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  • 1906
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backhand stroke. It is her bounden duty to inform the husband forthwith. The letter may wreck two lives, but what is this beside stern, implacable duty? When man writes an anonymous letter he is in want of money; when woman writes one she is in want of a sensation. It is easy to reject a demand for money, but we accept the lie and wrap it to our bosoms, so quick are we to believe ill of those we love. This is an aspect of human nature that eludes analysis, as quicksilver eludes the pressure of the finger. The anonymous letter breeds suspicion; suspicion begets tragedy. The greatest tragedy is not that which kills, but that which prolongs mental agony. Honest men and women, so we are told, pay no attention to anonymous letters. They toss them into the waste-basket … and brood over them in silence.

Now, Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was always considering her duty; her duty to the church, to society, to charity, and, upon occasions, to her lord and master.

“Bennington’s men have gone out, the fools!” said Haldene from over the top of his paper.

“Have they?” Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene nibbled the tip of her pen. She sighed, tore up what she had written and filtered it through her fingers into the waste-basket.

“Yes, they’ve gone out. I don’t know what the business world is coming to. Why, the brick-layer gets–I don’t say earns–more than the average clerk. And Bennington’s men go out simply because he refuses to discharge that young English inventor. … What are you writing and tearing up so often?” he asked, his curiosity suddenly aroused.

“A letter.”

“Thoughts clogged?”

“It is a difficult letter to write.”

“Then there can’t be any gossip in it.”

“I never concern myself with gossip, Franklyn. I wish I could make you understand that.”

“I wish you could, too.” He laid his paper down. “Well, I’m off to the club, unless you are particularly in need of me.”

“You are always going to the club.”

“Or coming back.”

“Some husbands–“

“Yes, I know. But the men I play poker with are too much interested in the draw to talk about other men’s wives.”

“It’s the talk of the town the way you men play cards.”

“Better the purse than the reputation.”

“I haven’t any doubt that you are doing your best to deplete both,” coldly.

Then she sighed profoundly. This man was a great disappointment to her. He did not understand her at all. The truth was, if she but knew it, he understood her only too well. She had married the handsomest man in town because all the other belles had been after him; he had married money, after a fashion. Such mistakes are frequent rather than singular these days. The two had nothing in common. It is strange that persons never find this out till after the honeymoon. Truly, marriage is a voyage of discovery for which there are no relief expeditions.

So Haldene went to the club, while his wife squared another sheet of writing-paper and began again. Half an hour went by before she completed her work with any degree of satisfaction. Even then she had some doubts. She then took a pair of shears and snipped the crest from the sheet and sealed it in a government envelope. Next she threw a light wrap over her shoulders and stole down to the first letter-box, where she deposited the trifle. The falling of the lid broke sharply on the still night. She returned to the house, feeling that a great responsibility had been shifted from hers to another’s shoulders. Indeed, she would have gone to any lengths to save Patty a life of misery. And to think of that woman! To think of her assuming a quasi-leadership in society, as if she were to the manner born! The impudence of it all! Poor Mrs. Bennington, with her grey hairs; it would break her heart when she found out (as Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene determined she should) the sort of woman her son had married. She straightened her shoulders and pressed her lips firmly and contemplated a duty, painfully but rigorously performed. She cast the scraps of paper into the grate and applied a match. It is not always well that duty should leave any circumstantial evidence behind.

The evening papers devoted a good deal of space to the strike at the Bennington shops. They frankly upheld Bennington. They admitted that employers had some individual rights. They berated the men for quarreling over a matter so trivial as the employment of a single non-union man, who was, to say the most, merely an experimenter. However, they treated lightly Bennington’s threat to demolish the shops. No man in his right mind would commit so childish an act. It would be revenge of a reactive order, fool matching fools, whereas Bennington ought to be more magnanimous. The labor unions called special meetings, and with one or two exceptions voted to stand by the action of the men.

There was positively no politics behind this strike; everybody understood that; at least, everybody thought he understood. But there were some who smiled mysteriously and wagged their heads. One thing was certain; Bennington’s friend, Warrington would lose many hundred votes in November. For everybody knew which way the Republican convention would go; there was nobody in sight but Warrington.

Bennington and Mrs. Jack dined at the old home that evening. There was plenty of gloom and forced gaiety around the board. John pretended that he was well out of a bad job; he was not a dreamer nor a socialist, not he; Utopia was not for the iron age. He told stories, joked and laughed, and smoked frequently. No one but the mother had the courage to ask if he really meant to tear down the mills. She came around the table, smoothed his hair as she had done since he was a boy, and leaned over his chair.


“Well, mother mine?”

“Shall you really do it?”

“Do what?”

“Tear it down.”

He did not answer at once, and she waited, trembling.

“You would not have me take back my words to the men, would you, mother?” quietly.

“Your father loved the place.”

“And do I not?” a note of strong passion in his voice. “I shall tear it down, if I live. Do not ask me anything more about it. Has Dick been over to-day?”

“He telephoned that he would be over after dinner. He wants you to go to the speech-making to-night.” Patty rose from her seat at the table.

“Patty,” said John, rather surprised at his discovery, “you are almost a woman!”

“You men never see anything quickly,” said Mrs. Jack. “Patty has been a beautiful woman for several months.”

Patty started, restrained the impulse to speak, and searched Mrs. Jack’s face. But Mrs. Jack had eyes for no one but John. Her thought was far removed from her words. That telephone message rang in her ears every hour of the day. One moment she was on the verge of telling John, the next she dared not. What had that wretch found out? What could he have found out? A lie; it could be nothing more nor less than a lie; but the suspense and the waiting were killing her. Every beat of her heart, every drop of her blood belonged to this man at her side, and she would rather die than that doubt should mingle with his love. She was miserable, miserable; she dared not confide in any one; Patty was too young, for all her womanhood, to understand fully. Night after night she forced her recollection through the dim past, but she could find nothing but harmless, innocent follies. Alas, the kaleidoscope of life has so many variant angles that no two eyes see alike. What to her appeared perfectly innocent might appear evil in the neighbors’ eyes; what to her was sunshine, to another might be shadow.

“Think of it!” said John. “Patty will be marrying before long.”

Mrs. Bennington looked at Patty and sighed. To rear up children and to lose them, that was the mother’s lot. To accept these aches with resignation, to pass the days in reconciling what might be with what shall be, that was the mother’s portion. Yes, Patty must some day marry.

“When Patty marries, mother,” said John, “you shall come and live with Kate and me.”

“You are moving me around like a piece of useless furniture,” replied Patty, with some resentment. “I doubt if I shall ever marry.”

“Bosh!” laughed John. “There’ll come some bold Lochinvar for you, one of these days; and then off you’ll go. There’s the bell. That must be Dick.”

Patty and Mrs. Jack crossed glances quickly. John went to the door himself and brought Warrington back with him.

“Won’t you have a cup of tea, Mr. Warrington?” asked the mother.

“Thank you, I will.” Warrington stirred the tea, gazing pleasantly from face to face.

The lines in his face seemed deeper than usual; the under lids of the eyes were dark, and the squareness of the jaw was more prominent. John saw no change, but the three women did. Warrington looked careworn.

“Well, John, I see that you have done it.”


“I’m terribly sorry, but you couldn’t back down now and live in town.”

“You see, mother?” John smiled sadly.

“Yes, my son. You will do what you think best and manliest.”

“How’s the cat?” asked Warrington.

“It still wanders about, inconsolable,” answered Patty. How careworn he looked!

“Poor beast! It is lucky to have fallen in such good hands.”

“When you are mayor,” said Patty, “you must give me a permit to rescue stray cats from the pound.”

“I’ll do more than that; I’ll build a house of shelter for them.”

“What time does your speaker begin?” inquired John, lighting a fresh cigar.

“John, you are smoking too much,” remonstrated Mrs. Jack.

“I know it, honey.”

“Rudolph begins at nine; if we go then that will be soon enough. You’ll be amused. Have you been riding lately?” Warrington directed this question to Patty.

“Yes, regularly every morning.” Patty dallied with the crumbs at the side of her plate.

“I don’t know what’s the matter with me, but I find it wearies me to climb on to a horse’s back. I haven’t got back to normal conditions yet.”

“I was wondering where you were.”

“And how is Jove?” asked Mrs. Jack.

“He’s snoozing out on the veranda. I take him everywhere now.”

Presently they moved into the living-room. Warrington longed to sit beside Patty, but of a sudden he had grown diffident. It amused him to come into the knowledge that all his address and worldliness would not stand him in good stead in the presence of Patty. Words were no longer at his command; he was no longer at his ease. He was afraid of Patty; and he was very, very lonely. That empty house over the way was no longer home. There were moments when he regretted his plunge into politics. He was not free to pack his luggage and speed away to lands that urged his fancy. He had given his word, and he was too much of a man to withdraw it. He must remain here and fight two battles.

Mrs. Jack had taken the seat next to him, and was asking him about the progress of the play. It was going on so indifferently that he was of half a mind to destroy it, which he did later. His glance always came back to Patty. She was bent over her basket-work. She was calling him Mr. Warrington again. Had he offended her in any manner? The light from the lamp sparkled in her hair. She was as fresh and beautiful as a July rose. But Mrs. Jack was an artist. She knew how to draw him out; and shortly he was talking animatedly. It was now that Patty’s eyes began to rove.

