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Next to Reading Matter

Short Stories


A Bird of Bagdad

A Blackjack Bargainer

A Call Loan

A Chaparral Christmas Gift

A Chaparral Prince

A Comedy in Rubber

A Cosmopolite in a Cafe

A Departmental Case

A Dinner at--------*

A Double-Dyed Deceiver

A Fog in Santone

A Harlem Tragedy

A Lickpenny Lover

A Little Local Colour

A Little Talk about Mobs

A Madison Square Arabian Night

A Matter of Mean Elevation

A Midsummer Knight's Dream

A Midsummer Masquerade

A Municipal Report

A Newspaper Story

A Night in New Arabia

A Philistine in Bohemia

A Poor Rule

A Ramble in Aphasia

A Retrieved Reformation

A Ruler of Men

A Sacrifice Hit

A Service of Love

A Snapshot at the President

A Strange Story

A Technical Error

A Tempered Wind

According to Their Lights

After Twenty Years

An Adjustment of Nature

An Afternoon Miracle

An Apology

An Unfinished Christmas Story

An Unfinished Story

Aristocracy Versus Hash

Art and the Bronco

At Arms With Morpheus

Babes in the Jungle


Between Rounds

Bexar Scrip No. 2692

Blind Man's Holiday

Brickdust Row

Buried Treasure

By Courier

Calloway's Code


Cherchez La Femme

Christmas by Injunction

Compliments of the Season

Confessions of a Humorist

Conscience in Art

Cupid a La Carte

Cupid's Exile Number Two


Dougherty's Eye-Opener

Elsie in New York

Extradited from Bohemia

Fickle Fortune or How Gladys Hustled

Friends in San Rosario

From Each According to His Ability

From the Cabby's Seat

Georgia's Ruling


He Also Serves

Hearts and Crosses

Hearts and Hands

Helping the Other Fellow

Holding Up a Train

Hostages to Momus

Hygeia at the Solito

Innocents of Broadway

Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet

Jimmy Hayes and Muriel

Law and Order

Let Me Feel Your Pulse

Little Speck in Garnered Fruit

Lord Oakhurst's Curse

Lost on Dress Parade

Madame Bo-Peep, of the Ranches

Makes the Whole World Kin

Mammon and the Archer

Man About Town

Masters of Arts

Memoirs of a Yellow Dog

Modern Rural Sports

Money Maze

Nemesis and the Candy Man

New York by Camp Fire Light

Next to Reading Matter

No Story

October and June

On Behalf of the Management

One Dollar's Worth

One Thousand Dollars

Out of Nazareth

Past One at Rooney's


Proof of the Pudding

Psyche and the Pskyscraper

Queries and Answers

Roads of Destiny

Roses, Ruses and Romance

Rouge et Noir

Round the Circle

Rus in Urbe

Schools and Schools

Seats of the Haughty

Shearing the Wolf



Sisters of the Golden Circle


Sociology in Serge and Straw

Sound and Fury

Springtime a La Carte

Squaring the Circle

Strictly Business

Strictly Business

Suite Homes and Their Romance

Telemachus, Friend

The Admiral

The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes

The Assessor of Success

The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear

The Badge of Policeman O'Roon

The Brief Debut of Tildy

The Buyer From Cactus City

The Caballero's Way

The Cactus

The Caliph and the Cad

The Caliph, Cupid and the Clock

The Call of the Tame

The Chair of Philanthromathematics

The Champion of the Weather

The Church with an Overshot-Wheel

The City of Dreadful Night

The Clarion Call

The Coming-Out of Maggie

The Complete Life of John Hopkins

The Cop and the Anthem

The Count and the Wedding Guest

The Country of Elusion

The Day Resurgent

The Day We Celebrate

The Defeat of the City

The Detective Detector

The Diamond of Kali

The Discounters of Money

The Dog and the Playlet

The Door of Unrest

The Dream

The Duel

The Duplicity of Hargraves

The Easter of the Soul

The Emancipation of Billy

The Enchanted Kiss

The Enchanted Profile

The Ethics of Pig

The Exact Science of Matrimony

The Ferry of Unfulfilment

The Fifth Wheel

The Flag Paramount

The Fool-Killer

The Foreign Policy of Company 99

The Fourth in Salvador

The Friendly Call

The Furnished Room

The Gift of the Magi

The Girl and the Graft

The Girl and the Habit

The Gold That Glittered

The Greater Coney

