STORIES OF AMERICAN LIFE OF TO-DAY
EDITED BY BENJAMIN A. HEYDRICK Editor "Types of the Short Story," etc.
NEW YORK HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY
COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY HARCOURT, BRACE AND HOWE, INC.
PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY THE QUINN & BODEN COMPANY RAHWAY. N. J.
For permission to reprint the stories in this volume, acknowledgement is made to the owners of the copyrights, as follows:
For "The Right Promethean Fire," to Mrs. Atwood, R. Martin and Doubleday, Page & Company.
For "The Land of Heart's Desire," to Messrs. Doubleday, Page & Company.
For "The Tenor," to Alice I. Bunner and to Charles Scribners' Sons.
For "The Passing of Priscilla Winthrop," to William Allen White and The Macmillan Company.
For "The Gift of the Magi," to Messrs. Doubleday, Page & Company.
For "The Gold Brick," copyright 1910, to Brand Whitlock and to The Bobbs, Merrill Company.
For "His Mother's Son," to Edna Ferber and the Frederick A. Stokes Company.
For "Bitter-Sweet," to Fannie Hurst and Harper & Brothers.
For "The Riverman," to Stewart Edward White and Doubleday, Page & Company.
For "Flint and Fire," to Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Messrs. Henry Holt & Company.
For "The Ordeal at Mt. Hope," to Mrs. Alice Dunbar, Mrs. Mathilde Dunbar, and Messrs. Dodd, Mead & Company.
For "Israel Drake," to Katherine Mayo and Messrs. Houghton Mifflin Company.
For "The Struggles and Triumph of Isidro," to James M. Hopper.
For "The Citizen," to James F. Dwyer and the Paget Literary Agency.
In the years before the war, when we had more time for light pursuits, a favorite sport of reviewers was to hunt for the Great American Novel. They gave tongue here and there, and pursued the quarry with great excitement in various directions, now north, now south, now west, and the inevitable disappointment at the end of the chase never deterred them from starting off on a fresh scent next day. But in spite of all the frenzied pursuit, the game sought, the Great American Novel, was never captured. Will it ever be captured? The thing they sought was a book that would be so broad, so typical, so true that it would stand as the adequate expression in fiction of American life. Did these tireless hunters ever stop to ask themselves, what is the Great French Novel? what is the Great English Novel? And if neither of these nations has produced a single book which embodies their national life, why should we expect that our life, so much more diverse in its elements, so multifarious in its aspects, could ever be summed up within the covers of a single book?
Yet while the critics continued their hopeless hunt, there was growing up in this country a form of fiction which gave promise of some day achieving the task that this never-to-be written novel should accomplish. This form was the short story. It was the work of many hands, in many places. Each writer studied closely a certain locality, and transcribed faithfully what he saw. Thus the New England village, the western ranch, the southern plantation, all had their chroniclers. Nor was it only various localities that we saw in these one-reel pictures; they dealt with typical occupations, there were stories of travelling salesmen, stories of lumbermen, stories of politicians, stories of the stage, stories of school and college days. If it were possible to bring together in a single volume a group of these, each one reflecting faithfully one facet of our many-sided life, would not such a book be a truer picture of America than any single novel could present?
The present volume is an attempt to do this. That it is only an attempt, that it does not cover the whole field of our national life, no one realizes better than the compiler. The title Americans All signifies that the characters in the book are all Americans, not that they are all of the Americans.
This book then differs in its purpose from other collections of short stories. It does not aim to present the world's best short stories, nor to illustrate the development of the form from Roman times to our own day, nor to show how the technique of Poe differs from that of Irving: its purpose is none of these things, but rather to use the short story as a means of interpreting American life. Our country is so vast that few of us know more than a small corner of it, and even in that corner we do not know all our fellow-citizens; differences of color, of race, of creed, of fortune, keep us in separate strata. But through books we may learn to know our fellow-citizens, and the knowledge will make us better Americans.
The story by Dorothy Canfield has a unique interest for the student, in that it is followed by the author's own account of how it was written, from the first glimpse of the theme to the final typing of the story. Teachers who use this book for studying the art of short story construction may prefer to begin with "Flint and Fire" and follow with "The Citizen," tracing in all the others indications of the authors' methods.
BENJAMIN A. HEYDRICK.
NEW YORK CITY, March, 1920.
PAGE I. IN SCHOOL DAYS THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE George Madden Martin 3 Sketch of George Madden Martin 16
II. JUST KIDS THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE Myra Kelly 21 Sketch of Myra Kelly 37
III. HERO-WORSHIP THE TENOR H. C. Bunner 41 Sketch of H. C. Bunner 54
IV. SOCIETY IN OUR TOWN THE PASSING OF PRISCILLA WINTHROP William Allen White 59 Sketch of William Allen White 73
V. A PAIR OF LOVERS THE GIFT OF THE MAGI O. Henry 79 Sketch of O. Henry 86
VI. IN POLITICS THE GOLD BRICK Brand Whitlock 91 Sketch of Brand Whitlock 111
VII. THE TRAVELLING SALESMAN HIS MOTHER'S SON Edna Ferber 117 Sketch of Edna Ferber 130
VIII. AFTER THE BIG STORE CLOSES BITTER-SWEET Fannie Hurst 135 Sketch of Fannie Hurst 166
IX. IN THE LUMBER COUNTRY THE RIVERMAN Stewart Edward White173 Sketch of Stewart E. White 185
X. NEW ENGLAND GRANITE FLINT AND FIRE Dorothy Canfield 191 HOW "FLINT AND FIRE" STARTED AND GREW Dorothy Canfield 210 Sketch of Dorothy Canfield 221
XI. DUSKY AMERICANS THE ORDEAL AT MT. HOPE Paul Laurence Dunbar227 Sketch of Paul Laurence Dunbar 249
XII. WITH THE POLICE ISRAEL DRAKE Katherine Mayo 255 Sketch of Katherine Mayo 273
XIII. IN THE PHILIPPINES THE STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPH OF ISIDRO DE LOS MAESTROS James M. Hopper 279 Sketch of James M. Hopper 295
XIV. THEY WHO BRING DREAMS TO AMERICA THE CITIZEN James F. Dwyer 299 Sketch of James F. Dwyer 318
XV. LIST OF AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 321 Classified by locality
XVI. NOTES AND QUESTIONS FOR STUDY 325
IN SCHOOL DAYS
Are any days more rich in experiences than school days? The day one first enters school, whether it is the little red schoolhouse or the big brick building that holds a thousand pupils,—that day marks the beginning of a new life. One of the best records in fiction of the world of the school room is called EMMY LOU. In this book George Madden Martin has traced the progress of a winsome little maid from the first grade to the end of high school. This is the story of the first days in the strange new world of the school room.
THE RIGHT PROMETHEAN FIRE
GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN
Emmy Lou, laboriously copying digits, looked up. The boy sitting in line in the next row of desks was making signs to her.
She had noticed the little boy before. He was a square little boy, with a sprinkling of freckles over the bridge of the nose and a cheerful breadth of nostril. His teeth were wide apart, and his smile was broad and constant. Not that Emmy Lou could have told all this. She only knew that to her the knowledge of the little boy concerning the things peculiar to the Primer World seemed limitless.
And now the little boy was beckoning Emmy Lou. She did not know him, but neither did she know any of the seventy other little boys and girls making the Primer Class.
Because of a popular prejudice against whooping-cough, Emmy Lou had not entered the Primer Class until late. When she arrived, the seventy little boys and girls were well along in Alphabetical lore, having long since passed the a, b, c, of initiation, and become glibly eloquent to a point where the l, m, n, o, p slipped off their tongues with the liquid ease of repetition and familiarity.
"But Emmy Lou can catch up," said Emmy Lou's Aunt Cordelia, a plump and cheery lady, beaming with optimistic placidity upon the infant populace seated in parallel rows at desks before her.
Miss Clara, the teacher, lacked Aunt Cordelia's optimism, also her plumpness. "No doubt she can," agreed Miss Clara, politely, but without enthusiasm. Miss Clara had stepped from the graduating rostrum to the schoolroom platform, and she had been there some years. And when one has been there some years, and is already battling with seventy little boys and girls, one cannot greet the advent of a seventy-first with acclaim. Even the fact that one's hair is red is not an always sure indication that one's temperament is sanguine also.
So in answer to Aunt Cordelia, Miss Clara replied politely but without enthusiasm, "No doubt she can."
Then Aunt Cordelia went, and Miss Clara gave Emmy Lou a desk. And Miss Clara then rapping sharply, and calling some small delinquent to order, Emmy Lou's heart sank within her.
Now Miss Clara's tones were tart because she did not know what to do with this late comer. In a class of seventy, spare time is not offering for the bringing up of the backward. The way of the Primer teacher was not made easy in a public school of twenty-five years ago.
So Miss Clara told the new pupil to copy digits.
Now what digits were, Emmy Lou had no idea, but being shown them on the black-board, she copied them diligently. And as the time went on, Emmy Lou went on copying digits. And her one endeavor being to avoid the notice of Miss Clara, it happened the needs of Emmy Lou were frequently lost sight of in the more assertive claims of the seventy.
Emmy Lou was not catching up, and it was January.
But to-day was to be different. The little boy was nodding and beckoning. So far the seventy had left Emmy Lou alone. As a general thing the herd crowds toward the leaders, and the laggard brings up the rear alone.
But to-day the little boy was beckoning. Emmy Lou looked up. Emmy Lou was pink-cheeked and chubby and in her heart there was no guile. There was an ease and swagger about the little boy. And he always knew when to stand up, and what for. Emmy Lou more than once had failed to stand up, and Miss Clara's reminder had been sharp. It was when a bell rang one must stand up. But what for, Emmy Lou never knew, until after the others began to do it.
But the little boy always knew. Emmy Lou had heard him, too, out on the bench glibly tell Miss Clara about the mat, and a bat, and a black rat. To-day he stood forth with confidence and told about a fat hen. Emmy Lou was glad to have the little boy beckon her.
And in her heart there was no guile. That the little boy should be holding out an end of a severed india-rubber band and inviting her to take it, was no stranger than other things happening in the Primer World every day.
