Part 4 out of 4
"It is my custom," said the old man, "on the Sabbath day to read
aloud from the great work entitled the 'Apology for Authorized and
Set Forms of Liturgy,' by the ecclesiastical philosopher and revered
theologian, Jeremy Taylor."
"I know it," said Mary blissfully, folding her hands.
For two hours the numbers of the great Jeremy rolled forth like the
notes of an oratorio played on the violoncello. Mary sat gloating
in the new sensation of racking physical discomfort that the wooden
chair brought her. Perhaps there is no happiness in life so perfect
as the martyr's. Jeremy's minor chords soothed her like the music of
a tom-tom. "Why, oh why," she said to herself, "does some one not
write words to it?"
At eleven they went to church in Crocusville. The back of the pine
bench on which she sat had a penitential forward tilt that would
have brought St. Simeon down, in jealousy, from his pillar. The
preacher singled her out, and thundered upon her vicarious head
the damnation of the world. At each side of her an adamant parent
held her rigidly to the bar of judgment. An ant crawled upon her
neck, but she dared not move. She lowered her eyes before the
congregation--a hundred-eyed Cerberus that watched the gates through
which her sins were fast thrusting her. Her soul was filled with a
delirious, almost a fanatic joy. For she was out of the clutch of
the tyrant, Freedom. Dogma and creed pinioned her with beneficent
cruelty, as steel braces bind the feet of a crippled child. She was
hedged, adjured, shackled, shored up, strait-jacketed, silenced,
ordered. When they came out the minister stopped to greet them.
Mary could only hang her head and answer "Yes, sir," and "No, sir,"
to his questions. When she saw that the other women carried their
hymn-books at their waists with their left hands, she blushed and
moved hers there, too, from her right.
She took the three-o'clock train back to the city. At nine she sat
at the round table for dinner in the Café André. Nearly the same
crowd was there.
"Where have you been to-day?" asked Mrs. Pothunter. "I 'phoned to
you at twelve."
"I have been away in Bohemia," answered Mary, with a mystic smile.
There! Mary has given it away. She has spoiled my climax. For I
was to have told you that Bohemia is nothing more than the little
country in which you do not live. If you try to obtain citizenship
in it, at once the court and retinue pack the royal archives and
treasure and move away beyond the hills. It is a hillside that you
turn your head to peer at from the windows of the Through Express.
At exactly half past eleven Kappelman, deceived by a new softness
and slowness of riposte and parry in Mary Adrian, tried to kiss her.
Instantly she slapped his face with such strength and cold fury that
he shrank down, sobered, with the flaming red print of a hand across
his leering features. And all sounds ceased, as when the shadows of
great wings come upon a flock of chattering sparrows. One had broken
the paramount law of sham-Bohemia--the law of "_Laisser faire_." The
shock came not from the blow delivered, but from the blow received.
With the effect of a schoolmaster entering the play-room of his
pupils was that blow administered. Women pulled down their sleeves
and laid prim hands against their ruffled side locks. Men looked at
their watches. There was nothing of the effect of a brawl about it;
it was purely the still panic produced by the sound of the ax of the
fly cop, Conscience hammering at the gambling-house doors of the
With their punctilious putting on of cloaks, with their exaggerated
pretense of not having seen or heard, with their stammering exchange
of unaccustomed formalities, with their false show of a light-hearted
exit I must take leave of my Bohemian party. Mary has robbed me of my
climax; and she may go.
But I am not defeated. Somewhere there exists a great vault miles
broad and miles long--more capacious than the champagne caves of
France. In that vault are stored the anticlimaxes that should have
been tagged to all the stories that have been told in the world. I
shall cheat that vault of one deposit.
Minnie Brown, with her aunt, came from Crocusville down to the city
to see the sights. And because she had escorted me to fishless trout
streams and exhibited to me open-plumbed waterfalls and broken my
camera while I Julyed in her village, I must escort her to the hives
containing the synthetic clover honey of town.
Especially did the custom-made Bohemia charm her. The spaghetti
wound its tendrils about her heart; the free red wine drowned her
belief in the existence of commercialism in the world; she was
dared and enchanted by the rugose wit that can be churned out of
But one evening I got her away from the smell of halibut and
linoleum long enough to read to her the manuscript of this story,
which then ended before her entrance into it. I read it to her
because I knew that all the printing-presses in the world were
running to try to please her and some others. And I asked her about
"I didn't quite catch the trains," said she. "How long was Mary in
"Ten hours and five minutes," I replied.
