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EFFICIENCY IN HADES BY ROBERT B . VALE How an effiCiency expert seizes the opportunity to install the latest mechanical devi ces and modem methods of administration in Hell-a surprising, daring tale , that makes the reade r gasp, then laugh, then meditate. A romance involving the most nota b l e femal e character i n hi story (the firs t l ove story whic h places the Eternal T riangl e in Hades!) i s perhaps the o utstanding feature of thi s amazin g tal e, but the sayings of the wise and ever delightful Adam, the calm fo rebearance o f Hades' Chief, the awful co ntempt of Bee lz e bub and the woes of the Infinite Worm a ll add interest and unl imite d hum o r to a story d i stinguished by fantastic satire, vivid imagination, phil osop h y and pathos . Illustrated b y Stuar t Hay s1Ll NET
r._ '.J I Q e I (, I 2 +-(L
"THE WORST PUNISHMENT THAT THEY COULD THINK OF WAS BOILING IN OIL. COMMONPLACE"
EFFICIENCY IN HADES THE ROMANTIC ADVENTURES OF AN ENTERPRISING EXPERT IN THE LOWER WORLD BY ROBERT B. VALE ILLUSTRATED BY STUART HAY NEW YORK FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY MCMXXIII
Oopyright, 1923, by FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY All Right8 Printed in the United States of America
PRELIMINARY ONCE upon a time, I beheld a frightened child of nine years seat herself timidly in the broad wit ness chair of a city courtroom. She had been called to testify in defense of her accused father. Quite a pretty slip of a youngster and named for a very excellent saint. To make certain that she knew the nature of an oath the kindly judge asked, as is the custom, "Do you know what will happen if you tell a lie?" "Yes, sir; I will go to the Bad Place." So she was allowed to proceed. What she told was distressing but it was beau tiful. The gentle maid did lie; and, being un trained, her falsehoods were so transparent that the jurors smiled incredulously; but these twelve excellent men freed her parent. Why? Because they admired the devotion that would send a tiny soul cheerfully to the blistering, blasting gates of Perdition. Thus inspired, from a casual interest in Hell I developed a yearning to know more about it, and, in good season, perhaps will come to a full and com plete understanding. Much information gathered has been eliminated by the publishers who felt that the historical details were too horrible for our age. vii
vm EFFICIENCY IN HADES Just now it seems to me that Hades needs improv ing, hence this bit of fiction concerning the efforts of one skilled in efficiency. It will be noted that several characters are not found in sacred or profane history. I invented them and consigned them to Inferno, a right any body can exercise. Finally, as an act of filial affection, this volume is Dedicated to ADAM. .,,.
ILLUSTRATIONS "The wor s t puni s hment that they could think of was boilin g in oil. Commonplace" Frontispi ece F A CING PAGE " Passing through corridors of many-hued marbles" . 8 "As a fun producer it was regarded a s the top-notcher" 7 4 " ' Swat him,' shrieked the prisoners in the street" 142
EFFICIENCY IN HADES
EFFICIENCY IN HADES CHAPTER I "A CHEAP and run-down sort of a Hell; an over-advertised place filled with confusion, and suffering from poor management. What it needs is system." The lone figure leaning over a retaining wall of jagged lava built on the edge of a precipice was disappointed. "It's certain that the chaps who are running this resort cannot have the slightest conception of efficiency else they would install smoke consumers." Springtime in Hades. A season of awakening for all Inferno. The air was surcharged with mephitic fumes of burning pitch floating lazily out of the Valley of Hinnom. Warm breezes told of the breaking up of winter. Here and there delicate petals of sulphur flowers dotted the landscape. From an overhanging ledge of archaic rock came the booming notes of a male .phrenPc making love to his mate. Joyous shouts reechoed in a nearby glen where a group of juvenile devils in wild abandon hurled toasting forks at terrified, fleeing sinners. From the crest of the mountain the stranger 1
2 EFFICIENCY IN HADES caught the whole panorama; as far as the eye could see, white-hot, red-hot ridges; throbbing valleys whose curling, rolling clouds of gases and vapor spelled industry and prosperity. He was standing near a great boulevard that trailed its way among the heights closely following the sinuosities of a towering range. Quite devoid of pedestrians or ordinary wheeled traffic, it seemed to be a private roadway. The solitary critic was short and muscular; ap parently about thirty years old. He wore the field dress of a civil engineer, wool shirt, trousers, stout shoes and slouch hat. Coated with yellow dust, his skin took on the same hue as his sandy locks. His eyes were those of the student and dreamer; his square jaw and quick movements revealed the doer of deeds. Absorbed by the scenes below he failed to catch the sound of approaching wheels; an equi page swung around the slight bend and to avoid running him down its driver stopped. He had never beheld such an outfit; a chariot of burnished copper drawn by steeds half dragon, half equine. The occupants were a woman and a coachman, but the stranger of the highway saw only one. She was superbly fair; a thin band of gold caught up rich black curls in a Grecian knot; a flowing robe of white edged with purple draped wonderfully molded shoulders and exposed a delicate neck. She studied the stranger, half resenting his stare. "I thought I was in Hades," he spoke.
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 3 "You are." "Until I beheld you," he added. A radiant glow chased away the slight frown. "Doubtless you are a newcomer and have seen only the common herd. We do have some fine peo ple, however. When did you arrive?" "Day before yesterday." "And what are you doing on our private grounds? Did you not see the signs 'Keep Out' at the gates?" "Beauty is ever forgiving and you will pardon my trespassing, but I had a little argument with an underling and thought I would go direct to head quarters and straighten it out with the Old One." "You must be more respectful. To us he is 'The Chief.' What was the trouble?" "You are so liberal and so intelligent that I can quickly explain. This lieutenant devil put me to work shoveling coal and refused to listen when I told him that mechanical stokers could get better results with one-half the hired hands. He called me a theorist; asked me if I thought I could run Hades any better than the Old-I beg your pardon-than The Chief, and I said I believed I could. So he kicked me out-said he didn't propose to have any two-by-fours disorganizing his crew." "What do you expect from The Chief?" "I can't tell. Now that I am here I may be able to give him some advice." Gazing abstractedly toward the stranger, the young woman remarked: "Under such conditions
4 EFFICIENCY IN HADES my suggestion is that you keep away from The Chief. Wait until you get better acquainted before you bring up the subject. You might wound his feelings. May I ask who you are and what your business is?" "James P. MacDonald, Efficiency Engineer; late of New York and Aberdeen." "And what is an Efficiency Engineer? If I recol lect, you are the first of that profession to attain to perdition." "Naturally you meet such large numbers that it is difficult to remember faces. There are so many coming and going." "Not going; but pray tell more of your profes sion; it interests me." "Thank you I We try to make two blades of grass grow where but one grew before. Figura tively," he added hastily as he glanced across an expanse of ashes and bowlders. "Only we accom plish the result without using any more soil, sunshine or rain. In other words, we assert that there is fifty per cent waste in the operation af all industry -waste of labor, time and material. By applying scientific methods we hope ultimately to get a hundred per cent efficiency." "And are you measurably successful on earth?" "My dear madam, if you had kept in touch with the situation you would not ask such a question." "I must apologize for my ignorance, but you know we have quite enough to attend to here without
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 5 dabbling in the affairs of others." She smiled enig matically and added : "How foolish I am, loitering on this hot road. But I want to hear more of your ambition. Per chance you may arouse the curiosity of The Chief. You will find him a liberal-minded man. Oh, I know he has his enemies, but he is misunderstood. Won't you call on us this evening? Time passes so slowly that we are always seeking diversion. Try to make it eight o'clock-you cannot miss 'The Turrets'that massive group of buildings at the end of the boulevard. Proceed, Horace." "Pardon me, but on whose invitation will your servants admit?" MacDonald called after her. "Simply say you have an appointment with The Lady. It will be sufficient." And the chariot rolled away. "She is magnificent," mused the Efficiency Engi neer. "A jewel in Hades. Can it be possible that I â€¢ am the first in this field; that I am a pioneer? Perhaps through her I can-" His blood boiled with enthusiasm as he beheld the countless furnaces, the millions upon millions of the damned and the innumerable throng of officials, superintendents and foremen. "What a stupendous opportunity; a MacDonald in control of Hell, and all eternity to work out the plans!" He strolled to the parapet and, selecting a fairly smooth cap-stone, seated himself to overlook the
6 EFFICIENCY IN HADES country. Noon passed, afternoon elapsed; still he remained with his legs dangling over the abyss while in his brain a gigantic scheme was evolved. Darken i ng shadows of night spread across space. Suddenly he recalled the engagement; leaping to his feet he stepped into the road. "Just time enough for me to reach The Turrets." The engineer swept on his way with elastic strides toward a burst of glow in the distance. A vision of splendor overwhelmed the expert. On the highest crag of the ridge rose towers and battlements of a structure built on vast proportions. Constructed of basalt blocks of the deepest, richest black Nature could dye, the castle stood out in silhouette against a field of crimson that shimmered and played like the quivering rays of the aurora. Intermittent flashes of lightning, now purple, now calcium, threw battle ments, columns and buttresses into vivid detail. Enthralled, MacDonald advanced. He crossed a drawbridge suspended across a moat filled with molten copper. Just ahead was a mosaic plaza in the center of which a fountain of liquid silver sent its spray high in the air. He was admiring this spectacle when he felt the jab of a trident in the calf of his leg and heard a voice : "Visitors are not allowed here." One of the palace guards, a trim chap, attired in red, with sinewy arms that glistened like rich old bronze, caught him by the shoulder and swung him around.
"PASSING THROUGH CORRIDORS OF MANY-HUED MARBLES"
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 9 "But, my lad, I have an appointment with The Lady." "That is different; you will excuse my haste in prodding you. This way, sir." Passing through corridors of many-hued marbles and traversing vast chambers fitted with bewildering furnishings they came to a wing of The Turrets more brilliantly illuminated than the others. Secre taries dashed back and forth while innumerable servants scurried on various missions. "Announce this gentleman; he has an appointment with The Lady," directed the guard. A sedate butler standing to the left of the entrance bowed. "Your card." The engineer fumbled in his pockets and was confused. "You have none? Do not let it annoy you. It is a small matter." The polite butler wrapped his tail twice around his body, held the spear-like tip grace fully in his left hand, bowed once more and disap peared. He returned in a few seconds. "This way, The Chief and his Lady await." "Assuredly a well-trained household and more than I expected," thought the Efficiency Expert. He followed his guide through more wide halls to the threshold of a reception chamber. Scarcely three feet beyond the parted curtains stood The Lady with outstretched hands. At her side was The Chief. She wore an evening gown of opal blue, a strangely flowing material of a mode in which appeared to blend all of the styles the ages
10 EFFICIENCY IN HADES had known. Neither ancient nor modern, it became a part of The Lady. She had dressed her hair in the same simple fashion, save instead of the gold band, a single diamond on her brow flashed and quivered and hurled prismatic hues. Her pink feet rested in soft sandals of woven gold. "Thrice welcome, my friend." She spoke with the breath of earnestness in tones that floated away like the sound of a murmuring brook. "Thrice wel come to our home. My Chief, this is Mr. MacDonald of whom I spoke, who thinks we are behind the times." "Originality appeals to me," announced the master, advancing with a warm grasp. "I reject no man's ideas. Long experience has taught me that advancement comes through the fostering of initia tive and I have no fixed notions about the operation of Hell. What I have accomplished has been due to the cooperation of others. But let us be seated." Placing an arm around the waist of The Lady and inclining his head toward the far end of the apart ment he moved forward in lithe dignity. Mac Donald, following, took the opportunity to study his host. The Chief could not, as men judge, have 8een more than fifty. His poise was one of strength and self-confidence. Large black eyes set wide apart and high forehead gave proof of superior intelligence. Every movement indicated alertness. Cruelty and tenderness both were missing; grace and courtesy dominated. He was a little under six feet tall. His
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 11 skin was tanned but smooth and clear. He wore evening dress. The Lady sank into a chalcedony chair over which was thrown a soft rug, both texture and material of which were unfamiliar to the new comer. "Our furnishings may seem odd to you," she ex plained. "We are compelled to use substantial arti cles. This rug is an asbestos weave. The climate is severe on textiles you know. My servants com plain that the smoke makes it impossible to keep up fireproof lace curtains more than a day." "Yes, my dear," interjected The Chief, "but if we had no smoke I would be out of a job and you couldn't afford lace curtains." Then turning to the guest he drew MacDonald down beside him on a black marble settee. "I've heard a few references to efficiency from some railroad presidents, I believe, but they damned it so enthusiastically that I paid slight attention. Would you mind outlining it?" "Not at all; it's a hobby I like to talk about. Let me give you an example. Suppose I want to build a brick house. I employ masons. The bricks are brought up and dumped in a pile. Every time the mason puts in a brick he must go to the pile, pick up a brick, carry it to the wall and set it in place. That brick mason gets two dollars an hour. By mathe matical calculation we have found that the skilled employee wastes forty per cent of his time carrying bricks. Now, if I employ a boy at two dollars a day
12 EFFICIENCY IN HADES to carry those bricks and lay them at the spot where the mason intends to set them I erect the house in forty per cent less time and save money." "Isn't that grand?" interposed The Lady. "So simple." "Efficiency is simplicity," replied MacDonald. "Take our railroads. It was the practice to disregard the hauling strength of locomotives. An en gine capable of pulling sixty loaded cars was sent out with thirty. That meant that two locomotives and two train crews were employed to do what could have been done by one. It was a scandalous waste and continued until our efficiency men changed it. We have demonstrated that there is no field where we cannot accomplish results. We are the advance agents of the higher civilization, the accelerators of the millennium." "And because of your training you find upon arrival here an opportunity to demonstrate your theories on a large scale?" "Exactly. Do not take offence when I declare, as an expert, that Hell can stand considerable im provement." "In what way?" "Speaking offhand, I should say that there ought to be more central control. Your units do not appear to be working in harmony." "I am the central control." "Yes, but the units are not knit together. Have _ you ever taken an industrial survey of Hell?"
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 13 "No, I never saw the need." "Great mistake, Chief. A survey is a wonderful thing. It shows just where you stand. You can't imagine how much we have helped you by taking a survey of the vice problem." "I knew there was some reason for the influx," ejaculated The Lady. "My dear, I feel sure this young man can aid you." "Thank you," and MacDonald bowed. He con tinued with enthusiasm: "Let me install my system and in six months you won't know this place. On earth the movement is sweeping like wildfire; there is no reason why it should not sweep like hell-fire down here. Can you give me your population?" "Not offhand. One authority estimated that we had in all our hells about 1 ,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo,ooo, ooo,ooo souls." "Magnificent!" shouted the Efficiency Engineer. "That's a force worth handling. And how many bosses are employed?" "Well, Gulielmus Parisenses counted 44,435,556 devils, running from division superintendents to messengers, but that was during the Middle Ages, when more folks took an interest in us than to-day. No doubt we have taken on additional help since then and I should say that in round numbers fortyfive million devils of all degrees would be correct." "Superb I I beg of you do not miss this oppor tunity to get results out of such a wonderful industrial plant."
II THE CHIEF smiled. MacDonald's intensity already had won an ally in The Lady. "Think, my dear," she remarked. "Save for a few minor frills we have not had the slightest improvement in Hades for more than three hundred years. I am beginning to feel a trifle bored. No new hells have been established and no new notes from the shrieks of the damned. Suppose you give Mr. MacDonald a trial. No harm can come of it." "I cannot see how you can help me, my friend. Perhaps I am a bit old-fashioned but I have peculiar notions about running Hell. When I started this place I had visions of doing great things. I devised many punishments and was jealous of prerogatives. Time went on, business grew, and I mellowed. I said that I would not assume to know it all. Gradu ally I was forced to the conclusion that the ideal Hell was one in which every sect had a say in the manage ment. Since then we have had little or no trouble. "I started with a most insignificant industry. Look out of the window and see how we have expanded. Take our Christian Hell. It is divided into innumerable subsidiaries. Catholics, Metho dists, Lutherans, Greeks, Abyssinians, Copts and Holy Rollers-all have their peculiar hells. I have allowed them to furnish and decorate these hells to 14
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 1S suit themselves. To make the Mohammedans happy I equipped a place of torment that takes seventy years to reach the bottom and it contains seven sub hells, each complete in all details. In one of them we have our justly famous hell-snakes with two humps like a Bactrian camel; also the hell-scorpions which carry saddles. Could any person do more? "I will admit that our Greek Hell is not so unique but I gave them what they wanted. Few of the Classics believed in me anyway, and many refused to take accommodations here. It is a gloomy little hell and doesn't interest me. On the other hand the Egyptians were unreasonable. They insisted upon quarters fixed up with seventy-five sub-hells. Did I kick or tell them that a dozen would be ample for any group, that after all it was a matter of enter tainment and not space? No, I gave them their seventy-five hells without a murmur. And yet I am the most execrated man in the universe. "Centuries were spent in refitting up the twenty one hells of the Brahmins, and after the job was finished the worst punishment that they could think of was boiling in oil. Commonplace. Notice::, on the other hand, how appreciative the Buddhists were. All they asked was eight hells, and very little excavating required at that. At the deepest point only forty thousand miles. In one hell the sinners are compelled to swim across a river of razors. There is originality for you. No wonder I can't do too much for this crowd.
