Part 1 out of 4
The Night-Born by Jack London
This etext was prepared by J.R. Wright of Springfield, MO.
THE MADNESS OF JOHN HARNED
WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG
THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
BUNCHES OF KNUCKLES
UNDER THE DECK AWNINGS
TO KILL A MAN
It was in the old Alta-Inyo Club--a warm night for San
Francisco--and through the open windows, hushed and far, came
the brawl of the streets. The talk had led on from the Graft
Prosecution and the latest signs that the town was to be run
wide open, down through all the grotesque sordidness and
rottenness of manhate and man-meanness, until the name of
O'Brien was mentioned--O'Brien, the promising young pugilist
who had been killed in the prize-ring the night before. At once
the air had seemed to freshen. O'Brien had been a clean-living
young man with ideals. He neither drank, smoked, nor swore, and
his had been the body of a beautiful young god. He had even
carried his prayer-book to the ringside. They found it in his
coat pocket in the dressing-room. . . afterward.
Here was Youth, clean and wholesome, unsullied--the thing of
glory and wonder for men to conjure with..... after it has been
lost to them and they have turned middle-aged. And so well did
we conjure, that Romance came and for an hour led us far from
the man-city and its snarling roar. Bardwell, in a way, started
it by quoting from Thoreau; but it was old Trefethan,
bald-headed and dewlapped, who took up the quotation and for
the hour to come was romance incarnate. At first we wondered
how many Scotches he had consumed since dinner, but very soon
all that was forgotten.
"It was in 1898--I was thirty-five then," he said. "Yes, I know
you are adding it up. You're right. I'm forty-seven now; look
ten years more; and the doctors say--damn the doctors anyway!"
He lifted the long glass to his lips and sipped it slowly to
soothe away his irritation.
"But I was young. . . once. I was young twelve years ago, and I
had hair on top of my head, and my stomach was lean as a
runner's, and the longest day was none too long for me. I was a
husky back there in '98. You remember me, Milner. You knew me
then. Wasn't I a pretty good bit of all right?"
Milner nodded and agreed. Like Trefethan, he was another mining
engineer who had cleaned up a fortune in the Klondike.
"You certainly were, old man," Milner said. "I'll never forget
when you cleaned out those lumberjacks in the M. & M. that
night that little newspaper man started the row. Slavin was in
the country at the time,"--this to us--"and his manager wanted
to get up a match with Trefethan."
"Well, look at me now," Trefethan commanded angrily. "That's
what the Goldstead did to me--God knows how many millions, but
nothing left in my soul..... nor in my veins. The good red
blood is gone. I am a jellyfish, a huge, gross mass of
oscillating protoplasm, a--a . . ."
But language failed him, and he drew solace from the long
"Women looked at me then; and turned their heads to look a
second time. Strange that I never married. But the girl. That's
what I started to tell you about. I met her a thousand miles
from anywhere, and then some. And she quoted to me those very
words of Thoreau that Bardwell quoted a moment ago--the ones
about the day-born gods and the night-born."
"It was after I had made my locations on Goldstead--and didn't
know what a treasure-pot that that trip creek was going to
prove--that I made that trip east over the Rockies, angling
across to the Great Up North there the Rockies are something
more than a back-bone. They are a boundary, a dividing line, a
wall impregnable and unscalable. There is no intercourse across
them, though, on occasion, from the early days, wandering
trappers have crossed them, though more were lost by the way
than ever came through. And that was precisely why I tackled
the job. It was a traverse any man would be proud to make. I am
prouder of it right now than anything else I have ever done.
"It is an unknown land. Great stretches of it have never been
explored. There are big valleys there where the white man has
never set foot, and Indian tribes as primitive as ten thousand
years ... almost, for they have had some contact with the
whites. Parties of them come out once in a while to trade, and
that is all. Even the Hudson Bay Company failed to find them
and farm them.
"And now the girl. I was coming up a stream--you'd call it a
river in California--uncharted--and unnamed. It was a noble
valley, now shut in by high canyon walls, and again opening out
into beautiful stretches, wide and long, with pasture
shoulder-high in the bottoms, meadows dotted with flowers, and
with clumps of timberspruce--virgin and magnificent. The dogs
were packing on their backs, and were sore-footed and played
out; while I was looking for any bunch of Indians to get sleds
and drivers from and go on with the first snow. It was late
fall, but the way those flowers persisted surprised me. I was
supposed to be in sub-arctic America, and high up among the
buttresses of the Rockies, and yet there was that everlasting
spread of flowers. Some day the white settlers will be in there
and growing wheat down all that valley.
"And then I lifted a smoke, and heard the barking of the
dogs--Indian dogs--and came into camp. There must have been
five hundred of them, proper Indians at that, and I could see
by the jerking-frames that the fall hunting had been good. And
then I met her--Lucy. That was her name. Sign language--that
was all we could talk with, till they led me to a big fly--you
know, half a tent, open on the one side where a campfire
burned. It was all of moose-skins, this fly--moose-skins,
smoke-cured, hand-rubbed, and golden-brown. Under it everything
was neat and orderly as no Indian camp ever was. The bed was
laid on fresh spruce boughs. There were furs galore, and on top
of all was a robe of swanskins--white swan-skins--I have never
seen anything like that robe. And on top of it, sitting
cross-legged, was Lucy. She was nut-brown. I have called her a
girl. But she was not. She was a woman, a nut-brown woman, an
Amazon, a full-blooded, full-bodied woman, and royal ripe. And
her eyes were blue.
"That's what took me off my feet--her eyes--blue, not China
blue, but deep blue, like the sea and sky all melted into one,
and very wise. More than that, they had laughter in them--warm
laughter, sun-warm and human, very human, and . . . shall I say
feminine? They were. They were a woman's eyes, a proper woman's
eyes. You know what that means. Can I say more? Also, in those
blue eyes were, at the same time, a wild unrest, a wistful
yearning, and a repose, an absolute repose, a sort of all-wise
and philosophical calm."
Trefethan broke off abruptly.
"You fellows think I am screwed. I'm not. This is only my fifth
since dinner. I am dead sober. I am solemn. I sit here now side
by side with my sacred youth. It is not I--'old'
Trefethan--that talks; it is my youth, and it is my youth that
says those were the most wonderful eyes I have ever seen--so
very calm, so very restless; so very wise, so very curious; so
very old, so very young; so satisfied and yet yearning so
wistfully. Boys, I can't describe them. When I have told you
about her, you may know better for yourselves."
"She did not stand up. But she put out her hand."
"'Stranger,' she said, 'I'm real glad to see you.'
"I leave it to you--that sharp, frontier, Western tang of
speech. Picture my sensations. It was a woman, a white woman,
but that tang! It was amazing that it should be a white woman,
here, beyond the last boundary of the world--but the tang. I
tell you, it hurt. It was like the stab of a flatted note. And
yet, let me tell you, that woman was a poet. You shall see."
"She dismissed the Indians. And, by Jove, they went. They took
her orders and followed her blind. She was hi-yu skookam chief.
She told the bucks to make a camp for me and to take care of my
dogs. And they did, too. And they knew enough not to get away
with as much as a moccasin-lace of my outfit. She was a regular
She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, and I want to tell you it chilled me to
the marrow, sent those little thrills Marathoning up and down
my spinal column, meeting a white woman out there at the head
of a tribe of savages a thousand miles the other side of No
"'Stranger," she said, 'I reckon you're sure the first white
that ever set foot in this valley. Set down an' talk a spell,
and then we'll have a bite to eat. Which way might you be
"There it was, that tang again. But from now to the end of the
yarn I want you to forget it. I tell you I forgot it, sitting
there on the edge of that swan-skin robe and listening and
looking at the most wonderful woman that ever stepped out of
the pages of Thoreau or of any other man's book.
"I stayed on there a week. It was on her invitation. She
promised to fit me out with dogs and sleds and with Indians
that would put me across the best pass of the Rockies in five
hundred miles. Her fly was pitched apart from the others, on
the high bank by the river, and a couple of Indian girls did
her cooking for her and the camp work. And so we talked and
talked, while the first snow fell and continued to fall and
make a surface for my sleds. And this was her story.
"She was frontier-born, of poor settlers, and you know what
that means--work, work, always work, work in plenty and without
"'I never seen the glory of the world,' she said. 'I had no
time. I knew it was right out there, anywhere, all around the
cabin, but there was always the bread to set, the scrubbin' and
the washin' and the work that was never done. I used to be
plumb sick at times, jes' to get out into it all, especially in
the spring when the songs of the birds drove me most clean
crazy. I wanted to run out through the long pasture grass,
wetting my legs with the dew of it, and to climb the rail
fence, and keep on through the timber and up and up over the
divide so as to get a look around. Oh, I had all kinds of
hankerings--to follow up the canyon beds and slosh around from
pool to pool, making friends with the water-dogs and the
speckly trout; to peep on the sly and watch the squirrels and
rabbits and small furry things and see what they was doing and
learn the secrets of their ways. Seemed to me, if I had time, I
could crawl among the flowers, and, if I was good and quiet,
catch them whispering with themselves, telling all kinds of
wise things that mere humans never know.'"
Trefethan paused to see that his glass had been refilled.
"Another time she said: 'I wanted to run nights like a wild
thing, just to run through the moonshine and under the stars,
to run white and naked in the darkness that I knew must feel
like cool velvet, and to run and run and keep on running. One
evening, plumb tuckered out--it had been a dreadful hard hot
day, and the bread wouldn't raise and the churning had gone
wrong, and I was all irritated and jerky--well, that evening I
made mention to dad of this wanting to run of mine. He looked
at me curious-some and a bit scared. And then he gave me two
pills to take. Said to go to bed and get a good sleep and I'd
be all hunky-dory in the morning. So I never mentioned my
hankerings to him, or any one any more.'
"The mountain home broke up--starved out, I imagine--and the
family came to Seattle to live. There she worked in a
factory--long hours, you know, and all the rest, deadly work.
