The Enid Daily Eagle. (Enid, Okla.), Vol. 11, No. 71, Ed. 1 Monday, June 17, 1912 Page: 4 of 6
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(Copyrighted 1011 by Harper A Tiros.)
F course it was not licr own. Shrinking
discretion demands that statement at the
Oliver Hcrford lias plaintively said,
"Some arc horn babies, some achieve
babies, anil some have babies thrust upon
them." It is to be regretted that Mr.
Hcrford never illustrated this teeming
thought. Fancy and imagination wander
joyously among the wistful, googoo-cycd
babies and embarrassed, apprehensive
adults which his audacious pencil might
have evolved. But that has nothing to
. do with Miss Lola's history.
,• Idiss Lola was not quite certain whether she stood
day, on the plane of achievement or in the
galley where responsibilities are thrust. At all times
Uhe entertained a kindly and respectful sentiment for
' >abics. In the concrete they merely glimmered on
her orbit as luminous, tiny satellites of larger and
more definite bodies; but in the abstract Miss Lola
had ofen found babies extremely useful as copy for
IJnnocuous little poems, which formed the realities of
her existence, and which kindly editors sometimes ac-
cepted—referring to them in the sacred seclusion of
the editorial office thus: "Steve, I've gotta have an-
other filler. Gimme some o' that stuff o' Miss Lola's."
Miss Lola had a friend. Tl?c acquaintance had not
been of her seeking. Indeed, nothing was of Miss
Lolas seeking. She represented in the scheme of cre-
ation merely the receptive attitude of thought which
docs not seek but is somgtii?K's found. Another girl
had found Miss Lola, and had found her extremely
useful, as one who moves in a thought world where
the material male does not enter, hence one who op-
poses 110 fascinating personality nor matrimonial am-
bitions tending to thwart plans of the mind more
acutely feminine. This friend, so-called, Betty Baylis
by name, had pursued, from .infancy, an undeviating
course, which had resulted in an early marriage to the
nian she selected, nee Ford and christened John, and
in prompt maternity.
If Betty had consciously found Miss Lola useful,
"Miss Lola had, in her turn, unconsciously availed of
many of Betty's experiences to meet the demands of
the Muses. An impersonal view-point being a literary
necessity, as affording a perspective which personal
emotions only bluri.Misa Lola had reaped a rich har-
vest from Betty's courtship and marriage; while Betty
had regarded with mild amazement and entire lack of
comprehension a girl whose sole interest in these
vicarious experiences was their adaptability to poetic
Since the advent of little Baylis Rudolfo Ford, Miss
Lola's raw material had lavishly increased. Raw ma-
terial, 'however, is not infrequently subject to duty,
fu Miss Lola's case the tax was paid in the form of
visits to the sanctuary where Baylis Rudolfo was cn-
ihrincd. There each of these young feminine minds
had secretly entertained toward the other a feeling of
possible means for arranging them metrically, and
thereby reducing them to the level of her compre-
hension or remembrance.
"If the bell should ring," Betty had said, "it will
undoubtedly be the postman, so you'd better go down.
There is a check due for John, and I never like to
leave such mail in the box. Here arc the keys, I'll
not need to take them with me, for you can let me
in when I return. I will ring one long and one short,
so you'll know it's me."
Miss Lola had mentally corrected, "I," and wondered
why all young mothers invariably said "me." Could
the conncction between maternity and incorrect gram-
mar have a bearing on poesy? Ought she to consider
this mysterious conncction in future verse and em-
body it? Her delicate and chastened fancy shrank
from the inelegant. Perhaps in the dialect verse—
Betty had whirled out and peace had ensued. Bay-
lis Rudolfo slept, as per contract, his apartment being
the farthest small room of the llat, opening off the
hall, and as remote as the exigencies of flat construc-
tion would permit from possible disturbing noises
which the family might at any time perpetrate. The
quiet seemed almost ominous. Miss Lola felt it
freighted with vague responsibilities. There—she had
forgotten to ask Betty—
She jumped up, ran to the window, flung it open, and
threw her slender body at a perilous angle over the sill.
