The boy from the newspaper office and the detective lay there in silence, biting at straws and tossing anxiously on their comfortable bed.
It seemed fully two hours before they came. Gallegher had listened without breathing, and with every muscle on a strain, at least a dozen times, when some movement in the yard had led him to believe that they were at the door.
And he had numerous doubts and fears. Sometimes it was that the police had learnt of the fight, and had raided Keppler's in his absence, and again it was that the fight had been postponed, or, worst of all, that it would be put off until so late that Mr. Dwyer could not get back in time for the last edition of the paper. Their coming, when at last they came, was heralded by an advance-guard of two sporting men, who stationed themselves at either side of the big door.
"Hurry up, now, gents," one of the men said with a shiver, "don't keep this door open no longer'n is needful."
It was not a very large crowd, but it was wonderfully well selected. It ran, in the majority of its component parts, to heavy white coats with pearl buttons. The white coats were shouldered by long blue coats with astrakhan fur trimmings, the wearers of which preserved a cliqueness not remarkable when one considers that they believed every one else present to be either a crook or a prize-fighter.
There were well-fed, well-groomed club-men and brokers in the crowd, a politician or two, a popular comedian with his manager, amateur boxers from the athletic clubs, and quiet, close-mouthed sporting men from every city in the country. Their names if printed in the papers would have been as familiar as the types of the papers themselves.
And among these men, whose only thought was of the brutal sport to come, was Hade, with Dwyer standing at ease at his shoulder—Hade, white, and visibly in deep anxiety, hiding his pale face beneath a cloth travelling-cap, and with his chin muffled in a woollen scarf. He had dared to come because he feared his danger from the already suspicious Keppler was less than if he stayed away. And so he was there, hovering restlessly on the border of the crowd, feeling his danger and sick with fear.
When Hefflefinger first saw him he started up on his hands and elbows and made a movement forward as if he would leap down then and there and carry off his prisoner single-handed.
"Lie down," growled Gallegher; "an officer of any sort wouldn't live three minutes in that crowd."
The detective drew back slowly and buried himself again in the straw, but never once through the long fight which followed did his eyes leave the person of the murderer. The newspaper men took their places in the foremost row close around the ring, and kept looking at their watches and begging the master of ceremonies to "shake it up, do."
There was a great deal of betting, and all of the men handled the great rolls of bills they wagered with a flippant recklessness which could only be accounted for in Gallegher's mind by temporary mental derangement. Some one pulled a box out into the ring and the master of ceremonies mounted it, and pointed out in forcible language that as they were almost all already under bonds to keep the peace, it behooved all to curb their excitement and to maintain a severe silence, unless they wanted to bring the police upon them and have themselves "sent down" for a year or two.
Then two very disreputable-looking persons tossed their respective principals' high hats into the ring, and the crowd, recognizing in this relic of the days when brave knights threw down their gauntlets in the lists as only a sign that the fight was about to begin, cheered tumultuously.
This was followed by a sudden surging forward, and a mutter of admiration much more flattering than the cheers had been, when the principals followed their hats and, slipping out of their great-coats, stood forth in all the physical beauty of the perfect brute.
Their pink skin was as soft and healthy-looking as a baby's, and glowed in the lights of the lanterns like tinted ivory, and underneath this silken covering the great biceps and muscles moved in and out and looked like the coils of a snake around the branch of a tree.
Gentleman and blackguard shouldered each other for a nearer view; the coachmen, whose metal buttons were unpleasantly suggestive of police, put their hands, in the excitement of the moment, on the shoulders of their masters; the perspiration stood out in great drops on the foreheads of the backers, and the newspaper men bit somewhat nervously at the ends of their pencils.
And in the stalls the cows munched contentedly at their cuds and gazed with gentle curiosity at their two fellow-brutes, who stood waiting the signal to fall upon and kill each other, if need be, for the delectation of their brothers.
"Take your places," commanded the master of ceremonies.
In the moment in which the two men faced each other the crowd became so still that, save for the beating of the rain upon the shingled roof and the stamping of a horse in one of the stalls, the place was as silent as a church.
"Time," shouted the master of ceremonies.
The two men sprang into a posture of defense, which was lost as quickly as it was taken, one great arm shot out like a piston-rod; there was the sound of bare fists beating on naked flesh; there was an exultant indrawn gasp of savage pleasure and relief from the crowd, and the great fight had begun.
How the fortunes of war rose and fell, and changed and rechanged that night, is an old story to those who listen to such stories; and those who do not will be glad to be spared the telling of it. It was, they say, one of the bitterest fights between two men that this country has ever known.
But all that is of interest here is that after an hour of this desperate, brutal business the champion ceased to be the favorite; the man whom he had taunted and bullied, and for whom the public had but little sympathy, was proving himself a likely winner, and under his cruel blows, as sharp and clean as those from a cutlass, his opponent was rapidly giving way.
The men about the ropes were past all control now; they drowned Keppler's petitions for silence with oaths and in inarticulate shouts of anger, as if the blows had fallen upon them, and in mad rejoicings. They swept from one end of the ring to the other, with every muscle leaping in unison with those of the man they favored, and when a New York correspondent muttered over his shoulder that this would be the biggest sporting surprise since the Heenan-Sayers fight, Mr. Dwyer nodded his head sympathetically in assent.
In the excitement and tumult it is doubtful if any heard the three quickly repeated blows that fell heavily from the outside upon the big doors of the barn. If they did, it was already too late to mend matters, for the door fell, torn from its hinges, and as it fell a captain of police sprang into the light from out of the storm, with his lieutenants and their men crowding close at his shoulder.
In the panic and stampede that followed, several of the men stood as helplessly immovable as though they had seen a ghost; others made a mad rush into the arms of the officers and were beaten back against the ropes of the ring; others dived headlong into the stalls, among the horses and cattle, and still others shoved the rolls of money they held into the hands of the police and begged like children to be allowed to escape.
The instant the door fell and the raid was declared Hefflefinger slipped over the cross rails on which he had been lying, hung for an instant by his hands, and then dropped into the centre of the fighting mob on the floor. He was out of it in an instant with the agility of a pickpocket, was across the room and at Hade's throat like a dog. The murderer, for the moment, was the calmer man of the two.
"Here," he panted, "hands off, now. There's no need for all this violence. There's no great harm in looking at a fight, is there? There's a hundred-dollar bill in my right hand; take it and let me slip out of this. No one is looking. Here."
But the detective only held him the closer.
"I want you for burglary," he whispered under his breath. "You've got to come with me now, and quick. The less fuss you make, the better for both of us. If you don't know who I am, you can feel my badge under my coat there. I've got the authority. It's all regular, and when we're out of this d—d row I'll show you the papers."
He took one hand from Hade's throat and pulled a pair of handcuffs from his pocket.
"It's a mistake. This is an outrage," gasped the murderer, white and trembling, but dreadfully alive and desperate for his liberty. "Let me go, I tell you! Take your hands off of me! Do I look like a burglar, you fool?"
"I know who you look like," whispered the detective, with his face close to the face of his prisoner. "Now, will you go easy as a burglar, or shall I tell these men who you are and what I do want you for? Shall I call out your real name or not? Shall I tell them? Quick, speak up; shall I?"
There was something so exultant—something so unnecessarily savage in the officer's face that the man he held saw that the detective knew him for what he really was, and the hands that had held his throat slipped down around his shoulders, or he would have fallen. The man's eyes opened and closed again, and he swayed weakly backward and forward, and choked as if his throat were dry and burning. Even to such a hardened connoisseur in crime as Gallegher, who stood closely by, drinking it in, there was something so abject in the man's terror that he regarded him with what was almost a touch of pity.
"For God's sake," Hade begged, "let me go. Come with me to my room and I'll give you half the money. I'll divide with you fairly. We can both get away. There's a fortune for both of us there. We both can get away. You'll be rich for life. Do you understand—for life!"
But the detective, to his credit, only shut his lips the tighter.
"That's enough," he whispered, in return. "That's more than I expected. You've sentenced yourself already. Come!"
Two officers in uniform barred their exit at the door, but Hefflefinger smiled easily and showed his badge.
"One of Byrnes's men," he said, in explanation; "came over expressly to take this chap. He's a burglar; 'Arlie' Lane, alias Carleton. I've shown the papers to the captain. It's all regular. I'm just going to get his traps at the hotel and walk him over to the station. I guess we'll push right on to New York to-night."
The officers nodded and smiled their admiration for the representative of what is, perhaps, the best detective force in the world, and let him pass.
Then Hefflefinger turned and spoke to Gallegher, who still stood as watchful as a dog at his side. "I'm going to his room to get the bonds and stuff," he whispered; "then I'll march him to the station and take that train. I've done my share; don't forget yours!"
"Oh, you'll get your money right enough," said Gallegher. "And, sa-ay," he added, with the appreciative nod of an expert, "do you know, you did it rather well."
Mr. Dwyer had been writing while the raid was settling down, as he had been writing while waiting for the fight to begin. Now he walked over to where the other correspondents stood in angry conclave.
The newspaper men had informed the officers who hemmed them in that they represented the principal papers of the country, and were expostulating vigorously with the captain, who had planned the raid, and who declared they were under arrest.
"Don't be an ass, Scott," said Mr. Dwyer, who was too excited to be polite or politic. "You know our being here isn't a matter of choice. We came here on business, as you did, and you've no right to hold us."
"If we don't get our stuff on the wire at once," protested a New York man, "we'll be too late for to-morrow's paper, and——"
Captain Scott said he did not care a profanely small amount for to-morrow's paper, and that all he knew was that to the station-house the newspaper men would go. There they would have a hearing, and if the magistrate chose to let them off, that was the magistrate's business, but that his duty was to take them into custody.
