The Man With the Empty Sleeve


THE Doctor closed the book with an angry gesture and handed it to me as I lay in my steamer chair, my eyes on the tumbling sea. He had read every line in it. So had P. Wooverman Shaw Todd, Esquire, whose property it was, and who had announced himself only a moment before as heartily in sympathy with the pessimistic views of the author, especially in those chapters which described domestic life in America.

The Doctor, who has a wrist of steel and a set of fingers steady enough to adjust a chronometer, and who, though calm and silent as a stone god when over an operating table, is often as restless and outspoken as a boy when something away from it touches his heartstrings, turned to me and said : —

“ There ought to be a law passed to keep these men out of the United States. Here’s a Frenchman, now, who speaks no language but his own, and after spending a week at Newport, another at New York, two days at Niagara, and then rushing through the West on a ‘ Limited,’ goes home to give his Impressions of America. Read that chapter on Manners,” and he stretched a hand over my shoulder, turning the leaves quickly with his fingers. “ You would think, to listen to these fellows, that all there is to a man is the cut of his coat or the way he takes his soup. Not a line about his being clean and square and alive and all a man, —just manners ! Why, it is enough to make a cast-iron dog bite a blind man.”

It would be a waste of time to criticise the Doctor for these irrelevant verbal explosives. Indefensible as they are, they are as much parts of his individuality as the deftness of his touch and the fearlessness of his methods are parts of his surgical training.

P. Wooverman Shaw Todd, Esquire, looked at the Doctor with a slight lifting of his upper lip and a commiserating droop of the eyelid, — an expression indicating, of course, a consciousness of that superior birth and breeding which prevented the possibility of such outbreaks. It was a manner he sometimes assumed toward the Doctor, although they were good friends. P. Wooverman and the Doctor are fellow townsmen and members of the same set, and members too of the same club, — a most exclusive club of one hundred. The Doctor had gained admission, not because of his ancestors etc. (see Log of the Mayflower), but because he had been the first and only American surgeon who had removed some very desirable portions of a gentleman’s interior, had washed and ironed them and scalloped their edges, for all I know, and had then replaced them, without being obliged to sign the patient’s death certificate the next day.

P. Wooverman Shaw Todd, Esquire, on the other hand, had gained admission because of — well, Todd’s birth and his position (he came of an old Salem family who did something in whale oil, — not fish or groceries, be it understood) ; his faultless attire, correct speech, and knowledge of manners and men; his ability to spend his summers in England and his winters in Nice ; his extensive acquaintance among distinguished people, — the very most distinguished, I know, for Todd has told me so himself, — and — well, all these must certainly be considered sufficient qualifications to entitle any man to membership in almost any club in the world.

P. Wooverman Shaw Todd, Esquire, I say, elevated his upper lip and drooped his eyelid, remarking with a slight Beacon Street accent: —

“ I cawn’t agree with you, my dear Doctor,” — there were often traces of the manners and the bearing of a member of the Upper House in Todd, especially when he talked to a man like the Doctor, who wore turned-down collars and detached cuffs, and who, to quote the distinguished Bostonian, “ threw words about like a coal heaver,” — “I cawn’t agree with you, I say. It is n’t the obzervar that we should criticise; it is what he finds.” P. Wooverman was speaking with his best accent. Somehow, the Doctor’s bluntness made him over-accentuate it, — particularly when there were listeners about. “ This French critic is a man of distinction and a member of the most excloosive circles in Europe. I have met him myself repeatedly, although I cawn’t say I know him. We Americans are too sensitive, my dear Doctor. His book, to me, is the work of a keen obzervar who knows the world, and who sees how woefully lacking we are in some of the common civilities of life,” and he smiled faintly at me, as if confident that I shared his opinion of the Doctor’s own shortcomings. “ This Frenchman does not lay it on a bit too thick. Nothing is so mortifying to me as being obliged to travel with a party of Americans who are making their first tour abroad. And it is quite impossible to avoid them, for they all have money and can go where they please. I remember once coming from Basle to Paris, in a first-class carriage, — it was only larst summer, — with a fellow from Indiana or Michigan, or somewhere out there. He had a wife with him who looked like a cook, and a daughter about ten years old, who was a most objectionable young person. You could hear them talk all over the train. I should n’t have minded it so much, but Lord Norton’s harf-brother was with me,”—and P. Wooverman Shaw Todd glanced, as he spoke, at a thin lady with a smelling bottle and an air of reserve, who always sat with a maid beside her, to see if she were looking at him, — “ and one of the best bred men in England, too, and a man who ” —

“ Now hold on, Todd,” broke in the Doctor, upon whom neither the thin lady nor any other listener had made the slightest impression. " No glittering generalities with me. Just tell me in so many plain words what this man’s vulgarity consisted of.”

