‘Guess I’ve done some good,’ said he turning into Peck Slip. ’Saved two young women. Took ’em off the streets. Fine women now both of them — respectable, prosperous, and one is beautiful. Man who s got a mother, or a sister, can’t help feeling sorry for such people.
We came up Frankfort to William Street where we shook hands and parted and I turned up Monkey Hill. I had made unexpected progress with Trumbull that night. He had never talked to me so freely before and somehow he had let me come nearer to hun than I had ever hoped to be. His company had lifted me out of the slough a little and my mind was on a better footing as I neared the chalet.
Riggs’s shop was lighted — an unusual thing at so late an hour. Peering through the window I saw Riggs sleeping at his desk An old tin lantern sat near, its candle burning low, with a flaring flame, that threw a spray of light upon him as it rose and fell. Far back in the shop another light was burning dimly. I lifted the big iron latch and pushed the door open. Riggs did not move. I closed the door softly and went back into the gloom. The boy was also sound asleep in his chair. The lantern light flared and fell again as water leaps in a stopping fountain. As it dashed upon the face of Riggs I saw his eyes half-open. I went close to his chair. As I did so the light went out and smoke rose above the lantern with a rank odour.
‘Riggs!’ I called but he sat motionless and made no answer.
The moonlight came through the dusty window lighting his face and beard. I put my hand upon his brow and withdrew it quicidy. I was in the presence of death. I opened the door and called the sleeping boy. He rose out of his chair and came toward me rubbing his eyes.
‘Your master is dead,’ I whispered, ’go and call an officer.
Riggs’s dream was over — he had waked at last. He was in port and I doubt not Annie and his mother were hailing him on the shore, for I knew now they had both died far back in that long dream of the old sailor.
My story of Riggs was now complete. It soon found a publisher because it was true.
‘All good things are true in literature,’ said the editor after he had read it. ‘Be a servant of Truth always and you will be successful.’
As soon as Lincoln was elected the attitude of the South showed clearly that ‘the irrepressible conflict’, of Mr Seward’s naming, had only just begun. The Herald gave columns every day to the news of ‘the coming Revolution’, as it was pleased to call it. There was loud talk of war at and after the great Pine Street meeting of December 15. South Carolina seceded, five days later, and then we knew what was coming, albeit, we saw only the dim shadow of that mighty struggle that was to shake the earth for nearly five years. The Printer grew highly irritable those days and spoke of Buchanan and Davis and Toombs in language so violent it could never have been confined in type. But while a bitter foe none was more generous than he and, when the war was over, his money went to bail the very man he had most roundly damned.