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Dallas G-albeaith


Autho7- of "Waiting for the Verdict^'' " Margret Ilowtk" etc.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


To 7ny friends at Manasquan, I inscribe this story, in which I have tried
to outline their coast, and the curiously genuine, kindly hutnan life tipon it:
in remembrance of the hearty good-will with which they have made 7ny home
among them pleasant for many years.

R. H. D.

Manasquan, July 26, 1868.

t-LA rr>*>frcr

Dallas Galbraith.


" "■ I ''ELL him that it was on this coast

-L that the ship went down. Let

him send me warranty, and I can find

the treasure hidden among these rocks."

The two or three fisliermen who
were loading the schooner pricked up
their ears : there was a secret under-
current of meaning in the deUberately
worded message, perceptible to every
one of them ; some obscure, mysterious
significance which seemed suddenly to
oddly set apart the words and the man
diat spoke them from themselves and
tlieir everyday work. They looked up
from the barrels they were lifting, turn-
ing perplexed faces out to the great
plane of the sea, or along the desolate
coast, and then glanced shrewdly at each
other : they joked about it when they
went under the hatches, out of his hear-
ing ; but the jokes had but little relish
in them, and fell dead ; and the men went
on with their work after that in silence,
dhewing the cud of the matter, as is their

It was a colorless, threatening even-
ing out at sea ; a nipping gust driving
the few white sails in sight, like shiver-
ing ghosts, across the horizon that barred
the east like a leaden wall ; the masses
of water moving towards shore, slow,
sombre, dumb. But this was only the

sea: no one can tell in the quietest
summer day, on land, what storm or
disaster is hid in that womb of death

On shore, the mellow October sunset
was shining pleasantly on the white
beach, up to which the yellow, fishy
little schooner was hauled close, and on
the men in their red shirts : the raw
wind was tempered to a bracing breeze,
and the waves lapped the sand and the
keel of the vessel, with a tamed, sleepy
purr. The marshes, because of the
heavy rains that year, still held their
summer coloring, and unrolled from the
strip of beach up to the pine woods a
great boundary belt of that curious, clear
emerald that belongs only to the sea
and seashore growths. Beyond this
belt, two or three comfortable brown
cows were grazing at the edge of the
forest, and, here and there, in the forest,
a whiff of smoke wavering to the sky,
or a good-bye red glimmer of the sun
on a low window, told where the houses
of the village were scattered.

If village it could be called. About
a mile from the schooner, and the little
buzz of life about her, rose one of the two
great headlands well known to all mari-
ners : they jut out into the sea as though
they were grim, warning sentinels over
this terrible coast of sunken breakers
and whitening bones. A sharp ridge



stn\ck f>-om this upper headland into the
background of forest, and in the circling
hollow wliich it formed lay the lonely
collection of farmers' and fishers' houses
then called Manasquan. A curiously
old-time, forgotten village, to belong to
the New World : shut in from any world
by the ocean on one side, and the inter-
minable pine forests at the other, through
which at this time only the charcoal-
burners had burrowed their way.

The man (a middle-aged Quaker) who
had sent the message which had so puz-
zled the fishermen, was a stranger on
this coast : its strange solitariness, the
utter silence into which it fell when
transient sounds had passed, oppressed
and stifled him. He had paced up and
down the hard beach all the afternoon,
watching with his dull, light-blue eyes
the Sutphens seining, and after that, the
loading of the schooner. It seemed to
him, of all corners of the world, the one
totally forgotten and passed by in the
race. He wondered if justice ever over-
took crime here — if even death remem-
bered to harvest his crop. Something
of this he dropped in a half-intelligible
way to old Doctor Noanes, who came
limping up from his rickety house by
the ridge to walk with him, wearing a
patronizing air towards him before the
fishermen, but secretly a little afraid of
the sharper wits of the strange Friend.
But he fired at the slur upon the village.

"We're of older build than New
York," he said, "but we've kept clean
of crime and c'ruption : we've held to
the ancient landmarks : there's no fami-
lies gone in and out from us since colony
times. Them nags of mine, now, has
no flash strains of blood, but their
grandsire carried my grandsire, Peter
Noanes, into the fight at Monmouth. I
don't ask better than that."

The Friend, who had taken oflf his
broad-brimmed hat, the better to catch
the evening air, stroked the gray wisps
of hair on either side of his ruddy face,
fixing on the dried face of his companion
his lack-lustre eyes.