“ Why, his manners, his dress, Doctor,— everything about him,” retorted Todd.

“Just as I thought! All you think about is manners, only manners ! ” exploded the Doctor. “Your Westerner, no doubt, was a hard-fisted, weather-tanned farmer, who had worked all his life to get money enough to take his wife and child abroad. The wife had tended the dairy and no doubt milked ten cows, and in their old age they both wanted to see something of the world they had heard about. So off they go. If you had any common sense or anything that brought you in touch with your kind, Todd, and had met that man on his own level, instead of overawing him with your high-daddy airs, he would have told you that both the wife and he were determined that the little girl should have a better start in life than their own, and that this trip was part of her education. Do you know any other working people,” and the Doctor faced him squarely, — " any Dutch, or French, or English, Esquimaux or Hottentots, — who take their wives and children ten thousand miles to educate them ? If I had my way with the shaping of the higher education of the country, the first thing I would teach a boy would be to learn to work, and with his hands, too. We have raised our heroes from the soil, — not from the easy-chairs of our clubs,” — and he looked at Todd with his eyebrows knotted tight. " Let the boy get down and smell the earth, and let him get down to the level of his kind, helping the weaker man all the time and never forgetting the other fellow. When he learns to do this he will begin to know what it is to be a man, and not a manikin,”

When the Doctor is mounted on any one of his hobbies, — whether it is a new microbe, Wagner, or the rights of the workingman, — he is apt to take the bit in his teeth and clear fences. As he finished speaking, two or three of the occupants of contiguous chairs laid down their books to listen. The thin lady with the smelling bottle and the maid remarked in an undertone to another exclusive passenger on the other side of her, in diamonds and white ermine cape, — it was raining at the time, — that “ one need not travel in a first-class carriage to find vulgar Americans,” and she glanced from the Doctor to a group of young girls and young men who were laughing as heartily and as merrily, and perhaps as noisily, as if they were sitting on their own front porches at their Southern homes.

Another passenger—who turned out later to be a college professor — said casually, this time to me, that he thought good and bad manners were to be determined, not by externals, but by what lay underneath ; that neither dress, language, nor habits fixed or marred the standard. “ A high-class Turk, now,” and he lowered his voice, “ would be considered ill bred by some people, because in the seclusion of his own family he helps himself with his fingers from the common dish; and yet so punctiliously polite and courteous is he that he never sits down in his father’s presence or lights a cigarette without craving his permission.”

After this the talk became general, the group taking sides ; some supporting the outspoken Doctor in his blunt defense of his countrymen, others siding with the immaculately dressed Todd, so correct in his every appointment that he was never known, during the whole voyage, to wear a pair of socks that did not in color and design match his cravat.

The chief steward had given us seats at the end of one of the small tables. The Doctor sat under the porthole, and Todd and I had the chairs on either side of him. The two end seats — those on the aisle — were occupied by a girl of twenty-five, simply clad in a plain black dress with plainer linen collar and cuffs, and a young German. The girl would always arrive late, and would sink into her revolving chair with a languid movement, as if the voyage had told upon her. Often her face was pale and her eyes were heavy and red, as if from want of sleep. The young German — a Baron von Hoffbein, the passenger list said — was one of those selfpossessed, good natured, pink-cheeked young Teutons, with blue eyes, blond hair, and a tiny waxed mustache, a mere circumflex accent of a mustache, over his " o ” of a mouth. His sponsors in baptism had doubtless sent him across the sea to chase the wild boar or the rude buffalo, with the ultimate design, perhaps, of founding a brewery in some Western city.

