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BY S. WEIR MITCHELL,
M. D., AUTHOR OF “IN WAR TIME,” ETC.
“ And were you ever afraid in war?”
“ Abominably. We were supposed as surOME time passed be- geons to be non-combatants, but that means
fore we met to hear merely that one is to run risks without the
“ To face a mob or a madman. I knew a
Mrs. Vincent was man who once by ill luck was shut up with talking to her husband when, just after dinner, a crazy, athletic brute. My friend locked the I entered her drawing-room.
door, hearing the man's wife wailing outside. ** It is an age since we met,” she cried cor. The brute, while suffering from a delusion, had dially. “Sit down. Mr. Clayborne will be here once hurt her; and now again imagining her to shortly. And what have you done to my poor have been false to him, meant to kill her. He St. Clair ? Read that,” and she took from her asked for the key, and gave my friend five minwork-basket a note dated the night I last saw utes to reflect, as he stood before him with a him.
billet of wood he had seized from the hearth." I cannot dine with you to-morrow. I have
“ And what did your friend do ?”
“ It was summer, and the windows were seen to-night what I shall be some day. It is horrible.
open. He threw the key into the street.”
“ And what then?” It was true, and he had gone away into the Oh, help came just as it was wanted, which woods for a fortnight, like a wounded animal. is rare in this world. I have cut a long story Nor did he ever speak of it again, but came short. My friend said afterward that he was back as gay and joyous as usual. I returned glad of the experience; that he had little hope the note to her.
of escape, and now felt sure for the first time “How could you ? " she said. “I should in his life that he was equal to any test of have known how he would feel.”
courage." “ I took him," I returned,“ because he was “I can understand that,” said Vincent. “In reasonable in his desire to see a man die. But these quiet days we are rarely tried as to courI suppose that, with all its awe, death is so con- age. But, after all, is n't it somewhat a matter stantly about us doctors that we cannot esti- of training- of profession? I suppose, North, mate its influence upon others. When I left it never enters into your mind to fear contahim— for he would stay — he was simply cu- gious disease ?” rious and contemplative.”
“Never; except as to one disease: I have a “Do you remember," said Mrs. Vincent, fancy I shall die of yellow fever." " that description in Stendhal of the Italian who “Oh, but,” said our hostess, “is n't it also first sees death of a sudden on a great battle- true that physicians do not take disease as field - his surprise, his curiosity, and at last his others do?" terror? It is in his · La Chartreuse de Parme.” "No; that is a popular notion, but quite un
“ No; I will look at it, but I have seen all true. I have thrice suffered from disease thus this in war once or twice."
acquired: once from smallpox, twice from As she spoke, Clayborne came in. “Of diphtheria. In Ireland, in the great typhus ,
, what are you speaking ?” he said.
years, physicians died in frightful numbers, and “Of fear. Of the anguish of fear, uncontrol- so did the old doctors here in yellow-fever lable, like the fear in dreams."
days. Unlike the soldier, we are always under “Yes; the agony of terror," I returned. fire.” “One sees it in the insane at times, and in de- “I should certainly run from smallpox. I lirium tremens. There is nothing in normal might face a madman,” said Mrs. Vincent. life to compare with it.”
“ As to war, I should run."
“Go on,' I said.
" I said, " That is aye gude logic," and ye “ • Dinna ye ken Mr. Gillespie, the banker?' ken he was a vara ingenious creature.
« But “Yes; I see that it was reported that he war would be my neck for takin' the life of a died in San Francisco two days ago.'
" It is so related. But I maun tell ye the “66“ I m nae a mon, Gawin," he said ; hale case.'
“I'm a ghaist, and it's only a change of state "Go on.'
