Newspaper Page Text
The Initiation Ceremony
A New and Unwelcome Member Is Admitted to the In-or-Ins By BOOTH TAR KINGTON (Copyright, WIT, Wheeler Syndicate, Inc.) But Georgie «lid. It is difficult to im agine how cause and effect could be more closely and patiently related. Inevitably, Géorgie did come poking around. How was lie to refrain when daily, up and down tlu* neighborhood, the brothers strutted with mystic and important airs, when they whispered together and uttered words of strange import in his presence? Thus did they defeat their own object. They desired to keep Georgie at a distance, yet they could not refrain from posing before him. They wished to impress upon him tln> fact that lie was an outsider, and they hut succeeded In rousing his desire to he an insider, n desire which soon became a determination. For few were the days until he not only knew of the shack but had actually paid it a visit. That was upon a morning when the other hoys were in school. Georgie having found himself indisposed until about ten o'clock, when he was able to take nourish ment and subsequently to interest him self in tills» rather private errand. He climbed the Williams' alley fence, and having made a modest investigation of the exterior of the shack, which was padlocked, retired without having dis turbed anything exci^t bis own peace of mind. His curiosity, merely piqued before, now became ravenous and pain ful. It was not allayed by the mystic manners of the members or by the un necessary emphasis they laid upon their coldness toward himself ; and when a committee informed him dark ly thaf there were "secret orders" to prevent his coming within "a hundred and sixteen feet"—such was Penrod's arbitrary lnngnage—of the Williams' yard, "in any direction," Georgie could bear it no longer, but entered his own house, and. In burning words, laid the case before a woman higher up. Here the responsibility for things ts directly traceable to grown people. Within that hour, Mrs. Bassett sat In Mrs. Williams' library to address her host ess upon the subject of Georgia's griev ance. "Of course. It isn't Sam's fault." she said, concluding her interpretation of the affair. "Georgie likes Sam. and didn't blame him at all. No; we both felt that Sam would always be a po lite. nice boy—Georgie used those very words—but Penrod seems to have a very bad Influence. Georgie felt that Sam would want him to come and play in the shack if Penrod didn't make Sam do everything he wants. What hurt Georgie most is that it's Sam's shack, and he felt for another boy to come and tell him that lie mustn't even go near It—well, of course. It was very trying. And he's very much hurt with little Maurice Levy, too. He said that be was sure that even Penrod woufcl be glad to have him for a member of their little club tf it weren't for Mau rice—and I think he spoke of Roddy Bltts, too." The fact that the two remaining members were colored was omitted from this discourse—which leads to the deduction that Georgie had not mentioned it. "Georgie said all the other boys liked him very much." Mrs. Bassett continued, "and that he felt tt his duty to Join the club, because most of them wore so anxious to have him. and he is sure he would have a good influence over them. He really did speak of it in fluito a touching way. Mrs. Wil liams. Of course, we mothers mustn't brag of our sons too much, but Georgie wenlly isn't like other boys, ne is so sensitive, you can't think how this lit tle affair has hurt him, and I felt that it might even make hint ill. You see, T had to respect his reason for want ing to join the club. And if I am his mother"—she gave a deprecating little laugh—"I must say that it seems noble to want to Join not really for bis own sake but for the good he felt his in fluence would have over the other boys. Don't you think so. Mrs. Wil liams?" Mrs. Williams said that she did. in deed. And the result of this Interview was another, which tr*k place be-«^n Tween Sam and his father that eve ning. for Mrs. Williams, after talking to Sam herself, felt that the matter needed a man to deal with it. The man did it man-fashion. "You either Invite Georgie Bassett to play in the shack nil he wants to." said the man, "or the shack comes •down." "But—" "Take your choice. Fm not going to have neighborhood quarrels over such—" "But. papa—" "That's enough! You said