"But then it will be too late, don't you understand?" shouted Mr. Dwyer. "You've got to let us go now, at once."
"I can't do it, Mr. Dwyer," said the captain, "and that's all there is to it. Why, haven't I just sent the president of the Junior Republican Club to the patrol-wagon, the man that put this coat on me, and do you think I can let you fellows go after that? You were all put under bonds to keep the peace not three days ago, and here you're at it—fighting like badgers. It's worth my place to let one of you off."
What Mr. Dwyer said next was so uncomplimentary to the gallant Captain Scott that that overwrought individual seized the sporting editor by the shoulder, and shoved him into the hands of two of his men.
This was more than the distinguished Mr. Dwyer could brook, and he excitedly raised his hand in resistance. But before he had time to do anything foolish his wrist was gripped by one strong little hand, and he was conscious that another was picking the pocket of his great-coat.
He slapped his hands to his sides, and, looking down, saw Gallegher standing close behind him and holding him by the wrist. Mr. Dwyer had forgotten the boy's existence, and would have spoken sharply if something in Gallegher's innocent eyes had not stopped him.
Gallegher's hand was still in that pocket in which Mr. Dwyer had shoved his notebook filled with what he had written of Gallegher's work and Hade's final capture, and with a running descriptive account of the fight. With his eyes fixed on Mr. Dwyer, Gallegher drew it out, and with a quick movement shoved it inside his waistcoat. Mr. Dwyer gave a nod of comprehension. Then glancing at his two guardsmen, and finding that they were still interested in the wordy battle of the correspondents with their chief, and had seen nothing, he stooped and whispered to Gallegher: "The forms are locked at twenty minutes to three. If you don't get there by that time it will be of no use, but if you're on time you'll beat the town—and the country too."
Gallegher's eyes flashed significantly, and, nodding his head to show he understood, started boldly on a run toward the door. But the officers who guarded it brought him to an abrupt halt, and, much to Mr. Dwyer's astonishment, drew from him what was apparently a torrent of tears.
"Let me go to me father. I want me father," the boy shrieked hysterically. "They've 'rested father. Oh, daddy, daddy. They're a-goin' to take you to prison."
"Who is your father, sonny?" asked one of the guardians of the gate.
"Keppler's me father," sobbed Gallegher. "They're a-goin' to lock him up, and I'll never see him no more."
"Oh, yes, you will," said the officer, good-naturedly; "he's there in that first patrol-wagon. You can run over and say good night to him, and then you'd better get to bed. This ain't no place for kids of your age."
"Thank you, sir," sniffed Gallegher, tearfully, as the two officers raised their clubs, and let him pass out into the darkness.
The yard outside was in a tumult, horses were stamping, and plunging, and backing the carriages into one another; lights were flashing from every window of what had been apparently an uninhabited house, and the voices of the prisoners were still raised in angry expostulation.
Three police patrol-wagons were moving about the yard, filled with unwilling passengers, who sat or stood, packed together like sheep and with no protection from the sleet and rain.
Gallegher stole off into a dark corner, and watched the scene until his eyesight became familiar with the position of the land.
Then with his eyes fixed fearfully on the swinging light of a lantern with which an officer was searching among the carriages, he groped his way between horses' hoofs and behind the wheels of carriages to the cab which he had himself placed at the furthermost gate. It was still there, and the horse, as he had left it, with its head turned toward the city. Gallegher opened the big gate noiselessly, and worked nervously at the hitching strap. The knot was covered with a thin coating of ice, and it was several minutes before he could loosen it. But his teeth finally pulled it apart, and with the reins in his hands he sprang upon the wheel. And as he stood so, a shock of fear ran down his back like an electric current, his breath left him, and he stood immovable, gazing with wide eyes into the darkness.
The officer with the lantern had suddenly loomed up from behind a carriage not fifty feet distant, and was standing perfectly still, with his lantern held over his head, peering so directly toward Gallegher that the boy felt that he must see him. Gallegher stood with one foot on the hub of the wheel and with the other on the box waiting to spring. It seemed a minute before either of them moved, and then the officer took a step forward, and demanded sternly, "Who is that? What are you doing there?"
There was no time for parley then. Gallegher felt that he had been taken in the act, and that his only chance lay in open flight. He leaped up on the box, pulling out the whip as he did so, and with a quick sweep lashed the horse across the head and back. The animal sprang forward with a snort, narrowly clearing the gate-post, and plunged off into the darkness.
"Stop!" cried the officer.
So many of Gallegher's acquaintances among the 'longshoremen and mill hands had been challenged in so much the same manner that Gallegher knew what would probably follow if the challenge was disregarded. So he slipped from his seat to the footboard below, and ducked his head.
The three reports of a pistol, which rang out briskly from behind him, proved that his early training had given him a valuable fund of useful miscellaneous knowledge.
"Don't you be scared," he said, reassuringly, to the horse; "he's firing in the air."
The pistol-shots were answered by the impatient clangor of a patrol-wagon's gong, and glancing over his shoulder Gallegher saw its red and green lanterns tossing from side to side and looking in the darkness like the side-lights of a yacht plunging forward in a storm.
"I hadn't bargained to race you against no patrol-wagons," said Gallegher to his animal; "but if they want a race, we'll give them a tough tussle for it, won't we?"
Philadelphia, lying four miles to the south, sent up a faint yellow glow to the sky. It seemed very far away, and Gallegher's braggadocio grew cold within him at the loneliness of his adventure and the thought of the long ride before him.
It was still bitterly cold.
The rain and sleet beat through his clothes, and struck his skin with a sharp, chilling touch that set him trembling.
Even the thought of the over-weighted patrol-wagon probably sticking in the mud some safe distance in the rear, failed to cheer him, and the excitement that had so far made him callous to the cold died out and left him weaker and nervous.
But his horse was chilled with the long standing, and now leaped eagerly forward, only too willing to warm the half-frozen blood in its veins.
"You're a good beast," said Gallegher, plaintively. "You've got more nerve than me. Don't you go back on me now. Mr. Dwyer says we've got to beat the town." Gallegher had no idea what time it was as he rode through the night, but he knew he would be able to find out from a big clock over a manufactory at a point nearly three-quarters of the distance from Keppler's to the goal.
He was still in the open country and driving recklessly, for he knew the best part of his ride must be made outside the city limits.
He raced between desolate-looking cornfields with bare stalks and patches of muddy earth rising above the thin covering of snow; truck farms and brick-yards fell behind him on either side. It was very lonely work, and once or twice the dogs ran yelping to the gates and barked after him.
Part of his way lay parallel with the railroad tracks, and he drove for some time beside long lines of freight and coal cars as they stood resting for the night. The fantastic Queen Anne suburban stations were dark and deserted, but in one or two of the block-towers he could see the operators writing at their desks, and the sight in some way comforted him.
Once he thought of stopping to get out the blanket in which he had wrapped himself on the first trip, but he feared to spare the time, and drove on with his teeth chattering and his shoulders shaking with the cold.
He welcomed the first solitary row of darkened houses with a faint cheer of recognition. The scattered lamp-posts lightened his spirits, and even the badly paved streets rang under the beats of his horse's feet like music. Great mills and manufactories, with only a night-watchman's light in the lowest of their many stories, began to take the place of the gloomy farm-houses and gaunt trees that had startled him with their grotesque shapes. He had been driving nearly an hour, he calculated, and in that time the rain had changed to a wet snow, that fell heavily and clung to whatever it touched. He passed block after block of trim work-men's houses, as still and silent as the sleepers within them, and at last he turned the horse's head into Broad Street, the city's great thoroughfare, that stretches from its one end to the other and cuts it evenly in two.
He was driving noiselessly over the snow and slush in the street, with his thoughts bent only on the clock-face he wished so much to see, when a hoarse voice challenged him from the sidewalk. "Hey, you, stop there, hold up!" said the voice.
Gallegher turned his head, and though he saw that the voice came from under a policeman's helmet, his only answer was to hit his horse sharply over the head with his whip and to urge it into a gallop.
This, on his part, was followed by a sharp, shrill whistle from the policeman. Another whistle answered it from a street-corner one block ahead of him. "Whoa," said Gallegher, pulling on the reins. "There's one too many of them," he added, in apologetic explanation. The horse stopped, and stood, breathing heavily, with great clouds of steam rising from its flanks.
"Why in hell didn't you stop when I told you to?" demanded the voice, now close at the cab's side.
"I didn't hear you," returned Gallegher, sweetly. "But I heard you whistle, and I heard your partner whistle, and I thought maybe it was me you wanted to speak to, so I just stopped."
"You heard me well enough. Why aren't your lights lit?" demanded the voice.
"Should I have 'em lit?" asked Gallegher, bending over and regarding them with sudden interest.
"You know you should, and if you don't, you've no right to be driving that cab. I don't believe you're the regular driver, anyway. Where'd you get it?"
"It ain't my cab, of course," said Gallegher, with an easy laugh. "It's Luke McGovern's. He left it outside Cronin's while he went in to get a drink, and he took too much, and me father told me to drive it round to the stable for him. I'm Cronin's son. McGovern ain't in no condition to drive. You can see yourself how he's been misusing the horse. He puts it up at Bachman's livery stable, and I was just going around there now."
Gallegher's knowledge of the local celebrities of the district confused the zealous officer of the peace. He surveyed the boy with a steady stare that would have distressed a less skilful liar, but Gallegher only shrugged his shoulders slightly, as if from the cold, and waited with apparent indifference to what the officer would say next.
In reality his heart was beating heavily against his side, and he felt that if he was kept on a strain much longer he would give way and break down. A second snow-covered form emerged suddenly from the shadow of the houses.
"What is it, Reeder?" it asked.