"The men," Noanes said, "ord'narily
followed the water;" and he began to
sonorously roll out their names — Lad-

douns, Van Zeldts, Graahs, as though
it were the calling of the great Jewish
tribes or Scottish clans. His hearer was
forced to remind himself that there were
not twenty men, all told, among them.
A belief was creeping on him that this
community was a power in the land, if
it did act only through ships' mates
and the masters of coast schooners ;
leather-skinned, hairy-breasted men, who
brought back from their voyages but
little profit or knowledge beyond their
wages, and fresh stories of storms at

" Manasquan men be known as seamen
throughout the civilized world," asserted
the Doctor, shoving back his wig per-
emptorily. " Ther's Jim Laddoun ; he
was hired as mate in an English brig.
He's been as far as the Barbary Coast.
Them Britishers know a good thing
when they see it, and snap it up, quick

" True, true," deliberately — the atten-
tive gaze never lea\-ing the pupils of the
Doctor's eyes. It was a queer trick the
stranger had ; with a slight crook to one
side of Ills head, it gave him the look
of a deaf man, or one absorbed in his
companion's words. At any rate, it
usually drew out from people a good
many more words than they had intended
to speak. The old Doctor found it gave
a real gusto to their talks : he told his
best stories to the stranger — stories that
included the histories of the Van Zeldts,
Graahs — all of them. (He had silenced
his wfe when she echoed the village
wonder as to who the old, brown-coated
fellow was, and what secret business he
came to pry into.

"He's a well-bred person — the best
bred I've met for years. What should
you know of men of the worid? Do
you think there's nothing at Manasquan
which educated people think it worth
while to inquire into ?")

" Laddoun ? Laddoun ?" replied the
Friend, thoughtfully. " Thee belongs to
that stock thyself, Doctor ?"

Noanes gave a pleased sniff. "You
have a keen memory for genealogies.
Yes, my mother was one of them. But
there's only, two of the name now — the


mate I told you of, and the young doctor
at the village."

" George. A generous, genial fellow,
eh t Hospitable, I should say."

"Oh, I'll warrant for him ! He'll be
ha\nng you to feed and liquor at the inn
before now. He's a little too free with
both his money and his gab — George.
He keeps a dozen lazy beggars up, now.
But he'll mend, likely. The Laddouns
had always brains and pockets like
sieves. They're slack, — leaky."

"He has seen the world, he tells me.
On his brother's ship ?"

" No ; he went to lectures in York and
Philadelphia. I can't say that it spoiled
him much ; he come back, thinking bet-
ter of old Manasquan than ever, show-
ing more sense than I looked for. There
wasn't a child in the village that didn't
take a holiday when he come. George
is a main one for children, especially
when they're big and hearty. My Bob
used to count on him. No, I've nothing
against George Laddoun," reflectively.

'• There he is."

They had made a turn on the beach,
and were coming toward the schooner
with the leisurely pace befitting their age
and gravity. Laddoun, coming down
the ridge with a boyish whistle and leap,
stopped, with a shamed blush and laugh,
before his fellow-practitioner. " This
bracing air makes a boy of me," apolo-
getically, bowing to both of them. " But
a famous leaper like you," to Noanes,
"can forgive a fellow. I'd like to have
tried you at the standing jump, twenty
years ago."

" I'd have put you to your mettle, sir.
A pleasant-spoken dog," complacently
lighting his pipe as the young man went
on, and measuring his broad back and
low height critically. " A well-built fel-
low, say ? strong joints, and sockets well
oiled. D'ye see ? his limbs move easily
in his clothes and shoes. I'd Hke to
have tried a leap with him well enough.
But them days is over. The old lion's
bones is stiff."

The Quaker had paid but slight atten-
tion to the short, athletic figure, or its
loose-fitting suit of gray corduroy. If
he had any fancy for compelling the

secrets of other men into his own keeo-
ing, he apparently looked for them no
farther than in the pupils of the eyes.
George Laddoun had met him ar i^rst
with his pleasant, bold glance, turning it,
however, in a moment uneasily away.
The young fellow, with all his stout
muscle and hot blood, was easily abashed
as a girl.

He came up to the fishermen -wath a
cheery " Hillo !"

" Hillo, Laddoun !" It was young
Jim Van Zeldt who answered him, with
his hands in his pockets, shifting his cigar
from one side of his mouth to the other.
He was the owner of the vessel. The
other men were too busy straining over
a barrel which they hfted to speak.

