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About The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 13, 1895)
THE STTSTDT OE.EGOKIA2. POBTIxA2sl SATUAMT 13, 1895.
Translation from Horace.)
Seek not. Leo canoe, by mystic numbers,
"What late reserves unknown for thee or me;
Nor care to mark the day -when life's last slum
bers ShaH coldly passive write. "We've ceased to
"With manly patience, -whatsoe'er Jove secis us,
Let us unflinching- to the last endure:
"What, tbtf tWs winter be for us the latest.
That bursts In fury on the Tuscan shore.
Let us be wise and drain, for time Is fleeting
The -vrtne life's sands steal far too fast away;
E'en as nc speak the envious moments vanish
Trust net tomorrow, wisely seize today.
WILLIAM H. TAYLOR.
Portland. Jan. 9. 1885.
Br Bret Harte, Author of "The Lnclc
of Roaring Camp," "Etc
(Copyright, 1694. by Bret Harte.)
PART III CHAPTER I.
It was sunset of a hot day at 'Wash
ington. 2ven at that hour the broad
avenues "which diverged from the capltol
like the rays of another sun were fierce
Into this stifling atmosphere of greed
and corruption Clarence Brant stepped
from the shadow of the war department.
For the last three weeks he had haunted
Its ante-rooms and audience chambers,
in the vain hope of righting himself be
fore his superiors, who were content,
without formulating charges against him,
to keep him in the disgrace of inaction
and the anxiety of suspense.
The nearly level rays of the sun forced
him at last to turn aside into one of
the openings of a large building a fa
mous caravansary of that hotel-haunted
capital and he presently found himself
in the luxurious bar-room, fragrant with
mint and cool with ice slabs, piled sym
metrically or. its marble counters. A few
groups of men were seeking coolness at
small tables, with glasses before them and
palm-leaf fans in their hands; but a larger
and nolser assemblage was collected be
fore the bar, where a man, collarlcss and
in his shirt-sleeves, with his back to
th counter, was pretentiously addressing
them. Brant, who had moodily dropped
into a chair in the corner, after ordering
a cooling drink as an excuse for his tem
porary refuge from the stifling street,
glanced at him quickly from the shadow
of his corner. He was not mistaken It
was Jim Hooker!
For the first time in his life. Brant
wished to evade him. He would have
slipped away, but to do so he would have
had to pass before the counter3ngain, and
Hooker, with the self-consciousness of a
story-teller, had an eye on his audience.
Brant, with a palm-leaf fan before his
face, was obliged to listen.
"Yes, gentlemen." said Hooker, examin
ing his glass dramatically, "when a man's
been cooped up in a rebel prison, with a
death line before him that he's obliged
to cross every time he wants a square
drink, it seems sort of like a dream of his
boyhood to be standin' here comf ble be
fore his liquor, alongside o' white men
once more. And when he knows he's bin
put to all that trouble jest to save the
reputation of another man, and the se
crets of a few high and mighty ones, it's
almost enough to make his liquor go agin
him!" He stopped theatrically, seemed
to choke emotionally over his brandy
smash, but with a pause of dramatic de
termination, finally dashed it down. "No,
gentlemen," he continued gloomily, "I
don't say what I'm back in Washington
for I don't say what I've bin sayin to
myself when I've bin picking the weevils
outer my biscuits in Llbby prison but ef
you don't see some pretty big men in the
war department obliged to climb down in
the next few days my name ain't Jim
Hooker of Hooker, Meecham & Co.. army
boef contractors, and the man who saved
the fight at Gray Oaks!"
'Tell us about the fight again," said a
Hooker looked around the room with a
certain dark suspiciousness, and then In
an affected lower voice, which his theat
rical experience made perfectely audible,
went on: "It ain't much to speak of, and
If it wasn't for the principle of the thing,
I wouldn't be talkln. A man who's seen
Injin flghtln' don't go much on this here
West Point fightln' by rule-of-three but
that ain't here nor there. Well, I'd been
out a-scoutln' just to help the boys along,
and I was sittln in my wagon about day
break, when along comes a brigadier
general, and he looks Into the wagon-flap.
I ought to tell you first, gentleman, that
every mlnlt he was expectln' an attack
but he didn't let on a hint of It to me.
"How are you, Jim?' says he. 'How are
you. general?' says I. 'Would you mind
lending me your coat and hat?" says he.
'1'vo got a little game hero with our pick
ets, and I don't want to be recognized.'
Anything to oblige, general,' says I, and
with that I strips oft my coat and hat,
and he peels and puts them on. 'Nearly
the same figure. Jim.' he says, lookin at
me: 'suppose you just try on my things
and see.' With that he hands me his coat
full uniform, by G d with the little
gold cords and laces and the epaulets with
a star, and I puts It on quite innocent
like. And then he says, handln me his
sword and bolt, 'Same inches round the
waist, too. I reckon,' and I puts that on.
too. 'You may as well keep 'em on till I
como back,' suys he. 'for it's mighty damp
and malarious at this time around the
swamp.' And with that he lights out.
