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HAROLD L. LEUPP 







^ 



By the Same Author, 

A FEARFUL RESPONSIBILITY; 

AND OTHER STORIES. 
1 ToL 12x00. Pllce, $1.50. 

** Exquisite pieces of workmanship, reflecting the very 
brightness and ^ow of the atmosphere of Southern Eu- 
rope." — New Orleatts Democrat. 



The choicest thing in current fiction." — Hartford 
Cottrant* 

In the same volume are included the marvellously 
humorous and amusing' story entitled^ " At the Sign 
OF THE Savage," and the highly finished study of Ve^ 
netian li/e^ etUitledt ** Tonbllts Marriage." 



DR. BREEN'S PRACTICE. 

1 vol ISmo. Price, $14M). 

" In his most admirable mood." — Christian Union. 

** As clever and readable as anything its author has writ- 
ten." — Boston Gazette. 

** Like everything that comes from Mr. Howells, the story 
is true to life, delicate, full of very fine touches, sweet- 
tempered, and really representative of our time and our peo- 
ple." — Boston Advertiser, 



JAMES K OSGOOD & CO., Boston. 



A MODERN INSTANCE 



A NOVEL 



BY 



*< 



WILLIAM D. HOWELLS 



If 



*i ft , 



AUTHOR Of "TH« J-APV or THB AROOSTOOK," "THE UNDIKOVBRID 
COUNTRY," "doctor BREBN's PRACTICE," ETC. 






L£EI';^I 



'"^m^ 



BOSTON 
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY 

1882 



Copyright, 1881, 
By. W. D. Howells. 



All rights reserved. 



Univbrsity Press: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 







A MODERN INSTANCE. ^^^^^ 



I. 



The village stood on a wide plain, and around it 
rose the mountains. They were green to their tops 
in summer, and in winter white through their serried 
pines and drifting mists, but at every season serious 
and beautiful, furrowed with hollow shadows, and 
taking the light on masses and stretches of iron-gray 
crag. The river swam through the plain in long 
curves, and slipped away at last through an unseen 
pass to the southward, tracing a score of miles in its 
course over a space that measured but three or four. 
The plain was veiy fertile, and its features, if few 
and of purely utilitarian beauty, had a rich luxu- 
riance, and there was a tropical riot of vegetation 
when the sun of July beat on those northern fields. 
They waved with com and oats to the feet of the 
mountains, and the potatoes covered a vast acreage 
with the lines of their intense, coarse gi'een; the 
meadows were deep with English grass to the banks 
of the river, that, doubling and returning upon itself, 
still marked its way with a dense fringe of alders 
and white birches. 

But winter was full half the year. The snow began 
at Thanksgiving, and fell snow upon snow till Fast 
Day, thawing between the storms, and packing harder 



4 . A MODERN INSTANCE. 

and harder against the break-up in the spring, when 
it covered the ground in solid levels three feet high, 
and lay heaped in drifts, that defied the sun far into 
May. When it did not snow, the weather was keenly 
clear, and commonly very still. Then the landscape 
at noon had a stereoscopic glister under the high sun 
that burned in a heaven without a cloud, and at set- 
ting stained the sky and the white waste with freez- 
ing pink and violet. On such days the farmers and 
lumbermen came in to the village stores, and made a 
stiff and feeble stir about their doorways, and the 
school children gave the street a little life and color, 
as they went to and from the Academy in their red 
and blue woollens. Four times a day the mill, the 
shrill wheeze of whose saws had become part of the 
habitual silence, blew its whistle for the hands to 
begin and leave off work, in blasts that seemed to 
shatter themselves against the thin air. But other- 
wise an arctic quiet prevailed. 

Behind the black boles of the elms that swept the 
vista of the street with the fine gray tracery of their 
boughs, stood the bouses, deep-sunken in the accumu- 
lating drifts, through which each householder kept a 
path cut from his doorway to the road, white and 
clean as if hewn out of marble. Some cross streets 
straggled away east and west with the poorer dwell- 
ings ; but this, that fbllowed the northward and south- 
ward reach of the plain, was the main thoroughfare, 
and had its own impressiveness, with those square 
white houses which they build so large in Northern 
New England. They were all kept in scrupulous 
repair, though here and there the frost and thaw of 
many winters had heaved a fence out of plumb, and 
threatened the poise of the monumental urns of 
painted pine on the gate-posts. They had dark- 
green blinds, of a color harmonious with that of the 
funereal evergreens in their dooryards; and they 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 5 

themselves had taken the tone of the snowy laud- 
scape, as if by the operation of some such law as 
blanches the fur-bearing animals of the North. They 
seemed proper to its desolation, while some houses of 
more modern taste, painted to a warmer tone, looked, 
with their mansard roofs and jig-sawed piazzas and 
balconies, intrusive and alien. 

At one end of the street stood the Academy, witli 
its classic faqade and its belfry ; midway was the hotel, 
with the stores, the printing-office, and the churches ; 
and at the other extreme, one of the square white 
mansions stood advanced from the rank of /the rest, 
at the top of a deep-plunging valley, defining itself 
against the mountain beyond so sharply that it seemed 
as if cut out of its dark, wooded side. It was from 
the gate before this house, distinct in the pink light 
which the sunset had left, that, on a Saturday even- 
ing in February, a cutter, gay with red-lined robes, 
dashed away, and came musically clashing down the 
street under the naked elms. For the women who 
sat with their work at the windows on either side of 
the way, hesitating whether to light their lamps, and 
drawing nearer and nearer to the dead-line of the 
outer cold for the latest glimmer of the day, the pas- 
sage of this ill-tinned veiiicle was a vexation little 
short of grievous. Every movement on the street 
was precious to them, and, with all the keenness of 
their starved curiosity, these captives of the winter 
could not make out the people in the cutter. After- 
ward it was a mortification to them that they should 
not have thought at once of Bartley Hubbard and 
Marcia Gaylord. They had seen him go up toward 
Squire Gaylord's house half an hour before, and they 
now blamed themselves for not reflecting that of 
course he was going to take Marcia over to tlie 
church sociable at Lower Equity. Their identity 
being established, other little proofs of it reproached 



6 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

the inquirers; but these perturbed spirits were at 
peace, and the lamps were out in the houses (where 
the smell of rats in the wainscot and of potatoes in 
the cellar strengthened with the growing night), when 
Bartley and Marcia drove back through the moonlit 
silence to her father's door. Here, too, tlie windows 
were all dark, except for the light that sparely glim- 
mered through the parlor blinds ; and the young man 
slackened the pace of his horse, as if to still the 
bells, some distance away from the gate. 

The girl took the hand he offered her when he 
dismounted at the gate, and, as she jumped from the 
cutter, " Won't you come in ? " she asked. 

'' I guess I can blanket my horse and stand him 
under the wood-shed," answered the young man, going 
around to the animal's head and leading him away. 

When he returned to the door the girl opened it, 
as if she had been listening for his step ; and she now 
stood holding it ajar for him to enter, and throwing 
the light upon the threshold from the lamp, which 
sue lifted high in the other han^d. The action brought 
her figure in relief, and revealed the outline of her 
bust and shoulders, while the lamp flooded with light 
the face she turned to him, and again averted for a 
moment, as if startled at some noise behind her. She 
thus showed a smooth, low forehead, lips and cheeks 
deeply red, a softly rounded chin touched with a faint 
dimple, and in turn a nose short and aquiline; her 
eyes were dark, and her dusky hair flowed crinkling 
above her fine black brows, and vanished down the 
curve of a lovely neck. There was a peculiar charm in 
the form of her upper lip : it was exquisitely arched, 
and at the corners it projected a little over the lower 
lip, so that when she smiled it gave a piquant sweet- 
ness to her mouth, with a certain demure innocence 
that qualified the Eoman pride of her profile. For 
thp rest, her beauty was of the kind that coming years 



A MODEEN INSTANCE 7 

would only ripen and enrich ; at thirty she would be 
even handsomer than at twenty, and be all the more 
southern in her type for the paling of that northern 
Qolor in her cheeks. The young man who looked up 
at her from the doorstep had a yellow mustache, 
shadowing either side of his lip with a broad sweep^ 
like a bird's wing ; his chin, deep-cut below his mouth, 
failed to come strenuously forward ; his cheeks were 
filled to an oval contour, and his face had QtherwL<)e 
the regularity common to Americans; his eyes, a 
clouded gray, heavy-lidded and long-lashed, were his 
most striking feature, and he gave her beauty a delib- 
erate look from them as he lightly stamped the snow 
from his feet, and pulled the seal-skin gloves from 
his long hands. 

*' Come in," she whispered, coloring with pleasure 
under his gaze ; and she made haste to shut the door 
after him, with a luxurious impatience of the cold. 
She led the way into the room from which she had 
Qome, and set down the lamp on the corner of the 
piano, while he slipped off his overcoat and swung 
it over the end of the sofa. They drew up chairs to 
the stove, in which the smouldering fire, revived by 
the opened draft, roai'ed and snapped. It was mid- 
night, as the sharp strokes of a wooden clock declared 
from the kitchen, and they were alone together, and 
all the other inmates of the house were asleep. The 
situation, scarcely conceivable to another civilization, 
is so common in ours, where youth commands its fate 
and trusts solely to itself, that it may be said to be 
characteristic of the New England civilization wher- 
ever it keeps its simplicity. It was not stolen or 
clandestine ; it would have interested every one, but 
would have shocked no one in the village if the. 
whole village had known it ; all that a girl's parents 
ordinarily exacted was that they should not be 
waked up. 



8 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"Ugh!" said the girl. "It seems as if I never 
should get warm." She leaned forward, and stretched 
her hands toward the stove, and he presently rose 
from the rocking-chair in which he sat, somewhat 
lower than she, and lifted her sack to throw it over 
her shoulders. But he put it down and took up his 
overcoat. 

"Allow my coat the pleasure," he said, with the 
ease of a man who is not too far lost to be really 
flattering. 

" Much obliged to the coat," she replied, shrugging 
herself into it and pulling the collar close about her 
throat. " I wonder you did n't pu^ it on the sorrel. 
You could have tied the sleeves around her neck." 

" Shall I tie them around yours ? " He leaned 
forward from the low rocking-chair into which he had 
sunk again, and made a feint at what he had proposed. 

But she drew back with a gay " No ! " and added : 
" Some day, father says, that sorrel will be the death 
of us. He says it 's a bad color for a horse. They *re 
always ugly, and when they get heated they 're 
crazy." 

"You never seem to be very much frightened 
when you're riding after the sorrel," said Bartley. 

" Oh, I 've great faith in your driving." 

" Thanks. But I don't believe in this notion about 
a horse being vicious because he 's of a certain color. 
If your father did n't believe in it, I should call it a 
superstition ; but the Squire has no superstitions." 

" I don't know about that," said the girl. " I don't 
think he likes to see the new moon over his left 
shoulder." 

" I beg his pardon, then," returned Bartley. " I 
ought to have said religions : the Squire has no re- 
ligions." The young fellow had a rich, caressing voice, 
and a securely winning jnanner which comes from the 
Imbit of easily pleasing ; in this charming tone, and 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 9 

with this delightful insinuation, he often said things 
that hurt ; but with such a humorous glance from his 
softly shaded ey^s that people felt in some sort flat- 
tered at being taken into the joke, even while they 
winced under it. The girl seemed to wince, as if, in 
spite of her familiarity with the fact, it wounded her 
to have her father's scepticism recognized just then. 
She said nothing, and he added, ** I remember we 
used to think that a red-heftded boy was worse-tem- 
pered on account of his hair. But I don't believe the 
sorrel-tops, as we called them, were any more fiery 
than the rest of us." 

Marcia did not answer at once, and then she said, 
with the vagueness of one not greatly interested by 
the subject, " You Ve got a sorrel-top in your office 
that 's fiery enough, if she *8 anything like what she 
used to be when she went to school." 

" Hannah Morrison ? " 

" Yes." 

" Oh, she is n*t so bad. She 's pretty lively, but 
she 's very eager to learn the business, and I guess we 
shall get along. I think she wants to please me." 

" Does she ! But she must be going on seventeen 



now." 



" I dare say," answered the young man, carelessly, 
but with perfect intelligence. " She 's good-looking 
in her way, too." 

" Oh ! Then you admire red hair ? " 

He perceived the anxiety that the girl's pride 
could not keep out of her tone, but he answered in- 
differently, " I 'm a little too near that color myself. 
I hear that red hair 's coming into fashion, but I guess 
it 's natural I should prefer black." 

She leaned back in her chair, and crushed the vel- 
vet collar of his coat under her neck in lifting her 
head to stare at the high-hung mezzotints and family 
photographs on the walls, while a flattered smile 



10 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

parted her lips, and there was a little thrill of joy in 
her voice. " I presume we must be a good deal be- 
hind the age in everything at Equity." 

" Well, you know my opinion of Equity," returned 
the young man. "If I didn't have you here to free 
my mind to once in a while, I don't know what I 
should do." 

She was so proud to be in the secret of his discon- 
tent with the narrow world of Equity that she 
tempted him to disparage it further by pretending to 
identify herself with it. " I don't see why you abuse 
Equity to me. I *ve never been anywhere else, except 
those two winters at school. You'd better look out : 
I might expose you," she threatened, fondly. 

" I 'm not afraid. Those two winters make a great 
difference. You saw girls from other places, — from 
Augusta, and Bangor, and Bath." 

" Well, I could n't see how they were so very dif- 
ferent from Equity girls." 

" I dare say they could n't, either, if they judged 
from you." 

She leaned forward again, and begged for more 
flattery from him with her happy eyes. " Why, what 
does make me so different from all the rest ? I should 
really like to know." 

" Oh, you don't expect me to tell you to your 
face ! " 

" Yes, to my face ! I don't believe it 's anything 
complimentary." 

" No, it 's nothing that you deserve any credit for." 

" Pshaw I " cried the girl. " I know you 're only 
talking to make fun of me. How do I know but you 
make fun of me to other girls, just as you do of them 
to me ? Everybody says you 're sarcastic." 

" Have I ever been sarcastic with you ? " 

" You know I would n't stand it." 

He made no reply, but she admired the ease with 



A MODEB^ IZISTANCE. 11 

which he now turned from her, and took one book 
after another from the table at bis elbow, saying some 
words of ridicule about each. It gave her a still 
deeper sense of his intellectual command when he 
finally discriminated, and began to read out a poem 
with studied elocutionary effects. He read in a low 
tone, but at last some responsive noises came from 
the room overhead ; he closed the book, and threw 
himself into an attitude of deprecation, with his eyes 
cast up to the ceiling. 

" Chicago," he said, laying the book on the table 
and taking his knee between his hands, while he 
dazzled her by speaking from the abstraction ul one 
who has carried on a train of thought quite different 
from that on which ho seemed to be intent, — " Chi- 
cago is the place for me. I don't think I can stand 
Equity much longer. You know that chum of mine 
I told you about ; he 's written to me to come out 
there and go into the law with him at once." 

" Why don't you go ? " the girl forced herself to 
ask. 

" Oh, I 'm not ready yet. Should you write to me 
if I went to Chicago ? " 

" I don't think you 'd find my letters very interest- 
ing. You would n't want any news from Equity." 

" Your letters would n't be interesting if you gave 
m^ the Equity news ; but they would if you left it 
out. Then you 'd have to write about yourself." 

" Oh, I don't think that would interest anybody." 

" Well, I feel almost like going out to Chicago to 
see." 

" But I have n't promised to write yet,'* said the 
girl, laughing for joy in his humor. 

" I shall have to stay in Equity till you do, then. 
Better promise at once." 

" Would n't that be too much like marrying a man 
to get rid of him ? " 



12 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"I don't think that's always such a bad plan — 
for the man." He waited for her to speak ; but she 
had gone the length of her tether in this direction. 
"Byron says,— 

* Man's love is of man's Kfe a thing apart, — 
'T is woman's whole existence.' 

Do you believe that ? " He dwelt upon her with his 
free look, in the happy embarrassment with which she 
let her head droop. 

"I don't know," she murmured. "I don't know 
anything about a man's life." 

" It was the woman's I was asking about." 
" I don't think I 'm competent to answer." 
" Well, I '11 tell you, then. I think Byron was 
mistaken. My experience is, that, when a man is in 
love, there 's nothing else of him. That 's the reason 
I 've kept out of it altogether of late years. My ad- 
vice is, don't fall in love : it takes too much time." 
They both laughed at this. " But about correspond- 
ing, now ; you have n't said whether you would write 
to me, or not. Will you ? " 

" Can't you wait and see ? " she asked, slanting a 
look at him, which she could not keep from being fond. 
" No, no. Unless you wrote to me I could n't go 
to Chicago." 

" Perhaps I ought to promise, then, at opce." 
" You mean that you wish me to go." ^ 
" You said that you were going. You ought n't to 
let anything stand in the way of your doing the best 
you can for yourself." 

" But you would miss me a little, would n't you ? 
You would try to miss me, now and then ? " 

" Oh, you are here pretty often. I don't think I 
should have much difficulty in missing you." 

" Thanks, thanks ! I can go with a light heart, 
now. Good by." He made a pretence of rising. 



A MODSEN IN8TAKCE. 18 

" What ! Are yon going at once ? " 

" Yes, this very night, — or to-morrow. Or no, I 
can't go to-morrow. There 's something I was going 
to do to-morrow.'* 

" Perhaps go to church." 

** Oh, that of coarse. But it was in the afternoon. 
Stop ! I have it I I want you to go sleigh-riding 
witti me in the afternoon." 

'* I don't know about that," Marcta began. 

" But I do," said the young man. " Hold on : I '11 
put ray request in writing. He opened her port- 
folio, which lay on the table. "What elegant sta- 
tionery I May I use some of this elegant stationery ? 
The letter is to a lady, — to open a correspondence. 
May 1 ? " She laughed her assent. " How ought I to 
begin f Dearest Miss Marcia, or just Dear Marcia : 
which is better ? " 

" You had better not put either — " 

" But I must. You 're one or the other, you know. 
You 're dear — to your family, — and you 're Marcia : 
you can't deny it. The only question is whetlier 
you 're the dearest of all the Miss Marcias. I may 
be mistaken, you know. We '11 err on the safe side : 
Dear Marcia : " He wrote it down. *' That looks 
well, and it reads well. It looks very natural, and it 
reads like poetry, -r^ blank verse ; there 's no rhyme 
for it that I can remember. Pear Marcia : Will you 
go sleigh-riding with me to-morrow afternoon, at two 
o'clock sharp ? Yours — yours ? sincerely, or cor- 
dially, or affectionately, or what? The ^dear Marcia' 
seems to call for something out of the common. I 
think it had better be affectionately." He suggested 
it with ironical gravity. 

" And /think it had better be * truly,' '* protested 
the girl. 

" ' Truly ' it shall be, then. Your word is law, — 
statute in such case made and provided." He wrote. 



c 



14 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" With unutterable devotion, yours truly, Hartley J. 
Hubbard," and read it aloud. 

She leaned forward, and lightly caught it away 
from him, and made a feint of tearing it. He seized 
her hands, *' Mr. Hubbard ! " she cried, in undertone. 
" Let me go, please." 

" On two conditions, — promise not to tear up my 
letter, and promise to answer it in writing." 

She hesitated long, letting him hold her wrists. 
At last she said, " Well," and he released her wrists, 
on whose whiteness his clasp left red circles. She 
wrote a single word on the paper, and pushed it across 
the table to him. He rose with it, and went around 
to her side. 

" This is very nice. But you have n't spelled it 
correctly. Anybody would say this was No, to look 
at it ; and you meant to write Yes. Take the pencil 
in your hand, Miss Gaylord, and I will steady your 
trembling nei'ves, so that you can form the characters. 
Stop ! At the slightest resistance on your part, I will 
call out and alarm the house; or I will — ." He 
put the pencil into her fingers, and took her soft fist 
into his, and changed the word, while she submitted, 
helpless with her smothered laughter. "Now the 
address. Dear — " 

" No, no ! " she protested. 

" Yes, yes ! Dear Mr. Hubbard. There, that will 
do. Now the signature. Yours — " 

" I won't write that. I won't, indeed ! " 

" Oh, yes, you will. You only think you won't. 
Yours gratefully, Marcia Gaylord. That 's right. The 
Gaylord is not very legible, on account of a slight 
tremor in the writer's arm, resulting from a con- 
strained posture, perhaps. Thanks, Miss Gaylord. I 
will be here promptly at the hour indicated — " 

The noises renewed themselves overhead, — some 
one seemed to be moving about. Hubbard laid his 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 15 

hand on that of the girl, still nesting on the table, 
and grasped it in burlesque alarm ; she could scarcely 
stifle her mirth. He released her hand, and, reaching; 
his chair with a theatrical stride, sat there cowering 
till the noises ceased. Then be began to speak so- 
berly^ in a low voice. He spoke of himself; but in 
application of a lecture which they had lately heard, 
so that he seemed to be speaking of the lecture. It 
was on the formation of character, and he told of the 
processes by which he had formed his own character. 
They appeared very wonderful to her, and she mar- 
velled at the ease with which he dismissed the frivol- 
ity of his recent mood, and was now all seriousness. 
When he came to speak of the influence of others 
upon him, she almost trembled with the intensity of 
her interest. " But of all the women I have known, 
Marcia," be said, " I believe you have had the strong- 
est influence upon me. I believe you could make 
me do anything ; but you have always influenced me 
for good ; your influence upon me has been ennobling 
and elevating." 

She wished to refuse his praise; but her heart 
throbbed for bliss and pride in it; her voice dis- 
solved on her lips. They sat in silence ; and he took 
in his the hand that she let hang over the side of her 
chair. The lamp began to burn low, and she found 
words to say, " I had better get another," but she did 
not move. 

" No, don't," he said ; " I must be going, too. 
Look at the wick, there, Marcia ; it scarcely reaches 
the oil. In a little while it will not reach it, and the 
flame will die out. That is the way the ambition 
to be good and great will die out of me, when my 
life no longer draws its inspiration from your in- 
fluence." 

This figure took her imagination ; it seemed to her 
very beautiful ; and his praise humbled her more and 
more. 



16 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"Good night," he said, in a low, sad voice. He 
gave her hand a last pressure, and rose to put on his 
coat. Her admiration of his words, her happiness in 
his flattery, filled her brain like wine. She moved 
dizzily as she took up the lamp to light him to the 
door. " I have tired you," he said, tenderly, and he 
passed his hand around her to sustain the elbow of 
the arm with which she held the lamp ; she wished 
to resist, but she could not try. 

At the door he bent down his head and kissed her. 
" Good night, dear — friend." 

" Good night," she panted ; and after the door had 
closed upon him, she stooped and kissed the knob on 
which his hand had rested. 

As she turned, she started to see her father coming 
down the stairs with a candle in his hand. He had 
his black cravat tied around his throat, but no collar ; 
otherwise, he had on the rusty black clothes in which 
he ordinarily went about his affairs, — the cassiniere 
pantaloons, the satin vest, and the dress-coat which 
old-fashioned country lawyers still wore ten years 
ago, in preference to a frock or sack. He stopped on 
one of the lower steps, and looked sharply down into 
her uplifted face, and, as they stood confronted, tlieir 
consanguinity came out in vivid resemblances and 
contrasts ; his high, hawk-like profile was translated 
into the fine aquiline outline of hers ; the harsh rings 
of black hair, now grizzled with age, which clustered 
tightly over his head, except wlieie they had re- 
treated from his deeply seamed and wrinkled fore- 
head, were the crinkled flow above her smooth white 
brow ; and the line of the bristly tufts that overhung 
his eyes was the same as that of the low arches above 
hers. Her complexion was from her mother; his 
skin was dusky yellow ; but they had the same 
mouth, and hers showed how sweet his mouth nmst 
have been in his youth. His eyes, deep sunk in their 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 17 

cavernous sockets, had rekindled their dark fires in 
hers ; his whole visage, softened to her sex and girl- 
ish years, looked up at him in his daughter's face. 

" Why, father ! Did we wake you ? " 

" No. I had n't been asleep at all. I was coming 
down to read. But it's time you were in bed, 
Marcia." 

" Yes, I *m going, now. There 's a good fire in the 
parlor stove." 

The old man descended the remaining steps, but 
turned at the parlor door, and looked again at his 
daughter with a glance that arrested her, with her 
foot on the lowest stair. 

" Marcia," he asked, grimly, " are you engaged to 
Bartley Hubbard ? '' 

The blood flashed up from her heart into her face 
like fire, and then, as suddenly, fell back again, and 
left her white. She let her head droop and turn, till 
her eyes were wholly averted from him, and she did 
not speak. He closed the door behind him, and she 
went upstairs to her own room ; in her shame, shci 
seemed to herself to crawl thither, with her father's 
glance burning upon her. 



18 A MODliRN INSTANCE. 



11. 



Bartley Hubbard drove his sorrel colt back to 
the hotel stable through the moonlight, and woke up 
the hostler, asleep behind the counter, on a bunk 
covered with buffalo-robes. The half-grown boy did 
not wake easily ; he conceived of the affair as a joke, 
and bade Bartley quit his fooling, till the young man 
took him by his collar, and stood him on his feet. 
Then he fumbled about the button of the lamp, turned 
low and smelling rankly, and lit his lantern, which 
contributed a rival stench to the choking air. He 
kicked together the embers that smouldered on the 
hearth of the Franklin stove, sitting down before it 
for his greater convenience, and, having put a fresh 
pine-root on the fire, fell into a doze, with his lantern 
in his hand. " Look here, young man ! " said Bartley, 
shaking him by the shoulder, " you had better go out 
and put that colt up, and leave this sleeping before 
the fire to me." 

"Guess the colt can wait awhile," grumbled the 
boy ; but he went out, all the same, and Bartley, look- 
ing through the window, saw his lantern wavering, a 
yellow blot in the white moonshine, toward the stable. 
He sat down in the hostler's chair, and, in his turn, 
kicked the pine-root with the heel of his shoe, and 
looked about the room. He had had, as he would 
have said, a grand good time; but it had left him 
hungry, and the table in the middle of the room, with 
the chairs huddled around it, was suggestive, though 
he knew that it had been barrenly put there for the 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 19 

convenience of the landlord's friends, who came every 
night to play whist with him, and that nothing to eat 
or drink had ever been set out on it to interrupt the 
austere interest of the game. It was long since there 
had been anything on the shelves behind the coun- 
ter more cheerful than corn-balls and fancy crackers 
for the children of the summer boarders ; these dain- 
ties being out of season, the jars now stood there 
empty. The young man waited in a hungry reverie, 
in which it appeared to him that he was undergoing 
unmerited sufiering, till the stable-boy came back, now 
wide awake, and disposed to let the house share his vi- 
gils, as he stamped over the floor in his heavy boots. 

" Andy," said Bartley, in a pathetic tone of injury, 
" can't you scare me up something to eat ? " 

" There aint anything in the buttery but meat-pie," 
said the boy. 

He meant mince-pie, as Hubbard knew, and not a 
pasty of meat ; and the hungry man hesitated. " Well, 
fetch it," he said, finally. " I guess we can warm it 
up a little by the coals here." 

He had not been so long out of college but the idea 
of this irregular supper, when he had once formed it, 
began to have its fascination. He took up the broad 
fire-shovel, and, by the time the boy had sliufHed to 
and from the pantiy beyond the dining-room, Bartley 
had cleaned the shovel with a piece of newspaper, 
and was already heating it by the embers which he 
had raked out from under the pine-root. The boy 
silently transferred the half-pie he had brought from 
its plate to the shovel. He pulled up a chair and sat 
down to watch it. The pie began to steam and send 
out a savory odor ; he himself, in thawing, emitted a 
stronger and stronger smell of stable. He was not 
without his disdain for the palate which must have 
its mince-pie warm at midnight, — nor without his 
respect for it, either. This fastidious taste must be 



20 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

part of the splendor which showed itself in Mr. 
Hubbard's city-cut clothes, and in his neck-scarfs and 
the perfection of his finger-nails and mustache. The 
boy had felt the original impression of these facts 
deepened rather than effaced by custom; they were 
for every day, and not, as he had at first conjectured, 
for some great occasion only. 

" You don't suppose, Andy, there is such a thing 
as cold tea or coffee anywhere, that we could warm 
up ? " asked Hartley, gazing thoughtfully at the pie. 

The boy shook his head. " Get you some milk," he 
said ; and, after he had let the dispiriting suggestion 
sink into the other's mind, he added, " or some water." 

" Oh, bring on the milk," groaned Bartley, but with 
the relief that a choice of evils affords. The boy 
stumped away for it, and when he came back the 
young man had got his pie on the plate again, and 
had drawn his chair up to the table. " Thanks," he 
said, with his mouth full, as the boy set down the 
goblet of milk. Andy pulled his chair round so as 
to get an unrestricted view of a man who ate his pie 
with his fork as easily as another would with a knife. 
" That sister of yours is a smart girl," the young man 
added, making deliberate progress with the pie. 

The boy made an inarticulate sound of satisfaction, 
and resolved in his heart to tell her what Mr. Hub- 
bard had said. 

" She 's as smart as time," continued Bartley. 

This was something concrete. The boy knew he 
should remember that comparison. " Bring you any- 
thing else ? " he asked, admiring the young man's skill 
in getting the last flakes of the crust on his fork. The 
pie had now vanished. 

" Why, there is n't anything else, is there ? " Bart- 
ley demanded, with the plaintive dismay of a man 
who fears he has flung away his hunger upon one 
dish when he might have had something better. 



A. MODERN INSTANCE. 21 

■ 

" Cheese," replied the boy. 

"Oh!" said Bartley. He reflected awhile. "I 
suppose I could toast a piece oa this fork. But there 
is n t any more milk." 

The boy took away the plate and goblet, and 
brought them again replenished. 

Bartley contrived to get the cheese on his fork and 
rest it against one of the andirons so that it would 
not fall into the ashes. When it was dohe, he ate it 
as he had eaten the pie, without offering to share his 
feast with the boy. " There ^ " he said. " Yes, Andy, 
if she keeps on as she 's been doing, she won't liave 
any trouble. She 's a bright girl." He stretched his 
legs before the fire again, and presently yawned. 

" Want your lamp, Mr. Hubbard ? " asked the boy. 

" Well, yes, Andy," the young man consented. " I 
suppose I may as well go to bed." 

But when the boy brought his lamp, he still re- 
mained with outstretched legs in front of the fire. 
Speaking of Hannah Morrison made him think of 
Marcia again, and of the way in which she had spoken 
of the girl. He lolled his head on one side in such 
comfort as a young man finds in the conviction that 
a pretty girl is not only fond of him, but is instantly 
jealous of any other girl whose name is mentioned. 
He smiled at the flame in his reverie, and the boy 
examined, with clandestine minuteness, the set and 
pattern of his trousers, with glances of reference and 
comparison to his own. 

There were many things about his relations with 
Marcia Gay lord which were calculated to give Bart- 
ley satisfaction. She was, without question, the 
prettiest girl in the place, and she had more style 
than any other girl began to have. He liked to go 
into a room with Marcia Gaylord; it was some 
pleasure. Marcia was a lady ; she had a good edu- 
cation ; she had been away two years at school ; and. 



22 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

when she came back at the end of tlie second winter, 
he knew that she had fallen in love with him at 
sight. He believed that he could time it to a second. 
He remembered how he had looked up at her as he 
passed, and she had reddened, and tried to turn away 
from the window as if she had not seen him. Bart- 
ley was still free as air ; but if he could once make 
up his mind to settle down in a hole like Equity, lie 
could have her by turning his hand. Of course she 
had her drawbacks, like everybody. She was proud, 
and she would be jealous ; but, with all her pride 
and her distance, she had let him see that she liked 
him ; and with not a word on his part that any one 
could hold him to. 

" Hollo ! " he cried, with a suddenness that startled 
the boy, who had finished his meditation upon Bart- 
ley's trousers, and was now deeply dwelling on his 
boots. " Do you like 'em ? See what sort of a shine 
you can give *em for Sunday-go-to-meeting to-morrow 
morning." He put out his hand and laid hold of the 
boy's head, passing his fingers through the thick red 
hair. " Sorrel-top ! " he said, with a grin of agreea- 
ble reminiscence. "They emptied all the freckles 
they had left into your face, — did n't they, Andy ? " 

This free, joking way of Bartley's was one of the 
things that made him popular ; he passed the time of 
day, and was give and take right along, as his admir- 
ers expressed it, from the first, in a community where 
his smartness had that honor which gives us more 
smart men to the square mile than any other country 
in the world. The fact of his smartness had been 
affirmed and established in the strongest manner by 
the authorities of the college at which he was gradu- 
ated, in answer to the reference he made to them 
when negotiating with the committee in charge for 
the place he now held as editor of the Equity Free 
Press. The faculty spoke of the solidity and vari- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 23 

ety of his acq^uirements, and the distinction with 
which he had acquitted himself in every branch of 
study be had undertaken. They added that he de- 
served the greater credit because his early disadvan- 
tages as an orphan, dependent on his own exertions 
for a liyeUhood, had been so great that he had entered 
college with difficulty, and with heavy conditions. 
This turped the scale with a committee who hiut 
all been poor boys themselves, and justly feared the 
qncroachments ot" hereditary aristocracy. They per- 
haps bad their misgivings when the young man, in 
his ifell'blacked boots, his gray trousers neatly 
fitting over them, and his diagonal coat buttoned 
high with one button, stood before them with his 
thumbs iu his waistcoat pockets, and looked down 
over his inustache at the floor with sentiments con- 
cerning their wisdom which they could not explore ; 
they must have resented the fashionable keeping of 
everything about him, for Bartley wore his one suit 
a3 Jl: it were but one of many ; but when they under- 
stoo i that he had come by everything through his own 
unaided smartness, they could no longer hesitate. 
One, indeed, still felt it a duty to call attention to 
the fact that the college authorities said nothing of 
the young man's moral characteristics in a letter 
dwelling so largely upon his intellectual qualifica- 
tions. The others referred this point by a silent 
look to Squire Gaylord. 

" I don't know," said the Squire, " as I ever heard 
that a great deal of morality was required by a news- 
paper editor." The rest laughed at the joke, and the 
Squire continued: "But I guesa if he worked his 
own yfhy through college, as they say, that he haint 
had time to be up to a great deal of mischief. You 
knciw it's for idle hands that the Devil provides, 
doctor.*' 

" That 'if true, as far as it goei^," said the doctor. 



24 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" But it is ii't the whole truth. The Devil provides 
for some busy hands, too." 

" There *s a good deal of sense in that," the Squire 
admitted. "The worst scamps I ever knew were 
active fellows. Still, industry is in a man's favor. If 
the faculty knew anything against this young man 
they would have given us a hint of it. I guess we 
had better take him ; we sha'n't do better. Is it a 
vote?" 

The good opinion of Bartley's smartness which 
Squire Gaylord had formed was confirmed some 
months later by the development of the fact that the 
young man did not regard his management of the 
Equity Free Press as a final vocation. The story 
went that he lounged into the lawyer's office one 
Saturday afternoon in October, and asked him to let 
him take his Blackstone into the woods with him. 
He came back with it a few hours later. 

" Well, sir," said the attorney, sardonically, " how 
much Blackstone have you read ? " 

"About forty pages," answered the young man, 
dropping into one of the empty chairs, and hanging 
his leg over the arm. 

The lawyer smiled, and, opening the book, asked 
half a dozen questions at random. Bartley answered 
without changing his indifferent countenance, or the 
careless posture he had fallen into. A sharper and 
longer examination followed; the very language 
seemed to have been unbrokenly transferred to his 
mind, and he often gave the author's words as well 
as his ideas. 

" Ever looked at this before ? " asked the lawyer, 
with a keen glance at him over his spectacles. 

" No," said Bartley, gaping as if bored, and further 
relieving his weariness by stretching. He was with- 
out deference for any presence ; and the old lawyer did 
not dislike him for this : he had no deference himself 



▲ MODERN INSTANCE. 25 

^ Tott think of studying law ? " lie asked, after a 
pause. 

" That 's what I came to ask you about/' said Bart- 
ley, swinging his leg. 

The elder recurred to his book, and put some more 
questions. Then he said, "Do you want to study 
with me?" 

'* Tliat 's about the size of it." 

He shut the book, and pushed it on the table to- 
ward the young man. " Go ahead. You '11 get along 
—if you don't get along too easily." 

It was in the spring after this that Marcia returned 
home from her last term at boarding-school, and first 
saw him. 



26 A MODEKN INSTANCE. 



III. 



Bartley woke on Sunday morning with the regrets 
that a supper of mince-pie and toasted cheese is apt 
to bring. He woke from a bad dream, and found that 
he had a dull headache. A cup of coffee relieved his 
pain, but it left him listless, and with a longing for 
sympathy which he experienced in any mental or 
physical discomfort. The frankness with which he 
then appealed for compassion was one of the things 
that made people like him ; he flung himself upon the 
pity of the first he met. It might be some one to 
whom he had said a cutting or mortifying thing at 
their last encoimter, but Bartley did not mind that ; 
what he desired was commiseration, and he confid- 
ingly ignored the past in a trust that had rarely been 
abused. If his sarcasm proved that he was quick 
and smart, his recourse to those who had suffered 
from it proved that he did not mean anything by 
what he said ; it showed that he was a man of warm 
feelings, and that his heart was in the right place. 

Bartley deplored his disagreeable sensations to the 
other boarders at breakfast, and affectionately excused 
himself to them for not going to church, when they 
turned into the office, and gathered there before the 
Franklin stove^ sensible of the day in freshly shaven 
chins and newly blacked boots. The habit of church- 
going was so strong and universal in Equity that even 
strangers stopping at the hotel found themselves the 
object of a sort of hospitable competition with the 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 27 

membens of the different denominations, who took it 
for granted that they would wish to go somewhere, 
and only suffered them a choice between sects. There 
was no intolerance in their offer of pews, but merely 
a profound expectation, and one might continue to 
choose bis place of worship Sabbath after Sabbath 
without offence. This was Bartley's custom, and it 
had worked to his favor rather than his disadvantage ; 
for in the rather chaotic liberality into which religious 
sentiment had fallen in Equity, it was tacitly con- 
ceded that the editor of a paper devoted to the in- 
terests of the whole town ought not to be of fixed 
theological opinions. 

Beligion there had largely ceased to be a fact of 
spiritual experience, and ttie visible church flourished 
on condition of providing for the social needs of the 
community. It was praotically held that the salva- 
tion of one's soul must not be made too depressing, or 
the young people would have nothing to do with it. 
Professors of the sternest creeds temporized with sin- 
ners, and did what might be done to win them to 
heaven by helping tUem to have a good time here. 
The church embraced and included the world. It no 
longer frowned even upon social dancing, — a trans- 
gression once so heinous in its eyes; it opened its 
doors to popular lecttires, and encouraged secular 
musi6 in its basements, where, during the winter, 
oyster suppers weire given in aid of good objects. The 
Sundiety school was made particularly attractive, both 
to the children and the young men and girls who 
taught them. Not only at Thanksgiving, but at 
Ghristoias, and latterly even at Easter, there were 
special observances, which the enterprising spirits 
having the welfare of the church at heart tried to 
make significant and agreeable to all, and promotive 
of good feeling. Christenings and marriages in the 
church were encouraged, and elaborately celebrated; 



28 A. MODERN INSTANCE. 

death alone, though treated with cut-flowers in em- 
blematic devices, refused to lend itself to the cheerful 
intentions of those who were struggling to render the 
idea of another and a better world less repulsive. In 
contrast with the relaxation and uncertainty of their 
doctrinal aim, the rude and bold infidelity of old 
Squire Gay lord had the greater afl&nity with the mood 
of the Puritanism they had outgrown. But Bartley 
Hubbard liked the religious situation well enough. 
He took a leading part in the entertainments, and did 
something to impart to them a literary cast, as in the 
series of readings from the poets which he gave, the 
first winter, for the benefit of each church in turn. 
At these lectures he commended himself to the sober 
elders, who were troubled by the levity of his. behav- 
ior with young people on other occasions, by asking 
one of the ministers to open the exercises with prayer, 
and another, at the close, to invoke the Divine bless- 
ing ; there was no especial relevancy in this, but it 
pleased. He kopt himself, from the beginning, pretty 
constantly in the popular eye. He was a speaker at 
all public meetings, where his declamation was ad- 
mired ; and at private parties, where the congealed 
particles of village society were united in a frozen 
mass, he was the first to break the ice, and set the 
angular fragments grating and grinding upon one 
another. 

He now went to his room, and opened his desk with 
some vague purpose of bringing up the arrears of his 
correspondence. Formerly, before his interest in the 
newspaper had lapsed at all, he used to give his Sun- 
day leisure to making selections and writing para- 
graphs for it; but he now let the pile of exchanges lie 
unopened on his desk, and began to rummage through 
the letters scattered about in it. They were mostly 
from young ladies with whom he had corresponded, 
and some of them enclosed the photographs of the 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 29 

writers, doing their best to look as they hoped he 
might think they looked They were not love-letters, 
but were of that sort which the laxness of our social 
hfe invites young people, who have met pleasantly, to 
exchange as long as tliey like, without explicit inten- 
tions on either side ; they commit the writers to noth- 
ing; they are commonly without result, except in 
wasting time which is hardly worth saving. Every 
one who has lived the American life must have pro- 
duced them in great numbers. While youth lasts, 
they afford an excitement whose charm is hard to 
realize afterward. 

Bartley's correspondents were young ladies of his 
college town, where he had firat begun to see some- 
thing of social life in days which he now recognized 
as those of his green youth. They were not so very 
far removed in point of time ; but the experience of 
a larger world in the vacation he had spent with a 
Boston student had relegated them to a moral remote- 
ness that could not readily be measured. His friend 
was the son of a family who had diverted him from 
the natural destiny of a Boston man at Harvard, and 
sent him elsewhere for sectarian reasons. They were 
rich people, devout in their way, and benevolent, after 
a fashion of their own ; and their son always brought 
home with him, for the holidays and other short vaca- 
tions, some fellow-student accounted worthy of their 
hospitality through his religious intentions or his in- 
tellectual promise. These guests were indicated to 
the young man by one of the faculty, and he accepted 
their companionship for the time with what perfunc- 
tory civility he could muster. He and Bartley had 
amused themselves very well during that vacation. 
The Hallecks were not fashionable people, but they 
lived wealthily: they had a coachman and an inside 
man (whom Bartley at first treated with a considera- 
tion which it afterward mortified him to think of) ; 



30 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

their house was richly furnished with cushioned seats, 
dense carpets, and heavy curtains ; and they were 
visited by other people of their denomination, and of 
a like abundance. Some of these were infected with 
the prevailing culture of the city, and the young 
ladies especially dressed in a style and let fall ideas 
that filled the soul of the country student with won- 
der and worship. He heard a great deal of talk that 
he did not understand ; but he eagerly treasured every 
impression, and pieced it out, by question or furtive 
observation, jnto an image often shrewdly true, and 
often grotesquely untrue, to the conditions into which 
he had been dropped. He civilized himself as rapidly 
as his light permitted. There was a great deal of 
church-going ; but he and young Halleck went also 
to lectures and concerts ; they even went to the opera, 
and Hartley, with the privity of his friend, went to 
the theatre. Halleck said that he did not think there 
was much harm in a play ; but that his people stayed 
away for the sake of the example, — a reason that 
certainly need not hold with Bartley. 

At the end of the vacation he returned to college, 
leaving his measure vrith Halleck*s tailor, and his 
heart with all the splendors and elegances of the 
town. He found the ceilings very low and the fash- 
ions much belated in the village ; but he reconciled 
himself as well as he could. The real stress came 
when he left college and the question of doing some- 
thing for himself pressed upon him. He intended to 
study law, but he must meantime earn his living. 
It had been his fortune to be left, when very young, 
not only an orphan, but an extremely pretty child, 
with an exceptional aptness for study ; and he had 
been better cared for than if his father and mother 
had lived. He had been not only well housed and 
fed, and very well dressed, but pitied as an orphan, 
and petted for his beauty and talent, while he was 



A « 



A MODEUN INSTANCE. 31 

always taught to think of himself as a poor boy^ who 
was winning his own way through the world But 
when his benefactor proposed to educate him for the 
ministry, with a view to his final use in missionary 
work, he revolted. He apprenticed himself to the 
printer of his village, and rapidly picked up a knowl- 
edge of the business, so that at nineteen he had laid 
by some money, and was able to think of going to 
college. There was a fund in aid of indigent students 
in the institution to which he turned, and the faculty 
favored him. He finished his course with great credit 
to himself and the college, and he w^as naturally in- 
clined to look upon what had been done for him 
earlier as an advantage taken of his youthful inex- 
perience. Re rebelled against the memory of that 
tutelage, in spite of which he had accomplished such 
great things. If he had not squandered his time or 
fallen inio vicious courses in circumstances of so 
much discouragement, if he had come out of it all 
self-reliant and independent, he knew whom he had 
to thank for it. The worst of the matter was that 
there was some truth in all this. 

The ardor of his satisfaction cooled in the two 
years following his graduation, when in intervals of 
teaching country schools he was actually reduced to 
work at his trade on a village newspaper. But it 
was as a practical printer, through the freemasonry of 
the craft, that Bartley heard of the wish of the Equity 
committee to place the Free Press in new hands, 
and he had to be grateful to his trade for a primary 
consideration from them which his collegiate honors 
would not have won him. There had not yet begun 
to be that talk of journalism as a profession which 
has since prevailed with our collegians, and if Bart- 
ley had thought, as other collegians think, of devoting 
himself to newspaper life, he would have turned his 
face toward the city where its prizes are won, — the 



n 



32 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

ten and fifteen dollar reporterships for which a four 
years* course of the classics is not too costly a prepa^ 
ration. But, to tell the truth, he had never regarded 
his newspaper as anything but a make-shift, by which 
he was to be carried over a difficult and anxious 
period of his life, and enabled to attempt something 
worthier his powers. He had no illusions concerning 
it; if he had ever thought of journalism as a grand 
and ennobling profession, these ideas had perished in 
his experience in a village printing-office. He came 
to his work in Equity with practical and immediate 
purposes which pleased the committee better. The 
paper had been established some time before, in one 
of those flurries of ambition which from time to 
time seized Equity, when its citizens reflected that 
it was the central town in the county, and yet not 
the shire-town. The question of the removal of the 
county-seat had periodically arisen before ; but it 
had never been so hotly agitated as now. The paper 
had been a happy thought of a local politician, whose 
conception of its management was that it might be 
easily edited by a committee, if a printer could be 
found to publish it; but a few months' experience 
had made the Free Press a terrible burden to its 
founders ; it could not be sustained, and it could not 
be let die without final disaster to the interests of the 
town ; and the committee began to cast about for a 
publisher who could also be editor. Bartley, to whom 
it fell, could not be said to have thrown his heart 
and soul into the work, but he threw all his energy, 
and he made it more than its friends could have 
hoped. He espoused the cause of Equity in the 
pending question with the zeal of a condottiere, and 
did service no less faithful because of the cynical 
quality latent in it. When the legislative decision 
against Equity put an end to its ambitious hopes for 
the time being, he continued in control of the paper, 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 33 

with a fair prospect of getting the property into his 
own hands at last, and with some growing question 
in his mind whether, after all, it might not be as easy 
for him to go into politics from the newspaper as 
from the law. He managed the office very economi- 
cally, and by having the work done by girl appren- 
tices, with the help of one boy, he made it self- 
supporting. He modelled the newspaper upon the 
modern conception, through which the country press 
must cease to. have any influence in public affairs, and 
each paper become little more than an open letter of 
neighborhood gossip. But while he filled his sheet 
with minute chronicles of the goings and comings of 
unimportant persons, and with all attainable particu- 
lars of the ordinary life of the different localities, he 
continued to make spicy hits at the enemies of Equity 
in the late struggle, and kept the public spirit of the 
town alive. He had lately undertaken to make 
known its advantages as a summer resort, and had 
published a series of encomiums upon the beauty of 
its scenery and the healthfulness of its air and water, 
which it was believed would put it in a position of 
rivalry with some of the famous White Mountain 
places. He invited the enterprise of outside capital, 
and advocated a narrow-gauge road up the valley of 
the river through the Notch, so as to develop the 
picturesque advantages of that region. In all this, 
the color of mockery let the wise perceive that Bart- 
ley saw the joke and enjoyed it, and it deepened the 
popular impression of his smartness. 

This vein of cynicism was not characteristic, as it 
would have been in an older man; it might have 
been part of that spiritual and intellectual unruliness 
of youth, which people laugh at and forgive, and 
which one generally regards in after life as some- 
thing almost alien to one's self. He wrote long, 
bragging articles about Equity, in a tone bordering 

3 



34 A MODEHN INSTANCE. 

on burlesque, and he had a department in his pai:)er 
where he printed humorous squibs of his own and of 
other people; these were sometimes copied, and in 
the daily papers of the State he had been mentioned 
as " the funny man of the Equity Free Press." He 
also sent letters to one of the Boston journals, which 
he reproduced in his own sheet, and which gave him 
an importance that the best endeavor as a country 
editor would never have won him with the villagers. 
He would naturally, as the local printer, have ranked 
a little above the foreman of the saw-mill in the 
social scale, and decidedly below the master of the 
Academy; but his personal qualities elevated him 
over the head even of the latter. But above all, the 
fact that he was studying law was a guaranty of his 
superiority that nothing else could have given ; that 
science is the fountain of the highest distinction in a 
country town. Bartley's whole course implied that 
he was above editing the Free Press, but that he 
did it because it served his turn. That was admi- 
rable. 

He sat a long time with these girls* letters before 
him, and lost himself in a pensive reverie over their 
photographs, and over the good times he used to have 
with them. He mused in that formless way in which 
a young man thinks about young girls ; his soul is 
suffused with a sense of their sweetness and bright- 
ness, and unless he is distinctly in love there is no in- 
tention in his thoughts of them ; even then there is 
often no intention. Bartley might very well have a 
good conscience about them ; he had broken no hearts 
among them, and had only met them half-way in flir- 
tation. What he really regretted, as he held their let- 
ters in his hand, was that he had never got up a corre- 
spondence with two or three of the girls whom he had 
met in Boston. Though he Tiad been cowed by their 
magnificence in the beginning, he had never had any 



▲ MODERN INSTANCE. 35 

reverence for them; he believed that they would 
have liked very well to continue his acquaintance ; 
but he had not known how to open a con*espoudence, 
and the point was one on which he was ashamed to 
consult Halleck These college belles, compared with 
them, were amusingly inferior ; by a natural turn of 
thought, he realized that they were inferior to Marcia 
Gaylord, too, in looks and style, no less than in an 
impassioned preference for himself. A distaste for 
their somewhat veteran ways in flirtation grew upon 
him as he thought of her ; he philosophized i^inst 
them to her advantage; he could not blame her if 
she did not know how to hide her feelings for him. 
Yet he knew that Marcia would rather have died than 
let him suppose that she cared for him, if she had 
known that she was doing it The fun of it was, 
tliat she should not know; this charmed him, it 
touched him, even ; he did not think of it exultingly, 
as the night before, but sweetly, fondly, and with a 
final curiosity to see her again, and enjoy the fact in 
her presence. The acrid little jets of smoke which 
escaped from the joints of his stove from time to time 
annoyed him ; he shut his portfolio at last, and went 
out to walk 



36 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



IV. 



The forenoon sunshine, beating strong upon the 
thin snow along the edges of the porch floor, tattered 
them with a little thaw here and there ; bat it had no 
effect upon the hard-packed levels of the street, up the 
middle of which Bartley walked in a silence intensi- 
fied by the muffled voices of exhortation that came 
to him out of the churches. It was in the very heart 
of sennon-time, and he had the whole street to him- 
self on his way up to Squire Gaylord's house. As he 
drew near, he saw smoke ascending from the chimney 
of the lawyer's ofl&ce, — a little white building that 
stood apart from the dwelling on the left of the gate, 
and he knew that the old man was within, reading 
there, with his hat on and his long legs flung out 
toward the stove, unshaven and unkempt, in a grim 
protest against the prevalent Christian superstition. 
He might be reading Hume or Gibbon, or he might 
be reading the Bible, — a book in which he was 
deeply versed, and from which he was furnished 
with texts for the demolition of its friends, his adver- 
saries. He professed himself a great admirer of its lit- 
erature, and, in the heat of controversy, he often found 
himself a defender of its doctrines when he had occa- 
sion to expose the fallacy of latitudinarian interpre- 
tations. For libeml Christianity he had nothing but 
contempt, and refuted it with a scorn which spared 
none of the worldly tendencies of the church in Equity. 
The idea that souls were to be saved by church so- 
ciables filled him with inappeasable rancor; and he 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 37 

maintained the superiority of the old Puritanic dis- 
cipline against them with a fervor which nothing but 
its re-establishment could have abated. It was said 
that Squire Gaylord's influence had largely helped to 
keep in place the last of the rigidly orthodox minis- 
ters, under whom his liberalizing congregation chafed 
for years of discontent ; but this was probably an ex- 
aggeration of the native humor. Mrs. Gaylord had 
belonged to this church, and had never formally with- 
drawn from it, and the lawyer always contributed to 
pay the minister's salary. He also managed a little 
property for him so well as to make him independent 
when he was at last asked to resign by his deacons. 

In another mood, Bartley might have stepped aside 
to look in on the Squire, before asking at the house 
door for Marcia. Thiey relished each other's company, 
as people of contrary opinions and of no opinions are 
apt to do. Bartley loved to hear the Squire get go- 
ing, as he said, and the old man. felt a fascination in 
the youngster. Bartley was smart ; he took a point as 
quick as lightning ; and the Squire did not mind his 
making friends with the Mammon of Righteousness, 
as he called the visible church in Equity. It amused 
him to see Bartley lending the church the zealous sup- 
port of the press, with an impartial patronage of the 
different creeds. There had been times in his own 
career when the silence of his opinions would have 
greatly advanced him, but he had not chosen to pay 
this price for success ; he liked his freedom, or he 
liked the bitter tang of his own tongue too well, and 
he had remained a leading lawyer in Equity, when he 
might have ended a judge, or even a Congressman. 
Of late years, however, since people whom he could 
have joined in their agnosticism so heartily, up to a 
certain point, had begun to make such fools of them- 
selves about Darwinism and the brotherhood of all 
men in the monkey, he had grown much more tol- 



38 A MODERN INSTAKGEL 

erant. He still clung to his old-fashioned deistical 
opinions ; but he thought no worse of a man for not 
holding them ; he did not deny that a man might be 
a Christian, and still be a very good man. 

The audacious humor of his position sufficed with 
a people who liked a joke rather better than anything 
else ; in his old age, his infidelity was something that 
would hajdly have been changed, if possible, by a pop- 
ular vote. Even his wife, to whom it had once been 
a heavy cross, borne with secret prayer and tears, had 
fong ceased to gainsay it in any wise. Her family 
had opposed her yoking with an unbeliever when she 
married him, but she had some such hopes of convert- 
ing him as women cherish who give themselves to 
men confirmed in drunkenness. She learned, as other 
women do, that she could hardly change her husband 
in the least of his habits, and that, in this great mat- 
ter of his unbelief, her love was powerless. It became 
easier at last for her to add self-sacrifice to self-sacrifice 
than to vex him with her anxieties about his soul, and 
to act upon the feeling that, if he must be lost, then she 
did not care to be saved. He had never interfered 
with her church-going ; he had rather promoted it, for 
he liked to have women go ; but the time came when 
she no longer cared to go without him ; she lapsed 
from her membership, and it was now many years 
since she had worshipped with the people of her faith, 
if, indeed, she were still of any faith. Her life was 
silenced in every way, and, as often happens with 
aging wives in country towns, she seldom went out 
of her own door, and never appeared at the social or 
public solemnities of the village. Her husband and 
her daughter composed and bounded her world, — 
she always talked of them, or of other things as re- 
lated to them. She had grown an elderly woman, 
without losing tlie color of her yellow hair ; and the 
bloom of girlhood had been stayed in her cheeks as if 



A MODERN INSTAKCE. 39 

by the young habit of blushing, which she had kept 
She was still what her neighbors called very pretty- 
appearing, and she must have been a beautiful girl. 
The silence of her inward life subdued her manner, 
till now she seemed always to have come from some 
place on which a deep hush had newly fallen. 

She answered the door when Bartley turned the 
crank that snapped t^ gong-bell in its centre ; and 
the young man, who was looking at the street while 
waiting for some one to come, confronted her with a 
start '* Oh I " he said, '' I thought it was Marci£ 
Good morping, Mrs, GaylonL Is n't Marcia at 
home ? " 

''She went to churoh, this morning," replied her 
mother. " Won't you walk in ? " 

"Why, yes, I guess I will, thank you," faltered 
Bartley, in the iiresolution of his disappointment 
" I hope I sha'n't disturb you." 

** Come right ipto the sitting-room. She won't be 
gone a great while, now," said Mrs. Gaylord, leading 
the way to the )arge square room into which a door 
at the end of the narrow hall opened. A slumber- 
ous heat from a sheet-iron wood-stove pervaded the 
place, and a dock ticked monotonously on a shelf in 
the comer. Mrs. Gaylord said, "Won't you take 
a chair ? " and herself sank into the rocker, with a 
deep feather cushion in the seat, and a thinner 
feather cushion tied half-wav up the back. After 
the more active duties of her housekeeping were 
done, she sat every day in this chair with her knit- 
ting or sewing, and let the clock tick the long hours 
of her life away, with no more ^fipeaamt impatience 
of them, or sense of their dulness, than the cat on 
the braided rug at her feet, or the geraniums in the 
pots at the sunny window. " Are you pretty well to- 
day ? " she asked. 

" Well, no, Mrs. Gayloid» I 'm not,'* answered Bart- 



40 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

ley. "I'm all out of sorts. I have n't felt so dys- 
peptic for I doii*t know how long." 

Mrs. Gaylord smoothed the silk dress across lier 
lap, — the thin old black silk which she still instinct- 
ively put on for Sabbath observance, though it was 
so long since she had worn it to church. " Mr. Gay- 
lord used to have it when we were first married, 
though he aint been troubled with it of late years. 
He seemed to think then it was worse Sundays." 

" I don't believe Sunday has much to do with it, in 
8iy case. I ate some mince-pie and some toasted 
cheese last night, and I guess they did n't agree with 
me very well," said Bartley, who did not spare him- 
self the confession of his sins when seeking sympa- 
thy : it was this candor that went so far to convince 
people of his good-heartedness. 

" I don't know as I ever heard that meat-pie was 
bad," said Mrs. Gaylord, thoughtfully. "Mr. Gay- 
lord used to eat it right along all through his dys- 
pepsia, and he never complained of it. And the 
cheese ought to have made it digest." 

" Well, I don't know what it was," replied Bartley, 
plaintively submitting to be exonerated, " but I feel 
perfectly used up. Oh, I suppose I shall get over it, 
or forget all about it, by to-morrow," he added, with 
strenuous cheerfulness. "It is n't anything worth 
minding." 

Mrs. Gaylord seemed to differ with him on this 
point. " Head ache any ? " she asked. 

" It did this morning, when I first woke up," Bart- 
ley assented. 

" I don't believe but what a cup of tea would be 
the best thing for you," she said, critically. 

Bartley had instinctively practised a social art 
which ingratiated him with people at Equity as 
much as his demands for sympathy endeared him : 
he gave trouble in little unusual ways. He now 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 41 

said, " Oh, I wish you would give me a cup, Mrs. 
Gaylord." 

" Why, yes, indeed ! That 's just what I was going 
to," she replied. She went to the kitchen, which lay 
beyond another room, and reappeared with the tea 
directly, proud of her promptness, but having it on 
her conscience to explain it. " I 'most always keep 
the pot on the stove hearth, Sunday morning, so 's to 
have it ready if Mr. Gay lord ever wants a cup. He *s a 
master hand for tea, and always was. There : / guess 
you l)etter take it without milk. I put some sugar iii 
the saucer, if you want any." She dropped noise- 
lessly upon her feather cushion again, and Bartley, 
who had risen to receive the tea from her, remained 
standing while he drank it. 

" That does seem to go to the spot," he said, as he 
sipped it, thoughtfully observant of its effect upon his 
disagreeable feelings. " I wish I had you to take care 
of me, Mrs. Gaylord, and keep me from making a 
fool of myself," he added, when he had drained the 
cup. " No, no ! " he cried, at her offering to take it 
from him. "I'll set it down. I kpow it will fret 
you to have it in here, and 1 11 carry it out into the 
kitchen." He did so before she could prevent him, 
and came back, touching his mustache with his hand- 
kerchief. " I declare, Mrs. Gaylord, I should love to 
Uve in a kitchen like that." 

" I guess you would n*t if you had to," said Mi's. 
Gaylord, flattered into a smile. " Marcia, she likes to 
sit out there, she says, better than anywheres in the 
house. But I always tell her it's because she was 
there so much when she was little. I don't see as 
she seems over-anxious to do anything there but sit, 
I tell her. Not but what she knows how well enough. 
Mr. Gaylord, too, he' s great for being round in the 
kitchen. If he gets up in the night, when he has his 
waking spells, he had rather take his lamp out there, 



42 A MODERN INSTAKCE. 

if there 's a fire left, and read, any time, tban what he 
would in the parlor. Well, we used to sit there to- 
gether a good deal when we were young, and he got 
the habit of it There's everything in habit," she 
added, thoughtfully. *' Marcia, she 's got quite in the 
way, lately, of going to the Methodist church." 

"Yes, I've seen her there. You know I board 
round at the different churches, as the schoolmaster 
used to at the houses in the old times." 

Mra. Gaylord looked up at the clock, and gave .a 
little nervous laugh. " I don't know what Marcia will 
say to my letting her company stay in the sitting- 
room. She's pretty late to-day. But I guess you 
won't have much longer to wait, now." 

She spoke with that awe of her daughter and her 
judgments which is one of the pathetic idiosyncrasies 
of a certain class of American mothers. They feel 
themselves to be not so well educated as their daugh- 
ters, whose fancied knowledge of the world they let 
outweigh their own experience of life ; they ai'e used 
to deferring to them, and they shrink willingly into 
household drudges before them, and leave them to 
order the social affairs of the family. Mrs. Gaylord 
was not much afraid of Bartley for himself, but as 
Marcia's company he made her more and more uneasy 
toward the end of the quarter of an hour in which 
she tried to entertain him with her simple talk, vary- 
ing from Mr. Gaylord to Marcia, and from Marcia to 
Mr. Gaylord again. When she recognized the girl's 
quick touch in the closing of the front door, and her 
elastic step approached through the hall, the mother 
made a little deprecating noise in her throat, and 
fidgeted in her chair. As soon as Marcia opened the 
sitting-room door, Mrs. Gaylord modestly rose and 
went out into the kitchen : the mother who remained 
in the room when her daughter had company was an 
oddity almost unknown in Equity. 



A MODERN IK8TAKCE. 43 

Marcia'a ffu^e flashed all into a light of joy at sight 
of Hartley, who scarcely waited for her mother to be 
gone before he drew her toward him by the hand she 
had given. She mechanically yielded; and then, 
a^ if the recollection of some new resolution forced 

ttself through her pleasure at sight of him, she freed 
m handi and, retreetting a step or two, confronted 

hinu 

•' Why, Marcia," he said, ** what's the matter ? " 

*^ Nothing/' she answered. 

It might have amused Bartley, if he had felt quite 
well, to sel^ the girl so defiant of him, when she was 
really so much in love with him, but it certainly did 
not amusQ him now : it disappointed him in his ex- 

f>ectation of finding her femininely soft and comfort- 
ng, ^nd be did not know just what to do. He stood 
staring at her in discomfiture, while she gained in 
outward composure, though her cheeks were of the 
Jac()^Uerninot red of the ribbon at her throat. " What 
have I done, Marcia ? " he faltered. 