And after a year of that she became waitress in a cheap
restaurant--hash-slinger, she called it. "She said to me once,
'Romance I guess was what I wanted. But there wan't no romance
floating around in dishpans and washtubs, or in factories and
"When she was eighteen she married--a man who was going up to
Juneau to start a restaurant. He had a few dollars saved, and
appeared prosperous. She didn't love him--she was emphatic
about that, but she was all tired out, and she wanted to get
away from the unending drudgery. Besides, Juneau was in Alaska,
and her yearning took the form of a desire to see that
wonderland. But little she saw of it. He started the
restaurant, a little cheap one, and she quickly learned what he
had married her for..... to save paying wages. She came pretty
close to running the joint and doing all the work from waiting
to dishwashing. She cooked most of the time as well. And she
had four years of it.
"Can't you picture her, this wild woods creature, quick with
every old primitive instinct, yearning for the free open, and
mowed up in a vile little hash-joint and toiling and moiling
for four mortal years?
"'There was no meaning in anything,' she said. 'What was it all
about! Why was I born! Was that all the meaning of life--just
to work and work and be always tired!--to go to bed tired and
to wake up tired, with every day like every other day unless it
was harder?' She had heard talk of immortal life from the
gospel sharps, she said, but she could not reckon that what she
was doin' was a likely preparation for her immortality.
"But she still had her dreams, though more rarely. She had read
a few books--what, it is pretty hard to imagine, Seaside
Library novels most likely; yet they had been food for fancy.
'Sometimes,' she said, 'when I was that dizzy from the heat of
the cooking that if I didn't take a breath of fresh air I'd
faint, I'd stick my head out of the kitchen window, and close
my eyes and see most wonderful things. All of a sudden I'd be
traveling down a country road, and everything clean and quiet,
no dust, no dirt; just streams ripplin' down sweet meadows, and
lambs playing, breezes blowing the breath of flowers, and soft
sunshine over everything; and lovely cows lazying knee-deep in
quiet pools, and young girls bathing in a curve of stream all
white and slim and natural--and I'd know I was in Arcady. I'd
read about that country once, in a book. And maybe knights, all
flashing in the sun, would come riding around a bend in the
road, or a lady on a milk-white mare, and in the distance I
could see the towers of a castle rising, or I just knew, on the
next turn, that I'd come upon some palace, all white and airy
and fairy-like, with fountains playing, and flowers all over
everything, and peacocks on the lawn..... and then I'd open my
eyes, and the heat of the cooking range would strike on me, and
I'd hear Jake sayin'--he was my husband--I'd hear Jake sayin',
"Why ain't you served them beans? Think I can wait here all
day!" Romance!--I reckon the nearest I ever come to it was when
a drunken Armenian cook got the snakes and tried to cut my
throat with a potato knife and I got my arm burned on the stove
before I could lay him out with the potato stomper.
"'I wanted easy ways, and lovely things, and Romance and all
that; but it just seemed I had no luck nohow and was only and
expressly born for cooking and dishwashing. There was a wild
crowd in Juneau them days, but I looked at the other women, and
their way of life didn't excite me. I reckon I wanted to be
clean. I don't know why; I just wanted to, I guess; and I
reckoned I might as well die dishwashing as die their way."
Trefethan halted in his tale for a moment, completing to
himself some thread of thought.
"And this is the woman I met up there in the Arctic, running a
tribe of wild Indians and a few thousand square miles of
hunting territory. And it happened, simply enough, though, for
that matter, she might have lived and died among the pots and
pans. But 'Came the whisper, came the vision.' That was all she
needed, and she got it.
"'I woke up one day,' she said. 'Just happened on it in a scrap
of newspaper. I remember every word of it, and I can give it to
you.' And then she quoted Thoreau's Cry of the Human:
"'The young pines springing up, in the corn field from year to
year are to me a refreshing fact. We talk of civilizing the
Indian, but that is not the name for his improvement. By the
wary independence and aloofness of his dim forest life he
preserves his intercourse with his native gods and is admitted
from time to time to a rare and peculiar society with nature.
He has glances of starry recognition, to which our saloons are
strangers. The steady illumination of his qenius, dim only
because distant, is like the faint but satisfying light of the
stars compared with the dazzling but ineffectual and
short-lived blaze of candles. The Society Islanders had their
day-born gods, but they were not supposed to be of equal
antiquity with the..... night-born gods.'
"That's what she did, repeated it word for word, and I forgot
the tang, for it was solemn, a declaration of religion--pagan,
if you will; and clothed in the living garmenture of herself.
"'And the rest of it was torn away,' she added, a great
emptiness in her voice. 'It was only a scrap of newspaper. But
that Thoreau was a wise man. I wish I knew more about him.' She
stopped a moment, and I swear her face was ineffably holy as
she said, 'I could have made him a good wife.'
"And then she went on. 'I knew right away, as soon as I read
that, what was the matter with me. I was a night-born. I, who
had lived all my life with the day-born, was a night-born. That
was why I had never been satisfied with cooking and
dishwashing; that was why I had hankered to run naked in the
moonlight. And I knew that this dirty little Juneau hash-joint
was no place for me. And right there and then I said, "I quit."
I packed up my few rags of clothes, and started. Jake saw me
and tried to stop me.
"'What you doing?" he says.
"'Divorcin' you and me,' I says. 'I'm headin' for tall timber
and where I belong.'"
"'No you don't," he says, reaching for me to stop me. "The
cooking has got on your head. You listen to me talk before you
up and do anything brash.'"
"'But I pulled a gun-a little Colt's forty-four--and says,
"This does my talkin' for me.'"
"'And I left.'"
Trefethan emptied his glass and called for another.
"Boys, do you know what that girl did? She was twenty-two. She
had spent her life over the dish-pan and she knew no more about
the world than I do of the fourth dimension, or the fifth. All
roads led to her desire. No; she didn't head for the
dance-halls. On the Alaskan Pan-handle it is preferable to
travel by water. She went down to the beach. An Indian canoe
was starting for Dyea--you know the kind, carved out of a
single tree, narrow and deep and sixty feet long. She gave them
a couple of dollars and got on board.
"'Romance?' she told me. 'It was Romance from the jump. There
were three families altogether in that canoe, and that crowded
there wasn't room to turn around, with dogs and Indian babies
sprawling over everything, and everybody dipping a paddle and
making that canoe go.' And all around the great solemn
mountains, and tangled drifts of clouds and sunshine. And oh,
the silence! the great wonderful silence! And, once, the smoke
of a hunter's camp, away off in the distance, trailing among
the trees. It was like a picnic, a grand picnic, and I could
see my dreams coming true, and I was ready for something to
happen 'most any time. And it did.
"'And that first camp, on the island! And the boys spearing
fish in the mouth of the creek, and the big deer one of the
bucks shot just around the point. And there were flowers
everywhere, and in back from the beach the grass was thick and
lush and neck-high. And some of the girls went through this
with me, and we climbed the hillside behind and picked berries
and roots that tasted sour and were good to eat. And we came
upon a big bear in the berries making his supper, and he said
"Oof!" and ran away as scared as we were. And then the camp,
and the camp smoke, and the smell of fresh venison cooking. It
was beautiful. I was with the night-born at last, and I knew
that was where I belonged. And for the first time in my life,
it seemed to me, I went to bed happy that night, looking out
under a corner of the canvas at the stars cut off black by a
big shoulder of mountain, and listening to the night-noises,
and knowing that the same thing would go on next day and
forever and ever, for I wasn't going back. And I never did go
"'Romance! I got it next day. We had to cross a big arm of the
ocean--twelve or fifteen miles, at least; and it came on to
blow when we were in the middle. That night I was along on
shore, with one wolf-dog, and I was the only one left alive.'
"Picture it yourself," Trefethan broke off to say. "The canoe
was wrecked and lost, and everybody pounded to death on the
rocks except her. She went ashore hanging on to a dog's tail,
escaping the rocks and washing up on a tiny beach, the only one
"'Lucky for me it was the mainland,' she said. 'So I headed
right away back, through the woods and over the mountains and
straight on anywhere. Seemed I was looking for something and
knew I'd find it. I wasn't afraid. I was night-born, and the
big timber couldn't kill me. And on the second day I found it.
I came upon a small clearing and a tumbledown cabin. Nobody had
been there for years and years. The roof had fallen in. Rotted
blankets lay in the bunks, and pots and pans were on the stove.
But that was not the most curious thing. Outside, along the
edge of the trees, you can't guess what I found. The skeletons
of eight horses, each tied to a tree. They had starved to
death, I reckon, and left only little piles of bones scattered
some here and there. And each horse had had a load on its back.
There the loads lay, in among the bones--painted canvas sacks,
and inside moosehide sacks, and inside the moosehide
sacks--what do you think?'"
She stopped, reached under a comer of the bed among the spruce
boughs, and pulled out a leather sack. She untied the mouth and
ran out into my hand as pretty a stream of gold as I have ever
seen--coarse gold, placer gold, some large dust, but mostly
nuggets, and it was so fresh and rough that it scarcely showed
signs of water-wash.
"'You say you're a mining engineer,' she said, 'and you know
this country. Can you name a pay-creek that has the color of
"I couldn't! There wasn't a trace of silver. It was almost
pure, and I told her so.
"'You bet,' she said. 'I sell that for nineteen dollars an
ounce. You can't get over seventeen for Eldorado gold, and
Minook gold don't fetch quite eighteen. Well, that was what I
found among the bones--eight horse-loads of it, one hundred and
fifty pounds to the load.'
"'A quarter of a million dollars!' I cried out.
"'That's what I reckoned it roughly,' she answered. 'Talk about
Romance! And me a slaving the way I had all the years, when as
soon as I ventured out, inside three days, this was what
happened. And what became of the men that mined all that gold?
Often and often I wonder about it. They left their horses,
loaded and tied, and just disappeared off the face of the
earth, leaving neither hide nor hair behind them. I never heard
tell of them. Nobody knows anything about them. Well, being the
night-born, I reckon I was their rightful heir.'
Trefethan stopped to light a cigar.
"Do you know what that girl did? She cached the gold, saving
out thirty pounds, which she carried back to the coast. Then
she signaled a passing canoe, made her way to Pat Healy's
trading post at Dyea, outfitted, and went over Chilcoot Pass.
