Puslapio vaizdai

But, reader, I assure you that it is the same Wilhelm, as it is the same Hans.

To appreciate the incident which I have just related, it must be understood that it was not only custom, but a matter of pride, for each propertyowner to maintain a good communication trail across his land, connecting with the trails maintained by his neighbors; for it was only by such coöperation that travel over large sections of the country was possible. The exceptions to this rule were the Germans of university-military caste, who, in petty spite against their neighbors, repeatedly obstructed trails and resorted to other harassing methods, in order to have revenge on some enemy, real or imaginary. Among the Americans no enmities existed, while the Germans were divided into jealous groups. This was fortunate for us, for, had the Germans pulled together, it would have been difficult for an American to remain in the district, unless he was willing to submit to German domination.

Still another incident may prove illustrative. One day, while hunting, Friend Cook came upon some fresh mahogany stumps. Following a timber trail newly made, he came to the river, where, to his amazement, he saw some twenty logs all rafted to float away. Making inquiry, he discovered almost immediately that the cutting and rafting had been done by employees of Neighbor Hans, who at the time happened to be working mahogany. Fortified in his proofs by a government survey, Friend Cook called upon Neighbor Hans for satisfaction and settlement. He found him in great spirits, and inclined to be satirical; but as soon as Friend Cook had made the purpose of his visit painfully clear, then Neighbor Hans grew insolently indignant at both charge and claim. When, however, Cook placed an embargo on the logs,

Hans was glad to sign an agreement, promising to pay a ridiculously small and merely nominal stumpage fee. Good-natured Neighbor Cook, desiring only to have the moral ascendency in the dispute, waived his right to the logs and the value thereof, in order to avoid a troublesome fight which might delay his departure to the States, where he was impatient to go to visit his sick wife.

A few days later, when Friend Cook had started northward, Neighbor Hans rode across my place on his way home from down river. He dismounted and came up to the house in a noticeably bad humor. With a brief greeting he burst forth with, 'It seems your friend Cook looks for trouble. He will get plenty, you may be sure of that! Takes me for a fool, huh! I will show him something. While my men work he sleeps in his house. Why does he not watch his land? Does he think I follow my men and look where they go? How can I tell whether they go on his place or not? No, I look out for my own land, not for my neighbor's. That is their affair. I have troubles enough of my own, without taking on other people's. It is his mistake and not mine if his trees are cut down. Now you tell him

for me I pay him not one red cent for those logs. Last night I float the logs down stream to another jurisdiction, and that paper I sign no longer has value. I sign it to fool him. he will find out what kind of man I am. He makes a mistake to fight Hans. I I will show him.'2


1 A thesis since officially indorsed by the Chancellor of the German Empire.

2 By virtue of measures inaugurated by telegraph on the part of Neighbor Hans, Friend Cook was held up by the authorities at the port

of departure. Before the officials could satisfy

themselves that no reason existed for detaining Cook, he had been put to considerable expense and trouble, including a long and vexatious delay. -THE AUTHOR.

That night I had a good deal to think about, and a few days later, seeking sympathy I rode over to Finca Santa Felicia, and laid my trials before Friend Russell. But, instead of commiseration, my host turned on me. 'As a friend,' said he, 'I advise you not to repeat to others what you have just told me; for if you do, you will lose the respect of every man in this section. I cannot understand it. I supposed you were a man of spirit. Why, I'd like to see anybody put anything like that over on me.'

That was all the satisfaction I got on that day; but shortly afterwards, Neighbor Hans passed my home, riding a horse which bore a curious resemblance to that of Friend Russell. I remarked on the likeness to Hans, who promptly admitted that it was Russell's horse, which he had been 'obliged to borrow,' as his own mount had gone lame when he reached Santa Felicia.

A week later Friend Russell came in on a mule, making hasty inquiry as to whether I had seen his horse. I informed him that Neighbor Hans had ridden it through the week before. Russell looked at me with an expression which gave me entertainment. 'Hans,' he ejaculated, 'has one big nerve.'

'Where is the nerve?' I asked, as blandly as you please; 'you lent him the horse, did n't you?'

'Lent nothin', snorted Russell; 'Hans took my horse from the corral and left his lame one. I knew nothing of it till I went for my horse and found

it gone. My men saw Hans take it, but supposed I had given him permission. That's what I call nerve. He might have sent it back anyway. I'm going after it, and if you hear any noise over yonder it's me doing things.'

