Summary: Part three of a seven-part series.
Word Count: 37,000
“Come on!” Adam yelled as he loped toward the streetcar at the corner of Eighth and Chestnut.
Joe, jogging behind, barely managed to swing aboard the car before it pulled away. Grabbing onto a pole, he scanned the length of the car for a seat and scowled at his brother, who had taken the last one available. Adam merely laughed. “I told you to hurry,” he reminded Joe with a disgustingly superior leer.
Joe lurched across the aisle to snare a strap next to his older brother. “Doggone it, Adam. How come we didn’t wait for the next car?” he grumbled. “Gates don’t open ‘til nine, and we’re gonna be there half an hour before that.”
“Which should insure our getting inside at straight up nine,” Adam stated calmly. “You’ve seen the Main Building, Joe, so you know we don’t have a minute to spare if we’re going to finish it up today.”
Joe gave an eloquent sigh for Adam’s benefit, but it elicited no sympathy from his older brother. A woman sitting across the aisle, however, smiled kindly at the boy, and he responded with a shrug and a shake of his head, followed by a gleaming grin. The lady was attractive, her stylishly looped black hair setting off an almost milk-white complexion, but she was much too old for him, at least as ancient as his brother Adam and possibly a year or two older. Despite that disadvantage, Little Joe had a hard time taking his eyes off the lady, and not just because she was pretty and fashionably dressed. What he was really drawn to was the gold watch pinned to her blouse or, more precisely, the unique strap to which it was attached. A Centennial ribbon of red, white and blue had been creatively fashioned into a watch fob, and Joe couldn’t help admiring it, although it was, of course, a little too broad and ostentatious for a man to wear.
The woman tilted her head to one side and looked steadily back at him, a quizzical cast to her dark brown eyes.
Joe flushed under her scrutiny. “I’m sorry, ma’am,” he apologized quickly. “I didn’t mean to stare. I was just admiring your watch fob and wondering—”
“Joe,” Adam hissed, for in the East one simply didn’t speak to an unknown woman without introduction.
“It’s all right,” the woman said, her face relaxing as she smiled again at Joe.
The glint in Adam’s eye, however, clearly communicated that it was not all right, and not wanting to be on the receiving end of another of his older brother’s lectures on proper behavior, Joe deemed it prudent to keep his questions to himself and to direct his gaze elsewhere. Even when the seat beside the woman became open at the next stop, he remained standing. Another gentlemen soon took the seat, but only briefly. As the streetcar pulled up to the next corner, he stood and after apologizing for practically tumbling into the woman’s lap, lurched down the aisle toward the exit while the car was still moving.
His attention drawn by the lady’s soft grunt when she was jostled by the exiting passenger, Joe looked back toward her again, and his eyebrows came together in a troubled line. Something didn’t look right. For a moment Joe wasn’t sure what was wrong. Then he saw the Centennial ribbon, now sans watch, hanging from the woman’s blouse and immediately discerned what had happened. “Hey! You there, stop!” he yelled, charging down the aisle after the clumsy oaf who had just left the lady’s side.
The man took one look and tried to swing off the car. Lunging forward, Joe grabbed him and pulled him back in.
“Joe! What are you doing?” Adam yelled, coming to his feet and charging toward the men grappling on the floor of the streetcar.
“Help me!” Joe shouted from beneath his opponent, for while the other man didn’t have his fighting skill, he did have the advantage of size. “He’s got the lady’s watch!”
The woman gasped and clutched at the ribbon. “Oh, no,” she cried. “Not Grandmother’s watch! Oh, please, stop him.”
Adam had already flown into action, plucking the culprit off his younger brother and decking him with a powerful right upper-cut, just as the streetcar jerked to a stop and a man in uniform strode swiftly back to investigate the commotion. “What’s going on here?” the conductor demanded. “Get off my car, the lot of you!”
The woman stood. “Oh, please, sir. I believe that man has taken my gold watch.”
The conductor stared at the man dangling by his collar from Adam’s strong hand. “Oh, a pickpocket, is it? We’ve had a rash of the like lately, preying on unsuspecting guests to our law-abiding city.”
The man quickly protested his innocence, demanding protection from “these ruffians who have accosted me for no reason.” He sneered at the youth dusting off his trousers after scrambling to his feet. “More likely, that boy himself is the thief, casting aspersions on an innocent man to cover his own crime.”
Joe flew at the man. “You filthy liar!” he yelled.
More to keep his brother out of trouble than to protect the pickpocket, Adam pulled the man out of Joe’s reach, as the conductor planted himself between the belligerents. “This is easily settled. Both of you turn out your pockets and let’s see what we find.”
Joe was indignant at having his word questioned, but when Adam growled tersely, “Do it,” he turned his pockets inside out, revealing only a small amount of cash, a pocket comb and his own watch, clearly a man’s.
Satisfied, the conductor turned to the man trying in vain to squirm out of Adam’s grip. “And now you, sir.”
“I have never been so insulted in my life,” the man declared. “I most certainly will not submit to a search of my person.”
“Then we’ll just have to subject you to one against your will,” Adam proclaimed, pinning the man’s arms behind his back and nodding to the conductor.
The conductor reached into the man’s pant pockets and found nothing, but from the inner pocket of the vest he pulled a small gold pocket watch. “Would this be yours, ma’am?”
The woman gave a cry of joy and reached eager hands toward the watch. “Oh, yes! Oh, thank you, thank you.”
“Not at all, ma’am,” the conductor said, touching his hat after returning the watch. He turned toward Adam, who was still holding the culprit’s arms in a vise. “If you would assist me, sir, we’ll locate a constable and have this thief taken into custody.”
“My pleasure,” Adam said, propelling the pickpocket toward the exit.
As his brother and the conductor wrestled their prisoner off the car, Joe scooped up his straw hat and pressed out the dent in the crown.
“I hope it isn’t damaged,” a gentle voice said.
Joe smiled at the woman. “No, ma’am, no harm done, but it would have been in a good cause if it had been.”
The woman laughed softly. “What a gallant young gentleman you are!” She patted the seat next to her.
Joe immediately took it. Glancing at the ribbon hanging on her chest, his face flushed with anger. “That brute! He cut it.”
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” the woman said, “but it doesn’t matter. I can easily make another. The important thing is that, thanks to you, I still have Grandmother’s watch. It’s very precious to me, young man.”
“I can see as how it would be,” Joe said, knowing how he treasured the few keepsakes he had from his mother. “You made that watch fob, then? You must be mighty good with a needle, ma’am, ‘cause it was a fine one. I figured you probably got it at the Centennial.”
The woman laughed. “Well, in a manner of speaking, I did. I work at the Singer Sewing Machine Pavilion, doing demonstrations, and I made this from some scrap materials one day when the crowd was light.”
Adam returned shortly to find his young brother chatting away with complete familiarity with the woman he had met only minutes before and to whom he had yet to be properly introduced. As the conductor signaled for the driver to start again, Adam looked across at Joe and shook his head. “You just can’t stay out of trouble more than a day at a time, can you?”
The lady next to Joe shook an admonishing finger toward Adam. “Now, you mustn’t scold this brave young man. He’s done me a valuable service.”
Adam chuckled. “Ah, yes, he’s a regular little Sir Lancelot, always ready to aid a lady in distress.”
The woman smiled. “Indeed, he is! And Queen Guinevere would like to bestow a reward on her brave knight,” she said, opening her reticule.
“No, that’s not necessary,” Adam said at once. “I’m sure my brother wouldn’t consider taking anything.”
“No, I wouldn’t,” Joe retorted, angry that his brother had felt it necessary to answer for him. Just another example of Adam’s lack of trust in him.
Sensing the strain between the two brothers, the woman at once closed her reticule and struck up a new subject with Little Joe. They continued talking and laughing, Joe pointedly ignoring his brother, as the streetcar made its way toward Fairmount Park.
When two more ladies boarded the car at the next stop, Adam immediately gave up his seat with a polite tip of his black bowler. As the other lady looked sadly at the crowded car, he said, “Joe.”
When his brother didn’t respond, Adam cleared his throat. “Joseph.” Joe continued to appear deaf, so Adam took a deep breath and lifted his voice. “Joseph Francis Cartwright!”
That got Joe’s attention. No one but Pa ever called him by his full name, and it always meant trouble when Ben Cartwright reached that level of frustration. Joe raised his head and looked up at his brother. “What, Adam?” As soon as he looked up, however, he saw the lady standing in the aisle and immediately bounced to his feet before his brother could say a word. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I didn’t see you,” he apologized quickly. “Please take my seat.”
“Thank you,” the woman said briskly, but her smile of gratitude rested on Adam’s face and not that of his young brother.
Joe gave Adam a sheepish shrug and grabbed onto a strap for the remainder of the ride to the Centennial grounds. When the horse car arrived at the main entrance, he jumped off and reached back to assist his “Queen Guinevere” in alighting from the conveyance.
“Thank you, gentle knight,” she said with a bit of a royal curtsey. Then she looked up at Adam, who had come to stand beside them. “Would you escort me to the employees’ entrance, sir?” she requested.
“I’d be happy to, your majesty,” Joe offered with a bow.
Seeing the woman give a slight shake of her head, Adam clapped a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Sorry, lad. Your king has another commission for you.” Taking a dollar from his pocket, he ordered Joe to purchase their tickets. As a scowling Joe trotted off to do the “king’s” bidding, Adam offered his arm to the lady.
As they started toward the entrance whose gilt sign indicated that it was for exhibitors, the press and employees, she smiled up at him. “I don’t really require an escort. I merely wanted a private word with you.” She stopped and said, “I work in the Singer Sewing Pavilion. Do you know where that is?”
“I believe so,” Adam said. “I have a map with me, at any rate, should I need to find it.”
“Please do,” she urged, “and please bring the boy. I truly wish to reward his chivalry. One sees it so rarely these days.”
“True enough,” Adam conceded, “but as I said before no reward is required, nor will one be accepted.”
She lifted a remonstrative hand. “A mere token,” she insisted, “of no monetary value. Think of it simply as a remembrance of our brief acquaintance.”
Adam couldn’t find a reason to refuse an offer presented on that basis. “Very well. We’ll drop by after lunch, if that won’t interfere with your work.”
The woman laughed. “But attending to visitors is my work! After lunch is an ideal time. Should you not see me on entering the pavilion, just ask for Mrs. Atkinson.”
“Oh, you’re married,” Adam said, adding with a teasing smile, “Sir Lancelot will be so disappointed.”
“Queen Guinevere was, as well, if you’ll recall,” a twinkle-eyed Mrs. Atkinson reminded him, pleasing Adam with her knowledge of the literary reference. “I’m a widow, but too old to tempt that valiant young knight, I think.”
“Speaking of the young knight, I’d better get back before he goes off on another quest,” Adam chuckled and with a tip of his hat, he bid the lady farewell and joined Joe in the line of visitors awaiting the opening of the gate. As usual, it opened promptly at 9 a.m. that Friday morning, and the Cartwright brothers at once made their way to the south door of the Main Exhibition Hall, to avoid the crowds heading for the western entrance. Although the German exhibits, where he planned to begin, were unenclosed, Adam insisted on passing the cases nearest the door to walk up the central transept to the main aisle.
Joe didn’t complain, despite the extra steps. He’d learned that each country liked to put its best foot forward, in essence, by placing its finest products on the front line. What lay behind that was all too often, Joe recalled with distaste, educational. Germany’s front line was no exception to that rule, with its crescent-shaped case filled with porcelain from the Royal Prussian Factory of Berlin. At each end stood a tall column of ebony and gold with a gilt Prussian eagle perched on top.
“Bert said this was the most beautiful single exhibit in the entire building,” Adam reminded Joe.
Joe nodded, recalling the conversation over dinner at the Continental, and turned his attention back to the beautiful pieces. Set off against black velvet, the delicately painted porcelain filled two long shelves, with flatter pieces hung on the wall behind them, including framed paintings on rectangular plates. In front of all these cups and saucers, plates, statuettes and busts, were three large vases, each on a separate stand. Joe was again astounded by the prices affixed to the works of art. One cost five thousand dollars, the second forty-five hundred and the least expensive, an olive green piece with a painting of Otho in the tomb of Charlemagne, was still a staggering nine hundred dollars. Joe was more taken with a small table of carved oak with a porcelain top, on which was painted a reproduction of Raphael’s Poetry. At twenty-two hundred dollars, however, it was unlikely to grace any room at the Ponderosa.
West of the porcelain was an exhibit of plate glass and near it one of jewelry. For some reason Adam examined the cameos with special interest. A gift for a female friend, Joe assumed, but he wasn’t sure which girl his older brother cared for enough to spend that kind of money. Becky, maybe, since she shared Adam’s love for books and he seemed to squire her around more often than the other fillies that caught his eye. Well, at least older brother’s taste was improving, both in gifts—no blue bugs this time—and women, for brown-eyed Becky was pretty enough to capture Joe’s personal interest, if she weren’t so much closer to Adam’s age than his own.
Further west, a collection of bronzes was exhibited, including a copy of a monument to Frederick the Great, whose original stood in Unter den Linden in Berlin. Near it, Joe spied a group of shields and swords that reawakened his boyish love for tales of knights and medieval chivalry and his memory of the events on the streetcar that morning. As far as he was concerned, they could have skipped the next cases of hosiery, yarn and gloves from Saxony, but since Adam, of course, still insisted on seeing everything in order, Joe simply suffered through those exhibits, as well as the fancy fabrics from there and Nuremberg.
Turning into the next aisle south, Little Joe found a tall ebony case enclosing a huge tusk of ivory in its native state. Smaller glassed-in areas below showcased items made from the expensive material, such as spoons, frames and cameos. Again Adam eyed the latter appraisingly. Becky—or whomever else Adam had in mind—was going to be one lucky girl when Adam returned to Virginia City, Joe surmised.
Even Adam, to his younger brother’s evident relief, seemed willing to pass the case of chemical canisters with barely a glance, though the lamps and lanterns of Leipzig, just west of them, merited more attention, in Adam’s view, at least. As they turned south into the next aisle back, Joe readily understood his brother’s interest in the cases of musical instruments, especially the guitars. Joe himself found the cases of brass, wind and string instruments worthy of note, for he had never before seen so many different varieties, and he listened attentively as Adam named each one: cornets, bugles, trombones, tubas, clarinets, violins and, perched on top of the display case, two violoncellos. Adjoining the other musical instruments on the east, a number of both upright and grand pianos, some in artistically carved ebony, were displayed, with a group of cabinet organs and one large pipe organ exhibited beside them.
Life got boring again after that, as Adam examined and Joe endured cases of scientific and philosophical instruments. Then, when they reached the south wall of the hall, life went from boring to downright depressing, at least according to Little Joe. The litters and camp beds of the German hospital system were bad enough, but Joe absolutely drew the line at viewing photographs of surgical operations. “So help me, Adam, I’m gonna be sick if I have to look at pictures of men with their guts gushing out.”
Adam laid a sympathetic hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Okay, buddy, we’ll move on,” he said, unwilling to admit to his kid brother how eager he was to do just that. Though he had stared in morbid fascination at the photos, the buried memories were once again rushing toward him, bringing a queasiness to his stomach unrivaled since the day such scenes had been real.
The next exhibit, by the clockmakers of the Black Forest, seemed a safe alternative. Here again, though, Adam was brought face to face with his young brother’s desire to purchase a timepiece for their father. “Why don’t you consider buying a small musical clock for Pa’s bedroom,” Adam suggested, as they were attractive pieces, but less costly than the Swiss watch he himself hoped to buy.
Joe frowned in thought. It would take a major portion of his budget to get one of the more nicely carved ones, and nothing less would do for Pa. “I think I’ll wait,” he said, and Adam nodded his approval.
Passing a display of religious figures, similar to the French ones they’d seen before, the Cartwright brothers came to two models of the Hamburg steamship Frisia, one complete in every detail and the other a longitudinal section of the interior, from keel to deck. Opposite them, A. W. Faber of Nuremberg presented a collection of lead pencils, crayons and colors. Recognizing the maker of the colored pencils he had used in school, Little Joe laughed. “Hey, Adam, you remember that time I made a valentine picture of Pa with pencils like these?”
Adam chuckled. “Yes, and I remember the first one you drew, too—for Cochise!”
Joe, quite willing to laugh at his younger self, emitted a high-pitched cackle. “Yeah, she was the only girl I saw any use in back then.”
“And how we’ve all wished it had never changed!” Adam offered dryly.
Joe gave his brother the obligatory nose crinkle, but as they made their way toward the final German exhibits, he found himself remembering how graciously Adam had helped him that day when he’d been in such trouble with Miss Jones over misinterpreting her valentine assignment. Didn’t have a doubt back then that he loved me, Joe mused. Well, not many, anyway, not after those first rough days when he came back from college. Wonder why it’s so hard to be sure now, why we seem to be at each other’s throats half the time. Who changed—him or me? Mulling it over, Joe resolved to make a determined effort to keep the peace that day and to look for things that bound them together, rather than those that pulled them apart.
In that vein, he made a droll comment as they entered the pavilion of the German booksellers. “I suppose you read German, too, big brother?”
Adam smiled at the pride twinkling in his brother’s expressive eyes. “A little, but I probably won’t be buying a book here, just admiring the view.”
“Gotta admit it’s a good one,” Joe responded, with a determinedly cheery grin.
Adam threw an arm around the boy’s slim shoulders as they passed through one of the four portals into the pavilion and pointed at the cornice surrounding the interior with gilt sentences in Greek, Latin, German and English. “Like the mottoes?” he inquired.
“Well, I can only read one of them,” Joe admitted with a self-deprecating laugh that sounded just a bit forced to his older brother.
“The others are similar,” Adam said, hoping that Joe didn’t think he was ridiculing his lack of learning. “They all laud the friendship of books and the solaces of study.”
“I might buy the friendship bit,” Joe said with a pert smile, “but study a solace? That’s too big a stretch, Adam!”
“Only proves you need more exposure,” Adam teased. He brushed a stray curl behind his brother’s ear and was surprised to see Joe lean into the affectionate touch he ordinarily spurned as an insult to his manhood.
“Now, that’s what I’d really like exposure to,” Joe declared, pointing at a sign for the Café Leland, which could be seen outside the pavilion by peeking above the sentences about the friendship of books.
“You can’t be hungry already,” Adam moaned. “We’ve barely started.”
“Like Hoss says, ‘I can always eat,’” Joe replied with a saucy smirk.
“It’s too early for dinner,” Adam scolded. “I’ll buy you a popcorn ball at the next stand we pass.”
“I was just kidding, Adam,” Joe chuckled. “I’m more thirsty than hungry, so how about making that popcorn ball a glass of soda?”
“I’ll even join you for that,” Adam agreed quickly. “It’s another hot one.”
“They’re all hot ones in Philadelphia, brother,” Joe moaned.
A quick tour through the furs of Leipzig, ebony and oak furniture from Stuttgart, and the exhibit of the Royal Saxon Cabinetmakers of Dresden finished the German exhibits. Walking back to the main aisle again, Adam purchased the promised soda waters for himself and his brother, and, thus refreshed, they set out to visit another country.
The next exhibits belonged to Austria-Hungary, although all but a few came from Austria alone. Adam and Joe first came to a four-tiered display of porcelain and china, everything from the hand-sized candleholder on a shelf six inches off the floor to the lidded ewer forming the pinnacle of the pyramid, a container so heavy Hoss would have found it hard to heft. Between these two extremes were arrayed plates and platters, tureens and teapots, everything a family might need to entertain lavishly. Little Joe pointed to one of the tri-level serving dishes. “Something like that would be nice for parties, to show off Hop Sing’s fanciest cookies.”
To Joe’s gratification, his older brother appeared to be giving the suggestion serious consideration, although all Adam said in response was, “Maybe.”
The next exhibit, one of meerschaum pipes, really caught Joe’s excited attention. The ornamental pipes were intricately crafted with the heads of famous people or more simply in shapes of animals, birds and fish. Others portrayed hunting or historic scenes or the comic episodes of everyday life. “Pa would love one of these, Adam!”
“They’re fine works and would make a unique gift,” Adam agreed, “but a little high for you, aren’t they?”
“Yeah, but so is everything,” Joe sighed, adding hesitantly, “Maybe you’d like to go in together, so we could do better by Pa?” He remembered, too late, his brother’s reluctance to join forces to buy Pa a watch, and Adam’s response now made him wish he hadn’t brought it up again.
Adam snorted. “I can do just fine by Pa without your help, little brother, and if you’d followed your older brother’s sage advice to save your pennies, you wouldn’t find yourself crimped now.”
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Joe muttered, turning away. Evidently, education wasn’t the only bitter pill Adam wanted him to swallow, but Joe had to admit he deserved this particular trip to the medicine cabinet. If he hadn’t spent so much of his money on Saturday nights at the Silver Dollar or squandered so much in high-stakes poker games, he could have had the pleasure of buying anything he wanted, too, just like his deep-pocketed big brother. Naw, I could never be that rich, but maybe Pa and Adam have a point about my money habits, he conceded with a sigh. Guess the only way out is to spend what I’ve got on Pa and Hoss and my friends and go home with nothing for me. He smiled, then, face brightening. What did he need with some trinket to remember this trip by, anyway? He’d had the trip itself and that thanks to the generosity of Mr. Deep Pockets. Suddenly, the pill didn’t seem so bitter to swallow.
“Ready to move on?” Adam inquired and Joe nodded.
The exhibit of stained glass and other glassware drew the avid attention of the older Cartwright brother. Most of it came from Bohemia and was displayed on broad counters with mirrored tops. The colors were marvelous, particularly the cerulean shade that looked like a sky effused with the blushing glow of the setting sun, but Adam seemed particularly enchanted by a set of ruby glasses overlaid with gold vines. “Beautiful,” he whispered.
“They’d match,” Joe offered, referring to the red and white dinnerware often used at home for regular meals.
“We’ll see,” Adam commented, shaking himself. “Time to move on.”
Joe almost groaned aloud when he saw what they moved on to, another exhibit of engineering and architectural photos, models, designs and reports. He was beginning to realize that Adam couldn’t pass up a single piece of paper on this subject, but he decided to bear with his brother’s weakness patiently. It was too early in the day to have a row with Adam over something the poor guy just couldn’t help.
The Cartwright brothers traversed the remaining Austrian and Hungarian exhibits quickly, for few of them inspired lengthy attention. The carpets were of good quality, but not as fine as the ones from France, America and, according to Bert Morganstern, Great Britain. The musical instruments were much the same as those crafted elsewhere, and neither Adam nor Joe was particularly drawn to the sets of iron furniture. The jewelers’ exhibit, with mother-of-pearl from Vienna and garnet from Prague, was beautiful, but so small it didn’t take long to view, while there was nothing in the cases of cloth from Moravia or silk and buttons from Vienna to keep men staring into them for long. They spent a little more time examining the leather goods and then were ready to see what Russia had sent to represent her best products.
