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looked far more friendly and beautiful tban the wonderful shimmering ferns he had left. He pushed open the door of the hut and went in, a cobweb catching his brow as he did so. He struck a match and looked round him. All was neat and in good order as the dead man had left it. His blankets were rolled up in one corner, the kettle swung over the empty fireplace, and a pipe with some tobacco was on the shelf above. There was a cupboard, too, with some cheese, tea, flour and a mouldy loaf in it. The sight of food reminded Jack that he had had nothing since--since that last drink with his chum. Was it only years ago, or in some other existence?
He brought water from the little spring by the door, built up the fire, and put the kettle on to make tea. Then he made himself some "damper," and took his meal with relish. He was not used to fast so long. After that he sat smoking awhile, then put out the tallow dip, rolled himself up in the blankets, and slept fitfully till morning.
His scheme was perfectly successful. The days passed on in monotonous succession, and no man came near his city of refuge. Once or twice he ventured down to the township on the other side of the hills to replenish his stock of necessaries. Few people knew him there, and no one eyed him askance as he came and went. Still, had he been a prisoner, living on the poorest fare, it could not have changed him more. His cheeks began to fall in; he was haggard and gaunt; his bloodshot eyes had a strained, listening look in them. Among the bare, bleak hills by day, and alone beneath the illimitable stars by night, his mind began to totter. As every summer sun sprang up, red and glorious, he almost hoped that a policeman would come for him before night and break this awful spell of loneliness. His was not the plight of
the Ancient Mariner, sailing å sea so lonely that God Himself scarce seemed there to be. To this man the terror and the awe lay in the fact that God did seem there beside him night and the only Being in all that changeless solitude. God, and the dead man, and he seemed the only realities in a universe of shifting shadows.
One day he found a late-blossoming wild flower in the shadow of a tussock. He clutched at it like a child, and hugged it to his bosom, tears springing to his eyes. He took it home with him, and had it by him while he slept. He could not love and admire too much this homely little thing that spoke of simplicity and common everyday life. He held it in his hand and fondled it, till the fragile flower drooped on its long, slender stem and died. Then again he was left alone with the majestic, unpitying stars, whose million eyes burnt into his soul. He remembered a fragment of the Psalms that he had once known: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” What came after he had forgotten, but this he had no chance of forgetting whilst these relentless ministers of His glory shone luminous above him night by night.
Often at dusk the woodhens would steal out from tussock and toomatoogooroo, croaking shrilly. One, bolder than the rest, would come to his very door. He had been wont to hunt these birds unmercifully, but now he tried his utmost to propitiate and tame this one. He longed to stroke its speckled black-and-brown plumage, and have it eat out of his hand. Once it carried off a gaudy handkerchief he had spread out to attract it, and he rolled himself up in his blankets that night happy. But it never came again. Perhaps a chance stone or a dog had ended its life.
He had been almost afraid to ask for a newspaper when buying his stores, lest the very fact should betray him.
Yet he had conquered his guilty tre- One morning in February, for he had mors, bought one and unfolded the kept some rude count of the days, he crackling sheets in his hut, glancing awoke in the dusk of earliest dawn. his eyes fearfully over each column. He could not sleep again; a voice No, there was nothing of-of his murder seemed whispering in his heart, and case! Perhaps the first sensation the place seemed insufferably hot. He caused by it was over, or perhaps this hustled on his clothes and went out to little country chronicle was silent when the door. It was very still. The ruglarger papers were still full of it. Any- ged peaks looked softer in this light, way, he told himself for the meantime and the undulating tussocks might he was safe-safe-safe! He tried to have passed for waves of the sea. say the word jubilantly, but in spite of Slowly the gorgeous rose of day burst himself it had a melancholy ring. and flamed above the horizon, shooting
The door of the but had evidently its marvellous lights far and wide, till been made of new timber, for as the the sun himself leaped up, and the sap had receded the planks had shrank pomp of dawn was over. Jack stood apart from each other, leaving wide, watching, and still that voice seemed yawning gaps through which the day. whispering in his heart. He had a light streamed and the wind blew. To strange idea of an angel with a fiery remedy this state of affairs the dead sword standing beside him. At last man had pasted old newspapers partly he could endure it no longer. All the across the back of the door. These slow agony of these weeks seemed the present occupier would read and re- concentrated into a moment, and with read as he lay listlessly on the floor a rush his soul went down into the beside them. At least they kept his black waters of a bitterness worse than reason from going. But one sheet death. He dropped on his knees, and contained an account of a murder, every a cry of anguish broke from him. St. word of which soon seemed branded Peter's words seemed the only prayer into his brain, so well he knew every he could use. He muttered hoarsely line, every turn of phrase in it. It again and again, “Depart from me, O ended abruptly, too, at the turn of the Lord, for I am a sinful man!" Then sheet on which it was printed. At the the awful loneliness seemed to break, very climax of the tragedy all becanie and in its stead came a feeling of warm suddenly blank. The unfinished hor- human compassion and kindliness. ror of it haunted the man. To him it He took some breakfast, made his was made more awful by far by this few scanty preparations and set off for ghastly break in it. He pondered it his old home. Harvesting had begun, over and over, half unconsciously, and as he went he rejoiced in the many a dreamlike ending suggesting cheery sounds of labor that met him, itself to him, always to be rejected on
watched with eagerness the reaping a later review of it. At last, in despair, machines that went on and on, leaving and to save his mind from the utter full sheaves behind them, and could horror of madness, he rose one morn- have laughed with joy at the sound of ing and pasted another sheet over it, men's voices. One or
two loiterers which contained only the trivial news eyed him curiously, making him conof some local centre. The relief to his scious that he looked an odd figure, overwrought and sensitive mood was but he cared little; he went on almost exquisite. It came upon him with a as though he trod on air. He reached sudden burst of sweetness, like the the village and made straight for the scent of unguessed at violets.
