JOY IN THE MORNING
MARY RAYMOND SHIPMAN ANDREWS
New York Charles Scribner's Sons
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By MARY R.S. ANDREWS
JOY IN THE MORNING THE ETERNAL FEMININE AUGUST FIRST THE ETERNAL MASCULINE THE MILITANTS BOB AND THE GUIDES CROSSES OF WAR HER COUNTRY OLD GLORY THE COUNSEL ASSIGNED THE COURAGE OF THE COMMONPLACE THE LIFTED BANDAGE THE PERFECT TRIBUTE
Charles Scribner's Sons
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To the two stars of a service flag, to a brother and a son who served in France, this book is dedicated. No book, to my thinking, were one Shakespere and Isaiah rolled together, might fittingly answer the honor which they, with four million more American soldiers, have brought to their own. So that the stories march out very proudly, headed by the names of
CHAPLAIN HERBERT SHIPMAN
CAPTAIN PAUL SHIPMAN ANDREWS
Now that the tide of Khaki has set toward our shores instead of away; now that the streets are filled with splendid boys with gold chevrons of foreign service or no less honorable silver chevrons of service here; now that the dear lads who sleep in France know that the "torch was caught" from their hands, and that faith with them was kept; now that—thank God, who, after all, rules—the war is over, there is an old word close to the thought of the nation. "Heaviness may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." A whole country is so thinking. For possibly ten centuries the Great War will be a background for fiction. To us, who have lived those years, any tale of them is a personal affair. Every-day women and men whom one meets in the street may well say to us: "My boy was in the Argonne," or: "My brother fought at St. Mihiel." Over and over, unphrased, our minds echo lines of that verse found in the pocket of the soldier dead at Gallipoli:
"We saw the powers of darkness put to flight, We saw the morning break."
Crushed and glorified beyond all generations of the planet, war stories prick this generation like family records. It is from us of to-day that the load is lifted. We have weathered the heaviness of the night; to us "Joy cometh in the morning."
I. The Ditch
II. Her Country Too
III. The Swallow
IV. Only One of Them
V. The V.C.
VI. He That Loseth His Life Shall Find It
VII. The Silver Stirrup
VIII. The Russian
IX. Robina's Doll
X. Dundonald's Destroyer
THE BOY an American soldier
THE BOY'S DREAM OF HIS MOTHER
ANGELIQUE } } French children JEAN-BAPTISTE }
THE ONE SCHOOLGIRL WITH IMAGINATION
THE THREE SCHOOLGIRLS WITHOUT IMAGINATION
THE AMERICAN GENERAL
THE ENGLISH STATESMAN
The Time.—A summer day in 1918 and a summer day in 2018
The time is a summer day in 1918. The scene is the first-line trench of the Germans—held lately by the Prussian Imperial Guard—half an hour after it had been taken by a charge of men from the Blankth Regiment, United States Army. There has been a mistake and the charge was not preceded by artillery preparation as usual. However, the Americans have taken the trench by the unexpectedness of their attack, and the Prussian Guard has been routed in confusion. But the German artillery has at once opened fire on the Americans, and also a German machine gun has enfiladed the trench. Ninety-nine Americans have been killed in the trench. One is alive, but dying. He speaks, being part of the time delirious.
The Boy. Why can't I stand? What—is it? I'm wounded. The sand-bags roll when I try—to hold to them. I'm—badly wounded. (Sinks down. Silence.) How still it is! We—we took the trench. Glory be! We took it! (Shouts weakly as he lies in the trench.) (Sits up and stares, shading his eyes.) It's horrid still. Why—they're here! Jack—you! What makes you—lie there? You beggar—oh, my God! They're dead. Jack Arnold, and Martin and—Cram and Bennett and Emmet and—Dragamore—Oh—God, God! All the boys! Good American boys. The whole blamed bunch—dead in a ditch. Only me. Dying, in a ditch filled with dead men. What's the sense? (Silence.) This damned silly war. This devilish—killing. When we ought to be home, doing man's work—and play. Getting some tennis, maybe, this hot afternoon; coming in sweaty and dirty—and happy—to a tub—and dinner—with mother. (Groans.) It begins to hurt—oh, it hurts confoundedly. (Becomes delirious.) Canoeing on the river. With little Jim. See that trout jump, Jimmie? Cast now. Under the log at the edge of the trees. That's it! Good—oh! (Groans.) It hurts—badly. Why, how can I stand it? How can anybody? I'm badly wounded. Jimmie—tell mother. Oh—good boy—you've hooked him. Now play him; lead him away from the lily-pads. (Groans.) Oh, mother! Won't you come? I'm wounded. You never failed me before. I need you—if I die. You went away down—to the gate of life, to bring me inside. Now—it's the gate of death—you won't fail? You'll bring me through to that other life? You and I, mother—and I won't be scared. You're the first—and the last. (Puts out his arm searching and folds a hand, still warm, of a dead soldier.) Ah—mother, my dear. I knew—you'd come. Your hand is warm—comforting. You always—are there when I need you. All my life. Things are getting—hazy. (He laughs.) When I was a kid and came down in an elevator—I was all right, I didn't mind the drop if I might hang on to your hand. Remember? (Pats dead soldier's hand, then clutches it again tightly.) You come with me when I go across and let me—hang on—to your hand. And I won't be scared. (Silence.) This damned—damned—silly war! All the good American boys. We charged the Fritzes. How they ran! But—there was a mistake. No artillery preparation. There ought to be crosses and medals going for that charge, for the boys—(Laughs.) Why, they're all dead. And me—I'm dying, in a ditch. Twenty years old. Done out of sixty years by—by the silly war. What's it for? Mother, what's it about? I'm ill a bit. I can't think what good it is. Slaughtering boys—all the nations' boys—honest, hard-working boys mostly. Junk. Fine chaps an hour ago. What's the good? I'm dying—for the flag. But—what's the good? It'll go on—wars. Again. Peace sometimes, but nothing gained. And all of us—dead. Cheated out of our lives. Wouldn't the world have done as well if this long ditch of good fellows had been let live? Mother?
The Boy's Dream of His Mother. (Seems to speak.) My very dearest—no. It takes this great burnt-offering to free the world. The world will be free. This is the crisis of humanity; you are bending the lever that lifts the race. Be glad, dearest life of the world, to be part of that glory. Think back to your school-days, to a sentence you learned. Lincoln spoke it. "These dead shall not have died in vain, and government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
The Boy. (Whispers.) I remember. It's good. "Shall not have died in vain"—"The people—shall not perish"—where's your hand, mother? It's taps for me. The lights are going out. Come with me—mother. (Dies.)
The scene it the same trench one hundred years later, in the year 2018. It is ten o'clock of a summer morning. Two French children have come to the trench to pick flowers. The little girl of seven is gentle and soft-hearted; her older brother is a man of nearly ten years, and feels his patriotism and his responsibilities.
Angelique. (The little French girl.) Here's where they grow, Jean-B'tiste.
Jean-Baptiste. (The little French boy.) I know. They bloom bigger blooms in the American ditch.
Angelique. (Climbs into the ditch and picks flowers busily.) Why do people call it the 'Merican ditch, Jean-B'tiste? What's 'Merican?
Jean-Baptiste. (Ripples laughter.) One's little sister doesn't know much! Never mind. One is so young—three years younger than I am. I'm ten, you know.
Angelique. Tiens, Jean-B'tiste. Not ten till next month.
Jean-Baptiste. Oh, but—but—next month!
Angelique. What's 'Merican?
Jean-Baptiste. Droll p'tite. Why, everybody in all France knows that name. Of American.
Angelique. (Unashamed.) Do they? What is it?
Jean-Baptiste. It's the people that live in the so large country across the ocean. They came over and saved all our lives, and France.
Angelique. (Surprised.) Did they save my life, Jean-B'tiste?
Jean-Baptiste. Little drole. You weren't born.
Angelique. Oh! Whose life did they then save? Maman's?
Jean-Baptiste. But no. She was not born either.
Angelique. Whose life, then—the grandfather's?
Jean-Baptiste. But—even he was not born. (Disconcerted by Angelique's direct tactics.) One sees they could not save the lives of people who were not here. But—they were brave—but yes—and friends to France. And they came across the ocean to fight for France. Big, strong young soldiers in brown uniforms—the grandfather told me about it yesterday. I know it all. His father told him, and he was here. In this field. (Jean-Baptiste looks about the meadow, where the wind blows flowers and wheat.) There was a large battle—a fight very immense. It was not like this then. It was digged over with ditches and the soldiers stood in the ditches and shot at the wicked Germans in the other ditches. Lots and lots of soldiers died.
Angelique. (Lips trembling.) Died—in ditches?
Jean-Baptiste. (Grimly.) Yes, it is true.
Angelique. (Breaks into sobs.) I can't bear you to tell me that. I can't bear the soldiers to—die—in ditches.
Jean-Baptiste. (Pats her shoulder.) I'm sorry I told you if it makes you cry. You are so little. But it was one hundred years ago. They're dead now.
Angelique. (Rubs her eyes with her dress and smiles.) Yes, they're quite dead now. So—tell me some more.
Jean-Baptiste. But I don't want to make you cry more, p'tite. You're so little.
Angelique. I'm not very little. I'm bigger than Anne-Marie Dupont, and she's eight.
Jean-Baptiste. But no. She's not eight till next month. She told me.
Angelique. Oh, well—next month. Me, I want to hear about the brave 'Mericans. Did they make this ditch to stand in and shoot the wicked Germans?
Jean-Baptiste. They didn't make it, but they fought the wicked Germans in a brave, wonderful charge, the bravest sort, the grandfather said. And they took the ditch away from the wicked Germans, and then—maybe you'll cry.
Angelique. I won't. I promise you I won't.
Jean-Baptiste. Then, when the ditch—only they called it a trench—was well full of American soldiers, the wicked Germans got a machine gun at the end of it and fired all the way along—the grandfather called it enfiladed—and killed every American in the whole long ditch.
