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Caesar's Column
by Ignatius Donnelly
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This eBook was created by Norm Wolcott.



Caesar's Column by Ignatius Donnelly

Redactor's note: In this one of his last books Donnelly presages later futurist works such as "Brave New World" and "1984". The original scans and OCR were provided by Mr. J.B. Hare; for further information about Donnelly and this book see http://www.sacred-texts.com/utopia/cc/index.htm. There is only one footnote marked {fn1. ]

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CAESAR'S COLUMN

A Story of the Twentieth Century.

BY IGNATIUS DONNELLY.

writing as

EDMUND BOISGILBERT, M.D.

Chicago, F.J. Shulte & Co.

[1890]

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

To the Public

I THE GREAT CITY

II. MY ADVENTURE

III. THE BEGGAR'S HOME

IV. THE UNDER-WORLD

V. ESTELLA WASHINGTON

VI. THE INTERVIEW

VII. THE HIDING-PLACE

VIII. THE BROTHERHOOD

IX. THE POISONED KNIFE

X. PREPARATIONS FOR TO-NIGHT

XI. HOW THE WORLD CAME TO BE RUINED

XII. GABRIEL'S UTOPIA

XIII. THE COUNCIL OF THE OLIGARCHY

XIV. THE SPY'S STORY

XV. THE MASTER OF "THE DEMONS"

XVI. GABRIEL'S FOLLY

XVII. THE FLIGHT AND PURSUIT

XVIII. THE EXECUTION

XIX. THE MAMELUKES OF THE AIR

XX. THE WORKINGMEN'S MEETING

XXI. A SERMON OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

XXII. ESTELLA AND I

XXIII. MAX'S STORY-THE SONGSTRESS

XXIV. MAX'S STORY CONTINUED—THE JOURNEYMAN PRINTER

XXV. MAX'S STORY CONTINUED—THE DARK SHADOW

XXVI. MAX'S STORY CONTINUED—THE WIDOW AND HER SON

XXVII. MAX'S STORY CONTINUED—THE BLACKSMITH SHOP

XXVIII. MAX'S STORY CONCLUDED—THE UNEXPECTED HAPPENS

XXIX. ELYSIUM

XXX. UPON THE HOUSE-TOP

XXXI. "SHEOL"

XXXII. THE RAT-TRAP

XXXIII. "THE OCEAN OVERPEERS ITS LIST"

XXXIV. THE PRINCE GIVES HIS LAST BRIBE

XXXV. THE LIBERATED PRISONER

XXXVI. CAESAR ERECTS HIS MONUMENT

XXXVII. THE SECOND DAY

XXXVIII. THE FLIGHT

XXXIX. EUROPE

XL. THE GARDEN IN THE MOUNTAINS

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"The true poet is only a masked father-confessor, whose special function it is to exhibit what is dangerous in sentiment and pernicious in action, by a vivid picture of the consequences."—Goethe.

To the Public

It is to you, O thoughtful and considerate public, that I dedicate this book. May it, under the providence of God, do good to this generation and posterity!

I earnestly hope my meaning, in the writing thereof, may not be misapprehended.

It must not be thought, because I am constrained to describe the overthrow of civilization, that I desire it. The prophet is not responsible for the event he foretells. He may contemplate it with profoundest sorrow. Christ wept over the doom of Jerusalem.

Neither am I an anarchist: for I paint a dreadful picture of the world-wreck which successful anarchism would produce.

I seek to preach into the ears of the able and rich and powerful the great truth that neglect of the sufferings of their fellows, indifference to the great bond of brotherhood which lies at the base of Christianity, and blind, brutal and degrading worship of mere wealth, must—given time and pressure enough—eventuate in the overthrow of society and the destruction of civilization.

I come to the churches with my heart filled with the profoundest respect for the essentials of religion; I seek to show them why they have lost their hold upon the poor,—upon that vast multitude, the best-beloved of God's kingdom,—and I point out to them how they may regain it. I tell them that if Religion is to reassume her ancient station, as crowned mistress of the souls of men, she must stand, in shining armor bright, with the serpent beneath her feet, the champion and defender of mankind against all its oppressors.

The world, to-day, clamors for deeds, not creeds; for bread, not dogma; for charity, not ceremony; for love, not intellect.

Some will say the events herein described are absurdly impossible.

Who is it that is satisfied with the present unhappy condition of society? It is conceded that life is a dark and wretched failure for the great mass of mankind. The many are plundered to enrich the few. Vast combinations depress the price of labor and increase the cost of the necessaries of existence. The rich, as a rule, despise the poor; and the poor are coming to hate the rich. The face of labor grows sullen; the old tender Christian love is gone; standing armies are formed on one side, and great communistic organizations on the other; society divides itself into two hostile camps; no white flags pass from the one to the other. They wait only for the drum-beat and the trumpet to summon them to armed conflict.

These conditions have come about in less than a century; most of them in a quarter of a century. Multiply them by the years of another century, and who shall say that the events I depict are impossible? There is an acceleration of movement in human affairs even as there is in the operations of gravity. The dead missile out of space at last blazes, and the very air takes fire. The masses grow more intelligent as they grow more wretched; and more capable of cooperation as they become more desperate. The labor organizations of to-day would have been impossible fifty years ago. And what is to arrest the flow of effect from cause? What is to prevent the coming of the night if the earth continues to revolve on its axis? The fool may cry out: "There shall be no night!" But the feet of the hours march unrelentingly toward the darkness.

Some may think that, even if all this be true, "Caesar's Column" should not have been published. Will it arrest the moving evil to ignore its presence? What would be thought of the surgeon who, seeing upon his patient's lip the first nodule of the cancer, tells him there is no danger, and laughs him into security while the roots of the monster eat their way toward the great arteries? If my message be true it should be spoken; and the world should hear it. The cancer should be cut out while there is yet time. Any other course

"Will but skin and film the ulcerous place, While rank corruption, mining all beneath, infects unseen."

Believing, as I do, that I read the future aright, it would be criminal in me to remain silent. I plead for higher and nobler thoughts in the souls of men; for wider love and ampler charity in their hearts; for a renewal of the bond of brotherhood between the classes; for a reign of justice on earth that shall obliterate the cruel hates and passions which now divide the world.

If God notices anything so insignificant as this poor book, I pray that he may use it as an instrumentality of good for mankind; for he knows I love his human creatures, and would help them if I had the power.

CHAPTER I

THE GREAT CITY

[This book is a series of letters, from Gabriel Weltstein, in New York, to his brother, Heinrich Weltstein, in the State of Uganda, Africa.]

NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 1988

My Dear Brother:

Here I am, at last, in the great city. My eyes are weary with gazing, and my mouth speechless with admiration; but in my brain rings perpetually the thought: Wonderful!—wonderful!—most wonderful!

What an infinite thing is man, as revealed in the tremendous civilization he has built up! These swarming, laborious, all-capable ants seem great enough to attack heaven itself, if they could but find a resting-place for their ladders. Who can fix a limit to the intelligence or the achievements of our species?

But our admiration may be here, and our hearts elsewhere. And so from all this glory and splendor I turn back to the old homestead, amid the high mountain valleys of Africa; to the primitive, simple shepherd-life; to my beloved mother, to you and to all our dear ones. This gorgeous, gilded room fades away, and I see the leaning hills, the trickling streams, the deep gorges where our woolly thousands graze; and I hear once more the echoing Swiss horns of our herdsmen reverberating from the snow-tipped mountains. But my dream is gone. The roar of the mighty city rises around me like the bellow of many cataracts.

New York contains now ten million inhabitants; it is the largest city that is, or ever has been, in the world. It is difficult to say where it begins or ends: for the villas extend, in almost unbroken succession, clear to Philadelphia; while east, west and north noble habitations spread out mile after mile, far beyond the municipal limits.

But the wonderful city! Let me tell you of it.

As we approached it in our air-ship, coming from the east, we could see, a hundred miles before we reached the continent, the radiance of its millions of magnetic lights, reflected on the sky, like the glare of a great conflagration. These lights are not fed, as in the old time, from electric dynamos, but the magnetism of the planet itself is harnessed for the use of man. That marvelous earth-force which the Indians called "the dance of the spirits," and civilized man designated "the aurora borealis," is now used to illuminate this great metropolis, with a clear, soft, white light, like that of the full moon, but many times brighter. And the force is so cunningly conserved that it is returned to the earth, without any loss of magnetic power to the planet. Man has simply made a temporary loan from nature for which he pays no interest.

Night and day are all one, for the magnetic light increases automatically as the day-light wanes; and the business parts of the city swarm as much at midnight as at high noon. In the old times, I am told, part of the streets was reserved for foot-paths for men and women, while the middle was given up to horses and wheeled vehicles; and one could not pass from side to side without danger of being trampled to death by the horses. But as the city grew it was found that the pavements would not hold the mighty, surging multitudes; they were crowded into the streets, and many accidents occurred. The authorities were at length compelled to exclude all horses from the streets, in the business parts of the city, and raise the central parts to a level with the sidewalks, and give them up to the exclusive use of the pedestrians, erecting stone pillars here and there to divide the multitude moving in one direction from those flowing in another. These streets are covered with roofs of glass, which exclude the rain and snow, but not the air. And then the wonder and glory of the shops! They surpass all description. Below all the business streets are subterranean streets, where vast trains are drawn, by smokeless and noiseless electric motors, some carrying passengers, others freight. At every street corner there are electric elevators, by which passengers can ascend or descend to the trains. And high above the house-tops, built on steel pillars, there are other railroads, not like the unsightly elevated trains we saw pictures of in our school books, but crossing diagonally over the city, at a great height, so as to best economize time and distance.

The whole territory between Broadway and the Bowery and Broome Street and Houston Street is occupied by the depot grounds of the great inter-continental air-lines; and it is an astonishing sight to see the ships ascending and descending, like monstrous birds, black with swarming masses of passengers, to or from England, Europe, South America, the Pacific Coast, Australia, China, India and Japan.