yourself you haven't anything against Georgie. "I said—" "Yon said yon didn't like him. but you couldn't tell why. You couldn't stata a alngle Instance of bad behav ior n*in«t him. Yon couldn't men tion anything he ever did which wasn't what a gentleman should bave done. It'a no nae. I tell you. Either you In vit« Georgie to play in the shack as much as be likes next Saturday, or the shack come* down." "But, papa—" 'Tm not going to talk any more about it If yon want the shack pulled down and hauled away, you and your frleoda continue to tantallxe this In joSenalv« littla boy the way you have po been. If you want to keep it lite and invite him in." "But—" "That's all. I said 1" Sam was crushed. Next day he communicated Ttie bit ter substance of the edict to tin* other members, and gloom became unani mous. So serious an aspect did the affair present that it was felt neces sary to call a special meeting of tlu* order after school. The entire mem bership was in attendance; the door was closed, tin* window covered with a board, and tin* candle lighted. Then all of the brothers—except one—be gan to express their sorrowful appre hensions. The whole tiling »'as spoiled, they agreed, if Georgie Bas sett had to be taken In. On the other hand, if they didn't take him in, "there wouldn't be anything left." The one brother who failed to express any opinion was little Vermun. He was (otherwise occupied. Verman had beenfhc official paddlet* •luring the initiations of Roddy Ritts and Maurice Levy ; bis work bad been conscientious, and it seemed to be tak en by consent that he was to continue in office. An old shingle from the woodshed roof had been used for the exercise of bis function in the cases of Roddy and Maurice, but this afternoon he had brought with him a new one. which he had picked tip somewhere. It was broader and thicker than the old one, and during the melancholy proph ecies of his fellows, lu* whittled the lesser end of it to the likeness of a handle. Thus engaged, he boro no ap pearance of despondency; on the con trary, his eyes. sh*'iing£rightly in the candlelight, indicated that eager thoughts possessed him, while from time to time the sound of u chuckle Is sued from his simple African throat. Gradually the other brothers began to notice his preoccupation, and one by one they fell silent, regarding him thoughtfully. Slowly the durkness of their countenances lifted a little; something happier and brighter began to glimmer from each boyish face. All eyes remained fascinated upon Ver man. "Well, nnyway," said P«%rod, In a tone that was almost cheerful, "this is only Tuesday. We got pretty near all week to fix up the 'nishiation for Saturday." And Saturday brought sunshine to make the occasion more tolerable for both candidate and the society. Mrs. Williams, going to the window to watch Sam. when he left the house af ter lunch, marked with pleasure that his look and manner were sprightly as he skipped down the walk to the front gate. There he paused and yod eled for a time. An answering yod el came presently ; Penrod Schofield appeared, and by his side walked Georgie Bassett. Georgie was always neat, but Mrs. Williams noticed that he exhibited unusual gloss and polish today. As for his expression, it was a shade too complacent under the cir cumstances. though, for that matter, perfect tact avoids an air of triumph under any circumstances. Mrs. Wil liams was pleased to observe that Sam and Penrod betrayed no resentment whatever ; they seemed to have ac cepted defeat in a good spirit and to be inclined to make the best of Georgie. Indeed, they appeared to be genuinely excited about him—it was evident that their cordiality was eager and wholehearted. The three boys conferred for a few moments ; then Sam disappeared round the house end returned, waving his hand and nodding. Upon that. Penrod took Georgie's left arm, Sam took his right, and the three marched off to the backyard in a companionable way which made Mrs. Williams feel that it had been an excellent thing to inter fere a little in Georgie's interest. Experiencing the benevolent warmth that comes of assisting in a good ac tion, sin* ascended to an apartment up stairs, and. for a couple of hours, em ployed herself with needle and thread sartorial repairs on behalf of her husband and Sam. Then she was in terrupted by the advent of a colored serving-maid. "Miz Williams. I reckon the house goin' fall down !" said this pessimist, arriving out of breath. "That s'ietv o' Mist' Sam's suttenly tryin' to pull the roof down on ow hnids !" "The roof?" Mrs. Williams inquired mildly. "They aren't in the attic, are they?" "No'm ; they in the celluh, but they reachln' fer the roof! I nev' did hear no seeh a rumpus an' squawkin' an squawlln* an' failin' an' whoopin an whackin' an' bangin'! They troop down by the outside celluh do', ne'en —bang!