OCR Interpretation


The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, May 03, 1903, Image 1

Image and text provided by University of California, Riverside; Riverside, CA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85066387/1903-05-03/ed-1/seq-1/

What is OCR?


Thumbnail for

found McCune, white and shaking,.leaii
in/r'on the desk.' / '.'.:*•
"Parker.'-' said .the editor,, exhibittnr, 'a
bundle of papers!: he held- iii his hand. "I
want you to witness a verbal contract
between Mr. McCilne and myself. : These
papers are an affidavit and copies o.f some
records of a street car company which ob
tained a charter while Mr. McCune' was
In the State Legislature. They were, sent
to me by a»*nan I do not know,- an anony
mous friend of Mr. McCune'a; I off act* a
friend he seems to have lost. On .consid
eration of our. not printing these papers
Mr; McCune agrees to retire from, poli
tics for good. You understand, if he ever
lifts his head again, politically, w<i pub
lish them and the courts wjll do the rest.
Now, In case anything, should happen to
"Something will, happen : to you, all
right,'* broke out McCune.' .-'You, can
bank on that, you black " '• ';?' * "' *
¦"Come," the editor interrupted, not un
pleasantly. "Why- should there -be any
thing, personal in all this? I don't recog-
I'ize you a»3 nty private enemy 1 — not.. at all;
and L.I ; think you "are getting off rather
easily; aren't^Vou? You. stay out of p'ol
itfes and everything will be. comfortable.
You ought never to have been In it. you
see'.-. It's a' mistake not to keep square,
because in the 'long run somebody Is sure
to give you away— like the fellow who
cent me -these." V\ou' promise to hold to a
strictly private life?" , ; ; ;¦'._';
."You're a traitor, to the party," groaned
the other, "but you; only, wait V -
Tho editor smiled sadly.>"Walt nothln*.
Don't: threaten, man. •*, Go home to your
wife. I'll give you three to one she'll be
glad" you are out of it." ©•
."I'll give. you three to cne." said Mc-
Cune. "that the White Caps will get you
if you stay In Carlow. You wanl to look
out for yourself, I tell you, . my smart
boy!" . '
"Good-day, ' Mr. McCune,"- was the
answer. "Let me have your note of with
drawal before you leave town this aft
ernoon." The young man paused a mo
ment, then! extended his hand, as he said:
"Shake hands; won't you? I— I haven't
meant to- be " too : hard on you. I hops
things will seem easier and gayer to you
before long; - and- if— If anything should
turn up that ; I can -do for you In a pri
vate way, ; I'll be very glad, you know.
Good-day." ' :
The sound of the Herald's victory went
over the State. The paper came out reg
ularly. The townsfolk bought it and the
farmers drove in for It.' Old subscribers
came back. Old advertisers renewed." The
Herald began to sell In Amo, and Gaines
County people subscribed. Carlow folk
held, up their heads when journalism was
mentioned. Presently the Herald- an
nounced.'a news connection "with* Rouen,
and with that, and .: the aid of "patent
lnsldes." began an era of three issues a
week, appearing on Tuesdays, Thursdays
and Saturdays. The. Plattville Brass
Band • serenaded , the editor.
During the second month*. of the new
regime of the • Herald the working force
of the paper received an addition. One
night the editor . found some, barroom
loafers tormenting: a patriarchal old man
who had a magnificent head and a grand
dropplng into Carlow and involving him
self in a party fight against the boss of
the district. It was entirely a party
fight, for -by the grace of the last
gerrymander, the nomination carried with
it the certataty of election. A week be
fore the convention there came a provin
cial earthquake; the news passed from
man to man in awe-struck wh!snereP-Mc-
Cune had withdrawn his namt', making
tb,e- hollowest of excuses to his cohorts.
