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The Mellette County pioneer. [volume] (Wood, Mellette County, S.D.) 19??-1971, August 30, 1912, Image 6

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn96090217/1912-08-30/ed-1/seq-6/

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pe Corrector of Destinies
H The Burgoyne-Hayes Dinner SK
EJ By Melville Davisson Post "1 IT
W — COpjrrifflit by 1
ML t . dinner given by Mrs. Burgoyne
■j., io Prince Edward of Hesse
KpbScbweren will be always re-
Kbt red by New York. The proud
■tii. wager cut society like a butch-
■ rhe Hat was a *treak of blood,
fl massacre of King Philip’s war
K |rft more savagery skulking In
■ biiUp-s. The terrible old woman
K ; declared that she Intended to
K \ew York the bayonet, as her
Kt relative did In 1777.
K>l. ill always remember this din
fl f or another reason. It was the
■ appearance in America of Beatrix
K|\ after her marriage with Capt.
Kon Smith of bls majesty’s lines In
■th Africa. There were a lot of
■ting disconnected rumors about
■ marriage. Beatrix certainly posed
K tl heiress before the Englishman
flt under the yoke, and we got
fl r ~; (< ;|on. doubtless directly, that
Iliad a large estate somewhere on
flh Codan. £5,000. at any rate, over
■ pay Then we heard later on,
Jimmie Dale, 1 think—he al
fls knew the foreign gossip—that the
flli-J.nian did not have a brass far*
K- over his pay, and was rath
Ko>m< off than that by a fat budget
Web's. We knew that Beatrix had
■ji > (>me to speak of—her aunt kept
■ giiwn makers going for her. There
flo wild lands, bark inland sorne-
that Beatrix used to turn Into
I i a’ and spruce lumber when she
■ ■ dreaming, but the over-drained
■ aunt used to pay taxes on them,
■ I think that was about the only
flindrr of the fortune that ever
K. along to New York.
I had Sarah Lamarr on my right at
fl dr mr. and, fortunately, an Im
fl hi<* 'io!man person on her right,
■o k< pt his nose well in his wines
fl pan s I wanted to ask Sarah Le
flr about Beatrix, and was glad of
fl . on's exclusive interest in his
flr. i;t . . I shared a rather general
fli< it v Th** Englishman was here
flt I>< itrix, putting In his leave of
fl* n*> If they mooned for van
fl* *i I lorados, one saw no tear-stalns
B I thought the pair of them at
fl : * <1 of the table looked happy
fl .Ji, pretty comfortable for dislllu*
fli **i fortune hunters. Presently 1
fl S. : h Ixunarr to myself, and was
fl • impure into the mystery when
fl •- : the very subject from the tip
I tny tongue.
fl 1 Law l>» 'U hoping for a word with
flt. ’ir’landt,” she said: "it’s about
fl ;\ Smith. She needs your as
fli am not a divorce lawyer,’’ 1
I ti *n e, Courtlandt," she answer
g * \ love each other. They are
fl c-in you gather the slgnlfl-
fl- i< h an undreamed of ending
I effort each of them made to
fl >?' a fortune?"
I I : aid. "Beatrix cannot need
I i<• Poets tell us that lovers
fl 1,1 iiV ’ll tn this land of trolley
fl * : >; indies, but sonn where on
fl b.uds they are happy.”
I y dear boy," said Sarah Le
[ might take a stone bruise
f n in the thumb even on a
fl 1 i land."
I I answered; "Iho Well at
r * End is there, and whoso-
I <ih ’hereof shall bo perfect
[ atns are perfect, and around
f H this land Lethe, the Hi ver
I’ 1 ••• "««, rolls its watery labyrinth,
i iot interrupt me; tho human
I : with a longing that cannot
I I for this enchanted country
[ i tell me. Beatrix walks with
f r , ! |! ' ' -liman."
