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A NEW TEAR’S STORY.
Egg —* Martha Tolivar pushed the book oft' o the window ledge apd leaned sul lenly on her elbows. “A great and beau tiful thing to be alive ? Umph l That depends ” she muttered. Carlyle in it, that she was reading. Martha’s eyes were reasonable gray. ■' an 4 projecting forehead, under the coarse, yellow hair, promised a good deal of strength and intelligence, but the brain behrvrwas a little drunk just now with half comprehended Carlyle and Emerson. She had just left school and, , you know, every reading girl between leaving school and falling in love, has a passion for metapbysics-made-easy. , “‘To think of living!’” looking out into the clear December night glimmer ing into softer starlight, the gray'eyes .slowly filling with tears. “It might be worth atrial —to live —somewhere,where there would be room for work, or sharp pain, or happiness. In the thick of cities. If she were a man she could be on a battle field to-night,” her blood hot and her teeth clenched. “Even women could do something in hospitals; they lived years in a day there. But here —here—” The clearer the thought of the full, chivalric life yepder grew to her, the deeper was the disgust on her face. She caught the window sash as if it had been an iron grating, looked up and down the narrow, muddy street, into the back yard, at the room within, with, its white washed walls, rag carpet and green and yellow chairs. “Bah-h!” with a gutteral outbreak. “I’m sick of the whole of it.” Martha’s three years of schooling, at the seminary on the hill, had not clean ed off some little vulgar traits of man ner; had not even made her conscious of them. But, apart from that, she was an honest, earnest girl, with good, right feelings below all. Well, it was true, there was not much of the polish or deli cacy of life around her, you might have' thought, that evening. Her father was the turnkey of the town prison ; they lived in the front rooms of the jail, wide and well-lighted enough, but with the musty smell of crime about them, somehow, and the cells and their thieves or drunken vagabonds just on the other side of the hall wall. She could hear two of the tipsy Irish women, putin last night, yelping at each other now. Her father, a raw-boned man in a red shirt, was smoking a pipe at the other side of Hhe room, and below the window where she stood was a basement kitchen, where her mother, fat and jolly, was finishing the week’s washing; the two jail bull dogs were snarling over a heap of bones at the door. Martha had been starching all day herself, and her hands were stiff and bleeding. j No, not an inviting, poetic life, cer tainly ; yet maybe (glancing at the glass) good enough for her. She did herself injustice in the look, perhaps, seeing only tho stout, solid figure, and the fea tures both heavy and dull. She did not know how a bit of cheerfulness and a smile kindled the whole face into down right beauty, just as it did those coarse jailrooms of theirs. “Matty,” said her father, knocking the ashes out of his pipe. “Don’t you want - to puts on a clean collar and things? Cam’ll be up before the meeting, he said.” “It don’t matter.”. “Well, tell him I’m gone on. We’re going to clench old Dyke to-night on the gov’ner question,” going out and pulling his coat on as he went. “It didn’t matter for Sam?” Her conscience twinged her sharply. She went to the glass, smoothing her hair, straightening her dress' Sam loved her as nobody else ever would; for two years he had been working hard, so that they could go to housekeeping in the spring; not saying much, but dogging on, day after day; she ought to remember that. H ell, she did. Poor Sam, with his snub nose ami brushy red hair! There was not much room in his nature for heroic efiort, or deeds of derring-do: how fibsurd those longings of hers to-night would seem to him ! It was a long time kince Martha Tolivar had spent so much thought on her lover’s nature. She had grown so used to him. It seemed to her that they' had been engaged since they were children. Down a by-street she could see the snug • Ihtle house he had rented for the Spring. Sam would go on bqssing the nail shop, then, and she -would do her own cooking. Her life was ruled out straight f Ihe end ; and again she caught at the i window frame as if it were an iron cage. j Just across the street was Judge Lynn’s old place; a queer, old fashioned stone house in the midst of a clear shaven ' lawn and forest trees. Martha’s precep " tion was acute enough to see how every . trait of the place betreved the life of its owners, generous, refined, graceful. Molly Lynn and she had been