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New York dispatch. [volume] (New York [N.Y.]) 1863-1899, March 21, 1886, Image 1

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VOL. XLI.-NO. 23.
Entered at the Post Office at New York,
N. 1., as Second Class Matter.
The NEW YORK DISPATCH is a journal of light, agree
able and sparkling Literature and News. One page is de
voted to Masonic Matters, and careful attention is given
to Music and the Drama.
The Dispatch is sold by-ail News Agents of the city and
Suburbs, at FIVE CENTS A COPY.
•SINGLE SUBSCRIPTIONS.... $2 50 a year
Post Office Box No. 1775.
■A. Dramatic Conundrum-" Tlie Brilliant
Young Dramatist’’ —Tlie Dirt lx of the
M use — Studley’s Scheme—“’Victor
Durand” —Smythe ” Bartley
Campbell’s Dodge—Wallach’s
American Productions-The
Idea of a Playwright.
Every season there eomes to the front a “young
and talented*’ dramatist—or at least an aspirant for
the honors and emoluments of a playwright.
Ono is certain to put in an appearance; some
times two or three arise from the depths of obscu
rity to the surface and make themselves visible in
public recognition.
It is not remarkable that they do come forward
and present their claims as candidates for enrol
ment in that guild which virtually had its begin
ning with Shakespeare, and will have its ending the
Lord only knows when and where.
But it is particularly remarkable as to their going.
Suddenly—after the production of his play, and the
simultaneous laudations of divers purely disin
terested and unimpeachably honest critics on the
daily papers, and the wholesale puffery of the rag
tag and bobtail weekly press—the “young and tal
ented " disappears and with his play is heard of no
more. Except perhaps in such few and far between
paragraphs which vaguely hint that he is “ suffer
ing from ill health;” is “preparing a new play,” or
is •• negotiating with Manager X for a revival of his
first play."
Evidently his ill health has so weakened him
physically that the physician's injunction against
his reappearance to mortal ken is made permanent;
or the “prepar ition” or anew play has fixed him for
solitary confinement in his mysterious hiding place
for the remainder of his lifetime, or the negotia
tions with Manager X are of so complicated a na
ture that they have been the means of giving him
the tenancy of a straight jacket and a padded cell.
So one alter another, like him, his fellows
Their appearance is natural enough; their disap
pearance is the curious part of their existence.
You will observe that cue is announced with the
usual flourish of trumpets as that “brilliant young
journalist," and you wonder how it is, with your
close daily reading of the leading papers of the time,
you have n r *ver seen his name mentioned, and have
never heard of him in any wise.
Again he comes up as the author of a “seriesof
sparking sketches ” which have “ made him a rep
utation as one of the leading literateurs of the
time,” and yet you fail to find any person having a
knowledge of current literature who has ever heard
of him-or his wonderful intellectual efforts in the
way of sketch writing,
When lie is announced as that “ well know'n and
clever comedian," you can generally fix his status
from the fact that be is memorably identified in
your mind by the eternal fitness of his failure as
an actor to the quality of his talent.
It is not long ago—only last season—that there
camo an unusually violent eruption of the volcano
It filkd the columns of the press as the lava fills
the gullies and seams cf Vesuvius.
It was announced that another dramatic moun
tain had been in labor, and that a speedy delivery
might be expected.
Well, the delivery came—Lester Wallack was the
physician who had the case, and had his com
pany on hand as nurses for tho bantling.
The result was a melo-dramatic mouse. Its name
was “Victor Durand."
The author of its being was that “brilliant
young” journalist, Henry Guy Carleton. Tjie pub
lic, deadheads and other students of eleemosynary
performances rushed in to behold this latest addi
tion to the museum of dramatic curios.
Every critic sat him down and wrote his half or
full column ot flatulent praise. Mr. Wallack was
lauded for having thus given the boom of his en
couragement to an American dramatist—and there
was nothing but “ Victor Durand."
The coming American dramatist had come.
But there was no mention of tho fact that ho had
come to stay. There never is. Thera is always a
gloomy presentiment that he is a species of carpet,
After the first week of “Victor Durand” there
came a new line of paragraphic boosting.
This “brilliant ” young mountain had not coasod
to labor. More dramatic mica wore to como forth.
There wore to bo twins, triplets, quadruplets—ln
fact a iitter of them. The fecundity of the drama,
tist s intellectual faculties— if the paragraphs were
to be believed would discount that of all the rab
bits that over existed.
His vigorous and all powerful Genius wedded to
his star-eyed goddess Imagination, would speedily
—the paragraphs’wore to bo believed—quadruple
Id *1)8 number and greatness of their progeny tho
productions of Boucicault. Sardou, Dumas, or any
other living or defunct playwright that ever existed.
Onn of them—finding a brief resting place in al
most every paper throughout the country—traveled
for months until its journeying was brought to a
summary cluse by tho disappearance of its subject.
It read: “Tho distinguished young author of the
brilliantly successful drama “Victor Durand "—has
accepted an offer of twelve thousand dollars by Mr.
Henry Irving for a now and original play from his
pen. At last American gonius can command a mar
ket and a hearing in England.”
Another was : “This brilliant and versatile dram
atist is busily engaged ia writing a comady with
which Mr. Wallack proposes to open his noxt
* * * “The accompliahad author of “Victor
Durand" Is now undergoing the tortures conso
quoat upon succeaa and celebrity in being con.
■taut’y importuned for playa from the leading stars
and managers of the country.’*
* * * “When he has completed his play for Mr.
Irving he will proceed to London to superintend its
production and assist Mr. Irving in directing the
rehearsals a? the Lyceum.*’
Tho funnies: of all these fragments of the sup
plementary eruption ot press paragraphs was one
which appeared in a Nevada paper—from “ our
regularN. Y. correspondent." It read ;•’ The bright
and newsy author of ‘Victor Durand,’lt is said, has
already orders ahead for sixty plays, on each of
ch h* received advance payments, that In
the amount to forty-seven thousand
two hunjtr.’ a.ud fifty-one dollars. Nothing bolds
a better tnnu than success. It knocks a bobtail
flush higher than a kite.”
But alter all this—what ?
