OCR Interpretation

The Tomahawk. [volume] (White Earth, Becker County, Minn.) 1903-192?, September 11, 1919, Image 3

Image and text provided by Minnesota Historical Society; Saint Paul, MN

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn89064695/1919-09-11/ed-1/seq-3/

What is OCR?

Thumbnail for

CHAPTER IIContinued.
Tour sister stole it for me!" George
instantly replied, checking the pony.
"She stole ft off our clo'esllne an' gave
It to me."
"Yon go get yonr hair cut!" said
.the stranger hotly. "Yah! I haven't
got any sister I"
"I know yon haven't at home,"
Georgle responded. "I mean the one
that's In Jail."
"I dare yon to get down off that
Georgle jumped to the ground, and
the other boy descended from the Rev.
Mr. Smith's gatepostbnt he descend
ed Inside the gate. "I dare yon out
side that gate," said Georgle.
"Yah! idare you half way here.
I dare you"
But these were luckless challenges,
for Georgle Immediately vaulted the
fenceand four minutes later Mrs.
Malloch Smith, hearing strange noises,
looked forth from a window then
screamed, and dashed for the pastor's
study. Mr. Malloch Smith, that grim
bearded preacher, came to the front
yard and found his visiting nephew
being rapidly prepared by Master Mln
afer to serve as a principal figure in
a pageant of massacre. It was with
great physical difficulty that Mr.
Smith managed to give his nephew a
chance to escape into, the house, for
Georgle was hard and quick, and in
such matters remarkably intense but
the minister, after a grotesque tussle,
got him separated from his opponent
and Shook him.
"You stop that, you I" Georgle cried
fiercely, and wrenched himself away.
"I guess yon don't know who I ami"'
"Yes, I do know!" the angered Mr.
Smith retorted. "I know who yon* are,
and you're a disgrace to yonr mother!
Your mother ought to be ashamed of
herself to allow"
"Shut up about my mother beln'
ashamed of herself I"
Mr. Smith, exasperated, was unable
to close the dialogue with dignity.
"She ought to be ashamed,!' he repeat
ed. "A woman that lets a bad boy
like yoih"
'But Georgle had reached his pony
and mounted. Before setting off at his
accustomed gallop he paused to inter
rupt the Rev. Malloch Smith again.
"Yon pull down your vest, you ole
billygoat, you!" he shouted, distinctly.
"Pull down your vest, wipe off your
chinan* go to h!"
Such precocity is less unusual, even
in children of the Rich, than most
grown people imagine. However, It
was a new experience for the Rev.
Malloch Smith, and left him in a state
of excitement. He at once wrote a
note to George's mother, describing
the crime according to his nephew's
testimony, and the note reached Mrs.
Mlnafer before Georgle did. When he
got home she read it to him sorrow
Dear Madam: Your son has caused a
painful distress la my household. He
made an unprovoked attack upon a little
nephew of mine who Is visiting la my
household. insulteeThlm by calling him
vicious names and falsehoods, stating that
ladles of his family were In jail. He then
tried to make his pony kick him, and
when the child, who Is only eleven years
old, while your son Is much older and
stronger, endeavored to avoid his Indigni
ties and withdraw quietly, he pursued
him Into the Inclosure of my property and
brutally assaulted him. When I appeared
upon this scene he deliberately called in
sulting words to me, concluding with pro
fanity, such ss "go to h," which was
heard not only by myself but by my wife
and the lady who lives next door. I trust
such a state of undisciplined behavior
may be remedied for the sake of the rep
utation for propriety, If nothing higher, of
the family to which this unruly child be
Georgle had muttered various Inter
ruptions, and as she concluded the
reading he said:
"He's an ole liar!"
"Georgle, you mustn't say liar.'
Isn't this letter the truth?"
"Well," said Georgle, "how old am
"Ten." "Well, look how he says I'm older
than a boy eleven years old."
"That's true," said Isabel. "He
does. But Isn't some of It true,
Georgle felt himself to be In a dif
ficulty here, and he was silent
"George, did yon say what he says
"Which one?"
