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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, April 16, 1922, Image 56

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AGE PENSION
._.A JL
By JAMES L. FORD
Illustration by J. NORMAN LYND
?
By Mme. Lucie Delarue-Mardrus
Translated by W. L. McPherson
IT WAS in Tunis, in the Maltese quarter,
near the sea gate. A family from Malta,
like ?o many others, lived there in a
dingy lodging, amid poverty, dirt and
squawiings. Through the door, always open
on the narrow, crowded street, one could see
the comings and goings of the peddlers of
fruits and vegetables, the stalls in which so
many things are cooked in oil, the gayly
painted Arab carriages, the jumble of Mussul?
mans in soft-colored gandourahs, and of the
Maltese residents, men with fur caps on at 90
degree* in the shade and women dressed in
heavy black, as foul and unsightly as beggars.
No people could be more superstitious or
fanati?cal than the Maltece?even the Sicilians.
In the processions in which they take out the
statue of the Virgin one sees them running
to throw on the platform on which the Ma?
donna is carried all that they have at home in
the way of valuables, and especially of jewelry
?the mother's little gold chain, the father's
watch and so-forth. But when the procession
is over each one takes back his property, for
it wan a question of loans, not of gifts.
This form of collective neurasthenia is met
with everywhere in the colony. It explains
how there can happen an adventure, like the
one, absolutely authentic, of which tho above
mentioned family was the victim.
One morning they saw entering through the
opea dooor, murmuring ceremonious saluta?
tion?, a Maugrabin?that is to say, an Arab
from Morocco?wearing a white robe under a
black cloak with a cowl, with features straight
and strongly marked, eyes close together and
a look which held and dominated you.
Morocco is pre-eminently a land of sorcery.
The Maltese know this, as everybody else does.
"Close the door!" the sorcerer ordered.
The father ran and closed it.
"The children must go outside."
When only the father and mother were left
he said:
"I came to hunt you up because my art has
revealed to me that there is a treasure con
e-aaled in your house. I had the revelation last
night and I hurried here to tell you. For
Allah sends me to the poor to lift the burdens
from their eboulders. This treasure is hidden
nnder your bed, and I am going to show it to
you, if such is your wish."
With hands clasped, the miserable couple
listened.
"May God preserve you," said the husband.
"Wo have no other wish."
"Good!" said the sorcerer.
He approached the dirty couch, made mys?
terious signs about it, and uttered incanta?
tions.
"Now," he ordered the husband, "pull the
bed out and come close to me, both of you."
The bed pulled out. a double cry of amaze?
ment filled the humble room. For a flagstone,
never before seen, was found in the corner. A
heavy iron ring was attached to it.
"Lift the ring."
The man bent down and lifted it. A stair?
way, leading underground, appeared.
"Let us go down!"
Pale and trembling, the two Maltese fol?
lowed the Moroccan. At the foot of the stair?
way a sudden illumination came to them from
Komething which shone in the recesses of the
rellar which they entered. It was a heap of
gold pieces, nine feet high and at least fifteen
feet in circumference. The treasure was
guarded by two naked negroes, motionless and
threatening, each with a bare sword in his
hand. When the husband and wi?e, dumb with
surprise, fear and joy, had looked at it for a
time, a voice cried:
"Now, we must go up stairs again."
After the flagstone was put in place and the
bed pushed back the Maugrabin explained :
"I must preparo an enchantment to get rid
,of the negroes, who guard the treasure. The
pile of gold is yours four days from now at
this hour, if you give me what I need to work
with for the four nights.''
The wife, her teeth chattering, asked:
"What do you need?"
"I need incenses, balms and many other
things which I can't tell you about. Let us
say sixty douros. Give me them at. one- and
in four* days the negroes will have disap?
peared. But don't speak to any one of this
affair, not even to your children. In that ? ase
all would be lost. Don't touch the bod before
I come back, and don't look under it."
The husband stared at his wife. Three
hundred francs!?it was almost their entire
capital. They had in all 350 francs, the sav?
ings of fifteen years.