The Green Door

The Guardian of the Accolade

The Guilty Party - An East Side Tragedy

The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss

The Hand that Riles the World

The Handbook of Hymen

The Harbinger

The Head-Hunter

The Hiding of Black Bill

The Higher Abdication

The Higher Pragmatism

The Hypotheses of Failure

The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson

The Lady Higher Up

The Last Leaf

The Last of the Troubadours

The Lonesome Road

The Lost Blend

The Lotus And The Bottle

The Love-Philtre of Ikey Schoenstein

The Making of a New Yorker

The Man Higher Up

The Marionettes

The Marquis and Miss Sally

The Marry Month of May

The Memento

The Missing Chord

The Moment of Victory

The Octopus Marooned

The Passing of Black Eagle

The Pendulum

The Phonograph and the Graft

The Pimienta Pancakes

The Plutonian Fire

The Poet and the Peasant

The Pride of the Cities

The Princess and the Puma

The Prisoner of Zembla

The Proem

The Purple Dress

The Ransom of Mack

The Ransom of Red Chief

The Rathskeller and the Rose

The Red Roses of Tonia

The Reformation of Calliope

The Remnants of the Code

The Renaissance at Charleroi

The Roads We Take

The Robe of Peace

The Romance of a Busy Broker

The Rose of Dixie

The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball

The Rubber Plant's Story

The Shamrock and the Palm

The Shocks of Doom

The Skylight Room

The Sleuths

The Snow Man

The Social Triangle

The Song and the Sergeant

The Sparrows in Madison Square

The Sphinx Apple

The Tale of a Tainted Tenner

The Theory and the Hound

The Thing's the Play

The Third Ingredient

The Trimmed Lamp

The Unknown Quantity

The Unprofitable Servant

The Venturers

The Vitagraphoscope

The Voice of the City

The Whirligig of Life

The World and the Door

Thimble, Thimble


To Him Who Waits

Tobin's Palm

Tommy's Burglar

Tracked to Doom

Transformation of Martin Burney

Transients in Arcadia

Two Recalls

Two Renegades

Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen

Ulysses and the Dogman

Vanity and Some Sables

What You Want

While the Auto Waits

Whistling Dick's Christmas Stocking

Witches' Loaves

He compelled my interest as he stepped from the ferry at Desbrosses
Street. He had the air of being familiar with hemispheres and worlds,
and of entering New York as the lord of a demesne who revisited it in
after years of absence. But I thought that, with all his air, he had
never before set foot on the slippery cobblestones of the City of Too
Many Caliphs.

He wore loose clothes of a strange bluish drab colour, and a
conservative, round Panama hat without the cock-a-loop indentations
and cants with which Northern fanciers disfigure the tropic head-gear.
Moreover, he was the homeliest man I have ever seen. His ugliness was
less repellent than startling--arising from a sort of Lincolnian
ruggedness and irregularity of feature that spellbound you with wonder
and dismay. So may have looked afrites or the shapes metamorphosed
from the vapour of the fisherman's vase. As he afterward told me, his
name was Judson Tate; and he may as well be called so at once. He wore
his green silk tie through a topaz ring; and he carried a cane made of
the vertebrae of a shark.

Judson Tate accosted me with some large and casual inquiries about the
city's streets and hotels, in the manner of one who had but for the
moment forgotten the trifling details. I could think of no reason for
disparaging my own quiet hotel in the downtown district; so the mid-
morning of the night found us already victualed and drinked (at my
expense), and ready to be chaired and tobaccoed in a quiet corner of
the lobby.

There was something on Judson Tate's mind, and, such as it was, he
tried to convey it to me. Already he had accepted me as his friend;
and when I looked at his great, snuff-brown first-mate's hand, with
which he brought emphasis to his periods, within six inches of my
nose, I wondered if, by any chance, he was as sudden in conceiving
enmity against strangers.

