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Ralph did not say anything, but he looked about the room as if wondering whether any one else was listening.
I of course gave no sign of having heard a word, and the other suppers-to wrest a word from its usual meaning-were supping very hard, and were heedful only of their own group.
"Well," continued the young man, "for me the rest of the trip was as nothing. I was told afterward that we went as far as Sandy Hook, and then finally came aground at Long Branch; but my thoughts were on that unknown roof, and busied themselves with the fair occupant of the aërial apple-tree. What was she doing now? Did she help her father milk. the cows thirty stories above New York streets? Had she swains coming up in the elevator to walk with her in the little garden or gaze in the mimic brook that my one hasty glimpse had noticed purling in the direction of the East River, to which it was evidently led by a wastepipe?"
I should have supposed that right here the ladies would have smiled. There was something incongruous to me in the thought of a purling brook cascading into an ordinary waste-pipe, but they merely elevated their eyebrows and looked benig
to them, and although they had evidently heard all this before, for he had not yet come to the place where he had said, "Together we sat on the edge of the purling brook, and listened to the subdued noises of the city below," they were again entranced.
"But my mission in life was plain," said the young man. "I would seek for that thirty-story farm if I had to go up every sky-scraper in the city.
"I knew in a general way that it lay above Fourteenth Street and below Fiftieth Street, but its exact location I had been unable to judge in my hurried glimpse. But ever and always that sweet face in the apple-tree smiled at me sleeping or waking, and ever I longed to press her cool, white hand and tell her that I loved only her."
At this point Ralph uttered a suppressed exclamation and began to look foolish. He was plainly not "romantic," nor was his sense of humor strong, and he would have been well pleased to be else where than in a public restaurant while such an avowal of love for a young woman was going on. But the two old ladies purred until you could have heard them in the street. They were having the time of their sweet old lives. This young man was a perfectly good Scheherazade
"For days I sought for that house," he went on, his eyes gleaming. "I would have gone up in the balloon again, but my friend had met with an accident and his balloon was out of commission.
"I inquired at police stations, and was laughed at as a madman. Mad I was over my lost one, but not mad in supposing she had a corporeal existence.
"But all things come to him who waits, and once at midnight as I was walking along a cross street not a stone's throw from the Great White Way, I happened to glance within the courtyard of a great sky-scraper. There in the Rembrandtesque shadows I saw what made me look again, for it was a team of oxen pulling a load of hay, and driven by the old man I had seen on the roof-farm."
"Just think of that, Ralph!" said Mrs. Trembly, enthusiastically. She had evidently been waiting for this episode, for she looked from Ralph to the narrator and back again to Ralph as if she felt she had performed a service in bringing a new listener to so odd a narration.
"Piffle!" said Ralph, and dropping a cigarette which he had been rude enough to smoke in the presence of the old ladies, he stamped on it pettishly.
"Go on, Mr. Bolingbroke," said Mrs. Trembly, speaking the story-teller's name for the first time.
"It was plain to me," said Mr. Bolingbroke, "that the old man did not wish to be seen. That was why he had waited until midnight before appearing on the street with his load of fresh-mown, skyscraped hay.
"Ah me! how sweet it smelled! I could picture my fair unknown as having tossed it gracefully from one end of the farm to the other as she helped her aged parent.
"The oxen were shod with rubber shoes, therefore their passage through the street was attended with no noise. And the revelers on the Great White Way were too intent on their follies to notice the horned beasts when they crossed Broadway.
"To tell the truth," said he, "I am rather glad that Ralph went. He disconcerted me, for he was antagonistic in his atmosphere. Let 's see, where was I?"
"You had just stepped aboard the freight-elevator," said Mrs. Trembly, eagerly.
"Yes, yes," said the other. "Oh, I think what follows is most remarkable, almost unbelievable!"
"I stepped aboard the elevator and pulled the rope. The car did not move, but a voice from below said, "That you, Mr. Haynes? Back again so soon?'
"I am something of a mimic, and I had heard the farmer say, 'Gee haw, gee a little!' to his oxen, and in the same tones I said, 'Yes, found I 'd left my pitchfork up on the farm.'
'Should n't have a farm in such an unlikely place,' said the voice, gruffly; but the elevator began to move, and after what seemed to me a year it came to a stop under a hood. Then the silver moon shed its beams on me, I smelled the fragrance of honeysuckle, and I knew that I had come to the sky-farm.