The very manner of the infant classification breathed mystery, the sheep from the goats, so to speak, the little girls all one side the central aisle, the little boys all the other—and to over-step the line of demarcation a thing too dreadful to contemplate.
Many things were strange. That one must get up suddenly when a bell rang, was strange.
And to copy digits until one's chubby fingers, tightly gripping the pencil, ached, and then to be expected to take a sponge and wash those digits off, was strange.
And to be told crossly to sit down was bewildering, when in answer to c, a, t, one said "Pussy." And yet there was Pussy washing her face, on the chart, and Miss Clara's pointer pointing to her.
So when the little boy held out the rubber band across the aisle, Emmy Lou took the proffered end.
At this the little boy slid back into his desk holding to his end. At the critical moment of elongation the little boy let go. And the property of elasticity is to rebound.
Emmy Lou's heart stood still. Then it swelled. But in her filling eyes there was no suspicion, only hurt. And even while a tear splashed down, and falling upon the laboriously copied digits, wrought havoc, she smiled bravely across at the little boy. It would have made the little boy feel bad to know how it hurt. So Emmy Lou winked bravely and smiled.
Whereupon the little boy wheeled about suddenly and fell to copying digits furiously. Nor did he look Emmy Lou's way, only drove his pencil into his slate with a fervor that made Miss Clara rap sharply on her desk.
Emmy Lou wondered if the little boy was mad. One would think it had stung the little boy and not her. But since he was not looking, she felt free to let her little fist seek her mouth for comfort.
Nor did Emmy Lou dream, that across the aisle, remorse was eating into a little boy's soul. Or that, along with remorse there went the image of one Emmy Lou, defenceless, pink-cheeked, and smiling bravely.
The next morning Emmy Lou was early. She was always early. Since entering the Primer Class, breakfast had lost its savor to Emmy Lou in the terror of being late.
But this morning the little boy was there before her. Hitherto his tardy and clattering arrival had been a daily happening, provocative of accents sharp and energetic from Miss Clara.
But this morning he was at his desk copying from his Primer on to his slate. The easy, ostentatious way in which he glanced from slate to book was not lost upon Emmy Lou, who lost her place whenever her eyes left the rows of digits upon the blackboard.
Emmy Lou watched the performance. And the little boy's pencil drove with furious ease and its path was marked with flourishes. Emmy Lou never dreamed that it was because she was watching that the little boy was moved to this brilliant exhibition. Presently reaching the end of his page, he looked up, carelessly, incidentally. It seemed to be borne to him that Emmy Lou was there, whereupon he nodded. Then, as if moved by sudden impulse, he dived into his desk, and after ostentatious search in, on, under it, brought forth a pencil, and held it up for Emmy Lou to see. Nor did she dream that it was for this the little boy had been there since before Uncle Michael had unlocked the Primer door.
Emmy Lou looked across at the pencil. It was a slate-pencil. A fine, long, new slate-pencil grandly encased for half its length in gold paper. One bought them at the drug-store across from the school, and one paid for them the whole of five cents.
Just then a bell rang. Emmy Lou got up suddenly. But it was the bell for school to take up. So she sat down. She was glad Miss Clara was not yet in her place.
After the Primer Class had filed in, with panting and frosty entrance, the bell rang again. This time it was the right bell tapped by Miss Clara, now in her place. So again Emmy Lou got up suddenly and by following the little girl ahead learned that the bell meant, "go out to the bench."
The Primer Class according to the degree of its infant precocity was divided in three sections. Emmy Lou belonged to the third section. It was the last section and she was the last one in it though she had no idea what a section meant nor why she was in it.
Yesterday the third section had said, over and over, in chorus, "One and one are two, two and two are four," etc.—but to-day they said, "Two and one are three, two and two are four."
Emmy Lou wondered, four what? Which put her behind, so that when she began again they were saying, "two and four are six." So now she knew. Four is six. But what is six? Emmy Lou did not know.
When she came back to her desk the pencil was there. The fine, new, long slate-pencil encased in gold paper. And the little boy was gone. He belonged to the first section, and the first section was now on the bench. Emmy Lou leaned across and put the pencil back on the little boy's desk.
Then she prepared herself to copy digits with her stump of a pencil. Emmy Lou's were always stumps. Her pencil had a way of rolling off her desk while she was gone, and one pencil makes many stumps. The little boy had generally helped her pick them up on her return. But strangely, from this time, her pencils rolled off no more.
But when Emmy Lou took up her slate there was a whole side filled with digits in soldierly rows across, so her heart grew light and free from the weight of digits, and she gave her time to the washing of her desk, a thing in which her soul revelled, and for which, patterning after her little girl neighbors, she kept within that desk a bottle of soapy water and rags of gray and unpleasant nature, that never dried, because of their frequent using. When Emmy Lou first came to school, her cleaning paraphernalia consisted of a sponge secured by a string to her slate, which was the badge of the new and the unsophisticated comer. Emmy Lou had quickly learned that, and no one rejoiced in a fuller assortment of soap, bottle, and rags than she, nor did a sponge longer dangle from the frame of her slate.
On coming in from recess this same day, Emmy Lou found the pencil on her desk again, the beautiful new pencil in the gilded paper. She put it back.
But when she reached home, the pencil, the beautiful pencil that costs all of five cents, was in her companion box along with her stumps and her sponge and her grimy little slate rags. And about the pencil was wrapped a piece of paper. It had the look of the margin of a Primer page. The paper bore marks. They were not digits.
Emmy Lou took the paper to Aunt Cordelia. They were at dinner.
"Can't you read it, Emmy Lou?" asked Aunt Katie, the prettiest aunty.
Emmy Lou shook her head.
"I'll spell the letters," said Aunt Louise, the youngest aunty.
But they did not help Emmy Lou one bit.
Aunt Cordelia looked troubled. "She doesn't seem to be catching up," she said.
"No," said Aunt Katie.
"No," agreed Aunt Louise.
"Nor—on," said Uncle Charlie, the brother of the aunties, lighting up his cigar to go downtown.
Aunt Cordelia spread the paper out. It bore the words:
"It is for you."
So Emmy Lou put the pencil away in the companion, and tucked it about with the grimy slate rags that no harm might befall it. And the next day she took it out and used it. But first she looked over at the little boy. The little boy was busy. But when she looked up again, he was looking.
The little boy grew red, and wheeling suddenly, fell to copying digits furiously. And from that moment on the little boy was moved to strange behavior.
Three times before recess did he, boldly ignoring the preface of upraised hand, swagger up to Miss Clara's desk. And going and coming, the little boy's boots with copper toes and run-down heels marked with thumping emphasis upon the echoing boards his processional and recessional. And reaching his desk, the little boy slammed down his slate with clattering reverberations.
Emmy Lou watched him uneasily. She was miserable for him. She did not know that there are times when the emotions are more potent than the subtlest wines. Nor did she know that the male of some species is moved thus to exhibition of prowess, courage, defiance, for the impressing of the chosen female of the species.
Emmy Lou merely knew that she was miserable and that she trembled for the little boy.
Having clattered his slate until Miss Clara rapped sharply, the little boy rose and went swaggering on an excursion around the room to where sat the bucket and dipper. And on his return he came up the center aisle between the sheep and the goats.
Emmy Lou had no idea what happened. It took place behind her. But there was another little girl who did. A little girl who boasted curls, yellow curls in tiered rows about her head. A lachrymosal little girl, who affected great horror of the little boys.
And what Emmy Lou failed to see was this: the little boy, in passing, deftly lifted a cherished curl between finger and thumb and proceeded on his way.
The little girl did not fail the little boy. In the suddenness of the surprise she surprised even him by her outcry. Miss Clara jumped. Emmy Lou jumped. And the sixty-nine jumped. And, following this, the little girl lifted her voice in lachrymal lament.
Miss Clara sat erect. The Primer Class held its breath. It always held its breath when Miss Clara sat erect. Emmy Lou held tightly to her desk besides. She wondered what it was all about.
Then Miss Clara spoke. Her accents cut the silence.
Billy Traver stood forth. It was the little boy.
"Since you seem pleased to occupy yourself with the little girls, Billy, go to the pegs!"
Emmy Lou trembled. "Go to the pegs!" What unknown, inquisitorial terrors lay behind those dread, laconic words, Emmy Lou knew not.
She could only sit and watch the little boy turn and stump back down the aisle and around the room to where along the wall hung rows of feminine apparel.
Here he stopped and scanned the line. Then he paused before a hat. It was a round little hat with silky nap and a curling brim. It had rosettes to keep the ears warm and ribbon that tied beneath the chin. It was Emmy Lou's hat. Aunt Cordelia had cautioned her to care concerning it.
The little boy took it down. There seemed to be no doubt in his mind as to what Miss Clara meant. But then he had been in the Primer Class from the beginning.
Having taken the hat down he proceeded to put it upon his own shock head. His face wore its broad and constant smile. One would have said the little boy was enjoying the affair. As he put the hat on, the sixty-nine laughed. The seventieth did not. It was her hat, and besides, she did not understand.
Miss Clara still erect spoke again: "And now, since you are a little girl, get your book, Billy, and move over with the girls."
Nor did Emmy Lou understand why, when Billy, having gathered his belongings together, moved across the aisle and sat down with her, the sixty-nine laughed again. Emmy Lou did not laugh. She made room for Billy.
Nor did she understand when Billy treated her to a slow and surreptitious wink, his freckled countenance grinning beneath the rosetted hat. It never could have occurred to Emmy Lou that Billy had laid his cunning plans to this very end. Emmy Lou understood nothing of all this. She only pitied Billy. And presently, when public attention had become diverted, she proffered him the hospitality of a grimy little slate rag. When Billy returned the rag there was something in it—something wrapped in a beautiful, glazed, shining bronze paper. It was a candy kiss. One paid five cents for six of them at the drug-store.
On the road home, Emmy Lou ate the candy. The beautiful, shiny paper she put in her Primer. The slip of paper that she found within she carried to Aunt Cordelia. It was sticky and it was smeared. But it had reading on it.
"But this is printing," said Aunt Cordelia; "can't you read it?"
Emmy Lou shook her head.
"Try," said Aunt Katie.
"The easy words," said Aunt Louise.