Well, gentlemen, I hadn't sat there five
minutes before bang! bang! rattle! rattle!
kershls! and I hear a yell. I steps out of
the wagon, everything's quite dark, but
the rattle goes on. Then along trots an
orderly leadln' a horse. 'Mount, general,'
he Mtys. 'We're attacked the rear guard's
on us!' "
He paused, looked around his audience
and then in a lower voice said, darkly:
"1 ain't a fool, gentlemen, and In that
minute a man's brain works at high pres
sure, and I .aiw it all! I saw the little
game of the brigadier to skulk away in
my clothes and leave me to be captured in
his. But I ain't a dog, neither, and I
mounted that hors gentlemen, and lit
out to where the men were formln! I
didn't dare to speak lest they should
know roe, but I waved my sword, and by
G 4! they followed me! And the next
minute we was in the thick of it. I had
my hat as full of holes as that ice
strainer: I had a dosen bullets through
my coat, the fringe of my epaulets was
shot away, but I kept the boys at their
work and we stopped 'em! Stopped 'em,
gentlemen! until Ave heard the bugles of
the ret of our division, that all this time
had been rolling that blasted rear guard
over on us! And it saved the fight! But
the next minute the Johnny Rebs.made a
last dash aud cut me off and there I was
by G d! a prisoner! Me that had saved
A ripple of Ironical applause went round
as Hooker gloomily drained his glass and
then heW up his hand in scornful depre
cation. "I said I was & prisoner, gentlemen."
he want on bitterly: "but that ain't all!
1 asked to see Jotoiwton. told him what I
had done, and demanded to be exchanged
for a general officer. He said, 'You be
d d.' I've bin you be d ded from the
lowest non-com to the commander-in-chief,
and when I was at last exchanged
I was exchanged, gentlemen, for two
mules and a broken wagon. But I'm here,
gentlemen, as 1 was thar!"
"Why don't you see the president about
it?" asked a bystander, in affected oom
mleeratkm. Mr. Hooker stared contemptuously at
the suggestion, and expectorated his
scornful dissent- "Not much!" he said.
"But I'm going to see the man that car
ries Mm and his cabinet in his breeches'
"PoaiHHBlRters a. big man," continued
Ms Midttar. doubtfully. "Do you know
"Know him?" Mr. Hooker laughed a
bitter, sardonic laugh. "Well, gentlemen,
I ain't the kind o' man to go in for fam
ily influence, but," he added, with gloomy
elevation, "considerin' he's an intimate
relation of mine by marriage, I should
say I did."
Brant heard no more; the facing
around of his old companion toward the
bar gave him that opportunity of escap
ing he had been waiting for. Only one
thing he learned, that Hooker knew noth
ing of his wife being in camp as a spy,
the incident would have been too tempt
ing to have escaped his dramatic embel
lishment. It had been once or twice In his mind
to seek the president, and under a promise
of secrecy reveal a part of his story, and
one afternoon, a few days later, in sheer
listlessness of purpose, he found himself
at the White House. The president was
giving audience to a deputation of fanat
ics, and, as they left the gallery, he lin
gered in the ante-room for the president
to appear. But, as he did not come,
afraid of losing his ehances, he returned
to the gallery. Alone in his privacy and
shadow, the man who had just left was
standing by a column in motionless ab
straction, looking over the distant gar
den. But the kindly, humorous face was
almost tragic with an intensity of weari
ness. Shocked at that sudden change.
Brant felt his cheek burn with shame.
And ne was about to break upon that
wearied man's unbending he was about
to add hi3 petty burden to the shoulders
of this Western Atlas. He drew back si
lently and descended the stairs.
But before he had left the house, while
mingling with the crowd in one of the
largest rooms he saw the president reap
pear beside an important, prosperous
looking figure, on whom the kindly giant
was now smiling with humorous tolera
tion. He noticed the divided attention of
the crowd, the name of Senator Boom
pointer was upon every lip; he was nearly
face to face with that famous dispenser
of place and preferment this second hus
band of Susy! An Indescribable feeling,
half cynical, half fateful, came over him.
That's like the old Kla'uns," she said, with a
slight pressure of the arm.
He would not have been surprised to have
seen Jim Hooker join the throng which
now seemed to him to even dwarf the
lonely cnetral figure that had so lately
touched him. He wanted to escape it all!
But his fate brought him to the entrance
at the same moment that Boompolnter
was leaving it, and that distinguished
man brushed hastily by him, as a gorgeous
carriage, drawn by two spirited horses,
and driven by a resplendent negro coach
man, dashed up. It was the Boompolnter
A fashionably dressed, pretty woman,
who, in style, bearing, opulent content
ment and ingenuous self-consciousness,
was in perfect keeping with the slight
ostentation of the equipage, was its only
occupant. As Boompolnter stepped into
the vehicle, her blue eyes fell for an in
stant on Brant. A happy childlike pink
flush came into her checks, and a violet
ray of recognition and mischief darted
from her eyes to his. For it was Susy!
When Brant returned to his hotel there
was an augmented respect in the voice of
the clerk as he handed him a note with
the remark that It had been left by Sena
tor Boompolnter's coachman. He had no
difficulty in recognizing Susy's peculiarly
Brobdlgnaglan schoolgirl hand.
"Kla'uns. I call it real mean! I believe
you just hoped I wouldn't know you. If
you're a bit like your old self you'll come
right off here this very night! I've got
a big party on but we can talk some
where between the acts! Haven't I
growed! Tell me! And my! what a
gloomy swell the young brigadier Is! The
carriage will come for you so you have
The effect of this simple note upon
Brant was strangely out of proportion to
Its triviality. But then It was Susy's very
triviality so expressive of her character
istic Irresponsibility that had always af-
0w j L $a
"I WAS TALKISG WITH -VI OLD miEXD, GAXEEAL BRAXT," SAJD SCSI'.
fected him at such moments. Again, as
at Robles, he felt it react against his own
ethics. Was she not right in her delight
ful materialism? Was she not happier
than if she had been consistently true to
Mrs. Peyton, to the convent, to the epi
sode of her theatrical career, to Jim Hook
ereven to himself? And did he con
scientiously believe that Hooker or himself
had suffered for her Inconsistency? No!