"Oh, nothing much," replied the first officer. "This kid hadn't any lamps lit, so I called to him to stop and he didn't do it, so I whistled to you. It's all right, though. He's just taking it round to Bachman's. Go ahead," he added, sulkily.
"Get up!" chirped Gallegher. "Good night," he added, over his shoulder.
Gallegher gave a hysterical little gasp of relief as he trotted away from the two policemen, and poured bitter maledictions on their heads for two meddling fools as he went.
"They might as well kill a man as scare him to death," he said, with an attempt to get back to his customary flippancy. But the effort was somewhat pitiful, and he felt guiltily conscious that a salt, warm tear was creeping slowly down his face, and that a lump that would not keep down was rising in his throat.
"Tain't no fair thing for the whole police force to keep worrying at a little boy like me," he said, in shame-faced apology. "I'm not doing nothing wrong, and I'm half froze to death, and yet they keep a-nagging at me."
It was so cold that when the boy stamped his feet against the footboard to keep them warm, sharp pains shot up through his body, and when he beat his arms about his shoulders, as he had seen real cabmen do, the blood in his finger-tips tingled so acutely that he cried aloud with the pain.
He had often been up that late before, but he had never felt so sleepy. It was as if some one was pressing a sponge heavy with chloroform near his face, and he could not fight off the drowsiness that lay hold of him.
He saw, dimly hanging above his head, a round disk of light that seemed like a great moon, and which he finally guessed to be the clock-face for which he had been on the lookout. He had passed it before he realized this; but the fact stirred him into wakefulness again, and when his cab's wheels slipped around the City Hall corner, he remembered to look up at the other big clock-face that keeps awake over the railroad station and measures out the night.
He gave a gasp of consternation when he saw that it was half-past two, and that there was but ten minutes left to him. This, and the many electric lights and the sight of the familiar pile of buildings, startled him into a semi-consciousness of where he was and how great was the necessity for haste.
He rose in his seat and called on the horse, and urged it into a reckless gallop over the slippery asphalt. He considered nothing else but speed, and looking neither to the left nor right dashed off down Broad Street into Chestnut, where his course lay straight away to the office, now only seven blocks distant.
Gallegher never knew how it began, but he was suddenly assaulted by shouts on either side, his horse was thrown back on its haunches, and he found two men in cabmen's livery hanging at its head, and patting its sides, and calling it by name. And the other cabmen who have their stand at the corner were swarming about the carriage, all of them talking and swearing at once, and gesticulating wildly with their whips.
They said they knew the cab was McGovern's, and they wanted to know where he was, and why he wasn't on it; they wanted to know where Gallegher had stolen it, and why he had been such a fool as to drive it into the arms of its owner's friends; they said that it was about time that a cab-driver could get off his box to take a drink without having his cab run away with, and some of them called loudly for a policeman to take the young thief in charge.
Gallagher felt as if he had been suddenly dragged into consciousness out of a bad dream, and stood for a second like a half-awakened somnambulist.
They had stopped the cab under an electric light, and its glare shone coldly down upon the trampled snow and the faces of the men around him.
Gallegher bent forward, and lashed savagely at the horse with his whip.
"Let me go," he shouted, as he tugged impotently at the reins. "Let me go, I tell you. I haven't stole no cab, and you've got no right to stop me. I only want to take it to the Press office," he begged. "They'll send it back to you all right. They'll pay you for the trip. I'm not running away with it. The driver's got the collar—he's 'rested—and I'm only a-going to the Press office. Do you hear me?" he cried, his voice rising and breaking in a shriek of passion and disappointment. "I tell you to let go those reins. Let me go, or I'll kill you. Do you hear me? I'll kill you." And leaning forward, the boy struck savagely with his long whip at the faces of the men about the horse's head.
Some one in the crowd reached up and caught him by the ankles, and with a quick jerk pulled him off the box, and threw him on to the street. But he was up on his knees in a moment, and caught at the man's hand.
"Don't let them stop me, mister," he cried, "please let me go. I didn't steal the cab, sir. S'help me, I didn't. I'm telling you the truth. Take me to the Press office, and they'll prove it to you. They'll pay you anything you ask 'em. It's only such a little ways now, and I've come so far, sir. Please don't let them stop me," he sobbed, clasping the man about the knees. "For Heaven's sake, mister, let me go!"
* * * * *
The managing editor of the Press took up the india-rubber speaking-tube at his side, and answered, "Not yet," to an inquiry the night editor had already put to him five times within the last twenty minutes.
Then he snapped the metal top of the tube impatiently, and went up-stairs. As he passed the door of the local room, he noticed that the reporters had not gone home, but were sitting about on the tables and chairs, waiting. They looked up inquiringly as he passed, and the city editor asked, "Any news yet?" and the managing editor shook his head.
The compositors were standing idle in the composing-room, and their foreman was talking with the night editor.
"Well," said that gentleman, tentatively.
"Well," returned the managing editor, "I don't think we can wait; do you?"
"It's a half-hour after time now," said the night editor, "and we'll miss the suburban trains if we hold the paper back any longer. We can't afford to wait for a purely hypothetical story. The chances are all against the fight's having taken place or this Hade's having been arrested."
"But if we're beaten on it—" suggested the chief. "But I don't think that is possible. If there were any story to print, Dwyer would have had it here before now."
The managing editor looked steadily down at the floor.
"Very well," he said, slowly, "we won't wait any longer. Go ahead," he added, turning to the foreman with a sigh of reluctance. The foreman whirled himself about, and began to give his orders; but the two editors still looked at each other doubtfully.
As they stood so, there came a sudden shout and the sound of people running to and fro in the reportorial rooms below. There was the tramp of many footsteps on the stairs, and above the confusion they heard the voice of the city editor telling some one to "run to Madden's and get some brandy, quick."
No one in the composing-room said anything; but those compositors who had started to go home began slipping off their overcoats, and every one stood with his eyes fixed on the door.
It was kicked open from the outside, and in the doorway stood a cab-driver and the city editor, supporting between them a pitiful little figure of a boy, wet and miserable, and with the snow melting on his clothes and running in little pools to the floor. "Why, it's Gallegher," said the night editor, in a tone of the keenest disappointment.
Gallegher shook himself free from his supporters, and took an unsteady step forward, his fingers fumbling stiffly with the buttons of his waistcoat.
"Mr. Dwyer, sir," he began faintly, with his eyes fixed fearfully on the managing editor, "he got arrested—and I couldn't get here no sooner, 'cause they kept a-stopping me, and they took me cab from under me—but—" he pulled the notebook from his breast and held it out with its covers damp and limp from the rain—"but we got Hade, and here's Mr. Dwyer's copy."
And then he asked, with a queer note in his voice, partly of dread and partly of hope, "Am I in time, sir?"
The managing editor took the book, and tossed it to the foreman, who ripped out its leaves and dealt them out to his men as rapidly as a gambler deals out cards.
Then the managing editor stooped and picked Gallegher up in his arms, and, sitting down, began to unlace his wet and muddy shoes.
Gallegher made a faint effort to resist this degradation of the managerial dignity; but his protest was a very feeble one, and his head fell back heavily oh the managing editor's shoulder.
To Gallegher the incandescent lights began to whirl about in circles, and to burn in different colors; the faces of the reporters kneeling before him and chafing his hands and feet grew dim and unfamiliar, and the roar and rumble of the great presses in the basement sounded far away, like the murmur of the sea.
And then the place and the circumstances of it came back to him again sharply and with sudden vividness.
Gallegher looked up, with a faint smile, into the managing editor's face. "You won't turn me off for running away, will you?" he whispered.
The managing editor did not answer immediately. His head was bent, and he was thinking, for some reason or other, of a little boy of his own, at home in bed. Then he said quietly, "Not this time, Gallegher."
Gallegher's head sank back comfortably on the older man's shoulder, and he smiled comprehensively at the faces of the young men crowded around him. "You hadn't ought to," he said, with a touch of his old impudence, '"cause—I beat the town."
BLOOD WILL TELL
David Greene was an employee of the Burdett Automatic Punch Company. The manufacturing plant of the company was at Bridgeport, but in the New York offices there were working samples of all the punches, from the little nickel-plated hand punch with which conductors squeezed holes in railroad tickets, to the big punch that could bite into an iron plate as easily as into a piece of pie. David's duty was to explain these different punches, and accordingly when Burdett Senior or one of the sons turned a customer over to David he spoke of him as a salesman. But David called himself a "demonstrator." For a short time he even succeeded in persuading the other salesmen to speak of themselves as demonstrators, but the shipping clerks and bookkeepers laughed them out of it. They could not laugh David out of it. This was so, partly because he had no sense of humor, and partly because he had a great-great-grandfather. Among the salesmen on lower Broadway, to possess a great-great-grandfather is unusual, even a great-grandfather is a rarity, and either is considered superfluous. But to David the possession of a great-great-grandfather was a precious and open delight. He had possessed him only for a short time. Undoubtedly he always had existed, but it was not until David's sister Anne married a doctor in Bordentown, New Jersey, and became socially ambitious, that David emerged as a Son of Washington.
It was sister Anne, anxious to "get in" as a "Daughter" and wear a distaff pin in her shirt-waist, who discovered the revolutionary ancestor. She unearthed him, or rather ran him to earth, in the graveyard of the Presbyterian church at Bordentown. He was no less a person than General Hiram Greene, and he had fought with Washington at Trenton and at Princeton. Of this there was no doubt. That, later, on moving to New York, his descendants became peace-loving salesmen did not affect his record. To enter a society founded on heredity, the important thing is first to catch your ancestor, and having made sure of him, David entered the Society of the Sons of Washington with flying colors. He was not unlike the man who had been speaking prose for forty years without knowing it. He was not unlike the other man who woke to find himself famous. He had gone to bed a timid, near-sighted, underpaid salesman without a relative in the world, except a married sister in Bordentown, and he awoke to find he was a direct descendant of "Neck or Nothing" Greene, a revolutionary hero, a friend of Washington, a man whose portrait hung in the State House at Trenton. David's life had lacked color. The day he carried his certificate of membership to the big jewelry store uptown and purchased two rosettes, one for each of his two coats, was the proudest of his life.