"Well, then, the story may do," said Minnie. "But if she had stayed
there a week Kappelman would have got his kiss."
THE FERRY OF UNFULFILMENT
At the street corner, as solid as granite in the "rush-hour" tide
of humanity, stood the Man from Nome. The Arctic winds and sun had
stained him berry-brown. His eye still held the azure glint of the
He was as alert as a fox, as tough as a caribou cutlet and as
broad-gauged as the aurora borealis. He stood sprayed by a Niagara
of sound--the crash of the elevated trains, clanging cars, pounding
of rubberless tires and the antiphony of the cab and truck-drivers
indulging in scarifying repartee. And so, with his gold dust cashed
in to the merry air of a hundred thousand, and with the cakes and
ale of one week in Gotham turning bitter on his tongue, the Man from
Nome sighed to set foot again in Chilkoot, the exit from the land of
street noises and Dead Sea apple pies.
Up Sixth avenue, with the tripping, scurrying, chattering,
bright-eyed, homing tide came the Girl from Sieber-Mason's. The Man
from Nome looked and saw, first, that she was supremely beautiful
after his own conception of beauty; and next, that she moved with
exactly the steady grace of a dog sled on a level crust of snow. His
third sensation was an instantaneous conviction that he desired her
greatly for his own. This quickly do men from Nome make up their
minds. Besides, he was going back to the North in a short time, and
to act quickly was no less necessary.
A thousand girls from the great department store of Sieber-Mason
flowed along the sidewalk, making navigation dangerous to men whose
feminine field of vision for three years has been chiefly limited to
Siwash and Chilkat squaws. But the Man from Nome, loyal to her who
had resurrected his long cached heart, plunged into the stream of
pulchritude and followed her.
Down Twenty-third street she glided swiftly, looking to neither side;
no more flirtatious than the bronze Diana above the Garden. Her fine
brown hair was neatly braided; her neat waist and unwrinkled black
skirt were eloquent of the double virtues--taste and economy. Ten
yards behind followed the smitten Man from Nome.
Miss Claribel Colby, the Girl from Sieber-Mason's, belonged to
that sad company of mariners known as Jersey commuters. She walked
into the waiting-room of the ferry, and up the stairs, and by a
marvellous swift, little run, caught the ferry-boat that was just
going out. The Man from Nome closed up his ten yards in three jumps
and gained the deck close beside her.
Miss Colby chose a rather lonely seat on the outside of the
upper-cabin. The night was not cold, and she desired to be away from
the curious eyes and tedious voices of the passengers. Besides, she
was extremely weary and drooping from lack of sleep. On the previous
night she had graced the annual ball and oyster fry of the West Side
Wholesale Fish Dealers' Assistants' Social Club No. 2, thus reducing
her usual time of sleep to only three hours.
And the day had been uncommonly troublous. Customers had been
inordinately trying; the buyer in her department had scolded her
roundly for letting her stock run down; her best friend, Mamie
Tuthill, had snubbed her by going to lunch with that Dockery girl.
The Girl from Sieber-Mason's was in that relaxed, softened mood
that often comes to the independent feminine wage-earner. It is a
mood most propitious for the man who would woo her. Then she has
yearnings to be set in some home and heart; to be comforted, and to
hide behind some strong arm and rest, rest. But Miss Claribel Colby
was also very sleepy.
There came to her side a strong man, browned and dressed carelessly
in the best of clothes, with his hat in his hand.
"Lady," said the Man from Nome, respectfully, "excuse me for
speaking to you, but I--I--I saw you on the street, and--and--"
"Oh, gee!" remarked the Girl from Sieber-Mason's, glancing up with
the most capable coolness. "Ain't there any way to ever get rid
of you mashers? I've tried everything from eating onions to using
hatpins. Be on your way, Freddie."
"I'm not one of that kind, lady," said the Man from Nome--"honest,
I'm not. As I say, I saw you on the street, and I wanted to know you
so bad I couldn't help followin' after you. I was afraid I wouldn't
ever see you again in this big town unless I spoke; and that's why I
Miss Colby looked once shrewdly at him in the dim light on the
ferry-boat. No; he did not have the perfidious smirk or the brazen
swagger of the lady-killer. Sincerity and modesty shone through his
boreal tan. It seemed to her that it might be good to hear a little
of what he had to say.
