Puslapio vaizdai

choir, could see it in its completeness accept him. Then the crowning, and and splendor. Those in the nave saw then they undressed him to a red undernothing but the processions entering shirt and, after they had cut a hole in and leaving; the Lords and Commons his shirt and annointed him with oil, only saw the king and queen when they dressed him up again, and he crowned; the judges and great sailors came and took his seat on the throne. and soldiers saw nothing at all. I do Everything was as it should be, but not know who were the people in the the diamonds did not flash when the two bays, but they and I alone saw the peers put on their coronets. It was all coronation.

purple and ermine and ivory on deep All the rehearsed parts which I have blue in the ranks of peers and peeresses, described, except the fall of the Duke court dresses and official robes, some of Connaught, were brought off. of amazing color, crossed with ribbons,

The greater part and the most covered with stars, rows of decorations, solemn part took place in the choir. and three small feathers in each lady's Only once or twice did the king face hair. But the sun did not shine or his people, when presented by the the diamonds glitter. It was dark, heralds to the four corners of the earth, with only one or two fitful gleams. and when he walked to the throne; at Other notes of color were among the all other times he turned his back on envoys, and they were dominated by them. The ceremony, which lacked the Etheopian, black as night, in a sunlight, lacked, too, a central figure. green top-hat lined with red, and The king had no dignity, no majesty; covered with pearls and strewn with he lacked every quality that made his diamonds, which he wore all the time. father the central, the conspicuous The rest of him was arrayed, as far as I figure in England. Amid all the pomp could see, in cloth of gold. From his and ceremony he was the most un- screaming splendor one gradually dedistinguished figure, the least kingly scended to an acquaintance, arrayed in it. The little Prince of Wales as a colonel of Italian infantry in blue played his part immensely better. representing San Martino, and Mr. Never once did the king give the im- John Hays Hammond in solemn United pression that he was a king. He looked States black and white, a telling note more like a middle-class shopkeeper, in the discordant riot of color. The trying on suits for a fancy-dress ball Indian princes, if they could have been than a king.

seen, would have been superb, all gold There were gorgeous processions and glitter; but they were hidden away first, to bring the crowns and the rega- down the nave, and hundreds of lia; then the arrival of the various major-generals and hundreds of advisiting royalties and the envoys and mirals made two big blocks of red and the princes and princesses royal and, blue, lost in the shadows of the nave. finally, the king and queen, heralded by Then the Archbishop of York preached trumpets and booming guns, who in an utterly inaudible voice. We passed into Edward the Confessor's could walk about, luckily, for a time, Chapel to be robed. Then came the for it was tiresome, though the poor presentation of the king and the de- actors could not, and could see only mand of the herald if the people would

one another.

Then came anthems and rejoicings, tails platted with ribbons, the great and finally the prayers, with their gold, silver, white and blue coaches, heavenly responses, too beautiful for the prompous drivers, the crowds of words; then the homage, and the king footmen hanging on behind, seen let himself go and gave the Prince of probably for the last time. And the Wales a sounding kiss. He could not mess of it! One lord could not find have been less kingly and more senti- his coach, and when he did find it, he mental. Then came more processions, lost her ladyship, and when he found under canopies, and benedictions. It her, the coach had been moved on. went on for hours. I luckily had Then it began to rain, and the want brought some lunch, and I believe there of dignity, combined with the carefulwas lunch. Some one said so. There ness of the British peer, shown forth. certainly was at Victoria's coronation, Coronets came off, and caps went on. for Strachey talks of it coming out of A duchess and a vicountess, with robes a tomb, and for a while nobody paid and skirts up to their knees, dismuch attention to what was going on. appeared up Victoria Street under an The Prince of Wales found out who umbrella, heading a body of beefmade his coronet, and the Duke eaters. Lords from Chelsea went of Connaught cringed to everybody back on penny steamboats they charabove him, and ignored the salutes of tered. Cinderella, after the ball, was all his inferiors who passed his seat. nothing to it, and there was no end But the Prince of Wales bobbed to to it, either. Hardly a person save everybody for about five hours. Then Sullivan and I—we stuck together there came disrobing and a change of was not in costume. Finally we left. crowns, and at last the king and queen We had had enough; but still the departed,—there were five hours of it, Abbey was disgorging dukes, ambas--and as the king stepped down from sadors, princesses, and envoys. The his throne he would have fallen over streets were solid with soldiers, with his footstool if some unsung Walter but a little space left in the middle. Raleigh had not snatched it out of the You bumped suddenly into a gorgeous way. Then the princes and princesses thing. left, and as they went, the peers care- “Look out, old man, you 'll tearme.” fully seized the prayer-books and pro- It was an official you knew in private grams, and, I heard, carried off their life. The streets were carpeted with chairs, too. Finally we all got out. newspapers and sandwich-bags, over Still, one could not help thinking if which the royal carriages rustled. In there had been a panic, British aristoc- a motley crowd only to be seen after a racy would have ceased to exist, and Quatr' Arts ball-only these costumes Lloyd George, too, for he and John were real—we struggled up Parliament Burns were there, though the latter had Street, and so home. A few hours later no means of distinguishing himself. In the drawing was finished, and it and the Dean's Yard the sight was wonder- Sullivan's appeared next day in "The ful, with royal carriages, ducal coaches, Chronicle” and all the papers of Great

