This carefully crafted ebook: "Tender Is the Night (The Original Unabridged 1934 Edition)” is formatted for your eReader with a functional and detailed table of contents. Tender Is the Night is a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In 1932, Fitzgerald's wife Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald was hospitalized for schizophrenia in Baltimore, Maryland. The author rented the "la Paix" estate in the suburb of Towson to work on this book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychoanalyst and his wife, Nicole, who is also one of his patients. While working on the book he several times ran out of cash and had to borrow from his editor and agent, and write short stories for commercial magazines. The early 1930s, when Fitzgerald was conceiving and working on the book, were certainly the darkest years of his life, and accordingly, the novel has its bleak elements. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was an American author of novels and short stories, whose works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age, a term he coined. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century.
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Table of Contents
This Side of Paradise.
Flappers and Philosophers.
The Beautiful and Damned.
Tales of the Jazz Age.
The Great Gatsby.
All the Sad Young Men.
Tender is the Night.
Taps at Reveille.
The Love of the Last Tycoon.
The Pat Hobby Stories.
Index of Stories.
F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
— ◇ —
The Mystery of the Raymond Mortgage.
Reade, Substitute Right Half.
A Debt of Honor.
The Room with the Green Blinds.
A Luckless Santa Claus.
Pain and the Scientist.
The Trail of the Duke.
The Spire and the Gargoyle.
Babes in the Woods.
Sentiment—and the Use of Rouge.
The Pierian Springs and the Last Straw.
St. Paul Academy Now and Then (October 1909)
When I first saw John Syrel of the New York Daily News, he was standing before an open window of my house gazing out on the city. It was about six o’clock and the lights were just going on. All down 33rd Street was a long line of gayly illuminated buildings. He was not a tall man, but thanks to the erectness of his posture, and the suppleness of his movement, it would take no athlete to tell that he was of fine build. He was twenty-three years old when I first saw him, and was already a reporter on the News. He was not a handsome man; his face was clean-shaven, and his chin showed him to be of strong character. His eyes and hair were brown.
As I entered the room he turned around slowly and addressed me in a slow, drawling tone: “I think I have the honor of speaking to Mr. Egan, chief of police.” I assented, and he went on: “My name is John Syrel and my business,—to tell you frankly, is to learn all I can about that case of the Raymond mortgage.”
I started to speak but he silenced me with a wave of his hand. “Though I belong to the staff of the Daily News,” he continued, “I am not here as an agent of the paper,”
“I am not here,” I interrupted coldly, “to tell every newspaper reporter or adventurer about private affairs. James, show this man out.”
Syrel turned without a word and I heard his steps echo up the driveway.
However, this was not destined to be the last time I ever saw Syrel, as events will show.
The morning after I first saw John Syrel, I proceeded to the scene of the crime to which he had alluded. On the train I picked up a newspaper and read the following account of the crime and theft, which had followed it:
“EXTRA” “Great Crime Committed in Suburbs of City” “Mayor Proceeding to Scenes of Crime”
On the morning of July 1st, a crime and serious theft were committed on the outskirts of the city. Miss Raymond was killed and the body of a servant was found outside of the house. Mr. Raymond of Santuka Lake was awakened on Tuesday morning by a scream and two revolver shots which proceeded from his wife’s room. He tried to open the door but it would not open. He was almost certain the door was locked from the inside, when suddenly it swung open disclosing a room in frightful disorder. On the center of the floor was a revolver and on his wife’s bed was a blood stain in the shape of a hand. His wife was missing, but on a closer search he found his daughter under the bed, stone dead. The window was broken in two places. Miss Raymond had a bullet wound on her body and her head was fearfully cut. The body of a servant was found outside with a bullet hole through this head. Mrs. Raymond has not been found.
The room was upset. The bureau drawers were out as if the murderer had been looking for something. Chief of Police Egan is on the scene of the crime, etc., etc.
Just then the conductor called out “Santuka!” The train came to a stop, and getting out of the car I walked up to the house. On the porch I met Gregson, who was supposed to be the ablest detective in the force. He gave me a plan of the house which he said he would like to have me look at before we went in.
“The body of the servant,” he said, “is that of John Standish. He has been with family 12 years and was a perfectly honest man. He was only 32 years old.”
“The bullet which killed him was not found?” I asked.
“No,” he answered; and then, “Well, you had better come in and see for yourself. By the way, there was a fellow hanging around here, who was trying to see the body. When I refused to let him in, he went around to where the servant was shot and I saw him go down on his knees on the grass and begin to search. A few minutes later he stood up and leaned against a tree. Then he came up to the house and asked to see the body again. I said he could if he would go away afterwards. He assented, and when he got inside the room he went down on his knees and under the bed and hunted around. Then he went over to the window and examined the broken pane carefully. After that he declared himself satisfied and went down towards the hotel.”
After I had examined the room to my satisfaction, I found that I might as well try to see through a millstone as to try to fathom this mystery. As I finished my investigation I met Gregson in the laboratory.
“I suppose you heard about the mortgage,” said he, as we went down stairs. I answered in the negative, and he told me that a valuable mortgage had disappeared from the room in which Miss Raymond was killed. The night before Mr. Raymond had placed the mortgage in a drawer and it had disappeared.”
On my way to town that night I met Syrel again, and he bowed cordially to me. I began to feel ashamed of myself for sending him out of my house. As I went into the car the only vacant seat was next to him. I sat down and apologized for my rudeness of the day before. He took it lightly and, there being nothing to say, we sat in silence. At last I ventured a remark.
“What do you think of the case?”
“I don’t think anything of it as yet. I haven’t had time yet.”
Nothing daunted I began again. “Did you learn anything?”
Syrel dug his hand into his pocket and produced a bullet. I examined it.
“Where did you find it?” I asked.
“In the yard,” he answered briefly.
At this I again relapsed into my seat. When we reached the city, night was coming on. My first day’s investigation was not very successful.
