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before. It closed with these lines:

" - Bellevue Hospital, where it was said that his injuries were not
serious. He appeared to be a typical Man About Town."


On his bench in Madison Square Soapy moved uneasily. When wild geese
honk high of nights, and when women without sealskin coats grow kind
to their husbands, and when Soapy moves uneasily on his bench in the
park, you may know that winter is near at hand.

A dead leaf fell in Soapy's lap. That was Jack Frost's card. Jack is
kind to the regular denizens of Madison Square, and gives fair warning
of his annual call. At the corners of four streets he hands his
pasteboard to the North Wind, footman of the mansion of All Outdoors,
so that the inhabitants thereof may make ready.

Soapy's mind became cognisant of the fact that the time had come for
him to resolve himself into a singular Committee of Ways and Means to
provide against the coming rigour. And therefore he moved uneasily
on his bench.

The hibernatorial ambitions of Soapy were not of the highest. In them
there were no considerations of Mediterranean cruises, of soporific
Southern skies drifting in the Vesuvian Bay. Three months on the Island
was what his soul craved. Three months of assured board and bed and
congenial company, safe from Boreas and bluecoats, seemed to Soapy the
essence of things desirable.

For years the hospitable Blackwell's had been his winter quarters. Just
as his more fortunate fellow New Yorkers had bought their tickets to
Palm Beach and the Riviera each winter, so Soapy had made his humble
arrangements for his annual hegira to the Island. And now the time
was come. On the previous night three Sabbath newspapers, distributed
beneath his coat, about his ankles and over his lap, had failed to
repulse the cold as he slept on his bench near the spurting fountain
in the ancient square. So the Island loomed big and timely in Soapy's
mind. He scorned the provisions made in the name of charity for the
city's dependents. In Soapy's opinion the Law was more benign than
Philanthropy. There was an endless round of institutions, municipal and
eleemosynary, on which he might set out and receive lodging and food
accordant with the simple life. But to one of Soapy's proud spirit
the gifts of charity are encumbered. If not in coin you must pay in
humiliation of spirit for every benefit received at the hands of
philanthropy. As Caesar had his Brutus, every bed of charity must have
its toll of a bath, every loaf of bread its compensation of a private
and personal inquisition. Wherefore it is better to be a guest of the
law, which though conducted by rules, does not meddle unduly with a
gentleman's private affairs.

Soapy, having decided to go to the Island, at once set about
accomplishing his desire. There were many easy ways of doing this.
The pleasantest was to dine luxuriously at some expensive restaurant;
and then, after declaring insolvency, be handed over quietly and
without uproar to a policeman. An accommodating magistrate would do
the rest.

Soapy left his bench and strolled out of the square and across the
level sea of asphalt, where Broadway and Fifth Avenue flow together. Up
Broadway he turned, and halted at a glittering café, where are gathered
together nightly the choicest products of the grape, the silkworm and
the protoplasm.

Soapy had confidence in himself from the lowest button of his vest
upward. He was shaven, and his coat was decent and his neat black,
ready-tied four-in-hand had been presented to him by a lady missionary
on Thanksgiving Day. If he could reach a table in the restaurant
unsuspected success would be his. The portion of him that would show
above the table would raise no doubt in the waiter's mind. A roasted
mallard duck, thought Soapy, would be about the thing - with a bottle of
Chablis, and then Camembert, a demi-tasse and a cigar. One dollar for
the cigar would be enough. The total would not be so high as to call
forth any supreme manifestation of revenge from the café management; and
yet the meat would leave him filled and happy for the journey to his
winter refuge.

But as Soapy set foot inside the restaurant door the head waiter's eye
fell upon his frayed trousers and decadent shoes. Strong and ready hands
turned him about and conveyed him in silence and haste to the sidewalk
and averted the ignoble fate of the menaced mallard.

Soapy turned off Broadway. It seemed that his route to the coveted
island was not to be an epicurean one. Some other way of entering
limbo must be thought of.

At a corner of Sixth Avenue electric lights and cunningly displayed
wares behind plate-glass made a shop window conspicuous. Soapy took a
cobblestone and dashed it through the glass. People came running around
the corner, a policeman in the lead. Soapy stood still, with his hands
in his pockets, and smiled at the sight of brass buttons.

"Where's the man that done that?" inquired the officer excitedly.