" You've got a hefty load there," pull-
ing off his coat, " Take out your cigar,
Jim, and put your own shoulder to ! Yo,
ho !" as the barrel went in. He worked
along with the fishermen until the load-
ing was done, singing some students'
song, he had learned when abroad, in
a billowy, free, bass voice. Nobody
thanked him when the work was finish-
ed, and he stood perspiring more than
any of them, sopping his shining black
hair and red, handsome face. But the men
knev/, of course, how much better stuff
was in him than in that milk-faced Jim
"Van Zeldt, who paid them to the last
penny for their work, but never lifted a
finger to help, or cracked a joke. Jim was
the only man on that beach who paid
for work ; with the others it was all
"neighbor-help." Evening had come
on before the last load was in : a gray,
gusty evening, as we said — the strange
silence and melancholy which belonged
to this coast, as though the dead beneath
the curdling breakers would not be for-
gotten, growing deeper as night ap-
proached. Doctor Noanes was gone,
but Ledwith, the strange Friend, had
come closer to the schooner, and was
standing with his white, pursy hands
rolled into each other, behind him. watch-
ing the men from under the shadow of
his wide-brimmed hat, with the usual
inexpressive, abstracted look on his fat
face. The men resented his presence
with that uneasy impatience which ani-


mals show when a strange creature not
of their sort is near. This man was
foreign to them. His dress, speech,
habit of silence had never been known
to them before ; and under these was a
strongei instinct of ahenism from their
salty, seafaring ways. It was noticeable
that they stood aloof from him as much
as might be, leaving his tall, square figure,
in its outlandish garb, Hke a strange
shadow, alone on the beach. It was
just before the last cord of wood was
taken in that he gave the message to
Van Zeldt. It came out of a curious
custom belonging to the beach. The
mails were carried at long intervals, and
even then were of most uncertain de-
livery. The schooners which carried
the fish, game and lumber up to the
New York markets, ran, too, at irregular
times — only, in fact when it suited the
convenience of their owners — but the
means of transportation they offered
were secure and rapid. It became,
therefore, a habit with the masters of
these vessels to make a sort of public
notice of their time of departure and
willingness to carry messages or parcels
to the upper harbors. There were many
of these little formal old customs hanging
about the settlement.

When Jim Van Zeldt made his an-
nouncement, it was responded to by no
one but the stranger, Ledwith, who ap-
parently was prepared and waiting for it.

" We'll turn off for the night now,"
said Van Zeldt, when he had spoken,
looking out to the gathering shadows.

" I have a message for thee." The
clear, decided voice made Van Zeldt and
the men turn : the words which follow-
ed were in a lower key, slow, measured,
as though he weighed each by some
hidden meaning known to himself alone.

"When thee reaches New York, a
man will meet thee on the wharf, habited
in a dress like mine, asking for tidings
of the ship Terror."

" She does not ply on this coast,"
interrupted Laddoun, with the oflT-hand,
peremptory tone habitual to him, which
expressed a thorough knowledge of all
matters, great and small.

The Quaker's dull blue eye did not

turn on him for an instant : yet in the
momentary stolid pause which he made,
the young man had an uncomfortable
sense of having been weighed and found

" He wiU inquire of thee," he re-
sumed, in the same slow monotone, " of
a vessel lost years ago — the Terror:
tell him that it was on this coast that the
ship went down. Let him send me war-
ranty, and I can find the treasure hidden
among these rocks."

" I will carry the message," said Van
Zeldt, gravely, with no word of question
or surprise. Laddoun checked the ex-
clamation on his lips after a hasty glance
at the dark, solid figure, and immovable
face turned seaward. It sent a chill of
doubt and fear over his healthy body, as
if he had unconsciously touched the re-
pellant pole of an electric battery.

" The ship Terror was lost on these
rocks fifty years ago," he said in an un-
dertone to Van Zeldt, as they walked up
the beach together, leaving the stranger
still watching the melancholy sea fine —
"an emigrant ship, with three hundred
souls aboard."

"You're never at fault, Laddoun,"

" There are few matters into which I
have not looked," smiling, and running
his thick white fingers through his glossy
hair. The little chord of vanity struck
had brought him altogether in tune again.
" But there was no treasure in her.
That old fellow is after Kyd's doubloons,
and he thinks to throw us off the scent
by lugging in the name of this wreck.
But he had need to be awake early to
blind George Laddoun, eh 1 or you,
Jim," with an encouraging tap on the

They walked in silence up the grassy
break through the woods which one or
two wagon-ruts marked as the road, and
stopped where a path struck off to Van
Zeldt's house. Laddoun fingered, break-
ing the bark off a dead cedar, with an
unwonted softening and hesitation in his
look and motions.

