The buggy was progressing at a tired trot. Its two occupants had driven since before dawn and were as tired as their horses when they turned into the Rockville Pike toward Washington. The girl was tawny and lovely. Despite the July heat she wore a light blue dress of bombazine cloth and on this subject she had listened politely to her brother’s strictures during the drive down. If she was to nurse in a Washington hospital she must not present herself in gay regalia. Josie was sad about this. It was the first really grown-up costume she had ever owned. A lot of boys at home had observed the unholy glow of her hair since she was twelve, but Josie belonged to a strict family moved out to Ohio from Massachusetts. Nonetheless she was approaching the war as if she were going to a party.
“When do we get there, brother?” She dug him lightly with the handle of the buggy whip. “Is this still Maryland or are we in the District of Columbia?” Captain Doctor Pilgrim came alive.
“D.C. I guess—unless you’ve managed to turn us around. Let’s stop and get water at this farmhouse just ahead. And, Josie, don’t get enthusiastic with these people down here. Most of them are secesh, and if you’re nice to them they take advantage of it. Don’t give them a chance to get haughty with you.”
“I won’t,” she said, “I’ll show them what we feel.”
They were possibly the only people in the vicinity unaware that this part of Maryland was temporarily Confederate. To ease the pressure on the Southern army at Petersburg, and make a last despairing threat at the Capital, General Early had marched his corps up the valley to the city limits of Washington. After throwing a few shells into the suburbs he had turned his weary columns about for the march back into Virginia. The last infantry had scarcely passed, leaving a faint dust along the road, and the girl had been rather puzzled by the series of armed tramps, who had been limping by them in the last ten minutes, and there was something in the determined direction of the two men riding toward her which made her ask with a certain alarm, “What are these men, brother, secesh?”
To Josie or indeed to anyone who had not been to the front, it might have been difficult to guess the profession of these men—even more so to guess what cause they served. Tib Dulany, who had once contributed occasional verse to the Lynchburg Courier, wore a hat that had once been white, a butternut coat, blue pants that had once belonged to a Union trooper, and as his only designating badge, a cartridge belt stamped C.S.A. All that the two riders had in common were their fine new carbines taken last week from Pleasanton’s cavalry.
They came up behind the buggy in a whirl of dust and Tib said:
“Hi there, Yank!”
Remembering her brother’s caution about being haughty Josie reined in her horses.
“We want to get some water,” she said to the handsomest young man.
“We—” she stopped short seeing that Captain Doctor Pilgrim’s elbow was poked backward, his hand at his holster, but immobile; Josie saw why—the second rider was holding his carbine three feet from his heart.
Slowly, almost painfully, Captain Pilgrim raised his hands.
“What is this—a raid?” he asked.
Josie felt an arm reaching about her and shrunk forward; Tib was taking her brother’s revolver from its holster.
“What is this?” Dr. Pilgrim demanded, “Are you guerrillas?”
“Who are you?” Tib and Wash inquired in unison. Without waiting for an answer Tib said to Josie, “Young lady, walk your team up a little way and turn in yonder at the farmhouse. You can get a drink of water up there.”
He realized suddenly that she was lovely, that she was frightened and brave, and he added: “Nobody’s goin to hurt you. We just aimin to detain you a little.”
“Will you tell me who you are?” Captain Pilgrim demanded, “Do you know what you’re doing?”
“Calm down!” Tib told him. “You’re inside Lee’s lines now.”
“Lee’s lines!” Captain Pilgrim cried. “You think every time you Mosby murderers come out of your hills and cut a telegraph—”
The team, barely started, jolted to a stop—Wash had grabbed the reins, and he turned black eyes upon the northerner.
“Say one thing more about Major Mosby and I’ll drag you out of that buggy and clean your little old face with dandelions.”
“There’s a lady here, Wash,” Tib said, “and the officer simply isn’t informed of the news. He’s a prisoner of the Army of Northern Virginia.”
Captain Pilgrim looked at them incredulously as Wash released the reins and they drove in silence to the farmhouse. Only as the foliage parted and gave a sudden vista of two dozen horses attended by grey-clad orderlies, did he awake to a premonition that something was wrong—that his news was indeed several days behind.
“ What’s happened?” he asked Wash. “Is Lee’s army here?”
“You didn’t know that?” Tib said. “Why, right now we got Abe Lincoln in the kitchen washing dishes—and General Grant’s upstairs making the beds.”
“Ah-h-h!” grunted Captain Pilgrim.
“Say, Wash, I sure would like to be in Washington tonight when Jeff Davis walks in. That Yankee rebellion didn’t last long.”
—And Josie, she believed the whole thing. Her world was crashing around: The Boys in Blue and the Union forever and Mine eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord. Her eyes were full of hot tears of grief.
“You can’t take my brother prisoner. Why, he’s not really just an officer because he’s a doctor. He was wounded at Cold Harbor—”
“Doctor, eh? Don’t know anything about teeth, does he?”
“Oh yes—that’s his specialty.”
They reached the porch and the scouts dismounted.
“So you’re a tooth doctor?” Tib said. “Well, that’s just what we been seeking all over Maryland, my Maryland for the last hour. If you’ll be so kind as to come in here you can probably pull a tooth of one of the real Napoleons, a cousin of the Emperor, Napoleon III.”
Captain Pilgrim cautioned Josie:
“They’re joking but don’t say anything.”