** OJi, you have n't done anything." 

" Boine one has been talking to you against ma" 

** Ko one has said a word to me about you." 

**Then why are you so cold — so strange — so — 
so — . different ? " 

•' Different ? " 

" Yes, from what you were last night," he answered, 
with an aggrieved air. 

" Oh, WQ see some things differently by daylight," 
she lightly explained. " Won't you sit down ? " 

" No, thank you," Bartley replied, sadly but unre- 
sentfqlly, "I think I had better be going. I see 
there is something wrong — " 

" I don't see wliy you say there is anything wrong," 
she retorted. " What have / done ? " 

" Oh, you have not doTie anything ; I take it back. 
It is all right But when I came here this morning 



44 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

— encouraged — hoping — that you had the same 
feeling as myself, and you seem to forget everything 
but a ceremonious acquaintanceship — why, it is all 
right, of course. I have no reason to complain ; but 
I must say that I can't help being surprised." He 
saw her lips quiver and her bosom heave. " Marcia, 
do you blame me for feeling hurt at your coldness 
when I came here to tell you — to tell you I — 1 love 
you?" With his nerves all unstrung, and his hunger 
for sympathy, he really believed that he had come 
to tell her this. " Yes," he added, bitterly, " I will 
tell you, though it seems to be the last word I shall 
speak to you. 1 11 go, now/' 

" Bartley ! You shall never go ! " she cried, throwing 
herself in his way. " Do you think I don't care for 
you, too? You may kiss me, — you may JcUl me, 
now ! " 

The passionate tears sprang to her eyes, with- 
out the sound of sobs or the contortion of weeping, 
and she did not wait for his embrace. She flung her 
arms around his neck and held him fast, ciying, *' I 
would n't let you, for your own sake, darling ; and if 
I had died for it — I thought I should die last night — 
I was never going to let you kiss me again till you 
said— ^ till — till — now! Don't you see?" She 
caught him tighter, and hid her face in his neck, and 
cried and laughed for joy and shame, while he suf- 
fered her caresses with a certain bewilderment. " I 
want to tell you now — I want to explain," she said, 
lifting her face and letting him from her as far as her 
arms, caught around his neck, would reach, and fer- 
vidly searching his eyes, lest some ray of what he 
would think should escape her. " Don't speak a word 
first ! Father saw us at the door last night, — he hap- 
pened to be coming downstairs, because he could n't 
sleep, — just when you — Oh, Bartley, don't! " she 
implored, at the little smile that made his mustache 



A MODEKX INSTANCE. 43 

qaiver. ** And he asked me whether we were engaged ; 
and when I could n't tell him we were, I know what 
he thought. I knew how he despised me, and I de- 
termined that, if you did n't tell me that you cared 
for me — ' And that *s the reason, Bartley, and not — 
not because I did n't care more for you than I do for 
the whole world. And — and — you don't mind it, 
now* do you ? It was for your sake, dearest." 

Whether Bartley perfectly divined or not all the 
feeling at which her words hinted, it was delicious to 
be clung about by such a pretty girl as Marcia Gay- 
lord, to have her now darting her face into his neck- 
scarf with intolerable consciousness, and now boldly 
confronting him with all-defying fondness while she 
lightly pushed him and pulled hira here and there in 
the vehemence of her appeal. Perhaps such a man, 
jn those fastnesses of his nature which psychology 
^ not yet explored, never loses, even in the tenderest 
transports, the sense of prey as to the girl whose love 
he has won ; but if this -is certain, it is also certain 
that he huA transports which are tender, and Bartley 
now felt his soul melted with affection that was very 
novel and sweet. 

" Why, Marcia ! " he said, " what a strange girl you 
are ! " He sunk into his chair again, and, putting his 
arms around her waist, drew her upon his knee, like 
a chil(}. 

8he held herself apart from him at her arm's 
length, and said, "Wait! Let me say it before it 
seems as if we had always been engaged, and every- 
thing was as right then as it is now. Did you despise 
me for letting you kiss me before we were engaged ? " 

" No," he laughed again. " I liked you for it." 

" But if you thought I would let any one else, you 
would n't have liked it ? " 

This diverted him still more. " I should n't have 
liked that more than half as well." 



46 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

* "N"o," she said thoughtfully. She dropped her 
face awhile on his shoulder, and seemed to be strug- 
gling with herself. Then she lifted it, and " Did you 
ever — did you — " she gasped. 

" If you want me to say that all the other girls in 
the world are not worth a hair of your head, 1 11 say 
that, Marcia. Now, let 's talk business ! " 

This made her laugh, and "I shall want a little 
lock of yours," she said, as if they had hitherto been 
talking of nothing but each other's hair. 

" And I shall want all of yours," he answered. 

" No. Don't be silly." She critically explored his 
face. " How funny to have a mole in your eyebrow!" 
She put her finger on it. " I never saw it before." 

" You never looked so closely. There 's a scar at 
the comer of your upper lip that I had n't noticed." 

" Can you see that ? " she demanded, radiantly. 
" Well, you have got good eyes ! The cat did it when 
I was a little girl." 

The door opened, and Mrs. Gaylord surprised them 
in the celebration of these discoveries, — or, rather, 
she surprised herself, for she stood holding the door 
and helpless to move, though in her heart she had an 
apologetic impulse to retire, and she even believed that 
she made some murmurs of excuse for her intrusion. 
Bartley was equally abashed, but Marcia rose with 
the coolness of her sex in the intimate emergencies 
which confound a maa "Oh, mother, it's you! I 
forgot about you. Come in! Or I'll set the table, 
if that 's what you want." As Mrs. Gaylord continued 
to look from her to Bartley in her daze, Marcia added, 
simply, " We 're engaged, mother. You may as well 
know it first as last, and I guess you better know it 
first." 

Her mother appeared not to think it safe to relax 
her hold upon the door, and Bartley went filially to 
her rescue — if it was rescue to salute her blush- 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 47 

ing defencelessness as he did A confused sense of 
the extraordinary nature and possible impropriety of 
the proceeding may have suggested her husband to 
her mind ; or it may have been a feeling that some 
remark was expected of her, even in the mental desti- 
tution to which she was reduced. 

" Have you told Mr. Gaylord about it ? '* she asked, 
of either, or neither, or both, as they chose to take it. 

Bartley left the word to Marcia, who answered, 
" Well, no, mother. We have n't yet. We Ve only 
ju3t found it out ourselves. I guess father can wait 
till he comes in to dinner. I intend to keep Bartley 
here to prove it." 

" He said," remarked Mrs. Gaylord, whom Bartley 
had led to her chair and placed on her cushion, " 't he 
had a headache when he first came in," and she 
appealed to him for corroboration, while she vainly 
endeavored to gather force to grapple again with the 
larger fact that he and Marcia were just engaged to 
be married. 

Marcia stooped down, and pulled her mother up 
out of her chair with a hug. " Oh, come now, mother ! 
You must n't let it take your breath away," she said, 
with patronizing fondness. "I 'm not afmid of what 
father will say. You know what he thinks of Bartley, 
— or Mr. Hubbard, as I presume you '11 want me to 
call him ! Now, mother, you just run up stairs, and 
put on your best cap^and leave me to set the table 
and get up the dinner. I guess I can get Bartley to 
help me. Mother, mother, mother!" she cried, in 
happiness that was otherwise unutterable, and clasp- 
ing her mother closer in her strong young arms, she 
kissed her with a fervor that made her blush again 
before the young man. 

" Marcia, Marcia ! You had n't ought to ! It 's 
ridiculous ! " sh^ protested. But she suffered herself 
to be thrust out of the room, grateful for exile, in 



48 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

which she could collect her scattered wits and set 
herself to realize the fact that had dispersed them. It 
was decorous, also, for her to leave Marcia aloue with 
Mr. Hubbard, far more so now than when he was 
merely company ; she felt that, and she fumbled over 
the dressing she was sent about, and once she looked 
out of her chamber window at the office where Mr. 
Gaylord sat, and wondered what Mr. Gaylord (she 
thought of him, and even dreamt of him, as Mr. Gay- 
lord, and had never, in the most familiar moments, 
addressed him otherwise) would say ! But she left 
the solution of the problem to him and Marcia ; she 
was used to leaving them to the settlement of their 
own difficulties. 

"Now, Bartley," said Marcia, in the business-like 
way that women assume in such matters, as soon as 
the great fact is no longer in doubt, " you must help 
me to set the table. Put up that leaf and 1 11 put up 
this. I 'm going to do more for mother than I used 
to," she said, repentant in her bliss. " It 's a shame 
how much I Ve left to her." Tlie domestic instinct 
was already astir in her heart. 

Bartley. pulled the table-cloth straight from her, 
and vied with her in the rapidity and exactness witli 
which he an'anged the knives and forks at right 
angles beside the plates. When it came to some 
heavier dishes, they agreed to carry them turn about ; 
but? when it was her turn, he put out his hand to 
support her elbow : " As I did last night, and saved 
you from dropping a lamp." 

This made her laugh, and she dropped the first dish 
with a crash. " Poor mother ! " she exclaimed. " I 
know she heard that, and she '11 be in agony to know 
which one it is." 

Mrs. Gaylord did indeed hear it, far off in her 
chamber, and quaked with an anxiety which became 
intolerable at last. 



A MODKKN INSTANCE. 49 

** Marcia ! Marcia I " she quavered, down the stairs, 
" what have you broken ? " 

Marcia opened the door long enough to call back, 
" Oh, only the old blue-edged platter, mother ! *' and 
then she flew at Hartley, crying, " For shame ! For 
shame 1 '' and pressing her hand over his mouth to 
stifle his laughter, "She'll hear you. Hartley, and 
think you 're laughing at her." But she laughed her- 
self at his struggles, and ended by taking him by the 
hand and pulling him out into the kitchen, where 
neither of them could be heard. She abandoned her- 
self to the ecstasy of her soul, and he thought she 
had never been so charming as in this wild gayety. 

" Why, Marsh ! I never saw you carry on so be- 
foi^ 1 " 

" You never saw me engaged before 1 That 's the 
way all girls act — if they get the chance. Don't you 
Uke me to be so? " she asked, with quick anxiety. 

" Bather I " he replied. 

*' Oh, Hartley ! " she exclaimed, " I feel like a child. 
X sutptise myself as much as I do you ; for I thought 
I had got very old, and I did n't suppose I should ever 
let myself go in this way. But there is something 
about this that lets me be as silly as I like. It's 
somehow as if I were a great deal wore alone when 
I *m with you than when I 'm by myself 1 How does 
it make you feel ? " 

" Good ! " he answered, and that satisfied her better 
than if he had entered into those subtleties which she 
had tried to express : it was more like a man. He 
had his arm about her again, and she put down her 
band on his to press it closer against her heart. 

"Of course," she explained, recurring to his sur- 
prise at her frolic mood, " I don't expect you to be 
silly because I am." 

" No," he assented ; " but how can I help it ? " 

" Oh, I don't mean for the time being ; I n>ean gen- 

4 



50 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

erally speaking. I mean that I care for you because 
1 know you know a great deal more than I do, and 
because I respect you. I know that everybody ex- 
pects you to be something great, and I do, too." 

Bartley did not deny the justness of her opinions 
concerning himself, or the reasonableness of the gen- 
eral expectation, though he probably could not see the 
relation of these cold abstractions to the pleasure of 
sitting there with a pretty girl in that way. But he 
said nothing. _ 

"Do you know/' she went on, turning her face 
prettily around toward him, but holding it a little 
way off, to secure attention as impersonal as might be 
under the circumstances, "what pleased me more 
than anything else you ever said to me ? " 

" No," answered Bartley. " Something you got out 
of me when you were trying to make me tell you the 
difference between you and the other Equity girls ? " 

She laughed, in glad defiance of her own conscious- 
ness. " Well, I was trying to make you compliment 
me ; I 'm not going to deny it. But I must say I got 
my come-uppance : you did n't say a thing I cared for. 
But you did afterward. Don't you remember ? " 

"No. When?" 

She hesitated a moment. "When you told me 
that my influence had — had — made you better, you 
know — " 

" Oh ! " said Bartley. " That ! Well," he added, 
carelessly, "it's every word true. Did n't you be- 
lieve it ? " 

" I was just as glad as if I did ; and it made me re- 
solve never to do or say a thing that could lower your 
opinion of me ; and then, you know, there at the door 
— it all seemed part of our trying to make each other 
better. But when father looked at me in that way, 
and asked me if we were engaged, T went down into 
the dust with shame. And it seemed to me that 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 51 

you had just been laughing at me, and amusing your- 
self with me, and I was so furious I did n't know 
what to do. Do vou know what I wanted to do ? 
\ wanted to run downstairs to father, and tell him 
what you had said, and ask him if he believed you 
had ever liked any other girL" She paused a little, 
bi|t be did not answer, and she continued. " But now 
J *ra glad I did n't. And I shall never ask you that, 
and I shall not care for anything that you — that 's 
happened before to-day. It 's all right. And you do 
think I shall always try to make you good and happy, 
don't you ? " 

'*I don't think you can make me much happier 
than I am at present, and I don't believe anybody 
could make me feel better," answered Bartley. 

She gave a little laugh at his refusal to be serious, 
and let her head, for fondness, fall upon his shoulder, 
while he turned round and round a ring he found on 
her finger. 

" Ah, ha I " he said, after a while. " Who gave you 
this ring. Miss Gaylord ? " 

" Father, Christmas, before last," she promptly an- 
swered, without moving. " I 'm glad you asked," she 
murmured, in a lower voice, full of pride in the 
maiden love she could give him. "There's never 
been any one but you, or the thought of any one." 
She suddenly started away. 

"Now, let's play we're getting dinner." It was 
quite time ; in the next moment the coffee boiled up, 
and if she had not caught the lid off and stirred it 
down with her spoon, it would have been spoiled. 
The steam ascended to the ceiling, and filled the 
kitchen with the fragrant smell of the berry. 

" I 'm glad we 're going to have coffee," she said. 
" Ton '11 have to put up with a cold dinner, except 
potatoes. But the coffee will make up, and I shall 
need i^ cup to keep me awake. I don't believe I 



52 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

slept last night till nearly morning. Do you like 
coffee?" 

" I 'd have given all I ever expect to be worth for 
a cup of it, last night," he said. "I was awfully 
hungry when I got back to the hotel, and I could n't 
find anything but a piece of mince-pie and some old 
cheese, and I had to be content with cold milk. I 
felt as if I had lost all my friends this morning 
when I woke up." 

A sense of remembered grievance trembled in his 
voice, and made her drop her head on his arm, in pity 
and derision of him. " Poor Bartley ! " she cried. 
" And you came up here for a little petting from me, 
did n't you ? I Ve noticed that in you ! Well, you 
did n*t get it, did you ? " 

" Well, not at first," he said. 

"Yes, you. can't complain of any want of petting 
at last," she returned, delighted at his indirect recog- 
nition of the difference. Then the daring, the arch- 
ness, and caprice that make coquetry in some women, 
and lurk a divine possibility in all, came out in her ; 
the sweetness, kept back by the whole strength of 
her pride, overflowed that broken barrier now, and 
she seemed to lavish this revelation of herself upon 
him with a sort of tender joy in his bewilderment. 
She was not hurt when he crudely expressed the elu- 
sive sense which has been in other men's minds at 
such times : they cannot believe that this fascination 
is inspired, and not practised. 

" Well," he said, " I 'm glad you told me that I was 
the first. I should have thought you 'd had a good 
deal of experience in flirtation." 

" You would n't have thought so if you had n't 
been a great flirt yourself," she answered, auda- 
ciously. " Perhaps I have been engaged before ! " 

Their talk was for the most part frivolous, and their 
thoughts ephemeral ; but again they were, with her 



A 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 53 

at least, suddenly and deeply serious. Till then all 
things seemed to have been held in arrest, and im- 
pressions, ideas, feelings, fears, desires, released tliem- 
selves simultaneously, and sought expression with a 
rush that defied coherence. " Oh, why do we tay to 
talk ? " she asked, at last. '^ The more we say, the 
more we leave unsaid. Let us keep still awhile!" 
But she could not. " Hartley ! When did you first 
think you cared about me ? " 

" I don't know," said Bartley, " I guess it must have 
been the fii^st time I saw you." 

" Yes, that is when I first knew that I cared for 
you. But it seems to me that I must have always 
cared for you, and that I only found it out when I saw 
you going by the house that day." She mused a little 
time before she asked again, ** Bartley ! " 

" Well ? " 

" Did you ever use to be afraid — Or, no ! Wait ! 
1 11 tell you first, and then I '11 ask you. I 'm not 
ashamed of it now, though once I thought I could n't 
bear to have any one find it out I used to be aw- 
fully afraid you did n't care for me ! I would try to 
make out, from things you did and said, whether you 
did or not; but I never could be certain. 1 believe I 
used to find the most comfort in discouraging myself. 
I used to say to myself, ' Why, of course he does n't ! 
How can he ? He 's been everywhere, and he 's seen 
so many girls. He corresponds with lots of them. 
Altogether likely he 's engaged to some of the young 
ladies he 's met in Boston ; and he just goes with me 
here for a blind.' And then when you would praise 
me, sometimes, I would just say, * Oh, he 's compli- 
mented plenty of girls. I know he 's thinking this 
instant of the young lady he 's engaged to in Boston/ 
And it would almost kill me ; and when you did 
some little thing to show that you liked me, I would 
think, ' He does n't like me ! He hates, he despises 



54 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

me. He does, he does, he does!' And I would go 
on that way, with my teeth shut, and my breath held, 
I don't know how long." Bartley broke out into a 
broad laugh at this image of desperation, but she 
added, tenderly, " I hope I never made you suffer in 
that way ? " • 

" What way ? " he asked. 

"That's what I wanted you to tell me. Did you 
ever —^ did you use to be afraid sometimes that 1 — 
that you — ^^did you put off telling me that you cared 
for me so long because you thought, you dreaded — 
Oh, I don't see what I can ever do to make it up to 
you if you did ! Were you afraid I did n't care for 
you ? " 

" No ! " shouted Bartley. She had risen and stood 
before him in the fervor of her entreaty, and he seized 
her arms, pinioning them to her side, and holding her 
helpless, while he laughed, and laughed again. " I 
knew you were dead in love with me from the first 
moment." 

" Bartley ! Bartley Hubbaixi ! " she exclaimed ; 
" let me go, — let me go, this instant ! I never heard 
of such a shameless thing 1 " 

But she really made no effort to escapa 



\ 



A MODEBN mSTANClS. 55 



V. 



The house seemed too little for Marcia's happiness, 
and after dinner she did not let Bartley forget his last 
night's engagement. She sent him off to get his horse 
at the hotel, and ran up to her room to put on her 
wraps for the drive. Her mother cleared away the 
dinner things ; she pushed the table to the side of the 
room, and then sat down in her feather-cushioned 
chair and waited her husband's pleasure to speak. 
He ordinarily rose from the Sunday dinner and went 
back to his office : to-day he had taken a chair before 
the stove. But he had mechanically put his hat on, 
and be wore it pushed off his forehead as he tilted 
his chair back on its hind legs, and braced himself 
against the hearth of tlie stove with his feet. 

A man is master in bis own house generally 
through thQ exercise of a certain degree of brutality, 
but Squire Gaylord maintained his predominance by 
an enlightened absenteeism. No man living always 
at home was ever so little under his own roof. While 
he was in more active business life, he had kept an 
office in the heart of the village, where he spent all 
his days, and a great part of every night ; but after 
he had become rich enough to risk whatever loss of 
business the change might involve, he bought this 
large old square house on the border of the village, 
and thenceforth made' his home in the little detached 
office. 

If Mrs. Gaylord had dimly imagined that she 
should see something more of him, having him so near 



56 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

at hand, she really saw less : there was no weather, 
by day or night, in which he could not go to his office, 
now. He went no more than his wife into the village 
society ; she might have been glad now and then of a 
little glimpse of the world, but she never said so, and 
her social life had ceased, like her religious life. Their 
house was richly furnished according to the local 
taste of the time ; the parlor had a Brussels carpet, 
and heavy chairs of mahogany and hair- cloth ; Marcia 
had a piano there, and since she had come home from 
school they had made company, as Mrs. Gaylord 
called it, two or three times for her ; but they had 
held aloof from the festivity, the Squire in his office, 
and Mrs. Gaylord in the family room where they now 
sat in unwonted companionship. 

" Well, Mr. Gaylord," said his wife, " I don't know 
as you can say but what Marcia 's suited well 
enough." 

This was the first allusion they had made to the 
subject, but she let it take the argumentative form of 
her cogitations. 

"M-yes," sighed the Squire, in long, nasal assent, 
"most too well, if anything." He rasped first one 
unshaven cheek and then the other, with his thin, 
quivering hand. 

" He 's smart enough," said Mrs. Gaylord, as be- 
fore. 

'* M-yes, most too smart," replied her husband, a 
little more quickly than before. " He 's smart enough, 
even if she was n't, to see from the start that she was 
crazy to have him, and that is n't the best way to 
begin life for a married couple, if I 'm a judge." 

" It would killed her if she had n't got him. I could 
see 't was wearin' on her every day, more and more. 
She used to fairly jump, every knock she 'd hear at 
the door ; and I know sometimes, when she was afraid 
he wa' n't coming, she used to go out, in hopes 't she 



X MODERN INSTANCE. 57 

sh'd meet him : I don't suppose she allowed to herself 
that she did it for that — Marcia *s proud." 

" M-yes," said the Squire, " she 's proud. And 
when a proud girl makes a fool of herself ahout a 
fellow, it 's a matter of life and death witli her. She 
can't help herself. She lets go everything." 

** I declare," Mrs. Gaylord went on, " it worked me 
up consideral3le to have her come in some those times, 
and see by her face 't she 'd seen him with some tlie 
other girls. She used to look so 1 And then I 'd hear 
her up^in her room, cryin' and cryin*. I shouldn't 
cared so much, if Marcia 'd been like any other girl, 
kind of flirty, like, about it But she wa'n't She 
was just bowed down before lier idoL" 

A final assent came from the Squire, as if wnmg 
out of his heart, and he rose from his chair, and then 
sat down again. Marcia was his child, and he loved 
her with his whole souL " M-well ! " he deeply 
sighed, " all that part 's over, anyway," but he tingled 
in an anguish of sympathy with what she had suffered. 
" You see, Miranda, how she looked at me when she 
first came in with him, — »o proud and independ- 
ent, poor girl ! and yet as if she was afraid I might n't 
like it ? " 

" Yes, I see it." 

He pulled his hat far down over his cavernous eyes, 
and worked his thin, rusty old jaws. 

** I hope 't she '11 be able to school herself, so 's t* not 
show out her feelings so much," said Mrs. Gaylord. 

" I wish she could school herself so as to not have 
'em SQ much ; but I guess she '11 have 'era, and I 
guess she '11 show 'em out." They were both silent ; 
after a while he added, throwing at the stove a minute 
fragment of the cane he had pulled off the seat of his 
chair : " Miranda, I Ve expected something of this 
sort a good while, and I 've thought over what Bart- 
ley had better do." 



58 A MODERN INSTANCE.- 

Mrs. Gaylord stooped forward and picked up the 
bit of wood which her husband had thrown down; 
her vigilance was rewarded by finding a thread on the 
oil-cloth near where it lay ; she whipped this round 
her finger, and her husband continued : " He 'd better 
give up his paper and go into the law. He 's done 
well in the paper, and he 's a smart writer ; but edit- 
ing a newspaper aint any work for a man. It 's all 
well enough as long as he 's single, but when he 's got 
a wife to look after, he 'd better get down to work. 
My business is in just such a shape now that I bould 
hand it over to him in a lump ; but come to wait a 
year or two longer, and this young man and that one 11 
eat into it, and it won't be the same thing at all. 
I shall want Bartley to push right along, and get ad- 
mitted at once. He can do it, fast enough. He 's 
bright enough," added the old man, with a certain 
grimness. "M-well!" he broke out, with a quick 
sigh, after a moment of musing ; " it has n't happened 
at any very bad time. I was just thinking, this 
morning, that I should like to have my whole time, 
pretty soon, to look after my property. I sha'n't want 
Bartley to do that for me. 1 11 give him a good start in 
money and in business ; but 1 11 look after my prop- 
erty myself. 1 11 speak to him, the first chance I get." 

A light step sounded on the stairs, and Marcia 
burst into the room, ready for her drive. " I wanted 
to get a good warm before I started," she explained, 
stooping before the stove, and supporting herself with 
one hand on her father's knee. There had been no 
formal congratulations upon her engagement from 
either of her parents ; but this was not requisite, and 
would have been a little affected ; they were perhaps 
now ashamed to mention it outright before her alone. 
The Squire, however, went so far as to put his hand 
over the hand she had laid upon his knee, and to 
smooth it twice or thrice. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 59 

" You going to ride after that sorrel colt of Bart- 
ley's ? " he asked. 

" Of course ! " she answered, with playful pertness. 
'' I guess Bartley cau manage the sorrel colt ! He *s 
never had any trouble yet." 

" He 's always been able to give his whole mind to 
him before," said the Squire. He gave Marcia's hand 
a significant squeeze, and let it go. 

She would not confess her consciousness of his 
meaning at once. She looked up at the clock, and 
then turned and pulled her father's watch out of his 
waistcoat pocket, and compared the time. "Why, 
you 're both fast ! " 

" Perhaps Bartley 's slow," said the Squire ; and 
having gone as far as he intended in this direction, 
he permitted himself a low chuckle. 

The sleigh-bells jingled without, and she sprang 
lightly to her feet. " I guess you don't think Bart- 
ley 's slow," she exclaimed, and hung over her father 
long enough to rub her lips against his bristly cheek. 
** By, mother," she said, over her shoulder, and went 
out of the room. She let her muff hang as far down 
in front of her as her arms would reach, in a stylish 
way, and moved with a little rhythmical tilt, as if to 
some inner music. Even in her fura she was elegantly 
slender in shape. 

The old people remained silent and motionless till 
the clash of the bells died away. Then the Squire 
rose, and went to the wood-shed beyond the kitchen, 
whence he reappeared with an armful of wood. His 
wife started at the sight. " Mr. Gaylord, what be you 
doin' ? " 

" Oh, I 'm going to make 'em up a little fire in the 
parlor stove. I guess they won't want us round a 
great deal, when they come back." 

Mrs. Gaylord said, " Well, I never did ! " When 
her husband returned from the parlor, she added, " I 



60 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

suppose some folks 'd say it was rather of a strange 
way of spendin* the Sabbath." 

" It 's a very good way of spending the Sabbath. 
You don't suppose that any of the people in church 
are half as happy, do you ? Why, old Jonathan Ed- 
wards himself used to allow *all proper opportunity'- 
for the young fellows that come to see his girls, ' and 
a room and fire, if needed.' His ' Life ' says so." 

" I guess he did n't allow it on the Sabbath," re- 
torted Mrs. Gaylord. 

" Well, the ' Life ' don't say," chuckled the Squire. 
" Why, Miranda, I do it for Marcia ! There 's never 
but one first day to an engagement. You know that 
as well as T do." In saying this, Squire Gaylord gave 
way to his repressed emotion in an extravagance. 
He suddenly stooped over and kissed his wife ; but 
he spared her confusion by going out to his office at 
once, where he stayed the whole afternoon. 

Bartley and Marcia took the " Long Drive," as it 
was called, at Equity. The road plunged into the 
darkly wooded gulch beyond the house, and then 
struck away eastward, crossing loop after loop of the 
river on the covered bridges, where the neighbors, 
who had broken it out with their ox-teams in the 
open, had thickly bedded it in snow. In the valleys 
and sheltered spots it remained free, and so wide that 
encountering teams could easily pass each other ; but 
where it climbed a hill, or crossed a treeless level, it 
was narrowed to a single track, with turn-outs at es- 
tablished points, where the drivers of the sleighs 
waited to be sure that the stretch beyond was clear 
before going forward. In the country, the winter 
which held the village in such close siege was an 
occupation under which Nature seemed to cower help- 
less, and men made a desperate and ineffectual 
struggle. The houses, banked up with snow almost 
to the sills of the windows that looked out, blind with 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 61 

frost, upon tlie lifeless world, were dwarfed in the 
drifts, and seemed to founder in a white sea blotched 
with strange bluish shadows under the slanting sun. 
Where they fronted close upon the road, it was evi- 
dent that the fight with the snow was kept up un- 
relentingly ; spaces were shovelled out, and paths were 
kept open to the middle of the highway, and to the 
barn ; but where they w^re somewhat removed, there 
was no visible trace of the conflict, and no sign of life 
except the faint, wreathed hues of smoke wavering 
upward from the chimneys. 

In the hollows through which the road passed, the 
lower boughs of the pines and hemlocks were weighed 
down with the snow-fall till they lay half submerged 
in the drifts ; but wherever the wind could strike 
them, they swung free of this load and met in low, 
flat arches above the track. The river betrayed itself 
only when the swift current of a ripple broke through 
the white surface in long, irregular, grayish blurs. It 
was all wild and lonesome, but to the girl alone in it 
with her lover, the solitude was sweet, and she did 
not wish to speak even to him. His hands were both 
busy with the reins, but it was agreed between them 
that she might lock hers through his arm. Cowering 
close to him under the robes, she laid her head on his 
shoulder and looked out over the flying landscape in 
measureless content, and smiled, with filling eyes, 
when he bent over, and warmed his cold red cheek 
on the top of her fur cap. 

The moments of bliss that silence a woman rouse 
a man to make sure of his rapture. " How do you 
like it. Marsh ? " he asked, trying at one of these times 
to peer round into her face. " Are you afraid ? " 

** No, — only of getting back too soon " 

He made the shivering echoes answer with his 
delight in this, and chirruped to the colt, who pushed 
forward at a wilder speed, flinging his hoofs out 



62 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

before him with the straight thrust of the born trotter, 
and seeming to overtake them as they flew. " I 
should like this ride to last forever ! " 

" Forever ! " she repeated. " That would do for a 
beginning. " 

" Marsh ! What a girl you are ! I never supposed 
you would be so free to let a fellow know how much 
you cared for him." 

"Neither did I," she answered dreamily. "But 
now — now the only trouble is that I don't know 
how to let him know." She gave his arm to which 
she clung a little convulsive clutch, and pressed her 
head harder upon his shoulder. 

"Well, that's pretty much my complaint, too," said 
Bartley, " though I could n't have expressed it so well." 

" Oh, you express ! " she murmured, with the pride 
in him which implied that there were no thoughts 
worth expressing to which he could not give a, monu- 
mental utterance. Her adoration flattered his self- 
love to the same passionate intensity, and to some- 
thing like the generous complexion of her worship. 

" Marcia," he answered, " I am going to try to be 
all you expect of me. And I hope I shall never do 
anything unworthy of your ideal." 

She could only press his arm again in speechless 
joy, but she said to herself that she should always 
remember these words. 

The wind had been rising ever since they started, 
but they had not noticed it till now, when the woods 
began to thin away on either side, and he stopped 
before striking out over one of the naked stretches 
of the plain, — a white waste swept by the blasts 
that sucked down through a gorge of the mountain, 
and flattened the snow-drifts as the tornado flattens 
the waves. Across this expanse ran the road, its stiff 
lines obliterated here and there, in the slight depres- 
sions, and showing dark along the rest of the track 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 63 

It was a good half-mile to the next body of woods, 
and midway there was one of those sidings where a 
sleigh approaching from the other quarter must turn 
out and yield the right of way. Bartley stopped his 
colt, and scanned the road. 

" Anybody coming ? '* asked Marcia. 

" No, I don't see any one. But if there 's any one 
in the woods yonder, they 'd better wait till I get 
across. No horse in Equity can beat this colt to the 
turn-out." 

"Oh, well, look carefully, Bartley. If we met 
any one beyond the turn-out, I don 't know what I 
should do," pleaded the girL 

" I don't know what they would do," said Bartley. 
" But it 's their lookout now, if they come. Wrap 
your face up well, or put your head under the robe. 
I've got to hold my breath the next half-mile." He 
loosed the reins, and sped the colt out of the shel- 
ter where he had halted. The wind struck them like 
an edge of steel, and, catching the powder)^ snow that 
their horse's hoofs beat up, sent it spinning and swirl- 
ing far along the glistening levels on their lee. They 
felt the thrill of the go as if they were in some light 
boat leaping over a swift current. Marcia disdained 
to cover her face, if he must confront the wind, but 
after a few gasps she was glad to bend forward, and 
bury it in the long hair of the bearskin robe. When 
she lifted it, they were already past the siding, and 
she saw a cutter dashing toward them from the 
cover of the woods. " Bartley 1 " she screamed, " the 
sleigh 1 " 

" Yes," he shouted " Some fool ! There 's going to 
be trouble here," he added, checking his horse as he 
could. " They don't seem to know how to manage — 
It 's a couple of women ! Hold on ! hold on ! " he 
called. ** Don't try to turn out ! I '11 turn out ! " 

The women pulled their horse's head this way and 



L 



64 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

that, in apparent confusion, and then began to turn 
out into the trackless snow at the roadside, in spite 
of Bartley's frantic eflforts to arrest them. They sank 
deeper and deeper into the drift ; their horse plunged 
and struggled, and then their cutter went over, amidst 
their shrieks and cries for help. 

Bartley drove up abreast of the wreck, and, saying, 
" Still, Jerry ! Don't be afraid, Marcia," — he put the 
reins into her hands, and sprang out to the rescue. 

One of the women had been flung out free of the 
sleigh, and had already gathered heraelf up, and stood 
crying and wringing her hands : " Oh, Mr. Hubbard, 
Mr. Hubbard ! Help Hannah ! she 's under there 1" 

" All right ! Keep quiet, Mrs. Morrison ! Take hold 
of your horse's head ! " Bartley had first of all seized 
him by the bit, and pulled him to his feet ; he was 
old and experienced in obedience, and he now stood 
waiting orders, patiently enough. Bartley seized the 
cutter and by an effort of all his strength righted it 
The colt Parted and trembled, but Marcia called 
to him in Bartley's tone, " Still, Jerry ! " and he 
obeyed her. 

The girl, who had been caught under the over- 
turned cutter, escaped like a wild thing out of a trap, 
when it was lifted, and, plunging some paces away, 
faced round upon her rescuer with the hood pulled 
straight and set comely to her face again, almost 
before he could ask, " Any bones broken, Hannah ? " 

" No r she shouted. " Mother ! mother ! stop cry- 
ing! Don't you see I'm not dead?" She leaped 
about, catching up this wrap and that, shaking the 
dry snow out of them, and flinging them back into 
the cutter, while she laughed in the wild tumult of 
her spirits. Bartley helped her pick up the frag- 
ments of the wreck, and joined her in making fun of 
the adventure. The wind hustled them, but they 
were warm in defiance of it with their jollity and 
their bustle. 



A MODEBK mSTAKCB. 65 

**Why did n't you let me turn out?" demanded 
Bartley, as he aM the girl stood on opposite sides of 
the cutter, rearranging the robes in it. 

" Ob, I thought I could turn out well enough. You 
had a right to the road." 

" Well, the next time you see any one past the 
turn-out, you better not start from the woods." 

" Why, there *s no more room in the woods to get 
past than there is here," cried the girl. 

" There 's more shelter." 

" Oh, I 'm not cold ! " She flashed a look at him 
from her brilliant face, warm with all the glow of her 
young health, and laughed, and before she dropped 
her eyes, she included Marcia in her glance. They 
had already looked at each other without any sign of 
recognition. " Come, mother ! All right, now ! " 

Her mother left the horse's head, and, heavily 
ploughing back to the cutter, tumbled herself in. The 
girl, from her side, began to climb in, but her weight 
made the sleigh careen, and she dropped down with 
a gay shriek. 

Bartley came round and lifted her in; the girl 
called to her horse, and drove up into the road and 
away. 

Bartley looked after her a moment, and continued 
to glance in that direction when he stood stamping 
the snow oif his feet, and bnishing it from his legs 
and arms, before he remounted to Marcia's side. He 
was excited, and talked rapidly and loudly, as he took 
the reins from Marcia's passive hold, and let the colt 
out. " That girl is the pluckiest fool, yet ! Would n't 
let me turn out because I had the right of way! 
And she wasn't going to let anybody else have a 
hand in getting that old ark of theirs afloat again. 
Good their horse was n't anything like Jerry ! How 
well Jerry behaved ! Were you fri^itened. Marsh ?" 
He bent over to see h^ Heuoe, bi;^ she had not her 

5 



66 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

head on his shoulder, and she did not sit close to 
him, now. " Did you freeze ? '' 

" Oh, no ! I got along very well," she answered, 
dryly, and edged away as far as the width of the seat 
would permit. " It would have been better for you 
to lead their horse up into the road, and then she 
could have got in without your help. Her mother 
got in alone." 

He took the reins into his left hand, and, passing 
his strong right around her, pulled her up to his 
side. She resisted, with diminishing force; at last 
she ceased to resist, and her head fell passively to 
its former place on his shoulder. He did not try to 
speak any word of comfort ; he only held her close 
to him ; when she looked up, as they entered the vil- 
lage, she confronted him with a brilliant smile that 
ignored her tears. 

But that night, when she followed him to the door, 
she looked him searchingly in the eyes. " I wonder 
if you really do despise me, Bartley ? " she asked. 

"Certainly," he answered, with a jesting smile. 
" What for ? " 

" For showing out my feelings so. For not even 
trying to pretend not to care everything for you." 

" It would n't be any use your trying : I should 
know that you did, anyway." 

" Oh, don't laugh, Bartley, don't laugh ! I don't 
believe that I ought to. I've heard that it makes 
people sick of you. But I can't help it, — I can't help 
it! And if — if you think I'm always going to be 
so, — and that I 'm going to keep on getting worse 
and worse, and making you so unhappy, why, you 'd 
better break your engagement now — while you have 
a chance." 

" What have you been making me unhappy about, I 
should like to know ? I thought I 'd been having a 
very good time." 



A MODERN INBTAKCE. 07 

She hid her face against his breast. "It almost 
killed me to see you there with her. I was so cold, 
— my hands were half frozen, holding the reins, — 
and I was so afraid of the colt I did n't know what to 
do ; and I had been keeping up my courage on your 
account ; and you seemed so long about it all ; and 
she could have got in perfectly well — as well as her 
mother did — without your help — " Her voice 
broke in a miserable sob, and she clutched herself 
tighter to him. 

He smoothed down her hair with his hand. " Why, 
Marsh! Did you think that made me unhappy? 
/ didn't mind it a bit. I knew what the trouble 
was, at the time ; but I was n't going to say anything. 
I knew you would be all right as soon as you could 
think it over. You don't suppose I care anything 
for that girl ? " 

"No," answered a rueful sob. "But I wish you 
did n't have anything to do with her. I know she '11 
make trouble for you, somehow." 

" Well," said Bartley, " I can't very well turn her 
off as long as she does her work. But you need n't 
be worried about making me unhappy. If anything, 
I rather liked it. It showed 4iow much you did care 
for me." He bent toward her, with a look of bright 
raillery, for the parting kiss. "Now then: once, 
twice, three times, — and good night it is ! " 



68 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



VI. 



The spectacle of a love affair in which the woman 
gives more of her heart than the man gives of his is 
so pitiable that we are apt to attribute a kind of 
merit to her, as if it were a voluntary self-sacrifice 
for her to love more than her share. Not only other 
men, but other women, look on with this canonizing 
compassion ; for women have a lively power of im- 
agining themselves in the place of any sister who 
suffers in matters of sentiment, and are eager to 
espouse the common cause in commiserating her. 
Each of them pictures herself similarly wronged or 
slighted by the man she likes best, and feels how 
cruel it would be if he were to care less for her than 
she for him ; and for the time being, in order to real- 
ize the situation, she loads him with all the sins of 
omission proper to the culprit in the alien case. 
But possibly there is a compensation in merely lov- 
ing, even where the love given is out of all propor- 
tion to the love received. 

If Bartley Hubbard's sensations and impressions of 
the day had been at all reasoned, that night as he lay 
thinking it over, he could unquestionably have seen 
many advantages for Marcia in the affair, — perhaps 
more than for himself. But to do him justice he did 
not foimulate these now, or in any wise explicitly 
recognize the favors he was bestowing. At twenty- 
six one does not naturally compute them in musing 
upon the girl to whom one is just betrothed ; and 
Bartley*s mind was a confusion of pleasure. He liked 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 69 

SO well to think how foud of him Marcia was, that it 
did not occur to him then to question whetlier he 
were as fond of lier. It is possible that as he drowsed, 
at last, there floated airily through the consciousness 
which was melting and dispersing itself before the 
approach of sleep, an intimation from somewhere to 
some one that perhaps the affair need not be consid- 
ered too seriously. But in that mysterious limbo 
one cannot be sure of what is thought and what is 
dreamed ; and Bartley always acquitted himself, and 
probably with justice, of any want of seriousness. 

What he did make sure of when he woke was that 
he was still out of sorts, and that he had again that 
dull headache ; and his instant longing for sympathy 
did more than anything eke to convince him that he 
really loved Marcia, and had never, in his obscurest 
or remotest feeling, swerved in his fealty to her. In 
the atmosphere of her devotion yesterday, he had so 
wholly forgotten his sufferings that he had imagined 
himself well ; but now he found that he was not well, 
and he began to believe that he was going to have 
what the country people call a fit of sickness. He 
felt that he ought to be taken care of, that he was unfit 
to work ; and in his vexation at not being able to go 
to Marcia for comfort — it* really amounted to nothing 
less — he entered upon the day's affairs with fretful 
impatience. 

The Free Press was published on Tuesdays, and 
Monday was always a busy time of preparation. The 
hands were apt also to feel the demoralization that 
follows a holiday, even when it has been a holy day. 
The girls who set the type of the Free Press had 
by no means foregone the rights and privileges of 
their sex in espousing their art, and they had their 
beaux on Sunday night like other young ladies. It 
resulted that on Monday morning they were nervous 
and impatient, alternating between fits of giggling 



70 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

delight in the interchange of fond reminiscences, and 
tlie crossness which is pretty sure to disfigure human 
behavior from want of sleep. But ordinarily Hartley 
got on very well with them. In spite of the assump- 
tion of equality between all classes in Equity, they 
stood in secret awe of his personal splendor, and the 
tradition of his achievements at college and in tlie 
great world ; and a flattering joke or a sharp sai*casm 
from him went a great way with them. Besides, he 
had an efficient lieutenant in Henry Bird, the young 
printer who had picked up his trade in the office, and 
who acted as Bartley's foreman, so far as the estab- 
lishment had an organization. Bird had industry 
and discipline which were contagious, and that love 
of liis work which is said to be growing raxe among 
artisans^n the modern subdivision of trades. This 
boy — for he was only nineteen — worked at his craft 
early and late out of pleasure in it. He seemed one 
of those simple, subordinate natures which are happy 
in looking up to whatever assumes to be above them. 
He exulted to serve in a world where most people 
prefer to be served, and it is uncertain whether he 
liked his work better for its own sake, or Bartley's, 
for whom he did it. He was slight and rather delicate 
in health, and it came natural for Bartley to patronize 
him. He took him on the long walks of which he 
was fond, and made him in some sort his humble con- 
fidant, talking to him of himself and his plans with 
large and braggart vagueness. He depended upon 
Bird in a great many things, and Bird never failed 
him ; for he had a basis of constancv that was im- 
movable. "No," said a philosopher from a neigh- 
boring logging-camp, who used to hang about the 
printing-office a long time after he had got his paper, 
" there aiut a great deal of natural git up and howl 
about Henry ; but he stays put." In the confidences 
which Bartley used to make Bird, he promised that. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 71 

when he left the newspaper for the law, he would see 
that no one else succeeded him. The young fellow 
did not need this promise to make him Hartley's fast 
friend, but it colored his affection with ambitious en- 
thusiasm; to edit 'and publish a newspaper, — his 
dreams did not go beyond that : to devote it to Bart- 
ley's interest in the political life on which Hartley 
often hinted he might eirter, — that would be tlie 
sweetest privilege of idealized success. Bird already 
wrote paragraphs for the Free Press, and Hartley let 
him make up a column of news from the city ex- 
changes, which was partly written and ^partly se- 
lected. 

Hartley came to the office rather late on Monday 
morning, bringing with him the papers from Satur- 
day night's mail, which had lain unopened over Sun- 
day, and went directly into his own room, without 
looking into the printing-office. He felt feverish and 
irritable, and he resolved to fill up with selections and 
let his editorial paragraphing go, or get Bird to do 
it. He was tired of the work, and sick of Equity ; 
Marcia's face seemed to look sadly in upon his 
angry discontent, and he no longer wished to go to 
her for sympathy. His door opened, and, without 
glancing from the newspaper which he held up be- 
fore him, he asked, " What is it. Bird ? Do you want 
copy? 

" Well, no, Mr. Hubbard," answered Bird, " we have 
copy enough for the force we 've got this morning." 

" Why, what 's up ? " demanded Bartley, dropping 
his paper. 

"Lizzie Sawyer has sent word that she is sick, 
and we have n't heard or seen anything of Hannah 
Morrison." 

"Confound the girls!" said Bartley, "there's al- 
ways something the matter with them." He rubbed 
his hand over his forehead, as if to rub out the dull 



72 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

pain there. " Well/' he said, " I must go to work 
myself, then. He rose, and took hold of the lapels of 
his coat, to pull it off; but something in Bird's look 
arrested him. " What is it ? " he asked. 

"Old Morrison was here, just Before you came in, 
and said he wanted to see you. I think he was 
drunk," said Bird, anxiously. "He said he was com- 
ing back again." 

" All right; let him come," replied Bartley. " This 
is a free country, — especially in Equity. I suppose 
he wants Haimah's wages raised, as usual. How 
much are we behind on the paper, Henry ? " 

" We 're not a great deal behind, Mr. Hubbard, if 
we were not so weak-handed." 

"Perhaps we can get Hannah back, during the 
forenoon. At any rate, we C9,n ask her honored 
parent when he comes." 

Where Morrison got his liquor was a question that 
agitated Equity from time to time, and baffled the 
officer of the law empowered to see that no strong 
drink came into the town. Under conditions wliich 
made it impossible even in the logging-camps, and 
rendered the sale of spirits too precarious for the 
apothecary, who might be supposed to deal in them 
medicinally, Morrison never failed of his spree when 
the mysterious mechanism of his appetite enforced it. 
l^robably it was some form of bedevilled cider that 
supplied the material of his debauch ; but even cider 
was not easily to be had. 

Morrison's spree was a movable feast, and recurred 
at irregular intervals of two, or three, or even six 
weeks ; but it recurred often enough to keep him poor, 
and his family in a social outlawry against which 
the kindly instincts of their neighbors struggled in 
vain. Mrs. Morrison was that pariah who, in a vil- 
lage like Equity, cuts herself off from hope by tak- 
ing in washing ; and it was a decided rise in the 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 73 

world for Hannah, a wild girl at school, to get a place 
in the printing-office. Her father had applied for it 
humbly enough at the tremulous and penitent close 
of one of his long sprees, and was grateful to Bartley 
for taking the special interest in her which she re- 
ported at home. 

But the independence of a drunken shoemaker is 
proverbial, and Morrison's meek spirit soared into 
lordly arrogance with his earliest cups. The fii*st 
warning which the community had of his change of 
attitude was the conspicuous and even defiant closure 
of his shop, and the scornful rejection of custom, how- 
ever urgent or necessitous. All Equity might go in 
broken shoes, for any patching or half-soling tlie 
people got from him. He went about collecting his 
small dues, and paying up his debts as long as the 
money lasted, in token of his resolution not to take 
any favors from any man thereafter. Then he retired 
to his house on one of the by streets, and by degrees 
drank himself past active offence. It was of course 
in his defiant humor that he came to visit Bartley, 
who had learned to expect him whenever Hannah 
failed to appear promptly at her work. The affair 
was always easily arranged. Bartley instantly as- 
sented, with whatever irony he liked, to Morrison's 
demands ; he refused with overwhelming politeness 
even to permit him to give himself the trouble to 
support them by argument; he complimented Hannah 
inordinately as one of the most gifted and accom- 
plished ladies of his acquaintence, and inquired affec- 
tionately after the health of each member of the Mor- 
rison family. When Morrison rose to go he always 
said, in shaking hands, " Well, sir, if there was more 
like you in Equity a poor man could get along. You 're 
a gentleman, sir." After getting some paces away 
from the street door, he stumbled back up the stairs 
to repeat, " You 're a gentleman ! " Hannah came 



74 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

during the day, and the wages remained the same : 
neither of the contracting parties regarded the in- 
crease so elaborately agreed upon, and Morrison, on 
becoming sober, gratefully ignored the whole trans- 
action, though, by a curious juggle of his brain, he 
recurred to it in his next spree, and advanced in his 
new demand from the last rise : his daughter was now 
nominally in receipt of an income of forty dollars a 
week, but actually accepted four. 

Bartley, on his part, enjoyed the business as an 
agreeable excitement and a welcome relief from tlie 
monotony of his official life. He never hurried Mor- 
rison's visits, but amused himself by treating him 
witli the most flattering distinction, and baffling his 
arrogance by immediate concession. But this morn- 
ing, when Morrison came back with a front of un- 
common fierceness, he merely looked up from his 
newspapers, to which he had recurred, and said coolly, 
" Oh, Mr. Morrison ! Good morning. I suppose it 's 
that little advance that you wish to see me about. 
Take a chair. What is the increase you ask this 
time ? Of course I agree to anything." 

He leaned forward, pencil in hand, to make a note 
of the figure Morrison should name, when the drunk- 
ard approached and struck the table in front of him 
with his fist, and blazed upon^ Hartley's face, suddenly 
uplifted, with his blue crazy eyes. 

" No, sir ! I won't take a seat, and I don't come 
on no such business ! No, sir ! " He struck the 
table again, and the violence of his blow upset the 
inkstand. 

Bartley saved himself by suddenly springing away. 
" Hollo here ! " he shouted. " What do you mean by 
this infernal nonsense ? " 

" What do you mean," retorted the drunkard, " by 
makin' up to my girl ? " 

" You 're a fool," cried Bartley, " and drunk ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 75 

" I '11 show you whether I 'm a fool, and 1 11 show 
you whether I 'm drunk," said Morrison. He opened 
the door and beckoned to Bird, with an air of myste- 
rious authority. " Young man ! Come here !" 

Bird was used to the indulgence with which Bart- 
ley treated Morrison's tipsy freaks, and supposed that 
he had been called by his consent to witness another 
agreement to a rise in Hannah's wages. He came 
quickly, to help get Morrison out of the way the 
sooner, and he was astonished to be met by Bartley 
with " I don't want you, Bird." 

" All right," answered the boy, and he turned to go 
out of the door. 

But Morrison had planted himself against it, and 
waved Bird austerely back. "/ want you," he said, 
with drunken impressiveness, " for a witness — wick 
— witness — while I ask Mr. Hubbard what he means 
by-" 

" Hold your tongue ! " cried Bartley. " Get out of 
this ! " He advanced a pace or two toward Morrison 
who stood his ground without swerving. 

" Now you — you keep quiet, Mr. Hubbard," said 
Morrison, with a swift drunken change of mood, by 
which he passed from arrogant denunciation to a 
smooth, patronizing mastery of the situation. "/ 
wish this thing all settled amic — ic — amelcabilly." 

Bartley broke into a helpless laugh at Morrison's 
final failure on a word difficult to sober tongues, and 
the latter went on : " No 'casion for bad feeling on 
either side. All I want know is what you mean." 

" Well, go on ! " cried Bartley, good-naturedly, and 
he sat down in his chair, which he tilted back, and, 
clasping his hands behind his head, looked up into 
Morrison's face. " What do I mean by what ? " 

Probably Morrison had not expected to be categori- 
cal, or to bring anything like a bill of particulars 
against Bartley, and this demand gave him pause. 



76 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" What you mean," he said, at last, " by always 
praising her up so ? '* 

" What I said. She 's a very good girl, and a very 
bright one. You don 't deny that ? " 

"No — no matter what I deny. What — what 
you lend her all them books for ? " 

" To improve her mind. You don't object to that ? 
I thought you once thanked me for taking an interest 
in her." 

"Don't you mind what I object to, and what I 
thank you for," said Morrison, with dignity. "I 
know what I 'm about." 

" I begin to doubt. But get on. I 'm in a great 
hurry this morning," said Bartley. 

Morrison seemed to be making a mental examina- 
tion of his stock of charges, while the strain of keep- 
ing his upright position began to tell upon him, and 
he swayed to and fro against the door. "What's 
that word you sent her by my boy, Sat'day night ? " 

"That she was a smart girl, and would be sure 
to get on if she was good — or words to that effect. 
I trust there was no offence in that, Mr. Morrison ? " 

Morrison surrendered himself to another season of 
cogitation, in which he probably found his vagueness 
growing upon him. He ended by fumbling in all his 
pockets, and bringing up from the last a crumpled 
scrap of paper. " What you — what you say that ? " 

Bartley took the extended scrap with an easy air. 
" Miss Morrison's handwriting, I think." He held it 
up before him and read aloud, " ' I love my love with 
an H because he is Handsome.' This appears to be 
a confidence of Miss Morrison to her Muse. Whom 
do you think she refers to, Mr. Morrison ? " 

"What's — what's the first letter your name?" 
demanded Morrison, with an effort to collect his dis- 
persing severity. 

" B," promptly replied Bartley. " Perhaps this con- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 77 

cerns you, Henry. Your name begins with an H." 
He passed the paper up over his head to Bird, who 
took it silently. " You see," he continued, addressing 
Bird, but looking at Morrison as he spoke, " Mr. 
Morrison wishes to convict me of an attempt upon 
Miss Hannah's affections. Have you anything else 
to urge, Mr. Morrison ? " 

Morrison slid at last from his difficult position into 
a convenient chair, and struggled to keep himself 
from doubling forward. " I want know what you 
mean," he said, with dogged iteration. 

" I '11 show you what I mean," said Bartley with an 
ugly quiet, while his mustache began to twitch. He 
sprang to his feet and seized Morrison by the collar, 
pulling him up out of the chair till he held him clear 
of the floor, and opened the door with his other hand. 
" Don't show your face here again, — you or your girl 
either!" Still holding the man by the collar, he 
pushed him before him through the office, and gave 
him a final thust out of the outer door. 

Bartley returned to his room in a white heat: 
"Miserable tipsy rascal!" he panted; "I wonder 
who has set him on to this thing." 

Bird stood pale and silent, still holding the crum- 
pled scrap of paper in his hand. 

" I should n't be surprised if that impudent little 
witch herself had put him up to it. She 's capable of 
it," said Bartley, fumbling aimlessly about on his 
table, in his wrath, without looking at Bird. 

"It's a lie!" said Bird. 

Bartley started as if the other had struck him, and 
as he glared at Bird the anger went out of his face 
for pure amazement. " Are you out of your mind, 
Henry ? " he asked calmly. " Perhaps you 're drunk 
too, this morning. The Devil seems to have got into 
pretty much everybody." 

" It 's a lie ! " repeated the boy, while the tears 



78 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

sprang to his eyes. " She 's as good a girl as Marcia 
Gaylord is, any day ! " 

" Better go away, Henry," said Bartley, with a 
deadly sort of gentleness. 

"I'm going away," answered 'the boy, his face 
twisted with weeping. " I 've done my last day's 
work for you^ He pulled down his shirt-sleeves, 
and buttoned them at the wrists, while the tears ran 
out over his face, — helpless tears, the sign of his 
womanish tenderness, his womanish weakness. 

Bartley continued to glare at him. " Why, I do 
believe you're in love with her yourself, you little 
fool ! " 

** Oh, I Ve heen a fool ! " cried Bii-d. " A fool to 
think as much of you as I always have, — a fool to 
believe that you were a gentleman, and would n't 
take a mean advantage. I was a fool to suppose you 
wanted to do her any good, when you came praising 
and flattering her, and turning her head !" 

"Well, then," said Bartley with harsh insolence, 
" don't be a fool any longer. If you 're in love with 
her, you have n't any quarrel with me, my boy. She 
flies at higher game than humble newspaper editors. 
The head of Willett's lumbering gang is your man ; 
and so you may go and tell that old sot, her father. 
Why, Henry ! You don't mean to say you care any- 
thing for that girl ? " 

' " And do you mean to say you have n't done every- 
thing you could to turn her head since she's been 
in this office ? She used to like me well enough at 
school." All men are blind and jealous children 
alike, when it comes to question of a woman between 
them, and this poor boy's passion was turning him 
into a tiger. "Don't come to me with your lies, 
any more ! " Here his rage culminated, and with a 
blind cry of "Ay!" he struck the paper which he 
had kept in his hand into Bartley's face. 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 79 

The demons, whatever they were, of anger, re- 
morse, pride, shame, were at work in Bartley's heart 
too, and he returned the blow as instantly as if Bird's 
touch had set the mechanism of his arm in motion. 
In contempt of the other's weakness he struck with 
the flat of his hand ; but the blow was enough. Bird 
fell headlong, and the concussion of his head upon 
the floor did the rest. He lay senseless. 



80 A MODERN INSTANCE, 



VII. 



Bartley hung over the boy with such a terror in 
his soul as he had never had before. He believed 
that he had killed him, and in this conviction came 
with the simultaneity of events in dreams the sense 
of all his blame, of which the blow given for a blow 
seemed the least part. He was not so wrong in that 
as he was wrong in what led to it. He did not 
abhor in himself so much the wretch who had struck 
his brother down as the light and empty fool who 
had trifled with that silly hoyden. The follies that 
•seemed so amusing and resultless in their time had 
ripened to this bitter effect, and he knew that he, and 
not she, was mainly culpable. Her self-betrayal, how- 
ever it came about, was proof that they were more 
serious with her than with him, and he could not 
plead to himself even the poor excuse that his fancy 
had been caught. Amidst the anguish of his seK- 
condemnation the need to conceal what he had done 
occurred to him. He had been holding Bird*s head 
in his arms, and imploring him, " Henry ! Henry ! 
wake up ! " in a low, husky voice ; but now he turned 
to the door and locked it, and the lie by which he 
should escape sprang to his tongue. " He died in a 
fit." He almost believed jit as it murmured itself 
from his lips. There was no mark, no bruise, noth- 
ing to show that he had touched the boy. Suddenly 
he felt the lie choke him. He pulled down the 
window to let in the fresh air, and this pure breath 
of heaven blew into his darkened spirit and lifted 



A MODERN IKSTAKCE. 81 

there a little the vapors which were thickening in it 
The horror of having to tell that lie, even if he 
should escape by it, all his life long, till he was a 
gray old man, and to keep the truth forever from his 
lips, presented itself to him as intolerable slavery. 
"Oh, my God!" he spoke aloud, "how can I bear 
that?" And it was in self-pity that he revolted 
from it. Few men love the truth for its own sake, 
and Bartley was not one of these ; but he practised 
it because his experience had been that lies were 
difficult to manage, and that they were a burden 
on the mini He was not candid ; he did not shun 
conoealments and evasions; but positive lies he 
had kept from, and now he could not trust one to 
save his life. He unlocked the door and ran out to 
find help; he must do that at last; he must do it 
at any risk; no matter what he said afterward. 
When our deeds and motives come to be balanced at 
the last day, let us hope that mercy, and not justice, 
may prevail. 

It must have been mercy that sent the doctor at 
that moment to the apothecary's, on the other side of 
the street, and enabled Bartley to get him up into his 
office, without publicity or explanation other than 
that Henry Bird seemed to be in a fit. The doctor 
lifted the boy's head, and explored his bosom with his 
hand. 

" Is he — is he dead ? " gasped Bartley, and the 
words came so mechanically from his tongue that he 
began to believe he had not spoken them, when the 
doctor answered. 

" No ! How did this happen ? Tell me exactly." 

*' We had a quarrel. He struck me. I knocked 

him down." Bartley delivered up the truth, as a 

prisoner of war — or a captive brigand, perhaps — 

parts with his weapons one by one. 

" Very well," said the doctor. " Get some water." 

6 



82 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Bartley poured some out of the pitcher on his table, 
and the doctor, wetting his handkerchief, drew it 
again and £^ain over Bird's forehead. 

" I never meant to hurt him," said Bartley. " I 
did n't even intend to strike him when he hit me." 

" Intentions have very little to do with physical 
effects," replied the doctor sharply. " Henry ! " 

The boy opened his eyes, and, muttering feebly, 
" My head ! " closed them again. 

" There 's a concussion here," said the doctor. 
"We had better get him home. Drive my sleigh 
over, will you, from Smith's." 

Bartley went out into the glare of the sun, which 
beat upon him like the eye of the world. But the 
street was really empty, as it often was in the middle 
of the forenoon at Equity. The apothecary, who saw 
him untying the doctor's horse, came to his door, and 
said jocosely, " Hello, Doc ! who 's sick ? " 

" I am," said Bartley, solemnly, and the apothe- 
cary laughed at his readiness. Bartley drove round 
to the back of the printing-office, where the farmers 
delivered his wood. *'I thought we could get him 
out better that way," he explained, and the doctor, 
who had to befriend a great many concealments 
in his practice, silently spared Bartley's disingenu- 
ousness. 

• The rush of the cold air, as they drove rapidly down 
the street, with that limp shape between them, re- 
vived the boy, and he opened his eyes, and made an 
effort to hold himself erect, but he could not ; and 
when they got him into the warm room at home, he 
fainted again. His mother had met them at the door 
of her poor little house, without any demonstration 
of grief or terror ; she was far too well acquainted in 
her widowhood — bereft of all her children but this 
son — with sickness and death, to show even sur- 
prise, if she felt it. When Bartley broke out into his 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 83 

lameatable confession, " Oh, Mrs. Bird I this is my 
work!" she only wrung her hands and answered, 
" Yov/r work ! Oh, Mr. Hubbard, he thought the 
world of you ! " and did not ask him how or why he 
had done it. After they had got Henry on the bed, 
Bartley was no longer of use there ; but they let him 
remain in the comer into which he had shrunk, and 
from which he watched all that went on, with a dry 
mouth and faltering breath. It began to appear to 
him that he was very young to be involved in a 
misfortune like this ; he did not understand why it 
should have happened to him ; but he promised him- 
self that, if Henry lived, he would try to be a better 
man in every way. 

After he had lost all hope, the time seemed so long, 
the boy on the bed opened his eyes once more, and 
looked round, while Bartley still sat with his face in 
his hands. " Where — where is Mr. Hubbard ? " he 
faintly asked, with a bewildered look at his mother 
and the doctor. 

Bartley heard the weak voice, and staggered for- 
ward, and fell on his knees beside the bed. " Here, 
here ! Here I am, Henry ! Oh, Henry, I did n't 
intend — " He stopped at the word, and hid his 
face in the coverlet. 

The boy lay as if trying to make out what had 
happened, and the doctor told him that he had 
fainted. After a time, he put out his hand and laid 
it on Bartley's head. " Yes ; but I don*t understand 
what makes him cry." 

They looked at Bartley, who had lifted his head, 
and he went over the whole affair, except so far as it 
related to Hannah Morrison ; he did not spare him- 
self; he had often found that strenuous self-condem- 
nation moved others to compassion ; and besides, it 
was his nature to seek the relief of full confession. 
But Henry heard him through with a blank counte- 



84 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

nance. "Don't you remember?" Bartley implored 
at last. 

"No, I don't remember. I only remember that 
there seemed to be something the matter with my 
head this morning." 

" That was the trouble with me, too," said Bartley. 
" I must have been crazy — I must have been insane 

— when I struck you. I can't account for it." 
" I don't remember it," answered the boy. 

" That 's all right," said the doctor. " Don't try. I 
guess you better let him alone, now," he added to 
Bartley, with such a significant look that the young 
man retired from the bedside, and stood awkwardly 
apart. "He'll get along. You needn't be anxious 
about leaving him. He '11 be better alone." 

There was no mistaking this hint. " Well, well ! " 
said Bartley, humbly, " I '11 go. But I 'd rather stay 
and watch with him, — I sha'n t eat or sleep till he 's 
on foot again. . And I can't leave till you tell me 
that you forgive me, Mrs. Bird. I never dreamed — 

— I did n't intend — " He could not go on. 

