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you see the Peak?"

Still the woman kept silent. The sounds of the wheels grew momentarily
louder, the voices of men talking broke in upon them, and then the
carriage stopped before the door.

"Mrs. Trent," pleaded the doctor for the last time, "tell me, can you
see the Peak?"

He heard the men climb out of the carriage and come up to the door,
then a loud knock.

Mrs. Trent at last broke her silence.

"Doctor McMurray," she said, speaking quite softly, "Doctor McMurray,
do you see? The Peak is clear. All the clouds have lifted!"

_Literary Monthly_, 1905.



When the weary sun, his day's course run,
Sinks into the western sea,
And the mountains loom in the growing gloom
With far-off mystery,
When the shadows creep o'er plain and steep
With stealthy tread and still,
And the fettered stream to its icy dream
Is left by the sleeping mill,
From the frozen north I then lead forth
My swiftly flying bands,
In close array on the track of day,
As she flees to other lands.

From the wintry zone where the forests groan
'Neath burdens of dazzling white,
And the tempest's roar as it strikes the shore
Turns daylight into night,
My armies throng and we march along
In the light of the peeping stars,
Which smile with glee at our chivalry
And the shock of our mimic wars.
For when earth and deep in a shroud of sleep
Lie peaceful and still below,
Supreme I reign in my airy domain,
The monarch of ice and snow.

_Literary Monthly_, 1095.




AHASUERUS, the Wandering Jew.

ANSELM, a holy monk.

A band of travellers, - merchants, peasants, soldiers, who stop at the
monastery over night.

Monks of the monastery.

The time is the twelfth century, a Christmas eve.

The place is the great hall of the monastery of St. Cuthbert. The room
is a large one, with cold stone walls and a heavy-beamed ceiling,
lighted by flaring torches. The rear wall is broken by a massive oaken
door leading to the courtyard of the monastery, and two rudely glazed
windows. On the right an open doorway leads to the chapel and to one
side of the doorway is a shrine to the Virgin and Child, before which
some candles burn with wavering flames. On the opposite side of the
room is a huge fireplace with a blazing log fire. The wind is roaring
outside, and even blows through the rude hall in great, gusty
draughts, while a fine powder of snow sifts in through crevices of
windows and door.

SCENE I. [The travellers, with some of the monks of the monastery, are
seated before the fire. The Jew, bent, gaunt and gray-bearded, stands
to one side, unrecognized, muttering to himself indistinctly. He has
evidently just entered, for the melted snow still gleams from his
clothing. The company disregard him, conversing among themselves.]

A SOLDIER. Now, by Our Lady, 'tis a raw cold night -
I mind me when on such a night I lay
Unsheltered in the trenches facing Mons
In Flanders.

A MERCHANT. Hem! Sir Longbeard tells a tale.
List, all!

THE SOLDIER. By Holy mass -

THE MERCHANT. Ho! Hear the oaths!
They 're thick as -

THE SOLDIER. Hark ye! Hush thy meddling tongue!

A PEASANT. A quarrel! Mark them!

A MONK. Shame! On such a night
When angels fill the air, and voices sweet,
Mysterious, sing their golden songs of peace -
On this glad night to quarrel?

THE SOLDIER. Why, to-night -

THE MONK. On such a night was Christ, our Saviour, born,
While all the earth was wrapped in sacred peace.
This is the holy eve, and on the morrow,
With solemn chant we shall observe the birth
Of that sweet Christ-child whom we worship all.

THE SOLDIER. Then I'll not quarrel - my hand upon it. There.

THE MERCHANT. Nor I. And here's my hand, good soldier. There.

[The company is silent for a moment, while the wind moans in the great

THE MERCHANT [crossing himself]. Hark to the wind. Meseemeth that it wails
Like some lost soul.

THE SOLDIER. Some say it is the soul
Of that accursed Jew who crossed our Lord
When he was on his way to Calvary,
And was condemned to wander ever more
Until the Christ a second time should come.

[The faces grow solemn, in the fire-light, and the voices are

THE MONK. The Jew! Oft have men seen him bent and worn,
When darkness fills the earth, still wandering,
Still living out his curse.

THE PEASANT. List! Hear ye not?

THE SOLDIER. Again that mournful wailing of the wind.

THE PEASANT. How came he by the curse?

THE MONK. Know, when our Lord,
Full weary, bore his cross to Calvary,
He paused a moment, resting, but this Jew,
Ahasuerus - cursed be the name -
Reviled the Saviour, and commanded him
To move away. Whereon our blessed Lord:
"Because thou grudgest me a moment's rest
Unresting shalt thou wander o'er the earth
Until I come."

