GEORGE BARR MCCUTCHEON
I When Jane Goes Driving
II The Cables
III James Bansemer
IV The Foundling
V The Bansemer Crash
VI In Sight of the Fangs
VII Mrs. Cable Entertains
VIII The Telegram
IX The Proposal
X The Four Initials
XI An Evening with Droom
XII James Bansemer Calls
XIII Jane Sees with New Eyes
XIV The Canker
XV The Tragedy of the Sea Wall
XVI Hours of Terror
XVII David Cable's Debts
XVIII The Visit of Harbert
XIX The Crash
XX Father and Son
XXI In the Philippines
XXII The Chase of Pilar
XXIII The Fight in the Convent
XXIV Teresa Velasquez
XXV The Beautiful Nurse
XXVI The Separation of Hearts
XXVII "If They Don't Kill You"
XXVIII Homeward Bound
XXIX The Wreckage
XXX The Drink of Gall
XXXI The Transforming of Droom
XXXII Elias Droom's Dinner Party
XXXIII Droom Triumphs over Death
WHEN JANE GOES DRIVING
It was a bright clear afternoon in the late fall that pretty Miss
Cable drove up in her trap and waited at the curb for her father to
come forth from his office in one of Chicago's tallest buildings.
The crisp caressing wind that came up the street from the lake put
the pink into her smooth cheeks but it did not disturb the brown
hair that crowned her head. Well-groomed and graceful she sat
straight and sure upon the box her gloved hand grasping the yellow
reins firmly and confidently. Miss Cable looked neither to right
nor to left but at the tips of her thoroughbred's ears. Slender
and tall and very aristocratic she appeared her profile alone
visible to the passers-by.
After a very few moments waiting in her trap the smart young
woman became impatient. A severe little pucker settled upon her
brow and not once but many times her eyes turned to the broad
entrance across the sidewalk. She had telephoned to her father
earlier in the afternoon; and he had promised faithfully to be
ready at four o'clock for a spin up the drive behind Spartan. At
three minutes past four the pucker made its first appearance; and
now several minutes later it was quite distressing. Never before
had he kept her waiting like this. She was conscious of the fact
that at least a hundred men had stared at her in the longest ten
minutes she had ever known. From the bottom of a very hot heart
she was beginning to resent this scrutiny when a tall young fellow
swung around a near-by corner and came up with a smile so full of
delight that the dainty pucker left her brow as the shadow flees
from the sunshine. His hat was off and poised gallantly above his
head his right hand reaching up to clasp the warm little tan one
outstretched to meet it.
"I knew it was you long before I saw you" said he warmly.
"Truly? How interesting!" she responded with equal warmth.
"Something psychic in the atmosphere today?"
"Oh no" he said reluctantly releasing her hand. "I can't see
through these huge buildings you know---it's impossible to look
over their tops--I simply knew you were here that's all."
"You're romantic even though you are a bit silly" she cried gaily.
"Pray how could you know?"
"Simplest thing in the world. Rigby told me he had seen you and
that you seemed to be in a great rage. He dared me to venture into
your presence and--that's why I'm here."
"What a hopelessly commonplace explanation! Why did you not leave
me to think that there was really something psychic about it? Logic
is so discouraging to one's conceit. I'm in a very disagreeable
humour to-day" she said in fine despair.
"I don't believe it" he disputed graciously.
"But I am" she insisted smiling brightly. His heart was leaping
high--so high that it filled his eyes. "Everything has gone wrong
with me to-day. It's pretty trying to have to wait in front of a
big office building for fifteen minutes. Every instant I expect
a policeman to come up and order me to move on. Don't they arrest
people for blocking the street?"
"Yes and put them in awful rat-swarming dungeons over in Dearborn
Avenue. Poor Mr. Cable he should be made to suffer severely for
his wretched conduct. The idea of--"
"Don't you dare to say anything mean about dad" she warned.
"But he's the cause of all the trouble--he's never done anything
to make you happy or--"
"Stop!--I take it all back--I'm in a perfectly adorable humour.