Suddenly the paragraphs disappeared. “Victor
Xbirand” was longer at the lore. The '• brilliant
young” and all the rest of it were dropped so far as
the author of “the charming" and “intensely
human” play was concerned. He, too,
and fled silently away. Or, which is all the same,
he was lost to the columns of the press.
To be sure, there was not long since a vague para
graph in one of the morning journals to the effect
that he had “resumed his editorial position" on
some paper and a week or two later another re
minder that ho was about to renew the “brilliant"
act in a new paper.
AU of which Ido most potently believe will be the
last of it.
It was not long ago that Mr. George Fawcett Rowe
was one of these “ distinguished and brilliant" sub
jects. George, however, had acquired considerable
of a reputation as an actor and had been heard of as
a dramatist. His cyclone boom of press flattery
came when he produced his comedy of “Brass” at
tho late Park Theatre on Wednesday evening, Febru
ary 16th, 1876, in which he was the Waifton Stray
and Miss Rose Wood the Sybil Hawker. That was be
fore he went over to Europe and cams back and
took a header with that awful dead weight, “ Smiff,”
at the Fifth Avenue Theatre.
Then he, too, dropped out of sight, and the beader
and the sinker “Smiff" bore him swiftly down into
deeper soundings.
The star of Gunther arose in “Two Nights in
Rome" at the Union Square Theatre and reached its
zenith with “Fresh.” Then—what ?
Gunther was lost to the paragrapher’s vision, and
the city knew him no more.
G. Edgar Fawcett was another “young and bril
liant" aspirant. He was one of the “ keen and
incisive" sketch writers whose lucubrations ap
peared in the Tribune for many consecutive weeks.
And then they were seen no more. Although he
was flatteringly termed “the American Thackeray"
and a writer who “thoroughly understood the
shams and shortcomings of high-toned society,"
and had “ laid out the aforesaid society and its pre
tensions and exposed its follies," society, the stage
aad the Tribune still live and have their being.
Mr. Fawcett tried the drama, had a “ brilliant *’
and pronounced success, and —there you are.
Fawcett, demoralized by so much good fortune,
dropped out. He was paragraphed and glorified
from Maine to Texas, and the echoes of his tri
umphal paens crossed the Sierras, and were heard
from 'Frißco to the upper Oregon.
But he disappeared all the same.
Now we have had Belaseo—at Wallack’s. “Vale
rie” was his prize ticket; his trump card.
It is pretty nearly time that he was gone from the
public gaze. One of these days he may turn up,
start a paper, and call it the “ Weekly Teardrop.”
One aspiring genius, who was proud of having an
actual and bona fide connection with a Paterson
paper as a “literary writer,”
who was there with the “Prisoner for Life" com
pany, playing a week’s engagement at Harry Stone’s
He confronted Jack just after the second night’s
performance, when the solid old exponent of vigor
ous melodrama had reached the pavement in front
of the theatre.
“ Mr. Studley ?’*
••That is my name, sir," said Jack, gruffly.
“I am Mr. . Can I speak with you a few
moments ?"
“ You can—if you haven’t lost the power of utter
ance. It strikes me you have already spoken to
“ Yes—exactly—but—Btep into Stone's saloon here
and take a drop."
The pair entered the saloon. Applejack for two
cigars—and Studley was thawed.
“Mr. Studley, you are acquainted with Mr. E. S.
Conner, the veteran of tho stage—one of the few
connecting links ’’
“See here,” interrupted Studley—“is this in one
“You are acquainted with Mr. Conner, who has
come down to us from a former generation ’’
Studley began buttoning his overcoat over his
sturdy form.
“Now,” said he, "come to Hecuba. Stop the
mill and let’s know what the grist is like. What is
Tho stranger threw open his coat and drew forth
from an Inner pocket a roll of paper.
“I have written this play."
“Great Scott! is it possible?—and you still live !”
Studley attempted a flank movement to the door.
“I read it to Mr. Conner a fortnight since ’
“ I believe you. He’s been Bick abed lor the past
two weeks.”
“Now, this evening, Manager Stono—Harry, I
mean—told ma to see you after the performance
and ”
“Seo here," said Studley—“ I will be in New
York all next week. Bring your play over to me at
my hotel—the Brunswick. If I’m not in when you
call, wait for me, or run over to Dolmonico’s,
where I usually dine. Read me the play, and if I
think it all right I’ll introduce you to Lester Wal
lack and have it put into rehearsal at once. D’ye
“ Mr. Studley, thank you. You shall have tho
entire royalties of the first week. Come, another
applejack—only ono more, as a nightcap."
Next day the Paterson papers
“Mr. J. B. Studley, the distinguished artist, now
at the head of Shook & Collier's great Union Square
Company, and who succeeded the lamented Charles
Thorno as its leading man, has purchased for Wal
lack’s Theatre our fellow-townsman Mr. ’s
splendid play, ‘ The Crank.’ The author is one of
our most brilliant and talented contributors. Wo
are not permitted to make public tho terms, but
they arc extremely liberal. Mr. will proceed
to New York next week to read the work to Mr.
Wallack’s company. The play will be produced at
an early date."
Fancy Studley and Ned Tilton roaring over this
“ boom ” of the “ brilliant and talented " next day.
Fancy anybody waiting in the hope of meeting
Studley at tho Brunswick or Delmonico’s ?
That Patagonian—l Leg his pardon—Pattersor .an
aspirant will doubtless find his record as among the
dramatic disappearances of the coming season.
“What becomes of tho pins?” is no longer in the
order of query, The all-absorbing question is:
“"What becomes of the dramatists?" The aspiring
“brilliants” that the press boom into notoriety;
whose workA are proclaimed “ pronounced suc
cesses ’* and who immediately thereafter inconti
nently disappear from public ken and are seen or
hoard of no more.
Do they have little private earthquakes which
open up crevices into which they drop and are
closed over forever ?
Are they so disgusted with the enormous success
of their plays that they disguise themselves, com
mit suicide and find rest and post mortem shower
bxthsas unknown bodies on the Morgue slabs ?
Or do they become bad actors, and, under as
sumed namee, enter into the joys of oblivion as
cheap fakes on tho road in dime museum compa
nies ?
Your “brilliant” dramatist cometh up like a
flower. He disappeared) like a frog into the depths
of a pool. Ditto his playa.
