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THE VOICE OF THE CITY



THE VOICE OF
THE CITY

FURTHER STORIES OF
THE FOUR MILLION

BY
O. HENRY

Author of " The Four Million," " The Trimmed

Lamp," " Strictly Business," " Whirligigs,"

" Sixes and Sevens," Etc.




PUBLISHED BY

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

FOR

REVIEW OF REVIEWS CO.
1912



Acknowledgment is made to the New York World and to Ainslee t
Magazine for permission to republish these stories



Cfroyright, 1908, by Doubleday, Page & Company



Copyright, 1903, 1908, by Ainslee Magrazine Company
Copyright, 1904, 1905, 1906. by Press Publishing; Company



Stack



3&

CONTENTS



PAO

THE VOICE OF THE CITY 3

THE COMPLETE LIFE OF JOHN HOPKINS 11

A LICKPENNY LOVER 21

DOUGHERTY S EYE-OPENER 81

"LITTLE SPECK IN GARNERED FRUIT" 40

THE HARBINGER 49

WHILE THE AUTO WAITS 58

A COMEDY IN RUBBER 67

ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS 75

THE DEFEAT OF THE CITY 85

THE SHOCKS OF DOOM 95

THE PLUTONIAN FIRE 105

NEMESIS AND THE CANDY MAM 115

SQUARING THE CIRCLE 125

ROSES, RUSES AND ROMANCE 132

THE CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT 141

THE EASTER OF THE SOUL 149

THE FOOL-KILLER 157

TRANSIENTS IN ARCADIA 169

THE RATHSKELLER AND THE ROSE 178

THE CLARION CALL 187

EXTRADITED FROM BOHEMIA 199

A PHILISTINE IN BOHEMIA 209

FROM EACH ACCORDING TO His ABILITY 218

THE MEMENTO 829



THE VOICE OF THE CITY



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

TWENTY-FIVE years ago the school children used
to chant their lessons. The manner of their delivery
was a singsong recitative between the utterance of an
Episcopal minister and the drone of a tired sawmill.
I mean no disrespect. We must have lumber and
sawdust.

I remember one beautiful and instructive little
lyric that emanated from the physiology class. The
most striking line of it was this :

" The shin-bone is the long-est bone in the hu-man
bod-y."

What an inestimable boon it would have been if
all the corporeal and spiritual facts pertaining to
man had thus been tunefully and logically inculcated
in our youthful minds ! But what we gained in
anatomy, music and philosophy was meagre.

The other day I became confused. I needed a
ray of light. I turned back to those school days for
aid. But in all the nasal harmonies we whined fortu
from those hard benches I could not recall one thai
treated of the voice of agglomerated mankind.

In other words, of the composite vocal message of
massed humanity.

[3]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

In other words, of the Voice of a Big City.

Now, the individual voice is not lacking. We can
understand the song of the poet, the ripple of the
brook, the meaning of the man who wants $5 until
next Monday, the inscriptions on the tombs of the
Pharaohs, the language of flowers, the " step lively "
of the conductor, and the prelude of the milk cans at
4 A.M. Certain large-eared ones even assert that
they are wise to the vibrations of the tympanum
produced by concussion of the air emanating from
Mr. H. James. But who can comprehend the mean
ing of the voice of the city?

I went out for to see.

First, I asked Aurelia. She wore white Swiss and a
hat with corn flowers on it, and ribbons and ends of
things fluttered here and there.

" Tell me," I said, stammeringly, for I have no
voice of my own, " what does this big er enormous
er whopping city say? It must have a voice of
some kind. Does it ever speak to you? How do you
interpret its meaning? It is a tremendous mass, but it
must have a key."

" Like a Saratoga trunk? " asked Aurelia.

" No," said I. " Please do not refer to the lid. I
have a fancy that every city has a voice. Each one
has something to say to the one who can hear it.
What does the big one say to you?"

" All cities," said Aurelia, judicially, " say the
[4]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

same th ng. When they get through saying it
there is an echo from Philadelphia. So, they are
unanimous."

" Here are 4,000,000 people," said I, scholastic-
ally, " compressed upon an island, which is mostly
lamb surrounded by Wall Street water. The conjunc
tion of so many units into so small a space must
result in an identity or, rather a homogeneity
that finds its oral expression through a common chan
nel. It is, as you might say. a consensus of transla
tion, concentrating in a crystallized, general idea
which reveals itself in what may be termed the Voice
of the City. Can you tell me what it is?

Aurelia smiled wonderfully. She sat on the liigh
stoop. A spray of insolent ivy bobbed against her
right ear. A ray of impudent moonlight flickered
upon her nose. But I was adamant, nickel-
plated.

