George Streynsham Master.

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of two evils: either a designing wretcn of a man
who wishes to laugh at and expose the follies of
siUy womanhood, or else, and mat's a great deal
worse, a scandal-loving female who would tickle
her gossipy palate with the discovered weaknesses
of her own sex. If you are the latter, I despise you,
for I can't get any fun out of a flirtation with a
woman ; but if you are the former, I'll excuse your
enormities if you'll only make yourself amusing.
What you are time may discover; what I am you
shall now hear. In the firs t place, — you men always
take that into first consideration, — I'm a decided bru-
nette and better looking than the average woman, at
least, so my friends and my glass tell me. I am
in my nineteenth year ; to be exact, was eighteen
last January, and am not the least bit sentimental,
but AiU of mischief as any poor cooped-up girl you
ever saw. Now isn't it asname?— I'm not out of
^^<«rding-school yet — and that's the reason you get



this letter; for I'm older than most of the other
girls, and feel like doinc; something that isn't real
bad, you know, but that^ just a UtUe reckless, and
they'll think it's awfully wicked when they find
out that I'm corresponding with a man I don't
know.

If you are a woman— but I don't think any woman
could have published such a thing, so we'll pretend
jrou are not a woman — if you are a man then, and
put that piece in the paper just for a Utrk~A%xi\ that
an awful word for me to use ? — why I will promise
to answer your letters so long as they are pleasant
and polite ; for you must not think I am not a lady
because I have written this letter. Of course, I
have no idea of marrying anybody, and especially
not you, for I am rather fond of somebody else and
he hkes me, at least he sends me boxes of candy and
the sweetest flowers; but I'm tired of this pokey
hfe and need some sort of a tonic. If you wisn yon
can write to

Yours suspiciously,

JosiE Mason,
Box Milwaukee, Wis.

P. S. — ^This isn't my real name, you see, any
more than yours is Edward Clarke; but it is the
only name you must know me by. And if by any
chance your advertisement should be in earnest, I
shall be dreadfully sorry to have written to you in
this way, but I'm sure that in that case you'll for-
give a harmless joke from a young girl who has
scarcely any amusements.

"That girl's a little trump;" said WDl,
when he had finished reading the letter,
" and I'm just the boy to help her drive the
blues away. You can have all the rest of
the letters, but this one drops to my ink."

It strudc me that there might be more
fun in this correspondence than in any of
the others that oflfered, so 1 mildly suggested
the impropriety and possible risk of episto-
lary ventures on the part of a married man.
My friend detected the motive, however,
and laughingly remarked that a man en-
gaged would run more danger than a man
married ; so he stuck to his prize, and then
and there answered it in a bright and spark-
ling letter, which overflowed with fun and
yet bore marks of prudence and of respect
for the young lady. In it he acknowledged
the falsity of that personal, and decided
that his object was gained in securing so
jovial, and probably so pretty a correspond-
ent, vowed that he would write to none of
the other damsels who had answered the
matrimonial card, and promised, on all the
honor an unknown man could possess, that
he would make no attempt to discover the
identity of ** Josie Mason." He took pre-
cious good pains, the scamp, not to say
anything about his encumbrances, and care-
fully avoided touching upon his personal
affairs.

A voluminous correspondence ensued be-
tween these two limatics, to which I was a



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45S



party, in so far that Will always read me
the letters from both sides. After some
months of this sort of thing had passed, I
noticed, and remarked the fact to him, that
Josie's style had greatly changed since her
first letter; she was less flippant, and evi-
dently strove to appear more womanly. It
could also be seen that she regretted her
mention of the young man of flowers and
candy boxes, for several times she hinted
that she had invented that sweet-gifted
youth as a convincing argument to the un-
known correspondent that she was in search
of amusement, not of a husband. Her pho-
tograph, sent about this time, showed a
very pretty and rather intellectual face, and
in return Fowler inclosed the likeness of a
good-looking Eastern friend of his. About
this time I again urged upon him the pro-
priety of stopping a correspondence which
could afford him but little more pleasure,
and which might lead to disagreeable re-
sults ; hinting, at the same time, my belief
that the girl was becoming too much inter-
ested in him. He treated this advice cav-
alierly, and spoke in so caustic a manner
about the virtue of non-interference that I
neither asked to see, nor did he offer to show
me, any more of the letters ; and although
we remained as good friends as ever, that
matrimonial card was, by tacit consent,
dropped from our list of conversational sub-
jects. My correspondence with three of
the unknown fair had ceased long since.