My next day’s investigation was no more successful than the first. My friend Syrel was not at home. The maid came into Mr. Raymond’s room while I was there and gave notice that she was going to leave. “Mr. Raymond,” she said, “there was queer noises outside my window last night. I’d like to stay, sir, but it grates on my nerves.” Beyond this nothing happened, and I came home worn out. On the morning of the next day I was awakened by the maid who had a telegram in her hand. I opened it and found it was from Gregson. “Come at once,” it said “startling development.” I dressed hurriedly and took the first car to Santuka. When I reached the Santuka station, Gregson was waiting for me in a runabout. As soon as I got into the carriage Gregson told me what had happened.
“Someone was in the house last night. You know Mr. Raymond asked me to sleep there. Well, to continue, last night, about one, I began to be very thirsty. I went into the hall to get a drink from the faucet there, and as I was passing from my room (I sleep in Miss Raymond’s room) into the hall I heard somebody in Mrs. Raymond’s room. Wondering why Mr. Raymond was up at that time of night I went into the sitting room to investigate. I opened the door of Mrs. Raymond’s room. The body of Miss Raymond was lying on the sofa. A man was kneeling beside it. His face was away from me, but I could tell by his figure that he was not Mr. Raymond. As I looked he got up softly and I saw him open a bureau. He took something out and put it into his pocket. As he turned around he saw me, and I saw that he was a young man. With a cry of rage he sprang at me, and having no weapon I retreated. He snatched up a heavy Indian club and swung it over my head. I gave a cry which must have alarmed the house, for I know nothing more till I saw Mr. Raymond bending over me.”
“How did this man look,” I asked. “Would you know him if you saw him again?”
“I think not,” he answered, “I only saw his profile.”
“The only explanation I can give is this,” said I. “The murderer was in Miss Raymond’s room and when she came in he overpowered her and inflicted the gash. He then made for Mrs. Raymond’s room and carried her off after having first shot Miss Raymond, who attempted to rise. Outside the house he met Standish, who attempted to stop him and was shot.”
Gregson smiled. “That solution is impossible,” he said.
As we reached the house I saw John Syrel, who beckoned me aside. “If you come with me,” he said, “you will learn something that may be valuable to you.” I excused myself to Gregson and followed Syrel. As we reached the walk he began to talk.
“Let us suppose that the murderer or murderess escaped from the house. Where would they go? Naturally they wanted to get away. Where did they go? Now, there are two railroad stations near by, Santuka and Lidgeville. I have ascertained that they did not go by Santuka. So did Gregson. I supposed, therefore, that they went by Lidgeville. Gregson didn’t; that’s the difference. A straight line is the shortest distance between two points. I followed a straight line between here and Lidgeville. At first there was nothing. About two miles farther on I saw some footprints in a marshy hollow. They consisted of three footprints. I took an impression. Here it is. You see this one is a woman’s. I have compared it with one of Mrs. Raymond’s boots. They are identical. The others are mates. They belong to a man. I compared the bullet I found, where Standish was killed, with one of the remaining cartridges in the revolver that was found in Mrs. Raymond’s room. They were mates. Only one shot had been fired and as I had found one bullet, I concluded that either Mrs. or Miss Raymond had fired the shot. I preferred to think Mrs. Raymond fired it because she had fled. Summing these things up and also taking into consideration that Mrs. Raymond must have had some cause to try to kill Standish, I concluded that John Standish killed Miss Raymond through the window of her mother’s room, Friday night. I also conclude Mrs. Raymond after ascertaining that her daughter was dead, shot Standish through the window and killed him. Horrified at what she had done she hid behind the door when Mr. Raymond came in. Then she ran down the back stairs. Going outside she stumbled upon the revolver Standish had used and picking it up took it with her. Somewhere between here and Lidgeville she met the owner of these footprints, either by accident or design and walked with him to the station where they took the early train for Chicago. The station master did not see the man. He says that only a woman bought a ticket, so I concluded that the young man didn’t go. Now you must tell me what Gregson told you.”
“How did you know all this,” exclaimed I astonshed. And then I told him about the midnight visitor. He did not appear to be much astonished, and he said “I guess that the young man is our friend of the footprints. Now you had better go get a brace of revolvers and pack your suitcase if you wish to go with me to find this young man and Mrs. Raymond, whom I think is with him.
Greatly surprised at what I had heard I took the first train back to town. I bought a pair of fine Colt revolvers, a dark lantern, and two changes of clothing. We went over to Lidgeville and found that a young man had left on the six o’clock train for Ithaca. On reaching Ithaca we found that he had changed trains and was now half way to Princeton, New Jersey. It was five o’clock, but we took a fast train and expected to overtake him half way between Ithaca and Princeton. What was our chagrin when on reaching the slow train, to find he had gotten off at Indianous and was now probably safe. Thoroughly disappointed we took the train for Indianous. The ticket seller said that a young man in a light gray suit had taken a bus to the Raswell Hotel. We found the bus which the station master said he had taken, in the street. We went up to the driver and he admitted that he had started for the Raswell Hotel in his cab.
“But,” said the old fellow, “when I reached there, the fellow had clean disappeared, an’ I never got his fare.”
Syrel groaned; it was plain that we had lost the young man. We took the next train for New York and telegraphed to Mr. Raymond that we would be down Monday. Sunday night, however, I was called to the phone and recognized Syrel’s voice. He directed me to come at once to five hundred thirty-four Chestnut Street. I met him on the doorstep.
“What have you heard?” I asked.
“I have an agent in Indianous,” he replied, “in the shape of an Arab boy whom I employ for 10 cents a day. I told him to spot the woman and today I got a telegram from him (I left him money to send one), saying to come at once. So come on.”
We took the train for Indianous. “Smidy,” the young Arab, met us at the station.
“You see, sur, it’s dis way. You says, ‘Spot de guy wid dat hack,’ and I says I would. Dat night a young dude comes out of er house on Pine Street and give the cabman a $10 bill. An den he went back into the house and a minute after he comes out wid a woman, an’ den day went down here a little way an’ goes into a house farther down the street, I’ll show you de place.”
We followed Smidy down the street until we arrived at a corner house. The ground floor was occupied by a cigar store, but the second floor was evidently for rent. As we stood there a face appeared at the window and, seeing us, hastily retreated. Syrel pulled a picture from his pocket. “It’s she,” he exclaimed, and calling us to follow he dashed into a little side door. We heard voices upstairs, a shuffle of feet and a noise as if a door had been shut.
