ILLU STRAND M DAVID BaG<H
TRIANGLE BOOKS • NEW YORK
COPYRIGHT, 1932, BY TIFFANY THAYER
Triangle Books Edition Published February 1941
Triangle Books, 14 West Forty-ninth Street,
New York, N. Y.
PRINTED AND BOUND IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BY THE AMERICAN BOOK-STRATFORD PRESS, INC., N. Y. C
FOR WHOM THE MORAL
\rnx BE CLEAR
Chapter One: "Yes, sir; long Stance ..." 13
"HOW LONG HAVE YOU HAD THIS POWDER?" 25
Chapter Two: Was she afraid she would? . 57
Chapter Three: "All of this was predicted ..." 83
Chapter Four: It was a bold move 105
Chapter Five: "I've never met anyone like her ..." 151
Hazel thought it was very beautiful ... 179
Chapter Six: "Who could be trying to scare us?" 223
Chapter Seven: Jo went into revery 249
Her head rose slowly and their eyes met ... 267
Chapter Eight: "Ellen was misled ..." .285
Chapter Nine: They would be after her ... . 303
The sailors kept her a secret 323
Pictures like that weren't decent Mary
f ocussed incredulous Catholic eyes on the
contours of the rotund huzzy lolling in
nudeness and lace. Itching; was it? Mary poked
a vicious fist into the master's pillow. Itching! If
a daughter of hers should frump around like that
she should certainly have her itching scratched.
The O'Neills were forever shocking Mary-
She shocked as easily as she bruised, and any little
knock left a purple spot on her flesh for days.
Poor Mary. She'd have left them long ago if it
hadn't been for Bobby. The way they were rais-
ing that child! Never a piece of meat to eat. A
little lamb now and then. Nothing really sub-
stantial. Nothing but calories and carbo-hyde-
something or other. . . . And precious little
he'd know about his Saviour if she hadn't taught
Devil a piece of candy or pie did he get, until
the poor chick was so starved for a sweet that
he'd snap at a bit of chocolate like a dog, just like
a dog. Mary gave the tinted silk bed-spread one
last, long, wide sweep of her hand and sniffed her
regular farewell sniff at the offensive bawd of the
picture. Bringing things like that in the house
for the boy to see and denying him Christian
baptism! A disgrace to the name of O'Neill, they
Were. Lavender bed sheets — and black under-
wear without an ounce of warmth in it!
Mary's disapproval of practically every
O'Neill activity was the family's one, sure-fire
joke at dinner, especially when there were guests.
They dressed, then, and Laura's bare arms and
back invariably straightened Mary's thin lips
into an agate line of suppressed criticism.
"If it weren't for Mary," George often said,
"this family 'd have gone to hell long ago."
"She's convinced we're on our way as fast as
we can go," Laura would laugh. "But she's so
good to Bob."
"That's the main thing," a barren neighbor
moralized. "You can't be too careful with the
servants you get out here. You can't trust them
out of your sight with children."
"The stories you hear!"
"Most of them came to get into pictures. They
hob-nob with a few of that wild crowd and
before you know it they're doing all sorts of per-
verted things — taking hop."
"And they play with children. I know of one
case — my dear Laura, you're fortunate."
"Someone was telling me — Norton, I think —
you know him, George; he was telling me just
the other day about this friend of his who has a
boy a little older than Bob, about six, I think he
said. And the parents hired this girl; pretty,
looked to be decent, you know? She hadn't been
there more than two or three weeks when the
mother noticed the boy acting strangely every
time he had to urinate. He was ashamed to tell
her about it, but they finally got it out of him
that it hurt him. They took him to a doctor and
so help me God this girl had infected him. At
six, mind you."
"What did they do to her?"
"Oh, of course she denied it, but they finally
scared the kid into giving details he couldn't
possibly have imagined at that age. I think they
gave her time."
"I should think they would."
"Well, we needn't worry about Mary," Laura
said, and the party laughed heartily at the utter
incongruity of the picture conjured.
"I don't think Mary knows about those
things," George thought. "She's been taught that
that part of the body has only one use."
"And that she does sparingly."
"I'll bet it's true. . . . How old is she? Fifty?
Fifty-five? Let's ask her if she still thinks babies
are found under cabbages."
"No. . . . Don't do that. We never kid her.
She'd leave us."
"She's a splendid cook."
That day had started peculiarly. Mary's favor-
ite dream had been interrupted just before five
that morning by the extraordinarily insistent
ringing of the telephone. Instead of ringing and
stopping and ringing and stopping in its wonted
manner, the instrument had set up one long,
loud, continuous ri-i-i-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-ng, almost
like a scream — just before five o'clock; the very
worst time of night for anything like that to
happen. Everything was so dead and still.
Mary's dream, her favorite, has connotations
for the initiated. In it she climbed a long flight
of steps. They stretched endlessly before her and
endlessly behind, and she was somewhere middle-
way up, walking with a free and easy stride, as
she had walked as a girl, her hips swinging gladly
without a twinge of the rheumatism which
bothered her on steps now. Every ten or twelve
lifts she ascended seemed to be a unit, a lap in
some race she was running. At the end of each
lap she experienced a delightful falling sensation,
briefly, and the ascent began again. One, two,
three, four nine, ten elev - wheeew! . . .
One, two three nine, ten - wheeeeew! At the
top of each group of steps, the eights, tens, elev-
ens and twelves, a tingling, warming sensation
pervaded poor old Mary's withered middle, as if
her blood would course in veins it had not
known before. Then — down again, with that
swift-sinking, elevatorish feeling, which some-
times wakened her. If she could but once have
stepped on that thirteenth, or perhaps four-
teenth, step, she always felt something unusually
pleasant would happen to her. But twelve was
the limit before the set-back, and, although she
thus seemed ever on the point of learning some-
thing, experiencing some startling revelation,
nothing ever really did happen; not even once.
She dreamed this strangely pointless yet grati-
fying dream on an average of twice a month.
Court it as she would between times, it would
not come, and then, occasionally, she'd dream it
two or three nights running.
Mary was on the twelfth step with her toe
seeking the next notch, a smile on her sleeping
face, when the phone deprived her of imminent
In an outing-flannel wrapper, she stumbled
frantically down the hall to still that clangor
before it woke Bobby. Her pulse was high, her
breath short and her jaw and hands tremulous.
Such a strange hour! Some psychic force told
her of danger. She fumbled with the French
phone, dropped it once and chattered "H-he-
hello — ?" It must be important. Illness. Death.
George O'Neill looked sleepily through the
crack he opened his door.
"Six, neyun, thrrrree one?"
"Just a moment, please. Chicago calling.
Ready with Chicago? . . . Ready with Chi-
'Long distance," Mary said vaguely to the
chill greyness of the dawn, filtering eerily in the
George climbed into a dressing gown and
smoothed his red wire brush of sleep-stiffened
hair with a nervous hand. "Long distance/' he
told the undisturbed and soundly sleeping form
"Just a moment, pleeus," said the operator.
"Long distance?" George asked Mary.
"Yes, sir; long distance. . . . Chicago."
"Who do I know in Chicago?"
"I don't— know."
"Mrs. O'Neill's asleep."
"Shall I call her?"
"Maybe you'd better talk." Mary held out
"What are they saying?" He held the instru-
ment to his ear. "Hello. . . . Hello!"
"They aren't saying anything now; just buzz-
"I wonder if it woke Bobby." Mary started
toward the nursery.
"Wait, Mary. . . . Hello!"
"I'm sorry, sir," the operator apologized,
"Chicago's hung up."
"But who was it?"
"I don't know, sir. We're trying to get them
back. If you'll hang up we'll call you when
"But look here," said George, his dignity
affronted, "find out who that was. It must have
been something important."
"We're trying to get them back, sir. If you'll
hang up, we'll call you."
"You try to find out who called here. My
goodness. . . . You can't wake a whole house
full of people up at — at this hour and then get
out of it by just saying somebody's hung up.
You can't do that, you know. My bill is paid
regularly the first of every month. I was sleep-
ing — " But the operator had twitched a little
nubbin or wiggled something that prevented her
hearing a word. Operators are like that.
That had started the day wrong. Mary
couldn't get back to sleep and all through their
breakfast George and Laura had worried and
wondered who could have called them from Chi-
cago. George did most of the audible wondering.
Laura maintained a rigid, frowning, perplexed
silence, answering her husband in monosyllables
and studying her plate with worried concentra-
tion. He noticed it, finally; which is when most
six-year-husbands notice any irregularity in the
behavior of their wives. "What's the matter,
Laura? You're acting strangely/ 1
"Oh, am I? . . . Well, it worries me. That's
natural; isn't it?"
"Oh, well — I don't know. After all, it was
probably the wrong number."
c T>on't worry about it. If it was anything
important they'll call again."
Then, as soon as George was out of the house,
Laura had told Mary to dress Bobby at once*
"I'm taking him down town. . • . And, Mary."
"Don't make any preparations for his party
tomorrow. No cake or anything."
"No cake?" Mary was proud of her birthday
cakes. There had been one every year, although
Bob had never been permitted to taste any of
them. "No cake at a birthday party?"
"There isn't going to be a party. Here — "
Laura wrote a few sentences on a scrap of paper.
"You have that message sent — a telegram, under-
stand? — to everyone who was invited. . . .
There isn't going to be any party."
Then a taxi had been called and Bobby and
his mother had driven away in that instead of
waiting for the car to come back from Mr.
So. It was a funny day no matter how you
looked at it. Calling the party off; taking the
child shopping with her; leaving the house in
such a hurry.
But Laura was not shopping. As the belated
chauffeur returned to the house for instructions
for the day after delivering the boss at his office,
Laura and Bob were, of all places, in the office of
Chief -of -Detectives Yeager, telling him about
the telephone call and about the cause of the
worried frown George had noticed at breakfast.
Mary and Allen hit it off very well. He was
the eighth chauffeur she had seen come to the
O'Neill's service. When he left, and they all did
that, of course, he would be the eighth she had
seen to go. But Mary hoped he would not leave
soon, for Allen — of all the eight — was the first
one to show her the respect she felt duty-bound
to exact from such an itinerant, tinkering breed
as these chauffeurs were. Only ten days in the
house, and he thoroughly recognized her priority
in all things. More, he was thoughtful and help-
ful and handsome; and he liked Bobby.
Just see this, even now: "I bought the boy a
ball." He held it in his hand, a bright red rubber
"Did you, now?"
"Is the missus sore because I'm late?"
"She's gone out — and taken the boy with her."
"Yeah? How'd she go? Gee; 111 bet I catch it
for not rushing right back. I just saw this in the
window and went in and got it for him."
"Ain't that thoughtful, now?"
"Wasn't she sore?"
"She said nothing to me."
"Where'd she go?" Allen put the ball back in
"Shopping, I suppose. . . . All the money
that's spent in this house for nothing"
Allen went toward the garage.
You liked Bobby the moment you laid eyes on
him. He was a man's boy; sturdy, round and
brown. He looked less like a condemned person,
less like an individual marked for death, than
anyone else in the room. Yet, according to pre-
diction, little Bobby would be the next to go.
It was this prediction which had brought Laura
to Detective Headquarters.
They were distinctly out of place here, but
Bobby had made friends with all the burly men
in the first three minutes of the visit. He stood
on the desk of the Chief, imitating Douglas
Fairbanks for an admiring group. Laura made
no effort to conceal her pride; and the love she
bore this young son shone in all but visible rays
from her eyes. There was a fidgeting, furtive
adjusting of collars and neckties among the
plain-clothes men as those wide, handsome eyes
circled the grinning group making so much fuss
"He certainly takes after his mother," one
said. "Look at those eyes." Bobby cracked an
imaginary whip, this was Doug in The Taming
of the Shrew.
The Chief returned with the city chemist.
Both frowned — and the group interpreted the
executive expression in various ways. The force
took it to mean that their undue familiarity with
this lady and her son was not in the line of duty.
They bade the boy clumsy, awkward farewells
and made off to their own desks or the locker
room. Mrs. O'Neill, ill at ease in the place and
not at all sure she was not being a very silly
woman who would be laughed at by these men
the moment her back was turned, thought the
officer resented the boyish heels on his desk top.
She started to lift him down. A reporter begged
the honor and set Bobby on the floor beside her.
Whereupon Bobby began to pummel the news-
gatherer's knees with both fists. This was the cus-
tom at home as bruises on Mary's legs, Mary's
limbs, could attest.
'how long have you had this powder?'
Another scribe, one of the gifted ones who
senses big stories while his colleagues are chasing
fire engines, squinted at the drawn brow of the
Chief and heard his precious inner voice yelping
and gibbering: "It's a whale. It's a whale! Watch
everybody" His was the only correct interpreta-
tion of the frown. A big story was about to
break, a very whale.
"How long have you had this powder, Mrs.
O'Neill ?" the Chief asked solemnly as he turned
his squeaky swivel chair and sat down.
"Since before Christmas. It came — about —
about the middle of December."
Yeager looked up at the doctor. "This is May
twenty-fifth," he said. "Five months."
"Is — is it — poison?"
Yeager made a non-committal, knowing grim-
ace and rolled his eyes toward the chemist again.
"It is more than fifty per cent bichloride of
mercury, little lady. If you had given it to your
son he would have strangled to death in thirty
seconds." Laura gathered Bobby to her and held
his tousled head against her thigh. The doctor
went on: "Corrosive sublimate, a common — er —
vermin exterminator. It closes the wind pipe,
throat, instantly. Doesn't have to reach the
stomach to kill."
"My God, Yeager — who would want to kill
this kid?" one reporter burst out.
The Chief only nodded his own amazement at
the enormity of the crime so fortuitously pre-
vented. "What made you suspicious of the
powder, Mrs. O'Neill? You've had it a long
"Well, I don't know, exactly. The telephone
call, of course, but I was suspicious before that.
. • . I don't even know why I kept it. I never
really intended to give it to him, but all these —
these other dreadful things kept — kept piling
up. . . . Oh, Bobby." Her pretty features were
convulsed with grief and pain, almost as if the
unspeakable catastrophe had actually come to
pass. She bent over the boy.
The psychic reporter was bursting with ques-
tions, but he held his peace. So far it was Yeager's
job. What a picture she would make for the
story! BEAUTIFUL YOUNG MOTHER— Si
began thinking of headlines.
"What's the matter, mama?" Bobby asked,
big-eyed. "Don't c'y, now."
She dried her tears and the expression of her
face was little less than divine. She smiled and
kissed one small brown hand. "It's all right,
Bobby, son. Mother won't cry."
"Sit down, Doc." Yeager introduced Mrs.
George C. O'Neill and Doctor Blundein, the city
chemist. "You fellows draw up too," Yeager said
to the two reporters. "You don't mind if the re-
porters hear your story, do you, Mrs. O'Neill?"
"Oh, goodness! Does — does it have to be in
all the papers? I've tried so hard to keep it from
"Well, I'll tell you, Mrs. O'Neill; you can't
keep it out. They'll get it somehow, and it's
much better to let them have it all from the
start. Si, here, will tell you, if you give the re-
porters a break, they'll be friendly. You can ask
'em to leave out this and that — and they will.
But if you fight 'em and hold back from 'em,
they'll cut your throat."
"Well, not quite that bad," Si remonstrated.
"But if it's news, we want it."
"We've found, here at Headquarters, that
friendly newspapers are the easiest ones to get
along with. They make bad enemies."
"I don't suppose I can keep it from my hus-
band any longer, anyway. Now that I've come
to you, I'll have to tell him all about it."
"Yes. He ought to know."
"He's such a busy man. I — I've hated to
"Perhaps he can help us. 5 *
"Sit down, SL Sit down, boys. . . . Buck!
• . . Charlie! . . . Not you> Charlie Silver."
Two detectives came through the swinging gate.
'This is Mrs. O'Neill, boys. . . ." He rose with
belated courtesy. "Mrs. O'Neill; Mr. Olsen and
Mr. Silver. ... Sit down. I want you to hear
"Where shall I begin?" she asked.
"Well, if there's a beginning, begin there."
"I don't know."
"Suppose you tell us first where this powder
"It came from Camden, New Jersey, from
Swami Yogadachi, an astrologer."
"Um-hm. And how did you come to be in
touch with this bird — eh — this chap?"
"Oh, well, that's a much longer story. A
schoolmate of mine told me about him."
"Um-hm. He told fortunes?"
"Yes — you see, last fall, well, I don't remem-
ber the exact date, I received a circular from him
in the mail. But it wasn't an ordinary circular
— at least, there was a letter with it, addressed to
"You said a schoolmate told you about him."
"She did, Anne Jessup told me — but that was
after I got his circular."
"Addressed to you, personally?"
"Name spelled right?"
"Yes — and it mentioned my son and told me
I would hear from an old friend very soon."
"Whoever wrote that letter must have known
"They knew something about me. They knew
I had Bob."
"And Anne Jessup?"
"That's not the Anne Jessup of Akron, Ohio,
is it?" Si asked.
Mrs. O'Neill appeared nettled. "Ye-es," she
admitted. "Anne and I went to school together."
"The one who killed her husband?"
"Yes." Laura lowered her eyes.
"But Jessup was a New York girl."
"We were all New York girls. I met my hus-
band there and moved to Los Angeles after we
"I see. Go on."
"Well, I didn't pay much attention to his cir-
cular. I never believed in astrology or any kind
of fortune telling very much. It might be easy
enough for a man to find out that I had a son.
And hearing from Anne was no surprise. She
had corresponded with me on and off ever since
we left school."
"How long ago?"
"Nearly seven years."
"But about a week after I received Anne's let-
ter telling me about this Swami, the round-robin
"What is a round-robin?" Silver asked.
"It's like an endless chain letter," Yeager said
and turned back to Laura. "But you spoke as if
you knew of it — what was that?"
"Anne mentioned it. That was the funny
part." Laura was becoming involved. "I don't
know if I can explain this or not. If I had Anne's
letter — well, anyway, she said, 'I had a letter
from Jo Turner.' Jo is another schoolmate. We
all belonged to the same club."
Si Lenz, the Examiner star, was miles ahead
of the slowly unfolding tale. He twisted in his
chair. "What happened to Jo?" he asked. "Is she
"No. . . . Not yet."
"Not yet" Yeager ejaculated, rising. "What
do you mean by that?"
The sharpness of his tone made Laura nervous.
She bit her lip and looked at Si appealingly. "The
— the Swami predicted that she would die about
the fourth of July. But Jo is a very strong
minded girl. She doesn't take it seriously."
"Has she got one of these powders?"
"I don't think so. I don't know."
"Do you hear from her? Do you correspond?
Do you know her address? . . . We ought to find
out at once if she has one, and if she has, tell
her not to take it. It would take more than a
strong mind to stop one of those from working/*
"Yes. She lives in New York. I hear from her
now and then. I had a letter from her just after
"What killed Hazel?" The question had been
shot at her.
"Anemia. Pernicious anemia."
"Wait! Wait a minute." Si Lenz could contain
himself no longer. "Let me get these addresses,
Yeager. This is the biggest yarn that ever broke
Laura helped Bobby crawl heavily into her
"Go ahead," said Yeager. "I want them too."
The reporter wrote rapidly. "First, there was
Jessup. She's in the Ohio Penitentiary. Right?"
"Then who was next? What was that other
"Nine — eh — nine — let's see. Nine, o — seven.
Nine, o, seven, Riverside Drive, New York
"Uh-huh. Uh-huh. And Hazel? Hazel who?"
"I know, but where'd she live?"
"She lived in New York too. I — I don't re-
member her address. ... I have it at home."
"What was the name of this school you girls
all went to?"
"Mount Albans Seminary."
"Yes. . . . Now, Mrs. O'Neill, can you recall
any other names on that round-robin?"
Yeager looked a little ruffled at Si. The re-
porter was taking the inquiry into his own
Silver had to know. "I wish somebody'd tell
me just what a round-robin is. It's the first time
I ever heard o' one in a murder case."
"That's a hell of a clue," said Buck Olsen, and
at a glower from his superior: "Excuse me, Mrs.
"Will you please tell him?"
"A round-robin?" Laura smiled. "Why, you
take a sheet of paper and draw something like a
spider web on it and you write your name be-
tween the lines. Girls do it. You mail it with a
letter to an old friend, some one you went to
school with. She writes her name on it and sends
it to another girl you both know. It goes the
rounds like that until it comes back to the one
who started it. It holds you all together — you
know? — renews old acquaintances. You remem-
ber girls you hadn't thought of in years and start
writing to them."
"What became of this one?"
"Oh, I don't know where it is by this time. I
sent it to Ellen Koons."
"Ellen Koons," said Si, like a parrot, writing
the name on his list. "Where does Ellen live?"
"She lives in Brooklyn. Central Avenue. . . .
Fve forgotten the number."
"You have it at home?"
"Yes, of course."
"May I come to your home and get such in-
formation as I need?"
"Well — I — I'd rather — you see, as I told you,
I haven't mentioned this to George, my husband.
He has no sympathy with fortune tellers or for
women who believe in them. You know how
"But he has to know about it now, doesn't
Yeager had been left out long enough. "Did
you keep these letters from your friends?"
"Most of them, yes. I'm not sure I have them
"Will you please collect them — as many as you
can possibly find — and turn them over to me at
Silver had a thought. "You weren't going to
give that powder to the youngster without tell-
ing your husband; were you?"
"No — no! Of course not. I — I didn't really
intend to give it to him at all. But this Swami
had been right so many times before and he said
it was the only way to save Bobby's life."
"Have you got that letter?"
"There it is," pointing to the desk. "It's the
only one I brought."
Yeager handled the envelope carefully.
"Swami Yogadachi. . . . Yogadachi. Why, he's
"Yes," Laura concurred. "That's — that's what
started it. He predicted his own death almost to
the minute, and that made all the girls believe
he couldn't be wrong."
"Whe-e-e-ew," Yeager gave a long, low
whistle. "I'm a monkey's uncle!"
Si raised his brows and winked at the other
reporter. "Is it a daisy?"
"Never heard one like it."
Yeager shook his big head like a dog coming
out of water. "Now, let's get at this thing. A
man predicts a lot of deaths, tells when they're
going to happen. Sends powders around to make
sure they will happen, then commits suicide to
give his predictions strength!!! 7 don't believe
"There's more than meets the eye," said Sil-
ver. "Why should he pick on one club of
"I've thought of that," Laura volunteered. "I
don't think he did. I think we girls brought our
troubles on ourselves by writing back and forth
and telling each other about him; about how
good he was."
"You think the round-robin was a coinci-
"It might have been."
"Who started that round-robin?"
"I don't know. It had half a dozen names on it
when it came to me."
"You sent it to Ellen Koons?" Si made a note.
"Who sent it to you?"
"I don't remember."
"I thought you said this murderess sent
"Anne Jessup is no murderess!" The detectives
were surprised at the sudden display of emotion,
the raised voice, the flashing eyes of Bobby's
Si grimaced. "She killed her husband."
"She knew he — he was — being untrue to her."
"She didn't convince the court."
Yeager interrupted. "Never mind that, Si.
Anne Jessup's been tried once. Drop it. . . . Is
it true that she sent you the round-robin?"
"No. Anne wrote to me, saying that she had
received the round-robin from Josephine and
that she had received a letter from the Swami
saying she would hear from a number of old
"Who got that letter? Anne or Josephine?"
"Both of them. Just like mine."
"All you girls got letters from this Swami, say-
ing 'y° u will hear from an old friend — unex-
pectedly'; then a few days later a round-robin
turns up. Is that it?"
"Say — that Swami started the round-robin,"
Buck Olsen discovered aloud.
"Naw," Silver contradicted. "What does he
get out of all this killin'? What's little Bobby
here got to do with him? It's a revenge thing and
the Swami is hired to do the predictin'."
"And to kill hisself, I suppose."
There seemed to be no answer to that.
"Telegraph Camden," Yeager directed. "Get
all the dope you can on Yogadachi." He un-
folded the letter.
"It has been my unfortunate duty, in jus-
tice to my science and to my profession, to
predict a number of calamities among your
intimate friends. You will hear of these
deaths and disasters from time to time all
through the winter. It also pains me to tell
you that within a very short time, accord-
ing to my reading of your own horoscope
and that of your son, that he will be stricken
with a terrible disease, at about the time of
his fifth birthday, from which he may not
recover. As I see it now, the symptoms of
this disease will develop within twenty-four
hours before his birthday or after it."
"When is the boy's birthday?"
The entire group exchanged meaning glances.
They looked at the sturdy boy in his mother's
arms, and Yeager continued to read aloud.
r 7/ you will save your baby's life, give
him the contents of this paper, a powder
to be dissolved in water, two days before
"You should have given it to him yesterday."
"Yes, but I was suspicious. I brought it here
"And it's a lucky thing you did," said the doc-
tor. "A very lucky thing."
fp J have been powerless to prevent the
crimes and deaths the stars have ordained in
the families of so many of your friends, but
in your case there is this one ray of hope.
rr My own life is endangered. I do not ex-
pect to live to know if I have read the stars
correctly. Perhaps, even as you are reading
this I shall be dead"
"Was he?" Si asked.
Laura nodded. "Yes/'
rr My own horoscope indicates an end of
some vital function of my body on or about
December tenth/ 9
They looked at the envelope. It was post-
marked New York City, December tenth.
f 7 am not sure that this means death, but
it is very probable since no mathematical
formula I know can carry predictions for
myself beyond that date.
rr In the meantime; between December
tenth and May twenty-sixth, you will hear
of a supposedly honest friend turned thief.
You will "
"Have you heard anything like that?"
"Yes," Laura said grimly. "Mary Thompson is
in an asylum. They say she is a kleptomaniac.
They don't know whether they can cure her or
"Good Lord! It's uncanny!"
"You will hear of another friend turned
murderess, killing a sister or a husband or a
mother. You will hear of suicides "
"But, look, Yeager. All that hocus-pocus
doesn't make the writer guilty of anything."
"It's suggestion," said Si.
"He's guilty of sending this woman mercury
to give her baby. He's guilty of that."
"But he's dead!"
"What a mind!"
"He was a fiend," Si said. "It's the most dia-
bolically conceived plot I ever heard of."
"Um-hm," Yeager hmmd. "But if it wasn't
for this one powder, the rest of it might be no
plot at all."
"You mean, he might have seen all that in the
stars? That he could read the future? Don't be
silly. . . . Oh, excuse me. I — but it's impossible."
"It's not all impossible. The powder could have
been changed in this lady's home. . . . Have you
any servants, Mrs. O'Neill?"
"We have three, but none of them knew of
this. I have kept the powder locked in my desk."
"Any one else have a key to that desk?"
"My — my husband."
"Well, I guess we don't need to suspect him."
Yeager finished the letter:
" — of suicides and deaths. I would do any-
thing in my power to prevent these terrible
disasters as I would do anything in the
world to save my own life. But I am help-
less. Give your son this powder secretly
and destroy this letter. I knew too much
about the stars. They are lulling me because
I knew too much.
rr In desperation,
rr Swami Yogadachi."
"Can I take a picture of that letter?" Si asked.
"I guess so," said Yeager. "Is it all right, Mrs.
"I suppose so."
"Will you pose too? Holding Bobby? Just like
"I'd rather not."
"Oh, please, Mrs. O'Neill. We can catch the
Home Edition and break the A.M. boys' hearts."
He was a likable fellow, this Si, sharp featured,
a little bald over each brow.
"I wish you wouldn't ask, Mr. Lenz. I don't
see how it can help the — the investigation a bit.
I — I've never wanted my picture in the paper;
don't you understand?"
"Is this Los Angeles, or am I dreaming?" the
other reporter said facetiously.
Laura laughed. "I'm not ambitious to be a
movie star. I wouldn't be, even if there was some
reason for thinking I might."
"But wouldn't you let us print your picture
with the story — as a favor to me?"
"Well, if — if you put it that way, of course;
I don't suppose there's any harm in it."
"All the society women do it," Yeager aided
"That's scarcely any reason why I should/*
Laura said quietly. "It has always seemed a little
immodest to me. But I suppose it has to happen
sooner or later. I'll pose for you, Mr. Lenz." A
photographer was summoned from the Examiner
office, and the other reporter followed the vet-
eran's lead by calling his paper for a camera
"Well, Boss," said Silver, "where's your case?
It's a swell break for Si and Pete, it'll sell a lot
o* papers, but it ain't a job for the law as I
"Not if he's really dead."
"Oh, he's dead," Laura assured them. "It was
all in the papers. He was famous. His real name
was Danbury, Samuel Danbury, but he used a
great many pen-names. He was a novelist, play-
wright, all sorts of things."
"Samuel Danbury!" Yeager said in amaze-
ment. "Why — he — he was a wealthy man; a
success. He used a lot of names — I know. Run
over by a subway! Was he Swami Yoga — whatV
"That was one of his pen-names."
"Well, what the devil would he want to kill
that baby for? Did you ever know him? Did he
ever have anything to do with this girl's club?
Was he ever in love with one of the member s?"
"I don't know, Mr. Yeager. I never met him.
He wasn't in love with me."
"There's more to it," Silver opined, "more
than meets the eye."
"He wrote detective stories," Si suggested,
"under the name of G. H. Eckler. Do you sup-
pose he could have gone crazy trying to plot
the 'perfect' crime? And instead of putting it
in a book, actually committed it?"
"That's an idea," said Olsen.
"That is an idea that might occur to a writer,"
Doctor Blundein said with authority. "The
whole thing is too diabolical for real life. It's
too clever; you know? Nobody could be that
clever. I've studied criminal psychology for years
and when I try to imagine a man with such a
mastery of human minds, with a command of
detail, such an intimate knowledge of the func-
tioning of a woman's nerves and brains and emo-
tions — I come back to a writer or a doctor. No
one else could figure it out so perfectly. He has
actually murdered from the grave, without
striking a blow. If this mercury hadn't turned
up, he would be innocent of crime."
"Do you actually think that's possible, Doc?"
Yeager asked. "Do you honestly believe that sug-
gestion can go so far?"
ff Do I? My dear Yeager, did you hear Mrs.
O'Neill mention pernicious anemia? One of the
girls died, died — mind you — of pernicious
anemia. I'll wager she was a healthy girl and I
mean to get in touch with the attending phy-
sician just as soon as I can to bear me out. She
was killed by suggestion."
"The power of the mind is almost boundless.
Sometimes it is the power of the weakness or
twistedness or the prejudice of a mind. I have
seen hysteria break bones; actually snap a tibula,
while the patient was prone on a bed — appar-
"Of course. Men are seldom hysterical."
"And the murderer was already dead! Think
"I can't think of anything else."
Laura O'Neill held her fingers to her forehead.
"I've developed such a headche," she sighed. "The
doctor is right. When I show you the letters
from all these girls you will understand just how
it preyed on their minds. Mrs. Frey — her name
was Haenkel before she married — was the first
to go. She shot herself on December twelfth —
just as he said she would."
"You didn't give me her name before. What
was it; and her address?" said Si.
Laura could not remember Helen's address and
then the photographers arrived. Bobby imitated
Douglas Fairbanks for the camera.
Well, there's the makin's. You can almost go
on alone. That's the way with books. They just
tell you a lot of stuff you knew already but never
happened to think of.
There's the makin's — and a few of the women;
Mary Kelly, a maid at fifty, obsessed by Freudian
dreams, and Laura O'Neill, nee Stanhope, a
young and beautiful and happy mother. And
there's what looks like a mystery, at first glance,
what with banshee telephone calls in the middle
of the night and a round-robin circulating dis-
aster. But it isn't really mysterious. The person
guilty of whatever crime you find here was an
half-caste, born in Java, an extraordinary
woman; a woman with wide, full, undulating
hips — strong shoulders and bust to match; a
woman not unlike Mrs. O'Neill in general out-
line — if Mrs. O'Neill had not worn a girdle.
That girdle had become necessary only after
Bobby's birth. Before that, her flesh had been
solid and firm and resilient, which the guilty
one's never was. But we can say they were both
Junoesque — if Juno can be imagined just a little
softer than marble has translated her. If we can
imagine a Juno so soft that one's finger might
leave a dent in a thigh, say, for twenty or thirty
seconds? No one wants to think of a Juno like
that, but neither did George O'Neill want to
think of a wife like that, yet, there Laura was.
One never knows, at twenty-two, what six or
seven years will bring. And George half blamed
himself. After all, she couldn't have had Bobby
without his help, so the breaking down of her
constituent tissues was at least fifty per cent
his fault. It takes a broad-minded man to look at
it that way. George was all of that. "You can't
have your cake and eat it too," he always said —
and until his meerschaum was thoroughly col-
ored, he kept it covered snugly in chamois.
No — this isn't a mystery, unless you find
thought mysterious, because that's what we have
here, a book about what goes on in people's
heads; God, be merciful!
Of what goes on in people's heads. Of what
went on in the heads of a baker's dozen of
women — some of them ladies — one of them al-
most a man. And a little about what goes on in
their hearts, perhaps. . . . You'll know more
about that than L
Perhaps it isn't important that Laura was get-
ting fat, or that she would get fat if she weren't
careful. That doesn't seem to have played so very
large a part in her life. Some of the other girls
took it more seriously. May and June Raskob
capitalized their grossness, and the time and
thought and patience Josephine Turner devoted
to the maintainance of her silhouette were cer-
tainly reflected in her character, or vice versa.
What I should like to learn, without becoming
toa technical, is how greatly the texture, quality,
substance, nature, weight, color and general ef-
fect, finish and appearance of the flesh and skin
of these thirteen women contributed to the de-
termination of what they should be in this world
and to what should happen to them in this life
— and, for that matter, in the life to come.
But I cannot parade them before you thus un-
clothed. The result would savor of the abattoir
and so much meat viewed at one time is repellent.
32 Rue Blondel has converted thousands to a
strictly vegetable diet.
But there is a definite connection. Look at
Ellen; Ellen Koons. She was the oldest girl in the
Delphian Society at Mount Albans Seminary in
the Bronx and a finger has never dented her
thigh unless it was her own finger. So, you see,
the flesh which covers or pads the bones of a
human figure has some bearing on what goes on
in that figure's head. If we consider a lady like
Ellen with an undented thigh and compare her
thinking and feeling and sensing with the corre-
sponding phenomena in such a wench as June
Raskob or so compelling a personality as Jose-
phine Turner, we must see that the inherent
capacity to inspire a desire to dent does indubi-
tably affect the psychology — and perhaps the
life-work — of the owner of the thigh.
No one had ever been inclined to that extraor-
dinary experiment with Ellen Koons. She was
an old-maid at nine. The boys had pulled her
pig-tails, but if the thought of kissing her had
ever entered their minds it was at the same gate
where entered and departed thoughts of the
Spanish Inquisition and castor oil. The only way
Marvin Ethridge, bespectacled and despised by
his fellows, could be made to fight was by calling
him Ellen's beau.
Lives on prunes!"
Got a felon" — though she had not. And she
hated prunes. She was stringy, though not tall,
and her hair was merely brown.
I'm ashamed of myself for singling her out
thus for special attention, for the vulgar to gaze
upon. Ellen has never been singled out before.
Even the taunting verses just quoted were heard
but seldom in the Binghampton streets. The boys
never bothered Ellen if fairer game were avail-
able. In her school classes there were best boys
and worst, prettiest girls and plainest, brightest
students and dullest — but Ellen was none of
these. Ellen blended like a chameleon into her
background and only a naturalist trained in the
wonders of protective coloration could have dis-
cerned her presence in any group. Her nature
was not retiring; more often than not she knew
the answers. But it never seemed to make any
difference if she did. Probably she didn't wave
her hand hard enough.
In her home Ellen all but disappeared. She was
a middle child. Her older sister, Janet, sang. Her
younger brother, Don, played the violin. Ellen
was a self-appointed claque of one, trained
through the ear-tortured years to know exactly
when to applaud. Neighbors and friends relied
upon Ellen for that. New compositions in the
repertoire of either of the other children were
often confusing to their elders, especially "classi-
cal" music. One could never be sure when the
performance was finished save by watching
Ellen, But the very nature of that service kept
her from her just reward. No one would admit
But, if Ellen is such a drab, why do we scruti-
nize her so closely? If Ellen is but one of the
Great Intermediates, how shall we wrest ro-
mance from her unremarkable exterior, her puny
spirit, her eyes with their rabbity outline of
pink? Of what interest are the dreams of such as
she? Or do they dream? They do. They must.