Such Is the fate of the aspiring playwrights whom
the press “ works."
in the business, like Boucicault, who “work ” the
press—have no need to disappear so suddenly. They
come to stay.
'There were some doubts at one time as to Bartley
Campbell. Ho was expected to take a header long
belore he met financial salvation and a sudden at
tack of success in “My Partner" with Louis Aldrich.
But the press neglected him in thoso early days,
not only here, but in Pittsburg, Chicago and wher
ever be attempted to get a showing for his plays.
The press critica pooh poohod his plays; so did the
managers. They wouldn’t have him at any price.
He was marked dowu below* cost; tabooed.
And this neglect and pooh poohing were the cn
ceutives which made him swim instead of taking
the ” header *’ into icrgvtfnbicsa. Had he been I
fondled and puffed and labelled “ young and bril
liant ” and paragraphed—he would have long since
disappeared—he and his plays.
Instead of letting the press “ work" him, he
“ worked " it. Bartley had the preseverance of a
Jersey mosquito boring into the tongh hide of a
Snake Hill pauper; he had an unfaltering trust in
himself, and like James Connor Roach, while he was
doing his level best to sell one play he was writing
another, so that when his day of deliverance came
he had a trunk full of atock in trade ready for the
They didn’t “ down ” Bartley with the “ young
and brilliant " dodge.
lam reminded in this connection of the remark
of a playwright, old in the business, rather than
aged as to years, made to mo a few weeks ago
in speaking of the dramatic works of American
Said he: “ There is one fact which seems to have
escaped the notice of you feHows who are bothering
yourselves about the history of American plays. It
is this, that no play written by an American author
and first produced upon Wallack’s stage has ever
been a success. In my experience, and I have been
something of an observer of matters connected with
the theatres here, I have never known any Ameri
can play—having been originally produced upon
the Wallack stage—ether than the three or four
written or adapted by Mr. Lester Wallack—that
have been anything else than failures.
“ Now then, when you have time, look into the
subject and you’ll find that lam correct. You can’t
make an orange tree grow and bear its fruit at the
North pole. And don’t you forget it."
Yet I have never known an American play pro
duced at Wallack’s that the prefcs did not pronounce
its author a “ brilliant."
Where the autnors of all those “ magnificent suc
cesses ’* are—who can tell ?
a m ■« us is BsawgMtß—gaas
What Mons. Roque Heard from
The Marriage and the Journey to
How Alfred Lacorte Escaped at the Ex
pense of His Friend’s Life.
“In December, 1862, I was directed to search for
a French criminal who was wanted for murder and
bad sought refuge in London," said the English de
tective whose narratives of crimes have frequently
been reproduced in the Dispatch. “I have the
whole story at hand and will venture to say it is
one of the most sensational ever printed. I will
make no mystery of it, but tell it in a straightfor
ward fashion."
Between the puffs of a fragrant Havana the de
tective gave this story:
Theophile Roque was a merchant in Paris. He
was a widower, aged forty-five, handsome and agree
able, and with the reputation of being rich. He re.
sided in a beautiful villa in the suburbs, the other
occupant, beside the domestics, being Ma’amselle
Eugenie Yubernier, aged nineteen, his ward, the
daughter of the brother of his deceased wife. He
bad squandered nearly all bis ward’s fortune and
was at his wits’ end what to do.
One day he received a communication from a cor
respondent in Calcutta in which, toward the close,
he mentioned the fact that a wealthy French mer
chant of eccentric habits, named Beauvais, had re
cently died there, leaving an estate valued at nearly
five million francs, for which there was no claimant,
and that shortly before his death this man had
mentioned to him that twenty-five years before he
had abandoned his wife in Paris, with an infant a
year old, and that a year or two later ho had learned
that she had resumed her maiden name of Lacorte
and was supporting herself as a milliner. The let
ter concluded by suggesting that Roque should
make what inquiries he could about the woman and
her child, as it might turn out pecuniarily beneficial
to him if he succeeded in finding both or one of
them, and thus place this largo fortune where it be
This information immediately interested Roque,
for, singularly enough, he had in his employ as chief
clerk a young man about twenty-six years of ago
whose name was Alfred Lacorto. He took an early
opportunity in an easy and off-hand way to say to
his clerk :
“By the way, Alfred, you have been in my em
ploy for six years, axd I have only raised your
salary once. I will add a thousand francs to it from
Lacorte expressed his thanks, and Roque asked
whether he was married, to which he answered he
was not. Roque next inquired whether his parents
wore living. Alfred replied that his mother had
been dead throe years, but whether his father was
alive ho did not know, as he had heard his mother
say that ho deserted her soon after he was born,
and that she had never heard of him afterward.
“Did he bear the same name as yourself?” asked
“ No, sir,” was the answer; “ his name was Beau
Roque’s heart almost leaped into his theoat, and
he said nothing more. The next day, to Alfred’s
great surprise, Roque invited him to the villa to
dinner. There ho was introduced to Eugenie.
He was pressed to renew his visits, and in a few
weeks a feeling of affection sprang up between
the young people, which very soon ripened into
love. Roque threw no impediment in the way,
and before they had been acquainted four months
he proposed that Alfred and Eugenie should marry,
and both reside at the villa. He expressed himself
averse to a grand wedding, and so the young couple
were quietly wedded, and had their own apart
ments assigned to them.
Now, at the outset, the idea which was in Roque’s
mind was, that when the couple were married he
would disclose to Alfred the fact of his being heir
to the dead Calcutta merchant; snd, when once
Alfred had got possession of the estate, throw him
self on his generosity for help out of the financial
difficulties which were ready to overwhelm him.
But Roque had long been an inveterate gambler,
and had latterly become more reckless than ever.
After a long run of ill-luck, he began to contemplate
a plan by which he might get tho wealth coming to
Alfred into his own hands. At length he devised a
scheme, which you shall hear.
Among the frequenters of a gambling resort which
Roque visited, was a man named Bertrand. This
man was known to be a scoundrel and an ex-con
vict, but, as he was useful lor many purposes, his
presence was tolerated. Roque took Bertrand into
his confidence, and explained to him his scheme io
enrich them both. He told of Alfred’s expectations
and said that he had determined to put him out of
the way.