“Up the stairs,” shouted Syrel, and we followed him, taking two steps at a bound. As we reached the top landing we were met by a young man.
“What right have you to enter this house?” he demanded.
“The right of the law,” replied Syrel.
“I didn’t do it” broke out the young man. “It was this way. Agnes Raymond loved me—she did not love Standish—he shot her; and God did not let her murder go unrevenged. It was well Mrs. Raymond killed him, for his blood would have been on my hands. I went back to see Agnes before she was buried. A man came in. I knocked him down. I didn’t know until a moment ago that Mrs. Raymond had killed him.
“I forgot Mrs. Raymond” screamed Syrel, “where is she?”
“She is out of your power forever,” said the young man.
Syrel brushed past him and, with Smidy and I following, burst open the door of the room at the head of the stairs. We rushed in.
On the floor lay a woman, and as soon as I touched her heart I knew she was beyond the doctor’s skill.
“She has taken poison,” I said. Syre looked around, the young man had gone. And we stood there aghast in the presence of death.
— ◆ —
St. Paul Academy Now and Then (February 1910)
“Hold! Hold! Hold!” The slogan thundered up the field to where the battered, crimson warders trotted wearily into their places again. The blues’ attack this time came straight at center and was good for a gain of seven yards.
“Second down, three,” yelled the referee, and again the attack came straight at center. This time there was no withstanding the rush and the huge Hilton fullback crushed through the crimson line again and shaking off his many tacklers, staggered on toward the Warrentown goal.
The midget Warrentown quarter-back ran nimbly up the field and, dodging the interference, shot in straight at the fullback’s knees throwing him to the ground. The teams sprang back into line again, but Hearst, the crimson right tackle, lay still upon the ground. The right half was shifted to tackle and Berl, the captain, trotted over to the sidelines to ask the advice of the coaches.
“Who have we got for half, sir?” he inquired of the head coach.
“Suppose you try Reade,” answered the coach, and calling to one of the figures on the pile of straw, which served as a seat for the substitutes, he beckoned to him. Pulling off his sweater, a light haired stripling trotted over to the coach.
“Pretty light,” said Berl as he surveyed the form before him.
“I guess that’s all we have, though,” answered the coach. Reade was plainly nervous as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other and fidgeted with the end of his jersey.
“Oh, I guess he’ll do,” said Berl. “Come on kid,” and they trotted off on the field.
The teams quickly lined up and the Hilton quarter gave the signal “6-8-7G.” The play came between guard and tackle, but before the full-back could get started a lithe form shot out from the Warrentown line and brought him heavily to the ground.
“Good work, Reade,” said Berl, as Reade trotted back into his place, and blushing at the compliment he crouched low in the line and waited for the play. The center snapped the ball to quarter, who, turning, was about to give it to the half. The ball slipped from his grasp and he reached for it, but too late. Reade had slipped in between the end and tackle and dropped on the ball.
“Good one, Reade,” shouted Mridle, the Warrentown quarter, as he came racing up, crying signals as he ran. Signal “48-10G-37,”
It was Reade around left end, but the pass was bad and the quarter dropped the ball. Reade scooped it up on a run and raced around left end. In the delay which had been caused by the fumble Reade’s interference had been broken up and he must shift for himself; even as he rounded the end he was thrown with a thud by the blue full-back. He had gained but a yard. “Never mind, Reade,” said the quarter, “my fault.” The ball was snapped, but again the pass was bad and a Hilton line man fell on the ball.
Then began a steady march up the field toward the Warrentown goal. Time and time again Reade slipped through the Hilton line and nailed the runner before he could get started. But slowly Hilton pushed down the field toward the Warrentown goal. When the Blues were on the Crimson’s ten-yard line their quarter-back made his only error of judgment during the game. He gave the signal for a forward pass. The ball was shot to the full-back, who turned to throw it to the right half. As the pigskin left his hand, Reade leaped upward and caught the ball. He stumbled for a moment, but, soon getting his balance, started out for the Hilton goal with a long string of Crimson and Blue men spread out behind him. He had a start of about five yards on his nearest opponent, but this distance was decreased to three before he had passed his own forty-five-yard line. He turned his head and looked back. His pursuer was breathing heavily and Reade saw what was coming. He was going to try a diving tackle. As the man’s body shot out straight for him he stepped out of the way and the man fell harmlessly past him, missing him by a foot.
From there to the goal line it was easy running, and as Reade laid the pigskin on the ground and rolled happily over beside it he could just hear another slogan echo down the field: “One point—two points—three points—four points—five points. Reade! Reade! Reade!”
— ◆ —
St. Paul Academy Now and Then (March 1910)
“Carlton, for sentry duty!”
“Any volunteers to take his place?”
“Me, me,” said Jack Sanderson, eagerly.
“All right,” said the captain and went on with the roll.
It was a very cold night. Jack never quite knew how it came about. He had been wounded in the hand the day before and his gray jacket was stained a bright red where he had been hit by a stray ball. And “number six” was such a long post. From way up by the general’s tent to way down by the lake. He could feel a faintness stealing over him. He was very tired and it was getting very dark—very dark.
They found him there, sound alseep, in the morning, worn out by the fatigue of the march and the fight which had followed it. There was nothing the matter with him save the wounds, which were slight, and military rules were very strict. To the last day of his life Jack always remembered the sorrow in his captain’s voice as he read aloud the dismal order.
Camp Bowling Green, C. S. A.
Jan. 15, 1863, U. S.
For falling asleep while in a position of trust at a sentry post, private John Sanderson is hereby condemned to be shot at sunrise on Jan, 16, 1863.
By order ofRobert E. Lee, Lieutenant General Commanding.
Jack never forgot the dismal night and the march which followed it. They tied a hankerchief over his head and led him a little apart to a wall which bounded one side of the camp. Never had life seemed so sweet.
General Lee in his tent thought long and seriously upon the matter.
“He is so awfully young and of good family too; but camp discipline must be enforced. Still it was not much of an offense for such a punishment. The lad was over tired and wounded. By George, he shall go free if I risk my reputation. Sergeant, order private John Sanderson to be brought before me.”
