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Case in court
What came of the case
Samuel Josiah Jones
Susan gives "a joke"
Jones is warned
"The sword of the Lord"
The land of promise
Jones changes his mind
Susan settles down
The fly in the ointment
The subscription party
Susan's last effort
The family arrives
Catherine learns something
The night of the fire
The anonymous letter
What happened at Culebra
Jones speaks in the predicate
BY THE SAME AUTHOR
HERBERT G. DE LISSER
METHUEN & CO. LTD.
36 ESSEX STREET W.C.
First Published in 1915
I. SUSAN'S DILEMMA I
II. A PASSAGE-AT-ARMS 12
III. THE CASE IN COURT 21
IV. WHAT CAME OF THE CASE 37
V. LETITIA'S INVITATION 53
VI. SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 67
VII. THE ANNOUNCEMENT 86
VIII. SUSAN GIVES A JOKE" 99
IX. JONES IS WARNED III
X. !' THE SWORD OF THE LORD 121
I. THE LAND OF PROMISE. 131
II. JONES CHANGES HIS MIND 144
III. SUSAN SETTLES DOWN 155
IV. THE FLY IN THE OINTMENT 165
V. THE SUBSCRIPTION PARTY 172
VI. JONES DEMONSTRATES 183
VII. SUSAN'S LAST EFFORT 194
vi SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
I. THE FAMILY ARRIVES 207
II. CATHERINE LEARNS SOMETHING 218
III. THE MEETING 225
IV. THE NIGHT OF THE FIRE 237
V. THE ANONYMOUS LETTER .249
VI. SAMUEL'S DETERMINATION 258
VII. WHAT HAPPENED AT CULEBRA 267
VIII. SUSAN'S LUCK 280
IX. JONES SPEAKS IN THE PREDICATE 26
This story was first published serially in the
Jamaica Daily Gleaner," under the title of
"Susan: Mr. Proudleigh's Daughter," having
been presented by the Jamaica Tobacco Co.
to the reading public of the Island of Jamaica.
IKNOW I 'ave enemies," said Susan bitterly;
I know I am hated in this low neighbourhood.
But I don't see what them should hate me for, for
never interfere wid any of them."
Them hate y'u because you are better than them,
and because y'u don't mix with them," sagaciously
answered Catherine, her second sister.
"That they will never get me to do," snapped
Susan. I wouldn't mix with a lot of people who
are not my companions, even if them was covered
from top to toe with gold. It is bad enough that
I have to live near them, but further than that I am
not going. It is good morning' and good evening'
with me, an' that is all."
Then them will always hate you," said Catherine,
"and if them can injure y'u them will try to do it."
Catherine referred to most of the people living
IKNOW I 'ave enemies," said Susan bitterly;
I know I am hated in this low neighbourhood.
But I don't see what them should hate me for, for
never interfere wid any of them."
Them hate y'u because you are better than them,
and because y'u don't mix with them," sagaciously
answered Catherine, her second sister.
"That they will never get me to do," snapped
Susan. I wouldn't mix with a lot of people who
are not my companions, even if them was covered
from top to toe with gold. It is bad enough that
I have to live near them, but further than that I am
not going. It is good morning' and good evening'
with me, an' that is all."
Then them will always hate you," said Catherine,
"and if them can injure y'u them will try to do it."
Catherine referred to most of the people living
in the immediate vicinity, between Susan and whom
a fierce feud had existed for some months. It was
born of envy and nurtured by malice, and Susan
knew that well. She dressed better than most of
the girls in the lane, she lived in a "front house,"
while most of them had to be content with ordinary
yard-rooms. She frequently went for rides on the
electric cars, whereas they could only afford such
pleasure on Sundays and on public holidays. She
carried herself with an air of social superiority which
was gall and wormwood to the envious; and often on
walking through the lane she had noticed the con-
temptuous looks of those whom, with greater contempt,
she called the common folks and treated with but
half-concealed disdain. On the whole, she had rather
enjoyed the hostility of these people, for it was in its
way a tribute to her own importance. But now a dis
comforting development had taken place in the manner
in which the dislike of the neighbourhood habitually
This evening Susan sat by one of the windows d
the little house in which she lived, and which opened
on the lane. It contained two tiny rooms: the inns
apartment was her bedroom, her two sisters sleeping
with her; the outer one was a sitting-room by dal
and a bedroom at night, when it was occupied by he
father and mother. The house had originally beet
painted white and green, but the dust of Kingsta
had discoloured the painting somewhat; hence it
appearance was now shabby and faded, though nd
as much so as that of the other buildings on either sid
of it. Opposite was an ancient fence dilapidated
and almost black; behind this fence were two long
ranges of rooms, in which people of the servant classes
lived. The comparison between these and Susan's
residence was all in favour of the latter; and as this
house overlooked the lane, and was detached from the
buildings in the yard to which it belonged, its rental
value was fairly high and its occupants were supposed
to be of a superior social position.
The gutters on both sides of the lane ran with dirty
soap-water, and banana skins, orange peel and bits of
brown paper were scattered over the roughly macadam-
ized ground. Lean dogs reclined in the centre of the
patch, or prowled about seeking scraps of food which
they never seemed to find. In the daytime, scantily-
clad children played in the gutters; a few slatternly
womqn, black and brown, drawled out a conversation
with one another as they lounged upon the doorsteps;
all during the long hours of the sunlight the sound of
singing was heard as some industrious housewives
washed the clothes of their families and chanted hymns
as they worked; and now and then a cab or cart
passed down the lane, disturbing for a little while
the peaceful tenor of its way.
There were no sidewalks, or rather, there were
only the vestiges of sidewalks to be seen. For the
space which had been left for these by the original
founders of the city had more or less been appro-
priated by householders who thought that they them-
selves could make excellent use of such valuable
territory. Here a house was partly built on what was
once a portion of the sidewalk; there a doorstep marked
e the encroachment that had taken place on public
property ; between these an empty space showed that
the owner of the intermediate yard had not as yet been
adventurous enough to extend his fence beyond its
proper limits. Most of the houses that opened on the
lane were of one storey, and built of wood, with founda-
tions of red brick. An air of slow decay hung over
nearly all of them, though now and then you saw a
newly painted building which looked a little out of
place in such surroundings.
Susan saw that hers was by no means the shabbiest
of these houses, and Susan knew that she was the
finest-looking young woman in that section of the lane
in which she lived. It was her physical attractions
that had helped her to comparative prosperity. In
the euphemistic language of the country, she was
"engaged" to a young man who was very liberal
with his money ; he came to see her two or three times
a week; and though of late he had not seemed quite
so ardent as before, Susan had not troubled to inquire
the reason of his shortened visits. He had never
hitherto failed on a Friday night to bring for her her
weekly allowance, and that she regarded as a suffi.
ciently substantial proof of his continued affection.
But now she felt that she must take some though'
of the future. Thrice during the current week sh,
had been openly laughed at by Mother Smith, a
peculiarly objectionable old woman who lived about
a hundred yards farther up the lane. Mother Smith
had passed her house, and, looking up at the window,
had uttered with a malignant air of triumph, If
you can't catch Quaco, you can catch his shirt."
Meaningless as the words might have appeared to the
'uninitiated, Susan had immediately divined their
sinister significance. She knew that Mother Smith
had a daughter of about her own age, whose challenging
attractiveness had always irritated her. Because
Maria, though black, was comely, Susan had made a
point of ignoring Maria's existence; she had never
thought of Maria as a possible rival, however, so confi-
dent was she of her ascendancy over her lover, and so
certain was she that Maria could never be awarded
the prize for style and beauty if Susan Proudleigh
happened to be near. Still, there could be no mis-
taking the triumphant insolence of Mother Smith's
glance or the meaning of her significant words.
Tom's growing coldness now found an explanation.
The base plot hatched against her stood revealed in
all its hideous details. What was she to do ? She
did not want to quarrel with Tom outright, and so
perhaps frighten him away for ever. That perhaps
was precisely what her enemies were hoping she would
do. After thinking over the matter and finding her-
self unable to decide what course of action to adopt,
she had put the problem before her family; and her
aunt, Miss Proudleigh, happening to come in just then,
she also had been invited to give her opinion and
Suggest a plan.
[ Susan soon began to realize that she could not
expect much wisdom from their united counsel.
SThey all knew that she was not liked by the neigh-
i ours; unfortunately, Mother Smith's design was a
1: factor in the situation which seemed to confuse them
utterly. They had gone over the ground again and
again. Catherine had said the last word, and it was
the reverse of helpful. For a little while they sat in
silence, then Susan mechanically repeated Catherine's
words, If them can injure me, them will try to do it."
They does dislike you, Susan," agreed her aunt,
by way of continuing the conversation, an' if them
can hurt you, them will do it. But, after all, the
Lord is on your side." This remark proved to Susan
that at such a crisis as this her family was worse than
hopeless. She turned impatiently from the window
and faced Miss Proudleigh.
"I don't say the Lord is not on my side," she
exclaimed; "but Mother Smith is against me, an'
the devil is on her side, an' if I am not careful Mother,
Smith will beat me."
As no one answered, she went on, Mother Smith
wouldn't talk like she is talking if she didn't knov
what she was talking about. She want Tom for
Maria, her big-mouth daughter. She an' Maria trying'
to take Tom from me-I know it. But, Lord I wil
go to prison before them do it! She had risen
while speaking, and her clenched hands and gleaming
eyes showed clearly that she was not one over whon
an easy victory could be obtained.
She was of middle height, slimly built, and of dai
brown complexion. Her lips were thin and poutin
her chin rather salient; her nose stood out defiantly
suggesting a somewhat pugnacious disposition. He
hair, curly but fairly long, was twisted into several
plaits and formed a sort of turban on her head; he
eyes, large, black, and vivacious, were the features d
which she was proudest, for she knew the uses to whid
they could be put. As her disposition was natural
SUSAN'S DILEMA -
lively, these eyes of hers usually seemed to be laughing.
But*just now they were burning and flashing with
anger; and those who knew Susan well did not care
to cross her when one of these moods came on.
Her father saw her wrath and trembled; then
immediately cast about in his mind for some word of
consolation that might appease his daughter. He
was a tall, thin man, light brown in complexion, and
possessed of that inability to arrive at positive decisions
which is sometimes described as a judicial frame of
mind. He was mildly fond of strong liquors; yet
even when under their influence he managed to main-
tain a degree of mental uncertitude, a sort of in-
tellectual sitting on the fence, which caused his friends
to believe that his mental capacity was distinctly
above the average. By these friends he was called
Schoolmaster, and he wore the title with dignity. By
way of living up to it he usually took three minutes to
say what another person would have said in one.
That is to say, he delighted in almost endless circum-
It was even related of Mr. Proudleigh that, one
night, no lamp having yet been lit, he surreptitiously
seized hold of a bottle he found on a table and took
a large sip from it, thinking the liquor it contained
was rum. It happened to be kerosene oil; but such
was his self-control that, instead of breaking into
strong language as most other men would have done,
he muttered that the mistake was very regrettable,
and was merely sad and depressed during the re-
mainder of the evening. Such a man, it is clear, was
not likely to allow his feelings to triumph over his
judgment, though upon occasion, and when it suited
his interests, he was ready to agree with the stronger
party in any argument. Though he now felt some-
what alarmed by Susan's suspicions, and knew it was
a matter of the first importance that Tom, her lover,
and especially Tom's wages, should be retained as an
asset in the family, he could not quite agree that
Susan had very good cause for serious apprehension
as yet. Up to now he had said very little; he was
convinced that he had not sufficient evidence before
him on which to pronounce a judgment. He thought,
too, that his hopeful way of looking at the situation
might help her at this moment; so, his mild, lined
face wearing a profoundly deliberative expression, he
gave his opinion.
I don't think you quite right, Susan," he observed;
" but, mind, I don't say y'u is wrong. Mother Smit
is a woman I don't like at all. But de Scripture told
us, judge not lest we be not judged, an' perhaps
Mother Smit don't mean you at all when she talk
On hearing this, Susan's mother, a silent, elderly
black woman with a belligerent past, screwed up her,
mouth by way of expressing her disapproval of her.
husband's point of view. Mrs. Proudleigh was a firm;
believer in the unmitigated wickedness of her sex,
but judged it best to say nothing just then. Susan,i
however, annoyed by the perverseness of her father,,
burst out with:
Then see here, sah, if she don't mean me an' my
young man, who can she mean? Don't Mother
Smith always say I am forward ? Don't she pass the
SUSAN'S DILEMMA 9
house this morning an' throw her words on me ?
Don't Maria call out' Look at her' when I was passing
her yard yesterday ? Tut, me good sah, don't talk
stupidness to me I If you don't have nothing sensible
to say, you better keep you' mouth quiet. I am going
to Tom's house to-night, to-night. And Tom will
'ave to tell me at once what him have to do with
"I will go with you," said Catherine promptly.
She was a sturdy young woman of nineteen years of
age, and not herself without a sneaking regard for
Tom. Hence, on personal as well as on financial
grounds, she objected to Tom's being taken possession
of by Maria and Maria's mother.
The old man, rather fearing that Susan's wrath
might presently be turned against himself, discreetly
refrained from making any further remark; but his
sister, an angular lady of fifty, with a great reputa-
tion for intelligence and militant Christianity, seeing
that Susan's mind was fully made up as to Maria's
guilt, and being herself in the habit of passing severe
comment on the conduct of the absent, determined
to support her niece.
But some female are really bad! she observed,
as if in a soliloquy. Some female are really bad.
Now here is poor Susan not interfering wid anybody.
She got her intended. He take his own foot an' he
walk down the lane, an' he fall in love with her. It
is true she don't marry him yet, but she is engaged.
She is engage, and therefore it is an unprincipled sin
for any other female to trouble her intended an' take
him away from her. If Maria want a young man,
why don't she go an' look for one ? Why she an' her
mother want to trouble Susan's one poor lamb, when
there is ninety and nine others to pick an' choose
from ? Really some female is wicked "
A speech like this, coming from a woman whose
lack of physical charms was more than made up for
by strength of moral character, was naturally hailed
with great approval by Susan, Catherine, and their
mother. The old man himself, never willing to be
permanently in a minority, now went so far as to
admit that the whole affair was very provocating,"
and added that if he was a younger man he would do
several things of a distinctly heroic and dangerous
But all this, though in its way very encouraging,
was not exactly illuminating. It only brought Susan
back to the point from which she had started, What
am I to do ? she asked for the last time, reduced to
despair, and sinking back into her seat despondently.