" I must go and find out," I said, " what is the Voice
of this city. Other cities have voices. It is an assign
ment. I must have it. New York," I continued, in a
rising tone, "had better not hand me a cigar and say :
Old man, I can t talk for publication. No other
city acts in that way. Chicago says, unhesitatingly,
I will; Philadelphia says, I should; New Orleans
says, I used to ; Louisville says, Don t care if I do ;
St. Louis says, Excuse me; Pittsburg says, Smoke
up. NW, New York "

[5]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

Aurelia smiled.

" Very well," said I, " I must go elsewhere and find
out."

I went into a palace, tile-floored, cherub-ceilinged
and square with the cop. I put my foot on the brass
rail and said to Billy Magnus, the best bartender in
the diocese:

" Billy, you ve lived in New York a long time
what kind of a song-and-dance does this old town give
you? What I mean is, doesn t the gab of it seem to
kind of bunch up and slide over the bar to you in a
sort of amalgamated tip that hits off the burg in a
kind of an epigram with a dash of bitters and a slice
of "

" Excuse me a minute," said Billy, " somebody s
punching the button at the side door."

He went away; came back with an empty tin
bucket; again vanished with it full; returned and
said to me :

" That was Mame. She rings twice. She likes a
glass of beer for supper. Her and the kid. If you
ever saw that little skeesicks of mine brace up in his

high chair and take his beer and But, say, what

was yours? I get kind of excited when I hear them
two rings was it the baseball score or a gin fizz you
asked for? "

" Ginger ale," I answered.

I walked up to Broadway. I saw a cop on the cor-
[6]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

ner. The cops take kids up, women across, and men
in. I went up to him.

" If I m not exceeding the spiel limit," I said, " let
me ask you. You see New York during its vocative
hours. It is the function of you and your brother
cops to preserve the acoustics of the city. There must
be a civic voice that is intelligible to you. At night
during your lonely rounds you must have heard it.
What is the epitome of its turmoil and shouting?
What does the city say to you?"

" Friend," said the policeman, spinning his club,
" it don t say nothing. I get my orders from the man
higher up. Say, I guess you re all right. Stand here
for a few minutes and keep an eye open for the
roundsman."

The cop melted into the darkness of the side
street. In ten minutes he had returned.

" Married last Tuesday," he said, half gruffly.
" You know how they are. She comes to that corner at
nine every night for a comes to say hello ! I
generally manage to be there. Say, what was it you
asked me a bit ago what s doing in the city? Oh,
there s a roof-garden or two just opened, twelve
blocks up."

I crossed a crow s-foot of street-car tracks, and
skirted the edge of an umbrageous park. An artifi
cial Diana, gilded, heroic, poised, wind-ruled,
on the tower, shimmered in the clear light of

m



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

her namesake in the sky. Along came my poet, hurry
ing, hatted, haired, emitting dactyls, spondees and
dactylis. I seized him.

" Bill," said I (in the magazine he is Cleon), " give
me a lift. I am on an assignment to find out the Voice
of the city. You see, it s a special order. Ordinarily a
symposium comprising the views of Henry Clews,
John L. Sullivan, Edwin Markham, May Irwin and
Charles Schwab would be about all. But this is a
different matter. We want a broad, poetic, mystic
vocalization of the city s soul and meaning. You are
the very chap to give me a hint. Some years ago a
man got at the Niagara Falls and gave us its pitch.
The note was about two feet below the lowest G on the
piano. Now, you can t put New York into a note un
less it s better indorsed than that. But give me an idea
of what it would say if it should speak. It is bound to
be a mighty and far-reaching utterance. To arrive at
it we must take the tremendous crash of the chords
of the day s traffic, the laughter and music of the
night, the solemn tones of Dr. Parkhurst, the rag
time, the weeping, the stealthy hum of cab-wheels,
the shout of the press agent, the tinkle of fountains
on the roof gardens, the hullabaloo of the strawberry
vender and the covers of Everybody s Magazine, the
whispers of the lovers in the parks all these sounds
must go into your Voice not combined, but mixed,
and of the mixture an essence made; and of the es-

[8]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

sence an extract an audible extract, of which one
drop shall form the thing we seek."

" Do you remember," asked the poet, with a
chuckle, " that California girl we met at Stiver s
studio last week? Well, I m on my way to see her.
She repeated that poem of mine, The Tribute of
Spring, word for word. She s the smartest proposi
tion in this town just at present. Say, how does this
confounded tie look? I spoiled four before I got one
to set right."

* And the Voice that I asked you about ? " I in
quired.

