Windy McPherson's Son
One morning, at the end of his second year of wandering, Sam got out of his bed in a cold
little hotel in a mining village in West Virginia, looked at the miners, their lamps in their
caps, going through the dimly lighted streets, ate a portion of leathery breakfast cakes,
paid his bill at the hotel, and took a train for New York. He had definitely abandoned the
idea of getting at what he wanted through wandering about the country and talking to
chance acquaintances by the wayside and in villages, and had decided to return to a way
of life more befitting his income.
He felt that he was not by nature a vagabond, and that the call of the wind and the sun
and the brown road was not insistent in his blood. The spirit of Pan did not command
him, and although there were certain spring mornings of his wandering days that were
like mountain tops in his experience of life, mornings when some strong, sweet feeling
ran through the trees, and the grass, and the body of the wanderer, and when the call of
life seemed to come shouting and inviting down the wind, filling him with delight of the
blood in his body and the thoughts in his brain, yet at bottom and in spite of these days of
pure joy he was, after all, a man of the towns and the crowds. Caxton and South Water
Street and LaSalle Street had all left their marks on him, and so, throwing his canvas
jacket into a corner of the room in the West Virginia hotel, he returned to the haunts of
In New York he went to an uptown club where he owned a membership and into the grill
where he found at breakfast an actor acquaintance named Jackson.
Sam dropped into a chair and looked about him. He remembered a visit he had made
there some years before with Webster and Crofts and felt again the quiet elegance of the
"Hello, Moneymaker," said Jackson, heartily. "Heard you had gone to a nunnery."
Sam laughed and began ordering a breakfast that made Jackson's eyes open with
"You, Mr. Elegance, would not understand a man's spending month after month in the
open air seeking a good body and an end in life and then suddenly changing his mind and
coming back to a place like this," he observed.
Jackson laughed and lighted a cigarette.
"How little you know me," he said. "I would live my life in the open but that I am a
mighty good actor and have just finished another long New York run. What are you
going to do now that you are thin and brown? Will you go back to Morrison and Prince
and money making?"