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width apart. They crowded close about him at the telegraph window while he interpreted with unconscious originality the wonders of electricity. Their eyes rose slowly from the window up and out along the ascending wires to where they mounted the poles and eastward and westward leaped away sinking and rising from insulator to insulator. One of the party pointed at these green dots of glass and murmured a question, and the leader's wife laid her small hand softly upon his arm to check the energy of his utterance as he said, audibly to all on the platform, and with a strong French accent:

"They?—are there lest the heat of the telegraph fluid inflame the post-es!" He laid his own hand tenderly upon his wife's in response to its warning pressure, yet turned to the sugar-planter and asked:

"Sir, pardon; do I not explain truly ?" The planter, with restrained smile, was about to reply, when some one called, "There she comes!" and every eye was turned to the

east.

"Truly!" exclaimed the inquirer, in a voice made rich with emotion. "Truly, she comes! She comes! The iron horse, though they call him 'she'!" He turned to the planter"Ah! sir, why say they thus many or thus many horse-power, when truly "- his fingertip pattered upon his temple-"truly it is mind-power!"

The planter, smiling decorously, turned away, and the speaker looked again down the long vacant track to where the small dark focus of every one's attention was growing on the sight. He spoke again, in lower voice but with larger emotion.

"Mind-power! thought-power! knowledgepower! learning and thinking power!" He caught his wife's arm. "See! see, Sidonie, my dear! See her enhancing in magnitude so fastly approaching!" As he spoke a puff of white vapor lifted from the object and spread out against the blue, the sunbeams turned it to silver and pearl, and a moment later came the far-away, long, wild scream of the locomotive. "Retire!" exclaimed the husband, drawing back all his gazing companions at once. "Retire! retire! the whisttel is to signify warning to retire from too close the edge of the galérie! There! rest at this point. 'T is far enough. Now, each and all resolve to stand and shrink not whilst that iron mare, eating coal, drinking hot water, and spitting fire, shall seem, but falsely, threatening to come on the platform. Ah! Claude!" he cried to the youngest of the group, "now shall you behold what I have told you- that vast am-azement of civilize-ation anni-high-lating space and also time at the tune of twenty miles the hour!"

He wheeled upon the planter - "Sir, do I exaggerate?"

"

"Forty miles," replied the planter; "sometimes fifty."

"Friends,-confirmated! more than twicefold confirmated. Forty, sometimes fifty! Thou heardest it, Maximian Roussel! Not from me, but from the gentleman himself! Forty, sometimes fifty! Such the march, the forward march of civilize-ation!"

His words were cut short by the unearthly neigh of the engine. Sidonie smote herself backward against her husband.

"Nay, Sidonie, fear thou nothing! Remember, dear Sidonie, thy promise of self-control! Stand boldly still, St. Pierre; both father and son stand." The speaker was unheard. Hissing, clanging, thundering, and shaking the earth, the engine and train loomed up to the platform and stopped.

"Come!" cried Bonaventure Deschamps, "lose no moment, dear friends. Tide and time

even less the railroad-wait for nobody. Claude, remember; give your ticket of passage to none save the conductor only. 'T is print' in letter' of gold on front his cap-Conductor'-Stop! he is here - Sir, this young man, inexperienced, is taking passage for

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"Shoot him aboard," replied a uniformed man, and walked on without a pause. Claude moved toward the train. Bonaventure seized him by both arms.

"Claude St. Pierre! Claude, my boy; pride of Grande Pointe, second only with Sidonie, farewell!"

Tears leaped into the eyes of both. Bonaventure snatched Claude to his arms and kissed him. It was less than nothing to him that every eye on and off the train was on them. He relaxed his grasp. "Sidonie! tell him farewell!-ah! nay! shake not hands only! Kiss her, Claude! Kiss him, my own Sidonie, kiss him farewell!"

It was done. Claude blushed red, and Sidonie stepped back, wiping her eyes. Maximian moved into the void and smiling gave his hand to the young adventurer.

"Adjieu, Claude." He waved a hand awkwardly. "Teck care you'seff," and dropped the hand audibly against his thigh.