"Did you ten him toto Bid you
-say, *Go to hT"
Georgle looked worried for a mo
ment longer then he brightened. "Lis
ten here, mamma grandpa wouldn't
wipe his shoe on that ole story teller,
would he?"
"Georgle, yon mustn't"
"I mean: none of the Ambersons
anything In do with
i JJJ jjjxr J-Jj jjir sssssittrrrr nrrr jrrrrrrrrrrr
Synopsis.Major Amberson had mad* a, fortune In 1878 whan other people
were losing fortunes, and the magnlflcenoe of the Ambersons began then.
Ifajoi Amberson laid out a JOO-acra "development." with roads and statuary,
and in the center of a four-acre tract, on Amberson avenue, built for himself
the most magnificent mansion Midland City had ever seen. When the major's
daughter married young Wilbur Mlnafer the neighbors predicted that as
Isabel could never really love Wilbur all her love would be bestowed upon the
children. There Is only one child, however, George Amberson Mlnafer, and
his upbringing and his youthful accomplishments as a mischief maker are
quite in keeping with the most pessimistic predictions.
i \fjjjjujjjijijjifrf.rjririixfinnntiffjjjwj*rjfJjffiiii'fffffffffffrrr***f*r**********************"**'********
him, would they? He doesn't even
know you, does he, mamma?"
"That hasn't anything to do with It"
"Yes. it has! I mean: none of the
Amberson family go to see him, and
they never have him come in their
house they wouldn't ask him to, and
prob'ly wouldn't even let him."
"That Isn't what we're talking
"I bet," said Georgle emphatically,
"I bet If he wanted to see any of 'em,
he'd haf to go around to the side
"No, dear, they*
"Yes, they would, mamma! So what
does it matter if I say somep'm' to
him he didn't like? That kind o'
people, I don't see why you can't say
anything you want to to 'em!"
,"No, Georgle. And you haven't an
swered me whether yon said that
dreadful thing he says yon did."
"Well" said Georgle. "Anyway,
he said somep'm* to me that made me
mad.". And upon this point he offered
no further details he would not ex
plain to his mother that what had
made him "mad" was Mr. Smith's
hasty condemnation of herself: "Your
mother ought to be ashamed," and
"A woman that lets a bad boy like
you" Georgle did not even con
sider excusing himself by' quoting
these Insolences.
Isabel stroked his head. "They
were terrible words for yon to use,
dear. From bis letter he doesn't seem
a very tactful person, but"
"He's Just riffraff," said Georgle.
"You mustn't say so," his mother
gently agreed. "Where did yon learn
those bad words he speaks of? Where
did yon hear anyone use them?"
"Well, I've heard 'em serreval
places. I guess Uncle George Amber
son was the first I ever heard say 'em.
Uncle George Amberson said 'em to
papa once. Papa didn't like it, but
Uncle George was Just laughln' at
papa, an' then he said 'em while ho
was laughln.'"
"That was wrong of him," she said,
but almost Instinctively he detected
the lack of conviction In her tone. It
was Isabel's great falling that what
ever an Amberson did seemed right to
her, especially If the Amberson was
either her brother George or her son
George. "You must promise me," she
said feebly, "never to use those bad
words again."
"I promise not to," he said prompt
lyand he whispered an Immediate
codicil under his breath: "Unless I get
mad at somebody I" This satisfied a
code according to whtch. In his own
sincere belief, he never told lies.
"That's a good boy," she said, and
he ran out to the yard, his punishment
As an Amberson ho was already a
public character, and the story of his
adventure In the Rev. Malloch Smith's
front yard became a town topic. Many
-Pull Down Your Vest You Ole Billy-
people glanced at him with great dis
taste thereafter, when they chanced
to encounter him, which meant noth
ing to Georgle, because he innocently
believed most grown people to be'nec
essarily cross looking as a normal phe
nomenon resulting from the adult
state and he failed to comprehend
that the distasteful glances had any
personal bearing upon himself If he
had perceived such a bearing he would
have been affected only so far, prob-
Copyright bjr Doubled*y. Par* Company.
ably, as to mutter, "Riffraff!" Pos
sibly he would have ahouted It and
certainly most people' believed a story
that went, round the town Just after
Mrs. Amberson's funeral, when Geor
gle was eleven. Georgle was reported
to have differed with the undertaker
about the seating of the family his
indignant voice had become audible:
"Well, who is the most important per
son at my own grandmother's fu
neral?" And later he had projected
his head from the window of the fore
most mourners' carriage, as the under
taker happened to pass.