"You may sit down," she said, laying her hand over a yawn with
ostentatious politness; "and--mind--don't get fresh or I'll call the
The Man from Nome sat by her side. He admired her greatly. He more
than admired her. She had exactly the looks he had tried so long in
vain to find in a woman. Could she ever come to like him? Well, that
was to be seen. He must do all in his power to stake his claim,
"My name's Blayden," said he--"Henry Blayden."
"Are you real sure it ain't Jones?" asked the girl, leaning toward
him, with delicious, knowing raillery.
"I'm down from Nome," he went on with anxious seriousness. "I
scraped together a pretty good lot of dust up there, and brought it
down with me."
"Oh, say!" she rippled, pursuing persiflage with engaging lightness,
"then you must be on the White Wings force. I thought I'd seen you
"You didn't see me on the street to-day when I saw you."
"I never look at fellows on the street."
"Well, I looked at you; and I never looked at anything before that I
thought was half as pretty."
"Shall I keep the change?"
"Yes, I reckon so. I reckon you could keep anything I've got. I
reckon I'm what you would call a rough man, but I could be awful
good to anybody I liked. I've had a rough time of it up yonder, but
I beat the game. Nearly 5,000 ounces of dust was what I cleaned up
while I was there."
"Goodness!" exclaimed Miss Colby, obligingly sympathetic. "It must
be an awful dirty place, wherever it is."
And then her eyes closed. The voice of the Man from Nome had a
monotony in its very earnestness. Besides, what dull talk was this
of brooms and sweeping and dust? She leaned her head back against
"Miss," said the Man from Nome, with deeper earnestness and
monotony, "I never saw anybody I liked as well as I do you. I know
you can't think that way of me right yet; but can't you give me a
chance? Won't you let me know you, and see if I can't make you like
The head of the Girl from Sieber-Mason's slid over gently and rested
upon his shoulder. Sweet sleep had won her, and she was dreaming
rapturously of the Wholesale Fish Dealers' Assistants' ball.
The gentleman from Nome kept his arms to himself. He did not
suspect sleep, and yet he was too wise to attribute the movement to
surrender. He was greatly and blissfully thrilled, but he ended by
regarding the head upon his shoulder as an encouraging preliminary,
merely advanced as a harbinger of his success, and not to be taken
One small speck of alloy discounted the gold of his satisfaction.
Had he spoken too freely of his wealth? He wanted to be liked for
"I want to say, Miss," he said, "that you can count on me. They know
me in the Klondike from Juneau to Circle City and down the whole
length of the Yukon. Many a night I've laid in the snow up there
where I worked like a slave for three years, and wondered if I'd
ever have anybody to like me. I didn't want all that dust just
myself. I thought I'd meet just the right one some time, and I done
it to-day. Money's a mighty good thing to have, but to have the love
of the one you like best is better still. If you was ever to marry a
man, Miss, which would you rather he'd have?"
The word came sharply and loudly from Miss Colby's lips, giving
evidence that in her dreams she was now behind her counter in the
great department store of Sieber-Mason.
Her head suddenly bobbed over sideways. She awoke, sat straight, and
rubbed her eyes. The Man from Nome was gone.
"Gee! I believe I've been asleep," said Miss Colby "Wonder what
became of the White Wings!"
THE TALE OF A TAINTED TENNER
Money talks. But you may think that the conversation of a little old
ten-dollar bill in New York would be nothing more than a whisper.
Oh, very well! Pass up this _sotto voce_ autobiography of an X if
you like. If you are one of the kind that prefers to listen to John
D's checkbook roar at you through a megaphone as it passes by, all
right. But don't forget that small change can say a word to the
point now and then. The next time you tip your grocer's clerk a
silver quarter to give you extra weight of his boss's goods read the
four words above the lady's head. How are they for repartee?
I am a ten-dollar Treasury note, series of 1901. You may have seen
one in a friend's hand. On my face, in the centre, is a picture of
the bison Americanus, miscalled a buffalo by fifty or sixty millions
of Americans. The heads of Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clark adorn the
ends. On my back is the graceful figure of Liberty or Ceres or
Maxine Elliot standing in the centre of the stage on a conservatory
plant. My references is--or are--Section 3,588, Revised Statutes.
Ten cold, hard dollars--I don't say whether silver, gold, lead or
iron--Uncle Sam will hand you over his counter if you want to cash
I beg you will excuse any conversational breaks that I make--thanks,
I knew you would--got that sneaking little respect and agreeable
feeling toward even an X, haven't you? You see, a tainted bill
doesn't have much chance to acquire a correct form of expression. I
never knew a really cultured and educated person that could afford
to hold a ten-spot any longer than it would take to do an Arthur
Duffy to the nearest That's All! sign or delicatessen store.
