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a mighty leviathan. Even when we darkness, with an ambiguous gleam at were n't feeding him, and after we the bottom. A smile came to our wayfailed to notice the absence of rain- faring friend's face, which is as granitic worms as one forgets pain that is past, and lined as the glacier-scored ledges the fact that Nathan was in the well he loves to fish from. was a pleasant part of our subconscious- 'I mean with a mirror.' ness. It's wonderful how much affec- Mystified, we brought our friend a tion can be inspired by a fish. If we hand-mirror; and with the precision of inspired affection in Nathan's breast, a navigator taking an observation, he he concealed it like a true New England- caught the sun, swept it through an er. He showed his affection by his arc of half the heavens, and shot it into faithfulness, by remaining at his post the depths of the well. Alas, the shaft in the well, by not forsaking us during of sunlight was as disillusioning as a the long, inclement winter, by greet- searchlight of truth would probably be ing our first vernal bug with a stupen- if flashed into one's character. . The dous splash.
cylinder of greened granite boulders The season brought its multitud- was dry and dun-colored; the water of inous glories, feathered friends and our well, which before the drought had friends in silk and linens, a thousand sparkled a veritable blue in our whitenew flowers looking up at us each enamel drinking-pail, had shrunk to a morning with their innocent faces, yellow puddle. The puddle was ringed trees as murmurous as the sea, a sea with mud; exactly in the middle of it, which had put on its softer summer we could see the olive back of a fish, colors and had grown less imperious in apparently no bigger than a minnow. its surge. Enemies, too, came in their It was Nathan, patient, imperturbable appointed time, bugs of every ingenuity even in the surprise of sudden sunlight, of shape and dye, fogs, chilling and mys- wasted, but evidently alive. terious, long droughts, black blights. I eagerly volunteered as a rescue In the activities of what is supposed to party of one, as if present solicitude be too quiet a life, welcoming the com- could atone for past neglect. We got ing guest, speeding the departing bug, our longest ladder, our wayfaring friend emptying the cistern on the flower- steadied the top, and down I went, beds, we forgot the faithful friend who,
the gypsy kettle which had been Naduring the winter of outdoor inactivity than's triumphal chariot now serving and social vacuity, had been so often as his ambulance. In my hurry, I forin our thoughts and talk. One day, a got what I had read about noxious wayfaring friend of ours, who is quite gases in well-bottoms; but I did take the reverse of a fool, inquired, in the time to glance upward at the firmainterest he feels in all created things, ment. The roof of that pesky judge's “How's Nathan in the well, these stand hid the heavens, like many othdays?'
er ugly, ostentatious impedimenta of Our hearts smote us. Poor Nathan! so-called civilized life. I determined to
'Oh, I hope he is n't dead! There take the well-curb down, and substiwas only eight inches of water in the tute one open to the sky; then I conwell last Saturday, and we haven't been tinued the work of rescue. Nathan's able to drink of it for weeks.'
nose was buried in the mud; he was "Have you looked down lately?' ‘
struggling for breath like an entombed We hastened to the curb, and peered miner; and when I had brought him to over; but all we could make out was the surface and the sunlight, the ray
ages of his ordeal were painfully ap- in an attitude that I am sure he would parent to us. He had become the dia. have considered indecorous. He had phanous wraith of a fish; his emaciat- made no outcry; no one heard his last ed body was almost translucent; there words, if he spoke any. Personally, I was nothing left of him except head, believe he did not speak any. I believe speckles, and indomitable spirit. that he died as he had lived, inarticu
I have always been an advocate of late, a martyr to duty, like a true New open plumbing, and my advocacy was Englander. And the pity of it is that now justified. We carried our bath
We carried our bath, if we had been a tithe as faithful to him tub outdoors. We filled it with pure as he was to us, he would be living water from a neighbor's well that never now, developing into the very patriarch goes dry. Tenderly, we placed Nathan of trout, with an ever increasing stock in his new ocean; we gave him a whole of experience which he would distill fleet of crickets and grasshoppers that into an ever-deepening silence. worked their walking-beams with pro- Of course, soon after Nathan's death vocative, propulsive force; but Nathan the rain descended, the floods came, the Wise, with slowly moving fins and and our well filled again with living weakly pulsing gills, took no notice of water, living in more senses than one; them; and we decided that it was part for we again found pale, amorphous of his wisdom not to gorge himself on rain-worms in our water-bucket. We an empty stomach, or perhaps he was accepted these meekly, however, as delicate about eating before so large less than the just punishment for our an audience.
