" First I '11 dismiss Monk and then see Judson and
get him interested pecuniarily." A look of doubt
passed over Hanford's face. Marshall smiled. "It
can be done," he said ; " it's got to be done, that 's
'' All the Pine Gap faction are down on Monk.
They 'd pitch him off his trestle into Mill River if
they could," said Hanford.
48 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
*' Naturally ; but I fail to see how all this necessi-
tates my giving you the cold shoulder. I can't do
it, old fellow."
*' The whole facts of the case necessitate it. We
are all in the same rank hole. Monk is a Northern
man, and his meanness and double dealing have
brought distrust down on us. He has the hatred of
the whole community here, and of course some
of that odium falls on me. Since I am well posted,
and an employee of the company, if you seem con-
fidential with me, they will distrust you. Now you
are one of them, which is to your advantage."
** I see," said John.
" Here 's another complication. An especial
election comes off soon, to fill the place of circuit
judge. As all the places interested in the road
squabble are in the circuit, there is war to the knife.
The Broadgate faction have succeeded in getting
Monk's name on one of the tickets, and if he has
the negro vote he stands a good chance. He is top
of the heap in Broadgate, is a great swell there,
and sticks at no kind of wire-pulling; is engaged
to Senator White's daughter, and all that sort of
thing. She is an old-maid, as raw-boned as he is,
but he wants the office. The other party, as I hap-
pen to know, have some bulldozing scheme on foot,
and naturally they look on every Northern man
as a spy on their actions. Judson Chaplain is their
** Monk 's a rascal," said John ; " I '11 settle him as
far as mother's afi'airs are concerned."
" Take my advice, and be prudent," continued
his friend. '* Strike up a casual acquaintance with
Return to Old Scenes 49
me after a while. In the mean time, be sure I '11
serve you in any way in my power."
" You are an out-and-out true friend, Hanford —
you always were. I '11 do as you say, but it 's
mighty hard on me."
'' You won't find everything on such an easy foot-
ing as when you were a boy."
" Oh, no, but, then, everything is in such a con-
founded mess here in the South. \A/Iiatjdght_iisye yi^y"'^ Q
the negroes to the ballot anyway? Children hand-^ -^^ ,rJL»,
ling edged tools, no more fit to govern themselves I -^
than that mule out there by the fence, nor as much." /
Hanford Clark burst into a laugh. " No need 01
an}" suggestions from me, I see. You '11 pass with
this crowd. How came they here in the first place?
Of their own free will or through stress of circum-
stances? (Mild way of putting it.) What right
have they here? Have they any rights? If not,
why not? "
*' Oh, come ! we can't argue, Hanford. We were
always cats and dogs on this point. We know each
other's arguments as we know our grammars. It 's
right here that the trouble lies. While they were
kept where they belonged there was no difiiculty.
We needed them, were even fond of them, petted
them, and all that sort of thing ; but given absolute
freedom, turned loose like a pack of wild colts,
given power to govern us perforce when they
never knew how to take care of themselves, I don't
wonder. It is too much to be borne. I know it
was only war policy at first, but now to submit to
such a state of affairs is madness, that *s all, — sheer
50 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" Look here, my man, affairs have changed down
here. Ten or twelve years makes a big difference.
You will find the negroes better prepared to handle
the ballot than a lot of your ignorant whites up
North are. They are pretty intelligent. They con-
fide in the Northerners here and get a fairly good
idea of the political issues. Even those who can't
read — "
" Yes, I see. Men like Monk prime them up.
Fine confidant he is for them. I guess a little
wholesome bulldozing would be a good thing for
the whole set of white scoundrels as well as black.
There, old man, don't let the glow die out of your
face in that way ; I love to see it if it does shine on
the wrong side, — the shadow side, so to speak."
They were silent a moment; then Marshall added,
" Maybe you are more in the right than my preju-
dices will let me believe."
Clark laughed, and looked at his watch. "You
think you are right in these arguments of ours, and
I know I am ; but you know how to be generous, at
all events, and so ^stand that much ahead of me in
John sat lazily tilted back in his chair, his hands
clasped behind his head. His friend rose and paced
restlessly about the room. " The same old stride,"
said John. '' How did you ever blunder into such
a place and position as this? The company is
looking up a little in the matter of employees. A
college-bred station-agent, and — What are you
ruminatincr about now ? "
" I must go," said Hanford, looking absently at
his watch again. He opened the door half-way,
Return to Old Scenes 51
shut It, and walked over to the window, where he
stood with his back to his friend. " You have
given me no news yet of your mother. Does she
come North this summer?"