" ambassadorial equipages, the peers' Britain, and soon they got all over the coaches, the horses with colored trap world. That was illustrated daily pings on their heads, their manes and journalism, a lost art.


A Novel in Seven Parts-Part VII

Drawings by F. Luis MORA


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HEN Peter Siner started on his personal way. “A nigger was a nig

indefinite errand among the vil- ger"; "A thief was a thief"; "She lage stores he believed it would require would n't quit stealing if I paid her a much tact and diplomacy to discuss hundred a week.” the race question without offense. It was all so hopeless, so unchangeTo his surprise, no such precautions able, that Peter walked down the were necessary. All persons agreed at bleak street unutterably depressed. once that the South would be bene- There was nothing he could do. The fitted by a more trustworthy labor, situation was static. It seemed best that if the negroes were trustworthy that he should go away North and they could be paid more; but they did save his own skin. It was impossible not agree that if negroes were paid to take Cissie with him. Perhaps in more they would become more trust time he would come to forget her, and worthy. The prevailing dictum among in so doing he would forget all the all the whites was found to be “A pauperism and pettinesses of all the nigger 's a nigger.”

black folk of the South, because As Peter came out into the shabby through Cissie Peter saw the whole little street of Hooker's Bend a dis- negro race. She was flexuous and couragement settled upon him. He passionate, kindly and loving, childish felt as if he had come squarely against and naively wise; on occasion she some blank stone wall that no amount could falsify and steal, and in the of talking could budge. The black depth of her Peter sensed a profound man would have to change his psy- capacity for fury and violence. For chology or remain where he was, a all her precise English, she was creature of poverty, hovels, and dirt; untamed, perhaps untamable. but amid such surroundings he could Cissie was a far cry from the sort not change his psychology.

of woman Peter imagined he wanted The point of these unhappy conclu- for a mate; yet if he stayed on in sions somehow turned against Cissie Hooker's Bend, seeing her, desiring Dildine. The mulatto became aware her, with her luxury mocking the lonethat his whole crusade had been un- liness of the old Renfrew manor, he dertaken in behalf of the octoroon. knew that presently he would marry Everything that the merchants said her. Already he had had his little against negroes became in the end ac- irrational moments when it seemed to cusations against Cissie in a sharp him that Cissie herself was quite fine


and worthy and that her peculations disappeared among the stores on the were something foreign and did not other side. Peter caught glimpses of pertain to her at all.

him among the wretched alleyways With this plan in mind, Peter set and vacant lots that lie east of Main out down the street, intending to Street. The boy was still running cross the Big Hill at the church, walk toward Nigger Town. over to his mother's shack, and pack By this time Peter was just oppohis few belongings preparatory to site the watchers on the corner. He going away.

lifted his voice and asked them the It was not a heroic retreat. A con- matter, but at the moment they beversation which he had had with one gan an excited talking, and no one of his college friends named Farquhar heard him. recurred to Peter. Farquhar had tried Jim Pink Staggs jerked off his fur to persuade Peter to remain North and cap, made a gesture, contorted his take a position in a system of garages long, black face into a caricature of out of Chicago.

fright, and came loping across the "You can do nothing in the South, street, looking back over his shoulder, Siner," assured Farquhar; “your mimicking a run for life.

a His mumcountrymen must stand on their own mery set his audience howling. feet, just as you are doing."