" I don't suppose you meant to hurt Henry," said 
the mother. " You always pretended to be so fond 
of him, and he thought the world of you. But I 
don't see how you could do it. I presume it was all 
right." 

" No, it was all wrong, — or so nearly all wrong that 
I must ask your forgiveness on that ground. I loved 
him, — I thought the world of him, too. I 'd ten 
thousand times rather have hurt myself," ' pleaded 
Bartley. " Don't let me go till you say that you for- 
give me." 

" I '11 see how Henry gets along," said Mrs. Bird. 
" I don't know as I could rightly say I forgive you 
just yet." Doubtless she was dealing conscientiously 
with herself and with him. " I like to be sure of a 
thing when I say it," she added. 



A MOI)£BN INSTANCE. 85 

The doctor followed hipi into the hall, and Bartley 
could not help turning to him for consolation. " I 
think Mrs. Bird is very unjust^ Doctor. I 've done 
everything I could, and said everything to explain 
the matter ; and I *ve blamed myself where I can't 
feel that I was to blame ; and yet you see how she 
holds out against me." 

"I dare say," answered the doctor dryly, "shc*ll 
feel differently, as she says, if the boy gets along." 

Bartley dropped his hat to the floor. " Get along ! 
Why — why you think be *11 get weE now, don't you. 
Doctor ? " 

" Oh, yes ; I was merely using her words. He *11 
get well." 

" And — and it wont affect his mind, will it ? I 
thought it was very strange, his not remembering 
anything about it — " 

" That 's a very common phenomenon," said the 
doctor. " The patient usually forgets everything that 
occurred for some little time before the accident, in 
cases of concussion of the brain." Bartley shuddered 
at the phrase, but he could not ask anything further. 
What I wanted to say to you," continued the doctor, 
was that this may be a long thing, and there may 
have to be an inquiry into it. You *re lawyer enough 
to understand what that means. I should have to 
testify to what I know, and I only know what you 
told me." 

« Why, you don't doubt — " 

" No, sir ; I Ve no reason to suppose you have n't 
told me the truth, as far as it goes. If you have 
thought it advisable to keep anything back from me, 
you may wish to tell the whole story to an attor- 
ney." 

" I have n't kept anything back. Doctor WQls," 
said Bartley. "I've told you everything — every- 
thing that concerned the quarrel. That drunken old 






86 A MODERN INSTANCE. ,, 

scoundrel of a Morrison got us into it. He accused 
me of making love to his daughter ; and Henry was 
jealous. I never knew he cared anything for her. 
I hated to tell you this before his mother. But this 
is the whole truth, so help me God." 

" I supposed it was something of the kind/* replied 
the doctor. " I *m sorry for you. You can't keep it 
from having an ugly look if it gets out ; and it may 
have to be made public. I advise you to go and see 
Squire Gaylord ; he 's always stood your friend." 

"I — I was just going there," said Bartley ; and 
this was true. 

Through all, he had felt the need of some sort of re- 
trieval, — of re-establishing himself in his own esteem 
by some signal stroke ; and he could think of but one 
thing. It was not his fault if he believed that this 
must combine self-sacrifice with safety, and the great- 
est degree of humiliation with the largest sum of con- 
solation. He was none the less resolved not to spare 
himself at all in offering to release Marcia from her 
engagement. The fact that he must now also see 
her father upon the legal aspect of his case certainly 
complicated the affair, and detracted from its heroic 
quality. He could not tell which to see first, for he 
naturally wished his action to look as well as possi- 
ble; and if he went first to Marcia, and she con- 
demned him, he did not know in what figure he 
should approach her father. If, on the other hand, 
he went first to Squire Gaylord, the old lawyer might 
insist that the engagement was already at an end by 
Hartley's violent act, and might well refuse to let a 
njan in his position even see his daughter. He lagged 
heavy-heartedly up the middle of the street, and left 
the question to solve itself at the last moment. But 
when he reached Squire Gay lord's gate, it seemed to 
him that it would be easier to face the father first ; 
and this would be the right way too. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 87 

He turned aside to the little office, and opened the 
door without knocking, and as he stood with the 
knob in his hand, trying to habituate his eyes, full of 
the snow-glare, to tlie dimmer light within, he heard 
a rapturous cry of " Why Bartley ! " and he felt Mar- 
cia's arms flung around his neck. His burdened heart 
yearned upon her with a tenderness he had not 
known before; he realized the preciousne&s of an 
embrace that might be the last ; but he dared not 
put down his lips to hers. She pushed back her 
head in a little wonder, and saw the haggardiiess 
of his face, while he discovered her father looking 
at them. How strong and pure the fire in her must^ 
be when her father's presence could not abash her 
from this betrayal of her love! Bartley sickened, 
and he felt her arms slip from his neck. " Why — 
why — what is the matter ? " 

In spite of some vaguely magnanimous intention 
to begin at the beginning, and tell the whole affair 
just as it happened, Bartley found himself wishing 
to put the best face on it at first, and trust to chances 
to make it all appear well. He did not speak at once, 
and Marcia pressed him into a chair, and then, like 
an eager child, who will not let its friend escape till 
it has been told what it wishes to know, she set lier- 
self on his knee, and put her hand on his shoulder. 
He looked at her father, not at her, while he spoke 
hoarsely: "I have had trouble with Henry Bird, 
Squire Gaylord, and I 've come to tell you about it." 

The old squire did not speak, but Marcia repeated 
in amazement, " With Henry Bird ? " 

" He struck me — " 

" Henry Bird sti*uck you ! " cried the girl. " I 
should like to know why Henry Bird struck you, 
when you Ve made so much of him, and he *s always 
pretended to be so grateful — " 

Bartley still looked at her father. ** And I struck 
him back." 



88 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" You did perfectly right, Bartley," exclaimed Mar- 
cia, " and I should have despised you if you had let 
any one run over you. Struck you ! I declare — " 

He did not heed her, but continued to look at her 
father. "I didn't intend to hurt him, — I hit him 
with my open hand, — but he fell and struck his head 
on the floor. I 'm afraid it hurt him pretty badly." 
He felt the pang that thrilled through the girl at his 
words, and her hand trembled on his shoulder ; but 
she did not take it away. 

The old man came forward from the pile of books 
which he and Marcia had been dusting, and sat down 
in a chair on the other side of the stove. He pushed 
back his hat from his forehead, and asked drily, 
" What commenced it ? " 

Hartley hesitated. It was this part of the affair 
which he would rather have imparted to Marcia after 
seeing it with her father's eyes, or possibly, if her 
father viewed it favorably, have had him tell her. 
The old man noticed his reluctance. "Hadn't you 
better go into the house. Marsh ? " 

She merely gave him a look of utt.er astonishment 
for answer, and did not move. He laughed noise- 
lessly, and said to Hartley, " Go on." 

" It was that drunken old scoundrel of a Morrison 
who began it ! " cried Bartley, in angry desperation. 
Marcia dropped her hand from his shoulder, while her 
father worked his jaws upon the bit of stick he had 
picked up from the pile of wood, and put between his 
teeth. " You know that whenever he gets on a spree 
he comes to the ofl&ce and wants Hannah's wages 
raised." 

Marcia sprang to her feet. " Oh, I knew it ! I 
knew it ! I told you she would get you into trouble ! 
I told you so ! " She stood clinching her hands, and 
her father bent his keen scrutiny first upon her, and 
then upon the frowning face with which Bartley re- 
garded her. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 89 

" Did he come to have her wages raised to-day ? " 

" No." 

" What did he come for ? " He involuntarily as- 
dumed the attitude of a lawyer crossquestioning a 
slippery witness. 

"He came for— He came — He accused me of — 
He said I had — made love to his confounded girl." 

Marcia gasped. 

" What made him think you had ? " 

" It was n't necessary for him to have any reason. 
He was drunk. I had been kind to the girl, and 
favored her all I could, because she seemed to be 
anxious to do her work well ; and I praised her for 
trying." 

" Um-umph," commented the Squire. " And that 
made Heniy Bird jealous ? " 

"It seems that he was fond of her. I never 
dreamed of such a thing, and when I put old Morrison 
out of the office, and came back, he called me a liar, 
and struck me in the face." He did not lift his eyes 
to the level of Marcia's, who in her gray dress stood 
there like a gray shadow, and did not stir or speak. 

" And you never had made up to the girl at all ? " 

" No." 

" Kissed her, I suppose, now and then ? " suggested 
the Squire. 

Bartley did not reply. 

" Flattered her up, and told how much you thought 
of her, occasionally ? " 

"I don't see what that has to do with it," said 
Bartley with a sulky defiance. 

" No, I suppose it 's what you 'd do with most any 
pretty girl," returned the Squire. He was silent 
awhile. " And so you knocked Henry down. What 
happened then ? " 

" I tried to bring him to, and then I went for the 
doctor. He revived, and we got him home to his 



90 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

mother's. The doctor says he will get well ; but he 
advised me to come and see you." ^ 

" Any witnesses of the assault ? " 

" No ; we were alone in my own room." 

" Told any one else about it ? " 

" I told the doctor and Mrs. Bird. Henry could n't 
remember it at all." 

" Could n't remember about Morrison, or what made 
him mad at you ? " 

'' Nothing." 

" And that 's all about it ? " 

" Yes." 

The two men had talked across the stove at each 
other, practically ignoring the girl, who stood apart 
from them, gray in the face as her dress, and sup- 
pressing a passion which had turned her as rigid as 
stone. 

" Now, Marcia," said her father, kindly, " better go 
into the house. That 's all there is of it." . 

" No, that is n't all," she answered. " Give me my 
ring, Bartley. Here 's yours." She slipped it off her 
finger, and put it into his mechanically extended 
hand. 

" Marcia ! " he implored, confronting her. 

" Give me my ring, please." 

He obeyed, and put it into her hand. She slipped 
it back on the finger from which she had so fondly 
suffered him to take it yesterday, and replace it with 
his own. 

" I '11 go into the house now, father. Good by, 
Bartley." Her eyes were perfectly clear and dry, and 
her voice controlled ; and as he stood passive before 
her, she took him round the neck, and pressed against 
his face, once, and twice, and thrice, her own gray 
face, in which all love, and unrelenting, and despair, 
were painted. Once and again she held him, and 
looked him in the eyes, as if to be sure it was he. 



A MODEKN INSTANCE.' 91 

Then, with a Icist pressure of her face to his, she re- 
leased him, and passed out of the door. 

" She *s been talking about you, here, all the morn- 
ing," said the Squire, with a sort of quiet absence, as 
if nothing in particular had happened, and he were 
commenting on a little fact that might possibly inter- 
est Bartley. He ruminated upon the fragment of 
wood in his mouth awhile before he added : " I guess 
she won't want to talk about you any more. I drew 
you out a little on that Hannah Morrison business, 
because I wanted her to understand just what kind of 
fellow you were. You see it is n't the trouble you *ve 
got into with Henry Bird that 's killed her ; it 's the 
cause of the trouble. I guess if it had been any- 
thing else, she 'd have stood by you. But you see 
that *s the one thing she could n't bear, and I 'm glad 
it 's happened now instead of afterwards : I guess 
you 're one of that kiind, Mr. Hubbard." 

" Squire Gaylord ! " cried Bartley, " upon my sacred 
word of honor, there is n't any more of this thing than 
I 've told you. And I think it 's pretty hard to be 
thrown over for — for — " 

" Fooling with a pretty girl, when you get a chance, 
and the girl seems to like it ? Yes, it is mther hard. 
And I suppose you have n't even seen her since you 
were engaged to Marcia ? " 

"Of course not ! That is — " 

" It 's a kind of retroactive legislation on Marcia's 
part," said tlie Squire, rubbing his chin, " and that 's 
against one of the first principles of law. But women 
don't seem to be able to gmsp that idea. They 're 
queer about some things. They appear to think they 
uiarry a man's whole life, — his past as well as his 
future, — and that makes 'em particular. And they 
distinguish between different kinds of men. You '11 
find 'em pinning their faith to a fellow who 's been 
through pretty much everything, and swearing by him 



92 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

from the word go ; and another chap, who 's never 
d(me anything very bad, they won't trust half a 
minute out of their sight. Well, I guess Marcia is of 
rather a jealous disposition," he concluded, as if Bart- 
ley had urged this point. 

" She 's very unjust to me," Bartley began. 

" Oh, yes, — she's unjust'' said her father. " I don't 
deny that. But it would n't be any use talking to her. 
She 'd probably turn round with some excuse about 
what she had suffered, and that would be the end of 
it. She would say that she could n't go through it 
again. Well, it ought to be a comfort to you to think 
you don't care a great deal about it." 

"But I do care !" exclaimed Bartley. "I care all 
the world for it. I — " 

" Since when ? " interrupted the Squire. " Do you 
mean to say that you did n't know till yon asked her 
yesterday that Marcia was in love with you ? " 

Bartley was silent. 

" I gufess you knew it as much as a year ago, did n't 
you ? Everybody else did. But you 'd just as soon 
it had been Hannah Morrison, or any other pretty girl. 
You did n't care ! But Marcia did, you see. She 
was n't one of the kind that let any good-looking fel- 
low make love to them. It was because it was you ; 
and you knew it. We 're plain men, Mr. Hubbard ; 
and I guess you '11 get over this, in time. I should n't 
wonder if you began to mend, right away." 

Bartley found himself helpless in the face of this 
passionless sarcasm. He could have met stormy in- 
dignation or any sort of invective in kind ; but the 
contemptuous irony with which his pretensions were 
treated, the cold scrutiny with which his motives were 
searched, was something he could not meet. He tried 
to pull himself together for some sort of protest, but 
he ended by hanging his head in silence. He always 
believed that Squire Gaylord had liked him, and here 



A MODElOr INSTANCE. 93 

he was treating him like his bitterest enemy, and 
seeming to enjoy his misery. He could not under- 
stand it; he thought it extremely unjust, and past all 
the measure of his offence. This was true, perhaps ; 
but it is doubtful if Bartley would have accepted any 
suffering, no matter how nicely proportioned, in pun- 
ishment of his wrong-doing. He sat hanging his head, 
and taking his pain in rebellious silence, with a gath- 
ering hate in his heart for the-old man. 

" M-well 1 " said the Squire, at last, rising from his 
chair, " I guess I must be going." 

Bartley sprang to his feet aghast. " You *re not 
going to leave me in the lurch, are you ? You *re 
not—" 

** Oh, I shall take care of you, young man, — don't 
be afraid. I Ve stood your friend too long, and your 
name *s been mixed up too much with my girl's, for 
me to let you come to shame openly, if I can help 
it. I 'm going to see Dr. Wills about you, and 1 'ui 
going to see Mi's. Bird, and try to patch it up some- 
how." 

*' And — and — where shall I go ? " gasped Bartley. 

" You might go to the Devil, for all I cared for you," 
said the old man, with the contempt which he no 
longer cared to make ironical. " But I guess you 
better go back to your office, and go to work as if 
nothing had happened — till somethinir does happen. 
I shall close the paper out as soon as I can. 1 was 
thinking of doing that just before you came in. I 
was thinking of taking you into the law business 
with me. Marcia and I were talking about it here. 
But I guess you would n't like the idea now." 

He seemed to get a bitter satisfaction out of these 
mockeries, from which, indeed, he must have suffered 
quite as much as Bartley. But he ended, sadly and 
almost compassionately, with, "Come, come! You 
must start some time." And Bartley dragged his 



94 A MODEBN INSTANCE. 

leaden weight out of the door. The Squire closed it 
after him ; but he did not accompany him down the 
street. It was plain that he did not wish to be any 
longer alone with Bartley, and the young man sus- 
pected, with a sting of shame, that he scorned to be 
seen with him. 



A MOUEKN INSTANCE. 95 



VIIL 

The more Bartley dwelt upon his hard case, during 
the week that followed, the more it appeared to him 
that he was punished out of all proportion to his of- 
fence. He was in no mood to consider such mercies 
as that he had been spared fmm seriously hurting 
Bird ; and that Squire Gaylord and Doctor Wills had 
united with Henry's mother in saving him from open 
disgrace. The physician, indeed, had perhaps in- 
dulged a professional passion for hushing the matter 
up, rather than any pity for Bartley. He probably 
had the scientific way of looking at such questions ; 
and saw much physical cause for moral effects. He 
refrained, with the physician's reticence, from inquir- 
ing into the affair ; but he would not have thought 
Bartley without excuse under the circumstances. In 
regard to the relative culpability in matters of the 
kind, his knowledge of women enabled him to take 
much the view of the woman's share that other wo- 
men take. 

But Bartley was ignorant of the doctor's leniency, 
and associated him with Squire Gaylord in the feel- 
ing that made his last week in Equity a period of 
social outlawry. There were moments in which he 
could not hiinself escape the same point of view. He 
could rebel against the severity of the condemnation 
he had fallen under in the eyes of Marcia and her 
father ; he could, in the light of example and usage, 
laugh at the notion of harm in his behavior to Han- 
nah Morrison ; yet he found himself looking at it Jis 



96 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

a treachery to Marcia. Certainly, she had no right 
to question his conduct before his engagement. Yet, 
if he knew that Marcia loved him, and was waiting 
with life-and-death anxiety for some word of love from 
him, it was cruelly false to play with another at the 
passion which was such a tragedy to her. This was 
the point that, put aside however often, still present- 
ed itself, and its recurrence, if he could have known 
it, was mercy and reprieve from the only source out 
of which these could come. 

Hannah Morrison did not return to the printing- 
office, and Bird was still sick, though it was now only 
a question of time when he should be out again. 
Bartley visited him some hours every day, and sat 
and suffered under the quiet condemnation of his 
mother's eyes. She had kept Hartley's secret v/ith 
the same hardness with which she had refused him 
her forgiveness, and the village had settled down into 
an ostensible acceptance of the theory of a faint as 
the beginning of Bird's sickness, with such other con- 
jectures as the doctor freely permitted each to form. 
Bartley found his chief consolation in the work which 
kept him out of the way of a great deal of question. 
He worked far into the night, as he must, to make up 
for the force that was withdrawn from the office. At 
the same time he wrote more than ever in the paper, 
and he discovered in himself that dual life of which 
every one who sins or sorrows is sooner or later 
aware : that strange separation of the intellectual 
activity from the suffering of the soul, by which the 
mind toils on in a sort of ironical indifference to the 
pangs that wring the heart; the realization that, in 
some ways, his brain can get on perfectly well with- 
out his conscience. 

There was a great deal of sympathy felt for Bart- 
ley at this time, and his popularity in Equity was 
never greater than now when his life there was draw- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 97 

ing to a close. The spectacle of his diligence was so 
impressive that when, on the following Sunday, the 
young minister who had succeeded to the pulpit of 
the orthodox church preached a sermon on the beauty 
of industry from the text " Consider the lilies," there 
were many who said that they thought of Bartley the 
whole while, and one — a lady — asked Mr. Savin if 
he did not have Mr. Hubbard in mind in the picture 
he drew of the Heroic Worker. They wished that 
Bartley could have heard that sermon. 

Marcia had gone away early in the week to visit in 
the town where she used to go to school, and Bartley 
took her going away as a sign that she wished to put 
herself wholly beyond his reach, or any danger of re- 
lenting at sight of him. He talked with no one about 
her ; and going and coming irregularly to his meals, 
and keeping himself shut up in his room when he was 
not at work, he left people very little chance to talk 
with him. But they conjectured that he and Marcia 
had an understanding ; and some of the ladies used 
such scant opportunity as he gave them to make sly 
allusions to her absence and his desolate condition. 
They were confirmed in their surmise by the fact, 
known from actual observation, that Bartley had not 
spoken a word to any other young lady since Marcia 
went away. 

" Look here, my friend," said the philosopher from 
the logging-camp, when he came in for his paper on 
the Tuesday afternoon following, ** seems to me from 
what I hear tell around here, you're tryin' to kill 
yourself on this newspaper. Now, it won't do ; I tell 
you it won't do." 

Bartley was addressing for the mail the papers 
which one of the girls was folding. " What are you 
going to do about it ? " he demanded of his sympa- 
thizer with whimsical suUenness, not troubling him- 
self to look up at him. 

7 



98 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Well, I haint exactly settled yet," replied the phi- 
losopher, who was of a tall, lank figure, and of a 
mighty brown beard. " But I Ve been around pretty 
much everywhere, and I find that about the poorest 
use you can put a man to is to kill him." 

" It depends a good deal on the man," said Bart- 
ley. " But that 'a stale, Kinney. It 's the old formula 
of the anti-capital-punishmeut fellows. Try some- 
thing else. They 're not talking of hanging me yet." 
He kept on writing, and the philosopher stood over 
him with a humorous twinkle of enjoyment at 
Bartley's readiness. 

' " Well, 1 11 allow it 's old," he admitted. " So *s 
Homer." 

" Yes ; but you don't pretend that you wrote Ho- 
mer." 

Kinney laughed mightily ; then he leaned forward, 
and slapped Bartley on the shoulder with his news- 
paper. " Look here ! " he exclaimed, " I like you ! " 

"Oh, try some other tack! Lots of fellows like 
me." Bartley kept on writing. "I gave you your 
paper, did n't I, Kinney ? " 

" You mean that you want me to get out ? " 

" Far be it from me to say so." 

This delighted Kinney as much as the last refine- 
ment of hospitality would have pleased another man. 
" Look here ! " he said, " I want you should come out 
and see our camp. I can't fool away any more time 
on you here ; but I want you should come out and see 
lis. Give you something to write about. Hey ?" 

" The invitation comes at a time when circumstan - 
ces over which I have no control oblige me to decline 
it. I admire your prudence, Kinney." 

"Xo, honest Injian, now," protested Kinney. 
"Take a day off', and fill up with dead advertise- 
ments. That 's the way they used to do out in Alkali 
City when they got short of help on the Eagle, and 
we liked it just as well." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 99 

" Now you are talking sense," said Bartley, looking 
up at him. " How far is it to your settlement ? " 

" Two miles, if you *re goin' ; three and a half, if 
you aint." 

" When are you coming in ? '* 

"I'm in, now." 

" I can't go with you to-day." 

" Well, how '11 to-morrow morning suit ? " 

" To-morrow morning will suit," said Bartley. 

" All right. If anybody comes to see the editor 
to-morrow morning, Marilla," said Kinney to the 
girl, " you tell 'em he 's sick, and gone a-loggin*, and 
won't be back till Saturday. Say," he added, laying 
his hand on Bartley's shoulder, *' you aint foolin* ? " 

" If I am," replied Bartley, "just mention it" 

" Good ! " said Kinney. " To-morrow it is, then." 

Bartley finished addressing the newspapers, and 
then he put them up in wrappers and packages for 
the mail. " You can go, now, Marilla," he said to the 
girL " I '11 leave some copy for you and Kitty ; you '11 
find it on my table in the morning." 

" All right," answered the girl. 

Bartley went to his supper, which he ate with 
more relish than he had felt for his meals since his 
troubles began, and he took part in the supper-table 
talk with something of his old audacity. The change 
interested the lady boarders, and they agreed that he 
must have had a letter. He returned to his office, 
and worked till nine o'clock, writing and selecting 
matter out of his exchanges. He spent most of the 
time in preparing the funny column, which was a 
iavorite feature in the Free Press. Then he put the 
copy where the girls would find it in the morning, 
and, leaving the door unlocked, took his way up the 
street toward Squire Gaylord's. 

He knew that he should find the lawyer in his 
office, and he opened the office door without knock- 



100 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

ing, and went in. He had not met Squire Gaylord 
since the morning of his dismissal, and the old man 
had left him for the past eight days without any sign 
as to what he expected of Bartley, or of what he 
intended to do in his affair. 

They looked at each other, but exchanged no sort 
of greeting, as Bartley, unbidden, took a chair on the 
opposite side of the stove ; the Squire did not put 
down the book he had been reading. 

" I 've come to see what you 're going to do about 
the Free Press," said Bartley. 

The old man rubbed his bristling jaw, that seemed 
even lanker than when Bartley saw it last. He 
waited almost a minute before he replied, " I don't 
know as I Ve got any call to tell you." 

" Then I '11 tell you what 1 'm going to do about 
it," retorted Bartley. " I 'm going to leave it. I 've 
done my last day's work on that paper. Do you 
think," he cried, angrily, " that I 'm going to keep on 
in the dark, and let you consult your pleasure as to 
my future ? No, sir ! You don't know your man 
quite, Mr. Gaylord ! " 

" You Ve got over your scare," said the lawyer. 

" I 've got over my scare," Bartley retorted. 

"And you think, because you're not afraid any 
longer, that you 're out of danger. I know my man 
as well as you do, I guess." 

" If you think I care for the danger, I don't. You 
may do what you please. Whatever you do, I shall 
know it is n't out of kindness for me. I did n't 
believe from the first that the law could touch me, 
and I was n't uneasy on that account But I did n't 
want to involve myself in a public scandal, for Miss 
Gaylord's sake. Miss Gaylord has released me from 
any obligations to her; and now you may go ahead 
and do what you like." Each of the men knew how 
much truth there was in this ; but for the moment, 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 101 

in his anger, Bartley believed himself sincere, and 
there is no question but his defiance was so. Squire 
G^ylord made him no answer, and after a minute of 
expectation Bartley added, " At any rate, I Ve done 
with the Free Press. I advise you to stop the paper, 
and hand the office over to Henry Bird, when he gets 
about. I 'm going out to Willett's logging-camp to- 
morrow, and I 'm coming back to Equity on Saturday. 
You 11 know where to find me till then, and after that 
you may look me up if you want me." 

He rose to go, but stopped with his hand on the 
door-knob, at a sound, preliminary to speaking, which 
the old man made in his throat. Bartley stopped, 
hoping for a further pretext of quarrel, but the law- 
yer merely asked, " Where 's the key ? " 

" It 's in the office door." 

The old man now looked at him as if he no longer 
saw him, and Bartley went out, balked of his pur- 
pose in part, and in that degree so much the more 
embittered. 

Squire Graylord remained an hour longer ; then he 
blew out his lamp, and left the little office for the 
night. A light was burning in the kitchen, and he 
made his way round to the back door of the house, 
and let himself in. His wife was there, sitting before 
the stove, in those last delicious moments before 
going to bed, when all the house is mellowed to such 
a warmth that it seems hard to leave it to the cold 
and dark. In this poor lady, who had so long 
denied herself spiritual comfort, there was a certain 
obscure luxury : she liked little dainties of the table ; 
she liked soft warmth, an easy cushion. It was 
doubtless in the disintegration of the finer qualities 
of her nature, that, as they grew older together, she 
threw more and more the burden of acute feeling 
upon her husband, to whose doctrine of life she had 
submitted, but had never been reconciled. Marriage 



102 A MODERN mSTAKCK 

is, with all its disparities, a much more equal thing 
than appears, and the meek little wife, who has all 
the advantage of public sympathy, knows her power 
over her oppressor, and at some tender spot in liis 
affections or his nerves can inflict an anguish that 
will avenge her for years of coarser aggression. 
Thrown in upon herself in so vital a matter as her 
religion, Mrs. Gaylord had involuntarily come to 
live lai'gely for herself, though her talk wa^ always 
of her husband. She gave up for him, as she be- 
lieved, her soul's salvation, but she held him to 
account for the uttermost farthing of the price; She 
padded herself round at every point where she could 
have suffered through her sensibilities, and lived 
soft and snug in the shelter of his iron will and 
indomitable courage. It W^as not apathy that she 
had felt when their children died one after another, 
but an obscure and formless exultation that Mr. 
Gaylord would suffer enough for both. 

Marcia was the youngest, and her mother left her 
training almost wholly to her father ; she sometimes 
said that she never supposed the child would live. 
She did not actually urge this in excuse, but she had 
the appearance of doing so ; and she held aloof from 
them both in their mutual relations, with mildly crit- 
ical reserves. They spoiled each other, as father and 
daughter are apt to do when left to themselves. 
What was good in the child certainly received no 
harm from his indulgence; and what was naughty 
was after all not so very naughty. She was pas- 
sionate, but she was generous ; and if she showed a 
jealous tempei-ament that must hereafter make her 
unhappy, for the time being it charmed and flattered 
her father to have her so fond of him that she could 
not endure any rivalry in his affection. 

Her education proceeded fitfully. He would not 
let her be forced to household tasks that she disliked ; 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 103 

and as a little girl she went to school chiefly because 
she liked to go, and not because she would have been 
obliged to it if she had not chosen. When she grew 
older, she wished to go away to school, and her father 
allowed her; he had no great respect for boarding- 
schools, but if Marcia wanted to try it, he was willing 
to humor the joke. 

What resulted was a great proficiency in the things 
that pleased her, and ignorance of the other things. 
Her father bought her a piano, on which she did not 
play much, and he bought' her whatever dresses she 
fancied. He never came home from a journey with- 
out bringing her something; and he liked to take her 
with him when he went away to other places. She 
had been several times at Portland, and once at Mont- 
real ; he was very proud of her ; he could not see that 
any one was better-looking, or dressed any better than 
his girl. 

He came into the kitchen, and sat down with his 
hat on, and, taking his chin between his fingers, moved 
uneasily about on his chair. 

" What 's brought you in so early ? " asked his 
wife. 

"Well, I got through," he briefly explained. Af- 
ter a while he said, " Bartley Hubbard *s been out 
there." 

" You don't mean 't he knew she — " 

" No, he did n*t know anything about that. He 
came to tell me he was going away." 

" Welly I don't know what you 're going to do, Mr. 
Gaylord/' said his wife, shifting the responsibility 
wholly upon him. " 'D he seem to want to make 
it up?" 

"M-no!" said the Squire, "he was on his high 
horse. He knows he aint in any danger now." 

" Aint you afraid she '11 carry on dreadfully, when 
she finds out 't he 's gone for good ? " asked Mrs. Gay- 



104 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

lord, with a sort of implied satisfaction that the carry- 
ing on was not to affect her. 

" M-yes," said the Squire, " I suppose she '11 carry 
on. But I don't know what to do about it. Some- 
times I almost wish I 'd tried to make it up between 
'em that day ; but I thought she 'd better see, once 
for all, what sort of man she was going in for, if she 
married him. It 's too late now to do anything. The 
fellow came in to-night for a quarrel, and nothing 
else; I could see that; and I didn't give him any 
chance." ' * 

" You feel sure," asked Mrs. Gaylord, impartially, 
" that Marcia wa'n't too particular ? " 

" No, Miranda, I don't feel sure of anything, except 
that it 's past your bed-time. You better go. I '11 
sit up awhile yet. I came in because I couldn't 
settle my mind to auything out there." 

He took off his hat in token of his intending to 
spend the rest of the evening at home, and put it on 
the table at his elbow. 

His wife sewed at the mending in her lap, without 
offering to act upon his suggestion. " It 's plain to be 
seen that she can't get along without him." 

" She '11 have to, now," replied the Squire. 

" I 'm afraid," said Mrs. Gaylord, softly, " that she '11 
be down sick. She don't look as if she 'd slept any 
great deal since she 's been gone. I d' know as I like 
very much to see her looking the way she does. I 
guess you 've got to take her off somewheres." 

" Why, she 's just been off, and could n't stay ! " 

** That 's because she thought he was here yet. But 
if he 's gone, it won't be the same thing." 

" Well, we 've got to fight it out, some way," said 
the Squire. " It would n't do to give in to it now. 
It always was too much of a one-sided thing, at the 
best ; and if we tried now to mend it up, it would be 
ridiculous. I don't believe he would come back at 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 105 

all, now, and if he did, he would n't come back on any 
equal terms. He *d want to have everything his own 
way. M-no 1 " said the Squire, as if confirming him- 
self in a conclusion often reached already in his own 
mind, " I saw by the way he began to-night that there 
was n't anything to be done with him. It was fight 
from the word go." 

" Well," said Mrs. Gaylord, with gentle, sceptical 
interest in the outcome, " if you Ve made up your 
mind to that, I hope you 11 be able to carry it 
through." 

" That 's what I 've made up my mind to," said her 
husband. 

Mrs. Gaylord rolled up the sewing in her work- 
basket, and packed it away against the side, bracing 
it with several pairs of newly darned socks and stock- 
ings neatly folded one into the other. She took her 
time for this, and when she rose at last to go out, with 
her basket in her hand, the door opened in her face, 
and Marcia entered. Mrs. Gaylord shrank back, and 
then slipped round behind her daughter and vanished. 
The girl took no notice of her mother, but went and 
sat down on her father's knee, throwing her arms 
round his neck, and dropping her haggard face on his 
shoulder. She had arrived at home a few hours 
earlier, having driven over from a station ten miles 
distant, on a road that did not pass near Equity. Af- 
ter giving as much of a shock to her mother's mild 
nature as it was capable of receiving by her unex- 
pected return, she had gone to her own room, and re- 
mained ever since without seeing her father. He put 
up his thin old hand and passed it over her hair, but 
it was long before either of them spoke. 

At last Marcia lifted her head, and looked her 
father in the face with a smile so pitiful that he could 
not bear to meet it. " Well, father ? " she said. 

"Well, Marsh," he answered huskily. 



106 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" What do you think of me now ? " 

" I *m glad to have you back again," he replied. 

*' You know why I came ? " 

" Yes, I guess I know." 

She put down her head again, and moaned and 
cried, " Father ! Father ! " with dry sobs. When she 
looked up, confronting him with her tearless eyes, 
" What shall I do ? What shall 1 do ? " she demanded 
desolately. 

He tried to clear his throat to speak, but it re- 
quired more than one effort to bring the words. " I 
guess you better go along with me up to Boston. 1 'm 
going up the first of the week." 

" No," she said quietly. 

" The change would do you good. It 's a long 
while since youVe been away from home," her 
father urged. 

She looked at him in sad reproach of his uncandor. 
" You know there 's nothing the matter with me, 
father. You know what the trouble is." He was 
silent. He could not face the trouble. '* I 've heard 
people talk of a heartache," she went on. " I never 
believed there was really such a thing. But I know 
there is, now. There's a pain here." She pressed 
her hand against her breast. " It 's sore with aching. 
What shall I do? I shall have to live through it 
somehow." 

" If you don't feel exactly well," said her father, 
" I guess you better see the doctor." 

" What shall I tell him is the matter with me ? 
That I want Bartley Hubbard ? " He winced at the 
words, but she did not. "He knows that already. 
Everybody in town does. It's never been any secret. 
I could n't hide it, from the first day I saw him. I 'd 
just as lief as not they should say I was dying for 
him. I shall not care what they say when I 'm 
dead." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 107 

"You'd oughtn't, — you'd oughtn't to talk that 
way, Marcia," said her father, gently. 

" What difference ? " she demanded, scornfully. 
There was truly no difference, so far as concerned any 
creed of his, and he was too honest to make further 
pretence. " What shall I do ? " she went on again. 
" I 've thought of praying ; but wliat would be the 
use ? " 

" I 've never denied that there was a God, Marcia," 
said hpr f8.ther 

" Oh, I know. That kind of God ! Well, well ! I 
know that I talk like a crazy person ! Do you suppose 
it was providential, my being with you in the office 
that morning when Bartley came in ? " 

" No," said her father, " I don't. I think it was an 
accident." 

" Mother said it was providential, my finding him 
out before it was too late." 

" I think it was a good thing. The fellow has the 
making of a first-class scoundrel in him." 

" Do you think he 's a scoundrel now ? " she asked 
quietly. 

" He has n't had any great opportunity yet," said 
the old man, conscientiously sparing him. 

" Well, then, I 'm sorry I found him out. Yes ! If 
I had n't, I might have married him, and perhaps if I 
had died soon I might never have found him out. 
He could have been good to me a year or two, and 
then, if I died, I should have been safe. Yes, I wish 
he could have deceived me till after we were mamed. 
Then I covld nt have borne to give him up, may 
be." 

" You woiUd have given him up, even then. And 
that's the only thing that reconciles me to it now. 
1 'm sorry for you, my girl ; but you 'd have made me 
sorrier then. Sooner or later he 'd have broken your 
heart." 



108 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" He *s broken it now," said the girl, calmly. 

" Oh, no, he has n't," replied her father, with a false 
cheerfulness that did not deceive her. " You 're young, 
and you '11 get over it. I mean to take you away 
from here for a while. I mean to take you up to 
Boston, and on to New York. I should n't care if we 
went as far as Washington. I guess, when you 've 
seen a little more of the world, you won't think. Bart- 
ley Hubbard 's the only one in it." 

She looked at him so intently that he thought she 
must be pleased at his proposal. "Do you think I 
could get him back ? " she asked. 

Her father lost his patience ; it was a relief to be 
angry. " No, I don't think so. I know you could n't. 
And you ought to be ashamed of mentioning such a 
thing ! " 

" Oh, ashamed ! No, I Ve got past that. I have 
no shame any more where he's concerned. Oh, I 'd 
give tlie world if I could call him back, — if I could 
only undo what I did ! I was wild ; I was n't reason- 
able ; I would n't listen to him. I drove him away 
without giving him a chance to say a word ! Of 
course, he must hate me now. What makes you think 
he woidd n't come back ? " she asked. 

" I know he would n't," answered her father, with a 
sort of groan. " He 's going to leave Equity for one 
thing, and — " 

"Going to leave Equity," she repeated, absently. 
Then he felt her tremble. " How do you know he 's 
going ? " She turned upon her father, and fixed him 
sternly with her eyes. 

" Do you suppose he would stay, after what 's hap- 
pened, any longer than he could help ? " 

" How do you know he 's going ? " she repeated. 

" He told me." 

She stood up. " He told you ? When ? " 

" To-night." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 109 

"Why, where — where did you see him?" she 
whispered. 

" In the office." 

"Since — since— r I came? Hartley been here! 
And you did n't tell me, — you did n't let me know ? " 
They looked at each other in silence. At last, 
" When is he going ? " she asked. 

" To-morrow morning." 

She sat down in the chair which her mother had 
left, and clutched the back of another, on which her 
fingers opened and closed convulsively, while she 
caught her breath in irregular gasps. She broke into 
a low moaning, at last, the expression of abject defeat 
in the struggle she had waged with herself. Her 
father watched her with dumb compassion. " Better 
go to bed, Marcia,*' he said, with the same dry calm 
as if he had been sending her away after some pleas- 
ant evening which she had suffered to run too far into 
the night. 

" Don't you think — don't you think — he '11 have 
to see you again before he goes ? " she made out to 
ask. 

"No; he's finished up with me," said the old 
man. 

" Well, then," she cried, desperately, " you'll have 
to go to him, father, and get him to come ! I can't 
help it ! I can't give him up ! You 've got to go to 
him, now, father, — yes, yes, you have ! You 've got 
to go and tell him. Go and get him to come, for 
nurcys sake ! Tell him that I 'm sorry, — that I beg 
his pardon, — that, I didn't think — I didn't under- 
stand, — that I knew he did n't do anything wrong — " 
She rose, and, placing her hand on her father's 
^ shoulder, accented each entreaty with a little push. 

He looked up into her face with a haggard smile of 
sympathy. " You 're crazy, Marcia," he said, gently. 

" Don't laugh ! " she cried. " 1 'm not crazy now. 



110 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

But I was, then, — yes, stark, staring crazy. Look 
here, father ! I want to tell you, — I want to explain 
to you ! " She dropped upon his knee again, and 
tremblingly passed her arm roujid his neck. "You 
see, I had just told him the day before that I should 
n't care for anything that happened before we were 
engaged, and then at the very first thing 1 went and 
threw him off! And I had no right to do it. He 
knows that, and that's what makes him so hard 
towards me. But if you go and tell him that 1 see 
now I was all wrong, and that 1 beg his pardon, and 
then ask him to give me one more trial, just one more — 
You can do as much as that for me, can't you ? " 

" Oh, you poor, crazy girl ! " groaned her father. 
" Don't you see that the trouble is in what the fellow 
is, and not in any particular thing that he 's done ? 
He 's a scamp, through and through ; and he 's all the 
more a scamp when he does n't know it. He has n't 
got the first idea of anything but selfishness." 

" No, no ! Now, I '11 tell you, — now, I '11 prove it 
to you. That very Sunday when we were out riding 
together ; and we met her and her mother, and their 
sleigh upset, and he had to lift her back ; and it made 
me wild to see him, and I would n't hardly touch him 
or speak to him afterwards, he did n't say one angry 
word to me.' He just pulled me up to him, and 
would n't let me be mad ; and he said that night he 
did n't mind it a bit because it showed how much I 
liked him. Now, does n't that prove he 's good, — a 
good deal better than I am, and that he '11 forgive me, 
if you '11 go and ask him ? I know he is n't in bed 
yet; he always sits up late, — he told me so; and 
you '11 find him there in his room. Go straight to his 
room, father ; don't let anybody see you down in the 
office ; I could n't bear it ; and slip out with him as 
quietly as you can. But, oh, do hurry now ! Don't 
lose another minute ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. Ill 

The wild joy sprang into her face, as her father 
i^os® ; a joy that it was terrible to him to see die out 
of it as he spoke : " I tell you it 's no use, Marcia ! 
He would n't come if I went to hirn — " 

"Oh, yes, — yes, he would! I know he would! 
If — " 

" He would n't ! You 're mistaken ! I should have 
to get down in the dust for nothing. He 's a bad fel- 
low, I tell you ; and you 've got to give him up." 

" You hate me ! " cried the girl. The old man 
walked to and fro, clutching his hands. Their lives 
had always been in such intimate sympathy, his life 
had so long had her happiness for its sole pleasure, 
that the pang in her heart racked his with as sharp 
an agony. "Well, I shall die ; and then I hope you 
will be satisfied." 

" Marcia, Marcia ! " pleaded her father. " You don't 
know what you 're saying." 

" You 're letting him go away from me, — you 're 
letting me lose him, — you're killing me !" 

" He would n't come, my girl. It would be perfectly 
useless to go to him. You must — you miist try to 
control yourself, Marcia. There's no other way, — 
there 's no other hope. You 're disgraceful. You ought 
to be ashamed. You ought to have some pride about 
you. I don't know what 's come over you since you 've 
been with that fellow. You seem to be out of your 
senses. But try, — try, my girl, to get over it. If 
you '11 fight it, you '11 conquer yet. You 've got a spirit 
for anything. And I '11 help you, Marcia. I '11 take 
you anywhere. 1 11 do anything for you — " 

"You wouldn't go to him, and ask him to come 
here, if it would save his life ! " 

" No," said the old man, with a desperate quiet, " I 
would n't." 

She stood looking at him, and then she sank sud- 
denly and straight down, as if she were sinking 



112 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

through the floor. When he lifted her, he saw that 
she was in a dead faint, and while the swoon lasted 
would be out of her misery. The sight of this had 
wrang him so that he had a kind of relief in looking 
at her lifeless face ; and he was slow in laying her 
down again, like one that fears to wake a sleeping 
child. Then he went to the foot of the stairs, and 
softly called to his wife : " Miranda ! Miranda ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. U3 



IX. 



Kinney came into town the next morning bright 
and early, as he phrased it ; but he did not stop at 
the hotel for Bartley till nine o'clock. " Thought I 'd 
give you time for breakfast," he exclaimed, " and so I 
did n't hurry up any about gettin' in my supplies." 

It was a beautiful morning, so blindingly sunny 
that Bartley winked as they drove up through the 
glistening street, and was glad to dip into the gloom 
of the first woods ; it was not cold ; the snow felt the 
warmth, and packed moistly under their runners. 
The air was perfectly still ; at a distance on the 
mountain-sides it sparkled as if full of diamond dust. 
Far overhead some crows called. 

" The sun 's getting high," said Bartley, with the 
light sigh of one to whom the thought of spring 
brings no hope. 

"Well, I should n't begin to j)lough for corn just 

yet," replied Kinney. " It 's curious," he went on, 

" to see how anxious we are to have a thing over, it 

don't much matter what it is, whether it 's summer or 

winter. I suppose we'd feel different if we wa'n't 

sure there was going to be another of 'em. T guess 

that 's one reason why the Lord concluded not to keep 

us clearly posted on the question of another life. If 

it wa'n't for the uncertainty of the thing, there are a 

lot of fellows like you that would n't stand it here a 

minute. Why, if we had a dead sure thing of over- 

the-river, — good climate, plenty to eat and wear, and 

not much to do, — I don't believe any of us would 

8 



114 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

keep Darling Minnie waiting, well, a great while. 
But you see, the thing 's all on paper, and that 
makes us cautious, and willing to hang on here awhile 
longer. Looks splendid on the map : streets regularly 
laid out ; public squares ; band-stands ; churches ; 
solid blocks of houses, with all the modern improve- 
ments ; but you can't tell whether there 's any town 
there till you're on the ground; and then, if you 
don't like it, there's no way of gettin' back to 
the States." He turned round upon Bartley and 
opened his mouth wide, to imply that this was 
pleasantry. 

" Do you throw your philosophy in, all under the 
same price, Kinney ? " asked the young fellow. 

" Well, yes ; I never charge anything over," said 
Kinney. "You see, I have a good deal of time to 
think when I 'm around by myself all day, and the 
philosophy don't cost me anything, and the fellows 
like it. Eoughing it the way they do, they can stand 
'most anything. Hey ? " He now not only opened 
his mouth upon Bartley, but thrust him in the side 
with his elbow, and then laughed noisily. 

Kinney was the cook. He had been over pretty 
nearly the whole uninhabitable globe, starting as a 
gaunt and awkward ^boy from the Maine woods, and 
keeping until he came back to them in late middle- 
life the same gross and ridiculous optimism. He had 
been at sea, and shipwrecked on several islands in the 
Pacific ; he had passed a rainy season at Panama, and 
a yellow-fever season at Vera Cruz, and had been 
carried far into the interior of Peru by a tidal wave 
during an earthquake season ; he was in the Border 
Ruffian War of Kansas, and he clung to California till 
])rosperity deserted her after the completion of the 
Pacific road. Wherever he went, he carried or found 
adversity ; but, with a heart fed on the metaphysics 
of Horace Greeley, and buoyed up by a few wildly in- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 115 

terpreted maxims of Emerson, he had always believed 
in other men, and their fitness for the terrestrial mil- 
lennium, which was never more than ten days or ten 
miles off. It is not necessary to say that he had con- 
tinued as poor as he began, and that he was never 
able to contribute to those railroads, mills, elevatora, 
towns, and cities which were sure to be built, sir, sure 
to be built, wherever he went. When he came home 
at last to the woods, some hundreds of miles north of 
Equity, he found that some one had realized his early 
di-eam of a summer hotel on the shore of the beimtiful 
lake there ; and he unenviously settled down to ad- 
mire the landlord's thrift, and to act as guide and cook 
for parties of young ladies and gentlemen who started 
from the hotel to camp in the woods. This brought 
him into the society of cultivated people, for which 
he had a real passion. He had always had a few 
thoughts rattling round in his skull, and he liked to 
make sure of them in talk with those who had en- 
joyed greater advantages than himself. He never 
begrudged them their luck ; he simply and sweetly 
admired them ; he made studies of their several char- 
acters, and was never tired of analyzing them to their 
advantage to the next summer's parties. Late in the 
fall, he went in, as it is called, with a camp of loggers, 
among whom he rarely failed to find sortie remarkable 
men. But he confessed that he did not enjoy the 
steady three or four months in the winter woods with 
no coming out at all till spring; and he had been 
glad of this chance in a logging camp near Equity, in 
which he had been offered the cook's place by the 
owner who had tested his fare in the Northern woods 
the summer before. Its proximity to the village al- 
lowed him to loaf in upon civilization at least once a 
week, and he spent the greater part of his time at 
the Free Press office on publication day. He had 
always sought the society of newspaper men, and. 



116 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

wherever he could, he had given them his. He was 
not long in discovering that Bartley was smart as a 
steel trap; and by an early and natural transition 
from calling the young lady compositors by their pet 
names, and patting them on their shoulders, he had 
arrived at a like affectionate intimacy with Bartley. 

As they worked deep into the woods on their way 
to the camp, the road dwindled to a well-worn track 
between the stumps and bushes. The ground was 
rough, and they constantly plunged down the slopes 
of little hills, and climbed the sides of the little val- 
leys, and from time to time they had to turn out for 
teams drawing logs to the mills in Equity, each with 
its equipage of four or five wild young fellows, who 
saluted Kinney with an ironical cheer or jovial taunt 
in passing. 

" They 're all just so," he explained, with pride, 
when the last party had passed. " They Ve gentle- 
inen, every one of 'em, — perfect gentlemen." 

They came at last to a wider clearing than any they 
had yet passed through, and here on a level of the 
hillside stretched the camp, a long, low structure of 
logs, with the roof broken at one point by a stove- 
pipe, and the walls irregularly pierced by small win- 
dows ; around it crouched and burrowed in the drift 
the sheds that served as stables and storehouses. 

The sun shone, and shone with dazzling brightness, 
upon the opening ; the sound of distant shouts and 
the rhythmical stroke of axes came to it out of 
the forest; but the camp was deserted, and in the 
stillness Kinney's voice seemed strange and alien. 
" Walk in, walk in !" he said, hospitably. "I 've got 
to look after my horse." 

But Bartley remained at the door, blinking in the 
sunshine, and harking to the near silence that sang in 
his ears. A curious feeling possessed him ; sickness 
of himself as of some one else ; a longing, consciously 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 117 

helpless, to be something different ; a sense of captiv- 
ity to habits and thoughts and hopes that centred in 
himself, and served him alone. 

" Terribly peaceful around here," said Kinney, com- 
ing back to him, and joining him in a survey of the 
landscape, with his hands on his hips, and a stem of 
timothy projecting from his lips. 

" Yes, terribly," assented Bartley. 

" But it aint a btui way for a man to live, as long 
as he 's young ; or haint got anybody that wants his 
company more than his room. — Be the place for 
you." 

" On which ground ? " Bartley asked, drily, without 
taking his eyes from a distant peak that showed 
through the riotch in the forest. 

Kinney laughed in as unselfish enjoyment as if he 
had made the turn himself " Well, that aint exactly 
what I meant to say : what I meant was that any 
man engaged in intellectual purauits wants to come 
out and commune with nature, every little while." 

" You call the Equity Free Press intellectual pur- 
suits ? " demanded Bartley, with sconi. " I suppose 
it is," he added. " Well, here I am, — right on the 
commune. But nature *s such a big thing, I think it 
takes two to commune with her." 

Well, a girl 's a help," assented Kinney. 
I was n't thinking of a girl, exactly," said Bartley, 
with a little sadness. " I mean that, if you *i*e not in 
first-rate spiritual condition, you 're apt to get floored, 
if you undertake to commune with nature." 

" I guess that 's about so. If a man 's got anything 
on his mind, a big railraad depot 's the place for him. 
But you *re run down. You ought to come out here, 
and take a hand, and be a man amongst men." Kin- 
ney talked partly for quantity, and partly for pure, 
indefinite good feeling. 

Bartley turned toward the door. " What have you 
got inside, here ? " * 






118 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Kinney flung the door, open,^ and followed his 
guest within. The first two-thirds of the cabin was 
used as a dormitory, and the sides were furnished 
with rough bunks, from the ground to the roof. The 
round, unhewn logs showed their form everywhere ; 
the crevices were calked with moss; and the walls 
were warm and tight. It was dark between the 
bunks, but beyond it was lighter, and Hartley could 
see at the farther end a vast cooking-stove, and three 
long tables with benches at their sides. A huge 
coffee-pot stood on the top of the stove, and various 
p'^its and kettles surrounded it. 

" Come into the dining-room and sit down in the 
parlor," said Kinney, drawing off his coat as he 
walked forward. " Take the sofa," he added, indicat- 
ing a movable bench. He hung his coat on a peg 
and rolled up his shirt-sleeves, and began to whistle 
cheerily, like a man who enjoys liis work, as he threw 
open the stove door and poked in some sticks of 
fuel. A brooding warmth filled tlie place, and the 
wood made a pleasant crackling as it took fire. 

"Here's my desk," said Kinney, pointing to a 
barrel that supported a broad, smootli board-top. 
" This is where I compose my favorite works." He 
turned round, and cut out of a mighty mass of dough 
in a tin trough a portion, which he threw down on 
his table and attacked with a rolling-pin. "That 
means pie, Mr. Hubbard," he explained, " and pie 
means meat-pie, — or squash-pie, at a pinch. To- 
day 's pie-baking day. But you need n't be troubled 
on that account. So 's to-moiTow, and so was yester- 
day. Pie twenty-one times a week is the word, and 
don't you forget it. They say old Agassiz," Kinney 
w^ent on, in that easy, familiar fondness with which 
our people- like to speak of greatness that impresses 
their imagination, — " they say old Agassiz recom- 
mended fish as the best food for the brain. Well, I 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 119 

don't suppose but what it is. But I don't know but 
what pie is more stimulating to the fancy. I never 
saw anything like meat-pie to make ye dream." 

" Yes/' said Hartley, nodding gloomily, '* I 've 
tried it." 

Kinney laughed. " Well, I guess folks of seden- 
tary pursuits, like you and me, don't need it ; but 
these fellows that stamp i-ound in the snow all day, 
they want something to keep their imagination goin'. 
And I guess pie does it. Anyway, they can't seem 
to get enough of it. Ever try apples when you was 
at work ? They say old Greeley kep' his desk full 
of 'em ; kep' munchin' away all the while when he 
was writin' his editorials. And one of them German 
poets — I don't know but what it was old Gutty 
himself — h^^t rotten ones in his drawer; hked the 
smell of 'em. Well, there 's a good deal of apple in 
meat-pie. May be it's the apple that does it. / 
don't know. But I guess if your pursuits are seden- 
tary, you better take the apple separate." 

Bartley did not say anything ; but he kept a lazily 
interested eye on Kinney as he rolled out his pie- 
crust, fitted it into his tins, filled these from a jar of 
mince-meat, covered them with a sheet of dough 
pierced in herring-bone pattern, and marshalled them 
at one side ready for the oven. 

" If fish is any better for the brain," Kinney pro- 
ceeded, " they can't complain of any want of it, at 
least in the salted form. Tliey get fish-balls three 
times a week for breakfast, as reg'lar as Sunday, 
Tuesday, and Thursday comes round. And Fridays 
I make up a sort of chowder for the Kanucks ; they 're 
Catholics, you know, and I don't believe in inter- 
ferin' with any man's religion, it don't matter what 
it is." 

" You ought to be a deacon in the First Church 
at Equity," said Bartley. 



120 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Is that so ? Why ? " asked Kinney. 

"Oh, they don't believe in interfering with any 
man's religion, either." 

"Well," said Kinney, thoughtfully, pausing with 
the rolling-pin in his hand, " there 's such a thing as 
being too liberal, I suppose." 

" The world 's tried thejother thing a good while," 
said Hartley, with cynical amusement at Kinney's 
arrest. 

It seemed to chill the flow of the good fellow's 
optimism, so that he assented with but lukewarm 
satisfaction. 

"Well, that's so, too," and he made up the rest 
of his pies in silence. 

" Well," he exclaimed at last, as if shaking him- 
self out of an unpleasant reverie, " I guess we shall 
get along, somehow. Do you Hke pork and beans ? " 

" Yes, I do," said Hartley. 

" We 're goin' to have 'em for dinner. You can 
hit beans any meal you drop in on us ; beans twenty- 
one times a week, just like pie. Set 'em in to 
warm," he said, taking up a capacious earthen pot, 
near the stove, and putting it into the oven. "I 
been pretty much everywheres, and I don't know 
as I found anything for a stand-by that come up 
to beans. I 'm goin' to give 'em potatoes and 
cabbage to-day, — kind of a boiled-dinner day, — 
but you '11 see there aint one in ten '11 touch 'em to 
what there will these old residenters. Potatoes and 
cabbage '11 do for a kind of a delicacy, — sort of a 
side-dish, — on-tree, you know ; but give 'em beans 
for a steady diet. Why, off there in Chili, even, 
the people regularly live on beans, — not exactly 
like ours, — broad and flat, — but they're beans. 
Wa'n't there some those ancients — old Horace, or 
Virgil, may be — rung in something about beans 
in some their poems ? " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 121 

" I don't remember anything of the kind," said 
Bartley, languidly. 

" Well, I don't know as / can. I just have a dim 
recollection of language thrown out at the object, — 
as old Matthew Arnold says. But it might have 
been something in Emerson." 

Bartley laughed " I did n't suppose you were such 
a reader, Kinney." 

" Oh, I nibble round wherever I can get a 
chance. Mostly in the newspapers, you know. I 
don't get any time for books, as a general rule. 
But there 's pretty much everything in the papers. 
I should call beans a brain food." 

** I guess you call anything a brain food that you 
happen to like, don't you, Kinney?" 

" No, sir," said Kinney, soberly ; " but I like to 
see the philosophy of a thing when I get a chance. 
Now, there 's tea, for example," he said, pointing to 
the great tin pot on the stove. 
"Coffee, you mean," said Bartley. 
" No, sir, I mean tea. That 's tea ; and I give it 
to 'em three times a day, good and strong, — molas- 
ses in it, and no milk. That 's a brain food, if ever 
there was one. Sets 'em up, right on end, every 
tiipe. Clears their heads and keeps the cold out." 

" I should think you were running a seminary for 
young ladies, instead of a logging-camp," said Bart- 
ley. 

" No, but look at it : I 'm in earnest about tea. 
You look at the tea-drinkers and the coffee-drinkers 
all the world over ! Look at 'em in our own country ! 
All the Northern people and all the go-ahead people 
drink tea. The Pennsylvanians and the Southerners 
drink coffee. Why, our New England folks don't 
even know how to make coffee so it 's fit to drink ! 
And it 's just so all over Europe. The Russians drink 
tea, and they 'd e't up those coffee-drinkin' Turks 



122 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

long ago, if the tea-drinkin' English had n't kept 'em 
from it. Go anywheres you like in the North, and you 
find 'em drinkin' tea. The Swedes and Norwegians 
in Aroostook County drink it; and they drink it at 
home." 

" Well, what do you think of the French and Ger- 
mans ? They drink coffee, and they 're pretty smart, 
active people, too." 

" French and Germans drink coffee ? " 

" Yes." 

Kinney stopped short in his heated career of gen- 
eralization, and scratched his shaggy head. " Well," 
he said, finally, " I guess they 're a kind of a missing 
link, as old Darwin says." He joined Bartley in his 
laugh cordially, and looked up- at the round clock 
nailed to a log. " It 's about time I set my tables, 
anyway. Well," he asked, apparently to keep the 
conversation from flagging, while he went about this 
work, "how is the good old Free Press getting 
along ? " 

"It's going to get along without me from this 
out," said Bartley. "This is my last week iu 
Equity." 

" No ! " retorted Kinney, in tremendous astonish- 
ment. 

" Yes ; I 'm off at the end of the week. Squire 
Gaylord takes the paper back for the committee, and 
I suppose Henry Bird will run it for a while ; or per- 
haps they'll stop it altogether. It's been a losing 
business for the committee." 

" Why, I thought you 'd bought it of 'em." 

" Well, that 's what I expected to do ; but the office 
has n't made any money. All that I 've saved is iu 
my colt and cutter." 

" That sorrel ? " 

Bartley nodded. *' I 'm going away about as poor 
as I came. I could n't go much poorer." 



A. MODERN INSTANCE. 123 

"Well I" said Kinney, in the exhaustion of adequate 
language. He went on laying the plates and knives 
and forks in silence. These were of undisguised steel ; 
the dishes and the drinking mugs were of that dense 
and heavy make which the keepers of cheap restaurants 
use to protect themselves against breakage, and which 
their servants chip to the quick at every edge. Kinney 
laid bread and crackers by each plate, and on each he 
placed a vast slab of cold corned beef. Then he lifted 
the lid of the pot in which the cabbage and potatoes 
were boiling together, and pricked them with a fork. 
He dished up the beans in a succession of deep tins, 
and set them at intervals along the tables, and began 
to talk again. " Well, now, I *m sorry. I 'd just 
begun to feel real well acquainted with you. Tell 
you the truth, I did n't take much of a fancy to you, 
first off.'' 

*' Is that so ? " asked Hartley, not much disturbed 
by the confession. 

" Yes, sir. Well, come to boil it down," said Kinney, 
with the frankness of the analytical mind that dis- 
dains to spare itself in the pursuit of truth, " I did n't 
like your good clothes. I don't suppose I ever had a 
suit of clothes to fit me. Feel kind of ashamed, you 
know, when I go into the store, and take the first 
thing the Jew wants to put off on to me. Now, I 
suppose you go to Macullar and Parker's in Boston, 
and you get what you want." 

" No ; I have my measure at a tailor's," said Bart- 
ley, with ill-concealed pride in the fact. 

" You don't say so ! " exclaimed Kinney. " Well ! " 
he said, as if he might as well swallow this pill, too, 
while he was about it. " Well, what 's the use ? I 
never was the figure for clothes, anyway. Long, 
gangling boy to start with, and a lean, stoop-shoul- 
dei'ed man. I found out some time ago that a fellow 
wa'n't necessarily a bad fellow because he had money ; 



i 



124 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

or a good fellow because he had n't. But I had n*t 
quite got over hating a man because he had style. 
Well, I suppose it was a kind of a survival, as old 
Tylor calls it. But I tell you, I sniffed round you a 
good while before I made up my mind to swallow 
you. And that turnout of yours, it kind of staggered 
me, after I got over the clothes. Why, it wasn't so 
much the colt, — any man likes to ride after a sorrel 
colt ; and it wa'n't so much the cutter : it was the red 
linin' with pinked edges that you had to your robe ; 
and it was the red ribbon that you had tied round the 
waist of your whip. When I see that ribbon on that 
whip, dumn you, I wanted to kill you." Bartley 
broke out into a laugh, but Kinney went on soberly. 
"But, thinks I to myself: 'Here! Now you stop 
right here ! You wait ! You give the fellow a chance 
for his life. Let him have a chance to show whether 
that whip-ribbon goes all through him, first. If it 
does, kill him cheerfully ; but give him a chance ^ra^.' 
Well, sir, I gave you the chance, and you showed that 
you deserved it. I guess you taught me a lesson. 
When I see you at work, pegging away hard at some- 
thing or other, every time I went into your office, up 
and coming with everybody, and just as ready to pass 
the time of day with me as the biggest bug in town, 
thinks I : ' You 'd have made a great mistake to kill 
that fellow, Kinney ! ' And I just made up my mind 
to like you." 

" Thanks," said Bartley, with ironical gratitude. 

Kinney did not speak at once. He whistled thought- 
fully through his teeth, and then he said : " I 11 tell 
you what : if you 're going away very poor, I know a 
wealthy chap you can raise a loan out of." 

Bartley thought seriously for a silent moment. " If 
your friend offers me twenty doUara, I 'm not too well 
dressed to take it." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 125 

"All right," said Kinney. He now dished np the 
cabbage and potatoes, and throwing a fresh handful 
of tea into the pot, and filling it np with water, he 
took down a tin horn, with which he went to the door 
and sounded a long, stertorous nota 



126 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



X. 



" Guess it was the clothes again," said Kinney, as 
he began to wash his tins and dishes after the dinner 
was over, and the men had gone back to their work. 
" I could see 'em eyin' you over when they first came 
in, and I could see that they didn't exactly like the 
looks of 'em. It would wear off in time, but it takes 
time for it to wear off; and it had to go pretty rusty 
for a start-off. Well, I don't know as it makes much 
difference to you, does it ? " 

" Oh, I thought we got along very well," said Bart- 
ley, with a careless yawn. "There wasn't much 
chance to get acquainted." Some of the loggers were 
as handsome and well-made as he, and were of as good 
origin and traditions, tliough he had some advantages 
of training. But his two-button cutaway, his well- 
fitting trousers, his scarf with a pin in it, had been too 
much for these young fellows in their long 'stoga 
boots and flannel shirts. They looked at him askance, 
and despatched their meal with more than their 
wonted swiftness, and were off again into the woods 
without any demonstrations of satisfaction in Bartley's 
presence. 

