The Man: A Story of To-day by Hubbard, Elbert

courtesy of the Digital Library@Villanova University (http://digital.library.villanova.edu/).)

Transcriber’s Notes:

Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_), text enclosed by equal signs is in bold (=bold=), and ^{} encloses superscripted material.

Additional Transcriber’s Notes are at the end.

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THE MAN.

A STORY OF TO-DAY,

With Facts, Fancies and Faults Peculiarly its Own; Containing Certain Truths Heretofore Unpublished Concerning Right Relation of the Sexes, etc., etc.

BY ASPASIA HOBBS.

COPYRIGHT, 1891, BY J. S. OGILVIE.

THE SUNNYSIDE SERIES, No. 47. Issued Monthly. December, 1891. Extra. $3.00 per year. Entered at New York Post-Office as second-class matter.

THREE OPEN LETTERS.

LETTER NO. 1.

BUFFALO, N. Y., July 1, 1891.

TO MARTHA HEATH,

_Friend_:--You said that someone would surely print it, and I write you this to say that after four publishers had most politely rejected the manuscript, the fifth has written me saying the story does not amount to much; in fact, that I have no literary style, but as the book is so out of the general run they concluded to accept it. They sent me a check for $300.00 which they say is a bonus, and after the first 5,000 copies are sold they propose to pay me a royalty. So you see even if I have lost my place at Hustler’s, I am not destitute, so I will not accept your offer of a loan. You and Grimes (dear old Grimes) are the only persons in all this great city who have stood by me in my trouble. If you had presented me with a box of candy I would thank you, but for all the kindness I have received, prompted by your outspoken and generous nature, I offer not a single word. Words, in times like these, to such as you, are of small avail, my heart speaks. You say you dislike awfully to see those last five chapters in print, and so will I, my dear. Little did we think when I began this book that the story would have such an ending; but, Martha, I am not writing a pretty novel, but simple truth just as the facts occurred. I offer no excuse nor apology, but will simply give you this from Charles Kingsley’s “Alton Locke:”

Scene: A street corner in London, on one hand a gin palace, opposite a pawn shop--those two monsters who feed on the vitals of the poor--all about is abject wretchedness.

Locke stops, sighs and says, “Oh, this is so very unpoetic.” Sandy Mackaye replies, “What, man, no poetry here! Why, what is poetry but chapters lifted from the drama of life, and what is the drama if not the battle between man and circumstance, and shall not man eventually conquer? I will show you too in many a garret where no eye but that of the good God enters, the patience, the fortitude, the self-sacrifice and the love stronger than death, all flourishing while oppression and stupid ignorance are clawing at the door!”

But right will conquer, dearest, and the goodness that has never been weighed in the balances, nor tried in the fire, how do you know it _is_ goodness at all? It may only be namby-pamby--wishy-washy--goody-goody, _who knows_? _We_ are all in God’s hand, sister, and the bad is the stuff sent, on which to try our steel.

Yours ever,

ASPASIA.

* * * * *

LETTER NO. 2.

July 3, 1891.

TO PYGMALION WOODBUR, ESQ., Attorney-at-Law.

_Sir_:--I have received your letter warning me that if I use your name in a certain book of local history (said book entitled THE MAN) that you will cause my arrest for malicious libel, and also sue me for damages. To this I can only say that the book is now in the hands of the electrotypers, and I am not inclined to change a line in it, on your suggestion, even if I could. Please believe me, when I say, that I bear you no ill-will and have no desire to injure you or place you in a wrong light before the public, what I have written being but truth penned without exaggeration or coloring. I make no apology or excuse. What I have written I have written.

Yours, etc.,

ASPASIA HOBBS.

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LETTER NO. 3.

BUFFALO, N. Y., July 3, 1891.

TO JOHN BILKSON, of Hustler & Co.,

_Sir_:--Your registered letter of June 30th, received, wherein you state that you have no further use for my services, and that whereas you generally give an employee a letter of recommendation when you discharge them, yet in my case you cannot do so.

Although I have made no request for such recommendation, I regret your conscience will not allow you to supply it.

You remember the scene of five years ago in your office? No one knows a word of this, and never will, unless you tell it (which I hardly think you care to do). You swore then you would get even with me--is your vengeance now satisfied?

I have no malice toward you--I cannot afford to have against anyone--although I must say that your action in deducting from my wages the price of one set of false teeth purchased from Dr. Poole is not exactly right. You know, Mr. Bilkson, you lost those teeth purely through accident and no one regretted the occurrence more than I. With best wishes for the continued prosperity of Hustler & Co., I remain,

Yours, as ever,

ASPASIA HOBBS.

* * * * *

THE MAN.

CHAPTER I. MYSELF.

What I have to write is of such great value, the circumstances so peculiar, the record so strange, and the truths so startling, that it is but proper I should explain who and what I am, in order that any person, so disposed, may fully verify for himself the things I am about to relate.

Just at that most quiet hour of all the twenty-four, in the city, on a summer’s morning, when the darkness is stubbornly giving way to daylight, there came a violent ring at Mr. Hobbs’ door-bell, followed up with what seemed to be quite an unnecessary knocking.

Mr. Hobbs was interested in an elevator, and when he heard that ring he was sure the elevator had burned--in fact, he had a presentiment that such would be the case; besides this, Mr. Hobbs always carried a goodly assortment of fears ready to use at any moment.

“There, didn’t I tell you!” he excitedly exclaimed to his wife, as he rushed down the stairs--he hadn’t told his wife anything, just bottled up his fears in his own bosom and let them ferment, but that made no difference--“Didn’t I tell you!” and he hastily unlocked and opened the door. No one there!

He looked up the street and down the street. Nothing but a clothes-basket, covered over with a threadbare shawl, which evidently a long time ago had been a costly one. Mr. Hobbs expected a messenger with bad news and Mr. Hobbs was disappointed, in fact was mad; and he snatched that shawl from the basket, staggered against the door, and a voice, like unto that of a young and lusty bull, went up the stairway where Mrs. Hobbs stood peering over the banisters:

“Maria, for God’s sake come quick! There’s something awful happened! Quick, will you!”

Mrs. Hobbs was not very brave, but curiosity often reinforces courage; so the good lady came down the stairs two steps at a time, and stood by the side of her liege, who had got his breath by this time and stood peering over the basket.

And there they stood together, all in white, with bare feet, on the front porch, and nearly broad daylight.

In the basket, all wrapped up in dainty flannel, smiling, cooing and kicking up its heels, lay a baby--well, perhaps two months old, and on a card written with pencil were these words:

“_God knows._”

Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs had no children, and they each looked upon this as a gift from providence--basket and all. They cared for the waif as their own child, and if their reward does not come in this life, I am sure it will in another.

“Her name shall be Aspasia Hobbs, for I always said my first girl (Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs had been married five years, and had no children, but the babies were already named; which, I am told, is the usual custom) should be named Aspasia, after your mother, dear,” said Mrs. Hobbs.

And Aspasia Hobbs it was, and is yet: and I am Aspasia Hobbs: and Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs are the only parents I have ever known.

I am now an old maid, aged thirty-seven (I must tell the truth). I am homely and angular, and can pass along the street without a man turning to look at me. From five years’ constant pounding on a caligraph my hands have grown large and my knuckles and the ends of my fingers are like knobs. I can walk twenty miles a day, or ride a wheel fifty.

The bishop of Western New York, in a sermon preached recently, said riding bicycles is “unladylike” (and so is good health for that matter)--but if the good bishop would lay aside prejudice and robe and mount a safety, he could still show men the right way as well as now--possibly better, who knows?

But, in the language of Spartacus, “I was not always thus.” Thank Heaven, I am strong and well! They used to say, “She is such a delicate, sensitive child, we can not keep her without we take very, v-e-r-y good care of her.” Some fool has said that hundreds of people die every year because they have such “very good care.”

My father was a member of the firm of Hobbs, Nobbs & Porcine, was a Board of Trade man, and, therefore, had no time to give to his children; but he was a good provider, as the old ladies say, and used to remind us of it quite often. “Don’t I get you everything you need?” he once roared at my mother, when she hinted that an evening home once in a while would not be out of place. “Here you have an up-stairs girl, a cook, a laundress, a coachman, a gardener, a tutor for Aspasia, and don’t I pay Doctor Bolus just five hundred dollars a year to call here every week and examine you all so as to keep you healthy? Great Scott, the ingratitude of woman! they are getting worse and worse every day!”

My father was a good man--that is he was not bad, so he must have been good. He never used tobacco, and I never heard him swear but once, and that was when Professor Connors brought in a bill reading:

“Debtor, to calisthenics for wife and daughter, $50.”

“I’ll pay it,” said my father grimly, “but I will deduct it from Bolus’ check, for you say it’s for the health and therefore it belongs to Bolus’ department and he should have furnished the goods.”

We lived on Delaware avenue, in one of the finest houses, which my father bought and had furnished throughout before my mother or any one of us were allowed to enter. He was a good man, and wanted to astonish--that is to say, surprise us. So one Saturday night, at dinner, he said,

“On Monday, my dears, we will leave this old Michigan street for a house on the ‘Avenue.’ I have given up our pew in Grace Church, and to-morrow, and hereafter, Rev. Fred. C. Inglehart and Delaware avenue are plenty good enough for us.”

Our family have the finest monument in Forest Lawn, and father assured us that if Methusalah was now a boy this monument would be new when his great grandchildren died of old age. He waxed enthusiastic, and added, as he lapsed into reverie,

“It’s a regular James Dandy, and knocks out Rodgers and Jowette in one round.”

I am a graduate of Dr. Chesterfield’s academy, and also of the high-school. I have studied music with Mr. McNerney and Senor Nuno, elocution with Steele Mackaye; and father once offered to wager Mr. Porcine that “Aspasia could do up any girl on the avenue or Franklin street at the piano.”

I was a rich (alleged) man’s daughter, and as I had a managing mamma and went in society I had the usual love (how that word is abused!) experiences. I am not writing an autobiography, but merely telling what is absolutely necessary for you to know of me; otherwise, I would relate some insipid mush about flirtations with several gilded youths, who waltzed delightfully and made love abominably--just as if a man could _make_ love! But suffice it to say, I never, in those old days, met a man I could not part with and feel relieved when he had taken his “darby” and slender cane and hied him down the steps. Mamma said I was heartless and didn’t know a good chance when I saw it.

One little affair of the pocket-book--that is, I mean of the heart--might be mentioned. A certain attorney, Pygmalion Woodbur by name--old Buffalonians know him well--paid his respects to me in an uneasy and stilted fashion. He was ten years my senior, had a monster yellow moustache generally colored black, which he combed down over the cavern in his face. He dressed in the latest, and was looked upon as a great catch. How these old bachelor men-about-town are lionized by a certain set of women!

He called several times, invited himself to dinner, took mamma riding and threw out side glances--grimaces--in my direction. One fine evening I sat reading in the parlor, alone, and in walked Mr. Woodbur and began about thusly:

“Aspasia--I may call you by your first name, now can’t I?--and you must call me Pyggie, for short. I have just spoken to your father and he says it’s all right,” etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

He slid off from the sofa on his knees, and seized my left hand and kissed it violently.

Fair lady, have you ever been kissed with a rush, by a man with a large yellow moustache colored black? Well it’s just like being jabbed with a paint brush!

Now, after his poorly memorized speech had been delivered, and I had jerked my hand away, there was a pause. I tried to laugh and I tried to cry; then I tried to faint, and was too mad to do either; so I just inwardly raged and then came the explosion--

“No! no! no! a thousand times _no_! Stick to you, Woodbur! _Never!_ I hate you--get out of my sight, quick!”

Just then in came papa and mamma, who it seems were taking a turn about at the keyhole.

“Why! why what’s the matter with my little girl,” and I fell sobbing in my mother’s arms.

“You must excuse her, Mr. Woodbur,” said the good lady. “Since her sunstroke, she has these spells quite often. You will excuse her, I know.”

“Why, when was the gal struck! You never told me nothing about it,” broke in my father.

“Now Hobbs, don’t be a fool,” said my mother under her breath.

Father started to answer. Woodbur saw his opportunity, and escaped under cover of the smoke, and forgot to come back for his umbrella, which I now have tied up with a white ribbon and put away with mint and lavender in memory of days gone by--and the best that I can say of the days that have gone by is that they have gone by.

As time wore, life seemed to grow dull and heavy, my cheeks grew pale, and in summer I sat on the piazza, often from breakfast until dinner-time, with a white crepe shawl thrown about my shoulders, listlessly watching the passers-by. Mother said, “Poor girl, I wish she would get mad just once as she used to. She is so good and submissive.” Doctor Bolus said I needed cod liver oil with strong doses of quinine, and once a week Glauber salts taken in molasses and sulphur; but still in spite of all medicine could do for me, I grew weaker and weaker. I fed on Mrs. Hemans and Tupper, and finally they carried me daily out to the big carriage, and the coachman was instructed to drive very slowly, and we went out through the Park, out to Forest Lawn and looked at our family monument, which gleamed in the beautiful sunshine.

Mother generally rode with me, and one morning she left me waiting in the carriage while she went over near our “lot,” so she could more closely inspect the monument. While waiting the coachman turned to me and said:

“Missis, yer father have bust, yer mother don’t know it; but you are no fool, missis, and I thought you should know it, to kinder prepare like. They have been around inventizering the horses and carriages and are going to sell them next week--see? And my wife said you are the only one who has sense, and I should break the news to you easy like--see?”

I heard him rattling on, but did not seem to understand what he said; but I felt my heart beating fast and the blood coming to my cheeks. The old dead submissiveness was gone, and I said:

“John, shut up, and repeat to me what you said first.”

“Nothin’,” said John, “only that your father have bust and run off to Canada, and C. J. Hummer and the rest is goin’ to bounce you out next week.”

I saw his grieved tone, or felt it rather, and said:

“John, I did not mean to speak cross to you.”

“Never mind, missis, I have no favors to ax, and you couldn’t grant eny even if I did--for your father have bust, dwye see?”

Mother was coming from the monument, and greatly vexed, I saw.

“Why, Smythe has not put any foundation under it at all scarcely,” she said, as she stepped into the carriage. “The weight on top is gradually crushing the bottom, and I believe it is full six inches toppled over to the west.”

“It is probably going west to grow up with the country,” I said.

Think of such a remark from a dying invalid!

My mother turned in astonishment to see if it was really her daughter.

“John,” said I, “drive home--go fast--let them out, will you--go home quick. Mrs. Hobbs is not well.”

I felt an awful propensity to joke, and a wild exultation and pleasure came over me that I had not known since we used to climb the hills at our summer-house at Strykersville. John cracked the whip and saluted all the other coachmen as we passed. He whistled, and so did I. For the first time in five years I felt free; and John had lost the fear that he would not be impressive, and he too was free. My mother sat bolt upright in a rage.

“You are both drunk,” she said. “John, sit straight on that box. Don’t carry the whip over your shoulder, and don’t cross your legs or I will discharge you Saturday night!”

John turned round--smiled--looked at me and winked.

CHAPTER II. OURSELVES.

As the carriage stopped in the _portière_ the big gardener came down, and placing one arm under and the other about me, was just going to lift the invalid out as usual.

“Go away,” I fairly screamed. “Let me walk, will you! Carry mother in quick,” for sure enough, she was the one who had to be carried. Her rigid dignity had disappeared, and she had dropped back listless and disheveled, moaning:

“Oh, John is drunk and Aspasia crazy! Look at her! she is so sick she can’t walk, and yet see her run up those steps! What shall I do, what shall I do! And the monument that they warranted in writing to last for ever or no pay is tumbling down. I must have it fixed, even if it costs ten thousand dollars; for the name of Hobbs must not grow dim.” “Dear he” (she always spoke of her husband as simply “he” or “him”) “has so often said, ‘You married Hobbs for better or worse’--says he to me--‘and your name will be carved on the finest monument in Forest Lawn.’“

Reader bold--lacking in knowledge and therefore in faith, limiting possibility to your own tiny experience, quick to deny--you doubt that I went away an invalid and returned in an hour cured. Let me whisper in your ear that it was all in accordance with natural law, and not at all strange or miraculous, excepting in the sense that all nature is miraculous (let us not quarrel over definitions). That which cured me was a good dose of Animating Purpose.

Men retire from business and die in a year from lack of animating purpose. Women are protected, hedged about and propped up, cared for, and die for the lack of this essential.

“Faith Cure,” “Christian Science” and any other strong desire filled with hope and a determination to _be_ and to _do_, supply animating purpose of a good kind, although sometimes, possibly, alloyed with error: but any good idea which makes us forget self and sends the blood coursing through our veins, is healing in its nature.

When the stays that held me were cut, and I knew I must live and work and be useful, the old sickly self was thrust far behind by Animating Purpose; not the finest quality of animating purpose, I will admit, but a fairly good serviceable article, and certainly a thousand times better than none.

You must not think that my mother was naturally weak--not so. Of a fine delicate organization, she married when nineteen and had given herself unreservedly to her husband in mind and body (for have not husbands “rights?”) never doubting but what it was her wifely duty to do so. She even gave up her own church and joined his--adopted his opinions--quoted his sayings and repeated his jokes. “Well, _he_ says so and that is an end to it.” In the house of Hobbs, Hobbs was the court of last appeal.

In some marriages women say “I will” audibly, with mental reservation of “when circumstances permit.” Such women have been instructed in diplomacy. They have been told to meet their husbands at the door with a smile and clean collar, to make home pleasant, to smooth down the rough places--in short, to manage the man and never let him discover it, which is the finest of the finest arts. They can examine his pockets at such convenient times when he will not know it, count his money, take what they need--which is better than harassing a man and whining for a dollar--read his note-book, and thus in a thousand little ways keep such close track of him that with proper skill there would be positively no excuse for rubbing him the wrong way of the fur.

But not so with my mother. She said to Mr. Hobbs on their wedding night,

“I am yours--wholly yours. In your presence I will think aloud, there shall be no concealment. To you I give my soul and body!”

Mr. Hobbs took the latter, and in a hoarse whisper said:

“I have an income of six thousand dollars a year, and you shall never regret you married Hobbs, of Hobbs, Nobbs & Porcine. I will shield you from every unpleasant thing; you shall never know care or trouble; never a day’s work shall you do; nothing but just be happy and look pretty the livelong day; and anything you want at Barnes & Bancroft’s, Peter Paul’s, Dickinson’s or Fulton Market, why get it and have it charged to Hobbs, for I am rated in ‘Dun’ ‘E. 2,’ and next year it will be ‘2 plus.’”

Such total unselfishness touched the virgin heart of this nineteen-year’s-old woman--that is to say, child. She lived in a Hobbs’ atmosphere. The two lives did not grow into one, she became Mrs. Hobbs not only in name but in fact. Now any thinking person will admit that this was better than for her to have endeavored to retain her individuality, for if she had done this and still was honest and frank, there would have been strife. She would always have thought of her girlhood as the _ante bellum_ times, for Mr. Hobbs had ideas, or believed he had, and nothing gave him such delicious joy as to rub these ideas into one, especially if they squirmed and protested.

I have seen precocious children that astonished or made jealous as the case might be. How they did sing, play the banjo, or speak! One such boy I remember--we were all sure he would grow to be an orator who would shake the nation. I watched him, and saw him to-day presiding at the second chair in Chadduck’s tonsorial palace, and noted the Ciceronian wave of his hand as he shouted the legend, “Next gentleman--shave.”

Walking across a prairie in Iowa with a friend, we suddenly found ourselves going through a miniature grove, where the highest trees did not reach my shoulders. I examined the leaves and found the trees to be black-oak of the most perfect type.

“What beautiful young trees! How they will grow and grow and put out their roots in every direction, and search the very bowels of the earth for the food and sustenance they need! How they will toss their branches in defiance to the storm, and be a refuge and defence for the wearied traveler! How----”

“Stop that gush, will you please!” said my companion. “These are only scrub-oaks and will not be any larger if they live a hundred years.”

Possibly this grove explains why the average man of sixty is no wiser and no better than the average man of forty--it is Arrested Development.

My good mother is only a fine type of Arrested Development.

CHAPTER III. A LITTLE LOCAL HISTORY.

With my woman’s intuition I knew all just from the hint John gave. My father a week before had gone to Montreal, saying he would be back Wednesday. It was now Friday and he had not returned. I remember the two men who had come to “take an inventory for the ‘Tax Office,’” one said, and he winked at the other. How they walked through the house with their hats on and joked each other as they tried the piano! I saw it all! My father had lost money and had given a chattel mortgage on the furniture, having first raised all the money he could on the real estate.