The manners of this young aristocrat toward the girl were an especial source of delight to Todd, who watched his every movement with the keenest interest. Whenever the baron approached the table he would hesitate a moment, as if in doubt as to which particular chair he should occupy, and, with an apologetic hand on his heart and a slight bow, drop into a seat immediately opposite hers. Then he would raise a long, thin arm aloft and snap his fingers to call a passing waiter. I noticed that he always ordered the same breakfast, beginning with cold sausage and ending with pancakes. During the repast the young girl opposite him would talk to him in a simple, straightforward way, quite as his sister would have done, and without the slightest trace of either coquetry or undue reserve.

When we were five days out, a third person occupied a seat at one side of the young woman. He was a man of perhaps sixty years of age, with big shoulders and big body, and a great round head covered with a mass of dull white hair which fell about his neck and forehead. The newcomer was dressed in a suit of gray cloth, much worn and badly cut, the coat collar, by reason of the misfit, being hunched up under his hair. This gave him the appearance of a man without a shirt collar, until a turn of his head revealed his clean starched linen and narrow black cravat. He looked like a plain, well-to-do manufacturer or contractor, one whose earlier years had been spent in the out of doors; for the weather had left its mark on his neck, where one can always look for signs of a man’s manner of life. His was that of a man who had worn low-collared flannel shirts most of his days. He had, too, a look of determination, as if he had been accustomed to be obeyed. He was evidently an invalid, for his cheeks were sunken and pale, with the pallor that comes of long confinement.

Apart from these characteristics there was nothing specially remarkable about him except the two cavernous eye sockets sunk in his head, the shaggy eyebrows arched above them, and the two eyes which blazed and flashed with the inward fire of black opals. As these rested first on one object and then on another, brightening or paling as he moved his head, I could not but think of the action of some alert searchlight gleaming out of a misty night.

As soon as he took his seat, the young woman, whose face for the first time since she had been on board had lost its look of anxiety and fatigue, leaned over him smilingly and began adjusting a napkin about his throat and pinning it to his coat. He smiled in response as she finished, — a smile of singular sweetness, — and held her hand until she regained her seat. They seemed as happy as children or as two lovers, laughing with each other, he now and then stopping to stroke her hand at some word which I could not hear. When, a moment after, the von Hoffbein took his accustomed seat, in full dress, too, — a red silk lining to his waistcoat, and a red silk handkerchief tucked in above it and worn liver-pad fashion, — the girl said simply, looking toward the man in gray, “ My father, sir ; ” whereupon the young fellow shot up out of his chair, clicked his heels together, crooked his back, placed two fingers on his right eyebrow, and sat down again. The man in gray looked at him curiously and held out his hand, remarking that he was pleased to meet him.

Todd was also watching the group, for I heard him say to the Doctor : “ These high-class Germans seldom forget themselves. The young baron saluted the old duffer with the bib as though he were his superior officer.”

“ Should n’t wonder if he were,” replied the Doctor, who had been looking intently over his soup spoon at the man in gray, and who was now summing up the circumflex accent, the red edges of the waistcoat, the liver - pad handkerchief, and the rest of von Hoffbein.

“ You don’t like him, evidently, my dear Doctor.”

“ You saw him first, Todd, — you can have him. I prefer the old duffer, as you call him,” answered the Doctor dryly, and put an end to the talk in that direction.

Soon the hum of voices filled the saloon, rising above the clatter of the dishes and the occasional popping of corks. The baron and the man in gray had entered into conversation almost at once, and could be distinctly heard from where we sat, particularly the older man, who was doubtless unconscious of the carrying power of his voice. Such words as “ working classes,” the people,” “ democracy,” “ when I was in Germany,” etc., intermingling with the high-keyed tones of the baron’s broken English, were noticeable above the din ; the young girl listening smilingly, her eyes on those of her father. Then I saw the gray man bend forward, and heard him say with great earnestness, and in a voice that could be heard by the occupants of all the tables near our own : —

“ It is a great thing to be an American, sir. I never realized it until I saw how things were managed on the other side. It must take all the ambition out of a man not to be able to do what he wants to do, and what he knows he can do better than anybody else, simply because somebody higher than he says he shan’t. We have our periods of unrest, and our workers sometimes lose their heads, but we always come out right in the end. There is no place in the world where a man has such opportunities as in my country. All he wants is brains and some little horse sense, — the country will do the rest.”