There were peoplegrown people
they werewho expressed themselves
longingly: they did hope to live to see
the day, they sold, when that boy
would get his come-upance! (They
used that honest word, so much bet
ter than "deserts," and not until many
years later to be more clumsily ren
dered as "what is coming to him.")
Something was bound to take him
down some day, and they only wanted
to be there 1 But Georgle heard noth
ing of this, and the yearners for his
taking down went unsatisfied, while
their yearning grew the greater as the
happy day of fulfillment was longer
and longer postponed.
Until he reached the age of twelve
Georgie's education was a domestic
process tutors came to the house,
and those citizens who yearned for his
taking down often said: "Just wait till
he has to go to public school then
he'll get it!" But at twelve Georgle
was sent to a private school In the
town, and there came from this small
and independent Institution no report,
or even rumor, of Georgie's getting
anything that he was thought to de
serve therefore the yearning still per
sisted, though growing gaunt with
feeding upon Itself.
The yearners were still yearning
when Georgle at sixteen was sent
away to a great "prep school."
"Now," they said brightly, "hell get
It! Hell find himself among boys Just
as Important in their home town as he
is, and they'll knock the stuffing ont
of him when he puts on his airs with
them! Ob, but that would be worth
something to see!" They were mis
taken. It appeared, for when Georgle
returned a few months later he still
seemed to have the same stuffing. He
had been deported by the authorities,
the offense being stated as "Insolence
and profanity in fact, he had given
the principal of the school Instruc
tions almost Identical with those for
merly objected to by the Rev. Malloch
But he had not got his come-upance,
and those who counted upon it were
embittered by bis appearance upon
the downtown streets driving a dog
cart at a criminal speed, making pe
destrians retreat from the crossings,
and behaving himself as If he "owned
the earth."
When Mr. George Amberson Mlna
fer came home for the holidays at
Chrlstmastlde In his sophomore year,
probably no great change had taken
place Inside him, bnt his exterior was
visibly altered. Nothing aboxt him
encouraged any hope that he had re
ceived his come-upance on the con
trary, the yearners for that stroke of
justice must yearn even more ltch
lngly: the gilded youth's manner had
become polite, bnt bis politeness was
of a kind which democratic people
found hard to bear.
Cards were ont for ball in hla
honor, and this pageant of the ten
antry was held In the ballroom of the
Amberson mansion the night after his
arrival. It was, as Mrs. Henry Frank
lin Foster said of Isabel's wedding, "a
big Amberson-style thing." All "old
citlxens" recognised as gentry received
cards, and of course so did their danc
ing descendants.
The orchestra and the caterer were
brought from away, in the Amberson
manner, though this was really a ges
tureperhaps one more of habit than
of ostentationfor servitors of gayety
as proficient as these importations
were nowadays to be found in the
town. It was the last of the great,
long-remembered dances that "every
body talked about"there were get
ting to be so many people In town that
no later than the next year there were
too many for "everybody" to hear of
even such a ball as the Ambersons*.
George, white-gloved, with a garde
nia In his buttonhole, stood with hla
mother and thesMajor, embowered In
the big red-and-gold drawing room
downstairs, to "receive" the guests
and, standing thus together, the trio
offered a picturesque example of good
looks persistent through three gene
rations. The Major, bis daughter and
his grandson were of a type all Am
berson: tall, straight and regular, with
dark eyes, short noses, good chins
and the grandfather's expression, no
less than the grandson's, was one of
faintly amused condescension. There
was a difference, however. The grand
son's unlined young face had nothing
to offer except this condescension
the grandfather's had other tfthgs to
say. It waa a baadsoma, worldly oM
The Magnificent Ambersons
face, conscious of Its importance, but
persuasive rather than arrogant, and
not without tokens of sufferings with
stood. The Major's short white hair
was parted In the middle, like his
grandson's, and in all he stood as
briskly equipped to the fashion as the
exquisite young George.