"Give him the sixty douros," she said, still
in a dream.
Tho Moroccan took the money without a
look, apparently absorbed in his magic calcula?
tions. He didn't even count it, and murmured:
"I will give you a list of the purchases.
There is no time to lose now."
At the door he made some more ceremonious
salutation',, while the other two kissed his
hand?, which he modestly drew back.
"Do not thank me, O my son and my daugh?
ter! I do it in the sight of Allah! If I give
you happiness I shall be rewarded beyond my
deserts."
When he was gone the poor couple fell into
?aach other's arms and wept.
They didn't sleep for four nights. Their
magnificent hopes wouldn't let them. More?
over, they were dreadfully afraid of lying in
the bed under which lived the two negroes they
had seen.
,? The morning of the fourth day they sent the
Children away. Fervently, with eyes dilated
?nd twitching hands, they waited.
Alas! They are still waiting. Victims of
the hypnotic power of the impostor, they
searched for two months under the bed for the
flagstone and the ring. But they fourni only
dusty and broken flooring, just as it had al?
ways been. And the worst of the affair is
that they a;-e not alone in this predicament,
and that more than one case in the courts of
Tunis deals and will deal with equally in?
credible phantasmagoria.
IVEWfl
iMWm lYiOD.
<&*
sr
The Cowboy Earl, the War Correspondent, the Criminal Investigator and the Settlement Worker
THE decision of the administration to
award an old-age pension to those
characters in American fiction who
have long outlived whatever charm of
novelty they may have possessed has met with
the unqualified approval of the great reading
public and also of those innumerable person?
ages of modern life whose entrance into the
pages of novels has been impeded because the
veterans took up so much room.
The task of selecting those worthy of the
pension was intrusted to a Censor who had
already enjoyed long experience in the various
busybodying activities of the ape. He had
tasted near beer in New J< rsey saloons, meas?
ured bathing suits at Asbury Park, exposed
the "inner workings" of the United States
Steel Corporation and written articles to prove
that convicts could be reformed through
beneficent moving picture shows. The first
problem that confronted him on assuming the
robes of his new office was that of the proper
age limit, for which no precedent was to be
found in real life, for there is great variety in
age among those who tread the city's pave and
still are able to perform their duties.
Characters Age Rapidly
In Modern Fiction
It has been said that a prizefighter reaches
the maturity of his powers at twenty-six and
a baseball player at thirty. No one knows at
what age a Wall Street broker ceases his ac?
tivities on the exchange, but as a general thing
he lives five times longer than any of his cus?
tomers. The ballet dancer enters upon her
decline at about forty, but the joke about her
longevity has endured since the days of Gar
rick.
Exhaustive studies of latter day fiction con?
vinced the Censor that its characters reach
the age of senility at an age that seems ab?
surdly young when compared with the years
allotted to their prototypes of the earlier cen?
turies. The new woman, for example, who but
yesterday entered, upon her career of reform?
ing, lecturing, smoking cigarettes, calling a
spade a spade and '"living her own life" is now
gray and wrinkled, and her appearance in a
novel causes us to yawn. Compare her with
the Three Musketeers of Dumas, who bob up
now and again in costume romances and have
entered upon a new life in the movies.
it was in the Hall of Fame that the newly
: ppointed Censor entered upon the perform?
ance of I c.m he presence of an assem?
blage that filled the chamber to the utmost
capacity and included not only many appli?
cants for the award, but also a number of rep?
resentatives of the lift of to-day whose exist
en.'o. although well known to the reading pub?
lic, has been ignored by novelists engaged in
reproducing with simian aptitude personages
who long have done duty on the printed page.
In his opening address the Censor declared
himself unable to fix upon the precise age at
which a character should relieve the reading
public of its presence, but considered that a
quarter of a century of constant service might
be regarded as a just qualification for the pen?
sion list. "But," he continued. "I have found
the task of selection so difficult and puzzling
that thus far I can name only four who meet
all the requirements. I shall deal with each
of these, in turn. Is Lord Hazelmere present?"