If I was you," said Catherine at last deliberately,
I would catch hold of Maria, and beat her till she
This advice appealed to Susan; it corresponded
with the wish of her own heart. But she doubted
the efficacy of physical force in dealing with a difficult
and delicate situation. No: a beating would not
do ; besides, in the event of an encounter, it might be
Maria who would do the beating Susan saw plainly
that no word of a helpful nature would be forth-
coming from any of the anxious group, who usually
appealed to her for advice and assistance. So when
Miss Proudleigh was again about to give some further
SUSAN'S DILEMMA II
opinions on the general wickedness of females, she
got up abruptly, saying that she was going round to
Tom's house to see him. Catherine rose to accompany
her, and after putting on their hats the two girls left
IT was about eight o'clock; and, save for a few
lights gleaming faintly here and there in the yards
and the little houses, the lane was in darkness.
It was quiet, too; only three or four persons were to
be seen moving about, and the innumerable dogs
would not begin to bark until nearly everybody had
gone to bed. A stranger standing at one of the
numerous crossings that intersected the lane, and
looking up or down the narrow way, might imagine
he was peering into some gloomy tunnel were it not:
for the brilliancy of the stars overhead. The cross-
streets were very much brighter and livelier, and
that one towards which Susan and her sister directed
their steps was particularly bright.
A Chinaman's shop at the lane corner opened upon
this street. To the right of this, and also opening
on the street, was another shop presided over by ani
elderly woman. It was small, but contained a com--
paratively large quantity of things which found!:
ready sale in the neighbourhood; such as pints of
porter, little heaps of ripe bananas, loaves of bread,:
coarse straw hats, charcoal, pieces of sugar-cane, tin
whistles, reels of thread and peppermint cakes. On
Sthe opposite side of the crossing were other shops, and
on either hand, east and west, as far as the eye could
i reach, were still more shops standing between fairly
large two-storeyed dwelling-houses of brick and wood.
On the piazzas women squatted selling native sweet-
Smeats and fruit. To the west, in the middle distance,
Stwo or three taverns blazed with light; away to the
east was a great crowd of people singing, and in the
midst of this crowd jets of flame streamed upwards
from the unprotected wicks of huge oil-lamps. These
lamps gave off thick columns of black smoke which
slowly drifted over the heads of the sable, white-
clothed revivalists who passionately preached on the
always approaching end of the world, and called upon
their hearers to repent them of their sins.
People were continually passing up and down.
SThey passed singly or in groups, the latter discussing
loudly their private affairs, careless as to who might
hear: even love-making couples ignored the proximity
of other human beings, and laughed and chatted as
though there was no one within a mile of them. Many
of these pedestrians were barefooted, but most of
them wore shoes or slippers of some sort. A few were
in rags, but the majority were fairly well dressed, for
This was a populous thoroughfare, and the people took
- some pride in their appearance. A number of children
Shung about, playing with one another or gazing idly
at the passing show; a fine grey dust lay thick upon
the ground; gas-lamps placed at wide distances apart
burned dimly, so that large spaces of the street were
in shadow. Cabs conveying passengers home or on
visits drove by frequently, and every now and then
14 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
the electric cars flew by, stirring up a cloud of dus
which almost blinded one, and which for a moment
shrouded the street with a moving, impalpable veil
There was life here, there was movement, and while
the revivalists prayed and preached in the distance
the candy sellers near by plaintively invited the younj
to come and purchase their wares, the proprietors d
little ice-cream carts declaimed vociferously that they
sold the best cream ever manufactured, and the
vendors of pea-nuts screamed out that baked pea-nufit
were strengthening, enlivening, and comforting. Thi
was the life of the street.
At the right-hand corner of the lane, where the
Chinaman's shop stood, was a gas-lamp, and the
gossiping groups about the spot indicated that it was
a favourite rendezvous of the people of the vicinity.
Susan never condescended to linger for a moment
there; that would have been beneath her dignity.
But Maria, her rival, sometimes paused at the corn
when going for a walk, to talk for a while with a possible
admirer or with a friend if she should happen to meet
one. To-night Maria was standing under the gas-lamp i
conversing gaily with two girls. Evidently she wa
in a happy frame of mind.
Yes," she was saying, in answer to a question.
put to her by one of the girls, I am goin' to tdl
her so. She is proud an' she is forward; but s
will soon sing a different tune. I wonder what sl
would say now if she did know dat her lover wril
me two letters last week, an' say that him love me
I don't answer him yet, but him say him comitr
to see me to-morrow night. You watch If I wat
to teck Tom from her, I have only to lift me little
Singer. An' I am not too sure I won't do it."
She laughed as she spoke of her prospective victory
Over Susan; but her friends, though they hated
Susan, were not particularly delighted with the news
they heard. They were agreed that Susan ought
| to be humbled, but that was no reason why Maria
should be exalted. It was, therefore, not altogether
Sin a cheerful tone of voice that the elder one asked
Y'u think Tom going to come to you ? "
Him almost come to me already," replied Maria,
with pride. Look what him send for me last night! "
She thrust her hand into her pocket as she spoke.
As she was taking out Tom's present, Susan and her
sister emerged into the light.
Both Susan and Maria caught sight of each other
at the same moment. And each realized in a flash
that the other knew the true position of affairs. The
-glare of hate from Susan's eyes was answered by a
contemptuous stare and a peal of derisive laughter
from Maria. Susan's sister and Maria's friends at
once understood that a desperate struggle had begun
between the two.
Maria's ringing jeer was more than any ordinary
woman could tolerate. Susan tried to answer it
With a laugh as contemptuous, but failed, her wrath
Choking her. Then she put all pretence aside, and
swiftly moving up to Maria she thrust her face into
the face of the other girl. See here, ma'am," she
hissed, I want to ask you one thing : is it me you
Laughing at ? "
16 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
But stop! exclaimed Maria, backing away
little, and defiantly placing her arms akimbo. Stop,
You ever see my trial! Then I can't laugh without
your permission, eh ? Saying which she laughed
again as contemptuously as before, and swung round
with a flounce so as to bring one of her elbows into
unpleasant proximity to Susan's waist.
"I don't say you can't laugh, an' I don't care i
y'u choose to laugh till you drop," cried Susan bitterly
but I want to tell you that y'u can't laugh at me "
So you're better than everybody else ? sneer
Maria. Y'u think you are so pretty, eh ? Well
there is a miss for you She can't even behave he
self in de public street, though she always walk an'
shake her head as if she was a princess, an' though.
she call herself young lady.' But perhaps she thini
she lose something good, an' can't recover from tb
loss as yet! And again that maddening peal d
laughter rang out.
Susan did not answer Maria directly. She eyed
that young woman swiftly, and noticed that her dress
was old and her shoes poor and dusty. This gave hea
the advantage she needed in dealing with a girl who
was all contempt while she herself was all temper,
She turned to her sister and to Maria's friends, and
pointed to Maria with scorn.
Look at her 1 she cried. Look how she stand
Her face is like a cocoa-nut trash, and she don't evea
have a decent frock to put on "
Maria might have passed, over the reference to
her face; she knew it was only spiteful abuse. But
\the allusion to the scantiness of her wardrobe was
A PASSAGE-AT-ARMS 17
absolutely unforgivable. If not exactly true, it
yet approached perilously near the truth, and so it
cut her to the quick. No sooner were the words
uttered than Maria's forefinger was wagging in Susan's
face, and :
Say that again, an' I box you she screamed.
Box me ? hissed Susan. Box me ? My good
woman, this would be the last day of you' life. Take
you' hand out of'me face at once-take it out, I say-
take it out "-and without waiting to see whether
Maria would remove the offending member, she seized
it and pushed Maria violently away.
In a moment the two were locked in one another's
arms. There was a sound of heavy blows, two simul-
taneous shrieks of Murder and a hasty movement
of about forty persons towards the scene of the combat.
Catherine now thought it time to interfere. She
threw herself upon the combatants, making a desperate
but vain attempt to separate them. Maria's friends
protested loudly that Susan was ill-treating Maria,
though, as the latter was at least as strong as Susan,
it was difficult to see where the ill-treatment came in.
A dignified-looking man standing on the piazza
loudly remonstrated with the crowd for allowing
" those two females to fight," but made not the slightest
effort himself to put a stop to the struggle. The little
boys and girls in the vicinity cheered loudly. The
one thing lacking was a policeman. Noticing this,
the dignified looking man audibly expressed his
opinion on the inefficiency of the force.
Let me go, I say, let me go gasped Susan, her
head being somewhere under Maria's right arm.
18 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
You wants to kill me stammered Maria, whose
sides Susan was squeezing with all the strength she
possessed-" murder, murder "
But neither one would let the other go. Neither
one was much hurt as yet. The struggle continued
about a minute longer, when some one in the crowd
shouted, Policeman coming "
Then indeed both Susan and Maria came to their
senses. They separated, and vainly tried to put on
an appearance of composure. It was time, for yonder,
moving leisurely through the crowd, now composed
of over a hundred persons, was the policeman who had
been spied by one of the spectators. The girls made
no effort to run, for that would surely have provoked
the policeman to an unusual display of energy, and,
justly angered at having been compelled to exert
himself, he might have arrested them both on the
charge of obstructing him in the execution of his duty.
They waited where they stood, their eyes still flashing,
their bosoms heaving, and their bodies trembling with
But angry as she was, Susan had already begun
to feel ashamed of fighting in the street. She had
always had a horror of street scenes; people of her
class did not participate in them; before this event
she would not have thought it possible that she could
ever be mixed up in such an affair as this. Oh, the,
humiliation of being handled by a constable! She
heartily wished she were a thousand miles from the
In the meantime the policeman, having arrived
at the outskirts of the crowd, began busily to work
his way through to the centre. True to its tradi-
tions, the crowd was hostile to him and friendly to
the culprits; so some of the women managed to put
themselves in his way, then angrily asked him what
he was pushing them for.
What is all dis ? was his first question as he
came up to the spot where Susan and Maria stood.
" What is de meaning of this ? He looked fixedly at
the gas-lamp as if believing that that object could give
him the most lucid explanation of the circumstances.
What is all dis, I say ? he again demanded in
a more peremptory tone of voice.
These two gals was fighting, sah," explained a
small boy, in the hope of seeing somebody arrested.
"Mind your own business, buoy!" was all the
reward the policeman gave him for his pains, and
then the arm of the law, feeling that something was
expected of him, proceeded to deliver a speech.
"The truth of de matter is dis," he observed,
looking round with an air of grave authority: "You /
common folkses are too ignorant. You are ignorant
to extreme. You ever see white ladies fight in de
street ? Answer me that "
No one venturing to answer, he continued:
White people don't fight in de street, because
them is ladies and gentleman. But I can't under-
stand the people of my own colour ; they have no
respect for themself "
He spoke more in sorrow than in anger; almost
as though he were bitterly lamenting the deficiencies
of the working classes. But Susan, though in trouble,
would not even then allow herself to be classed with
the policeman and others in the category of common
folkses." I am not common," she answered de-
fiantly; I am not your set! "
Silence, miss! thundered the policeman, scan-
dalized. I am the law Do you know dat ? "
I never see a black law yet," cheekily replied
Susan, who thought that, if she had to be arrested,
there would be at least some satisfaction in humili-
ating the policeman.
If y'u say another impertinence word I will
arrest you! was the policeman's threat. Now de
whole of you walk right off Right off, I say, or I
teck you all to jail!" He included the crowd with
one comprehensive sweep of his arm, perceiving
that his edifying attempt to awaken in his audience
a sense of respectability had not been favourably
There was no disputing his authority, especially
as he had begun to get angry. Susan knew, too,
that she had mortally offended him by claiming
to belong to a better class than his: which remark
had also lost her the sympathy of the greater part
of the crowd. So she was the first to take advantage
of his command, and Maria followed her example by
disappearing as quickly as she could. In another
minute or two the normal activity of the street had
been resumed, and the policeman had again started
upon his beat, hoping that he would no more be
disturbed that night. But both Susan and Maria
knew that the fight would have a sequel. For war
had now openly been declared between them.
THE CASE IN COURT
WILL have to bring 'er up "
It was Susan who spoke. She had returned
to the house, where the news of the fight had
preceded her. The whole family had been on the
point of issuing forth to her rescue when she appeared,
and now they were again assembled in full conclave
to discuss at length this new aspect of the situation.
"'Vengeance is mine,'" quoted her aunt; "but
there is a time for all things. An' if y'u don't teach
a gurl like Maria a lesson, she will go far wid you."
She is a very rude young ooman!" exclaimed
Mr. Proudleigh with indignation, following up his
sister's remark ; he felt that he must lend his daughter
his moral support. Ef I was a younger man," he
went on, I would . I would . well, I don't
know what I wouldn't do But Mother Smit is a
dangerous female to interfere wid, and de cramps is
troubling me in me foot so badly dat I wouldn't like
'er to put 'er hand 'pon me at all."
Ef she ever touch you," his wife broke in, old
as I is, she an' me would have to go to prison."
You was always a courigous gal, Mattie," said
the old man approvingly; but I don't want to see
y'u get into any quarrel; an' to tell you de trute,
I don't t'ink I could help you at all. Susan is goin'
to bring up Maria, an' that is a satisfaction. I are
going to de court-house wid 'er to encourage her."
But suppose Susan lose the case ? Catherine
suggested. She had been a witness of the encounter,
and though she fully intended to forget every fact
that would make against Susan in the court-house,
she was sagacious enough to realize that Maria's
friends would not do likewise.
"Lose me case ? asked Susan incredulously.
" That can't be done! She provoked me first, an'
the judge must take note of that. Besides, I am
goin' to put a good lawyer on her: not a fool-fool
man that can't talk, but a man who will question her
properly an' make her tell de truth."
Dat is right," said Mr. Proudleigh with proud
anticipation of coming victory. Sue, I advise you
to get de Attorney-General."
"I never hear about him," Miss Proudleigh re-
marked; an' it won't do for Susan to get a lawyer
we don't know. But who to get ? "
As Mr. Proudleigh knew nothing about the leader
of the local bar except his name, he decided not to
urge the claims of that high official upon his daughter.