16 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "When it comes to detail of management the Jewish hell will be worth your study. They have only seven divisions but each one is three hundred years deep, or a total depth _of twenty-one hundred years. The contractor who took the job lost money on it. I have seven sub-devils there and each one has two secretaries. There are seven thousand holes and in each hole are seven thousand fissures and in each fissure are seven thousand spiders. To collect those three hundred forty-three billions of spiders, all of them healthy and guaranteed to bite, was a man's size job. I must admit that I take some pride in one equipment. It is a double tank, one side hot water and the other ice water. Some of the most delightful days I have known were spent in watching employees duck the damned from one tank to the other; and they kept it up for hours at a time." Thrilled by the statistics and details, MacDonald bent forward, listening intently. "But all this is incidental. What I started out to say was that I believe in giving every church, sect or individual the sort of Hell required. I try to satisfy everybody. The hells of the more modern creeds are, to my mind, inefficient and unsatisfactory and if I am lacking in management I want to know it. We cannot afford to let this place run down." "I do not mean, my dear Chief, that you have a worthless Hell," protested MacDonald, "but I do insist that with all the vast equipment you are not getting results commensurate with investment. In-
EFFICIENCY :EN HADES 17 crease your output and reduce your operating expenses. I ask you fairly, does it show good manage ment to allow your imps to chase sinners on foot? Equip these hellions with motorcycles anCi see how much time can be saved in running down victims." For the first time The Chief showed enthusiasm. "There is a gem of an idea. You haven't the least idea, Mr. MacDonald, how many automobile owners reach here. I can round them up in a fine big field and turn loose a few regiments of joy-riding devils in high power machines with instructions to smash headlights on the dodging damned." "I did not mean it just that way, Chief, I merely wanted to illustrate a time-saving device." "We want ideas; possibly I can give you a trial." "You are a dear old fellow," cried The Lady. "Let Mr. MacDonald start in at once. We can find quarters for him in one of the wings of the castle." Preparing to enter into a more comprehensive dis cussion of his plans, the Efficiency Engineer felt a hot, jagged tongue lick his hand. He turned and saw a monstrous foul beast squatting at the side of the settee. With a howl of fright he leaped forward and ran toward the door. A peal of laughter from The Lady impelled him to stop. "Only my pet horned cerastes. Lie down, Prince." The beast snuggled up close to the feet of his mis tress. "I am not accustomed as yet to all of the little
18 EFFICIENCY IN HADES peculiarities of Hell," MacDonald apologized. "You must pardon my abruptness. After a few weeks no doubt I shall feel at home." "While you are recovering composure I will send for a valued lieutenant who will be of considerable help to you." The Chief clapped his hands. "Sum mon Lucifer," he commanded to the butler. The Lady excused herself: "There are some small duties connected with my household that must be attended to," she explained. "I will have the pleasure of meeting you gentlemen later in the evening." The horned cerastes lumbered after her. "There is a fine woman," whispered The Chief. "She runs the place like clockwork. No disorder, no petty jealousies, no fault-finding. She takes an interest in home life. Often, when I feel tired of the everlasting sameness and long for a change, her very presence cheers me up. I am not a sensitive person but I have been so much abused that at times I become resentful. I know this is not a proper spirit for even a devil to show but I cannot help it. It is not so bad now as formerly. I have heard that I even have some friends on earth but my enemies are in the majority. I think it was six or eight hundred years ago, very recently anyway, that St. Cath erine of Siena made the outrageous assertion that rather than see me twice she would walk barefooted over a street of burning coal. I ask you, was it not unkind? I was feeling downcast over it when The
'.EFFICIENCY I1N HADES 19 Lady went into the works and induced several hundred of our most notable guests to sign a set of resolutions attesting to my excellent character. Little things like that are part of her life. But here is Lucifer. "Greetings, dear fellow. Meet Mr. James P. MacDonald, a rather unusual arrival. He has a few suggestions to make about management and since I do not want them to conflict with you ; operat ing system I thought it best to get you two gentle men together." "Without appearing to be rude," replied Lucifer, "may I ask Mr. MacDonald what he knows about Hell?" "Tut, tut, old fellow. Why only last century you were complaining how slow things were getting." "Yes, but that was before the Infinite Worm started to stir up a racket. Since then I've had my hands full. Not to speak of the kicks coming from that new Mormon hell. They fix up a punishment that possesses some originality and then try to renig. Or the mix-up over at the Christian Hell with count less new arrivals still scrapping over what they call the World War. But I am uncivil; The Worm has upset me." "What has the Infinite been doing?" Turning to MacDonald, The Chief elucidated: "This is one of our valuable assets. Unique as a biological speci men it has a utilitarian value above anything else in our collection. It is part of the equipment of the
20 EFFICIENCY IN HADES Christian Hell. The particular piece of work it is supposed to perform is gobbling up sinners. The Infinite Warm catches them by the thousands, gulps them down with a smile and looks for more. The interior of the reptile is a furnace lined with fire brick, and when it gets the sinners properly digested it spews them out in the form of cinders. Always tractable, I cannot understand what has happened to upset it." "Simply this," retorted Lucifer with a snap. "It has a grudge against the Boss Mason. Claims that inferior fire brick have been used for the last fifty years and its disposition has been so nasty recently that the Boss Mason refuses to have anything further to do with it. All the lining of the middle section has tumbled in and it's got the worst sort of indigestion. Groans horribly all the time and kicks up such a row that the folks in the Scandanavian Hell threaten to move out unless it is quieted." "Serious indeed," agreed The Chief. "Can you not get it to apologize to the Boss Mason?" "No, says it will see itself in Hell first." "Efficiency must be impaired by at least forty per cent," volunteered MacDonald. "Worse than that," declared Lucifer. It can't assimilate sinners at all and refuses to swallow any more." "How are you melting your iron and lead for the damned?" queried MacDonald. "The old-fashioned open pot method," replied
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 21 Lucifer, "but what that has got to do with the Infinite Worm I fail to see." "Perhaps if you suggested that the suffering lizard turn itself into a Bessemer steel converter you might stimulate pride and get greater efficiency out of it. You can then scrap the melting ppt and gain additional floor space." "But what are you going to do with the sinners?" "We will find work for them; that is one of the beauties of the efficiency system." "And how about the deputy devils you throw out of work? Certainly they deserve some considera tion." "Our friend Mr. MacDonald will take care of them I am sure," interjected The Chief. "Don't think I am hunting an argument, Chief. I know what we are up against and I merely seek to give him a proper conception of the situation. There's a lot of difference between running a black smith shop and a highly specialized Hell. Experi ence teaches me that the man who attempts it should grow up with the job." "You will grant me," came the diplomatic answer of the Efficiency Engineer, "that all systems, meth ods and applications at present in use here came from the earth." "That is correct." "Has Hell produced a single new idea in the past million years?" "Not one," came the quick admission of The
22 EFFICIENCY IN HADES Chief. "Now be reasonable, Lucifer. I am quite anxious to try this new system. Assuredly, you will agree that if he can pacify the Infinite Worm you will be grateful." "Yes, if Mr. MacDonald can make terms with that unreasonable beast I will become a convert to efficiency. Only I don't think he can." "Now, gentlemen," added The Chief, "let us dis cuss the broader phase of this new undertaking. Have you any general plan of reorganization in mind, my friend?" "Yes. At the present time your organization is too loose. It should be more concrete. If I am correctly informed the general scheme embodies a cosmopolitan Hell made up of many inferior or subsidiary hells. All these are different in area, architecture and motives. You maintain jurisdiction over all. You also have a General Staff composed of Arch-Devils of which Lucifer is the head. In addition there is your force of division superinten dents, called Sub-Devils, who control the manage ment of the minor hells. Finally, the hosts of plain devils, imps, satyrs, hellions, etc., assigned to either the General Staff, the minor hells or on detached service. As I see it, there is no effort to fix responsi bility or to aim at a common goal. By your praise worthy efforts, Chief, it is plain that you have built up in your staff a spirit of loyalty and enthusiasm which is commendable. This will make my work easier."
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 23 Both The Chief and Lucifer nodded their appre ciation and MacDonald continued: "Hell is run on the twenty-four-hour-a-day plan but in my judgment a grave mistake has been made in allowing the employees to work through the full period. They should be divided into shifts. There is a universal demand for an eight-hour day and Hell must be prepared to accept the inevitable. Upon this basis then, we shall build the organization. I will, within a few days, prepare a chart showing the relationship between the various department heads. We can dispense with many positions and consolida tion shall dominate. As a necessary adjunct will come the inauguration of office forms. "The old habit of entering the names of the damned in a record book will not answer. We shall use the card index system. Within a few minutes the record of any inhabitant will be available for reference purposes." "I'm for the efficiency system," ejaculated Luci fer. "You recall that one fellow, Chief. He was assigned to the Angle-iron Division in Primitive Methodist Hell but escaped and was beating it for the Eskimo Hell when a truant officer picked him up. All that we could get out of him was that he was Bill Jones. Think of all the Bill Joneses we have. It took the bookkeeping department four years to find his entry in the ledger and he loafed in the interim."
24 EFFICIENCY IN HADES Lucifer apologized for the interruption and the Efficiency Engineer resumed: "Also we can h a ve cost sheets which in time will enable us to ascertain the exact outlay of operating the plant. Time sheets will be a check on the cost sheets. But the best results will come from the report sheets. Each employee will be asked to make out a detailed statement of his labor. These will be summarized at the close of the day so that The Chief will at all times be in touch with conditions. Any negligence will speedily make itself apparent and be quickly corrected." "There may be some new wrinkles that I don't understand," declared Lucifer, "but this sounds sus piciously like something that we used to call 'red tape.' You cut that out long ago, Chief, saying that if there was one place free from red tape it ought to be Hades." "The two things are dissimilar," MacDonald hastened to make clear. "Efficiency eliminates red tape." "It strikes me that you use a lot of forms to help in the elimination." The arrival of The Lady ended the conversation. She had thrown a chiffon wrap across her shoulders. "To keep off the chill of the night air," she told them. "We will sit on the balcony and enjoy the fireworks. I understand that Jave has been experi menting with some new designs. Quite a number of officials and many commoners have assembled al ready. Let us hasten."
CHAPTER III FROM the extreme north wing of the castle the ridge sloped away in a gentle declivity for a dozen miles. Here the comparatively level grounds were thronged with spectators. All the points of vantage on The Turrets were taken by invited guests. Lucifer introduced MacDonald to several hundred of the more prominent devils. Most of the officials were accompanied by women. "Over there is a very fascinating lady I want you to meet," he suggested, dragging his companion through the crowd to where a group of men sur rounded a vivacious matron. Her flashes of wit, quick retorts and clever repartee created a series of applause from the admirers. She was the only woman who wore her hair pompadour fashion. The Efficiency Engineer felt that it accentuated her spark ling nature. "May I, Madame, present a late arrival, Mr. James MacDqnald ?"spoke Lucifer with homage. "Never call a Scot late." With a slight curtsy to the engineer she appealed, "Escort me, sir, to some fair spot where, with my loyal supporters, I can witness the pyrotechnics. See, The Lady has already taken her place." MacDonald allowed the frail figure who clung 25
26 EFFICIENCY IN HADES to his arm to direct a course which led to a tier of stone benches near one of the bastions. They had scarcely seated themselves when the atmosphere was shattered by a terrific explosion and a bomb shot high into the air, where it burst, hurling myriads of sparks into a shower of golden rain. As the mass of fire floated away MacDonald noticed that each star was a whirling, tumbling, orange-hued sinner. "That one was filled with Christian Scientists," remarked Lucifer, casually. "Quite a recent dis covery; they give off the rosiest of tints." "Ah-a-a I" came an expression of approval as another bomb hurled out a hail of red, purple, and blue. "A mixture of Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians." "Is not that set piece an appropriate tribute, Mr. MacDonald?" queried Madame, pointing to the side of a cliff. Standing out in clear, bold letters sur rounded with a neat frame, were the words: Hail to The Chief I Letters and border were built up of a varied assortment of the damned but so much skill had been shown in the blending that none of the colors jarred. Set pieces, bombs, go-devils chasing sinners, rockets
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 27 loaded with kings that Hell abhorred, and Roman candles containing as many as eight thousand coal dealers kept the air filled with kaleidoscopic colors for hours. Finally the crowds began to thin out. "One trait in The Chief overbalances all his faults," said Madame as she prepared to depart. "He does not mar his entertainments by economy. At least half a million sinners must have contributed to our pleasure to-night." "We can spare them," replied Lucifer quietly. They made their way to the dais of the ruler. "You will undoubtedly want to inspect my domin ion during the coming few days," suggested The Chief as he parted from MacDonald. "Instructions have been given the stablemen to supply you with proper equipment. Should you desire a mount I would recommend a gargoyle. I have taken care in breeding good stock; there is nothing fleeter or easier under the saddle. Good night and pleasant dreams." In his apartments the Efficiency Engineer, for the first time, took notice of his soiled and ash-covered attire. "It was odd that no person paid any attention to it. Now that I recall, Lucifer didn't wear much clothing, and the same with lots more. On the contrary, others of the visitors to-night were togged out in gorgeous raiment. It must be that the only thing that counts for a whoop in Hades is personality. That suits me. If any person here has a better
28 EFFICIENCY IN HADES proposition I'll step aside, but on the surface it would appear that I have made a dent. There is an opening for a first class general manager and I can name the man who will fill it. How little did my old professor at Edinburgh realize that his prediction would come true when he told me that I would find my proper sphere in Hell because I was worthless anywhere else." James P. MacDonald threw himself on a couch of mineral wool and dreamed. Awakened by the bright, strong rays of Hell-fire shining into the apartment, he arose early and sauntered to the stables. "Good morning, my son," he called genially to a ruddy-cheeked little imp who was rubbing down a thoroughbred dragon. "I should appreciate your kindness if you would bring me a mount-just a little spin before breakfast you know." The imp touched his cap with two fingers of his right hand and was gone. He came back leading a Hell-horse. "The Chief urged me to try a gargoyle," expostu lated MacDonald. "I shouldn't if I were you, sir. They are hard to control. For a beginner a Hell-horse is much safer." "Very well. I want to return in two hours; how far can this beast carry me?" "If you jog along, sir, I should say that he can cover three hundred miles, but if you give him his
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 29 head I am sure he can travel five hundred and fifty. It might lather him a bit, sir." Swinging into the saddle the engineer dug his heels into the steed and was off. As the animal rose higher and higher the rider turned in the direction of a pinnacle-like formation to the south. Every where beneath him were mountains and valleys and plateaus teeming with activity, roaring furnaces, lakes of brimstone, cauldrons of pitch. Geysers spouting millions of tons of boiling water hurled tens of thousands of evil-doers high in the air. One impressive discovery was m a de by MacDonald. Every device utilized in inflicting punishment was either framed by nature or was of the simplest mechanical design. There was not a single piece of modern machinery in sight. "What an opportunity," he repeated to himself. "What a chance for the installation of new equip ment." He was now but a short distance from the peaks of the mountains. He had been traveling over a series of quite unappealing buttes, but now he came to something different-much like an oasis in a desert. Descending, he landed in a pretty spot, with trees, grass, brooks, and containing a happy, contented people. The air was fragrant with blos soms; birds sang among the foliage. "What sort of a place is this?" he asked an old gentleman.
30 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Why, the Liberal Hell. It is very small but there are not many of us," was the reply. "Our idea of hell may be peculiar but it suits us. We had no thought that we were so outnumbered until we got here. Folks generally consider us mad and poke fun at us. They get enjoyment out of their hells and all we ask is that we be permitted to enjoy ours. Real cozy little place, don't you think?" Astonished, MacDonald made no answer. "What are you thinking about?" suggested the old gentleman. "Is there anything wrong with our Ii ttle hell ?" "No, I was just reflecting that I could do nothing to help you. I am an expert on efficiency, but so far as I can judge you require nothing. By the way, what becomes of those persons who do not believe in any kind of hell?" "I don't know for certain but I've heard that if they fail to find permanent quarters elsewhere they go batting around in space-unaffiliated souls, as it were. Just imagine what they are missing. No matter how poor and ornery it is, every person should have some sort of a hell to tie up to if the worst comes to the worst." MacDonald cantered around the oasis for a few minutes. He noticed that the houses were all bright and cheerful, the streets were paved, the water supply ample and the cafes neat ana orderly. "I can be of no use here," he said as he departed.
CHAPTER IV A PAGE handed MacDonald a square sheet of bronze upon his arrival at his apartments that evening with the remark: "Both The Chief and The Lady will regard your presence as a personal courtesy and they request me to remind you that this is the day." Turning the bit of metal in his hands the engi neer read: MR. JAMES P. MACDONALD IS REQUESTED TO MEET OUR FIRST SINNER ADAM ON HIS 5917TH BIRTHDAY AT THE TURRETS, MARCH 25, 8 P.M. "Say that I will be present," he told the waiting messenger. It was already late in the day and little time was left for a hot bath and change of attire. He hurried to the reception hall, meeting the courteous butler. "Tell me something about this affair," he urged. "Am I to understand that this is a small event for my benefit, or is it more elaborate?" "A public gathering, sir; a pretty little custom designed to furnish our best people with an oppor-31
32 EFFICIENCY IN HADES tunity to meet one of their worthy ancestors. It is an annual function and I can assure you that Mr. Adam enjoys it hugely. I hope I . am not forward, sir, but you must not be surprised at the youthful appearance of Mr. Adam. He may be very old but he does not act it." Here was a new angle of Hades. MacDonald could appreciate the propriety of the event but he had not expected so much consideration would be shown any resident. He chatted a few moments with The Chief, being curious to acquire more information about the occasion. "Have you always observed the natal day of the first man?" "No, it is quite a recent festivity, a matter of a few centuries, I should say. For quite a spell Adam was quite overlooked socially, but when we learned that St. Jerome had definitely announced that Adam was born on March 25, 4004 B .C., we brought it to the attention of a number of his descendants and it resulted in a surprise party, managed of course by The Lady. The affair was so delightful that it was made an annual observance. No person was more pleased to have his birthday remembered than Adam; you see, like many old persons, he had quite forgotten the date of his birth." "Are you certain it is correct?" "That has nothing to do with it, Mr. MacDonald; when we set out to have a little fun in Hell any day is quite as convenient as another. But now to pre-
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 33 sent you; it is always a happy time when one meets his relatives, and he is a spry chap." Adam was young looking; more a vigorous man of sixty than a patriarch. Somehow he impressed M a cDonald as a retired military officer in his neat suit of white linen . Across the front of the jacket swept the glisten i ng, snowy beard of the progenitor of the human race. Whiskers of delicacy and distinction-every thread polished and sweeping away in beautiful curves. There was a restful look to the beard of Adam. The beard of the Scientist is a tangle caused in moments of reflection when the fingers clutch a clump of hair and roll it into little balls. Only contentment and love of his fellowman could produce such a beard as that which added dig nity to Adam. "For the first time," thought MacDonald, "I can appreciate the sacredness of the Moslem oath, 'By the Beard of the Prophet.' " He clasped Adam's hand warmly and felt a hearty, sincere pressure in return. An odd boutonniere diverted his attention. Pinned rakishly on the lapel was a single green leaf. "Certainly you recognize it," suggested Adam, smiling whimsically. "No, I can't say that I do . " "Merely a fig leaf, a slight reminiscence. If it were not for climatic conditions I would recommend that my descendants on earth discard present hideous fashions and go back to the simple wearing apparel
34 EFFICIENCY IN HADES of Eden. I often wear pajamas because they are not far removed from my early views on dress and because they are distinctive." All the while he was intently studying MacDon ald, not inquisitively or patronizingly, but as the scientific breeder gathers by observation the good and bad points of a colt. "I think Mr. MacDonald takes after you," ob served The Chief pleasantly. "There are some family traits I can see in both of you; something about the nose, I think." "Which branch do you come from, my son?" asked Adam. "All my people were Scotch." "Good stock and I am proud of it, although my favorites in the Gaelic connection were the Welsh. But all of you are worthy sons of a worthy sire. Blood will tell, my boy; blood will tell. When I think of some of the notable things our family has accomplished I feel a pardonable pride and do not consider myself wholly a failure. The mistakes I made were natural ones and likely to come to any person lacking in experience and without training. You can understand that having had no family his tory I was handicapped; being thrown into a new world on my own resources was not a pleasant situa tion. I could not benefit by tradition because there were no precedents; I was quite alone and had no person to consult with. Do not consider me un gallant, but perhaps you have learned what I found
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 35 out too late, that a woman's advice sometimes is dangerous. "I have beet: upbraided by some of my descen dants for causing most of the trouble common to Man; work being the paramount. Please understand that I never did like apples. You could keep ten bushels in my cellar all winter and I would not touch one, but what man has there been since my time who could resist the appeals of a woman? Not one. Even with myself as an example men are mak ing the same mistakes as I did, and I was new to the sex. Do I blame her? No. She was a woman. That explains all." "But don't you have regrets?" "I know what you are driving at. You want to be pleasant about blaming me for setting a bad example and I've just told you that I never had a chance in the world. No wonder I turned out bad; no wonder one of my boys was a black sheep ; no wonder almost all of your progenitors wound up here. I guess we are a bad lot, but it is something consoling to know that the biggest crowd is with me. The most of my children get here because they have convictions. If there is any one of the family I feel proud of it is a Frankish king you will find over in the Early Christian Hell; a prince of consid erable ability and exceptional loyalty. He had con victions. He deserves a larger place in history. You will recall how he was a heathen; which after all means nothing, since I am something of a heathen
36 EFFICIENCY IN HADES myself. The Church heard of him and sent a bishop to pull off an omnibus conversion, a little joker they used in those times to bring everybody into the fold. The bishop was a demonstrator whose work was finished when he convinced a heathen king that his particular brand of religion was the best in the market. Your king announced that on a given date he and his court would be baptized, after which there would be a state religion and all subjects who had any regard whatever for their necks would forth with adopt the same, destroying such other idols, faiths, creeds and beliefs as happened to be in their possession. It was a happy way to escape Hell; that is, on paper. "Well, it so happened that this Frankish king agreed to give the new religion a trial and went down to the water with his retinue. Just before the exer cises he acquired an idea. Calling the demonstrator aside, he said: " 'You tell me that unless I join your crowd I am surely going to roast. Now will you be so kind as to inform me where my ancestors are?, "The bishop never batted an eyelash, dear nephew, but instantly replied, 'Why, having been born heathens and having lived as heathens, they died as heathens and naturally they are all in Per dition.' As I heard it later from the king himself, he was quite disappointed, but he had to admit that the bishop was logical and there was only one thing to do.
