left sole mark for twenty or more pairs of eyes
belonging to as many professional loungers of Pat-
terson, who had been waiting for two mortal hours,
with a patience born of inherited lassitude, for the
evening mail, although they were well aware it was
not due until six-thirty, and was usually late at that.
Apparently unaware of their languid yet critical
scrutiny, he walked around a moment, taking a
general survey of the surroundings, then disap-
peared in the little hole of a depot and began
32 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
talking with the station-agent. The loungers ceased
supporting their lank forms against the buildings
opposite and gathered in knots, spitting tobacco
juice and speculating as to the probable business of
the stranger, his destination, and other questions
concerning him, hard to answer without positive
knowledge, but affording these meditative loungers
endless opportunity for the exercise of their pecu-
liar function. Presently the object of their curiosity
appeared, and crossing the track with alert step,
came toward them. His hat was set a little back,
and his forehead, fair and open, showed a slight
red line where it had pressed. His hair, damp with
perspiration, was soft and curling underneath it.
He approached one of the groups, and held out his
hand with a pleasant smile to a powerfully built
man, lean as Pharaoh's lean kine.
" Mr. Patterson," he said. The individual ad-
dressed started as if he were a huge dried specimen,
well wired, on which the traveller was experiment-
ing, and which was electrified and set into spas-
modic, irresistible motion by the touch of that
human magnet. His face expanded until the radi-
ating wrinkles at the corners of his eyes deepened
into folds and creases. He caught at the top of
his trousers, jerking them violently up, grasped the
hand extended to him in both his own, and moved
it vigorously up and down.
" Why ! Bless my soul, boy ! GenTmen, bless
my soul! Ef here ain't ol'.Gen'l Marshall himself
come tu life again. Gen'l'rpen, shore 'nuff."
" Wall now, Mr. Marshall, the sight of ye is good
foh sore eyes," said another.
Return to Old Scenes 33
" Sho'ly, we ah right glad tu see yu," said a
small man, trying to reach over taller ones for a
hand-shake. There was instant recognition of him
on all sides. Only a few new-comers stood aloof,
smilingly looking on.
** John Marshall did ye say? Jes' give me a look
at 'im now. I 'd give my eyes, what they is lef of
'em, foil a look at Gen'l Marshall's boy." The
speaker, an old man, limped from behind the
counter of the notion store where he had been
busied with a customer.
" Here he is, Mr. Hackett, the same boy who
used to run his hounds through your cotton-fields
after rabbits. What a plague he must have been
to you ! " answered the young man, turning quickly.
He was shaking hands with one and another, calling
each by name.
" Ye don't seem to forgit none of us," said one.
*' Oh, no. You have changed very little."
" You '11 see changes 'nufif, I reckon, in them 'at
was small fry when ye lef."
" He only needs tu look at his se'f tu know that.
Ye were only a striplin' when ye lef, and look at ye
now, bless ye, yer own father over again."
" I knew him," said the old man, â€” *' boy an* man
I knew him. He saved my life jes' befoah he lost
his own. The Unions was too strong foh us, the
gen'l was orderin' a retreat, when a minie bullet
tore th'ough this leg, and down I went right in the
path of the cav'lry. Youah father reined up, and
says he, ' Hackett, give me yeh hand.' I tell ye
I grabbed foh 'im like despair. He hauled me over
the horse in front of him, and took me to the shade
34 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
of a big hick'ry and give me his water-flask, and
says he, ' There, He low. They 'U come foh th'
wounded a'terwards ;' and there he was lying with
the dead ten minutes later, was yeh father."
" Thank you for telling me that. My father was
my hero. You will tell me more of him sometime?"
"We kin all take a turn at that," said the little
" Gen'l'men," said fat Mr. Budd, putting his hand
in his pockets and turning puffily to address the
crowd, '' ah we-all treating the young squire jes'
right? Walk in here an' take a drink all roun'. I '11
Stan' treat foh th' crowd, gen'l'men, in honoh of
young Squire John Marshall's return."
"Naou, I reckon yu ah 'bout right thar, cunnel,"
acquiesced half a dozen, with languid alacrity.
