OCR Interpretation

East Mississippi times. (Starkville, Miss.) 19??-1926, August 21, 1914, Image 6

Image and text provided by Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87065609/1914-08-21/ed-1/seq-6/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

The Lapse of Enoch Wentworth
Into a fairly decent career thers
cornea occasionally a moral lealon.
Temptation comes, and the man,
heretofore honorable and honest,
falls aa though his backbone were
of gristle.
The Bond.
Uf course the game ended with a
consolation pot. Merry and Went
worth, each with his lest chip In the
middle of the table, called for a show
down. All but Singleton dropped out,
and he, the big winner of the evening,
took the pot. Wentworth and Merry
were broke.
The game bad been played in Went
worth's library. Before Its close the
gray light of the morning began to
steal past the curtains and the glow
of each electric lamp took on a murky
haze. Enoch Wentworth, acting as
banker, cashed In the chips of the
winners. Three of the men put on
their hats, said "Good morning," and
went out. Andrew Merry sat beside
the baize-covered table with Its litter
of chips, pulling slowly at a cigar and
staring Into vacancy.
"Do you mind If 1 open this win
dow?" asked Wentworth. "There'a a
chill In the air outdoors that will (eel
good I've swallowed so much smoke
my throat feels raw."
"Open every window in the room If
you like, old man. I'm going home."
“Hold on a minute,” cried Went
worth unexpectedly. "I'll go you Just
one more hand. Let's play one big
stake and then swear off forever."
"I toll you. Enoch, 1 haven’t a cent.
Heaven knows how I can tide over
these mouths until the season opens.
It's a good thing I'm not a married
man." Merry laughed mirthlessly,
"One last hand!" pleaded Went
"What do you want to play for?"
Merry turned up a coat sleeve and
stared at his cuff buttons thoughtfully.
“I have nothing left but these. I don't
think I’ll put them up."
"Wove thrown away enough money
and collateral tonight," Wentworth re
plied. "Let's make this stake some
thing unique—sentimental, not finan
cial. Why not make It your future
against mine?"
"That's a great stake! Sha'n't I
throw In my past!"
"No, let each of ua play for the
other's future. It Is a mere fancy of
mine, but It appeals to me."
“Are you serious? What In Qod's
name would you do with my future If
you won should I do with
'T tell you, It's a mere fancy of
"All right. Carry out your fancy, If
It amuses you. I ought to be willing
to stake my life against yours on any
hand, If you say eo.”
"Do you mean that?"
"Yes, if you want to call me.”
Andrew Merry smiled and blew a
flurry of smoke rings Into the marble
(ace of the Shakespeare, while ho
watched Wentworth’s pen hurry across
a sheet of paper. The newspaper man
handed It to him with the ink still
"There,” he said, "we'll play (or
that document, the winner's name to
bo written at the top, the loser to
write his name at the bottom."
Andrew Merry read It aloud:
I hereby pledge myself until death
—to do your every bidding—to obey
your every demand—to the extent of
my physical and mental ability—you
to furnish me with support.
"Will that hold good In law?"
"Just so long as the loser Is a man
of honor—no longer. Are you going
to weaken?”
"I’ll be damned If I am. I'll put this
bit of paper In my scrapbook."
“The man who wins, keeps that bit
of paper,” Wentworth answered with
a whimsical smile.
He tossed the unsigned bond Into
the center of the table and shuffled
the cards with grave deliberation.
Merry lit a fresh cigar and puffed It
meditatively. Upon each listless brain
began to dawn the realization that this
■was a stake of greater Import than the
rolls of bills which had grown lighter
and lighter till the last greenback van
"Who'll deal?" asked Wentworth.
"We’ll out.” Merry spoke quietly.
“Low deals, ace low."
Enoch Wentworth cut a tray, Merry
• seven spot Wentworth shuffled the
cards again and held them out to bis
"Does one hand decide It?"
"Yes, one hand. Each man to dis
card, draw, and show down.”