These air-lines are of two kinds: the anchored and the independent. The former are hung, by revolving wheels, upon great wires suspended in the air; the wires held in place by metallic balloons, fish-shaped, made of aluminium, and constructed to turn with the wind so as to present always the least surface to the air-currents. These balloons, where the lines cross the oceans, are secured to huge floating islands of timber, which are in turn anchored to the bottom of the sea by four immense metallic cables, extending north, south, east and west, and powerful enough to resist any storms. These artificial islands contain dwellings, in which men reside, who keep up the supply of gas necessary for the balloons. The independent air-lines are huge cigar-shaped balloons, unattached to the earth, moving by electric power, with such tremendous speed and force as to be as little affected by the winds as a cannon ball. In fact, unless the wind is directly ahead the sails of the craft are so set as to take advantage of it like the sails of a ship; and the balloon rises or falls, as the birds do, by the angle at which it is placed to the wind, the stream of air forcing it up, or pressing it down, as the case may be. And just as the old-fashioned steam-ships were provided with boats, in which the passengers were expected to take refuge, if the ship was about to sink, so the upper decks of these air-vessels are supplied with parachutes, from which are suspended boats; and in case of accident two sailors and ten passengers are assigned to each parachute; and long practice has taught the bold craftsmen to descend gently and alight in the sea, even in stormy weather, with as much adroitness as a sea-gull. In fact, a whole population of air-sailors has grown up to manage these ships, never dreamed of by our ancestors. The speed of these aerial vessels is, as you know, very great—thirty-six hours suffices to pass from New York to London, in ordinary weather. The loss of life has been less than on the old-fashioned steamships; for, as those which go east move at a greater elevation than those going west, there is no danger of collisions; and they usually fly above the fogs which add so much to the dangers of sea-travel. In case of hurricanes they rise at once to the higher levels, above the storm; and, with our increased scientific knowledge, the coming of a cyclone is known for many days in advance; and even the stratum of air in which it will move can be foretold.

I could spend hours, my dear brother, telling you of the splendor of this hotel, called The Darwin, in honor of the great English philosopher of the last century. It occupies an entire block from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue, and from Forty-sixth Street to Forty-seventh. The whole structure consists of an infinite series of cunning adjustments, for the delight and gratification of the human creature. One object seems to be to relieve the guests from all necessity for muscular exertion. The ancient elevator, or "lift," as they called it in England, has expanded until now whole rooms, filled with ladies and gentlemen, are bodily carried up from the first story to the roof; a professional musician playing the while on the piano—not the old-fashioned thing our grandmothers used, but a huge instrument capable of giving forth all sounds of harmony from the trill of a nightingale to the thunders of an orchestra. And when you reach the roof of the hotel you find yourself in a glass-covered tropical forest, filled with the perfume of many flowers, and bright with the scintillating plumage of darting birds; all sounds of sweetness fill the air, and many glorious, star-eyed maidens, guests of the hotel, wander half seen amid the foliage, like the houris in the Mohammedan's heaven.

But as I found myself growing hungry I descended to the dining-room. It is three hundred feet long: a vast multitude were there eating in perfect silence. It is considered bad form to interrupt digestion with speech, as such a practice tends to draw the vital powers, it is said, away from the stomach to the head. Our forefathers were expected to shine in conversation, and be wise and witty while gulping their food between brilliant passages. I sat down at a table to which I was marshaled by a grave and reverend seignior in an imposing uniform. As I took my seat my weight set some machinery in motion. A few feet in front of me suddenly rose out of the table a large upright mirror, or such I took it to be; but instantly there appeared on its surface a grand bill of fare, each article being numbered. The whole world had been ransacked to produce the viands named in it; neither the frozen recesses of the north nor the sweltering regions of the south had been spared: every form of food, animal and vegetable, bird, beast, reptile, fish; the foot of an elephant, the hump of a buffalo, the edible bird-nests of China; snails, spiders, shell-fish, the strange and luscious creatures lately found in the extreme depths of the ocean and fished for with dynamite; in fact, every form of food pleasant to the palate of man was there. For, as you know, there are men who make fortunes now by preserving and breeding the game animals, like the deer, the moose, the elk, the buffalo, the antelope, the mountain sheep and goat, and many others, which but for their care would long since have become extinct. They select barren regions in mild climates, not fit for agriculture, and enclosing large tracts with wire fences, they raise great quantities of these valuable game animals, which they sell to the wealthy gourmands of the great cities, at very high prices.

I was perplexed, and, turning to the great man who stood near me, I began to name a few of the articles I wanted. He smiled complacently at my country ignorance, and called my attention to the fact that the table immediately before me contained hundreds of little knobs or buttons, each one numbered; and he told me that these were connected by electric wires with the kitchen of the hotel, and if I would observe the numbers attached to any articles in the bill of fare which I desired, and would touch the corresponding numbers of the knobs before me, my dinner would be ordered on a similar mirror in the kitchen, and speedily served. I did as he directed. In a little while an electric bell near me rang; the bill of fare disappeared from the mirror; there was a slight clicking sound; the table parted in front of me, the electric knobs moving aside; and up through the opening rose my dinner carefully arranged, as upon a table, which exactly filled the gap caused by the recession of that part of the original table which contained the electric buttons. I need not say I was astonished. I commenced to eat, and immediately the same bell, which had announced the disappearance of the bill of fare, rang again. I looked up, and the mirror now contained the name of every state in the Republic, from Hudson's Bay to the Isthmus of Darien; and the names of all the nations of the world; each name being numbered. My attendant, perceiving my perplexity, called my attention to the fact that the sides of the table which had brought up my dinner contained another set of electric buttons, corresponding with the numbers on the mirror; and he explained to me that if I would select any state or country and touch the corresponding button the news of the day, from that state or country, would appear in the mirror. He called my attention to, the fact that every guest in the room had in front of him a similar mirror, and many of them were reading the news of the day as they ate. I touched the knob corresponding with the name of the new state of Uganda, in Africa, and immediately there appeared in the mirror all the doings of the people of that state—its crimes, its accidents, its business, the output of its mines, the markets, the sayings and doings of its prominent men; in fact, the whole life of the community was unrolled before me like a panorama. I then touched the button for another African state, Nyanza; and at once I began to read of new lines of railroad; new steam-ship fleets upon the great lake; of large colonies of white men, settling new States, upon the higher lands of the interior; of their colleges, books, newspapers; and particularly of a dissertation upon the genius of Chaucer, written by a Zulu professor, which had created considerable interest among the learned societies of the Transvaal. I touched the button for China and read the important news that the Republican Congress of that great and highly civilized nation had decreed that English, the universal language of the rest of the globe, should be hereafter used in the courts of justice and taught in all the schools. Then came the news that a Manchurian professor, an iconoclast, had written a learned work, in English, to prove that George Washington's genius and moral greatness had been much over-rated by the partiality of his countrymen. He was answered by a learned doctor of Japan who argued that the greatness of all great men consisted simply in opportunity, and that for every illustrious name that shone in the pages of history, associated with important events, a hundred abler men had lived and died unknown. The battle was raging hotly, and all China and Japan were dividing into contending factions upon this great issue.

Our poor ignorant ancestors of a hundred years ago drank alcohol in various forms, in quantities which the system could not consume or assimilate, and it destroyed their organs and shortened their lives. Great agitations arose until the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages was prohibited over nearly all the world. At length the scientists observed that the craving was based on a natural want of the system; that alcohol was found in small quantities in nearly every article of food; and that the true course was to so increase the amount of alcohol in the food, without gratifying the palate, as to meet the real necessities of the system, and prevent a decrease of the vital powers.

It is laughable to read of those days when men were drugged with pills, boluses and powders. Now our physic is in our food; and the doctor prescribes a series of articles to be eaten or avoided, as the case may be. One can see at once by consulting his "vital-watch," which shows every change in the magnetic and electric forces of the body, just how his physical strength wanes or increases; and he can modify his diet accordingly; he can select, for instance, a dish highly charged with quinine or iron, and yet perfectly palatable; hence, among the wealthier classes, a man of one hundred is as common now-a-days as a man of seventy was a century ago; and many go far beyond that point, in full possession of all their faculties.

I glanced around the great dining-room and inspected my neighbors. They all carried the appearance of wealth; they were quiet, decorous and courteous. But I could not help noticing that the women, young and old, were much alike in some particulars, as if some general causes had molded them into the same form. Their brows were all fine—broad, square, and deep from the ear forward; and their jaws also were firmly developed, square like a soldier's; while the profiles were classic in their regularity, and marked by great firmness. The most peculiar feature was their eyes. They had none of that soft, gentle, benevolent look which so adorns the expression of my dear mother and other good women whom we know. On the contrary, their looks were bold, penetrating, immodest, if I may so express it, almost to fierceness: they challenged you; they invited you; they held intercourse with your soul.

The chief features in the expression of the men were incredulity, unbelief, cunning, observation, heartlessness. I did not see a good face in the whole room: powerful faces there were, I grant you; high noses, resolute mouths, fine brows; all the marks of shrewdness and energy; a forcible and capable race; but that was all. I did not see one, my dear brother of whom I could say, "That man would sacrifice himself for another; that man loves his fellow man."

I could not but think how universal and irresistible must have been the influences of the age that could mold all these Men and women into the same soulless likeness. I pitied them. I pitied mankind, caught in the grip of such wide-spreading tendencies. I said to myself: "Where is it all to end? What are we to expect of a race without heart or honor? What may we look for when the powers of the highest civilization supplement the instincts of tigers and wolves? Can the brain of man flourish when the heart is dead?"

I rose and left the room.