It was dreadfully mean of me to be half-angry with him wasn't it?
He's in there now working his dear old brain to pieces and I'm
out here with no brain at all" she said ruefully.
To the ingenuous youth such an appeal to his gallantry was well-nigh
irresistible and for a moment it seemed as if he would yield to
the temptation to essay a brilliant contradiction; but his wits
came to his rescue for quickly realising that not only were the
frowning rocks of offence to be avoided but likewise the danger of
floundering helplessly about in the inviting quicksands of inanity he
preserved silence--wise young man that he was and trusted to his
eyes to express an eloquent refutation. At last however something
seemed to occur to him. A smile broke on his face.
"You had a stupid time last night?" he hazarded.
"What makes you think so?"
"I know who took you in to dinner."
The eyes of the girl narrowed slightly at the corners.
"Did he tell you?"
"No I have neither seen nor heard from anyone present." She opened
her eyes wide now.
"Well Mr. S. Holmes who was it?"
"That imbecile Medford."
Miss Cable sat up very straight in the trap; her little chin went
up in the air; she even went so far as to make a pretence of curbing
the impatience of her horse.
"Mr. Medford was most entertaining--he was the life of the dinner"
she returned somewhat severely.
"He's a professional!"
"An actor!" she cried incredulously.
"No a professional diner-out. Wasn't that rich young Jackson
"Why yes; but do tell me how you knew?" The girl was softening a
little her curiosity aroused.
"Of course I will" he said boyishly at once pleased with himself
and his sympathetic audience. "About five-thirty I happened to be
in the club. Medford was there and as usual catering to Jackson
when the latter was called to the 'phone. Naturally I put two
and two together." He paused to more thoroughly enjoy the look of
utter mystification that hovered on the girl's countenance. It was
very apparent that this method of deduction through addition was
unsatisfying. "What Jackson said to Medford on his return" the
young man continued "I did not hear; but from the expression on
the listener's face I could have wagered that an invitation had been
extended and accepted. Oh we boys have got it down fine! Garrison
"And who is Garrison?"
"Garrison is the head door man at the club. It's positively amazing
the number of telephone calls he receives every afternoon from
well-known society women!"
"What about? And what's that got to do with Mr. Medford taking me
in to dinner?"
"Just this: Suppose Mrs. Rowden..."
"Mrs. Rowden!" The girl was nonplussed.
"Yes--wants to find out who's in the club? She 'phones Garrison.
Instantly after ascertaining which set--younger or older is wanted
from a small card upon which he has written a few but choice names
of club members he submits a name to her."
"Really you don't mean to tell me that such a thing is actually
done?" exclaimed Miss Cable who as yet was socially so unsophisticated
as to be horrified; "you're joking of course!"
"But nine time out of ten" ignoring the interruption; "it is met
with: 'Don't want him!' Another: 'Makes a bad combination!' A third:
'Oh no my dear not a dollar to his name--hopelessly ineligible!'
This last exclamation though intended solely for the visitor at
her home elicits from Garrison a low chuckle of approval of the
speaker's discrimination; and presently he hears: 'Goodness me
Garrison there must be someone else!' Then to her delights she
is informed that Mr. Jackson has just come in; and he is requested
to come to the 'phone Garrison being dismissed with thanks and
the expectation of seeing her butler in the morning."
"How perfectly delicious!" came from the girl. "I can almost hear
Mrs. Rowden telling Jackson that he will be the dearest boy in the
world if he will dine with her."
"And bring someone with him as she is one man short" laughed
Graydon as he wound up lightly; "and here is where the professional
comes in. We're all onto Medford! Why Garrison has half a dozen
requests a night--six times five--thirty dollars. Not bad--but
then the man's a 'who's who' that never makes mistakes. I won't be
positive that he does not draw pay from both ends. For men like
Medford outside of the club probably tip him to give them the
preference. It would be good business."
