TOPEKA STATE JOURNAIX SATUEDAY EVENING, DECEMBER 29, 1900.
M f J h .
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the State Journal
THE NEAREST THIXCL
Gilbert Dale, In London M. A. P.
On the white buildings that consti
tuted the quarters of the Universe Tele
graph company's station at Marenzoa
the tropical sun was blazing down. It
was called Marenzoa, though as a mat
ter of fact a distance of three miles
separated it from the iittle Portuguese
town inland, from which the station
took its name.
In the dim light of the living room
were two young men. One was
stretched full length on a. sofa; his eyes
were closed. The other reclined in a
basket chair, his feet propped up on a
stool. A bottle of spirits stood on a
table close-by. He stretched forward a
shaking hand and poured out half a
Brickenden, the man on the sofa,
opened his eyes. He shivered slightly.
'Thank heaven, I'm through with this
week's dose!" hf 'exclaimed. "What a
first-class all-around joy is intermittent
fever!" Then his eyes fell on his com
panion, who was in the act of raising
his glass to his lips. "Here, go easy,
Slavvy!" he cried. "That's the third
since lunch, and it don't do in a sweet,
lovable climate like this! You'll have to
stop it, old son, else well, it is equiva
lent to going out by your own hand,
Stavert gulped down half the brandy.
He was a young man of about 23, with
strikingly handsome features. Fever
and hard drinking, however, had told
their tale, and the- eyes were sunken
and red rimmed, the cheeks hollowed,
the face haggard and worn.
"There doesn't seem to be any par
ticular drawback to going out by my
own hand at present!" he remarked.
"No, I'm durned if there does!" toe added
Brickenden raised himself on the sofa
and looked across at his friend.
"I admit Marenzoa is a bit 'nervy' at
times, and about the worst of the sta
tions!" he said slowly. "But it
wouldn't tot up to your present condi
tion, all by its sweet self" He paused.
"I suppose there are a few other things,
among them the usual thing. And the
bits didn't fit in nicely, eh?"
Stavert tossed down the remaining
"It was Impossible In any case!" he
said jerkily. Then he broke into a
harsh laugh. "I've never told you rny
little story, have I, Brick? I don't make
a habit of doing it, you know."
He got up from his seat shakily, and
leaned against the edge of the table.
Brickenden watched him from the cor
ner of his eye, but said othing.
"It's quite like a two-penny novel
ette," began Stavert, rolling a cigarette
meditatively. "My mother made a run
away match with a poor devil of an
artist. She was a woman of title and
belonged to a noble family, who prompt
ly disowned her for daring to marry the
man she loved. She was absolutely cut
off; her name was never to be men
tioned again in the family. The artist,
my father, worked hard, and managed
to keep her in modest but comfortable
circumstances. They loved one another
and I don't think she ever regretted the
step she had taken." Stavert paused.
"Then when I was about fifteen, 1 found
myself an orphan, with an odd hundred
pounds to my name. ' My great idea
had been the navy, and a friend wrote
to my unle, who was a lord of the ad
miralty, to know if he would help me.
The dear gentleman replied that, as he
refused to recognize his sister, so he
mU3t refuse to recognize her son. Then
some one suggested the U. T. C. serv
ice, and put me in the way of going
through the course."
-But " interposed Brickenden, what
about the impossible thing the incident
which has caused you to adopt drinking
brandy neat as your favorite recrea
tion?" Stavert wetted his dry lips.
"After putting in my five years al
Calcut Point. I went home. I had a
prettv good time knocking around. In
the midst of it, I went to Cowes for the
regatta week. I ran against some decent
people who invited me on their yacht."
He paused. "And there I met her!
It was my father's case over again,
but without his means to carry it to an
issue. She was clean above me in sta
tion She loved me, and I loved her. It
was a mad time!" . He sighed softly at
the recollection. Then he jerked his head
back and laughed bitterly.