He had perceived their grudge, for he had felt it in 
his time. But it did not displease him ; he had none 
of the pain with which Kinney, who had so long 
bragged of him to the loggers, saw that his guest was 
a failure. 

" I guess they '11 come out all right in the end," he 
said. In this warm atmosphere, after the gross and 



A MODEUN INSTANCE. 127 

heavy dinner he had eaten, he yawned again and 
again. He folded his overcoat into a pillow for his 
bench and lay down, and lazily watched Kinney 
about his work. Presently he sa^w Kinney seated on 
a block of wood beside the stove, with his elbow 
propped in one hand, and holding a magazine, out of 
which he was reading; he wore spectacles, which 
gave him a fresh and interesting touch of grotesque- 
ness. Hartley found that an empty barrel had been 
placed on each side of him, evidently to keep him 
from rolling off his bench. 

" Hello ! " he said. " Much obliged to you, Kinney. 
I have n't been taken such good care of since I can 
remember. Been asleep, have n't I ? " 

"About an hour," said Kinney, with a glance at 
the clock, and ignoring his agency in Bartley*s com- 
fort. 

" Food for the brain ! " said Bartley, sitting up. " I 
should think so. I Ve dreamt a perfect New Ameri- 
can Cyclopaedia, and a pronouncing gazetteer thrown 
m. 

" Is that so ? " said Kinney, as if pleased with the 
suggestive character of his cookery, now established 
by eminent experiment. 

Bartley yawned a yawn of satisfied sleepiness, and 
rubbed his hand over his face. " I suppose," he said, 
" if I 'm going to write anything about Camp Kinney, 
I had better see all there is to see." 

"Well, yes, I presume you had," said Kinney. 
" We '11 go over to where they 're cuttin*, pretty soon, 
and you can see all there is in an hour. But I pre- 
sume you '11 want to see it so as to ring in some de- 
scription, hey ? Well, that 's all right. But what 
you going to do with it, when you 've done it, now 
you 're out of the Free Press ? " 

" Oh, I should n't have printed it in the Free Press, 
anyway. Coals to Newcastle, you know. I '11 tell 



128 A MODERN INSTANCB. 

you what I think I'll do, Kinney : I'll get my out- 
lines, and then you post me with a lot of facts, — 
queer characters, accidents, romantic incidents, snow- 
ings-up, threatened starvation, adventures with wild 
animals, — and I can make something worth while ; 
get out two or three columns, so they can print 
it in their Sunday edition. And then 111 take it 
up to Boston with me, and seek my fortune with 
it." 

"Well, sir, I'll do it," said Kinney, fired with the 
poetry of the idea. " I '11 post you ! Dumn 'f I don't 
wish / could write ! Well, I did use to scribble once 
for an agricultural paper ; but I don't call that writin'. 
I Ve set down, well, I guess as much as sixty times, 
to try to write out what I know about loggin' — " 

" Hold on ! " cried Hartley, whipping out his note- 
book. " That 's first-rate. That '11 do for the first 
line in the head, — What I Kiixm About Logging y — 
large caps. Well!" 

Kinney shut his magazine, and took his knee be- 
tween his hands, closing one of his eyes in order to 
sharpen his recollection. He poured forth a stream 
of reminiscence, mingled observation, and personal 
experience. Battley followed him with his pencil, 
jotting down points, striking in sub-head lines, and 
now and then interrupting him with cries of " Good !" 
" Capital ! " " It 's a perfect mine, — it 's a mint ! By 
Jove ! " he exclaimed, " I '11 make six columns of this ! 
I '11 offer it to one of the magazines, and it '11 come 
out illustrated ! Go on, Kinney." 

" Hark ! " said Kinney, craning his neck forward to 
listen. " I thought I heard sleigh-bells. But I guess 
it wa'n't ' Well, sir, as I was sayin', they fetched that 
feltow into camp with both feet frozen to the knees — 
Dumn 'f it waJrCt bells ! " 

He unlimbered himself, and hurried to the door at 
the other end of the cabin, which he opened, letting 



A MODERN INSTANCE 129 

in a clear block of the afternoon sunshine, and a gush 
of sleigh-bell music, shot with men's voices, and the 
cries and laughter of women. 

'' Well, sir," said Kinney, coming back and making 
haste to roll down his sleeves and put on his coat. 
** Here *s a nuisance ! A whole party of folks — two 
sleigh-loads — right on us. 1 don't know who they 
he, or where they 're from. But I know where I wish 
they was. Well, of course, it's natural they should, 
want to see a loggin'-camp," added Kinney, taking 
himself to task for his inhospitable mind, ** and there 
ain't any harm in it. But I wish they 'd give a fellow 
a little notice ! " 

The voices and bells drew nearer, but Kinney 
seemed resolved to observe the decorum of not going 
to the door till some one knocked. 

"Kinney! Kinney! Hello, Kinney!" shouted a 
man's voice, as the bells hushed before the door, and 
broke into a musical clash when one of the horses 
tossed his head. 

" Well, sir,' said Kinney, rising, ** I guess it 's old 
Willett himself. He 's the owner ; lives up to Port- 
land, and been threatening to come down here all 
winter, with a party of friends. You just stay still," 
he added ; and he paid himself the deference which 
every true American owes himself in his dealings 
with his employer : he went to the door very deliber- 
.ately, and made no haste on account of the repeated 
cries of " Elinney ! Kinney ! " in which others of the 
party outside now joined. 

When he opened the door again, the first voice sa- 
luted him with a roar of laughter. " Why, Kinney, 
I began to think you were dead ! " 

" No, sir," Bartley heard Kinney reply, " it takes 
more to kill me than you suppose." But now he 
stepped outside, and the talk became unintelligible. 

Finally Bartley heard what was imaginably Mr. 

9 



130 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Willett's voice saying, " Well, let 's go in and have a 
look at it now '* ; and with much outcry and laughter 
the ladies were invisibly helped to dismount, and 
presently the whole party came stamping and rus- 
tling in. 

Bartley's blood tingled. He liked this, and he 
stood quite self-possessed, with his thumbs in his 
waistcoat pockets and his elbows dropped, while Mr. 
Willett advanced in a friendly way. 

" Ah, Mr. Hubbard ! Kinney told us you were in 
here, and asked me to introduce myself while he 
looked after the horses. My name 's Willett. These 
are my daughters ; this is Mrs. Macallister, of Mont- 
real ; Mrs. Witherby, of Boston ; Miss Witherby, and 
Mr. Witherby. Ymi ought to know each other ; Mr. 
Hubbard is the editor of the Equity Free Press; 
Mr. Witherby, of The Boston Events, Mr. Hubbard. 
Oh, and Mr. Macallister." 

Bartley bowed to the Willett and Witherby ladies, 
and shook hands with Mr. Witherby, a large, solemn 
man, with a purse-mouth and tight rings of white 
hair, who treated him with the pomp inevitable to 
the owner of a city newspaper in meeting a country 
editor. 

At the mention of his name, Mr. Macallister, a 
slight little straight man, in a long ulster and a seal- 
skin cap, tiddled farcically forward on his toes, and, 
giving Bartley his hand, said, " Ah, haow d'e-do, Imoio 
d'e-do ! " 

Mrs. Macallister fixed upon him the eye of the flirt 
who knows her man. She was of the dark-eyed Eng- 
lish type ; her eyes were very large and full, and her 
smooth black hair was drawn flatly backward, and 
fastened in a knot just under her dashing fur cap. 
She wore a fur sack, and she was equipped against the 
cold as exquisitely as her Southern sisters defend 
themselves from the summer. Bits of warm color, in 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 131 

ribbon and scarf, flashed out here and there; when 
she flung open her sack, she showed herself much 
more lavishly buttoned and bugled and bangled than 
the Americans. She sat down on the movable bench 
which Bartley had vacated, and crossed her feet, very 
small and saucy, even in their arctics, on a stick of 
fire-wood, and cast up her neat profile, and rapidly 
madp eyes at every part of the interior. " Why, it 's 
delicious, you know. I never saw anything so com-v 
fortable. I want to spend the rest of me life here, you 
know." She spoke very far down in her throat, and 
with a rising inflection in each sentence. " I 'm go- 
ing to have a quarrel with you, Mr. Willett, for not 
telling me what a delightful surprise you had for us 
here. Oh, 'but I 'd no idea of it, I assure you !" 

" Well, I 'm glad you like it, Mrs. Macallister," 
said Mr. Willett, with the clumsiness of American 
middle-age when summoned to say something gallant. 
" If I 'd told you what a surprise I had for you, it 
would n't have been one." 

" Oh, it 's no good your trying to get out of it that 
way," retorted the beauty. "There he comes now! 
I 'm really in love with him, you know," she said, as 
Kinney opened the door and came hulking forward. 

Nobody said anything at once, but Bartley laughed 
finally, and ventured, " Well, I *11 propose for you to 
Kinney." 

" Oh, I dare say ! " cried the beauty, with a lively 
effort of wit. "Mr. Kinney, I have fallen in love 
with your camp, d' ye know ? " she added, as Kinney 
drew near, *' and I *m beggin' Mr. Willett to let me 
come and live here among you." 

" Well, ma'am," said Kinney, a little abashed at 
this proposition, ** you could n't do a better thing for 
your health, I guess.'' 

The proprietor of The Boston Events turned 
about, and began to look over the arrangements of the 



132 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

interior ; the other ladies went with him, conversing 
in low tones. " These must be the places where tlie 
men sleep/^ they said, gazing at the bunks. 

" We must get Kinney to explain things to us," 
said Mr. Willett a little restlessly. 

Mrs. Macallister jumped briskly to her feet. " Oh, 
yes, do, Mr. Willett, make him explain everything ! 
I Ve been tryin' to coax it out of him, but he *s sitdi 
a tease ! '* 

Kinney looked very sheepish in this character, and 
Mrs. Macallister hooked Hartley to her side for the 
tour of the interior. " I can't let you away from me, 
Mr. Hubbard; your friend's so satirical, I'm afraid 
of him. Only fancy, Mr. Willett I He 's been talkin' 
to me about brain foods ! I know he 's makin* fun of 
me ; and it is n't kind, is it, Mr. Hubbard ? " 

She did not give the least notice to the things that 
the others looked at, or to Kinney's modest lectui^e 
upon the manners and customs of the loggers. She 
kept a little apart with Bartley, and plied him with 
bravadoes, with pouts, with little cries of suspense. 
In the midst of this he heard Mr. Willett saying, 
" You ought to get some one to come and write about 
this for your paper, Witherby." But Mrs. Macallister 
was also saying something, with a significant turn 
of her floating eyes, and the thing that concerned 
Bartley, if he were to make his way among the news- 
papers in Boston, slipped from his grasp like the 
idea which we try to seize in a dream. She made 
sure of him for the drive to the place which they vis- 
ited to see the men felling the trees, by inviting him 
to a seat at her side in the sleigh ; this crowded the 
others, but she insisted, and they all gave way, as 
people must, to the caprices of a pretty woman. Her 
coquetries united British wilfulness to American non- 
chalance, and seemed to have been graduated to the 
appreciation of garrison and St. Lawrence Eiver steam- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 133 

boat and watering-place society. The Willett ladies 
had already found it necessary to explain to the With- 
erby ladies that they had met her the summer before 
at the sea-side, and that she had stopped at Portland 
on her way to England ; they did not know her very 
well, but some friends of theirs did ; and their father 
had asked her to come with them to the camp. They 
added that the Canadian ladies seemed to expect the 
gentlemen to be a great deal more attentive than ours 
were. They had known as little what to do with Mr. 
Macallister's small-talk and compliments as his wife's 
audacities, but they did not view Hartley's responsive- 
ness with pleasure If Mrs. Macallister's arts were 
not subtle, as Hartley even in the intoxication of her 
preference could not keep from seeing, still, in his 
mood, it was consoling to be singled out by her ; it 
meant that even in a logging-camp he was recogniza- 
ble by any person of fashion as a good-looking, well- 
dressed man of the world. It embittered him the 
more against Marcia, while, in some sort, it vindicated 
him to himself 

The early winter sunset was beginning to tinge the 
snow with crimson, when the party started back to 
camp, where Kinney was to give them supper; he 
had it greatly on his conscience that they should 
have a good time, and he promoted it as far as hot 
mince-pie and newly fried doughnuts would go. He 
also opened a few canned goods, as he called some 
very exclusive sardines and peaches, and he made an 
entirely fresh pot of tea, and a pan of soda-biscuit. 
Mrs. Macallister made remarks across her plate which 
were for Hartley alone ; and Kinney, who was seri- 
ously waiting upon his guests, refused to respond to 
Hartley's joking reference to himself of some ques- 
tions and comments of hers. 

After supper^ when the loggers had withdrawn to 
the other end of the long hut, she called out to Kin- 



134 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

ney, " Oh, do tell them to smoke : we shall not mind 
it at all, I assure you. Can't some of them do some- 
thing ? Sing or dance ? " 

Kinney unbent a little at this. " There 's a first- 
class clog-dancer among them; but he's a little 
stuck up, and I don't know as you could get him to 
dance," he said in a low tone. 

"What a bloated aristocrat!" cried the lady. 
" Then the only thing is for us to dance first. Can 
they play ? " 

"One of 'em can whistle like a bird, — he can 
whistle like a whole band," answered Kinney, warm- 
ing. " And of course the Kanucks can fiddle." • 

" And what are Kanucks ? Is that what you call 
us Canadians?" 

" Well, ma'am, it aint quite the thing to do," said 
Kinney, penitently. 

" It is n't at all the thing to do ! Which are the 
Kanucks ? " 

She rose, and went forward with Kinney, in her 
spoiled way, and addressed a swarthy, gleaming-eyed 
young logger in French. He answered with a smile 
that showed all his white teeth, and turned to one of 
his comrades ; then the two rose, and got violins out 
of the bunks, and came forward. Others of their race 
joined them, but the Yankees hung gloomily back ; 
they clearly did not like these liberties, this patron- 
age. 

" I shall have your clog-dancer on his feet yet, Mr. 
Kinney," said Mrs. Macallister, as she came back to 
her place. 

The Canadians began to play and sing those gay, 
gay airs of old France which they have kept unsad- 
(lened through all the dark events that have changed 
the popular mood of the mother country ; they have 
matched words to them in celebration of their life on 
the gi-eat rivers and in the vast forests of the North, 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 135 

and in these blithe barcaroles and hunting-songs 
breathes the joyous spirit of a France that knows 
neither doubt nor care, — France untouched by Revo- 
lution or Napoleonic wars ; some of the airs still keep 
the very wonls that came over seas with them two 
hundred years ago. The transition to the dance was 
quick and inevitable; a dozen slim young fellows 
were gliding about behind the players, pounding the 
hard earthen floor, and singing in time. 

*' Oh, come, come ! " cried the beauty, rising and 
stamping impatiently with her little foot, " suppose 
we dance, too." 

She pulled Hartley forward by the hand ; her hus- 
band followed with the taller Miss Willett ; two of 
the Canadians, at the instance of Mrs. Macallister, 
came forward and politely asked the honor of the 
other young ladies' hands in the dance ; their temper 
was infectious, and the cotillon was in full life before 
their partners had time to wonder at their consent 
Mrs. Macallister could sing some of the Canadian 
songs ; her voice, clear and fresh, rang through those 
of the men, while in at the window, thrown open for 
air, came the wild cries of the forest, — the wail of a 
catamount, and the solemn hooting of a distant owl. 

" Is n't it jolly good fun ? " she demanded, when the 
figure was finished ; and now Kinney went up to the 
first-class clog-dancer, and prevailed with him to show 
his skill. He seemed to comply on condition that the 
whistler should furnish the music ; he came forward 
with a bashful hauteur, bridling stiffly like a girl, and 
struck into the laborious and monotonous jig which 
is, perhaps, our national dance. He was exquisitely 
shaped, and as he danced he suppled more and more, 
while the whistler warbjed a wilder and swifter strain, 
and kept time with his hands. There was something 
that stirred the blood in the fury of the strain and 
dance. When it was done, Mrs. Macallister caught 



136 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

off her cap and ran round among the spectaixns to 
make them pay ; she excused no one, and she gave 
the money to Kinney, telling him to get his loggers 
something to keep the cold out 

" I should say whiskey, if I were in the Canadian 
bush," she suggested, 

" Well, / guess we sha'n't say anything of that sort 
in this camp," said Kinney. 

She turned upon Hartley, " I know Mr. Hubbard 
is dying to do something. Do something, Mr. Hub- 
bard!" Hartley looked up in surprise at this in- 
terpretation of his tacit wish to distinguish himself 
before her. "Come, sing us some of your student 



songs." 



Hartley's vanity had confided the fact of his col- 
lege training to her, and he was really thinking just 
then that he would like to give them a serio-comic 
song, for which he had been famous with his class. 
He borix)wed the violin of a Kanuck, and, sitting 
down, strummed upon it banjo-wise.. The song was 
one of those which is partly spoken and acted ; he 
really did it very well ; but the Willett and Witherby 
ladies did not seem to understand it quite ; and the 
gentlemen looked as if they thought this very undig- 
nified business for an educated American. 

Mrs. Macallister feigned a yawn, and put up her 
hand to hide it. "OA., what a styupid song!" she 
said. She sprang to her feet, and began to put on 
her wraps. The others were glad of this signal to go, 
and followed her example. " Good by ! " she cried, 
giving her hand to Kinney. "/ don't think your 
ideas are ridiculous. I think there 's no end of good 
sense in them, I assure you. I hope you won't leave 
off that regard for the brain in your cooking. Good 
by ! " She waved her hand to the Americans, and 
then to the Kanucks, as she passed out between their 
respectfully parted ranks. " Adieu, messieurs ! " She 



A. XOOERN INSTANCE. 137 

merely nodded to Bartley; the others parted from 
him coldly, as he fancied, and it seemed to him that 
he had been made responsible for that woman's co- 
quetries, when he was conscious, all the time, of hav- 
ing forborne even to meet them half-way. But this 
was not so much to his credit as he imagined. The 
tlirt can only practise her audacities safely by grace 
of those upon whom she uses them, and if men really 
met them half-way there could be no such thing as 
flirting. . 



138 A MODEKN INSTANCE. 



XL 



The loggers pulled off their boots and got into their 
bunks, where some of them lay and smoked, while 
others fell asleep directly. 

Bartley made some indirect approaches to Kinney 
for sympathy in the snub which he had received, 
and which rankled in his mind with unabated keen- 
ness. 

But Kinney did not respond. " Your bed 's ready," 
he said. " You can turn in whenever you like." 

" What 's the matter ? " asked Bartley. 

"Nothing's the matter, if you say so," answered 
Kinney, going about some preparations for the morn- 
ing's breakfast. 

Bartley looked at his resentful back. He saw that 
he was hurt, and he surmised that Kinney suspected 
him of making fun of his eccentricities to Mrs. Mac- 
allister. He had laughed at Kinney, and tried to 
amuse her with him ; but he could not have made 
this appear as harmless as it was. He rose from the 
bench on which he had been sitting, and shut with a 
click the penknife with which he had teen cutting a 
pattern on its edge. 

" I shall have to say good night to you, I believe," 
he said, going to the peg on which Kinney had hung 
his hat and overcoat. He had them on, and was but- 
toning the coat in an angry tremor before Kinney 
looked up and realized what his guest was about. 

" Why, what — why, where — you goin' ? " he fal- 
tered in dismay. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 139 

"To Equity," said Bartley, feeling m his coat 
pockets for his gloves, and drawing them on, without 
looking at Kinney, whose great hands were in a pan 
of dough. 

" Why — why — no, you aint ! " he protested, with 
a revulsion of feeling that swept away all his resent- 
ment, and left him nothing but remorse for his inhos- 
pitality. 

" No ? " said Bartley, putting up the collar of the 
first ulster worn by a native in that region. 

** Why, look here ! " cried Kinney, pulling his 
hands out of the dough, and making a fruitless effort 
to cleanse them upon each other. " I don't want you 
to go, this way." 

*' Don't you ? I 'm sorry to disoblige you ; but I 'm 
going," said Bartley. 

Kinney tried to laugh. " Why, Hubbard, — why, 
Bartley, — why, Bart ! " he exclaimed. " What 's the 
matter with you ? I aint mad 1 " 

"You have an unfortunate manner, then. Good 
night." He strode out between the bunks, full of 
snoring loggers. 

Kinney hurried after him, imploring and protesting 
in a low voice, trying to get before him, and longing 
to lay his floury paws upon him and detain him by 
main force, but even in his distress respecting Bart- 
ley's overcoat too much to touch it. He followed him 
out into the freezing air in his shirt-sleeves, and 
besousrht him not to be such a fool. " It makes me 
feel like the devil!" he exclaimed, pitifully. "You 
come back, now, half a minute, and I '11 make it all 
right with you. I know I can; you're a gentleman, 
and you '11 understand. Do come back ! I shall 
never get over it if you don't!" 

" I 'm sorry," said Bartley, " but I 'm not going 
back. Good night." 

" Oh, good Lordy ! " lamented Kinney. " What am 



140 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

I goiii' to do ? Why, man ! It 's a good three mile 
and more to Equity, and the woods is full of cata- 
mounts. I tell ye *t aint safe for ye." He kept fol- 
lowing Hartley down the path to the road. 

" 1 11 risk it," said Hartley. 

Kinney had left the door of the camp open, and the 
yells and curses of the awakened sleepers recalled 
him to himself. "Well, well! If you will go" he 
groaned in despair, " here *s that money." He plunged 
his doughy hand into his pocket, and pulled out a 
roll of bills. " Here it is. I haint time to count it ; 
but it 11 be all right, anyhow." 

Hartley did not even turn his head to look round 
at him. " Keep your money !" he said, as he plunged 
forward through the snow. " I would n't touch a cent 
of it to save your life." 

" All right," said Kinney, in hapless contrition, and 
he returned to shut himself in with the reproaches of 
the loggers and the upbraiding of his own heart. 

Hartley dashed along the road in a fury that kept 
him unconscious of the intense cold ; and he passed 
half the night, when he was once more in his own 
room, packing his effects against his departure next 
day. When all was done, he went to bed, half wish- 
ing that he might never rise from it again. It was 
not that he cared for Kinney ; that fooFs sulking was 
only the climax of a long series of injuries of which 
he was the victim at the hands of a hypercritical 
omnipotence. 

Despite his conviction that it was useless to strug- 
gle longer against such injustice, he lived through the 
night, and came down late to breakfast, which he 
found stale, and without the compensating advantage 
of finding himself alone at the table. Some ladies 
had lingered there to clear up on the best authority 
the distracting rumors concerning him which they 
had heard the day before. Was it true that he had 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 141 

intended to spend the rest of the winter iu logging ? 

and tuas it true that he was going to give up the 

free Press ? and was it true that Henry Bird was 

going to be the editor ? Bartley gave a sarcastic con- 

finnation to all these reports, and went out to the 

printing-office to gather up some things of his. He 

found Henry Bird there, looking pale and sick, but at 

work, and seemingly in authority. This was what 

Bartley had always intended when he should go out, 

but he did not like it, and he resented some small 

changes that had already been made in the editor's 

room, in tacit recognition of his purpose not to occupy 

it again. 

Bird greeted him stiffly; the printer girls briefly 
nodded to him, suppressing some little hysterical tit- 
ters, and tacitly let him feel that he was no longer 
master there. While he was in the composing-room 
Hannah Morrison came in, apparently from some 
errand outside, and, catching sight of him, stared, and 
pertly passed him in silence. On his inkstand he 
found a letter from Squire Gaylord, briefly auditing 
his last account, and enclosing the balance due him. 
From this the old lawyer, with the careful smallness 
of a village business man, had deducted various little 
sums for things which Bartley had never expected to 
pay for. With a like thriftiness the landlord, when 
Bartley asked for his bill, had charged certain items 
that had not appeared in the bills before. Bartley felt 
that the charges were trumped up ; but he was pow- 
erless to dispute them ; besides, he hoped to sell the 
landlord his colt and cutter, and he did not care to 
prejudice that matter. Some bills from storekeepers, 
which he thought he had paid, were handed to him 
by the landlord, and each of the churches had sent in 
a little account for pew-rent for the past eighteen 
months : he had always believed himself dead-headed 
at church. He outlawed the latter by tearing them to 



142 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

pieces in the landlord's presence, and dropping the 
fragments into a spittoon. It seemed to him that 
every soul in Equity was making a clutch at the 
rapidly diminishing sum of money which Squire Gay- 
lord had enclosed to him, and which was all he had 
in the world. On the other hand, his popularity in 
the village seemed to have vanished over night. He 
had sometimes fancied a general and rebellious grief 
when it should become known that he was going 
away ; but instead there was an acquiescence amount- 
ing to airiness. 

He wondered if anything about his affairs with 
Henry Bird and Hannah Morrison had leaked out. 
But he did not care. He only wished to shake the 
snow of Equity off his feet as soon as possible. 

After dinner, when the boarders had gone out, and 
the loafers had not yet gathered in, he ofTered the 
landlord liis colt and cutter. Bartley knew that the 
landlord wanted the colt; but now the latter said, 
** I don't know as I care to buy any horses, right in 
the winter, this way." 

"All right," answered Bartley. "Just have the 
colt put into the cutter." 

Andy Morrison brought it round. The boy looked 
at Bartley s set face with a sort of awe-stricken affec- 
tion; his adoration for the young man survived all 
that he had heard said against him at home during 
the series of family quarrels that had ensued upon 
liis father's interview with him ; he longed to testify, 
somehow, his unabated loyalty, but he could not think 
of anything to do, much less to say. 

Bartley pitched his valise into the cutter, and then, 
as Andy left the horse's head to give him a hand with 
his trunk, ojBfered him a dollar. " I don't want any- 
thing," said the boy, shyly refusing the money out 
of pure affection. 

But Bartley mistook his motive, and thought it 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 143 

sulkv resentment. " Oh, very well," he said. " Take 
hold." 

The landlord came out " Hold on a minute," he 
said. " Where you goin' to take the cars ? " 

" At the Junction," answered Bartley. " I know a 
man there that will buy the colt What is it you 
want ? " 

The landlord stepped back a few paces, and sur* 
veyed the establishment " I should like t<j ride alter 
that boss," he said, " if you aint in any great of a 
hurry." 

" Get in," said Bartley, and the landlord took the 
reins. 

From time to time, as he drove, he rose up and 
looked over the dashboard to study the gait of the 
horse. " I 've noticed he strikes some, when he fii'st 
ftomes out in the spring." 
Yes," Bartley assented. 
Pulls consid'able." 

« He pulls." 

The landlord rose again and scrutinized the horse's 
I^ " I don't know as I ever noticed *t he 'd capped 
his hock before." 

" Did n't you ? " 

" Done it kickin' nights, I guess." 

" I guess so." 

The landlord drew the whip lightly across the colt's 
rear; he shrank together, and made a little spring 
forward, but behaved perfectly well. 

"I don't know as I should always be sure he 
would n't kick in the daytime." 

" No," said Bartley, " you never can be sure of any- 
thing." 

They drove along in silence. At last the landlord 
said, " Well, he aint so fast as I m/pposed" 

"He's not so fast a horse as some," answered 
Bartley. 



<c 



144 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

The landlord leaned over side wise for an inspection 
of the colt's action forward. " Haiut never thought 
he had a splint on that forward off leg ? " 

" A splint ? Perhaps he has a splint." 

They returned to the hotel and both alighted. 

" Skittish devil," remarked the landlord, as the colt 
quivered under the hand he laid upon him. 

"He's skittish," said Hartley. 

The landlord retired as far back as the door, and 
regarded the colt critically. " Well, I s'pose you 've 
always used him too well ever to winded him, but 
dumn 'f he don't blow like it." 

" Look here, Simpson," said Bartley, very quietly. 
" You know this horse as well as T do, and you 
know there isn't an out about him. You want to 
buy him because you always have. Now make me 
an offer." 

"Well," groaned the landlord, "what 11 you take 
for. the whole rig, just as it stands, — colt, cutter, 
leathers, and robe ? " 

" Two hundred dollars," promptly replied Bartley. 

*' I '11 give ye seventy-five," returned the landlord 
with equal promptness. 

" Andy, take hold of the end of that trunk, will 
you?" 

The landlord allowed them to put the trunk into 
the cutter. Bartley got in too, and, shifting the 
baggage to one side, folded the robe around him from 
his middle down and took his seat. " This colt can 
road you right along all day inside of five minutes, 
and he can trot inside of two-thiity every time; and 
you know it as well as I do." 

" Well," said the landlord, " make it an even hun- 
dred." 

Bartley leaned forward and gathered up the reins. 
" Let go his head, Andy," he quietly commanded. 

" Make it one and a quarter," cried the landlord. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 145 

not seeing that his chance was past. " What do you 
say?" 

What Bartley said, as he touched the colt with the 
whip, the landloid never knew. He stood watching 
the cutter's swift disappearance up the road, in a sort 
of stupid expectation of its return. When he realized 
that Hartley's departure was final, he said under his 
breath, " Sold, ye dumned old fool, and serve ye right," 
and went in-doors with a feeling of admiration for 
colt and man that borderedujn revei-ence. 



10 



i 



146 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



XII. 



This last drop of the local meanness filled Bartley's 
bitter cup. As he passed the house at the end of the 
street he seemed to dmin it all. He knew that the 
old lawyer was there sitting by the office stove, draw- 
ing his hand across his chin, and Bartley hoped that 
he was still as miserable as he had looked when he 
last saw hiin ; but he did not know that by the win- 
dow in the house, which he would not even look at, 
Marcia sat self-prisoned in her room, with her eyes 
upon the road, famishing for the thousandth part of a 
chance to see him pass. She saw him now for the 
instant of his coming and going. With eyes trained 
to take in every point, she saw the preparation which 
seemed like final departure, and with a gasp of " Bart- 
ley ! " as if she were trying to call after him, she sank 
back into her chair and shut her eyes. 

He drove on, plunging into the deep hollow beyond 
the house, and keeping for several miles the road they 
had taken on that Sunday together ; but he did not 
make the turn that brought them back to the village 
again. The pale sunset was slanting over the snow 
w^hen he reached the Junction, for he had slackened 
his colt's pace after he had put ten miles behind him, 
not choosing to reach a prospective purchaser with 
his horse all blown and bathed with sweat. He 
wished to be able to say, " Look at him ! He 's come 
fifteen miles since three o'clock, and he 's as keen as 
wlien he started." 

This was true, when, having left his baggage at the 
Junction, he drove another mile into the country to 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 147 

see the farmer of the gentleman who had his summer- 
house here, and who had once bantered Bartley to 
sell him his colt. The farmer was away, and would 
not be at home till the up-train from I^oston was in. 
Bartley looked at his watch, and saw that to wait 
would lose him the six o'clock down-train. There 
would be no other till eleven o'clock. But it was 
worth while : the gentleman had said, " When you 
want the mcmey for that colt, bring him over any 
time; my farmer will have it ready for you." He 
waited for the up-train ; but when the farmer arrived, 
he was full of all sorts of scruples and reluctances. 
He said he should not like to buy it till he had heard 
from Mr. Farnham ; he ended by offering Bartley 
eighty dollars for the colt on his own account; he 
did not want the cutter. 

"You. write to Mr. Farnham," said Bartley, "that 
you tried that plan with me, and it would n't work ; 
he 's lost the colt." 

He made this brave show of indifference, but he 
was disheartened, and, having carried the farmer home 
from the Junction for the convenience of talking over 
the trade with him, he drove back again through the 
early night-fall in sullen desperation. 

The weather had softened and was threatening rain 
or snow; the dark was closing in spiritlessly; the 
colt, shortening from a trot into a short, springy jolt, 
dropped into a walk at last as if he were tired, and 
gave Bartley time enough on his way back to the 
Junction for reflection upon the disast-er into which 
his life had fallen. These passages of utter despair 
are commoner to the young than they are to those 
whom years have experienced in the irapennanence 
of any fate, good, bad, or indifferent, unless, perhaps, 
the last may seem rather constant. Taken in refer- 
ence to all that had been ten days ago, the present 
ruin was incredible, and had nothing reasonable in 



148 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

proof of its existence. Then he was prosperously 
placed, and in the way to better himself indefinitely. 
Now, he was here in the dark, with fifteen dollars in 
his pocket, and an unsalable horse on his hands ; out- 
cast, deserted, homeless, hopeless : and by whose fault ? 
He owned even then that he had committed some 
follies ; but in his sense of Marcia's all-giving love he 
had risen for once in his life to a conception of self- 
devotion, and in taking herself from him as she did, 
she had taken from him the highest incentive he had 
ever known, and had checked him in his first feeble 
impulse to do and be all in all for another. It was 
she who had ruined him. 

As he jumped out of the cutter at the Junction the 
station-master stopped with a cluster of party-colored 
signal-lanterns in his hand and cast their light over 
the sorrel. 

" Nice colt you got there." 

" Yes," said Hartley, blanketing th^ borse, " do you 
know anybody who wants to buy ? " 

" Whose is he ? " asked the man. 

" He 's mine 1 " shouted Bartley. " Do you think I 
stole him ? " 

" / don*t know where you got him," said the man, 
walking off, and making a soft play of red and green 
lights on the snow beyond the narrow platform. 

Bartley went into the great ugly barn of a station, 
trembling, and sat down in one of the gouged and 
whittled arm-chairs near the stove. A pomp of time- 
tables and luminous advertisements of Western rail- 
roads and their land-grants decorated the wooden 
walls of the gentlemen's waiting-room, which had 
been sanded to keep the gentlemen from writing and 
sketching upon them. This was the more judicious 
because the ladies* room, in the absence of tourist 
travel, was locked in winter, and they were obliged 
to share the gentlemen's. In summer, the Junction 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 149 

was a busy place, but after the snow fell, and until 
the snow thawed, it was a desolation relieved only 
by the arrival of the sparsely peopled through-tmins 
from the north and east, and by such local travellers 
as wished to take trains not stopping at their own 
stations. These broke in upon the solitude of the 
joint station-master and baggage-man and switch- 
tender with just sufficient frequency to keep him in a 
state of uncharitable irritation and unrest. To-night 
Hartley was the sole intruder, and he sat by the stove 
wrapped in a cloud of rebellious memories, when 
one side of a colloquy without made itself heard. 

"Whatr' 

Some question was repeated. 

" No ; it went down half an hour ago.** 

An inaudible question followed. 

" Next down-train at eleven." 

There was now a faintly audible lament or appeal. 

"Guess you'll have to come earlier next time. 
Most folks doos that wants to take if 

Bartley now heard the despairing moan of a woman : 
he had already divined the sex of the futile questioner 
whom the station-master was bullying ; but he had 
divined it without compassion, and if he had not him- 
self been a sufferer from the man's insolence he might 
even liave felt a ferocious satisfaction in it. In a 
word, he was at his lowest and worst when the door 
opened and the woman came in, with a movement at 
once bewildered and daring, which gave him the im- 
pression of a despair as complete and final as his own. 
He doggedly kept his place ; she did not seem to care 
for him, but in the uncertain light of the lamp above 
them she drew near the stove, and, putting one hand 
to her pocket as if to find her handkerchief, she flung 
aside her veil with her other, and showed her tear- 
stained face. 

He was on hi^^ feet somehow. ** Marcia ! ** 



150 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Oh ! Bartley — " 

He had seized her by the arm to make sure that 
slie was there in verity of flesh and blood, and not by 
some trick of his own senses, as a cold chill running 
over him had made him afraid. At the touch their 
passion ignored aU that they had made each other 
suffer ; her head was on his breast, his embrace was 
round her ; it was a moment of delirious bliss that 
intervened between the sorrows that had been and 
the reasons that must come. 

" What — what are you doing here, Marcia ? " he 
asked at last. 

They sank on the benching that ran round the 
wall ; he held her hands fast in one of his, and kept 
his other arm about her as they sat side by side. 

" I don't know — I — " She seemed to rouse her- 
self by an effort from her rapture. " I was going to 
see Nettie Spaulding. And I saw you driving past 
our house ; and I thought you were coming here ; and 
I could n*t bear — I could n't bear to let you go away 
without telling you that I was wrong ; and asking — 
asking you to forgive me. I thought you would do it, 

— I thought you would know that I had behaved that 
way because I — I — cared so much for you . I thought 

— I was afraid you had gone on the other train — " 
She trembled and sank back in his embrace, from 
which slie had lifted herself a little. 

" How did you get here ? *' asked Bartley, as if 
willing to give himself all the proofs he could of the 
every-day reality of her presence. 

"Andy Morrison brought me. Father sent him 
from the hotel. T didn't care what you would say 
to me. I wanted to tell you that I was wrong, and 
not let you go away feeling that — that — you were 
all to blame. I thought when I had done that you 
might drive me away, — or laugh at me, or anything 
you pleased, if only you would let me take back — " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 151 

"Yes," he answered dreamily. All that wicked 
hardness was breaking up within him ; he felt it melt- 
ing drop by drop in his heart. This poor love-tossed 
soul, this frantic, uuguided, reckless girl, was an an- 
gel of mercy to him, and in her foUy and error a 
messenger of heavenly peace and hope. " I am a bad 
fellow, Marcia," he faltered. " You ought to know 
that. You did right to give me up. I made love to 
Hannah Morrison; I never promised to many her, 
but I made her think that I was fond of her." 

" I don't care for that," replied the girL " I told 
you when we were first engaged that I would never 
think of anything that had gone before that; and 
then when I would not listen to a word from you, 
that day, I broke my promise." 

"When I struck Henry Bird because he was jeal- 
ous of me, I was as guilty as if I had killed him." 

" If you had killed him, I was bound to you by my 
word. Your striking him was part of the same thing, 
— part of what I had promised I never would care 
for." A gush of tears came into his eyes, and she saw 
them. " Oh, poor Hartley ! Poor Hartley 1 " 

She took his head between her hands and pressed 
it hard against her heart, and then wrapped her arms 
tight about him, and softly bemoaned him. 

They drew a little apart when the man came in 
with his lantern, and set it down to mend the fire. 
But as a railroad employee he was far too familiar 
with the love that vaunts itself on all railroad trains 
to feel that he was an intruder. He scarcely looked 
at them, and went out when he had mended the fire, 
and left it purring. ^. 

" Where is Andy Morrison ? " asked Bartley. "Has 
he gone back ? " 

" No ; he is at the hotel over there. I told him to 
wait till I found out when the train went north." 

" So you inquired when it went to Boston," said 



152 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Bartley, with a touch of his old raillery. " Come," 
he added, taking her hand under his arm. He led 
her out of the room, to where his cutter stood outsida 
She was astonished to find the colt there. 

" I wonder I did n't see it. But if I had, I should 
have thought that you had sold it and gone away ; 
Andy told me you were coming here to sell the colt. 
When the man told me the express was gone, I knew 
you were on it." 

They found the boy stolidly waiting for Marcia on 
the veranda of the hotel, stamping first upon one 
foot and then the other, and hugging himself in his 
great-coat as the coming snow-fall blew its first flakes 
in his face. 

" Is that you, Andy ? " asked Bartley. 

" Yes, sir," answered the boy, without surprise at 
finding him with Marcia. 

" Well, here ! Just take hold of the colt's head a 
minute." 

As the boy obeyed, Bartley threw the reins on the 
dashboard, and leaped out of the cutter, and went 
within. He returned after a brief absence, followed 
by the landlord. 

" Well, it ain 't more *n a mile 'n a half, if it 's that. 
You just keep straight along this street, and take 
your first turn to the left, and you 're right at the 
house ; it 's the first house on the left-hand side.'* 

"Thanks," returned Bartley. " Andy, you tell the 
Squire that you left Marcia with me, and I said I 
would see about her getting back. You needn't 
hurry." 

" All right," said the boy, and he disappeared round 
the corner of the house to get his horse from the 
bam. 

" Well, I '11 be all ready by the time you 're here," 
said the landlord, still holding the hall-door ajar. 
" Luck to you ! " he shouted, shutting it 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 153 

Marcia locked both her hands through Bartley's 
arm, and leaned her head on his shoulder. Neither 
spoke for some minutes ; then he asked, " Marcia, do 
you know where you are ? " 

" With you," she answered, in a voice of utter peace. 

" Do you know where we are going ? " he asked, 
leaning over to kiss her cold, pure cheek. 

" No," she answered in as perfect content as before. 

" We are going to get married." 

He felt her grow tense in her clasp upon his ami, 
and hold there rigidly for a moment, while the swift 
thoughts whirled through her mind. Then, as if the 
struggle had ended, she silently relaxed, and leaned 
more heavily against him. 

" There 's still time to go back, Marcia,** he said, 
" if you wish. That turn to the right, yonder, will 
take us to Equity, and you can be at home in two 
hours." She quivered. " I 'm a poor man, — T sup- 
pose you know that ; I 've only got fifteen dollars in 
the world, and the colt here. I know I can get on ; 
I *m not afraid for myself ; hut if you would rather 
wait, — if you *re not perfectly certain of yourself, — 
remember, it 's going to be a struggle ; we *rQ going to 
have some hard times — '* 

" You forgive me ? " she huskily asked, for all 
answer, without moving her head from where it lay. 

" Yes, Marcia." 

" Then — hurry." 

The minister was an old man, and he seemed quite 
dazed at the suddenness of their demand for his ser- 
vices. But he gathered himself together, and con- 
trived to make them man and wife, and to give them 
his marriage certificate. 

" It seems as if there were something else,** he said, 
absently, as he handed the paper to Bartley. 

" Perhaps it *s this," said Bartley, giving him a five- 
dollar note in return. 



154 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Ah, perhaps," he replied, in unabated perplexity. 
He bade thera serve God, and let them out into tlie 
snowy night, through which they drove back to the 
hotel. 

The landlord had kindled a fire on the hearth of 
the Franklin stove in his parlor, and the blazing hick- 
ory snapped in electrical sympathy with the storm 
when they shut themselves into the bright room, and 
Hartley took Marcia fondly into his arms. 

« Wife ! '* 

" Husband ! " 

They sat down before the fire, hand in hand, and 
talked of the light things that swim to the top, and 
eddy round and round on the surface of our deepest 
moods. They made merry over the old minister's 
perturbation, which Bartley found endlessly amusing. 
Then he noticed that the dress Marcia had on was 
the one she had worn to the sociable in Lower Equity, 
and she said, yes, she had put it on because he once 
said he liked it. He asked her when, and she said, 
oh, she knew ; but if he could not remember, she was 
not going to tell him. Then she wanted to know if 
he recognized her by the dress before she lifted her 
veil in the station. 

" No," he said, with a teasing laugh. " I was n't 
thinking of you." 

" Oh, Bartley !" she joyfully reproached him. " You 
must have been ! " 

"Yes, I was! I was so mad at you, that I was 
glad to have that brute of a station-master bullying 
some woman ! " 

" Bartley ! " 

He sat holding her hand. "Marcia," he said, 
gravely, " we must write to your father at once, and 
tell him. I want to begin life in the right way, and 
I think it's only fair to him." 

She was enraptured at his magnanimity. "Bart- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 155 

ley ! That 's like you ! Poor father ! I declare — 
Hartley, I'm afraid I had forgotten him ! It 's dread- 
ful ; but — ymc put everything else out of my head. 
1 do believe I've died and come to life somewhere 
else ! " 

"Well, / havenV' said Bartley, "and I guess 
you 'd better write to your father. You 'd better 
write ; at present, he and I are not on speaking terms. 
Here ! " He took out his note-book, and gave her his 
stylographic pen after striking the fist that held it 
upon his other fist, in the fashion of tlie amateurs of 
that reluctant instrument, in order to bring down the 
iuk. 

" Oh, what *s that ? " she asked. 

" It 's a new kind of pen. I got it for a notice in 
the Free Press." 

" Is Henry Bird going to edit the paper ? " 

" I don't know, and I don't care," answered Bartley. 
" I '11 go out and get an envelope, and ask the land- 
lord what's the quickest way to get the letter to 
your father." 

He took up his hat, but she laid her hand on his 
arm. " Oh, send for him ! " she said. 

"Are you afraid I sha'n't come back?" he de- 
manded, with a laughing kiss. " I want to see him 
about something else, too." 

" Well, don't be gone long." 

They parted with an embrace that would have 
fortified older married people for a year's separation. 
When Bartley came back, she handed him the leaf 
she had torn out of his book, and sat down beside 
him while he read it, with her arm over his shoulder. 

" Dear father," the letter ran, " Bartley and I are 
married. We were married an hour ago, just across 
the New Hampshire line, by the Eev. Mr. Jessup. 
Bartley wants I should let you know the very first 
thing. I am going to Boston with Bartley to-night, 



156 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

and, as soon as we get settled there, I will write 
again. I want you should forgive us both ; but if 
you wont forgive Bartley, you must n*t forgive me. 
You were mistaken about Bartley, and I was right. 
Bartley has told me everything, and I am perfectly 
satisfied. Love to mother. 

"Marcta." 

" P. S. — T did intend to visit Netty Spaulding. 
But I saw Bartley driving past on his way to the 
Junction, and I determined to see him if I could be- 
fore he started for Boston, and tell him T was all 
wrong, no matter what he said or did afterwards. I 
ought to have told you I meant to see Bartley ; but 
then you would not have let me come, and if I had 
not come, I should have died." 

" There 's a good deal of Bartley in it/* said the 
young man with a laugh. 

" You don't like it ! " 

"Yes, I do; it's all right. Did you use to take 
the prize for composition at boarding-school ? " 

" Why, I think it 's a very good letter for when I 'm 
in such an excited state." 

" It 's beautiful ! " cried Bartley, laughing more and 
more. The tears started to her eyes. 

" Marcia," said her husband fondly, " what a child 
you are ! If ever I do anything to betray your trust 
in me — " 

There came a shuffling of feet outside the door, a 
clinking of glass and crockery, and a jarring sort of 
blow, as if some one were trying to rap on the panel 
with the edge of a heavy-laden waiter. Bartley threw 
the door open and found the landlord there, red and 
smiling, with the waiter in his hand. 

" I thought I 'd bring your supper in here, you 
know," he explained confidentially, " so 's 't you could 
have it a little more snug. And my wife she kind o' 
got wind o' what was going on, — women will, you 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 157 

kDow/' he said with a wink, — " and she 's sent ye in 
some hot biscuit and a little jell, and some of her 
cake." He set the waiter down on the table, and 
stood admiring its mystery of napkined dishes. " She 
guessed you wouldn't object to some cold chicken, 
and she 's put a little of that on. Sha'n't cost ye any 
more," he hastened to assure them. " Now this is 
youT room till the train comes, and there aint agoin* 
to anybody come in here. So you can make your- 
selves at home. And / hope you 11 enjoy your sup- 
per as much as we did ourn the night v)e was 
married. Tliere ! I guess I '11 let the lady fix the 
table ; she looks as if she knowed how." 

He got himself out of the room again, and then 
Marcia, who had made him some embarrassed thanks, 
burst out in praise of his pleasantness. 

"Well, he ought to be pleasant," said Bartley, 
"he's just beaten me on a horse-trade. I've sold 
him the colt." 

" Sold him the colt ! " cried Marcia, tragically drop- 
ping the napkin she had lifted from the plate of cold 
chicken. 

" Well, we could n't very well have taken him to 
Boston with us. And we could n't have got there 
without selling him. You know you have n't married 
a millionnaire, Marcia." 

" How much did you get for the colt ? " 

" Oh, I did n't do so badly. I got a hundred and 
fifty for him." 

" And you had fifteen besides." 

"That was before we were married. I gave the 
minister five for you, — I think you are worth it. I 
wanted to give fifteen." 

" Well, then, you have a hundred and sixty now. 
Is n't that a great deal ? " 

"An everlasting lot," said Bartley, with an impa- 
tient laugh. " Don't let the supper cool, Marcia ! " 



158 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

She silently set out the feast, but regarded it rue- 
fully. "You oughtn't to have ordered so much, 
Bartley," she said. " You could n't afford it." 

" I can afford anything when I 'm hungry. Besides, 
I only ordered the oysters and coffee ; all the rest is 
conscience money — or sentiment — from the land- 
lord. Come, come ! cheer up, now ! We sha'n't starve 
to-night, anyhow." 

" Well, I know father will help us." 

"We sha'n't count on him," said Bartley. "Now 
drop it ! " He put his arm round her shoulders and 
pressed her against him, till she raised her face for his 
kiss. 

" Well, I wUl ! " she said, and the shadow lifted 
itself from their wedding feast, and they sat down 
and made merry as if they had all the money in the 
world to spend. They laughed and joked ; they 
praised the things they liked, and made fun of the 
others. 

" How strange ! How perfectly impossible it all 
seems ! Why, last night I was taking supper at Kin- 
ney's logging-camp, and hating you at every mouthful 
with all my might. Everything seemed against me, 
and I was feeling ugly, and flirting like mad with a 
fool from Montreal : she had come out there from 
Portland for a frolic with the owners' party. You 
made me do it, Marcia!" he cried jestingly. "And 
remember that, if you want me to be good, you must 
be kind. The other thing seems to make me worse 
and worse." 

" I will, — I will, Bartley," slie said humbly. " I 
will try to be kind and patient with you. I will 
indeed." 

He threw back his head, and laughed and laughed. 
" Poor — poor old Kinney ! He 's the cook, you 
know, and he thought I 'd been making fun of him 
to that woman, and he behaved so, after they were 



A MODEfiN INSTANCE. 159 

gone, that I started home in a rage ; and he followed 
me out with his hands all covered with dough, and 
wanted to stop me, but he could n*t for fear of sjwil- 
ing my clothes — " He lost himseli' in another 
paroxysm. 

Marcia smiled a little. Then, "What sort of a 
looking person was she V she tremulously asked. 

Bartley stopped abruptly. "Not one ten-thou- 
sandth part as good-looking, nor one millionth part 
as bright, as Marcia Hubbard ! " He caught her and 
smothered her against his breast. 

" I don't care ! I don't care ! " she cried. " I was 
to blame more than you, if you flirted with her, and 
it serves me right Yes, I will never say anything 
to you for anything that happened after I behaved so 
to you." 

" There was n't anything else happened," cried 
Bartley. " And the Montreal woman snubbed me 
soundly before she was done with me." 

" Snubbed you ! " exclaimed Marcia, with illogical 
indignation. This delighted Bartley so much tliat it 
was long before he left off laughing over her. 

Then they sat down, and were silent till she said, 
" And did you leave him in a temper ? " 

" Who ? Kinney ? In a perfect devil of a temper. 
I would n't even borrow some money he wanted to 
lend me." 

** Write to him, Bartley," said his wife, seriously. 
"I love you so I can't bear to have anybody bad 
friends with you." 



IGO A MODERN INSTANCE. 



XIII. 

The whole thing was so crazy, as Bartley said, that 
it made no difference if they kept up the expense a 
few days longer. He took a hack from the depot 
when they arrived in Boston, and drove to the Eevere 
House, instead of going up in the horse-car. He 
entered his name on the register with a flourish, 
" Bartley J. Hubbard and Wife, Boston^' and asked 
for a room and fire, with laconic gruffness ; but the 
clerk knew him at once for a country person, and 
when the call-boy followed him into the parlor where 
Marcia sat, in the tremor into which she fell whenever 
Bartley was out of her sight, the call-boy discerned 
her provinciality at a glance, and made free to say 
that he guessed they had better let him take their 
things up to their room, and come up themselves after 
the porter had got their lire going. 

"All right," said Bartley, with hauteur; and he 
added, for no reason, " Be quick about it." 

" Yes, sir," said the boy. 

" What time is supper — dinner, I mean ? " 

" It 's ready now, sir." 

** Good. Take up the things. Come just as you 
are, Marcia. Let him take your cap, — no, keep it on ; 
a good many of them come down in their bonnets." 

Marcia put off her. sack and gloves, and hastily 
repaired the ravages of travel as best she could. She 
would have liked to go to her room just long enough 
to brush her hair a little, and the fur cap made her 
head hot; but she was suddenly afraid of doing 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 161 

something that would seem couDtrified in Bartley's 
eyes, and she promptly obeyed : they had come from 
Poitland in a parlor car, and she had been able to 
make a traveller's toilet before they reached Boston. 

She had been at Portland several times with her 
father ; but he stopped at a second-class hotel where 
he had always " put up " when alone, and she was 
new to the vastness of hotel mirrors and chandeliers, 
the glossy paint, the -frescoing, the fluted pillars, the 
tessellated marble pavements upon which she stepped 
when she left the Brussels carpeting of the parlors. 
She clung to Bartley's arm, silently praying that she 
might not do anything to mortify him, and admiring 
everything he did with all her souL He made a halt 
as they entered the glittering dining-room, and stood 
frowning till the head-waiter ran respectfully up to 
them, and ushered them with sweeping bows to a 
table, which they had to themselves. Bartley ordered 
their dinner with nonchalant ease, beginning with 
soup and going to black cofifee with dazzling intelli- 
gence. While their waiter was gone with their order, 
he beckoned with one finger to another, and sent him 
out for a paper, which he unfolded and spread on the 
table, taking a toothpick into his mouth, and running 
the sheet over with his eyes. " I just want to see 
wliat 's going on to-night," he said, without looking 
at Marcia. 

She made a little murmur of acquiescence in her 

throat, but she could not speak for strangeness. She 

began to steal little timid glances about, and to notice 

the people at the other tables. In her heart she did 

not find the ladies so very well dressed as she had 

expected the Boston ladies to be ; and there was no 

gentleman there to compare with Bartley, either in 

style or looks. She let her eyes finally dwell on him, 

wishing that he would put his paper away and say 

something, but afraid to ask, lest it should not be 

11 



162 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

quite right: all the other gentlemen were reading 
papers. She was feeling lonesome and homesick, when 
he suddenly glanced at her and said, " How pretty you 
look, Marsh ! " 

"Do I ? " she asked, with a little grateful throb, 
while her eyes joyfully suffused themselves. 

" Pretty as a pink," he returned. " Gay, — is n't 
it ? " he continued, with a wink that took her into his 
confidence again, from which liis study of the news- 
paper had seemed to exclude her. *' I '11 tell you 
what I 'm going to do : I 'm going to take you to the 
Museum after dinner, and let you see Boucicault in 
the * Colleen Bawn.' " He swept his -paper off the 
table and unfolded his napkin in his lap, and, leaning 
back in his chair, began to tell her about the play. 
" We can walk : it 's only just round the corner," he 
said at the end. 

Marcia crept into the shelter of his talk, — he some- 
times spoke rather loud, — and was submissively 
silent. When they got into their own room, — which 
had gilt lambrequin frames, and a chandelier of three 
burners, and a marble mantel, and marble-topped 
table and washstand, — and Bartley turned up the 
flaring gas, she quite broke down, and cried on his 
breast, to make sure that she had got him all back 
again. 

"Why, Marcia ! " he said. " I know just how you 
feel. Don't you suppose I understand as well as you 
do that we 're a country couple ? But I 'm not going 
to give myself away ; and you must n't, either. There 
was n't a woman in that room that could compare with 
you, — dress or looks ! " 

"You were splendid," she whispered, "and just 
like the rest ! and that made me feel somehow as if 
I had lost you." 

" I know, — I saw just how you felt ; but I was n t 
going to say anything for fear you'd give way right 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 1C3 

there. Come, there 's plenty of time before the play 
begins. I call this nice ! Old-fashioned, rather, in 
the decorations,*' he said, " but pretty good for its 
time." He had pulled up two arm-chairs in front of 
the glowing grate of anthracite ; as he spoke, he cast 
his eyes about the room, and she followed his glance 
obediently. He had kept her hand in his, and now 
he held her slim finger-tips in the fist which he rested 
on his knee. " No ; I *11 tell you what, Marcia, if you 
want to get on in a city, there 's no use being afraid 
of people. No use being afraid of anything, so long 
as we 're good to each other. And you *ve got to 
believe in me right along. Don't you let anything 
get you on the wrong track. I believe that as long 
as you have faith in me, I shall deserve it ; and when 
you don't — " 

"Oh, Eartley, you know I didn't doubt you ! I 
just got to thinking, and I was a little worked up ! 
I suppose I 'm excited." 

" I knew it ! I knew it ! " cried her husband. " Don't 
you suppose I understand you 1 " 

They talked a long time together, and made each 
other loving promises of patience. They confessed 
their faults, and pledged each other that they would 
try hard to overcome them. They wished to be good ; 
they both felt they had much to retrieve ; but they had 
no concealments, and they knew tliat was the best way 
to begin the future, of which they did tlieir beat to 
conceive seriously. Bartley told her his plans about 
jijetting some newspaper work till he could complete 
his law studies. He meant to settle down to practice 
in Boston. " You have to wait longer for it than you 
would in a country place; but when you get it, it's 
worth while." He asked Marcia whether she would 
look up his friend Halleck if she were in his place ; 
but he did not give her time to decide. " I guess I 
won't do it. Not just yet, at any rate. He might 



164 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

suppose that I wanted something of him. I '11 call 
on him when I don't need his lielp." 

Perhaps, if they had not planned to go to the 
theatre, they would have staid where they were, for 
they were tired, and it was very cosey. But when they 
were once in the street, they were glad they had come 
out. Bowdoin Square and Court Street and Tremont 
Row were a glitter of gas-lights, and those shops, with 
their placarded bargains, dazzled Marcia. 

" Is it one of the principal streets ? " she asked 
Bartley. 

He gave the laugh of a veteran hdbitn4 of Boston. 
" Tremont Row ? No. Wait till I show you Wash- 
ington Street to-morrow. There 's the Museum," he 
said, pointing to the long row of globed lights on 
the facade of the building. ** Here we are in ScoUay 
Square. There 's Hanover Street ; there 's Cornhill ; 
Court crooks down that way; there's Pemberton 
Square." 

His familiarity with these names estranged him to 
her again ; she clung the closer to his arm, and caught 
her breath nervously as they turned in with the crowd 
that was climbing the stairs to the box-ofl&ce of the 
theatre. Bartley left her a moment, while he pushed 
Ids way up to the little window and bought the 
tickets. " First-rate seats," he said, coming back to 
her, and taking her hand under his arm again, " and 
a great piece of luck. They were just returned for 
sale by the man in front of me, or I should have had 
to take something 'way up in the gallery. There 's 
a regular jam. These are right in the centre of the 
parquet." 

Marcia did not know what the parquet was ; she 
heard its name with the certainty that but for Bartley 
she should not be equal to it. All her village pride 
was quelled ; she had only enough self-control to act 
upon Bartley's instructions not to give herself away 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 1C5 

by any conviction of rusticity. They passed iu through 
the long, colonnaded vestibule, with its paintings, and 
plaster casts, and rows of birds and animals in glass 
cases on either side, and she gave scarcely a glance at 
any of those objects, endeared by association, if not 
by intrinsic beauty, to the Boston play-goer. Gulli- 
ver, with the Liliputians swarming upon him ; the 
paiuty-necked ostriches and pelicans ; the mummied 
mennaid under a glass bell ; the governors* portraits ; 
the stufied elephant ; Washington crossing the Dela- 
ware ; Cleopatra applying the asp ; Sir William 
Pepperell, at full length, on canvas ; and the pagan 
months and seasons in plaster, — if all these are, 
indeed, the subjects, — were dim phantasmagoria 
amid which she and Bartley moved scarcely more real. 
The usher, in his dress-coat, ran up the aisle to take 
their checks, and led them down to their seats ; half 
a dozen elegant people stood to let them into their 
places ; the theatre was filled with faces. At Port- 
land, where she saw the " Lady of Lyons," with her 
father, three-quarters of the house was empty. 

Bartley only had time to lean over and whisper, 
" The place is packed with Beacon Street swells, — it 's 
a regular field night,'* — when the bell tinkled and the 
curtain rose. 

As the play went on, the rich jacqueminot-red 
flamed into her cheeks, and burnt there a steady blaze 
to the end. The people about her laughed and 
clapped, and at times they seemed to be crying. But 
Marcia sat through every part as stoical as a savage, 
making no sign, except for the flaming color in her 
cheeks, of interest or intelligence. Bartley talked of 
the play all the way home, but she said nothing, and 
in their own room he asked : *' Did n't you really like 
it ? Were you disappointed ? I have n't been able 
tc^ get a word out of you about it. Did n't you like 
Boucicault ? " 



166 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" I did n't know which he was," she answered, with 
impassioned exaltation. " I did n't care for him. I 
only thought of that poor girl, and her husband who 
despised her — " 

She stopped. Hartley looked at her a moment, and 
then caught her to him and fell a-laughing over her, 
till it seemed as if he never would end. " And you 
thought — you thought," he cried, trying to get his 
breath, — "you thought you were Eily, and I was 
Hardress Cregan ! Oh, I see, I see I " He went on 
making a mock and a burlesque of her tragical hallu- 
cination till she laughed with him at last. When he 
put his hand up to turn out the gas, he began his 
joking afresh. "The real thing for Hardress to do," 
he said, fumbling for the key, "is to blow it out 
That *s what Hardress usually does when he comes 
up from the rural districts with Eily on their bridal 
tour. That finishes off Eily, without troubling Dan- 
ny Mann. The only drawback is that it finishes off 
Hardress, too : they 're both found suffocated in the 
morning." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 167 



XIV. 

The next day, after breakfast, while they stood 
U^ether before the parlor fire, Bartley proposed one 
jilan after another for spending the day. Marcia 
rejected them all, with perfectly recovered self-com- 
posure. 
" Then what shall we do 1 " he asked, at last. 
" Oh, I don't know," she answered, rather absently. 
She added, after an interval, smoothing the warm 
front of her dress, and putting her foot on the fender, 
" What did those theatre-tickets cost ? " 
"Two dollars," he replied carelessly. " Why ?" 
Mai-cia gasped. " Two dollars ! Oh, Bartley, we 
could n't afford it ! " 
"It seems we did." 

" And here, — how much are we paying here ? *' 
"That room, with fire," said Bartley, stretching 
himself, ** is seven dollars a day — " 

"We mustn't stay another instant ! " said Marcia, 
all a Woman's terror of spending money on anything 
Wt dress, all a wife's conservative instinct, rising 
within her. "How much have you got left ? " 

Bartley took out his pocket-book and counted over 
the bills in it. " A hundred and twenty dollars." 

"Why, what has become of it aU ? We had a 
hundred and sixty ! " 

"Well, our railroad tickets were nineteen, the 
sleeping-car was three, the parlor-car was three, the 
ttieatre was two, the hack was fifty cents, and we '11 
have to put down the other two and a half to refresh- 
•meuts." 



168 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Marcia listened in dismay. At the end she drew 
a long breath. " Well, we must go away from here 
as soon as ]X)ssible, — that I know. We '11 go out and 
find some boarding-place. That 's the first thing." 

" Oh, now, Marcia, you 're not going to be so severe 
as that, are you ? " pleaded Bartley. " A few dollars, 
more or less, are not going to keep us out of the poor- 
house. I just want to stay here three days : that will 
leave us a clean hundred, and we can start fair." He 
was half joking, but she was wholly serious. 

" No, Bartley 1 Not another hour, — not another 
minute 1 Come ! " She took his arm and bent it up 
into a crook, where she put her hand, and pulled him 
toward the door. 

"Well, after all,*' he said, "it will be some fun 
looking up a room.*' 

There was no one else in the parlor ; in going to 
the door they took some waltzing steps together. 

While she dressed to go out, he looked up places 
where rooms were let with or without board, in the 
newspaper. " There don't seem to be a great many," 
he said meditatively, bending over the open sheet. 
But he cut out half a dozen advertisements with his 
editorial scissors, and they started upon their search. 

They climbed those pleasant old up-hill streets 
that converge to the State House, and looked into 
the houses on the quiet Places that stretch from one 
thoroughfare to another. They had decided that they 
would be content with two small rooms, one for a 
chamber, and the other for a parlor, where they could 
have a fire. They found exactly what they wanted 
in the first house where they applied, one flight up, 
with sunny windows, looking down the street ; but it 
made Marcia's blood run cold when the landlady said 
that the price was thirty dollars a week. At another 
place the rooms were only twenty ; the position was 
quite as good, and the carpet and furniture prettier. 