For a six-year-old, I've had a lively and gorgeous circulation. I
guess I've paid as many debts as the man who dies. I've been owned
by a good many kinds of people. But a little old ragged, damp, dingy
five-dollar silver certificate gave me a jar one day. I was next to
it in the fat and bad-smelling purse of a butcher.
"Hey, you Sitting Bull," says I, "don't scrouge so. Anyhow, don't
you think it's about time you went in on a customs payment and got
reissued? For a series of 1899 you're a sight."
"Oh, don't get crackly just because you're a Buffalo bill," says
the fiver. "You'd be limp, too, if you'd been stuffed down in a
thick cotton-and-lisle-thread under an elastic all day, and the
thermometer not a degree under 85 in the store."
"I never heard of a pocketbook like that," says I. "Who carried
"A shopgirl," says the five-spot.
"What's that?" I had to ask.
"You'll never know till their millennium comes," says the fiver.
Just then a two-dollar bill behind me with a George Washington head,
spoke up to the fiver:
"Aw, cut out yer kicks. Ain't lisle thread good enough for yer? If
you was under all cotton like I've been to-day, and choked up with
factory dust till the lady with the cornucopia on me sneezed half a
dozen times, you'd have some reason to complain."
That was the next day after I arrived in New York. I came in a $500
package of tens to a Brooklyn bank from one of its Pennsylvania
correspondents--and I haven't made the acquaintance of any of the
five and two spot's friends' pocketbooks yet. Silk for mine, every
I was lucky money. I kept on the move. Sometimes I changed hands
twenty times a day. I saw the inside of every business; I fought for
my owner's every pleasure. It seemed that on Saturday nights I never
missed being slapped down on a bar. Tens were always slapped down,
while ones and twos were slid over to the bartenders folded. I got
in the habit of looking for mine, and I managed to soak in a little
straight or some spilled Martini or Manhattan whenever I could.
Once I got tied up in a great greasy roll of bills in a pushcart
peddler's jeans. I thought I never would get in circulation again,
for the future department store owner lived on eight cents' worth
of dog meat and onions a day. But this peddler got into trouble one
day on account of having his cart too near a crossing, and I was
rescued. I always will feel grateful to the cop that got me. He
changed me at a cigar store near the Bowery that was running a crap
game in the back room. So it was the Captain of the precinct, after
all, that did me the best turn, when he got his. He blew me for wine
the next evening in a Broadway restaurant; and I really felt as glad
to get back again as an Astor does when he sees the lights of
A tainted ten certainly does get action on Broadway. I was alimony
once, and got folded in a little dogskin purse among a lot of dimes.
They were bragging about the busy times there were in Ossining
whenever three girls got hold of one of them during the ice cream
season. But it's Slow Moving Vehicles Keep to the Right for the
little Bok tips when you think of the way we bison plasters refuse
to stick to anything during the rush lobster hour.
The first I ever heard of tainted money was one night when a good
thing with a Van to his name threw me over with some other bills to
buy a stack of blues.
About midnight a big, easy-going man with a fat face like a monk's
and the eye of a janitor with his wages raised took me and a lot
of other notes and rolled us into what is termed a "wad" among the
"Ticket me for five hundred," said he to the banker, "and look out
for everything, Charlie. I'm going out for a stroll in the glen
before the moonlight fades from the brow of the cliff. If anybody
finds the roof in their way there's $60,000 wrapped in a comic
supplement in the upper left-hand corner of the safe. Be bold;
everywhere be bold, but be not bowled over. 'Night."
I found myself between two $20 gold certificates. One of 'em says to
"Well, old shorthorn, you're in luck to-night. You'll see something
of life. Old Jack's going to make the Tenderloin look like a hamburg
"Explain," says I. "I'm used to joints, but I don't care for filet
mignon with the kind of sauce you serve."
"'Xcuse me," said the twenty. "Old Jack is the proprietor of this
gambling house. He's going on a whiz to-night because he offered
$50,000 to a church and it refused to accept it because they said
his money was tainted."
"What is a church?" I asked.
"Oh, I forgot," says the twenty, "that I was talking to a tenner. Of
course you don't know. You're too much to put into the contribution
basket, and not enough to buy anything at a bazaar. A church is--a
large building in which penwipers and tidies are sold at $20 each."