"And as I wasi getting 8 a month for
working a cable end in a foreign hole,
and not good for anything else good
Ood, it was utterly impossible! so I
just her what had to be, and went. They
appointed me to Marenzoa, and here I've
been for six months, cursing my luck! I
can't forget her! Every day, every hour,
every minute, she is in my thoughts! T
can't have her, I never can! So that's
why I don't particularly care whether
I go out or not!" he finished abruptly.
Brickenden had risen from his seat,
and crushed a wide straw hat on his
head. He made no comment on the
story, but merely glanced at his watch
"My turn on; so long, old son!" he
said laconically, as he strolled away.
Outside, however, his expression
"Poor old Stavvy!" he murmured.
"He's jumpyl A little more drink, an
other touch of fever, a little more think
ing about that girl, and he'll come one of
the nastiest kinds of croppers. I must
devote some attention to him."
Presently Rennick, the senior, poked
his head into the room in which- Stavert
"The Turbulent has just anchored off
the point!" he announced. "And I've
signaled 'em to come up. So we'll be
having a bit of spree tonight! I'm off
to stir up that black-faced, loftus-eating
devil of a cook!" And he vanished.
Another couple of hours and a batch
of the younger officers of H. M. S. Tur
bulent invaded the quarters. They had
been there before, and their arrival was
always welcomed by the IT. T. C. men.
As the night drew on they gathered
around the tinkly station piano and
made merry over songs that were comic
in name and noisy in chorus.
Early in the evening Stavert had made
a discovery. There was a newcomer, a
lieutenant who had lately joined the
ship. The midshipman referred to him
as the '"Onorable "Erbert." His proper
name was the Hon. Herbert Haylesden,
and he was a grave-looking young man
with a somewhat pompous manner. Sta
vert had been introduced, and though
they had never "met" before, he at once
recognized him. The 'Onorable 'Erbert
gfanced curiously at him, they shook
hands rather stiffly and turned away.
After this incident Stavert resumed his
drinking, and attempted, but with ill
success, to throw himself into the gaiety
of the evening. Presently he rose from
his seat. It was time for him to go on
duty. He said good night to the party
at the piano.
"See you tomorrow, old chap!" they
chorused. "You're coming on board, you
He made his way out into the night.
The red eyes gleamed with a sudden
"He knew me! My own cousin, yet
I'm only the 'tT. T. C. man' to him. a
casual acquaintance he can't escape
from meeting. Curse him!"
He stumbled along the little path that
led to the operating room and relieved
Brickenden, who had been eagerly wait
ing for him.
For the first hour he was kept pretty
busy at the instrument. There had been
a block on one of the southern cables,
and Port John messages were coming
over their line. With his head burning,
his throat parched, he worked mechani- ,
eally. He was transmitting a message
when a name in it ca.used him to start.
It was to a firm of Port John lawyers,
and it ran: "Inform Lieutenant Hayles
den sudden death of father; must return
He sent the message along, then sank
back in his chair, his brain a-whirl.
Lord Haylesden was dead, and his only
son, now smoking placidly in the quar
ters not a hundred yards away, would
reign in his stead. Stavert ground his
teeth. To think that this man should
hva everything, while he And, now
he came to think of it, this young lieu
tenant was the only man between him
and the title. If he had died, Dick Sta
vert, the telegraph operator, would have
stepped into It all would have been able
to marry the one woman who !! He
pressed his hand to his forehead. His
head was throbbing violently, the blood
that coursed through his veins seemed
to be on fire. If he had died if he died
now! The mad idea flashed upon him.
He turned away with a shudder and
tried to forget it.
At last Kennick relieved him. Pale
and disheveled, his eyes burning like
hot coal, Stavert staggered back to the
quarters. Once in his room, he pulled
a big leather trunk from its corner, and
rummaged feverishly among its con
tents. Finally he pulled out a tiny glass
bottle. In it was about a teaspoonful
of colorless liquid. He held it up and
gazed at it with a wild look.
"It would be -safe absolutely safe!"
he muttered hoarsely.
The Turbulent, resplendent' In her
white awnings and gleaming decks, was
lying motionless on the calna sea. -In
the smoking room a small group of offi
cers were chatting and laughing. To
gether, on one side of the table, sat
Brickendep. and Stavert the latter op
posite Lieutenant Haylesden, who at
that moment was sipping a glass of
"The gig's coming in!" cried one of
the officers, glancing out of the port
hole. Haylesden put down his whisky
and jumped up.