Some six weeks after our " Josie Mason "
tiff. Will suddenly said to me :

" It was very considerate of you, old fel-
low, not to flare up when I got so huflfy the
other day about your advice in that corre-
spondence matter. The fact is, I was be-
ginning to feel uncomfortable about it my-
self, and didn't find my temper improve at
recalling of your forebodings, which have
been flying around me like evil omens
ever since I began this affair. It is coming
too close home now, however, and I must
acknowledge the fear that you are right,
and that I have been wrong since the first."

" What's up now ? " I asked.

" Well, nothing in particular, but just a
sort of feeling that IVe been making an ass
of myself. I like that little girl first-rate,
but, confound it all, she's coming it a wee
bit too strong. Not that she has written
anything very pointed, you know, but
there's a simmering air of spoons and dan-
ger about her letters of late. At all events,
I'm resolved to pull out of it, so I have
written this letter to her on the subject."



"This letter" proved to be a half-and-
half sort of epistle, full of regrets for what had
been and of regrets for what must no longer
be, full of apologies and praises, frill of
hopes that they might never meet for fear
of the possible result, yet hinting at a de-
sire to see her, if only for once. In fact, it
was a bundle of incoherent nonsense from
beginning to end, the only sensible thing in
it being the statement that he retimied her
letters by that day's mail, and hoped she
would do as much with his.

" Well," said I, after reading this precious
document, " you have probably shown me
this with the idea that I will advise you
about it, but all I can say is that it sounds
more like a love-letter than any that I have
yet seen of yours."

" Yes, I know it does ; but what would
you have? I can't throw her overboard,
like an old handkerchief. If the poor little
thing is in love with me, all I can do is to
let her down as easily as possible, and to
accomplish that I must reciprocate her
affection, after a fashion."

Two days later I found Will gloomily
pondering over the answer. He did not
hand me the letter to read, but said, as he
folded it up :

" By Jove 1 I feel like a thief. Not one
word of recrimination, not an expression
that is unladylike, and still a mixture of
semi-pleading and semi-contempt that makes
me feel like a cur. Well, the afiair is ended
now, thank heaven I"

" So much the better," I replied. " But
how about your letters ? "

" She says she will send them back after
reading them over. By the way, I forgot to
inclose her photograph, and she didn't men-
tion it, so I'll keep it as a souvenir."

Saying this, he took the picture from his
pocket-book, and after looking at it for
a while in a dreamy sort of way, carefully
replaced it, and then walked out of the
room without a word of parting; but the
fag end of a sigh reached me through the
closing door.

About a week later Fowler came into
my room, saying :

" Here's a nice piece of business. Just
read that, will you ? " — ^handing me a letter.

It was this :

Milwaukee, September 6th.
Sir: I am a brother of the young lady whom
you know as Josie Mason. She has not been well
for some time, poor child, and has had to keep her
bed during the past week. This morning in finding
your corresponaence, I also found the cause of her
ill spirits. I will not waste time at present in dis-



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A ''PERSONAL;' AND WHAT CAME OF IT.



cussing your blackguardly Conduct : that can wait.
A few letters, passed between you by way of joke,
would have mattered little ; but when your words
mw warmer in each successive letter, is it strange
that an inexperienced child fell into your snare?
Now sir, my business is to find who you are for the
purpose of getting satisfaction ; and if I can't get
It in one way, why I am a Southerner, and 1*11 get
it in another. I write this that you may feel un-
comfortable while I am looking for you, as you
certainly will when I have found you.

One Whom You Will Know.

" Phew 1 This is a nice scrape. What are
you going to do about it, Will ? "

"What can I do about it except await
developments ? I really wish it would turn
out to be a blackmailing scheme ; for then,
although I would perhaps feel more like a
fool, there'd be less of the knave in it."

"I wouldn't worry about it any more
than I could help, old fellow," said I, ** for
this may be only a first explosion on the
part of the brother, which will amount to
nothing. It sounds to me like a genuine
letter; there's the true ring of indignation
in it, and therefore there is the less to be
feared. If the parties meant blackmailing
it would pay them to employ detectives, but
if it is a true bill, why, family pride ought
to act as a check upon publicity."