Angelique. (Bursts into tears again; buries her face in her skirt.) I—I'm sorry I cry, but the 'Mericans were so brave and fought—for France—and it was cruel of the wicked Germans to—to shoot them.
Jean-Baptiste. The wicked Germans were always cruel. But the grandfather says it's quite right now, and as it should be, for they are now a small and weak nation, and scorned and watched by other nations, so that they shall never be strong again. For the grandfather says they are not such as can be trusted—no, never the wicked Germans. The world will not believe their word again. They speak not the truth. Once they nearly smashed the world, when they had power. So it is looked to by all nations that never again shall Germany be powerful. For they are sly, and cruel as wolves, and only intelligent to be wicked. That is what the grandfather says.
Angelique. Me, I'm sorry for the poor wicked Germans that they are so bad. It is not nice to be bad. One is punished.
Jean-Baptiste. (Sternly.) It is the truth. One is always punished. As long as the world lasts it will be a punishment to be a German. But as long as France lasts there will be a nation to love the name of America, one sees. For the Americans were generous and brave. They left their dear land and came and died for us, to keep us free in France from the wicked Germans.
Angelique. (Lip trembles.) I'm sorry—they died.
Jean-Baptiste. But, p'tite! That was one hundred years ago. It is necessary that they would have been dead by now in every case. It was more glorious to die fighting for freedom and France than just to die—fifty years later. Me, I'd enjoy very much to die fighting. But look! You pulled up the roots. And what is that thing hanging to the roots—not a rock?
Angelique. No, I think not a rock. (She takes the object in her hands and knocks dirt from it.) But what is it, Jean-B'tiste?
Jean-Baptiste. It's—but never mind. I can't always know everything, don't you see, Angelique? It's just something of one of the Americans who died in the ditch. One is always finding something in these old battle-fields.
Angelique. (Rubs the object with her dress. Takes a handful of sand and rubs it on the object. Spits on it and rubs the sand.) V'la, Jean-B'tiste—it shines.
Jean-Baptiste. (Loftily.) Yes. It is nothing, that. One finds such things.
Angelique. (Rubbing more.) And there are letters on it.
Jean-Baptiste. Yes. It is nothing, that. One has flowers en masse now, and it is time to go home. Come then, p'tite, drop the dirty bit of brass and pick up your pretty flowers. Tiens! Give me your hand. I'll pull you up the side of the ditch. (Jean-Baptiste turns as they start.) I forgot the thing which the grandfather told me I must do always. (He stands at attention.) Au revoir, brave Americans. One salutes your immortal glory. (Exit Jean-Baptiste and Angelique.)
The scene is the same trench in the year 2018. It is eleven o'clock of the same summer morning. Four American schoolgirls, of from fifteen to seventeen years, have been brought to see the trench, a relic of the Great War, in charge of their teacher. The teacher, a worn and elderly person, has imagination, and is stirred, as far as her tired nerves may be, by the heroic story of the old ditch. One of the schoolgirls also has imagination and is also stirred. The other three are "young barbarians at play." Two out of five is possibly a large proportion to be blessed with imagination, but the American race has improved in a hundred years.
Teacher. This, girls, is an important bit of our sight-seeing. It is the last of the old trenches of the Great War to remain intact in all northern France. It was left untouched out of the reverence of the people of the country for one hundred Americans of the Blankth Regiment, who died here—in this old ditch. The regiment had charged too soon, by a mistaken order, across what was called No-Man's Land, from their own front trench, about (consults guide-book)—about thirty-five yards away—that would be near where you see the red poppies so thick in the wheat. They took the trench from the Germans, and were then wiped out partly by artillery fire, partly by a German machine gun which was placed, disguised, at the end of the trench and enfiladed the entire length. Three-quarters of the regiment, over two thousand men, were killed in this battle. Since then the regiment has been known as the "Charging Blankth."
First Schoolgirl. Wouldn't those poppies be lovely on a yellow hat?
Second Schoolgirl. Ssh! The Eye is on you. How awful, Miss Hadley! And were they all killed? Quite a tragedy!
Third Schoolgirl. Not a yellow hat! Stupid! A corn-colored one—just the shade of the grain with the sun on it. Wouldn't it be lovely! When we get back to Paris—
Fourth Schoolgirl (the one with imagination). You idiots! You poor kittens!
First Schoolgirl. If we ever do get back to Paris!
Teacher. (Wearily.) Please pay attention. This is one of the world's most sacred spots. It is the scene of a great heroism. It is the place where many of our fellow countrymen laid down their lives. How can you stand on this solemn ground and chatter about hats?
Third Schoolgirl. Well, you see, Miss Hadley, we're fed up with solemn grounds. You can't expect us to go into raptures at this stage over an old ditch. And, to be serious, wouldn't some of those field flowers make a lovely combination for hats? With the French touch, don't you know? You'd be darling in one—so ingenue!
Second Schoolgirl. Ssh! She'll kill you. (Three girls turn their backs and stifle a giggle.)
Teacher. Girls, you may be past your youth yourselves one day.
First Schoolgirl. (Airily.) But we're well preserved so far, Miss Hadley.
Fourth Schoolgirl. (Has wandered away a few yards. She bends and picks a flower from the ditch. She speaks to herself.) The flag floated here. There were shells bursting and guns thundering and groans and blood—here. American boys were dying where I stand safe. That's what they did. They made me safe. They kept America free. They made the "world safe for freedom," (She bends and speaks into the ditch.) Boy, you who lay just there in suffering and gave your good life away that long-ago summer day—thank you. You died for us. America remembers. Because of you there will be no more wars, and girls such as we are may wander across battle-fields, and nations are happy and well governed, and kings and masters are gone. You did that, you boys. You lost fifty years of life, but you gained our love forever. Your deaths were not in rain. Good-by, dear, dead boys.
Teacher. (Calls). Child, come! We must catch the train.
The scene is the same trench in the year 2018. It is three o'clock of the afternoon, of the same summer day. A newly married couple have come to see the trench. He is journeying as to a shrine; she has allowed impersonal interests, such as history, to lapse under the influence of love and a trousseau. She is, however, amenable to patriotism, and, her husband applying the match, she takes fire—she also, from the story of the trench.
He. This must be the place.
She. It is nothing but a ditch filled with flowers.
He. The old trench. (Takes off his hat.)
She. Was it—it was—in the Great War?
He. My dear!
She. You're horrified. But I really—don't know.
He. Don't know? You must.
She. You've gone and married a person who hasn't a glimmer of history. What will you do about it?
He. I'll be brave and stick to my bargain. Do you mean that you've forgotten the charge of the Blankth Americans against the Prussian Guard? The charge that practically ended the war?
She. Ended the war? How could one charge end the war?
He. There was fighting after. But the last critical battle was here (looks about) in these meadows, and for miles along. And it was just here that the Blankth United States Regiment made its historic dash. In that ditch—filled with flowers—a hundred of our lads were mown down in three minutes. About two thousand more followed them to death.
She. Oh—I do know. It was that charge. I learned about it in school; it thrilled me always.
He. Certainly. Every American child knows the story. I memorized the list of the one hundred soldiers' names of my own free will when I was ten. I can say them now. "Arnold—Ashe—Bennett—Emmet—Dragmore—"
She. Don't say the rest, Ted—tell me about it as it happened. (She slips her hand into his.) We two, standing here young and happy, looking forward to a, lifetime together, will do honor, that way, to those soldiers who gave up their happy youth and their lives for America.
He. (Puts his arm around her.) We will. We'll make a little memorial service and I'll preach a sermon about how gloriously they fell and how, unknowingly, they won the war—and so much more!
She. Tell me.
He. It was a hundred years ago about now—summer. A critical battle raged along a stretch of many miles. About the centre of the line—here—the Prussian Imperial Guards, the crack soldiers of the German army, held the first trench—this ditch. American forces faced them, but in weeks of fighting had not been able to make much impression. Then, on a day, the order came down the lines that the Blankth United States Regiment, opposed to the Guard, was to charge and take the German front trench. Of course the artillery was to prepare for their charge as usual, but there was some mistake. There was no curtain of fire before them, no artillery preparation to help them. And the order to charge came. So, right into the German guns, in the face of those terrible Prussian Guards, our lads went "over the top" with a great shout, and poured like a flame, like a catapult, across the space between them—No-Man's Land, they called it then—it was only thirty-five yards—to the German trench. So fast they rushed, and so unexpected was their coming, with no curtain of artillery to shield them, that the Germans were for a moment taken aback. Not a shot was fired for a space of time almost long enough to let the Americans reach the trench, and then the rifles broke out and the brown uniforms fell like leaves in autumn. But not all. They rushed on pell-mell, cutting wire, pouring irresistibly into the German trench. And the Guards, such as were not mown down, lost courage at the astounding impetus of the dash, and scrambled and ran from their trench. They took it—our boys took that trench—this old ditch. But then the big German guns opened a fire like hail and a machine gun at the end—down there it must have been—enfiladed the trench, and every man in it was killed. But the charge ended the war. Other Americans, mad with the glory of it, poured in a sea after their comrades and held the trench, and poured on and on, and wiped out that day the Prussian Guard. The German morale was broken from then; within four months the war was over.
She. (Turns and hides her face on his shoulder and shakes with sobs.) I'm not—crying for sorrow—for them. I'm crying—for the glory of it. Because—I'm so proud and glad—that it's too much for me. To belong to such a nation—to such men. I'm crying for knowing, it was my nation—my men. And America is—the same today. I know it. If she needed you today, Ted, you would fight like that. You would go over the top with the charging Blankth, with a shout, if the order came—wouldn't you, my own man?
He. (Looking into the old ditch with his head bent reverently.) I hope so.
She. And I hope I would send you with all my heart. Death like that is more than life.
He. I've made you cry.
She. Not you. What they did—those boys.