When this man began to talk I perceived in him a certain power. His
voice was a persuasive instrument, upon which he played with a
somewhat specious but effective art. He did not try to make you forget
his ugliness; he flaunted it in your face and made it part of the
charm of his speech. Shutting your eyes, you would have trailed after
this rat-catcher's pipes at least to the walls of Hamelin. Beyond that
you would have had to be more childish to follow. But let him play his
own tune to the words set down, so that if all is too dull, the art of
music may bear the blame.

"Women," said Judson Tate, "are mysterious creatures."

My spirits sank. I was not there to listen to such a world-old
hypothesis--to such a time-worn, long-ago-refuted, bald, feeble,
illogical, vicious, patent sophistry--to an ancient, baseless,
wearisome, ragged, unfounded, insidious, falsehood originated by women
themselves, and by them insinuated, foisted, thrust, spread, and
ingeniously promulgated into the ears of mankind by underhanded,
secret and deceptive methods, for the purpose of augmenting,
furthering, and reinforcing their own charms and designs.

"Oh, I don't know!" said I, vernacularly.

"Have you ever heard of Oratama?" he asked.

"Possibly," I answered. "I seem to recall a toe dancer--or a suburban
addition--or was it a perfume?--of some such name."

"It is a town," said Judson Tate, "on the coast of a foreign country
of which you know nothing and could understand less. It is a country
governed by a dictator and controlled by revolutions and
insubordination. It was there that a great life-drama was played, with
Judson Tate, the homeliest man in America, and Fergus McMahan, the
handsomest adventurer in history or fiction, and Senorita Anabela
Zamora, the beautiful daughter of the alcalde of Oratama, as chief
actors. And, another thing--nowhere else on the globe except in the
department of Trienta y tres in Uruguay does the /chuchula/ plant
grow. The products of the country I speak of are valuable woods,
dyestuffs, gold, rubber, ivory, and cocoa."

"I was not aware," said I, "that South America produced any ivory."

"There you are twice mistaken," said Judson Tate, distributing the
words over at least an octave of his wonderful voice. "I did not say
that the country I spoke of was in South America--I must be careful,
my dear man; I have been in politics there, you know. But, even so--I
have played chess against its president with a set carved from the
nasal bones of the tapir--one of our native specimens of the order of
/perissodactyle ungulates/ inhabiting the Cordilleras--which was as
pretty ivory as you would care to see.

"But is was of romance and adventure and the ways of women that was I
going to tell you, and not of zoological animals.

"For fifteen years I was the ruling power behind old Sancho Benavides,
the Royal High Thumbscrew of the republic. You've seen his picture in
the papers--a mushy black man with whiskers like the notes on a Swiss
music-box cylinder, and a scroll in his right hand like the ones they
write births on in the family Bible. Well, that chocolate potentate
used to be the biggest item of interest anywhere between the colour
line and the parallels of latitude. It was three throws, horses,
whether he was to wind up in the Hall of Fame or the Bureau of
Combustibles. He'd have been sure called the Roosevelt of the Southern
Continent if it hadn't been that Grover Cleveland was President at the
time. He'd hold office a couple of terms, then he'd sit out for a hand
--always after appointing his own successor for the interims.

"But it was not Benavides, the Liberator, who was making all this fame
for himself. Not him. It was Judson Tate. Benavides was only the chip
over the bug. I gave him the tip when to declare war and increase
import duties and wear his state trousers. But that wasn't what I
wanted to tell you. How did I get to be It? I'll tell you. Because I'm
the most gifted talker that ever made vocal sounds since Adam first
opened his eyes, pushed aside the smelling-salts, and asked: 'Where am

"As you observe, I am about the ugliest man you ever saw outside the
gallery of photographs of the New England early Christian Scientists.
So, at an early age, I perceived that what I lacked in looks I must
make up in eloquence. That I've done. I get what I go after. As the
back-stop and still small voice of old Benavides I made all the great
historical powers-behind-the-throne, such as Talleyrand, Mrs. de
Pompadour, and Loeb, look as small as the minority report of a Duma. I
could talk nations into or out of debt, harangue armies to sleep on
the battlefield, reduce insurrections, inflammations, taxes,
appropriations or surpluses with a few words, and call up the dogs of
war or the dove of peace with the same bird-like whistle. Beauty and
epaulettes and curly moustaches and Grecian profiles in other men were
never in my way. When people first look at me they shudder. Unless
they are in the last stages of /angina pectoris/ they are mine in ten
minutes after I begin to talk. Women and men--I win 'em as they come.
Now, you wouldn't think women would fancy a man with a face like mine,
would you?"