I had observed that the air of the hotel was sweeter, purer and cooler than that of the streets outside. I asked one of the attendants for an explanation. He took me out to where we could command a view of the whole building, and showed me that a great canvas pipe rose high above the hotel, and, tracing it upwards, far as the eye could reach, he pointed out a balloon, anchored by cables, so high up as to be dwarfed to a mere speck against the face of the blue sky. He told me that the great pipe was double; that through one division rose the hot, exhausted air of the hotel, and that the powerful draft so created operated machinery which pumped down the pure, sweet air from a higher region, several miles above the earth; and, the current once established, the weight of the colder atmosphere kept up the movement, and the air was then distributed by pipes to every part of the hotel. He told me also that the hospitals of the city were supplied in the same manner; and the result had been, be said, to diminish the mortality of the sick one-half; for the air so brought to them was perfectly free from bacteria and full of all life-giving properties. A company had been organized to supply the houses of the rich with his cold, pure air for so much a thousand feet, as long ago illuminating gas was furnished.

I could not help but think that there was need that some man should open connection with the upper regions of God's charity, and bring down the pure beneficent spirit of brotherly love to this afflicted earth, that it might spread through all the tainted hospitals of corruption for the healing of the hearts and souls of the people.

This attendant, a sort of upper-servant, I suppose, was quite courteous and polite, and, seeing that I was a stranger, he proceeded to tell me that the whole city was warmed with hot water, drawn from the profound depths of the earth, and distributed as drinking water was distributed a century ago, in pipes, to all the houses, for a fixed and very reasonable charge. This heat-supply is so uniform and so cheap that it has quite driven out all the old forms of fuel—wood, coal, natural gas, etc.

And then he told me something which shocked me greatly. You know that according to our old-fashioned ideas it is unjustifiable for any person to take his own life, and thus rush into the presence of his Maker before he is called. We are of the opinion of Hamlet that God has "fixed his canon 'gainst self-slaughter." Would you believe it, my dear brother, in this city they actually facilitate suicide! A race of philosophers has arisen in the last fifty years who argue that, as man was not consulted about his coming into the world, he has a perfect right to leave it whenever it becomes uncomfortable. These strange arguments were supplemented by the economists, always a powerful body in this utilitarian land, and they urged that, as men could not be prevented from destroying themselves, if they had made up their minds to do so, they might just as well shuffle off the mortal coil in the way that would give least trouble to their surviving fellow-citizens. That, as it was, they polluted the rivers, and even the reservoirs of drinking-water, with their dead bodies, and put the city to great expense and trouble to recover and identify them. Then came the humanitarians, who said that many persons, intent on suicide, but knowing nothing of the best means of effecting their object, tore themselves to pieces with cruel pistol shots or knife wounds, or took corrosive poisons, which subjected them to agonizing tortures for hours before death came to their relief; and they argued that if a man had determined to leave the world it was a matter of humanity to help him out of it by the pleasantest means possible. These views at length prevailed, and now in all the public squares or parks they have erected hand some houses, beautifully furnished, with baths and bedrooms. If a man has decided to die, he goes there. He is first photographed; then his name, if he sees fit to give it, is recorded, with his residence; and his directions are taken as to the disposition of his body. There are tables at which he can write his farewell letters to his friends. A doctor explains to him the nature and effect of the different poisons, and he selects the kind he prefers. He is expected to bring with him the clothes in which he intends to be cremated. He swallows a little pill, lies down upon a bed, or, if he prefers it, in his coffin; pleasant music is played for him; he goes to sleep, and wakes up on the other side of the great line. Every day hundreds of people, men and women, perish in this way; and they are borne off to the great furnaces for the dead, and consumed. The authorities assert that it is a marked improvement over the old-fashioned methods; but to my mind it is a shocking combination of impiety and mock-philanthropy. The truth is, that, in this vast, over-crowded city, man is a drug,—a superfluity,—and I think many men and women end their lives out of an overwhelming sense of their own insignificance;—in other words, from a mere weariness of feeling that they are nothing, they become nothing.

I must bring this letter to an end, but before retiring I shall make a visit to the grand parlors of the hotel. You suppose I will walk there. Not at all, my dear brother. I shall sit down in a chair; there is an electric magazine in the seat of it. I touch a spring, and away it goes. I guide it with my feet. I drive into one of the great elevators. I descend to the drawing-room floor. I touch the spring again, and in a few moments I am moving around the grand salon, steering myself clear of hundreds of similar chairs, occupied by fine-looking men or the beautiful, keen-eyed, unsympathetic women I have described. The race has grown in power and loveliness—I fear it has lost in lovableness.

Good-by. With love to all, I remain your affectionate brotherly

Gabriel Weltstein.

CHAPTER II.

MY ADVENTURE

My Dear Heinrich:

I little supposed when I wrote you yesterday that twenty four hours could so completely change my circumstances. Then I was a dweller in the palatial Darwin Hotel, luxuriating in all its magnificence. Now I am hiding in a strange house and trembling for my liberty;—but I will tell you all.

Yesterday morning, after I had disposed by sample of our wool, and had called upon the assayer of ores, but without finding him, to show him the specimens of our mineral discoveries, I returned to the hotel, and there, after obtaining directions from one of the clerks at the "Bureau of Information," I took the elevated train to the great Central Park.

I shall not pause to describe at length the splendors of this wonderful place; the wild beasts roaming about among the trees, apparently at dangerous liberty, but really inclosed by fine steel wire fences, almost invisible to the eye; the great lakes full of the different water fowl of the world; the air thick with birds distinguished for the sweetness of their song or the brightness of their plumage; the century-old trees, of great size and artistically grouped; beautiful children playing upon the greensward, accompanied by nurses and male servants; the whole scene constituting a holiday picture. Between the trees everywhere I saw the white and gleaming statues of the many hundreds of great men and women who have adorned the history of this country during the last two hundred years—poets, painters, musicians, soldiers, philanthropists, statesmen.

After feasting my eyes for some time upon this charming picture of rural beauty, I left the Park. Soon after I had passed through the outer gate,-guarded by sentinels to exclude the ragged and wretched multitude, but who at the same time gave courteous admission to streams of splendid carriages,—I was startled by loud cries of "Look out there!" I turned and saw a sight which made my blood run cold. A gray-haired, hump-backed beggar, clothed in rags, was crossing the street in front of a pair of handsome horses, attached to a magnificent open carriage. The burly, ill-looking flunkey who, clad in gorgeous livery, was holding the lines, had uttered the cry of warning, but at the same time had made no effort to check the rapid speed of his powerful horses. In an instant the beggar was down under the hoofs of the steeds. The flunkey laughed! I was but a few feet distant on the side-walk, and, quick as thought, I had the horses by their heads and pushed them back upon their haunches. At this moment the beggar, who had been under the feet of the horses, crawled out close to the front wheels of the carriage; and the driver, indignant that anything so contemptible should arrest the progress of his magnificent equipage, struck him a savage blow with his whip, as he was struggling to his feet. I saw the whip wind around his neck; and, letting go the horses' heads, who were now brought to a stand-still, I sprang forward, and as the whip descended for a second blow I caught it, dragged it from the hand of the miscreant, and with all my power laid it over him. Each blow where it touched his flesh brought the blood, and two long red gashes appeared instantaneously upon his face. He dropped his lines and shrieked in terror, holding his hands up to protect his face. Fortunately a crowd had assembled, and some poorly dressed men had seized the horses' heads, or there would have been a run-away. As I raised my hand to lash the brute again, a feminine shriek reached my ears, and I became aware that there were ladies in the open barouche. My sense of politeness overcame in an instant my rage, and I stepped back, and, taking off my hat, began to apologize and explain the cause of the difficulty. As I did so I observed that the occupants of the carriage were two young ladies, both strikingly handsome, but otherwise very unlike in appearance. The one nearest me, who had uttered the shrieks, was about twenty years of age, I should think, with aquiline features, and black eyes and hair; every detail of the face was perfect, but there was a bold, commonplace look out of the bright eyes. Her companion instantly arrested all my attention. It seemed to me I had never beheld a more beautiful. and striking countenance. She was younger, by two or three years, than her companion; her complexion was fairer; her long golden hair fell nearly to her waist, enfolding her like a magnificent, shining garment; her eyes were blue and large and set far apart; and there was in them, and in the whole contour of the face, a look of honesty and dignity, and calm intelligence, rarely witnessed in the countenance of woman. She did not appear to be at all alarmed; and when I told my story of the driver lashing the aged beggar, her face lighted up, and she said, with a look that thrilled me, and in a soft and gentle voice: "We are much obliged to you, sir; you did perfectly right."

I was about to reply, when I felt some one tugging fiercely at my coat, and turning around, I was surprised to find that the beggar was drawing me away from the carriage by main force. I was astonished also at the change in his appearance. The aspect of decrepitude had disappeared, a green patch that I had noticed covering one of his eyes had fallen off, and his black eyes shone with a look of command and power that was in marked contrast with his gray hair, his crooked back, and his rags.

"Come," he said, in a hoarse whisper, "come quickly, or you will be arrested and cast into prison."

"What for?" I asked.

"I will tell you hereafter—look!"

I looked around me and saw that a great crowd had collected as if by magic, for this city of ten millions of people so swarms with inhabitants that the slightest excitement will assemble a multitude in a few minutes. I noticed, too, in the midst of the mob, a uniformed policeman. The driver saw him also, and, recovering his courage, cried out, "Arrest him—arrest him." The policeman seized me by the collar. I observed that at that instant the beggar whispered something in his ear: the officer's hand released its hold upon my coat. The next moment the beggar cried out, "Back! Back! Look out! Dynamite!" The crowd crushed back on each other in great confusion; and I felt the beggar dragging me off, repeating his cry of warning—"Dynamite! Dynamite!"—at every step, until the mob scattered in wild confusion, and I found myself breathless in a small alley. "Come, come," cried my companion, "there is no time to lose. Hurry, hurry!" We rushed along, for the manner of the beggar inspired me with a terror I could not explain, until, after passing through several back streets and small alleys, with which the beggar seemed perfectly familiar, we emerged on a large street and soon took a corner elevator up to one of the railroads in the air which I have described. After traveling for two or three miles we exchanged to another train, and from that to still another, threading our way backward and forward over the top of the great city. At length, as if the beggar thought we had gone far enough to baffle pursuit, we descended upon a bustling business street, and paused at a corner; and the beggar appeared to be looking out for a hack. He permitted a dozen to pass us, however, carefully inspecting the driver of each. At last he hailed one, and we took our seats. He gave some whispered directions to the driver, and we dashed off.

