Confidence-Man: His Masquerade | Herman Melville | General Fiction, Satire | English | 6/7
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section one of the confidence man his masquerade this is a librivox recording all librivox recordings are in the public domain for more information or to volunteer please visit librivox.org recording by mb the confidence man his Masquerade by Herman Melville chapter 1 a mute goes aboard a boat on the Mississippi at sunrise on a first of april there appeared suddenly as manco capac at the lake titicaca a man in cream colors at the waterside in the city of st. louis his cheek was fair his chin downy his hair flaxen his hat a white fur one with a long fleecy nap he had neither trunk valise carpetbag nor parcel no porter followed him he was unaccompanied by friends from then shrugged shoulders titters whispers wanderings of the crowd it was plain that he was in the extremist sense of the word a stranger in the same moment with his advent he stepped aboard the favorite steamer Fidel on the point of starting for New Orleans stared at but unsuited with the air of one neither courting nor shunning regard but evenly pursuing the path of duty led it through solitude or cities he held on his way along the lower deck until he tends to come to a placard nigh the captain's office offering a reward for the capture of a mysterious impostor supposed to have recently arrived from the East quite an original genius in his vocation as would appear though where in his originality consisted was not clearly given but what purported to be a careful description of his person followed as if it had been a theater bill crowds were gathered about the announcement and among them certain chevaliers whose eyes it was playing on the Capitol's or at least earnestly seeking sight of them from behind intervening coats but as for their fingers they were enveloped in some myth though during a chance interval one of these chevaliers somewhat showed his hand in purchasing from another Chevalier ex-officio a peddler of money belts one of his popular safeguards while another peddler who was still another versatile Chevalier hawked in the thick of the throng the lives of Neeson the Bandit of Ohio Morel the pirate of the Mississippi and the brothers harp the thugs of the green river country in Kentucky creatures with others of the sort one and all exterminated at the time and for the most part like the hunted generations of wolves in the same regions leaving comparatively few successors which would seem cause for unalloyed gradual ation and is such – all except those who think that in new countries where the wolves are killed off the Foxes increase pausing at this spot the stranger so far succeeded in threading his way as at last who planned himself just beside the placard when producing a small slate and tracing some words upon it he held it up before him on a level with the placard so that they who read the one might read the other the words were these charity thinketh no evil as in gaining his place with some little perseverance not to save persistence of a mildly inoffensive sort had been unavoidable it was not with the best relish that the crowd regarded his apparent intrusion and Apollo more attentive survey perceiving no badge of authority about him but rather something quite the contrary he being of an aspect so singularly innocent an aspect to which they took to be somehow inappropriate for the time and place and inclining to the notion that his writing was of much the same sort in short taking him for some strange kind of simpleton harmless enough would he keep to himself but not wholly unab noxious as an intruder they made no scruple to jostle him aside while one less kind than the rest or more of a wag by an unobserved stroke dexterously flattened down his fleecy hat upon his head without readjusting it the stranger quietly turned and writing a new upon the slate again held it up charity suffereth long and is kind illy pleased with his pertinacity as they thought it the crowd a second time thrust him aside and not without epithets and some buffets all of which were unresentful tin adventure wherein one apparently and non-resistant sought to impose his presence upon fighting characters the stranger now moved slowly away yet not before altering his writing to this charity in Europe all things shield like baring his slate before him amid stares and jeers he moved slowly up and down at his turning points again changing his inscription to charity believeth all things and then charity never faileth the word charity as originally traced remained throughout on a faced not unlike the left hand numeral of a printed date otherwise left for convenience in blank to some observers the singularity if not lunacy of the stranger was heightened by his mutinous and perhaps also by the contrast to his proceedings afforded in the actions quite in the won't attend sensible order of things of the barber of the boat whose quarters under a smoking saloon and over against a barroom was next door but to to the captain's office as if the long wide covered deck hereabouts built up on both sides with shop like windowed spaces with some Constantinople arcade or bazaar where more than one trade is plied this river barber aproned and slippered but rather crusty looking for the moment it may be from being newly out of bed was throwing open his premises for the day and suitably arranging the exterior with businesslike dispatch having rattled down his shutters and at a palm-tree angle sat out in the iron fixture his little ornamental pole and this without over much tenderness for the elbows and toes of the crowd he concluded his operations by bidding people stand still more aside when jumping on a stool he hung over his door on the customary nail a gaudy sort of illuminated pasteboard sign skillfully executed by himself guilt with the likeness of a razor elbowed in readiness to shave and also for the public benefit with two words not unfrequently seen ashore gracing other shops besides barbers no trust an inscription which though in a sense not less intrusive than the contrasted ones of the stranger did not as it seemed provoked any corresponding derision or surprise much less indignation and still less to all appearances did it gained for the inscriber the repute of being a simpleton meanwhile he with this slate continued moving slowly up and down not without causing some stairs to change into jeers and some jeers into pushes and some pushes into punches when suddenly in one of his turns he was hailed from behind by two Porter's carrying a large trunk but as the summons though loud was without a fact they accidentally or otherwise swung their burden against him nearly overthrowing him when by a quick start a peculiar inarticulate moan and a pathetic telegraphing of his fingers he involuntarily betrayed that he was not alone dumb but also deaf presently as if not wholly unaffected by his reception thus far he went forward seating himself in a retired spot on the fo'c'sle neither foot of a ladder there leading to the deck above up and down which ladder some of the boatman and discharge of their duties were occasionally going from his be taking himself to this humble quarter it was evident that as a deck passenger the stranger simple though he seemed was not entirely ignorant of place though he's taking the deck passage might have been partly for convenience as from his having no luggage it was probable that his destination was one of the small wayside landings within a few hours sale but though he might not have a long way to go yet he seemed already to have come from a very long distance though neither soiled nor slovenly his cream-colored suit had a tossed look almost linty as if traveling night and day from some far country beyond the prairies he had long been without the solace of a bed his aspect was at once gentle and jaded and from the moment of seating himself increasing in tired abstraction and dreaminess gradually overtaken by slumber his flaxen head drooped his whole lamb-like figure relaxed and half reclining against the latter's foot lay motionless as some sugar snow in March which softly stealing down over night with its white placidity startles the brown farmer peering out from his threshold at daybreak chapter 2 showing that many men have many Minds odd fish poor fellow who can he be kaspar hauser bless my soul uncommon countenance green prophet from Utah humbug singular innocence means something spirit wrapper mooncalf piteous trying to enlist interest beware of him fast asleep here a doubtless pickpockets on board kind of a daylight and Demian escaped convict worn out with dodging Jacob dreaming it lose such the epitaph ik comments conflicting spoken or thought of a miscellaneous company who assembled on the overlooking crosswise balcony at the forward end of the upper deck nearby had not witnessed preceding occurrences meantime like some enchanted man in his grave happily oblivious of all gossip whether chiseled or chatted the deaf and dumb stranger still tranquil he slept while now the boat started on her voyage the great ship canal of thinking ching in the flowery kingdom seems the Mississippian parts we're amply flowing between low vine tangled banks flattest howe paths it bears the huge toppling steamers but dies end and lacquered within like imperial junks pierced along its great white bulk with two tiers of small embrasure like windows well above the waterline the Fadel though might at distance have been taken by strangers for some whitewashed fort on a floating Isle merchants on change seem the passengers that buzzed on her decks while from quarters unseen comes a murmur as of bees in the comb find promenades domed saloons long galleries sunny balconies continental passages bridal chambers staterooms plenty as pigeon holes and out-of-the-way retreats like secret drawers in in escort while present like facilities for publicity or privacy auctioneer or corner with equal ease might somewhere here drive his trade though her voyage of 1,200 miles extends from apple to orange from climb to climb yet like any small ferryboat to right and left at every landing the huge Fidel still receives additional passengers in exchange for those that disembark so that though always full of strangers she continually in some degree adds to or replaces them with strangers still more strange like Rio Janeiro fountain fed from the cocoa valley mountains which is ever overflowing with strange waters but never with the same strange particles in every part though hitherto as has been seen the man in cream colors had by no means passed unobserved yet by stealing into retirement and they're going asleep and continuing so he seemed to have courted oblivion a boon not often withheld from so humble an applicant as he those staring crowds on the shore were now left far behind seen dimly clustering like swallows on eaves while the passengers attention was soon drawn away to the rapidly shooting high Bluffs and short towers on the Missouri Shore or the bluff looking