" Oh, she doesn t sing," said Cleon. " But you
ought to hear her recite my Angel of the Inshore
Wind. "

I passed on. I cornered a newsboy and he flashed at
me prophetic pink papers that outstripped the news
by two revolutions of the clock s longest hand.

" Son," I said, while I pretended to chase coins in
my penny pocket, " doesn t it sometimes seem to you
as if the city ought to be able to talk? All these ups
and downs and funny business and queer things
happening every day what would it say, do you
think, if it could speak ? "

" Quit yer kiddin ," said the boy. " Wot paper yer
want? I got no time to waste. It s Mag s birthday,
and I want thirty cents to git her a present."

Here was no interpreter of the city s mouthpiece.
[9]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

I bought a paper, and consigned its undeclared
treaties, its premeditated murders and unf ought bat
tles to an ash can.

Again I repaired to the park and sat in the moon
shade. I thought and thought, and wondered why
none could tell me what I asked for.

And then, as swift as light from a fixed star, the
answer came to me. I arose and hurried hurried
as so many reasoners must, back around my circle.
I knew the answer and I hugged it in my breast as
I flew, fearing lest some one would stop me and de
mand my secret.

Aurelia was still on the stoop. The moon was
higher and the ivy shadows were deeper. I sat at her
side and we watched a little cloud tilt at the drift
ing moon and go asunder, quite pale and discomfited.

And then, wonder of wonders and delight of de
lights ! our hands somehow touched, and our fingers
closed together and did not part.

After half an hour Aurelia said, with that smile
of hers :

" Do you know, you haven t spoken a word since
you came back ! "

" That," said I, nodding wisely, " is the Voice of
the City."



[10]



THE COMPLETE LIFE OF JOHN HOPKINS

1 HERE is a saying that no man has tasted the full
flavor of life until he has known poverty, love and
war. The justness of this reflection commends it to
the lover of condensed philosophy. The three condi
tions embrace about all there is in life worth knowing.
A surface thinker might deem that wealth should
be added to the list. Not so. When a poor man finds a
long-hidden quarter-dollar that has slipped through
a rip into his vest lining, he sounds the pleasure of
life with a deeper plummet than any millionaire can
hope to cast.

It seems that the wise executive power that rules
life has thought best to drill man in these three con
ditions ; and none may escape all three. In rural
places the terms do not mean so much. Poverty is less
pinching; love is temperate; war shrinks to contests
about boundary lines and the neighbors hens. It is
in the cities that our epigram gains in truth and
vigor ; and it has remained for one John Hopkins to
crowd the experience into a rather small space of
time.

The Hopkins flat was like a thousand others.
There was a rubber plant in one window; a flea-

[11]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

bitten terrier sat in the other, wondering when he
was to have his day.

John Hopkins was like a thousand others. He
worked at $20 per week in a nine-story, red-brick
building at either Insurance, Buckle s Hoisting En
gines, Chiropody, Loans, Pulleys, Boas Renovated,
Waltz Guaranteed in Five Lessons, or Artificial
Limbs. It is not for us to wring Mr. Hopkins s avo
cation from these outward signs that be.

Mrs. Hopkins was like a thousand others. The
auriferous tooth, the sedentary disposition, the Sun
day afternoon wanderlust, the draught upon the
delicatessen store for home-made comforts, the
furor for department store marked-down sales, the
feeling of superiority to the lady in the third-floor
front who wore genuine ostrich tips and had two
names over her bell, the mucilaginous hours during
which she remained glued to the window sill, the vigi
lant avoidance of the instalment man, the tireless
patronage of the acoustics of the dumb-waiter shaft
all the attributes of the Gotham flat-dweller were
hers.

One moment yet of sententiousness and the story
moves.

In the Big City large and sudden things happen.
You round a corner and thrust the rib of your um
brella into the eye of your old friend from Kootenai
Falls. You stroll out to pluck a Sweet William in the
[12]



THE COMPLETE LIFE OF JOHN HOPKINS

park and lo ! bandits attack you you are ain-
bulanced to the hospital you marry your nurse;
are divorced get squeezed while short on U. P. S.
and D. O. W. N. S. stand in the bread line marry
an heiress, take out your laundry and pay your club
dues seemingly all in the wink of an eye. You travel
the streets, and a finger beckons to you, a handker
chief is dropped for you, a brick is dropped upon
you, the elevator cable or your bank breaks, a table
d hote or your wife disagrees with you, and Fate
tosses you about like cork crumbs in wine opened by
an un-feed waiter. The City is a sprightly youngster,
and you are red paint upon its toy, and you get
licked off.