A MODERN IKSTAKCE. 169 

This was still too dear, but it seemed comparatively 
reasouable till it appeared that this was the price 
without board. 

"I think we should prefer rooms with board, 
should n t we ? " asked Bartley, with a sly look at 
Marcia. 

The prices were of all degrees of exort)itance, and 
they varied for no reason from house to house ; one 
landlady had been accustomed to take more and 
another less, but never little enough for Marcia, who 
overruled Bartley again and again when he wished to 
close with some small abatement of terms. She de- 
clared now that they must put up with one room, 
and they must not care what floor it was on. But 
the cheapest room with board was fourteen dollars a 
week, and Marcia had fixed her ideal at ten : even 
that was too high for them. 

" The best way will be to go back to the Revere 
House, at seven dollars a day," said Bartley. He had 
lately been leaving the transaction of the business 
entirely to Marcia, who had rapidly acquired alert- 
ness and decision in it. 

She could not respond to his joke. " What is there 
left ? " she asked. 

" There is n't anything left," he said. " We 've got 
to the end." 

They stood on the edge of the pavement and looked 
lip and down the street, and then, by a common im- 
pulse, they looked at the house opposite, where a 
placard in the window advertised, "Apartments to 
Let — to Gentlemen only." 

"It would be of no use asking there," murmured 
Marcia, in sad abstraction. 

"Well, let's go over and try," said her husband. 
** They can't do more than turn us out of doors." 

" I know it won't be of any use," Marcia sighed, as 
people do when they hope to gain something by for- 



170 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

bidding themselves hope. But she helplessly fol- 
lowed, and stood at the foot of the door-steps while 
he ran up and rang. 

It was evidently the woman of the house who came 
to the door and shrewdly scanned them. 

" I see you have apartments to let," said Bartley. 

" Well, yes," admitted the woman, as if she con- 
sidered it useless to deny it, " I have." 

" I should like to look at them," returned Bartley, 
with promptness. " Come, Marcia." And, reinforced 
by her, he invaded the premises before the landlady 
had time to repel him. " 1 11 tell you what we want," 
he continued^ turning into the little reception-room 
at the side of the door, " and if you have n't got it, 
there 's no need to trouble you. We want a fair-sized 
room, anywhere between the cellar-floor and the roof, 
with a bed and a stove and a table in it, that sha'n't 
cost us more than ten dollars a week, with board." 

" Set down," said the landlady, herself setting the 
example by sinking into the rocking-chair behind her 
and beginning to rock while she made a brief study 
of the intruders. " Want it for yourselves ? " • 

" Yes," said Bartjey. 

"Well," returned the landlady, "I always have 
preferred single gentlemen." 

"I inferred as much from a remark which you 
made in your front window," said Bartley, indicating 
the placard. 

The landlady smiled. They were certainly a very 
pretty-appearing young couple, and the gentleman 
was evidently up-and-coming. Mrs. Nash liked 
Bartley, as most people of her grade did, at once. 
" It 's always be'n my exper'ence," she explained, with 
the lazily rhythmical drawl in which most half-bred 
New-Englanders speak, " that I seemed to get along 
rather better with gentlemen. They give less trou- 
ble — as a general rule," she added, with a glance at 



A MODERN INSTANCE. I7l 

Marcia, as if she did not deny that there were ex- 
ceptions^ and Marcia might be a striking ona 

Bartley seized his advantage "Well, my wife 
has n't been married long enough to be unreasonable. 
I guess you'd get along." 

They both laughed, and Marcia, blushing, joined 
them. 

" Well, I thought when you first come up the steps 
yoa hadn't been married — well, not di, great while," 
said the landlady. 

"No," said Bartley. "It seems a good while to 
my wife; but we were only married day before 
yesterday." 

" The land ! " cried Mrs. Nash, 

" Bartley ! " whispered Marcia, in soft upbraiding. 

"What? Well, say last week, then. We were 
married last week, and we Ve come to Boston to seek 
our fortune." 

His wit overjoyed Mrs. Nash. " You '11 find Boston 
{in awful hard place to get along," she said, shaking 
her head with a warning smile. 

" I should n't think so, by the price Boston people 
ask for their rooms," returned Bartley. "If I had 
rooms to let, I should get along pretty easily." 

This again delighted the landlady. " I guess you 
^int goin' to get out of spirits, anyway," she said. 
"Well," she continued, " I have got a room 't I guess 
would suit you. Unexpectedly vacated." She seemed 
to recur to the language of an advertisement in these 
words, which she pronounced as if reading them. 
"It's pretty high up," she said, with another warning 
shake of the head. 

" Stairs to get to it ? " asked Bartley. 

" Plenty of stairs!' 

" Well, when a place is pretty high up, I like to 
have plenty of stairs to get to it. I guess we '11 see it, 
Marcia." He rose. 



172 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Well, 1 11 jiist go up and see if it *s fit to be seen^ 
first," said the landlady. 

"Oh, Bartley!" said Marcia, when she had left 
them alone, " how c(mld you joke so about our just 
being married!" 

"Well, I saw she wanted awfully to ask. And 
anybody can tell by looking at us, anyway. We 
can't keep that to ourselves, any more than we can 
our greenness. Besides, it 's money in our pockets ; 
she '11 take something off our board for it, you '11 see. 
Now, will you manage the bargaining from this on ? 
I stepped forward because the rooms were for gentle- 
men only." 

" I guess I 'd better," said Marcia. 

" All right ; then 1 11 take a back seat from this out" 

"Oh, I do hope it won't be too much ! " sighed the 
young wife. " I 'm so tvred^ looking." 

" You can come right along up," the landlady called 
down through the oval spire formed by the ascend- 
ing hand-rail of the stairs. 

They found her in a broad, low room, whose 
ceiling sloped with the roof, and had the pleasant 
irregularity of the angles and recessions of two dormer 
windows. The room was clean and cosey ; there was 
a table, and a stove that could be used open or shut ; 
Marcia squeezed Hartley's arm to signify tliat it would 
do perfectly — if only the price would suit. 

The landlady stood in the middle of the floor and 
lectured : " Now, there ! I get five dollars a week 
for this room; and I genly let it to two gentlemen. 
It 's just been vacated by two gentlemen unexpectedly ; 
and it 's hard to get gentlemen at this time the year ; 
and that 's the reason I thought of takin' you. As I 
say, I don't much like ladies for inmates, and so I put 
in the window ' for gentlemen only.' But it *s no use 
bein' too particular; I can't have the room layin* 
empty on my hands. If it suits you, you can have it 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 173 

for four dollars. It's high upland there's no use 
tryin* to deny it. But there aint such another view 
as them winders commands anywheres. You can see 
the harbor, and jjretty much the whole coast.*' 

"Anything extra for the view?" said Bartley, 
glancing out. 
" No, I throw that in." 

"Does the price include gas and fire ? " asked Mar- 
cia, sharpened as to all details by pravious interviews. 
"It includes the gas, but it don't include the fire," 
' the landlady, firmly. "And it's., pretty low at 
that, as you *ve found out, I guess." 

"Yes, it is low," said Marcia. "Bartley, I think 
^e 'd better take it" 

She looked at him timidly, as if she were afraid he 
^%ht not think it good enough; she did not think it 
good enough for him, but she felt that they must 
^ake their money go as far as possible. 
'' All right ! " he said. " Then it 's a bargain." 
" And how much more will the board be ? " 
*' Well, there," the landlady said, with candor, " I 
"pii*t know as I can meet your views. I don't ever 
g^^o board. But there 's plenty of houses right on the 
j*J*e«t here where you can get day-board from four 
^^Hars a week up." 

. ** Oh, dear ! " sighed Marcia ; "and that would make 
^* ti-welve dollars ! " 

, ** Why, the dear suz, child ! " exclaimed the land- 
f ^:y, " you did n't expect to get it for less ? " 

** We must," said Marcia. 
, ^^^Then you'll have to go to a mechanics' boardin'- 

TV ** I suppose we shall," she returned, dejectedly. 
^^>tley whistled. 

P^ *• Look here," said the landlady, " aint you from 
^^wn East, some'eres ? " 

^ Iklarcia started, as if the woman had recognized 

tti^iij " Yes," she said. 



174 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Well, now," said Mrs. Nash, " I 'm from down 
Maine way myself, and I 'U tell you what I should 
do, if I was in your place. You don^t want much of 
anything for breakfast or tea ; you can boil you an 
egg on the stove here, and you can make your own 
tea or coffee ; and if I was you, I 'd go out for my 
dinners to an eatin'-house. I heard some ray lodgers 
tellin* how they done. Well, I heard the very gentle- 
men that occupied this room sayin' how they used to 
go to an eatiii'-house, and one 'd order one thing, and 
another another, and then they'd halve it between 
'em, and make out a first-rate meal for about a quarter 
apiece.* Plenty of places now where they give you 
a cut o' lamb or rib-beef for a shillin', and they bring 
you bread and butter and potato with it ; an' it 's 
always enough for two. That 's what they said. I 
baint never tried it myself; but as long as you haint 
got anybody but yourselves to care for, there aint any 
reason why you should n't." 

They looked at each other. 

" Well," added the landlady for a final touch, " say 
fire. That stove won't burn a great deal, anyway." 

" All right," said Bartley, " we '11 take the room — 
for a month, at least." 

Mrs. Nash looked a little embarrassed. If she had 
made some concession to the liking she had conceived 
for this pretty young couple, she could not risk every- 
thing. " I always have to get the first week in ad- 
vance — ^ where there ain't no reference," she sug- 
gested. 

"Of course," said Bartley, and he took out his 
pocket-book, which he had a boyish satisfaction in 
letting her see was well filled. "Now, Marcia," he 
continued, looking at his watch, " I '11 just run over 
to the hotel, and give up our room before they get us 
in f6r dinner." 

Marcia accepted Mrs. Nash's invitation to come 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 175 

and sit with her till the chill was off the room ; and 
she borrowed a pen and paper of her to write home. 
The note she sent was brief: slie was not going to 
seem to ask anything of her father. But she was 
going to do what was right ; she told him where she 
was, and she sent her love to her mother. She would 
not speak of her things ; he might send them or not/ 
as he chose ; but she knew he would. This was the 
spirit of her letter, and her training had not taught 
her to soften and sweeten her phrase ; but no doubt 
the old man, who was like her, would understand 
that she felt no compunction for what she had done, 
and that she loved him though she still defied him. 

Bartley did not ask her what her letter was when 
she demanded a stamp of him on his return ; but he 
knew. He inquired of Mrs. Nash where these cheap 
eating-houses were to be found, and he posted the let- 
ter in the first box they came to, merely saying, " I 
hope you have n't been asking any favors, Marsh ? " 

" No, indeed." 

'' Because I could n't stand that." 

Marcia had never dined in a restaurant, and she 
was somewhat bewildered by the one into which they 
turned. There was a^ great show of roast, and steak, 
and fish, and game, and squash and cranberry-pie in 
the window, and at the door a tack was driven through 
a mass of bills of fare, two of which Bartley plucked 
off as they entered, with a knowing air, and then 
threw on the floor when he found the same thing on. 
the table. The table had a marble top, and a silver- 
plated castor in the centre. The plates were laid with 
a coarse red doily in a cocked hat on each, and a thinly 
plated knife and fork crossed beneath it ; the plates 
were thick and heavy ; the handle as well as the blade 
of the knife was metal, and silvered. Besides the 
castor, there was a bottle of Leicestershire sauce on 
the table, and salt in what Marcia thought a pepper- 



176 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

box ; the marble was of an unctuous translucence in 
places, and showed the course of the cleansing napkin 
on its smeared surface. The place was hot, and full 
of confused smells of cooking; all the tables were 
crowded, so that they found places with difficulty, 
and pale, plain girls, of the Provincial and Irish- 
' American type, in fashionable bangs and pull-backs, 
went about taking the orders, which they wailed out 
toward a semicircular hole opening upon a counter 
at the farther end of the room ; there they received 
the dishes ordered, and hurried with them to the cus- 
tomers, before whom they laid them with a noisy 
cl^^cking of the heaVy crockery. A great many of the 
peonle seemed to be taking hulled corn and milk ; 
bake<l beans formed another favorite dish, and squash- 
pie was in large request. Marcia was not critical ; 
roast turkey for Bartley and stewed chicken for her- 
self, with cranberry-pie for both, seemed to her a very 
good and sufficient dinner, and better than they ought 
to have had. She asked Bartley if this were anything 
like Parker's; he had always talked to her about 
Parker's. 

" Well, Marcia," he said, fdlding up his doily, which 
does not betray use like the indiscreet white napkin, 
" I '11 just take you round and ^how you the outside of 
Parker's, and some day we '11 go there and get dinner." 

He not only showed her Parker's, but the City 
Hall ; they walked down School Street, and through 
Washington as far as Poylston : and Bartley pointed 
out the Old South, and brought Marcia home by the 
Common, where they stopped to see the boys coasting 
under the care of the police, between two long lines 
of spectators. 

" The State House," said Bartley, with easy com- 
mand of the facts, and, pointing in the several direc- 
tions ; " Beacon Street ; Public Garden ; Back Bay." 

She came home to Mrs. Nash joyfully admiring 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 177 

the city, but admiriiig still more her hasband's mas- 
terly kuowledge of it. 

MiB. Nash was one of tI)ose people who partake 
intimately of the importance of the place in which 
they live ; to yrhom it is sufficient splendor and pros- 
perity to be a Bostonian, or New-Yorker, or Chicagoan, 
aud who experience a delicious self-flattery in the 
celebration of the municipal grandeur. In his degree, 
Bartley was of this sort, and he exchanged compli- 
ments of Boston with Mrs. Nash, till they grew into 
warm favor with each other. 

After a while, he said he must go up-stairs and do 
^me writing ; and then he casually dropped the fact 
that he was an editor, and that he had come to Boston 
to get an engagement on a newspaper ; he implied 
^hat he had come to taike one. 

" Well," said Mrs. Nash, smoothing the back of the 

^t, which, she had in her lap, '* I guess there ain*t 

^'^ything like our Boston papei's. And they say this 

Dew one — the ' Daily Events ' — is goin* to take the 

iead. You acquainted any with our Boston editors ? " 

Bartley hemmed. " Well — I know the proprietor 

^^ the Events." 

*' -Ah, yes : Mr. Witherby. Well, they say he 's got 
^^^ money. I hear my lodgers talkin' about that 
P^Per consid'able. I have n't ever seen it." 
, . hartley now went up-stairs ; he had an idea in 
^ iead. Marcia- remained with Mrs. Nash a few 
^PHients. " He 's been in Boston before," she said, 
^^^li proud satisfaction ; " he visited here when he 
^^ in college." 

** Xaw, is he college-bred ?" cried Mrs. Nash. "Well, 
^^liought he looked 'most too wide-awake for that. 
^^ aint a bit offish. He seems re' I practical. What 
y^^ hurryin' off so for ? " she asked, as Marcia rose, 
'^^<1 stood poised on the threshold, in act to follow 
'^^v husband. "Why don't you set here with me, 

12 



X78 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

while he 's at his writin' ? You '11 just keep talkin' 
to him and takin' his mind off, the whole while. 
You stay here ! " she commandeil hospitably. " You '11 
just be in the way, up there." 

This was a novel conception to Marcia, but its good 
sense struck her. " Well, I will," she said. " I '11 
run up a minute to leave my things, and then I '11 
come back." 

She found Bartley dragging the table, on which he 
had already laid out his writing-materials, into a good 
light, and she threw her arms round his neck, as if 
they had been a great while parted. 

" Come up to kiss me good luck ? " be asked, find^ 
ing her lips. 

" Yes, and to tell you how splendid you are, going 
right to work this way," she answered fondly. 

" Oh, I don't believe in losing time ; and I 've got 
to strike while the iron's hot, if I'm going to write 
out that logging-camp business. I '11 take it over to 
that Events man, and hit him with it, while it's 
fresh in his mind." 

'* Yes," said Marcia. " Are you going to write that 
out ? " 

" Why, I told you I was. Any objections ? " He 
did not pay much attention to her, and he asked his 
question jokingly, as he went on making bis prepara- 
tions. 

" It 's hard for me to realize that people can care for 
such things. I thought perhaps you'd begin with 
something else," she suggested, hanging up her sack 
and hat in the closet. 

" No, that 's the very thing to begin with," he 
answered, carelessly. " What are you going to do ? 
Want that book to read that I bought on the cars ? " 

" No, I 'm going down to sit with Mrs. Nash while 
you 're writing." 

" Well, that 's a good idea." 



A MODERN IM8TAKCS. 179 

"Ton can call me when you Ve done." 
"Done!" cried Bartley. "I shaVt be done till 
this time to-morrow. I 'm going to make a lot about 

it" 

"Oh ! " said his wife. " Well, I suppose the more 
there is, the more you will get for it. Shall you put 
in about those people coming to see the camp? '' 

"Yes, I think I can work that in so that old 

Witherby will l\Jce it. Something about a distin- 

^ished Boston newspaper proprietor and his refined 

^}^i el^ant ladies, as a sort of contrast to the rude 

^ife of the loggers." 

'* I thought you did n't admire them a great deal" 

** Well, I did n't much. But I can work them up." 

Harcia was quite ready to go ; Bartley had seated 

^^mself at his table, but she still hovered about 

. -And are you — shall you put that Montreal woman 

in ^» 

** Yes, get it all in. She 11 work up first-rate." 

IMarcia was silent. Then, " I should n't think 
J5^^'d put her in," she said, "if she was so silly aud 
^*^^agreeable." 

IBartley turned around, and saw the look on her 
J^<^ that he could not mistake. He rose and took 
^^:r by the chin. "Look here, Marsh!" he said, "did 
^ 'ti you promise me you 'd stop that ? " 
^ *' Yes," she murmured, while the color flamed into 
cheeks. 

"And will you?" 

''I did try — " 

He looked sharply into her eyes. " Confound the 
, -^ontreal woman ! I won't put in a word about 
f^^r. There!" He kissed Marcia, and held her in 
^ is arms and soothed her as if she had been a jeal- 

18 child. 

" Oh, Bartley ! Oh, Bartley ! " she cried. " I love 
X)u so ! " 



180 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" I think it 's a remark you made before," he said, 
and, with a final kiss and laugh, he pushed her out 
of the door; and she i*an down stairs to Mrs. Nash 
again. 

" Your husband ever write poetry, any ? " inquired 
the landlady. 

" No," returned Marcia ; *' he used to in college, 
but he says it don't pay." 

" One my lodgers — well, she yras a lady ; you 
can't seem to get gentlemen oftentimes in the sum- 
mer season, for love or money, and I was puttin' up 
with her, — breakin' joints, as you may say, for the 
time bein' — she wrote poetry; V I guess she found 
it pretty poor pickin*. Used to write, for the weekly 
papers, she said, 'n' the child'n's magazines. Well, 
she could n't get more 'n a doll' or two, 'n' I do* know 
but what less, for a piece as long as that." Mrs. Nash 
held her hands about a foot apart. " Used to show 
'em to me, and tell me about 'em. I declare I used 
to pity her. I used to tell her I ruther break stone 
for my livin'." 

Marcia sat talking more than an hour to Mrs. Nash, 
informing herself upon the history of Mrs. Nash's past 
and present lodgers, and about the ways of the city, 
and the prices of provisions and dress-goods. The 
dearness of everything alarmed and even shocked 
her; but she came back to her faith in Bartley's 
ability to meet and overcome all difficulties. She 
grew drowsy in the close air which Mrs. Nash loved, 
after all her fatigues and excitements, and she said 
she guessed she would go up and see how Hartley 
was getting on. But when she stole into the room 
and saw him busily writing, she said, " Now I won't 
speak a word, Hartley," and coiled herself down under 
a shawl on the bed, near enough to put her hand on 
his shoulder if she wished, and fell asleep. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 181 



XV. 



Ir took Bartley two days to write out his account 
of the logging-camp. He worked it up to the best of 
his ability, giving all the facts that he had got out 
of Kinuey, and relieving these with what he con- 
sidered picturesque touches. He had the newspaper 
instinct, and he divined that his readers would not 
care for his picturesqueness without his facts. He 
therefore subordinated this, and he tried to give his 
description of the loggers a politico-economical in- 
terest, dwelling upon the variety of nationalities 
engaged in the industry, and the changes it had 
undergone in what he called its personnel; he en- 
larged upon its present character and its future de- 
velopment in relation to what he styled, in a line of 
small capitals, with an early use of the favorite news- 
paper possessive, 

COLUMBU'S MORIBUND SHIP-BUILDING. 

And he interspersed his text plentifully with exclam- 
^^ry headings intended to catch the eye with star- 
tling fragments of narration and statement, such as 

THE PINE-TREE STATE'S STORIED STAPLE 

MORE THAN A MILLION OF MONEY 

UNBROKEN WILDERNESS 

WILD-CATS, LYNXES, AND BEARS 

BITTEN OFF 

BOTH LEGS FROZEN TO THE KNEES 

CANADIAN SONGS 

JOY UNGONFINED 

THE LAMPLIGHT ON THEIR SWARTHY FACES. 



182 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

He spent a fiual forenoon in polishing his article 
up, and stuffing it full. of telling points. But after 
dinner on this last day he took leave of Marcia with 
more trepidation than he was willing to show, or knew 
how to conceal. Her devout faith in his success 
seemed to unnerve him, arid he begged her not to 
believe in it so much. 

He seized what courage he had left in both hands, 
and found himself, after the usual reluctance of the 
people in the business office, face to face with Mr. 
Witherby in his private room. Mr. Witherby had 
lately dismissed his managing editor for his neglect of 
tlie true interests of the paper as represented by the 
counting-room ; and was managing the Events him- 
self He sat before a table strewn with newspapers 
and manuscripts ; and as he looked up, Bartley saw 
that he did not recognize him. 

" How do you do, Mr. Witherby ? I had the 
pleasure of meeting you the other day in Maine — at 
Mr. Willett's logging-camp. Hubbard is my name; 
remember me as editor of the Equity Free Press." 

" Oh, yes," said Mr. Witherby, rising and standing 
at his desk, as a sort of compromise between asking 
his visitor to sit down and telling him to go away. 
He shook hands in a loose way, and added : " I pre- 
sume you would like to exchange. But the fact is, 
our list is so large already, that we can't extend it, 
just now ; we can't — " 

Bartley smiled. " I don't want any exchange, Mr. 
Witherby. I 'm out of the Free Press." 

*' Ah ! " said the city journalist, with relief. He 
added, in a leading tone : " Then — " 

" I Ve come to offer you an article, — an account of 
lumbering in our State. It 's a little sketch that I 've 
prepared from what I saw in Mr. Willett's camp, and 
some facts and statistics I 've picked up. I thought it 
might make an attractive feature of your Sunday 
edition." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 183 

"The Events," said Mr. Witherby, solemnly, 
"does not publish a Sunday edition ! " 

" Of course not," answered Bartley, inwardly cursing 
his blunder, — "I mean your Saturday evening sup- 
plement" He banded him his manuscript 

Mr. Witherby looked at it, with the worry of a dull 
man who has assumed unintelligible duties. He had 
let the other papers " get ahead of him " on several 
important enterprises lately, and he would have been 
glad to retrieve himself ; but he could not b^ sure 
that this was an enterprise. He began by saying that 
their last Saturday supplement was just out, and the 
Bext was full ; and he ended by declaring, with stu- 
pid pomp, that the Events pi^ferred to send its own 
reporters to write up those matters. Then he hemmed, 
and boked at Bartley, and he would really have been 
glad to have him argue him out of this position ; but 
Bartley could not divinet what was in his mind. The 
cold tit, which sooner or later comes to every form of 
authorship, seized him. He said awkwardly be was 
veiy sorry, and putting his manuscript back in his 
pocket he went out, feeling curiously light-headed, as 
if his rebuff had been a stunning blow. The affair 
yas 80 quickly over, that he might well have believed 
it had not happened. But he was sickeningly dis- 
appointed ; he had counted upon the sale of his article 
|o the Events ; his hope had been founded upon actual 
knowledge of the proprietor's intention; and although 
^^ had rebuked Marcia's overweening confidence, he 
had expected that Witherby would jump at it. But 
Witherby had not even looked at it. 

Bartley walked a long time in the cold winter sun- 
?nine. He would have liked to go back to his lodg- 
^% and hide his face in Marcia's hands, and let her 
P!^y him, but he could not bear the thought of her 
^appointment, and he kept walking. At last he 
^^^ned courage enough to go to the editor of the 



184 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

paper for which he used to correspond in the summer, 
and which had always printed his letters. This editor 
was busy, too, bat he apparently felt some obligations 
to civility with Bartley; and though he kept glancing 
over his exchanges as they talked, he now and then 
glanced at Bartley also. He said that he should be 
glad to print the sketch, but that they never paid for 
outside material, and he advised Bartley to go with 
it to the Events or to tiie Daily Chronicle- Abstract ; 
the Abstract and the Brief Chronicle had lately con- 
solidated, and they were showing a good deal of en- 
terprise. Bartley said nothing to betray that he 
had already been at the Events ofi&ce, and upon this 
friendly editor's invitation to drop in again some time 
he went away considerably re-inspirited. 

" If you should happen to go to the Chronicle- 
Abstract folks," the editor called after him, " you can 
tell them I suggested your coming." 

The managing editor of the Chronicle-Abstract 
was reading a manuscript, and he did not desist from 
his work on Bartley's appearance, which he gave no 
sign of welcoming. But he had a whimsical, shrewd, 
kind face, and Bartley felt that he should get on with 
him, though he did not rise, and though he let Bart- 
ley stand. 

" Yes," he said. " Lumbering, hey ? Well, there 's 
some interest in that, just now, on account of this 
talk about the decay of our shipbuilding interests. 
Anything on that point ? " 

"That's the very point I touch on first," said 
Bartley. 

The editor stopped turning over his manuscript. 
" Let 's see," he said, holding out his hand for Bart- 
ley's article. He looked at the first head-line, "What 
I Know about Logging," and smiled. " Old, but 
good." Then he glanced at the other headings, and 
ran his eye down the long strips on which Bartley 



A MODEBK INSTANCE 185 

had written; nibbled at the text here and there a 
little ; returned to the first paragraph, and read that 
through; looked back at something else^ and then 
read the close. 

'I guess you can leave it," he said, laying the 
manuscript on the table. 

"No, I guess not," said Bartley, with equal cool- 
ness, gathering it up. 

The editor looked fairly at him for the first time, 
and smiled. Evidently he liked this. '' What 's the 
reason ? Any particular hurry ? *' 

"I happen to know that the Events is going to 
send a man down East to write up this very subject. 
And I don't propose to leave this article here till they 
steal my thunder, and then have it thrown back on 
my hands not worth the paper it 's written on." 

The editor tilted himself back in his chair and 
l»aced his knees against his table. "Well, I guess 
you're right," he said. "What do you want for 
it?" 

This was a terrible question. Bartley knew noth- 
ing about the prices that city papers paid ; he feared 
to ask too much, but he also feared to cheapen his 
^ares by asking too little. " Twenty-five dollars," he 
said, huskily. 

" Let 's look at it," said the editor, reaching out his 
nand for the manuscript again. " Sit down." He 
pushed a chair toward Bartley with his foot, having 
first swept a pile of newspapers from it to the floor. 
He now read the article more fully, and then looked 
up at Bartley, who sat still, trying to hide his anxiety. 
"You*re not quite a new hand at the bellows, are 

you?" 

"I've edited a country paper." 

"Yes? Where?" 

"Down in Maine.* 

The editor bent forward and took out a long, nar- 



i 



186 A MODEKK INSTANCE. 

row blank-book. • " I guess we shall want your articla 
What name ? " 

" Bartley J. Hubbard." It sounded in his ears like 
some other name. 

" Going to be in Boston some time ? " 

" All the time," said Bartley, struggling to appear 
nonchalant The revulsion from the despair into 
which he had fallen after his interview with Witherby 
was still very great. The order on the counting-room 
whicli the editor had given him shook in his hand. 
He saw his way before him clearly now ; he wished 
to propose some other things that he would like to 
write ; but he was saved from this folly for the time 
by the editor's saying, in a tone of dismissal : " Better 
come in to-morrow and see a proof. We shall put you 
into the Wednesday supplement." 

" Thanks,'' said Bartley. " Good day." 

The editor did not liear him, or did not think it 
necessary to respond from behind the newspaper 
which he had lifted up between them, and Bartley 
went out. He did not stop to cash his order; he 
made boyish haste to show it to Marcia, as something 
more authentic than the money itself, and more 
sacred. As he hurried homeward he figured Marcia's 
ecstasy in his thought. He saw himself flying up 
the stairs to their attic three steps at a bound, and 
bursting into the room, where she sat eager and anx- 
ious, and flinging the order into her lap ; and then, 
when she had read it with raptiire at the sum, and 
pride in the smartness with which he had managed 
the whole affair, he saw himself catching her up and 
dancing about the floor with her. He thought how 
fond of her he was, and he wondered that he could 
ever have been cold or lukewarm. 

She was standing at the window of Mrs. Nash's 
little reception-room when he reached the house. It 
was not to be as he had planned, but he threw her a 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 187 

kiss, glad of the impatience which would not let her 
wait till he could find her in their own room, and he 
had the precious order in his hand to dazzle her eyes 
as soon as he should enter. But, as he sprang into 
the hall, his foot stnick against a trunk and some 
boxes. 

" Hello 1 " he cried " Your things have come ! " 
Marcia lingered within the door of the reception- 
room ; she seemed afmid to come out. '' Yes/' she 
said, faintly ; ** father brought them. He has just 
been here." 

He seemed there still, and the vision unnerved her 

as if Bartley and be had been confronted there in 

reality. Her husband had left her hardly a quarter 

of an hour^ when a back drove up to the door, and 

her father alighted. She let him in herself, before 

he could ring, and waited tremulously for what he 

should do or say. But he merely took her hand, and, 

stooping over, gave her the chary kiss with which he 

used to greet her at home when he returned from an 

absence. 

She flung her arms around his neck. " Oh, father! " 

" Well, well ! There, there ! " he said, and then he 

^ent into the reception-room with her; and there 

^as nothing in his manner to betray that anything 

^Uusual had happened since they last met. He kept 

^is hat on, as his fashion was, and he kept on his 

^Vercoat, below which the skirts of his dress-coat 

^Xang an inch or two ; he looked old, and weary, and 

^habby. 

" I can't leave Bartley, father," she began, hysteri- 
cally. 

^ "I have n't come to separate you from your hus- 
*^and, Marcia. What made you think so ? It 's your 
X^lace to stay with him." 

" He 's out, now," she answered, in an incoherent 
Vriopefulness. "He's just gone. Will you wait and 
^ee him, father ? " 



188 A MODERK INSTANCE. 

" No, I guess I can't wait," said the old man. " It 
would n't do any good for us to meet now." 

" Do you think he coaxed me away ? He did n*t. 
He took pity on me, — he foi^ave me. And I didn't 
mean to deceive you when I left home, father. But I 
could n't help trying to see Bartley again." 

" I believe you, Marcia. I understand. The thing 
had to be. Let me see your marriage certificate." 

She ran up to her room and fetched it. 

Her father read it carefully. " Yes, that is all right," 
he said, and returned it to her. He added, after an 
absent pause : " I have brought your things, Marcia. 
Your mother packed all she could think of." 

" How is mother ? " asked Marcia, as if this had 
first reminded her of her mother. 

" She is usually well," replied her father. 

"Won't you — wont you come up and see our 
room, father ? " Marcia asked, after the interval fol— 
lowing this feint of interest in her mother. 

" No," said the old man, rising restlessly from hi* 
chair, and buttoning at his coat, which was already^ 
buttoned. " I guess I sha'n't have time. I guess II 
must be going." 

Marcia put herself between him and the door. 
" Won't you let me tell you about it, father ? " 

" About what ? " 

" How — I came to go off with Bartley. I want 
you should know." 

" I guess I know all I want to know about it, 
Marcia. I accept the facts. I told you how I felt. 
What you 've done has n't changed me toward you. I 
understand you better than you understand yourself; 
and I can't say that I 'm surprised. Now I want you 
should make the best of it." 

" You don't forgive Bartley ! " she cried, passion- 
ately. " Then I don'tr-want you should forgive me !" 

"Where did you pick up this nonsense about 



A MODKliN IJJSTANCK. 189 

forgiving?** said her father, knitting his shaggy 
brows. " A man does this thing or that, and the con- 
sequence follows. I couldn't foigive Hartley so that 
he could escape any consequence of what he 's done ; 
and you 're not afraid I shall hurt him ? " 

"Stay and see him!" she pleaded. ''He is so 
kind to me ! He works night and day, and he has 
just gone out to sell something he has written for the 
papers." 

" I never said he was lazy," returned her father. 
" Do you want any money, Marcia ? " 

" No, we have plenty. And Bartley is earning it 
all the time. I wish you would stay and see him ! " 

" No, I 'm glad he did n*t happen to be in," said the 
Squire. " I sha'n't wait for him to come back. It 
would n't do any good, just yet, Marcia ; it would only 
do harm. Bartley and I have n't had time to chUnge 
our minds about each other yet. But 1 '11 say a good 
word for him to you. You 're his wife, and it 's your 
part to help him, not to hinder him. You can make 
him worse by being a fool ; but you need n't be a 
fool. Don't worry him about other women; don't 
te jealous. He's your husband, now : and thfe worst 
thing you can do is to doubt him." 

"I won't, father, I won't, indeed ! I will be good, 
and I will try to be sensible. Oh, I wish Bartley 
could know how you feel 1 " 

"Don't tell him from mel' said her father. "And 
^on't keep making promises and breaking them. I '11 
"^Ip the man in with your things." 

He went out, and came in again with one end of a 

.^^^nk, as if he had been giving the man a hand with 

^^ ^nto the house at home, and she suffered him as 

i^?S8ively as she had suffered him to do her such ser- 

^Jces all her life. Then he took her hand laxly in 

/^^^> and stooped down for another chary kiss. " Good 

^^> Harcia." 



190 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Why, father! Are you going to leave me ? " she 
faltered. 

He smiled in melancholy irony at the bewilder- 
ment, the childish foi^etfulness of all the circum- 
stances, which her words expressed. " Oh, no ! I 'm 
going to take you with me." 

His sarcasm restored her to a sense of what she had 
said, and she ruefully laughed at herself through her 
tears. " What am I talking about ? Give my love 
to mother. When will you come again ? " she asked, 
clinging about him almost in the old playful way. 

" When you want me," said the Squire, freeing 
himself. 

" I 'U write ! " she cried after him, as he went down 
the steps ; and if there had been, at any moment, a con- 
sciousness of her crueltv to him in her heart, she lost 
it, when he drove away, in her anxious waiting for 
Bartley's return. It seemed to her that, though her 
father had refused to see him, his visit was of happy 
augury for future kindness between them, and. she 
was proudly eager to tell Bartley what good advice 
her father had given her. But the sight of her hus- 
band stiddenly turned these thoughts to fear. She 
trembled, and all that she could say was, *' I know 
father will be all right, Bartley." 

" How ? '' he retorted, savagely. " By the way he 
abused me to you ? Where is he ? " 

" He 's gone, — gone back." 

" I don't care where he 's gone, so he *8 gone. Did 
he come to take you home with him ? Why did n't 
you go ? — Oh, Marcia ! " The brutal words had hardly 
escaped him when he ran to her as if he would arrest 
tliem before their sense should pierce her heart. 

She thrust him back with a stiffly extended arm. 
" Keep away ! Don't touch me ! " She walked by 
him up the stairs without looking round at him, and 
he heard her close their door and lock it 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 191 



XVI. 

Babtley stood for a moment, and then went out 

and wandered aimlessly about till nightfall. He 

Went out shocked and frightened at what he had 

done, and ready for any reparation. But this mood 

^vu^e away, and he came back sullenly determined 

to let her make the advances toward reconciliation, if 

tliere was to be one. Her love had already made 

his peace, and she met him in the dimly lighted little 

hall with a kiss of silent penitence and forgiveness. 

She had on her hat and shawl, as if she had been 

vv'aiting for him to come and take her out to tea ; and 

On their way to the restaurant she asked him of his 

adventure among the newspapers. He told her 

briefly, and when they sat down at their table he 

took out the precious order and showed it to her. 

But its magic was gone ; it was only an order for 

^^enty-five dollars, now ; and two hours ago it had 

P^en success, rapture, a common hope and a common 

J^y. They scarcely spoke of it, but talked soberly of 

^^^diflferent thinj^s. 

She could not recur to her father's visit at once, 
^i^d he would not be the first to mention it. He did 
^^thing to betray his knowledge of her intention, as 
^he approached the subject through those feints that 
^'onien use, and when they stood again in their little 
9.ttlc room she was obliged to be explicit. 

** What hurt me, Bartley," she said, " was that you 
should think for an instant that I would let father 
^k me to leave you, or that he would ask such a 



192 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

thing. He only came to tell me to be good to you, 
and help you, and trust you; and not worry you 
with my silliness and — and — jealousy. And I 
don't ever mean to. And I know he will be good 
friends with you yet. He praised you for working 
so hard ; " — she pushed it a little beyond the bare 
fact ; — "he always did that ; and I know he 's only 
waiting lor a good chance to make it up with you." 

She lifted her eyes, glistening with tears, and it 
touched his peculiar sense of humor to find her 
oiFering him reparation, when he had felt himself so 
outrageously to blame ; but he would not be outdone 
in magnanimity, if it came to that. 

" It's all right, Marsh. I was a furious idiot, or I 
should have let you explain at once. But you see 
I had only one thought in my mind, and that was 
my luck, which I wanted to share with you ; and 
when your father seemed to have come in between 
us again — " 

" Oh, yes, yes ! " she answered. "I understand." 
And she clung to him in the joy of this perfect intel- 
ligence, which she was sure could never be obscured 
again. 

When Bartley's article came out, she read it with 
a fond admiration which all her praises seemed to 
leave unsaid. She bought a scrap-book, and pasted 
the article into it, and said that she was going to 
keep everything he wrote. " What are you going to 
write the next thing ? " she asked. 

"Well, that's what I don't know," he answered. 
" I can't find another subject like that, so easily." 

" Why, if people care to read about a logging-camp, 
I should think they would read about almost any- 
thing. Nothing could be too common for them. 
You might even write about the trouble of getting 
cheap enough rooms in Boston." 

" Marcia," cried Bartley, " you 're a treasure ! 1 11 



A MODERN IN8TANCK 193 

^rite about that very thing ! I know the Chronicle- 
ihstract will be glad to get it" 

She thought he was joking, till he came to her 
after a while for some figures which he did not re- 
niember. He had the true newspaper instinct, and 
went to work with a motive that was as different 
as possible from the literary motive. He wrote 
for the effect which he was to make, and not from 
any artistic pleasure in the treatment. He did not 
attempt to give it form,^— to imagine a young couple 
like himself and Marcia coming down from the 
country to place themselves in the city ; he made no 
effort to throw about it the poetry of their ignorance 
and their poverty, or the pathetic humor of their dis- 
may at the disproportion of the prices to their means. 
He set about getting all the facts he could, and he 
priced a great many lodgings in different parts of 
the city ; then he went to a number of real-estate 
agents, and, giving himself out as a reporter of the 
Chronicle-Abstract, he interviewed them as to house- 
J^nts, past and present. Upon these bottom facts, as 
he called them, he based a " spicy " sketch, which 
had also largely the character of an expos^. There is 
liothing the public enjoys so much as an expose: it 
seems to be made in the reader's own interest ; it 
somehow constitutes him a party to the attack upon 
the abuse, and its effectiveness redounds to the credit 
of all the newspaper's subscribers. After a week's 
?tay in Boston, Bartley was able to assume the feel- 
^^gs of a native who sees his city falling into decav 
tnrough the rapacity of its landladies. In the head- 
^^ of ten or fifteen lines which he gave his sketch, 
m greater number were devoted to this feature of it ; 
"o^gli the space actually allotted to it in the text 
f^^ compamtively small. He called his report 
^^ton's Boarding-Houses," and he spent a para- 
fi'^pti upon the relation of boarding-houses to civ- 

13 



194 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

ilization, before detailing his own experience and 
observation. This part had many of those strokes of 
crude picturesqueness and humor which he knew 
how to give, and was really entertaining ; but it was 
when he came to contrast the rates of house-rent and 
the cost of provisions with the landladies' 

" PERPENDICULAR PRICES," 

that Bartley showed all the virtue of a born re- 
porter. The sentences were vivid and telling; the 
ensemhle was very alarming ; and the conclusion was 
inevitable, that, unless this abuse could somehow be 
reached, we should lose a large and valuable portion 
of our population, — especially those young married 
people of small means with w^hom the city's future 
prosperity so largely rested, and w ho must drift away 
to find homes in rival communities if the present 
exorbitant demands were maintained. 

As Bartley had foretold, he had not the least trou- 
ble in selling this sketch to the Chronicle- Abstract. 
The editor probably understood its essential cheap- 
ness perfectly well ; but he also saw how thoroughly 
readable it was. He did not grumble at the increased 
price which Bartley put upon his work ; it was still 
very far from dear; and he liked the young Down- 
easter's enterprise. He gave him as cordial a wel- 
come as an overworked man may venture to offer 
when Bartley came in with his copy, and he felt like 
doing him a pleasure. Some things out of the log- 
ging-camp sketch had been copied, and people had 
spoken to the editor about it, which was a still better 
sign that it was a hit. 

"Don't you want to come round to our club to- 
night ?" asked the editor, as he handed Bartley tlio 
order for his money across the table. "We have a 
bad dinner, and we try to have a good time. We 're 
all newspaper men together." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 195 

"Why, thank you," said Hartley, " I guess I should 
like to go." 

"Well, come round at half-past five, and go with 
me. 

Bartley walked homeward rather soberly. He had 
meant, if he sold this article, to make amends for the 
disappointment they had both suffered before, and to 
have a commemorative supper with Marcia at Par- 
ker's : he had ignored a little hint of hers about his 
never having taken her there yet, because he was 
waiting for this chance to do it in style. He resolved 
that, if she did not seem to like his going to the club, 
he would go back and withdraw his acceptance. But 
when he told her he had been invited, — he thought 
he would put the fact in this tentative way, — she 
said, " I hope you accepted ! " 

* Would you have liked me to ? " he asked with 
relief. 

"Why, of course ! It 's a great honor. You '11 get 
acquainted with all those editors, and perhaps some 
of them will want to give you a regular place." A 
salaried employment was their common ideal of a 
provision for their future. 

"Well, that's what I was thinking myself," said 
Bartley. 

"Go and accept at once," she pursued. 

"Oh, that is n't necessary. If I get round there by 
half-past five, I can go," he answered. 

His lurking regret ceased when he came into 
the reception-room, where the members of the club 
^ere constantly arriving, and putting off their hats 
and overcoats, and then falling into groups for talk. 
His friend of the Chronicle-Abstract introduced 
him lavishly, as our American custom is. Bartley 
had a little strangeness, but no bashfulness, and, with 
his essentially slight opinion of people, he was 
promptly at his ease. These men liked his hand- 



196 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

some face, his winning voice, the good-fellowship of 
his instant readiness to joke ; he could see that they 
liked him, and that his friend Eicker was proud of 
the impression he made ; before the evening was over 
he kept himself with difficulty from patronizing 
Ricker a little. 

The club has grown into something much more 
splendid and expensive; but it was then content 
with a dinner certainly as bad as Ricker promised, 
but fabulously modest in price, at an old-fashioned 
hotel, whose site was long ago devoured by a dry- 
goods palace. The drink was commonly water or 
beer; occasionally, if a great actor or other dis- 
tinguished guest honored the board, some spendthrift 
ordered champagne. But no one thought fit to go to 
this ruinous extreme for Bartley. Ricker offered him 
his choice of beer or claret, and Bartley temperately 
preferred water to either ; he could see that this 
raised him in Ricker's esteem. 

No company of men can fail to have a good time 
at a public dinner, and the good time began at once 
with these journalists, whose overworked week ended 
in this Saturday evening jollity. They were mostly 
young 'men, who found sufficient compensation in the 
excitement and adventure of their undei-paid labors, 
and in the vague hope of advancement ; there were 
grizzled beards among them, for whom neither the 
novelty nor the expectation continued, but who loved 
the life for its own sake, and would hardly have ex- 
changed it for prosperity. Here and there was an 
old fellow, for whom probably all the illusion was 
gone ; but he was proud of his vocation, proud even 
of the changes that left hinr somewhat superannuated 
in his tastes and methods. None, indeed, who have 
ever known it, can wholly forget the generous rage 
with which journalism inspires its followers. To 
each of those young men, beginning the strangely fas- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 197 

cinatinglife as reporters and correspondents, his paper 
was as dear as his king once was to a French noble ; 
to serve it night and day, to wear himself out for its 
sake, to merge himself in its glory, and to live in its 
triumphs without personal recognition from the pub- 
lic, was the loyal devotion which each expected his 
sovereign newspaper to accept as its simple right 
They went and came, with the prompt and passive 
obedience of soldiers, wherever they were sent, and 
they struggled each to "get in ahead" of all the 
others with the individual zeal of heroes. They ex- 
panded to the utmost limits of occasion, and they 
submitted with an anguish that was silent to the 
editorial excision, compression, and mutilation of 
Imports that were vitally dear to them. What be- 
comes of these ardent young spirits, the inner history 
of journalism in any great city might pathetically 
show ; but the outside world knows them only in the 
^pe frenzy of interviewing, or of recording the mid- 
^^ght ravages of what they call the devouring ele- 
^Gut, or of working up horrible murders or tragical 
^^cidents, or of tracking criminals who have baffled 
^1 the detectives. Hearing their talk Bartley began 
^^ Realize that journalism might be a very different 
,^g from what he had imagined it in a country 
P^iating-office, and that it might not be altogether 
^1^ to consider it merely as a stepping-stone to the 

AiV^ith the American eagerness to recognize talent, 

^y^mbers of good fellows spoke to him about his log- 

S^^g sketch ; even those who had not read it seemed 

J^ know about it as a hit. They were all delighted to 

"^ able to say, " Eicker teUs me that you offered it to 

^l<i Witherby, and he would n't look at it ! " He 

*^Uiid that this fact, which he had doubtfully confided 

^ Bickpr, was not offensive to some of the Events 

People who were there ; one of them got him aside, 



198 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

and darkly owned to him that Witherby was doing 
everything that any one man conld to kill the Events, 
and that in fact the counting-room was running the 
paper. 

All the club united in abusing the dinner, which in 
his rustic ignorance Bartley had not found so infa- 
mous; but they ate it with perfect appetite and 
with mouritiug good spirits. The president brewed 
punch in a great bowl before him, and, rising with 
a glass of it in his hand, opened a free parliament of 
speaking, story-telling, and singing. Whoever rec- 
ollected a song or a story that he liked, called upon 
the owner of it to sing it or tell it ; and it appeared 
not to matter how old the fun or the music was : 
the company was resolved to be happy; it roared 
and clapped till the glasses rang. ** You will like 
this song," Hartley's neighbors to right and left of 
him prophesied; or, "Just listen to this story of 
Mason's, — it 's capital," — as one or another rose in 
response to a general clamor. When they went back 
to the reception-room they carried the punch-bowl 
with them, and there, amid a thick cloud of smoke, 
two clever amateurs took their places at the piano, 
and sang and played to their heart's content, while 
the rest, glass in hand, talked and laughed, or listened 
as they chose. Bartley had not been called upon, 
but he was burning to try that song in which he had 
failed so dismally in the logging-camp. When the 
pianist rose at last, he slipped down into the chair, 
and,, striking the chords of the accompaniment, he 
gave his piece with brilliant audacity. The room 
silenced itself and then burst into a roar of applause, 
and cries of " Encore ! " There could be no doubt of 
the success. " Look here, Ricker," said a leading man 
at the end of the repetition, "your friend must be 
one of us ! " — and, rapping on the table, he proposed 
Bartley's name. In that simple time the club voted 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 199 

viva voce on proposed members, and Hartley found him- 
self elected by acclamation,and in the act of paying over 
his mitiation fee to the treasurer, before he had well 
realized the honor done him. Everybody near him 
shook his hand, and oflFered to be of service to him. 
Much of this cordiality was merely collective good 
feeling; something of it might be justly attributed 
to the punch ; but the greater part was honest. In 
this civilization of ours, grotesque and unequal and 
imperfect as it is in many things, we are bound to- 
gether in a brotherly sympathy unknown to any 
other. We new men have all had our hard rubs, 
hut we do not so much remember them in soreness 
or resentment as in the wish to help forward any 
other who is presently feeling theuL If he will but 
help himself too, a hundred hands are stretched out 
to him. 

Bartley had kept his head clear of the punch, but 
he left the club drunk with joy and pride, and so 
impatient to be with Marcia and tell her of his tri- 
umphs that he could hardly wait to read the proof 
pf his boarding-house article which Eicker had put 
^^ hand at once for the Sunday edition. He found 
Marcia sitting up for him, and she listened with a 
shining face while he hastily ran over the most flat- 
tering facts of the evening. She was not so much 
^^rprised at the honors done him as he had expected ; 
"^* she was happier, and she made him repeat it all 
aod give her the last details. He was afraid she 
^^^Id ask him what his initiation had cost ; but she 
^^6Qied to have no idea that it had cost anything, 
f"^^ though it had swept away a third of the money 
e had received for his sketch, he still resolved that 
^^^ should have that supper at Parker's. 

* I consider my future made," he said aloud, at the 
*^u of his swift cogitation on this point. 



200 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"Oh, yes!** she responded rapturously. ""^^ 
need n't have a moment's anxiety. But we must 1 
very saving still till you get a place." 

" Oh, certainly," said Bartley. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 201 



XVII. 

DuBiNa several months that followed, Hartley's 
^ork consisted of interviewing, of special reporting in 
^ its branches, of correspondence by mail and tele- 
paph from points to which he was sent; his leisure 
|)e spent in studying subjects which could be treated 
f^e that of the boarding-houses. Marcia entered 
^Jito his afifairs with the keen half-intelligence which 
characterizes a woman's participation in business; 
whatever could be divined, she was quickly mistress 
9^\l she vividly sympathized with his difficulties and 
•^^ triumphs ; she failed to follow him in matters of 
Ppliticabdetail, or of general effect ; she could not be 
dispassionate or impartial ; his relation to any enter- 
P^se was always more important than anything else 
^tKDut it. On some of his missions he took her with 
?}^y and then they made it a pleasure excursion ; and 
^^ they came home late with the material still un- 
written, she helped him with his notes, wrote from 
^i''5 dictation, and enabled him to give a fuller report 
than his rivals. She caught up with amusing aptness 
^^ technical terms of the profession, and was voluble 
^^out getting in ahead of the Events and the other 
Papers; and she was indignant if any part of his 
^Port was cut out or garbled, or any feature was 
spoiled. 

. 3!e made a " card " of grouping and treating with 

Picturesque freshness the spring openings of the milli- 

^^ and dry-goods people ; and when he brought his 

rticle to Eicker, the editor ran it over, and said, 

^Uess you took your wife with you, Hubbard." 



202 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"Yes, I did," Bartley owned. He was always 
proud of her looks, and it flattered him that Ricker 
should see the evidences of her feminine taste and 
knowledge in his account of the bonnets and dress 
goods. " You don't suppose I could get at all these 
things by inspiration, do you ? " 

Marcia was already known to some of his friends 
whom he had introduced to her in casual encounters. 
They were mostly unmarried, or if married they 
lived at a distance, and they did not visit the Hub- 
bards at their lodgings. Marcia was a little shy, 
and did not quite know whether they ought to call 
without being asked, or whether she ought to ask 
them; besides, Mrs. Nash's reception-room was not 
always at her disposal, and she would not have 
liked to take them all the way up to her own room. 
Her social life was therefore confined to the public 
places where she met these friends of her husband's. 
They sometimes happened together at a restaurant, 
or saw one another between the acts at the theatre, 
or on coming out of a concert. Marcia was not so 
much admired for her conversation by her acquaint- 
ance, as for her beauty and her style ; a rustic reluc- 
tance still lingered in her ; she was thin and dry in 
her talk with any one but Bartley, and she could not 
help letting even men perceive that she was uneasy 
wheu they interested him in mattera foreign to her. 

litttfey did not see why they could not have some 
of these fellows up in their room for tea ; .but Marcia 
told him it was impossible. In fact, although she 
willingly lived this irregular life with him, she was 
at Iieart not at all a Bohemian. She did not like 
being in lodgings or dining at restaurants ; on their 
horse-car e^earsions into the suburbs, when the spring 
opened, she was always choosing this or that little 
house as the place where she would like to live, and 
wondering if it were within their means. She said 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 203 

she would gladly do all the work herself; she hated 
to be idle so much as she now must. The city's 
novelty wore off for her sooner than for him : the 
concerts, the lectures, the theatres, had already lost 
their zest for her, and she went because he wished 
her to go, or in order to be able to help him with 
what he was always writing about such things. 

As the spring advanced, Bartley conceived the 
plan of a local study, something in the manner of the 
boarding-house article, but on a much vaster scale : 
he proposed to Eicker a timely serias on the easily 
accessible hot-weather resorts, to be called '* Boston's 
Breathing-Places," and to relate mainly to the seaside 
hotels and their surroundings. His idea was encour- 
aged, and he took Marcia with him on most of his 
expeditions for its realization. These were largely 
made before the regular season had well begun ; but 
the boats were already running, and the hotels were 
open, and they were treated with the hospitality 
^hich a knowledge of Bartley's mission must invoke. 
^ he said, it was a matter of business, give and take 
OQ both sides, and the landlords took more than they 
o^ve in any such trade. 

On her part Marcia regarded dead-heading as a just 

and legitimate privilege of the press, if not one of its 

^^/ef attributes ; and these passes on boats and trains, 

^y^ system of paying hotel-bills by the presentation 

°* a card, constituted distinguished and honorable 

recogtiitiQu from the public. To her simple experi- 

e^ce, when Bartley told how magnificently the re- 

^^rs had been accommodated, at some civic or 

. ,^?^ercial or professional banquet, with a table of 

j^^ ^^^^> where they were served with all the wines 

• <iourses, he seemed to have been one of the prin- 

bet §^®s^» ^^^ 1^®^ f®^^ w^ ^^^^ ^^^ ^®^d should 
|j '^Tned by his honors. But at the bottom of her 

^^^a though she enjoyed the brilliancy of Bartley's 



204 A MODEBN INSTANCE. 

present life, she did not think his occupation com- 
parable to the law in dignity. Bartley called himself 
a journalist now, but his newspaper connection still 
identified him in her mind with those country editors 
of whom she had always heard her father speak with 
such contempt: men dedicated to poverty and the 
despite of all the local notables who used them. She 
could not shake oflf the old feeling of degradation, 
even when she heard Bartley and some of his fellow- 
journalists talking in their boastfulest vein of the 
sovereign character of journalism ; and she secretly 
resolved never to relinquish her purpose of having 
him a lawyer. Till he was fairly this, in regular and 
prosperous practice, she knew that she should not 
have shown her father that she was right in marrying 
Bartley. 

In the mean time their life went ignorantly on in 
the obscure channels where their isolation from soci- 
ety kept it longer than was natural. Three or four 
months after they came to Boston, they were still 
country people, with scarcely any knowledge of the 
distinctions and differences so important to the various 
worlds of any city. So far from knowing that they 
must not walk in the Common, they used to sit down 
on a bench there, in the pleasant weather, and watch 
the opening of the spring, among the lovers whose 
passion had a publicity that neither surprised nor 
shocked them. After they were a little more en- 
lightened, they resorted to the Public Garden, where 
they admired the bridge, and the rock-work, and the 
statues. Bartley, who was already beginning to get 
up a taste for art, boldly stopped and praised the 
Venus, in the presence of the gardeners planting 
tulip-bulbs. 

They went sometimes to the Museum of Fine Arts, 
where they found a pleasure in the worst things 
which the best never afterwards gave them; and 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 205 

where she became as hungry and tired as if it were 
the Vatican. They had a pride in taking books out 
of the Public Library, where they walked about on 
tiptoe with bated breath ; and they thought it a 
divine treat to hear the Great Organ play at noon. 
As they sat there in the Music Hall, and let the 
mighty instrument bellow over their strong young 
nerves, Hartley whispered Marcia the jokes he had 
heard about the organ ; and then, upon the wave of 
aristocratic sensation from this experience, they went 
out and dined at Copeland's, or Weber's, or Fera's, or 
even at Parker's : they had long since forsaken the 
humble restaurant with its doilies and its ponderous 
crockery, and they had so mastered the art of ordering 
that they could manage a dinner as cheaply at these 
finer places as anywhere, especially if Marcia pre- 
tended not to care much for her half of the portion, 
and connived at its transfer to Hartley's plate. 

In his hours of leisure, they were so perpetually 
^ether that it became a joke with the men who 
*new them to say, when asked if Bartley were married, 
"Very much married." It was not wholly their in- 
separableness that gave the impression of this extreme 
p^njugality ; as I said, Marcia's uneasiness when others 
jnterested Bartley in things alien to her made itself 
lelt even by these men. She struggled against it be- 
cause she did not-jvish to put him to shame before 
^nem, and often with an aching sense of desolation she 
sent bim ofif with them to talk apart, or left him with 
^^^ if they met on the street, and walked home alone, 
. ^j^^tthan let any one say that she kept her husband 
^^ to her apron-strings. His club, after the first 
^^B of its splendor and usefulness wore away, was 
ih ^^^®^^ j ^^^ ^^^ failed to conceal that she thought 
r initiation and annual fees extravagant. She 
o ^^^ no other bliss like having Bartley sit down in 
^^ own room with her ; it did not matter whether 



206 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

they talked ; if he were busy, she would as lief sit and 
sew, or sit and silently look at him as he wrote. In 
these moments she liked to feign that she had lost 
him, that they had never been married, and then 
come back with a rush of joy to the reality. But on 
his club nights she heroically sent him off, and spent 
the evening with Mrs. Nash. Sometimes she went 
out by day with the landlady, who had a passion 
for auctions and cemeteries, and who led Marcia to 
an intimate acquaintance with such pleasures. At 
Mount Auburn, Marcia liked the marble lambs, and 
the emblematic hands pointing upward with the dexter 
finger, and the infants carved in stone, and the angels 
with folded wings and lifted eyes, better than the casts 
which Bartley said were from the antique, in the 
Museum ; on this side her mind was as wholly dor- 
mant as that of Mrs. Nash herself. She always came 
home feeling as if she had not seen Bartley for a year, 
and fearful that something had happened to him. 

The hardest thing about their irregular life was 
that he must sometimes be gone two or three days at 
a time, when he could not take her with him. Then 
it seemed to her that she could not draw a full breath 
in his absence ; and once he found her almost wild 
on his return : she had begun to fancy that he was 
never coming back again. He laughed at her w^hen 
she betrayed her secret, but she was not ashamed; and 
when he asked her, " Well, what if I had n*t come 
back ? " she answered passionately, " It would n't have 
made much difference to me: I should not have 
lived." 

The uncertainty of his income was another cause 
of anguish to her. At times he earned forty or fifty 
dollars a week ; oftener he earned ten ; there was now 
and then a week when everything that he put his hand 
to failed, and he earned nothing at alL Then Marcia 
despaired ; her frugality became a mania, and they 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 207 

• 

had quarrels about what she called his extravagance. 
She embittered his daily bread by blaming him for 
what he spent on it ; she wore her oldest dresses, and 
would have had him go shabby in token of their ad- 
vei^ity. Her economies were frantic child's play, — 
methodless, inexperienced, fitful ; and they were apt 
to be followed by remorse in which she abetted him 
in some .wanton excess. 

The future of any heroic action is difficult to man- 
age; and the sublime sacrifice of her pride and all the 
conventional proprieties which Marcia had made in 
giving herself to Bartley was inevitably tried by the 
same sordid tests that every married life is put to. 

That salaried place which he was always seeking 
on the staff of some newspaper, proved not so easy to 
get as he had imagined in the flush of his first suc- 
cesses. Kicker willingly included him among the 
Chronicle- Abstract's own correspondents and special 
^porters; and he held the same off-and-on relation 
^ several other papers ; but he remained without a 
^ore definite position. He earned perhaps more 
^oney than a salary would have given him, and in 
their way of living he and Marcia laid up something 
o«fc of what he earned. But it did not seem to her 
that he exerted himself to get a salaried place ; she 
Was 8^Jg that, if so many others who could not write 
^^^^ So well had places, he might get one if he only 
*^pt trying. Bartley laughed at these business-turns 
Marcia's as he called them ; but sometimes they 
^'^ged him, and he had days of sullen resentment 
..^^U he resisted all her advances towards reconcilia- 
!^^« But he kept hard at work, and he always owned 
1 last how disinterested her most ridiculous alarm 
^^-i been. 

th ^c®» when they had been talking as usual about 

(c >^^ permanent place on some newspaper, she said, 

"^Ut I should onlj want that to be temporary, if you 



208 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

got it. I want you should go on with the law, 
Bartley. I've been thinking about that. I don't 
want you should always be a journalist." 

Bartley smiled. " What could I do for a living, I 
should like to know, while I was studying law ? " 

" You could do some newspaper work, — enough to 
support us, — while you were studying. You said 
when we first came to Boston that you should settle 
down to the law." 

" I had n't got my eyes open, then. I Ve got a 
good deal longer row to hoe than I supposed, before 
I can settle down to the law." 

" Father said you did n't need to study but a little 



more." 



tt 



Not if I were going into the practice at Equity. 
But it's a very different thing, I can tell you, in 
Boston : I should have to go in for a course in the 
Harvard Law School, just for a little start-off." 

Marcia was silenced, but she asked, after a moment, 
" Then you 're going to give up the law, altogether ? " 

*' I don't know what I 'm going to do ; I 'm going to 
do the best I can for the present, and trust to luck. 
I don't like special reporting, for a finality; but I 
should n't like shystering, either." 

" What 's shystering ? " asked Marcia. 

" It 's pettifogging in the city courts. Wait till I 
can get my basis, — till I have a fixed amount of 
money for a fixed amount of work, — and then I '11 talk 
to you about taking up the law again. I 'm willing 
to do it whenever it seems the right thing. I guess 
I should like it, though I don't see why it 's any 
better than journalism, and I don't believe it has any 
more prizes." 

" But you 've been a long time trying to get your 
basis on a newspaper," she reasoned. " Why don't you 
try to get it in some other way ? Why don't you tiy 
to get a clerk's place with some lawyer ? " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 209 

"Well, suppose I was willing to starve along in 
that way, how should I go about to get such a place ? " 
demanded Hartley, with impatience. 

"Why don't you go to that Mr. Halleck you vis- 
ited here ? You used to tell me he was going to be 
a lawyer." 

" Well, if you remember so distinctly what I said 
about going into the law when I first came to Boston," 
said her husband angrily, " perhaps you 11 remember 
that I said I should n't go to Halleck until I did n't 
need his help. I shall not go to him /or his help." 

Marcia gave way to spiteful tears. " It seems as if 
you were ashamed to let them know that you were 
m town. Are you afraid I shall want to get ac- 
quainted with them ? Do you suppose I shall want 
to go to their parties, and disgrace you ? " 

Bartley took his cigar out of his mouth, and looked 
l^lackly at her. " So, that 's what you Ve been think- 
ing, is it ? " 

She threw herself upon his neck. " No ! no, it 
isn't!" she cried, hysterically. "You know that I 
never thought it till this instant; you know I did n't 
think it at all ; I just said it. My nerves are all 
%^^^ ; I don't know what I 'm saying half the time, 
and you're as strict with me as if I were as well as 
ever ! i niay as well take off my things, — I 'm not 
^6D enough to go with you, to-day, Bartley." 

