The Trumpeter: In Two Parts. Part Two

IN TWO PARTS. PART TWO.

IT was at Laramie, between the mountains, and Henniker was celebrating the present and drowning the past in a large, untramineled style, when he received a letter from the quartermaster-sergeant at Caster, — a plain statement until the end, where Henniker read : — “ If you should happen at any time to wish for news of your son, Meadows and his wife have taken the child. They came on here to get him, and Meadows insisted on standing the expense of the funeral, which was the best we could give her for the credit of the troop. He put a handsome stone over her, with ‘ Meta, wife of Trumpeter Henniker, K Troop ——th U. S. Cavalry,’ on it; and there it stands to her memory, poor girl, and to your shame, a false, cruel, and cowardly man in your treatment of her. And so every one of us holds you, officers and men the same, — of your old troop that walked behind her to her grave. And where were you, Henniker, and what were you doing this day two weeks, when we were burying your poor wife ? The twenty dollars you sent her by Billy, Meadows has, and says he will keep it till he sees you again. Which some of us think it will be a good while he will be packing that Judas piece around with him. — And so good-by, Henniker. I might have said less, or I might have said nothing at all, but that the boy is a fine child, my wife says, and must have a grand constitution to stand what he has stood; and I have a fondness for you myself when all is said and done.

“ P. S. I would take a thought for that boy once in a while, if I was you. A man does n’t care for the brats when he is young, but age cures us of all wants but the want of a child.”

But Henniker was not ready to go back to the Meadows cottage and be clothed in the robe of forgiveness, and receive his babe like a pledge of penitence on his hand.

The shock of the letter sobered him at first, and then the sting of it drove him to drinking harder than ever. He did not run upon that “good thing ” at Laramie, nor in any of the cities westward that one after another beheld the progress of his deterioration. It does not take long in the telling, but it was several years before he finally struck upon the “ Barbary Coast ” in San Francisco, where so many mothers’ sons who never were heard of have gone down. He went ashore, but he did not quite go to pieces. His constitution had matured under healthy conditions, and could stand a good deal of ill-usage ; but we are “ no stronger than our weakest part,” and at the end of all he found himself in a hospital-bed under treatment for his knee. — the same that had been mulcted for him twice before.

He listened grimly to the doctor’s explanations,— how the past sins of his whole impenitent system were being vicariously reckoned for through this one afflicted member. It was rough on his old knee, Henniker remarked ; but he had hopes of getting out all right again, and he made the usual sick-bed promises to himself. He did get out, eventually, without a penny in the world, and with a stiff knee to drag about for the rest of his life. And he was just thirty-four years old.

His splendid vitality, that had been wont to express itself in so many attractive ways, now found its chief vent in talk — inexpensive, inordinate, meddlesome discourse — wherever two or three were gathered together in the name of idleness and discontent. The members of these congregations were pessimists to a man. They disbelieved in everybody and everything except themselves, and secretly, at times, they were even a little shaken on that head; but all the louder they exclaimed upon the world that had refused them the chance to be the great and successful characters nature had intended them to be.

It need hardly be said that when Henniker raved about the inequalities of class, the helplessness of poverty, the tyranny of wealth, and the curse of labor ; and devoted in eloquent phrases the remainder of a blighted existence to the cause of the Poor Man, he was thinking of but one poor man, namely, himself. He classed himself with Labor only as he might feel his superiority to the laboring masses. There were few situations in which he could taste his superiority, in these days. The “ ego ” in his Cosmos was very hungry ; his memories were bitter, his hopes unsatisfied ; his vanity and artistic sense were crucified through poverty, lameness, and bad clothes. Now all that was left him was the conquests of the mind. For the smiles of women, give him the hoarse plaudits of men. The dandy of the garrison began to shine in saloon coteries and primaries of the most primary order. He was the star of sidewalk convocations and vacant lot meetings of the Unemployed. But he despised the mob that echoed his perorations and paid for his drinks, and was at heart the aristocrat that his old uniform had made him.