The Earl of Hazelmere Gets
What Is Coming to Him
A tall young man whose blue ?yes, droop
ing mustaches and aristocratic bearing?
whatever that may be?contraste?! strangely
with his cowboy garb stepped forth from the
pages of a red-blooded novel dealing with life
in the raw, swinging his riata for all the world
as if he were taking part in a rodeo at the
ranchero. Every character in the room rec?
ognized him on sight as the backbone of Far
Western fiction, the Cowboy Earl, whose dis?
guise deceives no one who beholds him riding
over the range toward* the adobe house where
Pepita Muggins, proud daughter of the ranch?
man, is preparing supper. Small wonder that
Comanche Bill and Apache Jack, his rivals for
th.oung gi ' ? Bid the identification by
casting eyes of sinister malice upon him as
he noes his broncho with the seat of the
Guards.
The Censor addressed him as the Earl of
Hazelmere, though he has been known under
many aliases, and in offering him the old age
pension to which he was rightfully entitled
declared that his manner of life in America
set an example in frugality, industry and wise
matrimonial choice that other British peers
ii3ight do well to follow.
"Moreover," continued the Censor, "you
have shown yourself amenable to the laws of
our native fiction by inheriting your title be?
fore your father's, death, something unknown
in your own country. This has enabled him
to cut you off without a shilling because you
refused to marry your cousin, the Lady
Alicia Drelincourt, for no other reason save
that her income of 50,000 pounds a yeas- made
her abhorrent to you. The attachment be?
tween you and Pepita began from the mo?
ment when you rode up to her adobe home,
removed your sombrero from your head and
asked for employment. Her love for you
grew when she saw you ride the bucking
broncho and best the envious romanche Bill
and Apache Jack in the primitive diversions
with which they essayed to try your strength
and courage. Your career on the plains, both
as ranchman and lover, has been a continuous
series of triumphs, culminating in the arrival
of the letter from the family solicitor an?
nouncing the death of your father and your
inheritance of the vast landed estate in Ire?
land, where eleven agents have been shot for
trying to collect the rent. Von have served
the simple-minded reading public well, Lord
Hazelmere, and the old age pension which I
now award you has been fairly won."
The next applicant for the award was a
young gentleman whose fashionable rainier/,
supplemented with a revolver and field glasses
proclaimed him as that favorite of novel read?
ers the War Correspondent. The Censor in
placing him on the retired list with tin ample
pension thus addressed him:
"You have rendered noble service, young
man, since the Spanish War, when you burst
upon the delighted vision of the American
public with your fancy clothes, your keen eyes
and your alert mind. You have loitered ir
the cafes of Bucharest, Paris .and Vienna wait
ing for somebody to declare war and drawing
a liberal salary. Prime Ministers have con?
sulted you and you have given advice to
kings. You have had yourself photographed
when the shells were bursting around you in
tsuch numbers that one wonders at the daring
of the photographer who braved those dangers
in order to secure your likeness. You have
pursued your work with an ii3difference to ex?
pense that is still a source of amazement to
every reporte)' who ever tried to get a two
dollar cab fare across the city editor's, desk."
"I have enjoyed reading about the manner
in which you dashed across Europe in special
trains, chartered a steamer to take you through
the Red Sea and a ferry boat for the passage
to .Jersey City. You were a decided improve?
ment on your prototypes i ri real life, 'Bull
Pun' Russell and Archibald ['"?tibes. All they
did was to get the news,"
"You forget," interposed the other, "that I
sometimes rescued princesses."
"Merely a side line." said the Censor. "And
now you have reached the age limit imposed
ott amatory enterprises. Henceforth you will
live under your own vine and fig tree in the
enjoyment of a pension. The Criminal In
vestigator will please step forward."