“Very well, sir,” and saluting, the orderly left the tent.
Jack was brought in, supported by two soldiers, for a reaction had set in after his narrow escape from death.
“Sir,” said General Lee sternly, “on account of your extreme youth you will get off with a reprimand but see that it never happens again, for, if it should, I shall not be so lenient.”
“General,” answered Jack drawing himself up to his full height, “The Confederate States of America shall never have cause to regret that I was not shot.” And Jack was led away, still trembling, but happy in the knowledge of a new found life.
Six weeks after with Lee’s army near Chancellorsville. The success of Fredricksburg had made possible this advance of the Confederate arms. The firing had just commenced when a courier rode up to General Jackson.
“Colonel Barrows says sir, that the enemy have possession of a small frame house on the outskirts of the woods and it overlooks our earthworks. Has he your permission to take it by assault?”
“My compliments to Colonel Barrows and say that I cannot spare more than twenty men but that he is welcome to charge with that number,” answered the General.
“Yes, sir,” and the orderly setting spurs to his horse rode away.
Five minutes later a column of men from the 3rd Virginia burst out from the woods and ran toward the house. A galling fire broke out from the Federal lines and many a brave man fell, among whom was their leader, a young lieutenant. Jack Sanderson sprang to the front and waving his gun encouraged the men onward. Half way between the Confederate lines and the house was a small mound, and behind this the men threw themselves to get a minute’s respite.
A minute later a figure sprang up and ran toward the house, and before the Union troops saw him he was half way across the bullet-swept clearing. Then the federal fire was directed at him. He staggered for a moment and placed his hand to his forehead. On he ran and reaching the house he quickly opened the door and went inside. A minute later a pillar of flame shot out of the windows of the house and almost immediately afterwards the Federal occupants were in full flight. A long cheer rolled along the Confederate lines and then the word was given to charge and they charged sweeping all before them. That night the searchers wended their way to the half burned house. There on the floor, beside the mattress he had set on fire, lay the body of him who had once been John Sanderson, private, third Virginia. He had paid his debt.
— ◆ —
St. Paul Academy Now and Then (June 1911)
It was ominous looking enough in broad daylight, with its dull, brown walls, and musty windows. The garden, if it might be called so, was simply a mass of overgrown weeds, and the walk was falling to pieces, the bricks crumbling from the touch of time. Inside it was no better. Rickety old three-legged chairs covered with a substance that had once been plush, were not exactly hospitable looking objects. And yet this house was part of the legacy my grandfather had left me. In his will had been this clause: “The house, as it now stands, and all that is inside it, shall go to my grandson, Robert Calvin Raymond, on his coming to the age of twenty-one years. I furthermore desire that he shall not open the room at the end of the corridor, on the second floor until Carmatle falls. He may fix up three rooms of the house as modern as he wishes, but let the others remain unchanged. He may keep but one servant.”
To a poor young man with no outlook in life, and no money, but a paltry eight hundred a year, this seemed a windfall when counted with the twenty-five thousand dollars that went with it. I resolved to fix up my new home, and so started South to Macon, Ga., near which my grandfather’s house was situated. All the evening on the Pullman I had thought about that clause, “He shall not open the room at the end of the corridor on the second floor until Carmatle falls.” Who was Carmatle? And what did it mean when it said, “When Carmatle falls?” In vain I supposed and guessed and thought; I could make no sense of it.
When I finally arrived at the house, I lighted one of a box of candles which I had brought with me and walked up the creaking stairs to the third floor and down a long, narrow corridor covered with cobwebs and bugs of all sorts till I finally came to a massive oaken door which barred my further progress. On the door I could just make out with the aid of the candle the initials J. W. B. in red paint. The door was barred on the outside by heavy iron bars, effectually barricaded against anybody entering or going out. Suddenly, without even a warning flicker my candle went out, and I found myself in complete darkness. Though I am not troubled with weak nerves, I confess I was somewhat startled by this, for there was not a breath of air stirring. I relit the candle and walked out of the corridor down to the room of the three-legged chairs. As it was now almost nine o’clock and as I was tired after my day of traveling, I soon fell off to sleep.
How long I slept I do not know. I awoke suddenly and sat bolt upright on the lounge. For far down the downstairs hall I heard approaching footsteps, and a second later saw the reflection of a candle on the wall outside my door. I made no noise but as the steps came closer I crept softly to my feet. Another sound and the intruder was directly outside and I had a look at him. The flickering flame of the candle shone on a strong, handsome face, fine brown eyes and a determined chin. A stained grey Confederate uniform covered a magnificent form and here and there a blood stain made him more weird as he stood looking straight ahead with a glazed stare. His clean shaven face seemed strangely familiar to me, and some instinct made me connect him with the closed door on the right wing.
I came to myself with a start and crouched to leap at him, but some noise I made must have alarmed him, for the candle was suddenly extinguished and I brought up against a chair, nursing a bruised shin. I spent the rest of the night trying to connect the clause in my uncle’s will with this midnight prowler.
When morning came, things began to look clearer, and I resolved to find out whether I had been dreaming or whether I had had a Confederate officer for a guest. I went into the hall and searched for any sign which might lead to a revelation of the mystery. Sure enough, just outside my door was a tallow stain. About ten yards further on was another, and I found myself following a trail of spots along the hall, and upstairs toward the left wing of the house. About twenty feet from the door of the forbidden room they stopped; neither was there any trace of anyone having gone further. I walked up to the door and tried it to make sure that no one could possibly go in or out. Then I descended and, sauntering out, went around to the east wing to see how it looked from the outside. The room had three windows, each of which was covered with a green blind, and with three iron bars. To make sure of this I went around to the barn, a tumbly old structure, and, by dint of much exertion, succeeded in extracting a ladder from a heap of debris behind it. I placed this against the house, and climbing up, tested each bar carefully. There was no deception. They were firmly set in the concrete sill.
Therefore, there could be but one explanation, the man concealed there must have a third way of getting out, some sort of secret passageway. With this thought in mind I searched the house from garret to cellar, but not a sign could I see of any secret entrance. Then I sat down to think it over.
