« PreviousContinue »
"He gave all his clubs to the caddy," commission, change the flags back, change Isaid Corbett to Bowker. all the cups, and that sort of thing." "If he ever comes out again-" "Tell him we 've rebuilt the links. That 's simple."
"And never," said Mr. Cuyler, impressively "never in my life did I ever give anything away until I was mighty sure I was all through with it."
Bowker made for the door.
"I'll be with you in a couple of minutes. I'm going to telephone the papers." "Not about this purchase!" snapped Mr. Cuyler.
"No, sir; about your record." The capitalist actually blushed. "Well, in that case you might hintonly hint, of course-that-ah-I had n't played Warwick before, and that-ahunfortunately, I was suffering somewhat from rheumatism."
"I'll have a paragraph on it," said Bowker, vanishing.
They took the financier to the station for the last train. After it had gone, the three sat on a baggage-truck and laughed themselves into hysteria.
"Obtaining money under false pretenses," said Horton, when he had recovered a fraction of his poise. "And there 'll be murder if he ever finds it out."
"He can't. For two reasons; the other one is sentimental."
"That 's so," said Bowker, sobering. "You know, I really think he cried a little. -from pure joy."
"No harm to anybody; it's a good investment, really."
"When 'll the course be ready, Bob?" "Day after to-morrow," said Corbett. "All we 've got to do is to cover up our tracks, put those temporary tees out of
"Has any one the least idea how long that course was?"
"I don't know how long it was," said Horton, "but I played it in sixty-one the day before yesterday, and fifty-nine yesterday. A stranger would n't suspect the card; those hills and water hazards are too deceptive. The only thing I was afraid of was that he 'd spot the cups. Good Lord! they were as big as bushel-baskets! An extra half-inch in diameter! Why, they were n't cups; they were craters!"
"What got me," chuckled Bowker, "was the way you could take a perfectly free, natural swing at that ball, and not get more than a hundred and forty yards with it!"
"Why not?" said Horton, surprisedly. "I had every one of those darned clubs built specially for this afternoon; there was n't one of them that weighed more than eight ounces!"
PERHAPS it was best for Mr. Cuyler's peace of mind that after buying the Warwick property and leasing it to the club he never saw it again. Undoubtedly it was best for him that he never played around the regular course. Because if he had done that, he would certainly have been in a frame of mind to appreciate the verse painted in small letters above the players' entrance to the club-house. As has been Isaid before, it is n't humorous.
term of office. The country shuddered even yet over what might have happened had death removed Jefferson while Burr was Vice-President.
Personality counted for more in American politics than it can to-day, after the leveling effects of free schools and free criticism have been at work for a century pulling down heroes and exalting the rank and file of the voters. Every member of that earlier group of leaders-Washington, with his unfailing rectitude; Adams, learned and hotly partizan; Jefferson, with his many interests; Franklin, of broad charity and homely epigram; John Marshall, "master in the common sense of Constitutional law"; Randolph of Roanoke, body and fine intellect alike wrecked by drugs and self-esteem; and all the rest of them-stand out individual and distinct against a blurred background of "the people." But of all the political characters of that day, or, indeed, from that day to this, there is no one quite so mysterious, so elusive, so apparently useless as Burr, weaving the dark pattern of his ambition into the country's history.
And because no man can live exclusively to himself either for good or evil, with every mention of Burr's name the figure of Hamilton rises, an avenging ghost. Even before that precocious young native of the West Indies walked into our military history at Princeton, a lad only nineteen, lost in thought, a cocked hat pulled down over his eyes while his hand rested upon a cannon that he patted absentmindedly as if it were a favorite horse, he had done valiant work for American liberty with his pen. From the time he touched our shores to the July morning more than thirty years later when Burr's bullet laid him low he was a force to be reckoned with. And his was one of those natures, keenly alive on many sides, whose astonishing maturity of intellect did not snuff out the zest of life. He became "my boy" to Washington very early in his service; worked willingly at headquarters day in and day out, with a sober application equal to Washington's own, yet contrived to snatch from such never-ending drudg
ery youth's dear and fleeting joys. He brought gaiety even to Washington's messtable, courted black-eyed Elizabeth Schuyler under the muzzles of British guns, and in the years of their married life together managed with all his prodigious labors to bend social graces as well as the solid qualities of his mind to enriching their days and nights. Besides being a great statesman, he was "an enjoying gentleman," to use the quaint old phrase. Talleyrand, corrupt and appreciative, looked upon him with amazement. "Il avait diviné l'Europe," he said, which, from a European of that day, about an American, was near the highest praise. Hamilton's management of the treasury, without breath of scandal or self-seeking, filled the Frenchman with even greater astonishment. "I have beheld one of the wonders of the world," he exclaimed—“a man who has made a nation rich laboring all night to provide his family with bread."