The other men in the Broadway office took a different view. As Wyckoff, one of Burdett's flying squadron of travelling salesmen, said, "All grandfathers look alike to me, whether they're great, or great-great-great. Each one is as dead as the other. I'd rather have a live cousin who could loan me a five, or slip me a drink. What did your great-great dad ever do for you?"
"Well, for one thing," said David stiffly, "he fought in the War of the Revolution. He saved us from the shackles of monarchical England; he made it possible for me and you to enjoy the liberties of a free republic."
"Don't try to tell me your grandfather did all that," protested Wyckoff, "because I know better. There were a lot of others helped. I read about it in a book."
"I am not grudging glory to others," returned David; "I am only saying I am proud that I am a descendant of a revolutionist."
Wyckoff dived into his inner pocket and produced a leather photograph frame that folded like a concertina.
"I don't want to be a descendant," he said; "I'd rather be an ancestor. Look at those." Proudly he exhibited photographs of Mrs. Wyckoff with the baby and of three other little Wyckoffs. David looked with envy at the children.
"When I'm married," he stammered, and at the words he blushed, "I hope to be an ancestor."
"If you're thinking of getting married," said Wyckoff, "you'd better hope for a raise in salary."
The other clerks were as unsympathetic as Wyckoff. At first when David showed them his parchment certificate, and his silver gilt insignia with on one side a portrait of Washington, and on the other a Continental soldier, they admitted it was dead swell. They even envied him, not the grandfather, but the fact that owing to that distinguished relative David was constantly receiving beautifully engraved invitations to attend the monthly meetings of the society; to subscribe to a fund to erect monuments on battle-fields to mark neglected graves; to join in joyous excursions to the tomb of Washington or of John Paul Jones; to inspect West Point, Annapolis, and Bunker Hill; to be among those present at the annual "banquet" at Delmonico's. In order that when he opened these letters he might have an audience, he had given the society his office address.
In these communications he was always addressed as "Dear Compatriot," and never did the words fail to give him a thrill. They seemed to lift him out of Burdett's salesrooms and Broadway, and place him next to things uncommercial, untainted, high, and noble. He did not quite know what an aristocrat was, but he believed being a compatriot made him an aristocrat. When customers were rude, when Mr. John or Mr. Robert was overbearing, this idea enabled David to rise above their ill-temper, and he would smile and say to himself: "If they knew the meaning of the blue rosette in my button-hole, how differently they would treat me! How easily with a word could I crush them!"
But few of the customers recognized the significance of the button. They thought it meant that David belonged to the Y. M. C. A. or was a teetotaler. David, with his gentle manners and pale, ascetic face, was liable to give that impression.
When Wyckoff mentioned marriage, the reason David blushed was because, although no one in the office suspected it, he wished to marry the person in whom the office took the greatest pride. This was Miss Emily Anthony, one of Burdett and Sons' youngest, most efficient, and prettiest stenographers, and although David did not cut as dashing a figure as did some of the firm's travelling men, Miss Anthony had found something in him so greatly to admire that she had, out of office hours, accepted his devotion, his theatre tickets, and an engagement ring. Indeed, so far had matters progressed, that it had been almost decided when in a few months they would go upon their vacations they also would go upon their honeymoon. And then a cloud had come between them, and from a quarter from which David had expected only sunshine.
The trouble befell when David discovered he had a great-great-grandfather. With that fact itself Miss Anthony was almost as pleased as was David himself, but while he was content to bask in another's glory, Miss Anthony saw in his inheritance only an incentive to achieve glory for himself.
From a hard-working salesman she had asked but little, but from a descendant of a national hero she expected other things. She was a determined young person, and for David she was an ambitious young person. She found she was dissatisfied. She found she was disappointed. The great-great-grandfather had opened up a new horizon—had, in a way, raised the standard. She was as fond of David as always, but his tales of past wars and battles, his accounts of present banquets at which he sat shoulder to shoulder with men of whom even Burdett and Sons spoke with awe, touched her imagination.
"You shouldn't be content to just wear a button," she urged. "If you're a Son of Washington, you ought to act like one."
"I know I'm not worthy of you," David sighed.
"I don't mean that, and you know I don't," Emily replied indignantly. "It has nothing to do with me! I want you to be worthy of yourself, of your grandpa Hiram!"
"But how?" complained David. "What chance has a twenty-five dollar a week clerk——"
It was a year before the Spanish-American War, while the patriots of Cuba were fighting the mother country for their independence.
"If I were a Son of the Revolution," said Emily, "I'd go to Cuba and help free it."
"Don't talk nonsense," cried David. "If I did that I'd lose my job, and we'd never be able to marry. Besides, what's Cuba done for me? All I know about Cuba is, I once smoked a Cuban cigar and it made me ill."
"Did Lafayette talk like that?" demanded Emily. "Did he ask what have the American rebels ever done for me?"
"If I were in Lafayette's class," sighed David, "I wouldn't be selling automatic punches."
"There's your trouble," declared Emily. "You lack self-confidence. You're too humble, you've got fighting blood and you ought to keep saying to yourself, 'Blood will tell,' and the first thing you know, it will tell! You might begin by going into politics in your ward. Or, you could join the militia. That takes only one night a week, and then, if we did go to war with Spain, you'd get a commission, and come back a captain!"
Emily's eyes were beautiful with delight. But the sight gave David no pleasure. In genuine distress, he shook his head.
"Emily," he said, "you're going to be awfully disappointed in me."
Emily's eyes closed as though they shied at some mental picture. But when she opened them they were bright, and her smile was kind and eager.
"No, I'm not," she protested; "only I want a husband with a career, and one who'll tell me to keep quiet when I try to run it for him."
"I've often wished you would," said David.
"Would what? Run your career for you?"
"No, keep quiet. Only it didn't seem polite to tell you so."
"Maybe I'd like you better," said Emily, "if you weren't so darned polite."
A week later, early in the spring of 1897, the unexpected happened, and David was promoted into the flying squadron. He now was a travelling salesman, with a rise in salary and a commission on orders. It was a step forward, but as going on the road meant absence from Emily, David was not elated. Nor did it satisfy Emily. It was not money she wanted. Her ambition for David could not be silenced with a raise in wages. She did not say this, but David knew that in him she still found something lacking, and when they said good-by they both were ill at ease and completely unhappy. Formerly, each day when Emily in passing David in the office said good-morning, she used to add the number of the days that still separated them from the vacation which also was to be their honeymoon. But, for the last month she had stopped counting the days—at least she did not count them aloud.
David did not ask her why this was so. He did not dare. And, sooner than learn the truth that she had decided not to marry him, or that she was even considering not marrying him, he asked no questions, but in ignorance of her present feelings set forth on his travels. Absence from Emily hurt just as much as he had feared it would. He missed her, needed her, longed for her. In numerous letters he told her so. But, owing to the frequency with which he moved, her letters never caught up with him. It was almost a relief. He did not care to think of what they might tell him.
The route assigned David took him through the South and kept him close to the Atlantic seaboard. In obtaining orders he was not unsuccessful, and at the end of the first month received from the firm a telegram of congratulation. This was of importance chiefly because it might please Emily. But he knew that in her eyes the great-great-grandson of Hiram Greene could not rest content with a telegram from Burdett and Sons. A year before she would have considered it a high honor, a cause for celebration. Now, he could see her press her pretty lips together and shake her pretty head. It was not enough. But how could he accomplish more. He began to hate his great-great-grandfather. He began to wish Hiram Greene had lived and died a bachelor.
And then Dame Fortune took David in hand and toyed with him and spanked him, and pelted and petted him, until finally she made him her favorite son. Dame Fortune went about this work in an abrupt and arbitrary manner.
On the night of the 1st of March, 1897, two trains were scheduled to leave the Union Station at Jacksonville at exactly the same minute, and they left exactly on time. As never before in the history of any Southern railroad has this miracle occurred, it shows that when Dame Fortune gets on the job she is omnipotent. She placed David on the train to Miami as the train he wanted drew out for Tampa, and an hour later, when the conductor looked at David's ticket, he pulled the bell-cord and dumped David over the side into the heart of a pine forest. If he walked back along the track for one mile, the conductor reassured him, he would find a flag station where at midnight he could flag a train going north. In an hour it would deliver him safely in Jacksonville.
There was a moon, but for the greater part of the time it was hidden by fitful, hurrying clouds, and, as David stumbled forward, at one moment he would see the rails like streaks of silver, and the next would be encompassed in a complete and bewildering darkness. He made his way from tie to tie only by feeling with his foot. After an hour he came to a shed. Whether it was or was not the flag station the conductor had in mind, he did not know, and he never did know. He was too tired, too hot, and too disgusted to proceed, and dropping his suit case he sat down under the open roof of the shed prepared to wait either for the train or daylight. So far as he could see, on every side of him stretched a swamp, silent, dismal, interminable. From its black water rose dead trees, naked of bark and hung with streamers of funereal moss. There was not a sound or sign of human habitation. The silence was the silence of the ocean at night. David remembered the berth reserved for him on the train to Tampa and of the loathing with which he had considered placing himself between its sheets. But now how gladly would he welcome it! For, in the sleeping-car, ill-smelling, close and stuffy, he at least would have been surrounded by fellow-sufferers of his own species. Here his companions were owls, water-snakes, and sleeping buzzards.