"Yes; she is in New York by this time. She
wrote she should sail two weeks ago."
"So early! Alone?"
** No ; Marguerite is with her, of course." Han-
ford shifted himself uneasily, and began pointing
a pencil with his knife. Marshall was not looking
at him, and went on wearily : " She could n't live
without Marguerite, and yet the child is heartless,
perfectly heartless. Mother seems wrapped up in
" She seemed to me to have heart enough, and a
good one at that."
" A perfect little demon when she can twist a
man around her finger. Mother would have had us
tied together three years ago if she could have had
her way. You knew we were engaged ; but that
was mother's doing, not mine."
" I knew. Your mother told me." Hanford
turned half round, and gave his friend a keen
scrutiny, still occupied with his knife. John talked
" I had a few words with the midget, and she con-
fessed she did not care for me any more than she
did for an old shoe, nor as much ; for an old shoe
was comfortable, and when I taxed her for pretend-
ing to care, she admitted she did it to have peace at
home, and to — as she said — 'keep other frauds at
" But your mother said you were devoted to her."
52 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
" I was, — am still, for that matter. I would gladly
see her married to my dearest friend if I thought
he could manage her. We agreed amicably to
break the engagement and keep it to ourselves
until they were back in Cuba, when she was to
break it to mother, as she said, ' little at a time.' "
" And do you mean to tell me you never have
had a pang of regret at such a denouement?"
" Never since we settled it to both our hkings, but
many a one before."
Hanford's eyes shone with a peculiar light as he
regarded his friend. " I wonder if I am a fool ! "
he said quietly, shutting his knife with a sharp click.
Marshall looked up in sudden surprise. The in-
coming freight whistled the same instant as it neared
the long trestle, and Hanford was gone.
PAST AND PRESENT
JOHN MARSHALL rose, and shook himself
impatiently. "Straws," he muttered. "So
that 's the way the wind sits. Poor fellow ! He 's
too good for her." He moved restlessly about,
then stood staring out of the window. " She '11
make a fool of him. I can't interfere. If I write
mother to leave her in New York, she '11 be dead
set to start for Patterson on the next train." He
whistled softly a minute, then threw up the window
as far as it would go, seized his hat, and passing
out of the room, turned the key in the door. He
felt his way along the upper corridor, and by the
feeble light of a lamp in the hall below found his
way out into the night.
The train was thundering up to the station, and
Marshall turned toward the silence of the hills. A
moment he looked off on their softened outlines,
in the bewitching moonlight, to get his bearings.
'* The blacksmith shop stands just as it used," he
thought, " but all this other trash has beerTUumped
here since. Even Hackett's store is new. Well, so
wags the world ; every man for himself, and all for
He turned down a familiar road, walking aim-
lessly, drinking in the sweet cool air, which scarcely
stirred the leaves. Faintly in the distance came
the cry of a whippoorwill, sharply answered from
54 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
a great gum-tree over his head. He looked up,
feeHng the impulse of his boyhood to throw a stone
into tile tree to discover the bird's whereabouts, and
saw the moon looking down through a network of
branches from the crest of a distant hill. ** She
seems to touch the earth," he said.
The road made a sudden turn down a declivity
of broad shelving rocks to the ford below, and he
heard the sound of the stream mingling with the
noise of frogs and the chirping of tree-toads. He
stopped on the footbridge to listen, and dropped a
stone into the water which sent back the sparkle of
a thousand gems. His heart expanded under the
influence of this sweet solitude. This was a part of
his boyhood. Why had he never visited it in all
these years? Why had he ever left it?
" There 's a deep pool behind that boulder where
old Alexander gave me my first lesson in fishing.
I wonder if he 's still alive." He threw a stone
toward the great rock. It splashed into the water,
and instantly the noise of the frogs ceased.
"They've been croaking there all these years,"
he said. The moonlight spread broadly over the
little bridge, leaving one end in dense shadow where
Marshall leaned on the railing, completely hidden.
Suddenly the sounds of horses' hoofs and men's
voices broke the stillness.