In the summer of 1894, a little blackeyed boy with chestnut curls used to swing on the gate of the Meadows cottage that opens upon the common, and chant some verses of domestic doggerel about Coxey’s army, which was then begging and bullying its way eastward, and demanding transportation at the expense of the railroads and of the people at large.

He sang his song to the well-marked tune of Pharaoh’s Army, and thus the verses ran: —

“ The Coxeyites they gathered,
The Coxeyites they gathered,
And stole a train of freight-cars in the morn.
And stole a train of freight-cars in the morning,
And stole a train of freight-cars in the morn.
“ The engine left them standing,
The engine left them standing,
On the railroad-track at Caldwell in the morn.
Very sad it was for Caldwell in the morning
To feed that hungry army in the morn.
“ Where are all the U. S. marshals,
The deputy U. S. marshals,
To jail that Coxey army in the morn,
That ’industrious, law-abiding ’ Coxey’s army
That stole a train of freight-ears in the morn ? ”

Where indeed were all the U. S. marshals ? The question was being asked with anxiety in the town, for a posse of them had gone down to arrest the defiant train-stealers, and it was rumored that the civil arm had been disarmed, and the deputies carried on as prisoners to Pocatello, where the Industrials, two hundred strong, were intrenched in the sympathies of the town, and knocking the federal authorities about at their law-abiding pleasure. Pocatello is a division town on the Union Pacific Railroad ; it is full of the company’s shops and men, the latter all in the American Railway Union or the Knights of Labor, and solid on class issues, right or wrong ; and it was said that the master workman was expected at Pocatello to speak on the situation, and, if need arose, to call out the trades all over the land in support of the principle that tramp delegations shall not walk. Disquieting rumors were abroad, and there was relief in the news that the regulars had been called on to sustain the action of the federal court.

The troops at Bisuka barracks were under marching orders. While the town was alert to see them go they tramped away one evening, just as a shower was clearing that had emptied the streets of citizens ; and before the ladies could say “ There they go,” and call each other to the windows, they were gone.

Then for a few days the remote little capital, with Coxeyites gathering and threatening its mails and railroad service, waited in apprehensive curiosity as to what was going to happen next. The party press on both sides seized the occasion to point a moral on their own account, and some said, “ Behold the logic of McKinleyism,” and others retorted. “ Behold the shadow of the Wilson Bill stalking abroad over the land. Let us fall on our faces and pray ! ” But most people laughed instead, and patted the Coxeyites on the back, preferring their backs to their faces.

It seemed as if it might be time to stop laughing and gibing and inviting the procession to move on, when a thousand or more men, calling themselves American citizens, were parading their idleness through the land as authority for lawlessness and crime, and when our sober regulars had to be called out to quell a Falstaff’s army. The regulars, be sure, did not enjoy it. If there is a sort of service our soldiers would like to be spared, doubtless it is disarming crazy Indians ; but they prefer even that to standing up to be stoned and insulted and chunked with railroad iron by a mob which they are ordered not to fire upon, or to entering a peaceful country which has been sown with dynamite by patriotic labor unions, or prepared with cut-bridges by sympathetic strikers.

We are here to be hurt, so the strong ones tell us, and perhaps the best apology the strong can make to the weak for the vast superiority that training gives is to show how long they can hold their fire amidst a mob of brute ignorances, and how much better they can bear their hurts when the senseless missiles fly. We love the forbearance of our “ unpitied strong; ” it is what we expect of them ; but we trust also in their firmness when the time for forbearance is past.

Little Ross Henniker —named forthat mythical great Scotchman, his supposed grandfather — was deeply disappointed because he did not see the soldiers go. To have lived next door to them all his life, seven whole years, and watched them practicing and preparing to be fit and ready to go, and then not to see them when they did march away for actual service in the field, was hard indeed.

