believing the woman he loved to be in Europe, this plan for
his comfort only succeeded in bringing on a relapse. But the day
following there came another cablegram. It put an abrupt end to
his mutiny, and brought him and the War Department into complete
"She is in New York," it read, "acting as agent for a charitable
institution, which one not known, but hope in a few days to cable
In all the world there was no man so happy. The next morning a
transport was sailing, and, probably because they had read the
cablegram, the surgeons agreed with Lee that a sea voyage would
do him no harm. He was carried on board, and when the propellers
first churned the water and he knew he was moving toward her, the
hero of the fight around the crater shed unmanly tears. He would
see her again, hear her voice; the same great city would shelter
them. It was worth a dozen bullets.
He reached New York in a snow-storm, a week before Christmas, and
went straight to the office of his lawyers. They received him with
embarrassment. Six weeks before, on the very day they had
cabled him that Mrs. Stedman was in New York, she had left the
charitable institution where she had been employed, and had again
Lee sent his trunks to the Army and Navy Club, which was
immediately around the corner from the recruiting office in Sixth
Avenue, and began discharging telegrams at every one who had ever
known Frances Gardner. The net result was discouraging. In the
year and a half in which he had been absent every friend of the
girl he sought had temporarily changed his place of residence or
was permanently dead.
Meanwhile his arrival by the transport was announced in the
afternoon papers. At the wharf an admiring trooper had told a
fine tale of his conduct at the battle of the crater, and
reporters called at the club to see him. He did not discourage
them, as he hoped through them the fact of his return might be
made known to Frances. She might send him a line of welcome, and
he would discover her whereabouts. But, though many others sent
him hearty greetings, from her there was no word.
On the second day after his arrival one of the telegrams was
answered in person by a friend of Mrs. Stedman. He knew only that
she had been in New York, that she was very poor and in ill
health, that she shunned all of her friends, and was earning her
living as the matron of some sort of a club for working girls. He
did not know the name of it.
On the third day there still was no news. On the fourth Lee
decided that the next morning he would advertise. He would say
only: "Will Mrs. Arthur Stedman communicate with Messrs. Fuller &
Fuller?" Fuller & Fuller were his lawyers. That afternoon he
remained until six o'clock at the recruiting office, and when he
left it the electric street lights were burning brightly. A heavy
damp snow was falling, and the lights and the falling flakes and
the shouts of drivers and the toots of taxicabs made for the man
from the tropics a welcome homecoming.
Instead of returning at once to his club, he slackened his steps.
The shop windows of Sixth Avenue hung with Christmas garlands,
and colored lamps glowed like open fireplaces. Lee passed slowly
before them, glad that he had been able to get back at such a
season. For the moment he had forgotten the woman he sought, and
was conscious only of his surroundings. He had paused in front of
the window of a pawn-shop. Over the array of cheap jewelry, of
banjos, shot-guns, and razors, his eyes moved idly. And then they
became transfixed and staring. In the very front of the window,
directly under his nose, was a tarnished silver loving-cup. On it
was engraved, "Mixed Doubles. Agawamsett, 1910." In all the world
there were only two such cups, and as though he were dodging the
slash of a bolo, Lee leaped into the shop. Many precious seconds
were wasted in persuading Mrs. Cohen that he did not believe the
cup had been stolen; that he was not from the Central Office;
that he believed the lady who had pawned the cup had come by it
honestly; that he meant no harm to the lady; that he meant no
harm to Mrs. Cohen; that, much as the young lady may have needed
the money Mrs. Cohen had loaned her on the cup, he needed the
address of the young lady still more.
Mrs. Cohen retired behind a screen, and Lee was conscious that
from the other side of it the whole family of Cohens were taking
his measurements. He approved of their efforts to protect the
owner of the cup, but not from him.
He offered, if one of the younger Cohens would take him to the
young lady, to let him first ask her if she would receive Captain Lee,
and for his service he would give the young Cohen untold gold.
He exhibited the untold gold. The young Cohen choked at the sight
and sprang into the seat beside the driver of a taxicab.
"To the Working Girls' Home, on Tenth Street!" he commanded.
Through the falling snow and the flashing lights they slid,
skidded, and leaped. Inside the cab Lee shivered with excitement,
with cold, with fear that it might not be true. He could not
realize she was near. It was easier to imagine himself still in
the jungle, with months of time and sixteen thousand miles of
land and water separating them; or in the hospital, on a
white-enamel cot, watching the shadow creep across the
whitewashed wall; or lying beneath an awning that did not move,
staring at a burning, brazen sea that did not move, on a transport
that, timed by the beating of his heart, stood still.
Those days were within the radius of his experience. Separation,
absence, the immutable giants of time and space, he knew. With
them he had fought and could withstand them. But to be near her,
to hear her voice, to bring his love into her actual presence, that was
an attack upon his feelings which found him without weapons. That
for a very few dollars she had traded the cup from which she had sworn
never to part did not concern him. Having parted from him, what she
did with a silver mug was of little consequence. It was of significance
only in that it meant she was poor. And that she was either an inmate
or a matron of a lodging-house for working girls also showed she was
He had been told that was her condition, and that she was in ill health,
and that from all who loved her she had refused to accept help. At the
thought his jaws locked pugnaciously. There was one who loved her,
who, should she refuse his aid, was prepared to make her life intolerable.