I 'm cravin'. And there 's the reent. But “ Last night I hae reason to suspect that I ye maun mak' haste, or I will call in Doctor maun hae been takin' bad wheesky. It was nae O'Beirne.” the honest barley; I blame the rye. It's a warn- 566“Gude Lord!” I said, “ye canna mean in' to me for life, if the gude Lord spares me that, Mr. Gillespie. There's a hantle of deaths to reform. Ye see, yestreen, after the Thistle at yon mon's door.” Society, I went to the St. Andrew's dinner. • Then he is the practitioner for me. I By ill fortune Mr. McGillivray sat opposite to canna be waur. My time 's short; I was streakit me. Aiblins yeken Mr. McGillivray. The mon yestreen, and to-morrow I shall be put awa' has nae havin’s, which is to say manners. He in the ground. And there 's the reent.” made a very opprobrious remark concernin' “66 Wull ye forgie me the arrears?” I said. the True Kirk. By reason of too mony veenous
“666 I wull." counselors, I had na the recht word to han'. ** So I pulled out my little pocket-case, and And thinkin' he might na understond me cor- mixed him enough strychnia to kill the ghaist rectly if I bided too long, I cast a bannock of a witch's cat. He took it doun wi' a gulp. at his foul face. A gude bittie haggis he threw “““ It 's rather constreengent,” he said, and at me. I wad na hae dune that to a dog. The yon were his vara last words; and then he fell beast has nae senteement of nationality (it's doun in a spawsm, and tied himself into bowbut a Lowlander he is, after a'). A watermelon knots, and yelled-O Lord! sir. I fled like he got for answer to his remark. It broke on Tam O'Shanter, and here I am. I hae killed his bald head, and the sinner went doun in a mon.' gore, or the like of it, after the manner of the “ • And then you went home?' mon Sisera. And that terminated the conversa- " • That may be, sir. When I cam' to full tion vara sateesfactorily.
knowleedge of Alexander MacAllister I was ** The cheerman made a point of order that seated on the step of my door in the snaw. I I, Alexander MacAllister, was drunk, and I went in, and — will ye creedit it? — the slate was over-persuaded by five men to gae hame. was clean. But that maun be the way wi'ghaistWhen I got in, there on my slate was a mes- writin'. It 's nae abidin'' sage to go at once to veesit Mr. Gillespie, at “. But the man is alive, Gawin. There is a No.
St. Peter's Place. Vara ill, it said. telegram in the morning papers to say that the " Ye ken the mon's deid. I dinna ken why report of his death was a mistake. He had a I went, but the next I remember I was at his faint spell or a trance -- something of the kind. door. There were lichts in the house, and a He will be at home next week. You must braw hussy of a maid let me in. Preesently I have been very drunk, Gawin.' was in a bedroom, and there sat Mr. Gillespie, ***I dinna ken. And there's the reent, and vara white, but dressed.
I saw it. Sir, a ghaist in spawsms. Nae, nae; it “ ““ Tak' a seat, Gawin," he said, and I was nae a coeencidence. Dinna ye think, sir, sat doun.
considerin' the service, a gude bill for the reent “ • Then he said, “Gawin, yer owin' me a and arrears would be but just ?' year's reent.”
• Certainly,' I said ; ‘he ought to pay.' Oh, aye,” I said.
“I hae muckle doubt as to the matter. If I am deid,” said he," and the executors he forgies me the moneys, I'll stond by the Kirk will be hard. Now, Gawin, I want you to gie against the whole clan of the McGillivrays to me a gude dose of poison.”
the mortal end of my days. Might I hae a drop **** But you're deid now," I said, and my hair o'wheesky? No matter what kind. I'll neever stood up like flax stubble, that stiff with fear. blaspheme against the rye again-- there 's
"66" I was a vara eccentric mon in the fleesh,” waur things.'” he said, “ and I 'm nae less in the speerit. It "Delightful!” cried Mrs. Vincent. “You has occurred to me, Gawin, an I were weel have earned your cigar,” and we broke up poisoned I might die as a ghaist, and get alive amidst laughter in which even Clayborne again. Dinna ye see the point, mon ?” joined.
(To be continued.)
S. IVeir Mitchell.
OL' PAP'S FLAXEN.