Isabel, standing between her father
and her son, caused a vague amaze
ment In the mind of the latter. Her
age, just under forty, was for George
a thought of something as remote as
the moons of Jupiter: he could not
possibly have conceived such an age
ever coming to be hla own: five years
was the limit of his thinking in time.
Five years ago he had been a child
not yet fourteen and those five years
were an abyss. Five years hence he
would be almost twenty-four what
the girls he knew called "one of the
older men." He could Imagine himself
at twenty-four, bnt beyond that hla
powers staggered and refused the
task. He saw little essential differ
ence between thirty-eight and eighty
eight, and his mother was to him not
a woman but wholly a mother. The
woman, Isabel, was a stranger to her
son as completely a stranger as if
he had never in his life seen her or
heard her voice. And it was tonight,
while he stood with her, "receiving,"
that he caught a disquieting glimpse
of this stranger whom he thus fleet
Ingly encountered for the first time.
Youth cannot imagine romance
apart from youth. That is why the
roles of the heroes and heroines of
plays are given by the managers to
the most youthful actors they can find
among the competent. Both middle
aged people and young people enjoy a
play about young lovers but only
middle-aged people will tolerate a play
about middle-aged lovers young
people will not come to see such a
play, because for them middle-aged
lovers are a jokenot a very funny
one. Therefore, to bring both the
middle-aged people and the young
people into his house the manager
makes his romance as young as he
con. Youth will Indeed be served, and
its profound instinct Is to be not only
scornfully amused but vaguely an
gered by middle-aged romance. So.
standing beside his mother, George
wss disturbed by a sudden Impression,
coming upon him ont of nowhere, so
far as he could detect, that her eyes
were brilliant, that she was graceful
and youthfulIn a word that she was
romantically lovely.
He had one ef those curious moments
that seem to have neither a cause nor
any connection with actual things.
There was nothing In either her looks
or her manner to explain George's un
comfortable feeling and yet It In
creased, becoming suddenly a vague
resentment, as If she had done some
thing unmotherly to him.
The fantastic moment passed and
even while It lasted he was doing his
duty, greeting two pretty girls with
whom he had grown up, as people say,
and warmly assuring them that he re
membered them very wellan assur
ance which might have surprised them
'In anybody but Georgle Mlnafer!"
It seemed unnecessary, since be had
spent many hours with them no longer
than the preceding August They had
with them their parents snd an uncle
from ont of town and George negli
gently gave the parents the same as
surance he had given the daughters,
but murmured another form of greet
ing to the out-of-town uncle, whom
he had never seen before. This per
son George sbsently took note of ss
a "queer-looking duck." Undergradu
ates had not yet adopted "bird." It
was a period previous to that In which
sophomore would have thought of
the Sharon girls* uncle as a "queer
looking bird," or, perhaps, a "funny
face bird." In George's time every hu
man male was to be denned at pleas
ure ss a "duck but "duck" was not
spoken with admiring affection, as In
its former feminine nse to signify a
"dear"on the contrary, "duck" im
plied the speaker's personal detach
ment and humorous superiority. An
indifferent amusement was what
George felt when his mother, with
a gentle emphasis, Interrupted his in
terchange of courtesies with the
nieces to present him to the queer
looking duck, their uncle. This em
phasis of Isabel's, though slight, en
abled George to perceive that she con
sidered the queer-looking duck a per-,
son of some importance but it was
far from enabling him to understand
why. The duck parted his thick and
longlsh black hair on the side his
tie was a forgetful-looking thing and
his cost, though It fitted a good
enough middle-aged figure, no product
of this year, or of last.year either.
Observing only his unfashionable hair,
his preoccupied tie snd his old coat,
the Olympic Gecvge set him down ss
a queer-looking duck, and uavlng thus
completed his portrait took no inter
est In htm.