In the first place there was somebody concealed in the room in the east wing. I had no doubt of that, who was in the habit of making midnight visits to the front hall. Who was Carmatle? It was an unusual name, and I felt if I could find its possessor I could unravel this affair.
Aha! now I had it. Carmatle, the governor of Georgia; why had I not thought of that before? I resolved that that afternoon I would start for Atlanta to see him.
“Mr. Carmattyle, I believe?”
“At your service.”
“Governor, it’s rather a personal matter I have come to see you about and I may have made a mistake in identity. Do you know anything about ‘J. W. B.’ or did you ever know a man with those initials?”
The governor paled.
“Young man, tell me where you heard those initials and what brought you here?”
In as few words as possible I related to him my story, beginning with the will and ending with my theories regarding it.
When I had finished, the governor rose to his feet.
“I see it all; I see it all. Now with your permission I shall spend a night with you in your house in company with a friend of mine who is in the secret service. If I am right, concealed in that house is—well,” he broke off. “I had better not say now, for it may be only a remarkable coincidence. Meet me at the station in half an hour, and you had better bring a revolver.
Six o’clock found us at the manor and the governor and I with the detective he had brought along, a fellow by the name of Butler, proceeded at once to the room.
After half an hour’s labor we succeeded in finding no such thing as a passageway, secret or otherwise. Being tired I sat down to rest and in doing so my hand touched a ledge projecting from the wall. Instantly a portion of the wall swung open, disclosing an opening about three feet square. Instantly the governor, with the agility of a cat, was through it and his form disappeared from view. We grasped the situation and followed him. I found myself crawling along on hard stone in black darkness. Suddenly a shot resounded, and another. Then the passageway came to an end. We were in a room magnificently hung with oriental draperies, the walls covered with medieval armor and ancient swords, shields and battle axes. A red lamp on the table threw a lurid glare over all and cast a red glow on a body which lay at the foot of a Turkish divan. It was the Confederate officer, shot through the heart, for the life blood was fast staining his grey uniform red. The governor was standing near the body, a smoking revolver in his hand.
“Gentlemen,” said he, “let me present to you John Wilkes Booth, the slayer of Albraham Lincoln.”
“Mr. Carmatle, you will explain this I hope.”
“Certainly,” and drawing up a chair the governor began:
“My son and I served in Forest’s cavalry during the Civil War, and being on a scouting expedition did not hear of Lee’s surrender at Appomatox until about three months afterwards. As we were riding southward along the Cumberland pike we met a man riding down the road. Having struck up an acquaintance, as travelers do, we camped together, the next morning the man was gone, together with my son’s old horse and my son’s old uniform, leaving his new horse and new civilian suit instead. We did not know what to make of this, but never suspected who this man was. My son and I separated and I never saw him again. He was bound for his aunt’s in Western Maryland and one morning he was shot by some Union soldiers in a barn where he had tried to snatch a minute’s rest on the way. The story was given out to the public that it was Booth that was shot but I knew and the government knew that my innocent son had been shot by mistake and that John Wilkes Booth, the man who had taken his horse and clothes had escaped. For four years I hunted Booth, but until I heard you mention the initials J. W. B. I had heard no word of him. As it was, when I found him he shot first. I think that his visit to the hall in the Confederate uniform was simply to frighten you away. The fact that your grandfather was a Southern sympathizer probably had protected him all these years. So now, gentlemen, you have heard my story. It rests with you whether this gets no farther than us three here and the government, or whether I shall be proclaimed a murderer and brought to trial.”
“You are as innocent as Booth is guilty,” said I. “My lips shall be forever sealed.”
And we both pressed forward and took him by the hand.
— ◆ —
Newman News (Christmas 1912)
Miss Harmon was responsible for the whole thing. If it had not been for her foolish whim, Talbot would not have made a fool of himself, and—but I am getting ahead of my story.
It was Christmas Eve. Salvation Army Santa Clauses with highly colored noses proclaimed it as they beat upon rickety paper chimneys with tin spoons. Package laden old bachelors forgot to worry about how many slippers and dressing gowns they would have to thank people for next day, and joined in the general air of excitement that pervaded busy Manhattan.
In the parlor of a house situated on a dimly lighted residence street somewhere east of Broadway, sat the lady who, as I have said before, started the whole business. She was holding a conversation half frivolous, half sentimental, with a faultlessly dressed young man who sat with her on the sofa. All of this was quite right and proper, however, for they were engaged to be married in June.
“Harry Talbot,” said Dorothy Harmon, as she rose and stood laughing at the merry young gentleman beside her, “if you aren’t the most ridiculous boy I ever met, I’ll eat that terrible box of candy you brought me last week!”
“Dorothy,” reproved the young man, “you should receive gifts in the spirit in which they are given. That box of candy cost me much of my hard earned money.”
“Your hard earned money, indeed!” scoffed Dorothy. “You know very well that you never earned a cent in your life. Golf and dancing—that is the sum total of your occupations. Why, you can’t even spend money, much less earn it!”
“My dear Dorothy, I succeeded in running up some very choice bills last month, as you will find if you consult my father.”
“That’s not spending your money. That’s wasting it. Why, I don’t think you could give away twenty-five dollars in the right way to save your life.”
“But why on earth,” remonstrated Harry, “should I want to give away twenty-five dollars?”
“Because,” explained Dorothy, “that would be real charity. It’s nothing to charge a desk to your father and have it sent to me, but to give money to people you don’t know is something.”
“Why, any old fellow can give away money,” protested Harry.
“Then,” exclaimed Dorothy, “we’ll see if you can. I don’t believe that you could give twenty-five dollars in the course of an evening if you tried.”
“Indeed, I could.”
“Then try it!” And Dorothy, dashing into the hall, took down his coat and hat and placed them in his reluctant hands. “It is now half-past eight. You be here by ten o’clock.”
“But, but,” gasped Harry.
Dorothy was edging him towards the door.
“How much money have you?” she demanded.
Harry gloomily put his hand in his pocket and counted out a handful of bills.
“Exactly twenty-five dollars and five cents.”