Nothing »as 'known of the real reason
for hfs disordered retreat, beyond- the
fact that he had been In Plattville on the'
morning before his withdrawal and had
issued from a visit to the Herald office
In a state of palsy. Mr. Parker, the Rou
tn printer, had been present at the close
cf the interview; but he held his peace
at the command of his employer. He had
l.erti called Into the sanctum and. had
• Not unduly. m!ght Miss Selina lay this
flattering' unction to . her -soul, and well
misht the •'Herald" declare that "Cariow
events- were crowding thick and fast."
The congressional representative of the
district was to deliver a lecture at tne
court'iocse;^a circus woijld be exhibited
"rain or shlhe": the court had cleared up
thV docket by sitting to unseemly hcurs
ot the" night, even until ,10 o'clock— ono
farmer witness had fallen asleep white
deposing that he "had knowed this rcan
Herlder some, eighteen year'*— and. as cx
cttements come indeed when they do
come* and.it seldom: rains but It pour?,
the Identical 'afternoon of the lecture a
strange lady descended from th'e Rouen
Accommodation and was greeted on the
platform by the wealthiest citizen cf
the county. Judge Briscoe. and his daugh
ter, Minnie, and (what stirred wonder to
an- Inch almost beyond endurance) Mr.
Ftsbee! and they then drove through
town on the way to . the! . Briscoe man
sion, all four, apparently, in a fluster cf
pleasure and exhilaration, the strange
lady engaged In earnest conversation with
Mr. Frsbee on the back seat.
Judd Bennett had had the best stars
at her, but as he immediately fell Into a
dreamy and absent state, little satisfac
tion could be got from him, merely an
exasperating statement that the stranger
seemed to have a kind of new look at
her. However, by means of Miss Miliiy
Upton, a domestic of the Briscoe house
hold, the cotnmunity was given som»
thlns a little more definite. The lady'-
It 'was iune. . From the patent inner
coiumus of the "Carlow County Herald*
might be gleaned the information (enliv
ened by cuts of uuch^sses) that the Lon
don .season had reached a* hlsh. point, of
gaiety: and that. * although the weather
had grown Inauspiciously warm, there
was sufficient goislp for the thoushtful.
To the rapt mind of Miss Selina Tibbs
came a. delicious moment of comparison:
precisely the same conditions prevailed m
.Plattville.. ' *
THE STRANGE LADY
CHAPTER II
The journal 'st kept steadily at his work;
and. as time went O'*. .the bliternesn "ma
predecessor's swindle had left him passed
avav. But his loneliness and a sense of
defeat grew and deepened. When the
vistas of the world had opened to his first
youth, he had not thought to .spend nia
life in. such a place at. Pjittville; but h<J
found himself doing it, and it was no
gieat happiness to him tnat tne congress
signal representative of the district., t^o
gentleman whom • the "Herald's" opposi
tion to McCuno ha«.i »*"*¦ to Washing Ion,
came to depend on., his influence for re>
nomination; nor did !the realization that
the editor, of the "Carlow County Her
ald" had come to be McCune's successor
as political dictator produce a perceptibly
enlivening effect on the young man. The
years drifted very slowly, and to him it
seemed they went by while he stood far
aside und could not even see them ever.
He did not consider the life he led an ex
citing one: but the other citizens of Car
lew did when he undertook a war against
the "White Caps." --flic natives were
much more afraid of the "W.hUe Caps"
than he was.; they knew more 'about
them and understood them better than h*
did; •';* - • • •
wMte beard. He had been thrown out of
a salcon and he was drunk with th«
drunkenness of three weeks' steady pour-
Ing. He propped himself up against a wall
and reproved his tormentors in Latin.
"I'm walking your way, Mr. Flsbee,"
remarked the Journalist, hooking his arm
into the old man's. "Suppose we leave our
friends here and go home?"
Mr. TTisbee was the one inhabitant of
the town who had an unknown past; no
one knew more about him than that ha
had been connected with a university
somewhere and had traveled in unheard
of countries before he came to Plattville.
