There is a saying that no man has tasted the full
flavor of life until he has known poverty, love and
war. The justness of this reflection commends it to
the lover of condensed philosophy. The three condi-
tions embrace about all there is in life worth knowing.
A surface thinker might deem that wealth should be
added to the list. Not so. When a poor man finds a
long-bidden quarter-dollar that has slipped through
a rip into his vest lining, be sounds the pleasure of
life with a deeper plummet than any millionaire can
hope to cast.
It seems that the wise executive power that rules
life has thought best to drill man in these three con-
ditions; and none may escape all three. In rural
places the terms do not mean so much. Poverty is
less pinching; love is temperate; war shrinks to con-
tests about boundary lines and the neighbors' hens.
It is in the cities that our epigram gains in truth and
vigor; and it has remained for one John Hopkins to
crowd the experience into a rather small space of
The Hopkins flat was like a thousand others.
There was a rubber plant in one window; a flea-
bitten terrier sat in the other, wondering when he
was to have his day.
John Hopkins was like a thousand others. He
worked at $20 per week in a nine-story, red-brick
building at either Insurance, Buckle's Hoisting En-
gines, Chiropody, Loans, Pulleys, Boas Renovated,
Waltz Guaranteed in Five Lessons, or Artificial
Limbs. It is not for us to wring Mr. Hopkins's avo-
cation from these outward signs that be.
Mrs. Hopkins was like a thousand others. The
auriferous tooth, the sedentary disposition, the Sun-
day afternoon wanderlust, the draught upon the
delicatessen store for home-made comforts, the
furor for department store marked-down sales, the
feeling of superiority to the lady in the third-floor
front who wore genuine ostrich tips and had two
names over her bell, the mucilaginous hours during
which she remained glued to the window sill, the vigi-
lant avoidance of the instalment man, the tireless
patronage of the acoustics of the dumb-waiter shaft
- all the attributes of the Gotham flat-dweller were
One moment yet of sententiousness and the story
In the Big City large and sudden things happen.
You round a corner and thrust the rib of your um-
brella into the eye of your old friend from Kootenai
Falls. You stroll out to pluck a Sweet William in the
park - and lo! bandits attack you - you are am-
bulanced to the hospital - you marry your nurse;
are divorced - get squeezed while short on U. P. S.
and D. 0. W. N. S. - stand in the bread line - marry
an heiress, take out your laundry and pay your club
dues - seemingly all in the wink of an eye. You
travel the streets, and a finger beckons to you, a
handkerchief is dropped for you, a brick is dropped
upon you, the elevator cable or your bank breaks, a
table d'hote or your wife disagrees with you, and Fate
tosses you about like cork crumbs in wine opened by
an un-feed waiter. The City is a sprightly young-
ster, and you are red paint upon its toy, and you get
John Hopkins sat, after a compressed dinner, in
his glove-fitting straight-front flat. He sat upon a
hornblende couch and gazed, with satiated eyes, at
Art Brought Home to the People in the shape of
"The Storm " tacked against the wall. Mrs. Hop-
kins discoursed droningly of the dinner smells from
the flat across the ball. The flea-bitten terrier gave
Hopkins a look of disgust, and showed a man-hating
Here was neither poverty, love, nor war; but upon
such barren stems may be grafted those essentials of
a complete life.
John Hopkins sought to inject a few raisins of
conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
"Putting a new elevator in at the office," he said,
discarding the nominative noun, "and the boss has
turned out his whiskers."
"You don't mean it! commented Mrs. Hopkins.
"Mr. Whipples," continued John, "wore his new
spring suit down to-day. I liked it fine It's a gray
with - " He stopped, suddenly stricken by a need
that made itself known to him. "I believe I'll walk
down to the corner and get a five-cent cigar,"he
John Hopkins took his bat aid picked his way
down the musty halls and stairs of the flat-house
The evening air was mild, and the streets shrill
with the careless cries of children playing games con-
trolled by mysterious rhythms and phrases. Their
elders held the doorways and steps with leisurely pipe
and gossip. Paradoxically, the fire-escapes sup-
ported lovers in couples who made no attempt to fly
the mounting conflagration they were there to fan.
The corner cigar store aimed at by John Hopkins
was kept by a man named Freshmayer, who looked
upon the earth as a sterile promontory.
Hopkins, unknown in the store, entered and called
genially for his "bunch of spinach, car-fare grade."
This imputation deepened the pessimism of Fresh-
mayer; but be set out a brand that came perilously
near to filling the order. Hopkins bit off the roots of
his purchase, and lighted up at the swinging gas
jet. Feeling in his pockets to make payment, he
found not a penny there.
"Say, my friend," he explained, frankly, "I've
come out without any change. Hand you that nickel
first time I pass."
Joy surged in Freshmayer's heart. Here was cor-
roboration of his belief that the world was rotten and
man a peripatetic evil. Without a word he rounded
the end of his counter and made earnest onslaught
upon his customer. Hopkins was no man to serve as
a punching-bag for a pessimistic tobacconist. He
quickly bestowed upon Freshmayer a Colorado-
maduro eye in return for the ardent kick that be
received from that dealer in goods for cash only.
The impetus of the enemy's attack forced the
Hopkins line back to the sidewalk. There the con-
flict raged; the pacific wooden Indian, with his
carven smile, was overturned, and those of the street
who delighted in carnage pressed round to view the
But then came the inevitable cop and imminent
convenience for both the attacker and attacked.