"You'll make a quick run of it, Jim?"
he said. " You'll be back in time ? For
Thursday ?"


"I know, ril tr}-, Laddoun. The
more because Noanes tells me you're
going to bring but a few of us in."

"Yes. A man's married but once,
and he ought to have his own way about
it. I'll treat the village afterwards ; they
sha'n't complain. But there's rough
jokes made at our country weddings
tliat I don't choose my wife to hear."

With the tender inflection in his tone,
and quieting of his eye, there was a cer-
tain swelling defiance in his whole burly
body, which to mild Httle Van Zeldt
was thorouglily lordly. A man was in
no mean sort a hero, who could put
Alanasquan at arm's length thus.

" You're the right sort, George," he
said. " When you're settled and a house-
holder, you'll bring matters up to the
right standard hereabouts. They be to
follow you like sheep the bell-wether —
that they be."

''It won't be to their injury, then,"
frankly. " Things need cleaning and
managing as they don't know. I'll do
what I can for the place," loftily. "And
for you, Van Zeldt," putting his hand on
the smaller man's shoulder, as a prince
might caress a favored courtier. " You'U
not fail us on Thursday ? I want none
but true friends about me and Lizzy."

The pompous voice a little unsteady,
and the florid face losing color. "I'm
serious when I say that I mean to push
your fortune, old boy," after a pause.

" There be'n't a day when you're not
pushing some fellow along."

" So ? You think that of me ? Well,
well ! it's Httle I can do. But God help
us ! it sickens me to look down on any
man below me in the mire ; and it don't
need money to give help, always. For
you, I'll strengthen your trade up yon-
der. I'm not a man without mark in
the great cities, Jim. The world's deep
as weU as wide, and one can dig secrets
out of her in Alanasquan, and make a
name, as easily as where men crowd
together. I hke to think I'm here in
the woods, dragging out of nature the
means to fight death up yonder." The
whole manner of the man altered ; a
generous glow flushed to his temples,
his voice rang out earnestly.

"You mean them chemicals, Lad-
doun ?" after a puzzled pause. " I thought
that boy of yours did that work. He's put
his soul into the herbs and black-drops
he makes out of them. It's a pity, too.
It's trifling work, and he be genooine,"
raising his voice, " Galbraith be ; I've
reason to know that. He be the kind
of man to anchor to."

Laddoun combed his whiskers with a
pleased smile.

" Yes, he's good stuff. I discovered
him. I made him."

Van Zeldt turned quickly, but was
prudently silent. Laddoun was unwa-
rily touching on a matter which hitherto
had been held secret.

" Made him as entirely as you cut
those decoy-birds out of poplar yonder"
— then stopped, with a gulp for breath,
as if checked by some inward sting.
" Well, he's useful, as you say, to collect
and sort materials under me. But a
hand — a hand. It is the head that is
needed in my trade," touching his nar-
row, high forehead with the forefinger,
on which shone a round purple stone.
" Good-bye, Van Zeldt. You will be down
at the shop to-night ?"

"Yes." Van Zeldt stood leaning over
the trunk of the fallen cedar, a generous
twinkle of admiration through all of his
insipid face, as the stout, broad figure
disappeared in the shadows of the
woods. Laddoun was moulded out of
such different clay from his own ! There
were men to command and men to
serve, just as there were king-fish and
clams in the sea yonder.

Even the cool Quaker, who had taken
the bearings of most men's minds with
those lightless blue eyes of his, had felt,
against his will, a sort of magnetism in
the young village hero under all his
coarse, thin varnish ; something which
warmed the air about him, put a hearty,
genial look on the face of things. Van
Zeldt, therefore, was not to blame, if
Laddoun, with his mysterious talk of
cities, and of secrets dragged out of
nature, crowned, too, wnth his lucky love-
making in a quarter where he had failed,
became to him a sort of demi-god ; and
if he watched even the yellow cotton


gloves, the high hat and boots, asserting
themselves blackly beyond all other hats
and boots, with a dumb envy and won-
der. Nor was poor Laddoun, either,
much to blame, if he accepted himself
at the same valuation. The men about
him had labeled him with the highest
trade mark, even when they were all
boys together.