The unenclosed exhibits of Russia were indicated by a shield with the imperial arms, placed in a trophy of Russian and American colors and affixed to a pillar on the main aisle. In the front line octagonal and square cases of dark oak and plate glass displayed a variety of pieces crafted in silver and bronze. At the east end, where the Cartwright brothers began their tour, Felix Chopin of St. Petersburg exhibited bronzes with scenes from the life of Russian peasants, as well as more elaborate pieces in costlier metals, such as the candelabra of gilt and porcelain. Standing fifteen feet high with flower vases around its base, the lamp stand held one hundred candles. Opposite it was a four-foot clock with the hours encircling a large globe of silver and an angel in flight pointing to the appropriate hour with one hand, while the other gestured toward heaven.
Next, P. Ouchinnikoff of Moscow and St. Petersburg displayed finely crafted articles in gold and silver, including an altarpiece with a portrait of the Savior holding the Gospel, painted on enamel and mounted on gold. A tankard, made from a single piece of silver, decorated in gilt, featured a replica of a statue of Peter the Great at its top, while around the sides, in high relief, was depicted the entry of Peter into Moscow after the battle of Pultawa. “Hard to see drinking beer from a mug that costs three thousand dollars,” Joe quipped.
“Mug,” Adam repeated with pretended scorn. “You have such an affinity for art, little brother.”
“Well, I do have some affinity for it.” Joe thrust forward a playfully puckered lip.
Adam chucked him under the chin. “I know, kid; I’m just trying to enhance it beyond Faber pencil sketches of Cochise.”
“Oh, you’re funny,” Joe said with a light scowl as he turned to view another example of the Moscow silversmith’s work, a massive salver whose centerpiece was carved with a depiction of the Kremlin. “Well, at least platters come cheaper than drinking mugs,” he chuckled, glancing at the price tag of a mere two thousand dollars. At the west end of the front line, Sazikoff of Moscow displayed two showcases of gold and silver articles for table service, personal use and household ornament, equally exquisite in their workmanship and equally high in price. Somehow, Joe had a feeling nothing from Moscow was going to find its way onto the Ponderosa table.
The next row of exhibits, while beautiful, merited short appraisal by the Cartwright men, who anticipated little need for cloth of gold decorated with silver. Behind this, however, cases of furs and stuffed specimens of fur-bearing animals held their attention longer, Joe being especially taken with the stuffed bear holding an example of dressed fur between his paws. Behind the huge animal, above cases of garments made from Arctic fox and wolf fur, were stretched hides of bear, tiger, leopard and other animals, with their heads still attached and still higher, practically touching the ceiling, was another stuffed, fur-carrying bear, flanked by smaller specimens of other types of fur-producing animals.
Passing a case of uniforms of various branches of the Russian army, Joe winced as another exhibit of mathematical and philosophical instruments came into view. For once, though, Adam didn’t spend much time perusing the scientific materials, and they moved on to a case of statuettes, busts and vases in ornamental cast iron. These were of lighter weight and lesser expense than the bronze pieces, but Joe thought the copy of the statue of Peter the Great at St. Petersburg was well done. Adam merely shrugged, conveying, to his brother’s eye, at least, that there were many more artistic pieces on view in other areas.
Reaching the southwest corner of the Russian court, Adam stopped to admire a billiard table of carved oak. As Joe knew, his brother was fond of the game, but found few opportunities to test his abilities in Virginia City, although a number of the saloons had tables—none so fine as this one, of course. Sorry, brother, Joe mused. Can’t afford a watch or pipe for Pa, so drooling over this in front of me ain’t gonna do you a lick of good.
Only a few Russian exhibits remained, and the Cartwrights finished them quickly, Adam insisting that they would see better examples of furniture, perfume, soap, porcelain, majolica and pottery elsewhere. With a staggering number of countries yet to visit, Joe was happy to give these a quick once-over.
Walking back to the main aisle, Adam motioned for Joe to sit with him on one of the benches facing the faux-granite façade of the Spanish pavilion. “I wanted to explain the architecture to you,” he said, “if you’re interested.”
“Sure, why not?” Joe responded, plopping down with a sassy smile. “Anything that gets me off my feet for a spell.”
Adam moaned softly, hoping the kid was only feigning the superficial motivation. Knowing Joe, though, if the disinterest had been real, there’d have been no disguising it, so Adam took heart and launched into a description of the style represented before them. “It’s called Plateresque,” he began, “and was widely popular in Spain during the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.”
“Going back kind of far for a modern building, ain’t it?” Joe inserted.
“Isn’t it,” Adam corrected, “and the purpose, I’m sure, is to celebrate their heritage. Now, listen and learn, please.”
“All ears, big brother,” Joe said, with a grin so wide it almost touched both auricular orifices.
With a roll of his eyes, Adam continued. “The term means “silversmith-like” and was suggested by Cristóbal de Villalón to describe the richly ornamented façade of the Cathedral of León, which, to him, appeared as intricate as the work of a silversmith.”
“That’s pretty intricate, all right, judging by the Russians,” Joe commented.
Pleased to see his brother taking apparent interest in his favorite topic, Adam went on warmly, “It’s really a Spanish version of Renaissance style, but more ornamental than the Italian. You see how the bare walls make a backdrop for the clusters of decorations over doorways and on other building details.”
“What about the pictures?” Joe asked, gesturing toward the circular portraits of a Spanish lady and gentleman, enclosed in panels on either side of the central entrance of the three leading into the court.
“Well, heraldic escutcheons would be more traditional,” Adam chuckled. “Those two are Isabella and Columbus, in honor of Spain’s connection with our part of the world, and according to the catalog, there are portraits of Ponce de Leon, Cortez, De Soto and Pizarro on the other sides. We’ll be sure to look at those before we finish.” Though he could have gone on at length, describing each aspect of the architecture in detail, neither time nor his young brother’s attention span was likely to permit him that luxury, so Adam suggested that they enter the pavilion and see what Spain had sent to the Centennial.
Before going inside, though, the brothers looked at the items exhibited in cases built into the façade itself. On either side of the velvet-draped central arch, works of gold, silver, ornamental iron and steel were showcased, while the glassed-in cases around the sides of the pavilion represented the mineral wealth of the country in silver, lead, copper, iron, coal and Spanish marble. Still others revealed a collection of photographs of government museums of ancient armor. “You think they have any real ones inside?” Joe asked, obviously hoping for a positive response.
“I don’t recall any listed in the catalog,” Adam responded with an indulgent smile, “but let’s go inside and see if we can’t find you a sword or shield, my little knight errant.”
“Oh, will you quit teasing me about that?” Joe grumbled, knowing that his brother was referring to his defense of the woman on the streetcar.
“I’ll think about it,” Adam responded, amusement twinkling in his dark eyes though he kept a straight face as he gestured toward the entrance.
None of Spain’s exhibits were commercial in nature, but were presented solely to educate visitors to the Exposition about the natural resources and manufacturing products of the country. The Cartwright brothers dutifully walked past cases of fabrics and tapestries, glassware, painted porcelain tiles and pottery, the latter being quite different from that exhibited by other European countries. The cream-colored earthenware with a rough-textured shell pattern suggested a Moorish origin. “Reminiscent of the Etruscan,” Adam murmured.
“It’s more reminiscent of big pots I’ve seen in California,” Joe snickered back.
“Well, there probably are similar cultural roots,” Adam pointed out. “If you’d like, I could amplify.”
Joe waved his hands before his face. “Some other time, professor, some other time. Just now I—uh—have to look at these real interesting”—he spun around, searching for something to name—“uh—blocks of coal,” he finished lamely, voice fading.
Adam laughed. “All right, kid. I’ll spare you the lecture on the Etruscan civilization—at least for now.” He and Joe walked past displays of building stones and chemicals and cases of hats, shoes, clothes, wool blankets and carpets before finally something so caught Joe’s attention that Adam thought he might have trouble pulling his brother away.
One sight of that long, narrow Toledo blade, and it was love at first sight for the youngest Cartwright. Good thing they’ve got it behind glass, Adam observed, or he’d take off, swashbuckling down the aisles, terrifying everyone in sight. “Hers was much lighter, you know,” he said softly.
The pronoun needed no antecedent for Joe to identify to whom “hers” referred. “Of course, I know,” he said. “I’ve handled Mama’s epee, but this is a beautiful blade, Adam. I’m just admiring it.”
“Are you sure the word isn’t ‘coveting’?” Adam inquired wryly.
Joe grinned. “Why, no, big brother, that would be a sin, and you know what a saint I am.”
Adam put his hand to his throat and pretended to choke. “Saint Joseph,” he gasped. “No, those words simply don’t belong in the same sentence, much less side by side.”
“Much you know,” Joe snorted. “At least there is a Saint Joseph in the Bible—even got a town named after himself. Maybe you remember it—somewhere in Missouri?”
“I seem to recall passing through there,” Adam muttered dryly.
“Yeah, but what you don’t recall is any mention of a Saint Adam, in the Good Book or anywhere on any map,” Joe jibed, “now, do you?”
Adam rolled his tongue inside pursed lips, and then replied, “That’s because they don’t make men saints ‘til after their death—and I’m still among the living.” He ended with a wide, triumphant grin.
Apparently overcome, Joe collapsed against his brother’s chest. “I can’t take that on an empty stomach,” he sputtered.
“Your stomach is not empty,” Adam chuckled, “or at least it had better not be, because I’m not feeding you for . . . oh . . . about seven or eight more countries.”
Pushing away from his brother, Joe groaned. “Let’s get started then. I would like my dinner before suppertime.”
Adam loosely circled the boy’s waist. “It’s not as bad as it sounds, buddy; some of them have very few exhibits and won’t take long at all. The next one, for instance.”
“Hawaii?” Joe said, reading the sign over the next pavilion. “Where’s that, Adam?”
“Don’t you know?” Adam teased and when Joe only looked back, perturbed at the twitting, he explained, “You probably know the country better as the Sandwich Islands.”
“Oh, sure,” Joe said. “In the Pacific. I know them.”
The brothers walked through one of the two arched entrances into the small pavilion and discovered that despite its limited size, it held some of the most fascinating materials they had yet seen. The barrels of coffee and sugar didn’t look any different here than in the general store back home, but the specimens of lava from Kilauea, the largest active volcano in the world, were unlike anything exhibited elsewhere, except in the Mexican pavilion. The furniture styles were similar to those of the European countries and America, but the native woods from which the tables and other pieces were constructed gave each an exotic flavor.
The displays of native culture interested the Cartwright boys, as well, from the calabashes used to hold food to the Hawaiian version of millinery. The flora and fauna of the small nation were shown in cases of stuffed birds, along with another of ferns and mosses, and one case attractively displayed pink and white coral, shells and seaweed. Photographs of island scenes helped place the exhibited items in context.
As lovely as the Hawaiian exhibits were, however, viewing them took only a short while, as Adam had promised, and he and Joe soon moved on to another even more limited, the exhibits from Tunis. These were so similar to what they had seen displayed in the Turkish bazaar that the brothers sped through that country as if carried by transcontinental train. Everything displayed was the property of the Bey of Tunis and included gilt furniture, wool blankets and shawls, woven silks and jewelry, along with antique relics from the ruins of Carthage. Not even the daggers and swords caught Joe’s eye, for he’d already purchased one almost identical to those displayed.
Exhibits from Portugal stood just north of those from Tunis and were enclosed in a line of wooden showcases, stained in imitation of black walnut. Adam and Joe walked in through the east entrance, one of three into the area and found, first of all, more fabrics. A quick perusal and they were ready to move on to something of greater interest, for Adam, at least. He viewed with close concentration the topographical and geological maps and charts and paid particular attention to the drawings of Portugal’s principal harbors, while Joe, as usual, took greater pleasure in the photographs of the countryside and the large specimens of natural minerals arrayed below the charts and maps.
Glassware, pottery and porcelain were displayed on tables and pedestals in the center of the other exhibits. While well formed, the shapes seemed simpler and the lines less detailed than the pieces from France. Little Joe passed by them with a brief glance, but Adam was amazed and amused by what stopped the boy in his tracks, a table of papier-mâché figures in native Portuguese costume.
“Dolls?” Adam asked in wonder when Joe reached over to check the price tag. “Oh, for one of your little girlfriends, I suppose.”
Joe flushed. “No, but you’d laugh if I told you what I was really thinking.” He gave his lips a nervous lick and fell silent.
Noticing and correctly interpreting that Joe wanted to tell him, but feared ridicule, Adam touched his arm with a supportive hand. “No, I won’t laugh. What’s your idea, little buddy?”
Still looking hesitant, Joe took a breath and plunged in. “I was thinking, maybe, for Pa. Kind of a reminder of places and people he once saw—back when he was sailing, I mean. I know it’s not much, but I can afford this, and I think a watch is just gonna be more than I can handle. Stupid, huh?”
Adam actually thought the idea was the worst Joe had come up with yet, but sensing his brother’s need for reassurance, he quickly said, “No, not stupid, but I’d think it over awhile before deciding, if I were you, in case you see other reminders he might enjoy more.”
“Oh, yeah, I intended to,” Joe hastened to say, obviously eager to earn his older brother’s respect.
Adam nodded and turned him toward the final exhibit in the Portuguese area, a case of flowers, baskets, ships and other articles made of fig tree fiber from the island of St. Michael in the Azores. After that, he and Joe were ready to see one of the larger exhibits again.
Egypt had enclosed her displays inside a replica of an ancient temple. Made of wood, the structure had been painted in imitation of stone, and two massive pillars with lotus flower capitals flanked the sides of the entrance. A simulated engraving on the two sides declared, “Egypt—Soodan—the oldest people of the world sends its morning greeting to the youngest nation.”
Entering, Joe noticed first the model of the pyramid of Giza on his right, but Adam called his attention to the plaster bust opposite it. “This is the man thought to be the Pharaoh in the time of your namesake.”
Joe gave him a blank look. “Hmm?”
Adam smiled. “Joseph, the one in the Old Testament; surely you remember him.”
“Oh, yeah, him. The one whose older brothers treated him so bad,” Joe said, puckish twinkle in his eye. “Yeah, I always found it real easy to identify with him.”
Adam gave the impudent rascal’s ear a playful tug.
“See what I mean!” Joe tittered, bouncing off toward the side wall to look at the photographs and drawings of Egyptian scenery. Mere pictures couldn’t hold his attention, however, in the face of what, to Joe, seemed the most marvelous display of any he’d seen that morning. “Adam, look!” he cried, all but running to see the case of magnificent saddles used by the pashas of Egypt on ceremonial occasions.
“Joe, for goodness’ sake,” Adam began to scold, but stopped when he saw his brother’s worshipful gaze upon the hangings of crimson velvet, embroidered with gold, the harness and trappings of pure bullion and the silk saddle blankets. Truly, riding gear worthy of royalty—worthy, even, of young Prince Cartwright and his noble steed, Cochise. Adam finished the thought with a grin. Sorry, little buddy, can’t help you out; even for me, this would be too costly a gift. “They’re wonderful, Joe,” he said, “but we can’t stand here staring at saddles half the morning. Now, stay with me, please. No more running off.”
“Yes, Pa,” Joe muttered, casting a final fond look at the wonderful saddles as he was led toward a far less fascinating display of furniture. Nothing within the exotic Egyptian pavilion could fail to excite interest, however, for everything was so different from the world the Cartwright brothers knew that each turn revealed yet more wonders. Even the furniture featured pieces of rare beauty and value, such as the ebony cabinet inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl, priced at $5,500. There were two large cases of silk, woven with gold and silver thread, but Little Joe ignored them to stare, gape-mouthed, at the huge, stuffed crocodile resting on a low platform between them. “Whoa! I’d sure hate to meet up with one of those up in the hills.”
“They don’t live ‘up in the hills,’” Adam grunted with a perturbed shake of his head.
“I know that,” Joe shot back. “I was just sayin’ they look dangerous.”
“They are dangerous,” Adam agreed. “Better stand back, little buddy, before those jaws snap shut on your scrawny little arm.”
“You better stand back, if you’re scared of a dead lizard.” Joe tossed the advice aside with a saucy grin and took off again, destination unknown.
Adam took a deep breath and gave chase, fortunately finding his flighty little brother not far away, entranced by another collection of saddles, these intended for use on dromedaries. After almost forcibly dragging the boy away, Adam directed his attention to an exhibit of red pottery and then to one of books and manuscripts written in Arabic.
“If you tell me you read Arabic, too, I’m gonna throttle you, Adam,” Joe said, his tone serious, but his eyes merry.
Appreciating the joke, Adam chuckled. “I’m safe, then; it’s as meaningless to me as it is to you. Beautiful script, though.”
Joe smiled, noticing that Adam was responding with greater warmth toward him. Reckon it’s ‘cause I’m trying harder to get along? Feeling fairly certain that it was, he felt rewarded for his efforts and inspired to continue trying to keep things light and friendly between himself and his older brother.
The Egyptian pavilion was a good place to put those good intentions into practice, since almost everything inside its walls, from household implements of ivory, horn and metal to tableware of solid gold, interested both of the Cartwright brothers. Even the silk exhibit held their attention, for instead of just displaying bolts of fabric, cocoons were arranged in orderly patterns, according to tint, and attached to an upright branch to resemble clusters of glass grapes.
Passing a display of rugs and carpets, Adam and Joe came to the exhibit from the Khedive, America’s newest rival in the cotton trade. Though the Khedive had only begun growing cotton in 1860, it was able to send two thousand samples of native cotton to the Centennial. Also on display were sugar, leather, gum, bark, nuts, wheat and other grains and grasses from the region. Though none of these excited lengthy examination, it wasn’t until they reached the educational exhibit that Little Joe had to exercise much patience. Adam, of course, was immediately consumed with the mechanical instruments made by students from the Polytechnic Institute in Cairo, but Joe willed himself to wait quietly until his brother was finished. Somehow, it seemed easier today, although, he reminded himself, the day was still young. Plenty of time left for one of their traditionally explosive battles.
“Sorry,” Adam muttered ruefully when he glanced up to see his younger brother standing with his hands clasped behind his back, the image of strained patience. “I guess we shouldn’t spend half the morning looking at engineering tools, any more than saddles.”
“It’s okay, Adam,” Joe said, although his face revealed how eager he was to move on.
Adam smiled, instantly discerning that his little brother was making a sincere effort to be good-natured. Could he afford to do less? “What do you say we check out the Danish exhibits now?”
The bright smile beaming from Joe’s face made words unnecessary.
Denmark’s exhibits were enclosed in a triple court, the entrance to the first being a triumphal arch, with the country’s name inscribed on either side in circular medallions capped with crowns of gold. Over the arch a shield with the national arms was placed against a sextet of banners bearing the Danish colors, but the adornments that caught Little Joe’s immediate attention were two nude statuettes flanking the arch. Seeing his little brother gawking in adolescent fascination at the pieces, Adam cleared his throat loudly and made a wide, sweeping gesture toward the portal.
Passing into the north court, the Cartwrights discovered it to be largely devoted to works in terra cotta. There were Etruscan imitations from Copenhagen, vases of a yellow background with figures and borders boldly painted in black and others, whose surface was blackened and covered with landscapes, figures or flowers in oil colors. One large vase, however, was made of solid silver, priced at $4,290. In its center was a statue of Fame with the Arts grouped around her feet, while the wide base supported figures depicting the triumph of Neptune. A small table directly in front of it held two curiously wrought silver knives. Joe almost instinctively reached out to touch them, but a tap on his wrist reminded him that they were for observation only. Joe nodded and pulled his hand back.
The exhibits of the central court, reached through a red-draped doorway, were entirely different. Adam and Joe first encountered a sample of the native woods of Denmark and then a display of spindle-legged furniture made from wood of the pear tree. Clothing worn by the native Eskimos of Greenland was also exhibited within the middle court, as well as the furs and skins from which it was made.
The south court was devoted to exhibits from Greenland. With his love of architecture, Adam was intrigued by the model of an Eskimo winter house, its board walls enclosed in a layer of brown sea moss. It was Little Joe, however, who lifted its lid and giggled at the large family, dressed in skins and lying in bed, inside the model. “Control yourself,” Adam scolded gently. Still, he couldn’t resist a couple of chuckles himself, although the real object of his amusement was not the Eskimo house, nor its tiny inhabitants, but the laughing boy now busily exploring the kayak exhibited nearby.
Though interesting, Denmark’s contribution to the Centennial was small by comparison with some of the other countries, so Adam and Joe soon left its court for the Japanese one, which was enclosed in a light bamboo framework, ornamented with Japanese flags. As this country’s space was three times as large as that of Egypt and equally exotic, the Cartwrights would spend considerable time there. Even as they entered, they were drawn, as if by magnet, to a simulated garden. A twelve-foot circular area had been enclosed by rough boulders, which retained the earth necessary to grow ferns, coleus and other green plants. These were arrayed in relief against a mass of rock-like bronze, which rose two feet high to spread and blend into a bronze vase four feet in diameter. Decorated with flying cranes, from its center rose the figure of an old tree crag, supporting a green-bronzed, winged dragon. Little Joe shivered, feeling as though he were seeing a monster from one of the old tales Hop Sing used to tell him as a child, during the long hours when everyone else was off working the ranch. Those had been Chinese dragons, of course, and Joe looked forward to seeing that country’s exhibits and comparing its dragons with these.
The surrounding area was filled with bronze vases, as exquisitely crafted as the European ones and seeming to draw even greater attention from the Exposition’s American visitors. “Oh, we must take home something from Japan,” a woman dressed in the latest fashion was overheard to comment.
“Oh, everyone is, my dear,” her female companion responded. “It’s quite the latest thing. I intend to redo my entire parlor in Oriental furniture.”
“Why, that’s what I was thinking,” the first lady announced.
As the two waltzed off to examine the Japanese furniture, Joe turned to his brother, taking off his hat and crimping his curls with one hand while saying in a high-pitched voice, “Oh, Adam, we simply must take home something from Japan”—he broke into his typically infectious giggle—“but not this vase, okay, brother? It’ll break even your bank account!” He pointed to one of the largest bronzes, tagged at two thousand dollars.
“Will you behave?” Adam chided with a chuckle. “Our foreign guests will think you’re laughing at them. As a matter of fact, I happen to consider that price rather low when you realize that it involved an equivalent of twenty-two hundred and fifty hours of steady labor.”