“Joking?—we’re sure not joking. He’s attached to General Early’s staff and he’s been bawling in here for the last hour but the medical men went on with the ambulances and nobody on the staff can pull teeth.”
A staff officer came out on the porch and gave a nervous ear to a crackling of rifles in the distance; then bent an eye upon the buggy.
“Lieutenant, we found a tooth specialist,” Tib said. “Providence sent him right into our lines and if Napoleon is still—”
“Good heavens!” the officer exclaimed. “Bring him in. We didn’t know whether to take him or leave him.”
Suddenly Josie had her first real picture of the Confederacy staged for her on the vine-covered veranda. There was a sudden egress: first a grizzled man in a fine grey riding coat, followed by two younger men cramming papers into a canvas sack. Then came a miscellany of officers, one on a single crutch, one stripped to an undershirt and with the gold star of a general pinned to a bandage on his shoulder, one laughing as a man laughs who has just told some joke himself but the general air was not of cheerfulness—and Josie saw in their tired eyes the reflection of some disappointment.
Then they made a single gesture as one man; perceiving her, they wheeled toward her and their dozen right hands rose to their dozen hats, topping them slightly, and they bowed faintly in her direction.
Josie bowed back stiffly, trying to bring some expression into her face—of hauteur, scorn, reproach—but she was unable to do aught but respond to their courtesy.
… In a moment the staff had swung into their saddles; the aide who had first come out of the farmhouse paused at General Early’s stirrup.
“Good enough,” the General said.
He looked for a moment at the city that he could not conquer, at the arbitrary swamp that another Virginian had conceived. “No further change in orders,” he said. “Tell Mosby that I want couriers every hour up to Charlestown. One battery of horse artillery to put up a big noise while the engineers blow up the bridge over Montgomery Creek—you understand, Major Charlesworth.”
“I guess that’s all, then.” He turned. “Oh, yes.” His sun-strained eyes focussed on the buggy. “I understand you’re a doctor. Prince Napoleon is in there—He’s been with us as an observer. Pull out his tooth or whatever he needs. These two troopers will stay with you. Do well by him now—they’ll let you go without parole when you’ve finished with him.”
Then all was drowned out in the clop and crunch of mounted men moving down a lane. The little group was left standing by the porch as the last sally of the Army of Northern Virginia faded swiftly into the distance.
“We got a dentist here for Prince Napoleon,” said Tib to the French aide- de-camp.
“That’s very well,” the aide exclaimed, leading the way into the front room of the farmhouse. “He is in the most great agony.”
“The doctor is a Yankee,” Tib continued. “One of us will have to stay while he’s operating.”
The stout invalid across the room, a gross miniature of his world-shaking uncle, tore his hand from his groaning mouth and sat upright in an armchair.
“Operating!” he cried. “Mon Dieu! Is he going to operate?”
“This is the doctor,” Tib said. “His name is—”
“Pilgrim,” the doctor supplied coldly. “My sister—where will she be?”
“I’ll put her in the parlor, Doctor. Wash, you stay here.”
“I’ll need hot water,” said Dr. Pilgrim, “and my instrument case from the buggy.”
Prince Napoleon groaned again.
“What you do? Cut my head off my neck? How do you know what to do about this before you see even? Ah, cette vie barbare!”
Tib consoled him gently.
“This doctor specializes in teeth, Prince Napoleon. He won’t hurt you”
“I am a trained surgeon,” said Dr. Pilgrim stiffly. “Now, sir, will you take off that hat?”
The Prince removed the wide white Cordoba which topped a miscellaneous costume of grey tail coat, French uniform breeches and dragoon boots.
“Can we trust this medicine if he is a Yankee? How can I know he will not cut to kill? Does he know I am a Frenchman citizen?”
“Prince, if he doesn’t do well by you we got some apple trees outside and plenty rope.”
Tib went to summon a servant; then he looked into the parlor where Miss Josie sat frightened on the edge of a horsehair sofa.
“What are you going to do to my brother?”
Very sorry for her pretty, stricken young face, Tib said, “We ain’t fixin to hurt him. I’m more worried what he’s about to do to the Prince.”
An anguished howl arose from the library.
“You hear that?” Tib said. “Your brother’s the one going to do the damage.”
“Are you going to send us to that Libby Prison?”
“Don’t you get excited now, young lady. This time we don’t want any prisoners. You’re going to be held here till your brother fixes up the Prince. Then, as soon as our cavalry pickets come past, you and your brother can continue your journey.”
“I thought all the fighting was down in Virginia.”
“It is. That’s where we’re heading—this is the third time I rode north into Maryland with the army and I reckon it’s the third time I’m heading back with it.”
“What did my brother mean when he said you were a gorilla?”
She looked at him for the first time with a certain human interest.
“I reckon because I didn’t shave since yesterday.” He laughed. “Anyway he didn’t mean ‘gorilla’ he meant ‘guerrilla.’ When it’s a Yankee on detached service they call him a scout but when it’s one of us they call us spies and string us up.”
“Any soldier not in uniform is a spy,” Josie said.
“Me not in uniform? Look at my buckle. Half of Stuart’s cavalry wouldn’t be considered in uniform if they had to have the uniforms they started with. I tell you, Miss Pilgrim, I was a smart-looking trooper when I rode out of Lynchburg four years ago.”
He described to her how the young volunteers had been dressed that day; Josie listened, thinking it was not unlike the scene when the first young volunteers had got on the train at Chillicothe.
“—with a big red ribbon from Mother’s trunk for a sash. One of the girls read a poem I wrote in front of the troop.”
