The Badge of Policeman O' Roon

It cannot be denied that men and women have looked upon one another for the first time and become instantly enamoured. It is a risky process, this love at first sight, before she has seen him in Bradstreet or he has seen her in curl papers. But these things do happen; and one instance must form a theme for this story—though not, thank Heaven, to the over-shadowing of more vital and important subjects, such as drink, policemen, horses, and earldoms.

During a certain war a troop calling itself the Gentle Riders rode into history and one or two ambuscades. The Gentle Riders were recruited from the aristocracy of the wild men of the West, and the wild men of the aristocracy of the East. In khaki there is little telling them one from another, so they became good friends and comrades all around.

Ellsworth Remsen, whose old Knickerbocker descent atoned for his modest rating at only ten millions, ate his canned beef gaily by the camp-fires of the Gentle Riders. The war was a great lark to him, so that he scarcely regretted polo and planked shad.

One of the troopers was a well-set-up, affable, cool young man, who called himself O’Roon. To this young man, who called himself O’Roon. To this young man Remsen took an especial liking. The two rode side by side during the famous mooted up-hill charge that was disputed so hotly at the time by the Spaniards and afterwards by the Democrats.

After the war Remsen came back to his polo and shad. One day a well-set-up, affable, cool young man disturbed him at his club, and he and O’Roon were soon pounding each other and exchanging opprobious epithets after the manner of long-lost friends. O’Roon looked seedy and out of luck and perfectly contented. But it seemed that his content was only apparent.

“Get me a job, Remsen,” he said. “I’ve just handed a barber my last shilling.”

“No trouble at all,” said Remsen. “I know a lot of men who have banks and stores and things down- town. Any particular line you fancy?”

“Yes,” said O’Roon, with a look of interest. “I took a walk in your Central Park this morning I’d like to be one of those bobbies on horseback. That would be about the ticket. Besides, it’s the only thing I could do. I can ride a little and the fresh air suits me. Think you could that for me?”

Remsen was sure that he could. And in a very short time he did. And they who were not above looking at mounted policemen might have seen a well-set-up, affable, cool young man on a prancing chestnut steed attending to his duties along the driveways of the park.

And now at the extreme risk of wearying old gentlemen who carry leather fob chains, and elder ladies who—but no! grandmother herself yet thrills at foolish, immortal Romeo—there must be a hint of love at first sight.

It came just as Remsen was strolling into Fifth Avenue from his club a few doors away.

A motor-car was creeping along foot by foot, impeded by a freshet of vehicles that filled the street. In the car was a chauffeur and an old gentleman with snowy side-whiskers and a Scotch plaid cap which could not be worn while automobiling except by a personage. Not even a wine agent would dare to do it. But these two were of no consequence—except, perhaps, for the guiding of the machine and the paying for it. At the old gentleman’s side sat a young lady more beautiful than pomegranate blossoms, more exquisite than the first quarter moon viewed at twilight through the tops of oleanders. Remsen saw her and knew his fate. He could have flung himself under the very wheels that conveyed her, but he knew that would be the last means of attracting the attention of those who ride in motor-cars. Slowly the auto passed, and, if we place the poets above the autoists, carried the heart of Remsen with it. Here was a large city of millions and many women who at a certain distance appear to resemble pomegranate

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