Claude's eye sought his father. St. Pierre pressed forward, laid his right hand upon his son's shoulder, and gazed into his face. His voice was low and husky. He smiled. "Claude," tears rose in his eyes, but he swallowed them down,-" Claude,- my baby," and the flood came. The engine bell rang. The conductor gave the warning word, the youth leaped upon his father's neck, St. Pierre thrust him off, caught his two cheeks between fluttering palms and kissed him vio

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lently, the train moved, the young man leaped aboard, the blue uniforms disappeared, save one on the rear platform, the bell ceased, the gliding mass shrunk and dwindled away, the rails clicked more and more softly, the tearful group drew closer together as they gazed after the now unheard train, it melted to a point and disappeared, the stillness of forest and prairie fell again upon the place, the soaring sun shone down, and Claude St. Pierre was gone to seek his fortune.

III. THE TAVERN FIRESIDE.

I CALL to mind a certain wild, dark night in November. St. Pierre lay under his palmetto thatch in the forest behind Grande Pointe and could not sleep for listening to the wind and wondering where his son was, in that wild Texas norther. On the Mississippi a steamer, upward bound, that had whistled to land at Belmont, or Belle Alliance plantation, seemed to be staying there afraid to venture away. Miles southward beyond the river and the lands on that side, Lake des Allemands was combing with the tempest and hissing with the rain. Still farther away, on the little bayou and at the railway station in the edge of the swamp that we already know, and westward over the prairie where Claude had vanished into the world, all life was hidden and mute. And farther still, leagues and leagues away, the mad tempest was riding the white-caps in Berwick's Bay and Grande Lake, and yet beyond, beyond New Iberia, and up by Carancro, and around again by St. Martinville, Breaux Bridge, Grand Coteau, and Opelousas, and down once more across the prairies of Vermillion, the marshes about Côte Blanche Bay, and the islands in the Gulf, it came bounding, screaming, and buffeting. And all the way across that open sweep from Mermentau to Côte Gelée it was tearing the rain to mist and freezing it wherever it fell, only lulling and warming a little about Joseph Jefferson's Island, as if that prank were too mean a trick to play upon his orange-groves.

In Vermillionville the wind came around every corner piercing and pinching to the bone. The walking was slippery; and though it was still early bed-time and the ruddy lamplight filled the wet panes of some window every here and there, scarce a soul was stirring without, on horse or afoot, to be guided by its kindly glow.

At the corner of two streets quite away from the court-house square, a white frame tavern, with a wooden Greek porch filling its whole two-story front and a balcony built within the porch at the second story windows in oddest fashion, was glowing with hospitable

firelight. It was not nearly the largest inn of the place, nor the oldest, nor the newest, nor the most accessible. There was no clink of glass there. Yet in this, only third year of its present management, it was the place where those who knew best always put up.

Around the waiting-room fire this evening sat a goodly semicircle of men,-commercial travelers. Some of them were quite dry and comfortable and wore an air of superior fortune over others whose shoes and lower garments sent out more or less steam and odor toward the open fire-place. Several were smoking. One who neither smoked nor steamed stood with his back to the fire and the skirts of his coat lifted forward on his wrists. He was a rather short, slight, nervy man, about thirty years of age, with a wide pink baldness running so far back from his prominent temples and forehead that when he tipped his face toward the blue joists overhead, enjoying the fatigue of a well-filled day, his polished skull sent back the firelight brilliantly. There was a light skirmish of conversation going on in which he took no part. No one seemed really acquainted with another. Presently a man sitting next on the left of him put away a quill toothpick in his watch-pocket, looked up into the face of the standing man, and said, with a faint smile :

"That job 's done!"

With friendly gravity the other looked down and replied, "I never use a quill toothpick." "Yes," said the one who sat, "it's bad. Still, I do it."

"Nothing," continued the other," nothing harder than a sharpened white-pine match should ever go between the teeth. Brush thoroughly but not violently once or twice daily with a moderately stiff brush dipped in soft water into which has been dropped a few drops of the tincture of myrrh. A brush of badger's hair is best. If tartar accumulates, have it removed by a dentist. Do not bite thread or crack nuts with the teeth, or use the teeth for other purposes than those for which nature designed them." He bent toward his hearer with a smile of irresistible sweetness, drew his lips away from his gums, snapped his teeth together loudly twice or thrice, and smiled again, modestly. The other man sought defense in buoyancy of manner.