But Emmy Lou, remembering c-a-t, Pussy, shook her head.
Aunt Cordelia looked troubled. "She certainly isn't catching up," said Aunt Cordelia. Then she read from the slip of paper:
"Oh, woman, woman, thou wert made The peace of Adam to invade."
The aunties laughed, but Emmy Lou put it away with the glazed paper in her Primer. It meant quite as much to her as did the reading in that Primer: Cat, a cat, the cat. The bat, the mat, a rat. It was the jingle to both that appealed to Emmy Lou.
About this time rumors began to reach Emmy Lou. She heard that it was February, and that wonderful things were peculiar to the Fourteenth. At recess the little girls locked arms and talked Valentines. The echoes reached Emmy Lou.
The valentine must come from a little boy, or it wasn't the real thing. And to get no valentine was a dreadful—dreadful thing. And even the timidest of the sheep began to cast eyes across at the goats.
Emmy Lou wondered if she would get a valentine. And if not, how was she to survive the contumely and shame?
You must never, never breathe to a living soul what was on your valentine. To tell even your best and truest little girl friend was to prove faithless to the little boy sending the valentine. These things reached Emmy Lou.
Not for the world would she tell. Emmy Lou was sure of that, so grateful did she feel she would be to anyone sending her a valentine.
And in doubt and wretchedness did she wend her way to school on the Fourteenth Day of February. The drug-store window was full of valentines. But Emmy Lou crossed the street. She did not want to see them. She knew the little girls would ask her if she had gotten a valentine. And she would have to say, No.
She was early. The big, empty room echoed back her footsteps as she went to her desk to lay down book and slate before taking off her wraps. Nor did Emmy Lou dream the eye of the little boy peeped through the crack of the door from Miss Clara's dressing-room.
Emmy Lou's hat and jacket were forgotten. On her desk lay something square and white. It was an envelope. It was a beautiful envelope, all over flowers and scrolls.
Emmy Lou knew it. It was a valentine. Her cheeks grew pink.
She took it out. It was blue. And it was gold. And it had reading on it.
Emmy Lou's heart sank. She could not read the reading. The door opened. Some little girls came in. Emmy Lou hid her valentine in her book, for since you must not—she would never show her valentine—never.
The little girls wanted to know if she had gotten a valentine, and Emmy Lou said, Yes, and her cheeks were pink with the joy of being able to say it.
Through the day, she took peeps between the covers of her Primer, but no one else might see it.
It rested heavy on Emmy Lou's heart, however, that there was reading on it. She studied it surreptitiously. The reading was made up of letters. It was the first time Emmy Lou had thought about that. She knew some of the letters. She would ask someone the letters she did not know by pointing them out on the chart at recess. Emmy Lou was learning. It was the first time since she came to school.
But what did the letters make? She wondered, after recess, studying the valentine again.
Then she went home. She followed Aunt Cordelia about. Aunt Cordelia was busy.
"What does it read?" asked Emmy Lou.
Aunt Cordelia listened.
"B," said Emmy Lou, "and e?"
"Be," said Aunt Cordelia.
If B was Be, it was strange that B and e were Be. But many things were strange.
Emmy Lou accepted them all on faith.
After dinner she approached Aunt Katie.
"What does it read?" asked Emmy Lou, "m and y?"
"My," said Aunt Katie.
The rest was harder. She could not remember the letters, and had to copy them off on her slate. Then she sought Tom, the house-boy. Tom was out at the gate talking to another house-boy. She waited until the other boy was gone.
"What does it read?" asked Emmy Lou, and she told the letters off the slate. It took Tom some time, but finally he told her.
Just then a little girl came along. She was a first-section little girl, and at school she never noticed Emmy Lou.
Now she was alone, so she stopped.
"Get any valentines?"
"Yes," said Emmy Lou. Then moved to confidence by the little girl's friendliness, she added, "It has reading on it."
"Pooh," said the little girl, "they all have that. My mamma's been reading the long verses inside to me."
"Can you show them—valentines?" asked Emmy Lou.
"Of course, to grown-up people," said the little girl.
The gas was lit when Emmy Lou came in. Uncle Charlie was there, and the aunties, sitting around, reading.
"I got a valentine," said Emmy Lou.
They all looked up. They had forgotten it was Valentine's Day, and it came to them that if Emmy Lou's mother had not gone away, never to come back, the year before, Valentine's Day would not have been forgotten. Aunt Cordelia smoothed the black dress she was wearing because of the mother who would never come back, and looked troubled.
But Emmy Lou laid the blue and gold valentine on Aunt Cordelia's knee. In the valentine's center were two hands clasping. Emmy Lou's forefinger pointed to the words beneath the clasped hands.
"I can read it," said Emmy Lou.
They listened. Uncle Charlie put down his paper. Aunt Louise looked over Aunt Cordelia's shoulder.
"B," said Emmy Lou, "e—Be."
The aunties nodded.
"M," said Emmy Lou, "y—my."
Emmy Lou did not hesitate. "V," said Emmy Lou, "a, l, e, n, t, i, n, e—Valentine. Be my Valentine."
"There!" said Aunt Cordelia.
"Well!" said Aunt Katie.
"At last!" said Aunt Louise.
"H'm!" said Uncle Charlie.
GEORGE MADDEN MARTIN
In the South it is not unusual to give boys' names to girls, so it happens that George is the real name of the woman who wrote Emmy Lou. George Madden was born in Louisville, Kentucky, May 3, 1866. She attended the public schools in Louisville, but on account of ill health did not graduate. She married Atwood R. Martin, and they made their home at Anchorage, a suburb of Louisville. Here in an old house surrounded by great catalpa trees, with cardinals nesting in their branches, she was recovering from an illness, and to pass the time began to write a short story. The title was "How They Missed the Exposition"; when it was sent away, and a check for seventy-five dollars came in payment, she was encouraged to go on. Her next work was the series of stories entitled Emmy Lou, Her Book and Heart. This at once took rank as one of the classics of school-room literature. It had a wide popularity in this country, and was translated into French and German. One of the pleasant tributes paid to the book was a review in a Pittsburgh newspaper which took the form of a letter to Emmy Lou. It ran in part as follows:
Dear Little Emmy Lou:
I have read your book, Emmy Lou, and am writing this letter to tell you how much I love you. In my world of books I know a great assembly of lovely ladies, Emmy Lou, crowned with beauty and garlanded with grace, that have inspired poets to song and the hearts of warriors to battle, but, Emmy Lou, I love you better than them all, because you are the dearest little girl I ever met.
I felt very sorry for you when the little boy in the Primer World, who could so glibly tell the teacher all about the mat and the bat and the black rat and the fat hen, hurt your chubby fist by snapping an india-rubber band. I do not think he atoned quite enough when he gave you that fine new long slate pencil, nor when he sent you your first valentine. No, he has not atoned quite enough, Emmy Lou, but now that you are Miss McLaurin, you will doubtless even the score by snapping the india-rubber band of your disdain at his heart. But only to show him how it stings, and then, of course, you'll make up for the hurt and be his valentine—won't you, Emmy Lou?...
And when, at twelve years, you find yourself dreaming, Emmy Lou, and watching the clouds through the schoolroom window, still I love you, Emmy Lou, for your conscience, which William told about in his essay. You remember, the two girls who met a cow.
"Look her right in the face and pretend we aren't afraid," said the biggest girl. But the littlest girl—that was you—had a conscience. "Won't it be deceiving the cow?" she wanted to know. Brave, honest Emmy Lou!
Yes, I love you, Emmy Lou, better than all the proud and beauteous heroines in the big grown-up books, because you are so sunshiny and trustful, so sweet and brave—because you have a heart of gold, Emmy Lou. And I want you to tell George Madden Martin how glad I am that she has told us all about you, the dearest little girl since Alice dropped down into Wonderland.
The book is more than a delightful piece of fiction. Through its faithful study of the development of a child's mind, and its criticism of the methods employed in many schools, it becomes a valuable contribution to education. As such it is used in the School of Pedagogy of Harvard University.
George Madden Martin told more about Emmy Lou in a second book of stories entitled Emmy Lou's Road to Grace, which relates the little girl's experience at home and in Sunday school. Other works from her pen are: A Warwickshire Lad, the story of William Shakespeare's early life; The House of Fulfillment, a novel; Abbie Ann, a story for children; Letitia; Nursery Corps, U. S. A., a story of a child, also showing various aspects of army life; Selina, the story of a young girl who has been brought up in luxury, and finds herself confronted with the necessity of earning a living without any equipment for the task. None of these has equalled the success of her first book, but that is one of the few successful portrayals of child life in fiction.
That part of New York City known as the East Side, the region south of Fourteenth Street and east of Broadway, is the most densely populated square mile on earth. Its people are of all races; Chinatown, Little Hungary and Little Italy elbow each other; streets where the signs are in Hebrew characters, theatres where plays are given in Yiddish, notices in the parks in four or five languages, make one rub his eyes and wonder if he is not in some foreign land. Into this region Myra Kelly went as a teacher in the public school. Her pupils were largely Russian Jews, and in a series of delightfully humorous stories she has drawn these little citizens to the life.
THE LAND OF HEART'S DESIRE
Isaac Borrachsohn, that son of potentates and of Assemblymen, had been taken to Central Park by a proud uncle. For weeks thereafter he was the favorite bard of the First Reader Class and an exceeding great trouble to its sovereign, Miss Bailey, who found him now as garrulous as he had once been silent. There was no subject in the Course of Study to which he could not correlate the wonders of his journey, and Teacher asked herself daily and in vain whether it were more pedagogically correct to encourage "spontaneous self-expression" or to insist upon "logically essential sequence."
But the other members of the class suffered no such uncertainty. They voted solidly for spontaneity in a self which found expression thus:
"Und in the Central Park stands a water-lake, und in the water-lake stands birds—a big all of birds—und fishes. Und sooner you likes you should come over the water-lake you calls a bird, und you sets on the bird, und the bird makes go his legs, und you comes over the water-lake."
"They could be awful polite birds," Eva Gonorowsky was beginning when Morris interrupted with:
"I had once a auntie und she had a bird, a awful polite bird; on'y sooner somebody calls him he couldn't to come the while he sets in a cage."
