« PreviousContinue »
"In the prison,” said the old physician, “I summons was insistent, and I obeyed it. In those heard the end of a story that began many years days, automobiles had not come to help us on ago-and it has given me, somehow, a curious such occasions; but my horse was a stout animal. little certainty that none of us are accidents. and I fastened the curtains about my buggy and Also, my son, it made me very humbly proud drew the waterproof robe up to my chin and set that such a manifest and certain proof should out. come to me that-secret-service operatives have However, even thus protected. I suffered guarded my steps.”
severely. It was as dark as nothingness. My The young man frowned with perplexity. horse was a bay; and even his rump was invisible “I don't understand—” he began.
to me as I sat in the seat of the buggy. The rain "I do not understand, myself," said the old was like a cloud-burst; and, to make matters doctor. “But, I will tell you, if you like.” · worse, the wind was almost directly in my face.
The young man nodded swiftly. “Please,” he Thus the rain and the flying drift were blown in said; and the physician knocked the dottel over the robe, and, even through my heavy coat, írom his pipe into the grate, filled and lighted the I was drenched and cold. The journey was not a pipe, and smoked thoughtfully for a time, as pleasant one. I passed gradually outside the though marshaling his recollections.
town, left the last houses behind me, and struck At length he began:
the mud of the country roads. The wheels of
the buggy lurched into puddles and slid in the TT was a good many years ago, said the old thick mud, and stuck and pulled loose with little
doctor, that I had among my patients an sounds like those made by the removal of a cork clderly woman of some wealth, who lived on a from a bottle. I could hear the feet of my horse lonely road, perhaps half a mile from any other plunging through the mud, but I could not see house, and five or six miles from here.
his efforts. It was folly to attempt to guide him; She was, as I have said, wealthy. Her husband and so I let the beast pick his own way through had been dead for some years, and she lived alone the night. with an occasional visit from her nephew, a son of In the end, he brought me safely to my destiher husband's brother, whose parents were dead. nation, and I saw a lantern in the carriage shed
This woman-it is not necessary that I reveal to guide me. I drove in and blanketed the horse her name—distrused the young man, perhaps and made him fast. He was of an independent rightfully; and as she grew older she decided that turn of mind, and had, now and then, left me at the her original intention to bequeath her property home of some patient and trotted off to his home to him was a mistake. He was dissolute, she stable. I had no wish to be left afoot on such a believed; and she was a devout woman, and was night, and I was careful to fasten him securely. not willing that she should furnish him the means Then, taking the lantern, I made my way to of his own ruin.
the house. Even in that brief passage, the About five years before her death, she made a dreadful thrust and buffeting of the wind and will leaving to the young man only a few dollars. rain seemed to sap my strength. I found a side The remainder of her considerable estate was to door. It opened under my hand and I entered. go to a certain worthy charity. The will was The woman who had sent for me was alone in drawn by her attorney, in my presence, and I a room on the lower floor. I knew she had no was one of the two witnesses. The other witness, servant, and so did not knock or summon her an old woman who had been housekeeper for my to the door. When she saw me in the doorway, patient for many years, died a year after the will from the room where she was sitting, she rose was drawn. The attorney, who drew the docu- hurriedly and came toward me, and I saw disment, was killed in an accident two years later. tress and terror in her eyes. At the time of which I speak, therefore, I was Now, there was little for her to fear in all the the only other person, besides herself, who knew world. Though she was wealthy, it was well of the existence of the will. She kept it at her known that the furnishings of this house were home, and by her request, the attorney had re- meager, and that she never kept valuables here. tained no copy of the document.
It was her custom to leave all her doors and winThis explanation may be tedious; but it is a dows unfastened; for, as she often told me: necessary groundwork for what followed.
“If anybody thinks they'll find anything here, One night, in March, I was summoned by I want them to feel free to try it." telephone to come to the woman's home. It was She could not be in fear of thieves; she was a a bitter, rainy night, and the long drive did not woman of sense and courage; and so, I was at a attract me; furthermore, I knew the woman loss to account for the manifest anxiety which was not at the time seriously ill. Nevertheless, the distressed her. She did not leave me long in
doubt, however. I laid my wet coat over a chair I thrust the document into my pocket. “I will before her open fire, sat down beside her, and she see that he does not get it," I said. “But I shall said abruptly:
stay here with you to-night." “Doctor Price, James is here."
She rose alertly, all the anxiety gone now, James was the young man, the son of her proud and erect; and she smiled at me. “Nonhusband's brother, the dissolute and reckless sense, Doctor Price," she said. “Take it with creature she had determined to disinherit.
you and go. Once it is gone, I have nothing to "Has he distressed you?” I asked.
fear. I am not afraid of a drunken puppy-not “He has frightened me,” she said frankly. for myself. But I do not wish him to destroy that “He is intoxicated.”
paper." “He is--in the house?”