Ellen did. She went haywire on the subject of
spiritualism and she wrote a devastating series of
letters about death and the life to come. She was
almost as guilty of the nameless crime with
which we deal as was our Java-born villainess
who named herself Ursula — after a saint.
The story broke, more flaming than Si Lenz
had imagined it. It dominated the front page and
covered three more inside. The letters appeared,
verbatim. Laura O'Neill turned over every ves-
tige of evidence to Si and Yeager, and her amazed
husband read this in his evening paper as Allen
drove him home:
DEAD AUTHOR KILLS THREE
Diabolical Cunning of Samuel Danbury
Revealed by Mrs, G. C. O'Neill
MERCURY CRYSTALS INTENDED FOR CHILD
MAY RE-OPEN TRIAL OF ANNE JESSUP
CONFESSED HUSBAND SLAYER OF AKRON, OHIO
One Woman Driven Mad! More
Deaths Predicted in the future
(Pictures and complete text
of correspondence on
The most fiendish as well as the most
amazing crime in local police experience if
not in all history was revealed today, more
than six months after the death of the man,
who, it is said, is directly responsible for
the death of two women and one man, for
the imprisonment of one woman in the
Ohio State Penitentiary and for the in-
carceration in the New York State Hos-
pital for the criminally insane at Mattea-
wan, New York, of still another. Samuel
Danbury, novelist, essayist, dramatist;
author of more than two hundred books,
thirty plays and innumerable articles, short
stories and essays on a variety of subjects,
was today accused of murdering, inciting
to murder and attempting to murder from
the grave in which he has lain since Decem-
This strangest of accusations was given
substance by the testimony of Mrs.
George C. O'Neill, of 1 5 1 5 Bay Street, who
appeared before Chief of Detectives Yeager
this morning and told a story which in-
dicates a plot to bring disaster upon a group
of nearly a dozen women who attended
Mount Albans Seminary, New York City,
at the same time, a little over six years ago.
Mrs. O'Neill was the President of the Del-
phian Society, a literary and social group of
undergraduates which has kept school
memories alive through correspondence
since the graduation of its members.
Anne Jessup, confessed husband slayer of
Akron, Ohio, now serving a twenty-year
sentence in the Ohio State Penitentiary for
the shooting to death, on March 2, of
Thomas Jessup, was Vice President of the
Society. If Mrs. O'Neill's story is substanti-
ated, this murder will he laid at the door of
the late Samuel Danbury, alias Swami
Yogadachi, who is said to have incited the
woman to commit the crime.
Other officers and living members of the
Delphian Society enmeshed in this spider's
Miss Ellen Koons, 32, of 787 Central
Avenue, Brooklyn, New York; Mrs. Jose-
phine Turner, of 907 Riverside Drive, New
York City; May and June Raskob, twin
sisters known to vaudeville audiences as
"Frankie and Earnestine," now on tour;
Mary Nolan Thompson, 28, of 46 West 71st
Street, New York City, now confined in
the New York State Hospital for Crimi-
nally Insane. According to Mrs. O'Neill's
story, Mrs. Thompson's mind was affected
by poison-pen letters from "Yogadachi."
Danbury Charged With
Two More Deaths
That the predictions of Danbury, in the
guise of an Hindu "Swami" were directly
responsible for the suicide on December 12,
of Mrs. A. Ogden Frey of Montreal, Can-
ada, another Delphian, seems conclusively
established by correspondence which Mrs.
O'Neill has turned over to the police. The
full text of these letters is on page four of
this issue of the Examiner.
Eminent local authority headed by Dr.
N. N. Blundein and Dr. Peter Mercredi,
noted alienist, are of the opinion that the
death of one Hazel Cousins, another Del-
phian, said to have been caused by "per-
nicious anemia," could have been the result
of mental suggestion which, according to
these men, is a phenomenon of sufficient
power to induce not only symptoms of this
and other diseases but to foster the very
ravages of the disease itself and thus sub-
stantially to create an affection and to
ravage healthy body tissues even to the point
of death. Dr. Mercredi says: "Mental sug-
gestion, in extreme cases, may operate for
evil as well as for good. Very few medical
men will dismiss the evidence of Christian
Science cures in toto. The case of a woman
told that she is suffering from pernicious
anemia and thereafter aggravated by subtle
suggestions of her decline is no more than
a testimonial for what might be called un-
christian Science. It is the same half -un-
derstood phenomenon, working to destroy
instead of to preserve."
George O'Neill's eyes spread to their widest,
like two grains of heated pop-corn in slow mo-
tion. Laura had been hiding all this from him for
months! Some part of this had caused her ab-
sorption at breakfast. Hidden here somewhere
was the explanation of that telephone call. He
ilammed the door of the car behind him and
started up the short walk, carrying his rolled
newspaper like a club.
"Oh —Mr. O'Neill."
"I got the little fellow a ball." Allen extended
a paper bag, holding his uniform cap in his other
hand. "I hope you don't mind."
"Uh? No — no, of course not. Thank you,
Allen. That — that's very thoughtful of you. . . .
Thank you." George hurried on into the house.
I was extraordinarily glad to hear from
you and I must beg you to excuse me for not
answering until now. I have never been so
upset in my life. I did start that round-
robin but I almost wish I hadn't now. It has
put me in touch with a lot of the Mount
Albans girls, which was its aim, of course,
but this Swami Yogadachi seems to have the
name of every Delphian — and my life has
been made miserable by the old fool.
Just listen to this, FU copy part of the
"horoscope" he sent me. I got it a few days
after your letter came.
The stars are very unfavorable for you.
I hesitate to say this, but it is written so
plainly in every accounting I have made,
Cabalistic ally, astrologically and numero-
logically that I feel it is my duty to warn
you. You will not live until Christmas.
Virgo, in its relationship to your house in-
dicates a fit of great melancholy following
worry and fear and I find a score of indica-
tions that you will meet death at your own
hands before the fifteenth of December.
Did you ever hear anything like it? I
never heard of the man before and he has
the nerve to tell me I'm going to kill my-
self. Of course it's bosh — but I can't help
thinking about it. And he read my past so
accurately that it makes me creepy to go
outside on clear nights. I look at the stars —
and I can't help wondering. Of course, I
shan't do it. But only yesterday I had an-
other letter from him and he predicts his
own death too. Can you imagine that? Now
if he should eat a bad shrimp and die of
ptomaine — as Frey nearly did — I'd feel
like a fool. You know?
I've tried my best to shake it off but I
go and look at my little revolver Frey gave
me when we were married — and I can
hardly close the desk drawer. I know I'm
crazy, Laura, but there it is. The other
night, after I had his letter predicting his
own death near the first of next month, I
went and unloaded the gun and threw the
cartridges out the window. I did it without
thinking — what if one of them had ex-
ploded! — but they didn't and now the big
German police dog next door has found
one of them in the yard and he plays with
it. Tosses it up in the air and growls and
throws it around like a pea. I'm scared stiff.
What if it should go off in his mouth?
Poor dog. But I can't tell the people. I
stand at the back window, watching him
for hours, waiting to hear that report. His
teeth are so long and pointed. It's a wonder
his owner wouldn't find out what he's
playing with out there. Wouldn't it be
funny if it was the dog's horoscope the
Swami made? Not funny y I don't mean, but
You are the fourth Delphian to write me
about this Swami. Mary Nolan Thompson,
Anne Jessup and Ellen Koons had all had
letters from him, saying they would hear
from old friends. I got a letter from Ursula
Georgi the other day too. I know you never
liked her, but she wasn't such a bad kid
when you got to know her.
I sent the robin to Mary Nolan first. She
sent it to Hazel Cousins and answered my
letter right away — that was last Septem-
ber. She told me about the Swami but said
she wasn't interested. I lost track of the
robin then until Anne wrote that she had it
and that Jo Turner had sent it to her —
and both of them had letters from this sui-
cide predictor. Of course, he hadn't pre-
dicted suicide for them. He told Jo about a
mole on her back and he told Anne to watch
her flighty husband, but neither of them
had sent him their birthdays yet. He got the
mole and the "low-down" on Tom Jessup
from reading the papers! Or — somehow.
How do you suppose? "It ain't nat'ral" — it
ain't. How would some Hindu faker in
Camden, New Jersey, know about Jo's
mole — and Tom's failing for the ladies —
or the things he told me about myself?
It's too much for me, but I certainly wish
he'd been a little less vital. He could have
left the suicide out. What do 7 want to kill
myself for? He's crazy.
Then Ellen Koons wrote. That nut. You
know how she is. She's always believed in
ghosts. I don't know how you two ever got
to be so thick. You were so calm and delib-
erate and sensible and she was just the oppo-
site. Well — she had a letter from him too.
She said she'd heard from you but she
didn't say you had a letter from Kill Joy of
Kamden. She fell for it, of course. Good-
ness; to read her letters you'd think I was
as good as dead already. Remember how she
was always telling fortunes with cards or tea
leaves or peanuts or any old thing she could
lay her hands on. Then I got your letter and
two other notes from Mary Thompson,
Mary Nolan Thompson, if you please.
And this is funny too. I sent her a night
letter when I found out I was going to kill
myself — whoopee — and she wrote back that
she had sent the Swami her money two
weeks before but had received no answer.
That gave me a start. I figured he had his
dates mixed and had eaten his bad shrimp
and gone ahead to prepare my heavenly
Say! I joke about this but I'm far from
Anyway, he wasn't dead, because her
reading came the next day and she wrote
me at once. Now, don't breathe this to a
soul — especially not to Ellen Koons or any
of the Delphians — but do you remember
how little things used to disappear at the
dorm? and how they'd turn up in Mary's
room? Of course, she was only doing it for
fun and she always returned everything —
but listen: the Swami has told her she has a
screw loose and that she must watch her-
self closely or she will get into trouble.
Now, please don't repeat it. It's strictly
entre nous, but, my dear!
I'm writing to a lot of the other girls to-
day too. I've got to find out what other
delightful surprises the stars are offering
Tell me what he told you.
I'll close now. I'll be seeing you on the
banks of the Styx — but not soon, I hope.
That's terrible, isn't it. But you know what
I mean — I haven't got an eraser. So long,
JJ^£^ y/£ fri ^^ >/^r
There was naught of Juno in Helen, not this
Helen, and nothing of Helen either. She had
flesh, and skin too, but there's not much use look-
ing at it. It had pores — inescapable. She tried to
close them up. She spent a lot of money for ice
and alcohol treatments, on her nose and chin
especially, but all she got out of it was receipts
and the latest smutty stories from the operators.
Did those girls know the stories!?! Who on earth
got them all up? She carried them home to
Frey. He was entitled to something for his
A dyed-in-the-wool Britisher was Frey, en-
gaged in some vague but remunerative business
which called him often across the jolly old pond.
Helen looked incuriously at that part of her mar-
ried life, as she did at the paterfamilias of a
cartoon strip. There was a family whose ups and
downs she followed daily, whose affairs were
known as intimately as her own, but the cartoon-
ist never made clear where the money came
from. Pa had an office, that seemed to suffice.
The money came from the office. Well, so did
Frey's. Only Frey had two offices, one in London.
Probably that accounted for his possession of
twice as much money as her father had ever had.
There had been no surplus for pore-shrinkage
in the Haenkel budget. There had been precious
little for any amusement. Old man Haenkel was
a bookkeeper. He had saved the firm thousands
of dollars a year every fiscal he had been there,
but their gratitude took the shape of an heart-to-
heart talk whenever he asked for a raise. Those
talks made him almost a part of the firm; they
never seemed to Haenkel to be refusals of his
"I talked things over with Senior Ellery to-
day," he always put it to Helen's mother.
"Did you get it?" — Laconic but tolerant.
"Get what? More money? No. ... It isn't in
the wood just yet."
"After all the money you've saved them!"
"Well— that's what Fm there for. . . . They
"You don't tell them about it often enough.
Did you mention that freight business?"
"Well, — no. I can't go around blowing my
own horn, Frieda. They know about it. Mr.
Ellery told me right out he didn't know what
they'd have done the last few years if I hadn't
been there to watch the pennies. It's something
to have your employer feel that way about you."
But Helen never heard these conversations and
Frieda's quasi-interest in freight rates was not
handed down to her daughter with her squat
Helen "went out to play" as soon as the sup-
per dishes were done up, and that — to her par-
ents — meant that she was frolicking, running
and laughing with the groups they could hear in
the street below. Instead, Helen was standing in
serious consideration of certain weighty prob-
lems in the dim-lit entry with two other girls
about her own age, possessed of approximately
the same degree of pubertitious pulchritude.
The activities of that noisy bunch were much
too juvenile for these three who planned the
dresses they would wear, say, four years hence;
decided if marriage interfered with a career and
debated various methods of repelling detested
advances and insulting familiarities of boys. It is
not recorded that any of the elaborate breast-
works of defense they erected were ever called
! upon to withstand an armed invasion.
The funds which permitted Helen to leave
Public High School No. 43 and enter Mount
Albans were the result of an happy accident; a
simple little accident, one which has happened
to all of us, a collision in a doorway between
Haenkel and the senior Ellery. It occurred about
3:30, just after lunch — just after Ellery 's lunch,
old man Haenkel had been back since 12:45.
And a crock of Champagne had been broached
where Ellery ate, releasing in the old skinflint
such sweet juices of human kindness as he had
long forgotten were in him.
"Haenkel," he said, as his bookkeeper bowed
and scraped apologies, "listen. . . . You been
here a long time."
Hank was sure the boost was coming.
"You haven't thrown your money away.
You've saved it. . . . Well, listen, Haenkel. You
call Miller and Wellman right now and order
every damn' share of Michigan Power your sav-
ings will cover. Tell him Til O.K. the account."
— and Scout Ellery of the Bull Patrol went on
into his private office.
A family conference was called that night
and the now famous Haenkel Pool of twelve
hundred dollars was amassed from such solvent
cousins and connections as could be reached by
telephone and street car-
Thus Patty went to college.
The Delphians were Miss Kersten's pets. She
taught American Literature and Modern Elo-
quence and coached the debating team. Her hair
was the color of dirty sawdust and her memory
stirred painfully as she watched Helen Haenkel
gasp her way through Portia's "power of mercy
is not strained".
Laura Stanhope and Josephine Walther were
asked to remain a moment. Miss Kersten went
directly to the root of the matter. "Josephine,
you are Chairman of the Membership Commit-
tee; don't you think you should propose Helen
Haenkel for the Delphians?"
Alone, the President made a snoot at her Mem-
bership Chairman. "I don't see much use in hav-
ing by-laws if she's going to tell us who we can
have and who we can't. I didn't mind the twins
even if they are Jews. They're good kids."
"But a nigger!"
"And now this!"
"Well, what can we do?"
"Nothing. If we turn her down like we did
Ursula she'll just make another scene. We'll have
to take her."
"It's going to be a fine society by the time she
gets through with it."
"Ursula's not really a nigger, I guess. They
wouldn't have taken her in if she were."
"Oh, they'll take just anybody" Josephine
should know, "anybody who has the price. I'm
going somewhere else next year."
"Oh, no! Jo! Not really?"
"I am, Laura. My guardian is very particular.
I wouldn't dare breathe a word about Ursula to
him. My! He'd just take me right out. I'm scared
stiff Mr. Madison'll see her some time on the
"Oh — is he coming here?"
"Well, I never know when he may come to
"I think it's just wonderful to have a guar-
dian," Laura thought. "What's he like? Just like
"W-e-1-1 — " Jo held it a second. "—I call him
"Oh, do you?"
Did she? But that's a different chapter.
So Helen and her fine, sandy hair and hopeless
figure and large pores were welcomed into the
Delphian Society. What is the specific gravity
of a girls' literary society? What is specific grav-
ity? if you want to be catty. Anyway, the first
month of the term showed the Raskob twins
floating on the surface from sheer lightheaded-
ness for all their enormous displacement; Laura
and Jo, Hazel Cousins and Anne Blackmere —
the officers — forming the real upper crust; Mary
Nolan and Ellen Koons for the middle stratum,
Ursula Georgi (born in Java) and her only
friend, Helen Haenkel, for dregs.
A picture of those ten kids, grouped around
Miss Kersten, their mentor, is on page 3 1 of the
Mount Albans Yearbook, 1925. The six standing
in the rear are Ursula, swarthy, exotic, defying
the camera; Helen, grinning; May and June
broad and pert and like, very like in expression
as well as outline; Mary Nolan, one eyebrow
raised, a little surprised, perhaps, but scarcely
mad ; and Ellen in pince nez. Seated are the beau-
ties, Jo — from whose eyes innocence is already
fled, but who cares, with that mouth to look at?
Laura, competent, handsome, a little proud to be
President but hiding it just so it shows; skip the
teacher; Anne, snappy, alert, poised for flight;
and Hazel — prettiest of all — Dresden and plati-
num and rose worked by a da Vinci, no less.
You can see the tendency to flesh in Laura's
neck, just at the edge of her hair. Don't marry a
girl with a neck like that unless you are prepared
for avoirdupois later. Ursula, full bosomed even
here, encourages a comparison of all the girls.
Perhaps we shall find a true votary of Rumilia.
Helen wears a tight brassiere. It's probably just
as well. The twins' spread all over their facades,
shapelessly. Mary is small and compact. Ellen
hasn't any. Jo — ah! Jo. If you can take your eyes
from her lips long enough, — dwell on Josephine's
other charms. Don't hurry. Don't hurry. You
can't see the Louvre in a day.
. . . Enough?
Well, you've seen Laura before, a little too
healthy, eh? Too damned substantial. Skip Ker-
sten again. That's Anne. . . . Neat, sharp, no
extra fooling around. Tom Jessup was a fool!
Then Hazel. What is a man to do about a girl
like Hazel? You're afraid to touch her although
you know she won't chip. But no matter how
often you wash your hands, they always feel
sooty by comparison to those delicious, milky
hemispheres. That alabaster and ivory blend of
coloring with its petal-texture is a handicap to
the woman as well. The poor child wants to be
loved, if it's done decently, but any male with
grace enough or presence enough to do it right
is either a fairy or he's too modest to go after it.
That was Hazel's trouble. Her blood was warm,
then; her pulse quick and her imagination active
and fertile, but men avoided her; the ones she'd
have. Until she got mixed up with a rich dyke
from Denver, Martha Viborg.
When that picture was taken, Helen Haenkel
was the only friend Ursula had and that made
Helen less popular than her stodginess. In fact,
as the mid-term recess approached, the girl's
natural good spirits had raised her considerably
in the collective Delphian opinion and only her
championing of the ostracised half- Javanese
kept her from being fully accepted.
But the Delphian Society was only a small
part of life at Mount Albans, and the school did
wonders for Helen. She learned to dress and she
developed a sense of humor. Ample return for
her tuition. The proficiency she acquired at
secretarial duties was a bonus, but it found her a
husband. It got her Frey.
Leaving the old homestead, a flat on 9th Ave-
nue, and going to live in Montreal grieved Helen
about as much as leaving his little grey home in
the West is going to grieve Tom Mooney. Every-
one told her she was a "radiant" bride, and her
face was shiny. Mother Frieda bawled all through
the ceremony. I can't help it if it's hackneyed;
Fm telling you what old lady Haenkel did.
Ogden had a drawing room for the ascension,
and probably he was just as well satisfied with
the trip as you or I would be if Nessus' shirt and
Jurgen's sceptre were loaned to one of us for the
same journey — with Hazel instead of Helen. Be-
fore the Customs men interrupted them to frisk
their hand baggage, Frey had told her the old
one about "it's much too good for them", and
Helen had practically had a spasm.
Frey's position in Montreal required a woman
cut after Helen's general pattern. No breath of
scandal could be permitted. Check. She must be
neither old nor young nor beautiful nor ugly.
She must be a wife and not a social climber nor
a butterfly. Check, check, check. They got on
very well. The same incuriosity which had kept
Helen from learning any more than she needed
to know to pass exams at school, kept her nose
out of the business of her neighbors and Frey's
associates. Helen could have been a gossip under
other circumstances, no moral suasion nor ideal-
istic notions prevented. She was a poor source of
pithy information for the simple reason that she
was not sufficiently interested in flying dirt or
any other chit-chat to retain what she heard.
Cornered, she would listen, but she immediately
forgot what had been said. Her bump for scan-
dal was an hollow.
But Frey had not married her for her suita-
bility alone. He actually thought he loved her.
Probably he did. Damn little poetry could be
written about that kind of love, but it builds fine
houses. And likely Helen loved him. Sonnets
don't keep much rain out, come to think about
Children weren't mentioned, not even by God,
and the Freys went to England twice yearly.
Ogden sometimes made swift trips between
times, but she went with him every six months
and for this the other Delphians envied her.
The Paris beauty doctors were as helpless be-
fore those pores as the Canadians had been, and —
as everyone knows — you can't even get your hair
curled decently in London.
Unassuming, unprepossessing, equable, Helen
Frey sent foreign trinkets to the other girls, and
wrote to them without guile. She was happy; she
hoped they were happy; that they wished her
any less well would have surprised her greatly.
She was the only alumna of Mount Albans who
ever wrote to Ursula Georgi after graduation
and for her kindness she was the first to die. Like
a good general, Ursula struck at the only portion
of her enemy's front which was exposed. No
vestige of gratitude was in her. She wrote to
Your letters are all here before me. I have
kept every one of them because they are the
only spark of kindness I have found in your
country since I was thrown here as a child.
Other girls leave school with a host of happy
memories, with friendships and attachments
which they carry through life. I left Mount
Albans with nothing but bitterness in my
mind and gall in my heart, put there by
those pure white Christians who were forced
to accept me in their activities, but never
touched my hand without a shudder of
There's no use going over all that. You, at
least, were always kind. But, Helen, the
years have made me feel differently about
those girls and the way they treated me.
As I grow older I see that they were not to
blame for what they did almost through
Oh, Helen, I am so lonely. Although you
know my handicap, you can never half
imagine how much it has caused me to suf-
fer. Because my skin is dark and my hair
jet black, every one thinks I am at least part
negro. I have never had real friends. I sus-
pect even the kind ones of thinking these
things when they do not say them. I have
felt that way about you. It is dreadfully
monotonous, being a leper.
And, Helen, deep within me I loved those
girls even then, in spite of their cruelty.
They didn't mean to be cruel. They just
couldn't help it. I loved the Delphian So-
ciety and the things we did; the things the
rest let me do because the faculty forced
them to. I go over the parties and good times
in my mind, and I am a little girl still. I
thought, the other day, that it would be a
lot of fun to start a round-robin among the
Delphians, and I almost did it. But no one
would go on with it if they saw my name at
the top. Why don't you start it? You know
where several of the girls live. Do; won't
you? It will get us all together again, after
a fashion, and if it comes back to you
eventually — you can send it to me and I'll
write my name last. That's where it belongs,
I can't ask any of the others to do it. You
are the only one sympathetic enough to un-
derstand how my heart longs to hear from
some of them. Be a dear and start it — and
let me know if you do.
There's not much news about me. I am
doing some special work for the telephone
company, still living in the Bronx. Write
again, soon, won't you? Tell me about Paris.
Although I travelled a lot in the Orient as
a child, I have never been there.
And that crater in Helen's head which should
have been a bump of curiosity caused her to ac-
cept that letter at its face value only. Not even
the coincidence of receiving in the same delivery
of mail her first letter from Yogadachi aroused
any suspicion in her.
You will hear from a friend who has not
written to you in many months.
Helen told the ice-pack girl about it that
afternoon. Did she believe in the stars? In ten
minutes it was established that every girl in the
place, including Madame Girofla and all her cus-
tomers, believed implicitly in the stars, and
enough evidence of their infallibility as prog-
nosticators was recited to give the most sceptical
So Helen sent for a complete reading, more be-
cause it seemed to be the thing to do than be-
cause she cared to look into the future. Then
she forgot about it until the horoscope came.
. . . You will meet death at your own
hands . . .
What a thing to say! People shouldn't say
things like that. Death. That was a serious mat-
ter. How — how had he dared? Through the
mails! Weren't there laws about sending such
things through the mails? Why — suppose she
were just some empty-headed little chit, and she
got such a message. She might actually do it.
Helen went to the telephone, outraged. Frey
would have to do something about this. But she
paused with the receiver in her hand and re-
placed it on the hook. After all, she'd been a
fool to send the man her money. Since she wasn't
empty-headed and in no wise a chit, all she had
to do was tear the letter up and forget it. But the
nerve of him!
Then she laughed. Suicide! Her! Oh, my!
Oh, oh, my.
Helen had never read Poe's Black Cat nor his
Imp of the Perverse. She did not know that in
her as in all of us there is a propensity "for per-
sisting in a course of action simply because we
should not". But Ursula had; had and did.
Mrs. A. Ogden Frey decided not to mention
Swami Yogadachi to her husband again. She
would just forget it. For goodness sake; how
could she kill herself even if she wanted to? Jump
out of a second-story window? Ha — ha — hee!
She'd probably sprain her ankle or break her
wrist if she tried that. Gas? Well, she supposed
she could do that. But it would probably make a
terrible mess. There was that pretty little pistol
Frey had given her the first time he went to
London alone. Theoretically that would kill a
person. She had almost forgotten where it was.
Helen folded the letter, stuck it in a pigeon-
hole of her desk and the next time she was con-
scious of her actions or her whereabouts she was
standing in the middle of the kitchen floor,
scratching her ear. She frowned. "Now, what
did I come out here for? I was going to do —
something; what was it?"
The cook came in through the service door
with a basket on her arm. "Do you think a seven-
pound turkey will be enough, Mrs. Frey? I was
looking at them today."
"Seven. . . . Yes, — I'm sure it will. . . . Will
you pour me a glass of cold milk, Betty?"
"Yes, ma'am . . . my hat . . . now!"
That wasn't it, though she was thirsty. Helen
sipped the milk as the servant chattered of the
quality of the harvest goods shown in the mar-
ket. "The squashes are lovely."
Oh! That was it. She was going to see if she
could find her gun. The crazy Swami should be
told that; to take some of the cockiness out of
him. The woman he predicts is going to kill
herself is so little apt to do it that she doesn't
even know where her gun is. . . . She really
should find it; after all, Frey had thought
enough of her to want her to be protected and
then she had been so careless of his wishes as to
mislay her means of defense. She rummaged
through two drawers, conscious, as she turned
over handkerchiefs and laces, that she knew
very well where the pistol was. She had known
all along. And when she had gone to the kitchen
— she had been running from sight of it — why?
What had she to fear? She could live in an
armory without shooting herself. The idea!
Helen stumped into the library and opened the
desk drawer where lay her sealing wax, some
extra ink — the revolver. She'd show him! She
picked up the gun, looked into its muzzle,
laughed, and put it down. The whole business
was just too silly. The stars predicting that she
would "meet death at her own hands"! She half
closed the drawer. Pooh! She could go even
further. She could actually put the gun to her
temple and then put it away. The man was in-
sane to say such a thing. Helen did just that,
pressing the ring of steel against her head, then
almost tossing the nickel and pearl toy back into
the drawer. She closed the desk with a flourish.
Then Samuel Danbury — also known as Swami
Yogadachi, the papers said — was taken f ragmen-
tarily from the rails of a subway in New York
City. The stars had thrown him there. Perhaps
she should tell Frey about it. No, no, she would
not be so weak. She would not live in the house
with that unloaded gun a moment longer. It
was unbearable to be such a coward, to pamper
herself and make it impossible for the thing to
happen. Was she afraid she would do it? Dan-
bury 9 s death had been nothing but coincidence.
She drove to a sporting goods store and bought
a box of cartridges, determined to show sun,
moon and stars that they were dealing with
sterner stuff in her case. As she rode home she
looked at the snow-banked curbs and bade the
grey sky adieu. She knew she was seeing them
for the last time, yet she denied it. She listened
to the wheels crunching the chunks of ice and
a part of her mind took farewell of that com-
She left her hat and coat in her room and took
her purchase to the library. She reloaded the gun
and laid it on the desk under her hand while she
reread the Swami's letter. Her mouth drooped in
a deprecating, sceptical smile. To demonstrate
just how wrong he was, and just how strong she;
watch this. The gun is loaded again now. You
realize that, don't you, Swami? Here is death in
my hand. I can take it or leave it; can't I? And
see? I put the gun to my temple just as I did
when your letter first came. See there? I can
even press the trigger — a little. You and your
fool prediction! How hard do you have to press
the trigger of a gun to make it go off? Goodness!
Quite hard. Quite a ways. She hadn't realized
that before. . . . Great God, she was pulling too
hard! She couldn't stop. . . .
Dear Mrs. O'Neill:
Your good and kind letter has arrived too
late to serve its noble intention. Helen shot
herself on the morning of December twelfth
after reading of the death of Swami Yo-
gadachi in New York City.
I am closing this house at once and sailing
for England to visit my people. Her death
is a loss I can never hope to forget, never
hope to avenge. Its author threw himself
before a subway train in New York on the
tenth of December for a reason only God
I am too distracted to think clearly. I
have never thought these predictions of for-
tune tellers could be so harmful. I can not
imagine what source of information the
man may have had. Surely it must have
been a very compelling conviction of his
own ability to read the future that made
him cast himself before the train.
Please accept my most sincere thanks for
your interest in Helen's welfare. Although I
have never met you, I know from your let-
ter that you are a strong, capable and noble
woman. I commiserate you upon the death
of your friend and I know how greatly you
can sympathize with my feelings at losing
the only feminine creature I have ever
loved besides my mother.
Very sincerely yours,
Dearest, dearest Laura:
The round-robin and your lovely letter
came a few days ago and I hasten to answer
it while I may. We never know what is go-
ing to happen on this plane and our dearest
friends may pass away without a word of it
reaching us until months afterward. I
hadn't heard from one of the girls in months
and months. The last letter I had from any
one in the old Delphian Society was a note
from Helen Frey the last time she was in
Still, I wasn't so surprised to get the
round-robin. I was prepared for it. About
a month ago I got a letter from a very
famous astrologer, a Swami in Camden,
New Jersey, telling me the most astonish-
ingly intimate things about myself, and
predicting that I would hear from several
old friends in the near future.
You see, I am a member of a Spiritualist
Church here, and we find it very easy and
often helpful to be en rapport with other
psychics all over the world. It must have
been through spiritual communion that
this Hindu received this knowledge of me.
I commissioned him to draw up my horo-
scope at once. It is the most perfect thing
I have ever seen of the kind. He has my past
down perfectly — and my temperament!
He admits some difficulty in plotting my
future. He says he can't see a full year
ahead for me, but he has carried it through
January and will go on further at a later
I gather confidence in him because he
does not predict all happiness and good for-
tune. He sees violence, great violence in the
lives of some of my friends and I have won-
dered if George is always kind to you.
You know you can trust me, Laura, dear.
Has he ever struck you? I wouldn't ask if
it were not for the Swami's mention of
I am writing some of the other girls
today. I think round-robins are splendid for
renewing old acquaintances — don't you?
Please don't wait a long time to write
again, and take no offense at my question
about George. Are you at all interested in
the strides psychic research has made in the
last few years? What is your husband's
faith? Is it true that one of the twins mar-
ried? I never hear from them. I heard that
June married a theatrical man and turned
Catholic for him. Do you know if that is
Write soon, won't you? And if you want
me to I'll have the Swami draw up your
horoscope. You were always so level headed.
I think there is a big place for you in psychic
Your sincere old friend,
P.S. How is the baby?
Anne dearest; how are you?
I really shouldn't be writing you — I
wrote last. But there is so much news! My
control came at our last seance and told me
you were having trouble with Tom again.
You poor, poor child. What does your fu-
ture hold for you with a man like that? I
should think you'd take up some serious
study, some church work or something and
let him go his way. You have no children.
I wouldn't sacrifice myself to his lust. Why
don't you write to Swami Yogadachi? I
mentioned him to you before. He has told
me some wonderful things. Lots of the
other girls are consulting him. He has
warned Helen Frey that she will be tempted
to take her own life. Poor Helen, She wrote
me such a pitiful letter. She is fighting
against great odds. None of us can go
against the Powers. I have tried to interest
her in spiritualism but it's impossible to im-
press her with its true importance just
The Swami told me I would hear of sev-
eral deaths among my friends. I wonder
whose. He says there will be murders and
suicides and that some will go insane, all
within the space of a few months. "Sisters
will kill sisters, and wives their husbands,"
Mary Thompson writes me that she had
him draw up her horoscope and although
she wouldn't reveal what he told her — she
said it was very accurate and not very
cheering for the future. I hope nothing ter-
rible happens to her.
Do you hear from Laura Stanhope? I
wrote to her a month ago but received no
answer. Is she happy? You know, I often
wonder if George is as good to her as she
lets on. I know what you have to bear with
Tom, but that is better than being beaten
every few days by a brute of a man. I think
I'm wiser, after all, to remain single. I may
have to do without some of the luxuries
you girls have, but I have my church work
and my control. I almost got his name the
last time he came. He is an Indian chief of
the Seminole tribe! Isn't it amazing? All of
the other members of our church have
Sioux or Black Feet or Crow guides but
mine is a Seminole from Florida.
I have told the Swami about him and
sent ten dollars for a complete reading of
my future. The shorter ones I have are very
good but they only go as far as Spring.
Now I'll know — in a few days — what the
Powers intend for me.
Why don't you write him, dear? It might
clear up your trouble with Tom. It couldn't
hurt to try. You don't suppose Laura would
kill George, do you?
Tell me everything and write soon. If
you write to Mary Nolan Thompson don't
mention that I told you about her horo-
scope. For some strange reason she wants it
kept secret. If you have the time you might
write to Helen. She really needs friends.
Your old friend,
What are we going to do about Helen?
Laura — she will not listen to me. I tell her
she must prepare herself, since the spirits of
suicides are always earth-bound. Nothing
does her any good. She laughs at the predic-
tion and insists that she is not afraid. I can't
hold out any hope to her. The Swami is
truly illustrious. He knows everything. And
if it is written in the stars that she is to go
that way — nothing can stop her. It is too
bad, I suppose, that she has to know about
it and worry about it. On the other hand,
I should be glad to know how and when I
shall pass through the veil so that I may put
my house in order.
What do you suppose is the matter with
Mary Nolan Thompson? Something is prey-
ing on her mind too. Do you suppose
Thompson is mean to her? But there is
something else. She hinted at some inherited
taint. Did you know she had an aunt, her
mother's sister, in an asylum? She told me
about it once in school. Poor creature. She
may have found that in her horoscope. I
hope not. That would be dreadful.
I haven't heard from you in so long. You
didn't take offense at my questions about
George, did you? I shouldn't have asked. I
know it must be some one else who is re-
ferred to. By the way, does the baby enjoy
perfect health most of the time? When is
his birthday? Will he be four or five? Time
goes so fast, doesn't it?
I have found the twins' address at last.
It was on an old program — a piano recital
we went to together just before commence-
ment at old Mount Albans. I found it
through my control. He's awfully good at
finding things. It's their home address,
where their mother lives. Did you hear that
they were on the stage and that they left
that poor old lady all alone? I could hardly
believe it. I'll know in a few days. I just fin-
ished writing them.
Well, I'll close now. I have to write sev-
eral other letters. I think I have just enough
stamps. If you hear from Mary or Anne,
please let me know. It won't do any good,
but I think we should all try to cheer Helen
up. If she must go, she might as well go
Your sincere friend,
Dear Old Pal:
Good night! You could have knocked us
both over with a feather. One feather for
the two of us. June brought your letter to
the dressing room — she was late as usual —
and stood it up against the mirror. Guess —
she says — guess who it's from. She hadn't
opened it. So we both guessed a while. We
had forgotten your husband's name. It's a
dumb name anyway, June says.
We couldn't get anywhere, so we opened
it. Imagine our surprise and picture our
amazement! You — you old . . . well!
But isn't it terrible about Helen Haenkel-
tenckle? Remember — how we used to kid
her about her name. She was just a peach,
but dumb, of course. We didn't know any-
thing about it until a few days ago we got
a letter from Koons. She's goofier than ever.