—they bus' loose, an' been goln' on ev' since, wuss'n Bedim*. ! Ef they anything down celluh aln' broke by this time. It caln' be only Jes' the foundashun. an' I bet that ain't goin' stan' much longer ! Td gone down an stop 'em. but Fm 'fraid to. Hones, Miz Williams. I'm 'fraid o' my life go down there, all that Bedlun goin' on. I thought I come see what yon say." Mrs. Williams laughed. "We'll have to stand a little noise in the house sometimes, Fanny, when , there are boys. They're Just playing, j and a lot of noise is usually a pretty ! safe sign." "Yes'm." *■■■•0 I vtmy. ' house, Miz \»'ii!iam>. not mine. \-»u want 'em tear it down. I'in willin." She departed, and Mrs. Williams continued to sew. The days were grow ing short, and at live o'clock sin* was obliged to put tin* work aside, as her eyes did not permit her to continue it by artificial light. Descending to the lower floor, she found (he house silent, and when sin- opened the front door to see if the evening paper had ruine, sin* beheld Sam. Penrod and Maurice Levy standing near the gate engaged in quiet conversation. Penrod and Maurice departed while she was look ing for the paper, anil Sam came thoughtfully up the walk. "Well. Sam." she said, "it wasn't such a had thing, after all. to show a little politeness to Georgie Bassett, was it?" Sam gave her a noncommittal look —expression of every kind had been wiped from his countenance. He pre sented a blank surface. "N'o'm." lit* said meekly. "Everything was just a little pleas anter because you'd been friendly, wasn't it?" "Yes'm." "Has Georgie gone home?" "Yes'm." "I hear you made enough noise In the cellar— Did Georgie have a good timO?" "Ma'am?" "Did Georgie Bassett have a good time?" "Well"—Sam now had the air of a person trying to remember details with absolute accuracy—"well, he didn't say he did. and he didn't say he didn't." "Did he thank the hoys?" "No'm." "Didn't he even thank you?" "No'm." "Why. that's queer.' she said. "He's always so polite. He seemed to be having a good time, didn't he, Sam?" "Ma'am?" "Didn't Georgie seem to he enjoying himself?" This question, apparently so simple, was not answered with promptness. Sam looked at his mother in a puzzled way, and then found it necessary to 'Mill VÆ} J HVsä if "Well, Then We Had the Rixual, and— He Got Wouldn and—Why. the Teeny Little Paddlin' t Hurt a Flea!" : | I ■ rub each of his shins in turn with the palm of his right hand. "I stumbled." he said, apologetically. "I stumbled on the cellar steps." "Did you hurt yourself?" she asked quickly. "No'm : hut I guess maybe I better rub some arnica—" "I'll get it." she said. "Come np to your father's bathroom. Sam. Does it hurt much?" "N'o'm." he answered truthfully, "it hardly hurts at all." And having followed her to the bathroom, he insisted, with unusual gentleness, that he be left to apply the arnica to the alleged injuries him self. He was so persuasive that she yielded, and descended to the library, where she found her husband once more at home after his day's work. "Well?" he sa.d. "Did Georgie show up. and were they decent to him?" •*Oh. yes; it's nil right. Sam and Penrod were good as gold. I saw them being actually cordial to him." "That's well." said Mr. Williams, settling into a chair with his paper. "I was a little apprehensive, but I sup pose I was mistaken. I walked home, and Just now. as I passed Mrs. Bas sett's I saw I>octor Venny's car in front, and that barber from the cor ner shop on Second street was going in the door. 1 couldn't think what a widow would need a barber and a doc tor for—especially at the same time. I couldn't think what Georgie'd need such a combination for. either, and then I got afraid that maybe—" Mrs. Williams laughed. "Oh. no : it hasn't anything to do with his having been over there. Fm sure they were very nice to him." "Well, Fm glad of that." "Yes. indeed—" Mrs. Williams be ! *■ n< :i ! cony appeared. ummnn It is pallnth ;. 