there? Your mother said something to that effect."
"I believe so; one of those old chaps in raglan vests and golf
trousers. I don't care a continental for a Continental, myself.
the mother has set her heart on pomp and heraldry and pyrotechnics,
and I want her to be happy."
"You are a good boy, Terence," said Mrs. Bellmore, sweeping her silks
close to one side of her, "not to beat your mother. Sit here by me,
and let's look at the album, just as people used to do twenty years
ago. Now, tell me about every one of them. Who is this tall, dignified
gentleman leaning against the horizon, with one arm on the Corinthian
"That old chap with the big feet?" inquired Terence, craning his neck.
"That's great-uncle O'Brannigan. He used to keep a rathskeller on the
"I asked you to sit down, Terence. If you are not going to amuse, or
obey, me, I shall report in the morning that I saw a ghost wearing an
apron and carrying schooners of beer. Now, that is better. To be shy,
at your age, Terence, is a thing that you should blush to
At breakfast on the last morning of her visit, Mrs. Bellmore startled
and entranced every one present by announcing positively that she had
seen the ghost.
"Did it have a - a - a - ?" Mrs. Kinsolving, in her suspense and
agitation, could not bring out the word.
"No, indeed - far from it."
There was a chorus of questions from others at the table. "Weren't
you frightened?" "What did it do?" "How did it look?" "How was it
dressed?" "Did it say anything?" "Didn't you scream?"
"I'll try to answer everything at once," said Mrs. Bellmore,
heroically, "although I'm frightfully hungry. Something awakened
me - I'm not sure whether it was a noise or a touch - and there stood
the phantom. I never burn a light at night, so the room was quite
dark, but I saw it plainly. I wasn't dreaming. It was a tall man,
all misty white from head to foot. It wore the full dress of the old
Colonial days - powdered hair, baggy coat skirts, lace ruffles, and
a sword. It looked intangible and luminous in the dark, and moved
without a sound. Yes, I was a little frightened at first - or startled,
I should say. It was the first ghost I had ever seen. No, it didn't
say anything. I didn't scream. I raised up on my elbow, and then it
glided silently away, and disappeared when it reached the door."
Mrs. Kinsolving was in the seventh heaven. "The description is that of
Captain Kinsolving, of General Greene's army, one of our ancestors,"
she said, in a voice that trembled with pride and relief. "I really
think I must apologize for our ghostly relative, Mrs. Bellmore. I am
afraid he must have badly disturbed your rest."
Terence sent a smile of pleased congratulation toward his mother.
Attainment was Mrs. Kinsolving's, at last, and he loved to see her
"I suppose I ought to be ashamed to confess," said Mrs. Bellmore, who
was now enjoying her breakfast, "that I wasn't very much disturbed.
I presume it would have been the customary thing to scream and faint,
and have all of you running about in picturesque costumes. But, after
the first alarm was over, I really couldn't work myself up to a panic.
The ghost retired from the stage quietly and peacefully, after doing
its little turn, and I went to sleep again."
Nearly all listened, politely accepted Mrs. Bellmore s story as a
made-up affair, charitably offered as an offset to the unkind vision
seen by Mrs. Fischer-Suympkins. But one or two present perceived that
her assertions bore the genuine stamp of her own convictions. Truth
and candour seemed to attend upon every word. Even a scoffer at
ghosts - if he were very observant - would have been forced to admit
that she had, at least in a very vivid dream, been honestly aware of
the weird visitor.'
Soon Mrs. Bellmore's maid was packing. In two hours the auto would
come to convey her to the station. As Terence was strolling upon the
east piazza, Mrs. Bellmore came up to him, with a confidential sparkle
in her eye.
"I didn't wish to tell the others all of it," she said, "but I will
tell you. In a way, I think you should be held responsible. Can you
guess in what manner that ghost awakened me last night?"
"Rattled chains," suggested Terence, after some thought, "or groaned?
They usually do one or the other."
"Do you happen to know," continued Mrs. Bellmore, with sudden
irrelevancy, "if I resemble any one of the female relatives of your
restless ancestor, Captain Kinsolving?"
"Don't think so," said Terence, with an extremely puzzled air. "Never
heard of any of them being noted beauties."
"Then, why," said Mrs. Bellmore, looking the young man gravely in the
eye, "should that ghost have kissed me, as I'm sure it did?"
"Heavens!" exclaimed Terence, in wide-eyed amazement; "you don't mean
that, Mrs. Bellmore! Did he actually kiss you?"