John Hopkins sat, after a compressed dinner, in
his glove-fitting straight-front flat. He sat upon a
hornblende couch and gazed, with satiated eyes, at
Art Brought Home to the People in the shape of
" The Storm " tacked against the wall. Mrs. Hopkins
discoursed droningly of the dinner smells from the
flat across the hall. The flea-bitten terrier gave
Hopkins a look of disgust, and showed a man-hating
tooth.

Here was neither poverty, love, nor war ; but upon
such barren stems may be grafted those essentials of
a complete life.

John Hopkins sought to inject a few raisins of
conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.

[13]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

" Putting a new elevator in at the office," he said,
discarding the nominative noun, " and the boss has
turned out his whiskers."

" You don t mean it ! " commented Mrs. Hopkins.

" Mr. Whipples," continued John, " wore his new
spring suit down to-day. I liked it fine. It s a gray

with " He stopped, suddenly stricken by a need

that made itself known to him. "I believe I ll walk
down to the corner and get a five-cent cigar," he con
cluded.

John Hopkins took his hat and picked his way
down the musty halls and stairs of the flat-house.

The evening air was mild, and the streets shrill
with the careless cries of children playing games con
trolled by mysterious rhythms and phrases. Their
elders held the doorways and steps with leisurely pipe
and gossip. Paradoxically, the fire-escapes supported
lovers in couples who made no attempt to fly the
mounting conflagration they were there to fan.

The corner cigar store aimed at by John Hopkins
was kept by a man named Freshmayer, who looked
upon the earth as a sterile promontory.

Hopkins, unknown in the store, entered and called
genially for his " bunch of spinach, car-fare grade."
This imputation deepened the pessimism of Fresh
mayer; but he set out a brand that came perilously
near to filling the order. Hopkins bit off the roots of
his purchase, and lighted up at the swinging gas

[14]



THE COMPLETE LIFE OF JOHN HOPKINS

jet. Feeling in his pockets to make payment, he found
not a penny there.

" Say, my friend," he explained, frankly, " I ve
come out without any change. Hand you that nickel
first time I pass."

Joy surged in Freshmayer s heart. Here was cor-
roboration of his belief that the world was rotten and
man a peripatetic evil. Without a word he rounded
the end of his counter and made earnest onslaught
upon his customer. Hopkins was no man to serve as
a punching-bag for a pessimistic tobacconist. He
quickly bestowed upon Freshmayer a colorado-
maduro eye in return for the ardent kick that he re
ceived from that dealer in goods for cash only.

The impetus of the enemy s attack forced the
Hopkins line back to the sidewalk. There the con
flict raged; the pacific wooden Indian, with his
carven smile, was overturned, and those of the street
who delighted in carnage pressed round to view the
zealous joust.

But then came the inevitable cop and imminent in
convenience for both the attacker and attacked. John
Hopkins was a peaceful citizen, who worked at
rebuses of nights in a flat, but he was not without the
fundamental spirit of resistance that comes with the
battle-mrre. He knocked the policeman into a grocer s
sidewalk display of goods and gave Freshmayer a
punch that caused him temporarily to regret that he

[15]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

had not made it a rule to extend a five-cent line of
credit to certain customers. Then Hopkins took
spiritedly to his heels down the sidewalk, closely fol
lowed by the cigar-dealer and the policeman, whose
uniform testified to the reason in the grocer s sign
that read : " Eggs cheaper than anywhere else in the
city."

As Hopkins ran he became aware of a big, low,
red, racing automobile that kept abreast of him in
the street. This auto steered in to the side of the side
walk, and the man guiding it motioned to Hopkins
to jump into it. He did so without slackening his
speed, and fell into the turkey-red upholstered seat
beside the chauffeur. The big machine, with a dimin
uendo cough, flew away like an albatross down the
avenue into which the street emptied.

The driver of the auto sped his machine without a
word. He was masked beyond guess in the goggles
and diabolic garb of the chauffeur.

" Much obliged, old man," called Hopkins, grate
fully. " I guess you ve got sporting blood in you,
all right, and don t admire the sight of two men try
ing to soak one. Little more and I d have been
pinched."

The chauffeur made no sign that he had heard.
Hopkins shrugged a shoulder and chewed at his
cigar, to which his teeth had clung grimly through
out the melee.

[16]



THE COMPLETE LIFE OF JOHN HOP I

Ten minutes and the auto turned into the open
carriage entrance of a noble mansion of brown stone,
and stood still. The chauffeur leaped out, and said :

* Come quick. The lady, she will explain. It is the
great honor you v/ill have, monsieur. Ah, that milady
could call upon Armand to do this thing ! But, no,
I am only one chauffeur."

