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vor, it is pleasant to compare him with troubadours, or, if you please, Viking bards. When health and wealth and even life are almost gone, Lanier's song is still joyous as that of a wandering troubadour. Like a troubadour defiantly carefree and song-loving, he sings to death:
“Death, thouʼrt a cordial old and rare,
And to time he cries:
"Then time let not a drop be spilt,
Again the spirit of troubadour and Viking mingled in his poetry and his verse combines the prettiness, the romantic fervency, the frivolous hops of fancy that we associate with those castle-haunting minstrels, and the strangely sad, whimsically serious imagination of old Norse sea-kings. In most of Lanier's poetry these elements mingle, as
"The gloom of the live oaks beautiful, braided and woven
in his favorite marsh by the sea.
But as Lanier, tossed with fever, lay very near to death's door, the spirit of the Viking swept in upon him. His soul "seemed suddenly free, by the length and the breadth of the marshes of Glynn." It was then that he sang his "message of range and of sweep," his song of the world and fate, with the huge imaginings and brave spirit of a Norse bard, beautified by the quiet faith and delicate sympathy of a Christian poet.
"I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the skies, By so many roots as the marsh grass send in the sod
I will lay me a hold on the greatness of God."
So Lanier sang in the last brave days of his life. With struggles and failures and poverty past, with his song well sung, he could quaff his "stirrup cup" joyously with all the brave spirit of Norse sea-kings and the calm faith of
"The Catholic man who has mightily woN
God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain."
S. D. Frissell.
'HE upper stories of the buildings along Broadway rose obscurely in the gray drizzle to lose themselves above in the black shadows of the night. The street lights and great electric signs dropped long splashes of light down the wet pavements and sidewalks. On a corner was gathered a knot of shabbily-dressed men and curious boys, with collars turned up and hands in pockets. Cymbals, tinning discordantly, marked uncertain time to a flat, nasal rendering of "Throw out the Life-line." When the rally hymn ceased, an evangelist with feverish black eyes mounted upon a drygoods box to harangue the crowd. His voice, straining in its desperate earnestness, pleaded insistently.
A well-dressed passer-by smiled at the emotion and glanced inquisitively at the crowd. Some were visibly affected by the frank allusions to their sins, and others laughed noiselessly, nudging one another. But the pale, sad-eyed orator knew the way to the hearts of the street, and when he closed there was a circle of damp, earnest faces close about him.
"If there be anyone here who is willing to declare his intention of leading a pure, Christian life hereafter, will he please step forward."
One young fellow who had plainly been born in the country, but who had the evil brand of the city on his face, stepped to the box. His weak lips trembled a little. An old man with a scrubby beard and watery eyes followed him. The passer-by, who swayed slightly, looked on with the same amused smile. Then he moved forward, trying to force the dare-devil grin on his thin lips into a pious droop. Pushing his way unceremoniously toward the speaker, he expressed a desire for conversion. Then he cried, in a voice which was a trifle thick:
"Brothers 'n fellow sinners!" (Grasping the orator's arm, he pulled himself up to the box. His young face was lean and handsome under the glare of the arc-light, and his voice
preternaturally solemn.) "Moved by the tender memʼry of my days of innocence, I wish to affirm my desire to return to them. Also to make myself a horr❜ble example. Good friends, take warning from me. When I think of my good old wife 'n' sixteen children I have deserted, it alm-most breaks m'heart." He wiped his eye on his sleeve and sniffed. The Salvation Army band looked at him suspiciously. "When I was a li'l feller forty years ago, on the plains of Zambezi, m'heart was as gay 'n' innocent as a li'l white flower." The evangelist's brow contracted. Somebody on the outskirts of the crowd giggled. "My mother used to say to me: 'Reginald,' she used to say, 'Reginald, Reginald-'" The speaker seemed to be inordinately pleased with his name, and a joyous smile twisted his lips. 'Reginald,' he started again, then broke into shrill, bibulous laughter. A young man in an opera hat broke through the crowd. He reached for the would-be convert and jerked him down angrily. The spectators divided before the pair, as the new comer pushed the inebriate from the scene of his pitiable performance. The orator rose again, a look half of anger, half of sorrow on his face, and attempted to pick up the thread of his work. But his converts had slunk back into the crowd, and his last halting words fell on deaf
"Ted, you pitiful fool, what made you do that?" ejaculated the stern-faced, young fellow to his unsteady companion as he conducted him down the side street. "Why didn't you wait for me?"