“Oh say the poem,” Josie exclaimed, “I would so enjoy to hear it.”
Tib considered. “Reckon I’ve forgot it. All I remember is ‘Lynchburg, thy guardsmen bid thy hills farewell.’”
“I love it.”
Josie repeated slowly, ‘Lynchburg, thy guardsmen bid thy hills farewell,’ and forgetting the errand on which Lynchburg’s guardsmen were bent she added, “I certainly wish you remembered the rest of it.”
Came a scream from across the hall and a medley of French. The distraught face of the aide-de-camp appeared at the door.
“He has pulled out not just the tooth but the stomatic—He has killed him, he has done him to the death!”
A face pushed over his shoulder.
“Say, Tib—the Yank got the tooth.”
“Did he?” said Tib, but absently. His tendency to metaphor had suddenly reasserted itself and he was thinking, “All inside of half an hour one Yank got a tooth and his sister got a heart.”
A minute later Wash dashed back into the living room.
“Say, Tib, we oughtn’t to stay here. A patrol just went by mighty fast shootin back from the saddle. Ain’t we fixin to leave? This here Doctor knows we’re Mosby’s men.”
“You leave without us?” the aide demanded suspiciously.
“We sure do,” said Tib. “The Prince can observe the war from the Yankee side for a while. Miss Pilgrim, I don’t want to take advantage of a prisoner but I must say that I never knew a Yankee girl could be so pretty.”
“I never heard anything so ridiculous,” she answered. But she was pleased at the compliment stretched across the Mason-Dixon line.
Peering hastily into the library Tib found the Prince so far recovered as to be sitting upright, panting and gasping.
“You are an artiste,” he exclaimed to Dr. Pilgrim. “You see I live! After all the terror I still live. In Paris I am told that if they take from you the tooth you have hemorrhage and die. You should come to Paris and I will tell the Emperor of you—of that new instrument you use.”
“It’s just a kind of forceps,” said Dr. Pilgrim gruffly.
Wash called from the door.
“Come on, Tib!”
Tib spoke to the Prince.
“Well, au revoir, sir.”
There was firing very near now. The two scouts had scarcely unhitched their horses when Wash exclaimed: “Hell fire!” and pointed down the drive. Half a dozen Federal troopers had come into view behind the foliage of the far gate. Wash swung his carbine one-handed to his right shoulder and with his free arm reached for a cartridge in his pouch.
“I'll take the two on the left,” he said.
Standing concealed by their horses they waited.
“Maybe we could run for it,” Tib suggested.
“I looked the place over. It’s got seven rail fences.”
“Don’t fire till they get nearer.”
Leisurely the file of cavalry trotted up the drive. Even after four years on detached service up and down the valley, Tib hated to shoot from ambush, but he concentrated on the business and the front sight of his carbine came into line with the center of the Yankee corporal’s tunic.
“Got your mark, Wash?”
“When they break we’ll ride through ’em.”
But the ill luck of Southern arms that day took shape before they could loose a shot. A heavy body flung against Tib and pinioned him. A voice shouted beside his ear.
“Men, they’re rebels here!”
Even as Tib turned, wrestling desperately with Dr. Pilgrim, the Northern patrol stopped, drew pistols. Wash was bobbing desperately from side to side to get a shot at Pilgrim, but the Doctor maneuvered Tib’s body in between.
In a split second it was over. Wash loosed a single shot but the Federals were around them before he was in his saddle. Furious, the two young men faced their captors. Dr. Pilgrim spoke sharply to the Federal corporal:
“These are Mosby’s men.”
Those years were bitter on the border. The Federals slew Wash when he made another attempt to get away—grabbing at the revolver in the corporal’s hand. Tib, still struggling, was trussed up at the porch rail.
“There’s a good tree,” one of the Federals said, “and there’s a rope on the swing.”
The corporal glanced from Dr. Pilgrim to Tib.
“Are you one of Mosby’s men?”
“I’m with the Seventh Virginia Cavalry.”
“Didn’t ask you that. Are you one of Mosby’s men?”
“None of your business.”
“All right, boys, get the rope.”
Dr. Pilgrim’s austere presence asserted itself again.
“I don’t think you should hang him but certainly this type of irregular has got to be discouraged.”
“We hang them up by their thumbs, sometimes,” suggested the corporal.
“Then do that,” said Dr. Pilgrim. “He spoke of hanging me.”
… By six that evening the road outside was busy again. Two brigades of Sheridan’s Finest were on Early’s trail, pursuing and harassing him down the valley. Mail and fresh vegetables were moving toward the capital and the raid was over, except for a few stragglers who lay exhausted along the Rockville Pike.
In the farmhouse it was quiet. Prince Napoleon was waiting for an ambulance from Washington. There was no sound there—except from Tib, who, as his skin slipped off his thumbs, gradually down the knuckles, said fragments of his own political verses aloud to himself. When he could think of no more verses he ruminated on what was happening to him.
“Thumbs are like a glove—they turn inside out. When the nails turn over I’ll yell out loud ...
He kept singing a new song that he had sung just before they had marched out of Lynchburg:
We’ll follow the feather of Mosby tonight;
We’ll steal from the Yankees our horse-flesh and leather.
We’ll follow the feather, Mosby’s white feather.
‘Twas once made a sign of a sin and a shame;
The plume was of white hut he gave it a name
As different from shame as the dark is from light
So we’ll follow the feather of Mosby tonight.