"I said _it_," corrected Mrs. Bellmore. "I hope the impersonal pronoun
is correctly used."
"But why did you say I was responsible?"
"Because you are the only living male relative of the ghost."
"I see. 'Unto the third and fourth generation.' But, seriously, did
he - did it - how do you - ?"
"Know? How does any one know? I was asleep, and that is what awakened
me, I'm almost certain."
"Well, I awoke just as - oh, can't you understand what I mean? When
anything arouses you suddenly, you are not positive whether you
dreamed, or - and yet you know that - Dear me, Terence, must I dissect
the most elementary sensations in order to accommodate your extremely
"But, about kissing ghosts, you know," said Terence, humbly, "I
require the most primary instruction. I never kissed a ghost. Is
it - is it - ?"
"The sensation," said Mrs. Bellmore, with deliberate, but slightly
smiling, emphasis, "since you are seeking instruction, is a mingling
of the material and the spiritual."
"Of course," said Terence, suddenly growing serious, "it was a dream
or some kind of an hallucination. Nobody believes in spirits, these
days. If you told the tale out of kindness of heart, Mrs. Bellmore,
I can't express how grateful I am to you. It has made my mother
supremely happy. That Revolutionary ancestor was a stunning idea."
Mrs. Bellmore sighed. "The usual fate of ghost-seers is mine," she
said, resignedly. "My privileged encounter with a spirit is attributed
to lobster salad or mendacity. Well, I have, at least, one memory left
from the wreck - a kiss from the unseen world. Was Captain Kinsolving a
very brave man, do you know, Terence?"
"He was licked at Yorktown, I believe," said Terence, reflecting.
"They say he skedaddled with his company, after the first battle
"I thought he must have been timid," said Mrs. Bellmore, absently. "He
might have had another."
"Another battle?" asked Terence, dully.
"What else could I mean? I must go and get ready now; the auto will
be here in an hour. I've enjoyed Clifftop immensely. Such a lovely
morning, isn't it, Terence?"
On her way to the station, Mrs. Bellmore took from her bag a silk
handkerchief, and looked at it with a little peculiar smile. Then she
tied it in several very hard knots, and threw it, at a convenient
moment, over the edge of the cliff along which the road ran.
In his room, Terence was giving some directions to his man, Brooks.
"Have this stuff done up in a parcel," he said, "and ship it to the
address on that card."
The card was that of a New York costumer. The "stuff" was a
gentleman's costume of the days of '76, made of white satin, with
silver buckles, white silk stockings, and white kid shoes. A powdered
wig and a sword completed the dress.
"And look about, Brooks," added Terence, a little anxiously, "for a
silk handkerchief with my initials in one corner. I must have dropped
It was a month later when Mrs. Bellmore and one or two others of
the smart crowd were making up a list of names for a coaching trip
through the Catskills. Mrs. Bellmore looked over the list for a final
censoring. The name of Terence Kinsolving was there. Mrs. Bellmore ran
her prohibitive pencil lightly through the name.
"Too shy!" she murmured, sweetly, in explanation.
JIMMY HAYES AND MURIEL
Supper was over, and there had fallen upon the camp the silence that
accompanies the rolling of corn-husk cigarettes. The water hole shone
from the dark earth like a patch of fallen sky. Coyotes yelped. Dull
thumps indicated the rocking-horse movements of the hobbled ponies as
they moved to fresh grass. A half-troop of the Frontier Battalion of
Texas Rangers were distributed about the fire.
A well-known sound - the fluttering and scraping of chaparral against
wooden stirrups - came from the thick brush above the camp. The rangers
listened cautiously. They heard a loud and cheerful voice call out
"Brace up, Muriel, old girl, we're 'most there now! Been a long
ride for ye, ain't it, ye old antediluvian handful of animated
carpet-tacks? Hey, now, quit a tryin' to kiss me! Don't hold on to my
neck so tight - this here paint hoss ain't any too shore-footed, let me
tell ye. He's liable to dump us both off if we don't watch out."
Two minutes of waiting brought a tired "paint" pony single-footing
into camp. A gangling youth of twenty lolled in the saddle. Of the
"Muriel" whom he had been addressing, nothing was to be seen.
"Hi, fellows!" shouted the rider cheerfully. "This here's a letter fer
He dismounted, unsaddled, dropped the coils of his stake-rope, and
got his hobbles from the saddle-horn. While Lieutenant Manning, in
command, was reading the letter, the newcomer, rubbed solicitously at
some dried mud in the loops of the hobbles, showing a consideration
for the forelegs of his mount.