"And now I come to the most romantic part of the story. I assure you that I had had no thought beyond getting to the farm. The hour was late, and I supposed that the gentle girl had long since gone to sleep. I intended to find some sequestered spot in a haymow where I could sleep until morning, and then in broad daylight I meant to seek out the lady of the apple-tree and ask her to be mine."
"How honorable!" said Mrs. Trembly, fervently.
"But when I stepped off the car, whom did I behold but the roof-farmer's daughter, a look of anxiety on her lovely face and a pitchfork in her hands! The moon silvered the tips of her eyelashes in a manner indescribably beautiful, and I loved her more than ever.
" "Who are you?' said she. 'Who dares to come to this forbidden spot? Are you a man?'"
At this point Mrs. Trembly interrupted the recital.
"Tell me," said she,-"I meant to ask you before, -did she mean that she thought you a coward to come at night or had she never seen a man?"
"As it turned out, I was the first man she had ever seen near by except her fa
ther. No one was admitted to the farm. 'Are you a man?' said she.
"'Yes,' I answered, 'and ever since I saw you from the car of the balloon that lately passed this way, I have had thoughts for none other. O adorable one, wilt thou share my life?" "
"How daring!" said Mrs. Trembly, a shadow of reproof in her tone.
"But inevitable in the circumstances, Charlotte," said the other, her head tilted to one side in a manner that was nothing else than lackadaisical.
"Although I could see that she recognized me and loved me, she had evidently been too well brought up by her father to fly into my arms with a murmured 'Yes!' Such things may happen in nonsensical novels, but they seldom happen in real life. And, I ask you, was the mere fact that this girl lived on a roof far removed from ordinary happenings sufficient to change her whole nature?"
"No, no," assented both old ladies. Evidently the thing they admired about this somewhat unusual story was its truth to nature. And, oh, what a good time Mr. Bolingbroke was having!
"And so she asked me for time to collect her thoughts. She had been tossing loose ends of hay into little mows against the next load, for in haying-time, it seems, she and her father worked all night from preference, as the sun was hot in the daytime, and when she heard the noise of the elevator she had supposed that it was her father coming up.
"'You shall have all the time there is if you will but be my bride,' I cried with ardor. 'Tell me, how long have you lived in this lovely place?' For it was lovely. I had noticed only the apple-tree in passing over, but I now saw there were graceful young elms and larches and basswood-trees and maples and sylvan birches. and ashes. And there were bosky dells and murmuring fountains and a grot or two and a miniature tarn that might have hidden some dreadful miniature secret. Then, too, there were waterfalls and shaded lanes and a maze. Oh, it was a fit place for the lovely creature who dwelt there. Everything in harmony, but all on a small scale, quite as if some master Japanese hand had fashioned everything."
"I wish I might have seen it," said Mrs. Trembly, with a sigh.
"Again I asked her how long she had lived on the fairy farm, and she answered me as we sat side by side in the moonlight in the shade of the old apple-tree: 'I was only a year old when I came, and now I am seventeen,' said she. 'My early life ran as quiet as the brook by which I sported.'" This phrase reminded me, I do not know why, of an old school reader.
'The man who built this building wished to make some poor man happy, and so he sought out my father, who was a cabinetmaker on the East Side, an American, but very poor, and finding that he had been a farmer's boy, he told him that if he would live on the roof of his great sky-scraper, he would fashion it into an idyllic farm for him, and my father was only too glad. My mother had died when I was only six months old. I was only a white-faced tenement-house babe at the time of my coming up here,-so my father has told me, but I had not lived here a twelvemonth before I became the strong being you see.'
"I looked at her Juno-like proportions and said, ‘All in a twelvemonth?'
"The health, yes; the size, no,' said
"I took her hand in mine at these words, and like a new Paul and Virginia we walked hand in hand across the freshclipped mead until we came to the runlet. Together we sat on the edge of the purling brook, and listened to the subdued noises of the city below.
"Not consciously did we listen, for already we were all in all to each other, and to her there was no world but my voice, while I saw nothing but her pink and shell-like ear, into which I murmured the soft nothings that a lover finds ready, even though he has never known love before-even as a little chicken flies to a scrap of meat the first day after it is hatched, instinct, that great teacher, suggesting both actions.
"I told her that I was willing to renounce the world and live up there on the roof if she would be mine; that I had money, which I would gladly put into the farm in the purchase of new and up-todate machinery; that I would build her father new barns and a pergola and buy him a separator, if she would but say the one little word of three letters.