I said Sarah Lemarr. "Who
r irl. Courtlandt?"
I " you go," I said, "demonstrat-
I -Ti atest unwritten truth about
[ namely, that every reflec-
r ll :i * ' ; from a experience.
I'" !- .doles sin. ho has robbed his
I 1 in his youth; if one apost ro-
I V( ‘. he is about to marry Miss
L n Eorty-eighth street. The girl
L ‘ o. dear Madame von Hubert,
f 'storlous fairy-woman, dattgh
i 'bu Jaffer, surnained the A’ic
i J ' < ond Caliph of Bagdad under
L of the Abbasidea, asleep
F 'k carpet in Arabia."
Lf' ° impossible German person
L ... ' ,o Inquire if 1 thought the
[ s were canned. J did not think
L f canned, and he was content;
L ' inent gave Sarah Lemarr a
, ■seized It with tho practi-
C ‘ Biess of a Now Bedford skip-
L y Courtlandt,” she said, "bo
Beatrix needs 140,000."
L b’inal of Beatrix,” 1 replied.
L , 'ns need only a couple of hun-
[(■ ,iro going to be nasty about
P *i'ult," she said, "1 will never
L .‘. ' again. You must help
L ' hud this 140.000. The poor
f'u / '' , worried nbout It.
L. (nu rtlandt, when the two of
kl ti , ft ßer tho honeymoon to
Himi , < OEla, e all Castilian haze, In-
.’h a c onventlonal separation
‘ n ,ove with each other like
n|'i, '* of Breton peasants. Beatrix
1 about » h <» 1» lovely. Sho
*>' x ', f Want the money for herself;
Mh u . k ,o Lieut. Gordon
kid ’ When his debts are
r«uu,u ' vlll ** made a captain and
ll*. ,i ,0 ***■ old regiment in In
®<trix adores India; she is
»e dlf-
p »en
art la
<'k to
quite content to go out there and live
quietly on a captain’s pay, an(l | OTe
•er * g Eugilshman and be/happy. But
she wants his debts cleared off* *hls
honor untarnished.’ she calls It It
seems to mean a lot to her. and she Is
so absurdly in love with the tail sol
dier that it is enough to break a body’s
heart. Now, Courtlandt, where are we
to get this money for her?"
"Unfortunately” I replied, "I do
not at this moment think of a conven
ient orphan to rob. How would It
do to rifle the poor box at St
Sarah ignored my second of
fense aftnr the manner of a woman,
and, likewise, true to the same man
ner, gave the remainder of the story
after having asked a decision In the
midst of it.
"You remember Beatrix owned sev
eral thousand acres of forest land back
somewhere In the Alleghanles, In some
county of the Virginias. I^et—me—see,
she said the name had been a fortu
nate one for the first Captain Smith In
America, and ought not to fail the sec
ond one."
"Pocahontas," 1 suggested.
"How stupid!" sho said. "Of course,
Pocahontas. Well, some lumber com
pany has managed to steal half of
Beatrix’s land, and It. and some other
rival companies, now want to buy the
remainder of her. They will give
$20.000. They have been dogging her
footsteps ever since she landed In
New York. But this Is only $20,000.
and Beatrix needs $40.000. If she
could get back the land which has
been stol* n. it would bring the other
$20.000. | don't know how they man
aged to get it. Beatrix has tho
whole story In detail, with maps
and so forth. I think she failed
to pay the taxes at some time,
and they stole it that way. Now,
Courtlandt, you must induce Mr. Ma
son to g.*t Beatrix's land for her.
Sho is stopping with me, you know.
Bring him to my house tomorrow for
dinner. IJeut. Gordon Smith is going
to Washington tomorrow to call on the
British legation and will not return un
til very late; but ho knows nothing
about It. Beatrix Is the business agent
for the pair of them."