Ross was not only one of those brightest boys of his age known to parents and grandparents by the million, but he was really a very bright and handsome child. If Mother Meadows, now “ granny,” had ever had any doubts at all about the Scottish chief of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the style and presence of that incomparable boy were proof enough. It was a marked case of “ throwing-back.” There was none of the Bannock here. Could he not be trusted like a man to do whatever things he liked to do ; as riding to fetch the cows and driving them hillward again, on the weird little spotted pony, hardly bigger than a dog, with a huge head and a furry cheek and a hanging underlip, which the tributary Bannocks had brought him ? It was while he was on cow-duty far away, but not out of sight of the post, that he saw the column move. “Great Scott! ” how he did ride ! He broke his stick over the pony’s back, and kicked him with his bare heels, and slapped him with his hat, till the pony bucked him off into a sagebush, whence he picked himself up and flew as fast as his own legs would spin: but he was too late. Then, for the first time in six months at least, he howled. Aunt Callie comforted him with fresh strawberry jam for supper ; but the lump of grief remained, until, as she was washing the dishes, she glanced at him, laughing out of the corner of her eye, and began to make up the song about Coxey’s army. For some time Ross refused to smile, but when it came to the chorus about the soldiers who were going

“ To turn back Coxey’s army, hallelujah !
To turn back Coxey’s army, halleloo ! ”

he began to sing “ hallelujah ” too. Then gun-fire broke in with a lonesome sound, as if the cavalry up on the hill missed its comrades of the white stripes who were gone to “turn back ” that ridiculous army.

Mother Meadows wished “ that man Coxey had never been born,” so weary did she get of the Coxey song. Coxeyism had taken complete possession of the young lord of the house, now that his friends the soldiers had gone to take a hand in the business.

In a few days the soldiers came back escorting the Coxey prisoners. The "presence of the troops ” had sufficed. The two hundred Coxeyites were to be tried at Bisuka for crimes committed within the State. They were penned meanwhile in a field by the river, below the railroad track, and at night they were shut into a rough barrack which had been hastily put up for the purpose. A skirt of the town little known, except to the Chinese vegetable gardeners and makers of hay on the river meadows and small boys fishing along the shore, now became the centre of popular regard; and “Have you been down to the Coxey camp ? ” was as common a question as “ Are yon going to the Natatorium Saturday night ? ” or “ Will there be a mail from the West to day ? ”

One evening, Mother Meadows, with little Ross Henniker by the hand, stood close to the dead-line of the Coxey field, watching the groups on the prisoners’ side. The woman looked at them with perplexed pity, but the child swung himself away and cried, “ Pooh ! only a lot of dirty hobos! ” and turned to look at the soldiers.

The tents of the guard of regulars stood in a row in front of a rank of tall poplar-trees, their tops swinging slow in the last sunlight. Behind the trees stretched the green river-flats in shadow. Frogs were croaking; voices of girls could be heard in a tennis-court with a high wall that ran back to the street of the railroad.

Roll-call was proceeding in front of the tents,the men firing their quick, harsh answers like scattering shots along the line. Under the trees at a little distance the beautiful sleek cavalry horses were grouped, unsaddled and calling for their supper. Ross Henniker gazed at them with a look of joy ; then he turned a contemptuous eye upon the prisoners.

“ Which of them two kinds of animals looks most like what a man ought to be ? ” he asked, pointing to the horses and then to the Coxeyites, who in the cool of the evening were indulging in unbeautiful horse - play, not without a suspicion of showing off before the eyes of visitors. The horses in their free impatience were as unconscious as lords.

“ What are you saying, Ross ? ” asked Mrs. Meadows, rousing herself.

“ I say, suppose I’d just come down from the moon, or some place where they don’t know a man from a horse, and you said to me : ‘ Look at these things, and then look at them things over there, and say which is boss of t’other.’ Why, I’d say them things, every time.” Ross pointed without prejudice to the horses.