One after another, the names of the several lawyers
of whom the family had heard were mentioned, and
their various merits were discussed. As this was to
be the most important case ever tried-or at least so
the family thought-it was of the utmost importance
that the brightest legal luminary should be obtained :
the difficulty was to select one from the many whose
THE CASE IN COURT
reputation for ability commended them all as fit and
proper persons to prosecute Maria Bellicant for assault
and abusive language. At last Miss Proudleigh
suggested a lawyer whose cleverness in handling
witnesses determined to perjure themselves had often
appealed to her admiration. Having once mentioned
his name with approval, the worthy lady thought it
was incumbent upon her to argue away all that might
be said against him and all that might be urged in
favour of other solicitors; and at length Susan decided
that she would go to see Lawyer Jones in the morning.
Miss Proudleigh was so delighted with the prospect of
having Mr. Jones proceed against Maria, that during
the rest of the time she remained at the house she
could talk of nothing but that lawyer's merits. But
on leaving she reminded Susan of the value of prayer
as a consolation for all the troubles of life, and sug-
gested that supplications made properly and in a
reverent spirit might lead to Maria's being afflicted
with manifold ills throughout the rest of her days.
After Miss Proudleigh had left, the family sat up
until twelve o'clock discussing the fight and the
coming case. And in many of the yards and houses
of the lane the fight also formed the topic of discussion.
In the yard where Maria lived some thirty persons
assembled to express their sympathy with her and to
give fervent utterance to the hope that she had beaten
Susan properly. They were comforted on learning
from Maria that she had. Mother Smith herself
performed a sort of war dance about the premises,
showing in pantomime what she would do as soon as
she should lay hands upon Susan and Susan's people,
24 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
down to the third and fourth generation. Everybody
agreed that Maria had been most shamefully ill-
treated, and one of the girls who had been with Maria
at the street corner went so far as to think she had
seen Susan draw a pair of scissors out of her pocket,.
presumably to stab Maria. Indeed, in some of the
tenement yards it was actually reported that blood.:;
had been drawn, one eye-witness even undertaking.
to describe the wounds. Altogether, it was a very,
exciting night in that section of the lane in which the
girls lived, and almost every one was glad that Susan
had at last met her match.
The excitement was kept alive the next day by the
news that Susan had brought up Maria. Maria had
been expecting this, for she had rightly calculated
that no girl in Susan's financial position would forgo
the luxury of a case in court after such a fight. Maria
was poor, but she felt that the only proper thing to
do in the circumstances was to cross the warrant ";
so she went and crossed it that same day, and Mother
Smith began to sell some of her scanty stock of furni-
ture to raise enough money to employ a lawyer.
Susan acted very rapidly when her mind was made
up. After leaving the court-house she had sent a note
to Tom telling him to come round to see her that night;
and Tom, who had already heard about the fight, came
He was a short, stoutish young fellow of about
twenty-six years of age, and somewhat lighter in
complexion than Susan. His watery eyes, weak
mouth, and tip-tilted nose showed a man of little
strength of character; you would rightly have de-
THE CASE IN COURT
[ scribed him as a nondescript sort of person. He
took great pride in his appearance, always used cheap
scents on Sundays, and carried on his amours as
surreptitiously as possible. He had a horror of
domestic quarrels, and though it was true that he
had been attracted by Maria's appearance, fear of
Susan's temper had kept him fairly faithful to his
vows of eternal constancy. He had flirted just a little
with Maria. He had made her one or two presents.
; He had written her a couple of letters; he was rather
(perhaps dangerously) fond of writing letters. But
Susan overawed him, and in the midst of these amorous
exercises he had devoutly hoped that she would never
suspect him of even speaking to Maria. Judge of
his consternation, therefore, when, after greeting him
coldly and saying that she had sent for him because
he did not seem to care now about coming to see her
as often as before, she launched out upon a sea of
reproaches, and overwhelmed him with perfectly just
accusations. Naturally, he denied all intercourse
with Maria, though remembering with a sinking heart
that his own handwriting might be produced against
him. But Susan evidently knew nothing about
those letters: perhaps he could induce Maria to
return them to him. He began to take heart-too
soon. For Susan did not believe a word he said,
though she pretended to do so in order to gain the
end she had in view. She heard him out to the end,
and after he had expressed his indignation at the
.conduct of Maria, and agreed with Susan that that
young woman deserved severest punishment, she
26 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
I bring Maria up to-day."
Tom was thunderstruck.
"You mean," he stammered, "that you going.
into a court-house with that girl ? "
Yes," she answered; I make up me mind."
An' then," he protested heatedly, my name;
will be called, an' I will be mixed up in it! What
you talking' about, Sue ? "
"You' name won't be called," she answered in-i
flexibly. What you fretting about ? If you know,:
as you say, that you have nothing to do with Maria,.
you needn't trouble yourself. It is me bringing
her up, not you. Who is to call you' name ? "
Tom looked into her face, and realized that there
was no turning her from her purpose. The two
were alone in the day-sitting-room; but even if the
rest of the family were there, he reflected ruefully,
that would hardly assist him.
I don't like it," he muttered dismally.
Don't fret about anything," she cheerfully ad-
vised him as he bade her good-night. You' name
won't come into the case."
But Tom left her with a sinking heart.
The eventful day of the case dawned at last, and
found Susan and her family in a state of intense
excitement. The case was to be tried in the Police
Court, a building which had once been a barracks
for the Imperial soldiers when troops were stationed
in the city of Kingston. The courtyard of this
building opened on one hand upon the city's central
park, a large plot of land planted out in umbrageous
THE CASE IN COURT 27
evergreens and flowering shrubs; on the other hand,
it opened upon one of the city's busiest thorough-
fares. Thus on the one side was an oasis of peace
Vand beauty, while in the adjoining street to the west
all was squalor and confusion. This street itself
"was filled with little shops and crowded with clamour-
ing; gesticulating people. A market was there, and
'.the echoes of shrieks of laughter and sudden volleys
of abuse sometimes came to the magistrates and
Lawyers as they transacted their business in the court;
but they accepted these minor interruptions as part
of the settled order of things, and never complained
about them. Carts rattling over the brick pavement,
electric cars passing at frequent intervals and in-
cessantly sounding their gongs to warn the careless
people out of their way, diminutive venders shouting
out the nature and superior quality of their wares-all
this, with the inevitable clouds of dust which swept
over and enveloped everything, made up the life and
activity of the street. And dominating the whole
scene stood the weather-worn, ugly, two-storeyed
building which to so many thousands of the people
was the awe-inspiring symbol of a vague and
tremendous power called Law.
Both Susan and Maria knew the place well. They
arrived there with their attendant retinues at a little
before ten o'clock, the hour at which the court began
to sit. Policemen were to be seen about the large
courtyard, clad in white jackets and blue serge
trousers and white helmets. They were the visible
and self-conscious representatives of might, majesty,
dominion, and power. Habitual criminals made
28 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
remarks about them as they passed up and do
amongst the scores of people who loitered in
courtyard; but they paid no attention to these,
freedom of ambiguous speech is the privilege of
Soon after their arrival, Susan and Maria ent
the court-room with their friends to wait until the
case should be called. They had been there mo0
than once before as spectators, but now, as.
principal actors in such a tremendous drama, the
gazed about them with new and strange sensations.
The room was furnished in the plainest mann
possible. At the southern end of it was a platfo
on which stood a desk and a chair: these were I
the magistrate. To the magistrate's right was
witness box, and just below his desk was a tab
with a number of chairs around it. Here the cou
serjeant, one or two police inspectors, and the lawyt
sat. Behind these, and facing the magistrate,
the dock; behind this dock were ranged a few wood
benches without backs, and apparently designed fori
the purpose of inflicting the maximum amount d
physical discomfort on those who might choo0
to sit on them. These were for the use of the'
A case over, a trifling thing relating to a young lady
with fifteen previous convictions for abusive language,
the case of Susan Proudleigh v. Maria Bellicant was
called. Maria, as the accused, took up her standA
behind her lawyer, who rose and informed their
magistrate that he appeared for her.
Susan Proudleigh called the court serjeant,
STHE CASE IN COURT 29
Susan rose. But the policeman at the door, who
as the crier of the court, would not be defrauded
his privilege of shouting out her name; so imme-
tely his voice was heard screaming," Su-u-u-san
under Su-u-u-san Pounder Su-u-u-san
underr" And another policeman outside took
p the cry with, Su-u-u-san Plummer!"
Su-u-u-san Plummer! Su-u-san Plummer !"
[d was about to return the verdict of No answer,"
hen he learnt that the lady was inside.
'-Susan was motioned towards the witness box after
aria had vehemently pleaded not guilty to the charge
assault and battery. She felt nervous as she gazed
around the crowded room, but she was comforted by
the reflection that she looked very well in her white
lawn frock trimmed with blue ribbons, with hat to
.She took the book in her hand as directed, and
swore that she would tell nothing but the truth.
[Then she stated her case.
" My Honour, I was walking me way quite quiet
[an' peaceful down Blake Lane on Thursday night
last week; I was goin' for a walk, my Honour, an'
thinking about- "
"Never mind what you were thinking about," said
the magistrate; go on."
"Yes, my Honour. I was thinking' about me poor
old father at home, when all of a sudden I see Maria
ellicant at the corner. I was going' to tell 'er good
ending, because as I know I never do her nothing,
had no bad feelings against 'er, and--"
"Oh, never mind all that! interrupted the magis-
30 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
trate impatiently; "we don't want to hear a
your feelings. Tell us the facts."
This was distinctly disconcerting. Susan, who had
been trying to manipulate her th's properly so as t'
make a good impression upon His Honour, now begat
to think he was prejudiced against her. However
she went bravely on.
"I go up to Maria, my Honour, an' I was going
say, 'Good evening, Maria,' when she look at me anf
laugh. An' she say, Look at this worthless gal!' i
say to her,' But, Maria, why you call me wort'less?1
an' I go up nearer up to 'er in a friendly spirit; an'
she take 'er elbow an' push me, an' I hold 'er hand,
an' she collar me an' begin to beat me, an' I bawl for
She paused, for this was her version of the truth
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Hi,
lawyer asked her a few questions, the answers to which
all tended to corroborate her story. She felt quite
satisfied, believing that she had already won the case :
but Maria's lawyer rose very quietly, and intimated
that he desired to ask her a few questions. :
Your name is Susan Proudleigh ? he asked, the
tone of his voice suggesting that he thought the narn
might be an alias.
You live at No. Ioi Blake Lane ? "
Your intended's name is Thomas Wooley ? "
What has that to do with the case ? asked
"A great deal, your Honour," answered the lawy1
STHE CASE IN COURT 31
P'Now, Susan," he went on, remember you are on
your oath! Your sweetheart's name is Thomas
.Wooley, isn't it ? "
Susan looked at him dumbly. But his "Answer
me I was too peremptory to be disobeyed.
"Yes," she answered, and her heart sank, for she
remembered what she had said to Tom about his
name not being called.
And he is tired of you, isn't he ? her questioner
,continued mercilessly, rejoicing in her confusion.
What you mean ? "
"Answer my question, miss!" was again the
"No; him never tell me so."
Ah, now, don't you know that Thomas is in love
S" I don't know dat at all; in fact, you 'ave no
Don't you dare argue with me Now when you
met Maria Bellicant that night, and when you told
her that she had stolen the clothes she had on--"
I never tell 'er so! Susan burst forth. I tell 'er
she didn't 'ave a decent dress to wear "
S" Oh so you provoked her, did you ? "
SSusan perceived that she had blundered, but
,the lawyer did not give her a chance to recover
S" Why did you provoke her ? Answer me at once "
he insisted, and she was about to blunder further,
when her lawyer rose and asked the magistrate if his
client was to be intimidated and bullied in that
fashion ? He suggested that Susan had offered no
32 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
provocation whatever, and, although the7magis
promptly stopped him, Susan caught the cue.
had to admit, however, that she had struck M
after she herself had been struck, and Maria's la
was satisfied that Susan's principal witness wo
admit far more than that.
This witness was a young man, one Hezekiah Thb
philus Wilberforce. Catherine had taken ill am
at the last moment, fear of the court-house h
much to do with her sudden illness; so Susan had
to fall back upon the assistance of Hezekiah.
she been sophisticated she might have tried to ob
the services of a professional witness. A few of
are always to be found in every West Indian to
any importance, and they perform the useful func
of swearing to things they never saw. You rel
the circumstances to them, and they find that tl
were in the vicinity of the occurrence whatevere
was) on the day or night in question; and, if
were not seen by any of the other witnesses, that
be attributed to the fact that the excitement I
These men are well known to the magistrates
lawyers, and sometimes they are called upon to expb
their astonishing ubiquity. But a man is by Brit
law considered honest until he is proven to bi
scoundrel, 'so these witnesses continue to flourish i
green bay trees. Susan, however, knew nothing
the high mysteries of the law and the customs ofi
court. So Hezekiah had been selected by her, ch"
on the strength of his own recommendation, as a pet
most likely to give a graphic and satisfactory acc6
STHE CASE IN COURT 33
Sthe ill-treatment she had suffered at the hands of
;JHezekiah had always had an ambition to figure
something in a court of justice. Not being able
prosecute anybody himself, he longed for the time
when he should kiss de book," and then proceed to
ell a story which should assist in sending a fellow-
ture to prison. On his name being called, he came
othe court all smiles, and holding high his shining
,as one who realized the importance of being a
tness. He repeated the story that Susan had told,
rg it only by a detailed description of the treat-
t to which she had been subjected. Asked by the
istrate why he had not attempted to separate the
irs, he replied with a grin that horse don't have
business in cow's fight," a reason which, he thought,
amply explained his apparent cowardice. That said,
he was about to step down from the box, not anticipat-
ing that anything further would be required of him,
when Maria's lawyer abruptly asked him where he was
|-He paused, confused by the sharp and even threaten-
ing tone of the lawyer, who knew his type well.
S" Hezekiah, what do you do for a living ? was
ithe first question put to him.
-, The question was quite unexpected, and it was
Simply impossible for Hezekiah to answer it straight-
riowardly. For the truth was that he did nothing
for a living. While he stared open-mouthed at the
lawyer, wondering what to say, the latter called His
Honour's attention to the fact that the witness could
'aot answer a simple question about his own means of
livelihood, and then suggested that Hezekiah must
either be a thief or a loafer.
The magistrate was peremptory. What do you
do for a living ? he asked.