That was in '88--eight years before the Klondike strike, and
the Yukon was a howling wilderness. She was afraid of the
bucks, but she took two young squaws with her, crossed the
lakes, and went down the river and to all the early camps on
the Lower Yukon. She wandered several years over that country
and then on in to where I met her. Liked the looks of it, she
said, seeing, in her own words, 'a big bull caribou knee-deep
in purple iris on the valley-bottom.' She hooked up with the
Indians, doctored them, gained their confidence, and gradually
took them in charge. She had only left that country once, and
then, with a bunch of the young bucks, she went over Chilcoot,
cleaned up her gold-cache, and brought it back with her.
"'And here I be, stranger,' she concluded her yarn, 'and here's
the most precious thing I own.'
"She pulled out a little pouch of buckskin, worn on her neck
like a locket, and opened it. And inside, wrapped in oiled
silk, yellowed with age and worn and thumbed, was the original
scrap of newspaper containing the quotation from Thoreau.
"'And are you happy . . . satisfied?' I asked her. 'With a
quarter of a million you wouldn't have to work down in the
States. You must miss a lot.'
"'Not much,' she answered. 'I wouldn't swop places with any
woman down in the States. These are my people; this is where I
belong. But there are times--and in her eyes smoldered up that
hungry yearning I've mentioned--'there are times when I wish
most awful bad for that Thoreau man to happen along.'
"'Why?' I asked.
"'So as I could marry him. I do get mighty lonesome at spells.
I'm just a woman--a real woman. I've heard tell of the other
kind of women that gallivanted off like me and did queer
things--the sort that become soldiers in armies, and sailors on
ships. But those women are queer themselves. They're more like
men than women; they look like men and they don't have ordinary
women's needs. They don't want love, nor little children in
their arms and around their knees. I'm not that sort. I leave
it to you, stranger. Do I look like a man?'
"She didn't. She was a woman, a beautiful, nut-brown woman,
with a sturdy, health-rounded woman's body and with wonderful
deep-blue woman's eyes.
"'Ain't I woman?' she demanded. 'I am. I'm 'most all woman, and
then some. And the funny thing is, though I'm night-born in
everything else, I'm not when it comes to mating. I reckon that
kind likes its own kind best. That's the way it is with me,
anyway, and has been all these years.'
"'You mean to tell me--' I began.
"'Never,' she said, and her eyes looked into mine with the
straightness of truth. 'I had one husband, only--him I call the
Ox; and I reckon he's still down in Juneau running the
hash-joint. Look him up, if you ever get back, and you'll find
he's rightly named.'
"And look him up I did, two years afterward. He was all she
said--solid and stolid, the Ox--shuffling around and waiting on
"'You need a wife to help you,' I said.
"'I had one once,' was his answer.
"'Yep. She went loco. She always said the heat of the cooking
would get her, and it did. Pulled a gun on me one day and ran
away with some Siwashes in a canoe. Caught a blow up the coast
and all hands drowned.'"
Trefethan devoted himself to his glass and remained silent.
"But the girl?" Milner reminded him.
"You left your story just as it was getting interesting,
tender. Did it?"
"It did," Trefethan replied. "As she said herself, she was
savage in everything except mating, and then she wanted her own
kind. She was very nice about it, but she was straight to the
point. She wanted to marry me.
"'Stranger,' she said, 'I want you bad. You like this sort of
life or you wouldn't be here trying to cross the Rockies in
fall weather. It's a likely spot. You'll find few likelier. Why
not settle down! I'll make you a good wife.'
"And then it was up to me. And she waited. I don't mind
confessing that I was sorely tempted. I was half in love with
her as it was. You know I have never married. And I don't mind
adding, looking back over my life, that she is the only woman
that ever affected me that way. But it was too preposterous,
the whole thing, and I lied like a gentleman. I told her I was
"'Is your wife waiting for you?' she asked.
"I said yes.
"'And she loves you?'
"I said yes.
"And that was all. She never pressed her point. . . except
once, and then she showed a bit of fire.
"'All I've got to do,' she said, 'is to give the word, and you
don't get away from here. If I give the word, you stay on. . .
But I ain't going to give it. I wouldn't want you if you didn't
want to be wanted. . . and if you didn't want me.'
"She went ahead and outfitted me and started me on my way.
"'It's a darned shame, stranger," she said, at parting. 'I like
your looks, and I like you. If you ever change your mind, come
"Now there was one thing I wanted to do, and that was to kiss
her good-bye, but I didn't know how to go about it nor how she
would take it.--I tell you I was half in love with her. But she
settled it herself.
"'Kiss me,' she said. 'Just something to go on and remember.'
"And we kissed, there in the snow, in that valley by the
Rockies, and I left her standing by the trail and went on after
my dogs. I was six weeks in crossing over the pass and coming
down to the first post on Great Slave Lake."
The brawl of the streets came up to us like a distant surf. A
steward, moving noiselessly, brought fresh siphons. And in the
silence Trefethan's voice fell like a funeral bell:
"It would have been better had I stayed. Look at me."
We saw his grizzled mustache, the bald spot on his head, the
puff-sacks under his eyes, the sagging cheeks, the heavy
dewlap, the general tiredness and staleness and fatness, all
the collapse and ruin of a man who had once been strong but who
had lived too easily and too well.
"It's not too late, old man," Bardwell said, almost in a
"By God! I wish I weren't a coward!" was Trefethan's answering
cry. "I could go back to her. She's there, now. I could shape
up and live many a long year. . . with her. . . up there. To
remain here is to commit suicide. But I am an old
man--forty-seven--look at me. The trouble is," he lifted his
glass and glanced at it, "the trouble is that suicide of this
sort is so easy. I am soft and tender. The thought of the long
day's travel with the dogs appalls me; the thought of the keen
frost in the morning and of the frozen sled-lashings frightens
Automatically the glass was creeping toward his lips. With a
swift surge of anger he made as if to crash it down upon the
floor. Next came hesitancy and second thought. The glass moved
upward to his lips and paused. He laughed harshly and bitterly,
but his words were solemn:
"Well, here's to the Night-Born. She WAS a wonder."
THE MADNESS OF JOHN HARNED
I TELL this for a fact. It happened in the bull-ring at Quito.
I sat in the box with John Harned, and with Maria Valenzuela,
and with Luis Cervallos. I saw it happen. I saw it all from
first to last. I was on the steamer Ecuadore from Panama to
Guayaquil. Maria Valenzuela is my cousin. I have known her
always. She is very beautiful. I am a Spaniard--an Ecuadoriano,
true, but I am descended from Pedro Patino, who was one of
Pizarro's captains. They were brave men. They were heroes. Did
not Pizarro lead three hundred and fifty Spanish cavaliers and
four thousand Indians into the far Cordilleras in search of
treasure? And did not all the four thousand Indians and three
hundred of the brave cavaliers die on that vain quest? But
Pedro Patino did not die. He it was that lived to found the
family of the Patino. I am Ecuadoriano, true, but I am Spanish.
I am Manuel de Jesus Patino. I own many haciendas, and ten
thousand Indians are my slaves, though the law says they are
free men who work by freedom of contract. The law is a funny
thing. We Ecuadorianos laugh at it. It is our law. We make it
for ourselves. I am Manuel de Jesus Patino. Remember that name.
It will be written some day in history. There are revolutions
in Ecuador. We call them elections. It is a good joke is it
not?--what you call a pun?
John Harned was an American. I met him first at the Tivoli
hotel in Panama. He had much money--this I have heard. He was
going to Lima, but he met Maria Valenzuela in the Tivoli hotel.
Maria Valenzuela is my cousin, and she is beautiful. It is
true, she is the most beautiful woman in Ecuador. But also is
she most beautiful in every country--in Paris, in Madrid, in
New York, in Vienna. Always do all men look at her, and John
Harned looked long at her at Panama. He loved her, that I know
for a fact. She was Ecuadoriano, true--but she was of all
countries; she was of all the world. She spoke many languages.
She sang--ah! like an artiste. Her smile--wonderful, divine.
Her eyes--ah! have I not seen men look in her eyes? They were
what you English call amazing. They were promises of paradise.
Men drowned themselves in her eyes.
Maria Valenzuela was rich--richer than I, who am accounted very
rich in Ecuador. But John Harned did not care for her money. He
had a heart--a funny heart. He was a fool. He did not go to
Lima. He left the steamer at Guayaquil and followed her to
Quito. She was coming home from Europe and other places. I do
not see what she found in him, but she liked him. This I know
for a fact, else he would not have followed her to Quito. She
asked him to come. Well do I remember the occasion. She said:
"Come to Quito and I will show you the bullfight--brave,
But he said: "I go to Lima, not Quito. Such is my passage
engaged on the steamer."
"You travel for pleasure--no?" said Maria Valenzuela; and she
looked at him as only Maria Valenzuela could look, her eyes
warm with the promise.
And he came. No; he did not come for the bull-fight. He came
because of what he had seen in her eyes. Women like Maria
Valenzuela are born once in a hundred years. They are of no
country and no time. They are what you call goddesses. Men fall
down at their feet. They play with men and run them through
their pretty fingers like sand. Cleopatra was such a woman they
say; and so was Circe. She turned men into swine. Ha! ha! It is
It all came about because Maria Valenzuela said:
"You English people are--what shall I say?--savage--no? You
prize-fight. Two men each hit the other with their fists till
their eyes are blinded and their noses are broken. Hideous! And
the other men who look on cry out loudly and are made glad. It
"But they are men," said John Harned; "and they prize-fight out
of desire. No one makes them prize-fight. They do it because
they desire it more than anything else in the world."
Maria Valenzuela--there was scorn in her smile as she said:
"They kill each other often--is it not so? I have read it in
"But the bull," said John Harned.
"The bull is killed many times in the bull-fight, and the bull
does not come into the the ring out of desire. It is not fair
to the bull. He is compelled to fight. But the man in the
prize-fight--no; he is not compelled."
"He is the more brute therefore," said Maria Valenzuela.