He. It's fitting that Americans should come here, as they do come, as to a Mecca, a holy place. For it was here that America was saved. That's what they did, the boys who made that charge. They saved America from the most savage and barbarous enemy of all time. As sure as France and England were at the end of their rope—and they were—so surely Germany, the victor, would have invaded America, and Belgium would have happened in our country. A hundred years wouldn't have been enough to free us again, if that had happened. You and I, dearest, owe it to those soldiers that we are here together, free, prosperous citizens of an ever greater country.
She. (Drops on her knees by the ditch.) It's a shrine. Men of my land, I own my debt. I thank you for all I have and am. God bless you in your heaven. (Silence.)
He. (Tears in his eyes. His arm around her neck as he bends to her.) You'll not forget the story of the Charging Blankth?
She. Never again. In my life. (Rising.) I think their spirits must be here often. Perhaps they're happy when Americans are here. It's a holy place, as you said. Come away now. I love to leave it in sunshine and flowers with the dear ghosts of the boys. (Exit He and She.)
The scene it the same trench in the year 2018. It is five o'clock of the same summer afternoon. An officer of the American Army and an English cabinet member come, together, to visit the old trench. The American has a particular reason for his interest; the Englishman accompanies the distinguished American. The two review the story of the trench and speak of other things connected, and it is hoped that they set forth the far-reaching work of the soldiers who died, not realizing their work, in the great fight of the Charging Blankth.
Englishman. It's a peaceful scene.
American. (Advances to the side of the ditch. Looks down. Takes off his cap.) I came across the ocean to see it. (He looks over the fields.) It's quiet.
Englishman. The trenches were filled in all over the invaded territory within twenty-five years after the war. Except a very few kept as a manner of monument. Object-lessons, don't you know, in what the thing meant. Even those are getting obliterated. They say this is quite the best specimen in all France.
American. It doesn't look warlike. What a lot of flowers!
Englishman. Yes. The folk about here have a tradition, don't you know, that poppies mark the places where blood flowed most.
American. Ah! (Gazes into the ditch.) Poppies there. A hundred of our soldiers died at once down there. Mere lads mostly. Their names and ages are on a tablet in the capitol at Washington, and underneath is a sentence from Lincoln's Gettysburg speech: "These dead shall not have died in vain, and government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."
Englishman. Those are undying words.
American. And undying names—the lads' names.
Englishman. What they and the other Americans did can never die. Not while the planet endures. No nation at that time realized how vital was your country's entrance into the war. Three months later it would have been too late. Your young, untried forces lifted worn-out France and England and swept us to-victory. It was America's victory at the last. It is our glory to confess that, for from then on America has been our kin.
American. (Smiles.) England is our well-beloved elder sister for all time now.
Englishman. The soldiers who died there (gestures to the ditch) and their like did that also. They tied the nations together with a bond of common gratitude, common suffering, common glory.
American. You say well that there was common gratitude. England and France had fought our battle for three years at the time we entered the war. We had nestled behind the English fleet. Those grim gray ships of yours stood between us and the barbarians very literally.
Englishman. Without doubt Germany would have been happy to invade the only country on earth rich enough to pay her war debt. And you were astonishingly open to invasion. It is one of the historical facts that a student of history of this twenty-first century finds difficult to realize.
American. The Great War made revolutionary changes. That condition of unpreparedness was one. That there will never be another war is the belief of all governments. But if all governments should be mistaken, not again would my country, or yours, be caught unprepared. A general staff built of soldiers and free of civilians hampering is one advantage we have drawn from our ordeal of 1917.
Englishman. Your army is magnificently efficient.
American. And yours. Heaven grant neither may ever be needed! Our military efficiency is the pride of an unmilitary nation. One Congress, since the Great War and its lessons, has vied with another to keep our high place.
Englishman. Ah! Your Congress. That has changed since the old days—since La Follette.
American. The name is a shame and a warning to us. Our children are taught to remember it so. The "little group of wilful men," the eleven who came near to shipwrecking the country, were equally bad, perhaps, but they are forgotten. La Follette stands for them and bears the curses of his countrymen, which they all earned.
Englishman. Their ignominy served America; it roused the country to clean its Augean stables.
American. The war purified with fire the legislative soul.
Englishman. Exactly. Men are human still, certainly, yet genuine patriotism appears to be a sine qua non now, where bombast answered in the old day. Corruption is no longer accepted. Public men then were surprisingly simple, surprisingly cheap and limited in their methods. There were two rules for public and private life. It was thought quixotic, I gather from studying the documents of the time, to expect anything different. And how easily the change came!
American. The nation rose and demanded honesty, and honesty was there. The enormous majority of decent people woke from a discontented apathy and took charge. Men sprang into place naturally and served the nation. The old log-rolling, brainless, greedy public officials were thrown into the junk-heap. As if by magic the stress of the war wrung out the rinsings and the scourings and left the fabric clean.
Englishman. The stress of the war affected more than internal politics. You and I, General, are used to a standard of conduct between responsible nations as high as that taken for granted between responsible persons. But, if one considers, that was far from the case a hundred years ago. It was in 1914, that von Bethmann-Hollweg spoke of "a scrap of paper."
Englishman. Certainly one does not expect honor or sincerity from German psychology. Even the little Teutonic Republic of to-day is tricky, scheming always to get a foothold for power, a beginning for the army they will never again be allowed to have. Even after the Kaiser and the Crown Prince and the other rascals were punished they tried to cheat us, if you remember. Yet it is not that which I had in mind. The point I was making was that today it would be out of drawing for a government even of charlatans, like the Prussians, to advance the sort of claims which they did. In commonplace words, it was expected then that governments, as against each other, would be self-seeking. To-day decency demands that they should be, as men must be, unselfish.
America. (Musingly.) It's odd how long it took the world—governments—human beings—to find the truth of the very old phrase that "he who findeth his life must lose it."
Englishman. The simple fact of that phrase before the Great War was not commonly grasped. People thought it purely religious and reserved for saints and church services. As a working hypothesis it was not generally known. The every-day ideals of our generation, the friendships and brotherhoods of nations as we know them would have been thought Utopian.
American. Utopian? Perhaps our civilization is better than Utopian. The race has grown with a bound since we all went through hell together. How far the civilization of 1914 stood above that of 1614! The difference between galley-slaves and able-bodied seamen, of your and our navy! Greater yet than the change in that three hundred years is the change in the last one hundred. I look at it with a soldier's somewhat direct view. Humanity went helpless and alone into a fiery furnace and came through holding on to God's hand. We have clung closely to that powerful grasp since.
Englishman. Certainly the race has emerged from an epoch of intellect to an epoch of spirituality—which comprehends and extends intellect. There have never been inventions such as those of our era. And the inventors have been, as it were, men inspired. Something beyond themselves has worked through them for the world. A force like that was known only sporadically before our time.
American. (Looks into old ditch.) It would be strange to the lads who charged through horror across this flowery field to hear our talk and to know that to them and their deeds we owe the happiness and the greatness of the world we now live in.
Englishman. Their short, Homeric episode of life admitted few generalizations, I fancy. To be ready and strong and brave—there was scant time for more than that in those strenuous days. Yet under that simple formula lay a sea of patriotism and self-sacrifice, from which sprang their soldiers' force. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." It was their love—love of country, of humanity, of freedom—which silenced in the end the great engine of evil—Prussianism. The motive power of life is proved, through those dead soldiers, to be not hate, as the Prussians taught, but love.
American. Do you see something shining among the flowers at the bottom of the ditch?
Englishman. Why, yes. Is it—a leaf which catches the light?
American. (Stepping down.) I'll see. (He picks up a metal identification disk worn by a soldier. Angelique has rubbed it so that the letters may mostly be read.) This is rather wonderful. (He reads aloud.) "R.V.H. Randolph—Blankth Regiment—U.S." I can't make out the rest.
Englishman. (Takes the disk.) Extraordinary! The name and regiment are plain. The identification disk, evidently, of a soldier who died in the trench here. Your own man, General.
American. (Much stirred.) And—my own regiment. Two years ago I was the colonel of "The Charging Blankth."
HER COUNTRY TOO
David Lance sat wondering. He was not due at the office till ten this Saturday night and he was putting in a long and thorough wonder. About the service in all its branches; about finance; about the new Liberty Loan. First, how was he to stop being a peaceful reporter on the Daybreak and get into uniform; that wonder covered a class including the army, navy and air-service, for he had been refused by all three; he wondered how a small limp from apple-tree acrobatics at ten might be so explained away that he might pass; reluctantly he wondered also about the Y.M.C.A. But he was a fighting man par excellence. For him it would feel like slacking to go into any but fighting service. Six feet two and weighing a hundred and ninety, every ounce possible to be muscle was muscle; easy, joyful twenty-four-year-old muscle which knew nothing of fatigue. He was certain he would make a fit soldier for Uncle Sam, and how, how he wanted to be Uncle Sam's soldier!
He was getting desperate. Every man he knew in the twenties and many a one under and over, was in uniform; bitterly he envied the proud peace in their eyes when he met them. He could not bear to explain things once more as he had explained today to Tom Arnold and "Beef" Johnson, and "Seraph" Olcott, home on leave before sailing for France. He had suffered while they listened courteously and hurried to say that they understood, that it was a shame, and that: "You'll make it yet, old son." And they had then turned to each other comparing notes of camps. It made little impression that he had toiled and sweated early and late in this struggle to get in somewhere—army, navy, air-service—anything to follow the flag. He wasn't allowed. He was still a reporter on the Daybreak while the biggest doings of humanity were getting done, and every young son of America had his chance to help. With a strong, tireless body aching for soldier's work, America, his mother, refused him work. He wasn't allowed.