Betty was far up the street, headed for the nearest
car line. Miss Lola recovered her balance, of mind as
well as body, shuddered to think what a noise she had
probably made in raising the window, closed it softly,
and listened with apprehension. Baylis Rudolfo made
no sound. Miss Lola sat down.
"I suppose," she reflected, "that I really have intel-
ligence. Whatever may happen I shall probably know
of something to do, if only to scream for the police.
At any rate, nothing is happening at this moment.
The oily thing to be feared was fhc awakening of
Baylis Rudolfo. The intelligent action, therefore,
seemed to contribute in no way toward this awaken-
ing. Miss Lola sank back softly into the cushioned
depts of her chair, and took out her note-book. The
opportunity for composition was ideal. Not always
could she have such stillness. Her home life was at
the mercy of others. Iler mother was a large, gen-
erous, pervasive woman, with a physical tendency to
knock over small articles of furniture as she swept
majestically about the flat—after the manner described
by Dickens—and a mental tendency to xdcmolish what-
ever train of thought any one else might be entertain-
ing. At her hands Miss Lola's most inspired verses
had often been shattered into fragments compared
with which the historic condition of Humpty-Dumpty
was a beautiful exhibition of cohcsivcncss.
Miss Ilia's fancy paused daintily on the brink of
inspiration. So many ideas suggested themselves.
"The Sleeping Babe" was a bit trite. Mr. llotchkiss,
editor of The Modern Child, 011 which Miss Lola
had designs, was such a big and burly man that his
would take the poem down herself, and at once. In
case of rejection she would lose no time in taking it
Hastily she slipped into her wraps, took up the
bunch of keys Betty had placed on the taborct, and
walked down the hall. At the outer door she paused.
"It certiinly seems as if I had forgotten seme-
time," she murmured. "I have my purse, these are
my keys, I have my handkerchief and my manuscript.
What else coidd there be? Mother—yes, mother is
out. I must put on the Yale lock. Well, if I have for-
gotten anything I shall rem&nber it later, and it will
simply have to be all right, that's all."
She locked the door carefully, dropped the keys
into her hand-bag, and with light, firm, graceful step
walked over to the nearest Subway station.
<Iour stiffened with anguish; that her very toes be-
came rigid; and that she distinctly felt at least one
hair turn to a silver-white strak amid its soft, wav-
ing, chestnut fellows.
She had forgotten Baylis Rudolfo! He was three
miles away, locked into a flat of a stcel-ribbcd house,
alone, inaccessible from without, subject to any catas-
trophe! She—murderess in embryo—worthless cum-
bcrcr of the ground—lacking in human instincts—had
—well, there were no words to define her crime 1
With a mighty effort Miss Lola gathered herself.
Then she turned and sped back over her trail at a
pace which made the laborers exchange startled glances
and drop work for the afternoon to decide what it
Even in her flight Miss Lola gave one backward
thought of regret to the child of her own fancy her
poem—which must now wait on the rescue of Baylis
Rudolfo. She reflected swiftly that not the least of
the merits of mental offspring is the absence of pa-
rental responsibility toward them and of exactions on
their part calculated to cause their progenitors acute
anguish on insufficient grounds. As she whirled swiftly
around the corner toward the Subway station she re-
alized that she would be able to add several stanzas
descriptive of "Thoughts ijo£ a Mother under dis-
tressing circumstances. Or,' it might even be a sep-
arate poem. "Thoughts of a Murderess"; but the
editorial mind of to-day docs not incline favorably
toward anything which even remotely recognizcs
Miss Lola's heart beat suffocatingly. She fumbled
her change at t**^ ticket-window, kept the line waiting
and lt'cived muttered threats from delayed passen-
gers, missed ihe express and finally secured only stand-
ing-room on a local.
To be a poetess is to have imagination, and to have
imagination is to suffer. It is idle to say, "Dont
worry" to the mind which creates imaginations as natu-
rally and as inevitably as the sun rises. The number of
things that might happen to Baylis Rudolfo! He would
surely waken. He would inevitably tumble out of his
basket head first on to the floor!