Me mother help me, sah, an' me uncle," stam-
mered poor Hezekiah, reduced to the sad extremity
of telling the truth.
Now, sir thundered the lawyer, do you mean
to tell me that a big man like you is living on a poor
old woman ? And have you nothing better to do:
than come to the court-house and tell lies ? "
I don't tell no lie, sah grumbled Hezekiah.
Don't be impertinent, sir Now remember you
are on your oath: didn't the Chinaman at the lane
corer once threaten to put you in charge for stealing
a pack of Rosebud cigarettes off his counter ? "
The question came like a thunder-clap. Hezekiah's
love for these cigarettes was well-known to all his
friends, but he had fondly hoped that that little
episode, which might have had so unpleasant a ter-
mination, had been forgotten by the Chinaman him.
self. How did the lawyer know of it ? In his be-
wilderment it did not dawn on him that his whole;
life-history, in so far as Maria knew it, had been told 1
with point and circumstance to Maria's lawyer. :
Fear now took possession of him-abject fear. A few
more questions like the last, and his reputation in the
lane would be ruined for ever. He moved about in his
circle as a man of some importance, for he played the
guitar, swore with remarkable fluency, and claimed
superiority on the ground that he neither worked nor
wanted. This examination was not at all what he had
THE CASE IN COURT
bargained for. As he explained afterwards, the lawyer
took a mean advantage of him. But the fierce inter-
rogatory had had its effect; for when the lawyer
asked him, Now, didn't you see Susan Proudleigh
assault Maria Bellicant first ? he meekly answered,
After that the truth, or as much of it as Hezekiah
could remember, came out. All that Susan's lawyer
could do was to prove that Maria had been as quick
to quarrel as Susan. Long before the witnesses were
finished with, it had become clear to the magistrate
that he had here a simple case of jealousy to deal with,
and, as he had acquired something of a reputation
as a maker of compromises (which satisfied nobody)
he thought he would interpose at this point and so
still further add to his fame as a peacemaker.
Looking sternly at Susan, he told her that she could
go on with the case if she liked; but that though
it was clear that he would have to fine Maria for pro-
voking her to a breach of the peace, by putting her
hand in her (the prosecutor's) face, which act amounted
to a technical assault, he saw clearly that when Maria
Bellicant's case came on he would also have to fine
the present prosecutor. Both had used insulting
words; both were to blame. So he would advise them
to make up their differences out of court, especially
as they appeared to be two decent young women.
Being a man of decided views on morality, he was
particularly hard on Tom.
That young man, Tom Wooley," he said, has
really been the cause of this quarrel. I wish he was
here so that I could deal with him. But I hope that
some one will tell him what I say. He seems to be a
very loose character, and I fear that there are only
too many such in Kingston. I have no doubt that he
is deceiving a number of other women, and his acts
may lead to some of them going to prison one day."
The speaker glanced at the reporters to see if they were
taking down his little speech. Satisfied that they were,
he went on to urge upon the girls the necessity of leading
a respectable and self-sacrificing life. This they most
faithfully promised to do, all the while thinking him
an old crank who interfered too freely with other
people's business. Much pleased with the apparent
result of his efforts to rescue Susan and Maria from the
broad and easy way, and proud that he had effected
another compromise, he ordered the serjeant to call
the next case, and the young women and their several
friends left the court.
Maria was delighted, for Susan had to all intents
and purposes lost her case. Hezekiah was dazed,
his mind being awhirl with new and uncomplimentary
thoughts about His Britannic Majesty's courts. They
were to him places where mean advantages were taken
of truthful witnesses, and in his heart of hearts he knew
also that he had fallen from grace for ever, in so far as
Susan was concerned. As for Susan, she was furious.
She had not succeeded in getting Maria punished.
She had been lectured by an ole fool as she called
the learned magistrate. Worst of all, Tom's name
had been repeatedly mentioned during the trial. It|
had been an entirely miserable affair, and, for her,
a humiliating defeat.
WHAT CAME OF THE CASE
THE thing about the trial that seemed to Miss
Proudleigh the unkindest cut of all was the utter
failure of Lawyer Jones to rise to the occasion
and pulverize his legal opponent with arguments.
She had accompanied Susan to the court-house with
proud expectancy. Lawyer Jones had been recom-
mended by her, and she felt that she had certain
proprietary rights in him; that she was, in a way,
responsible for his good behaviour as a lawyer. And
now he had failed, failed miserably; he had disgraced
her; she regarded him as guilty of a base deception.
On the way home she urged this point of view upon
Susan, and her brother agreed that the lawyer had
indeed acted most strangely.
The whole of them cheat me said Susan bitterly.
" There is no justice in dis country at all. From the
judge down, them is all a set of thief "
Solomon say that it is better to chop a baby in
two dan go to law," observed Mr. Proudleigh, an' I
see to-day dat him is quite right. Now if you did
half murder Maria, them would only fine you, an' you
would have de satisfaction to know that you give it
to her properly. Instead of dat, you bring 'er up in
a respectable style, an' put a lawyer on 'er, an' pay
him two pounds to persecute her, an' all de justice you
get is dat the judge tell y'u to make up de quarrel or
him will fine you too "
Leave them all to God! said Miss Proudleigh
Leave them to de devil, you mean Susan rapped
out. The judge abuse me about me intended, an'
the lawyer take me money and don't do nothing for
it; an' now you tell me to leave them to God The
truth of de matter is that all these judge an' all these
lawyers is simply humbugging poor people in this
country. Them want nothing better than for we to
leave them to God, so long as them can get de money.
But while we walk to church to pray, them drive in
motor-car I "
Wrath had made Susan a rebel, and contemptuous
of the things she had always regarded with respect;
but Miss Proudleigh had her Christian reputation to
think of, and she could not join her niece in her violent
protest. As for her father, though he was inclined to
think Susan was right, he did not care to express his
opinion of the judge too freely in the open street.
When they got home, Susan stationed herself by the
window, her favourite point of vantage, and there she
sat for hours nursing her anger. Now and then, as
she looked around her, the pride of possession filled
her soul. The room contained two American rocking-
chairs, and five cane-seated chairs of a yellowish hue.
There was a long wooden bench without a back placed
against one of the walls, and two dealboard tables,
both covered with gaudy worsted spreads. On on6
WHAT CAME OF THE CASE
of them was a kerosene lamp, a couple of hymn books,
and a few earthenware ornaments. The other was
crowded with thick tumblers, some of fantastic shapes,
and a heap of cheap crockery ware. On the walls
hung coloured prints of the King and the Royal Family,
and pictures of ladies dressed in exiguous garments,
and smoking cigarettes with an air of enjoyment. All
these things belonged to her. They had been given
to her by Tom. And in the inner room she had an
iron bed on which was a straw mattress, and two more
chairs, and a big trunk containing her clothes, and a
basin-stand, on which she kept her china basin and
ewer. She had, besides, a large looking-glass on a
little table in the room. And all these household gods
were comparatively new.
She took pride in her furniture. Only married
people of her class usually had as much, and certainly
Maria had not. "After all," she more than once
muttered to herself, I 'ave a comfortable house to
come to, an' perhaps Maria don't 'ave a penny to-day."
Yet she was not long comforted by this reflection.
Maria had practically triumphed, and her success at
the court-house might embolden her to attempt to
capture Tom outright. Susan did not care much for
Tom; in fact, she rather despised him. But times
were hard in Kingston, and lovers were not easy to
obtain; so if Maria should succeed. . But that
can't be done," she concluded; for what was Maria
when compared with her ?
Susan was not given to following out a train of
thought for any length of time; she usually jumped
from one subject to another as it came up in her mind.
40 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH 1
But the experience of that morning, and its unknown
but dreaded consequences, caused her now to dwell
lengthily upon the days before she became acquainted
with Tom. Her past had not been a pleasant one.
Her father was a carpenter, and when in good health
he had earned a fair amount of money by working at
his trade. But some sixteen years before he had been
prostrated by a severe attack of rheumatism, and when
he recovered he found that he had almost lost the use
of his lower limbs. Then her brother went away to
Nicaragua, and only wrote occasionally, sometimes
sending a few dollars to his parents. After her father's
illness her mother had turned washerwoman, and what
the old woman earned helped to keep the family from
starvation. Her father did a few light jobs, when he
could get them, but these did not bring in much.
Susan herself, on leaving the Government elementary
school when a little over fourteen years of age, had
tried to find a situation ; but there was hardly anything
she could do at that age.
In those days she lived in a yard-room with the rest
of the family. She could remember herself as often
standing at the gate of the yard, her feet thrust into
a pair of slippers, and looking with envy at those girls
who could afford to wear shoes and go to all the Sunday-
school picnics and treats. There were days when she
went to bed without dinner, a fate by no means
unknown to hundreds of other persons in her position.
On other days she was glad if her dinner consisted of.
a piece of dry bread. The rent of the room her family
occupied was always the great problem that faced
them continually; for if it was not paid their few
WHAT CAME OF THE CASE 41
belongings might be levied upon, and the old people
would have to go to the almshouse. Semi-starvation
was better than that, so they not infrequently starved.
When she was nearly eighteen, what she called
"a luck befell her. She was in the habit of attend-
ing, every Wednesday evening, a little church near
where she lived. There had been revival meetings in
that church a short time before she had taken to going
to the services, and nearly everybody in its immediate
neighbourhood had been converted. Amongst these
converts was a young fellow of nineteen, a clerk by
occupation; and seeing Susan in the church once
or twice, he was moved to attempt the saving of her
soul. He only succeeded in losing his heart.
For some months he gave her five shillings a week
out of the fifteen he earned; then he unfortunately
lost his situation, and Susan's father awoke to a sense
of outraged morality. It was edifying to hear Mr.
Proudleigh lecture that young man on the moral
obliquity of endeavouring to draw a youthful
feminine away from religion." There was no arguing
with him, for very little argument is left in any youth
who has lost his situation; so the young man quietly
drifted out of Susan's life.
For some time longer the family was compelled to
exist on the mother's earnings and on what Mr. Proud-
leigh's son in Nicaragua occasionally sent home. It
was then that Susan tried her hardest to obtain work
of some kind. But it required influence to secure a
position as a barmaid; the small shops had as many
assistants as they required, and in any case usually
employed young women fairer than she was; as for
42 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
crochet-making, that had become so common that
very few persons now cared to trim their clothes with
crochet. She might have got a situation as nurse
in one of the wealthier families of Kingston, but to
domestic work she had a strong aversion. It was not,
in her opinion, genteel. She did not want to be what
she called a common servant." So she waited in
idleness day after day, a prey to discontent, and
wondering if her luck would ever turn.
It did turn when she was twenty years of age. She
was standing at the gate of her yard one Sunday after-
noon, very plainly dressed, but with her hair neatly
combed and plaited. Tom was walking down the
lane, with no object in particular, and seeing her all
alone he thought he might as well try to make her
acquaintance and have a little chat with her. As he
was well dressed, from his polished yellow boots up
to his new straw hat, Susan did not object to his
inquiry after her health; and being thus encouraged
he made further advances.
That afternoon he talked of trifling things for about
a quarter of an hour. The following evening he again
walked down the lane, and Susan was once more at
the gate. On the subsequent night, when Tom met.
her by appointment, she asked him why he did not
come inside, and on his accepting her invitation he
was welcomed by her family with every mark of
cordiality and respect. In fact, they all went out of
the room and left him with Susan, so that the young
couple's conversation might not be interrupted in any
A week after that, she removed into the house which
WHAT CAME OF THE CASE 43
she now occupied. Thus she had realized, at a bound,
one of the great ambitions of her life.
SBut now Maria was trying to come between her
and Tom. And this case-now that she had lost it,
Sshe was rather sorry she had taken it to court. Tom's
:name had been repeatedly called, and he had warned
her against that. And her money, the money he had
originally given her, had gone for nothing. If that
Ihad been all she would not have cared much, but she
-felt sure she had not yet heard the last of the fight
and the trial. She wished she could believe that she
It was in an uneasy frame of mind that she ate her
dinner by the window that evening, putting her plate
on a chair in front of her. She was still eating when
her aunt returned to the house for the purpose of
further discussing the details of the case; and it was
only then that Susan's father and the others came
into the sitting-room, which they had avoided all
during the day, perceiving that Susan was too sorely
sick at heart to appreciate conversation.
Miss Proudleigh, who, more than all of them to-
gether, was versed in the newspaper reports of the
courts, had conceived a brilliant idea, and wished
to lose no time before letting Susan know of it.
I thinks, Susan," she said, after she had sat down,
"that the case was not try fair. An' I thinks you
ought to appeal."
Appeal ? asked her brother. What is dat ? "
Now Miss Proudleigh did not know exactly. So
she answered vaguely, Something to make de case
44 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
"That won't help," said Susan decisively. "
judge tell me I better drop the case, an' I agree. It
is all done away wid now. What is bothering me
the way de judge talk about Tom. It's going to e
all over Kingston to-morrow, for I saw the newspaper
man writing it down. What a piece of bad luck fall
upon a poor gurl to-day An' I didn't do a single
soul anything." '
But don't it finish now ? asked the old man:
I don't know about dat," Susan replied. Tom's'
name call, an' him going to vex."
This was indeed what everybody feared; but Miss
Proudleigh had a never-failing source of comfort in
her principles as a religious woman.
Susan," she said, you must have faith. When
did you' intended see you de first time ? Wasn't it
on a Sunday evening ? Now if it was on a Monday'
or a Saturday or any other day of de week, you would
say it was a sort of accident. But when an important
events take place on a Sunday, all of a sudden, it is
you' business to acknowledge that the Lord have made
special interposition in your behalf. You mustn't be
ungrateful, Sue. The Lord is not mocked. Blessed.
is de man that trusteth in Him. An' though the text
says man' it mean woman too. Everything is going'
to go right. Tom won't vex too much."
That is what I thinks meself," agreed Susan's
father, who was only too glad to catch at any ray
of hope. Susan is de child of many pr'yers. From
the day she born to dis day, I been prayin' for her.
Not a thing can happen to her! De night before
S WHAT CAME OF THE CASE 45
she became acquaint wid Mister Tom, I dream dat
a mango tree grow up in me room, an' I know that
same time that something was going to happen. Now
last night I dream dat a cow maltreat Mother Smit,
an' at first I thoughted that Susan was goin' to win
de case. But I see now dat it mean that Mister Tom
is not goin' to 'ave nothing more to do wid Maria."