I asked my mother if she remembered giving the mortgage, and she looked at me, grieved and surprised, saying:

“Why, of course not, dear. I always signed the papers he brought me. Do you think it a woman’s place to ask questions about business?”

Well, if I were writing my own history, I would tell you how the two men from the “Tax Office” came back with Robert McCann the auctioneer; how they hung a big red flag over the sidewalk and took up the carpets so that when they walked across the bare floor of the big parlors the echo of the footsteps rang through the whole house; how greasy men with hook noses came and examined the furniture; of how one such insisted on seeing my mother on very private business, when he asked, “If dot bainting was a real Millais or only a schnide; and if it was a schnide, to gif a zerdificate dat it vas a Millais and I will bid it off at a hundred, so hellup me gracious!”; of how kind neighbors came and bought in all the dishes and silverware and gave them back to us; of how a certain widowed gentleman offered to bid in the piano if I would accept a position as governess for his daughter and live at his house.

Well, the furniture went and so did we. The Fitch ambulance came and took mother down to our new quarters, which I had rented on South Division street, near Cedar, and right pretty did the little house look too. Mrs. Grimes, the laundress, came with us--in fact, came in spite of us.

“I have no money to pay you, and you cannot come. That is all there is about it,” I protested.

“Well, I don’t want no money,” said this gray-haired old woman. “I have ’leven hundred dollars in the Erie County, and it is all yours if you want it. Haven’t I worked for the Hobbses three weeks lacking two days before you was left on the steps? I was the only girl they had then, and I am the only girl you got now. I have sent my hair trunk down to South Division street, and I’m going myself on the next load with Bill Smith, who drives the van for Charlie Miller. I knowed Bill before I did you, and Bill says he will stand by Aspasia Hobbs too, he does.”

What could I do but kiss the grizzled kindly face of this old “girl” on both cheeks and let her come?

It was a full month before we got track of my father. I went to Montreal and brought back an old man, with tottering mind, crushed in spirit. He had fixed his heart on things of earth--he became a part of them, they of him--and when they went down there was only one result. He lingered along for three months, constantly reproaching himself; seeing also reproach in the face of every passer-by, imagining upbraidings in each look of those who sought to comfort and care for him, and the light of his life went out in darkness.

“Judge not that ye be not judged.”

CHAPTER IV. SOME THINGS.

My mother received a little money from the life insurance companies. Father patronized only assessment companies, as they are cheap. He prided himself on his financial ability, always saying he could invest money as well as any rascally insurance president and that there was “nothing like having your money where you can put your claw on it in case you get a straight tip.”

Idle I could not be, and I resolved to get a situation.

“Verily, I will teach school, for the young must be educated,” I said, “or the world cannot be tamed. I must, I will mould growing character.” In fact, I felt a call; so I called on Mr. Straight, the superintendent of education, never doubting but that he would at once give me an opportunity to show my ability. I displayed my Dr. Chesterfield and the high-school diplomas, and various certificates from long-haired and eccentric foreigners, (not forgetting Prof. Franklin of Col. Webber’s and Judge Lewis’s testimonials, who imparts dramatic instruction for one dollar an impart) as to my ability in music, dancing, French, German, and deportment.

The superintendent counted the certificates and diplomas as he piled them up on his desk, and asked me if I had any “pull.” Then he asked me why I did not get married, and said he had been looking for me, “for whenever a man busts his daughters always come here for a job.” He took my name in a big book, and as he waved me out remarked that “there are only seven hundred applicants ahead of you. I’m afraid you are not in it. You had better catch on to some young fellow, my dear, before the crow’s feet get too pronounced----ta, ta.”[1]

I stood outside the door confused, defeated, angry. I thought of a thousand things I should have said to that grinning insinuating superintendent, and here I had not said a word. I was out in the hall, the door was shut. Slowly my wrath took form in action, and I walked off with a much more emphatic tread than was becoming in a young woman. I slammed my parasol against the banisters at every stride as I went down the city hall steps. I had a plan. Straight to the _News_ office I went, intending to insert an advertisement and thus secure exactly the position I desired. I bought a paper to see how other people advertised, and my eyes fell on the following:

WANTED: As correspondent, book-keeper and stenographer, a young woman who can translate German, French, and Italian, who is not afraid to work, and can look after the business in proprietor’s absence. Wages, $4.75 per week.

Apply to HUSTLER & CO.,

Manufacturers of Glue,

Genesee Street.

I took the paper and entered a herdic, telling the driver to hurry as I wanted to go to Hustler & Co.’s.

Arriving there, I walked in, banged the door, and demanded to see Hustler, omitting all title and prefix. Straight had brow-beaten and insulted me an hour before--let Hustler try if he dare. I wanted a position, not advice, and would brook no parley or nonsense.

“Are you Hustler?” I asked of a little meek bald-headed man, with a ginger-colored fringe of hair like a lambrequin around his occiput. He plead guilty. “And did you,” I continued hurriedly, but in a determined manner, “and did you insert this advertisement?” and I spread out the paper before him.

He hesitated.

“Did you, or did you not?”

Here I moved back three paces and gazed at him as though I had him on cross-examination. He admitted that he had inserted the advertisement, had not yet found a young woman who could fill all of the conditions, and that I could have the place.

“To-morrow, when the whistle blows for seven o’clock,” said he.

“To-morrow, when the whistle blows for seven o’clock,” said I.

FOOTNOTE:

[1] For fear that some may imagine that the character of Mr. Straight, superintendent of schools, is untrue to life, and that such a man could not hold the position, it must be explained that in the city of Buffalo this office is an elective one, and is held by the person able to control the caucus and secure the votes; so very naturally the gentleman has an eye on next year’s election, and when he appoints new teachers he accepts those (provided of course they are competent) who are best backed up by influential friends. It must be said, however, that the present incumbent of the office alluded to is a most worthy and competent man, and also that the school-teachers of Buffalo outrank in fitness those of most other cities; but these two facts do not in the least condone the dangerous principle of having the office of Superintendent of Schools a political one.

CHAPTER V. LOST.

At last I was no longer a dependent! From this time on I would not only earn my own living, but I would do for others. I was no longer a pensioner.

“He who receives a pension gives for it his manhood,” said Plato. A pension makes a man a mendicant. When the world is peopled by God’s people, every man will work according to his ability, and will be paid for his services, so there will neither be pensioners nor bumptious bestowers.

My work at Hustler & Co.’s was not difficult, when I got over the scare and the belief that it was awfully complex. In short, the lion was chained, as it always is when we get up close and inspect the animal; or perhaps, it is only a stuffed lion that has been terrifying us. Possibly some evilly disposed person, seeing our fear, has taken pains to wipe the dust off the fiery glass eyes, to rough up the tawny mane, and set the tail at that terrific angle--but who is afraid of a lion on wheels? When I became composed and took a common sense view of the work, the difficulties took wing, and at the end of the first week, Mr. Hustler gave me the assurance “that I was no slouch,” which is the highest compliment that Rustler Hustler, of the firm of Hustler & Co., glue makers, was ever known to pay to any living soul.

One of the girls in the office told me that the former stenographer lost her place by taking dictation for Mr. Bilkson, the junior partner, at close range; which being interpreted, meant that when Mr. Bilkson dictated his letters to the young lady, he had her sit on his knee. Mrs. Bilkson is a large, determined woman with a jealous nature and red parasol. As she appeared in the private office one day without first sending in her card, the close range plan was discovered. Soon after that little Miss Bustle was found to be incompetent, and the cashier gave her her time. Bilkson still remains.

When the junior dictates letters to me, it is through the little sliding window that connects my room with the general office. This was at my suggestion after a few days’ acquaintanceship with the gentleman. I fear I also incurred his enmity when I told him I was hired to do the work, not to entertain the firm.

Saturdays we have half a day off--that is, we work until 1:30 and are docked half a day.

Every one who knows me, knows I am a great bicycler--in fact, working closely, if it were not for the outdoor exercise I get, I could never stand the strain, but would be a candidate for nervous prostration (technical name Americanitis). Some years ago I had an awful bad spell. Dr. Bolus was sent for and prescribed quinine and iron with a trip to Bermuda and rest for a year. My old friend, Martha Heath, came in soon after, and I asked her to go to Stoddard’s drugstore for the quinine.

“I won’t,” said Martha Heath. “Bounce Bolus and buy a bicycle!”

I followed her advice, and have blessed Martha Heath ever since.

It was my custom on Saturdays after I had eaten my lunch at the factory, to take my wheel and go on a long ride, sometimes in the summer as far as Niagara Falls, getting back late in the evening. These long quiet rides I anticipated with much pleasure, for to get away from the strife of men out into the quiet country, seemed to give me new life. The winter gave me little opportunity for these trips, so I looked forward longingly to the coming of spring.

The month of April, 1891, it will be remembered was remarkable, in that there was not a single fall of rain from the 10th to the 30th. The roads were dry and dusty as in summer. Saturday afternoon, April 30th, when I rode out Clinton street in the delightful sunshine which seemed to bear healing on its wings, women were working in the gardens, cleaning up the rubbish; children playing on the road; a faint smell of bonfire from burning rubbish, people starting in in the spring to keep the yards clean; men plowing in the fields; and how the frogs did croak! Joy and gladness on every hand. Out through Gardenville, past Ebenezer, five o’clock found me at Hurdville. I was so very busy drinking in the glorious scene that I had ridden slower than I intended, for I had made calculations to be at Aurora before this time, and well on the way homeward.

“Well,” said I, “Aspasia Hobbs, you had better hurry up or night will catch you. Besides, the wind has come up strong from the southwest, and away off over the Colden hills is a little black cloud--what a joke if you should get wet?”

There is a lane running across from Hurdville to the Buffalo plank road, so I decided to cut my trip short and strike across at once. I looked at my watch and it was just 5:15 when I entered the lane, which was grass-grown and not at all adapted for bicycling. As I pushed on, the road grew worse, so I got off and pushed the wheel ahead of me. Rather hard work it proved, as I wore a long woolen dress, which I had to hold up in walking.

Then I tried riding again. A great yellow ominous brightness was in the west, and soon I noticed it was growing dark, and that the little cloud had grown until it seemed to cover the whole western sky. A few big rain drops fell as I looked again at my watch, which said six o’clock. I kept thinking I must come to the plank road every minute, and strained my eyes for the telegraph poles which I knew marked the highway. But no, I could not see them. “Surely this lane must cross the main road or I am turned around and am following a road running parallel with the other,” I concluded.

Still I trudged on, now riding, then walking. It began to rain now in right good earnest. I felt the mud sticking to my shoes and my clothes growing heavy. My arms grew tired pushing the wheel before me as I walked. The spokes had become a solid mass of mud. I tried to mount the wheel. It swerved and I lay in the ditch. I then realized that to try to push the bicycle further or to ride would be folly; so I pulled the machine into the bushes, and looked around me on every side. Not even a lightning glare to relieve the gloom and brighten the landscape. The rain still fell in torrents. I covered my face with my hands. I thought of my mother waiting in the bright light of our little dining-room, the supper on the table. I tried to imagine this howling wind and blackness of the night was a dream; but no, I was alone--_alone_, _lost_.

CHAPTER VI. THE LOG CABIN.

It was the worst night I ever saw, and I hope I may never see another one like it. How the winds did roar through the branches and the wild crash now and then of a falling tree was most appalling. The darkness was intense. The cold rain came in beating gusts, and I felt it was gradually turning to sleet and snow.

Think of it, I, a city-bred woman, alone on an out-of-the-way country road, dense woods on either side, mud and slush ankle deep, wandering I knew not where!

My clothes weighed a hundred pounds. They clung to my tired form and I seemed ready to fall with fatigue, when I saw, not far ahead of me, the glimmer of a light which seemed to come from a small log house a quarter of a mile back from the road.

Straight toward the welcoming glimmering light, through bramble, bush and stumps, I stumbled my way, now and then sinking near knee deep in some hole where a tree had been uprooted. I think I rather pounded on the door than rapped, and so fearful was I that I would not meet with a welcome reception, that I began scarcely before the door was opened explaining in a loud and excited voice (for I am but a woman after all), begging that I might be warmed and sheltered only until daylight, when I could make my way back, promising pay in a sight draft on Hustler & Co., for in my coming away I had left my purse in my office dress. I only remember that what I took for an old man opened the door, led me in, showing not the slightest look of curiosity or surprise, but seeming rather to be expecting me. He stopped my excited talking by saying, in the mildest, sweetest baritone I ever heard,

“Yes, I know. It is turning to snow. You lost your way and are wet and cold. Look at this cheerful fireplace and this pile of pine wood. My wife is here; but no, I have no woman’s clothes either. You had better take off your dress and let it dry over the chair. Then if you stand before the fire your other raiment will soon dry on you, which is as good as changing; and in the meantime, I will get you something to eat.”

That night seems now as if it belonged to a former existence, so soft and hazy when viewed across memory’s landscape. I only know that as soon as the man stopped my hurried explanations, the sense of fear vanished, and I felt as secure as when a child I prattled about my mother’s rocking-chair as she watched me with loving eyes. I said not a word, so great was the peace that had come over me. After a plain supper, of which I partook heartily, I remember climbing a ladder up into the garret of this log house, and stooping so as not to strike my head against the rafters; also The Man’s tucking me in bed as though I were a child, putting an extra blanket over me while saying softly to himself as if he were speaking to a third person,

“She must be kept warm. Nature’s balm will heal, sleep is the great restorer, to-morrow she will feel all the better for this little experience. So is the seeming bad turned into good.”

He passed his hand gently over my eyes, took up the candle and I heard him move down the ladder and--sweet childlike sleep held me fast.

CHAPTER VII. THE MAN.

The morning sun came creeping through the cracks of the garret as I slowly awoke to consciousness and began rubbing my eyes, trying to make out where I was and how I came there. Slowly it dawned upon me, the awful work of trying to push that wheel through the mud; the descending darkness; the increasing storm; of how I left the bicycle by the road-side and the sickening sense that came over me as I felt that I had lost my way and must find shelter or perish; of how my heavy woolen dress, soaked with water, tangled my tired legs as I struggled forward; of the glimmering light, and how I feared that though I had at last found a house they might mistake me for an outcast and have no pity on me; of the sweet peace I experienced when the old man spoke to me; of following his suggestion that I should remove my dress; of how I stood clad only in my under-clothing before the fire, and of how he put me to bed, and I was all unabashed and unashamed. I thought of all this and more, and was just getting ready to be thoroughly frightened when my reverie was broken into by hearing a step come lightly up the ladder, and the beautiful face of The Man framed in its becoming snowy white hair appeared.

“Yes, she is awake,” he said, again seemingly talking to a third person. “She will be a little sore of course after the exertion, but refreshed and all the stronger for the hard work. Paradoxical--effort put forth causes power to accumulate in the body, which is only a storage battery after all. By giving out power we gain it, by losing life we save it. How simple yet how wonderful are the works of God!” Then speaking to me: “I will bring you warm water for a bath. It will take the stiffness out of your limbs. Breakfast will be ready when you are.”

I bathed, dressed without the aid of a glass, and was surprised to feel how strong and well I felt. Down I went cautiously on the ladder, and we ate breakfast, neither speaking a word. It seemed as if (glib as I generally am--“A regular gusher,” Martha Heath says) to break in on the silence would be sacrilege. Silence is music at rest.

Out of every fifty men who pass along the street, only one thinks; the forty-nine have feelings but no thoughts. We have no time here to treat of the forty-nine; let us leave them out of the question and deal only with the one, the men of character, so-called, men who have opinions and hold them. In this class we cannot admit the girl-men or boy-men or those who are called men simply because they are not women, or the vicious or even those of doubtful morality. Let us take only the best and not even consider the “unco-gude.” Now having banished the unthinking, the immoral and the doubtful, tell me, reader, have you ever seen a man? Have you? Not a caricature or imitation of one, full of a wish to be manly, and therefore anxious about the result? not a being full of whim and prejudice, receiving the opinions from the past and referring to numbers as proof; who prides himself on his self-reliance and his absence of pride, and yet who can be won by agreeing with him and through diplomacy? not one who endeavors to prove to you the correctness of his views by argument in the endeavor to win you over to his side, in order that that side may be strengthened? not one in whose mouth there is continually a large capital I, or who has a bad case of egomania and studiously avoids all mention of himself?

But what I mean is a man every whit whole, _mens sana in corpora sano_, who is afraid of no man and of whom no man is afraid, to whom the word ‘fear’ is unknown. Prize fighters sometimes boast that they are without fear, but there is one thing they are afraid of, and that is _fear_. Fear is the great disturber. It causes all physical ills (Yes, I know what I say.) and it robs us of our heavenly birthright. What is the cause of fear? Sin, and if your education had been begun at the right time and in the right way, you might now be without sin--that is, without fear. Begin the right education now, and in time you will come into possession of your heritage; for you are an immortal spirit, dwelling in this body which to-morrow you may slip off; and all the right education you have acquired will still be yours, for as in matter there is nothing lost, so in spirit nothing is destroyed.

When you stand in the presence of a man you will know it by the holy calm that comes stealing over you. His presence will put you at your ease--with no effort to please and yet without indifference. Both can remain silent without there being an awkward pause or any embarrassment. The atmosphere he will bring will clothe you as with a garment, and though your sins be as scarlet you will make no effort to dissemble, to excuse, to explain, or to apologize. You will find this man is no longer young, for youth is restless and ambitious, and although he fears not death, nor scarcely thinks of it, yet lives as though this body was immortal.

I lived under the same roof with The Man one day in each week for two months, and words utterly fail me when I endeavor to describe him, for how can I describe to you the Ideal?

At first I thought him an old man, for his luxuriant hair and full wavy beard were snowy white; but the face, tanned by exposure to the winds, was free from wrinkles and had the bright anticipatory joyous look of youth; eyes, large, brown and lustrous, looking through and through one, but yet the glance was not piercing, for it spoke of love and sympathy and not of curiosity or aggression; form, strong and athletic; hands, calloused by work; yet this man, strong, brown, with throat bared to the breast, seemed to have the strength of an athlete yet the gentleness of a woman, the high look of wisdom, and with his whole demeanor the composure of Plato. God had breathed into his nostrils and he had become a living soul.

CHAPTER VIII. FIRST SUNDAY--A LOOK AROUND.

“The roads are very muddy, friend,” the man began, “you had better stay here until to-morrow and return on the morning train. This is the day of rest. What a beautiful word that is, ‘rest’! There is no feverish tossing and longing for the morning to him who has worked rightly, only sweet rest. The heart rests between beats. See how restful and calm the landscape is,” and we looked out over the dripping woodland where the drops sparkled like gems in the bright sunshine. “Nature rests, yet ever works; accomplishing, but is never in haste. Man only is busy. Nature is active, for rest is not idleness. As I sit here in the quietness, my body is taking in new force, my pulse beats regularly, calmly, surely. The circulation of the blood is doing its perfect work by throwing off the worthless particles and building up the tissue where needed. So rest is not rust. While we rest we are taking on board a new cargo of riches. My best thoughts have been whispered to me while sitting at rest, or idle, as men would say. I sit and wait, and all good things are mine, ‘for lo! mine own shall come to me.’”

Thus did The Man speak in a low but most beautiful voice, and the music of that voice lingers with me still and will as long as life shall last. I seemed to have lost my will in that of The Man. I neither decided I would stay or go, but I simply remained. I am not what is called religious--far from it--for I have been a stumbling-block for every pastor and revivalist at both Grace Church and Delaware avenue. Neither have I any special liking for metaphysics, but I hung like a drowning person to every word The Man said; and after all it was not what he said, although I felt the sublime truth of his words, but it was what there was back. I knew, down deep in my soul, that this man possessed a power and was in direct communication with a Something of which other men knew not.

I have traveled much, and studied mankind in every clime, for before my father’s failure we went abroad every year. I know well the sleek satisfied look of success which marks the prosperous merchant; I know the easy confidence of the man satisfied with his clothes; I have seen the serenity of the orator secure in his position through the plaudits of his hearers; I know the actor who has never heard a hiss; the look of beauty on the face of the philanthropist, who can minister to his own happiness by relieving from his bountiful store the sore needs of others; the lawyer, sure of his fee, or the husband who knows he is king of one loving heart and therefore is able to defy the world;--but here was a man alone seemingly, without friends, in the wilderness, in a house devoid of ornament and almost destitute of furniture, whose raiment was of the coarsest; yet here in the face of this man I saw the look that told not of earthly success dependent on men or things, but of riches laid up “where moth and rust cannot corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal.”