To this detector of crime, known under
countless aliases to the readers of the best
loved brand of fiction in the American market,
the Censor thus spoke:
"Oh, child of the great Sherlock Holmes 1
Your work has been of such compelling inter?
est and variety and accomplished ii3 the face
of such apparently unsurmountable difficulties
that you well deserve the lib?rai allowance that
will gladden the years of your retirement. I
know you so well that I can recognize you at
sight, no matter what your assumed name or
the disguise under which you conceal your
activities. And I have admired you not on'.?
because of your skill in unraveling mysteries,
but, because of those cultivated tastes and pur?
suits so seldom found in the Central Office
that round out your character. But despite
your fondness for collecting rare books and
browsing among art galleries and studios and
that knowledge of horticulture which you in
gypt Sie;
Below is a fold?
ing bed, as
Egypt opened
and shut it,
2,000 years B. C.
'fV.Vte .
M
W
Ai- Hl M st ?in?.
-*%/
asi -..*?So??:--:
A fcunA: an a Nile
yacht, with
steamer?-as it
were?trunk
under it
m \
KW YORK is generally supposed to
be the original habitat of the folding
bed. It is difficult to think of it
flourishing anywhere but in the nar?
row modern flat or the hall bedroom. There
has recently been placed on exhibition in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art a remarkably
lifelike working model of a folding bed which
dates from a period about 2,000 years B. C.
The original contrivance was an Egyptian in?
vention.
The ancient implement of torture looks sur?
prisingly modern. It rests on wooden legs
carefully turned in the modern fashoin. When
folded it, occupies less than half the space re?
quired for sleeping. The hinges are still in
working order after all these centuries, and
althoitgh somewhat brittle the bed can be
opened and folded with ease.
There is a rest for the pillow and a cross
slat which held the bed clothing. The most
amazing thing about the bed, however, was
the nature of the place in which it was discov?
ered. It was found in a tomb. The Egyptians
on burial had placed about them the objects
they imagined they would need for their com?
fort in a future life, or, as they expressed it, in
their journey with the sun. The folding bed
in modern times is only tolerated. It is at
N
best only a makeshift. The ancient Egyptian
must have regarded it with affection. This
particular folding bed, besides, did not belong
to some person in moderate circumstances who
occupied what corresponded to a hall bedroom
in an Egyptian house. It was the property
of one of the wealthiest citizens of the land,
who could afford to build a very elaborate
torn!'.
In the same collection may be seen the model
of another Egyptian bed, or rather bunk, such
as was used on the boats on the Nile forty
centuries ago. The bunk is made of wood,
and is long and narrow, like steamer beds of
our own day. The legs are carved with con?
siderable taste. At the foot of the bunk stands
a chair, evidently intended for the traveler to
sit upon in dressing or undressing. Beside the
bed stands the ligure of a steward or servant,
which shows that the ancient travelers had
their own ideas about comfort.
A peculiarly modern touch in the furnishing
of this ancient ship's cabin are the travelers'
"steamer trunks," which fit conveniently under
the low berth.. They were obviously made for
this purpose, since they fit very neatly in po?
sition. It would perhaps be inaccurate to call
these "steamer trunks," as steam was not dis?
covered until some forty centuries later, but
no other description seems to fit.
Iierit from your forebear of 'The Moonstone'
the call of duty is never unheeded. When
news reaches you that a millionaire has been
ii3urdered or that the priceless jewels of his
daughter have been removed from the steel
safe concealed behind the panelinga of the
family dining room you leave your flower beds
or your rare books and go forth from your
luxurious apartment like a hound on the scent.
The interest in your exploits begins with your
careful scrutiny of the premises on which the
?rime was committed. Your search for foot?
prints among t1 " flower beds, slightly delayed
by interest* <) d scussion with the hear! gar?
dener regarding his manner of growing roses;
your examin?t!? n of the servants, designed to
fix suspicion on the aged butler, your casual
inquiries concerning the wealthy and fashion?
able guests who were in the house at the time
and your maiwelous ability in deduction have
mad'1 your career one of absorbing delight to
millions."
"Deduction is my long suit," said the Crim?
inal Investigator modestly.
Farewell, Faithful Child
Of Sherlock Holmes!
"If certainly is," said the other approvingly.