John, his fingers meeting in an arch, one leg thrown restlessly across the other, thoughtfully eyed his wife and his friend. … It was a lie; there was nothing in all the world so honest as Warrington’s hand, so truthful as his wife’s eyes. Cursed be the doubt that had wedged between these two he loved!

Time passes quickly or slowly, according to the state of mind. To John the time was long; to Patty and Warrington it was too short; to Mrs. Jack it was neither long nor short, but suspended.

“Time for us to go, John. You are not particular about a chair, are you?” Warrington asked.

“Not I. I prefer to stand up in the rear of the hall. If I am bored I can easily escape.”

“Oh, the night will not be without some amusement.”

“Take good care of John,” whispered Mrs. Jack in Warrington’s ear; as the two men were about to depart.

“Trust me!” Warrington smiled.

Patty and John observed this brief intercourse. The eyes of love are sharp. Patty was not jealous, neither was John; but something had entered into their lives that gave to all trivial things a ponderous outline.

“Don’t let any reporters talk to John, Mr. Warrington,” requested the mother.

“I’ll surround him.”

“Shall we walk?” asked John.

“We can see better on foot.”

“We’ll walk, then.”

So the two men went down town on foot, and Jove galloped back and forth joyously. At any and all times he was happy with his master. The one bane of his existence was gone, the cat. He was monarch of the house; he could sleep on sofa-pillows and roll on the rugs, and nobody stole his bones.

“Good dog,” observed John.

“Money couldn’t buy him. I saw that fellow Bolles to-day,” tentatively.

“Bolles?” John did not recollect the name.

“The fellow you nearly throttled the other night,” explained Warrington. “He looked pretty well battered up. I never saw you lose your temper so quickly before.”

“He struck me without provocation, at the wrong moment. Who is going to speak to-night?”

“Donnelly and Rudolph.”

“What do you think? Donnelly called me up by ‘phone this afternoon. Wants to know if I really intend to tear down the shops. I told him I had nothing to say on the subject.”

“Tear them down. I should. You’re a rich man.”

“Money isn’t the question. The thing is, what shall I do? I’m not fitted for anything else.”

“Tear down the shops and then build them up again, after a few years. It will be a good lesson to these union leaders. And you could have the fun of fighting to build up the trade your father left. You were talking once of rebuilding entirely.”

“Not a bad idea, Dick. Only, I feel sorry for the men.”

“Why? Are they free men or are they not? It rested with them just as much as it did with you. I am far removed from the principles of unionism, as they stand to-day. I have no patience or sympathy with men who can not, or will not, appreciate a liberal, honest employer.”

“Let’s change the subject, Dick.”

For a block or so they proceeded in silence.

“John, you’re the head of the family. I love Patty better than anything else on God’s earth. Do you mind?” Warrington uttered these words swiftly, before his courage, which he had suddenly urged to its highest, dropped back.

John swung round abruptly and brought his hands down heavily on Warrington’s shoulders.

“Is that true, Dick?”

“As I stand here. Oh, I know; I’m not good enough for Patty. I haven’t lived as decently as I might. I haven’t gone through life as circumspectly as you have. I drank; success made me dizzy. But I love Patty–God bless her!–as I never hoped or dreamed of loving any woman. You’re a man, John; you will understand. I’ve been alone all my life; buffeted here and there, living haphazard, without any particular restraint on my desires. The dear old aunt was the only tie, and that was delicate till I came home and found how good and kind she was. I miss her; months from now I shall miss her a hundredfold. I’m very lonely. You’ve all been so good to me. To be alone, and to think of living alone for the rest of my days, is a torture. My nature craves companionship, and this craving has led me into plenty of mischief. I love Patty. What do you say, John?”

“Say? Why, you are good enough for any woman alive. I am very glad, Dick. Patty married to you! You old farmer,” affectionately, “I’ve always been mentally pairing off you two! Come on; let’s hear what the political windmill has to say. They’re burning red fire in front of the hall.”

But a moment gone their feet had dragged with each step; now there was a lightness that was dancing. John knew that it was all a lie; and his heart was as light as his feet. Kate, dear Kate! He was a wretch! He slapped Warrington on the shoulder.

“To think of your marrying Patty, the little sister!”

“Don’t go too fast, John,” said Warrington with less enthusiasm. “I haven’t said a word to Patty yet; and if she’s a sensible young woman, she’ll give me my conge first-off.”

“By George, women are strange creatures. It’s the truth, Dick; you can’t tell which way they’ll go. But Patty’s no fool.” John hadn’t felt so good in many hours.

“But I love her, and God knows I shall try to be worthy of her, even if I lose her. … Sky-rockets!” with an upward glance. “That’s the signal for Rudolph’s arrival at the hall.”

“Come on, then!”

Rudolph was the great Jeffersonian Democrat, not by excellence, rather by newspaper courtesy, and that, to be specific, by his own newspaper. He had come up from New York that day to deliver his already famous speech. He was one of the many possibilities in the political arena for the governorship. And as he was a multimillionaire, he was sure of a great crowd. As an Englishman loves a lord, so does the American love a millionaire. Rudolph’s newspaper was the only one in the metropolis that patted him on the back regularly each morning. He was the laboring man’s friend; he was the arch enemy of the monopolies (not yet called trusts); and so forth and so on. For all that some laughed at him, he was an able politician, and was perfectly honest in all his political transactions, which is something of a paradox. So he came up to Herculaneum to convert the doubting. The laboring party greeted him en masse, and stormed the hall for choice seats.

The hall was a low, rambling structure, bad for the voice, but capable of seating a few thousands. The curbs glared with green and red fire, and a band blared out the songs of freedom. The crowds surged back and forth, grumbling and laughing and shouting. And the near-by saloons did a land-office business. It was a great night for the man who had nothing to do. All at once there was loud hurrahing. An open hack drove up to the entrance, and the great Jeffersonian stood up, bowing, bowing. The green light on one side and the red on the other gave to his face a Gargantuan aspect rather than that of a Quixote, to whom he was more often likened than to any other character in fiction. The police cleared a pathway for the great man, and he hurried up the steps. Another cheer, and another blast from the band. Great is popularity, whose handmaiden is oblivion.

“They’ll be doing all this to you some day,” John declared, as he and Warrington elbowed through the crowd, the dog between their legs.

“That’s him!” cried a voice.


“The fellow that writes; Henderson’s man.”

“Salt licks for him!” came in derision.

“He’ll give Donnelly a run for the money.”

“Not in a thousand years!”

All this amused Warrington.

“How d’ y’ do, Mr. Warrington?”

A hand touched the prospective candidate on the arm. Warrington saw Osborne’s rubicund nose.

“So you’re out, too, Mr. Osborne?”

“I never let meetings go by, Richard. Good evening, Mr. Bennington. A man with ten millions doesn’t look any different from ordinary mortals, does he? But he is different, or he wouldn’t have that barrel. A million is like a light-house; it attracts all sorts of birds.”

Warrington laughed and went on. Once or twice he lost the dog, but Jove managed to turn up each time.

“We’ll stand at the left,” said John; “it’s nearer the exits.”

“Just as you say. I wish I’d left the dog at home. He’s a nuisance in a crowd like this.”

They presently stood with their backs to the wall and looked toward the stage. Donnelly was already speaking about the great man who was that night to address them.

“And,” concluded the mayor, “Mr. Rudolph will lead us to a victory such as the party in this state has not yet known.” And half a hundred more final words. Man approaches nearest woman’s postscript when he says: “And, gentlemen, just one word more!”

Meantime Warrington’s gaze wandered here and there. He saw many familiar faces,–politicians, prominent merchants of both parties, and the usual exuberant hundreds drawn thither only by curiosity. These were willing to applaud anything and anybody, without knowing or caring what about. Quiet one moment, roaring the next; murmur, murmur, like angry waters on shingle. These make and unmake public men; they have nothing, but they can give everything. Strong tobacco smoke rolled ceilingward, and those on the stage became blurred and nebulous. Once Warrington caught a glimpse of a battered face, but it disappeared quickly. However, he said nothing to Bennington. Again, he saw McQuade moving about, within fifty feet. From time to time McQuade stooped, and Warrington knew that the white dog was present.

“Gentlemen,” concluded Donnelly, with a flourish, “William Henry Rudolph, of New York, our next governor.”

And, to quote the sympathetic reporters, “tremendous applause shook the rafters.” Mr. Rudolph rose majestically, and smiled and bowed. Heigh-ho! man accepts applause so easily; the noise, not the heart behind it; the uproar, not the thought. Man usually fools himself when he opens his ears to these sounds, often more empty than brass. But so porous is man’s vanity that it readily absorbs any kind of noise arranged for its benefit.

He began calmly. The orator always reserves his telling apostrophes till that time when it is necessary to smite palm with fist. He spoke of Jefferson, the simplicity of his life, the firmness of his purpose, the height of his ideals. He forgot, as political speakers generally forget who emulate their historic political forebears, that progress rearranges principles and constitutions, that what passed as good statesmanship in Jefferson’s time is out of order in the present. Mr. Rudolph paused in the middle of a metaphor. There was a sudden commotion in the rear of the hall. Men were surging to and fro.

“Stand back!” cried a firm, resonant voice, full of anger.