We sat in silence for perhaps an hour and then The Man spoke.

“Friend, I have called you here. You know that spirit attracts spirit, and once we know how, we attract at will. This secret you shall know. I have somewhat to give to the world. You must come here each Saturday and stay here during the day of rest. I could have gone to you, but the city is full of distractions and the lower thought-currents there render you less sensitive to truth; so here in this grove, God’s temple, I will teach, that you may go forth as a laborer in the vineyard where the harvest shall be not yet, but will be reaped by those who come after. You are a stenographer. Bring pencils and paper, and each Sunday I will give you a little of the truth that you are to publish in a book and give out to dying men, for the world must be saved. Men never needed truth and teachers as much as now. I do not preach nor write, but I act through others, and during the past hundred years I have told to men many things which they have given to the world.”

“A hundred years?” I asked, astonished; and it was the first feeling of surprise I had felt.

The Man smiled faintly and said:

“Yes; three hundred years have I lived in this body. I was born in 1591. Why do you wonder? Have you no faith in God? You see miracles on every hand, and yet you now are ready to doubt. The oyster mends its shell with pearls: some unthinking person twists off the claw of a cray-fish, and you watch another spring forth and grow to full size, and yet you doubt that a man can retain his strength indefinitely!

“We die through violation of law. This violation is through ignorance, or is wilful. If we do away with ignorance and are willing to obey, we can live as long as we wish. Men only die when they are not fit to live. As long as a person’s body is useful, God preserves it. The body is renewed completely every seven years. This you were taught in school. Why should not this renewal continue? An infant has cartilage, but very little bone. Gradually the cartilage ossifies, until in old age the bones are brittle. This is caused by the deposits of lime which are being continually taken into the system. There is constant waste and constant repair in the human body. You know this full well, and you know that at night and in moments of repose the repair exceeds the waste. So where you were tired and ready to faint an hour ago, you are now strong.

“When I was thirty years of age, and my body at its strongest and best, I adopted a simple plan of keeping the excess lime and deteriorating substances out of my system; so you see my flesh is strong yet, soft, for the muscles should not be hard and tense, but pliable. My bones are not brittle, but cartilage is everywhere where needed to form cushions for the articulations. I have not known pain for a century, for nature does her perfect work and the dead tissue is constantly carried off and replaced with new. Pain generally comes from deposits left in the body when they should be carried off. Rheumatism, you know, is only a deposit in the linings of the muscles; but I never think of my body until the subject is brought to my attention, and do not like to talk of it, as the theme is not profitable; but later I will tell you when you are able to understand, how to have the body throw off those excess substances and renew itself without limit.”

Now lest some of my readers who are very young should imagine I was “in love” with this man let me say--not so! In the presence of The Man sex was lost. He was to me neither man nor woman, yet both; although he had that glorious faculty of joyous anticipation, which we see in children--so he was not only man and woman, but child. Yet in wisdom I felt him to be a prophet, and I myself was but a child. For after all we are but grown up children, and the difference between some grown people is no greater than that found among children and some men.

With this man I was a child, and he seemed to regard me so, yet never talked down to me, and I have since discovered that sensible people do not talk baby talk to children, nor do they talk down to people who they imagine ignorant. Men who do this reverse the situation and become veritable ignorami themselves.

Old John Foster, the horse-trainer, used to break horses for my father, and one day old John said to me, “Young lady, when you breaks a colt, don’t get scared yerself and then the colt won’t. Hitch him up just like he was an old hoss, and he will think he is one and go right along and never know when he was broke.”

Some men always change the conversation when a woman enters, thinking the subject too weighty for her comprehension; and in ‘sassiety’ they still talk soft nonsense to women because they think women like it; and lots of women have adopted the same idea, and have accepted the same creed--that they do know nothing and always will, and that scientific subjects, like Plymouth Rock pants, are for men folks.

Not long ago, you remember, we had a preacher who gave a series of sermons to _men_ only, and a friend of mine who attended tells me the reverend divine gave those men more ‘pointers’ in depravity than they could have guessed alone in a dozen years.

But pardon this diversion and let me simply say, that to educate the heart and conscience, you must not separate men from women, nor make foolish distinctions between the ignorant and the cultured. We are all God’s children, and it is all God’s truth, and this is God’s world.

The Man told me this, and much more in that delightful day of rest, and he seemed to make no distinction between my childish ignorance and his own unfathomed wisdom. So the sense of weakness was never thrust upon me, and all during that day I seemed to grow in spirit. There came a greater self-respect, a reverence for my own individuality (you will not misunderstand me), an increased universality, a broader outlook, a wider experience. It was only one day as men count time, but I had lived--lived a century.

Monday morning came. After breakfast The Man arose and said:

“I will go with you, and get the bicycle.” (How did he know? I had not told him anything of my ride). “You can take the train from Jamison, which is about two miles from here. We can soon walk there.”

We found the wheel in the bushes, where I had left it by the roadside, and the man pushed it ahead of him with one hand through the mud, walking at a rapid easy stride, arriving at the station just as the train pulled up. My benefactor lifted the bicycle lightly into the baggage-car, bought me a ticket, handed it to me, smiled and was gone. He did not say good-bye. I did not thank him for his kindness, and in fact, not a word was spoken after we left the little log house.

Albert Love, the conductor, I knew, as I often rode on his train. Helping me on the car, he laughingly said:

“Ah, you got caught in the storm and couldn’t get back, could you?”

“I didn’t want to,” I said.

“Oh! ah! Relative?” nodding his head in the direction of the retreating form of The Man.

“Yes; uncle.”

“Hem--they call him a crank here.--’Ll’board.”

CHAPTER IX. MARTHA HEATH.

I hurried from the depot to the office, and was only an hour behind time.

“You are late,” said Mr. Hustler, with a cynical, sickly smile which looked much like a scowl. “Only an hour. Make a note of it and give it to the time-keeper.”

I began my work and seemed to possess the strength of two women. My fingers struck the keys of the typewriter like lightning, and my head was clearer than ever before. When I took up a letter to answer, I saw clear through it, and struck the vital point at once; and yet all the time there was before me the mild and receptive face of The Man. The strange experience I had gone through was ever in my mind, and yet the work never disappeared from my desk as well and rapidly before. Where is that old philosopher who said, “The mind cannot think of two things at one time”?

At home I found my mother had waited tea for me until nine o’clock, when Martha Heath entered, and seeing the untouched supper and the look of despair on my mother’s face, knew the situation at a glance; for if a smart woman cannot divine a thing, she will never, _never_, NEVER, understand it when told.

Martha Heath came to see Aspasia Hobbs, but Martha Heath did not ask for Aspasia Hobbs. She glanced at the face of the trembling old lady, who was trying to keep back the flood, saw the untasted supper, and Martha Heath then and there told a lie:

“Oh, I just dropped in to tell you Aspasia had gone home with one of the girls who was a little nervous, and perhaps would stay over Sunday with her. Who made your new dress, Mrs. Hobbs? Now don’t you feel big! You are so fond of appearing in print that you always wear calico!”

And the laugh that followed was catching, and even the good old grizzled Grimes felt the tension gone and she too chuckled. All three women sat down to tea, and Martha Heath ate supper again, although she had eaten at home before, and they chatted and the visitor talked a little more than was necessary. She told how she had that afternoon ran her bicycle into a nearsighted dude, who was chasing his hat, and how she not only upset the dude but ran over his hat; and how the dude called on a policeman to arrest her, but the policeman said he “darsen’t tackle the gal alone.” The mother forgot her troubles and the Grimes laughed so that she upset her tea, and when Martha Heath said “Good-bye girls,” they all laughed again, and Grimes wiped her brass-rimmed spectacles with the corner of a big check apron and said, “Now ain’t she a queer un? and so kind too for her to come clear down here to tell us ’Pasia wasn’t killed entirely!”

Gentle and pious reader, you would not tell a lie, would you? Oh, no! But, Martha Heath had faith in me. I am self-reliant, strong, and able to take care of myself, and homely enough, thank Heaven! so I am no longer ogled on the street by blear eyed idlers. Martha Heath knows all this. She believes in me. Martha Heath has faith in Providence--have you?

Well, the work did fly! “Everything goes,” said Hustler as he looked on approvingly. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and some way I grew a little more thoughtful; not nervous, but serious. Friday night I scarcely slept an hour. It seemed as if I was about to depart to another and better world. At breakfast Saturday morning my mother said:

“It was a week ago to-day, Aspasia!”

“Oh, yes,” I said, inwardly.

“A week ago to-day! And now, never try to kill your old mother who loves you just the same whether you love her or not, by going off without telling us. Why, if Martha Heath hadn’t come and told us where you was, I would have died before morning. It was awful thoughtless of her too, not to have come here at once. She ought not to have put it off until ten o’clock.”

It was only nine, but we like to make our troubles as great as possible, for greater credit then is ours for bearing them.

I arose, kissed my good mother, and said: “Yes, I will always tell you myself hereafter when I am to be away--and so I tell you now. I am going away every Saturday to be gone over Sunday from now until October.”

“‘How sharper than a rattlesnake’s tooth it is to have a thankless child,’ the Bible says, and after all I have done for you too! Oh, it is too much to think my only child should thus desert me in my old age, and go off nobody knows where, and disgrace us all! Disgrace us, disgrace us, dis----”

It was too much, and she covered her face with her hands and burst into tears, rocking to and fro. Here Mrs. Grimes broke in with:

“Mrs. Hobbs, will you never--! Why, ’Pasia has more sense than all of us. She ain’t no fool. She ain’t--Why, didn’t I come three weeks lackin’ two days afore she was born, and didn’t I wash and dress her myself?” The gentle Grimes always availed herself of the opportunity to tell of my birth, to cut off any quibbler who might state I was not the child of Mr. and Mrs. Hobbs. “Mrs. Hobbs, you are a fool, and if ’Pasia ever does a bad thing it’ll be ’cause you drives her to it. I don’t know where she’s goin’, and dam if I care! I’ll trust her anywhere! Go on, ’Pasia, and stay a year. You’ll find us here when you comes back.”

The Grimes cyclone had cleared the atmosphere, the rain had ceased, although the landscape was a trifle disheveled. I kissed the dear mother, grabbed my lunch-bag, and was gone.

CHAPTER X. SECOND SUNDAY--TO THE WOODS AWAY.

I hurried through my work, dusted off the desk, locked the typewriter, and at two o’clock mounted my bicycle, went straight out Seneca street, over the iron bridge, on out the plank road, past Wendlings, through Springbrook, and stopped then for the first time, and standing on a rising slope of ground, I looked around in every direction. The dandelions seemed to cover the earth as with a carpet, and great masses of white hawthorn-trees in bridal array decked the landscape. The trees were bursting into leaf, and through the silence there came the drowsy hum of insects, and away off in the distance I could just detect the tinkle of a cowbell. To the left, two miles away, I saw a dense wood which seemed to transform the hill on which it stood into a great green mound.

“Yes, that surely is the place,” I said. I followed the plank road a mile further, then turned into a road which seemed like two paths side by side, as a line of green sward filled the centre of the roadway. I came to the wood, let down the bars, and back in the clearing was the log house, and out under the spreading branches of a great oak sat The Man. He smiled the same sweet smile and motioned me to a seat beside him, and together we sat in silence. The calm and rest seemed complete.

“Let us sit here under the trees,” said The Man, “and I will explain several things which you must understand before I make known the higher truths which you are to give to mankind.

“Perhaps you have wondered why I do not go out into the world and teach face to face; and my reason, friend, for not doing this, is because I must needs disguise myself, if I go among the people. They would not comprehend me, but would shout, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ as they did in the days of old. If I should go into the city and teach as the Master did, can you imagine the headlines in the Sunday papers? I would have followers of course, but even they would misunderstand me and quarrel among themselves about who should be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Many of them would fall down and worship me, and when I passed out of their sight there would be an ever-increasing number who would deify me, confounding my personality with that of a God, while the power I possess is possible for all men. They would say I was not a man but a ‘supreme being.’ On my metaphor they would construct a system of theology, and would use my words as a fence to hedge in and limit truth, instead of accepting my principles as a broad base on which they might build a tower to touch the skies.

“A modern prophet has said, ‘I am astonished at the incredible amount of Judaism and formalism which still exists nineteen centuries after the Redeemer’s proclamation.’ ‘It is the letter that killeth,’ after his protest against the use of a dead symbolism.

“The new religion, which is the old, is so profound that it is not understood even now, and is a blasphemy to the greater number of professing Christians. The person of Christ is the centre of it. Redemption, eternal life, divinity, humanity, propitiation, judgment, Satan, heaven and hell--all these beliefs have been so materialized and coarsened that with a strange irony they present to us the spectacle of things having a profound meaning and yet carnally interpreted. Christian boldness and Christian liberty must be reconquered. It is the Church that is heretical; the Church it is whose soul is troubled and whose heart is timid. Whether we will or no there is an esoteric doctrine--there is a direct revelation, ‘Each man enters into God so much as God enters into him.’

“They would call me a heretic, and you must remember the heretic is one with faith plus. I do not limit faith to this and that, but extend it to all things. Not only is Sunday holy, but all time is holy. The chancel is no more sacred than the pew. The world is God’s and all, everything is sacred to His use--our needs are His use.

“They would literalize my tropes to suit their own prejudices, and still insisting I was a god, distort my meaning in order to give a show of reason to their own wrong acts. This has been done over and over, as history tells you.

“Osiris, Thor, Memnon, Jupiter, Apollo, Gautama, and many others I could name of whom you know, were strong and brave men who lived on earth and bestowed great benefits on mankind; but ignorant and headstrong people, not content that these great men should live out their simple lives--for the great are simple, and pass for what they are--destroyed to a certain extent their good influence by affirming them to be not men at all; and to prove their statements, as untruthful people ever do strain heaven and earth to prove their allegations, they invented many stories and plans, such as that the great man was born in a ‘_miraculous_’ way--as if the natural birth was not miracle enough!--there being at the time a most erroneous idea that the act of vitalization was vicious and wrong, and this barbaric idea still remains with us to a certain extent.

“You remember in olden time priests (men who were believed to be in direct communication with Deity) were supposed to have power to grant absolution--that is, to forgive sin--and these granted indulgences; that is, leave for the person to perform certain sinful acts, and by paying a certain sum to the priests no punishment was inflicted upon the sinner. The physical relations of the sexes were supposed by these heathen to be sinful (and indeed they certainly are under wrong conditions!) where the symbolic meaning is lost sight of, but like other sacraments, most holy when performed in right spirit, as symbolizing a perfect union of spirit, a complete giving up and surrender of _soul to soul_; and many men now, having stood with a woman before a priest and made certain promises, and having paid this priest a sum of money, believe that they have certain rights over this woman; and some women, I am sorry to say, believe too that it is their duty to submit to a loveless embrace thus desecrating the body, which is the temple of the Most High. And as it is a law of God that sin cannot go unpunished, you see the almost endless misery this transgression entails.

“Sin can only be wiped out with suffering. No community, scarcely a house is free from this taint; and yet up to to-day, no public teacher (we need teachers not preachers), has lifted his voice or used pen to right this wrong which men and women in their blindness have pulled down on themselves; but in fact men have been continually fixed in the wrong by the encouragement given to marriages of expediency and a multitude of unavowable motives, all of which are supposed to be consecrated by the religious ceremony.”

CHAPTER XI. IS IT SO?

This was all so new to me that on Sunday morning I began the conversation by asking:

“What, you do not wish to do away with the sacredness of marriage and establish free love in its place?”

The Man was silent for a moment, then turned on me his gentle gaze and I was answered. I was going to apologize for the interruption, but The Man continued:

“Friend, I know what I have left unsaid. No living soul on earth to-day appreciates the vital importance and the sacredness of the true marriage as completely as I, and although I may touch briefly on certain subjects, you must not think I have spoken all there is to be said on the subject, for I know all spiritual laws--all natural law is spiritual, for behind each material fact stands the spiritual Truth.

“The universe is a whole, made up of parts. I know the relation of these parts to each other, and also the relation of parts to the whole. All knowledge is mine back to the First Great Cause, behind which no man can go, but still I am not without hope even of that. Now you of course can not comprehend all I will tell you, but do not combat it. To attempt to refute, mentally or verbally, is to close the valves of the intellect so that you cannot receive. Those who endeavor to controvert use any weapon that is at hand, truth or error, to accomplish their purpose.

“I know lawyers who pride themselves on their ability to controvert any statement any man can make, and I also see that the Chautauqua _Herald_ in endeavoring to complimentarily describe the Rev. Doctor Buckley, speaks of him as a controversialist. The controversionalist is a controversialist, and rushes in to test his steel as quickly with truth as with error. However, he is diplomatic, and endeavors not to kill the pet knight of his queen--Popular Opinion.

“Avoid controversy as you would a venomous snake. If you cultivate it you will find yourself constantly forming a rebuttal whenever you converse. Thus you lose all grasp on truth, and keep yourself ever outside of Heaven’s gate.

“Sit quietly, put prejudice, jealousy and malice out of your way, ever cultivate the receptive mood and you will only receive the good. Life should be reception, just as the oyster with shell partially open receives the waves bearing its food. What it needs is absorbed; what is not is washed away by the same force that brought it. Do not be afraid of receiving that which is harmful. Have faith--we are in God’s hand and He doeth all things well. Does the oyster fear being poisoned? If you cannot accept what I say let it pass. Much that I tell you, you can absorb; if you do not need the rest the tide will bear it back all in good time.

“All violence of direction in will or belief is harmful and wrong, for man is only the medium of truth. He should be a prism, which receiving the great ray of light coming from the one Source of all life and light, reflects all the beauties of the rainbow, the symbol of promise, never omitting the actinic ray. It is within the reach of every man to so mirror the beauty and goodness of the Infinite, and there is no success short of this. Over the temple at Delphi was the inscription--‘Know Thyself.’ Over the temple of our hearts let us write the words in white and gold--‘Trust Thyself.’

“Again, you must believe when I say I know what is left unsaid. Truth is paradoxical, for it holds its perfect poise by the opposition of two forces, just as the earth lies in the soft arms of the atmosphere, poised between centrifugal and centripetal attraction.

“Now I have touched lightly on a few things, just to show you how men in their blindness and hot haste have perverted the good. Eyes accustomed to live in darkness are dazzled when they come to the light, and this partially explains why the great are misunderstood. Men measure them by their little foot rule, which is either six inches or two feet long, and while opinions are divided as to whether the man is a genius or a fool, the majority decide in favor of the latter; but still there are many who, not content in seeing the wonders he performs needs must attribute to him powers which he does not possess. Man now speaks to his friend by word of mouth over a thousand miles of space. The voice with all its peculiar inflections and intonations, is heard and recognized. We know that this is in accordance with natural law, but if the secret was known only to one man, and the rest of us were in ignorance as to the process, we would attribute to that man supernatural powers; and when he died many would relate not only how they heard the voice coming from a thousand miles away, but how they also saw the man jump the entire distance, and many other fables would be invented as to the wonderful acts of this man.

“Now I am in possession of powers which work all smoothly in accordance with natural law, but which you would deem miraculous; but some day you and others will avail yourselves of these same laws, just as your voice can be recorded, bottled up and carried across the ocean in a box, and your body may die and the record of your voice still be preserved and the sounds brought forth at will from this little roll of gelatine. A year hence I will be many miles away, and you will be at home or walking in the fields, and I will speak to you and you will answer.

“Now, have you guessed why I do not reveal myself to the rabble and scatter my pearls before swine? I teach through others, giving them a little truth at a time, and they send it forth. I choose women to carry my messages, for they are more sensitive to truth--more alive--more impressionable! Men are aggressive and bent on conquest--their desire is for place and power, and to be seen and heard of men. But even this has its place, although low down in the scale--is one of the rounds in the spiral of evolution; and all in His own good time men shall be taught, but the work must be done by women. As we are taught in the old fable--which, by the way, is founded on truth--that through woman man fell, so shall woman lead him back to Eden; and even now I see the glorious dawn which betokens the sunrise.