"Right you are!" he chirruped. He reached up to his adviser's blue-and-crimson neck-scarf and laid his finger and thumb upon a large, solitary pear-shaped pearl. "You're like me; you believe in the real thing."

"I do," said the pearl's owner; "and I like people that like the real thing. A pearl of the first water is real. There's no sham there; no deception - except the iridescence, which is,

as you doubtless know, an optical illusion attributable to the intervention of rays of light reflected from microscopic corrugations of the nacrous surface. But for that our eye is to blame, not the pearl. See?"

The seated man did not reply; but another man on the speaker's right, a large man, widest at the waist, leaned across the arm of his chair to scrutinize the jewel. Its owner turned his throat for the inspection, despite a certain gramness and crocodilian aggressiveness in the man's interest.

"I like a diamond, myself," said the new on-looker, dropped back in his chair, and met the eyes of the pearl's owner with a heavy glance.

"Tastes differ," kindly responded the wearer of the pearl. "Are you acquainted with the language of gems?"

The big-waisted man gave a negative grunt and spat bravely into the fire. "Did n't know gems could talk," he said.

“They do not talk, they speak," responded their serene interpreter. The company in general noticed that, with all his amiability of tone and manner, his mild eyes held the big-waisted man with an uncomfortable steadiness. "They speak not to the ear, but to the eye and to the thought:

"Thought is deeper than all speech;
Feeling deeper than all thought;
Souls to souls can never teach
What unto themselves was taught.""

The speaker's victim writhed, but the riveted gaze and an uplifted finger pinioned

him. "You should know every one should know the language of gems. There is a language of flowers:

"To me the humblest flower that blows can give Thoughts that too often lie too deep for tears." But the language of gems is as much more important than that of flowers as the imperishable gem is itself more enduring than the withering, the evanescent blossom. A gentleman may not with safety present to a lady a gem of whose accompanying sentiment he is ignorant. But with the language of gems understood between them, how could a sentiment be more exquisitely or more acceptably expressed than by the gift of a costly gem uttering that sentiment with an unspoken eloquence! Did you but know the language of gems your choice would not be the diamond. Diamond me no diamonds,' emblems of pride

"Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of humankind pass by.'

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"Your choice would have been the pearl, chains, and-" He was interrupted. A long symbol of modest loveliness.

The speaker ceased, with his glance hovering caressingly over the little trembler with fluttering wing, that is, the big-waisted man. The company sat in listening expectancy, and the big-waisted man, whose eyes had long ago sought refuge in the fire, lifted them and said, satirically, "Go on," at the same time trying to buy his way out with a smile.

"It's your turn," quickly responded the jewel's owner, with something droll in his manner that made the company laugh at the other's expense. The big-waisted man kindled, then smiled again, and said:

"Was that emblem of modest loveliness give' to your symbolically, or did you present it to yourself?"

"I took it for a debt," replied the wearer, bowing joyously.

"Ah!" said the other. "Well, I s'pose it was either that or her furniture?"

"Thanks, yes." There was a pause, and then the pearl's owner spoke on. "Strange fact. That was years ago. And yet -" he fondled his gem with thumb and finger and tender glance" you 're the first man I 've met to whom I could sincerely and symbolically present it, and you don't want it. I'm sorry."

"I see," said the big-waisted man, glaring

at him.

"So do I," responded the pearl's owner. A smile went round, and the company sat looking into the fire. Outside the wind growled and scolded, shook and slapped the house, and thrashed it with the rain. A man sitting against the chimney said:

"If this storm keeps on six hours longer I reduce my estimate of the cotton crop sixtyfive thousand bales." But no one responded; and as the importance died out of his face he dropped his gaze into the fire with a pretense of deep meditation. Presently another, a goodlooking young fellow, said:

"Well, gents, I never cared much for jewelry. But I like a nice scarf-pin; it's nobby. And I like a handsome seal-ring." He drew one from a rather chubby finger, and passed it to his next neighbor, following it with his eyes, and adding: "That 's said to be a real intaglio. But now, one thing I don't like, that 's to see a lady wear a quantity of diamond rings outside of her glove, and heavy gold

man, with legs stiffened out to the fire, lifted a

VOL. XXXV.- 15.

cigar between two fingers, sent a soft jet of smoke into the air, and began monotonously:

"Chains on a Southern woman? Chains?'