"Oh, yes, Mr. Tate," said I. "History is bright and fiction dull with
homely men who have charmed women. There seems--"

"Pardon me," interrupted Judson Tate, "but you don't quite understand.
You have yet to hear my story.

"Fergus McMahan was a friend of mine in the capital. For a handsome
man I'll admit he was the duty-free merchandise. He had blond curls
and laughing blue eyes and was featured regular. They said he was a
ringer for the statue they call Herr Mees, the god of speech and
eloquence resting in some museum at Rome. Some German anarchist, I
suppose. They are always resting and talking.

"But Fergus was no talker. He was brought up with the idea that to be
beautiful was to make good. His conversation was about as edifying as
listening to a leak dropping in a tin dish-pan at the head of the bed
when you want to go to sleep. But he and me got to be friends--maybe
because we was so opposite, don't you think? Looking at the Hallowe'en
mask that I call my face when I'm shaving seemed to give Fergus
pleasure; and I'm sure that whenever I heard the feeble output of
throat noises that he called conversation I felt contented to be a
gargoyle with a silver tongue.

"One time I found it necessary to go down to this coast town of
Oratama to straighten out a lot of political unrest and chop off a few
heads in the customs and military departments. Fergus, who owned the
ice and sulphur-match concessions of the republic, says he'll keep me

"So, in a jangle of mule-train bells, we gallops into Oratama, and the
town belonged to us as much as Long Island Sound doesn't belong to
Japan when T. R. is at Oyster Bay. I say us; but I mean me. Everybody
for four nations, two oceans, one bay and isthmus, and five
archipelagoes around had heard of Judson Tate. Gentleman adventurer,
they called me. I had been written up in five columns of the yellow
journals, 40,000 words (with marginal decorations) in a monthly
magazine, and a stickful on the twelfth page of the New York /Times/.
If the beauty of Fergus McMahan gained any part of our reception in
Oratama, I'll eat the price-tag in my Panama. It was me that they hung
out paper flowers and palm branches for. I am not a jealous man; I am
stating facts. The people were Nebuchadnezzars; they bit the grass
before me; there was no dust in the town for them to bite. They bowed
down to Judson Tate. They knew that I was the power behind Sancho
Benavides. A word from me was more to them than a whole deckle-edged
library from East Aurora in sectional bookcases was from anybody else.
And yet there are people who spend hours fixing their faces--rubbing
in cold cream and massaging the muscles (always toward the eyes) and
taking in the slack with tincture of benzoin and electrolyzing moles--
to what end? Looking handsome. Oh, what a mistake! It's the larynx
that the beauty doctors ought to work on. It's words more than warts,
talk more than talcum, palaver more than powder, blarney more than
bloom that counts--the phonograph instead of the photograph. But I was
going to tell you.

"The local Astors put me and Fergus up at the Centipede Club, a frame
building built on posts sunk in the surf. The tide's only nine inches.
The Little Big High Low Jack-in-the-game of the town came around and
kowtowed. Oh, it wasn't to Herr Mees. They had heard about Judson

"One afternoon me and Fergus McMahan was sitting on the seaward
gallery of the Centipede, drinking iced rum and talking.

"'Judson,' says Fergus, 'there's an angel in Oratama.'

"'So long,' says I, 'as it ain't Gabriel, why talk as if you had heard
a trump blow?'

"'It's the Senorita Anabela Zamora,' says Fergus. 'She's--she's--she's
as lovely as--as hell!'

"'Bravo!' says I, laughing heartily. 'You have a true lover's
eloquence to paint the beauties of your inamorata. You remind me,'
says I, 'of Faust's wooing of Marguerite--that is, if he wooed her
after he went down the trap-door of the stage.'

"'Judson,' says Fergus, 'you know you are as beautiless as a
rhinoceros. You can't have any interest in women. I'm awfully gone in
Miss Anabela. And that's why I'm telling you.'