“My goodness! ” cried Mrs. Meadows, “ if these Coxeys had been taken care of and coddled all their lives like them troop horses, they might not be so handsome, but they’d look a good deal better than what they do. And they’d have more sense,” she added in a lower voice. “ Very few poor men’s sons get the training those horses have had. They’ve learned to mind, for one thing, and to be faithful to the hand that feeds them.”

“ Not all of them don’t,” said Ross, shaking his head wisely. “ There’s kickers and biters and shirks amongst them ; but if they won’t learn and can’t learn, they get ‘ condemned.’ ”

“ And what becomes of them then ? ”

“ Why, you know,” answered the boy, who began to suspect that there was a moral looming in the distance of this bold generalization.

“ Yes,” said Mother Meadows, “ I know what becomes of some of them, because I’ve seen ; and I don’t think a condemned horse looks much better in the latter end of him than a condemned man.”

“ But you can’t leave them in the troop, for they ’d spoil all the rest,” objected the boy.

“ It’s too much for me, dear,” replied the old woman humbly. “ These Coxeys are a kind of folks I don’t understand.”

“I should think you might understand, when the troops have to go out and run ’em in ! I ’m on the side of the soldiers, every time.”

“ Well, that’s simple enough,” said Mrs. Meadows. She was a very mild protagonist, for she could never confine herself to one side of a question. “ I ’m on the side of the soldiers, too. A soldier lias to do what he ’s told, and pays with his life for it, right or wrong.”

“ And I think it s a shame to send the beautiful clean soldiers to shove a lot of dirty hobos back where they belong.”

“ My goodness ! Hush ! you’d better talk less till you get more sense to talk with,” said Mrs. Meadows sternly. A man standing near, with his back to them, had turned around quickly, and she saw by his angry eye that he had overheard. She looked at him again, and knew the man. It was the boy’s father. Ross had bounded away to talk to his friend Corporal Niles.

“ Henniker ! ” exclaimed Mrs. Meadows in a low voice of shocked amazement. “ It don’t seem as if this could be you ! ” “ Let that be! “ said Henniker roughly. “ I did n’t enlist by that name in this army. Who’s that young son of a gun that’s got so much lip on him ? ”

“God help you ! don’t you know your own son ? ”

“ What ? No ! Has he got to be that size already ? “ The man’s weatherbeaten face turned a darker red under the week-old beard that disfigured it. He sat down on the ground, for suddenly he felt weak, and also to hide his lameness from the woman who should have hated him, but who simply pitied him instead. Her face showed a sort of motherly shame for the change that she saw in him. It was very hard to bear. He had not realized fully the change in himself till its effect upon her confronted him. He tried to bluff it off carelessly.

“ Bring the boy here. I have a word to say to him.”

“ You should have said it long ago, then.” Mrs. Meadows was hurt and indignant at his manner. “ What has been said is said, for good and all. It’s too late to unsay it now.”

“What do you mean by that, Mrs. Meadows ? Am I the boy’s father or am I not ? ”

“ You are not the father he knows. Do you think I have been teaching him to be ashamed of the name he bears ? ”

“ Old lady,” cried Henniker the Coxeyite, “ have you been stuffing that boy about his dad as you did the mother about hers ? ”

“ I have told him the truth, partly. The rest, if it was not the truth, ought to have been,” answered Mrs. Meadows stoutly. “ I have put the story right, as an honest man would have lived it. Whatever you’ve been doing with yourself these years, it ’s your own affair, not the boy’s nor mine. Keep it to yourself now. You were too good for them once, — the mother and the child ; they can do without you now.”

“ That ’s all right.” said Henniker, wincing; “but as a matter of curiosity let me hear how you have put it up.”

“ How I have what ? ”

“ How you have dressed up the story to the boy. I ’d like to see myself with a woman’s eyes once more.”