"Surely, T have read somewhere," gasped Miss Lola
to herself, "that babies' bones are so soft they just
fold over on one another when they fall, and that is
why they never break." Grammar seemed to have fled.
plicating her shins and toes T
there was no time to consider herself. Dimly «h'~ /
knew that passers-by were gazing curiously at her.
She had but one thought for them—that none of their
should stop her flight toward Betty's burning flat I
There was no smell of smoke, however. No "flamej
leaped athwart the gloom" as she mounted the stairs, t
No calls of brave firemen nor shrill screams of Baylis
Rudolfo nor shrieks of neighbors fell on the strained
cars of Miss Lola. Betty was not standing at the
outer door wringing her hands.
Peace and quiet reigned in th< orderly, well-kq>t
apartment-house. Not even a tenant was in sight.
With shaking fingers Miss Lola inserted the key in
the Yale lock. Could the stillness be yet more ominous
than turmoil would have been? The imagination ot
a poetess is facile, and not to be thwarted by jeeming
absence of material. _ ■
Baylis Rudolfo was sleeping peacefully in his bas-
ket. Could it be possible? Trembling and weak, Miss
Lola sank into the cushioned chair, Witfi elbow on<
knee and chin in her hand she contemplated the
slumbering infant. The churning of her heart was
still appalling, the bruises on her body smarted and
ached; but Baylis Rudolfo slept, in his padded basket,'
and the quiet of a calm, domestic atmosphere brooded
over him. Miss Lola marveled as she gazed. So small, -
so unempowcred, yet capable, even in his silent slum-
ber, of causing Bucli vast dismay and consternation 1
The bell rang—one long and one short. Betty I Ah,
well, all was well. Collecting herself and assuming a
lightsome poise, Miss Lola reached the door, though v-
in the process she interviewed each wall a number of
"The baby! He's all right?" gasped Betty, with the
unreasonable solicitude of young mothers, and brush-
ing hastily past Miss Lola.
"Now, what could have "happened to him?" txclaimed
Miss Lola, availing of poetic license and steadying her-
self by the wall as she returned to the living-room
meekly in the wake of Betty.
"Why, 'tif course, nothing, my dear, with you here,"
murmured Betty, her face smothered in Baylis Ru-
dolfo. Then, as she gaily tossed aside her wraps, her
gaze fell on Miss Lola's face.
"You look a bit pale, though," she said.' "I sup-
pose you felt nervous, taking care of a baby for the
first time. Let's have some tea."
"It is something of a strain," admitted Miss Lola,
guardedly; and later she drank three cups of tea.
When her poem, "The Lost Child," was published,
Betty praised Mir" T.ola for the first time. Previously
Betty had been wont to regard the poems with per-
functory interest, if any.
'It's wonderful how you can tell, Lola," said Betty.
"I am sure I should feel just that way if anythn.J ^
should happen to Baylis Rudolfo."
One of the Dangers of the Road.
HOW IT WAS.
"I'll give him his bottleBetty said, lightly.
-< nder; Miss Lola that Hetty should seen) to find very thoughts would waken a sleeping babe, and Miss
acute delight and an utter abandonment of the intel-
lectual in the process of fdling elongated glass bottles
with medicated preparations of milk and water, and
Betty that Lola seemed to regard infant gurgles, coo-
ings, and contortions merely as matter for a note-
book, and available for reduction to feet and lines.
Lola felt certain he could not mentally contemplate
one, even in verse. How he could be editor of such a
magazine—but this was extraneous to Miss Lola's
present field of thought, and she put it aside,
"Wild Babies 1 Have Known" suggested itself. It
was inevitable. Something wild suggests itself to
On the day when Baylis Rudolfo entered more di- every scribe, especially since Seton made his wild hit
rectly into Miss Lola's experience, it had been arranged
that she should remain in the flat with him while
Betty should go out to do a bit of shopping. Just
liow this arrangement had conic about Miss Lola
could not afterward remember. It seemed to her, later,
that Betty must have devised the plan. It was unlike
'Miss Lola to initiate. Besides, she had no motive, and
in investigations of criminality it is customary to con-
sider well the motives which govern the human mind.
Betty's motive, though not occult, was indubitable,
-While Miss Lola felt that not even a mother could
incuse her of having sought the care of llaylis Ru-
dolfo, fascinating though he was.