After thinking a bit, Fowler said :

" I'm going to write to him and explain
that no harm was intended, and that I am
extremely sorry if any harm has come of it.
That's the way I feel, and it will do no
hint to send the letter, you know."

" How will it reach him ? "

"Hum-m-m, didn't think of that. Yes!
I'll send it to her address and write * for her
brother' on it."

The letter was forwarded that evening,
and a cleverer bit of composition I have
rarely seen. The writer expressed regret
for what had happened, and apologized for
his share in it; at the same time he deli-
cately insinuated that it would be mortifying
to expose a family secret, especially when
no benefit could possibly accrue to any
member or members of the family most in-
terested. Five or six days later came the
following reply :

Sir: Damn your regrets and a fig for your
apolodes. Those matters should have been thought
of earlier in your correspondence with my famUy.
I also decline your advice as to what are the best
interests of that family, considering myself fully
competent to judge upon that question. My de-
tective thinks he has spotted you, and if you are the
man he points out, you are a worse scoundrel than
even I had given you credit for being. Is it possi-
ble that you have a wife and children, that you are
a man of respectable position in the commtmiQr,



and yet that, merely for the sake of a lau£h, yon
can trifle with the innocent affection of a child, who
knows nothing of the world ? You will hear again
soon fi-om

One Whom You Will Know.

"What the deuce shall I do?" asked
Will, after I had read this cheerful effusion.
" Had I better leave town for a while until
it has blown over, if there is going to be a
scandal ? "

" Certainly not," I advised ; " there's no
clear proof that he has foimd you; and
even if he has, what can you gain by leav-
ing ? The best way to get out of a row is
to face the music, and if you do it now it
may prove, after all, that there is a bluff game
being played. I am partially to blame in
this matter, and I will certainly stand by
you to the best of my ability."

It was so decided. Fowler bought a
revolver and a savage-looking club, and
spent most of his time with me ; this was
the more easily done as oiu: offices adjoined
each other, and his family were still absent
at a watering place. We did not talk
much about the affair, as he evidently shrank
from any mention I made of it ; but it never
left his mind, as could be seen by his inat-
tention to business and his furtive shoulder-
watching when he was in the street At
last, after a week of prolonged suspense,
the bolt fell.

We were sitting in Fowler's office one day,
when the door opened and a voice said :

" This is Mr. Fowler, I believe."

"That is my name," said Will, as his
hand slid to his revolver, and he eyed the
speaker, — a tall, well-built and rather hand-
some-looking man, apparently under thirty.

" I should like to speak with you a few
moments in private," continued the new-
comer, with a bland, ambassadorial air, at
the same time giving me a get-out-of-the-
room look.

" This gendeman is connected with me,"
replied Fowler, "and anything you may
have to say may be said in his presence."

" I am not here on a business errand, Mr.
Fowler, but to speak with you about a
purely personal matter. I refer to certain
letters which you have lately written. You
understand what I mean. Would it not be
better under the circumstances to be by
ourselves ? "

" Whatever question you have to discuss
with me, sir," answered Will, " will lie none
the worse for ventilation before a witness."

" If that is your decision I must of course
comply with it. To come to the point then,



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sir, I am here to represent my friend George
Travers of Milwaukee, who claims that
you have grossly insulted him by sending
objectionable' letters to a member of his
family. Do you admit the fact that you
wrote those letters ? and will you grant Mr.
Travers the satisfaction which one gentle-
man expects from another in such cases ? "

*' I admit nothing and deny nothing, but
if by ' satisfaction ' you mean will I give
some unknown, or for that matter well-
known, man an opportunity to murder me,
I shall unquestionably answer, No I "

" Mr. Fowler, my friend and I were
officers in the same Confederate regiment,
and from long acquaintance with him I can
assure you that he is a man of his word.
His directions and my inclinations were to
treat you as courteously as possible, and
only employ positive action if it became
positively necessary. Your reply forces
that alternative ; so I must inform you that
be has absolute proof that you are the man
whom he has been seeking, that he is de-
termined to treat you as he believes you
deserve, and that no evasion or quibble will
turn him from his purpose, — which purpose
is explained in this letter."