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 37 "'I'm sorry to disappoint you,' said he, 'and I deeply regret declaring the deal off, but under the circumstances I think I'll take my chances with my relatives; I'll not be so lonesome.' " "What does that prove?" "First, that you can send any person to Hell. Second, that you can't scare folks away from Hell." "Perhaps this particular king would have gone to Hell anyway. But why do you say that any person can send another here?" "It might be that the old fellow would have wound up here; I can't say. I do think that had he been converted, the Church would have tried hard to save him. The only people who could have made any real fight would have been the widows and the children of the thousands he caused to be butchered; they would have done their best to inflict a little punishment for the crime of forcing his subjects into wars to settle private quarrels, extend his do minions or prove that he was a more civilized king than his neighboring rulers. I have seen a great deal, dear cousin, and when I say that kings are not fit to rule I merely make a declaration of opinion without ill-will. I have lots of descendants who were kings and ninety-nine per cent are not wanted even in this place. "As individuals I like them all and as relatives I love them but taking them as a group they are a bad lot. It's in the way they were brought up. No
38 EFFICIENCY IN HADES king has regard for the life, happiness or welfare of his subjects; he looks upon them merely as instru ments for the execution of his plans and if it becomes necessary to force a million strong, intelligent, happy victims upon the battlefield; to destroy them by war club or lance, or bullet or disease, he does it with a prayer on his lips, conviction in his heart and bile on his liver." MacDonald wanted to ask a question but Adam refused to be interrupted and went ahead: "There is a fascination in bossing somebody, and the more subjects a ruler can accumulate the more he likes his job. It gets to be a disease; so much so that when thrown out of a job he sets up a howl and cries 'Fraud.' I don't believe that any king ought to hold his job more than five years. He ought to be elected by the people and he should be forced to attend a training school for five years before taking office. When his term expires he ought to become a member of a Senate of ex-Kings, a sort of advisory board." "Honestly, Adam, do you think people can rule themselves?" "Yes, if they have three things: a public school system, concentrated financial interests, and solidi fied labor organizations." "Do you think Capital and Labpr can get along without quarreling?" "No, and therein is sttength. Money never has obliterated the guild and agitation never will be
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 39 able to destroy wealth. The balance between them is Education." "Where does Religion come in?" "It will continue imperishable but trailing along in the pathway blazed by Thought. Its saddest object up to the present time has been to increase the population of Hell. Each variety of faith rests upon the foundation that it only is right and all others are doubtful or downright bad. Each religion and each sect can prove that it offers more opportunity to escape Perdition than the others. Each church creates a distinctive hell into which it consigns very few of its own members but hosts of others." "Still you must admit-" "I admit and apologize for nothing," retorted Adam. "Let me have my say." MacDonald restrained a bitter answer and the old gentleman rolled ahead: "The joke of it is that when they get here they find themselves in the very Hell they created for the rest. That's what makes Hell the inferno it is. But, confidentially, my good and great grandchild, I can tell you a little secret. The time is coming when The Chief will be out of a job-THERE WON'T BE ANY HELL. Advancement will assure Religion that a whole lot of useless energy has be e n spent on a place that does so little good that it can be dispensed with. We punish people for doing wrong. When we change the whole system and reward people for doing good then we will
40 EFFICIENCY IN HADES have no use for jails and hells. Some of the very latest hells down here are purely ethical and I can see the tendency better than The Chief, who is on the administrative side. I am an observer; a candid and unbiased victim of circumstances interested solely in the advancement of a race which started ; with me. I feel the same parental interest in the Inca that I do in the Dane. I know that the uni verse goes forward; never recedes. I know that there are laws that nothing can alter and nothing can stop. "The Garden of Eden was all right but I can't say that I am sorry for being evicted. Forget the beauties of the place, my gentle kinsman, and con sider it from your own base. You are an engineer; a man who loves the task of developing. When you see men busy in factories, building railroads, or mixing concrete you know that they are creating a better world. The Garden of Eden was a joke compared with the land of to-day. I am the original sinner; damned and rejected because I was curious, and the punishment that was inflicted upon me and upon all my generations was WORK. Did it ever occur to you, my young son, that while it was a de lightful spot, the Garden was the absurdest thing ever devised, for it stood for nothing. There were palms, and ferns and velvety grass, and streams that sang in the sunlight. Never a worry about food or clothing. As I look back upon those days I see only
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 41 a vast zoo set down in the midst of an entrancing botanical garden, with Eve and me lolling around in idleness. No aim, no mission, no occupation-only a pair of naked savages whose recreation might be admiring flowers or training pet tigers to jump through hoop-snakes." There was a ripple of laughter and for the first time MacDonald noticed the large number of devils grouped around Adam. They were listening too. "You have been taught to believe that this was the proper life for normal and healthy human be ings; you have been taught to feel that we should have been content in the midst of all this beauty; you have been taught to abuse woman because she had the gumption to hector me until I too became restless; you have been taught to regard me as a criminal responsible for all the evil the world has known. "Listen. The happiest day I ever knew was when I went out of the Garden of Eden, fashioned a grubbing hoe from a piece of hard wood and set to work to clear away the underbrush so that I might build a hut and raise a few early vegetables. And the greatest joy that Eve felt was the pain of mother love. Listen again. If it be a sin to disobey a law that condemns man to perpetual idleness; if toil and the rearing of children are regarded as punishment; if your throbbing progressive world given over to industry, education and science is considered a less
42 EFFICIENCY IN HADES desirable place than a conservatory, then I am will ing to confess error. But I find more happiness in Hell than I ever did in the Garden of Eden." "Then this resort doesn't tire you?" ''Bless your heart, no. I get around considerable and talk with the boys. They all tell me their troubles. Then, too, I have a serious occupation. I'm compiling a family tree. Genealogy has a fasci nation for me; a real hobby. If you ever want to trace back your kinship record, come around and I'll show you some interesting charts." "Eve must be of great assistance to you in this stupendous task; I have not had the pleasure of meeting her; is she here?" "She does not take much interest in it; in fact, I do not see a great deal of her." Adam seemed to hesitate when Eve was alluded to and MacDonald did not press him. He hurried away in answer to a beckon from The Lady, mur muring to himself, "Family troubles perhaps." The engineer sought several times during the evening to get into further conversation with the head of the family but it seemed almost impossible, the old fellow finding a whole lot more fun jesting with the girls. Popular? There is little in the word to indicate the esteem in which the young women held Adam. It was more than respect, it was more than trustfulness, it was more than friendship, and it was a great sight more than family reverence. The female population of Hades simply agreed that
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 43 Adam was simpatico, a Spanish word which conveys more meaning than anything of its kind in the Eng lish language. "I wonder what Eve thinks of that g a y old rogue?" MacDonald. asked The Lady as Adam cut across the reception hall with each arm around the waist of a pair of laughing, snappy maidens. "You can answer that for yourself when you become better acquainted with her," was the reply.
CHAPTER V MACDONALD was in the saddle much of the time during the succeeding week, seeing very little of his hosts. Through the kind ness of The Chief he accumulated a large force of trained secretaries; these aided him in his preliminary task of preparing an industrial and sociological survey. Very quietly he had measured up the abili ties of all the Arch-Devils. To his amazement he discovered that many of the most famed were totally inefficient. Several had built up reputations on the ancient trick of sending out agents to take posses sion of human beings and they got away with it until medical men decided that epileptic fits would answer the purpose quite as well. Thousands upon thou sands of imps were let out of their jobs but the bosses clung to their reputations and strutted around Hell as if they owned it. "They may fool The Chief," commented MacDonald contemptuously, "but nobody can fourflush under the efficiency system. They've got to size up to the job or quit." When he felt that sufficient data had been com piled, the Efficiency Engineer asked for a Grand Council to be held on the following Tuesday morn ing in the Convention Hall and that all officials 44
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 45 above the rank of Prince of Evil be instructed to attend. There had been many rumors in circulation concerning the activities of MacDonald but beyond the retainers of The Turrets and Lucifer, his plans were unknown. That a Grand Council should be called was, in itself, of sufficient importance to raise all to expectancy. To prevent outsiders from entering the hall, the guards were doubled and credentials issued to the delegates. Galleries were reserved for the ladies while the delegates occupied sandstone benches in the body of the Hall, each group being marked by standards. A few Arch-Devils who lost their badges were de tained until vouched for by the Sergeant-at-Arms, but all were in their places when The Chief arrived. He smiled slightly when a roar of cheers went up; then he took a seat by the side of Lucifer. Mac Donald was given a place on a block of trap rock to the left of the speaker's table. No time was lost by The Chief. Stepping forward quickly and holding up his hand for silence, he announced : "My friends, it may surprise you to learn that the Hell of which we are so proud and which we believe to be the best in existence, is, as a matter of fact, both inefficient and unreliable. I was incredulous myself when I first heard this assertion, but I am broad enough to see faults and admit mistakes. As it goes, we have a satisfactory Hell. Can it be improved? Unless we advance, we fall behind. There is no such thing as standing still. We live in a mod-
46 EFFICIENCY IN HADES ern age. Civilization spreads rapidly. W hope to meet modern conditions with ancient and obsolete methods. We have with us this morning one whose days were spent in applying science to administration. He has made a study of our opera tion here. He has kindly volunteered to reorganize us, modernize us, and in a word, raise Hell to a higher standard. He has my warm sympathy and full confidence. I have given him broad powers and in the fulfilment of his work I shall expect your hearty support. I have the honor of presenting Mr. James P. MacDonald, your new General Manager.'' It was delicately done; not a fulsome and hollow endorsement but a plain statement of fact and an order issued. It was now up to the emissary of science. There were excited whispers and negative gestures as he strode forward. He made obeisance to The Chief, turned and faced that throbbing sea of devils. MacDonald could feel the undercurrent of antago nism. There would be no open opposition to the will of The Chief but unless it were possible to gain the whole-souled and hearty cooperation of each and every constituent his efforts would count for naught and finally he would be discredited. Here above every other place he must succeed. He would beat back the resentment against newfangled notions by sheer force. "Sire, ladies and gentlemen-friends all," he be-
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 47 gan. "I am a stranger in a strange land. Did I not believe in you I would not be here. That I should attempt an uplift movement is proof of my earnest faith in you. I do not pretend to say that I can perform miracles"-"Sacrilege I" howled Beelzebub, leaping upon a bench and shaking his first at the speaker. "Rank sacrilege that should not be tolerated for a second. I appeal to this convention." A roar of approval came from the delegates while a fiend from the Chaldean Hell shouted, "Down with the egotist. He used the personal pronoun 'I' six times in four sentences." "Throw him out," "Sit down," "Hell's too good for him," "Down with the uplift," came yells of rage. One enthusiast from the Chinese Hell hurled a decayed sinner at the speaker. Lucifer dashed to the front of the platform. "The convention will be in order," he com manded. "The delegates will be seated." As the excitement subsided he gazed contemptuously over the hall. "No violence or insults will be tolerated here. A nice crowd to represent your constituents. Mr. MacDonald is going to get a hearing. The Sergeant-atArms will clear the aisles." "Gentlemen, gentlemen, remember where you are," called Adam in a clear strong voice from the gallery. ' 'Do you intend to set a bad example to the damned?" he rebuked them as he advanced to
48 EFFICIENCY IN HADES the edge of the railing and looked down on the mob. There were some derisive shouts which quickly ended when a delegate shouted: "Respect his gray hairs." "I ask no consideration either on account of age or association. I am not here to defend or con demn this recent addition to Hades. He thinks he comes with a message. He has succeeded in inter esting your chief to the degree that this convention is now assembled to hear and consider that mission. Wait. How many of you devils have heard or know anything about efficiency? Not one. For all you know it may be a game of cards or a recipe for a kidney plaster, or possibly a bunion. You are foolish and cannot see that the merits or demerits of efficiency have nothing to do with the right of MacDonald to have his say. The Chief has asked him to address you. If you have any respect for au thority; any respect for your superior; any respect for yourselves, you will take your seats . " "We don't want to have anything to do with your family," screeched a blue-faced devil. "It is ever lastingly getting up some new fads; never satisfied to let well enough alone. Why can't this descendant of yours show true cooperation by taking his medicine like a man instead of trying to run Hades?" "Hear I Hear!" cried Beelzebub. Amid the stamping of hoofs and the pounding of standards on the floor, the wild yells of disapproval and catcalls and owl hoots, The Chief leaned back
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 49 in his chair complacently smiling with the air of one who was not the least disturbed as to a happy out come. Adam waited a moment or two, then finding an opening hurled back: "Hell was built by material supplied by my family. Without us you would be more insignificant than insects. You spoil good material by bad treatment and when an opportunity is presented you to learn, you display your assininity and ignorance by howling that Hades cannot be improved." "Sacrilege and impiety I" shrieked Beelzebub. "We won't submit-" "Remove that fellow," called Lucifer to the guards who, seizing the disturber, dragged him foaming to an anteroom. "Now at the next appear ance of trouble," he warned, "I'll clear the Hall. One would think this a political meeting." "Isn't he just a dear I" cried Madame of the pompadour as she led the applause from the gal leries.
CHAPTER VI THE Efficiency Engineer thanked Lucifer and again faced his audience . Over in the Royal Box there was a look of faith mingled with anxiety on the face of The Lady. "It's now or never," thought MacDonald, catching inspira tion from this source. "I thank you for your hearty endorsement of my claims," he resumed ironically. "If anything were needed to demonstrate my premises it was your out break. Not in a spirit of anger but in cold logic I ask each and every one of you how you can hope to govern others and rule your several departments successfully if you fail to control yourselves. Hell is not a playground or a football field but a serious place for serious men. Your whole object is, ur should be, to get the best results possible with the least amount of energy. If, by the use of proper machinery you can roast a thousand subjects where you are now treating a hundred-and some of them underdone at that-have you not accomplished something?" "He's right, there," whispered a delegate to an associate. "And how much time can be saved in the deep infernos by the installation of elevators. My friends, I would not for a moment deprive you of 50
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 51 any of the good things which are yours. I would foster them and encourage them. You need newer appliances. You require more conveniences. You should be furnished with labor-saving devices. Many of you are compelled to toil amid poisonous sulphur fumes; not one of you is equipped with a gas mask. You are satisfied because you do not know better; you decry the modernizing of the place because you like to travel in the same rut you have always traveled.'' There was a little cry of approval from The Lady which reflected itself in nods from the dele gates. "The Chief has seconded my views. Is he less loyal to Hell than you? He believes there should be an awakening. Is he a reactionary? I warn you, my friends, that unless you are willing to grasp modern ideas you will become second-raters. Will you hear my plans?" "Yes, go on," came a chorus of voices. "Very good. In the first place bring yourselves to believe that efficiency depends upon cooperation and intelligent administration. Which is to say, loy alty and organization. Individual effort must give way to coordination. We must have team work. Each hell should know what the other is doing. Arch-Devils should frequently confer with one another. By the installation of a system of report sheets each head of department can compare his results with the work by others.