Missourians and towering Kentuckians among the throngs on the decks by and by two or three random stoppages having been made and the last transient memory of the slumbers are vanished and he himself not unlikely waked up and landed ere now the crowd as as usual began in all parts to break up from a concourse into various clusters or squads which in some cases disintegrated again into quartets trios and couples nor even solitaires involuntarily submitting to that natural law which ordains dissolution equally to the mass as in time to the member as among Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims or those oriental ones crossing the Red Sea towards Mecca in the festival month there was no lack of variety natives of all sorts and foreigners men of business and men of pleasure parlour men and backwoodsman farm hunters and fame hunters eris hunters gold hunters buffalo hunters be hunters happiness hunters truth hunters and still keener hunters after all these hunters fine ladies in slippers and moccasin squaws northern speculators and Eastern philosophers English Irish German Scotch Danes Santa Fe traders in striped blankets and Broadway bucks in cravats of cloth of gold fine looking Kentucky boatman and Japanese looking Mississippi cotton planters Quakers in full drab and United States soldiers in full regimentals slaves black mulatto quadroon modest young Spanish Creoles and old-fashioned French Jews Mormons and Papists divas and Lazarus jesters and mourners teetotalers and convivial deacons and blacklegs hard-shelled Baptists and clatters grinning negroes and Sioux chiefs solemn as high priests in short a piebald Parliament and a locker secludes Congress of all kinds of that multiform pilgrim species man as pine beach birch ash hackman tack hemlock spruce bass wood maple interweave their foliage in the natural wood so these mortals blended their varieties of visit and garb a Tartar like picturesqueness a sort of pagan abandonment and assurance he arraigned the dashing and all fusing spirit of the West whose type is the Mississippi itself which uniting the streams of the most distant and opposite zones pours them along helter skelter in one cosmopolitan and confident tide end of section 1 section 2 of the confidence man this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Mb the confidence man his masquerade by Herman Melville chapter 3 in which a variety of characters appear in the forward part of the boat not the least attractive object for a time was a grotesque Negro crippled in tow cloth attire and an old coal sifter of a tambourine in his hand who owing to something wrong about his legs was in effect cut down to the stature of a Newfoundland dog his knotted black fleece and good-natured honest black face rubbing against the upper part of people's thighs as he made shift to shuffle about making music such as it was and raising a smile even from the gravest it was curious to see him out of his very deformity indigence and house lessness so cheerily endured raising mirth in some of that crowd whose own purses hearth starts all their possessions sound limbs included could not make gay what is your name old boy set a purple faced drover putting his large purple hand on the cripples bushy wool as if it were the curled forehead of a black steer to black Guinea they calls me saw and who's your master Guinea Oh sour I'm too dog without massa free dog a well on your account I'm sorry for that Guinea dogs without masters fare hard so they do sir so they do but you see sir these your legs what German want to own DS here legs but where do you live all long shorts are don't now I was going to see brother at the landing but chiefly I lives in the city save Luisa where do you sleep there up nights on the floor of the good baker's oven sir in an oven whose prey what Baker I should like to know big such black bread in his oven alongside of his nice white rolls – who is that – charitable Baker pray dar he be with a broad grin lifting his tambourine high over his head the Sun is the bakery yes sir in the city a good Baker warms two stones for this old darky when he sleeps out on the pavements a nights but that must be in the summer only old boy how about winter when the cold Cossacks come clattering and jingling how about winter old boy then this poor old darky shakes very bad I tell you sir Oh sorrow don't speak of the winter he added with a reminiscent shiver shuffling off into the thickest of the crowd like a half frozen black sheep nudging itself a cozy birth in the heart of the white flock thus far not very many pennies had been given him and used at last to his strange looks the less polite passengers of those in that part of the boat began to get their fill of him as a curious object when suddenly the Negro more than revived their first interest by an expedient which whether by chance or design was a singular temptation at once to diversion and charity though even more than his crippled glimpse it put him on a keen iron footing in short as in appearance he seemed a dog so now in a merry way like a dog he began to be treated still shuffling among the crowd now and then he would pause throwing back his head and opening his mouth like an elephant for tossed apples at a menagerie when making a space before him people would have about at a strange sort of pitch penny game the cripples mouths being at once target and purse and he hailing each expertly caught copper with a cracked bravura from his tambourine to be the subject of alms giving his trying and to feel in duty bound to appear cheerfully grateful under the trial must be still more so but whatever his secret emotions he swallowed them while still retaining each copper this side the esophagus and nearly always he grinned and only once or twice did he wince which was when certain coins tossed by more playful Alma nurse came in conveniently nigh to his teeth an accident whose unwelcome Nastase thus thrown proved buttons while this game of charity was yet at its height a limping gimlet-eyed sour-faced person it may be some discharged custom-house officer who suddenly stripped of convenient means of support had concluded to be avenged on government and humanity by making himself miserable for life either by hating or suspecting everything and everybody this shallow unfortunate after sundry story observations of the negro began to croak out something about his deformity being a sham got up for financial purposes which immediately we through adapt upon the frolic benignity z' of the pitch penny players but that these suspicions came from one who himself on a wooden leg went halt this did not appear to strike anybody present that cripples above all men should be companionable or at least refrain from picking a fellow limb / to pieces in short should have a little sympathy and common misfortune seemed not to occur to the company meantime the Negroes countenance before marked with even more than patient good nature drooped into a heavy hearted expression full of the most painful distress so far a based beneath its proper physical level that Newfoundland dog face turned in passively hopeless appeal as if instinct told it that the right or the wrong might not have over much to do with whatever wayward mood superior intelligences might yield to but instant though knowing is yet a teacher set below reason which itself says in the grave words of Lysander in the comedy after puck has made a sage of him with his spell the will of man is by his reason swayed so that suddenly change as people may in their dispositions it is not always waywardness but improved judgment which as in lie Sanders case or the present operates with them yes they began to scrutinize the Negro curiously enough when emboldened by this evidence of the efficacy of his words the wooden-legged man hobbled up to the Negro and with the air of a Beadle would to prove his alleged impostor on the spot have stripped him and then driven him away but was prevented by the crowds clamor now taking part with the poor fellow against one who had just before turned nearly all Minds the other way so he with the wooden leg was forced to retire when the rest finding themselves left sole judges in the case could not resist the opportunity of acting the part not because it is a human weakness to take pleasure in sitting in judgment upon one in a bar as surely this unfortunate negro now was but that it strangely sharpens human perceptions when instead of standing by and having their fellow feelings touched by the sight of an alleged culprit severely handled by someone justice sherry a crowd suddenly come to be all justiciaries in the same case themselves as in Arkansas once a man proved guilty by law of murder but whose condemnation was deemed unjust by the people so that they rescued him to try him themselves whereupon they as it turned out found him even guilty er than the court had done and forthwith proceeded to execution so that the gallows presented the truly warning spectacle of a man hanged by his friends but not to such extremities or anything like them did the present crowd come they for the time being content with putting the negro fairly and discretely to the question among other things asking him had he any documentary proof any plain paper about him attesting that his case was not a spurious one no no this poor old darky ain't none of them liable papers he wailed but is there not someone who can speak a good word for you here said a person newly arrived from another part of the boat a young Episcopal clergyman in a long straight body black coat small in stature but manly with a clear face and blue eye innocence tenderness and good sense triumvirate in his air oh yes oh yes gentlemen he a girl I answered as if his memory before suddenly frozen up by cold charity as suddenly thought back into fluidity at the first kindly word oh yes oh yes there is a board here a very nice good gentleman with a weed and a German in a gray coat and white tie what knows all about me and a gentleman with a big book too and the yard doctor and a German in a yellow vest and had German with a brass plate and a gentleman in a while at rope and a gentleman as is a soldier and ever so many good kind honest gentleman more aboard what no whose being will speak for me gob wrestle yes and what knows me as well as this poor old dark he knows his self god bless him who find him find him he earnestly at it and let him come quick and show you all German that this poor old donkey is very well worthy of all you can gentleman's kind confidence but how are we to find all these people in this great crowd was the question of a bystander umbrella in hand a middle-aged person a country merchant apparently whose natural good feeling had been made at least cautious by the unnatural ill feeling of the discharged custom-house officer where are we to find them half rebuked fully echoed the young Episcopal clergyman I will go find one to begin with he quickly added and with kind haste suiting the action to the word away he went wild goose chase croaked he with the wooden