classmates, up at the seminary, used to walk home together; for Molly had no fhlse pride. t ? jMt gg&tfc’’. ■ T " ' ,-JL. Since then Martfta watched her with a curious interest, though, of course, their friendships had ceased, except for a pleasant nod now and then. Their lives were so utterly apart! God had showerd such full, choiee blessings on that girl! Martha could catch a glimpse of her now through the folds of the lace window curtains of the judge’s library, sewing by the lamp: how delicate, and fair, and quiet she was! her face still with content and security. It w r as not her beauty that Martha j envied, nor position; it was the num bered chances she held. “The chances —the very air of the house is full of life, and music, and culture, every day. Not one of these men and wpmen to whom she talks that does not help her to knowledge and refinement. It is easy to live nobly, supported by nobler souls which Martha gave at that moment, seeing'Sam Carton enter the gate. Over the street young Robert Fullmer, the state’s attorney, had stopped at Judge Lynn’s. People said he was soon to marry Miss Lynn. No man in his party, they also said, Lad the mental force bf Fullmer; even his enemies ! prophesied a sure and speedy ascent for him. "All her life a first chance for her,” said Martha to herself. “Always power, and a place to stand where she can make God and man glad that she has lived." It was the night before New Year's, and a wild fancy crossed her mind. What if with the new year a new life could begin for herself; if some magic could tear her out of this dull, vulgar commonplace, and give her, too, a higher heroic destiny. “I wouldn’t care how terrible was the pain it held,” she said, “if ” Sain Carton opened the door just then. Now, the girl loved Sam, whether she knew it or not. She hurried a smile on her face so as to please him, and felt a little crestfallen when lie did not notice it, or her particularly, but began talking, as tier father had done all day, of the meeting, and old Dyke, and the gov’ner question. ” But I forgot, Matty,” he said, at last, “you don’t care whether we elect our candidate or not. What do you see out of the window, eh? It’s a biting cold night,” coining up beside hei# “Yon’s Bob Fullmer, going in there. They say lie’s honevfugled that pretty daughter of Lynn’s into marrying him. It’s a pity.” “Why? sharply. “What do you know of Air. Fullmer?” “He’s not the true wood for a man, Matty,” rubbing his red hands in his lumbering, slow way. “Not the true wood! There’s things about him I wouldn’t say—to you. But that was a scoundrelly trick, now, he played our about that screw matter. You mind?” “ Yes, something of it,” indifferently. “That did set my teeth on edge. I’ve '-sworn often I’d be revenged on Bob Fullmer for that. But it’s likely it’ll go oft’ in'swearing,” with a good natured laugh. “What are you going to do to-morrow, Matty ? It’s a holiday. New- Year’s, you know?”. Alartha looked at him wistfully. “J don’t know. I think, Sam if one could have a new life—begin all over again to-morrow ” “Eh? Yes! I see,” looking gravely out of the window, his face reminding her, as it often did, that there were depths of quiet and seriousness about him in which she had no share. “Most days seem like that to me—a fresh start. He was silent for awhile, then roused himself. “Well, Alatty, I must be off. I only stopped to look at you on my way to the meeting.” She stood tapping on the window sill, j Thti was the end of most of their inter- j views—just such every day jog trot sort i of talk. She had read of passionate love | ■ wohls, of tender looks ; they were not ! for such as her. “It’s early yet, Sam.” smothering a sigh. “No, I think not. Will you look at the clock, Alatty ? Aly watch is stopped." She went into the back chamber to look at a clock behind the door, taking a candle with her. “It wants five minutes of eight. Father set ours by the town clock this evening.” She did not know that life and death before long should bang on that trivial answer. “Good by then," he said, “I’m late. The meeting begins at eight. I’ll go through Ford’s lane, though, and make a near cut. . Good by.” He held her band a moment, then went out touching his cap again at the door. Sam had some old fashioned courtesies that made Alartha smile. He never had kissed her but twice, and then turned pale and looked pale as a woman might. She wondered if it was because he cared so little, or Going to the window, Martha looked out again, idly. The night had clouded over with a heavy impending snow storm. Sharp, wintry gusts rattled the windows and waved the bare poplars across the THE LABOR ENQUIRER. street like