THE SOLDIER. Ah, would I had been there -
The cursed Jew! An arrow through his heart
Had stopped his babbling!

THE PEASANT. And had I been there,
He would have felt the weight of my great fist
Ere he had spoken twice.

[The Jew mutters indistinctly to himself in his corner.]

THE MERCHANT [in a low voice]. Dost hear the man?
Old gray-beard murmurs.

THE SOLDIER. How! Is he a Jew?

THE MERCHANT. See how he cowers when we look at him.

THE MONK. He is no Jew. On this thrice-blessed night
No Jew would dare seek shelter in Christ's house.

THE PEASANT. Yet they are daring - and men tell strange tales
Of bloody rites which they perform apart.

THE SOLDIER. May God's high curse rest on their scattered race!

[The Jew flashes a quick glance upon them, and then looks down again.
An unusually strong gust of wind sweeps through the hall, and strange
moanings are heard in the chimney.]

THE PEASANT. Lost souls! Oh, Mother of Christ!

THE MERCHANT. They wail in pain.

THE MONK [making the sign of the cross]. 'Tis but the wind - or on this
night mayhap
We hear the noise of vast angelic hosts
That sob to see our Saviour come to earth,
A simple Babe, to suffer and to die -
So brother Anselm tells.

THE SOLDIER. And what knows he
Of angels' doings?

THE MONK [terrified.] Still! Thou impious man!
Hast thou not heard the fame of Anselm's name?
A very saint on earth, his eyes behold
Things hidden from mankind; his face doth glow
All radiant from his visions.

THE SOLDIER. Wretch that I am!
Ah, woe is me to speak thus of God's saint.

[The deep-toned monastery bell rings.]

THE MONK. Come, follow me. Below us in the crypt
The pious brethren this night have set forth
The sacred mystery of Jesus' birth;
Shalt see the very manger where he lay.
Make haste and come.

[The company arise and pass out, all save the Jew. The monk, last,
stares at the gaunt figure a moment, opens his lips to speak, then
shakes his head and departs.]

SCENE II. [AHASUERUS, alone. He looks around him, as if to see if any
remain in the room, then slowly moves toward the fireplace and holds
his trembling hands before the fire.]

AHASUERUS. Ah, God of Jacob! Hear the Christians talk.
"Dog Jew!" "Accursed Jew!" I hate you all!
Your Christ sits on his kingly throne this night -
But I am steadfast. How the very wind
Doth buffet me and chill my aged bones!
Ringed all about with enemies, I stand
Unharmed - for by Jehovah's dreadful curse
I live - nor can I die - until He come.
How chill the wind sweeps through my withered frame
While curses and revilings dog my steps -
My weary, ceaseless steps. Ah, God! To die!
Have I not expiated yet my sin? -
To bear life's heavy burden o'er the earth,
To wander from Armenia's distant hills,
Through desert places now, and now through vales
That flow with plenty; now through sordid towns,
Until at last I reach the western seas;
Then, ever homeless, to repeat my steps?
Death were a blessing, yea, a gentle sleep -
To feel delicious numbness seize my limbs,
Mine eyes grow heavy, and the weary flight
Of immemorial time forever stayed
In sleep, in dreamless sleep - would I might die!
I am so weary, weary of it all.

[He sinks down upon a bench, and is silent for a moment, in deep
thought; a smile flits over his face, as at a pleasing memory, then
the worn, hunted look returns.]

Faint shadows nicker 'round me, and at times
Vague dreams of joy experienced long ago
Beguile me for a moment, then I wake;
Dim musings of that time when, yet a child,
I prattled in the shade of Judah's hills
And trod her leafy valleys aimlessly -
But that was long, long centuries ago.
Sometimes I dream, that when God bade my soul
To leave its blest abode and come to earth
In this vile guise, all-terrified it prayed
This trial and affliction to be spared;
But all in vain.
And now the curse of God
Is on that soul. The darkness hideth not,
Oh, Lord, from thee; night shineth as the day.
What weariness unspeakable is mine!

[He throws himself down on the bench in utter dejection. Suddenly he
lifts his head - footsteps approach.]

SCENE III. [Enter ANSELM. At first, not aware of another's presence,
he kneels before the Virgin's shrine, and mutters a short prayer in
Latin. Then he arises and advances slowly, absorbed in meditation.]