I smiled at tho artlessness of Mme.
von Hubert. "Certainly," I said; "but
why not bring tho man in tho moon,
t<M», and the Witch of Endor. Ran
dolph Mason is hardly the sort of per
son that goes out to dinner."
"Well, then." said Sarah
"bring him alter dinner. 1 will write
him a little note."
I <ould have laughed In the girl's
face. "What will you say in your lit
tle note?" 1 inquired
"Oh, well, what any one would say,"
she answered, "that I wish to see him
on an important business matter."
"And do you know," 1 said, "what
would happen to your little note?"
"What woubl happen to It?" she
said. Her chin went up. She was a
social overlord, this Mme. von Hubert.
Her Invitations were commands. The
social aspirant dreamed of their com
ing. as of that of Abou ben Adhem's
"This would happen." I answered.
"Randolph Mason would rip open the
envelope with his long linger, fold back
the paper where you creased it across
tho middle, and drop It Into tho waste
A red flush sprang up along her dog
collar of diamonds. I hurried to ex
plain. "I beg your pardon." I said;
"but you must think of Randolph Ma
son ah you would of an eccentric scien
tist—Darwin or Agassiz—an intel
lectual recluse without emotions, a
sort of Hindoo ascetic of a high order.
You could not write any of these such
a note; neither could you write such a
not to him. Now, there Is a sort of
note which you might writ© to any ol
these, and you might try such a note
cn him. although I have little hope
of It.”
Mme. von Hubert's head was still In
the air. "You moan." sho said, "such a
note ought to run: ’Will the ogro kind
ly meet a klssablc fairy on tho north
aldo of the hawthorn thicket at moon
rise?’ 1 believe your scientist, no mat
ter how old. usually comes out of his
shell for this sort ot thing." But sho
could not keep her exquisite good na
ture under a bushel for long. Sho
la gan to laugh. "Really, Courtlandt,
to be serious, what ought I to writo
him? Wo must have his help for
Beatrix." . 4
"Tho sort of note," 1 said, "that jou
would write to a famous archaeologist,
if you wished him to call and examine
a rare Egyptian pot, or to a numis
matist If you possessed a coin of ho
time of Cyrus, or to a bacteriologist If
you had a culture of the bubonic
plague for him. Invite him to the ex
amination of a mse of rare and Inter
esting Injustice, at your residence on
Eighty sixth street at nine oclock to-
Twm X'on •<>
note a '» d<rta«.'b«t the
elble German suddenly reallied that
he ought to talk, and at “L
U , W " h ' Wo resisted J
?o'n , <:.“ " X?d“ nd then gave tt up
lor .n’ther Sedan. We were rwcued
finally bv Mnie. Castalgne. who gave
fragment, frou. Moltere. I
to get a further word with Deßlr

Smith, but Mrs. Burgoyne-Hayes de
scended on me.
I must present you to the prince,
Courtlandt," she said. “Your great
grandfather on your mother's side, I
think, was a soldier of our King
"Yes, madam," I said, "but the grand
duke of Hesse-Darmstadt drew his
I did not see the note which Mme.
von Hubert wrote to Randolph Ma
son; but it was effective. He request
ed me to return after dinner and ac
company him to Eighty-sixth street.
The von Huberts have a residence
on Eighty-sixth street. We ar
rived there on the hour and
were shown into the library. Ran
dolph Mason at once sat down in a
heavy black oak chair before the fire.
This chair was. a massive and curious
piece. It was carved by the peasants
of the Black Forest for the baron’s
grandfather. The tortuous shapes
forming its arms and legs are like the
gargoyles to be seen under the roofs
of castles on the Rhine, and now and
then In Paris.
1 was impressed by the picture of
Mason in this massive chair. His long,
sinewy fingers gripping the writhing
features of the hideous oaken mon
sters, his face thrown partly into
shadow by the flaming logs on the
hearth. The masterful Iron face, tho
lean, hard Jaw with its projecting chin,
the fearless, bony nose appearing in
the fantastic light flattened a little at
the end, like that of a beast of prey,
and the craggy forehead—all colored,
browned, reddened by the fire.