Wentworth dealt with noticeable
deliberation. They picked up their
'Give me four cards,” said Merry.
"I’ll take throe." Wentworth's face
was as solemn as bis voice.
For a moment each man sat staring
t hie hand. Then Merpy_ spoke.
“There's no use In showing down,”
he said. "1 haven't even one little
"Hold on," expostulated Wentworth,
Scarcely concealing the relief which bis
friend's admission gave him. "I'm only
ace high. Does that beat you?”
Merry's face also told Its story of
reaction. "Same here," he said, laying
the card on the table face up, "and a
jolly king to follow It,”
“King for me, too." Wentworth's
face flushed and his voice grew Impa
tient. ''What's your next card f"
W. A Many replied tranquilly.
too tons* to wonder why Enoch
awaited his declaration.
"Ten here. My Qod! are they all
"Seven next."
"And mine’s a seven!”
Both men paused, each with his
eyes on the other’s card.
"And a four,” cried Wentworth
Irritably. Ho passed his hand across
his forehead; It was moist and cold.
"You win.” When Merry tossed
down his hand a tray turned over—lt
was the same tray which gave Went
worth the deal.
Wentworth had drawn to an ace and
ten. Merry held up a king. The
younger man lifted a pen. dipped It
In the Ink, and scrawled Enoch Went
worth acroea the slip of paper. At
the bottom he wrote with grave delib
eration, Andrew Merry, and handed
the paper to Wentworth. The news
paper man stared at It for a moment,
then dropped It on the table, laid his
cheek on the palm of bis hand, and,
looking straight In the face of the
actor, asked: "Merry, do you realize
what this means?”
"Not yet, perhaps; still I wish you
more luck of my life than I’ve had.

! i
“Let’s Keep This Transaction to Our
Now, since I'm to look to you (or sup
port, could you scare up a nickel?
I’ve got to ride home, you know.”
Before Wentworth could reply, the
curtains parted, and a girl’s figure
showed iteelf (or a brief moment
"I beg your pardon, Enoch, I thought
you were alone,” she said, and the fig
ure vanished as suddenly as it had ap
"Who's that?” Merry demanded.
Wentworth's only answer was to
pull out the lining of bis pockets.
From one he produced a quarter and
handed It to the actor. Merry pocketed
it without further questioning, and
pulled on his gloves.
"Good night,” he said, “or good
morning, whichever you choose.”
"Say, old man.” Wentworth held
the door for a moment half closed
while he spoke. "Say, if you don’t
mind, let’s keep this transaction to
'T'm willing." Merry paused to
strike a light for his last cigar, then
he laid his hands solemnly across his
breast. "Cross my heart,” he added
in a sepulchral tone.
Wentworth started at the sound o(
an opening door. A girl entered.
“For heaven's sake, Dorryl What
are you doing up at this unearthly
"I've had my sleep, you haven’t,"
she answered with a laugh,
"Dorcas, alt down,” said her brother.
"Do you see that fellow on the bench
under a tree?"
The girl leaned a hand on Went
worth’s shoulder while she turned her
eyes in the direction bis finger pointed.
"Yes! What's the matter with him?
Is he anybody you know? Is he In
"He's an old friend of mine. It’s
Andrew Merry, the comedian."
Wentworth sat for a moment gazing
Into hie sister’s beautiful face. She
was a child in spite of her eighteen
years. He felt like an ancient, sin
battered, soiled, city-worn hulk of
humanity as he returned the straight
forward gaze of her gray eyes.
"Tell me about him, Enoch.”
“I ran across him when 1 was doing
dramatics on the Pittsburgh Union.
He was a genial lad, but thgre wasn't
much for him to tell an interviewer.
He had been bom and raised In a
western town and then apprenticed to
a country bank. He hated figures and
loved the stage. He stuck to the
ledgers (or a while because he was all
his mother had. I guess she worshiped
"How did he happen to go on the
"Came on to New York, as they all
do sooner or later, and began with a
turn in a vaudeville house. He had
reached a salary of fifty a week. He
was perfectly happy except for one
thing—he couldn't get the mother’s
loneliness out of his mind. They wrote
to each other every day.”