leg now again drawing nigh don't believe there's a soul of them aboard did ever beggar have such heaps of fine friends he can walk fast enough when he tries a good deal faster than I but he can lie yet faster he's some white operator between and painted up for a decoy he and his friends are all humbugs have you no charity friend here in soft subdued tones singularly contrasted with his unsubdued person said a Methodist minister advancing a tall muscular marshal looking man a tennessean by birth who in the Mexican War had been volunteered chaplain to a volunteer rifle regiment charity is one thing and truth is another rejoined he with the wooden leg he's a rascal I say but why not friend put as charitable construction as one can upon the poor fellow said the soldier like Methodists with increased difficulty maintaining a Pacific demeanor towards one whose own asperity seemed so little to entitle him to it he looks honest doesn't he looks are one thing in facts are another snapped out the other perversely and as your constructions what construction can you put upon a rascal but then a rascal he is be not such a Canada thistle urged the Methodists with something less of patience than before charity man charity to where it belongs with your charities heaven with it again snapped out the other diabolically here on earth true charity dotes and false charity plots who betrays a fool with a kiss the charitable fool has the charity to believe is in love with him and the charitable knave on the stand gives charitable testimony for his comrade in the box surely friend returned the noble Methodist with much ado restraining his still waxing indignation surely to say the least you forget yourself apply at home he continued with exterior calmness tremulous with in-depth emotion suppose now I should exercise no charity and judging your own character by the words which have fallen from you what sort of wild pitiless man do you think I would take you for no doubt with a grin some such pitiless man as has lost his piety in much the same way that jockey loses his honesty and how is that friend still conscientiously holding back the old Adam II in him as if it were a mastiff he had by the neck never you mind how much it is with a sneer but all horses ain't virtuous no more than all mankind and come close to and much doubt where some things are catching when you find me a virtuous jockey I will find you a benevolent wise man some insinuation there more fool that you are puzzled by it reprobate cried the other his indignation now at last almost boiling over godless reprobate if charity did not restrain me I could call you by names you deserve could you indeed with an insolent sneer yes and teach you charity on the spot cried the girl Methodist suddenly catching his exasperated opponent by his shabby coat collar and shaking him to whose timber toe clattered on the deck like a 9-pin you took me for a noncombatant did you though seedy coward that you are you could abuse a Christian with impunity you find your mistake with another hearty shake well said and better done church militant cried a voice the white crevasse against the world cried another Bravo Bravo cursed many voices with like enthusiasm taking sides with the resolute champion you fools cried he with the wooden leg writhing himself loose and inflamable turning upon the throng you flock of fools under this captain of fools in this ship of fools with which exclamations followed by idle threats against his head monitor this condign victim to justice hobbled away as disdaining to hold further argument with such a rabble but his scorn was more than repaid by the hisses that chased him in which the brave Methodists satisfied with the rebuke already administered was too immense still better reasons to magnanimous to join all he said was pointing towards the departing recusant there he shambled off on his one lone leg emblematic of his one-sided view of humanity but trust your painted decoy retorted the other from a distance pointing back to the black cripple and I have my revenge but we ain't going to trust him shouted back a voice so much the better he jeered back look you he added coming to a dead halt where he was look you I have been called a Canada thistle very good and a seedy one still better and the shady Canada thistle has been pretty well shaken among ye best of all daresay some seed has been shaken out and won't in spring go and when it does spring do you cut down the young fizzle and won't they spring them more it's encouraging and coaxing them now when with my thistles your farms shall be well stocked why then you may have banded him what does all that mean now ask the country merchants staring noting the foiled Wolf's parting howl said the Methodists spleen much spleen which is the rickety table of his evil heart of unbelief it has made him mad I suspect him for one naturally reprobate Oh friends raising his arms as in the pulpit Oh beloved how we are admonished by the melancholy spectacle of this raver let us profit by the lessened and is it not this that if next to miss trusting Providence there be arts that man should pray against it is Miss trusting his fellow man I have been in mad houses full of tragic mo pers and seen there the end of suspicions the cynic in the moody madness muttering in the corner four years of barren fixture their head lopped over gnawing his own lip vulture of himself while by fits and starts from the corner opposite came the grimace of the idiot at him what an example whispered one might deter Timon was the response oh oh good gentlemen have you no confidence in this poor old darky now wailed the returning Negro who during the late scene had stopped a part in alarm confidence in you echoed he who had whispered with abruptly changed ere turning short round that remains to be seen I tell you what it is ebony in similarly changed tones said he who had responded to the Whisperer yonder chiral pointing toward the wooden leg in the distance is no doubt a true leash fellow enough and I would not wish to be like him but that is no reason why you may not be some sort of black Jeremy diddler no confidence in this poor old darky den before giving you our confidence set a third we will wait the report of the con gentleman who went in search of one of your friends who was to speak for you very likely in that case set a forth we shall wait here till Christmas shouldn't wonder did we not see that kind gentleman again after seeking awhile in vain he will conclude he has been made a fool of and so not return to us for pure shame fact is I began to feel a little qualms about the donkey myself something queer about this dark II depend upon it once more the Negro wailed and turning despair from the last speaker imploring Li caught the Methodists by the skirt of his coat but a change had come over that before impassioned intercessor within the irresolute and troubled air he mutely eyed the suppliant against whom somehow by what seemed instinctive influences the distrusts first set on foot were now generally reviving and if anything with added severity no confidence in this poor old darky yet again wailed the Negroes letting go the coat skirts and turning appealingly all round him yes my poor fellow I have confidence in you now exclaimed the country merchant before named whom the Negroes appeal coming so hideously on the heel of pitiless nests seemed at last humanely to have decided in his favour and here here is some proof of my trust with which tucking his umbrella under his arm and diving down his hand into his pocket he fished forth a purse and accidentally along with it his business card which unobserved dropped to the deck here here my poor fellow he continued extending a half-dollar not more grateful for the coin than the kindness the cripples face glowed like a polished copper saucepan and shuffling a pace Nayar with one up stretched hand he received the arms while as unconsciously his one advanced leather stub covered the card done in despite of the general sentiment the good deed of the merchant was not perhaps without its unwelcome return from the crowd since that good deed seemed somehow to convey to them a sort of reproach still again and more pertinacious Lee than ever the cry arose against the Negro and still again he wailed forth his lament and appeal among other things repeating that the Friends of whom already he had partially run off the list would freely speak for him would anybody go find them why don't you go yourself demanded a gruff boatman how could I go find it myself this poor old game legged darkies friends must come to him Oh war where is that good friend at his darkies dead good man with a weed at this point a steward ringing a bell came along summoning all persons who had not got their tickets to step up to the captain's office an announcement which speedily thinned the throng about the black cripple who himself soon forlornly stopped out of sight probably on much the same errand as the rest chapter 4 renewal of old acquaintance how do you do mr. Roberts hey don't you know me no certainly the crowd about the captain's office having in good time melted away the above encounter took place in one of the side balconies astern between a man in mourning clean and respectable but none of the glossiest along we'd on his hat and the country merchants before mentioned whom with the familiarity of an old acquaintance the former had accosted is it possible my dear sir resumed he with the weed that you do not recall my countenance why yours I recall distinctly as if but half an hour instead of half an age had passed since I saw you don't you recall me now look harder my conscience truly I protest honestly bewildered bless my soul sir I don't know you really really but but stay stay he hurriedly added not without gratification glancing up at the creep on the strangers hat stay yes seems to me though I have not the pleasure of personally knowing you yet I am pretty sure I have at least heard of you and recently do quite recently a poor Negro aboard here referred to you among others for a character I think oh the crippled poor fellow I know well they found me I have said all I could for him I think I abated their distrust would I could have been of more substantial service and I proposed sir he added now that it strikes me allow me to ask whether the circumstance of one man however humble referring for a character to another man however afflicted does not argue more or less of moral worth in the latter the good merchant looked puzzled still you don't recall my countenance still those truth can probably do to say that I cannot despite my best efforts was the reluctantly candid reply can I be so changed look at me or is it I who I mistaken are you not Sir Henry Roberts forwarding merchant of Wheeling Pennsylvania pray now if you use the advertisement of business cards and happen to have one with you just look at it and see whether you are not the man I take you for why a bit chafed perhaps I hope I know myself and yet self-knowledge is thought by some not so easy