Our end of the table had stopped to listen; so had the occupants of the tables on either side ; so had Todd, who was patting the Doctor’s arm, his face beaming.

“ Listen to him, Doctor! Hear that voice ! How like a traveling American ! There’s one of your extrawd’nary claysoiled sons of toil out on an educating tour: are n’t you proud of him? Oh, it’s too delicious ! ”

For once I agreed with Todd. The peculiar strident tones of the man in gray had jarred upon my nerves. I saw, too, that one lady, with slightly elevated shoulder, had turned her back and was addressing her neighbor.

The Doctor had not taken his eyes from the gray man, and had not lost a word of his talk. As Todd finished speaking, the daughter, with all tenderness and with a pleased glance into her father’s eyes, arose, and putting her hand in his helped him to his feet, the baron standing “ at attention.” As the American started to leave the table, and his big shaggy head and broad shoulders reached their full height, the Doctor leaned forward, craning his head eagerly. Then he turned to Todd, and in his crisp, incisive way said : “ Todd, the matter with you is that you never see any further than your nose. You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Look at his empty sleeve ; off at the shoulder, too !


In the smoking room, that night, a new and peculiar variety of passenger made his appearance, and his first one, — to me, — although we were then within two days of Sandy Hook. This individual wore a check suit of the latest London cut, big broad - soled Piccadilly shoes, and smoked a brierwood pipe which he constantly filled from a rubbed pouch carried in his waistcoat pocket. When I first noticed him, he was sitting at a table with two Englishmen drinking brandy-and-sodas, — plural, not singular.

The Doctor, Todd, and I were at an adjoining table : the Doctor immersed in a scientific pamphlet, Todd sipping his crême de menthe, and I my coffee. Over in one corner were a group of drummers playing poker. They had not left the spot since we started, except at mealtime and at midnight, when Fritz, the smoking-room steward, had turned them out to air the room. Scattered about were other passengers, —some reading, some playing checkers or backgammon, others asleep, among them the pinkcheeked von Hoffbein, who lay sprawled out on one of the leather-covered sofas, his thin legs spread apart like the letter A, as he emitted long-drawn organ tones, with only the nose stop pulled out.

The party of Englishmen, by reason of the unlimited number of brandy-andsodas which their comrade in the check suit had ordered for them, were more or less noisy, laughing a good deal. They had attracted the attention of the whole room, many of the old-timers wondering how long it would be before the third officer would tap the check suit on the shoulder, and send it and him to bed under charge of a steward. The constant admonitions of his companions seemed to have had no effect upon the gentleman in question, for he suddenly launched out upon such topics as Colonial Policies and Governments and Taxation and Modern Fleets ; addressing his remarks, not to his two friends, but to the room at large.

According to my own experience, the traveling Englishman is a quiet, wellbred, reticent man, brandy - and - soda proof (I have seen him drink a dozen of an evening without a droop of an eyelid), and if he has any positive convictions of the superiority of that section of the Anglo-Saxon race to which he belongs, — and he invariably has, — he keeps them to himself, certainly in the public smoking room of a steamer filled with men of a dozen different nations. The outbreak, as well as the effect of the incentive, was therefore as unexpected as it was unusual.

The check-suit man, however, was not constructed along these lines. The spirit of old Hennessy was in his veins, the stored energy of many sodas pressed against his tongue, and an explosion was inevitable. No portion of these excitants, strange to say, had leaked into his legs, for outwardly he was as steady as an undertaker. He began again, his voice pitched in a high key : —

“ Talk of coercing England ! Why, we ’ve got a hundred and forty-one ships of the line, within ten days’ sail of New York, that could blow the bloody stuffin’ out of every man Jack of ’em. And we don’t care a brass farthing what Uncle Sam says about it, either.”

His two friends tried to keep him quiet, but he broke out again on Colonization and American Treachery and Conquest of Cuba ; and so, being desirous to read in peace, I nodded to the Doctor and Todd, picked up my book, and drew up a steamer chair on the deck outside, under one of the electric lights.