He planned in succession at lightning speed all he might do for her. Among
other things he would make this Christmas the happiest she or he would
ever know. Not for an instant did he question that she who had refused
help from all who loved her could refuse anything he offered. For he
knew it was offered with a love that demanded nothing in return, with
a love that asked only to be allowed to love, and to serve. To refuse help
inspired by such a feeling as his would be morbid, wicked, ridiculous,
as though a flower refused to turn its face to the sun, and shut its lips
to the dew.
The cab stopped in front of a brick building adorned with many fire-
escapes. Afterward he remembered a bare, brilliantly lit hall hung with
photographs of the Acropolis, and a stout, capable woman in a cap, who
looked him over and said:
"You will find Mrs. Stedman in the writing-room."
And he remembered entering a room filled with Mission furniture and
reading-lamps under green shades. It was empty, except for a young
girl in deep black, who was seated facing him, her head bent above a
writing-desk. As he came into the circle of the lamps the girl raised
her eyes and as though lifted to her feet by what she saw, and through
no effort of her own, stood erect.
And the young man who had persuaded himself his love demanded
nothing, who asked only to worship at her gate, found his arms reaching
out, and heard his voice as though it came from a great distance, cry,
And the girl who had refused the help of all who loved her, like a
homing pigeon walked straight into the outstretched arms.
After five minutes, when he was almost able to believe it was true,
he said in his commanding, masterful way: "And now I'm going to
take you out of here. I'm going to buy you a ring, and a sable coat,
and a house to live in, and a dinner. Which shall we buy first?"
"First," said Frances, frowning happily, "I am afraid we must go
to the Ritz, to tell Aunt Emily. She always loved you, and it will
make her so happy."
"To the Ritz!" stammered the young man. "To Aunt Emily! I thought
they told me your aunt and-you-"
"We quarrelled, yes," said Frances, "and she has forgiven me; but she
has not forgiven herself, so she spoils me, and already I have a house
to live in, and several sable coats, and, oh! everything, everything but
"I am so sorry!" cried Lee. "I thought you were poor. I hoped you were
poor. But you are joking!" he exclaimed delightedly. "You are here in
a working girls' home-"
"It is one of Aunt Emily's charities. She built it," said Frances. "I
come here to talk to the girls."
"But," persisted Lee triumphantly, "if you are not poor, why did you
pawn our silver loving-cup?"
The face of the girl became a lovely crimson, and tears rose to her eyes.
As though at a confessional, she lifted her hands penitently.
"Try to understand," she begged; "I wanted you to love me, not for
"But you knew!" cried Lee.
"I had to be sure," begged the girl; "and I wanted to believe you loved
me even if I did not love you. When it was too late I knew you loved me
as no woman ever deserved to be loved; and I wanted that love. I could
not live without it. So when I read in the papers you had returned I
wouldn't let myself write you; I wouldn't let myself beg you to come
to see me. I set a test for you. I knew from the papers you were at the
Army and Navy Club, and that around the corner was the recruiting
office. I'd often seen the sergeant there, in uniform, at the door. I knew
you must pass from your club to the office many times each day, so I
thought of the loving-cup and the pawn-shop. I planted it there. It was
a trick, a test. I thought if you saw it in a pawn-shop you would believe I
no longer cared for you, and that I was very poor. If you passed it by,
then I would know you yourself had stopped caring, but if you asked
about it, if you inquired for me, then I would know you came to me of
your own wish, because you-"
Lee shook his head.
"You don't have to tell me," he said gently, "why I came. I've a cab
outside. You will get in it," he commanded, "and we will rescue our
cup. I always told you they would look well together over an open
THE MIRACLE OF LAS PALMAS
This is the story of a gallant officer who loved his profession,
his regiment, his country, but above all, whiskey; of his
miraculous conversion to total abstinence, and of the humble
instrument that worked the miracle. At the time it was worked,
a battalion of the Thirty-third Infantry had been left behind to
guard the Zone, and was occupying impromptu barracks on the hill
above Las Palmas. That was when Las Palmas was one of the four
thousand stations along the forty miles of the Panama Railroad.
When the railroad was "reconstructed" the name of Las Palmas did
not appear on the new time-table, and when this story appears
Las Palmas will be eighty feet under water. So if any one wishes
to dispute the miracle he will have to conduct his investigation
in a diving-bell.
On this particular evening young Major Aintree, in command of the
battalion, had gone up the line to Panama to dine at the Hotel
Tivoli, and had dined well. To prevent his doing this a paternal
government had ordered that at the Tivoli no alcoholic liquors
may be sold; but only two hundred yards from the hotel, outside
the zone of temperance, lies Panama and Angelina's, and during
the dinner, between the Tivoli and Angelina's, the Jamaican
waiter-boys ran relay races.
After the dinner, the Jamaican waiter-boys proving too slow, the
dinner-party in a body adjourned to Angelina's, and when later,
Major Aintree moved across the street to the night train to Las
Palmas, he moved unsteadily.
Young Standish of the Canal Zone police, who, though but twenty-
six, was a full corporal, was for that night on duty as "train
guard," and was waiting at the rear steps of the last car. As
Aintree approached the steps he saw indistinctly a boyish figure
in khaki, and, mistaking it for one of his own men, he clasped
the handrail for support, and halted frowning.
Observing the condition of the officer the policeman also frowned,
but in deference to the uniform, slowly and with reluctance raised
his hand to his sombrero. The reluctance was more apparent than
the salute. It was less of a salute than an impertinence.