The sun had entirely disappeared, leaving the
earth wrapped in still shadows of softly deepening
blues and grays. The air of a spring evening in
the mountains, delicious with subtle, delicate odors,
swept past them all, and gently lifted John Mar-
shall's hair. He was thinking of his father. Look-
ing into the dirty saloon, a disgust seized him as
he imagined himself there, drinking corn whiskey
with these tobacco-saturated men. Old neighbors
though they were, he knew them only through
boyish recollections, as friends by force of circum-
stances, not of his father's own choosing. Looking
into their faces, kindled for him with kindly light,
he shrank from giving offence, yet go in there he
could not. He must do neither. His thoughts
flew rapidly as he wiped the crown of his hat with
his handkerchief. He had kindly feeling for them
Return to Old Scenes 35
all, for some even respect, yet there was that in
himself which raised a barrier between him and
them they might not cross. To drink with them
and treat in return, would secure their friendship.
To refuse might make some of them his lasting
enemies. Should he pay for their drinks and
excuse himself? His hand wandered to his pocket.
He had never been impelled to do such a thing
before in exactly this way. No, the whole thing
was disgusting, he would risk it.
His deliberation was but for a moment. " Your
reception does me good, gentlemen. A young
man could n't ask better of his father's old neigh-
bors than the greeting you have given me. I am
here to look after my mother's affairs, and will see
you often, I hope, when we can talk over old times,
but now I can't accept Mr. Budd's invitation. I am
as hungry as if I had just returned from a coon
hunt, so I '11 bid you all good-evening, and many
thanks for your kindness." He took up his valise,
and had entered the boarding-house before they
realized that he was gone, and if they drank to
honor his return they must do so without him.
Since Budd's invitation was not repeated, they
chose not to do so.
" Young squire is mighty sudden,'* said that
" He 's not changed much, I reckon, alius was
quick 'nd clever as a boy," said Patterson, pulling
at the string of a dirty tobacco pouch. He took
from it a portion of the contents, which hung from
his thumb and forefinger stringily, like a limp
little dead mouse, and dropping his lower jaw put
36 when the Gates Lift Up their Heads
the brown tuft in the cavern thus formed. When
his mouth was again ready for words, some of his
companions had dropped into the saloon, others
were untying their horses, and all were talking of
young John Marshall, and making conjectures con-
cerning him and his mother, whom they had not
even asked after, partly from delicacy, as they did
not know whether she were living or dead.
Mr. Hackett was wrapping up a card of white
porcelain buttons for a stout colored woman. " Who
was dat ah man I seed yu all talkin' tu as I come
up? " she asked.
" That was old General Marshall's son, Mr. John
" Laws naow, yu doan' say ! I nevah knowed de
boy. He 's growed tu putty foh a man. I kin
'membah him right well, ol' gen'l uset tu be my
mars'r. Cl'issy, she'd give her eyes tu see him.
I nuvah seed no body grieve like she done grieve
foh dat boy. Come on, Jess." She took the hand of
a fat, round-eyed little black boy and ambled away.
When John entered the dusty little parlor of the
boarding-house, he found Hanford Clark, the station-
agent, waiting for him.
" They have a room for me? Thank you. I have
had a narrow escape. I might have been in this
hole next door drinking corn whiskey, but I refused
the treat, preferring a retreat."
*' ' The Asylum for Aged and Decayed Punsters ' is
near, did you know? " said his friend. *' I shall take
you to it for a bad case to-morrow."
" I am content, most noble Hanford ; yet prithee
tell me, are poor travellers fed as well as housed in
Return to Old Scenes 37
this secluded wayside inn? If not, then I must needs
eat thee, since I no longer can endure this fast, and
since, forsooth, a poor and meagre meal were better
than no meal at all."
" Nay, gracious John, for soon you will be fed
with corn meal. Other than corn meal is no* meal,
and on it shall you feed three meals a day, like any
other hog, until your soul shall utter this wild cry,
' No meal for me to-day, thanks, no, no meal.' "
" ' Et tu, Bruti? ' In vulgar parlance, are you also
reduced to making puns? "
'' It's catching. Well, old man, I ordered chicken
to be served quickly (as it can be caught, killed,
dressed, and cooked), hot corn bread, and a glass of
milk. Black coffee at night is unhygienic. If you
sleep after their hot bread and hog's lard, you may
have it for breakfast."
They were in the unlighted parlor, their chairs
tilted against the casing of the open windows,
through which the sweet, cool air â€” the only lux-
ury the place afforded â€” was gently blowing.
Presently a negro boy entered carrying an un-
shaded kerosene lamp, which he deposited on the
'* De gen'l'man's suppah 's ready," said he.
John rose to follow. His friend looked at his
watch. " I '11 have your trunk brought over and
landed in your room, and join you soon," he said.