"'Oh, /seguramente/,' says I. 'I know I have a front elevation like an
Aztec god that guards a buried treasure that never did exist in
Jefferson County, Yucatan. But there are compensations. For instance,
I am It in this country as far as the eye can reach, and then a few
perches and poles. And again,' says I, 'when I engage people in a set-
to of oral, vocal, and laryngeal utterances, I do not usually confine
my side of the argument to what may be likened to a cheap phonographic
reproduction of the ravings of a jellyfish.'

"'Oh, I know,' says Fergus, amiable, 'that I'm not handy at small
talk. Or large, either. That's why I'm telling you. I want you to help

"'How can I do it?' I asked.

"'I have subsidized,' says Fergus, 'the services of Senorita Anabela's
duenna, whose name is Francesca. You have a reputation in this
country, Judson,' says Fergus, 'of being a great man and a hero.'

"'I have,' says I. 'And I deserve it.'

"'And I,' says Fergus, 'am the best-looking man between the arctic
circle and antarctic ice pack.'

"'With limitations,' says I, 'as to physiognomy and geography, I
freely concede you to be.'

"'Between the two of us,' says Fergus, 'we ought to land the Senorita
Anabela Zamora. The lady, as you know, is of an old Spanish family,
and further than looking at her driving in the family /carruaje/ of
afternoons around the plaza, or catching a glimpse of her through a
barred window of evenings, she is as unapproachable as a star.'

"'Land her for which one of us?' says I.

"'For me of course,' says Fergus. 'You've never seen her. Now, I've
had Francesca point me out to her as being you on several occasions.
When she sees me on the plaza, she thinks she's looking at Don Judson
Tate, the greatest hero, statesman, and romantic figure in the
country. With your reputation and my looks combined in one man, how
can she resist him? She's heard all about your thrilling history, of
course. And she's seen me. Can any woman want more?' asks Fergus

"'Can she do with less?' I ask. 'How can we separate our mutual
attractions, and how shall we apportion the proceeds?'

"Then Fergus tells me his scheme.

"The house of the alcalde, Don Luis Zamora, he says, has a /patio/, of
course--a kind of inner courtyard opening from the street. In an angle
of it is his daughter's window--as dark a place as you could find. And
what do you think he wants me to do? Why, knowing my freedom, charm,
and skilfulness of tongue, he proposes that I go into the /patio/ at
midnight, when the hobgoblin face of me cannot be seen, and make love
to her for him--for the pretty man that she has seen on the plaza,
thinking him to be Don Judson Tate.

"Why shouldn't I do it for him--for my friend, Fergus McMahan? For him
to ask me was a compliment--an acknowledgment of his own shortcomings.

"'You little, lily white, fine-haired, highly polished piece of dumb
sculpture,' says I, 'I'll help you. Make your arrangements and get me
in the dark outside her window and my stream of conversation opened up
with the moonlight tremolo stop turned on, and she's yours.'

"'Keep your face hid, Jud,' says Fergus. 'For heaven's sake, keep your
face hid. I'm a friend of yours in all kinds of sentiment, but this is
a business deal. If I could talk I wouldn't ask you. But seeing me and
listening to you I don't see why she can't be landed.'

"'By you?' says I.

"'By me,' says Fergus.

Well, Fergus and the duenna, Francesca, attended to the details. And
one night they fetched me a long black cloak with a high collar, and
led me to the house at midnight. I stood by the window in the /patio/
until I heard a voice as soft and sweet as an angel's whisper on the
other side of the bars. I could see only a faint, white clad shape
inside; and, true to Fergus, I pulled the collar of my cloak high up,
for it was July in the wet seasons, and the nights were chilly. And,
smothering a laugh as I thought of the tongue-tied Fergus, I began to

"Well, sir, I talked an hour at the Senorita Anabela. I say 'at'
because it was not 'with.' Now and then she would say: 'Oh, Senor,' or
'Now, ain't you foolin'?' or 'I know you don't mean that,' and such
things as women will when they are being rightly courted. Both of us
knew English and Spanish; so in two languages I tried to win the heart
of the lady for my friend Fergus. But for the bars to the window I
could have done it in one. At the end of the hour she dismissed me and
gave me a big, red rose. I handed it over to Fergus when I got home.