What a mol! Remember the time she saw
a man in her own tea-cup and damn near
Well, she tells us about this Swami —
honest to God, I always thought Swami was
a low comedy name for all shush-dinge.
Meanin' nuthin' pussinil about any of the
Delphic Choricles — of course! What ever
became of Ursula anyway? But it ain't!
Swami means something. Koons is our au-
thority. Good old Koons. If you hadn't
protected her from the rest of us we'd have
done for her the day after she first came to
school. What do you think of my English
accent? Fm stringing the snappiest straight
man — a legit from dear ol' Lunnon. Of
course, June saw him late as usual and is
now trying to sign him up with a blanket
contract, if - you - know - what - I - mean!
Dearie! a blanket contract. No chance, May
has her hooks on that baby.
But — Koons tells us Helen is brooding
about killing herself — and along come the
papers where she's done it — Marie, that's
terrible! It just doesn't seem possible that
such a thing could happen in this day and
age. I'll bet anything it's that damn fortune
teller's fault. What did he want to go and
get her all upset like that for? Do you know
what he told us? He says we're going to have
a big fight. He calls that news! My God! If
a man bites a dog! Say. It'd be news if we
didn't. He's no fortune teller. I'm going to
write him and get my money back.
Well, we were all of a heap when we read
it. It didn't seem real. It don't yet. June was
just saying, it don't seem possible.
Who started that round-Robert? When
June saw Laura Stanhope — like you always
write it, she says (the cat) she says — Al-
ways the President! No offense. I don't
know, though, maybe she meant it. Here,
ask her. Hold the wire . . .
Don't pay any attention to my big slob
of a sister. She just blows and blows and
nothing ever comes out. She wishes some-
thing would just now — something she
didn't swallow. Well, I warned her. Acro-
bats are deadly that way. What a sister! If
she had a nickel for all the words she uses
that don't mean anything — we could both
retire — if she'd give me half — which I
It's terrible about Helen. I cried like a
baby. What is Koons 'trying to tell us about
Mary Nolan? Nobody can make heads or
tales of her letters. She says your husband
beats you and your kid's going to die. Is it?
We're playing the Palace next week —
barring an act of God — we'll send you a
Your two fat sisters,
Dear Mrs. O'Neill:
After your nasty letter, I had resolved
never to write to you again, but the en-
closed newspaper clippings bear me out so
thoroughly that I can not refrain. Mary
Nolan Thompson is a thief. She has been
arrested and is now in the psychopathic
ward of the County Hospital for observa-
tion. There has been insanity in her family
as I told you. All of this was predicted by
Swami Yogadachi before his tragic death of
which you must have read. The world has
lost a great seer in Swami Yogadachi. He
knew everything. He not only predicted his
own death, almost to the minute, but he
told Helen Frey when she would commit
suicide, poor thing, and he told Mary
Thompson she was a kleptomaniac and
would end her days in an insane asylum.
Furthermore, only four days before his
death he told me that I would live to hear of
the death of a five year old boy and of other
deaths, before I died — next summer.
I am not afraid. The Swami was en rap-
port with a plane above this materialistic
world and he could see things denied to
ordinary mortal eyes. I will meet the Prince
of the Morning gladly, with my house all
in order. I will go bravely to the spirit
realm, to that happy land beyond the veil.
P.S. For the sake of old times, I take the
trouble to tell you that I called upon Mr.
Thompson when I heard of Mary's arrest.
His story was pitiful, indeed. He is a heart-
He says that he began missing money
from his pockets about the first of Decem-
ber, but thought nothing of it, believing
that Mary planned to use the money for a
Christmas gift for him — not wanting to
ask for a large sum outright. It never seems
like a real present if you use the person's
money you are going to surprise. But when
Swami Yogadachi's death was announced in
the newspapers, Mary took to brooding, sit-
ting for two days, staring out of the win-
dow, neglecting her house and even her own
person. Then Helen's suicide reached her
and they had to call a doctor. She tore her
hair and scratched her own face. Strong
men could not hold her and she was in bed
for five days.
When she finally got up she seemed per-
fectly well, although very weak, and Mr.
Thompson told her not to try to leave the
house. She did, however, go shopping. Two
detectives caught her trying to steal silk
scarfs in Lord and Taylors. From her wild
actions and incoherence under questioning,
they deduced that she was unbalanced, and
from cards in her purse they got his name
and called him. The police were not in-
volved that time. Mr. Thompson placated
the store managers. She was obviously out
of her mind. He hired a nurse to stay with
her and a specialist to attend her. The ex-
pense, he says, was terrible. You know he is
only a clerk in a bank and they had nothing
but his salary.
On the twenty-third, practically Christ-
mas Eve, she got away from her nurse and
tried to steal a fur coat in a crowded store,
leaving her own in its place. She got a block
from the store before they caught her and
she almost started a riot by beating onlook-
ers over the head with her umbrella. They
took her away in a patrol or ambulance and
got in touch with him at his office.
It is very sad, of course, but it only goes
to show that none of us can escape our fate.
Thompson kissed her — almost as briefly as
one does a corpse — and they sat on a visitor's
bench like two wet sparrows. Mary smoothed
the calico skirt of her uniform and .brushed his
hand. He could take it then, if he wanted to.
She wouldn't make him feel that he had to be
tender, to a crazy wife.
"How's everything?" he asked, hollowly, as if
his head were in a wooden bucket as he spoke.
"All right." She smiled. "I haven't— felt badly
— all week."
"That's fine." He looked at her, then, his
solemn eyes hopeful, his thin lips smiling faintly.
"What do they say?"
"They think I'm getting along fine. Of course,
none of the real doctors have seen me since Mon-
day, only the young ones. They're so busy."
"Jesus; not since Monday."
"No, Derick, but they can't help it — and the
young ones are good."
"No authority, though. They couldn't get you
out of here. So damn' much red tape."
"Not so loud, dear," she squeezed his hand and
looked furtively around. "They take offense —
you can't say anything."
Thompson squinted suspiciously. "Then what?
What do they do to you?"
"Not so loud, Derick! If you love me, don't
talk so loud. . . . They haven't done anything
to me — but I've seen some awful sights. I can't
tell you now. I'm afraid. When I come home,
some time, I'll tell you."
"This place is kept up with the tax-payers'
Mary clutched his arm. "Derick, darling, do
you want to make me suffer? Lots of things go
on that we can't stop; but if I'm quiet and good
and do just as I'm told they treat me splendidly.
Don't worry about it."
"What kind of lookin' guys are these young
Mary's heart leaped suddenly in her breast.
He was jealous! Mad as she was; a thief and a
mad-woman — yet he maintained enough interest
to be jealous. Derick misinterpreted her smile.
"What are you grinning at? Do you think it's
pleasant for me to know you're here at the mercy
of these bastards? Christ, I can't even express
my mind above a whisper without you shakin'.
Suppose some punk of a doctor takes a notion to
jazz you. Where do I get off? What chance have
you got? You have to be good. You don't dare
talk back. . . . That's the kind of thing I've
been livin' with — ever since you been here."
"Derick, darling, nothing like that ever hap-
pens. Please believe me. These fellows are all
wrapped up in their work. We're just sick
women to them. The other never enters their
Thompson hid his face in his hands. "All right;
I believe you." They huddled there a moment
more in miserable silence. Mary licked her pale
lips and stroked his hair. "Did I have any mail?"
"Yes!" He looked up, glaring. "A letter from
that God damn' Koons woman. ... I tore it
"Don't talk so loud." Mary's chin quivered
and tears ran from her eyes. "Fm sorry to upset
you, dear. I'll ask her not to write again. But,
please don't yell at me."
She was in his arms then. He hadn't meant to
yell. Faintly their hearts sought each the other's
rhythm as their slim breasts were bruised in
desperate contact. "Mary," he sobbed. "Oh,
"There, sweet; there, there. Don't be im-
patient. Fm on the chart for Dr. Zinn next
Wednesday. Maybe he'll say I can go."
He kissed her, longer; her cheeks, her eyes.
"Fm a lousy husband. Jesus. Come here to cheer
you up — and make you baby me. I wish to Christ
Fd been the motorman o' that God damn' train;
Fd 'a run it back an' forth over the son of a
bitch a hundred times."
One of Mary's brows crawled higher than the
other — as we have seen it in the Mount Albans
annual. "We've got to stop it from going any
further, Derick. We've got to have faith in
"Yeah. We got to get you out o' here."
"It won't be long. . . . There's the matron.
I guess you better go."
"Oh, Jesus, I just came"
"All right." They stood, hands clasped.
"Your time is up," old hard-face said.
If Mary's nails had not bitten his palm, he
would have retorted.
" 'Bye, Mary."
He kissed her once more, fleetingly, and
squeezed her hand, hard. "Good-bye."
How is Bobby? Are you watching him
carefully? Anne writes that all this horrible
series of disasters will terminate through his
living on — past his birthday — and growing
up. I hope so. God, Laura, how I hope so.
I've been through all this before. I know
what it is. I've been through so much. When
I first read that horoscope telling me I
couldn't fight my fate, that I was a born
thief and a maniac — I fought. How I
fought! Then the other things began com-
ing true and I began slipping, I can't go
over all that again. My days are numbered
if Bobby dies. Save him, Laura! Take him
away with you. Never leave him alone. Do
something! Anne is sentenced. That's hard
enough to bear. If Bobby goes I won't wait
to die. I'll dash my brains out. I'll jump
from the Chrysler Building. Oh, God,
Laura, do something.
Dear Mrs. O'Neill:
Love your boy in the flesh as long as you
may. His days are numbered now. Accept
my sincere condolences and grieve not too
much lest you bind his little spirit to earth.
Fve meant to write so often, but mother
has been here, and there seemed so much to
do. How are you, kiddo? She's gone back to
N. Y. C. now. She still takes care of Bill as
if he were a baby. I wish I could have gone
with her to see a good show and Broadway
Laura, darling, the strangest thing has
happened. I got a letter from Jo Turner,
can you imagine that? Jo — who has been so
snooty for the last few years you couldn't
touch her with a ten foot pole. Actually
wrote to me and sent a round-robin that's
been circulating some time. I sent it to old
lady Kersten because I was afraid if I didn't
no one else would ever think to. I told her
to send it back to you. I don't know who
started it, but Hazel Cousins was on it —
and Helen, you may be sure.
But the strangest thing is that about a
week before the letter and robin came from
Jo, I got a letter from a star reading fellow
in Camden, New Jersey, telling me I was
going to hear from an old friend I had al-
Well, of course, nobody could forget Jo,
but I hadn't thought of her in such a long
time. It was like a voice from the dead. And
funnier still — she had just the same sort of
letter I had, and from the same man. It
must be somebody we both know, trying to
play a joke on us. But I'm writing to him
anyway. Why don't you write too? He tells
the past, present and future — by the stars. I
haven't been to a fortune teller since Tom
flirted with a palmist I took him to, more
than a year ago. He's a good boy — but he's
impressionable, if you know what I mean!
I'll bet you do.
How is the baby — and George? Don't
wait so long to write just because I don't
answer. I love to get letters but I hate to
write them. You know. I've always been
like that. I'll send some snaps as soon as I
have them printed. How about a picture of
Bobby? I'll bet he's big.
P.S. The man's address is Swami Yoga-
dachi, 1402 Chestnut Street, Camden, N. J.
You may be sure your "star-reading fel-
low" is someone we all know, because I've
had a letter from him too, and so have all
the other girls. Save your money, honey, it's
What did Jo have to say? I don't know
what got into her. The moment we were
out of school she seemed to forget all of us.
I don't suppose I've been such a perfect
correspondent, but I've written her at least
a dozen times off and on. All I ever hear
from her is "Merry Christmas" every year.
She doesn't forget that. But wouldn't you
think — we were room-mates, you know —
she'd say hello in July some time? What's
still funnier, she was out here a little while
ago — in California, I mean. I know she was.
And didn't look me up. It's her business, of
course. I think I know why she acts that
way, maybe you do too, but she should
know me better than to think Yd be the
one to criticise. I guess I'm as broad-minded
as the next one. But she was always an inde-
pendent soul. Maybe she was thinking of
Bobby or was afraid George wouldn't be so
cordial. Anyway, I'm glad she's come to life
again. If she writes you again let me know
and I'll try my luck once more.
It must have been dandy, seeing your
mother. Did she have Bill with her in
Akron? How old is he now and what is he
studying? George has big plans for Bob —
but I tell him he'll probably turn out to be
a barber. We are having some good pictures
made of him and I'll send you the proofs so
you can pick out the one you want.
I wish Akron weren't so far away. I cer-
tainly do get fed up on scientific baby food,
my own spinach and butter-milk diet — and
bridge. Sometimes I think I'll scream if I
ever see another deck of cards. George has
subscribed to the Literary Guild and I read
a lot in the daytime, but he likes to have
people around in the evening and there isn't
a thing to do but play bridge.
Miss Kersten returned the round-robin
and I sent it on to Koons. She and your
Swami will probably get married. Now,
that's what I call fortune telling.
Don't worry about Tom, Anne. When I
remember how he used to look at you, I
know he's true blue and you couldn't get
rid of him if you tried. But — listen, Anny!
You're going to have to hurry to catch up
to me with a family. I'm almost sure I'm
that way again — and I might as well go
through with it. It will be good for Bob to
have someone to play with and it will be a
perfectly grand excuse for not playing
bridge for a while. Can you think of a bet-
ter reason for having babies? George wants
a girl of course. Little Laura aims to please.
Did I say "little"!
You'll have to answer or I won't write.
Lopsided correspondence can be carried too
Always the same,
You! Of course, you wouldn't have any-
thing to do with fortune tellers. You always
were too sensible. But I have my horoscope
— and Tom's too — and they both tell the
straightest truth. Mine says Fm always los-
ing my temper but don't mean it and a lot
of good things. (You know I am.) And
Tom's says he's loving, but fickle — and you
know he is. But I'm not going to tell you
all they say — just so you can laugh at me.
You're as bad as Jo. Even after the demon-
stration of the round-robin she wouldn't
have hers told. Hazel Cousins did, though,
and she wrote to Jo, telling her how good
her horoscope was. It was Hazel sent the
round-robin to Jo. She doesn't write to me.
I don't know why. I never did anything to
her. Do you know the twins' address? Some-
body ought to see that they get it. They
were nice kids.
Will you ever forget the time Melchisa-
deck ran away with them and Ursula and
Helen caught him? The twins couldn't have
patched out one whole dress between them.
Those were the happy days.
Both my notes from that Turner woman
were half a page long. One said: "Here's a
round-robin one of the Delph's sent me.
Hazel. If you don't send it on to another
one God'U send locusts to Akron. A Swami
told me so." And the other one said: "Child
— I move so fast that anything the stars
would tell your horoscoper would be out of
date before he reached the first stop. Hazel
had him tell her a lot of bunk, but I don't
want to know what's coming. It's too much
fun watching to see. Tell Laura Stanhope
I'm too damned ashamed of myself to write
her after waiting so long."
So that's that. I don't get you about her
— not entirely. You mean her men? I always
did suspect that "guardian" of hers. Who
ever heard of a guardian with wavy chest-
nut hair! But what else? Come on, sphynxy,
don't keep all the good things to yourself.
And you pregnant again! Well, you're
lucky, that's all I've got to say. If I skipped
a month the ceiling would fall in. But don't
I wish I could — for Tom, you know.
I'm alone a lot lately. He is working so
hard. Some days I only see him about
twenty minutes. His office is trying to cut
expenses like everyone else and they've given
him two other men's jobs to do.
Here are some snaps. The pretty girl is
Nellie Stone, and the boy is Phil McKenzie,
they're both from Tom's office. We four
run around a lot together. Don't you think
they make a sweet couple? Just the right
size for each other. Do you like my new
hat? It's a copy of a Paris model — but I
suppose you see later things than we used
to in New York, there where all the stars
Say! I've been going to mention this for
a year. I saw Dolores del Rio in "Evangel-
ine" a long time ago. It was a grand picture,
but Fve always thought Evangeline was a
blonde — didn't you? Will you take that up
with Mr. Lasky, please? Fve been thinking
of dyeing my hair. What do you think?
You always have such good taste.
Now, write soon. Love.
I heard from Ellen Koons yesterday for
the first time in a month. She is all excited
about Helen Frey, who is threatening to kill
herself. Did you ever hear of such a thing?
I thought she was so happy. I guess if the
truth were known Tom's not the only one
with a failing for the ladies. All men are
alike and if all of you have been pitying
me for what Fve suffered — well, not you,
but some of them — they had better "mend
their own fences" as my grandfather used
I can't stand pity, Laura; you know that,
and I was a goose — if not something crazier
— to tell my troubles to a lot of catty
women. Please don't take any of this to
yourself. You have always been splendid
and any one who calls you a cat has me to
answer to. But you know some of the other
Delphians were born with claws and I was
silly enough to let them know about Tom
and that little snip of a secretary I made
him get rid of.
Oh, Laura, I thought that was all over.
Honestly I did. I prayed it was. Tom was so
kind and thoughtful. We had some of the
grandest times this summer. Motored to
Sandusky where his people live. Out to
camp. But — damn it! — yes, damn it. He's
gone off again. We have had some terrible
scenes. I trusted him implicitly until I got
that Swami's letter, naturally that made me
more watchful. Once or twice I looked for
letters in his coat and he saw me. Laura, he
went wild. He accused me of driving him
to other women with my jealousy; said that
he might as well go out and enjoy himself
since he was guilty of it in my eyes whether
he did it or not — well, just everything. Of
course, I wasn't exactly silent, and he finally
grabbed his hat and went out and didn't
come back until three o'clock in the morn-
ing. That was nearly three weeks ago.
Since then things have been getting worse
and worse. I've tried not to be jealous, but
what can I do? I know he can't keep his
head if a girl smiles at him and he's such a
handsome dog that they're always smiling.
There are dozens of them in his office. It
doesn't do any good to get his secretaries
discharged. The place is full of little snips
with baby-doll faces and corn-colored hair.
Since business has been so bad he's been
working late almost every night and once
or twice I've walked down to meet him; I
had nothing else to do. I hate going to the
movies alone, don't you?
But he was working, all right. At first he
was. Then last Wednesday I got a complete
reading from Swami Yogadachi, telling me
that I was being duped, that Tom Jessup
could not be honest or true if he tried, that
he was lying to me and that there was only
one cure for a man of his disposition and
I don't know what that means unless —
but I can divorce him. The Swami says that
won't do any good. It will just allow him to
do his philandering legally; it won't help
me to bear it. It won't keep my heart from
aching. I don't know what to do. He never
stays home any more. He says I've driven
him out. That isn't true, Laura. I trusted
him all summer. I was sure he had turned
over a new leaf. Then these horoscopes came
and it all started over again.
Now Ellen writes that the Swami told her
she would hear of a murder among her
friends. I enclose the letter. Read it and tell
me what you think. It might refer to the
twins, of course, it says "a sister" — and then
Helen Frey's "suicide." Isn't that terrible?
I'm sure I don't know where this Yogadachi
gets his information, but he hits the nail on
the head every time. I'd feel a lot safer if
Tom were more like George. But you always
did get the best of everything, the top
cream, the maple centers, the best looking
boys and now the truest husband. How do
you do it? Just born lucky.
Well, I've got to run. Have some shop-
ping to do. I usually get down town around
lunch time just to see if Tom eats alone. If
I catch him eating with any of these flaxen-
curled cuties I'll scratch both their eyes
P.S. How's the baby? Where's my picture
of him? You're a fine one!
The door bell rang. Now who? "You'll have
to get down, lazy." Anne eased the cat off her
lap and tried to memorize the page number of
her place in Cimarron. "One-eighty-two, one-
eighty-two, one-eighty-two," she repeated as
she walked to the front door. "Hello, Phil. . . .
Well— where's Nellie?"
"I don't know."
"Oh — oh! The love-birds have their feathers
The boy looked at her steadily as he tossed his
hat on the hall table and took her hand. "Yeah/'
he said drily. "Tom out?" They walked toward
the living room, their fingers twined.
"He's working. You get off easy."
"Well, you do. He's had to work every night
but Tuesday this week,"
"That's tough." '
"You'd think it was."
"He is working; isn't he, Phil?"
The young man's oval face confronted her
squarely. "If Tom says he's working, he's work-
ing; as far as I know."
"But you'd know. Tell me the truth."
"Why don't you call up?"
"The switch-board's cut off at five-thirty."
Phil smiled. "He's working. Forget it."
"Well, I don't believe you, but I don't know
what I can do about it tonight. What's the
trouble between you and Nellie?"
"Same old thing."
"Yes — it's great. You read it?"
"I saw the picture."
"Oh, of course, we all went together."
"I don't care anything about a book after I've
seen the picture."
"What about you and Nellie?"
"Oh, it's the same old story. She's runnin'
around with another guy."
"You don't know him."
"Not that Steve?"
"No, another fellow. You don't know him."
"You mean she's actually that way about
somebody? I thought you two were engaged."
Phil rose and started toward her chair, an un-
mistakable mien of serious purpose frowned
from him and impressed Anne. He leaned over
her and kissed her astonished mouth.
"Well," she laughed, "is that a prize I get for
knowing the golden text?"
"No," he said without moving, holding his
weight with stiff arms on the arms of her chair,
"you get that for nothing. This is sample day."
Anne was disturbed, but she knew Phil so
well. This was a strange new note in their friend-
ship, but the thing to do was take it lightly and
kid him out of any wild ideas he might have
cooked up. Probably he'd had a few too many
"How much? by the dozen?"
"A gross, then?"
"Have you got a new penny?"
"I just bought some two-cent stamps . . ."
"No — we don't take stamps."
"Go back and sit down, Phil. What if Tom
should walk in? I think it's awfully funny for
you to act like this just because Nellie is giving
trouble. . . . After all, Fm not in the habit of
comforting quarreling sweethearts with my
"My God! you're dumb, Anne. You are
"Thanks; — but go sit down. ... I didn't
want you so close in the first place and if we're
going to call names I'm not sure you hadn't
better go." She was not smiling. She meant it.
"Do you want me to call Nellie up and reason
with her? I don't know who she's running
around with, but he'll have to go some to be as
sweet as you." She regretted that phrasing too
late to hold the words. "In your hat!" she said
to reclaim the moment.
Phil held her slim shoulders and tried to kiss
her again, hitting her cheek as she twisted away.
"You're drunk, Phil."
"No, I'm not. I haven't had a drink since last
"Well, you should be if you expect to get
away with this heavy love stuff." She rose, avoid-
ing him, and he clutched at her waist, drawing
her body toward him.
"Phil McKenzie, let me go!"
"Don't be such a prude, Anne."
"I'm not a prude. I just don't like you that
way, that's all. That's clear; isn't it?"
"Perfectly." He dropped his arms.
Anne twitched and fretted, adjusting herself,
patting her hair and straightening her dress.
"I like you, Anne."
"I like you, Phil."
"But you don't want to play with me."
He nodded. "I think you're pretty square,
"I hope so."
"You're too square to be taking it like you
"You've been taking it for months. I'm losing
my job to tell you about it."
"Something about Tom?"
"All about Tom."
"Let me have it. Is he out with Nellie?"
"I'm only scenery, Anne. I've just been doing
an old friend a favor. Fm not engaged to her. I
haven't quarreled with her. I never loved her.
They wanted to be together, that's all, so they
made it up that I should tail along to keep you
from being suspicious. The girl's nothing to me."
Anne stood rigid, listening. Her dark eyes
more than half closed; her lips drawn tightly
against her teeth.
"But I couldn't keep it up — damn it. You're
too good a scout. Maybe I fell for you — I don't
know. But I'm through being a monkey for
them, so they can make a — to fool you.
"I'm going now, Anne. I'm leaving town.
Tom'll fire me if he don't do anything else. I
don't want any trouble. ... So long."
"So long, Phil." Another effigy of a man. No
guts, no underpinning. If he had "fallen for her"
he'd stay and take her hand and fight for her.
Instead, he was running.
"Will you — kiss me good-bye?"
Anne smiled, tiredly. Kiss him good-bye. She
shook her head.
"So long, then."
She raised one hand in a vaguely fatalistic ges-
ture of acknowledgment that she heard him.
The door closed and she stood without moying
until the cat scratched to be let out.
She pretended to be asleep when Tom came in
— and again when he left next morning. She had
nothing to say to him. What good was talk?
He called her on the telephone about one
o'clock. "I've got to go to Youngstown on busi-
ness, Anne. I'll be back tomorrow or next day.
I'm sending the boy out with fifty dollars. That'll
do you; won't it?"
"Well— be good."
"Why should I?"
"What do you mean, why should you? What's
"Are you going to start that again?"
"No. Go ahead. Have a good time."
"How can I have a good time? I'll be working
"Like you were last night."
"Why? What about last night? I suppose you
came up here."
"No, I didn't. I didn't have to."
"I can't talk about this in the office. Hang up
and I'll call you from outside."
"Don't bother. What time are you going to
"Why? What difference does it make?"
"Oh, I thought I might come down and have
dinner with you and put you on the train. We
used to do that."
That was true. They had. At first they
wouldn't have missed eating a meal together for
all the tea in China.
"Oh — I don't know. I thought I'd leave before
dinner — eat on the train and get in a good night's
"That's right. Take care of your health. . . .
Well, so long, Tom."
"I thought you had hung up."
"I thought you had."
"What was it?"
"Oh, I don't know. Your voice sounds so
"Is it any wonder?"
"Who'd you see last night? Who's been talk-
ing to you?"
"I thought you couldn't talk about it in the
"Oh, to hell with 'em. Listen, Anne; I don't
want you to believe things people tell you. If
you want the truth about anything I do — you
ask me. ... I know what's the matter with
you. Some busybody's told you they saw me with
a woman last night. Well, they did. Do you
know who it was? It was Nellie. We worked late
and when we left we were both hungry. We
went out to the Dutchman's and had fried
chicken. I knew you'd be asleep or I'd have called
you so we could all go. Phil knew about it."
"Sure. So you see, there's nothing to it. And if
you'll trace half the rumors you hear they all
come down to some explanation just as simple as
that. Good Lord, you're not going to start being
jealous of Nellie too, are you?"
"I'm not jealous of anyone, Tom. I'm past
that. Was Phil in the office today?"
"Uh? No. No, he wasn't. Touch of grippe, I
"No — he's gone away."
"What do you mean gone away?"
"I don't know. He told me he was going
"When? When did you see him?"
Tom made a face at the telephone. Suddenly
he was excited. Phil had run wild. Talked. Uh-
huh, uh-huh, uh-huh. Now, what?
"What did he have to say?"
"Do I have to tell you?"
"Oh, so that's it. He's gone nuts too. Got sore
because I bought Nellie a fried chicken. Well, I
think it's pretty damn small of both of you.
That's what I think."
"I don't want to talk any more. So long,
"Oh, what? We can't wrangle like this over
the phone. Your operator's listening in. Go on
to Youngstown. Come home when you get ready.
It's nothing to me."
"Don't feel that way about it. This is a busi-
ness trip, honey. Honest it is."
"It is. But look, Anne. I'll go ask the old man
if somebody else can't go. What do you say?
Shall I? Will you come down and have dinner
with me and go to a show if I can get out of the
What perverse imp was running away with
his tongue? Why did he feel impelled to con-
vince Anne that his fabrication was the truth?
At the outset, the objective had been to get away
without trouble for a free evening or two with
Nellie. Now, as the obstacles to a clean get-away
increased, the objective changed. Now, the time
with Nellie was not important. Anne must be
convinced that he had not been lying, if he had
to sacrifice the assignation to give his story a
semblance of verity. . . . Why?
"I'll do whatever you say."
Of course, if he could get her to believe the
yarn without calling off his party — or — though
Tom was not conscious of this — if he could get
her only to profess to believe him although both
of them knew the story was false, and both knew
that the other knew, still he could go ahead with
his original plans. If, in much talk, almost by
accident, through exasperation or from any
cause, he could wring from her words which
could be stretched into a semblance of faith —
something he could throw up to her later —
something he could use as a basis for an assump-
tion of innocence after the event — even then
there would be no excuse for abandoning his
fun, for cancelling his liaison.
"That's what I'll do, honey," he forced the
most spurious tone of enthusiasm into his voice.
"You sit right there and wait for me to call
back. I'll bust a button to get out of it. Would
you like that?"
I guess so.
"Well, Christ, talk like it, then. If I turn the
office upside down to keep you from suspecting
I'm cheating on you, I'm at least entitled to a
He sounded sincere. She wanted to believe
him. Phil could have been lying, for selfish rea-
sons. After all, Tom was her husband; she should
take his word before she did that of anyone else.
And if he had been planning to take another
woman to Youngstown, keeping him home with
her was a victory of a sort, no matter how it was
done, no matter how little his heart was in it.
And if she could win this once, perhaps she could
prevail upon him to renounce Nellie — or who-
ever it was — in spite of his fickle nature, in spite
of Yogadachi. "I'd love it, Tom. You know that.
It would be like old times again."
"Well, I'll try. Don't set your heart on it. I
may not be able to sell the old man, but I'll do
my damndest. Now, you just sit tight. Hear
He hung up and swung in his swivel chair to
face the window. "Oh — nuts'* he said to an un-
offending sky. "Damn these women." He gath-
ered two or three letters in one hand and went
to Nellie in the outer office. She had seen him
coming and had put her legs to the left of her
desk so she could press his as he bent over to talk
She did not raise her auburn marcel as he
leaned over. "I could feel you coming clear
across the room," she said throatily without look-
ing up. "Every time you open your door a wave
of you comes out here and gets me. I can't work
until you've gone back again. My fingers are
stiff — and that little friend of yours — speaks
right up in meeting. God, I love you, worthless!"
Tom grinned at her and looked down the neck
of her loose blouse which she caused to gape with
an obliging generosity. Without moving her
shoulders she squinted up at him sidewise. "What
are you looking at?" she whispered hoarsely.
"You're in the office! . . . Like 'em?"
Tom buttoned his coat.
He put the letters on her desk and cleared his
"You didn't have anything to say to me," she
went on in that burring undertone which carried
no further than his ears. "You just came out here
for a little peek." She pressed her full calf against
his shin and so moved her knee that Tom
straightened and looked around the room full of
"Be careful," he said.
"Never! Not with you, you madman. Oh,
how I hate you. Always so sure of yourself."
"Touch me! Touch me somewhere. Any-
where. Quickly, Tom," she demanded.
He leaned over the letters and allowed his arm
to lie across her breast a second only.
"Oh, God," she breathed. "I can't wait. Let's
get out of here now. Think of some excuse, Tom.
She covered her eyes with one hand and her
throat was palpitant.
"Bring these letters back to me in a minute.
I've got to talk to you."
Nellie knew exactly what that meant. It was
a slight set-back. He'd been talking to Anne.
"Yes, Mr. Jessup."
"When you have time," he said in his natural
Well, it seems the old man had no one else who
could go to Youngstown on this particular mis-
sion. Anne would have to postpone that party
that was to be like old times until he got back.
Not more than two days — for sure.
So what did gullible Anne do but go to
Youngstown looking for them? She lacked only
the shawl over her head to be a character from
an old temperance cartoon, hieing her body from
hotel to hotel, scrutinizing the registers for
Tom's familiar handwriting. She had no idea
what name he might be using. In the eight most
presentable hostelries, there was no entry she
thought he could have written although she did
read one Mr. L. A. Smith and Wife — written
Meanwhile, the cavorting was taking place in
Akron. And — for all it was illicit, the perform-
ance had in it certain noble elements; a some-
what Oriental grandeur entered the second-rate
hotel bed-room and tinted the dim electric light,
softened the coarse linen and enriched the hang-
ings. A sonorous, rumbling, impressive tone, a
processional heavy with brass and deep-bellied
drums heralded the consummation of a desire as
primal as volcanic bowels, as pristine and ele-
mental as thunder. What Tom lacked of
physique to make the union wholly symbolic
was equalized by the extra fervor brought to the
fray by Nellie. Just as a movie audience is
pleased to ignore skinny legs in a male star if the
heroine appears to be daffy enough about him,
so were the gods appeased and the cosmic audi-
ence at these festivities given their money's
worth. Tom's arms were frightful and his nude
chest rather like a pigeon's, but because Nellie
experienced, or seemed to experience, an holy
rapture at their contact with her own more than
adequate complements, the wind bated its breath
and the stars blinked blissfully as climax after
climax was reached time after time.
What I mean to say is that all through the
night, while Anne ransacked the Youngstown
hotels with a second-hand revolver in her purse,
Tom was giving his entire time and all his swiftly
ebbing energy to that man-killing occupation
which Nature has made exhilarating to conceal
its basic insidiousness.
Nellie had the time of her life. "Why, Tom,"
she gave him the needle, "you're absolutely tire-
less, dear." And Tom responded as if it were
mid-afternoon instead of four in the morning.
They had breakfast brought in at noon and by
nine that evening Nellie herself was ready to sit
quietly in a movie. But two hours was breathing
spell enough — for her — and an idyllic episode in
the picture caused her to take one of Tom's thin
arms and lead him back to their untrellised
bower. But the novelty had abated in ferocity
for Tom and before midnight he was ready to
sleep. He dropped off as Nellie tried to lead what
conversation there was to the subject of Anne.
Having completed rather too thoroughly her
domination of the fellow's physical being, she
attacked the moral fibre, the spiritual body and
other such-like figments popularly said to lie
within the human breast, pigeon or normal.
Likely her rapacity would have been gratified if
the other job had been done less well; as it was,
Tom was too sleepy to remain awake long enough
to surrender. Too sleepy to talk about Anne or
Anne got home while they were still sleeping
in the morning. She looked at his untouched bed
and telephoned his office. Mr. Jessup would be in
later in the day. She was ashamed to leave a mes-
sage. How would that sound? Please have him
call bis wife xuhen he gets in! She wouldn't have
those weak-minded little cats laughing at her.
The girl at the board pulled the plug out and
called to another, two desks away. "You owe me
fifty cents, Sadie. He hasn't been home; — she
Anne made some toast and drank tea and went
next door to retrieve the cat. The neighbor con-
gratulated her on her husband. "I think it's won-
derful, him taking you with him on business
trips like that" — and watched Anne's face nar-
rowly for the pain.
"He's very thoughtful that way," Anne said,
scratching the cat's head, her face as expression-
less as she could adjust it. "Thank you for taking
care of Chita."
Tom called her early in the afternoon.
"Hello, Anne. I'm back."
The very sound of the bell had carried the
conversation further than that.
"I'll be home early for dinner."
Why did he pretend to be gay; pretend dinner
with her would be pleasant? He didn't want to
come home to dinner. Why wasn't he man
enough to say so?
"Jesus, God! You sound glad to hear from me.
I don't know why I break my neck to get back
to hear you talk like — like a wet — potato. I'll
be damned if I do."
"What shall I get for dinner? Lamp chops?"
"What's the matter with you, Anne? Yes —
sure, lamp chops are all right."
"Aren't you glad I'm home? Don't you want
to see me? I've been gone two days and all I get
for a welcome is a wet blanket."
"Don't let's talk about it, Tom. You come on
home and — I'll — we can — talk then."
"Why, what is there to talk about? Are you
"But you are ill?"
"No, I'm not."
"I'll come home right away."
"No, don't do that. Just come for dinner. I'm
"All right," he made his voice light and cheer-
ful again. "I'll be seeing you."
He made a conscientious effort to work. He
really should make up for all the time he had lost.
His desk was cluttered with business needing
attention. But concentration was beyond him.
When he realized that he had been staring at one
sheet of paper for twenty minutes while imag-
inary conversations with Anne and fragments of
memory from the past forty-eight hours alter-
nated in his mind, he rose in exasperation, took
his hat and made for the street.
Nellie's cruelest, most scornful smile followed
him out the door and got in the car with him.
"Piker," it taunted, from a spot six inches from
his left ear. "Tied to her apron strings! Run to
her, baby. After last night and the night before
— you run to her when she crooks her finger.