Joe whistled. “You get that from the catalog?”
“Yes, of course,” Adam said. “It wouldn’t hurt, you know, if you read about the areas we plan to see the night before, as I do.”
“How could I when you don’t ever tell me what we’re gonna do the next day?” Joe snorted.
Adam laughed, despite his recent admonition to his young brother. “Yes, I suppose that could pose a difficulty, but you did know we’d be coming back here today, little brother.”
Joe conceded the point with a shrug and turned to look at two more high-priced vases, a pair with a background of delicate blue and white, decorated with golden dragons and graceful landscapes. “If you are going to take home something Japanese, Adam, I’d like these.”
Adam laid a hand on his brother’s shoulder. “Surely you jest. Hop Sing would have my head if I brought home Japanese art. He would consider it an open insult.”
Joe tittered. “Oh, yeah! You got a point there, and we’re going to China next, aren’t we?”
Adam nodded. “The Centennial version of it, yes.” His lips began to twitch. “Just because you’re thinking of Hop Sing doesn’t mean you have to use his favorite threat!”
The brothers shared a restrained laugh over the memories of Hop Sing’s oft-voiced threat to return to China, a threat which could be expected whenever anyone did anything that didn’t suit him. “When I was a kid, it really scared me,” Joe shared softly. “I’d lost Mama, and you and Pa and Hoss were away from the house most of the time, and I didn’t think I could stand it if I lost Hop Sing, too.”
Adam looked back in surprise, for Joe had never shared that childhood fear, at least not with him, nor, he suspected, with Pa or Hoss. “Sorry, kid. We should have told you it was all idle talk.”
“Yeah, you should have!” Joe said reproachfully. “You always acted like you took it serious, giving in to just what he wanted and all. Why wouldn’t I think he meant it?”
Adam pushed a chestnut curl from Joe’s forehead. “Poor baby,” he cooed with a chuckle, mildly irritated by the suggestion that he’d done wrong by failing to read the mind of a child of four or five.
Joe stepped back with a scowl. “Cut that out,” he growled as he put his hat back on to keep his curls safe from his brother’s prying fingers. Should’ve known better than to tell him my feelings! When has he ever cared what I feel? He was silent as he and Adam continued their tour of Japanese ceramics, including the green or scarlet and gold pieces from Kaga, the Banko ware with its characteristic brown or purple color worked through to the inside and droll figures from Tokyo, really caricatures of different classes of Japanese society.
The brothers came next to a huge exhibit of lacquered ware, everything from tiny trays to large, costly cabinets, the jewel of the group a 250-year-old cabinet, available for purchase to anyone having five thousand dollars. The vases of ivory tusks with lacquered decoration were expensive, as well, but Little Joe gathered up a dozen of the trays, which were priced at a mere fifty cents apiece.
“Not for Hop Sing, I hope,” Adam said, hoping to break the silence by bringing up the joke they’d shared earlier.
“‘Course not,” Joe scoffed. “I want something better for him. These are just for some friends.”
“Oh. Girls,” Adam guessed with a smile.
“Yeah, girls,” Joe muttered grumpily. “I have a lot, you know.”
“Oh, I know,” Adam chuckled. “Believe me, I know how broadly you spread your affections around, little brother.” He paused, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Joe, if I’ve done something to offend you . . .”
Joe responded with his most Adam-like nonchalant shrug. “Aw, forget it, Adam; it’s nothing.”
“Brighten up a bit and I might believe you,” Adam said softly.
Joe returned a weak smile. “That better?”
“Some. Are you getting tired . . . or hungry?”
Joe nodded, willing to let his older brother think that the only thing bothering him was an empty belly. “You weren’t planning to eat this soon, though, were you?”
“I planned to finish here and see the Chinese exhibits before taking a break,” Adam admitted, “but if you’re really . . .”
“No, no,” Joe insisted quickly. “I’d rather see China first, maybe find something real nice for Hop Sing.”
“Sure,” Adam agreed, “he’d appreciate something from his native country, but you don’t have to decide today, Joe. When we’re completely finished with all the buildings, we’ll spend a day just shopping before we go home. I should have explained that; it’s the reason I keep urging you to wait before buying.”
“Okay, that helps,” Joe said, “but I want these trays anyway. The girls will like them. Everybody wants something from Japan, you know; you hear it all over.”
“Everybody except Hop Sing.” Adam grinned, draping an arm across the boy’s slender shoulders and turning him toward the silk screens mounted on light frames and decorated with scenes of the daily life of common people. The outlines of the figures and the landscapes were painted, while the costumes, faces, animals and houses were embroidered on the silk. Beautiful works, but the boys gave them only a cursory examination, preferring, due to Hop Sing’s influence, to spend more time seeing the Chinese version of similar articles.
As was becoming habitual, their tour of the country ended with a perusal of the educational exhibits. Joe groaned as yet another nation dangled the distasteful topic before his eyes, but he did find the unique characters and backwards way of writing of greater interest than specimens he’d seen in the pavilions of other countries. Taking pity—or maybe because he couldn’t read the papers, either—Adam spent far less time than usual in the Japanese educational department, and the brothers took off for next-door China, each excited to see what he might find that would please the cook to whom both were devoted.
Immediately to the west, the enclosed Chinese pavilion was less than half the size of the Japanese one. The entrance was a copy of the portal to a celestial pagoda and was painted in bright hues of vermilion, indigo and green. Carvings of curled-up dragons, fierce and ugly enough to haunt any small boy’s nightmares, ornamented the entrance, and every projection of its curved roof ended in an animal shape. Above it were Chinese characters, which Adam said meant “The Chinese Empire.”
“You read Chinese, too?” Joe gasped.
Adam chuckled. “No, I read the catalog.”
Joe grinned, obviously relieved that there was some end to his older brother’s vast knowledge.
Near the entrance stood a row of silk screens in elaborately carved frames, which drew Joe’s immediate interest, until he saw the price tags. Some were painted in brilliant colors and all took their subject matter from animal life. A couple displayed undersea scenes, in which the translucence of the water had been caught in a manner true to life. “Could you afford something like this for him?” Joe asked shyly. “I can’t, but they would fit perfect in Hop Sing’s room.”
“How would you know?” Adam inquired with a jesting smile. “Hop Sing doesn’t let anyone in there—at least not that I’ve heard—and you had better not have been sneaking in behind his back or Pa will have your hide.”
“It’s been a long time,” Joe admitted, “but Hop Sing used to let me take naps in there when I was real little ‘cause he knew how much I hated being upstairs by myself.”
“I didn’t know,” Adam murmured.
Joe shrugged. “Why should you? I was past the nap-taking stage by the time you came home from college.”
That wasn’t what Adam had meant, but he didn’t correct the misimpression. What had surprised him, more than Joe’s having taken naps in Hop Sing’s bed, was the revelation that he had done so because of a dread of being alone. Makes sense when you think about it, Adam decided. He’s such a sociable kid that he would want people around, even while he slept. Letting his mind travel back, Adam recalled times when his youngest brother had been ill or hurt and had begged to be allowed downstairs. Adam had always assumed that the kid was rebelling against the enforced inactivity of Doc Martin’s orders. Maybe all he wanted was company, he mused. Wonder if Pa knows; wonder if that’s why he caves in so easily to Joe’s wheedling to get out of bed before he should.
“So, how about it?” Joe pressed. “You are gonna get him something, aren’t you?”
“Huh?” With a shake of his head, Adam pulled his thoughts back to the present. “Why, yes, of course, I’ll be taking something back to Hop Sing, just like the rest of the family. The screens cost a little more than I’d planned to spend, but if you think he’d really like one, I’ll keep it in mind.”
“One of the underwater ones,” Joe suggested. “He’ll like them best.”
“Because you do?” Adam chuckled.
“Because I know him better than you,” Joe insisted, smiling when Adam nodded in acceptance.
Walking further in, the brothers came to a huge, intricately carved wooden bed. “Don’t even think about it,” Adam said, in awe.
“No,” Joe scoffed. “It’s too big for Hop Sing’s room.”
“Thank goodness,” Adam chuckled. “It’s too big for my wallet, too!”
“I didn’t think anything was,” Joe muttered.
To Adam, he sounded serious. The kid really must think my pockets are deep! Maybe that’s why he pays so little attention to the price of his meals.
After viewing the porcelain and pottery, he and his brother took a quick look at the lacquered work. “Not as good as the Japanese,” Adam observed.
“You want to be the one to tell Hop Sing that?” Joe inquired with a smirk.
“Credit me with a little sense, will you?” Adam retorted dryly.
Joe held his fingers about an inch apart. “Sure, big brother, just about that much.”
Adam cuffed him by the neck and pulled him toward the case of carved ivory, where Joe stared in morbid fascination at the carving of a human skull, not two inches high, with a snake coiled on its head.
“Good workmanship,” Adam commented.
“If you can get past what it is,” Joe said, swallowing as if choking down a mouthful of bile.
“Too close to dinner, eh?” Adam suggested with a sympathetic smile.
“Sunup would be too close to dinner for that!” Joe declared. “Let’s look at something else, Adam.”
“Maybe-so you like this mo’ bettah?” suggested a Chinese attendant, extending a ball of carved ivory, five inches in diameter.
Joe’s eyes lighted, like those of a child with a new toy on Christmas morning. “Can I?” he asked, holding out his hand before Adam could stop him.
The little man in blue silk pants and tunic bowed and handed the small ball to Joe, smiling as the enchanted boy turned it over and over to see the intricate carvings of cities, men, flowers and trees that covered every inch of the exterior. “Now look inside,” the Chinaman urged.
Joe peered into the hole the man indicated and gasped. “Oh, wow! Adam, you gotta see this.”
Curious, Adam took the ivory ball and looked into one of several other holes scattered over the surface. Only his greater emotional control kept him from also gasping at the beauty within, for inside the ball was another, similarly carved, and inside that another, still smaller, and another and another, more than he could count. “How many in all?” he asked, returning the ball to the attendant.
“Twenty-three,” the Chinaman replied, “all from one piece ivory. Velly fine work. You like buy, maybe-so?”
“Maybe so,” Adam agreed, “but not today. I must think first.”
“Ah, you wise like Confucius,” the man said, “but wise man also know delay may lead to disappointment.”
Adam bowed. “That is true; I will remember. Thank you for showing us this beautiful object.”
Though disappointed not to make the sale, the Chinaman bowed politely.
“You thinkin’ about that for Hop Sing?” Joe asked once they were out of earshot. “The screen’s are nicer, I think, but this would be cheaper.”
“I’m not sure. Clyde Thomas might appreciate a beautiful carving like that, too,” Adam said.
“Yeah, he would.” Joe fell silent after that, his thoughts growing gloomy. He’d thought the little Swiss chalet was such a perfect gift for that old friend of the family, but Adam, with his greater resources, seemed determined to outshine him with every gift he bought. Joe swallowed down the hurt. There just wasn’t any help for it, given the difference in their bankrolls, and he didn’t want to see Pa or Hoss or any of their friends deprived of a fine present from Adam, even if it did make his own look like a piece of junk.
Adam stopped before a display of porcelain tiles, painted with Chinese figures. “This might be something you could afford for Hop Sing.”
Joe’s eyes brightened. “Yeah, that might do. I could even manage a set of three, I’ll bet, and they’d look nice on his wall. Gonna give it some thought, though, since you said we could come back.”
“Smart boy,” Adam praised with a pat on the cheek.
“Adam,” Joe chided, pulling away from the gesture more appropriate to a child than a man, in his opinion.
Sniggering with his mouth closed, Adam walked over to a tall pagoda holding a wide variety of Chinese products: cloth, shoes, stockings, hats, leather trunks, samples of native paper, musical instruments and dozens of examples of China’s natural resources and manufactures. There were, to Joe’s unending gratitude, no educational exhibits, so Adam contented himself with a final look at the offices of the Chinese Commission, a colorful structure of carved and gilded woodwork, whose chief attraction was its panels of scarlet silk painted with scenes from Chinese life.
Though they hadn’t reached the western end of the building, Adam knew that neither he nor Joe could wait that long before eating. After all, five more countries were exhibiting on that side of the aisle alone, with another quarter of the building still to be viewed on the opposite side. So, though it meant extra steps, Adam decreed that it was time to eat and he got no argument from his younger brother.
Seated in the Café Leland at the southern end of the central transept, they put in their orders, both choosing a cold platter because of the heat of the day. “I can’t believe we’ve spent a day and a half in this building, and there’s still so much we haven’t seen,” Joe said between mouthfuls of ham sandwich.
Adam stifled an urge to rebuke the boy for talking with his mouth full. It was past their normal dinner hour, so he felt obligated to cut the obviously starving kid some slack. “I know it’s tiring to see so much so quickly, Joe, but it’s that or miss something, given the length of time Pa said we could be away from home.”
“Well, we could always skip going to Yale, instead, if you wanted to spend more time here,” Joe suggested.
Catching the sassy sparkle in his brother’s eye, Adam responded with a wry smile. “Maybe I could skip Commencement, but you, my boy, are obligated to visit Yale. Part of the price tag for the trip, remember?”
Joe just grinned. “Would you trust me to go there on my own?”
Adam nearly choked on a bit of beef. “Not for a minute, kid! You’d probably take off for New York City—and catch a boat for France.”
Joe’s expression was suddenly serious. “No, I wouldn’t want to be away from the Ponderosa that long. Anyway, I know what that Commencement means to you; I was just joshing about skipping it.”
“I know that,” Adam responded warmly. “Getting homesick, kid?”
“Kind of,” Joe said, reluctant to admit what he considered a weakness. “I’ve never been away from home as long as we’re going to be on this trip. I don’t think I could stand it for four years, Adam.”
Adam cut a bite from his slice of cantaloupe. “You’d get used to it, as I did.”
Joe sliced his fork through a mound of potato salad. “You mean you really missed us? I thought . . .”
“What?” Adam asked, looking up.
“Never mind,” Joe muttered, quickly popping a bite of potato salad into his mouth.
Adam reached across the round table to lay his hand on Joe’s. “I missed you, kid,” he said softly.
Joe shook his head, not in denial, but as though disappointed in his childish thoughts of long ago. “Guess I was a kid then, but I just didn’t understand.”
“I know,” Adam said with regret, “and I didn’t know how to make you understand, not at four years old. I’ve always been sorry about that. I’ve thought, maybe, it created a lot of resentment in you.”
“It did,” Joe whispered.
Again Adam’s hand stretched across the table. “Joe—”
Joe jerked his hand back. “Not here, Adam, for the love of mercy!”
Understanding that Joe was concerned about showing emotion in public, Adam settled back in his chair, telling himself that he would continue the conversation later. Obviously, things needed to be said, but they needed to be said in private, for his own sake as much as Joe’s. In a forcibly bright tone he began to list the countries whose exhibits they had not yet seen.
“Oh, my aching feet!” Joe moaned, but he was smiling again. “Don’t tell them how much more they have to travel. They feel like they’ve been all over the world already!”
Taking pity, Adam quickly made a change of plans. “Tell you what, we’ll just take care of Great Britain, Ireland and the colonies this afternoon and come back Saturday afternoon to finish the building.”
“Oh, Adam, you do have a heart!” Joe cried.
“Well, of course, I do . . . and feet as tired as yours,” Adam chuckled. “Besides, we have an extra stop to make this afternoon, so we probably couldn’t finish today if we tried.”
“Extra stop? Where?”
“Wait and see,” Adam said and laughed when Joe groaned at being kept in the dark yet again. When they had both finished eating, Adam led the way up the central transept to the north door and exited the building. Skirting around Memorial Hall and the Art Annex behind it, he stopped before a frame cottage on the south slope of Lansdowne Valley.
“Singer Sewing Machine?” Joe queried, and then his eyes lighted with understanding. “That’s where she works, the lady we helped this morning.”
Adam nodded. “That’s right. She insisted I bring you here this afternoon. Evidently, she wants you to have a remembrance of her. She assured me it wasn’t anything costly, but if it is, I expect you to refuse it.”
Joe gave his head a perturbed shake. “Adam, you don’t have to tell me every little thing. Pa’s done a fairly decent job of raising me.”
Adam coughed to cover his shock at the suggestion that he was criticizing their father. “Well, I know that. Just—just see to it you do as you’ve been taught.”
They went inside, and Adam asked where he might find Mrs. Atkinson. Directed to a machine not far away, he and Joe walked over and were warmly welcomed by the lady from the streetcar. “I have something for you,” Mrs. Atkinson said.
“Yes, ma’am, my brother told me, but you really didn’t have to do that,” Joe insisted.
“Just a sample of my work,” she said, handing him a man’s handkerchief. “And I have one for you, as well,” she added as she held another out toward Adam.
Joe grinned at the monogram embroidered by machine on his handkerchief. A large “C” was scrolled in one corner, surrounded by smaller letters, “J” on one side and “F” on the other. “It’s my initials,” he said, “but how did you know what they were?”
“Oh, I have very good ears,” she laughed, and Joe did, too, when he realized that she had figured out his initials when Adam had hollered his full name on the horse car. Turning to Adam, she added almost apologetically, “I didn’t know whether you had a middle initial, but I assumed the last name would be the same.”
Looking up from the diagonally linked “A” and “C” in the corner of his handkerchief, Adam smiled. “It is, but these are more than the mere tokens you told me you wished to present.”
“Not really. I hand out samples like this all day long, gentlemen,” Mrs. Atkinson assured them, failing to add that the sample monograms were not normally stitched on handkerchiefs of such fine linen.
“Nonetheless, thank you for the time and effort you put into these beautiful remembrances. We will carry them with pride,” Adam said.
“We surely will, ma’am,” Joe added quickly, lest Adam again think him remiss in manners.
“But you, my young knight, must agree to carry one more thing for me,” the lady said with a smile as she slipped her hand into her pocket. “A knight often wore the favor of his chosen lady, and while I know that I am too old to be the choice of such a handsome young knight, I hope you will wear my favor, nonetheless.” She laid a watch fob, made of braided Centennial ribbon, in his hand. “The strap I wore this morning was too badly damaged to mend, but I salvaged enough material to make a smaller one, more fitting for a man.”
“I love it,” Joe said and impulsively thanked her with a quick kiss on the cheek.
“Don’t scold,” she told Adam, for she could see the look of rebuke in his eyes, adding with a light laugh, “Queen Guinevere commands it.” She laid her hand against Joe’s smooth cheek. “You’re a dear boy; never change.”
Joe blushed. “Thank you, ma’am.” He ducked his head, fumbling for his watch.
While Joe was fastening it to the colorful new fob, Mrs. Atkinson turned to Adam. “May I show you around this pavilion? We have sixty-one different machines in operation, and I’d be happy to show them to you.”
“Thank you, but we really don’t have much time to spare today,” Adam said, “and being bachelors, we wouldn’t have any real use for a sewing machine.”
“No, I suppose not,” she said. “However, if your mother or a lady friend is in the city with you, do tell her to register in our reception parlor. The company is giving away our two millionth machine to one of our lady visitors.”
“We’re alone, I’m afraid,” Adam said, “and we had best get back to our tour of the Main Building. Ready, Joe?”
Still admiring his new fabric fob, Joe nodded and slipped his watch into its pocket. “Thanks again, ma’am,” he said.
“No, young man, thank you, for your brave actions of this morning,” she insisted. “Thank you both.”
“Our pleasure, your majesty,” Adam said, and he bowed as Joe had that morning.
Their spirits refreshed by the pleasant interlude, the two brothers walked side by side back to the Main Exhibition Hall and entered again by the same door through which they had left. They began their afternoon tour at the intersection of the central transept with the main aisle, for Great Britain’s exhibits began on its northwest corner. Unenclosed, the national origin of the rows of simple black showcases with gilt moldings was designated solely by a red banner, with white letters, hanging from the roof. At the entrance the highlight of the British exhibits, silver and plated ware by the silversmiths of Birmingham, had been arranged.
“Hang onto your heart, little brother, when you check the price on this one,” Adam teased, pointing to the richly enameled Helicon vase.
“Thirty thousand,” Joe croaked. There was no denying that the vase was a work of art, with two classical semi-nude figures reclining gracefully against its base, while two small angels sat at their feet, perhaps to hear the music from their lyres. In Joe’s opinion, however, nothing you put on a table just to look at could possibly be worth thirty thousand dollars. Think of the cattle we could buy with that! He didn’t say anything aloud, however, thinking that Adam would probably consider him an uncultured, money-grubbing boor with no understanding of the proper value of art.
He really hadn’t needed to speak his thoughts, though, for Adam read them easily in his emotive face. Secretly agreeing with Joe’s assessment of spending that kind of money on tableware, he nonetheless delighted in seeing such beautifully crafted pieces and wanted to instill in his younger brother a kindred appreciation. Case by case, they viewed the porcelain, pottery and majolica, which rivaled, without surpassing, the French examples.
Adam stopped to look longer at a couple of vases featuring Cupid and Venus. One showed the curly-haired cherub turning the wheel of fortune for the Goddess of Love, while the other portrayed him presenting a weeping Venus with a bleeding heart. Unable to resist the temptation, Adam swept off Joe’s straw hat to run his fingers through the curls of the copy of Cupid standing beside him. “Better not stand too close, little buddy,” he teased, “or people will swear you sat as model for these and start running from you and your little arrows.”
Joe responded by thrusting a derisive tongue at his annoying older brother.
Adam laughed. “Well, that’s one way to shed that cherubic image!”
Joe slumped forward, shaking his head in self-disgust for having given Adam more ammunition. Sometimes there just wasn’t any way to escape big brother’s sharp wit. The hearty clap he felt on his back made him look up, and Adam’s warm smile as he returned the hat brought one in response. Might as well get used to it; ain’t never gonna get old enough for him to quit teasing—nor Hoss, neither.
“Let’s look at the pottery next,” Adam suggested, still chuckling. “One of the other guests at Bert’s the other night said it’s the best display of any country here.”
“Okay, I’m all for looking at the best,” Joe agreed readily. Sure hope it ain’t more Cupids—or I’ll really have to act up ‘to shed that cherubic image!’”
The terra cotta works exhibited by Galloway and Graff were, indeed, populated with figures from Greek mythology, but not by any jest-provoking, curly-headed tykes, as far as Joe could see. Instead, powerful images of men and women adorned the vases, and Joe was particularly drawn to a couple of small statues, one of the huntress Diana and a deer and another of Psyche, whose lovely female form Joe could have spent the entire afternoon gazing upon in abject worship. She stood in a pensive pose, index finger touching her lips as her head leaned forward in thought. A set of fairy-light wings rose from her back, and her only other adornment was a loose drape knotted low across her hips and falling to her bare feet. Seeing that his little brother’s attention appeared to be fixed somewhere near Psyche’s naval, Adam coughed loudly and reminded Joe that the British exhibit was a huge one and they had much left to see.
