The fall, the air of the swamp, and the inward drenching
of brandy had left Carl looking much as usual ; the tenacious
disease that held him swallowed the lesser ills. But for the
time, at least, his wandering footsteps were staid.
** I suppose there is no use in my asking, Carl, why you
went in there ? " said Deal, after a while.
" No, there isn't I'm haunted â€” ^that's all."
" But what is it that haimts you ? "
" Sounds. You couldn't understand, though, if I was to
talk all night"
" Peiiiaps I could ; perhaps I can understand more than
you imagine. I'll tell you a story presently ; but first you
must explain to me, at least as well as you can, what it is that
attracts you in South Devil."
" Oh â€” ^weU," said Carl, with a long, impatient sigh, closing
his eyes wearily. " I am a musician, you know, a musician
manqui: a musician who can't play. Something's the mat-
ter ; I hear music, but can not bring it out And I know so
well what it ought to be, ought to be and isn't, that I've broken
my violin in pieces a dozen times in my rages about it. Now,
other fellows in orchestras, who don't know, get along very
welL But I couldn't I've thought at times that, although I
THE SOUTH DEVIL.
can not sound what I hear with my own hands, perhaps I
could write it out so that other men could sound it. The
idea has never come to anything definite yet â€” ^that isÂ» what
you would call definite ; but it haunts me persistently, and
new it has got into that swamp. The wish/' here Caii laid
down his g^eat pipe, and pressed his hand eagerly upon his
brother's knee â€” ** the wish that haunts me â€” drives meâ€” 4s to
write out the beautiful music of the South Devil, the sounds
one hears in there " â€”
" But there are no sounds."
â€¢* No sounds? You must be deaf ! The air fairly reeks
with sounds, with harmonies. But there â€” I told you you
couldn't understand." He leaned back against the wall again,
and took up the great pipe, which looked as though it must
consume whatever small store of strength remained to him.
'' Is it what is called an opera you want to write, like â€” ^like
the * Creatk)n,' for instance ? " asked Deal. The " Creation "
was the only long piece of music he had ever heard.
Caii groaned. " Oh, dan^t talk of it ! " he said ; then add-
ed, irritably, '' It's a song, that's all â€” the song of a Southern
*' Call it by it's real name. Devil," said the elder brother,
" I would, if I was rich enough to have a picture painted
â€” ^the Spirit of the Swampâ€” a beautiful woman, falsely called
a devil by cowards, daric, languorous, mystical, sleeping among
the vines I saw up there, with the great red blossoms drop-
ping around her."
" And the great mottled snakes coiling over her ? "
" / didn't see any snakes."
"Well," said Maik, refilling his jMpe, "now I'm going to
tell you my story. When I met you on that windy pier at
Exton, and proposed that you should come down here with
me, I was coming myself, in any case, wasn't I ? And why ?
I wanted to get to a place where I could be warmâ€” warm,
hot, baked ; warm through and through ; Mrarm all the time.
THE SOUTH DEVIL. 155
I wanted to get to a place where the very ground was warm.
And ncwâ€”VVL tell you why."
He rose from his seat, laid down his pipe, and, extending
his hand, spoke for about fifteen minutes without pause.
Then he turned, went back hastily to the old chimney, where
red coals still lingered, and sat down dose to the glow, leaving
Carl wonder-struck in his tilted chair. The elder man leaned
over the fire and held his hands close to the coals; Carl
watched him. It was nine o'clock, and the thermometer
For nearly a month after Christmas, life on the old planta-
tion went on without event or disaster. Cari, with his crutch
and cane, could not walk far; his fancy now was to limp
through the east orange-aisle to the place of tombs, and sit
there for hours, playing softly, what might be called crooning,
on his violin. The place of tombs was a small, circular space
surrounded by wild orange-trees in a close, even row, like a
hedge ; here were four tombs, massive, oblong blocks of the
white conglomerate of the coast, too coarse-grained to hold
inscription or mark of any kind Who the old Spaniards were
whose bones lay beneath, and what names they bore in the
flesh, no one knew ; all record was lost. Outside in the wild
thicket was a tomb still more ancient, and of different con-
struction: four slabs of stone, uncovered, about three feet
high, rudely but firmly placed, as though inclosing a coffin.
In the earth between these low walls grew a venerable cedar ;
but, old as it was, it must have been planted by chance or by
hand after the human body beneath had been laid in its place.