I don't care much about chinning with gold certificates. There's a
streak of yellow in 'em. All is not gold that's quitters.
Old Jack certainly was a gild-edged sport. When it came his time to
loosen up he never referred the waiter to an actuary.
By and by it got around that he was smiting the rock in the
wilderness; and all along Broadway things with cold noses and hot
gullets fell in on our trail. The third Jungle Book was there
waiting for somebody to put covers on it. Old Jack's money may have
had a taint to it, but all the same he had orders for his Camembert
piling up on him every minute. First his friends rallied round him;
and then the fellows that his friends knew by sight; and then a
few of his enemies buried the hatchet; and finally he was buying
souvenirs for so many Neapolitan fisher maidens and butterfly
octettes that the head waiters were 'phoning all over town for
Julian Mitchell to please come around and get them into some kind
At last we floated into an uptown café that I knew by heart. When the
hod-carriers' union in jackets and aprons saw us coming the chief
goal kicker called out: "Six--eleven--forty-two--nineteen--twelve"
to his men, and they put on nose guards till it was clear whether we
meant Port Arthur or Portsmouth. But old Jack wasn't working for the
furniture and glass factories that night. He sat down quiet and sang
"Ramble" in a half-hearted way. His feelings had been hurt, so the
twenty told me, because his offer to the church had been refused.
But the wassail went on; and Brady himself couldn't have hammered
the thirst mob into a better imitation of the real penchant for the
stuff that you screw out of a bottle with a napkin.
Old Jack paid the twenty above me for a round, leaving me on the
outside of his roll. He laid the roll on the table and sent for the
"Mike," says he, "here's money that the good people have refused.
Will it buy of your wares in the name of the devil? They say it's
"I will," says Mike, "and I'll put it in the drawer next to the
bills that was paid to the parson's daughter for kisses at the
church fair to build a new parsonage for the parson's daughter to
At 1 o'clock when the hod-carriers were making ready to close up
the front and keep the inside open, a woman slips in the door of
the restaurant and comes up to Old Jack's table. You've seen the
kind--black shawl, creepy hair, ragged skirt, white face, eyes a
cross between Gabriel's and a sick kitten's--the kind of woman
that's always on the lookout for an automobile or the mendicancy
squad--and she stands there without a word and looks at the money.
Old Jack gets up, peels me off the roll and hands me to her with a
"Madam," says he, just like actors I've heard, "here is a tainted
bill. I am a gambler. This bill came to me to-night from a
gentleman's son. Where he got it I do not know. If you will do me
the favor to accept it, it is yours."
The woman took me with a trembling hand.
"Sir," said she, "I counted thousands of this issue of bills into
packages when they were virgin from the presses. I was a clerk in
the Treasury Department. There was an official to whom I owed my
position. You say they are tainted now. If you only knew--but
I won't say any more. Thank you with all my heart, sir--thank
Where do you suppose that woman carried me almost at a run? To a
bakery. Away from Old Jack and a sizzling good time to a bakery.
And I get changed, and she does a Sheridan-twenty-miles-away with
a dozen rolls and a section of jelly cake as big as a turbine
water-wheel. Of course I lost sight of her then, for I was snowed
up in the bakery, wondering whether I'd get changed at the drug
store the next day in an alum deal or paid over to the cement
A week afterward I butted up against one of the one-dollar bills the
baker had given the woman for change.
"Hallo, E35039669," says I, "weren't you in the change for me in a
bakery last Saturday night?"
"Yep," says the solitaire in his free and easy style.
"How did the deal turn out?" I asked.
"She blew E17051431 for mills and round steak," says the one-spot.
"She kept me till the rent man came. It was a bum room with a sick
kid in it. But you ought to have seen him go for the bread and
tincture of formaldehyde. Half-starved, I guess. Then she prayed
some. Don't get stuck up, tenner. We one-spots hear ten prayers,
where you hear one. She said something about 'who giveth to the
poor.' Oh, let's cut out the slum talk. I'm certainly tired of the
company that keeps me. I wish I was big enough to move in society
with you tainted bills."
"Shut up," says I; "there's no such thing. I know the rest of it.
There's a 'lendeth to the Lord' somewhere in it. Now look on my back
and read what you see there."
"This note is a legal tender at its face value for all debts public
"This talk about tainted money makes me tired," says I.