"Throw that out of the window," he said.

I followed the direction of his eyes and saw that I still held in my hand the gold-mounted whip which I had snatched from the hand of the driver. In my excitement I had altogether forgotten its existence, but had instinctively held on to it.

"I will send it back to the owner," I said.

"No, no; throw it away: that is enough to convict you of highway robbery."

I started, and exclaimed:

"Nonsense; highway robbery to whip a blackguard?"

"Yes. You stop the carriage of an aristocrat; you drag a valuable whip out of the hand of his coachman; and you carry it off. If that is not highway robbery, what is it? Throw it away."

His manner was imperative. I dropped the whip out of the window and fell into a brown study. I occasionally stole a glance at my strange companion, who, with the dress of extreme poverty, and the gray hair of old age, had such a manner of authority and such an air of promptitude and decision.

After about a half-hour's ride we stopped at the corner of two streets in front of a plain but respectable-looking house. It seemed to be in the older part of the town. My companion paid the driver and dismissed him, and, opening the door, we entered.

I need not say that I began to think this man was something more than a beggar. But why this disguise? And who was he?

CHAPTER III.

THE BEGGAR'S HOME

The house we entered was furnished with a degree of splendor of which the external appearance gave no prophecy. We passed up the stairs and into a handsome room, hung around with pictures, and adorned with book-cases. The beggar left me.

I sat for some time looking at my surroundings, and wondering over the strange course of events which had brought me there, and still more at the actions of my mysterious companion. I felt assured now that his rags were simply a disguise, for he entered the house with all the air of a master; his language was well chosen and correctly spoken, and possessed those subtle tones and intonations which mark an educated mind. I was thinking over these matters when the door opened and a handsome young gentleman, arrayed in the height of the fashion, entered the room. I rose to my feet and began to apologize for my intrusion and to explain that I had been brought there by a beggar to whom I had rendered some trifling service in the street. The young gentleman listened, with a smiling face, and then, extending his hand, said:

"I am the beggar; and I do now what only the hurry and excitement prevented me from doing before—I thank you for the life you have saved. If you had not come to my rescue I should probably have been trampled to death under the feet of those vicious horses, or sadly beaten at least by that brutal driver."

The expression of my face doubtless showed my extreme astonishment, for he proceeded:

"I see you are surprised; but there are many strange things in this great city. I was disguised for a particular purpose, which I cannot explain to you. But may I not request the name of the gentleman to whom I am under so many obligations? Of course, if you have any reasons for concealing it, consider the question as not asked."

"No," I replied, Smiling, "I have no concealments. My name is Gabriel Weltstein; I live in the new state of Uganda, in the African confederation, in the mountains of Africa, near the town of Stanley; and I am engaged in sheep-raising, in the mountains. I belong to a colony of Swiss, from the canton of Uri, who, led by my grandfather, settled there. seventy years ago. I came to this city yesterday to see if I could not sell my wool directly to the manufacturers, and thus avoid the extortions of the great Wool Ring, which has not only our country but the whole world in its grasp; but I find the manufacturers are tied hand and foot, and afraid of that powerful combination; they do not dare to deal with me; and thus I shall have to dispose of my product at the old price. It is a shameful state of affairs in a country which calls itself free."

"Pardon me for a moment," said the young gentleman, and left the room. On his return I resumed:

"But now that I have told you who I am, will you be good enough to tell me something about yourself?"

"Certainly," he replied, "and with pleasure. I am a native of this city; my name is Maximilian Petion; by profession I am an attorney; I live in this house with my mother, to whom I shall soon have the pleasure of introducing you."

"Thank you," I replied, still studying the face of my new acquaintance. His complexion was dark, the eyes and hair almost black; the former very bright and penetrating; his brow was high, broad and square; his nose was prominent, and there was about the mouth an expression of firmness, not unmixed with kindness. Altogether it was a face to inspire respect and confidence. But I made up my mind not to trust too much to appearances. I could not forget the transformation which I had witnessed, from the rags of the ancient beggar to this well-dressed young gentleman. I knew that the criminal class were much given to such disguises. I thought it better therefore to ask some questions that might throw light upon the subject.

"May I inquire," I said, "what were your reasons for hurrying me away so swiftly and mysteriously from the gate of the Park?"

"Because," he replied, "you were in great danger, and you had rendered me a most important service. I could not leave you there to be arrested, and punished with a long period of imprisonment, because, following the impulse of your heart, you had saved my life and scourged the wretch who would have driven his horses over me."

"But why should I be punished with a long term of imprisonment? In my own country the act I performed would have received the applause of every one. Why did you not tell me to throw away that whip on the instant, so as to avoid the appearance of stealing it, and then remain to testify in my behalf if I had been arrested?"

"Then you do not know," he replied, "whose driver it was you horsewhipped?"

"No," I said; "how should I? I arrived here but yesterday."

"That was the carriage of Prince Cabano, the wealthiest and most vindictive man in the city. If you had been taken you would have been consigned to imprisonment for probably many years."

"Many years," I replied; "imprisoned for beating an insolent driver! Impossible. No jury would convict me of such an offense."

"Jury!" he said, with a bitter smile; "it is plain to see you are a stranger and come from a newly settled part of the world, and know nothing of our modern civilization. The jury would do whatever Prince Cabano desired them to do. Our courts, judges and juries are the merest tools of the rich. The image of justice has slipped the bandage from one eye, and now uses her scales to weigh the bribes she receives. An ordinary citizen has no more prospect of fair treatment in our courts, contending with a millionaire, than a new-born infant would have of life in the den of a wolf."

"But," I replied, rather hotly, "I should appeal for justice to the public through the newspapers."

"The newspapers!" he said, and his face darkened as he spoke; "the newspapers are simply the hired mouthpieces of power; the devil's advocates of modern civilization; their influence is always at the service of the highest bidder; it is their duty to suppress or pervert the truth, and they do it thoroughly. They are paid to mislead the people under the guise of defending them. A century ago this thing began, and it has gone on, growing worse and worse, until now the people laugh at the opinions of the press, and doubt the truth even of its reports of occurrences."

"Can this be possible?" I said.

"Let me demonstrate it to you," he replied, and, stepping to the wall, he spoke quietly into a telephone tube, of which there were a number ranged upon the wall, and said:

"Give me the particulars of the whipping of Prince Cabano's coachman, this afternoon, at the south gate of Central Park."

Almost immediately a bell rang, and on the opposite wall, in What I had supposed to be a mirror, appeared these words:

From the Evening Guardian:

A HORRIBLE OUTRAGE!

HIGHWAY ROBBERY!—ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS REWARD!

This afternoon, about three o'clock, an event transpired at the south gate of Central Park which shows the turbulent and vicious

spirit of the lower classes, and reinforces the demand we have so often made for repressive measures and a stronger government.

As the carriage of our honored fellow-citizen Prince Cabano, containing two ladies, members of his family, was quietly entering the Park, a tall, powerful ruffian, apparently a stranger, with long yellow hair, reaching to his shoulders, suddenly grasped a valuable gold-mounted whip out of the hands of the driver, and, because he resisted the robbery, beat him across the face, inflicting very severe wounds. The horses became very much terrified, and but for the fact that two worthy men, John Henderson of 5222 Delavan Street, and William Brooks of 7322 Bismarck Street, seized them by the head, a terrible accident would undoubtedly have occurred. Policeman number B 17822 took the villain prisoner, but he knocked the guardian of the law down and escaped, accompanied by a ragged old fellow who seemed to have been his accomplice. It is believed that the purpose of the thieves was to rob the occupants of the carriage, as the taller one approached the ladies, but just then his companion saw the policeman coming and gave him warning, and they fled together. Prince Cabano is naturally very much incensed at this outrage, and has offered a reward of one thousand dollars for the apprehension of either of the ruffians. They have been tracked for a considerable distance by the detectives; but after leaving the elevated cars all trace of them was suddenly and mysteriously lost. The whip was subsequently found on Bomba Street and identified. Neither of the criminals is known to the police. The taller one was quite young and fairly well dressed, and not ill-looking, while his companion had the appearance of a beggar, and seemed to be about seventy years of age. The Chief of Police will pay liberally for any information that may lead to the arrest of the robbers.

"There," said my companion, "what do you think of that?"

I need not say that I was paralyzed with this adroit mingling of fact and falsehood. I realized for the first time the perils of my situation. I was a stranger in the great city, without a friend or acquaintance, and hunted like a felon! While all these thoughts passed through my brain, there came also a pleasing flash of remembrance of that fair face, and that sweet and gentle smile, and that beaming look of gratitude and approval of my action in whipping the brutal driver. But if my new acquaintance was right; if neither courts nor juries nor newspapers nor public opinion could be appealed to for justice or protection, then indeed might I be sent to prison as a malefactor, for a term of years, for performing a most righteous act. If it was true, and I had heard something of the same sort in my far-away African home, that money ruled everything in this great country; and if his offended lordship desired to crush me, he could certainly do so. While I was buried in these reflections I had not failed to notice that an electric bell rang upon the side of the chamber and a small box opened, and the young gentleman advanced and took from the box a sheet of tissue paper, closely written. I recognized it as a telegram. He read it carefully, and I noticed him stealing glances at me, as if comparing the details of my appearance with something written on the paper. When he finished he advanced toward me, with a brighter look on his face, and, holding out his hand, said:

"I have already hailed you as my benefactor, my preserver; permit me now to call you my friend."