The uproar increased. Those in the forward chairs craned their necks. Some stood up to learn what the matter might be. Others mounted their seats. A thousand absurd conjectures passed from mouth to mouth.

“Somebody’s dropped dead!”

“Sit down in front! Sit down!”

“What’s the matter?”

“Where are the police?”

“Put him out!”

“A fight!”

Blue helmets moved toward the scene of action slowly. Mr. Rudolph still paused and moistened his lips impatiently. Men can give and take away popularity in the same breath, but a dog fight is arranged by occult forces, and must, like opportunity, be taken when it comes. We are educated to accept oratory, but we need no education in the matter of a dog fight. This red corpuscle was transmitted to us from the Stone Age, and the primordial pleasures alone resist enlightenment.

Two bulldogs, one tan, the other white, were fighting desperately, near the exits. In between human legs, under chairs, this way and that, snarling, snapping, dragging. Men called out, kicked, tried to use canes and umbrellas, and some burned matches. The dogs were impervious. Now the white dog was atop, now the tan. So many interfered that there was no interference.

It was Warrington who had cried out. He had been listening to the orator; and Jove, smelling his enemy from afar, slyly crept out of his master’s reach. The white dog had also been on the watch. In the drop of an eyelid the battle was on. Warrington instantly comprehended the situation, when he saw McQuade, who had every confidence in his dog, clear a circle. He pushed his way through the swaying wall of men and commanded those in front to stand back. He was furious. He had no objections to human beings fighting, but he detested these bloody conflicts between dumb brutes. He called to Jove, but Jove was past hearing; he had tasted his enemy’s blood. Once Warrington succeeded in parting the dogs, but the crush prevented his making the separation complete. Instantly they were at it again. The police made superhuman efforts to arrive before it was all over. The fight, however, came to an end as suddenly as it had begun. Jove found his grip. But for the broad collar on McQuade’s dog the animal would have been throttled then and there.

McQuade lost his temper and his discretion. He kicked Jove cruelly in the side, at the very moment when Warrington had succeeded in breaking the grip. Bennington thrust McQuade back violently, and he would have fallen but for the dense pack bolstering him up.

“I’ll remember that kick, Mr. McQuade,” said Warrington, white in the face.

“I don’t think you’ll be mayor of Herculaneum, Mr. Warrington,” replied McQuade, glaring venomously at the man who had brushed him aside so easily.

“Perhaps not, Mr. McQuade,” said Warrington; “but at any rate there’ll be a reckoning for that kick. You’ve been trying for months to bring these dogs together. You have finally succeeded, and your dog has been licked soundly. You ought to be satisfied.”

Warrington took Jove under his arm and pressed toward the door, followed by Bennington, who was also in a fine rage. The dog, bloody and excited, still struggled, though the brutal kick had winded him.

McQuade was no fool. He saw that if Warrington left this way the impression would not be favorable to the boss contractor. So he made haste to approach Warrington.

“Hold on there, Warrington. I apologize for kicking your dog. I admit I was excited; and my dog was getting licked. I am sorry.”

“All right, Mr. McQuade,” said Warrington, who would have preferred leaving, minus any apology. He understood perfectly well McQuade’s reason for bending.

“By George!” whispered Bennington, “I’d give a thousand for one good punch at that ruffian’s head. Brute, double-dealing brute! Look out for him after this, Dick.”

“I can take care of myself. Officer, will you kindly get a carriage for me?”

“Sure, Mr. Warrington,” said the policeman.

The two managed to get out. In fact, everybody was moving toward the exits. They had forgotten Mr. Rudolph, who completed his effort before a two-thirds empty hall. They say that he went back to his hotel that night disgusted with humanity and, mayhap, with the fact that the fight had not occurred nearer the stage. Orators are human also.

As Warrington followed Bennington into the carriage the door closed and a head was thrust inside the open window.

“Don’t forget me when you’re mayor, Mr. Warrington,” said Bill Osborne.

“Well?” Warrington was in no mood for banalities.

Bill glanced hastily from side to side, then said, in a stage whisper that sent Bennington into a roar of laughter:

“I sick’d ’em!”

Chapter XVI

The Republican caucus or convention was uneventful. Warrington was nominated for mayor of Herculaneum, with little or no opposition. Everybody expected it. It was, in the phraseology of the day, cut and dried. There was no surprise on the part of the public. Still, Senator Henderson was jubilant; he had nominated his man.

The young candidate’s speech, accepting the nomination, was reproduced in full in all the newspapers, whose editorial writers frankly admitted that the speech was one of the best heard in Herculaneum in years. Reporters raked up anecdotes and old photographs; they enlarged upon the history of his early struggles and his ultimate success; and long despatches flashed over the wires. The whole continent was more or less interested in the sudden political ambition of one of its favorite dramatic writers.

It was true that Warrington’s vanity was touched. It always touches our vanity to be given something for which we have made no struggle whatever. It was something to be followed by curious newsboys, to be spoken to respectfully by Tom, Dick and Harry, who erstwhile hadn’t known of his existence. Warrington was human, and he laughed at his vanity even as it was being gratified.

On the other side the Democrats perfunctorily nominated Donnelly. It was the best they could do, and Donnelly had nothing to learn. And so the fight was on. Donnelly went everywhere; so did Warrington. If Donnelly spoke in the German district, Warrington spoke to the Italians and in their native tongue. Warrington soon learned how to shake hands in the manner of a candidate,–to take the whole hand and squeeze it soundly. The coal-heaver whose hand the dramatist grasped thereupon returned to his friends with the report that the candidate had a good grip, that there was nothing namby-pamby about him, for all his dude clothes. It is the gift of Heaven to win friends and keep them, and Warrington possessed this gift. His good-humored smile, his ready persiflage, his ease in all environments, and his common sense–these were his bucklers. He spoke in dingy halls, on saloon bars, everywhere and anywhere and at all times. It was a great sight to see him lightly mount a bar and expound his politics, his nostrils assailed by cheap tobacco and kerosene lamps. If Donnelly opened a keg of beer, Warrington opened two; if Donnelly gave a picnic, Warrington gave two. And once he presented free matinee tickets to a thousand women. This was a fine stroke of policy. When a man wins a woman to his cause, he wins a valiant champion. Here, then, were a thousand tongues in his service.

His work put enthusiasm into the rank and file of the party, and soon all half-heartedness disappeared and dissensions vanished. He furnished foot-ball suits for the newsboys, torch-light regimentals for the young men’s Republican clubs; he spent his own money freely but judiciously; and all the while Donnelly was not far behind. For the first time in the history of local politics the two parties went to work with solid ranks. It promised to be a great campaign. Warrington’s influence soon broke the local confines; and the metropolitan newspapers began to prophesy that as Herculaneum went, so would go the state.

Warrington’s theatrical manager came up from New York and said he wanted that play at once. The dramatist declared that there would be no play that season. The manager threatened a lawsuit; Warrington remained unmoved. His first duty was to his party; after the first Tuesday in November he would see. This argument found its way to reportorial ears, with the result that it merely added to the young candidate’s growing popularity.

It was only occasionally that he saw the Benningtons. His nights were devoted to speech-making or conferences. Sometimes, however, on his way home late at night, he would walk up as far as the old house and look up at the windows; and if he saw a light in Patty’s room he would pause for a few minutes, then turn about, Jove limping at his heels. Patty Bennington! The one idyl in his noisy life, the one uplifting influence! He knew that he was not making this fight for clean politics because his heart was in it, but because Patty’s was. It is thus that women make the world better, indirectly. Once or twice he had seen Patty in the gallery at mass meetings; but, hurry as he might, he never could get around to the entrance in time to speak to her.

As for McQuade, he knew that between him and that gentleman the war had only begun. He was constantly wondering how McQuade would act; but so far as he could see, McQuade had absolutely nothing to stand on. McQuade would have to tunnel; he could not carry on the war above ground. McQuade would never forgive the result of the dog fight. There had been so much raillery in the newspapers that McQuade became furious whenever it was mentioned. His dog was a professional fighter and had made three kills, and here a “pet” had given him his first licking. It rankled, and none of McQuade’s friends dared refer to it. So Warrington remained alert and watchful; it was all he could do.

In more ways than one Herculaneum became widely known. Other cities realized that there was a peculiar strike in progress, upon the outcome of which depended the principles of unionism. Here was an employer who was making preparations to destroy his shops, regardless of financial loss, regardless of public opinion, regardless of everything but his right to employ and discharge whom he willed. Every great employer in the country focused his eye upon Herculaneum; every union leader did likewise. The outcome would mean a kind of revolution.

At the shops the men had placed the usual sentinels around the limits, ready to repel the expected army of non-union workmen. But a day passed, two, three, four; a week, then ten days; a month. Not a single strange man approached the gates. Not one man among them had any information whatever as to the movements of their whilom employer. Scab labor never showed its head above the horizon. The men began to wonder; they began to grow restless. But Morrissy always pacified them with the word “wait.”

“Vigilance, boys; that’s the word,” said the leader. “The moment we go to sleep he’ll have his men inside.”