*' Hanford, you are the same kind, thoughtful
fellow you were five years ago."
The agent caught the young man's shoulder and
turning him about, looked in his face. He was a
trifle older, and taller, and the smile with which he
38 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
regarded him was almost fatherly. " I have n't told
one of these fellows here that I ever knew you," said
he, *â€¢ so keep mum." A look of surprise flashed
into Marsliall's face. '* It's all right, old man, we '11
have a good chat as soon as I look after your trunk.
I 'm riot due at the station for forty minutes."
John swallowed his supper, with more impatience
than relish. Although the milk was sweet and good,
the corn bread was soggy, the chicken tough, the
butter greasy, and the sorghum molasses contained
two hapless flies. Because their misery jarred on
him he released them from slow, saccharine death,
placing them on a soiled spot on the tablecloth.
The smoky lamp stood in dangerous proximity to
the bread. He moved it, and happening to glance
up (he had thought himself sole occupant of the
room), saw in the obscurity outside the radius of the
lamp a white jacket, a row of white finger-nails, two
shining eyes, and a wide set of gleaming teeth. The
small black waiter who had announced supper was
silently grinning and watching him.
" Hello, whose boy are you? " he said.
" Ain' nobody's boy, sah. I jes' b'longs tu my
** Ah, indeed ! You are a fortunate little chap.
Some people, you know, belong to the devil." Why
John said this he could not have told. Perhaps
something in the uncanny appearance of the little
imp suggested the remark. The boy's grin grew
'' Yes, sah."
" What's your name?
*' Name Andy, sah,*
Return to Old Scenes 39
** Is that all the name you have, just Andy? "
" No, sah."
" Well, what's the rest ? "
Andy's great eyes rolled toward the ceiling as if
he expected to find the rest of the name written
there. *' Name Andrew Jackson Franklin Abra-
ham Lincum Wells, sah."
** Spoken like a man; that's the way to tell your
Wells. Peculiar combination."
*' Yes, sah, dey jes' calls me Andy heah'bouts."
" So you used to be one of old Colonel Wells'
little niggers, did you ? "
" Doan' know, sah."
** Who was your father? "
** Doan' know, sah."
" Well, who was your mother? "
** Name Linda, sah."
" Name Linda Angelina Wells, sah."
" I guess you must have been one of the old
colonel's little niggers, then."
*' Mammy say as haow I nuvva did n' b'long tu
nobody, sah." Andy spoke with some warmth.
Evidently the mother had fostered the idea in the
child's mind that he had been born free.
Marshall smiled. In spite of his natural, inherited
disbelief in the normal condition of the African race
as a state of freedom, he respected the little rascal's
pride in the thought of having been free born, al-
though he was morally certain the boy's father was
one called Unc' Jupe, whom Colonel Wells had sold
off the plantation before the war to be rid of him.
40 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
And Marshall was right. Andy's mother had added
Abraham Lincum to her boy's already extensive
name, in gratitude to the great deliverer of her race,
after the child was old enough to steal hens' eggs on
her old " mars'r's " premises, to go with their bacon.
And Andy was right also. He had no recollection
of either master or mistress, and belonged to no one
on the face of the earth but '' he's own se'f." He
was an anomaly and yet a type ; a type of a new
race which had sprung up since *' de wall," a sort of
^ ^-NjJtWtV Â£Â£tributive scourge to the Southern people for hav-
. . J ing â€” not inlquitously, perhaps, but blindly â€” kept
ii^^i %-Â» 1 ^ whole race of human beings in a state of rnoral
.'>^.^ N- i ^"^ physical bondage and childish ignorancel^
fir NJ^N'tA!^* " Well, Andy, I won't dispute it, and here 's a
^ ^ dime to help you take care of your precious
" T'ankee, sah." Andy clapped the dime in his
Marshall rose from the table. At the door of the
dining-room he paused a moment. "Andy, what's
become of old Colonel Wells and the family ? "
'' or Mars'r Gunnel daid, sah. Missy Gunnel, she
mos' daid tu."
'* Most dead ! what do you mean? "
" She blin', sah, kyan see nuffin'. Mars'r Dick, he
daown in Richmon'. Miss Angelina, she in Rich-
mon' tu." The dime had loosened Andy's tongue.
" An' Miss Katherine, she lib on de ol' place an'
te'k kyah on ol' missy."
"What's become of the young captain?"
" Daid, sah. Miss Katherine she mou'nin' fo' him
yit. She ain' du nuffin' but mou'n an' f^riebe.