gigantic black plumes. The street was deserted; the political meeting, at the other side of the town, had drawn in alt straggling passengers; only Sam’s heavy, clog nailed shoes rung on the pavement, as he passed down under the flickering street lamps and turned at last into an oblique alley. “He said he would take that short cut,” she mur mured to herself, watching him out of sight for want of something better to do. She stood there just five minutes, for the dock struck 8, and timed her, when another, lighter step went down the street. “It’s Robert Fullmer,” peering out. “He is going to speak to-night,”' watching him too, turn down F'ord’s lane. “He’ll be late. I wonder what it is Sam had against him?” she said, pok ing the fire into a cheerful blaze and getting out her sewing. The girl was nervous; body and mind were strained and irritable. Long after her usual bed hour had passed, there fore, she remained in the family room, pacing restlessly up and down, her sew ing strewed op the floor. It was some I muslin she was making up for her wed ding, it tired her, it was a part of the dull | outlook into the future. Had this New 1 Year, laden with life and death to 1 myriads, nothing for her but the old stagnation ? The night had grown colder and more j stormy with every hour; blasts of hail I beat sharply against the windows, and the wind howled at intervals through the silence, more fiercely, she fancied than ever before. It might have been the tension of her own brain, but there was a strange wailing in its sound, rnean j ing in its abrupt pause, as though the i whole night waited for some untold sor row. Even the dull thud of some be lated passenger’s step on the frozen snow without, had an ominous sound, as though he were the messenger of evil 'tidings. I "Lam hysteric as any fine lady,” she j said, arresting herself as she turned to | ward the window and lighting a night ! lamp. “It would be more to the pur i pose to consider what is for breakfast to ! morrow, than to abandon myself to these fancies.” he stopped, however, before leaving ; the room, hearing a sudden noise with out. They were bringing in a prisoner through the hall outside, the same front | door being used as an entrance to the v jail and dwelling house. As much as was possible, Alartha avoided all contact with j the prisoners, however; it was the only means she had of preserving any refine ment, she thought, This was a Woman they were bringing in now : she heard Phil Hoyt, the constable say so, when her father went to unbolt the door; and the woman had been arrested for nothing more than vagrancy, she knew, for they were putting her into one of the more decent we 11s. Almost all the women brought in made some outcry, but this one was perfectly silent; the only noise heard was the shuffling of the men’s feet on the hempen carpet and their voices in an anxious whisper. “What is it ?” she said to herself, holding the door latch in her hand impatiently.• The next moment her father opened the door, in his shirt sleeves and trousers, holding a flaring candle. “A on up, Afatty?” he cried. “That’s lucky. Bring us some warm milk for this child, dear. It’s starving, I think,” going back to the orisoner, who stood leaning against the wall, holding a baby in her arms. The men were used to sights of crime and pain, so the woman’s face did not move them ; and if the child had died then and there, they would have looked on it, probably, as a deliverance, it was I such a wizened, diseased-looking little j wretch, bearing such unmistakable marks !of its birth in vice. But it made Alartha I sick to look at it and at its mother ; with lan under thought of how coarse and vulgar the life was which subjected her to such sights and sounds. The woman had been young and beau tiful but a year or two ago it might be — but months tell like years on such as she. Yet her face, under the dirt and tangled hair, was fresh tinted and dimpled, and there was a latent, dewy softness in the brown eves, with all their unmeaning glare now. “M hat ails her?” Alartha whispered to her father. It seemed impossible to her that any mother could look at a starving child with so unmoved a face as this ; the woman’s limbs, too, were rigid, and her flesh had a livid, cataleptic tinge. “Dunno. She’s been an $ taken some drug, ’s likely. Let’s have the baby,, my girl. No? Well, bring the milk, Alatty ; maybe she’ll feed her.” i “I found ’em on Stokes’ cellar door,” said Hoyt, lighting his lantern candle, which had blown out; “heven’t gbt a wprd out’n her from that minit till flow. Alaybe she’d tell you what she’s tuk, Aliss,” he added, turning to Alartha as he went away. But the woman only