Well, sah," answered Susan petulantly, all I
have to say is, that you' prayers didn't 'elp me much
this morning! "
This, Susan's latest expression of infidelity, simply
startled her audience. Their Providence was one
that struck with blindness or instant death any of
His creatures who dared to question His wisdom or
goodness, and who bestowed no blessings upon those
who worked on the Sabbath Day. To other sins He
was lenient. He always. allowed ample time to the
sinners to repent of them. One could also think hard
things of Him, for what was not spoken aloud might
escape the hearing even of the higher Powers. But
so openly to doubt the efficacy of prayer, as Susan
had done, was to tempt Providence; and she herself
felt a little frightened after the words had escaped
Miss Proudleigh, who herself had much of Susan's
temper, and who could never forget that she stood
high in the estimation of her leader in the Wesleyan
chapel of which she was an honoured and vocal member,
would not allow this last speech of Susan's to pass
If you goin' to talk like that, Susan," she said
severely, I will 'ave to leave the premises. I can't
46 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH I
sit down an' hear you laugh at pr'yer. I don't wa
to be include in the general judgment; for when the;
Lord's time come to laugh, Him going to laugh for*'
Her indignation having been expressed, faith im-
mediately rose to higher heights, and she went on.
As fo' Maria, she will be punished, an' you an'
me will live to see Mother Smith begin' bread. 'He
will smite the oppressor, an' the wicked He will
utterly destroy.' I am goin' to pray for Maria an'
her mother. I am goin' to pray that them won't
have bread to eat; an' when a woman like me kneel
down an' pray, her pr'yers must be heard "
I gwine to pray too," cried the old man, with en.
thusiasm. Four knees is better than two. I are
going to church next Sunday night to offer up me
supplication against all Susan's enemy. Sue," he
concluded, turning to his daughter, you don't
happen to have a small coins about y'u to lend your
ole fader ? I feel weak in me chest, an' a little rum
an' anisou would help de feeling."
This request for a loan, coming after his expressed
determination to pray against her enemies, could
not well be refused by Susan; and she was about
to hand him threepence, when the front door opened
quickly and Tom stepped into the room.
As he entered, the old man rose and gave him a'
military salute.. But on this occasion Tom simply,
brushed past him without saying anything, and
went at once to Susan. Such brusqueness was un-'
usual, and Mr. Proudleigh, still in the military attitude,
stared at Tom with wonder in his eyes.
WHAT CAME OF THE CASE
SThe young man was angry. They all saw that.
' At any other time they would have left him alone
with Susan, but now curiosity got the better of respect,
and they remained to hear what he had to say.
Susan," he began, without even bidding her
good evening, didn't I tell y'u not to take the
case to court ? "
You goin' to quarrel wid me about it now? "
was her answer. It's not my fault dat I lose it!
It's Hezekiah wid his foolishness. An' instead of
sympathizing with me, you walk into the house,
like a nager man, an' don't speak to nobody See
here, Tom, if it's because I lose the money you give
me, I will work an' pay you back."
"Never mind, Susan, never mind," interposed
her aunt, anxious to play the blessed part of peace-
maker. Mr. Tom don't say anything of an aggra-
vating nature. Two young people mustn't quarrel.
You is to live in peace, an'--"
I don't want to hear anything from you," snapped
Susan. Tom 'ave no right to come into de house
Thus she tried to put Tom in the wrong, feeling
that if she frightened him by a display of temper
he would not say very much about his name being
called in the court-house, a circumstance which she
herself regretted greatly.
But the old man, alarmed at Tom's attitude, and
fearing lest Susan should drive him away at a time
when Maria, and probably others, were spreading
their nets for him, thought that now was the oppor-
tunity for proving to Tom that in every important
48 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
domestic crisis he would have the head of the family
on his side.
Susan," he commenced, with some fear in his
heart as to how she would receive his admonition,
" I don't exprove of you' conduct. Mister Tom is a
young man, an' a young man is supposed to get aggra-
vated. Ef I did know that him tell you positive not
to take de case to court, I would have tell you the.
same meself. The fact of de matter is, I did tell you
so. For when you look upon one thing, an' also upon
But Susan would listen to no more. She sprang
from her chair. "See here she asked, looking
rapidly at each of them in turn, you all want to
abuse me to-night? What I do any of you ? Eh?
What you interfering with me for ? "
But Tom was now in a desperate mood, and Susan's
rage did not seem to frighten him.
He glared back at her. Didn't I tell you I didn't
want me name call in the court-house ? he demanded.
" Y'u had no business to fight with Maria. If you
didn't speak to her, she couldn't have troubled you.
But you infernal women--"
Don't call me infernal, Taam! Don't y'u call
me infernal! It's not because you paying me rent
that you must use me an' take an advantage of me
as if I was a common street gurl. Don't y'u do it,
Well, whether you like it or not, I say it already,"
replied Tom bitterly. As to the rent, y'u will
have to pay it yourself next month "
Oh yes ? retorted Susan. So you gwine to
WHAT CAME OF THE CASE
Maria, eh ? Well, I tell you straight that I will pull
every plait out of she head! An' as for you, me good
man, I don't know what foot you goin' to take to
walk go to Maria's house !
Lor-r-rd she screamed. Look what this man
come an' tell me to me face Him say him going
to this woman, Maria, an' is leaving me! and she
burst into angry tears.
I didn't say that at all," Tom muttered sullenly.
"-I said I am not going to pay any rent next month.
Somebody go to-day an' tell Mr. Jacobs all that de
judge say about me, and Mr. Jacobs pay me two weeks'
wages and tell me him don't want me any more."
It was only too true. Tom had many friends who
envied him his job, and it was one of these who had
hastened to his employer with a full account of Susan's
case. In his narration this friend had managed to
convey the impression that Susan and Maria were
not the only two ladies who enjoyed the good things
of life at Tom's expense; and as Mr. Jacobs thought
that it was not Tom, but he himself, who might later
on suffer through Tom's excessive gallantry, he con-
cluded that the wisest thing to do was to get rid of
his philandering employee at once. Thus had the
blow fallen with dramatic swiftness. Susan realized
what it meant. She ceased sobbing. This was no
time for angry tears. Even her aunt felt that a
religious text would not relieve the gravity of the
situation. The old man gazed in blank amazement
at Tom. Susan's mother and sister were dumbfounded.
Then what y'u going to do, Tom ? It was
Susan who asked the question; she knew she was
50 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
the cause of the crisis, but did not wish to face the
blame. P'rhaps," she went on, without waiting
for an answer, "you will get another job? Mr.
Jacobs can't say y'u rob him, an' him must give you
a character paper."
Tom shook his head despondently. When a man
lose his job in Kingston," he said, it is the hardest
thing for him to get another one."
He had sat down, no longer angry, but a prey to
despair. His natural weakness was beginning to re-
But you can't live widout working ? said Susan.
" You mean to say that y'u don't know anybody who
will hire you ? Don't you have education ? "
Yes, Mister Tom," her father remarked encourag-
ingly, dipping into the conversation; "a ejucated
gen'leman like you is not common. Trust to God "
But Tom was not to be comforted. I been with
Mr. Jacobs six years," he said, an' everybody is
goin' to say that it is funny him discharge me all of a
Then what you goin' to do ? Susan asked again.
I'm going to Colon."
Colon ? repeated Susan, with mingled hope and
fear in her heart.
Well, Colon is a very good place," said the old
man reflectively. He was entertaining hopes of being
taken to Colon himself. I thinks Miss Susan will
I can't take her. I don't have sufficient money."
Then what you goin' to do wid me ? asked
WHAT CAME OF THE CASE
Susan, seeing her worst fears about to be realized.
" Leave me here ? "
I will send for y'u, Sue," Tom answered, if I
get a job. But I don't know what is goin' to happen.
. .. It's all your fault."
This was so true that the rebuke was accepted in
silence. But Susan did not wish to be left behind,
for Maria and her mother to triumph over her downfall.
Tom," she pleaded, take me with you I can
work, an' there is plenty o' work in Colon."
We all can work," said her father anxiously,
though why he should have included himself was
something of a mystery. I have always wanted to go
oversea like me son. The family could makes you
very happy, Mister Tom." He paused, for he saw
that nobody was paying any attention to him.
Tom, in fact, was explaining to Susan how im-
possible it was for him to take her to Colon with
him, and was mingling his explanations with weak
reproaches. Susan listened dumbly. She was think-
ing how few of her friends and acquaintances would
sympathize with her; how the front house would
have to be given up, and perhaps some of her furniture
sold. Nor was that all. For if Tom did not send
for her, as he promised, the old life might have to be
resumed; and that would be more intolerable now
than before. She would miss all that she had become
accustomed to. She might have to face actual want-
she who had for one full year enjoyed what she con-
sidered luxury. . .
When you goin' ? she asked at length, after
Tom had said his say.
52 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
This was Wednesday night: three days more
he would be gone.
She cried, this time in real distress. Tom was
touched, or he thought, erroneously, that she wa(
crying because he was going to a foreign land where
he would be far away from her. .
Don't fret, Sue," he said, trying to soothe hef
Colon is a place where a lot o' money is mal
now. If I strike a job, you will be all right. In the
meantime y'u must do you' best."
What that best was, and how it was to be dot
was not apparent to Susan. But the old man faith
fully promised Tom that Susan would do her best.
An' when you is arrive, Mister Tom, write to dei
ole man," Mr. Proudleigh added, rising, for Tom hidl
risen to go.
God bless you, me son," said his wife, as Tom shook
hands with her ; you has been kind to Miss Susan.1
"Put your trust in de Lord," said Miss Proudleigh1
" an' He shall renew thy strength."
Susan's sisters said nothing; Susan herself put
on her hat to walk with him a portion of the way,
home, partly for the purpose of discussing certain
financial matters, partly to make sure that he did
not call at Maria's yard. .t,
They went out together, and then Catherine remarked;
If Susan didn't take de case to court, this would'
What we gwine to do now ? asked Mr. Prou
No one answered the question.
I DON'T do too badly this week," said Susan,
as, sitting at the threshold of a little room,
which was one of a range in a yard, she slowly
counted a number of small silver and copper coins
Which she held in her lap.
"How much you make ? asked Catherine, who
sat on a little box near to the door, watching Susan's
addition with interested eyes.
S" I make eight shillin's and sixpence, an' two shil-
lin's is owing out to me, all of which is profit. If I
did 'ave anybody to go an' dun for it last night, I
Should 'ave ten shillin's an' sixpence this morning.
Next week I going to sell more, for I am goin' to put
,more things in the shop."
;' Business is good," said Catherine, but it will
sqon get better; so even if Tom don't send for you,
iSue, ypu will be all right."
S"Yes, I am independent now," returned Susan,
ith a touch of pride in her voice ; but I sick of this
life. Every day it's de same thing. I 'ave to work
Atoo hard, an' sometimes I don't make as much in a
day as I use to spend on car ride when Tom was here.
I feel so tired, I can't even go to church dis morning.
An' yet I have some good frock. I going to save up
money meself an' go to Colon, even if Tom don't send
That is a very good resolution, Sue," said her
father, speaking from inside of the room. Colon is a
better place dan Kingston. I hear dat you can earn
money there like water, an' that's de place I want to
go to. Ef you' brother could only send me a few dollars,
I would give it to you, an' then you could go an' send
for the whole of we."
Yes, sah," replied his daughter. I would send
for you, an' mammee, an' Eliza. Kate could go
wid me. P'rhaps Kate would get an intended in
"I wish so," said Catherine wistfully ; de young
men in Kingston don't have nothing."
It wasn't so when I was a young man," observed
Mr. Proudleigh, harking back to the past. In dose
days a man could make plenty money, an' he treat
de females like a king. Me first sweetheart rob me over
ten pounds, an' yet I didn't miss it. But now a man
don't 'ave ten shillin's to give a gal, much less ten
pounds for anybody to rob."
You right," agreed Susan. Dis is not the place
for me. Colon or Port Limon is the country to go
to, an' if me business prosper I going to save an' go
She nodded her head determinedly, then tied the
money in the corer of a handkerchief, put it in her
pocket, and went towards the back of the yard.
Her father came out and sat on the spot she had
vacated. He did not like to question Susan too
closely, but of Catherine, who was of a milder disposi-
tion, he had no fear.
Kate," he said, you t'ink Susan will really save
money to go away ? "
So she say, papee," Catherine answered. An'
she doing very well. She make ten an' six this week,
an' she goin' to make more."
That is good," said the old man. Ef you go
wid her you mustn't forget you' ole father, Kate. I
don't want all me children to be away from me when
I dead. An' if you don't send fo' me when you go
away, I don't see how I can ever go."
As Kate saw no immediate prospect of leaving
Jamaica herself, she did not pursue the conversation.
And both she and her father continued sitting there
for some time in silence, gazing at nihility, and thus
keeping the Sabbath day holy.
They were still living in a lane, but not the lane in
which they had lately lived for fully a year. This one
was called Luke Lane, and their yard was situated
near the northern end of it, close to North Street.
It was some eight weeks since Tom had left, and much
had happened in the interval. The first four weeks
had been a trying time for Susan, for, even before
Tom sailed for Colon, Maria and her mother had
heard of his dismissal. They spread the news rapidly
and all Susan's enemies rejoiced without any attempt
at concealment. They assembled at the gates of their
yards when she passed up and down the lane, and
laughed loudly. They made remarks which she
knew were intended for her hearing. Maria, re-
membering Susan's fatal allusion to her dress, attired
56 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
herself every Sunday in her most gaudy garments
and went to see some people who lived opposite to:
Susan, so that the latter's cup of humiliation should be
full. She knew that Susan's establishment could not
be maintained long after Tom's departure, unless
some extraordinary piece of good fortune should
befall her. This Maria confidently hoped would not
happen : she had missed taking Tom away from Susan;
but still there was great satisfaction in knowing that
if she had lost what she might have had, Susan had
lost what she actually had possessed.
Susan endured all these insults with considerable
fortitude, and went about her business quietly, keeping
her own counsel as to what she intended to do. About
a month after Tom had left for Colon, she and her
family, aided by a cart, removed what remained of
her furniture (for she had sold some), and went to live
They removed late at night, and silently; for
Susan's pride revolted at the very thought of being
seen taking last leave of the beloved front house.