I had hardly settled myself in my seat when a great shout went up from the smoking room that sent every one running down the deck, and jammed the portholes and doors of the room with curious faces. Then I heard a voice rise clear above the noise inside : " Not another word, sir ; you don’t know what you are talking about. We Americans don’t rob people we give our lives to free.”

I forced my way past the door and stepped inside. The Englishman was being held down in his chair by his two friends. In his effort to break loose he had wormed himself out of his coat. Beside their table, close enough to put his hand on any one of them, stood the Doctor, a curious set expression on his face. Todd was outside the circle, standing on a sofa to get a better view.

Towering above the Englishman, his eyes burning, his shaggy hair about his face, his whole figure tense with indignation, was the man with the empty sleeve ! Close behind him, cool, polite, Straight as a gendarme, and with the look in his eye of a cat about to spring, stood the young baron. As I reached the centre of the mêlée, wondering what had been the provocation and who had struck the first blow, I saw the baron lean forward, and heard him say in a low voice to one of the Englishmen, “ He is so old as to be his fadder ; take me,” and he tapped his chest meaningly with his fingers. Evidently he had not fenced at Heidelberg for nothing, if he did have pink cheeks and pipestem legs.

The old man turned and laid his hand on the baron’s shoulder. " I thank you, sir, but I ’ll attend to this young man.” His voice had lost all its rasping quality now. It was low and concentrated, like that of one accustomed to command. “ Take your hands off him, gentlemen, if you please. I don’t think he has so far lost his senses as to strike a man twice his age and with one arm. Now, sir, you will apologize to me, and to the room, and to your own friends, who must be heartily ashamed of your conduct.”

At the bottom of almost every AngloSaxon is a bed rock of common sense that you reach through the shifting sands of prejudice with the probe of fair play. The young man in the check suit, who was now on his feet, looked the speaker straight in the eye, and, half drunk as he was, held out his hand. " I ’m sorry, sir, I offended you. I was speaking to my friends here, and I did not know any Americans were present.”

“ Bravo ! ” yelled the Doctor. “ What did I tell you, Todd ? That’s the kind of stuff ! Now, gentlemen, all together, — three cheers for the man with the empty sleeve! ”

Everybody broke out with another shout, —all but Todd, who had not made the slightest response to the Doctor’s invitation to loosen his legs and his lungs. He did not show the slightest emotion over the fracas, and, moreover, seemed to have become suddenly disgusted with the baron.

Then the Doctor grasped the young German by the hand, and said how glad he was to know him, and how delighted he would be if he would join them and “ take something,” — all of which the young man accepted with a frank, pleased look on his face.

When the room had resumed its normal conditions, all three Englishmen having disappeared, the Doctor, whose enthusiasm over the incident had somehow paved the way for closer acquaintance, introduced me in the same informal way both to the baron and to the hero of the occasion, as “ a brother American,” and we all sat down beside the old man, his face lighting up with a smile as he made room for us. Then laying his hand on my knee, with the manner of an older man, he said: “ I ought not to have given way, perhaps: but the truth is, I ’m not accustomed to hear such things at home. I did not know until I got close to him that he had been drinking, or I might have let it pass. I suppose this kind of talk may always go on in the smoking room of these steamers. I don’t know, for it’s my first trip abroad, and on the way out I was too ill to leave my berth. Tonight is the first time I’ve been in here. It was bad for me, I suppose. I ’ve been ill all ” —

He stopped suddenly, caught his breath quickly, and his hand fell from my knee. Fora moment he sat leaning forward, breathing heavily.

I sprung up, thinking he was about to faint. The baron started for a glass of water. The old man raised his hand.

“ No, don’t be alarmed, gentlemen ; it is nothing. I am subject to these attacks ; it will pass off in a moment,” and he glanced around the room as if to assure himself that no one but ourselves had noticed it.

“ The excitement was too much for you,” the Doctor said gravely, in an undertone. His trained eye had caught the peculiar pallor of the face. “ You must not excite yourself so.”

“Yes, I know, — the heart,” he said after a pause, speaking with short, indrawn breaths, and straightening himself slowly and painfully until he had regained his old erect position. After a little while he put his hand again on my knee, with an added graciousness in his manner, as if in apology for the shock he had given me. “ It’s passing off, — yes, I 'm better now.” Then, in a more cheerful tone, as if to change the subject, he added : “ My steward tells me that we made four hundred and fiftytwo miles yesterday. This makes my little girl happy. She ’s had an anxious summer, and I ’m glad this part of it is over. Yes, she’s very happy to-day.”