Partly out of regard for his rank, partly from temper, chiefly
from whiskey, Aintree saw scarlet.
"When you s'lute your s'perior officer," he shouted, "you s'lute him
quick. You unnerstan', you s'lute him quick! S'lute me again," he
commanded, "and s'lute me damn quick."
Standish remained motionless. As is the habit of policemen over
all the world, his thumbs were stuck in his belt. He answered
without offense, in tones matter-of-fact and calm.
"You are not my superior officer," he said.
It was the calmness that irritated Aintree. His eyes sought for
the infantryman's cap and found a sombrero.
"You damned leatherneck," he began, "I'll report--"
"I'm not a marine, either," interrupted Standish. "I'm a policeman.
Move on," he ordered, "you're keeping these people waiting."
Others of the dinner-party formed a flying wedge around Aintree
and crowded him up the steps and into a seat and sat upon him.
Ten minutes later, when Standish made his rounds of the cars,
Aintree saw him approaching. He had a vague recollection that
he had been insulted, and by a policeman.
"You!" he called, and so loudly that all in the car turned, "I'm
going to report you, going to report you for insolence. What's
Looking neither at Aintree nor at the faces turned toward him,
Standish replied as though Aintree had asked him what time it was.
"Standish," he said, "corporal, shield number 226, on train
guard." He continued down the aisle.
"I'll remember you," Aintree shouted.
But in the hot, glaring dawn of the morning after, Aintree forgot.
It was Standish who remembered.
The men of the Zone police are hand-picked. They have been
soldiers, marines, cowboys, sheriffs, "Black Hussars" of the
Pennsylvania State constabulary, rough riders with Roosevelt,
mounted police in Canada, irregular horse in South Africa; they
form one of the best-organized, best-disciplined, most efficient,
most picturesque semi-military bodies in the world. Standish
joined them from the Philippine constabulary in which he had
been a second lieutenant. There are several like him in the
Zone police, and in England they would be called gentlemen
rankers. On the Isthmus, because of his youth, his fellow
policemen called Standish "Kid." And smart as each of them was,
each of them admitted the Kid wore his uniform with a difference.
With him it always looked as though it had come freshly ironed
from the Colon laundry; his leather leggings shone like
meerschaum pipes; the brim of his sombrero rested impudently on
the bridge of his nose.
"He's been an officer," they used to say in extenuation. "You can
tell when he salutes. He shows the back of his hand." Secretly,
they were proud of him. Standish came of a long chain of soldiers,
and that the weakest link in the chain had proved to be himself was
a sorrow no one else but himself could fathom. Since he was three
years old he had been trained to be a soldier, as carefully, with the
same singleness of purpose, as the crown prince is trained to be a
king. And when, after three happy, glorious years at West Point,
he was found not clever enough to pass the examinations and was
dropped, he did not curse the gods and die, but began again to work
his way up. He was determined he still would wear shoulder-straps.
He owed it to his ancestors. It was the tradition of his family, the one
thing he wanted; it was his religion. He would get into the army
even if by the side door, if only after many years of rough and
patient service. He knew that some day, through his record,
through the opportunity of a war, he would come into his
inheritance. Meanwhile he officered his soul, disciplined his
body, and daily tried to learn the lesson that he who hopes to
control others must first control himself.
He allowed himself but one dissipation, one excess. That was
to hate Major Aintree, commanding the Thirty-third Infantry. Of
all the world could give, Aintree possessed everything that
Standish considered the most to be desired. He was a graduate of
West Point, he had seen service in Cuba, in the Boxer business,
and in the Philippines. For an act of conspicuous courage at
Batangas, he had received the medal of honor. He had had the
luck of the devil. Wherever he held command turned out to be the
place where things broke loose. And Aintree always attacked and
routed them, always was the man on the job. It was his name that
appeared in the newspapers, it was his name that headed the list
of the junior officers mentioned for distinguished conduct.
Standish had followed his career with an admiration and a joy
that was without taint of envy or detraction. He gloried in
Aintree, he delighted to know the army held such a man. He was
grateful to Aintree for upholding the traditions of a profession
to which he himself gave all the devotion of a fanatic. He made
a god of him. This was the attitude of mind toward Aintree before
he came to the Isthmus. Up to that time he had never seen his
idol. Aintree had been only a name signed to brilliant articles
in the service magazines, a man of whom those who had served with
him or under him, when asked concerning him, spoke with loyalty
and awe, the man the newspapers called "the hero of Batangas."
And when at last he saw his hero, he believed his worship was
justified. For Aintree looked the part. He was built like a
greyhound with the shoulders of a stevedore. His chin was as
projecting, and as hard, as the pointed end of a flat-iron. His every
movement showed physical fitness, and his every glance and tone a
confidence in himself that approached insolence. He was thirty-
eight, twelve years older than the youth who had failed to make
his commission, and who, as Aintree strode past, looked after him
with wistful, hero-worshipping eyes. The revulsion, when it came,
was extreme. The hero-worship gave way to contempt, to indignant
condemnation, in which there was no pity, no excuse. That one upon
whom so much had been lavished, who for himself had accomplished
such good things, should bring disgrace upon his profession,
should by his example demoralize his men, should risk losing all
he had attained, all that had been given, was intolerable. When
Standish learned his hero was a drunkard, when day after day
Aintree furnished visible evidences of that fact, Standish felt
Aintree had betrayed him and the army and the government that had
educated, trained, clothed, and fed him. He regarded Aintree as
worse than Benedict Arnold, because Arnold had turned traitor for
power and money; Aintree was a traitor through mere weakness,
because he could not say "no" to a bottle.