"The thief or murderer might just as well
commit his crime in the presence of the entire
company as leave on his left boot the speck of
mud that means so much to your trainee
senses. I was positively thrilled when, led by
unerring judgment, you clapped the handcuffs
on the one character in the book who had pre?
viously eluded suspicion and proved by the
dust on his coat sleeve that he was the guilty
man. You bave indeed done your work well.
Now, let, the Settlement Worker come for?
ward."
A sweet-faced young woman in a costume
designed by a Fifth Avenue tailor for visiting
among the poor stepped forward and bestowed
upon the Censor a smile of beatific sweetness
"You have always attracted me so strong
ly," said the Censor, "that it really pains me
to be obliged to retire you to private life
That you, the daughter of the millionaire
banker whose money is invested in tenemem
house property', should find society an, emptj
mockery and give up luxury for a life of well
?doing instead of going into the movies, is veri
much to your credit. Moreover, your self
sacrifice has brought its own reward in tin
person of a gallant young District Attorney
who became a power in his downtown distric
where he lived among the poor, and as you
husband will acquire permanent residenc?
further uptown among the rich. Like the Wa
Correspondent on whom I have just bestowe?
a pension, you are an improvement on th
class from which you have sprung. I knei
some of the earliest Settlement Workers, an
all they did was to teach mothers how to tak
care of their children and inform them in rt
gard to sanitary matters. You and your kin
have shown that settlement work, prQperl
conducted, may lead to advantageous result!
But you have always been a picturesque figur
as you walked through the dangerous parts c
the town in your beautiful clothes and with
sweet smile on your face that commande
universal reverence. I loved to see the mai
ner in which the most brutal ruffians steppe
asido to allow you to pass, tipped their hat
respectfully and resolved to 'croak' any or
who dared molest you?which nobody eve
did. Your work has not been in vain, for yc
have made the slums a gateway into society
Free Verre Readings Keep
The Chattertons Alive
As the meeting adjourned the Censor four
himself surrounded by many page-worn cha
actors who clamored for the pension on tl
ground of long and faithful service. The
were outclassed in vehemence and numbers 1
more modern ones, who claimed to have bei
kept out of the great world of fancy to whi?
the novelist held the key.
"They continue to starve me in my garr
like a Chatterton," cried the poet indignant!
"but since the discovery of free verse as ?
easy means of livelihood I nava been readi
from my own works in drawing rooms a
never lack a meal."
"They have not even heard of my exi
encei" cried a downy cheeked dramatic crit
"and yet I head every important movemc
for the betterment of the stage."
"Neither one of you has any just cause i
complaint," said the Censor. "You be
figure in every Interesting Group of t
Younger Writers printed in the magasin
and that is quite enough."
Taxing the F
Translated by Leon Lansber*
OW shall a deficit be mafc
Obviously by drawing upo,
plus. Such is the classic .,
plicity of the political econon?*
the day. News from Germany tellg th?tiL
state financiers a s seriously pi;if *
literal application of the principle, afte '
fashion of an argivmentwm ad
Truly, soma modern Caesar rules at a
German exchequer. But he pref<
ample girth and avoirdupois, for
practical purpose of making tl
revenue. The plan is; to r< ;
tional treasury by b-vying a g
all men fc-hose circumference or whose ^Der?*
gravity exceeds a certain max.
So does a serious matter?mighty -.?rioi;?-.,
Fritz of the Ample V. . . -spring toft^
ly forth from a merry hit of Gallic pcrijf?.
perpetrated by a shrewd advei
The origin of the scheme up
many relies for fiscal salvation wag strati?!