“You now know why I have called you, and you understand too why I cannot afford to run the risk of partial present failure--for in God’s plans there is no failure--by standing before men. I am speaking to many other writers and speakers. Even as I sit here in this beautiful grove, telling them what to say, they are going forth over the whole world preaching the gospel to every creature. You have been surprised possibly to hear of men speaking the same truth at the same time in different parts of the world--now you know how it has come about. Your soul has not yet been quickened into life, so I cannot speak with you excepting through this slow and crude man-contrivance which we call language; but there will soon come a time when we can lay this aside, and you will no longer be a captive to these tethering conditions; for you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

So spake The Man, and the stars came out one by one as the daylight died out of the sky, and I sat and seemed filled to overflowing with wondering awe.

CHAPTER XII. THIRD SUNDAY--PRELIMINARY.

“Now take your note-book and pencil and let us take a little look out over the world and see things as they are,” The Man said. “You will then better understand what I will say later.

“The struggling march of Progress is marked on the map of human history by a deep continuous stain of red, but to-day we hear King William apologizing for his vast army by saying it is maintained not for war, but to preserve the peace of Europe.

“In twenty years the population of the United States has increased from forty to sixty-five millions, and our standing army has decreased in like proportion.

“We are no longer able to sleep soundly after a man is hanged, and the dreams have been so hateful that several states have done away entirely with capital punishment, and the balance are searching restlessly for a more humane (?) method of killing. We have tried electrocution, because some one said that the man who killed and the man who got killed would never know anything about it; and here in New York they passed a law declaring that the people should not know anything about the killing either, and that any newspaper publisher who described this killing should be adjudged guilty of felony. Now, we are not satisfied with the death-dealing work of the subtle fluid; but if put to a popular vote with the aid of a secret ballot, we should say emphatically to judge and jury, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’

“This increased sensitiveness which we see manifest on the question thus referred to, finds vent in a thousand varied forms. Prisons are no longer places of punishment but of discipline; the birch is no longer the chief factor in imparting ideas to the young--we make the application not to the anatomy, but to the understanding, and if we still believe the child is totally depraved, we are a little ashamed of the belief and say nothing about it. The woman who lolls in her carriage is not quite comfortable, for her mind is alive to the fact that others are trudging, footsore and weary, carrying heavy burdens. Benevolence has become the fashion, and ‘Fresh Air Funds’ are actually talked of on ’Change. On every hand we hear of Societies of Christian Endeavor, the Chautauqua Idea, Ethical Culture, Kindergartens, not for uppertendom, but for the infected district where violence, disease, strife and discord have before reigned. Every preacher of every denomination indulges the larger hope (possibly there are obscure exceptions), and quotes as corroborating his argument the seers, prophets and poets who were before denounced from the very pulpit in which he now preaches.

“We are hearing much of heresy just now, but the ‘guilty’ man is not disgraced; on the contrary, his crime places him before a larger audience at double salary; and, if one may be allowed to say it, there is a general belief abroad that some heretics have courted their persecution. Certainly we do not try them for what they said, but the way they said it. A man who was a heretic twenty years ago, now finds himself orthodox, for there is faith plus in both pulpit and pew, and the heretic is generally a man of limitless faith. We believe not only that Jesus Christ was the son of God, but all men are or can be if they claim their heritage; not one day in seven is holy, but all are; not that certain places are consecrated, but all is consecrated ground, and that evil is only perverted good, or absence of good, just as darkness is absence of light. These things we hear from every pulpit without surprise.

“Prize fighters use six-ounce gloves, and women endowed with police powers act in behalf of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and children. Matrons are to be found in jails and station houses, and the maxim that ‘Might makes right’ has been reversed. Never was the tear of pity so near the surface, and the change of which I speak has been brought about largely since 1870. In these twenty-one years the flinty heart of man has been softened more than in the three hundred years preceding.

“Now we are approaching the vital question, for I propose to tell you why this change has come; why our faces are now turned toward Zion. The answer I give is not given out off-hand, but after most careful thought and study for many, many years. _The spirit of the time has changed by and through the influence of woman._

“The real essence of sex is spiritual; and as behind every physical fact there is a spiritual truth, so above and beyond this sexual instinct is the most sacred and divinest gift given to man. In the encyclopedias we read that this inclination ‘has its purpose in reproduction of the species.’ And is Nature after all but a trickster? a practical joker? Is this fair dream of holy peace and joy of being at last understood by a some one, loving, gentle, tender, true, in whose presence one may think aloud and be at rest? Is this after all but a scheme for the reproduction of our kind? When we consider what the kind is, is reproduction of the kind the highest good? Even good men have thought so; and for the misuse of God’s more sacred gift man was put out of Eden and has wandered far. The return will be slow, and it must be by the way he came. There is no other way. The monastery is as bad a failure as the house of Camille. Only by a knowledge of the right relation of men and women can we gain Heaven.

“You see me, the possessor of all knowledge, and Heaven is mine--for Heaven is not a place, but a condition of mind. Seemingly I am alone, for your physical eye sees no one near; but she is ever by me--I feel her hand now as it rests lightly on my head. Friend, I am what I am through the love of woman. Love is life.

“There is a class of women who especially have my sincere and profound respect, these are the ‘old maids.’ They form to-day in this country a genuine sisterhood of mercy. They do the work no one else will do nor can do. In every village there are aged parents, orphan children, widowed brothers, helpless invalids, people homeless and friendless who owe a debt of gratitude which time can never repay to the unselfish devotion of some old maid. They are women who will not fling their womanhood away for the sake of a ‘provider,’ or to escape the supposed ignominy of maidenhood. If a woman once decides she must have a man, by just spreading her net, and not being over-choice about quality, she can always secure some sort of game, for no matter how foolish, frivolous and vain a woman is, there is a man near at hand who will out-match her. I am glad to know that the number of old maids is increasing, for a woman had a thousand times over better travel through life alone than to accept any alliance short of her genuine mental and spiritual mate. This may give you a clue to the reason for the well known fact that the average old maid excels in intelligence and culture her married sister. When a man marries the wrong woman it is a mistake, for the woman it is a blunder.”

CHAPTER XIII. FOURTH SUNDAY--ATMOSPHERE.

I sat with note-book on my knee, pencil in hand and The Man began:

“The air here on this hillside is full of health and healing. Physical life you know is only possible in a right atmosphere. Add five parts more of carbonic acid gas and the body is poisoned--ceases to act--dies! Do you see the change in the constituent parts of the air? No--your senses are not aware of any change at all if the poison is introduced gradually; and so the use of the electric light in hotels has worked a great saving of life among the rural population, for the most frantic effort to blow it out proves futile; but in days gone by scarcely a month passed in any city when some innocent and ignorant individual did not lock the door, close the window, vitiate his physical atmosphere, and glide off slowly, surely, into that sleep which we call death.

“In the carboniferous period there was no atmosphere capable of sustaining animal life. Vegetation was flowerless, and the trees grew rank in swamps filled with poisonous miasma, death and gloom. No flowers decked the earth or the tree tops, no fruit hung on the branches, the song of birds was not heard and the only animal life was made up of mollusks and the lower forms of animate existence. Gradually the carbon in the air was absorbed by the vegetation, and sank beneath the bending swale, and new trees grew, and others followed still, and these sank and sank again, carrying down into the depths the material that has formed the shining coal which warms and cheers our homes.

“Gradually this purifying process continued; more and many kinds of plants sprang into being; these too absorbed the poison from the air, fit preparation that earth might receive her king. Animal life appeared in monster shape; fierce, awful forms, that crawled upon the land, through tangled swamps, or swam the sea, thriving in the atmosphere of slime--of gloom--of death. Gradually these nightmare forms have passed away, leaving only grim remains and foot-prints here and there, from which ingenious men have guessed the right proportion of the whole. Finer and finer, better and better grows the teeming life of animal and flower, until in words of prophet told,

“‘Sweet is the breath of morn, Her rising sweet with song of earliest birds; Pleasant the sun, when first on this delightful morn He spreads his orient ray o’er herb, tree, fruit and flower, Glistening with dew. Fragrant the fertile earth after soft showers, And sweet the coming on of grateful evening mild.’”

The Man seemed musing to himself instead of talking to me, and I thought he had been talking without special point, for he was now silent, seated with back toward me, looking from the window; but it came to me like a flash without his explaining in words that the glimpse he had given of the history of the earth was only a summing up of the history of the soul of man. I saw the hordes of barbarians intent on conquest come streaming out from back of Assyria over into Macedonia, into Greece. I saw the teeming millions of Persia sink struggling beneath the sinking swale, and Greece come forth with men noble, gentle, refined, compared with what men were before them. Rome appeared, and I thought surely the carboniferous period was coming back with its poisonous fumes when Cæsar passed over into Gaul, then Britanny.

For centuries the earth gave forth no sign; but suddenly I saw a woman--not an ideal one to be sure, but men lifted their hats to the Virgin Queen, and with the Elizabethan age came a Spencer and a Shakespeare.

Surely the flowers had begun to bloom, the woods were full of song of birds, and I knew The Man was thinking of the What-Is-To-Be when he slowly and softly repeated the verse I have written. He turned and looked at me--our eyes met in firm, gentle embrace. Perhaps we both smiled, and he knew I understood. I had made a great stride to the front. He had spoken to me without words on a subject I had never thought of. I had received the message and I felt that this was just the beginning--only six o’clock in the morning.

I knew all he would say of atmosphere--that if body can not live excepting in a right atmosphere, neither can spirit; for over and over had I heard The Man say, “The material world is only symbol--behind each physical fact is a spiritual truth. Each planet has its own physical atmosphere varying according to its development.”

“Each person carries with him an atmosphere varying according to his development,” The Man continued, “and this is why in the presence of some person your spirit--that is, your better self--acts and lives. You think great and exalted thoughts with this friend. Neither may say a word, but your heart is full of love, benevolence and good-will. Now the person may be a perfect stranger to you, and yet supply you with an atmosphere in which your spirit may rejoice and sing. And again, who has not felt in coming into the presence of others, that the air was filled with the fumes of sulphur and carbonic acid. You become morose, downcast, spiteful, discouraged. This is only because your spirit is now in an unfavorable atmosphere. Get enough of these people who carry with them a tainted atmosphere and keep you in their presence, you will shrink away and die. Thousands upon thousands of men and women (women suffer more than men from bad spiritual atmosphere, as they are more sensitive and more spiritual) die yearly, and others drag their bodies about--living corpses. See them on the street--these careworn haggard faces. They die for lack of God’s sunshine--their souls are breathing an atmosphere of hate, distrust, jealousy and cruel ambition.

“This accounts for the great number of cases of insanity among farmers’ wives. Living as many do, breathing only the atmosphere of those who are sore labored and distressed--or who think they are, which is the same thing, ‘For as a man thinketh so is he;’ meeting her husband only in body and not in spirit, it is impossible for her to generate a strong spiritual atmosphere of her own. So is it any wonder the soul becomes weary, the body struggles, cries aloud, totters, reels and falls?

“Good people meeting together, talking of good things, thinking great thoughts, putting away all strife, envy and discord, create an atmosphere favorable to spiritual growth, and make it possible for the souls of all to expand and reach out, touching Infinity.

“Every wicked thought that flits across the mind is poisoning the atmosphere which often souls must breathe, and every good thought you think is adding to the total sum of good, and whether spoken or unexpressed, enriches the Universe, for thought is an entity producing a vibration too delicate for our dull physical senses to discern, but our spirits are thus influenced.

“But this is enough. You must rest and then write out what I have told you. What I will tell you next Sunday is of much greater import than you have yet heard me speak.”

CHAPTER XIV. FIFTH SUNDAY--A REVELATION.

Sunday morning came. The day was perfect. Great white billowy clouds floated lazily across the face of the blue ether, a gentle breeze scarcely noticeable stirred the leaves of the trees, and all nature seemed sublime. The birds twittered in the pine-trees as we walked beneath, and the air was saturated with health and healing.

The Man had told me the week before that what he would tell me to-day was of much importance--that I need not write it down at once for I could not forget. Naturally I was somewhat expectant.

“You have read Shakespeare some of course,” he began. “Yes, I know, at school, and then you have seen his plays. This has given you a glimpse of his mind; but one could study years, certainly much longer than it took him to write them, and then not get the full import of Shakespeare’s words. Still, the difference between your mind and that of Shakespeare is not so great as one might at first imagine. You yourself think great thoughts--they come to you at times in great waves, almost threatening to engulf you; high and holy aspirations; sublime impulses, that you dare not attempt to put in words for mortal ear, for you doubt your own strength, and also fear you will be misunderstood. So your best thought is never expressed, for there is no receptacle where you can pour it out--you feel that you go through life alone, so the thought goes through your brain in the twinkling of a second and is gone forever.

“All persons think great thoughts--few have the power to seize the electric spark and clothe it in words. Now just to that extent that you understand Shakespeare, are you his equal. If you see a beautiful thought recorded and detect its beauty, it was already yours or you would not have recognized it. It was yours before, but you never claimed your heritage. That same thought had gone floating through your brain, either in this life or a former one, but you failed to hold it fast; but when it comes back from the lips of the preacher, or is whispered to you from out pages of a great writer you say, ‘Ah yes, how true! I have thought the same thing myself.’

“Now Shakespeare had the faculty (and a more or less mechanical one it is) of seizing with a grasp as strong as iron and as soft as silken cord, every sublime thought that passed through his mind. Your troop of fancies run wild over the prairies of imagination, mine and Shakespeare’s are harnessed and bridled. We guide or lead them where we will; we master them, not they us. The beautiful thought you rode on like a whirlwind yesterday, where is it now? You strive to recall it--but no, all is dark, misty, and obscure. It has gone!

“Now under right conditions you can call up these glowing, prancing thoughts at will, orderly, one at a time, clean and complete as race horses where each is led before you by a competent groom; not in a wild rush of frenzy that leaves you afterward depleted and depressed, but gently, surely, firmly--_but the conditions must be right_. Now what are these conditions, you ask. Well, if I describe to you the conditions that surrounded Shakespeare from the year 1585 when he went to London, to 1615 when he returned to Stratford, you will then know what are the right conditions for mental growth.

“The mother of William Shakespeare, Mary Arden, was a great and noble woman. Words elude me when I attempt to describe her! Soul secretes body, and how can I have you see the dwelling-place of this great and lofty spirit as I now behold it with my inward eyes? Tall, rather than otherwise, a willowy lithe form that was strong as whalebone, yet at first you would have thought her delicate; hair light, inclining to auburn, wavy; her eyes heaven’s own blue, with a dreamy far-away expression, not fixed on things of earth, but looking into the beyond. She saw things others never saw, she heard music that came not to the ears of others. Her face I cannot describe! Some envious women said she was homely, for her features were rather large and irregular; but a few saw in that face the look of gentle greatness, for the really great are always gentle and modest. They speak with lowered voice--they hesitate. Is it fear? They are silent when we say they should affirm--and Pilate marveled.

“This woman bore eight children, four boys and four girls. Only one of these attained eminence--this was her third child. The others were born under seemingly equal favorable circumstances, but the spirit she called to her when she conceived in that year 1563, was of a different nature from that which prevailed with the other seven. She was then thirty-one years old; her mind working in the direction of the Ideal; her life calm; all of the surroundings at their best. But we must hasten on.”

I had brought my stenographic notebook, and almost from the first I took the words of The Man exact, as I feared I would not remember them. We were seated on a log under the great pine-trees, and as The Man talked slowly, I got the exact words as I give them to you in this book. The Man continued:

“John Shakespeare was not the equal of his wife by any means, but a good man withal, who loved his wife and feared her just a little. She was good and gentle, yet so self-reliant in spite of her seeming sensitiveness, that the good man could never fully comprehend her; but he ever treated her with the awkward yet becoming tenderness of the great, strong, hairy, simple-hearted man that he was.

“William caused his parents more trouble and sorrow than all the other children together. They could not comprehend him at all. He was smart, yet would not study; he was strong, yet would not work except by spells. He would disappear from the task at which he had been set, and be found lying on his back out under the trees, looking up through the branches at the great white clouds floating in the sky. He had hiding-places all his own in the woods and glens where he would spend hours alone, and yet in the childish frolics and games of youth he could always hold his own.

“At eighteen (I hate to think of those awful times) he married Anne Hathaway, ten years his senior. This woman was delivered of a child one month after her marriage. I could tell you the full details of that affair; of how he married this ignorant and stupid woman to defend another, but let us pass over it lightly. The world need not know the bad, it hears too much of it now. Let us only dwell on the good, think the good, speak the good, and we will then live the good.

“For three years Shakespeare ostensibly lived with this woman, who was whimsical, ignorant, fault-finding, jealous--ever upbraiding and too fond of giving advice, and a most uncleanly and slovenly housekeeper beside. When he married her Shakespeare accepted her for better for worse, it proved to be worse, but he was determined to endure and live it out; but after three years of purgatory he brushed away the starting tears, took a few small necessary things, tied them in a handkerchief, and without saying ‘good-bye’ even to the dear mother whom he loved (although she did not understand him), started on foot for London, anxious to lose himself in the great throng. He arrived penniless, ragged and footsore, and sought vainly for employment; but what could the poor country boy do? No trade, no education, no experience with practical things! If he had been used to the manners of polite people he could have hired out as a servant; but, alas! he was only a country boor, unused to city ways, and driven almost to the verge of starvation, he hung about the entrance to the theatre, and offered to hold the horses of visitors who went within. At this he picked up enough to pay for his scanty food and lodging. Besides holding horses he carried a lantern, and increased his little income by attending people home after the play, going before carrying lantern and staff. London streets, you know, were not lighted in those days, and robbers were also plentiful under cover of the night, so strong young men able to give protection were needed. Occasionally he was called into the theatre to act as a soldier or supernumerary.

“One night he was engaged to attend a lady and her daughter from their home to the play, and back again after the performance. This woman was the widow of an Italian nobleman, Bowenni by name, who was driven from his home for political reasons. He died in London leaving the widow and daughter with an income which by prudent management was amply sufficient for their needs. The daughter was twenty-four years old at the time I have mentioned, a girl of most rare education and refinement. Like all Italians she was a born linguist, and spoke French, German, Greek and Latin with fluency. Her father was a scholar, and for years he was the tutor and the only playmate of this daughter. Together they studied Homer and Plato (the wonders of Greece were just then for the first time being opened up in England), and the beauties of the French Moralists they dissected day by day with ever increasing delight; for the girl had that fine glad recipiency for the trinity of truth, beauty and goodness, each of which comprehends the other. Her father took good care that only the best of mental nourishment should be hers. In their exile they had traveled through Egypt, spent months in Denmark, Spain and Portugal, knew Rome, Venice and the Mediterranean by heart, and wherever they went, the father secured the best books of the place--for you must remember that in those days the books of an author very seldom went out of his own country, certainly were never offered for sale in other countries, and the works of French dramatists were almost unknown in England.

“After our youth had left the mother and daughter at the door of their dwelling, and they had entered, the daughter asked: ‘My mother, didst thou notice the respectful attitude of the young man whom we engaged to attend us?--how alert he was to see that no accident did befall us? Yet he spoke no word, nor forced on us attention, but only seemed intent on his duty doing.’

“‘Yes,’ said the mother, ‘a youth of goodly parts and fair to view withal; not large in stature, but strong. He does not bear himself pompously, and bend back as other servants do; but the manly chest--it leads, and methinks the crown is in its proper place. We will him engage again, for honest work well done shall ever bring its own reward.’

“But I must hasten on, and not spend time with mere detail. Suffice it to say, that the young man was hired to attend the noble lady and the daughter to the theatre each Thursday night, and that after four weeks the daughter suggested that as the young man was so gentlemanly in his bearing, so modest, and of such comely features, that there would be no harm for him to attend them as their friend and escort. ‘No one need know,’ she naïvely said, and after much misgiving on the mother’s part the plan was suggested to the young man, who only bowed with uncovered head and said, ‘Madame, I am your hired servant, and therefore at your service to do all that you may command, which cannot be but right.’

“So suitable raiment was purchased, and when the youth appeared the women were much surprised to see a perfect gentleman, grave, and ‘to the manor born.’ No longer now did he hold horses at the entrance, but occasionally appeared on the stage in a non-speaking part, at which times the young Italian lady saw but one figure on the stage. The mother and the young man often when walking homeward discussed the play, and the young man seemed to remember each part, and would repeat entire stanzas when asked to do so, word for word; and then with no show of egotism but frankly, say ‘It should have been thus expressed--or thus.’ To all of which the mother and daughter made no answer, but looked at each other in amazement to think that one who had not traveled, and knew not the ways of courts, nor had scarcely learned to read, could make amends to Marlowe.