From all that he had heard, she was a
suitable helpmeet to the senator, in her
social attractiveness, her charming osten
tations, her engaging vanity that dis
armed suspicion, and her lack of responsi
bility even in her partisanship. Nobody
even dared to hold the senator responsible
for her promises, even while enjoying the
fellowship of both, and it is said that the
worthy man singularly profited by it.
Looking upon It merely as a phase of
Washington society. Brant resolved to go.
The moon was high as the carriage
whirled him out of the still stifling ave
nues towards the Soldier's Home a sylvan
suburb frequented by cabinet ministers
and the president whore the good senator
had "decreed." like Kubla Khan, "a state
ly pleasure dome" to entertain his friends
Brant sauntered listlessly through the
crowded rooms, half remorsefully con
scious that he had taken some irrevocable
step, and none the less assured by the
presence of two or three reporters and
correspondents, who were dogging hia
steps, or the glances of two or three
pretty women whose curiosity had evident
ly been aroused by the singular abstrac
tion of this handsome, distinguished, but
sardonic looking officer. But the next
moment he was singularly interested.
A tall young woman had just moved
into the center of the room with an in
dolent yet supple gracefulness that seemed
familiar to him. A change in her position
suddenly revealed her face. It was Miss
Faulkner. Previously he had only known
her in the riding habit of Confederate
gray which she had at first affected, or in
the light morning muslin dress she had
worn at Gray Oaks. It seemed to him, to
night, that the careless elegance of her
full dress became her still more; that the
pretty willfulness of her chin and shoulders
was chastened and modified by the pearls
round her throat. Suddenly their eyes
met; her face paled visibly; he fancied
that she almost leaned against her com
panion for support; then she met his
glance again with a face into which the
color had as suddenly rushed, but with
eyes that seemed to be appealing to him,
even to the point of pain and fright.
Brant was not conceited; he could see that
the girl's agitation was not the effect of
any mere personal influence in his recog
nition, but of something else. He turned
hastily away; when he looked around
again she was gone.
Nevertheless he felt filled with a vague
irritation. Did she think him such a fool
as to imperil her safety by openly recog
nizing her without her consent? Did she
Ihlnk that he would dare to presume upon
the service she had done him? Or, more
outrageous thought! had she heard of his
disgrace, known its cause, and feared that
he would drag her into a disclosure to save
himself? No! no she could not think
that! She had perhaps regretted what she
had done in a freak of girlish chivalry;
she had returned to her old feelings and
partisanship; she was only startled at
meeting the single witness of her folly.
Well, she need not fear! He would as
studiously avoid her hereafter, and she
should know it
Susy's voice recalled him to himself.
"Furious I may well be," he said with a
gentle smile, althougn his eyes still glit
tered, "furious that I have to wait until
the one woman I came to see, the one
woman I have not seen for so long, while
these puppets have been nightly dancing
before her can give me a few moments
from them, to talk of the old days."
In his reaction he was quite sincere, al
though he felt a slight sense of remorse
as he saw the quick faint color rise, as
in those old days, even through the to
night's powder of her cheek. "That's
like the old Kla'uns," she said with a
slight pressure of his arm, but we will
not have a chance to speak until late.
When they are nearly all gone you'll
take me to get a little refreshment, and
we'll have a chat In the conservatory. But
you must drop that awful wicked look,
and make yourself generally agreeable to
those women until then."
It was, perhaps, part of this reaction
which enabled him to obey his hostess
commands with a certain recklessness
that, however, seemed to be in keeping
with the previous satanlc reputation he
had, all unconsciously, achieved. The
women listened "to the cynical flippancy
of the good-looking soldier with an un
disguised admiration, which, in turn,
excited curiosity and envy from his own
sex. He saw the whispered questioning,
the lifted eyebrows, the scornful shrug
ging of shoulders and knew that the
story of his disgrace was in the air. But
I fear this only excited him to further
recklessness and triumph. Once, he
thought he recognized Miss Faulkner's
figure at a distance, and even fancied that
she had been watching him but he only
redoubled his attentions to the fair woman
beside him,, and looked no more.
But he was glad when the guests began
to drop off; the great rooms thinned, and
Susy, appearing on the arm of her hus
band, coquettishly reminded him of his
promise. "For I want to talk to you of
old times. General Brant," turning explan
atorily to Boompolnter; "married my
adopted mother in California, at Robles,
a dear old place where I spent my earli
est years. So you see were are sort of
relations by marriage," she added with
delightful naivete. Hooker's once vain
glorious allusion to his relations to the
man before him flashed across Brant's
mind, but it left now only a smile on his
lips. He felt he had already become a
part of the irresponsible comedy of life
around him. Why should he resist or ex
amine Its ethics too closely. He offered
his arm to Susy; they descended the
stairs; but instead of pausing in the supper-room,
she simply passed through it
with a significant pressure on his arm,
and drawing aside a muslin curtain,
stepped into the moonlit conservatory.