I know the lady that wrote that piece." He suddenly gathered himself up for some large effort. "I can't recite it as she used to, but" And to the joy of all he was interrupted.

"Gentlemen," said one, throwing a cigarette stump into the fire, "that brings up the subject of the war. By the by, do you know what that war cost the Government of the United States ?" He glanced from one to another until his eye reached the wearer of the pearl, who stood, now, with the jewel glistening in the firelight, and who promptly said: Yes; how much?"

66

"Well," said the first questioner with sudden caution, "I may be mistaken, but I've heard that it cost six-I think they say sixbillion dollars. Did n't it?"

"It did," replied the other, with a smile of friendly commendation; "it cost six billion, one hundred and eighty-nine million, nine hundred and twenty-nine thousand, nine hundred and eight dollars. The largest item is interest: one billion, seven hundred and one million, two hundred and fifty-six thousand, one hundred and ninety-eight dollars, forty-two cents. The next largest, the pay of troops; the next, clothing the army. If there 's any item of the war's expenses you would like to know, ask me. Capturing president Confederate States ninety-seven thousand and thirty-one dollars, three cents." The speaker's manner grew almost gay. The other smiled defensively and responded:

"You've got a good memory for sta-stistics. I have n't; and yet I always did like sta-stistics. I'm no sta-stitian, and yet if I had the time sta-stistics would be my favorite study; I s'pose it's yours."

The wearer of the pearl shook his head. "No. But I like it. I like the style of mind that likes it." The two bowed with playful graciousness to each other. "Yes, I do. And I've studied it, some little. I can tell you the best time of every celebrated trotter in this country; the quickest trip a steamer ever made between Queenstown and New York, New York and Queenstown, New Orleans and New York; the greatest speed ever made on a railroad or by a yacht, pedestrian, carrier-pigeon, or defaulting cashier; the rate of postage to every foreign country; the excess of women over men in every State of the Union so afflicted — or blessed, according to how you look at it; the numbers of volumes in each of the world's ten largest libraries; the salary of every officer of the United States Government; the average duration of life in a

man, elephant, lion, horse, anaconda, tortoise, camel, rabbit, ass, etcetera, etcetera; the age of every crowned head in Europe; each State's legal and commercial rate of interest; and how long it takes a healthy boy to digest apples. baked beans, cabbage, dates, eggs, fish, green corn, h, i, j, k, l-m-n-o-p, quinces, rice, shrimps, tripe, veal, yams, and anything you can cook commencing with z. It's a fascinating study. But it's not my favorite.

"The proper study of mankind is man.'

Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled,
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!'

"I love to study human nature. That's my favorite study! The art of reading the inner human nature by the outer aspect is of immeasurable interest and boundless practical value, and the man who can practice it skillfully and apply it sagaciously is on the high road to fortune, and why? Because to know it thoroughly is to know whom to trust and how far; to select wisely a friend, a confidant, a partner in any enterprise; to shun the untrustworthy, to anticipate and turn to our personal advantage the merits, faults, and deficiencies of all, and to evolve from their character such practical results as we may choose for our own ends; but a thorough knowledge is attained only by incessant observation and long practice; like music, it demands a special talent possessed by different individuals in variable quantity or not at all. You, gentlemen, all are, what I am not, commercial tourists. Before you I must be modest. You, each of you, have been chosen from surrounding hundreds or thousands for your superior ability, natural or acquired, to scan the human face and form and know whereof you see. I look you in the eye-you look me in the eye

for the eye, though it does not tell all, tells much—it is the key of character - it has been called the mirror of the soul

"And looks commercing with the skies, Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes.' And so looking you read me. You say to yourself, There's a man with no concealments, yet who speaks not till he 's spoken to; knows when to stop, and stops.' You note my pale eyebrows, my slightly prominent and pointed chin, somewhat oversized mouth; small, wellspread ears, faintly aquiline nose; fine, thin, blonde hair, a depression in the skull where the bump of self-conceit ought to be, and you say, 'A man that knows his talents without being vain of them; who not only minds his own business, but loves it, and who in that business, be it buggy-whips or be it washine, or be it something far nobler,'- which, let me

