**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


The Badge Of Policeman O’Roon
by [?]

Luckily for Remsen’s peace of mind there came a diversion in the guise of a reunion of the Gentle Riders of the city. There were not many of them–perhaps a score–and there was wassail and things to eat, and speeches and the Spaniard was bearded again in recapitulation. And when daylight threatened them the survivors prepared to depart. But some remained upon the battlefield. One of these was Trooper O’Roon, who was not seasoned to potent liquids. His legs declined to fulfil the obligations they had sworn to the police department.

“I’m stewed, Remsen,” said O’Roon to his friend. “Why do they build hotels that go round and round like catherine wheels? They’ll take away my shield and break me. I can think and talk con-con-consec- sec-secutively, but I s-s-stammer with my feet. I’ve got to go on duty in three hours. The jig is up, Remsen. The jig is up, I tell you.”

“Look at me,” said Remsen, who was his smiling self, pointing to his own face; “whom do you see here?”

“Goo’ fellow,” said O’Roon, dizzily, “Goo’ old Remsen.”

“Not so,” said Remsen. “You see Mounted Policeman O’Roon. Look at your face–no; you can’t do that without a glass–but look at mine, and think of yours. How much alike are we? As two French table d’hote dinners. With your badge, on your horse, in your uniform, will I charm nurse-maids and prevent the grass from growing, under people’s feet in the Park this day. I will have your badge and your honor, besides having the jolliest lark I’ve been blessed with since we licked Spain.”

Promptly on time the counterfeit presentment of Mounted Policeman O’Roon single-footed into the Park on his chestnut steed. In a uniform two men who are unlike will look alike; two who somewhat resemble each other in feature and figure will appear as twin brothers. So Remsen trotted down the bridle paths, enjoying himself hugely, so few real pleasures do ten-millionaires have.

Along the driveway in the early morning spun a victoria drawn by a pair of fiery bays. There was something foreign about the affair, for the Park is rarely used in the morning except by unimportant people who love to be healthy, poor and wise. In the vehicle sat an old gentleman with snowy side-whiskers and a Scotch plaid cap which could not be worn while driving except by a personage. At his side sat the lady of Remsen’s heart–the lady who looked like pomegranate blossoms and the gibbous moon.

Remsen met them coming. At the instant of their passing her eyes looked into his, and but for the ever coward’s heart of a true lover he could have sworn that she flushed a faint pink. He trotted on for twenty yards, and then wheeled his horse at the sound of runaway hoofs. The bays had bolted.

Remsen sent his chestnut after the victoria like a shot. There was work cut out for the impersonator of Policeman O’Roon. The chestnut ranged alongside the off bay thirty seconds after the chase began, rolled his eye back at Remsen, and said in the only manner open to policemen’s horses:

“Well, you duffer, are you going to do your share? You’re not O’Roon, but it seems to me if you’d lean to the right you could reach the reins of that foolish slow-running bay–ah! you’re all right; O’Roon couldn’t have done it more neatly!”

The runaway team was tugged to an inglorious halt by Remsen’s tough muscles. The driver released his hands from the wrapped reins, jumped from his seat and stood at the heads of the team. The chestnut, approving his new rider, danced and pranced, reviling equinely the subdued bays. Remsen, lingering, was dimly conscious of a vague, impossible, unnecessary old gentleman in a Scotch cap who talked incessantly about something. And he was acutely conscious of a pair of violet eyes that would have drawn Saint Pyrites from his iron pillar–or whatever the allusion is–and of the lady’s smile and look–a little frightened, but a look that, with the ever coward hears of a true lover, he could not yet construe. They were asking his name and bestowing upon him wellbred thanks for his heroic deed, and the Scotch cap was especially babbling and insistent. But the eloquent appeal was in the eyes of the lady.

A little thrill of satisfaction ran through Remsen, because he had a name to give which, without undue pride, was worthy of being spoken in high places, and a small fortune which, with due pride, he could leave at his end without disgrace.

He opened his lips to speak and closed them again.

Who was he? Mounted Policeman O’Roon. The badge and the honor of his comrade were in his hands. If Ellsworth Remsen, ten-millionaire and Knickerbocker, had just rescued pomegranate blossoms and Scotch cap from possible death, where was Policeman O’Roon? Off his beat, exposed, disgraced, discharged. Love had come, but before that there had been something that demanded precedence–the fellowship of men on battlefields fighting an alien foe.

Remsen touched his cap, looked between the chestnut’s ears, and took refuge in vernacularity.

“Don’t mention it,” he said stolidly. “We, policemen are paid to do these things. It’s our duly.”

And he rode away–rode away cursing noblesse oblige, but knowing he could never have clone anything else.

At the end of the day Remsen sent the chestnut to his stable and went to O’Roon’s room. The policeman was again a well set up, affable, cool young man who sat by the window smoking cigars.

“I wish you and the rest of the police force and all badges, horses, brass buttons and men who can’t drink two glasses of BRUT without getting upset were at the devil,” said Remsen feelingly.

O’Roon smiled with evident satisfaction.

“Good old Remsen,” he said, affably, “I know all about it. They trailed me down and cornered me here two hours ago. There was a little row at home, you know, and I cut sticks just to show them. I don’t believe I told you that my Governor was the Earl of Ardsley. Funny you should bob against them in the Park. If you damaged that horse of mine I’ll never forgive you. I’m going to buy him and take him back with me. Oh, yes, and I think my sister–Lady Angela, you know–wants particularly for you to come up to the hotel with me this evening. Didn’t lose my badge, did you, Remsen? I’ve got to turn that in at Headquarters when I resign.”