"Why do you say so?" I asked.

"Because," he replied, "I now know that every statement you made to me about yourself is literally true; and that in your personal character you deserve the respect and friendship of all men. You look perplexed. Let me explain. You told me some little time since your name and place of residence. I belong to a society which has its ramifications all over the world. When I stepped out of this room I sent an inquiry to the town near which you reside, and asked if such a person as you claimed to be lived there; what was his appearance, standing and character, and present residence. I shall not shock your modesty by reading the reply I have just received. You will pardon this distrust, but we here in the great city are suspicious, and properly so, of strangers, and even more so of each other. I did not know but that you were in the employment of the enemies of our society, and sought to get into my confidence by rendering me a service,—for the tricks to which the detectives resort are infinite. I now trust you implicitly, and you can command me in everything."

I took his hand warmly and thanked him cordially. It was impossible to longer doubt that frank and beaming face.

"But," I said, "are we not in great danger? Will not that hackman, for the sake of the reward, inform the police of our whereabouts?"

"No!" he said; "have no fears upon that score. Did you not observe that I permitted about a dozen hacks to pass me before I hailed the one that brought us here? That man wore on his dress a mark that told me he belonged to our Brotherhood. He knows that if he betrays us he will die within twenty-four hours, and that there is no power on earth could save him; if he fled to the uttermost ends of the earth his doom would overtake him with the certainty of fate. So have no uneasiness. We are as safe here as if a standing army of a hundred thousand of our defenders surrounded this house."

"Is that the explanation," I asked, "of the policeman releasing his grip upon my coat?"

"Yes," he replied, quietly.

"Now," said I, "who is this Prince Cabano, and how does he happen to be called Prince? I thought your Republic eschewed all titles of nobility."

"So it does," he replied, "by law. But we have a great many titles which are used socially, by courtesy. The Prince, for instance, when he comes to sign his name to a legal document, writes it Jacob Isaacs. But his father, when he grew exceedingly rich and ambitious, purchased a princedom in Italy for a large sum, and the government, being hard up for money, conferred the title of Prince with the estate. His son, the present Isaacs, succeeded, of course, to his estates and his title."

"'Isaacs," I said, "is a Jewish name?"

"Yes," he replied, "the aristocracy of the world is now almost altogether of Hebrew origin."

"Indeed," I asked, "how does that happen?"

"Well," he replied, "it was the old question of the survival of the fittest. Christianity fell upon the Jews, originally a race of agriculturists and shepherds, and forced them, for many centuries, through the most terrible ordeal of persecution the history of mankind bears any record of. Only the strong of body, the cunning of brain, the long-headed, the persistent, the men with capacity to live where a dog would starve, survived the awful trial. Like breeds like; and now the Christian world is paying, in tears and blood, for the sufferings inflicted by their bigoted and ignorant ancestors upon a noble race. When the time came for liberty and fair play the Jew was master in the contest with the Gentile, who hated and feared him.

"They are the great money-getters of the world. They rose from dealers in old clothes and peddlers of hats to merchants, to bankers, to princes. They were as merciless to the Christian as the Christian had been to them. They said, with Shylock: 'The villainy you teach me I will execute; and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.' The 'wheel of fortune has come full circle;' and the descendants of the old peddlers now own and inhabit the palaces where their ancestors once begged at the back doors for secondhand clothes; while the posterity of the former lords have been, in many cases, forced down into the swarming misery of the lower classes. This is a sad world, and to contemplate it is enough to make a man a philosopher; but he will scarcely know whether to belong to the laughing or the weeping school—whether to follow the example of Democritus or Heraclitus."

"And may I ask," I said, "what is the nature of your society?"

"I cannot tell you more at this time," he replied, "than that it is a political secret society having a membership of millions, and extending all over the world. Its purposes are the good of mankind. Some day, I hope, you may learn more about it. Come," he added, "let me show you my house, and introduce you to my mother."

Touching a secret spring in the wall, a hidden door flew open, and we entered a small room. I thought I had gotten into the dressing-room of a theater. Around the walls hung a multitude of costumes, male and female, of different sizes, and suited for all conditions of life. On the table were a collection of bottles, holding what I learned were hair dyes of different colors; and there was also an assortment of wigs, beards and mustaches of all hues. I thought I recognized among the former the coarse white hair of the quondam beggar. I pointed it out to him.

"Yes," he said, with a laugh, "I will not be able to wear that for some time to come."

Upon another table there was a formidable array of daggers, pistols and guns; and some singular-looking iron and copper things, which he told me were cartridges of dynamite and other deadly explosives.

I realized that my companion was a conspirator. But of what kind? I could not believe evil of him. There was a manliness and kindliness in his face which forbade such a thought; although the square chin and projecting jaws and firm-set mouth indicated a nature that could be most dangerous; and I noticed sometimes a restless, wild look in his eyes.

I followed him into another room, where he introduced me to a sweet-faced old lady, with the same broad brow and determined, but gentle, mouth which so distinguished her son. It was evident that there was great love between them, although her face wore a troubled and anxious look, at times, as she regarded him. It seemed to me that she knew he was engaged in dangerous enterprises.

She advanced to me with a smile and grasped both my hands with her own, as she said:

"My son has already told me that you have this day rendered him and me an inestimable service. I need not say that I thank you with all my heart."

I made light of the matter and assured her that I was under greater obligations to her son than he was to me. Soon after we sat down to dinner, a sumptuous meal, to which it seemed to me all parts of the world had contributed. We had much pleasant conversation, for both the host and hostess were persons of ripe information. In the old days our ancestors wasted years of valuable time in the study of languages that were no longer spoken on the earth; and civilization was thus cramped by the shadow of the ancient Roman Empire, whose dead but sceptered sovereigns still ruled the spirits of mankind from their urns. Now every hour is considered precious for the accumulation of actual knowledge of facts and things, and for the cultivation of the graces of the mind; so that mankind has become wise in breadth of knowledge, and sweet and gentle in manner. I expressed something of this thought to Maximilian, and he replied:

"Yes; it is the greatest of pities that so noble and beautiful a civilization should have become so hollow and rotten at the core."

"Rotten at the core!" I exclaimed, in astonishment; "what do you mean?"

"What I mean is that our civilization has grown to be a gorgeous shell; a mere mockery; a sham; outwardly fair and lovely, but inwardly full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. To think that mankind is so capable of good, and now so cultured and polished, and yet all above is cruelty, craft and destruction, and all below is suffering, wretchedness, sin and shame."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"That civilization is a gross and dreadful failure for seven-tenths of the human family; that seven-tenths of the backs of the world are insufficiently clothed; seven-tenths of the stomachs of the world are insufficiently fed; seven-tenths of the minds of the world are darkened and despairing, and filled with bitterness against the Author of the universe. It is pitiful to think what society is, and then to think what it might have been if our ancestors had not cast away their magnificent opportunities—had not thrown them into the pens of the swine of greed and gluttony."

"But," I replied, "the world does not look to me after that fashion. I have been expressing to my family my delight at viewing the vast triumphs of man over nature, by which the most secret powers of the universe have been captured and harnessed for the good of our race. Why, my friend, this city preaches at every pore, in every street and alley, in every shop and factory, the greatness of humanity, the splendor of civilization!"

"True, my friend," replied Maximilian; "but you see only the surface, the shell, the crust of life in this great metropolis. To-morrow we will go out together, and I shall show you the fruits of our modern civilization. I shall take you, not upon the upper deck of society, where the flags are flying, the breeze blowing, and the music playing, but down into the dark and stuffy depths of the hold of the great vessel, where the sweating gnomes, in the glare of the furnace-heat, furnish the power which drives the mighty ship resplendent through the seas of time. We will visit the Under-World."

But I must close for tonight, and subscribe myself affectionately your brother,

Gabriel

CHAPTER IV.

THE UNDER-WORLD

My Dear Heinrich:

Since I wrote you last night I have been through dreadful scenes. I have traversed death in life. I have looked with my very eyes on Hell. I am sick at heart. My soul sorrows for humanity.

Max (for so I have come to call my new-found friend) woke me very early, and we breakfasted by lamp-light.

Yesterday he had himself dyed my fair locks of a dark brown, almost black hue, and had cut off some of my hair's superfluous length. Then he sent for a tailor, who soon arrayed me in garments of the latest fashion and most perfect fit. Instead of the singular-looking mountaineer of the day before, for whom the police were diligently searching, and on whose head a reward of one thousand dollars had been placed (never before had my head been valued so highly), there was nothing in my appearance to distinguish me from the thousands of other gallant young gentlemen of this great city.

A carriage waited for us at the door. We chatted together as we drove along through the quiet streets.

I asked him:

"Are the degraded, and even the vicious, members of your Brotherhood?"

"No; not the criminal class," he replied, "for there is nothing in their wretched natures on which you can build confidence or trust. Only those who have fiber enough to persist in labor, under conditions which so strongly tend to drive them into crime, can be members of our Brotherhood."

"May I ask the number of your membership?"

"In the whole world they amount to more than one hundred millions."

I started with astonishment.

"But amid such numbers," I said, "there must certainly be some traitors?"

"True, but the great multitude have nothing to tell. They are the limbs and members, as it were, of the organization; the directing intelligence dwells elsewhere. The multitude are like the soldiers of an army; they will obey when the time comes; but they are not taken into the councils of war."

A half hour's ride brought us into the domain of the poor.