Only in secret Standish railed against Aintree. When his brother
policemen gossiped and jested about him, out of loyalty to the
army he remained silent. But in his heart he could not forgive.
The man he had so generously envied, the man after whose career
he had wished to model his own, had voluntarily stepped from his
pedestal and made a swine of himself. And not only could he not
forgive, but as day after day Aintree furnished fresh food for
his indignation he felt a fierce desire to punish.
Meanwhile, of the conduct of Aintree, men older and wiser, if less
intolerant than Standish, were beginning to take notice. It was
after a dinner on Ancon Hill, and the women had left the men to
themselves. They were the men who were placing the Panama Canal
on the map. They were officers of the army who for five years had
not worn a uniform. But for five years they had been at war with
an enemy that never slept. Daily they had engaged in battle with
mountains, rivers, swamps, two oceans, and disease. Where Aintree
commanded five hundred soldiers, they commanded a body of men
better drilled, better disciplined, and in number half as many as
those who formed the entire army of the United States. The mind
of each was occupied with a world problem. They thought and
talked in millions --of millions of cubic yards of dirt, of
millions of barrels of cement, of millions of tons of steel, of
hundreds of millions of dollars, of which latter each received
enough to keep himself and his family just beyond the reach of
necessity. To these men with the world waiting upon the outcome
of their endeavor, with responsibilities that never relaxed,
Aintree's behavior was an incident, an annoyance of less
importance than an overturned dirt train that for five minutes
dared to block the completion of their work. But they were human
and loyal to the army, and in such an infrequent moment as this,
over the coffee and cigars, they could afford to remember the
junior officer, to feel sorry for him, for the sake of the army,
to save him from himself.
"He takes his orders direct from the War Department," said the
chief. "I've no authority over him. If he'd been one of my workmen
I'd have shipped him north three months ago."
"That's it," said the surgeon, "he's not a workman. He has nothing
to do, and idleness is the curse of the army. And in this climate--"
"Nothing to do!" snorted the civil administrator. "Keeping his
men in hand is what he has to do! They're running amuck all over
Panama, getting into fights with the Spiggoty police, bringing
the uniform into contempt. As for the climate, it's the same
climate for all of us. Look at Butler's marines and Barber's Zone
police. The climate hasn't hurt them. They're as smart men as
ever wore khaki. It's not the climate or lack of work that ails
the Thirty- third, it's their commanding officer. 'So the
colonel, so the regiment.' That's as old as the hills. Until
Aintree takes a brace, his men won't. Some one ought to talk to
him. It's a shame to see a fine fellow like that going to the
dogs because no one has the courage to tell him the truth."
The chief smiled mockingly.
"Then why don't you?" he asked.
"I'm a civilian," protested the administrator. "If I told him he was
going to the dogs he'd tell me to go to the devil. No, one of you
army men must do it. He'll listen to you."
Young Captain Haldane of the cavalry was at the table; he was
visiting Panama on leave as a tourist. The chief turned to him.
"Haldane's the man," he said. "You're his friend and you're his
junior in rank, so what you say won't sound official. Tell him
people are talking; tell him it won't be long before they'll be
talking in Washington. Scare him!"
The captain of cavalry smiled dubiously.
"Aintree's a hard man to scare," he said. "But if it's as bad as you
all seem to think, I'll risk it. But, why is it," he complained,
"that whenever a man has to be told anything particularly
unpleasant they always pick on his best friend to tell him? It
makes them both miserable. Why not let his bitterest enemy try
it? The enemy at least would have a fine time."
"Because," said the chief, "Aintree hasn't an enemy in the world-
The next morning, as he had promised, Haldane called upon his
friend. When he arrived at Las Palmas, although the morning was
well advanced toward noon, he found Aintree still under his
mosquito bars and awake only to command a drink. The situation
furnished Haldane with his text. He expressed his opinion of
any individual, friend or no friend, officer or civilian, who on
the Zone, where all men begin work at sunrise, could be found
at noon still in his pajamas and preparing to face the duties of
the day on an absinth cocktail. He said further that since he had
arrived on the isthmus he had heard only of Aintree's misconduct,
that soon the War Department would hear of it, that Aintree would
lose his commission, would break the backbone of a splendid career.
"It's a friend talking," continued Haldane, "and you know it! It's
because I am your friend that I've risked losing your friendship!
And, whether you like it or not, it's the truth. You're going down-hill,
going fast, going like a motor-bus running away, and unless you put
on the brakes you'll smash!"
Aintree was not even annoyed.
"That's good advice for the right man," he granted, "but why waste
it on me? I can do things other men can't. I can stop drinking this
minute, and it will mean so little to me that I won't know I've stopped."
"Then stop," said Haldane.
"Why?" demanded Aintree. "I like it. Why should I stop anything
I like? Because a lot of old women are gossiping? Because old men
who can't drink green mint without dancing turkey-trots think I'm
going to the devil because I can drink whiskey? I'm not afraid of
whiskey," he laughed tolerantly. "It amuses me, that's all it does
to me; it amuses me." He pulled back the coat of his pajamas and
showed his giant chest and shoulder. With his fist he struck his
bare flesh and it glowed instantly a healthy, splendid pink.