"Boys," said the lieutenant, waving his hand to the rangers, "this
is Mr. James Hayes. He's a new member of the company. Captain McLean
sends him down from El Paso. The boys will see that you have some
supper, Hayes, as soon as you get your pony hobbled."
The recruit was received cordially by the rangers. Still, they
observed him shrewdly and with suspended judgment. Picking a comrade
on the border is done with ten times the care and discretion with
which a girl chooses a sweetheart. On your "side-kicker's" nerve,
loyalty, aim, and coolness your own life may depend many times.
After a hearty supper Hayes joined the smokers about the fire.
His appearance did not settle all the questions in the minds of
his brother rangers. They saw simply a loose, lank youth with
tow-coloured, sun-burned hair and a berry-brown, ingenuous face that
wore a quizzical, good-natured smile.
"Fellows," said the new ranger, "I'm goin' to interduce to you a lady
friend of mine. Ain't ever heard anybody call her a beauty, but you'll
all admit she's got some fine points about her. Come along, Muriel!"
He held open the front of his blue flannel shirt. Out of it crawled a
horned frog. A bright red ribbon was tied jauntily around its spiky
neck. It crawled to its owner's knee and sat there, motionless.
"This here Muriel," said Hayes, with an oratorical wave of his hand,
"has got qualities. She never talks back, she always stays at home,
and she's satisfied with one red dress for every day and Sunday, too."
"Look at that blame insect!" said one of the rangers with a grin.
"I've seen plenty of them horny frogs, but I never knew anybody to
have one for a side-partner. Does the blame thing know you from
"Take it over there and see," said Hayes.
The stumpy little lizard known as the horned frog is harmless. He has
the hideousness of the prehistoric monsters whose reduced descendant
he is, but he is gentler than the dove.
The ranger took Muriel from Hayes's knee and went back to his seat
on a roll of blankets. The captive twisted and clawed and struggled
vigorously in his hand. After holding it for a moment or two, the
ranger set it upon the ground. Awkwardly, but swiftly the frog worked
its four oddly moving legs until it stopped close by Hayes's foot.
"Well, dang my hide!" said the other ranger. "The little cuss knows
you. Never thought them insects had that much sense!"
Jimmy Hayes became a favourite in the ranger camp. He had an endless
store of good-nature, and a mild, perennial quality of humour that is
well adapted to camp life. He was never without his horned frog. In
the bosom of his shirt during rides, on his knee or shoulder in camp,
under his blankets at night, the ugly little beast never left him.
Jimmy was a humourist of a type that prevails in the rural South
and West. Unskilled in originating methods of amusing or in witty
conceptions, he had hit upon a comical idea and clung to it
reverently. It had seemed to Jimmy a very funny thing to have about
his person, with which to amuse his friends, a tame horned frog with a
red ribbon around its neck. As it was a happy idea, why not perpetuate
The sentiments existing between Jimmy and the frog cannot be exactly
determined. The capability of the horned frog for lasting affection
is a subject upon which we have had no symposiums. It is easier to
guess Jimmy's feelings. Muriel was his _chef d'oeuvre_ of wit, and as
such he cherished her. He caught flies for her, and shielded her from
sudden northers. Yet his care was half selfish, and when the time came
she repaid him a thousand fold. Other Muriels have thus overbalanced
the light attentions of other Jimmies.
Not at once did Jimmy Hayes attain full brotherhood with his comrades.
They loved him for his simplicity and drollness, but there hung above
him a great sword of suspended judgment. To make merry in camp is not
all of a ranger's life. There are horse-thieves to trail, desperate
criminals to run down, bravos to battle with, bandits to rout out of
the chaparral, peace and order to be compelled at the muzzle of a
six-shooter. Jimmy had been "'most generally a cow-puncher," he said;
he was inexperienced in ranger methods of warfare. Therefore the
rangers speculated apart and solemnly as to how he would stand fire.
For, let it be known, the honour and pride of each ranger company is
the individual bravery of its members.
For two months the border was quiet. The rangers lolled, listless,
in camp. And then - bringing joy to the rusting guardians of the
frontier - Sebastiano Saldar, an eminent Mexican desperado and
cattle-thief, crossed the Rio Grande with his gang and began to lay
waste the Texas side. There were indications that Jimmy Hayes would
soon have the opportunity to show his mettle. The rangers patrolled
with alacrity, but Saldar's men were mounted like Lochinvar, and were
hard to catch.