Slave. Conformist! Where are all your fine
declarations of freedom? Back to the hutch and
your lettuce leaves! But don't expect me to be-
lieve you're a lion the next time you feel like a
prowl. Go on back to her. Here's a kiss for
you!" — as he drove toward his home. Tom, you
see, was impressionable, and Nellie's smile con-
veyed to him only as much as she meant it to
convey and not one iota more.
Anne heard the car stop. He had come home
early in spite of what she had said. All right,
grimly, it didn't matter much when it was done.
She took the revolver from her purse, looked for
a place to put it — a place easy to reach — then
hastily stuffed it back in the bag as the back
door-bell rang. The groceries! She carried the
purse with her.
"G'day, Miz Jessup. Have a nice trip?"
If she should shoot him> the blood would be
brilliantly red, running down that white apron.
When she shot Tom his blood would just soak
into his brown suit, and look black.
"Very pleasant, thank you."
"I got a cousint in Youngst'n."
The front door closed.
"Hello, Tom," she called cheerily. There must
be nothing amiss before the tradesmen. "Are
those the seventeen-cent peas?"
"Yes, ma'am. . . . Hello, Mr. Jessup. Glad
"How are you, Jo?"
"Pretty good. You're gettin' thin."
"Oh, I don't think so." Tom embraced his
wife perfunctorily, kissing her in brief salute.
"I wisht I could knock off an' go home in th'
i 3 6
middle o' the day," Jo winked at Tom. "You
eggzecutives get all the breaks."
The three people laughed. "I put in some
scraps for the cat, Miz Jessup. I thought you
might want 'em."
"Thank you, Jo." She closed the door and
turned to Tom.
"Give me a real kiss, honey," he said, and she
watched him approach her, held motionless, with
her back against the door, by a resolution akin
to that one feels when necessity forces the han-
dling of something filthy; a beskite dog, the
vomit of a loved one. She was taut in anticipa-
tion of contact with his flesh, spared violent
nausea only by reflection that soap and water
would cleanse her of even the most loathesome
She let him kiss her — and the touch of his lips
dispelled her paralyzing horror. Oh, God! make
it that she was wrong. Make it all an unfounded
suspicion! Purge her head of these nasty thoughts
and make these arms mean what they were pre-
tending. Fix it up like that; won't you, God?
Ah, it was too late. Too late for even God to do
anything about it. His kiss had been unnatural,
twisting in a new way; something he'd picked up
in Youngstown. Over his shoulder she saw her
bulging hand-bag on the kitchen cabinet.
"Dja get lamb chops?"
'Yes. . . . Lamb chops."
He released her and she busied herself storing
the cans and packages. What for? In two hours
neither of them would care where the groceries
"You didn't get that brown suit pressed. You
must have been busy."
"I was," he yawned, leaving her to her chores.
"I put over something pretty decent for the
That sounded natural enough. That was the
way he talked. That's what he would say.
"See the Vincent's?" She had to raise her voice
to make him hear.
"No-o-o. No time."
He was running the tub. c Tm gonna take a
bath," he forestalled further conversation.
"Yep. . . . Thanks."
Washing the odor of another woman from his
body. Oh, why wait? Why wait? In the tub he'd
be helpless. He probably wouldn't lock the door.
His blood would mix with the water in the tub.
If he did turn the key she could shoot the lock
open — like they did in the movies. She should do
it while he smelled of her, while the guilt was all
over him. Anne's hands ran over her chin, her
neck and into her hair. Her teeth cut her lower
lip. No. While a vestige of doubt remained she
would wait. But that meant catching him. Actu-
ally finding him with someone. All right. Sup-
pose it did. It was better to wait for that than to
kill an innocent man. To kill Tom. . . . Was
she actually going to — to kill Tom? It didn't
She pushed her bag way in the corner of the
cabinet and dropped an empty paper sack in
crude but effective camouflage before it. When
Tom returned in a dressing gown, the chops were
sizzling. Anne was cutting bread with a long
sharp knife. He came up behind her and pressed
his scantily clothed body against her. She could
not suppress the shudder that ran through her,
and wrenched away, turning, the long knife still
in her hand. Her eyes blazed with hatred. For a
moment you could have bought Tom's chance to
live for two Confederate pennies. He swallowed
hard. "I — I didn't mean to startle you/' he said,
and backed out of the room.
You are the only one in the world I can
come to with my troubles. Please hear me
out and do not condemn me too quickly. I
do not care what the rest of the world
thinks, I want your good opinion to follow
me to jail, to death if need be. This may be
the last letter you ever receive from me. I
fully intend to kill myself — yes, even as
poor Helen did — after I shoot Tom. If my
courage fails and I do not go through with
it, think kindly of me. I will go to jail and
take my punishment. It will be worth it.
My life is a living hell. I have not slept
more than an hour at a time as far back as I
can remember. It must have been over a
month. I am losing my mind, I know,
although this all seems rational enough;
doesn't it? I talk about killing and suicide
and madness, — calmly. That is because I am
talking (writing, of course, it seems like
talking) to you. I have been thinking about
all this so long. Tom watches me. He knows
I am going crazy. He knows I distrust him
and that I am only waiting for an oppor-
tunity to strike. He does not know I have a
gun. I bought it in a pawn shop in Youngs-
He took a woman there. But I couldn't
find them. I thought I could kill him when
he came back — but the grocery man was in
the kitchen when he came in. I couldn't do
We have had separate bed rooms since
Christmas. I think he locks his door at night
for fear I'll stab him in his sleep. But I won't
do that. I want him to know I'm doing it
when I do. He'll come into the kitchen
when I'm cooking and if I start to slice
bread — he runs. I must look dangerous with
a butcher knife in my hand.
This must sound silly to you. Anne —
looking dangerous! But I'm serious, dear.
It has to stop. The Swami was right again.
There is only one way to stop it. I have to
kill him — kill the only man I have ever
known or loved — because I love him.
Now, please don't do anything foolish
like telegraphing the police here. That
would only delay matters. Since I have done
nothing but tell you about it, they would
have to let me out some time — and I would
do it as soon as I got away. I have concluded
Ellen Koons is right. We can't any of us
escape our Karma or Fate or Destiny. The
whole plan of our lives is a pattern. Yoga-
dachi or Danbury or whatever his right
name was, was only part of the pattern. He
didn't wish any of these things to happen.
He had no reason to wish for his own death.
He had nothing to gain by killing any one
else. Ellen is right, I think, he was in touch
— en rapport y as she says — with a sphere we
don't even know. He saw ahead and told us
about it and died. Ellen and I have been
corresponding ever since Mary was sent to
the asylum. Wasn't that just too pitiful?
Proud, sensitive, little Mary Nolan — in an
asylum. That's what I dread most about
what I'm going to do. If I have to go to jail
— all of the others — yes, and even you —
will say: "Poor Anne. In a cell!" It's your
pity I hate and not the cell. But I will avoid
it if I can. God knows I have to get away
from it sooner or later. The neighbors pity
me. My family pities me. You girls pity me.
I've reached the end of my rope. I'd much
rather be dead.
But it's not only that. I'm caught up in
this pattern. I have to do what I'm doing to
complete this endless chain that started with
that round-robin. I guess that's where it
started. Certainly it was about that time
that all the trouble began. And it's just
going the rounds from one to another of us.
Each one is a link. The Swami, Helen, Mary,
me. I don't know who is next. I may never
know. But, Laura, a husband has to be killed
and Tom is the logical one. I think I've been
planning to kill him for years; ever since I
saw him kiss my niece on our wedding day.
It was all in fun. You know. The men of
the family kissed the bride as they always
do. The women pretended to make a fuss
about favoritism — he was so handsome,
damn him — and they all kissed the groom.
Dot was only fifteen — but she had a positive
yen for men, Tom in particular. It was
probably her fault as much as his, but there
was no kidding in their kiss and I saw red.
Oh, I controlled myself. I was home. But —
there you are. The Swami said a husband
would be murdered. Well, the only ones left
are Mary's, yours and mine — that I know
anything about. I'm very, very sure you
aren't going to kill George. Not if I can
help it, with a worthless, cheating devil like
Tom walking around begging for it. You
have a different part to play n making this
pattern anyway. Laura, I hate to have you
think I've gone as batty as Ellen, but every-
thing has come out so accurately so far; if
there is anything you can do to save Bobby's
life, for God's sake do it. He's almost five.
In one of my letters from the Swami he says
I'll hear of a little boy's death while I am in
prison. It's things like that that make me
think I won't be able to kill myself after
I've shot Tom, but God knows I mean to
There, now. I've put it all down on paper
and you'll cry over it or telephone for the
police or — I don't know what. But it won't
do any good. I'm going to do it before this
reaches you. Pray for me.
Laura read the letter the second time as she
waited for "long distance" to tell her there was
no answer at the Jessup residence in Akron.
Then, as quickly as she could, she packed a bag
and took the first train East. George followed
her only a few hours later, on the next train.
There was no answer because the house was
empty, save for Chita, who slept calmly in the
middle of Tom's bed while Anne stood in his
office door and emptied the contents of her re-
volver into her husband's body. He had changed
suits. That was like Tom. This one was grey.
The sound of the gun, the sight of Tom dying
before her, the blood pounding in her own ears,
hypnotized Anne Jessup. She lost count of the
explosions, lost all ability to count, and so saved
no cartridge for herself. She lost all sense of time
and place, and when witnesses came trepida-
tiqusly toward her, she continued to pull the
trigger, over and over again, the revolver click-
ing, clicking, clicking, on empty shells.
When the men saw her helpless they fell upon
her, baying, "Get her gun! . . . Take it away
from her!" And when she relinquished it without
hesitation, they puffed and jerked their heads and
straightened their coats as if the battle had been
strenuous. But don't laugh at them. They were
under a strain. Adjusted for strife, keyed to it,
her easy surrender surprised them and they had
no time to change costume and make-up. Re-
solved to die, if need be, they could not forget
their heroics instantaneously when the emptiness
of the gun turned them into lackeys. So they
strutted in memory of their earlier, grander
images of themselves, blood-spattered, at grips
with death, and they glared their resentment at
Anne. Like the neighbor-boy who switches
games on his fellows — say from cowboys to
pirates, all in his own head — she was suspect. It
was a lousy trick. If she was going to play killer
she should stay in character until the curtain
touched the floor. Switching in the middle of the
scene made the rest of the cast feel like damn*
fools. And for making him feel an ass, man will
never forgive you. For this they glared at Anne,
for this they hated her — and not because she had
killed Tom. They were rather well satisfied that
she had done that. Every male in the office de-
sired Tom's heart's blood for taking Nellie Stone
from beneath their noses. Too craven to take her
themselves, still they wanted her left where they
could sniff her, like poodles.
One of them thought of this as they formed a
ring around Anne. One of them looked over the
heads of the others and into the gathering group
of chattering stenos and clerks, looking for Nell.
She wasn't there. As the second shot of the
fusillade had sounded, prefacing the screams and
hub-bub by only the smallest portion of a second,
Nellie had risen from her desk with the rest, but
her interest had lain in another direction. The
center of interest to the other girls had been this
cogent drama being enacted before their dull
eyes. Nellie's was the homely door of the freight
elevator and the company of the old operator.
A bitter wind parted her auburn marcel and
she regretted losing that hat. It was only a week
old, the only one like it in Akron. She shouldn't
be seen running from the building like this, hat-
less, coatless. It was a confession of guilt. There
would be a trial. She would be named. The
world's finger would point at her in scorn. The
husband-stealer. The wicked woman. But what
could they prove? A lot, perhaps, if she attracted
attention by running. If she stayed — she was
more than Anne's match. If she stayed and
helped Anne, professed innocence and contrib-
uted to her defense — A talk with the lawyers —
A plea of temporary insanity instead of "the un-
Nellie returned slowly to the freight entrance.
What was her alibi for running? Why had she
come this far? Cigarettes. She had left just before
the shooting. That bunch would be too excited
to remember whether she had or not. Or, another
version, — knowing of Anne's jealousy, however
unfounded, she had run to save her neck — and
returned the moment she thought it was safe.
That would hold water. But she bought ciga-
rettes before ascending — by way of extra pre-
The police had not yet arrived. Why hadn't
she thought? She could have brought the nearest
traffic cop back with her — or a doctor would
have been even better. What a fool! She always
thought of everything twenty minutes late.
"She won't talk."
"She won't say a word," they told Nellie as
she added her presence to the fringe of the in-
quisitors. Lots of them were smoking. This was
like "after hours". No one would think of criti-
cising their cigarettes at a time like this. Nellie
opened her new pack of Luckies ostentatiously
and offered them on either side. "They're fresh,"
she thought to add, creating evidence.
"Isn't it terrible?"
"Is he dead?" Nellie asked.
"Oh, yes; I think so. God, isn't it awful?"
None of them had ever had so much fun.
Nellie elbowed her way through the private
office door, and when the others saw who was
pushing they held their bodies aside as if she, cer-
tainly, was entitled to a floor table — and sans
Though they babbled a little, mostly in whis-
pers, at the outer edge of the pack, here, close
to Anne and Tom a tense silence was observed.
The woman's eyes had not lifted from the con-
torted face of the corpse — not even once. She
Nellie studied her a moment, looked once at
her dead lover, then slipped her arms around
Anne and pulled her head down on her breast,
stroking her cheek. It was a bold move, a daring
move, but Nellie was not without courage. She
risked a lot, but she won. Tears, then. Tears in
abundance. Anne clung to her, sobbing and
A great elation swelled Nellie's heart. This
could never be undone! These tears, this em-
brace, this evidence of sisterly affection before
more than two dozen witnesses could never be
erased from the record. It was a ccncp! If Anne
had taken the other tack, reviling and denounc-
ing her, it could have been called hysteria, mad-
ness. But this was gentle and kind. It was Anne's
funeral, Anne's suicide. But what would you?
Who's responsible for anything? You've read
Yogadachi's letters yourself. It's the stars.
My dear Mrs. O'Neill:
Need I call your attention to this further
fulfillment of prophecy? You may scoff as
much as you like. You may heap anathema
on my head, but 'nothing can stand before
Prophecy! Resign yourself to your fate.
When men avoid a woman as beautiful
as Hazel Cousins, they confess a
large conceit. In effect, they say: "If
I don't pursue her, I can always alibi out of not
getting her. I can say to myself and any curious
enough to listen, 'She's a chilly proposition. Prick
her and she'd bleed ice- water. 5 I can say: 'God
deliver me from a perfect lady. 9 And: 'When
they look like that they demand too much/ Or:
Td hate to have a wife that pretty. Every man
in town would be chasing her.' Thus convincing
myself and other men as well as many women,
that I do not want her, that I am an extremely
clever analyst, the master of my Fate, and a con-
noisseur of femininity. These are lies, of course.
The truth is that I would crawl a mile on my
hands and knees to stick my middle finger in her
coffee. But — I had rather lord it as I do over my
own good wife who bears not the slightest re-
semblance to Lillian Russell, Harriet Hoctor or
Lenore Ulric than make a fool of myself shoot-
ing at the moon. I had much rather knock them
dead by the dozen — or even by twos and threes
— just as they come, run o' the mill, than make
a play for something so damned select that I'd
be laughed at or ignored. The plainer ones don't
expect you to look like a Greek god in your
B.V.D.'s and they don't insist that you salaam
three times, put ashes on your head and kiss their
feet every night before retiring. Not that I
wouldn't be glad to go through practically any
ritual to possess her, but she wouldn't have me, so
I'll let her alone."
Hazel didn't understand that. She thought
there was something wrong with her. She knew
she was pretty, but rigid home instruction kept
her fooled into believing that modesty and
maidenly quiet were the attributes which at-
tracted the most desirable men. Conversely, the
parental instruction made certain that lesson
would be borne out by observable facts when
Hazel should be old enough to study case his-
tories, by identifying "desirable" men as those
who were attracted by the practice of these same
virtues. Hazel was only half-way through Mount
Albans when it became monotonously apparent
that, for some reason she could not fathom, the
system had broken down. The only men or boys
attracted by her meekness and her retiring ways
were grey-beards, priests or sissies. But the fac-
ulty insisted that mother and father were right,
and the boys the other girls had for friends did
seem a little clumsy, loud or precipitate. She
brooded about it, wondered, but took no experi-
mental steps. They were not an experimenting
family, the Cousins. They thought Ben Lindsay
had hoofs and Clarence Darrow a spiked tail
which he had to keep strapped to his left leg so
it wouldn't lash. And once, during spring house-
cleaning, Hazel had suggested that the living
room furniture be rearranged as it settled into
place. Her mother patted her cheek kindly and
shook her head, lips puckered as if she had been
biting a quince: "No, no, Hazel" — it sounded
more like "noo-noo" — "papa wouldn't like it.
We got along pretty well the way it was for six
years. I don't think we'd better try anything
new. . . . Don't you like the front room?"
"Oh, it isn't that. I just thought it would
be nice for a change — with the Davenport
"We won't discuss it, Hazel."
And that evening Hazel's mother had one of
her headaches — from worry. The meal was
eaten in silence and when it was over, each of
the diners leaving a few morsels on his plate to
establish that he was not a pig, Cousins was sum-
moned to a conference while Hazel stood at the
front window and worried about her dereliction.
Did Cousins think their child had a restless
streak? Where had a desire for novelty come
from? What did it mean in her character? Were
any of the Cousins like that? Certainly none of
her family were. So her father talked to Hazel
for about an hour that evening — about changing
furniture and things.
Mount Albans, for all its strict rules, was lax
to Hazel. Her room-mate was from Texas and
she insisted on changing the furniture in their
room every Saturday afternoon, until Hazel
came to look upon this weekly upheaval as one
of Rome's ways and because it was habitual it
assumed an order in her mind and she thought
that if you started out by changing your fur-
niture around every Saturday without fail, it was
no longer sinful. It would be sinful not to move
it, if that was the way you started out. When she
got married she was going to move everything
about once a week from the very beginning.
Dresden and platinum and rose, and her
mother dressed her well. Every week or two a
box arrived holding some dainty addition to her
wardrobe. These dresses and caps and capes and
hats she donned a little sadly. She couldn't keep
the other girls away when she tried them on.
They were all far more excited about each new
arrival than she. Yet their exclamations and
comments hurt her, the praise more than the
feline innuendo. And she was forever letting
them wear her things; all one had to do was ask
— or, if one was timid, just stand and look with
the proper countenance.
Commencement would have wrung your
heart, if you were observing and sensitive. She
looked like nothing earthly in those billows of
airy white foam. She looked like a bride from
some unwritten fairy tale and they all said so.
At least, they said she looked like a bride. Hazel
would be the first to marry and she'd get the
richest and handsomest husband. She answered
nothing to all this praise. Hazel was not quick at
thinking up answers. "Oh, I don't know/' she
said, and her lips relaxed quickly, drooping ever
so slightly at the corners. What's sad about that?
Well, you'd have to see her. It is folly to tell you
her eyes were sad. No one ever looked long
enough into her eyes to glean sufficient data to
describe them. They embarrassed you. After a
glance you knew your jaw had dropped and that
you looked an utter imbecile to her. So you
turned away. She got nothing but adulation on
every hand. You'd show her she had no such
stunning effect on you. You could look elsewhere
when she was in the room! But that vainglory
cost you dear — because, confronted by Saint
Peter, Up There, and asked: "In all your life,
what thing do you most regret, my son?" — you
would have to answer truthfully: "To wound a
lady's pride and to teach her she was not desir-
able in my eyes, I turned from the contemplation
of the most perfect face and figure the Lord God
ever made. I never saw her again — but I have
dreamed of her thousands of times. I regret that
I did not look longer while I might." And for
your frankness, likely, They'll let you polish
i 5 6
Back in her home, Hazel resumed her search
for something through those familiar windows.
Or, was she searching? As far back as she could
remember she had stood looking out at what-
ever strip of the world chance placed before her
casement. But regardless of the familiarity or
strangeness of the passers-by, she asked nothing
of them. They neither stimulated nor amused
her. They were just other people. And the guests
in her home were no more. The youngsters she
knew had grown gayer and gayer. They drank
and necked and smoked and made whoopee.
There wasn't a single whoop in Hazel. Gin
burned her mouth and made her head ache. The
few youths callow enough to paw or attempt to
kiss her went about their designs in such ludi-
crous fashion that she brushed them off with a
single wave of her lids. And Papa and Mama
Cousins still held the reins. Eleven o'clock was
The old man decided to take his wife and
daughter to Europe before Hazel's debut. She
spent most of her time in Paris, Berlin, London
and Venice, looking out of her windows. But not
even Hazel could look out of a window for hours
without thinking about something. What she
thought about most of the time was an island
where she had been cast by the sea with a gentle-
man. His name was Raoul, Raoul Wellington,
the polo star. Although his clothing was torn, his
shirt gaping at the neck for want of buttons and
his beard rather too long for evening, he re-
mained punctilious. He bowed to her slightly,
smilingly, when they woke in the morning on
their separate beds of leaves. He asked her at
every meal if she would have the saddle of the
rabbit or an haunch. He courted her there alone
as he would have in New York City, if he had
ever turned up in New York City, fanning her
with a banana — no, a palm — and allowing his
fingers to run deliciously about the roots of her
hair and lightly over her temples — until, one
day, he kissed her — gently, his beard biting her
chin slightly, pleasantly, provocatively, despite
On the homing vessel, she stood at the rail and
one hand touched her chin in fond reminiscence,
"Dreaming, Hazel? 55 her father asked.
She took his hand and squeezed it. He gave
hers an answering pressure. They weren't very
communicative, the Cousins.
It was called a coming-out party, and every-
thing that could be done to bring her out was
done, according to Post. But Hazel couldn't
emerge. She danced and took her share of her
father's wicked, wicked punch — but nothing
happened. Four of the boys asked to call and did
so, later, formally; escorting her here and there
and finally proposing, one at a time, with a uni-
form hang-dog, tail-between-the-legs manner of
novice salesmen: "You don't want any of this
truck I've got to sell; do you? No! I didn't think
so." They were rebuffed before they opened their
mouths; they were half-way down the steps with
their hats on before Hazel could answer.
I think this was because sex was unimportant
to Hazel. She was normal, no more, no less, and
if her mother was opposed to change, she was not
so backward as to frown on personal hygiene
before marriage. Hazel was allowed to keep her-
self scrupulously clean, minimizing desire. There
was not even a suggestion of rut. Who thinks of
fornication before a madonna? Well, of course;
but Hazel never met men like that.
A nasty little cough attacked her and after
X-rays and examinations, Hazel and her mother
went to Denver for a while. It wasn't serious; it
wasn't dangerous, but — since they could afford
it and nothing held them to New York — why
not clear it up quickly?
Martha Viborg saw them in the hotel lobby
the day after they arrived. Just a drop in the
bucket from the well of loneliness, was Martha,
and she had more money than Blaisdell has pen-
cils. She saw Hazel first from the back and that
made her catch her breath. When the girl turned,
her full effulgence almost blinded the Lesbian
and she began scrutinizing all the men in Hazel's
vicinity to identify the vision's husband. God
could be relied upon to supply a little extra-
special manna now and then, it was true, but not
such a pasty as this without some complications.
The elderly woman was obviously her mother,
but mothers were not complications to Martha.
Mothers had no imagination whatever.
Viborg was one of the most popular lung men
in Denver. He had a private hospital of his own.
It filled his life so full that he was never con-
scious of Martha's strangeness. He had married
her expressly to get a start, to get money enough
to put up his first sanitarium. She had married
him to give herself an air of respectability before
the world. A married woman had so much more
liberty than a single one. She was seldom sus-
pected of being queer. Without an husband,
however, and cursed with a rich baritone voice,
anyone from the city was likely to raise you if
you were seen only in the company of women.
And being whoopsed in Denver was no joke.
Chicago and New York, Los Angeles, were big
enough to shield such a girl from harm, but you
couldn't let a thing like that get out in a village!
The cats would shred you. They'd sit, so help me,
on the same sofa with a damned, rheumy-eyed
poodle, and tear the reputation of a respectable
dyke to ribbons. And Martha insisted that she
was respectable. Her affairs were always of the
heart and never vulgar, hurried gratifications
with chance acquaintances. She was not to blame
for the divergence from the norm of her ten-
dencies. These desires were none of her choosing.
But she was independent enough and proud
enough to tell the rest of the world to mind its
own business. She'd keep her shades down. What
was Viborg but an opaque screen between her
activities and the neighborly eye? If they peered
around the screen they were worse than she, had
fewer or lower morals.
Strong, within, and ready to defend her mode
of life against all critics, Martha was also sensible.
She did not parade her condition in slouch
fedoras, four-in-hand ties, tailored tweeds and
low-heeled brogues. It certainly did not pay to
advertise — not in Denver. But her feminine
attire was less a matter of expediency than of
taste and refinement. Martha's family was, on
the whole, rather fine, and none of her relatives
ever dreamed what was wrong with her. She was
strange, they admitted, but that was her business,
she seemed happy enough.
So, outside of a very close shingle and the deep
voice she could not change, Martha appeared to
be a woman. And a pretty woman. Very pre-
sentable, indeed. Her hair was a shade or two
lighter than ground black pepper, that extraor-
dinary, arresting mixture of something and grey
that startles when worn by a person under
thirty. Her features were well assembled, a little
sharp, perhaps, until you reached her lips, which
were full and shapely.
There was nothing wrong with Martha, out-
wardly. She did not stride nor boom nor grip
your hand with malicious strength. She did not
smoke cigars nor carry a cane. In fact, no more
than ten or a dozen people in Denver knew she
was queer and those few weren't talking about it.
What made her so? Who am I? Not Kraft-
Ebing nor Havelock Ellis, certainly. ' I don't
know, frankly. I know Martha — well. There are
no secrets between us. But she doesn't know
where she came from and your guess is as good as
mine. She blames herself partly for Hazel's
death, but I doubt that she is responsible. Hazel,
except for her great value as ornamentation,
might as well have died long before.
To demonstrate Martha's careful methods,
instead of asking the desk clerk at the hotel who
the angel was, she drove to the Viborg Sanitarium
and invited her busy husband to dine with her.
"But I can't, my dear. There are nine new and
very wealthy patients whom I must interview
some time before midnight."
"Any of them interesting?"
"Nothing extraordinary, I think. Simple T.B.
"No handsome men?"
"None half so good looking as I."
"And no women more beautiful than I?"
"You're a dear. All right. Eat your sandwich
here in all these germs. But don't say I am not a
very, very thoughtful wife."
"You are, Martha dear; I assure you you are."
" 'Bye "
Perhaps the girl wasn't ill. Hmm-mmnhm-
lala-de dum deeay. Hunm-mhm-hmhmmm-m.
Le de dum dum dum deeay.
Martha dined alone at Hazel's hotel, dressing,
of course, stunningly.
I'm so close to you out here in comparison
to home that I feel as if I could call to you
over the back fence. How are you, dear? Do
you ever get this far east or do I have to
come on out to California to see you?
Mother is with me. It's my throat. But the
doctors don't expect me to die for a long
The wife of a big doctor here is a Cali-
fornia girl, her name was Bailey and her
family used to live on Westlake Boulevard.
Did you ever know them? She has been a
life-saver to me since I arrived, taking me
everywhere and having tea and bridge for
me. Mother is very fond of her too, and you
know how few people please Mother. Of all
the Delphians you were the only one who
passed — and I think your grade was only
about 76%. She flunks me on every count.
Martha, the doctor's wife, knows every-
one here. Perhaps I shall take a wild and
wooly mountaineer back east with me. Do
you recommend them? We're going moun-
tain climbing tomorrow. Martha has a cabin
several thousand feet up one of these hills
and she's going to teach me "a new art" she
calls it. We'll have to take skis and snow-
shoes and I'll probably break my neck. I
love this country. Perhaps I'll make Dad
move out here. The people are so congenial
and charming. Martha, for instance, is just
a trump. I've never met anyone quite like
her before — and we met entirely by acci-
We'll be here some time. Write me one of
your longest letters and tell me every smart
thing that baby says. Didn't you steal a
march on all of us — I'll bet the others just
boil when they think of you having the
only baby in the club. Of course, I don't.
Not much. Poor me; I haven't even snared a
loose man yet. Why is it, Laura, that all the
real nice ones are married? Mercy. I know
any number of husbands I could care for,
but they're all in love with their wives. Now
isn't that my luck?
Don't ever accuse me of writing sad let-
ters again. This one is so cheerful the paper
is laughing. Is that a good sign? I feel that
way, somehow, and it is a grand and glori-
ous feeling. I guess it's the mountain air. I'm
getting light-headed. But I am happy here.
Happier than I have ever been before in my
FU close now, before you think I've gone
dippy. Kiss the baby for me.
"Isn't it invigorating?" Martha asked, drawing
the gauntlets of her wool gloves up to her wrists.
They were leaving the cabin to descend the
"I've never been so happy before. I've never
cared much whether I lived or died — but here!"
They stood looking over a serried expanse of
"It's sustaining," Martha went on, taking up
her pike. "Like the strong arm of a man you
love, tight around you, here, at your back." She
touched Hazel's spine just above the pelvis.
"Come on. We want to get down to the car
They tramped in silence. Hazel was puzzling
a new idea. "Sustaining, — like a man's arm"
there. That was strange to her. . . . New. Yes.
It would feel that way. She arched her back,
experimentally. It would feel like a good dancing
partner, plus love, plus the joy of stretching. She
turned to Martha, smiling that breath-taking
smile. "That must be pleasant," she said sur-
Martha relished the smile a moment. "What?"
she asked, truly puzzled. Her own remark had
been sent forth provocatively. When it failed to
bring a pertinent or any other sort of response,
she had forgotten it.
"A man's arm there."
Ah! "Well, isn't it?"
"I — I don't know. I don't think a man has
ever — held me exactly that way."
Martha pursed her lips. "Then you haven't
had good luck with lovers. An accomplished
male would have done it."
"It — it seems such a little thing. Doesn't it?"
"It's the detail that makes an accomplished
lover; don't you think?"
"I — don't think I've ever thought much about
Martha laughed gaily, "No. Oh — oh — oh — no!
Of course not. A girl as beautiful as you are
never, never thinks about love."
"Stop laughing. . . . Honestly. Oh, I've
thought about love; but never about 'detail', as
you call it."
Martha squinted at her quizzically. These
revelations were confirming many of the older
woman's suspicions. "Do you mean that you've
never compared the — the technique of your suit-
ors? Their kisses, their pressures, their embraces?
You've never said to yourself: f If Tom could kiss
like Jerry and had Frank's or Charley's hands — '
you've never said that? Never thought about it?"
"No. . . . I — I never have."
"Well, child. What's wrong with you? Are
you partly dead?"
"No — I don't think so." For the first time in
her life, Hazel felt like concealing her celibacy
and virginity. To Laura and Josephine she wailed
about both, only half in jest, but, at least,
frankly. To Martha she felt impelled to pretend
"You don't care much about the men; do you,
"The great Mr. Right your parents told you
about when you were a child hasn't come along?"
"What's been wrong with them?"
"What do you mean?"
"How have your best boy-friends failed?
"Some of them."
"And you've never met one who knew exactly
where to put his hands — and when. That's im-
portant too; isn't it? When"
"Indeed it is."
"Most boys don't know when."
"I suppose so."
"Hazel; have you ever been mad about a
. . . "No."
"I thought not."
"Why did you think not?"
"You're too sensible to lose your head. I don't
think you'll ever really be crazy over a man."
"I wish I could be." That had escaped her.
"Well, isn't that what life's for? Aren't we
meant to love and marry — and carry on the
"High school notions."
"Well, to love; anyway. I've always wanted
to love something, somebody. Not like I love my
father and mother; that other way. I feel that I
have something to give, something worth while.
And I'm not ugly."
"Indeed you're not."
"I've always felt incomplete, since I've grown
up. But I don't mean to throw myself away."
"I'm not going to. . . . Oh, I'll meet him.
You've introduced me to so many nice people."
"Who interests you?"
"We — 1 — 1, not — n — none of them, that way/'
"Thank God for that."
"None of them are half good enough for you."
"Well, I don't know. Perhaps they're too good.
It isn't that. But I — I just don't seem to excite
them — nor do they excite me."
"Have you ever had a very close girl friend,
Hazel? A real friend? One you loved a great
"Well, in school."
"No. Laura Stanhope. The one who lives in
Los Angeles. The one with the baby."
"She has a baby, has she?"
"Yes. She seems to have found the right man,
George O'Neill. They're just too disgustingly
happy. . . . I'm glad, of course."
"Do you know him?"
"No. I've seen his picture."
"Does he appeal to you?"
"Oh, goodness, no!"
"I thought not."
"You say the strangest things, Martha. What
are you driving at?"
"Nothing. I've just been wondering about
you. I love you, you see, and I'm very much in-
terested in your happiness."
"Thank you, Martha, dear. I — I don't believe
anyone has ever spoken to me — so — so kindly
before. ... So understandingly." Why was she
choking? What were those tears doing in her
"You told me the other day that I was a life-
saver to you out here. Well, you've been a life-
saver to me. It isn't all one sided. I was very
lonely until you came."
"But, darling; you're married. You can't suffer
as I do. You have love and a home."
"I have a home."
"Oh, you love the doctor too,"
"Precious child. . . . Love the doctor! All
right. If you like to think I love the doctor, I
shan't contradict you. But he doesn't fill my life.
You see — I've wanted babies too."
"I guess there's always something," Hazel
sympathized. "When we're little we want to be
big and when we're big we want husbands — then
babies — then what?"
"A different husband — perhaps."
"Oh — I should be very well satisfied with one,
if he were the right sort."
Martha laughed again. "Yes — the right sort.
But that's what keeps so many of us changing.
We keep looking for the right sort and damned
seldom find him. . . . After the babies, you see,
Hazel, even the man who managed his hands and
lips pretty well through the courtship, loses in-
terest. Loses interest in that at least. Even the
right sort. It isn't their fault, poor dears, some
of them stay loyal as watchdogs all their lives,
but their heart's not in it. 55
"Oooh, Martha; how cynical!"
"Cynical? No. I'm a doctor's wife, my dear.
That isn't cynicism; it's physics."
Martha nodded. "Two pieces of magnetized
metal, floated, attract at their opposite poles.
Leave them together a few days and then sep-
arate them and see how much attraction they
have for each other."
"Just being together wears it out?"
"Well, it's better to have had it and worn it
out than never to have had it at all."
"You sweet baby! What are you doing to-
"The movies with Mother."
"Bed. Sleep is supposed to be part of my diet."
"You haven't coughed since you've been here."
"I know. . . . I'm afraid I'll have to take
cold purposely or we'll have to go back to New
"And you don't want to go."
"Indeed not. . . . Unless I could take you
and all the mountains too."
"Freight rates are very high on mountains.
Even a little one — from here to New York —
tchtchtch! Quite staggering!"
"Why did you ask about this evening? The
picture will probably be dull as New York."
"Couldn't we arrange for a charming escort
to take Mama, and couldn't you come to my
house — and talk? I never get enough of you."
"I'd love it."
"Talk about men — the beasts!"
"The— the bums!"
Hazel laughed, a rippling, restorative peal.
"Let's! Let's call them all the nasty things we can
Martha pointed. "There's the car. It's too late
now. Jimmy'd hear us — and he's all man."
"Oh, I don't care." Hazel was drunk. Drunk
on comradeship, the altitude, the exchange of
ideas with an understanding mind. "I don't care
if he does hear me." She was giggling now. "Oh,
the tramps! The — the rats. The rats. There's one
for you to beat. Rats!"
"Hush, Hazel, you'll drive me bug-house too."
As they drove the rest of the way back to
Denver, they planned sending Mrs. Cousins to
the cinema on another's arm. But the old lady
broke it up, and it was not until two days later
that Martha finally had Hazel alone with her in
the big house.
It is a delight to watch Martha work. Detail!
The girl is past-mistress of detail and nuance. It
is a fortunate thing for the few of us men left
in the metropolitan area that all dykes are not as
gifted and intelligent as was Mrs. Viborg. She
had a different appeal for every different type of
woman she sought and she knew exactly when
the laying-on-of-hands was permissible. She
never wasted a motion. . . . Nor a moment. She
could have opened a school for husbands to the
immeasurable enrichment of the world and the
despair of divorce lawyers. But, of course, it
would have been illegal. Anything so reprehen-
sible as teaching men and women how to enjoy
life must be heavily punished. It isn't decent to
be anything but clumsy and crude and gross.
