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and finally to him, that he was right. porated into the other's agricultural Slowly I began to lean upon his judg- equipment. ment, for time and again I found he He cared almost nothing at all, excould not fail me. In the beginning I cept as it might affect his market and have in sheer exhaustion been guilty, his authority, for public opinion of though very rarely, of the unworthy himself or his books. But I came to ruse of giving in when I was not con- find him simply, touchingly sensitive vinced. But let him suspect the at- to approval from the exceeding few tempted deceit, and the dawning light whom he loved, and another exceeding in his face fell into dark disapproba- few whose discrimination he revered. tion. So I came to face every issue It is beyond hand of mine to limn with him squarely, no matter what with strong and supple strokes a conthe price in time, inconvenience, vincing picture of this protean mannerves, everything.
boy. To me he stands out simple Luckless was the victim who could enough in all his complexity, yet I can not benefit by the brusque tonic of his scarcely hope to leave this impression argument; and, indeed, it was a tonic with the reader, so numberless were to himself, until the years when he the factors in the sum of his glowing grew too weary with the hopelessness personality. And the greatest, perof leavening the inert mass of human- haps, of all ingredients in his make-up ity. H. G. Wells's definition of the was the surpassing lovableness that average mind—“A projection of in- made his very deficiencies appear herent imperfections”—would have loveworthy. No matter what the irrisuited Jack.
tability of mental stress from whatsoever source, appeal to him with love
and desire of understanding, and the He was an unfailing wonder to us world was yours could he give it to all. Despite his boredom with small you.
. minds, one would see him completely One peculiarity or failing I never possessed, enthralled, by the simple could fathom. Despite the smallness goodness of some character in the and fineness of his hands, the taper humblest walk of life. There were in fingers and delicacy of their touch, he the neighborhood certain characters was all thumbs when it came to manipwho had fallen into ways of hopeless- ulating small objects, say, rigging up ness, and Jack's manly tenderness, fishing-gear, buttoning or hooking a always augmented by an unostenta- garment, tending his stylographic inktious hand in his pocket, was a speech- pencils. He might easily have been less pleasure to me, one to emulate for the original model of the humorists' his sweet sake. Then there would be exasperated husband playing maid to his unbounded appreciation of some his wife's back-buttoned raiment. He tiny farm where, perhaps, a bygone did it willingly enough when no one workman of Jack's, with wife and else was about, but with much unchild, lived happily with one cow, one saintly verbiage, of which he gave due horse, a few chickens. And his delight heralding. Yet with this clumsiness, shone all over him if he detected an which was a fount of speculation to idea of his own which had been incor- Jack, he was able to pride himself that
he never broke anything. This was ment. But we were as alike as some all the more remarkable when taking twins in many characteristics, particuinto account the fact that he invari- larly our supersensitive flesh. I had alably “talked with his hands.” Once, ways been ashamed that despite years waving his arms at a table, I saw him of horseback-riding, let me be away sweep a “student" lamp clear, which from the saddle for a month or even he caught before it could reach the less, and the first ride would lame floor; but he never broke the finest my muscles. To my surprise, Jack, porcelain.
who became an enthusiastic and excelIn these months we rode systemically lent horseman, showed the identical all over the valley, and explored the weakness to the end of his life. sylvan mazes of its embracing ranges and the intricacies of little hills, with
$ 7 their little vales, that to the north As the weeks warmed into summer, divide the valley proper.
campers flocked to Wake Robin, and visited the hot-springs resorts south- the swimming pool in Sonoma Creek, erly in the valley, Agua Caliente and below the Fish Ranch's banks, was a Boyes, for the tepid swimming-tanks. place of wild romping every afternoon.