An endless procession of men and women with pails and baskets—small-sized pails and smaller baskets—streamed along the streets on their way to work. It was not yet six o'clock. I observed that both men and women were undersized, and that they all very much resembled each other; as if similar circumstances had squeezed them into the same likeness. There was no spring to their steps and no laughter in their eyes; all were spare of frame and stolid or hungry-looking. The faces of the middle-aged men were haggard and wore a hopeless expression. Many of them scowled at us, with a look of hatred, as we passed by them in our carriage. A more joyless, sullen crowd I never beheld. Street after street they unrolled before us; there seemed to be millions of them. They were all poorly clad, and many of them in rags. The women, with the last surviving instinct of the female heart, had tried to decorate themselves; and here and there I could observe a bit of bright color on bonnet or apron; but the bonnets represented the fashions of ten years past, and the aprons were too often frayed and darned, and relics of some former, more opulent owners. There were multitudes of children, but they were without the gambols which characterize the young of all animals; and there was not even the chirp of a winter bird about them; their faces were prematurely aged and hardened, and their bold eyes revealed that sin had no surprises for them. And every one of these showed that intense look which marks the awful struggle for food and life upon which they had just entered. The multitude seemed, so far as I could judge, to be of all nations commingled—the French, German, Irish, English—Hungarians, Italians, Russians, Jews, Christians, and even Chinese and Japanese; for the slant eyes of many, and their imperfect, Tartar-like features, reminded me that the laws made by the Republic, in the elder and better days, against the invasion of the Mongolian hordes, had long since become a dead letter.

What struck me most was their incalculable multitude and their silence. It seemed to me that I was witnessing the resurrection of the dead; and that these vast, streaming, endless swarms were the condemned, marching noiselessly as shades to unavoidable and everlasting misery. They seemed to me merely automata, in the hands of some ruthless and unrelenting destiny. They lived and moved, but they were without heart or hope. The illusions of the imagination, which beckon all of us forward, even over the roughest paths and through the darkest valleys and shadows of life, had departed from the scope of their vision. They knew that to-morrow could bring them nothing better than today—the same shameful, pitiable, contemptible, sordid struggle for a mere existence. If they produced children it was reluctantly or unmeaningly; for they knew the wretches must tread in their footsteps, and enter, like them, that narrow, gloomy, high-walled pathway, out of which they could never climb; which began almost in infancy and ended in a pauper's grave—nay, I am wrong, not even in a pauper's grave; for they might have claimed, perhaps, some sort of ownership over the earth which enfolded them, which touched them and mingled with their dust. But public safety and the demands of science had long ago decreed that they should be whisked off, as soon as dead, a score or two at a time, and swept on iron tram-cars into furnaces heated to such intense white heat that they dissolved, crackling, even as they entered the chamber, and rose in nameless gases through the high chimney. That towering structure was the sole memorial monument of millions of them. Their graveyard was the air. Nature reclaimed her own with such velocity that she seemed to grudge them the very dust she had lent them during their wretched pilgrimage. The busy, toiling, rushing, roaring, groaning universe, big with young, appeared to cry out: "Away with them! Away with them! They have had their hour! They have performed their task. Here are a billion spirits waiting for the substance we loaned them. The spirits are boundless in number; matter is scarce. Away with them!"

I need not tell you, my dear brother, of all the shops and factories we visited. It was the same story everywhere. Here we saw exemplified, in its full perfection, that "iron law of wages" which the old economists spoke of; that is to say, the reduction, by competition, of the wages of the worker to the least sum that will maintain life and muscular strength enough to do the work required, with such little surplus of vitality as might be necessary to perpetuate the wretched race; so that the world's work should not end with the death of one starved generation. I do not know if there is a hell in the spiritual universe, but if there is not, one should certainly be created for the souls of the men who originated, or justified, or enforced that damnable creed. It is enough, if nothing else, to make one a Christian, when he remembers how diametrically opposite to the teaching of the grand doctrine of brotherly love, enunciated by the gentle Nazarene, is this devil's creed of cruelty and murder, with all its steadily increasing world-horrors, before which to-day the universe stands appalled.

Oh! the pitiable scenes, my brother, that I have witnessed! Room after room; the endless succession of the stooped, silent toilers; old, young; men, women, children. And most pitiable of all, the leering, shameless looks of invitation cast upon us by the women, as they saw two well-dressed men pass by them. It was not love, nor license, nor even lust; it was degradation,—willing to exchange everything for a little more bread. And such rooms—garrets, sheds—dark, foul, gloomy; overcrowded; with such a stench in the thick air as made us gasp when entering it; an atmosphere full of life, hostile to the life of man. Think, my brother, as you sit upon your mountain side; your gentle sheep feeding around you; breathing the exquisite air of those elevated regions; and looking off over the mysterious, ancient world, and the great river valleys leading down to the marvelous Nile-land afar,—land of temples, ruins, pyramids,—cradle of civilization, grave of buried empires,—think, I say, of these millions condemned to live their brief, hopeless span of existence under such awful conditions! See them as they eat their mid-day meal. No delightful pause from pleasant labor; no brightly arrayed table; no laughing and loving faces around a plenteous board, with delicacies from all parts of the world; no agreeable interchange of wisdom and wit and courtesy and merriment. No; none of these. Without stopping in their work, under the eyes of sullen task-masters, they snatch bites out of their hard, dark bread, like wild animals, and devour it ravenously.{fr. 1}

Toil, toil, toil, from early morn until late at night; then home they swarm; tumble into their wretched beds; snatch a few hours of disturbed sleep, battling with vermin, in a polluted atmosphere; and then up again and to work; and so on, and on, in endless, mirthless, hopeless round; until, in a few years, consumed with disease, mere rotten masses of painful wretchedness, they die, and are wheeled off to the great

I asked one of the foremen what wages these men and women received. He told me. It seemed impossible that human life could be maintained upon such a pittance. I then asked whether they ever ate meat. "No," he said, "except when they had a rat or mouse" "A rat or mouse!" I exclaimed. "Oh yes," he replied, "the rats and mice were important articles of diet,—just as they had been for centuries in China. The little children, not yet able to work, fished for them in the sewers, with hook and line, precisely as they had done a century ago in Paris, during the great German siege. A dog," he added, "was a great treat. When the authorities killed the vagrant hounds there was a big scramble among the poor for the bodies."

I was shocked at these statements; and then I remembered that some philosopher had argued that cannibalism had survived almost to our own times, in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, because they had contained no animals of large size with which the inhabitants could satisfy the dreadful craving of the system for flesh-food; and hence they devoured their captives.

"Do these people ever marry?" I inquired.

"Marry!" he exclaimed, with a laugh; "why, they could not afford to pay the fee required by law. And why should they marry? There is no virtue among them. No," he said, "they had almost gotten down to the condition of the Australian savages, who, if not prevented by the police, would consummate their animal-like nuptials in the public streets."

Maximilian told me that this man was one of the Brotherhood. I did not wonder at it.

From the shops and mills of honest industry, Maximilian led me—it was still broad daylight—into the criminal quarters. We saw the wild beasts in their lairs; in the iron cages of circumstance which civilization has built around them, from which they too readily break out to desolate their fellow-creatures. But here, too, were the fruits of misgovernment. If it were possible we might trace back from yonder robber and murderer—a human hyena—the long ancestral line of brutality, until we see it starting from some poor peasant of the Middle Ages, trampled into crime under the feet of feudalism. The little seed of weakness or wickedness has been carefully nursed by society, generation after generation, until it has blossomed at last in this destructive monster. Civilization has formulated a new variety of the genus homo—and it must inevitably perpetuate its kind.

The few prey on the many; and in turn a few of the many prey upon all. These are the brutal violators of justice, who go to prison, or to the scaffold, for breaking through a code of laws under which peaceful but universal injustice is wrought. If there were enough of these outlaws they might establish a system of jurisprudence for the world under which it would be lawful to rob and murder by the rule of the strong right hand, but criminal to reduce millions to wretchedness by subtle and cunning arts; and, hoity-toity, the prisons would change their tenants, and the brutal plunderers of the few would give place to the cultured spoilers of the many.

And when you come to look at it, my brother, how shall we compare the conditions of the well-to-do-man, who has been merely robbed of his watch and purse, even at the cost of a broken head, which will heal in a few days, with the awful doom of the poor multitude, who from the cradle to the grave work without joy and live without hope? Who is there that would take back his watch and purse at the cost of changing places with one of these wretches?

And who is there that, if the choice were presented to him, would not prefer instant death, which is but a change of conditions, a flight from world to world, or at worst annihilation, rather than to be hurled into the living tomb which I have depicted, there to grovel and writhe, pressed down by the sordid mass around him, until death comes to his relief?

And so it seems to me that, in the final analysis of reason, the great criminals of the world are not these wild beasts, who break through all laws, whose selfishness takes the form of the bloody knife, the firebrand, or the bludgeon; but those who, equally selfish, corrupt the foundations of government and create laws and conditions by which millions suffer, and out of which these murderers and robbers naturally and unavoidably arise.

But I must bring this long letter to a conclusion, and subscribe myself, with love to all,

Your affectionate brother, Gabriel

CHAPTER V.

ESTELLA WASHINGTON

My Dear Heinrich:

One morning after breakfast, Max and I were seated in the library, enjoying our matutinal cigars, when, the conversation flagging, I asked Maximilian whether he had noticed the two young ladies who were in the Prince of Cabano's carriage the morning I whipped the driver. He replied that he had not observed them particularly, as he was too much excited and alarmed for my safety to pay especial attention to anything else; but he had seen that there were two young women in the barouche, and his glance had shown him they were both handsome.

"Have you any idea who they were?" I asked after a pause, for I shrank from revealing the interest I took in one of them.

"No," said he, indifferently; "probably a couple of the Prince's mistresses."

The word stung me like an adder; and I half rose from my chair, my face suffused and my eyes indignant.

"Why, what is the matter?" asked Maximilian; "I hope I have said nothing to offend you."

I fell back in my chair, ashamed of the exhibition of feeling into which I had been momentarily betrayed, and replied:

"Oh, no; but I am sure you are wrong. If you had looked, for but a moment, at the younger of the two, you would never have made such a remark."