Josie had waited till it was full dark and she could hear the sentry snoring on the porch. She knew where the step-ladder was because she had heard them dump it down after they had strung up Tib. When she had half sawed through the rope she went back to her room for pillows and moved the table under him and laid the pillows on it.
Josie did not need any precedents for what she was doing. When he fell with a grunting gasp, murmuring “—serve your country and nothing to be ashamed of,” Josie poured half a bottle of sherry wine over his hands. Then, suddenly sick herself, she ran back to her room.
As always with victorious causes, the war was over in the North by sixty- seven. Josie was grown at nineteen and proud at helping along her brother’s career with her tact atoning for his arrogance. Her lovely face shone for the young men on Government pay when she danced at the balls with President Johnson’s profile at the end of the room melancholy against the massed flowers from the Shenandoah.
“What is a guerrilla—exactly?” she asked a military man one time.
“You’re holding me quite tight enough thank you.”
But she didn’t marry any of them. Her eyes had seen the glory of the coming of the Lord and then she had seen the glory of the Lord hung up by the thumbs.
Just home from market she called to the maid:
“I’ll answer, Candy.”
But on the way to the door her hoop slipped from its seam and tripped her and she only called through:
“Who is it?”
“I want to see Dr. Pilgrim.”
Josie hesitated. Her brother was asleep.
“I’m afraid he can’t see you now,” she said.
But as she turned away from the door the bell rang again, harsh and imperative. This time Candy had lumbered up from the kitchen.
“Tell him the Doctor can’t see anybody this morning.”
She went into the drawing room and rested a moment. Candy interrupted her.
“Miss Josie—that’s a right funny man out there. Look to me he fixin to do some mischief to y’all. He got kind of black gloves on him that wobble when he talk.”
“What did he say?” asked Josie in alarm.
“He only say he want to see your brother.”
Josie went out into the hall again. It was a small quadrangle, lit by a semicircular window that shed a blue and olive glow. Candy had left the door faintly ajar and Josie peered out cautiously from the safe semi-darkness. She saw half a hat and half a coat.
“What do you want?”
“I’ve got to see Dr. Pilgrim.”
She had a peremptory “No” ready when another visitor came into view on the door-step, and she hesitated, feeling unjustified in sending away two callers without consulting her brother. Reassured by this second presence she threw open the door. In a second she wished she hadn’t because the two figures standing there brought back in a sudden rush of memory another July day three years before. The man just arrived was the young French aide-de-camp who had been with Prince Napoleon; the other, the one in whose tone Candy had scented undefined danger Josie had last seen in a crumpled mass of agony on a farmhouse table. The Frenchman was the first to speak.
“You probably do not recollect me, Miss Pilgrim. My name is Silve. I am now military attache at the French embassy here and we have met on that day that your brother rendered such service to Prince Napoleon in the war.”
Josie steadied herself against the door-frame, with an effort restraining the impulse to cry out, “Yes, but what is the Southerner doing here?”
Tib had not spoken, but Josie’s mind was working so fast that words could not have made plainer to her the nature of his errand, though her appearance and the simultaneous arrival of the other visitor had confused him. The light in his eyes was of a purpose long conceived, long planned; for two years he had so haunted Josie’s dreams that she had reconstructed in her imagination his awful return to consciousness that night, his escape before sunrise and the desperate agony that must have accompanied his search for shelter that morning—after her months in the soldiers’ hospital Josie could envisage the amputation of his torn thumbs.
The Frenchman spoke again: “It is only because the Paquebot Rochambeau leaves on the day after tomorrow that I dare present myself at such an hour. Miss Pilgrim, the Prince has not forgotten the great service that your brother rendered him. This morning even cables of the most serious nature have been postponed so that I should come to see your brother. At this moment there is a toothache in Europe of such international significance—” For the first time in a cautious glance he became fully cognizant of Tib’s presence, but there was no mutual recognition. “If I could talk to your brother for a moment?”
A voice spoke suddenly over Josie’s shoulder:
“I am Dr. Pilgrim. Who wants to speak to me?”
Instinctively Josie blocked the space of sunlight between Tib Dulany, ex-sergeant of Stuart’s cavalry, and her brother.
“I'm sorry, gentlemen,” said Dr. Pilgrim, “but I can’t see you now.” To Josie he said, “This is the morning that I’ve promised to devote to Candy’s tooth—that’s why I got up so confounded early.” He pressed past her and faced the two men. “We have a faithful negro servant whom I have long intended to supply with a tooth and I am afraid that I can have no other appointments for this morning. My sister will take your addresses and arrange any consultations.”
Josie saw he was in one of his icy humors. On his way downstairs he had called Candy from the kitchen; she was bustling behind him with a basket on her arm.
Josie, the only one of the five who grasped the entirety of the situation, sparred for time.
“Very well. If you gentlemen will give me your addresses—”
“I only ask for a moment of the Doctor’s time,” said Captain Silve.
“I will give you just that moment,” said the Doctor impatiently. “This poor colored woman needs me more than anyone and I have never thought to put white before black with those who need my services.”
For the next few minutes while Captain Silve explained himself and Dr. Pilgrim unbent to the extent of walking with him to the edge of the veranda, Josie was alone with Tib—alone with him in spirit. She could not untie those old cords which she had once cut through—but for that little time she could hold him with her bright beauty.
“My brother doesn’t know who you are,” she said quickly. “What do you want here?”
Again she read through to the dark hours and brooding years that lay behind his eyes.