So the men relaxed none of their watching, night and day. It was rather pathetic to see the children bringing scanty meals to the guarding men. They were being misled, that was all, but they had to find that out themselves. The city’s bill-boards were covered with “Boycott” and “Unfair” paper. The men were careful. They made no effort to injure anything; they made no attempt to enter the shops; they had had a brush with the militia once, and they were wise. They could beat the new men and maim them, but so long as they did not touch property there would be no call for the militia. They waited. Mean-time Morrissy wore a new diamond.

One day a cry went up.

“Here’s the scabs! Here they come!”

Word was sent immediately to the union’s headquarters.

A body of twenty-odd men, carrying shovels and pickaxes and dinner-pails, moved toward the gates. At their head was Bennington himself. He placed the great key in the lock and swung the gates inward. The men passed in quickly. Bennington was last. He turned for a moment and gazed calmly at the threatening faces of the strikers. An impulse came to him.

“Men,” he said, “up to one o’clock this noon these gates will be open to you. Each of you can take up your work where you left it, at the same wages, at the same hours. This is the last chance. Later you will learn that you have been betrayed.”

“How about Chittenden?”

“Chittenden will return at the same time you do.”

“The hell he will! Let him show his British face here, and we’ll change it so his mother won’t know it.”

Bennington went inside and shut the gates. There was nothing more to be done. He did not slam the gates insolently, as some men would have done; he simply shut them.

This event was also reported at headquarters. That afternoon all the strikers were out in force. They congregated in groups and talked angrily. Two policemen patrolled up and down. Bennington had had some difficulty in securing even these. The men waited for the first sign of smoke from the chimneys, but none came. No one was lighting the furnaces; there was nothing but silence inside the shops. There was no possible excuse as yet for deeds of violence, though many of the more turbulent element urged riot at once. What was the use of waiting? In the afternoon there appeared some fifty more strange men. These carried tool-bags. They were challenged. They ignored the challenge and pushed on resolutely. For the first time blows were struck. The leader whirled around.

“Look here, men, you’re making a big mistake. Your fists won’t help you. We are going inside, and if we can’t go in peaceably, why, we’ll break some heads to get in. We have all been sworn in legally as deputy police, and if we start in to break heads we promise to do it thoroughly.”

“What are you going to do in there?” demanded Morrissy.

“None of your business, for one thing,” answered the burly spokesman of the interlopers. “I’ll add this much, if it will ease your minds: nobody’s going to step into your jobs; when you went out you left your jobs behind.”

“So you fellows are what they call strike-breakers, are you?” asked Morrissy wrathfully.

“Oh, we aren’t going to break your strike, my friend. You can call this a strike as long as you please, so far as we’re concerned. We’ve got work to do here, though, and we are going to do it.”

“Are you union men?”

“Not so you’d notice it,” was the cool reply.

“All right. You fellows won’t be here long.”

“Stop us if you can. Now, stand aside!” commanded the stranger menacingly.

“Let ’em by, men,” cried Morrissy. “Don’t touch ’em yet. You just leave it to me. I know a way and a good one, too. You just leave it to me.”

The angry strikers divided ranks and the strangers entered the shops.

Morrissy directed his steps to McQuade’s office, and together they paid a visit to the mayor.

“Look here, Donnelly, did you permit Bennington to swear in deputy police?” asked McQuade.

“Deputy police? Bennington has no deputy police from this place,” answered Donnelly hotly.

“Well, all we know is that he has them,” snapped Morrissy.

“Then he has gone directly to the governor.”

“The governor?”

McQuade and Morrissy looked at each other blankly.

“He has that prerogative,” said Donnelly.

“But he wouldn’t dare!”

“Oh, yes, he would. It’s his last term; he is without further political ambition; he can act as he pleases, in the face of public condemnation. There’s one thing left, though.”


“Injunction,” said Donnelly tersely.

“With Republican judges on the benches?” replied McQuade ironically.

“And you can’t enjoin private property,” added Morrissy.

“I’ll send for Bennington,” Donnelly volunteered. “Perhaps I can talk him into reason.”

“It’s up to you to block this move somehow,” said McQuade. “It means the labor vote. And we’ve got to have that.”

“I’ll do the best I can. I can stop his permit to tear down the building, if he really intends to do that.”

“It will be a good day’s work for you.”

“I’ll act this very afternoon.”

Once outside the mayor’s office, McQuade turned to Morrissy.

“Where’s that receipt you promised on oath?”

“Haven’t you got it?” asked Morrissy, feigning surprise.

“No, and I doubt you sent it. But I want it at once, and no more monkeying.”

“Well, I sent it. I mailed it to your office. You’ve overlooked it.”

“Come over to my office now and make it out,” McQuade insisted.

“You’ve got plenty of grips on me without that,” protested Morrissy reproachfully.

“But I want this one, and I’m going to have it.”

“I’ll go to your office. Will Donnelly be game?”

“He will if he knows which side his bread is buttered on,” contemptuously.

The two went up to McQuade’s office. It was deserted.

“The girl’s gone this afternoon,” said McQuade, “but I can handle the typewriter myself.”

“All I’ve got to say is that I mailed you a receipt. What do you want it for?” with a final protest.

“I’ve got an idea in my head, Morrissy. I want that receipt. Some day you may take it into your head to testify that I offered you a thousand to bring on the strike at Bennington’s. That would put me in and let you out, because I can’t prove that I gave the cash to you. Business is business.”

“Hell! Any one would think, to hear you talk, that I had threatened to betray.”

“Every man to his own skin,” replied McQuade philosophically. He then sat down before the typewriter. There were two blank sheets in the roller, with a carbon between. The girl had left her machine all ready for the morrow’s work. McQuade picked out his sentence laboriously.

“There, sign that.”

The paper read:

“I, James Morrissy, the undersigned, do hereby declare that I have received $1,000, in two sums of $500 each, from Daniel McQuade, these sums being payment agreed upon for my bringing about the strike at the Bennington shops.”

Morrissy looked at the boss incredulously.

“I say, Mac, have you gone crazy?” he cried. “Do you want evidence like this lying around in your safe? It’s the penitentiary for both of us if any one finds that.”

“I know what I am doing,” McQuade responded quietly, as indeed he did.

“But look; you’ve got the strike and I’ve got the cash; that makes us quits.”

“Sign it,” was all McQuade replied to this argument.

“All right. What’s bad for me is bad for you,” and without further ado Morrissy affixed his fist to the sheet.

“Here’s the duplicate for you.”

Morrissy lighted a match and set fire to the sheet; he stamped on the ashes with grim satisfaction.

“Not for mine,” with a laugh. “You’re welcome to yours.”

McQuade folded his deliberately and put it away in the safe. The sheet of carbon paper he crumpled into a ball and tossed into the waste- basket. We all commit blunders at one time or another, and McQuade had just committed his.

“That’s all, Morrissy. I think I can trust you fully. I mean no harm, boy; ’tis only self-preservation.”

“Oh, so long as your name’s on it there’s no kick coming from me; only I never saw you do such a fool thing before. Anything else to-day?”

“No. You might keep tab on that fool Bolles. He’s been drunk ever since he came back from New York. And he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut.”

“I’ll keep an eye on him.”

“He’s the only man we have who can handle the dagos. I’ll see you up at Dutch Hall to-night. Donnelly is making a speech there, and we’ll open a few kegs of beer for the boys.”

When Morrissy was gone McQuade laughed softly and went to the safe again. He proceeded to do to his receipt exactly what Morrissy had done to his–burn it. So long as Morrissy believed that McQuade held his signature, so long might Morrissy be trusted. It was only an idea, but it proved that the boss knew his lieutenants tolerably well.

“The blackleg would sell the tomb off his father’s grave,” he mused, brushing the ashes from his clothes.

Let Bennington rip up his shops; all the better for Donnelly’s chances of reelection. The laboring party would be sure to desert Warrington’s standard, since he was a personal and intimate friend of Bennington the oppressor. He laughed again sinisterly. Presently he would have them all by the throats. He would watch them squirm, too. This young fool Warrington; he was the first real obstacle he (McQuade) had encountered in his checkered career. Threats could not move him. He had believed at the start that he could scare him away from the convention; but the fool wouldn’t be scared. And his damned dog!

“He’ll never reach the City Hall, not while I live, damn his impudence! That woman, though, is no fool. She’s kept her mouth shut. They don’t always do that. Well, I can write more than receipts on the machine. I’ll ruin them both if I can. Ordered me out of the house, and I honestly liked the woman! But I’ll square accounts presently.”

Meanwhile Donnelly set the wires humming. He finally got Bennington at the shops.

“This is Mr. Bennington. Who is it and what is wanted?”

“This is the mayor talking.”

“Oh! Well, what is it, Mr. Donnelly?”

“I must see you at once in my office. This is an urgent request. I can’t explain the matter over the wire. But you’ll do yourself and me a great favor if you’ll come into town at once.”

“Very important?”

“Extremely so.”

“I shall be there at five o’clock.”

“Thanks. I shall await you.” Donnelly hung up the receiver, very well satisfied.

Bennington understood. Politics was going to take a hand in the game. After all, it was best to take the bull by the horns at once and have it over with. He knew how well he had fortified himself against any political machinery. So, promptly at a quarter to five, he departed, leaving explicit orders with his subordinates. The strikers moved aside for him, muttering and grumbling, but they made no effort to impede his progress. There were groans and catcalls, but that was all. He looked neither to the right nor to the left, but presented his back to them fearlessly. Chittenden, upon Bennington’s advice, had gone to New York. The strikers would have used him roughly, could they have laid hands on him.