With a sigh Joe smiled a fond farewell to the lovely lady and obediently followed Adam to a display of fine glassware with an exceptional crystal chandelier, the finest in the building, suspended above it. Adam seemed to give particular attention to the glassware and finally told Joe that he was considering buying some for the ranch, “especially for when we entertain. These would attract a lot of attention, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, but I thought you liked those ruby ones from Austria-Hungary,” Joe responded.
Adam cocked his head to look closely at his brother. “You like them better, buddy?”
Joe again seemed surprised that his brother really wanted his opinion. “Yeah, I do, Adam,” he said earnestly. “They were beautiful.”
Adam’s head bobbed slowly up and down. “Well, I guess I’d better do some more thinking before I buy because it’s a hard choice,” he said finally.
“You could buy both,” Joe suggested with childlike candor.
Adam laughed. “Pa didn’t give me that much leeway, boy! No, I’ll have to make a decision, and I appreciate your help in making it.”
Truly flattered, Joe smiled. “Sure, anytime, brother.”
Throwing an arm about the boy’s shoulders, Adam directed him toward the furniture display, whose chief attraction was the collection of brass beds. “They’re nice enough, I guess,” Joe commented, “but I prefer wood.”
“I probably do, too,” Adam admitted, “although I hear this is becoming quite popular.”
“Amazing,” Joe snickered. “It’s not even Japanese.”
As they approached a tent with purple velvet hangings and a scroll above the entrance announcing it as the home of the Royal School of Art and Needlework, Joe protested, “Oh, Adam, you’re not serious.”
“Just a quick look,” Adam consoled him. “I hear there’s a piece by Princess Christian.”
Obviously unimpressed by royalty, Joe shook his head. “Boring is boring, no matter who does it.”
Adam gave him a conspiratorial wink. “Well, it’s the kind of exhibit that will attract a lot of girls, Joe.”
Suddenly, a broad grin transformed Joe’s drooping countenance. “What are we waiting for then, brother? Let’s see that royal gal’s stitchery, shall we?” Taking Adam’s arm, he practically dragged his older brother into the tent. Inside, the screen worked by Princess Christian drew much attention from the largely female spectators, but both Joe and Adam thought the three-leaved screen by Miss Gemmel more effective. Light green leaves and flowers, with white fruit blossoms on two panels and wild roses on the third, had been embroidered in shimmering silk on a dark green background. Pretty as the piece was, though, it wasn’t the kind of thing men cared for, and there weren’t enough pretty girls flocking around to make Joe want to stay inside that stuffy tent for long. Adam kept his promise and soon delivered both his brother and himself from the claustrophobic closeness of a tent full of needlework.
Back at the main aisle, the Cartwright brothers entered another department of little interest to men, with its cases of cotton and woolen goods. The best displays of textiles were the linens from Ireland, exhibited nearby. “We really need a fresh stock,” Adam declared, “and since this is undoubtedly the finest in the world, I’m going to go ahead and place an order now.”
“Okay if I take a look at that jewelry while you do that?” Joe asked.
“Sure, just don’t take off anywhere else,” Adam warned.
“Yes, Pa, I’ll be a good boy,” Joe tossed back in the voice of a tiny child.
Adam shook his head. And if I treat him like a child, I get my head bit off—or worse, an afternoon of stony silence! He completed his order quickly and joined Joe at a case of jewelry made from precious stones found in Scotland. The jeweler from Edinburgh was only too happy to show the pieces he thought might appeal to American gentlemen, though Adam found the highland ornaments more interesting, from a cultural standpoint. Another jeweler, this one from Belfast, displayed jewelry made from Irish bog oak, which was also unlike any the men from the Ponderosa had seen elsewhere in the hall.
Uh-oh, Joe thought when he saw the exhibit of submarine cables by the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Company. There’ll be no tearing Adam away from this one. Fortunately, there was a display of cutlery, tools and hardware from London, Sheffield and Birmingham nearby, so the time passed quickly for the younger half of the pair.
In alcoves along the north wall, the Cartwright brothers found carpets from Axminster, Wilton and India, the larger ones hung against the wall. “Hey, if you’re still thinking about a carpet for Pa’s bedroom, I like this one,” Joe said, indicating a patterned floor covering from Axminster.
“That color would look well in his room,” Adam agreed, but decided to wait before making a final decision. He and Joe made their way down the wall, coming next to the pavilion of book publishers at the west end of the space allotted to Great Britain and Ireland. Here, Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew and Company of London, publishers of Punch and the British Encyclopedia, had erected a comely pavilion. Mr. Punch himself stood at the entrance, bowing in welcome to all visitors. Little Joe stopped to listen and laugh at the antics of the red-nosed glove puppet with the rascally attitude, while Adam hurried inside to the greater attraction of beautifully bound books.
“Hey, Mr. Punch, anything worth reading in there?” Joe asked in merry jest.
The little puppet whipped his slapstick toward the audience and would have knocked off Joe’s hat had the boy not ducked just in time. “Take that, you cheeky Yank,” Mr. Punch spewed forth in apparent rage. “Anything worth reading, indeed! Why, any British child could tell you that the magazine inspired by yours truly is the finest in the world. Inside with you, you Yankee lout, and improve that befuddled brain of yours with a good British book! In your case, it might take several.”
Joe joined the rest of the audience in laughter and quickly assured Mr. Punch he would follow that advice. Scampering inside, he found his brother, predictably, standing in awe before a table of books. Tsk, tsk, older brother. Mr. Punch won’t think much of you reading Shakespeare, instead of ‘the finest magazine in the world,’ he joked to himself.
Glancing up, Adam noticed that his younger brother had finally joined him. “Oh, these are marvelous editions,” he said as he leafed through a copy of one of the immortal bard’s plays. “Just look at the quality, Joe.”
Joe peeked at the price tag. High, of course, but he just might be able to swing it, as an extra gift for Adam. Happening to see his younger brother glancing at the price, Adam decided then and there that he would have to sneak back later to get the boy a volume or two. After all, Joe’d said he had some interest in Shakespeare, and if the kid continued to be as adamantly opposed to higher education as he’d been thus far, the best thing his big brother could do was put a little good literature in his path.
The educational exhibits were next, but not even Adam spent much time viewing them. The small exhibit did little justice to Britain’s contribution to education, and her great universities were not even represented. Little Joe was delighted with how quickly they left these behind for the more intriguing display by the London Illustrated News and London Graphic.
The London Graphic exemplified the printing of illustrations with a collection of original sketches and complete drawings of scenes and incidents in the Franco-German War, and a series of carved blocks showed the different stages in the process of wood engraving. Joe studied the battle scenes intently, wondering if they resembled those in which his brother had participated during the American conflict fifteen years before. He didn’t dare ask, however, for Adam had turned away after giving the drawings only a cursory look, seeming to be totally absorbed in a small gas-operated press nearby, which was publishing illuminated circulars of the firm. It was too simple a machine to merit that much attention, so Joe knew immediately that his brother was only doing it to avoid the other option. “There’s some stained glass over there that’s a lot nicer than those,” Joe suggested softly.
Adam looked up, surprised that Joe would express interest in stained glass. What he saw melted his heart. Those perceptive green eyes were seeing straight through his anguished soul, and Adam instantly knew that Joe didn’t really care anything about stained glass; the kid was simply offering him a chance to escape gracefully from scenes that were upsetting to him. Sometimes that little brother of his could be such a sweet kid that Adam wanted to reach out and pull him into a bear hug, as Hoss so easily did. Adam never gave in to the urge, though. For some reason he didn’t care to analyze, he just couldn’t, and it was no different today. “Sure, Joe, you’re right; we should be moving on.”
They “moved on” to the exhibits from India, although, in truth, most of them had come from the India Museum in London, rather than directly from the colony. Specimens of everything the natives of India ate, wore or used was displayed, including jeweled weapons and fans inlaid with ivory and precious stones. Boxes made of porcupine quills and sandalwood made Joe wish they were on sale, for he knew more than one person back home who would treasure such unique gifts. There were only a few commercial exhibits, one of the best being the carved blackwood furniture from Bombay, with borders and details so intricately carved that some of them looked like black lace from a distance. A survey of the photographs of India’s scenery and her native peoples brought the Cartwrights to the end of that colony’s exhibits, and they were ready to visit one closer to home.
The Dominion of Canada, next to India, displayed exhibits from the provinces of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia in neat, uniform cases of walnut. After viewing cases of cotton and woolen goods, hosiery, boots, shoes and apparel, Adam and Joe looked at others full of hardware, sewing machines, drugs and chemicals, before finally coming to something both found of greater interest. The models of the shipbuilders reminded them both once again of their father’s seafaring days, but Canada had so much on display that they didn’t spend much time going over the models in detail.
Furniture from Toronto and Ontario, furs from the Hudson Bay Company and finely sculpted marble mantels from Montreal vied for their attention, but, oddly enough, even Joe was more drawn to the educational exhibits here. The geological charts and maps had been attractively hung on the north wall, although Adam was quite certain that the suits of armor stationed as guards at the portal were the real magnets for his younger brother’s sudden interest in an educational display. Anything to do with knights seemed to have special appeal to Joe today, for reasons perfectly apparent to his older brother.
The geological department offered some interesting exhibits of ores and petroleum, including a lump of plumbago, declared to be the largest ever mined. Since the chunk of graphite measured six feet by four feet, Adam and Joe could easily believe that statistic, and both considered the red granite from New Brunswick a beautiful stone for building. Viewing the final case of beaded skins worn by the Indians of Canada, the brothers were ready to check out the displays of the next British colony.
“Queensland,” Joe said, reading the banner above the next area. “I don’t know where that is, Adam.”
“Look at that huge map suspended from the ceiling, buddy,” Adam said. “See? There’s Queensland in northeast Australia, and you can see the location of the other divisions of the continent, as well. Originally a part of New South Wales, Queensland has only been a separate colony since 1859, but I would have thought that Miss Jones would include it in your geography studies.”
“Maybe she did,” Joe conceded with a shrug. “Back then I didn’t see much point in learning about all those foreign places and their capitals. Memorized what I had to for a test and then forgot it all, just as quick. Other countries interest me some now, though, especially learning about them the way we are here at the Centennial. Makes ‘em seem like real places, not just dots on a map.”
That one remark made Adam feel that all his efforts in getting his little brother to Philadelphia and the frequent struggles to keep that active mind focused on profitable subjects had been repaid. With a buoyant bounce in his step, Adam approached the exhibits from Queensland, determined to build upon his brother’s expressed desire to learn about the world outside Nevada.
Queensland’s exhibits were in an enclosed apartment on the north side of the British space and opposite that of its former parent, New South Wales. Black tablets suspended around the enclosure gave vital statistics about the mining, grazing, agriculture and geology of the country, with paintings and photographs of Queensland and its people displayed below. A tall obelisk, covered with gilt and with a collection of gold-bearing quartz surrounding it, indicated the amount of gold exported from the area during the period from 1868 to 1875, over sixty-five tons in all, valued at thirty-five thousand dollars. “Enough to make a single vase in good old Mother England,” Joe quipped.
“That was silver,” Adam reminded him. “Gold is costlier.”
“Okay, half a vase,” Joe cackled. “Or is it two?”
“Try to behave yourself,” Adam urged, his own chuckles rendering the rebuke totally ineffective. “It’s the craftsmanship, not strictly the amount of metal used, that determines the price. Now, if you’ll notice, Queensland produces even more tin than it does gold and is, in fact, its principal source in the world.”
“Fascinating,” Joe replied with an impudent grin. “No, I mean it, very interesting,” he added quickly, fanning his hands protectively before his face when he saw Adam’s dark eyebrows pull together in a grim line. “They must mine a lot of copper, too, seein’ as how they sent five tons here, just to show off.”
Adam licked his lips. “All right, I get the point; you’ve seen enough minerals. Shall we look at the samples of native wood? According to the catalog, there are twenty-two different varieties being displayed.”
“Sure,” Joe said. “I’m fond of wood.”
Deciding to take the kid at his word, even though he had sounded flippant, Adam pointed out the various samples, what trees they came from and what products they were used for. He was pleased to see that Little Joe really did seem to be paying close attention.
Not quite as much, however, as the boy gave to the case of implements and clothing used to illustrate the dress and lifestyle of Australia’s aboriginal population. Those held, for him, the same appeal that eastern Americans felt regarding the Native Americans of their own western states. For Adam, the aboriginal exhibits afforded an opportunity to expound on what he considered unfair treatment of native peoples, both in his own country and in foreign lands.
“You’re preaching to the choir, brother,” Joe pointed out.
“Am I?” Adam demanded. “Don’t be so cocky, boy; you’re too young to have seen much of what I’m talking about.”
Joe immediately bristled at the inflammatory reference to his youth. “I’ve seen enough! If it was worse before, then I’m glad I didn’t see it!”
Adam’s mood abruptly changed and he said softly, “So am I, little brother; so am I, but you’re not a child anymore, or so you frequently assert. It’s time you opened your eyes to the wrongs around you that still need to be redressed—toward Indians and black citizens and the Chinese.”
“Adam, I do see,” Joe insisted defensively. “I just don’t know what I can about it, other than treat each man like I treat every other.”
“Well, that’s a beginning, Joe,” Adam agreed, sensing that he had offended the boy, who had little personal prejudice, and wanting to correct that at once. “In fact, it’s the best beginning, but we do have a long way to go, even in this country.”
“Couldn’t we just enjoy the exhibits today and wait ‘til tomorrow to solve the problems of the world?” Joe pleaded.
He sounded so world-weary and so child-like at the same time that Adam gasped out a coughing laugh. “I guess so, little brother. Sorry about the sermon.”
“Hey, I’m used to it,” Joe struck back with a smile. “I hear more sermons from you than from the minister back home.”
Adam favored his brother with his characteristic Cheshire-cat smile. “Well, he has less inspiration; he doesn’t have to see you every day!”
“But you get to,” Joe fired back in quick repartee. “Count your blessings, brother.”
Adam pretended to choke on the blatant misrepresentation. “Seeing you every day? Since when is that a blessing? Tidying up after your daily mischief is tantamount to cleaning the Aegean stables, my boy, and I’m no Hercules!”
Admitting that he’d been bested at the war of words, Joe merely scowled and walked toward the next colonial exhibit, while Adam beamed in triumph of mythological proportions. Within a week, however, he would wish that he could recall those jesting words and tell his little brother, instead, that seeing him every day was, indeed, the most cherished blessing of his life. Unaware of the breakers lying ahead, Adam sailed blithely on toward the unforeseen storm looming on the horizon.
The exhibits of New South Wales, which the Cartwrights visited next, were enclosed in a light, open framework that provided structure while permitting complete view of the displays from the aisle. Walking inside, Adam chuckled as they were again presented with tables of minerals from the colony, much the same ones as those shown by Queensland. Like the daughter colony, New South Wales displayed an obelisk revealing the amount of gold exported from 1851 to 1874. Mining being undertaken sooner here, the value was even greater, $165,949,355, an impressive amount, even to men from mineral-rich Nevada. Displays of copper, antimony and iron were also on view, along with specimens of kaolin and coal, from which a pyramid of black blocks had been constructed, along with a large block of kerosene shale, the source of the oil for lamps. Timber, silk and wool completed the presentation of the colony’s resources, but by far the most interesting sight in the enclosure of New South Wales was the scenic photograph of Sydney, purportedly the largest ever taken.
Tasmania came next in the Cartwrights’ exploration of the world, but they spent little time in the tiny pavilion, as the exhibits of the small island colony were devoted almost entirely to agricultural and mineral specimens. Finishing Tasmania quickly, the Cartwright brothers entered the area assigned to the colony of Victoria, and Adam automatically reminded his brother of its geographic location. “In the southeast corner of Australia,” Adam lectured, “with Melbourne as its capital, Victoria boasts good railroads and an educational system that is free, secular and compulsory.”
Little Joe raised his hand. “Please, Professor Cartwright, sir, will there be a test and will spelling count?”
Adam pursed his lips. “What answer have I given to that question before . . . or have you forgotten that as quickly as you did Miss Jones’ geography lessons?”
Joe sighed and quoted back in singsong, “‘All of life is a test,’ but do you really expect me to remember all this? Adam, my mind’s a jumble of geography and minerals and who makes the most what. It’s an awful lot to take in all at once.”
Adam gave him a sympathetic nod. “I know, and I don’t expect you to remember everything. Just try to get a general impression of what each country is like. You can always look up the facts and figures later, if you’re interested.”
“Okay, I can live with that,” Joe sighed in relief. “Can we see those pictures over there, then? That kind of thing helps me more than anything else to know what the country is like.”
“Sure,” Adam agreed, turning toward the wall of photographs and paintings hung around the walls of the enclosure. “I’ve read that the Australian climate is the best in the world for photography.”
“I don’t know about that,” Joe replied, “but they’ve sure got some great scenery for it!”
In addition, Victoria featured a fantastic array of minerals, including enormous nuggets of gold and a dazzling collection of gems and precious stones. Crystal diamonds, blue sapphires, Oriental emeralds, rubies, aquamarine, topaz, spinel, beryl, opal, garnet and tourmaline splashed a riot of color inside the glass showcases. The rest of the colony’s offerings, however, were more mundane displays of manufactured and agricultural products, along with an exhibit of the educational system and the work of Victoria’s penal institutions. These took only a short time to peruse, so the Cartwright brothers were soon exploring another part of the continent.
South Australia, according to Adam, lay west of Queensland and New South Wales, with about a quarter of the population of the latter. “The chief exports are wool, wheat and copper, and all those are exhibited here,” Adam expanded.
“I’ve seen wool, wheat and copper,” Joe complained. “Theirs can’t look much different.”
“No, they don’t,” Adam conceded with a chuckle. “Well, since you prefer pictures, let’s start with those. Here’s a nice photo of the capital, Adelaide.”
Smiling in appreciation, Little Joe looked at the pictures and with that as reference felt prepared to face the other exhibits, which, as it turned out, weren’t much different from those of the other parts of Australia.
New Zealand presented the final exhibits from that part of the world, and fortunately for Joe, its location was outlined on the same map as Australia. “It’s made up of three main islands,” Adam commented, pointing to them on the map, “North, South and Stewart, with some smaller ones neighboring those.”
“Yeah, I see that,” Joe said. “Doesn’t look like they sent much.”
“No, not much,” Adam admitted. “We won’t be here long.” He led Joe first to the scenic paintings and photographs, then to the usual display of minerals. In the case of New Zealand, those included copper, lead, zinc, manganese, iron and coal, and there was little else to see except an exhibit of Maori weapons and implements.
Leaving the South Pacific, the Cartwrights next encountered exhibits from the British colonies of Africa, beginning with the Cape of Good Hope. While this, too, was a small exhibit, Joe’s eyes lighted with new interest when he saw the racks of antlers hung on the walls of the enclosure, the animal skins and the stuffed birds and animals of the Cape. The usual photographs and mineral displays were on hand, but so were more exotic exhibits, like native weapons, clothing and jewelry. Of course, the necklace made from the extremities of human fingers and toes, nails still attached, was a trifle too exotic, and Joe quickly turned away in favor of four tiered shelves of wines and brandies. A fellow could use a stiff drink after seeing that! he concluded.
The exhibit from the Gold Coast was also small, but well organized. The display of gold dust, of course, was too familiar to hold any interest for either of the Cartwrights, but both looked favorably on the native ornaments made from the precious metal. Other curiosities of tribal life absorbed their attention, as well, from commonplace household implements as simple as a ladle to religious idols of the tribes of the region. Adam gave particular notice to the musical instruments, and even Joe was amazed by the variety of drums on display, some worn around the neck, some carried under the arm and one so large a man would have to stand up to play it. There was even a drum made from a large gourd, about twenty inches in diameter, which was played with sticks of stiff rhinoceros hide.
“Great Britain sure has a lot of colonies,” Joe commented as he and Adam moved toward the small pavilion housing exhibits from Jamaica.
“Well, you know the saying, ‘The sun never sets on the Union Jack,’” Adam said.
“Yeah,” Joe replied with a grin. “That much I do remember from good old Miss Jones.”
“Five more small pavilions and we’re done for the day,” Adam promised. “No need to walk our legs off.”
“Mine are already walked off, big brother,” Joe said. “Wouldn’t wanna give me a piggyback ride, would you?”
“No, I remember how hard you used to kick the ‘piggy,’” Adam observed drolly.
“Piggy was too pokey,” Joe teased and scampered out of reach of Adam’s long, swinging arm.
Jamaica’s exhibits proved to be exclusively devoted to her natural resources and products made from them, including, of course, rum. Sugar was prominently displayed, along with coffee, cotton, medicinal barks, hemp and native woods. The island colonies of the Bermudas and the Bahamas presented similar exhibits, including intricate works of art made from shells and corals and palm leaf baskets, mats and fans. Tough fibers of native woods and agricultural products such as cotton and tobacco completed the exhibits, and when the Cartwright brothers visited the pavilions of Trinidad and British Guiana, they found much the same emphasis on natural resources.
Totally exhausted, Adam and Joe dragged their way to the streetcar stop and were enormously grateful to find two seats, although they weren’t together. They returned to the Washington Hotel, had a light supper and retired to their suite, too tired to think about going out for the evening. Adam stretched out on the settee with a good book, while Joe began a letter to Hop Sing, describing the Chinese pavilion. Neither had the energy to stay up long, however. Adam shut his book in the middle of a lengthy chapter, and Joe decided to finish his letter sometime when he felt less groggy.
Just before entering his own room, Adam peered into Joe’s and told him to sleep as late as he liked the next morning. “We don’t have to be at Independence Hall ‘til 10:30, and it isn’t far, so let’s just have a late brunch and catch a bite at the Centennial after the ceremonies end.”
“That’s the best news I’ve heard in days.” Joe yawned and sank into his pillow, for as much as he was enjoying the new sights and experiences, for all his youth and energy, he was tired.
Adam smiled at how quickly Joe began to snore, and rolling his shoulders to ease weary muscles, he dressed for bed and soon followed his younger brother’s excellent example. As he drifted to sleep, he recalled his earlier intention of talking to Joe about his childhood resentment of a brother who had left him to go off to college. Oh, well, another time would do as well. After all, it couldn’t possibly be bothering the kid much after all these years. Adam fell asleep, not realizing how soon or how harshly he would be struck with just how much those hidden hurts still bothered the kid brother who seemed to rush through life with never a care.