stared blankly in Alarthys face when she questioned her. Either ffle would not hear, or there was some paiy here different from any which had come Vnder the girl’s ken. So Alatty brought ths cup of warmed milk and fed the child.. It swallowed like some starving cub,And, when it had done, turned iis soggy black eyes on hfer face with a strange appealing look, she fan cied. But she was full of idle fancies, she knew, to-night; she put them out of her head ; and when her father pushed open the cell door, and the woman went in mechanically and stretched herself on the ragged pallet with the same glassy stare, Matty tried to forget her with the rest. Did they not lock up just such wretches every night? Her father looked grave when he came out and turned the key. '‘There’s some what out of the ordinary the matter with that un,” he said. “It’s not drink either. Well, go to bed, Alatty. What’s kept you up in this shivering night, pet, any way?” stooping to kiss her. If his jaws were lank and unshaven, and his shirt patched flannel, her father’s eyes' were the kindest she ever had known, and his smile as tender as a woman’s; the kiss warmed her, and so did the hearty ‘'God bless you, puss. Be up early to give me my coffee in the morning.” Matty turned off, going down the hall. At the woman’s cell she!halted v a mo ment. What if she went in and sat by her to-night? She could persuade her father to allow it. Only a moment she paused, then went on to bed. “If it had been some great thing he told thee to do, wouldst not thou have done it?” Her chamber, it happened; was over, this cell. She could not drive the woman out of her mind when she tried to sleep; grew impatient at herself at last that she could not. She thought it was only her fancy then, when, an hour after, there seemed to come from the cell below a sharp, sudden cry, breaking out of some depth of pain, such as she never had dreamed of. It must have been fancy, for, starting up and listening, all was silent as the grave, as it had been before. Yet it terrified her; the more, as she thought she heard in the cry a familiar name twice uttered. “Pish! I was asleep. What could she know of him?” she mut tered. turning her pillow to ease her aching head. After that she grew drowsy and quiet, gazing out through the square, uncurtained window into the darkness and driving storm. In after years, look ing back to this night, that hour used to recur to her with a curious vividness. “It was the last of my girlhood’s un real stupor,” she would say. “I woke out of it to live in earnest.” She woke with a sound of subdued voices in her ear, a clanging of doors, cries of angpr and horror, and then sud den pauses, such as fall on a terrified crowd. The sounds were without the gates. AVithin the jail all was silent, save now and then a smothered footfall outside of the door. Torches carried by some of the crowd in the street, threw a reddish and uncertain glare upon the walls and upon her bed. “It is some criminal they are bringing here. So the New A'ear comes in,” and she hid her face in her hands, sick of slime and vice and pitying herself. Do not blame her. She a girl, not far from a child, and would have liked an innocent and foolish life just other girls do. At first she tried to shut out the noises and the lights, then she got up, and, wrapping a shawl about her, crept to the window. They had taken the prisoner inside: the gates were fastened, 1 but she could catch glimpses of the swaying mass of faces under the leafless trees on the dark street, red and angry. Overhead was the wide, cold winter night, catching the sickly pallor of dawn; beneath the drifted snow, foul and’ muddy already with the tramping feet. The \yhole world was cold and /bul, the girl thought, standing there with chilled feet and sick heart, trying to understand the sullen muttering of tbeSe men with out. She heard it at last. It was mur der they talked of—a murder that had been done to-night. Not a drunken street brawl, but some deed that shamed the coarest there, touching him in his thought of home and decency. “God help us when such things as this jean be,” said one that she knew; a tipsy thief, but he was sober now. The crowd scattered slowly, going in groups down the street, but a few re mained behind, huddled together, talk ing it over, leaning against the iron rail ings, and stamping their feet occasion ally to keep them warm. In the dead stillness she could hear them distinctly, she could not go from the window, angry at herself as she might be. She had a strange fancy that she had something to do with the work of this night. “Seven times he stuck the knife in him,” said a bloated little