1 ! » hums went to 'In a li:tb* .«>ng. S!u* instrument not n that Mrs. Wil- j mm humming , ••tinned at the tivo min ât« s; then she made a plunging return Etriek *. sinis into the library, a blanched a en woman. She made sirrt ter gestures at lier husband. He sprang up. miserably prophetic. "Mrs. Bassett?" "Go To the telephone." Mrs. Williams said hoarsely. "Sin* wants to talk to you. too. Site can't talk much—she's hysterical. She says they lured Georgie into tlu* eellar and had him beaten by negroes! That's not ail—" Mr. Williams was already on his way. '•You find Sam!" he commanded, over his shoulder. Mrs. Williams stepped into tin* front hall. "Sam!" she called, addressing the upper reaches of the stairway. "Sam !" Not even echo answered. "Sam !" A faint clearing of somebody's throat was heard behind her. a sound so mod est and unobtrusive it was no more than just audible, and, turning, the mother beheld her son sitting upon the floor in the shadow of the stairs and gazing meditatively at the hat rack. His manner indicated that ho wished to produce the impression that he had been sitting there, in this some what unusual place and occupation, for a considerable time, but without overhearing anything that w**it on in the library, so close by. "Sam." she cried, "what have you done?" "Well—I guess my legs are all right." he said, gently. "I got the ar nica on, so probably they won't hurt any m—" "Stand up!" she said. "Ma'am?" "March into the library !" Sam marched—slow-time. In fact, no funeral march has been composed in a time so slow as to suit this march of Sam's. One might have suspected that he was in a state of apprehen sion. Mr. Williams entered at one door as his son crossed the threshold of the other, and this encounter was a pite ,»as sight. After one glance at his fa ther's face. Sam turned desperately. a- if to tie»* outright. But Mrs. Wil liams stood in the doorway behind him. ••You c*m* here!" And tin* father's voice w: s as terrible as his face. •lid you d< Georgie Bas Sum gv. d ; "nothin d him." abruptly. "What sett?" "Nothin all." "What !" "We just—we j :sr 'r*.V.it: Mr. Williams turned walked to tho fireplace, and there turned attain, facing the wretched Sam. "That's all you did?" "Yes. sir." "Georgie Bassett's mother has just told me over the telephone." said Mr. Williams deliberately, "that you and Penrod Schofield and Roderick Bitts and Maurice Levy lured Georgie into the cellar and had him beaten by ne groes !" At this. Sam was able to hold up his head a little and to summon a rather feeble indignation. "It ain't so." he declared. "We didn't any such thing lower him into the cellar. We weren't goin' near the cellar with him. We never thought of goin' down cellar. He went down there himself, first." "So ! I suppose he was running away from you. poor thing ! Trying to escape from you. wasn't he?" "He wasn't." said Sam doggedly. "We weren't chasin' him—or anything at all." "Then why did he go in the cellar?" • how Georgie Bassett cellar steps—and tell "Well, he didn't exactly go In tho cellar." said Sam reluctantly "Well, how did he get in the cellar, then?" "He—he fell in," said Sam. "How did he fall in?" "Well, the door was open, and—well, he kept walkin' round there, and we hollered at him to keep away, but just then he kind of—well, the first I no ticed was I couldn't see him. and so we went and looked down the steps, and he was sitting down there on the bottom step and kind of shouting, and—" "See here!" Mr. Williams interrupt ed. "You're going to make a clean breast of this whole affair and take the consequences. You're going to tell it and tell it all. Do you understand that?" •Yes, sir." 'Then tell n fell down the me quick !" "He—he was blindfolded.'' "Aha! N'ow we're getting at it. You begin at tlie* beginning and toll me just what you did to him from the time he got here. Understand?" "Yes, sir." "Go on. then !" "Well, I'm goin' to," Sam protested. "We never hurt him nt all. lie wasn't even hurt when he fell down cellar. There's a lot of mud down there, be cause the cellar door leaks, and—" "Sam!" Mr. Williams' tone was deadly. "Did you hear me tell you to begin nt the beginning?" Sam made an effort and was able to obey. "Well, we had everything ready for the 'nishiation before lunch." he said. "We wanted it al! to be nice, because you said