A glamour of romance was thrown about
him by the gossips, to whom he ever
proved a fund of delightful specula
tion. There was a dark portentous se
cret In his life. It was agreed; an opinion
not too well confirmed by the old man's
appearance. His fine eyes had a pathet'c
habf-tl of wandering to the horizon In a
uiiesKng fashion that had a queer sort
of helplessness In it, as if his quest were
cne for the Holy Grail, perhaps; and his
expression was mild, vague and sad. He
had a look of race and blood; and yet,
at the first glance, one saw that he was
lost in dreams and one guessed that tho
dreams would never be of great practica
bility In thslr appJication. Some such im
pression of Flsbee was probably what
caused thfc tditor-of the Herald to nick
liame" him (in his own mind) "The While
IVr.Ight," and to conceive a strong", if
¦whimsical, fancy for him.
Old Fisbee had come (from nobody
knew where> to Plattville to teach, and
had b«en principal o* the high school for
ten. years, instructing his pupils after a
peculiar fashion of his own. neglecting
the ordinary courses; of high school In
struction to lecture on archaeology to the
tiumfouJed scholars; growing year by
year* more forgetful af'id^.ibsent, lost in his
few books and his* own reflections, until,
though undeniably a scholar, he had been
discharged for ilicompetercy. He was
old", ht had no money'aml no way to make
rioney; he could fine nothing to do. The
bio*' jiad seemed ..a <!aze .him for a time;
then Jie began to drop in «*.t the hotel bar,
whe»O* Wilkerson the prefesslonal drunk
ard, favored hln with his society. The
old man understood": he knew it was the
l»eglnnins of the end. He "had
so?d Ma book.-;' In order* to "con
tinue'his credit^ at the Palace bar.
anU ' once or twice", unable to proceed
to hii own dwelling, spent the night in
a lumber yard, p»,'otet» thither by the
hardier veteran, Wilkerson.
.The morning aftei "'.he edftor took him
home. Fisbee appeared at the "IT.er~.tltl'*
offl.ee in a new ha *¦ anil a decent suit of
' blrfck: He. had r«-~eived ' his salary iij
advance, iiis books uad been "repurchased,
and he. had become 'the reportorial staff
of »he "Carlow County Her^.!d:" also, ho
was to write various treatises for tha
papei.. For the tr "* few evenings, when,
he started home •>om the offiot-. his cbit-f
talked W;*;>> him. chatting heartily, U'itll
they had passed the r"alace bar. But
Firfbee's redemption way complete.
The old man hail u daughter. "When
she came' to Plattville he told her what
the editor' of •the;"I.'jrild" had done for
him. : ,-iV >
Everybody read the campaign editorl&is,
and lound them. . interesting, althojgh
there was no one who did not perceive
the utter absurdity of a young stranger's
But tlie editor was not content with the
word of print; he hired a horse and rode
about the country, and <to his own sur
prise) he proved to.be an adaptable young
man who enjoyed exercise with a pitch
fork to the farmer's profit while the farm
er talked. He talked little himself, but
after listening an hour or bo, he would
drop a word from the saddle. as he -left;
and then, by some surprising wlzardr>,
the farmer, thinking over the Interview,
decided there was some sense • In what
that' young fellow said, 'and grew curioi's
to see what the- young fellow had furthei
to" say. in the Herald..
PoMU'e-a is the one subject that goes
to the vitals of every rural American, and
;i Hoosier will' talk politics after, ne is
dead. ': . •
When he discovered this addendum, the
editor smiled for- the first time since his
advent, and reported the. incident in hrs
next issue, using the rubric, •'Why' Has
the. Herald Returned to LJfe?" as. a text
for Ta - rousing editorial on "honesty in pol
itics.'' a subject of which he already
knew .something. The political district to
which. Carlow belonged was governed by
a limited number of gentlemen whose
wealth was ever on the increase; and
"honesty in politics" was a startling con
ception to theiminds of the passive and
resigned voters, who discussed the edito
riai; on the street corners and In the
stores. The next" week thtre was another
editorial, personal- and local In its appli
cation: and thereby it .became evident
that the new proprietor of the Herald was
a theorist Who. believed, in general, that
a politician's honor should not be marely
of that middling luaitfcy species known as
"honor a,mong politicians": and. In par
ticular, that Rodney McCune should 'not
receive the nomination of his party for
Congress. No* 1 , Mr. Mc-Cune was the un
doubted dictator of the district, and his
followers laughed .at the stranger's fail-,
tastic onset.