“I think I should like him," sug
gested Dorcas.
"I gave Merry all the space next
morning instead of the dancer, and he
wrote me a grateful letter. I didn't
seehlma*aln *l9 later.
Author of “The Woman From Wol
vertons,” ‘The Congress
Woman,” Etc.
(Copyright. 1913, by F. O. Brown.)
when I came to New York. I found
bis name in the cast of a light opera
company on Broadway. Ho was pretty
far down the Hat, but before the thing
bad run two weeks he was moved up
to second place. His work was un
usual. He's the funniest Merry An
drew I ever saw, yet once in a while
there's a touch of whimsical, tearful
pathos in his antics that makes a
"Take me to see him," cried the
girl eagerly.
"We'll go tomorrow. It’s his closing
night In The King at Large.' He's a
bigger favorite than several of the big
stars, yet—it’s the queerest thing—in
all these years he’s never taken the
step that would bring him to the top.”
"The Lord knows. One manager
died, another went under. It’s the un
certainty of stage life.”
"And bis mother?" asked Dorcas.
“She died suddenly lost season. A
fool usher gave Merry the telegram In
the middle of a performance, when he
went oft the stage. He dropped as If
he'd been shot. They rang down the
curtain until the understudy eould get
Into his toga. He didn't act for two
months. I thought he would never
brace up. I bad him here half the win
ter trying to cheer him. He gave me
the dumps."
“Poor fellow,” cried Dorcas.
"I roused him through his pride.
He hadn't a cent to his name, so I
shamed him into going back to work.
He earns lots of money, but It gets
away from him.”
Wentworth's gaze turned to the lit
ter of chips on the table. His sister's
eyes followed.
'Ts It that?" she asked.
The girl rose to her feet. She put
her bands on her brother’s shoulders
and gazed down Into his face.
"Enoch," she said hesitatingly, “I
wish you wouldn't. You could help
your friend If you would turn over a
new leaf yourself.”
"We both swore off tonight for good
and all, little girl.” Wentworth took
her hands between bis own and looked
into her eyes with a resolute look. “I
want you to help both of us—Merry
and me. The evil of the world was
never whispered inside convent walls.
You’ve left a quiet, simple life —for a
very different world. There's more
mission work waiting you right here
than If you had taken the vefl.”
"Enoch,” the girl's face wae grave
and earnest. "Enoch, nothing would
ever make me take the veil. I have
only one ambition—l want to go on
the stage.”
"Good Lord I” cried Wentworth, "I
never dreamed of such a future —for
"You don’t know stage life as I do.”
he continued seriously. “There art
women—and men for that matter —
who go Into the profession clean
skinned, clean souled. They spend
their lives In It and come out clean;
but there are experiences they never
"1b life ns bad as that?” the girl
asked simply.
“Life Is as bad/’ her brother
auswered slowly, "and yet 1 would as
willingly see you go on the stage as
into society—l mean fashionable
society, as I know It here in New
York. A newspaper man sees the
under side of life.”
“It would not hurt me.” The girl
tossed back a heavy braid of hair
which fell over her shoulder, and knelt
at Wentworth's knee.
"I have you always to turn to, big
brother," she whispered. She laid her
cheek fondly against his hand. "Don't
' you remember that used to be the only
name I bad for you? You were so big,
so strong, so wise and so—old. I used
to sit on the gatepost, waiting for you
to come home. Don’t you remember
our Saturday tramps, how we used to
play “I spy in the orchard, and went
bird's-nesting, picnicking and Ashing,
or playing Indian camp on the Island?"
Enoch clasped her hands tightly. “I
remember, little Dorry. They were
the happiest days In my life."
"Let us get out of the city," cried
the girl. Their eyes turned to the sun
lit square below. The morning rush
of New York life had begun, with its
clang of bells and thunder of vehicles.
"Dorcas, I’m oft to bed. I haven’t
ehut an eye for H hours."