“Alfred,” he says, “ knows nothing of his being
heir Calcutta merchant’s estate, and won’t
know. Iw.llsendhim down to Marseilles on im
portant business, and before going, I will suggest to
him the propriety of his empowering me as trustee
for his wife, to receive and take care of any property
that may be coming to him. I will have an in
strument properly drawn and executed, lor he will
be influenced by the consideration that one doesn’t
know what may happen on a long journey. Some
thing must happen on this journey to Alired, and I
look to you to sea that it does happen.”
“ You mean,” said Bertrand, “ that Alfred must
never reach Marseilles ?"
•■ Just so," was the answer; “and as your reward,
you shall one-fourth of all that comes into xny
A map of the railroad to Marseilles was spread,
and Roque said:
“ Alfred will start for Marseilles by the train
which will reach Chalon at midnight. After that
there will be a thirty mile clear run to Tourmos, and
everybody will be asleep. At Tourmes tho mails
will be dropped but there will be no stoppage. Be
tween Tourmes and Macon all will be lonely and
everybody wili be asleep—including Alfred. You
will be in the same compartment with him. If
there is any one else there, you will have to wait
and use your judgment. This is the mouth of De
cember, and tew people wjll be traveling lor a long
distance. Mark you! I am only mentioning the
earliest hour at which I think it would be safe for
you to do the little business I propose to you.
Any time later, up to say, five o’clock, it will do;
but, as you see, it will be absolutely necessary that
you and Alfred should be alone in the compart
“And what is the little business you expect me to
attend to ?” Bertrand asked.
“Simply to throw a corpse out of the car win*
dow.” was the answer, “and then to throw out the
valise which the corpse owns."
smkss anir
All the details of this horrible crime were thus
arranged, it was settled that Alfred should quit
Paris by a certain train tho next day.
“You can make no mistake," said Roque. “He
is about five feet ten, with dark hair and mustache.
But the token by which you will know him is the
valise. See 1”
And Roque produced a yellow leather valise,
bearing on a silver plate the name “ Roque.”
“He will take a first-class ticket and you will do
the same, and the rest must be left to your judg
ment and ingenuity," said Roque, adding: “Re
member, the thousand frames which I give you is
not a hundredth part of what your reward will be if
you are successful."
The same day Roque announced to Alfred that a
firm in Marseilles, which owed him a largo sum.
was on tho verge of bankruptcy, and that tho only
way to prevent the loss of tho money was to go
thither at once and make the best compromise pos
“Now, my dear Alfred,” said Roque, “I know it
must be a hard trial lor you to quit your bride, but
I am sure, also, that you will even make the sacri
fice to benefit me.”
Allred readily agreed and Roque went, as he said,
to the Bourse. At two o’clock he returned and
found Bertrand thoroughly disguised waiting for
him. Roque was very indifferent and hurried off
with him. Alfred couldn’t understand what this
meant, and went to the door. Roque and his vis
itor were getting into a cab which was driven rap
idly off.
Alfred returned to the office and entered Roque’s
private room. Roque had quitted the place in such
a hurry that he had not taken his overcoat with
him. It lay on the table, and out of one of its pock
ets protruded a legal looking document. Alfred
glanced at it and was astonished to see his own
name and the name of Roque on the outside. He
drew it forth and examined it. It disclosed the
fact that Alfred was the sole heir of his father, who
had died recently In Calcutta, very wealthy, and
went on to authorize Roque to act as trustee for
Alfred’s wife, if anything happened to him. When
he had,read it, he replaced it in the pocket and lei 1
the coat on the table. Alfred’s mind was filled with
strange surmises and fears, and he was puzzled be
yond utterance to understand the situation.
When Roque returned he called Alfred into his
private room and said:
“Alfred, yon are about to start on a long jour
ney and don’t know what may befall you. I owe
yon some salary and you have some money in the
bank, so I prepared a paper by which, in case of
any accident to you, I become trustee for Eugenie.
Thus all your property will come right into my
hands and I can transfer it at once to your wife
without a long, tedious legal strife. If you will
come with me, the notary will witness your signa
The thought that here was some villainous
scheme to defraud him at once entered his mind;
but then, remembering that the trust was to exist
only in case of his death, be resolved to sign the
document and see what it foreshadowed. They
went before the notary, Alfred answered the usual
questions and the signatures were duly appended.
Alfred went home and communicated to Eugenie
all that had happened. She strongly urged him not
to go to Marseilles, and finally he agreed that he
would send a friend named Maeseran and remain in
disguise in Paris, and watch the movements of
He went that evening to the rue Vangirard and
saw MaMtran who resembled Alfred sufficiently to
pass for iflm among people who were not well ac
quainted with him. Masseran, who was a medical
student, gladly accepted the offer and Alfred agreed
to meet him at his lodgings the next day and give
him all needful instructions.
The next day Alfred received his instructions
from Roque, who placed in the valise already re
ferred to the papers which he said were necessary
for the business on which Alfred was going.
“Examine them on the way,” he said, “and you
will find plenty of room for any articles of dress
you may require.”
Alfred went home, and having arranged with his
wife to admit him every evening to her apartment
by the conservatory, he departed to give the need
ful instructions to Massoran and dispatch him on
his journey.
He handed him the funds needful for the circum
stances, and something over, gave him full instruc
tions and the valise, and told him to travel first
class, as that was the proper thing to do. He hand
ed him his card-case, and told him he must be Alfred
Lacorte till his return. Masseran was at the depot
in due time, and Bertrand was on the lookout. He
at once fixed on Masseran as his man, stood by him
while he purchased his ticket, and bought a similar
Both got into the same compartment, and Ber
trand quietly slipping a gratuity into the hands of
the conductor, said:
“We are smokers, and would the compart
ment to ourselves.”