He went tramping along, his heavy
boots crunching on the needles of the
pines, roaring out one of his everlasting
songs. He was one of those men who
constantly feel their blood, which hap-
pened in his case to be slightly thick
and viscous ; men with nervous lips, the
balls of whose eyes habitually inflate
and contract, and whose hds are often
wet with tears. His nerves were all
on edge now ; the days were full of zest
and triumph ; full of thoughts of the
medicines he had invented; of his wife,
of the place he meant to hold in the
village. Two or three generations back,
one of his Milesian ancestors had rid
himself of the family fortune in a few
years of tempestuous jollity and hospi-
tality ; but his blood, eyes, and uncertain
lips had stayed behind as heirlooms,
and Laddoun had them now, with all
that they implied.

While he was in the middle of the
woods he met Galbraith, whom the vil-
lage people called his shop-boy, but
whom Laddoun, in his melodramatic
way, had dubbed his familiar. To him,
as he walked home with him, carrying
his basket and tin cases of roots, he
relieved his mind of his plans : how
Van Zeldt was to be pushed up, and a
school-house got under way, and a poor-
con'ribution taken up before winter, and
also a public subscription for a testimo-
nial to old Doctor Noanes.

" They do such things in towns, Dal-
las, eh ? And I'm ruining the old fel-
low's practice. Besides, it will bring
the people together. We need unity,
centralization," with a sweep of his eye
over the hamlet, as though it covered a
vast community, ending with a glance
for approval at the tall, raw-boned lad
beside him, who was watching his face
eagerly with a bewildered look.

" I've no doubt you're right, Lad-
doun," he said, gently; "there are a
good many words I don't know the
meaning of yet," quietly shifting the tin
cases to the other arm.

" So ? Poor fellow ! It will come in
time," putting one hand on the bony
shoulders, and looking kindly into the
girhsh face. " Say ! Galbraith, these are
a cursedly old cut — ^your trowsers. I
must rig you out new for the wedding.
It's a shame I let you wear a shirt like
this," pulling out the ragged edge of
clean flannel about his neck. "I'm a
poor patron, they'll say."

Dallas looked down at his uncouth
rig, and laughed : a hearty roar of a
laugh. " But I'll only take what I
earn," said he.

" Pshaw ! there should be no such
talk betAveen you and me." They ex-
changed a swift, significant glance, which
gave to the boy's face for the instant a
curiously old, worn look.

" Why shouldn't I give to you ?
There's nobody in Manasquan to whom
I don't mean to give a lift."

" Look what you're doing ! Curse it,
you lout ! look there !" savagely dragging
Laddoun off" the path.

" What do you mean ? Nothing but
a lame quail ? Bah !" stooping coolly
over the mangled mass of bloody feathers
which Dallas picked up and turned over,
drawing quick, spasmodic breaths, which
made Laddoun smile as he would at the
rage of a child.

" Why, you young \nper ! you'U turn
on the hand that feeds you ?" good-
naturedly. "Your muscles are steel,
Dallas. You shook me as if I were a
stick. Put tliat thing down ; I did not
see it."

The quivering of the bird on his palm
seemed to madden the boy. " You did
not see it ? You see nothing, George
Laddoun. You've nobody to speak the
truth to you but me. It's well enough
to keep your eyes on the sky, nv-iking
plans, and let your feet and hands do
what they will. But murder comes of

George Laddoun's face, againsi the
background of the tree on which he


leaned, grew suddenly of a deathly
white ; but he gave neither word nor
motion, only to lean forward, and scan
with half-shut eyes the boy's face as he
turned the quail over gently in his hand,
putting it to his cheek again and again,
as a woman would be apt to do. If
Galbraith had any thought beyond the
bird, he held it out of sight with a skill
which baffled Laddoun. Presently, he
laid it down softly.

" It's dead now," stretching out his
arms with a long breath. " I was rough
with you, Laddoun," turning to him.

"Yes," with a loud, uncadenced laugh ;
" I should say you were cursedly rough.
You forget who you are, and who I am,

" I don't forget," quietly gathering his
scattered roots into his basket. " But
you have had an easy life. Now, when
I see a thing put under foot like that, I
think I feel the lash on my own back

"If you remember the lash, you
oughtn't to forget who took it off,"
keeping the same intent scrutiny on
every shade of meaning in the boy's

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