52 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Every proper-spirited devil should take orders without question. Some resentment will possibly arise in the selection of division and department heads, but it should be remembered that merit only has been considered in the filling of positions. The Chief has not recommended a single one of his , per sonal friends for place." At this the delegates squirmed uneasily. "I am not unreasonable enough to expect quick returns. Mistakes will be made and for a time there will be considerable friction and many petty annoyances. These will disappear. Perhaps the greatest source of trouble will come with the instal lation of new machinery. In order to reduce confu sion to a minimum we will refit one unit at a time. Discarded apparatus will be carefully stored to be sold as scrap." "Who will be able to use it?" yelled Beelze bub. "Shut up," growled a cerise devil, "what do you know about efficiency?" "I will now proceed to outline the general scheme of control," MacDonald hurried on. "Will several of you imps kindly bring in the chart?" An easel on which was a large sheet of black metal bearing a diagram was placed in full view of the delegates. Everybody strained forward to get a better look and a venerable she-devil tumbled out of the gallery, fortunately without injury. Using a pointer, MacDonald explained the following:
THE CHIEF I JAMES P. M A cDO N ALD General Manager EXECUTIVE LUCIFER-Assistant General Manager I I OFFICE Philocrens INTERN AL AFFAIRS PUBLIC WELFARE Misstor Asphodel I _I I Accounting High w a y s Vital Statistics Lighting 6-,,râ€¢ .... Corrections Recreations OPERATING LUCIFER-General Superintendent I INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORTATION Vulcan Charon _I_ __I Production Sales Passengers Freight trj ; (".) trj z (".) z trj 1'J:J w
54 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Why, he has put himself above Lucifer," was the startled exclamation of Madame. "How can it be possible?" "See the gratified expression on the face of The Lady," replied a dudish young devil by her side. "That explains it." Madame wrinkled her brows. "It puts me down one notch," she thought, "unless-well, we cannot afford to be too particular about our fallen friends," and with a smile she resumed her conversation on the hot Spring they were having . But it was evident that the suspicion that flitted through Madame's mind was not isolated because hundreds of the delegates whispered to each other and looked anxiously toward Lucifer. He s a t there impassively while the Efficiency Engineer entered into a detailed explanation of the operation of the different departments. "You will notice," he said toward the close of the talk, "that I have placed 'Corrections' under the head of Public Welfare. This applies solely to the bookkeeping side. There is a strong corela tionship here with the operation section. In fact the Vital Statistics section also has a bearing on the same things. "Na tu rally the part played by the sales section will be important." He stopped there, for Beelze bub, who had returned through a side door, broke into a jeering laugh and inquired: "Will you kindly tell us what products we can
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 55 market? I have always regarded this place as a con suming operation. Is our material worth a dollar in any man's money after we get through with it?" "He is right," exclaimed The Chief, and he called across to MacDonald, "Put in something else." "I find that the point raised by my friend Beelze bub is well taken," admitted the expert. "Since a . sales section would be useless, we will substitute for it a laboratory. Here we can conduct experi ments which will prove of undoubted value in the operation of mills, foundries and forges." The change hit the fancy of all the devils. One of the admitted defects of the place was the scant attention which had been given to research work and everybody thought the suggestion of the laboratory most commendable. Although he was only indi rectly responsible, Beelzebub deprecatingly took all credit. "That young fellow may be all right if properly guided," said he confidentially to several nearby dele gates. Some of the devils who had promised to be home early were moving toward the door when Mac Donald took his seat in a shower of applause. Luci fer raised his hand. "Just one moment, friends," he explained. "It may appear strange to some of my acquaintances that I have, without protest, allowed myself to occupy a secondary place in this organization and consented to serve under Mr. MacDonald. Frankly,
56 EFFICIENCY IN HADES I know nothing about efficiency along scientific lines. I am willing to learn. If he can get better results than I have obtained he will have my sincere coopera tion. All for Hell and Hell for all." "Just like a big generous boy; but he has made a mistake," reflected Madame as she listened to the cheers for Hades Triumphant, applause for Lucifer and roars of The Chief. "What an interesting man this fellow MacDonald must be. A few days ago an outcast. To-day, confidential advisor to The Chief. An idea, nerve, plausible tongue, a woman's favor and the answer is Success. Bah, Hell is no better than the court of France. The same intrigues and the same struggles for favor." The Chief lingered for a few minutes chatting with his new General Manager and a dozen or so department heads. He met The Lady in the corridor and escorted her to the street. As he assisted her into the chariot he said tenderly: "I am following your judgment in this instance, my girl. Let us hope it means a new era for our subjects." "Assuredly it will. Trust in the ability of Mr. MacDonald."
CHAPTER VII THOSE who expected quick upheavals and speedy radical changes in Hades were dis appointed. "I can afford to take my time; there is no hurry," was the view of the engineer. Weeks were spent in picking skilled devils for executive positions. A School of Instruction was established where lectures were given on theory and. practice of Efficiency. The course was thorough te> a degree. A large printing office was set up for the publication of office forms, sheets and tables. These were distributed by the billions. As he came to grasp the magnitude of the new system even Lucifer was staggered. He had counted on employing an office force of not more than twenty-five thousand . In less than two months he was bossing that many stenographers alone, and they were complaining of being overworked. Philocrens sent in a requisition for seventeen million filing cases in one order while .Vulcan's estimate for the power plant of the tiny Aztec hell called for eight hundred and twenty-two thousand reciprocating engines of fifteen thousand horse power each. Nothing was left to chance. Each detail was worked out with such precision that the new system was absorbed almost automatically, 57
58 EFFICIENCY IN HADES which, as Lucifer put it, "is saying a great deal for the intelligence of Hell and the ability of MacDonald." â€¢ There were skeptics; there always are skeptics when a new or an untried thing is brought out. It was noticeable, nevertheless, that street and club gossip deal with K.W. hours, depreciation charges, thrust bearings, heat units, compensating valves, peak load and like subjects instead of the more com monplace comment on parboiled wretches. "I look for great development under Mac Donald's management," The Chief confided to The Lady a few weeks later. "It's expensive though. He has promised power boats to Charon. Nobody complained in the old days about waiting to be fer ried across the Styx. I've seen lost souls lined up by the millions waiting their turn. Since they've heard of our progressiveness they are rioting to climb on board. Motor boats are being turned out as fast as the shipyards can assemble them." "They say Charon has new uniforms for his men?" "Yes, but not garish. Light blue cloth with gold braid. I saw one understrappe " r parading the streets with a cap inscribed 'First Assistant to the Second Assistant General Passenger Agent.' The full title was too long for the band and what couldn't go around strung out behind like a pennant." It was feverish curiosity that drew The Lady to the offices of the General Manager of an afternoon.
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 59 A messenger detained her in the anteroom while her card was sent in. The rattle of typewriters was deafening. Scores of technical devils spurted in and out with rolls of blue prints. There was one hall jammed with earnest men. It .was labeled "Waiting Room for Inventors." The Lady was becoming absorbed in a discussion between two learned doctors on the adoption of green as the uniform color for hell-fire because it was the natural tint for the eyes, when MacDonald hastened up and invited her to enter his private office. "You see I have finished my day's work." He spoke with a tired laugh and pointed to a flat-top desk. "It is one of the first principles of efficiency that no uncompleted task shall be allowed to hang over. I clean my desk before I quit. But I am glad you came, you can help me." "How?" she inquired. "You know, I want to remodel the Infinite Worm into a Bessemer steel converter. All improvements over in the Christian hells are held up pending this. I have induced the Boss Mason to forgive and forget but I can't budge the Infinite Worm. It simply won't listen to any arguments; refuses to co-operate. The blamed thing has no pride. When I tried to stir up its enthusiasm by picturing the importance of a converter, the snake said it didn't hanker after notoriety like some persons-the insulting reptile." "If you think I can do any good, I will talk to it." "If I think? I know that one word from you will
60 EFFICIENCY IN HADES win him. He would be a willing captive like the Test of us," and MacDonald kissed The Lady's hand. "Come, my knight, we will start at once. A woman's smile may win where man's argument will fail." "My Lady," returned the Efficiency Engineer passionately. Pressing his foot on a buzzer he di rected the responding messenger to call his private car. "The first automobile in Hades," proudly explained MacDonald when she hesitated. "I have been pounding it over some of the hills to discover any faults. The engines do not develop as mu .ch power as I should like but this may be due to the gasoline. Our supply comes from the oil retorts; a sort of by-product of boiled Shintoists. The boys have not quite caught the knack of refining oil but in a little time we hope to be able to produce an article that in quality and price will compare favorably with the only monopoly on earth that competes with Hell." The Lady insisted upon seeing how the motor car was assembled. She wanted to know how it was operated. The electric starter seemed a marvel of ingenuity and when the lights were switched on she was in raptures. The anticipation of a first ride in the car fired her imagination and as she settled back in the cushions her admiration for the General Manager could not be restrained.
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 61 "I think you are a wonderful man," she exclaimed. 11I am glad, oh, so happy that you came among us." She snuggled closer to the driver. At each sharp curve there was a little scream of alarm and a tightening of her grasp on the arm of her com panion; a gentle, warm pressure that sent an elec tric shock through MacDonald. He reassured her tenderly. Her face was flushed with the glow of excitement. She laughed nervously when dragons, affrighted by the sight of a new monster, backed into the ditches by the side of the road and reared on their hind legs. A few hell-cats miscalculating speed were run down as they tried to cross in front of the high powered car. "Poor things," murmured The Lady. "I do not like to see dumb animals suffer." The ma chine hit a particularly bad spot. MacDonald's arm slipped around her waist to ease the shock. She turned her face in innocent wonderment; sought to gently remove it; hesitated. The Lady's hand nestled in the firm grasp of the engineer and the car slowed down. "What a short drive," she laughed. "We are already at the home of that dreadful beast which refuses to acknowledge your ability or charm. Which?" "Both," answered the man. "Hardly, I can answer for one and perhaps assure the Infinite Worm of the other." An agonized moan rolled out of a cavern. It
62 EFFICIENCY IN HADES grew in intensity until it reached a shriek, then died away in a series of short sobs. "It's the Worm, sir. This is one of its bad days," volunteered an employee. "It's suffering something fierce. Nothing seems to help it and the pains in its stomach are growing worse." Of a truth the Infinite Worm was a pitiful object as it lay doubled up on the floor. Great tears trickled down its cheeks. It writhed in agony, occasionally giving convulsive shudders when espe cially severe twinges of pain came on. "Brace up, old top," called MacDonald, "this will never do. You're losing your nerve." The Infinite Worm turned its head slightly, gaz ing mournfully at the visitors. "I don't need advice; what I want is a doctor," it snuffied. "Doctor nothing. Forget your troubles. Cheer up like a man. Don't weep in the presence of a lady; it's embarrassing." There was a little catch in the voice of the In finite Worm as it forced a smile. Another con vulsion of pain brought a wild yell of distress. "Must I endure like a dog?" The Lady ap proached the side of the tortured Worm and stroked its fevered brow. "What are you suffering from?" "Bowel trouble. Miles upon miles of it. Kick me on my side and see how hollow I sound." It
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 63 was an exertion to tell even this much and the Infinite Worm had to stop to get its breath. "I'm a victim of adulteration. If that Boss Mason had used the right kind of fire brick I'd be enjoying good health to-day." "He's willing to re-line you." "What 1 Let that scullion tinker with me?" "Do not harbor a grudge. The Boss Mason inquires about you every day. He blames himself for your suffering and his conscience won't let him sleep." The Lady was not quite certain about the last point but felt that it might appeal to the Worm's pride. "Yes , he has gone so far as to order a supply of imported furnace bricks and paid the tariff out of his own pocket. He even begged The Chief to etherize you so that he might fix you up without discomfort. 'I should like to restore my old asso ciate to sound health,' he said, 'and then slip away so that he might not know the name of his bene factor.' " "Well, it's the least he could do after putting me out of business. Are imported furnace brick good for indigestion?" "I never heard of them failing." "Well, if that Boss Mason comes around your way tell him that I'll let him put in the bricks; anything to stop his worrying. He is not the only one to blame. It's my diet. I don't get the right
64 EFFICIENCY IN HADES sort of food. The toughest sinners are turned over to me and I simply can't digest 'em. Now if I had apples." "What you need is plenty of lime; it's a fine tonic.'' "Who will give a worm like me lime? Who cares whether I live or die?" and the disheartened reptile shook with sobs. "There, there,'' and The Lady petted the suf ferer, "trust in the General Mana ger. He has great plans for you; everybody will envy you. Do you realize that when he turns you into a Bessemer steel converter you will get a dose of lime with every charge of the damned. And iron, too. Think what a tonic iron is." "Look here, why didn't you tell me that my health would improve if I became an industrial plant?" demanded the Infinite Worm of Mac Donald. "You let me suffer the tortures of the damned when I might have been on the h i gh road to recovery. Only the practical side appealed to you. What I wanted w a s sympathy, a woman's sympathy. The Lady and I understand each other. You tell th a t Boss Mason to get a hump on him self and when I come back into form I'll show you a Bessemer converter to be proud of. Imported furnace brick, mind you, and plenty of lime and iron."
CHAPTER VIII "HE is feeling better already," chuckled MacDonald when he and his fair companion were back in the car. "Now for home. Let us return by the Valley Road. It is a trifle rough but extremely picturesque." The Lady gave him a sweet smile. "I want to thank you for the winning of our friend back there," he added, tucking a lap-robe around her while the machine was picking up. "I feel that all of the progress made thus far has been due to your faith, and I know that the future too is in your hands. With your inspiration I am con fident of all things. If you but point the way I will achieve the heights. There, amid the eternal crimson I will place the standard of Hades, an inspiration to all who may come hereafter." "How commonplace it was until you entered our sphere," murmured The Lady. "How I hated the humdrum existence. The same talk, the same amusements, the same faces. I longed for some thing new; something that would increase my use fulness here. How small a part woman plays in the universe. And is it her fault that she is un happy?" "Are you discontented?" 65
66 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Yes," she answered bitterly. "Wealth, power and position mean nothing unless they can be employed. I get less enjoyment out of my existence than the lowest sufferer in the lake of brimstone. He at least has variety." MacDonald placed his arm around her warm supple waist and drew her close. "My Lady," he whispered. Again the mystic smile thrilled him; once more he gazed into brown eyes that seemed to hold the secrets of the ages. / "I shall make you happy. You will be my goal, my destiny. Together we shall plan and accom plish. Hand in hand we will walk through Hades and where our feet shall tread there shall follow Progress. An industrial awakening undreamed of shall harmonize with the grandest intellectual at tainment. The accumulated knowledge of the past shall be drawn on, molded and made useful. A place of punishment shall be buried and a vast commonwealth dominated by ability shall take its place." Held by the spell of the enthusiast The Lady did not resist his tense clasp. The car hummed low amid the deepening gloom of a lonely road walled by fantastic chaos. Intoxicated, MacDonald felt a curl waft against his cheek; the steel-like muscles of his forearm seemed to imbed themselves in the yielding softness of her body; her head sank on his shoulder. In the velvety glow of the deep-
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 67 ening red that came from the Valley he looked into her eyes half closed in dreamy passion and as he kissed her long and rapturously a wondrously molded arm encircled his neck. "My darling," he panted. The car sped through the falling night. Little was said; their emotions were too powerful. Both understood. The future of each had been com mitted irrevocably and the destiny of Inferno was at stake. It was a brighter day and a happier day than she had ever known when The Lady awoke. The fever of the previous evening was upon her and she sang blithely, filling The Turrets with a spirit of joyousness. Stopping for a moment near an open window it seemed as though a new vision came. "He needs me. An unusual man called to do an unheard-of thing and he needs me." By contrast The Chief seemed weak. In the other days she heard his views with deference be cause he dominated. Now as he discussed the manifold improvements under way or contemplated, she took small interest because she knew and under stood that he reflected the active mind of the General Manager. It made her petulant. The fact that he generously gave MacDonald the credit made no difference. The Chief noticed this but said nothing. Dropping into the Administration building he chatted with Lucifer and the talk turned to Mac-I
68 EFFICIENCY IN HADES Donald. "What do you think of him?" asked The Chief. "He is energetic, but he's got me puzzled. He persistently talks of saving energy, helping the op pressed, shortening working hours. He hasn't undertaken any systematic uplift for the damned but I was shocked at his recent suggestion to give more room to lost souls. That would defeat the very purpose sought. I like him, I repeat, and don't want to see him make any mistakes." Lucifer was genuinely worried concerning MacDonald and he brought up the subject with Madame on their way to a gathering at the Engineer's apartments. "Instead of looking after other people's interests it might pay you to protect your own," she retorted curtly. Lucifer whistled airily. "It will be another tune speedily, my fine fellow. MacDonald will perhaps find a place for you as oiler at the power house." That hurt. "Stop right there. Long before you dreamed of the favor of princes; corps and divisions of gen erations before the clan MacDonald boiled haggis on the slopes of Ben Nevis, I, Lucifer, held power in Hell and I say to you here and now that in that dim and distant future when Earth shall be drawn into the bosom of Mother Sun and the allotted population of our domain is completed in mass, Lucifer will continue to retain his power."
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 69 "Bravo I So you will destroy this interloper?" "No, I will aid him. There is an unchangeable law, and it holds in Hell, that you help yourself by helping others." "What a generous and high-minded devil!" "No, a selfish and practical devil." All of which explains why Madame lost little time in getting into conversation with the General Manager. She wanted to know what manner of man this was who could put such an impress on con servatism and overturn established institutions so that even the highest became as clay. She found him chatting with The Lady and The Chief. A score or more of satellites were grouped around readily acquiescing in all things. "Come in close, Madame," invited The Lady. "Mr. MacDonald has been telling the most inter esting facts about the obligations we owe to those less fortunate than ourselves. The ladies are sim ply crazy to inaugurate Social Settlement work here." "What, my dear, is expected of us?" "In a word," volunteered the Efficiency Expert, "to relieve suffering whether it be mental or phys ical." "What?" roared Lucifer, leaning over the outer edge of the circle. "We might as well close the gates of Perdition to-night." "Do not misunderstand the General Manager,"
70 EFFICIENCY IN HADES hastened The Chief, "he does not propose to interfere with basic principles." "I have a suggestion," gleefully announced Madame. "Provide amusement for the poor. Let Mr. MacDonald organize a brass band. He can find plenty of talent." "But we have no parks," objected Lucifer. "I have appointed a Park Commissioner," inter jected the Engineer. "He is attached to the Department of Public Welfare. No doubt Asphodel can tell us what additional steps have already been taken." "Ah, I was withholding this news to give you all a surprise," confessed that executive. "We have copied from the most advanced practices on earth. A syndicate has offered to sell several large plots and we have already acquired one. Concessions have been sold to amusement proprietors, park benches installed and signs have been scattered around warn ing the public to 'Keep Off the Cinders.' This little touch is requisite to give a real parky appear ance. Later on we will establish a zoo." "Quite cosmopolitan, my dear," chuckled The Chief playfully pinching The Lady. "Madame had added a valuable thought," beamed MacDonald. "All that we are lacking is music." "Is there any further suggestion for the improve ment of Hell along social lines?" invited The Chief. "Think of something, dear," he pressed The Lady.
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 71 She was cudgeling her brain and wrinkling her ivory brow for an idea which would not ooze out. She was handicapped for she came from a hazy era when creation was young. "A salon," proposed Madame, "where the bright est minds can gather, the latest plays and the freshest literary products be discussed. A salon could add a touch of refinement so lacking here." "Capital," applauded MacDonald, "revive the glories of the old regime when beauty, bravery and brains mingled pigments in the most wonderful painting of history." Here Madame was enabled to form an estimate of the General Manager, an odd combination of dreamer and doer. She was captivated by the one trait while the other compelled her admiration. How different from the handsome, frank, boyish Lucifer whose sole claim to fame depended upon plain honesty. "I do not know just how it will be received but in this connection would a police force be of any assistance to the Settlement Workers?" questioned a guest from Chicago. "There are some bad char acters in Hell." "Let's have a fire department," yawned Beel zebub.