Dutchman, in a dogmatic voice. “I was there the first after the murderer, and Joe Stiles. Seven times. The man must have been dead with the first blow. That went to the heart, after that he went iu editing like a butcher.” “Bah]” It was Phil Hoyt’s voice. “The boy as did this is no butcher, Daddy Heiner. If so be as it was a £ght it was a fair fight. There was an old grudge. That I’ll acknowledge,” pointing off his sentence with one finger on his palm. “Hot blood, an’young blood; that I’ll acknowledge. I want to be fair, though- I’m a friend to this boy as you have in the jug, and, to be plain, I don’t think the other fellow’s much loss.” There was an angry mur mur. “No. Not a loss,” raising his voice. “I sees lots in my beat of work you know nothing about. Well. They too, bavin, this grtidge, as I said, an’ rneetin’ in this dark corner, words begins it; blood gets up—an’ there’s the end. Is that onnat ural? Ls there one here as it mightn’t have happened unto?” There was a pause after this argument. Most of his hearers had there own reas ons for treating the constable with respect.; They chewed their tobacco more vigorously, shuffled their feet; and looked askance up at the jail windows. I “Yon]s Judge Lynn’s,” said one at last, after a diffident Cough. “I have heard say as him as was killed in this fight, to-night, was goin’ to marpy the judge’s girl?” | “Likely he was,” growled !loyt. “That does not alter the case, does it ? I’ve nothing; against it. But I have a good deal against a fellow howled at to the gallows, as you had all made up yer minds tp do with this chap indoors.” “Wonder if she knows?” said a small boy, wish his hat askew and eyes set, in dicating Aliss Lynn by a twitch of his thumb.' There was no answer. said a grave, elderly man, who had srpoked in silence, “there was no fight. I have been thinking of what you said. The murdered man had no arms. The knife which did the busi ness was, on the contrary, long and strong. One blow, as Heiner says, would have been enough, wiielded by even a weak hand. And then,” lowering his voice, as if it pained him to believe bis own words, “in the snow there was no sign of any struggle. Only this, two footsteps, one approaching the other be hind. Those which came later could easily be discerned.” ! Hoyt was silent. “It is a bad .busi ness,” he said, at lastj “But if Fullmer was done to death,! foul or fair, he wrought for it. lam ielear on that.” “Fullmer?” She Staggered back to the bed. “Robert Fullmer; done to death ; hot blood and an old grudge ; they meeting in a dark corner ” The broken sentence rung dully, again and again, through her brain. She gave them no meaning; thrust their import away from her, sick ami angry. Then she sank into a quiet stupor, sitting there until the sun was up, leaning her head against the pine bed post, dragging her bare toes to and fro across the carpet. The men were gone; the street had long ago relapsed into silence ; in the jail, though, there was a hushed sound now and then that told there were anxious watchers astir. She knew it was her father pacing through the'down hall waiting for daylight. When it came he would come to her door and rap; he had something to tell her. Yes, she under stood. She chuckled ; that insane laugh of the first paralysis ot pain dr terror. [Concluded in our next.] . The Use of Wealth. There a»e thousands of rich men who are not skinflints, who have the reputa tion of being so, because they have never been known to do any special good with their money. A man who is worth $50,000 can do more to make him self loved and respected by all with whom he comes in contact by the ju dicious expenditure of SI,OOO in charity than by giving the whole $50,000 after he is dead. It seems as though it would be mighty small consolatian to a million aire to leave money to some charitable purpose after death, and be so con founded dead that he couldn’t see the smiles of happiness that his generosity had created. Suppose a millionaire who has never had a kind word said of him except by fawning hypocrites, who hope to get some of his money, should lay out a beautiful park, worth $1,000,000,] and throw it open free to all, with walks, drives, lakes, shadfe and everything. Don’t you suppose, if he took a drive through it himself and saw thousands of people having a good time, and all look ing their love and respect for him, that his heart would be warmed up, and that his days would be lengthened? Wouldn’t every look of thanks be worth SI,OOO to to the man who had so much money that it made him round shouldered? - Wouldn’t he have more pleasure than he would in cutting off coupons with a lawn mower?—Exchange. ■- —~ -/: v 3