" Why do you come here ? " said Deal, pausing and look-
ing into the place of tombs, one morning, on his way to the
orange-grove. " There are plenty of pleasanter spots about. "^
" No ; I like this better,'* answered Cari, without stopping
the low chant of his violin. " Besides, they like it too."
" The old fellows down below. The chap outside there,
who must ha^ been an Aztec, I suppose, and the original
156 THE SOUTH DEVIL.
proprietor, catches a little of it ; but I generally limp over and
give him a tune to himself before going home. I have to
imagine the Aztec style."
Mark gave a short laugh, and went on to his work. But
he knew the real reason for Carl's fancy for the place ; be-
tween the slim, clean trunks of the orange-trees, the long
green line of South Devil bounded the horizon, the fiat tops
of the cypresses far above against the sky, and the vines and
silver moss filling the space belowâ€” a luxuriant wall across
the broad, thinly-treed expanses of the pine barrens.
One evening in January Deal came homeward as usual at
sunset, and found a visitor. Carl introduced himÂ« ''My
friend Schwartz," he said. Schwartz merited his name ; he
was dark in complexion, hairÂ» and eyes, and if he had any
aims they were dark also. He was full of anecdotes and jests,
and Carl laughed heartily; Mark had never heard him laugh
in that way before. The elder brother ordered a good supper,
and played the host as well as he could ; but, in spite of the
anecdotes, he did not altogether like friend Schwartz. Early
the next morning, while the visitor was still asleep, he called
Carl outside, and asked in an undertone who he was.
" Oh, I met him first in Berlin, and afterward I knew him
in New York," said Carl. " All the orchestra fellows know
" Is he a musician, then ? "
"Not exactly; but he used to be always around, you
" How comes he down here ? "
" Just chance. He had an offer from a sort of a â€” of a
restaurant, up in San Miguel, a new place recently opened.
The other day he happened to find out that I was here, and
so came down to see me."
" How did he find out ? "
" I suppose you gave our names to the agent when you
took the place, didn't you ? "
" I gave mine ; and â€” ^yes, I think I mentioned you."
THE SOUTH DEVIL. 157
â€¢' If you didn't, I mentioned myself. I was at San Miguel,
two weeks you remember, while you were making ready down
here ; and I venture to say almost everybody remembers Carl
Mark smiled. Carl's fixed, assured self-conceit in the face
of the utter failure he had made of his life did not annoy, but
rather amused him ; it seemed part of the lad's nature.
" I don't want to g^dge you your amusement, Carl," he
said ; " but I don't much like this Schwartz of yours."
" He won't stay ; he has to go back to-day. He came in
a cart with a man from San Miguel, who, by some rare chance,
had an errand down this forgotten, God-forsaken, dead-alive
old road. The man will pass by on his way home this after-
noon, and Schwartz is to meet him at the edge of the bar-
** Have an early dinner, then ; there are birds and venison,
and there is lettuce enough for a salad. Scip. can make you
But, although he thus proffered his best, none the less did
the elder brother take with him the key of the little chest
which contained his small store of brandy and the two or
three bottles of orange wine which he had brought down with
him from San Miguel.
After he had gone, Schwartz and Carl strolled around the
plantation in the sunshine Schwartz did not care to sit
down among Carl's tombs ; he said they made him feel
moldy. Carl argued the point with him in vain, and then
gave it up, and took him around to the causeway across the
sugar-waste, where they stretched themselves out in the shade
cast by the ruined wall of the old mill.
** What brought this brother of yours away down here ? "
asked the visitor, watching a chameleon on the wall near by.
" See that little beggar swelling out his neck ! "
" He's catching flies. In a storm they will come and hang
themselves by one paw on our windows, and the wind will
blow them oiit like dead leaves, and rattle them about, and
158 â€¢ THE SOUTH DEVIL.
theyll never move. But, wheii the sun shines out, there they
are all alive again."
" But about your brother ? "
" He isn't my brother."
"My mother, a widow, named Brenner, with one son,
Carl, married his father, a widower, named Deal, with one
son, Mark. There you have the whole."
" He is a great deal older than you. I suppose he has
been in the habit of assisting you ? "
" Never saw him in my life until this last October, when,
one windy day, he found me coughing on 'the Exton pier;
and, soon afterward, he brought me down here."