ANSELM. This is the eve - the sacred eve of Christ.
The wind is wild, and stormy is the night,
And yet methinks despite the elements
A holy peace pervades the solemn world -
As when amid the hush of earthly strife
The blessed Child was born.

[The Jew groans to himself, and the monk starts, then looks with
half-seeing eyes.]

A stranger! Peace be unto you, my son,
And may God's holy calm be yours amid
The strife and turmoil of the outer world.

[AHASUERUS sits motionless. A bell sounds.]

The vespers ring. Come, join with me in prayer;
Together let us reverence the God,
The great all-Father, who sent unto us
A little Child to lead us back to Him.

[The Jew acts as if he does not hear, but the monk is already at
prayer and does not notice. AHASUERUS gazes steadfastly into the fire,
while all is silent but the crackling of the flames and the moaning of
the wind. Then the monk arises.]

Pray, let me sit beside you; all alone
My brethren left you? Let me play the host.

[He sits down beside AHASUERUS; the Jew stares at him.]

You seem amazed, fair sir.

AHASUERUS [slowly]. I am a Jew.

[The monk starts, then sits down again, while the Jew regards him


AHASUERUS [bitterly]. "Dog Jew," they call me.

ANSELM. God forbid!
Yet once I would have scorned thee like the rest.
But, long years past, before I sought these walls,
Adventurous I rode into the East
And underneath the walls of Joppa fell
A victim to the fever. Many days
I lingered in its grasp, and when I woke
To strength, I found a Jew had tended me.
E'en then I scorned him, but with gentle words
He heaped great coals of fire on my head.
And then I dreamed a dream - upon a cross -
Two other crosses near - outlined against
A dark and dreadful sky, I saw a man;
And lo, it was a Jew - Christ was a Jew.
With tears I sought mine host, and told the tale,
And he was swift to pardon - he, a Jew.

[AHASUERUS will not trust himself to reply, but gazes steadfastly into
the fire. From the adjacent chapel the low notes of an organ fall upon
their ears.]

ANSELM. You speak not. Ah, I wonder not at it.
On such a night is meditation good,
And soothing to the soul. The wind is high
But cannot harm; the torches flicker low,
While softly like a benediction falls
The distant melody upon our ears;
And in the silent watches of the night
God's holy Spirit broods o'er all the world
And bringeth calm and peace to all mankind.

AHASUERUS [wildly]. For me there is no peace - I am the Jew
Who, cursed of the Lord, must wander till
He comes again. For me no peace, forever!

ANSELM [starts]. Thou art that Jew!

AHASUERUS [despairingly]. I am that Jew. Farewell.

[AHASUERUS pulls his cloak around him and arises to leave. As he
totters toward the door the monk looks after him irresolutely, then
turns his eyes to the Virgin's shrine as if to seek counsel.]

ANSELM [whispers to himself]. Those eyes - still gaze - in mercy. A-a-h,
methinks -
How sad they look!
[aloud]. Ahasuerus! Hold!

[ANSELM hastens after the Jew, and seeks to lead him back. AHASUERUS

AHASUERUS. Not so! I am accursed. Let me go!

ANSELM. Forgive me, if I have offended thee,
For I am weak - yet see; I pray you, stay.
Without, the night is wild - and here is calm.

AHASUERUS. The storm was e'er my lot.

ANSELM. But now the calm
Invites to rest.

AHASUERUS [slowly]. To - rest?

[He stands undecided, then submits to be led back to the fire. For a
moment neither speaks, then AHASUERUS cries out.]

AHASUERUS. There is no rest
For me, nor ever can be, for I
Am curst of God.

ANSELM. O miserere! Pray!
Pray and with you I'll pray. - O, thou sweet Christ,
Look down in pity on this erring one!
We all like sheep have gone astray; O God,
Thou shepherd of the flock, lead us to thee.

AHASUERUS [whispers]. May God be merciful!

ANSELM. O, holy Babe,
That on this night did'st come to earth to seek
Thine own, look down upon our need and grant
Thy mercy. Holy Mother, intercede.

AHASUERUS [brokenly]. Cease, cease. It is enough. O, not for me
Is God's high mercy, - I am ever curst.

ANSELM. God's mercy is not limited, O, no.
His grace is all-sufficient, even for thee.
All we are weak and sinful, He is strong.
Oh, call upon His name, and He will come.

[There is silence for a moment, save for the plaintive notes of the
organ. Suddenly AHASUERUS rises, tears coursing down his cheeks.]

AHASUERUS. At last, O God, at last, my hard heart breaks.
I thank thee for these tears; the burden lifts -
Sing unto God, O brother, and rejoice!
The darkness disappears, and lo, the light -
Behold, the Light!