“Very well! Now listen! These are the conditions. You go out and give this money to anybody you care to whom you have never seen before. Don’t give more than two dollars to any one person. And be back here by ten o’clock with no more than five cents in your pocket.”
“But,” declared Harry, still backing towards the door, “I want my twenty-five dollars.”
“Harry,” said Dorothy sweetly, “I am surprised!” and with that, she slammed the door in his face.
“I insist,” muttered Harry, “that this is a most unusual proceeding.”
He walked down the steps and hesitated.
“Now,” he thought, “Where shall I go?”
He considered a moment and finally started off towards Broadway. He had gone about half a block when he saw a gentleman in a top hat approaching. Harry hesitated. Then he made up his mind, and, stepping towards the man, emitted what he intended for a pleasant laugh but what sounded more like a gurgle, and loudly vociferated, “Merry Christmas, friend!”
“The same to you,” answered he of the top hat, and would have passed on, but Harry was not to be denied.
“My good fellow”—He cleared his throat. “Would you like me to give you a little money?”
“What?” yelled the man.
“You might need some money, don’t you know, to—er—buy the children—a—a rag doll,” he finished brilliantly.
The next moment his hat went sailing into the gutter, and when he picked it up the man was far away.
“There’s five minutes wasted,” muttered Harry, as, full of wrath towards Dorothy, he strode along his way. He decided to try a different method with the next people he met. He would express himself more politely.
A couple approached him,—a young lady and her escort. Harry halted directly in their path and, taking off his hat, addressed them.
“As it is Christmas, you know, and everybody gives away—er—articles, why”—
“Give him a dollar, Billy, and let’s go on,” said the young lady.
Billy obediently thrust a dollar into Harry’s hand, and at that moment the girl gave a cry of surprise.
“Why, it’s Harry Talbot,” she exclaimed, “begging!”
But Harry heard no more. When he realized that he knew the girl he turned and sped like an arrow up the street, cursing has foolhardiness in taking up the affair at all.
He reached Broadway and started slowly down the gaily lighted thoroughfare, intending to give money to the street Arabs he met. All around him was the bustle of preparation. Everywhere swarmed people happy in the pleasant concert of their own generosity. Harry felt strangely out of place as he wandered aimlessly along. He was used to being catered to and bowed before, but here no one spoke to him, and one or two even had the audacity to smile at him and wish him a “Merry Christmas.” He nervously accosted a passing boy.
“I say, little boy, I’m going to give you some money.”
“No you ain’t,” said the boy sturdily. “I don’t want none of your money.”
Rather abashed, Harry continued down the street. He tried to present fifty cents to an inebriated man, but a policeman tapped him on the shoulder and told him to move on. He drew up beside a ragged individual and quietly whispered, “Do you wish some money?”
“I’m on,” said the tramp, “what’s the job?”
“Oh! there’s no job!” Harry reassured him.
“Tryin’ to kid me, hey?” growled the tramp resentfully. “Well, get somebody else.” And he slunk off into the crowd.
Next Harry tried to squeeze ten cents into the hand of a passing bellboy, but the youth pulled open his coat and displayed a sign “No Tipping.”
With the air of a thief, Harry approached an Italian bootblack, and cautiously deposited ten cents in his hand. At a safe distance he saw the boy wonderingly pocket the dime, and congratulated himself. He had but twenty-four dollars and ninety cents yet to give away! His last success gave him a plan. He stopped at a newsstand where, in full sight of the vender, he dropped a two-dollar bill and sped away in the crowd. After several minutes’ hard running he came to a walk amidst the curious glances of the bundle-laden passers-by, and was mentally patting himself on the back when he heard quick breathing behind him, and the very newsie he had just left thrust into his hand the two-dollar bill and was off like a flash.
The perspiration streamed from Harry’s forehead and he trudged along despondently. He got rid of twenty-five cents, however, by dropping it into a children’s aid slot. He tried to get fifty cents in, but it was a small slot. His first large sum was two dollars to a Salvation Army Santa Claus, and, after this, he kept a sharp lookout for them, but it was past their closing time, and he saw no more of them on his journey.
He was now crossing Union Square, and, after another half hour’s patient work, he found himself with only fifteen dollars left to give away. A wet snow was falling which turned to slush as it touched the pavements, and the light dancing pumps he wore were drenched, the water oozing out of his shoe with every step he took. He reached Cooper Square and turned into the Bowery. The number of people on the streets was fast thinning and all around him shops were closing up and their occupants going home. Some boys jeered at him, but, turning up his collar, he plodded on. In his ears rang the saying, mockingly yet kindly, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
He turned up Third Avenue and counted his remaining money. It amounted to three dollars and seventy cents. Ahead of him he perceived, through the thickening snow, two men standing under a lamp post. Here was his chance. He could divide his three dollars and seventy cents between them. He came up to them and tapped one on the shoulder. The man, a thin, ugly looking fellow, turned suspiciously.
“Won’t you have some money, you fellow?” he said imperiously, for he was angry at humanity in general and Dorothy in particular. The fellow turned savagely.
“Oh!” he sneered, “you’re one of these stiffs tryin’ the charity gag, and then gettin’ us pulled for beggin’. Come on, Jim, let’s show him what we are.”
And they showed him. They hit him, they mashed him, they got him down and jumped on him, they broke his hat, they tore his coat. And Harry, gasping, striking, panting, went down in the slush. He thought of the people who had that very night wished him a Merry Christmas. He was certainly having it.
Miss Dorothy Harmon closed her book with a snap. It was past eleven and no Harry. What was keeping him? He had probably given up and gone home long ago. With this in mind, she reached up to turn out the light, when suddenly she heard a noise outside as if someone had fallen.
Dorothy rushed to the window and pulled up the blind. There, coming up the steps on his hands and knees was a wretched caricature of a man. He was hatless, coatless, collarless, tieless, and covered with snow. It was Harry. He opened the door and walked into the parlor, leaving a trail of wet snow behind him.
“Well?” he said defiantly.
“Harry,” she gasped, “can it be you?”
“Dorothy,” he said solemnly, “it is me.”
“What—what has happened?”
“Oh, nothing. I’ve just been giving away that twenty-five dollars.” And Harry sat down on the sofa.