“One night before the play the manager appeared and offered five and twenty pounds as reward for the best play--all given by the Earl of Southampton. After the play as they walked home, flushed were the daughter’s cheeks, and fast beat her heart. Her blood ran high, as in mad riot. She scarcely seemed to touch the earth as fast she walked and held fast and fast and tighter still to the young man’s arm. At last he turned his face--his eyes met hers--her voice came with a bound--

“‘The play--the play’s the thing! We’ll write it--you and I! The plot? It’s mine already, all in a big French book, musty and hid away. Yes, the plot we’ll borrow and give it back again if France demand. Ha--you, William, come to-morrow night, and you shall write it out in your own matchless words while I translate. The play’s the thing--the play is the thing!’

“Thus spoke the impetuous Italian girl, and the mother was much surprised at the wild outburst of her artless child, but gave assent, and gently the mother mused in accent low as echo answers voice--‘The play’s the thing!’ And the young man to himself, as homeward he did stroll, did softly say, ‘The play’s the thing! The play’s the thing!’”

CHAPTER XV. SHAKESPEARIANA--“TRUTH, LORD.”

After dinner in the cabin we moved our chairs out under the trees, and The Man said:

“Yes, I know you wish to hear more about Shakespeare, but before I tell you more of his personal history, let us consider two or three facts in reference to him. First, you know he was not technically a scholar. Between him and the great ancient hearts he was to read there intervened no frosty twilight of antiquarian lore. He had not to clip and measure and adjust amid moth-eaten cerements and rusty armor that he might be able to fashion forth the exterior and shell of times long since gone by, but only to cast asunder the gates of the human heart, that those deathless notes might be heard which are the undertone of human emotion in all times.

“Well it was that he who was to give to our tongue that tune which it was never to lose, whose language, exhaustless in range, in delicacy, force and extent, taking every hue of thought or feeling, of good and base alike, as the sky takes shade or shadow, or as the forest takes storm or calm, was to remain forever the emblem of the multitudinous life, as contrasted with that affected gravity and ossified scholasticism which we so often see--was tempted by no familiarity with ancient writing to any formal rotundity or college-professor mannerism of diction. His audience is the world, and the numbers increase as civilization grows--he moves to-day a broader stratum of human sympathy than any other man who ever lived save one--and this could not have been had he passed into that narrow chamber called a school. And yet no four walls of a college could have held him, for he of all men would have been least apt to prefer the poor glitter of learned paint to God’s sunlight of living smiles. When one thinks how much learning has done to veil genius and impede progress, it is impossible to suppress a sense of satisfaction at the thought that the greatest author of all mankind was not learned! His only teacher was nature, his only need was freedom. Who gave him this?--_a woman_!

“Now do not suppose that I have no sympathy with colleges, for no man knows their worth better than I; but it is better to build for eternity than for a Regents’ examination. Another thing you must remember is that Shakespeare was surrounded by no circle of admirers. Healthy, whole-hearted, it never occurred to him to ask what precise position he might occupy in the world of letters. He did his work for the approbation of one alone, and she being pleased he was content.

“No jealousy, strife or contention, do you see on that smooth brow; no hate or fear of unjust rivalry. He was monarch of one loving, truthful, trusting heart, so what cared he for popular applause? A prophet has said, ‘Oh, thou foul Circean draught of popular applause, thy end is madness and the grave!’ This most subtle and deadly of all poisons was never mingled in the cup of Shakespeare, and never can be in that of anyone if they work only for the applause of honest love, that can dissemble not. To work for popular applause is to court death; to succeed in winning it, is to be carried to the pinnacle of the temple and cast upon the stones beneath.

“If a man toil for the good-will of the multitude, there will come as sure as fate, the time when the egotism of acquirement will render callous day by day all of his finer perceptions, kill his delicate sensibilities, destroy his manhood. No longer will he hold the mirror up to nature; no longer will the ray of light shine through the prism, reflecting the beauty of the rainbow--he is opaque, dead; and the only sound he gives is ego, _Ego_, EGO.

“Need I give illustrations? Look about you on every hand. Where in all the realm of books is the author free from this taint! But yes, there are some. This century has seen a few, but you can count them on the fingers of one hand. Hero worship is twice cursed. It bewilders the hero into fantastic error and extravagance, and the fools who worship accept for a time anything the man whom they have damned sets before them and proclaim it truth. They extol his eccentricities into models, his follies into virtues. Thus does hero worship work double harm.

“What is the cure? Is oblivion the only good? Is to do, to die? If I achieve must my life go out like that of certain insects who die in the act of generation? Wise men ask these questions over and over again. I give you the answer. It is this--_Together man and woman were put out of Eden. Only together hand in hand can they return._

“Woman’s love saved Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s love saved the woman, although the world knows her not as yet. He never realized his power, and if it had been told him that his name would go thundering down the ages, the greatest literary name of all times, he would have been staggered with incredulity; for if a man ever realizes or imagines he is at the top, at once his head grows dizzy. But never fear, the heart of woman can hold him firm. Duality exists throughout all nature. A man alone is only half a man--a woman alone is only half a woman. The man and woman make the perfect man. There is the male man and the female man. Only where these two half spirits work together can they reach perfection. For every woman there is somewhere on the earth, or in the spirit realm a mate, for every man there is his other half; and some time in this life or in another they will meet, and no priest or justice of the peace can join what God has not ordained. But when the right man meets the right woman and they live rightly, there is an atmosphere formed where no poisonous draught can enter. These two will say, ‘_Between us there must be honesty and truth for evermore._’ Then each will work for the approbation of the other; there will be no flattery, for there is honesty; there will be commendation always when deserved, but no fulsome praise. Neither will excel the other. Each may be able to do certain things better than the other, so there will ever be a friendly rivalry for good. The tendency to grow egotistical is ever corrected, the poison is constantly neutralized, for how can you be egotistical when you only work for the approbation of one who has contributed to your work as much as you? There is ever a sharing of every joy, of every exalted thought, of every acquisition; so the good gained is fused. There is a perfect commingling. It is not ‘mine,’ nor ‘thine,’ but ‘ours.’ No selfish satisfaction can you take in your own attainment when by your side stands another as great as yourself. You are gentle, modest, and you two working together cannot but recognize a higher power, a greater than you, a Source you look up to, and ever do you say, ‘Not unto us, not unto us.’ Thus is growth attained and thus only can perfection be reached.

“Of course I know that some men are not as able as some women; and that some men have wives who are only echoes; and that there are men who in their blindness desire nothing else--but a woman who can only applaud her husband is fixing him in untruth, and they are each dragging the other down. For we only need the applause of those who are our equals, otherwise they will not discern but will applaud simply because we say it. Then once having tasted blood we resort to sophistry, trickery and device, knowing we can deceive, to win this deadly thing our morbid souls do crave.

“Well do I know that as the highest joys of sense and soul come from love, and sadly do I say it, love misplaced, diverted, thwarted, causes more misery, heartaches, sickness, death, than all other causes combined. The throes of childbirth were sent as punishment for love wrongly used, and this awful curse can yet be cured; not in this life perhaps, but it will come, for God did not design that life should be sacrificed in order that others still might also have life.”

CHAPTER XVI. SIXTH SUNDAY--THE MAN CONTINUES THE TRUE STORY OF SHAKESPEARE.

“The evening following what I have already told, the young man presented himself at the little red house where dwelt the Lady Bowenni, and was met at the door by Harriette, the daughter. Servant and stranger he no longer was, but friend. The young woman’s cheeks glowed, her eyes flashed with all the eagerness of restless purpose.

“Spread out on the table were sundry curiously-bound books and pamphlets, some written and some in print; for the nobleman had been a great collector, and had secured the best wherever literary treasures were to be found. The young man was cool, composed, and had not the slightest idea of what the work would be or where it should begin.

“‘Draw up your chair to yonder table, William, while I sit on the other side. Now look straight at me (‘I can’t do otherwise,’ he gravely said), and listen close while I the story tell which I have got from three old books--two of them from Spain were brought, one from France. I have dropped and left out this and that, and put in more, here interpolated, there proclaimed a truth I once did hear you say. Now let us get the plot all firmly fixed in our two hearts, and then you it is shall write; for you do toy with words--they are your playthings. You strive not, nor reach out, nor falter, search or look around, but straightway you do get the thought, words, gentle words come trooping to you like a thousand fairies, each in its own order, leading its mate full gently by the hand. For learned men may work and strive and sweat and never do they reach the smoothness you do bring even without a second thought. Careless, William, you are in manner. You know no rule, yet I might study a thousand years and could not thus express the feeling that within me burns; but hinted once by me to you, straightway you weave the beauteous thought into a chaplet gay, and then upon my brow you place it, and seriously you proclaim it mine, when ’tis not mine, nor thine, but _ours_.’

“Thus did speak this winsome girl after the story she had told, and thoughtful sat the man and not a word he seemed to hear as still she chatted on. When suddenly he aroused and said:

“‘The pens, my lady! An eagle’s pinion, and this story you have told shall we give wing! But note you! three stories have you taken and woven into two instead of one. So shall it stand. Two stories shall we tell, the one within the other held.’[2]

“And straightway were pens and paper brought and he did write--steadily and seemingly without thought of form or rounded sentences, but surely without stop--and as the pen went gliding o’er the parchment, and page on page were turned aside, the fair young girl did seize and greedily did read, with pen in hand to make an alteration, although but slight, and her cheeks did burn and now and then she sighed and raised her hands. But the young man, he looked not up, but with calm face and steady hand the work went on; and as he held the pen in his right hand, his left hand moved, as though unknown to him, across the narrow table, and gently did she hold it fast--and still the work went on. A few more nights--the play was done and to the judges sent. They read aloud. Some wondered, others sniffed the air, one said: ‘What rubbish is this sent to us? What folly! and written by a big peasant boor!--use it to light the fire. Here, servant, you, bring on the next so to quickly get this horrid taste out of our mouths.’

“The young man heard the sentence, smiled softly, and to himself did say, ‘Oh man, proud man, clothed in a little brief authority, doth cut such fantastic tricks before high heaven as does make angels weep! Now for myself I do not care, but the lady forsooth, whose play it is, or was before ’twas burned--shame on them!--how can I tell her?’ And so he wandered forth and met but who? Why, Harriette, who sought the youth full far and wide, for she had heard the news and grieved she was and sick, fearing the blow might prove too much for him whose play it was. ‘I care not for myself,’ she said; ‘but how--how can I tell him?’ They met--each read full in the other’s eyes what each would say. Both smiled and walked away.”

FOOTNOTE:

[2] It is a fact known to all students that Shakespeare was the first dramatist who wrote the double play--that is, the first plot of high characters with a second story worked out by the lower or comedy characters. This peculiarity is now made use of by all writers of plays. Note, _The Merchant of Venice_, _As You Like It_, _Comedy of Errors_, etc.

CHAPTER XVII. THOSE TWO.

“The disappointment caused by the harsh rejection of this first play of William Shakespeare and Harriette Bowenni was not great. Each had had a more than speaking acquaintanceship with sorrow, and trouble is only comparative anyway; so they looked upon the matter rather as a thing to be expected, an amusing circumstance. _They knew the play was better than the one accepted_, and that was enough. ‘Is not William Shakespeare just as great as though his name _was_ on the bill board?’ the lady said. Another reason that made them look on the matter lightly was that each read their fate in the other’s face, and as long as no separation is threatened love not only laughs at locksmiths but at all disaster. No awkward love-making scene had ever come between them, no formal declaration. As he wrote that first night, the young man unconsciously reached out his hand toward the girl. She took it, and held it lovingly between her own. When they parted he stooped and their lips met.

“When next they walked along the street, among other things he said, ‘I love you, dear.’ The young woman made no sign of surprise, but when she wrote to him the following day (strange how lovers find excuse to write so often!), there were terms of endearment, all inserted without apology. No wooing--no effort at winning--no affected coyness. They loved, and true love need not be ashamed, for ’tis God’s own gift, and given only to the worthy.

“Each day she wrote a letter to her lover--each day he wrote to her. These messages were often in verse, and part of them are preserved in the sonnets of Shakespeare, one hundred and fifty-four in number. These sonnets, it will be noticed, have no special relation one to the other. Part, it can be seen, are written by a woman to her lover. Mixed in with these are others written by a man. You will notice that in those written by the woman she entreats the young man to marry, and expresses much regret and surprise that though he loves her well he will not wed.

“These sonnets were first published in 1609, and were dedicated--

“‘_To Mr. W. H. Their onlie begetter._’

“The W stands for William, the H for Harriette. The prefix of ‘Mr.’ is a mere whimsicality, (a thing all lovers are guilty of, yet which we are ever ready to forgive), simply to mystify the world. The first twenty-six of these sonnets were written by Harriette during the years 1585 and 1586, before she knew that Shakespeare was already married; and the perplexity in her ignorance of the real facts of his life can be imagined.

“Long years after these letters were written, Shakespeare turned those which were not already in rhyme into verse for his and her amusement, and now that they had come to know each other perfectly and the oneness was complete, many was the laugh they had over their youthful trials. Anyone who will read the Sonnets, _Venus and Adonis_ and the _Passionate Pilgrim_, and read them carefully in the light of what I now tell, will get a clear idea of the first few years’ relations of Shakespeare and this beautiful and accomplished young woman. I do not attempt to defend the style or wording of these poems. They are written in all the hot restless desire of youth where flesh is not ruled by soul--where the earthy is not yet transmuted into the spiritual.

“Said ‘rare Ben Jonson’--‘I loved the man, and do reverence his memory on this side of idolatry as much as any! He was honest and of an open and free nature, had an excellent fancy, brave notions and excellent expressions, wherein he flowed with such facility that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped. His wit was in his own power--would the rule of it had been so too! but he redeemed his vices with his virtues. There was in him ever more to be praised than pardoned. The players have often mentioned it as an honor to Shakespeare that in his writing whatsoe’er he penned he never blotted out a line. My answer has been, Would he had blotted out a thousand.’

“So with Ben Jonson I say, Oh would that these two had left unwritten a thousand lines!--but who shall dictate to genius?

“When Shakespeare left Stratford he attempted to leave the last year’s dwelling for the new--to steal the shining archway through--close up the idle door. The past was to him dead. He did not hug it to his heart, mourn over it, and attempt to kiss it back to life. He said, ‘The past we cannot recall, the future we cannot reach, the present only is ours.’ So with no attempt at concealment, yet with no disclosure of his history, he said to Harriette Bowenni:

“‘That I do love you, you do know; that I do desire to wed you, you may guess; and that I cannot is but fact. Now why should speak I more? You put your arms about my neck and swear your faith in pretty verse, and next you contradict this faith by still demanding _Why_? No! If I say it is not best, is not that _Why_ enough?’

“In sonnet number twenty the appearance of Shakespeare is described at this time. A writer says, ‘He has a lady’s face and scarce a beard.’

“Harriette urged the youth to leave his shabby lodgings, marry her, and take up his abode with her and her mother; and in _Venus and Adonis_ we hear of the number of noble lovers that had sought her hand, and yet she almost on her knees besought William to wed her. In a spirit of jolly ridicule of this wooing on the part of Harriette, he wrote the poem of _Venus and Adonis_ and presented it to her. In this poem you will notice he represents himself as cold and unfeeling, when the real truth is he was just as full of desire to marry as she; but the divorce laws of England at that time were very strict, so much so that only the rich or influential could secure a divorce at all.

“Shakespeare should have been frank with this girl and told her his history at once, but he did not do so until over a year after their first acquaintance. You can well imagine the surprise of mother and daughter when he one night said, ‘Come, my history you would know. Well, I’ll run it through, even from my boyish days, to the very moment that you bade me tell it,’ and so he told from childhood to the time he took one last look at the little village and set his face toward London. The story being done she gave him for his pains a world of sighs. She swore in faith ’twas strange, ’twas passing strange, ’twas pitiful, ’twas wondrous pitiful! she wished she had not heard it. Yet she wished that heaven had made her such a man. She thanked him, and bade him if he had a friend that lov’d her, he should teach him how to tell the story, and that would woo her. On this hint he spake:

“‘Now you do know full well why I, according to England’s law, do not you wed--yet heaven hath decreed it so. You are my rightful mate; and here and now, in the sacred presence of her who brought you forth, I do declare you shall be from now henceforth my true and only wife.’

“Madame Bowenni was generous, gentle and good, a woman of most rare and discriminating mind, great and loving. Years had not soured nor turned to dross the great and tender heart. She knew for her daughter to accept William Shakespeare for her husband without the consent of England’s law, would not be the one thousandth part the sin as to see her wed a man she did not love, although good and noble the man might be. So Shakespeare took up his abode with this fair lady, and was a faithful and true husband to her, and she a loving and true wife till death called her hence.

“Harriette Bowenni died in the year 1614, leaving one child, Shakespeare’s only son. Anne Hathaway had died some years before, and be it said to his credit Shakespeare sent her ample funds from time to time, and that she shared in his prosperity. It is greatly to be regretted that Harriette died before her lover, otherwise she would have acted as his literary executor and collected his writings in proper form. As it is this work was done by those entirely unfitted for it, and his papers were brought together from many sources seven years after his death; and to-day not a single scrap of his manuscript exists, excepting the letters I possess and the diary of Harriette Bowenni, in which are various entries made by Shakespeare. All these letters and the diary you shall see.

“From his grief at the death of Harriette, Shakespeare never rallied. He left London, the scene of his mighty success, and back to his boyhood’s home did he turn, broken in health and spirit. City men who were once country boys, always look forward to the coming of old age, when they can return again to their childhood’s home. In less than two short years those simple villagers carried to its last resting-place the worn out body of the mightiest man of thought the world has ever known.

“When Shakespeare took Harriette Bowenni as his wife, at once they began their life-work in earnest. Women then were never recognized in literary work, and in fact did not ever act upon the stage, their parts being taken by boys. Harriette knew English history probably better than any man in England at that time, having studied it for several years with her father, and written it out for the nobleman. The first successful plays of Shakespeare were those of English history. Then followed tragedy and comedy in rapid and startling succession. Thirty-seven plays are known positively to be Shakespeare’s, all written in the space of twenty-six years; there being scarcely any repetition of plot or plan, all sweeping forward in that matchless and noble diction possessed by no other writer. The source of nearly all the plots have been well traced. Many of the plays are combinations of two or three others. In several instances the story is taken pure and simple from other writers, and the dialogue changed, modified, interpolated, as if it was necessary to get the play out at a certain time; yet the work is always nobly done, although many of the plays show very plainly the work of two persons.

“In every one of these thirty-seven plays William Shakespeare and Harriette Bowenni worked side by side, she supplying the plot and historical connection and he the language. The philosophy and by-play was worked in between them.

“Shakespeare’s conception of womanhood is higher than that of any other dramatist, even of modern time. Generally we find the saints and sinners pretty evenly divided between the sexes. Not so with the Master! His women are wise, gentle and good. Look at Portia, Rosalind, Cecelia, Viola, Jessica and others. The character of Lady Macbeth was worked out by Harriette alone, as I will show you in her diary where she protests against William parsing excellencies in the feminine gender continually, and she asks leave to portray Lady Macbeth herself alone.

“Each was constantly alert for metaphor, hyperbole, figure, trope, philosophy or poetical expression. Nothing escaped--every thought or fancy to which love could give birth was woven in. Neither went in society, and the fact that Shakespeare could not present this woman as his wife, was rather an advantage than otherwise. They had no friends but books, and thus were not distracted, diverted or dragged down by common-place connections, ignorant or vain people. To be with people was to lose their relationship to the whole. They were merely onlookers in Venice--the world knew them not. This fully accounts for the total lack of knowledge we possess of Shakespeare’s life. It has been stated that Shakespeare belonged to the club to which belonged Sir Walter Raleigh, Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Donne, Selden and others, that met at the Mermaid Tavern, but there is no proof at all that he ever attended these meetings. How such a man lived with such a mind and still was not known, has astounded humanity; and it is not to be wondered at that many now doubt that he ever wrote at all, and very plausibly prove (or think they do), that this unlettered, untraveled and untutored man _could not_ (mark the words) have written Shakespeare. It is not to be wondered at that they cast about for the most learned man of his time, and pick out Lord Bacon, not knowing that six Lords Bacon all melted into one _could never_ (_mark my words_) equal the work of one great man and one great woman, who having put away all society but each other, cast out all frivolity, set themselves the task (if task it may be called) solely to assist that alchemist, the only one who can transmute base material into good--_Love_, undying _Love_. Love is creative. It is the one and only source of all creation!”