we had to have him, papa, and after lunch Penrod went to guard him—that's a new part in the rixual— and he brought him over, and we took him out to the shack and blindfolded him, and—well, he got kind of mad be cause we wanted him to lay down on his stummick and be tied up, and he said he wouldn't, because the lloor was a little bit wet in there and he could feel it sort of squashy under his shoes, and he said his mother didn't want him ever to get dirty, and he just wouldn't do it; and we all kept telling him he had to, or else how would there be any 'nishiation; and he kept gettin' madder, and said he wanted to have the 'nishiation outdoors where It wasn't wet, and he wasn't goin' to luy down on his stummick, anyway." Sam paused for wind, then got under way again : "Well, some of the boys were tryin' to get him to lay down on his stummick, and he kind of fell up against the door and It came open and he ran out In the yard. He was tryin' to get the blindfold off his eyes, but he couldn't, because it was a towel in a pretty hard knot; and he went tear in' all around the backyard, and we didn't chase him. or anything. All we did was just watch him—and that's when he fell in the cellar. Well, it : didn't hurt him any, but he was mud | dier than what he would have been if I he'd just had sense enough to lay ■ down in the shack. Well, so we j thought, long as he was down in the ! cellar anyway, we might as well have the rest of the 'nishiation down there. So we brought the things down and— and 'nishiated him—and that's all. That's every bit we did to him." "Yes." said Mr. Williams sardonical ly ; "I see. What were the details of the initiation?" "Sir?" "I want to know what else you did to him? What was the initiation?" "It's—it's secret," Sam murmured piteously. "Not any longer, I assure you ! The society is a thing of the past, and you'll find your friend Penrod's par ents agree with me in that. Mrs. Bas sett had already telephoned them when she called us up. You go on with your story !" Sam sighed deeply, and yet it may have been a consolation to know that his present misery was not altogether without its counterpart. Through the falling dusk his spirit may have crossed the intervening distance to catch a glimpse of his friend suffering simultaneously and standing within the same peril. And if Sam's spirit did I thus behold Penrod in jeopardy, it was a true vision. "Go on!" said Mr. Williams. "Well, there wasn't any fire in the furnace because it's too warm yet. and we weren't goin' to do anything'll hurt him. so we put him in there—" "In the furnace?" "It was cold," protested Sam. "There hadn't been any fire there since last spring. Course we told him tin re was fire in it. We had to do that," he continued earnestly, "because that was part of the 'nishiation. We j only kept him in it a little while and kind of hammered on the outside a lit tle. and then we took him out and got him to lay down on his stummick, be cause he was all muddy anyway, where he fell down the cellar; and how could it matter to anybody that had any sense at all? Well, then we had tl e rixual. and—and—why, the teeny little paddlin' he got wouldn't hurt a flea ! It was that little colored boy lives in the ailey did it—he isn't anyways near half Georgie's size—hut Georgie got mad and said he didn't want any ole nigger to paddle him. That's what he said, and it was his own foolishness, because Verman won't let anybody call him 'nigger.' and if Georgie was goin' to cal! him that, he ought to had sense enough not to do it when he was lavin' down that way and Verman all ready to be the pad dler. And he needn't of been so mad at the rest of us, either, because it took us about twenty minutes to get the paddle away from Verman after that, and we had to look Verman up in the laundry room ind not let him out tiil it was all over. Well, and then f f things were kind of spoiled nnyway; so we didn't do hut just a little more —and that's nil. ' "Go »ui ! What was the \ more? "\Yi 11—w * got iim t o s\v: teeny hit ' as ifidir y tli ushi d to ha Vl* to wear in a his nt ck. It wa sn't make i per ion sn ceze —it u more'! a 1 a If a spo >n t ill hardly a <fi mrter of ; spo« "11a !" sa d Mr. Will iams. waller a little Penrod around U even it wasn't miu li counts fur the doctor. What else.' »•Well—we—we had some paint left over from our flag, and we put a