Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
By STEPHEN CRANE
THE RELUCTANT VOYAGERS 1
THE KICKING TWELFTH 35
THE UPTURNED FACE 52
THE SHRAPNEL OF THEIR FRIENDS 59
"AND IF HE WILLS, WE MUST DIE" 69
WYOMING VALLEY TALES--
THE SURRENDER OF FORTY FORT 81
"OL' BENNET" AND THE INDIANS 88
THE BATTLE OF FORTY FORT 99
LONDON IMPRESSIONS 110
NEW YORK SKETCHES--
GREAT-GRIEF'S HOLIDAY DINNER 133
THE SILVER PAGEANT 145
A STREET SCENE 148
MINETTA LANE 154
ROOF GARDENS 166
IN THE BROADWAY CARS 173
THE ASSASSINS IN MODERN BATTLES 181
AN OLD MAN GOES WOOING 193
THE ROYAL IRISH CONSTABULARY 203
A FISHING VILLAGE 207
SULLIVAN COUNTY SKETCHES--
FOUR MEN IN A CAVE 217
THE MESMERIC MOUNTAIN 225
THE SQUIRE'S MADNESS 231
A DESERTION 245
HOW THE DONKEY LIFTED THE HILLS 252
A MAN BY THE NAME OF MUD 258
A POKER GAME 263
THE SNAKE 268
A SELF-MADE MAN 273
A TALE OF MERE CHANCE 282
AT CLANCY'S WAKE 288
AN EPISODE OF WAR 294
THE VOICE OF THE MOUNTAIN 301
WHY DID THE YOUNG CLERK SWEAR? 306
THE VICTORY OF THE MOON 315
THE RELUCTANT VOYAGERS
Two men sat by the sea waves.
"Well, I know I'm not handsome," said one gloomily. He was poking holes
in the sand with a discontented cane.
The companion was watching the waves play. He seemed overcome with
perspiring discomfort as a man who is resolved to set another man right.
Suddenly his mouth turned into a straight line. "To be sure you are
not," he cried vehemently. "You look like thunder. I do not desire to be
unpleasant, but I must assure you that your freckled skin continually
reminds spectators of white wall paper with gilt roses on it. The top of
your head looks like a little wooden plate. And your figure--heavens!"
For a time they were silent. They stared at the waves that purred near
their feet like sleepy sea-kittens.
Finally the first man spoke.
"Well," said he, defiantly, "what of it?"
"What of it," exploded the other. "Why, it means that you'd look like
blazes in a bathing-suit."
They were again silent. The freckled man seemed ashamed. His tall
companion glowered at the scenery.
"I am decided," said the freckled man suddenly. He got boldly up from
the sand and strode away. The tall man followed, walking sarcastically
and glaring down at the round, resolute figure before him.
A bath-clerk was looking at the world with superior eyes through a hole
in a board. To him the freckled man made application, waving his hands
over his person in illustration of a snug fit. The bath-clerk thought
profoundly. Eventually, he handed out a blue bundle with an air of
having phenomenally solved the freckled man's dimensions.
The latter resumed his resolute stride.
"See here," said the tall man, following him, "I bet you've got a
regular toga, you know. That fellow couldn't tell--"
"Yes, he could," interrupted the freckled man, "I saw correct
mathematics in his eyes."
"Well, supposin' he has missed your size. Supposin'--"
"Tom," again interrupted the other, "produce your proud clothes and
we'll go in."
The tall man swore bitterly. He went to one of a row of little wooden
boxes and shut himself in it. His companion repaired to a similar box.
At first he felt like an opulent monk in a too-small cell, and he turned
round two or three times to see if he could. He arrived finally into his
bathing-dress. Immediately he dropped gasping upon a three-cornered
bench. The suit fell in folds about his reclining form. There was
silence, save for the caressing calls of the waves without.
Then he heard two shoes drop on the floor in one of the little coops. He
began to clamour at the boards like a penitent at an unforgiving door.
"Tom," called he, "Tom--"
A voice of wrath, muffled by cloth, came through the walls. "You go t'
The freckled man began to groan, taking the occupants of the entire row
of coops into his confidence.
"Stop your noise," angrily cried the tall man from his hidden den. "You
rented the bathing-suit, didn't you? Then--"
"It ain't a bathing-suit," shouted the freckled man at the boards. "It's
an auditorium, a ballroom, or something. It ain't a bathing-suit."
The tall man came out of his box. His suit looked like blue skin. He
walked with grandeur down the alley between the rows of coops. Stopping
in front of his friend's door, he rapped on it with passionate
"Come out of there, y' ol' fool," said he, in an enraged whisper. "It's
only your accursed vanity. Wear it anyhow. What difference does it make?
I never saw such a vain ol' idiot!"
As he was storming the door opened, and his friend confronted him. The
tall man's legs gave way, and he fell against the opposite door.
The freckled man regarded him sternly.
"You're an ass," he said.
His back curved in scorn. He walked majestically down the alley. There
was pride in the way his chubby feet patted the boards. The tall man
followed, weakly, his eyes riveted upon the figure ahead.
As a disguise the freckled man had adopted the stomach of importance. He
moved with an air of some sort of procession, across a board walk, down
some steps, and out upon the sand.
There was a pug dog and three old women on a bench, a man and a maid
with a book and a parasol, a seagull drifting high in the wind, and a
distant, tremendous meeting of sea and sky. Down on the wet sand stood a
girl being wooed by the breakers.
The freckled man moved with stately tread along the beach. The tall man,
numb with amazement, came in the rear. They neared the girl.
Suddenly the tall man was seized with convulsions. He laughed, and the
girl turned her head.
She perceived the freckled man in the bathing-suit. An expression of
wonderment overspread her charming face. It changed in a moment to a
This smile seemed to smite the freckled man. He obviously tried to swell
and fit his suit. Then he turned a shrivelling glance upon his
companion, and fled up the beach. The tall man ran after him, pursuing
with mocking cries that tingled his flesh like stings of insects. He
seemed to be trying to lead the way out of the world. But at last he
stopped and faced about.
"Tom Sharp," said he, between his clenched teeth, "you are an
unutterable wretch! I could grind your bones under my heel."
The tall man was in a trance, with glazed eyes fixed on the
bathing-dress. He seemed to be murmuring: "Oh, good Lord! Oh, good Lord!
I never saw such a suit!"
The freckled man made the gesture of an assassin.
"Tom Sharp, you--"
The other was still murmuring: "Oh, good Lord! I never saw such a suit!
The freckled man ran down into the sea.
The cool, swirling waters took his temper from him, and it became a
thing that is lost in the ocean. The tall man floundered in, and the two
forgot and rollicked in the waves.
The freckled man, in endeavouring to escape from mankind, had left all
save a solitary fisherman under a large hat, and three boys in
bathing-dress, laughing and splashing upon a raft made of old spars.
The two men swam softly over the ground swells.
The three boys dived from their raft, and turned their jolly faces
shorewards. It twisted slowly around and around, and began to move
seaward on some unknown voyage. The freckled man laid his face to the
water and swam toward the raft with a practised stroke. The tall man
followed, his bended arm appearing and disappearing with the precision
The craft crept away, slowly and wearily, as if luring. The little
wooden plate on the freckled man's head looked at the shore like a
round, brown eye, but his gaze was fixed on the raft that slyly appeared
to be waiting. The tall man used the little wooden plate as a beacon.
At length the freckled man reached the raft and climbed aboard. He lay
down on his back and puffed. His bathing-dress spread about him like a
dead balloon. The tall man came, snorted, shook his tangled locks and
lay down by the side of his companion.
They were overcome with a delicious drowsiness. The planks of the raft
seemed to fit their tired limbs. They gazed dreamily up into the vast
sky of summer.
"This is great," said the tall man. His companion grunted blissfully.
Gentle hands from the sea rocked their craft and lulled them to peace.
Lapping waves sang little rippling sea-songs about them. The two men
issued contented groans.
"Tom," said the freckled man.
"What?" said the other.
"This is great."
They lay and thought.
A fish-hawk, soaring, suddenly turned and darted at the waves. The tall
man indolently twisted his head and watched the bird plunge its claws
into the water. It heavily arose with a silver gleaming fish.
"That bird has got his feet wet again. It's a shame," murmured the tall
man sleepily. "He must suffer from an endless cold in the head. He
should wear rubber boots. They'd look great, too. If I was him,
He has partly arisen, and was looking at the shore.
He began to scream. "Ted! Ted! Ted! Look!"
"What's matter?" dreamily spoke the freckled man. "You remind me of when
I put the bird-shot in your leg." He giggled softly.
The agitated tall man made a gesture of supreme eloquence. His companion
up-reared and turned a startled gaze shoreward.
"Lord," he roared, as if stabbed.
The land was a long, brown streak with a rim of green, in which sparkled
the tin roofs of huge hotels. The hands from the sea had pushed them
away. The two men sprang erect, and did a little dance of perturbation.
"What shall we do? What shall we do?" moaned the freckled man, wriggling
fantastically in his dead balloon.
The changing shore seemed to fascinate the tall man, and for a time he
did not speak.
Suddenly he concluded his minuet of horror. He wheeled about and faced
the freckled man. He elaborately folded his arms.
"So," he said, in slow, formidable tones. "So! This all comes from your
accursed vanity, your bathing-suit, your idiocy; you have murdered your
He turned away. His companion reeled as if stricken by an unexpected
He stretched out his hands. "Tom, Tom," wailed he, beseechingly, "don't
be such a fool."
The broad back of his friend was occupied by a contemptuous sneer.
Three ships fell off the horizon. Landward, the hues were blending. The
whistle of a locomotive sounded from an infinite distance as if tooting
"Tom! Tom! My dear boy," quavered the freckled man, "don't speak that
way to me."
"Oh, no, of course not," said the other, still facing away and throwing
the words over his shoulder. "You suppose I am going to accept all this
calmly, don't you? Not make the slightest objection? Make no protest at
"Well, I--I--" began the freckled man.
The tall man's wrath suddenly exploded. "You've abducted me! That's the
whole amount of it! You've abducted me!"
"I ain't," protested the freckled man. "You must think I'm a fool."
The tall man swore, and sitting down, dangled his legs angrily in the
water. Natural law compelled his companion to occupy the other end of
Over the waters little shoals of fish spluttered, raising tiny tempests.
Languid jelly-fish floated near, tremulously waving a thousand legs. A
row of porpoises trundled along like a procession of cog-wheels. The
sky became greyed save where over the land sunset colours were
The two voyagers, back to back and at either end of the raft, quarrelled
"What did you want to follow me for?" demanded the freckled man in a
voice of indignation.
"If your figure hadn't been so like a bottle, we wouldn't be here,"
replied the tall man.
The fires in the west blazed away, and solemnity spread over the sea.
Electric lights began to blink like eyes. Night menaced the voyagers
with a dangerous darkness, and fear came to bind their souls together.
They huddled fraternally in the middle of the raft.
"I feel like a molecule," said the freckled man in subdued tones.
"I'd give two dollars for a cigar," muttered the tall man.
A V-shaped flock of ducks flew towards Barnegat, between the voyagers
and a remnant of yellow sky. Shadows and winds came from the vanished
"I think I hear voices," said the freckled man.
"That Dollie Ramsdell was an awfully nice girl," said the tall man.
When the coldness of the sea night came to them, the freckled man found
he could by a peculiar movement of his legs and arms encase himself in
his bathing-dress. The tall man was compelled to whistle and shiver. As
night settled finally over the sea, red and green lights began to dot
the blackness. There were mysterious shadows between the waves.
"I see things comin'," murmured the freckled man.
"I wish I hadn't ordered that new dress-suit for the hop to-morrow
night," said the tall man reflectively.
The sea became uneasy and heaved painfully, like a lost bosom, when
little forgotten heart-bells try to chime with a pure sound. The
voyagers cringed at magnified foam on distant wave crests. A moon came
and looked at them.
"Somebody's here," whispered the freckled man.
"I wish I had an almanac," remarked the tall man, regarding the moon.
Presently they fell to staring at the red and green lights that twinkled
"Providence will not leave us," asserted the freckled man.
"Oh, we'll be picked up shortly. I owe money," said the tall man.
He began to thrum on an imaginary banjo.
"I have heard," said he, suddenly, "that captains with healthy ships
beneath their feet will never turn back after having once started on a
voyage. In that case we will be rescued by some ship bound for the
golden seas of the south. Then, you'll be up to some of your confounded
devilment, and we'll get put off. They'll maroon us! That's what they'll
do! They'll maroon us! On an island with palm trees and sun-kissed
maidens and all that. Sun-kissed maidens, eh? Great! They'd--"
He suddenly ceased and turned to stone. At a distance a great, green eye
was contemplating the sea wanderers.
They stood up and did another dance. As they watched the eye grew
Directly the form of a phantom-like ship came into view. About the
great, green eye there bobbed small yellow dots. The wanderers could
hear a far-away creaking of unseen tackle and flapping of shadowy sails.
There came the melody of the waters as the ship's prow thrusted its way.
The tall man delivered an oration.
"Ha!" he exclaimed, "here comes our rescuers. The brave fellows! How I
long to take the manly captain by the hand! You will soon see a white
boat with a star on its bow drop from the side of yon ship. Kind sailors
in blue and white will help us into the boat and conduct our wasted
frames to the quarter-deck, where the handsome, bearded captain, with
gold bands all around, will welcome us. Then in the hard-oak cabin,
while the wine gurgles and the Havana's glow, we'll tell our tale of
peril and privation."