There was so much self-satisfaction in the speaker's manner
of uttering these last words that it would not have required the
wisdom of one older than Miss Cable to detect that he was thoroughly
enjoying his pose of man of the world. He was indeed young! For he
had yet to learn that not to disillusion the girl but to conform
as much as possible to her ideals was the surest way to win her
favour; and his vanity surely would have received a blow had not David
Cable at that moment come out of the doorway across the sidewalk
pausing for a moment to converse with the man who accompanied him.
The girl's face lighted with pleasure and relief; but the young
man regarding uneasily the countenance of the General Manager of
the Pacific Lakes & Atlantic R.R. Company saw that he was white
tired and drawn. It was not the keen alert expression that had been
the admiration of everyone; something vital seemed to be missing
although he could not have told what it was. A flame seemed to have
died somewhere in his face leaving behind a faint suggestion of
ashes; and through the young man's brain there flashed the remark
of his fair companion: 'He's in there now working his dear old
brain to pieces.'
"I'm sorry to have kept you waiting Jane" said Cable crossing
to the curb. "Hello Graydon; how are you?" His voice was sharp
crisp and louder than the occasion seemed to demand but it was
natural with him. Years of life in an engine cab do not serve to
mellow the tone of the human voice and the habit is too strong to
be overcome. There was no polish to the tones as they issued from
David Cable's lips. He spoke with more than ordinary regard for the
Queen's English but it was because he never had neglected it. It
was characteristic of the man to do a thing as nearly right as he
knew how in the beginning and to do it. the same way until a better
method presented itself.
"Very well thank you Mr. Cable except that Jane has been abusing
me because you were not here to---"
"Don't you believe a word he says dad" she cried.
"Oh if the truth isn't in me I'll subside" laughed Graydon.
"Nevertheless you've kept her waiting and it's only reasonable
that she should abuse somebody."
"I am glad you were here to receive it; it saves my grey hairs."
"Rubbish!" was Miss Cable's simple comment as her father took his
place beside her.
"Oh please drive on Jane" said the young man his admiring eyes
on the girl who grasped the reins afresh and straightened like a
soldier for inspection. "I must run around to the University Club
and watch the score of the Yale-Harvard game at Cambridge. It looks
like Harvard hang it all! Great game they say---"
"There he goes on football. We must be off or it will be dark
before we get away from him. Good-bye!" cried Miss Cable.
"How's your father Gray? He wasn't feeling the best in the world
yesterday" said Cable tucking in the robe.
"A case of liver Mr. Cable; he's all right to-day. Good-bye!"
As Jane and her father whirled away the latter gave utterance
to a remark that brought a new brightness to her eyes and a proud
throbbing to her heart; but he did not observe the effect.
"Bright clever chap--that Graydon Bansemer" he said comfortably.
The General Manager of the Pacific Lakes & Atlantic Railroad
System had had a hard struggle of it. He who begins his career with
a shovel in a locomotive cab usually has something of that sort
to look back upon. There are no roses along the pathway he has
traversed. In the end perhaps he wonders if it has been worth
while. David Cable was a General Manager; he had been a fireman.
It had required twenty-five years of hard work on his part to break
through the chrysalis. Packed away in a chest upstairs in his house
there was a grimy greasy unwholesome suit of once-blue overalls.
The garments were just as old as his railroad career for he had worn
them on his first trip with the shovel. When his wife implored him
to throw away the "detestable things" he said with characteristic
humour that he thought he would keep them for a rainy day. It was
much simpler to go from General Manager to fireman than vice versa
and it might be that he would need the suit again. It pleased him
to hear his wife sniff contemptuously.
David Cable had been a wayward venturesome youth. His father and
mother had built their hopes high with him as a foundation and he
had proved a decidedly insecure basis; for one night in the winter
of 1863 he stole away from his home in New York; before spring
he was fighting in the far Southland a boy of sixteen carrying a
musket in the service of his country.
At the close of the Civil War Private Cable barely eighteen returned
to his home only to find that death had destroyed its happiness:
his father had died leaving his widowed mother a dependant upon
him. It was then philosophically he realised that labour alone
could win for him; and he stuck to it with rigid integrity. In
turn he became brakeman and fireman; finally his determination
and faithfulness won him a fireman's place on one of the fast New
York Central "runs." If ever he was dissatisfied with the work no
one was the wiser.
