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   Chapter 12 MORLENE AND DORLAN.

Unfettered By Sutton E. Griggs Characters: 11030

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


The day following the night of the stormy interview was Morlene's day to give lessons at Dorlan's boarding place. The teaching over, Morlene proceeded to amuse herself by playing on the piano. She was in a buoyant mood and was disposing of first one and then another wild, dashing air.

Desirous of a diversion, Dorlan came down from his room and glided stealthily into the parlor to listen unobserved to Morlene. Great was his astonishment on discovering that the beautiful lady whom he had passed was none other than the accomplished pianist and divine singer. For a few moments he lived a divided existence, his eye surveying the beautiful form of Morlene, while his ear was appropriating the rich harmonies which her splendid touch was evoking from the keyboard.

With a merry laugh at her own frolicsomeness, Morlene struck the piano keys a farewell blow and arose to go. Wheeling around she saw Dorlan. The light died out of her face. A feeling of terror crept over her as the thought occurred that fate, relentless fate, seemed determined to throw that fascinating stranger in her pathway.

"Do not be angry with me for my intrusion," said Dorlan. "My soul is the seat of a long continued storm these days, and your music was so refreshing," he continued.

Dorlan's air of deference and his pleasing, well modulated voice caused Morlene to at once recover her composure.

The note of sadness in Dorlan's voice caught Morlene's ear and her sympathetic nature at once craved to know his troubles that she might, if possible, dissipate them. She saw that Dorlan was depending upon her to begin a conversation as an assurance that he had given no offense. Morlene sat down in the seat nearest her.

"You speak of a storm," she said. "When you speak thus you arouse my interest, for to my mind a storm is the most sublime occurrence in nature. To see the winds aroused; to hear their mad rushing; to behold them as with the multiplied strength of giants they grasp and overturn the strongest works of man's hands-to see this, inspires one with awe and reverence for the great force that pervades this universe, and impels us, whether we so will or not, to conform to its ripening purposes.

"If there is a storm in your bosom, matters exterior to yourself have produced it. As an admirer of storms I beg you to lay bare to me such portions of the journeyings of the winds as a stranger may be permitted to view."

"Do you believe in strangers?" asked Dorlan, "I hold that no human beings are, at bottom, strangers to each other. With Emerson I hold that 'there is one mind common to all individual men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to all the same. Who hath access to this universal mind is a party to all that is or can be done, for this is the only and sovereign agent.'

"Those souls are quickest to recognize this fact which are best equipped to reveal themselves and to comprehend the revelations of other souls. We know some souls at a glance as thoroughly as one soul ever knows another."

To these observations Morlene made no reply. Too well did she know that the human being before her, was somehow, no stranger to her.

"Starting out with the assumption that you shall find nothing strange in me when you fully understand me, I am ready to show you the pathway of the storm," continued Dorlan.

"Thank you," said Morlene, smiling, and partially revealing a set of teeth as beautiful as fair lady ever desired.

"A presidential election is fast approaching. I have heretofore labored with the Republican party. In this campaign I part company with them," said Dorlan.

"My dear sir," said Morlene, rising, the picture of excitement, "Are you a Democrat?"

Dorlan smiled at the intensity of the feeling displayed in the tone of voice used for the question. "Oh, no," said he, reassuringly. "In the South, Democracy's chief tenets are white man's supremacy and exclusiveness in governmental affairs. Not having a white skin, self-preservation would prevent me from entering the folds of that party."

Morlene heaved a sigh of relief. She said, "I am glad to know that the seeming hopelessness of our plight in the South has not caused you to seek to influence us to surrender to this dictum of Southern Democracy. Proceed, if you please."

"I am thoroughly displeased with the policy of the Republican party toward the inhabitants of the Philippine Islands, and in spite of the endearing relations of the past, I am moved to part company with the party on this issue," remarked Dorlan.

"Oh, I am an enthusiastic expansionist, Mr.--."

"Warthell is my name," supplied Dorlan.

"Mr. Warthell," said Morlene, the glow of eloquence on her face, "I have a dream. I dream that wars and revolutions shall one day cease. The classification of mankind into groups called nations, affords a feeling of estrangement which destroys or modifies the thought of universal brotherhood, and gives rise to the needless bickerings which result in wars. I delight in any movement that sweeps away these pseudo-national boundaries. The more separate nations that are congealed under one head, the less is the area where conflicts are probable. When the tendency to consolidate finally merges all governments into one, wars shall cease. Our territorial expansion is but the march of destiny toward the ultimate goal of all things. I am delighted to see our nation thus move forward, because we have such an elastic form of government, so responsive to the needs and sentiments

of the people that bloody revolutions become unnecessary wherever our flag floats. Just think how much our expansion makes for universal peace by erasing the thought of separateness existing between peoples, and giving to the federated powers such an ideal form of government.