The ship came on like a black hurrying animal with froth-filled maw. The
two wanderers stood up and clasped hands. Then they howled out a wild
duet that rang over the wastes of sea.
The cries seemed to strike the ship.
Men with boots on yelled and ran about the deck. They picked up heavy
articles and threw them down. They yelled more. After hideous creakings
and flappings, the vessel stood still.
In the meantime the wanderers had been chanting their song for help. Out
in the blackness they beckoned to the ship and coaxed.
A voice came to them.
"Hello," it said.
They puffed out their cheeks and began to shout. "Hello! Hello! Hello!"
"Wot do yeh want?" said the voice.
The two wanderers gazed at each other, and sat suddenly down on the
raft. Some pall came sweeping over the sky and quenched their stars.
But almost the tall man got up and brawled miscellaneous information. He
stamped his foot, and frowning into the night, swore threateningly.
The vessel seemed fearful of these moaning voices that called from a
hidden cavern of the water. And now one voice was filled with a menace.
A number of men with enormous limbs that threw vast shadows over the sea
as the lanterns flickered, held a debate and made gestures.
Off in the darkness, the tall man began to clamour like a mob. The
freckled man sat in astounded silence, with his legs weak.
After a time one of the men of enormous limbs seized a rope that was
tugging at the stern and drew a small boat from the shadows. Three
giants clambered in and rowed cautiously toward the raft. Silver water
flashed in the gloom as the oars dipped.
About fifty feet from the raft the boat stopped. "Who er you?" asked a
The tall man braced himself and explained. He drew vivid pictures, his
twirling fingers illustrating like live brushes.
"Oh," said the three giants.
The voyagers deserted the raft. They looked back, feeling in their
hearts a mite of tenderness for the wet planks. Later, they wriggled up
the side of the vessel and climbed over the railing.
On deck they met a man.
He held a lantern to their faces. "Got any chewin' tewbacca?" he
"No," said the tall man, "we ain't."
The man had a bronze face and solitary whiskers. Peculiar lines about
his mouth were shaped into an eternal smile of derision. His feet were
bare, and clung handily to crevices.
Fearful trousers were supported by a piece of suspender that went up the
wrong side of his chest and came down the right side of his back,
dividing him into triangles.
"Ezekiel P. Sanford, capt'in, schooner 'Mary Jones,' of N'yack, N.Y.,
genelmen," he said.
"Ah!" said the tall man, "delighted, I'm sure."
There were a few moments of silence. The giants were hovering in the
gloom and staring.
Suddenly astonishment exploded the captain.
"Wot th' devil--" he shouted, "wot th' devil yeh got on?"
"Bathing-suits," said the tall man.
The schooner went on. The two voyagers sat down and watched. After a
time they began to shiver. The soft blackness of the summer night passed
away, and grey mists writhed over the sea. Soon lights of early dawn
went changing across the sky, and the twin beacons on the highlands grew
dim and sparkling faintly, as if a monster were dying. The dawn
penetrated the marrow of the two men in bathing-dress.
The captain used to pause opposite them, hitch one hand in his
suspender, and laugh.
"Well, I be dog-hanged," he frequently said.
The tall man grew furious. He snarled in a mad undertone to his
companion. "This rescue ain't right. If I had known--"
He suddenly paused, transfixed by the captain's suspender. "It's goin'
to break," cried he, in an ecstatic whisper. His eyes grew large with
excitement as he watched the captain laugh. "It'll break in a minute,
But the commander of the schooner recovered, and invited them to drink
and eat. They followed him along the deck, and fell down a square black
hole into the cabin.
It was a little den, with walls of a vanished whiteness. A lamp shed an
orange light. In a sort of recess two little beds were hiding. A wooden
table, immovable, as if the craft had been builded around it, sat in the
middle of the floor. Overhead the square hole was studded with a dozen
stars. A foot-worn ladder led to the heavens.
The captain produced ponderous crackers and some cold broiled ham. Then
he vanished in the firmament like a fantastic comet.
The freckled man sat quite contentedly like a stout squaw in a blanket.
The tall man walked about the cabin and sniffed. He was angered at the
crudeness of the rescue, and his shrinking clothes made him feel too
large. He contemplated his unhappy state.
Suddenly, he broke out. "I won't stand this, I tell you! Heavens and
earth, look at the--say, what in the blazes did you want to get me in
this thing for, anyhow? You're a fine old duffer, you are! Look at that
The freckled man grunted. He seemed somewhat blissful. He was seated
upon a bench, comfortably enwrapped in his bathing-dress.
The tall man stormed about the cabin.
"This is an outrage! I'll see the captain! I'll tell him what I think
He was interrupted by a pair of legs that appeared among the stars. The
captain came down the ladder. He brought a coffee pot from the sky.
The tall man bristled forward. He was going to denounce everything.
The captain was intent upon the coffee pot, balancing it carefully, and
leaving his unguided feet to find the steps of the ladder.
But the wrath of the tall man faded. He twirled his fingers in
excitement, and renewed his ecstatic whisperings to the freckled man.
"It's going to break! Look, quick, look! It'll break in a minute!"
He was transfixed with interest, forgetting his wrongs in staring at the
But the captain arrived on the floor with triumphant suspenders.
"Well," said he, "after yeh have eat, maybe ye'd like t'sleep some! If
so, yeh can sleep on them beds."
The tall man made no reply, save in a strained undertone. "It'll break
in about a minute! Look, Ted, look quick!"
The freckled man glanced in a little bed on which were heaped boots and
oilskins. He made a courteous gesture.
"My dear sir, we could not think of depriving you of your beds. No,
indeed. Just a couple of blankets if you have them, and we'll sleep very
comfortable on these benches."
The captain protested, politely twisting his back and bobbing his head.
The suspenders tugged and creaked. The tall man partially suppressed a
cry, and took a step forward.
The freckled man was sleepily insistent, and shortly the captain gave
over his deprecatory contortions. He fetched a pink quilt with yellow
dots on it to the freckled man, and a black one with red roses on it to
the tall man.
Again he vanished in the firmament. The tall man gazed until the last
remnant of trousers disappeared from the sky. Then he wrapped himself up
in his quilt and lay down. The freckled man was puffing contentedly,
swathed like an infant. The yellow polka-dots rose and fell on the vast
pink of his chest.
The wanderers slept. In the quiet could be heard the groanings of
timbers as the sea seemed to crunch them together. The lapping of water
along the vessel's side sounded like gaspings. An hundred spirits of the
wind had got their wings entangled in the rigging, and, in soft voices,
were pleading to be loosened.
The freckled man was awakened by a foreign noise. He opened his eyes and
saw his companion standing by his couch.
His comrade's face was wane with suffering. His eyes glowed in the
darkness. He raised his arms, spreading them out like a clergyman at a
grave. He groaned deep in his chest.
"Good Lord!" yelled the freckled man, starting up. "Tom, Tom, what's th'
The tall man spoke in a fearful voice. "To New York," he said, "to New
York in our bathing-suits."
The freckled man sank back. The shadows of the cabin threw mysteries
about the figure of the tall man, arrayed like some ancient and potent
astrologer in the black quilt with the red roses on it.
Directly the tall man went and lay down and began to groan.
The freckled man felt the miseries of the world upon him. He grew angry
at the tall man awakening him. They quarrelled.
"Well," said the tall man, finally, "we're in a fix."
"I know that," said the other, sharply.
They regarded the ceiling in silence.
"What in the thunder are we going to do?" demanded the tall man, after a
time. His companion was still silent. "Say," repeated he, angrily, "what
in the thunder are we going to do?"
"I'm sure I don't know," said the freckled man in a dismal voice.
"Well, think of something," roared the other. "Think of something, you
old fool. You don't want to make any more idiots of yourself, do you?"
"I ain't made an idiot of myself."
"Well, think. Know anybody in the city?"
"I know a fellow up in Harlem," said the freckled man.
"You know a fellow up in Harlem," howled the tall man. "Up in Harlem!
How the dickens are we to--say, you're crazy!"
"We can take a cab," cried the other, waxing indignant.
The tall man grew suddenly calm. "Do you know any one else?" he asked,
"I know another fellow somewhere on Park Place."
"Somewhere on Park Place," repeated the tall man in an unnatural manner.
"Somewhere on Park Place." With an air of sublime resignation he turned
his face to the wall.
The freckled man sat erect and frowned in the direction of his
companion. "Well, now, I suppose you are going to sulk. You make me ill!
It's the best we can do, ain't it? Hire a cab and go look that fellow up
on Park--What's that? You can't afford it? What nonsense! You are
getting--Oh! Well, maybe we can beg some clothes of the captain. Eh? Did
I see 'im. Certainly, I saw 'im. Yes, it is improbable that a man who
wears trousers like that can have clothes to lend. No, I won't wear
oilskins and a sou'-wester. To Athens? Of course not! I don't know where
it is. Do you? I thought not. With all your grumbling about other
people, you never know anything important yourself. What? Broadway? I'll
be hanged first. We can get off at Harlem, man alive. There are no cabs
in Harlem. I don't think we can bribe a sailor to take us ashore and
bring a cab to the dock, for the very simple reason that we have nothing
to bribe him with. What? No, of course not. See here, Tom Sharp, don't
you swear at me like that. I won't have it. What's that? I ain't,
either. I ain't. What? I am not. It's no such thing. I ain't. I've got
more than you have, anyway. Well, you ain't doing anything so very
brilliant yourself--just lying there and cussin'." At length the tall
man feigned to prodigiously snore. The freckled man thought with such
vigour that he fell asleep.
After a time he dreamed that he was in a forest where bass drums grew on
trees. There came a strong wind that banged the fruit about like empty
pods. A frightful din was in his ears.
He awoke to find the captain of the schooner standing over him.
"We're at New York now," said the captain, raising his voice above the
thumping and banging that was being done on deck, "an' I s'pose you
fellers wanta go ashore." He chuckled in an exasperating manner. "Jes'
sing out when yeh wanta go," he added, leering at the freckled man.
The tall man awoke, came over and grasped the captain by the throat.
"If you laugh again I'll kill you," he said.
The captain gurgled and waved his legs and arms.
"In the first place," the tall man continued, "you rescued us in a
deucedly shabby manner. It makes me ill to think of it. I've a mind to
mop you 'round just for that. In the second place, your vessel is bound
for Athens, N.Y., and there's no sense in it. Now, will you or will you
not turn this ship about and take us back where our clothes are, or to
Philadelphia, where we belong?"
He furiously shook the captain. Then he eased his grip and awaited a
"I can't," yelled the captain, "I can't. This vessel don't belong to me.
I've got to--"
"Well, then," interrupted the tall man, "can you lend us some clothes?"
"Hain't got none," replied the captain, promptly. His face was red, and
his eyes were glaring.
"Well, then," said the tall man, "can you lend us some money?"
"Hain't got none," replied the captain, promptly. Something overcame him
and he laughed.
"Thunderation," roared the tall man. He seized the captain, who began to
have wriggling contortions. The tall man kneaded him as if he were
biscuits. "You infernal scoundrel," he bellowed, "this whole affair is
some wretched plot, and you are in it. I am about to kill you."
The solitary whisker of the captain did acrobatic feats like a strange
demon upon his chin. His eyes stood perilously from his head. The
suspender wheezed and tugged like the tackle of a sail.
Suddenly the tall man released his hold. Great expectancy sat upon his
features. "It's going to break," he cried, rubbing his hands.
But the captain howled and vanished in the sky.
The freckled man then came forward. He appeared filled with sarcasm.
"So!" said he. "So, you've settled the matter. The captain is the only
man in the world who can help us, and I daresay he'll do anything he can
"That's all right," said the tall man. "If you don't like the way I run
things you shouldn't have come on this trip at all."
They had another quarrel.
At the end of it they went on deck. The captain stood at the stern
addressing the bow with opprobrious language. When he perceived the
voyagers he began to fling his fists about in the air.
"I'm goin' to put yeh off," he yelled. The wanderers stared at each
"Hum," said the tall man.
The freckled man looked at his companion. "He's going to put us off, you
see," he said, complacently.
The tall man began to walk about and move his shoulders. "I'd like to
see you do it," he said, defiantly.
The captain tugged at a rope. A boat came at his bidding.
"I'd like to see you do it," the tall man repeated, continually. An
imperturbable man in rubber boots climbed down in the boat and seized
the oars. The captain motioned downward. His whisker had a triumphant
The two wanderers looked at the boat. "I guess we'll have to get in,"
murmured the freckled man.
The tall man was standing like a granite column. "I won't," said he. "I
won't! I don't care what you do, but I won't!"
"Well, but--" expostulated the other. They held a furious debate.
In the meantime the captain was darting about making sinister gestures,
but the back of the tall man held him at bay. The crew, much depleted by
the departure of the imperturbable man into the boat, looked on from the
"You're a fool," the freckled man concluded his argument.
"So?" inquired the tall man, highly exasperated.
"So? Well, if you think you're so bright, we'll go in the boat, and then
He climbed down into the craft and seated himself in an ominous manner
at the stern.
"You'll see," he said to his companion, as the latter floundered heavily
down. "You'll see!"
The man in rubber boots calmly rowed the boat toward the shore. As they
went, the captain leaned over the railing and laughed. The freckled man
was seated very victoriously.
"Well, wasn't this the right thing after all?" he inquired in a pleasant
voice. The tall man made no reply.
As they neared the dock something seemed suddenly to occur to the
"Great heavens," he murmured. He stared at the approaching shore.