Behind the curtain there was a small rus
tic settee; without releasing his arm, she
sat down, so that when he dropped beside
her their hands met and mutually clasped.
"Now, Kla'uns," she said with a slight
comfortable shiver as she nestled beside
him, "it's a little like your chair down
at old Robles, isn't it? Tell me. And to
think it's five years ago. But, Kla'uns,
what's the matter? You are changed,"
she said, looking at his dark face In the
moonlight, "or you have something to
"And it's something dreadful, I know,"
she said, wrinkling her brows with a
pretty terror. "Couldn't you pretend you
had told it to me and let us go on just the
same? Couldn't you, Kla'uns? Tell me."
"I am afraid I couldn't," he said, with
a sad smile.
"Is it about yourself, Kla'uns? You
know," she went on, with cheerful rapid
ity, "I know everything about you I al
ways did, you know and I don't care and
never did care, and it don't and never did
make the slightest difference with me. So
don't tell it and waste time, Kla'uns."
"It's not about me but about my wife,"
he said, slowly.
Her expression changed slightly.
"Oh, her!" she said, after a pause. Then,
half resignedly, "Go on. Kla'uns."
He began. He had a dozen times re
hearsed to himself his miserable story, al
ways feeling it keenly, and never fearing
that he might be carried away by emotion
or morbid sentiment in telling "it to an
other, but to his astonishment he found
himself telling it practically, calmly, al
most cynically, to his old playmate, re
pressing the half devotion and even ten
derness that had governed him. from the
time that his wife, disguised as a mulatto
woman, had secretly watched him In his
office, to the hour that he had passed her
! Sft P
through the lines. He withheld only the
incident of Miss Faulkner's complicity
"And she got away after having kicked
you out of your place, Kla'uns?" said
Susy when he had ended.
Clarence stiffened beside her. But he
felt he had gone too far to quarrel with
"She went away. I honestly believe
that we shall never meet again or I
shpuld not be telling you this!"
"Kla'uns," she said lightly, taking his
hand again, "don't you believe it! She
won't let you go. You're one of those
men that a woman when she once has
hocked on to. won't let go even when
she believes she no longer loves him or
meets bigger and better men. I reckon
it s- because you're so different from other
men maybe there are so many different
things about you to hook on to and you
don't slip off as easily as the others.
Now, if you were like old Peyton, her
first husband, or like poor Jim, or even
my Boompolnter, ycu'd be all right! No,
my boy, all we can do is to try to keep
her from getting at you here. I reckon
she won't trust herself in Washington
again in a hurry!"
"But I cannot stay here my career is
in the field."
"Your career is alongside o' me, honey
and Boompointer. But nearer me. We'll
fix all that. I heard something about
your being in disgrace: but the story was
that you were soft on some secesh girl
down there and neglected your business.
Kla'uns. But Lordy! to think it was only
your own wife! Never mind, we'll
straighten that out. We've had worse
jobs than that on. Why. there was that
commissary who was buying up dead
horses at one end of the field and selling
them to the government for mess beef
at the other: and there was that general
who wouldn't make an attack when it
rained, and the other general you know
who I mean, Kla'uns who wouldn't in
vade the state where his sister lived; but
we straightened them out somehow, and
they were a heap worse than you. We'll
get you a position in the war department
here, one of the bureau offices, where you
keep your rank and your uniform you
don't look bad in it Kla'uns and better
pay. And you'll come to see me and
we'll talk over old times."
Brant felt his heart turn sick within
him. But he was at her mercy now!
He said with an effort: "But I've told
you that my career nay, my life now i3
in the field."
"Don't you be a fool, Kla'uns, and
leave it there! "You have done your work
of fighting mighty good fighting, too
and everybody knows it. You've earned
a change. Let others take your place."
He shuddered as he remembered that his
wife had made the same appeal. Was
he a fool, then, and these two women
so totally unlike in everything right in
"Come, Kla'uns," said Susy, relapsing
against his shoulder; "now talk to me!
You don't say what you think of me, of
my home, of my furniture of my posi
tioneven of him! Tell me!"
"I find you well, prosperous and happy,"
he said, with a faint smile.
"Is that all? How do I look?"
She turned her still youthful, mischiev
ous face toward him in the moonlight.
The witchery of her blue eyes was still
there as of old. the same frank irrespon
sibility beamed from them; her parted
lips seemed to give him back the breath
of his youth. He started, but she did
It was her husband's voice. "I quite
forgot," it went on, as he drew the cur
tain aside, "that you are engaged with a
friend, but Miss Faulkner is waiting to
say 'good night,' and I volunteered to
"Tell her to wait a moment," said Susy,
with an impatience that was as undis
guised as it was without embarrassment
But Miss Faulkner, unconsciously fol
lowing Mr. Boompointer, was already up
on them. For a moment the whole four
were silent although perfectly composed.
Senator Boompolnter, unconscious of
any infelicity in his Interruption, was
calmly waiting. Clarence, opposed sud
denly to the young girl, whom he be
lieved was avoiding his recognition, rose,
coldly Imperturbable. Miss Faiilkner. look
ing taller and more erect In the long folds
of her satin cloak, neither paled nor
blushed, as she regarded Susy and Brant
with a smile of well-bred apology.
"I expect to leave Washington tomor
row, and may not be able to call again,"
she said, "or I would not have so par
ticularly pressed a leavtaklng upon you."