^he had been dressing while they talked for an 
entertainment which Bartley was going to report for 
the Chronicle- Abstract ; and now she made a feint 
^ wishing to remove her hat. He would not let her. 
^® said that if she did not go, he should not ; he 
^^proached her with not wishing to go with him any 
^^^e ; he coaxed her laughingly and fondly. 

/It's only because I'm not so strong, now," she 
^^id in a whisper that ended in a kiss on his cheek, 
^ou must walk very slowly, and not hurry me." 

14 



210 A MODERN INSTAKCE. 

The entertainment was to be given in aid of the 
Indigent Children's Surf-Bathing Society, and it was 
at the end of June, rather late in the season. But 
the society itself was an afterthought, not conceived 
till a great many people had left town on whose 
assistance such a charity must largely depend. 
Strenuous appeals, had been made, however : it was 
represented that ten thousand poor children could be 
transported to Nantasket Beach, and there, as one of 
the ladies on the committee said, bathed, clam-baked, 
and lemonaded three times during the summer at a 
cost so small that it was a saving to spend the money. 
Class Day falling about the same time, many exiles 
at Newport and on the North Shore came up and 
down; and the affair promised to be one of social 
distinction, if not pecuniary success. The entertain- 
ment was to be varied • a distinguished poet was to 
read an old poem of his, and a distinguished poetess 
was to read a new poem of hers ; some professional 
people were to follow with comic singing ; an elo- 
cutionist was to give impressions of noted public 
speakers; and a number of vocal and instrumental 
amateurs were to contribute their talent. 

Bartley had instructions from Eicker to see that 
his report was very full socially. " We want some- 
thing lively, and at the same time nice and tasteful, 
about the whole thing, and I guess you 're the man 
to do it. Get Mrs. Hubbard to go with you, and 
keep you from making a fool of yourself about the 
costumes." He gave Bartley two tickets. " Mighty 
hard to get, I can tell you, for love or money, — 
especially love," he said ; and Bartley made much of 
this difficulty in impressing Marcia's imagination 
with the uncommon character of the occasion. She 
had put on a new dress which she had just finished 
for herself, and which was a marvel not only of cheap- 
ness, but of elegance ; she had plagiarized the idea 



A MODERN INSTANX'E. 211 

from the costume of a lady with whom she stopped 

to look in at a milliner's window where she formed 

the notion of her bonnet. But Marcia had imagined 

the things anew in relation to herself, and made them 

her own; when Hartley first saw her in them, though 

he had witnessed their growth from the germ, he said 

that he was afraid of her, she was so splendid, and he 

did not quite know whether he felt acquainted. 

When they were seated at the concert, and had time 

I to look about them, he whispered, " Well, Marsh, I 

; don't see anything here that comes near you in style," 

: and she flung a little corner of her drapery out over 

his hand so that she could squeeze it : she was quite 

happy again. 

After the concert, Bartley left her for a moment, 
and went up to a group of the committee near the 
platform, to get some points for his report. He spoke 
^ one of the gentlemen, note-book and pencil in hand, 
and the gentleman referred him to one of the ladies 
of the committee, who, after a moment of hesitation, 
demanded in a rich tone of injury and surprise, "Why ! 
^s n't this Mr. Hubbard ? " and, indignantly answer- 
^og herself, " Of course it is ! " gave her hand with a 
sort of dramatic cordiality, and flooded him with 
questions : " When did you come to Boston ? Are 
you at the Hallecks' ? Did you come — Or no, you 're 
^0^ Harvard. You 're not living in Boston ^ And 
^hat in the world are you getting items for ? Mr. 
Hubbard, Mr. Atherton." 

She introduced him in a breathless climax to the 
gentleman to whom he had first spoken, and who had 
l^'tened to her attack on Bartley with a smile which 
^^^ Was at no trouble to hide from her. " Which 
question are you going to answer first, Mr. Hub- 
oard?" he asked quietly, while his eyes searched 
Pauley's for an instant with inquiry which was at 
^^^^^ kind and keen. His face had the distinction 



212 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

which comes of being clean-shaven in our bearded 
times. 

" Oh, the last/' said Bartley. " I 'm reporting the 
concert for the Chronicle-Abstract, and I want to 
interview some one in authority about it." 

"Then interview me, Mr. Hubbard," cried the 
young lady, "/'m in authority about this affair, — 
it's my own invention, as the White Knight says, — 
and then I '11 interview you afterwards. And you 've 
gone into journalism, like all the Harvard men ! So 
glad it 's you, for you can be a perfect godsend to the 
cause if you will The entertainment has n't given 
us all the money we shall want, by any means, and 
we shall need all the help the press can give us. Ask 
me any questions you please, Mr. Hubbard: there 
is n't a soul here that I would n't sacrifice to the last 
peraonal particular, if the press will only do its duty 
in return. You 've no idea how we 've been working 
during the last fortnight since this Old Man of the 
Sea-Bathing sprang upon us. I was sitting q-uietly 
at home, thinking of anything else in the world, I 
can assure you, when the atrocious idea occurred to 
me." She ran on to give a full sketch of the incep- 
tion and history of the scheme up to the present 
time. Suddenly she arrested herseK and Hartley's 
flying pencil : " Why, you *re not putting all that 
nonsense down ? " 

" Certainly I am," said Bartley, while Mr. Atherton, 
with a laugh, turned and walked away to talk with 
some other ladies. " It 's the very thing I want. I 
shall get in ahead of all the other papers on this ; 
they have n't had anything like it, yet." 

She looked at him for a moment in horror. Then, 
" Well, go on ; I would do anything for the cause ! " 
she cried. 

" Tell me who 's been here, then," said Bartley. 

She recoiled a little. " I don't like giving names." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 213 

" But I can't say who the people were, unless you 

do." 

"That's true," said the young lady thoughtfully. 
She prided herself on her thoughtfuluess, which some- 
times came before and sometimes after the fact. 
" You 're not obliged to say who told you ? " 

"Of course not." 

She ran over a list of historical and distinguished 
Dames, and he slyly asked if this and that lady were 
not dressed so, and so, and worked in the costumes 
from her unconsciously elaborate answers ; she was 
afterwards astonished that he should have known 
^tat people had on. Lastly, he asked what the com- 
Diittee expected to do next, and was enabled to enrich 
his report with many authoritative expressions and 
intimations. The lady became all zeal in these con- 
fidences to the public, at last ; she told everything she 
tuew, and a great deal that she merely hoped. 

"And now come into the committee-room and 
liave a cup of coffee ; I know you must be faint with 
all this talking," she concluded. " I want to ask you 
something about yourself" She was not older than 
hartley, but she addressed him with the freedom we 
nse in encouraging younger people. 

"Thank you," he said coolly; "I can't, very well. 
1 must go back to my wife, and huriy up this report." 

" Oh ! is Mrs. Hubbard here ? " asked the young 
«^y with well-controlled surprise. " Present me to 
^^^r!" she cried, with that fearlessness of social con- 
sequences for which she was noted: she believed 
there were ways of getting rid of undesirable people 
Without treating them rudely. 

The audience had got out of the hall, and Marcia 
^od alone near one of the doors waiting for Bartley. 
^e glanced proudly toward her, and said, " I shall be 
^eryglad." 

^iss Kingsbury drifted by his side across the 



214 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

iutervening space, and was ready to take Marcia 
impressively by the hand when she reached her ; she 
had promptly decided her to be veiy beautiful and 
elegantly simple in dress, but she found her smaller 
than she had looked at a distance. Miss Kingsbury 
was herself rather- large, — sometimes, she thought, 
rather too large: certainly too large if she had not 
had such perfect command of every inch of herself 
In complexion she was richly blonde, with beautiful 
i'air hair roughed over her forehead, as if by a breeze, 
and apt to escape in sunny tendrils over the peachy 
tints of her temples. Her features were massive 
rather than fine ; and though she thoroughly admired 
her chin and respected her mouth, she had doubts 
about her nose, which she frankly referred to friends 
for solution : had it not too much of a knob at the 
end ? She seemed to tower over Marcia as she took 
her hand at Hartley's introduction, and expressed her 
pleasure at meeting her. 

" I don't know why it need be such a surprise to 
find one's gentlemen friends married, but it always is, 
somehow. I don't think Mr. Hubbard would have 
known me if I had n't insisted upon his recognizing 
me ; I can't blame him : it 's three years since we 
met. Do you help him with his reports ? I know 
you do ! You must make him lenient to our enter- 
tainment, — "tlie cause is so good ! How long have 
you been in Boston ? Though I don't know why I 
should ask that, — you may have always been in 
Boston ! One used to know everybody ; but the place 
is so large, now. I should like to come and see you ; 
but I 'm going out of town to-morrow, for the sum- 
mer. I 'm not really here, now, except ex officio ; I 
oujrht to have been away weeks ago, but this Indigent 
Surf-Bathing has kept me. You've no idea what 
such an undertaking is. But you must let me have: 
your address, and as soon as I get back to town in; 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 215 

the fall, I shall insist upon looking you up. Good 
by 1 I must run away, now, and leave you ; there are 
a thousand things for me to look after yet to-day/' 
She took Marcia again by the hand, and superadded 
some bows and nods and smiles of parting, after she 
released her, but she did not ask her to come into the 
committee-room and have some coffee; and Bartley 
took his wife's hand under his arm and went out 
of the hall. 

"Well," he said, with a man's simple pleasure in 
Miss Kingsbury's friendliness to his wife, " that 's the 
girl I used to tell you about, — the rich one with the 
nioney in her own right, whom I met at the Hallecks'. 
She seemed to think you were about the thing. Marsh ! 
I saw her eyes open as she came up, and I felt 
awfully proud of you ; you never looked half so well. , 
But why did n't you say something ? " 

"She didn't give me any chance," said Marcia, 
"and I had nothing to say, anyway. I thought she 
was very disagreeable." 
"Disagreeable !" repeated Bartley in amaze. 
Miss Kingsbuiy went back to the committee-room, 
where one of the amateurs had been lecturing upon 
her: "Clara Kingsbury can say and do, from the best 
heart in the world, more offensive things in ten min- 
^ites than malice could inv^ent in a week. Somebody 
ougiit to go out and drag her away from that repofter 
by main force. But I presume it 's too late already ; 
she's had time to destroy us alL You'll see that 
there won't be a shred left of us in his paper at any 
^te. Really, I wonder that, in a city full of nervous 
^^(i exasperated people like Boston, Clara Kingsbury 
has been suffered to live. She throws her whole soul 
into everything she undertakes, and she has gone so 
^^ nassc into this Indigent Bathing, and splashed 
about ia it so, that / can't understand how we got 
anybody to come to-day. Why, I have n't the least 



216 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

doubt that she's offered that poor man a ticket to 
ao down to Nantasket and bathe with the other In- 
digents ; she *s treated me as if I ought to be person- 
ally surf-bathed for the last fortnight ; and if there 's 
any chance for us left by her tactlessness, you may 
be sure she's gone at it with her conscience and 
simply swept it off the face of the earth.*' 



A MODERN INSTAJfCE. 217 



XVIII. 

One hot day in August, when Bartley had been 

^oinff nothino: for a week, and Marcia was fflooraily 

forecasting the future when they would have to begin 

lining upon the money they had put into the savings 

t^snk, she reveited to the question of his taking up 

^lie law again. She was apt to recur to this in any 

^^^oment of discouragement, and she urged him now 

^C) give up his newspaper work with that wearisome 

I>«r3istence with which women torment the men they 

l^ve. 

" My newspaper work seems to have given me up, 

y dear," said Bartley. " It *s like asking a fellow 

ot to marry a girl that won't have him." He laughed 

nd then whistled ; and Marcia burst into fretful, 

^Mle tears, which he did not attempt to assuage. 

They had been all summer in town ; the country 

^^»^ouId have been no change to them ; and they knew 

^■^othiug of the seaside except the crowded, noisy, 

^^pensive resorts near the city. Bartley wished her 

^^ go to one of these for a week or two, at any rate, 

l>ut she would not ; and in fact neither of them had 

^l^e born citizen's conception of the value of a sum- 

^^er vacation. But they had found their attic in- 

^<)lerable ; and, the single gentlemen having all given 

^P their rooms by this time, Mrs. Nash let Marcia 

^^-ve one lower down, where they sat looking out on 

*e hot street. 

"Well," cried Marcia at last, "you don't care for 
^y feelings, or you would take up the law again." 



218 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Her husband rose with a sigh that was half ^ 
curse, and went out. After what she had said, h^ 
would not give her the satisfaction of knowing whaW 
he meant to do ; but he had it in his head to go tc: 
that Mr. Atherton to whom Miss Kingsbury haJ 
introduced him, and ask his advice; he had found- 
out that Mr. Atherton was a lawyer, and he believed 
that he would tell him what to do. He could at least 
give him some authoritative discouragement which 
he might use in these discussions with Marcia. 

Mr. Atherton had his office in the Events building, 
and Bartley was on his way thither when he met 
Eicker. 

" Seen Witherby ? " asked his friend. " He was 
round looking for you." 

" What does Witherby want with me ? " asked 
Bartley, with a certain resentment. 

"Wants to give you the managing-editorship of 
the Events," said Kicker, jocosely. 

" Pshaw ! Well, he knows where to find me, if he 
wants me very badly." 

" Perhaps he does n't," suggested Eicker. " In that , 
case, you *d better look him up." 

" Why, you don't advise — " 

" Oh, / don't advise anything ! But if h^ can le^^ 
bygones be bygones, I guess you can afford to ! ^ 
don't know just what he wants with you, but if \\ 
offers you anything like a basis, you 'd better take it- 

Bartley's basis had come to be a sort of by-wo'^" 
between them ; Eicker usually met him with sor^^^ 
such demand as, "Well, what alx)ut the basis ^ 
or, " How 's your poor basis ? " Bartley's ardor for* 
salaried position amused him, and he often tried ^ 
argue him out of it. " You 're much better off a^- 
free lance. You make as much money as most 
tlie fellows in places, and you lead a pleasanter li 
If you were on any one paper, you 'd have to be 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 219 

duty about fifteen hours out of the twenty-four ; 
you'd be out every night till three or four o'clock ; 
jou'd have to do fires, and murdei-s, and all sorts of 
police business ; and now you work mostly on fancy 
jobs, — something you suggest yourself, or something 
you're specially asked to do. That's a kind of a 
compliment, and it gives you scope." 

Nevertheless, if Bartley had his heart set upon a 
basis, Eicker wanted him to have it. " Of courae," 
he said, " I was only joking about the basis. But if 
^Vitherby should have something permanent to otter, 
don't quarrel with your bread and butter, and don't 
liold yourself too cheap. Witherby 's going to get all 
he can, for as little as he can, every time." 

Eicker was a newspaper man in every breath. His 
gi^at interest in life was the Chronicle-Abstract, 
y^hich paid him poorly and worked him hard. To get 
^^1 ahead of the other papers was the object for which 
he toiled with unremitting zeal ; but after that he 
Ifted to see a good fellow prosper, and he had for 
-hartley that feeling of comradery which comes out 
^inong journalists when their rivalries are off. He 
"^ould hate to lose Bartley from the Chronicle- 
-Abstract; if Witherby meant business, Bartley and 
tie might be excoriating each other before a week 
l^assed in sarcastic references to " our esteemed con- 
temporary of tlie Events," and '* our esteemed contem- 
porary of the Chronicle- Abstract " ; but he heartily 
Wished him luck, and hoped it might be some sort 
^^nside work. 

^ When Eicker left him Bartley hesitated. He was 
:p^If minded to go home and wait for Witherby to 
^^^k him up, as the most dignified and perhaps the 
■^*^ost prudent course. But he was curious and im- 
P^tient, and he was afraid of letting the chance, 
^^hatever it might be, slip through his fingers. He 
^^ddenly resolved upon a little ruse, which would 



220 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

still oblige Witherby*t>o make the advance, and yet 
would risk nothing by delay. He mounted to Wither- 
by's room in the Events building, and pushed open 
the door. Then he drew back, embarrassed, as if he 
had made a mistake. " Excuse me,'' he said, " is n't 
Mr. Atherton's office on this floor ? " 
' Witherby looked up from the papers on his desk, 
and cleared his throat. When he overreached him- 
self he was apt to hold any party to the transaction 
accountable for his eiTor. Ever since he refused 
Bartley's paper on the logging-camp, he had accused 
him in his heart of fraud because he had sold the 
rejected sketch to another paper, and anticipated 
Witherby's tardy enterprise in the same direction. 
Each little success that Bartley made added to 
Witherby's dislike ; and whilst Bartley had written 
for all the other papers, he had never got any w^ork 
from the Events. Witherby had the guilty sense 
of having hated him as he looked up, and Bartley 
on his part was uneasily sensible of some mocking 
paragraphs of a more or less personal cast, which 
he had written in the Chronicle-Abstract, about the 
enterprise of the Events. 

" Mr. Atherton is on the floor above," said Wither- 
by. ^* But I 'm very glad you happened to look in, 
Mr. Hubbard. I — I was just thinking about you. 
Ah — wont you take a chair ? " 

" Thanks," said Bartley, non-committally ; but he 
sat down in the chair which the other rose to offer him. 

Witherby fumbled about among the things on liis 
desk before he resumed his own seat. " I hope you 
have been well since I saw vou ? " 

" Oh, yes, I 'm always well. How have you been ? " 
Bartley wondered whither this exchange of civilities 
tended ; but he believed he could keep it up as long 
as old Witherby could. 

" Why, I have not been very well," said Witherby, 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 221 

getting into his chair, and taking up a paper-weiglit 

to help him in talk. " The fact is, I find that I 

have been working too hard. I have undeiiaken to 

uiauage the editorial department of the Kvents in 

addition to looking after its basiness, and the care 

iias been too great. It has told upon me. I flatter 

niyself that I have not allowed either department to 

suffer—'' 

He referred this point so directly to him, that 
Bartley made a murmur of assent, and "Witherby 
I'esumed. 

** But the care has told upon me. I am not so well 
as I could wish. I need rest, and I need help," he 
added. 

Bartley had by this time made up his mind that, if 
Witherby had anything to say to him, he should say 
it unaided. 

Witherby put down the paper-weight, and gave 
Ws attention for a moment to a paper-cutter. " I 
don't know whether you have heard that Mr. Clayton 
is going to leave us ? " 

" No," Bartley said, " I had n't heard that." 

" Yes, he is going to leave us. Mr. Clayton and 
I have not agreed upon some points, and we have 
l>oth judged it best that we should part." Witherby 
paused again, and changed the positions of his ink- 
stand and mucilage-bottle. " Mr. Clayton has failed 
iiie, as I may say, at the last moment, and we have 
^een compelled to part. I found Mr. Clayton — 
Unpractical." 

He looked again at Bartley, who said, " Yes ? " 

*'Yes. I found Mr. Clayton so much at variance 
in. his views with — with my own views — that I 
Could do nothiu" with him. lie has used lanoua^re 
^o uie which I am sure he will regret. But that is 
neither here nor there , he is going. I have had my 
^ye on you, Mr. Hubbard, ever since you came to 



222 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Boston, and have watched your career with interest. 
But I thought of Mr. Clayton, in the first instance, 
because he was ah^eady attached to the EA^ents, and I 
wished to promote him. Office during good behavior, 
and promotion in the direct line : I 'ra that much of a 
civil-service reformer," said Witherby. 

" Certainly,'* said Bartley. 

"But of course my idea in starting the Events 
was to make money." 

'' Of course." 

** I hold that the first duty of a public journal is 
to make money for the owner ; all the rest follows 
naturally." 

" You 'i*e quite right, Mr. Witherby," said Bartley. 
" Unless it makes money, there can be no enterprise 
about it, no independence, — nothing. That was the 
way I did with my little paper down in Maine. The 
first thing — I told the committee when I took hold 
of the paper — is to keep it from losing money; the 
next is to make money with it. First peaceable, then 
pure : that 's what I told them." 

" Precisely so ! " Witherby was now so much at 
his ease with Bartley that he left off tormenting the 
things on his desk, and used his hands in gesticu- 
lating. " Look at the churclies themselve;s ! No 
cl lurch can do any good till it 's on a paying basis. 
As long as a church is in debt, it can't secure the 
best talent for the pulpit or the choir, and the 
members go about feeling discouraged and out of 
heart. It's just so with a newspaper. I say that 
a paper does no good till it pays; it has no influ- 
ence, its motives are always suspected, and you've 
got to make it pay by hook or by crook, before you 
can hope to — to — forward any good cause by it. 
That 's what I say. Of course," he added, in a large, 
smooth way, " I 'm not going to contend that a 
newspaper should be run solely in the interest of 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 223 

the counting-room. Not at all ! But I do tsontend 

that, when the counting-room protests against a cer- 

^in coui-se the editorial room is taking, it ought to be 

respectfully listened to. There are always two sides 

to every question. Suppose all the newspapers pitch 

^fl— as they sometimes do — and denounce a ceitain 

public enterprise : a projected scheme of railroad 

^figislation, or a peculiar system of banking, or a 

^o-operative mining interest, and the counting-room 

^6nds up word that the company advertises heavily 

^'^ith us ; shall we go and join indiscriminately in that 

^Ue and cry, or shall we give our friends the benefit 

^f the doubt ? " 

"Give them the benefit of the doubt," answered 
Bartley. " That 's what I say." 

'*And so would any other practical man!" said 

Witherby. "And that's just where Mr. Clayton 

a-nd I differed. Well, I need n't allude to him any 

paore," he added leniently. "What I wish to say 

is this, Mr. Hubbard. I am overworked, and I feel 

the need of some sort of relief. I know that I have 

started the Events in the right line at last, — the 

only line in which it can be made a great, useful, and 

^spectable journal, efficient in every good cause, — 

and what I want now is some sort of assistant 

m the management who shall be in full sympathy 

^ithmy own ideas. I don't want a mere slave, — a 

tool; but I do want an independent, right-minded 

^an, who shall be with me for the success of the 

P't^per the whole time and every time, and shall not 

"6 continually setting up his will against mine on 

^U sorts of doctrinaire points. That was the trouble 

with Mr. Clayton. I have nothing against Mr. Clay- 

^^ personally ; he is an excellent young man in 

y^ry many respects ; but he was all wrong about 

Jowmalism, all wrong, Mr. Hubbard. I talked with 

^im a great deal, and tried to make him see where 



224 . A MODERN INSTANCE. 

his interest lay. He had been on the paper as a 
reporter from the start, and I wished very much to 
promote him to this position ; which he could have 
made the best position in the country. The Events 
is an evening paper ; there is no night-work ; and the 
whole thing is already thoroughly systematized. Mr. 
Clayton had plenty of talent, and all he had to do 
was to step in under my direction and put his hand 
on the helm. But, no ! I should have been glad to 
keep him in a subordinate capacity ; but I had to let 
him go. He said that he would not report the con- 
flagration of a peanut-stand for a paper conducted on 
the principles I had developed to him. Now, that 
is no way to talk. It 's absurd.'* 

"Perfectly." Bartley laughed his rich, caressing 
laugh, in which there was the insinuation of all 
worldly-wise contempt for Clayton and all worldly- 
wise sympathy with Witherby. It made Witherby 
feel good, — better perhaps than he had felt at any 
time since his talk with Clayton. 

"Well, now, what do you say, Mr. Hubbard? 
Can't we make some arrangement with you?" he 
asked, with a burst of frankness. 

"I guess you can»" said Bartley. The fact that 
Witherby needed him was so plain that he did not 
care to practise any finesse about the matter. 

" What are your present engagements ? " 

" I have n't any." 

" Then you can take hold at once ? " 

" Yes." 

" That 's good ! " Witherby now entered at large 
into the nature of the position which he offered 
Bartley. They talked a long time, and in becoming 
better acquainted with each other's views, as they 
called them, they became better friends. Bartley 
began to respect Witherby's business ideas, and 
Witherby in recognizing all the admirable qualities 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 225 

of this clear-sighted and level-headed young man l)e- 
gan to feel that he had secretly liked hiih from the 
first, and had only waited a suitable occasion to un- 
mask his affection. It was arranfjed that Bartley 
should come on as Witherby's assistant, and should 
do whatever he was asked to do in the management 
of the paper ; he was to write on topics as they 
occurred to him, or as they were suggested to him. 
"I don't say whether this will lead to anything 
more, Mr. Hubbard, or not ; but I do say that you 
will be in the direct line of promotion.*' 
" Yes, I understand that,** said Bartley. 
"And now as to terras," continued Witherby, a 
little tremulously. 

"And now as to terras," repeated Bartley to him- 
self; but he said nothing aloud. He felt that Witherby 
had cut out a great deal of work for him, and work 
of a kind that he could not easily find another man 
both willing and able to do. He resolved that lie 
would have all that his service was worth. 

"What should you think of twenty dollars a 
^eek ? " asked Witherby. 

"I should n't think it was enough," said Bartley, 

^niazed at his own audacity, but enjoying it, and 

^^inking how he had left Marcia with the intention 

^^ offering himself to Mr. Atherton as a clerk for ten 

dollars a week. " There is a great deal of lalx)r in 

^Qat you propose, and you command my whole time. 

*^ou would not like to have me do any work outside 

^^ ^ the Events." 

1 ^ *' No," Witherby assented. " Would twenty-five 

^^ixearer the mark ?" he inquired soberly. 

J 'It would be nearer, certainly," said Bartley. " But 

SUess you had better make it thirty." He kept a 

^^^^t face, but his heart throbbed. 

^ * ^ell, say thirty, then," replied Witherby so 

-•^^oriripj^jy that Bartley perceived with a pang that he 

15 



226 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

might as easily have got forty from him. But it was 
now too late, and a salary of fifteen hundred a year 
passed the wildest hopes he had cherished half an 
hour before. 

" All right," he said quietly. " I suppose you want 
me to take hold at once ? " 

" Yes, on Monday. Oh, by the way," said Witherby, 
" there is one little piece of outside work which I 
should like you to finish up for us ; and we 11 agree 
upon something extra for it, if you wish. I mean 
our Solid Men series. I don't know whether you Ve 
noticed the series in the Events ? " 

" Yes," said Bartley, " I have." 

" Well, then, you know what they are. They con- 
sist of interviews — guarded and inoffensive as respects 
the sanctity of private life — with our leading manu- 
facturers and merchant princes at their places ol 
business and their residences, and include a descrip- 
tion of these, and some account of the lives of the 
different subjects." 

" Yes, I have seen them," said Bartley. " I 've 
noticed the general plan." 

" You know that Mr. Clayton has been doing them. 
He made them a popular feature. The parties them- 
selves were very much pleased with them." 

" Oh, people are always tickled to be interviewed," 
said Bartley. " I know they put on airs about it, and 
go round complaining to each other about the viola- 
tion of confidence, and so on ; but they all like it. 
You know I reported that Indigent Surf-Bathing 
entertainment in June for the Chronicle- Abstract. 
I knew the lady who got it up, and I interviewed 
her after the entertainment." 

" Miss Kingsbury ? " 

" Yes." Witherby made an inarticulate murmur 
of respect for Bartley in his throat, and involun- 
tarily changed toward him, but not so subtly that 



A MODERN INSTANCK. 227 

Bartley's finer instinct did not take note of the change. 

"She was a fresh subject, and she told me everything. 

Of course 1 printed it all. She was awfully shocked, — 

or pretended to be, — and wrote me a very 0-dear-how- 

could-you note about it. But I went round to the 

office the next day, and I found that nearly every 

lady mentioned in the interview had ordered half a 

dozen copies of that issue sent to her seaside address, 

and the office had been full of Beacon Street swells 

all the morning buying Chronicle- Abstracts, — * tiie 

one with the report of the Concert in it.' '* These 

low views of high society, coupled with an apparent 

familiarity with it, modified Witherby more and more. 

He began to see that he had got a prize. " The way 

to do with such fellows as your Solid Men," continued 

hartley, " is to submit a proof to 'em. They never 

Ifnow exactly what to do about it, and so you print 

the interview with their approval, and make 'em 

Wice/pg criminis, I '11 finish up the series for you, 

and I won't make any very heavy extra charge." 

"J should wish to pay you whatever the work was 

^orth," said Witherby, not to be outdone in nobleness. 

**A11 right: we sha'n't quarrel about that, at any 

me:' ^ 

hartley was getting toward the door, for he was 

^^er to be gone now to Marcia, but Witherby fol- 

.^ed him up as if willing to detain him. "My 

^jfe/' he said, " knows Miss Kingsbury. They have 

^^U on the same charities togetlier." 

X met her a good while ago, when I was visiting 

^*^tim of mine at his father's house here. I did n't 

, "repose she 'd know me ; but she did at once, and 

^S^n to ask me if I was at the Hallecks' — as if I had 

^^^^r gone away." 

* ]V[r. Ezra B. Halleck ? " inquired Witherby rever- 
ently " Leather trade ? " 

** Yes," said Bartley. " I believe his first name was 



228 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Ezra. Ben Halleck was ray friend. Do you know 
the family ? " asked Bartley. 

"Yes, we have met them — in society. I hope 
you're pleasantly situated where you are, Mr. Hub- 
bard? Should be glad to have you call at the 
house." 

" Thank you," said Bartley, " my wife will be glad 
to have Mrs. Witherby call." 

" Oh !" cried Witherby. " I did n't know you were 
married ! That 's good ! There 's nothing like mar- 
riage, Mr. Hubbard, to keep a man going in the right 
direction. But you Ve begun pretty young." 

" Nothing like taking a thing in time," answered 
Bartley. " But I have n't been married a great while ; 
and I 'm not so young as I look. Well, good after- 
noon, Mr. Witherby." 

" What did you say was your address ? " asked 
Witherby, taking out his note-book. " My wife will 
certainly call. She's down at Nantasket now, but 
she '11 be up the first part of September, and then 
she '11 call. Good afternoon." 

They shook hands at last, and Bartley ran home to 
Marcia. He burst into the room with a glowing face. 
" Well, Marcia," he shouted, " I 've got my basis ! " 

" Hush ! No ! Don't be so loud ! You have n't ! " 
she answered, springing to her feet. " I don't believe 
it ! How hot you are ! " 

" I 've been running — almost all the way from the 
Events office. I've got a place on the Events, — as- 
sistant managing- editor, — thirty dollars a week," he 
panted. 

" I knew you would succeed yet, — I knew you 
would, if I could only have a little patience. 1 *ve 
been scolding m3^self ever since you went. I thought 
you were going to do something desperate, and I had 
driven you to it. But Bartley, Bartley ! It can 't be 
true, is it ? Here, here ! Do take this fan. Or no, I '11 



A MODERN INSTANCR 229 

fan you, if you '11 let me sit on your knee ! O ])oor 
thing, how hot you are ! But I thought you would n't 
write for the Events ; I thought you hated that old 
Witherby, who acted so ugly to you when you firat 
came." 

"Oh, Witherby is a pretty good old fellow," said 
Bartley, who Bad begun to get his breath again. He 
gave her a full history of the affair, and they rejoiced 
together over it, and were as happy as if Bartley hud 
l)een celebrating a high and honorable good fortune. 
She was too ignorant to feel the disgrace, if there were 
ftny, in the compact which Bartley had closed, and he 
had no principles, no traditions, by which to perceive 
1^- To them it meant unlimited prosperity ; it meant 
provision for the future, which was to bring a new 
^sponsibility and a new care. 

" We will take the parlor with the alcove, now," 
said Bartley. " Don't excite yourself," he added, with 
^JJder warning. 

"No, no," she said, pillowing her head on hLs 
shoulder, and shedding peaceful tears. 

" It does n't seem as if we should ever quarrel 
^in, does it ? " 

, *' No, no 1 We never shall," she murmured. " It 

pS always come from my wonting you about the 

y^y and I shall never do that any more. If you 

1^^^ journalism better, I shall not urge you any more 

leave it, now you 've got your basis." 

** But I 'm going on with the law, now, for that 

y^^ reason. I shall read law all my leisure time. 

r.'^'^el independent, and I shall not be anxious about 

^ time I give, because I shall know that I can 

,. ** Well, only you mustn't overdo." She put her 
^^P^ against his cheek. "You're more to me than 
^^ything you can do for me." 
** Oh, Marcia ! " 



230 A MODKUN INSTANCli!. 



XTX. 

Now that Bartley had got his basis, and had no 
favors to ask of any one, he was curious to see his 
friend Halleck again ; but when, in the course of the 
Solid Men Series, he went to interview A Nestor of 
the Leather Interest, as he meant to call the elder 
Halleck, he resolved to let him make all the advances. 
On a legitimate business errand it should not matter 
to him whether Mr. Halleck welcomed him or not. 
The old man did not wait for Bartley to explain 
why he came ; he was so simply glad to see him 
that Bartley felt a little ashamed to confess that he 
had been eight months in Boston without making 
himself known. He answered all the personal ques- 
tions with which Mr. Halleck plied him ; and in his 
turn he inquired after his college friend. 

" Ben is in Europe," said liis father. " He has 
been there all summer ; but we expect him home 
about the middle of September. He 's been a good 
while settling down," continued the old man, with an 
unconscious sigli. " He talked of the law at first, and 
then he went into business with me; but he did n't 
seem to tind his calling in it ; and now he 's taken up 
the law again. He 's been in the Law School at Cam- 
bridge, and he 's going back there for a year or two 
longer. I thought you used to talk of the law your- 
self when you were with us, Mr. Hubbard." 

" Yes, I did," Bartley assented. " And I have n't 
given up the notion yet. I 've read a good deal of law 
already ; but when I came up to Boston, I had to go 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 231 

into newspaper work till I could see my way out of 
the woods." 

"Well," said Mr. Halleck, '' that 's right. And you 
say you like the aiTangement you Ve made with Mr. 
Witherby ? " 

"It's ideal — for me," answered Bartley. 

"Well, that's good," said the old man. "And 
you've come to interview me. Well, that's all riglit. 
I m not much used to being in print, but I shall be 
glad bo tell you all I know alx)ut leather." 

"You may depend upon my not saying anything 
that will be disagreeable to you, Mr. Halleck," said 
Bartley, touched by the old man's trusting friendli- 
ness. When his inquisition ended, he sli]>ped his 
notebook back into his pocket, and said with a smile, 
"We usually say sometliing about the victim's i)!'i- 
^ate residence, but I guess I '11 spare you that, Mr. 
Halleck." 

"Why, we live in the old place, and T don't sup- 
pose there is much to say. We are plain people, and 
^e don't like to change. When I built there thirty 
years ago, Eumford Street was one of the most desira- 
ble streets in Boston. There was no Back Bay, then, 
you know, and we thought we were doing something 
^6ry fashionable. But fashion has drifted away, and 
left us high and dry enough on Eumford Street ; 
though we don't mind it. We keep the old house 
^^^ the old garden pretty much as you saw them. 
You can say whatever you think best. There 's a 
good deal of talk about the intrusiveness of the news- 
papers; all I know is that they've never intruded 
upon me. We shall not be afraid that you will abuse 
^^r bouse, Mr. Hubbard, because we expect you to 
^nie there again. When shall it be ? Mrs. Halleck 
^^d I liave been at home all summer ; we find it 
^^6 most comfortable place; and we shall be very 
glad if you'll drop in any evening and take tea with 



232 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

US. We keep the old horn's; we've never taken 
kindly to the late dinners. The girls are off at 
the mountains, and you 'd see nobody but Mrs. Hal- 
leck. Come this evening ! " cried the old man, with 
mounting cordiality. 

His warmth as he put his hand on Hartley's shoul- 
der made the young man blush again for the reserve 
with which he had been treating his own affairs. He 
stammered out, hoping that the other would see the 
relevancy of the statement, " Why, the fact is, Mr. 
Halleck, I — I 'm married." 

" Married ? " said Mr. Halleck. " Why did n't you 
tell me before ? Of course we want Mrs. Hubbard, 
too. Where are you living ? We won't stand upon 
ceremony among old friends. Mrs. Halleck will 
come with the carriage and fetch Mrs. Hubbard, and 
your wife must take that for a call. Why, you don't 
know how glad we shall be to have you both ! I wish 
Ben was married. You '11 come ? " 

"Of course we will," said Bartley; "But you 
must n't let Mrs. Halleck send for us ; we can walk 
perfectly well." 

'• YoiL can walk if you want, but Mrs. Hubbard 
shall ride," said the old man. 

When Bartley reported this to Marcia, " Bartley ! " 
she cried. " In her carriage ? I 'm afraid ! " 

" Nonsense ! She '11 be a great deal more afraid 
than you are. She's the bashfulest old lady you 
ever saw. All that I hope is that you won't over- 
power her." 

"Bartley, hush ! Shall I wear my silk, or — " 

" Oh, wear the silk, by all means. Crush them at 
a blow ! " 

Eumford Street is one of those old-fashioned 
thoroughfares at the West End of Boston, which 
are now almost wholly abandoned to boarding-houses 
of the poorer class. Yet they are charming streets, 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 233 

quiet, clean, and respectable, and worthy still to be 
the homes, as they once were, of solid citizens. The 
I'ed brick houses, with their swell fronts, looking in 
perspective like a succession of round towera, ai'e 
readied by broad granite steps, and their dooi*s are 
deeply sunken within the wagon-roofs of white- 
painted Eoman arches. Over the door there is 
sometimes the bow of a fine transom, and the parlor 
windows oii the first floor of the swell front have the 
same azure gleam as those of the beautiful old houses 
which front the Common on Beacon Street. 

When her husband bought his lot there, Mi*s. Hal- 
leck could hardly believe that a house on liuniford 
Street was not too fine for her. They had come to 
the city shnple and good young village people, and 
simple and good they had remained, through the ad- 
vancing yeara which had so wonderfully — Mrs. Hal- 
leck hoped, with a trembling heart, not wickedly — 
prospered them. They were of faithful stock, and 
^^ey had been true to their traditions in every way. 
One of these was constancy to the oilhodox reli- 
?>iou8 belief in which their young hearts had united, 
^ud which had blessed all their life ; though their 
charity now abounded perhaps more than their faith. 
^'^ey still believed that for themselves there was no 
'^P^ritual safety except in their church ; but since 
their younger children had left it they were forced 
^^citly to own that this might not be so in all cases, 
^^eir last endeavor for the church in Ben's case was 
^ Send him to the college where he and Bartley met ; 
^nd this was such a failure on the main point, that it 
^^ft them remorsefully indulgent. He had submit- 
''^^> and had foregone his boyish dreams of Harvard, 
^bere all his mates were going ; but the sacrifice 
^^^ttied to have put him at odds with life. The years 
^*^ich had proved the old people mistaken would not 
^o^e back upon their recognition of their error. He 



234 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

returned to the associations from which they had 
exiled him too much estranged to resume them, and 
they saw^ with the unavailing regrets which visit 
fathers and mothers in such cases, that the young 
know their own world better than their elders can 
know it, and have a right to be in it and of it, supe- 
rior to any thediy of their advantage which their 
elders can form. Ben was not the fellow to com- 
plain ; in fact, after he came home from college, he 
was allowed to shape his life according to his own 
rather fitful liking. His father was glad now to con- 
tent him in anything he could, it was so very little 
that Ben asked. If he had suffered it, perhaps his 
family w^ould have spoiled him. 

The Halleck girls went early in July to the Profile 
House, where they had spent their summers for many 
years ; but the old people preferred to stay at home, 
and only left their large, comfortable house for short 
absences. Their ways of life had been fixed in other 
times, and Mrs. Halleck liked better than mountain 
or sea the high-walled garden that stretched back 
of their house to the next street. They had bought 
through to this street when they built, but they had 
never sold the lot that fronted on it. They laid it 
out in box-bordered beds, and there were clumps of 
hollyhocks, sunflowers, lilies, and phlox, in different 
corners ; grapes covered the trellised walls ; there 
were some pear-trees that bore blossoms, and some- 
times ripened their fruit beside the walk. Mrs. Hal- 
leck used to work in the garden ; her husband seldom 
descended into it, but he liked to sit on the iron-railed 
balcony overlooking it from the back parlor. 

As for the interior of the house, it had been fur- 
nished, once for all, in the worst style of that most 
tasteless period of household art, which prevailed 
from 1840 to 1870 ; and it would be impossible to 
say which were most hideous, the carpets or the 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 235 

chandeliers, the curtains or the chairs and sofas ; crude 

colors, lumpish and meaningless forn)8, abounded in 

a rich and horrible discord. The old people tliouglit 

]^ all beautiful, and those daughters who had come 

into the new house as little girls revered it ; but Ben 

3^d his youngest sister, who had been born in the 

^ouse, used the right of children of their parents' 

^'eclining years to laugh at it. Yet they laughed with 

^ sort of filial tenderness. 

"I suppose you know how frightful you have 

everything about you, Olive," said Clara Kingsbury, 

^oe day after the Eastlake movement began, as she 

^k a comprehensive survey of the Halleok drawing- 

^oni through her pince-^iez, 

*' Certainly," answered the youngest Miss Halleck. 
Jt 's a perfect chamber of horrors. But I like it, be- 
muse everything 's so exquisitely in keeping." 

Keally, I feel as if I had seen it all for the first 
^^tue," said Miss Kingsbury. " I don't believe I ever 
Waltzed it before." 

She and Olive Halleck were great friends, though 
^lara was fashionable and Olive was not. 

" It would all have been different," Ben used to say, 

in whimsical sarcasm of what he had once believed, 

1^ I had gone to Harvard. Then the fellows in my 

Class would have come to the house with me, and we 

should have got into the right set naturally. Now, 

^^ *xe outside of everything, and it makes me mad, 

"^cause we 've got money enough to be inside, and 

there 's nothing to prevent it. Of course, I 'm not 

^^*^g to say that leather is quite as blameless as 

potton socially, but taken in the wholesale form it 

^\u ^ ®^ ^®^y malodorous ; and it 's quite as good as 

^ Y^^ things that are accepted." 

.. , ' it 's not the leather, Ben," answered Olive, " and 

th ^ ^^^^ yoxir not going to Harvard altogether, though 

^^ has somethiiiu to do with it. The trouble 's in 



236 A MODEKN INSTANCE. 

me. I was at school with all those girls Clara goes 
with, and I could have been in that set if I 'd wanted ; 
but I did n't really want to. I saw, at a very tender 
age, that it was going to be more trouble than it was 
worth, and I just quietly kept out of it. Of course, 
I could n't have gone to Papanti's without a fuss, but 
mother would have let me go if I had made the fuss ; 
and I could be hand and glove with those girls now, 
if I tried. They come here whenever I ask them ; 
and when I meet them on charities, I 'm awfully 
popular. No, if I *m not fashionable, it 's my own 
fault. But what difference does it make to you, Ben ? 
You don't want to marry any of those girls as long as 
your heart 's set on that unknown charmer of yours." 
Ben had once seen his charmer in the street of a little 
Down East town, where he met her walking with 
some other boarding-school girls ; in a freak with his 
fellow-students, he liad bribed the village photogra- 
pher to let him have the picture of the young lady, 
which he had sent home to Olive, marked, " My Lost 
Love." 

" No, I don't want to marry anybody," said Ben. 
*' But I hate to live in a town where I 'm not first 
chop in everything." 

" Pshaw ! " cried his sister, " I guess it does n't 
trouble you much." 

" Well, I don't know that it does," he admitted. 

Mrs. Halleck's black coachman drove her to Mrs. 
Nash's door on Canary Place, where she alighted and 
rang with as great perturbation as if it had been a 
palace, and these poor young people to whom she was 
going to be kind were princes. It was sufficient that 
they were strangers; but Marcia's anxiety, evident 
even to meekness like Mrs. Halleck's, restored her 
somewhat to her self-possession ; and the thought 
that Bartley, in spite of his personal splendor, was a 
friend of Ben's, was a help, and she got home with 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 237 

her guests without any great chasms in the conversa- 
tion, though she never ceased to twist the window- 
tassel in her embarrassment. 

Mr. Halleck came to her rescue at her own door, 
and let them in. He shook hands with Hartley again, 
and viewed Marcia with a fatherly friendliness tliat 
took away half her awe of the ugly magnificence of 
the interior. But still she admired that Bartley could 
be so much at his ease. He pointed to a stick at the 
foot of the hat-rack, and said, " How much that looks 
lite Halleck 1 " which made the old man laugh, and 
clap him on the shoulder, and cry : " So it does ! so it 
^oes! Eecognized it, did you ? Well, we shall soon 
We him with us again, now. Seems a long time to 
«8 since he went." 
'Still limps a little ?" asked Bartley. 
" Yes, I guess he '11 never quite get over that." 
' I don't believe I should like him to," said Bart- 
%• " He would n't seem natural without a cane in 
^^ hand, or hanging by the crook over his left elbow, 
^*^ile he stood and talked." 

-f he old man clapped Bartley on the shoulder again, 
^^^ laughed again at the image suggested. " That 's 
^ • that 's so ! You 're right, I guess ! " 

As soon as Marcia could lay off her things in the 
g^r-geous chamber to which Mrs. Halleck had shown 
, ^^> they went out to te^ in the dining-room over- 
^^feng the garden. 

p ** Seems natural, don't it ? " asked the old man, as 
^'^'tley turned to one of the windows. 
^ ** Not changed a bit, except that I was here in win- 
^> and I had n't a chance to see how pretty your 
S^^denwas." 

**" It w pretty, is n't it ? " said the old man. " Mother 

r^ ^rs. Halleck, I mean — looks after it. She keeps 

^-l)out right. Here 's Cyrus ! " he said, as the serving- 

^•11 came into the room with something from the 



238 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

kitchen in his hands. "You remember Cyrus, 
guess, Mr. Hubbard ? " 

" Oh, yes ! " said B§,rtley, and when Cyrus had se^ 
down his dish, Bartley shook hands with the Ne>^ 
Hampshire exemplar of freedom and equality; ht^ 
was no longer so young as to wish to mark a socialj 
difference between himself and the inside-man who 
had served Mr. Halleck with unimpaired self-respectt 
for twenty-five years. 

There was a vacant place at table, and Mr. Hallecto 
said he hoped it would be taken by a friend of theirs^ 
He explained that the possible guest was his lawyer^ 
whose office Ben was going into after he left the La\^'^ 
School; and presently Mr. Atheiton came. Bartle)r 
was prepared to be introduced anew, but he was 
flattered and the Hallecks were pleased to find that 
he and Mr. Atherton were already acquainted; the 
latter was so friendly, that Bartley was confirmed 
in his belief that you could not make an interview 
too strong, for he had celebrated Mr. Atherton among 
the other people present at the Indigent Surf-Bathing 
entertainment. 

He was put next to Marcia, and after a while he 
began to talk with her, feeling with a tacit skill for 
her highest note, and striking that with kindly per- 
severance. It was not a very high note, and it was 
not always a certain sound. She could not be sure 
that he was really interested in the simple matters 
he had set her to talking about, and from time to time 
she was afraid that Bartley did not like it : she would 
not have liked him to talk so long or so freely with a 
lady. But she found herself talking on, about board- 
ing, and her own preference for keeping house ; about 
Equity, and what soit of place it was, and how far 
from Crawford's ; about Boston, and what slie had seen 
and done there since she had come in the winter. 
Most of her remarks began or ended with Mr. Hub- 



A MODERN INSTAlfGE. 239 

bard; many of her opinions, especially in nitatters of 
taste, were frank repetitions of wliat Mr. Hubbard 
thought; her conversation had the cliarm and pa- 
thos of that of the young wife who devotedly loves 
her husband, who lives in and for him, tests every- 
thing by him, refers everything to him. She had a 
good mind, though it was as bare as it could well be 
of most of the things that the ladies of Mr. Atherton*s 
world put into their minds. 

Mrs. Halleck made from time to time a little mur- 
mur of satisfaction in Marcia*s loyalty, and tlien sank 
hack into the meek silence that she only emerged from 
to propose more tea to some one, or to direct Cyrus 
about offering this dish or that. 

After they rose she took Marcia about, to show her 
the house, ending with the room which Bartley had 
wheu he visited there. They sat down in this room 
and had a long chat, and when they came back to the 
parlor they found Mr. Atherton already gone. Marcia 
inferred the early habits of the houseliold from the 
departure of this older friend, but Bartley was in no 
hurry ; he was enjoying himself, and he could not see 
that Mr. Halleck seemed at all sleepy. 

Mrs. Halleck wished to send them home in her car- 
wage, but they would not hear of this ; they would far 
^ther walk, and when they had been followed to the 
^oor, and bidden mind the steps as they went down, 
the wide open night did not seem too large for their 
content in themselves and each other. 

*' Did you have a nice time ? " asked Bartley, thougli 
^® knew he need not. 

** The best time I ever had in the world!" cried 
^ai'cia. 

They discussed the whole affair ; the two old peo- 
ple ; Mr, Atherton, and how pleasant he was ; the 
JiovigQ and its splendors, which they did not know 



240 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

were hideous. " Bartley," said Marcia at last, ^^ I 
told Mrs. Halleck." 

" Did you ? " he returned, in trepidation ; but after 
a while he laughed. " Well, all right, if you wanted 
to." 

" Yes, I did ; and you can't think how kind she 
was. She says we must have a house of our own 
somewhere, and she's going round with me in her 
carriage to help me to find one." 

" Well," said Bartley, and he fetched a sigh, half 
of pride, half of dismay. 

" Yes, I long to go to housekeeping. We can afford 
it now. She says we can get a cheap little house, or 
half a house, up at the South End, and it won't cost 
us any more than to board, hardly; and that's what I 
think, too." 

" Go ahead, if you can find the house. I don't object 
to my own fireside. And I suppose we must." 

" Yes, we must. Ain't you glad of it ? " 

They were in the shadow of a tall house, and he 
dropped his face toward the face she lifted to his, and 
gave her a silent kiss that made her heart leap toward 
him. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 241 



XX, 



With the other news that Halleck's mother gave 
him on his return, she told him of the chance that 
had brought his old college comrade to them again, 
and of how Bartley was now married, and was just 
settled in the little house she had helped his wife to 
find. " He has married a very pretty girl/* she said. 
" Oh, I dare say ! " answered her son. " He is n't 
the fellow to have manded a plain girl." 

" Your father and I have been to call upon them in 
their new house, and they seem very ha]ipy together. 
Mr. Hubbard wants you should come to see them. 
He talks a great deal about you." 

"I'll look them up in good time," said the young 
^lan. " Hubbard's ardor to see me will keep." 

That evening Mr. Atherton came to tea, and Hal- 

^6c]c walked home with him to his lodgings, which 

^6re over the hill, and bevond the Public Garden, 

J^es, it's very pleasant, getting back," he said, as they 

^^^'intered down the Common side of Beacon Street, 

^^d the old town is picturesque after the best they 

cajx ^0 across the water." He halted his friend, and 

^^^Ught himself to a rest on his cane, for a look over 

^^•^ lioUow of the Common and the level of the Garden 

fiere the late September dark was keenly spangled 

-p -^"tli lamps. " *My heart leaps up,' and so forth, when 

V ^^e that. Now that Athens and Florence and Edin- 

^i*gh are past, I don't think there is any place quite 

1*^ ^vell worth being born in as Boston." He moved 

^^Ward again, gently surging with his limp, in a way 

16 



242 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 





that had its chann for those that loved him. "It> '® 
more authentic and individual, more municipal, aft>"^^ 
the old pattern, than any other modeni city. It gi^r 
its stamp, it characterizes. The Boston Irishman, t 
Boston Jew, is a quite diflerent Irishman or Jew fro^ 
those of other places. Even Boston provinciality 
a precious testimony to the authoritative personali 
of the city. Cosmopolitanism is a modern vice, a 
we 're antique, we *re classic, in the other thing. 
I 'd rather be a Bostonian, at odds with Boston, th 
one of the curled darlings of any other community." 

A friend knows how to allow for mere quantity i 
your talk, and only replies to the quality, separa 
your earnest from your whimsicality, and accounts 
some whimsicality in your earnest. "I didn't kno 
but you might have got that bee out of your bonne 
on the other side," said Atherton. 

" No, sir ; we change our skies, but not our bee 
What should I amount to without my grievance 
You wouldn't have known me. This talk to-nighir 
about Hubbard has set my bee to buzzing with un^ 
common liveliness ; and the thought of the Law School^ 
next week does nothing to allay him. The La 
School is n't Harvard ; I realize that more and more 
though I have tried to fancy that it was. No, sir, m 
wrongs are irreparable. I had the making of a real 
Harvard man in me, and of a Unitarian, nicely 
balanced between radicalism and amateur episcopacy. 
Now, I am an orthodox ruin, and the un dutiful step- 
son of a Down East alma mater, I belong nowhere ; 
I'm at odds. — Is Hubbard's wife really handsome, or 
is she only country-pretty ? " 

" She *s beautiful, — I assure you she 's beautiful," 
said Atherton with such earnestness that Halleck 
laughed. 

"Well, that's right! as my father says. How's 
she beautiful?" 



i^^i 



Tl 






A MODERN INSTANCE. 243 





of sfcjle ; and — What did you really use to think 
o^your friend ?" Atherton broke off to ask. 
"Who? Hubbard?" 
"Yes." 

" He was a poor, cheap sort of a creature. Deplor- 
3.bly smart, and regrettably handsome. A fellow tliat 
assimilated everything to a certain extent, and nothing 
thoroughly. A fellow with no more moral nature 
than a base-ball. The sort of chap you *d expect to 
fiiid, the next time you met him, in Congress or the 
house of correction." 

'* Yes, that accounts for it," said Atherton, thought- 

fully. 

" Accounts for what ? " 

" The sort of look she had. A look as if she were 
Naturally above him, and had somehow fascinated 
herself with him, and were worshipping him in some 
sort of illusion." 

** Does n't that sound a little like refining upon the 
fects ? Recollect : I 've never seen her, and I don't 
say you're wrong." 

"I'm not sure I'm not, though, I talked with 
her, and found her nothing more than honest and 
sensible and good ; simple in her traditions, of course, 
and countrified yet, in her ideas, with a tendency to 
the intensely practical. I don't see why she might n't 
very well be his wife. I suppose every woman hood- 
winks herself about her husband in some degree." 

''Yes; and we always like to fancy something 
patletic in the fate of pretty girls that other fellows 
marry, I notice that we don't sorrow much over the 
Piain ones. How 's the divine Clara ? " 

" I believe she 's well," said Atherton. " I have n't 
^^Ti her, all summer. She 's been at Beverley." 

' Why, I should have supposed she would have 
^^^e up and surf-bathed those indigent children with 



244 A MODEKN INSTANCE. 

her own hand. She 's equal to it. Wliat made h^ 
falter in well-doing ? " 

'* I don't know that we can properly call it falter^ 
ing. There was a deficit in the appropriation nece^ 
sary, and she made it up herself. After that, sh^ 
consulted me seriously as to whether she ought no^ 
to stay in town and superintend the execution of tl> 
plan. But I told her she might fitly delegate tha^ 
She was all the more anxious to perform her whol^ 
duty, because she confessed that indigent childrer 
were personally unpleasant to her." 

Halleck burst out laughing. " That 's like Clara I 
How charming women are ! They *re charming even^ 
in their goodness ! I wonder the novelists don't take 
a hint from that fact, and stop giving us those scaly 
heroines they Ve been running lately. Why, a real 
woman can make righteousness delicious and virtue 
piquant. I like them for that ! " 

" Do you ? " asked Atherton, laughing in his turn 
at the single-minded confession. He was some years 
older than his friend. 

They had got down to Charles Street, and Halleck 
took out his watch at the corner lamp. " It is n't 
at all late yet, — only half-past eight. The days are 
getting shorter." 

" Well ? " 

" Suppose we go and call on Hubbard now ? He 's 
right up here on Clover Street ! " 

" I don't know," said Atherton. " It would do for 
you ; you 're an old friend. But for me, — would n't 
it be rather unceremonious ? " 

" Oh, come along ! They '11 not be punctilious. 
They '11 like our dropping in, and I shall have Hub- 
bard off my conscience. I must go to see him sooner 
or later, for decency's sake." 

Atherton suffered himself to be led away. " I 
suppose you won't stay long ? " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 245 



"Oh, no ; I shall cut it very shoil," said Halleck ; 
and they climbed the narrow little street where 
Jfarcia had at last found a house, after searching the 
South End quite to the Highlands, and ransacking 
Charlestown and Cambridgeport. These points all 
seemed to her terribly remote from where Bartley 
must be at work during the day, and she must be 
alone without the sight of him from moruing till 
night. The accessibility of Canary Place had sixjiled 
ier for distances ; she wanted Bartley at home for 
their one-o'clock dinner; she wanted to have him 
^nthin easy call at all times ; and she was glad when 
Hone of those far-off places yielded quite what they 
rfesired in a house. They took the house on Clover 
Street, though it was a little dearer than they ex- 
pected, for two years, and they furnished it, as far as 
t-liey could, out of the three or four hundred dollars 
^hey had saved, including the remaining hundred 
^>om the colt and cutter, kept sacredly intact by 
^^arcia. When you entered, the narrow staircase 
Ciramped you into the little parlor opening out of tlie 
Inall; and back of the parlor was the dining-room. 
Overhead were two chambers, and overhead again 
"Vere two chambers more ; in the basement was the 
liitchen. The house seemed absurdly large to people 
^ho had been living for the last seven months in one 
^oom, and the view of the Back Bay from the little 
l)ow-window of the front chamber added all out- 
<ioors to their superfluous space. 

Baiiley came himself to answer Halleck's ring, 
and they met at once with such a " Why, Halleck !" 
«nd " How do you do, Hubbard ? '* as restored some- 
thing of their old college comradery. Bartley wel- 
comed Mr. Atherton under the gas-light he had 
^Umed up, and then they huddled into the little par- 
lor, where Bartley introduced his old friend to his 
^vife, Marci^ wore ?^ sort of dark robe, trimmed 



246 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

with bows of crimson ribbon, which she had made 
hei"self, and in which she looked a Koman patrician 
in an avatai' of Boston domesticity ; and Baitley wa§ 
rather proud to see his friend so visibly dazzled by 
her beauty. It quite abashed Halleck, who limped 
helplessly about, after his cane had been taken from 
him, before he sat down, while Marcia, from the van- 
tdLiie of the sofa and the covert of her talk with Ath- 
erton, was content that Halleck should be plain and 
awkward, with close-cut drab hair and a dull com- 
plexion; she would not have liked even a man who 
knew Bartley before she did to be very handsome. 

Halleck and Bartley had some talk about college 
days, from which their eyes wandered at times ; and 
then Marcia excused herself to Atherton, and went 
out, reappearing after an interval at the sliding doors, 
which she rolled open between the parlor and din- 
ing-room. A table set for supper stood behind her, 
and as she leaned a little forward with her hands each 
on a leaf of the door, she said, with shy pride, " Bart- 
ley, I thought the gentlemen would like to join you," 
and he answered, " Of course they would," and led the 
way out, refusing to hear any demur. His heart swelled 
with satisfaction in Marcia ; it was something like : 
having fellows drop in upon you, and be asked out to 
supper in this easy way ; it made Bartley feel good, 
and he would have liked to give Marcia a hug on 
the spot. He could not help pressing her foot, un- 
der the table, and exchanging a quiver of the eye- 
lashes with her, as he lifted the lid of the white 
tureen, and looked at her across the glitter of their 
new crockery and cutlery. They made the jokes of 
the season about the oyster being promptly on hand 
for the first of the E months, and Bartley explained 
that he was sometimes kept at the Events office rather 
late, and that then Marcia waited supper for him, and 
always gave him an oyster stew, which she made her- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 247 

Self. She could not stop him, and the guests praised 
tlie oysters, and then they praised the dining-room and 
the parlor ; and when they rose from the table Bart- 
ley said, " Now, we must show you the house," and 
persisted against her deprecations in making her lead 
the way. She was in fact willing enough to sliow it ; 
lier taste had made their money go to the utmost in 
furnishing it ; and though most people were then still 
in the period of green reps and tan terry, and of dull 
black- walnut movables, she had everywhere bestowed 
little touches that told. She had covered the mar- 
ble parlor-mantel with cloth, and fringed it ; and she 
bad set on it two vases in the Pompeiian colors then 
liked ; her carpet was of wood color and a moss pat- 
tern ; she had done what could be done with folding 
<^ai-pet chairs to give the little room a specious air of 
luxury ; the centre-table was heaped with her sewing 
9.nd Hartley's newspapers. 

"We've just moved in, and we haven't furnished 
ftW the rooms yet," she said of two empty ones which 
Sartley perversely flung open. 

"And I don't know that we shall. The house is 
^luch too big for us; but we thought we'd better 
^3-^6 it," he added, as if it were a castle for vastness. 

Halleck and Atherton were silent for some mo- 
^Deiits after they came away, and then, "/ don't 
'^lieve he whips her," suggested the latter. 

*'N^o, I guess he's fond of her," said Halleck, 

gravely. 

"Did you see how careful he was of her, coming 
^P and down stairs ? That was very pretty ; and it 
^as pretty to see them both sp ready to show off 
their young housekeeping to us." 

" Yes, it improves a man to get married," said Hal- 
^'^^ with a long, stifled sigh. " It 's improved the 
^^ost selfish hound I ever knew." 



248 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



XXL 

The two elder Miss Hallecks were so much older 
than Olive, the youngest, that they seemed to be of 
a sort of intermediary generation between her and 
her parents, though Olive hei*self was well out of 
her teens, and was the senior of her brother Ben by 
two or three years. The elder sisters were always 
together, and they adhered in common to the reli- 
gion of their father and mother. The defection of 
their brother was passive, but Olive, having conscien- 
tiously adopted an alien faith, was not a person to let 
others imagine her ashamed of it, and her Unitarian- 
ism was outspoken. In her turn she formed a kind 
of party with Ben inside the family, and would have 
led him on in her own excesses of independence if his 
somewhat melancholy indifferentism had consented. 
It was only in his absence that she had been with 
her sisters during their summer sojourn in the White 
Mountains ; when they returned home, she vigorously 
went her way, and left them to go theirs. She was 
fond of them in her defiant fashion ; but in such a 
matter as calling on Mra. Hubbard she chose not to 
be mixed up with her family, or in any way to counte- 
nance her family's prepossessions. Her sistei-s paid 
their visit together, and she waited for Clara Kings- 
bury to come up from the seaside. Then she went 
with her to call upon Marcia, sitting observant and 
non-committal while Clara swooped through the 
little house, up stairs and down, clamoring over its 
prettiness, and admiring the art with which so few 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 249 

dollars could be made to go so far. "Think of find- 

•^^g such a bower on Clover Street ! " She made Mar- 

cia give her the cost of everything ; and her heart 

^Welled with pride in her sex when she heard that 

Garcia had put down all the carpets herself "I 

Wanted to make them up," Marcia explained, "but 

-^Tr. Hubbard would n't let me, — it cost so little at 

^he store/' 

" Would n't let you ! " cried Miss Kingsbury. " I 
should hope as much, indeed ! Why, my child, you 're 
^ lioman matron ! " 

She came away in agony lest Marcia might think she 
^eant her nose. She drove early the next morning to 
^11 Olive Halleck that she had spent a sleepless night 
ft'om this cause, and to ask her what she sho-uld do. 
** Do you think she will be hurt, Olive ? Tell me 
'^hat led up to it. How did I behave before that ? 
The context is everything in such cases." 

"Oh, you went about praising everything, and 
Screaming and shouting, and my-dearing and my- 
childing her, and patronizing — " 

" There, there ! say no more ! That 's sufficient ! 
I see, — I see it all ! I 've done the very most offen- 
sive thing I could, when I meant to be the most 
appreciative." 

" These country people don't like to be appreciated 

AoyjTi to the quick, in that way," said Olive. " I 

should think Mrs. Hubbard was rather a proud person." 

" I know ! I know 1 " moaned Miss Kingsbury. 

" It was ghastly." 