Tbs Measure of a Man.
A week later Wentworth and his sis
ter left town for a vacation. They had
discovered an old-fashioned farm
house on a quiet stretch of shore, and
settled down contentedly to a simple,
outdoor life. One morning a telegram
broke their solitude.
“I have halt an hour to catch a train
to the city,” said Enoch, as he tumbled
out of a hammock. “You may drive
me to the depot it you wish, Dorcas."
''You’re not called back to that hot
office," she cried wistfully, "after a
vacation of only three days?”
"It isn’t the paper, Dprcas; it’s
Merry. Get into the buggy; I’ll tell
you about it on our way to the station.
You may drive." He leared back
comfortably in the wide seat “You
like driving, I don’t."
"What’s the matter with Mr.
Merry?” Dorcas asked. “Is he 111?”
"Not that, but he’s In danger of kill
ing his career. He's going up the state
to a little one-horse town to play lead
ing roles In a ten, twenty, thirty stock
"Why does he do that?"
“I guess he's broke. I can't tell
until I see him. 11l be back tonight, or
tomorrow at the latest. I’ll wire you
what train. You’ll meet me. won’t
"Of course." she promised.
Next morning the two men stood on
the platform of the smoker on a shore
accommodation train, which sauntered
from one small station to the next,
skirting the water for miles.
Andrew Merry tossed a half-smoked
cigar into a swamp beside the track
where the thin, green blades of cat
tails were whipped by the breeze.
"1 don't believe I want to mix odors
this morning," he said.
"It is great ozone." Wentworth
lifted bis bat to let the wind cool his
head. "There’s the little station now!
I’ll bet that speck of white Is Dorcas!"
"How queer that I've never met
your sister,” Merry suggested. “Is she
grown up?”
Wentworth laughed. '‘Almost,” he
admitted. "You did see her once."
Merry followed Wentworth as the
train stopped. In a half-dozed fashion
he shook hands with a tall young
woman In a white linen gown. Was
this the child—long limbed, gawky and
ehy—he had Imagined he might meet?
Somewhere back In his mind lay an
Impression that Enoch had referred to
his sister as a young colt. The
thought was so absurd that he smiled;
any coltish awkwardness must have
disappeared with short frocks! Merry
stared at the girl with bewildered ad
miration, wondering now why he had
never felt the mildest curiosity about
Wentworth's sister. He became con
scious that he was making a mental
analysis; she had black-fringed gray
eyes; warmth and dancing blood
glowed in her face, for she had the
coloring of a Jack rose; a mass of
auburn hair was coiled in a loose knot
at the back of her head; she wore no
hat; a band of dull-blue velvet was
tied about her head and fell in a loose
bow over her ear, but strands of hair,
which glowed like copper in the sun
shine, had escaped and blew about her
face; she had the tender mouth of a
child. In the straightforward eyes
was sweet womanliness, gentle deter
mination, and a lack of feminine
vanity which Merry had seldom seen
In the face of a beautiful woman. He
even forgot to drop her hand while he
gazed into her face, half admiringly,
halt perplexedly..
"I've brought Mr. Merry down to
stay with us till we go home,” Went
worth announced.
"I’m delighted," cried Dorcas cor
Next morning after breakfast Enoch
and his sister rowed out to deep water
with their Ashing outAt Merry still
was In bed; he was tired, be pleaded,
and could not immediately acquire the
habit of early rising.
"What do you think of Andrew?"
asked Wentworth abruptly. He lifted
his head after the task uf baiting a
hook and looked into his sister's face.
"I think he ought to be waked up.”
"To join our Ashing trip?"
"I mean waked In his ambitions. He
seems to me like a man who has no
goal in sight. He needs something to
In a Half-Dazed Fashion He Shook
work for. He spoke last night of one
ambition he has—”
“Sort of moonlight confidences?”
queried her brother.
"No—not that. He’s determined to
Jump straight into a part that will
wring the heart out of his listeners."