Tib looked aside.
“I only came to get an appointment.”
Dr. Pilgrim turned about. “My time is limited as I said. Josie, you may tell any further callers that I will be available after four o’clock.”
Nodding briefly to Tib he started down the steps still listening with a distant air to Silve’s plea. All of a sudden the five of them were in motion down the sunny street, Josie, without a bonnet, walking beside Tib, and Candy bringing up the rear.
“—but it’s a court appointment,” Silve pled earnestly. “You will be assistant to the great Doctor Evans, patronized by everyone in Paris. It is what the English would call a ‘command,’ you comprehend, Doctor.”
Dr. Pilgrim stopped and the procession stopped behind him.
“I am an American first and I shall depend entirely upon my own judgment as to whether or not to accept an offer so suddenly—if at all.”
Captain Silve flung up his hands in despair. “Surgeon to the French Empire! High fees, probably the Legion d’honneur, a fine equipage to drive in the Bois de Boulogne—yet you would consider staying here in this mud hole?”
Dr. Pilgrim had begun to walk again.
“It is not a mud hole to me,” he said. “You have seen that building on our left?”
“Certainly. It is the Capitol.”
“It was from those steps that our martyred president delivered the second inaugural.”
A voice behind Josie breathed humbly:
“I don’t know whether you all is goin where you is goin on account of me but I feels as if I’s jest trailin along.”
Candy’s urging made Josie realize that she herself was simply an element in a parade, and she called to her brother in her most positive voice, “Where are we going, Ernest?”
“We’re going to the jeweler’s of course,” Dr. Pilgrim answered, “I can’t make a gold tooth out of nothing, and I told you I used the last piece of gold leaf yesterday afternoon.”
If the young Southerner would only speak Josie might have been able to resolve the situation but he only reflected her uncertainty as to the next step.
At the next corner she turned upon him with an almost intimate anger:
“Will you kindly excuse us, sir? You may call another time when my brother is able to see you.”
“I think I shall accompany your brother,” said Tib grimly.
“Oh please,” she whispered, “is this some more of that awful war?”
“I hope there will be no violence in your presence,” said Tib.
Setting the pace Dr. Pilgrim threw a glance over his shoulder.
“Walking is more healthful if one makes better time.” And he continued his discourse upon the Capitol up to the portal of Viner’s Jewelry Store on Pennsylvania Avenue.
At this point his two early callers became conscious that they were upon an errand in which they had no concern, and momentarily fell back while Dr. Pilgrim, Josie, and Candy went in.
“I cannot understand it,” said Captain Silve. “No pleasure except duty would hold me in Washington. Two or three buildings, some beautiful girls like Miss Pilgrim and nothing more.”
He reached for the door-knob at the same moment as Tib and withdrew his own hand with a start. His thumb had pressed through another thumb, soft and tangible within its black kid covering.
“Have I hurt you?” he exclaimed.
“What? Oh I see.” What Tib saw was that the thumb of his stuffed glove had been crushed flat by the accidental encounter. Instinctively his other hand bent to reshape it while he held the door open with his elbow. “You didn’t hurt me—that was an accident I was in. I haven’t any thumbs.”
Captain Silve, brought up in the proudest traditions of Saint Cyr, would request no information when none had been offered. But he looked curiously at Tib as they went into the store. Then, being French, he became fascinated by the bargain that was being transacted therein.
Mr. Viner had produced from his stock a velvet covered board on which reposed several dozen gold pieces, each of them representing some badge of office, distinction or occasion, or obscure foreign coinage. Some were topped by multi-color ribbons. Over them bent Candy, muttering to herself that she was “jest steadyin” while Dr. Pilgrim weighed one of the pieces in his hand.
“This is the best gold,” he said.
Candy was enjoying the most important moment of her life and in spite of her respect for the Doctor there was to be no trifling about it.
“Doctor, you told me I could pick my own tooth.” She looked up at the jeweler. “You got any real gilt?”
Dr. Pilgrim sighed. He might have had a dozen clients this morning. “Candy, I explained to you that gilt wasn’t anything like gold. I can’t make you a tooth out of gilt because it wouldn’t chew.”
“All I know is where I wuked gilt was thought more high of than gold. I know what I'm talkin about, Dr. Pilgrim, when I sent away for my first wedding ring it melted down on me half an hour before the ceremony and I been washin gilt frames for years and I never took but a little off em.”
After a nervous glance at Tib Josie addressed herself to helping her brother straighten out Candy’s conceptions of the precious metals.
“Candy, you couldn’t make a tooth out of a piece of orange peel, could you?”
“No ma’am, but it seems to me I’ve seen lots of gilt in Dr. Pilgrim’s office, just like what used to fall off the portraits.”
“That was gold leaf,” said Dr. Pilgrim. “There just isn’t any in Washington. We just have to melt up this scrap and make you a tooth. If you want to pick out your own incisor you got to do it quick. Now here you have For a United Ireland and The Friends of the Freedman—” He spoke sharply to the jeweler, “This thing isn’t gold at all; it’s a bottle top or else I never filled a tooth.”
Mr. Viner pocketed it anxiously. “It must have got on there by mistake.”
Dr. Pilgrim gave him a reproving glance and turned to Candy.
“The morning is passing, Candy. It’s going to take me some time to pound out this instrument. Make your choice. Here you’ve got United Veterans of the Mexican War, Thirty-fire years service with J.P Wertheimer.”
“I never did work for no Wertheimers.”