Lance groaned, sitting in his one big chair in his one small room. There were other problems. A Liberty Loan drive was on, and where could he lay hands on money for bonds? He had plunged on the last loan and there was yet something to pay on the $200 subscription. And there was no one and nothing to fall back on except his salary as reporter for the Daybreak. His father had died when he was six, and his mother eight years ago; his small capital had gone for his four years, at Yale. There was no one—except a legend of cousins in the South. Never was any one poorer or more alone. Yet he must take a bond or two. How might he hold up his head not to fight and not to buy bonds. A knock at the door.
"Come in," growled Lance.
The door opened, and a picture out of a storybook stood framed and smiling. One seldom sees today in the North the genuine old-fashioned negro-woman. A sample was here in Lance's doorway. A bandanna of red and yellow made a turban for her head; a clean brownish calico dress stood crisply about a solid and waistless figure, and a fresh white apron covered it voluminously in front; a folded white handkerchief lay, fichu-wise, around the creases of a fat black neck; a basket covered with a cloth was on her arm. She stood and smiled as if to give the treat time to have its effect on Lance. "Look who's here!" was in large print all over her. And she radiated peace and good-will.
Lance was on his feet with a shout. "Bless your fat heart, Aunt Basha—I'm glad to see you," he flung at her, and seized the basket and slung it half across the room to a sofa with a casualness, alarming to Aunt Basha—christened Bathsheba seventy-five years ago, but "rightly known," she had so instructed Lance, as "Aunt Basha."
"Young marse, don' you ruinate the washin', please sir," she adjured in liquid tones.
"Never you mind. It's the last one you'll do for me," retorted Lance. "Did I tell you you couldn't have the honor of washing for me anymore, Aunt Basha?"
Aunt Basha was wreathed in smiles.
"Yassir, young marse. You tole me dat mo'n tree times befo', a'ready, sir."
"Well—it's final this time. Can't stand your prices. I can't stand your exorbitant prices. Now what do you have the heart to charge for dusting off those three old shirts and two and a half collars? Hey?"
Aunt Basha, entirely serene, was enjoying the game. "What does I charges, sir? Fo' dat wash, which you slung 'round acrost de room, sir? Well, sir, young marse, I charges fo' dollars 'n sev'nty fo' cents, sir, dis week. Fo' dat wash."
Lance let loose a howl and flung himself into his chair as if prostrated, long legs out and arms hanging to the floor. Aunt Basha shook with laughter. This was a splendid joke and she never, never tired of it. "You see!" he threw out, between gasps. "Look at that! Fo' dollars 'n sev'nty fo' cents." He sat up suddenly and pointed a big finger, "Aunt Basha," he whispered, "somebody's been kidding you. Somebody's lied. This palatial apartment, much as it looks like it, is not the home of John D. Rockefeller." He sprung up, drew an imaginary mantle about him, grasped one elbow with the other hand, dropped his head into the free palm and was Cassius or Hamlet or Faust—all one to Aunt Basha. His left eyebrow screwed up and his right down, and he glowered. "List to her," he began, and shot out a hand, immediately to replace it where it was most needed, under his elbow. "But list, ye Heavens and protect the lamb from this ravening wolf. She chargeth—oh high Heavens above!—she expecteth me to pay"—he gulped sobs—"the extortioner, the she-wolf—expecteth me to pay her—fo' dollars 'n sev'nty fo' cents!"
Aunt Basha, entranced with this drama, quaked silently like a large coffee jelly, and with that there happened a high, rich, protracted sound which was laughter, but laughter not to be imitated of any vocal chords of a white race. The delicious note soared higher, higher it seemed than the scale of humanity, and was riotous velvet and cream, with no effort or uncertainty. Lance dropped his Mephistopheles pose and grinned.
"It's Q sharp!" he commented. "However does she do it!"
"Naw, sir, young marse," Aunt Basha began, descending to speech. "De she-wolf, she don' expecteth you to pay no fo' dollars 'n sev'nty fo' cents, sir. Dat's thes what I charges. Dat ain' what you pay. You thes pay me sev'nty fo' cents sir. Dat's all."
"Oh!" Lance let it out like a ten-year-old. It was hard to say which enjoyed this weekly interview more, the boy or the old woman. The boy was lonely and the humanity unashamed of her race and personality made an atmosphere which delighted him. "Oh!" gasped Lance. "That's a relief. I thought it was goodbye to my Sunday trousers."
Aunt Basha, comfortable and efficient, was unpacking the basket and putting away the wash in the few bureau drawers which easily held the boy's belongings. "Dey's all mended nice," she announced. "Young marse, sir, you better wa' out dese yer ole' undercloses right now, endurin' de warm weather, 'caze dey ain' gwine do you fo' de col'. You 'bleeged to buy some new ones sir, when it comes off right cool."
Lance smiled, for there was no one but this old black woman to take care of him and advise his haphazard housekeeping, and he liked it. "Can't buy new ones," he made answer. "There you go again, mixing me up with Rockefeller. I'm not even the Duke of Westminster, do you see. I haven't got any money. Only sev'nty fo' cents for the she-wolf."
Aunt Basha chuckled. Long ago there had been a household of young people in the South whose clothes she, a very young woman then, had mended; there had been a boy who talked nonsense to her much as this boy—Marse Pendleton. But trouble had come; everything had broken like a card-house under an ocean wave. "De fambly" was lost, and she and her young husband, old Uncle Jeems of today, had drifted by devious ways to this Northern city. "Ef you ain't got de money handy dis week, young marse, you kin pay me nex' week thes as well," suggested the she-wolf.
Then the big boy was standing over her, and she was being patted on the shoulder with a touch that all but brought tears to the black, dim eyes. "Don't you dare pay attention to my drool, or I'll never talk to you again," Lance ordered. "Your sev'nty fo' cents is all right, and lots more. I've got heaps of cash that size, Aunt Basha. But I want to buy Liberty Bonds, and I don't know how in hell I'm going to get big money." The boy was thinking aloud. "How am I to raise two hundred for a couple of bonds, Aunt Basha? Tell me that?" He scratched into his thatch of hair and made a puzzled face.
"What fo' you want big money, young marse?"
"Bonds. Liberty Bonds. You know what that is?"
"You don't? Well you ought to," said Lance. "There isn't a soul in this country who oughtn't to have a bond. It's this way. You know we're fighting a war?"
"Yassir. Young Ananias Johnson, he's Sist' Amanda's boy, he done tole his Unk Jeems 'bout dat war. And Jeems, he done tole me."
Lance regarded her. Was it possible that the ocean upheaval had stirred even the quietest backwater so little? "Well, anyhow, it's the biggest war that ever was on earth."
Aunt Basha shook her head. "You ain't never seed de War of de Rebullium," she stated with superiority. "You's too young. Well, I reckon dis yer war ain't much on to dat war. Naw, sir! Dat ar was a sure 'nough war—yas, sir!"
Lance considered. He decided not to contest the point. "Anyhow Aunt Basha, this is an awfully big war. And if we don't win it the Germans will come over here and murder the most of us, and make you and Uncle Jeems work in the fields from daylight till dark."
"Dem low down white trash!" commented Aunt Basha.
"Yes, and worse. And Uncle Sam can't beat the Germans unless we all help. He needs money to buy guns for the soldiers, and food and clothes. So he's asking everybody—just everybody—to lend him money—every cent they can raise to buy things to win the war. He gives each person who lends him any, a piece of paper which is a promise to pay it back, and that piece of paper is called a bond—Uncle Sam's promise to pay. Everybody ought to help by giving up every cent they have. The soldiers are giving their lives to save us from the horrible Germans. They're going over there to live in mud and water and sleep in holes of the earth, to be shot and wounded and tortured and killed. They're facing that for our sakes, to save us from worse than death, for you and Uncle Jeems and me, Aunt Basha. Now, oughtn't we to give all we've got to take care of those boys—our soldiers?"
Lance had forgotten his audience, except that he was wording his speech carefully in the simplest English. It went home.
"Oh, my Lawd!" moaned Aunt Basha, sitting down and rocking hard. "Does dey sleep in de col' yeth? Oh, my Lawd have mercy!" It was the first realization she had had of the details of the war. "You ain't gwine over dar, is you young marse, honey?" she asked anxiously.
"I wish to God I was," spoke Lance through set teeth. "No, Aunt Basha, they won't take me. Because I'm lame. I'd give my life to go. And because I can't fight I must buy bonds. Do you see? I must. I'd sell my soul to get money for Liberty Bonds. Oh, God!" Lance was as if alone, with only that anxious old black face gazing up at him. "Oh, God—it's my country!"
Suddenly the rich flowing voice spoke. "Young marse, it's my country too, sir," said Aunt Basha.
Lance turned and stared. How much did the words mean to the old woman? In a moment he knew.
"Yas, my young marseter, dis yer America's de ole black 'oman's country, thes like it's fine young white man's, like you, sir. I gwine give my las' cent, like you say. Yas, I gwine do dat. I got two hun'erd dollars, sir; I b'en a-savin' and a-savin' for Jeems 'n me 'ginst when we git ole, but I gwine give dat to my country. I want Unc' Sam to buy good food for dem boys in the muddy water. Bacon 'n hominy, sir—'n corn bread, what's nourishin'. 'N I want you to git de—de Liberty what-je-call-'ems. Yassir. 'Caze you ain't got no ma to he'ep you out, 'n de ole black 'oman's gwine to be de bes' ma she know how to her young marse. I got de money tied up—" she leaned forward and whispered—"in a stockin' in de bottom draw' ob de chist unner Jeem's good coat. Tomorrow I gwine fetch it, 'n you go buy yo' what-je-calls-'ems."
Lance went across and knelt on the floor beside her and put his arms around the stout figure. He had been brought up with a colored mammy and this affection seemed natural and homelike. "Aunt Basha, you're one of the saints," he said. "And I love you for it. But I wouldn't take your blessed two hundred, not for anything on earth. I'd be a hound to take it. If you want some bonds"—it flashed to him that the money would be safer so than in the stocking under Jeem's coat—"why, I'll get them for you. Come into the Daybreak office and ask for me, say—Monday. And I'll go with you to the bank and get bonds. Here's my card. Show anybody that at the office." And he gave directions.