Bertrand was soon friendly with Masseran. They
were undisturbed, and everything was more propi
tious than Bertrand could have desired. When
Tormes was reached, the country was wild and
open. Masseran was resting in one corner of the
car, fast asleep, for his companion had plied him
cognac. Bertrand opened the window and looked
out. The road was clear, and his victim did not
move. Bertrand stood for a moment over the
doomed man. Then he seized him by the throat
with a deadly grip. Masseran struggled, and his
eyes opened. He clutched at the murderous hands,
but in vain. They tightened on his throat, and the
unfortunate youth was soon insensible. Thea Ber
trand took the silk kerchief that was lying loose on
the bosom of tho man, and twisted it around his
neck as tightly as he could, and knotted it. Then
he lifted the inanimate form and dropped it through
the window. For a moment he gazed at it as it
rolled down the slight embankment and lay still.
Next he wrenched open the valise, took from it a
roll of money, and threw the valise out of the win
dow. Then he removed a false beard and threw it
alter the valise.
Finally he took off his light gray overcoat and tall
hat and flung them also out of the window. Put
ting on a traveling cap, he became another man,
clad in a dark blue overcoat and wearing a mus
tache only.
When the train reached Macon it stopped, and
Bertrand alighted. He stood around among the
passengers who had alighted—for Macon is an im
tant junction—and when nearly all had departed,
he asked an official when the next train was due for
Orleans. He was told that it was expected every
minute. He went to the office and bought a ticket
for Orleans. It struck the porters as rather singu
lar, but they supposed it was all right and said
nothing. In due course the train came up, Ber
trand boarded it, and was on his way from the
scene of his crime. The next afternoon he was in
The murder was discovered soon after daylight in
the morning, and a telegram reached Roque in
forming him that Alfred Lacorte, whose cards
showed that he was in his employ, had been mur
dered and thrown from the train. Roque tele
graphed that he would be at Macon by the earliest
train. Then he went home and communicated to
Eugenie the dreadful news. She received it with
comparative composure. Then Roque started for
Macon, and attended the inquest there. He was in
too agitated a state of mind to gaze long at the face
of the dead, which was horribly distorted.
A verdict of murder against an unknown person
was returned, and Roque had the body interred
Tfeen be went back to Paris.
As soda 68 the crime was discovered, the porters
at the depot at Macon remembered the singular ac
tion of the stranger who got off one train coming
south and then went north again to Orleans.
They remembered him sufficiently to give a
description of him. The conductor on the train,
however, described the man who had occupied the
compartment with the murdered youth as alto
gether different, but when later on the false beard,
the light overcoat and the hat were discovered near
the track not far from the body, the impression was
strengthened that the etranger who went on to
Orleans was the assassin.
Then things got into the newspapers, and Ber
trand, supplied-with money by Roque, started iiom
Paris at the first intimation of suspicion and
reached London. He was traced to Calais %nd
thence across the channel to Loudon, and the job io
find him fell to my lot.
I had him in two days. My wife was going to
spend Christmas with her parents in Somersetshire,
and I went to the Great Western station to see her
off. Here was the very man I was looking for,
boarding the train. He had shaved his moustache
and otherwise changed his appearance, but there
was one thing he could not change and that the
porters at the Macon depot had particularly ob
served—namely, a scar on the side of the nose.
Well, I delivered him in Paris safe and sound,
and my part of the work was done. Ho was taken
to Macon and there implicated Roque. The capture
of Bertrand was kept Secret, and when Roque was
arrested, he knew nothing of it. In the hopo that
he might escape some of the punishment be de
served, Roque made a confession from which I got
some of the facts which I have given to you. When
he learned that Bertrand was a prisoner and had
told his story, Roque swallowed poison, which he
had concealed about him and died. Bertrand went
into penal servitude for life.
Two years afterward, I visited Paris and heard
the whole story. Lacorte, or properly Beauvais,
succeeded to his father s large property.
On the Rocks at the Bottom of
the Old Shaft.
IMLnrty Hliaxijrlinessy as a Ne
No other class of laboring men have shown, in til
times and in all countries, such a tendency to com
bination in secret societies and such unhesitating
willingness for desperate deeds to command their
rights or avenge their wrongs, as miners. It
is, perhaps, not strange that this should be the
case, for they are, as a rule, ignorant men, of
coarse, strong animal natures, accustomed to hold
their own lives cheaply, and, naturally, not likely
to put a much higher valuation on the lives of
others; and they are men, too, who are much
wronged by their employers generally, and have a
sullen, rebellious consciousness that in no regard
has either fate or man dealt justly, not to say kind
ly, by them. The law they know best is that of
force. It is by force of muscle that they make their
living; by force of power that the mine owners
make it so hard for them to earn that living; by
force of misery that they are compelled to accept
their wretched conditions of life.
There may be, and doubtless are, mines where
these strictures would not apply; but if so, they
are few. They certainly were just with respect to
the English coal mines of Lower Denborough, thir
ty-seven years ago—as they are to-day. The men
there were desperate. They had organized among
themselves an oath-bound society, with the object
of finding some redress for their grievances, and
the members of that organization called themselves,
in cruel irony of their small value in the world and
the contemptuous neglect with which they felt
themselves treated,
“The gentlefolk and our bosses,” they said, “are
the good coal. What are we but the despised
slates ?”
Dan McCoy, a stalwart, turbulent Irishman, with
crude talent and energy that might have made him
a worthy place in life, had he been better started in
the race for existence, was a leader among “The
McCoy and three comrades—Nate Wychel, Robert
Herdlam and Daniel Evans—were going down to
their work one morning with the other men of the
day shaft, when the mine-boss, John Rankin,
passed near them.
“ There he goes and bad luck go with him I” ex
claimed McCoy.
“if I ever go to the devil,” remarked Nate
Wychel, •• I hope he will give me the job of firing
up under Toady Jack/'
“Toady Jack” was a nickname among the men for
the hated and loathed mine-boss, who was almost as
much despised for his cringing sycophancy to the
mine owners and his readiness to do any dirty act of
injustice and meanness to please them as ho was
hated by the miners. He had never been a miner,
but had been in and about the mines in mean, cleri
cal and other capacities for years before he was,
through an accident and the want for a slavish and
hear less tool, raised to his present dignity.
“It wouldn’t be a bad thing to send him ahead to
tell the devil we’re coming.” growled Robert Herd
lam, a sullen, misanthropical and generally inebri
ated Englishman.
“D’ye think so?” asked McCoy, eyeing him
“I don’t, for one,” spoke up stout, young Dan
Evans, the fourth man in the party. “His time
will come when it's God’s will and we’ll not better
our case any in trying to help ourselves by a crime.”