To Americans such clean devotion to country was a matter of course, commendable, but no more than duty. But all acknowledged Hamilton's remarkable ability. Some even of his own party feared him. Adams's dread of him amounted to obsession. Many who absolved Washington from leanings toward monarchy charged Hamilton with deliberate intent to change the form of government. Jefferson, who opposed him politically and clashed with him personally, fully appreciated his power. When an old man at Monticello, looking back over the past, he used to say that the Republicans had done so and so; but if he spoke of the Federalists, he was apt to say that Hamilton took this or that ground. Taxed with this, he admitted, smiling, that it was quite true. He had fallen into the habit, he supposed, because he regarded Hamilton as the "master-spirit of his party."
Burr also was a master-spirit, a name to conjure with-in black magic. About the same age as Hamilton, he was, like him, slender of frame, delicate of feature, and refined in all small matters of taste. In his blood were warring elements: German aristocracy on his father's side; on
his mother's, uncompromising Puritanism. Death deprived him of both parents when he was very young. His unusually quick wit conspired with the fact of a considerable inheritance to render his childhood less disciplined than it should have been. One is tempted to believe that his early trend toward evil was at the outset only the revolt of childish, untrained logic against shams as he saw them in his elders and guardians. Being misunderstood, it quickly became the bravado of proud youth, and in manhood grew to larger villainies threatening to involve a continent.
At the age of sixteen he was leaving Princeton equipped with his diploma, disillusionment concerning his professors, and a precocious knowledge of dissipation. In some directions all he craved of the latter was knowledge. For instance, he never gambled after an early success at billiards. At seventeen he was deep in the study of theology, from which he soon emerged with the conviction that "the road to heaven is open to all alike," and thereafter shelved the matter as unprofitable for discussion.
His youthful ambition was military. The excitement, the sudden changes of fortune, and the opportunity it gave for indulging that bent toward mystery which he possessed-all this attracted him. Despite his refusal to follow up that first success at billiards, the game of war offered gambling on a scale grand enough to compel his interest. In his first campaign-with Arnold to Quebec in 1775he showed both audacity and bravery. He played the spy in priest's robes during the advance, and it was he who rescued Montgomery's body where it fell.
Like Hamilton, he became military aide to Washington, but the sober atmosphere of headquarters was not to his taste. The slow-moving rectitude of his chief's mind reproached and irritated this descendant of Jonathan Edwards, whose rapier-like intellect was already turning to devious ways. The general was coldly unresponsive to the questions about military science that thronged to the younger man's lips,
and on his part he had no mind to remain a mere drudging clerk, as Washington seemed to expect. The relation soon came to an end, with resentment on the part of Burr, and on Washington's a distrust that after events failed to remove. Three times while he was President, Washington was waited upon by committees of Congress to urge Burr for the French mission, a suggestion he put aside with the remark that he had no confidence in the young man.
Burr's undeniable military genius was for small matters and sharp emergencies. He was blessed with a body needing little food and little sleep, while able to endure immense fatigue. He was a strict disciplinarian, had a power of detecting wrongdoers that bordered upon the miraculous, and in a crisis he could exercise an almost serpent-like fascination over untrained men, bringing them under perfect, if temporary, control.