BY HAMLIN GARLAND,
Author of “ Main Traveled Roads," “ Jason Edwards,” etc. T was in June, just before new man of him, and a very handsome man, the ending of the school, too, in a large way. He was curiously embarthat Flaxen first began to rassed by Bert's prolonged scrutiny, and said write about delaying her jocosely: return. Anson was woe- “We've got to brace up a little now. Comfully disappointed. He pany boarders comin', young lady from St. had said all along that she Peter's Seminary, city airs an' all that sort o'
would make tracks for thing. Don't you let me see ye eatin' pie with home just as soon as school was out, and he your knife. I'll break the shins of any man had calculated just when she would arrive; that feeds himself with anythin' 'cept the siland on the second day after the close of school ver-plated forks I 've bought.” for the summer he drove down to the train to Flaxen had been gone almost a year, and meet her. She did not come, but he got a a year counts for much at her age. Besides letter which said that one of her friends wanted Anson had exaggerated ideas of the amount her to stay two weeks with her, until after the of learning she could absorb in a year at a Fourth of July.
boarding-seminary, and had also a very vague "She 's an awful nice girl, and we will have idea of what “society” was in St. Peter, ala grand time; she has a rich father and a though he seemed suddenly to awake to the piano and a pony and a buggy. It will just be necessity of “bracing up” a little, and getgrand."
ting things generally into shape. He bought “I don't blame her none,” sighed Anson to a new suit of clothes and a second-hand twoBert. “I don't want her to come away while seated carriage, notwithstanding the sarcastic she 's enjoyin' herself. It 'll be a big change reflection of his partner, who was making his fer her to come back an' cook fer us old moss- own silent comment upon this thing. backs after bein' at school an’ in good com- “ The paternal business is auskerspeelt," he pany all these months.”
said to himself. “Ans' is goin' in on shape He was plainly disturbed. Her vacation now. Well, it 's all right; nobody's business was going to be all too short at the best, and but ours. Let her go, Smith; but they won't he was so hungry for the sight of her! Still be no talk in this neighborhood when they he could not blame her for staying under the get hold of what 's goin' on – oh, no!" He circumstances; as he told Bert, his feelings smiled grimly. “We can stand it, I guess; but did not count. He just wanted her to get all it 'll be hard on her. Ans' is a little too preshe could out of life; "there ain't much any- vious. It 's too soon to spring this trap on way for us poor devils, but what little there is the poor little thing." we want her to have.” The Fourth of July was They stood side by side on the platform the the limit of her stay, and on the sixth, sev- next Monday when the train rolled into the enth, and eighth Anson drove regularly to the station at Boomtown, panting with fatigue from evening train to meet her.
its long run. Flaxen caught sight of Bert first On the third day another letter came, saying as she sprang off the train, and, running to him, that she would reach home the next Monday. kissed him without much embarrassment. Then With this Anson rode home in triumph. Dur- she looked around, saying: ing the next few days he went to the barber's “Where 's ol' pap? Did n't he — ” and had his great beard shaved off. “ Made “Why, Flaxen, don't ye know me?" he cried me look so old,” he explained, seeing Bert's out at her elbow. wild start of surprise." I've be'n carryin' She knew his voice, but his shaven face, so that mop o' hair round so long I'd kind o' much more youthful, was so strange that she got into the notion o' bein' old myself. Got a knew him only by his eyes laughing down into kind o' crick in the back, ye know. But I ain't; hers. Nevertheless she kissed him doubtfully. I ain't ten years older 'n you be.”
“Oh, what ’ve you done? You 've shaved And he was not. His long blond mus- off your whiskers; you don't look a bit nattache, shaved beard, and clipped hair made a ural—1—"
She was embarrassed, almost frightened, at dipped his honey with a fork, and, finally growthe change in him. He “looked so queer”; ing desperate, split a biscuit in half, and in the his fair, untroubled, smiling face and blond good old boyish way sopped it in the honey. mustache made him look younger than Bert. “ There, that 's the Christian way of doing
“Nev' mind that! She 'll grow again if ye things!” he exulted, while Flaxen laughed. How like it better. Get int' this new buggy-it 's bright she was ! how strange she acted! There ours. They ain't no flies on us to-day; not were moments when she embarrassed them by many,” said Ans' in high glee, elaborately as- some new womanly grace or accomplishment, sisting her to the carriage, not appreciating some new air which she had caught from her the full meaning of the situation.