who knows my dear sir but for a time you may have taken yourself for somebody else stranger things have happened the good merchant stared to come to particulars My dear sir I met you now some six years back brave brothers in company's office I think I was traveling for a Philadelphia house the senior braid introduced us you remember some business chat followed then you forced me home with you to a family tea and the family time we had have you forgotten about the urn and what I said about Vera Charlotte and the bread and butter and that capital story you told me of the large loaf a hundred times since I've laughed over it at least you must recall my name ringman John ringman large loaf invited you to tea ring ring ring ring ah sir sadly smiling don't ring the changes that way I see you have a faithless memory mr. Robert but trust in the faithfulness of mine well to tell the truth in some things my memory ain't of the very best was the honest rejoinder but still he perplexedly added still I owe sir suffice it that it is as I say don't not that we are well acquainted but but I don't like this going dead against my own memory i but did you admit my dear sir that in some things this memory of yours is a little faithless now those who have faithless memories should they not have some little confidence in the less faithless memories of others but of this friendly chat and tea I have not the slightest I see I see quite erased from the tablet pray sir with a sudden illumination about six years back did it happen to you to receive any injury on the head surprising effects have arisen from such a cause not alone unconsciousness as to events for a greater or less time immediately subsequent to the injury but likewise strange to add oblivion and tyre and incurable as to events embracing a longer or shorter period immediately preceding it that is when the mind at the time was perfectly sensible of them and fully comprehend also to register in the memory and did in fact do so but all in vain for all was afterwards bruised out by the injury after the first start the merchant listened with what appeared more than ordinary interest the other proceeded in my boyhood I was kicked by a horse and lay insensible for a long time upon recovering what a blank no faintest trace in regard to how I had come near the horse or what horse it was or where it was or that it was a horse at all that had brought me to that pass for the knowledge of these particulars I am indebted solely to my friends in whose statements I did not say I place implicit reliance since particulars of some sort there must have been and why should they deceive me you see sir the mind is ductile very much so but images ductile II received into it need a certain time to harden and bake in their impressions otherwise such a casualties I speak of will in an instant obliterate them as though they had never been we are but clay sir potter's clay as the Good Book says clay feeble and too yielding clay but I will not philosophize tell me was it your misfortune to receive any concussion upon the brain about the period I speak up if so I will with pleasure supply the void in your memory by more minutely rehearsing the circumstances of our acquaintance the growing interest betrayed by the merchant had not relaxed as the other proceeded after some hesitation indeed something more than hesitation he confessed that though he had never received any injury of the sort named yet about the time in question he had in fact been taken with a brain fever losing his mind completely for a considerable interval he was continuing when the stranger with much animation exclaimed there enough you see I was not wholly mistaken that brain fever accounts for at all today but pardon me mr. Roberts respectfully interrupting him but time is short and I have something private and particular to say to you allow me mr. Roberts man could black we s and the to having silently walked to a less public spot the manner of the man with the we'd suddenly assumed as seriousness almost painful what might be called a writhing expression stole over him he seemed struggling with some disastrous necessity in kept he made one or two attempts to speak but words seemed to choke him his companion stood in humane surprise wondering what was to come at length with an effort mastering his feelings in a tolerably composed tone he spoke if I remember you are a Mason mr. Robert yes yes averting himself a moment as to recover from a return of agitation the stranger grasped the others hand and would you not loan a brother a shilling if he needed it the merchant started apparently almost as if to retreat ah mr. Roberts I trust you are not one of those businessmen who make a business of never having to do with unfortunates for God's sake don't leave me I have something on my heart on my heart under deplorable circumstances thrown among strangers that are strangers I want a friend in whom I may confide yours mr. Roberts is almost the first known face I've seen for many weeks it was so sudden an outburst the interview offered such a contrast to the scene around that the merchant though not used to be very indiscreet yet being not entirely inhumane remained not entirely unmoved the other still tremulous resumed I need not say sir how it cuts me to the soul to follow up a social salutation with such words as have just been mine I know that I jeopardize your good opinion but I can't help it necessity knows no law and heeds no risk sir we are Masons one more step aside I will tell you my story in a low half-suppressed tone he began it judging from his auditors expression it seemed to be a tale of singular interest involving calamities against which no integrity no forethought no energy no genius no piety could guard at every disclosure the heroes commiseration increased no sentimental pity as the story went on he drew from his wallet a banknote but after a while with some still more unhappy revelation changed it for another probably of a somewhat larger amount which when the story was concluded with an air studiously described a Tory of almsgiving he put into the strangers hands who on his side with an air studiously describe a Tory of alms taking put it into his pocket assistance being received the stranger's manner assume declined and degree of decorum which under the circumstances seemed almost coldness after some words not over ardent and yet not exactly inappropriate he took leave making a bow which had one knows not what of a certain chastened independence about it as if misery however burdensome could not break down self-respect nor gratitude however deep humiliated gentleman he was hardly yet heard of sight when he paused as if thinking then with hastened steps returning to the merchant I am just reminded that the president who is also transfer agent of the black Rapids coal company happens to be on board here and having been subpoenaed as witness in a stock case on the docket in Kentucky has his transfer book with him among stints in a panic contrived by artful alarmists some credulous stockholders sold out but to frustrate the aim of the alarmists the company previously advised of their scheme so managed it as to get into its own hands those sacrificed chairs resolved that since a spurious panic must be the panic makers should be no gainers by it the company I hear is now ready but not anxious to read esposa Bush and having obtained them at their depressed value will now sell them at par though prior to the panic they were held at a handsome figure above that the readiness of the company to do this is not generally known is shown by the fact that the stock still stands on the transfer book in the company's name offering to one in funds a rare chance for investment for the panic subsiding more and more every day it will daily be seen how it originated confidence will be more than restored there will be a reaction from the stocks descent its rise will be higher than from no fall the holders trusting themselves to fear no second fate having listened at first with curiosity at last with interest the merchant replied to the fact that sometimes since through friends concerned with it he had heard of the company and heard well a bit but was ignorant that there had latterly been fluctuations he added that he was no speculator that hitherto he had avoided having to do with stocks of any sort but in the present case he really felt something like being tempted prey in conclusion do you think that upon a pinch anything could be transacted on board here with the transfer agent are you acquainted with him not personally but I happen to hear that he was a passenger for the rest though it might be somewhat informal the gentlemen might not object to doing a little business on board along the Mississippi you know business is not so ceremonious as at the East true returned the merchant and looked down a moment in thought then raising his head quickly he said in a tone not so benign as his wanted one this would seem a rare chance indeed why upon first hearing it did you not snatch at it I I mean for yourself I would have had been possible not without some motion was this said and not without some embarrassment was the reply ah yes I had forgotten upon this the stranger regarded him with mild gravity not a little disconcerting the more so as there was in it what seemed the aspect not alone of the superior but as it were through buker which sort of bearing in a beneficiary towards his benefactor looked strangely enough nonetheless that somehow it's sad not altogether unbecomingly upon the beneficiary being free from anything like the appearance of assumption and mixed with the kind of painful conscientiousness as though nothing but a proper sense of what he owed to himself swayed him at length he spoke to reproach a penniless man with remissness in not availing himself of an opportunity for pecuniary investment but no no it was forgetfulness and this charity will impute to some lingering effect of that unfortunate brain fever which as to occurrence is dating yet further back disturbed mr. Robertson's memory still more seriously as to that said the merchant rallying I am NOT part of me you must admit that just now and unpleasant distrust however vague was yours ah shallow as it is yet how subtle a thing is suspicion which at times can invade the humanist of hearts and wisest of heads but enough my object sir in calling your attention to this stock is my rare acknowledgment of your goodness I seek but to be grateful if my information leads to nothing you must remember the motive he bowed and finally retired leaving mr. Roberts not wholly without self reproach for having momentarily indulged injurious thoughts against one who it was evident was possessed of a self-respect which for bad his indulging them himself end of section two section three of the confidence man this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Mb the confidence man he is masquerade by Herman Melville chapter five the man with the weed makes it an even question whether he be a great sage or