“Well now, here’s the last one of all, Candy, and if you don’t like this one I’m just going to pick out one myself. This says, The Legion of Honor, Private George Aiken, for Valor Extraordinary, killed at Gettysburg, July 2, 1863.”
Tib spoke suddenly to Dr. Pilgrim: “And you would make a nigger’s tooth out of that.”
Captain Pilgrim turned on him stiffly. “Sir, I don’t know who you are or why you are with us but nigger is a word that is not used in our household.”
Josie saw the line of Tib’s revolver paralleling the edge of the show counter. Her glance ran along it to her brother’s breast pocket like a carbine that had been pointed at the same target three years before.
“Hands up, Pilgrim,” said Tib.
The Doctor’s hands weighing two pieces of metal rose higher.
“Who are you anyhow?” Dr. Pilgrim demanded. “What is this confounded nonsense?”
“Open your hand wide. All right, like that.”
The barrel of the gun had lifted to forty-five degrees, following the Doctor’s hands.
“Higher, Doctor. Do you mind turning your palm over so that the coin is in my line of fire? I am going to shoot that out of your hand—higher still.”
“You are a mad man.”
“Once you ordered me strung up by the thumbs. I came to kill you but I reckon I’ll just shoot those medals out of your hands.”
“Get away, sister,” said Dr. Pilgrim, “this man is crazy.”
Tib waited; he didn’t know for what. He tried to think back to the awful nights; he tried to fortify himself in a forceful jerk of memory of the day he had first run a plow over an acre with his mutilated hands.
“Stand away,” he said menacingly.
Josie made a movement to throw herself between them but Captain Silve pulled her back.
“He’s crazy,” he said.
Mr. Viner had disappeared from the stationary picture and made a quick duck behind the counter. Captain Silve suddenly realized where he had seen Tib’s face before.
“Wait a minute,” he said. “You realize Miss Pilgrim is here?”
“Yes,” Tib said.
“Do you realize that Miss Pilgrim cut you down that night? At first I did not recognize you but I was in the farmhouse that night with Prince Napoleon and I know that next morning she was almost put under arrest.”
Suddenly in Tib’s moment of shock and surprise two people were in front of Dr. Pilgrim. Josie was in front of her brother and Candy in front of Josie.
“It would have been better if she had left you hanging there,” said Dr. Pilgrim. “Get away, sister.”
“I didn’t know about that,” said Tib in a strained voice and he added, feeling the intention with which he had lived for three years being torn from him:
“I guess I can’t do it then.”
“I shouldn’t think so,” said Candy indignantly, “seeing you’d have to shoot through all us three.”
Tib backed toward the door.
“I didn’t know that, Miss Pilgrim,” Tib said. “You can’t shoot through an angel.”
He was gone and the five people were alone in a sudden silence. Mr. Viner came up cautiously from behind the counter at almost the moment that Dr. Pilgrim’s hands came slowly down.
“Shall I pursue him,” Mr. Viner inquired, “shall I—”
“No,” said Dr. Pilgrim. He laid the medal of the Legion of Honor on the counter and said briskly to Mr. Viner, “This is by far the best piece of metal.”
Even in France Josie sometimes saw the black gloves coming around corners. Her brother went to work helping the great Dr. Evans arrange the china smiles of royalty and before Prince Napoleon’s disgrace they were firmly entrenched as units of the American colony.
When she returned from a trip to the States in sixty-nine a rough crossing put her on her back until the last day. When she made her way on deck in Havre harbor the sudden quiet made her giddy as the motion had, and she scarcely noticed the man who steadied her and held her elbow as the boat slid gently through quiet shallows. When, a moment later, they recognized each other she could not think of any of the cool or distant things that she should have said to him. They talked about the disasters attending French arms on the border and were anxious for the news that they would get after their three weeks isolation at sea.
When they had found a first-class compartment on the train to Paris she asked:
“Are you touring?”
“I'm a war correspondent,” said Tib, “I’m going to the front representing the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville News and the Lynchburg Courier.”
“Well if you are in Paris—” Josie stopped herself. She had been at the point of inviting him to call but she finished, “—you’ll find the consul very helpful.”
Tib had been conscious for some minutes of four men loitering outside the open door of the compartment, but he was unprepared for what happened. Even as the train whistled, signaling its departure, the four men came in and in a second two of them were escorting him into the next car “for a little questioning, Monsieur.” Behind him as they crossed the vestibule he heard Josie’s voice protesting with equal surprise and indignation.
“What is this?” he demanded.
“Are you bound for Alsace?”
“What business is that of yours?”
“This is the one, that’s sure,” said the man who was pinioning him from behind. “They will find it in the woman’s hat.”
In the car behind Josie was having her troubles.
“There’s nothing in my hat. It’s a hat I bought in America.”
“Unfortunately,” said one of her captors, “it has a French label.”
“Naturally, it’s a French hat.”
“And naturally you are not Madame Shirmer,” the man said ironically, “and your friend is not Signor Mario Villizio in the pay of the Prussian government.”
A man in uniform entered the situation.
“You are idiots,” he said. “They have been caught four cars up forward.”
“But these are easily the ones. You could see it on their faces.”
“Let us examine her hat immediately. The train is being separated. These last four cars are to wait for the British mail boat.”
In three minutes they had handed back to her a mass of feathers, rosettes, ribbons in the bowl of what had once been a Paris hat.
“Our pardon, Madame. You would like to join your companion?”