"My, what a plight, Tommy," he quavered.
"Do you think so?" spoke up the tall man, "Why, I really thought you
liked it." He laughed in a hard voice. "Lord, what a figure you'll cut."
This laugh jarred the freckled man's soul. He became mad.
"Thunderation, turn the boat around," he roared. "Turn 'er round, quick.
Man alive, we can't--turn 'er round, d'ye hear."
The tall man in the stern gazed at his companion with glowing eyes.
"Certainly not," he said. "We're going on. You insisted upon it." He
began to prod his companion with words.
The freckled man stood up and waved his arms.
"Sit down," said the tall man. "You'll tip the boat over."
The other man began to shout.
"Sit down," said the tall man again.
Words bubbled from the freckled man's mouth. There was a little torrent
of sentences that almost choked him. And he protested passionately with
But the boat went on to the shadow of the docks. The tall man was intent
upon balancing it as it rocked dangerously during his comrade's oration.
"Sit down," he continually repeated.
"I won't," raged the freckled man. "I won't do anything." The boat
wobbled with these words.
"Say," he continued, addressing the oarsman, "just turn this boat round,
will you. Where in the thunder are you taking us to, anyhow?"
The oarsman looked at the sky and thought. Finally he spoke. "I'm doin'
what the cap'n sed."
"Well, what in th' blazes do I care what the cap'n sed?" demanded the
freckled man. He took a violent step. "You just turn this round or--"
The small craft reeled. Over one side water came flashing in. The
freckled man cried out in fear, and gave a jump to the other side. The
tall man roared orders, and the oarsman made efforts. The boat acted for
a moment like an animal on a slackened wire. Then it upset.
"Sit down," said the tall man, in a final roar as he was plunged into
the water. The oarsman dropped his oars to grapple with the gunwale. He
went down saying unknown words. The freckled man's explanation or
apology was strangled by the water.
Two or three tugs let off whistles of astonishment, and continued on
their paths. A man dosing on a dock aroused and began to caper. The
passengers of a ferry-boat all ran to the near railing.
A miraculous person in a small boat was bobbing on the waves near the
piers. He sculled hastily toward the scene. It was a swirl of waters in
the midst of which the dark bottom of the boat appeared, whale-like.
Two heads suddenly came up. "839," said the freckled man, chokingly.
"That's it! 839!"
"What is?" said the tall man.
"That's the number of that feller on Park Place. I just remembered."
"You're the bloomingest--" the tall man said.
"It wasn't my fault," interrupted his companion. "If you hadn't--" He
tried to gesticulate, but one hand held to the keel of the boat, and
the other was supporting the form of the oarsman. The latter had fought
a battle with his immense rubber boots and had been conquered.
The rescuer in the other small boat came fiercely. As his craft glided
up, he reached out and grasped the tall man by the collar and dragged
him into the boat, interrupting what was, under the circumstances, a
very brilliant flow of rhetoric directed at the freckled man. The
oarsman of the wrecked craft was taken tenderly over the gunwale and
laid in the bottom of the boat. Puffing and blowing, the freckled man
"You'll upset this one before we can get ashore," the other voyager
As they turned toward the land they saw that the nearest dock was lined
with people. The freckled man gave a little moan.
But the staring eyes of the crowd were fixed on the limp form of the man
in rubber boots. A hundred hands reached down to help lift the body up.
On the dock some men grabbed it and began to beat it and roll it. A
policeman tossed the spectators about. Each individual in the heaving
crowd sought to fasten his eyes on the blue-tinted face of the man in
the rubber boots. They surged to and fro, while the policeman beat them
The wanderers came modestly up the dock and gazed shrinkingly at the
throng. They stood for a moment, holding their breath to see the first
finger of amazement levelled at them.
But the crowd bended and surged in absorbing anxiety to view the man in
rubber boots, whose face fascinated them. The sea-wanderers were as
though they were not there.
They stood without the jam and whispered hurriedly.
"839," said the freckled man.
"All right," said the tall man.
Under the pommeling hands the oarsman showed signs of life. The voyagers
watched him make a protesting kick at the leg of the crowd, the while
uttering angry groans.
"He's better," said the tall man, softly; "let's make off."
Together they stole noiselessly up the dock. Directly in front of it
they found a row of six cabs.
The drivers on top were filled with a mighty curiosity. They had driven
hurriedly from the adjacent ferry-house when they had seen the first
running sign of an accident. They were straining on their toes and
gazing at the tossing backs of the men in the crowd.
The wanderers made a little detour, and then went rapidly towards a
cab. They stopped in front of it and looked up.
"Driver," called the tall man, softly.
The man was intent.
"Driver," breathed the freckled man. They stood for a moment and gazed
The cabman suddenly moved his feet. "By Jimmy, I bet he's a gonner," he
said, in an ecstacy, and he again relapsed into a statue.
The freckled man groaned and wrung his hands. The tall man climbed into
"Come in here," he said to his companion. The freckled man climbed in,
and the tall man reached over and pulled the door shut. Then he put his
head out the window.
"Driver," he roared, sternly, "839 Park Place--and quick."
The driver looked down and met the eye of the tall man. "Eh?--Oh--839?
Park Place? Yessir." He reluctantly gave his horse a clump on the back.
As the conveyance rattled off the wanderers huddled back among the dingy
cushions and heaved great breaths of relief.
"Well, it's all over," said the freckled man, finally. "We're about out
of it. And quicker than I expected. Much quicker. It looked to me
sometimes that we were doomed. I am thankful to find it not so. I am
rejoiced. And I hope and trust that you--well, I don't wish,
to--perhaps it is not the proper time to--that is, I don't wish to
intrude a moral at an inopportune moment, but, my dear, dear fellow, I
think the time is ripe to point out to you that your obstinacy, your
selfishness, your villainous temper, and your various other faults can
make it just as unpleasant for your ownself, my dear boy, as they
frequently do for other people. You can see what you brought us to, and
I most sincerely hope, my dear, dear fellow, that I shall soon see those
signs in you which shall lead me to believe that you have become a wiser
THE KICKING TWELFTH
The Spitzbergen army was backed by tradition of centuries of victory. In
its chronicles, occasional defeats were not printed in italics, but were
likely to appear as glorious stands against overwhelming odds. A
favourite way to dispose of them was frankly to attribute them to the
blunders of the civilian heads of government. This was very good for the
army, and probably no army had more self-confidence. When it was
announced that an expeditionary force was to be sent to Rostina to
chastise an impudent people, a hundred barrack squares filled with
excited men, and a hundred sergeant-majors hurried silently through the
groups, and succeeded in looking as if they were the repositories of the
secrets of empire. Officers on leave sped joyfully back to their
harness, and recruits were abused with unflagging devotion by every man,
from colonels to privates of experience.
The Twelfth Regiment of the Line--the Kicking Twelfth--was consumed with
a dread that it was not to be included in the expedition, and the
regiment formed itself into an informal indignation meeting. Just as
they had proved that a great outrage was about to be perpetrated,
warning orders arrived to hold themselves in readiness for active
service abroad--in Rostina. The barrack yard was in a flash transferred
into a blue-and-buff pandemonium, and the official bugle itself hardly
had power to quell the glad disturbance.
Thus it was that early in the spring the Kicking Twelfth--sixteen
hundred men in service equipment--found itself crawling along a road in
Rostina. They did not form part of the main force, but belonged to a
column of four regiments of foot, two batteries of field guns, a battery
of mountain howitzers, a regiment of horse, and a company of engineers.
Nothing had happened. The long column had crawled without amusement of
any kind through a broad green valley. Big white farm-houses dotted the
slopes; but there was no sign of man or beast, and no smoke from the
chimneys. The column was operating from its own base, and its general
was expected to form a junction with the main body at a given point.
A squadron of the cavalry was fanned out ahead, scouting, and day by day
the trudging infantry watched the blue uniforms of the horsemen as they
came and went. Sometimes there would sound the faint thuds of a few
shots, but the cavalry was unable to find anything to engage.
The Twelfth had no record of foreign service, and it could hardly be
said that it had served as a unit in the great civil war, when His
Majesty the King had whipped the Pretender. At that time the regiment
had suffered from two opinions, so that it was impossible for either
side to depend upon it. Many men had deserted to the standard of the
Pretender, and a number of officers had drawn their swords for him. When
the King, a thorough soldier, looked at the remnant, he saw that they
lacked the spirit to be of great help to him in the tremendous battles
which he was waging for his throne. And so this emaciated Twelfth was
sent off to a corner of the kingdom to guard a dockyard, where some of
the officers so plainly expressed their disapproval of this policy that
the regiment received its steadfast name, the Kicking Twelfth.
At the time of which I am writing the Twelfth had a few veteran officers
and well-bitten sergeants; but the body of the regiment was composed of
men who had never heard a shot fired excepting on the rifle-range. But
it was an experience for which they longed, and when the moment came for
the corps' cry--"Kim up, the Kickers"--there was not likely to be a man
who would not go tumbling after his leaders.
Young Timothy Lean was a second lieutenant in the first company of the
third battalion, and just at this time he was pattering along at the
flank of the men, keeping a fatherly lookout for boots that hurt and
packs that sagged. He was extremely bored. The mere far-away sound of
desultory shooting was not war as he had been led to believe it.
It did not appear that behind that freckled face and under that red hair
there was a mind which dreamed of blood. He was not extremely anxious to
kill somebody, but he was very fond of soldiering--it had been the
career of his father and of his grandfather--and he understood that the
profession of arms lost much of its point unless a man shot at people
and had people shoot at him. Strolling in the sun through a practically
deserted country might be a proper occupation for a divinity student on
a vacation, but the soul of Timothy Lean was in revolt at it. Some times
at night he would go morosely to the camp of the cavalry and hear the
infant subalterns laughingly exaggerate the comedy side of the
adventures which they had had out with small patrols far ahead. Lean
would sit and listen in glum silence to these tales, and dislike the
young officers--many of them old military school friends--for having had
experience in modern warfare.
"Anyhow," he said savagely, "presently you'll be getting into a lot of
trouble, and then the Foot will have to come along and pull you out. We
always do. That's history."
"Oh, we can take care of ourselves," said the Cavalry, with good-natured
understanding of his mood.
But the next day even Lean blessed the cavalry, for excited troopers
came whirling back from the front, bending over their speeding horses,
and shouting wildly and hoarsely for the infantry to clear the way. Men
yelled at them from the roadside as courier followed courier, and from
the distance ahead sounded in quick succession six booms from field
guns. The information possessed by the couriers was no longer precious.
Everybody knew what a battery meant when it spoke. The bugles cried out,
and the long column jolted into a halt. Old Colonel Sponge went bouncing
in his saddle back to see the general, and the regiment sat down in the
grass by the roadside, and waited in silence. Presently the second
squadron of the cavalry trotted off along the road in a cloud of dust,
and in due time old Colonel Sponge came bouncing back, and palavered his
three majors and his adjutant. Then there was more talk by the majors,
and gradually through the correct channels spread information which in
due time reached Timothy Lean.
The enemy, 5000 strong, occupied a pass at the head of the valley some
four miles beyond. They had three batteries well posted. Their infantry
was entrenched. The ground in their front was crossed and lined with
many ditches and hedges; but the enemy's batteries were so posted that
it was doubtful if a ditch would ever prove convenient as shelter for
the Spitzbergen infantry.
There was a fair position for the Spitzbergen artillery 2300 yards from
the enemy. The cavalry had succeeded in driving the enemy's skirmishers
back upon the main body; but, of course, had only tried to worry them a
little. The position was almost inaccessible on the enemy's right, owing
to steep hills, which had been crowned by small parties of infantry. The
enemy's left, although guarded by a much larger force, was approachable,
and might be flanked. This was what the cavalry had to say, and it added
briefly a report of two troopers killed and five wounded.
Whereupon Major-General Richie, commanding a force of 7500 men of His
Majesty of Spitzbergen, set in motion, with a few simple words, the
machinery which would launch his army at the enemy. The Twelfth
understood the orders when they saw the smart young aide approaching old
Colonel Sponge, and they rose as one man, apparently afraid that they
would be late. There was a clank of accoutrements. Men shrugged their
shoulders tighter against their packs, and thrusting their thumbs
between their belts and their tunics, they wriggled into a closer fit
with regard to the heavy ammunition equipment. It is curious to note
that almost every man took off his cap, and looked contemplatively into
it as if to read a maker's name. Then they replaced their caps with
great care. There was little talking, and it was not observable that a
single soldier handed a token or left a comrade with a message to be
delivered in case he should be killed. They did not seem to think of
being killed; they seemed absorbed in a desire to know what would
happen, and how it would look when it was happening. Men glanced
continually at their officers in a plain desire to be quick to
understand the very first order that would be given; and officers looked
gravely at their men, measuring them, feeling their temper, worrying
A bugle called; there were sharp cries, and the Kicking Twelfth was off
The regiment had the right of line in the infantry brigade, and the men
tramped noisily along the white road, every eye was strained ahead; but,
after all, there was nothing to be seen but a dozen farms--in short, a
country-side. It resembled the scenery in Spitzbergen; every man in the
Kicking Twelfth had often confronted a dozen such farms with a composure
which amounted to indifference. But still down the road came galloping
troopers, who delivered information to Colonel Sponge and then galloped
on. In time the Twelfth came to the top of a rise, and below them on
the plain was the heavy black streak of a Spitzbergen squadron, and
behind the squadron loomed the grey bare hill of the Rostina position.