"He is savage. He is primitive. He is animal. He strikes with
his paws like a bear from a cave, and he is ferocious. But the
bull-fight--ah! You have not seen the bullfight--no? The
toreador is clever. He must have skill. He is modern. He is
romantic. He is only a man, soft and tender, and he faces the
wild bull in conflict. And he kills with a sword, a slender
sword, with one thrust, so, to the heart of the great beast. It
is delicious. It makes the heart beat to behold--the small man,
the great beast, the wide level sand, the thousands that look
on without breath; the great beast rushes to the attack, the
small man stands like a statue; he does not move, he is
unafraid, and in his hand is the slender sword flashing like
silver in the sun; nearer and nearer rushes the great beast
with its sharp horns, the man does not move, and then--so--the
sword flashes, the thrust is made, to the heart, to the hilt,
the bull falls to the sand and is dead, and the man is unhurt.
It is brave. It is magnificent! Ah!--I could love the toreador.
But the man of the prize-fight--he is the brute, the human
beast, the savage primitive, the maniac that receives many
blows in his stupid face and rejoices. Come to Quito and I will
show you the brave sport of men, the toreador and the bull."
But John Harned did not go to Quito for the bull-fight. He went
because of Maria Valenzuela. He was a large man, more broad of
shoulder than we Ecuadorianos, more tall, more heavy of limb
and bone. True, he was larger of his own race. His eyes were
blue, though I have seen them gray, and, sometimes, like cold
steel. His features were large, too--not delicate like ours,
and his jaw was very strong to look at. Also, his face was
smooth-shaven like a priest's. Why should a man feel shame for
the hair on his face? Did not God put it there? Yes, I believe
in God--I am not a pagan like many of you English. God is good.
He made me an Ecuadoriano with ten thousand slaves. And when I
die I shall go to God. Yes, the priests are right.
But John Harned. He was a quiet man. He talked always in a low
voice, and he never moved his hands when he talked. One would
have thought his heart was a piece of ice; yet did he have a
streak of warm in his blood, for he followed Maria Valenzuela
to Quito. Also, and for all that he talked low without moving
his hands, he was an animal, as you shall see--the beast
primitive, the stupid, ferocious savage of the long ago that
dressed in wild skins and lived in the caves along with the
bears and wolves.
Luis Cervallos is my friend, the best of Ecuadorianos. He owns
three cacao plantations at Naranjito and Chobo. At Milagro is
his big sugar plantation. He has large haciendas at Ambato and
Latacunga, and down the coast is he interested in oil-wells.
Also has he spent much money in planting rubber along the
Guayas. He is modern, like the Yankee; and, like the Yankee,
full of business. He has much money, but it is in many
ventures, and ever he needs more money for new ventures and for
the old ones. He has been everywhere and seen everything. When
he was a very young man he was in the Yankee military academy
what you call West Point. There was trouble. He was made to
resign. He does not like Americans. But he did like Maria
Valenzuela, who was of his own country. Also, he needed her
money for his ventures and for his gold mine in Eastern Ecuador
where the painted Indians live. I was his friend. It was my
desire that he should marry Maria Valenzuela. Further, much of
my money had I invested in his ventures, more so in his gold
mine which was very rich but which first required the expense
of much money before it would yield forth its riches. If Luis
Cervallos married Maria Valenzuela I should have more money
But John Harned followed Maria Valenzuela to Quito, and it was
quickly clear to us--to Luis Cervallos and me that she looked
upon John Harned with great kindness. It is said that a woman
will have her will, but this is a case not in point, for Maria
Valenzuela did not have her will--at least not with John
Harned. Perhaps it would all have happened as it did, even if
Luis Cervallos and I had not sat in the box that day at the
bull-ring in Quito. But this I know: we DID sit in the box that
day. And I shall tell you what happened.
The four of us were in the one box, guests of Luis Cervallos. I
was next to the Presidente's box. On the other side was the box
of General Jose Eliceo Salazar. With him were Joaquiin Endara
and Urcisino Castillo, both generals, and Colonel Jacinto
Fierro and Captain Baltazar de Echeverria. Only Luis Cervallos
had the position and the influence to get that box next to the
Presidente. I know for a fact that the Presidente himself
expressed the desire to the management that Luis Cervallos
should have that box.
The band finished playing the national hymn of Ecuador. The
procession of the toreadors was over. The Presidente nodded to
begin. The bugles blew, and the bull dashed in--you know the
way, excited, bewildered, the darts in its shoulder burning
like fire, itself seeking madly whatever enemy to destroy. The
toreadors hid behind their shelters and waited. Suddenly they
appeared forth, the capadores, five of them, from every side,
their colored capes flinging wide. The bull paused at sight of
such a generosity of enemies, unable in his own mind to know
which to attack. Then advanced one of the capadors alone to
meet the bull. The bull was very angry. With its fore-legs it
pawed the sand of the arena till the dust rose all about it.
Then it charged, with lowered head, straight for the lone
It is always of interest, the first charge of the first bull.
After a time it is natural that one should grow tired, trifle,
that the keenness should lose its edge. But that first charge
of the first bull! John Harned was seeing it for the first
time, and he could not escape the excitement--the sight of the
man, armed only with a piece of cloth, and of the bull rushing
upon him across the sand with sharp horns, widespreading.
"See!" cried Maria Valenzuela. "Is it not superb?"
John Harned nodded, but did not look at her. His eyes were
sparkling, and they were only for the bull-ring. The capador
stepped to the side, with a twirl of the cape eluding the bull
and spreading the cape on his own shoulders.
"What do you think?" asked Maria Venzuela. "Is it not
"It is certainly," said John Harned. "It is very clever."
She clapped her hands with delight. They were little hands. The
audience applauded. The bull turned and came back. Again the
capadore eluded him, throwing the cape on his shoulders, and
again the audience applauded. Three times did this happen. The
capadore was very excellent. Then he retired, and the other
capadore played with the bull. After that they placed the
banderillos in the bull, in the shoulders, on each side of the
back-bone, two at a time. Then stepped forward Ordonez, the
chief matador, with the long sword and the scarlet cape. The
bugles blew for the death. He is not so good as Matestini.
Still he is good, and with one thrust he drove the sword to the
heart, and the bull doubled his legs under him and lay down and
died. It was a pretty thrust, clean and sure; and there was
much applause, and many of the common people threw their hats
into the ring. Maria Valenzuela clapped her hands with the
rest, and John Harned, whose cold heart was not touched by the
event, looked at her with curiosity.
"You like it?" he asked.
"Always," she said, still clapping her hands.
"From a little girl," said Luis Cervallos. "I remember her
first fight. She was four years old. She sat with her mother,
and just like now she clapped her hands. She is a proper
"You have seen it," said Maria Valenzuela to John Harned, as
they fastened the mules to the dead bull and dragged it out.
"You have seen the bull-fight and you like it--no? What do you
"I think the bull had no chance," he said. "The bull was doomed
from the first. The issue was not in doubt. Every one knew,
before the bull entered the ring, that it was to die. To be a
sporting proposition, the issue must be in doubt. It was one
stupid bull who had never fought a man against five wise men
who had fought many bulls. It would be possibly a little bit
fair if it were one man against one bull."
"Or one man against five bulls," said Maria Valenzuela; and we
all laughed, and Luis Ceryallos laughed loudest.
"Yes," said John Harned, "against five bulls, and the man, like
the bulls, never in the bull ring before--a man like yourself,
"Yet we Spanish like the bull-fight," said Luis Cervallos; and
I swear the devil was whispering then in his ear, telling him
to do that which I shall relate.
"Then must it be a cultivated taste," John Harned made answer.
"We kill bulls by the thousand every day in Chicago, yet no one
cares to pay admittance to see."
"That is butchery," said I; "but this--ah, this is an art. It
is delicate. It is fine. It is rare."
"Not always," said Luis Cervallos. "I have seen clumsy
matadors, and I tell you it is not nice."
He shuddered, and his face betrayed such what-you-call disgust,
that I knew, then, that the devil was whispering and that he
was beginning to play a part.
"Senor Harned may be right," said Luis Cervallos. "It may not
be fair to the bull. For is it not known to all of us that for
twenty-four hours the bull is given no water, and that
immediately before the fight he is permitted to drink his
"And he comes into the ring heavy with water?" said John Harned
quickly; and I saw that his eyes were very gray and very sharp
and very cold.
"It is necessary for the sport," said Luis Cervallos. "Would
you have the bull so strong that he would kill the toreadors?"
"I would that he had a fighting chance," said John Harned,
facing the ring to see the second bull come in.
It was not a good bull. It was frightened. It ran around the
ring in search of a way to get out. The capadors stepped forth
and flared their capes, but he refused to charge upon them.
"It is a stupid bull," said Maria Valenzuela.
"I beg pardon," said John Harned; "but it would seem to me a
wise bull. He knows he must not fight man. See! He smells death
there in the ring."
True. The bull, pausing where the last one had died, was
smelling the wet sand and snorting. Again he ran around the
ring, with raised head, looking at the faces of the thousands
that hissed him, that threw orange-peel at him and called him
names. But the smell of blood decided him, and he charged a
capador, so without warning that the man just escaped. He
dropped his cape and dodged into the shelter. The bull struck
the wall of the ring with a crash. And John Harned said, in a
quiet voice, as though he talked to himself:
"I will give one thousand sucres to the lazar-house of Quito if
a bull kills a man this day."
"You like bulls?" said Maria Valenzuela with a smile.
"I like such men less," said John Harned. "A toreador is not a
brave man. He surely cannot be a brave man. See, the bull's
tongue is already out. He is tired and he has not yet begun."
"It is the water," said Luis Cervallos.
"Yes, it is the water," said John Harned. "Would it not be
safer to hamstring the bull before he comes on?"
Maria Valenzuela was made angry by this sneer in John Harned's
words. But Luis Cervallos smiled so that only I could see him,
and then it broke upon my mind surely the game he was playing.
He and I were to be banderilleros. The big American bull was
there in the box with us. We were to stick the darts in him
till he became angry, and then there might be no marriage with
Maria Valenzuela. It was a good sport. And the spirit of
bull-fighters was in our blood.