"When our flag floats over the whole of the Western Hemisphere there will be nobody over here to fight us; we shall not fight among ourselves and we shall dare the European and Asiatic powers to go to war."

"You are indeed an expansionist," remarked Dorlan.

"Yes, yes," said Morlene, wrought up in the subject that was stirring the American people.

"Some are expansionists for the sake of finding outlets for the ever-increasing excess of our production. They hold that we are producing far more than what we can consume, and must have outside buyers to avoid a terrible congestion at home. Others are expansionists on the ground that outlying possessions are a strategetical necessity in the time of war. Our statesmen are expansionists, some of them, because our nation's becoming a world power gives a broader scope for their intellects. Some are expansionists because they desire to see weaker people have the benefits of a higher civilization. While I admit the possible weight of these various contentions, my interest in expansion is broadly humanitarian. England was at one time a seething mass of warring tribes. The expansion of a central power over the entire islands brought order out of chaos. Let the process extend to the entire earth as fast as honorable opportunity presents itself, and may the stars and stripes lead in the new evangel of universal peace." Thus spoke Morlene.

"Beautiful, beautiful dream. But it is my fear that enthusiasm over expansion may cause us to lose sight of fundamental tenets of our political faith. This leads me to state the point of difference between myself and the Republican party," said Dorlan.

The subject was one, as may be seen, of absorbing interest to Morlene, and she leaned forward slightly, eager to catch each word that Dorlan might utter. He began: "The Republican party has not informed the world as to what will be the ultimate status of the Filipino. In the final adjustment of things, whatever that may be, will the Filipino be able to say that he stands upon the same plane, politically and otherwise, with all other free and equal human beings. I labored earnestly to have the Republican party to declare that no violence would be done to our national conception that every man is inherently the political equal of every other man. The party has promised that full physical, civil and religious liberty shall be guaranteed. On the question of political liberty there is silence. Because of this silence I leave it."

"In what manner, Mr. Warthell, do you hope to affect the result in the pending campaign?" enquired Morlene.

"The Negroes, you know, are vitally affected by the issues in this campaign. With England imposing its will upon India, with the Southern whites imposing their will on the Negroes, only one great branch of the white race exists which is not imposing its will upon a feebler race. I allude to the white people of the North.

"Should our nation impose its will upon the Filipinos, by the force of arms and without the underlying purpose of ultimately granting to them full political liberty, the weaker peoples the world over will lose their only remaining advocate in the white race, namely the people of the North.

"I hope to be able to show the Negroes that they, of all citizens in this country, cannot afford to permit either silence as to, or the abandonment of, the doctrine of the inherent equality of all men. The Negroes of the pivotal states, when, united, can easily decide the election in whatever direction they choose. It is my purpose to attempt to weld together the Negroes in the hope of defeating any man that will not unequivocally and openly declare in favor of the ultimate political equality of the Filipinos."

"Are you not leaning on a broken reed, Mr. Warthell?" asked Morlene in earnest tones. "Have the Negroes acquired sufficient self-confidence to feel justified in pitting their judgment against that of the Republican party? Can the recent beneficiary be so soon transformed into a dictator? More important still, can you uproot those tender memories which flourish in the sentimental bosom of the Negro, associating, indissolubly his freedom with the Republican party?" she asked.

Dorlan sighed deeply. He recalled how madly he had to fight against the tender memories aroused by Morlene's singing when we saw him so deeply stirred. He remembered how that on that occasion her playing and singing had carried his mind back to those great days when the freedom of the Negroes was in the balances. He knew what an effort it required on his part to persuade his heart to allow him to strike a blow at that hitherto hallowed name-Republican.

Dorlan not replying, Morlene resumed, "Mr. Warthell, in attempting to disillusion the Negroes with regard to the Republican party you shall march against one of the strongest attachments in all of human history. I have known deaths to result from assailing attachments far less deep-seated than that. May a special providence preserve you."

Morlene now arose to go, her beautiful face giving signs of the fear for Dorlan's safety that had stolen into her heart.

Subsequent happenings showed how well grounded were her fears.

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