There was a little of skirmish firing. The Twelfth reached a knoll,
which the officers easily recognised as the place described by the
cavalry as suitable for the Spitzbergen guns. The men swarmed up it in a
peculiar formation. They resembled a crowd coming off a race track; but,
nevertheless, there was no stray sheep. It was simply that the ground on
which actual battles are fought is not like a chess board. And after
them came swinging a six-gun battery, the guns wagging from side to side
as the long line turned out of the road, and the drivers using their
whips as the leading horses scrambled at the hill. The halted Twelfth
lifted its voice and spoke amiably, but with point, to the battery.
"Go on, Guns! We'll take care of you. Don't be afraid. Give it to them!"
The teams--lead, swing and wheel--struggled and slipped over the steep
and uneven ground; and the gunners, as they clung to their springless
positions, wore their usual and natural airs of unhappiness. They made
no reply to the infantry. Once upon the top of the hill, however, these
guns were unlimbered in a flash, and directly the infantry could hear
the loud voice of an officer drawling out the time for fuses. A moment
later the first 3·2 bellowed out, and there could be heard the swish and
the snarl of a fleeting shell.
Colonel Sponge and a number of officers climbed to the battery's
position; but the men of the regiment sat in the shelter of the hill,
like so many blindfolded people, and wondered what they would have been
able to see if they had been officers. Sometimes the shells of the enemy
came sweeping over the top of the hill, and burst in great brown
explosions in the fields to the rear. The men looked after them and
laughed. To the rear could be seen also the mountain battery coming at a
comic trot, with every man obviously in a deep rage with every mule. If
a man can put in long service with a mule battery and come out of it
with an amiable disposition, he should be presented with a medal
weighing many ounces. After the mule battery came a long black winding
thing, which was three regiments of Spitzbergen infantry; and at the
backs of them and to the right was an inky square, which was the
remaining Spitzbergen guns. General Richie and his staff clattered up
the hill. The blindfolded Twelfth sat still. The inky square suddenly
became a long racing line. The howitzers joined their little bark to the
thunder of the guns on the hill, and the three regiments of infantry
came on. The Twelfth sat still.
Of a sudden a bugle rang its warning, and the officers shouted. Some
used the old cry, "Attention! Kim up, the Kickers!"--and the Twelfth
knew that it had been told to go on. The majority of the men expected to
see great things as soon as they rounded the shoulder of the hill; but
there was nothing to be seen save a complicated plain and the grey
knolls occupied by the enemy. Many company commanders in low voices
worked at their men, and said things which do not appear in the written
reports. They talked soothingly; they talked indignantly; and they
talked always like fathers. And the men heard no sentences completely;
they heard no specific direction, these wide-eyed men. They understood
that there was being delivered some kind of exhortation to do as they
had been taught, and they also understood that a superior intelligence
was anxious over their behaviour and welfare.
There was a great deal of floundering through hedges, climbing of walls
and jumping of ditches. Curiously original privates tried to find new
and easier ways for themselves, instead of following the men in front of
them. Officers had short fits of fury over these people. The more
originality they possessed, the more likely they were to become
separated from their companies. Colonel Sponge was making an exciting
progress on a big charger. When the first song of the bullets came from
above, the men wondered why he sat so high; the charger seemed as tall
as the Eiffel Tower. But if he was high in the air, he had a fine view,
and that supposedly is why people ascend the Eiffel Tower. Very often he
had been a joke to them, but when they saw this fat, old gentleman so
coolly treating the strange new missiles which hummed in the air, it
struck them suddenly that they had wronged him seriously; and a man who
could attain the command of a Spitzbergen regiment was entitled to
general respect. And they gave him a sudden, quick affection--an
affection that would make them follow him heartily, trustfully,
grandly--this fat, old gentleman, seated on a too-big horse. In a flash
his tousled grey head, his short, thick legs, even his paunch, had
become specially and humorously endeared to them. And this is the way of
But still the Twelfth had not yet come to the place where tumbling
bodies begin their test of the very heart of a regiment. They backed
through more hedges, jumped more ditches, slid over more walls. The
Rostina artillery had seemed to be asleep; but suddenly the guns aroused
like dogs from their kennels, and around the Twelfth there began a wild,
swift screeching. There arose cries to hurry, to come on; and, as the
rifle bullets began to plunge into them, the men saw the high,
formidable hills of the enemy's right, and perfectly understood that
they were doomed to storm them. The cheering thing was the sudden
beginning of a tremendous uproar on the enemy's left.
Every man ran, hard, tense, breathless. When they reached the foot of
the hills, they thought they had won the charge already, but they were
electrified to see officers above them waving their swords and yelling
with anger, surprise, and shame. With a long murmurous outcry the
Twelfth began to climb the hill; and as they went and fell, they could
hear frenzied shouts--"Kim up, the Kickers!" The pace was slow. It was
like the rising of a tide; it was determined, almost relentless in its
appearance, but it was slow. If a man fell there was a chance that he
would land twenty yards below the point where he was hit. The Kickers
crawled, their rifles in their left hands as they pulled and tugged
themselves up with their right hands. Ever arose the shout, "Kim up, the
Kickers!" Timothy Lean, his face flaming, his eyes wild, yelled it back
as if he were delivering the gospel.
The Kickers came up. The enemy--they had been in small force, thinking
the hills safe enough from attack--retreated quickly from this
preposterous advance, and not a bayonet in the Twelfth saw blood;
bayonets very seldom do.
The homing of this successful charge wore an unromantic aspect. About
twenty windless men suddenly arrived, and threw themselves upon the
crest of the hill, and breathed. And these twenty were joined by others,
and still others, until almost 1100 men of the Twelfth lay upon the
hilltop, while the regiment's track was marked by body after body, in
groups and singly. The first officer--perchance the first man, one never
can be certain--the first officer to gain the top of the hill was
Timothy Lean, and such was the situation that he had the honour to
receive his colonel with a bashful salute.
The regiment knew exactly what it had done; it did not have to wait to
be told by the Spitzbergen newspapers. It had taken a formidable
position with the loss of about five hundred men, and it knew it. It
knew, too, that it was great glory for the Kicking Twelfth; and as the
men lay rolling on their bellies, they expressed their joy in a wild
cry--"Kim up, the Kickers!" For a moment there was nothing but joy, and
then suddenly company commanders were besieged by men who wished to go
down the path of the charge and look for their mates. The answers were
without the quality of mercy; they were short, snapped, quick words,
"No; you can't."
The attack on the enemy's left was sounding in great rolling crashes.
The shells in their flight through the air made a noise as of red-hot
iron plunged into water, and stray bullets nipped near the ears of the
The Kickers looked and saw. The battle was below them. The enemy were
indicated by a long, noisy line of gossamer smoke, although there could
be seen a toy battery with tiny men employed at the guns. All over the
field the shrapnel was bursting, making quick bulbs of white smoke. Far
away, two regiments of Spitzbergen infantry were charging, and at the
distance this charge looked like a casual stroll. It appeared that small
black groups of men were walking meditatively toward the Rostina
There would have been orders given sooner to the Twelfth, but
unfortunately Colonel Sponge arrived on top of the hill without a breath
of wind in his body. He could not have given an order to save the
regiment from being wiped off the earth. Finally he was able to gasp out
something and point at the enemy. Timothy Lean ran along the line
yelling to the men to sight at 800 yards; and like a slow and ponderous
machine the regiment again went to work. The fire flanked a great part
of the enemy's trenches.
It could be said that there were only two prominent points of view
expressed by the men after their victorious arrival on the crest. One
was defined in the exulting use of the corps' cry. The other was a
grief-stricken murmur which is invariably heard after a fight--"My God,
we're all cut to pieces!"
Colonel Sponge sat on the ground and impatiently waited for his wind to
return. As soon as it did, he arose and cried out, "Form up, and we'll
charge again! We will win this battle as soon as we can hit them!" The
shouts of the officers sounded wild, like men yelling on ship-board in a
gale. And the obedient Kickers arose for their task. It was running down
hill this time. The mob of panting men poured over the stones.
But the enemy had not been blind to the great advantage gained by the
Twelfth, and they now turned upon them a desperate fire of small arms.
Men fell in every imaginable way, and their accoutrements rattled on the
rocky ground. Some landed with a crash, floored by some tremendous
blows; others dropped gently down like sacks of meal; with others, it
would positively appear that some spirit had suddenly seized them by
their ankles and jerked their legs from under them. Many officers were
down, but Colonel Sponge, stuttering and blowing, was still upright. He
was almost the last man in the charge, but not to his shame, rather to
his stumpy legs. At one time it seemed that the assault would be lost.
The effect of the fire was somewhat as if a terrible cyclone were
blowing in the men's faces. They wavered, lowering their heads and
shouldering weakly, as if it were impossible to make headway against the
wind of battle. It was the moment of despair, the moment of the heroism
which comes to the chosen of the war-god.
The colonel's cry broke and screeched absolute hatred; other officers
simply howled; and the men, silent, debased, seemed to tighten their
muscles for one last effort. Again they pushed against this mysterious
power of the air, and once more the regiment was charging. Timothy Lean,
agile and strong, was well in advance; and afterwards he reflected that
the men who had been nearest to him were an old grizzled sergeant who
would have gone to hell for the honour of the regiment, and a pie-faced
lad who had been obliged to lie about his age in order to get into the
There was no shock of meeting. The Twelfth came down on a corner of the
trenches, and as soon as the enemy had ascertained that the Twelfth was
certain to arrive, they scuttled out, running close to the earth and
spending no time in glances backward. In these days it is not discreet
to wait for a charge to come home. You observe the charge, you attempt
to stop it, and if you find that you can't, it is better to retire
immediately to some other place. The Rostina soldiers were not heroes,
perhaps, but they were men of sense. A maddened and badly-frightened mob
of Kickers came tumbling into the trench, and shot at the backs of
fleeing men. And at that very moment the action was won, and won by the
Kickers. The enemy's flank was entirely crippled, and, knowing this, he
did not await further and more disastrous information. The Twelfth
looked at themselves and knew that they had a record. They sat down and
grinned patronisingly as they saw the batteries galloping to advance
position to shell the retreat, and they really laughed as the cavalry
swept tumultuously forward.
The Twelfth had no more concern with the battle. They had won it, and
the subsequent proceedings were only amusing.
There was a call from the flank, and the men wearily adjusted themselves
as General Richie, stern and grim as a Roman, looked with his straight
glance at a hammered and thin and dirty line of figures, which was His
Majesty's Twelfth Regiment of the Line. When opposite old Colonel
Sponge, a podgy figure standing at attention, the general's face set in
still more grim and stern lines. He took off his helmet. "Kim up, the
Kickers!" said he. He replaced his helmet and rode off. Down the cheeks
of the little fat colonel rolled tears. He stood like a stone for a long
moment, and wheeled in supreme wrath upon his surprised adjutant.
"Delahaye, you d--d fool, don't stand there staring like a monkey! Go,
tell young Lean I want to see him." The adjutant jumped as if he were on
springs, and went after Lean. That young officer presented himself
directly, his face covered with disgraceful smudges, and he had also
torn his breeches. He had never seen the colonel in such a rage. "Lean,
you young whelp! you--you're a good boy." And even as the general had
turned away from the colonel, the colonel turned away from the
THE UPTURNED FACE.
"What will we do now?" said the adjutant, troubled and excited.
"Bury him," said Timothy Lean.
The two officers looked down close to their toes where lay the body of
their comrade. The face was chalk-blue; gleaming eyes stared at the sky.
Over the two upright figures was a windy sound of bullets, and on the
top of the hill Lean's prostrate company of Spitzbergen infantry was
firing measured volleys.
"Don't you think it would be better--" began the adjutant, "we might
leave him until to-morrow."
"No," said Lean. "I can't hold that post an hour longer. I've got to
fall back, and we've got to bury old Bill."
"Of course," said the adjutant, at once. "Your men got intrenching
Lean shouted back to his little line, and two men came slowly, one with
a pick, one with a shovel. They started in the direction of the Rostina
sharpshooters. Bullets cracked near their ears. "Dig here," said Lean
gruffly. The men, thus caused to lower their glances to the turf, became
hurried and frightened merely because they could not look to see whence
the bullets came. The dull beat of the pick striking the earth sounded
amid the swift snap of close bullets. Presently the other private began
"I suppose," said the adjutant, slowly, "we'd better search his clothes
Lean nodded. Together in curious abstraction they looked at the body.
Then Lean stirred his shoulders suddenly, arousing himself.
"Yes," he said, "we'd better see what he's got." He dropped to his
knees, and his hands approached the body of the dead officer. But his
hands wavered over the buttons of the tunic. The first button was
brick-red with drying blood, and he did not seem to dare touch it.
"Go on," said the adjutant, hoarsely.
Lean stretched his wooden hand, and his fingers fumbled the
blood-stained buttons. At last he rose with ghastly face. He had
gathered a watch, a whistle, a pipe, a tobacco pouch, a handkerchief, a
little case of cards and papers. He looked at the adjutant. There was a
silence. The adjutant was feeling that he had been a coward to make Lean
do all the grizzly business.
"Well," said Lean, "that's all, I think. You have his sword and
"Yes," said the adjutant, his face working, and then he burst out in a
sudden strange fury at the two privates. "Why don't you hurry up with
that grave? What are you doing, anyhow? Hurry, do you hear? I never saw
Even as he cried out in his passion the two men were labouring for their
lives. Ever overhead the bullets were spitting.