1 heard the latch of the door click,
and looked up to see Beatrix Smith
standing on the threshold, looking at
Mason with profound Interest. Her lips
were parted and her eyes wide. She
had not thought to como on this curi
ous picture of the middle ages taken
down from some Italian gallery and
propped up here in the library of the
von Huberts. She bowed to me, crossed
tho room nnd sat down by the library
table a little beyond Randolph Mason,
at the corner of the fire.
Presently Mason looked up at her.
"Is this Mme. von Hubert?" ho said,
without rising, without an Inflection of
interest or courtesy, as he would have
said: "Is this the contract?" "The
bond in question?”
She flushed a little. "No,” she an
swered; "I am merely the interesting
case that you came to examine into.”
"Give me the details of it,” said
She began at once without introduc
tion or verbiage and told her story
with a brevity nnd directness that I
could not associate with that rather
silly Beatrix Waldo who used to go
up and down through tho drawing
rooms of Newport looking for a rich
She had inherited from her father
two thousand acres of wild forest land
In the county of Pocahontas In the
state of West Virginia. She and her
aunt had watched It carefully and paid
the taxes on it each year; they had
even taken the little local newspaper,
published at the county seat, in or
der that they might know what lands
were returned delinquent for taxes and
sold. They had been warned against
the horde at dangerous and unscrupu
lous land thieves said to Infest the
mountain districts of the Virginias.
But her great care was not sufficient
against the ingenuity of these pirates.
After one of the periodic assessments
of real estate, one thousand acres of
her estate were listed on the land
books under the name of Walden, re
turned delinquent, and sold for taxes.
The land was purchased by Gilbert
Williams, president of the Black Creek
Lumber company, for |36.85. She had
paid no attention to the sale, not
recognizing her land under this name
until she came to have the estate sur
veyed a few months ago, some five or
six years after its purchase at the tax
sale by Gilbert Williams. She also
learned that the whole thing was a
well planned and effective scheme of
this owner of the Black Creek Lumber
company to steal her land. These wild
lands had vastly increased in value.
This company and a rival one, the
Export Spruce company, were exceed
ingly anxious to purchase the remain
ing tract. They would give, she
thought, twenty dollars an acre for it.
The agents of the two companies had
been at her heels ever since she ar
rived tn New York. Gilbert Williams
was now at the Fifth Avenue hotel.
He bad endeavored to reach her by
telephone this very evening. He of
fered a little better price than the
Export Spruce company, but he could
well afford to, since he it was that
had stolen half the land. The agent
of the Export Spruce company was
at the Holland. His note, on the table,
requested an interview with her at
any hour she would name, day or
night. Tills Indicated how very de
sirous they were for the land. Such
a sale would yield her twenty thou
sand dollars. All the lands would have
given her the forty thousand which
she needed. Her name now was
Beatrix Smith; she had married Lieu-
tenant Gordon Smith the year before,
lie was In Washington today, but
would return before eleven o’clock this
That was the whole history, brief,
accurate and devoid of superfluous
comment. She had there on the table
the original deed, maps and tax re
Mason's face showed marked annoy
ance, as that of an eminent surgeon
would, who, having been sent for in
hot haste, arrives to find the patient
with p bumped nose.
“Why do you send for me?” he
said; "any lawyer could adjust this
"It is vital to me,” replied the
woman; “it means my happiness and
my husband’s career. I beg you to
help me.”
Her eyes began to fill up and her
lips trembled with distress.