"Don't you figure out that I might have had something to do with it?"
said Soapy, not without sarcasm, but friendly, as one greets good

The policeman's mind refused to accept Soapy even as a clue. Men who
smash windows do not remain to parley with the law's minions. They take
to their heels. The policeman saw a man half way down the block running
to catch a car. With drawn club he joined in the pursuit. Soapy, with
disgust in his heart, loafed along, twice unsuccessful.

On the opposite side of the street was a restaurant of no great
pretensions. It catered to large appetites and modest purses. Its
crockery and atmosphere were thick; its soup and napery thin. Into
this place Soapy took his accusive shoes and telltale trousers without
challenge. At a table he sat and consumed beefsteak, flapjacks,
doughnuts and pie. And then to the waiter be betrayed the fact that
the minutest coin and himself were strangers.

"Now, get busy and call a cop," said Soapy. "And don't keep a gentleman

"No cop for youse," said the waiter, with a voice like butter cakes and
an eye like the cherry in a Manhattan cocktail. "Hey, Con!"

Neatly upon his left ear on the callous pavement two waiters pitched
Soapy. He arose, joint by joint, as a carpenter's rule opens, and beat
the dust from his clothes. Arrest seemed but a rosy dream. The Island
seemed very far away. A policeman who stood before a drug store two
doors away laughed and walked down the street.

Five blocks Soapy travelled before his courage permitted him to woo
capture again. This time the opportunity presented what he fatuously
termed to himself a "cinch." A young woman of a modest and pleasing
guise was standing before a show window gazing with sprightly interest
at its display of shaving mugs and inkstands, and two yards from the
window a large policeman of severe demeanour leaned against a water

It was Soapy's design to assume the role of the despicable and execrated
"masher." The refined and elegant appearance of his victim and the
contiguity of the conscientious cop encouraged him to believe that he
would soon feel the pleasant official clutch upon his arm that would
insure his winter quarters on the right little, tight little isle.

Soapy straightened the lady missionary's ready-made tie, dragged his
shrinking cuffs into the open, set his hat at a killing cant and sidled
toward the young woman. He made eyes at her, was taken with sudden
coughs and "hems," smiled, smirked and went brazenly through the
impudent and contemptible litany of the "masher." With half an eye Soapy
saw that the policeman was watching him fixedly. The young woman moved
away a few steps, and again bestowed her absorbed attention upon the
shaving mugs. Soapy followed, boldly stepping to her side, raised his
hat and said:

"Ah there, Bedelia! Don't you want to come and play in my yard?"

The policeman was still looking. The persecuted young woman had but to
beckon a finger and Soapy would be practically en route for his insular
haven. Already he imagined he could feel the cozy warmth of the
station-house. The young woman faced him and, stretching out a hand,
caught Soapy's coat sleeve.

"Sure, Mike," she said joyfully, "if you'll blow me to a pail of suds.
I'd have spoke to you sooner, but the cop was watching."

With the young woman playing the clinging ivy to his oak Soapy walked
past the policeman overcome with gloom. He seemed doomed to liberty.

At the next corner he shook off his companion and ran. He halted in the
district where by night are found the lightest streets, hearts, vows and
librettos. Women in furs and men in greatcoats moved gaily in the wintry
air. A sudden fear seized Soapy that some dreadful enchantment had
rendered him immune to arrest. The thought brought a little of panic
upon it, and when he came upon another policeman lounging grandly in
front of a transplendent theatre he caught at the immediate straw of
"disorderly conduct."

On the sidewalk Soapy began to yell drunken gibberish at the top of his
harsh voice. He danced, howled, raved and otherwise disturbed the

The policeman twirled his club, turned his back to Soapy and remarked to
a citizen.

"'Tis one of them Yale lads celebratin' the goose egg they give to the
Hartford College. Noisy; but no harm. We've instructions to lave them

Disconsolate, Soapy ceased his unavailing racket. Would never a
policeman lay hands on him? In his fancy the Island seemed an
unattainable Arcadia. He buttoned his thin coat against the chilling

In a cigar store he saw a well-dressed man lighting a cigar at a
swinging light. His silk umbrella he had set by the door on entering.
Soapy stepped inside, secured the umbrella and sauntered off with it
slowly. The man at the cigar light followed hastily.

"My umbrella," he said, sternly.

"Oh, is it?" sneered Soapy, adding insult to petit larceny. "Well, why
don't you call a policeman? I took it. Your umbrella! Why don't you call
a cop? There stands one on the corner."