a great simpleton well there is sorrow in the world but goodness to and goodness that is not green this either no more than sorrow is dear good man poor beating heart it was the man with the weed not very long after quitting the merchant murmuring to himself with his hand to his side like one with the heart disease meditation / kindness received seemed to have softened him something to it maybe beyond what might perhaps have been looked for from one whose unwanted self-respect in the hour of need and in the act of being aided might have appeared to some not wholly unlike Pride out of place and pride in any place is seldom very feeling but the truth perhaps is that those who are least touched with that vise besides being not unsusceptible to goodness are sometimes the ones whom are ruling sense of propriety makes appear cold if not thank lists under a favor for at such a time to be full of warm earnest words and heartfelt protestations is to create a scene and well-bred people dislike few things more than that which would seem to look as if the world did not relish earnestness but not so because the world being earnest itself likes an earnest scene and an earnest man very well but only in their place the stage see what sad work they make of it who ignorant of this flame out in Irish enthusiasm and with Irish sincerity to a benefactor who if a man of sense and respectability as well as kind leanness can but be more or less annoyed by and if other nervously fastidious nature as some are may be led to think almost as much less favorably of the beneficiary painting him by his gratitude as if he had been guilty of its contrary instead only of an indiscretion but beneficiaries who know better though they may feel as much if not more neither inflicts such pain nor are inclined to run any risk of doing so and these being wise are the majority by which one sees how inconsiderate those persons are who from the absence of its officious manifestations in the world complain that there is not much gratitude extant when the truth is that there is as much of it as there is of modesty but both being for the most part vote wrists of the shade for the most part keep out of sight what started this was to account if necessary for the changed air of the man with the weed who throwing off in private the cold garb of decorum and so giving warmly loose to his genuine heart seemed almost transformed into another being this subdued air of softness too was toned with melancholy melancholy unreserved a thing which however at variance with propriety still the more attested his earnestness for one knows not how it is but it sometimes happens that where earnestness is there also is melancholy at the time he was leaning over the rail at the boats side in his pensive nough son mindful of another pensive figure near a young gentleman with a swan neck wearing a ladylike open shirt collar thrown back and tied with a blue ribbon from a square tablet lead broach curiously engraved with Greek characters he seemed a collegian not improbably a sophomore on his travels possibly his first a small book bound in roman vellum was in his hand over hearing his murmuring neighbor the youth regarded him with some surprise not to say interest but singularly for a collegian being apparently of a retiring nature he did not speak when the other still more increased his diffidence by changing from soliloquy to colloquy in a manner strangely mixed of familiarity and pathos ah who is this you did not hear me my young friend did you why you two looks at my melancholy is not catching sir sir stammered the other pray now with the sort of sociable sorrow fulness slowly sliding along the rail pray now my young friend what volume have you there give me leave gently drawing it from him Tacitus then opening in at random red in general a black and shameful period lies before me do young sir touching his arm alarmingly don't read this book it is poison moral poison even were there truth in Tacitus such truth would have the operation of falsity and so still be poison moral poison too well I know this Tacitus in my college days he came near souring me into cynicism yes I began to turn down my collar and go about with the disdainfully joyless expression sir sir I I trust me now young friend perhaps you think that Tacitus like me is only melancholy but he's more he's ugly a vast difference young sir between the melancholy view and the ugly the one may show the world still beautiful not so the other the one may be compatible with benevolence the other not the one made deep in insight the other shallows it dropped Tacitus phrenologically my young friend you would seem to have a well-developed head and large but cribbed within the ugly view the Tacitus view your large brain like your large ox in the contracted field will but starve the more and don't dream as some of you students may that by taking this same ugly view that deeper meanings of the deeper books will so alone become revealed to you drop Tacitus his subtlety is falsity to him in his double refined anatomy of human nature as well applied the scripture saying there is a subtle man and the same is deceived drop Tacitus come now let me throw the book overboard sir sir aye-aye not a word I know just what is in your mind and that is just what I am speaking to yes learn from me that though the sorrows of the world are great it's a wickedness that is its ugliness is small much caused a pity man little to distrust him I myself have known adversity and know it still but for that do I turn cynic no no it is small beer that sours to my fellow-creatures I owe alleviation so whatever I may have undergone but deepens my confidence in my kind now then winningly this book will you let me drown it for you really sir I know I see I see but of course you read Tacitus in order to aid your understanding human nature as if truth was ever got at by libel my young friend if to know human nature is your object drop Tacitus and go north to the cemeteries of Auburn and Greenwood upon my word aye aye nay I foresee all that but you carry Tacitus that's shallow Tacitus what do I carry see producing a pocket volume ache inside his pleasures of imagination one of these days you will know it whatever are lost we should read serene and cheery books fitted to inspire love and trust but satis I have long mean of opinion that these classics are the bane of colleges for not a hint of the immorality of Ovid Horace and a Creon and the rest the dangerous theology of Aeschylus and others where will one find views so injurious to human nature as and lucidity 'he's juvenile Lucian but more particularly Tacitus when I consider that ever since the revival of learning these classics have been the favourites of successive generations of students and studious men I tremble to think of that mass of unsuspected heresy on every vital topic which for centuries must have simmered Unser mised in the heart of Christendom but Tacitus he is the most extraordinary example of a heretic not one iota of confidence in his kind what a mockery that such an one should be reputed wise and Thucydides esteemed the statesman's manual but Tacitus I hate Tacitus not though I trust with the hate that sins but a righteous hate without confidence himself Tacitus destroys it in all his readers destroys confluence paternal confidence of which God knows that there is in this world none to spare for comparatively inexperienced as you are my dear young friend did you never observe how little very little confidence there is I mean between man and man most particularly between stranger and stranger in a sad world it is the saddest fact confidence I have sometimes almost thought that confidence is flat that confidence is the new Austria emigrated vanished gone then softly sliding nearer with the softest air quivering down and looking up could you now my dear young sir under such circumstances by way of experiment but simply have confidence in me from the outset the sophomore as has been seen had struggled with an ever-increasing embarrassment arising perhaps from such strange remarks coming from a stranger such persistent and prolonged remarks to in vain had he more than once sought to break the spell by venturing a deprecatory or leave-taking word in vain somehow the stranger fascinated him little wonder then that when the appeal came he could hardly speak but as before intimated being apparently of a retiring nature abruptly retired from the spa leaving the chagrin stranger to wander away in the opposite direction chapter six at the outset of which certain passengers prove death to the call of charity you fish who I will the captain's suffer these begging fellows on board these pettish words will breathe by a well-to-do gentleman in a ruby colored velvet vest and with a ruby colored cheek a ruby colored cane in his hand to a man in a gray coat and white tie who shortly after the interview last described had accosted him for contributions to a widow and orphan asylum recently found it among the Seminoles upon a cursory view this last person might have seemed like the man with the weed one of the less unrefined children of misfortune but on a closer observation his countenance revealed little of sorrow though much of sanctity with added words of touchy disgust the well-to-do gentleman hurried away but the repulsed and rudely the man in gray did not reproach for a time patiently remaining in the chilly loneliness to which he had been left his countenance however not without token of latent though chastened reliance than old gentlemen somewhat bulky drew nigh and from him also a contribution was sought look you coming to a dead halt and scowling upon him look you swelling his bulk out before him like a swaying balloon look you you are others behalf ask for money you a fellow with the face as long as my arm harkee now there is such a thing as gravity and in condemned felons it may be genuine but of long faces there are three sorts that of griefs Drudge that of the lantern-jawed man and that of the imposter you know best which yours is heaven give you more charity sir and you less hypocrisy sir with which words the hard-hearted old gentleman marched off while the other still stood for Lorne the young clergyman before introduced passing that way catching a chance sight of him seemed suddenly struck by some recollection and after a moment's pause hurried up with your pardon but shortly since I was all over looking for you for me as marveling that one of so little account should be soft for yes for you do you know anything about the Negro apparently a cripple abhorred here is he or is he not what he seems to be aa poor Guinea have you two been distrusted you upon whom Nature has placarded the evidence of your claims then you really do know him and he is quite worthy it relieves me to hear it much relieves me come let us go find him and see what can be done another instance that confidence may come too late I am sorry to say that at the last landing I myself and just happening to catch sight of him on the gangway plank assisted