Randolph Mason gave no attention
to the woman's emotions. He sat,
beating the tips of his fingers on the
arms of the chair, with evident annoy
"Let us get the thing over, then,”
he said. “Call up this man Gilbert
Williams. Say to him that Mrs. Smith
has determined to sell the lands; ask
him to come here at once with a
"What!” cried Beatrix Smith, "sell
the land to the man who
robbed me! How can that help?*'
"Madam," aaid Randolph Mason, "do
np^ worry me with petty bickering"
I signaled Beatrix Smith to a con
ference with me in the hall. "Do ex
actly as he says," I whispered when
we were ontside the door, "and hurry."
She promised and went swiftly up
stairs to the telephone.
In a very few minutes Gilbert Wil
liams arrived. He was a red-haired
old fellow with a face like a fox. and
beady eyes set obliquely in his head.
Randolph Mason arose when he came
in, and explained that as Mrs. Smith
wished to leave America at once, she
had determined to sell her lands, pro
vided cash was paid. The lands were
worth thirty thousand dollars, but her
husband was absent and could not
convey his curtesy in the deed. She
would therefore take twenty thousand
cash and make a deed on the spot.
Gilbert Williams snapped up the offer.
He did not care anything about the
curtesy of the husband. The land
itself was worth nothing, the timber
only was valuable. His mills would
cut it oft in a year, and he was willing
to take the chance of Mrs. Smith's
living that long. He produced a deed,
which he had brought with him to
New York, and ran a pen through the
blank which it contained for the hus
band's name. Beatrix signed the deed,
and the notary who accompanied Wil
liams filled in the acknowledgment
and affixed his seal in proper form.
Gilbert Williams wrote out a check
on the Importers’ Bank of Commerce
for twenty thousand dollars. We ascer
tained by telephone to the cashier
at his residence that the check was
good. Williams then folded his deed,
put it In his pocket and departed with
the notary. The whole matter had
taken less than twenty minutes to bring
to a close.
Randolph Mason inquired at what
V J/ (
hour Lieutenant Gordon Smith would
arrive, and was told that he would be
at the house at half-past ten. “Direct
the agent of the Export Spruce com
pany to be here at that hour." ho
said. Then he eat down in the oak
chair before the Are.
We were all greatly puzzled. We
did not see why this second purchaser
should be invited to come. Beatrix
Smith had nothing more to sell. The
transaction seemed to us to have ar
rived at Its Anal act, the curtain down
and the lights out.
Sarah came down to the hall
and jx‘cped through the door at Ma
son, where he sat motionless, his
right elbow on the twisted arm of the
grotesquely carved chair, his clenched
fingers propping up his jaw.
“O Courtlandt," she whispered, "he
is splendid! I think Lancelot must
have looked like that when he sat
in Arthur’s double-dragon rd chair to
umpire the last tournament. Just
fancy, with what freezing, acid irony
he would have said, ‘Hast thou won?*
‘Art thou the purest brother?* to such
an unconscionable rake as Tristan.**
Then she swore Beatrix to obedience
and slipped back up the great stair
▲ few minutes after ten o’clock.
Lieutenant Gordon Smith arrived, and,
a little later, the agent of the Export
Spruce company. Mason arose whan
this agent entered, and explained, aa
he had done to Gilbert Williams, that
Mrs. Smith was about to sail for Eng
land, and had decided to sell her laud.
She would take twenty thousand dol
lars in cash for it, the deed to be exe
cuted and the money to be paid down.
The agent agreed at once, and pro
duced his deed. He was prepared as
Williams was. Mason directed Beatrix
Smith and her husband to execute the
deed. I had no end of trouble with
Beatrix in the hall this time. She
did not want to make another deed;
she had sold her land; she would not
rob the Export Spruce company. It
was not the company that had stolen
her land; Mr. Mason had clearly got
ten the two companies confused. He
was making an awful blunder I must
call him out and set him right about
Instead, I called Sarah D.-marr. She
berated Beatrix like a pirate. Disobey
Randolph Mason? the thing was un
thinkable! Make a mistake** not that
big. fine, bronze god brooding by his
sacred Are. "Why, girl," she said, "I
would shoot every one of you in your
tracks if that man told me to do it.