"/don't suppose she's ashamed of her nose — " 
"Olive ! " cried her friend, " be still I Why, I can't 
^T it ! Why, you wretched thing ! " 

" I dare say all the ladies in Equity make up their 
own carpets, and put them down, and she thought 
you were laughing at her." 
" ^« you be still, Olive Halleck ? " Miss Kings- 



250 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

bury was now a large, blonde mass of sufferii 
" Oh, dear, dear ! What shall I do ? It was sacrile* 
— yes, it was nothing less than sacrilege — to go 
as I did. And I meant so well ! I did so admii 
and respect, and revere her ! " Olive burst out laugl 
ing. " You wicked girl ! " whimpered Clara. " Shou] 
you — should you write to her ? " 

"And tell her you did n't mean her nose? 
by all means, Clara, — by all means ! Quite an ii 
spiration. Why not make her an evening party ?" 
,r " Olive," said Clara, with guilty meekness, " I ha^ 

been thinking of that." 

" No^ Clara ! Not seriously ! " cried Olive, sobere 
at the idea. 

" Yes, seriously. Would it be so very bad-? On] 
just a Utile party," she pleaded. " Half a dozen peopi -^ 
or so ; just to show them that I really feel — friendly J 
I know that he 's told her all about meeting me hei 
and I 'm not going to have her think I want to drc 
him because he 's married, and lives in a little hous 
on Clover Street." 

"Noble Clara! So you wish to bring them out i ^ 
Boston society ? What will you do with them afte^^ 
you 've got them there ? " Miss Kingsbury fidgete^ ^ 
in her chair a little. ."Now, look me in the ey^^ 
Clara ! Whom were you going to ask to meet them 
Your unfashionable friends, the Hallecks ? " 
" My friends, the Hallecks, of course." 
" And Mr. Atherton, your legal adviser ? " 
"I had thought of asking Mr. Atheiton. Yoi^^ 
need n't say what he is, if you please, Olive ; you^ 
know that there 's no one I prize so much." . 
" Very good. And Mr. Cameron ? " 
" He has got back, — yes. He 's very nice." 
" A Cambridge tutor ; very young and of recent 
attachment to the College, with no local afiBliations, 
yet. What ladies ? " 




A MODERN INSTANCE. 251 

" Miss Strong is a nice girl ; she is studying at the 
Conservatory." 

" Yes. Poverty-stricken votary of Miss Kingsbury. 
WTell?" 

" Miss Clancy." 

'* Unfashionable sister of fashionable artist. Yes ? " 

'' The Brayhems." 

*' Young radical clergyman, and his wife, without a 
congregation, and hoping for a pulpit in Billerica. 
Parlor lectures on German literature in the mean time. 
Well ? " 

" And Mrs. Savage, I thought." 

"Well-preserved young widow of uncertain ante- 
cedents tending to grassiness; out-door prot^g4e of 
the hostess. Yes, Clara, go on and give your party. 
It will be perfectly safe ! But do you think it will 
fern anybody ? " 

" Now, Olive Halleck ! " cried Clara, " I am not 
going to have you talking to me in that way ! You 
pave no right to do it, and you have no business to do 
It," she added, trying to pluck up a spirit. " Is there 
^^ybody that I value more than I do you and your 
listers, and Ben ? " 

*' No. But you don't value us just in that way, and 

y^u know it. Don 't you be a humbug, Clara. Now 

go on with your excuses." 

*' I 'm not making excuses ! Is n't Mr. Atherton in 

^^ most fashionable society ? " 

*' Yes. Why don't you ask some other fashionable 
People ? » 

** Olive, this is all nonsense, — perfect nonsense ! I 
•^^ invite any one- 1 like to meet any one I like, and 
^ - -f choose to show Mr. Hubbard's wife a little atten- 
^^^^, I can do it, can't I ? " 

Oh, of course ! " 
g^-t ^nd what would be the use of inviting fashion- 
,^^ "*^^ people — as you call them — to meet them ? It 
^'^Id just embarra.ss them all round." 



252 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"Perfectly correct. Miss Kingsbury. All that HI 
want you to do is to face the facts of the case. *- 
want you to realize that, in showing Mr. Hubbard'^ 
wife this little attention, you 're not doing it because 
you scorn to drop qja old friend, and want to do hinM 
the highest honor; but because you think you canj 
palm off your second-class acquaintance on thera foi— 
first-class, and try to make up in that way for telling' 
her she had a hooked nose !" 

" You know that I didn't tell her she had a hooked 
nose." 

" You told her that she was a Eoman matron, — 
it 's the same thing," said Olive. 

Miss Kingsbury bit her lip and tried to look a dig- 
nified resentment. She ended by saying, with feeble 
spite, " I shall have the little evening for all you say. 
I suppose you won't refuse to come because I don't 
ask the whole Blue Book to meet them." 

" Of course we shall come ! I would n't miss it for 
anything. I always like to see how you manage your 
pieces of social duplicity, Clara. But you need n't 
expect that I will be a party to the swindle. No, 
Clara ! 1 shall go to these poor young people and tell 
them plainly, ' This is not the hest society ; Miss 
Kingsbury keeps that for — ' " 

" Olive ! I think I never saw even you in such a 
teasing humor." The tears came into Clara's large, 
tender blue eyes, and she continued with an appeal 
that had no effect, " I 'm sure I don't see why you 
should make it a question of anything of the sort. 
It's simply a wish to — to have a little company 
of no particular kind, for no partic — Because I 
want to." 

" Oh, that 's it, is it ? Then I highly approve of 
it," said Olive. " When is it to be ? " 

" I sha'n't tell you, now I You may wait till I 'm 
ready," pouted Clara, as she rose to go. 



A MODERN LNSTANCE. 253 

"Don't go away thinking I *m enough to provoke a 
saint l)ecause you 've got mad at me, Clara ! " 

"Mad? You know I'm not mad! But I think 
yon might be a little sympathetic sometimeSy Olive ! " 
said her friend, kissing her. 

"Not in cases of social duplicity, Clara. My wrath 
is all that saves you. If you were not afraid of me, 
J^ou would have been a lost worldling long ago." 

"I know you always really love me," said Miss 
l?ingsbury, tenderly. 

" No, I don't," retorted her friend, promptly. " Not 
^vvhen you 're humbugging. Don't expect it, for you 
"Vvon't get it." She followed Clara with a triumphant 
laugh as she went out of the door; and e.xcept for 
tr^his parting taunt Clara might have given up her 
Scheme. She first ordered • her coiip^ driven home, in 
^act, and then lowered the window to countermand 
tihe direction, and drove to Hartley's door on Clover 
Street. 

It was a very handsome equipage, and was in keep- 
ing with all the outward belongings of Miss Kings- 
l)ury, who mingled a sense of duty and a love of lux- 
ury in her life in very exact proportions. When her 
coup^ was not standing before some of the wretched- 
est doors in the city, it was waiting at the finest ; and 
Clara's days were divided between the extremes of 
squalor and of fashion. 

She was the only child of parents ^vho had early 
left her an orphan. Her father, who was much her 
mother's senior, was an old friend of Olive's father, 
and had made him his executor and the guardian of 
his daughter. Mr. Halleck had taken her into his 
own family, and, in the conscientious pursuance of 
what he believed would have been her father's prefer- 
ence, he gave her worldly advantages which he would 
not have desired for one of his own children. But 
the friendship that grew up between Clara and Olive 



;s— «irls 




254 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

was too strong for him in some things, and the ^ 
went to the same fashionable school together. 

When his ward came of age he made over to 
the fortune, increased by his careful managemei: 
which her father had left her, and advised her to 
her affairs in the hands of Mr. Atherton. She hs. 
shown a quite ungirlish eagerness to manage th 
for herself; in the midst of her profusion she h^ 
odd. accesses of stinginess, in which she fancied h 
self coming to poverty; and her guardian judged 
best that she should have a lawyer who could tell h- 
at any moment just where she stood. She hesitate 
but she did as he advised ; and having once intrust^s^^ 
her property to Atherton's care, she added her co 
science and her reason in large degree, and obey 
him with embarrassing promptness in matters th 
did not interfere with her pleasures. Her pleasur 
were of various kinds. She chose to buy herself 
fine house, and, having furnished it luxuriously an 
unearthed a cousin of her father's in Vermont an 
brought her to Boston to matronize her, she kepr 
house on a magnificent scale, pinching, however, air 
certain points with unexpected meanness. Wheii^ 
she was alone, her table was of a Spartan austerity ^ 
she exacted a great deal from her servants, and pai 
them as small wages as she could. After that she did 
not mind lavishing money upon them in kindness. 
A seamstress whom she had once employed fell sick, 
and Miss Kingsbury sent her to the Bahamas and 
kept her there till she was well, and then made her 
a guest in her house till the girl could get back her 
work. She watched her cook through the measles, 
caring for her like a mother ; and, as Olive Halleck 
said, she was always portioning or burying the sisters 
of her second-girls. She was in all sorts of charities, 
but she was apt to cut her charities off with her 
pleasures at any moment, if she felt poor. She was 






A MODEUN INSTANCE. 255 

^ond of dress, and went a great deal into society : slie 
suspected men generally of wishing to marry her for 
her money, but with those whom she did not tiiink 
capable of aspiring to her hand, she was generously 
lielpful with her riches. She liked to patronize ; she 
had long supported an unpromising painter at Home, 
s-nd she gave orders to desperate artists at home. 

The world had pretty well hardened one half of her 

heart, but the other half was still soft and loving, and 

itito this side of her mixed nature she cowered when 

slie believed she had committed some blunder or 

^^I'ime, and came whimpering to Olive Halleck for 

punishment. She made Olive her discipline partly 

^ >^ her lack of some fixed religion. She had not yet 

^ound a religion that exactly suited her, though she 

^ad many times believed herself about to be anchored 

^^^ some faith forever. 

She was almost sorry that she had put her resolu- 

"^ion in effect when she rang at the door, and Marcia 

-herself answered the bell, in place of the one servant 

"^^vho was at that moment hanging out the wash. It 

^^exned wicked to pretend to be showing this pretty 

^^^eature a social attention, when she meant to palm 

^^ff* a hollow imitation of society upon her. Why 

^tionld she not ask the very superfinest of her friends 

^^ meet such a brilliant beauty ? It would serve 

^^Axve Halleck right if she should do this, and leave 

^*^e Hallecks out ; and Marcia would certainly be a 

^^Usation. She half believed that she meant to do it 

^^Hen she quitted the house with Marcia's promise 

^'ha.t she would bring her husband to tea on Wednes- 

^^y evening, at eight ; and she drove away so far 

Penitent that she resolved at least to make her com- 

P^tiy distinguished, if not fashionable. She said to 

^^x^elf that she would make it fashionable yet, if she 

^hose, and as a first move in this direction slie easily 

secured Mr. Atherton : he had no engagements, so few 



256 A MODEKX INSTANCE. 

people had got liaek to town. She called upon Mrs. 
Witherb}', needlessly reminding her of the charity 
committees they had served on together ; and then 
she went home and actually sent out notes to the 
plainest daughter and the maiden aunt of two of the 
most high-born families of her acquaiutance. She 
added to her list an artist and his wife, ( " Now I 
shall have to let him paint me ! " she reflected,) a 
young author whose book had made talk, a teacher 
of Italian with whom she was pretending to read 
Dante, and a musical composer. 

Olive came late, as if to get a whole effect of the 
affair at once ; and her smile revealed Clara's failure 
to her, if she had not realized it before. She read 
there that the aristocratic and aesthetic additions 
which she had made to the guests Olive originally 
divined had not suflficed ; the party remained a hum- 
bug. It had seemed absurd to invite anybody to 
meet two such little, unknown people as the Hub- 
bards ; and then, to avoid marking them as the sub- 
jects of the festivity by the precedence to be observed 
in going out to supper, she resolved to have tea served 
in the drawing-room, and to make it literally tea, 
with bread and butter, and some thin, ascetic cakes. 

However sharp he w^as in business, Mr. Witherby 
was socially a dull man ; and his wife and daughter 
seemed to partake of his qualities by affinition and 
heredity. They tried to make something of Marcia, 
but they failed through their want of art. Mrs. 
Witherby, finding the wife of lier husband's assistant 
in Miss Kingsbury's house, conceived an. awe of her, 
which Marcia would not^have known how to abate if 
she had imagined it ; and in a little while the With- 
erby family segregated themselves among the photo- 
graph albums and the bricabrac, from which Clara 
seemed to herself to be fruitlessly detaching them the 
whole evening. The plainest daughter and the maiden 



A MODKUN INSTANCK. lif)? 

aunt of the patrician families talked to each other 
with unavailing intervals of the painter and the au- 
thor, and the radical clerj^yman and his wife were in 
danger of a conjugal devotion which society does not 
lavor; the unfashionable sister of the fashionable 
artist conversed with tiie youn<^ tutor and the Japa- 
u&se law-student whom he had asked leave to brin;; 
with him, and whose small, mouse-like eyes contin- 
ually twinkled away in pursuit of the blonde beauty 
of his hostess. The widow was winningly attentive, 
with a tendency to be confidential, to everyboiiy. 
The Italian could not disabuse himself of the notion 
that he was expected to be light and cheerful, and 
when the pupil of the Conservatory sang, he aban- 
doned himself to his error, and clapped and cried 
bravo with unseemly vivacity. But he was restored 
to reason when the composer sat down at the piano 
and played, amid the hush that falls on society at 
such times, something from Beethoven, and again 
something of his own, which was so like Beethoven 
that Beethoven himself would not have known the 
difference. 

Mr. Atherton and Halleck moved about among 
the guests, and did their best to second Clara's efforts 
for their encouragement ; but it was useless. In the 
desperation which owns defeat, she resolved to ilevote 
herself for the rest of the evening to trying to make 
at least the Hubbards have a good time ; and then, 
upon the dangerous theory, of which young and 
pretty hostesses cannot be too wary, that a wife is 
necessarily flattered by attentions to her husband, she 
devoted herself exclusively to Bartley, to whom she 
talked long and with a reckless liveliness of the events 
of his former stay in Boston. Their laughter and 
scraps of their reminiscence 'reached Marcia where 
she sat in a feint of listening to Ben Halleck's per- 
functory account of his college days with her hus- 

17 



258 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

band, till she could bear it no longer. She 
abruptly, and, going to him, she said that it was 
to say good-night. " Oh, so soon ! " cried Clara, 
tified and a little scared at the look she saw on 
cia's face. " Good night," she added coldly. 

The assembly hailed this first token of its disia 
gration with relief ; it became a little livelier ; th 
was a fleeting moment in which it seemed as i: 
might yet enjoy itself; but its chance passed; 
crumbled rapidly away, and Clara was left look 
liumbly into Olive Halleck's pitiless eyes. " Th 




you for a ddightfid evening. Miss Kingsbury ! C 
gratulate you ! " she mocked, with an uuspai 
laugh. " Such a success ! But why did n t you 
them something to eat, Clara ? Those poor Hubh 
have a one-o'clock dinner, and I famished for th 
I was n't hungry myself, — we have a two-o'cL 
dinner I " 




A MODEiiN INSTANCE. 259 



xxn. 



Bartlet came home elate from Miss Kingsbury's 
entertainment. It was something like the social 
success which he used to picture to himself. He had 
been flattered by the attention specially paid him, 
and he did not detect the imposition. He was half 
starved, but he meant to have up some cold meat and 
bottled beer, and talk it all over with Marcia. 

She did not seem inclined to talk it over on their 
^aj home, and when they entered their own door, she 
Pushed in and ran up-stairs. " Why, where are you 
Soing, Marcia ? " he called after her. 

"To bed!" she replied, closing the door after her 
^Jth a crash of unmistakable significance. 

^ hartley stood a moment in the fury that tempted 

^^^ to pursue her with a taunt, and then leave her to 

^'^^^rk herself out of the transport of senseless jeal- 

^^sy she had wrought herself into. But he set his 

^^th, and, full of inward cursing, he followed her 

?P^stairs with a slow, dogged step. He took her in 

^5j arms without a word, and held her fast, while his 

^•^ger changed to pity, and then to laughing. When 

^ Came to that, she put up her arms, which she had 

^^pt rigidly at her side, and laid them round his 

^^^k, and began softly to cry on his breast. 

** Oh, I 'm not myself at all, any more ! " she 
loaned penitently. 

** Then this is very improper — for me," said 
hartley. 

The helpless laughter broke through her lamenta- 



260 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

tion, but she cried a little more to keep herself in 
countenance. 

" But I guess, from a previous acquaintance with 
the party's character, that it's really all you, Marcia. 
I don't blame you. Miss Kingsbury's hospitality has 
left me as hollow as if I 'd had nothing to eat for a 
week ; and I know you 're perishing from inanition. 
Hence these tears." 

It delighted her to have him make fun of Miss 
Kingsbury's tea, and she lifted her head to let him 
see that she was laughing for pleasure now, before 
she turned away to dry her eyes. 

" Oh, poor fellow I " she cried. " I did pity you so 
when I saw those mean little slices of bread and but- 
ter coming round ! " 

" Yes," said Bartley, " I felt sorry myself. But 
don't speak of them any more, dearest." 

"And I suppose," pursued Marcia, "that all the 
time she was talking to you there, you were simply 



ravening." 



I was casting lots in my own mind to see which 
of the company I should devour first." 

His drollery appeared to Marcia the finest that 
ever was ; she laughed and laughed again ; when he 
made fun of the conjecturable toughness of the elderly 
aristocrat, she implored him to stop if he did not 
want to kill her. Marcia was not in the state in 
which woman best convinces her enemies of her fit- 
ness for empire, though she was charming in her silly 
happiness, and Bartley felt very glad that he had not 
yielded to his first impulse to deal savagely with her. 
" Come/' he said, " let us go out somewhere, and get 
some oysters." 

She began at once to take out her ear-rings and 
loosen her hair. " No, I '11 get something here in the 
house ; I 'm not very hungry. But you go, Bartley, 
and have a good supper, or you 'U be sick to-morrow, 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 261 

and not fit to work. Go," she added to his hesitat- 
ing image in the glass, " I insist upon it. I won't have 
you stay." His reflected face approached from V>e- 
iind; she turned hers a little, and their mirrored lips 
^et over her shoulder. " Oh, how sweet you are, 
Bartley!" she murmured. 

"Yes, you will always find me obedient when com- 
manded to go out and repair my wasted tissue." 

" I don't mean that, dear," she said softly. *' I mean 
— your not quarrelling with me when I 'm unreason- 
able. Why can't we always do so ! " 

"Well, you see," said Bartley, "it throws the whole 
l>iirden on the fellow in his senses. It does n't require 
any great degree of self-sacrifice to fly off at a t^m- 
gent, but it 's rather a maddening spectacle to the 
Party that holds ''on." 

" N'ow I will show you," said Marcia, " that I can 
t>e reasonable too : I shall let you go alone to make 
^ur party call on Miss Kingsbury." She looked at 
tim heroically. 

"Marcia," said Bartley, "you're such a reasonable 
person when you're the most unreasonable, that I 
bonder I ever quarrel with you. I rather think I '11 
l^t you call on Miss Kingsbury alone. I shall suffer 
Agonies of suspicion, but it will prove that I have 
Perfect confidence in, you." He threw her a kiss from 
^he door, and ran down the stairs. When he returned, 
^J^ hour later, he found her waiting up for him. " Why, 
-^larcia ! " he exclaimed. 

"Oh ! I just wanted to say that we will both go to 
^^11 on her very soon. If I sent you, she might think 
-* ^as mad, and I won't give her that satisfaction." 

" Noble girl 1 " cried Bartley, with irony that pleased 
^^f better than praise. Women like to be understood, 
^^en when they try not to be understood. 
I^.When Marcia went with Bartley to call, Miss 
^^^gsbury received her with careful, perhaps anxious 



262 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

politeness, but made no further effort to take her up. 
Some of the people whom Marcia met at Miss Kings- 
bury's called; and the Witherbys came, father, mother, 
and daughter together ; but between the evident fact 
tliat the Hubbards were poor, and the other evident 
fact that they moved in the best society, the Wither- 
bys did not quite know what to do about them. 
They asked them to dinner, and Bartley went alone ; 
Marcia was not well enough to go. 

He was very kind and tractable, now, and went 
whenever she bade him go without her, though tea at 
the Hallecks was getting to be an old story with him, 
and it was generally tea at the Hallecks to which she 
sent him. The Halleck ladies came faithfully to see 
her, and she got on very well with the two older 
sisters, who gave her all the kindness they could spare 
from their charities, and seemed pleased to have her 
so pretty and conjugal, though these things were far 
from them. But she was afraid of Olive at first, and 
disliked her as a friend of Miss Kingsbury. This 
rather attracted the odd girl. What she called Mar- 
cia's snubs enabled her to declare in her favor with 
a sense of disinterestedness, and to indulge her re- 
pugnance for Bartley with a good heart. She resented 
his odious good looks, and held it a sliame that her 
mother should promote his visible tendency to stout- 
ness by giving him such nice things for tea. 

" Now, I like Mr. Hubbard," said her mother placid- 
ly. " It 's very kind of him to come to such plain 
folks as we are, whenever we ask him ; now that his 
wife can't come, I know he does it because he likes 
us." 

" Oh, he comes for the eating," said Olive, scorn- 
fully. Then another phase of her mother's remark 
struck her : " Why, mother ! " she cried, " I do believe 
you think Bartley Hubbard 's a distinguished man, 
somehow ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 263 

"Your father says it's very unusual for such a 
young man to be in a place like his. Mr. Witherby 
really leaves everything to him, he says." 

" Well, I think he 'd better not, then 1 The Events 
has got to be perfectly horrid, of late. It 's full of 
murders and all uncleanness." 

" That seems to be the way with the papers, now- 
adays. Your father hears that the Events is making 
money." 

" Why, mother ! What a corrupt old thing you 
are ! I believe you Ve been bouglit up by that dis- 
gusting interview with father. Nestor of the Leather 
Interest ! Father ought to have turned him out of 
doors. Well, this family is getting a little too good, 
for me ! And Ben *s almost as bad as any of you, 
of late, — I have n*t a bit of influence with him any 
^ore. He seems determined to be friendlier with 
ttat person than ever ; he 's always trying to do him 
good, — I can see it, and it makes me sick. One 
tJung I know : I 'm going to stop Mr. Hubbard 's 
filing me Olive. Impudent ! " 

Mrs. Halleck shifted her ground with the pretence 
"^hich women use, even amongst themselves, of 
;having remained steadfast. " He is a very good hus- 
band." 

'* Oh, because he likes to be ! " retorted her daugh- 
ter. " Nothing is easier than to be a good husband." 
^ ** Ah, my dear," said Mrs. Halleck, " wait till you 
l^ave tried." 

This made Olive laugh ; but she answered with an 
^^gument that always had weight with her mother, 
* Ben does n't think he 's a good husband." 

** What makes you think so, Olive ? '' asked her 
Mother. 

I know he dislikes him intensely." 
Why, you just said yourself, dear, that he was 
friendUer with him than ever." 






264 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Oh, that 's nothing. The more he disliked him, 
the kinder he would be to him.*' 

" That *s true," sighed her mother. " Did he ever 
say anything to you about him ? " 

"No," cried Olive, shortly; "he never speaks of 
people he does n't like." 

The mother returned, with logical severity, " All 
that does n't pix)ve that Ben thinks he is n't a good 
husband." 

" He dislikes him. Do you believe a bad man can 
be a good husband, then ? " 

" No," Mrs. Halleck admitted, as if confronted with 
indisputable proof of Bartley's wickedness. 

In the mean time the peace between Bartley and 
Marcia continued unbroken, and these days of wait- 
ing, of suffering, of hoping and dreading, were the 
happiest of their lives. He did his best to be patient 
with her caprices and fretfulness, and he was at 
least manfully comforting and helpful, and instant 
in atonement for every failure. She said a thousand 
times that she should die without him; and when 
her time came, he thought that she was going to die 
before he could tell her of his sorrow for all that he 
had ever done to grieve her. He did not tell her, 
though she lived to give him the chance; but he 
took her and her baby both into his arras, with tears 
of as much fondness as ever a man shed. He even 
began his confession ; but she said, " Hush ! you 
never did a wrong thing yet that I did n't drive you 
to." Pale and faint, she smiled joyfully upon him, 
and put her hand on his head when he hid his face 
against hers on the pillow, and put her lips against 
his cheek. His heart was full ; he was grateful for 
the mercy that had spared him ; he was so strong in 
his silent repentance that he felt like a good man. 

" Bartley," she said, " I 'm going to ask a great 
favor of you." 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 265 

"There's nothing that I can do that / shall think 
a favor, darling ! " he cried, lifting his face to look 
into hers. 
"Write for mother to come. I want her ! " 
"Why, of course." Marcia continued to look at 
liim, and kept the quivering hold she liad laid of his 
liand when he raised his head. *' Was that all ? " 

She was silent, and he added, " I will ask your 
father to come with her." 

She hid her face for the space of one sob. "I 
wanted you to offer." 
" Why, of course ! of course ! " he replied. 
She did not acknowledge his magnanimity directly, 
but she lifted the coveriet and showed him the little 
head on her arm, and the little creased and crumpled 
face. 

"Pretty?" she asked. "Bring me the letter be- 
fore you send it. — Yes, that is just right, — perfect ! " 
she sighed, when he came back and read the letter to 
her; and she fell away to happy sleep. 

Her father answered that he would come with her 
Mother as soon as he got the better of a cold he had 
taken. It was now well into the winter, and the 
journey must have seemed more formidable in Equity 
than in Boston. But Bartley was not impatient of 
his father-in-law's delay, and he set himself cheerfully 
about consoling Marcia for it. She stole her white, 
thin hand into his, and now and then gave it a little 
pressure to accent the points she made in talking. 

" Father was the first one I thought of — after 
you, Bartley. It seems to me as if baby came half 
to show me how unfeeling I had been to him. Of 
course, I 'm not sorry I ran away and asked you to 
take me back, for I could n*t have had you if I had n't 
done it ; but I never realized before how cruel it was 
to father. He always made such a pet of me ; and I 
know that he thought he was acting for the best." 



266 A MODERN INSTANCE; 

" I knew that you were," said Bartley, fervently. 

" What sweet things you always say to nie ! " she 
murmured. " Biit don't you see, Bartley, that I did n't 
think enough of him ? That 's what baby seems to 
have come to teach me." She pulled a little away 
on the pillow, so as to fix him more earnestl}'^ with 
her eyes. '' If baby should behave so to you when 
she grew up, I should hate her ! '* 

He laughed, and said, " Well, perhaps your mother 
hates you." 

" No, they don't — either of them," answered Mar- 
cia, with a sigh. " And I behaved very stiffly and 
coldly with him when he came up to see me, — more 
than I had any need to. I did it for your sake ; but 
he did n't mean any harm to you, he just wanted to 
make sure that I was safe and welL" 

" Oh, that 's all right, Marsh." 

" Yes, I know. But what if he had died ! " 

" Well, he did n't die," said Bartley, with a smile. 
" And you 've corresponded with them regularly, ever 
since, and you know they 've been getting along all 
right. And it 's going to be altogether different from 
this out," he added, leaning back a little weary with 
a matter in which he could not be expected to take a 
very cordial interest. 

" Truly ? " she asked, with one of the eagerest of 
those hand-pressures. 

" It won't be my fault if it is n't," he replied, with 
a yawn. 

**How good you are, Bartley!" she said, with an 
admiring look, as if it were the goodness of God she 
was praising. 

Bartley released himself, and went to the new crib, 
in which the baby lay, and with his hands in his 
pockets stood looking down at it with a curious 
smile. 

" Is it pretty ? " she asked, envious of his bird's-eye 
view of the baby. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 267 

"Not definitively so," he answered. "I dare say 
she will smooth out in time; but she seems to be 
considerably puckered yet/* 

" Well," returned Marcia, with forced resignation, 
** I should n't let any one else say so." 

Her husband set up a soft, low, thoughtful whis- 
tle. " I *11 tell you what, Marcia," he said presently. 
" Suppose we name this baby after your father ? " 

She lifted herself on her elbow, and stared at him 
as if he must be making fun of her. " Why, how 
could we ? " she demanded. Squire Gaylord's parents 
liad called his name Flavins Josephus, in a supersti- 
tion once cherished by old-fashioned people, that the 
Jewish historian was somehow a sacred writer. 

'' We can't name her Josephus, but we can call her 
Havia," said Bartley. "And if she makes up her 
^ind to turn out a blonde, the name will just fit. 
Plavia, — it's a very pretty name." He looked at his 
^ife, who suddenly turned her face down on the 
pillow. 

'* Bartley Hubbard," she cried, " vou *re the best 
^lian in the world ! " 

** Oh, no ! Only the second-best," suggested Bartley. 

In these days they took their fill of the delight of 

young fatherhood and motherhood. After its morn- 

-*^^g bath Bartley was called in, and allowed to revere 

^l^e baby's mottled and dimpled back as it lay face 

downward on the nurse's lap, feebly wiggling its arms 

^^d legs, and responding with ineffectual little sighs 

^J^d gurgles to her acceptable rubbings with warm 

-■^aiinel. When it was fully dressed, and its long 

^lothes pulled snugly down, and its limp person stif- 

t^iied into something tenable, he was suffered to take 

^^ into his arms, and to walk the room with it. After 

^11, there is not much that a man can actually do 

"^'ith a small baby, either for its j^leasure or his own, 

^^d Bartley's usefulness had its strict limitations. 



268 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

He was perhaps most beneficial when he put the cl^^^^ 
in its mother's arms, and sat down beside the lo^^' 
and quietly talked, while Marcia occasionally put> "^^P 
a slender hand, and smoothed its golden brown t^air, 
bending her neck over to look at it where it lay, vvitn 
the action of a mother bird. Tliey examined w^i*''^ 
minute interest the details of the curious little o'*^^^' 
ture : its tiny finger-nails, fine and sharp, and ^^^ 
small queer fist doubled so tight, and closing on a:*^^ '^ 
finger like a canary's claw on a perch ; the absurc5ii*'y 
of its foot, the absurdity of its toes, the ridiculous^ }^' 
adequacy of its legs and arms to the work ordina r^^i^y 
expected of legs and arms, made them laugh. TIM^^J 
could not tell yet whether its eyes would be hl^^^^ 
like Marcia's, or blue like Hartley's ; those long lai5- ^^^ 
had the sweep of hers, but its mop of hair, wl»- ^^ 
made it look so odd and old, was more like his -^^^ 
color. 

" She will be a dark-eyed blonde," Bartley decid^^^' 

" Is that nice ? " asked Marcia. . 

" With the telescope sight, they 're warranted 
kill at five hundred yards." 

" Oh, for shame, Bartley ! To talk of baby's e^ 
killing!" ' _,=et 

" Why, that 's what they all come to. It 's wh 
you came to yourself." 

" Yes, I know. But it 's quite another thing wi' 
baby." She began to mumble it with her lips, ai 
to talk baby-talk to it. In their common interest 
this puppet they already called each otlier papa ai 
mamma. 

Squire Gaylord came alone, and wlieu Marcf 
greeted him with " Why, father ! Where 's mother ? 
he asked, " Did you expect her ? Well, I guess yoi 
mother's feeling rather too old for such long wint( 
journeys. You know she don't go out a great deal 
/guess she expects your family down there in tb«^ 





summer." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 269 

The old man was considerably abashed by the baby 
^vhen it was put into his arms, and being required to 
guess its name he naturally failed 

" Flavia I " cried Marcia, joyfully. ** Bartley named 
it after you." 

This embarrassed the Squire still more. '* Is that 
so ? " he asked, rather sheepishly. " Well, it 's quite 
a compliment." 

Marcia repeated this to her husband as evidence 
that her father was all right now. Bartley and the 
Squire were in fact very civil to each other ; and 
Bartley paid the old man many marked attentions. 
He took him to the top of the State House, and 
>«^alked him all about the city, to show him its 
points of interest, and introduced him to such of 
his friends as they met, though the Squire's dress- 
coat, whether fully revealed by the removal of his 
surtout, or betraying itself below the skirt of the lat- 
ter, was a trial to a fellow of Bartley's style. He went 
^'ith his father-in-law to see Mr. Warren in Jefferson 
Scattering Batkins, and the Squire grimly appreciated 
^he burlesque of the member from Cranberry Centre ; 
t>ut he was otherwise not a very amusable person, and 
^ff his own ground he was not conversable, while he 
^Gfiised to betray his impressions of many things that 
-*^artley expected to astonish him. The Events edito- 
rial rooms had no apparent effect upon him, though 
^hey were as different from most editorial dens as tap- 
estry carpets, black-walnut desks, and swivel chairs 
.<3ould make them. Mr. Witherby covered him with 
^i^banities and praises of Bartley that ought to have 
delighted him as a father-in-law ; but apparently the 
S^eat man of the Events was but a strange variety of 
^he type with which he was familiar in the despised 
Country editors. He got on better with Mr. Atherton, 
^ho was of a man's profession. The Squire wore his 
*^at tliroughout their interview, and everywhere ex- 



270 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

cept at table and in bed ; and as soon as he rose from 
either, he put it on. 

Bartley tried to impress him with such novel traits 
of cosmopolitan life as a table d'hote dinner at a 
French restaurant; but the Squire sat through tlie 
courses, as if his barbarous old appetite had satisfied 
itself in that manner all his life. After that, Bartley 
practically gave him up ; he pleaded his newspaper 
work, and left the Squire to pass the time as he could 
in the little house on Clover Street, where he sat half a 
day at a stretch in the parlor, with his hat on, reading 
the newspapers, his legs sprawled out towards the 
grate. In this way he probably reconstructed for 
himself some image of his wonted life in his office 
at home, and was for the time at peace ; but other- 
wise he was very restless, except when he was with 
Marcia. He was as fond of her in his M'ay as he 
had ever been, and though he apparently cared noth- 
ing for the baby, he enjoyed Marcia's pride in it ; 
and he bore to have it thrust upon him with tlie 
surly mildness of an old dog receiving children's 
caresses. He listened with the same patience to all 
her celebrations of Bartley, whicli were often tedious 
enough, for she bragged of him constantly, of his 
smartness and goodness, and of the great success 
that had crowned the merit of both in him. 

Mr. Halleck had called upon the Squire the morn- 
ing after his arrival, and brought Marcia a note from 
his wife, offering to have her father stay with them 
if she found herself too much crowded at this event- 
ful time. " There ! That is just the sort of people 
the Hallecks are ! " she cried, showing the letter to 
her father. "And to think of our not going near them 
for months and months after we came to Boston, for 
fear they were stuck up ! But Bartley is always just 
so proud. Now you must go right in, father, and not 
keep Mr. Halleck waiting. Give nie your hat, or 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 271 

Jon 'II be sure to wear it in the parlor." Slie made 
hira stoop down to let her brush his coat-collar a 
little. " There ! Now you look something like.'* 

Squire Gaylord had never received a visit except 
on business in his life, and such a thing as one man 
calling socially upon another, as women did, was un- 
known to the civilization of Equity. But, as he re- 
ported to Marcia, he got along with Mr. Halleck ; 
and he got along with the whole family when he 
^ent with Bartle}*^ to tea, upon the invitation Mr. 
Halleck made him that morning. Pi'obably it ap. 
peared to him an objectless hospitality ; but he spent 
88 pleasant an evening as he could hope to spend 
^ith his hat off and in a frock-coat, which he wore 
^ a more ceremonious garment than the dress-coat 
0/ his every-day life. He seemed to take a special 
Siting to Olive Halleck, whose habit of speaking her 
'^iud with vigor and directness struck him as com- 
mendable. It was Olive who made the time pass for 
'^iin; and as the occasion was not one for personal 
^^rcasm or question of the Christian religion, her 
^k in keeping the old pagan out of rather abysmal 
silences must have had its difficulties. 
. ** What did you talk about ? " asked Marcia, requir- 
•^^8 an account of his enjoyment from him tlie next 
horning, after Bartley had gone down to his work. 

*' Mostly about you, I guess," said the Squire, with 
^ laugh. "There was a large sandy-haired young 
^^oman there — " 

** Miss Kingsbury," said Marcia, with vindictive 
l^^omptuess. Her eyes kindled, and she began to 
^^ow rigid under the coverlet. " Whom did she talk 
^^ith?" 

** Well, she talked a little with me ; but she talked 
?5^ost of the time to the young man. She engaged to 

** No," said Marcia, relaxing. " She 's a great friend 



272 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

of the whole family. I don't know what they meant 
by telling you it was to be just a family party, when 
they were going to have strangers in," she pouted. 

" Perhaps they did n't count her. " 

"No." But Marcia's pleasure in the affair was 
tainted, and she began to talk of other tilings. 

Her father stayed nearly a week, and they all found 
it rather a long week. After showing him her baby, 
and satisfying herself that he and Bartley were on 
good terms again, there was not much left for Marcia. 
Bartley had been banished to the spare ix)om by the 
presence of the nurse ; and he gave up his bed there 
to the Squire, and slept on a cot in the unfurnished 
attic room ; the cook and a small girl got in to help, 
had the other. The house that had once seemed so 
vast was full to bursting. 

" I never knew how little it was till I saw your 
father coming down stairs," said Bartley. " He *s too 
tall for it. When he sits on the sofa, and stretches 
out his legs, his boots touch tlie mop- board on the 
other side of the room. Fact ! " 

" He won't stay over Sunday," began Marcia, with 
a rueful smile. 

" Why, Marcia, you don't think I want him to go ! " 

" No, you 're as good as can be about it. But I 
hope he won't stay over Sunday." 

" Haven't you enjoyed his visit ?" asked Bartley. 

" Oh, yes, I 've enjoyed it." The tears came into 
her eyes. " I Ve made it all up with father ; and he 
does n't feel hard to me. But, Bartley — Sit down, 
dear, here on the bed ! " She took his hand and 
gently pulled him down. " I see more and more that 
father and mother can never be what they used to be 
to me, — that you 're all the world to me. Yes, my 
life is broken off from theirs forever. Could any- 
thing break it off from yours ? You '11 always be 
patient with me, won't you ? and remember that I 'd 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 273 

^Wajs rather be good when I'm behaving the 
^orat ? " 

He rose, and went over to the crib, and kissed the 
head of their little girl. " Ask Flavia," he said from 
the door. 

" Bartley ! " she cried, in utter fondness, as he van- 
ished from her happy eyes. 

The next morning they heard the Squire moving 
about in his room, and he was late in coming down 
to breakfast, at which he was ordinarily so prompt. 
" He 's packing," said Marcia, sadly. " It 's dreadful 
to be willing to have him go ! " 

Bartley went out and met him at his door, bag in 
hand. " Hollo ! " he cried, and made a decent show 
of surprise and regret 

"M-yesI" said the old man, as they went down 
stairs. "I've made out a visit But I'm an old 
fellow, and I ain't easy away from home. I shall tell 
Mlis' Graylord how you 're gettin' along, and she '11 be 
pleased to hear it. Yes, she '11 be pleased to hear it 
I guess I shall get off on the ten-o'clock traia" 

The conversation between Bartley and his father- 
in-law was perfunctory. Men who have dealt so 
plainly with each other do not assume the conven- 
"tional urbanities in their intercourse without eflbrt 
They had both been growing more impatient of the 
^^^straint; they could not have kept it up much 
longer. 

" Well, I suppose it 's natural you should want to 
t>e home again, but I can't understand how any one 
^^n want to go back to Equity when he has the priv- 
^ege of staying in Boston." 

"Boston will do for a young man," said the Squire, 
^' l)ut I 'm too old for it The city cramps me ; it 's 
^o tight a fit * and yet I can't seem to find myself 
iu it." 

He suffered from the loss of identity which is a 

18 



274 A MODERX ISSTAXCEw 

common affliction with conntiy people coming to 
town. The feeling that thev are of no special inter- 
est to any of the thousands they meet hewilders and 
harasses them ; after the searching neighborhood of 
village life, the fact that nobody would meddle in 
their most intimate affairs if they could, is a vague 
distress. The Squire not only experienced this, but, 
after reigning so long as the censor of morals and 
religion in Equity, it was a deprivation for him to 
pass a whole week without saying a bitter thing 
to any one. He was tired of the civilities that 
smoothed him down on every side. 

" Well, if you must go," said Hartley, " I '11 order a 
hack." 

" I guess I can walk to the depot," returned the old 
man. 

" Oh, no, you can't." Bartley drove to the station 
with him, and they bade each other adieu with a 
hand-shake. They were no longer enemies, but they 
liked each other less than ever. 

" See you in Equity next summer, I suppose ? " 
suggested the Squire. 

"So Marcia says," replied Bartley. "Well, take 
care of yourself. — You confounded, tight-fisted old 
woodchuck ! " he added under his breath, for the 
Squire had allowed him to pay the hack fare. 

He walked home, composing variations on his part- 
ing malison, to find that the Squire had profited by his 
brief absence while ordering the hack, to leave with 
Marcia a silver cup, knife, fork, and spoon, which 
Olive Halleck had helped him choose, for the baby. 
In the cup was a check for five hundred dollars. The 
Squire was embarrassed in presenting the gifts, and 
when Marcia turned upon him with, " Now, look 
here, father, what do you mean ? " he was at a loss 
liow to explain. 

Well, it 's what I always meant to do for you." 



Hi 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 275 

" Baby's things are all right," said Marcia. " But 
I 'm not going to let Bartley ttike any money from 
yoii, unless you think as well of him as I do, and 
say so, right out." 

The Squire laughed. " You could n't quite expect 
me to do that, could you ? " 

"No, of course not. But what I mean is, do you 
think rum that I did right to marry him ? " 

"Oh, youWe all right, Marcia. I'm glad you're 
getting along so well." 
" No, no \ Is Bartley all right ? " 
The Squire laughed again, and rubbed his chin in 
^ojoyment of her persistence. " You can't expect me 
fc own up to everything all at once." 

'*So you see, Bartley," said Marcia, in repeating 
^^ese words to him, " it was quite a concession." 

^'Well, I don't know about the concession, but I 
^J^€8s there's no doubt about the check," replied 
-^^.Ttley. 

,, " Oh, don't say that, dear ! " protested his wife. 
^ X think father was pleased with his visit every way. 
know he 's beeu anxious about me, all the time ; 
f^^d yet it was a good deal for him to do, after what 
r^^ had said, to come down here and as much as take 

^ all back. Can't you look at it from his side ? " 

..^ " Oh, I dare say it was a dose," Bartley admitted. 

^'-^ he money had set several things in a better liglit. 

^ If all the people that have abused me would take it 

^ack as handsomely as your father has," — he held 

^lie check up, — " why, I wish there were twice as 

^any of them." 

She laughed for pleasure in his joke. " I think 
father was impressed by everything about us, — be- 
ginning with baby," she said, proudly. 

" Well, he kept his impressions to himself." 
" Oh, that 's nothing but his way. He never was 
demonstrative, — like me." 



276 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" No, he has his emotions under control, — nc>i> ^ 
say under lock and key, — not to add, in irons." 

Bartley went on to give some instances of "fcQC 
Squire's fortitude when apparently tempted to ^^^" 
press pleasure or interest in liis Boston experienc^^- 

They both undeniably felt freer now that he ^W^as 
gone. Bartley stayed longer than he ought from ^ *^s 
work, in tacit celebration of the Squire's depart ^J^ *'^» 
and they were very merry together ; but when ^^ 
left her, Marcia called for her baby, and, gatherin^^' it 
close to her heart, sighed over it, " Poor father 1 
father ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 277 



XXIIL 

When the spring opened, Bartley pushed Flavia 
about the sunny pavements in a baby cairiage, while 
Marcia paced alongside, looking in under the calash 
top from time to time, arranging the bright afghan, 
and twitching the little one's lace hood into place. 
They never noticed that other perambulators were 
pushed by Irish nurse-girls or French honius; they 
had paid somewhat more than they ought for theirs, 
and they were proud of it merely as a piece of prop- 
erty. It was rather Hartley's ideal, as it is that of 
most young American fathers, to go out with his wife 
and baby in that way ; he liked to have his friends 
see him ; and he went out every afternoon he could 
spare. When he could not go, Marcia went alone. 
Mrs. Halleck had given her a key to the garden, and 
on pleasant mornings she always found some of the 
family there, when she pushed the perambulator up 
the path, to let the baby sleep in the warmth and 
silence of the sheltered place. She chatted with 
Olive or the elder sisters, while Mrs. Halleck drove 
Cyrus on to the work of tying up the vines and 
trimming the shrubs, with the pitiless rigor of women 
when they get a man about some outdoor labor. 
Sometimes, Ben Halleck was briefly of the party; 
and one morning when Marcia opened the gate, she 
found him there alone with Cyrus, who was iDusy 
at some belated tasks of horticulture. The young 
man turned at the unlocking of the gate, and saw 
Marcia lifting the front wheels of the perambulator 



278 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

to get it over the steps of the pavement outside. He 
limped hastily down the walk to help her, but she 
had the carriage in the path before he could reach 
her, and he had nothing to do but to walk back at its 
side, as she propelled it towards the house. " You 
see what a useless creature a cripple is," he said. 

Marcia did not seem to have heard him. " Is your 
mother at home ? " she asked. 

" I think she is," said Halleck. " Cynis, go in and 
tell mother that Mrs. Hubbard is here, won't you ? " 

Cyrus went, after a moment of self-respectful de- 
lay, and Marcia sat down on a bench under a pear- 
tree beside the walk. Its narrow young leaves and 
blossoms sprinkled her with shade shot with vivid 
sunshine, and in her light dress she looked like a 
bright, fresh figure from some painter's study of spring. 
She breathed quickly from her exertion, and her 
cheeks had a rich, dewy bloom. She had pulled the 
perambulator round so that she might see her baby 
while she waited, and she looked at the baby now, 
and not at Halleck, as she said, " It is quite hot in 
the sun to-day." She had a way of closing her lips, 
after speaking, in that sweet smile of here, and then 
of glancing sidelong at the person to whom she spoke. 

" I suppose it is," said Halleck, who remained on 
foot. " But I have n't been out yet. I gave myself 
a day off from the Law School, and I had n't quite 
decided what to do with it." 

Marcia leaned forward, and brushed a tendril of the 
baby's hair out of its eye. " She 's the greatest little 
sleeper that ever was when she gets into her car- 
riage," she half mused, leaning back with her hands 
folded in her lap, and setting her head on one side 
for the effect of the baby without the stray ringlet. 
" She 's getting so fat ! " she said, proudly. 

Halleck smiled. " Do you find it makes a differ- 
ence in pushing her carriage, from day to day ? " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 279 

Marcia took his question in earnest, as she must 
^Tce anything but the most obvious pleasantry con- 
cerning her baby. " The carriage runs very easily ; 
'^e picked out the lightest one we could, and I never 
have any trouble with it, except getting up curb- 
stones and crossing Cambridge Street. I don* t like 
to cross Cambridge Street, there are always so many 
l^orse-cars. But it's all down-hill coming here; 
that *s one good thing." 

"That makes it a very bad thing going home, 
though," said Halleck. 

" Oh, I go round by Charles Street, and come up the 
Hill from the other side ; it is n't so steep there." 

There was no more to be said upon this point, and 
in the lapse of their talk Halleck broke oif some 
V>oughs of the blooming pear, and dropped them on 
tytke baby's afghan. 

" Your mother won't like your spoiling her pear- 
t:i'ee," said Marcia, seriously. 

" She will when she knows that I did it for Miss 
Hubbard." 

" Miss Hubbard !" repeated the young mother, and 
sTie laughed in fond derision. " How funny to hear 
y on saying that ! I thought you hated babies ! " 

Halleck looked at her with strong self-disgust, and 
In c dropped the bough which he had in his hand upon 
tine ground. There is something in a young man's 
ideal of women, at once passionate and ascetic, so 
fine that any words are too gross for it. The event 
^wliich intensified the interest of his mother and sis- 
ters in Marcia had abashed Halleck ; when she came 
so proudly to show lier baby to them all, it seemed to 
^Jini like a mockery of his pity for her captivity to 
the love that profaned her. He went out of the room 
^^ angry impatience, which he could hardly hide, 
^hen one of his sisters tried to make him take the 
'^^^y. Little by little his compassion adjusted itself 



280 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

to the new conditions ; it accepted the child as an 
element of her misery in the future, when she must 
realize the hideous deformity of her marriage. His 
prophetic feeling of this, and of her inaccessibility to 
human help here and hereafter, made him sometimes 
afraid of her ; but all the more severely he exacted of 
his ideal of her that she should not fall beneath the 
tragic dignity of her fate through any levity of her 
owD. Now, at her innocent laugh, a subtile irrever- 
ence, which he was not able to exorcise, infused itself 
into his sense of her. 

He stood looking at her, after he dropped the pear- 
bough, and seeing her mere beauty as he had never 
seen it before. The bees hummed in the blossoms, 
which gave out a dull, sweet smell ; the sunshine had 
the luxurious, enervating warmth of spring. He 
started suddenly from his reverie : Marcia had said 
something. " 1 beg your pardon ? " he queried 

"Oh, nothing. I asked if you knew where I went 
to church yesterday ? " 

Halleck flushed, ashamed of the wrong his thoughts, 
or rather his emotions, had done. " No, I don't," he 
answered. 

" I was at your church." 

" I ought to have been there myself," he returnee 
gravely, " and then I should have known." 

She took his self-reproach literally. " You could n, 
have seen me. I was sitting pretty far back, and 
went out before any of your family saw me. Don 
you go there ? " 

" Not always, I 'm sorry to say. Or, rather, I 'n: 
sorry not to be sorry. What church do you generally 
go to ? " 

" Oh, I don't know. Sometimes to one, and some 
times to another. Bartley used to report the ser-^ 
raons, and we went round to all the churches them 
That is the way I did at home, and it came natural tc 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 281 

Dae. But I don't like it very well. I want Flavia 
should belong to some particular church." 

''There are enough t^ choose from/' said Halleck, 
with pensive sarcasm. 

*' Yes, that 's the difficulty. But I shall make up 
my mind to one of them, and then I shall always 
keep to it. What I mean is that I should like to find 
out where most of the good people belong, and then 
have her be with them," pursued Marcia. " I think 
ifc *s best to belong to some church, don't you ?" 

There was something so bare, so spiritually poverty- 
stricken, in these confessions and questions, that Hal- 
leck found nothing to say to them. He was troubled, 
itioreover, as to what the truth was in his own mind. 
He answered, with a sort of mechanical adhesion to 
the teachings of his youth, " I should be a recreant 
^cyt to think so. But I 'm not sure that I know what 
J^oii mean by belonging to some church," he added. 
** I suppose you would want to believe in the creed of 
the church, whichever it was." 

*' I don't know that I should be particular,*' said 
^^arcia, with perfect honesty. 

Halleck laughed sadly. " I 'm afraid they would, 
"^hen, unless you joined the Broad Church." 

''What is that?" He explained as well as he 

^otild. At the end she repeated, as if she had not 

*pllowed him very closely: "I should like her to 

helong to the church where most of the good people 

"^^ent I think that would be the ricrht one, if vou 

^Onld only find which it is." Halleck laughed again. 

' I suppose what I say must sound very queer to you ; 

hut I Ve been thinking a good deal about this lately." 

"I beg your pardon," said Halleck. "I had no 

Reason to laugh, either on your account or my own. 

It 's a serious subject." She did not reply, and he 

^sked, as if she had left the subject, " Do you intend 

to pass the summer in Boston ?" 



282 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"No; I'm going down home pretty early, and I 
wanted to ask your mother what is the best way to 
put away my winter things."* 

" You 11 find my mother very good authority on 
such matters," said Halleck Through an obscure 
association with moths that corrupt, he added, " She's 
a good authority on church matters, too." 

" I guess I shall talk with her about Flavia," said 
Marcia. 

Cyrus came out of the house. " Mis' Halleck will 
be here in a minute. She 's got to get red of a lady 
that 's calling, first," he explained. 

" I will leave you, then," said Halleck, abruptly. 

"Good by," answered Marcia, tranquilly. Tlie 
baby stirred ; she pushed the carriage to and fro, 
without glancing after him as he walked away. 

His mother came down the steps from the house, 
and kissed Marcia for welcome, and looked under the 
caiTiage-top at the sleeping baby. "How she does 
sleep ! " she whispered. 

" Yes," said Marcia, with the proud humility of a 
mother, who cannot deny the merit of her child, " and 
she sleeps the whole night through. I 'm never up 
with her. Bartley says she 's a perfect Seven-Sleeper. 
It *s a regular joke with him, — her sleeping." 

" Ben was a good baby for sleeping, too," said Mrs. 
Halleck, retrospectively emulous. " It 's one of the 
best signs. It shows that the child is strong and 
healthy." They went on to talk of their children, 
and in their community of motherhood they spoke of 
the young man as if lie were still an infant. " He 
has never been a moment's care to me," said Mrs. Hal- 
leck. "A well baby will be well even in teething." 

" And I had somehow thought of him as sickly ! " 
said Marcia, in self-derision. 

Tears of instant intelligence sprang into his moth- 
er s eyes. "And did j^ou suppose he was alvxtys 



A MODEKN LNSTANCE. 283 

lame ? " she demanded, with gentle indignation. " He 

was the brightest and strongest boy that ever was, till 

he was twelve years old. That 's what makes it so 

hard to bear ; that 's what makes me wonder at the 

way the child bears it I Did you never hear how it 

happened ? One of the big boys, as he called him, 

tripped him up at school, and he fell on his hip. It 

lepfc him in bed for a year, and he *8 never been the 

same since ; he will always be a cripple," grieved the 

another. She wiped her eyes ; she never could think 

of her boy's infirmity without weeping. " And what 

seemed the worst of all," she continued, " was that 

tie boy who did it never expressed any regret for it, 

or acknowledged it by word or deed, though he must 

^^ve known that Ben knew who hurt him. He 's a 

^an here, now ; and sometimes Ben meets him. But 

■^en always says that he can stand it, if the other one 

^^n. He was always just so from the first ! He 

^^^cjuldn't let us blame the boy; he said that he 

^id n't mean any harm, and that all was fair in play. 

"^^nd now he says he knows the man is sorry, and 

^^ «uld own to what he did, if he did n't have to own to 

^^Tiat came of it. Ben says that very few of us have 

^lie courage to face the consequences of the injuries 

^^ii'^e do, and that 's what makes people seem hard and 

^ ^ idifferent when they are really not so. There ! " 

^:ried Mrs. Halleck. " I don't know as I ought to 

-^Xave told you about it ; I know Ben would n't like it. 

^^ut I can't bear to have any one think he was 

Always lame, though I don't know why I should n't : 

^ 'm prouder of him since it happened than ever I 

%vas before. I thought he was here with you," she 

^dded, abruptly. 

" He went out just before you came," said Marcia, 
oiodding toward the gate. She sat listening to Mrs. 
IHalleck's talk about Ben ; Mrs. Halleck took herself 
to task from time to time, but only to go on talking 



284 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

about him again. Sometimes Marcia commented on 
his characteristics, and compared them with Bartley's, 
or with Flavians, according to the period of Ben's life 
under consideration. 

At the end Mrs. Halleck said : " I have n't let you 
get in a word ! Now you must talk about your baby. 
Dear little thing ! I feel that she 's been neglected. 
But I 'm always just so selfish when I get to running 
on about Ben. They all laugh at me." 

"Oh, I like to hear about other children," said 
Marcia, turning the perambulator round. "I don't 
think any one can know too much that has the care^ 
of children of their own." She added, as if it followed 
from sometliing they had been saying of vaccination, 
" Mrs. Halleck, I want to talk with you about getting 
Flavia christened. You know I never was christened." 

" Were n't you ? " said Mrs. Halleck, with a dismay 
which she struggled to conceal. 

" No," said Marcia, " father does n*t believe in any 
of those things, and mother had got to letting them 
go, because he didn't take any interest in them. 
Thev did have the first childl*en christened, but I was 
the last." 

" I did n't speak with your father on the subject," 
faltered Mrs. Halleck. " I did n't know what his per- 



suasion was." 



" Why, father does n't belong to any church! He 
believes in a God, but he does n't believe in the 
Bible." Mrs. Halleck sank down on the garden seat 
too much shocked to speak, and Marcia continued, "I 
don't know whether the Bible is true or not ; but 
I've often wished that I belonged to church." 

" You could n't, unless you believed in the Bible," 
said Mrs. Halleck. 

" Yes, I know that. Perhaps I should, if anybody 
proved it to me. I presume it could be explained. I 
never talked much with any one about it. There 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 235 

must be a good many people who don't belong to 

church, altbougli they believe in the Bible. 1 should be 

perfectly willing to try, if I only knew how to begin." 

In view of this ruinous open-mindedness, Mrs. Hal- 

leck could only say, " The way to begin is to read it." 

"Well, I will try. How do you know, after you \e 

become so that you believe the Bible, whether you 're 

fit to join the church ? " 

"It's hard to tell you, my dear. You have to feel 
first that you have a Saviour, — that you've given 
your whole heart to him, — that he can save you, and 
that no one else can, — that all you can do yourself 
won't help you. It 's an experience." 

Marcia looked at her attentively, as if this were all 
a very hard saying. " Yes, I Ve heard of that. Some 
of the girls had it at school. But I never did. 
^^ell," she said at last, "I don't feel so anxious 
about myself, just at present, as I do about Flavia. I 
Want to do everything I can for Flavia, Mrs. Halleck. 
\^mt her to be christened, — I want her to be bap- 
tized into some church. I think a good deal about it. 
I think sometimes, what if she should die, and I 
iad n't done that for her, when may be it was one of 
^Jje most important things — " Her voice shook, and 
^ie pressed her lips together. 

** Of course," said Mrs. Halleck, tenderly, " I think 
It is the most important thing." 

"But there are so many churches," Marcia re- 
sutned. " And I don't know about any of them. I 
^Id Mr. Halleck just now, that I should like her to 
"^long to the church where the best people went, if I 
^^uld find it out Of course, it was a ridiculous way 
^ talk ; I knew he thought so. But what I meant 
^9.8 that I wanted she should be with good people all 
"^r life ; and I did n't care what she believed." 

''It's very important to believe the truth, my 
dear," said Mra. Halleck. 



286 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" But the truth is so hard to be certain of, and you 
know goodness as soon as you see it. Mrs. Halleck, 
I '11 tell you what I want : I want Flavia should 
be baptized into your church. Will you let her ? " 

" Let her ? O my dear chUd, we shall be humbly 
thankful that it has been put into your heart to 
choose for her what we think is the true church," said 
Mrs. Halleck, fervently. 

" I don't know about that," returned Marcia. " I 
can't tell whether it 's the true church or not, and I 
don't know that I ever could ; but I shall be satisfied 

— if it 's made you what you are," she added, simply. 
Mrs. Halleck did not try to turn away her praise 

with vain affectations of humility. "We try to do 
right, Marcia," she said. "Whenever we do it, we 
must be helped to it by some power outside of our- 
selves. I can 't tell you whether it 's our church ; 
I'm not so sure of that as I used to be. I once 
thought that there could be no real good out of 
it ; but I carCt think that, any more. Olive and Ben 
are as good children as ever lived ; I know they won't 
be lost ; but neither of them belongs to our church." 

" Why, what church does he belong to ? " 

"He doesn't belong to any, my dear," said Mrs. 
Halleck, sorrowfully. 

Marcia looked at her absently. " I knew Olive 
was a Unitarian ; but I thought — I thought he — " 

" Xo, he does n't," returned Mrs. Halleck. " It has 
been a great cross to his father and me. He is a good 
boy ; but we think the truth is in our church ! " 

Marcia was silent a moment. Then she said, de- 
cisively, " Well, I should like Flavia to belong to 
your church." 

" She could n't belong to it now," Mrs. Halleck ex- 
plained. " That would have to come later, when she 
could understand. But she could be christened in it, 

— dear little thing ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 237 

•* Well, christened, then. It must be the training 

'*e got in it I've thought a great deal about it, 

^nd L think my worst trouble is that I've been left 

too free in everything. One must n't be left too free, 

i 've never had any one to control me, and now I 

^an't control myself at the very times when I need to 

Jo it the most, with — with — When I 'm in danger 

^t" vexing — When Baitley and I — '' 

•* Yes," said Mrs. Halleck, sympathetically. 

"And Baitley is just so, too. He's always been 

i^^ft to himself. And Flavia will need all the con- 

ti'ol we can give her, — I know she will. And I 

^hall have her christened in your church, and I shall 

^^ach her all about it. She shall go to the Sunday 

School, and I will go to church, so that she can have 

^n example. I told father I should do it when he 

)Vas up here, and he said there could n't be any harm 

in it. And I 've told Bartley, and he does n't care." 

They were both far too single-minded and too 
Serious to find anything droll in the terms of the ad- 
hesion of Marcia's fiimily to her plan, and Mrs. Hal- 
leck entered into its execution with affectionate zeal. 
" Ben, dear," she said, tenderly, that evening, when 
they were all talking it over in the family council, " I 
hope you didn't drop anything, when that poor crea- 
ture spoke to you about it this morning, that could 
Unsettle her mind in any way ? " 

No, mother," said Halleck, gently. 
I was sure- you did n't," returned his mother, 
Repentantly. 

They had been talking a long time of the matter, 
^nd Halleck now left the room. 

" Mother ! How could you say such a thing to 
I^en ?" cried Olive, in a quiver of indignant synipa- 
tliy. "Ben say anything to unsettle anybody's re- 
ligious purposes! He's got more religion now than 
^11 the rest of the family put together ! " 







288 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Speak for youi^self, Olive," said one of the inter- 
mediary sisters. 

" Why, Olive, I spoke because I thought she seemed 
to place more importance on Ben*8 belonging to the 
church than anything else, and she seemed so sur- 
prised when I told her he did n't belong tcf any." 

" I (fare say she thinks Ben is good when she com- 
pares him with that mass of selfishness of a husband 
of hers," said Olive. " But I will thank her," she 
added, hotly, "not to compare Ben witli Bartley 
Hubbard, even to Bartley Hubbard's disadvantage. 
I don't feel flattered by it." 

"Of course she thinks all the world of her hus- 
band," said Mrs. Halleck. " And I know Ben is 
good ; and, as you say, he is religious ; I feel that, 
thougli I don't understand how, exactly. I would n't 
hurt his feelings for the world, Olive, you know well 
enough. But it was a stumbling-block when I had 
to tell that poor, pretty young thing that Beil did n't 
belong to church; and I could see that it puzzled 
her. I could n't have believed," continued Mrs. Hal- 
leck, " that there w^as any person in a Christian land, 
except among the very lowest, that seemed to under- 
stand so little about the Christian religion, or any 
scheme of salvation. Eeally, she talked to tne like a 
pagan. She sat there much better dressed and better 
educated than I was; but 1 felt like a missionary 
talking to a South Sea Islander. 

" I wonder the old Bartlett pear did n't burst into a 
palm-tree over your heads," said Olive. Mrs. Halleck 
looked grieved at her levity, and Olive hastened to 
add : " Don't take it to heart, mother ! I understood 
just what you meant, and I can imagine just how 
shocking Mrs. Hubbard's heathen remarks must have 
been. We should all be shocked if we knew how 
many people there were like her, and we should all 
try to deny it, and so would they. I guess Chris- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 289 

tianity is about as uncommon as civilization, — and 
that 's very uncommon. If her poor, feeble mind was 
such a chaos, what do you suppose her husband's is ? " 

This would certainly not have been easy for Mrs. 
Halleck to say then, or to say afterward, when Bartley 
walked up to the font in her church, with Marcia at 
tis side, and Flavia in his arms, and a faintly ironical 
smile on his face, as if he had never expected to be 
^ot in for this, but was going to see it through now. 
lie had, in fact, said, " Well, let 's go the whole figure," 
^vhen Marci'iSi had expressed a preference for having the 
nte perfonned in church, instead of in their own house. 