Arriving in town, Bennington went at once to the City Hall and straight to the mayor’s private office.

“Well, Mr. Donnelly?” he began, his hat on his handsome head and his cane behind his back, neither offensive nor defensive.

Donnelly closed the door leading to the clerk’s office and came back to his desk. He waved his hand toward a chair. If he could bend this young hot-head, it would be a victory worth while, politically.

“In the first place, Mr. Bennington, aren’t you going a little too hard on the men?”

“That was their lookout; they had every chance to think the matter over, to examine all sides of the question.”

“You went personally to the governor for deputy police. Why didn’t you come to me?”

“The governor is a personal friend of mine.”

“I don’t believe that I have been found lacking in justice,” said Donnelly thoughtfully.

“I can’t say that you have. But I was in a hurry, and could not wait for the local machinery to move.”

“You have placed armed men in your shops without a justifiable cause.”

“The men are mechanics, sworn in for their own self-protection.”

Donnelly saw that he was making no impression.

“These men, then, are to tear down your shops?” not without admiration.

“Well, they are there to dismantle it.”

“That building must not go down, Mr. Bennington.”

“‘Must not’? Do I understand you to say ‘must not’?”

“Those words exactly.”

“It is private property, Mr. Donnelly; it was not organized under corporation laws.”

“You can not destroy even private property, in a city, without a legal permit.”

“I have that.”

“And I shall call a special meeting of the Common Council to rescind your permit.”

“Do so. I shall tear it down, nevertheless. I shall do what I please with what is my own.” Bennington balanced on his heels.

“The law is there.”

“I shall break it, if need says must,” urbanely.

Donnelly surveyed the end of his dead cigar.

“The men will become violent.”

“Their violence will in no wise hinder me, so long as they confine it to the shops. Even then I shall call upon you for police protection.”

“And if I should not give it?”

“Just now I am sure you will. For the mayor of Herculaneum to refuse me my rights would be a nice morsel for the Republican party.”

Donnelly passed over this.

“I wish to protect the rights of the workman, just as you wish to protect yours.”

“What are the workman’s rights?”

Donnelly did not reply.

“Well, I’ll reply for you, then. His right is to sell his labor to the highest bidder; his right is to work where he pleases; for what hours he desires; his right is to reject abusive employers and to find those congenial; his right is to produce as little or as much as he thinks best; his right is to think for himself, to act for himself, to live for himself.”

“You admit all this, then?” asked Donnelly in astonishment.

“I have never so much as denied a single right that belongs to the workman.”

“Then what the devil is all this row about?”

“If the workman has his rights, shall not the employer have his?”

Donnelly mused. He would not be able to do anything with this plain-spoken man.

“But the workman steps beyond. He has no right to dictate to his employer as to what HIS rights shall be. Where there is no amity between capital and labor there is never any justice; one or the other becomes a despot. The workman has his rights, but these end where the other man’s rights begin. He shall not say that another man shall not seek work, shall not sell his labor for what he can get; he has no right to forbid another man’s choosing freedom; he has no right to say that a manufacturer shall produce only so much.”

“Well, I’ve only to say,” said Donnelly, hedging before this clear argument, “I’ve only to say, if the men become violent, look out for yourself.”

“I shall appeal to you for civic or military protection; if you refuse it, to the governor; if politics there interferes, I shall appeal to Washington, where neither your arm nor McQuade’s can reach. I understand the causes back of this strike; they are personal, and I’m man enough to look out for myself. But if politics starts to work, there will be a trouble to settle in the courts. You may not know the true cause of this strike, Mr. Donnelly, but I do. The poor deluded men believe it to be the English inventor, but he is only a blind. Had you really wished to do me a favor, you would have spoken to the men before they went out on this silly strike. But I am master of what is mine, and I shall tear down that building. I shall tolerate no interference from any man. The workman has his rights; this is one of my rights, and I intend to use it.”

“It’s your business. If you are fool enough to kill a golden goose, it’s no affair of mine. But I shall rescind your permit, however. I believe it to be my duty.”

“Call your Council together, Mr. Donnelly. You can not get a quorum together earlier than to-morrow night; and by that time I shall have the work done. You say you will not afford me protection. Very well; if the men become violent and burn the shops, I shall be relieved of the expense of tearing them down. Good afternoon.”

Donnelly sat in his chair for a quarter of an hour, silent and thoughtful. Suddenly he slapped his thigh.

“I don’t know what McQuade has against that man, but, by the Lord! he IS a man!”

That night the strikers received several bottles of whisky and a keg of beer. The source of these gifts was unknown. Some of the more thoughtful were for smashing the stuff, but the turbulent majority overruled them. They began to drink and jest. They did so with impunity. For some reason the police had been withdrawn. The hammering inside the shops puzzled them, but they still clung to the idea that all this clamor was only a ruse to frighten them into surrendering. From the interior the pounding gradually approached as far as the walls of the courtyard. At midnight one of these walls went thundering to the ground. A few minutes later another fell. The strikers grouped together, dismayed.

“By God, boys,” one of them yelled, “he’s tearing it down!”

In that moment, and only then, did they realize that they had been dealing with a man whose will and word were immutable. They saw all their dreams of triumph vanish in the dust that rose from the crumbling brick and plaster. And dismay gave way to insensate rage. It would only be helping Bennington to riot and burn the shops, so now to maim and kill the men who, at hire, were tearing down these walls.

“Come on, boys! We’ll help the scabs finish the work! Come on!”

There was now a great breach in the wall. Men moving to and fro could be seen. The strikers snatched up bricks and clubs and dashed toward this. But ere they had set foot on the rubbish they stopped. Half a dozen resolute men faced them. They were armed.

“That’s far enough, boys,” warned a powerful voice. “I told you we have all been sworn in as deputy police, with all the laws of the state back of us. The first man that steps across that pile of bricks will go to the hospital, the second man to the undertaker.”

Chapter XVII

Ah, the vanity of Dawn! Like a Venus she rises from her bath of opalescent mists and dons a gown of pearl. But this does not please the coquette. Her fancy turns from pearl to green, to amber, to pink, to blue and gold and rose, an inexhaustible wardrobe. She blushes, she frowns, she hesitates; she is like a woman in love. She casts abroad her dewy jewels on the leaves, the blades of grass, the tangled laces of the spiders, the drab cold stones. She ruffles the clouds on the face of the sleeping waters; she sweeps through the forests with a low whispering sound, taking a tithe of the resinous perfumes. Always and always she decks herself for the coming of Phoebus, but, woman-like, at first sight of him turns and flies.

Dawn is the most beautiful of all the atmospheric changes, but the vision is a rarity to the majority of us.

Warrington was up and away on his hunter before Phoebus sent his warning flashing over the hills. He took the now familiar road, and urged his animal vigorously. Fine! Not a bit of dust rose from the road, dew-wet and brown. The rime of the slight frost shone from the fences and grasses and stacked corn, like old age that strikes in a single night. Here and there a farmer could be seen pottering about the yards, or there was a pale curl of smoke rising from the chimney. The horse, loving these chill, exhilarating October mornings, went drumming along the road. Occasionally Warrington would rise in the stirrups and gaze forward over this elevation or that, and sometimes behind him. No. For three mornings he had ridden out this old familiar way, but alone. The hunger in his eyes remained unsatisfied.

For the first time in years he turned into a certain familiar fork in the road, and all his youth came back to him as vividly as though it had been but yesterday. Half a mile up this fork was the rambling old farm-house. It was unchanged. The clapboards were still stained with rust, the barns were still a dingy red, the stone and rail fences needed the same repairs. Nothing had changed there but the masters. And under that roof he had made his first feeble protest against life; he had dreamed those valiant dreams of youth that never come true, no matter how successful one may become in after life. Every waking means an illusion gone, another twig pruned from the tree of ardent fancy; and when one is old there is neither shade nor shelter.

Warrington stopped his horse. He had no desire to ride closer; he could see everything well enough from where he sat. Rosy apples twinkled in the orchard on the hill, and golden pumpkins glistened afield, for by now Phoebus had come to his own. How many dawns had he seen from yonder windows, in summer and winter, in autumn and spring? How many times had he gone dreaming to the markets over this road? It was beyond counting. Had any of those particular dreams come true? Not that he could recollect, for he had never dreamed of being a successful dramatist; that good fortune had been thrust upon him. He tried to picture his father walking toward the fields; it was too remote. His mother? Of her he could recollect positively nothing. But the aunt, he saw her everywhere,–in the garden, in the doorway, in the window, by the old well. Now she was culling hollyhocks along the stone wall, now she was coming down the hill with an apron filled with apples, now she was canning preserves and chili sauce in the hot kitchen, or the steel-rimmed spectacles were shining over the worn pages of the New Testament at night.

What was the use? To-day is alien to yesterday; an hour separates as definitely as eternity. There was nothing there for him; so he wheeled and rode back toward the city, conning over a speech he was to make that night. Since Patty had not ridden this way, the zest of the morning’s ride was gone. Which road did she take now? To the west, to the south, to the north round the lake? Twice the night before he had started for the telephone to inquire, but had not taken down the receiver. Was he afraid? He could not say. And afraid of what? Still less could he tell. Three months ago he had called her Patty, had jested and laughed with her; and now he hesitated to call her up by telephone. No, he was not afraid of Patty; he was simply afraid of himself. For he realized this–that in the moment he spoke to her alone his love would spring from his lips like a torrent; nothing could stop it; and he was not of that supreme courage at present that spurs the lover to put it to the touch to win or lose it all.