Will blanched a little as he read the doc-
ument, but he handed it to me and quietly
said to the stranger :

" If you'll return in half an hour I will
give you an answer, or, if you prefer it, I
will send you one through a friend."

The man of war accepted the first oficr
and retired. The letter read as follows :

Sir: FeeHng sure that, althoagh you hold the
posilion of a gentleman, you do not possess the
spirit of one, and will not be willing, tnerefore, to
offer the redress naturally expected from one, I send
you the following hint in writme, that my friend may
oe relieved from the disagreeable task of deliverine
it personally. If you have a spark of manhood
you will aco^ the proposition which he has deliv-
ered to you verballv, and I will treat you as though
I believed you to oe a man of couraee ; but if you
refuse, I solemnly swear that I wul horse-whip
you in the public streets and brand you as a cow-
ard.

(The Man Whom You Know)

George Travers.

We looked blankly at each other for a
few moments, and then Will said :

" Great heavens I This is the devil's
own. What am I to do ? The fellow
seems to be in earnest, and his deputy cer-
tainly doesn't look like a blackmailer, and
it's a nice pickle, anyhow. If I accept the
challenge I'm sure to be disgraced, for of
course the whole muddle will get out in the



papers, and by the law in this state I will
foifeit all chance of promotion, officially or
professionally. If, on the other hand, I re-
fiise to have anything to do with this absurd
business, I run the chance of being attacked
on the street, in which case, as I have no
great physical strength, I shall certainly
shoot the man, and either be shot myself
or be hauled into court dripping with
scandal."

The situation certainly was not encour-
aging, and I felt quite sorry for Will as he
raved along in an incoherent jumble of
" ife " and " ands," imtil finally I said :

" Brace up, old fellow I This sort of
thing wont do. The chief need now is
time for consideration; so why don't you
put a bold fi-ont on the matter and accept
his challenge, referring him to me for the
arrangements ? If there is anything fishy in
the business this will stop their little game,
and if it prove to be what it seems, a real
case, why a compromise may be effected,
and if that should fail, you'll be no worse off"
than you now are, and can fight or decline,
as you see fit."

Fowler adopted my suggestion, and when
Powder-and-Balls returned, Will said to him,
in a quietly fierce manner :

" You will be kind enough to inform Mr.
Travers that it will give me ^at satisfaction
to lodge a bullet in his impudent body.

My friend, Mr. , has kindly undertaken

the management of the affair, so for further
particulars I must refer you to him."

The ambassador looked at me rather curi-
ously, and asked if I would call on him at
the Sherman House in an hour. Receiv-
ing an affirmative reply, he departed.

I did not find him at the Sherman
House, nor did we ever hear again fi-om
either him or his principal, nor could we
find their names in the Milwaukee direct-
ory. It was a decidedly curious affair, and
Will puzzled over it immensely, even going
so far as to write another letter to " Josie
Mason," asking for an explanation; but
none came.

A month later I went to Iowa on a long
chicken hunt. From the first station I sent
back a package by express to Fowler.
Among its contents was this letter :

Dear Will:

You have played many a severe practical joke on
me, for whicn I have long been your debtor ; now
I think we can cry quits. Herewith I inclose the
entire correspondence between yourself and " Josie
Mason " and her fiery brother. Her letters and
his were the joint composition of Miss and



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HYMN TO THE SEA.



myself, and much trouble it has given us to please
your critical literary taste. It was good practice,
nowever, and not such bad fun, so we did not
grudge the labor. The challenge was brought by
a cousin of hers. Allow me to repeat the advice
which vou so curtly rejected at the beginning of
this little experience, viz. : the impropriety and pos-
sible risk 01 epistolary ventures on the part of a
married man.



If you'll take the joke kindly we'll promise not to
peach.

Your sincere friend and old chum,

Our handsomest wedding present came
from Will. It was a large secretary, beau-
tifully inlaid, and fitted with a gorgeous
array of writing material.



HYMN TO THE SEA.



If there is nothing sure but the unsure,

Which is at once its cradle and its grave,

Creative and destructive, — ^hand that molds.

And feet than trample, — ^instruments of Change,

Which is itself the instrument of Power :

If these, our bodies, conscious of themselves,

And cognizable by others like themselves,

Waste and supply their forces day by day.