"I am alone," he told himself, "on a railroad embankment, entirely surrounded by alligators."
And then he found he was not alone.
In the darkness, illuminated by a match, not a hundred yards from him there flashed suddenly the face of a man. Then the match went out and the face with it. David noted that it had appeared at some height above the level of the swamp, at an elevation higher even than that of the embankment. It was as though the man had been sitting on the limb of a tree. David crossed the tracks and found that on the side of the embankment opposite the shed there was solid ground and what once had been a wharf. He advanced over this cautiously, and as he did so the clouds disappeared, and in the full light of the moon he saw a bayou broadening into a river, and made fast to the decayed and rotting wharf an ocean-going tug. It was from her deck that the man, in lighting his pipe, had shown his face. At the thought of a warm engine-room and the company of his fellow-creatures, David's heart leaped with pleasure. He advanced quickly. And then something in the appearance of the tug, something mysterious, secretive, threatening, caused him to halt. No lights showed from her engine-room, cabin, or pilot-house. Her decks were empty. But, as was evidenced by the black smoke that rose from her funnel, she was awake and awake to some purpose. David stood uncertainly, questioning whether to make his presence known or return to the loneliness of the shed. The question was decided for him. He had not considered that standing in the moonlight he was a conspicuous figure. The planks of the wharf creaked and a man came toward him. As one who means to attack, or who fears attack, he approached warily. He wore high boots, riding breeches, and a sombrero. He was a little man, but his movements were alert and active. To David he seemed unnecessarily excited. He thrust himself close against David.
"Who the devil are you?" demanded the man from the tug. "How'd you get here?"
"I walked," said David.
"Walked?" the man snorted incredulously.
"I took the wrong train," explained David pleasantly. "They put me off about a mile below here. I walked back to this flag station. I'm going to wait here for the next train north."
The little man laughed mockingly.
"Oh, no you're not," he said. "If you walked here, you can just walk away again!" With a sweep of his arm, he made a vigorous and peremptory gesture.
"You walk!" he commanded.
"I'll do just as I please about that," said David.
As though to bring assistance, the little man started hastily toward the tug.
"I'll find some one who'll make you walk!" he called. "You wait, that's all, you wait!"
David decided not to wait. It was possible the wharf was private property and he had been trespassing. In any case, at the flag station the rights of all men were equal, and if he were in for a fight he judged it best to choose his own battleground. He recrossed the tracks and sat down on his suit case in a dark corner of the shed. Himself hidden in the shadows he could see in the moonlight the approach of any other person.
"They're river pirates," said David to himself, "or smugglers. They're certainly up to some mischief, or why should they object to the presence of a perfectly harmless stranger?"
Partly with cold, partly with nervousness, David shivered.
"I wish that train would come," he sighed. And instantly, as though in answer to his wish, from only a short distance down the track he heard the rumble and creak of approaching cars. In a flash David planned his course of action.
The thought of spending the night in a swamp infested by alligators and smugglers had become intolerable. He must escape, and he must escape by the train now approaching. To that end the train must be stopped. His plan was simple. The train was moving very, very slowly, and though he had no lantern to wave, in order to bring it to a halt he need only stand on the track exposed to the glare of the headlight and wave his arms. David sprang between the rails and gesticulated wildly. But in amazement his arms fell to his sides. For the train, now only a hundred yards distant and creeping toward him at a snail's pace, carried no headlight, and though in the moonlight David was plainly visible, it blew no whistle, tolled no bell. Even the passenger coaches in the rear of the sightless engine were wrapped in darkness. It was a ghost of a train, a Flying Dutchman of a train, a nightmare of a train. It was as unreal as the black swamp, as the moss on the dead trees, as the ghostly tug-boat tied to the rotting wharf.
"Is the place haunted!" exclaimed David.
He was answered by the grinding of brakes and by the train coming to a sharp halt. And instantly from every side men fell from it to the ground, and the silence of the night was broken by a confusion of calls and eager greeting and questions and sharp words of command.
So fascinated was David in the stealthy arrival of the train and in her mysterious passengers that, until they confronted him, he did not note the equally stealthy approach of three men. Of these one was the little man from the tug. With him was a fat, red-faced Irish-American. He wore no coat and his shirt-sleeves were drawn away from his hands by garters of pink elastic, his derby hat was balanced behind his ears, upon his right hand flashed an enormous diamond. He looked as though but at that moment he had stopped sliding glasses across a Bowery bar. The third man carried the outward marks of a sailor. David believed he was the tallest man he had ever beheld, but equally remarkable with his height was his beard and hair, which were of a fierce brick-dust red. Even in the mild moonlight it flamed like a torch.
"What's your business?" demanded the man with the flamboyant hair.
"I came here," began David, "to wait for a train——-"
The tall man bellowed with indignant rage.
"Yes," he shouted; "this is the sort of place any one would pick out to wait for a train!"
In front of David's nose he shook a fist as large as a catcher's glove. "Don't you lie to me!" he bullied. "Do you know who I am? Do you know who you're up against? I'm——"
The barkeeper person interrupted.
"Never mind who you are," he said. "We know that. Find out who he is."
David turned appealingly to the barkeeper.
"Do you suppose I'd come here on purpose?" he protested. "I'm a travelling man——"
"You won't travel any to-night," mocked the red-haired one. "You've seen what you came to see, and all you want now is to get to a Western Union wire. Well, you don't do it. You don't leave here to-night!"
As though he thought he had been neglected, the little man in riding-boots pushed forward importantly.
"Tie him to a tree!" he suggested.
"Better take him on board," said the barkeeper, "and send him back by the pilot. When we're once at sea, he can't hurt us any."
"What makes you think I want to hurt you?" demanded David. "Who do you think I am?"
"We know who you are," shouted the fiery-headed one. "You're a blanketty-blank spy! You're a government spy or a Spanish spy, and whichever you are you don't get away to-night!"
David had not the faintest idea what the man meant, but he knew his self-respect was being ill-treated, and his self-respect rebelled.
"You have made a very serious mistake," he said, "and whether you like it or not, I am leaving here to-night, and you can go to the devil!"
Turning his back David started with great dignity to walk away. It was a short walk. Something hit him below the ear and he found himself curling up comfortably on the ties. He had a strong desire to sleep, but was conscious that a bed on a railroad track, on account of trains wanting to pass, was unsafe. This doubt did not long disturb him. His head rolled against the steel rail, his limbs relaxed. From a great distance, and in a strange sing-song he heard the voice of the barkeeper saying, "Nine—ten—and out!"
When David came to his senses his head was resting on a coil of rope. In his ears was the steady throb of an engine, and in his eyes the glare of a lantern. The lantern was held by a pleasant-faced youth in a golf cap who was smiling sympathetically. David rose on his elbow and gazed wildly about him. He was in the bow of the ocean-going tug, and he saw that from where he lay in the bow to her stern her decks were packed with men. She was steaming swiftly down a broad river. On either side the gray light that comes before the dawn showed low banks studded with stunted palmettos. Close ahead David heard the roar of the surf.
"Sorry to disturb you," said the youth in the golf cap, "but we drop the pilot in a few minutes and you're going with him."
David moved his aching head gingerly, and was conscious of a bump as large as a tennis ball behind his right ear.
"What happened to me?" he demanded.
"You were sort of kidnapped, I guess," laughed the young man. "It was a raw deal, but they couldn't take any chances. The pilot will land you at Okra Point. You can hire a rig there to take you to the railroad."
"But why?" demanded David indignantly. "Why was I kidnapped? What had I done? Who were those men who——"
From the pilot-house there was a sharp jangle of bells to the engine-room, and the speed of the tug slackened.
"Come on," commanded the young man briskly. "The pilot's going ashore. Here's your grip, here's your hat. The ladder's on the port side. Look where you're stepping. We can't show any lights, and it's dark as——"
But, even as he spoke, like a flash of powder, as swiftly as one throws an electric switch, as blindingly as a train leaps from the tunnel into the glaring sun, the darkness vanished and the tug was swept by the fierce, blatant radiance of a search-light.
It was met by shrieks from two hundred throats, by screams, oaths, prayers, by the sharp jangling of bells, by the blind rush of many men scurrying like rats for a hole to hide in, by the ringing orders of one man. Above the tumult this one voice rose like the warning strokes of a fire-gong, and looking up to the pilot-house from whence the voice came, David saw the barkeeper still in his shirt-sleeves and with his derby hat pushed back behind his ears, with one hand clutching the telegraph to the engine-room, with the other holding the spoke of the wheel.
David felt the tug, like a hunter taking a fence, rise in a great leap. Her bow sank and rose, tossing the water from her in black, oily waves, the smoke poured from her funnel, from below her engines sobbed and quivered, and like a hound freed from a leash she raced for the open sea. But swiftly as she fled, as a thief is held in the circle of a policeman's bull's-eye, the shaft of light followed and exposed her and held her in its grip. The youth in the golf cap was clutching David by the arm. With his free hand he pointed down the shaft of light. So great was the tumult that to be heard he brought his lips close to David's ear.
"That's the revenue cutter!" he shouted. "She's been laying for us for three weeks, and now," he shrieked exultingly, "the old man's going to give her a race for it."
From excitement, from cold, from alarm, David's nerves were getting beyond his control.
"But how," he demanded, "how do I get ashore?"
"When he drops the pilot, don't I——"
"How can he drop the pilot?" yelled the youth. "The pilot's got to stick by the boat. So have you."
David clutched the young man and swung him so that they stood face to face.
"Stick by what boat?" yelled David. "Who are these men? Who are you? What boat is this?"