Mrs. Meadows looked him over and hesitated ; then her face kindled. “ I’ve told him that his father was a beautiful clean man,” she said, using unconsciously the boy’s words, “and rode a beautiful horse, and saluted his captain so ! ” She pointed to the corporal of the guard who was at that moment reporting. “ I told him that when the troops went you had to leave your young wife behind you, and she could not be kept from following you with her child ; and by a cruel mischance you passed each other on the road, and you never knew till you had got to her old home and heard she was dead and buried; and you were so broke up that you could n’t bear your life in the place where you used to be with her ; and you were a sorrowful wandering man that he must pray for, and ask God to bring you home. You never came near us, Henniker, or thought of coming; but could I tell your own child that ? Indeed, I would be afraid to tell him what did happen on that road from Custer station, for fear when he’s a man he ’d go hunting you with a shotgun. Now where is the falsehood here ? Is it in me, or in you, who have made it as much as your own life is worth to tell the truth about you to your son? Was it the truth, Henniker? Sure, man, you did love her ! What did you want with her else ? Was it the truth that they told us at Custer ? There are times when I can’t believe it myself. If there is a word you could say for yourself, — say it, for the child’s sake! You would n’t mind speaking to an old woman like me ? There was a time when I would have been proud to call you my son.”

“ You are a good woman, Mrs. Meadows, but I cannot lie to you, even for the child’s sake. And it’s not that I don’t know how to lie, for God knows I’m nothing but a lie this blessed minute ! What do I care for such cattle as these ? ” He had risen, and waved his hand contemptuously toward his fellow-martyrs. “ Well, I must be going. I see they ’re passin’ around the flesh-pots. We ’re livin’ like fighting-cocks here, on a restaurant contract. There "Il be a big deal in it for the marshal. I suspect.” Henniker winked, and his face fell info the lowest of its demoralized expressions.

“ There ’s no such thing ! ” said Mrs. Meadows indignantly. “ Some folks are willing to work for very little these hard times, and give good value for their money. You had better eat and be thankful, and leave other folks alone ! ”

Little Ross coming up heard but the last words, and saw his granny’s agitation and the familiar attitude of tlie strange Coxeyite. His quick temper flashed out: “ Get out with you ! Go off where you belong, you dirty man ! ”

Mrs. Meadows caught the boy, and whirled him around and shook him. “ Never, never let me hear you speak like that to any man again ! ”

“Why?” he demanded.

“ I ’ll tell you why, some day, if I have to. Pray God I may never need to tell you ! ”

“Why? ” repeated the boy, wondering at her excitement.

“ Come away, — come away home ! ” she said, and Ross saw that her eyes were red with unshed tears. He hung behind her and looked back.

“ He’s lame.” said he, half to himself. “ I would n’t have spoken that way if I ’d known he had a game leg.”

“ Who‘s lame ? “ asked Mrs. Meadows.

“ The Coxeyite. See. He limps bad.”

“ Did n’t, I tell you ! We never know, when we call names, what sore spots we may be hitting. You may have sore spots of your own some day.”

“ I hope I sha’n’t be lame,” mused the boy. “And I hope I sha’n be a Coxey.”

The Coxeyites had been in camp a fortnight when their trial began. Twice a day the prisoners were marched up the streets of Bisuka to the court-house, and back again to camp, till the citizens became accustomed to the strange, unrepublican procession. The prisoners were herded along the middle of the street; on either side of them walked the marshals, and outside of the line of civil officers the guard of infantry or cavalry, the officers riding and the men on foot.

This was the last march of the Coxeyites. Many citizens looking on were of the opinion that if these men desired to make themselves an “ object-lesson" to the nation, this was their best chance of being useful in that capacity.