So, then, he rode back to the city, hugging his doubt and his love, with frequent lucid intervals that were devoted to his forthcoming speech. When the battle was over, when he had won or lost, then he would go to her and drink the cup, bitter or sweet.

Patty had not spent the night in comfort; her head had rolled from one pillow to another, and the cases were not always dry. Indeed, it had been some time since she had pressed her cheek tranquilly upon a pillow. Night is either sweetest or most wretched; one spends it recounting one’s joys or one’s sorrows. Patty was unhappy; and leave it to youth to gain the full meed of misery. Youth has not the philosophy of matured age to cast into the balance. Satisfaction in this workaday world is only momentary. One is never wholly satisfied; there is always some hidden barb. The child wears the mother’s skirts enviously while the mother mourns her youth. Expectation leads us to the dividing line of life, and from there retrospection carries us to the end. Experience teaches us that fire burns and that water quenches; beyond this we have learned but little.

This morning Patty was up with the dawn. She did not trouble to wake the groom, but saddled and bridled the horse herself. She mounted and rode quietly into the street. She did not glance at Warrington’s house while approaching or passing it, but once she had left it in the rear she turned quickly, flushing as if she had caught herself in some weakness. She directed the horse toward the west, crossing the city before she reached the open country. Here the west wind, young and crisp, blew away the last vestige of heaviness from her eyes. She urged the horse into a canter and maintained this gait for a mile or more. Then she reined in to a walk.

Three weeks! And all this time she had not even breathed a word of it, but had hugged the viper to her heart in silence. She dropped the reins on the neck of the horse and took a letter from the pocket of her riding-coat. How many times had she read it? How many times had fury and rage and despair flashed from her eyes as she read it? She hated him; she hated her. There was neither honesty nor goodness in the world; those who preached it lied. Yes, yes! There was one. John, dear, noble John, he at any rate was honest. But it was all acting on her part, acting, acting. She had married John as a convenience; she had made use of his honest love as a cloak. The despicable creature! And yet, when in her presence, so great was her charm and magnetism, Patty doubted. After all, it was an anonymous letter, and nothing is more vile. But who can say to this viper Doubt–“Vanish!” It goes, it goes again and again; which is to say it always returns. Long ago she would have confronted her brother’s wife with this letter, had not John been in the heart of his battle at the shops. For the present he had enough trouble. And yet, to see that woman with John, an angel might be deceived. To see her weep and laugh over him, to see her touch him with her hands, to caress him with her eyes, to be tender and strong at his side. … Could anybody be so wicked? True, her transgression had been made, according to this letter, before John had married her; but this lessened the enormity of it none in Patty’s eyes.

“Oh, I was so happy, and now I am so miserable!” murmured the girl, pressing her hand to her throat, which seemed to stifle her.

She read the letter again, through blurred vision. It was horrible.

One who takes a deep interest in your future welfare finds it a duty to warn you against Richard Warrington, for whom it is being said you have developed a strong sentiment. It is well known that he drank deeply at one time and lived the life of a debauchee. Beware of the woman, also, whom you call sister. The writer does not offer anything detrimental to her married life, but it is known that she was practically Warrington’s mistress before she married your splendid brother. She was seen frequently to enter his apartments at night, and the writer can furnish abundant proof that she was seen to leave his apartments one morning. This is not penned with malice. It is simply that the writer knows and admires you and can not stand passively by and see you humiliated by the attentions of a man who is unworthy to lace your shoes. As for your sister-in-law, I have no desire to meddle. Confront both her and Warrington, if the truth of the above statement is doubted by you.

Upon these last words depended Patty’s attitude. It must be true. Whoever had written this abominable letter could write plain English, despite the disguised hand. Patty recognized that it was disguised. The capitals differed, so did the tails of the y’s and f’s; the backhand slant was not always slanting, but frequently leaned toward the opposite angle. She had but to confront them! It seemed simple; but to bring herself to act upon it! She reviewed all the meetings between Kate and Warrington. Never had her eyes discerned evidence of anything other than frank good fellowship. She searched painfully; there was not a single glance, a single smile upon which she could build a guilty alliance. And yet this writer affirmed … Oh, it was monstrous! Those rumors she had heard months ago! The telephone call from McQuade! Ah, that telephone call! Had Kate been guilty would she have confided to her, Patty? She seemed to be pulled, now forward, now backward. McQuade knew something, the wretch! but what? This letter had never been written by him. A man would have used a pronoun, third person, masculine; he would have shown some venom back of the duplicity that affirmed an interest in her welfare.

The tears dried quickly; the heat of her renewed rage burned them up. She set about to do something she had not thought of doing before–investigating. She held the note-paper to the sun. The water-mark of a fashionable paper manufacturer was easily observable. Men did not write on that brand. So much gained. Then she recalled a French play in which a perfume had convicted a person of theft. She held the envelope to her nose; nothing, not even tobacco. She tried the letter itself. Ah, here was something tangible: heliotrope, vague, but perceptible. Who among her friends used heliotrope on her kerchief? She could not remember; in fact, any or all of them might have worn it, so far as she could recall. She would go over her invitations and visitors’ cards; she would play detective; she would ferret out as a spy who took this amiable interest in her future. This determination brightened her considerably. And woe to the meddler if Patty found her! If it was a baseless lie (and she hoped against hope in her loyal little heart!) she would make a pariah of the writer of this particular anonymous letter. True or not, what was it to her? What right had she to interfere? She was cowardly; of that Patty was certain. True friends are the last in the world to inflict sorrow upon us. Kith and kin may stab us, but never the loyal friend. Now that she thought it all over, she was glad that she had repeatedly fought the impulse to lay the matter before her sister. She would trace this letter home first; she would find out upon what authority it was written; there would be time enough after that to confront Kate, or Warrington, or John. Ah, if she had stepped forward in the dark, to wreck her brother’s life needlessly. … Heliotrope! She would never forget that particular odor, never. She had a good idea of justice, and she recognized the fact that any act on her part, against either Kate or Warrington, before she found the writer of the letter, would be rank injustice. Persons can not defend themselves against anonymous letters; they can only ignore them.

She touched her horse again. She was now in feverish haste to get home. She took the turn of the road which presently brought her in the vicinity of the shops. It was practically in ruins. The courtyard walls were all down, the building itself was totally empty of ore or machinery. Bennington had disposed of these to Pennsylvanian concerns. Patty rode up in time to see half a dozen urchins throwing stones at the few window-panes that were still unbroken. She dispersed them angrily, and they gathered at the side of the road, open-mouthed and wide-eyed at the picture of this avenging angel.

“How dare you throw stones at those windows? How dare you?” she cried passionately.

After a while one of the lads found his voice.

“Why, nobody’s in it. The man what owns it tored the insides outen it. ‘Tain’t no harm what we’re doin’. Hey, fellers?”

“Naw. The cops don’t say nothin’. An’ my old man used to work there.”

She saw that they were no more than ordinary boys to whom the panes of glass in a deserted building were legitimate prey.

“So your father was one of the strikers?” said Patty, her lips thinning. “Why did he strike?”

“I don’t know; ’cause the others struck, I guess. They was an English lobster workin’ without bein’ in my old man’s union. Mebbe that was it. Anyhow, we don’t care; the old man’s got another job.”

With this the boys climbed the fence and moved across the field, mutely rebellious, like puppies baffled in their pursuit of a cat.

Patty’s eyes, moist and shining of a sudden, roved over the grim ruins. Sparrows were chattering on the window ledges and swallows were diving into the black mouths of the towering chimneys. The memory of her father swelled her heart near to bursting. She could see his iron-grey head bending over the desk; she could hear his rough but kindly voice. Why, whenever he entered the house his splendid physical energy seemed to radiate health and cheerfulness, infecting all those about him. She could see the men, too, moving in the glow of ruddy light; she could see again the brilliant sparks flying from under the thundering trip-hammers, the cyclopean eyes that glared up at heaven at night, the great rumbling drays, the freight moving to and from the spur. Now there was no sound; nothing but silence, with the suggestion of a tomb.

The end of the strike had been a nine days’ wonder, for it proved that there had actually been no strike at all, since the owner had simply closed down the shops, torn down a few walls, sold the machinery and ore, and canceled all his business obligations. No sensation, however vital, lasts very long these days; and after these nine days it turned its attention to other things, this mutable public. Employers, however, and union leaders, all over the continent, went about their affairs thoughtfully. If one man could do this unheard-of thing, so might others, now that an example had been set before them. The dispersed men harbored no ill feeling toward Morrissy; he, as they supposed, had acted in good faith for the welfare of the union. But for the man who had had the courage to make good his threats, for him they had nothing but bitterness and hate.