" Came, then, on your account ? "
"By no means; he was coming himself. It's a queer
story; I'll tell it to you. It seems he went with the Kenton
Arctic expedition â€” ^you remember it ? Two of the ships were
lost ; his was one. But I'll have to get up and say it as he
did." Here Carl rose, put down his pipe, extended one hand
stiffly in a fixed position, and went on speaking, his very
voice, by force of the natural powers of mimicry he possessed,
sounding like Mark's :
" We were a company of eight when we started away
from the frozen hulk, which would never see clear water un-
der her bows again. Once before we had started, thirty-five
strong, and had come back thirteen. Five had died in -the
old ship, and now the last survivors were again starting forth.
We drew a sledge behind us, carrying our provisions and the
farcical records of the expedition which had ended in death,
as they must all end. We soon lose sight of the vessel. It
was our only shelter, and we look back ; then, at each other.
* Cheer up ! ' says one. * Take this extra skin, Mark ; I am
stronger than you.' It's Proctor's voice that speaks. Ten
days go by. There are only five of us now, and we are walk-
ing on doggedly across the ice, the numbing ice, the killing
ice, the never-ending, gleaming, taunting, devilish ice. We
THE SOUTH DEVIL.
have left the sledge behind. No trouble now for each to
carry his share of food, it is so light. Now we walk together
for a while ; now we separate, sick of seeing one another's
pinched faces, but we keep within call. On the eleventh day
a wind rises ; bergs come sailing into view. One moves down
upon us. Its peak shining in the sunshine far above is no-
thing to the great mass that moves on under the water. Our
ice-field breaks into a thousand pieces. We leap from block
to block ; we cry aloud in our despair ; we call to each other,
and curse, and pray. But the strips of dark water widen be-
tween us ; our ice-islands g^ow smaller ; and a current bears
us onward. We can no longer keep in motion, and freeze as
we stand. Two float near each other as darkness falls;
' Cheer up, Mark, cheer up ! ' cries one, and throws his flask
across the gap between. Again it is Proctor's voice that
" In the morning only one is left alive. The others are
blocks of ice, and float around in the. slow eddy, each sol-
emnly staring, one foot advanced, as if still keeping up the
poor cramped steps with which he had fought off death. The
one who is still alive floats around and around, with these
dead men standing stiffly on their islands, all day, sometimes
so near them that the air about him is stirred by their icy
forms as they pass. At evening his cake drifts away through
an opening toward the south, and he sees them no more,
save that after him follows his dead friend. Proctor, at some
distance behmd. As night comes, the figure seems to wave
its rigid hand in the distance, and cry from its icy throat,
â€¢ Cheer up, Mark, and good-by ! ' "
Here Carl stopped, rubbed his hands, shivered, and looked
to see how his visitor took the narrative.
" It's a pretty cold story," said Schwartz, " even in this
broiling sun. So he came down here to get a good, full
warm, did he ? He's got the cash, I suppose, to pay for his
" I don't call that a fancy, exactly," said Carl, seating him-
i6o THE SOUTH DEVIL.
self on the hot white sand in the sunshine, with his thin hands
clasped around his knees. "As to cash â€” I don't know. He
works very hard."
" He works because he likes it," said Schwartz, contempt
tuously ; " he looks like that sort of a man. But, at any rate,
he don't vdTik&you work much ! "
** He is awfully good to me," admitted Carl.
" It isn't on account of your beauty."
"Oh, I'm good looking enough in my way," replied the
youth. " I acknowledge it isn't a common way ; like yours,
for instance." As he spoke, he passed his hand through his
thin light hair, drew the ends of the long locks forward, and
examined them admiringly.
"As he never saw you before, it couldn't have been
brotherly love," pursued the other. " I suppose it was pity."
" No, it wasn't pity, either, you old blockhead," said Carl,
laughing. " He likes to have me with him ; he likes me."
"I see that myself, and that's exactly the point. Why
should he ? You haven't any inheritance to will to him, have
you ? "
" My violin, and the clothes on my back. I believe that's
all," answered Carl, lightly. He took off his palmetto hat,
made a pillow of it, and stretched himself out at full length,
closing his eyes.
" Well, give me a brother with cash, and I'll go to sleep,
too," said Schwartz. When Deal came home at sunset, the
dark-skinned visitor was gone.
But he came again ; and this time stayed three days.
Mark allowed it, for Carl's sake. All he said was, " He can
not be of much use in the restaurant up there. What is he ?
Cook.> Or waiter?"
" Oh, Schwartz isn't a servant, old fellow. He helps en-
tertain the guests."
" Sings, I suppose."