For two weeks, day by day, in the prisoner’s field, Henniker had been confronted with the contrast of his old service with his present demoralization. He had been a conspicuous figure among the Industrials until they came in contact with the troops, and then suddenly he subsided, and was heard and seen as little as possible. Not for all that a populist congress could vote, out of the pockets of the people into the pockets of the tramp petitioners, would he have posed as one of them before the eyes of an officer, or a man, of his old regiment, who might remember him as Trumpeter Henniker of K troop. But the daily march to the court-house was the deathsickness of his pride. Once he had walked these same streets with his head as high as any man’s ; and it had been, “ How are you, Henniker ? ” and “ Step in, Henniker ; ” or Callie had been laughing and falling out of step on his arm, or Meta — poor little Meta — waiting for him when the darkness fell!

Now the women ran to the windows and crowded the porches, and stared at him and his ill-conditioned comrades as if they had been animals belonging to a different species.

But Henniker was mistaken here. The eyes of the pretty girls were for the “ pretty soldiers.” It was all in the day’s work for the soldiers, who tramped indifferently along ; but the officers looked bored, as if they were neither proud of the duty nor of the display of it which the times demanded.

On the last day’s march from the courthouse to the camp, there was a clamor of voices that drowned the shuffling and tramping of the feet. The prisoners were all talking at once, discussing the sentences which the court had just announced : the leaders and those taken in acts of violence to be imprisoned at hard labor for specified times; the rank and file to be put back on their stolen progress as far westward, whence they came, as the borders of the State would allow; there to be staked out, as it were, on the banks of the Snake River, and guarded for sixty days by the marshals, supported by the inevitable “ presence of the troops.”

But the sentence that Henniker heard was that private one which his own child had spoken : “ Get out with you ! Go back where you belong, you dirty man ! ” He had wished at the time that he could make the proud youngster feel the sting of his own lash: but that thought had passed entirely, and been merged in the simple hurt of a father’s longing for his son. “ If he were mine,” he bitterly confessed, “ if that little cock-a-whoop rascal would own me and love me for his dad, I swear to God I could begin my life again ! But now, what next ? ”

There had been a stoppage ahead, the feet pressing on had slackened step, when there, with his back to the high iron gates of the capitol-grounds, was the beautiful child again. A young woman stood beside him, a fine, wholesome girl like a full-blown cottage rose, with auburn hair, an ivory-white throat, and a back as flat as a trooper’s. It was Callie, of course, with Meta’s child. The cup of Henniker’s humiliation was full.

The boy stood with his chin up, his hat on the back of his head, his plump hands spread on the hips of his white knickerbockers. He was dressed in his best, as he had come from a children’s fête. Around his neck hung a prize which he had won in the games, a silver dog-whistle on a scarlet ribbon. He caught it to his lips and blew a long piercing trill, his dark eyes smiling, the wind blowing the short curls across his cheek.

“ There he is, the lame one ! I made him look round,” said Ross.

Henniker had turned, for one long look — the last, he thought — at his son. All the singleness and passion of the mother, the fire and grace and daring of the father, were in the promise of his childish face and form. He flushed, not a self-conscious, but an honest, generous blush, and took his hat away off his head to the lame Coxeyite — “ because I was mean to him ; and they are down and done for now, the Coxeys.”

“ Whose kid is that ? ” asked the man who walked beside Henniker, seeing the gesture and the look that passed between the man and the boy. “ He ’s as handsome as they make ’em,” he added, smiling.

Henniker did not reply in the proud word “Mine.” A sudden heat rushed to his eyes, his chest was tight to bursting. He pulled his hat down and tramped along. The shuffling feet of the prisoners passed on down the middle of the street; the double line of guards kept step on either side. The dust arose and blended the moving shapes, prisoners and guards together, and blotted them out in the distance.

Callie had not seen her old lover at all. Great is the recuperative power of the human heart.” She had been looking at Corporal Niles, who could not turn his well-drilled head to look at her. But a side-spark from his blue eye shot out in her direction, and made her blush and cease to smile. Corporal Niles carried his head a little higher and walked a little straighter after that ; and Callie went slowly through the gates, and sat a long while on one of the benches in the park, with her elbow resting on the iron scroll and her cheek upon her hand.