"I was talking With my old friend. Gen
eral Brant," said Susy, more by way of In
troduction, than apology.
Brant bowed. For an instant the clear
eyes of Miss Faulkner slipped icily across
his as she made him an old-fashioned
colonial curtsey, and taking Susy's arm
she left the room. Brant did not linger,
but took leave of his host almost In the
same breath. At the front door a well
appointed carriage of one of the legations
had Just rolled Into waiting. He looked
back, and saw Miss Faulkner, erect and
beautiful as a bride in her gauzy draper
ies, descending the stairs before the wait
ing servants. He felt his heart beat
strangely. He hesitated; recalled himself
with an effort hurriedly stepped from the
porch into the path as lie .heard the car
riage door close behind hfm in the dis
tance and even felt the dust from her
horses' hoofs rise around him as she drove
past him and away.
(To be continued.)
Take them, O Death! and bear away
Whatever thou cans' t call thine own!
Thine image, stamped upon this clay,
Doth give thee that, but that alone!
Take them, O Grave! and let them lit
Folded upon thy narrow shelves.
As garments by the soul laid by.
And precious only to ourselves!
Take them, O great Eternity!
Our little life is but a gust
That bends the branches of thy tree
And trails its blossoms in the dust!
By Claris Russell.
(Copyright. 1S95, by Clark Russell.)
It was in that voyage that I took in the
Empire that I made up my mind to knock
off the sea. We were homeward bound
from Adelaide, and I was keeping a look
out one black night on the fok'sle, when,
there coming a yelling spit of soaking
blast slap into my face, I lifts up my
fist and brings it down on the rail.
For more than 20 year had I used the sea,
and what was it to come to? An old
chest, two or three shifts of rags, a pair
of sea-boots, and s'help me, no more.
Through the improvidence of the sailor?
By thunder, then, no! What's Providence
got to do with such a withered life as
the ocean? Saying means getting, and
where In niggers is the getting to be
found where it's all living hard, faring
hard, dying hard, and going to hell after
The ship duly arrived, and I, along with
the rest, was paid off. There was 22
months' wages to take up, so I had scope
to ride by. I took a lodging at 2 Brom
ley street, Commercial road, and spent
2 in a land-going rig-out. Then I was at
a loss. The name of the landlady was
Mrs. Bloomer, and her husband was a
waterman. Meeting her one day in the
passage as I was going to take a turn to
look about me:
"I should like," I says, "to have a
short yarn with you, missis, if you've
got a minute."
"Certainly, sir," she answers.
"Don't 'sir me, I beg." says I. "I'm no
She steps me Into a bit of a parlor, close
with careful keeping. There was a little
looking-glass over the mantel-shelf, bound
in yaller gauze, with oyster shells for
occasional ornaments, and a glass case
with a stuffed bird in the front window.
"Can I sit?" says I.
"Why, yes," says she, smiling. "It can't
hurt yer." ,
I put down my cap and took a chair and
"Mrs. Bloomer, I've been a sallorman all
my life, and have come ashore to find a
job, meaning to stop ashore. I've got a
few pounds, and can hold out for some
time, and I want you to tell me how I
ought to go to work."
"What's your age?" says she, looking
I told her.
"There's a many situations a-golng,"
says she, "and a handy man ought never
to want for a job. WhyTiot turn waterman?"
"No more water for me," says I.
"Light porter," says she.
Thought she meant something to drink.
"Can you drive a orse?"
"I don't fancy driving," says I.
"Look 'ere, Mr. Pooley," says she, "your
chance'll lie in advertising-. Write out a
little piece for the papers. It'll cost yer
about 3 or 4 shillings to put in. Answers'!
come, and you can pick and choose."
I allowed this to be up to the knocker,
and in that same room she and me made
out this advertisement:
"A sallorman wants a job. He 13 an
all-around hand, useful anywhere, Ad
any time, being accustomed to a calling
that runs a day's work into 24 hours,
and pays no overtime wages. Address
William Pooley, 2 Bromley street, Com
mercial Road, E."
When Bloomer came home that night
he recommended me to put the piece into
the paper which says it has the largest
circulation in the world. This I did next
day. Forgot the cost. Valuing it in pints
of beer, call it four gallons. I'm a slow
hand at reading, and it took me a smoth
ered long time to spell through the ad
vertisements on the day when the piece
r had wrote was to appear. At last, down
in one corner, I spies my name.
"Wio's a-going to see this?" says I
to Mrs. Bloomer, putting my finger upon
"It do look insignificant, certainly,"
"Who in the blooming blazes is a-golng
to see it?" says I, a-bringing down my
"Yer never can tell," says Mrs. Bloom
er. I went out for a turn that afternoon,
and sat for a spell with an old shipmate
that had brought up in the Home in
Well street. He had said to me:
"You'll never get rid of it Bill. O'er
and o'er I've been ag-giving of it up. Six
times have I been a-running, and I've
tried my hand a3 barber, dorg-fancyin",
and wheel chairman. All no go," says he.
"Here I am, three weeks ashore from
Jamaica, and now I'm a-looking for an
other ship. They don't want sailors on
dry land. Yer'll be drove back to it."
When I returned to my lodging I found
a letter addressed to Mr. William Pooley.
"Blistered if it ain't been seen arter
all,' 'said I, grinning like a fool.
