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The Badge of Policeman O'Roon

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

It cannot be denied that men and women have looked upon one another
for the first time and become instantly enamored. It is a risky
process, this love at first sight, before she has seen him in
Bradstreet or he has seen her in curl papers. But these things do
happen; and one instance must form a theme for this story--though
not, thank Heaven, to the overshadowing of more vital and important
subjects, such as drink, policemen, horses and earldoms.

During a certain war a troop calling itself the Gentle Riders rode
into history and one or two ambuscades. The Gentle Riders were
recruited from the aristocracy of the wild men of the West and the
wild men of the aristocracy of the East. In khaki there is little
telling them one from another, so they became good friends and
comrades all around.

Ellsworth Remsen, whose old Knickerbocker descent atoned for his
modest rating at only ten millions, ate his canned beef gayly by the
campfires of the Gentle Riders. The war was a great lark to him, so
that he scarcely regretted polo and planked shad.

One of the troopers was a well set up, affable, cool young man, who
called himself O'Roon. To this young man Remsen took an especial
liking. The two rode side by side during the famous mooted up-hill
charge that was disputed so hotly at the time by the Spaniards and
afterward by the Democrats.

After the war Remsen came back to his polo and shad. One day a well
set up, affable, cool young man disturbed him at his club, and he
and O'Roon were soon pounding each other and exchanging opprobrious
epithets after the manner of long-lost friends. O'Roon looked seedy
and out of luck and perfectly contented. But it seemed that his
content was only apparent.

"Get me a job, Remsen," he said. "I've just handed a barber my last

"No trouble at all," said Remsen. "I know a lot of men who have
banks and stores and things downtown. Any particular line you

"Yes," said O'Roon, with a look of interest. "I took a walk in your
Central Park this morning. I'd like to be one of those bobbies on
horseback. That would be about the ticket. Besides, it's the only
thing I could do. I can ride a little and the fresh air suits me.
Think you could land that for me?"

Remsen was sure that he could. And in a very short time he did. And
they who were not above looking at mounted policemen might have seen
a well set up, affable, cool young man on a prancing chestnut steed
attending to his duties along the driveways of the park.

And now at the extreme risk of wearying old gentlemen who carry
leather fob chains, and elderly ladies who--but no! grandmother
herself yet thrills at foolish, immortal Romeo--there must be a hint
of love at first sight.

It came just as Remsen was strolling into Fifth avenue from his club
a few doors away.

A motor car was creeping along foot by foot, impeded by a freshet
of vehicles that filled the street. In the car was a chauffeur and
an old gentleman with snowy side whiskers and a Scotch plaid cap
which could not be worn while automobiling except by a personage.
Not even a wine agent would dare do it. But these two were of no
consequence--except, perhaps, for the guiding of the machine and
the paying for it. At the old gentleman's side sat a young lady
more beautiful than pomegranate blossoms, more exquisite than the
first quarter moon viewed at twilight through the tops of oleanders.
Remsen saw her and knew his fate. He could have flung himself under
the very wheels that conveyed her, but he knew that would be the last
means of attracting the attention of those who ride in motor cars.
Slowly the auto passed, and, if we place the poets above the autoists,
carried the heart of Remsen with it. Here was a large city of
millions, and many women who at a certain distance appear to resemble
pomegranate blossoms. Yet he hoped to see her again; for each one
fancies that his romance has its own tutelary guardian and divinity.

Luckily for Remsen's peace of mind there came a diversion in the
guise of a reunion of the Gentle Riders of the city. There were
not many of them--perhaps a score--and there was wassail and
things to eat, and speeches and the Spaniard was bearded again in
recapitulation. And when daylight threatened them the survivors
prepared to depart. But some remained upon the battlefield. One of
these was Trooper O'Roon, who was not seasoned to potent liquids.
His legs declined to fulfil the obligations they had sworn to the
police department.

"I'm stewed, Remsen," said O'Roon to his friend. "Why do they
build hotels that go round and round like catherine wheels?
They'll take away my shield and break me. I can think and talk
con-con-consec-sec-secutively, but I s-s-stammer with my feet. I've
got to go on duty in three hours. The jig is up, Remsen. The jig is
up, I tell you."

"Look at me," said Remsen, who was his smiling self, pointing to his
own face; "whom do you see here?"

"Goo' fellow," said O'Roon, dizzily, "Goo' old Remsen."