Return to Old Scenes 41
Mammy say she b'leebe Miss Katherine she gwine
die yit wid dat griebin', she dat so'-ha'ted."
A shadow crept over Marshall's face. As he
closed the door, a woman met him in the hall
carrying a lamp.
" Good-evenin'," she said. '* Likely you are the
gentleman who come in on the train. Your trunk's
gone to your room, 'nd I was just goin' to take
up your lamp." She stepped forward, expecting
him to take it; but he moved aside, allowing her
" Thank you, I was looking for some one to show
me my room."
The woman was tall and stout, and walked with a
heavy rolling gait. She eyed the young man over
the top of her glasses from head to foot. " They
tell me you used to live here," she said. " Well,
I 'm sure you 're welcome back, but it 's a poor
place to make a livin' in. I come f'm Ohio my-
self, 'nd goodness knows I wish 't I 'd stayed there.
Patterson is the slowest place 't I ever did see.
Budd, he makes all the money they is here in
his saloon. They ain't nobody here but what
Although tired, sad, and nervously irritated by
her loquacity, Marshall answered pleasantly, â€”
*' I never lived right here exactly. Patterson was
not in existence when I left."
" You don't say. Well ! And where have you
been livin' all these years? "
" In San Francisco. I have an uncle there."
'' So ! And your paw is dead. Your maw, is
she dead too? Where is she?"
42 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
Marshall winced. Her strident voice rasped on
him. '* My mother's home is in Cuba. She spends
her winters there."
" You don't say ! Well ! And where does she
spend the rest of her time? Is she comin' back
here too? "
'^ I hardly think so." He ignored the rest of her
question. She rolled on a step or two. He thought
the catechism ended, when she faced about with a
new question, â€”
*' Who was your paw? I must 'a' heard tell o'
him, all the years I been here, ever since they run
the road through. I was one o' the very first 't did
come, 'n' I'm sure I wish 't â€” "
** My father was General Marshall," he replied,
shifting impatiently from one foot to another.
** You don't say ! Well ! I have heard tell o'
him, sure enough. He owned all the land here-
abouts, 'nd all Patterson too, they tell me. Well !
You don't say ! " She rolled on a step and stopped
again. *' I suppose your maw must 'a' sold all this
'ere land to the railroad. How much 'd she get fer
it, think? They tell me the house 's been took by
some Chicago folks 'nd turned into a board'n'-house.
Well ! I guess they '11 make a lot keepin' boarders
here, that 's what â€” "
" Pity my soul, madam, are you never going to
show me my room? I mean â€” Beg pardon," he
added, recoiling from his own rudeness. " If you
will give me the lamp and direct me, I won't trouble
" Oh, that 's all right. Guess I better go ahead
'nd light th' way." She gathered her skirt in one
Return to Old Scenes 43
hand and began climbing the stair without delay.
** Step a little careful here, this step 's broke 'nd
may give way," she panted, as Marshall stumbled
on in the shadow of her broad figure. "That's
your door, firs' to th' lef. I hope you '11 sleep
well," she said, standing puffily at the top and
pointing into the obscurity. "I'm sure I do the
best I can fer my boarders, if they ain't nothin'
in it, nd â€”
"Thank you, thank you." Marshall took the
lamp and moved on in haste, to check further con-
versation. As he pushed open the door, " firs'
to th' lef," it crowded against something piled
" Hello, come in. Never mind obstacles," cried
the voice of his friend from within.
Marshall wedged the door open about a foot,
thrust the lamp through first, and edging in side-
ways, stepped over a pillow and confronted Hanford
seated on the edge of the empty bedstead, with a
feather in one hand and the lamp without the burner
in the other.
"What's all this?" said John, surveying the dis-
ordered box of a room. " Holding high carnival
all by yourself in the dark? "
" Light enough to serve my purpose, and I 'm
through now. I'm saving you a little annoyance,
my boy." He threw the feather out of the window,
and taking the burner which lay on the sill with the
dripping wick hanging outside, proceeded to screw
it on the lamp, which he lighted and placed on the
cluttered little washstand. Seeing John still hold-
ing: his with a dazed air, he took it from him, cleared
44 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
another space, and set it down also, talking in a de-
tached way as he worked.
** Sit down and take it easy a minute while I
straighten things up," he said. " Finding your
room inhabited, I began a work of extermination.