"For three weeks every third or fourth night I impersonated my friend
in the /patio/ at the window of Senorita Anabela. At last she admitted
that her heart was mine, and spoke of having seen me every afternoon
when she drove in the plaza. It was Fergus she had seen, of course.
But it was my talk that won her. Suppose Fergus had gone there, and
tried to make a hit in the dark with his beauty all invisible, and not
a word to say for himself!

"On the last night she promised to be mine--that is, Fergus's. And she
put her hand between the bars for me to kiss. I bestowed the kiss and
took the news to Fergus.

"'You might have left that for me to do,' says he.

"'That'll be your job hereafter,' says I. 'Keep on doing that and
don't try to talk. Maybe after she thinks she's in love she won't
notice the difference between real conversation and the inarticulate
sort of droning that you give forth.'

"Now, I had never seen Senorita Anabela. So, the next day Fergus asks
me to walk with him through the plaza and view the daily promenade and
exhibition of Oratama society, a sight that had no interest for me.
But I went; and children and dogs took to the banana groves and
mangrove swamps as soon as they had a look at my face.

"'Here she comes,' said Fergus, twirling his moustache--'the one in
white, in the open carriage with the black horse.'

"I looked and felt the ground rock under my feet. For Senorita Anabela
Zamora was the most beautiful woman in the world, and the only one
from that moment on, so far as Judson Tate was concerned. I saw at a
glance that I must be hers and she mine forever. I thought of my face
and nearly fainted; and then I thought of my other talents and stood
upright again. And I had been wooing her for three weeks for another

"As Senorita Anabela's carriage rolled slowly past, she gave Fergus a
long, soft glance from the corners of her night-black eyes, a glance
that would have sent Judson Tate up into heaven in a rubber-tired
chariot. But she never looked at me. And that handsome man only
ruffles his curls and smirks and prances like a lady-killer at my

"'What do you think of her, Judson?' asks Fergus, with an air.

"'This much,' says I. 'She is to me Mrs. Judson Tate. I am no man to
play tricks on a friend. So take your warning.'

"I thought Fergus would die laughing.

"'Well, well, well,' said he, 'you old doughface! Struck too, are you?
That's great! But you're too late. Francesca tells me that Anabela
talks of nothing but me, day and night. Of course, I'm awfully obliged
to you for making that chin-music to her of evenings. But, do you
know, I've an idea that I could have done it as well myself.'

"'Mrs. Judson Tate,' says I. 'Don't forget the name. You've had the
use of my tongue to go with your good looks, my boy. You can't lend me
your looks; but hereafter my tongue is my own. Keep your mind on the
name that's to be on the visiting cards two inches by three and a half
--"Mrs. Judson Tate." That's all.'

"'All right,' says Fergus, laughing again. 'I've talked with her
father, the alcalde, and he's willing. He's to give a /baile/
to-morrow evening in his new warehouse. If you were a dancing man,
Jud, I'd expect you around to meet the future Mrs. McMahan.'

"But on the next evening, when the music was playing loudest at the
Alcade Zamora's /baile/, into the room steps Judson Tate in a new
white linen clothes as if he were the biggest man in the whole nation,
which he was.

"Some of the musicians jumped off the key when they saw my face, and
one or two of the timidest senoritas let out a screech or two. But up
prances the alcalde and almost wipes the dust off my shoes with his
forehead. No mere good looks could have won me that sensational

"'I hear much, Senor Zamora,' says I, 'of the charm of your daughter.
It would give me great pleasure to be presented to her.'

"There were about six dozen willow rocking-chairs, with pink tidies
tied on to them, arranged against the walls. In one of them sat
Senorita Anabela in white Swiss and red slippers, with pearls and
fireflies in her hair. Fergus was at the other end of the room trying
to break away from two maroons and a claybank girl.

"The alcalde leads me up to Anabela and presents me. When she took the
first look at my face she dropped her fan and nearly turned her chair
over from the shock. But I'm used to that.

"I sat down by her, and began to talk. When she heard me speak she
jumped, and her eyes got as big as alligator pears. She couldn't
strike a balance between the tones of my voice and face I carried. But
I kept on talking in the key of C, which is the ladies' key; and
presently she sat still in her chair and a dreamy look came into her
eyes. She was coming my way. She knew of Judson Tate, and what a big
man he was, and the big things he had done; and that was in my favour.
But, of course, it was some shock to her to find out that I was not
the pretty man that had been pointed out to her as the great Judson.
And then I took the Spanish language, which is better than English for
certain purposes, and played on it like a harp of a thousand strings.
I ranged from the second G below the staff up to F-sharp above it. I
set my voice to poetry, art, romance, flowers, and moonlight. I
repeated some of the verses that I had murmured to her in the dark at
her window; and I knew from a sudden soft sparkle in her eye that she
recognized in my voice the tones of her midnight mysterious wooer.