“Yes,” said Josie, “or no; I don’t care. I want to get on the first train.”
“Then you must hurry, Madam.”
There had been the bump of an engine and the sound of uncoupling ahead. It was at the moment when she reached the vestibule that the sections began to pull apart.
“Ah, alas, Madame, your husband has gone ahead.”
“He is not my husband,” said Josie.
“Your friend then,” he said. “After all the other section is coming back.”
But the other section was merely hesitating. Tib meanwhile had shown his credentials and being released hurried back to rejoin Josie. They stood on the two platforms surrounded by shrugging Frenchmen who regretted that they had been the cause of separating what were probably two lovers. But before anything could be done about it the first section had made up its mind and started off in earnest.
“Are you all right?” Tib cried to her.
“I'm fine,” she said, “but they have ruined my hat.”
The first section chugged into the distance. She stood on the rear vestibule with the French captain of police.
“The country is lovely around here,” he said consolingly.
“Yes,” she agreed shortly.
“And when one is in love things are always more lovely,” he pursued gallantly. “Do not worry, you can rejoin your friend in Paris.”
“You might at least leave me alone now,” said Josie.
He bowed. “I can appreciate that too, Mademoiselle.”
The trains had moved so far apart now that she could see nothing but a small blot in the distance and her chance of seeing him again was as small as that. She stood desolately looking at the torn rosettes in the soup dish of felt. All her experiences with Tib had been like that.
Dr. Pilgrim, Grand Maitre de I'Ordre de l’Hygiene Publique, assistant to the great Dr. Evans, dental surgeon to the court and to various Bourbons, Cecils, Churchills, Vanderbilts, Hapsburgs, Chambruns and Astors, had just received a gift of flowers. It had been sent him by a gardener at the Tuileries whom he had treated for nothing—but they did not touch him. He did his charity work faithfully but coldly and he was much more interested in the new chair he and Dr. Evans had just invented. He was glad the war was over even though the French had lost. Practice would be better now. He heard the doorbell ring once and again. The third time he went out into the hall to see why it wasn’t answered—and ran into Josie rushing excitedly up the stairs.
“Why isn’t the door attended to?” he inquired but she interrupted him.
“Oh bother the doorbell. Let me tell you who just came in and is waiting downstairs.”
“I don’t care,” said Dr. Pilgrim. “The doorbell must be answered.”
As a matter of fact it was being answered at just that moment. The young man waiting there was rather surprised by the words of the woman who let him in.
“You are from Dr. Evans?”
“No, ma’am. I represent the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville News and the Lynchburg Courier.”
“How did you know I was here?” she asked.
“I don’t understand,” said Tib.
“Oh,” said the lady nervously. “Well, I guess you might as well come in.”
As they came under the gas light of the waiting room she said:
“Are you in pain?”
“No,” he said.
She seemed somewhat agitated and as if she felt she must apologize for it.
“I haven’t waited in a doctor’s office since I was very young. It makes me feel rather strange.”
“Are you in pain?” he asked her in turn.
The woman nodded.
“Yes,” she said, “I am in pain—the pain of insult and degradation.”
Tib looked at her curiously.
“I can understand that feeling,” he said.
“You are an American,” the woman remarked. “My father was an American citizen, though he was born in Scotland.”
“I am not an American,” denied Tib. “I am a Virginian. Those two things will never mean the same again in my lifetime.”
The woman sighed.
“Alas, I am from nowhere. I have been trying very hard for thirty years to be a Frenchwoman but now I know that I am of no races.
Tib nodded. “That’s like me—I am a citizen of nowhere, part of a lost cause, broken and beaten with it.”
The door opened and Josie Pilgrim came into the room and walked swiftly up to the woman.
“Your Majesty, Doctor Evans’ horses will be here in five minutes.”
“I have not minded waiting,” said the Empress. “I have been talking with this young American.”
Josie cast a surprised glance at Tib, bowed, and said to the Empress, “Do you want to come up to my room?”
“I should not like to move. I am sitting on my jewel case.”
Tib had seen the crowd streaming past the Tuileries half an hour before, and had wondered fleetingly about the Empress and the court, whether the fair Spaniard of tortuous destiny would be made into a new Marie Antoinette. Now he looked at the faded lady in the black hat and knew without question that this was the Empress.
“Can I be of any service?” he asked.
“No thank you,” said Josie hastily. “My brother and Dr. Evans are taking care of everything.”
“But he can be of service. With three Americans I shall be even safer than with two. If he rides with us I shall esteem it a great favor.”
“I am mounted,” said Tib.
“All the better,” said the Empress. “You will be our escort.”
... Ten minutes later the little party assembled at the stables. From the streets they could hear many voices, snatches of Beranger songs, imprecations against the Emperor, the Empress, and the court, and a continual scuffle of steps upon cobble-stones, moving toward fire and catastrophe. Dr. Evans, tense and determined, stood between the Empress and the red glare of the torches from the street, as if to shut out all he could of menace and hatred abroad.
“So you’re riding with us,” he said to Tib. “Remember, we have agreed to pretend that this is an insane woman whom we are taking to Trouville.”
“I insane!” exclaimed the Empress, “I begin to think I am. Let this young Virginian ride inside with us and we can talk about being exiles. The good Dr. Pilgrim will be glad to take his horse and play postilion for the evening. Is that not so, Dr. Pilgrim?”
Dr. Pilgrim glared at Tib.
“Yes, your Majesty.”
“Are we ready?” asked Dr. Evans.