But they aren't all as clever as Martha. Most
lady-lovers are as uncouth as the males they
Hazel and Martha kissed at greeting. That's
nothing. Perfectly straight women do it, non-
sensical as that is. It is an advantage the Lesbian
has over the Sisterhood. Can you imagine the
scrimmage on Broadway if all the fairies kissed
their trade when they met? The bodies would be
ten deep around the Times Building and it would
take a week to clear a path into the Palace.
Where were we? Hazel and Martha kissing.
"Oh, darling, it's refreshing just to look at
"Mother's beside herself with curiosity. She in-
sists I'm meeting a man here, and although she's
more sporting about it than you'd think, she's
bursting to know which one it is. . . . Poor
Mama. She'd so love to marry me off."
"Do you think she might — eh — drop in, to
"Oh, no. That wouldn't be cricket. No. She
wouldn't do that."
"She might have your virtue in mind."
"It would be a relief to have it on somebody-
else's mind for a change. Somebody's-else. . . .
It's been on mine till I'm sick of it."
"What a mood you're in. . . . Give me that."
They sat on opposite ends of an old, bottomless
divan, sinking in it for feet before coming to
"Who's getting cynical now?" Martha asked,
extending cigarettes. "You sound like the bit-
terest of bitter virgins. Like Katisha."
Hazel sighed heavily. "Don't make fun of me,
Martha. I have a right to be bitter. If I were a
Katisha I'd never say a word. . . . But Fm not;
Martha rose and stood smoothing her friend's
hair, allowing her cool, dry fingers to run about
at the roots at the nape of Hazel's neck. "You
are quite the most gorgeous creature in the whole
world. You are so delicious I could eat you. Your
ears are the daintiest — Only see them. Your
mirror doesn't do them justice."
Hazel smiled up at her happily. "I love that —
what you're doing. I could sit still and let you
play with my hair for hours. Does that mean
that I'm part cat?"
"You're all cat, dear, or I'll disown you."
"You don't mind, do you, if I pretend that
you're my baby. You appeal to me that way. I've
wanted to cuddle you ever since the first time I
ever saw you."
"But me for your baby makes you so old And
"No. But let's say you are much younger than
"It's all right — in play. But I shouldn't care to
be any younger than I am."
"Fm going to tell you something I've never
told anyone before in my life. Promise?"
"On my honor."
"I've always dreamed — please, now, if you
twit me about this later I'll be as angry as any-
"Never a twit."
"Well, — Fve always dreamed about being
shipwrecked on an island; a tropical island. And
the man — one of those brutes, you know? —
always does that to my hair."
Martha leaned over the edge of the divan.
fT Just like that."
"And does he do this?"
"Yes. Oh, that's nice."
"And does he kiss your ear — like this?"
• • • • •
• • • . •
Hazel could scarcely articulate, but she finally
managed, very weakly: "No — o. He — he's never
done exactly that."
And before they parted Martha thought of
any number of things Raoul Wellington had
never done, for all he was an accomplished
gentleman alone with Hazel on an island of their
When Hazel, star-eyed, returned to the hotel,
the old lady smirked at her. "Hazel! You're fall-
ing in love. I can see it in your eyes." And when
that made her daughter burst suddenly into a
screaming shower of tears and fling herself out of
the room, Mrs. Cousins couldn't understand it.
She toddled after Hazel ready to apologize, pla-
cate, make-up, anything. She hadn't meant to
upset the child. But Hazel had kept right on
going — out — although she had just come in.
Nor did the young lady return to take her to
the pictures. Mother Cousins called the Viborg
home. After ascertaining the identity of the
caller, a servant said that Martha was not at
home. She was, however, lying sleepless across her
bed, holding a little lock of hair to her lips.
Hazel had walked until bodily weariness
forced her to find a place to sit. She entered the
Public Library and found an empty chair at a
long table where students worked under green-
shaded lamps. After an eddy of interest at
Hazel's arrival, the heads returned to their books
and no one looked at her. She opened a discarded
volume and leaned over it, covering her eyes with
She must get calm, relax. She must control
Hazel thought it was very beautiful
herself. Right now her mother was searching
for her, calling telephone numbers, worrying.
Mother must not be made to worry. After all,
nothing had really happened. That wasn't any-
thing; was it? in the last analysis? It left no scar.
It did not injure. It wasn't like breaking your
leg or taking dope.
Hazel thought it was very beautiful. She had
been happy until her mother's smug, old-
fashioned face had leered at her and mouthed
the name of love. She had wanted to strike her,
then, but had cried out and run instead. But
why had she wanted to strike her mother? For all
those years of waiting? For the torment of wait-
ing for a man? No, it was more than that. Or
less. But did she need a reason? Was there a
reason for everything? Wasn't it possible just to
want to do something without knowing why?
The thought of returning to the hotel and so
much as seeing her mother made Hazel sick. A
wave of loathing made her shudder. Yet, she
must not only see her before she slept. She must
talk to her, explain the strange outburst and lie
to her. Why?
Why need she go back at all? She had found
love; a love so great that it humbled and pros-
trated both Martha and her. A love full of ten-
derness and thoughtfulness and ecstasy. A love
which beggared man's protestations. A thing of
Fingers slipped once more over her body in a
surge of exquisite memory. Martha's pretty eyes,
blazing with passion, looked up at her again and
Hazel quivered involuntarily. Why on earth had
she left Martha's house? Why left her arms?
That was where she belonged. Why put distance
between herself and her love, now that she knew
where it was and what it was? Would it be silly
to go back? Would the doctor be home? What
would Martha think of her for acting that way?
Wasn't it piggish, like eating every vestige of
food on your plate?
She rose and stumbled out to a telephone. The
bed-room extension rang and Martha took the
instrument quickly. "Hello," she said very low.
"Martha, I want to come back. I can't stay
away from you. May I?"
"I'll send a car! Where are you?"
"I'm — I don't know. I've been walking and
I'm lost. I'll come in a cab. . . . Are you sure
it's all right?"
"All right? My loved one, it's heavenly."
But she waited long enough to call her mother
before taking off.
"Hello, Mama. This is Hazel."
"Oh, Hazel, Hazel, where have you been?
You've worried me so. Where are you?"
"Mama, I'm staying — I'm staying with Mrs.
Viborg tonight. We're going up the mountain at
daybreak and I'm staying there to get an early
"Hazel! You mustn't do that. You come home
here to me. I want to talk to you."
"I can't, Mama, I've promised."
"Hazel, your first duty is to your parents. I
must talk to you. Mrs. Viborg is not at home at
all. Where are you, Hazel?"
"I'm— I'm in the Public Library."
"Hazel, don't fool with me! The Public Li-
"But I'm not staying here, dear. I'm leaving
at once for Mrs. Vibor g's. Good-night."
Mrs. Cousins was still expostulating as Hazel
replaced the receiver gently on the hook. You
shouldn't hang up on your mother, of course.
You shouldn't hang up on anybody. But if you
couldn't stand it any longer and you knew where
love — real love — was waiting, nothing mattered.
And every minute you spent out of sight, and of
touch, out of the presence of that love was a
minute wasted from your life. She told the cab
driver to hurry.
Just a note to let you know I won't be
coming out there this trip — much as I'd like
to. We're going back to New York and
Martha is going with me. Oh, Laura, how
you would love her if you knew her! She is
so fine. I have just heaps to tell you, but I
haven't time. We're shopping and packing
One of the girls started a round-robin.
You'll get it soon. I sent it to Jo.
I'll write you a long letter on the
train. The saddest thing has happened —
and Mother and I don't even speak. I'll
tell you all about it later.
But Hazel found no time to write on the
train. Between the details of her feud with her
mother, and worrying because the estrangement
existed; scheming to be alone — if only for a
moment — with Martha, without letting Martha
see that she planned each encounter, lest the
woman tire of the association; watching her
lover's every move, jealously, to see that she did
not talk long to other women; defending her-
self against Martha's charges of mental unfaith-
fulness because Ronald Larrimore was on the
train and seemed to have taken a great liking to
Hazel; between all these activities, mostly cere-
bral, there was no time for letter writing.
Larrimore, as all the world knew, was not the
ordinary, empty-headed movie-star. He was a
gentleman, an actor of the first rank before pic-
tures were anything, a book-collector and all
sorts of things. His wife was a society girl, a poet.
He had purposely contrived to sit at their table,
apologizing humbly. Annoyed at first, Hazel had
withdrawn all objections when she recognized
him. Martha had retired into a shell.
"You were scarcely civil to Mr. Larrimore,' 3
Hazel said to Martha later. "Don't you like
"Precious — we must be very careful, in public.
People like Ronald Larrimore sense attachments
like ours and laugh at them."
"Why, Martha, how could he?"
"Have you ever read any of his wife's verse?"
'Til get you some."
"I don't understand."
"It isn't necessary. Only remember this. Ron-
ald Larrimore has a reputation for being a great
humorist, in his way. He'll do or say anything
for a laugh. I wouldn't be surprised if he came to
sit with us — to laugh at me."
"Martha, darling! You're too sensitive. No one
— no one can know about us."
"The closer we get to New York, my dear, the
more people will know about us, or suspect about
us, at a glance. People from Hollywood, my dear,
are not like your mother nor the doctor, nor our
neighbors in Denver."
But Hazel would not believe it. And Martha
could not bring herself to confess the prevalence
of her kind in the picture colonies, on Park
Avenue and at Newport. While Hazel was inno-
cent enough to believe that only they knew of
this soul-stirring delight, that only they prac-
ticed these inventions, Martha wished her to re-
main so. It was this perverted soul's constant
dread that Hazel would learn that there was
little unique in their relationship. She was certain
to learn it sooner or later as they all did. In
Hazel's case, the results might be serious.
Mother Cousins tried always to eat when "the
girls" did, but Hazel consistently thwarted her.
The old lady cornered Martha. "Mrs. Viborg,
are you helping me? Have you told Hazel how
sorry I am?"
"Yes, Mrs. Cousins. She'll be all right in a day
or two. It was just the shock — you know?"
"Oh, I didn't really distrust her. I was just
worried about her. I had to know the truth. You
understand. . . . What could I have said to her
father — if — if anything had happened?"
"I understand — perfectly. But I do think you
could have trusted your own daughter — both of
us for that matter. Surely you couldn't have
thought I would have lent my house "
"Oh, certainly not. I was just a silly old lady.
I was wrong. I am sorry. You forgive me; don't
you? Tell Hazel."
"I'll try again, Mrs. Cousins."
"Thank you, my dear. Thank you so much.
Ask her if we can't dine together tonight."
While Martha fidgeted, anxious to get away
because Larrimore had passed and was probably
sitting with Hazel at that very moment.
He was. "Oh, oh," he said only half audibly
as Martha approached. "Here comes Bill."
"I beg your pardon?" Hazel said.
"Nothing, nothing. How-do-you-do, Miss Vi-
borg. Do I have your chair?"
"Thank you. . . . Mrs. Viborg."
"Forgive me," Ronald made his voice an
affected basso. Martha glared at him. He lowered
one brow very low, raised the other very high
and nodded his head in little, quick jerks — as you
have seen him do so often in characters.
"Mr. Larrimore has been telling me the most
amusing stories," Hazel said gaily.
"Perfectly clean ones," the actor hastened,
raising one hand in a defensive gesture, "Weren't
they, Miss Cousins?"
"Oh, perfectly proper/'
"Of course, I know all kinds."
"So I've heard," Martha said coolly, taking the
seat he had vacated.
"Ah! You've been reading my mail."
They made Hazel uncomfortable with their
banter. It seemed to veil a threat, something dan-
gerously cutting just under the surface of their
words. "I think I'll step outside a moment," she
said. "Is it cold?"
"It will be cold in here when you leave."
"Isn't he sweet?"
• • • • •
"If I go out there with her, will you throw me
. . . "Probably."
"You're quite charming yourself."
"I wish you didn't dislike me so profoundly.
I'm not going to harm her."
"Were you thinking of offering her a career —
"Has she ever done anything?"
"I'd be afraid of her voice — the talkies are
exacting, you know."
"I've heard "
"She would have been splendid in silent pic-
tures. . . . My!"
"I scarcely think she'd be interested, Mr. Lar-
rimore. Girls of her calibre are not so easily
"What Cousins is that? The watch man?"
Larrimore grimaced. "Well, perhaps not. But
that was your suggestion, anyway."
"Most of you motion picture people start out
that way. That was my only reason for mention-
"You're a forthright sort of person; aren't
you?" Martha's courage and entire freedom from
awe before his illustriousness nettled him.
"I was born in Los Angeles," she explained. "I
grew up with pictures."
"Oh, — I see. Well, that almost makes us broth-
ers, under the skin."
"I never thought I'd live to have the oppor-
tunity to tell Ronald Larrimore to mind his own
"Yet, you have."
"Was it as much fun as you expected?"
She tossed her head impatiently.
"Well, if you can possibly excuse me,
"Must you go?"
"I'm afraid so. I really should be trying on
"Don't mention it." He bowed, smiling vic-
toriously, and started away with his laurels.
"Give my love to your husband," Martha said
just loud enough for him to hear. He stopped
short and turned angrily, but the famous Larri-
more sense of humor saved him. "Thank you,
Bill. She'll remember you, I'm sure."
No reconciliation was effected between the
ladies of the Cousins family, and Martha took an
apartment with Hazel. They were unwrapping
new furniture, happy, chirping like birds to each
other, when Papa Cousins called. Say what you
would, he had a figure for afternoon trousers. He
was delighted to meet Mrs. Viborg. Hazel and he
talked alone, a towel tied Mammy-wise around
her platinum curls.
"Why haven't you come home, Hazel?" He
didn't know, he couldn't know, that the day
when his poor sternness had power was past.
"Mother must have told you. She hurt me
"She told you she was sorry for that, Hazel. It
is not your place to censure your mother, no
matter what she does."
"I couldn't be spied upon, Dad. I couldn't
bear to be suspected — of — of wrong doing. . . „
She — she sneaked after me. Actually sneaked."
He tried kindness, then, later, threats. Each
was alike futile, and he left them to their nesting.
One day just before Christmas, Hazel saw the
twins advertised at the 8ist Street Theatre. By
that time they were spending many evenings out
of the house and they attended the performance
together. Hazel laughed heartily at the fat sisters
and applauded their harmony singing and bur-
lesque toe-dancing. She hurried Martha around
to the stage door before the Raskobs could get
dressed and away.
"I won't go in with you, dear. I'll wait in the
car," Martha said.
"You'll do nothing of the kind. I went to
school with those clowns. Come on!"
But Martha held back. "I don't want to go in,
Hazel. Truly I don't. . . . You run ahead. The
car's nice and warm. I shan't mind waiting a
"Oh — but I — I thought we might take them
home with us. They're loads of fun. You'll like
Martha gave in, as usual, and they found the
twins' dressing room.
"Jesus-God!" screamed May.
"Hazel!!" June yelled. And I defy any man
to report the dialogue of the next three minutes
Then they threw costumes and shoes off the
chairs so their guests could sit down, and jab-
bered. Wasn't it awful about Helen Frey and did
she know they'd just closed at the Palace?
"What about Helen?"
"Hadn't you heard?"
"In the head with a gun. Sure, you knew
"I didn't." Hazel felt the color receding from
her face, leaving it strained and chalky.
June babbled on: "I bet you didn't even know
about May's operation/'
"Day before yesterday. Tell her about it,
"Damn her," said May, grinning. "She has no
shame — for me."
"But — you're fooling. What was it?"
"A young top-mounter," June laughed
" — only you can't book hand-stand acts, so
they let 'im go."
These were English words, Hazel thought, but
a foreign language nevertheless. "Fools!" she said.
"My God, don't you get it? . . . She got
caught — and the Doc found out who she was
and charged a thousand dollars."
"That's what hurts," said May.
"But it's better than layin' off," June assured
"Ain't some thin' awful gonna happen to
you? It is to everybody else. Didn't you get no
letter from that Swami?"
"Oh— that "
"Yeah, that! He's the bird. What a swell job!
I wish heda told me to look out for acrobats."
"I'll bet Hazel didn't even know he was dead."
Hazel was too stunned to speak. She just
looked at their fat, cold-cream-smeared faces
with horror back of her eyes.
"Didn't you, Hazel?"
"He isn't; is he?" she asked dully.
"Sure he is. They scraped him off the subway
"Two weeks ago."
"Not — not really."
"Look!" May screamed. "She has got a bad
horoscope. Look at her."
June turned. Martha stood beside the pale girl.
"What is it, Hazel? . . . What's the matter?
Shall I get you a glass of water?"
"Don't get scared, kid," June said, spacing her
words as she studied Hazel intently. "No matter
what he's told you, — there's nothing in it."
"I wish you would, Martha."
"It's at the foot o' the stairs. Here's a cup."
• • • • •
"Oh, I'm all right."
"Sure. Don't take that bunk seriously. . . .
Say, — who's the boy-friend?"
June nodded toward the door. "The lady-Elk.
• . . Who is she?"
"Martha? . . . She's a girl I met in Denver."
"A girl you met in Denver!"
"Why, June; she's — she doesn't look old."
"No — but if they hadn't changed their mind
at the last minute she would certainly have a
swell mustache by this time."
"You mean she's masculine?"
June rolled her eyes and May laughed aloud.
"You wouldn't keep anything from your old sis-
ters, would you, Hazel?"
"Why, — what do you mean?" She was angry
— unaccountably, she thought. Her neck and
ears were flushing redly. She felt a little sick, a
"Heads up!" June warned, and Martha re-
turned with a cup of water.
"How do you feel, dear?"
"I'm all right now." She drank. "Thank you."
Then she wanted to be away from them. The
twins had grown common since school. She was
ill at ease with them. They'd want to talk about
her horoscope — and she didn't want to talk
about or think about it. But June's strange
allusions to her "boy-friend" reminded Hazel of
Martha's warning on the train — especially about
theatrical people. This was the reason Martha
had wanted to wait in the car.
The same basic morbidity which had made
Helen Frey play with a gun at her temple, that
holds women within sight of a bloody accident
until nausea overcomes them, held Hazel in her
chair and made her say: "What are you girls
doing tonight? Can't you come up to our house
for a while?"
May was struggling into a dress, her volumi-
nous Teddy only half concealing the great areas
of soft white meat. As Hazel regretted the invi-
tation and caught the amazed eyes of June, she
smiled at the sudden realization that it made no
difference to her if Martha saw these fat and un-
appealing women only half clothed, although she
had been nervous and irritable on the train if
Martha paused for a moment beside the seat of a
young and slender girl. Their relationship was,
then, much the same as if they were of opposite
sexes. She looked up at Martha, who appeared to
be in deep thought.
"Sure we can," May said thickly through the
yoke of her dress as it passed her lips. "Can't we,
"Bet your life. I'd love it."
They went; but a more strained evening
would be difficult to imagine.
June and Hazel shut themselves in the bath
together for a time and May had nothing to say
to Martha. And Martha was having kittens until
that door should open again.
How shall I tell you what was said in that
white- tiled room? Some scenes in this life are
beyond a man's experience. No matter how dic-
taphonic my recital, you would know it was
sheer imagination because, even if I had ever
gained entry to such a room at such a time, that
which I should have heard would have been, not
two ladies talking there alone. I feel entirely ade-
quate to the invention — in my ear is their very
intonation, their hesitancies and repetitions, but
I drop it. I drop it for two reasons; the first, that
it would be unbelievable no matter how exact;
the second, that June was not given to a careful
selection of polite words and I fear me that the
questions she asked of Hazel, in the phrases she
asked them, would not be printable. You see her
dilemma. Here was Hazel Cousins, a virgin if
there ever was one, living with a dyke. June
could tell 'em a block away. Living with one,
mind, and apparently unconscious of it. That's
what got June. Hazel didn't seem to know what
was wrong with Martha.
Well! If Hazel was being led astray, little
Junie was not the Delphian to let her go unin-
formed. But, first, she had to learn just how
much Hazel knew — back of that baby stare —
and just how far the affair had gone. A delicate
problem and one demanding the privacy they
selected for its solution.
But every whisper was a knife in Martha's
heart. She sat on the divan staring at a bowl of
blue flowers in the Chinese rug. She was more
anxious to hear what was being said in that privy
than either you or I. She felt that her life was at
stake. That her future happiness with Hazel was
in grave jeopardy was too obvious to need
thought. The situation was more serious than
that. This strain was ominous, deadly, like wait-
ing for someone to draw his last breath. Martha
thought it must be her own bier she stood beside.
No other person in her life had been so important
to her as Hazel. For all the violence of previous
attachments, none had been so real and deep and
profound as this. And now a cheap little Kike of
a vaudeville dancer was ruining it! Smirching it!
Making it ugly.
How could she get them out of there? Tap?
Call? Oh, it was all so obvious! Why in the name
of God had she let these creatures come here? In
the fulness of her knowledge of the world, she
had not had the courage and the strength to stop
Hazel from running up the shades and inviting
the public to see.
May could stand the silence no longer.
"Haven't you got any gin in the house?" she
"I can get some," Martha said. "We seldom
drink anything but wine."
"You got some wine?"
"Gee, that's swell. . . . Port?"
"No — o. I'm afraid not. I — I'm sure there's
Sauterne, perhaps — Burgundy; and Champagne,
"Would you like that?"
Martha was extremely grateful to her corpu-
lent companion for being thirsty. That was her
alibi. She tapped on the door. "Hazel. . • .
Would you and — June like a glass of wine?"
"Jesus!" May called. "You don't need to ask
June if she wants Champagne. She's been won-
derin' for twenty years what it tastes like."
The wine saved the situation — socially. Do-
mestically, it could not be saved. Hazel would
not look at Martha — until the third bottle had
been drunk, then her eyes were bitter and her
pretty lips drawn. May and June left hilariously
after quart five.
Hazel was asleep by the time Martha returned
from putting them in the elevator. She removed
the small shoes reverently. Squeezed each foot
and massaged it where the strap had pressed the
flesh. She rolled the sheer hose down the white,
white legs; loosened, unbuttoned and untied,
then staggered with the inert girl to the great
bed and covered her gently, lovingly, for the last
Besides a travelling costume and a few toilet
articles, Martha packed a bottle of wine. "I'll
need that in the morning," she said aloud. . . .
"Good-bye, my love." She kissed the sleeping lips,
the lids, the ears — and went to an hotel.
Hello, Laura, dear:
You did me so much good. Who else in
the whole world would have come so far
just to pat my hand? Mother, of course, but
I mean among my friends. Just seeing you
and saying the little we did helped me more
than I can ever tell you. Why doesn't God
start over, make a new world, and fill it
with people just like you? I don't suppose
any one would appreciate you in such a
world. There wouldn't be anybody like me
for contrast. It wasn't necessary for you to
come. (That made your visit twice as pleas-
ant.) I am getting on well enough. Every
one is very kind without showing the least
slobbery pity. I like these matrons. They are
capable, gentle, firm. You'd make a good
one. — Oh, I'm laughing. But I can't help
it. The picture of you as a police matron in
a prison is just too much.
And that George of yours, coming too.
Wasn't that splendid? There are real people
in the world, aren't there? Gosh, you're
Apparently no one has found out about
all this yet, none of the girls, I mean. I
haven't received any flowers, anyway. That
would be a welcome change. Suppose they
all turned against me now. It would be like
some of them. I did get one letter, but it was
brought over from the house. It was from
Hazel Cousins, written before — before the
Chicago fire! I suppose it's meant to be
friendly, but she was always a strange girl.
Do you remember how sad she was over the
Irish janitor of Main Hall? She used to take
him fudge from our parties because she said
he'd had a great sorrow in his life. She talks
a lot about the sad case of Mary Nolan.
She's been corresponding with both Mary
and Ellen. I'm answering, telling her to let
Ellen alone, but there's no stopping them,
Laura. I know. You tried to snap me out of
it. Now, look what I've done.
But I'm not sorry. I can actually sleep on
my cot here and that's more than I could do
on a good bed at home. I may be hurting my
case with the court — I know I'm not mak-
ing any headway in Heaven — but I'm glad I
did it. Glad clear to my toes. It's such a
relief to know definitely and surely that
Tom is not — out with another woman. Oh,
Laura, you're lucky. You were born lucky.
You haven't a jealous drop of blood in your
body. And no reason for doubt. If George
were faithless to you — you would square
your shoulders, pick up that precious boy
and walk out of the house easily. You'd
never return. And I mean — you'd never re-
turn. It would be easy for you. You have
absolute control — you can make your heart
do just what you know is best — and you get
such marvelous breaks that you never have
to tell it to do anything that hurts you. I
hope for your sake and George's that this
crazy farce is over now. Whatever it is that
has been demanding blood from the Del-
phians should certainly be satisfied. But it
isn't. Oh, I wish I could know. Ellen is so
happy in her utterly blind faith. You are so
happy in your disbelief. But here I am —
between the two. One minute believing to
the point of murder; the next minute
doubting — doubting even my own senses.
Have you heard from any one? They
open all my mail, of course, so I'm not sure
who has written me. Maybe dozens have
and they've thrown the letters away. I won-
der what's become of Jo Turner. She wrote
to me when that round-robin was going
around last fall — and I answered. I haven't
had a word since.
Oh! Damn! I rattle on and on just to
keep my mind off of things. My fool attor-
ney is out trying to get proof that Tom was
untrue. My God! As if I didn't know! But
he says he has to convince a jury, and // Yd
only taken some photographs! Can you
imagine? He thinks I should have gone
around to little hotels with a Kodak, chas-
ing evidence. Maybe that would have saved
my life. He seems to think it might. Well,
I've given him a list of dates, but he won't
be able to find anything now. Tom was too
clever for us. He always eluded me when he
was doing it. The poor lawyer hasn't a
chance now. But he says our whole case rests
on proving beyond a reasonable doubt that
Tom was a rake and a roue. And if possible
that he was cruel to me. That's out, of
course; he never raised his hand over his
shoulder when I was in the room. But there
is more than one kind of cruelty. The trick
is to prove it.
I've decided absolutely that there was
nothing between Nellie Stone and Tom. It
must have been somebody else, maybe many
others. But it wasn't Nellie, I'm sure. She's
here every day to see me — and I told you
how she put her arms around me that day.
No, Phil was lying. God knows why. If he
wasn't lying why doesn't he come back for
the trial? If he has any testimony now is
certainly the time to give it.
Hazel was bitten by the Swami too. She is
supposed to die very suddenly, after a short
but terrible illness, early this Spring. She
didn't give me the details, but she asks me
not to do anything rash so she won't die. It
seems there's some connection. The longer
I think of it the more convinced I am
that there is some underlying connection
between every one of these events. Yet —
they have all happened so naturally. I sup-
pose I'm off my noodle again. I just wonder
if there wasn't something phoney about
that round-robin? What do you think? Did
you ever find out who started it? Helen
Frey? Heavens! That's just the way. Every
time you start to look into it something
like that comes up. Helen's dead and Frey's
gone back to Europe.
Well, I give up. Write me often. I think
they'll let your letters through. I'm quite a
novelty here. No one understands why I
don't keep a scrap book. I've been assured a
hundred times that I'll be a celebrity when
I get out and that Broadway will pay me
big money. Ghastly!
Nellie is mailing this for me.
I have been trying for months to arouse
enough resolution to start and finish a letter
to you. This is the tenth start. The rest
never got beyond half a page. This time I
will finish it.
What is it all about, Laura? Do you
know? Life, I mean. Fve done nothing but
read all winter and I don't know any more
now than I did a year ago. Fve been look-
ing for something to cling to. I've got to
find it. Fve got to occupy my mind and
fill my time. Even Mother has her clubs.
You have a baby. Everyone has something
but me. The junk Fve read! Emerson, Rob-
ert W. Service, Bertrand Russell, Cowper
Powys, H. L. Mencken, William James,
Science and Health. Fve read everything
and they're all nutty. None of them know
about me. None of them have anything to
The doctor says I've got to find some in-
terest in life. The little pig. He intimates
that he would make a splendid interest for
me. I tried dancing and singing and now
I'm taking piano lessons! At my age. But I
don't practice. There's no art in me. This
must be awfully dull to you.
Of course there's nothing in these crazy
horoscopes. I've read hundreds of them and
they all say things in such a general way
that they might apply to any one. But I
have never seen any so specific as Swami
Yogadachi's. He actually named places,
events and people. It's just that which
I get very much ashamed of myself when
I think of Helen Frey and Mary — in an
asylum — think of it! And I complain! And
now poor Anne.
Laura, he told me that while a very dear
friend was fighting in court for her life — I
would be stricken with a short, violent and
eventually fatal illness. And he put both
Helen's suicide and Mary's trouble before
Anne's trial. It is his exactness which
bothers me — and I haven't been well.
I used to run into Jo Turner now and
then at the theatre, each time on the arm of
a different man, always distinguished, of
course — imagine Jo with any but a distin-
guished man. But now she's gone to Wash-
ington. Fll bet she's after the President.
Don't I wish I knew her secret? What does
she see in them? What does she get out of it?
I mean, aside from diamonds and cars and
grand things. She must get something else.
Jo is not common. I mean — we both know
her, Laura. This isn't catty. She has morals
of her own. I don't understand them but I
know she has. They aren't the world's code,
but they keep her up. Well, that's what I
need, something to keep me up. I'm not
scrupulous. I could do what Jo does if it
interested me. It doesn't. Probably having
plenty all my life makes a difference. But
that's not right either because I never
wanted an emerald bracelet in my whole
life. Nor anything else — very much.
You probably don't remember me men-
tioning a girl in Denver I was so fond of?
Martha Viborg? The doctor's wife? I don't
suppose so. She came East with me, you
know, and stayed for a while. I was happy
then. She's gone back to her husband.
She used to make me eat regularly and
get lots of sleep — but I hate eating alone. It
seems such a waste of time. I come home
from shopping or a matinee to this empty
apartment, bathe, dress, fully intending to
go to dinner and perhaps a movie, or to call
on the folks — but I sit down to read a while
first and it's ten or eleven before I know it.
I never feel hungry like normal people —
and the sight of food disgusts me. Isn't that
funny? I know I have to eat. Don't scold.
Everyone scolds so. Once in a while an old
beau takes me to dinner but most of them
are so stupid. And they all look like such
pigs, stuffing food away with both hands.
I'm boring you.
Well, there's no news. It must be dread-
ful on Anne, not knowing what's going to
happen now. I really glory in her spunk —
doing what she did. Of course, it isn't right;
but Heavens — was he doing right? I don't
think she ever had a happy month with that
man from the day she met him.
How is California? Don't worry about
me. I'll be all right. Tell me about the stars
you see. Is Ronald Larrimore out there
Kiss that Bobby for me and tell him that
even if he never sees her — his Aunty Hazel
loves him just the same. I've been intending
to get down town to a toy shop where they
have the cleverest things — but that's me all
over. I just don't do it. I will though. Prom-
ise Bobby that I'm going to send him some
of the cutest monkey-men he ever saw.
They are cute, Laura; I could play with
I saw the twins — months and months ago.
June had just been aborted. It didn't even
dampen her spirits. That's part of life too,
I guess. What does it take that I haven't got,
Laura? Courage? Energy? I give up. God —
I almost envy her. There's blood in her, at
least. She's human.
I'm crazy too, I guess. But say! That old
horoscope is going to be fooled. St. Peter
too. When it comes my time to die — I'll
change my mind — or put it off. I'll be too
busy reading or something. Now laugh.
Dear Old Thing:
There's little enough to write about. The
trial starts on the sixth. I've no idea how I'll
stand that — sitting there with hundreds
looking holes through me. The only time I
was ever up in front of people in my life I
forgot what I was supposed to say — yes,
you remember. And how cut-up old lady
Blake was. She wanted the show to be such a
success. I couldn't help it. Probably I'll do
the same thing again. I hope I don't em-
barrass the judge.
You're sweet. You say just the right thing
and just enough of it. No! I have not a
friendly dove who eats crumbs from my cell
window — not even a damn 5 sparrow. You'd
be surprised how good the food is. To be
sure, the company might be a bit more
select. But it couldn't be more amusing. I
have a good, working understanding with
my "neighbors" now, but it was dreadful at
first. I felt out of place, of course, and I was
too much the de-crowned queen or de-
frocked empress — or what you will. That
got me nowhere, you may imagine, but
everything is "jake" now. And what a
vocabulary! Jake is harmless compared to
hundreds of other new words — and old ones
with new meanings. I'm becoming quite the
"four-minute moll" — but not indelibly, I
But — what difference does it make? If
I'm going to spend the rest of my life
among these people I might just as well
learn their language; even adopt it. It will
be better for me. Easier.
At first I bought a lot of special privi-
leges. Had my meals sent in — but no more.
The others razzed the life out of me.
One girl has been here for over a year.
We had a long debate — Resolved: That
there is no use renewing your Ladies Home
Journal subscription in jail, because you
can't cook any of those impossibly ethereal
desserts in a cell. She won the debate and
then renewed anyway because there was a
grand murder mystery running serially and
she didn't want to miss it. Oh, even this life
has its moments.
Listen, Laura, will you write to Hazel?
All this business has gone to her head now.
She's just waiting for my trial to "jump
off." Don't let her. Make Ellen quit writing
to her. It's dreadful. I can't do anything.
The trial can't be stopped. I'd stay here
years and never whimper if it would do the
others any good — but it won't. Get busy,
will you, Laura? Tell that child that there's
nothing to it. I've written, but I'm a great
one to preach after falling so hard myself.
Well, it's all in a life-time. But I'd like to
keep Hazel's chin up. She says she feels
weak and drowsy all the time. No pep. She
thinks she might be anemic. Heavens! We're
all anemic. I told her to go to a good doctor
and eat spinach five times a day and quit
writing to Ellen. What more? I don't know.
Enclosed is a note I got from Mary. It
seems they have her bad spells down to a
science now. They can chart them and
know about when she's due for an outbreak.
Lord deliver me I Just read it. I guess I was
lucky after all. I only had one spell. It was
a long time coming and it raised a lot of
hell while I was at it — but it isn't coming
back. I don't have to go like a bad dog to
my kennel every night at eight. Laura, that
must be awful. Poor Mary. I hope and pray
they cure her. See what you can do.
Mary Nolan Thompson's note to Anne was
Anne — you poor kid:
How you must be suffering. I know.
They keep me behind bars most of the time
now. I stay in the asylum two weeks — and
go home one. "Hospital" they call it. I'll bet
it's a worse jail than the one you are in. But
it's necessary. I have to be held.
But I'm not supposed to dwell on these
things. Fm supposed to think of flowers and
babies. Ye gods! Flowers and babies. Well,
I'll do even that if it's going to keep me out
of that place. I got your two or three letters
long, long ago. Just after my one bad spell.
You were so upset about Tom when you
wrote them — but before you actually did
Oh, Anne, you shouldn't have done that.
No matter what happened to me. How
could there be any connection? This was
something I couldn't help. The horoscope
had nothing to do with this. There's been
mental trouble in my family before. I have
always felt compelled to take little things
that didn't belong to me. This has been
coming on me for years and years. It was
just that he saw it coming.
I am getting better. They know almost
exactly when my spells will be worst and I
am locked up only then. And — as I say — I
can go home one week each month. Derick
has been so sweet about it all. No man wants
a thief for a wife — nor a crazy woman
either. But he sticks through it all, although
Fve offered time and again to give him his
I'm going to make my own future — once
I get out of the doctor's care for good.
Laura has given me so much confidence. She
never believed in any kind of fortune telling
and she poo-poo's the idea of me dying this
summer. I never felt better in my life —
physically — if I can only get the best of
Cheerio, Anne, dear. Keep cheerful. I
know you'll be out of there soon and I'll bet
you find some one to care for who is actu-
ally worthy of your love.
Yours 'til Niagara falls,
P.S. They won't let me eat candy — and that
almost kills me!
They've "carried him off to die" — what's
that from? I don't remember. This time,
anyway, it's het. Me, that is.