Patty would always remember that final night of the strike when John had come in early in the morning, his clothes torn, his hands bloody, his hair matted to his forehead, and hatless. He had been last to leave the shops, and he had, unarmed, run the gantlet of the maddened strikers who had been held at bay for six long hours. Only his great strength and physical endurance had pulled him out of the arms of violent death. There had been no shot fired from the shops. The strikers saw the utter futility of forcing armed men, so they had hung about with gibe and ribald jeer, waiting for some one careless enough to pass them alone. This Bennington did. His men had forgotten him. Bennington’s injuries had been rather trivial; it had been his personal appearance that had terrified the women. He had fallen asleep half an hour after reaching home, and he had slept till nine that evening. Upon awakening he had begun at once to plan a trip to Europe, to wander from capital to capital for a year or so. No one had interrupted him; not even the mother, grown old in the past month, had demurred at his plans. He would have none near him but Kate, and she had hovered about him, ministering to his wants as a mother over a sick child. … Kate! It all came back with a rush. Kate! Oh, what was she, Patty, to believe? That night she had loved Kate almost to idolatry. She shuddered, turned away from the ruins, and set off at a gallop till she came upon brick pavement. She rarely trotted upon pavement, but this morning she had no thought for the horse; she burned to be at work. She trotted rapidly into town, across the principal thoroughfares, this way being the short cut. By this time men were on the way to work. Many of them turned their heads to stare at her. There was only one woman in town who sat a horse like this one, and it could be no less a person than Patty Bennington. All the men recognized her instantly. She had their good wishes, for all that her brother had taken away the bread and butter of some of them. Many touched their hats from mere force of habit.

There was one man, however, who glared evilly at her from the curb. She recognized him in spite of his discolored face, the result of a long, uninterrupted debauch. It was Bolles. As he caught her eye he smiled evilly and leered at her.

“Wait, my beauty; wait. I’ll kill that brother of yours one of these fine days, damn him!” Bolles gave one more look at the swiftly-moving figure on the horse, and shuffled away toward McQuade’s office, to await the arrival of that gentleman. Bolles needed money, and he knew where to get it.

As she reached the foot of Williams Street Patty glanced up the hill. A horseman had just entered Warrington’s. She recognized both man and horse. It was Warrington. She knew at once that he had ridden out her favorite route, perhaps in the hope of seeing her. Her heart tightened strangely as she walked her horse up the hill, and she would have passed home but for the intelligence of her animal, which turned in toward the house quite naturally. Her mother was on the side veranda.

“Patty, you have worried us all. The stableman, when he found your horse gone, came in with the cry of thieves. I was frightened, too, till I went to your room and found you gone. You mustn’t go without notifying the stableman or the groom.”

“It was an impulse of the moment, mother. I couldn’t sleep, and I saw no need of waking up the boys in the stables.”

Patty ran up stairs for a bath and a change of clothes for breakfast. She ate little, however; the ride had not put the usual edge on her appetite.

“Mr. Warrington made a fine speech last night,” said the mother, handing the morning paper to Patty.

Patty accepted it mechanically. She had determined not to read the paper. But she knew now, if she unfolded it, she would turn immediately to the local pages and search for Warrington’s speech. She read it, and she hated herself for admiring it. The self-lie was not among Patty’s failings. There was no denying that Warrington’s speech was a good oratorical effort; every line of it rang sound and true; but that might be a trick of the trade. He could make thieves and villains on the stage speak glibly and plausibly; certainly he could do as much for himself. One thing she could not deny him, and that was frankness. He had confessed to her last summer that he was not, or had not been, a good man in the strict sense of the word. She laid down the paper and finished her coffee. She was glad that she did not have to face Kate at each meal. She felt that she couldn’t have trusted herself; there were times when she spoke the first thought, and always regretted it. Poor John, poor John!

From the table she went directly to the Indian basket that held all the cards and invitations. The mother, concerned with her household duties, left her to herself. Patty would have found some difficulty at that moment in answering any curious questions. One by one she drew out the envelopes and cards. There was a permanent scent of sweet grass. She discovered nothing; she realized that her discovering anything depended solely upon hazard. Excitement ebbed, leaving nothing but hopelessness. She threw the cards and invitations into the basket. She might have known that visiting-cards and printed invitations are generally odorless. She sought the garden. The Angora was prowling around, watching the bees and butterflies hovering over wind-fallen fruit. Patty called to her, but the cat ignored the call. From the garden Patty went to the stables, from the stables she returned to the house. She was at peace nowhere. Later her mother found her dreaming in the window-seat.

“Patty, Mrs. Haldene left her shopping-bag here yesterday afternoon. I had forgotten it. Would you mind taking it over to her, or shall I have the maid do it?”

“I have nothing to do, mother. I can take it over just as well as not,” said Patty listlessly.

She slipped her arm through the handles of the bag and proceeded into the hall for a hat. As she lifted the hat to her head the bag slipped along her arm close to her nose. Instantly her figure became tense and rigid, her face grim and colorless.


Chapter XVIII

There could be no doubt at all. The perfume on the letter and that on the shopping-bag were identical. Indeed, she would take the bag over to Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene; she would be very glad to do her that trifling service. Oh! Patty’s rage choked her. During the past three weeks Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene had called at least a dozen times, doubtless to observe the effect of her interest in Patty’s welfare. She might have known! Well, this very morning she would ascertain from Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene’s lips where she had secured her information. She would do more than that; she would make her prove every word of it.

So Patty marched toward the Haldene place, marched, because that verb suggests something warlike, something belligerent. And there was war a-plenty in Patty’s heart. Each step she took sang out a sharp “Meddler-gossip! meddler-gossip!” A delivery horse went past, drumming an irritating “Busybody! busybody! busybody!” What had she or hers ever done to Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene that she should stoop to so base a means of attack? An anonymous letter! War raged in Patty’s heart; but there was something warmer and clearer coursing through her veins–hope!

She went on. Not a particle of her courage deserted her as she mounted the steps and pushed the bell. When Patty was genuinely roused in anger she was afraid of little or nothing, animate or inanimate. A maid answered the bell. As she recognized the caller she swung back the door and nodded.

“Is Mrs. Haldene at home?” Patty inquired.

“Yes, Miss Patty.”

The maid led Patty into the library, where Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was busily engaged in making up an invitation list.

“Why, Patty, I am glad to see you,” she cried, dropping her pen and rising. But her curiosity rose at the same time. Patty here?

“You left your shopping-bag when you called yesterday,” said Patty, ominously calm. “I have brought it to you.”

“It was very careless of me to forget it.”

“Yes, it was,” Patty assented, her heart beginning to throb violently.

“Thank you. And I have been looking for it high and low.”

Patty passed the bag to her enemy. How to begin, how to begin!

“Mrs. Haldene!” Patty’s voice was high-pitched and quavering.

“Why, Patty!”

“Why did you write this base letter to me!”–exhibiting the letter resolutely. “Do not deny that you wrote it. It smells of heliotrope–your favorite perfume.”

“Patty Bennington, are you mad?” cried Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene. “What letter? What do you mean?” She knew very well, but she had not practised the control of her nerves all these years for nothing. “A letter? I demand to see it.”

But Patty reconsidered and withdrew her hand, concluding that Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene could destroy the letter as easily as she had written it; more easily, had Patty but known it.

“I prefer to read it to you.” And Patty read, her tones sharp and penetrating, finely tempered by anger.

“I write such a thing as that? You accuse me of writing an anonymous letter of that caliber? You are mad, distinctly mad, and if I did what was right I should ask you to leave this house instantly.” Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene rose to her full height, after the manner of indignant persons on the stage.

Patty was not overcome in the least. An idea, bold, unconventional, and not over-scrupulous, shot into her head. With her eyes holding Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene’s, she stepped toward the desk; then, in a flash, she seized one of the sheets of note-paper that lay scattered about. Mrs. Franklyn Haldene made a desperate effort to intercept Patty; but Patty was young, slender and agile. She ran quickly to the nearest window and compared the written sheet with the blank. The paper and grain were the same, only one showed that the top had been cut off. There was no shadow of doubt.

“You are a horrible woman,” said Patty.

“Leave this house instantly!” Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was now thoroughly alarmed.

“Not till you have proved the truth of this letter,” Patty declared.

“I refuse to submit to such gross insults in my own house!” Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene’s voice rose a key. She swept majestically toward the door.

Patty stepped bravely in front of her.

“Have you no breeding?” the storm in Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene’s voice gathering.

“Who told you that my brother’s wife was formerly–“

“Stand aside!”

“I shall not leave this house or your presence till you have answered,” replied the little paladin. “You wrote this letter to me, trusting it would make me miserable. It has. But I have not done what you expected,–shown it. Who told you this base lie?”

“I refuse to answer your impudent questions. Will you stand aside?”

“There is a way to force you. I will know, Mrs. Haldene, I will know. If you refuse, I shall turn these two sheets over to my brother’s lawyers.”

“A lawyer?” with an hysterical laugh. “You would scarcely take a thing like that to a lawyer, of all persons.”

“I declare to you that that is exactly what I shall do. You wrote this letter; I can prove that you wrote it. Afraid of publicity? You do not know me. What I demand to know is, who gave you this information? That I will know.”

Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene saw that Patty would do what she promised; so she took her stand boldly.

“Well, then, since you will have it. Yes, I wrote that letter, for I could no longer stand the humiliation of meeting your sister-in-law in decent houses, and that double hypocrite who pretends to be your brother’s friend and your admirer. Proof? I was at my hair-dresser’s one morning, when a woman who is an intimate of McQuade, the politician, came in. She dropped a letter. McQuade had written it. It told definitely the information you have in your hand.”