Removing late at night had its inconveniences, for it
was certain to be said that she had left without paying
the month's rent, and without the knowledge of the
landlord. Night removals in the West Indies (and
they are very frequent) are always attended with this
suspicion, a suspicion based upon extensive experience.
But in this instance the landlord knew all about
Susan's intention, for she had given him the proper
notice, and at the end of the month had gone to him
and paid him two-thirds of the rent that was due.
As she had been a good tenant, he made a virtue of
SLETITIA'S INVITATION 57
Necessity and generously allowed her to owe him
the balance. Yet all this did not prevent it from
being circulated in certain quarters of the lane that
SSusan, true to the principles of many who live in
yard-rooms and little front houses, had availed
herself of the darkness to cover her rent-escaping
.She heard from Tom before her removal. In
Shis letter he mentioned that the chances were that
he should obtain a good situation if he did not fall
ill of fever. Like a sensible girl she concluded that his
chances of being ill were probably as great as his pros-
pects of getting a job ; so she told her aunt, I better
look for meself." Her way of looking for herself was
not original; but it proved successful. Tom had given
her two pounds before leaving. She had also saved a
few shillings. And this money had come in useful
for the setting up of a small business.
She had rented a little shop and had stocked it
with the things she knew would sell. The shop was
built against the fence, and opened both in the yard
and on the lane. It was constructed of odd bits of
board and roofed with three sheets of corrugated iron.
It could scarcely accommodate two persons. Cus-
tomers were not allowed inside. They stood in the
lane and made their purchases over a counter which
was merely a square bit of board cut out of that side
of the shop which faced the lane. This counter formed
a shutter at night ; you fixed it into the opening and
secured it by means of an ingenious system of bars and
bolts. As thieves might break in and steal, Susan
usually removed some of her goods to a safer place at
.night; the room in which she and her family lived
being the only place available to her.
She sold bread and grater cake (a cake made of
desiccated cocoa-nut stewed with sugar). The prices
of this sweetmeat ranged from a farthing to three
farthings each, and she did a considerable trade in it.
For the children held that a halfpenny spent on. a
small loaf of bread and a small grater cake yielded
abundant satisfaction, and even grown-up people
frequently made their lunch off the same articles.
She sold cocoa-nut oil, sugar-cane, mangoes, bananas,
and flour-cakes. These last were made of flour and
sugar and plenty of baking-soda, were very cheap and
filling, and were openly despised by everybody and
secretly eaten by all.
She sold Rosebud cigarettes, for that, she wisely
calculated, would be a good bait for the boys and
men, and she wanted the biggest custom possible.
She sold firewood, and yams and plantains, and
gingerbeer. Ice also; and she proclaimed that fact
by means of a red flag, hung out diagonally on a pole,
and having sewn upon it three ill-shaped letters in
white calico which spelt out the word, I C E. She was,
in short, a full-fledged higgler, and as she sat in her shop
surrounded by boxes and baskets, and little heaps of
bread-stuffs, she assumed the important facial ex-
pression common to all higglers, though in her case
neither ugliness nor slatternliness had set its seal upon
her; which alone differentiated her sharply from most
of the other women who followed her trade.
There were many of these in the lane. They were
rivals, but among them Susan easily stood first. For
the stock of none of them was ever worth more than
seven or eight shillings, and sometimes not worth even
half of that amount. She, on the other hand, had
boldly invested thirty shillings in purchases at the
start, and the venture had been justified by success.
Her looks helped her. The young men who passed
by her shop patronized her and attempted to make
love to her; but they were obviously poor, so while
she was polite to them she kept them at a distance.
Her family was also of great assistance. Her mother
made the grater cakes and boiled the cocoa-nut oil;
her sisters went in the mornings far beyond the northern
boundaries of the city to meet the countrywomen
coming down to market, so as to buy fruit cheap from
them. By this means Susan saved money, an im-
portant consideration, for a shilling a day was the very
most that she could spend on food for all the family.
As for the old man, he rendered no material assistance ;
but he personally felt that his moral influence upon
the situation was immeasurable. With the tattered
remains of an old soft felt hat upon his head-he never
went without it, for he imagined that it added to his
dignity-a pipe in his mouth, and his feet thrust into
slippers, he hovered about what he called de little
shaps," feeling himself the natural protector of his
daughter, and the inspiring genius of the family.
He was proud of Susan. The problem of living had
presented itself to him with distressing intensity
on the night that Tom had announced his intention
of going to Colon. He then had seen nothing before
.himself and his wife but the Union Poorhouse, an
institution which he thought of with a shudder. He
60 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
knew he could do nothing to help himself, though he
never would have acknowledged that to anyone;
so, even though the girls might shift for themselves,
he could see no ray of hope for himself and the old
woman. Susan, however, had solved the problem
by unexpectedly developing commercial instincts;
and he reflected that most of her ability must have
been inherited from him, since he had never credited
his wife with much intelligence.
As he sat this Sunday morning at the threshold
of the single room they now lived in, he felt placidly
contented. The shop had become a certain source of
revenue, and no Maria could interfere with it. He
was quite satisfied net to take much thought of the
morrow; and the change that had recently taken place
in Susan's circumstances was accepted by him with a
temperamental equanimity which could only be dis-
turbed by fear of the almshouse or of immediate
He looked about the yard, seeing nothing. Such
scenes he had been familiar with all the days of his
life. It was an ordinary Kingston tenement yard;
the low range of rooms, each room being separated
from the other by but a thin partition of board;
the broken-down kitchen; the water-pipe continually
dripping, so that a part of the yard was never dry;
babies sitting in little boxes stuffed with rags to prevent
the little creatures from hurting themselves; bigger
babies creeping about; wash-tubs everywhere; it
was what he had always seen in every similar place.
The prevailing squalor did not affect the old man and
his wife, and even Catherine and his youngest daughter
had reconciled themselves to it. But Susan rebelled;
she felt that she ought not to be reduced to living in
This Sunday morning, however, she was better
pleased than usual, for she saw that if her custom
continued to increase she would soon be in a position
to save money. Up to now she had been living on
every penny of her profits, for the rent of the shop and
the room together was sixteen shillings a month. But
good luck was plainly attending her, and already she
was speculating upon what she would do in the future.
Presently she returned to where her father and
Catherine were still sitting. Catherine made room for
her on the box, and Mr. Proudleigh, never happy if
compelled to remain silent for long, asked her when
next she expected to hear from Tom.
How can I tell, sah ? was her very reasonable
reply. Him only write me once since he gone to
Colon; an' I wants to believe he must be in the
hospital. From all dat I hear about Colon, Tom don't
likely to get on there. Him too soft Kingston is all
right enough; but in Colon-so I hear-if you look
on a man too hard, him wants to shoot you; an' if
you don't look on him hard, him wants to take an
advantage of y'u. That is not the sort o' place for
Then how you expects to go down to him ? asked
her father. Ef him is such a young man of unre-
ligable nature, I don't see how you can teck up yourself
an' put yourself under his protection an' care."
Susan laughed scornfully. I was ever under his
protection an' care in Jamaica ? she asked.
62 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
"No," said Catherine; but here everything is
quiet. Down in Colon a young gurl must 'ave a young '
man to look after 'er; otherwise there may be bodera-
tion. I wouldn't like to go down by meself that
I would go," said Susan decisively. After all,
whatever y'u meet in this world it is you' luck. If
you to dead in Colon, you will dead there. If you to
come back to Jamaica, y'u will come back."
This fatalistic note, struck with such confidence,
awoke a responsive echo in the hearts of her hearers.
"You is right," said the old man. "A man
shouldn't bother him head about what goin' to happen
to-morrow, for him can't prevent what is gwine to
happen. Therefore, sufficient to de day is the evil
thereof. You saving money to go ? "
Don't I tell y'u so a little while ago, sah ? asked
Susan, though she knew that the old man would repeat
the question every day.
I don't mean nothing by askin' you," he explained;
" only, ef I was you, I wouldn't put me money into
any bank. I hear that bank is a thing that broke
every now an' then; though," he continued sagaciously,
" I don't see how such a strong place can broke."
When a bank broke," explained Catherine, it
mean that de clerk rob you' money."
Oh I see 1 But, even then, I don't t'ink Sue
should put her money in a bank, for if them rob her
few shillin's, what she gwine to do ? "
The Government bank is safe," said Sue, conscious
of superior knowledge. Nobody can rob it, an' them
give you interest on you' money."
Then you gwine to put yours in de Government
bank ? "
"Yes, sah; to-morrow morning I goin' to lodge
three shillin's : it is me first commencement. It's to
help me to go away.-Who that ? "
Some one had knocked at the gate, and the person
thus addressed loudly answered:
Who me ? asked Catherine.
"Letitia Samuels: can you hinform me ef Miss
Susan Proudleigh resides here ? "
Both Susan and Catherine rose simultaneously and
rushed towards the gate. They opened it, and a young
lady of about twenty, glossily black, fat, not bad
looking, and extremely stylish, walked into the yard.
She was dressed in a white lawn frock trimmed with
any quantity of lace; wore high-heeled shoes and
carried a pink parasol. Her hat was a marvel; her
cheeks were covered with white powder. She kissed
both the girls loudly, said she was feeling fine," shook
hands with Mr. Proudleigh, and then was taken into
There she met the old woman, who spoke to her,
then went outside, with the true West Indian in-
stinct of hospitality, to prepare some refreshment for
The room, originally small, was divided into two
apartments by a cloth partition, one side of it being
reserved for the old people, the other being occupied
by Susan and her sisters. Letitia sat in the one chair
that she saw, while Catherine and Susan perched them-
selves on the bed.
64 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
Letitia was an old friend. She had known Susan'
at the elementary school, and Susan had admired and
envied her because of her constant possession of small
coin. Letitia's father was a plumber in a good
position, and he looked after his daughter well. She
was a Roman Catholic, and loudly sang hymns in
honour of the saints; Susan, on the other hand, was
a staunch Protestant, and strongly objected to the
worship of idols." But differences of doctrine did not
disturb their personal relations, and even Mr. Proud-
leigh's efforts to convert the erring Catholic to a truer
faith did not sow the seeds of discord. For though his
theology (from a Protestant point of view) was per-
fectly sound, he never ventured on moral admonitions.
This was satisfactory, for Letitia still enjoyed the
favour of the priests and nuns and other important
personages of the Church, and gratefully rejoiced in
the present security of a suspected virtue.
She was very excited.
I didn't know you move, Sue; I went roun' to
Blake Lane, an' them tell me y'u move. It was
you' aunt told me yesterday where y'u live."
Yes, me dear," was Susan's remark. My in-
tended gone away, so I have to look for meself. Just
see where I living now "
Cho never mind Y'u soon get another in-
tended. Now guess what I come to tell y'u about ? "
What ? "
A picnic. A big picnic I Father Moulder making
it at Cumberland Pen to-morrow, an' it's only one
an' sixpence for trainage and entrance to the pen;
You 'ave to provide you' own refreshment; but
that can't cost more dan one an' six. I want you
come. Y'u will come ? "
Susan's answer was interrupted by the entrance of
her mother, who brought in a mug of chocolate and
a plate containing a big slice of bread.
Letitia spread out her handkerchief in her lap,
and rested the plate on it, then took the mug from
the old woman. Eating and drinking, she continued
Y'u must come, me child! It's goin' to be
grand. All the young men in Kingston is goin'.
There is to be six piece of music, an' dancing all
Catherine's face lighted up, then fell as she re-
membered that she had no money.
Susan shook her head slowly, the wish to go
struggling with her desire to save.
It will cost me three shillin's," she said, an'
I don't see how I can manage it." She paused as
a vision of the dancing on the sward rose before her
I engage a bag of coal for Thursday, an' I must
have to take it. An' I 'ave to save money. . "
Cho pleaded Letitia. Come, man It's only
The old man, still sitting at the threshold, had
overheard the conversation. By way of showing
disinterested generosity, he called out:
Don't fret yourself about t'ree shillin's, Sue. Go
an' enjies yourself. Don't kill yourself, me daughter.
You looking' thin."
Then how is Sue to go to Colon ? asked Catherine,
66 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
who, seeing no prospect of going to the picnic herself,
was not inclined to be enthusiastic about it.
The old man remembered that he also wanted to
go to Colon, and immediately regretted his pre-
cipitancy. But his words had had their effect. The
struggle in Susan's soul was over. In a moment
she passed from a calculating to an excited frame
"All right!" she cried, jumping from the bed;
" I will go." Excitedly, I will wear me blue dress,
an' me new straw hat! Lord! I goin' to dance
every dance! I goin' to enjoy meself What a
She was dancing already, and all thought of saving
was thrown to the winds.
Come for me in the morning, Letitia, early,"
were her last words to her friend, when she bade
her good-bye at the gate.
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES
T HAT afternoon Susan made special prepara-
tions for the great event of the morrow. Hair-
dressing being a very important part of her
toilet, she literally sat at Catherine's feet, who, armed
with a strong comb and a pot of scented castor oil,
bent over her sister's head and spent fully three-
quarters of an hour in combing out the hair, oiling
it, plaiting it, and twisting the plaits into the shape
dictated by the latest fashion. That done, Susan
tied up her hair very carefully in a towel, so that
it should not become disarranged. Then she took
out her blue dress and hung it up over the head of
her bed. She polished her shoes, carefully looked
over her hat, and fished out a fan from the bottom
of her trunk. When all this work was over, she
untied her head, dressed hurriedly and went to church,
her sister going with her. Both her parents strongly
approved of church-going; and though the old man
himself never went out on Sunday, he would not
allow the day to pass without reading aloud the
first Psalm, laying special stress on the opening words
which proclaim a blessing on those who walk not
in the way of the ungodly.
68 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
Susan and her sisters enjoyed the service. They
usually did. The large church, nearly filled with
people dressed in their multi-coloured best, the deep-
toned organ, the hearty singing in which they joined,
the bright light from the electric lamps-all this was
a weekly source of pleasure to girls who had nice
dresses to wear on the Sabbath day. The sermon
might consist of denunciations of the popular way
of living. They listened to it with interest and
agreed that the parson was, from his point of view,
perfectly right. But he, so to speak, was looking
at life theoretically, while they were compelled to
regard it from the practical standpoint of daily bread.