CHAPTER IX IN the confusion the assemblage broke up into small groups. The Lady g a ve a toss of her head and MacDonald followed her into the conservatory. "Jim, dearest, you placed me in a distressingly embarrassing position to-night. You brought me to a conference in which I was helpless. I know so little about these subjects and I did not dare open my lips for fear of making some blunder. I felt like a china ornament." "The most beautiful and rarest in all the world." "But even you ignore me when serious subjects come up. I was vexed when I saw you carried away by the suggestions of Madame. " "You want to do something impressive, my sweet heart, don't you?" "Something that is peculiarly and will make me talked about. boy and help me." a woman's work Now be a good "Of course I will. I had intended to establish a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. There is your mission. You shall make the an nouncement this evening. You shall be president. It is something Madame would not have thought 72
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 73 -oi in a thousand years. She will be green with envy." "You will show me how to manage it?" "Gladly. I will have all the details worked out and the organization will run itself. All you need do will be to preside at the meetings." "Let us hasten back; I am impatient to crush that Madame woman." They returned opportunely. Charon was be moaning the loss of a favorite hell-horse from hoof and mouth disease. "It's a pity so little attention is paid to these infectious scourges," he complained. The Lady snapped her fingers to attract atten tion. "I know that I can rely upon the support of the ladies but the encouragement of the gentlemen will be insisted upon in a semi-humanitarian cause which I am about to undertake." "Tell us, please." "We have been so absorbed looking after lost souls that we have given no thought to dumb beasts. They suffer and we pass them by. In this happy era do not let us forget the animals. It pleases me to suggest the founding of a society for their care and protection." "A noble enterprise and I am for it," and Charon, drawing out his check book, started the subscription list. The ladies gave shrieks of joy as the fund grew. "Do you mean to tell me that The Lady had a
74 EFFICIENCY IN HADES mentality strong enough to stand the strain of that idea?" hissed Madame as she backed Lucifer into a corner. "Perhaps not, my private guess would be that it came from MacDonald. But what's the difference? It's a good thought." "Yes, too good for her." Madame was so put out that she lost no time hunting up The Lady. Her congratulations on the plan to save dumb beasts from the woes of Perdi tion were so effusive that The Lady knew in a second how much hurt the other was. Many very worthy movements fail because they become fads, real energy being diverted to after noon teas. The Lady saved her society from decay by action. There was one section of the Byzantine hell in which the condemned spirits had been transformed into mules. They were har nessed, hitched to carts and forced to draw heavy loads. One suffering sinner drew her attention. He was overloaded and his sides heaved under the strain of pulling a ton of pig iron up a steep grade. A brutal driver repeatedly slashed him across the flanks with a bull whip. "Cease beating that animal," cried The Lady with indignation. "Can't you see that he's all fagged out. Give liim a rest and remove that iron." "His job is to haul this load and he's going to do it. Don't butt in," and the nasty devil jabbed
b â€¢ "AS A FUN PRODUCER IT WAS REGARDED AS THE TOP-NOTCHER"
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 77 the point of his tail into the back of the sinner. "Come down from that seat. I am The Lady." The driver grumbled but obeyed. With ill grace he threw a dozen bars of iron on the ground while the compassionate woman stroked the grateful damned. The crowd on the sidewalk cheered as she departed. Less than a block away she came across the wreck of a dray. The axle was snapped and one of the wheels badly dished. "How did it happen?" she inquired. "One of the sinners shied at a piece of asbestos paper in the road and ran away." "We will have the damned provided with blinders," she promised. One instrument of torture was called the Bucking Broncho. The patentees of the device had selected a wild and vicious hell-horse and turned him into a corral. On his back was fastened a saddle set with sharp nails which projected outward in all directions. The joke was to compel sinners to ride the Bucking Broncho. As a fun producer it was regarded as the top-notcher. Hither came all the devils in search of amusement to chase away the blues and the post and rail fence of the corral was always filled with jubilant spectators. There was a standing offer of $10 to the sinner who could stick on the broncho's back for five minutes. It was exhilarating to see a victim shoot into the air ten feet and drop back into the spiked saddle. To be sure this could not be called high class comedy,
78 EFFICIENCY IN HADES but it pleased Hell and was an innocent recreation. That is, it was innocent until a female deputy of the Society heard of it and protested. A committee was sent around to look into the case. The saddle was taken off and the back of the hell-horse was found to be badly galled where the blanket fitted loosely. That settled it. Despite protests of the managers, the Bucking Broncho was taken back to the stables. Beelzebub got so many kicks from his friends that he hunted up Lucifer. "The boys are not finding fault with those ladies who want to reform us. Far be it from the old crowd to impede the tractor of progress. The spirit of the uplift is in the air. It likely will re main for some time. What I want to make mani fest is the danger of a back draught. You know, Lucifer, that Hell is no May festival. Efficiency may be needed but it is dangerous . A lot of foolish stunts are likely to follow in its wake. If ever MacDonald starts to supply ice cream cones there'll be an explosion . I'm simply warning you." "There can be nothing to fear. The Chief won't stand for fool acts. Tell the boys that the General Manager will rig up a mechanical horse that will heave sinners twice as high as the Broncho." "Mind what I'm telling you." "Run along. This place is getting more high toned every day." Beelzebub, who was a ward leader, was in a
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 79 good position to catch the real inner feeling of Hades and his remarks annoyed Lucifer. He spoke to MacDonald about the malcontent. "If I were you I would devote my attention to the practical side for a little while and forget the ethical. Can't you place that fellow to keep him out of mischief?" "No, he is a bad actor on the efficiency side." "Why not make him leader of the band?" "He knows nothing about music." "All the more reason. Being ignorant on the subject he would create his own standards. He would be original. Who knows but what he might establish an entirely new school. The worst that can happen is bad music and where would discord be more appreciated than in Hell?" MacDonald was unable to follow the argument but he saw the need of tranquilizing this turbulent spirit so he assented. Beelzebub felt honored by the appointment. It was an opportunity to get into the limelight. He accepted with alacrity. Mostly, however, Hades was terrified.
CHAPTER. X M AcDONALD met Adam at the Engineers' Club. "Sire, tell me with candor how you view my efforts to improve Hell," he appealed. "My boy," answered the old gentleman sprawling back in a huge arm chair and stretching his legs across a stool, "you have undertaken the impos sible." "I think you are mistaken." "Of course you do; everybody else thinks I have been mistaken in all I ever said or did. That does not stop me from holding certain views and when I say that you are trying to accomplish a thing that must fail I give you the damned and worthless opinion of a still more damned and discredited individual. Nevertheless I speak to you as a father might speak to a son, knowing in his experience that the son holds small regard for the wisdom of his parent. You start with the assumption that Hell needs greater efficiency. You certainly know how to get this efficiency but what is quite sound from your point of view may be foolish from the standpoint of tradition. You may not realize it now, but you are a reformer; you are attempting too many things." 80
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 81 "But efficiency means a single objective." "Sacred Snakes, NO. Efficiency from your angle means diversity. Listen. Yesterday I sauntered through a sub-division of a hell that was put into operation by monks in the year 900. One department is devoted to slicing up sinners. Until you came along my friends, the devils, used kraut cut ters and by passing the victims to and fro across the knife they took off his thin coating of veneer, so to speak. You discard the kraut cutter and set up in its place a power-driven circular blade with an automatic feed. A fine piece of machinery I will confess, and one that allows considerable flexibility in the slicing. By turning a screw you can get strips of sinners a quarter of an inch thick or a sixty-fourth of an inch. Now, answer me. In de signing that machine was your first thought the creation of something that would inflict more suf fering or was it the desire to build something that saved energy and got better results in production?" "I thought of improved methods only; I would lessen torture." "That's just what I thought. Now, then, can you tell me why that patent improved, automatic feed, self-oiling, non-heating, roller-bearing slicer has made such a hit?" "Because it is a finer piece of machinery than the old one." "Not by the gizzard of your grandmother. The sole reason why it is acclaimed by the imps is be-
82 EFFICIENCY IN HADES cause it is a more excrutiating instrument of torture." "If I am here long enough I'll change that." "There, I told you that you were a reformer. My lad, I have been in Hell a long time. I have gathered to my arms many of our tribe. Among them were those who thought they could do a little reforming as a side line. They failed before they started. This is Hades. We must take it as we find it. It was established for a specified end. No, don't try to establish new motives." MacDonald shook his head in protest but Adam was on his way and didn't stop. "I take a parental interest in you because I like to see a person put his time to good use. It grieves me to see all this suffering but I do not blame The Chief, for he is simply the agent. He knows as I know that all these manifold hells with their diverse and beastly punishments were conceived by my own children. The Chief had nothing to do with them in their inception, but once they were established and the administration turned over to him he pledged himself to give them all the Hell they were looking for." "Then you don't think that I was permitted to go ahead because I could improve Hades." "Not by the congested kidneys of Caiphas. Just you try to install some machine that will soften and alleviate pain and see how quickly it will be thrown aside."
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 83 "But The Chief allowed me to organize a brass band." "Does that make Hell any happier?" "And he has raised no objection to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals." "Have you tried to organize a Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sinners? But what's the use ! Let us talk of other things. The views and the advice of Adam are not worth a great deal." "You have seen many changes here: surely it has been a fine privilege to see the growth of Hades." The gentle breeze from the open window wafted Adam's beard in lazy billows. He shifted into a more comfortable position, half closed his eyes and spoke as if to himself: "I was never truly consigned to Hades. When my allotted time ran out I found myself in these parts with The Chief and a few other restless spmts. We regarded each other as real compan ionable associates and the past history of the other fellow bothered us. We got a few additions from time to time. I noticed as the years went by that there was a marked improvement in my descendants. They had more intelligence and they had better bodies. I could see that habits of thought were becoming fixed and that modes of living were becoming standardized. This, I said, is Progress. By and by there emerged the germ of that thing which we to-day call morals. It was almost intangible but it seemed to establish in an
84 EFFICIENCY IN HADES indefinite way the principle that some things were wrong. I noticed in the very early days of our family that when one person killed another and he was caught, or if he stole another man's woman and was caught by the male relatives of the injured party we always had a fresh arrival. "Hell had its birth far away in the musty, groping past when my family began to emerge from the beast stage; when brain cells were developing. It was, in truth, centuries before the age of the cave man. There was but one law of justice and that was strength. Men slew, and it was right to their primitive minds that enemies should perish. In the days of the Men-Beasts they were content to allow the mass of broken bones and flesh to sink into the mud and be as a thing forgotten. But with the dawning of intelligence there came first the hint, and later the certainty of that other element which is called the Soul. "Consider, my technical youth, what a predica ment your savage forebears were confronted with. They were still beasts and they continued to kill, but in the slaying of an enemy they were not satis fied that they had inflicted upon him all of the pun ishment that he deserved or all that he might endure. So, after they crushed him until the spark of life had fled, and after, in wild ferocity, they trampled upon him, your ancestors did something more. They killed him mentally; that is, they consigned him to the most awful tortures in an after existence that
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 85 they could draw up in their wildest imagination. Fire was primitive and it became the common prac tice after killing a man in hate to send his spirit to a mythical furnace for all eternity. "The wicked already had been gathered into one place by an accepted tradition; it was very easy to go one step more and to fix upon some very power ful devil who could inflict such torture as the early mind could devise. "Gentle gall-stones, how I recall the forenoon that the first sinner under this new dispensation arrived. He walked up to The Chief and said: " 'You're Satan.' " 'Who says so?' " he replied. "'Now don't deny it. I have heard all about you. My foes hammered me to death with clubs because I slew the only son of a widow lady. While they were beating me they howled: " ' "To Hell with you and let Satan roast you over a hickory fire for ten thousand years!" So here I am; proceed with the job.' " 'I can't see why I should be put to all this trou ble,' protested The Chief, 'but if it will give your enemies any satisfaction and please you I guess I will have to oblige. I can't promise to keep it up regular but I will do my best.' " 'I suppose I'll have to be satisfied with that,' replied the sinner. The companions of The Chief helped him out at odd moments and when a few more guests arrived, all tagged for treatment, we
86 EFFICIENCY IN HADES had the foundation for Purgatory. Mind you, this was long before any Sun Worshippers or Fire Worshippers sent any off enders against Religion to us. It was all material from individual or community feuds that c a me to The Chief. The time arrived, however, when I could see another emotion take hold of men's hearts. I saw sav a ge instincts soften by searching after something they felt was near them and which they could neither grasp nor understand; I s a w the growth of a love which changed my children from animals to Men; I saw the birth of Faith. " M a cDonald, the practical, listened with amaze ment, for it g a ve him a new vision of Hell. "I have my own ideas about the meaning of all this but. I don ' t propose to enter into any discussion upon the subject," commented Adam, "not even in Hades, for nothing can make so much discord as a dissertation on religion, and I value my friendships too highly to sacrifice them. I want to leave a thought with you. You feel something; you know it is a force which makes you better. It is an impulse to l a bor, an incentive to brotherhood. Cer tain men try to interpret this feeling; they form associations to systematize these interpretations. Finally they lay down rules and compel you to accept dogma. The right of free will is taken away from you. If alone you attempt to go out in the wilder ness and seek to get close to the Source, you are a heretic. If you possess courage and persist you will
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 87 discover new truths which will gather to your side many of your fellows who are searching also. In time you will seek to fetter these to your particular creed. But again, listen, my fond juvenile. "Religion is not fixed. There can be no such thing as an Established Faith any more than there can be an established civilization or a permanent type of humanity. "I believe that Hell has seen its best days. As I told you before, the time is coming when there won't be any hells surveyed or laid out, and it is within the range of possibility that there will come a dissolu tion of the hells already in operation." "Have you convinced many of the sinners that you are right?" "Not a blamed one. Ask any of the tortured to surrender his belief in the wisdom and the perma nency of Hades and you take away his greatest joy." For a full five minutes MacDonald pondered. He confessed : "Just between ourselves, I find it difficult to accept your views." "Delicious diabetes I of course it is difficult. You have inbred in you numerous generations of belief in a very vivid Hell. I am unhampered by this defect and because I happen to be cursed with greater experience I am regarded as the greater jackass. You might even resent my suggestion that you refrain from too deep an intimacy with The Lady. I would
88 EFFICIENCY IN HADES not interfere with the course of an ordinary love affair and I doubt whether any person in Hades cares a rap about such things, but there are reasons, some sentimental, some temperamental and some historical, why you should not permit yourself to become entangled." MacDonald was so stunned by this sudden change in the talk that he hesitated between indignation and humiliation. "May I ask what interest you have in my affairs?'' he demanded. "Simply paternal," replied Adam as he arose, excused himself courteously, and left the room.
CHAPTER XI IT was at this stage in events that MacDonald put the eight-hour day into effect; did it so qui etly that the change was scarcely noticed on the operating side. It was the greatest economic move ever carried out in The Chief's domain but there was nothing spectacular about it for by this time every body had come to accept that when the General Manager said he would do a thing on a certain day, that ended the matter. MacDonald divided his force into three groups: the day trick began at eight A.M., the night trick at 4 P.M. and the gas house trick at midnight. Perhaps there would have been more of a stir if the shops were fitted with whistles. The Efficiency Engineer maintained that a factory whistle was the surest in dication of obsolete methods. Time clocks were utilized to keep check on the employees without any uprising. MacDonald had counted on some trouble and when the entire working force took to the time clocks with enthusiasm and embraced them like brothers he was upset . Lucifer explained it in this way: "If a stevedore down on one of Charon's barges has been out to a mixed ale party and next morning punches his card an hour late, what are you going to 89
90 EFFICIENCY IN HADES do about it? You can't fire him and you can't dock him. He's more anxious to work than loaf. He wants something to occupy his mind and keep him from thinking how slowly the days go by. The chap who neglects to punch his card is regarded as simple minded. The clock is looked upon as a beneficent institution particularly designed to help him pass away the time. He lingers over it tenderly. He absorbs all the sentiment contained in the mechanism and when he tears himself away he nearly weeps. If there is any one thing you have done, MacDonald, to endear you to the common people, it was to set up time clocks." The General Manager felt himself speculating whether this also was the drive behind the carefully prepared office forms. Each report, cost and time sheet was a model of exactness. Every requisition for supplies was impressive by reason of the detail given to description of articles desired. He had a sneaking idea after Lucifer's explanation that those forms were being utilized as first aids to wasting time. But why worry? So long as the system worked, who need care about the energy or hours spent? That was the way The Chief looked at it. The reclaimed administration was adding to his prestige. He found a sparkling company at the home of Madame, where he spent his evenings. The salon became one of the happiest spots in the community. It had real value. It saved Hell from becoming too
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 91 technical. With the cares of administration taken from his shoulders, The Chief flung himself into gaiety without dashing recklessness. He knew that things were going better every day. He was com pletely carefree. Always noted for courtly dignity, he developed a new side: a charming conversation alist. He was a man of the world; his experiences had been varied and he had come in personal touch with ever so many clever people. During these evenings MacDonald and The Lady were much in each other's company. Madame was quick to perceive this and adroitly arranged that the two should have unlimited privacy. But she was an observant woman-very. Delighted beyond measure by the progress shown by Beelzebub's Silver Cornet Band, The Chief insisted that it should lead a parade on the day the Bessemer plant went into operation, considered by many as marking the real founding of Hell on an efficiency basis. Deep down in his heart MacDonald knew that the blowout was given to gratify the inordinate pride of the Infinite Worm, and Lucifer knew it too. They talked all this over and came to the conclusion that since the affair had to be held they might as well make the job complete-a gay and festive party with frills and embroidered edges and drawn work. It was a broad-gauge holiday with all the new fac tories thrown open for public inspection. It was a
92 EFFICIENCY IN HADES day of rest for the wicked; a day of innocent merry making for the employees. Public buildings were decorated. The boulevard leading to The Turrets became a Court of Honor lined with Ionic columns. Folks from the suburbs of Hades and even the re mote country districts flocked in to take part in the show. The Infinite Worm was so nervous and fussed up that it got irritable. It insisted that the Boss Mason make a personal inspection of the lining, that the Master Mechanic try out the valves and air pres sure, that the Chief Smelter give his word as a man and an expert that the sinners were high in heat units. "I shall die of chagrin if anything goes wrong," it confided to the newspapermen. "Everybody expects big things from me. It is something new to be an industrial development and I scarcely know how to act. If I make any mistakes please let the public know that I am just recovering from a recent illness." The Infinite Worm bothered a whole lot about the parade; needless fretting, because it had nothing to do with that part of the program. It was a stu pendous pageant and well worth going to Hell to witness. The General Manager threw all the lugs into it that he knew, introducing an incredible number of features that were new in those parts. Even Adam, who had seen the parade of the whole human race, was impressed. Partly out of convenience but mostly at the demand of the selfish beast, the reviewing stand was set up opposite the cavern of the Infinite Worm.