With vehement gestures the chauffeur conducted
Hopkins into the house. He was ushered into a small
but luxurious reception chamber. A lady, young, and
possessing the beauty of visions, rose from a chair.
In her eyes smouldered a becoming anger. Her high-
arched, thread-like brows were ruffled into a delicious
frown.

" Milady," said the chauffeur, bowing low, " I have
the honor to relate to you that I went to the house of
Monsieur Long and found him to be not at home. As
I came back I see this gentleman in combat against
how you say greatest odds. He is fighting with
five ten thirty men gendarmes, aussi. Yes, mi
lady, he what you call swat* one three eight po-
licemans. If that Monsieur Long is out I say to my
self this gentleman he will serve milady so well, and
I bring him here."

" Very well, Armand," said the lady, " you may
go." She turned to Hopkins.

" I sent my chauffeur," she said, " to bring my
cousin, Walter Long. There is a man in this house

[17]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

who has treated me with insult and abuse. I have con-
plained to my aunt, and she laughs at me. Armand
says you are brave. In these prosaic days men who
are both brave and chivalrous are few. May I cotmt
upon your assistance? "

John Hopkins thrust the remains of his cigar into
his coat pocket. He looked upon this winning creature
and felt his first thrill of romance. It was a knightly
love, and contained no disloyalty to the flat with the
flea-bitten terrier and the lady of his choice. He had
married her after a picnic of the Lady Label Stick
ers Union, Lodge No. 2, on a dare and a bet of new
hats and chowder all around with his friend, Billy
McManus. This angel who was begging him to come
to her rescue was something too heavenly for chow
der, and as for hats golden, jewelled crowns for
her!

" Say," said John Hopkins, " just show me the guy
that you ve got the grouch at. I ve neglected my
talents as a scrapper heretofore, but this is my busy
night."

" He is in there," said the lady, pointing to a
closed door. " Come. Are you sure that you do not
falter or fear ? "

<4 Me? " said John Hopkins. " Just give me one of
those roses in the bunch you are wearing, will you ? "

The lady grave him a red, red rose. John Hopkins
kissed it, stuffed it ipto his vest pocket, opened the
[18]



THE COMPLETE LIFE OF JOHN HOPKINS

door and walked into the room. It was a handsome
library, softly but brightly lighted. A young man
was there, reading.

" Books on etiquette is what you want to study,"
said John Hopkins, abruptly. " Get up here, and I ll
give you some lessons. Be rude to a lady, will you? "

The young man looked mildly surprised. Then he
arose languidly, dextrously caught the arms of John
Hopkins and conducted him irresistibly to the front
door of the house.

" Beware, Ralph Branscombe," cried the lady, who
had followed, " what you do to the gallant man who
has tried to protect me."

The young man shoved John Hopkins gently out
the door and then closed it.

" Bess," he said, calmly, " I wish you would quit
reading historical novels. How in the world did that
fellow get. in here? "

" Armand brought him," said the young lady. " I
think you are awfully mean not to let me have that
St. Bernard. I sent Armand for Walter. I was so
angry with you."

" Be sensible, Bess," said the young man, taking
her arm. " That dog isn t safe. He has bitten two or
three people around the kennels. Come now, let s go
tell auntie we are in good humor again."

Arm in arm, they moved away.

John Hopkins walked to his flat. The janitor s five-
[19]



THE VOICE OF THE CITY

year-old daughter was playing on the steps. Hopkins
gave her a nice, red rose and walked upstairs.

Mrs. Hopkins was philandering with curl-papers.

" Get your cigar?" she asked, disinterestedly.

" Sure," said Hopkins, " and I knocked around a
while outside. It s a nice night."

He sat upon the hornblende sofa, took out the
stump of his cigar, lighted it, and gazed at the
graceful figures in " The Storm " on the opposite
wall.

" I was telling you," said he, " ahout Mr.
Whipple s suit. It s a gray, with an invisible check,
and it looks fine."



[20]



A LICKPENNY LOVER

THERE were 3,000 girls in the Biggest Store,
Masie was one of them. She was eighteen and a sales
lady in the gents gloves. Here she became versed in
two varieties of human beings the kind of gents
who buy their gloves in department stores and the
kind of women who buy gloves for unfortunate gents.
Besides this wide knowledge of the human species,
Masie had acquired other information. She had lis
tened to the promulgated wisdom of the 2,999 other
girls and had stored it in a brain that was as secretive
and wary as that of a Maltese cat. Perhaps nature,
foreseeing that she would lack wise counsellors, had
mingled the saving ingredient of shrewdness along


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