If he expounded doctrine, they appeared engrossed
in his words, and followed his meaning with a fair
degree of understanding. What they liked best were
the hymns; and when the service was over, and
they mingled with the contented home-going crowds,
they felt that they were, after all, not very far from
Susan went to bed immediately after going home,
not omitting to bind up her head once more. She
wished to be up early in the morning. Her father
talked to her for a while from his part of the room,
a cloth partition placing no obstacles in the way of
conversation; but though he was very anxious to
hear about the sermon, so that he might give his
opinion on the parson's theology, she soon shut him
up by saying she wished to go to sleep. Then silence
reigned unbroken, but for the barking of the dogs
in the lane; for by nine o'clock practically all the
inmates of the yard had retired, after a day spent for
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 69
i the most part in lolling about and avoiding any
At half-past four in the morning Susan was awake.
She hurried out of the hot, stifling room to wash her
face under the water-pipe, then went in again to dress.
She was ready by five o'clock. Her dress fitted her
nicely; and though blue was perhaps not the colour
that best suited her complexion, it was more striking
than white would have been, and she wanted to attract
attention. She wore a pink sash, and her hat was
trimmed with pink roses and ribbons. Her high-
heeled shoes were gorgeous with buckles. When fully
arrayed, and after she had gulped down her cup of
coffee, she turned herself round and round to be
admired. Catherine and Eliza surveyed her critically.
"You is all right, Sue," said the first, and her
younger sister agreed. Her mother smiled, then
went about her business. Her father was vocal in
Ef I was a young man," he said approvingly,
"I would fall in love wid you. Dat frock suit you'
figure. Everybody gwine to dance wid you, an' you
mustn't fo'got to bring something nice fo' me."
Susan, satisfied with this appreciation, promised
to bring home for him a part of whatever she might
get; and Letitia coming in just then, both girls went
out to catch the electric car that should take them
to the railway station.
It was not yet six o'clock, so the air was still com-
paratively cool. It was a public holiday, conse-
quently they met numbers of other pleasure-seekers
like themselves, all gaily dressed. They caught the
car, and it took them by a circuitous route to the
station, going first towards the north of the city for
nearly a mile, then south again, then east to where
the railway station stands. On the way they passed
handsome villas; those were the houses, they thought,
' where the rich people lived, people so much above
their own station in life that they never dreamt of
envying them. The white and the higher classes of
fair coloured people belonged to one world. They
Belonged to another. But envy and hatred did not
embitter the relations of one class with another, though
their interests in life were superficially as different as
was the yard-room or little front house from the
spacious-looking residence with its garden of tropical
shrubs and flowers blooming in front of it.
They alighted at the railway station, and found
it crowded. Every colour of the rainbow was repre-
sented in the dresses of the women and the neckties
of the men; and a stranger not accustomed to a
West Indian crowd might well have thought that
there could have been no greater confusion at the
Tower of Babel. Everybody talked and nobody
listened. Everybody gesticulated. Laughing, push-
ing, screaming, scrambling through the iron gates,
the good-humoured picnickers made towards the
platform, and then began to fight their way into &e
train. In vain the guards shouted. In vain they
tried to direct the passengers. Discipline and order
were thrown to the winds on this holiday morning,
when the chief thought of every one was to obtain all
the fun and excitement that the day could afford.
In the struggle for a good seat Susan was nearly
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 71
separated from her friend. But by a vigorous use
of their elbows they managed to keep together;
and when at last, breathless but triumphant, they
were seated, they began to look about them to see
if any of their friends were near. Susan saw many
persons whom she knew. Amongst these was
Hezekiah, and him she stared out of countenance.
She nodded to the others, and commenced with lively
anticipation to discuss the prospects of the picnic with
Letitia, when the train, with a sudden jerk, pulled
out of the station.
Slowly at first, then quickly, and crowded to its
utmost capacity, it ran out of the city and into the
open, sunlit country. The transition was abrupt.
Within a minute Kingston had been left behind,
and broad fields and forests soon appeared on either
side, all steeped in the early morning light and still
green and fresh with the dews of the night. The
hot and dusty city lay baking in the sun behind
the pleasure-seekers; the country, with its wonderful
beauty of deep blue skies, giant trees, and variegated
green; with its dark-gleaming rivulets, placid streams
and leaping waterfalls, unrolled itself before them.
Peeping out of the windows, they could see the cattle
and horses browsing in the pastures, the distant
skyline broken by a long chain of dream-like verdure-
clothed mountains, the long, delicate tendrils of
parasitic plants waving gently in the breeze, and clumps
of water-hyacinths glowing in the ponds or in some
quiet backwater of a stream. All, all was beautiful.
A majestic peace pervaded the spacious countryside,
and the great yellow sun of the tropics lighted it up
72 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
with splendour. There was something alluring, en-
ticing about it all; something enervating too in its
luscious appealing beauty. But Susan and Letitia
gave no thought to it all, nor did many of the people.
in the train. Their minds were centred upon one ,
subject-this picnic to which they were speeding and
which was to afford them a whole day's intensest :
"Cumberland Pen!" The guard shouted the .
name of the station, the train slowed down and
stopped, the doors of the carriages were thrown
open, and then the scramble and hubbub began once
more. Parcels were grabbed at and secured, and "
then-a phenomenon which one observes in every
country and on every occasion among passengers on a
train-every one pushed forward to alight as quickly
as possible, and as though a second longer spent-
upon the train would lead to the most unpleasant
The siding was soon crowded, and already a strag- '
gling stream of human beings was pouring towards
the Cumberland Pen gate, where stood two men who
collected the tickets and indulged in arguments with\
those who pretended to be scandalized at the amount
they were called upon to pay as entrance fee. It was
quick work at this gate in spite of the chaffing and
arguing; then other trains came in from Kingston, ;
and soon more than a thousand persons were as-
sembled on a grassy sward, spacious and fairly smooth,
and shaded here and there by leafy trees that grew .
singly or in cool inviting clumps. But shade trees.
were not in demand just now, except as convenient
SSAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 73
"places for the storing of parcels and baskets filled
with refreshments, which some of the more prudent
o'r more fastidious picnickers had brought with them.
These impedimenta put away for the present, the
:'pleasure-lovers broke into groups, and a loud cry for
Then rose the piercing squeal of the clarionettes,
the squeak of fiddles, the blare of cornets and the
-bang of a big drum. There was noise enough, and
the dancers called it music. The young men took
off their jackets and waved them wildly in the air
to show their appreciation of the band. Girls with
arms akimbo swayed their bodies to and fro, keeping
time with the tune. Thus encouraged, the musicians
redoubled their efforts and the discord was infernal;
Sbut partners were rapidly selected, places taken, and
Si a few minutes there were nearly five hundred
couples dancing on the sward and under the now
burning, blistering rays of the forenoon sun.
Susan was in her element. Quadrilles followed
lancers, polkas followed quadrilles, and mentoes,
a sublimated West African phallic dance, followed iY.
the polkas and were the most popular with a certain
section of the people. The girls danced these, swaying
on their hips. Some of the women, however, and
Amongst these was Susan, did not care to dance these
mentoes, on the ground that they were not quite
proper. So while mentoes were being danced, Susan
sat at the foot of a tree fanning herself, and trying to
mop up with her wet handkerchief the flood of per-
F spiration that streamed from her face.
Gazing intently at the dancers during one of these
74 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
intervals, she did not notice that a man had appro
her, till she heard herself addressed.
Young lady," said the stranger, you
No," she answered shortly, without looking roun
to see who the speaker might be.
Why ? "
I don't dance mento."
But why you don't ? "
The persistency of her questioner annoyed her;.
it was common enough for girls to be accosted by
strangers at a picnic; but she did not want to maw
any more acquaintances that day, for the simple
reason that she was tired. The stranger, howev,
was not to be denied. He deliberately sat dowi
near her, and resumed the conversation.
Well," said he, allow me to introduce mes
My name is Samuel Josiah Jones from Spanish To
I been watching' you all the time you been sitting hae
an' when I see a beautiful young female not enjoy
herself, I think I ought to do the consequential." :
Susan had not the faintest idea of what the
sequential might be, but the word pleased her.
sides, Samuel Josiah Jones had called her beaut
and such a compliment predisposed her to be
As she did not exactly know what to reply, she look
at him with an inquiring air; but that did not in
least disconcert Mr. Jones, who blandly went on.
My name," he repeated, is Samuel Josi
Jones." (He plainly expected the repetition of;
name to have a talismanic effect.) Spanish Tol
is my paternity. Where you come from ? "
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 75
Kingston," said Susan briefly; then she added,
What is that to you ? "
"Oh, don't be vex," said Jones appealingly.
Don't expostulate with me. I don't ask you for
nothing. But you didn't introduce yourself pro-
perly, so I interrogated you. You angry ? "
Susan saying nothing in reply, Jones's voice became
S" I wouldn't tell you a lie. I have had a few good
| drinks to-day. But me head is strong, an' when I see
a young lady like you, I would rather die than disgrace
If a young man can't behave himself in the
company of ladies," he continued, still speaking
confidentially, he ought not to frequent their com-
pany. Don't you think I am right ? "
Susan was obliged to nod her agreement.
Pleased with this, his voice took on a triumphant
S" Quite so," he resumed. As I tell these boys
here, sobriety is the great thing; sobriety an' temper-
ance. Take a drink when y'u want one; but don't
disgrace you'self-like me."
i "But you not disgracin' yourself," said Susan,
flattered by the respect he professed for her, but a
little puzzled by his last sentence.
"No," said Jones, that is what I say. I don't
disgrace meself. I set a good example. I don't
t no man to say that Samuel Josiah Jones disgrace
self in public."
r. Jones leaned back against the tree, obviously
proud of the example he was setting, and quite as
obviously pleased with the world and himself. Susan
looked at him curiously. He was a young man of
,|, .rher awna complexion rtte-tsm-tite&ay,-dark brwn. -
features vere good, his face frank ancTflively, and
when he spoke two big gold teeth gleamed brigh-ll
showing that Mr. Jones did not belong to the common
classes. He was tall, and flashily dressed, his necktie
reminding one of a Scotch plaid of the most pro-
nounced pattern. A gorgeous fob hung out of the
trousers pocket in which he kept his watch. It was
plain to Susan that he was a young man of some im-
portance, and by the words he used she judged him
to be a man of considerable education. She was
pleased too he had recognized that she was a young
lady, for some fast and forward young men of her
acquaintance had not always been ready to do that.
She was rather glad now that he had persisted in
talking to her. His preference for her company was a
She saw that his sobriety had been tempered with
a fair quantity of strong drink. He had himself said
so. But temperance folk were held in strong con-
tempt by her, and she had always heard her aunt
quote with great approval Paul's advice to Timothy,
that he should take a little wine for his stomach's sake.
Miss Proudleigh faithfully followed this advice herself:
every night before going to bed she drank, not a little
wine, but a little rum and water; and Susan's parents
would have done the same had they been able to
afford it. So she thought more highly of Mr. Jones
for being able to enjoy himself in the free and inde-
pendent manner which his appearance denoted. She
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 77
was about to continue the conversation when Letitia
The latter stared at Jones, not exactly surprised,
for on such a day a girl might pick up half a dozen new
acquaintances. Susan introduced her, and Jones,
rising with great dignity, assured her that his name
was Samuel Josiah Jones, and asked her to take a
I not sitting down," said Letitia, shaking her head.
"I came to henquire if Sue are going to 'ave her
lunch." (Letitia was very careful of her diction in
Lunch ? said Jones; "lunch ? Of course!
The inner man must be replenished. We will have
lunch immediate. Miss Susan, arise "
Miss Susan arose, as bidden, and seeing that Letitia
showed no objection to accepting Mr. Jones's hospi-
tality, she followed the young man to the spot where
refreshments were being sold.
Under a tree, and protected by a barricade of deal-
board tables and low wooden benches, were a number
of women and a man, retailers of refreshments, and
all busy attending to the crowd of customers that
surrounded them. Quick-tempered and aggressive,
the women bustled about with their sleeves drawn
up above their elbows, and the upper part of their
skirts tucked up into bundles around their waists.
Within the enclosure, huge pots steamed and bubbled
on improvised fireplaces; and barrels and boxes con-
taining aerated waters, and beer and whisky and
Jamaica rum, stood invitingly open.
The smell of stewed beef mingled with that of
stewed salt-fish, and the heavy odour of cocoa-nut oil
rose from two five-gallon cans in which rice and red
peas were boiling. The women ladled the food into
coarse earthenware and enamelled plates as it was
ordered, and the man served the liquors.
Jones and the girls sat down to a lunch of stewed
fish and rice-and-peas. He ordered whisky for himself,
and asked his companions what they would have.
After some hesitation, they decided on beer, this
being a luxury they did not often enjoy. He called
for two glasses of the best beer," and the girls gulped
the stuff down, declaring with grimaces that it tasted
Letitia noticed that Jones paid a good deal of atten-
tion to Susan. I wonder if him speaking 'er up ? "
was her thought, but presently she ceased to think, the
beer having set her head a-swimming. Susan felt
dizzy too, and had to cling to Jones for support when
they rose from the table.
He offered an arm to each of the girls, and gallantly
escorted them back to the tree. They sat there for a
little while, Jones talking, Susan and Letitia hearing
The pipes still screamed, and the fiddles squeaked,
and the dancers continued dancing. A good many
persons had strolled down to the river that ran through
the pen, to bathe. Here and there some sat on stones
or logs of wood, resting; contented-looking cows
cropped the grass within a stone's throw of the pic-
nickers, no longer frightened by the unusual noise;
children climbed the trees to hunt for mangoes; big
green lizards pursued their prey among the stones and
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 79
leaves; and down on men and beasts and trees came
the fiery rays of the now vertical sun, scorching,
blistering, burning, but powerless to exhaust the
energy of the musicians or to put an end to the
"This sun," remarked Jones, is the hottest sun
I feel for a long time. It make me sweat like a bull.
But I come to dance, an' I must dance. What you
say ? "
His words were addressed to Susan, who faintly
murmured in reply, Too hot."
Two or three minutes passed in silence, and then
the beer, acting in conjunction with the heat and the
exertion of the morning, completed its work. Re-
clining against the tree, Susan slept. Letitia, who
was not so easily affected by strong drinks as her
friend, laughed at first; then, finding it dull sitting
there, asked Jones what he intended to do.
Remain here," he said. "A gentleman must
behave gentlemanly. Can't leave this female alone
when she is not in her senses."