ELSIE IN NEW YORK
No, bumptious reader, this story is not a continuation of the Elsie
series. But if your Elsie had lived over here in our big city there
might have been a chapter in her books not very different from this.
Especially for the vagrant feet of youth are the roads of Manhattan
beset "with pitfall and with gin." But the civic guardians of the
young have made themselves acquainted with the snares of the wicked,
and most of the dangerous paths are patrolled by their agents, who
seek to turn straying ones away from the peril that menaces them.
And this will tell you how they guided my Elsie safely through all
peril to the goal that she was seeking.
Elsie's father had been a cutter for Fox & Otter, cloaks and furs,
on lower Broadway. He was an old man, with a slow and limping gait,
so a pot-hunter of a newly licensed chauffeur ran him down one day
when livelier game was scarce. They took the old man home, where he
lay on his bed for a year and then died, leaving $2.50 in cash and
a letter from Mr. Otter offering to do anything he could to help
his faithful old employee. The old cutter regarded this letter as a
valuable legacy to his daughter, and he put it into her hands with
pride as the shears of the dread Cleaner and Repairer snipped off
his thread of life.
That was the landlord's cue; and forth he came and did his part in
the great eviction scene. There was no snowstorm ready for Elsie
to steal out into, drawing her little red woollen shawl about her
shoulders, but she went out, regardless of the unities. And as for
the red shawl--back to Blaney with it! Elsie's fall tan coat was
cheap, but it had the style and fit of the best at Fox & Otter's.
And her lucky stars had given her good looks, and eyes as blue and
innocent as the new shade of note paper, and she had $1 left of the
$2.50. And the letter from Mr. Otter. Keep your eye on the letter
from Mr. Otter. That is the clue. I desire that everything be made
plain as we go. Detective stories are so plentiful now that they do
And so we find Elsie, thus equipped, starting out in the world to
seek her fortune. One trouble about the letter from Mr. Otter was
that it did not bear the new address of the firm, which had moved
about a month before. But Elsie thought she could find it. She had
heard that policemen, when politely addressed, or thumbscrewed by an
investigation committee, will give up information and addresses. So
she boarded a downtown car at One Hundred and Seventy-seventh street
and rode south to Forty-second, which she thought must surely be the
end of the island. There she stood against the wall undecided, for
the city's roar and dash was new to her. Up where she had lived
was rural New York, so far out that the milkmen awaken you in the
morning by the squeaking of pumps instead of the rattling of cans.
A kind-faced, sunburned young man in a soft-brimmed hat went past
Elsie into the Grand Central Depot. That was Hank Ross, of the
Sunflower Ranch, in Idaho, on his way home from a visit to the East.
Hank's heart was heavy, for the Sunflower Ranch was a lonesome
place, lacking the presence of a woman. He had hoped to find one
during his visit who would congenially share his prosperity and
home, but the girls of Gotham had not pleased his fancy. But, as
he passed in, he noted, with a jumping of his pulses, the sweet,
ingenuous face of Elsie and her pose of doubt and loneliness. With
true and honest Western impulse he said to himself that here was his
mate. He could love her, he knew; and he would surround her with so
much comfort, and cherish her so carefully that she would be happy,
and make two sunflowers grow on the ranch where there grew but one
Hank turned and went back to her. Backed by his never before
questioned honesty of purpose, he approached the girl and removed
his soft-brimmed hat. Elsie had but time to sum up his handsome
frank face with one shy look of modest admiration when a burly cop
hurled himself upon the ranchman, seized him by the collar and
backed him against the wall. Two blocks away a burglar was coming
out of an apartment-house with a bag of silverware on his shoulder;
but that is neither here nor there.
"Carry on yez mashin' tricks right before me eyes, will yez?"
shouted the cop. "I'll teach yez to speak to ladies on me beat that
ye're not acquainted with. Come along."
Elsie turned away with a sigh as the ranchman was dragged away.
She had liked the effect of his light blue eyes against his tanned
complexion. She walked southward, thinking herself already in the
district where her father used to work, and hoping to find some one
who could direct her to the firm of Fox & Otter.
But did she want to find Mr. Otter? She had inherited much of the
old cutter's independence. How much better it would be if she could
find work and support herself without calling on him for aid!
Elsie saw a sign "Employment Agency" and went in. Many girls were
sitting against the wall in chairs. Several well-dressed ladies were
looking them over. One white-haired, kind-faced old lady in rustling
black silk hurried up to Elsie.