I can see the frown. Maybe even a few
tears. I can hear you say: "Hazel too!" But
it seems there's something wrong with my
tummy. Not enough spinach, I guess. Don't
feel badly. Ellen has me pretty well "sold"
on the advantages of the "spirit realm."
Life wasn't so darn' pleasant for me. Espe-
cially after Martha left.
I'm weak as a cat. Too tired to write
more. The nurse says I have to sleep anyway.
Sorry I didn't get around to the monkeys
for Bob. Give my love to everyone.
April 1 6.
Miss Ellen Koons:
Are you not satisfied yet? Unless you stop
writing your dreadful letters to sick people,
urging them to die, I will use every means
in my power to have you stopped by law.
You are doing a sinful, wicked injury to
people you call your friends. You are black-
ening your own soul. It is beyond human
reason to understand why you persist in
There must be an end to this at once. Do
not tell me it is none of my business. You
have attempted to poison my own mind in
regard to my baby's life. I have already de-
layed too long in stopping you. I chide
myself with Hazel's death. I might have
prevented that if I had taken steps to halt
your letter writing a month ago.
I will await your answer one week. If you
do not promise me faithfully and on your
honor as a Delphian and a lady that you will
refrain from writing more letters of this
nature — I will immediately suggest to the
Brooklyn authorities that your sanity be
Although I have every reason to resent
the tone of your last letter, I have learned
tolerance and forgiveness. I can only pity
you for clinging so closely to this life. We
are all so much happier on the Other Side.
I am sure you will never hear from me
again, after the letters you have been send-
ing around to the Delphians. The idea of
you accusing me of contributing to Hazel's
illness. It was none of my doing that she
starved herself to death. I never saw her
from one month's end to the next.
You see, I have my friends too. One of
your high-and-mighty circular letters was
sent on to me long ago. I ignored it, of
course, as I would have ignored this last
threat of yours if I did not know that you
are capable of doing exactly what you say
you will. Naturally, I do not want the
authorities applying their materialistic
tests to me nor trying to analyze my spirit-
uality with their clumsy, coarse, human
I will, hereafter, confine my correspon-
dence to people who do not write to you.
That will relieve your conscience at least.
They have delayed this terrible ordeal so
many times that now, when it must be more
than half over, I can scarcely realize what
has gone on.
Was that girl with the gun myself? Who
was it? My life before I entered the jail
seems like a long dream. That was another
person, not me at all. I didn't go to school
with you at Mount Albans. That was some-
one else — a sister of mine, perhaps. Oh, it's
dreadful. The court attendants chew to-
bacco, — some of them gum. The jury is a
funny bunch. They don't look as if there
was a spark of sympathy in a carload of
them. Listen to me. Me — the girl who hates
sympathy. Well, when it's years on or off
the end of your life you aren't so particular.
I'd just like to wrest one eensty-teensty tear
from one of their eyes. Not a chance!
One of them doesn't understand English,
I'm sure. He sleeps all through the testi-
mony. I'm counting on him for a disagree-
ment. My lawyer is very hopeful. He thinks
they'll acquit me entirely. I don't — but we
won't go into that. Yogadachi said I'd get
twenty years. I just heard that from Ellen.
He didn't tell me that.
So far the testimony has favored me
in one respect. Every one has given me a
lily white character, God bless them.
And plenty of others have blackened
We have no positive proof of infidelity
though, so I'm pretty sure they won't think
much of Mr. Paterson's "unwritten law"
plea. Lots of people think he should have
stuck to "temporary insanity" as Nellie
The place is full of curious women every
day. God! How they stare! If I could only
get away from their eyes I'd be all right, but
their ogling unnerves me. They must be the
fools who write me such crazy letters. I
have hundreds, now, from all over the
country. In some of them I am a saint, in
others a "fiend from Hell." One man wants
to marry me if Fm not convicted. Two
others write that they'll come to the jail
and have the ceremony performed with bars
between us. Too much movies. Goes to their
The State will start Tom's office force
across the stand tomorrow. The eye-wit-
nesses. I wish I could avoid that. I don't
ever want to remember that day again —
and tomorrow I'll hear about it twenty
times at least.
So Hazel went the way the rest of us
have. I thought she might break the chain
by living. Well, that puts it squarely up to
you. Bobby's birthday is the last of this
month, isn't it? Oh, I know you'll break it.
If you do I'll have hopes for anything. I'll
even pray for a parole or a commutation
or whatever you call it. Acquittal is too
much to ask. I'll never get that. But if you
get Bobby through till the fifth of June —
I'll know this has all been the bunk. I'll
know I was a goose-headed dupe without
brains or character — and I'll know how to
live out the balance of my life, in prison or
out, making up for what I've done.
If you get Bobby through the fifth of
June — or even the third — all the rest of the
girls will have to admit that they are wrong.
Mary Thompson will not die in the asylum
nor Ellen — but you weren't supposed to
know about that. I think you should, how-
ever, and here it is.
I'm supposed to hear of Bobby's death
two or three weeks after I am sentenced.
That is supposed to prostrate me and send
me to the prison hospital. About two weeks
after that, Mary is supposed to burst a blood
vessel in an especially violent attack of her
mania — and Ellen Koons is to die the next
day, he didn't say just how.
Hazel's anemia brings the chain up to my
sentence. That will throw the last respon-
sibility on you. Oh! Laura! If I had less
confidence in you I would prevent sentence
being passed on me. I could, you know.
But life is still sweet. And I know you will
be strong enough to carry on. Mary writes
that she trusts you too. You have to save
Bobby, for her sake as well as your own.
"No chain is stronger than its weakest link"
— and in this heavy one we have all made
for ourselves — you are the weakest link.
Don't worry about me and take care of
yourself as well as of Bobby.
Your old pal,
Via Western Union:
How many is that? Mary, the maid who
bruised so easily, is one. Bobby's mother
is two. Ellen Koons is three. Helen Frey,
four. Then — Mary Nolan Thompson, the twins
and Anne Jessup, that's eight; Nellie, the vamp,
is nine; Hazel, ten and Martha, gone back to
Denver, eleven. You have only two more coming
but they're worth waiting for, Jo Turner and
You get so you know them pretty well. You
know 'em and like 'em, in spite of what goes on
in their heads. Aw, damn! You feel sorry for
them. I do. Take Martha, for instance. There she
is, running around Denver in her car. All busted
up. She's lost weight and she couldn't afford to.
The Doctor doesn't know what's wrong with
her. Even Jimmy can't understand it. She has
him drive up the mountain as far as he can go
and then she hikes up to the cabin alone. She
touches the chairs Hazel sat in that first day and
when she locks the door and starts down the hill,
she remembers how she talked about men to get
Hazel to express herself. And by the time she
reaches the car again she looks forty.
We needn't worry about Hazel any more. All
that fragile, tenuous beauty is buried, rigid, out
Nellie? Well, it's a funny thing about Nellie.
She began drinking heavily after the trial ; drink-
ing and running around with just anybody. I
suppose she was trying to forget that she should
be in the penitentiary instead of Anne. A thing
like that isn't easy to forget. It takes a lot of
liquor and a lot of men. And the men were
highly unsatisfactory. In spite of Tom's pinched
up chest, he was the only man who had ever
really made Nellie want to sit quietly in the
movies. She ratted around all over Ohio, the
smaller cities, Toledo and Dayton and Columbus,
but she always came back to Akron.
We'll hear more about Anne.
That big slob of a June Raskob hadn't meant
any harm by talking to Hazel that night. She
and May got the Interstate Time and at last
accounts were knocking 'em off the seats in
Texas, and steering clear of gymnasts and other
Mary, we haven't forsaken. If Derick Thomp-
son only had the jack he could get her out of that
damned asylum. Ellen will always be with us.
Even if somebody put some well-merited cyanide
in that one's coffee, she'd linger on in spirit and
probably haunt Laura. Helen, of course, mould-
ers — and Frey still thinks of her occasionally.
No one feels sorry for Laura. The strength of
her routs sympathy and her handsome head and
firm hands make the average man feel silly try-
ing to help her. See what I mean? Watch her
turn that page and straighten the paper. No
fussing or fiddling; and she's re-reading all those
letters that caused so many tears.
Mary Kelly is worrying Bobby's dinner into
him, in the kitchen — as George stalks into the
living room. George isn't quite tall enough to
stalk very effectively, and his somewhat blobby
features lack dignity in his home. At the office he
gets away with murder, but in Laura's presence
he doesn't stay masterful very long. He tries it
now, putting the paper bag and his hat and
gloves very deliberately on the table, frowning.
Laura watched him, the evening papers on her
lap and on the floor at her side. "Good-evening,
He stood still in the center of the room, a new
cigarette in his mouth, his fingers searching his
vest for his lighter. "Good-evening, dear." He sat
quickly beside her on the divan and put one arm
around her waist. "Why didn't you tell me?
What good am I if I don't help you?"
"I had no idea they'd make so much fuss about
it, George. I didn't want it to get in the papers."
"They're full of it."
"Mr. Yeager said it was best to let them — to
tell them everything, to keep them friendly."
"Yes, I suppose so. But, Laura, you shouldn't
have tried to bear all this alone. You knew it
when we went to Akron. You've had that
powder since Christmas."
"You aren't made of iron, Laura."
"No. But I was so afraid. I didn't want to
worry you. I was afraid if Bob took a cold or
something we might both lose our heads."
"Oh, he's all right. Where is he now?"
"Eating. Mary will bring him in before she
puts him to bed."
George lit his cigarette. "I'm glad it's come
out. I'm glad you finally brought the whole
thing into the open — it may save Jo and Ellen
and the others."
"It's up to us."
"Up to Bobby, eh?"
Laura nodded thoughtfully, "Just think; if he
should have an accident tomorrow — how dread-
ful it would be."
"We must not let him out of our sight a
"No. I called his party off."
"Good. . . . Did you tell the police about that
"Yes. They think it is somebody trying to
alarm us, set our nerves on edge."
"But who would it be? The way I read this,
the man who plotted it all is dead."
"So he is."
"Then who could be trying to scare us?"
"I have my suspicions."
"The dark girl?"
"Yes. I don't know how she could be con-
nected with it, but somehow Fm sure she is. In
the first place, she's the only Delphian who didn't
have some disaster threatened for her — and she
never writes to any of us."
"And she hated all of you for giving her the
cold shoulder in school."
"That's just it. I think this is her revenge for
the way we treated her."
"That's far-fetched, Laura."
"The whole thing is far-fetched if you want
to say that. That's what Mr. Yeager said. No-
body could be so clever. Nobody could know for
sure that all the girls would do what their horo-
scopes told them."
"No, not know; but a clever novelist like
Danbury might have been fairly certain."
"It is uncanny the way he sees through you.
I've read several of his books. He certainly knows
"Perhaps they planned it together."
"She could have been his secretary or some-
"His mistress, perhaps. I don't know anything
about the man."
"I'll tell you what I think, George, frankly;
or what I did think until I began to suspect Ur-
sula. Danbury was a great psychologist. He knew
to a turn of the hand and a bat of the eye just
how people would act under a given set of cir-
cumstances. His books prove it. Well, I think
he got tired making imaginary characters do as
he bade them and he started a chain of incidents
in real life as a sort of testimonial to himself, a
monument to his own great cunning."
"And then didn't wait to see if it worked?
No; — no, Laura. I don't think so. Look. Any
man so egotistical that he would plot such a thing
could not kill himself until he had watched the
results of his plan long enough to get his kick."
"But he was sure it would work. He didn't
have to wait to see."
"But he would have to see it going on to get
the thrill. Until the thing began to function it
was only an idea."
"No, George. He found the secret of perpetual
motion. You know? When the last piece of the
machine is put in place, the wheels start going
around; that's the theory, isn't it?"
"I guess so."
"Well, he built his machine. He had every-
thing set. Then he threw himself into the spot
reserved just for that — and the machine went
on. Human minds were his cogwheels, pride and
jealousy and passion were his belts and shafts and
cams or whatever you call them. He has won —
in a sense. I don't think his machine has broken
down even now "
"You mean you think Bobby will "
"No! I don't mean that. What I mean is that
one of his wheels or weights or whatever you
want to call us, — the links in his chain, — has
developed a 'flaw*. The 'flaw', in this case is our
strength — yours and mine."
"And yours! Don't you see? Our strength in
refusing to function as cogs or links is going to
break his machine, but if he had selected the
metal a little more carefully — if he had put a
different woman or a different family in this
place instead of us — it would have run merrily
"Wait! — there's the secret! Wait. It's getting
away." George shut his eyes and rubbed his fore-
head with one palm. "Carry that idea out, dear.
See what I mean? We — that is, you — are the
honey-combed casting. He put a honey-combed
casting into his machine — why? He had no trou-
ble finding perfect metals for the other sections.
Helen, Hazel, Mary, and so on — Ellen — they
have all served. And he knew you were honey-
combed! He knew you were liable to fail him.
He admitted it by sending yon poison through
the mail! That corrosive sublimate is a piece of
string, a crude repair, chewing gum, used to
patch his machine. And you think he applied
the patch before he died? Never! No man with
that much cunning would destroy himself know-
ing that he had a cracked and patched 'casting'
in a machine as delicate as the one he made. No,
Laura. Danbury is not guilty."
"Why, George! You're a full grown detective.
Listen to you."
They both laughed and their arms twined
about each other.
Mary brought Bobby to them in his pajamas
for a good-night kiss. "You can go and sit
down," Mary said. "He's sleepy and I'll be right
"And I know more," said George between
spoonfuls of soup. "I missed my calling. I'm
going to ask this Kagell — Yagell "
"Yeager! I'm going to ask him for a job. See
here. . . . No matter how guilty Danbury looks
— the facts can be found proving him innocent.
There's a close connection. He may have been a
party to it, as you say, but I don't believe he
did it alone. If he did — now, mind you — if he
did, he had a peach of a reason for not switching
'castings'. From his point of view, I mean. If
he went ahead, took that one long shot, trusting
his 'patch' to hold, he had a very good reason
for wanting you and no one else but you in that
particular place in his machine.' '
"Well," Laura exclaimed, following her hus-
band's reasoning and quickly gaining some of his
enthusiasm, "the reason's clear. Knowing people
as he does, and knowing all us girls as he obvi-
ously did — he knew I would be fighting him
every step of the way. He may have thought he
needed that resistance up to a certain point ; then
it had to be wiped out. I would be silenced if
Bobby died. I couldn't fight another minute if
I succumbed to the same influence which had
swayed the others."
"Yes. There's that" George mused, "and
more. By winning over his greatest resistance he
achieves another coup almost as great as predict-
ing his own death. As you say, he needed your
opposition to a certain point to give his ma-
chine balance. Then, the same weight had to be
shifted — because his machine was slowing down!
Do you see? He needed the weight of your con-
version, the conversion of his greatest doubter
— through Bobby's death — to give him impetus
for another climb. If we could get a chart of
his predictions we'd find — I'm positive — that he
has dotted these coups at regular intervals all
along the path his 'engine' is to run. Why, Laura,
if every 'casting' had been sound, if he hadn't
picked one piece of bad metal, he could have
depopulated the world! Suppose, instead of start-
ing with the Delphians he had started with Con-
gress. That's far-fetched, of course, but think of
the panic it would cause. Wall Street aflame!
The President goes mad!"
"Hush, George. You frighten me."
"Isn't it a magnificent plot? You can't help
admiring his brains."
"But, George. Tomorrow isn't over yet. It
isn't even here."
"You mean Bobby?"
George looked up at Mary. "How was the
baby when you left him, Mary? Seem all right
"Well— he was a little flushed."
"What's he been eating?"
"His diet I The Saints preserve us, it's as much
as a body's life'd be worth to give him anything
"You haven't given him anything else; have
"I have not."
"Suppose you run up and see if he's all right,
Mary. If he's awake take his temperature."
Run upstairs! Mary could not keep her im-
patience with such foolishness from showing on
her face. She mumbled up them instead: "His
tempichoor! Sure, the lad has no tempichoor!
Where'd he get it, I'd like to know."
The telephone startled her. She answered the
upstairs extension. "Hello?"
"Mrs. O'Neill, please."
"She's eating her dinner."
"Well, tell her it's Fanny; Mrs. Brennan."
"Hold the wire, please."
"Did I interrupt your dinner? I'm so sorry,
dear, but I couldn't wait. Aren't you the one?
Getting in all the papers!"
"I'm the one all right. It isn't very pleasant."
"N-o-o-o. My goodness! And you never told
me anything about it. I didn't think you were
that kind, Laura."
"I — well — I didn't feel much like talking
"No? Why not? Gracious, that man is good;
isn't he? Madame Bell never gets anything so
accurate. What's his address again?"
"Why, this astrologer! Laura, I've been want-
ing to have my horoscope read by a really good
one for ever so long."
"But, Fanny, he's dead."
"Why, certainly. Didn't you read the paper?"
"Oh — ye-e-s. I read it. . . . But I didn't see
that. Gee; I better read it again. Well! Isn't that
"He — he was so good he predicted his own
"That's in the paper, Fanny. You go read it
"I guess I'll have to. . . . Gee, what'd he have
to die for? It's all your fault, Laura O'Neill. If
you'd told us about it before he died I could hare
had him read my horoscope, too/'
"Well— I think it's mean."
"Fanny, you don't know what you're saying."
"Laura, you just aren't human. That's the
trouble with you. You don't believe in anything.
You're too sensible."
"Fanny — my dinner's getting cold. Do you
"Oh, go on back and finish your dinner. Mike
and I are coming over after a while."
"Oh, not tonight, Fanny. Please? Understand;
won't you? George and I have so many — the —
the police are going to be here. It wouldn't be
pleasant. . . . See? Do you see, dear? It just isn't
"The police? The police at your house? . . .
"Why — eh — in — in connection with the case."
"You understand, don't you?"
"Oh, I suppose so. All right. Tomorrow then.
I'll come over by myself in the morning. . . .
Say, I've got a cook at last!"
"That's fine, Fanny. Excuse me now, won't
"Go on and eat."
"Good-bye; see you in the morning." Fanny
turned from the telephone to her husband. "The
police are going to be at Laura and George's,"
she said. "Would you ever have believed it?"
• • • • . . .
"Fanny Brennan," Laura told George. "She
wants Yogadachi to read her horoscope."
"The damn' fool!"
"Did he know women?"
George wagged his head. "And howl"
Bob's temperature was normal. "The tele-
phone woke him but he dropped right off with
the thermoniter in his mouth," Alary reported
Laura finished her chocolate pudding. "How
do we know he hasn't plotted that, George?
How do we know Danbury wasn't plotting to
have this endless chain spread all over the world?
It would have been preposterous to start with
Congress, but he has started with something
within reach, — the Delphians. He starts with a
girl's club, a group of susceptible women.
George! ... I just thought. Jo Turner is in
Washington. I didn't give her letter to Mr. Lenz.
It was too personal; too intimate. . . . You
mustn't condemn her, George. She's — she's —
being kept by a high official in the French lega-
"Yes. . . . And I just thought she might be the
link leading to something bigger. I'll bet the plot
extends to Congress and beyond!"
"Mob hysteria!" George contributed. "You
know? Once it got started nothing on earth
could stop it. . . • Let's wire Jo and have her
ask, in an offhand way, if her boy friend be-
lieves in astrology or if any of those fellows have
had their horoscopes drawn up."
"Good! Georgie, you're a wizard."
"I? Why, you thought of all this. 7 didn't."
He kissed her tenderly on the forehead and they
left the dishes to Mary. "What a woman! God's
been good to me, Laura; giving me you."
"Hush. He was good to me, rather."
"Let's write a telegram to Jo."
"Where's her letter? The one you wouldn't let
"You won't be angry when you read it?"
"Why should I?"
"Well, Jo's so . . . modern."
"I like her spunk."
What a lot of trouble you take for others!
Thankless pack! What would any of them
do for you? What have any of them ever
done for you to make you champion them
at so much pains to yourself? I know you'll
say: "Jo's hard and bitter." — but I know
what I'm talking about. I've lived, Laura.
I know people. Why, just look at me. You
write me this long epistle full of the noblest
thoughts and best advice. What did I ever
do to deserve it? I haven't written to you
more than three times in five years! Let
them die if they want to. There isn't one
good sound brain in the lot of them. It's
sad. I know it's sad, but Fm not going to
lose any sleep over it. I have my date with
the grim reaper on July 4th, pinwheel day
— and nigger-chasers.
But I don't think I'll keep it. And I'm not
telling any one about it nor brooding over
it. It's a laugh to me. I'm having too much
fun. Lots of it is fun you wouldn't approve
of, old dear, but it's still fun.
How do you do it? One husband, one
boy-child, one home, one town. Yes — one
town — even if it is Hollywood, or nearly.
It would drive me crazy. Do you ever get
east? Don't you ever come to a city? — to
see the street cars? How we could fly around
— you and I! Fly high, too, if you liked.
And I know you would like. What a girl!
You're wasted out there — utterly wasted.
Don't you remember the good times we
used to have — you and I? And how you
were always afraid the boys would go too
far! And I was afraid they wouldn't. You
and I would have made a great team, Laura,
if only you had a little more — just a little
— the courage of your convictions. You
want to live but you're afraid to.
You know why I haven't written. I live
a life that would make your good old soul
shrivel. I love you too much to hurt you
like that — and it's self defense too. You'd
write me long, Billy Sunday, Camp-Fire-
Girl letters trying to save what's left of my
soul from whatever is left of your Hell. Or
does it still blaze freely?
The present incumbent is an attache of
the French embassy. A little hairy — but
how he knows his wines and cheeses. That
makes up for the hair. Dining, as he knows
how to dine, and loving as he knows how to
love make up for almost anything. I tried
depilatory on his chest but it pulled so he
wouldn't let me finish the rest of his body.
Honestly, Laura, hugging Simont is just like
getting into your fur coat wrong-side-out,
only more fun. Try it right after your bath
— only don't go too far.
Do you hear from Hazel? I used to see
her occasionally, but haven't heard in some
time now. That damned star-reader hasn't
got her too, has he? Well, what can you do?
Forget it, is my advice, and let Ellen Koons
hang herself. You know, I didn't write to
this Camden sage until the bottom fell out
of the market. Then all the comfort I got
was that my money wouldn't do me any
good after next fourth of July! Cheerful?
Well, Ym laughing. And I got out of the
market with my clothes on, too. If I want
to leave them in some Bear's apartment
that's my business, but I'll be damned if
I'm going to leave them in his office, hang-
ing over his ticker for margin. Not Jo
Well, girl, that will be all. I haven't signed
the name to so many words since I wrote
the class prophecy. I'd hate to read that
over now, after all that has happened. One
thing I remember I said — Ellen Koons had
bought a pair of second-hand wings from
an Angel and was flying over your private
day nursery where a thousand babies — all
colors — played in the sand. Not bad — for
Adieu, ma chere, repondez tout de suite,
s'il vous plait.
"Well," said George, "I — I can see why you
didn't give it to the papers. . . . She — she's a
peculiar girl; isn't she?"
"Yes. She has her own ideas about life. She's
always been like that."
"The Swami certainly didn't make much im-
"No. And yet — if Bobby died even Jo would
be impressed. You see, that was written before
she knew about Hazel."
"Yes, I see it was. . . . Well, let's ask her. Shall
They sent Jo a telegram:
I HAVE TURNED SWAMI IN-
FORMATION OVER TO POLICE HERE
INVESTIGATION STARTED STOP
WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF ANY
INTIMATE FRIENDS OF YOURS BE-
LIEVE IN ASTROLOGY STOP SEND
COMPLETE DETAILS PLEASE
"What does she mean, dear,. where she says,
'why do you take all this trouble?' "
"Oh, she got one of my circular letters. Last
March I sent them to all the Delphians. They
didn't do any good. Here's one of them."
Dear old friend:
As former President of the Delphian So-
ciety I feel it is my duty to write every one
of you and ask what you may know about
an astrologer who called himself Swami
Yogadachi. Have you ever met him? Had
you ever heard of him before the middle of
Doubtless you received a circular and a
letter from him at that time. Most of the
Delphians did. He predicted that you would
soon hear from old friends — and in a few
days or a week you received a round-robin.
Now — did you send him any money? Did
he draw up your horoscope? Did he predict
unpleasant events in your future? In sev-
eral cases he did — and you probably know
of the three catastrophes that have so far
I am writing now in the fervent hope that
you will rid your mind of this awful influ-
ence. Some thoughtless members have been
so strongly affected by the circumstances
that they are furthering the harm these
"fortunes" have already wrought by ill
considered correspondence. Won't you
please, as loyal Delphians, not only forget
that three of us have suffered horribly, for-
get that many more of us have had a
malediction pronounced on our households,
forget that you, yourself, have had some
calamity predicted in your own life. It is
absolutely necessary that we all do this. Let
us not even tell each other what "the stars"
are said "to hold for us." Let us stamp
out this insidious mental cancer that has
been nourished too long.
As you read this, please do not think I
am reflecting upon your own strength of
mind. You will, yourself, be able to throw
off the dread and even the thought of this
man's predictions for you. But all of us are
not strong. I can name no one, of course,
but we are all Delphians together; all old
chums. Let us by all means uphold the ideals
we swore to at Mount Albans — not so many
Please give this matter your most sincere
support. I do not want to know what this
Swami has told you will occur. I do want
to know if you ever heard of him before
September of last year. Had you ever met
him under any of his numerous pen-names?
Had you ever written to him — perhaps
praising his books? Any information re-
garding his moral character or past life will
be very much appreciated. Any informa-
tion regarding his possible association with
any Delphian or possible access to old Mount
Albans records will be very helpful.
I am your sincere and devoted friend,
"That was the letter that upset Ellen so much.
She knew it was aimed at her."
"But you got no information?"
"Not a thing. And it didn't even slow them
up. They kept right on writing. But — as I told
you, Ursula was the only Delphian who didn't
The telephone rang every few minutes all
evening, until Mary stuffed cardboard in the up-
stairs bell. All the O'Neills' friends wanted to
talk about their "case".
Wasn't it strange? and Did they really be-
lieve the man had plotted it all before he died?
and How was Bobby? and Keep them posted!
Until it was, surprisingly, one o'clock.
"It's Bobby's birthday, George." By unspoken,
mutual consent, they rose and walked to the
door, fingers twined. "What's in that package ?"
"What package? ... Oh, that. Why, Allen
gave it to me; it's a ball for Bob."
They went upstairs and stood beside the sleep-
ing boy, their arms around each other's waists.
"Just think, Laura. If our reasoning is right.
If this plot is as thick as it seems, the whole fu-
ture of America may be hanging on every breath
that little fellow draws."
"I know. . . . Of course, we don't know yet,"
she said softly. Why would Allen give Bobby a
"No, we don't know. Probably it isn't as far
reaching as we imagine. But it isn't impossible.
Just think — a plan to depopulate the earth, hing-
ing on Bobby's life — for just a few days."
"It frightens me, George."
Bobby moved his little lips and frowned in
his sleep. "The light bothers him," Laura said.
"Let's go to bed."
As they reached the door and turned for one
last look at the boy, he sat up suddenly in bed,
his round little face distorted, his eyes still closed.
They saw this pitiful sight, but George was al-
ready turning the switch. The room went utterly
black and from the little bed came a piercing
scream of terror.
"The light, George! Quick— the light!"
Simont, mon cher, do you believe in as-
"Astrology? Simont?" He cocked his
head; he pursed his lips; he shoved his fists deep
in the pockets of his dressing gown and rolled
his eyes toward the ceiling. "Do I believe in
Don't look at Jo just yet, she's still in bed.
"Well — un peu, un peu — Some — perhaps?
Why do you care?"
"A friend of mine wants to know."
. • . "A friend!" The diplomat threw his arms
In the air and stood in petrified Gallic astonish-
ment, his fingers spread, his brows arched high,
his feet wide apart. "Your friends would like to
know if 7 believe in astrology/"
You can look now, she's pulled the spread
around her. That yellow paper in her hand is
Laura's telegram. . . . No, no, no. In her hand.
Jo laughed at him. "Yes, my dear, they ask
me." She held the telegram toward him and
when he reached for it, pulled it away, proffering
lips instead. That over, she let him read it.
"Goose! You gave me a start."
"You thought I'd been telling people about
"I couldn't believe it."
"Of course not."
"It is nearly eleven, my darling, and I have
an appointment at ten-thirty. That leaves me
only two hours to bathe you."
"Have you been waiting for that, Simont?
You might have been only one hour late if you
had told me."
"One hour is not late. One hour after the ap-
pointed time is — for me — punctual. But, come;
"Not this morning, pet. You run along."
"I run along? My beautiful! No bath?"
"Not this morning. Today I want to be
"I will scrrrub!"
"You wouldn't. And if you did, I shouldn't
"But I've waited. I've kept three men sitting
in my office!"
"Hurry to them now. ... I mean it."
Only then was Simont convinced sufficiently
to let his features fall. rr Mon Dieu, what a
woman! . . . Some day I will bite you. Josephine,"
he pronounced it as Napoleon did, "some day I
shall bite you — so hard you cannot sit down for
She sailed a pillow at him.
Before her mirror, Jo went into revery. The
telegram from Laura prompted it. This face be-
fore her was the same one she had worn at
Mount Albans. It hadn't changed much. Had
Laura's? What changes faces? Time? Life? Well,
Time, maybe; and suffering. From a drawer she
took a picture of her mother and looked back
and forth from the photograph to the glass,
comparing her own well-finished complexion
with the tough, Polish hide of the older woman.
Josephine's lines would be in the same places
when they came. That much she could see. But
would her eyes die like that? Her mouth sink in,
toothlessly? Some of those lines were caused by
an ill-fitting plate, and, bad as it was, acquired
too late in life. Well, those Jo could avoid.
She gazed at her wide, brown eyes and tried to
learn their secret. What did men see in them?
In any eyes, for that matter. They were always
talking about them. "Your eyes are this; your
eyes are that." Once in a while they talked about
lips or teeth or hair, — but mostly about eyes.
"Those windows of the soul!" Jo made a face at
herself and winked. What a window! Like the
window of a toilet on a train. You couldn't see
through them. Not hers.
"Poor thing," she said to her mother. "Poor,
hard-working thing. Why haven't you got good
sense?" For Jo's mother did not have good sense;
that is, she would not take money from Jo, which
is the same thing. People who will not take
money which is offered without strings of any
kind are out of their head. But Mrs. Walther was
one of those people who think some money is
dirtier than some other money. She thought Jo's
money couldn't be cleaned. She thought her own
pay at the Polish bakery was as pure as the flour
she sieved for bread. Maybe it was. I'm not go-
ing to argue with her. In the first place, I can't
speak Polish. Jo could, and she didn't get any-
where in ten years of impassioned and tempera-
The last penny the old lady took from Jo was
her daughter's first week's pay when she went to
work in the Astor barber shop. It wasn't more
than a few dollars. Jo tried to make her take
twenty more. This was before Mount Albans;
Josephine was not yet eighteen, had — in fact — to
lie about her age to get the job. She had to lie
about her age but not about her looks. They
lied for themselves.
"Where did you get all this money, Jose-
phine?" Her mother had seen a twenty dollar
bill only twice before in her life and not until
she held this one a moment had she ever touched
"At work, of course."
"You got a raise?"
"No! Tips. The money's in the tips. That's
why every manicurist in town wants to work
at the Astor; the tips. You get more there than
any other shop in the city."
"Tips? What's tips?"
You see? That's how it started. Mrs. Walther
couldn't believe those tips were expressions of
gratitude for work well done. Once, when a
wedding cake had turned out especially fine, for
Alderman Schurz's daughter, His Honor had
come in to know who baked it — and had given
her a five dollar bill. That was all right. But these
tips . . . for filing nails?
She didn't understand it; she knew Jo wasn't
bad; but she didn't understand it. The secret lay
in the proximity of male and pretty female, she
was sure of that, but not until she had scrutin-
ized the neighborhood cuticle softener at her
work-bench did the light dawn. A knee was be-
ing vigorously rubbed as the old lady passed the
door and looked in. • . . This, Josephine did, to
Rather backwoodsey, that her gums should
strive to meet about that. She took her plates
from their tumbler the moment she got in the
house. She couldn't eat with them, but they were
splendid for clenching. She clenched them at Jo
when the girl came home. "Knee rubber!"
"What?" It was Jo's Astor manner, a little
"What are you talking about?"
"Tips, you get."
"Oh, mother, stop." The girl burst into smiles.
"Im going out with the best looking fellow I
"For pushing knees they pay you." She fol-
lowed her daughter from room to room, as Jo
undressed, bathed and dressed again.
"What you takin' a bath for?"
"What you got to be so clean for?"
"My God, to — to be clean. I don't want to
"Who's gonna smell you?"
Josephine laughed and hugged her. "Don't
you worry, mother. Your Jo knows her way
around. Nobody's goin' to smell me. Nobody's
goin' to touch me."
"You be a good girl, Jo."
"You bet your life I will. I'm givin' out
no thin'. Smiles don't cost me a cent."
But it was not the tips alone which attracted
the very cream of the profession to this particu-
lar shop. It was the catches. The management
still has a hell of a time keeping girls because
word's gone all over Iowa, Montana and parts
of Oklahoma that you can marry the Astor
manicurists with a pretty good chance of being
Breckenridge Madison was not, however, from
the Open Spaces. The Breckenridge tells you
that. No, not Virginia either; Baltimore. But did
he fall? No matter how long Jo Turner lives, she
will never be able to forget the descent of Breck.
It was her first major engagement and she had
the whole Rebel Army in complete rout after
the first skirmish.
That first evening she met him on the mezza-
nine. It wasn't permitted, but you could get
away with it once. She couldn't let him call for
her — not in that hole. But he did, finally, see
her home, and he met her mother, and that was
a test of sincerity. And Breck stood it. At lunch
the day after he'd seen where she came from,
he held her hand without looking at her nails
and talked about his people.
Jo doesn't know yet, not even now, when July
fourth is supposed to be her last day on earth,
she isn't sure whether she ever loved Breck or
not. It was glamorous, being wooed by a son of
the Old South. It was glamorous just being wooed
— plain. But it's doubtful if she felt any consid-
erable fraction of the grand passion which had
him so inflamed. Because, she didn't resent the
tone nor the tenor of his conversation at lunch-
eon that day and for the next three days as he in-
formed her gently and gradually that he couldn't
take her home as his wife under the circum-
stances. Praises be, however, the circumstances
could be altered. Breck wouldn't have her ex-
cept as his wife, he was goofy that way, so it
was up to them to make a wedding possible.
First off, she must quit her job. Quit holding
other men's hands and running the risk, his
word, of having them touch her — under the
table — or otherwise insult her. Then, she must
go to school; some decent academy for the fin-
ishing of young ladies where the varnishing
would fix her up rather well. Then — ahem —
then, if she could be — er — an orphan, say — of
course he would always provide for her mother.
When Jo remembers all that, she's pretty sure
the Descent of Breck was entirely one-sided. She
hadn't loved him at all. But it's difficult for her
to reconcile that finding with another event, the
first of a series. For, if she did not love him, her
code now says, she shouldn't have been "over-
come by his nearness"? — will that do? Of course,
having been "overcome" once, no apology is
needed for the series. . . . But — that first
Let us say she suffered a temporary love as
Anne's lawyer might have pleaded that she suf-
fered temporary insanity. At any rate, that was
the state of affairs through Jo Turner's Mount
Albans period. Breck was the "guardian" men-
tioned heretofore, and Breck it was who taught
the eyes of the Year-book photograph whatever
it is they show they know. And up to that
time, he had been Jo's only instructor. Br^ck, let
us say, taught her to weave paper baskets with
little colored strips. She received her B.A. from
In between lies what Jo referred to in her let-
ters to Laura. Between Breck and Simont lies
Jo didn't lose Breck as they do in the movies.
She threw him away. More evidence that she
hadn't loved him at all. When he had made a lady
of her — as nearly, at least, as the raw material
would permit, and for all practical purposes the
product served admirably — she was through
with him. A great one for being through with
people, Jo turned out to be. She was through
with Turner less than two years later. She buried
him. He was dead, of course.