"Shan't be a minute," he said, hurry
ing away on deck. Then one of the offi
cers noted something curious about the
boat and commented on it. They all
stood up and crowded around the port
hole, Brickenden wKh them.
Stavert did not move. He shtet a
glance at their backs. A look of cun
ning crept into his face, and his eyes
glittered. The next moment his hand
had slipped to his pocket and withdrawn
something. With his eye still ou the
backs, his hand passed swiftly over
Haylesden's -glass, and a tiny stream
poured into it. Then his hand went
back to his pocket, and he rose to his
feet, and watched with the others. His
bands were clenched so that the nails
dug into the flesh.
They restated themselves and resumed
their talk. Stavert felt his eyes drawn
irresistibly to the deadly glass in front
of him. He shuddered convulsively.
With a superhuman effort he turned
away and joined in the conversation,
talking in a high-pitched tone and
laughing. Brickenden gazed at him in
There was a sudden crash on the deck
above their heads, followed by a cry.
Some of the officers jumped to their
Then a midshipman came clattering
down to them. He thrust a white face
into the smoking room.
"An accident!" he gasped. "They had
swung the gig in. when the tackle gave
way, and she fell from the bow: the
keel caught Havlesden on the back of
the head killed him!" finished the
youngster, in a tone of awe. The offi
cers raced away. The two TJ. T. C. men
"Great Scott, what's the matter,
Stavvy?" cried Brickenden suddenly.
Stavert's eyes were fastened on a
glass standing on the table before him.
His jaw had dropped, and he was tremb
ling. Then with a quick movement lie
picked up the glass and staggering to
the porthole tossed the contents into
He tumbled back into a chair, gazing
stupidly at Brickenden. Then the full
force of the thing he had been saved
from broke upon him. A gleam came
into the red eyes, and the words came
out with a wild rush.
"I'm going home, Brick going to
marry her cut the drink run straight
forever!" he cried incoherently. "I'm
Lord Haylesden, Brick Lord Hayles
den, my God. I am!"
Brickenden looked at him pityingly.
Stavert had come his "cropper" then
drink and the fever had turned his
He was wrong, however, for in the
course of time he found these things ac
tually some to pass, and he wondered
But it had been the nearest thing.
TFrom the Chicago Tribune.1
Mr. Skimmerhorn (as the participants
in the debate became personal) I was
a thundering fool when I asked you to
Mrs. Skimmerhorn Well, you looked
Cleanses the System
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TO GET ITS BENEFICIAL EFFECTS
BUY THE GENUINE MANF'D. BY
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HUMOR OF THE DAY.
She was not from Chicago.
"Do not anger me," she said.
"How am I to know when you are
angry,?" he asked.
"I always stamp my feet," she an
He looked down at her dainty shoes.
"Impossible," he said; "there isn't
room for a stamp on either of them."
That fetched her. Cleveland Plain
Witch No. 1 It serves tier right.
Witch No. 2 Serves who right?
Witch No. 1 The Witch of Endor. She
discarded her broom for an automobile
last night and was stranded ten miles
from home. Baltimore American.
Mrs. Von Blumer Dear! dear! I drop
ped my diamond ring off my finger this
morning and can t find it anywhere.
von Blumer It's all right. I came
across it in one of my trousers pockets.
Weary Willy I can't get a good job,
mum! All de good jobs is taken!
Mrs. Handout H'm! And what would
you call a "good job?"
Weary Willy Oh! Any kind uv a job
dat's taken, mum! Puck.
"Miss Frocks is a prettty summer
girl," said Mr. Hunker.
"Pretty?" repeated Mr. Spatts. "Miss
Frocks is handsomer than her own pho
tographs." Harper'a Bazar.
"Well, professor, how do you like my
way of playing music at sight?"
The professor Wonderfully? only the
music must be full of . typographical
blunders. Heitere Welt.