The Sharon girls passed on, taking
the queer-looking duck with them, and
George became pink with mortifica
tion as bis mother called his attention
to a white-bearded guest waiting to
shake his hand. This was George's
great-uncle, old John Mlnafer: it wss
eM Joan's boast that la-spite of his
connection by marriage with the Am
bersons he never had worn and never
would wear a swaller-tall coat. Mem
bers of his family had exerted their
Influence uselesslyat eighty-nine
conservative people seldom form rad
ical new habits, and old John wore his
"Sunday suit" of black broadcloth to
the Amberson ball. The coat was
square, with skirts to the knees old
John called it a "Prince Albert" and
was well enough pleased with It, but
his great-nephew considered It the
next thing to an Insult.
The large room had filled, and so
had the broad hall and the rooms on
the other side of the hall, where there
were tables for whist. The Imported
orchestra waited In the ballroom on
the third floor, but a local harp, 'cello,
violin and flute were playing airs from
"The Fencing Master" in the hall, and
people were shouting over the music.
Old John Minafer's voice was louder
and more penetrating than any other,
because he had been troubled with
deafness for twenty-five years, heard
his own voice but faintly, and liked to
hear it. "Smell o' flowers like this al
ways puts me in mind o' funerals," he
kept telling his niece, Fanny Mlnafer,
who was with him and he seemed to
get a great deal of satisfaction out of
this reminder. His tremulous yet stri
dent voice cut through the voluminous
sound that filled the room, and be was
heard everywhere.
Presently George's mortification was
Increased to hear this sawmill droning
harshly from the midst of the thick
ening crowd: "Ain't the dancln' broke
out yet, Fanny?' Hoopla! Le's push
through and go see the young women
folks crack their heels 1 Start the cir
cus! Hoopsey-dalsy I". Miss Fanny
Mlnafer, in charge of the lively vet
eran, was almost as distressed as her
nephew George, but she did her duty
and managed to get old John through
the press and out to the broad stair
way, which numbers, of young people
were now ascending to the ballroom.
George began to recover from the deg
radation into which this relic of early
settler days had dragged him. What
restored him completely was a dark
eyed little beauty of nineteen, very
knowing In lustrous blue and Jet at
sight of this dashing advent In the line
of guests before him George was fully
an Amberson again.
"Remember yon very well Indeed!"
he said, his gradousness more earnest
than any he had heretofore displayed.
Isabel heard him and laughed.
"But you don't, George!" she said.
'Ton don't remember her yet, though
of course you will! Miss Morgan Is
from out of town, and I'm afraid this
Is the first time you've ever seen her.
You might take her up to the dancing
I think you've pretty well done your
duty here."
"Be d'llghted," George responded
formally, and offered his arm, not
with a flourish, certainly, but with an
Impressiveness Inspired partly by the
appearance of the person to whom he
offered it, partly by bis being the hero
of this fete, snd partly by his youth
fulnessfor when manners are new
they are apt to be elaborate. The
little beauty Intrusted her gloved fin
gers to his coatsleeve, and they moved
away together.
As he conducted Miss Morgan
through the ball toward the stairway
they passed the open double doors of
a cardroom, where some squadrons of
older people were preparing for ac
tion, and, leaning gracefully upon the
mantelpiece of this room, a tall man,
handsome, high-mannered and spar
ing ly point-device, held laughing
converse with that queer-looking duck,
the Sharon girls* uncle. The tsll gen
tleman waved a gracious salutation to
George, and Mlsa Morgan's curiosity
was stirred. "Who Is that?"
"I didn't catch his name when my
mother presented him to me," said
George. "You mean the queer-looking
"I mean the aristocratic duck."
"That's my Uncle George. Honor
able George Amberson. I thought ev
erybody knew him."
"He looks as though everybody
ought to know him," she said. "It
seems to run in your family."
If she had any sly Intention it
skipped over George harmlessly.
"Well, of course, I suppose most ev
erybody does," he admitted"out in
this part of the country especially.