The bull was now angry and excited. The capadors had great game
with him. He was very quick, and sometimes he turned with such
sharpness that his hind legs lost their footing and he plowed
the sand with his quarter. But he charged always the flung
capes and committed no harm.
"He has no chance," said John Harned. "He is fighting wind."
"He thinks the cape is his enemy," explained Maria Valenzuela.
"See how cleverly the capador deceives him."
"It is his nature to be deceived," said John Harned. "Wherefore
he is doomed to fight wind. The toreadors know it, you know it,
I know it--we all know from the first that he will fight wind.
He only does not know it. It is his stupid beast-nature. He has
"It is very simple," said Luis Cervallos. "The bull shuts his
eyes when he charges. Therefore--"
"The man steps, out of the way and the bull rushes by," Harned
"Yes," said Luis Cervallos; "that is it. The bull shuts his
eyes, and the man knows it."
"But cows do not shut their eyes," said John Harned. "I know a
cow at home that is a Jersey and gives milk, that would whip
the whole gang of them."
"But the toreadors do not fight cows," said I.
'They are afraid to fight cows," said John Harned.
"Yes," said Luis Cervallos, "they are afraid to fight cows.
There would be no sport in killing toreadors."
"There would be some sport," said John Harned, "if a toreador
were killed once in a while. When I become an old man, and
mayhap a cripple, and should I need to make a living and be
unable to do hard work, then would I become a bull-fighter. It
is a light vocation for elderly gentlemen and pensioners."
"But see!" said Maria Valenzuela, as the bull charged bravely
and the capador eluded it with a fling of his cape. "It
requires skill so to avoid the beast."
"True," said John Harned. "But believe me, it requires a
thousand times more skill to avoid the many and quick punches
of a prize-fighter who keeps his eyes open and strikes with
intelligence. Furthermore, this bull does not want to fight.
Behold, he runs away."
It was not a good bull, for again it ran around the ring,
seeking to find a way out.
"Yet these bulls are sometimes the most dangerous," said Luis
Cervallos. "It can never be known what they will do next. They
are wise. They are half cow. The bull-fighters never like
them.--See! He has turned!"
Once again, baffled and made angry by the walls of the ring
that would not let him out, the bull was attacking his enemies
"His tongue is hanging out," said John Harned. "First, they
fill him with water. Then they tire him out, one man and then
another, persuading him to exhaust himself by fighting wind.
While some tire him, others rest. But the bull they never let
rest. Afterward, when he is quite tired and no longer quick,
the matador sticks the sword into him."
The time had now come for the banderillos. Three times one of
the fighters endeavored to place the darts, and three times did
he fail. He but stung the bull and maddened it. The banderillos
must go in, you know, two at a time, into the shoulders, on
each side the backbone and close to it. If but one be placed,
it is a failure. The crowd hissed and called for Ordonez. And
then Ordonez did a great thing. Four times he stood forth, and
four times, at the first attempt, he stuck in the banderillos,
so that eight of them, well placed, stood out of the back of
the bull at one time. The crowd went mad, and a rain of hats
and money fell on the sand of the ring
And just then the bull charged unexpectedly one of the
capadors. The man slipped and lost his head. The bull caught
him--fortunately, between his wide horns. And while the
audience watched, breathless and silent, John Harned stood up
and yelled with gladness. Alone, in that hush of all of us,
John Harned yelled. And he yelled for the bull. As you see
yourself, John Harned wanted the man killed. His was a brutal
heart. This bad conduct made those angry that sat in the box of
General Salazar, and they cried out against John Harned. And
Urcisino Castillo told him to his face that he was a dog of a
Gringo and other things. Only it was in Spanish, and John
Harned did not understand. He stood and yelled, perhaps for the
time of ten seconds, when the bull was enticed into charging
the other capadors and the man arose unhurt.
"The bull has no chance," John Harned said with sadness as he
sat down. "The man was uninjured. They fooled the bull away
from him." Then he turned to Maria Valenzuela and said: "I beg
your pardon. I was excited."
She smiled and in reproof tapped his arm with her fan.
"It is your first bull-fight," she said. "After you have seen
more you will not cry for the death of the man. You Americans,
you see, are more brutal than we. It is because of your
prize-fighting. We come only to see the bull killed."
"But I would the bull had some chance," he answered.
"Doubtless, in time, I shall cease to be annoyed by the men who
take advantage of the bull."
The bugles blew for the death of the bull. Ordonez stood forth
with the sword and the scarlet cloth. But the bull had changed
again, and did not want to fight. Ordonez stamped his foot in
the sand, and cried out, and waved the scarlet cloth. Then the
bull charged, but without heart. There was no weight to the
charge. It was a poor thrust. The sword struck a bone and bent.
Ordonez took a fresh sword. The bull, again stung to fight,
charged once more. Five times Ordonez essayed the thrust, and
each time the sword went but part way in or struck bone. The
sixth time, the sword went in to the hilt. But it was a bad
thrust. The sword missed the heart and stuck out half a yard
through the ribs on the opposite side. The audience hissed the
matador. I glanced at John Harned. He sat silent, without
movement; but I could see his teeth were set, and his hands
were clenched tight on the railing of the box.
All fight was now out of the bull, and, though it was no vital
thrust, he trotted lamely what of the sword that stuck through
him, in one side and out the other. He ran away from the
matador and the capadors, and circled the edge of the ring,
looking up at the many faces.
"He is saying: 'For God's sake let me out of this; I don't want
to fight,'" said John Harned.
That was all. He said no more, but sat and watched, though
sometimes he looked sideways at Maria Valenzuela to see how she
took it. She was angry with the matador. He was awkward, and
she had desired a clever exhibition.
The bull was now very tired, and weak from loss of blood,
though far from dying. He walked slowly around the wall of the
ring, seeking a way out. He would not charge. He had had
enough. But he must be killed. There is a place, in the neck of
a bull behind the horns, where the cord of the spine is
unprotected and where a short stab will immediately kill.
Ordonez stepped in front of the bull and lowered his scarlet
cloth to the ground. The bull would not charge. He stood still
and smelled the cloth, lowering his head to do so. Ordonez
stabbed between the horns at the spot in the neck. The bull
jerked his head up. The stab had missed. Then the bull watched
the sword. When Ordonez moved the cloth on the ground, the bull
forgot the sword and lowered his head to smell the cloth. Again
Ordonez stabbed, and again he failed. He tried many times. It
was stupid. And John Harned said nothing. At last a stab went
home, and the bull fell to the sand, dead immediately, and the
mules were made fast and he was dragged out.
"The Gringos say it is a cruel sport--no?" said Luis Cervallos.
"That it is not humane. That it is bad for the bull. No?"
"No," said John Harned. "The bull does not count for much. It
is bad for those that look on. It is degrading to those that
look on. It teaches them to delight in animal suffering. It is
cowardly for five men to fight one stupid bull. Therefore those
that look on learn to be cowards. The bull dies, but those that
look on live and the lesson is learned. The bravery of men is
not nourished by scenes of cowardice."
Maria Valenzuela said nothing. Neither did she look at him. But
she heard every word and her cheeks were white with anger. She
looked out across the ring and fanned herself, but I saw that
her hand trembled. Nor did John Harned look at her. He went on
as though she were not there. He, too, was angry, coldly angry.
"It is the cowardly sport of a cowardly people," he said.
"Ah," said Luis Cervallos softly, "you think you understand
"I understand now the Spanish Inquisition," said John Harned.
"It must have been more delightful than bull-fighting."
Luis Cervallos smiled but said nothing. He glanced at Maria
Valenzuela, and knew that the bull-fight in the box was won.
Never would she have further to do with the Gringo who spoke
such words. But neither Luis Cervallos nor I was prepared for
the outcome of the day. I fear we do not understand the
Gringos. How were we to know that John Harned, who was so
coldly angry, should go suddenly mad! But mad he did go, as you
shall see. The bull did not count for much--he said so himself.
Then why should the horse count for so much? That I cannot
understand. The mind of John Harned lacked logic. That is the
"It is not usual to have horses in the bull-ring at Quito,"
said Luis Cervallos, looking up from the program. "In Spain
they always have them. But to-day, by special permission we
shall have them. When the next bull comes on there will be
horses and picadors-you know, the men who carry lances and ride
"The bull is doomed from the first," said John Harned. "Are the
horses then likewise doomed!"
"They are blindfolded so that they may not see the bull," said
Luis Cervallos. "I have seen many horses killed. It is a brave
"I have seen the bull slaughtered," said John Harned "I will
now see the horse slaughtered, so that I may understand more
fully the fine points of this noble sport."
"They are old horses," said Luis Cervallos, "that are not good
for anything else."
"I see," said John Harned.
The third bull came on, and soon against it were both capadors
and picadors. One picador took his stand directly below us. I
agree, it was a thin and aged horse he rode, a bag of bones
covered with mangy hide.
"It is a marvel that the poor brute can hold up the weight of
the rider," said John Harned. "And now that the horse fights
the bull, what weapons has it?"
"The horse does not fight the bull," said Luis Cervallos.
"Oh," said John Harned, "then is the horse there to be gored?
That must be why it is blindfolded, so that it shall not see
the bull coming to gore it."
"Not quite so," said I. "The lance of the picador is to keep
the bull from goring the horse."
"Then are horses rarely gored?" asked John Harned.
"No," said Luis Cervallos. "I have seen, at Seville, eighteen
horses killed in one day, and the people clamored for more
"Were they blindfolded like this horse?" asked John Harned.
"Yes," said Luis Cervallos.
After that we talked no more, but watched the fight. And John
Harned was going mad all the time, and we did not know. The
bull refused to charge the horse. And the horse stood still,
and because it could not see it did not know that the capadors
were trying to make the bull charge upon it. The capadors
teased the bull their capes, and when it charged them they ran
toward the horse and into their shelters. At last the bull was
angry, and it saw the horse before it.
"The horse does not know, the horse does not know," John Harned
whispered to himself, unaware that he voiced his thought aloud.
The bull charged, and of course the horse knew nothing till the
picador failed and the horse found himself impaled on the
bull's horns from beneath. The bull was magnificently strong.