[As he speaks, a miraculous radiance fills the room; AHASUERUS slowly
sinks down upon the floor, ever gazing heavenward in mute adoration,
while the monk falls before the Virgin's shrine in prayer. There is a
sound of many feet from without, and the company of the earlier
evening enter noisily, but drop on their knees in awe as they behold
the miracle. AHASUERUS murmurs in a low voice hardly to be

AHASUERUS. Lord, comest thou - to me?

[Then dimly, like a distant strain of music, a wondrous Voice is
heard, and by some understood.]

THE VOICE. I come, Ahasuerus; lo, I come. Behold, I stand at the door,
and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will
come in to him ... Behold, I come quickly.

[AHASUERUS falls back, and a look of deep peace overspreads his
countenance. The radiance fades away, and there remains only the
flickering light of the torches, which are almost extinguished in the
great gusts of wind that sweep through the room. Far above, the joyous
chimes are pealing a welcome to the new day.]

_Literary Monthly_, 1905.



To think that it all happened within a rifle shot of the greatest city
in America, in the very outskirts of New York - this was strange. A
romance of old Spain, tingling with the memory of times when men
fought single-handed for the toss of a rose or the gleam from under
the black lashes of a _senorita_, or bled and died for the sake of a
yellow silken scarf! That such a thing should have happened as it did
seems preposterous, and yet, on second thought, it occurred so
naturally that at the time there was no idea of its being in the least
out of place in this prosaic New World. It was like a dream of the
past - and yet it was no dream.

It was our Saturday half-holiday and Henderson and I were driving the
stagnation of a week's confinement out of our lungs by a long walk
into the country. We were just starting back in the approaching dusk
when a round stone that I happened to step on turned under my foot. I
tried to grin, and hobbled along for a moment; then I sat down at the
side of the road.

"It's my ankle. I don't believe I can make it, Fred."

"Make a try at it, old man. It's only a short mile to the railroad
station and there won't be any footing it from there. Perhaps walking
will ease it up."

I got up, but after a few steps sat down again.

"I'm awfully sorry, Fritz, but I simply can't do it. The thing hurts
like all time."

He stood still and looked about him. The road followed the curve of a
hill, at the foot of which flowed a tiny brook. Ahead, it passed
through a little colony of houses, perhaps twenty in all. The hamlet
had an air about it that marked it from numerous others we had walked
through that afternoon. The cottages appeared brighter and there were
gardens among them that seemed unlike the others we had passed. No
hotel or public house of any kind was to be seen.

"I wonder what this place is," said Henderson. "It doesn't look
especially alluring."

I looked up from the task of rubbing my ankle.

"No," I commented, "it doesn't seem alluring, and I suppose
ninety-nine hundredths of the people that pass through here look at it
the same way. But to you, Fred, I'm pretty sure it would be rather
attractive, and I know that it would be to me with this beastly foot."

"What! Stay here all night? I guess not."

"If you only knew what it was," I ventured.

"Probably another of Washington's headquarters, or the site of the
Battle of - ."

"Wait a minute before you explode, and give me a chance. This is the
Spanish colony."


"The Spanish colony."

"What Spanish colony?"

"Of all things, do you mean to tell me that you never heard of it?"

"I do."

"Well," I said, "it's wonderful how much New Yorkers don't know about
themselves. This place was settled a long time ago by the few
Spaniards there were in this part of the country, and they've stuck
together ever since. I don't believe there are a hundred people in the
city that know about the place. Maybe it's on account of the war, when
these people had to keep pretty quiet, but whatever it is, they are
here. I've been through here before and I've often wished that I could
have stopped off. Now the Lord seems to have taken matters into His
own hands."

If there was anything Henderson enjoyed it was tales and relics of the
old Romance lands, and I knew it. Then there was my ankle, which was
throbbing painfully.

"If your old foot really is as bad as you say," said Henderson, "why,
we can put up here over night. To-morrow is Sunday, you know, and we
don't have to be back."

He spoke condescendingly, but I knew that if I suggested that after
all we might get back he would almost get down on his knees and plead
with me. So I spared him the trouble. We started again toward the
little hamlet. Henderson wanted to stop at the first house we came to,
but I pulled him on.

"Let's tackle that larger white one ahead there to the right," I
suggested. "It looks to be the best of the lot - and besides, the last
time I was through here I noticed a mighty pretty girl standing in the
doorway - one of those black-eyed story-book _senoritas_ you so dote

"I'm surprised at a man of your age and dignity noticing _senoritas_,"
he laughed. Nevertheless he turned into the little garden and raised
the iron knocker.