In the glare of the search-light David saw the eyes of the youth staring at him as though he feared he were in the clutch of a madman. Wrenching himself free, the youth pointed at the pilot-house. Above it on a blue board in letters of gold-leaf a foot high was the name of the tug. As David read it his breath left him, a finger of ice passed slowly down his spine. The name he read was The Three Friends.
"The Three Friends!" shrieked David. "She's a filibuster! She's a pirate! Where're we going?"
David emitted a howl of anguish, rage, and protest.
"What for?" he shrieked.
The young man regarded him coldly.
"To pick bananas," he said.
"I won't go to Cuba," shouted David. "I've got to work! I'm paid to sell machinery. I demand to be put ashore. I'll lose my job if I'm not put ashore. I'll sue you! I'll have the law——"
David found himself suddenly upon his knees. His first thought was that the ship had struck a rock, and then that she was bumping herself over a succession of coral reefs. She dipped, dived, reared, and plunged. Like a hooked fish, she flung herself in the air, quivering from bow to stern. No longer was David of a mind to sue the filibusters if they did not put him ashore. If only they had put him ashore, in gratitude he would have crawled on his knees. What followed was of no interest to David, nor to many of the filibusters, nor to any of the Cuban patriots. Their groans of self-pity, their prayers and curses in eloquent Spanish, rose high above the crash of broken crockery and the pounding of the waves. Even when the search-light gave way to a brilliant sunlight the circumstance was unobserved by David. Nor was he concerned in the tidings brought forward by the youth in the golf cap, who raced the slippery decks and vaulted the prostrate forms as sure-footedly as a hurdler on a cinder track. To David, in whom he seemed to think he had found a congenial spirit, he shouted joyfully, "She's fired two blanks at us!" he cried; "now she's firing cannon-balls!"
"Thank God," whispered David; "perhaps she'll sink us!"
But The Three Friends showed her heels to the revenue cutter, and so far as David knew hours passed into days and days into weeks. It was like those nightmares in which in a minute one is whirled through centuries of fear and torment. Sometimes, regardless of nausea, of his aching head, of the hard deck, of the waves that splashed and smothered him, David fell into broken slumber. Sometimes he woke to a dull consciousness of his position. At such moments he added to his misery by speculating upon the other misfortunes that might have befallen him on shore. Emily, he decided, had given him up for lost and married—probably a navy officer in command of a battle-ship. Burdett and Sons had cast him off forever. Possibly his disappearance had caused them to suspect him; even now they might be regarding him as a defaulter, as a fugitive from justice. His accounts, no doubt, were being carefully overhauled. In actual time, two days and two nights had passed; to David it seemed many ages.
On the third day he crawled to the stern, where there seemed less motion, and finding a boat's cushion threw it in the lee scupper and fell upon it. From time to time the youth in the golf cap had brought him food and drink, and he now appeared from the cook's galley bearing a bowl of smoking soup.
David considered it a doubtful attention.
But he said, "You're very kind. How did a fellow like you come to mix up with these pirates?"
The youth laughed good-naturedly.
"They're not pirates, they're patriots," he said, "and I'm not mixed up with them. My name is Henry Carr and I'm a guest of Jimmy Doyle, the captain."
"The barkeeper with the derby hat?" said David.
"He's not a barkeeper, he's a teetotaler," Carr corrected, "and he's the greatest filibuster alive. He knows these waters as you know Broadway, and he's the salt of the earth. I did him a favor once; sort of mouse-helping-the-lion idea. Just through dumb luck I found out about this expedition. The government agents in New York found out I'd found out and sent for me to tell. But I didn't, and I didn't write the story either. Doyle heard about that. So, he asked me to come as his guest, and he's promised that after he's landed the expedition and the arms I can write as much about it as I darn please."
"Then you're a reporter?" said David.
"I'm what we call a cub reporter," laughed Carr. "You see, I've always dreamed of being a war correspondent. The men in the office say I dream too much. They're always guying me about it. But, haven't you noticed, it's the ones who dream who find their dreams come true. Now this isn't real war, but it's a near war, and when the real thing breaks loose, I can tell the managing editor I served as a war correspondent in the Cuban-Spanish campaign. And he may give me a real job!"
"And you like this?" groaned David.
"I wouldn't, if I were as sick as you are," said Carr, "but I've a stomach like a Harlem goat." He stooped and lowered his voice. "Now, here are two fake filibusters," he whispered. "The men you read about in the newspapers. If a man's a real filibuster, nobody knows it!"
Coming toward them was the tall man who had knocked David out, and the little one who had wanted to tie him to a tree.
"All they ask," whispered Carr, "is money and advertisement. If they knew I was a reporter, they'd eat out of my hand. The tall man calls himself Lighthouse Harry. He once kept a lighthouse on the Florida coast, and that's as near to the sea as he ever got. The other one is a daredevil calling himself Colonel Beamish. He says he's an English officer, and a soldier of fortune, and that he's been in eighteen battles. Jimmy says he's never been near enough to a battle to see the red-cross flags on the base hospital. But they've fooled these Cubans. The Junta thinks they're great fighters, and it's sent them down here to work the machine guns. But I'm afraid the only fighting they will do will be in the sporting columns, and not in the ring."
A half dozen sea-sick Cubans were carrying a heavy, oblong box. They dropped it not two yards from where David lay, and with a screw-driver Lighthouse Harry proceeded to open the lid.
Carr explained to David that The Three Friends was approaching that part of the coast of Cuba on which she had arranged to land her expedition, and that in case she was surprised by one of the Spanish patrol boats she was preparing to defend herself.
"They've got an automatic gun in that crate," said Carr, "and they're going to assemble it. You'd better move; they'll be tramping all over you."
David shook his head feebly.
"I can't move!" he protested. "I wouldn't move if it would free Cuba."
For several hours with very languid interest David watched Lighthouse Harry and Colonel Beamish screw a heavy tripod to the deck and balance above it a quick-firing one-pounder. They worked very slowly, and to David, watching them from the lee scupper, they appeared extremely unintelligent.
"I don't believe either of those thugs put an automatic gun together in his life," he whispered to Carr. "I never did, either, but I've put hundreds of automatic punches together, and I bet that gun won't work."
"What's wrong with it?" said Carr.
Before David could summon sufficient energy to answer, the attention of all on board was diverted, and by a single word.
Whether the word is whispered apologetically by the smoking-room steward to those deep in bridge, or shrieked from the tops of a sinking ship it never quite fails of its effect. A sweating stoker from the engine-room saw it first.
"Land!" he hailed.
The sea-sick Cubans raised themselves and swung their hats; their voices rose in a fierce chorus.
"Cuba libre!" they yelled.
The sun piercing the morning mists had uncovered a coast-line broken with bays and inlets. Above it towered green hills, the peak of each topped by a squat block-house; in the valleys and water courses like columns of marble rose the royal palms.
"You must look!" Carr entreated David. "It's just as it is in the pictures!"
"Then I don't have to look," groaned David.
The Three Friends was making for a point of land that curved like a sickle. On the inside of the sickle was Nipe Bay. On the opposite shore of that broad harbor at the place of rendezvous a little band of Cubans waited to receive the filibusters. The goal was in sight. The dreadful voyage was done. Joy and excitement thrilled the ship's company. Cuban patriots appeared in uniforms with Cuban flags pinned in the brims of their straw sombreros. From the hold came boxes of small-arm ammunition, of Mausers, rifles, machetes, and saddles. To protect the landing a box of shells was placed in readiness beside the one-pounder.
"In two hours, if we have smooth water," shouted Lighthouse Harry, "we ought to get all of this on shore. And then, all I ask," he cried mightily, "is for some one to kindly show me a Spaniard!"
His heart's desire was instantly granted. He was shown not only one Spaniard, but several Spaniards. They were on the deck of one of the fastest gun-boats of the Spanish navy. Not a mile from The Three Friends she sprang from the cover of a narrow inlet. She did not signal questions or extend courtesies. For her the name of the ocean-going tug was sufficient introduction. Throwing ahead of her a solid shell, she raced in pursuit, and as The Three Friends leaped to full speed there came from the gun-boat the sharp dry crackle of Mausers.
With an explosion of terrifying oaths Lighthouse Harry thrust a shell into the breech of the quick-firing gun. Without waiting to aim it, he tugged at the trigger. Nothing happened! He threw open the breech and gazed impotently at the base of the shell. It was untouched. The ship was ringing with cries of anger, of hate, with rat-like squeaks of fear.
Above the heads of the filibusters a shell screamed and within a hundred feet splashed into a wave.
From his mat in the lee scupper David groaned miserably. He was far removed from any of the greater emotions.
"It's no use!" he protested. "They can't do! It's not connected!"
"What's not connected?" yelled Carr. He fell upon David. He half-lifted, half-dragged him to his feet.
"If you know what's wrong with that gun, you fix it! Fix it," he shouted, "or I'll——"
David was not concerned with the vengeance Carr threatened. For, on the instant a miracle had taken place. With the swift insidiousness of morphine, peace ran through his veins, soothed his racked body, his jangled nerves. The Three Friends had made the harbor, and was gliding through water flat as a pond. But David did not know why the change had come. He knew only that his soul and body were at rest, that the sun was shining, that he had passed through the valley of the shadow, and once more was a sane, sound young man.
With a savage thrust of the shoulder he sent Lighthouse Harry sprawling from the gun. With swift, practised fingers he fell upon its mechanism. He wrenched it apart. He lifted it, reset, readjusted it.
Ignorant themselves, those about him saw that he understood, saw that his work was good.
They raised a joyous, defiant cheer. But a shower of bullets drove them to cover, bullets that ripped the deck, splintered the superstructure, smashed the glass in the air ports, like angry wasps sang in a continuous whining chorus. Intent only on the gun, David worked feverishly. He swung to the breech, locked it, and dragged it open, pulled on the trigger and found it gave before his forefinger.