"See that!" commanded Aintree. "If there's a man on the isthmus in
any better physical shape than I am, I'll--" He interrupted himself
to begin again eagerly. "I'll make you a sporting proposition,"
he announced "I'll fight any man on the isthmus ten rounds--
no matter who he is, a wop laborer, shovel man, Barbadian
nigger, marine, anybody--and if he can knock me out I'll stop
drinking. You see," he explained patiently, "I'm no mollycoddle
or jelly-fish. I can afford a headache. And besides, it's my own
head. If I don't give anybody else a headache, I don't see that it's
anybody else's damned business."
"But you do," retorted Haldane steadily. "You're giving your own
men worse than a headache, you're setting them a rotten example,
you're giving the Thirty-third a bad name-"
Aintree vaulted off his cot and shook his fist at his friend.
"You can't say that to me," he cried.
"I do say it," protested Haldane. "When you were in Manila your
men were models; here they're unshaven, sloppy, undisciplined.
They look like bell-hops. And it's your fault. And everybody
Slowly and carefully Aintree snapped his fingers.
"And you can tell everybody, from me," he cried, "that's all I care
what they think! And now," he continued, smiling hospitably, "let
me congratulate you on your success as a missionary, and, to show
you there's not a trace of hard feeling, we will have a drink."
Informally Haldane reported back to the commission, and the wife
of one of them must have talked, for it was soon known that a
brother officer had appealed to Aintree to reform, and Aintree
had refused to listen.
When she heard this, Grace Carter, the wife of Major Carter, one
of the surgeons at the Ancon Hospital, was greatly perturbed.
Aintree was engaged to be married to Helen Scott, who was her
best friend and who was arriving by the next steamer to spend the
winter. When she had Helen safely under her roof, Mrs. Carter had
planned to marry off the young couple out of hand on the isthmus.
But she had begun to wonder if it would not be better they should
delay, or best that they should never marry.
"The awakening is going to be a terrible blow to Helen," she said
to her husband. "She is so proud of him."
"On the contrary," he protested, "it will be the awakening of
Aintree--if Helen will stand for the way he's acting, she is not
the girl I know. And when he finds she won't, and that he may lose
her, he'll pull up short. He's talked Helen to me night after
night until he's bored me so I could strangle him. He cares more
for her than he does for anything, for the army, or for himself,
and that's saying a great deal. One word from her will be enough."
Helen spoke the word three weeks after she arrived. It had not
been necessary to tell her of the manner in which her lover was
misconducting himself. At various dinners given in their honor
he had made a nuisance of himself; on another occasion, while in
uniform, he had created a scene in the dining-room of the Tivoli
under the prying eyes of three hundred seeing-the-Canal tourists;
and one night he had so badly beaten up a cabman who had laughed
at his condition that the man went to the hospital. Major Carter,
largely with money, had healed the injuries of the cabman, but
Helen, who had witnessed the assault, had suffered an injury that
money could not heal.
She sent for Aintree, and at the home of her friend delivered
"I hit him because he was offensive to you," said Aintree. "That's
why I hit him. If I'd not had a drink in a year, I'd have hit him
just as quick and just as hard."
"Can't you see," said the girl, "that in being not yourself when
I was in your care you were much more insulting to me than any
cabman could possibly be? When you are like that you have no
respect for me, or for yourself. Part of my pride in you is that
you are so strong, that you control yourself, that common
pleasures never get a hold on you. If you couldn't control your
temper I wouldn't blame you, because you've a villainous temper
and you were born with it. But you weren't born with a taste for
liquor. None of your people drank. You never drank until you went
into the army. If I were a man," declared the girl, "I'd be ashamed
to admit anything was stronger than I was. You never let pain beat
you. I've seen you play polo with a broken arm, but in this you give
pain to others, you shame and humiliate the one you pretend to love,
just because you are weak, just because you can't say 'no.'"
Aintree laughed angrily.
"Drink has no hold on me," he protested. "It affects me as much as the
lights and the music affect a girl at her first dance, and no more. But,
if you ask me to stop--"
"I do not!" said the girl. "If you stop, you'll stop not because
I have any influence over you, but because you don't need my
influence. If it's wrong, if it's hurting you, if it's taking away
your usefulness and your power for good, that's why you'll stop.
Not because a girl begs you. Or you're not the man I think you."
Aintree retorted warmly. "I'm enough of a man for this," he
protested: "I'm enough of a man not to confess I can't drink
without making a beast of myself. It's easy not to drink at all.
But to stop altogether is a confession of weakness. I'd look on
my doing that as cowardly. I give you my word--not that I'll swear
off, that I'll never do--but I promise you you'll have no further
reason to be what you call humiliated, or ashamed. You have my
word for it."
A week later Aintree rode his pony into a railway cutting and
rolled with it to the tracks below, and, if at the time he had
not been extremely drunk, would have been killed. The pony,
being quite sober, broke a leg and was destroyed.
When word of this came to Helen she was too sick at heart to see
Aintree, and by others it was made known to him that on the first
steamer Miss Scott would return North. Aintree knew why she was
going, knew she had lost faith and patience, knew the woman he
loved had broken with him and put him out of her life. Appalled
at this calamity, he proceeded to get drunk in earnest.