"Did he have a rubber neck?" Isaac inquired, and Morris reluctantly admitted that he had not been so blessed.
"In the Central Park," Isaac went on, "all the birds is got rubber necks."
"What color from birds be they?" asked Eva.
"All colors. Blue und white und red und yellow."
"Und green," Patrick Brennan interjected determinedly. "The green ones is the best."
"Did you go once?" asked Isaac, slightly disconcerted.
"Naw, but I know. Me big brother told me."
"They could to be stylish birds, too," said Eva wistfully. "Stylish und polite. From red und green birds is awful stylish for hats."
"But these birds is big. Awful big! Mans could ride on 'em und ladies und boys."
"Und little girls, Ikey? Ain't they fer little girls?" asked the only little girl in the group. And a very small girl she was, with a softly gentle voice and darkly gentle eyes fixed pleadingly now upon the bard.
"Yes," answered Isaac grudgingly; "sooner they sets by somebody's side little girls could to go. But sooner nobody holds them by the hand they could to have fraids over the rubber-neck-boat-birds und the water-lake, und the fishes."
"What kind from fishes?" demanded Morris Mogilewsky, monitor of Miss Bailey's gold fish bowl, with professional interest.
"From gold fishes und red fishes und black fishes"—Patrick stirred uneasily and Isaac remembered—"und green fishes; the green ones is the biggest; and blue fishes und all kinds from fishes. They lives way down in the water the while they have fraids over the rubber-neck-boat-birds. Say—what you think? Sooner a rubber-neck-boat-bird needs he should eat he longs down his neck und eats a from-gold fish."
"'Out fryin'?" asked Eva, with an incredulous shudder.
"Yes, 'out fryin'. Ain't I told you little girls could to have fraids over 'em? Boys could have fraids too," cried Isaac; and then spurred by the calm of his rival, he added: "The rubber-neck-boat-birds they hollers somethin' fierce."
"I wouldn't be afraid of them. Me pop's a cop," cried Patrick stoutly. "I'd just as lief set on 'em. I'd like to."
"Ah, but you ain't seen 'em, und you ain't heard 'em holler," Isaac retorted.
"Well, I'm goin' to. An' I'm goin' to see the lions an' the tigers an' the el'phants, an' I'm goin' to ride on the water-lake."
"Oh, how I likes I should go too!" Eva broke out. "O-o-oh, how I likes I should look on them things! On'y I don't know do I need a ride on somethings what hollers. I don't know be they fer me."
"Well, I'll take ye with me if your mother leaves you go," said Patrick grandly. "An' ye can hold me hand if ye're scared."
"Me too?" implored Morris. "Oh, Patrick, c'n I go too?"
"I guess so," answered the Leader of the Line graciously. But he turned a deaf ear to Isaac Borrachsohn's implorings to be allowed to join the party. Full well did Patrick know of the grandeur of Isaac's holiday attire and the impressionable nature of Eva's soul, and gravely did he fear that his own Sunday finery, albeit fashioned from the blue cloth and brass buttons of his sire, might be outshone.
At Eva's earnest request, Sadie, her cousin, was invited, and Morris suggested that the Monitor of the Window Boxes should not be slighted by his colleagues of the gold fish and the line. So Nathan Spiderwitz was raised to Alpine heights of anticipation by visions of a window box "as big as blocks and streets," where every plant, in contrast to his lanky charges, bore innumerable blossoms. Ignatius Aloysius Diamantstein was unanimously nominated as a member of the expedition; by Patrick, because they were neighbors at St. Mary's Sunday-school; by Morris, because they were classmates under the same rabbi at the synagogue; by Nathan, because Ignatius Aloysius was a member of the "Clinton Street gang"; by Sadie, because he had "long pants sailor suit"; by Eva, because the others wanted him.
Eva reached home that afternoon tingling with anticipation and uncertainty. What if her mother, with one short word, should close forever the gates of joy and boat-birds? But Mrs. Gonorowsky met her small daughter's elaborate plea with the simple question:
"Who pays you the car-fare?"
"Does it need car-fare to go?" faltered Eva.
"Sure does it," answered her mother. "I don't know how much, but some it needs. Who pays it?"
"Patrick ain't said."
"Well, you should better ask him," Mrs. Gonorowsky advised, and, on the next morning, Eva did. She thereby buried the leader under the ruins of his fallen castle of clouds, but he struggled through them with the suggestion that each of his guests should be her, or his, own banker.
"But ain't you got no money 't all?" asked the guest of honor.
"Not a cent," responded the host. "But I'll get it. How much have you?"
"A penny. How much do I need?"
"I don't know. Let's ask Miss Bailey."
School had not yet formally begun and Teacher was reading. She was hardly disturbed when the children drove sharp elbows into her shoulder and her lap, and she answered Eva's—"Miss Bailey—oh, Missis Bailey," with an abstracted—"Well, dear?"
"Missis Bailey, how much money takes car-fare to the Central Park?"
Still with divided attention, Teacher replied—"Five cents, honey," and read on, while Patrick called a meeting of his forces and made embarrassing explanations with admirable tact.
There ensued weeks of struggle and economy for the exploring party, to which had been added a chaperon in the large and reassuring person of Becky Zalmonowsky, the class idiot. Sadie Gonorowsky's careful mother had considered Patrick too immature to bear the whole responsibility, and he, with a guile which promised well for his future, had complied with her desires and preserved his own authority unshaken. For Becky, poor child, though twelve years old and of an aspect eminently calculated to inspire trust in those who had never held speech with her, was a member of the First Reader Class only until such time as room could be found for her in some of the institutions where such unfortunates are bestowed.
Slowly and in diverse ways each of the children acquired the essential nickel. Some begged, some stole, some gambled, some bartered, some earned, but their greatest source of income, Miss Bailey, was denied to them. For Patrick knew that she would have insisted upon some really efficient guardian from a higher class, and he announced with much heat that he would not go at all under those circumstances.
At last the leader was called upon to set the day and appointed a Saturday in late May. He was disconcerted to find that only Ignatius Aloysius would travel on that day.
"It's holidays, all Saturdays," Morris explained; "und we dassent to ride on no cars."
"Why not?" asked Patrick.
"It's law, the rabbi says," Nathan supplemented. "I don't know why is it; on'y rides on holidays ain't fer us."
"I guess," Eva sagely surmised; "I guess rubber-neck-boat-birds rides even ain't fer us on holidays. But I don't know do I need rides on birds what hollers."
"You'll be all right," Patrick assured her. "I'm goin' to let ye hold me hand. If ye can't go on Saturday, I'll take ye on Sunday—next Sunday. Yous all must meet me here on the school steps. Bring yer money and bring yer lunch too. It's a long way and ye'll be hungry when ye get there. Ye get a terrible long ride for five cents."
"Does it take all that to get there?" asked the practical Nathan. "Then how are we goin' to get back?"
Poor little poet soul! Celtic and improvident! Patrick's visions had shown him only the triumphant arrival of his host and the beatific joy of Eva as she floated by his side on the most "fancy" of boat-birds. Of the return journey he had taken no thought. And so the saving and planning had to be done all over again. The struggle for the first nickel had been wearing and wearying, but the amassment of the second was beyond description difficult. The children were worn from long strife and many sacrifices, for the temptations to spend six or nine cents are so much more insistent and unusual than are yearnings to squander lesser sums. Almost daily some member of the band would confess a fall from grace and solvency, and almost daily Isaac Borrachsohn was called upon to descant anew upon the glories of the Central Park. Becky, the chaperon, was the most desultory collector of the party. Over and over she reached the proud heights of seven or even eight cents, only to lavish her hoard on the sticky joys of the candy cart of Isidore Belchatosky's papa or on the suddy charms of a strawberry soda.
Then tearfully would she repent of her folly, and bitterly would the others upbraid her, telling again of the joys and wonders she had squandered. Then loudly would she bewail her weakness and plead in extenuation: "I seen the candy. Mouses from choc'late und Foxy Gran'pas from sugar—und I ain't never seen no Central Park."
"But don't you know how Isaac says?" Eva would urge. "Don't you know how all things what is nice fer us stands in the Central Park? Say, Isaac, you should better tell Becky, some more, how the Central Park stands."
And Isaac's tales grew daily more wild and independent of fact until the little girls quivered with yearning terror and the boys burnished up forgotten cap pistols. He told of lions, tigers, elephants, bears, and buffaloes, all of enormous size and strength of lung, so that before many days had passed he had debarred himself, by whole-hearted lying, from the very possibility of joining the expedition and seeing the disillusionment of his public. With true artistic spirit he omitted all mention of confining house or cage and bestowed the gift of speech upon all the characters, whether brute or human, in his epic. The merry-go-round he combined with the menagerie into a whole which was not to be resisted.
"Und all the am'blins," he informed his entranced listeners; "they goes around, und around, und around, where music plays und flags is. Und I sets a lion und he runs around, und runs around, und runs around. Say—what you think? He had smiling looks und hair on the neck, und sooner he says like that 'I'm awful thirsty,' I gives him a peanut und I gets a golden ring."
"Where is it?" asked the jealous and incredulous Patrick.
"To my house." Isaac valiantly lied, for well he remembered the scene in which his scandalized but sympathetic uncle had discovered his attempt to purloin the brass ring which, with countless blackened duplicates, is plucked from a slot by the brandishing swords of the riders upon the merry-go-round. Truly, its possession had won him another ride—this time upon an elephant with upturned trunk and wide ears—but in his mind the return of that ring still ranked as the only grief in an otherwise perfect day.
Miss Bailey—ably assisted by AEsop, Rudyard Kipling, and Thompson Seton—had prepared the First Reader Class to accept garrulous and benevolent lions, cows, panthers, and elephants, and the exploring party's absolute credulity encouraged Isaac to higher and yet higher flights, until Becky was strengthened against temptation.
At last, on a Sunday in late June, the cavalcade in splendid raiment met on the wide steps, boarded a Grand Street car, and set out for Paradise. Some confusion occurred at the very beginning of things when Becky Zalmonowsky curtly refused to share her pennies with the conductor. When she was at last persuaded to yield, an embarrassing five minutes was consumed in searching for the required amount in the nooks and crannies of her costume where, for safe-keeping, she had cached her fund. One penny was in her shoe, another in her stocking, two in the lining of her hat, and one in the large and dilapidated chatelaine bag which dangled at her knees.