The grave was finished. It was not a masterpiece--a poor little shallow
thing. Lean and the adjutant again looked at each other in a curious
Suddenly the adjutant croaked out a weird laugh. It was a terrible
laugh, which had its origin in that part of the mind which is first
moved by the singing of the nerves. "Well," he said, humorously to Lean,
"I suppose we had best tumble him in."
"Yes," said Lean. The two privates stood waiting, bent over their
implements. "I suppose," said Lean, "it would be better if we laid him
"Yes," said the adjutant. Then apparently remembering that he had made
Lean search the body, he stooped with great fortitude and took hold of
the dead officer's clothing. Lean joined him. Both were particular that
their fingers should not feel the corpse. They tugged away; the corpse
lifted, heaved, toppled, flopped into the grave, and the two officers,
straightening, looked again at each other--they were always looking at
each other. They sighed with relief.
The adjutant said, "I suppose we should--we should say something. Do you
know the service, Tim?"
"They don't read the service until the grave is filled in," said Lean,
pressing his lips to an academic expression.
"Don't they?" said the adjutant, shocked that he had made the mistake.
"Oh, well," he cried, suddenly, "let us--let us say something--while he
can hear us."
"All right," said Lean. "Do you know the service?"
"I can't remember a line of it," said the adjutant.
Lean was extremely dubious. "I can repeat two lines, but--"
"Well, do it," said the adjutant. "Go as far as you can. That's better
than nothing. And the beasts have got our range exactly."
Lean looked at his two men. "Attention," he barked. The privates came to
attention with a click, looking much aggrieved. The adjutant lowered his
helmet to his knee. Lean, bareheaded, stood over the grave. The Rostina
sharpshooters fired briskly.
"Oh Father, our friend has sunk in the deep waters of death, but his
spirit has leaped toward Thee as the bubble arises from the lips of the
drowning. Perceive, we beseech, Oh Father, the little flying bubble,
Lean, although husky and ashamed, had suffered no hesitation up to this
point, but he stopped with a hopeless feeling and looked at the corpse.
The adjutant moved uneasily. "And from Thy superb heights--" he began,
and then he too came to an end.
"And from Thy superb heights," said Lean.
The adjutant suddenly remembered a phrase in the back part of the
Spitzbergen burial service, and he exploited it with the triumphant
manner of a man who has recalled everything, and can go on.
"Oh God, have mercy--"
"Oh God, have mercy--" said Lean.
"Mercy," repeated the adjutant, in quick failure.
"Mercy," said Lean. And then he was moved by some violence of feeling,
for he turned suddenly upon his two men and tigerishly said, "Throw the
The fire of the Rostina sharpshooters was accurate and continuous.
* * * * *
One of the aggrieved privates came forward with his shovel. He lifted
his first shovel-load of earth, and for a moment of inexplicable
hesitation it was held poised above this corpse, which from its
chalk-blue face looked keenly out from the grave. Then the soldier
emptied his shovel on--on the feet.
Timothy Lean felt as if tons had been swiftly lifted from off his
forehead. He had felt that perhaps the private might empty the shovel
on--on the face. It had been emptied on the feet. There was a great
point gained there--ha, ha!--the first shovelful had been emptied on the
feet. How satisfactory!
The adjutant began to babble. "Well, of course--a man we've messed with
all these years--impossible--you can't, you know, leave your intimate
friends rotting on the field. Go on, for God's sake, and shovel, you."
The man with the shovel suddenly ducked, grabbed his left arm with his
right hand, and looked at his officer for orders. Lean picked the shovel
from the ground. "Go to the rear," he said to the wounded man. He also
addressed the other private. "You get under cover, too; I'll finish this
The wounded man scrambled hard still for the top of the ridge without
devoting any glances to the direction from whence the bullets came, and
the other man followed at an equal pace; but he was different, in that
he looked back anxiously three times.
This is merely the way--often--of the hit and unhit.
Timothy Lean filled the shovel, hesitated, and then in a movement which
was like a gesture of abhorrence he flung the dirt into the grave, and
as it landed it made a sound--plop. Lean suddenly stopped and mopped his
brow--a tired labourer.
"Perhaps we have been wrong," said the adjutant. His glance wavered
stupidly. "It might have been better if we hadn't buried him just at
this time. Of course, if we advance to-morrow the body would have
"Damn you," said Lean, "shut your mouth." He was not the senior officer.
He again filled the shovel and flung the earth. Always the earth made
that sound--plop. For a space Lean worked frantically, like a man
digging himself out of danger.
Soon there was nothing to be seen but the chalk-blue face. Lean filled
the shovel. "Good God," he cried to the adjutant. "Why didn't you turn
him somehow when you put him in? This--" Then Lean began to stutter.
The adjutant understood. He was pale to the lips. "Go on, man," he
cried, beseechingly, almost in a shout. Lean swung back the shovel. It
went forward in a pendulum curve. When the earth landed it made a
THE SHRAPNEL OF THEIR FRIENDS.
From over the knolls came the tiny sound of a cavalry bugle singing out
the recall, and later, detached parties of His Majesty's 2nd Hussars
came trotting back to where the Spitzbergen infantry sat complacently on
the captured Rostina position. The horsemen were well pleased, and they
told how they had ridden thrice through the helterskelter of the fleeing
enemy. They had ultimately been checked by the great truth, and when a
good enemy runs away in daylight he sooner or later finds a place where
he fetches up with a jolt, and turns face the pursuit--notably if it is
a cavalry pursuit. The Hussars had discreetly withdrawn, displaying no
foolish pride of corps at that time.
There was a general admission that the Kicking Twelfth had taken the
chief honours of the day, but the artillery added that if the guns had
not shelled so accurately the Twelfth's charge could not have been made
so successfully, and the three other regiments of infantry, of course,
did not conceal their feelings, that their attack on the enemy's left
had withdrawn many rifles that would have been pelting at the Twelfth.
The cavalry simply said that but for them the victory would not have
Corps' prides met each other face to face at every step, but the Kickers
smiled easily and indulgently. A few recruits bragged, but they bragged
because they were recruits. The older men did not wish it to appear that
they were surprised and rejoicing at the performance of the regiment. If
they were congratulated they simply smirked, suggesting that the ability
of the Twelfth had been long known to them, and that the charge had been
a little thing, you know, just turned off in the way of an afternoon's
Major-General Richie encamped his troops on the position which they had
from the enemy. Old Colonel Sponge of the Twelfth redistributed his
officers, and the losses had been so great that Timothy Lean got command
of a company. It was not much of a company. Fifty-three smudged and
sweating men faced their new commander. The company had gone into action
with a strength of eighty-six. The heart of Timothy Lean beat high with
pride. He intended to be some day a general, and if he ever became a
general, that moment of promotion was not equal in joy to the moment
when he looked at his new possession of fifty-three vagabonds. He
scanned the faces, and recognised with satisfaction one old sergeant and
two bright young corporals. "Now," said he to himself, "I have here a
snug little body of men with which I can do something." In him burned
the usual fierce fire to make them the best company in the regiment. He
had adopted them; they were his men. "I will do what I can for you," he
said. "Do you the same for me."
The Twelfth bivouacked on the ridge. Little fires were built, and there
appeared among the men innumerable blackened tin cups, which were so
treasured that a faint suspicion in connection with the loss of one
could bring on the grimmest of fights. Meantime certain of the privates
silently readjusted their kits as their names were called out by the
sergeants. These were the men condemned to picket duty after a hard day
of marching and fighting. The dusk came slowly, and the colour of the
countless fires, spotting the ridge and the plain, grew in the falling
darkness. Far-away pickets fired at something.
One by one the men's heads were lowered to the earth until the ridge was
marked by two long shadowy rows of men. Here and there an officer sat
musing in his dark cloak with a ray of a weakening fire gleaming on his
sword-hilt. From the plain there came at times the sound of battery
horses moving restlessly at their tethers, and one could imagine he
heard the throaty, grumbling curse of the drivers. The moon died swiftly
through flying light clouds. Far-away pickets fired at something.
In the morning the infantry and guns breakfasted to the music of a
racket between the cavalry and the enemy, which was taking place some
miles up the valley.
The ambitious Hussars had apparently stirred some kind of a hornet's
nest, and they were having a good fight with no officious friends near
enough to interfere. The remainder of the army looked toward the fight
musingly over the tops of tin cups. In time the column crawled lazily
forward to see.
The Twelfth, as it crawled, saw a regiment deploy to the right, and saw
a battery dash to take position. The cavalry jingled back grinning with
pride and expecting to be greatly admired. Presently the Twelfth was
bidden to take seat by the roadside and await its turn. Instantly the
wise men--and there were more than three--came out of the east and
announced that they had divined the whole plan. The Kicking Twelfth was
to be held in reserve until the critical moment of the fight, and then
they were to be sent forward to win a victory. In corroboration, they
pointed to the fact that the general in command was sticking close to
them, in order, they said, to give the word quickly at the proper
moment. And in truth, on a small hill to the right, Major-General Richie
sat on his horse and used his glasses, while back of him his staff and
the orderlies bestrode their champing, dancing mounts.
It is always good to look hard at a general, and the Kickers were
transfixed with interest. The wise men again came out of the east and
told what was inside the Richie head, but even the wise men wondered
what was inside the Richie head.
Suddenly an exciting thing happened. To the left and ahead was a
pounding Spitzbergen battery, and a toy suddenly appeared on the slope
behind the guns. The toy was a man with a flag--the flag was white save
for a square of red in the centre. And this toy began to wig-wag
wag-wig, and it spoke to General Richie under the authority of the
captain of the battery. It said: "The 88th are being driven on my centre
Now, when the Kicking Twelfth had left Spitzbergen there was an average
of six signalmen in each company. A proportion of these signallers had
been destroyed in the first engagement, but enough remained so that the
Kicking Twelfth read, as a unit, the news of the 88th. The word ran
quickly. "The 88th are being driven on my centre and right."
Richie rode to where Colonel Sponge sat aloft on his big horse, and a
moment later a cry ran along the column: "Kim up, the Kickers." A large
number of the men were already in the road, hitching and twisting at
their belts and packs. The Kickers moved forward.
They deployed and passed in a straggling line through the battery, and
to the left and right of it. The gunners called out to them carefully,
telling them not to be afraid.
The scene before them was startling. They were facing a country cut up
by many steep-sided ravines, and over the resultant hills were
retreating little squads of the 88th. The Twelfth laughed in its
exultation. The men could now tell by the volume of fire that the 88th
were retreating for reasons which were not sufficiently expressed in the
noise of the Rostina shooting. Held together by the bugle, the Kickers
swarmed up the first hill and laid on the crest. Parties of the 88th
went through their lines, and the Twelfth told them coarsely its several
opinions. The sights were clicked up to 600 yards, and, with a crashing
volley, the regiment entered its second battle.
A thousand yards away on the right the cavalry and a regiment of
infantry were creeping onward. Sponge decided not to be backward, and
the bugle told the Twelfth to go ahead once more. The Twelfth charged,
followed by a rabble of rallied men of the 88th, who were crying aloud
that it had been all a mistake.
A charge in these days is not a running match. Those splendid pictures
of levelled bayonets, dashing at headlong pace towards the closed ranks
of the enemy are absurd as soon as they are mistaken for the actuality
of the present. In these days charges are likely to cover at least the
half of a mile, and to go at the pace exhibited in the pictures a man
would be obliged to have a little steam engine inside of him.
The charge of the Kicking Twelfth somewhat resembled the advance of a
great crowd of beaters who, for some reason, passionately desired to
start the game. Men stumbled; men fell; men swore; there were cries:
"This way!" "Come this way!" "Don't go that way!" "You can't get up that
way!" Over the rocks the Twelfth scrambled, red in the face, sweating
and angry. Soldiers fell because they were struck by bullets, and
because they had not an ounce of strength left in them. Colonel Sponge,
with a face like a red cushion, was being dragged windless up the steeps
by devoted and athletic men. Three of the older captains lay afar back,
and swearing with their eyes because their tongues were temporarily out
And yet-and-yet, the speed of the charge was slow. From the position of
the battery, it looked as if the Kickers were taking a walk over some
extremely difficult country.
The regiment ascended a superior height, and found trenches and dead
men. They took seat with the dead, satisfied with this company until
they could get their wind. For thirty minutes purple-faced stragglers
rejoined from the rear. Colonel Sponge looked behind him, and saw that
Richie, with his staff, had approached by another route, and had
evidently been near enough to see the full extent of the Kickers'
exertions. Presently Richie began to pick a way for his horse towards
the captured position. He disappeared in a gully between two hills.
Now it came to pass that a Spitzbergen battery on the far right took
occasion to mistake the identity of the Kicking Twelfth, and the captain
of these guns, not having anything to occupy him in front, directed his
six 3·2's upon the ridge where the tired Kickers lay side by side with
the Rostina dead. A shrapnel came swinging over the Kickers, seething
and fuming. It burst directly over the trenches, and the shrapnel, of
course, scattered forward, hurting nobody. But a man screamed out to his
officer: "By God, sir, that is one of our own batteries!" The whole line
quivered with fright. Five more shells streaked overhead, and one flung
its hail into the middle of the 3rd battalion's line, and the Kicking
Twelfth shuddered to the very centre of its heart, and arose, like one
man, and fled.
Colonel Sponge, fighting, frothing at the month, dealing blows with his
fist right and left, found himself confronting a fury on horseback.
Richie was as pale as death, and his eyes sent out sparks. "What does
this conduct mean?" he flashed out between his fastened teeth.