The buffoon would have collided Peter had argued the vast majority with Peter, but the mulatto caught of the negroes had no chance, but Jim Pink by the arm and shoulder, Farquhar pressed the point that brought him to a halt, and at the same Peter himself disproved his own state- time helped him keep his feet. ment. At the time Peter felt there To Peter's inquiry what was the was an elench in the Illinoisan's logic, matter, the black fellow whirled and but he was not skilful enough to blared out loudly, for the sake of his analyze it. Now the mulatto began audience: to see that Farquhar was right.

"'Fo’ Gawd, niggah, I sho thought Peter had an uneasy sense that this Mistah Bobbs had me!” and he was exceedingly thin logic, a mere writhed his face into an idiotic grimsmoke screen behind which he meant ace. to retreat back up North. He walked The audience reeled about in their on down the poor village street, mirth, because with negroes, as with turning it over and over in his mind, white persons, two thirds of humor is affirming it positively to himself, after in the reputation, and Jim Pink was of the manner of uneasy consciences. prodigious repute.

Peter walked along with him pa$ 2

tiently, because he knew that until An unusual stir among the negroes they were out of ear-shot of the on Hobbett's corner caught Peter's crowd there was no way of getting a attention and broke into his chain of sensible answer out of Jim Pink. thought. Half a dozen negroes stood “Where are you going?” he asked. on the corner, staring down toward the “Thought I'd step ovah tuh Niggah white church. A black boy suddenly Town.” Jim Pink's humorous air started running across the street, and was still upon him.

“What 's doing over there? What Peter watched the contortion unwere the boys raising such a hullabaloo easily. about?

“What do you mean-visiting "Su'ch me."

around?“Why did that boy go running

"Diff'nt folks go visitin' roun'; across like that?

Some goes up an' some goes down.” Jim Pink rolled his eyes on Peter with a peculiar look.

Apparently Jim Pink had merely "Guess he mus' 'a' wanted tuh git quoted a couple of words from a poem on tothuh side uv town."

he knew. He stared at the greenPeter flattered the Punchinello by black depth of the glade, which set in smiling a little.

about half-way up the hill they were "Come, Jim Pink, what do you climbing. know?he asked.

"If this weathuh don' evah break," The magician poked out his huge he observed sagely, “we sho am in fuh lips.

a dry spell.” "Mistuh Bobbs tu'n across by de Peter did not pursue the topic of chu'ch, ovah de Big Hill. Da' 's the weather. He climbed the hill in always a ba-ad sign.”

silence, wondering just what the Peter's brief interest in the mat- buffoon meant. He suspected he was ter flickered out. Another arrest for hinting at Cissie's visit to his room. some niggerish peccadillo. The his- However, he did not dare ask any tory of Nigger Town was one long questions or press the point in any series of petty offenses, petty raids, manner, lest he commit himself. and petty punishments. Peter would The minstrel had succeeded in be glad to get well away from such a making Peter's walk

making Peter's walk very uncomfortplace.

able, as somehow he always did. "Think I 'll go North, Jim Pink," Peter went on thinking about the remarked Peter, to keep up a friendly matter. If Jim Pink knew of Cissie's conversation with his companion. visit, all Nigger Town knew it. No

"Wha' chu gon' do up thauh?" woman's reputation, nobody's shame

“Take a position in a system of or misery or even life, would stand garages."

between Jim Pink and what he con“A position is a job wid a white sidered a joke. The buffoon was the colluh on it," defined the minstrel. cruelest thing in this world-a man "Whut you gon' do wid Cissie?" who thought himself a wit.

a Peter looked around at the foolish Peter could imagine all the endless face.

tweaks to Cissie's pride Nigger Town "With Cissie-Cissie Dildine?would give the octoroon. She had "Uh huh."

asked Peter to marry her and had been “Why, what makes you think I 'm refused. She had humbled herself for going to do anything with Cissie?" naught. That was the very tar of

"M-m, visitin' roun'." The fool shame. Peter knew that in the moral flung his face into a grimace, and categories of Nigger Town Cissie dropped it as one might shake out a would suffer more from such a rebuff sack.

than if she had lied. committed theft

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