"Men of my profession are very good
story tellers," remarked the barber. -
"Yes," assented the smarting sufferer
in the chair, "and they usually illustrate
their stores with cuts. Tit-Bits.
Tigg There's one good thing about
these college yells.
Wigg What is it?
Tigg They can't sing those glee songs
while they are yelling. Baltimore
He was a baggage smasher,
Patient I'm not afraid to die, doctor,
but I do dread being buried alive.
Doctor (cheerfully) Don't let that
worry you. I'll see that you ain't Pick-Me-Up.,
Vice is a lobster of such hideous meln
That to be hated needs but to be seen,
Yet when upon us it doth get a cinch,
We scarcely feel discomfort from its
Hildred It makes me so mad for
somebody to eat up all the nuts before
soup is served.
Malabar Especially when you were
about to grab for them yourself? I
agree with you. Boston Transcript.
Mamma Johnny, I fear you were not
at school yesterday.
Johnny M'm.' I'll bet the teacher told
you. A woman can never keep a secret.
Young Stone I spoke to the chemist
and he advised that I shou'd
Doctor (interrupting) Oh, he gave
you some idotlc advice, I suppose.
Stone He advised me to see you!
"What makes you look so unhappy,
Small boy (sobbing) Nobody never
calls me good unless I am a-doing some
thin' I don't like to do. London Tit
Bits. She I do believe I would fall dead if
you were to come home early some eve
He You will have to offer a bigger
bribe than that. Indianapolis Press.
plied the hen-pecked man. "My wife
only admits that they're 'our children'
when they're bad; when they're goid
they are 'her children.' " Philadelphia
"What de news f'um Marse William at
de capital?" asked the colored constitu
ent. "Well, the paper says that he 'has the
"De goodness gracious! Is he drunk
already?" Atlanta Constitution.
Hetty Looking over the dictionary
again? Evidently you find It intensely
Bertha No, not Interestlng.but amus ing.
It spells words so different from
the way I spell them, you know. Boston
Winks What advice did the doctor
give you when you went to him this
Blinks He advised me to go to some
other physician to whom I didn't owe
"My wife learned French in Ave
"Does she speak correctly?"
"Well, Professor De Verges says her
French is as good as any spoken in our
neighborhood." Indianapolis Journal.
"Do you like your new cook?"
"Oh, yes, I haven't worn my silk cape
but once since she came, but, gracious!
I'm not going to bother her about a little
thing like that." Indianapolis Journal.
"You seem to have discovered the se
cret of keeping a servant girl, Mrs.Hill?"
"Yes. Several years ago I found a
maid whom my gowns would exactly fit,
and I have had no trouble since." Den
A school boy was asked at an exam
ination to give an account of the pa
triarch Abraham. He wrote: "He was
the father of Lot and had two wives.
One was called Ishmale and the other
Hagar. He kept one at home and he
turned the other into the desert, where
she became a pillar of salt in the day
time and a pillar of fire by night."
London Jewish World.
"Where are you going, my pretty
"Out on my my auto, sir," ehe said.
"May I go with you, my pretty
"I have gas enough, and to spare," she
Napoleon's Liking For "Clarissa."
From the London Academy.
Lord Rosebery in his book on Napo
leon speaks more than once of his hero's
admiration of Richardson's "Clarissa
Harlowe." This reminds us of Haz
litt's quaint reason, printed in a foot
note to one of his "Table Talk Essays"
in the London Magazine for 1821 (a year
in which it needed a bold man to ad
mire Napoleon in print). "During the
peace of Amiens," Hazlitt wrote, "a
young English officer of the nante of
Lovelace was presented at Bonaparte's
levee. Instead of the usual question.
'Where iave you served, sir?' the first
consul .mmediately addressed him, 'I
perceive your name, sir, is the same as
that of the hero of Richardson's ro
mance!" Here was a consul. The young
man's uncle, who was called Lovelace,
told me this anecdote while we were
stopping together at Calais. I had also
been thinking that his was the same
name as that of the hero of Richard
son's romance. This is one of my rea
sons for liking Bonaparte."
nil rar ra
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peka State Journal, and greatly oblige.
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