One evening, about sundown, the rangers halted for supper after a
long ride. Their horses stood panting, with their saddles on. The
men were frying bacon and boiling coffee. Suddenly, out of the
brush, Sebastiano Saldar and his gang dashed upon them with blazing
six-shooters and high-voiced yells. It was a neat surprise. The
rangers swore in annoyed tones, and got their Winchesters busy; but
the attack was only a spectacular dash of the purest Mexican type.
After the florid demonstration the raiders galloped away, yelling,
down the river. The rangers mounted and pursued; but in less than two
miles the fagged ponies laboured so that Lieutenant Manning gave the
word to abandon the chase and return to the camp.
Then it was discovered that Jimmy Hayes was missing. Some one
remembered having seen him run for his pony when the attack began, but
no one had set eyes on him since. Morning came, but no Jimmy. They
searched the country around, on the theory that he had been killed or
wounded, but without success. Then they followed after Saldar's gang,
but it seemed to have disappeared. Manning concluded that the wily
Mexican had recrossed the river after his theatric farewell. And,
indeed, no further depredations from him were reported.
This gave the rangers time to nurse a soreness they had. As has been
said, the pride and honour of the company is the individual bravery of
its members. And now they believed that Jimmy Hayes had turned coward
at the whiz of Mexican bullets. There was no other deduction. Buck
Davis pointed out that not a shot was fired by Saldar's gang after
Jimmy was seen running for his horse. There was no way for him to
have been shot. No, he had fled from his first fight, and afterward
he would not return, aware that the scorn of his comrades would be a
worse thing to face than the muzzles of many rifles.
So Manning's detachment of McLean's company, Frontier Battalion, was
gloomy. It was the first blot on its escutcheon. Never before in the
history of the service had a ranger shown the white feather. All of
them had liked Jimmy Hayes, and that made it worse.
Days, weeks, and months went by, and still that little cloud of
unforgotten cowardice hung above the camp.
Nearly a year afterward - after many camping grounds and many hundreds
of miles guarded and defended - Lieutenant Manning, with almost the
same detachment of men, was sent to a point only a few miles below
their old camp on the river to look after some smuggling there. One
afternoon, while they were riding through a dense mesquite flat, they
came upon a patch of open hog-wallow prairie. There they rode upon the
scene of an unwritten tragedy.
In a big hog-wallow lay the skeletons of three Mexicans. Their
clothing alone served to identify them. The largest of the figures had
once been Sebastiano Saldar. His great, costly sombrero, heavy with
gold ornamentation - a hat famous all along the Rio Grande - lay there
pierced by three bullets. Along the ridge of the hog-wallow rested
the rusting Winchesters of the Mexicans - all pointing in the same
The rangers rode in that direction for fifty yards. There, in a little
depression of the ground, with his rifle still bearing upon the three,
lay another skeleton. It had been a battle of extermination. There was
nothing to identify the solitary defender. His clothing - such as the
elements had left distinguishable - seemed to be of the kind that any
ranchman or cowboy might have worn.
"Some cow-puncher," said Manning, "that they caught out alone. Good
boy! He put up a dandy scrap before they got him. So that's why we
didn't hear from Don Sebastiano any more!"
And then, from beneath the weather-beaten rags of the dead man, there
wriggled out a horned frog with a faded red ribbon around its neck,
and sat upon the shoulder of its long quiet master. Mutely it told the
story of the untried youth and the swift "paint" pony - how they had
outstripped all their comrades that day in the pursuit of the Mexican
raiders, and how the boy had gone down upholding the honour of the
The ranger troop herded close, and a simultaneous wild yell arose from
their lips. The outburst was at once a dirge, an apology, an epitaph,
and a pæan of triumph. A strange requiem, you may say, over the body
of a fallen, comrade; but if Jimmy Hayes could have heard it he would
THE DOOR OF UNREST
I sat an hour by sun, in the editor's room of the Montopolis _Weekly
Bugle_. I was the editor.
The saffron rays of the declining sunlight filtered through the
cornstalks in Micajah Widdup's garden-patch, and cast an amber glory
upon my paste-pot. I sat at the editorial desk in my non-rotary
revolving chair, and prepared my editorial against the oligarchies.
The room, with its one window, was already a prey to the twilight.