You '11 find blood-suckers enough without sleep-
ing with them. Coal oil is a good thing applied
liberally with a feather, although the odor may
not rival that of violets in spring. My first night
here at Scrapp's was a memorable one. Before
the moon silvered the mountain tops I rose and
pitched every shred of my bedding out of the win-
dow, and spent the * wee sma' ' hours tilted back
in one of these rickety chairs, reading my Bible.
Smile ; that 's right, smile ! You looked like a
whipped dog when you came in. Was n't the
supper to your taste? It's not bad reading; be-
sides, I had nothing else to do for five good hours,
unless to stand around and swear. Help a fellow on
with those springs. Steady there. If we drop them,
old Scrapp will be up to see if we 're both drunk.
He does nothing for the place but confer his sug-
gestive name on it. His wife does the work. She
ambles about, making the best of things. Never
said a word about where she found the beddine
next day, and the place was so thoroughly scrubbed
I did n't have to repeat the performance for a
month ; but nowadays I don't trouble her, I work
the thing with a kerosene lamp and a feather."
" Only you would have thought of this. You are
your old self, Hanford Clark."
** Now my housework is done, I have just twenty
minutes for gossip," said Cla^k ; " then I must be on
Return to Old Scenes 45
duty, â€” there's an eight-o'clock freight, â€” so fire
" First then, why in Heaven's name must n't I
speak of our friendship?"
" Because I have not, that is all. You wish to
untangle things peaceably; take my advice. Give
me the cold shoulder in the presence of your father's
old neighbors. Moreover, if your life in San Fran-
cisco impregnated you with Northern ideas, drop
them for a time or you will bring up against a wall
of quiet opposition that even your father's repu-
tation will not take you over." He paused, and
Marshall was silent.
" Two years have given me some experience.
The first station-agent being a Southern man, they
naturally thought he was ousted for me. I have
lived down that odium now, however ; at least, the Pat-
terson faction treat me well. They rather favor the
company. You see, they received a good price for
their land, and your mother was to have had the same
price for hers, but her lawyer here, I. M. Monk â€” "
"What! Does mother still keep Monk? I al-
ways â€” Beg pardon. Go ahead."
"That's all right. Say on, anything you please."
" I am surprised. She knew I disliked the man.
Mother has been reticent about business until she
wrote the letter that brought me here. Even then
she did not mention Monk by name. She used to
detest Yankees, but she is shrewd. She knows they
are good business men, however obnoxious they
may be otherwise."
" I can give you the ins and outs of the matter.
She has left you too much in the dark. You are
46 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
at a disadvantage. It was this way. The land-
owners between here and Milton wished the com-
pany to put the road through Pine Gap, to open
up their property there for sale, and Monk hood-
winked them into sending him to negotiate the
business for them. Then the old fox persuaded the
company that they would save fifty miles of steep
grade if they put the road into Milton from the
north, building that trestle you went over just this
side of Carlton, and skirting the French Broad. So
they did, and left Pine Gap forty miles off the line
of travel. Never went near the place."
''What was that for?"
" He schemed the whole thing out to bring his
own land over in Broadgate into the market. He
owned a thousand acres there. Moreover he
screwed a bonus out of every Broadgate land-owner
who made anything out of the transaction, and
worried another big payment out of the company
on your mother's property, in consideration of his
services, (1 would look after that if I were you ; I
doubt if she ever received a cent more than the
original price), and sold his own land at an immense
'* Where does Patterson's quarrel come in in all
" He agreed the whole of Blue Hill here should
be made over to the company for a mere nominal
sum, as a site for a hotel to bring travel to the road,
in consideration of their making that detour around
" But, as I remember it, the Chaplains owned
Return to Old Scenes 47
" They own one half and your mother the other.
He has been disposing of her property as he Hkes,
and teUing her what he pleases. The Chaplains also
own land at Pine Gap, and Jud swears his half of the
hill shall never be owned by a set of ' damned thiev-
ing Yankees ' until they pay his price, which he has
put at enough to cover the worth of this and all his
Pine Gap property put together."
" How on earth did Monk ever bring about the
agreement between Chaplain and the company in
the first place? He had only authority over
*' He trapped Chaplain first, by talking about
getting the road through Pine Gap. Oh, he 's
smooth as grease."
** Why can't Chaplain be brought to terms then?"
'' He employed a lawyer from the city, and be-
tween them they found a way out of the bargain."
** Well, some of the heaviest stockholders are San
Francisco men, as you know, and Uncle Darius has
set his heart on having me build that hotel, and I'll
" He 's one of the largest owners, but that must
not be known here ; you never will build it if