Mr. Rodney M.cCune, a politician from
the. neighboring county of Gaines. hap
pening- to be in Plattville on an errand to
his ; ht-nchmen, found the note, and -wrote
beneath the message the scathing inquiry,
"Why?" . • . . i<", 7\ V,
¦ Meanwhile the stranger was seated in
the <llngy office upstairs with his head
bowed low on' his arms. Twilight stole
through the dirty' window panes and fad
ed Into rtarkiiess. Night filled the rnom.
He- did no*t moVe. The young man from
the" East had bought the Herald from an
agent; had bought it without ever having
been within a hundred miles of Plaitvilie.
He had vastly overpaid for it. Moreover.
the price he had' paid for it was ail the
money he had In the world.
The next morning he went bttteriy to
WOjrfC He hired, a compositor from Rouen,
a > Jung man named Parker, who set type
all night long and helped him pursue ad
vert i.sVments all day. The citizens shook
their, "heads pessimistically.^ They had
abo-u,t given up .the idea I hat the Herald
could .ever amount to anything, and .they
bet»-ayed an innocent but caustic dou'it of
aMlity In any stranger. ,'v.-.
One day the. new editor left a no'f» on
his *loor, "Will return in fifteen minutes."
The same afternoon a young man from
the East alighted on the platform of the
railway station, north of the town, and,
entering the rickety omnibus that lin
gered there, seeking whom it might rattle
to deafness, demanded to be driven to the
Herald building. It did. not strike the
driver that the newcomer was precisely a
gay young man when he climbed Into the
omnibus, but an hour later, as he stood
in the doorway -of the edifice he- had in
dicated . aj» his- destination, depression
seemed to have settled into the marrow of.
his bones. -• •_- : - : ' -.
* Plattville was instantly alert to the
stranger's presence, and 'interesting con
jectures were hazarded aU day long at the
back of Martin's dry goods emporium,
where all the clerks . from the stores
around the square came to play. checkers
or look on at the game. (This was the
club during the day; in the evening the
club and the game removed to the drug,
book and wallpaper store on the corner.)
At supper the new arrival and his-proba
ble purposes were discussed over eve* y
table in the town. Upon Inquiry, he had
informed Judd Bennett, the driver of the
omnibus, that he had conie to stay. Nat
urally such a declaration caused a sensa
tion, as people d'i.d not come to Plattville
to live.' except through the inadvertency
of being born there. -In addition, the
young man's appearance and attire were
reported to be extraordinary. Many of
the curious, among them most of th.e mar
riageable females of the place, tor/k oc
casion to pass a.nd repass the sign of the
Carlow County Herald during the even
ing.