The cortege was starting out through the wild avenues that led to the Porte Maillot. They were shouted at several times but no attempt was made to stop the carriage; out in the suburbs chalk white windows looked down indifferently at them in sleeping roads; toward midnight Josie’s eyes closed drowsily and Tib could at last watch her just as he wanted to watch her, while the last of the French Sovereigns drove out of the Ile-de-France.
In the Inn des Mariniers at Trouville a consultation was held as to the next step. A yacht rode at anchor in the harbor and they ascertained that it flew the Union Jack and belonged to Sir John Burgoyne. The Empress was persuaded to lie down under Dr. Evans’ care and Tib and Dr. Pilgrim started along the water-front making discreet inquiries for the use of a dinghy. They had no reason to think that their departure from Paris had been traced. Only a single episode just now, a curious look that a waiter had thrown at the Empress, worried them. But when they had secured the boat and Josie appeared panting beside them both men had a moment of apprehension.
“What is it?”
“Dr. Evans wants you back at the inn to talk to that waiter. The man is hanging around the hall outside the Empress’s room and when I spoke to him he just laughed and pretended he couldn’t understand my French.”
“I’ll go back,” said Tib.
“No, it’s better for me to go,” said Dr. Pilgrim. “I’ve only once been in a rowboat and I should not care to attempt it alone.”
He started briskly back and then noticing that Josie was not with him turned and saw her getting into the dinghy with Tib.
“It’s all right,” she called, “I've rowed a lot and two of us are better than one.”
Dr. Pilgrim continued on to the inn.
It was a gorgeous morning and the glittering harbor made Josie forget the gloomy events of the night before and the anxious errand on which they were bent. Then they crossed a dark line of water across the harbor and suddenly were in rough water and a wind from the outside sea. The little dinghy progressed more slowly. The handles of the oars were large and suddenly noticing that Tib’s thumbless hands were clumsy in the rougher water she said:
“I’m going to take this pair of oars and help so we can make quicker time.”
“No,” he insisted, “I’d rather you wouldn’t.”
But she had already taken her place on the stern thwart and was slipping the oars into the locks.
“All right,” he said, “You have to set the stroke.”
In a moment she was sitting back in his arms with one of the oars floating away to sea.
“Oh I’m so sorry,” she gasped, “I really can row.”
“It’s all right with me,” he said.
“I want to try again,” Josie insisted. “Your hands the way they are—” She stopped herself.
“My hands are all right,” said Tib. “I think I can take care of us both.”
“I know you can,” said Josie impulsively. She sat humbly in the stern until they came alongside the shining yacht and a dignified, formidable British sailor spoke to them from the polished rail.
“Who is it wishes to see Sir John Burgoyne?” he inquired.
“He wouldn’t know me,” said Tib.
“I am sorry, sir, but Sir John is having his kippers and can’t be disturbed until later in the forenoon.”
“It’s all right,” said Josie, “I’m his niece.”
The sailor looked at her suspiciously. At this point Sir John Burgoyne appeared upon the deck.
“This lady says she’s your niece, sir,” said the sailor.
The old captain came to the rail.
“Now I don’t happen to have a niece,” he remarked.
Josie spoke to him quickly in French. “The Empress Eugenie is in Trouville. She is trying to get to England.”
In a few minutes they had convinced him of the truth of their story; he left his kippered herring and toast to cool and discussed plans with them. After it was decided that the Empress had best not come aboard until twilight he beckoned to his boatswain.
“Pipe all hands on deck.”
Following the whistle two dozen men formed themselves into attendant statues on three sides of a square, and after a gruff “All present, sir” there was no sound on board.
“I don’t want any of you men to go ashore today. The Empress of the French people is coming on board this evening. I count on every one of you to give no indication or signal as to why you were kept on board. Dismiss.”
… It was dark when oars again disturbed the water beside the yacht and Dr. Evans assisted the Empress up the accommodation ladder.
“You have no waiting women with you?” Sir John asked. “I suppose this young American lady will be along.”
“I'll go gladly,” said Josie.
“And Dr. Evans will come also?”
“If the Empress likes I will be glad to. Dr. Pilgrim will take care of my affairs in Paris.”
“I am afraid there is slight accommodation on board,” he said politely to Tib.
“I must go back,” Tib said, but the others could not help noticing the slight expression of regret in his and Josie’s faces.
“When will you be back in Paris?” Tib said to her quickly. “I expect to be there for several months representing the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville News and the Lynchburg Courier.”
“I'll be back soon if you keep the peace,” said Josie.
When they left the quays there had been a restive curious crowd gathering.
“We are putting to sea immediately though I look for a rough crossing,” Sir John said.
The Empress Eugenie, distraught and grief-stricken, was distributing louis d’or to the sailors.
“And these two young Americans must have a souvenir also.”
She took two matched bracelets from her wrists, handing one to Tib and one to Dr. Pilgrim.
“You two men have looked at each other sometimes as though you had some quarrel. In memory of your great help to me and for the sake of pretty Josie will you not forget it all forever? I should like to feel that I had done some good during these days when you have been so good to me.”
“Our quarrel is over so far as I’m concerned,” said Tib.
The two younger men started back toward shore in the dinghy and the hands that waved to them from the yacht as they gradually lost sight of it in the growing dark were like a symbol that the cruelty of a distant time was receding with every stroke of the oars into a dimmer and dimmer past.
Written in 1936, an early version of “The End of Hate” story.
Published in I'd Die For You collection.