"I meant no harm," he answered, "but the Prince is a widower; he has a perfect harem in his palace; he has his agents at work everywhere buying up handsome women; and when I saw two such in his carriage, I naturally came to the conclusion that they were of that character."

"Buying up women!" I exclaimed; "what are you talking about? This is free America, and the twentieth century. Do you dream that it is a Mohammedan land?"

"It isn't anything half so good," he retorted; "it is enslaved America; and the older we grow the worse for us. There was a golden age once in America—an age of liberty; of comparatively equal distribution of wealth; of democratic institutions. Now we have but the shell and semblance of all that. We are a Republic only in name; free only in forms. Mohammedanism—and we must do the Arabian prophet the justice to say that he established a religion of temperance and cleanliness, without a single superstition—never knew, in its worst estate, a more complete and abominable despotism than that under which we live. And as it would be worse to starve to death in sight of the most delicious viands than in the midst of a foodless desert, so the very assertions, constantly dinned in our ears by the hireling newspapers, that we are the freest people on earth, serve only to make our slavery more bitter and unbearable. But as to the buying up of women for the harems of the wealthy, that is an old story, my dear friend. More than a century ago the editor of a leading journal in London was imprisoned for exposing it. The virtuous community punished the man who protested against the sin, and took the sinners to its loving bosom. And in this last century matters have grown every day worse and worse. Starvation overrides all moralities; the convictions of the mind give way to the necessities of the body. The poet said long ago:

"'Women are not In their best fortunes strong, but want will perjure The ne'er-touched vestal.'

"But he need not have confined this observation to women. The strongest resolves of men melt in the fire of want like figures of wax. It is simply a question of increasing the pressure to find the point where virtue inevitably breaks. Morality, in man or woman, is a magnificent flower which blossoms only in the rich soil of prosperity: impoverish the land and the bloom withers. If there are cases that seem to you otherwise, it is simply because the pressure has not been great enough; sufficient nourishment has not yet been withdrawn from the soil. Dignity, decency, honor, fade away when man or woman is reduced to shabby, shameful, degrading, cruel wretchedness. Before the clamors of the stomach the soul is silent."

"I cannot believe that," I replied; "look at the martyrs who have perished in the flames for an opinion."

"Yes," he said, "it is easy to die in an ecstasy of enthusiasm for a creed, with all the world looking on; to exchange life for eternal glory; but put the virgin, who would face without shrinking the flames or the wild beasts of the arena, into some wretched garret, in some miserable alley, surrounded by the low, the ignorant, the vile; close every avenue and prospect of hope; shut off every ennobling thought or sight or deed; and then subject the emaciated frame to endless toil and hopeless hunger, and the very fibers of the soul will rot under the debasing ordeal; and there is nothing left but the bare animal, that must be fed at whatever sacrifice. And remember, my dear fellow, that chastity is a flower of civilization. Barbarism knows nothing of it. The woman with the least is, among many tribes, mostly highly esteemed, and sought after by the young men for wedlock."

"My dear Maximilian," I said, "these are debasing views to take of life. Purity is natural to woman. You will see it oftentimes among savages. But, to recur to the subject we were speaking of. I feel very confident that the younger of those two women I saw in that carriage is pure. God never placed such a majestic and noble countenance over a corrupt soul. The face is transparent; the spirit looks out of the great eyes; and it is a spirit of dignity, nobleness, grace and goodness."

"Why," said he, laughing, "the barbed arrow of Master Cupid, my dear Gabriel, has penetrated quite through all the plates of your philosophy."

"I will not confess that," I replied; "but I will admit that I would like to know something more about that young lady, for I never saw a face that interested me half so much."

"Now," said he, "see what it is to have a friend. I can find out for you all that is known about her. We have members of our society in the household of every rich man in New York. I will first find out who she is. I will ask the Master of the Servants, who is a member of our Brotherhood, who were the two ladies out riding at the time of our adventure. I can communicate with him in cipher."

He went to the wall; touched a spring; a door flew open; a receptacle containing pen, ink and paper appeared; he wrote a message, placed it in an interior cavity, which connected with a pneumatic tube, rang a bell, and in a few minutes another bell rang, and he withdrew from a similar cavity a written message. He read out to me the following:

"The elder lady, Miss Frederika Bowers; the younger, Miss Estella Washington; both members of the Prince of Cabano's household."

"Estella Washington," I repeated; "a noble name. Can you tell me anything about her?"

"Certainly," he replied; "we have a Bureau of Inquiry connected with our society, and we possess the most complete information, not only as to our own members, but as to almost every one else in the community of any note. Wait a moment."

He opened the same receptacle in the wall, wrote a few words on a sheet of paper, and dispatched it by the pneumatic tube to the central office of that district, whence it was forwarded at once to its address. It was probably fifteen minutes before the reply arrived. It read as follows:

Miss ESTELLA WASHINGTON.—Aged eighteen. Appearance: Person tall and graceful; complexion fair; eyes blue; hair long and golden; face handsome. Pedigree: A lineal descendant of Lawrence Washington, brother of the first President of the Republic. Parents: William Washington and Sophia, his wife. Father, a graduate of the University of Virginia; professor of Indo-European literature for ten years in Harvard University. Grandfather, Lawrence Washington, a judge of the Supreme Court of the United States for fifteen years. Sophia, mother of Estella, nee Wainwright, an accomplished Greek and Sanscrit scholar, daughter of Professor Elias Wainwright, who occupied the chair of psychological science in Yale College for twenty years. Families of both parents people of great learning and social position, but not wealthy in any of the branches. History: Father died when Estella was eight years old, leaving his family poor. Her mother, after a hard struggle with poverty, died two years later. Estella, then ten years old, was adopted by Maria, widow of George Washington, brother of Estella's father, who had subsequently married one Ezekiel Plunkett, who is also dead. Maria Plunkett is a woman of low origin and sordid nature, with a large share of cunning; she lives at No. 2682 Grand Avenue. She had observed that Estella gave promise of great beauty, and as none of the other

relatives put in a claim for the child, she took possession of her, with intent to educate her highly, improve her appearance by all the arts known to such women, and eventually sell her for a large sun, to some wealthy aristocrat as a mistress; believing that her honorable descent would increase the price which her personal charms would bring. On the 5th day of last month she sold her, for $5,000, to the Master of the Servants of the so-called Prince of Cabano; and she was taken to his house. Estella who is quite ignorant of the wickedness of the world, or the true character of her aunt, for whom she entertains a warm feeling of gratitude and affection, believes that she is to serve as lady-companion for Miss Frederika Bowers, the favorite mistress of the Prince, but whom Estella supposes to be his niece.

You can imagine, my dear brother—for you have a kind and sensitive heart, and love your wife—the pangs that shot through me, and distorted my very soul, as I listened to this dreadful narrative. Its calm, dispassionate, official character, while it confirmed its truth, added to the horrors of the awful story of crime! Think of it! a pure, beautiful, cultured, confiding girl, scarcely yet a woman, consigned to a terrible fate, by one whom she loved and trusted. And the lurid light it threw on the state of society in which such a sacrifice could be possible! I forgot every pretense of indifference, which I had been trying to maintain before Maximilian, and, springing up, every fiber quivering, I cried out:

"She must be saved!"

Maximilian, too, although colder-blooded, and hardened by contact with this debased age, was also stirred to his depths; his face was flushed, and he seized me by the hand. He said:

"I will help you, my friend."

"But what can we do?" I asked.

"We should see her at once," he replied, "and, if it is not yet too late, carry her away from that damnable place, that house of hell, and its devilish owner, who preys on innocence and youth. We have one thing in our favor: the Master of the Servants, who bought Estella, is the same person who answered my first message. He belongs, as I told you, to our Brotherhood. He is in my power. He will give us access to the poor girl, and will do whatever is necessary to be done. Come, let us go!"

Those thin, firm lips were more firmly set than ever; the handsome eyes flashed with a fierce light; he hurried for an instant into his secret room.

"Take this magazine pistol," he said, "and this knife," handing me a long bowie-knife covered with a handsome, gold-embossed sheath; "we are going into a den of infamy where everything is possible. Never unsheathe that knife until you are compelled to use it, for a scratch from it is certain and instant death; it is charged with the most deadly poison the art of the chemist has been able to produce; the secret is known only to our Brotherhood; the discoverer is an Italian professor, a member of our society."

CHAPTER VI.

THE INTERVIEW

Mounting to one of the electrical railroads, we were soon at the house of the Prince. Passing around to the servants' entrance of the palace, Maximilian sent in his card to the Master of the Servants, who soon appeared, bowing deferentially to my friend. We were ushered into his private room. Maximilian first locked the door; he then examined the room carefully, to see if there was any one hidden behind the tapestry or furniture; for the room, like every part of the palace, was furnished in the most lavish and extravagant style. Satisfied with his search, he turned to Rudolph, as the Master of the Servants was called, and handed him the message he had received, which gave the history of Estella.

"Read it," he said.

Rudolph read it with a troubled countenance.

"Yes," he said, "I am familiar with most of the facts here stated, and believe them all to be true. What would you have me do?"

"First," said Maximilian, "we desire to know if Estella is still in ignorance of the purpose for which she was brought here."

"Yes," he replied; "Frederika is jealous of her, as I can see, and has contrived to keep her out of the Prince's sight. She has no desire to be supplanted by a younger and fairer woman."

"God be praised for that jealousy," exclaimed Maximilian. "We must see Estella; can you manage it for us?"

"Yes," he said, "I will bring her here. I know she is in the palace. I saw her but a few moments since. Wait for Me." "Stop," said Maximilian, "have you the receipt for the $5,000 signed by Mrs. Plunkett?"

"No; but I can get it."

"Do so, pray; and when you bring her here introduce me to her as Mr. Martin, and my friend here as Mr. Henry. She may refuse our assistance, and we must provide against the revenge of the Prince."

"I will do as you command," replied Rudolph, who acted throughout as if he felt himself in the presence of a superior officer.