The umbrella owner slowed his steps. Soapy did likewise, with a
presentiment that luck would again run against him. The policeman
looked at the two curiously.

"Of course," said the umbrella man - "that is - well, you know how these
mistakes occur - I - if it's your umbrella I hope you'll excuse me - I
picked it up this morning in a restaurant - If you recognise it as yours,
why - I hope you'll - "

"Of course it's mine," said Soapy, viciously.

The ex-umbrella man retreated. The policeman hurried to assist a tall
blonde in an opera cloak across the street in front of a street car that
was approaching two blocks away.

Soapy walked eastward through a street damaged by improvements. He
hurled the umbrella wrathfully into an excavation. He muttered against
the men who wear helmets and carry clubs. Because he wanted to fall into
their clutches, they seemed to regard him as a king who could do no

At length Soapy reached one of the avenues to the east where the glitter
and turmoil was but faint. He set his face down this toward Madison
Square, for the homing instinct survives even when the home is a park

But on an unusually quiet corner Soapy came to a standstill. Here was an
old church, quaint and rambling and gabled. Through one violet-stained
window a soft light glowed, where, no doubt, the organist loitered over
the keys, making sure of his mastery of the coming Sabbath anthem. For
there drifted out to Soapy's ears sweet music that caught and held him
transfixed against the convolutions of the iron fence.

The moon was above, lustrous and serene; vehicles and pedestrians were
few; sparrows twittered sleepily in the eaves - for a little while the
scene might have been a country churchyard. And the anthem that the
organist played cemented Soapy to the iron fence, for he had known it
well in the days when his life contained such things as mothers and
roses and ambitions and friends and immaculate thoughts and collars.

The conjunction of Soapy's receptive state of mind and the influences
about the old church wrought a sudden and wonderful change in his soul.
He viewed with swift horror the pit into which he had tumbled, the
degraded days, unworthy desires, dead hopes, wrecked faculties and base
motives that made up his existence.

And also in a moment his heart responded thrillingly to this novel
mood. An instantaneous and strong impulse moved him to battle with
his desperate fate. He would pull himself out of the mire; he would
make a man of himself again; he would conquer the evil that had taken
possession of him. There was time; he was comparatively young yet;
he would resurrect his old eager ambitions and pursue them without
faltering. Those solemn but sweet organ notes had set up a revolution in
him. To-morrow he would go into the roaring downtown district and find
work. A fur importer had once offered him a place as driver. He would
find him to-morrow and ask for the position. He would be somebody in the
world. He would -

Soapy felt a hand laid on his arm. He looked quickly around into the
broad face of a policeman.

"What are you doin' here?" asked the officer.

"Nothin'," said Soapy.

"Then come along," said the policeman.

"Three months on the Island," said the Magistrate in the Police Court
the next morning.


In an art exhibition the other day I saw a painting that had been
sold for $5,000. The painter was a young scrub out of the West named
Kraft, who had a favourite food and a pet theory. His pabulum was an
unquenchable belief in the Unerring Artistic Adjustment of Nature. His
theory was fixed around corned-beef hash with poached egg. There was
a story behind the picture, so I went home and let it drip out of a
fountain-pen. The idea of Kraft - but that is not the beginning of the

Three years ago Kraft, Bill Judkins (a poet), and I took our meals at
Cypher's, on Eighth Avenue. I say "took." When we had money, Cypher got
it "off of" us, as he expressed it. We had no credit; we went in, called
for food and ate it. We paid or we did not pay. We had confidence in
Cypher's sullenness and smouldering ferocity. Deep down in his sunless
soul he was either a prince, a fool or an artist. He sat at a worm-eaten
desk, covered with files of waiters' checks so old that I was sure the
bottomest one was for clams that Hendrik Hudson had eaten and paid for.
Cypher had the power, in common with Napoleon III. and the goggle-eyed
perch, of throwing a film over his eyes, rendering opaque the windows of
his soul. Once when we left him unpaid, with egregious excuses, I looked
back and saw him shaking with inaudible laughter behind his film. Now
and then we paid up back scores.