Five minutes later the old woman went off down the street talking half aloud to herself in fragments of sentences about "Liberty what-je-call-'ems" and "my country too." In the little shack uptown that was home for her and her husband she began at once to set forth her new light. Jeems, who added to the family income by taking care of furnaces and doing odd jobs, was grizzled and hobbling of body, but argumentative of soul.
"'Oman," he addressed Aunt Basha, "Unc' Sam got lots o' money. What use he gwine have, great big rich man lak Unc' Sam, fo' yo' two hun'erd? But we got mighty lot o' use fo' dat money, we'uns. An' you gwine gib dat away? Thes lak a 'oman!" which, in other forms, is an argument used by male people of many classes.
Aunt Basha suggested that Young Marse David said something about a piece of paper and Uncle Sam paying back, but Jeems pooh-poohed that.
"Naw, sir. When big rich folks goes round collectin' po' folkses money, is dey liable to pay back? What good piece o' paper gwine do you? Is dey aimin' to let you see de color ob dat money agin? Naw, sir. Dey am not." He proceeded to another branch of the subject. "War ain' gwine las' long, nohow. Young Ananias he gwine to Franch right soon, an' de yether colored brothers. De Germans dey ain't gwine las' long, once ef dey see us Anglo-Saxons in de scrablin'. Naw, sir.
"White man what come hyer yether day, he say how dey ain't gwine 'low de colored sojers to fight," suggested Aunt Basha. German propaganda reaches far and takes strange shapes.
"Don' jer go to b'lieve dat white man, 'oman," thundered Jeems, thumping with his fist. "He dunno nawthin', an' I reckon he's a liar. Unc' Sam he say we kin fight an' we gwine fight. An' de war ain't las' long atter we git to fightin' good."
Aunt Basha, her hands folded on the rounded volume of apron considered deeply. After a time she arrived at a decision.
"Jeems," she began, "yo' cert'nly is a strong reasoner. Yassir. But I got it bo'ne in upon me powerful dat I gotter give dese yer savin's to Unc' Sam. It's my country too, Jeems, same as dem sojers what's fightin', dem boys in de mud what ain' got a soul to wash fo' 'em. An' lak as not dey mas not dere. Dem boys is fightin', and gittin' wet and hunted up lak young marse say, fo' Aunt Basha and—bress dere hearts"—Aunt Basha broke down, and the upshot was that Jeems washed his hands of an obstinate female and—the savings not being his in any case—gave unwilling consent.
Youth of the sterner set is apt to be casual in making appointments. It had not entered Lance's head to arrange in case he was not at the office. As for Aunt Basha, her theory was that he reigned there over an army of subordinates from morning till evening. So that she was taken aback when told that Mr. Lance was out and no one could say when he would be in. She had risen at dawn and done her housework and much of the fine washing which she "took in," and had then arrayed herself in her best calico dress and newest turban and apron for the great occasion and had reported at the Daybreak office at nine-thirty. And young marse wasn't there.
"I'll set and rest ontwell he comes in," she announced, and retired to a chair against the wall.
There she folded her hands statelily and sat erect, motionless, an image of fine old dignity. But much thinking was going on inside the calm exterior. What was she going to do if young marse did not come back? She had the $200 with her, carefully pinned and double pinned into a pocket in her purple alpaca petticoat. She did not want to take it home. Jeems had submitted this morning, but with mutterings, and a second time there might be trouble. The savings were indeed hers, but a rebellious husband in high finance is an embarrassment. Deeply Aunt Basha considered, and memory whispered something about a bank. Young marse was going to the bank with her to give her money to Uncle Sam. She had just passed a bank. Why could she not go alone? Somebody certainly would tell her what to do. Possibly Uncle Sam was there himself—for Aunt Basha's conception of our national myth was half mystical, half practical—as a child with Santa Claus. In any case banks were responsible places, and somebody would look after her. She crossed to the desk where two or three young men appeared to be doing most of the world's business.
The three looked up.
"Good mawnin', young marsters. I'm 'bleeged to go now. I cert'nly thank you-all fo' lettin' me set in de cheer. I won't wait fo' marse David Lance no mo', sir. Good mawnin', marsters."
A smiling courtesy dropped, and she was gone.
"I'll be darned!" remarked reporter number one.
"Where did that blow in from?" added reporter number two.
But reporter number three had imagination. "The dearest old soul I've seen in a blue moon," said he.
Aunt Basha proceeded down the street and more than one in the crowd glanced twice at the erect, stout figure swinging, like a quaint and stately ship in full sail, among the steam-tuggery of up-to-date humanity. There were high steps leading to the bank entrance, impressive and alarming to Aunt Basha. She paused to take breath for this adventure. Was a humble old colored woman permitted to walk freely in at those grand doors, open iron-work and enormous of size? She did not know. She stood a moment, suddenly frightened and helpless, not daring to go on, looking about for a friendly face. And behold! there it was—the friendliest face in the world, it seemed to the lost old soul—a vision of loveliness. It was the face of a beautiful young white lady in beautiful clothes who had stepped from a huge limousine. She was coming up the steps, straight to Aunt Basha. She saw the old woman, saw her anxious hesitation, and halted. The next event was a heavenly smile. Aunt Basha knew the repartee to that, and the smile that shone in answer was as heavenly in its way as the girl's.
"Is there anything I can do for you?" spoke a voice of gentleness.
And the world had turned over and come up right side on top. "Mawnin', Miss. Yas'm, I was fixin' to go in dat big do' yander, but I dunno as I'm 'lowed. Is I 'lowed, young miss, to go in dar an' gib my two hun'erd to Unc' Sam?"
"What?" The tone was kindness itself, but bewildered.
Aunt Basha elucidated. "I got two hun'erd, young miss, and I cert'nly want to gib it to Unc' Sam to buy clo'se for dem boys what's fightin' for us in Franch."
"I wonder," spoke the girl, gazing thoughtfully, "if you want to get a Liberty Bond?"
"Yas'm—yas, miss. Dat's sho' it, a whatjer-ma-call-'em. I know'd 'twas some cu'is name lak dat." The vision nodded her head.
"I'm going in to do that very thing myself," she said. "Come with me. I'll help you get yours."
Aunt Basha followed joyfully in the wake, and behold, everything was easy. Ready attention met them and shortly they sat in a private office carpeted in velvet and upholstered in grandeur. A personage gave grave attention to what the vision was saying.
"I met—I don't know your name," she interrupted herself, turning to the old negro woman.
Aunt Basha rose and curtsied. "Dey christened me Bathsheba Jeptha, young miss," she stated. "But I'se rightly known as Aunt Basha. Jes' Aunt Basha, young miss. And marster."
A surname was disinterred by the efforts of the personage which appeared to startle the vision.
"Why, it's our name, Mr. Davidson," she exclaimed. "She said Cabell."
Aunt Basha turned inquiring, vague eyes. "Is it, honey? Is yo' a Cabell?"
And then the personage, who was, after all, cashier of the Ninth National Bank and very busy, cut in. "Ah, yes! A well known Southern name. Doubtless a large connection. And now Mrs.—ah—Cabell—"
"I'd be 'bleeged ef yo' jis' name me Aunt Basha, marster."
And marster, rather intrigue because he, being a New Englander, had never in his life addressed as "aunt" a person who was not sister to his mother or his father, nevertheless became human and smiled. "Well, then, Aunt Basha."
At a point a bit later he was again jolted when he asked the amount which his newly adopted "aunt" wanted to invest. For an answer she hauled high the folds of her frock, unconscious of his gasp or of the vision's repressed laughter, and went on to attack the clean purple alpaca petticoat which was next in rank, Mr. Davidson thought it wise at this point to make an errand across the room. He need not have bothered as far as Aunt Basha was concerned. When he came back she was again a la mode and held an ancient beaded purse at which she gazed. Out of a less remote pocket she drew steel spectacles, which were put on. Mr. Davidson repeated his question of how much.
"It's all hyer, marster. It's two hun'erd dollars, sir. I ben savin' up fo' twenty years an' mo', and me'n Jeems, we ben countin' it every mont, so I reckon I knows."
The man and the girl regarded the old woman a moment. "It's a large sum for you to invest," Mr. Davidson said.
"Yassir. Yas, marster. It's right smart money. But I sho' am glad to gib dis hyer to Unc' Sam for dem boys."
The cashier of the Ninth National Bank lifted his eyes from the blank he was filling out and looked at Aunt Basha thoughtfully. "You understand, of course, that the Government—Uncle Sam—is only borrowing your money. That you may have it back any time you wish."
Aunt Basha drew herself up. "I don' wish it, sir. I'm gibin' dis hyer gif,' a free gif' to my country. Yassir. It's de onliest country I got, an' I reckon I got a right to gib dis hyer what I earned doin' fine washin' and i'nin. I gibs it to my country. I don't wan' to hyer any talk 'bout payin' back. Naw, sir."
It took Mr. Davidson and the vision at least ten minutes to make clear to Aunt Basha the character and habits of a Liberty Bond, and then, though gratified with the ownership of what seemed a brand new $200 and a valuable slip of paper—which meandered, shamelessly into the purple alpaca petticoat—yet she was disappointed.
"White folks sho' am cu'is," she reflected, "Now who'd 'a thought 'bout dat way ob raisin' money! Not me—no, Lawd! It do beat me." With that she threw an earnest glance at Mr. Davidson, lean and tall and gray, with a clipped pointed beard. "'Scuse me, marster," said Aunt Basha, "mout I ask a quexshun?"
"Surely," agreed Mr. Davidson blandly.
"Is you'—'scuse de ole 'oman, sir—is you' Unc' Sam?"
The "quexshun" left the personage too staggered to laugh. But the girl filled the staid place with gay peals. Then she leaned over and patted the wrinkled and bony worn black knuckles. "Bless your dear heart," she said; "no, he isn't, Aunt Basha. He's awfully important and good to us all, and he knows everything. But he's not Uncle Sam."