the cripple ashore no time to talk only to help he may not have told you but he has a brother in that vicinity really I regret his going without my seeing him again regret it more perhaps than you can readily think you see shortly after leaving st. Louis he was on the fo'c'sle on there with many others I saw him and put trust in him so much so that to convince those who did not I at his entreaty went in search of you you being one of several individuals he mentioned and whose personal appearance he more or less described individuals who he said would willingly speak for him but after diligent search not finding you and catching no glimpse of any of the others he had enumerated doubts where it last suggested but doubts indirectly originating as I can but think from prior distrust unfeelingly proclaimed by another still certainly it is I began to suspect hahaha I sort of laughed more like a groan than a laugh and yet somehow it seemed intended for a laugh both turned and the young clergyman stared at seeing the wooden-legged man close behind him morosely grave as a criminal judge with a mustard plaster on his back in the present case the mustard plaster might have been the memory of certain recent biting rebuffs and mortifications wouldn't think it was I who laughed would you but who was it you laughed at or rather tried to laugh at demanded the young clergyman flushing me neither you nor anyone within a thousand miles of you but perhaps you don't believe it if he were of a suspicious temper he might not interpose the man in gray calmly it is one of the imbecilities of the suspicious person to fancy that every stranger however absent-minded he sees so much as smiling or gesturing to himself in any odd sort of way is secretly making him his but in some moods the movement of an entire Street as suspicious man walks down it will seem an Express pantomime ik jeer at him in short the suspicious man kicks himself with his own foot whoever can do that ten-to-one he saves other folks so leather said the wooden-legged man with a crusty attempt at humor but we thought mented grin and squirm turning directly upon the young clergyman you still think it was you I was laughing at just now to prove your mistake I will tell you what I was laughing at a story I happened to call to mind just then whereupon in his Porcupine way and with sarcastic details unpleasant to repeat he related a story which might perhaps in a good-natured version be rendered as follows a certain Frenchman of New Orleans an old man less slender in purse than limb happening to attend the theatre one evening was so charmed with the character of a faithful wife as there represented to the life that nothing would do but that he must marry upon it so marry he did a beautiful girl from Tennessee who had first attracted his attention by her liberal mould and was subsequently recommended to him through her kin for her equally liberal education and disposition though large the praise proved not too much for air long rumor more than corroborated it by whispering that the lady was liberal to a fault but though various circumstances which by most Benedict's would have been deemed all but conclusive were duly recited to the old Frenchman by his friends yet such was his confidence that not a syllable would be credit till chanting one night to return unexpectedly from a journey upon entering his apartment a stranger burst from the alcove big gar cried he now I begin to suspect his story told the wooden-legged man threw back his head and gave vent to a long gasping rasping sort of taunting cry intolerable as that of a high-pressure Engine jeering off and that done with apparent satisfaction hobbled away who is that scoffer said the man in gray not without warmth who is he who even were truth on his tongue his way of speaking it would make truth almost offensive his falsehood who is he he who I mentioned to you is having boasted his suspicions of the Negro replied the young clergyman recovering from disturbance in short the prison whom I ascribed the origin of my own distrust he maintained that Guinea was some white scoundrel but twisted and painted up for a decoy yes those were his very words I think he impossible he could not be so wrongheaded pray will you call him back and let me ask him if he were really in earnest the other complied and at length after no few surly objections prevailed upon the one-legged individual to return for a moment upon which the man in gray thus addressed him this Reverend gentleman tells me sir that a certain cripple a poor Negro is by you considered an ingenious impostor now I am NOT unaware that there are some persons in this world who aren't able to give better proof of being wise take a strange delight in showing what they think they have sagaciously read and mankind by Uncharted suspicions of them I hope you are not one of these in short would you tell me now whether you were not merely joking in the notion you threw out about the negro would you be so kind no I won't be so kind I'll be so cruel as you please about that well he's just what I said he was a white masquerading as a black exactly the man in gray glanced at the young clergyman a moment then quietly whispered to him I thought you represented your friend here is a very distrustful sort of person but he appears in dude with a singular credulity tell me sir do you really think that a white could look the Negro so for one I should call it pretty good acting not much better than any other man acts how does all the world that have I for instance an actor is my Reverend friend here too a performer yes don't you both perform acts to do is do act so all doers are actors new trifle I ask again if a white how could he look the Negro so never saw the Negro minstrels I suppose yes but they are apt to overdo the ebony exemplifying the old saying not more just than charitable that the devil is never so black as he is painted but his limbs if not a cripple how could he twists his limbs so how do other hypocritical beggars twist there's easy enough to see how they are hoisted up the Sham is evident meant to the discerning eye with a horrible screw of his gimlet one well where is Guinea said the man in grey wearing is he what is it once find him and refute beyond cavil this injurious hypothesis do so cried the one-eyed man I'm just in the humor now for having him found and leaving the streaks of these fingers on his paint as the lion leaves the streaks of his nails on a Khafre they wouldn't let me touch him before yes find him I'll make wool fly and him after you forget here said the young clergyman to the man in gray that yourself helped poor Guinea ashore so I did so I did how unfortunate but look now to the other I think that without personal proof I can convince you of your mistake for I put it to you is it reasonable to suppose that a man with brains sufficient act such a part as you say would take all that trouble and run all that hazard for the mere sake of those few paltry coppers which I here was all he got for his pains if pains they that puts the case irrefutably said the young clergyman with a challenging glance towards the one-legged man you two greenhorns money you think is the sole motive to pains and hazard deception and devilry in this world how much money did the devil make by guiley Eve whereupon he hobbled off again with a repetition of his intolerable cheer the man in gray stood silently eyeing his retreat for a while and then turning to his companion said a bad man a dangerous man a man to be put down in any Christian community and this was he who was the means of begetting your distrust ha we should shut our ears to distrust and keep them open only for its opposite you advance a principle which if I had acted upon it this morning I should have spared myself what I now feel that but one man and he with one leg should have such ill power given him this once our word leavening into congenial sourness as to my knowledge it did the dispositions before sweet enough of a numerous company but as I hinted with me at the time his old words went for nothing the same is now only afterwards they had effect and I confess this puzzles me it should not with humane minds the spirit of distrust works something as certain potions do it is a spirit which may enter in such minds and yet for a time longer or shorter lie in them quiescent but only the more deplorable in its ultimate activity an uncomfortable solution for since that baneful man did but just now a new drop on me his bane how shall I be sure that my present exemption from its effects will be lasting you cannot be sure but you can strive against it how by strangling the least symptom of distrust of any sort which hereafter upon whatever profit may arise in you now I will do so then added as in soliloquy indeed indeed I was to blame and standing passive under such influences there's that one-legged man's my conscience upbraids me the poor negro you see him occasionally perhaps no not often though in a few days as it happens my engagements will call me out to the neighborhood of his present retreat and no doubt honest Guinea who is a grateful soul will come to see me there then you have been his benefactor his benefactor I did not say that I have known him take this might hand it to Guinea when you see him say it comes from one who has full belief in his honesty and is sincerely sorry for having indulged however transiently in a contrary thought I accept the trust and by the way since you are of this truly charitable nature you will not turn away and appeal in behalf of the seminal widow and orphan asylum I have not heard of that charity but recently found it after a pause the clergyman was irresolute ly putting his hand in his pocket when caught by something in his companions expression he eyed him inquisitively almost uneasily oh well smiled the other wanly if that subtle bane we were speaking of but just now is so soon beginning to work in vain my appeal to you goodbye they not untouched you do me injustice instead of indulging present suspicions I had rather make amends for previous ones here's something for your Asylum and not much but every drop helps of course you have papers now of course producing a memorandum book and pencil let me take down name and amount we publish these names and now let me give you a little history of our asylum and the evidential way in which it was started end of section three section four of the confidence man this LibriVox recording is in the public domain recording by Mb the confidence man his masquerade by Herman Melville chapter seven a gentleman with gold sleeve buttons at an interesting point of the narration and at the moment when with much curiosity indeed urgency the narrator was being particularly questioned upon that point he was as it happened altogether diverted both from it and his story by just then catching sight of a gentleman who had been standing in sight from the beginning but until now as it seemed without being observed by him pardon me said he rising but yonder is one who I know will contribute