One day the Parisian journal "Y' FailoC I
lished ostensibly as news the *(-v'^'\r.^\i^'
"The ninth sub-commission of he fiscalul
lation met yesterday under the presi,;
M. Courbemolie in order *
project of taxation to eonsi t in rai , ?
proportional tax on stoutness. Kvery tta
payer shall be assessed in future according-,,
his net weight and Khali have to report to i*
weighed on the municipal scales of the ca'
market. A sheet especially prepared for tlj
tax will be filled out, accordY? to the we;e->
shown by the taxpayer, who shall be exem-r.-?
from assessment up to sixty Irilos. The scaled
taxes to be paid will be established on tit
following basis: from sixty-one to ei-zhty ldfo
20 francs; from eighty-oi3e * . ,-?
francs; from ninety-one to one hundred H*
40 francs. Above one hundred kilos the'?3
will be 10 francs a pound - ? 7
will be rather burdensome 3mp ts-.
payers, and if they do not ?
heavy sup"p7cmentary burden they must ha?>
to rid themselves of theii
cording to the latest nev
will be urgently demandi
into force from the Y I ?
? The reading of ''? . ?r. ^
' ?? ? - of ieing a boa---1 did
all stout people into the ai
To find a means t
kilos ?vas the probte
we must grow thin.
Yes, but how pr ceed
Oh ! very simple! Y
placed at the side of the dis
item in question, as by el
in a box:
"Gentlemen : Yon l*?ic:.n +o :
to prow corpulent raean?. fib f -
day* the Decu?cutol Sahnt n ??1
most cons Latent and -most ] . ;
50 per cent guaranteed by f
treatment. Three bottls for 4*, franca."
During six months it was a
fatuation. All weighty persoi
cutol Sahut. Most people di
purchase it for 96 and ev
order to avoid the for
threatened them and not 3 . . pay S
or 30 francs to the tax :
Peguilleau. the weil known dr I
Place de la Concorde, who g arvdt?
preparation, saw the wealth
ing has safe. The bottle of D<
him six sous, including rises. I: va
a triumph.
Incidentally, the wor - . ; na?
themselves, much : gs
took, succeeded in making M.
tomers as lean as they des *
each had freed himsel ?'
terrible tax on fat was n -sea*
the Chambers. The sale of Beeusc\
also the profits of M.
Then there appeared rning in "?A.
Fallot" the following inf
"Frenchmen have alwi ' accusa? ?f
being a light people. With a praisewortfef
object of correcting this fault, thefourthgfog
of the liudget commission will without del??
propose to the Ch;r -Yng'
degressive tax on al ot to*
the weight prescribed by law. This *
rigorously obligatory from April 1. will w
fixed at seventy-five kilos for men and s:<r*
five kilos for women, if this *:3!;3;,*:'3m woP
is not reached by the taxpayer each kilo !^3
will be heavily taxed at 25 francs per pound,
so taht the good renown of the race and,
above all, the equilibrium of the budget, nutf
be maintained."
This grievous news threw consternation
among the former "heavyweights." Now, after
having done everything to grow thin. t?c>
had to do everything to fatten if they did
not want to bo crushed by taxes! 1Y: to*
were they to recover with the hail ?>oa^ie
delay good fat so imprudently dissolved? I
use over-nutrition? Alas! everything was re?
stricted, rationed out, measured in drops an
letterweight ! Potatoes cost 30 sous a kilo, at"1
the fat of ham was requisitioned by thegO"
eminent to serve for the manufacture of a
new explosive. ,
But a reassuring advertisement opportune
in the columns of "Le Fallot," close to the an?
nouncement, contained the following:
Do you want to become hie and i,;'? , ,;..
??ant to gain six kilo? a wee-v . l-i"e ,>a
Cuxiace. It is bottled lead. Price per bota?, -
francs.
The public favor, for an instant not ojjj
pied, flew back toward this saving plank.
the same customers who to grow thin
bought Decuscutol Sahut now, in order to ^
ten, drank hard the Balourdine Curiace*??j
other of M. PesuiU-jCu's inventions'. Ai _
? i 3,,. the tS*e
price uiey avoidea oeing shinned o> <-??- .
that existed only in the imagination of the
ventive drug mixer. ycr
But the ?seals nevertheless got the? .
they paid without noticing it and with d?* _
the tax on the payments, the tax on the W g
the tax on pharmaceutical specialties,J?L?ed
on the corks and some other-well ba -*
taxes. jgy
? Thus Gribouille, says the legend, one -,
jumped into the water in order not to ge

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