"And she was just about to say it, she
was just opening her lips to breathe the joy-producing word, when there came a dreadful sound from the street belowthe sound of engine sirens, the clanging of bells, the beat of horses' hoofs, and the shouts of excited men, and I knew that that dread thing, a fire at midnight, had come upon the city.
"And still I did not cease to press my suit. What was a fire to us? So selfish does love make us."
"Ah, yes," said Mrs. Trembly, sadly. "We are above these mundane happenings,' I said. 'Let me hear the fateful word-'
"Suddenly alongside the brook, in some dead grass, I saw a puff of smoke; a moment later a smoking bush caught fire, and then there was an explosion in a bed of geraniums, and loam and fire and smoke shot into the air-"
"What had happened?" cried both old ladies, visibly excited.
"The building was on fire. The farm of my loved one was doomed."
"How awful!" said Mrs. Trembly, sadly. "And just at the moment that meant so much to you!"
"It was awful, but my loved one did not blench, not even when the flames began licking the apple-tree on which she had sat when I flew by. It did not seem more than a minute before helmeted firemen, looking strangely out of place on that little glebe, poured into the rural scene, and with fierce streams of water literally hosed the brook out of its little bed, watered the crops to their death, and caused havoc and demolition to the little farm.
"The building was doomed from the start, and when a stalwart fireman said to me, 'Take the young lady and stay not on the order of your going, but go at once,' I lost not a moment. The firemen had come up in the passenger-elevators, but I went down in the freight-elevator, which was still standing there. The faithful man at the bottom of the shaft responded to my signal, and we were conveyed in safety to the sidewalk, on which my loved one's feet had never stepped since babyhood.
WHAT ABOUT RUSSIA?
BY JAMES DAVENPORT WHELPLEY
HROUGH a series of diplomatic the political thunder of those who were
to enter upon a national and local
campaign for office. With that notorious cowardice which is bred of elections to office by an unrestricted franchise, nearly all of those who disapproved of the intent or purpose of the resolution or those who, while approving its alleged object, disapproved of the method adopted, held their peace in public at least. The debate on the resolution was a one-sided affair, for no man of great influence or weight in the nation's councils led the opposition, and the friendship of Russia and the Russian people was swept aside as an inconsiderable factor in the international situation.
As a result, the Russian Government was notified that the treaty was to be terminated by the United States. The language of this notification was rendered as diplomatic as possible by President Taft, and the disagreeable task of conveying the American ultimatum to the Russian Government by the American ambassador at St. Petersburg was performed in a manner calculated to do the least harm. The fact remained, however, and soften it as one may, it was received by the Russian Government as a man might take an unexpected blow from some one he trusted and looked upon as a friend. The Government was first surprised, then hurt, and then angry. The crux of the American contention was to the effect that an American passport entitled its holder to enter Russia and there enjoy a liberty of action and occupation denied to Russian. subjects.
The British, French, and German governments were promptly called upon by their own people to express themselves as to the merits of the controversy, as this was not a case where American passports had been or were to be discriminated against. The citizens of all foreign countries are placed upon a basis of equal rights in the administration of Russian in
unfortunate incidents, the United States is now in a fair way to destroy one of her great foreign friendships, one which has stood the test of the most notable and trying century in the history of human affairs. Notwithstanding vivid contrasts in the lives of her people and in her forms and methods of government as compared with those of the United States, the people and the rulers of Russia have long shown the keenest and most friendly interest in the progress and continued prosperity of the American people. This friendly attitude has been of so marked a character, and even minor controversies have been so infrequent, that a treaty made in 1832 held the two countries together until 1911, or for a period of nearly eighty years.
In the year 1911 a successful politician, who had become chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the American House of Representatives, though he lacked broad statesmanlike qualifications for that exalted position, brought forth an idea that could but canker or sacrifice that friendship, affronting Russia and surprising the world. It may be stated here that the evidence of some of the ablest and most prominent of the Hebrew race of American citizens is to the effect that this attack made upon Russia was a serious error in that, while at the time it seemed to serve political purposes in America, the ultimate result has been to do harm rather than good to the Russian people it was intended to benefit.
Instead of conveying to the Russian Government in the usual way through diplomatic channels the expression of a desire to revise a treaty which in many details was obsolete and needed revision, a resolution was introduced in Congress, violent in its language and arbitrary in its intended result. This resolution was the medium through which was discharged