Sponge could only gurgle: "The battery--the battery--the battery!"
"The battery?" cried Richie, in a voice which sounded like pistol shots.
"Are you afraid of the guns you almost took yesterday? Go back there,
you white-livered cowards! You swine! You dogs! Curs! Curs! Curs! Go
Most of the men halted and crouched under the lashing tongue of their
maddened general. But one man found desperate speech, and yelled:
"General, it is our own battery that is firing on us!"
Many say that the General's face tightened until it looked like a mask.
The Kicking Twelfth retired to a comfortable place, where they were only
under the fire of the Rostina artillery. The men saw a staff officer
riding over the obstructions in a manner calculated to break his neck
The Kickers were aggrieved, but the heart of the colonel was cut in
twain. He even babbled to his major, talking like a man who is about to
die of simple rage. "Did you hear what he said to me? Did you hear what
he called us? "Did you hear what he called us?""
The majors searched their minds for words to heal a deep wound.
The Twelfth received orders to go into camp upon the hill where they had
been insulted. Old Sponge looked as if he were about to knock the aide
out of the saddle, but he saluted, and took the regiment back to the
temporary companionship of the Rostina dead.
Major-General Richie never apologised to Colonel Sponge. When you are a
commanding officer you do not adopt the custom of apologising for the
wrong done to your subordinates. You ride away; and they understand, and
are confident of the restitution to honour. Richie never opened his
stern, young lips to Sponge in reference to the scene near the hill of
the Rostina dead, but in time there was a general order No. 20, which
spoke definitely of the gallantry of His Majesty's 12th regiment of the
line and its colonel. In the end Sponge was given a high decoration,
because he had been badly used by Richie on that day. Richie knew that
it is hard for men to withstand the shrapnel of their friends.
A few days later the Kickers, marching in column on the road, came upon
their friend the battery, halted in a field; and they addressed the
battery, and the captain of the battery blanched to the tips of his
ears. But the men of the battery told the Kickers to go to the
devil--frankly, freely, placidly, told the Kickers to go to the devil.
And this story proves that it is sometimes better to be a private.
"AND IF HE WILLS, WE MUST DIE."
A sergeant, a corporal, and fourteen men of the Twelfth Regiment of the
Line had been sent out to occupy a house on the main highway. They would
be at least a half of a mile in advance of any other picket of their own
people. Sergeant Morton was deeply angry at being sent on this duty. He
said that he was over-worked. There were at least two sergeants, he
claimed furiously, whose turn it should have been to go on this arduous
mission. He was treated unfairly; he was abused by his superiors; why
did any damned fool ever join the army? As for him he would get out of
it as soon as possible; he was sick of it; the life of a dog. All this
he said to the corporal, who listened attentively, giving grunts of
respectful assent. On the way to this post two privates took occasion to
drop to the rear and pilfer in the orchard of a deserted plantation.
When the sergeant discovered this absence, he grew black with a rage
which was an accumulation of all his irritations. "Run, you!" he howled.
"Bring them here! I'll show them--" A private ran swiftly to the rear.
The remainder of the squad began to shout nervously at the two
delinquents, whose figures they could see in the deep shade of the
orchard, hurriedly picking fruit from the ground and cramming it within
their shirts, next to their skins. The beseeching cries of their
comrades stirred the criminals more than did the barking of the
sergeant. They ran to rejoin the squad, while holding their loaded
bosoms and with their mouths open with aggrieved explanations.
Jones faced the sergeant with a horrible cancer marked in bumps on his
left side. The disease of Patterson showed quite around the front of his
waist in many protuberances. "A nice pair!" said the sergeant, with
sudden frigidity. "You're the kind of soldiers a man wants to choose for
a dangerous outpost duty, ain't you?"
The two privates stood at attention, still looking much aggrieved. "We
only--" began Jones huskily.
"Oh, you 'only!'" cried the sergeant. "Yes, you 'only.' I know all
about that. But if you think you are going to trifle with me--"
A moment later the squad moved on towards its station. Behind the
sergeant's back Jones and Patterson were slyly passing apples and pears
to their friends while the sergeant expounded eloquently to the corporal
"You see what kind of men are in the army now. Why, when I joined the
regiment it was a very different thing, I can tell you. Then a sergeant
had some authority, and if a man disobeyed orders, he had a very small
chance of escaping something extremely serious. But now! Good God! If I
report these men, the captain will look over a lot of beastly orderly
sheets and say--'Haw, eh, well, Sergeant Morton, these men seem to have
very good records; very good records, indeed. I can't be too hard on
them; no, not too hard.'" Continued the sergeant: "I tell you, Flagler,
the army is no place for a decent man."
Flagler, the corporal, answered with a sincerity of appreciation which
with him had become a science. "I think you are right, sergeant," he
Behind them the privates mumbled discreetly. "Damn this sergeant of
ours. He thinks we are made of wood. I don't see any reason for all this
strictness when we are on active service. It isn't like being at home in
barracks! There is no great harm in a couple of men dropping out to
raid an orchard of the enemy when all the world knows that we haven't
had a decent meal in twenty days."
The reddened face of Sergeant Morton suddenly showed to the rear. "A
little more marching and less talking," he said.
When he came to the house he had been ordered to occupy the sergeant
sniffed with disdain. "These people must have lived like cattle," he
said angrily. To be sure, the place was not alluring. The ground floor
had been used for the housing of cattle, and it was dark and terrible. A
flight of steps led to the lofty first floor, which was denuded but
respectable. The sergeant's visage lightened when he saw the strong
walls of stone and cement. "Unless they turn guns on us, they will never
get us out of here," he said cheerfully to the squad. The men, anxious
to keep him in an amiable mood, all hurriedly grinned and seemed very
appreciative and pleased. "I'll make this into a fortress," he
announced. He sent Jones and Patterson, the two orchard thiefs, out on
sentry-duty. He worked the others, then, until he could think of no more
things to tell them to do. Afterwards he went forth, with a
major-general's serious scowl, and examined the ground in front of his
position. In returning he came upon a sentry, Jones, munching an apple.
He sternly commanded him to throw it away.
The men spread their blankets on the floors of the bare rooms, and
putting their packs under their heads and lighting their pipes, they
lived in easy peace. Bees hummed in the garden, and a scent of flowers
came through the open window. A great fan-shaped bit of sunshine smote
the face of one man, and he indolently cursed as he moved his primitive
bed to a shadier place.
Another private explained to a comrade: "This is all nonsense anyhow. No
sense in occupying this post. They--"
"But, of course," said the corporal, "when she told me herself that she
cared more for me than she did for him, I wasn't going to stand any of
his talk--" The corporal's listener was so sleepy that he could only
grunt his sympathy.
There was a sudden little spatter of shooting. A cry from Jones rang
out. With no intermediate scrambling, the sergeant leaped straight to
his feet. "Now," he cried, "let us see what you are made of! If," he
added bitterly, "you are made of anything!"
A man yelled: "Good God, can't you see you're all tangled up in my
Another man yelled: "Keep off my legs! Can't you walk on the floor?"
To the windows there was a blind rush of slumberous men, who brushed
hair from their eyes even as they made ready their rifles. Jones and
Patterson came stumbling up the steps, crying dreadful information.
Already the enemy's bullets were spitting and singing over the house.
The sergeant suddenly was stiff and cold with a sense of the importance
of the thing. "Wait until you see one," he drawled loudly and calmly,
For some moments the enemy's bullets swung swifter than lightning over
the house without anybody being able to discover a target. In this
interval a man was shot in the throat. He gurgled, and then lay down on
the floor. The blood slowly waved down the brown skin of his neck while
he looked meekly at his comrades.
There was a howl. "There they are! There they come!" The rifles
crackled. A light smoke drifted idly through the rooms. There was a
strong odour as if from burnt paper and the powder of fire-crackers. The
men were silent. Through the windows and about the house the bullets of
an entirely invisible enemy moaned, hummed, spat, burst, and sang.
The men began to curse. "Why can't we see them?" they muttered through
their teeth. The sergeant was still frigid. He answered soothingly as if
he were directly reprehensible for this behaviour of the enemy. "Wait a
moment. You will soon be able to see them. There! Give it to them." A
little skirt of black figures had appeared in a field. It was really
like shooting at an upright needle from the full length of a ball-room.
But the men's spirits improved as soon as the enemy--this mysterious
enemy--became a tangible thing, and far off. They had believed the foe
to be shooting at them from the adjacent garden.
"Now," said the sergeant ambitiously, "we can beat them off easily if
you men are good enough."
A man called out in a tone of quick, great interest. "See that fellow on
horseback, Bill? Isn't he on horseback? I thought he was on horseback."
There was a fusilade against another side of the house. The sergeant
dashed into the room which commanded that situation. He found a dead
soldier on the floor. He rushed out howling: "When was Knowles killed?
When was Knowles killed? Damn it, when was Knowles killed?" It was
absolutely essential to find out the exact moment this man died. A
blackened private turned upon his sergeant and demanded: "How in hell do
I know?" Sergeant Morton had a sense of anger so brief that in the next
second he cried: "Patterson!" He had even forgotten his vital interest
in the time of Knowles' death.
"Yes?" said Patterson, his face set with some deep-rooted quality of
determination. Still, he was a mere farm boy.
"Go in to Knowles' window and shoot at those people," said the sergeant
hoarsely. Afterwards he coughed. Some of the fumes of the fight had made
way to his lungs.
Patterson looked at the door into this other room. He looked at it as if
he suspected it was to be his death-chamber. Then he entered and stood
across the body of Knowles and fired vigorously into a group of plum
"They can't take this house," declared the sergeant in a contemptuous
and argumentative tone. He was apparently replying to somebody. The man
who had been shot in the throat looked up at him. Eight men were firing
from the windows. The sergeant detected in a corner three wounded men
talking together feebly. "Don't you think there is anything to do?" he
bawled. "Go and get Knowles' cartridges and give them to somebody who
can use them! Take Simpson's too." The man who had been shot in the
throat looked at him. Of the three wounded men who had been talking, one
said: "My leg is all doubled up under me, sergeant." He spoke
Meantime the sergeant was re-loading his rifle. His foot slipped in the
blood of the man who had been shot in the throat, and the military boot
made a greasy red streak on the floor.
"Why, we can hold this place," shouted the sergeant jubilantly. "Who
says we can't?"
Corporal Flagler suddenly spun away from his window and fell in a heap.
"Sergeant," murmured a man as he dropped to a seat on the floor out of
danger, "I can't stand this. I swear I can't. I think we should run
Morton, with the kindly eyes of a good shepherd, looked at the man. "You
are afraid, Johnston, you are afraid," he said softly. The man struggled
to his feet, cast upon the sergeant a gaze full of admiration, reproach,
and despair, and returned to his post. A moment later he pitched
forward, and thereafter his body hung out of the window, his arms
straight and the fists clenched. Incidentally this corpse was pierced
afterwards by chance three times by bullets of the enemy.
The sergeant laid his rifle against the stone-work of the window-frame
and shot with care until his magazine was empty. Behind him a man,
simply grazed on the elbow, was wildly sobbing like a girl. "Damn it,
shut up," said Morton, without turning his head. Before him was a vista
of a garden, fields, clumps of trees, woods, populated at the time with
little fleeting figures.
He grew furious. "Why didn't he send me orders?" he cried aloud. The
emphasis on the word "he" was impressive. A mile back on the road a
galloper of the Hussars lay dead beside his dead horse.
The man who had been grazed on the elbow still set up his bleat.
Morton's fury veered to this soldier. "Can't you shut up? Can't you shut
up? Can't you shut up? Fight! That's the thing to do. Fight!"
A bullet struck Morton, and he fell upon the man who had been shot in
the throat. There was a sickening moment. Then the sergeant rolled off
to a position upon the blood floor. He turned himself with a last effort
until he could look at the wounded who were able to look at him.
"Kim up, the Kickers," he said thickly. His arms weakened and he dropped
on his face.
After an interval a young subaltern of the enemy's infantry, followed by
his eager men, burst into this reeking interior. But just over the
threshold he halted before the scene of blood and death. He turned with
a shrug to his sergeant. "God, I should have estimated them at least one
WYOMING VALLEY TALES
I.--THE SURRENDER OF FORTY FORT.
Immediately after the battle of 3rd July, my mother said, "We had best
take the children and go into the Fort."
But my father replied, "I will not go. I will not leave my property. All
that I have in the world is here, and if the savages destroy it they may
as well destroy me also."
My mother said no other word. Our household was ever given to stern
silence, and such was my training that it did not occur to me to reflect
that if my father cared for his property it was not my property, and I
was entitled to care somewhat for my life.
Colonel Denison was true to the word which he had passed to me at the
Fort before the battle. He sent a messenger to my father, and this
messenger stood in the middle of our living-room and spake with a clear,
indifferent voice. "Colonel Denison bids me come here and say that John
Bennet is a wicked man, and the blood of his own children will be upon
his head." As usual, my father said nothing. After the messenger had
gone, he remained silent for hours in his chair by the fire, and this
stillness was so impressive to his family that even my mother walked on
tip-toe as she went about her work. After this long time my father said,
Mother halted and looked at him. Father spoke slowly, and as if every
word was wrested from him with violent pangs. "Mary, you take the girls
and go to the Fort. I and Solomon and Andrew will go over the mountain
Immediately my mother called us all to set about packing such things as
could be taken to the Fort. And by nightfall we had seen them within its
pallisade, and my father, myself, and my little brother Andrew, who was
only eleven years old, were off over the hills on a long march to the
Delaware settlements. Father and I had our rifles, but we seldom dared
to fire them, because of the roving bands of Indians. We lived as well
as we could on blackberries and raspberries. For the most part, poor
little Andrew rode first on the back of my father and then on my back.