* * * * *

I had been taking the words of The Man at the rate of one hundred words a minute. Suddenly they came faster, faster. I could scarcely keep up. For the first time I saw The Man had lost his composure. I looked up. The tears were streaming down his cheeks. He arose from his seat, paused, raised his hands and exclaimed:

“This woman, Harriette Bowenni; she was my mother!!”

CHAPTER XVIII. SEVENTH SUNDAY.--THE SECRET OF SUCCESS.

I began the conversation by a protest against attributing the success of Shakespeare so entirely to woman’s influence for “you cannot make a statue out of basswood,” I said.

“Yes, you are right,” answered The Man, “but Shakespeare, you must remember, won the love of this great woman, and thus proved his capacity and ability to succeed. We succeed by means, that is by the help of, others. Now take your pencil and paper and write what I speak--

“The word success scarcely carries the same meaning to two people, and I will make no attempt now to a pedagogic definition of the word, but simply a statement of facts which will not be disputed by any thinking person.

“There are certain conditions which we see surrounding men that are the reverse of success, and on these we are all agreed. So it might be easier to state what success is not, than what it is.

“If we see a person whose face is filled with lines of anxious care, proving to every passerby that the wearer of this look is nervous, apprehensive, restless, fast losing the capacity for enjoying the good things of life, we cannot call this person successful, though he is a millionaire. Yet we find men whom we know are not worth a hundred dollars, but their faces beam with the health that comes only from right living. Their entire bodily attitude tells that they are in line with the harmony of the universe. They are successful.

“The world is rich beyond the power of man to compute. We are just beginning to turn the wheels of commerce with a motive power the vast extent of which seems limitless, and which we use over and over again without destroying its substance. The material things which go to make life comfortable are in extent as boundless as is the oxygen which makes the combustion that we call life possible. For do you think for a moment that the Supreme Intelligence that quickened life into being would make too much of this and only half enough of that, so men would have plenty of air to breathe and plenty of water to drink, but only half enough food or raiment?

“No, the world is rich--surpassing rich, but, alas! men are poor.

“One man gets many things more than he can use and makes himself poor, that is, unsuccessful, by a vain attempt to keep that which in fact is not his. He draws on the material world for more than he needs, but fails to absorb from the world of spirit of the pure oxygen of life to aid digestion; he is like a man who has eaten twice as much as he can digest, he is full of fear and distrust and his life is a failure. He is not a success.

“And we see men great and good in soul whose bodies are not properly nourished and who shiver with the cold. This is not success.

“There is no virtue in poverty. To do without things we do not need is both manly and right (for to do right is manly), but to deprive ourselves of the bounties and blessings that have been provided for us, is not only to be lacking in common sense, but it is to be guilty of sin.

“So we say that the unsuccessful man is he who does not secure for his _use_ all that which his being needs for its growth and advancement.

“I have spoken of the pure air we should breathe being supplied in limitless quantities, but every physician knows that the most prolific cause of disease is the breathing of a bad atmosphere. People deliberately fire up the coal stove, close the drafts so that the poison cannot escape up the chimney, shut down the windows and pray for sweet, refreshing sleep. This is done as much out in the open country as in the crowded city. At daylight this morning, just as the summer sun was coming up from behind the far-away hills, I walked through the sleeping village and noticed that in almost every house the windows were tightly shut, blinds closed, and, of course, the doors locked to keep out burglars, forgetful that the murderer who sought their lives was already in the house.

“The rich in cities ride in closed carriages, breathing the same air over and over. They are pale, yellow and despondent. The coachman rides outside ruddy and full of life.

“Thousands upon thousands die yearly of consumption, a disease coming entirely from improper breathing. If we use only a part of the lungs, the rest of the cells collapse, decay and we die--die through poverty--die through not using enough of that which is supplied so plenteously. And, yet, air is free, but whether through ignorance or inability (and ignorance is inability) we die, for nature takes no thought of the individual. You must comply with her rules or suffer from noncompliance. ‘Here are these good things,’ she says, ‘use them freely;’ and if we do not know how to use them we suffer just as surely as though we wilfully rebelled and knowingly said, ‘We will not use them.’

“So if you ask me to define success, I will say that he is successful who uses that which his well-being requires for its best development. To fail is not to use what your physical, mental and moral well-being demands. Whether you fail through ignorance of your needs or inability to supply them makes no difference.

“Thus it might truthfully be said that no life is a complete success, for no man lays hold on the forces of the universe and uses to the fullest extent. So there are all degrees of success. Now I propose to give a few plain and simple rules for securing to yourself that which your body and soul demand, and when I speak of one’s ‘Being’ I always mean body and soul--one no less than the other, for without soul there would be no body--body is here the instrument of soul. And what is more, I mean _worldly success_, for the world is but the sensual manifestation of spirit. You cannot separate spirit from matter--matter from intelligence.

“One of the worst mistakes man has made in times past has been the attempt to separate things into two parts--the ‘sacred’ and the ‘worldly.’ All things are sacred. There is nothing above the natural. There can be no ‘Super-Natural,’ without we say the supernatural is natural, which is in fact the truth.

“The wheeling stars, the great sun which warms our planet into life and light, every manifestation of beauty which we behold, man himself with his aspirations, his longings and his unknown possibilities, are _natural_. The natural is the all in all.

“We are here for growth, and live on the world. To achieve a success here, is to achieve a worldly success; and the highest ambition any man can have is to secure success, and the only success you can achieve here is a worldly success.

“Success is the result of right thinking. ‘As a man thinketh so is he,’ and what is most encouraging to me is the thought that a gigantic brain and a mighty grasp of mind are not at all necessary to success. The secret is simple, and the wayfaring can comprehend it as well as the prince. A few plain rules well followed and you are in the majority, for all nature is on your side and working in your behalf. What need you of influential friends? And yet the kind of thinking I am about to describe will bring the noble and the powerful to your side. They will seek your acquaintance, they will be your friends, and it will be their delight to help you, for it is the way nature assists her children by sending the love of good people. Night and day your spirit thinks. Stop thinking now for five minutes and tell me what you thought. No, you cannot stop. You may not remember what you thought, when you were in your sleep, but you thought just the same. But, while you cannot stop thinking you can direct the thought. You can control its tendency, and in the course of time (not long either), you will think only good thoughts--thoughts that will insure success to yourself and assist all those with whom you come in contact.

“Success in every undertaking has come from a right mental attitude. But your ambition must be worthy and founded on right or there can be no success. There can be no such thing as a successful burglar, for the act that is wrong brings a reaction that is weakness, defeat, and disgrace--the end may be postponed for a day, but the result is no less sure; while the reaction from a good act brings to the person an increased self-respect, a power for good, and this is his reward.

“I will not attempt to give one plan for success in business, another for success in religious work, and another set of rules for scholarly attainment. We cannot separate life into parts, for there can be no success in a business that is not right, but if your business is honorable it affords you a most excellent opportunity for the exercise of spiritual and mental attainment. You cannot imagine a sincere follower of Truth being engaged in a bad business, and the personal contact which a profession or business gives a man with other men affords him the opportunity to let his light shine.

“The first requisite of success is to know what you desire. Misty, uncertain hopes and changing wishes bring uncertain results. The reason we hear so much of luck and chance in life is on account of the absence of clear ideals. You must work out in your own mind what you wish to achieve. Are you a clerk in a big store, and see yourself in the future always as a clerk, you will always be one. Suppose, on the other hand, you see yourself in imagination as the head of the establishment, and hold this constantly in mind as you work away in your lowly position day after day. This very thought is bringing you toward your ideal. You will have an alertness for business, a desire to please, and the welfare of the establishment will be constantly before you. You will always be on time, and when there is extra work you will remain a little later and never think of asking if you are to be paid for over time.

“This cheerful and attentive disposition is sure to bring you promotion, and even over the heads of older employees. When a foreman is wanted for the head of a department you will be the one selected--no mistake, it cannot be otherwise. The ideal you hold in your mind is coming toward you sure. The whirligig of time, which is ever sifting, assorting, and bringing to the top the best, is a spiritual law as strong as fate--in fact, it is fate--and you will be the head of this establishment, and a rich man.

“We do not say that to be the head of a big business and to be rich are the chief ends for which to work, but as far as you prize these things, you can only secure them in the way I have mentioned.

“If you are a country school-teacher, on a small salary, and never expect to be invited to teach in a higher school, you never will. But if your ambition is to be principal in a college, you can attain this position. You will read the educational journals, and will know all of the great teachers who now live, and all of those who have gone before. Their names and lives will be familiar to you. You will dwell in thought on the virtues of Roger Ascham, and Arnold of Rugby will be your friend. You will attend the Teachers’ Institutes and take part, too, and encourage the leader by your sympathy. You will attract to your side all the good teachers in the neighborhood, and will soon be in communication with the chief educators in the country, and your promotion is sure as sunrise. As soon as you are made worthy by holding fast to the ideal, you will be called up higher. But suppose you seek to attain promotion by connivance and wire-pulling, your defeat is certain. The thing to do is to be worthy and be ready to accept the invitation promptly, and it will come.

“The necessity of this clearness of ideal which brings a calm certainty of manner is more marked perhaps in the professions of law and healing than elsewhere.

“We are just beginning to appreciate the fact that the good physician heals more by his presence than his potions. A physician who believes that man is made in the image of his Maker and that his body is the dwelling-place of an immortal spirit, has ever before him a most lofty ideal. To come within the atmosphere of such a man, clean in body and pure in heart, is to absorb to a certain extent his qualities of mind, which is a powerful force acting on the body for health. He fills the patient with hope and faith, allays apprehension, calms the mind of disorder, and allows the _vis medicatrix natura_ to act. A doctor of this kind believes in his power to succeed--and he does. The lawyer who fears the other side and is doubtful of his case and who believes the judge is partial, has already lost his cause. But if he believes his client is innocent and that the jury will clear him, if they can be made to see the true state of affairs, brings judge and jury to this way of thinking, and receives the verdict he asks for.

“To make people work against you and get the world in opposition to you, just hold in thought that you are unfortunate and unlucky and that no one appreciates you, and then the world is down on you sure enough. You bring about the thing you fear. But what we want is men who are positive without being pugnacious; men who are cheerful but not frivolous. These are the successful men, and wherever they go they carry help, health and healing.

“The second requisite of success is that you shall hold your thought in the positive and not in the negative mood.

“Be on the lookout for good, and it will come to you. Avoid negation. Shun controversy. Religious (?) disputes have hurt the cause of Truth a thousand times more than all infidels and barbarians, for controversy stirs up a train of thought and feeling that should never be aroused, and which brings a reaction in the form of distrust, jealousy, bickering and hate. The exercise of such hateful emotions disturbs the poise of your mind and invites failure. If a man voices wrong thoughts in your presence, do not be so vain as to imagine you can set him straight by argument. Conversions are not made in that way. You need not lend your assent to his wrong statements, but your silence will be a powerful force acting on him and will tend to make him doubt his infallibility, will set him to thinking seriously and may bring him back into the line of Truth. If you had argued with him, the chances are that his efforts to refute you would have sunk him deeper into his error, for while you were talking to him he would have been thinking up an argument to overthrow your efforts to put him right, and failure to do so would have reacted on you and made you hot and impatient.

“Again I say, a positive and not a negative attitude are necessary to success. Parents and teachers say to children, ‘don’t, don’t, don’t,’ thus sending to them and putting them in a negative element. Their powers are not directed by this ‘don’t’ to secure what they need. They drift rapidly, aimlessly from one worthless, mischievous waste of power to another. Let the parent and teacher say ‘_do_,’ direct this force, open a way for its use. You cannot gain force, power, by refraining from doing. Power is gained by doing, and gained only by doing. What is the great difference between the spirit of the Old and New Testaments? The Old Testament is full of ‘Thou shalt nots,’ while the New is full of positive force. Contrast Leviticus with the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments with ‘Come unto me all ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’

“Positive moods come to all in greater or less extent. If we court them, entertain them, they remain long with us. They only go when we send them from us. If we keep a silent demand for them they will return to us and the visit be longer than before. Put ourselves in the right attitude and they will cease to be visitors, but will take up their permanent abode with us, the mood will then here become a state.

“In such state success is inevitable. Each person may have success, should have it. Should be satisfied with nothing less than success. We have each felt moments of success, the exultation and life coming from it. We must have this as our state of mind, continual success, permanent success. Success, not necessarily, as the world understands it. Success does not need to be defined; each one knows it, none can be deceived about it. Success brings peace and rest and that highest state of happiness we can know here on earth--a foretaste of Heaven. This does not come by striving nor trying, ‘Not by might nor by power but by my spirit, saith the Lord.’ It comes by holding ourselves in a receptive attitude, ‘Hoping all things, believing all things.’ Looking not back, but forward, living to-day. There must be definite, high, pure purpose.

“The positive state is the state of hope and hope is an attribute of God Himself. Nothing in the material or spirit world can withstand the force of this positive state. It is in accordance with the laws of the universe, and all the forces of the universe work with and for us when we are in harmony with nature. We are then one with the Infinite and all things are ours.

“To recapitulate we will say--you must see in your own mind definitely what you wish to become. Hold in your imagination the clear, strong, hopeful ideal.

“Avoid gloomy, despondent, negative people. If the weather is unpleasant, don’t make it your continual theme of conversation. If you have unpleasant bodily sensations or symptoms do not tell people of them. This will cause you to be shunned by those whose help you need, and you draw to yourself a sickly, weakly and uncertain thought element.

“Cultivate the positive state. Take the good wherever you find it, and let the bad go, it will die through lack of attention.”

CHAPTER XIX. EIGHTH SUNDAY--WOMAN’S LOVE.

The next Saturday was rainy the entire day, so I took the 5:30 train to Jamison, which it will be remembered is a small country village. The usual country loafers were about the depot, the coming of the trains being matter of such importance to some of the residents of these out-of-the-way places.

“There she is,” one said to another.

I saw I was an object of some attention, but merely thought it the usual curiosity the advent of a stranger excites in a small place. I walked across through the fields to the cabin, and found The Man waiting supper for me. The neat pine table was covered with a clean linen spread, and it must be stated that The Man was a good cook as well as a good housekeeper. I mentioned these things. He smiled and replied:

“Fortunately I have not much furniture to care for, and eating but two meals a day, and those not very sumptuous, your remarks are not so very flattering after all.”

“Now,” I said, when we were seated at the table, “I want to ask you a question. That awful night I first came you spoke of your wife. Then you paused, and said you had no woman’s clothing in the house. I suppose your wife is away. Will she be here soon?”

“Friend,” was the answer, “she is here now in spirit, but for the present her body is in England. She is doing a similar work there to what I am doing here. It will be a year before I will again enfold her in these arms, and yet I ever feel her presence. We commune by thought transference. She speaks to me often; not in words of course, for as we do not think in words so in the spirit realm language, so-called, is useless. It is not necessary for you to spell the thought out to comprehend it--it comes over you like an impulse. In fact, all thought of spirit, whether the spirit be in body or not, causes a vibration on the ether which the dull souls of most mortals are unable to comprehend: just as a man in a drunken stupor requires a kick or a push to make him open his eyes.

“I told you it was through love of this woman, my wife, that my spiritual eyes were opened; and without her aid never could I have arrived at knowledge. I was forty years of age when I found her in this life, and hand in hand we walked, and together we ate of the tree of knowledge.

“In the old fable you remember the man and woman were told not to eat unworthily. Some accounts are imperfectly related, so as to include a prohibition, but this is distortion made by priests in the Sixth Century, of the real truth. To eat unworthily is to die, and you must remember that this story is true; but under right conditions the right man searching for truth, walking hand in hand with the right woman (and there is one right woman for every man, and one man for every woman) can attain perfection--that is, completeness.

“I told you something of atmosphere, and you must write this down as one of the greatest living truths, that the male and female elements are required to form a perfect spiritual atmosphere.

“This accounts for the slow progress the world has made. Men have lived alone in thought and excluded women from their councils, thus depriving themselves of the spiritual female element wherein is contained the germ of all truth. The true sex is spiritual, not physical. Sex only symbolizes the great truths which lie behind. When you imagine men rushing to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, and stuffing themselves with the bread which represents the body of our Savior, and reeling with drunken and maudlin hilarity from the effects of the wine which represents His blood, you see an exact picture of what has been done for thousands of years in this holy matter of sex. Friend, do you wonder that Adam and Eve were turned out of the garden, and that they were ashamed when in the presence of each other?

“To give you a slight glimpse of what a man and woman can do working together in a mental and spiritual way, I will explain that for many years every day my wife wrote me a letter of from one to a dozen pages just as the spirit moved her. She wrote without special thought as to form or matter, with no foolish fear that she would repeat herself or say an inconsistent thing. She simply thought aloud, and wrote it out for no eye but that ‘of her own true lover.’ As she is a woman of lofty aspirations, with heart filled with love and a desire for righteousness, the general tenor of those letters you may guess, although you could not as yet fully appreciate the great and exalted thought. Every morning on my table (for we each had a room of our own), I found my letter, and fervently I daily pressed the message to my lips and softly broke the seal, read the letter through once, sometimes twice to get its full import; and if I did not seem to grasp it then, I laid it by until the following day. But generally at once, my soul saturated with joy--for you must never forget that the highest joys are those of thought--I took my pen, went carefully over the letter, marked out a word here and there, inserted another. By arrangement my wife wrote only on every other line, and sometimes skipped several, leaving a blank space to be filled up by me, as a hint that I should carry the thought further and give a completeness to that which she had begun, or to answer a question.

“There is only one source of knowledge--all other is second hand. At the first the truth was whispered to some man (when I say man of course I include woman, as the term always should) direct. This we call inspiration. Moses went up into the mountain--as all men must to receive truth; that is, they must withdraw for a season from the distractions, ambitions and diluting influences of lower thought currents--and there the tables of stone were delivered to him. A beautiful allegory--and true! Jesus went up into the mountain alone, and also with the disciples. You and I now are on the Mount of Transfiguration, and you will never be the same woman who made the ascent, but one transfigured--that is, changed--greater and better.

“That which was pure inspiration in her letters--and inspiration comes only when you work for love and not for hire, and for the approbation of one--I marked in parenthesis with red ink, meaning by this that it should be copied by her into a book which we called ‘Our Book.’ This book was not for publication, but for no eyes but our own. The thoughts therein recorded were neither hers nor mine, but ours; for I had corrected her thought or carried it further, and as she did the final copying, the form of the thought was changed often from its original intent. Thus neither of us could pick from this book our own thoughts, such was the perfect commingling. The great advantage at that time of writing out in language was that it gave precision and material form to that which was purely spiritual; serving as basis for a better comprehension of what at that time might in the hurry and strife of worldly affairs have eluded our grasp--‘Thoughts that broke through fancy and escaped,’ as the prophet has spoken.

“You must remember that each bud flowers but once, and each flower has its own minute of perfect beauty; so in the garden of the soul, each feeling has its flowering instant in which it bursts forth into radiance. Now I live amid a continual blossoming of roses, and no longer do I endeavor to imprison them in words. The exquisite joys of personal relationship with the loved one were then ours, as they are now, for nothing good ever grows stale or unprofitable unless misused. In those days there was a slight impatience to grasp these exquisite joys of thought and feeling, and this impulse you see pictured in our writing out the thought in words; but now we have come to a full comprehension of the fact that we are living in eternity, not time, and there need be, must not be haste.

“So we now live apart or together, which ever seemeth best; and when we meet it is as a bridal morning--in fact, life to us is a wedding journey, for Heaven is ours. We each are self-reliant, as you see it is not necessary for us to live together continually, and yet we each depend on the other. If accident should destroy her body or mine, the spirit of the other would also withdraw and new bodies would be formed; and of course we would ever be together, for like attracts like.

“Thus you see how, walking hand in hand, heart to heart, each working for the approbation of the other, all with perfect faith and trust, though one sinned the other was only waiting to forgive; a continual friendly strife as to who should breathe the finer atmosphere, have the nobler aim, the purer thought; that the bad died from inanition, the unworthy ceased to be simply through lack of exercise, and only the good remained and its continual use gave constantly increased power and strength; each criticising, which implies both approbation and censure. Never arguing or belittling ourselves and the theme by controversy, always full of hope, good cheer and love--which, remember, encompasses in itself all the virtues--you can comprehend how life was a continual courtship; and as fast as we were able to understand truth, it came to us clear, limpid, transparent. Things which once seemed opaque, dense, complex, now were clear as noonday. Gradually the fog lifted, we breathed the pure ozone of life. Faith in each brought faith in God; so that ‘He doeth all things well,’ was not said alone in words, but it became a part of our lives. We studied truth--we lived truth, we became truth.