I opens the letter, and going to the
window, holds it up and reads it. It
was from a gent, saying he had seen my
advertisement, and was willing to give me
a job; but I must Invest some money
along with him. Mrs. Bloomer said that
I must look to get a number of letters of
that sort They was all thieves that
wrote 'em, and I was to take no notice.
She tore the letter up, fearing that I
nilght be tempted to call upon the old
Well, after that letter, I heard no
more. Who was a-golng to see my name
down in that there corner. I looked
round at the orfice four days after the
notice had appeared, and says to a clerk,
"Considering," I says, "the cost I've been
put to, I'm surprised," says I, "not to
have got any answers."
"Put it in again," says he.
"Down In that corner!" says I, "What's
yer charge for half of one of them pages
of yourn with that there notice printed
big, right amidships of the white?"
"We don't do business in that sort of
way," says he. "If we did, the cost 'ud
keepyer to wlnd'ard of jobs for the rest
of yer shining days."
When I got to the lodging that after
noon, Mrs. Bloomer told me a party had
called to see me.
"Something in the job line?" says I.
"I can't say, I'm sure," says she, and
I thought that her manner was changed.
She had a sort of cast in her eyes, and
looked at the wall past my head, though
she was a-staring hard at me, taking me
"What did the party want?" says I.
"She was a female," she answers. "I
believe she'll be able to find yer a job,
Mr. Pooley. She'll be here at half past
10 tomorrow morning, if convenient to
I went to my room and smoked a pipe.
There was no letters in answer to my
notice. The paper might have the biggest
circulation in the world, but Its corner
pieces wasn't read. What female party
was this a-asking after me? A good
many women kept shops. Numbers was
widows in the baccy, sweetmeat, and oth
er lines. Any sort of a job ashore would
suit me, and one to my taste for all I
knew might be coming along tomorrow
at half-past 10.
Half-past 10 came round right enough,
for if there's one thing that never disap
points a man it's time: that old bloke,
drawed with a beard and a log-glass,
always keeps his blushen' word. There
was no letter from the largest circulation.
I had come back from getting a mouth
ful of breakfast, and was a-shaving
it was about half-past 10; whilst I was
all lathered, comes a knock, and Mrs.
Bloomer sings out: "Mr. Pooley, the
party that called yesterday is awaiting to
see you in my parlor."
"Right," says I, and wiping off the
soap. I put on my jacket and went down
stairs. There was a woman and her little boy
standing by the table. She wore a green
hat, and looked to be got up for a Sun
day outing. The boy, for his tidy looks,
was like one of them children that sings
in the streets along with men in clean
jumpers and women with babies under
their shawls. Mrs. Bloomer, standing be
side the door, says, "This is Mr. Pooley."
When I steps in the woman took and
dodged a bit, shooting her head out at
first to port, then to starboard, a-screw-driving
of her eyes into me with the
twitchings of her face. She then said,
"Lor why yes. Bill!" and grasping
the table she fell to rocking herself, very
quietly, saying once or twice softly, "Bill,
Bill," but with a note of such grief and
reproach that an old goat might have
been moved by it.
"What's this?" says I, turning upon
"Oh, Bill," shrieked the woman on a
sudden, holding out her hands to me,
"don't pretend not to know me If I'm not
to drop dead. Here's your child, your
own little William. He was G months old
when you left me, and and O, William,
think now he's 6 years!" And with that
she lifted him right on to the table, call
ing out, "Look at your father. Billy. Ask
him if he ain't ashamed to have left his
poor wife for nigh six years, with never
one word to say whether he was alive or
I thought to myself, "Bloomed if I don't
think now that them corner-pieces in the
largest circulation are read." Mrs. Bloom
er's face was like a ship's figure-head,
hard with feelings.
"You're quite mistaken," say I, "I
"XooKncr for a ship," says I.
never -was married in this here world,
and so if Tve got a wife she must be an
"Never was married!" she screamed,
running up to me, whilst the boy sang
out, "Mother. I shall fall!" and Mrs.
Bloomer put him down. "Never was
married!" she shrieks. "D'yer mean to
say you forget courting me at my father's
Simon Dadds. who kept the hostlllery
called the 'Sinking Star on the Sandwich
road? Never was married!" she yells,
with her words streaming in a quick rat
tle like coal from a tip, "when the church
was St. George's, at Deal, and the date
June 21, 1S76? Never was married? Oh,
Bill! If youain't so changed. I can't be.
I've been alone for nigh six years. Look
at your child: it's me as has fed him and
done for him, or where'd he be? Don't
say yer don't know me. I never expected
And here, letting go of my arm, she
buries her face, and lets fly all her nerves
"Why don't yer comfort her?" says Mrs.
"Why don't you?" says I. "She's got
nothen to do with me."
With that I walks out. The woman flies
"Bill! Bill!" she bawls, cathmg hold of
I turned and said: "What's it yer want?"
Here the young un began to cry, roar
ing for mother.
"What's all this about?" says Bloomer,
coming up from the kitchen. He'd got a
cold in his head, and was a-lying by.
"Joe," answered Mrs. Bloomer, "this
poor woman has been deserted, along with
her child, for nigh upon six year, and now
she says she's found her man In Mr. Will
"I've had almost enough of this here
larking, han't you?" says I to the woman.
"Who are yer, and what d'yer want? You
don't believe I'm your husband. Bloomer,
s'elp me, as I stand a living man, I never
was married, and that woman knows it."