"Anyhow, I had Fergus McMahan going. Oh, the vocal is the true art--no
doubt about that. Handsome is as handsome palavers. That's the
renovated proverb.

"I took Senorita Anabela for a walk in the lemon grove while Fergus,
disfiguring himself with an ugly frown, was waltzing with the claybank
girl. Before we returned I had permission to come to her window in the
/patio/ the next evening at midnight and talk some more.

"Oh, it was easy enough. In two weeks Anabela was engaged to me, and
Fergus was out. He took it calm, for a handsome man, and told me he
wasn't going to give in.

"'Talk may be all right in its place, Judson,' he says to me,
'although I've never thought it worth cultivating. But,' says he, 'to
expect mere words to back up successfully a face like yours in a
lady's good graces is like expecting a man to make a square meal on
the ringing of a dinner-bell.'

"But I haven't begun on the story I was going to tell you yet.

"One day I took a long ride in the hot sunshine, and then took a bath
in the cold waters of a lagoon on the edge of the town before I'd
cooled off.

"That evening after dark I called at the alcalde's to see Anabela. I
was calling regular every evening then, and we were to be married in a
month. She was looking like a bulbul, a gazelle, and a tea-rose, and
her eyes were as soft and bright as two quarts of cream skimmed off
from the Milky Way. She looked at my rugged features without any
expression of fear or repugnance. Indeed, I fancied that I saw a look
of deep admiration and affection, such as she had cast at Fergus on
the plaza.

"I sat down, and opened my mouth to tell Anabela what she loved to
hear--that she was a trust, monopolizing all the loveliness of earth.
I opened my mouth, and instead of the usual vibrating words of love
and compliment, there came forth a faint wheeze such as a baby with
croup might emit. Not a word--not a syllable--not an intelligible
sound. I had caught cold in my laryngeal regions when I took my
injudicious bath.

"For two hours I sat trying to entertain Anabela. She talked a certain
amount, but it was perfunctory and diluted. The nearest approach I
made to speech was to formulate a sound like a clam trying to sing 'A
Life on the Ocean Wave' at low tide. It seemed that Anabela's eyes did
not rest upon me as often as usual. I had nothing with which to charm
her ears. We looked at pictures and she played the guitar
occasionally, very badly. When I left, her parting manner seemed cool
--or at least thoughtful.

"This happened for five evenings consecutively.

"On the sixth day she ran away with Fergus McMahan.

"It was known that they fled in a sailing yacht bound for Belize. I
was only eight hours behind them in a small steam launch belonging to
the Revenue Department.

"Before I sailed, I rushed into the /botica/ of old Manuel Iquito, a
half-breed Indian druggist. I could not speak, but I pointed to my
throat and made a sound like escaping steam. He began to yawn. In an
hour, according to the customs of the country, I would have been
waited on. I reached across the counter, seized him by the throat, and
pointed again to my own. He yawned once more, and thrust into my hand
a small bottle containing a black liquid.

"'Take one small spoonful every two hours,' says he.

"I threw him a dollar and skinned for the steamer.

"I steamed into the harbour at Belize thirteen seconds behind the
yacht that Anabela and Fergus were on. They started for the shore in a
dory just as my skiff was lowered over the side. I tried to order my
sailormen to row faster, but the sounds died in my larynx before they
came to the light. Then I thought of old Iquito's medicine, and I got
out his bottle and took a swallow of it.

"The two boats landed at the same moment. I walked straight up to
Anabela and Fergus. Her eyes rested upon me for an instant; then she
turned them, full of feeling and confidence, upon Fergus. I knew I
could not speak, but I was desperate. In speech lay my only hope. I
could not stand beside Fergus and challenge comparison in the way of
beauty. Purely involuntarily, my larynx and epiglottis attempted to
reproduce the sounds that my mind was calling upon my vocal organs to
send forth.