We boxed, we swam, we did every- Jack taught the young folk to swim thing under the sun except walk. and dive, and to live without breathJack never walked any distance save ing during exciting tournaments of when there was no other way to pro- under-water tag, or searching for hidgress. And I was in entire accord with den objects. this, as with a thousand and one other There were mad frolics on the sandy mutual preferences. I have seen him beach at the northern edge of the bathdeprive himself of a pleasure if walking ing-hole, and no child so boisterous or was the means of getting at it. “You enthusiastic or resourceful as Jack, are the only woman I ever walked far “joyously noisy with life's arrogance." to keep an engagement with,” he told He trained the young campers to box me; then spoiled the pretty compli- and to wrestle, and all, instructor and ment by adding mischievously, “but pupils, took on their varying gilds of I rode most of the way on my bicycle. sun-bronze from the ardent CaliforThat night,—you remember?—when nia sky that tanned the whole land to I got arrested for speeding inside Oak- warm russet. land's city limits.”
I am suddenly aware of the fact that Those who regarded Jack London as much as Jack shared his afternoons in physically powerful were quite right, sport with vacation troops of campers, but they would be astonished to find many as were the health-giving things that his big, shapely muscles of arm of flesh and spirit which he taught and shoulder and leg, equal to any them, not one learned from him in the emergency whether from momentary sport of hunting. Nor can I remember call or of endurance, were not of the him ever going out hunting in this stone-hard variety, even under ten- period. The only times we saw him sion. Why, I, “small, tender woman," with firearms in his hands were at as he liked to say, could flex a firmer intervals when we all practised shootbicep than Jack's, to his eternal amuse- ing with rifle and revolver at a target
tacked against the end of an ancient, through a cloud of cigarette smoke ruined dam across the Sonoma. Once, after supper, "where he heard me long afterward, in southwestern Ore called a hoodlum.” gon, Jack was taken bear-hunting in Again recurring to Jack's alleged the mountains. When he returned to brutality, I smile to think how conthe ranch-house he said:
siderate he usually was. In all the “Mate, these good men don't know rough-and-tumble play with the chilwhat to make of me. They offered me dren and often young folk of maturer what the average hunting man would growth, any one who was hurt by him give a year of his life to have the quickly smothered the involuntary chance of getting a bear. As it hap- "ouch" because all knew it was pened, we did not see any bear; but unintentional. coming into a clearing, there stood the About the water-hole, not one playmost gorgeous antlered buck you ever fellow but would gladly drop the strenwant to see, on a little ridge, silhou- uous fun to listen to Jack read aloud, etted against the sunset. The men and sometimes, at special urging from whispered to me that now was my the charmed ring, he would with secret chance. They were fairly trembling gratification respond to a request for with anxiety for fear I might miss such some story of his own making. Joshua a perfect shot. And I did n't even Slocum's "Sailing Alone around the raise my gun. I just could n't shoot World” came in for its turn, and sudthat great, glorious wild thing that had denly, one day, Jack laid down the no show against the long arm of my book and said to Uncle Roscoe Eames: rifle.”
“If Slocum could do it alone in a So the children at Wake Robin- thirty-five-foot sloop, with an old tin how little a child will miss!-resur- clock for chronometer, why could n't rected the old ditty of two summers we do it in a ten-foot-longer boat with gone, about “The kindest friend the better equipment and more company?” rabbits ever knew," and loved their Uncle Roscoe, devoted yachtsman big-hearted play-friend the more. all his life, and to all appearance as
One small Oakland shaver, badly out devoted as ever at nearly sixty, of sorts with his maternal parent, one beamed with interest. The two fell afternoon began “shying” pebbles at with vim to comparing models of craft, all and sundry. After every one else their audience open-mouthed at the had gone to supper, Jack excepted, the proposition. All at once Jack turned little fellow sullenly turned his jaun- to me, and I am sure there was no misdiced attention to the one live target giving in his heart. remaining, friend or foe it mattered “What do you say, Charmian? Supnot. Jack admonished him to stop, pose five years from now, after we 're but instead, he selected larger missiles married and have built our house and went on firing them. Furious be somewhere, we start on a voyage cause Jack laughingly dodged them all, around the world in a forty-five-foot the mite jumped up and down in baffled yacht. It 'll take a good while to build wrath and shrieked: "You hoodlum! her, and we've got a lot of other You hoodlum!"