little teeny bit <>f it on his hair and—" "Ha!" said Mr. Williams. "That ac counts for the barber. What else?" "That's all," said Sam. swallowing. "Then he got mad and went home." Mr. Williams walked to the door, and sternly motioned to tin* culprit to precede him through it. But just In fere tin* pair pass,'d from lier sight. Mrs. Williams gave way to an uncon trollable Impulse. "Sam." she asked, "what does Tn-Or In' stand for?" The unfortunate boy bad begun to snillle. ••It—it means—Innapenent Order of Infadelaty," be moaned—and plodded onward to bis doom. Not his alone: at that very moment Master Roderick Magsworth Bltts, Jr., was suffering also, consequent upon telephoning on the part of Mrs. Bas sett, though Roderick's punishment was administered less on tin* ground of Georgie's troubles and more on that of Roddy's having affiliated with an order consisting so largely uf Herman and Verman. As for Maurice Levy, he was no whit less unhappy. He fared as ill. Simultaneously, two ex-members of the In-or-In were finding their lot for tunate. Something had prompted them to linger in the alley in the vicinity of the shack, and it was to tills fated edi fice that Mr. Williams, with demoniac justice, brought Sam for the deed he had in mind. Herman and Verman listened—awe stricken—to what went on within the shack. Then, before it was over, they crept away and down the alley toward their own home. This was directly across tin* alley from the Schofields' stable, and they were horrified at the sounds which Issued from the Interior of the stable storeroom. It was the St. Bartholomew's Eve of that neigh borhood. "Man. man !" said Herman, shaking his head. "Glad I ain' no white boy !" Verman seemed gloomily to assent. A Hindrance. An army officer who served In the Spanish war tells of a New York regi ment, many of whose members were recruited on the East side. They were spoiling for a fight, and it became necessary to post guards to preserve order. A big husky Bowery recruit, of pu gilistic proportions, was put on duty outside and given special orders to see that quiet reigned, and, above all things, if trouble came his way, not to lose possession of his rifle. Soon a general row began, grow ing in proportions as the minutes pass ed. The soldier walked his post ner vously. without interrupting, until the corporal of the guard appeared on the scene with re-enforcements., "Why didn't you stop this*row?" de manded the corporal. The sentry balanced his rifle on his shoulder, raised his arm to the cor rect boxing position, and replied: "Shore, phwat could I do wid dis gun in me hands?"—Harper's. Causes of Winds. Winds are produced by a disturb ance of the equilibrium in some part of the atmosphere; a disturbance al ways resulting from a difference in temperature between adjacent sec tions. Thus, if the temperature of a certain extent of ground becomes high er, th<* air in contact with it becomes boated, it expands and goes towards the colder or higher regions of the atmosphere; whence it flows, produc ing winds which blow from hot to cold countries. I5ut at the same time the equilibrium is destroyed at the sur face of the earth, for the pressure on the cold<*r adjacent parts is greater than on that which has been heated, and bonce a ourrent will he produced with a velocity dependent on the dif ference between those pressures; thus two distinct winds will be produced— an upper one setting outwards from tin* boated region, and a lower one set ting inwards towards it. One Thing at a Time. Perhaps because you have so many goals you wish to roach you arc far away Irom any ot them, observes an efficiency expert. You are dividing your forces. You must have one real objective point if you would win success—the success will oil Is worth winning. It is quit«* impossible to have one major subject which you study ainl aim to excel In, and then fritter away part of your time on others. Certain arts and studies are allied, 'tis true. Then select one and study It thor oughly and well. Concentrated thought, study and ac tion In one direction will accomplish great things. But a smattering of all and finish of nothing is time wasted. Choose wisely; then go to it, one thing at a time. Mutual Understanding. "How are you getting on with your French lessons?" "First rate. I'm getting so I know what I'm ta firing about almost OS well ; as 'he teacher."