But the chief thing at Cypher's was Milly. Milly was a waitress. She
was a grand example of Kraft's theory of the artistic adjustment of
nature. She belonged, largely, to waiting, as Minerva did to the art of
scrapping, or Venus to the science of serious flirtation. Pedestalled
and in bronze she might have stood with the noblest of her heroic
sisters as "Liver-and-Bacon Enlivening the World." She belonged to
Cypher's. You expected to see her colossal figure loom through that
reeking blue cloud of smoke from frying fat just as you expect the
Palisades to appear through a drifting Hudson River fog. There amid the
steam of vegetables and the vapours of acres of "ham and," the crash of
crockery, the clatter of steel, the screaming of "short orders," the
cries of the hungering and all the horrid tumult of feeding man,
surrounded by swarms of the buzzing winged beasts bequeathed us by
Pharaoh, Milly steered her magnificent way like some great liner
cleaving among the canoes of howling savages.

Our Goddess of Grub was built on lines so majestic that they could be
followed only with awe. Her sleeves were always rolled above her elbows.
She could have taken us three musketeers in her two hands and dropped
us out of the window. She had seen fewer years than any of us, but she
was of such superb Evehood and simplicity that she mothered us from the
beginning. Cypher's store of eatables she poured out upon us with royal
indifference to price and quantity, as from a cornucopia that knew no
exhaustion. Her voice rang like a great silver bell; her smile was
many-toothed and frequent; she seemed like a yellow sunrise on mountain
tops. I never saw her but I thought of the Yosemite. And yet, somehow, I
could never think of her as existing outside of Cypher's. There nature
had placed her, and she had taken root and grown mightily. She seemed
happy, and took her few poor dollars on Saturday nights with the flushed
pleasure of a child that receives an unexpected donation.

It was Kraft who first voiced the fear that each of us must have held
latently. It came up apropos, of course, of certain questions of art at
which we were hammering. One of us compared the harmony existing between
a Haydn symphony and pistache ice cream to the exquisite congruity
between Milly and Cypher's.

"There is a certain fate hanging over Milly," said Kraft, "and if it
overtakes her she is lost to Cypher's and to us."

"She will grow fat?" asked Judkins, fearsomely.

"She will go to night school and become refined?" I ventured anxiously.

"It is this," said Kraft, punctuating in a puddle of spilled coffee with
a stiff forefinger. "Caesar had his Brutus - the cotton has its bollworm,
the chorus girl has her Pittsburger, the summer boarder has his poison
ivy, the hero has his Carnegie medal, art has its Morgan, the rose has
its - "

"Speak," I interrupted, much perturbed. "You do not think that Milly
will begin to lace?"

"One day," concluded Kraft, solemnly, "there will come to Cypher's for a
plate of beans a millionaire lumberman from Wisconsin, and he will marry

"Never!" exclaimed Judkins and I, in horror.

"A lumberman," repeated Kraft, hoarsely.

"And a millionaire lumberman!" I sighed, despairingly.

"From Wisconsin!" groaned Judkins.

We agreed that the awful fate seemed to menace her. Few things were less
improbable. Milly, like some vast virgin stretch of pine woods, was
made to catch the lumberman's eye. And well we knew the habits of the
Badgers, once fortune smiled upon them. Straight to New York they hie,
and lay their goods at the feet of the girl who serves them beans in a
beanery. Why, the alphabet itself connives. The Sunday newspaper's
headliner's work is cut for him.

"Winsome Waitress Wins Wealthy Wisconsin Woodsman."

For a while we felt that Milly was on the verge of being lost to us.

It was our love of the Unerring Artistic Adjustment of Nature that
inspired us. We could not give her over to a lumberman, doubly accursed
by wealth and provincialism. We shuddered to think of Milly, with her
voice modulated and her elbows covered, pouring tea in the marble teepee
of a tree murderer. No! In Cypher's she belonged - in the bacon smoke,
the cabbage perfume, the grand, Wagnerian chorus of hurled ironstone
china and rattling casters.

Our fears must have been prophetic, for on that same evening the
wildwood discharged upon us Milly's preordained confiscator - our fee to
adjustment and order. But Alaska and not Wisconsin bore the burden of
the visitation.