She was a strong, fine woman; and I saw that “In his room upstairs," she assented. “We it was true. She was no longer afraid. She was dined together. He had been drinking before more than a match for the young man in everythat. I reproached him for it."
thing save physical strength; and she did not I nodded, listening in spite of myself for any fear his strength. There was a compulsion in her sound from the young man in the upper room. eyes and in her voice as she told me to take the But the wind was so blustery, and the rain's will and go, which I could not resist. tattoo on the windows was so constant, that if he “Deliver that, in the morning, to the trustees made any noise it was instantly smothered in the of the hospital,” she said, naming the institution tumult of the night.
which was to receive the bulk of her estate. “He jeered at me when I begged him not to “Warn them to preserve it carefully till my drink any more to-night,” said the woman, my death.” patient. “He angered me; and I told him--per- “But-I will speak to the young man before I haps it was unwise to do so--of the will which go," I protested. you witnessed, Doctor Price, in which he receives only a few dollars."
CHE shook her head. “There is no need,” "That was not wise," I agreed.
w she said. “Once that document is gone, he “He was furious," she assented. “He cursed me, can do no harm here." and he swore he would even the score with me." There was nothing for me to do but obey her.
Now, while this woman was not ill, her heart She guided me to the door, and I took the lanwas in a serious condition. She had worked very tern which I had brought in with me and bade hard in her youth, and the physical effort had her good-night. We heard no further sound from weakened her. She was in no immediate danger the upper floor. I opened the door quickly and of death; yet, at the same time, shock or fright slipped out and closed it before the rain could might lead to a seizure of the gravest nature. beat in; but she opened it and stood there, silI determined to speak to the young man before houetted in the lighted doorway, and watched me leaving the house, and warn him of this danger. find my buggy and start my return journey. The woman seemed to guess what I was thinking. As I drove away, she was the last thing I saw; and
“He frightened me, and I felt a little sick, I never saw her again alive. She died, quite Doctor Price," she said. “I told him you had peacefully, in her bed a few weeks later. An old advised me to avoid shock or fright. He laughed woman who came to the house every morning outright at that, and said: “Sooner you go, the with eggs, discovered her body. better I'm pleased.'”
As I started home that night, it seemed to me For a moment, there was no other sound except the fury of the rain had increased. A winter rain the trumpeting and thumping of the wind and is so much more chill and drenching than a sumrain. Then I heard a step on the upper floor and mer tempest. There had been snow on the rose quickly. “I'll speak to him," I said.
ground when this downpour began, two days But she detained me. “Wait, please,” she before. But now the snow was gone and the rain whispered. “There is something else.”
still continued. I turned back and stood beside her; and she The wind was blowing colder, however, so drew from the bosom of her dress a folded paper. that I said to myself as the horse turned into I guessed what it was, recognized it as the will the homeward road, “This is turning to snowshe had drawn years before. Sbe handed it to to a blizzard.” me. I took it, stupidly, and held it in my The wind had shifted somewhat, during the hands.
evening. It had been in my face as I drove to “Take it back with you," she whispered. “He the house. Now, instead of being at my back, knows it is in the house. I told him. He will it blew straight across the road. The curtains try to get it.”
of the buggy sheltered me from its direct as
saults; but it made little eddies and whirls inside robe, and jumped over the wheel into the mud of the curtains and brought flying drops that half- the road. I hitched the horse to the bridge railing blinded me. The force of the wind was so great and halted to listen again; and after a few seconds that, at times, it made the buggy sway danger I heard the cry repeated, more plainly now. ously; and I was prepared, more than once, to The road on which I stood was not a main jump free if the vehicle should overturn.