"Not so," said Remsen. "You see Mounted Policeman O'Roon. Look at
your face--no; you can't do that without a glass--but look at mine,
and think of yours. How much alike are we? As two French _table
d'hote_ dinners. With your badge, on your horse, in your uniform,
will I charm nurse-maids and prevent the grass from growing under
people's feet in the Park this day. I will have your badge and your
honor, besides having the jolliest lark I've been blessed with since
we licked Spain."

Promptly on time the counterfeit presentment of Mounted Policeman
O'Roon single-footed into the Park on his chestnut steed. In a
uniform two men who are unlike will look alike; two who somewhat
resemble each other in feature and figure will appear as twin
brothers. So Remsen trotted down the bridle paths, enjoying himself
hugely, so few real pleasures do ten-millionaires have.

Along the driveway in the early morning spun a victoria drawn by a
pair of fiery bays. There was something foreign about the affair,
for the Park is rarely used in the morning except by unimportant
people who love to be healthy, poor and wise. In the vehicle sat an
old gentleman with snowy side-whiskers and a Scotch plaid cap which
could not be worn while driving except by a personage. At his side
sat the lady of Remsen's heart--the lady who looked like pomegranate
blossoms and the gibbous moon.

Remsen met them coming. At the instant of their passing her eyes
looked into his, and but for the ever coward's heart of a true lover
he could have sworn that she flushed a faint pink. He trotted on for
twenty yards, and then wheeled his horse at the sound of runaway
hoofs. The bays had bolted.

Remsen sent his chestnut after the victoria like a shot. There was
work cut out for the impersonator of Policeman O'Roon. The chestnut
ranged alongside the off bay thirty seconds after the chase began,
rolled his eye back at Remsen, and said in the only manner open to
policemen's horses:

"Well, you duffer, are you going to do your share? You're not
O'Roon, but it seems to me if you'd lean to the right you could
reach the reins of that foolish slow-running bay--ah! you're all
right; O'Roon couldn't have done it more neatly!"

The runaway team was tugged to an inglorious halt by Remsen's
tough muscles. The driver released his hands from the wrapped
reins, jumped from his seat and stood at the heads of the team.
The chestnut, approving his new rider, danced and pranced, reviling
equinely the subdued bays. Remsen, lingering, was dimly conscious of
a vague, impossible, unnecessary old gentleman in a Scotch cap who
talked incessantly about something. And he was acutely conscious of
a pair of violet eyes that would have drawn Saint Pyrites from his
iron pillar--or whatever the allusion is--and of the lady's smile
and look--a little frightened, but a look that, with the ever coward
heart of a true lover, he could not yet construe. They were asking
his name and bestowing upon him wellbred thanks for his heroic deed,
and the Scotch cap was especially babbling and insistent. But the
eloquent appeal was in the eyes of the lady.

A little thrill of satisfaction ran through Remsen, because he had a
name to give which, without undue pride, was worthy of being spoken
in high places, and a small fortune which, with due pride, he could
leave at his end without disgrace.

He opened his lips to speak and closed them again.

Who was he? Mounted Policeman O'Roon. The badge and the honor of
his comrade were in his hands. If Ellsworth Remsen, ten-millionaire
and Knickerbocker, had just rescued pomegranate blossoms and Scotch
cap from possible death, where was Policeman O'Roon? Off his beat,
exposed, disgraced, discharged. Love had come, but before that there
had been something that demanded precedence--the fellowship of men
on battlefields fighting an alien foe.

Remsen touched his cap, looked between the chestnut's ears, and took
refuge in vernacularity.

"Don't mention it," he said stolidly. "We policemen are paid to do
these things. It's our duty."

And he rode away--rode away cursing _noblesse oblige_, but knowing he
could never have done anything else.

At the end of the day Remsen sent the chestnut to his stable and
went to O'Roon's room. The policeman was again a well set up,
affable, cool young man who sat by the window smoking cigars.

"I wish you and the rest of the police force and all badges, horses,
brass buttons and men who can't drink two glasses of _brut_ without
getting upset were at the devil," said Remsen feelingly.

O'Roon smiled with evident satisfaction.

"Good old Remsen," he said, affably, "I know all about it. They
trailed me down and cornered me here two hours ago. There was a
little row at home, you know, and I cut sticks just to show them. I
don't believe I told you that my Governor was the Earl of Ardsley.
Funny you should bob against them in the Park. If you damaged that
horse of mine I'll never forgive you. I'm going to buy him and take
him back with me. Oh, yes, and I think my sister--Lady Angela, you
know--wants particularly for you to come up to the hotel with me
this evening. Didn't lose my badge, did you, Remsen? I've got to
turn that in at Headquarters when I resign."

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