Adam and Joe woke to a city gone mad, crazed by crowds thronging the streets, pressing their way into overbooked hotels and packing dining halls all over Philadelphia. Entering the lobby after their late brunch, the Cartwright brothers got their first taste of the general mayhem when they overheard a thin man in a top hat pleading with the desk clerk for a room. “I’m sorry, sir,” the belabored clerk replied stridently, “but as I’ve been trying to explain, it was simply impossible to hold your room when you did not arrive as planned yesterday.”
“But it isn’t my fault that the railroad has been changing its hours every blessed day, nor that it refused to stop at my station because it was already full and not in need of passengers,” the frantic man shouted. “I arrived as quickly as I could!”
“Again, sir, I am sorry,” the clerk responded with crisp politeness, “but that room has been rented, and we have no others available.”
“What about my luggage?” a portly man demanded, pounding his fist on the counter to get the clerk’s attention. “I checked in yesterday morning and have yet to see a single piece delivered to my room.”
The clerk sighed and began an explanation he had obviously been repeating all morning. “My apologies, sir, and, I assure you, your luggage will be brought to your room as soon as it arrives. We have no control over the express companies being used by the railroads for transport of baggage, but it is my understanding that the livery men are working around the clock, some having gone without sleep for the last two nights, and their poor horses are becoming candidates for the intervention of the S.P.C.A. They are simply overwhelmed by the number of trunks to be delivered.”
“Well, this represents incredibly poor planning on someone’s part,” the portly man fumed and stalked off in a huff.
Joe leaned close to Adam’s ear as they exited the hotel. “Sure glad we had you doing our planning.”
“Be thankful that mining convention required an earlier arrival date,” Adam said with a shake of his head. “I’m not sure any amount of careful planning would have saved us those men’s fate if we had arrived in Philadelphia in the last day or two, and it’s probably going to get worse, the closer we get to the Fourth. Despite the city’s best efforts—and they’ve been considerable—the systems in place are inadequate for an influx of this size.”
The streets were as busy as the hotel lobby, with triumphal arches being set up on Chestnut Street and practically every building in sight being decked out in flags and streamers of red, white and blue. “Good thing we left a bit early,” Adam observed, taking Joe’s arm so they wouldn’t become separated in the crowd of passersby thronging the sidewalks, even though most commercial business had been suspended and would remain so throughout the city’s celebration of the Glorious Fourth.
As they entered Independence Square, Adam pointed to a recently erected platform covered by a canvas awning. “That’s where the public ceremony will take place. We’re very fortunate to have an invitation to the private presentation, Joe.”
“Yes, sir, I know,” Joe said. “It was real nice of that old sergeant of yours to get us the special invite.”
“Invitation,” Adam corrected. “Yes, Mr. Breckenridge did us a great kindness, and I hope you will express your appreciation by conducting yourself in a manner appropriate to the occasion.”
Joe frowned. “Adam, you got no confidence in me at all, do you?”
Adam skewed a twitting smile in his brother’s direction. “I have some confidence, yes, but let’s just say it isn’t unshakable.”
Arriving at the door to Independence Hall, Adam presented their tickets, and he and Joe were ushered into the west chamber of the building, where all the guests were gathering. Joe spotted Breckenridge before Adam did and gave him a wide wave, accompanied by a bright smile.
“Keep your hands at your sides, please,” Adam muttered through his teeth. “He doesn’t have time to deal with a brash youngster this morning.”
Saul Breckenridge, however, quickly moved toward them, beaming with pleasure. “Lieutenant Cartwright, so pleased you could be here this morning—and you, too, of course, young man.”
“Now, Saul, what have I told you about using that old military title?” Adam chided, taking the man’s hand.
“Old habits die hard,” Saul said, “but Adam it is—and Joseph, if I remember correctly.”
Joe nodded as he shook the older man’s hand. “Yes, sir, and I’m real grateful to you for inviting us this morning. I expect I’ll learn a lot.”
“Young man, you do know how to gratify the heart of an old teacher,” Saul said warmly. He turned to Adam. “Adam, I’d like to introduce you and young Joseph to some of the other authors.”
“We’d be very pleased and honored to make their acquaintance, wouldn’t we, Joe?” Adam responded.
“Um, yes, sure we would,” Joe mumbled, somewhat hesitantly. He trailed silently behind his brother and the Connecticut Centennial Commissioner as they went from one distinguished writer to another, being introduced, shaking hands and, in Adam’s case, making complimentary remarks about the work of several of the men to whom they were introduced. Even when meeting men he hadn’t heard of, Adam managed to come across as a suave, knowledgeable man, while Joe felt as awkward as a newborn colt, tottering on shaky legs. Probably all that time back here that did it for him, Joe concluded, but while he envied his older brother’s poise, he still thought four to six years away from home too high a price to pay for a little social polish.
Promptly at eleven, the guests were directed into the east chamber of Independence Hall, and Adam and Joe took their seats. Saul Breckenridge, of course, was seated with the other presenters of revolutionary biographies in a separate section. Colonel Frank M. Etting, Chairman of the Committee for the Restoration of Independence Hall, opened the ceremonies with a welcoming address. Then the Reverend William White Bronson led the opening prayer. A choir of fifty voices sang John Greenleaf Whittier’s newly composed “Centennial Hymn,” and it was then time for the presentations to begin.
When the first name was called, Little Joe tittered softly into his hand, for the name was not that of any man there, but one he recognized from American history books. A sharp jab from Adam’s elbow gave him further incentive to control his urge to burst out laughing. Even so, Joe couldn’t keep his lips still as he saw “George Washington” and “Ethan Allen,” among other prominent men from history, walk to the platform in suits no colonial gentleman would recognize and lay their memoirs on the table for submission to the archives of the State House. “Don’t look quite like I pictured them from the history books,” he whispered to Adam and was promptly and brusquely hushed.
Once all the essays had been delivered, the small gathering proceeded outside for the public ceremony, set to begin at 12:30. As invited guests, Adam and Joe were seated in a reserved section, only two rows back from the canvas-covered platform, where they would have an excellent view. In fact, as the Centennial Music Association struck up Helfrich’s “Centennial Triumphant March,” Joe wished they were a dozen rows further back, for the music was loud. After a brief welcoming address, the song sung inside the Hall was again performed, this time by a choir of one hundred fifty voices. The rest of the program featured speeches, alternating with patriotic vocal and instrumental offerings, from the band’s rendition of “God Save America” to the choir’s ode, “ The Voice of the Old Bell,” both composed to celebrate the American centennial. The ceremonies ended with the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and prayer.
After again expressing their gratitude to Saul Breckenridge for extending them the invitations, the Cartwright brothers caught a streetcar out to Fairmount Park and once again entered the Main Exhibition Hall, with dinner being the first item on their agenda. The Café Leland was closest to the entrance, so they chose that restaurant again. Adam selected several seafood items from the menu: deviled lobster, lobster salad and oyster pie, while Little Joe, for once, made choices from the low end of the price range, having chicken pie, cheese slices and a fruit cup. “Care for a piece of pie to finish out the meal?” Adam asked when they had both cleaned their plates.
“Could I have the macaroons, instead?” Joe asked. “I know they cost more, but that’s not why I want them, honest. I just don’t think I’m hungry enough for pie.”
Adam chuckled softly. “I’m not going to quibble over a five-cent difference, especially since you let me off easy on the main part of your meal. Have the cookies, if that’s what you want.”
Joe thanked his brother, and after he and Adam had eaten their desserts, they were once more ready to tackle their around-the-world tour, beginning with the exhibits from the Orange Free State.
The Dutch republic in southeast Africa had enclosed its exhibits in a pavilion painted in imitation of black walnut and draped with festoons of red, white and blue, as well as the national colors of white and yellow. The exhibits were entirely the work of the government and featured the usual mineral and agricultural products, along with native artifacts, such as the shields and whips of rhinoceros leather. There were cases of stuffed birds, flaunting singular and stunning feathers, such as ostrich plumes, along with collections of insects and bird eggs. Little Joe pointed to an ostrich egg of remarkable size. “Hey, finally an egg big enough to fill Hoss up!”
Adam chuckled wryly. “You sure?”
Glad to see Adam in a mood for fun, Joe teased back, “Well, two would do the trick, for sure!”
“Three would be safer,” Adam quipped drolly, and Joe laughingly agreed.
Passing two enormous tusks of ivory, the brothers viewed the modest display of art created by the Dutch settlers, a collection of crude, but effective scenes of domestic life carved by a pen knife. The best showed an old pastor, seated in an armchair, reading the Bible.
The Peruvian pavilion, decorated with arms of the republic and its national colors, stood next to that of the Orange Free State at the far western end of the Main Exhibition Hall. Minerals were displayed around the sides of the pavilion: gold, silver, precious stones, quicksilver, copper, iron, lead and others. Some of the manufactured products were similar to those of other countries, but some were unique, as well. The principal displays were products of leather, soap and sugar, while the collection of native wines and liquors was also extensive. Peruvian bark, from which came quinine, was one of the more notable products, and the republic had also sent examples of more rare goods, such as cinnamon, pimento, indigo, sarsaparilla and vanilla. The dress and weapons of the Indian tribes were interesting, but one look at the exhibit of skeletons and skulls with the hair still attached was enough to make Little Joe wish he’d eaten a less substantial dinner. “Uh, can we get out of here?” he asked Adam, who seemed fascinated with the native pottery displayed amidst the human remains, with their long wavy hair and sharp yellow teeth.
Adam gave him a sympathetic smile and nodded. “I didn’t see anything like this listed in the catalog of exhibits from the Argentine Confederation,” he assured Joe.
“Thank goodness,” Joe whispered, heading eagerly for the circular pavilion next door.
More minerals met his eye, none different from those seen elsewhere, but some of the textile specimens were more rare, such as the fabrics made from native plants and the mats woven by prisoners of the State. Joe particularly liked the wool hats and tried on several, with obvious pleasure. His hand lingered longest on a black one with a gray band, but he laid it aside with a sad shake of his head.
When the boots displayed nearby met the same response, Adam began to realize that while Joe wanted them for himself, he was saving his money to spend on others. Admirable, of course, but if the kid had just used better sense in handling his money, he could have had enough for both. Still, either the hat or a pair of Argentine boots would make a nice gift for his younger brother, so Adam filed that information away with all the other ideas he’d been gathering as they toured the Exposition. No, he chuckled to himself, finding something that the greedy-eyed youngster might like should be no problem at all.
Hearing the soft laughter, Joe looked across at his brother, but Adam just shook his head to indicate that the joke was a private one. Joe frowned and continued looking at other items made from leather.
Sitting in the midst of them was a trunk, which at first excited no great interest. Then a sales representative began to display its wonders, and neither Adam nor Joe could tear his eyes away. Without disturbing what was packed inside, the trunk could be transformed into a stylish sofa. The salesman pressed on one arm, and a writing desk appeared, with everything needed to conduct correspondence. Pressing on the other arm produced a container for every convenience of travel, the clothes now situated in a receptacle at the back of the sofa. But the wonders of that trunk had not yet been fully revealed, for the Argentine salesman next let down the back of the sofa to form a comfortable bed, and then transformed it into a table for four, with a receptacle for linens, dishes and cutlery included.
“Amazing, truly amazing,” Adam said as the representative folded everything back into a trunk again. He lifted the luggage, finding it surprisingly light.
“Can’t you just see Pa toting that along on a trail drive?” Joe giggled.
“Not really,” Adam muttered out the side of his mouth. Not only would carrying along a combination sofa, table and bed probably strike men sleeping in bedrolls as the affectation of a snob, but Pa was likely to think that six hundred dollars was too much to pay for the privilege of being laughed at by his hired crew. Thanking the salesman for the demonstration, Adam moved quickly away, and almost immediately a finely tooled briefcase caught his avid attention. “Would Pa like this?” he asked his younger brother.
“You bet!” Joe agreed enthusiastically. “For Christmas?”
Adam made a noncommittal shrug. “Maybe his birthday. That’s coming up in September, you know.”
Joe groaned, wondering how he would ever find enough money to buy two great presents for Pa, without scrimping on his gifts to others. Those poker parties at the Silver Dollar were coming back to haunt him, not to mention the money he’d wasted at Shantyville, but it was too late now to brood over past sins. Somehow he’d work out the dilemma, but at the moment he had no idea how, and the remaining exhibits of Indian weapons and figures of Argentine peasants provided no clue.
The contents of the gaily painted circular pavilion of Chile yielded no inspiration, either, especially not in the showcases of minerals surrounding the sides. Adam and Joe spent some time looking at the old pottery, domestic and agricultural tools and the weapons of the Indian tribes, but, to Joe, especially, the most interesting display in the pavilion was the stuffed hides of animals native to Chile: cougar, jaguar, llama, guanaco and monkeys.
Having finished the exhibits in the southern half of the building, the Cartwrights crossed the main aisle to view the three remaining countries they had not had time to tour the previous afternoon, beginning with Italy. The Italian pavilion was enclosed with a light framework with three arches fronting the main aisle. Over the center one a shield bore the white cross of Savoy, surmounted by a trophy of national flags. Each of the other entrances bore a shield with the arms of the Kingdom and a similar trophy of national colors. A tall flagstaff stood at each end of the entrance, but each bore a different banner. The one on the east proclaimed, “Italy United Forever,” while the western banner was dedicated “To the Great Italian Navigator, Christopher Columbus.”
The first thing the Cartwrights saw on entering the pavilion was a collection of bronzes, some half-size reproductions of ancient works of art. “They’re beautiful,” Joe murmured in awe.
Adam rested a hand on his shoulder. “We’ll see even better specimens in Memorial Hall. Nobody creates sculpture as exquisite as the Italians.”
“Not even France,” Joe whispered, and Adam pursed his lips tightly to keep from laughing at his brother’s obvious disappointment that France did not lead the world in all things artistic.
Beautifully carved furniture was displayed beside the reproductions. An Episcopal chair and desk were carved with scenes from Scripture and the heads of cherubs, evidently a popular device among Italians. An entire case from Venice was devoted to carved wooden cherubs, and one of them reminded Adam so poignantly of Little Joe as a child that he gasped in wonder. Although he admired the carving, Adam couldn’t bring himself to buy it with the older version of the cherub standing beside him. If Joe were to figure out the reason behind the purchase, there’d be no end to the ribbing his older brother would have to tolerate, so Adam said nothing and moved on to a mirror frame carved in dark, rich wood, around which a flock of chubby wooden children danced.
An old sideboard stood out among the newer pieces of furniture. Decorated in imitation ruins, the piece showed one pillar, broken midway, with an owl perched thereon and a cornice covered with vines hanging down like tears. The inlaid tables from Milan, ornamented with pictures in papier-mâché were exquisite pieces, too, but Adam stopped short at the cases of jewelry, eyeing thoughtfully the beautiful corals and ornaments in filigree and gold.
Joe almost laughed when he saw the case that drew his older brother’s most careful attention. Cameos, of course. “You might just as well go ahead and buy her one, older brother,” he teased. “With only Norway and Sweden left to look at, I doubt you’ll find any better.”
“Just what I was thinking,” Adam admitted.
“And who is the lucky lady?” Joe queried. “Becky?”
Adam arched an eyebrow. “That’s Miss Montgomery to you, boy.”
“Oh, yes, sir, absolutely, sir,” Joe said, popping a sassy salute. “So, does this mean you’re getting serious about the lovely Miss Montgomery?”
Adam surveyed him with cool eyes. “None of your business.”
Joe gave a low whistle, slowly slid a safe distance away and concentrated on the display of stages in cameo cutting, from shell to finished silhouette, while Adam purchased his gift in relative privacy.
Package in hand, Adam rejoined his brother, and they made their way past displays of glassware, pottery and straw goods from Tuscany, giving most of them only cursory attention. It was a different matter, of course, when they came to the north end of the pavilion, where a large map detailed Garibaldi’s plan for improving the navigation of the Tiber and draining the marshes of the Campagna. Adam was typically lost in study of the Italian liberator’s design, but there were, fortunately, enough scenic photographs nearby that Joe wasn’t completely bored.
When Adam was finally able to tear himself away from the absorbing map, he and Joe moved toward the Norwegian pavilion, enclosed in a framework of pine, ornamented with red lines. “The pavilion itself is on sale, according to the catalog,” Adam commented drolly as they entered.
“Hey, maybe we ought to buy it, set it up in the front yard and give Pa and Hoss and all the hands a real taste of the Centennial,” Joe teased. “I could make a few pots, and you could set up a tiresome old educational exhibit.”
Adam responded with an indulgent smile, the kind adults bestow upon foolish children.
Easily reading the patronizing expression, Little Joe folded his arms and stalked over to the east side of the pavilion, where a group of figures caught his attention and dispelled the clouds forming on his brow. A family of Laplanders, dressed in furs, was represented: father, mother, infant and child. The baby was carried in a leather case, suspended from the mother’s neck, while the other child stood by her side, decked out in a holiday suit of white bearskin.
“There’s another set on the other side of the pavilion,” Joe heard a voice behind him say softly. “Would you care to see them?”
Joe turned, face still petulant. “Won’t that ruin your systematic plan to see everything in order?”
Though he felt the strain on his patience, Adam forced himself to hold on to his temper. “Not enough to matter. Come on.”
Allowing himself to be appeased, Joe slipped past three cases of jewelry and silverware with barely a glance and came to stand before the bride and groom on the west side of the pavilion. “Why, if it isn’t Adam Cartwright and the lovely Rebecca,” he tossed over his shoulder with a naughty smirk.
Adam rolled his eyes and landed a light swat on his brother’s backside. “All right, you rascal. See if I indulge one of your whims again. There’s some glassware from Christiana over there that should effectively take your mind off nonsense, and if that fails, we’ll head straight for the ‘tiresome old educational exhibit.’”
“Anything but that!” Joe pleaded. “I’ll be good, bubba.”
Adam groaned. What am I supposed to do with a kid who wants the full respect of manhood one moment and plays the part of a child the next?
The brothers worked their way amiably through exhibits of pianos, various types of cloth and shoes and a collection of antique coins and medals, only to come face to face with a daunting display of bottles of cod liver oil. My turn to tease, Adam thought and said aloud, “Just let me know if you’re feeling poorly, little buddy, and we’ll get you fixed right up.”
Joe scrunched his nose at the malodorous jest. “Oh, you are funny, aren’t you? I’m feeling fine, just fine.”
“Oh, well, if you’re feeling fit, maybe you’d enjoy these more,” Adam chuckled, pointing to a suit of ancient armor and weapons of the same period.
“Much better,” Joe agreed with a grin.
The odd Norwegian carriages with a perch behind for the driver to either sit or stand also interested Little Joe, as did the sledge made in a mountain district in 1625, but he groaned when he was once again faced with another country’s educational exhibits. Past those, however, at the very rear of the court, stood a galleon with a big Viking at the helm. Joe stood staring at it for a long time. “Kinda looks like Hoss’s Uncle Gunnar,” he whispered.
Adam’s hand immediately came to rest against his younger brother’s back. It was only last year that Little Joe had been captured by comancheros, led by Hoss’s uncle, and shot by one of his henchman when Gunnar tried to help Joe and the neighbor girl abducted with him to escape. “Gunnar was Swedish,” Adam said gently, “and that’s where we were headed next, but if the memories are too bitter, little buddy . . .”
“Don’t be silly,” Joe scoffed with a quick shrug of his shoulder. “The memories aren’t all bitter. Besides, the Swedes are Hoss’s people, too—and his mother’s. I want to learn about them, so I can tell Hoss when we get home. Let’s go.”
“Okay, but you tell me if you need to leave.”
“I won’t need to leave,” Joe snorted. “I’m not a baby, Adam.”
You’re not made of iron, either, little buddy. But Adam merely nodded, concealing his concern and his intent to keep a watchful eye on his younger brother as they toured through Sweden.
Enclosed along the sides, the front of the Swedish pavilion stood open on the main aisle, marked by a series of tall flagstaffs, bearing banners of blue with the yellow Swedish cross. Festoons of blue and yellow streamers were draped between the flagstaffs, and a group of life-sized figures in national dress, similar to the Norwegian ones, greeted the Cartwright brothers as they entered. Coming from the west, they first encountered a hunting scene. A large elk had just been brought down and lay bleeding on the ground as the hunter’s family, obviously proud of their provider’s triumph, watched the animal’s death struggle.
Moving to the east side of the front entrance, they came upon a domestic scene in which a tall, handsome lad, hands clasped awkwardly behind his back, was evidently asking permission to wed the blushing beauty of the household. The father was sitting opposite the youth, still holding the clock he had been mending, as he gazed down, pondering whether to accept this suitor to his daughter. Mother appeared to be intervening for the young couple, while daughter stood nearby, awaiting the verdict. “Might as well give in, Pa,” Joe chuckled, noticing the way the girl’s eyes were riveted on the young man. “It’s three against one.” He smiled up at Adam. “I was teasing about that Norwegian pavilion, but this is something I really do wish we could buy and take home. Hoss would love seeing these!”
A Swedish commissioner turned at the sound of Joe’s voice and stepped forward. “They are all for sale,” the man stated; then he laughed. “We will even separate the husband and wife and sell the bride away from the groom!”
“You and your big mouth.” Adam hissed softly at his younger brother.
Joe had the grace to look chagrinned and the sense to keep his mouth shut. Adam was much more adept at handling ticklish situations than he, and Joe was completely satisfied to let older brother do just that.
“I wish we could, as they exhibit fine workmanship,” Adam told the foreign commissioner politely, “but I’m afraid we’ll have to decline.”
“Quite all right, sir,” the Swedish official said smoothly, “but perhaps I could interest you in this book of statistics about our country, which the commission has prepared. Only fifty cents, and it comes with a free list of the exhibits.”
Adam felt there was no gracious way out of buying the booklet. Besides, the list of exhibits might prove useful, and fifty cents was little enough to ask. He quickly put two quarters in the man’s hand and accepted the reading material in return, handing it to Little Joe. “Keep it for Hoss,” he instructed.
“Yeah, he’ll like that,” Joe said with a warm smile. He began thumbing through the pages. “Hey, it says there are four more groups of figures like these. I’d like to see them, Adam.”
“If you can keep your mouth shut about purchasing them, we will,” Adam said under his breath, “but we’re not chasing around the four sides of the pavilion looking for them. This time we do things in order.”
“Yes, sir,” Joe said, dutifully turning his attention to the porcelain and pottery in the front line.
Close by, an old and shabby glass tumbler stood in stark contrast to the sparkling crystal glassware surrounding it. Joe hastily consulted the catalog and told Adam they were looking at the first glass ever pressed in America. “Says here the man who made it was threatened with death by the glassblowers,” Joe said. “Guess they were afraid they’d be out of a job, huh?”