neglect. They will be a continuing punWe, however, suffered no such ishment and a continuing reminder of scruples; and, leaving Nathan with Nathan. We have resolved never to high hopes, we dressed to attend a large have another fish. supper-party at an opulent neighbor's Weeks afterward, it suddenly flashed who has an artesian well on his place, across us that we had missed an una ridiculous affair that you could n't exampled opportunity to turn defeat hang even a cream-jar in. Afterwards, into a glorious victory. While I was we walked home under the stars; and fruitlessly rescuing Nathan from the by their dim light, we could descry bottom of the well, right under my Nathan, still breathing in the depths nose, right before my eyes, right within of his sea. In the fleet of crickets and my grasp, there was something more grasshoppers, anchored close together, precious and more fabulous than the there was now no motion of walking- pot of gold at the rainbow's foot. Truth beam or paddle-wheel. Fires were evi- was at the bottom of the well; but I dently banked, and steam was down failed to spy it out or smell it out or for the night. Next morning, we found grasp it. A single thought, a single that the vital steam was down in Na- movement, and I could have come up than's breast, that his fires were out that ladder laden with a heritage richer forever, unless, if the hope be not im- than Plutus' mine. Poor, panting man pious, they are rekindled in some De- was never so near Eternal Verity bevonian Paradise.
fore. And now, it's under thirty feet Poor Nathan, stiff, stark, was lying of water! All we can do is live in the in the bottom of the bath-tub, with his hope that there may be another drought pale, pathetic belly turned uppermost this summer.
THE CONTRIBUTORS' CLUB
with a Pomeranian on her lap instead THE IMMORALITY OF SHOP-WIN
of a baby? That fifteen-dollar-a-week DOWS
chorus-girl in a cab, half buried under At the heart of morality lies con- a two-thousand dollar chinchilla coat? tent. That is a statement either opti- That elderly man who hobbles goutily mistic or cynical, as you choose to look out of his club and walks a few short at it; but it is a statement of fact. Even blocks to his house on Murray Hill, for the reformer seeks to allay his discon- exercise'? Assuredly, somebody has tent, which does not arise from the the price, for the shops are ever open, morality in him, but from the immoral- the allurement of their windows never ity in other people. Anybody who has less. But not you, who gaze hungrylived with a reformer knows this. There eyed at these beautiful objects, and fore are modern shop-windows — by then go to a Sixth Avenue department steel construction made to occupy the store and wonder if you can afford maximum amount of space, to assault that Persian rug made in Harlem, markby breadth and brilliance the most cal- ed down from $50 to $48.87; or that lous eye-one of the most immoral colonial mahogany bookcase glistening forces in modern city life.