The bewilderment of the old face melted to smiles. "Dar, now," she brought out; "I mout 'a know'd, becaze he didn't have no red striped pants. An' de whiskers is diff'ent, too. 'Scuse me, sir, and thank you kindly, marster. Thank you, young miss. De Lawd bress you fo' helpin' de ole 'oman." She had risen and she dropped her old time curtsey at this point. "Mawnin' to yo', marster and young miss."
But the girl sprang up. "You can't go," she said. "I'm going to take you to my house to see my grandmother. She's Southern, and our name is Cabell, and likely—maybe—she knew your people down South."
"Maybe, young miss. Dar's lots o' Cabells," agreed Aunt Basha, and in three minutes found herself where she had never thought to be, inside a fine private car.
She was dumb with rapture and excitement, and quite unable to answer the girl's friendly words except with smiles and nods. The girl saw how it was and let her be, only patting the calico arm once and again reassuringly. "I wonder if she didn't want to come. I wonder if I've frightened her," thought Eleanor Cabell. When into the silence broke suddenly the rich, high, irresistible music which was Aunt Basha's laugh, and which David Lance had said was pitched on "Q sharp." The girl joined the infectious sound and a moment after that the car stopped.
"This is home," said Eleanor.
Aunt Basha observed, with the liking for magnificence of a servant trained in a large house, the fine facade and the huge size of "home." In a moment she was inside, and "young miss" was carefully escorting her into a sunshiny big room, where a wood fire burned, and a bird sang, and there were books and flowers.
"Wait here, Aunt Basha, dear," Eleanor said, "and I'll get Grandmother." It was exactly like the loveliest of dreams, Aunt Basha told Jeems an hour later. It could not possibly have been true, except that it was. When "Grandmother" came in, slender and white-haired and a bit breathless with this last surprise of a surprising granddaughter, Aunt Basha stood and curtsied her stateliest.
Then suddenly she cried out, "Fo' God! Oh, my Miss Jinny!" and fell on her knees.
Mrs. Cabell gazed down, startled. "Who is it? Oh, whom have you brought me, Eleanor?" She bent to look more closely at Aunt Basha, kneeling, speechless, tears streaming from the brave old eyes, holding up clasped hand imploring. "It isn't—Oh, my dear, I believe it is our own old nurse, Basha, who took care of your father!"
"Yas'm. Yas, Miss Jinny," endorsed Aunt Basha, climbing to her feet. "Yas, my Miss Jinny, bress de Lawd. It's Basha." She turned to the girl. "Dis yer chile ain't nebber my young Marse Pendleton's chile!"
But it was; and there was explanation and laughter and tears, too, but tears of happiness. Then it was told how, after that crash of disaster was over; the family had tried in vain to find Basha and Jeems; had tried always. It was told how a great fortune had come to them in the turn of a hand by the discovery of an unsuspected salt mine on the old estate; how "young Marse Pendleton," a famous surgeon now, had by that time made for himself a career and a home in this Northern state; how his wife had died young, and his mother, "Miss Jinny," had come to live with him and take care of his one child, the vision. And then the simple annals of Aunt Basha and Uncle Jeems were also told, the long struggle to keep respectable, only respectable; the years of toil and frugality and saving—saving the two hundred dollars which she had offered this morning as a "free gif" to her country. In these annals loomed large for some time past the figure of a "young marse" who had been good to her and helped her much and often in spite of his own "res augusta domi,"—which was not Aunt Basha's expression. The story was told of his oration in the little hall bedroom about Liberty "whatjer-m'-call-'ems," and of how the boy had stirred the soul of the old woman with his picture of the soldiers in the trenches.
"So it come to me, Miss Jinny, how ez me'n Jeems was thes two wuthless ole niggers, an' hadn't fur to trabble on de road anyways, an' de Lawd would pervide, an' ef He didn't we could scratch grabble some ways. An' dat boy, dat young Marse David, he tole me everbody ought to gib dey las' cent fo' Unc' Sam an' de sojers. So"—Aunt Basha's high, inexpressibly sweet laughter of pure glee filled the room—"so I thes up'n handed over my two hun'erd."
"It was the most beautiful and wonderful thing that's been done in all wonderful America," pronounced Eleanor Cabell as one having authority. She went on. "But that young man, your young Marse David, why doesn't he fight if he's such a patriot?"
"Bress gracious, honey," Aunt Basha hurried to explain, "he's a-honin' to fight. But he cayn't. He's lame. He goes a-limpin'. Dey won't took him."
"Oh!" retracted Eleanor. Then: "What's his name? Maybe father could cure him."
"He name Lance. Marse David Lance."
Why should Miss Jinny jump? "David Lance? It can't be, Aunt Basha."
With no words Aunt Basha began hauling up her skirts and Eleanor, remembering Mr. Davidson's face, went into gales of laughter. Aunt Basha baited, looked at her with an inquiring gaze of adoration. "Yas'm, my young miss. He name dat. I done put the cyard in my ridicule. Yas'm, it's here." The antique bead purse was opened and Lance's card was presented to Miss Jinny.
"Eleanor! This is too wonderful—look!"
Eleanor looked, and read: "Mr. David Pendleton Lance." "Why, Grandmother, it's Dad's name—David Pendleton Cabell. And the Lance—"
Mrs. Cabell, stronger on genealogy than the younger generation, took up the wandering thread. "The 'Lance' is my mother's maiden name—Virginia Lance she was. And her brother was David Pendleton Lance. I named your father for him because he was born on the day my young uncle was killed, in the battle of Shiloh."
"Well, then—who's this sailing around with our family name?"
"Who is he? But he must be our close kin, Eleanor. My Uncle David left—that's it. His wife came from California and she went out there again to live with her baby. I hadn't heard of them for years. Why, Eleanor, this boy's father must have been—my first cousin. My young Uncle David's baby. Those years of trouble after we left home wiped out so much. I lost track—but that doesn't matter now. Aunt Basha," spoke Miss Jinny in a quick, efficient voice, which suddenly recalled the blooming and businesslike mother of the young brood of years ago, "Aunt Basha, where can I find your young Marse David?"
Aunt Basha smiled radiantly and shook her head. "Cayn't fin' him, honey? I done tried, and he warn't dar."
"At de orfice, Miss Jinny."
"At what office?"
"Why, de Daybreak orfice, cose, Miss Jinny. What yether orfice he gwine be at?"
"Oh!" Miss Jinny followed with ease the windings of the African mind. "He's a reporter on the Daybreak then."
"'Cose he is, Miss Jinny, ma'am. Whatjer reckon?"
Miss Jinny reflected. Then: "Eleanor, call up the Daybreak office and ask if Mr. Lance is there and if he will speak to me."
But Aunt Basha was right. Mr. Lance was not at the Daybreak office. Mrs. Cabell was as grieved as a child.
"We'll find him, Grandmother," Eleanor asserted. "Why, of course—it's a morning paper. He's home sleeping. I'll get his number." She caught up the telephone book.
Aunt Basha chuckled musically. "He ain't got no tullaphome, honey chile. No, my Lawd! Whar dat boy gwine git money for tullaphome and contraptions? No, my Lawd!"
"How will we get him?" despaired Mrs. Cabell. The end of the council was a cryptic note in the hand of Jackson, the chauffeur, and orders to bring back the addressee at any cost.
Meanwhile, as Jackson stood in his smart dark livery taking orders with the calmness of efficiency, feeling himself capable of getting that young man, howsoever hidden, the young man himself was wasting valuable hours off in day-dreams. In the one shabby big chair of the hall bedroom he sat and smoked a pipe, and stared at a microscopic fire in a toy grate. It was extravagant of David Lance to have a fire at all, but as long as he gave up meals to do it likely it was his own affair. The luxuries mean more than the necessities to plenty of us. With comfort in this, his small luxury, he watched the play of light and shadow, and the pulsing of the live scarlet and orange in the heart of the coals. He needed comfort today, the lonely boy. Two men of the office force who had gotten their commissions lately at an officer's training-camp had come in last night before leaving for Camp Devens; everybody had crowded about and praised them and envied them. They had been joked about the sweaters, and socks made by mothers and sweethearts, and about the trouble Uncle Sam would have with their mass of mail. The men in the office had joined to give each a goodbye present. Pride in them, the honor of them to all the force was shown at every turn; and beyond it all there was the look of grave contentment in their eyes which is the mark of the men who have counted the cost and given up everything for their country. Most of all soldiers, perhaps, in this great war, the American fights for an ideal. Also he knows it; down to the most ignorant drafted man, that inspiration has lifted the army and given it a star in the East to follow. The American fights for an ideal; the sign of it is in the faces of the men in uniform whom one meets everywhere in the street.
David Lance, splendidly powerful and fit except for the small limp which was his undoing, suffered as he joined, whole-hearted, in the glory of those who were going. Back in his room alone, smoking, staring into his dying fire, he was dreaming how it would feel if he were the one who was to march off in uniform to take his man's share of the hardship and comradeship and adventure and suffering, and of the salvation of the world. With that, he took his pipe from his mouth and grinned broadly into the fire as another phase of the question appeared. How would it feel if he was somebody's special soldier, like both of those boys, sent off by a mother or a sweetheart, by both possibly, overstocked with things knitted for him, with all the necessities and luxuries of a soldier's outfit that could be thought of. He remembered how Jarvis, the artillery captain, had showed them, proud and modest, his field glass.
"It's a good one," he had said. "My mother gave it to me. It has the Mills scale."
And Annesley, the kid, who had made his lieutenant's commission so unexpectedly, had broken in: "That's no shakes to the socks I've got on. If somebody'll pull off my boots I'll show you. Made in Poughkeepsie. A dozen pairs. Not my mother."