“Probably,” Adam agreed. “Men can get pretty desperate when they’re faced with loss of their livelihood.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen that back home,” Joe commented, “especially when the railroad quit needing all those Chinese workers they brought in.”
Adam nodded soberly, remembering the violence between white miners fearful of losing their jobs and Chinamen willing to work for half-wages. Joe had been barely twelve years old during the worst of it, but his loyalty to Hop Sing had made him keenly aware of the danger to the diminutive cook’s people. Really was foolish of me to tell him he was too young to have seen prejudice against ethnic peoples. He’s seen plenty—not as much as I, perhaps, but more than enough.
Looking around for something to distract his younger brother from his uncharacteristically sober mood, Adam spotted a unique meerschaum pipe. “Look at this, Joe,” he urged.
Joe turned to look at the intricately carved, temple-shaped pipe, which stood over two feet high in the center of a table. He snickered when he saw four long tubes attached. “One for each Cartwright.”
It was a feeble joke, but Adam made himself laugh at it. “Except Pa’s the only one who smokes—unless you’re hiding something I don’t know.”
Joe shook his head. “Naw. I tried it once, when I was just a kid, and got sick as a dog. Never wanted it after that.”
“When you were just a kid,” Adam scoffed, his smile clearly communicating that Joe was still “just a kid” in his older brother’s view. “And when would that have been, little man?”
“Thirteen, fourteen, somewhere in there.” Joe cocked his head inquisitively. “You ever try it? When you were living back east maybe?”
“Not exactly,” Adam said, too quickly. He could pinpoint the exact moment he had developed a genuine distaste for tobacco, but he was not about to share that memory with his younger brother. A vivid description of that hazing incident during his freshman year couldn’t possibly do anything but discourage the kid, and Joe didn’t need more reasons to reject going to college. “Let’s just say I was around other people’s smoke enough to decide that I didn’t want to add mine to the general haze.”
Joe could tell Adam was holding something back from him again, and, as always, it hurt. Adam knows everything there is about me, and he won’t let me know nothin’ about him, nothin’ except how smart he is and how much better than me he thinks he can do everything!
“Why, look here, little buddy,” Adam said with deliberate brightness. “More of the kind of thing you like best.” He indicated the stuffed wolf near a case of furs.
Licking his lips, Joe nodded without comment. He really does think I’m a baby. ‘Just put a stuffed animal in front of the little boy, and he’ll forget all the things I don’t want to talk about.’ While Joe didn’t appreciate the attempt to distract him, he did like the way the large white wolf stood out against the pack of smaller brown ones in the scene Adam had shown him. Nearby was an enormous and lush rug made from natural fur and Joe smiled dreamily, now thoroughly distracted, as he pictured himself lying before a blazing fire, lost in the luxury of the soft pile and in the glowing azure eyes of the flaxen-haired girl stretched beside him on the rug.
“Joe,” Adam called for the second time, “aren’t you interested in seeing these knives?”
“Huh?” Joe said, reluctantly leaving the lovely blonde Swede of his dreams and hurrying over to the exhibit of Bessemer steel before which his brother impatiently stood. It featured articles as small as a lady’s toilette mirror and as large as a fifteen-foot piston rod for a five-ton steam hammer, all made from the gleaming metal.
As Adam had surmised, of course, Joe was most drawn to the swords and knives, picking up several of them with obvious longing. He set them down again with wistful eyes, and noting the regretful expression, Adam added another note to his long list of ideas for his little brother. Not a sword, though. Can’t stand seeing him with a blade made for killing, but maybe a new knife. This is going to be a tough decision, he realized. What is it the kid would like most? In the meantime, Adam selected several items he thought would be useful back home, including a sharp pair of scissors for Hop Sing and some steel files to keep their other tools sharp, and placed an order.
After viewing a display devoted to safety matches, one of Sweden’s prominent industries, and the inevitable educational exhibits, Adam draped an arm around his brother’s shoulders as they returned to the main aisle. “Well, that finishes the Main Building,” he said.
“Thank goodness,” Joe replied, letting his tongue hang out to demonstrate how tired he was.
“Except for the Carriage Annex,” Adam added with a devilish grin.
“Oh, boy,” Joe groaned.
“Why, little brother, I thought you were fond of horse-drawn vehicles,” Adam snickered as he pulled the boy by the elbow toward the west exit.
“When I’m riding in them, yes,” Joe grumbled. “Walkin’ through acres of ‘em, that’s a whole different thing, brother.”
“It’s nowhere close to that large an exhibit,” Adam scoffed.
They came out into the central square separating the Main Exhibition Hall from Machinery Hall, and Joe made a beeline for the Bartholdi fountain to splash his face with cool water. Sure scampers fast for all the whining about how tired he is, Adam observed as he stood waiting, arms folded in cool appraisal. Hope he doesn’t treat this like the water trough back home and stick his head under and shake off, like a dog drying his fur!
Joe returned—dry-headed, to Adam’s relief—but looking so refreshed that his older brother was tempted to follow his example. Opting for dignity over comfort, however, Adam merely walked north, crossed the Avenue of the Americas to the opposite side and entered the Carriage Annex.
Most of the exhibits inside were American, but Great Britain, Canada, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy and France had also sent examples of coaches, carriages, sleighs, omnibuses and railway cars. The first vehicles the Cartwright brothers saw when they walked in the west door were carts designed for children. “Hey, why didn’t you grown folks get me a rig like this when I was a kid?” Joe queried, admiring the lightweight carriage that could be pulled by a small pony.
“Because we had to chase you all over the countryside as it was,” Adam responded with a sardonic smile. “Besides, you’re still a kid, so if you really want one, little buddy . . .”
“Oh, shut up,” Joe suggested, although he took the ribbing with good humor this time.
As they approached a display of Concord stagecoaches, the boys overheard a matronly woman reminiscing with a young girl about “the old days” when one of these “quaint old Concords” was the only way to get from place to place. “What does she mean, ‘old days’?” Joe laughed as the lady moved on to another exhibit of carriages. He doffed his straw hat and addressed the woman’s back. “Why, in our part of the world, ma’am, this here’s the newfangledest means of gettin’ ‘round.”
“Scarcely even true for us, anymore, Joe,” Adam chuckled. “The railroad is changing the face of the country. You can reach all but the most remote places by rail now.”
Joe nodded, recalling their trip to Philadelphia. “And the East is thick with them,” he said as he put his hat back on. “Guess the kids who celebrate America’s second hundred years won’t even know what it is to bounce around in an ‘old’ Concord.”
“Oh, you would have preferred to come here on a stage, instead of the transcontinental railroad?” Adam asked with a playfully arched eyebrow.
Grinning, Joe shook his head. “Not on your life, brother! I like my comfort.”
“Speaking of comfort, take a look at this,” Adam suggested, moving toward a full-scale Pullman Palace Hotel car.
“Hey, yeah!” Joe cried, immediately climbing aboard for a closer look.
Adam smiled indulgently. Having ridden in a hotel car before, he had no particular desire to see this one, but he willingly followed his younger brother up the steps and into the car. “All the comforts of home,” he commented. “Eat, sleep and relax all in one car.”
“I know how the beds work,” Joe said, “and I see the kitchen, but where do you eat, in your lap?”
Adam laughed. “No, there are removable tables that can be set up between each set of seats at mealtime and taken away when you’re through. Look, there’s a couple set up at the end of the car.”
Joe looked impressed as he moved down the aisle for a closer look at the table between two facing train seats, set with all the flair of a first-rate restaurant, even to the flowers on the table. “Now, that’s some idea! Sure would be better than hopping off the train and racing to and from some eatery in thirty minutes or less.” He cocked his head and put on his most disarming smile. “Any chance of our riding home in style like this?”
Laughing, Adam shook his head. “You don’t care how much of my money you spend, do you, kid?”
Joe’s face fell at the reminder of who was footing the bill for the trip. Figuring Adam wasn’t likely to shell out any extra cash for his kid brother’s comfort, he muttered, “Well, let’s look at something else then,” and trotted back down the aisle and out of the car. There was a parlor car, full of comfortable individual chairs, next to the hotel car, but Joe just shrugged when Adam pointed it out. Just another luxury he wasn’t likely to experience. He went aboard and looked around briefly, without comment, and left as quickly as he’d entered, treating all the other rail cars in the same manner.
When he saw a streetcar on display, however, Joe protested, “We sure don’t need to look at those! I’ve seen enough horse cars to last me a lifetime.”
Adam chuckled, not so much because he was amused as in an attempt to restore a lighter attitude in his younger brother. “Okay,” he said drolly. “Since you’re getting to be such a cosmopolitan traveler, we can skip these, I suppose.”
Joe tried to hang on to his bad mood, but his native sense of humor overcame the urge. He gave the joke a chuckle or two, and he and Adam finished looking at the Carriage Annex without further friction. At Adam’s suggestion they sat outside on a bench on the north side of the building, enjoying the view down into the woods of beautiful Lansdowne Valley, as a slight breeze caressed their faces with cool fingers. In the distance they could see the towers of Agricultural Hall, and closer by, Horticultural Hall stood out like a fairy palace with its variegated colors. On the slope directly below them a number of smaller buildings were scattered and Joe asked Adam what they were.
Adam threw his head back and laughed heartily. “Why, I’m so glad you asked, little brother. They’re your favorite kind of exhibit. That’s the model kindergarten just below us, with the Swedish schoolhouse on the left and the Pennsylvania Educational Department on the right.”
Joe groaned loudly. “Whole buildings? They built whole buildings to stuff full of that boring stuff?”
Adam bent forward, grabbing his knees as his belly shook with mirth. “I do want to see them eventually,” he said, coming up for air, “but I’ll spare you today. I thought we’d just have an early supper at the French Restaurant and go back to the hotel.”
“Aux Trois Fréres Provençeaux?” Joe asked, eyes lighting in eager expectation. “I hear it’s great!”
“And so are the prices,” Adam responded with dour expression. “No, little buddy, I don’t plan to give you that much assistance in your petty campaign to empty my pockets. I meant Lafayette’s, down there.” He pointed past the kindergarten to a building edging the valley below.
Hurt by the reminder of how he had childishly run up the tab in the past, Joe glanced away. “Oh, well, it’s probably good, too.”
Adam nodded firmly. “Good and reasonably priced, that’s the report.”
“Well, I’m hungry enough to eat now, if you are,” Joe suggested, looking back tentatively.
Agreeing readily, Adam stood up, and he and Joe walked down the slope and crossed a curved pathway to the frame building that housed the French restaurant. The second story had been arranged as an open-air pavilion, and because the day was still warm, Adam suggested that they have their supper there. Wanting to make the meal more special for his younger brother, he selected a couple of appetizers for both of them, raw oysters on the half shell and pâté de foie gras; then he suggested they each begin the meal with a bowl of soup. “I’m having the tomato, but you choose whatever strikes your fancy.”
As Adam had anticipated, Joe selected the only soup on the menu that had a French-sounding name, Soup Julienne, but Joe surprised him by turning down the chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce, which Adam selected for himself. “Pa always said that was too big a cut for me,” Joe explained.
“Well, you’re a big boy now,” Adam teased, “with the appetite to match!”
Joe grinned. “Not tonight, I’m not, especially not if I do justice to those appetizers you ordered. I want the chicken with truffles, and I’ll have the French green peas and French string beans with it, please.”
Now, that was predictable, Adam thought, smiling. He started to order the string beans, American style, for himself, but then he decided that his younger brother probably had the right idea. After all, what was the point of dining in a French restaurant unless you supped on French food? Ignoring that theory when it came time for dessert, however, Adam ordered plum pudding a l’Anglaise, but Joe stayed true to form with his selection of French vanilla ice cream, topped with brandied cherries.
As they were waiting for the desserts to be served, Adam looked down on the avenues of the Centennial grounds, filled with people making their way toward the exits, as closing time was fast approaching. “Larger crowd than usual,” he commented.
Joe, who had been enjoying the opposite view of the wooded valley to the north and east, turned and nodded as he followed his brother’s gaze. “Must be folks coming in for the big Fourth, don’t you think?”
“Yes, of course,” Adam agreed, “which is why we won’t be returning to the Exhibition until after that, to avoid the crowds.”
“Makes sense,” Joe replied amiably. Then he grinned. “Of course, it wouldn’t be open tomorrow, anyway. You got something planned or are we just gonna lay around the room and rest up?”
Adam chuckled. “We could, if you’re that tired, but I thought we’d go over to Wissahickon Park. You haven’t seen that part before, and I doubt that it will attract the kind of crowds other places might. Should be cool, as well, because of all the shade trees.”
“Sounds good, brother,” Joe said, casting another appreciative glance to the woodlands below. “You really have done a fine job of planning this trip, Adam.”
The waiter arrived with their desserts and coffee, and both brothers concluded that there was no better way to end their day at the Centennial Exposition.
Little Joe grabbed hold of the upright bar as the streetcar swung around a corner, grinning as he saw Adam also lurch for a pole to hang onto. Though the car was packed full, he didn’t mind having to stand up. Adam had decided they could skip church, since there would be a service the next morning in conjunction with the centennial festivities, so Joe had been able to sleep as long as he liked. After breakfast in the crowded dining room, he and Adam had walked up to Eighth Street to catch the direct line to the park. Dressed in ranch wear, his straw hat and flat-soled balmorals being the only concessions to eastern style, Joe was comfortable and content with the plans for the day, a guaranteed impetus toward a good mood.
Though it was only mid-morning, salvos of gunfire punctuated the air and sent a haze drifting over the tops of buildings all around Philadelphia. “Sounds like the celebration is already starting,” Joe said, looking back at Adam, who was standing behind him.
Adam adjusted his black felt hat, which an exiting fellow passenger had bumped down over his nose. “I’m surprised staid old Philadelphia tolerates that on a Sunday.”
“It’s the birthday party to end all birthday parties, older brother!” Joe proclaimed, raising his voice to be heard over another thunderous burst of cannon fire. “Even old stick-in-the-muds like these Philadelphians understand that. Oh, but not you, of course.”
Adam calmly removed his hat and moved to cuff the side of Joe’s head with it. Sporting a puckish grin, Joe ducked, as others on the streetcar watched, some amused, some critical of the misbehavior of these coarse characters in clothing completely unsuitable for “staid old Philadelphia.”
Jumping off the streetcar, Little Joe trotted down to the boat landing, while Adam ambled leisurely behind him. “What’s your hurry?” Adam called. “We’re obviously between boats.”
Joe jogged back to join his brother. “Just got energy to burn, I guess. How long you think it’ll be before the next steamboat?”
Adam consulted his pocket watch. “Boats leave here every forty-five minutes, beginning at 7 a.m., and judging by the time now, I’d calculate a fifteen-minute wait.”
“Not too bad,” Joe said, hopping up on the top rail of the wooden fence separating them from the dock.
The Star pulled in on schedule and after loading passengers chugged its way up the Schuylkill River to the Falls of Wissahickon, where the Cartwrights debarked. They walked about three-quarters of a mile over gentle terrain to the riverside town where they had dined before. “Hey, are we gonna eat that catfish and coffee there again?” Joe asked as they passed the Falls Hotel.
Adam looked back at the hotel. “Well, I suppose we can, if you like, although I thought we might try one of the other restaurants here in the park. Most of them serve the same menu.”
“Okay, I’ll trust you, big brother,” Joe said, puckish grin back in place. “You sure were right about the first one— just don’t rub it in.”
The smile with which Adam met this dictate bordered on wicked. “I’ll try, but it is an almost irresistible temptation.”
“Yeah? Well, if you expect me to resist any temptations, you’d better set a good example,” Joe advised, impudent twinkle in his eye.
Drawing in his cheeks, Adam puckered his lips and nodded as if in deep thought, but Joe could see the levity in his brother’s dark eyes. They walked on a bit further, and Adam pointed to another restaurant. “We might have supper here, but there’s one up ahead where I’d planned to eat our first meal.”
“Still kind of early,” Joe commented.
“I warned you it would be,” Adam chided, “so it’s your own fault if you’re still full from that rather sizeable breakfast you put away.”
“I’ll make room,” Joe tittered, and Adam rolled his eyes, fully believing his brother meant every word.
Leaving the town behind, they entered the park proper. While Wissahickon Park included only a narrow strip, less than an eighth of a mile wide, on both sides of the river, it was one of the most beautiful sections of Fairmount. Wissahickon Creek lay in a rocky ravine, with trees and vines thickly covering the steep sides up to the summit on either side. In a dry season, such as this centennial summer had been, the waters were quiet and clear, trickling over rocks and pebbles with gentle, melodic splashes. Little Joe’s eyes sparkled with delight in the sunlight reflected off the gurgling rill. Lost in the rustic beauty of the scene, he felt a lump rise in his throat. “Closest thing to home I’ve seen since we’ve been here.”
Catching the slightly choked murmur, Adam congratulated himself on choosing the right activity for the day’s outing. This is just what the kid needed.
They came to an imposing three-story white building with porches on the lower two levels, nestled in trees within a stone’s toss of the creek. A freestanding sign out front declared that it was the Maple Spring Hotel, so Adam and Joe climbed the steps beneath a striped awning that ran the width of the building and entered the dining room. A middle-aged woman in a crisp white apron over a light blue seersucker dress seated them at a table with a good view of Wissahickon Creek through the front window. “Catfish and coffee, gentlemen?” she asked with a pleasant smile.
“Please, for both of us,” Adam said, adding after she left, “though I don’t know if you’ll be able to do justice to yours, little brother.”
“Sure I will,” Joe assured him and, when the platters were placed before him, provided all the evidence his brother could need that he came equipped with hollow leg. Despite having eaten a lighter breakfast than his younger brother, Adam still couldn’t keep pace with Joe’s rather remarkable appetite. He wasn’t even sure Hoss could have.
After dinner the two brothers stayed in the hotel to explore the proprietor’s collection of wildlife carved from laurel roots. Little Joe was especially taken with a cunning pair of squirrels companionably sharing a meal of acorns. “I’m gonna get this for Hoss,” he said, to the proprietor’s smiling satisfaction.
“You don’t want to carry that all over the park,” Adam chided.
When Joe started to put the carving back, the proprietor spoke up. “I’ll be glad to keep the squirrels for you until this evening, young man, and you can pick them up on your way out of the park.”
Joe’s countenance lighted up as if the noonday sun had suddenly come out from behind dark clouds. “Hey, that would be great, Mr. . . .”
“Smith, Joseph Smith, at your service.”
Joe extended his hand. “I’m a Joseph, too, Mr. Smith, Joe Cartwright of Nevada.”
Smith shook the young man’s hand. “Ah. Here for the Centennial, of course, and since it’s closed today, you’re taking the opportunity to see our beautiful park.”
“Precisely, sir,” Adam said.
Joseph Smith shook his hand, as well. “As you’re travelers from a distant place, let me give you a piece of advice. The best way to see this section of the park would be to rent a bateau. It’s the most convenient way to reach the west bank, and you can return it this evening when you pick up the squirrels.”
Joe brightened at the idea of boating down the creek. “Sounds like a good plan, Adam.”
“Yes, it does,” Adam agreed. “We’ll do as you suggest, Mr. Smith.”
“Excellent!” Smith exclaimed. “You’ll find a boat in the shed to your left as you leave the building. Take any one you like, and be sure to pull in near the first bridge and take the path to Hermit’s Glen. Quite a sight.”
Adam thanked him and paid for the rental of the bateau, as well as a carving of a bird the proprietor identified as an eastern wood pewee. “You’ll probably see some this afternoon,” Smith informed Adam, “since you’ll be on the creek. They tend to stay close to water because they feed on the insects, and you won’t have a bit of trouble recognizing their song. Sounds just like their name.” He warbled an imitation that made both Cartwright brothers smile.
As soon as Little Joe paid for his carving, he and Adam walked down to the shed, selected a bateau, carried it across the dirt path to the bank of Wissahickon Creek and slid it into the water. When they were seated, facing each other, Adam handed his younger brother a set of oars and then leaned back, arms locked behind his neck. “You’ve got energy to burn, sonny, so get to it.”
“Hey, you should do your share,” Joe grumbled.
“I have done my share,” Adam said, tilting his hat over his eyes. “I paid for the boat.”
Joe shrugged and pulled away from the bank.
Adam didn’t stay in his relaxed position long, however. Though he didn’t offer to take the oars, he soon sat up to enjoy the view, arms locked around his knees. As his brother rowed them around a sharp bend to the west, he pointed to a promontory above them. “Washington’s Rock. The President used to go there when he needed to get away, back when Philadelphia was the capitol.”
“Is that the guidebook talkin’ again?” Joe asked.
Adam laughed. “Not entirely. I have been here before, kid.”
“In Philadelphia? I guess I should have known that.”
Adam shrugged. “No reason you should. My trips to Philadelphia were just cultural outings, whenever I could find enough time and money to make the trip. I probably wrote home about them, but it’s not the kind of thing a youngster would have remembered.” He deliberately omitted any reference to the times he’d come through the city as a Federal soldier. Those particular memories weren’t bad, but he didn’t want to give Little Joe any encouragement to probe deeper into ones that were.
Joe grinned. “Cultural outings, huh? That what these city folks call rowing a boat?”
Adam reached out a long, black-trousered leg and gave the boy’s shin a sharp tap with the top of his balmoral. “The park was for relaxation—and for a reminder of home.”
Joe smiled softly then. “Yeah, about as close as you could get back here, I guess.”
“Yeah.” Adam gestured with his chin toward the right bank. “Pull in over there, and we’ll tie up the boat for a while.”
Understanding now that Adam was acquainted with the area, Joe simply did as he was told and waited expectantly to see what his brother wanted to show him. Getting out of the boat, he followed Adam across a bridge to the west side of the creek and went up a tree-shaded lane into the woods.
“This is the Hermit’s Glen Mr. Smith referred to. A German man named John Kelpius and about forty of his followers, called the Hermits of the Ridge, used to live in the caves up here,” Adam explained. As they came out into a clearing, he pointed to a gnarled old cedar. “Kelpius is supposed to have planted that, and there, beneath it, you can still see some stones from the well he dug.”
With a sweep of his arm, Adam gestured for Joe to turn right and follow the creek. About a quarter mile from the bridge they had crossed, they came to a high bluff, from which a rock rose upward. “Lovers’ Leap,” Adam said in answer to Joe’s inquiring look.
“Let’s climb up to the top of the bluff,” Joe urged.
Adam groaned. “I thought this was supposed to be a day of rest! Must you climb something every Sunday?”