Railroading in those days was not what it is in these advanced times.
Then it meant that one was possessed of all the evil habits that
fall to the lot of man. David Cable was more or less contaminated
by contact with his rough ribald companions of the rail and
he glided moderately into the bad habits of his kind. He drank
and "gamboled" with the rest of the boys; but by nature not being
vicious and low the influences were not hopelessly deadening to
the better qualities of his character. To his mother he was always
the strong good-hearted manly boy better than all the other
sons in the world. She believed in him; he worshipped her; and it
was not until he was well up in the twenties that he stopped to
think that she was not the only good woman in the world who deserved
Up in Albany lived the Widow Coleman and her two pretty daughters.
Mrs. Coleman's husband died on the battlefield and she like many
women in the North and the South after years of moderate prosperity
was compelled to support herself and her family. She had been
a pretty woman and one readily could see where her daughters got
their personal attractiveness. Not many doors from the boisterous
little eating-house in which the railroad men snatched their meals
as they went through the widow opened a book and newsstand. Her
home was on the floor above the stand and it was there she brought
her little girls to womanhood. Good-looking harum-scarum Dave
Cable saw Frances Coleman one evening as he dropped in to purchase
a newspaper. It was at the end of June in 1876 and the country
was in the throes of excitement over the first news of the Custer
massacre on the Little Big Horn River.
Cable was deeply interested for he had seen Custer fighting at
the front in the sixties. Frances Coleman the prettiest girl he
had ever seen sold him the newspaper. After that he seldom went
through Albany without visiting the little book shop.
Tempestuous even arrogant in love Cable once convinced that he
cared for her lost no time in claiming her whether or no. In less
than three months after the Custer massacre they were married.
Defeated rivals unanimously and enviously observed that the
handsomest fireman on the road had conquered the mo&t outrageous
little coquette between New York and Buffalo. As a matter of fact
she had loved him from the start; the others served as thorns with
which she delightedly pricked his heart into subjection.
The young husband settled down renounced all of his undesirable
habits and became a new man with such surprising suddenness that
his friends marvelled and--derided. A year of happiness followed.
He grew accustomed to her frivolous ways overlooked her merry
whimsicalities and gave her the "full length of a free rope" as he
called it. He was contented and consequently careless. She chafed
under the indifference and in her resentment believed the worst
of him. Turmoil succeeded peace and contentment and in the end
David Cable driven to distraction weakly abandoned the domestic
battlefield and fled to the Far West giving up home good wages
and all for the sake of freedom such as it was. He ignored her
letters and entreaties but in all those months that he was away
from her he never ceased to regret the impulse that had defeated
him. Nevertheless he could not make up his mind to go back and
resume the life of torture her jealousy had begotten.
Then the unexpected happened. A letter was received containing
the command to come home and care for his wife and baby. At once
David Cable called a halt in his demoralising career and saw the
situation plainly. He forgot that she had "nagged" him to the point
where endurance rebelled; he forgot everything but the fact that
he cared for her in spite of all. Sobered and conscience-stricken
he knew only that she was alone and toiling; that she had suffered
uncomplainingly until the babe was some months old before appealing
to him for help. In abject humiliation he hastened back to New
York reproaching himself every mile of the way. Had he but known
the true situation he would have been spared the pangs of remorse
and this narrative never would have been written.
In the City of New York there was practising at that time a
lawyer by the name of Bansemer. His office on the topmost floor
of a dingy building in the lower section of the city was not
inviting. On leaving the elevator one wound about through narrow
halls and finally peered with more or less uncertainty and misgiving
at the half-obliterated sign which said that James Bansemer held
forth on the other side of the glass panel.
It was whispered in certain circles and openly avowed in others
that Bansemer's business was not the kind which elevates the law;
in plain words his methods were construed to debase the good and
honest statutes of the land. Once inside the door of his office--and