Carl did not reply, and Deal set Schwartz down as a lager-
beer-hall ballad-singer, borne southward on the tide of winter
THE SOUTH DEVIL. 161
travel to Florida. One advantage at least was gamed â€” ^when
Schwartz was there, Carl was less tempted by the swamp.
And now, a third time, the guest came. During the first
evening of this third visit, he was so good-tempered, so frank-
ly lazy and amusing, that even Deal was disarmed. " He's a
good-for-nothing, probably; but there's no active harm in
him," he said to himself.
The second evening was a repetition of the first.
When he came home at sunset on the third evening, Carl
was lying coiled up close to the wall of the house, his face
hidden in his arms.
" What are you doing there ?" said Deal, as he passed by,
on his way to put up the tools.
No answer. But Carl had all kinds of whims, and Deal
was used to them. He went across to Scip's chimney.
" Awful time, cap'en," said the old negro, in a low voice.
" Soon's you's gone, dat man make young marse drink, and
bot' begin to holler and fight."
" Drink ? They had no liquor."
" Yes, dey hab. Mus* hab brought .'em long."
" Where is the man ? "
" Oh, he gone long ago â€” gone at noon."
Deal went to his brother. "Carl," he said, "get up.
Dinner is ready." But the coiled form did not stir.
" Don't be a fool," continued Deal. " I know you've been
drinking; Scip told me. It's a pity. But no reason why you
should not eat."
Carl did not move. Deal went ofif to his dinner, and sent
some to Carl. But the food remained untasted. Then Deal
passed into the house to get some tobacco for his pipe. Then
a loud cry was heard. The hiding-place which his Yankee
fingers had skillfully fashioned in the old wall had bee|i rifled ;
all his money was gone. No one knew the secret of the spot
" Did he overpower you and take it ? " he asked, kneeling
down and lifting Carl by force, so that he could see his face.
i6z THE SOUTH DEVIL.
"No; I gave it to him," Cari answered, thickly and
" YovLgave it to him ? "
" I lost itâ€” at cards."
Deal had never thought of that. All at once the whole
flashed upon him : the gambler who was always ** around "
with the " orchestra fellows " ; the " restaurant " at San
Miguel where he helped " entertain " the guests ; the proba-
bility that ijusiness was slack in the ancient little town, unac-
customed to such luxuries ; and the treasure-trove of an old
acquaintance within a day's journey â€” an old acquaintance
like Carl, who had come also into happy possession of a rich
brother. A rich brother ! â€” ^probably that was what Schwartz
called him !
At any rate, rich or poor, Schwartz had it all. With the
exception of one hundred dollars which he had left at San
Miguel as a deposit, he had now only five dollars in the
world ; Carl had gambled away his all.
It was a hard blow.
He lifted his brother in his arms and carried him in to his
hammock. A few minutes later, staff in hand, he started
down the live-oak avenue toward the old road which led
northward to San Miguel. The moonlight was brilliant ; he
walked all nig^t. At dawn he was searching the little city.
Yes, the man was known there. He frequented the Es-
meralda Parlors. The Esmeralda Parlors, however, repre-
sented by an attendant, a Northern mulatto, with straight
features, long, narrow eyes, and pale-golden skin, a bronze
piece of insolence, who was also more faultlessly dressed than
any one else in San Miguel, suavely replied that Schwartz
was no longer one of their " guests " ; he had severed his
connection with the Parlors several days before. Where was
he ? The Parlors had no idea.
But the men about the docks knew. Schwartz had been
seen the previous evening negotiating passage at the last mo-
THE SOUTH DEVIL. 163
ment on a coasting schooner bound Southâ€”- one of those
nondescript little craft engaged in smuggling and illegal trad-
ing, with which the waters of the West Indies are infested.
The schooner had made her way out of the harbor by moon-
light. Although ostensibly bound for Key West, no one
could say with any certainty that she would touch there ;
bribed by Schwartz, with all the harbors, inlets, and lagoons
of the West Indies open to her, pursuit would be worse than
hopeless. Deal realized this. He ate the food he had brought
with him, drank a cup of coffee, called for his dq>osit, and
then walked back to the plantation.
When he came into the little plaza, Carl was sitting on the
steps of their small house. His head was clear again ; he
looked pale and wasted.