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 93 When the procession had gone by and the reverberat ing notes of the calliope were dying away in the dis, tance, The Chief, who was to press the button which launched the new industry, stepped forward on the platform and introduced MacDonald. Lucifer wanted the General Manager to limit himself to a few happy words, but MacDonald believing it to be the right and proper time to demonstrate his knowl edge of efficiency began a long-winded dissertation that made everybody weary. "Dear me," groaned the Infinite Worm, "why doesn't he quit and make way for something spectacular?" The crowd wanted to be courteous but it showed signs of disintegrating. Lucifer leaned over the edge of the platform and when Beelzebub came close whispered something in his ear. The musician nodded and backed away about the time that MacDonald was becoming enthused over a new process for drawing victims out into wire and hardening them. "Sherardizing may be defined as a process of sub limation, occlusion and adhesion, when considered with the theory of ions. It is possible to obtain-" An outburst of "Blue Danube" drowned the rest of the words. The Chief hammered on the desk for order. One blow hit the electric key which put the Infinite Worm into operation. The works started. Cords upon cords of the damned were swallowed with hundreds of tons of lime and a river of molten
94 EFFICIENCY IN HADES iron. There was the roar of a cyclone; the air was filled with myriads of sparks and flying meteors. A mighty shout went up from the spectators. Knowing that its reputation depended on this initial effort, the Infinite Worm threw its whole soul into the job. Burnt unreclaimed chunks of cinder and a torrent of metal spouted out. The Chief leaped upon the table and waved his silk hat in the air. MacDonald and Lucifer hugged each other. Sinners who had been palled by a too steady diet of liquid lead and burning oil struggled and fought for places in the waiting line while brigades of imps sweated and swore as they ladled this new fancy drink down the throats of the lost souls. "More sinners, more pig iron," yelled the Infinite Worm. "Don't crowd in on me, folks. Take your time; there's plenty of Bessemer steel for all of you." "Mr. MacDonald, this is a day which will never be forgotten in Hell. Allow me to congratulate you," greeted The Chief. "All praise must go to The Lady," replied the General Manager. "But for her efforts the Infinite Worm would be a liability and a poor one at that. Now it is a benefactor." The Lady patted him on the arm, an action not lost on the torrent of Purgatorians, who sent up a thundering cheer. The crowd swept forward; the Engineer was lifted on the shoulders of a couple of husky stokers
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 95 and carried in triumph down the congested, palpi tating street. Old residents freely confessed that never in their experience had such a spontaneous demonstration of popularity been manifested. "It'll be a week before the boys settle down," com plained Vulcan to The Chief. "That isn't serious. They have been on their good behavior for a long time and we can overlook the fun. Recreation is a fine thing." "All right, Chief, all right. You are the boss and I stand by you but I want to go on record against any frivolity that may hurt your authority. Decorate and put a new coat of paint over the place, Chief, but don't disturb the foundations. "They are solid enough," he answered confiden tially as he turned to The Lady, suggesting de . parture.
CHAPTER XII "By my resophagus, it is a relief to be here," commented Adam, settling back into a wicker rocker under one of the fern trees of the Liberal Hell. "The most delightful spot and the least popular. A mere handful of sin ners enjoying its comforts where there should be overcrowding. You are all busy and you are all happy. You never worry about the morals or the doings of the next-door neighbor. Why can't the rest of my family understand how foolish it is to wear sackcloth and decorate themselves with af.lhes; why can't they get away from superstition; why can't they abolish ignorance?" "It might pain them to be joyful," replied a con tented in an adjoining chair sipping a lem onade. "Most likely-Say, isn't that Lucifer over there with The Chief?" "Yes, the pair of them usually come around to watch the baseball games. Shall â€¢ I ask them to join us?" "By all means; I like their company, liberal, kindly and refined, they, like your own pleasant hell, fur nish refreshing relief from unpleasant surroundings. Who won?" he inquired of The Chief, who dropped into a chair on Adam's left. 96
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 97 "The Broilers; they simply put it all over the other fellows. They a spitball pitcher who is an artist. He held the Gridirons down to two hits. The other fellows are better base-runners, however, and if they had one good southpaw I believe they would cut some ice in Hell. I wonder if we couldn't get some of the middling-to-liberal hells to organize teams so we might have a real league?" "Yes, but the most of the best material is over in the long-suffering hells and can't be drafted," retorted Lucifer. "I'm afraid we'll have to be content with the bush league." "Confound this place anyway," said Adam. "Everything spoiled because a man's descendants insist upon the foolishest sort of punishments and the wickedest kinds of perditions. I sometimes think they are getting broader, and in the long run they are, but there is still a lot of nonsense in their makeup. They dream of boiling oil and pitchforks and furnaces and shrieks and curses when, if they so elected, they might have dancing and music. Honestly, Chief, doesn't that kind of a Hell make you tired?" "It's all the same to me, Adam. They established it and I administer it, but just in the lodge I will say that the bulk of your family show bad taste." "Of course they do and that's what makes me so hot. Can you imagine a more pitiable thing than the tract the gentle Father Furness wrote for children. He called it 'Sight of Hell.' Now, gentlemen, you
98 EFFICIENCY IN HADES will agree that anything written for the minds of children should carry joy and laughter and happi ness. It should be full of love and tenderness and if a moral be drawn it should be through the brighter side of life. For, pity knows, the ugly side and the bitterness and the agony will be thrust upon them soon enough. Can any of you, devils and sinners you may be, imagine the workings of a teacher's brain that tries to guide the young to goodness through paths of horror? "The prime story in the priest's tract tells of a girl. If you should happen to come across here in Hell, a young maiden with soft brown hair, her fair face distorted by torture and agony, her breath coming in short gasps and her arteries filled with boiling blood you may know that this is the tender child. You can hear the boiling of the blood and you can hear the marrow as it seethes in her bones and you can hear the brains as they bubble in her head. And why was this punishment, this damna ble torture, this accursed retaliation visited upon a being just budding into womanhood? Did she slay a babe in an inhuman way? Did she set fire to a building and destroy a hundred innocents? No. She was more depraved, more vile. She WENT TO THE THEATER. No wonder the tender preacher, after describing how her brains are now cooking within the walls of a skull that is red hot, piously adds, 'Think what a headache she must have.'" "Remember, Adam, that Hell has been brought
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 99 to a state of perfection and refinement by religious men," cautioned The Chief. "I understand. The trouble is that each tries to outdo the other in piling horror upon horror. With an infinite wisdom they create something that cannot be either proved or disproved and which at best can work only harm, and then they add the frills to make it tangible. They build a Hell out of nothing and people it with the best and the purest things the universe has ever known-human souls. Not con tent with hurling full grown men and women into Hell, they must pick up babes and sucklings in whose feeble minds the first rays of intelligence are flutter ing and dash them into the bottomless pits white with the heat immeasurable. â€¢ "Religion has given my people a tradition that is told in the nurseries and whispered by pious mothers in holy ecstasy. It is the story of how the robin got his red breast. It relates that because of the origi nal sin in me, a sin which I am proud of, the soul of a babe found itself in Hell along with millions of other tiny souls. Have you ever seen a baby suffer ing from the heat; have you ever watched its delicate temples throb with fever; have you ever heard that soft, piteous wail, a weak appeal for WATER? Then you may understand and you may know how this small soul sent out its pleadings for a cooling draught on its parched tongue. A robin heard the faint cry and was touched. It was a wicked, vil lainous, irreligious and damned robin but it could not
100 EFFICIENCY IN HADES bear to witness the sufferings of this babe whose only sin was that it had never been baptized. So it flew away to a brook to fetch a single drop of the fresh and sparkling water. And when it had brought back the precious load; when it had stilled the wails of the infant, the robin looked down and saw that all the feathers on its breast had been scorched red by the fires of Hell. In punishment, mind you, of its of fense against a religion which condemned that child to torment and resented any interference." "Well, would you abolish religion?" queried Lucifer. "No, never; but I would take away all that is brutal and absurd and unreasonable and heathenish and the first thing tackled would be putting out the fires of Hell." "And in that moment you would extinguish reli gion," firmly announced The Chief. "Not by the varicose veins of Voltaire. Real re ligion is truth and will never perish, but foolishness will. Ask any student of theology in this age to give you a detailed description of Hell and its punish ments and he w i ll dodge. Ask him if he will sub scribe to the views of Jonathan Edwards, a number of years back president of the College of New Jersey, which is a province in America, and he will dodge. Ask him if he accepts the scientific explana tion of the Rev. Father Baur why hell-fire does not consume and he will dodge. Ask him if he believes Swedenborg ever visited or saw Hell and he will
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 101 dodge. Ask him if he believes Luther met up with a devil and he will dodge. And for all of his dodg ing he is apt to be as moral a preacher and as good a guide as the others." "Had Edwards and Baur as clean-cut notions about Hell as the others?" inquired Lucifer. "Slightly," answered Adam ironically. "Edwards was picturesque in telling sinners what a fine long spell they were in for. He predicted: " 'After you have worn out the age of the sun, moon and stars in your dolorous groans and lamenta tions without rest, day or night-after you have worn out a thousand more ages, you shall have no hope but shall know that you are not one whit nearer to the end of your torments. Your bodies which shall have been burning in those glowing flames shall not have been consumed but will remain to roast through eternity.' "Like all good theologians, the kindly priest Baur dipped into the scientific side in these words: " 'You know what happens when a man makes salt pork. The salt permeates by degrees through every nerve and fiber. It works into the very sub stance of the bones and yet the meat is in no way disintegrated but rather preserved by this process of pickling. Precisely in the same manner the fire of Hell pierces the marrow, occupies the inwards and the brain boils therewith in raging smart and yet neither suffers death nor dissolution.' " "It can't be refuted," suggested Lucifer.
102 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "That's the pity of it. No more can Tobias Swindon's astronomical assertion that spots on the Sun are caused by congested masses of unburnt sin ners be disproved or you can combat the technical stand taken by Samuel Hopkins that once the fires of Hell go out the light of Heaven no longer shines. It does strike me that it's mighty poor economy to burn the larger portion of the population to supply illumination for the elect." "Perhaps the elect wouldn't make a strong enough light," interjected The Chief. "I know what high candle power the damned can supply." "Yes, but it hurts me to see my own relatives devoted to such commonplace ends." "Don't worry; just give MacDonald a little time and he will be getting twice the illumination with less material."
CHAPTER XIII A GOOD day's work done in the Chinese hell," MacDonald announced to The Lady, who was absorbing feverishly every minor item in the efficiency system and who daily followed the im provements. She gave him a sympathetic smile, encouraging him to go into details which in them selves were dry and technical but which were manna to her. "Our material there is brittle. We have so much on hand that it must be stored until the force can handle it. Evaporation takes place and unless the greatest care is exercised the percentage of waste is out of all reason . Now notice how efficiency comes to the rescue. In order to reduce the cost of storing and handling sinners and to prevent damage to the stock itself, we have installed especially designed retaining racks. "Short souls of large diameter are stacked by placing a pair of iron bars bent up at each end like a sled runner, under each layer of the accursed in the pile. The hooked ends on these safety bars pre vent the stock from rolling out and make it possible to build up the stack with just as many of the damned in the top layer as in the bottom layer, instead of in pyramid form. 103
104 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Longer sinners, but of comparatively large di ameters, are stacked between upright rods. Wrought iron pipes are imbedded in the concrete floor in vertical positions with the tops of the pipes just flush with the floor. The upright steel rods between which the victims are stacked are dropped into these pipes. The pipes are closely spaced in this section of the floor and the upright rods can be arranged in any position desired to suit the amount of stock on hand. "Other racks are used for storing sinners of the smaller diameters. These racks are built up upon cast iron arms extending from vertical columns, and the stock is laid across these arms. "Overhead traveling hoists make it easy to place the bars on the proper stacks. For transporting the shorter round souls after they have been cut to length and centered, a special truck is used. The frame of this truck is made from angle iron curved at the ends so that the sinners cannot roll off." "So simple and yet so orderly," exclaimed the gratified Lady. "The last time I was in that particular department the damned were lying around in confusion and disorder. So much was rendered use less by carelessness." "No more carelessness under my system. Can you imagine a state of affairs under which the imps find it profitable to prevent breakage?" "It is simply wonderful."
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 105 "Yes, during the past week every imp got a bonus," MacDonald continued. "Do you recall that huge machine over in the printing department-the one we use to emboss se lected sinners?" "Yes, it puts such delicate tints on them. But why do you ask?" "Simply to give you an illustration of how efficiency can be applied to prevent accidents. Before I started to install safety devices that embossing ma chine bit off more than eight thousand claws, hoofs and tails attached to the devils operating it. I put a guard around it that cost $9 and now any imp is safe in running it. Why, I would be willing to wager that a crew of epileptic devils could run it a year without so much as a split finger nail. "In this safety first game you've got to use educa tion. It took a lot of argument to convince the heads of departments and a lot more argument to show the common fiends it was for their own good. "Over in the tannery are big wooden drums for treating hides of flayed sinners each big enough to hold four hundred. One kick at a lever close to the floor will set the drum spinning. Now, work men have to go inside to remove the hides. Twice it has happened that some one came along and set the drum turning with a devil inside 1 We have now provided a locking device so that nothing can start a drum if the fellow inside has the key.
106 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Here are some of the rules I laid down in my 'Safety First' campaign: " 'In engine rooms floors should be kept free from oil and grease to prevent devils from slipping and falling against moving parts of machinery.' " 'Flywheels should be guarded. Railing, wire net or metal casings may be used.' " 'All elevators should have automatic gates at least six feet high at each floor, platform or scaffold. Where the cage travels past beams, floors, and so on, these should be beveled and sheeted on under side to prevent any one getting caught.' ' ' 'Runways used for walk or wheelbarrow shall be at least twenty-four inches wide, cleated under neath. Cleats should be provided to prevent imps slipping.' " 'When possible, all material should be piled at least four and one-half feet from switch tracks. If this cannot be done, signs should be posted, "No clearance for devils on side of car." ' " 'Celluloid eye shields, cap fronts, "waterproof" collars, all very inflammable, should be forbidden in foundries, blacksmith shops and other places where they may ignite from a flame or spark.' " "Dear Jim," broke in The Lady. "I want our people to know the beautiful things you are doing for them." "My Lady, a few years hence Hell will wonder how it ever struggled along without me."
CHAPTER XIV THEY swung lazily through the heated sum mer months, each day showing a more compact organization and higher efficiency. They diverted themselves with Old Home Week. They conducted a Country Fair. They worked hard; they played hard and it was a happier and a brighter Hell than they had ever known. Autumn came with its wealth of color. There were no frosts. Only a tang in the air that put life and spirits into the most jaded. Ove . r the pumice fields hung an indescribable haze which deepened into soft purple as evening fell. The baying of the Hell hounds which had resounded in the valleys during the afternoon ceased. The train of sportsmen and their ladies returning from the hunt straggled homeward. Cutting down through a narrow by-path, the En gineer and The Lady entered a picturesque glen carpeted with disintegra . ted asbestos, soft as down, and fringed with the overhanging branches of petrified cedars. They dismounted and seated themselves by the side of a rivulet of lava which rippled and sang as it merrily ran its way. The Lady was in a bantering mood. "When will we tire of this, Jim?" 107
108 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Never." "That means a long time here." "All the more reason for us to be happy. A love that has no ending is something to look forward to." "You may become tired of me?" "Does any man flee from inspiration?" "Your work broadens, becomes more absorbing; why should it not drive me out of your thoughts?" "All effort must have a goal; all energy must ulti mately reach a definite end. I have thought of this and I tremble to contemplate that sometime I will have perfected suc . h a system of efficiency that opera tion will be automatic. Under earthly conditions this is a theoretical state which never can be reached. Here it is more than a probability; it is a certainty. When that era of organization and development is attained my work may be considered at an end. I must have something beyond this-some grand am bition. I hope to find it in you." "Tenderly spoken, my knight; you shall not be disappointed." MacDonald kissed her on the forehead. His head dropped into her lap and as they talked her fingers played through his crisp locks. "It's strange how things that we can't understand ultimately turn out for the best," he mused. "I know that I have little excuse for bringing up a personal matter, but my family life was not p1easant. Now that it is all past and gone I can speak freely and without rancor. I married a woman who had a
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 109 violent temper. Her love was strongest when I gave her an excuse for jealousy. When I was tract able she suspected me but when I fought she adored me. She interfered with my professional career. I fell into decline which she mistook for laziness. She used to tell me that she would make my life a hell on earth. Now I am in a fair position to judge; I can see how far she fell short of the promise; if she only had made it half a hell how happy we might have been. I was ignorant then. How absurd it was for me to struggle to escape, but I did fight until the burden became too great. I had invented an elevator which needed only to be tested to prove its success. I tried to get my friends, my enemies, utter strangers and life-weary wanderers to become pas sengers. They declined. I appealed to my wife to take a trip. She answered back: 'Try it yourself and to Hell with you.' That's how I got here." "Do you regret it?" "Not for a second; and what's more I intend to install that elevator in Hades. It can drop a load of sinners quicker and harder than any pile driver we have in stock. It is an indispensable adjunct to our equipment." One of the Hell-horses pricked up his ears but neither of the two on the bank of the stream noticed it. Absorbed each in the other they did not observe a figure on a mount approaching through the stone forest. On the soft earth the animal's hoofs made no sound as it advanced in a sort of aimless fashion.