The sight of its strength was splendid to see. It lifted the
horse clear into the air; and as the horse fell to its side on
on the ground the picador landed on his feet and escaped, while
the capadors lured the bull away. The horse was emptied of its
essential organs. Yet did it rise to its feet screaming. It was
the scream of the horse that did it, that made John Harned
completely mad; for he, too, started to rise to his feet, I
heard him curse low and deep. He never took his eyes from the
horse, which, screaming, strove to run, but fell down instead
and rolled on its back so that all its four legs were kicking
in the air. Then the bull charged it and gored it again and
again until it was dead.
John Harned was now on his feet. His eyes were no longer cold
like steel. They were blue flames. He looked at Maria
Valenzuela, and she looked at him, and in his face was a great
loathing. The moment of his madness was upon him. Everybody was
looking, now that the horse was dead; and John Harned was a
large man and easy to be seen.
"Sit down," said Luis Cervallos, "or you will make a fool of
John Harned replied nothing. He struck out his fist. He smote
Luis Cervallos in the face so that he fell like a dead man
across the chairs and did not rise again. He saw nothing of
what followed. But I saw much. Urcisino Castillo, leaning
forward from the next box, with his cane struck John Harned
full across the face. And John Harned smote him with his fist
so that in falling he overthrew General Salazar. John Harned
was now in what-you-call Berserker rage--no? The beast
primitive in him was loose and roaring--the beast primitive of
the holes and caves of the long ago.
"You came for a bull-fight," I heard him say, "And by God I'll
show you a man-fight!"
It was a fight. The soldiers guarding the Presidente's box
leaped across, but from one of them he took a rifle and beat
them on their heads with it. From the other box Colonel Jacinto
Fierro was shooting at him with a revolver. The first shot
killed a soldier. This I know for a fact. I saw it. But the
second shot struck John Harned in the side. Whereupon he swore,
and with a lunge drove the bayonet of his rifle into Colonel
Jacinto Fierro's body. It was horrible to behold. The Americans
and the English are a brutal race. They sneer at our
bull-fighting, yet do they delight in the shedding of blood.
More men were killed that day because of John Harned than were
ever killed in all the history of the bull-ring of Quito, yes,
and of Guayaquil and all Ecuador.
It was the scream of the horse that did it, yet why did not
John Harned go mad when the bull was killed? A beast is a
beast, be it bull or horse. John Harned was mad. There is no
other explanation. He was blood-mad, a beast himself. I leave
it to your judgment. Which is worse--the goring of the horse by
the bull, or the goring of Colonel Jacinto Fierro by the
bayonet in the hands of John Harned! And John Harned gored
others with that bayonet. He was full of devils. He fought with
many bullets in him, and he was hard to kill. And Maria
Valenzuela was a brave woman. Unlike the other women, she did
not cry out nor faint. She sat still in her box, gazing out
across the bull-ring. Her face was white and she fanned
herself, but she never looked around.
From all sides came the soldiers and officers and the common
people bravely to subdue the mad Gringo. It is true--the cry
went up from the crowd to kill all the Gringos. It is an old
cry in Latin-American countries, what of the dislike for the
Gringos and their uncouth ways. It is true, the cry went up.
But the brave Ecuadorianos killed only John Harned, and first
he killed seven of them. Besides, there were many hurt. I have
seen many bull-fights, but never have I seen anything so
abominable as the scene in the boxes when the fight was over.
It was like a field of battle. The dead lay around everywhere,
while the wounded sobbed and groaned and some of them died. One
man, whom John Harned had thrust through the belly with the
bayonet, clutched at himself with both his hands and screamed.
I tell you for a fact it was more terrible than the screaming
of a thousand horses.
No, Maria Valenzuela did not marry Luis Cervallos. I am sorry
for that. He was my friend, and much of my money was invested
in his ventures. It was five weeks before the surgeons took the
bandages from his face. And there is a scar there to this day,
on the cheek, under the eye. Yet John Harned struck him but
once and struck him only with his naked fist. Maria Valenzuela
is in Austria now. It is said she is to marry an Arch-Duke or
some high nobleman. I do not know. I think she liked John
Harned before he followed her to Quito to see the bull-fight.
But why the horse? That is what I desire to know. Why should he
watch the bull and say that it did not count, and then go
immediately and most horribly mad because a horse screamed ?
There is no understanding the Gringos. They are barbarians.
WHEN THE WORLD WAS YOUNG
HE was a very quiet, self-possessed sort of man, sitting a
moment on top of the wall to sound the damp darkness for
warnings of the dangers it might conceal. But the plummet of
his hearing brought nothing to him save the moaning of wind
through invisible trees and the rustling of leaves on swaying
branches. A heavy fog drifted and drove before the wind, and
though he could not see this fog, the wet of it blew upon his
face, and the wall on which he sat was wet.
Without noise he had climbed to the top of the wall from the
outside, and without noise he dropped to the ground on the
inside. From his pocket he drew an electric night-stick, but he
did not use it. Dark as the way was, he was not anxious for
light. Carrying the night-stick in his hand, his finger on the
button, he advanced through the darkness. The ground was
velvety and springy to his feet, being carpeted with dead
pine-needles and leaves and mold which evidently bad been
undisturbed for years. Leaves and branches brushed against his
body, but so dark was it that he could not avoid them. Soon he
walked with his hand stretched out gropingly before him, and
more than once the hand fetched up against the solid trunks of
massive trees. All about him he knew were these trees; he
sensed the loom of them everywhere; and he experienced a
strange feeling of microscopic smallness in the midst of great
bulks leaning toward him to crush him. Beyond, he knew, was the
house, and he expected to find some trail or winding path that
would lead easily to it.
Once, he found himself trapped. On every side he groped against
trees and branches, or blundered into thickets of underbrush,
until there seemed no way out. Then he turned on his light,
circumspectly, directing its rays to the ground at his feet.
Slowly and carefully he moved it about him, the white
brightness showing in sharp detail all the obstacles to his
progress. He saw, an opening between huge-trunked trees, and
advanced through it, putting out the light and treading on dry
footing as yet protected from the drip of the fog by the dense
foliage overhead. His sense of direction was good, and he knew
he was going toward the house.
And then the thing happened--the thing unthinkable and
unexpected. His descending foot came down upon something that
was soft and alive, and that arose with a snort under the
weight of his body. He sprang clear, and crouched for another
spring, anywhere, tense and expectant, keyed for the onslaught
of the unknown. He waited a moment, wondering what manner of
animal it was that had arisen from under his foot and that now
made no sound nor movement and that must be crouching and
waiting just as tensely and expectantly as he. The strain
became unbearable. Holding the night-stick before him, he
pressed the button, saw, and screamed aloud in terror. He was
prepared for anything, from a frightened calf or fawn to a
belligerent lion, but he was not prepared for what he saw. In
that instant his tiny searchlight, sharp and white, had shown
him what a thousand years would not en. able him to forget--a
man, huge and blond, yellow-haired and yellow-bearded, naked
except for soft-tanned moccasins and what seemed a goat-skin
about his middle. Arms and legs were bare, as were his
shoulders and most of his chest. The skin was smooth and
hairless, but browned by sun and wind, while under it heavy
muscles were knotted like fat snakes. Still, this alone,
unexpected as it well was, was not what had made the man scream
out. What had caused his terror was the unspeakable ferocity of
the face, the wild-animal glare of the blue eyes scarcely
dazzled by the light, the pine-needles matted and clinging in
the beard and hair, and the whole formidable body crouched and
in the act of springing at him. Practically in the instant he
saw all this, and while his scream still rang, the thing
leaped, he flung his night-stick full at it, and threw himself
to the ground. He felt its feet and shins strike against his
ribs, and he bounded up and away while the thing itself hurled
onward in a heavy crashing fall into the underbrush.
As the noise of the fall ceased, the man stopped and on hands
and knees waited. He could hear the thing moving about,
searching for him, and he was afraid to advertise his location
by attempting further flight. He knew that inevitably he would
crackle the underbrush and be pursued. Once he drew out his
revolver, then changed his mind. He had recovered his composure
and hoped to get away without noise. Several times he heard the
thing beating up the thickets for him, and there were moments
when it, too, remained still and listened. This gave an idea to
the man. One of his hands was resting on a chunk of dead wood.
Carefully, first feeling about him in the darkness to know that
the full swing of his arm was clear, he raised the chunk of
wood and threw it. It was not a large piece, and it went far,
landing noisily in a bush. He heard the thing bound into the
bush, and at the same time himself crawled steadily away. And
on hands and knees, slowly and cautiously, he crawled on, till
his knees were wet on the soggy mold, When he listened he heard
naught but the moaning wind and the drip-drip of the fog from
the branches. Never abating his caution, he stood erect and
went on to the stone wall, over which he climbed and dropped
down to the road outside.
Feeling his way in a clump of bushes, he drew out a bicycle and
prepared to mount. He was in the act of driving the gear around
with his foot for the purpose of getting the opposite pedal in
position, when he heard the thud of a heavy body that landed
lightly and evidently on its feet. He did not wait for more,
but ran, with hands on the handles of his bicycle, until he was
able to vault astride the saddle, catch the pedals, and start a
spurt. Behind he could hear the quick thud-thud of feet on the
dust of the road, but he drew away from it and lost it.
Unfortunately, he had started away from the direction of town
and was heading higher up into the hills. He knew that on this
particular road there were no cross roads. The only way back
was past that terror, and he could not steel himself to face
it. At the end of half an hour, finding himself on an ever
increasing grade, he dismounted. For still greater safety,
leaving the wheel by the roadside, he climbed through a fence
into what he decided was a hillside pasture, spread a newspaper
on the ground, and sat down.
"Gosh!" he said aloud, mopping the sweat and fog from his face.
And "Gosh!" he said once again, while rolling a cigarette and
as he pondered the problem of getting back.
But he made no attempt to go back. He was resolved not to face
that road in the dark, and with head bowed on knees, he dozed,
waiting for daylight.