A warning look passed from McCoy to Wyche: and
Herdlam, as the first-named made answer with af
fected hearty frankness:
“Right you are, Dan. Sure the boys were only
But within a week “ The Slates” held council over
some new wrong perpetrated by the mine-boss and,
mainly at the instance of Dan McCoy, the result was
that John Rankin was
Dan Evans was not a “Slate” and knew nothing
of the dark deed that was planned.
John Rankin, a nights after his fate had been
sealed, stepped out of the glowing light of the en
gine bouse into the darkness surrounding it, and,
for a time, knew no more. A violent blow on the
head had knocked him senseless. When ho recov
ered consciousness, he found himself lying on the
muddy ground, his hands and feet bound firmly
and a thick bit of rope tied tightly into his mouth
as a gag. He did not know whether it was the chill
of the wet earth that had revived him, or the pain
of a heavy kick in the face from a miner's iron-shod
shoe. A groan was all that the gag allowed him to
utter, but it was enough to show to the men who
had him in hand that he was awake to suffering and
One of them, in a disguised voice, told him that
he had been duly tried and condemned to death, by
a jury.not of his peers but of his superiors, for they
were honest working men; that they did not pro
pose to shed his blood, but that they did intend to
put him in a likely way to die, at his own conven
ience and without risk of being disturbed, at the
bottom of
“ * The old shaft ’ was an abandoned hole at least
two hundred feet deep, into which persons had
fallen from time to time and which should have
been closed but had not been, owing to the parsi
mony of the mine management.
A rope was fastened about the unhappy man’s
breast and a smaller line attached to the knot in
such away that it could be slipped and both lines
drawn up to the surface.
It was the diabolically cruel purpose of the mon
who were wreaking their vengeance upon the mine,
boss to leave him bound and gagged, to die slow y
of hunger, thirst and cold, at the bottom or • Tae
old shaft.’ That indeed had been the sentence for
mally passed upon him by “The Slates.”
“ • Hungry and cold,’ said one of their most im
passioned speakers, * have been our wives and little
ones for years, and mainly through this man’s acts.
Let him learn how it feels to have the wolf of Star
vation gnawing at his stomach and its twin brother
Cold at his heart.’
“John Rankin had been lowered far down into
the solid blackness of the shaft, until but a few feet
of the rope sustaining him remained to be paid out,
yet still he dangled, a dead weight, they knew not
how far from the bottom. The panting men whoso
sturdy arms bore the strain of the rope, held a hur
ried consultation over what should be done. It was
abruptly ended by Dan McCoy, who held the line
with which the knot was to bo cast off. With au
oath he exclaimed:
“‘ He must be near the bottom; what odds is It
if he drops a little heavy. Sure we haven’t brought
him here to lay him on a feather bed and make a
pet of him.’
“ As bespoke, he jerked the line violently and in
stantly the men holding the rope felt it light in
their hands.
plunged the helpless body of John Rankin. The
miners had much miscalculated the depth of the
shaft. He fell full seventy feet. For a long time
he lay unconscious on the rocky floor of the shaft,
half submerged in an inky pool of foul water.
When again he knew anything, his right leg and
both arms were broken, and by the agony in his
chest he knew that some of his ribs were shattered.
The gag had been torn from his mouth, and three
or four teeth had gene with it. A deep furrow on
the left side of his head explained to him how he
bad got rid of the gag. The stout cord fastening
the bit of rope in his mouth had caught upon a
projecting spike in the timber and torn the gag
Ju that wretched plight he lay silent until a
small white speck far above him showed that day
light had come. Not until then did he waste any
of his small remaining strength in cries for assist
From time to time through that day he shouted
as loud as he could, in the vain hope that his voice
might reach the ear of some passer-by.
Night came again, and with it despair. His great
injuries inflicted the keenest agony, and brought to
him a torturing thirst. Notwithstanding the ex
cruciating pain from his broken bones at every
movement, and the bonds that fettered him, he
managed to twist and squirm himself until he
could get his lips down to the pool in which the
lower part of his body lay, and drank. That some
what revived h’im.
A second day passed like the first, and another
night of horror succeeded.
he was delirious, and kept up an almost continuous
effort at shrieking for help, making, however, only
weak sounds that could have been heard but a little
way from the mouth of the shaft. Fate decreed
that they should be heard.
Mary Terhune, the daughter of a miner's widow,
was hunting the mine-boss, to get, if possible, the
reward for finding him, dead or alive—for he had
been missed, and searching parties were scattered in
all directions. She was pursuing the search alone.
Mary Terhune, when she heard the voice in the
shaft, ventured as near to its edge as she dared, and
called down it, but could get no intelligible answer
—only hoarse, short cries, more like the yelp of
an animal than the tones of a human being. But
she divined rightly what lay at the bottom of the
shaft, and flew breathless to the mine, where to a
crowd of miners she pantingly proclaimed
It was but a short time until a windlass had been
rigged across the mouth of the old shaft, and a man
wont down in a bucket. In a few minutes the man
gled wretch was raised to the surface. He knew
nothing of what was going on about him, or where
he was, but continued to huskily cry, “Help!
help ! help I”
That night the restorative treatment that the
physicians pursued brought John Rankin to his
senses long enough for him to tell his miserable
Could he tell who the men were who had thrown
him down the shaft?
No, he could identify no one; but he remembered
that as he lay bound and gagged at the mouth of
the shaft, before being lowered away into it, he
heard one of the men inadvertently address another
who was engaged in fastening the tripping line to
the rope by which he was to swing, as “Dan.” That
was regarded as a clew, and detectives went to work
on it immediately. Before morning the mine-boss
died. The quest for those now deemed his murder
ers was pushed vigorously.
It was found that there were surprisingly few of
the miners named Daniel, and of those so christened
there were only two whose whereabouts on that
fatal night had not been satisfactorily ascertained
by the detectives. Those two were Dan McCoy and
Dan Evans.