things to do besides." “Now, I wonder,” Jack reflected "I 'm with you every foot of the way," I declared; "but why wait five
He was as good as his word. I letyears? Why not begin construction tered the legends, and Manyoungi in the spring and let the house wait? nailed them up, to the scandal of the No use putting up a home and running neighbors. But this summer was the right away and leaving it. I love a one and only period of in hospitality of boat, you love a boat; let 's call the any length in Jack's whole life, an inboat our house until we get ready to stance when he really wanted to be let stay a little while in one place. We'll alone, a necessity in his development never be any younger, or want to go at that phase. A few months later, in any more keenly than right now. Boston, he gave this out to one of the You know," I struck home, "you 're papers: always reminding me that we are dy- “No, I do not care for society, ing, cell by cell, every minute.”
much. I have n't the time. And, be“Hoist by my own petard!” Jack sides, society and I disagree as to how growled facetiously, but inwardly ap- I should dress and as to how I should proving.
do a great many other things. I have And this was the inception of the no time for pink teas nor for pink Snark voyage, most wonderful of all souls. I find that I can get along now our glittering rosary of adventurings. less vexatiously and more happily
without very much personal dealing $ 8
with what I may call general humanAside from the campers, who did not ity. Yet I am not a hermit; I have invade his sanctuary, Jack saw almost simply reduced my visiting-list.” no visitors. “One,” he once told a re- Society always had him at bay about porter, "was a Russian Revolutionist; his clothing. Once he wrote: “I have the other I avoided." Never shall I been real, and did not cheat reality forget the latter incident. We were any step of the way, even in so microswinging in his hammock at the far end scopically small and comically ludiof "Jack's House" from the road, when crous a detail as the wearing of we glimpsed the unannounced and un- starched collar when it would have welcome figure on the pathway from hurt my neck had I worn it." How he my aunt's home. Undetected, we would have bidden to his heart that slipped from the hammock, and kept “Shaw of Tailors," H. Dennis Bradley still invisible as we soft-padded around of London Town, who wishes, amid the cottage, always keeping on the op- other current post-bellum revolutions, posite side from the searching caller, revolution in the matter of starch: "If who shortly went away. “I 'm going starch is a food,” he adjures, "for to put up two signs on my entrances," goodness sake eat it; do not plaster it Jack said with a twinkle. "On the on your bosom and bend it round your front door will be read: 'No admission neck. The war has taught the value except on business. No business trans- of soft silken shirts and collars; and we acted here. On the back: ‘Please do shall not return to the Prussianism and not enter without knocking. Please the militarism of the blind, unreason
, do not knock.'"
ing 'boiled' shirt without a murmur."
HAD long expected far-famed able for more than a decade to turn Rio to be the climax and end 300$000 into twenty English gold of my South American wan- sovereigns at will, I had neglected to derings. The Portuguese civ- do so at once.
ilization had never aroused On the bright winter morning of any great interest within me; a glimpse Saturday, the first of August, I strolled of Brazil, with possibly a glance at out of my modest hotel and along the
a Venezuela on my way home, to com- Avenida Central with the usual leiplete my acquaintance with the former surely manner of a man who has not a Spanish colonies, seemed a fitting con- care in the world, almost instantly to clusion of a journey that had already recognize that there was something stretched out into almost three years. strange in the air. Before the offices Unfortunately, I had not been keeping of the "Jornal do Commercio” and my ear to the ground. Years of care- the "Jornal do Brasil” were gathered free wandering in those regions of the seething crowds, eagerly spelling out earth where life is simple and in which the unusually voluminous bulletins in man learns to depend chiefly on him- the windows. I paused to read with self had caused me to overlook certain them. Some one, it seemed, had characteristics of the more compli- kicked over the balance of power in cated world I was now rejoining. The Europe, and France and Russia had reserve fund I had unexpectedly suc- decided to try to give Germany the ceeded in saving from the maw of licking for which she had long been Brazilian profiteers was in paper spoiling. milreis, but as one had always been The news came to me out of a trop