He was a good little man, and only cried when he would wake in the dead
of night very cold and very hungry. Then my father would wrap him in an
old grey coat that was so famous in the Wyoming country that there was
not even an Indian who did not know of it. But this act he did without
any direct display of tenderness, for the fear, I suppose, that he
would weaken little Andrew's growing manhood. Now, in these days of
safety, and even luxury, I often marvel at the iron spirit of the people
of my young days. My father, without his coat and no doubt very cold,
would then sometimes begin to pray to his God in the wilderness, but in
low voice, because of the Indians. It was July, but even July nights are
cold in the pine mountains, breathing a chill which goes straight to the
But it is not my intention to give in this section the ordinary
adventures of the masculine part of my family. As a matter of fact, my
mother and the girls were undergoing in Forty Fort trials which made as
nothing the happenings on our journey, which ended in safety.
My mother and her small flock were no sooner established in the crude
quarters within the pallisade than negotiations were opened between
Colonel Denison and Colonel Zebulon Butler on the American side, and
"Indian Butler" on the British side, for the capitulation of the Fort
with such arms and military stores as it contained, the lives of the
settlers to be strictly preserved. But "Indian Butler" did not seem to
feel free to promise safety for the lives of the Continental Butler and
the pathetic little fragment of the regular troops. These men always
fought so well against the Indians that whenever the Indians could get
them at their mercy there was small chances of anything but a massacre.
So every regular left before the surrender; and I fancy that Colonel
Zebulon Butler considered himself a much-abused man, for if we had left
ourselves entirely under his direction there is no doubt but what we
could have saved the valley. He had taken us out on 3rd July because our
militia officers had almost threatened him. In the end he had said,
"Very well, I can go as far as any of you." I was always on Butler's
side of the argument, but owing to the singular arrangement of
circumstances, my opinion at the age of sixteen counted upon neither the
one side nor the other.
The Fort was left in charge of Colonel Denison. He had stipulated before
the surrender that no Indians should be allowed to enter the stockade
and molest these poor families of women whose fathers and brothers were
either dead or fled over the mountains, unless their physical debility
had been such that they were able neither to get killed in the battle
nor to take the long trail to the Delaware. Of course, this excepts
those men who were with Washington.
For several days the Indians, obedient to the British officers, kept out
of the Fort, but soon they began to enter in small bands and went
sniffing and poking in every corner to find plunder. Our people had
hidden everything as well as they were able, and for a period little was
stolen. My mother told me that the first thing of importance to go was
Colonel Denison's hunting shirt, made of "fine forty" linen. It had a
double cape, and was fringed about the cape and about the wristbands.
Colonel Denison at the time was in my mother's cabin. An Indian entered,
and, rolling a thieving eye about the place, sighted first of all the
remarkable shirt which Colonel Denison was wearing. He seized the shirt
and began to tug, while the Colonel backed away, tugging and protesting
at the same time. The women folk saw at once that the Colonel would be
tomahawked if he did not give up his shirt, and they begged him to do
it. He finally elected not to be tomahawked, and came out of his shirt.
While my mother unbuttoned the wristbands, the Colonel cleverly dropped
into the lap of a certain Polly Thornton a large packet of Continental
bills, and his money was thus saved for the settlers.
Colonel Denison had several stormy interviews with "Indian Butler," and
the British commander finally ended in frankly declaring that he could
do nothing with the Indians at all. They were beyond control, and the
defenceless people in the Fort would have to take the consequence. I do
not mean that Colonel Denison was trying to recover his shirt; I mean
that he was objecting to a situation which was now almost unendurable. I
wish to record also that the Colonel lost a large beaver hat. In both
cases he willed to be tomahawked and killed rather than suffer the
indignity, but mother prevailed over him. I must confess to this
discreet age that my mother engaged in fisticuffs with a squaw. This
squaw came into the cabin, and, without preliminary discussion,
attempted to drag from my mother the petticoat she was wearing. My
mother forgot the fine advice she had given to Colonel Denison. She
proceeded to beat the squaw out of the cabin, and although the squaw
appealed to some warriors who were standing without the warriors only
laughed, and my mother kept her petticoat.
The Indians took the feather beds of the people, and, ripping them open,
flung the feathers broadcast. Then they stuffed these sacks full of
plunder, and flung them across the backs of such of the settlers' horses
as they had been able to find. In the old days my mother had had a side
saddle, of which she was very proud when she rode to meeting on it. She
had also a brilliant scarlet cloak, which every lady had in those days,
and which I can remember as one of the admirations of my childhood. One
day my mother had the satisfaction of seeing a squaw ride off from the
Fort with this prize saddle reversed on a small nag, and with the proud
squaw thus mounted wearing the scarlet cloak, also reversed. My sister
Martha told me afterwards that they laughed, even in their misfortunes.
A little later they had the satisfaction of seeing the smoke from our
house and barn arising over the tops of the trees.
When the Indians first began their pillaging, an old Mr. Sutton, who
occupied a cabin near my mother's cabin, anticipated them by donning all
his best clothes. He had had a theory that the Americans would be free
to retain the clothes that they wore. And his best happened to be a suit
of Quaker grey, from beaver to boots, in which he had been married. Not
long afterwards my mother and my sisters saw passing the door an Indian
arrayed in Quaker grey, from beaver to boots. The only odd thing which
impressed them was that the Indian had appended to the dress a long
string of Yankee scalps. Sutton was a good Quaker, and if he had been
wearing the suit there would have been no string of scalps.
They were, in fact, badgered, insulted, robbed by the Indians so openly
that the British officers would not come into the Fort at all. They
stayed in their camp, affecting to be ignorant of what was happening. It
was about all they could do. The Indians had only one idea of war, and
it was impossible to reason with them when they were flushed with
victory and stolen rum.
The hand of fate fell heavily upon one rogue whose ambition it was to
drink everything that the Fort contained. One day he inadvertently came
upon a bottle of spirits of camphor, and in a few hours he was dead.
But it was known that General Washington contemplated sending a strong
expedition into the valley, to clear it of the invaders and thrash them.
Soon there were no enemies in the country save small roving parties of
Indians, who prevented work in the fields and burned whatever cabins
that earlier torches had missed.
The first large party to come into the valley was composed mainly of
Captain Spaulding's company of regulars, and at its head rode Colonel
Zebulon Butler. My father, myself, and little Andrew returned with this
party to set to work immediately to build out of nothing a prosperity
similar to that which had vanished in the smoke.
II.--"OL' BENNET" AND THE INDIANS.
My father was so well known of the Indians that, as I was saying, his
old grey coat was a sign through the northern country. I know of no
reason for this save that he was honest and obstreperously minded his
own affairs, and could fling a tomahawk better than the best Indian. I
will not declare upon how hard it is for a man to be honest and to mind
his own affairs, but I fully know that it is hard to throw a tomahawk as
my father threw it, straighter than a bullet from a duelling pistol. He
had always dealt fairly with the Indians, and I cannot tell why they
paled him so bitterly, unless it was that when an Indian went foolishly
drunk my father would deplore it with his foot, if it so happened that
the drunkenness was done in our cabin. It is true to say that when the
war came, a singular large number of kicked Indians journeyed from the
Canadas to re-visit with torch and knife the scenes of the kicking.
If people had thoroughly known my father he would have had no enemies.
He was the best of men. He had a code of behaviour for himself, and for
the whole world as well. If people wished his good opinion they only had
to do exactly as he did, and to have his views. I remember that once my
sister Martha made me a waistcoat of rabbits' skins, and generally it
was considered a great ornament. But one day my father espied me in it,
and commanded me to remove it for ever. Its appearance was indecent, he
said, and such a garment tainted the soul of him who wore it. In the
ensuing fortnight a poor pedlar arrived from the Delaware, who had
suffered great misfortunes in the snows. My father fed him and warmed
him, and when he gratefully departed, gave him the rabbits' skin
waistcoat, and the poor man went off clothed indecently in a garment
that would taint his soul. Afterwards, in a daring mood, I asked my
father why he had so cursed this pedlar, and he recommended that I
should study my Bible more closely, and there read that my own devious
ways should be mended before I sought to judge the enlightened acts of
my elders. He set me to ploughing the upper twelve acres, and I was
hardly allowed to loose my grip of the plough handles until every furrow
The Indians called my father "Ol' Bennet," and he was known broadcast as
a man whose doom was sealed when the redskins caught him. As I have
said, the feeling is inexplicable to me. But Indians who had been
ill-used and maltreated by downright ruffians, against whom revenge
could with a kind of propriety be directed--many of these Indians
avowedly gave up a genuine wrong in order to direct a fuller attention
to the getting of my father's scalp. This most unfair disposition of the
Indians was a great, deep anxiety to all of us up to the time when
General Sullivan and his avenging army marched through the valley and
swept our tormentors afar.
And yet great calamities could happen in our valley even after the
coming and passing of General Sullivan. We were partly mistaken in our
gladness. The British force of Loyalists and Indians met Sullivan in one
battle, and finding themselves over-matched and beaten, they scattered
in all directions. The Loyalists, for the most part, went home, but the
Indians cleverly broke up into small bands, and General Sullivan's army
had no sooner marched beyond the Wyoming Valley than some of these small
bands were back into the valley plundering outlying cabins and shooting
people from the thickets and woods that bordered the fields.
General Sullivan had left a garrison at Wilkesbarre, and at this time we
lived in its strong shadow. It was too formidable for the Indians to
attack, and it could protect all who valued protection enough to remain
under its wings, but it could do little against the flying small bands.
My father chafed in the shelter of the garrison. His best lands lay
beyond Forty Fort, and he wanted to be at his ploughing. He made several
brief references to his ploughing that led us to believe that his
ploughing was the fundamental principle of life. None of us saw any
means of contending him. My sister Martha began to weep, but it no more
mattered than if she had began to laugh. My mother said nothing. Aye, my
wonderful mother said nothing. My father said he would go plough some of
the land above Forty Fort. Immediately this was with us some sort of a
law. It was like a rain, or a wind, or a drought.
He went, of course. My young brother Andrew went with him, and he took
the new span of oxen and a horse. They began to plough a meadow which
lay in a bend of the river above Forty Fort. Andrew rode the horse
hitched ahead of the oxen. At a certain thicket the horse shied so that
little Andrew was almost thrown down. My father seemed to have begun a
period of apprehension at this time, but it was of no service. Four
Indians suddenly appeared out of the thicket. Swiftly, and in silence,
they pounced with tomahawk, rifle, and knife upon my father and my
brother, and in a moment they were captives of the redskins--that fate
whose very phrasing was a thrill to the heart of every colonist. It
spelled death, or that horrible simple absence, vacancy, mystery, which
is harder than death.
As for us, he had told my mother that if he and Andrew were not returned
at sundown she might construe a calamity. So at sundown we gave the news
to the Fort, and directly we heard the alarm gun booming out across the
dusk like a salute to the death of my father, a solemn, final
declaration. At the sound of this gun my sisters all began newly to
weep. It simply defined our misfortune. In the morning a party was sent
out, which came upon the deserted plough, the oxen calmly munching, and
the horse still excited and affrighted. The soldiers found the trail of
four Indians. They followed the trail some distance over the mountains,
but the redskins with their captives had a long start, and pursuit was
but useless. The result of this expedition was that we knew at least
that father and Andrew had not been massacred immediately. But in those
days this was a most meagre consolation. It was better to wish them well
My father and Andrew were hurried over the hills at a terrible pace by
the four Indians. Andrew told me afterwards that he could think
sometimes that he was dreaming of being carried off by goblins. The
redskins said no word, and their mocassined feet made no sound. They
were like evil spirits. But it was as he caught glimpses of father's
pale face, every wrinkle in it deepened and hardened, that Andrew saw
everything in its light. And Andrew was but thirteen years old. It is a
tender age at which to be burned at the stake.
In time the party came upon two more Indians, who had as a prisoner a
man named Lebbeus Hammond. He had left Wilkesbarre in search of a
strayed horse. He was riding the animal back to the Fort when the
Indians caught him. He and my father knew each other well, and their
greeting was like them.
"What! Hammond! You here?"
"Yes, I'm here."
As the march was resumed, the principal Indian bestrode Hammond's horse,
but the horse was very high-nerved and scared, and the bridle was only a
temporary one made from hickory withes. There was no saddle. And so
finally the principal Indian came off with a crash, alighting with
exceeding severity upon his head. When he got upon his feet he was in
such a rage that the three captives thought to see him dash his tomahawk
into the skull of the trembling horse, and, indeed, his arm was raised
for the blow, but suddenly he thought better of it. He had been touched
by a real point of Indian inspiration. The party was passing a swamp at
the time, so he mired the horse almost up to its eyes, and left it to
the long death.
I had said that my father was well known of the Indians, and yet I have
to announce that none of his six captors knew him. To them he was a
complete stranger, for upon camping the first night they left my father
unbound. If they had had any idea that he was "Ol' Bennet" they would
never have left him unbound. He suggested to Hammond that they try to
escape that night, but Hammond seemed not to care to try it yet.
In time they met a party of over forty Indians, commanded by a Loyalist.
In that band there were many who knew my father. They cried out with
rejoicing when they perceived him. "Ha!" they shouted, "Ol' Bennet!"