with brand new varnish. Envy gnaws This is especially true of the shop- at your heart. And yet you had supwindows on Fifth Avenue, New York. posed that yours was a comfortable For these windows, even at night sort of income-maybe four thousand illuminated like silent drawing-rooms dollars a year. Your father, on that vacant of people, expose to the view of income, back in a New England suburb, the most humble passer on the curb was counted quite a man in the comas well as to the pampered rich racing munity, and you put on airs. He seby in motors, the spoils of all the world. lected the new minister, and you set Here are paintings by the old masters the style in socks. But now you are and the new; rare furniture and mar- humiliated, embittered. You bles from Italian palaces; screens from against predatory wealth. Thus shopJapan; jewels and rugs from the Orient; windows do make Socialists of us all. silk stockings, curios, china, bronzes, Nor are you able to accept the shophats, furs; and again more curios, cabin windows educationally, recalling that nets, statues, paintings; things rare and when you went to Europe you saw nobeautiful and exotic from every quarter thing that had not already stared at you of the globe, 'from silken Samarcand through plate-glass on Fifth Avenueto cedared Lebanon.' And they are not for sale. Who wants to view one of the collections, they are not the treasures chairs that a Medici sat in, only to reof some proud house — although they
although they call that months before he saw its might have been once: they are for sale; mate in a shop-window at the corner of they may be bought by anybody-who Fifth Avenue and Thirty-first Street; has the price.
or to contemplate a pious yellow heaBut who has the price? That stout then bowed down before the image of woman riding by in her limousine, Buddha, while the tinkly temple bells
are tinkling, only to have rise in his to feel glad, relieved. Do you? You do mind the memory of a much larger and not! You are angry. You feel as if you more venerable Buddha which used to had lost just so much money, when in smile out inscrutably at the crossing reality you have saved it. Thus do of Twenty-ninth Street, below a much shop-windows destroy logic. sweeter string of tinkly temple bells? This has been a particularly perilWe've a bigger, better Buddha in a cleaner (!), ous season for the man with a passion greener (!!) land,
for shirts. By some diabolical agreeMany miles from Mandalay.
ment, all the haberdashers at one and There is no romance in an antique, be the same time filled their windows with it god or chair or China plate, when it luscious lavenders and faint green is exposed for sale in a shop-window. stripes and soft silk shirts with comAnd there is no romance in it amid its fortable French cuffs, and marking out native surroundings when you realize $2.00 or $3.00, as the case might be, that any day it may be carried off and wrote $1.50 or $2.50 below. The song so exposed. Thus do shop-windows of the shirt was loud in the land, its destroy romance.
haunting melody not to be resisted. But in the humbler windows off the Is there any lure for a woman in all the Avenue there is an equal, if grosser, Auffy mystery of a January 'white element of immorality. For these are sale' comparable to the seduction for the windows where price-tags are dis- a man of a lavender shirt marked down played. The tag has always two prices, from $2.00 to $1.50? I doubt it. Heathe higher marked through with red ink, ven help the women if there is! So the the lower, for this very reason, calling unused stock in trunk or bureau drawer with a siren voice. The price crossed off accumulates, and the weekly reward for is always just beyond your means, the patient toil at an office dribbles away, other just within it. 'Ah,' you think, and the savings bank is no richer for swallowing the deception with only your deposit - and the shop-windows too great willingness, 'what a bargain! fare as shamelessly as ever. There It may never come again!' And you is only one satisfaction. The man who enter the fatal door.
sells shirts always has a passion for jewPerhaps you struggle first. 'Don't elry. And that keeps him poor, too! ‘,
! buy it,' says the inhibition of prudence. *You have more neckties now than
ULTIMATE CONVICTIONS you can wear.'
‘But it's so cheap,' says impulse, Most of us if questioned as to our with the usual sophistry.
ultimate convictions would unhesiAnd you, poor victim that you are, tatingly give such answers as — the tugged on and back by warring factions existence of God, the immortality of in your brain, — poor refutation of the the soul, the unvaryingness of natural silly old theological superstitions that law, the relativity of knowledge, the there is such a thing as free will, – inaccessibility of the supernatural
, de vacillate on the sidewalk till the battle mocracy. A few cautious or frivolous is over, till your mythical free will is folk would want to sleep on it. The down in the dust. Thus do shop-win- small number of really serious people dows overthrow theology.
who answered quite honestly would Then you enter that shop, and ask for avow such ultimate convictions the tie. Or perhaps it is something else, sausage and Germans are nasty, that and they have n't your size. You ought red-headed women are bad-tempered,