“You have that letter?” Patty was conscious of a strange numbness stealing over her.

“No, I haven’t. I read it, and sent it to its owner. I consider myself very fortunate. I always had my suspicions, and it was a relief to find that they were not without foundation. You will now relieve me of your unwelcome presence in this house.” This time Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene leveled her arm toward the door; the right was with her.

“In a moment,” said a third voice, masculine.

Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene’s arm dropped. Patty turned with a low cry. She had forgotten that there might be some one else in the house.

Haldene entered through the door to the dining-room. His face was hard and his eyes cold.

“I must ask your pardon, both of you, but I could not help overhearing your voices. They ran somewhat high.” He bowed to Patty deferentially; he merely glanced at his wife.

“Franklyn!” This phase of the situation was altogether too unexpected and embarrassing for Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene to accept it readily.

“I have heard words about an anonymous letter; I have heard names,–McQuade, your brother, his wife, Warrington, and my wife. I should like to know–“

“Franklyn!” his wife appealed. To be humiliated before this impudent chit of a girl!

“Patience, my dear.” Haldene held up his hand. “Well, Patty?”

“Mrs. Haldene has taken the trouble to meddle with my affairs by writing me an anonymous letter concerning the conduct of my brother’s wife and his friend. I have traced the letter to Mrs. Haldene, and she has confessed that she wrote it, also stating her reasons and the source of her information.” Patty spoke bravely, for she hadn’t the least idea whose side Mr. Haldene would take. She was not aware that, for all his idle habits and failings, he had that quality of justice which, upon occasions, makes a terrible judge of a just man.

“Will you let me see that letter?” he asked.

Patty gave it to him without conditions. He read it slowly, but neither woman could discover the slightest emotion on the man’s face. He studied it carefully. He even compared the false hand with the true. Then he addressed his wife.

“Did you write this?”

“Yes, I did. And if you have been listening, as you had the courage to say you had, you already know my reasons for writing it.” Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene was recovering.

“You must apologize,” he said.

“Apologize? I think not. On my part there is nothing more to be said.”

“I see that I shall have to apologize for you. Patty, I am very sorry that this has happened, and I can promise you that it shall end here. Will you accept my apology?”

After some hesitance, Patty nodded. She could not very well refuse. She had always liked Mr. Haldene. As hitherto remarked, Patty’s was an impulsive heart. Suddenly she stretched out her hands toward the wife.

“What have I or mine ever done to you that you should seek to injure us so cruelly? Have we wronged you in thought or deed? What is it that has made you my enemy?”

“I am not your enemy, Patty,” said the elder woman, melting ever so slightly. “I have told you that I did not wish to see your life made wretched by marrying a man of Warrington’s loose habits, and that I could not tolerate the woman who is your brother’s wife.”

Patty held out her hand for the letter. She had no desire to remain any longer. She wanted nothing but the privilege of being alone, that she might weep the bitter, galling tears that were brimming her eyes. … She had no recollection of gaining the street. It was true, it was true! She did not even remember how she reached her room; but as her blurred eyes saw the bed, she fell upon it in a stupor that for a long while did not give any outlet to her tears.

In the meantime Haldene faced his wife.

“I am going down town presently,” he said. “I shall send you up by messenger several cabin-plans.”

“Cabin-plans?” amazed at this odd turn in affairs.

“Yes. You will spend the winter either in Egypt or Italy, as it pleases you.”

“Europe? But my social obligations demand my presence here!” she expostulated.

“You will cancel them. You will go to Europe. Anonymous letters!” He struck the desk violently. It was the first touch of this kind he had ever exhibited in her presence, and it terrified her. “When I married you, people said I married your money. As God is above us, I loved you. Yes, I loved you. But how long was it permitted that this love should live? Six slender months! You, you of all women, you write anonymous letters?” He laughed, but it was laughter that had nothing human in it. “Madam, when I die my deposit box at the bank will be turned over to you. In it you will find six anonymous letters. They have lain there sixteen years. I took the advice of one and followed you. So I let them believe that I had married you for your money. I meant to have my revenge after I was dead. Madam, you will go to Europe. I shall not be home to lunch, but you may expect me at dinner. I am curious to learn whether it will be in Egypt and the Holy Land, or Italy, the land of the fig-tree and the vine. Good morning.”

When he was gone, Mrs. Franklyn-Haldene realized, for the first time in sixteen years, that she had married a man. Suddenly her knees gave from under her, and she sank into her chair, staring at the floor with unseeing eyes. For sixteen years!

That afternoon Warrington had a visit. His visitors were Jordan, the reporter, and Osborne. They appeared to be in high spirits.

“We’ve got him, Dick!” exclaimed Jordan, swinging his hat.

“Got whom?”

“Morrissy–Morrissy and McQuade,” said Osborne, in his whisky-roughened voice. “We’ve got ’em all right, Dick. Look at this,” tossing a wrinkled sheet of carbon-paper on Warrington’s desk.

Warrington spread it out. It took him but a minute to find out the richness of his possession.

“Where did you come across this?” he asked eagerly.

“My niece found it in her waste-basket. I’ve sent her into the country to visit relatives,” said Osborne. “But if you use it, Dick, you’ll have to find the girl another job in some other town.”

“You leave that to me. This is worth a thousand to me and a thousand more to John Bennington. Now, both of you go down to any restaurant in town and order what you like, and as long as you like, and you have them call me up if there’s any question.”

The reporter and the semi-outcast smiled at each other. They saw their appetites appeased to satiety.

“Does a bottle go with the order, Dick?” asked Jordan.

“Half a dozen!” laughed Warrington.

“I’ve put you in the City Hall, Dick,” said Osborne. “And don’t forget me when you’re there.”

“Will there be a story for me?” Jordan asked.

“You’ll have a page, Ben.”

“That’s enough. Well, come on, Bill; we’ll show the new mayor that we can order like gentlemen.”

“I remember–” But Osborne never completed his reminiscence. Jordan was already propelling him toward the door.

Once the door had closed upon them, Warrington capered around the room like a school-boy. The publication of this confederacy between Morrissy and McQuade would swing the doubting element over to his side and split the ranks of the labor party.

Patty, Patty Bennington! He must see her. It was impossible to wait another day. When was it he had seen her last? Patty, dark-eyed, elfish, winsome, merry! Oh, yes, he must see her at once, this very afternoon. He could no longer repress the tide of his love, which surged at the flood-gates of his heart with mighty pressure. Patty! Patty!

“Patty is not feeling well,” said Mrs. Bennington, as she welcomed Warrington at the door, an hour later. “I will call her. I am sure she will be glad to see you.”

Warrington went into the music-room, placed his hat on the piano, and idled about impatiently. That morning he had not possessed the courage; now he was willing to face lions and tigers, anything rather than permit another day to pass without telling Patty that he loved her. When she finally appeared she was pale, her eyes were red, but her head was erect and her lips firm.

“Patty, are you ill?” hastening toward her.

“I have a very bad headache,” coldly. “You wished to see me?”

Where were all the tender words he had planned to speak? Patty had been weeping!

“You have been crying. What has happened?” anxiously.

“It can not interest you,” wearily. Men! She would have a horror of them for the rest of her days.

“Not interest me? Don’t you know, haven’t you seen by this time, that you interest me more than any other living being or any angel in Heaven?”

Patty caught at the portiere to steady herself. She had not expected declarations of this kind.

“Don’t you know,” he hurried on, his voice gaining in passion and tenderness, “don’t you know that a pain to you means triple pain to me? Don’t you know that I love you? Patty, what is the trouble? You are not a woman to weep over headaches.”

“Do you wish to know, then?” bitterly. She hated him! How could he stand there telling her that he loved her? “Read this,” presenting the letter. “I despise you!”

“Despise me? What in God’s name is the matter?”

“Read, read!” vehemently.

Once the letter was in his hand, her arms dropped to her sides, tense. It was best so, to have it over with at once. To crush the thought of him out of her heart for ever, such a remedy was necessary. She watched him. His hand fell slowly. It would have been difficult to say which of the two was the whiter.

“You speak of love to me?”

He stood there, stunned. His silence spoke eloquently to her. He was guilty. She leaped to this conclusion at once, not realizing that no man can immediately defend himself when accused so abruptly.

“You speak of love!” Her wrath seemed to scorch her lips. “My poor brother!”

Warrington straightened. “Do you believe this?” He threw the letter aside, as if the touch contaminated him, caring not where it fell.

“Is it true?”

“An anonymous letter?” he replied, contemptuously.

“I know who wrote it.”

“You know who wrote it? Who?” There was terrible anger in his voice now.

“I decline to answer.”

“So you give me not even the benefit of a doubt! You believe it!”

Patty was less observant than usual. “Will you please go now? I do not think there is anything more to be said.”

“No. I will go.” He spoke quietly, but like a man who has received his death-stroke. “One question more. Did McQuade write that letter?”


He picked up his hat. “So much for my dreams! Deny it? Deny calumny of the anonymous order? No! Defend myself against such a lie? No!”

He walked from the room, his head erect. He did not turn to look at her again. The hall door closed. He was gone.

Chapter XIX

Tragedy was abroad that day, crossing and recrossing Williams Street.