As may be supposed, the knowledge of what John
Rankin had said was not confined to
but in some mysterious way was thoroughly dis
seminated among the hunted. To Dan Evans, who
knew himself entirely free from complicity in the
dark deed, the search for a criminal “Dan” brought
no uneasiness, and he took no steps to prepare him
self for defense in case of arrest. Dan McCoy was
more prudent, however, and when both Daniels
were arrested McCoy was the one who readily
proved an alibi.
Mike Finnerty, the keeper of a small shebeen,
swore that Dan McCoy and another miner, named
Terence Maguire, were playing “forty-fives” and
drinking liquor in his place that night, from seven
o’clock in the evening until so late an hour that
Dan’s potations completely overcame him, and he
was allowed to lie in a drunken stupor on the floor
until broad daylight of the succeeding morning.
Maguire corroborated this statement fully, so far
as he knew, which was to the extent that he and
McCoy had played forty-fives and drank until
Dan slipped from his stool to the floor, under the
table, drunk, and that then he had gone to his
cabin, not in much better condition, in point of
sobriety than Dan, but certain that the latter was
too far gone to be able to move, of his own voli
tion, for hours.
Dan Evans at first would not say where he had
been that night. It was Mary Terhune who told.
Evans was
Her mother was opposed to their marriage, and it
was her .habit often, after the old woman was
asleep, te steal out and meet Dan for a tender in
terview beneath the stars. Thus they had met that
night and remained together until hours after the
time when, according to the mine-boss’s story, the
assault upon him was perpetrated. When Mary,
blushing, but resolute, told her smple and truthful
story, Dan confirmed it, though he would not have
been the first to make the innocent confession, but
they were both disbelieved.
It was very plain, the astute detectives said, that
the girl and her lover had cooked up that story to
shield him. and that she knew all about the crime
was demonstrated beyond the peradventure of a
doubt, by her having been the only person who
knew where to go to win the £SO reward that had
been offered for the finding of John T. Rankin’s
body. So Dan Evans was very carefully locked up
in jail, as was also poor Mary, while the search for
their accomplices went on.
In a few weeks the hope of convicting her was
abandoned and she was set at liberty, though a
secret espionage was still kept upon all her move
meats. Dan. Evans was held, and though no posi
tive proof could be brought against him, strong
expectations Were entertained of having him at
least transported for life, upon the bits of circum
stantial evidence that the detectives professed te be
able to bring to bear against him.
Mary Terhune’s widowed mother had died while
she was in prison, whether of shock and grief, or of
destitution, God and her own poor suffering heart
best knew. Mary left the-place one night, telling
no one where she was going. It was supposed by
her few friends that she had wandered off in her
to be swallowed up in the maelstrom of one of the
big cities.
Full two months elapsed and “The Slates” had
gained such confidence in their immunity from
even suspicion, that among themselves they con
gratulated each other upon having “ done up Toady
Jack’’and the more hard-hearted of them—Dan.
McCoy most of all—joked over the horrible fate of
the mine-boss.
It was against the regulations of the mine for the
men to have liquor below and so strictly was this
enforced that a man was appointed to search those
going down to the headings every time there was a
shift. Some of the miners rebelled viciously
against this excellent rule, and it was with exceed
ing that Dan. McCoy and two or three of
his thirsty compatriots found that a new driver
boy, named Murty Shaughnessy, was very cunning
in smuggling down to them, in his ragged cloth
ing, large flat flasks of poteen. The searcher never
suspected the innocent looking lad.
One day, when Dan. had been drinking rather
more than usual with a couple of his companions,
the cheerful notion occurred to him that it wasn’t
fair that Murty should not have some of the liquor
he carried for them and he insisted that the boy
and after that another, and another. In vain
Murty protested that he never drank, that the
smell of it choked him and the taste of it made him
sick. One of the other miner’s held him, while Dan
put the tin cup from which they drank against his
lips, and he had to swallow the liquor or strangle.
No such violent persuasion was needed to get Dan
and his fellows to drink. They dranx between
drinks, as reckless drinking has been happily char
The fiery spirit mounted to their brains, made
them rash, and in the presence of the boy they
laughed and joked about what they had done to
“ 'loady Jack.”
Not only upon them did the poteen do its work
but upon the lad Murty. The three drinks they
had forced into him bad made him imprudent,
and they were suddenly electrified by his exclaim
“Aha! Ye cowardly murderers ! And its ye that
did that for which poor Dan Evans is liked to ba
hanged and not one of ye carin’for him. It st wo
murder s ye 11 have then on your souls will ye ?”
There was a minute of silence. The men were
partially sobered by alarm.
Each seemed to hear his heart beat, and his fright*
eued eyes sought those of his fellows in the dim
light shed by their feeble safety lamps. Murty, alter
his passionate outburst had covered his face with
his hands and was sobbing.
Dau McCoy was the first to recover himself.
he reached the boy, clutched his throat, and dashed
him heavily to the ground, hissing between his
clenched teeth:
•• Ye know too much !”
Holding him down and choking him, the savage
commanded one of the men with him:
“ Here, Lanty, drive the point of yer pick in the
top of his head. Quick. Sink it deep.”
Lanty sprang to his feet, raised his pick, and was
in the act of obeying the order, when a sturdy
figure darted out of the gloom surrounding the
group in the heading, a blow that would have felled
an ox, caught him under the jaw, and he tumbled
headlong. The next instant Dan McCoy released his
clutch upon the lad's throat, and fell back terrified
before the muzzle of a revolver pressed against his
The man who had thus come to the rescue sound
ed a shrill whistle, and, as if by magic, two more
men appeared by his side armed, like him, with
The rescuers were detectives from Scotland Yard.
They had never lost sight of Mary Terhune from
the hour of her disappearance from Lower Den
borough until her return there in the guise of
Murty Shaughnessy, seeking employment in the
mine as a driver-boy, and until the present mo
ment. They had correctly surmised that she had
devoted herself to freeing her lover by the discov
ery of the real assassins, and had followed her, un
seen in the darkness of the mine, every hour, ready
to avail themselves of whatever she might discover
and to protect her, if need be. as they fully antici
pated. It was by their order that the searcher lor
liquor had seemed so unsuspecting. •
Dau McCoy and five more of “ The Slates,” who
were eventually shown to have been associated
with him in the murder of the mine-boss were
sentenevd to imprisonment for life, while the per
jurers, Finnerty and Maguire, were transported,
after a long term of servitude in an English prison.