“But Harry,” she faltered, “your eye is all swollen.”
“Oh, my eye? Let me see. Oh, that was on the twenty-second dollar. I had some difficulty with two gentlemen. However, we afterward struck up quite an acquaintance. I had some luck after that. I dropped two dollars in a blind beggar’s hat.”
“You have been all evening giving away that money?”
“My dear Dorothy, I have decidedly been all evening giving away that money.” He rose and brushed a lump of snow from his shoulder. “I really must be going now. I have two—er—friends outside waiting for me.” He walked towards the door.
“Why—a—they are the two gentlemen I had the difficulty with. They are coming home with me to spend Christmas. They are really nice fellows, though they might seem a trifle rough at first.”
Dorothy drew a quick breath. For a minute no one spoke. Then he took her in his arms.
“Dearest,” she whispered, “you did this all for me.”
A minute later he sprang down the steps, and arm in arm with his friends, walked off in the darkness.
“Good night, Dorothy,” he called back, “and a Merry Christmas!”
— ◆ —
Newman News (1913)
Walter Hamilton Bartney moved to Middleton because it was quiet and offered him an opportunity of studying law, which he should have done long ago. He chose a quiet house rather out in the suburbs of the village, for as he reasoned to himself, “Middleton is a suburb and remarkably quiet at that. Therefore a suburb of a suburb must be the very depth of solitude, and that is what I want.” So Bartney chose a small house in the suburbs and settled down. There was a vacant lot on his left, and on his right Skiggs, the famous Christian Scientist. It is because of Skiggs that this story was written.
Bartney, like the very agreeable young man he was, decided that it would be only neighborly to pay Skiggs a visit, not that he was very much interested in the personality of Mr. Skiggs, but because he had never seen a real Christian Scientist and he felt that his life would be empty without the sight of one.
However, he chose a most unlucky time for his visit. It was one night, dark as pitch that, feeling restless, he set off as the clock struck ten to investigate and become acquainted. He strode out of his lot and along the path that went by name of a road, feeling his way between bushes and rocks and keeping his eye on the solitary light that burned in Mr. Skiggs’ house.
“It would be blamed unlucky for me if he should take a notion to turn out that light,” he muttered through his clenched teeth. “I’d be lost. I’d just have to sit down and wait until morning.”
He approached the house, felt around cautiously, and, reaching for what he thought was a step, uttered an exclamation of pain, for a large stone had rolled down over his leg and pinned him to the earth. He grunted, swore, and tried to move the rock, but he was held powerless by the huge stone, and his efforts were unavailing.
“Hello!” he shouted. “Mr. Skiggs!”
There was no answer.
“Help, in there,” he cried again, “Help!”
A light was lit upstairs and a head, topped with a conical shaped night-cap, poked itself out of the window like an animated jack-in-the-box.
“Who’s there?” said the night-cap in a high-pitched querulous voice. “Who’s there? Speak, or I fire.”
“Don’t fire! It’s me—Bartney, your neighbor. I’ve had an accident, a nasty ankle wrench, and there’s a stone on top of me.”
“Bartney?” queried the night cap, nodding pensively. “Who’s Bartney?”
Bartney swore inwardly.
“I’m your neighbor. I live next door. This stone is very heavy. If you would come down here—”
“How do I know you’re Bartney, whoever he is?” demanded the night cap. “How do I know you won’t get me out there and blackjack me?”
“For heaven’s sake,” cried Bartney, “look and see. Turn a searchlight on me, and see if I’m not pinned down.”
“I have no searchlight,” came the voice from above.
“Then you’ll have to take a chance. I can’t stay here all night.”
“Then go away. I am not stopping you,” said the night cap with a decisive squeak in his voice.
“Mr. Skiggs,” said Bartney in desperation, “I am in mortal agony and—”
“You are not in mortal agony,” announced Mr. Skiggs.
“What? Do you still think I’m trying to entice you out here to murder you?”
“I repeat, you are not in mortal agony. I am convinced now that you really think you are hurt, but I assure you, you are not.”
“He’s crazy,” thought Bartney.
“I shall endeavor to prove to you that you are not, thus causing you more relief than I would if I lifted the stone. I am very moderate. I will treat you now at the rate of three dollars an hour.”
“An hour?” shouted Bartney fiercely. “You come down here and roll this stone off me, or I’ll skin you alive!”
“Even against your will,” went on Mr. Skiggs. “I feel called upon to treat you, for it is a duty to everyone to help the injured, or rather those who fancy themselves injured. Now, clear your mind of all sensation, and we will begin the treatment.”
“Come down here, you mean, low-browed fanatic!” yelled Bartney, forgetting his pain in a paroxysm of rage. “Come down here, and I’ll drive every bit of Christian Science out of your head.”
“To begin with,” began the shrill falsetto from the window, “there is no pain—absolutely none. Do you begin to have an inkling of that?”
“No,” shouted Bartney. “You, you—” his voice was lost in a gurgle of impotent rage.
“Now, all is mind. Mind is everything. Matter is nothing—absolutely nothing. You are well. You fancy you are hurt, but you are not.”
“You lie,” shrieked Bartney.
Unheeding, Mr. Skiggs went on.
“Thus, if there is no pain, it can not act on your mind. A sensation is not physical. If you had no brain, there would be no pain, for what you call pain acts on the brain. You see?”
“Oh-h,” cried Bartney, “if you saw what a bottomless well of punishment you were digging for yourself, you’d cut out that monkey business.”
“Therefore, as so-called pain is a mental sensation, your ankle doesn’t hurt you. Your brain may imagine it does, but all sensation goes to the brain. You are very foolish when you complain of hurt—”
Bartney’s patience wore out. He drew in his breath, and let out a yell that echoed and re-echoed through the night air. He repeated it again and again, and at length he heard the sound of footsteps coming up the road.
“Hello!” came a voice.
Bartney breathed a prayer of thanksgiving.
“Come here! I’ve had an accident,” he called, and a minute later the night watchman’s brawny arms had rolled the stone off him, and he staggered to his feet.
“Good night,” called the Christian Scientist sweetly. “I hope I have made some impression on you.”