** 'T ain't no use s'arch'n' these parts, he 's highah
up th' maount'n. Black devils! Thar's plenty
ut'll hide 'im."
" Naw, he's feared o' th' maount'n. They're
pizen on him thar. He '11 make fer th' low country
'nd git cl'ar that-a-way." There were four riders.
Past and Present 55
They stopped in the stream to let their horses
drink, and Marshall recognized one as the man he
had greeted earlier in the evening.
'' Patterson don't go much on a niggah till he gits
a fa'r chance tu shoot 'im."
" Yas, we-all takes a lively int'rust in a niggah
these days when we kin let daylight into 'im."
'' Wall now, they is some good uns," said a little
man perched on a tall, raw-boned horse. *' Thar 's
that ar Josephus, he's stiddy an' hones', but they
all needs a mastah ovah 'em. I alluz was fa'r, even
tu a niggah. All they need is tu be kep' whar
As they dashed away past the place where
Marshall stood screened by the shadows and veil
of wallow branches, Patterson's horse shied violently.
*'Whoah thar," he shouted, and turning fired his
revolver into the bank above John's head. '* I
reckon thar 's a niggah creepin round thar ut's
skeered 'im. I 'd put a bullet through every durned
black hide in th' country 'f I hed th' chance."
John Marshall shuddered and walked out into
the moonlight, feeling as if he had awakened from
an ugly dream ; but he sauntered on. One sensa-
tion would be all he could reasonably expect to
experience in one evening, and he would not be shot
at if he kept in the light where he would show for a
white man. Although shocked, he smiled, thinking^
of the time when " niggers " were too valuable to be
shot at, at random. A man would as soon think of
shooting at his blooded mare in sport nowadays,
as he would then of hazarding a shot into a thicket
at a " nigger."
56 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
"That is like Patterson," he thought. *' Cool
and daring, but a good friend withal. And the
little man is right; under masters they did well
enough, but in these changed circumstances they
must be insufferable."
Like the jack-rabbits and gophers of California,
the negroes were well enough when they committed
no depredations ; when they did, it was quite proper
to hunt them down. There were too many of them —
more than were needed. The small man on the tall
horse seemed to have on an official coat and manner.
Marshall wondered what was up, as he sauntered on,
mechanically taking the road which led past his
boyhood's home. How familiar it all was ! Every
gnarled old gum-tree and boulder brought back to
him events of those free and happy days.
" It is not so long ago," he thought. Even the
wagon ruts seemed the very ones the loaded
tobacco wagons cut then, as the negroes, whistling
and cracking their whips at the mule teams, wound
their way to the next town. Some of them were
trusted to do all the business of selling the long
train of loads in their charge, even bargaining for
the price and taking the money home. ** Shoot
one of those niggers down in the dark? Not much,"
he thought. There was old Thomas, the preacher
at the negro quarters, black as ebony, noted for
honesty and good sense. He was his master's
best friend in one sense. He married John's
mammy, but that was before John could remem-
ber. She often told him about how they were
married by a white minister, and they were all given
a holiday ; how " mars'r " was away at the time, and
Past and Present 57
how he swore when he returned and found her mis-
tress had made her marry old Thomas during his
John thought of his sh'ght, dark, imperious
mother, reigning as queen in the old home. All
the servants feared her. The piccaninnies dodged
round doorways and corners at her approach. She
seldom had them punished, but they feared her
nevertheless. Only Mammy Clarissa seemed to be
without this fear. She waited on her mistress day
and night without complaint, yet never seemed sub-
missive. She was tall, fairer than her mistress, and y
wore always a silk turban and white gown. Her
step was long and rapid. She moved easily, but
with the sudden directness which indicated under-
lying force. Always quiet and inscrutable, her
expression seldom changed ; only when he was tired
and crept into her lap in the twilight, she laughed,
and rocked him in her arms, and told him stories of
the time when she *' war a liT gal, an' her mammy
war mos' like her." She told him of a great city
by the sea where she had lived, of the ships, and
the moonlight on the water, and the songs of the
negroes rowing boats full of pleasure-seekers past
her " ol' mars'r's haouse " in the summer evenings.