This unlucky newspaper was a thorn in
the side of every patriot' of' Cariow Coun
ty.- It was so poor that.cv.erybodv'admU-
Itd it was a poor paper— worse, the neigh
boring county of Amo p.js'sesFed a better
l.apor, the Amo Gazette. The Carlow
County Herald was so everlastingly bad
that Plattville people ben't their ruads bit
terly ar.d admitted "eyen to citizens of
Amo that the .Gazette v.'as I he 'better pa
l>er. The HeraSd was a weekly, issued on
Saturday; sometimes it hung fire: over
Sunday and appeared Monday evening. In
I heir pride, tlie^ Carlow psople supported
the Herald loyally and long; but- finally
subscriptions began to 'fall off and the
Gazette gained tbem. It came to pass
that the Herald m'ssed fire altogether for
several weelj*- then it came out feebly,
two small advertisements occupying the
whole of the fourth page. It was breath
ing Its last,. The editor was a clay-colored
gentleman with a goatee, whose one sur
reptitious eye betokened both Indolence of
disposition and a certain" furtive shrewd
ness. He collected all the outstanding
subscriptions he could, on the morning of
the issue Just mentioned and, thoughtful
ly neglecting several items on the other
side of the ledger, departed from Platt
ville forever. . ¦;'."-¦
Kefore that time her muse ha>1
been sylvan, speaking of "Flow'rs of
May," and hinting at thoughts that o'er
came her when .she roved the woodlands
thro': but now the Inspiration, was become
decidedly municipal and urban, evidently
reluctant to depart beyond the retail por
tions of a metropolis. Her verses begin
ning. "O, my native city, bride' of Hib
bard's winding stream"— Hibbard's Creek
runs west of Plattville, except in time of
drought— "When thy myriad lights are
shining, and thy face?, -like a dream, go
flitting down thy "sidewalks when their
daily toil is done." were pronounced, at
the time of their -publication, the best
poem that haJ ever appeared in .toe Her-'
aid. < ; • . ¦
*^HIS is the first installment of
; "THE GENTLEMAN FHOM
* INDIANA," by Booth Taiking
toa. Follouing out THE SUNDAY
CALL'jS literary policy of giving its
readeis the best and most interest
ing bocks of the day by the most
famous authors in the world this
great novel will be published com
plete in a limited number of editions
of THE SUNDAY CALL, There are
no long waits between installments
and no interminable series of "con
tinued in our next" catchlines to
affront you just at the most thrilling
periods. Ab io the merit of the story
itself those who have read "The Two
Vanrevels'' or "Monsieur Beaucaire."
both by the same author, or wit
nessed a performance of Richard
Mansfield's dramatization of this lat
ter, will not have to be told of the re
markable interest that lies in every
page cf '-THE GENTLEMAN FROM
INDIANA." The sscond install
ment will be published next Sunday.
Then in rapid succession will fol
low that thrilling new American
novel, "The Mast-r of Appleby," by
Trancis Lynn: "The Mississippi Bub
ble." by Emerson Hough; "TheTurn
pike House/' by Fergus Hume, etc.,
gew right. 19C. by McClure. . Philllpi * Co.
THE YOUNG MAN WHO CAME TO
THERE is a fertile stretch of flat
lands in Indiana where unagrariati
Kastf-rn travelers, glancing from
car windows, shudder and return
their eyes to interior upholstery,
preferring even the swaying caparisons •'
a Pullman to the monotony without. The
landscape lies Interminably level: bleak
lr. winter, a desolate plain of mud and
snow: hot and dusty in 'summer, in its
tEt lonesomencss. miles on miles with
not -one cool hill slope away from the
tun. The persistent tourist who seeks for
signs cf wan in this sad expanse per
<eives a reckless amount of rail fence; at
intervals a large barn: and. here and
there, man himstlf. incurious, patient.
iltv, looking up from the fields apathet
ically at the limited flies by. Widely sep
arated from each other are small frame
railway stations— sometimes with no other
buildings in sight, which indicates that
*< men here behind the adjacent woods a
l«w shanties and thin cottages are
trouped about a couple of brick stores.
On the station platform there are al
ways two or three wooden packing boxes.
apparently marked for travel, but they
are sacred from disturbance and remain
on the platform forever; possibly the
right train never comes along. They
serve to enthrone a few station loafers,
who look out from under their hat brims
at the faces in the car windows with the
languid bcorn of a permanent fixture a!
•Mrys has for a transient, and the pity an
Ap:erican feel* for » fellow being who
*Goes not live in his town. Now and then
the train passes a town built seatteringly
about a courthouse, with a mill or two
humming near the tracks. Th's is the
county scat, and the inhabitants and the
local papers refer to it confidently as
"our city." The heart of the flat lands
is a central .area called Cariow County,
and the county seat of Carlow is a town
named in honor of its first settler. William
Plait, who christened it, with his blood.
Natives of thi^ place have sometimes re
marked, easily, that their city had a pop
ulation of from five to six thousand souls.
It is easy to forgive them for such state
ments: civic pride is a virtue.
The feorial and business energy of Piatt
ville .concentrates on the square. Here.