Dan. Evans was of course liberated at once, mar
ried Mary, and received some grudgingly accorded
reparation from the mine-owners for his unjust
0 Death ! thou subtle Proteus, that dost wear
Such shifting shapes in human phantasies,
Fain would I see thy face without disguise,
And know thee as thou art for foul or fair.
Then Death appeared, responsive to my prayer,
In his own aspect, grandly calm and wise,
With a strange light of knowledge in his eyes,
But kind and gracious—and he blest me there.
And from that day, as friend would walk witlj
We walk the world together, he and I,
And oft he holds with me high colloquy ;
So that the ways of life thro’ which we wend.
Are lit with fuller purpose, and the end
And final goal seems blent with the far sky.
“And what were the bridesmaids’ dresses, af
ter all?” asked Miss Hutchinson, who knew
what they were just as well as ahe knew Mrs.
Conyene would like to tell her.
“Principally cream, with those deep-red
chrysanthemums,” replied Mrs. Conyers, for the
thousandth time that week.
“Oh, if I had only been at home to see tho
wedding 1” Miss Hutchinson sighed. “If dear
Maria hadn't been so importunate about my
joining her at Eastbourne just now, to freshen
me up for the Winter, as she said, I should have
let nothing else interfere with my coming; but,
alas, health must be considered first I”
Indeed, yes,” Mrs. Conyers agreed, heartily,
for she had no idea of inviting her friend to
Blanche’s wedding, and felt grateful to the un
known but much-quoted “Maria” for helping
her out of a difficulty. “ After all, it was a very
quiet affair, for we are plain people ”
“ Not plain—not plain, don’t say plain 1” Miss
Hutchinson broke in, archly.
“ Well, I confess, dear Blanche did look love
ly, at least, in her mother’s eyes,” the rector’s
lady went on, well pleased; “ otherwise, it was
quite quiet—just the Harlands, and our nearest
relations, and his people, and Tiny and the two
little girls as bridesmaids; his sister is engaged
and wouldn’t undertake to be ono.”
. “ And you had plenty of very handsome
young men, I was told.”
No hostess, especially in a remote country
place, could resist admitting that soft impeach
ment; it was a real triumph to have shown her
self well supplied with cavaliers for her young
ladies in a place like Easton, and Mrs. Conyers
fell into the snare immediately.
“ Well, we did do pretty well, I confess; it is
not fair to get a lot of girls together and have
no ono to amuse them, so I told Raymond to ba
sure to bring us some of his nicest friends, and
his two unmarried brothers and Mr. Bollasis
made quite an imposing array of bachelors.”
“ How charming he is I" reflected Miss Hutch
“ Who!”
“ The squire,” replied Miss Hutchinson, who,
as it happened, did not know Mr. Bellasis ex
cept by sight.
Mrs.. Conyers answered a little stiffly that
Mrs. Woodroffe had been so kind to Crystal that
she had thought it only right to ask Mr. Ballasts
to Blanche’s wedding, as she had heard that he
was intending to come down to the Knoll. Miss
Hutchinson felt the ground to be unsafe and re
treated, having a little piece of arlillery of her
own to bring forward.
“Crystal must have regretted missing her
sister’s wedding, even mors than I did,” she ob
served, “and, at the same time, I fancy tho dis
appointment will be made up to me before it
will be to her”—this was added mysteriously and
as if there were more to tell.
“How do you moan?” asked the hostess.
“ Well, I don’t expect, from all I hoar, to have
long to wait for another wedding among the
• pretty Miss Conyers’s I’ ”
“Tiny ?” queried Mrs. Conyers. “How had
Miss Hutchinson at Eastbourne heard of Ray
mond Moretou’s best-man’s attentions to the
pretty young bridesmaid ? she wondered.
“No, no, not Tiny—though I daro say she
won’t keep us waiting long; I was thinking, of
what a little bird bad told me of Crystal her
self 1”
“ Crystal-why, what about her?” cried Mrs,
Conyers, quite off her guard.
“You don’t mean that she and Mrs. Wood
roffe have not told you of Count Von Ritter
bans, ona of the handsomest, most charming
men in the German army ?”
“ What is there to tell ?” Mrs. Conyers was
really taken aback and forgot her usual caution.
“Why, he is paying your Crystal the most
marked attentions, indeed some people say ho
is already accepted, and ho is so handsome and
fascinating there is no wonder Crystal has boon
quite bewitched by him, in spite of his having
no fortune—positively nothing beyond his pay.
Now, dear Mrs. Conyers, why should you make
any mystery about it with so old a friend as- I
am ? I have alwavs said that you and the dear
rector were so unworldly you would never allow
monetary considerations to weigh with you
where the real happiness of your children was
at stake. Do tell me all about it and if dear
Crystal is really going to be a countess?”
“I don't know what you have heard,” Mrs.
Conyers said, after a moment’s pause;' bdl
1 can assure you that it must bo all a. mistake
and that your informant must be thinking of
somebody else. The rector and I should be
very much amazed by any such connection, with
a foreigner, and we have confidence that Mrs.
Woodroffe would bo the last person to encourage
anything of tho sort.” ; \
“ So you’ve hoard nothing o' the young man ?”
“Nothing” -very emphatically.
“Then do allow me to take the privilegepf.a
very old friend to beg you to make all in
quiries; if you would x-eally dislike any such
engagement it would be very distressing to
find it had been entered into without your
“ Crystal would not think of such a thing,’ 1
the rector’s wiie declared hotly; “your infor
mation must be altogether false, if you’ll ex
cuse my saying so plainly, and I should very
much like to know from whom you had it I
Apart from the absurdity, the impossibility of
the notion, tho rector and I have other plans
for Crystal.”
Mrs. Conyers had long since wormed the
squire’s secret out of her husband.
“■Weil, I’m sure you will understand that it
was only my great interest in Crystal anal ail of
you that induced me speak of what I heard.
My own idea was, that, being such a favorjt®
with Mrs. Woodroffe, and so intimate as you ail
are with the squire, something might bo going
on in that quarter; but when I was told c: the
handsome young count being scon everywhere
with her, walking, driving, going to the theatre
—and you know how much more German*

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