110 EFFICIENCY IN HADES The rider was not aware of the presence of the others until within thirty feet. The whinny of a Hell-horse caused him to raise his head. He sat quietly. A half-smile when The Lady bent over to kiss MacDonald was the only indication of interest. He did not linger but with the apologetic air of one who intruded and wished to make amends he turned his mount and quietly departed. Not long after, The Lady and the Engineer galloped back to The Turrets. The Chief, fastidious and well groomed, was throwing an opera cloak across his shoulders' when she came out of her apartments. "I have a dinner engagement at Madame's, my dear," he volunteered. "I shall return late." "Don't you think you are spending too much time at that woman's house? I am entitled to a certain amount of consideration." "There are two sides to our work: the esthetic and the practical. You can be of great aid to the General Manager in developing efficiency while I may be able to do my little share in fostering the growth of our finer side. Let us do our p a rts as we see best." He kissed The Lady's hand and went out. He was stopped on the sidewalk by a delegation. "Chief, we represent the Fraternal Guild of Ap plied Dentists," began the spokesman. "We have a complaint, or rather an appeal, to make." "Proceed, gentlemen." uTo make a long story short, we feel that we are
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 111 being deprived of a livelihood; that our occupation is being taken away from us; that our entire profes sion is in jeopardy." "In what way?" "Gnashing of teeth has ceased since the installa tion of the efficiency fad. In the good old days the gnashing of teeth was one of the favorite occupa tions of the unredeemed. Even the youngest can recall that in the majority of the sub-hells the noise of gnashing was so great that megaphones were used by the foremen. Steady practice wore down the molars. All of us had plenty to do. We were called upon to cement broken teeth, fill others and make bridge work. No man can do any gnashing if his teeth are worn down to the gums and many a day I have put crowns on stumps bringing joy to the dis consolate. Is there any mote pleasing sight than a Hell full of maddened inmates gnashing in unison upon sound bicuspids? Is there any more entertain ing department or one more entitled to encouragement? And now this happy recreation is being slowly throttled by modernism; sacrificed on the block called Efficiency while thousands of our fel lows are being deprived of employment." "In what way, gentlemen?" "There is no inducement to gnash. All our early and older hells made careful provision for this f ea ture, the specifications distinctly providing that there should be a certain place set apart for wailing and gnashing of teeth. Anybody can wail, even a child.
112 EFFICIENCY IN HADES No art is required and no practice called for that but with gnashing it is a far different story. It takes a full grown man of vigor and temperament to accomplish anything approaching satisfactory results. In the later hells gnashing was discarded. We did not complain because we had plenty of work in hand. But when your Efficiency Engineer invaded our territory and on the strength of a superficial survey de cided that gnashing is a useless and nonproductive pastime and puts dentists to work picking unburnt coal out of the ash bins so that nothing will go to waste, we assert it is time to call a halt. It's a scan dal to think of some of our most proficient profes sional men who have spent their existence here acquiring the full technic of gnashing, turned out on the dumps where ability counts for naught." "There is another side to this, gentlemen," The Chief said. "I have just seen a report from our General Manager showing that by diverting the gnashers into segregaters he has cut down the cost of operating the power plant by eight per cent. That means a vast sum of money." "What's going to become of us?" "I cannot say. Most likely you will be employed to help in grading. We are going to dump those ashes into the low spots of Hell. Filling is in your line and you may become more useful than ever." With a burst of wild howls the Applied Dentists fled into the night. "It may be," thought The Chief, "we will be com-
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 113 pelled to proceed slowly in the policy of eliminating useless occupations. Customs are deeply rooted and traditions of centuries may not be altered without argument. Gnashing was a pretty practice after all and it harmed nobody. Pity it had to go." Lucifer had not returned from work, Madame informed The Chief when he made brief inquiries. "He telephoned me that there was some friction in the Transportation Department and when this was adjusted he had an appointment with Vulcan. He did not tell me what this was about. The fuss with Charon has been going on for about a week. Lucifer told the old gentleman that motor boat rac ing on the Styx had to cease. The boys were slip ping out with the power boats at night, joy riding and the news got to MacDonald. He gave Lucifer an awful raking over, hinting that discipline was lax and advising him that if he wanted to hold his job Charon should be compelled tu stay on the works or get out. The foolish Lucifer took his lecture like a child, admitting that the responsibility rested on him. He hunted up Charon and where do you think he located him?" "In the library reading the log book of Noah?" "Ha-ha-ha I Charon, who owns a six hundred horse power high gear racer, in his library? My dear Chief, Lucifer saw a streak of lightning flash past the Admiralty Building raising a six-foot wake. He caught a sight of the old gentleman at the wheel and he heard a crowd of girls crying, 'Let 'er out,
114 EFFICIENCY IN HADES Pop. Brush the cobwebs off the river.' When Charon cut straight through an oil tanker and jammed his steering gear the girls said it was a pity such a pleasant evening had to be spoiled by people butting in on their river. Lucifer called the old rogue to the side when the party landed so as to not embarrass him in front of the guests and gave him MacDonald's orders but did not make the slightest impression. He intended to seek re laxation in his own way, he said, and so long as he kept traffic moving it was nobody's business how he put in his spare time. Lucifer explained that he had no right to use public property for private jaunts but the old chap offered to pay for the boat then and there. Lucifer then told him how he had broken half the harbor regul a tions and was setting a bad example. I really am ashamed to give you Charon's comments on the idea of setting a bad example in Hades. I Lucifer on the phone to turn the case over to MacDonald and let him discip line the head of the Transportation Division." "Why didn't Lucifer fetch Charon over the head with a boat hook?" "He might have done worse under the old system but he is carried away with Efficiency and MacDonald's idea is to win the support of inferior officers by moral suasion and argument." "That is true. I forgot. "
CHAPTER XV THE voice of Lucifer in angry dispute was heard in the hallway. He burst into the apartment followed by Vulcan, who was remonstrating: "I'll leave it to The Chief, I'll leave it to any man, I'll leave it to Hell. Posterity can judge; history can decide. I am willing to take blame for my own actions but you can't hold me responsible for a system, Lucifer, you can't do it and be fair." "Come, gentlemen, this will never do." "I tell you, Vulcan, there is no excuse," shouted Lucifer, ignoring The Chief and shaking his finger under the nose of his companion. "That's the third lot of evaporated Malays to be rejected by the inspectors. I gave you the benefit of doubt in the other two instances but with this last batch I took samples myself. The contract called for an article that was bone dry. Did you give it? I ask you, did you give it?" "Let me explain." "Explanations don't make business. Chief, I want to tell you that not one of those Malays con tained less than twenty per cent water. They should have been evaporated so that they would crackle. The inspecting crew was right in rejecting them. 115
116 EFFICIENCY IN HADES Store stuff like that away for two weeks and it will be so mouldy and mildewed that it will not bring five cents a hundred pounds." "I couldn't dry them properly. I didn't have-" "Don' t I know that?" "Let Vulcan finish," commented The Chief. "Tell Mr. MacDonald that I want him." "Look me in the eye, Lucifer," insisted Vulcan. "Look me squarely in the eye and a nswer me whether you ever had any complaint about evaporated Malays until the new machinery was in stalled?" "What new machinery?" interfered The Chief. "The new superheated steam system. I never used anything but old-fashioned furnace heat until the General Manager figured out a way to utilize the exhaust. He superheated it in some way and set up a lot of pipes. I can't get results with it." The Efficiency Engineer arrived while Vulcan was explaining the details of the new appliance, consist ing of a drying tube fitted with coils of p i pes. Throughout the length of the tube w a s an endless belt. Mathematically it was perfect; that is, the wet material was placed on the belt and carried through the tube in a given number of minutes at the end of which the evaporated Malays were supposed to be dumped into a receiver by the conveyer. An enterprising student wanted to make an attachment to get value out of another waste and in th a t wa y produce what he was pleased to call Smoked Malays,
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 117 hut Vulcan did not desire to change the brand. The fault that Vulcan found with the new evaporator was that it sacrificed quality for speed. MacDonald listened attentively, asked a few questions, and said: "Lucifer is quite correct. The responsibility rests solely with Vulcan for allowing a deficient article to go out. The defect in machinery has no bearing on the case. Granted the apparatus did not work properly, it was the duty of the man in charge to detect the fact that the Malays were only evaporated on the surface. He should have shut down the plant, destroyed the imperfect stock and reported to the constructing department." "But your men told me the machine was guaran teed to work." "You should have made tests. It is an axiom of efficiency, my dear Vulcan, that nothing is sound until demonstrated." The head of the operating department picked up his hat viciously: "Economy or no economy, we're going hack to the furnace method. I know what that will do to the damned Malays." He left in anger. The Chief, who had been ill at ease, turned upon the General Manager. "Don't you think, Mr. MacDonald, that a part of the bl a me comes hack to the young men in your engineering department?" "Not at all. I am extremely careful to have the
118 EFFICIENCY IN HADES figures of our designers checked and double checked. You will find, if you look at the drawings and the specific a tions, that this machine is perfect. I can readily see how there might be a lowering of heat units but we have provided a sufficiently high factor here. Efficiency's greatest obstacle is the human factor. The speed at which the endless belt travels might theoretically be nine feet a second. Suppose a careless employee allows it to proceed a t eighteen feet per second and you have an article that instead of being bone dry is only fifty per cent dry." "I see, I see," agreed The Chief. "We in crease the skill and proficiency of the employees. Incidentally may I ask what you intend to do about Charon?" "We can bring him around all right and if severe measures are required time locks will be placed on the magnetos." MacDonald was firm. Lucifer and the General Manager went into the study to examine some charts prepared in connec tion with the most comprehensive public improve ments yet contemplated, the repaving of Hades, while Madame carried The Chief off to the con servatory, where she had some rare blooms, ferric cuttings. She pouted because the intellectual side had not been developed in proportion to the in dustrial progress. "Mr. MacDonald is impressing you because he creates something tangible. The education of the masses, the raising of a standard of intelligence and
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 119 the fostering of a love for the beautiful can never be popular because they are abstract." "The time is not yet ripe for a Renaissance in Perdition; we are a long way from Culture Universal. This is an industrial age. Let us profit by it." "There is a difference between industry and ex periment. You have always had industry. All you are doing now is providing another method to pro duce the same result; at least, you believe the same result will follow. To-night you have had an ex ample of one result that was unsatisfactory." "Merely a technical failure." He chucked her under the chin and in that odd moment The Lady emerged from behind a clump of foliage. There was imperious anger in the eyes of the First Female of Inferno. "I merely called to take you away from the social uplift," she announced in low, measured tones, "but I hardly counted upon interrupting a dainty domestic scene. We shall depart now, if it pleases Madame." The Chief followed meekly as she swept up her long train. When they were seated in the limousine she turned upon him. "A pretty for the much respected executive of all this realm," she hissed. "You seek out the higher intelligence t<> obtain companionship and cooperation just as if you : cannot find it in your own home. You try to improve Hell by philandering with she-devils. Yo u
120 EFFICIENCY IN HADES ought to be ashamed of yourself, at your age. How dare you look Lucifer in the face after making love to his friend?" "Do you think Madame likes me?" It was infuriating, this mild, innocent query. "Does she like you? No, she quite hates you; she has no ambitions whatever. She loathes the pros pect of taking my place in The Turrets. But I warn you; don't be too certain of getting rid of me; don't be so foolish as to believe that I will surr_ ender every thing to make that woman happy. Remember that I have some influential friends in Hell." The Chief opened his lips to make a reply, then drew them together in a tight line, restraining his impulse to speak. "Why don't you answer me?" "Because you are a foolish Lady." The following evening she was shocked by his announcement that he intended to call upon Madame. She protested in anger, then in tears, but he ignored both and went out. He returned early and for some reason she could not understand The Lady was glad. Still, her bitterness against her rival was intense; it grew greater as she brooded. With a woman's logic she associated her troubles with the change that had come over Hades and be came convinced that MacDonald held a share of the blame. More courteous than ever, suave to a degree, quiet in his dignity, The Chief left The Turrets each eve-
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 121 ning and came back after not more than an hour's absence. In that short interval The Lady suffered more torments than any sinner in the most brutal division of the Stygian empire. She did not know how to meet his moves. He greeted The Lady ten derly, then went to his study. During these trying days she refused to meet MacDonald; held to but one confidant, the Infinite Worm. To it she freely told her misfortune and begged advice. The Infinite was frank; brutally so. "You brought this trouble upon yourself. Half of Hades knows how you and the General Manager have been sloshing around, and the wonder is that The Chief has not made a protest. Nobody says there has been any actual wrong about your associa tion with MacDonald but when talk is loose the worst phase is always placed upon even Platonic friendships. I'll tell you that the efficiency man has fooled all of us. There. is just enough sound sense in his game to make it look dazzling on the surface but the core is full of air bubbles; I, for one, am getting tired of it. "I didn't make an industrial institution out of myself because it held any strong attraction; no indeed. You persuaded me. I always have been too accommodating for my own good. MacDonald hasn't closed down the works once since I went into opera tion. He trea ts me like a machine and forgets that I have refined feelings. One of these days I'll get disgusted with my existence and create a scene that
122 EFFICIENCY IN HADES will make all Hell sit up and take notice. I don't make vain threats." The Lady shook her fair head sadly. "Perhaps I was too much impressed by the General Manager's winning manners." "Well, my advice to you is to pay more attention to your home and take less stock in efficiency. You always were too ambitious."
CHAPTER XVI "T !STEN," said Adam. "Now that I've got you .L two fellows together I intend to tell you just what I think of you." The Infinite Worm squirmed. Beelzebub smiled sheepishly. "If there is anything detestable in Hell it is gos sip; bad enough on earth but simply unthinkable here." He pointed a finger toward the Infinite Worm. "You know and Beelzebub knows that once we get settled in Hades there is slight reputation left to any of us, but what small fragments remain should be very precious. Let us hold fast to them." "I'm sure that I never said anything about you," protested Beelzebub. "By my patient pancreas, talk about me all you choose but don't talk about any other person; and show some decency by keeping the women out of your slanderous comments. Half a dozen loud mouthed imps have come to me with stories that both you two chaps have been circulating; stories that connected the names of The Lady and the General Manager. If your finer sensibilities were shocked and if you thought Hell was getting a hard name, why didn't you hunt up The Chief and tell . him so; or, why didn't you go straight to The Lady 123
124 EFFICIENCY IN HADES and beg her to reform; or why didn't you chase MacDonald and convert him to a better and a purer life? I ask, why didn't you? I can't say that I expected you to display any of the higher ethics be cause you never had advantages, being a sinner; but I did count upon something better from the Infinite Worm." "Didn't I tell you it was wrong?" demanded the last named, looking fiercely at his associate. "Didn't I warn you that it was unfair to The Lady and most unbecoming?" "You were the first one to tell me of the scandal." "Yes, but I spoke in confidence; I had no idea that you would spread the dirt across all Hell." "Not much that is creditable can be said for either of you," pronounced Adam. "The Infinite Worm must have talked with a regiment of friends-in confidence-while you seem to have busied yourself, Beelzebub, by spreading the glad news from the housetops. Just between us three, The Lady is not apt to go into hysterics because, like myself, and others, she has been discussed a whole lot. The big point is that she has to live up to her standing as companion to The Chief and all of this chatter is very apt to cause him pain. That would be cruel." "Far be it from me to bring him any annoyance," remarked Beelzebub as his conscience smote him. "I, for one, am ready to put an end to this immoral agitation."
EFFICIENCY IN HADES .125 "Spoken like a true devil," exclaimed the Infinite Worm enthusiastically. "I am standing right by your side and the next person who dares to make any evil allegation about The Lady, The Chief or Hell itself will have to settled with me." Adam left them in sickening disgust. He met Charon. "Walk with me to the dry-docks," invited the head of the Transportation Department. "I want to confide in you." "What's up?" "It is about that Efficiency Expert; his morals are bad." For a full five minutes Adam swore; it partially relieved him and he said resignedly: "Go ahead; unburden yourself; I'll do my best for the sake of good morality." "Madame came to me last evening," began Charon with gusto, I had . a little party of friends out for a spin and she suggested that more propriety ought to be shown by The Lady in her affair with the General Manager. I told her that I was glad she opened the subject because I too had noticed an undue interest manifested by MacDonald and it grieved me to detect a reciprocal response on her part. We discussed the situation in an open and liberal spirit, please remember, having in mind the best impulses of Hell. The Madame said that she felt it was only fair to The Chief that some person of standing and position should place him on his
126 EFFICIENCY IN HADES guard, so she honored me with that task. She de duced that the fault lay in the inordinate ambition of The Lady, who sought to increase her prestige by advancing MacDonald to such a degree that in time he, and not The Chief, would be in complete control of the Infernal Regions. "To be sure I informed Madame that this was in conceivable but, nevertheless, I agreed to consult with you since you know more about The Lady than any of the rest of us. I think I assented to the general program that the Efficiency Expert be shown the error of his ways; not in a spirit of captious criticism but rather through loving and tender ad vice to the end that he might come to see how he was bringing odium to a happy and contented com munity and thus alter his habits. Both Madame and I felt it was distressing to see a young man tempted. Madame was of the opinion that MacDonald's fine career was being ruined under the spell, the wicked influence, I might say, of an older and more designing mind. To reassure you, Adam, I will say that I resented and rebuked the suggestion that The Lady was bent on the overthrow of The Chief; a revolution in Hell we know would be impossible. My own personal view is that The Lady has been dazzled by the unique system inaugurated by the man. Recalling your own associations with The Lady, I hope I have not hurt you." "Do you know what I think of you?" "Nothing unworthy, I trust."
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 127 "Yes, worse than that; I tell you, Charon, that you are a long-winded, hypocritical, muck-minded ancient fraud." "Dear me, this from an old friend?" "Listen; have you talked on this damnable subject with any other person?" "Not a lost soul." "Are you certain about that?" "Come to think about it, I did happen to allude briefly to the matter when I warned several of the girls to be more careful but I used the incident merely as an example. Perhaps, yes, I am sure that: Madame spoke to Lucifer." "How did he take it?" "Well, she told me that when she opened the topic he shut her up; informed her flatly that she had so little room to talk about the frailties of others that if she tried it there wouldn't be breathing space. I can't understand that chap; he acts more like a saint than a sinner." "More power to him. Hell hasn't spoiled Luci er; but you want me to aid you in conserving the unsullied morals of Hades. I'll do it, do it gladly, but you must do your share. This assistance shall consist of convincing Madame that she must seal her mouth shut. It is not easy. Both of you must forget all you have heard and all you imagine. Give MacDonald all the cooperation that is in your in sectivorous soul. Place your reliance in my ability to lead him upon better and more narrow paths;
128 EFFICIENCY IN HADES have faith in my skill to persuade The Lady to forget all save her home influence." "We will be guided by your wisdom," replied Charon, and he cut short the painful interview to direct his energy toward an immigrant boat warping in at a nearby wharf. "Drop that fender lower, you horned toad of a dock walloper!" he shrieked to a deckhand, "Do you want to scrape all the paint off the side of the craft? Ease up on that line; ease up I say, or you'll hurt somebody. Officer, hold that crowd of cattle back until they get the gangplank out. Bust that wop in the face, he's crowding the women. Hold them back; hold them back. I never saw peo ple so much in a hurry to get to Hell." Adam walked away with the imprecations and orders of Charon ringing in his ears and he pondered on the sad state into which Hades had fallen. No longer was it like the old days, no longer was it soothing. "I wish I were back in-no, I don't," he corrected himself on second thought. "This place, after all, is very real and the fact that new machinery, new methods, new conditions surround us is proof of ad vancement and proof that we have a solid foundation and are progressing. The Chief has the right idea; let the best brains work out the future, and while woe follows in the wake of activity, still activity means advancement, and that is our goal. Happiness and progress cannot be in true harmony."