"How should she know It?" squawked
Mrs. Bloomer, like a gull in a gale.
"Got yer there, Pooley," says Bloomer,
In a voice thick as gruel with cold.
"I was married," cried the woman, "at
St. George's, Deal, June 22, 1876, and Will
iam Pooley was my man's name. Simon
Dadds was my father, and kept a hos
tlllery. Oh, ma'am, that he can stand
there and pretend not to know nor re
member! If my father were alive he was
a sailor then," she sings out, pointing at
me. "Will you tell me that yer don't
recollect stopping the carriage at the 'Deal
Lugger Inn, as we drove from church,
and treating the boatmen? Didn't yer
likewise stop at the 'Yarmouth Packet'
and keep father awaiting dinner for us ?"
"I tell yer," I roared out, breaking in to
her noise, "that I don't know yer, and
that I never was married, and that you've
mistook your man.'
Here Bloomer, stumping back to his
kitcnen, stops at the head of the stair
case to call out:
"Settle it quickly, and don't make no
noise, for this 'ouse 'as got a name to lose.
I know what sailors are, and mubbee It
is, and mubbee It ain't. Lizzie, keep you
clear, and If the parties'll come to tarms
outside, it'll be agreeable," and down he
"Are you going to tell me, Mr. Pooley,"
says Mrs. Bloomer, whose face showed
like a relish for this shindy, for all that
it was as hard as sailors' beef, "that
there's no truth In this party's state
ments?" "None," I yelled, for their working up
of my old iron was a-making me red hot.
"And yer tell us," says Mrs. Bloomer,
with a sneer, "that a woman's memory
won't allow her to recognize her husband
after six years of desertion?"
"He was six months old," says the
other, sobbing and pointing to her boy,
"when we was left. He sailed in a ship
called the Miranda, I've never heard of
him since, but I knew he was alive, for
he desarted at Sydney, and arrived at Liv
erpool in a ship called the Simon 'Orkins,
and that I Iarnt," she screamed, rounding
upon me, "from Jim Redpath, who had
sailed with yer afore, and came home with
yer in the 'Orkins."
When she had said this I pulled off my
jacket and waistcoat, bared my arms to
the elbows, and opening my starched
shirt, I turned It under that they might
see to the flesh of me. They yelled and
fell back, thinking I was going for them,
and Bloomer came upstairs again, sneez
ing. I ran my fingers through my hair,
and flinging open the house door, that th
light of God, which the minister says is
the truth itself, might shine upon me, I
lays hold of the woman and pulls her on
to the doorsteps, and sings out:
"Now look at me. Can yer see me?
Was this 'ere chest your William's?" and
I gives my bosom a thump. "Was this
"ere arm your William's?"
"Yes," she shrieks; "that was his cru
clfige." "Was this 'ere face your William's?"
slapping my forehead, and I shoves it
into her'n and sings out, "Look again.
Look by God's light. Look, if your
durned perishing William ever had such
a face upon him as mine in all his goin'
There was a crowd by this time, an', no
ticing it, I steps into the passage, picks
up my clothes and goes upstairs.
After this I shifted ray shanty. There
was nothen to be lost, I allowed, by a
change of address, as they call it. By
this time all notion of getting a job out
of the largest circulation was clean gone.
I hired a room in Smith street. Stepney.
The house was kept by Mrs. Gumble, wid
ow of a coasting skipper. When I paid
Mrs. Bloomer she took my money scorn
fully, and I think she would have spoke,
but my eye kept her quiet; my hauling
off my coat, too, and hauling of the lying
party onto the pavement, had done Mrs.
I still carried some pounds in good
money in my pocket, but guessed if I
didn't fall in with a situation soon the
old leather purse 'ud be showing like the
end of a long voyage. I answered adver
tisements and hunted about; it was all no
good nobody wanted -me. What was ex
pected was always exactly what I hadn't
got. Then they wanted written charac
ters, and I had nothing, but "V: G." cer
tificates to show 'cm. I told Mrs. Gumble
I wanted to give up the sea and settle
ashore, and she answered that in her
heart she couldn't blame me. She advised
me to put in a little notice. I told her
I'd done so.
Says she: "Though once might be of
no use, twice might work the traverse.
Try another peper."
After considering the thing, and under
standing it might find me a chance if It
did no more, I walked round to another
newspaper with the same piece that had
appeared In the largest circulation, only
instead of signing my name, William
Pooley, to it, I took the name of William
Treakell. my mother's name afore her
marriage, partly because I reckoned that
as William Pooley I'd had all the innings
I was going to get, whilst Treakell was
like starting on a fresh voyage, and partly
because I didn't want my name to meet
the eye of the lying party.
And now I'm a-golng to tell you what,
I daresay, you'll not believe; but if it
ain't true then my eyes aren't twins. Two
days after the piece had appeared, I re
turned to Stepney from a cruise to Regent
street. When I walks in, Mrs. Gumble
calls out from her back room:
"Is that you, Mr. Pooley?"
"Pooley It Is." says I, stopping at the
foot of the steps.
She comes out, and, looking hard at
"There's been a party, with a boy, in
quiring arter you."
"Female party?" says I.
"Yes," say3 she.
"What does she want?" f
"She says that her husband left her
when her child was G months old. He
was a seafaring man His name was
Pooley," says she, looking at me very
hard. "He didn't always used to sign on
that under name, and sometimes shipped
himself as William Treakell." I breathed
short. "It was her mother's maiden
name," said Mrs. Gumble.