Lance smiled wistfully. Since his own mother died, eight years ago, he had drifted about unanchored, and though women had inevitably held out hands to the tall and beautiful lad, they were not the sort he cared for, and there had been none of his own sort in his life. Fate might so easily have given him a chance to serve his country, with also, maybe, just the common sweet things added which utmost every fellow had, and a woman or two to give him a sendoff and to write him letters over there sometimes. To be a soldier—and to be somebody's soldier! Why, these two things would mean Heaven! And hundreds of thousands of American boys had these and thought nothing of it. Fate certainly had been a bit stingy with a chap, considered David Lance, smiling into his little fire with a touch of wistful self-pity.
At this moment Fate, in smart, dark livery, knocked at his door. "Come in," shouted Lance cheerfully.
The door opened and he stared. Somebody had lost the way. Chauffeurs in expensive livery did not come to his hall bedroom. "Is dis yer Mr. Lance?" inquired Jackson.
Lance admitted it and got the note and read it while Jackson, knowing his Family intimately, knew that something pleasant and surprising was afoot and assisted with a discreet regard. When he saw that the note was finished, Jackson confidently put in his word. "Cyar's waitin', sir. Orders is I was to tote you to de house."
Lance's eyes glowered as he looked up. "Tell me one thing," he demanded.
"Yes, sir," grinned Jackson, pleased with this young gentleman from a very poor neighborhood, who quite evidently was, all the same, "quality."
"Are you," inquired Lance, "are you any relation to Aunt Basha?"
Jackson, for all his efficiency a friendly soul, forgot the dignity of his livery and broke into chuckles. "Naw, sir; naw, sir. I dunno de lady, sir; I reckon I ain't, sir," answered Jackson.
"All right, then, but it's the mistake of your life not to be. She's the best on earth. Wait till I brush my hair," said Lance, and did it.
Inside three minutes he was in the big Pierce-Arrow, almost as unfamiliar, almost as delightful to him as to Aunt Basha, and speeding gloriously through the streets. The note had said that some kinspeople had just discovered him, and would he come straight to them for lunch.
Mrs. Cabell and Eleanor crowded frankly to the window when the car stopped.
"I can't wait to see David's boy," cried Mrs. Cabell, and Eleanor, wise of her generation, followed with:
"Now, don't expect much; he may be deadly."
And out of the limousine stepped, unconscious, the beautiful David, and handed Jackson a dollar.
"Oh!" gasped Mrs. Cabell.
"It was silly, but I love it," added Eleanor; and David limped swiftly up the steps, and one heard Ebenezer, the butler, opening the door with suspicious promptness. Everyone in the house knew, mysteriously, that uncommon things were doing.
"Pendleton," spoke Mrs. Cabell, lying in wait for her son, the great doctor, as he came from his office at lunch time, "Pen, dear, let me tell you something extraordinary." She told, him, condensing as might be, and ended with; "And oh, Pen, he's the most adorable boy I ever saw. And so lonely and so poor and so plucky. Heartbroken because he's lame and can't serve. You'll cure him. Pen, dear, won't you, for his country?"
The tall, tired man bent down and kissed his mother. "Mummy, I'm not God Almighty. But I'll do my damdest for anything you want. Show me the paragon."
The paragon shot up, with the small unevenness which was his limp, and faced the big doctor on a level. The two pairs of eyes from their uncommon height, looked inquiringly into each other.
"I hear you have my name," spoke Dr. Cabell tersely.
"Yes, sir," said David, "And I'm glad." And the doctor knew that he also liked the paragon.
Lunch was an epic meal above and below stairs. Jeems had been fetched by that black Mercury Jackson, messenger today of the gods of joy. And the two old souls had been told by Mrs. Cabell that never again should they work hard or be anxious or want for anything. The sensation-loving colored servants rejoiced in the events as a personal jubilee, and made much of Aunt Basha and Unc' Jeems till their old heads reeled. Above stairs the scroll unrolled more or loss decorously, yet in magic colors unbelievable. Somehow David had told about Annesley and Jarvis last night.
"Somebody knitted him a whole dozen pairs of socks!" he commented, "Really she did. He said so. Think of a girl being as good to a chap as that."
"I'll knit you a dozen," Miss Eleanor Cabell capped his sentence, like the Amen at the end of a High Church prayer. "I'll begin this afternoon."
"And, David," said Mrs. Cabell—for it had got to be "David" and "Cousin Virginia" by now—"David, when you get your commission, I'll have your field glass ready, and a few other things."
Dr. Cabell lifted his eyes from his chop. "You'll spoil that boy," he stated. "And, mother, I pointed out that I'm not the Almighty, even on joints, I haven't looked at that game leg yet. I said it might be curable."
"That boy" looked up, smiling, with long years of loneliness and lameness written in the back of his glance. "Please don't make 'em stop, doctor," he begged. "I won't spoil easily. I haven't any start. And this is a fairy-story to me—wonderful people like you letting me—letting me belong. I can't believe I won't wake up. Don't you imagine it will go to my head. It won't. I'm just so blamed—grateful."
The deep young voice trailed, and the doctor made haste to answer. "You're all right, my lad," he said, "As soon as lunch is over you come into the surgery and I'll have a glance at the leg." Which was done.
After half an hour David came out, limping, pale and radiant. "I can't believe it," he spoke breathless. "He says—it's a simple—operation. I'll walk—like other men. I'll be right for—the service." He choked.
At that Mrs. Cabell sped across the room and put up hands either side of the young face and drew it down and kissed the lad whom she did not, this morning, know to be in existence. "You blessed boy," she whispered, "you shall fight for America, and you'll be our soldier, and we'll be your people." And David, kissing her again, looked over her head and saw Eleanor glowing like a rose, and with a swift, unphrased shock of happiness felt in his soul the wonder of a heaven that might happen. Then they were all about the fire, half-crying, laughing, as people do on top of strong feelings.
"Aunt Basha did it all," said David. "If Aunt Basha hadn't been the most magnificent old black woman who ever carried a snow-white soul, if she hadn't been the truest patriot in all America, if she hadn't given everything for her country—I'd likely never have—found you." His eyes went to the two kind and smiling faces, and his last word was a whisper. It was so much to have found. All he had dreamed, people of his own, a straight leg—and—his heart's desire—service to America.
Mrs. Cabell spoke softly, "I've lived a long time and I've seen over and over that a good deed spreads happiness like a pebble thrown into water, more than a bad one spreads evil, for good is stronger and more contagious. We've gained this dear kinsman today because of the nobility of an old negro woman."
David Lance lifted his head quickly. "It was no small nobility," he said. "As Miss Cabell was saying—"
"I'm your cousin Eleanor," interrupted Miss Cabell.
David lingered over the name. "Thank you, my cousin Eleanor. It's as you said, nothing more beautiful and wonderful has been done in wonderful America than this thing Aunt Basha did. It was as gallant as a soldier at the front, for she offered what meant possibly her life."
"Her little two hundred," Eleanor spoke gently. "And so cross at the idea of being paid back! She wanted to give it."
David's face gleamed with a thought as he stared into the firelight, "You see," he worked out his idea, "by the standards of the angels a gift must be big not according to its size but according to what's left. If you have millions and give a few thousand you practically give nothing, for you have millions left. But Aunt Basha had nothing left. The angels must have beaten drums and blown trumpets and raised Cain all over Paradise while you sat in the bank, my cousin Eleanor, for the glory of that record gift. No plutocrat in the land has touched what Aunt Basha did for her country."
Eleanor's eyes, sending out not only clear vision but a brown light as of the light of stars, shone on the boy. She bent forward, and her slender arms were about her knee. She gazed at David, marveling. How could it be that a human being might have all that David appeared to her to have—clear brain, crystal simplicity, manliness, charm of personality, and such strength and beauty besides!
"Yes," she said, "Aunt Basha gave the most. She has more right than any of us to say that it's her country." She was silent a moment and then spoke softly a single word. "America!" said Eleanor reverently.
America! Her sound has gone out into all lands and her words into the end of the world. America, who in a year took four million of sons untried, untrained, and made them into a mighty army; who adjusted a nation of a hundred million souls in a turn of the hand to unknown and unheard of conditions. America, whose greatest glory yet is not these things. America, of whom scholars and statesmen and generals and multi-millionaires say with throbbing pride today: "This is my country," but of whom the least in the land, having brought what they may, however small, to lay on that flaming altar of the world's safety—of whom the least in the land may say as truly as the greatest, "This is my country, too."
The Chateau Frontenac at Quebec is a turreted pile of masonry wandering down a cliff over the very cellars of the ancient Castle of St. Louis. A twentieth-century hotel, it simulates well a mediaeval fortress and lifts against the cold blue northern sky an atmosphere of history. Old voices whisper about its towers and above the clanging hoofs in its paved court; deathless names are in the wind which blows from the "fleuve," the great St. Lawrence River far below. Jacques Cartier's voice was heard hereabouts away back in 1539, and after him others, Champlain and Frontenac, and Father Jogues and Mother Marie of the Conception and Montcalm—upstanding fighting men and heroic women and hardy discoverers of New France walked about here once, on the "Rock" of Quebec; there is romance here if anywhere on earth. Today a new knighthood hails that past. Uniforms are thick in steep streets; men are wearing them with empty sleeves, on crutches, or maybe whole of body yet with racked faces which register a hell lived through. Canada guards heroism of many vintages, from four hundred years back through the years to Wolfe's time, and now a new harvest. Centuries from now children will be told, with the story of Cartier, the tale of Vimy Ridge, and while the Rock stands the records of Frenchmen in Canada, of Canadians in France will not die.
Always when I go to the Chateau I get a table, if I can, in the smaller dining-room. There the illusion of antiquity holds through modern luxury; there they have hung about the walls portraits of the worthies of old Quebec; there Samuel Champlain himself, made into bronze and heroic of size, aloft on his pedestal on the terrace outside, lifts his plumed hat and stares in at the narrow windows, turning his back on river and lower city. One disregards waiters in evening clothes and up-to-date table appointments, and one looks at Champlain and the "fleuve," and the Isle d'Orleans lying long and low, and one thinks of little ships, storm-beaten, creeping up to this grim bigness ignorant of continental events trailing in their wake.