Nathan Spiderwitz, who had preserved absolute silence, now contributed his fare, moist and warm, from his mouth, and Eva turned to him admonishingly.
"Ain't Teacher told you money in the mouth ain't healthy fer you?" she sternly questioned, and Nathan, when he had removed other pennies, was able to answer:
"I washed 'em off—first." And they were indeed most brightly clean. "There's holes in me these here pockets," he explained, and promptly corked himself anew with currency.
"But they don't tastes nice, do they?" Morris remonstrated. Nathan shook a corroborative head. "Und," the Monitor of the Gold Fish further urged, "you could to swallow 'em und then you couldn't never to come by your house no more."
But Nathan was not to be dissuaded, even when the impressionable and experimental Becky tried his storage system and suffered keen discomfort before her penny was restored to her by a resourceful fellow traveler who thumped her right lustily on the back until her crowings ceased and the coin was once more in her hand.
At the meeting of Grand Street with the Bowery, wild confusion was made wilder by the addition of seven small persons armed with transfers and clamoring—all except Nathan—for Central Park. Two newsboys and a policeman bestowed them upon a Third Avenue car and all went well until Patrick missed his lunch and charged Ignatius Aloysius with its abstraction. Words ensued which were not easily to be forgotten even when the refreshment was found—flat and horribly distorted—under the portly frame of the chaperon.
Jealousy may have played some part in the misunderstanding, for it was undeniable that there was a sprightliness, a joyant brightness, in the flowing red scarf on Ignatius Aloysius's nautical breast, which was nowhere paralleled in Patrick's more subdued array. And the tenth commandment seemed very arbitrary to Patrick, the star of St. Mary's Sunday-school, when he saw that the red silk was attracting nearly all the attention of his female contingent. If Eva admired flaunting ties it were well that she should say so now. There was yet time to spare himself the agony of riding on rubber-neck-boat-birds with one whose interest wandered from brass buttons. Darkly Patrick scowled upon his unconscious rival, and guilefully he remarked to Eva:
"Red neckties is nice, don't you think?"
"Awful nice," Eva agreed; "but they ain't so stylish like high-stiffs. High-stiffs und derbies is awful stylish."
Gloom and darkness vanished from the heart and countenance of the Knight of Munster, for around his neck he wore, with suppressed agony, the highest and stiffest of "high-stiffs" and his brows—and the back of his neck—were encircled by his big brother's work-a-day derby. Again he saw and described to Eva the vision which had lived in his hopes for now so many weeks: against a background of teeming jungle, mysterious and alive with wild beasts, an amiable boat-bird floated on the water-lake: and upon the boat-bird, trembling but reassured, sat Eva Gonorowsky, hand in hand with her brass-buttoned protector.
As the car sped up the Bowery the children felt that they were indeed adventurers. The clattering Elevated trains overhead, the crowds of brightly decked Sunday strollers, the clanging trolley cars, and the glimpses they caught of shining green as they passed the streets leading to the smaller squares and parks, all contributed to the holiday upliftedness which swelled their unaccustomed hearts. At each vista of green they made ready to disembark and were restrained only by the conductor and by the sage counsel of Eva, who reminded her impulsive companions that the Central Park could be readily identified by "the hollers from all those things what hollers." And so, in happy watching and calm trust of the conductor, they were borne far beyond 59th Street, the first and most popular entrance to the park, before an interested passenger came to their rescue. They tumbled off the car and pressed towards the green only to find themselves shut out by a high stone wall, against which they crouched and listened in vain for identifying hollers. The silence began to frighten them, when suddenly the quiet air was shattered by a shriek which would have done credit to the biggest of boat-birds or of lions, but which was—the children discovered after a moment's panic—only the prelude to an outburst of grief on the chaperon's part. When the inarticulate stage of her sorrow was passed, she demanded instant speech with her mamma. She would seem to have expressed a sentiment common to the majority, for three heads in Spring finery leaned dejectedly against the stone barrier while Nathan removed his car-fare to contribute the remark that he was growing hungry. Patrick was forced to seek aid in the passing crowd on Fifth Avenue, and in response to his pleading eyes and the depression of his party, a lady of gentle aspect and "kind looks" stopped and spoke to them.
"Indeed, yes," she reassured them; "this is Central Park."
"It has looks off the country," Eva commented.
"Because it is a piece of the country," the lady explained.
"Then we dassent to go, the while we ain't none of us got no sickness," cried Eva forlornly. "We're all, all healthy, und the country is for sick childrens."
"I am glad you are well," said the lady kindly; "but you may certainly play in the park. It is meant for all little children. The gate is near. Just walk on near this wall until you come to it."
It was only a few blocks, and they were soon in the land of their hearts' desire, where were waving trees and flowering shrubs and smoothly sloping lawns, and, framed in all these wonders, a beautiful little water-lake all dotted and brightened by fleets of tiny boats. The pilgrims from the East Side stood for a moment at gaze and then bore down upon the jewel, straight over grass and border, which is a course not lightly to be followed within park precincts and in view of park policemen. The ensuing reprimand dashed their spirits not at all and they were soon assembled close to the margin of the lake, where they got entangled in guiding strings and drew to shore many a craft, to the disgust of many a small owner. Becky Zalmonowsky stood so closely over the lake that she shed the chatelaine bag into its shallow depths and did irreparable damage to her gala costume in her attempts to "dibble" for her property. It was at last recovered, no wetter than the toilette it was intended to adorn, and the cousins Gonorowsky had much difficulty in balking Becky's determination to remove her gown and dry it then and there.
Then Ignatius Aloysius, the exacting, remembered garrulously that he had as yet seen nothing of the rubber-neck-boat-birds and suggested that they were even now graciously "hollering like an'thing" in some remote fastness of the park. So Patrick gave commands and the march was resumed with bliss now beaming on all the faces so lately clouded. Every turn of the endless walks brought new wonders to these little ones who were gazing for the first time upon the great world of growing things of which Miss Bailey had so often told them. The policeman's warning had been explicit and they followed decorously in the paths and picked none of the flowers which as Eva had heard of old, were sticking right up out of the ground. But other flowers there were dangling high or low on tree or shrub, while here and there across the grass a bird came hopping or a squirrel ran. But the pilgrims never swerved. Full well they knew that these delights were not for such as they.
It was, therefore, with surprise and concern that they at last debouched upon a wide green space where a flag waved at the top of a towering pole; for, behold, the grass was covered thick with children, with here and there a beneficent policeman looking serenely on.
"Dast we walk on it?" cried Morris. "Oh, Patrick, dast we?"
"Ask the cop," Nathan suggested. It was his first speech for an hour, for Becky's misadventure with the chatelaine bag and the water-lake had made him more than ever sure that his own method of safe-keeping was the best.
"Ask him yerself," retorted Patrick. He had quite intended to accost a large policeman, who would of course recognize and revere the buttons of Mr. Brennan pere, but a commander cannot well accept the advice of his subordinates. But Nathan was once more beyond the power of speech, and it was Morris Mogilewsky who asked for and obtained permission to walk on God's green earth. With little spurts of running and tentative jumps to test its spring, they crossed Peacock Lawn to the grateful shade of the trees at its further edge and there disposed themselves upon the ground and ate their luncheon. Nathan Spiderwitz waited until Sadie had finished and then entrusted the five gleaming pennies to her care while he wildly bolted an appetizing combination of dark brown bread and uncooked eel.
Becky reposed flat upon the chatelaine bag and waved her still damp shoes exultantly. Eva lay, face downward beside her, and peered wonderingly deep into the roots of things.
"Don't it smells nice!" she gloated. "Don't it looks nice! My, ain't we havin' the party-time!"
"Don't mention it," said Patrick, in careful imitation of his mother's hostess manner. "I'm pleased to see you, I'm sure."
"The Central Park is awful pretty," Sadie soliloquized as she lay on her back and watched the waving branches and blue sky far above. "Awful pretty! I likes we should live here all the time."
"Well," began Ignatius Aloysius Diamantstein, in slight disparagement of his rival's powers as a cicerone; "well, I ain't seen no lions, nor no rubber-neck-boat-birds. Und we ain't had no rides on nothings. Und I ain't heard no hollers neither."
As if in answer to this criticism there arose, upon the road beyond the trees, a snorting, panting noise, growing momentarily louder and culminating, just as East Side nerves were strained to breaking point, in a long hoarse and terrifying yell. There was a flash of red, a cloud of dust, three other toots of agony, and the thing was gone. Gone, too, were the explorers and gone their peaceful rest. To a distant end of the field they flew, led by the panic-stricken chaperon, and followed by Eva and Patrick, hand in hand, he making show of bravery he was far from feeling, and she frankly terrified. In a secluded corner, near the restaurant, the chaperon was run to earth by her breathless charges:
"I seen the lion," she panted over and over. "I seen the fierce, big red lion, und I don't know where is my mamma."
Patrick saw that one of the attractions had failed to attract, so he tried another.
"Le's go an' see the cows," he proposed. "Don't you know the po'try piece Miss Bailey learned us about cows?"
Again the emotional chaperon interrupted. "I'm loving much mit Miss Bailey, too," she wailed. "Und I don't know where is she neither." But the pride of learning upheld the others and they chanted in sing-song chorus, swaying rhythmically the while from leg to leg:
"The friendly cow all red and white, I love with all my heart: She gives me cream with all her might, To eat with apple-tart Robert Louis Stevenson."
Becky's tears ceased. "Be there cows in the Central Park?" she demanded.
"Sure," said Patrick.
"Und what kind from cream will he give us? Ice cream?"
"Sure," said Patrick again.
"Let's go," cried the emotional chaperon. A passing stranger turned the band in the general direction of the menagerie and the reality of the cow brought the whole "memory gem" into strange and undreamed reality.