“Aw, come on, Adam,” Joe nagged. “I just know it’ll be a great view.”
“Oh, I hope so, little buddy.” Shaking his head, Adam trudged up the path after his more energetic brother.
Seeing Joe gaze at the rock towering above when they reached the bluff’s summit, Adam snagged his elbow. “No. We are absolutely not climbing that!”
“No argument here, older brother,” Joe said, feeling a shiver rise up his spine. Much as he relished a grand view, he wanted plenty of territory around him when he was up this high, and Lovers’ Leap looked precarious enough to have earned its name. Leaning over to look at the gorge two hundred feet below, Joe felt his stomach leap into his throat and backed away as unobtrusively as he could.
The boys returned to the creek, and following Adam’s instructions, Joe rowed another half mile upstream, where he pulled to the side once more. He and Adam walked along a woodland path bordered with violets ‘til they came to a steep slope close to the river. “Mom Rinkle’s Rock,” Adam said as they gazed at the precipice jutting up from the stream. “According to legend, an old woman fell from there and floated out to sea. People thought she was a witch because she drank dew from acorn cups and had an evil eye—and, well, perhaps because she survived the fall, if the story has any basis in truth.”
Joe feigned a look of total shock. “Why, Adam, I didn’t think you went in for superstitious claptrap like that.”
Adam cleared his throat loudly. “I don’t. It’s just a story. I thought you’d enjoy it.”
Joe grinned and winked. “I did. I was just teasing.”
A smile skewed to one side of Adam’s face. “Ah, yes, your greatest talent.” Noting the path that led up to the top of the precipice, he sighed. “I suppose you have to climb this one, as well.”
Joe took a careful look and gulped. The path looked incredibly steep, the kind of place that always gave him the “crawly skin,” as Hoss called it, but he didn’t want to admit that weakness to his fearless older brother. Pasting a challenging smirk on his face, he chirped back cheerily, “Why, of course, older brother. After all, it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stand on the very spot that old witch lady fell off of.”
Adam groaned, fighting down the temptation to push Joe over the edge for the criminally bad joke. At least one mystery is solved, he decided, shaking his head. I’ll never again ask myself how he can eat so heartily and never gain a pound; it’s obvious he needs fuel to expend this much energy.
The path to the hilltop was not only steep, but strewn with loose rocks, acorns and broken twigs, as well. Halfway up Adam slipped and fell to one knee. Hearing the grunt of pain, Joe skidded swiftly back to his side. “Hey, you okay? We don’t really have to climb this if it’s too much for you, Adam.”
Affecting insult, Adam glowered at his younger brother. “Too much! You never saw the day you could outwork—or out-climb me, youngster.”
Joe grinned with false bravado. “Prove it, then. Race you to the top!”
Adam grabbed him by the wrist. “No racing, Joe. The footing is treacherous, and I have no intention of spending the rest of my vacation tending your broken bones.”
Joe laughed to hide his relief that Adam hadn’t taken him up on his impetuous challenge. “Okay, no race, but you know I’d’ve beat you.”
As punishment for that display of sass, Adam gave his brother a shove up the trail. He was gratified to see, however, that Joe appeared to be watching his step, even though he did move faster than Adam thought completely wise.
Naturally, Little Joe reached the summit first, and as he stood atop the most massive rock in the park, waving his hat wildly, with the wind ruffling his hair, he called out, “Hey, brother, wish you were here!” He listened with obvious delight to the returning echo, almost as if Hoss were returning the cry.
Adam draped an arm across Joe’s shoulders, in part to support himself after the tiring climb, but mostly to share the enjoyment of the moment.
Joe looked up sheepishly. “Silly thing to do, I guess, but I feel close to him out here in the woods.”
“I’ve been thinking of him all day, too,” Adam admitted. “Just something about the place.”
“Yeah. His kind of place—mine, too.”
Adam chuckled. “Well, don’t leave me out. It was the peace of places like this that drew me back to the Ponderosa.”
Joe’s eyes twinkled with mischief. “Peace? I thought you liked the hustle and bustle of city life.”
“For pleasure and culture, yes,” Adam agreed. He hesitated, and then continued, “But when your heart needs healing . . .”
“Did yours?” Joe asked quietly, not wanting to rush his brother and cause him to slam shut the door he’d opened just a crack. “Why? The war?”
Adam closed his eyes, as if the memories were still painful, and simply nodded.
“You still don’t want to talk about it, do you?” Joe whispered, disappointed, but for once not taking it personally.
Adam looked away. “Not really. Some parts of it are best left buried, I think, but I suppose I could . . . ” He trailed off, his reluctance obvious.
“No, that’s okay,” Joe said quickly. “Not ‘til you’re ready.” Will he ever be? he wondered sadly.
Adam smiled softly as he ruffled his brother’s already windblown curls. “Thanks, kid. Back to the boat?”
Joe nodded his agreement and followed Adam down to the Wissahickon again. A short row upstream brought them to the entrance of Paper Mill Run. It was only a small creek, but it joined the larger stream in a series of waterfalls, the final one a twenty-foot drop over dark shale-like rock. Joe held the oars still and looked at the rushing water. “Aw, that’s pretty.”
“Umm hmm. Historic, too,” Adam offered. “Site of the first paper mill in America, established back in 1690.”
Joe set the oars down and folded his arms across his chest. “Now, brother, you said this was a day of rest, and there you go trying to make it a school day again.”
“Okay, I’ll make you a bargain,” Adam chuckled. “I won’t give you any more educational lectures if you don’t make me climb any more rocks.”
Joe reached across the boat to shake Adam’s hand. “Brother, you’ve got a deal! I don’t really mind taking my lessons this way, though.” He picked up the oars and began to row upstream again with strong, smooth strokes.
After they’d glided another quarter mile, Adam pointed to another hilltop. “There’s an old monastery and graveyard up there. You want to climb up or go on to the caves?”
Joe’s lip curled in distaste. “Caves? You know how I feel about going underground, Adam, but I don’t really want to do any more climbing, either.”
“Oh, so there is an end to the boundless energy of youth!” Adam observed with a sardonic smile.
Joe shrugged. “I could do it, but I’d kind of like to stay in the boat awhile.”
“Fine with me,” Adam said quickly. “It’s about a mile and a half to the Pipe Bridge, which was completed six years ago. I’ve heard it’s a beautiful structure, and I’d really like to observe that in some detail.”
Joe crinkled his nose. “Another bridge, huh? Sounds educational to me, brother.”
“True, but for me, not you, buddy.”
“I’m teasing, Adam, my greatest talent, remember?” Joe snickered. “Look at your old bridge all you want.” He rowed another mile or so, enjoying the birds twittering in the trees overhanging the creek and waving to a fisherman casting his line from the rockbound shore before coming to the sight Adam was eager to see. Surprisingly, Joe also found this bridge interesting, for it was unlike any he had seen before. From a distance its delicate framework looked like scalloped lace, but it was made entirely of iron pipes, except for the base of its piers, which Adam told him were set in masonry.
They pulled to the side of the creek and got out of the boat, so Adam could take a closer look. “It’s used to transport water to the reservoir at Germantown,” he further explained. “See those two large pipes that form the top cord of the bridge? Those carry the water.”
“Uh-huh, real interesting,” Joe said.
Adam laughed. “All right, I get the message. You’re bored with bridges.”
Joe grinned back, but shook his head. “Naw, it’s a nice bridge, Adam. Just don’t take me as long to look at one as it does you.”
“That’s because you don’t understand what you’re seeing,” Adam announced airily, and then smiled so Joe would know he was teasing. “To reward your patience, my boy, we’ll move on to a sight more to your liking.” His voice dropped, and he whispered in an eerie tone, “The Devil’s Pool.”
Joe shook his fist in jest under Adam’s nose. “Hey! Are you calling me an imp?”
Adam sported a mocking grin. “I wasn’t, but if the description fits . . .”
Adam laughed and pulled Joe by the arm. “Come on. You’ll be glad you did.”
Walking about a hundred yards, they crossed a wooden bridge over Creshein Creek, a small tributary of the Wissahickon, and followed a short path to a basin surrounded by great masses of rock. Long trunks of hemlock and pine thrust out from the darkness into the sunlight bathing the pool, creating a place of wild beauty, seemingly untouched by man. “You’d never believe a big city was so close by, seeing this,” Joe said with admiration. “Don’t see why they call it the Devil’s Pool, though. Looks more like a piece of heaven to me.”
Understanding his brother’s appreciation of the untamed splendor, Adam squeezed his shoulder. “I think it’s the appearance at night that gives it that name. The moonlight does strange things to all those tree limbs hanging over the pool. It’s supposed to look like fairies dancing or maybe something more grotesque.”
“Can we stay and see it?” Joe asked eagerly.
Adam’s loud guffaws rang through the trees, frightening a red and black tanager from its nest. “Don’t you ever think anything through, kid?” he asked when Joe stared at him in puzzlement.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Joe muttered, brows coming together.
“Which only proves my point,” Adam observed with a condescending smile. “Obviously, we can’t stay here ‘til nightfall because we’re obligated to get the boat back to Maple Spring and pick up those carvings before then.”
Joe’s face fell. “Oh, yeah, I wasn’t thinking,” he mumbled, feeling foolish now that his error had been pointed out. “Let’s get started back then.” He turned his back on Adam and hurried down the path toward the boat.
Only then did Adam realize that his brother was genuinely hurt. Hurrying to catch up, he caught the boy’s elbow. “Joe, I didn’t mean—”
Joe jerked his arm free. “Oh, yes, you did!”
Adam cupped his hand behind Joe’s neck and pulled him closer. “I’m sorry, Joe. Let me make up for it, huh?”
“How?” Joe demanded.
“There’s a hotel about a quarter mile further up.” Adam rushed his words, feeling he had mere seconds to make things right with this touchy child. “Let me buy you an ice to cool you down.”
Joe exploded. “I’m not Hoss, Adam! It takes more than food to make it all better.”
Taking a deep breath, Adam put an arm around his brother, finding the shoulders that usually yielded readily to an embrace rigid with offense. “Come on, buddy,” he urged with all his persuasive powers. “You’re hot and tired or you wouldn’t be reacting so strongly to a joke, although, admittedly, a bad one. We’ve had a good day together, and I don’t want to see it end this way, do you?”
He had touched the right nerve. Joe relaxed, giving him a weak smile. “No, and I would like something cool. I’ll take you up on that ice.”
“Fair enough,” Adam said, as he slipped his arm down to Joe’s waist and turned him back toward Devil’s Pool.
The valley widened as they continued north, the shadows receded, and the sun shone hot, bringing beads of sweat to both their faces. Coming to a stone bridge with only one arch, Adam indicated that they needed to cross, and when they did, the Valley Green Hotel came almost immediately into sight.
The establishment presented a far less inviting front than had the hotel at which the Cartwright brothers had eaten dinner. Only two stories tall, it had none of the elegance of the Maple Spring Hotel, but the ices were cool and flavorful. Refreshed and in good humor once again, Joe stepped out onto the roofed porch and leaned against one of its narrow supports to admire the view of the valley.
“There’s a bit more of Wissahickon Park we haven’t seen,” Adam said, standing shoulder to shoulder with his brother, “but I think it’s time we headed back.”
“We gonna eat at Maple Spring again?” Joe asked.
“I’d thought about Wissahickon Hall, but I’ll let you pick, buddy.” He had, of course, already pointed out that hotel when they came through town that morning, but he didn’t want to risk offending his volatile little brother again by reminding him of something else the boy had obviously forgotten.
The flush on Joe’s face revealed that he’d realized his own error, but sensing that Adam was trying to make peace, Joe made a similar effort. “Naw, let’s try a new one. That way we can decide who really makes the best catfish and coffee on the Wissahickon.”
“All right,” Adam said with a congenial smile. “We’ll do just that.” In a further effort to appease his little brother, he took the oars, once he and Joe were back in the bateau. It was a somewhat empty gesture, since there wouldn’t be as much rowing to do, going downstream. To Joe, though, it was further proof that his big brother was trying to ease the hurt he had inadvertently caused, and the gesture touched him.
After a relaxing float down the Wissahickon, the brothers enjoyed another filling meal of catfish and coffee, but when it came time to discuss which hotel served the meal in the finest fashion, they typically voted for contradictory choices. They were able to laugh at their difference of opinion, however, and good humor prevailed as they caught a horse car back to the hotel and turned in early, wanting to be well rested for the excitement of the morrow.
Dressed in their finest, the Cartwright brothers pressed their way through the multitude packing Second Street and all other roads leading to Christ Church. Though the doors of the church were not yet open, people were crowding the entrance, and when the chimes rang out and the doors swung back, they pushed in, hurrying to find a place to sit in the few pews not already filled by regular worshippers. Adam and Joe squeezed into one of the high, old-fashioned pews near the back, where they were packed close as sardines in a tin, but at least they got a seat. Those not so fortunate resorted to sitting on the stairways leading up to the galleries. Once seated, however, everyone was silent, waiting reverently for the service to begin.
A long procession of bishops and lesser clerics moved up the aisle as the organ began to play. Once the clergymen were in place, the choir started to sing John Greenleaf Whittier’s “Centennial Hymn.” It was the third time the Cartwright brothers had heard the same song, but nothing could have seemed more appropriate to the occasion than its stirring words:
Our fathers’ God! From out whose hand
The centuries fall like grains of sand,
We meet today, united, free,
And loyal to our land and Thee,
To thank Thee for the era done,
And trust Thee for the opening one.
When the song ended, Adam and Joe, along with others, bowed their heads in sincere thanks for America and the freedom they enjoyed as her citizens. As the minister leading the prayer began to express thanks for those who had sacrificed their lives to procure this freedom, Joe opened his eyes to glance at his brother. Thankfully, Adam hadn’t had to make that ultimate sacrifice, but he, too, had risked his life, his future, for the defense of the Union. As he gazed at his brother’s still face, Joe wished he could tell Adam how much he appreciated it, how much he admired his courage and his devotion to his convictions. With Adam so reluctant to even talk about what had happened during those troubled days, though, Joe knew he would never find the right words to convey what he felt. Instead, he slipped his hand into Adam’s and squeezed it, hoping his older brother would understand.
Adam’s eyes opened and he cocked his head to gaze, puzzled, at the brimming emerald eyes. He didn’t really understand what had so moved his younger brother—perhaps just the emotion of the moment—but he pressed the slender hand resting in his to give Joe the support he seemed to need. By the time the service ended, the moment was forgotten, and neither Adam nor Joe mentioned it. There was far too much else to occupy their minds as the nation’s grandest birthday party began.
When the Cartwrights had returned to the Washington Hotel the previous night, they had found a message from Connecticut Commissioner Saul Breckenridge, inviting them to a reception for Connecticut citizens on Monday afternoon. While, technically, neither Adam nor Joe fit that description, Breckenridge had urged them to come, since he’d gotten word that there would be at least a few of Adam’s old acquaintances in attendance. Joe felt a little hesitant about spending an afternoon in a roomful of sophisticated strangers, but Adam refused to go without him, making reference to what had happened the last time he left his younger brother alone in Philadelphia. With all the businesses closed, there wasn’t much else for Joe to do, anyway, so he tagged along without further argument, determined to make the best of it.
Many other states and organizations were holding receptions that afternoon, as well, so the horse cars again were crowded, with people hanging on from all sides. The Cartwright brothers again spent the thirty-minute ride out to the Centennial grounds standing up, gallantly giving their seats to two grateful middle-aged ladies.
Adam having bluntly rejected his request to visit the encampment of the West Point Cadets on the Exposition grounds while Adam met his friends, Joe dutifully trailed into the Connecticut House behind his brother. As Breckenridge’s note had informed them, a buffet was spread for all guests, and Joe concentrated on filling his plate, while Adam searched the room for familiar faces. Finishing the food, Joe grabbed a cup of punch and wandered the room, examining once more the colonial artifacts and firearms he’d seen on their first visit; then, bored, he went into the gentlemen’s parlor and stretched out on one of the settees.
“Oh, there you are,” Adam said when he peeked in a couple of hours later. “You should have told me where you’d be, Joe. I was afraid you’d taken off for parts unknown.”
“You said I couldn’t, remember?” Joe grunted. Should’ve done it, anyway, since that’s what he expected; don’t look like he missed me none ‘til he was ready to leave.
Adam leaned against the doorjamb. “Oh, and you can always be counted on to do exactly as you’re told, can’t you?”
Joe scowled. “I’m here, aren’t I?”
“Yes, you are,” Adam acknowledged, “and I know it hasn’t been the most interesting afternoon for you. You ready to head back to the hotel?”
Joe practically jumped to his feet. “Sure am!”
Adam smiled and gestured for Joe to follow him.
“Did you see a lot of old friends?” Joe asked as they walked back to Elm Street to catch a streetcar.
“Several,” Adam said. “It was a most enjoyable afternoon for me. Sorry if you were bored, kid, but I do appreciate your cooperation.”
“Aw, that’s okay. At least, the food was good!”
Adam laughed as he jumped onto the streetcar and held out a hand to his younger brother. There weren’t as many people heading back into the city at that time, so both of them found a seat for the return trip.
A festive mood prevailed in the streets as the Cartwright brothers walked the block from the streetcar stop to their hotel, and Joe was all for checking out the source of the excitement. Adam immediately squashed that idea. “We’ll be up late, with the torchlight parade starting at 8:30, so we need to rest up this afternoon.”
“I’m rested up,” Joe argued.
Recognizing the reference to the time his younger brother had spent reclining in the gentlemen’s parlor of the Connecticut House, Adam chuckled. “You probably are, but I’ve been on my feet most of the afternoon, and you are not going out without me.”
“What am I supposed to do up in that hotel room for hours?” Joe whined.
“Read a good book, improve your mind,” Adam suggested. “It’s only a couple of hours ‘til suppertime. Somehow, I think you’ll survive.”
Scorning Adam’s suggestion of reading a book, mostly because he’d already finished the ones he had available and didn’t think it likely that his brother had anything interesting to borrow, Joe spent the time perusing that morning’s edition of the Philadelphia Public Ledger. The newspaper gave a full description of activities planned for that day and the next, and Joe gave his greatest attention to the articles concerning the celebration of the Glorious Fourth. The time passed surprisingly quickly, and soon Adam was saying that it was time to go downstairs for supper.
Due to the crowds, many of the items on the menu were out of stock, but the Cartwright brothers found plenty still available to sustain even Joe’s appetite and returned to their rooms after finishing the meal to wait for darkness to fall. “We’ll just watch the parade from the window,” Adam said as he pulled off his crimson cravat.
“Nothing doing!” Joe screeched. “I’ve been cooped up in this room all day, and I’m not staying up here for that, too!”
“Joe, be reasonable,” Adam urged. “The parade will pass right beneath us; you’ll have a great view from up here—without being trampled.” He added what he thought would be the best selling point. “And since no one will be seeing you, you can get out of your suit and into something more comfortable.”
Joe’s stance and his expression, feet firmly planted shoulder-width apart and arms folded, with rigid jaw and firm frown, were the picture of stubborn determination. “Stay up here if you’re scared, big brother, but I’m gonna be down where the excitement is, not just watching it like some old man in a rocking chair.”
Adam was sorely tempted to challenge the boy’s mocking defiance, but he suddenly remembered that Joe had already stuck with him through a lengthy church service, a boring reception and several hours in the hotel room. In all fairness, he couldn’t ask more of a kid as energetic as his younger brother. Though Adam did not want to join the crushing crowd, he was unwilling to let Joe enter it alone, so he sighed and put his tie back on.
Joe bounded down the stairs, and for once Adam didn’t insist on using the elevator, considering it wise to let his brother work off some of that excess energy in a safe manner. When Joe bounded across the lobby for the front door, however, Adam charged forward and grabbed his elbow. “Stay with me,” he ordered tersely.
“Okay,” Joe said, starting forward again. “Let’s go.”
Still clinging to the boy’s elbow, Adam was dragged through the door and onto a street thronged with excited celebrators. Colored lanterns had been strung along Chestnut Street and Broad Street, as well, according to the Public Ledger, for the parade would actually start there. As it was timed to arrive in front of Independence Hall at midnight, neither Adam nor Joe saw any marchers for quite some time after the parade actually started. What Adam did see was people perched at every window, door step and roof in sight, and while he wished he were among them, Little Joe obviously preferred mingling with the crowd covering every square inch of the street along both sides of the parade route.
Craning his neck, practically climbing onto the shoulders of his older brother, Joe at last yelled that he’d seen the parade turn onto Chestnut. As the marchers were still several blocks away, they looked like stick figures in the distance, but they slowly came close enough to be distinguishable as real men, fireworks being set off and cheers going up from the multitude lining the street as each group passed. First in line were deputations representing various trades of the city, followed by the Centennial Commissioners from the foreign countries participating in the Exposition. Behind them marched the governors of the states of the Union and officers of the United States Army and Navy. Representatives from civic and political associations filed past next, with the officers of foreign men-of-war who were visiting the city bringing up the rear.
Adam and Joe fell in with the rest of the throng streaming toward Independence Square, where a spotlight bathed the clocks on each side of the steeple in a golden glow of expectation. One hundred thousand people fell silent as the hands of the clock inched the final minutes toward midnight, and when they both pointed straight up, the new State House bell began to toll thirteen peals. Almost before the final one faded away, the crowd let loose a mighty shout to welcome in the one hundredth birthday of the United States of America, and hundreds of hats, Joe’s included, flew into the air with reckless abandon. Musicians and singers stationed on stands in the square burst into “The Star Spangled Banner,” and everyone in Independence Square joined in.
Adam and Joe stood with arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders, singing as loudly as they could, but neither could distinguish the other’s voice. It wasn’t just the loud singing of their neighbors drowning them out, though. Every bell and steam whistle in the city had added its voice to the general cacophony at the stroke of midnight, and fireworks and discharging firearms contributed to the hubbub. No one seemed to mind, though, and when the first excitement died down a bit, the chorus began to sing the “Doxology,” with the crowd once more singing along. From then until about two in the morning, the orchestra continued to play patriotic songs as total strangers thumped one another on the back and shouted congratulations to the nation and all her citizens.
Adam had tried to draw his brother back to the hotel room after the midnight festivities, but Joe was still brimming with vitality and begged to stay a little longer. Adam gave in with only slight reluctance, for he, too, had become caught up in the excitement all America was sharing that night. After all, he reminded himself, this is the reason I chose to come at this particular time, and he smiled at the enthusiastic little brother who had brought him back to that original purpose.
When the music ended and the orchestra began to pack up their instruments, Adam took firm hold on his brother’s arm and insisted that it was time to turn in. “You’ve partied long enough, kid, and the activities start early in the morning.”