“That’s foolish. The public wants
Just so much versatility. You can’t
kill oft a beloved comedian to resur
rect anew emotional actor, no matter
how good he may be. People won’t
stand for it”
“He isn’t satisfied.” The girl milled
up her line and tossed away a dKrsel
of nibbled bait, covering the hook
with a fresh clam.
"Some greedy fish had a square
meal oft your bSIt and never got the
hook in his gullet. He’ll come back
for more, then get caught It’s the
same way with human beings.”
"Philosopher!" laughed Dorcas. She
dropped her line again Into deep water
and waited for her brother's predic
tion to come true.
Merry had breakfasted before their
return. He sat upon the vine-grown
plaxza. gazing at the sparkle of the
ocean, when the two agile figures
stepped across his vision.
"Well. Sir Lazy, so you're up!” cried,
the girl. “You should have been with
us to find an appetite. See our fish!
Here’s a dinner for you!”
Tm going to turn over anew leaf."
said Merry. His eyes were fixed on
the girl's glowing face, and for a mo
ment be shared her intense enjoyment
of life.
“Will you turn It over tomorrow
morning at sunrise f she demanded.
"Even so soon, most gracious lady."
He swept her a stage bow, his soft hat
trailing the ground as if It bad been a
cavalier's cap loaded with plumes.
Matching his grace, the girl turned
to him, laughing, with the mock
dignity of a queen.
"I command that at early dawn,
when the tide goes out, ye hie three to
yon Hats and dig clams for our savory
"I shall obey, most royal highness,”
answered Merry solemnly.
"I believe he ie waking up,” thought
Dorcas as she ran upstairs to dress for
the noon dinner. “It be does that, I’ll
believe he has some backbone.”
When Dorcas and her brother came
down next morning for breakfast.
Merry had disappeared.
‘Tm glad I’m not your victim," said
Wentworth, with a note of sympathy
in his voice.
"Enoch," the girl turned to him
gravely, "I told you he needed waking
up, and this is a good start It won't
hurt him a bit."
“Poor Merry! What a sight!”
They watched him come tramping
over the beach. He wore Farmer
Hutchins’ overalls rolled up to his
knees and a flapping cow-breakfast
hat. He carried a clam fork and occa
sionally shifted a heavy basket of
dame from one arm to the other.
Casslopea's Chair.
Dorcas Wentworth stopped on the
crest of a cliff and looked down. A
few feet below her, on a ledge like a
wide shelf, Merry lay watching the
waves as they broke against the
Jagged walls of a narrow cove.
“Day-dreaming, Mr. Merry?" cried
the girl.
He sprang to his feet. "Why, 1
never heard you. Do you wear velvet
shoes? Let me help you down." He
began to climb the uneven steps.
“The idea of helping me down, after
I have made my way alone over these
chasms!” She pointed to.the wall be
hind her. Then resting one band on
his shoulder, ehe leaped past him
"What a heavenly retreat!"
“Yes," answered Merry, dreamily. "1
found it several days ago. I’ve called
it Casslopea’s Chair.”
"Who was Cassiopea?"
‘T've forgotten. Some satellite crea
ture, I believe. Her name has a rest
ful sound, and this place is restful and
The girl laughed. "Were you day
'T suppose ho. I was watching these
v,-fives. Most of them break without a
splash; then once In a while, away out
as far as your eye can reach, you see
one roll up, gathering force from you
can't imagine where, and It comes on
tempestuously through a calm sea, to
crash against the cliffs. Sometimes it
throws its spray up here.” He pointed
to a wet line on the rock Just below
them. "Then again, one which prom
ises to be a ripper amounts to nothing
when it breaks."
"Yes it is fascinating,” she agreed.
"Yesterday I spent an hour watching
“What people?” ho demanded, not
“All sorts. People who never do
anything, who saunter through life and
are the failures, and the few who live
after their work Is done.
“Merry,” in her Intensity the girl
addressed him as her brother did,
“they make me think of you. You
could make a towering big wave of
your life. You don’t!”