Gaily they set out through new and always beautiful ways; through tunnels where feet and voices rang with ghostly boomings most pleasant to the ear; over bridges whence they saw—in partial proof of Isaac Borrachsohn's veracity—"mans und ladies ridin'." Of a surety they rode nothing more exciting than horses, but that was, to East Side eyes, an unaccustomed sight, and Eva opined that it was owing, probably, to the shortness of their watch that they saw no lions and tigers similarly amiable. The cows, too, seemed far to seek, but the trees and grass and flowers were everywhere. Through long stretches of "for sure country" they picked their way, until they came, hot but happy, to a green and shady summerhouse on a hill. There they halted to rest, and there Ignatius Aloysius, with questionable delicacy, began to insist once more upon the full measure of his bond.
"We ain't seen the rubber-neck-boat-birds," he complained. "Und we ain't had no rides on nothings."
"You don't know what is polite," cried Eva, greatly shocked at this carping spirit in the presence of a hard-worked host. "You could to think shame over how you says somethings like that on a party."
"This ain't no party," Ignatius Aloysius retorted. "It's a 'scursion. To a party somebody gives you what you should eat; to a 'scursion you brings it. Und anyway, we ain't had no rides."
"But we heard a holler," the guest of honor reminded him. "We heard a fierce, big holler from a lion. I don't know do I need a ride on something what hollers. I could to have a fraid maybe."
"Ye wouldn't be afraid on the boats when I hold yer hand, would ye?" Patrick anxiously inquired, and Eva shyly admitted that, thus supported, she might not be dismayed. To work off the pride and joy caused by this avowal, Patrick mounted the broad seat extending all around the summerhouse and began to walk clatteringly upon it. The other pilgrims followed suit and the whole party stamped and danced with infinite enjoyment. Suddenly the leader halted with a loud cry of triumph and pointed grandly out through one of the wistaria-hung openings. Not De Soto on the banks of the Mississippi nor Balboa above the Pacific could have felt more victorious than Patrick did as he announced:
"There's the water-lake!"
His followers closed in upon him so impetuously that he was borne down under their charge and fell ignominiously out on the grass. But he was hardly missed, he had served his purpose. For there, beyond the rocks and lawns and red japonicas, lay the blue and shining water-lake in its confining banks of green. And upon its softly quivering surface floated the rubber-neck-boat-birds, white and sweetly silent instead of red and screaming—and the superlative length and arched beauty of their necks surpassed the wildest of Ikey Borrachsohn's descriptions. And relying upon the strength and politeness of these wondrous birds there were indeed "mans und ladies und boys und little girls" embarking, disembarking, and placidly weaving in and out and round about through scenes of hidden but undoubted beauty.
Over rocks and grass the army charged towards bliss unutterable, strewing their path with overturned and howling babies of prosperity who, clumsy from many nurses and much pampering, failed to make way. Past all barriers, accidental or official, they pressed, nor halted to draw rein or breath until they were established, beatified, upon the waiting swan-boat.
Three minutes later they were standing outside the railings of the landing and regarding, through welling tears, the placid lake, the sunny slopes of grass and tree, the brilliant sky and the gleaming rubber-neck-boat-bird which, as Ikey described, "made go its legs," but only, as he had omitted to mention, for money. So there they stood, seven sorrowful little figures engulfed in the rayless despair of childhood and the bitterness of poverty. For these were the children of the poor, and full well they knew that money was not to be diverted from its mission: that car-fare could not be squandered on bliss.
Becky's woe was so strong and loud that the bitter wailings of the others served merely as its background. But Patrick cared not at all for the general despair. His remorseful eyes never strayed from the bowed figure of Eva Gonorowsky, for whose pleasure and honor he had striven so long and vainly. Slowly she conquered her sobs, slowly she raised her daisy-decked head, deliberately she blew her small pink nose, softly she approached her conquered knight, gently and all untruthfully she faltered, with yearning eyes on the majestic swans:
"Don't you have no sad feelings, Patrick. I ain't got none. Ain't I told you from long, how I don't need no rubber-neck-boat-bird rides? I don't need 'em! I don't need 'em! I"—with a sob of passionate longing—"I'm got all times a awful scare over 'em. Let's go home, Patrick. Becky needs she should see her mamma, und I guess I needs my mamma too."
Is it necessary to say that she was Irish? The humor, the sympathy, the quick understanding, the tenderness, that play through all her stories are the birthright of the children of Erin. Myra Kelly was born in Dublin, Ireland. Her father was Dr. John E. Kelly, a well-known surgeon. When Myra was little more than a baby, the family came to New York City. Here she was educated at the Horace Mann High School, and afterwards at Teachers College, a department of Columbia University, New York. She graduated from Teachers College in 1899. Her first school was in the primary department of Public School 147, on East Broadway, New York, where she taught from 1899 to 1901. Here she met all the "little aliens," the Morris and Isidore, Yetta and Eva of her stories, and won her way into their hearts. To her friends she would sometimes tell of these children, with their odd ideas of life and their dialect. "Why don't you write these stories down?" they asked her, and at last she sat down and wrote her first story, "A Christmas Present for a Lady." She had no knowledge of editorial methods, so she made four copies of the story and sent them to four different magazines. Two of them returned the story, and two of them accepted it, much to her embarrassment. The two acceptances came from McClure's Magazine and The Century. As McClure's replied first she gave the story to them, and most of her other stories were first published in that magazine.
When they appeared in book form, they were welcomed by readers all over the country. Even the President of the United States wrote to express his thanks to her, in the following letter:
Oyster Bay, N. Y. July, 26, 1905.
My dear Miss Kelly:—
Mrs. Roosevelt and I and most of the children know your very amusing and very pathetic accounts of East Side school children almost by heart, and I really think you must let me write and thank you for them. When I was Police Commissioner I quite often went to the Houston Street public school, and was immensely impressed by what I saw there. I thought there were a good many Miss Baileys there, and the work they were doing among their scholars (who were largely of Russian-Jewish parentage like the children you write of) was very much like what your Miss Bailey has done.
Very sincerely yours, Theodore Roosevelt.
After two years of school room work, Miss Kelly's health broke down, and she retired from teaching, although she served as critic teacher in the Speyer School, Teachers College, for a year longer. One of the persons who had read her books with delight was Allen Macnaughton. Soon after he met Miss Kelly, and in 1905 they were married. They lived for a time at Oldchester Village, New Jersey, in the Orange mountains, in a colony of literary people which her husband was interested in establishing. After several years of very successful literary work, she developed tuberculosis. She went to Torquay, England, in search of health, and died there March 31, 1910.
Her works include the following titles: Little Citizens; The Isle of Dreams; Wards of Liberty; Rosnah; the Golden Season; Little Aliens; New Faces. One of the leading magazines speaks of her as the creator of a new dialect.
Most of us are hero-worshippers at some time of our lives. The boy finds his hero in the baseball player or athlete, the girl in the matinee idol, or the "movie" star. These objects of worship are not always worthy of the adoration they inspire, but this does not matter greatly, since their worshippers seldom find it out. There is something fine in absolute loyalty to an ideal, even if the ideal is far from reality. "The Tenor" is the story of a famous singer and two of his devoted admirers.
H. C. BUNNER
It was a dim, quiet room in an old-fashioned New York house, with windows opening upon a garden that was trim and attractive, even in its wintry days—for the rose-bushes were all bundled up in straw ulsters. The room was ample, yet it had a cosy air. Its dark hangings suggested comfort and luxury, with no hint of gloom. A hundred pretty trifles told that it was a young girl's room: in the deep alcove nestled her dainty white bed, draped with creamy lace and ribbons.
"I was so afraid that I'd be late!"
The door opened, and two pretty girls came in, one in hat and furs, the other in a modest house dress. The girl in the furs, who had been afraid that she would be late, was fair, with a bright color in her cheeks, and an eager, intent look in her clear brown eyes. The other girl was dark-eyed and dark-haired, dreamy, with a soft, warm dusky color in her face. They were two very pretty girls indeed—or, rather, two girls about to be very pretty, for neither one was eighteen years old.
The dark girl glanced at a little porcelain clock.
"You are in time, dear," she said, and helped her companion to take off her wraps.
Then the two girls crossed the room, and with a caressing and almost a reverent touch, the dark girl opened the doors of a little carven cabinet that hung upon the wall, above a small table covered with a delicate white cloth. In its depths, framed in a mat of odorous double violets, stood the photograph of the face of a handsome man of forty—a face crowned with clustering black locks, from beneath which a pair of large, mournful eyes looked out with something like religious fervor in their rapt gaze. It was the face of a foreigner.
"O Esther!" cried the other girl, "how beautifully you have dressed him to-day!"
"I wanted to get more," Esther said; "but I've spent almost all my allowance—and violets do cost so shockingly. Come, now—" with another glance at the clock—"don't let's lose any more time, Louise dear."
She brought a couple of tiny candles in Sevres candlesticks, and two little silver saucers, in which she lit fragrant pastilles. As the pale gray smoke arose, floating in faint wreaths and spirals before the enshrined photograph, Louise sat down and gazed intently upon the little altar. Esther went to her piano and watched the clock. It struck two. Her hands fell softly on the keys, and, studying a printed program in front of her, she began to play an overture. After the overture she played one or two pieces of the regular concert stock. Then she paused.
"I can't play the Tschaikowski piece."
"Never mind," said the other. "Let us wait for him in silence."
The hands of the clock pointed to 2:29. Each girl drew a quick breath, and then the one at the piano began to sing softly, almost inaudibly, "les Rameaux" in a transcription for tenor of Faure's great song. When it was ended, she played and sang the encore. Then, with her fingers touching the keys so softly that they awakened only an echo-like sound, she ran over the numbers that intervened between the first tenor solo and the second. Then she sang again, as softly as before.
The fair-haired girl sat by the little table, gazing intently on the picture. Her great eyes seemed to devour it, and yet there was something absent-minded, speculative, in her steady look. She did not speak until Esther played the last number on the program.
"He had three encores for that last Saturday," she said, and Esther played the three encores.
Then they closed the piano and the little cabinet, and exchanged an innocent girlish kiss, and Louise went out, and found her father's coupe waiting for her, and was driven away to her great, gloomy, brown-stone home near Central Park.