companions or teachers at school. It was truly As they rode home he was extravagantly amazing how much she had absorbed outside gay. He sat beside her, and she drove, wild of her regular studies. Sheindeed was no longer with delight at the prairie, the wheat, the gulls, a girl ; she was a young woman, and to them a everything.
beautiful one. “Ain't no dust on our clo’es,” said Ans', Not a day passed without some added surcoughing, winking at Bert, and brushing off prise which made Anson exult and say, “She 's with an elaborately finical gesture an imagi- gettin' her money's worth down there, no two nary fleck from his knee and elbow. “ Ain't ways about that.” we togged out ? I guess nobody said “boo'to But as the excitement of getting back died us down to St. Peter, eh?”
out, poor Flaxen grew restless, moody, and “You like my clo'es?” said Flaxen, with unaccountable. Before, she had always been charming directness.
the same cheery, frank, boyish creature. As “ You bet! They 're scrumptious.” Bert said, “You know where to find her.” Now
“Well, they ought ť be; they 're my best, she was full of strange tempers and moods. She except my white dress. I thought you 'd like would work most furiously for a time, and then 'em; I wore 'em a-purpose.”
suddenly fall dreaming, looking away out on “ Like 'em? They ’re -- you're jest as the shimmering plain toward the east. purty as a red lily er a wild rose in the wheat At Bert's instigation, a middle-aged widow -ahem! Ain't she, Bert, ol' boy? We're jest had been hired, at a fabulous price, to come and about starvin' to death, we are.
do the most of the work for them, thus releas“I knew you 'd be. What 'll I stir up for ing Flaxen from the weight of the hard work, supper? Biscuits ? "
which perhaps was all the worse for her. Hard "Um, um! Say, what ye s’pose I 've got work might have prevented the unbearable, to go with 'em ?"
sleepless pain within. She hated the slatternly * Honey."
Mrs. Green at once for her meddling with her Oh, you 're too sharp," wailed Ans', while affairs, though the good woman meant no ofFlaxen went off into a peal of laughter. “Say, fense. She was jocose in the broad way of
ert 's be'n in the damnedest-excuse me — middle-aged persons, to whom a love-affair is plaguedest temper fer the last two months you legitimate food for raillery. ever did see.”
But Gearheart's keen eye was on Flaxen as While this chatter was going on Bert sat well. He saw how eagerly she watched for the silent and unsmiling on the back seat. He mail on Tuesdays and Fridays, and how she was absorbed in seeing the exquisite color sought a quiet place at once in order to read that played in her cheek, and the equally and dream over her letters. She was restless a charming curves of her figure. She was well day or two before a certain letter came, with an dressed, and was wonderfully mature. He was eager, excited, expectant air. Then, after readsaying to himself: “Ans' ain't got no more ing it, she was absent-minded, flighty in converjudgment than a boy. We can't keep that sation; then listlessly restless, moving slowly girl here. More in that, the girl never 'll be about from one thing to another, in a kind of contented again, unless—” He did not al- restless inability to take interest in anything for low himself to go further. He did not yet dare long. even to think further.
All this, if it came to the attention of Anson They had a merry time that night, quite like at all, was laid to the schooling the girl had old times. The biscuits were light and flaky, had. the honey was delightsome, and the milk and “Of course it 'll seem a little slow to you, butter (procured specially) were fresh. What Flaxie, but harvestin'is comin' on soon, an' then peals of laughter as Flaxen insisted on their things 'll be a little more lively." eating potatoes with a fork, and opposed the But Gearheart was not so slow-witted. He use of the knife in scooping up the honey from had had sisters and girl cousins, and knew their plates! Even the saturnine Bert forgot his “the symptoms," as Mrs. Green would have gloom and laughed too, as Ans' laboriously put it. He noticed that when Flaxen read