Realizing that he did need some sleep, Joe reluctantly agreed and followed Adam back to their hotel room, turning in immediately. He found it hard to doze off, however, for he knew that the following day’s celebration would be even bigger.
Joe woke with a start a scant three hours later when the thunder of cannon from the Navy Yard, Fairmount Heights and the Swedish, Brazilian and American war vessels docked in the Delaware River saluted the dawn of Independence Day, 1876. Bells tolled from every steeple in Philadelphia, and steam whistles and foghorns echoed their joyous clamor. Eyelids heavy, Joe staggered into Adam’s room. “I guess it’s time to rise and shine, huh?”
Moaning in joint commiseration, Adam struggled to prop himself up from the mattress on reluctant elbows. “So it would appear. I knew I’d regret letting you keep me up all night.”
“It’s not my fault,” Joe protested, hand pressed to his heart. “Nobody forced you to stay up, Adam.”
Adam dragged himself upright, swung his legs over the bed and sat there, raking his fingers through his thick, black hair. “Just the responsibility of keeping you out of trouble, kid.”
“I didn’t get in any trouble,” Joe reminded him curtly.
Adam favored his brother with a sour smile. “Which only serves to prove that I did my job well.” It was a line he found frequent occasion to use on his little brother, and he laughed at the scowl with which Joe met the all-too-familiar taunt. “Scurry into your clothes, little fellow,” he added with his most big-brotherly voice, “if you want to catch a bite of breakfast before the parade begins.”
“That’s not ‘til 8:30,” Joe argued.
Adam stood and gave his brother a light shove toward the door. “Yes, but the parade starts forming at seven, and since I assume you’ll insist on being right in the thick of things, you’ll want to get down on the street early enough to find a decent spot. So, as I said, little boy, scurry, scurry.” He clapped his hands for emphasis.
Resenting the baby talk, even though he knew it was in jest, Joe scowled more fiercely. Being hungry, however, and realizing that there would be little time to eat later, he followed his older brother’s instructions without argument.
After a quick and scanty breakfast, due to the decreasing choices available, Adam and Joe made their way out onto the street and took up a position close to the huge triumphal arch straddling Chestnut. In it, each state of the Union was represented by a stone engraved with its name, from which flew a pennant of red, white and blue. Hanging from the top of the arch, beneath which the members of the parade would march, a sign proclaimed, “In the course of human events.”
By the time the parade was scheduled to start, Little Joe had definitely seen the wisdom of his older brother’s advice to find a place early. Later reports would reveal that five hundred thousand people teemed the streets that day. Joe didn’t know that, of course; he only knew that the crowd was far too numerous to count—much larger than the excited throng the night before and definitely larger than any group of people he’d ever been part of in all his nineteen years.
As the parade began, the Centennial Legion, with detachments from each of the thirteen original colonies, in token of a Union restored and citizens reunited, took a prominent place in the line moving down Chestnut Street to Independence Hall. This troop of ten thousand soldiers, veterans of both the Confederate and Union armies, was commanded by former Confederate General Henry Heth of Virginia, under overall command of General John Frederick Hartranft, also a veteran of the Civil War and presently Governor of Pennsylvania. Still dark-haired and straight-backed eleven years after the war’s end, the Grand Army of the Republic filed past, to the First Virginia Regimental Band’s renditions of “My Maryland” and “Dixie.” Seeing them together, each marching to the other side’s music, Adam felt the hard crust covering his heart begin to crack, and mist fogged his eyes as chips of bitter memories flaked free.
Intending to ask if Adam had known the Governor while he was in the service, Joe turned toward his brother, and deep furrows of concern plowed across his forehead when he saw his brother’s face. “You okay, Adam?”
Momentarily unable to speak, Adam nodded, but needing some outlet for the emotions surging through him, he pulled his younger brother into a one-armed embrace. “I’m fine, buddy,” he said, close to Joe’s ear, so he could be heard. “I’m more than fine. I’m—how do I even tell you what I’m feeling, seeing those men walking side by side with men they once fought against so furiously, with such acrid anger?”
Wanting to communicate his support, Joe circled his brother’s waist and touched his head to Adam’s shoulder. He realized that he would probably never fully comprehend either what Adam had gone through during the war or what moments like this meant to him, but pride and admiration and outright love flooded his heart for this older brother, so different from himself in temperament and experience. Different as North and South, he thought, understanding with sudden intuition that, just like these former foes, he and Adam would have to make a conscious decision to accept one another and live in unity. Surely, if people that different could do it, brothers who shared as much as he and Adam could, too.
Several large wagons, fitted up with scenes of Army life, rolled past. One presented thirteen miniature tents with typical camp equipment, while another showed a large tent with two soldiers forming a tableau of life in a field camp. “Guess that all looks pretty familiar to you, huh, Adam?” Joe suggested.
Adam’s smile was the warmest Joe had ever seen cross his brother’s face when the war was mentioned. “Yeah, a lot of memories rush back when I see scenes like those.”
“Good or bad?” Joe asked so softly that Adam barely heard him above the music of a band down the street.
“Both,” Adam admitted, but the bad memories didn’t seem to haunt him today. “The tedium of camp life drove me wild at times,” he continued, “but the companionship of my comrades in arms—I’ve never experienced anything like it elsewhere, not even in college, which was a small, closed society, too. Sharing hard times with someone just seems to forge a firmer bond than anything else can.”
Just then a carriage of disabled veterans came into view, a poignant reminder of the price paid for the peace they now found so inspiring. “There’s some fellows that look like they know about hard times,” Joe whispered reverently.
“The hardest—and these are the survivors.” Adam shook his head, the dark clouds hovering near once more. “Half a million wounded, and sixty thousand died of their wounds, maybe six times as many from disease. Some men came out of battle a lot worse—and others not at all.”
“And some a lot better, thank God!” Joe cried, looking directly into his brother’s face.
Realizing that Joe was expressing gratitude for the spared life of his older brother, Adam nodded and, characteristically, looked for some way to distract the boy from the intense emotion, which Joe showed so openly and Adam fought so desperately to hide. “Let’s move close to the stand,” he suggested. “General Sherman’s going to review the troops.”
“Okay,” Joe agreed, eager to see everything that was happening at the big birthday party for the nation and especially keen to get a closer look at the famous Civil War general.
General Sherman and the Secretary of War, with a host of other dignitaries from both home and abroad, watched reverently as the troops filed before them, each saluting as they passed. Governors of several states and General Hawley, President of the Centennial Commission, paid homage to the men in uniform, and such guests as sixteen-year-old Prince Oscar of Sweden and Lieutenant-General Saigo of the Imperial forces of Japan also showed respect to the veterans, the soldiers currently serving in the United States Army and the West Point Cadets, the army of the future.
The Cartwright brothers got as close as they could, but it was no small task, given the crowd in the streets. Though they were far back, Adam pointed out a couple of distant figures he didn’t think his younger brother would recognize, despite pictures printed in newspapers across America during this election year. “Those are the Presidential candidates, Samuel Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes.”
“You decided who you’re gonna vote for yet?” Joe asked.
“Not yet,” Adam admitted, “although I’m leaning toward Tilden. Considering the corruption of the current administration, I think we’re due for a change of party, although Hayes promises reform, if he’s elected.”
“Pa’s Republican;” Joe stated, adding with firm assurance, “he’ll vote for Hayes.”
Adam waved the conclusion aside. “That allegiance was born during the war years, but Pa believes in voting the man, not the party.”
Joe grinned. “So he wouldn’t vote against Hayes just ‘cause we’re ‘due for a change.’”
Adam had to laugh. “No, I guess he wouldn’t. Maybe I’d better rethink that position. I do believe it will be a close race, largely based on sectional differences. We still have a long way to go to heal all the wounds of the Civil War, buddy.”
The parade ended sooner than expected, for the route had been shortened, due to the extreme heat of the day. Though it was only ten o’clock, the temperature was approaching ninety degrees, but not even the oppressive heat could flag the patriotic spirit prevalent that day. Adam and Joe, in company with hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens, pressed toward Independence Square. They made it and even had a decent view of the ceremonial platform on the north side of the Square, no mean feat, considering streets so jammed that a number of those who had marched in the parade never arrived.
Cheers went up as prominent and popular personages took their place on the canvas-covered wooden platform, one of the loudest greeting the Emperor of Brazil, Dom Pedro. The only reigning member of royalty who had ever set foot in the United States, the little man had made himself beloved to the American people by his humble manners and obvious admiration for the country. Vice-president Thomas Ferry was also in attendance, but noticeably missing was the beleaguered President Grant, whose administration had been struck by one scandal after another in recent months. Rumbles passing through the crowd openly criticized the sitting President for his lack of patriotic zeal, though when Little Joe started to chime in with a similar opinion, Adam clamped the boy’s biceps in an iron grip. “Don’t judge a man without knowing the facts,” he said sternly. “Grant was here for the opening ceremonies back in May, and there may be good reason for his not coming today—ill health, pressures of the office, personal responsibilities. You don’t really know why he’s not here, do you, boy?”
Realizing that he’d been guilty of convicting a man without hearing his side of the story, something he personally resented when it happened to him, Joe bit his lip. “No, sir. Sorry, Adam.”
Adam nodded his acceptance of the apology. Though he knew his younger brother had only become caught up in what was going on around him and, at least, had the excuse of youth for doing so, Adam felt a strong responsibility to steer the boy aright. Today, however, was not a day for criticism, either of youngsters or politicians. It was a day for celebration, and as clocks around the city struck the quarter hour past ten, General Hawley signaled for the orchestra to begin playing.
After a number of patriotic songs had been rendered, Hawley introduced Thomas Ferry, the acting Vice-president since the death of Henry Wilson the previous year. After a few brief remarks Ferry presented the Right Reverend William Bacon Stevens, Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Pennsylvania, calling him the ecclesiastical successor to the first chaplain of the Continental Congress. Dressed in canonical robes, prayer book in hand, the bishop led a solemn and stirring prayer, as the audience stood, hats in hand, heads bowed in silent reverence.
Following the prayer, a hymn, “Welcome to All Nations,” with lyrics by Oliver Wendell Holmes, was sung by a chorus of five hundred voices, and then Richard Henry Lee, namesake grandson of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, approached the podium, which was near the ground because the platform sloped to the front. As he started to read from the original document, now creased and discolored with age, the crowd could not contain its enthusiasm, and the square exploded with resounding cheers, Little Joe waving his hat and hollering along with the rest.
While Adam’s dignity would not permit him to join in, he saw no reason to curb the boy’s enthusiasm. I’m the one with the problem; he’s fitting right in today, he realized, and in that moment Adam made the kind of impulsive decision for which his younger brother was justly famous. Removing his black hat and throwing dignity to the winds, he, too, began to wave wildly and cheer loudly, his heart bursting with the sudden sense of freedom.
Joe flashed a broad grin when his sedate older brother cut loose, as he so rarely did. “That’s the spirit, brother!” Joe cried.
Lee raised the Declaration and again prepared to read. “Turn it around!” came a loud cry from the audience, echoed by countless more, and Lee proudly obliged, holding the revered, but crumbling document in the simple frame aloft for all to see. Then he began again to read the immortal words, and all within the bounds of Independence Square listened in hushed reverence.
As Lee finished reading, five women in black silk dresses approached the platform with bold determination. Their entrance at first went unnoticed because the attention of the audience was focused on the orchestra as it prepared to play, but the shocked faces of platform officials soon communicated that this intrusion was not part of the program planned for the morning. “Susan B. Anthony and her suffragette hussies,” a man near the Cartwright brothers hissed. “What’s she doing here?”
Susan B. Anthony calmly approached Vice-president Ferry and handed him a rolled document, stating simply that it was a declaration of the rights of women. Ferry paled, but his customary courtesy made him bow automatically, and he received the scroll without a word. Then Miss Anthony and her four followers made their way back down the aisle, passing out copies of the women’s declaration to all who wanted them. Men leaped onto their chairs, waving their hands to get a copy, and to Joe’s gape-mouthed shock, his older brother suddenly charged forward, pushing men aside to get one for himself as General Hawley shouted for order. Cutting loose with a cheer was one thing, but this was . . . Joe had no words to describe how horrified he was to see his older brother chasing down suffragettes. If I’d done anything like what those women just did, Adam would have lambasted me—and look at him now, running right into the middle of the fracas!
When Adam returned to his side, Joe eyed him with deep disapproval. “Joe, they had to,” Adam explained quickly. “They’d already asked permission to present their declaration today—just present it, not read it—but none of the men in charge would grant them even that much consideration.”
“Don’t make it right to horn in where you’re not wanted.” Enjoying the reversal of their usual roles, Joe folded his arms and shook his head in tight-lipped reproof. “Maybe you want women to get the vote, Adam, but I got my doubts about them knowing enough to vote right.”
“You tell him, young fellow,” a bystander tossed in.
“I’ve got the same doubts about you, little buddy, but I wouldn’t deprive you of the franchise,” Adam snorted sarcastically. “Women have as much right to representation as men.”
“You’re crazy, mister,” their opinionated neighbor scoffed. “Your ‘little buddy’ there’s got more sense in his little finger than—”
“Ain’t it the truth?” Joe cackled, mostly to cover his embarrassment at having anyone other than Adam call him by that pet name. Though he wasn’t ready to admit it, Adam’s staunch defense of the ladies was making him less sure of his own conviction. Maybe he shouldn’t be prejudging them any more than Hayes or Tilden or President Grant. Maybe, when Adam wasn’t looking, he might sneak a peek at that women’s declaration of independence and see for himself.
Joe’s infectious laugh, met with smiles from onlookers and a chuck under the chin from Adam, cleared the air, and the suffragettes’ intrusion was forgotten as the eighty-piece orchestra finally began to play “A Greeting from Brazil,” composed at the special request of the Emperor. Because of Dom Pedro’s popularity, the anthem was so well received that it was repeated. Then Bayard Taylor, the poet of the day, recited “The National Ode,” and a chorus was sung before the Honorable William M. Evarts of New York presented his oration, a lecture reviewing the lessons of the past and emphasizing America’s great contributions to the world.
At its conclusion, “The Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah was sung, and Joe was surprised to hear his brother, obviously from memory, join in the complicated counterpoint. He’d always admired Adam’s voice, but rarely had he heard it sound so triumphant. Probably sang this kind of thing all the time when he was living back here, Joe mused. Bet he misses it.
As the song ended, the Vice-president requested that everyone join him in reciting the One Hundredth Psalm, and this time even Joe spoke the words from memory, gladly obeying the Scriptural command to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.” That’s what we’ve been doing all day, Joe decided, grinning at his older brother, who, for once, had been a willing participant in joyful noise.
Arm in arm, the two brothers returned to their hotel, heading immediately for the dining room. Arriving at the entrance, however, they found their way blocked by a waiter in black vest and white shirt, apron tied about his waist. “Gentlemen, I’m sorry, but the dining room is closed.”
“It doesn’t close ‘til two o’clock,” Joe protested.
“Normally,” the waiter admitted. “My regrets, sir, but we have no more food. The crowds, you know. We thought we’d prepared sufficiently, but the demand has been unprecedented—and unforeseeable.”
“Understood,” Adam said, pulling Joe away. “Let’s try another restaurant, but quickly, kid, or we’re likely to hear this sad tale again,” he whispered.
Joe nodded in complete compliance and strode briskly for the front door. He and Adam didn’t move fast enough, however, for at the next three businesses they visited, the sad tale was repeated in almost identical words. “It’s hopeless,” Adam sighed. “I guess we go without dinner today.”
Joe licked his lower lip hesitantly. “I might have an idea where we could find something, but you probably won’t like it.”
“Beggars can’t be choosers today,” Adam grunted, “though I can’t imagine a restaurant in Philadelphia that you know about and I don’t.”
“Not a restaurant,” Joe said hurriedly. “They’re all full, but I saw all kinds of food booths when I—when I took off to Shantyville.”
Adam groaned. “That’s your idea? That awful—”
“Hey, it’s food,” Joe argued, “and maybe folks won’t be as likely to think of looking there.”
“Maybe not,” Adam conceded with a shake of his head, “since the idea does have ‘Joe Cartwright’ written all over it. We’re only going there to eat, though. Don’t you even think about giving me the slip and having some more ‘fun’ like you did the other night.”
“Can’t you ever let anything go?” Joe complained, moping. “I give you my word, I’ll stick right to your side.”
“See that you do,” Adam ordered.
They were only about a block from a streetcar stop, so they jogged over as fast as their legs could trot and clambered up onto the roof of the car, the only place left on the overcrowded vehicle. With a forlorn gaze at the competition, Adam began to wonder if even the booths of Shantyville would have a bite to spare by the time he and Joe got there.
The ramshackle area across from the Centennial grounds was packed with people, too, but the Cartwrights did manage to find something to eat, although the meal was quite a hodgepodge of snacks. Not deeming it wise to pass up any opportunity on this crazy day, they snatched up the first food they found, bologna sausage and hot roasted potatoes. Then they grazed through other possibilities, including pie and lemonade, and even laid in a couple of bags of peanuts, along with some apples and oranges, in the likely event that food would be even scarcer by suppertime.
Scorning the menageries and freak shows, Adam did condescend to a contest with his brother at one of the shooting galleries, since they had time to kill before the fireworks that night. Adam won the first match and Joe the second, and the tie, of course, demanded a third round, much to the chagrin of the man running the booth. He sincerely wished both of these crack shots would leave the area before they wiped him out of the Centennial souvenirs that served as prizes. Both Cartwrights hit every target in the third round, and the grim-faced caretaker handed each a loaded rifle for a fourth attack on the moving targets. Adam again hit every one, and while Joe did, too, one of his shots merely glanced off the edge of one target without knocking it over. “I guess you win,” Joe conceded.
“Not by much, kid. Nice shooting,” Adam praised, handing Joe the bookmarks and badges he’d won. “Send them home to your friends,” he said in answer to his brother’s questioning look.
“Thanks,” Joe said and tucked the trinkets inside his jacket pocket.
It was a good thing they had purchased food when they could, for by suppertime not a scrap of bread could be found anywhere in Philadelphia. After wandering through Shantyville until its scant pleasures held no more attraction, Adam and Joe perched on the banks of the Schuylkill River, nibbling roasted peanuts as they watched the boats glide past. Some were racing boats, manned by crews in crimson, blue or cream uniforms, others recreational vessels shaded by striped awnings and some rowboats with only two passengers, one dressed in lace-edged muslin and shaded by a frilly umbrella good for nothing else. Joe gazed at the young men rowing those small craft with undisguised envy.
Slowly the sun began to sink below the western horizon, bathing the riverbank in a warm ginger glow. As the daylight faded, the population of the riverbank grew proportionately, everyone feeling that to be the best place to view the fireworks display to be presented by the municipal authorities. When the darkness was full, rockets and Roman candles illuminated the sky, and each burst of colored light was echoed with jubilant cheers and thunderous applause. To Adam, though, the best show of all was his exuberant little brother— whistling, stamping his feet, clapping and crying his rapture aloud to the world.
By the time they returned to the Washington Hotel, Adam was exhausted and ready for bed, but Little Joe was still wound up, unwilling to see so satisfying a day end. Only one thing could make it more perfect for him, and since Adam had seemed more open that morning, Joe decided to risk nudging a toe in that crack in the door of his brother’s hidden past. “Adam, you think you’ll ever be ready to tell me about how it was back then?” he asked cautiously.
“Back then?” Adam asked, certain he knew what Joe meant and wanting to forestall confrontation.
“The war,” Joe said simply.
Adam exhaled slowly, wearily. “Joe, I’m tired. Some other time.”
“That’s what you always say!” Joe snapped. “Why don’t you just admit you don’t trust me? You never have.”
Adam took another deep breath, fighting for control. He didn’t want to hurt Joe again; on the other hand, he was getting tired of the endless questions, tired of eternally treading on eggshells with this kid who just wouldn’t take no for an answer. “It’s not a matter of trust. It’s just not easy to talk about.”
“It would be to Hoss, wouldn’t it?” Joe’s tone was raw, harsh, openly accusing.
Adam shrugged. “Easier, yes, but not easy. Can’t you understand that there are things that happened ‘back then’ that I want to forget?”
This time when Joe spoke, his voice was soft, gentle with compassion, but still firm in his intent. “Can you, Adam? Or does keeping them inside just keep them hurting long past the time they should have stopped? I’m not a kid anymore, Adam. I know you think I am, but I’m not. Maybe, just maybe, I could help, if you’d let me in.”
The idea of unburdening himself to his baby brother, of all people, struck Adam as ludicrous, but he didn’t really feel like laughing. “Well, I suppose there are some things I could share,” he hedged, “to help you understand that era of American history a bit better.” The minute the words left his mouth, Adam realized they were the wrong ones, and Joe’s instant explosion only confirmed what his older brother instinctively knew.
“I’m not interested in another lesson in American history, Adam!” Little Joe shouted. “It’s your history I want to know about!”
Adam surrendered in defeat. “All right, all right. I’ll try, but does it have to be tonight?”
“Forget it, brother,” Joe snapped bitterly. “I won’t bother you about your precious secrets ever again.” He stormed toward his bedroom.
Wearily rising from the armchair, Adam moved toward his brother. “Joe, wait.” Loud as a firecracker, the door slammed shut. Adam sighed and cast pleading eyes to the ceiling. Would one conflict-free day be too much to ask—just one? Too tired to think, he went to bed, hoping the problem with simply disappear with the morning, as Joe’s furies so often did.
Little Joe lay staring at the ceiling a long time, his thoughts too tumultuous to even consider sleep. He hadn’t meant to explode at Adam and already felt profoundly ashamed of the angry words. Just a couple of days before he’d promised his older brother patience, promised he wouldn’t prod until Adam was ready, and now he’d gone back on his word and rebuilt the barrier between them. He was disgusted with himself, but still broiling with bitterness and resentment toward his brother, too. Was it really too much to ask, just to be part of Adam’s life?
Joe got up and walked to the open window, hoping for a breath of air, but there was none—and no hope of Adam’s ever sharing his heart, either. He’ll never feel about me the way he does Pa or Hoss, but couldn’t he give me just a little? Joe asked himself as he gazed sadly down at the street that had been the scene of so much unbridled joy earlier in the day. The answer, he was certain, was no, but he made himself a firm promise and prayed he’d have the strength of mind and purpose to carry it out. Never again would he ask Adam to share anything whatsoever with him. He crawled back into bed, knowing he’d never have the kind of relationship with his oldest brother than he yearned for, but at least Adam would get what he wanted—a little brother who had learned to leave him alone.
***End of Part 3***