“ You mean on account of your health?” I asked sympathetically; although I remembered afterward that I had not caught his meaning.

“ Well, not so much that, for that can never be any better, but on account of our being so near home, — only two days more. I could n’t bear to leave her alone on shipboard, but it’s all right now. You see, there are only two of us since her mother died.” His voice fell, and for the first time I saw a shade of sadness cross his face. The Doctor saw it, too, for there was a slight quaver in his voice when he said, as he rose, that his stateroom was No. 13, and he would be happy to be called upon at any time, day or night, whenever he could be of service; then he resumed his former seat under the light, and apparently his pamphlet, although I could see his eyes were constantly fixed on the pallid face.

The baron and I kept our seats, and I ordered three of something from Fritz, as further excuse for tarrying beside the invalid. I wanted to know something more of a man who was willing to fight the universe with one arm in defense of his country’s good name, though I was still in the dark as to what had been the provocation. All I could gather from the young baron, in his broken English, was that the Englishman had maligned the motives of our government in helping the Cubans, and that the old man had flamed out, astounding the room with the power of his invective and thorough mastery of the subject, and compelling their admiration by the genuineness of his outburst.

“ I see you have lost your arm,” I began, hoping to get some further facts regarding himself.

“ Yes, some years ago,” he answered simply, but with a tone that implied he did not care to discuss either the cause or the incidents connected with its loss.

“ An accident ? ” I asked. The empty sleeve seemed suddenly to have a peculiar fascination for me.

“ Yes, partly,” and, smiling gravely, he rose from his seat, saying that he must rejoin his daughter, who might be worrying. He bade the occupants of the room good-night, many of whom, including the baron and the Doctor, rose to their feet,—the baron saluting, and following the old man out, as if he had been his superior officer.

With the closing of the smoking-room door, P. Wooverman Shaw Todd, Esquire, roused himself from his chair, walked toward the Doctor, and sat down beside him.

“Well! I must say that I’m glad that man’s gone ! ” he burst out. “ I have never seen anything more outrageous than this whole performance. This fire eater ought to travel about with a guardian. Suppose, now, my dear Doctor, that everybody went about with these absurd ideas,—what a place the world would be to live in ! This is the worst American I have met yet. And see what an example ; even the young baron lost his head, I am sorry to say. I heard the young Englishman’s remark. It was, I admit, indiscreet, but no part of it was addressed to this very peculiar person ; and it is just like that kind of an American, full of bombast and bluster, to feel offended. Besides, every word the young man said was true. There is a great deal of politics in this Cuban business, — you know it, and I know it. We have no men trained for colonial life, and we never shall have, so long as our better clarss keep aloof from politics. The island will be made a camping ground for vulgar politicians, — no question about it. Think, now, of sending that firebrand among those people. You can see by his very appearance that he has never done anything better than astonish the loungers about a country stove. As for all this fuss about his empty sleeve, no doubt some other fire eater put a bullet through it in defense of what such kind of people call their honor. It is too farcical for words, my dear Doctor, — too farcical for words,” and P. Wooverman Shaw Todd, Esquire, pulled his steamer cap over his eyes, jumped to his feet, and stalked out of the room.

The Doctor looked after Todd until he had disappeared. Then he turned to his pamphlet again. There was evidently no composite, explosive epithet deadly enough within reach at the moment, or there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that he would have demolished Todd with it,

Todd’s departure made another vacancy at our table, and a tall man, who had applauded the loudest at the apology of the Englishman, dropped into Todd’s empty chair, addressing the Doctor as representing our party.

“ I suppose you know who the old man is, don’t you ? ”

“ No.”