John Hopkins was a peaceful citizen, who worked at
rebuses of nights in a flat, but be was not without the
fundamental spirit of resistance that comes with the
battle-rage. He knocked the policeman into a gro-
cer's sidewalk display of goods and gave Freshmayer
a punch that caused him temporarily to regret that
he had not made it a rule to extend a five-cent line
of credit to certain customers. Then Hopkins took
spiritedly to his heels down the sidewalk, closely fol-
lowed by the cigar-dealer and the policeman, whose
uniform testified to the reason in the grocer's sign
that read: "Eggs cheaper than anywhere else in
As Hopkins ran he became aware of a big, low,
red, racing automobile that kept abreast of him in
the street. This auto steered in to the side of the
sidewalk, and the man guiding it motioned to Hopkins
to jump into it. He did so without slackening his
speed, and fell into the turkey-red upholstered seat
beside the chauffeur. The big machine, with a dimin-
uendo cough, flew away like an albatross down the
avenue into which the street emptied.
The driver of the auto sped his machine without a
word. He was masked beyond guess in the goggles
and diabolic garb of the chauffeur.
"Much obliged, old man," called Hopkins, grate-
fully. "I guess you've got sporting blood in you,
all right, and don't admire the sight of two men
trying to soak one. Little more and I'd have been
The chauffeur made no sign that he had heard.
Hopkins shrugged a shoulder and chewed at his
cigar, to which his teeth had clung grimly through-
out the melee.
Ten minutes and the auto turned into the open
carriage entrance of a noble mansion of brown stone,
and stood still. The chauffeur leaped out, and said:
"Come quick. The lady, she will explain. It is
the great honor you will have, monsieur. Ah, that
milady could call upon Armand to do this thing!
But, no, I am only one chauffeur."
With vehement gestures the chauffeur conducted
Hopkins into the house. He was ushered into a small
but luxurious reception chamber. A lady, young, and
possessing the beauty of visions, rose from a chair.
In her eyes smouldered a becoming anger. Her high-
arched, threadlike brows were ruffled into a delicious
"Milady," said the chauffeur, bowing low, "I have
the honor to relate to you that I went to the house of
Monsieur Long and found him to be not at home. As
I came back I see this gentleman in combat against
bow you say - greatest odds. He is fighting with
five - ten - thirty men - gendarmes, aussi. Yes,
milady, he what you call 'swat' one - three - eight
policemans. If that Monsieur Long is out I say to
myself this Gentleman be will serve milady so well, and
I bring him here."
"Very well, Armand," said the lady, "you may
go." She turned to Hopkins.
"I sent my chauffeur," she said, "to bring my
cousin, Walter Long. There is a man in this house
who has treated me with insult and abuse. I have
complained to my aunt, and she laughs at me. Ar-
mand says you are brave. In these prosaic days men
who are both brave and chivalrous are few. May I
count upon your assistance?"
John Hopkins thrust the remains of his cigar into
his coat pocket. He looked upon this winning
creature and felt his first thrill of romance. It was a
knightly love, and contained no disloyalty to the flat
with the flea-bitten terrier and the lady of his choice.
He bad married her after a picnic of the Lady Label
Stickers' Union, Lodge No. 2, on a dare and a bet of
new hats and chowder all around with his friend, Billy
McManus. This angel who was begging him to
come to her rescue was something too heavenly for
chowder, and as for hats - golden, jewelled crowns
"Say," said John Hopkins, "just show me the guy
that you've got the grouch at. I've neglected my
talents as a scrapper heretofore, but this is my busy
"He is in there," said the lady, pointing to a
closed door. "Come. Are you sure that you do not
falter or fear?"
"Me?" said John Hopkins. "Just give me one of
those roses in the bunch you are wearing, will you?"
The lady gave him a red, red rose. John Hopkins
kissed it, stuffed it into his vest pocket, opened the
door and walked into the room. It was a handsome
library, softly but brightly lighted. A young man
was there, reading.
"Books on etiquette is what you want to study,"
said John Hopkins, abruptly. "Get up here, and I'll
give you some lessors. Be rude to a lady, will you?"
The young man looked mildly surprised. Then he
arose languidly, dextrously caught the arms of John
Hopkins and conducted him irresistibly to the front
door of the house.
"Beware, Ralph Branscombe," cried the lady, who
had followed, "what you do to the gallant man who
has tried to protect me."
The young man shoved John Hopkins gently out
the door and then closed it.
"Bess," he said calmly, "I wish you would quit
reading historical novels. How in the world did that
fellow get in here?"
"Armand brought him," said the young lady. "I
think you are awfully mean not to let me have that
St. Bernard. I sent Armand for Walter. I was so
angry with you."
"Be sensible, Bess," said the young man, taking
her arm. "That dog isn't safe. He has bitten two
or three people around the kennels. Come now, let's
go tell auntie we are in good humor again."
Arm in arm, they moved away.
John Hopkins walked to his flat. The janitor's
five-year-old daughter was playing on the steps'
Hopkins gave her a nice, red rose and walked up-
Mrs. Hopkins was philandering with curl-papers.
"Get your cigar?" she asked, disinterestedly.
"Sure," said Hopkins, "and I knocked around a
while outside. It's a nice night."
He sat upon the hornblende sofa, took out the
stump of his cigar, lighted it, and gazed at the grace-
ful figures in "The Storm" on the opposite wall.
"I was telling you," said he, "about Mr.
Whipple's suit. It's a gray, with an invisible check,
and it looks fine."