I was on my way to camp in a club a hundred miles north of the gray-walled town when I drifted into the little dining-room for dinner one night in early September in 1918. The head-waiter was an old friend; he came to meet me and piloted me past a tableful of military color, four men in service uniforms.
"Some high officers, sir," spoke the head waiter. "In conference here, I believe. There's a French officer, and an English, and our Canadian General Sampson, and one of your generals, sir."
I gave my order and sat back to study the group. The waiter had it straight; there was the horizon blue of France; there was the Englishman tall and lean and ruddy and expressionless and handsome; there was the Canadian, more of our own cut, with a mobile, alert face. The American had his back to me and all I could see was an erect carriage, a brown head going to gray, and the one star of a brigadier-general on his shoulders. The beginnings of my dinner went fast, but after soup there was a lull before greater food, and I paid attention again to my neighbors. They were talking in English.
"A Huron of Lorette—does that mean a full-blooded Indian of the Huron tribe, such as one reads of in Parkman?" It was the Englishman who asked, responding to something I had not heard.
"There's no such animal as a full-blooded Huron," stated the Canadian. "They're all French-Indian half-breeds now. Lorette's an interesting scrap of history, just the same. You know your Parkman? You remember how the Iroquois followed the defeated Hurons as far as the Isle d'Orleans, out there?" He nodded toward where the big island lay in the darkness of the St. Lawrence. "Well, what was left after that chase took refuge fifteen miles north of Quebec, and founded what became and has stayed the village of Indian Lorette. There are now about five or six hundred people, and it's a nation. Under its own laws, dealing by treaty with Canada, not subject to draft, for instance. Queer, isn't it? They guard their identity vigilantly. Every one, man or woman, who marries into the tribe, as they religiously call it, is from then on a Huron. And only those who have Huron blood may own land in Lorette. The Hurons were, as Parkman put it, 'the gentlemen of the savages,' and the tradition lasts. The half-breed of today is a good sort, self-respecting and brave, not progressive, but intelligent, with pride in his inheritance, his courage, and his woodscraft."
The Canadian, facing me, spoke distinctly and much as Americans speak; I caught every word. But I missed what the French general threw back rapidly. I wondered why the Frenchman should be excited. I myself was interested because my guides, due to meet me at the club station tomorrow, were all half-breed Hurons. But why the French officer? What should a Frenchman of France know about backwaters of Canadian history? And with that he suddenly spoke slowly, and I caught several sentences of incisive if halting English.
"Zey are to astonish, ze Indian Hurong. For ze sort of work special-ment, as like scouting on a stomach. Qu-vick, ver' qu-vick, and ver' quiet. By dark places of danger. One sees zat nozzing at all af-frightens zose Hurong. Also zey are alike snakes, one cannot catch zem—zey slide; zey are slippy. To me it is to admire zat courage most—personnel—selfeesh—because an Hurong safe my life dere is six mont', when ze Boches make ze drive of ze mont' of March."
At this moment food arrived in a flurry, and I lost what came after. But I had forgotten the Chateau Frontenac; I had forgotten the group of officers, serious and responsible, who sat on at the next table. I had forgotten even the war. A word had sent my mind roaming. "Huron!" Memory and hope at that repeated word rose and flew away with me. Hope first. Tomorrow I was due to drop civilization and its tethers.
"Allah does not count the days spent out of doors." In Walter Pater's story of "Marius the Epicurean" one reads of a Roman country-seat called "Ad Vigilias Albas," "White Nights." A sense of dreamless sleep distils from the name. One remembers such nights, and the fresh world of the awakening in the morning. There are such days. There are days which ripple past as a night of sleep and leave a worn brain at the end with the same satisfaction of renewal; white days. Crystal they are, like the water of streams, as musical and eventless; as elusive of description as the ripple over rocks or brown pools foaming.
The days and months and years of a life race with accelerating pace and youth goes and age comes as the days race, but one is not older for the white days. The clock stops, the blood runs faster, furrows in gray matter smooth out, time forgets to put in tiny crow's-feet and the extra gray hair a week, or to withdraw by the hundredth of an ounce the oxygen from the veins; one grows no older for the days spent out of doors. Allah does not count them.
It was days like these which hope held ahead as I paid earnest attention to the good food set before me. And behold, beside the pleasant vision of hope rose a happy-minded sister called memory. She took the word "Huron," this kindly spirit, and played magic with it, and the walls of the Chateau rolled into rustling trees and running water.
I was sitting, in my vision, in flannel shirt and knickerbockers, on a log by a little river, putting together fishing tackle and casting an eye, off and on, where rapids broke cold over rocks and whirled into foam-flecked, shadowy pools. There should be trout in those shadows.
"Take the butt, Rafael, while I string the line."
Rafael slipped across—still in my vision of memory—and was holding my rod as a rod should be held, not too high or too low, or too far or too near—right. He was an old Huron, a chief of Indian Lorette, and woods craft was to him as breathing.
"A varry light rod," commented Rafael in his low voice which held no tones out of harmony with water in streams or wind in trees. "A varry light, good rod," paying meanwhile strict attention to his job. "M'sieu go haf a luck today. I t'ink M'sieu go catch a beeg fish on dat river. Water high enough—not too high. And cold." He shivered a little. "Cold last night—varry cold nights begin now. Good hun-ting wedder."
"Have you got a moose ready for me on the little lake, Rafael? It's the 1st of September next week and I expect you to give me a shot before the 3d."
Rafael nodded. "Oui, m'sieur. First day." The keen-eyed, aquiline old face was as of a prophet. "We go get moose first day. I show you." With that the laughter-loving Frenchman in him flooded over the Indian hunter; for a second the two inheritances played like colors in shot silk, producing an elusive fabric, Rafael's charm. "If nights get so colder, m'sieur go need moose skin kip him warm."
I was looking over my flies now, the book open before me, its fascinating pages of color more brilliant than an old missal, and maybe as filled with religion—the peace of God, charity which endureth, love to one's neighbor. I chose a Parmachene Belle for hand-fly, always good in Canadian waters. "A moose-skin hasn't much warmth, has it, Rafael?"
The hunter was back, hawk-eyed. "But yes, m'sieu. Moose skin one time safe me so I don' freeze to death. But it hol' me so tight so I nearly don' get loose in de morning."
"What do you mean?" I was only half listening, for a brown hackle and a Montreal were competing for the middle place on my cast, and it was a vital point. But Rafael liked to tell a story, and had come by now to a confidence in my liking to hear him. He flashed a glance to gather up my attention, and cleared his throat and began: "Dat was one time—I go on de woods—hunt wid my fader-in-law—mon beau-pere. It was mont' of March—and col'—but ver' col' and wet. So it happen we separate, my fador-in-law and me, to hunt on both side of large enough river. And I kill moose. What, m'sieur? What sort of gun? Yes. It was rifle—what one call flint-lock. Large round bore. I cast dat beeg ball myself, what I kill dat moose. Also it was col'. And so it happen my matches got wet, but yes, ev-very one. So I couldn' buil' fire. I was tired, yes, and much col'. I t'ink in my head to hurry and skin dat moose and wrap myself in dat skin and go sleep on de snow because if not I would die, I was so col' and so tired. I do dat. I skin heem—je le plumait—de beeg moose—beeg skin. Skin all warm off moose; I wrap all aroun' me and dig hole and lie down on deep snow and draw skin over head and over feet, and fol' arms, so"—Rafael illustrated—"and I hol' it aroun' wid my hands. And I get warm right away, warm, as bread toast. So I been slippy, and heavy wid tired, and I got comfortable in dat moose skin and I go aslip quick. I wake early on morning, and dat skin got froze tight, like box made on wood, and I hol' in dat wid my arms fol' so, and my head down so"—illustrations again—"and I can't move, not one inch. No. What, m'sieur? Yes, I was enough warm, me. But I lie lak dat and can't move, and I t'ink somet'ing. I t'ink I got die lak dat, in moose-skin. If no sun come, I did got die. But dat day sun come and be warm, and moose skin melt lil' bit, slow, and I push lil' bit wid shoulder, and after while I got ice broke, on moose skin, and I crawl out. Yes. I don' die yet."
Rafael's chuckle was an amen to his saga, and at once, with one of his lightning-changes, he was austere.
"M'sieur go need beeg trout tonight; not go need moose skin till nex' wik. Ze rod is ready take feesh, I see feesh jump by ole log. Not much room to cast, but m'sieur can do it. Shall I carry rod down to river for m'sieur?"
In not so many words as I have written, but in clear pictures which comprehended the words, Memory, that temperamental goddess of moods, had, at the prick of the word "Huron," shaken out this soft-colored tapestry of the forest, and held it before my eyes. And as she withdrew this one, others took its place and at length I was musing profoundly, as I put more of something on my plate and tucked it away into my anatomy. I mused about Rafael, the guide of sixty, who had begun a life of continued labor at eight years; I considered the undying Indian in him; how with the father who was "French of Picardy"—the white blood being a pride to Rafael—he himself, yes, and the father also, for he had married a "sauvagess," a Huron woman—had belonged to the tribe and were accounted Hurons; I considered Rafael's proud carriage, his classic head and carved features, his Indian austerity and his French mirth weaving in and out of each other; I considered the fineness and the fearlessness of his spirit, which long hardship had not blunted; I reflected on the tales he had told me of a youth forced to fight the world. "On a vu de le misere," Rafael had said: "One has seen trouble"—shaking his head, with lines of old suffering emerging from the reserve of his face like writing in sympathetic ink under heat. And I marvelled that through such fire, out of such neglect, out of lack of opportunity and bitter pressure, the steel of a character should have been tempered to gentleness and bravery and honor.