He is adorable. I could follow him
around like a dog and bite people If
he whistled to me. Not another word
out of you, or I will come down with
the dog-whip." And she shook her
little clenched hand over the banis
Finally we got the matter over.
Beatrix and her husband executed the
deed. I got a notary from the Plaza.
The agent gave certified drafts on
Dexter & Company for the twenty
thousand dollars, and, like Gilbert
Williams, folded his deed and depart
Beatrix Smith bearded the lion with
eyes swimming in tears. "Mr. Ma
son,” she said, "you have made a ter
rible mistake. The Export Spruce
company is not the one who stole my
land. I cannot take its money; it
will not get the property " And she
went on with a torrent of lamentation.
"Madam," said Mason, rising, "all
♦his is drivel. I have made no mistake.
The Export Spruce company will get
every acre that it has this night pur
chased." Then he directed Beatrix to
cash the checks at the earliest hour in
the morning and sail at once for Eng
When we went down the steps to
his carriage, Sarah Lemarr slipped out
from behind the door and caught my
arm "I shall see to it," she whis
pered. "They shall sail on the St. Paul
at eleven o’clock." Then she gripped
me until her nails hurt through my
sleeve. "Oh, Courtlandt," she said. "I
have at last seen a man'" and she
closed the big door behind me.
The solution of the matter arrived a
month later. I was taking a hasty
luncheon at a down-town cafe, when
Freddie Harland of the firm of Milton,
Harland & Gaynor, came in and seated
himself in the chair beside me.
"Hello. Parks,” he said. "Old Wil
liams tells me you wore present when
he bought a gold brick the other
"You mean the Smith deed?" I said.
"Well, rather," he answered. “Wil
liams took it down to West Virginia
to have it recorded, and discovered, to
u*»e his spec’acular language, that it
was not worth ‘three hurrahs in hell’.’*
"What was wrong with It?” I said.
"It did not convey the husband’s cur
tesy. I know; but Williams know that
too. He did not care for that. lih
said: he could cut the timber off in
a year and he was willing to take the
chance of Mrs. Smith living until
“That," replied Freddie Harland, “Is
a mere bagatelle in the trouble. It
seems that the supreme court of West
Virginia has decided that a deed made
by a w ife, in which the husband does
not join, conveys no estate of any
character whatever, is merely a worth
less piece of paper. The Export Spruce
company has the land under a proper
deed. Mrs. Beatrix Smith has van
ished into the fog '•eyond Fire Island
and the bob-cats have pre-empted old
William’s mills."
"Good," I said, "good! Gilbert stole
half that land, so the chicken is home
to roost."
“We reminded him of that." replied
Freddie Harland, "when he began to
jump around tn the office."
For the legal principle involved
In this story see Austin et al.
v. Brown et al., 37 W. Va., 634.
Syllabus, Austin et al. v. Brown
et al., supra. ‘‘M. A. 8., a mar
ried woman, not living separate
and apart, but with her husband,
undertook by deed ... to
sell and convey a certain tract
of land, part of her real estate
. . . Held, said pretended deed
was wholly Ineffectual to divest
M. A. 8., the grantor, of her own
ership of such land, and did not
pass any interest therein, legal
or equitable, to the said
Unsinkable Ship.
Plana for iud unsinkable trans-Atlan
tic ship have been made by Otto Kret
schmer, dean of the engineering de
partment of the Charlottenburg Tech
nical high school. In them he em
bodies the principle of constructing a
hull writhin a hull. The inner body,
which is entirely independent of the
outer, contains all the engines and
boilers and Is walled in with steel
pladng and with no doors to the outer
A Carping Friend.
‘‘A college offers me a degree for a
"Do you want to be a college youth?*’
“No; but I’d like a degree."
"Oh, why spend all that moaeyT
Join the boy scouU."
•ifcl .
A*l .’*

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