How long afterward he did not know, he was awakened by the
yapping bark of a young coyote. As he looked about and located
it on the brow of the hill behind him, he noted the change that
had come over the face of the night. The fog was gone; the
stars and moon were out; even the wind had died down. It had
transformed into a balmy California summer night. He tried to
doze again, but the yap of the coyote disturbed him. Half
asleep, he heard a wild and eery chant. Looking about him, he
noticed that the coyote had ceased its noise and was running
away along the crest of the hill, and behind it, in full
pursuit, no longer chanting, ran the naked creature he had
encountered in the garden. It was a young coyote, and it was
being overtaken when the chase passed from view. The man
trembled as with a chill as he started to his feet, clambered
over the fence, and mounted his wheel. But it was his chance
and he knew it. The terror was no longer between him and Mill
He sped at a breakneck rate down the hill, but in the turn at
the bottom, in the deep shadows, he encountered a chuck-hole
and pitched headlong over the handle bar.
"It's sure not my night," he muttered, as he examined the
broken fork of the machine
Shouldering the useless wheel, he trudged on. In time he came
to the stone wall, and, half disbelieving his experience, he
sought in the road for tracks, and found them--moccasin tracks,
large ones, deep-bitten into the dust at the toes. It was while
bending over them, examining, that again he heard the eery
chant. He had seen the thing pursue the coyote, and he knew he
had no chance on a straight run. He did not attempt it,
contenting himself with hiding in the shadows on the off side
of the road.
And again he saw the thing that was like a naked man, running
swiftly and lightly and singing as it ran. Opposite him it
paused, and his heart stood still. But instead of coming toward
his hiding-place, it leaped into the air, caught the branch of
a roadside tree, and swung swiftly upward, from limb to limb,
like an ape. It swung across the wall, and a dozen feet above
the top, into the branches of another tree, and dropped out of
sight to the ground. The man waited a few wondering minutes,
then started on.
Dave Slotter leaned belligerently against the desk that barred
the way to the private office of James Ward, senior partner of
the firm of Ward, Knowles & Co. Dave was angry. Every one in
the outer office had looked him over suspiciously, and the man
who faced him was excessively suspicious.
"You just tell Mr. Ward it's important," he urged.
"I tell you he is dictating and cannot be disturbed," was the
answer. "Come to-morrow."
"To-morrow will be too late. You just trot along and tell Mr.
Ward it's a matter of life and death."
The secretary hesitated and Dave seized the advantage.
"You just tell him I was across the bay in Mill Valley last
night, and that I want to put him wise to something."
"What name?" was the query.
"Never mind the name. He don't know me."
When Dave was shown into the private office, he was still in
the belligerent frame of mind, but when he saw a large fair man
whirl in a revolving chair from dictating to a stenographer to
face him, Dave's demeanor abruptly changed. He did not know why
it changed, and he was secretly angry with himself.
"You are Mr. Ward?" Dave asked with a fatuousness that still
further irritated him. He had never intended it at all.
"Yes," came the answer.
"And who are you?"
"Harry Bancroft," Dave lied. "You don't know me, and my name
"You sent in word that you were in Mill Valley last night?"
"You live there, don't you?" Dave countered, looking
suspiciously at the stenographer.
"Yes. What do you mean to see me about? I am very busy."
"I'd like to see you alone, sir."
Mr. Ward gave him a quick, penetrating look, hesitated, then
made up his mind.
"That will do for a few minutes, Miss Potter."
The girl arose, gathered her notes together, and passed out.
Dave looked at Mr. James Ward wonderingly, until that gentleman
broke his train of inchoate thought.
"I was over in Mill Valley last night," Dave began confusedly.
"I've heard that before. What do you want?"
And Dave proceeded in the face of a growing conviction that was
unbelievable. "I was at your house, or in the grounds, I mean."
"What were you doing there?"
"I came to break in," Dave answered in all frankness.
"I heard you lived all alone with a Chinaman for cook, and it
looked good to me. Only I didn't break in. Something happened
that prevented. That's why I'm here. I come to warn you. I
found a wild man loose in your grounds--a regular devil. He
could pull a guy like me to pieces. He gave me the run of my
life. He don't wear any clothes to speak of, he climbs trees
like a monkey, and he runs like a deer. I saw him chasing a
coyote, and the last I saw of it, by God, he was gaining on
Dave paused and looked for the effect that would follow his
words. But no effect came. James Ward was quietly curious, and
that was all.
"Very remarkable, very remarkable," he murmured. "A wild man,
you say. Why have you come to tell me?"
"To warn you of your danger. I'm something of a hard
proposition myself, but I don't believe in killing people . . .
that is, unnecessarily. I realized that you was in danger. I
thought I'd warn you. Honest, that's the game. Of course, if
you wanted to give me anything for my trouble, I'd take it.
That was in my mind, too. But I don't care whether you give me
anything or not. I've warned you any way, and done my duty."
Mr. Ward meditated and drummed on the surface of his desk. Dave
noticed they were large, powerful hands, withal well-cared for
despite their dark sunburn. Also, he noted what had already
caught his eye before--a tiny strip of flesh-colored
courtplaster on the forehead over one eve. And still the
thought that forced itself into his mind was unbelievable.
Mr. Ward took a wallet from his inside coat pocket, drew out a
greenback, and passed it to Dave, who noted as he pocketed it
that it was for twenty dollars.
"Thank you," said Mr. Ward, indicating that the interview was
at an end.
"I shall have the matter investigated. A wild man running loose
But so quiet a man was Mr. Ward, that Dave's courage returned.
Besides, a new theory had suggested itself. The wild man was
evidently Mr. Ward's brother, a lunatic privately confined.
Dave had heard of such things. Perhaps Mr. Ward wanted it kept
quiet. That was why he had given him the twenty dollars.
"Say," Dave began, "now I come to think of it that wild man
looked a lot like you--"
That was as far as Dave got, for at that moment he witnessed a
transformation and found himself gazing into the same
unspeakably ferocious blue eyes of the night before, at the
same clutching talon-like hands, and at the same formidable
bulk in the act of springing upon him. But this time Dave had
no night-stick to throw, and he was caught by the biceps of
both arms in a grip so terrific that it made him groan with
pain. He saw the large white teeth exposed, for all the world
as a dog's about to bite. Mr. Ward's beard brushed his face as
the teeth went in for the grip on his throat. But the bite was
not given. Instead, Dave felt the other's body stiffen as with
an iron restraint, and then he was flung aside, without effort
but with such force that only the wall stopped his momentum and
dropped him gasping to the floor.
"What do you mean by coming here and trying to blackmail me?"
Mr. Ward was snarling at him. "Here, give me back that money."
Dave passed the bill back without a word.
"I thought you came here with good intentions. I know you now.
Let me see and hear no more of you, or I'll put you in prison
where you belong. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," Dave gasped.
And Dave went, without further word, both his biceps aching
intolerably from the bruise of that tremendous grip. As his
hand rested on the door knob, he was stopped.
"You were lucky," Mr. Ward was saying, and Dave noted that his
face and eyes were cruel and gloating and proud.
"You were lucky. Had I wanted, I could have torn your muscles
out of your arms and thrown them in the waste basket there."
"Yes, sir," said Dave; and absolute conviction vibrated in his voice.
He opened the door and passed out. The secretary looked at him
"Gosh!" was all Dave vouchsafed, and with this utterance passed
out of the offices and the story.
James G. Ward was forty years of age, a successful business
man, and very unhappy. For forty years he had vainly tried to
solve a problem that was really himself and that with
increasing years became more and more a woeful affliction. In
himself he was two men, and, chronologically speaking, these
men were several thousand years or so apart. He had studied the
question of dual personality probably more profoundly than any
half dozen of the leading specialists in that intricate and
mysterious psychological field. In himself he was a different
case from any that had been recorded. Even the most fanciful
flights of the fiction-writers had not quite hit upon him. He
was not a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, nor was he like the
unfortunate young man in Kipling's "Greatest Story in the
World." His two personalities were so mixed that they were
practically aware of themselves and of each other all the time.
His other self he had located as a savage and a barbarian
living under the primitive conditions of several thousand years
before. But which self was he, and which was the other, he
could never tell. For he was both selves, and both selves all
the time. Very rarely indeed did it happen that one self did
not know what the other was doing. Another thing was that he
had no visions nor memories of the past in which that early
self had lived. That early self lived in the present; but while
it lived in the present, it was under the compulsion to live
the way of life that must have been in that distant past.
In his childhood he had been a problem to his father and
mother, and to the family doctors, though never had they come
within a thousand miles of hitting upon the clue to his
erratic, conduct. Thus, they could not understand his excessive
somnolence in the forenoon, nor his excessive activity at
night. When they found him wandering along the hallways at
night, or climbing over giddy roofs, or running in the hills,
they decided he was a somnambulist. In reality he was wide-eyed
awake and merely under the nightroaming compulsion of his early
self. Questioned by an obtuse medico, he once told the truth
and suffered the ignominy of having the revelation
contemptuously labeled and dismissed as "dreams."
The point was, that as twilight and evening came on he became
wakeful. The four walls of a room were an irk and a restraint.
He heard a thousand voices whispering to him through the
darkness. The night called to him, for he was, for that period
of the twenty-four hours, essentially a night-prowler. But
nobody understood, and never again did he attempt to explain.
They classified him as a sleep-walker and took precautions
accordingly--precautions that very often were futile. As his
childhood advanced, he grew more cunning, so that the major
portion of all his nights were spent in the open at realizing
his other self. As a result, he slept in the forenoons. Morning
studies and schools were impossible, and it was discovered that
only in the afternoons, under private teachers, could he be
taught anything. Thus was his modern self educated and
But a problem, as a child, he ever remained. He was known as a
little demon, of insensate cruelty and viciousness. The family
medicos privately adjudged him a mental monstrosity and
degenerate. Such few boy companions as he had, hailed him as a
wonder, though they were all afraid of him. He could outclimb,
outswim, outrun, outdevil any of them; while none dared fight
with him. He was too terribly strong, madly furious.