•I'll give him his bottle," Betty had said, lightly, "and
t>ut him in his basket. He is almost sure to sleep un-
til I come home, but if he should waken he'll not be
ti bit < f trouble, for him is de goodes' an' bestes' an'
fwcetes'- isn't him"—here followed maternal rhapso-
dies which Miss Lola hastily transcribed into her note-
book as lending themselves to a future dialect poem—
perhaps to be entitled "Under Cuban Skies," or "The
Miss Lola found the quiet of the flat, after Betty's
departure, soothing. There had been agitation pre-
ceding, as Betty had tried to "straighten up" the
place a bit, tossing small pillows into their proper
places, tucking discarded bibs, minute hose, and other
tiny blankets, picking up rattles from the floor, and
wearing apparel into the soiled-clothes basket, folding
arranging the rubber menagerie on the shelf where it
w as accustomed to stand when not being pursued with
Rooseveltian energy bv its owner during his waking
hours. There had been, also, a blur of instructions,
beginning "If lie should," and including a "then put—"
I of so varied a nature that Miss Lola had no time nor
which boomcrangcd around the Ktiglish-speaking world
and returned to him laden with gold. Miss Lola re-
jected the suggestion, however. The title was the
most imitated one extant. Besides, it had a flavor,
when applied to babes, of humor, and Miss Lola was
not consciously humorous. She was not even jcmotcly
aware that the surprising amount of some of the
checks sent her for her poems was based on the edi-
tor's conception that they were the prize-winning com-
modity known to the fraternity as "humorous verse."
Miss Lola finally decided on "A Mother's Thoughts
When Absent From Her Babe." Miss Lola had never
read the early English poets. Neither did she know-
that a mother's thoughts would be more likely to con-
centrate on the dread possibility of the baby's milk
souring in his tiny stomach than they would be to dwell
on his 'rosc-sccncd breath." It is well, however, not
to know too many facts when trying to write poetry.
The wings of Pegasus beat the quiet air in gently
widening circles, and bore Miss Lola aloft into the
blue. Sounds of earth were hushed and objects of
sense retreated to a respectful distance. "A Mother's
Thoughts" soon embodied themselves into a poem of
almost questionable length, the editors having fre-
quently warned Miss Lola that three inches is the best
limit for securing acceptance.
The poem finished, Miss Lola felt that no time
should be lost in having it reach Mr. llotchkiss. He
had no manuscripts of her in hand, and it was full
time for him to begin the arrangement of his next
issue. To mail the poem would be to await acceptance
or possible rejection. To see Mr. llotchkiss personally
was not always possible, yet frequently it was, ami
he could always tell at a glancc the fate of a manu-
script—as far as his own oflicc was concerned. She
-« ■ > * >1 HUmMi iw«i ti H. m m.—
At Brooklyn Bridge she emerged from underground
into the tipper air of the big part of New York—the
inspired and inspiring region of the mighty sky-
scrapers, of the open, sunlit space of City Hall Park,
of thronging thousands, of the vast energies of news-
paper row. Her calm little pulses always quickened
in this atmosphere. She had written several poems
about the great Down-Town. At the left she turned
down a quieter street toward the East River—an an-
cient street almost forsaken by the tide of traffic; a
street abandoned to those commercial activities that
do not depend for., their existence 011 the passing
throng. Not many women went that way, and the
few men slie met looked at her with mild curiosity;
but Miss Lola was not without her own small inde-
pendence of thought. She was even a bit of a suffra-
gette, and had written a poem to stir the souls of her
valiant sisters in the cause. It began, "Most gentle
suffragette, thou are maligned!"
Half-way down the block Miss Lola stopped as if
the axe of fate had descended 011 her head. She did
ii"t scream nor faint. She merely stood still. A few
workmen paused to look at her, but that was nothing.