Louise Laura Latimer and Esther Van Guilder were the only children of two families which, though they were possessed of the three "Rs" which are all and more than are needed to insure admission to New York society—Riches, Respectability and Religion—yet were not in Society; or, at least, in the society that calls itself Society. This was not because Society was not willing to have them. It was because they thought the world too worldly. Perhaps this was one reason—although the social horizon of the two families had expanded somewhat as the girls grew up—why Louise and Esther, who had been playmates from their nursery days, and had grown up to be two uncommonly sentimental, fanciful, enthusiastically morbid girls, were to be found spending a bright Winter afternoon holding a ceremonial service of worship before the photograph of a fashionable French tenor.
It happened to be a French tenor whom they were worshiping. It might as well have been anybody or any thing else. They were both at that period of girlish growth when the young female bosom is torn by a hysterical craving to worship something—any thing. They had been studying music and they had selected the tenor who was the sensation of the hour in New York for their idol. They had heard him only on the concert stage; they were never likely to see him nearer. But it was a mere matter of chance that the idol was not a Boston Transcendentalist, a Popular Preacher, a Faith-Cure Healer, or a ringleted old maid with advanced ideas of Woman's Mission. The ceremonies might have been different in form: the worship would have been the same.
M. Hyppolite Remy was certainly the musical hero of the hour. When his advance notices first appeared, the New York critics, who are a singularly unconfiding, incredulous lot, were inclined to discount his European reputation.
When they learned that M. Remy was not only a great artist, but a man whose character was "wholly free from that deplorable laxity which is so often a blot on the proud escutcheon of his noble profession;" that he had married an American lady; that he had "embraced the Protestant religion"—no sect was specified, possibly to avoid jealousy—and that his health was delicate, they were moved to suspect that he might have to ask that allowances be made for his singing. But when he arrived, his triumph was complete. He was as handsome as his picture, if he was a trifle short, a shade too stout.
He was a singer of genius, too; with a splendid voice and a sound method—on the whole. It was before the days of the Wagner autocracy, and perhaps his tremolo passed unchallenged as it could not now; but he was a great artist. He knew his business as well as his advance-agent knew his. The Remy Concerts were a splendid success. Reserved seats, $5. For the Series of Six, $25.
* * * * *
On the following Monday, Esther Van Guilder returned her friend's call, in response to an urgent invitation, despatched by mail. Louise Latimer's great bare room was incapable of transmutation into a cosy nest of a boudoir. There was too much of its heavy raw silk furniture—too much of its vast, sarcophagus-like bed—too much of its upholsterer's elegance, regardless of cost—and taste. An enlargement from an ambrotype of the original Latimer, as he arrived in New York from New Hampshire, and a photograph of a "child subject" by Millais, were all her works of art. It was not to be doubted that they had climbed upstairs from a front parlor of an earlier stage of social development. The farm-house was six generations behind Esther; two behind Louise.
Esther found her friend in a state of almost feverish excitement. Her eyes shone; the color burned high on her clear cheeks.
"You never would guess what I've done, dear!" she began, as soon as they were alone in the big room. "I'm going to see him—to speak to him—Esther!" Her voice was solemnly hushed, "to serve him!"
"Oh, Louise! what do you mean?"
"To serve him—with my own hands! To—to—help him on with his coat—I don't know—to do something that a servant does—anything, so that I can say that once, once only, just for an hour, I have been near him, been of use to him, served him in one little thing as loyally as he serves OUR ART."
Music was THEIR art, and no capitals could tell how much it was theirs or how much of an art it was.
"Louise," demanded Esther, with a frightened look, "are you crazy?"
"No. Read this!" She handed the other girl a clipping from the advertising columns of a newspaper.
CHAMBERMAID AND WAITRESS.—WANTED, A NEAT and willing girl, for light work. Apply to Mme. Remy, The Midlothian, ... Broadway.
"I saw it just by accident, Saturday, after I left you. Papa had left his paper in the coupe. I was going up to my First Aid to the Injured Class—it's at four o'clock now, you know. I made up my mind right off—it came to me like an inspiration. I just waited until it came to the place where they showed how to tie up arteries, and then I slipped out. Lots of the girls slip out in the horrid parts, you know. And then, instead of waiting in the ante-room, I put on my wrap, and pulled the hood over my head and ran off to the Midlothian—it's just around the corner, you know. And I saw his wife."
"What was she like?" queried Esther, eagerly.
"Oh, I don't know. Sort of horrid—actressy. She had a pink silk wrapper with swansdown all over it—at four o'clock, think! I was awfully frightened when I got there; but it wasn't the least trouble. She hardly looked at me, and she engaged me right off. She just asked me if I was willing to do a whole lot of things—I forgot what they were—and where I'd worked before. I said at Mrs. Barcalow's."
"Why, yes—my Aunt Amanda, don't you know—up in Framingham. I always have to wash the teacups when I go there. Aunty says that everybody has got to do something in her house."
"Oh, Louise!" cried her friend, in shocked admiration; "how can you think of such things?"
"Well, I did. And she—his wife, you know—just said: 'Oh, I suppose you'll do as well as any one—all you girls are alike.'"
"But did she really take you for a—servant?"
"Why, yes, indeed. It was raining. I had that old ulster on, you know. I'm to go at twelve o'clock next Saturday."
"But, Louise!" cried Esther, aghast, "you don't truly mean to go!"
"I do!" cried Louise, beaming triumphantly.
"Now, listen, dear," said Miss Latimer, with the decision of an enthusiastic young lady with New England blood in her veins. "Don't say a word till I tell you what my plan is. I've thought it all out, and you've got to help me."
"You foolish child!" cried Louise. Her eyes were sparkling: she was in a state of ecstatic excitement; she could see no obstacles to the carrying out of her plan. "You don't think I mean to stay there, do you? I'm just going at twelve o'clock, and at four he comes back from the matinee, and at five o'clock I'm going to slip on my things and run downstairs, and have you waiting for me in the coupe, and off we go. Now do you see?"
It took some time to bring Esther's less venturesome spirit up to the point of assisting in this undertaking; but she began, after a while, to feel the delights of vicarious enterprise, and in the end the two girls, their cheeks flushed, their eyes shining feverishly, their voices tremulous with childish eagerness, resolved themselves into a committee of ways and means; for they were two well-guarded young women, and to engineer five hours of liberty was difficult to the verge of impossibility. However, there is a financial manoeuvre known as "kiting checks," whereby A exchanges a check with B and B swaps with A again, playing an imaginary balance against Time and the Clearing House; and by a similar scheme, which an acute student of social ethics has called "kiting calls," the girls found that they could make Saturday afternoon their own, without one glance from the watchful eyes of Esther's mother or Louise's aunt—Louise had only an aunt to reckon with.
"And, oh, Esther!" cried the bolder of the conspirators, "I've thought of a trunk—of course I've got to have a trunk, or she would ask me where it was, and I couldn't tell her a fib. Don't you remember the French maid who died three days after she came here? Her trunk is up in the store-room still, and I don't believe anybody will ever come for it—it's been there seven years now. Let's go up and look at it."
The girls romped upstairs to the great unused upper story, where heaps of household rubbish obscured the dusty half-windows. In a corner, behind Louise's baby chair and an unfashionable hat-rack of the old steering-wheel pattern, they found the little brown-painted tin trunk, corded up with clothesline.
"Louise!" said Esther, hastily, "what did you tell her your name was?"
"I just said 'Louise'."
Esther pointed to the name painted on the trunk,
"It is the hand of Providence," she said. "Somehow, now, I'm sure you're quite right to go."
And neither of these conscientious young ladies reflected for one minute on the discomfort which might be occasioned to Madame Remy by the defection of her new servant a half-hour before dinner-time on Saturday night.
* * * * *
"Oh, child, it's you, is it?" was Mme. Remy's greeting at twelve o'clock on Saturday. "Well, you're punctual—and you look clean. Now, are you going to break my dishes or are you going to steal my rings? Well, we'll find out soon enough. Your trunk's up in your room. Go up to the servant's quarters—right at the top of those stairs there. Ask for the room that belongs to apartment 11. You are to room with their girl."
Louise was glad of a moment's respite. She had taken the plunge; she was determined to go through to the end. But her heart would beat and her hands would tremble. She climbed up six flights of winding stairs, and found herself weak and dizzy when she reached the top and gazed around her. She was in a great half-story room, eighty feet square. The most of it was filled with heaps of old furniture and bedding, rolls of carpet, of canvas, of oilcloth, and odds and ends of discard of unused household gear—the dust thick over all. A little space had been left around three sides, to give access to three rows of cell-like rooms, in each of which the ceiling sloped from the very door to a tiny window at the level of the floor. In each room was a bed, a bureau that served for wash-stand, a small looking-glass, and one or two trunks. Women's dresses hung on the whitewashed walls. She found No. 11, threw off, desperately, her hat and jacket, and sunk down on the little brown tin trunk, all trembling from head to foot.
"Hello," called a cheery voice. She looked up and saw a girl in a dirty calico dress.
"Just come?" inquired this person, with agreeable informality. She was a good-looking large girl, with red hair and bright cheeks. She leaned against the door-post and polished her finger-nails with a little brush. Her hands were shapely.
"Ain't got onto the stair-climbing racket yet, eh? You'll get used to it. 'Louise Levy,'" she read the name on the trunk. "You don't look like a sheeny. Can't tell nothin' 'bout names, can you? My name's Slattery. You'd think I was Irish, wouldn't you? Well, I'm straight Ne' York. I'd be dead before I was Irish. Born here. Ninth Ward an' next to an engine house. How's that? There's white Jews, too. I worked for one, pickin' sealskins down in Prince Street. Most took the lungs out of me. But that wasn't why I shook the biz. It queered my hands—see? I'm goin' to be married in the Fall to a German gentleman. He ain't so Dutch when you know him, though. He's a grocer. Drivin' now; but he buys out the boss in the Fall. How's that? He's dead stuck on my hooks, an' I have to keep 'em lookin' good. I come here because the work was light. I don't have to work—only to be doin' somethin', see? Only got five halls and the lamps. You got a fam'ly job, I s'pose? I wouldn't have that. I don't mind the Sooprintendent; but I'd be dead before I'd be bossed by a woman, see? Say, what fam'ly did you say you was with?"