"My dear," she said in a sweet, gentle voice, "are you looking for
a position? I like your face and appearance so much. I want a young
woman who will be half maid and half companion to me. You will have
a good home and I will pay you $30 a month."
Before Elsie could stammer forth her gratified acceptance, a young
woman with gold glasses on her bony nose and her hands in her jacket
pockets seized her arm and drew her aside.
"I am Miss Ticklebaum," said she, "of the Association for the
Prevention of Jobs Being Put Up on Working Girls Looking for Jobs.
We prevented forty-seven girls from securing positions last week. I
am here to protect you. Beware of any one who offers you a job. How
do you know that this woman does not want to make you work as a
breaker-boy in a coal mine or murder you to get your teeth? If you
accept work of any kind without permission of our association you
will be arrested by one of our agents."
"But what am I to do?" asked Elsie. "I have no home or money. I must
do something. Why am I not allowed to accept this kind lady's offer?"
"I do not know," said Miss Ticklebaum. "That is the affair of our
Committee on the Abolishment of Employers. It is my duty simply to
see that you do not get work. You will give me your name and address
and report to our secretary every Thursday. We have 600 girls on
the waiting list who will in time be allowed to accept positions
as vacancies occur on our roll of Qualified Employers, which now
comprises twenty-seven names. There is prayer, music and lemonade
in our chapel the third Sunday of every month."
Elsie hurried away after thanking Miss Ticklebaum for her timely
warning and advice. After all, it seemed that she must try to find
But after walking a few blocks she saw a sign, "Cashier wanted," in
the window of a confectionery store. In she went and applied for
the place, after casting a quick glance over her shoulder to assure
herself that the job-preventer was not on her trail.
The proprietor of the confectionery was a benevolent old man with
a peppermint flavor, who decided, after questioning Elsie pretty
closely, that she was the very girl he wanted. Her services were
needed at once, so Elsie, with a thankful heart, drew off her tan
coat and prepared to mount the cashier's stool.
But before she could do so a gaunt lady wearing steel spectacles and
black mittens stood before her, with a long finger pointing, and
exclaimed: "Young woman, hesitate!"
"Do you know," said the black-and-steel lady, "that in accepting
this position you may this day cause the loss of a hundred lives in
agonizing physical torture and the sending as many souls to
"Why, no," said Elsie, in frightened tones. "How could I do that?"
"Ruin," said the lady--"the demon rum. Do you know why so many lives
are lost when a theatre catches fire? Brandy balls. The demon rum
lurking in brandy balls. Our society women while in theatres sit
grossly intoxicated from eating these candies filled with brandy.
When the fire fiend sweeps down upon them they are unable to escape.
The candy stores are the devil's distilleries. If you assist in
the distribution of these insidious confections you assist in the
destruction of the bodies and souls of your fellow-beings, and in
the filling of our jails, asylums and almshouses. Think, girl, ere
you touch the money for which brandy balls are sold."
"Dear me," said Elsie, bewildered. "I didn't know there was rum in
brandy balls. But I must live by some means. What shall I do?"
"Decline the position," said the lady, "and come with me. I will
tell you what to do."
After Elsie had told the confectioner that she had changed her mind
about the cashiership she put on her coat and followed the lady to
the sidewalk, where awaited an elegant victoria.
"Seek some other work," said the black-and-steel lady, "and assist
in crushing the hydra-headed demon rum." And she got into the
victoria and drove away.
"I guess that puts it up to Mr. Otter again," said Elsie, ruefully,
turning down the street. "And I'm sorry, too, for I'd much rather
make my way without help."
Near Fourteenth street Elsie saw a placard tacked on the side of a
doorway that read: "Fifty girls, neat sewers, wanted immediately on
theatrical costumes. Good pay."
She was about to enter, when a solemn man, dressed all in black,
laid his hand on her arm.
"My dear girl," he said, "I entreat you not to enter that
dressing-room of the devil."
"Goodness me!" exclaimed Elsie, with some impatience. "The devil
seems to have a cinch on all the business in New York. What's wrong
about the place?"
"It is here," said the solemn man, "that the regalia of Satan--in
other words, the costumes worn on the stage--are manufactured. The
stage is the road to ruin and destruction. Would you imperil your
soul by lending the work of your hands to its support? Do you know,
my dear girl, what the theatre leads to? Do you know where actors
and actresses go after the curtain of the playhouse has fallen upon
them for the last time?"