When nine years of age he ran away to the hills, where he
flourished, night-prowling, for seven weeks before he was
discovered and brought home. The marvel was how he had managed
to subsist and keep in condition during that time. They did not
know, and he never told them, of the rabbits he had killed, of
the quail, young and old, he had captured and devoured, of the
farmers' chicken-roosts he had raided, nor of the cave-lair he
had made and carpeted with dry leaves and grasses and in which
he had slept in warmth and comfort through the forenoons of
At college he was notorious for his sleepiness and stupidity
during the morning lectures and for his brilliance in the
afternoon. By collateral reading and by borrowing the notebook
of his fellow students he managed to scrape through the
detestable morning courses, while his afternoon courses were
triumphs. In football he proved a giant and a terror, and, in
almost every form of track athletics, save for strange
Berserker rages that were sometimes displayed, he could be
depended upon to win. But his fellows were afraid to box with
him, and he signalized his last wrestling bout by sinking his
teeth into the shoulder of his opponent.
After college, his father, in despair, sent him among the
cow-punchers of a Wyoming ranch. Three months later the doughty
cowmen confessed he was too much for them and telegraphed his
father to come and take the wild man away. Also, when the
father arrived to take him away, the cowmen allowed that they
would vastly prefer chumming with howling cannibals, gibbering
lunatics, cavorting gorillas, grizzly bears, and man-eating
tigers than with this particular Young college product with
hair parted in the middle.
There was one exception to the lack of memory of the life of
his early self, and that was language. By some quirk of
atavism, a certain portion of that early self's language had
come down to him as a racial memory. In moments of happiness,
exaltation, or battle, he was prone to burst out in wild
barbaric songs or chants. It was by this means that he located
in time and space that strayed half of him who should have been
dead and dust for thousands of years. He sang, once, and
deliberately, several of the ancient chants in the presence of
Professor Wertz, who gave courses in old Saxon and who was a
philogist of repute and passion. At the first one, the
professor pricked up his ears and demanded to know what mongrel
tongue or hog-German it was. When the second chant was
rendered, the professor was highly excited. James Ward then
concluded the performance by giving a song that always
irresistibly rushed to his lips when he was engaged in fierce
struggling or fighting. Then it was that Professor Wertz
proclaimed it no hog-German, but early German, or early Teuton,
of a date that must far precede anything that had ever been
discovered and handed down by the scholars. So early was it
that it was beyond him; yet it was filled with haunting
reminiscences of word-forms he knew and which his trained
intuition told him were true and real. He demanded the source
of the songs, and asked to borrow the precious book that
contained them. Also, he demanded to know why young Ward had
always posed as being profoundly ignorant of the German
language. And Ward could neither explain his ignorance nor lend
the book. Whereupon, after pleadings and entreaties that
extended through weeks, Professor Wert took a dislike to the
young man, believed him a liar, and classified him as a man of
monstrous selfishness for not giving him a glimpse of this
wonderful screed that was older than the oldest any philologist
had ever known or dreamed.
But little good did it do this much-mixed young man to know
that half of him was late American and the other half early
Teuton. Nevertheless, the late American in him was no weakling,
and he (if he were a he and had a shred of existence outside of
these two) compelled an adjustment or compromise between his
one self that was a nightprowling savage that kept his other
self sleepy of mornings, and that other self that was cultured
and refined and that wanted to be normal and live and love and
prosecute business like other people. The afternoons and early
evenings he gave to the one, the nights to the other; the
forenoons and parts of the nights were devoted to sleep for the
twain. But in the mornings he slept in bed like a civilized
man. In the night time he slept like a wild animal, as he had
slept Dave Slotter stepped on him in the woods.
Persuading his father to advance the capital, he went into
business and keen and successful business he made of it,
devoting his afternoons whole-souled to it, while his partner
devoted the mornings. The early evenings he spent socially,
but, as the hour grew to nine or ten, an irresistible
restlessness overcame him and he disappeared from the haunts of
men until the next afternoon. Friends and acquaintances thought
that he spent much of his time in sport. And they were right,
though they never would have dreamed of the nature of the
sport, even if they had seen him running coyotes in
night-chases over the hills of Mill Valley. Neither were the
schooner captains believed when they reported seeing, on cold
winter mornings, a man swimming in the tide-rips of Raccoon
Straits or in the swift currents between Goat island and Angel
Island miles from shore.
In the bungalow at Mill Valley he lived alone, save for Lee
Sing, the Chinese cook and factotum, who knew much about the
strangeness of his master, who was paid well for saying
nothing, and who never did say anything. After the satisfaction
of his nights, a morning's sleep, and a breakfast of Lee
Sing's, James Ward crossed the bay to San Francisco on a midday
ferryboat and went to the club and on to his office, as normal
and conventional a man of business as could be found in the
city. But as the evening lengthened, the night called to him.
There came a quickening of all his perceptions and a
restlessness. His hearing was suddenly acute; the myriad
night-noises told him a luring and familiar story; and, if
alone, he would begin to pace up and down the narrow room like
any caged animal from the wild.
Once, he ventured to fall in love. He never permitted himself
that diversion again. He was afraid. And for many a day the
young lady, scared at least out of a portion of her young
ladyhood, bore on her arms and shoulders and wrists divers
black-and-blue bruises--tokens of caresses which he had
bestowed in all fond gentleness but too late at night. There
was the mistake. Had he ventured love-making in the afternoon,
all would have been well, for it would have been as the quiet
gentleman that he would have made love--but at night it was the
uncouth, wife-stealing savage of the dark German forests. Out
of his wisdom, he decided that afternoon love-making could be
prosecuted successfully; but out of the same wisdom he was
convinced that marriage as would prove a ghastly failure. He
found it appalling to imagine being married and encountering
his wife after dark.
So he had eschewed all love-making, regulated his dual life,
cleaned up a million in business, fought shy of match-making
mamas and bright-eyed and eager young ladies of various ages,
met Lilian Gersdale and made it a rigid observance never to see
her later than eight o'clock in the evening, run of nights
after his coyotes, and slept in forest lairs--and through it
all had kept his secret safe save Lee Sing . . . and now, Dave
Slotter. It was the latter's discovery of both his selves that
frightened him. In spite of the counter fright he had given the
burglar, the latter might talk. And even if he did not, sooner
or later he would be found out by some one else.
Thus it was that James Ward made a fresh and heroic effort to
control the Teutonic barbarian that was half of him. So well
did he make it a point to see Lilian in the afternoons, that
the time came when she accepted him for better or worse, and
when he prayed privily and fervently that it was not for worse.
During this period no prize-fighter ever trained more harshly
and faithfully for a contest than he trained to subdue the wild
savage in him. Among other things, he strove to exhaust himself
during the day, so that sleep would render him deaf to the call
of the night. He took a vacation from the office and went on
long hunting trips, following the deer through the most
inaccessible and rugged country he could find--and always in
the daytime. Night found him indoors and tired. At home he
installed a score of exercise machines, and where other men
might go through a particular movement ten times, he went
hundreds. Also, as a compromise, he built a sleeping porch on
the second story. Here he at least breathed the blessed night
air. Double screens prevented him from escaping into the woods,
and each night Lee Sing locked him in and each morning let him
The time came, in the month of August, when he engaged
additional servants to assist Lee Sing and dared a house party
in his Mill Valley bungalow. Lilian, her mother and brother,
and half a dozen mutual friends, were the guests. For two days
and nights all went well. And on the third night, playing
bridge till eleven o'clock, he had reason to be proud of
himself. His restlessness fully hid, but as luck would have it,
Lilian Gersdale was his opponent on his right. She was a frail
delicate flower of a woman, and in his night-mood her very
frailty incensed him. Not that he loved her less, but that he
felt almost irresistibly impelled to reach out and paw and maul
her. Especially was this true when she was engaged in playing a
winning hand against him.
He had one of the deer-hounds brought in and, when it seemed he
must fly to pieces with the tension, a caressing hand laid on
the animal brought him relief. These contacts with the hairy
coat gave him instant easement and enabled him to play out the
evening. Nor did anyone guess the while terrible struggle their
host was making, the while he laughed so carelessly and played
so keenly and deliberately.
When they separated for the night, he saw to it that he parted
from Lilian in the presence or the others. Once on his sleeping
porch and safely locked in, he doubled and tripled and even
quadrupled his exercises until, exhausted, he lay down on the
couch to woo sleep and to ponder two problems that especially
troubled him. One was this matter of exercise. It was a
paradox. The more he exercised in this excessive fashion, the
stronger he became. While it was true that he thus quite tired
out his night-running Teutonic self, it seemed that he was
merely setting back the fatal day when his strength would be
too much for him and overpower him, and then it would be a
strength more terrible than he had yet known. The other problem
was that of his marriage and of the stratagems he must employ
in order to avoid his wife after dark. And thus, fruitlessly
pondering, he fell asleep.
Now, where the huge grizzly bear came from that night was long
a mystery, while the people of the Springs Brothers' Circus,
showing at Sausalito, searched long and vainly for "Big Ben,
the Biggest Grizzly in Captivity." But Big Ben escaped, and,
out of the mazes of half a thousand bungalows and country
estates, selected the grounds of James J. Ward for visitation.
The self first Mr. Ward knew was when he found him on his feet,
quivering and tense, a surge of battle in his breast and on his
lips the old war-chant. From without came a wild baying and
bellowing of the hounds. And sharp as a knife-thrust through
the pandemonium came the agony of a stricken dog--his dog, he
Not stopping for slippers, pajama-clad, he burst through the
door Lee Sing had so carefully locked, and sped down the stairs
and out into the night. As his naked feet struck the graveled
driveway, he stopped abruptly, reached under the steps to a
hiding-place he knew well, and pulled forth a huge knotty
club--his old companion on many a mad night adventure on the
hills. The frantic hullabaloo of the dogs was coming nearer,
and, swinging the club, he sprang straight into the thickets to
The aroused household assembled on the wide veranda. Somebody
turned on the electric lights, but they could see nothing but
one another's frightened faces. Beyond the brightly illuminated
driveway the trees formed a wall of impenetrable blackness. Yet
somewhere in that blackness a terrible struggle was going on.
There was an infernal outcry of animals, a great snarling and