But that's the way it went. For one reason or
another, some of them known only to the girl
herself, Jo was through with man after man.
Not vulgarly, if you'll take that on faith until
I can explain. Not crudely. Jo was, in reality,
that woman you hear so many ladies say they'd
be if they ever put their minds to it. She used
her head. Careful.
You've sat through that. Some broad-minded
old hen says: "Well, I can't understand a prosti-
tute's psychology. If I were going to do that
Fd use some intelligence about it. I'd buy the
most becoming clothes I could find and I'd be
seen in only the smartest places. Fd get me a
millionaire, an apartment on the Drive and do
it right, but these common little chippies! They
just have no brains." You've heard them; you've
heard them. Well — here's Jo. She did just that,
and with a manner.
Turner left her two good-sized insurance pol-
icies, a little business which the lawyers liq-
uidated at a small profit to her and one of
those life-long leases on a Drive apartment full
of solid furniture. Only one car, but a Cadillac,
and the garage paid for a full year in advance.
To Jo's inborn urge for self -improvement,
Breck had added Mount Albans; to that, Turner
added paintings and furniture. So that Have-
meyer found in Jo a companion he could take
anywhere. He did. It was in some such place that
they met Broun, who added jewels and old fire-
arms to Jo's collection. And in pursuit of his
hobby they went abroad.
In Paris, Broun lost her to a French banker —
who contributed heavily in cash. Meanwhile, Jo
had been reading. So that long before the round-
robin started, Jo was a fairly complete woman, if
self-made. Horse flesh, she knew, and precious
stones; guns, furniture and paintings, we have
seen; she fenced and danced and played any
game, any game at all, for money, marbles or
She toyed with the notion of marrying the
French Croesus. She was ripe for a radical change.
It was at this time, under the aegis of this Brum-
pere, that she met Simont. He didn't impress her
at first. He was too young to be very wealthy or
exciting. His inventiveness was not displayed in
the drawing room. She left her mark inadvert-
ently through thus abusing the man's ego.
One night a group of them wore Brumpere's
dignity down with cup after cup from his own
cellar and they ran the gauntlet of rue Jaune
amid hoots and insults and some desiccated vege-
tables and half-dead rats, all hurled at them by
an annoyed habitante. They ended up in the
basement of the Bal Tabarin, safe enough, but
very gay, if you like sailors and what sailors like
for entertainment. And there, picking half
tomatoes and other filth off her suit, Jo found
Boy had a name, William or Jack, it doesn't
matter. Boy, she called him always. And a more
worthless piece of tripe for Jo to waste time
upon has not yet been discovered. Simont wasn't
in that party. He had, in fact, already sailed for
the United States, for Washington. This kid was
from a suburb of Detroit. He'd held a dozen
jobs, performing none of their duties well, from
leader of a jazz orchestra to running a labelling
machine in a cough syrup factory. Now he was
working at being an expatriate, and flopping as
usual. Through the hilarity she saw his imitation
of a bored and drunken American poet at his
beer-stained cafe table in Paris. His fishy eyes
never moved from a certain point on her skirt.
She looked there herself but found nothing of
interest. She tried to make him raise his eyes to
hers. He did, finally, with affected languor and
world-weariness. She smiled at him. He an-
swered, tiredly — but not so tiredly. A little later
she managed to pause long enough at his side to
say: "Wait for me." — which doesn't take long.
When the party broke up, and she hastened
it, putting Papa Brumpere to bed with a pat on
the woozy noddle, she flew back. Boy, as I told
you, was a flop. The evidence: that he was there,
waiting. He hadn't even imagination enough to
pretend to be asleep. Well, Jo took one last haul
from the Papa and moved into the little louse-
coop Boy had been living in.
Do you remember J. S. Fletcher's story, The
Beatific Vision, about an idiot set out like a plant
each day in the sun? and a circus parade goes by?
It was written before he found out that you
could make money if you didn't write that way.
I always remember that story when I think of Jo
taking up with this Boy. She must have been just
like a circus parade to that idiot. But it was not
over nearly so soon. Connoisseur of gems and
pistols, she had not yet mastered men. She could
rule them, sway them, but she could not assay
them beforehand. She took Boy for a genuine
Adam (not Eve's husband) and he was only a
tenth rate poseur.
She bought him clothes and she made him
move. She taught him what a bed was for, but he
never believed her. She left him one day, crying,
two mille francs notes in his hand, as abruptly as
she had come. Only one part of the episode is to
Jo's credit, she withheld her right name. She told
him she was Bellas Hess! And — oh, yes — she
found out why he concentrated on that one spot
on her skirt. It was the one smart trick he knew.
Even the dumbest pooch can roll over. Some
actor had told him, in Detroit, that no woman
could stand to have anyone stare at her there.
No matter how thoroughly she knew herself to
be covered, if you looked long enough, stared
vacantly, unseeing, she would first look down,
then either move her purse or fold her hands in
her lap or drop her handkerchief, or something.
Not even this actor knew why it was.
Then Jo was bored, so she came back to the
United States, on the theory, perhaps, that no
megrim is so great that it will not seem com-
parative comfort after you pound your head
with a hammer for a while. But she spared her-
self by stopping off at her apartment in New
York City instead of entering her native land
She did make that one trip to the coast, driv-
ing all the way herself, stopping over long
enough in Indianapolis to get an hotel willed to
her for services rendered but not billed. And —
the Turner luck held. The man died while she
was in California. It was hurrying back to settle
his estate that kept her from looking up Laura.
That's Josephine. A fortunate lady of for-
tune. Loving parents had not sent her to board-
ing school to learn to paint china. Breck sent her
there to learn to be his wife. Why to Mount Al-
bans? Jo, herself, wondered. There was nothing
like that in the school catalog. But somehow she
had learned to be a wife, picked it up here and
We see her contemplating her unblemished
face, her heart still whole, memory of Laura and
Mount Albans making her wistful and her
mother's wrinkles making her sad.
Jo put the ugly picture back in the drawer
and ran one bare foot up and down the spine of
Romanov, a borzoi, at her feet. His eyes rolled up
at her but his long head only clung closer to the
rug in slothful content. "Hey, Your Highness,
wake up. You glued there?" His tail beat twice
on the floor and again relaxed. "You like it here?
You think this is going on forever?" He blinked.
Her maid entered, holding out a red bathing cap
to Jo. "It isn't, Romey. I can see you're tired of
it." That's right; blame it on the dog. The long,
slender nose turned toward her, perhaps in
astonishment. Tired of this? "It's our move,
Romey. You better start packing."
Laura held her sobbing baby in her arms,
Petrified with fear, cold beads of perspiration
dotting his brow, George stood rigidly against
the wall. Then the sobs became softer and Bobby
coughed, a little sleepy cough. Laura smiled over
the rumpled head at her husband. "With so
much depending on his little body — it's no won-
der he has bad dreams," she said. Mary was sent
back to bed.
Bobby was first up next morning — as usual —
his bad dream forgotten in the fun of a new day.
His analyzed and tested breakfast was whisked
from sight on the wings of the sturdiest of
His parents left him under the long-trusted
eye of Mary, and went to keep an appointment
Information had been pouring in all night, all
morning. There were telegrams from every quar-
ter — and each promised further data by mail.
New York said:
KOONS HELD BROOKLYN TEMPO-
RARILY GAVE NAMES ADDRESSES
WOMEN DELPHIANS AFFECTED
STOP ERRATIC RELIGIOUS FANATIC
NOT REGARDED HARMFUL STOP
GIVE US CHARGE OR MUST RELEASE
STOP CAMDEN GIVES US BRONX
ADDRESS DANBURY SECRETARY
INVESTIGATING STOP COMPLETE
NEWSPAPERS DANBURY DEATH
AND INVESTIGATION TOGETHER
WITH OFFICIAL REPORTS LEAVING
AIR MAIL NOW STOP SHALL WE
QUESTION KOONS NAMES IN VI-
CINITY WIRE FULL CASE AND
SUSPECTS STOP HOLDING MARY
THOMPSON HOSPITAL INCOMMU-
NICADO EXCEPT HUSBAND STOP
MARY RATIONAL SAYS FREY
MONTREAL IS LEAD STOP NEVER
HAS BEEN SATISFACTORY EXPLA-
NATION DANBURY CAR LEFT
LOWER FIFTH AVENUE DAY OF HIS
DEATH STOP HIS CHAUFFEUR MISS-
ING SINCE THAT DAY STOP INTER-
VIEWING PUBLISHERS TODAY
FREY HOUSE OPENED YESTER-
DAY BY SERVANTS STOP MR. FREY
ARRIVES FROM LONDON TODAY
GLAD TO OBLIGE
Si Lenz, the all-but-bald veteran of the
Examiner, was exercising the special preroga-
tives and privileges of an old intimate of the
Chief's. "I been over to the library," he said,
"and I got in touch with the biggest astrologer
in Point Loma by telephone."
Yeager waited. . . . "Well?"
"I don't think Danbury was Yogadachi."
HER HEAD ROSE SLOWLY AND THEIR EYES MET . . .
"Why not? A.P. and U.P. both listed it among
"Um-hm; I know. . . . But Gustafson, that's
the Point Loma big-shot, says that Swami Yoga-
dachi was a woman."
"I should waste breath on you! . . . An' at
the library, in the papa of all reference books —
there is no Swami Yogadachi listed as an author
. • . United States Catalogue, they call it."
"That doesn't prove anything," Yeager ob-
jected. "What do you infer?"
"That Danbury was a writer! If he was also an
astrologer, no matter what he called himself, he'd
have published a book under that name. He
"It's a good notion, but it's not conclusive."
"Every other name he had — six of them — all
show books," Si stuck to his point.
"And Gustafson — at Point Loma — says Yoga-
dachi was a woman? It's that brown Jane, Si.
What else did he say?"
"He's trying to locate some letters from her.
He's going to call me."
"It's that Ursula Whatsthis. She was Dan-
"That ought to be easy to prove."
At this point George and Laura O'Neill were
announced and shown in. "My husband has a case
all worked out for you, Mr. Yeager," Laura
greeted the detective. "The only trouble with
his theory is no one — not even Samuel Danbury
— could have thought it all out beforehand. "
When they had been introduced, George out-
lined his theory to Yeager. Si Lenz looked on and
listened in admiration. True or false, the concep-
tion was stupendous. George elaborated, taking
several sheets of paper from his pocket. "I have
listed the members of the Delphian Society from
my wife's old roster."
"Mr. Lenz has a theory — and it has some back-
ground — that Yogadachi was not Danbury, but
a woman, perhaps Danbury's secretary," said
"I agree! I agree!" said O'Neill. "That suits
my ideas exactly. As I was saying to Laura — no
man would commit suicide after fabricating so
— so elaborate a plot. He would want to see it
work out, if he was that much of a devil. You
know? It wouldn't be complete unless he could
have his laugh."
"Did any of the Delphians ever deal very
much with the occult, Mrs. O'Neill? Any besides
Miss Koons? Did this — Ursula ever claim to be a
Hindu or anything like that?"
"Why, yes. That's what she was supposed to
be, but I never knew of her telling fortunes."
"But she, at least, had a motive for hurting
you other girls. That's more than Danbury had.
Ursula could have wanted to revenge herself on
"Yes. She was bitter."
"I think we'd better arrest Ursula."
"And find out," said Si, taking a bulky en-
velope of clippings from his pocket, "if she was
"Or something else," said George.
Si scrutinized some of his references. "Here's
our stuff on Danbury's death. It wasn't on the
"What do you mean; c it wasn't on the level'?"
"Well, two witnesses say his eyes were closed
when he fell."
"That he couldn't be timing his jump. It
"Nobody has ever called it suicide until this
thing came up. The story has always been — you
can read it right there — vertigo, an accident. He
fell in front of the train. He didn't jump."
"He left his chauffeur and his car standing in
front of his publisher's office three blocks away
— walked to a subway station and had a dizzy
spell just in time to pitch in front of a subway
express train? You call that on the level?"
"And the chauffeur," Yeager supplemented,
George O'Neill leaned excitedly forward.
"You don't suppose it could have been the chauf-
feur who fell under the train, do you? Is that
possible? Was the face — the body — mangled?"
"Pretty well cut up — but not beyond repair.
It was identified. . . . No," Si said, "Danbury's
dead, all right. The question in my mind is:
'Who murdered Danbury?' "
Yeager twisted his mustache and winked at
Laura. "If we don't find a mystery in this case,
Mrs. O'Neill, it won't be because we have no
help. Both these gentlemen will be glad to make
one. Your husband sees an international plot and
now Si adds another murder to our troubles."
"Who identified Danbury's body?" George
Si nodded. "I thought of that. My clips don't
"We'll know when the stuff gets here from
New York," Yeager said. "It will be in the
Everyone was silent for a moment. "Well,
where are we?" asked Yeager. "We can't hold
Ellen Koons. New York is after the members of
Danbury's household. They'll tell us about his
secretary. We can continue to trace Si's lead that
Yogadachi was a woman. We can send photos of
Ursula to New York and Chicago. What else?"
No one had any suggestions. "One more thing
I'll do," Yeager continued. "I'll check with local
police on the whereabouts of all the Delphians at
— whatever time it was — on December tenth.
We know where Mrs* O'Neill was, of course."
Si had been re-reading some of his clippings
for the twentieth time. "Eleven o'clock," he said
without looking up. "He was killed at eleven
o'clock in the morning."
Laura O'Neill straightened in her chair.
''Eleven? Eleven in the morning?" She looked
first at her husband, then at Yeager. Si re-
garded her quizzically. "Where — have you — Mr.
Yeager! May I see the letter from Swami — the
one I gave you? The poison letter?"
"Certainly," — rising. tr What have you thought
"I remember the postmark. It was late in the
day. Receiving so many letters from New York
made me curious about how long it took mail to
get here. I used to watch all the postmarks."
Yeager brought the letter from a small office
safe, scrutinizing it. "Hello! Eight-thirty, P.M.
. . . What do you know about that?"
Laura took the envelope. "Times Square Sta-
tion, eight-thirty, P.M. That means that Samuel
Danbury did not mail the letter. He had been
dead nine or ten hours! New York City mail
service is the most rapid in the world. Those
Manhattan boxes are emptied — goodness — every
few minutes. It would be impossible to mail a
letter before eleven in the morning — a letter
which would be picked up by the Times Square
branch — and then not have it postmarked until
eight- thirty that evening!"
Si had been holding his breath. He released it
all in one word: "Boy!"
"She's right," George agreed. "Mailed before
eleven — I'd say one or perhaps two o'clock
would be the very latest possible stamp."
"In that case," said Yeager, "we certainly need
some one who is missing, say a chauffeur or a
"Or both," Si interposed.
An attendant brought several pieces of mail
and a telegram to Yeager. One of them was from
THREE DANBURY PUBLISHERS
DENY ABSOLUTELY HE WAS YOGA-
DACHI STOP THEY IGNORED NEWS-
PAPER ERROR BECAUSE ATTACHED
NO IMPORTANCE SEEMED HARM-
LESS MISTAKE STOP NOW PRESSING
SEARCH FOR MISSING SERVANTS
SECRETARY DESCRIBED AS HINDU
MOVED BRONX ADDRESS CHICAGO.
"What stumps me," Si said, "is how Ursula
could have got Danbury dizzy at exactly the
proper moment? He wasn't poisoned."
"Maybe she hypnotized him."
They looked from one to another in absolute
silence. Yeager began to nod his head. "If she
could hypnotize half a dozen women with letters
— a thousand miles away; maybe she did."
Allen drove the O'Neills home. As he helped
them from the car he asked: "Did the little
fellow like the ball?"
George looked at Laura. "Did you give it to
"No. I'm sorry. It's still in the front room."
"We've had quite a lot on our minds, Allen.
This business has us all upset."
"Yeah, — I read about it. . . . Well, I was just
He seemed hurt that his gift had been taken
"We're very grateful, Allen," Laura said. "Ill
see that he gets it right away."
"Oh, that's all right. Thank you, Mrs.
A letter from Anne was waiting for her.
Dearest, dearest Laura:
My own troubles are slight now. They
have been washed away by the waves of joy
for what you are going to do and for
Bobby's health. I know he's going to be
all right. Of course he is; why shouldn't
he? I'm glad, Laura. And the noble, self-
sacrificing thing you will be doing — for all
of us. To be sure, you might take out some
of the things I said in my letters before you
show them to the police, but use your own
judgment. It's better than mine, that's sure.
I know the trouble is over now. And there is
a chance that a petition to Governor Dineen
will make things easier for me some way or
another. He's not likely to free me, my
lawyer says, but he can do a great deal. He
can shorten the sentence a lot. Oh, I knew
you'd do something. If it only has the right
effect on Mary and Ellen! I'll bet Ellen is
sore at you. But you were perfectly right.
No matter how this thing started nor who is
guilty — she certainly did more than her
share to keep the kettle boiling.
She writes me all the time but I don't
answer. Her Indian guide who is no com-
mon Indian, but a Seminole — I'll have you
know — gives me a pain.
The pen isn't so bad — so far. I have a
comfy little cell all my own. The women
aren't crowded nearly as much as the men.
The main criticism is the company. If they
were tough in the Akron jail — you should
see these. And the guards! I was introduced
— initiated — into a secret society which has
nothing to do with "dashes for liberty" —
in the recreation room the other day. I can't
write about it, but wait till I see you! You
never heard of such a thing!
Now be a good girl and keep me posted
on the results of your investigation. If
Ursula Georgi has done this — and she is
absolutely the only one who would — I'll bet
you'll find her south of the Mason-Dixon
line. Maybe she's a Swami to her mother,
but I bet her mother is a Maaamy!
I never thought about her before. Some-
body said they'd heard from her. Who was
it? Frey? We did treat her terribly. She
never would have been a Delphian if the
Dean hadn't threatened to make us disband.
I heard, at one time, some years ago, that
she had gone "back" — back — get that — to
India. She was pretty bright, though. Did
she ever try to hypnotize you? She did me
once. I don't know how we happened to be
alone together. I always tried to avoid her
— but we were. And she said that her father
could do "the rope trick." I said I'd always
thought that was mass hypnotism and she
said — well, maybe it was. One thing led to
another and she showed me a trick of rub-
bing my arms and talking to me that actu-
ally made my arms very stiff. I don't know
whether there was anything in it or not,
but I couldn't move them. Maybe she
hypnotized Danbury and got him to jump
in front of the subway train. Look! Now
Yve turned detective! Oh, well, everybody's
doing it. I can be fashionable — even here.
No, Laura. There's nothing I need. The
girls I used to go around with at home are
always sending something. Magazines, cake,
candy, cigarettes. I'm all right. Don't worry
about me. Of course, it's new now. In ten
years — I may have another story to tell.
Ten years. Well, we won't go into that.
Maybe your petition to the Governor will
shorten it. You can't know how much I
Keep Bobby well, Laura. I know you will.
And — say — why don't you copy Jo Tur-
ner's letter and let me in on it, like a good
fellow. You aren't the one to deprive an old
friend of all the choice news. Cat!
So long, now. I have to smuggle this letter
out on account of the secret society of
which I am a member. That will slay you.
Bob followed his mother toward the tele-
phone. "Where's my party, Mama? Don't I have
a party, Mama?"
Turning to console him revealed the paper bag
still on the table. With characteristic punctilio,
Mary had dusted under it. "No party, Bob.
Maybe we can have one next week. But here's a
new ball Allen bought for you — and at luncheon
Daddy is bringing you whole worlds of presents."
The big red ball was a poor substitute for a
party, but if Mama said no y — she usually meant
it. Laura called Yeager.
"I have some news — along the lines we dis-
cussed this morning. Listen. It's a letter from
Anne Jessup. . . . Yes, the murderess, if you
can't identify her any other way."
"No offense, Mrs. O'Neill."
"I'll read it."
• • • m m
"Is that so? Is that so? Well it looks as if one
arrest would finish this case, doesn't it? How's
that boy? Taking his birthday all right?"
"He's never been better, Mr. Yeager. He's
playing here right now. The chauffeur just gave
him a new ball."
Something clicked in Yeager's mind. Besides
hypnotism, chauffeurs had also been mentioned
that morning. "Take it away from him at once,
Mrs. O'Neill. I'll hold the wire. Please — at once;
do as I say!"
More amused than alarmed, Laura took the
bright red ball from Bobby and returned to the
telephone. "Well, I have it. What's wrong with
"Probably nothing. How long have you had
"About ten days. The old one was called sud-
denly away. His mother is very ill, somewhere in
"I see. • . . Well, maybe I'm crazy, Mrs.
O'Neill, but I wish you'd have that man drive
you down here. Right away. Can you? Bring the
ball with you, but don't let the man know you
"Why — Mr. Yeager, you talk just like a cheap
moving picture. Surely — I'd be glad to, but —
what do you suspect?"
"I don't know. Will you come at once?"
"Don't let your new chauffeur get suspicious.
Be sure Bobby is in charge of some one who
has been with you more than a year."
"Yes, — certainly." As she turned from the
telephone Allen stood in the hall door. Involun-
tarily, Laura made a self-conscious movement
with the new red ball. One corner of the man's
thin lips moved a little. His eyes looked coolly
down upon her with great assurance. "Doesn't
the boy like the ball?" he asked.
His manner brought Laura's self-confidence
back with a rush. He was almost insolent in atti-
tude and bearing if there were no tangible disre-
spect in his words. Then she noticed that he was
not wearing his uniform. "We don't allow him
to accept gifts from comparative strangers,
Allen. . . . Please bring the car around at once."
"Yes, ma'am. ... I didn't know. I — I just
saw it in a window."
"It's all right. The car, please. Why aren't you
wearing your uniform?"
"I just came to ask if you'd be needing me. I
have a — a personal errand I'd like to attend to."
"It will be impossible just now. I want you to
take me down town at once."
"Yes, ma'am." Still he hesitated.
"You won't need to change. Perhaps you can
attend to your errand while you wait for me."
"YeSy ma'am." He went rapidly through the
house toward the rear door.
"George!" Laura called.
"Where are you? Come here, please."
"What's a matter, Mama? Is it a bad ball?"
"What is it?" George asked, clattering down
"Yeager suspects him. He had changed his
clothes. Perhaps this ball is poisoned or — or
"My God! Where is he?"
"Wait! He's getting the car. I don't know
whether he knows we are suspicious or not."
"I'll get my hat."
"No. Listen. I'll go alone — so he won't know
anything has happened. I'll tell him to drive me
to Bullock's as if I wanted to do some shopping.
When he's down in town where he can't get
away, I'll change my mind."
"But it's dangerous, Laura. If he gets sus-
picious — anything might happen."
"It's the only way. Is that he? Is he coming?"
"Yes. He's backing out."
"Wrap this ball — put it in — in — oh, mercy.
There's a shoe box in the hall closet. Hurry!"
As she entered the limousine, Laura scruti-
nized Allen's profile. Cruel, she thought, but it
was impossible to judge more.
"Bullock's," she said. "Hurry."
If he was surprised at their destination he con-
cealed it. He drove a little recklessly, she thought,
but they were nearing the store before anything
happened. Laura spoke through the tube: "Go to
Detective Headquarters instead, Allen." She saw
his lips curl scornfully, reflected in his small mir-
ror. At a crowded corner he seemed wilfully to
steer into a narrow space between a truck and a
passing car. There was a crash, the splintering of
wood and glass and the three autos were locked
inextricably together. Allen climbed from his
seat and opened the door beside Laura. The other
drivers were angrily and vociferously studying
the wreck. "I'll take that package, Mrs. O'Neill,"
he said evenly, snatching the shoe box from her
grasp. "Give the police my compliments." He
slammed the door and as the truck driver con-
fronted him with a profane expostulation, he
pushed him backward with a mighty shove, to
a seat amid the wreckage. A traffic officer saluted
Mrs. O'Neill. "My man did it purposely, officer.
There he goes now. Catch him. Mr. Yeager wants
him at Headquarters/' But the crowd was too
thick. The policeman could not identify the flee-
ing chauffeur. Allen disappeared around a cor-
ner. "Catch him," Laura pleaded. "Catch my
chauffeur. He's wanted for murder!" The traffic-
cop gave chase. Her card and a ten dollar bill
placated the truck driver. He agreed to call her
garage for her. The other man had to be satis-
fied with only a card. She went on to Yeager's
office in a cab.
A special detail of men were despatched to
find "Allen", and the Chief told Laura what he
and Si suspected.
Si, of course, had the inside of the track; his
story the evening of Bobby O'Neill's birth-
day put all the others in the shade. He had
Laura's old Annual and he used the group pic-
ture of the Delphians on page one. Ursula,
marked by a white "x", was sought, Si's caption
said, for questioning.
BOBBY HAS HAIRBREADTH ESCAPE
"Mystic" Power from Grave
Aided by Living Fiends
Secretary and Chauffeur Sought
By SI LENZ
Death stalked very near to little Bobby
O'Neill today, his fifth birthday, when it
was discovered that Allen Woodward, the
O'Neill chauffeur, had given the boy a ball
thought to be poisoned or filled with high
explosives. What amounts to a moral con-
fession of some culpability is the flight of
Allen Woodward after he had learned he
was suspected and had purposely wrecked
the costly O'Neill limousine at the corner of
Spring and Eighth Streets by running into
a truck owned by the Hoover Pickle Fac-
tory in what is alleged to have been an
attempt on the life of Mrs. George C.
O'Neill, the boy's beautiful young mother.
Chief of Detectives Yeager has thrown a
dragnet over the entire city and Hollywood.
"The honor of the force is at stake," he said.
"We must capture that man."
All through the night and since dawn this
morning, the City's Finest aided by repre-
sentatives of the Examiner have conducted
a tireless investigation into the strangest case
of attempted murder within the memory of
Spurred by the testimony of Mrs. O'Neill
and the publicity attending the disclosures
printed yesterday by the Examiner, the po-
lice today instituted an active drive against
all fortune tellers in this city.
Mrs. O'Neill is one of the West End's
most charming hostesses and her silent but
active support of this paper's drive against
the charlatans and quacks who prey upon
the Los Angeles public with their clair-
voyance and other wizardry has been more
than appreciated by all who knew of these
Bobby Now Thought Safe
The aid of the Police Departments of
New York City; Camden, New Jersey, and
other cities has been sought by Mr. Yeager
in his search for Ursula Georgi, now posi-
tively known to have been the secretary of
the late Samuel Danbury, falsely identified
at his death as Swami Yogadachi by this
woman who, it is charged, was, herself, the
It is thought that with the apprehension
of Ursula Georgi and the chauffeur, said to
have been employed by Danbury and
thought by local authorities to be an accom-
plice of the Georgi woman, Bobby O'Neill's
life will be saved. To insure his safety, the
O'Neill household has been placed under a
rigid police guard and all foods are being
thoroughly analyzed before the child eats
Mrs. O'NeilPs desperate attempt to halt
the glacier of melancholy psychology that
had moved intrepidly through the Delphian
ranks since early December, carrying one
after another of these young ladies with it,
breaking them, tearing them, grinding san-
ity from their minds and life from their
bodies, is characterized by local educators
and churchmen as one of the noblest actions
in the history of womankind. Aided by the
Examiner, Mrs. O'Neill is assembling all
the letters Mrs. Anne Jessup received from
members of the Delphian Society as well as
those from Swami Yogadachi. These will
be presented to Governor Dineen of Ohio
with a petition for a parole for the unhappy
Mrs. O'Neill calls certain of the letters
printed exclusively in last night's Exam-
hter "outbursts of a religious fanatic." "It
was letters like that which urged these poor
women on to their own destruction. If those
letters to Anne could be found at this time
I dare say the writer would be revealed
almost as guilty of Tom Jessup's murder as
Mrs. O'Neill attempted to break the cor-
respondence between Ellen Koons and Anne
Jessup, in prison, and with Mary Thompson,
in the insane asylum. It was known to
everyone that Mary's fits of violence were
of short duration and that at times she
was entirely rational and repentant. Mrs.
O'Neill saw the danger to this unbalanced
girl of the wrong sort of letters received
between her violent, raving seizures. Mrs.
O'Neill has learned, however, that on April
15a letter was delivered to Mrs. Thompson,
and she has suggested to the police that this
letter be obtained as material evidence of
Miss Koons' culpability. She also suggests
that a letter received by Hazel Cousins, as
she lay in the Deaconess Hospital, New
York City, on April 10 dying of pernicious
anemia and a tubercular condition of the
stomach — this letter also written by Ellen
Koons — be obtained from Miss Cousins'
effects if possible.
"I have no desire to see Ellen Koons prose-
cuted for any part in the instigation of
what I am forced to regard as a plot y " Mrs,
O'Neill said. "I think Ellen was as much
misled and preyed upon by the activities of
the Swami as were any of the other girls.
Her extra-activity as a writer of depressing,
provocative and prophetic letters certainly
contributed to the sad fate of several of our
friends, however, and if some measure of
guilt could be laid at her door, it might
serve to relieve other minds now laboring
under false delusions of the inevitability of
these dreadful predictions."
Bishop Clavering, interviewed by a rep-
resentative of the Examiner, likened Mrs.
O'Neill to Joan of Arc and said: "This
brave lady has revealed the true strength of
mind of all American womanhood. Her
resolution to give the matter the publicity
it deserved, to bring light and air into the
subterranean channels of morbid thought
which had been so long sapping and under-
mining the morale of a widening circle of
women is closely akin to the achievement of
the immortal Maid in raising the siege of
Orleans. The anniversary of this event
which will be celebrated all over France on
July fourtenth should be regarded as a
celebration for Mrs. George C. O'Neill as
A Quiet Day at Home
In sharp contrast to the festive gayety
planned for Bobby's birthday today, a pall
had descended on the O'Neill home. The
family spent the day in the house save for
several visits to the office of Chief of Detec-
tives Yeager, who was assembling the facts
necessary to fix the blame for these crimes
on the proper shoulders.
It must be remembered that, although
Mr. Danbury could be censured for sug-
gesting the dreadful events, if he was the
astrologer — many of which have come
true — and in some States he might have
been liable to prosecution, it remains that
the only definite, first-hand attempt to take
a life thus far attributed to him hinges upon
his responsibility for enclosing corrosive
sublimate in the paper intended for little
Bobby O'Neill, and sent to his mother as a
panacea for any ache or pain the child
might develop on or near his birthday.
Now, however, it is thought by the police
that Danbury had no knowledge of the for-
tune telling activities of his secretary,
Representatives of the Wurst news-
papers in the East have interviewed neigh-
bors, friends and publishers of Samuel
Danbury and learned that his secretary
answered perfectly the description of the
Georgi woman. Tall, feline, dark, sug-
gestive of a negro or a mulatto; a beautiful,
quiet and efficient woman. She travelled
with Danbury everywhere. She had been
introduced as a high-caste Hindu. Several
avowed their disbelief in this story of the
woman's nativity. Several admitted they
had suspected the relationship between
Danbury and his secretary was more inti-
mate than that of employer and employee.
She had been in New York City on Decem-
ber tenth, but was not seen with him until
after his fatal accident. She had then iden-
tified the body, reclaimed his automobile,
attended his funeral and helped the executor
of his estate for several days. Then she went
away for her health. Her address has been
changed several times since. Now she seems
to have disappeared entirely, as has Dan-
While the search for Allen Woodward
occupies the local officials, the Brooklyn
police have been asked to hold Ellen Koons
for further questioning and the New York
authorities have returned Mary Thompson
to the New York State Hospital to fore-
stall any attempts at suicide.
The Camden, New Jersey, police are co-
operating in an exhaustive investigation and
will tomorrow morning enter the Danbury
mansion, closed since last December. They
will also take into custody for questioning
as many of the author's former servants as
can be located.
The New York City police will recall the
witnesses to Samuel Danbury's death and
will aid the Los Angeles authorities through
interviews with his publishers and other
Yeager looked up at Si from the evening
paper. "Hey! The fourteenth o' July ain't got
nothin' t'do with John Dark, is it?"
"You tell me."
"It's sompn else."
"I should tell a Bishop?"
"Hell kill you when he reads this."
"Answer your phone."
• • • • •
"Montreal calling, sir."
"Mr. Yeager — this is Inspector Peabody, of
"How-do-you-do, Inspector. How are you?"
"Very well indeed. And how are you, sir?"
"How are all the little Inspectors?" Si mur-
"Mr. A. Ogden Frey of London is in my
office." The Canadian's voice carried well, so well
Yeager had to hold the receiver an inch from his
"Ask how he is," Si said to himself.
"He has brought me some documents I think
you should see."
"Thank you very much."
"Fm putting a messenger on the train with
them. He'll bring them to you in person."
"Thank you, sir."
"You're entirely welcome. One is a letter from
Ursula Georgi. A very important letter."
"I hope you catch her."
"We hope so too."
"Good-day, Mr. Yeager."
" c Good-bye-day'! . . . What's he sending
"Letters Ursula wrote Mrs. Frey."
"Oh, yeah? The noose tightens. What did you
hear from New Orleans?"
"She left there and left no forwarding
"Damned inconsiderate, I calls it."
"Where do you suppose she'd go? That tele-
phone call came from a pay station in Chicago.
They're working on that."
"I'll bet a cooky she's here!"
Yeager looked at the reporter a long time
before he spoke. "That's exactly where she is."
Then he whirled in his chair and yelled: "Buck!
. . . Charlie! . . . C'mere. ... If I only had
a picture "
"Show 'em the Annual. There's a big one in
front, among the graduating class."
Buck and Charlie looked over their chief's
shoulder. "A pippin!"— "Right off the lot!"
"Go find her. She's in town."
"Where's she stoppin'?"
"Huh! Where's she — why — she's living with
the O'Neills — they're old friends, you poor half
wit. If I knew where she was stoppin' I'd call
her up and have her in for tea."
Buck and Charlie studied the photograph. "Is
"What makes you think she's here, boss?"
"Just this. She's got a lot of brains. If she
planned this thing — she's the smartest woman I
ever heard of, bar none."
"You think it's smart to live in this town?"
Yeager ignored him. "I think it's smart to
stick close to the gun, hiding under its barrel or
sitting back of it if possible."
"Uh-huh. Uh-huh. The closer the better.
Then maybe the O'Neill house ain't such a bad
hunch. Maybe she is livin' there."
"Rats! Get out."
They went — but in the corridor they stopped.
"Why ain't that good logic?" Buck demanded of
"The closter the better; am I right?"
"Let's ast next door."
From New York came a telegram:
MARY THOMPSON DIED HOS-
PITAL THIS MORNING FRACTURED
SKULL IN FALL ATTEMPTING ES-
CAPE STOP FOLLOWED YOUR IN-
STRUCTIONS ON KOONS STOP
FOUND HER DEAD BY GAS IN
KITCHEN STOP PAPER IN HER
HAND ACCOUNT OF THOMPSON
DEATH STOP LETTER ON TABLE
FROM ANONYMOUS PARTY POST-
MARKED SAN FRANCISCO STOP
SUGGEST YOU GET PASSENGER
LISTS STEAMERS SAILING FOR
ORIENT STOP YOUR PARTY PROB-
ABLY GOING ABROAD AFTER SEND-
ING LETTER STOP LETTER NOW ON
WAY TO YOU TELLS KOONS TO GO
INTO TRANCE CONSULT INDIAN
"I was right!" Yeager yelled. "She teas here."
"You were right — " Si raised his brows.
"Well, we were right. She was here — now
she's gone. Back to India. Maybe we can catch
her on the ship!"
"Maybe — an' maybe she ain't on a ship."
"Sure she's on a ship. She's running now. She
was here — the letter was postmarked "
"Well, what's a few miles? She was on her way
to the dock."
"She thought you'd figure that way."
"Oh, Si, you read too much Poe. Of course
she's going to get away as far as possible now."
"No, Yeager, I don't agree. She's outthinking
you. She says: 'They'll think of Los Angeles,
then they'll see San Francisco, then they'll think
India which means ships. But, instead of being a
sap for them, I'll go to Los Angeles and' — what?
'Get in the movies.' "
"It's a go."
"I got to get out o' here anyway. We're takin*
pictures of Bobby eatin' his lonely birthday
Laura introduced Si Lenz and his camera man
to Fanny Brennan, who was leaving. "Ooooh,
going to take Bobby's picture? Can I watch? I'll
be still as a mouse."