"Sure," said Elsie. "Into vaudeville. But do you think it would be
wicked for me to make a little money to live on by sewing? I must
get something to do pretty soon."
"The flesh-pots of Egypt," exclaimed the reverend gentleman,
uplifting his hands. "I beseech you, my child, to turn away from
this place of sin and iniquity."
"But what will I do for a living?" asked Elsie. "I don't care to sew
for this musical comedy, if it's as rank as you say it is; but I've
got to have a job."
"The Lord will provide," said the solemn man. "There is a free Bible
class every Sunday afternoon in the basement of the cigar store next
to the church. Peace be with you. Amen. Farewell."
Elsie went on her way. She was soon in the downtown district where
factories abound. On a large brick building was a gilt sign, "Posey
& Trimmer, Artificial Flowers." Below it was hung a newly stretched
canvas hearing the words, "Five hundred girls wanted to learn trade.
Good wages from the start. Apply one flight up."
Elsie started toward the door, near which were gathered in groups
some twenty or thirty girls. One big girl with a black straw hat
tipped down over her eyes stepped in front of her.
"Say, you'se," said the girl, "are you'se goin' in there after a
"Yes," said Elsie; "I must have work."
"Now don't do it," said the girl. "I'm chairman of our Scab
Committee. There's 400 of us girls locked out just because we
demanded 50 cents a week raise in wages, and ice water, and for the
foreman to shave off his mustache. You're too nice a looking girl to
be a scab. Wouldn't you please help us along by trying to find a job
somewhere else, or would you'se rather have your face pushed in?"
"I'll try somewhere else," said Elsie.
She walked aimlessly eastward on Broadway, and there her heart
leaped to see the sign, "Fox & Otter," stretching entirely across
the front of a tall building. It was as though an unseen guide had
led her to it through the by-ways of her fruitless search for work.
She hurried into the store and sent in to Mr. Otter by a clerk her
name and the letter he had written her father. She was shown directly
into his private office.
Mr. Otter arose from his desk as Elsie entered and took both hands
with a hearty smile of welcome. He was a slightly corpulent man of
nearly middle age, a little bald, gold spectacled, polite, well
"Well, well, and so this is Beatty's little daughter! Your father
was one of our most efficient and valued employees. He left nothing?
Well, well. I hope we have not forgotten his faithful services. I
am sure there is a vacancy now among our models. Oh, it is easy
Mr. Otter struck a bell. A long-nosed clerk thrust a portion of
himself inside the door.
"Send Miss Hawkins in," said Mr. Otter. Miss Hawkins came.
"Miss Hawkins," said Mr. Otter, "bring for Miss Beatty to try on one
of those Russian sable coats and--let's see--one of those latest
model black tulle hats with white tips."
Elsie stood before the full-length mirror with pink cheeks and quick
breath. Her eyes shone like faint stars. She was beautiful. Alas!
she was beautiful.
I wish I could stop this story here. Confound it! I will. No; it's
got to run it out. I didn't make it up. I'm just repeating it.
I'd like to throw bouquets at the wise cop, and the lady who rescues
Girls from Jobs, and the prohibitionist who is trying to crush
brandy balls, and the sky pilot who objects to costumes for stage
people (there are others), and all the thousands of good people who
are at work protecting young people from the pitfalls of a great
city; and then wind up by pointing out how they were the means of
Elsie reaching her father's benefactor and her kind friend and
rescuer from poverty. This would make a fine Elsie story of the old
sort. I'd like to do this; but there's just a word or two to follow.
While Elsie was admiring herself in the mirror, Mr. Otter went to
the telephone booth and called up some number. Don't ask me what it
"Oscar," said he, "I want you to reserve the same table for me this
evening. . . . What? Why, the one in the Moorish room to the left
of the shrubbery. . . . Yes; two. . . . Yes, the usual brand; and
the '85 Johannisburger with the roast. If it isn't the right
temperature I'll break your neck. No; not her . . . No,
indeed . . . A new one--a peacherino, Oscar, a peacherino!"
Tired and tiresome reader, I will conclude, if you please, with a
paraphrase of a few words that you will remember were written by
him--by him of Gad's Hill, before whom, if you doff not your hat,
you shall stand with a covered pumpkin--aye, sir, a pumpkin.
Lost, Your Excellency. Lost Associations and Societies. Lost, Right
Reverends and Wrong Reverends of every order. Lost, Reformers and
Lawmakers, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts, but with
the reverence of money in your souls. And lost thus around us every