As we sat waiting his return I was in a state of considerable excitement. Delight, to know that she was still the pure angel I had worshiped in my dreams, contended with trepidation as I felt I must soon stand in her presence.

The door opened and Rudolph entered; behind him came the tall form of the beautiful girl I had seen in the carriage: she seemed to me fairer than ever. Her eyes first fell upon me; she started and blushed. It was evident she recognized me; and I fancied the recognition was not unpleasant to her. She then turned to Maximilian and then to Rudolph, who introduced us as we had requested. I offered her a chair. She sat down, evidently astonished at such an interview, and yet entirely mistress of herself. After a moment's pause,—for Maximilian, as he told me afterwards, was too bewildered with her splendid beauty to speak,—she said, in a sweet and gentle voice:

"Mr. Rudolph tells me that you desire to speak to me on matters of importance."

At a sign from Maximilian Rudolph closed and locked the door. She started, and it seemed to me that her eyes turned to me with more confidence than to either of the others.

"Miss Washington," said Maximilian, "it is true we desire to speak with you on matters of the greatest moment to yourself. But we shall say things so surprising to you, so harsh and cruel, so utterly in conflict with your present opinions, that I scarce know how to begin."

She had grown paler during this speech, and I then said:

"Be assured that nothing but the profound respect we feel for you, and the greatest desire to serve you, and save you from ruin, could have induced us to intrude upon you."

Her face showed her increasing alarm; she placed her hand on her heart, as if to still its beatings, and then, with constrained dignity, replied:

"I do not understand you, gentlemen. I do not know what the dangers are to which you allude. Can you not speak plainly?"

"My friend here, Mr. Henry," said Maximilian, looking at me, "you have, I perceive, already recognized."

"Yes," she said, with another blush, "if I am not mistaken, he is the gentleman who saved the life of a poor beggar, some days since, and punished, as he deserved, our insolent driver. Miss Frederika, the Prince's niece, has, at my request, refused since that time to permit him to drive us when we go out together, as we often do. I am glad to thank you again," she said, with a charmingly ingenuous air, "for your noble act in saving that poor man's life."

"It was nothing," I said, "but if the service was of any value it has been a thousand times repaid by your kind words."

"You can easily imagine," said Maximilian, "that my friend here, after that interview, was naturally curious to find out something about you."

She blushed and cast down her eyes; and the thought flashed across my mind that perhaps she had been likewise curious to find out something about me.

"I am a member," said Maximilian, "of a secret society. We have a 'Bureau of Inquiry' whose business it is to collect information, for the use of the society, concerning every person of any note. This information is carefully tabulated and preserved, and added to from day to day; so that at any moment it is subject to the call of our officers. When my friend desired to know something about you" (here the blue, wondering eyes were cast down again), "I sent a message to our Bureau of Inquiry, and received a reply which I have here. I fear to show it to you. The shock will be too great to learn in a moment the utter baseness of one in whom you have trusted. I fear you have not the courage to endure such a blow; and at the same time I know of no better way to communicate to your purity and innocence the shocking facts which it is my duty to disclose."

Estella smiled, and reached forth her hand for the paper with the dignity of conscious courage and high blood.

"Let me read it," she said; "I do not think it can tell me anything I cannot endure."

Maximilian delivered the paper into her hand. I watched her face as she read it. At first there was a look of wonder at the minuteness of the knowledge of her family which the paper revealed; then the interest became more intense; then the eyebrows began to rise and the blue eyes to dilate with horror; then an expression of scorn swept over her face; and as she read the last word she flung the paper from her as if it had been a serpent, and rising up, yes, towering, a splendid image of wrath, she turned upon us and cried out:

"This is a base falsehood! A cowardly trick to wound me! A shameful attempt to injure my dear aunt."

And, wheeling around on Rudolph, her eyes blazing, she said:

"Unlock that door! I shall reveal at once to the Prince this attack on his good name and Miss Frederika. How dare you bring these men here with such falsehoods?"

Rudolph, alarmed for himself, hung his head in silence. He was trembling violently.

"Rudolph," said Maximilian, solemnly, "I call upon you, by the oath you have taken, to say to this lady whether or not the contents of that paper are true."

"I believe them to be true," responded Rudolph, in a low tone.

It was wonderful to see the fine indignation, the keen penetration that shone in Estella's eyes, as she looked first at Rudolph and then at Maximilian.

"Rudolph," said Maximilian, "by the oath you have taken, tell Miss Washington whether or not you paid $5,000 to her aunt, Maria Plunkett, for the purchase of her body, as set forth in that paper."

"It is true," replied Rudolph, in the same low tone.

"It is false!" cried Estella,—and yet I thought there was that in her tone which indicated that the hideous doubt had begun to enter her soul.

"Rudolph," said Maximilian, "tell this lady whether you took a receipt from her aunt for the money you paid for her."

"I did," replied Rudolph.

"Miss Washington," said Maximilian, like a lawyer who has reached his crucial question, for he was a trained attorney, "would you recognize your aunt's signature if you saw it?"

"Certainly."

"You have often seen her write?"

"Yes; hundreds of times."

"Have you any reason to distrust this good man, Rudolph? Do you not know that in testifying to the truth he runs the risk of his own destruction?"

"Yes, yes," she said, and there was a wild and worried look in her eyes.

"Read the receipt, Rudolph," said Maximilian.

Rudolph read, in the same low and almost trembling tones, the following:

NEW YORK, August 5th, 1988.—Received of Matthew Rudolph,

for the Prince of Cabano, the sum of five thousand dollars, in consideration of which I have delivered to the said Prince of Cabano the body of my niece, Estella Washington; and I hereby agree, as the custodian of the said Estella Washington, never to demand any further payment, from the said Prince of Cabano, on account of my said niece, and never to reclaim her; and I also pledge myself never to reveal to any of the relatives of the said Estella Washington her place of residence.

(Signed) Maria Plunkett.

As he finished reading Estella seized the receipt quickly out of his hands, and fixed her eyes eagerly upon the signature. In a moment she became deadly pale, and would have fallen on the floor, but that I caught her in my arms—(oh, precious burden!)—and bore her to a sofa. Rudolph brought some water and bathed her face. In a few minutes she recovered consciousness. She looked at us curiously at first, and then, as memory returned to her, an agonized and distraught look passed over her features, and I feared she would faint again. I held some water to her lips. She looked at me with an intense look as I knelt at her side. Then hey eyes passed to Maximilian and Rudolph, who stood respectfully a little distance from her. The tears flowed down her face. Then a new thought seemed to strike her, and she rose to a sitting posture.

"It cannot be true. My aunt could not do it. You are strangers to me. It is a conspiracy. I will ask Frederika."

"No! no!" said Rudolph; "not Frederika; it would not be to her interest to tell you the truth. But is there any one of the servants in whom you have more confidence than all the others?"

"Yes," she said, "there is Mary Callaghan, an honest girl, if there is one anywhere. I think she loves me; and I do not believe she would deceive me."

"Then," said Rudolph, "you shall send for her to come here. None of us shall speak to her lest you might think we did so to prompt her. We will hide behind the tapestry. Dry your tears; ring for a servant, and request Mary to come to you, and then ask her such questions as you choose."

This was done, and in a few moments Mary appeared—an honest, stout, rosy-cheeked Irish girl, with the frank blue eyes and kindly smile of her people.

"Mary," said Estella, "you have always been kind to me. Do you love me sufficiently to tell me the truth if I ask you some questions?"

"Sure, and you may do so, my dear," said Mary.

"Then, Mary, tell me, is Frederika the Prince of Cabano's niece?"

"Niver a drop's blood to him," replied Mary.

"What is she doing in his house, then?" asked Estella.

"Sure, it would be as much as my place is worth, ma'am, to answer that question; and hard enough it is for an honest girl to get a place now-a-days. If it hadn't been for Barney McGuiggan, who married my brother's sister-in-law, and who is own cousin to Mr. Flaherty, the butler's second assistant, I couldn't have got the place I have at all, at all. And if I said a word against Miss Frederika, out I would go, and where would I find another place?"

"But, Mary, if you speak the truth no harm shall follow to you. I shall never repeat what you say. I do not ask out of idle curiosity, but much depends on your answer."

"Indeed, ma'am," replied Mary, "if you weren't as innocent as ye're purty, you would have found out the answer to your own question long ago. Faith, an' don't everybody in the house know she's"—here she approached, and whispered solemnly in her ear—"she's the Prince's favorite mistress?"

Estella recoiled. After a pause she said:

"And, Mary, who are the other young ladies we call the Prince's cousins—Miss Lucy, Miss Julia and the rest?"

"Ivery one of them's the same. It's just as I told Hannah, the cook's scullion; I didn't belave ye knew a word of what was going on in this house. And didn't I tell her that Miss Frederika was contriving to kape you out of the Prince's sight.; and that was the rason she took you out riding for hours ivery day, and made you sleep in a remote part of the palace; for if the Prince ever clapped his two ougly eyes upon you it would be all up wid Madame Frederika."

I could see from where I was hidden that Estella grasped the back of a chair for support, and she said in a low voice:

"You may go, Mary; I am much obliged to you for your friendship and honesty."

We found her sitting in the chair, with her hands over her face, sobbing convulsively. At last she looked around upon us and cried out:

"Oh my God! What shall I do? I am sold—sold—a helpless slave. Oh, it is horrible!"

"You will never be without friends while we live," I said, advancing to her side.

"But I must fly," she cried out, "and how—where?"

"My dear Miss Washington," said Maximilian, in his kindest tones, "I have a dear mother, who will be glad to welcome you as her own child; and in our quiet home you can remain, safe from the power of the Prince, until you have time to think out your future course of life; and if you conclude to remain with us forever you will be only the more welcome. Here is Rudolph, who will vouch for me that I am an honorable man, and that you can trust yourself to me with safety."

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