The man turned quickly and looked
into her eyes with flushed face. He
did not speak.
"I wish—oh, I do wish"—Dorcas’
voice was like that of an ardent child,
"I wish I could rouse you to make the
best of yourself. There is so much
you could do!”
“Do you really think so?"
“No, I don’t think It, 1 know It You
are two people; one is lazy and indif
ferent, with Just ambition enough to
do the work you have to do. You
can’t help doing it well —you could not
do it badly. Then there is the other—
a man with vivid imagination, feeling,
emotion, and ability; but It is so hard
to wake him up!"
Merry Jumped to bis feet and stared
down into the girl’s face. “How did
you learn this—about me? Has
Enoch laid my soul bare to you?"
"Enoch told me something of your
career, that was all. I know you bet
ter than he does.”
Only One.
She (gazing at the view)—What
magnificent scene!
He (an auto fiend)—You mean that
Vast Continent of Alla.
Asia, which is the largest of the ccr
tlnente, has an estimated area of \\
057.666 square miles.
Department of A B rleulture Endeavor.
Ing to Discover Points of Exeat
lence In Road Maintenance.
Detailed studies of local road bull*,
ing systems Ih 100 counties are now
being carried on by the agricultural
department in co-operation with the
state highway departments and local
road authorities.
The purpose of this study is to dis
cover the points of excellence and de
fects In existing local methods of
building and maintaining roads which
will aid the state authorities to put
local road management on a system*,
tlzed basis. The co-operating stats
authorities have been asked to deslg.
nate counties that present typical ant
** - - ;
Macadamized Road In West Virginia j
exceptional features as to topography, j
character of road materials, methods ;
of construction and maintenance, ad
ministrative organization, methods of
road financing, and traffic conditions
From these lists 100 counties will be
selected, and in these counties ths
division of road economics will malts
intensive studies.
This investigation is prompted by
the fact that there Is at present very
little knowledge as to the most ef
fective and economical methods by
which a county can develop Its roads.
At present the methods of financing
lopal road improvements vary from
calling on farmers for a certain num
ber of days’ labor in lieu of a road tax,
or the use of county prisoners in road
construction, to bond issues or main
tenance of roads from dramshop
license funds.
The departmehf will study all of
these systems with the view to deter- 1
mining what system or combination of
systems works best In actual prafr
Use. j I
There is, moreover, at present no
standard system of keeping accounti;
for road building and maintenance,
and as a result, while some counties
know to a penny the purpoee for
which money was spent, others have
no definite check or reporting system.
Among various counties with the same
conditions cost for excavation or other
labor Is anything but uniform, and
many counties, because of the ab
sence of definite knowledge, fall to
use local and cheap materials, and
construct roads which are unnecessary,
lly expensive for their purpose, or
which will wear out before the bond
issues are redeemed. The investiga
tion will Include a careful study of
the use of convict labor in road con
In connection with the scientific
study the department's highway eu
glneers will advice freely with local
officials as to improvements, and thus
give each county visited the advantage
of direct co-operation, engineering su
pervision, and assistance.
These investigations, It is believed,
will yield important economic data'
bearing especially on the benefits and
burdens of road Improvement and
showing the extent to which financial
outlay under given typical condition*
is Justifiable.
The heads of state highway depart
ments are manifesting great Interest
and are co-operating cordially in thi*
work. These data when obtained will
be published and thus made accessible
to all county and state road officials.
Not Contagious.
Oood road building In the country
does not seem to be contagious, more's
the pity.
Harvesting Alfalfa.
Alfalfa, like all of the clover*,
should be harvested for hay before
the stalks become "woody,” and the
leaves turn yellow and fall. This cob
dltlon of the plant occurs very boob
attar the blossoms appear.
Feed Potatoes to Cow*.
When not too expensive, potatoes
may be fed to cow* In limited quanti
ties. They should be chopped or sliced,
and fed raw, 20 pounds being about *
largo a dally allowance as a cow.
hould receive

xml | txt