*' I war right happy den, honey, right happy,"
she used to say, '' a-rollin' on de grass an' a-listenin'
tu de watah. 01' mars' uset tu go dar eve'y y'ar
w'en de long hot days come. Missus she uset tu
sit in de po'ch an' sing tu ol' mars'r in de dark, w'en
I war li'l' gal."
In the years that had passed, it was Mammy
Clarissa's caresses he remembered more than his
58 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
mother's, and yet she never had seemed to him
to be exactly a human being, as he appHed that
term to his mother or himself. She was his father's
chattel, no more, no less. As a child, he loved her
with a child's delight in her affection and caresses ;
as a man he thought of her kindly, and wondered if
she were still living.
" I must hunt her up, if she is, and give her some-
thing. Faithful old soul ! " he said.
She had a boy of his own age, he remembered, —
a pale, lithe imp, with eyes as black as sloes, wilful,
always getting into scrapes and domineering over
the other piccaninnies. His mistress petted him, but
his mother paid no more attention to him than to
any other of the swarming raft on the place. She
never allowed him in the house. " Yo' stay dar
wha yo' b'longs," she would say when his black
eyes peered into her face from some doorway.
This boy had been John's own little body-servant,
playmate, and scapegoat, as prolific in mischievous
schemes as his young master was daring in carrying
them out. Clarissa had a younger boy, black as
the ace of spades. John wondered what had be-
come of him. He thought of the numerous house-
servants, the loquacious old cook, the little " house
birds," who " toted ashes, fotched vvatah," and loi-
tered on all the numberless errands of the house-
hold. He smiled as he thought how their black
legs would fly and the white soles of their feet
twinkle, as they darted away from the kitchen door,
with a splint broom scudding after, hurled by the
irate cook for some impudence from their " sassy
Past and Present 59
He thought of Alexander and his tribe of assist-
ants. Every servant of importance had corps of
under helpers being trained and " fotched up." He
thought of the mellow voices of the field hands sing-
ing together in the quarters on just such moonlit
evenings as this. He was never allowed among
them unless accompanying his father on his rounds
over the plantation when his political duties per-
mitted his being at home, but they were fond of the
young master, who sometimes dispensed their semi-
annual allowance of rations and clothing, adding
thereto small gifts from his own pocket money.
** I wonder if I could remember them all ! " he
said, counting them off by their names and nick-
names. Ah ! the busy old place in those days
teemed with exuberance of life.
Although happy, his boyhood still lacked in
some part that which childhood should have to be
looked back upon with tenderest, sweetest memories.
He was fed, petted, and indulged by Mammy
Clarissa and the household servants, and reproved
by his mother for his misdemeanors. Hospitality
reigned in the home. Distinguished political friends
of his father's came for a week's relaxation, or a
day's sport, and in summer his mother's Cuban
relatives and friends thronged around her, and all
was gayety and life.
How well he remembered loitering about the
piazza, watching the languid, dark-eyed ladies in
their full luminous silks and soft muslins, fluttering
their fans, and chatting in low tones, sometimes in
French or Spanish, but oftenest in English made
soft by their melodious drawl. There their partners
6o When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
came for them for the dance, or sat beside them
smoking; there wines were served by hthe young
negresses. How he loved the merriment and badi-
nage, and the soft sweet odors that filled the evening
air from waving fans and overhanging vines of jas-
mine and honeysuckle ; and now the negroes were
scattered, and the old home left to run wild and
drop into decay, and at last turned into a boarding-
house ! " Why did mother ever sell that one spot,
of all others?" he said. '* She had no need of the
Suddenly he stood listening. The sound of a
voice, a sweet high soprano, rang out on the still
air, full, clear, penetrating the wide reaches of space,
as if searching the listener. Ah, the charm of that
woman's voice ! He lifted his head and gazed about
in bewilderment. Was he there, at the old place ?
There was the arching gateway casting a circular
shadow at his feet, the curving drive, the fountain
playing as of old, the shrubbery run wild and
tangled, but still there. He peered about in the
moonlit darkness, and lingered while the music
floated out to him through the open windows. The
singer was rendering an aria, florid and difficult. He
had heard it before, but here, in this place, lonely
and forsaken, how incongruous ! Thrilled with the
outpouring of melody and rhythm, he walked nearer
and nearer, drawn by the magic of the voice and the
hour, and finally sat down on the edge of the basin
of the old fountain.