Mary got in the picture too; "Trusted Serv-
ant Cares for Child." While the photographer
fussed with his shutter, Si talked too much. It
wasn't like him. But he couldn't possibly have
seen the danger. Fanny looked perfectly harm-
less. The reporter told Laura that Mary Thomp-
son and Ellen were gone.
"They didn't wait for Bob. They just skipped
him," Laura murmured.
"Mary fell — trying to escape/'
"Turned on the gas when she heard about
Fanny went: "Tchtchtchtch!"
"Ursula is in Los Angeles, too. We just found
"Well, she was in San Francisco a few days
ago. I think she's here now."
Fanny added: "Oh, my!"
"Frey's back — and the Montreal police are
sending Yeager some letters from Ursula to
Mrs. Frey. Funny bunch, those Canucks; they
wouldn't trust the mails. Sending the letters by
Suddenly Fanny remembered the time. "I have
to run. 'Bye, Laura. See you later. Good-bye, Mr.
Lenz. Good-bye, Bobby."
Bobby's "good-bye" ruined a plate.
Now, Fanny scarcely realized she had heard
anything, and Si surely did not know he had
spoken out of turn, but information had been
transmitted unwisely. Because Fanny's new cook,
who also served, even as Mary Kelly did, was
Ursula. And when Fanny told Mike, at the table,
that the O'Neill's were about to capture the
guilty woman and that a Canadian detective was
bringing important evidence to Los Angeles for
the lady's conviction, Ursula took the empty
plates into the kitchen, slipped out of her apron
and kept right on going.
Yeager's telephone rang. "This is Buck, boss."
"We found 'er."
"Well, she works here, but she got wind we
"Right back of O'Neills. She's the cook."
"I'm telling you."
"Who tipped her off?"
"Don't know. She blew in the middle of
"She'll never be back. . . . Listen, Buck.
Danbury's chauffeur is her boy-friend; see? He
got away from us. He'll tip her and they'll try
to run for it. You look in at the nearest rental
car agency out that way. We've got to catch
those two . . . and, Buck "
"If you see a red rubber ball. Painted red —
ash can, gutter, anywhere; bring it in. It's evi-
"What the hell "
"Do what I tell you, you-
The Canadian Pacific train bearing in one
of its comfortable compartments the
emissary of the Montreal police with his
sealed packet of letters hidden close to his body,
was due in Los Angeles at 12:10 midnight. The
Overland Limited from Chicago, which had
taken Jo Turner from the Century at that point,
was due but a few moments later.
Outgoing trains were being thoroughly
watched. Incoming trains seemed of little im-
portance to Yeager. But Si Lenz was there josh-
ing with the girl at the cigar counter. The
Canadian train was a little late.
"By gosh," said Si, "all these people must give
you a laugh. All rushing around, going places,
never getting anywhere, pretending to be some-
thing they're not."
"Oh, I don't know," she said.
"Like those things there — " he pointed to a
novelty for sale; a cigarette case in the shape of
an automatic pistol, "getting by on false pre-
"Oh, I don't know," she said. Her hair was
yellow and curly, her eyes startled and blue.
"Yep. Everybody makin' out they're some-
thing they ain't."
A man with a weathered bag bearing seals
from a number of Canadian hotels was accosted
at Si's elbow. "Beg pardon, friend, are you from
Si turned a little, casually, and watched them.
The Canadian studied his inquisitor, then
nodded. "I'm from Headquarters," the fellow
continued — and Si's eyes grew large.
"How much?" Si asked pointing to the toy
pistols which so closely resembled the real thing.
The voice over Si's shoulder was very low.
"Yeager told me to meet you and bring you to
"Oh, certainly. Have — have you — well; how
am I to know?"
The impostor showed a badge. The Canadian
nodded and smiled. "That's fine." They walked
"There's an example," said Si, pocketing his
change. "No. Don't wrap it. There's an example.
That guy ain't from Headquarters at all."
"No? Gee, — I don't know." She was chewing
gum. Call her fourteen if you like.
Si followed the two men to the curb. "My
car's over here," the man with the thin lips said.
"We can go this way." Si ambled leisurely in
their wake. A big dark car was parked in one of
the few unrestricted areas near the taxi stand.
Cabs flowed in a continuous stream to the curb,
stopped long enough to take or leave a passenger
— and burred away. The two men entered the
big car after some delay. There was, apparently,
another person in the car, but Si could not be
sure, the interior was very dark. As the engine
was turned over, a lady in search of a cab, two
heavy-laden red caps in tow, reached the curb.
Si looked once — then again. "Excuse me," he
said. "Are you Josephine Turner?"
"I am." Her chin was high.
"We have mutual friends. I saw your picture
in the Mount Albans annual — at Mrs. O'Neill's."
Jo melted at once. "Isn't that a scream of a
picture? With the dahlias or whatever you call
'em, here" she spatted her own chest with a
graceful, gloved hand. "How did Laura find out
I was coming? I meant to surprise her."
"I don't think she knows. I'm not here to meet
"No! What are you here for?"
"Shsh," he said. "I'm watching two men in
"I dasn't point."
Jo's hand gripped Si's arm suddenly and she
turned her back abruptly toward the car which
was moving slowly, edging into the stream of
traffic. "There's a woman in that car!" she said.
"A woman I know. She just looked out the back
Si's tongue poked one cheek out from within.
"Would her name, maybe, be — Ursula?"
"Did she see you?"
"I don't think so."
"Boy — " Si whirled to the red caps, dragging
a crumpled wad of bills to light. "Here's two
bucks. Check that stuff and one of you deliver
the checks to Mr. Yeager at Detective Head-
quarters. Hear me!? Yeager — Chief of Detec-
"Are — are you a detective?" Jo demanded.
"Yes, madam; and so are you, just now. Come
on." They stepped into a cab. "Get behind that
big car, there," said Si. "And stay with it."
For some time their progress was slow. The
traffic about the station approaches was very
heavy. At length both cars extricated themselves
and Si looked at his companion. "Maybe I
shouldn't drag you into this," he said, impressed
by her suave composure.
"I love it. . . . But I wish I knew more about
it. I thought the police of ten continents were
looking for Ursula. Did you know she was here?
Was she on the train?"
"No; I'll tell you," said Si. "In that car are
Ursula and her boy-friend who used to be Dan-
bury's chauffeur — and a visitor from Montreal.
The visitor has some letters which Ursula wants
very much, and I think she means to get them."
"From Mr. Frey, of Montreal."
"I know — Helen's husband!"
"Well — I wouldn't know for sure, but I think
they are intended for a man named Yeager. He's
a cop. But I wouldn't be sure. Damned secretive
these Canadian police."
The big car turned sharply and careened down
an ill-lit residential street. Si's driver did likewise.
"I hope they don't think we're following them/'
"They will," said Jo. "They can't help it/'
"In that case," said Si, leaning toward the
driver, "crowd that car into the curb, preferably
near a cop."
"There's no cops out here," the driver
growled. "What is this, anyway?"
"Crowd 'em in," Si repeated. "We want to
stop 'em. ' •
"Well, I'm not gonna crack up the hack for
no fifty cent tip."
The "automatic" cigarette case came out of
his pocket and Si placed its hard, cold, round end
against the man's neck. "Crowd that car into the
The result was instantaneous. Like a streak the
taxi passed the larger car and slowed at its left
hand front fender, veering toward the walk. Si
leaned out of the door, levelling his toy at the
driver of the other car. Jo Turner sat in one
corner of the cab as inconspicuously as it was
possible for Jo Turner to sit anywhere. Both
drivers applied their brakes.
"Pile out," said Si. "And keep your hands up"
"What is this?" the tall chauffeur growled.
"We haven't got any money."
"Get out o' that car. . . . All of you."
Ursula followed the driver and they stood
with hands upraised at the side of the road. "You
too, Montreal. Come on." The tall man darted a
swift glance at Ursula. The man who remained
in the car did not move. With a sickening lump
growing in his stomach, Si's confidence wavered.
Had they killed him? Had this woman — for the
man had been driving — had she killed the mes-
senger as they rode through town?
Fearless, ruthless, bold, and cunning beyond
imagination, these two were held at bay with a
useless sham of a toy. Si wondered how long he
could keep the upper hand. "Stand over here,"
he said in a voice made gruffer to bolster his own
courage. "If you've killed that man it's your last
murder. . . . Move!" They circled a little to
allow him to see in the car. The man lay in a heap
on the floor, blood soaking his clothes. His bag
was emptied on the seat. Ursula's search for the
papers had been interrupted — but too late to
save another life. "My God," said Si. "Another
horoscope." He walked backward to the side of
the cab, keeping his "gun" at a threatening
angle. "Turn around, driver," he said. "Go back
and get the nearest cop. Tell him to send the
wagon — and you bring him back here with you.
Yeah, for more than fifty cents."
"Well, I'm going to stay here," said Jo, sud-
denly starting from the cab. "I've never seen
anything like this and I'm not walking out on a
Ursula's black eyes dilated with hate. "Jo
Turner," she whispered.
Jo looked over Si's shoulder as the cab turned
swiftly around. "Ursula Georgi, you black-
"Shut up," the girl snapped. "I'll get even for
"Never mind," her companion said. "Don't
talk. This is a fluke. This fellow's not a cop."
"Oh, no?" Si swaggered. "I'm cop enough to
put this over. Separate, you two. Stand further
apart. . . . Now, Miss Turner, will you please
go behind them and see if there are any guns or
knives — or horoscopes — in their pockets. . . .
Under his arms too. . . . Nothing? Look on the
front seat. . . . Feel around the cushions."
Jo did as Si bade her. "Here's one." A heavy
revolver had been wedged between the cushion
and the side of the car. "I'll take it," said Si. "See
if it's loaded."
"I don't know how "
But the talk had been informative to "Allen"
— he lowered his long arms. "Ain't yours?" he
asked, grabbing at the gun the lady held. Jo
pulled the trigger. Ursula came instantly to life,
leaping on Si like a cat. Jo and the tall man fell
together; Si fought with a virago. The real re-
volver slid under the auto, and as householders
came running from doors, Ursula left the three
struggling for possession of the weapon and
walked slowly into the shadow of a large tree.
As men in shirt sleeves and ladies in wrappers and
negligees separated the three combatants, Ursula
edged out of the crowd and across the dark lawn
of a bungalow. One corner between her and that
corpse meant temporary safety — perhaps free-
She ran. Behind her she heard the taxi return
and stop. Other cars were stopping. She must
leave the precious letters behind — but every inch
she gained now was one more breath of life.
They would be after her immediately. She drew
her dresses higher and ran faster and faster.
Three blocks from the stalled car, she walked.
Where now? With her startling appearance, her
unforgettable features, dark skin and haunting
eyes — she could not melt into a city nor dis-
appear in a crowd. Every means of egress from
Los Angeles would be closely guarded. The news-
paper pack as well as the police would be alert
to catch her. The chase had already been
flaunted. Her picture had been in the papers.
SOUGHT! — in connection with the investiga-
And now the captions would read:
WANTED! — for the murder of a Canadian de-
tective! Ursula continued to walk. Where would
they look for her? The ruse of mere closeness had
been used. Remaining near this last crime would
offer no protection. It was late. Registering at an
hotel at this hour without baggage would put her
under suspicion and surveillance at once. She
could steal a car. Drive toward San Francisco,
better still, toward the border, before the roads
were being watched. That would only delay in-
The plight of her companion, the erstwhile
"Allen", crossed her mind but fleetingly. Her
own need for a hiding place made his troubles of
very minor importance. Her heels clicked out a
monotonous rhythm as corner after corner was
passed and she approached Pershing Square. A
man looked meaningly in her face. Was that a
possibility? It was! How simple! It had never
occurred to her before. She looked back at the
man who had practically accosted her.
With a clang and a siren hoot, a police patrol
car approached and she changed her mind
quickly and hurried on. The wagon whirred past
and nosed its way into the heavier traffic of Hill
Street. Was he sitting in that car? Manacled? On
his way to pay for her crimes? She resumed her
walk. Every patrolman had her description in
his pocket. The alarm would be given him by
telephone — when he reported on the hour.
Apprehension was only a matter of minutes
unless she acted at once. She hailed a cab and sat
in it. The driver wanted a street and number.
What street and number? Where in all the world
was an address she could give with impunity?
She should have gone with the stranger. Of all
the men and women she had ever met — who
would welcome her now? What manner of per-
son could overlook her guilt and shield her, help
her? She gave the address of Laura O'Neill.
George was reading his evening paper in which
the story of his troubles had now been relegated
to an obscure rear page, when the bell rang.
Laura was helping Mary make a cup of chocolate
in the kitchen. "Hm-mm," George yawned.
"Who could that be?"
A woman startled him. "How-do-you-do?"
"How-do-you-do? Is — has Mrs. O'Neill re-
"Eh? No — no, she — she's up. Won't you come
"Thank you." She passed him.
"Who shall I say ?"
"An old friend."
"Won't you sit down?"
Laura came in with a tray bearing two steam-
ing cups. "There's a friend of yours "
The two women looked at each other. Laura
put the tray on the table. George looked from
one to the other, puzzled. He was sleepy. The
situation was preposterous under the circum-
stances. He could not identify the caller. "How
are you, Ursula?" Laura asked. "Won't you sit
The telephone broke the tension. George
started to answer it. Both ladies spoke at once:
"Wait!" He turned.
"That will be about me, — I think," Ursula
said. "It will tell you to watch for me — prob-
ably. It may be Josephine Turner. At any rate, I
beg you to give me an hour before you tell any-
one I am here."
"Surely you aren't asking us to have pity for
you" Laura said coldly.
"I am asking that, Laura. If there is one
human being in the world who will show me pity
now — it is you."
"If there is one"
"Well — " George was undecided.
"Don't mention that Ursula is here, George,
if you please. I'd like to hear what she has to say."
George left them alone and his voice could not
be heard as he talked in the hall.
"Is Josephine Turner here?" Laura asked as
the dark girl sat abruptly in a chair.
"Yes. I saw her — less than an hour ago. . . .
She was beautifully dressed, as usual. Travelling
costume. I think she must have arrived about
midnight. She followed me from the Union
"Followed you? Out here?"
"No. ... In another direction. We spoke."
"She didn't tell me she was coming."
"I've probably spoiled her surprise. She is here
to see you, I imagine."
"I'd like to see her."
"Yes ... a lot more than you care to see
"There's nothing to say to that. You must
know how I feel."
"Of course." Ursula studied Laura's face.
"Have you come here to make one last attempt
to kill my baby?"
Ursula closed her eyes and sighed heavily. "I'm
not a baby killer."
"You tried to be. Surely, you aren't going to
attempt to deny your part in this affair."
"That would be a little futile, now; wouldn't
it? . . . No, I shan't deny it. The last bit of evi-
dence they needed — must be in their hands now.
. . . It's all over."
"Why have you come here, Ursula? What do
you want from us?"
George re-entered the room.
"Do you recognize this lady, George? This is
"Yes, — I know. How-do-you-do, Miss
Georgi?" He bowed slightly, and sat uneasily,
warily, between the two women.
"Did you tell them to come and get me?"
Ursula asked, smiling at him.
"I — I — no, not exactly."
"But you told them I was here."
"I asked for a guard of police for my son.
I told them he was again in danger and that I
wanted police protection." He rose and took a
step toward her. "I think that is a father's privi-
lege when he entertains a murderess who has
made repeated efforts to kill him."
"George " Laura said quietly.
Ursula had not stopped smiling, a small, puz-
zling smile, as if its owner knew not what else
to do with her face.
"My dear" O'Neill expostulated, "you asked
too much. I did not tell them this woman was
here, but I did ask for men."
"I understand, dear."
George sat down, angrily.
Ursula raised her delicately arched brows and
bit her lip. "It doesn't matter. If I weren't here
I don't know where I should be. Let them come."
The three were silent a moment. Laura spoke
first. "I can't understand it, Ursula. I don't
know why you should have hated me so; hated
all of us so."
"I think you do," the woman answered
wearily, laying her head against the back of her
chair. "My caste in India is a very proud one.
You girls might better have killed me than treat
me as you did. Insults like those I suffered are
unforgivable — and I never forgot them for a
moment. I planned to be revenged from the very
first sneer. It is a petty thing to sneer at color,
"I know — but your — your revenge has been
out of all proportion to our — crime. We were
cruel, perhaps, but you have taken — human life.
. . . As — as I talk to you, look at you sitting
there, it doesn't seem possible."
"I suppose not, — to you. You could never
understand. You are so — well balanced."
"What I can't understand," said George, "is
how you ever worked out the intricacies of that
"No, Mr. O'Neill; what you mean is — you
cannot understand how a half dozen apparently
sane women could be led so easily by the nose.
The plot — the attempt — was nothing. The wil-
lingness to be a party to the scheme was the most
"Not only that. I mean the cunning psychol-
ogy. The idea of knowing how these women
"It will not flatter your male vanity, Mr.
O'Neill, but the plot was conceived by Samuel
Danbury for a book and in his story the fools
were all men. The book was never finished. . . .
I could use his last chapter now — if I had let
him live to finish writing it."
"And you applied his plot to life — turned his
idea into a machine to obliterate the Delphians?"
"Yes. That's it. So I deserve no credit for its
ingenuity. I'm trying very hard to finish the
story to my own advantage now — but I'm not
a writer. Danbury could have done it in half
an hour. I can't do it at all. Here I sit — waiting
for the police to come and get me. I'm not
clever at all."
"Did you hypnotize Danbury, Ursula? Some-
one said you did, that you forced him to leave
his car and go into the subway and fall."
The dark girl smiled reminiscently. "Yes, I
did that. He was a very good subject. . . . But
why should I confess to you? I'll have to sign all
this tomorrow — for the police. ... If they
catch me." With a new return of resolution, a
new burst of courage, she jumped from her chair
so suddenly that George could not interfere. She
flew through the door and into the night, in one
more desperate dash for freedom.
But they had the chauffeur. Let her scurry
around a little if she wanted to. They'd make
Allen talk. They did. While Ursula stayed out of
sight by pretending to be a fancy woman, facts
were elicited from Allen.
If you didn't believe the Wickersham report
on police methods, you wouldn't believe me if I
told you how they got Allen's confession, how
they pounded the story of Ursula out of his
body. So I'll just tell you what they got and not
how they got it.
Ursula was really his wife. Danbury hadn't
known that. Danbury hadn't known lots of
things, Ursula's proficiency at wrapping turbans,
a different way for each caste, and her command
of several Hindustani dialects gave credence to
her story that she was an Hindu. If she was,
Hindus are born in squalor of Javanese mothers
after white-sailor fathers have deserted them in
huts on the coast of Java. That will be news to
Gandhi and Krishnamurti.
Her mother nursed her the first day, forgot
it the second — in her delirium — and when she
remembered to do it again on the third day of
Ursula's existence, it was almost too late. Almost.
On the fourth day her mother died, on the floor
of a deserted hut, in filth and rags and convul-
sions. And only her most unearthly howls on the
fifth day were sufficient to bring two fishermen
there to cut Ursula apart from the corpse and
to carry her where weak gruel could be had.
It seems sometimes that our lives hinge on
very little things. Only consider that Tom Jes-
sup might still be paying surreptitious but vital
tribute to Nellie Stone's great charm and Hazel
Cousin's glorious breasts might still be warm and
full and whole — if those damned Javanese fisher-
men hadn't, with Jovian lack of foresight,
heeded Ursula's loud but unwarranted demands
on the fifth day of her latest incarnation among
men. Well, the lowly shall be raised up! And
She was raped, the first time, at ten. And not
by a white-sailor either, but by a very black
fellow, one the older women shunned.
A missionary found her not long after that
and for two years she lived in his home, helping
with the dishes and learning about her Saviour
and sometimes sweeping. It was a Catholic mis-
sion and in this place she acquired her name.
That was one advantage she had over Bobby; she
knew all about the Man Who died on the cross.
But, it was a strange thing about Ursula, they
couldn't keep clothes on her. She hated garments
of any kind and refused to wear them, and one
day in her thirteenth year she ran away from the
mission, attired exactly as she had been found at
the age of five days. There was this difference,
however, in her appearance. She was fatter.
And she hadn't learned to dance very well,
when a Turkish merchantman steamed out of
the bay, with Ursula — partly clothed — in the
hold. How the sailors kept her a secret for twelve
days is more than any of the ship's officers could
ever divine, because when she waggled her body
in the gyrations she thought were dances for
them, after they discovered her, she screamed
and laughed so loud that passing vessels heard
her, when the wind was right.
These officers gave her, among other things, a
new Saviour for her immortal soul. They per-
formed a delightful ritual for the glory of Allah
and then repeated it for his only prophet. Thus,
by the time Ursula reached Port Said, not yet
fourteen, she had too many Saviours and prob-
ably that was what spoiled the broth. With
Christ, Mohammed and Buddha, all wrestling
for that one soiled specimen of 'a soul, it's no
wonder she was upset — often. In Port Said every-
one upset you. You scarcely had time to dance or
to eat, there were so many men, all waiting to
But Christ won. At least He got her; some-
times the winner loses. Another missionary re-
claimed her, for the second time, and she was
sent to America with a batch of other non-
descripts to lecture in Sunday Schools on India
and the Near East. She made a deacon out in
Nebraska and he gave her a hundred dollars to
leave town. The town was too small for Ursula
By the time she reached New York, she had
the Church racket reduced to an exact science.
The years had also taught her the value of an
education. She got to an Episcopal rector one day
and his church took her up. She played her
native instruments for them, the esraj, sitars,
tabla and banya> when they had them imported
THE SAILORS KEPT HER A SECRET . . .
for her, and demonstrated the folk dances of her
people, slow-motion so no one would get excited.
Raising her tuition for Mount Albans was a
cinch for Ursula. She wanted so to — how you say
in yotcr country? — have the knowledge; no?
She quit talking like that as soon as the good
ladies from the church had left her in the Bronx
seminary. Two girls lived in each of the dormi-
tory rooms. Ursula was planted, squarely, feet
braced, in the middle of hers when Miss Elms,
the Registrar, tapped and opened the door to
show Anne and her mother — and younger
brother — where they proposed to store Anne for
" — and this is Ursula."
There was no doubt of that. Well, it wouldn't
do. The — eh — the light was bad. Mrs. Black-
mere's imagination was anything but sprightly.
The light? Why, my dear Mrs. Blackmere, this
was a corner room; one window to the North
and these two to the East, my dear Mrs. Black-
My dear Mrs. Blackmere next attacked the
color of the walls, the closet space and the rug,
and when the critique got down to the door
knobs, the proximity to the bath and the big tree
outside the window, even Miss Elms began to
suspect that there was something about the room
Mrs. Blackmere did not like. It came to her in a
rush when Billy, the kid brother, piped — on their
way out but before the door had been closed:
"Pheeew, Anne. Are you gonna sleep with a
Then Miss Elms understood. She took it up
with the Dean a few hours later. "We're going
to have — er — some difficulty, I'm afraid, Miss
Pringle, with that — er — that East Indian girL"
"Difficulty?" Pringle thrived on difficulties.
"I can't get her a room-mate- It's one of the
lightest and airiest rooms in Longfellow Hall,
but everyone complains of the light the moment
they see her."
"Think she's a negress, likely."
"I shouldn't wonder."
"You leave it to me."
It would have been a great break for Pringle
if the next girl to be placed had been Helen
Haenkel. The Dean would then have made the
sale and cut Elms' salary. But the next one in was
Hazel Cousins — and not even Pringle would sug-
gest that she sleep with Ursula. After Hazel,
came Laura Stanhope — with her father, old
Judge Stanhope, so there was no use trying that.
Ursula spent her boarding school days — and
nights — alone, in one of the choicest rooms in
Ursula was quick and clever. Inspection never
revealed her candle. And she gathered and re-
tained knowledge because it was equipment she
knew she needed for a long journey she planned
to make. The white-world was against her, but
she would bring it low. She was going up I to
heights others dreamed about. White men would
kiss her hand, white women would curry her
favor. It was all to be done with knowledge and
sex and such extra powers as she had gleaned
here and there in the East. And this vaulting
ambition was not so much a desire for revenge
against her persecutors and those who despised
her as it was a determination to avoid sharing
their opinion of her, herself. That wasn't as clear
to Ursula as it is to you and me. Ambition was
both aim and a reason for aiming to Ursula as it
is to most aimers. Absence of analysis of this
passion for attainment was tacitly condoned and
her incuriosity regarding its true nature given
what amounted to approval by the ding-dong-
dinging of the need for ambition by all the
teachers who also assumed that such a quality in
a normal Miss was indeed an end in itself and
needed neither reason nor explanation.
Ursula was going — up I In the last few months
at Mount Albans she scrutinized the terrain. She
was through with churches and their revolting
patronization. She would not go there to the
people who had paid for her education. She
would go immediately to work in some organi-
zation which towered high so she would have
room and opportunity to climb. She started in
the business office of the American Telephone
and Telegraph Company, advancing rapidly for
a year, then suddenly halted. It seemed that
knowledge, of the sort she had acquired at
school, had done its utmost for her in this par-
ticular sphere. Sex or one of the Eastern arts
must carry her out of the groove before it was
worn too deep. Her work did not bring her into
contact with any men with sufficient authority
to get her a transfer to their private offices. Sex
seemed useless here, but a great deal of cash was
handled in a cage not far away, separated from
Ursula by a clear-glass partition. It had been a
long time since she had practiced — but persever-
ance, she knew, moved mountains. She applied
herself to a little girl who had been with the
company a long time.
It was two weeks before her efforts bore their
bitter fruit and ten dollars was missing. Ursula
let the child alone for a week, then began work-
ing again, involving her suggestions this time
with detail for concealing the theft. Two days
later, our Javanese brat knew by the expression
on the girl's face that an entry for which she
could not account had been made on this ledger
sheet or that. In so carefully policed an organi-
zation, — it would not be long. One more false
entry. Then Ursula watched for the marked
money. It came, and with it the opportunity.
Miss Georgi did not wait for the frisking, but
went at once to the sacred precincts and de-
manded an audience.
"Yes, Miss Georgi."
Working for this mutt was going to be hard
to take, but it was the next rung. "I know I must
be brief." She bit her lower lip.
"Don't be embarrassed. What is it?"
"I don't like to be an informer."
The mutt raised a brow.
"I — I just saw a — a girl falsify — a — a cash
slip. Oh, Mr. Heidt, I hate to make enemies —
but that isn't honest."
"Now, really, Miss Georgi, you must be very,
very sure before you make such an accusation."
"I'm too sure. I saw it."
"And — who was it?"
"Oh, Mr. Heidt, if— if I tell you can I— can I
be moved, changed; put where I couldn't see
anything else like that? I wouldn't want to go on
day after day, watching the girls I'm working
with, afraid they'd take things from my own
purse. Would that be possible?"
"Well, we — we could see what could be done.
But, come, if there are dishonest people here and
you know who they are, it is your duty to tell
So the little girl was fired and Ursula was
moved a small step up, though a floor lower in
the building, and Heidt's interest was aroused.
Two years out of Mount Albans, Ursula was pri-
vate secretary to a Chief Assistant in the engi-
neering department, and the climb had been
arduous. Other broken bodies had been left along
the trail besides that of the girl in the cage. There
was one broken home and three smashed hearts.
An alpinist, Ursula resolved, should not start on
Matterhorn. To keep her skirts clean for business
reasons she had not loved, that is — she had not
gone through the motions of love, outside of the
bosses. She had read, instead, in the evening, and
attended motion pictures alone.
She had read Danbury. One day she saw his
picture on a book page — and burst out laughing,
as most of us do when we see a photograph of
our favorite author for the first time. But Ursula
did not laugh because Samuel was funny look-
ing; he wasn't. She laughed because in his face,
in his eyes and mouth and the jib of his chin and
the cut of his ears was an almost perfect subject.
A tyro at hypnotism could have his way with the
owner of that head. Was he married?
Ursula learned all she could about the prolific
scrivener and quit her job on the strength of her
findings. She went to Camden and to his house
and sat, presently, in his study. He came in*
bustling. She did not immediately raise her beach
He held a batch of unopened letters which he
sorted between his fingers without system or
point. Finally he decided to see her. He looked
down, through pince nez attached to him with a
single filament of gold chain — and saw only the
top of her hat. Her head rose slowly, majes-
tically, like the sun, pushed upward by her body
coming out of the chair and gradually erect. He
watched the movement, fascinated, and their
Finis! Finis pour Monsieur Danbury. She held
out her hand for the letters. "You — you've come
at a very opportune time," he said with a puzzled
frown. "Fve just returned from a tour — " a
"toowah", he pronounced it " — and I need a
sektry very much."
"Yes," Ursula said, removing her hat, "shall
we begin with these?"
"I'd — Yd best call the agency and tell them
they needn't send any one, — if you'll excuse me."
"Singular/' he muttered to himself, "very
As she typed, later that day — Danbury had
dropped off to sleep on a couch — Insula felt an
antagonistic presence behind her. The steps she
had heard approach were not those of the house-
keeper nor her new employer's man, but $trange
ones. Now, the new arrival had stopped just
inside the door and was staring, from the feel of
it, glaring, at her back. Whoever it was, it rep-
resented no weak opposition to her plans. It was
a presence to cope with, a strength which chal-
lenged her own. She stopped typing but did not
turn around at once, trying to think as she acted.
Concentration revealed nothing. She turned and
saw "Allen" for the first time.
"How-do-you-do," he said, one eye almost
shut in his effort to see deeper than the surface
of the self she was showing him.
"Are you the new secretary? . . . Fm the
"I see you are."
The man was frankly squinting now, with
both eyes. "Haven't I met you somewhere
Ursula did not answer beyond a smile.
"I know you," he went on. "My name's
"I don't understand."
"Never mind. Mine is Jahnsi — just now."
"Well, you're calling me — but I didn't know
there was a game."
"You — wouldn't — fool — me, would you?"
"Let's talk about this another time," the
chauffeur tried to wave the battle aside.
"You don't need to be afraid he'll wake up.
He won't. He sleeps very soundly."
"You seem to have learned his habits in a
"That kind of sleep's not a habit."
"I'd give fifty bucks to know where I've met
"You've never met me."
"I'll bet you I have."
"Not on this earth."
The man's eyes narrowed again. "I didn't limit
myself to this earth."
"Now you're calling me"
"This is a new hand."
"I've got 'em!"
. . . "You certainly have. Who are you?"
"A mulatto — from appearances."
He shook his head. "Oh, no. Not you. . . .
Where'd you get your training?"
"Isn't that a little personal?"
"I don't know. What are you doing here?
Why butt in?"
"You saw him first?"
"I've been with him nearly a ycaif "
"Make out pretty well?"
"Too well to have to cut it with a stranger."
"I don't stay strange long."
"That's more like it, . . . Come on, be
gentle; where'd you get that eye?"
Ursula moved her head slowly from side to
side. "Where did you get yours?"
"I've been with all the good ones, Hadeen,
McMaster, Panchadasi, Hamilton. Houdini was a
great friend of mine."
**I don't know them. I am from India."
"The Motherland," he mocked her. "Well, we
should get on well together."
"I don't know why not." And heedless of the
sleeping fount of words, they embraced in the
middle of his study.
Well, there you have them, all thirteen; you
paid your money and you may have your choice.
Ursula's running, so you won't want her. Your
wits are no match for hers anyway. She'd have
you riding broomsticks and washing your face
in flour when you had something entirely differ-
ent in mind. You wouldn't dare look at her sug-
gestively for fear of counter suggestions. You
couldn't talk to her either. She has comparative
religions at her tongue's end, studied at first
hand. There's no use you bothering with Ursula
even if you could forgive her her trespasses.
Laura has Bobby and she's going to have
Katherine, so that lets her out. Hazel and Helen,
Mary and Ellen have all passed on. Martha is very
careful about her companions, and Mary Kelly is
too old. The twins? Zoftik! You like that? Anne
will be out in twenty years and if you want to
spend your time waiting with Nellie, she's in
Akron. But don't forget Balzac's Succubus.
Nellie is hell on tires and oil.
You can't have Josephine. Make up your mind
to that. In the first place, I want her myself. Her
heart is virgin. She has never loved. Boy was only
a passing fancy, a mere infatuation. Nope, you
can't have Josephine — and neither can I. Listen:
"It's too damned hot, Laura. They won't
f 7 mind."
George sighed and patted her hand. "Very
well, my dear. That settles it, of course. But —
may I take it off before we go to the train? I
want to have some fun."
Laura considered a space. "Well, if you insist
on being a boor — yes; you can change before we
go to the train."
It was the regular iron shirt argument. George
was right, of course, it was too hot to wear a
dress suit in Los Angeles that July third. He
climbed the stairs wearily and passed Josephine's
closed door only by exerting almost superhuman
will power. Muffled voices came through the
crack beneath, and through the keyhole, the
voices of Si and Jo.
"I don't see what you want to marry me for,"
"I don't either," says Jo.
"What do you say we don't do it?"
"It'd be a dirty trick to play on the O'Neills
after all the fuss they've been to."
"Yeah! I guess we better go through with it."
"Just to show 'em we appreciate it."
"I couldn't disappoint Laura."
"No. ... I wouldn't ask you to."
Then they both burst into screams and gales
of laughter — and they pound each other and kiss
as humans should, as if they meant it, as if there
was no hurry and it was nobody's business if
they never had done. And they hold each other
at arm's length and Si looks at her — and looks
and looks — so tears come to my eyes. And she
looks at that almost bald head and bulging brow
and hawk-nose — and likes it. That's what I can't
forgive her. She likes him. Maybe she loves him.
Look at that. That far-away, bed-room look —
for Si Lenz! a damned reporter who has had the
morals of an adult guinea pig ever since his
mother let him remain out of the house after ten
o'clock. You can stay here and watch them if
you want to — I can't bear it.
"But I do think you're a mess for mixing busi-
ness with our honeymoon. . . . Why can't you
send that boy on ahead on a different train?"
"He won't bother us! He's in car six in a
lower. We're in car two in drawing room A —
and he won't bother us!"
"Well, I hope not. Don't think I'm hateful. I
want to help Anne just as much as you and
Laura do, but it's my honeymoon!"
"Phil won't come in our carl I'll give him his
"In a week you'll be giving me orders. Oh, you
great big masterful man!"
Come aw ay I
Mrs. Si Lenz, who had been Jo Turner, the
toast of ambassadors and the darling and despair
of Simont, who never tired of bathing her,
pouted world-weary lips at her intuitive spouse.
"If I don't get this rice out of my back — I'm
"My dear!" Si was abashed. "I can't help you
"Bother!" she said and walked to the end of
the parlor car.
"Wait," he called, but she waved him down
and entered the ladies' room. The uniformed
maid had her back to the door as Jo entered. She
was lighting a cigarette for a passenger and say-
ing with a rich — a little too rich — southern
accent: "Ah puflfuhs Camels mahsef."
They faced each other. In Jo's mind was only
one thought. Tomorrow was the fourth of July!
She backed through the door and ran to Si.
"Ursula," she panted " — the wash-room nigger.
Quick!" He followed her. An aproned figure had
just passed into the next coach. Si ran. She was
fleet. Through the diner. Through another par-
lor car — to the observation platform — and
Ursula leaped. Jo had pulled the emergency cord,
but the train's impetus had not yet been checked.
The black and white uniform lay motionless in
a crumpled pile between the rails — nearly a mile
behind the train when it was finally stopped.
Brakemen, the conductor, thirty passengers,
tramped back to the corpse and surrounded it.
No one seemed to have the authority to touch
the body, to straighten the cruelly backward-
bent limbs. Everyone looked to the conductor
for orders. Wasn't a conductor kind of like a
captain of a ship at sea? Marry people — and all
that? Why didn't he do something? He fussed
with the wick of his lantern. A brakeman walked
a short way off up the track and planted a red
flare light which threw its unearthly glare over
the silent crowd; casting long, grotesquely danc-
ing shadows over Ursula's inert form. This red
flare was to keep the engineer of the train's sec-
ond section from running over Ursula or any of