We were at our supper of beef stew and dried apples when he trotted in
as if on the heels of a dog team, and made one of the mess at our table.
With the freedom of the camps he assaulted our ears and claimed the
fellowship of men lost in the wilds of a hash house. We embraced him as
a specimen, and in three minutes we had all but died for one another as

He was rugged and bearded and wind-dried. He had just come off the
"trail," he said, at one of the North River ferries. I fancied I could
see the snow dust of Chilcoot yet powdering his shoulders. And then he
strewed the table with the nuggets, stuffed ptarmigans, bead work and
seal pelts of the returned Klondiker, and began to prate to us of his

"Bank drafts for two millions," was his summing up, "and a thousand a
day piling up from my claims. And now I want some beef stew and canned
peaches. I never got off the train since I mushed out of Seattle, and
I'm hungry. The stuff the niggers feed you on Pullmans don't count. You
gentlemen order what you want."

And then Milly loomed up with a thousand dishes on her bare arm - loomed
up big and white and pink and awful as Mount Saint Elias - with a smile
like day breaking in a gulch. And the Klondiker threw down his pelts
and nuggets as dross, and let his jaw fall half-way, and stared at
her. You could almost see the diamond tiaras on Milly's brow and the
hand-embroidered silk Paris gowns that he meant to buy for her.

At last the bollworm had attacked the cotton - the poison ivy was
reaching out its tendrils to entwine the summer boarder - the millionaire
lumberman, thinly disguised as the Alaskan miner, was about to engulf
our Milly and upset Nature's adjustment.

Kraft was the first to act. He leaped up and pounded the Klondiker's
back. "Come out and drink," he shouted. "Drink first and eat afterward."
Judkins seized one arm and I the other. Gaily, roaringly, irresistibly,
in jolly-good-fellow style, we dragged him from the restaurant to a
café, stuffing his pockets with his embalmed birds and indigestible

There he rumbled a roughly good-humoured protest. "That's the girl for
my money," he declared. "She can eat out of my skillet the rest of her
life. Why, I never see such a fine girl. I'm going back there and ask
her to marry me. I guess she won't want to sling hash any more when she
sees the pile of dust I've got."

"You'll take another whiskey and milk now," Kraft persuaded, with
Satan's smile. "I thought you up-country fellows were better sports."

Kraft spent his puny store of coin at the bar and then gave Judkins and
me such an appealing look that we went down to the last dime we had in
toasting our guest.

Then, when our ammunition was gone and the Klondiker, still somewhat
sober, began to babble again of Milly, Kraft whispered into his ear such
a polite, barbed insult relating to people who were miserly with their
funds, that the miner crashed down handful after handful of silver and
notes, calling for all the fluids in the world to drown the imputation.

Thus the work was accomplished. With his own guns we drove him from the
field. And then we had him carted to a distant small hotel and put to
bed with his nuggets and baby seal-skins stuffed around him.

"He will never find Cypher's again," said Kraft. "He will propose to the
first white apron he sees in a dairy restaurant to-morrow. And Milly - I
mean the Natural Adjustment - is saved!"

And back to Cypher's went we three, and, finding customers scarce, we
joined hands and did an Indian dance with Milly in the centre.

This, I say, happened three years ago. And about that time a little luck
descended upon us three, and we were enabled to buy costlier and less
wholesome food than Cypher's. Our paths separated, and I saw Kraft no
more and Judkins seldom.

But, as I said, I saw a painting the other day that was sold for
$5,000. The title was "Boadicea," and the figure seemed to fill all
out-of-doors. But of all the picture's admirers who stood before it, I
believe I was the only one who longed for Boadicea to stalk from her
frame, bringing me corned-beef hash with poached egg.

I hurried away to see Kraft. His satanic eyes were the same, his hair
was worse tangled, but his clothes had been made by a tailor.

"I didn't know," I said to him.

"We've bought a cottage in the Bronx with the money," said he. "Any
evening at 7."

"Then," said I, "when you led us against the lumberman - the - Klondiker
- it wasn't altogether on account of the Unerring Artistic Adjustment of

"Well, not altogether," said Kraft, with a grin.


I don't suppose it will knock any of you people off your perch to read
a contribution from an animal. Mr. Kipling and a good many others
have demonstrated the fact that animals can express themselves in
remunerative English, and no magazine goes to press nowadays without
an animal story in it, except the old-style monthlies that are still
running pictures of Bryan and the Mont Pelée horror.

But you needn't look for any stuck-up literature in my piece, such as
Bearoo, the bear, and Snakoo, the snake, and Tammanoo, the tiger, talk
in the jungle books. A yellow dog that's spent most of his life in a
cheap New York flat, sleeping in a corner on an old sateen underskirt
(the one she spilled port wine on at the Lady Longshoremen's banquet),

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