His resignation from the army appears to mark the time when he definitely broke with the established code of morals. Until then he seemed, intermittently at least, to follow St. Paul's injunction to prove all things in a half-hearted hope of finding somewhere one "good" enough to claim and hold his loyalty. But he made his choice and cast adrift, with no rudder save ambition. "The adventure is the best of it all," he told a young acquaintance, speaking of life in general, and that came to be his guiding motto.
He established himself as a lawyer in New York State, where Hamilton was also practising; but his real interest was politics, law being only a tool to that end. Hamilton was diffuse and eloquent in argument; Burr chose to be concise and conversational. Hamilton was the heart and brains of Federalism; Burr aimed to become the leader of the Jeffersonian Republicans.
He saw the chances for political combinations latent in our form of government, and set himself to use them. An instrument lay ready to his hand in the benevolent and patriotic society started by Hamilton some years before to offset General Knox's well-meant blunder, the So
ciety of the Cincinnati, whose "aristocratic" tendency had set the country by the ears at the end of the Revolution. This younger organization had mouth-filling titles, Wiskenkee lodges, and sachems, grand, high, and plain, that fitted into his plans ideally. Its sub-title also, "The Its sub-title also, "The Columbian Order," suited him to perfection. To it and to politics he applied army principles, demanding perfect obedience from the rank and file, adding company drill in the form of committee rule, thus lodging power in a few capable, if not always scrupulous, hands, and started Tammany on its long and vigorous career. That Hamilton himself had been the founder made its deflection to Democratic uses all the more delightful.
By adroit management, by refusing to admit failure even when party fortunes were low, and by his hypnotic power over men, he became one of the most skilful, as he was one of the earliest, New York politicians in the unenviable sense of that word. He reached to within one vote of the Presidency, helping himself in the final climb by use of the injudicious pamphlet Hamilton wrote attacking John Adams. Hamilton thought Jefferson "an atheist in religion and a fanatic in politics," but of the two he vastly preferred him for President. Aside from personal prejudices, he pointed out that if Jefferson were elected, all responsibility for bad measures would rest with his party, while if the Federalists interfered and effected Burr's election, the whole responsibility would rest upon them.
Jefferson, on his part, was little drawn toward Burr. Hamilton, watching them, thought that there was "a most serious schism between the chief and his heirapparent." Yet they never quarreled. Burr dined at the White House when etiquette demanded, and also at the tables of the cabinet. His daughter became a general favorite in society; but on the whole he was a disturbing element in Washington, and more than one of the many duels of the period can be traced to his door, and he continued to lose in popularity. As the time for the next Presi
dential election approached he went to the President to learn his intentions. Jefferson replied coldly that he had not interfered in 1800 and did not mean to do so
Months before the election Burr's evil genius settled the matter beyond recall. He and Hamilton had been singled out for antagonists from the beginning, and the story of their duel is too familiar to bear repetition. Hamilton's opinion that Burr was "in every sense a profligate" had been often repeated with details and amplifications. It is only astonishing that in a period of high feeling and strict adherence to "the code" their final encounter was so long delayed. Yet when Hamilton fell mortally wounded on that early July morning, his death seemed nothing short of a national calamity and Burr's act wilful murder. Men forgot the bitterness with which they had assailed Hamilton as a monarchist and an abettor of South American revolution. They remembered only his charming personality, the immense services he had rendered the country, and his magician's success in making a sound financial credit for the nation out of doubts and debts and an unexplored wilderness. "No one wished to get rid of Hamilton that way!" John Adams declared, shocked into sincere and regretful speech.
Burr returned to his home after the duel apparently unmoved. A kinsman arriving from a distance to breakfast with him had no inkling of what had occurred, and on resuming his journey could not credit the news, so sure was he from evidence of his own senses that it was a lie.
"The subject in dispute is, which shall have the honor of hanging the VicePresident?" Burr wrote his daughter, after the grand juries of both New York. and New Jersey found indictments against him. Seeing that the storm of denunciation continued unabated, he left his house at night by water and disappeared for a time. But with the reopening of Congress. he was on hand, took his seat as presiding officer of the Senate, and discharged his duties throughout the winter, though a