And Friend Russell disappeared on his mule in the direction of Santa Clara. It was late in the afternoon when he returned, riding his horse and leading the mule. Hans had explained that, being short of help, he could not send the animal back at once, and besides he had had to use it to visit his own property, a three days' trip into the campo.

'Well, what did you say to him Russell?'

'Oh, I did n't say much,' replied Russell; 'you see, I was right glad to get my horse back, and besides he opened up some of that old Rhinewine stuff and treated me pretty white, and though I felt rather sore, I thought I'd better let it go at that.'

'Well,' said I, 'let me advise you as a friend never to repeat that happening to any one about here, as you might lose their respect. By Jove! I'm surprised. I thought you were a man of courage. I'd like to see any one put anything like that over on me.'

Such were these neighbors, university-taught and army-bred. When the newspapers of early August, 1914, reached me and I read with horror of the invasion of Belgium, my hands dropped to my lap, and I exclaimed aloud, 'Neighbor Hans is loose in Europe, too!'




THIS was early in the force's history

so early that as yet no sub-station of State Police had ever been planted in Washington County.

Captain Pitcher, commanding 'A' Troop, was now about to place one there, and, in reviewing the territory, had selected Burgettstown as the location for the new outpost. Burgettstown, close to the Ohio line, lies some sixty miles from the troop's home barracks.

Sergeant Charles Jacobs, late 3rd United States Cavalry, Private Gjertsen, late corporal of United States Marines, and two other troopers, composed the new detail. On sending the men off, the captain made them a farewell speech. That speech, for him, was a long one, yet every word of it carved its indelible mark.

'You men have to make good in that county. You are going to establish a name for the force. Do your full duty. Get what you go for. Keep every act above criticism. And never "start anything" first.'

Burgettstown is a typical farming community quiet, orderly, prosperous, and as vulnerable as an oyster without its shell. The constable of Burgettstown was seventy years old, and, although far from well-preserved, his quavering strength might yet have sufficed for all the home-bred needs of the bailiwick. But, as it happened, the real needs of Burgettstown were not home-bred at all.

There was Cherry Valley, for example, only four short miles away.

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Cherry Valley was the central point in a circle of mining plants. It possessed their one and only store pany store; it had some places of dubious amusement. It had also a large and bad negro element, mingled with that sort of white stock that will so mingle.

Cherry Valley, by its own proud word, was a 'tough proposition,' and from its toughness emanated a considerable part of Burgettstown's woes. They ranged from chicken-stealing and drunken Sunday sprees to the firing of haystacks and barns, thefts of crops, and attacks upon women in lonely places. And no local means of protection with which Burgettstown was endowed operated against them in the slightest degree.

Yet these things had become so much a part of Burgettstown's daily life as to be accepted more or less like the weather that Providence is pleased to send, on a par with the discipline of a world of travail and sojourning, to be borne with resignation and to be taken as they came.

Burgettstown, as yet, had no personal knowledge of the power and purpose of a State Police, and in so far as it substituted surmise for experience, its surmise ran that the force must be simply a new-fangled avenue of graft, a creation of costly, arrogant uselessness. The farmers, therefore, in their farmers' skepticism as to all new things, held aloof and looked askance.

And so it happened that the first

applicant for help to call at the substation door was a very humble one indeed. It was a harmless old negro, who, by some mischance, had incurred the wrath of one of the black bullies of the Cherry Valley gang. The bully had promised to kill this white-polled ancient on sight, and, as he habitually 'toted a gun,' he was likely to carry out his threat at their first meeting.

'Certainly ain't gwine to be no meetin' if I sees him first,' the old man declared with conviction; 'but I cyan't have eyes all round my head at once, an' I cyan't rest nights tryin' to keep 'em so. If you could help me, boss, I certainly would be thankful. Nobody else won't, not in dis world! I'se begged 'em all.'

He had sworn out a warrant for the apprehension of his persecutor, and had taken the warrant to the constable, in due and proper course. But the constable, honest gray-beard that he was, feigned no ability to serve that writ. He knew that the burly black rascal would at best snatch it out of his hand and tear it up before his face, and that he would be lucky to escape merely with ridicule and without bodily injury. So the constable had flatly refused the attempt. The patient old negro had then plodded back to the squire.

'Dis here writ please, sah, constable say he won't serve it. What I gwine to do next?'

'Don't know. Guess there ain't anything to do next,' opined the squire.