The song ended, and a soun'd of children's voices
and laughter came from the open door. Had the
old times returned? But none sang thus in those
Past and Present 6i
days. This must be some Northern guest. The
children ran out into the moonhght. A man's
voice called them to come in. *' Where is the
nurse? Where is Mary?" said the man. ''These
children ought to be in bed." They ran in again,
and Marshall felt as if being shut out from his own
home as the door closed after them. He rose to go,
but again the voice of the singer filled the air, and
he sat down, with his head between his hands, and
listened. A merry little English ballad, and a cradle-
song, dulcet and mellow ! Marguerite sang them, but
not in this way. Not jike any instrument were the
tones, — only a woman's voice, incomparably sweet
and J ijgnder. Song followed song. Twice more
he rose, and twice remained. " To-morrow I will
find out about her," he said. At last the voice w^as
still. The lights disappeared one by one from
the windows. He hurried away, but the voice re-
mained with him. All night long it haunted his
JOHN MARSHALL was awakened next morning
by a glare of sunlight streaming through the
open window. The air was fragrant with bloom.
A bird sang its ecstasies in a bush outside. He lay
still and listened until, in his dreamy state, the voice
of the evening mingled with the song, and the deliri-
ous bird-notes resolved themselves into arias and
plaintive cradle-songs, and again a woman's voice
seemed to take up the notes and warble them like a
bird. Suddenly a gong was struck under his win-
dow, and with that hideous sound, the odors of
sausage and vile coffee pervaded the room. He
dressed hurriedly and tried to form a plan for the
day's action, but every scheme seemed to turn on
discovering the owner of the voice.
" I am growing fairly sentimental," he said.
** She may be the mother of those children, and
forty at the least." He smiled, and a crooked little
mirror sent back a twisted reflection of himself with
a diabolical grin.
There were few boarders at Scrapp's and the
dining-room was nearly empty. During his hurried
breakfast his loquacious landlady regaled him with
an account of a murder, news of which reached
her through the posse who had breakfasted there
early that morning.
Old Friendships 63
** Do' know what ever is goin' to become of this
place," she said. " Thievin', moonshinin', murderin'
killin' lot they be. I 'm sure I wisht I was back in
Ohio myself, where folks know how to live decent.
There 's that old Toplin woman up the mountain,
she 's been murdered, they tell me, found her in the
branch where she done her washin' with her throat
cut 'nd her clo'es torn half off'n her, 'nd every single
thing in the cabin smashed to pieces, 'nd they 'low
it 's the nigger 't worked for the old man 't 's done
it, fer they found his striped jail clo'es in the corner
o' the cabin, 'nd the old man's clo'es gone."
*' Where is the old man? "
" He's in the penitentiary servin' out a term for
moonshinin', 'nd the nigger was took up when he
was, but they tell me the nigger's got out, so
they 're after him fer the killin', 'nd when they git
him they '11 hang him, sure."
Marshall hastened out into the bracing morning
air. Although early, there was considerable stir in
the little place. Men were gathered in front of
Budd's saloon talking in low tones, and another
group lounged in the post-office. He glanced about,
and seeing the barber's pole near by, and also the
sign " I. M. Monk, Attorney at Law," a few steps
farther, he turned his steps in that direction, avoid-
ing both groups of loungers. Monk had heard of
his arrival and was expecting him. He sat at his
desk, his hat drawn down to his eyebrows, a pen
over his ear, a toothpick between his teeth, and a
pile of papers before him. He rose instantly, as
Marshall entered, extending a bony hand. The
lower part of his face smiled broadly, while his eyes
64 When the Gates Lift Up their Heads
scrutinized his visitor from under his hat rim. He
was bland and alert.
" Ah, Mr. Marshall, glad to see you, glad to see
you indeed. This is a surprise. A little cool this
morning. Come over by the fire. I must have a
fire. I have a fire right up to midsummer. Can't
stand the cold here in the mountains."
He placed a chair for Marshall near a rusty little
cracked stove in which a feeble fire was burning,
and seating himself still nearer, with his elbows on
his knees, he stretched his wiry hands toward the
heat, alternately opening and shutting his fingers as
if he were grasping at something.
John felt in no mood for elaboration, and hurried
through his interview with the agent with what
seemed to that individual scant ceremony in his
dismissal, and set off to look up some of the old
neighbors whom he used to like in his boyhood.