There was a new official there, a six- -and thin ye've bad bad drames. Praise foot Irishman, with red whiskers, who the Virgin! We all hev our bad drames looked up from his papers in wonder, at toimes, and come out av 'em agin. as this thin, hollow-eyed man, with Bill Harris, belave me, has had his own straggling, grizzled hair, came in and drames, too. He drames himself into greeted bim. He was inclined, from fallin' an the edge av his own saw that his looks, to think him "a shingle he was carryin' wan day, afore iver I short."
came here, and sez he to me, sez he, This belief was strengthened when 'Pat Malony, sorra anither such dhrink his visitor, without any preamble, as that will I take in all my born days, rushed into the statement of a murder for ut's cost me a sore head, and a sore committed by him some two months heart into the bargain. For he sez he back. His account was clear enough, was blind with dhrink, and run his certainly; he gave facts, dates and head down on his own tools. So kape names without a shadow of hesitation, your heart up, me bhoy, for divil a and yet the Irishman scratched his word of this story do I belave." head in the manner of one sorely puz- Still like one in a dream, Jack mumzled.
bled out a few words of thanks, clapped “Now see here, me boy," he began on his hat and tottered out again. The at length, “wan of us two must be mad, Irishman watched him setting off at a and, faith, I'm thinking that one's not half run down the street, and determe. You say it was Bill Harris fwhat mined to follow him. “For by the you knocked on the head, afore iver I livin' jingo," he said to himself, “whocame to the place. Now that may be; ever he is, he's a shingle short, and I but, faith, it was Bill Harris and me wouldn't hev harm come av ut." were havin' a cup of thay togither no So, locking his door, and putting the longer ago than the last night. So key in his pocket, he followed at a refwhat in the livin' wide world div ye spectful distance, and saw his man mean by sayin' ye've killed him? Or make straight for the sawmill. Scratchilse, fwbat, in the creation of cats,
ing his head harder than ever, he foldoes he mane by comin' aloive agin? lowed. And then a wonderful thing Tell me that, me son!"
happened. He saw Bill Harris come Jack tottered to the one chair the out, and stand gazing as if petrified. office contained, and sank down in it, Then he heard his man cry "Bill!" his breath coming hard and hoarse. He "Why, Jack, Jack, old man!" was tried to speak, but his dry lips uttered the answer, and then and there the no sound. The Irishman being a good- two men flew into each other's arms, hearted fellow, got him a glass of wa- “jist for all the wurruld loike a pair of ter and held it to his lips while he swate schoolgirls,” said the onlooker drank.
to himself. Then he turned back. “Now, see here, me sonny,” he con- "Be jabers," was his inward cointinued, sootbingly, “I'll jist
ment; "but I never saw the loike! And fwhat it all is. You and this man hev nivir will agin, unless I live to the age quarrelled, and ye've got dhrink-and of Methuselah, and thin I'll be too infernal bad dhrink it is here, me son
bhlind to enjiy it." Longman's Magazine.