He shouted with delight.
"I've got it working," he yelled.
He turned to his audience, but his audience had fled. From beneath one of the life-boats protruded the riding-boots of Colonel Beamish, the tall form of Lighthouse Harry was doubled behind a water butt. A shell splashed to port, a shell splashed to starboard. For an instant David stood staring wide-eyed at the greyhound of a boat that ate up the distance between them, at the jets of smoke and stabs of flame that sprang from her bow, at the figures crouched behind her gunwale, firing in volleys.
To David it came suddenly, convincingly, that in a dream he had lived it all before, and something like raw poison stirred in David, something leaped to his throat and choked him, something rose in his brain and made him see scarlet. He felt rather than saw young Carr kneeling at the box of ammunition, and holding a shell toward him. He heard the click as the breech shut, felt the rubber tire of the brace give against the weight of his shoulder, down a long shining tube saw the pursuing gun-boat, saw her again and many times disappear behind a flash of flame. A bullet gashed his forehead, a bullet passed deftly through his forearm, but he did not heed them. Confused with the thrashing of the engines, with the roar of the gun he heard a strange voice shrieking unceasingly:
"Cuba libre!" it yelled. "To hell with Spain!" and he found that the voice was his own.
The story lost nothing in the way Carr wrote it.
"And the best of it is," he exclaimed joyfully, "it's true!"
For a Spanish gun-boat had been crippled and forced to run herself aground by a tug-boat manned by Cuban patriots, and by a single gun served by one man, and that man an American. It was the first sea-fight of the war. Over night a Cuban navy had been born, and into the limelight a cub reporter had projected a new "hero," a ready-made, warranted-not-to-run, popular idol.
They were seated in the pilot-house, "Jimmy" Doyle, Carr, and David, the patriots and their arms had been safely dumped upon the coast of Cuba, and The Three Friends was gliding swiftly and, having caught the Florida straits napping, smoothly toward Key West. Carr had just finished reading aloud his account of the engagement.
"You will tell the story just as I have written it," commanded the proud author. "Your being South as a travelling salesman was only a blind. You came to volunteer for this expedition. Before you could explain your wish you were mistaken for a secret-service man, and hustled on board. That was just where you wanted to be, and when the moment arrived you took command of the ship and single-handed won the naval battle of Nipe Bay."
Jimmy Doyle nodded his head approvingly. "You certainly did, Dave," protested the great man, "I seen you when you done it!"
At Key West Carr filed his story and while the hospital surgeons kept David there over one steamer, to dress his wounds, his fame and features spread across the map of the United States.
Burdett and Sons basked in reflected glory. Reporters besieged their office. At the Merchants Down-Town Club the business men of lower Broadway tendered congratulations.
"Of course, it's a great surprise to us," Burdett and Sons would protest and wink heavily. "Of course, when the boy asked to be sent South we'd no idea he was planning to fight for Cuba! Or we wouldn't have let him go, would we?" Then again they would wink heavily. "I suppose you know," they would say, "that he's a direct descendant of General Hiram Greene, who won the battle of Trenton. What I say is, 'Blood will tell!'" And then in a body every one in the club would move against the bar and exclaim: "Here's to Cuba libre!"
When the Olivette from Key West reached Tampa Bay every Cuban in the Tampa cigar factories was at the dock. There were thousands of them and all of the Junta, in high hats, to read David an address of welcome.
And, when they saw him at the top of the gang-plank with his head in a bandage and his arm in a sling, like a mob of maniacs they howled and surged toward him. But before they could reach their hero the courteous Junta forced them back, and cleared a pathway for a young girl. She was travel-worn and pale, her shirt-waist was disgracefully wrinkled, her best hat was a wreck. No one on Broadway would have recognized her as Burdett and Sons' most immaculate and beautiful stenographer.
She dug the shapeless hat into David's shoulder, and clung to him. "David!" she sobbed, "promise me you'll never, never do it again!"
THE BAR SINISTER
When this story first appeared, the writer received letters of two kinds, one asking a question and the other making a statement. The question was, whether there was any foundation of truth in the story; the statement challenged him to say that there was. The letters seemed to show that a large proportion of readers prefer their dose of fiction with a sweetening of fact. This is written to furnish that condiment, and to answer the question and the statement.
In the dog world, the original of the bull-terrier in the story is known as Edgewood Cold Steel and to his intimates as "Kid." His father was Lord Minto, a thoroughbred bull-terrier, well known in Canada, but the story of Kid's life is that his mother was a black-and-tan named Vic. She was a lady of doubtful pedigree. Among her offspring by Lord Minto, so I have been often informed by many Canadian dog-fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors, was the only white puppy, Kid, in a litter of black-and-tans. He made his first appearance in the show world in 1900 in Toronto, where, under the judging of Mr. Charles H. Mason, he was easily first. During that year, when he came to our kennels, and in the two years following, he carried off many blue ribbons and cups at nearly every first-class show in the country. The other dog, "Jimmy Jocks," who in the book was his friend and mentor, was in real life his friend and companion, Woodcote Jumbo, or "Jaggers," an aristocratic son of a long line of English champions. He has gone to that place where some day all good dogs must go.
In this autobiography I have tried to describe Kid as he really is, and this year, when he again strives for blue ribbons, I trust, should the gentle reader see him at any of the bench-shows, he will give him a friendly pat and make his acquaintance. He will find his advances met with a polite and gentle courtesy.
The Master was walking most unsteady, his legs tripping each other. After the fifth or sixth round, my legs often go the same way.
But even when the Master's legs bend and twist a bit, you mustn't think he can't reach you. Indeed, that is the time he kicks most frequent. So I kept behind him in the shadow, or ran in the middle of the street. He stopped at many public houses with swinging doors, those doors that are cut so high from the sidewalk that you can look in under them, and see if the Master is inside. At night, when I peep beneath them, the man at the counter will see me first and say, "Here's the Kid, Jerry, come to take you home. Get a move on you"; and the Master will stumble out and follow me. It's lucky for us I'm so white, for, no matter how dark the night, he can always see me ahead, just out of reach of his boot. At night the Master certainly does see most amazing. Sometimes he sees two or four of me, and walks in a circle, so that I have to take him by the leg of his trousers and lead him into the right road. One night, when he was very nasty-tempered and I was coaxing him along, two men passed us, and one of them says, "Look at that brute!" and the other asks, "Which?" and they both laugh. The Master he cursed them good and proper.
But this night, whenever we stopped at a public house, the Master's pals left it and went on with us to the next. They spoke quite civil to me, and when the Master tried a flying kick, they gives him a shove. "Do you want us to lose our money?" says the pals.
I had had nothing to eat for a day and a night, and just before we set out the Master gives me a wash under the hydrant. Whenever I am locked up until all the slop-pans in our alley are empty, and made to take a bath, and the Master's pals speak civil and feel my ribs, I know something is going to happen. And that night, when every time they see a policeman under a lamp-post, they dodged across the street, and when at the last one of them picked me up and hid me under his jacket, I began to tremble; for I knew what it meant. It meant that I was to fight again for the Master.
I don't fight because I like fighting. I fight because if I didn't the other dog would find my throat, and the Master would lose his stakes, and I would be very sorry for him, and ashamed. Dogs can pass me and I can pass dogs, and I'd never pick a fight with none of them. When I see two dogs standing on their hind legs in the streets, clawing each other's ears, and snapping for each other's wind-pipes, or howling and swearing and rolling in the mud, I feel sorry they should act so, and pretend not to notice. If he'd let me, I'd like to pass the time of day with every dog I meet. But there's something about me that no nice dog can abide. When I trot up to nice dogs, nodding and grinning, to make friends, they always tell me to be off. "Go to the devil!" they bark at me. "Get out!" And when I walk away they shout "Mongrel!" and "Gutter-dog!" and sometimes, after my back is turned, they rush me. I could kill most of them with three shakes, breaking the backbone of the little ones and squeezing the throat of the big ones. But what's the good? They are nice dogs; that's why I try to make up to them: and, though it's not for them to say it, I am a street-dog, and if I try to push into the company of my betters, I suppose it's their right to teach me my place.
Of course they don't know I'm the best fighting bull-terrier of my weight in Montreal. That's why it wouldn't be fair for me to take notice of what they shout. They don't know that if I once locked my jaws on them I'd carry away whatever I touched. The night I fought Kelley's White Rat, I wouldn't loosen up until the Master made a noose in my leash and strangled me; and, as for that Ottawa dog, if the handlers hadn't thrown red pepper down my nose I never would have let go of him. I don't think the handlers treated me quite right that time, but maybe they didn't know the Ottawa dog was dead. I did.
I learned my fighting from my mother when I was very young. We slept in a lumber-yard on the river-front, and by day hunted for food along the wharves. When we got it, the other tramp-dogs would try to take it off us, and then it was wonderful to see mother fly at them and drive them away. All I know of fighting I learned from mother, watching her picking the ash-heaps for me when I was too little to fight for myself. No one ever was so good to me as mother. When it snowed and the ice was in the St. Lawrence, she used to hunt alone, and bring me back new bones, and she'd sit and laugh to see me trying to swallow 'em whole. I was just a puppy then; my teeth was falling out. When I was able to fight we kept the whole river-range to ourselves. I had the genuine long "punishing" jaw, so mother said, and there wasn't a man or a dog that dared worry us. Those were happy days, those were; and we lived well, share and share alike, and when we wanted a bit of fun, we chased the fat old wharf-rats! My, how they would squeal!
Then the trouble came. It was no trouble to me. I was too young to care then. But mother took it so to heart that she grew ailing, and wouldn't go abroad with me by day. It was the same old scandal that they're always bringing up against me. I was so young then that I didn't know. I couldn't see any difference between mother—and other mothers.