“You certainly have,” called back Bartney as he limped off, his hand on the watchman’s shoulder, “one I won’t forget.”
Two days later, as Bartney sat with his foot on a pillow he pulled an unfamiliar envelope out of his mail and opened it. It read:
To HEPEZIA SKIGGS, DR.
Treatment by Christian Science—$3.00. Payment by check or money order.
The weeks wore on. Bartney was up and around. Out in his yard he started a flower garden and became a floral enthusiast. Every day he planted, and the next day he would weed what he had planted. But it gave him something to do, for law was tiresome at times.
One bright summer’s day, he left his house and strolled towards the garden, where the day before he had planted in despair some “store bought” pansies. He perceived to his surprise a long, thin, slippery-looking figure bending over, picking his new acquisitions. With quiet tread he approached, and, as the invader turned around, he said severely:
“What are you doing, sir?”
“I was plucking-er-a few posies—”
The long, thin, slippery looking figure got no further. Though the face had been strange to Bartney, the voice, a thin, querelous falsetto, was one he would never forget. He advanced slowly, eyeing the owner of that voice, as the wolf eyes his prey.
“Well, Mr. Skiggs, how is it I find you on my property?”
Mr. Skiggs appeared unaccountably shy and looked the other way.
“I repeat,” said Bartney, “that I find you here on my property—and in my power.”
“Yes, sir,” said Mr. Skiggs, squirming in alarm.
Bartney grabbed him by the collar, and shook him as a terrier does a rat.
“You conceited imp of Christian Science! You miserable hypocrite! What?” he demanded fiercely, as Skiggs emitted a cry of protest. “You yell. How dare you? Don’t you know there is no such thing as pain? Come on, now, give me some of that Christian Science. Say ‘mind is everything’. Say it!”
Mr. Skiggs, in the midst of his jerky course, said quaveringly, “Mind is everyth-thing.”
“Pain is nothing,” urged his tormenter grimly.
“P-Pain is nothing,” repeated Mr. Skiggs feelingly.
The shaking continued.
“Remember, Skiggs, this is all for the good of the cause. I hope you’re taking it to heart. Remember, such is life, therefore life is such. Do you see?”
He left off shaking, and proceeded to entice Skiggs around by a grip on his collar, the scientist meanwhile kicking and struggling violently.
“Now,” said Bartney, “I want you to assure me that you feel no pain. Go on, do it!”
“I f-feel—ouch,” he exclaimed as he passed over a large stone is his course, “n-no pain.”
“Now,” said Bartney, “I want two dollars for the hours’ Christian Science treatment I have given you. Out with it.”
Skiggs hesitated, but the look of Bartney’s eyes and a tightening of Bartney’s grip convinced him, and he unwillingly tendered a bill. Bartney tore it to pieces and distributed the fragments to the wind.
“Now, you may go.”
Skiggs, when his collar was released, took to his heels, and his flying footsteps crossed the boundary line in less time than you would imagine.
“Good-bye, Mr. Skiggs,” called Bartney pleasantly. “Any other time you want a treatment come over. The price is always the same. I see you know one thing I didn’t have to teach you. There’s no such thing as pain, when somebody else is the goat.”
— ◆ —
Newman News (June 1913)
It was a hot July night. Inside, through screen, window and door fled the bugs and gathered around the lights like so many humans at a carnival, buzzing, thugging, whirring. From out the night into the houses came the sweltering late summer heat, over-powering and enervating, bursting against the walls and enveloping all mankind like a huge smothering blanket. In the drug stores, the clerks, tired and grumbling handed out ice cream to hundreds of thirsty but misled civilians, while in the corners buzzed the electric fans in a whirring mockery of coolness. In the flats that line upper New York, pianos (sweating ebony perspiration) ground out rag-time tunes of last winter and here and there a wan woman sang the air in a hot soprano. In the tenements, shirt-sleeves gleamed like beacon lights in steady rows along the streets in tiers of from four to eight according to the number of stories of the house. In a word, it was a typical, hot New York summer night.
In his house on upper Fifth Avenue, young Dodson Garland lay on a divan in the billiard room and consumed oceans of mint juleps, as he grumbled at the polo that had kept him in town, the cigarettes, the butler, and occasionally breaking the Second Commandment. The butler ran back and forth with large consignments of juleps and soda and finally, on one of his dramatic entrances, Garland turned towards him and for the first time that evening perceived that the butler was a human being, not a living bottle-tray.
“Hello, Allen,” he said, rather surprised that he had made such a discovery. “Are you hot?”
Allen made an expressive gesture with his handkerchief, tried to smile but only succeeded in a feeble, smothery grin.
“Allen,” said Garland struck by an inspiration, “what shall I do tonight?” Allen again essayed the grin but, failing once more, sank into a hot, undignified silence.
“Get out of here,” exclaimed Garland petulantly, “and bring me another julep and a plate of ice.”
“Now,” thought the young man, “What shall I do? I can go to the theatre and melt. I can go to a roof-garden and be sung to by a would-be prima donna, or—or go calling.” “Go calling,” in Garland’s vocabulary meant but one thing: to see Mirabel. Mirabel Walmsley was his fiancee since some three months, and was in the city to receive some nobleman or other who was to visit her father. The lucky youth yawned, rolled over, yawned again and rose to a sitting position where he yawned a third time and then got to his feet.
“I’ll walk up and see Mirabel. I need a little exercise.” And with this final decision he went to his room where he dressed, sweated and dressed, for half an hour. At the end of that time, he emerged from his residence, immaculate, and strolled up Fifth Avenue to Broadway. The city was all outside. As he walked along the white way, he passed groups and groups clad in linen and lingerie, laughing, talking, smoking, smiling, all hot, all uncomfortable.
He reached Mirabel’s house and then suddenly stopped on the door step.
“Heavens,” he thought, “I forgot all about it. The Duke of Dunsinlane or Artrellane or some lane or other was to arrive today to see Mirabel’s papa. Isn’t that awful? And I haven’t seen Mirabel for three days.” He sighed, faltered, and finally walked up the steps and rang the bell. Hardly had he stepped inside the door, when the vision of his dreams came running into the hall in a state of great excitement and perturbation.
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