One by one, with my trenchant sentences, I lopped off the heads of
the political hydra, while I listened, full of kindly peace, to the
home-coming cow-bells and wondered what Mrs. Flanagan was going to
have for supper.
Then in from the dusky, quiet street there drifted and perched himself
upon a corner of my desk old Father Time's younger brother. His
face was beardless and as gnarled as an English walnut. I never saw
clothes such as he wore. They would have reduced Joseph's coat to a
monochrome. But the colours were not the dyer's. Stains and patches
and the work of sun and rust were responsible for the diversity. On
his coarse shoes was the dust, conceivably, of a thousand leagues.
I can describe him no further, except to say that he was little and
weird and old - old I began to estimate in centuries when I saw him.
Yes, and I remember that there was an odour, a faint odour like aloes,
or possibly like myrrh or leather; and I thought of museums.
And then I reached for a pad and pencil, for business is business, and
visits of the oldest inhabitants are sacred and honourable, requiring
to be chronicled.
"I am glad to see you, sir," I said. "I would offer you a chair,
but - you see, sir," I went on, "I have lived in Montopolis only three
weeks, and I have not met many of our citizens." I turned a doubtful
eye upon his dust-stained shoes, and concluded with a newspaper
phrase, "I suppose that you reside in our midst?"
My visitor fumbled in his raiment, drew forth a soiled card, and
handed it to me. Upon it was written, in plain but unsteadily formed
characters, the name "Michob Ader."
"I am glad you called, Mr. Ader," I said. "As one of our older
citizens, you must view with pride the recent growth and enterprise of
Montopolis. Among other improvements, I think I can promise that the
town will now be provided with a live, enterprising newspa - "
"Do ye know the name on that card?" asked my caller, interrupting me.
"It is not a familiar one to me," I said.
Again he visited the depths of his ancient vestments. This time he
brought out a torn leaf of some book or journal, brown and flimsy with
age. The heading of the page was the _Turkish Spy_ in old-style type;
the printing upon it was this:
"There is a man come to Paris in this year 1643 who pretends to have
lived these sixteen hundred years. He says of himself that he was a
shoemaker in Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion; that his name
is Michob Ader; and that when Jesus, the Christian Messias, was
condemned by Pontius Pilate, the Roman president, he paused to rest
while bearing his cross to the place of crucifixion before the door of
Michob Ader. The shoemaker struck Jesus with his fist, saying: 'Go;
why tarriest thou?' The Messias answered him: 'I indeed am going; but
thou shalt tarry until I come'; thereby condemning him to live until
the day of judgment. He lives forever, but at the end of every hundred
years he falls into a fit or trance, on recovering from which he finds
himself in the same state of youth in which he was when Jesus
suffered, being then about thirty years of age.
"Such is the story of the Wandering Jew, as told by Michob Ader, who
relates - " Here the printing ended.
I must have muttered aloud something to myself about the Wandering
Jew, for the old man spake up, bitterly and loudly.
"'Tis a lie," said he, "like nine tenths of what ye call history. 'Tis
a Gentile I am, and no Jew. I am after footing it out of Jerusalem,
my son; but if that makes me a Jew, then everything that comes out of
a bottle is babies' milk. Ye have my name on the card ye hold; and ye
have read the bit of paper they call the _Turkish Spy_ that printed
the news when I stepped into their office on the 12th day of June, in
the year 1643, just as I have called upon ye to-day."
I laid down my pencil and pad. Clearly it would not do. Here was an
item for the local column of the _Bugle_ that - but it would not do.
Still, fragments of the impossible "personal" began to flit through
my conventionalized brain. "Uncle Michob is as spry on his legs as a
young chap of only a thousand or so." "Our venerable caller relates
with pride that George Wash - no, Ptolemy the Great - once dandled him
on his knee at his father's house." "Uncle Michob says that our wet
spring was nothing in comparison with the dampness that ruined the
crops around Mount Ararat when he was a boy - " But no, no - it would
I was trying to think of some conversational subject with which to
interest my visitor, and was hesitating between walking matches and
the Pliocene age, when the old man suddenly began to weep poignantly
"Cheer up, Mr. Ader," I said, a little awkwardly; "this matter may
blow over in a few hundred years more. There has already been a
decided reaction in favour of Judas Iscariot and Colonel Burr and the
celebrated violinist, Signor Nero. This is the age of whitewash. You
must not allow yourself to become down-hearted."
Unknowingly, I had struck a chord. The old man blinked belligerently
through his senile tears.