and largely don't take it amiss if I quit you go duty before all things was the conscientious reply the stranger was a man of more than winsome aspect there he stood a part and in repose and yet by his mere look lured the man in gray from his story much as by its graciousness of bearing some full leaved elm alone in a meadow lures the noon sickle man to throw down his sheaves and come and apply for the arms of its shade but considering that goodness is no such rare thing among men the world familiarly know the noun a common one in every language it was curious that what so signalized the stranger and made him look like a kind of foreigner among the crowd as to some it make him appear more or less unreal in this portraiture was but the expression of so prevalent equality such goodness seemed his lied with such fortune that as far as his own personal experience could have gone scarcely could he have known ill physical or moral and as for knowing or suspecting the latter in any serious degree supposing degree of it to be by observation or philosophy for that probably his nature by its opposition imperfectly qualified or from it wholly exempted for the rest he might have been five and fifty perhaps 60 but tall rosy between plump and portly with a prim Paul me ere and for the time and place not the hint of his years dressed with the strangely festive finish and elegance the inner side of his coat skirts was of white satin which might have looked especially inappropriate had it not seemed less a bit of mere tailoring than something of an emblem as it were and involuntary emblem let us say that what seemed so good about him was not all outside no the fine covering had a still finer lining upon one hand he wore a white kid glove but the other hand which was unloved looked hardly less white now as the Fadel like most steamboats was upon deck a little suit streaked here and there especially about the railings it was a marvel how under such circumstances these hands retained their spotlessness but if you watched them awhile you noticed that they avoided touching anything you noticed in short that a certain Negro body-servant whose hands Nature had dyed black perhaps with the same purpose that Miller's wear white this Negro servants hands did most of his masters handling for him having to do with dirt on his account but not to his prejudices but if with the same undefiled nosov consequences to himself a gentleman could also sin by deputy how shocking would that be but it is not permitted to be and even if it were no judicious moralist would make proclamation of it this gentleman therefore there is reason to affirm was one who like the Hebrew governor knew how to keep his hands clean and who never in his life happened to be run suddenly against by hurrying housepainter or sweep in a word one who's very good luck it was to be a very good man not that he looked as if he were a kind of Wilberforce at all that superior merit probably was not his nothing in his manner bespoke him righteous but only good and though to be good is much below being righteous and though there is a difference between the two yet not it is to be hoped so incompatible that a righteous man cannot be a good man though conversely in the pulpit it has been with much cogent see urged that a merely good man that is one good merely by his nature he is so far from thereby being righteous that nothing short of a total change and conversion can make himself which is something which no honest mind while read in the history of righteousness will care to deny nevertheless since st. Paul himself agreeing in a sense with the pulpit distinction though not altogether in the pulpit deduction and also pretty plainly intimating which of the two qualities in question enjoys his apostolic preference I say since Saint Paul has so meaningly said that scarcely for a righteous man will one die yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die therefore when we repeat of this gentleman that he was only a good man whatever else by severe censors may be objected to him it is still to be hoped that his goodness will not at least be considered criminal in him at all events no man not even a righteous man would think it quite right to commit this gentleman to prison for the crime extraordinary as he might deem it more especially as until everything could be known there would be some chance that the gentleman might after all be quite as innocent of it as he himself it was pleasant to mark the good man's for exception of the solute of the righteous man that is the man in gray he's inferior apparently not more in the social scale than in stature like the benign Elm again the good man seemed to waive the canopy of His goodness over that suitor not in conceited condescension but with that flat even amenity of true Majesty which can be kind to anyone without stooping to it to the plea in behalf of the Seminole widows and orphans the gentleman after a question or two duly answered responded by producing an ample pocketbook in the good old capacious style a fine green French Morocco and workmanship bound with silk of the same color not to emit bills crisped with newness fresh from the bank no muck works grime upon them looka those bills might be but as yet having been kept unspotted from the world not of the filthy sort placing now three of those virgin bills in the applicants hands he hoped that the smallness of his contribution would be pardoned to tell the truth and this at last accounted for his toilet he was bound but a short run down the river to attend in a festive grove the afternoon wedding of his niece so did not carry much money with him the other was about expressing his thanks one the gentleman in his pleasant way checked him the gratitude was on the other side to him he said charity was in one sense not an effort but a luxury against too great indulgence in which his steward a humorist had sometimes admonished him in some general talk which followed relative to organized modes of doing good the gentleman expressed his regrets that so many benevolent societies as there were here and there isolated in the land should not act in concert by coming together in the way that already in each society the individuals composing it had done which would result he thought in like advantages upon a larger scale indeed such a Confederation might perhaps be attended with as happy results as politically attended that of the states upon his hitherto moderate enough companion this suggestion had an effect illustrative in a sort of that notion of Socrates that the soul is harmony for as the sound of a flute in any particular key will it is said audibly effect the corresponding chord of any harp in good tune within hearing just so now did some string in him respond and with animation which animation by the way might seem more or less out of character in the man in gray considering his son sprightly manner when first introduced had he not already in certain after colloquy is given proof in some degree of the fact that with certain natures a soberly continent heir at times so far from arguing emptiness of stuff is good proof it is there and plenty of it because unweighted and may be used more effectively to when opportunity offers what now follows on the part of the man in gray will still further exemplify perhaps somewhat strikingly the truth or what appears to be such of this remark sir he said eagerly I am before you a project not dissimilar to yours was by me thrown out at the World's Fair in London World's Fair hue their prey how was that first let me nay but first tell me what took you to the fair I went to exhibit an invalids easy chair I had invented then you have not always been in the charity business is it not charity to ease human suffering I am and always have been as I always will be I trust in the charity business as you call it but charity is not like a pin one to make the head and the other the point charity is a work to we a good workman may be competent in all its branches I invented my protein easy-chair in all intervals stolen from meals and sleep you call it the protein easy chair pray describe it my protein easy chair as a chair so all over but jointed be hinged and be padded every way so elastic springy and docile to the airiest touch that in some one of its endlessly changeable accommodations of backseat footboard and arms the most restless body the body most wracked nay I had almost added the most tormented conscience must somehow and somewhere find rest believing that I owed it to suffering humanity to make known such a chair to the utmost I scraped together my little means and off to the World's Fair with it you did right but your scheme how did you come to hit upon that I was going to tell you after seeing my invention duly catalogued and placed I gave myself up to pondering the scene about me as I dwelt upon that shining pageant of arts and moving concourse of Nations I reflected that here was the pride of the world glorifying in a glass house a sense of the fragility of worldly grandeur profoundly impressed me and I said to myself I will see if this occasion of vanity cannot supply a hint toward a better profit than was designed let some worldwide good to the worldwide cause be now done in short inspired by the scene on the fourth day I issued at the World's Fair my prospectus of the world's charity quite a thought but pray explain it the world's charity is to be a society whose members shall comprise deputies from every charity and mission extant the one object of the society to be the method ization of the world's benevolence to which end the present system of voluntary and miscues contribution to be done away and the society to be empowered by the various governments to levy annually one grandma Neverland stacks upon all mankind as in August's Caesars time the whole world to come up to be taxed attacks which for the scheme of it should be something like the income tax in England attacks also as before hinted to be a consolidation tax of all possible benevolence taxes as in America here the state tax and the county tax and the town tax and the poll tax are by the Assessors rolled into one this tax according to my tables calculated with care would result in the yearly raising of a fund little short of eight hundred millions this fund to be annually applied in such objects and in such modes as the various charities and missions in general Congress represented might decree whereby in fourteen years as I estimate there would have been devoted to good works the sum of eleven thousand two hundred millions which would warrant the dissolution of the society as that fund judiciously expended not a popper or heathen could remain the round world over eleven thousand two hundred millions and all by passing around a hat as it were yes I'm no fool ei the projector of an impossible scheme but a philanthropist and a financier setting forth of philanthropy and the finance which are practicable practicable yes eleven thousand two hundred millions it will frighten none but a retail philanthropist