"I say, Monk, can't a fellow have a li'l fun. My God, I'm rotting away in this cursed town. I got t' have some 'xcitement, Monk. That's the reason I took a drink. I'm not drunk, Monk, don't think it f'r a minute. I just got t' have a li'l 'xcitement."
An impatient grunt answered him.
"A man who's lived the life I have isn't going to sit still 'n' twiddle his thumbs all the rest of's life, not by a d n sight! I got t' have some 'xcitement, Monk!" he repeated querulously.
His companion looked at him and the anger gradually faded from his eyes. There was something irresistible in the clear, tanned face. The thin, moist lips trembled a little, but there was no weakness in the sharp, well-modelled chin. The nose was thin and aquiline. The whole cast of his head displayed cleverness and absolute daring. But his eyes! Not even the fumes of wine had fogged their dark brilliance. When he was sober they were sparkling and brilliant. Now they were human and lovable. His companion threw an impulsive arm across his shoulders.
"I know, Ted, but there are lots of things in life better than excitement, and you know it, too."
"Yes, Monk, tha's right. But sometimes there's a kind of feeling comes over me—I jus' got to get up and do something, go somewhere-to get excitement-you know-experience!"
"Ted, Throckton told me to-day you were the most promising journalist in New York," urged his friend's soothing voice. "There's not another man with your insight and address, or nerve. You know more of life than most old men, and you're not thirty yet. Cut this out, Ted, and come home with me. You're starting out on another rip now, and God only knows where it will take you to. You're ruining your career."
Ted Morris shook his head. "If I hadn't had the devil in me, Monk, I'd never been a writer. But rather than go back and work on my book or begin on that Loring case, just now, I'd rather die right here 'n' the sidewalk. I got t'have 'xcitement, Monk."
The man he called Monk was silent. Finally he asked, “Where are you going now, Ted. Won't you come home?" "No, Monk. No, I can't. Got to see that Russian to-night. I'm on my way now. Monk, old boy, we're going to revolutionize Russia!" The wine was in his head again. "This guy is a count-real goods-I know. Got all kinds of money and can get more. It's a regular society of exiled nobles and they want an American soldier. I'm their man,
Monk! We're goin' over 'n' pitch into the revolution, and shoot hell out of the Czar. Some day you'll read: 'Theodore Morris, Secretary of War and Commander-in-Chief of the army of Russia! What'll I be if I stay here?——— Morris, the great author 'n' editor-ha! ha! ha! Hell!" His voice was loud and raucous, therefore his friend led him on until the rain had cooled his head again.
Finally Morris stopped abruptly. "I must leave you now, Monk. I'm off for the Russian."
His friend looked him steadily in the eye. "Ted," he ejaculated, “I've got just one thing more to say to you. I dislike to mention it now, but I have to. Have you thought what this step means to Helen ?"
Morris's jaw tightened suddenly; his hands clasped and unclasped. His head bent a moment and he sought vainly for words. At length he drew a breath that hissed in his teeth. "Monk," he said, "I'm not worthy of her. It's best I should go."
His friend's face twitched and the skin tightened about his mouth as he said, "Ted, stay here and make yourself worthy of her. It will break her heart."
Another strained silence, then Morris spoke. sober enough now. "I love her, Monk, but I've loved before, and there's something dead in my heart. There's nothing there now but a passion to be out in the rough, with rough men, with rough deeds to do. I want to feel the blood seethe in my body, and my head light as air. God! that's life, and I want it again.”
His friend shook his head sadly. He did not even offer his hand as he finally turned away.
Byron Thanning, whom Morris affectionately called Monk, was in the mood in which good men lose their souls, when he left his friend that night. To save this man, who had been the most daring, roving, lovable prodigal in the world, he would have given his soul, and had given the dearest thing in his life.