The door was opened almost instantly by a short, rather stoutish man,
well past the prime of life. There was nothing in his dress to mark
him from the average middle-class New Yorker, but his face was swarthy
and the hair that was not grey was glistening black. We explained our

"I am afraid you can find no accommodations," he said, with but the
slightest trace of an accent.

Henderson said something to him in Spanish, and as he did so the man
stared a moment, smiled, showing all his teeth, and then answered in
the same tongue with a flood of words that I could barely understand.
Then he took our hats and bowed the way into a little parlor.

"Will the _senor_ with the injured foot recline upon the sofa? I will
bring in hot water to bathe it. We have a large room upstairs with a
bed for two, where the _senores_ may pass the night." He took out a
large gold watch. "It is now quarter before six. Dinner will be served
at half after the hour. Till then the _senores_ may rest. I will bring
the hot water to your chamber."

Promptly at six-thirty Henderson and I descended the stairs. The rest
and a bath had done us both good, and even my ankle, though badly
swollen, had ceased to give much pain. From the house and from our
host we had gathered much of interest. His family had come over some
seventy-five years ago and had moved directly to the little house,
which the widower Senor Lucas de Marcelo and his daughter Adelita
still possessed. Don Lucas himself was a jeweller, going in to the
city every day. We found him waiting for us at the foot of the stairs.

"In but a moment dinner will be prepared," he said. "If the _senores_
will pardon me, I must go out to the kitchen. To-night is the big
dance, the _mascarade_, for which Adelita must dress." He raised his
voice. "Adela! Hasten, little one."

"I am coming," called a clear girlish voice.

Henderson and I waited in the little parlor. Back in the house we
could hear our host moving about among the pots and pans. Then from
the top of the stairs there sounded a soft voice:

"_Padre_ - father!"

Don Lucas dropped his work and stepped into the parlor.

There was a swish, a click of high heels on the stairs, a flash of
red, with a momentary glimpse of white, and the girl stood before us.
The father spoke:

"_Senores_, my daughter."

She bent low and then arose, smiling as her father had smiled, showing
the white of her teeth. She was dressed all in red, from the roses in
her black hair to her tiny, outrageously high-heeled Spanish slippers.
The hair was parted in the middle and drawn back, giving an almost
child-like expression to the handsome face with its snapping black
eyes and full red lips. Under the dark wave behind each ear she had
effectively pinned a cluster of rose-buds. Over her gleaming shoulders
she had thrown a scarf of the thinnest red silk, and a similar scarf,
fringed with black lace, was drawn about her hips and knotted at the
left side. The heavily ruffled skirts fell within a few inches of the
floor, but as she turned they swung higher, showing her slippers and a
bit of red silk-covered ankle. In her hand she dangled a tiny black
mask. Her father looked at her proudly.

"It is the dancing costume of the Old Country," he explained. "It is
in honor of the _mascarade_ to-night."

We passed into the little dining-room. Just before we sat down
Henderson managed to whisper to me:

"Whew! I guess you're right about the good-looking girl."

All through the meal he watched her covertly, and the moment he took
his eyes from her face I noticed that she would glance over at him.
Then the second he turned her way her eyes would drop and a dull red
would suffuse her face and neck. Whether Henderson noticed it or not I
do not know, but I did. When the coffee was brought in by Adelita our
host opened a box of mellow cigars, and we passed out into the parlor.
In the doorway the girl stopped her father and excitedly whispered in
his ear.

"Please," she pleaded, "you know you are old and do not like to stay
so late, and he is young and big and could take as good care of me as
you. Please, _padre_."

"Would it be right?" he queried. Then he thought a moment. "Perhaps - "

"_Bueno_," she cried. "Good. Ask him, _padre_, please, please."

The old man smiled. Then he came over to where Fred and I were

"Did you hear the girl," he asked, "the little scamp? She thinks I am
too old to take her to the ball - and too uninteresting. She wishes to
know if the _senores_ would care to go with her in my place. It would
perhaps be interesting to you."

I guessed what she really wanted, so I spoke:

"You go, Fritz. I'd like to, only my foot's too bad."

"I won't go without you," he said.

Here I took him aside and told him what I had seen at the table.

"Now," I said, "if you don't go you're a fool. And personally I'd

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Online LibraryUnknownA Williams Anthology A Collection of the Verse and Prose of Williams College, 1798-1910 → online text (page 7 of 12)