"To my intense surprise and delight the words rolled forth beautifully
clear, resonant, exquisitely modulated, full of power, expression, and
long-repressed emotion.

"'Senorita Anabela,' says I, 'may I speak with you aside for a

"You don't want details about that, do you? Thanks. The old eloquence
had come back all right. I led her under a cocoanut palm and put my
old verbal spell on her again.

"'Judson,' says she, 'when you are talking to me I can hear nothing
else--I can see nothing else--there is nothing and nobody else in the
world for me.'

"Well, that's about all of the story. Anabela went back to Oratama in
the steamer with me. I never heard what became of Fergus. I never saw
him any more. Anabela is now Mrs. Judson Tate. Has my story bored you

"No," said I. "I am always interested in psychological studies. A
human heart--and especially a woman's--is a wonderful thing to

"It is," said Judson Tate. "And so are the trachea and bronchial tubes
of man. And the larynx too. Did you ever make a study of the

"Never," said I. "But I have taken much pleasure in your story. May I
ask after Mrs. Tate, and inquire of her present health and

"Oh, sure," said Judson Tate. "We are living in Bergen Avenue, Jersey
City. The climate down in Oratama didn't suit Mrs. T. I don't suppose
you ever dissected the arytenoid cartilages of the epiglottis, did

"Why, no," said I, "I am no surgeon."

"Pardon me," said Judson Tate, "but every man should know enough of
anatomy and therapeutics to safeguard his own health. A sudden cold
may set up capillary bronchitis or inflammation of the pulmonary
vesicles, which may result in a serious affection of the vocal

"Perhaps so," said I, with some impatience; "but that is neither here
nor there. Speaking of the strange manifestations of the affection of
women, I--"

"Yes, yes," interrupted Judson Tate; "they have peculiar ways. But, as
I was going to tell you: when I went back to Oratama I found out from
Manuel Iquito what was in that mixture he gave me for my lost voice. I
told you how quick it cured me. He made that stuff from the /chuchula/
plant. Now, look here."

Judson Tate drew an oblong, white pasteboard box from his pocket.

"For any cough," he said, "or cold, or hoarseness, or bronchial
affection whatsoever, I have here the greatest remedy in the world.
You see the formula, printed on the box. Each tablet contains
licorice, 2 grains; balsam tolu, 1/10 grain; oil of anise, 1/20 minim;
oil of tar, 1/60 minim; oleo-resin of cubebs, 1/100 minim; fluid
extract of /chuchula/, 1/10 minim.

"I am in New York," went on Judson Tate, "for the purpose of
organizing a company to market the greatest remedy for throat
affections ever discovered. At present I am introducing the lozenges
in a small way. I have here a box containing four dozen, which I am
selling for the small sum of fifty cents. If you are suffering--"

* * * * *

I got up and went away without a word. I walked slowly up to the
little park near my hotel, leaving Judson Tate alone with his
conscience. My feelings were lacerated. He had poured gently upon me a
story that I might have used. There was a little of the breath of life
in it, and some of the synthetic atmosphere that passes, when
cunningly tinkered, in the marts. And, at the last it had proven to be
a commercial pill, deftly coated with the sugar of fiction. The worst
of it was that I could not offer it for sale. Advertising departments
and counting-rooms look down upon me. And it would never do for the
literary. Therefore I sat upon a bench with other disappointed ones
until my eyelids drooped.

I went to my room, and, as my custom is, read for an hour stories in
my favourite magazines. This was to get my mind back to art again.

And as I read each story, I threw the magazines sadly and hopelessly,
one by one, upon the floor. Each author, without one exception to
bring balm to my heart, wrote liltingly and sprightly a story of some
particular make of motor-car that seemed to control the sparking plug
of his genius.

And when the last one was hurled from me I took heart.

"If readers can swallow so many proprietary automobiles," I said to
myself, "they ought not to strain at one of Tate's Compound Magic
Chuchula Bronchial Lozenges."

And so if you see this story in print you will understand that
business is business, and that if Art gets very far ahead of Commerce,
she will have to get up and hustle.

I may as well add, to make a clean job of it, that you can't buy the
/chuchula/ plant in the drug stores.

© Art Branch Inc. | English Dictionary