The night was very hot and the humidity very heavy, and at Las
Palmas inside the bungalow that served as a police-station the
lamps on either side of the lieutenant's desk burned like tiny
furnaces. Between them, panting in the moist heat and with the
sweat from his forehead and hand dripping upon an otherwise
immaculate report, sat Standish. Two weeks before, the chief had
made him one of his six lieutenants. With the force the promotion
had been most popular.
Since his promotion Standish had been in charge of the police-
station at Las Palmas and daily had seen Aintree as, on his way
down the hill from the barracks to the railroad, the hero of
Batangas passed the door of the station-house. Also, on the
morning Aintree had jumped his horse over the embankment,
Standish had seen him carried up the hill on a stretcher. At the
sight the lieutenant of police had taken from his pocket a notebook,
and on a flyleaf made a cross. On the flyleaf were many other dates
and opposite each a cross. It was Aintree's record and as the number
of black crosses grew, the greater had grown the resentment of Standish,
the more greatly it had increased his anger against the man who had put
this affront upon the army, the greater became his desire to punish.
In police circles the night had been quiet, the cells in the yard
were empty, the telephone at his elbow had remained silent, and
Standish, alone in the station-house, had employed himself in
cramming "Moss's Manual for Subalterns." He found it a fascinating
exercise. The hope that soon he might himself be a subaltern
always burned brightly, and to be prepared seemed to make the
coming of that day more certain. It was ten o'clock and Las Palmas
lay sunk in slumber, and after the down train which was now due
had passed, there was nothing likely to disturb her slumber until
at sunrise the great army of dirt-diggers with shrieks of whistles,
with roars of dynamite, with the rumbling of dirt-trains and
steam-shovels, again sprang to the attack. Down the hill, a
hundred yards below Standish, the night train halted at the
station, with creakings and groanings continued toward Colon,
and again Las Palmas returned to sleep.
And, then, quickly and viciously, like the crack of a mule-whip,
came the reports of a pistol; and once more the hot and dripping
On post at the railroad-station, whence the shots came, was Meehan,
one of the Zone police, an ex-sergeant of marines. On top of the hill,
outside the infantry barracks, was another policeman, Bullard, once a
Standish ran to the veranda and heard the pebbles scattering as
Bullard leaped down the hill, and when, in the light from the
open door, he passed, the lieutenant shouted at him to find Meehan
and report back. Then the desk telephone rang, and Standish
returned to his chair.
"This is Meehan," said a voice. "Those shots just now were fired
by Major Aintree. He came down on the night train and jumped off
after the train was pulling out and stumbled into a negro, and
fell. He's been drinking and he swore the nigger pushed him; and
the man called Aintree a liar. Aintree pulled his gun and the
nigger ran. Aintree fired twice; then I got to him and knocked
the gun out of his hand with my nightstick."
There was a pause. Until he was sure his voice would be steady
and official, the boy lieutenant did not speak.
"Did he hit the negro?" he asked.
"I don't know," Meehan answered. "The man jumped for the darkest
spot he could find." The voice of Meehan lost its professional
calm and became personal and aggrieved.
"Aintree's on his way to see you now, lieutenant. He's going to
The voice over the telephone rose indignantly.
"For knocking the gun out of his hand. He says it's an assault.
He's going to break me!"
Standish made no comment.
"Report here," he ordered.
He heard Bullard hurrying up the hill and met him at the foot of
"There's a nigger," began Bullard, "lying under some bushes--"
"Hush!" commanded Standish.
From the path below came the sound of footsteps approaching
unsteadily, and the voice of a man swearing and muttering to
himself. Standish pulled the ex-cowboy into the shadow of the
darkness and spoke in eager whispers.
"You understand," he concluded, "you will not report until you
see me pick up a cigar from the desk and light it. You will wait
out here in the darkness. When you see me light the cigar, you
will come in and report."
The cowboy policeman nodded, but without enthusiasm. "I
understand, lieutenant," he said, "but," he shook his head doubtfully,
"it sizes up to me like what those police up in New York call a
Standish exclaimed impatiently.
"It's not my frame-up!" he said. "The man's framed himself up.
All I'm going to do is to nail him to the wall!"
Standish had only time to return to his desk when Aintree stumbled
up the path and into the station-house. He was "fighting drunk,"
ugly, offensive, all but incoherent with anger.
"You in charge?" he demanded. He did not wait for an answer.
"I've been 'saulted!" he shouted. "'Saulted by one of your damned
policemen. He struck me--struck me when I was protecting myself.
He had a nigger with him. First the nigger tripped me; then, when
I tried to protect myself, this thug of yours hits me, clubs me, you
unnerstan', clubs me! I want him--"
He was interrupted by the entrance of Meehan, who moved into the
light from the lamps and saluted his lieutenant.
"That's the man!" roared Aintree. The sight of Meehan whipped him
into greater fury.
"I want that man broke. I want to see you strip his shield off
him--now, you unnerstan', now--for 'saulting me, for 'saulting an
officer in the United States army. And, if you don't," he threw
himself into a position of the prize-ring, "I'll beat him up and
you, too." Through want of breath, he stopped, and panted. Again
his voice broke forth hysterically. "I'm not afraid of your damned
night-sticks," he taunted. "I got five hundred men on top this hill,
all I've got to do is to say the word, and they'll rough-house this
place and throw it into the cut--and you with it."