“Do not imagine that our interchange of thought was limited to cold written correspondence, for at times we romped through the garden and groves adjoining our dwelling like two children. Strife and reaching out, yearning for knowledge were put aside. We endeavored to live in a soul-house, clear as glass, in which the ray of light coming from the great Source of all life and light could freely penetrate to its inmost corner. We were ever alert for the coming gleam, and ever in these play spells, which came daily, we saw the ever-rising sun of truth.

“Why I have told you so distinctly about the daily writing of our best thoughts, is because there is ever a border-land between truth and error, where dwell mysticism, which is miasma to the soul. Some talk mysticism and thus move in a circle; but by writing out and subjecting the thought afterward to the keen analysis of the masculine and feminine mind, any error is detected.

“Friend, it may seem strange to you, but there was once a time years ago when I doubted the truth of the Bible; but I was brought by my loved one out of the darkness into the light. Slowly but surely the mist lifted and the sun came out brighter and brighter, and whereas I was once blind I now see. Never doubt it, friend, but tell it to the far off corners of the earth--write it in your heart in letters of gold, that men may see _the Bible is true_. The life of my loved one, and my life which is hers, has proved it. For love is life, and in this love of man for woman God has pictured the true fruition--which is perfect knowledge. For is it not plain that he who truly loves cannot prove inconstant? and where the woman truly loves she is bound by the law of God to constancy. They cannot fall as long as love is held inviolate; and once loving, love cannot be violated.

“But it is growing late and you had better climb up the ladder and go to bed. Though to-morrow is the day of rest, we will stroll through the woods; and by the way, I have a great and important truth to tell you. You need not write it, but I will talk as we stroll; the nature of what I will tell is so peculiar you will remember it all and can write it out at home. You are making progress I see. You can undress in the moonlight, and I will place my cot out beneath the trees and sleep. I delight to rest out under the open sky, while the stars keep vigil, some disappearing from sight and others coming up over the horizon to take their places. How quietly they come! How simple yet ever wonderful are the works of God! And so it is that man will come to perfection, for does it not say ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’?”

CHAPTER XX. THE ARREST.

I climbed the ladder and looked out of the open window on the great, serene and silent scene spread out before me. Great gulfs of shadows lay under the trees, a gentle breeze stirred the branches, and their upturned leaves glimmered silvery in the moonlight which covered the sleeping earth as with a garment.

I undressed and knelt beside the little bed and prayed my first prayer.

Thirty-seven years had slipped past me--my wavy-brown hair was already sprinkled with white; lines of care were on my face; girlhood gone; the marks of age had come; I was reaching out toward two score, and I had never prayed. Of course I had read the prayer-book, and in church I had mumbled certain words; but now for the first time I fell on my knees and buried my face in my hands. The hot tears came quick and fast, and trickled through my fingers; but they were tears of joy, not sorrow. At last life seemed to show a gleam of meaning! There was purpose in it all, God’s purpose! I prayed that I might do His will. The only words that came to my sobbing throat, and these I said over and over again, were: “Oh, give me a clean heart and a right spirit!”

I got into bed, which never before seemed so welcome. I seemed to relax every muscle and abandon myself to rest. I heard the far-away hooting of a whippoorwill--the gentle murmur of the winds as they sighed through the branches seemed to sing me a sweet lullaby. I imagined I was again a child; so sweet and perfect was the rest; and I remembered the gentle baritone voice of The Man as he had said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed----” I was asleep.

It seemed as if I had not slept ten minutes, but I found afterward five hours had passed, when I was startled by a wild yelling, and a coarse, grating, brutal voice that shouted:

“Now we have got ’em--pound in the door!”

Bang--crash it went, and the tramping of a score of feet I heard below. I jumped from bed, and without a thought as to what I would do grabbed the end of the ladder, and in a twinkling it was on the floor under my feet.

“There, boys, didn’t I tell you? They’re up-stairs. There, Bill, why in hell didn’t you ketch that ladder afore they pulled it up, or else go up it?”

“What, you think that I’d go up that ladder alone and fight the two of ’em? Not much! Why, the man alone is a terror--and the woman, God help us! she’d scratch my eyes out afore the rest and you could come up.”

“Hey, you, up thar, you old reprobate, we are on to you, don’t yer see? Now come down peaceable or it’ll go hard with you.”

They waited for an answer, but not a word did I say. I hastily had put on my dress, and stood with a little hickory-bottomed chair in my hands near the opening in the floor through which I had pulled the ladder.

“Hain’t you goin’ to answer? Well, all right, don’t then! We’ll jist make a bonfire on this yer floor and see if it singes yer manes.”

Some one of the rabble outside here fired a revolver several times, but I rightly guessed this was only to frighten. I still stood firm. Perhaps I was frightened, but if so it did not affect my strength, for I was waiting for a head to appear at the opening, and I did not have to wait long, for soon there was a whispered consultation below. I heard a hoarse whisper say, “No, you go”--“Well then, Jake, you try it,”--“Hell, who’s afraid! Here, you, give me a lift,” and a hand grasped the edge of the floor.

I stepped back, gripped the chair and swung it aloft, and through the floor by the glare of the torches I saw the face of Bilkson, the junior. That chair was well on its errand before I caught sight of the countenance; but no matter, I would not have stayed it if I could. Crash--down went the man. I heard him fall like a dead weight, just as I have seen a bale of hay tumbled out of a barn door.

“I’m shot! I’m shot! Run for a doctor, boys. I’m dying! A minister. Oh, Judas! I’m shot through the brain,” I heard him scream.

“Shet up, ye dam fool! Yer haven’t any brains to shoot. Nobody’s shot. They hit you wid a club--’ats all. Yer haven’t been hurt. Yes, by George! yer smeller is broken, and yer had better spit out them teeth afore yer swallers ’em. Gawd help him, boys, I’se glad it ain’t me. He’s got a bad swipe. Well, it’s his bizness anyway, not ours. We jest come ter see the funf an’ lend a hand if we was needed.”

Here I heard a voice coming from a little distance. “We got him! We got him!” There was a sudden stampede below for the outside, and looking out of the window I saw by the glare of the torches (the moon had gone down and it was now quite dark), five or six of the ruffians holding The Man. He offered no resistance, but two had seized either arm, and two had hold of his collar from behind, and they were leading him toward the house.

“We’ve got him! We’ve got him!” they shouted. “Now wasn’t he sharp? Heard us a-coming, got out of the window, and carried the cot down under a tree and pretended to be asleep. Oh yer can’t fool us, old man--we’re on to you.”

“Why, Bilkson, you said he wore false whiskers and a wig--look here!” and the young wretch gave a savage pull at the snowy beard, and a man behind grabbed into his hair with a jerk that nearly threw The Man off from his feet.

“Now wot’s the use of yankin’ of him around so?” said a tall young fellow. “Look at that shoulder, will you. He kin lick any one of you if you give him a show, and as long as he is decent and ain’t tryin’ to get away, let up on him, will you now! I’ll vouch for him.”

At this they loosened their hold, but stood around; some with clubs, several carried pitchforks, and two had revolvers which they brandished and now and then fired in the air. All the while the yelling and running talk filled the air, oaths and obscene jokes were bandied about, and I saw that several carried bottles which were freely passed around.

They stood outside for a minute, all asking questions of The Man. “Who are you and where did you come from? Enticin’ foolish women out here, that is fine bizness, ain’t it? We’ll show you!” and I saw a fist held up close to that fine face.

One fellow took off his slouch hat and struck The Man with it, at the same time saying: “See, I’m the only one in the gang what respects you.” At this sally there was a big laugh. “He says he is a son of God. You heard him say that, Jake, up at the store?”

“Yes,” said Jake, “he said not only he was a son of God but we all is. Where is the gal--she hasn’t got away? The city gent says she is up-stairs fixen her toilet so as to come down and receive the callers.”

“Go up again, Bilkson, and tell her I’m dead gone on her.”

The handkerchiefs tied around the face of the junior smothered the reply, and still the rabble yelled and talked. Through a crack between the logs I saw a bottle passed to the tall young fellow I have spoken of, and I saw him take it and fling it far into the bushes, as he said in a commanding voice: “Here, you fellers, I’ve seen enough of this. We came out here with these two city gents to arrest the man and gal. Now, what the devil are you doing, just standing around getting drunk and yellin’ like fools?--You, old man, they’ve got you and air going to take you to Buffalo, and the gal too, wherever she is. There’s another city chap out in the bush. Now go ’long peaceable-like both of you, and I’ll knock the senses out of any man what lays a hand to you. I will, or my name ain’t Sam Scott.”

Up to this time The Man had not spoken, and I could not detect from the flare of the torches that the calm had left his beautiful face. As a lamb, dumb before the shearer, so opened he not his mouth. He turned and looked at Sam Scott and said, quietly,

“Friend, we will go with you.” Then in a louder voice, which I knew was for me, “Do not fear--no harm can come to you. We will go.” I hesitated not a moment, but lowered the ladder, and in an instant I stood among the rabble as they crowded about me, with faces full of wicked curiosity, brutality and hate.

CHAPTER XXI. PERSECUTION.

“Oh, you didn’t know we was here or you wouldn’t have kep’ us waitin’, would you?”--“Now, ain’t she a slick un!--and in her bare feet too. Well, the walk through the grass will be good fer her corns.”--“Say, now less get her drunk. She’ll be awful funny when she’s full,” and they passed up a whisky-bottle toward me; and so the remarks flew as the crowd of thirty or more men kept pushing closer around, anxious to get a nearer view of me.

“I say, miss, is that the latest style of wearing hair on Canal street?”--“Oh, you forgot your bustle!”--“You don’t feel as big as you generally do!”--“You won’t snub us now, will you, even if we do live at the Cross-roads?”

Sam Scott took me by the arm. “Don’t be afraid, missis--I know them all. Let us go,” he said.

I looked into the face of this tall young man, and saw the look of quiet determination as we moved out of the door. There are two kinds of composure--one which speaks of calm rest and peace, the other a calm that is so quiet it threatens. It is the hush we feel before the storm--the composure of the couchant leopard before he springs. This was the look on the face of this twenty years old stripling as he pushed me not ungently before him and motioned that The Man should walk by my side.

Bilkson led the way, his head tied up so he could not wear his hat. Doubtless he exaggerated the severity of his wounds, hoping to get sympathy from the crowd. But be it known this was not a sympathetic assemblage. Scott seemed the only sober man among them, and they kept still crowding near, and still the ribald jeering continued. Scott walked close behind me, and I noticed that he was the only one who carried no weapon--even Bilkson, who walked like a drum major at the head of the procession, carried on his shoulder a fencerail.

“The band will now play the wedding-march,” shouted a loud mouthed buffoon. “They took their wedding tower afore the ceremony, didn’t they?” And still the awful obscenity which I dare not think of, still less write, continued.

One man, no longer young but drunker than the rest, big, red whiskered and burly, reeled up by my side and endeavored to put his arm around me. “Only one kiss, my dear--just one. Now don’t be frisky,” he hiccoughed.

I felt the nauseous hot whisky breath against my cheek. A suppressed scream came from my lips and I started back. Suddenly I saw the right arm of Scott shoot forward. I saw the ruffian dodge and thought Scott had struck at him and missed his mark; but quicker than the flash of thought the tall young man grew a foot taller, the head went back, the chest heaved, the lungs filled, his body seemed to sway to the left and pitch forward, the brawny left fist shot out like a thunderbolt and caught the ruffian square on the angle of the jaw. The man seemed to spring into the air, and as he fell in a heap ten feet away I saw blood gush from his eyes, nose and mouth. The first right hand move of Scott was merely a feint. As the man dodged to the left he ran square against that terrific stroke, which was not a mere hit with the clenched hand, but a stroke backed up by the entire weight of the body. In dodging the blow he had rushed to meet it.

As we passed on, scarcely pausing during the incident I have described, I heard a coarse voice behind say, “He is dead! He got that awful left hander! He’s done for sure! What will his wife say to this?”

Some fell back to look after the man who was hurt and others dropped off or fell behind one by one. I looked in the east and saw the great red streaks which told of the coming of the day. The stars disappeared. I heard the merry song of birds (how the birds do sing early in the morning!) and when we reached the village the sun was just peering over the far off hills. Bilkson, still with his fence rail, marched ahead. The Man and I walked hand in hand, for my woman’s nature had began to assert itself; although at first I felt strong and able to endure anything, but as we entered the village my hand went out to The Man and I felt his reassuring grasp.

This was the first time my hand had touched his, and the only time he had come near me since the first night I saw him, when he passed his hand over my face as I went to sleep.

The mob had disappeared, but a quarter or an eighth of a mile back, I saw coming, jauntily swinging a cane, a high white hat on the back of his head, the Prince Albert coat buttoned around his pompous form, Mr. Pygmalion Woodbur, attorney and counsellor at law. Close behind me still followed Sam Scott, dark and determined.

We entered the little tumbledown depot, and The Man and I sat down on one of the hard benches, Sam Scott seated scowlingly between us. Bilkson and the fencerail thought best to remain outside. Mr. Woodbur entered and smilingly bid me “Good-morning,” stroked the high hat and hoped I was well. He said he heard that I was in trouble; that I had been indiscreet; and knowing my little lapses from the path of rectitude were merely sins of the head and not of the heart, he at once decided to befriend me, and had come out from the city to see that I received right treatment. There I sat, hatless and shoeless, but not friendless, for ever did I feel the serene composure of The Man, and spread out over his bony knee I saw the great brown hand of Sam Scott.

The train was two hours late, and as we sat in the depot children came, curiously peering in the door to see the bad man and woman whom the officers from the city were obliged to arrest. Women came carrying babies in their arms, and rough-whiskered but kindly-hearted men stared at us, and carried on _sotto voce_ conversations which I could partially hear.

“Now ain’t she a wicked-looking thing?” said a woman. “See her long hair clear to her waist--and how brazen!” said another. “Why, if it was me I would cry my eyes out for very shame, and there she sits pale like and not a bit scared.”--“Ah, you Sam Scott, where did you get the introduction?”

Sam Scott sent back a look for an answer, and the questioner sneaked away.

I shook with the cold morning air, for I brought no wrap. One woman, who carried a baby dressed only in its nightgown, stared at me, and I saw her hastily throw her apron over her head and go out, running against the door as she turned. Soon she came back. I noticed her eyes were very red. She brought me an old pieced bed-quilt, and told me to put it around me to keep me warm; to take it with me, and if I didn’t have a chance to send it back I needn’t; and abruptly as she came she rushed away.

The train arrived and we entered the smoking-car, leaving Sam Scott on the platform. I looked at him and endeavored to speak, but the words stuck in my throat. He guessed what I wanted to say, and stammered,

“Now, you, missis, keep still will you. I know, don’t I--how that blamed sun does hurt my eyes!” and he began gouging one eye with the knobby knuckles.

Arriving in Buffalo, I saw drawn up in the depot yard a patrol-wagon, with three brass-buttoned officers seated therein. I knew they were waiting for us, and that Bilkson had telegraphed for them, possibly to deepen my humiliation. As we descended from the car, Bilkson called out in the direction of the officers,

“Here they are, and you’d better look out for ’em! Just look at me all chawed up. An awful fight we had!” And surely he looked as if he spoke the truth, for a half dozen dirty men had contributed a dirty handkerchief apiece to tie up his broken head. “Take no chances, or you must run your own risks,” he continued.

At this one of the officers went back to the patrol-wagon and returned with handcuffs.

“Here, old gal,” he said, “we’re used to sech as you--the worse you are the better we like you! Spit and kick and scratch now all you want, but put on the jewelry just for looks, as it is Sunday morning, you know.”

I felt the cold steel close with a snap around my wrists, we were pushed into the wagon, Bilkson climbed on the seat with the driver, and amid a general yell from a party of street gamins we dashed up Exchange street. The bells were ringing, calling worshipers to church. Children dressed out in stiff white dresses, women daintily attired, family groups, we passed on their way to church, and they turned to look with wondering eyes.

At Michigan street I saw coming toward us a form I knew full well, the first and only face which I had seen--it seemed for years--which I might truly call friend. It was Martha Heath, walking briskly forward, going I knew to a mission Sunday-school on Perry street, where she taught a class of grinning youngsters. She, too, looked at the patrol-wagon with its motley load, and I saw she did not recognize me. I thought of calling to her, but the restraining influence of the officer’s club, who sat close to me, froze the words on my lips. Still she looked. I held up my hands showing the handcuffs in mute appeal. I saw the books drop from her grasp. Her hand went to her head in dazed manner--she reeled--staggered--and grasped a friendly railing as we whirled by.

The driver cracked his whip in the direction of a passing policeman, and pointed over his shoulder with his thumb, and they both laughed.

“What charge?” the officer asked, as we were marched up before the high desk at the station-house.

“Make the entry in lead pencil and call it burglary--we may want to change it later. Oh, we’ve got it in for ’em though! Put ’em in the freezer, and mind no one sees ’em, for we want to make ’em confess,” said Woodbur, lowering his voice to a confidential whisper.

The next morning in the _Daily Times_ was the following item, and the clipping now adorns my scrap book.

BEAUTY’S BLOWOUT.

A FREE RIDE.

HOW ASPASIA HOBBS HOBNOBS WITH CAPTAIN KILBUCK AT NO. 10.

Church goers yesterday morning in the vicinity of Main and Exchange streets were treated to the shocking sight of seeing one of Buffalo’s former society belles taking a ride with the genial Jimmy Smith, who received first prize in the recent Times contest as the most popular policeman in Buffalo.

Old residents well remember Hobbs, of Hobbs, Nobbs & Porcine, who skipped by the light of the moon to Canada, and the fair virgin in the patrol-wagon was none other than Aspasia Hobbs, daughter of the above. Now who says there is nothing in heredity? Aspasia was attired in her bare feet and a blue quilt which the officers provided for her for decency’s sake, and looked as if she had been having a high old time with the elderly hayseed seated in the wagon with her.

Well, the good book is right when it says, “There is no fool like an old fool.” Verily, when a woman falls she goes to depths to which a man can not descend. The festive Hobbs has been going it strong lately and as there are quite a number of charges against her, doubtless Judge Prince will do his duty. By the way, we hear the worthy judge has decided to accept the nomination for another term.

CHAPTER XXII. BY THE WAY.

Reader, pray do not be a fool and say this story is fiction. Would that part of it was! But the treatment I received by the mob on that terrible night is the most natural and easiest thing in the world under the present conditions of society. It may happen to you, and worse, anytime, in any town, village or city, from Boston to Texas--for humanity is the same wherever you go.

Woodbur and Bilkson arrived at the village of Jamison at eight o’clock on that Saturday evening. They called on the shoemaker, who was a justice of the peace, showed him their warrants for the arrest of “John Doe” and “Mary Roe,” supposed to be secreted in a log house in a certain woods two miles away. They desired to surround the house at three o’clock in the morning and capture the inmates, who were said to be desperate characters.

The shoemaker J. P. put on his specs, read the warrant with a great show of wisdom, said of course he would help make the capture, and so would his son Tom.

Tom was called in, told the circumstances, and requested to engage the services of two or three trusty men to go along. “But, Tom, mind you keep the matter quiet,” wound up the shoemaker.

So Tom promised, and of course told confidentially every one he saw that the “cranky old man and stuck up woman” they had seen, who lived in Smith’s log house up in the clearing, were escaped murderers, and that all who wanted to help make the capture must be at the tavern at three o’clock Sunday morning. Now excitement is a scarce article in country towns, and mankind is ever greedy for it; so at three o’clock the select male population of Jamison was at the tavern--mind you not bad people either, just good, plain, homely, honest citizens. Most of them would have been terribly insulted if you had hinted that they were not Christians.

I told you only one man out of fifty thinks, that the rest have no opinions but those furnished by parents, preachers and sophistical politicians. I do not say these opinions are error necessarily, but that they are simply borrowed. Having received this second-hand opinion, they will dig over the whole earth for reasons and excuses to defend it, honestly thinking the while they are in search of truth--mere followers of a bell-wether.