"All right," said Letitia; "I goin' to dance. I
will come back later. Tell Susan so when she 'wake."
Jones nodded, then stretched his legs out more
comfortably, covered his face with his handkerchief,
and disposed himself to reflect on his own superior
manners, while Letitia walked away.
He dozed, and for an hour both of them lay there,
recumbent in the sun.
Jones woke first. Although desiring to be gentle-
manly, his first impulse was to go and join the dancers ;
for a chance meeting at a picnic did not, he felt, compel
him to remain constantly in attendance upon one
young woman. Instead of doing so, however, he
bent over and shook Susan slightly. She opened her
eyes, yawned loudly, stretched her arms above her
head, yawned again, then remarked, I seems to 'ave
been sleeping Mr. Jones."
Yes," he said. You been sleeping' all the time.
An' I been watching you, in case any of these common
young men wanted to take any liberty with you. I
wouldn't move a foot while you reposed."
Thank you," said Susan; but I mustn't keep y'u
back from dancin'."
Don't mention," said Jones; it would be pre-
posterous to leave you in a somnolescent state. Will
you take some more beer ? "
She shook her head firmly. It make me giddy,"
All right, then, you stay here till I come. I am
goin' for a rum; I soon be back."
He went off to the refreshment stand, and Susan
followed him with her eyes. He was showing her a
lot of attention : did he mean anything ? She quickly
persuaded herself that he did; otherwise why should
he have remained with her all the time ? It might
be her good fortune to get another intended in place
of Tom. She thought of the yard-room and the shop
with disgust. This fellow was evidently well off,
decent looking, generous. . She smiled when he
returned, and readily rose when he suggested that
they should take a little walk and then have a dance.
Y'u like Spanish Town, Mr. Jones ? she asked
him as they moved away.
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES 81
So, so," he replied; but I been living in Kings-
ton these last ten years-up in Allman Town."
Funny I never see y'u," said Susan, though there
seemed nothing really funny in her not having before
met one particular person in a city of over sixty
"That is so," Jones agreed; "it is a peculiar
incident. And here we have become acquainted just
when I am goin' away."
Goin' away ? Susan asked, surprised. Where ?"
Panama. They wants mechanics down there.
An' Mr. Hewet, an American man that was down here
three months ago hiring labourers, send for me. They
wants a man like me to help them dig the canal," he
proceeded grandiloquently. Fifteen dollars a week,
an' quarters. Here I can't earn much more than
thirty shillin's, an' I have so many people to boss me
that sometimes I don't know what to do.
This is a worthless country," he continued. No
prospects at all. It is much better foreign. I don't
think I will bother come back to Jamaica."
So he wasn't speaking her up after all The
disappointment she felt was keener than she would
have thought possible. Her hastily constructed castle
in the air came toppling down, and only the shop and
the yard-room remained in their sordid reality.
Tom had gone to Panama. Jones was going. She
knew that every week scores and hundreds of other
people went, and that the dream of almost everybody
she had met was to go to Colon or Port Limon, or
anywhere," as one man told the steamship clerk to
whom he applied for a decker's ticket. Anywhere."
82 SUSAN PROUDLEIGH
Anywhere outside of Jamaica. That was the wish of
thousands of persons in all classes and ranks of society,
and she had caught the general infection.
She too wanted to go away. She had heard of the
riches of Panama and Costa Rica, and had often talked
about those places with her friends. Life there, they
believed, was free as air; money almost to be had for
the asking. True, returning emigrants told of fearful
fevers, and unsympathetic policemen, and months of
continuous rain, and the dark impenetrable jungle;
but the bright fantastic picture painted by imagination
cast no shadow in spite of all these dreadful tales.
The emigrants who returned to Jamaica almost
invariably went back. The fascination of the semi-
civilized Central American countries, once felt, was too
often irresistible. Hundreds of forgotten graves in
Central America contained the bones of men and
women who had gone thither with high hopes of en-
riching themselves; but still the exodus continued.
The restless longing for change, for new scenes, for a
new life, acted as a spur to discontent.
Susan had become silent and depressed. Jones
noticed this and asked her :
You tired ? "
No," she said, I was thinking' "
What was you thinking' about ? "
She hesitated, then said quite frankly :
I would like to go to Colon."
Jones pushed back his jippi jappa hat and stared
at her. So she was dissatisfied with Jamaica also
Half-jestingly he asked her :
You want to go with me ? "
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES
She, on her part, surprised by the question, looked
at him with eager eyes. Her heart beat quickly, her
face lit up with excitement.
But y'u don't mean it ? she asked.
Now he really did not know whether he meant it
or not. He was a very impulsive man, who did most
things on the spur of the moment. He was also a
very gallant man, and wasted much of his substance
on females." He had no permanent connexion
with any one of them just then, however; and on
Susan asking him whether he really wanted to take her
with him or not, it occurred to him that it might be
a very fine thing indeed to land in Colon with so
attractive a companion.
The idea was worth playing with. A man," he
answered Susan, say a lot of things he don't mean.
But y'u don't answer me question yet. You would
like to come with me ? "
She made up her mind to a straightforward reply.
I wouldn't mind, if- "
If what ? "
If y'u would treat me good."
Oh," he remonstrated. Do you think a gentle-
manly man like me would treat y'u bad ? I never
do such a thing in me life "
I don't think y'u would," Susan graciously replied.
You don't look like those sort of young men at all."
This compliment pleased Jones immensely. You
are intrinsically correct," he assured her. Not a
female have a word to say against Samuel Josiah
Jones. An' you will find when you get to Colon what
sort of man I am."
Then you goin' to take me ? Susan asked quickly.
Of course Don't y'u want to go ? "
Her heart gave one great bound. Here was the
opportunity come to her at last !
All right," she exclaimed. I will come. When
you goin' ? "
Three weeks' time. I give notice at the Railway
already, but I have to fix up me business. Where
y'u live in Kingston ? "
Luke Lane. Y'u must come wid me to-night,
let me introduce you to me parents. The place don't
too nice, but you mustn't mind dat."
Certainly not. You are nice, an' that is enough."
He felt that something more was required of him-
something that a lover in one of the novels he had
read would have thought appropriate to the occasion.
At the moment only one thing in the way of what he
called poetry came to his memory; but still it was
poetry, and therefore suitable. He repeated it, stand-
ing still and looking fondly in Susan's face:
Fleecy looks and black complexion
Do not alter Nature's claim,
Skin may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same."
He expected applause. As Susan did not know what
the verse was intended for, she simply answered,
Let us go and tell Letitia," she added, catching
hold of his arm and dragging him with her in her
excitement. Nothing loth, he followed, and soon they
found Letitia, to whom the good tidings were told.
Hezekiah heard it too. He was standing near by when
SAMUEL JOSIAH JONES.
Susan was speaking to her friend, and Susan spoke
loudly on purpose that he might hear.
I goin' in three weeks' time. I not coming' back
to Jamaica at all Sam going to get three pounds a
week! What a good luck, eh, Letitia ? What a
Hezekiah heard it all, and saw Jones in the flesh,
smiling with the consciousness of irresistible masculine
attractions and great potential wealth. Hezekiah
could not doubt, and so that night he did exactly what
Susan had calculated on his doing. Not only Maria
and her mother, but everybody else that he met in
Blake Lane was told that Susan had got another
intended with plenty of money, and was going to
Dis world don't level," 1 was Maria's bitter com-
ment on Susan's undeserved good fortune.
SFortune is not fair.
W E must take a 'bus," said Jones, when he
and Susan alighted from the train at
Kingston. Don't bother with the car.
It's late already."
He hailed a cab, and both of them, after bidding
Letitia good-bye, got into the cab and drove off, but
not before the cabman had exchanged some sharp
words with the policeman who was regulating the
traffic. Jones wanted to take sides with the cabman,
partly through a natural inclination for argument,
partly from a desire to impress Susan with his utter
contempt for the guardian of the law. But she urged
the cabman to drive on, fearing any serious quarrel
at the very beginning of her new career; and the
cabman obeyed after some grumbling, though he was
clearly in the wrong.
She was glad to be back in Kingston, glad to be
riding once more through the ill-lighted streets, to be
amongst the slow-moving, chattering people, to feel
the dust of the city in her face. She thrilled with
excitement at the thought of her parents' surprise;
the whole yard would wonder who it was that
had brought her home !so splendidly from the
picnic. Then she remembered the room and felt
The place shabby," she again warned Jones.
" Me an' me family are poor; but we are decent.
Me father 'ave cramps in his feet; that is why we 'ave
to live in a little room."
She said nothing about Tom and the house in Blake
Lane; Jones again declared that the place she lived
in did not matter to him.
I can't stay long," he said, when the cab stopped at
Susan's gate. I will have to go home for me dinner."
He entered the yard jauntily, and Susan took him up
to the room, sitting near the door and at the threshold
of which were her father and mother and sisters, and
her aunt who had dropped in to see them, as she so
They were expecting Susan, but when they heard
the cab stop at the gate they had not imagined it
was she who had come home in it. Seeing her now
with a tall young man whose face they could not
distinctly make out in the darkness, they all rose,
each one looking at him intently.
This is Mr. Jones," said Susan ; I met him at
My best respects, sir," said Mr. Proudleigh,
taking off the remains of the hat he wore-" my
Same to you, sir," said Jones, feeling a trifle
Won't you step inside ? asked Miss Proudleigh.
"The place is small, but de heart is warm. Susan,
show the gentleman inside."
She stepped inside herself as she spoke, being
curious to know who the gentleman was and what
he had come for. That he had some sort of design
upon Susan she had no doubt whatever; for no
man could take a young woman home without a
very definite interpretation being given to this
ostensibly innocent act. Susan led Jones into the
room. Mr. Proudleigh transferred into the apart-
ment two chairs from his part of the room, and on
these he and his sister sat; Jones took the one re-
maining chair, and Susan sat on the bed. Catherine
and Eliza stood by the doorway, curious, while their
mother disappeared, as usual, being a woman who
rarely indulged in conversation or obtruded her
presence upon anyone.
Very noice picnic, Mr. Jones ? inquired Mr.
Proudleigh. Plenty of music and enjiements?
Hope you enjie yourself ? "
Magnanimously," said Jones; I met you'
daughter an' we had a nice conversation. You have
a beautiful daughter, Mr. Proudleigh."
Cho !" said Susan deprecatingly, but nevertheless
Oh yes, sir," agreed Mr. Proudleigh ; she take
after me. She have my features and my disposition.
I always say she is me own daurter."
Hi! papee," cried Eliza, a trifle indignant;
" don't we are you' own daughter too ? "
Of course," assented her father; but Sue is de
most oldest; an' she take the world upon her
The world was really himself and the rest of the
THE ANNOUNCEMENT 89
family, and a good deal of the deference he showed
to Susan was inspired by the fear that she might
some day throw the burden off.
Yes," said Jones, wishing to come to the point
at once; I seldom see a female like Miss Susan.
She is perfectly emphatic."
Quite true, sir," said Miss Proudleigh; but
we must remember that beauty is only skin deep,
and except a young lady have the fear of de Lord
in her heart, she can't prosper. What society you
belongs to, Mr. Jones ? "
Society ? Me ? said Jones; I never belong to
any society since I use to go to Sunday school when
I was a boy.
Church is a very good thing," he continued, but
a young man is wild."
Yes," said Mr. Proudleigh, I didn't jine society
meself till I was long time over forty. Then I felts
that I was a ripe man, an' could do me duty. I
don't like to see a young man goin' too much to
church. That is like de Scribes an' Pharisee; it is
Well," his sister was beginning, but here Susan's
impatience got the better of her manners.
Why don't you tell them what you 'ave to tell
them ? she asked Jones.
Every one's ears were pricked up. What was it
that he could have to say ? Miss Proudleigh forgot
entirely the remark she had been about to make.
Catherine glanced quickly from Jones to Susan, and
I am goin' to take away your daughter altogether
from you," said Jones to the old man, and struck
So that was it! Everybody had heard the
"altogether," and Mr. Proudleigh and his sister
immediately came to the conclusion that Jones wished
to marry Susan. It was a most unexpected announce-
ment, but Mr. Proudleigh loved dramatic climaxes,
and, fearing lest his sister should forestall him, he
quickly rose from his chair and grabbed Jones by
I esteem y'u, sir I he exclaimed. It is true
I never meet you before; but Miss Susan is a big
ooman an' must judge for herself. Besides, I can
look 'pon you an' tell dat you are a honourable
gen'leman. Miss Susan will makes a good wife,
better dan all- "
He stopped, seeing that Jones was shaking his
I didn't say I was going to married-yet," Jones
explained; then he looked at Susan as if expecting
her to complete the explanation.
It's all right," she said; papee understand."
Mr. Proudleigh sat down again. He was sorry
he had not grasped the purport of Jones's words
from the start, for it was rather embarrassing to
have mentioned marriage when marriage was not
But Miss Proudleigh rose to the occasion. "Ef
Susan are satisfied," she said, there is nobody to
interfere. A respectable young man may not feel
like marrying now, an' yet that does not signify that
he is to remain widout a partner in life. After all,
who make the marriage service ? Don't it is man ?
Read the Bible, an' y'u won't find a word of it there.
Isaac an' Rebecca didn't married in a church; an'
yet look how lovin' them live together. I am a
Christian woman, an' I know what is right from
wrong. But I don't agree wid all those stiff-neck
people who say that everybody ought to married
right off. That is not a practical view."
Mr. Proudleigh saw the golden bridge which his
sister had built for him, and he went flying over
"That is my own opinions," he remarked with
emphasis. When Mister Jones mention dis matter,
I did thought it was funny that . I mean that
I thought dat a young man would want to know
the sort o' female him goin' to get married to. Before
I married, I was along wid Susan's mother for ten
years. I had the twins that dead, an' me son who
is now oversea-a good buoy that. Then I married,
an' Susan was born. An' perhaps I wouldn't married
at all ef the parson of de church I use to attend some-
times didn't talk to me an' tell me I ought to jine
society an' don't live no more in sin. I don't regret
I are married, but I wouldn't tell any young man to
married right off if him don't wants to."
"That is what I say meself," put in Catherine
from the door. If a gurl get a young man, she
would be foolish to drive him away because him
don't want to married at once. After all, if him is
free, she is free too."
Now Catherine had no young man in view, so far
as Miss Proudleigh was aware. And though many