But one day a pack of curs we drove off snarled back some new names at her, and mother dropped her head and ran, just as though they had whipped us. After that she wouldn't go out with me except in the dark, and one day she went away and never came back, and, though I hunted for her in every court and alley and back street of Montreal, I never found her.
One night, a month after mother ran away, I asked Guardian, the old blind mastiff, whose Master is the night watchman on our slip, what it all meant. And he told me.
"Every dog in Montreal knows," he says, "except you; and every Master knows. So I think it's time you knew."
Then he tells me that my father, who had treated mother so bad, was a great and noble gentleman from London. "Your father had twenty-two registered ancestors, had your father," old Guardian says, "and in him was the best bull-terrier blood of England, the most ancientest, the most royal; the winning 'blue-ribbon' blood, that breeds champions. He had sleepy pink eyes and thin pink lips, and he was as white all over as his own white teeth, and under his white skin you could see his muscles, hard and smooth, like the links of a steel chain. When your father stood still, and tipped his nose in the air, it was just as though he was saying, 'Oh, yes, you common dogs and men, you may well stare. It must be a rare treat for you colonials to see real English royalty.' He certainly was pleased with hisself, was your father. He looked just as proud and haughty as one of them stone dogs in Victoria Park—them as is cut out of white marble. And you're like him," says the old mastiff—"by that, of course, meaning you're white, same as him. That's the only likeness. But, you see, the trouble is, Kid—well, you see, Kid, the trouble is—your mother——"
"That will do," I said, for then I understood without his telling me, and I got up and walked away, holding my head and tail high in the air.
But I was, oh, so miserable, and I wanted to see mother that very minute, and tell her that I didn't care.
Mother is what I am, a street-dog; there's no royal blood in mother's veins, nor is she like that father of mine, nor—and that's the worst—she's not even like me. For while I, when I'm washed for a fight, am as white as clean snow, she—and this is our trouble—she, my mother, is a black-and-tan.
When mother hid herself from me, I was twelve months old and able to take care of myself, and as, after mother left me, the wharves were never the same, I moved uptown and met the Master. Before he came, lots of other men-folks had tried to make up to me, and to whistle me home. But they either tried patting me or coaxing me with a piece of meat; so I didn't take to 'em. But one day the Master pulled me out of a street-fight by the hind legs, and kicked me good.
"You want to fight, do you?" says he. "I'll give you all the fighting you want!" he says, and he kicks me again. So I knew he was my Master, and I followed him home. Since that day I've pulled off many fights for him, and they've brought dogs from all over the province to have a go at me; but up to that night none, under thirty pounds, had ever downed me.
But that night, so soon as they carried me into the ring, I saw the dog was overweight, and that I was no match for him. It was asking too much of a puppy. The Master should have known I couldn't do it. Not that I mean to blame the Master, for when sober, which he sometimes was—though not, as you might say, his habit—he was most kind to me, and let me out to find food, if I could get it, and only kicked me when I didn't pick him up at night and lead him home.
But kicks will stiffen the muscles, and starving a dog so as to get him ugly-tempered for a fight may make him nasty, but it's weakening to his insides, and it causes the legs to wobble.
The ring was in a hall back of a public house. There was a red-hot whitewashed stove in one corner, and the ring in the other. I lay in the Master's lap, wrapped in my blanket, and, spite of the stove, shivering awful; but I always shiver before a fight: I can't help gettin' excited. While the men-folks were a-flashing their money and taking their last drink at the bar, a little Irish groom in gaiters came up to me and give me the back of his hand to smell, and scratched me behind the ears.
"You poor little pup," says he; "you haven't no show," he says. "That brute in the tap-room he'll eat your heart out."
"That's what you think," says the Master, snarling. "I'll lay you a quid the Kid chews him up."
The groom he shook his head, but kept looking at me so sorry-like that I begun to get a bit sad myself. He seemed like he couldn't bear to leave off a-patting of me, and he says, speaking low just like he would to a man-folk, "Well, good luck to you, little pup," which I thought so civil of him that I reached up and licked his hand. I don't do that to many men. And the Master he knew I didn't, and took on dreadful.
"What 'ave you got on the back of your hand?" says he, jumping up.
"Soap!" says the groom, quick as a rat. "That's more than you've got on yours. Do you want to smell of it?" and he sticks his fist under the Master's nose. But the pals pushed in between 'em.
"He tried to poison the Kid!" shouts the Master.
"Oh, one fight at a time," says the referee. "Get into the ring, Jerry. We're waiting." So we went into the ring.
I never could just remember what did happen in that ring. He give me no time to spring. He fell on me like a horse. I couldn't keep my feet against him, and though, as I saw, he could get his hold when he liked, he wanted to chew me over a bit first. I was wondering if they'd be able to pry him off me, when, in the third round, he took his hold; and I begun to drown, just as I did when I fell into the river off the Red C slip. He closed deeper and deeper on my throat, and everything went black and red and bursting; and then, when I were sure I were dead, the handlers pulled him off, and the Master give me a kick that brought me to. But I couldn't move none, or even wink, both eyes being shut with lumps.
"He's a cur!" yells the Master, "a sneaking, cowardly cur! He lost the fight for me," says he, "because he's a —— —— —— cowardly cur." And he kicks me again in the lower ribs, so that I go sliding across the sawdust. "There's gratitude fer yer," yells the Master. "I've fed that dog, and nussed that dog and housed him like a prince; and now he puts his tail between his legs and sells me out, he does. He's a coward! I've done with him, I am. I'd sell him for a pipeful of tobacco." He picked me up by the tail, and swung me for the men-folks to see. "Does any gentleman here want to buy a dog," he says, "to make into sausage-meat?" he says. "That's all he's good for."
Then I heard the little Irish groom say, "I'll give you ten bob for the dog."
And another voice says, "Ah, don't you do it; the dog's same as dead—mebbe he is dead."
"Ten shillings!" says the Master, and his voice sobers a bit; "make it two pounds and he's yours."
But the pals rushed in again.
"Don't you be a fool, Jerry," they say. "You'll be sorry for this when you're sober. The Kid's worth a fiver."
One of my eyes was not so swelled up as the other, and as I hung by my tail, I opened it, and saw one of the pals take the groom by the shoulder.
"You ought to give 'im five pounds for that dog, mate," he says; "that's no ordinary dog. That dog's got good blood in him, that dog has. Why, his father—that very dog's father——"
I thought he never would go on. He waited like he wanted to be sure the groom was listening.
"That very dog's father," says the pal, "is Regent Royal, son of Champion Regent Monarch, champion bull-terrier of England for four years."
I was sore, and torn, and chewed most awful, but what the pal said sounded so fine that I wanted to wag my tail, only couldn't, owing to my hanging from it.
But the Master calls out: "Yes, his father was Regent Royal; who's saying he wasn't? but the pup's a cowardly cur, that's what his pup is. And why? I'll tell you why: because his mother was a black-and-tan street-dog, that's why!"
I don't see how I got the strength, but, someway, I threw myself out of the Master's grip and fell at his feet, and turned over and fastened all my teeth in his ankle, just across the bone.
When I woke, after the pals had kicked me off him, I was in the smoking-car of a railroad-train, lying in the lap of the little groom, and he was rubbing my open wounds with a greasy yellow stuff, exquisite to the smell and most agreeable to lick off.
"Well, what's your name—Nolan? Well, Nolan, these references are satisfactory," said the young gentleman my new Master called "Mr. Wyndham, sir." "I'll take you on as second man. You can begin to-day."
My new Master shuffled his feet and put his finger to his forehead. "Thank you, sir," says he. Then he choked like he had swallowed a fish-bone. "I have a little dawg, sir," says he.
"You can't keep him," says "Mr. Wyndham, sir," very short.
"'E's only a puppy, sir," says my new Master; "'e wouldn't go outside the stables, sir."
"It's not that," says "Mr. Wyndham, sir." "I have a large kennel of very fine dogs; they're the best of their breed in America. I don't allow strange dogs on the premises."
The Master shakes his head, and motions me with his cap, and I crept out from behind the door. "I'm sorry, sir," says the Master. "Then I can't take the place. I can't get along without the dawg, sir."
"Mr. Wyndham, sir," looked at me that fierce that I guessed he was going to whip me, so I turned over on my back and begged with my legs and tail.
"Why, you beat him!" says "Mr. Wyndham, sir," very stern.
"No fear!" the Master says, getting very red. "The party I bought him off taught him that. He never learnt that from me!" He picked me up in his arms, and to show "Mr. Wyndham, sir," how well I loved the Master, I bit his chin and hands.
"Mr. Wyndham, sir," turned over the letters the Master had given him. "Well, these references certainly are very strong," he says. "I guess I'll let the dog stay. Only see you keep him away from the kennels—or you'll both go."
"Thank you, sir," says the Master, grinning like a cat when she's safe behind the area railing.
"He's not a bad bull-terrier," says "Mr. Wyndham, sir," feeling my head. "Not that I know much about the smooth-coated breeds. My dogs are St. Bernards." He stopped patting me and held up my nose. "What's the matter with his ears?" he says. "They're chewed to pieces. Is this a fighting dog?" he asks, quick and rough-like.
I could have laughed. If he hadn't been holding my nose, I certainly would have had a good grin at him. Me the best under thirty pounds in the Province of Quebec, and him asking if I was a fighting dog! I ran to the Master and hung down my head modest-like, waiting for him to tell my list of battles; but the Master he coughs in his cap most painful. "Fightin' dawg, sir!" he cries. "Lor' bless you, sir, the Kid don't know the word. 'E's just a puppy, sir, same as you see; a pet dog, so to speak. 'E's a regular old lady's lap-dog, the Kid is."