Besides Uncle George is in congress
the family like to have someone
"Why?" "Well, it's sort of a good thing in
one way. For Instance, Uncle Sydney
Amberson and his Wife, Aunt Amelia,
they haven't much of anything to do
with themselvesget bored to death
around here, of course. Well, prob
ably Uncle Georgell have Uncle Syd
ney appointed minister or ambassador
or something like that, to Russia or
Italy or somewhere and that'll make
It pleasant when any of th* rest of
the family go traveling, or things like
that. I expect to do a good deal of
traveling myself when I get out of col-
Sydney was sn Amberson exag
geratedmore pompous than gracious
too portly, flushed, starched to a shine,
his stately jowl furnished with an Ed-
ward the Seventh beard. Amelia.
wise full-bodied, shewed gilttsrtas
blond hair exuberantly dressed a
pink, fat face cold under a white-hot
tiara a solid, cold bosom under a
white-hot necklace great, cold, gloved
arms, and the rest of ber beautifully
upholstered. As George ascended the
broad stairway they were precisely
the aunt and uncle he was most
pleased to point out to a girl from out
of town, as his appurtenances in tbj
way of relatives. At sight of them
the grandeur of the Amberson fomllj
was Instantly conspicuous as a perma
nent thing: It was impossible to doutjl
that the Ambersons were intrenched,
in their nobility and riches, behind
polished and glittering barriers which,
were as solid as they were brilliant,
and would lost.
The hero of the fete, with the dark
eyed little beauty upon his arm,
reached the top of the second flight of
stairs and here, beyond a spacious
landing, where two proud-like darkles
tended a crystalline punch bowl, four
wide archways In a rose-vine lattice
framed gliding silhouettes of waltzers,
already smoothly at it to the castanets
of "La Paloma." Old John Mlnafer.
evidently surfeited, was in the act of
leaving these delights escorted by a
middle-aged man of commonplace ap
pearance. The escort had a dry, lined
face upon which, not ornamentally
but as a matter of course, there grew
a business man's short mustache and
his thin heck showed an Adam's apple,
but not conspicuously, for there was
nothing conspicuous about him. Bald
ish, dim, quiet, he was an unnotlce-
George Danced Well and Miss Morgan
Seemed to Float.
able part of this festival, and although
there were a dozen or more middle
aged men present, not casually to be
distinguished from him In general as
pect, he was probably ths last person
In the big house at whom a stranger
would have glanced twice. It did not
enter George's mind to mention to
Miss Morgan that this was his father,
or to say anything whatever about
Mr. Mlnafer shook his son's hand
unobtrusively In passing.
"I'll take Uncle John home," he
said in a low voice. "Then I guess
I'll go on home myselfI'm not a
great hand at parties, you know.
Good night, George."
George murmured a friendly enough
good night without pausing. Ordi
narily he was not ashamed of the Mlr
afers he seldom thought about them
at all, for he belonged, as most Amer
lean children do, to the mother's fam
ilybut he was anxious not to linger
with Miss Morgan In the vicinity of
old John, whom he felt to be a din
He pushed brusquely through the
fringe of calculating youths who were
gathered hi the arches, watching for
chances to dance only with girls who
would soon be taken off their hands,
and led his stranger lady out upon the
floor. They caught the time Instantly,
and were away in the waits.
George danced well, and Miss Mor
gan seemed to float as part of the mu
sic, the very dove Itself of "La Palo-
ma." George became conscious of
strange feelings within him: an exal
tation of soul, tender but indefinite,
and seemingly located In the upper
part of his diaphragm.
The stopping of the music came
upon him like the waking to an alarm
clock for Instantly six or seven of
the calculating persons about the en-,
tryways bore down upon Miss Morgan
to secure dances. George bad to do
with one already established as a
belle, It seemed.
"Old times starting
over again! My Lord!"
One for Mamma.
I sent my small daughter into the
front room to do some dusting. Not'
bearing her around, I stepped quietly
Into the room and found her sitting
Idly by the window with her work
unfinished. I said to her: "Don't
you know Satan finds work for idk
bands to dor She quickly replied
He must be

xml | txt