Bilkson just at this time was the aforesaid bell-wether. Someone said this man and woman were criminals (there is the opinion); therefore they must be--in fact, there was no proof to the contrary. Then they began to back up the opinion which had been so skilfully injected into them. They remembered certain blasphemous remarks of the man, for had he not said, “I am the son of God, and all men may be if they claim their heritage,”--“I have divine rights by reason of heavenly parentage,”--“A church is no more sacred than a blacksmith shop,”--“Sunday is no more holy than any other day, and a preacher’s calling no more sacred than a farmer’s,”--“No man by dying can wipe out the sins of others, but every man is a savior of his race who lashes himself to the mast of righteousness” etc.?

“Just as if there is any sense,” said the blacksmith, “in lashing one’s self to the mast except to save one’s self! He is a Catholic, too, for didn’t he say he not only worshiped Jesus but also His mother?” And another declared he had heard him say he not only worshiped the Virgin Mary, but all good women who conceived good thoughts and had high and holy aspirations. Then someone had asked him what worship was, and he said it “was not an act of the body, like going to a church and kneeling, but only that state of mind where the worshiper thought of the person or being worshiped with profound respect, good-will and love.”

The simple country people were very sure that any man who held such heretical beliefs was a rascal or worse, and being about like other people at the time, were honest in the belief that a man who rejects the Trinity cannot have much respect for the Ten Commandments. So they were glad of an opportunity to assist in ridding the community of a man who was endangering the religious faith of the young. In short, the man was corrupting the youth of Athens and must go.

On this particular occasion Bilkson was leader, for when a man assumes leadership and calls in a loud voice “Fall in everybody,” he is never without a following.

The persistent advertiser in trade is a self-appointed leader, and if he talks big and keeps his promise passably well, he can hold his followers for a time at least.

If you would go well-dressed, smiling, serene and confident, to the homes of any of these mobbers, they would acknowledge your superiority; and if you were only firm and plausible, they would grant you any favor and lend you any assistance you desired. You are leader then--not Bilkson. But woe betide you if cold, naked, a-hungered, you fall famishing on their doorsteps, and at the same time some Bilkson happens to point the finger of suspicion in your direction. You have no “inflooence.” “Inflooence” is king not only with Straight, superintendents of schools, and other politicians, but also in society and church. He who subscribes the largest amount to the pastor’s salary has the most to say in the management of the church, and if he becomes displeased he threatens to “come out,” (the “come outers” are numerous), and adds, “You know that if I go I do not go alone.” Thus does he shake his “inflooence” over us as a club, and we cringe, explain, apologize, and the fear that the big subscriber will tramp out with heavy tread, numerous following and fierce black looks, disappears as we see the great man placated by our abject attitude.

Fear of losing the favor of people of influence keeps men respectful and decent when nothing else will.

“Inflooence” is first cousin to Mrs. Grundy. Inflooence is king--Mrs. Grundy queen.

Note you how some men leave their quiet and virtuous homes where Mrs. Grundy’s goggle eyes are on every side, and go to New York where Mrs. Grundy is not watching them. How intent they are on seeing the “elephant,” and how they do buy green goods and gold bricks! Great is “Inflooence”--great is Mrs. Grundy!

A grimy tramp with thick neck and knotty club possesses “inflooence.” His wishes in rural districts at least are often respected.

Now you are a woman. You may be free from guilt and you may not, but if you are purity itself--sorrowfully do I say it!--in the year of Our Lord, 1891, innocence is not a sufficient shield; and if you are weak, weary and footsore, from the miles and miles you have come down through years of injustice, and the crowd is pressing you close with intent to stone you, it is a miracle if from out the mob there steps the commanding figure of a man, and raising his hand aloft to warn them back, says in a voice not loud but which all can hear,

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone!”

CHAPTER XXIII. THE FREEZER.

The freezer in No. 10 police-station is a very warm place--an iron cage set up on a platform in a large stone room; said cage being made of iron bars, set three inches apart, with iron floor; the furniture consisting of just two pieces, a wooden bench and an iron bucket. This cage is open on all sides. “So as to give ventilation,” I was told by the officer who helped me up the steps. He remarked as the grated door swung to with a snap, “Oh, now me charmer, you will feel at home, for you have been here many a time afore. Oh, we knows you, we do. If yer wants anything jist tech the ’lectric bell.”

This kind of cell, I am told by those who have tried both, is much worse to be dreaded than a dungeon. Open on all sides, the light is glaring; and any one coming into the room, can walk around the cage, viewing the unhappy prisoner from every side.

It was eleven o’clock Sunday morning when I was locked up, and about every hour an officer came in and looked at me as though I were a wild beast. Once two men came together, and stood carrying on a joking conversation between themselves. One seemed to be a philosopher, for as they went out I heard him say, “It beats the devil to what depths a woman falls when she does go wrong!”

At six o’clock the captain came in, and he seemed more gentlemanly and considerate than any of the officers I had seen. He took off his cap, and leaning against the bars of my cage, said,

“Now, you woman, I am awful sorry for you and am going to help you out of this scrape. I know all about you just as well or better than you know yourself. In fact, your partner, the old man, has given the whole thing away--made a clear confess, don’t you know--and he will have to go down. Now if you will make a clean breast of it all, we can let you off. We already know all about it, but want you to confess just for a formality so as to lay the case before the judge, who is an awful tender-hearted man and does just as I tell him. Now, lady, what do you say? Come, now, shall I unlock that cage and take you in the office where we can write it all out? Come, now, why don’t you speak, haven’t you any tongue? Well, you are the queerest woman! Can’t talk--eh? Oh! well, it’s no difference to me of course. I just wanted to do you a favor, but you have about as much gratitude as most of the rest of the soiled doves. All right, you needn’t say a word if you don’t want to. Hey, you there, Murphy, don’t let anybody see this gal. Bread and water will do, too. She ain’t any appetite. Do you hear?--I’m going now, miss. If you have anything to say now is your time; but if you prefer to have the cage locked for a week or so, why I ’spose you must have your own way. We’re allus willing to oblige our guests, you know. Can’t even say thank you, can you?” (Hesitates at the door--looks back and goes).

Bang went the outside door and I was alone for the night--my only company four electric lights, which made a dazzling glare. I lay down on the bench and tried to sleep. Then I tried the floor. At last I propped the bench against the bars, and half-seated, half-reclining, the long hours passed as a fitful nightmare.

I have since learned that when Martha Heath saw me in the patrol-wagon she hastened straight to the station-house, but they told her I was not there, and showed her the blotter showing the name of “Mary Roe”--Bilkson having explained that my right name was unknown, and further by keeping a prisoner very close they are more apt to confess.

Martha insisted on seeing Mary Roe, who they said was asleep and must not be disturbed. “Call to-morrow,” they said. Martha still insisted, until the captain bawled out to the doorman, “Hey, you, have you got a vacant cell for this crazy woman?” Martha was not to be frightened by such a threat so she said, “All right, put me in a cell! I dare you to! I’m no better than Aspasia Hobbs, and you have locked her up.” The captain took the persistent Martha by the arm, and led her to the door and showed her down the steps.

The good girl saw she was powerless, and as my mother knew nothing about the matter she concluded to wait until Monday morning and then stir heaven and earth if needs be to get me out.

Monday morning, bright and early, Mr. Bilkson and Mr. Woodbur walked arm in arm down South Division street, to the cottage of Mrs. Hobbs, and Grimes showed them into the little parlor. Mrs. Hobbs entered, delighted to think two such eminent gentlemen should call on her; and in her joy she forgot the time of day, and believed it was only a social call, for on Delaware Avenue callers were constant. What is the matter with South Division street?

Both gentlemen shook hands with the widow. Then they whispered together. Then Woodbur said,

“Mr. Bilkson, will you please oblige the lady and also myself by assuming a standing position?”

Bilkson obeyed.

“Mr. Bilkson, now will you further oblige us by opening your mouth?”

Bilkson’s face opened in half, and revealed to the now thoroughly astonished woman a very lacerated set of gums and absence of front teeth.

“That will do, Mr. Bilkson. Now your eye.”

Mr. Bilkson removed the bandage from his left eye, and revealed a symphony in black, blue and yellow, shaded with green.

“That will do, Mr. Bilkson--be seated.”

Woodbur still remained standing in tragic attitude, with his right hand thrust in the bosom of his buttoned coat. Suddenly raising his voice he shouted,

“Madame, it was your daughter who done this--your daughter! Yes, madame, your daughter! Ah, you doubt it; but I have the proof, madame, the proof!” and he drew forth a copy of the _Morning Times_ on which the ink was scarcely dry and read in a deep sepulchral voice the article which I have already mentioned, “Beauty’s Blowout,” etc.

Among his other accomplishments Mr. Woodbur was an elocutionist, and Grimes afterward told me that he read the article so effectively and with such fierce looks directed over the top of the paper at Mrs. Hobbs, that at the last words the good lady fell in hysterics on the sofa, screaming:

“Oh, my daughter, my adopted daughter! why did you do this? Why did you do it? Disgraced us! You have disgraced us! I, who before we bust, when we lived on the avenue, furnished you a chiropodist, and an elocootionist, and a manicure, and the best pew in the Rev. Doctor Fourthly’s! I, who educated you, and cared for you, and never let you go to the public but always sent you to a private school, and taught you dancing, French and music, and gave tiddle de winks and progressive eucher parties in your honor! Oh, why, w-w-w-h-y--d-d-did you do i-t-t-t!”

Dr. Bolus was hastily sent for and administered morphine and whisky. When my mother had been quieted (Woodbur and Bilkson had in the meantime departed), the doctor called in Grimes and demanded the reason of this row which had so unnerved Mrs. Hobbs.

“Some dam lie about ’Pasia that is in the paper,” said Grimes. “Two devils with high hats was here--one had no teeth--and they read the paper at Mrs. Hobbs’ head so she just throws up her hands and yells and yells and cries and shouts and thanks God that ’Pasia ain’t her own child. And then she cries agin and so she kep’ it up ’till you come.”

“Why, why this is queer, very strange! Two--what did you say they were that read the paper, Grimes? Strange!--Say, you black cub” (calling to a colored boy holding his horse at the door) “get up town, as quick as you can and get me a _Times_. Don’t play marbles on the way, or I’ll slice you up for a subject.”

The boy soon returned with the paper, and the doctor quickly adjusted his glasses and read the article. He dropped the paper from his hands and sat in amazement.

“It’s acute dementia, combined with melancholia! I knew it all along--hereditary! Who were her parents, Mrs. Hobbs? Ah, yes, you don’t know. That proves it--hereditary! Takes to crime like a duck to water. Why, she’s crazy, that’s all, Mrs. Hobbs, crazy as a bed bug! Now take these powders as I told you, Mrs. Hobbs--but then, we ought to get the girl out though. What’s that! Great God! She killed Bilkson did you say? Why didn’t you tell me five minutes ago that Bilkson was here? Oh, I see; she _tried_ to kill him. That is different.”

“And it’s a pity she didn’t succeed!” broke in Grimes, who was standing in the doorway.

“Will you shut up, you old fool!” shouted the doctor. “How impertinent servants are getting now-a-days! Never mind, Grimesy, you don’t know any better. I’ll be here with my double carriage at one o’clock, and we will all go up and get Aspasia out. Oh, I say, Grimes, if the old lady has ’em again just put the powders in the whisky and give her a tablespoonful every ten minutes until she lets up--hear?”

CHAPTER XXIV. THE TRIAL.

SCENE--_The freezer--enter Officer Murphy with big bunch of keys--unlocks door of cage._

MURPHY--Now, you there, lady, make yer toilet and fix yer finery for in fifteen minutes the court opens and yer the first on the docket. Doctor Bolus axed yer a lot of questions didn’t he? Lord, how scared he was when I told him I was going to let you out of the cage! And yer old woman sniveled too, and stood off clear to one side as if you was goin’ to make a swipe at her. Why wouldn’t you talk to ’em, my dear? You was confidential enough with that black-eyed young woman. She knows more than Bolus and all of ’em. She gave me a dollar and said I should get yer a nice breakfast, and you got it too, didn’t you? Well, here’s the dollar, I don’t want it. I don’t know nothin’ ’bout you except what the black-eyed one said, but yer all right, I know you is. It’s all a great big fool blunder, that’s what it is. The captain has let that Woodbur shyster razzle-dazzle him--beg yer pardon, miss, I didn’t mean to swear. Oh, I didn’t swear though, did I? But my feelins is so worked up since the black-eyed one told me of you that I come dam near swearin’ right afore you. Yes, yer looks all right. Yer ain’t exact the size of the black-eyed one, but then her close fits ye pretty fair. Come on now and don’t be scared--see. Ye haven’t cried yet and ye mustn’t now or I will slop over myself. The jedge tries to look awful cross, but he isn’t half as bad as folks think he is. Don’t be scared of him, and if he is not too full yer will get off easy.

SCENE--_Police court--Judge Prince on throne--Officer Donahue with brass buttons, helmet and club, stands by side of throne--Hustler, Bilkson and Woodbur holding conversation--Mixed crowd of onlookers in the background._

[_Oyez_, _Oyez_, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera].

JUDGE PRINCE (_Reading._) “Mary Roe, right name unknown. First charge, larceny in taking glue from factory of Hustler & Co. Second charge, drunk and disorderly. Third charge, assault with intent to kill.” (_Spoken_) Now, Mr. Woodbur, you represent the prosecution--which charge are you going to try her on? Oh! I see, last first--assault. Well, bring on your witnesses, and quick, too--here are (_counting_) twenty-one bums on the list and the Polish church riot, besides----let ’er go, Gallagher! Bilkson, the name is--first name? Why yes, of course, in my unofficial capacity I know your name, but the court is not supposed to know nothing--Woodbur, can’t you let up on that chuckle? John Bilkson--what the devil’s name is the man standing like that with his mouth open? Why, someone might fall in. Oh, your teeth are gone! Yes, I see. Keep the beefsteak on the peeper--it will soon be all right. The _Express_ tried to give me a black-eye too, last ’lection. Did they do it? Not if the court house understands itself as Shallkopp says. Yes, she rides a bicycle--that’s right, make her out as bad as you can--hold on, let me write that down (_writing--to the officer standing like a statue near_) Donahue, how the devil do you spell it? Bi----call it a b-i-k-e and let ’er go? Yes--go on. I am all ears. (_In a roar._) Silence in the court.

You tried to make the arrest peaceably, an’ then you went up the ladder and she hit you with an ax--not an ax though, Bilkson, come off, it would have gone clear through your skull, thick as it is. Oh, let up! She hit you, that is enough--with an u-n-k-n-o-w-n w-e-e-p-u-n. All right, go on--Donahue, make the cod dab fool shut up that cavern. Haven’t you showed me three times she knocked your teeth out?

Oh, yes, you searched the house and didn’t find any glue. Well, what if she did carry off a package every Saturday--how do you know it was glue? Hasn’t anyone got a right to carry a package without being jumped on by a fool glue-maker?--Well, that is all right--let me say a word now and then--there ain’t no proof she ever stole a cent’s worth of glue; and what’s more, you hadn’t any business out there tryin’ to get up in her room at three o’clock in the morning when you hadn’t any appointment with her--(_aside_--Eh! Donahue, how’s that!!) No, sir; and you too, Woodbur, you old stick-fast, what the devil are you always tryin’ to get decent folks in trouble for? Haven’t women got hard enough time to get along without being dogged by a pot-bellied shyster, a cross between a detective and an attorney, who sports a high white hat with a black band, which means he is in mourning for his lost virtue?--Shut up, will you. Don’t talk back to me, Woodbur! I’m on to you with both feet. You haven’t proved a thing against the gal or against the man. The old fellow enticed the gal off, into the woods did he? How do you know he did, are you a mind reader? Well, I see no fault in him. I’ll scourge him and let him go--that is, I’ll fine him five dollars on general principles for disorderly conduct and kick him out. Will you shut up, you dirty blackguard! Confound you Woodbur, who is running this court anyway, you or me? What do I care for Doctor Bolus? To hell with Bolus! Where is he? I’ll give him thirty days. The girl ain’t crazy. She ain’t crazy, I tell you--she has got more sense than anyone in the court room but me--(_aside_--Eh, Donahue?) Of course she wouldn’t answer their questions. Neither would I. Here you arrest a man and woman on a mere groundless suspicion, or ’cause you got a spite against them, and then the whole police department turns to and tries to justify the arrest by blackening their characters. When you once puts your claws on a man you turn the county upside down and wrong side out to convict him--when you know he ain’t guilty, but you just work to make a reputation for yourself. I’m drunk, am I, Bilkson? Here you clerk, Mr. Bilkson is fined five dollars for contempt of court. What’s that? I have no right to fine you? Oh, no, that’s so, I haven’t?--make it ten, Mr. Clerk. No, sir, I won’t even fine the old man, but I’ll fine you, Woodbur, if you give me any more of your jaw. You Balaam’s ass--you make me weary! You say you found ’em out there together. Well, you old reprobate, hasn’t the gal reached the age of consent? (_Aside_--Eh--Donahue, how’s that?) _Silence in the court!!_ Git out of here, Mary Roe alias Aspasia Hobbs. Bounce you, John Doe, and never show up here again! You’re old enough to know better. Great Scott, Bilkson, haven’t you shut up that cavern yet? Yes, I know she knocked out your teeth. I’m dab glad of it. (_Aside_--Eh! Donahue?)

Next!

* * * * *

Martha Heath took my arm as we walked down the steps from the court-room, and The Man walked by my side. I looked at him, and on the gentle face I saw not the slightest look of trouble, unrest or nervous tension. While my nerves were completely unstrung by the last three days’ experience, he looked as refreshed as if he had just come from the quiet and restful woods. He was hatless--the same magnificent poise of the head--calm, serene. He turned on me those wondering gentle eyes as we stood on the walk for an instant. He did not speak. I noted the firm chest, the strongly corded neck, the massive head with its snow-white wavy hair, face large-featured and bronzed by the kiss of the summer sun, lean of flesh as though chiseled by manly abstinence, plain, but all stamped with the seal of fearless honesty, the lips parted showing the strong white teeth, the voice came low but firm,

“If I go away I will come again,”--he turned and was lost in the crowd.

THE END.

* * * * *

BEECHAM’S PILLS

Painless. Effectual.

In many towns where this wonderful medicine has been introduced, and given a fair trial, it has abolished the family medicine chest, and been found sufficient to cure nine-tenths of the ordinary complaints incident to humanity; and when diseases of months and years are thus removed or palliated in a few days, it is not wonderful that Beecham’s Pills should maintain their acknowledged popularity in both hemispheres. =_They cost only 25 cents_=, although the proverbial expression all over the world is that they are “worth a guinea a box,” for in truth one box will oftentimes be the means of saving more than one guinea in doctor’s bills.

☞☞ REMEMBER THAT BEECHAM’S PILLS ☜☜

--ARE--

A WONDERFUL MEDICINE

--FOR ALL--

BILIOUS AND NERVOUS DISORDERS

--SUCH AS--

CONSTIPATION,

WEAK STOMACH,

SICK-HEADACHE,

LOSS OF APPETITE,

IMPAIRED DIGESTION,

DISORDERED LIVER AND ALL KINDRED DISEASES.

Prepared only by =Thos. Beecham=, St. Helens, Lancashire, England. =B. F. Allen Co.=, Sole Agents for United States. 365 and 367 Canal St., N. Y., who (if your druggist does not keep them) will mail Beecham’s Pills on receipt of price, 25c.--but inquire first. Correspondents will please mention J. S. OGILVIE’s Books.

* * * * *

The Daylight Lamp.

Central draft, of course. Wick raised and lowered by our wheel system.

It doesn’t stick.

[Illustration]

Wick doesn’t have to be a 1/2 inch above the rim to give a good light. Fact is, we have never seen a lamp which exposes so little wick as the “Daylight.”

So the wick doesn’t char.

So the oil burns with a clearer light.

_Craighead & Kintz Co._, Salesroom, 33 Barclay street, New York. Factory, Ballardvale, Mass.

Piano, Banquet and Table sizes. The Daylight Lamp Co., 38 Park Place, New York, will give you further information.

* * * * *

Transcriber’s Notes:

This is Elbert Hubbard’s first novel, published pseudonymously.

This book was published by J. S. Ogilvie Publishing Company, 57 Rose Street, New York.

Footnotes have been moved to the end of each chapter and relabeled consecutively through the document.

Illustrations have been moved to paragraph breaks near where they are mentioned.

Punctuation has been made consistent.

The notation 1-2 for fractions has been changed to 1/2.

Variations in spelling and hyphenation were retained as they appear in the original publication, except that obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

p. 84: thou added (didst thou notice).