The stream of talk had acted like a nerve-tonic on Louise. She was able to answer:
"Ramy?—oh, lord! Got the job with His Tonsils? Well, you won't keep it long. They're meaner'n three balls, see? Rent their room up here and chip in with eleven. Their girls don't never stay. Well, I got to step, or the Sooprintendent'll be borin' my ear. Well—so long!"
But Louise had fled down the stairs. "His Tonsils" rang in her ears. What blasphemy! What sacrilege! She could scarcely pretend to listen to Mme. Remy's first instructions.
The household was parsimonious. Louise washed the caterer's dishes—he made a reduction in his price. Thus she learned that a late breakfast took the place of luncheon. She began to feel what this meant. The beds had been made; but there was work enough. She helped Mme. Remy to sponge a heap of faded finery—her dresses. If they had been his coats! Louise bent her hot face over the tawdry silks and satins, and clasped her parboiled little finger-tips over the wet sponge. At half-past three Mme. Remy broke the silence.
"We must get ready for Musseer," she said. An ecstatic joy filled Louise's being. The hour of her reward was at hand.
Getting ready for "Musseer" proved to be an appalling process. First they brewed what Mme. Remy called a "teaze Ann." After the tisane, a host of strange foreign drugs and cosmetics were marshalled in order. Then water was set to heat on a gas-stove. Then a little table was neatly set.
"Musseer has his dinner at half-past four," Madame explained. "I don't take mine till he's laid down and I've got him off to the concert. There, he's coming now. Sometimes he comes home pretty nervous. If he's nervous, don't you go and make a fuss, do you hear, child?"
The door opened, and Musseer entered, wrapped in a huge frogged overcoat. There was no doubt that he was nervous. He cast his hat upon the floor, as if he were Jove dashing a thunderbolt. Fire flashed from his eyes. He advanced upon his wife and thrust a newspaper in her face—a little pinky sheet, a notorious blackmailing publication.
"Zees," he cried, "is your work!"
"What is it now, Hipleet?" demanded Mme. Remy.
"Vot it ees?" shrieked the tenor. "It ees ze history of how zey have heest me at Nice! It ees all zair—how I have been heest—in zis sacre sheet—in zis handkairchif of infamy! And it ees you zat have told it to zat devil of a Rastignac—traitresse!"
"Now, Hipleet," pleaded his wife, "if I can't learn enough French to talk with you, how am I going to tell Rastignac about your being hissed?"
This reasoning silenced Mr. Remy for an instant—an instant only.
"You vood have done it!" he cried, sticking out his chin and thrusting his face forward.
"Well, I didn't," said Madame, "and nobody reads that thing, any way. Now, don't mind it, and let me get your things off, or you'll be catching cold."
Mr. Remy yielded at last to the necessity of self-preservation, and permitted his wife to remove his frogged overcoat, and to unwind him from a system of silk wraps to which the Gordian knot was a slip-noose. This done, he sat down before the dressing-case, and Mme. Remy, after tying a bib around his neck, proceeded to dress his hair and put brilliantine on his moustache. Her husband enlivened the operation by reading from the pinky paper.
"It ees not gen-air-al-lee known—zat zees dees-tin-guished tenor vos heest on ze pob-lic staidj at Nice—in ze year—"
Louise leaned against the wall, sick, faint and frightened, with a strange sense of shame and degradation at her heart. At last the tenor's eye fell on her.
"Anozzair eediot?" he inquired.
"She ain't very bright, Hipleet," replied his wife; "but I guess she'll do. Louise, open the door—there's the caterer."
Louise placed the dishes upon the table mechanically. The tenor sat himself at the board, and tucked a napkin in his neck.
"And how did the Benediction Song go this afternoon?" inquired his wife.
"Ze Benediction? Ah! One encore. One on-lee. Zese pigs of Ameericains. I t'row my pairls biffo' swine. Chops once more! You vant to mordair me? Vat do zis mean, madame? You ar-r-re in lig wiz my enemies. All ze vorlt is against ze ar-r-r-teest!"
The storm that followed made the first seem a zephyr. The tenor exhausted his execratory vocabulary in French and English. At last, by way of a dramatic finale, he seized the plate of chops and flung it from him. He aimed at the wall; but Frenchmen do not pitch well. With a ring and a crash, plate and chops went through the broad window-pane. In the moment of stricken speechlessness that followed, the sound of the final smash came softly up from the sidewalk.
The tenor rose to his feet with the howl of an anguished hyena.
"Oh, good gracious!" cried his wife; "he's going to have one of his creezes—his creezes de nare!"
He did have a crise de nerfs. "Ten dollair!" he yelled, "for ten dollair of glass!" He tore his pomaded hair; he tore off his bib and his neck-tie, and for three minutes without cessation he shrieked wildly and unintelligibly. It was possible to make out, however, that "arteest" and "ten dollair" were the themes of the improvisation. Finally he sank exhausted into the chair, and his white-faced wife rushed to his side.
"Louise!" she cried, "get the foot-tub out of the closet while I spray his throat, or he can't sing a note. Fill it up with warm water—102 degrees—there's the thermometer—and bathe his feet."
Trembling from head to foot, Louise obeyed her orders, and brought the foot-tub, full of steaming water. Then she knelt down and began to serve the maestro for the first time. She took off his shoes. Then she looked at his socks. Could she do it?
"Eediot!" gasped the sufferer, "make haste! I die!"
"Hold your mouth open, dear," said Madame, "I haven't half sprayed you."
"Ah! you!" cried the tenor. "Cat! Devil! It ees you zat have killed me!" And moved by an access of blind rage, he extended his arm, and thrust his wife violently from him.
Louise rose to her feet, with a hard set, good old New England look on her face. She lifted the tub of water to the level of her breast, and then she inverted it on the tenor's head. For one instant she gazed at the deluge, and at the bath-tub balanced on the maestro's skull like a helmet several sizes too large—then she fled like the wind.
Once in the servant's quarters, she snatched her hat and jacket. From below came mad yells of rage.
"I kill hare! give me my knife—give me my rivvolvare! Au secours! Assassin!"
Miss Slattery appeared in the doorway, still polishing her nails.
"What have you done to His Tonsils?" she inquired. "He's pretty hot, this trip."
"How can I get away from here?" cried Louise.
Miss Slattery pointed to a small door. Louise rushed down a long stairway—another—and yet others—through a great room where there was a smell of cooking and a noise of fires—past white-capped cooks and scullions—through a long stone corridor, and out into the street. She cried aloud as she saw Esther's face at the window of the coupe.
She drove home—cured.
 From "Stories of H. C. Bunner," copyright, 1890, 1896, by Alice L. Bunner; published by Charles Scribner's Sons. By permission of the publishers.
H. C. BUNNER
Henry Cuyler Bunner was his full name, H. C. Bunner was the way he always signed his writings, and "Bunner" was his name to his friends, and even to his wife. He was born in Oswego, New York, August 3, 1855. His parents soon moved to New York City, and Bunner was educated in the public schools there. Then he became a clerk in a business house, but this did not satisfy him, and he began to write for newspapers, finally getting a position on the Arcadian, a short-lived journal. In 1877 the publishers of Puck, a humorous weekly printed in the German language, decided to issue an edition in English, and made Bunner assistant editor. It was a happy choice. He soon became editor-in-chief, and under his direction the paper became not only the best humorous journal of its time, but a powerful influence in politics as well. Bunner wrote not only editorials, humorous verse, short stories, and titles for pictures, but often suggested the cartoons, which were an important feature of the paper.
Outside the office he was a delightful conversationalist. His friends Brander Matthews, Lawrence Hutton and others speak of his ready wit, his kindness of heart, and his wonderfully varied store of information. He was a constant reader, and a good memory enabled him to retain what he read. It is said that one could hardly name a poem that he had not read, and it was odds but that he could quote its best lines. Next to reading, his chief pleasure was in wandering about odd corners of the city, especially the foreign quarters. He knew all the queer little restaurants and queer little shops in these places.
His first literary work of note was a volume of poems, happily entitled Airs from Arcady. It contains verses both grave and gay: one of the cleverest is called "Home, Sweet Home, with Variations." He writes the poem first in the style of Swinburne, then of Bret Harte, then of Austin Dobson, then of Oliver Goldsmith and finally of Walt Whitman. The book also showed his skill in the use of French forms of verse, as in this dainty triolet:
A PITCHER OF MIGNONETTE
A pitcher of mignonette In a tenement's highest casement: Queer sort of flower-pot—yet That pitcher of mignonette Is a garden in heaven set, To the little sick child in the basement— The pitcher of mignonette In the tenement's highest casement.
The last poem in the book, called "To Her," was addressed to Miss Alice Learned, whom he married soon after, and to whom, as "A. L. B." all his later books were dedicated. Soon after his marriage he moved to Nutley, New Jersey. Here he was not only the editor and man of letters but the neighbor who could always be called on in time of need, and the citizen who took an active part in the community life, helping to organize the Village Improvement Society, one of the first of its kind.
He followed up his first volume by two short novels, The Midge and The Story of a New York House. Then he undertook the writing of the short story, his first book being Zadoc Pine and other Stories. The title story of this book contains a very humorous and faithful delineation of a New Englander who is transplanted to a New Jersey suburb. Soon after writing this he began to read the short stories of Guy de Maupassant. He admired them so much that he half translated, half adapted a number of them, and published them under the title Made in France. Then he tried writing stories of his own, in the manner of de Maupassant, and produced in Short Sixes a group of stories which are models of concise narrative, crisply told, artistic in form, and often with a touch of surprise at the end. Other volumes of short stories are More Short Sixes, and Love in Old Cloathes. Jersey Street and Jersey Lane was a book which grew out of his Nutley life. He also wrote a play, The Tower of Babel, which was produced by Marie Wainwright in 1883. He died at Nutley, May 11, 1896. He was one of the first American authors to develop the short story as we know it to-day, and few of his successors have surpassed him in the light, sure style and the firmness of construction which are characteristic of his later work.
SOCIETY IN OUR TOWN
Life in a small town, which means any place of less than a hundred thousand people, is more interesting than life in a big city. Both places have their notables, but in the small town you know these people, in the city you only read about them in the papers. IN OUR TOWN is a series of portraits of the people of a typical small city of the Middle West, seen through the keen eyes of a newspaper editor. This story tells how the question of the social leadership of the town was finally settled.