In summer time, the gentlemen art- wont
t'. 1 lounge from store to store . in their
•liirt sleeves; and here' sto<tjd : the old. -red
brick courthouse, loosely '" fenced f. In a.
shady grove of maple and >lm— "sllpp'.rv
eliuin" — called the. "courthouse y;*rd."
When the sun grew too hot for the dry
roods box whittlers In front of the/ stores
around the square and t.he^ occupants of
tLe chairs in front of. the Palace Hotel
en the corner, they would go across and
drape themselves -over the courthouse,
fence, under the trees, ; a.nd leisurely
carve, their initials on the top board. The
farmers hitched their teams.to the fence,
lor there were usually loafers energetic
enough to shout "Whoa!".' .' if the", flies
vorried the horses beyond patience in
the yard, among the weeds. and tall, un-
Kerr.pt grass, chickens foraged all 'day
long; the fence was so low that the most
niatronlj hen flew over m1th propriety;
end there were gapa that accommodated
the passage of itinerant pigs. Most of
the latter, however, preferred the .-coo}
wallows of the less important street cor
ners. Here and there, a big dog lay.
Etleep in the middle of the road, knowing
well that the easy-going Samaritan,- in
his case, would pass by on the other side.
Only "one street attained to the dignity
cf a name— Main street, which formed the
r,o»-th side of- the square. In Carlow Coun
ty, descriptive location is usually accom
plished by designating the adjacent, as
"Up at Bardlocks*. " "Down by Scno
nelds'," "Right where Hibbards live."
from So'.Tibbs*." or "Other side
.•f Joaes' field." In winter Main street
was a series of frozen gorges and huni
ni'tUs; Sn fall and spring a river of mud;
in tunimer a continuing <]ust heap; it was
the best street in Flatt'tlle. " . .
The people lived happily: and. while
the world whirled on outside, "they were
C-MtCSt with then- own. It • would have
moved their surprise as much as their tn
ofjmaUon to lit-ur Themselves spoken, of
mu a "Steciuded comthunlty"; .for they sat
•jjj all night to hear, the vole, of New
York, every campaign: Ohce when the
President . visited Rouen, seventy miles
away, there were only a few bankrupts
<«sr:d not a boy among tliesru left- in the
tU-verted homes of Carlow <"o<jnty. Kvyry
l'O-1y had a.dveutures: almuK everybody
saw the great man;"* and everybody was
p. ml to get back home again % It was the
lorgi st tourney pome of t.hem ever .sot
i IK.-M, and these, flatted as the;- were i-ver
tl.eir travels, -determined to # thinU twice
ere they went ti.j/t fa/" 1 rom • home another
time. • : ' ,' .
On Saturdays the farmers cnVvenej'the"
commercial atmosphere of PlattVille; arm"
Miss Tibb?. the postmaster's sister and
clerlil used to make a poin't_ of wallClng
up atid down Malnsireet av often as pos
sible, to set. a thrill in the Realization of
some poetical, expressions ."that haunt-;d
l.«r pleasingly; phras'3 she had employed
frequently fu her poems for* the Cai.ow
County Herald. WFien thirty or forty
country people wejje seattersil along.- the
cidevalks In fnpni. of; the scores on Main
•street the woulO walk at nicely calculat
ed angles' to the different groups so as ti»
leave u few gaps, as possible between
t!.c figures, making, them appear as nea»"
a solid phalanx as'she could*!'; Then she
v ould murmur to herself wito the accent*
s* soulful revel/ : "The tt-ronged «:itr
streets," and "Within the thronged city.".
01 "Where the thronging crowds were
• warming and the great* cattiedral rose."
Although the fiad never been ;beyond Car
lew and the bordering counties' 'in her life,"
all her poems were cf city 'streets and
bustling :m.U:iud< .-. She was one- of
tl.ose who li&d been unable to join ih«
excursion to; ; Rt>ueri when the ' President
Vis thtre: bOl rht- had listened avidly to'
lier friends* descnnl ions of. th" em •»•<!•£
The Gentleman from Indiana

xml | txt