She was thinking about the Coxeyites’ sentence, and wondering if the cavalry would have to go down to the stockade prison on the Snake ; for in that case Corporal Niles would have to go, and the wedding be postponed. Everybody knows it is bad luck to put off a wedding-day ; and besides, the yellow roses she had promised her corporal to wear would all be out of bloom, and no other roses but those were the true cavalry yellow.

But the cavalry did not go down till after the wedding, which took place on the evening appointed, at the Meadows cottage, between “ Sound off ” and “ Taps.” The ring was duly blessed, and the father’s and mother’s kiss was not wanting. The primrose radiance of the summer twilight shone as strong as lamplight in the room, and Callie, in her white dress, with her auburn braids gleaming through the wedding-veil and her lover’s colors in the roses on her breast, was as sweet and womanly a picture as any mother could wish to behold.

When little Ross came up to kiss the bride, he somehow forgot, and flung his arms first around Corporal Niles’s brown neck.

“ Corporal, I ’m twice related to the cavalry now,” said he. “ I had a father in it, and now I’ve got an uncle in it.”

“ That’s right,” the corporal agreed : “ and if you have any sort of luck you "ll be in it yourself some day.”

“ But not in the ranks,” said Ross firmly. “ I ’m going to West Point, you know.”

“ Bless his heart! ” cried Callie, catching the boy in her arms ; “and how does he think he ’s going to get there? ”

“ I shall manage it somehow,” said Ross, struggling. He was very fond of aunt Callie, but a boy does n’t like to be hugged so before bis military acquaintances, and in Ross’s opinion there had been a great deal too much kissing and hugging, not to speak of crying, already, He did not see why there should be all this fuss just because Aunt Callie was going up to the barracks to live, in the jolliest little whitewashed cabin, with a hop-vine hanging, like the veil on an old woman’s bonnet, over the front gable, He only wished that the corporal had asked him to go too !

A slight misgiving about his last speech was making Ross uncomfortable. If there was a person whose feelings he would not have wished to hurt for anything in the world, it was Corporal Niles.

“ Corporal,” he amended affectionately, “ if I should be a West Pointer, and should be over you, I should n’t put on any airs, you know. We should be better friends than ever.”

“ I expect we should, captain. I’m looking forward to the day.”

A mild species of corvée had been put in force down on the Snake River while the stockade prison was building. The prisoners as a body rebelled against it, and were not constrained to work ; but a few were willing, and these were promptly stigmatized as “ scabs,” and ill treated by the lordly idlers. Hence they were given a separate camp and treated as trusties.

When the work was done, the trusties were rewarded with their freedom, either to go independently, or to stay and eat government rations till the sixty days of their sentence had expired.

Henniker, in spite of his infirmity, had been one of the hardest volunteer workers. But now the work was done, and the question returned, What next ?

Again he was a free man, as he sat one evening by the river. A dry embankment, warm as an oven to the touch, sloped up to the railroad track above his head ; tufts of young sage and broken stone strewed the face of it; there was not a tree in sight. He heard the river boiling down over the rapids and thundering under the bridge. He heard the trumpets calling the men to quarters.

Lights out ” had sounded some time before. He had been sitting motionless, his knees drawn up, his head resting on his crossed arms. The sound of the trumpets made him choke up like a homesick boy. He sat there till, faintly in the distance, “ Taps ” breathed its slow and sweet good-night.

“ Last call,”he said. “Time to turn in.” He took off the rags in which his child had spurned him.

The next time I’m inspected,” he muttered, “ I shall he a clean man.” So, naked, he slipped into the black water under the bank. The river bore him up and gave him one more chance, but he refused it: with two strokes he was in the midst of the death - current, and it seized him and took him down.

Mary Hallock Foote.