what is it but eight hundred millions for each of fourteen years now eight hundred millions what is that to average it but one little dollar ahead for the population of the planet and who will refuse what Turk or Dayak even his own little dollar for sweet charity's sake eight hundred millions more than that some is yearly expense by mankind not only in vanities but miseries consider that bloody spendthrift war and don't mankind so stupid so wicked that upon the demonstration of these things they will not amending their ways to vote their superfluities to the blessing of the world instead of cursing it 800 millions they have not to make it it is theirs already they have but to direct it from ill to good and to this scarce our self-denial is demanded actually they would not in the mass be one farthing the poorer for it as certainly they would be all the better and happier don't you see but admit as you must that mankind is not mad and my project is practicable for what creature but a madman would not rather do good than ill when it is plain that good oriole it must return upon himself your sort of reasoning said the good gentleman adjusting his gold sleeve buttons seams are reasonable enough but with mankind it won't do then mankind are not reasoning beings if reason won't do with them that is not to the purpose by the way from the matter in which you alluded to the world census it would appear that according to your worldwide scheme the pauper not less than the nabob is to contribute to the relief of pauperism and the heathen not less than the Christian to the conversion of heathenism how is that why that pardon me is quibbling now no philanthropist likes to be opposed with quibbling well I won't quibble anymore but after all if I understand your project there is little specially new in it further than the magnifying of means now in operation magnifying and energizing for one thing missions I would thoroughly reform missions I would quicken with the Wall Street spirit The Wall Street spirit yes for if confessedly certain spiritual are to be gained but through the auxiliary agency of worldly means then to the surer gaining of such spiritual ends the example of worldly policy in worldly projects should not by spiritual projectors be slighted in brief the conversion of the heathen so far at least as depending on human effort would buy the world's charity be let out on contract so much my bid for converting India so much for Borneo so much for Africa competition allowed stimulus would be given there would be no lethargy of monopoly we should have no mission house or tract house of which slanderers could with any plausibility say that it had been degenerated in its clarke ships into a sort of Custom House but the main point is the Archimedean money power that would be brought to bear you mean the 800 million power yes you see this doing good to the world by driblets amounts to just nothing I am for doing good to the world with a will I am for doing good to the world once and for all and having done with it dooba think my dear sir of the eddies and maelstroms of pagans in China people here have no conception of it of a frosty morning in Hong Kong pauper pagans are found dead in the streets like so many nipped peas in a bin of peas to be an immortal being in China as no more distinction than to be a snowflake in a snow squall what are a score or two of missionaries to such a people pinch of snuff to the Kraken I am for sending ten thousand missionaries in a body and converting the Chinese on mass within six months of the demarcation the thing is then done and turned to something else I fear you are too enthusiastic a philanthropist is necessarily an enthusiast for without enthusiasm what was ever achieved but commonplace but again consider the poor in London to that mob of misery what is a joint here and a loaf there I am devoting to them 20,000 Bullock's and 100,000 barrels of flour to begin with then they are comforted and no more hunger for one while among the poor of London and so all round sharing the character of your general project these things I take it or rather examples of wonders that were to be wished than wonders that will happen and is the age of Wonders past is the world too old is it barren think of Sarah then I am Abraham revealing the angel with a smile but still asked you design it large there seems a certain audacity but if to the audacity of the design there be brought a commensurate circumspect missive execution how then why do you really believe that your world's charity will ever go into operation I have confidence that it will but may not be overconfident for a Christian to talk so but think of the obstacles obstacles I have confidence to remove obstacles though Mountains yes confidence in the world's charity to that degree that as no better person offers to supply the place I have nominated myself provisional treasurer and will be happy to receive subscriptions for the present to be devoted to you striking off a million more of my prospectus ease the talk went on the man in grey revealed the spirit of benevolence which mindful of the millennial promise had gone abroad over all the countries of the globe much as the diligent spirit of a husbandman stirred by forethought of the coming seed time leads him in March reveries at his fireside over every field of his farm the master cord of the man in gray had been touched and it seemed as if it would never cease vibrating a not uncivil Tom too was his with gestures that were a Pentecost of added ones and persuasiveness before which granite hearts might crumble into gravel strange therefore how his auditor so singularly good-hearted as he seemed remained proof to such eloquence though not as it turned out to such pleadings for after listening a while longer with pleasant incredulity presently as the boat touched his place of destination the gentleman with a looked half humour half pity put another banknote into his hands charitable to the last if only to the dreams of enthusiasm chapter 8 a charitable lady if a drunkard in a sober fit is the dullest of mortals and enthusiasts in a reason fit is not the most lively and this without prejudice to his greatly improved understanding for if his elation was the height of his madness his despondency is but the extreme of his sanity something thus now to all appearance with the man in gray society his stimulus loneliness was his lethargy loneliness like the sea breeze blowing off from a Thousand Leagues of blindness he did not find as veteran solitaires do if anything to bracing in short left to himself with none to charm forth his latent lymphatic he insensibly resumes his original air a quiescent one blended of sad humility and demure Ness ere long he goes lagging Lee into the ladies saloon as in spiritless quest of somebody but after some disappointed glances about him seats himself upon a sofa with an air of melancholy exhaustion and depression at the sofas further end sits a plump and pleasant person whose aspect seems to hint that if she have any weak point it must be anything rather than her excellent heart from her Twilight dress neither dawn nor dark apparently she is a widow just breaking the chrysalis of her morning a small gilt Testament is in her hand which she has just been reading half relinquished she holds the book in reverie her finger inserted at the 12 of first Corinthians to which chapter possibly her attention might have recently been turned by witnessing the scene of the monetary mute and his slate the sacred page no longer meets her eye but as that evening when for a time the western hills shine on through the Sun beset her thoughtful face retains its tenderness though the teacher is forgotten meantime the expression of the stranger is such as ere long to attract her glance but no responsive one presently in her somewhat inquisitive survey her volume drops it is restored no encroaching politeness in the act but kindness unadorned the eyes of the lady Sparkle evidently she's not now unprepossessing sinned bending over in a low sad tone full of deference the stranger breathes madam pardon my freedom but there is something in that face which strangely draws me may I ask are you a sister of the church why really you in concern for her embarrassment he hastens to relieve it but without seeming so to do it is very solitary for her brother here eying the showy lady's brocaded in the background I find none to mingle souls with it may be wrong I know it is but I cannot force myself to be easy with the people of the world I prefer the company however silent of a brother or sister in good standing by the way madam may I ask if you have confidence really sir why really I could you put confidence in me for instance really sir as much I mean as one may wisely put in a stranger an entire stranger I had almost said rejoined the lady hardly yet at ease in her affability drawing aside a little in body while at the same time her heart might have been drawn as far the other way a natural struggle between charity and prudence entire stranger huh with a sigh ah who would be a stranger in vain hi wander no one will have confidence in me you interest me said the good lady in mild surprise can I in any way befriend you no one can befriend me who has not confidence but I I have at least to that degree I mean that Nene you have none not at all pardon I see it no confidence fool fond fool that I am to seek it you are unjust sir rejoins the good lady with heightened interest but it may be that something untoward in your experiences has unduly biased you not that I would cast reflections believe me I yes yes I may say that that that you have confidence prove it let me have twenty dollars twenty dollars there I told you madam you had no confidence the lady was in an extraordinary way touched she sat in a sort of Restless torment knowing not which way to turn she began twenty different sentences and left off at the first syllable of each at last in desperation she hurried out tell me sir what he walked the twenty dollars and did I not then glancing at her in half mourning for the widow and the fatherless I am travelling agent of the widow and orphan asylum recently found it among the salmon and why did you not tell me your object before as not a little relieved poor souls Indians to those cruelly used Indians here here how could I hesitate I am so sorry it is no more grieve not for that madam rising and folding up the banknotes this is an inconsiderable sum I admit but taking out his pencil and book though I hear but register the amount there is another register where is set down the motive goodbye you have confidence yay you can say to me as the Apostle said to the Corinthians I rejoice that I have confidence in you in all things end of section 4

Confidence-Man: His Masquerade | Herman Melville | General Fiction, Satire | Audio Book | 1/7

1: [00:00:00] – Chapters 1 and 2

2: [00:16:48] – Chapters 3 and 4

3: [00:55:27] – Chapters 5 and 6

4: [01:24:37] – Chapters 7 and 8

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