Till there is nothing kft of what they were.

The whole man being re-made from head to foot;

How comes it then, I say, that standing here

Beside the waters of this quiet bay.

Which welter shoreward, roughened by the wind,

Twinkling in simshine, I am the same man

Who gazed upon them thirty years ago,

Lulled by theu: placid motion, and the sense

Of something happy they begat in me ?

I saunter by the shore and lose myself

In the blue waters, stretching on, and on.

Beyond the low-lying headland, dark with woods,

And on to the green waste of sea, content

To be alone, — but I am not alone.

For solitude like this is populous,

And its abundant life of sky and sun, —

High-floating clouds, low mists, and wheeling birds,

And waves that ripple shoreward all day long,

Whether the tide is setting in or out.

Forever rippling shoreward, dark and bright,

As lights and shadows and the shifting winds

Pursue each other in their endless play, —

Is more than the companionship of man.

I know our inland landscapes, pleasant fields,

Where lazy cattle browse, and chew the cud;

The smooth declivities of quiet vales:

The swell of uplands, and the stretch of woods,

Within whose shady places Solitude

Holds her perpetual court. They touch me not.

Or only touch me in my shallowest moods,

And leave no recollection. They are naught

But thou, O Sea, whose majesty and might

Are mild and beautiful in this still bay,

But terrible in the mid-ocean deeps,

I never see thee but my soul goes out



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HYMN TO THE SEA. 459



To thee, and is sustained and comforted;

For she discovers in herself, or thee,

A stern necessity for stronger life,

And strength to live it: she surrenders all

She had, and was, and is possessed of more.

With more to come— endurance, patience, peace.

I love thee, Ocean, and delight in thee,
Thy color, motion, vastness,— all the eye
Takes in from shore, and on the tossing waves;
Nothing escapes me, not the least of weeds
That shrivels and blackens on the barren sand.
I have been walking on the yellow sands.
Watching the long, white, ragged fringe of foam
The waves have washed up on the curves of beach,
The endless fluctuation of the waves.
The circuit of the sea-gulls, low, aloft.
Dipping their wings an instant in the brine,
And urging their swift flight to distant woods,
And round and over all the perfect sky,
Clear, cloudless, luminous in the summer noon.

I have been sitting on the stem, gray rocks.

That push their way up from the under-world.

And shoulder the waves aside, and musing there

The sea of Time has ebbed with me, and I,

Borne backward with it, have beheld the Past,

Times, places, generations, all that was

From the in&ncy of Earth. The primitive race,

That skulked in caves, and wore the skin of beasts :

Shepherds and herdsmen, whose nomadic tents

Were pitched by river-banks in pasture-lands.

Where no man was before them; husbandmen.

Who shaped out for themselves rude implements

Of tillage, and for whom the Earth brought forth

The first of harvests, — ^happy when the sheaves

Were gathered in, for robber-bands were near:

Horsemen with spears, who seized their flocks and herds.

And led their wives and children captive — all

(Save those who perished fighting) sold as slaves 1

Rapine and murder triumph. I behold

The shock of armies in forgotten fields,

The flight of arrows, and the flash of swords.

Shields pierced, and helmets cloven, and hosts gone down

Behind the scythM chariots: cities girt

By grim, beleaguering, formidable foes,

With battering-rams that breach the tottering walls.

And crush the gaunt defenders; mailM men

That ride against each oUier and are unhorsed

Where lances shiver and the dreadful sweep

Of the battle-ax makes havoc : thunderous guns.

Belching destruction through the sulphurous cloud

That wraps the league-long lines of infantry ;

The charge of cavalry on hollow squares —

Sharp shots, and riderless horses! This is War,

And these are men — thy children. Earth! The Sea

Has never bred such monsters, though it swarms

With living things; they have not overrun



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46o HYMN TO THE SEA,



Its spacious realms, and left them solitudes:
The desolation of the unfooted waves
Is not of their dark making, but of thine,
Inhospitable, barren, solemn Sea!

Thou wert before the Continents, before

The hollow heavens, which like another sea

Encircles them, and thee; but whence thou wert,

And when thou wast created, is not known.

Antiquity was young when thou wast old.

There is no limit to thy strength, no end



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