They danced about him, making gestures expressive of the torture. Later
in the day my father accidentally pulled a button from his coat, and an
Indian took it from him.
My father asked to be allowed to have it again, for he was a very
careful man, and in those days all good husbands were trained to bring
home the loose buttons. The Indians laughed, and explained that a man
who was to die at Wyallusing--one day's march--need not be particular
about a button.
The three prisoners were now sent off in care of seven Indians, while
the Loyalist took the remainder of his men down the valley to further
harass the settlers. The seven Indians were now very careful of my
father, allowing him scarce a wink. Their tomahawks came up at the
slightest sign. At the camp that night they bade the prisoners lie down,
and then placed poles across them. An Indian lay upon either end of
these poles. My father managed, however, to let Hammond know that he was
determined to make an attempt to escape. There was only one night
between him and the stake, and he was resolved to make what use he could
of it. Hammond seems to have been dubious from the start, but the men of
that time were not daunted by broad risks. In his opinion the rising
would be a failure, but this did not prevent him from agreeing to rise
with his friend. My brother Andrew was not considered at all. No one
asked him if he wanted to rise against the Indians. He was only a boy,
and supposed to obey his elders. So, as none asked his views, he kept
them to himself; but I wager you he listened, all ears, to the furtive
consultations, consultations which were mere casual phrases at times,
and at other times swift, brief sentences shot out in a whisper.
The band of seven Indians relaxed in vigilance as they approached their
own country, and on the last night from Wyallusing the Indian part of
the camp seemed much inclined to take deep slumber after the long and
rapid journey. The prisoners were held to the ground by poles as on the
previous night, and then the Indians pulled their blankets over their
heads and passed into heavy sleep. One old warrior sat by the fire as
guard, but he seems to have been a singularly inefficient man, for he
was continuously drowsing, and if the captives could have got rid of the
poles across their chests and legs they would have made their flight
The camp was on a mountain side amid a forest of lofty pines. The night
was very cold, and the blasts of wind swept down upon the crackling,
resinous fire. A few stars peeped through the feathery pine branches.
Deep in some gulch could be heard the roar of a mountain stream. At one
o'clock in the morning three of the Indians arose, and, releasing the
prisoners, commanded them to mend the fire. The prisoners brought dead
pine branches; the ancient warrior on watch sleepily picked away with
his knife at the deer's head which he had roasted; the other Indians
retired again to their blankets, perhaps each depending upon the other
for the exercise of precautions. It was a tremendously slack business;
the Indians were feeling security because they knew that the prisoners
were too wise to try to run away.
The warrior on watch mumbled placidly to himself as he picked at the
deer's head. Then he drowsed again, just the short nap of a man who had
been up too long. My father stepped quickly to a spear, and backed away
from the Indian; then he drove it straight through his chest. The Indian
raised himself spasmodically, and then collapsed into that camp fire
which the captives had made burn so brilliantly, and as he fell he
screamed. Instantly his blanket, his hair, he himself began to burn, and
over him was my father tugging frantically to get the spear out again.
My father did not recover the spear. It had so gone through the old
warrior that it could not readily be withdrawn, and my father left it.
The scream of the watchman instantly aroused the other warriors, who, as
they scrambled in their blankets, found over them a terrible
white-lipped creature with an axe--an axe, the most appallingly brutal
of weapons. Hammond buried his weapon in the head of the leader of the
Indians even as the man gave out his first great cry. The second blow
missed an agile warrior's head, but caught him in the nape of the neck,
and he swung, to bury his face in the red-hot ashes at the edge of the
Meanwhile my brother Andrew had been gallantly snapping empty guns. In
fact he snapped three empty guns at the Indians, who were in the purest
panic. He did not snap the fourth gun, but took it by the barrel, and,
seeing a warrior rush past him, he cracked his skull with the clubbed
weapon. He told me, however, that his snapping of the empty guns was
very effective, because it made the Indians jump and dodge.
Well, this slaughter continued in the red glare of the fire on the
lonely mountain side until two shrieking creatures ran off through the
trees, but even then my father hurled a tomahawk with all his strength.
It struck one of the fleeing Indians on the shoulder. His blanket
dropped from him, and he ran on practically naked.
The three whites looked at each other, breathing deeply. Their work was
plain to them in the five dead and dying Indians underfoot. They hastily
gathered weapons and mocassins, and in six minutes from the time when my
father had hurled the spear through the Indian sentinel they had started
to make their way back to the settlements, leaving the camp fire to burn
out its short career alone amid the dead.
III.--THE BATTLE OF FORTY FORT.
The Congress, sitting at Philadelphia, had voted our Wyoming country two
companies of infantry for its protection against the Indians, with the
single provision that we raise the men and arm them ourselves. This was
not too brave a gift, but no one could blame the poor Congress, and
indeed one could wonder that they found occasion to think of us at all,
since at the time every gentleman of them had his coat-tails gathered
high in his hands in readiness for flight to Baltimore. But our two
companies of foot were no sooner drilled, equipped, and in readiness to
defend the colony when they were ordered off down to the Jerseys to join
General Washington. So it can be seen what service Congress did us in
the way of protection. Thus the Wyoming Valley, sixty miles deep in the
wilderness, held its log-houses full of little besides mothers, maids,
and children. To the clamour against this situation the badgered
Congress could only reply by the issue of another generous order,
directing that one full company of foot be raised in the town of
Westmoreland for the defence of said town, and that the said company
find their own arms, ammunition, and blankets. Even people with our
sense of humour could not laugh at this joke.
When the first two companies were forming, I had thought to join one,
but my father forbade me, saying that I was too young, although I was
full sixteen, tall, and very strong. So it turned out that I was not off
fighting with Washington's army when Butler with his rangers and Indians
raided Wyoming. Perhaps I was in the better place to do my duty, if I
When wandering Indians visited the settlements, their drunkenness and
insolence were extreme, but the few white men remained calm, and often
enough pretended oblivion to insults which, because of their wives and
families, they dared not attempt to avenge. In my own family, my
father's imperturbability was scarce superior to my mother's coolness,
and such was our faith in them that we twelve children also seemed to be
fearless. Neighbour after neighbour came to my father in despair of the
defenceless condition of the valley, declaring that they were about to
leave everything and flee over the mountains to Stroudsberg. My father
always wished them God-speed and said no more. If they urged him to fly
also, he usually walked away from them.
Finally there came a time when all the Indians vanished. We rather would
have had them tipsy and impudent in the settlements; we knew what their
disappearance portended. It was the serious sign. Too soon the news came
that "Indian Butler" was on his way.
The valley was vastly excited. People with their smaller possessions
flocked into the block-houses, and militia officers rode everywhere to
rally every man. A small force of Continentals--regulars of the
line--had joined our people, and the little army was now under the
command of a Continental officer, Major Zebulon Butler.
I had thought that with all this hubbub of an impending life and death
struggle in the valley that my father would allow the work of our farm
to slacken. But in this I was notably mistaken. The milking and the
feeding and the work in the fields went on as if there never had been an
Indian south of the Canadas. My mother and my sisters continued to cook,
to wash, to churn, to spin, to dye, to mend, to make soap, to make maple
sugar. Just before the break of each day, my younger brother Andrew and
myself tumbled out for some eighteen hours' work, and woe to us if we
departed the length of a dog's tail from the laws which our father had
laid down. It was a life with which I was familiar, but it did seem to
me that with the Indians almost upon us he might have allowed me, at
least, to go to the Fort and see our men drilling.
But one morning we aroused as usual at his call at the foot of the
ladder, and, dressing more quickly than Andrew, I climbed down from the
loft to find my father seated by a blazing fire reading by its light in
"Son," said he.
"Go and fight."
Without a word more I made hasty preparation. It was the first time in
my life that I had a feeling that my father would change his mind. So
strong was this fear that I did not even risk a good-bye to my mother
and sisters. At the end of the clearing I looked back. The door of the
house was open, and in the blazing light of the fire I saw my father
seated as I had left him.
At Forty Fort I found between three and four hundred under arms, while
the stockade itself was crowded with old men, and women and children.
Many of my acquaintances welcomed me; indeed, I seemed to know everybody
save a number of the Continental officers. Colonel Zebulon Butler was in
chief command, while directly under him was Colonel Denison, a man of
the valley, and much respected. Colonel Denison asked news of my father,
whose temper he well knew. He said to me--"If God spares Nathan Denison
I shall tell that obstinate old fool my true opinion of him. He will get
himself and all his family butchered and scalped."
I joined Captain Bidlack's company for the reason that a number of my
friends were in it. Every morning we were paraded and drilled in the
open ground before the Fort, and I learned to present arms and to keep
my heels together, although to this day I have never been able to see
any point to these accomplishments, and there was very little of the
presenting of arms or of the keeping together of heels in the battle
which followed these drills. I may say truly that I would now be much
more grateful to Captain Bidlack if he had taught us to run like a wild
There was considerable friction between the officers of our militia and
the Continental officers. I believe the Continental officers had stated
themselves as being in favour of a cautious policy, whereas the men of
the valley were almost unanimous in their desire to meet "Indian Butler"
more than half way. They knew the country, they said, and they knew the
Indians, and they deduced that the proper plan was to march forth and
attack the British force near the head of the valley. Some of the more
hot-headed ones rather openly taunted the Continentals, but these
veterans of Washington's army remained silent and composed amid more or
less wildness of talk. My own concealed opinions were that, although our
people were brave and determined, they had much better allow the
Continental officers to manage the valley's affairs.
At the end of June, we heard the news that Colonel John Butler, with
some four hundred British and Colonial troops, which he called the
Rangers, and with about five hundred Indians, had entered the valley at
its head and taken Fort Wintermoot after an opposition of a perfunctory
character. I could present arms very well, but I do not think that I
could yet keep my heels together. But "Indian Butler" was marching upon
us, and even Captain Bidlack refrained from being annoyed at my
The officers held councils of war, but in truth both fort and camp rang
with a discussion in which everybody joined with great vigour and
endurance. I may except the Continental officers, who told us what they
thought we should do, and then, declaring that there was no more to be
said, remained in a silence which I thought was rather grim. The result
was that on the 3rd of July our force of about 300 men marched away,
amid the roll of drums and the proud career of flags, to meet "Indian
Butler" and his two kinds of savages. There yet remains with me a vivid
recollection of a close row of faces above the stockade of Forty Fort
which viewed our departure with that profound anxiety which only an
imminent danger of murder and scalping can produce. I myself was never
particularly afraid of the Indians, for to my mind the great and almost
the only military virtue of the Indians was that they were silent men
in the woods. If they were met squarely on terms approaching equality,
they could always be whipped. But it was another matter to a fort filled
with women and children and cripples, to whom the coming of the Indians
spelled pillage, arson, and massacre. The British sent against us in
those days some curious upholders of the honour of the King, and
although Indian Butler, who usually led them, afterwards contended that
everything was performed with decency and care for the rules, we always
found that such of our dead whose bodies we recovered invariably lacked
hair on the tops of their heads, and if worse wasn't done to them we
wouldn't even use the word mutilate.
Colonel Zebulon Butler rode along the column when we halted once for
water. I looked at him eagerly, hoping to read in his face some sign of
his opinions. But on the soldierly mask I could read nothing, although I
am certain now that he felt that the fools among us were going to get us
well beaten. But there was no vacillation in the direction of our march.
We went straight until we could hear through the woods the infrequent
shots of our leading party at retreating Indian scouts.
Our Colonel Butler then sent forward four of his best officers, who
reconnoitered the ground in the enemy's front like so many engineers
marking the place for a bastion. Then each of the six companies were
told their place in the line. We of Captain Bidlack's company were on
the extreme right. Then we formed in line and marched into battle, with
me burning with the high resolve to kill Indian Butler and bear his
sword into Forty Fort, while at the same time I was much shaken that one
of Indian Butler's Indians might interfere with the noble plan. We moved
stealthily among the pine trees, and I could not forbear looking
constantly to right and left to make certain that everybody was of the
same mind about this advance. With our Captain Bidlack was Captain
Durkee of the regulars. He was also a valley man, and it seemed that
every time I looked behind me I met the calm eye of this officer, and I
came to refrain from looking behind me.
Still, I was very anxious to shoot Indians, and if I had doubted my
ability in this direction I would have done myself a great injustice,
for I could drive a nail to the head with a rifle ball at respectable
range. I contend that I was not at all afraid of the enemy, but I much
feared that certain of my comrades would change their minds about the
expediency of battle on the 3rd July, 1778.
But our company was as steady and straight as a fence. I do not know who
first saw dodging figures in the shadows of the trees in our front. The
first fire we received, however, was from our flank, where some hidden
Indians were yelling and firing, firing and yelling. We did not mind
the war-whoops. We had heard too many drunken Indians in the settlements
before the war. They wounded the lieutenant of the company next to ours,
and a moment later they killed Captain Durkee. But we were steadily
advancing and firing regular volleys into the shifting frieze of figures
before us. The Indians gave their cries as if the imps of Hades had
given tongue to their emotions. They fell back before us so rapidly and
so cleverly that one had to watch his chance as the Indians sped from
tree to tree. I had a sudden burst of rapture that they were beaten, and
this was accentuated when I stepped over the body of an Indian whose
forehead had a hole in it as squarely in the middle as if the location
had been previously surveyed. In short, we were doing extremely well.
Soon we began to see the slower figures of white men through the trees,
and it is only honest to say that they were easier to shoot. I myself
caught sight of a fine officer in a uniform that seemed of gre
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