Standish rose to his feet, and across the desk looked steadily at
Aintree. To Aintree the steadiness of his eyes and the quietness
of his voice were an added aggravation.
"Suppose you did," said Standish, "that would not save you."
"From what?" roared Aintree. "Think I'm afraid of your night-
"Arrest me!" yelled Aintree. "Do you know who's talking to you?
Do you know who I am? I'm Major Aintree, damn you, commanding
the infantry. An' I'm here to charge that thug--"
"You are here because you are under arrest," said Standish. "You
are arrested for threatening the police, drunkenness, and assaulting
a citizen with intent to kill--" The voice of the young man turned shrill
and rasping. "And if the man should die--"
Aintree burst into a bellow of mocking laughter.
Standish struck the desk with his open palm.
"Silence!" he commanded.
"Silence to me!" roared Aintree, "you impertinent pup!" He flung
himself forward, shaking his fist. "I'm Major Aintree. I'm your
superior officer. I'm an officer an' a gentleman--"
"You are not!" replied Standish. "You are a drunken loafer!"
Aintree could not break the silence. Amazement, rage, stupefaction
held him in incredulous wonder. Even Meehan moved uneasily.
Between the officer commanding the infantry and an officer of
police, he feared the lieutenant would not survive.
But he heard the voice of his lieutenant continuing, evenly,
coldly, like the voice of a judge delivering sentence.
"You are a drunken loafer," repeated the boy. "And you know it.
And I mean that to-morrow morning every one on the Zone shall know
it. And I mean to-morrow night every one in the States shall know
it. You've killed a man, or tried to, and I'm going to break you."
With his arm he pointed to Meehan. "Break that man?" he demanded.
"For doing his duty, for trying to stop a murder? Strip him of his
shield?" The boy laughed savagely. "It's you I am going to strip,
Aintree," he cried, "you 'hero of Batangas'; I'm going to strip you
naked. I'm going to 'cut the buttons off your coat, and tear the stripes
away.' I'm going to degrade you and disgrace you, and drive you out
of the army!" He threw his note-book on the table. "There's your dossier,
Aintree," he said. "For three months you've been drunk, and there's your
record. The police got it for me; it's written there with dates and the names
of witnesses. I'll swear to it. I've been after you to get you, and I've got
With that book, with what you did to-night, you'll leave the army. You
may resign, you may be court-martialled, you may be hung. I don't
give a damn what they do to you, but you will leave the army!"
He turned to Meehan, and with a jerk of the hand signified Aintree.
"Put him in a cell," he said. "If he resists--"
Aintree gave no sign of resisting. He stood motionless, his arms
hanging limp, his eyes protruding. The liquor had died in him, and
his anger had turned chill. He tried to moisten his lips to speak,
but his throat was baked, and no sound issued. He tried to focus
his eyes upon the menacing little figure behind the desk, but
between the two lamps it swayed, and shrank and swelled. Of one
thing only was he sure, that some grave disaster had overtaken
him, something that when he came fully to his senses still would
overwhelm him, something he could not conquer with his fists.
His brain, even befuddled as it was, told him he had been caught
by the heels, that he was in a trap, that smashing this boy who
threatened him could not set him free. He recognized, and it was
this knowledge that stirred him with alarm, that this was no
ordinary officer of justice, but a personal enemy, an avenging
spirit who, for some unknown reason, had spread a trap; who, for
some private purpose of revenge, would drag him down.
Frowning painfully, he waved Meehan from him.
"Wait," he commanded. "I don' unnerstan'. What good's it goin' to
do you to lock me up an' disgrace me? What harm have I done you?
Who asked you to run the army, anyway? Who are you?"
"My name is Standish," said the lieutenant. "My father was colonel
of the Thirty-third when you first joined it from the Academy."
Aintree exclaimed with surprise and enlightenment. He broke into
hurried speech, but Standish cut him short.
"And General Standish of the Mexican War," he continued, "was my
grandfather. Since Washington all my people have been officers of
the regular army, and I'd been one, too, if I'd been bright enough.
That's why I respect the army. That's why I'm going to throw you
out of it. You've done harm fifty men as good as you can't undo.
You've made drunkards of a whole battalion. You've taught boys
who looked up to you, as I looked up to you once, to laugh at
discipline, to make swine of themselves. You've set them an example.
I'm going to make an example of you. That's all there is to this. I've
got no grudge against you. I'm not vindictive; I'm sorry for you. But,"
he paused and pointed his hand at Aintree as though it held a gun,
"you are going to leave the army!"
Like a man coming out of an ugly dream, Aintree opened and shut
his eyes, shivered, and stretched his great muscles. They watched
him with an effort of the will force himself back to consciousness.
When again he spoke, his tone was sane.
"See here, Standish," he began, "I'll not beg of you or any man.
I only ask you to think what you're doing. This means my finish.
If you force this through to-night it means court-martial, it means
I lose my commission, I lose--lose things you know nothing about.
And, if I've got a record for drinking, I've got a record for other
things, too. Don't forget that!"
Standish shook his head. "I didn't forget it," he said.
"Well, suppose I did," demanded Aintree. "Suppose I did go on
the loose, just to pass the time, just because I'm sick of this damned
ditch? Is it fair to wipe out all that went before, for that? I'm the
youngest major in the army, I served in three campaigns, I'm a
medal-of-honor man, I've got a career ahead of me, and--and I'm
going to be married. If you give me a chance-"
Standish struck the table with his fist.