So light a thing as the alighting of an English spar-
row is sufficient t-> make a New York workman pause
for contemplation and rest from his labors. These
observers might have looked still more curiously had
they known that Miss Lola's heart had stopped beat-
ing and then had begun again with a frightful lunge;
4that she was cold to her finger-tips; that her pompa-
She understood now why Betty said, "It is me." The
pleasing consolation of flexible bones was denied Miss
Lola. A bleak vision of Johnny Drake, wjto had had
a broken arm at the are of eeven Months, presented
itself to Miss Lola's excited thought. She almost
groaned aloud. Ecvcn failing to-break himself, Bay-
lis R'ldolfo would creep around the rooms, clutch at
table-covers, drag down bric-a-brac—lamps—"Just
Heaven!"—bump his nose on sharp corners—scream—
oh, how he would scream!—Miss Lola almost gave
an imitation—the ncighbo?^ would hear him and gather,
in groups to wonder—perhaps break in the door—no,
they could not—oh, last and most agonizing thought—
they could not, for the bffiMing was absolutely certain
to take fire! No matter that it was guaranteed fire-
proof, aud that the janitor was a pattern of watchful-
ness—it would inevitably take fire this day, at this
moment! Betty would return home—she was more
than due now—the door would he locked, and her
chilli would be \vitliin, while flames leaped and danced
toward him. . A brave fireman might—oh yes, there
was one gleam of hopo—he might rescue Baylis Ru-
dolfo. Miss Lola drew a breath of relief. A line of
verse shot athwart the gleaming flames—"oh, brawny
hero of the dust-blown street"—but Miss Lola put it
resolutely asi(rte. Only one thing in life was important
now. She must get off at the right Subway station.
No enticing fancies of poesy must now be allowed to
lure her from that vital act.
She almost fell headlong up the Subway steps, im-
THp tjajpllwa$,$}pr,Qaching the little Southern
town \yhprc Blithers was to lecture that night,
when it suddenly flashed across his mind that
lie had not made any inquiry as to the hotel accom-
modations of the place. A reference to the hotel-
book 011 the train brought no light to bear upon
the subject, Mifllcburg not even being mentioned in
its pages, and what was worse, none of the train
officials seemed to know anything about their qual-
ity, except the porter, and he was decidedly non-
committal fit first.
"Yassir," lie said, "I been to Miflleboyg, sub. One
o' mail wives was bolin at Miflleboyg, suh."
• "Well, is there a hotel there?" asked Blithers.
"Yassifc 4ey's a hotel dar, suh," the porter an-
swered. "Dey suttinly is dat," he added, with an
"Well, John," said Blithers, "I don't want to go to
the worst hotel, of course."
"Naw, suh, I don't reckon you does, suh," rejoined \
the porter, his smile endangering the back of his
neck. "Dat's de Brackenbrush House, suh."
"What is?" demanded Blithers.
"Dc woyst hotel in Miflleboyg, suh," returned the 4
ported. "Golly 1 I sometimes t'ink dc Brackenbrush
is de woyst hotel in de woyld."
"Well," smiled Blithers, "there's so much gained.
It is something to know what to avoid. And now
that you've told me which is the wrost, here's a
quarter for telling me which js the best."
"De bestest?" repeated the darky, pocketing the
"The very bestest," said Blithers.
John scratched his head for a moment as though
puzzled for the answer, and then he spoke slowly.
"Well, suh," lie said, "I reckon dat's—dat's de
Brackenbrush, too, suh."
"What's that?" cried Blithers, sharply. It really
looked as if this son of Ham were trifling with him.
'*I)c Brackenbrush, suh—I says de Brackenbrush is
dc best hotel in Miflleboyg, suh," said the darky.
"But, you idiot," retorted Blithers, his face Ret-
ting red with wrath, "you just said the Bracken-
brush was the worst."
"Yassir, dat's de fact," returned John. "It sut«
tinly am dc very woyst there ever was."
"Look here, porter," put in Blithers, coldly, "what ^
do you think you arc doing to me, anyhow? How in
thunder can the Brackenbrush be the worst hotel aud
the best hotel at the same time?" #
"Why, hit's becuz, boss, you see dc Brackeubrul". >
is de only hotel in dc placc, suh." \
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The Enid Daily Eagle. (Enid, Okla.), Vol. 11, No. 71, Ed. 1 Monday, June 17, 1912, newspaper, June 17, 1912; Enid, Oklahoma. (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metapth350678/m1/4/: accessed July 22, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.