say modestly, it is, simply goes head and stays there.' Yes, sirs, if I say that reading the human countenance is one of my accomplishments, I am diffidently mindful that in this company, I, myself, am read, perused; no other probably so well read — I mean so exhaustively perused. For there is one thing about me, gentlemen, if you 'll allow me to say it, I'm short meter, large print, and open to the public seven days in the week. And yet you probably all made one mistake about me: you take me for the alumni of some university. Not so. I'm a self-made man. I made myself; and considering that I'm the first man I ever made, I think - pardon the seeming egotism-I think I've done well. A few years ago there dwelt in humble obscurity among the granite hills of New England, earning his bread by the sweat of his brow upon his father's farm, a youth to fortune and to fame unknown. But one day a voice within him said, Tarbox,'George W.,- namesake of the man who never told a lie, do you want to succeed in life? Then leave the production of tobacco and cider to unambitious age and find that business wherein you can always give a man ten times as much for his dollar as his dollar is worth.' The meaning was plain, and from that time forth young Tarbox aspired to become a bookagent. 'T was not long ere he, like

"Young Harry Bluff, left his friends and his home, And his dear native land, o'er the wide world to roam.'

6

Books became his line, and full soon he was the head of the line. And why? Was it because in the first short twelve months of his career he sold, delivered, and got the money for, 5107 copies of Mend-me-at-Home'? No. Was it, then, because three years later he sold in one year, with no other assistance than a man to drive the horse and wagon, hold the blackboard, and hand out the books, 10,003 copies of Rapid 'Rithmetic'? It was not. Was it, then, because in 1878, reading aright the public mind, he said to his publishers, whose confidence in him was unbounded, 'It ain't "Mend-me-at-Home" the people want most, nor "Rapid 'Rithmetic," nor "Heal Thyself," nor "I meet the Emergency," nor the "Bouquet of Poetry and Song." What they want is all these in one.' 'Abridged?' said the publishers. Enlarged!' said young Tarbox,enlarged and copiously illustrated, complete in one volume, price, cloth, three dollars, sheep four, half morocco, gilt edges, five; real value to the subscriber, two hundred and fifty; title, "The Album of Universal Information; author, G. W. Tarbox; editor, G. W. T.; agent for the United States, the Canadas, and Mexico, G. W. Tarbox," that is to say, myself.' That, gentlemen, is the reason I stand

at the head of my line; not merely because on every copy sold I make an author's as well as a solicitor's margin; but because, being the author, I know whereof I sell. A man that 's got my book has got a college education; and when a man taps me,- for, gentlemen, I never spout until I'm tapped,- and information bursts from me like water from a street hydrant, and he comes to find out that everything I tell is in that wonderful book, and that everything that is in that wonderful book I can tell, he wants to own a copy; and when 1 tell him I can't spare my sample copy, but I'll take his subscription, he smiles gratefully-"

A cold, wet blast, rushing into the room from the hall, betrayed the opening of the front door. The door was shut again, and a well-formed, muscular young man who had entered stood in the parlor doorway lifting his hat from his head, shaking the rain from it, and looking at it with amused diffidence. Mr. Tarbox turned about once more with his back to the fire, gave the figure a quick glance of scrutiny, then a second and longer one, and then dropped his eyes to the floor. The bigwaisted man shifted his chair, tipped it back, and said:

"He smiles gratefully, you say?" "Yes."

"And subscribes ? "

"If he's got any sense." Mr. Tarbox replied in a preoccupied tone, his eyes on the young man who still stood in the door. This person must have reached the house in some covered conveyance. Even his boot-tops were dry or nearly so. He was rather pleasing to see; of good stature, his clothing cheap. A dark-blue flannel sack of the ready-made sort hung on him not too well. Light as the garment was, he showed no sign that he felt the penetrating cold out of which he had just come. His throat and beardless face had the good brown of outdoor life, his broad chest strained the two buttons of his sack, his head was wellpoised, his feet were shapely, and but for somewhat too much roundness about the shoulder-blades, noticeable in the side view as he carefully stood a long, queer package that was not buggy-whips against the hat-rack, it would have been fair to pronounce him an athlete.

The eyes of the fireside group were turned toward him; but not upon him. They rested on a girl of sixteen who had come down the hall and was standing before the new-comer just beyond the door. The registry-book was just there on a desk in the hall. She stood with a freshly dipped pen in her hand, ignoring the gaze from the fireside with a faintly overdone calmness of face. The new guest came forward and, in a manner that showed

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