“ That’s John Stedman, manager of the Union Iron Works of Parkinton, a manufacturing town in my state. He’s one of the best iron men in the country. Fine old fellow, is n’t he ? He ’s been ill ever since his wife died, and I don’t think he ’ll ever get over it. She had been sick for years, and he nursed her day and night. He would n’t go to Congress, preferring to stay by her, and it almost broke his heart when she died. Poor old man, — don’t look as if he was long for this world. I expected him to mop up the floor with that Englishman, sick as he is ; and he would, if he had n’t apologized. I heard, too, what your friend who has just gone out said about Stedman not being the kind of a man to send to Cuba. I tell you, they might look the country over, and they could n’t find a better. That’s been his strong hold, straightening out troubles of one kind or another. Everybody believes in him, and anybody takes his word. He’s done a power of good in our state.”

“ In what way ? ” asked the Doctor.

“ Oh, in settling strikes, for one thing. You see, he started from the scrap pile, and he knows the laboring man down to a dot, for be carried a dinner pail himself for ten years of his life. When the men are imposed upon he stands by ’em, and compels the manufacturers to deal square; and if they don’t, he joins the men and fights it out with the bosses. If the men are wrong, and want what the furnaces can’t give ’em, — and there’s been a good deal of that lately, — he sails into the gangs, and, if nothing else will do, he gets a gun and joins the sheriffs. He was all through that last strike we had, three years ago, and it would be going on now but for John Stedman.”

“ But he seems to be a man of fine education,” interrupted the Doctor, who was listening with all his ears.

“Yes, so he is, — learned it all at night schools. When he was a boy he used to fire the kilns, and they say you could always find him with a spelling book in one hand and a chunk of wood in the other, reading nights by the light of the kiln fires.”

“ You say he went to Congress ? " The Doctor’s eyes were now fixed on the speaker.

“ No, I said he would n’t go. His wife was taken sick about that time, and when he found she was n’t going to get well, — she had lung trouble,—he told the committee that he would n’t accept the nomination; and of course nomination meant election for him. He told ’em his wife had stuck by him all her life, had washed his flannel shirts for him and cooked his dinner, and that he was going to stick by her now she was down. But I tell you what he did do : he stumped the district for his opponent, because he said he was a better man than his own party put up, — and elected him, too. That was just like John Stedman. The heelers were pretty savage, but that made no difference to him.

“ He’s never recovered from his wife’s death. That daughter with him is the only child he’s got. She’s been so afraid he 'd die on board and have to be buried at sea that he ’s kept his berth just to please her. The doctor at home told him Carlsbad was his only chance, and the daughter begged so he made the trip. He was so sick when he went out that he took a coffin with him,— it’s in the hold now. I heard him tell his daughter this morning that it was all right now, and he thought he 'd get up. You see, there are only two days more, and the captain promised the daughter not to bury her father at sea when we were that close to land. Stedman smiled when he told me, but that’s just like him ; he’s always been cool as a cucumber.”

“ How did he lose his arm ? ” I inquired. I had been strangely absorbed in what he had told me, “ In the war ? ”

“ No. He served two years, but that’s not how he lost his arm. He lost it saving the lives of some of his men. I happened to be up at Parkinton at the time, buying some coke, and I saw him carried out. It was about ten years ago. He had invented a new furnace; ’most all the new wrinkles they’ve got at the Union Company Stedman made for ’em. When they got ready to draw the charge, — that’s when the red-hot iron is about to flow out of the furnace, you know, — the outlet got clogged. That’s a bad thing to happen to a furnace ; for if a chill should set in, the whole plant would be ruined. Then, again, it might explode and tear everything to pieces. Some of the men jumped into the pit with their crowbars, and began to jab away at the opening in the wrong place, and the metal started with a rush. Stedman hollered to ’em to stop; but they either did n’t hear him or would n’t mind. Then he jumped in among them, threw them out of the way, grabbed a crowbar, and fought the flow until they all got out safe. But the hot metal had about cooked his arm clear to the elbow before he let go.”

The Doctor, with hands deep in his pockets, began pacing the floor. Then he stopped, and, looking down at me, said slowly, pointing off his fingers one after the other to keep count as he talked : —

“ Tender and loyal to his wife — thoughtful of his child — facing death like a hero — a soldier and patriot. What is there in the make-up of a gentleman that this man has n’t got ?

“ Come ! Let’s go out and find that high - collared, silk - stockinged, sweetscented Anglomaniac from Salem ! By the Eternal, Todd’s got to apologize ! ”

F. Hopkinson Smith.