" It's all right," said Deal. " I Ve traced him. In the mean
time, don't worry, Carl. If I don't mind it, why should you ? "
Without saying more, he went inside, changed his shoes,
then came out, ordered dinner, talked to Scip, and when the
meal was ready called Carl, and took his place at the table as
though nothing had happened. Cari scarcely spoke; Deal
approved his silence. He felt so intensely for the lad, realized
so strongly what he must be feeling â€” suffering and feeling â€”
that conversation on the subject would have been at that
early moment unendurable. But waking during the night,
and hearing him stirring, uneasy, and apparently feverish, he
went across to the hammock.
** You are worrying about it, Cari, and you are not strong
enough to stand worry. Look here â€” I have forgiven you ; I
would forgive you twice as much. Have you no idea why I
brought you down here with me ? "
" Because you're kind-hearted. And perhaps, too, you
thought it would be lonely," answered Cari.
" No, I'm not kind-hearted, and I never was lonely in my
life. I didn't intend to tell you, but â€” ^you must not worry.
It is your name, Carl, and â€” ^and yoiu* blue eyes. I was fond
i64 THE SOUTH DEVIL.
" Fond of Leeza â€” Leeza Brenner ? Then why on earth
didn't you marry her ? " said Carl, sitting up in his hammock,
and trying to see his step-brother's face in the moonlight
that came through the chinks in the shutters.
Mark's face was in shadow. '' She liked some one else
better," he said.
" Never mind. But â€” ^yes, I will tell you â€” Graves."
" John Graves ? That dunce ? No, she didn't."
"As it happens, I know she did. But we won't talk
about it, I only told you to show you why I cared for
"/wouldn't care about a g^rl that didn't care for me,"
said Carl, still peering curiously through the checketed dark-
ness. The wizened young violin-player fancied himself an
omnipotent power among women. But Deal had gone to his
bed, and would say no more.
Carl had heard something now which deeply astonished
him. He had not been much troubled about the lost money ;
it was not in his nature to be much troubled about money at
any time. He was sorry; but what was gone was gone;
why waste thought upon it? This he called philosophy.
Mark, out of regard for Cart's supposed distress, had forbid-
den conversaticm on the subject ; but lie was not shutting out,
as he thought, torrents of shame, remorse, and self-condemna-
tion. Carl kept silence willingly enough ; but, even if the bar
had been removed, he would have had little to say. During
the night his head had ached, and he had had some fever ;
but it was more the ^ect of the fiery, rank liquor pressed
upon him by Schwartz than of remorse. But now he had
heard what really interested and aroused him. Mark in love !
â€” hard-working, steady, dull old Mark, whom he had thought
endowed with no fancies at all, save perfiaps that of being
thoroughly warmed after his arctic freezing. Old Marie fond
of Leeza â€” ^in love with Leeza !
Leeza wasn't much. Carl did not even think his cousin
THE SOUTH DEVIL. 165
pretty ; his fanqr was for something large and Oriental. But,
pretty or not, she had evidently fascinated Mark Deal^ com-
ing, a poor little orphan maid, with her aunt, Carl's mother,
to brighten old Abner Deal's farm-house, one mile from the
windy Exton pier. Cari's mother could not hope to keep her
German son in this new home ; but she kept little Leeza, or
Eliza, as the neighbors called her. And Mark, a shy, awk-
ward boy, had learned to love the child, who had sweet blue
eyes, and thick braids of flaxen hair fastened across the back
of her head.
" To care all that for Leeza I " thought Carl, laughing si-
lently in his hammock. " And then to fancy that she liked
that Graves! And then to leave her, and come away off
down here, just on the suspicion ! "
But Carl was mistaken. A man, be he never so awkward
and silent, will generally make at least one effort to get the
woman he loves. Mark had made two, and failed. After
his. first, he had gone North; after his second, he had come
South, bringing Leeza's cousin with him.
In the momii^ a new life began on the old plantation.
First, Scipio was dismissed; then the hunter who had .kept
the open-air larder supplied with game, an old man of un-
known, or rathfer mixed descent, having probably Spanish,
Africa, and Seminole blood in his veins, was told that his
services were required no more.
" But are you going to starve us, then ? " asked Carl, with
a comical grimace. .
"I am a good shot, myself," replied Deal; "and a fair
cook, too." -
" But why do you do it ? " pursued the other. He had
forgotten all about the money.
The elder man looked at his brother. Could it be possible
that he had forgotten ? And, if he had, was it not necessary,
in their altered circumstances, that the truth should be brought
plainly before his careless eyes ?
V'l am obliged to do it," he answered, gravely. "We
l66 THE SOUTH DEVIL.