thoroughfare. Beyond the home of my patient, Our homeward progress was slower than our it led only to a small village whose inhabitants coming had been; for the horse was weary, and, were unlikely to be abroad on such a night as perhaps, the thick mud was stiffening a little this. Even if they were on the road, it was as the wind grew colder. Once or twice something difficult to imagine what could have taken any lashed me in the face and tingled there, and I man or woman down the wooded hollow on such a guessed there were a few flying flakes of snow on night. These considerations returned to me as I the wind. The night had become somewhat hitched the horse; and, at the same time, I rebrighter, either by a dispersing or a lightening of membered the will in my pocket. the clouds; and the struggling form of the horse The cry was repeated. I reassured myself. No was perceptible, while the fences and the trees one had an interest in destroying this will save along the road could be vaguely discerned. James Norman, the young man I had left in the
About a quarter of a mile from the home of house back along the road. No robber would be my patient, and more than half a mile from any abroad on such a night as this; or, if he was, he other house, the road dipped into a little hollow would scarcely choose such an unfrequented at the bottom of which a brook tinkled audibly road; nor would a robber lurk in the woods and This little hollow was wooded; and, as my horse groan when he might as easily halt a passenger in began the descent, leaning back heavily to hold the road itself. the carriage in the slippery mud, the shadows of I laughed grimly at my own uneasiness, and the trees closed over us, so that the horse was when the low cry came again-it seemed, perlost in the darkness, and only the dim ribbon of haps, fifty yards away, down wind—I turned sky between the foliage overhead was visible. back to the buggy and took one of the side
The brook, at the bottom of the hollow, was lamps and lighted it in the shelter of my coat. swollen by the long rains; but as it was normally The lamps had refused to burn, so fierce was the merely a thin trickle, its rise had done no harm. wind, while in their brackets beside the carriage, Most of the surplus ran safely under the little and I had let them go, trusting to the isolation bridge. The remainder followed a backwater of the road on which I traveled to preserve me around a boulder beside the road, and flowed from accident. Now, by sheltering this lamp across the road a dozen feet from the bridge itself, with my coat, I was able to throw a faint gleam where the road was lower than the bridge. The a few feet ahead of me. I crossed the bridge to a feet of my horse splashed into this swift, though little path which led down through the wooded shallow, current, and then reached the solid hollow, and started forward, listening, now and road again; and it was in the comparative lull then, for the cry which had attracted my atafter the noise of his hoofs in the water that I tention. heard a faint shout from the wooded hollow below It came as I left the road; and I heard it again, the road.
not twenty yards in front of me, a moment later. • The horse must have heard it as well as I; I pushed on and came into a little open space for he stopped without a command from me, and among the trees and looked about, casting the even though I could not see him, I could almost faint light of my lamp this way and that. feel the intensity of his posture as he stood with There was no one in sight-and I waited for head turned and ears forward to listen.
that cry. It did not come. By and by, I called
out: D'OR myself, though that faint cry had “Halloo! Who is it? Where are you?”
T chilled me with an indefinable alarm, I Then I listened acutely, concentrating every leaned forward to listen for its repetition.
faculty in my ears. There was no reply. It came again, after a moment. It was curi- Suddenly and inexplicably, the faint tremors ously muffled, and was almost more a groan than I had experienced left me. I was as bold as a a cry. I could not be sure the word, “Help!” lion. I stood in the middle of the little, open was articulated by the person who cried out; but, glade, looked about me and cast the light this certainly, it was an appeal for aid.
way and that. There was no one there. I started For an instant, I did not think of the will in out and circled through the woods for fifty my pocket though I had promised to protect it. yards in each direction. There was no one, Instinctively I threw back the heavy, waterproof
(Continued on page 130)
Higher and higher they climb, as each new edition is made to the ensemble; until the very deserts and
wastes of air have been reclaimed and consecrated to the doing of something worth doing.
The Nation's Cash Drawer
How the Greatest Money Market in
By W. A. LEWIS
THE cash drawer of the United States! It is It is a wondrous place, this little bit of a strip
in that tiny peninsula pocket of the Island of land with its narrow streets, crooked alleys,
of Manhattan known as Lower Broadway, sky-scrapers, ponderous structures, hurrying New York City.
motor-cars, clanging cars, scurrying men, running "Lower Broadway” means from Maiden Lane boys; with the sacred precincts of Trinity Church down to the Battery. It isn't wider than a to hallow it in the memories and traditions of bygood-sized farm, nor longer than a fair-sized gone times, when Lower Broadway was the vital village. But it holds daily, from ten until four entirety of New York; when what is now the o'clock, a hundred thousand of the biggest, City Hall Plaza was well up in the city; when busiest brains in the world.
Canal Street was away up town, and when FourThe financial district, Wall Street, the banking teenth Street was out in the country. section, the stock exchange, the clearing house, Still, it isn't the place that is so wonderful. It the moneyed center,-call it what you will, every is the people, the occupants, the denizens. This body in New York has the greatest respect for it, is the countingroom of “the partner of the world” and everybody from everywhere else has the in everything financial, commercial, maritime, greatest curiosity to see it and go through it. mercantile, speculative, progressive. This is the
cash drawer of the country, the Mecca of the continent, the throne of dictation of the making and unmaking of fortunes.
Throughout the world, the American represents the magnitude of money. Be he a tourist,
he is looked upon as a walking exchequer; be he a purchaser of goods, he is considered equal to dealings of any magnitude; be he a diplomatist, he is acknowledged to have material resources behind him which admit of no contempt, or
frivolous disregard. To come from America is to hail from the greatest money supply on earth. To go to America is to enter the precincts which forbid no man, whatever his nationality, to jump into the exciting competition which converts the bread winner of to-day into the opulent capitalist of to-morrow.
Nor is there anything inflated, or unreal, or romantic, appertaining to this gigantic proposition of untold wealth. Nor is there, in the very marrow of fact, anything but what is substantial, solid, permanent, dependable, associated with the stupendous moneyed interests of the American people. Money is the commodity with which and by which the wheels of the world's industries are lubricated.
Photograph by Brown Bros.