L. E. Smith.
As special correspondent he had seen acterization, the same keen vision into two wars; he had been wrecked; he the springs of motives, the same vivid had written eleven books, two still in phrasing, marked "George's Mother." MS., and when he died last Wednes- Here, as in most of his other stories, day his years did not number thirty. and in all his episodes, the environHe was the type of the nervous, nim- ment grows round the characters. He ble-minded American, slight in figure, takes them at some period of emotionshy and kind in manner, speaking lit- al or physical stress, and, working from tle, with a great power of work, a fine within outwards, with quick, firm memory, and an imagination of aston- touches, vivifies them into life. Noisbing psychological insight. Latterly where is this more evident than in the luis health had been bad, partly consti- short sketches and studies that were, tutional, and partly through malarial probably, after “The Red Badge of fever contracted in the Cuban cam- Courage," the real expression of his paign. The last two years of his life genius. His longer novels, though not were spent in the old, huge, fascinat- wanting in passages that show him at ing house in Sussex, Brede Place, his best, suggest that in time he would which he made his home. There he have returned to the earlier instinct lived, many miles from the nearest that prompted him to work on a small railway station, a quiet domesticated canvas. life, welcoming his friends, and writ- As a writer he was very modern. He ing-always writing. He battled brave- troubled himself little about style or ly against ill-health; but the disease literary art. But-rare gift-he saw gained ground, and a few weeks ago for himself, and, Nke Mr. Steevens, he he was ordered to the Black Forest. It knew in a flash just what was essential was a forlorn hope, and, although to bring the picture vividly to the readmany days were given to the journey, His books are full of images and he succumbed at the end to exhaustion. similes that not only fulfil their pur"The Red Badge of Courage"
pose of the moment, but live in the published when he was twenty-five. memory afterwards. A super-refined This study of the psychological side of literary taste might object to some of war, of its effect on a private soldier, his phrases—to such a sentence as this, justly won for him immediate recogni- for example: “By the very last star of tion. Critics of all schools united in truth, it is easier to steal eggs from praise of that remarkable book, and the linder a hen than it was to change seats more wonderful did the performance in the dingey," to his colloquialisms, to appear when it became known that he the slang with which he peppers the had never seen a battle, that the whole talk of his men-but that was the man, was evolved from his imagination, fed who looked at things with his own by a long and minute study of military eyes, and was unafraid of his preposhistory. It is said that when he re- sessions. turned from the Græco-Turkish war His gift of presenting the critical or he remarked to a friend: "The Red dramatic moments in the lives of men Badge is all right.” It was all right. and women was supreme. We could
The same swift and unerring char- give a hundred examples, and though
the sketch we take the liberty of quoting is not by any means the best of its kind, it is complete in itself, and shows how neat, how to the point, how sympathetic without being sentimental, his work was. It is called “A Detail," and is included in the volume of stories and sketches called “The Open Eoat" (Heinemann), the title of that remarkable account of the escape of himself and three companions from the wreck of the steamer Commodore:
The tiny old lady in the black dress and curious little black bonnet had at first seemed alarmed at the sound made by her feet upon the stone pavements. But later she forgot about it, for she suddenly came into the tempest of the Sixth Avenue shopping district, where from the streams of people and vehicles went up : roar like tbat from headlong mountain torrents.
She seemed then like a chip that catches, recoils, turns and wheels, a reluctant thing in the clutch of the impetuous river. She hesitated, faltered, debated with herself. Frequently she seemed about to address people; then of a sudden she would evidently lose her courage.
Meanwhile the torrent jostled her, swung her this and that way.
At last, however, she saw two young women gazing in at a shop-window. They were well-dressed girls; they wore gowns with enormous sleeves that made them look like full-rigged ships with all sails set. They seemed to have plenty of time; they leisurely scanned the goods in the window. Other people had made the tiny old woman niuch afraid because obviously they were speeding to keep such tremendously iml'ortant engagements. She went close to the girls and peered in at the same window. She watched them furtively for a time. Then finally she said:
“Excuse me!" The girls looked down at this old face with its two large eyes turned toward them.
"Excuse me, can you tell me where I can get any work?”
For an instant the two girls stared. Then they seemed about to (exchange a
smile, but at the last moment they checked it. The tiny old lady's eyes were upon them. She was quaintly serious, si. lently expectant. She made one marvel that in that face the wrinkles. showed no trace of experience, knowledge; they were simply little, soft innocent creases. As for her glance, it had the trustfulness of ignorance and the candor of babyhood.
"I want to get something to do, because I need the money," she continued, since in their astonishment they had not replied to her first question. "Of course I'm not strong and I couldn't do very inuch, but I can sew well; and in a house where there was a good many men folks I could do all the mending. Do you know any place where they would like me to come?"
The young women did then eschange a smile, but it was a subtle, tender smile, the edge of personal grief.
"Well, no, madame," hesitatingly said one of them at last; “I don't think I know anyone."
A shade passed over the tiny olti lady's face, a shadow of the wing of disappointment.
“Don't you?" she said, with a little struggle to be brave in her voice.
Then the girl hastily continued: “But if you will give me your address, I may find someone, and if I do, I will surely let you know of it.”
The tiny old lady dictated her address, bending over to watch the girl write on a visiting card with a little silver pencil. Then she said.
"I thank you very much." She bowed to them, smiling, and went on down the avenue.
As for the two girls, they walked to the curb and watched this aged figure, small and frail, in its black gown and curious black bonnet. At last the crowd, the innumerable wagons, intermingling and changing with uproar and riot, suddenly engulfed it.
This youth wandered much over the world in his brief, brilliant life. As we write his last journey is beginning. He is being taken to his home in America.