'But, squire, I'se too afraid! Dat man gwine to kill me, sure!'

'Well, then, I guess you'd better move away from here. Go some place where he won't find you. That would be my idea.'

The suppliant stood for a moment silent, with hanging head. Then, with a sigh, he started down the path from the squire's door. Perhaps something

in the humble dejection of the figure touched the justice slightly. Perhaps he suddenly remembered that this man could wield a whitewash brush a little bit better than any one else in the borough, and that in haying time he came in handily.

'Look here, you!' he shouted down the path, 'there's those State Police just come to town. I don't reckon they 'll do anything for you, but it could n't hurt to walk over and ask 'em before you pack up. Your time ain't worth much, anyhow.'

'Certainly we will serve this warrant,' said Sergeant Jacobs, having read the writ. 'Why not?'

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'Now, uncle, don't you fret. Go along home and eat your dinner in peace. We'll take care of you. Leave Cherry Valley to us.'

The old man stared, while his lips moved. He seemed to be repeating the words to himself, savoring them one by one. Slowly his heart shone through his wrinkled mask, translated. Fifty years had rolled away. Once more he stood in a world that he knew-among 'real white folks' at home. He clasped his knotted hands while the tears rolled down his cheeks.

'O master! master, dear!' he sobbed and laughed together, falling unconsciously upon the long-hushed name. 'D-don't let 'em hurt you over there. Don't let 'em harm one lil' hair of yo' precious haid! Dis nigger ain't wuth it!'

'May de Lord forgive me!' he said again, as he watched the sergeant and Private Gjertsen ride out of sight, down the Cherry Valley road. 'May de Lord have mercy on my sinful soul! I certainly did think He done called all his old-time peoples home!'

It was a Saturday afternoon—the afternoon of pay-day. The gangs had gathered in Cherry Valley, and the weekly trouble was already afoot. Men and women had been drinking heavily, quarrels were progressing, ugly combinations had formed. As the two troopers rode down the street, a cloud of hostile questions surrounded them. Who were they? Why had they come?

Their uniform was unknown here, their name and purpose were almost as strange. But they looked like men claiming authority, and Cherry Valley in theory denied authority utterly. In the concrete it had never seen it knew it not at all.

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'I'll wager we have n't a friend in the whole village - Americans, foreigners, negroes, every one of them is ready to fight.'

They rode on a few yards farther, coming to a house on whose porch a stalwart negro lounged.

'As we're strangers everywhere, we may as well begin here,' remarked the sergeant, dismounting.

They tied their horses and entered. Within the thick squalor of the place some fifteen or twenty negroes were playing poker and drinking. To the query of the sergeant they answered, with surly scowls, that the man he sought was not in that house.

Satisfying themselves that this was probably true, the troopers proceeded to another and yet other negro abodes, still with a like result. Everywhere the same surly quasi-insolence, the same hostile withholding of all information, suggestions, or help.

Finally they approached a house at

VOL. 121 - NO. 2

whose front door a slatternly white woman sat, while a little mulatto girl stood on the back porch. In some vague way the two suggested a guard.

'We'll try this place,' said Sergeant Jacobs. 'I'll take the front door, Gjertsen. You go to the rear.'

Both officers asked the seeming sentries whether the negro named in the warrant was within the house. Both received a defiant 'No!' Then they entered, from their respective sides, and together made a thorough search of the ground floor. The search proved barren. The troopers mounted to the second and only remaining floor. Here also their hunt revealed nothing, Disappointed, they descended the stairs, and were about leaving the house, when an indefinable shade on the face of the white woman made them pause. 'Are you quite sure that this man is not in the house?'

'Sure? Of course I'm sure!' the woman snapped back.

The sergeant looked her square in the eye, long and steadily. 'I'll just go up and have another glance,' he began.

'Can't you take a lady's word, then, you coward, you-' And she babbled off, like a hot geyser, into a torrent of mud.

'And I'll bring him down with me in a moment,' concluded the sergeant imperturbably, his foot on the stair.

"There's just this one place left, and he must be in it,' Sergeant Jacobs was saying, a moment later.

He stood before the chimney-breast in the rear chamber, gazing at the chimney-hole. In point of size that hole might conceivably have admitted the body of a man. But it was stuffed tight with old blankets and gunnysacks, to keep the wind away, and the blankets and gunny-sacks were gray with a season's dust.

'If he's in there, they've done it well!' exclaimed Gjertsen.

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