"What brought her to this house?"
says I, talking as if I'd just had-a. tooth
"She's Always on the lookout for her
husband, and reads the advertisements in
the papers. She saw the name of Treak
ell, an" says you're her man. She de
scribed yer," says Mrs. Gumble, begin
ning to talk with a sort of snarl (there's
a durned sight too much of fellow-feeling
among people of Mrs. Gumble's sort).
"She gave me your likeness in words as
though she talked with your picture m
her 'and. She says yer lodged at Mrs.
Bloomer's, down cut of the Commercial
Road, and left that house because she
"Well?" says I.
"Well," says she. "She'll be here to
morrow morning at 10 o'clock, and hope3
it'll be convenient to you to see her."
"It'll be convenient for me to see her
jk " but I stopped myself; the bloom
ing joke was past beyond all cusses.
"How in flames did she know," says I,
"that I called myself Treakell?"
"She asked if the Treakell as lodged
here answered to the description she gave
of yer. 'No Treakell lodges here,' says I,
'but I've a party stopping in the house as
is the same as you describe.' 'Then hia
name is Pooley,' says she. 'Pooley it is,'
says I, the surprise making me answer
quick. Then she tells me yer married
her at Deal, and desarted her when yer
infant babe was 6 months old."
"I'll not see the hedge-hog," I burst
out "She's ten stun o lie from hat to
heel. Don't let me be troubled by her.
She's no wife of mine."
"You won't see her, d'yer say?"
"Look here! Is there any letter for
"Nary letter. You won't see her. d'yer
"Nary letter?" I says. "It cost me
four bob, and who the blooming blazes
is a-going to see it where they've gone
and stuck it, right amidships of a whole
smother of like notices? If they takes
yer money why don't they find, yer in
answers? Damn me, if it ain't worse
'.nan picking yer pocket, to entice a man
Into spending fur bob, and never a one
withered reply In two days."
"So yer won't see her. then?" says Mrs.
Gumble, lifting of her eyebrows, and
sourly spreading of her lips till I saw the
red of her false teeth at the back of her
I just wished deep down in me that
she'd been Gumble instead of his widder,
and passed upstairs.
I lay late next morning, being, as I
have said, wore out. 'Sides, what was
there to get up for? Of course, It would
be the old joke over again, ways of refus
ing of a man that was the same as punch
ing his head, loafing about all day long,
coming home and no letters, and wonder
ing if drowning was as quick as hanging.
I was getting out of bed at noon, when
comes a knock upon the door, and Mrs.
Gumble's voice says, "You're wanted."
"Who wants me?" says I.
"An officer of the court," she an
swers. I opened the door to hear her, and put
ting my head out, says, "What court?"
"The police court," says she.
"What does he want?"
"You come down and he'll tell yer."
I dressed and went downstairs. Mrs.
Gumble, hearing my footsteps, beckons
me Into the front parlor, and there I
found the party as claimed me for her
husband, the young 'un, and a tall man
with strong whiskers, dressed like a po
"Now, sir," cries out the party when I
steps in, "That's my husband, William
Pooley. He desarted me"
"This female," says the officer, "was up
at the court this morning, asking the
magistrate's advice. His washup sent me
round to Inquire into her complaint. She
says you're her husband. If she can
prove that, you're liable for her main
tenance her's and her youngster's."
"His youngster," says the party.
"This all comes along," says I, "of my
stepping ashore, and putting a piece in the
paper with the 'opes of getting a job. If
that," says I, pointing to the party, "Is j
the sort of a job that's offered to sailor
men when they comes ashore sick ot the
sea, the sooner It's aboard and 'up kee
leg' with them again the better. Mr. Offi
cer, I'm no married man, and she knows
I never was her husband. I was in Bom
bay in a ship caKed the Sutlej, when she
says I was a-marrying of her at Deal."
"Oh, you liar!" shrieks the party.
"If he can prove he didn't marry yer,
there's an end," says the officer, turning
to the female.
"He's got a cruclfige on his arm," she
yelled; "so had my William. What made
him take the name of Treakell? Don't it
stand to reason? His name's William
Pooley, and Mr. Officer, he's my man
growed nothing, broadened a little, cer
tainly, but it's William's face after sis
years, and, oh, William!" she cried out,
"how can you deny it?"
The officer looked very hard at me, and
then very hard at he female, and then
says to her, "If he can prove an alibi,
what are you going to do? Have you got
no certificates of discharge." says he,
"going back six years? '
"Have I?" says I, and rushing upstairs
I brought him down a handful. There
was seven, and they went back 12 years.
He turns 'em about, then, asking for the
date of the marriage, says:
"Here y'are. He's spoken the truth.
This man was at sea when you said you
were married to him."
"And am I to believe they're his own
certificates?" cried the woman. "Aren't
sailors every day a-forging of these here
"Put 'em up," says the officer to me.
"I can't help you, missis," says he, tak
ing up his hat.
Just oiie hour later I met an old ship
mate on the steps of the shipping yard at
"What are you dofng here, Bill?" says
"Looking for a ship," says I.
"I heard that you'd squared yards with
the sea and was ashore for a settlement."
"And a settlement it's been," says I,
and Just then, some one singing out for
hands for a China clipper, I steps in,
scarce smiling as I thought of that night
when I brought my fist down on the forecastle-rail
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