"I will give you a chance," he cried. "If you'll give your word to this
man and to me, that, so help you God, you'll never drink again--I'll
let you go."
If what Standish proposed had been something base, Aintree could
not have accepted it with more contempt.
"I'll see you in hell first," he said.
As though the interview was at an end, Standish dropped into his
chair and leaning forward, from the table picked up a cigar. As
he lit it, he motioned Meehan toward his prisoner, but before the
policeman could advance the sound of footsteps halted him.
Bullard, his eyes filled with concern, leaped up the steps, and
ran to the desk.
"Lieutenant!" he stammered, "that man--the nigger that officer
Aintree gave a gasp that was partly a groan, partly a cry of
protest, and Bullard, as though for the first time aware of his
presence, sprang back to the open door and placed himself between
it and Aintree.
"It's murder!" he said.
None of the three men spoke; and when Meehan crossed to where
Aintree stood, staring fearfully at nothing, he had only to touch
his sleeve, and Aintree, still staring, fell into step beside him.
From the yard outside Standish heard the iron door of the cell
swing shut, heard the key grate in the lock, and the footsteps of
Meehan laid the key upon the desk, and with Bullard stood at
"Give him time," whispered Standish. "Let it sink in!"
At the end of half an hour Standish heard Aintree calling, and,
with Meehan carrying a lantern, stepped into the yard and stopped
at the cell door.
Aintree was quite sober. His face was set and white, his voice
was dull with suffering. He stood erect, clasping the bars in his
"Standish," he said, "you gave me a chance a while ago, and I
refused it. I was rough about it. I'm sorry. It made me hot
because I thought you were forcing my hand, blackmailing me into
doing something I ought to do as a free agent. Now, I am a free
agent. You couldn't give me a chance now, you couldn't let me go
now, not if I swore on a thousand Bibles. I don't know what
they'll give me--Leavenworth for life, or hanging, or just dismissal.
But, you've got what you wanted--I'm leaving the army!" Between
the bars he stretched out his arms and held a hand toward Meehan
and Standish. In the same dull, numbed voice he continued.
"So, now," he went on, "that I've nothing to gain by it, I want
to swear to you and to this man here, that whether I hang, or go
to jail, or am turned loose, I will never, so help me God, take
Standish was holding the hand of the man who once had been his
hero. He clutched it tight.
"Aintree," he cried, "suppose I could work a miracle; suppose I've
played a trick on you, to show you your danger, to show you what
might come to you any day--does that oath still stand?"
The hand that held his ground the bones together.
"I've given my word!" cried Aintree. "For the love of God, don't
torture me. Is the man alive?"
As Standish swung open the cell door, the hero of Batangas,
he who could thrash any man on the isthmus, crumpled up
like a child upon his shoulder.
And Meehan, as he ran for water, shouted joyfully.
"That nigger," he called to Bullard, "can go home now. The lieutenant
don't want him no more.
EVIL TO HIM WHO EVIL THINKS
As a rule, the instant the season closed Aline Proctor sailed on
the first steamer for London, where awaited her many friends,
both English and American--and to Paris, where she selected those
gowns that on and off the stage helped to make her famous. But
this particular summer she had spent with the Endicotts at Bar
Harbor, and it was at their house Herbert Nelson met her. After
Herbert met her very few other men enjoyed that privilege. This
was her wish as well as his.
They behaved disgracefully. Every morning after breakfast they
disappeared and spent the day at opposite ends of a canoe. She,
knowing nothing of a canoe, was happy in stabbing the waters with
her paddle while he told her how he loved her and at the same
time, with anxious eyes on his own paddle, skilfully frustrated
her efforts to drown them both. While the affair lasted it was
ideal and beautiful, but unfortunately it lasted only two months.
Then Lord Albany, temporarily in America as honorary attache to
the British embassy, his adoring glances, his accent, and the way
he brushed his hair, proved too much for the susceptible heart of
Aline, and she chucked Herbert and asked herself how a woman of
her age could have seriously considered marrying a youth just out
of Harvard! At that time she was a woman of nineteen; but, as she
had been before the public ever since she was eleven, the women
declared she was not a day under twenty-six; and the men knew she
could not possibly be over sixteen!
Aline's own idea of herself was that without some one in love
with her she could not exist--that, unless she knew some man cared
for her and for her alone, she would wither and die. As a matter
of fact, whether any one loved her or not did not in the least
interest her. There were several dozen men who could testify to
that. They knew! What she really wanted was to be head over ears
in love--to adore some one, to worship him, to imagine herself
starving for him and making sacrifice hits for him; but when the
moment came to make the sacrifice hit and marry the man, she
invariably found that a greater, truer love had arisen--for some
This greater and truer love always made her behave abominably to
the youth she had just jilted. She wasted no time on post-mortems.
She was so eager to show her absolute loyalty to the new monarch
that she grudged every thought she ever had given the one she had
cast into exile. She resented him bitterly. She could not forgive him
for having allowed her to be desperately in love with him. He should
have known he was not worthy of such a love as hers. He should have
known that the real prince was waiting only just round the corner.
As a rule the rejected ones behaved well. Each decided Aline was much
too wonderful a creature for him, and continued to love her cautiously
and from a distance. None of them ever spoke or thought ill of her and
would gladly have punched any one who did. It was only the women