CHAPTER XVII THE LADY found a motley delegation in conference with The Chief. A wild bar barian, tribal leader, w a s making the t a lk. "On earth, Your Excellency, we were the laugh ing stock of others because we were called Devil Worshipers. In our innocent way we believed that you were confined to the Infernal Regions for ten thousand years, at the end of which time you would be restored to your once high estate with increased power. We reasoned that if this be true, and if in the end you came back as a mighty ruler then it would be poor policy to abuse you when you were down and outcast. We do not say, Your Excel lency, that it is not the proper thing for the rest of the world peoples to call you bad names, to hurl insults at you or to treat you contemptuously. The world never ceases to kick the man in disrepute. "If we, poor barbarians who came from the foot hills of Asia Minor mountains, did not believe Your Excellency would be released from Hades we might do some kicking ourselves. But we hold to another hope. So we say, and so we teach our children to say: 'Here is a devil who has done wrong and is being punished. When he gets out 1 2 9
130 EFFICIENCY IN HADES he will be given his old job. Very likely he will have a great deal to do with us. Therefore let us hold a kind word for him. Let us say he will be a better man for his suffering. Let us forget the evil that once was in him and look only to the good that he may be able to do in the future.' Then, when all things are atoned for and we, humble and ignorant mountain folk, come before Your Excel lency, it is our hope that we will be dealt with con siderately. Perhaps we are selfish. Our purpose however in coming before you to-day is on another matter; we beg an indulgence." "What is it?" "For a long time we have dwelt on the slopes of barren hills in the distant parts of Hades. We have harmed no one; a ll that we ask is to be left in peace, the peace of Perdition. But a stranger has come among us bringing with him reckless men and strange towers which are set upon high spots. Also a steam engine which raises and drops a heavy spear into the ground. This stranger tells us that he has been sent by a great man called the General Manager to seek for petroleum. This petroleum stuff is black water and it smells. We are told that it is fine for boiling sinners. We do not know why sin ners should be boiled. We cannot understand why we should be driven from our homes to please sin ners. We ask Your Excellency to protect us from this General Manager who would destroy us." The Chief looked away from the ragged group.
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 131 He saw The Lady standing in the doorway, tears glistening on her long lashes. He beckoned to her and as she approached the hill-people dropped to their knees in homage. "We will allow The Lady to decide," he an nounced. ,, She gazed upon them. She saw yearning hope shining in the half averted eyes of men and women. She felt that mysterious touch imparted by the primitive soul and which is so often lost under the varnish of refinement. She looked beyond The Turrets to a ragged, torn, inhospitable country dotted with stone huts, a land of solitude. Exile to this spot an inhabitant of any other part of Hell and he would bemoan his fate as heartless. And yet, to these it was pleasant because it was Home. "Go back to your hills, my friends," she told them. "Go back and know you that so long as one stone of this castle rests upon another you will not be disturbed. Go back to your fields to find the derricks levelled and the streams of black grease sealed up." They crept forward timid as children and kissed the edge of her gown. In silence they passed out of the great hall. The Chief bent over The Lady. "Do not lose your faith in efficiency," said he with a smile. She clung to him sobbing passionately. "There are some things that efficiency cannot do . "
132 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Do you think it unsuited for our peculiar needs?" "Yes, it is not true and not real. It merely is a gilding laid on common sense. Get rid of this thing that has hurt me." "I am sorry, dear girl', but I cannot accomplish that quickly. I have given my pledge for a fair test. The good it has accomplished thus far out weighs the negative side." "Then at least keep the General Manager away from The Turrets. I cannot trust him." "Very good," he replied. There was a break in their conversation with the entrance of a terrified imp who flung himself at the feet of The Lady crying, "Protect us, guard us from the mutilating hand of the monsters." His face was pale, his clothing was in shreds. What was most shocking was that his horns were gone. "What has happened to you?" demanded The Chief. "Speak up." "An order has been issued by the General Manager commanding that we be de horned. He says horns are neither ornamental nor useful and must be removed. They're gouging them off with chisel and mallet. To think that all this suffering should come to Hell. Oh-h-h," and the poor devil rocked m agony. "What can I do?" asked The Chief. "Perhaps
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 133 Mr. MacDonald has some good reason for doing this; I do not like to interfere." "If you do not command that this cruel order be rescinded at once," warned The Lady, "I shall, as President of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals go to the offices of the General Manager and arrest him. Do you want me to make a public exhibition of myself?" The Chief clapped his hands for a messenger. "Notify Mr. MacDonald to suspend the order de-horning the imps until he receives further word from me," he commanded.
CHAPTER XVIII DARK Asfal is the profoundest degree in the Mohammedan hell. There are few roads and pilgrims find the traveling pain ful. There is but a single form of punishment, hill climbing. It requires seventy Autumns for the average pedestrian to reach the crest of the eleva tion, and when he arrives at the end of the journey alert guards compel him to retrace his steps and repeat the trip. The soil is a mixture of sand and pitch, sticky and clinging. It holds back the sinner at every step, caking his feet with heavy masses of stuff that weighs like lead. Struck by the peculiar composition of the mixture through which weary damned ones dragged their way, one of the guards named Samuelson, who was taking a course at the Agricultural College, made a soil analysis. He sent his papers to M acDonald with the sug gestion that the material might be found available for road-m a king. Meanwhile this bright young man, working his way through school gathered a few of his friends together, organized a syndicate and leased the mining rights of Dark Asfal on a royalty basis. They got very favorable terms be cause the sheiks in charge of the Moslem section liked the idea of a steady income. The promoters 134
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 135 took out several tons of the stuff, refined it, built up a stretch of road that looked all right, and be cause of its having been discovered in Asfal, they called the new material Asphalt. The General Manager sent several inspectors to report on the sample road. The honest young man who was try ing to turn an equally honest penny convinced them that this was a wonderful discovery. Such flattering statements came into the office that the Efficiency Engineer went out himself and veri fied the find of an inexhaustible supply of first-class asphalt available for re-paving Hades. With this material every street, alley, road, boulevard and lane would be smooth as a floor. Lucifer advised against haste and warned him to wait and see how the wearing qualities of the asphalt stood up against the paving formerly used. MacDonald was arbitrary. "I know all about asphalt," he said with finality. "I know that this ' is the best I have ever laid my eyes on and when I can have it laid at eighty cents a square yard it's almost like getting it as a gift." So he made a contract with the Bedouin Con struction Company, organized by Samuelson for the re-paving of Hades. Enormous crews immediately started to rip up the old streets while armies of other devils followed right back of them putting down the asphalt. Road rollers puffed and rumbled. The contractors suggested that the completed streets be blocked off until a large part of
136 EFFICIENCY IN HADES Hell had been provided with clean, new, smooth streets. They told him the effect would be much more impressive if he threw open to the public use in one grand flourish the miles upon miles of improved streets, rather than a few blocks piecemeal fashion. "You can hold a parade on the smooth paving with music, speeches and open air dancing. It will be the climax of your career," the scholarly Samuel son showed him. MacDonald rubbed his hands with delight. Matters had not been going very well. He could not understand why The Lady persistently refused to meet him although he suspected that the petroleum and the de-horning incidents had much to do with it. There was an undercurrent of opposition from the employees. The attitude of The Chief had not changed, however, and Lucifer was loyal as ever. Both watched the building of the new streets with absorbing interest. The Chief was impatient for a spin over the asphalt in his motor car. He assented to MacDonald's request that he lead the procession on the day the thoroughfares were opened to pub lic travel. Collections of payments on completed work were made with undue haste by the treasurer of the Bedouin Construction Company. This created talk and there were hints of graft in the Highway Department. Still another delegation visited The Turrets, this
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 137 time a body of sinners who wanted night schools established. "Under the new system we notice that our daily tasks, punishments and penances are completed in half a day," read the communication they presented. "This leaves us with twelve hours of unoccupied time on our hands and we hold that it can be utilized to large advantage by night schools, public lyceums and lecture courses." There was a lot more but The Chief refused to read. He turned loose a pack of hell-hounds and drove them off the grounds; then he sent for Lucifer. "If we are turning this place into a pleasure resort, I want to know it," he added after explain ing the latest experience. "What's the cause of this time being wasted?" "Improved machinery, more efficient methods. You remember, Chief, when it took us a full day to rip our guests into halves with a buck saw. Now we use a gasoline engine and do it in quarter the time. So it is all through Hell." "Cut 'em into quarters, sixteenths, thirty-seconds. Boil 'em twice as long. Double and treble every punishment. Get the most out of your machinery, Lucifer. Keep things on the jump so that there won't be any time for fads." "But the General Manager says the efficiency system demands relaxation." "Who is running this place?" "You are, Chief."
138 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "Well, obey me. I like efficiency. I would not be without efficiency for a second but when it con flicts with the motives of Hell, principles are going to be maintained. No matter what Mr. MacDonald says you apply efficiency so that it will increase torture and not soften it." Lucifer saluted. He hunted up Madame and told her the glad news. "Perhaps it would be wise under those conditions for me to put aside the intellectual development," she replied. "I agree with you." Without saying anything to the General Manager, Luc if er sent word down the line to heads of all departments to use their best judgment in all details of management but no new fangled appli ances were to be discarded because of bias. Reverting to first principles brought out the toasting forks abolished by General Order No. 627, using them right merrily in putting the unre generates through their paces. MacDonald was shocked when one of the imps declined to surrender his badge of control, boasting that Lucifer would sustain him. He hustled around to The Chief. "I want to serve notice that I intend to discipline Lucifer for disloyalty," he ejaculated. "Disloyalty to whom, Mr. MacDonald?" "To me, to the Organization. He has interfered with the System, so that I cannot control the men. Every elevator in Hades has ceased running and
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 139 the devils have gone back to their old tricks of hurl ing sinners into the bottomless pits instead of using the more humane lifts. They say it saves time. Lucifer gave them permission. One of the guards insulted me when I told him to stop jabbing his victims with a fork. Am I the General Manager or is Lucifer?" "You are, Mr. MacDonald." "Then he shall suffer for his interference." "No, he was simply acting on my orders." Stupefied, the Efficiency Expert stammered. "Have you abandoned my magnificent work?" "Hardly, I am merely trying to get back to first principles. Let us be frank. I will admit that there is much that is good in your new ideas and you have a faculty for getting results. I am beginning to fear, however, that you misunderstood what is expected of us. We have but a single excuse for maintaining Hell as a public convenience-we are called upon to inflict punishment. When we depart from this motive we become useless and cannot justify our existence. In so far as the spirit of efficiency is applied to extending painful experiences, it has my support, but when you convert Hell into a Recreation Center then I protest. Mr. MacDonald, I have given you full and generous assist ance and I still want you to succeed. To do this you must grasp the true conception of your work. The interference of Lucifer is merely an effort to keep you in the right path."
140 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "I have been trying to do my best for Hell and I cannot change this beautiful plan." "All that I ask is that you do your worst and Hades will be the better for it." "You ask me to destroy everything. I cannot do it. I will leave Hell first." "Suit yourself, Mr. MacDona ld. I am avoiding any display of feeling but I merely advise you that self-defense forces me to throw my protectin g arm over the Infernal Regions. No man can ignore the rumblings of the Infinite Worm. No self-respecting devil can afford to permit helpless imps to be de horned. No executive can permit commonplace sin ners to bask in the sunshine of a luxurious Hades because they are sympathetically regarded by a General Manager." "This is insulting." "Be calm, Mr. MacDonald. Go home and medi tate. Then come to me and admit that I know how Hell should be managed. I shall t a ke part in the opening of the new streets to-night. That is a con structive measure which helps everybody and does not conflict with our motives. I wish, however, that you would take the trouble to assure the Infinite Worm that it will be allowed to occupy its time in destroying the damned and will no longer be employed as a steel converter." "What I Allow that selfish beast to gloat over me; apologize to the grovelling lizard! Not in ten thousand years. I wash my hands of Hell right
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 141 here. I hand it back to you but remember, if you ever send for me and ask me to help you out of your trouble I shall refuse flatly." "Very well, Mr. MacDonald," acknowledged The Chief as the General Manager slammed the door.
CHAPTER XIX CROWDS were commencing to gather for the formal opening of the asph alt highways. MacDonald brushed aside a tear as hurry ing away from the distressing interview he glanced at the faultlessly graded streets unsoiled by hoof or wheel. The ingratitude of Hades made him bitter. A voiding the places where he was best known, he slunk to the great square he had laid out in front of the home of the Infinite Worm so that the beast might have a pleasing outlook. This was to be the first stretch of asphalt opened. The Chief's car was to lead. Ropes kept the throng back. The deposed Engineer said within himself that he would witness the success of his final efforts and then he would go far away. He concealed himself behind a pillar, waiting. He saw mes sengers dashing through the crowd; he heard them inquiring for the General Manager; The Chief wished to have Mr. MacDonald present. Other messengers and pages sought to locate the contractors. They were to be the guests of honor. The populace grew impatient and cries of "Start the show," "Move the parade," "Clear the street; we want to dance," caused The Chief to signal that the ropes be lowered. The Lady seated herself 142
"'SWAT HIM,' SHRIEK E D THE PRISONERS IN THE STREET"
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 145 beside him, smiling warmly on the joyful multi tude. The state automobile dashed forward on the beautiful sheet . Beelzebub's Silver Cornet Band ad vanced proudly. A signal rocket went up and all over Hades new streets were covered by the happy devils. MacDonald swallowed a lump in his throat. Then he stiffened and his eyes bulged in horror. The wheels of The Chief's car sunk to the axles. The triumphant march of the musicians hesitated, floundered, halted. Infernal yells of anger went up from tens of thousands of throats. All Hell was trapped in soft asphalt. A terrible mistake had been made. Efficiency had failed be cause of local conditions. Asphalt is material for streets in any place OUTSIDE OF HELL. Here it wouldn't harden. The mob cursed and sweated and struggled. Panting devils labored to get one hoof out of the mess only to find the other imbedded deeper. More selfish ones clutched their neighbors and endeavored to pull themselves free. The other fellows resented such unfairness and punched out. A free-for-all fight resulted. It was a calamity that spread itself from one end of Hades to the other. MacDonald trembled at the horror of the catastrophe. He tried to slip from his hiding place when he ran squarely into Samuelson, the agricultural student, who with a satchel in his hand and hat pulled down over his eyes, was fleeing. "You swindler," shouted the Efficiency Engineer
146 EFFICIENCY IN HADES leaping at the other, "you have ruined my reputa tion." A couple of devils pulled them apart. "It's the General Manager," they shouted. "Swat him," shrieked the prisoners in the street. In the excitement the contractor butted a hellion who -had been holding him and got away. The mob piled on MacDonald until The Chief, who with The Lady, had been rescued from the machine on a bridge of sheet steel, ordered that the unhappy Expert be brought forward. A new horror now seized Inferno. There was a rumble which increased in force. The earth shook. The air was filled with sinner scoria, imported fire brick, ashes and sparks. Thunderous explosions repeated themselves and the ground trembled so that the unfortunate imps caught in the asphalt rocked until their teeth chattered. The cause was speedily known. "TI-IE INFINITE WoRM HAD TURNED" Weary of a commercialized existence, disgusted with the strain of Efficiency, the beast's spirit had finally broken. Lucifer afterward told Charon that he expected to see The Chief fly into a violent passion when the General Manager was dragged before him, but his self-possession was superb. "Mr. MacDonald, I have little desire to humili ate you. If you required any more proof of the
EFFICIENCY IN HADES 147 failure of your system it has been supplied to-night. To-morrow we go back to the old order. Special provision will be made for the entertainment of such Efficiency Engineers as come to us in the future. Perhaps you have noticed a sign hanging above one of the Persian hells reading: " 'Prepare him a bed of fire and bed-clothes of fire And open the door toward Hell.' "You can try it. Later we will see how much efficiency you can get out of turning a grindstone with one hand and sharpening a pitchfork with the other. Lucifer can re-pave Hell with Good Inten tions; an old material but it wears well." Adam pushed his way through the crowd. He was trembling with excitement. "Give my boy another chance, Chief. He meant well but he has not been here long enough. Let me take him under my parental guidance. Even now I have not lost faith in him; my poor erring lad." "I too will try to keep him straight, if you will forgive him," pressed Lucifer. The Chief shook his head negatively. Adam again turned to the occupants of the car. "Then I make my last appeal to you, EvE," he said. "For the sake of the old days I beg of you to use your influence to save one of your own chil dren from disgrace. You tempted him and he fell."
148 EFFICIENCY IN HADES "I have heard that before," and The Lady be stowed one of her sweetest smiles on MacDonald who, before he was led away, rested a hand on the sobbing form of Adam, squared his shoulders and flung his defiance. "Though treated worse than a step-dog, I am not discredited. The highest endorsement Efficiency can get is to have Hell reject it." THE END
THE ROAD OF DESTINY By ELLIS MIDDLETON A l o v e story of Yorkshire in the Eighteenth Century, those g ay, chi v alrous days when myste r y and high adventure held sway .and romance lurked in every b yway. Sir Richard R e vel sdale-lovabl e ne'er d o -well and brave a dventurerunde r takes fo r a famo u s L ondo n beauty the m os t q u i xotic miss i o n ever heard o f b y a soc iety inure d t o inc r e d ible ventures. I n consequence o f this ras h undertaki n g, Sir R i c hard's l ife takes a strange t urn and brings t o him a dven tures amo n g the count r y folk o f York shire-and amo n g the gentry-tha t m a k e an ex citing and romantic novel. A t h r ill ing , hard-fou ght prizefight tha t win s him a fri e nd; a strange encounte r wi t h a gypsy band; a due l t o the death-th ese but s u gges t the sw if t m o v i n g events that c ente r around the h ero o f the t a l e. Thro u g h out th e book t h e r e appe ar many d e l ightful a n d whimsic al f olk o f t h e Y o rk s h ire c oun t ryside w hose pic turesqu e say ings ar e s ure t o b e r ememb e r e d l o n g aft e r th e d e l ig htful s t ory i s r e ad.
Vale , Robert B. Efficiency in Hades: The Romantic Adventures of an Enterprising Expert in the Lower World. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1923. First edition. l 48pp. Duodecimo [ 19 cm] Striated black cloth over boards with orange lettering on the spine and front board. The front free endsheet is detached, but present, and the top edge of the front endsheet is prominently glue stained. The publisher's advertisement leaflet has been mounted to the rear pastedown. From the collection of Berkeley book collector and letter press printer, John Ruyle. Bleiler CFL. Bleiler Guide 1618. Reginald 14424. Good. Hardcover.  $20.00 Illustrated by Stuart Hay. In this novel, an efficiency expert jumps at the opportunity to install the newest mechanical devices and modern methods of administration in Hell.