He was unquestionably growing stout, and even 
]Mrs. Halleck noticed that his blonde face was un- 
pleasantly red that day. He was, of course, not 
intemperate. He always had beer with his lunch, 
which he had begun to take down town since the 
"Warm weather had come on and made the walk up 
"the hill to Clover Street irksome : and he dmnk beer 
a,t his dinner, — he liked a late dinner, and they dined 
at six, now, — because it washed away the fatigues of 
the day, and freshened you up. He was rather par- 
ticular about his beer, which he had sent in by the 
gross, — it came cheaper that way ; after trying both 
the Cincinnati and the Milwaukee lagers, and making 
a, cursory test of the Boston brand, he had settled 
down upon the American tivoli; it was cheap, and 
you could drink a couple of bottles without feeling 
it. Freshened up by his two bottles, he was apt to 
spend the evening in an amiable drowse and get early 
to bed, when he did not go out on newspaper duty. 
He joked about the three fingers of fat on his ribs, 
aild frankly guessed it was the beer that did it ; at 
such times he said that perhaps he should have to cut 
down on his tivoli. 

Marcia and he had not so much time tqgether as 
they used to have; she was a great deal taken up 

19 



290 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

with the baby, and he found it dull at home, no^^ 
doing anything or saying anything ; and when he difc 
not feel sleepy, he semetimes invented work that^ 
took him out at night. But he always came upstaii-s^ 
after putting his hat on, and asked Marcia if he^ 
could help lier about anything. 

He usually met other newspaper men on these ^ 
excursions, and talked newspaper with them, airing ^ 
his favorite theories. He liked to wander about witli 
reporters who were working up cases ; to look in at 
tlie police stations, and go to the fires ; and he was 
often able to give the Events men points that had 
escaped the other reporters. If asked to drink, he 
always said, "Thanks, no; I don't do anything in 
that way. But if you '11 make it beer, I don't mind." 
He took nothing but beer when he hurried out of the 
theatre into one of the neighboring resorts, just as the 
great platters of stewed kidneys and lyonnaise pota- 
toes came steaming up out of the kitchen, prompt to 
the drop of the curtain on the last act. Here, some- 
times, he met a friend^ and shared with him his dish 
of kidneys and his schooner of beer ; and he once 
suffered himself to be lured by the click of the balls 
into the backToom. He believed that he played a 
very good game of billiards ; but he was badly beaten 
that night. He came liome at daylight, fifty dollars 
out. But he had lost like a gentleman in a game 
with gentlemen ; and he never played again. 

By day he worked hard, and since his expenses had 
been increased by Flavia's coming, he had undertaken 
more work for more pay. He still performed all the 
routine labor of a managing editor, and he now wrote 
tlie literary notices of the Events, and sometimes, 
especially if there was anything new, the dramatic 
criticisms ; he brought to the latter task all the 
freshness of a man who, till the year before, had not 
been, half a dozen times inside a theatre. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 291 

He attributed the fat on his ribs to the tivoli ; 

perhaps it was also owing in some degree to a good 

conscience, which is a much easier thing to keep than 

people imagine. At any rate, he now led a tranquil, 

industrious, and regular life, and a life which suited 

Ixiin so well that he was reluctant to interrupt it by 

the visit to Equity, which he and Marcia had talked 

of in the eariy spring. He put it oflF from time to 

feime, and one day when she was pressing him to 

X some date for it he said, "Why can't y(m go, 

larcia ? " 

" Alone ? " she faltered. 

" Well, no ; take the baby, of course. And I *11 run 
down for a day or two when I get a chance." 

Marcia seemed in these days to be schooling her- 
self against the impulses that once brought on her 
c^L^uarrels with Bartley. " A day or two — " she be- 
gan, and then stopped and added gravely, " I thought 
you said you were going to have several weeks' 
vacation.*' 

"Oh, don't tell me what I 5awi.'" cried Bartley. 

'* That was before I undertook this extra work, or be- 

^^T^ I knew what a grind it was going to be. Equity 

IS a good deal of a dose for me, any way. It 's all 

^ell enough for you, and I guess the change from 

Boston wiU do you good, and do the baby good, but 

-'shouldn't look forward to three weeks in Equity 

^ith unmitigated hilarity." 

"I know it will be stupid for you. But you need 
^"e rest . And the Hallecks are going to be at North 
Conway, and they said they would come over," urged 
Marcia. " I know we should have a good time." 
, Bartley grinned. " Is that your idea of a good 
^ime, Marsh ? Three weeks of JEquity, relieved by a 
^isit from such heavy weights as Ben Halleck and his 
sisters ? Not any in mine, thank you." 
"How can you — howrfore you speak of them so!'* 



292 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

cried Marcia lightening upon him. "Such good- 
friends of yours — such good people — " Her voice - 
shook with indignation and wounded feeling. 

Bartley rose and took a turn about the room, pull- - 
ing down his waistcoat and contemplating its outward 
slope with a smile. " Oh, I 've got more friends than 
I can shake a stick at. And with pleasure at the 
helm, goodness is a drug in the market, — if you 11 
excuse the mixed metaphor. Look here, Marcia," he 
added, severely. " If you like the Hallecks, all well and 
good ; I sha'n't interfere with you ; but thev bore me. 
I outgrew Ben Halleck years ago. He *s duller than 
death. As for the old people, there's no harm in 
them, — though they're bores, too, — nor in the old 
girls ; but Olive Halleck does n't treat me decently. 
I suppose that just suits you : I 've noticed that you 
never like the women that do treat me decently." 

" They don't treat me decently 1 " retorted Marcia. 

" Oh, Miss Kingsbury treated you very well that 
night. She could n't imagine your being jealous of 
her politeness to me." 

Marcia's temper fired at his treacherous recurrence 
to a grievance which he had once so sacredly and 
sweetly ignored. " If you wish to take up bygones, 
why don't you go back to Hannah Morrison at once ? 
She treated you even better than Miss Kingsbury." 

"I should have been very willing to do that," said 
Bartley, "but I thought it might remind you of a 
disagreeable little episode in your own life, when you 
flung me away, and had to go down on your knees to 
pick me up again." 

Tliese thrusts which they dealt each other in their 
quarrels, however blind and misdirected, always 
reached their hearte: it was the wicked will that 
hurt, rather than the words. Marcia rose, bleeding 
inwardly, and her husband felt the remorse of a man 
who gets the best of it in such an eucounter. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 293 

" Oh, I 'm Sony I said that, Marcia ! I did 'nt mean 
it; indeed I — " She disdaiued to heed him, as she 
swept out of the room, and up the stairs ; aud his 
anorer flamed out again. 

"I give you fair warning," he called after her, "not 
^ try that trick of locking the door, or I will smash 
it in." 

Her answer was to turn the key in the door with a 
ciick which he could not fail to hear. 

The peace in which they had been living of late 

^as very comfortable to BartFey ; he liked it ; he hated 

^ have it broken ; he was willing to do what he could 

^^ restore it at once. If he had no better motive than 

^Hia, he still had this motive ; and he choked down 

pis wrath, and followed Marcia softly upstairs. Ho 

j^>- tended to reason with her, and he l)egan, " I say, 

""^^arsh," as he turned the door-knob. But you cannot 

^^ason through a keyhole, and before he knew he 

^^ und himself saying, " Will you open this ?" in a tone 

^^^hose quiet was deadly. She did not answer; he 

'^^^ard her stop in her movements about the room, 

^•^d wait, as if she expected him to ask again. He 

:?^«sitated a moment whether to keep his threat of 

leaking the door in ; but he turned away and went 

own stairs, and so into the street. Once outside, 

le ejQperienced the sense of release that comes to 

^ man from the violation of his better impulses ; but 

-tie did not know what to do or where to go. He 

^Vvalked rapidly away; but Marcia's eyes and voice 

deemed to follow him, and plead with him for his for- 

\>eamnce. But he answered his conscience, as if it 

Xiad been some such presence, that he had forborne too 

>nuch already, and that now he should not humble 

liimself ; that he was right and should stand upon his 

Tight. There was not much comfort in it, and he had 

to brace himself again and again with vindictive 

Tesolution. 



294 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



XXIV. 

Bartley walked about the streets for a long time-*: 
without purpose or direction, brooding fiercely on hi^ 
wrongs, and reminding himself how Marcia had deter- - 
mined to have him, and had indeed flung herself upon 
his mercy, with all sorts of good promises ; and had 
then at once taken the whip-hand, and goaded and tor- 
mented him ever since. All the kindness of their com- 
man life counted for nothing in this furious reverie, or 
lather it was never once thought of; he cursed himself 
for a fool that he had ever asked her to marrv him. 
and for doubly a fool that he had married her when 
she had as good as asked him. He was glad, now, 
that he had taunted her with that ; he only regretted 
that he had told her he was sorry. He was presently 
aware of being so tired that he could scarcely puU 
one leg after another ; and yet he felt hopelessly wide 
awake. It was in simple despair of anything else to 
do that he climbed the stairs to Kicker's lofty perch 
in the Chronicle-Abstract office. Eicker turned about 
as he entered, and stared up at him from beneath the 
green pasteboard visor with which he was shielding his 
eyes from the gas ; his hair, which was of the harshr 
ness and color of hay, was stiffly poked up and strewn 
about on his skull, as if it were some foreign product. 

" Hello ! " he said. " Going to issue a morning 
edition of the Events ? " 

" What makes you think so ?" 

" Oh, I supposed you evening-paper gents went to 
bed with the hens. What has kept you up, esteemed 



A MODERN INSTANCE, 295 

contemporary ? " He went on working over some de- 
spatches which lay upon his table. 

" l)ou't you want to come out and have some oys- 
ters ? " asked Bartley. 

" Why this princely hospitality ? I '11 come with 
you in half a minute," Ricker said, going to the slide 
that carried up the copy to the composing-room and 
thrusting his manuscript into the box. 

" Where are you going ? " he asked, when they 
found themselves out in the soft starlit autumnal air ; 
and Bartley answered with the name of an oyster- 
house, obscure, but of singular excellence. 

"Yes, that's the best place," Ricker commented. 
" What I always wonder at in you is the rapidity with 
which you \e taken on the city. You were quite in 
the green wood when you came here, and now you 
know your Boston like a little man. I suppose it 's 
your newspaper work that 's familiarized you with the 
place. Well, how do you like your friend Witherby, 
^ far as you Ve gone ? " 

Oh, we shall get along, I guess," said Bartley. 
He still keeps me in the background, and plays at 
o^ing editor, but he pays me pretty welL" 
Not too well, I liope." 
I should like to see him try it." 

** I should n't," said Ricker. " He 'd expect certain 
^hings of you, if he did. You '11 have to look out for 
Witherby." 

** You mean that he 's a scamp ? " 

'* Ko ; there is n't a better conscience than Witherby 

^^^es in the whole city. He 's perfectly honest. He 

^ot only believes that he has a right to run the 

^^ents in his way ; but he sincerely believes that 

^^ is right in doing it. There 's where he has the ad- 

^^ntage of you, if you doubt him. I don't suppose he 

^^er did a wrong thing in his life ; he 'd persuade 

^itnself that the thing was right before he did it." 



e 



296 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" That 's a common phenomenon, is n*t it ? " sneered 
Bartley. " Kobody sins." 

"You're right, partly. But some of iis sinners 
have our misgivings, and Witherby never has. You 
know he offered me your place ? " 

"No, I didn't," said Bartley, astonished and not 
pleased. 

" I thought he might have told you. He made me 
inducements ; but I was afraid of him : Witherby is 
the counting-room incarnate. I talked you into him 
for some place or other ; but he did n't seem to wake 
up to the value of my advice at once. Then I 
could n't tell what he was going to offer you." 

" Thank you for letting me in for a thing you were 
afraid of ! " 

"I didn't believe he would get you under his 
thumb, as he would me. You Ve got more back-bone 
than I have. I have to keep out of temptation ; you 
have noticed that I never drink, and I would rather 
not look upon Witherby when he is red and giveth 
his color in the cup. I 'm sorry if I 've let you in for 
anything that you regret. But Witherby's sincerity 
makes him dangerous, — I own that." 

" I think he has some very good ideas about news- 
papers," said Bartley, rather sulkily. 

" Oh, very," assented Eicker. " Some of the very 
best going. He believes that the press is a great moral 
engine, and that it ought to be run in the interest of 
the engineer." 

" And I suppose you believe that it ought to be run 
in the interest of the public ? " 

"Exactly — after the public has paid." 

" Well, I don't ; and I never did. A newspaper is 
a private enterprise." 

" It 's private property, but it is n't a private enter- 
prise, and in its very nature it can't be. You know 
I never talk 'journalism' and stuff; it amuses me to 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 297 

hear the young fellows at it, though I think they 
might be doing something worse than magnifying 
their offiee ; they might be decrying it. But I *ve got 
a few ideas and principles of my own in my back 
pantaloons pocket." 

" Haul them out," said Bartley. 
" I don't know that they 're very well formulated," 
returned Eicker, " and I don't contend that they 're 
very new. But I consider a newspaper a public en- 
terprise, with certain distinct duties to the public. 
It 's sacredly bound not to do anything to deprave or 
debauch its readers; and it's sacredly bound not to 
mislead or betray them, not merely as to questions of 
morals and politics, but as to questions of what we 
may lump as * advertising.' Has friend Witherby de- 
veloped his great ideas of advertisers' rights to you ? " 
Bartley did not answer, a^d Eicker went on : " Well, 
then, you can understand my position, when I say it 's 
exactly the contrary." 

/* You ought to be on a religious newspaper, 
Bicker," said Bartley with a scornful laugh. 

'* Thank you, a secular paper is bad enough for 
me." 

" Well, I don't pretend that I make the Events just 
^hat I want," said Bartley. " At present, the most I 
can do is to indulge in a few cheap dreg-ms of what I 
should do, if I had a paper of my own." 
" What are your dreams ? Haul out, as you say." 
" I should make it pay, to begin with ; and I should 
^^•ke it pay by making it such a thorough newspaper 
that every class of people must have it. I should 
cater to the lowest class first, and as long as I was 
poor I would have the fullest and best reports of ev- 
^^y local accident and crime ; that would take all the 
^bble. Then, a^ I could afford it, I 'd rise a little, 
and give first-class non-partisan reports of local polit- 
ical affairs ; that would fetch the next largest class, 



298 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

the ward politicians of all parties. I 'd lay for th^ ^r^e 
local religious world, after that ; — religion conies righr .^i At 
after politics in the popular mind, and it interests tb^ ^-^^ 
women like murder : I 'd give the minutest religu)ust ^-^^ 
intelligence, and not only that, but the religious -^^s 
gossip, and the religious scandal. Then I *d go in for*: ^^^^ 
fashion and society, — that comes next. I 'd 4iav€^^ "^6 
the most reliable and thorough-going financial reports^^i-^ 
that money could buy. When I 'd got my local 
ground perfectly covered, I M begin to ramify. Everi 
fellow that could spell, in any part of the country, 
should understand that, if he sent me an account o£ 
a suicide, or an elopement, or a murder, or an acci- 
dent, he should be well paid for it ; and I 'd rise oi 
the same scale through all the departments. I 'd ad( 
art criticisms, dramatic and sporting news, and book 
reviews, more for the looks of the thing than for any- 
thing else ; they don't any of 'em appeal to a large 
class. I'd get my paper into such a shape that 
people of every kind and degree would have to say, 
no matter what particular objection was made to it, 
* Yes; that 's so ; but it's the best newspaper in the 
world, and we canH get along without it! " 

*' And then," said Eicker, " you 'd begin to clean up, 
little by little, — let up on your murders and scandals, 
and purge and live cleanly like a gentleman ? The 
trick 's been tried before." 

They had arrived at the oytser-house, and were 
sitting at their table, waiting for the oysters to be 
brought to them. Bartley tilted his chair back. " I 
don't know about the cleaning up. I should want to 
keep all my audience. If I cleaned up, the dirty 
fellows would go off to some one else ; and the fel- 
lows that pretended to be clean woula be disap- 
pointed." 

" Why don't yon get Witherby to put your ideas in 
force ? " asked Kicker, dryly. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 299 

' Bartley dropped his chair to all fours, and said with 
a smile, " He belongs to church." 

"Ah! he has his limitatiohs. What a pity I He 
ias the money to establish this great moral engine of 
yours, and you have n't. It *s a loss to civilization." 

"One thing, I know," said Bartley, with a certain 
effect of virtue, " nobody should buy or sell me ; and 
the adv^ising element should n't spread beyond the 
^dvertisi«g page." 

" Is n't that rather high ground ? " inquired Ricker. 
Bartley did not think it worth while to answer. " I 
^oiVt believe that a newspaper is obliged to be superior 
^ O. tone to the community," he said. 
"I quite agree with you." 

" And if the community is full of vice and crime, the 
^wspaper can't do better than reflect its coirlition." 
"Ah! there I should distinguish, esteemed con- 
inporary. There are several tones in every com- 
^mnity, and it will keep any newspaper scratching to 
se above the highest. But if it keeps out of the mud 
t all, it can't help rising above the lowest. And no 
^^oramunity is full of vice and crime any more than it 
^"j^ full of virtue and good works. Why not let your 
^^odel newspaper mirror these ? " 
" They 're not snappy." 
"No, that's true." 

" You must give the people what they want." 
"Aye you sure of that ? " 
" Yes, I am." 

" Well, it 's a beautiful dream," said Ricker, " nour- 
ished on a youth sublime. Why do not these lofty 
imaginings visit us later in life ? You make me quite 
ashamed of my own ideal newspaper. Before you 
began to talk, I had been fancying that the vice of our 
journalism was its intense localism. I have doubted 
a good while whether a drunken Irishman who breaks 
his wife's head, or a child who falls into a tub of hot 



300 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

water, has really established a claim on the public 
interest. Why should I be told by telegraph how 
three negroes died on the gallows in North Carolina ? 
Why should an accurate correspondent inform me of 
the elopement of a married man with his maid-servant 
in East Machias ? Why should I sup on all the hor- 
rors of a railroad accident, and have the bleeding frag- 
ments hashed up for me at breakfast ? Why should 
my newspaper give a succession of shocks to my 
nervous system, as I pass from column to column, and 
poultice me between shocks with the nastiness of 
a distant or local scandal ? You reply, because I like 
spice. But I don't. I am sick of spice ; and I believe 
that most of our readers are." 

" Cater to them with milk-toast, then," said Bartley. 

Eicker laughed with him, and they fell to upon 
their oysters. 

When they parted, Bartley stiU found himself wake- 
ful. He knew that he should not sleep if he went 
home, and he said to himself that he could not walk 
about all night. He turned into a gayly-lighted base- 
ment, and asked for something in tfie way of a night- 
cap. 

The bar-keeper said there was nothing like a hot- 
scotch to make you sleep ; and a small man with his 
hat on, who had been talking with the bar-keeper, and 
coming up to the counter occasionally to eat a bit of 
cracker or a bit of cheese out of the two bowls full of 
such fragments that stood at the end of the counter, said 
that this was so. 

It was very cheerful in the bar-room, with the 
light glittering on the rows of decanters behind the 
bar-keeper, a large, stout, clean, pale man in his 
shirt-sleeves, after the manner of his kind ; and 
Bartley made up his mind to stay there till he was 
drowsy, and to drink as many hot-scotches as were 
necessary to the result. He had his drink put on a 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 301 

little table and sat down to it easily, stirring it to cool 
it a little, and feeling its flattery in his brain from the 
first sip. 

The man who was munching cheese and crackers 
wore a hat rather large for him, pulled down over his 
eyes. He now said that he did not care if he took a 
gin-sling, and the bar-keeper promptly set it before 
tim on the counter, and saluted with *' Good evening. 
Colonel," a large man who came in, carrying a small 
^og in his arms. Bartley recognized him as the man- 
ner of a variety combination playing at one of the 
theatres, and the manager recognized the little man 
jl^ith the gin-sling as Tommy. He did not return the 
'^^.r-keepefr's salutation, but he asked, as he sat down 
*^ a table, " What do I want for supper, Charley ? " 

The bar-keeper said, oracularly, as he leaned for- 
^^rd to wipe his counter with a napkin, " Fricassee 
^t^icken." 

" Fricassee devil," returned the manager. " Get me 
^ ^elsh rabbit." 

The bar-keeper, unperturl)ed by this rejection, called 
to the tube behind him, " One Welsh rabbit." 
" I want some cold chicken for my dog," said the 
anager. 

. " One cold chicken," repeated the bar-keeper, in his 
^Xibe. 

" White meat," said the manager. 
" White meat," repeated the bar-keeper. 
" I went into the Parker House one night about 
-^^idnight, and I saw four doctors there eating lobster 
^alad, and devilled crab, atid washing it down with 
champagne ; and I made up my mind that the doctors 
Xieed n't talk to me any more about what was whole- 
some. I was going in for what was good. And there 
»int anything better for supper than Welsh rabbit in 
this world." 

As the manager addressed this philosophy to the 



302 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

company at large, no one commented upon it, which 
seemed quite the same to the manager, who hitched 
one elbow over the back of his chair, and caressed 
with the other hand the dog lying in his lap. 

The little man in the large hat continued to walk 
up and down, leaving his gin-sling on the counter, and 
drinking it between his visits to the cracker and 
cheese. 

"What's that new piece of yours, Colonel?" he 
asked, after a while. " I aint seen it yet." 

" Legs, principally," sighed the manager. " That 's 
what the public wants. I give the public what it 
wants. I don't pretend to be any better than the pub- 
lic. Nor any worse," he added, stroking his dog. 

These ideas struck Hartley in their accordance with 
his own ideas of journalism, as he had propounded 
them to Eicker. He had drunk half of his hot-scotch. 

" That 's what I say," assented the Uttle man. " All 
that a theatre has got to do is to keep even with the 
public." 

"That's so, Tommy," said the manager of a school 
of morals, with wisdom that impressed more and 
more the manager of a great moral engina 

" The same principle runs through everything," 
observed Bartley, speaking for the first time. 

The drink had stiffened his tongue somewhat, but 
it did not incommode his utterance; it rather gave 
dignity to it, and his head was singularly clear. He 
lifted his empty glass from the table, and, catching 
the bar-keeper's eye, said, " Do it again." The man 
brought it back full 

" It runs through the churches as well as the the- 
atres. As long as the public wanted hell-fire, the 
ministers gave them hell-fire. But you could n't get 
hell-fire — not the pure, old-fashioned brimstone arti- 
cle — out of a popular preacher now, for love or 
money." 



A MODEfiN INSTANCE. 303 

The little man said, " I guess you 've <;ot about the 
size of it there'*; and the manager laughed. 

"It's just so with the newspapere, too," said Bart- 
ley. ''Some newspapers used to stand out against 
publishing murdei's, and personal gossip, and divorce 
trials. There ain't a newspaper that pretends to keep 
anyways up with the times, now, that don*t do it ! 
Hie public want spice, and they will have it ! " 

"Well, sir," said the manager, "that's my way of 
booking at it. I say, if the public don't want Shake- 
speare, give 'em burlesque till they 're sick of iti I 
t>elieve in what Grant said : * The quickest way to get 
^d of a bad law is to enforce it.' " 

" That 's so," said the little man, " every time." He 
^c3ded, to the bar-keeper, that he guessed he would 
-t^^ve some brandy and soda, and Bartley found him- 
^^If at the bottom of his second tumbler. He or- 
«red it replenished. 
The little man seemed to be getting further away. 
6 said, from the distance to which he had with- 
rawn, " You want to go to bed with three nightcaps 
n, like an old-clothes man." 
Bartley felt like resenting the freedom, but he was 
nxious to pour his ideas of journalism into the man- 
ger's sympathetic ear, and he began to talk, with an 
mpression that it behooved him to talk fast. His 
\)rain was still very clear, but his tongue was getting 
^tiifer. The manager now had his Welsh rabbit before 
liim ; but Bartley could not make out how it had got 
there, nor when. He was talking fast, and he knew, 
by the way everybody was listening, that he was talk- 
ing well. Sometimes he left his table, glass in hand, 
and went and laid down the law to the manager, who 
smilingly assented to all he said. Once he heard a 
low growling at his feet, and, looking down, he saw 
the dog with his plate of cold chicken, that had also 
been conjured into the room somehow. 



304 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Look out," said the manager, " he 'U nip you 
the leg." 

"Curse the dog! he seems to be on all sides 
you," said Hartley. " I can't stand anywhere." 

" Better sit down, then," suggested the manager. 

"Good idea," said the little man, who was st: 
walking up and down. It appeared as if he had n 
spoken for several hours ; his hat was further over h:^ 
eyes. Bartley had thought he was gone. 

"What business is it of yours?" he demandec^ 
fiercely, moving towards the little man, 

" Come, none of that," said the bar-keeper, steadilj^ 

Bartley looked at him in amazement. " Where "^ 
your hat ? " he asked. 

The others laughed ; the bar-keeper smiled. 

" Are you a married man ? " 

" Never mind ! " said the bar-keeper, severely. 

Bartley turned to the little man : " You married ? *^ 

" Not mz^A," replied the other. He was now top— 
ping off with a whiskey-straight. 

Bartley referred himself to the manager : " You ? " 

"Pas si hete," said the manager, who did his owii^ 
adapting from the French. 

" Well, you 're scholar, and you 're gentleman," said 
Bartley. The indefinite articles would drop out, in 
spite of all his efforts to keep them in. " 'N' I want 
ask you what you do — to — ask — you — what — 
would — you — do," he repeated, with painful exact- 
ness, but he failed to make the rest of the sentence 
perfect, and he pronounced it all in a word, " 'fyour- 
wifelockyouout ? " 

" I 'd take a walk," said the manager.. 

" I 'd bu'st the door in," said the little man. 

Bartley turned and gazed at him as if the little 
man were a much more estimable person than he had 
supposed. He passed his arm through the little 
man's, which the other had just crooked to lift his 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 305 

^Inskey to his mouth. "Look here," said Bartley, 
"fcha's jus' what / told her. I want you to go home 
th me ; I want t' introduce you to my wife.*' 
"All right," answered the little man. "Don't care 
if I do." He dropped his tumbler to the floor. " Hatig 
it up, Charley, glass and all. Hang up this gentle- 
man s nightcaps — my account. Gentleman asks me 
home to his house, 1*11 hang him — 1*11 get him 
hung, — well, fix it to suit yourself, — eveiy time ! " 

They got themselves out of the door, and the man- 
ager said to the bar-keeper, who came round to gather 
up the fragments of the broken tumbler, *' Think his 
wife will be glad to see *em, Charley ? *' 

** Oh, they '11 be taken care of before they reach his 
house." 



20 




306 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



XXV. 

When they were once out under the stars, Bartl^^ 
who still felt his brain clear, said that he would i^J 
take his friend home at once, but would show h^^ 
where he visited when he first ciime to Boston. Tm^ 
other agreed to the indulgence of this sentiment, ar^ 
they set out to find Rumford Street together. 

"You've heard of old man Halleck, — Lest^ 
Neather Interest ? Tha 's place, — there 's where 
stayed. His son 's my frien*, — damn stuck-up, supe: - 
cilious beast he is, too ! / do* care f 'r him ! I "^^ 
show you place, so's't you '11 know it when you coiv^ 
to it, — 'f I can ever find it." 

They walked up and down the street, looking, whil 
Bartley poured his sorrows into the ear of his frienc^ 
who grew less and less respotisive, and at last cease^- 
from his side altogether. Bartley then dimly per:^ 
ceived that he was himself sitting on a door-st^p, an^ 
that his head was hanging far down between hiJ 
knees, as if he had been sleeping in that posture. 

" Locked out, — locked out of my own door, anc: 
by my own wife ! " He shed tears, and fell asleeg 
again. From time to time he woke, and bewailec: 
himself to Eicker as a poor boy who had fought his 
own way ; he owned that he had made mistakes, ag 
who had not ? Again he was trying to convinced 
Squire Gaylord that they ought to issue a daily edi^ 
tion of the Equity Free Press, and at -the same times 
persuading Mr. Halleck to buy the Events for him, 
and let him put it on a paying basis. He shivered^ 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 307 

Sighed, hiccupped, and was dozing off again, when 
Henry Bird knocked him down, and he fell with a cry, 
^^hich at last brought to the door the uneasy sleeper, 
^ho had been listening to him within, and trying to 
Realize his presence, catching his voice in waking in- 
tervals, doubting it, drowsing when it ceased, and then 
catching it and losing it again. 

" Hello, here ! What do you want ? Hubbard ! Is 
it you ? What in the world are you doing here ? " 

" Halleck," said Bartley, who was unsteadily straight- 
ening himself upon his feet, "glad to find you at home. 
Been looking for your house all night. Want to intro- 
duce you to partic-ic-ular friend of mine. Mr. Halleck, 

Mr. , Curse me if I know your name — " 

" Hold on a minute," said Halleck. 
He ran into the house for his hat and coat, and 
came out again, closing the door softly after him. He 
tound Bai-tley in the grip of a policeman, whom he was 
asking his name, that he might introduce him to his 
friend Halleck. 

" Do you know this ma-n, Mr. HaUeck ? " asked the 
policeman. 

" Yes, — yes, I know him," said Ben, in a low voice. 
*' let's get him away quietly, please. He's all right. 
It 's the first time I ever saw him so. Will you help 
^e with him up to Johnson's stable? I'll get a 
^^niage there and take him home." 

Tliey had begun walking Barfley along between 
tliein ; he dozed, and paid no attention to their tulk. 

The policeman laughed. " I was just going to run 
l^ini in, when you came out. You didn't come a 
^uiuute too soon." 

They got Bartley to the stable, and lie slept heavily 

in one of the chairs in the office, while the ostlers were 

putting the horses to the carriage. The policeman 

i^mained at the office-door, looking in at Bartley, and 

philosophizing the situation to Halleck. " Your speak- 



308 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

in' about its bein' the first time you ever saw Lim so 
made me think 't I rather help take home a regular 
habitual drunk to his family, any day, than a case like 
this. They always seem to take it so much harder the 
first time. Boards with his mother, I presume ? " 

"He's njarried," said Halleck, sadly. "He has a 
house of his own." 

" Well ! " said the policeman. 

Baitley slept all the way to Clover Street, and when 
the carriage stopped at his door, they had difficulty in 
waking him sufficiently to get him out. 

" Don't come in, please," said Halleck to the police- 
man, when this was done. " The man will carry you 
back to your beat. Thank you, ever so much ! " 

"All right, Mr. Halleck. Don't mention it," said 
the policeman, and leaned back in the hack with an 
air of luxury, as it nimbled softly away. 

Halleck remained on the pavement with Bartley 
falling limply against him in the dim light of the 
dawn. " What you want ? What you doing with 
me ? " he demanded with sullen stupidity. 

"I've got you home, Hubbard. Here we are at 
your house." He pulled him across the pavement to 
the threshold, and put his hand on the bell, but the 
door was thrown open before he could ring, and Marcia 
stood there, with her face white, and her eyes red with 
watching and crying. 

" Oh, Bartley! oh, Bartley!" she sobbed. " Oh, Mr. 
Halleck ! what is it ? Is he hurt ? I did it, — yes, I 
did it I It's my fault! Oh ! will he die ? Is he sick?" 

" He is n't very well. He 'd better go to bed," said 
Halleck. 

" Yes, yes ! I will help you upstairs with him." 

" Do' need any help," said Bartley, sulkily. " Go 
upstairs myself" 

He actually did so, with the help of the hand-rail, 
Marcia running before, to open the door, and smooth 



A MODERN INSTANCE; 309 

tlie pillows which hey head had not touched, and 
Halleck following him to catch him if he should fall. 
She uulaced his shoes and got them oif, while Halleck 
I'emoved his coat. 

"Oh, Bartley ! where do you feel badly, dear ? Oh ! 
^hat shall I do ? " she moaned, as he tumbled himself 
on the bed, and lapsed into a drunken stupor. 

"Better — better come out, Mrs. Hubbard," said 
Halleck. "Better let him alone, now. You only 
■^ake him worse, talking to him." 

QiLBlled by the mystery of his manner, she followed 

^iim out and down the stairs. " Oh, do tell me wliat it 

:^," she implored, in a tew voice, ** or I shall go wild ! 

^^ut tell me, and I can bear it ! I can bear anything 

1 know what it is ! " She came close to him in her 

ntreaty, and fixed her eyes beseechingly on his, while 

^Tie caught his hand in both of hers. " Is he — is he 



iisane?" 



ti 



He is n't quite in his right mind, Mrs. Hubbard," 
alleck began, softly releasing himself, and retreating 
little from her ; but she pursued him, and put her 
-^aud on his arm. 

" Oh, then go for the doctor, — go instantly ! Don't 
^ose a minute ! I shall not be afraid to stay alone. 
Or if you think I 'd better not, I will go for the doctor 
myself." 

" No, no," said Halleck, smiling sadly : the case cer- 
tainly had its luiicrous side. " He does n't need a 
doctor. You must n't think of calling a doctor. In- 
deed you must n't. He 11 come out all right of him- 
self. If you sent for a doctor, it would make him very 
angry." 

She burst into tears. " Well, I will do what you 

say," she cried, vl* It would never have happened, if it 

had n't been for me. I want to tell you what I did," 

she went on wildly. " I want to tell — " 

" Please don't tell me anything, Mrs. Hubbard ! It 



310 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

will all come right — and very soon. It is n't anything 
to be alarmed about. He 11 be well in a few hours. 
I — ah — Good by." He had found his cane, and 
he made a limp toward the door, but she swiftly in- 
terposed herself 

" Why," she panted, in mixed reproach and terror, 
" you *re not going away ? You 're not going to leave 
me before Bartley is well ? He may get worse, — he 
may die ! You must n't go, Mr. Halleck ! " 

"Yes, I must, — I can't stay, — I ought n't to 
stay, — it won't do ! He won't get worse, he won't 
die." The perspiration broke out on Halleck's face, 
which he lifted to hers with a distress as great as her 
own. 

She only answered, " I can 't let you go ; it would 
kill me. I wonder at your wanting to go." 

There was something ghastly comical in it all, and 
Halleck stood in fear of its absurdity hardly less 
than of its tragedy. He rapidly revolved in his 
mind the possibilities of the case. He thought at 
first that it might be well to call a doctor, and, having 
explained the situation to him, pay him to remain in 
charge ; but he reflected that it would be insulting to 
ask a doctor to see a mp-n in Hubbard's condition. 
He took out his watch, and saw that it was six o'clock ; 
and he said, desperately, " You can send for me, if 
you get anxious — " ^ 

" I can't let you go 1 " 

" I must really get my breakfast — " 

" The girl will get something for you here ! Oh, 
don't go away ! " Her lip began to quiver again, and 
her bosom to rise. 

He could not bear it. " Mrs. Hubbard, will you 
believe what I say ? " 

" Yes," she faltered, reluctantly. 

" Well, I tell you that Mr. Hubbard is in no sort 
of danger ; and I know that it would be extremely 
offensive to him if I stayed." 



\ 



I 

/ 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 311 

Then you must go," she answered promptly, and 
opened the door, which she had closed for fear he 
^iglit escape. " I will send for a doctor." 

** No ; don't send for a doctor, don't send for any- 
'>ody ; don't speak of the matter to any one : it would 
^J>e very mortifying to him. It's merely a — a — 
^iiid of — seizure, that a great many people — men — 
I ^re subject to ; but he would n't like to have it 
/^Oown." He saw that his words were making au 
^^pression upon her ; perhaps her innocence was l)e- 
[ ginning to divine the truth. " Will you do what I 

^ "Yes," she murmured. 

Her head began to droop, and her face to turn 
^ ^i^ay in a dawning shame too cruel for him to see. 
^^ "I — I will come back as soon as I get my break- 
t, to make sure that everything is right." 
She let him find his own way out, and Halleck 
sued upon the street, as miserable as if the disgrace 
ere his own. It was easy enough for him to get 
^ck into his own room without alarming the family. 
e ate his breakfast absently, and then went out 
hile the others were still at table. 
"I don't think Ben seems very well," said his 
^^^other, anxiously, and she looked to her husband for 
^^he denial he always gave. 

" Oh, I guess he 's all right. What 's the matter 
^^ithhim?" 

" It 's nothing but his ridiculous, romantic way of 
'taking the world to heart," Olive interposed. ** You 
may be sure he 's troubled about something that 
does n't concern him in the least. It 's what comes 
of the life-long conscientiousness of his parents. If 
Ben does n't turn out a philanthropist of the deepest 
dye yet, you 11 have me to thank for it. I see more 
and more every day that I was providentially born 
wicked, so as to keep this besottedly righteous fam- 
ily's head above water." 



312 A MODERN IN8TANCK. 

She feigned an angry impatience with the condit 
of things; but when her father went out, she joi 
her mother in earnest conjectures as to what Ben J 
on his mind. 

Halleck wandered about till nearly ten o'clock, fi 
then he went to the little housQ on Clover Strc 
The servant-girl answered his ring, and when 
asked for Mrs. Hubbard, she said that Mr. Hubbi 
wished to see him, and please would he step upstai 

He found Bartley seated at the window, with a v 
towel round his head, and his face pale with hef 
ache. 

" Well, old man," he said, with an assumption 
comradery that was nauseous to Halleck, "you 
done the handsome thing by me. I know all alx 
it. I knew something about it all the time." I 
held out his hand, without rising, and Halleck fore 
himself to touch it. " I appreciate your delicacy 
not telling my w4fe. Of course you could n*t tel 
he said, with depraved enjoyment of what he cc 
ceived of Halleck's embarrassment. "But I gu« 
she must have smelt a rat. As the fellow says," 
added, seeing the disgust that Halleck could not kes 
out of his face, " I shall make a clean breast of it, 
soon as she can bear it. She 's pretty high-strut 
Lyiug down, now," he explained. " You s^, 1 we 
out to get something to make me sleep, and the fir 
thing I knew I had got too much. Good thing 
turned up on your doorstep ; might have been wait 
ing into the police court about now. How did y( 
happen to hear me ? " 

Halleck briefly explained, with an air of abhorrem 
for the facts. 

" Yes, I remember most of it,'* said Bartley. " We 
I want to thank you, Halleck. You Ve saved n 
from disgrace, — from ruin, for all I know. Whev 
how my head aches ! " he said, making an appeal ' 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 313 

Halleck's pity, with closed eyes. " Halleck,'' he mur- 
mured, feebly, " I wish you would do me a favor." 

« Yes ? What is it ? " asked Halleck, dryly. 

" Go round to the Events office and tell old Wlth- 
erby that I sha'n't be able to put in an appearance 
to-day. I *m not up to writing a note, even ; and 
he 'd feel flattered at your coming personally. It 
would make it all right for me." 

** Of course I will go," said Halleck. 

•* Thanks," returned Barfcley, plaintively, with his 
eyes closed. 



314 A MODERN INSTANCE. 



XXVI. 

Bartley would willingly have passed this affair 
oyer with Marcia, like some of their quarrels, and 
allowed a reconciliation to effect itself through mere 
lapse of time and daily custom. But there were 
difficulties in the way to such an end ; his shameful 
escapade had given the quarrel a character of its 
own, which could not be ignored. He must keep his 
word about making a clean breast of it to Marcia, 
whether he liked or not; but she facilitated his con- 
fession by the meek and dependent fashion in which 
she hovered about, anxious to do something or any- 
thing for him. If, as he suggested to Halleck, she 
had divined the truth, she evidently did not hold him 
wholly to blame for what had happened, and he was 
not without a self-righteous sense of having given her 
a useful and necessary lesson. He was inclined to a 
severity to which his rasped and shaken nerves con- 
tributed, when he spoke to her that night, as they 
sat together after tea; she had some sewing in her 
lap, little mysteries of soft muslin for the baby, which 
she was edging with lace, and her head drooped over 
her work, as if she could not confront him with her 
swollen eyes. 

" Look here, Marcia," he said, " do you know what 
was the matter with me this morning ? " 

She did not answer in words ; her hands quivered a 
moment ; then she caught up the things out of her 
lap, and sobbed into them. The sight unmanned 
Bartley ; he liated to see any one cry, — even his wife,> 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 315 

^^ whose tears he was accustomed. He dropped down 
P^^ide her on the sofa, and pulled her head over on 
^is shoulder. 

*' It was my fault ! it was my fault, Hartley 1 " she 
^^bbed. " Oh, how can I ever get over it ? " 

" Well, don't cry, don't cry I It was n't altogether 
^our fault," returned Bartley. "We were both to 
l)lame." 

" No ! I began it. If I had n't broken my promise 
about speaking of Hannah Morrison, it never would 
have happened." This was so true that Bartley could 
not gainsay it. " But I could n't seem to help it ; and 
you were — you were — so quick with me ; you did n't 
give me time to think ; you — But I was the one 
to blame, I was to blame ! ** 

" Oh, well, never mind about it ; don't take on so,'* 
coaxed Bartley. " It 's all over now, and it can't be 
helped. And I can promise you," he added, " that it 
shall never happen again, no matter what you do," 
and in making this promise he felt the glow of virtu- 
ous performance. " I think we 've both had a lesson. 
I suppose," he continued sadly, as one might from 
impersonal reflection upon the temptations and de- 
pravity of large cities, " that it 's common enough. I 
dare say it is n't the first time Ben HaUeck has taken 
a fellow home in a hack." Bartley got so much com- 
fort from the conjecture he had thrown out for 
Marcia's advantage, that he felt a sort of self-approval 
in the fact with which he followed it up. "And 
there 's this consolation about it, if there is n't any 
other : that it would n't have happened now, if it had 
ever happened before." 

Marcia lifted her head and looked into his face: 
" What — what do you mean, Bartley ? " 

" I mean that I never was overcome before in my 
life by — wine." He delicately avoided saying 
whiskey. 



u 



316 A MODJKBN IKSTAMCE. 

" Well ? " she demandecL 

" Why, don't you see ? If I 'd had the habit of 
drinking, I should n't have been affected by it*' 
I don't understand," she said, anxiously. 
Why, I knew I should n't be able to sleeps I was 
so mad at you — " 

"Oh!" 

"And I dropped into the hotel bat-room for a 
nightcap, — for sometliing to make me sleep." 

" Yes, yes ! " she urged eagerly. 

" I took what would n't have touched a man that 
was in the habit of it" 

" Poor Bartley ! " 

" And the first thing I ktiew I had got too much. 
I was drunk,— wild drunk," he said with magnani- 
mous frankness. 

She had been listening intensely, exculpating him 
at every point, and now his innocence all flashed 
upon her. " I see ! I see 1 " she cried. " And it was 
because you had never tasted it before — " 

" Well, I had tasted it once or twice/' interrupted 
Bartley, with heroic veracity. 

" No matter ! It was because you had ilever more 
than hardly tasted it that a very little overcame you 
in an instant I see ! " she repeated, contemplating 
him in her ecstasy, as the one habitually sober man 
in a Boston full of inebriates. And now 1 shall never 
regret it ; I shall never care for it ; I never shall think 
about it again ! Or, yes ! I shall always remember it, 
because it shows — because it proves that you are al- 
ways strictly temperance. It was worth happening 
for that I am glad it happelied I '* 

She rose from his side, and took her flawing nearer 
the lamp, and resumed her work Upon it with shining 
eyes. 

Bartley remained in his place on the sofa, feeling, 
and perhaps looking, rather sheepish. He had made a 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 317 

clean breast of it, and the confession had redounded 
only too much to his credit. To do him justice, he 
had not intended to bring the affair to quite such a 
triumphant conclusion ; and perhaps something bet- 
ter than his sense of humor was also touched when lie 
found himself not only exonerated, but transformed 
into an exemplar of abstinence. 

" Well," he said, " it is n't exactly a thing to be glad 
of, but it certainly isn't a thing to worry yourself 
about You know the worst of it, and you know the 
best of it It never happened before, and it never 
shall happen again ; that 's all. Don*t lament over it, 
don't a<Jcuse yourself ; just let it go, and we *11 both 
see what we can do after this in the way of behaving 
better." 

He rose from the sofa, and began to walk about the 
room. 

" Does your head still ache ? " she asked, fondly. 
" I wish I could do something for it ! " 

" Oh, I shall sleep it off," returned Hartley. 

She followed him with her eyes. " Hartley ! " 

« Well ? " 

" Do you suppose — do you believe — that Mr. 
Halleck — that he was ever — " 

" No, Marcia, I don't," said Hartley, stopping. " I 
know he never was. Hen Halleck is slow ; but he 's 
^ood. I could n't imagine his being drunk any more 
than I could imagine your being so. I'd willingly 
sacrifice his reputation to console you," added Bart- 
ley, with a comical sense of his own regret that Hal- 
leck was not, for the occasion, an habitual drunkard 
' but I cann^ tell a lie." He looked at her with a 
3mile, and broke into a sudden laugh. " No, my dear, 
the only person I think of just now as having suf- 
fered similarly with myself is the great and good An- 
drew Johnson. Did you ever hear of him ? " 

" Was he the one they impeached ? " she faltered. 



\ 



318 A MODEBN INSTANCE. 

N 

not knowing what Bartley would be at, but smiling 
faintly in sympathy with his mirth. 

" He was the one they impeached. He was the one 
who was overcome by wine on his inauguration day, 
because he had never been overcome before. It 'a a 
parallel case !" Bartley got a great deal more enjoy- 
ment out of the parallel case than Marcia. The smile 
faded from her face. 

" Come, come," he coaxed, " be satisfied with Andrew 
Johnson, and let Halleck go. Ah, Marcia T he added, 
seriously, " Ben Halleck is the kind of man you ought 
to have married ! Don't you suppose that I know 
I 'm not good enough for you ? I *m pretty good by 
fits and starts; but he would have been good right 
straight along. I should never have had to bring him 
home in a hack to you ! " 

His generous admission had the just effect. " Hush, 
Bartley ! Don't talk so ! You know that you 're bet- 
ter for me than the best man in the world, dear, 
and even if you were not, I should love you the best 
Don't talk, please, that way, of any one else, or it will 
make me hate you ! " 

He liked that ; and after all he was not without an 
obscure pride in his last night's adventure as a some- 
what hazardous but decided assertion of manly su- 
premacy. It was not a thing to be repeated; but 
for once in a way it veas not wholly to be regretted, 
especially as he was so well out of it. 

He pulled up a chair in front of her, and began to 
joke about the things she had in her lap; and the 
shameful and sorrowful day ended in the bliss of a 
more perfect peace between them than they had known 
since the troubles of their married life began. " I tell 
you," said Bartley to Marcia, " I shall stick to tivoli 
after this, religiously." 

It was several weeks later that Halleck limped 
into Atherton's lodgings, and dropped into one of his 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 319 

friend's easy-chairs. The room had a bachelor com- 
fort of aspect, and the shaded lamp on the table shed 
a mellow light on the green leather-covered furniture, 
wrinkled and creased, and worn full of such hospita- 
ble hollows as that which welcomed Halleck. Some 
packages of law papers were scattered about on the 
table ; but the hour of the night had come when 
a lawyer permits himself a novel. Atherton looked 
up from his as Halleck entered, and stretched out a 
hand, which the latter took on his way to the easy- 
chair across the table. 

" How do you do ? " said Atherton, after allowing 
him to sit for a certain time in the silence, which ex- 
pressed better than words the familiarity that existed 
between them in spite of the lawyer's six or seven 
years of seniority. 

Halleck leaned forward and tapped the floor with 
his stick ; then he fell back again, and laid his cane 
across the arms of his chair, and drew a long breath. 
" Atherton,** he said, " if you had found a blackguard 
of your acquaintance drunk on your doorstep early one 
morning, and had taken him home to his wife, how 
would you have expected her to treat you the next 
time you saw her ? " 

The lawyer was too much used to the statement, 
direct and hypothetical, of all sorts of cases, to be 
startled at this. He smQed slightly, and said, " That 
would depend a good deal upon the lady." 

"Oh, but generalize! From what you know of 
woinen as Woman, what should you expect ? Should n't 
you expect her to make you pay somehow for your 
privity to her disgrace, to revenge her misery upon 
you ? Is n't there a theory that women forgive inju- 
ries, but never ignominies ? " 

" That 's what the novelists teach, and we bachelors 
get most of our doctrine about women from them." 
He closed his novel on the paper-cutter, and, laying 



i 



320 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

the book upon the table, clasped his hands tc^ther at 
the back of his head. " We don't go to nature for our 
impressions ; but neither do the novelists, for that 
matter. Now and then, however, in the way of busi- 
ness, I get a glimpse of realities that make me doubt 
my prophets. Who had this experience ? *' 

" I did." 

" I 'm sorry for that," said Atherton. 

"Yes," returned Halleck, with whimsical melan- 
choly ; " I 'm not particularly adapted for it But I 
don't know that it would be a very pleasant experi- 
ence for anybody." 

He paused drearily, and Atherton said, " And how 
did she actually treat you ? " 

"I hardly know. I hadn't been at the pains to 
look them up since the thing happened, and I had been 
carrying their squalid secret round for a fortnight, 
and suffering from it as if it were all my own." 

Atherton smiled at the touch of self-cfiaracterization. 

" When I met her and her husband and her baby to- 
day, — a family party, — well, she made me ashamed 
of the melodramatic compassion I had been feeling 
for her. It seemed that I had been going about un- 
necessarily, not to say impertinently, haggard with the 
recollection of her face as I saw it when she opened 
the door for her blackguard and me that morning. 
She looked as if nothing unusual bad happened at our 
last meeting. I could n't brace up all at once : I be- 
haved like a sneak, in view of her serenity." 

" Perhaps nothing unusual had happened/' suggested 
Atherton. 

" No, that theory is n't tenable," said Halleck. " It 
was the one fact in the blackguard's favor thAt she had 
evidently never seen him in that state before, and 
did n't know what was the matter. She Was wild at 
first ; she wanted to send for a doctor. I think towards 
the last she began to suspect But I don't know how 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 321 

>lie looked then : I could n't look at her." He stopped 
tB if still in the presence of the pathetic figure, with its 
ridelong, drooping head. 

Atherton respected bis silence a moment before he 
^gain sn^ested, as lightly as before, " Perhaps she is 
xiagnanimous." 

•* No," said Halleck, with the effect of having also 
riven that theory consideration. " She 's not magnau- 
mous, poor sotd. I fancy she is rather a narrow- 
»iirided person, with strict limitations in regard to 
>eople who think ill — or too well — of her husband." 

** Then perhaps," said Atherton, with the air of 
iQ-v-ing exhausted conjecture, " she 's obtuse." 

** I have tried to think that too," replied Halleck, 
l>iit I can't manage it. No, there are only two ways 
^iti of it; the fellow has abused her innocence and 
^^►de her believe it 's a common and venial affair to be 
•"c^Tight home in that state, or else she 's playing a 
^-^*t. He 's capable of telling her that neither you 
^^xr I, for example, ever go to bed sober. But she is n't 
t^tiiise : I fancy she 's only too keen in all the sensibili- 
^^ that women suffer through ; and I 'd rather think 
^^.t he had deluded her in that way, than that she 
^^-s masquerading about it, for she strikes me as an 
•^t3ommonly truthful person. I suppose you know 
" Vi om I 'm talking about, Atherton ? " he said, with a 
^c3deu look at his friend's face across the table. 

*' Yes, I know," said the lawyer. " I 'm sorry it 's 
'^tne to this already. Though I suppose you 're not 
•It^gether surprised." 

•* No ; something of the kind was to be expected," 
ftalleck sighed, and rolled his cane up and down on 
tlie arms of his chair. " I hope we know the worst." 

"Perhaps we do. But I recollect a wise remark 

you made the first time we talked of these people," 

said Atherton, replying to the mood ratlier than tlie 

speech of his friend. " You suggested that we rather 

21 • 



( 



322 A MODJEBN IX8TAKCE. 

liked to grieve over the pretty girls that other fellows 
iDarry, aud that we never thought of the plain ones 
as suffering." 

** Oh, I had n't any data for my pity in this case, 
then," replied Halleck. " I 'm willing to allow that a 
plain woman would suffer under the same circum- 
stances ; and I think I shoiQd be capable of pitying 
her. But 111 confess that the notion of a pretty 
woman's sorrow is more intolerable ; there *s no use 
denying a fact so universally recognized by the male 
consciousness. I take my share of shame for it. I 
wonder why it is? Pretty women always seem to 
appeal to us as more dependent and childlike. I 
dare say they 're not." 

'' Some of them are quite able to take care of them- 
selves," said Atberton. " I We known striking in- 
stances of the kind. How do you know but the 
object of your superfluous pity was cheerful because 
fate had delivered her husband, boimd forever, into 
her hand, through this little escapade of his ?" 

" Is n't that rather a coarse suggestion ? " asked 
Halleck. 

"Very likely. I suggest it; I don't assert it But 
I fancy that wives sometimes like a permanent griev- 
ance that is always at hand, no matter what the mere 
passing occasion of the particular disagreement is. 
It seems to me that I have detected obscure appeals 
to such a weapon in domestic interviews at which 
I 've assisted in the way of business." 

" Don't, Atherton ! " cried Halleck. 

" Don't how ? In this particular case, or in regard 
to wives genei^ly. We can't do women a greater 
injustice than not to account for a vast deal of human 
nature in them. You may be sure that things have n't 
come to the present pass with those people without 
blame on both sides." 

*' Oh, do you defend a man for such beastliness, by 



k MODERN IKSTANCE. 323 

that stale old plea of blame on both sides ? " demanded 
Halleck, indignantly. 

"No; but I should like to know what she had 
said or done to provoke it, before I excused her alto- 
gether." 
" You would 1 Imagine the case reversed/' 
" It is n't imaginable." 

" You think there is a special code of morals for 
Women, -^ sins and shames for them that are no sins 
and shames for us ! " 

"No, I don*t think that I I merely suggest that 
you don't idealize the victim in this instance. I dare 
say she has n't suffered- half as much as you have. 
Hemember that she 's a person of commonplace tra- 
ditions, and probably took a simple view of the 
matter, and let it go as something that could not be 
lielped." 

" No, that would not do, either," said Halleck. 
" You 're hard to please. Suppose we imagine her 
proud enough to face you down on the fact, for his 
ssake; too proud to revenge her disgrace on you — " 

" Oh, you come back to your old plea of magna- 
nimity ! Atherton, it makes me sick at heart to 
think of that poor creature. That look of hers haunts 
me ! I can't get rid of it ! " 

Atherton sat considering his friend with a curious 
smile. " Well, I *m sony this has happened to you, 
Halleck," 

"Oh, why do you say that to me?" demanded 
Halleck, impatiently. "Am I a nervous woman, that 
I must be kept from unpleasant sights and disagree- 
able experiences? If there's anything of the man 
about me, you insult it ! Why not be a little soiTy 

" I 'm sorry enough for her ; but I suspect that, so 
far, you have been the principal sufferer. She 's 
simply accepted the fact, and survived it." 





324 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" So much the worse, so much the worse ! " groane 
Halleck. « She 'd better have died ! " 

"Well, perhaps. I dare say she thinks it wi 
never happen again, and has dismissed the subject 
while you *ve had it happening ever since, wheneve 
you 've thought of her." 

Halleck struck the arms of his chair with hi 
clinched hands. *' Confound the fellow I What busi 
ness has he to come back into iliy way, and make m 
think about his wife ? Oh, very likely it 's quite a 
you say ! I dare say she 's stupidly content wit 
him; that she's forgiven it and forgotten all abou 
it. Probably she's told him how I behaved, and 
they've laughed me over together. But does that 
make it any easier to bear?" 

"It ought," said Atherton. "What did the hus- 
band do when you met them ? " 

"Everything but tip me the wink, — everything ^^^^ 
but say, in so many words, * You see I 've made it all "5^ »» 
right with her : don't you wish you knew how ? * " 
Halleck dropped his head, with a wrathful groan. 

" I fancy," said Atherton, thoughtfully, " that, if we 
really knew how, it would surprise us. Married life 
is as much a mystery to us outsiders as the life to 
come, almost. The ordinary motives don't seem to 
count; it's the realm of unreason. If a man only 
makes his wife suffer enough, she finds out that she 
loves him so much she must forgive him. And then 
there's a great deal in their being bound. They 
can't live together in enmity, and they must live 
together. I dare say the offence had merely worn 
itself out between them." 

" Oh, I dare say," Halleck assented, wearily. "That 
is n't my idea of marriage, though." 

" It 's not mine, either," returned Atherton. " The 
question. is whether it isn't often the fact in regard 
to such people's marriages." 




A MODERN INSTANCE. 325 






«< 



Then they are so many hells," cried Halleck, 
here self-respect perishes with resentment, and 
t^lxe husband and wife are enslaved to each other. 
Tfaiey ought to be broken up ! " 

** I don't think so," said Atherton, soberly. " The 
sox-t of men and women that marriage enslaves would 
y>^ vastly more wretched and mischievous if they 
^v«r^Te set free. I believe that the hell people make 
fox- themselves isn't at all a bad place for them, 
s the best place for them." 

* Oh, I know your doctrine," said Halleck, rising. 

's horrible ! How a man with any kindness in 

heart can harbor such a cold-blooded philosophy 

cJon't understand. I wish you joy of it. Good 

5^x^ht," he added, gloomily, taking his hat from the 

e. " It serves me right for coming to you with a 

tter that I ought to have been man enough to keep 

Tnyself." 

-Atherton followed him toward the door. " It won't 
^^^ you any harm to consider your perplexity in the 
V^-lt of my philosfophy. An unhappy marriage is n't 
only hell, nor the worst." 
lEalleck turned. " What could be a worse hell than 

Triage without love ? " he demanded, fiercely. 
*"Love without marriage," said Atherton. 
IHalleck looked sharply at his friend. Then he 
^^^ugged his shoulders as he turned again and swung 
^^^^t; of the door. " You 're too esoteric for me. It 's 
^^^^ite time I was gone." 

The way through Clover Street was not the shortest 

v^^.y home ; but he climbed the hill and passed the 

^trtle house. He wished to rehabilitate in its pathetic 

F^^auty the image which his friend's conjectures had 

o^Xred, distorted, insulted ; and he lingered for a mo- 

T^^nt before the door where this vision had claimed 

^is pity for anguish that no after serenity could 

^^pudiate. The sUence in which the house was 



f 



\ 



326 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

wrapped was like another fold of the mystery which 
involved him. The night wind rose in a sudden 
gust, and made the neighboring lamp flare, and his 
shadow wavered across the pavement like the figure 
of a drunken man. This, and not that other, was the 
image which he saw. 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 327 



XXVII 

" Of course/* said Marcia, when she and Bartley 
^^curred to the subject of her visit to Equity, " I have 
^l^vays felt as if I should like to have you with me, 
^'^ as to keep people from talking, and show that it 's 
^ll right between you and father. But if you don't 
^'ish to go, I can't ask it" 

" I understand what you mean, and I should like 
^^ gratify you," said Bartley. " Not that I care a rap 
'^hat all the people in Equity think. I *11 tell you 
"^hat I '11 do, 1 11 go down there with you and hang 
^ound a day or two ; and then I *11 come after you, 
^i^hen your time 's up, and stay a day or two there. 
1 could rut stand three weeks in Equity." 

In the end, he behaved very handsomely. He 
dressed Flavia out to kill, as he said, in lace hoods 
and embroidered long-clothes, for which he tossed 
over half the ready-made stock of the great dry-goods 
stores ; and he made Marcia get herself a new suit 
throughout, with a bonnet to match, which she thought 
she could not afford, but he said he should mauage it 
somehow. In Equity he spared no pains to deepen 
the impression of his success in Boston, and he was 
affable with everybody. He hailed his friends across 
the street, waving his hand to them, and shouting 
out a jolly greeting. He visited the hotel office and 
the stores to meet the loungers there ; he stepped into 
the printing-office, and congratulated Henry Bird on 
having stopped the Free Press and devoted him- 
self to job-work. He said, " Hello, Marilla ! Hello, 



i 



328 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Hannah ! " and he stood a good while beside the latter 
at her case, joking and laughing. He had no resent- 
ments. He stopped old Morrison on the street and 
shook hands with him. " Well, Mr. Morrison, do you 
find it as easy to get Hannah's wages advanced nowa- 
days as you used to ? '* 

As for his relations with Squire Gaylord, he flat- 
tened public conjecture out like a pancake, as he told 
Marcia, by making the old gentleman walk arm-and- 
arm with him the whole length of the viUage street 
the morning after his arrival. "And I never saw 
your honored father look as if he enjoyed a thing 
less," added Bartley. " Well, what 's the use ? He 
could n't help himself." They had arrived on Friday 
evening, and, after spending Saturday in this social 
way, Bartley magnanimously went with Marcia to 
church. He was in good spirits, and he shook hands, 
right and left, as he came out of church. In the 
afternoon he had up the best team from the hotel 
stable, and took Marcia the Long Drive, which they 
had taken the day of their engagement. He could 
not be contented without pushing the perambulator 
out after tea, and making Marcia walk beside it, to 
let people see them with the baby. 

He went away the next morning on an early train, 
after a parting which he made very cheery, and a 
promise to come down again as soon as he could 
manage it. Marcia watched him drive off toward the 
station in the hotel barge, and then she went upstairs 
to their room, where she had been so long a young 
girl, and where now their child lay sleeping. The 
little one seemed the least part of all the change that 
had taken place. In this room she used to sit and 
think of him ; she used to fly up thither when he 
came unexpectedly, and order her hair or change a 
ribbon of her dress, that she might please him better ; 
at these windows she used to sit and watch, and long 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 329 

^ ^ his coming ; from these she saw him go by that 
V ^J" when she thought she should see him no more, 
^d took heart of her despair to risk the wild chance 
^at made him hers. There was a deadly, unsympa- 
^e6ic stillness in the room which seemed to leave to 
^r all the responsibility for what she had done. 

The days began to go by in a sunny, still, mid- 
immer monotony. She pushed the baby out in its 
iTi'iage^ and saw the summer boarders walking or 
•iving through the streets ; she returned the visits 
at the neighbors paid her ; indoors sl^e helped her 
other about the housework. An image of her 
aiden life reinstated itself. At times it seemed 
LQOst as if she had dreamed her marriage. When she 
>ked at her baby in these moods, she thought she 
xs dreaming yet. A young wife suddenly parted 
r the first time from her husband, in whose intense 
issession she has lost her individual existence, and 
volving upon her old separate personality, must 
tve strong fancies, strange sensations. Marcia's 
arriage had been full of such shocks and storms 

might well have left her dazed in their entire 
issation. 

** She seems to be pretty well satisfied here," said 
3r father, one evening when she had gone upstairs 
ith her sleeping baby in her arms. 

*' She seems to be pretty quiet," her mother non- 
jtnmittally assented. 

*' M-yes," snarled the Squire, and he fell into a long 
3very, while Mrs. Gaylord went on crocheting the 
aby a bib, and the smell of the petunia-bed under 
be window came in through the mosquito netting. 
jVl-yes," he resumed, " I guess you 're right. I guess 
b 's only quiet. I guess she ain't any more likely to 
fe satisfied than thej'est of us." 

*' I don't see why she should n't be," said Mrs. Gay- 
Lord, resenting the compassion in the Squire's tone. 



330 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

with that curious jealousy a wife feels for her hus- 
band's indulgence of their daughter. " She 's had her 
way." 

** She 's had her way, poor girl, — yes. But I 
don't know as it satisfies people to have their way, 
always." 

Doubtless Mrs. Gaylord saw that her husband 
wished to talk about Marcia, and must be helped to 
do so by a little perverseness. "I don't know but 
what most of folks would say 't she 'd made out 
pretty well. • I guess she 's got a good provider." 

" She did n't need any provider," said the Squire 
haughtily. 

" No ; but so long as she would have something, 
it's well enough that she should have a provider." 
Mrs. Gaylord felt that this was reasoning, and she 
smoothed out so much of the bib as she had crocheted 
across her knees with an air of self- content. "You 
can't have everything in a husband," she added, " and 
Marcia ought to know that, by this time." 

" I 've no doubt she knows it," said the Squire. 

" Why, what makes you think she 's disappointed 
any ? " Mrs. Gaylord came plump to the question at 
last. 

"Nothing she ever said,", returned her husband 
promptly. "She 'd die, first. When I was up there. 
I thought she talked about him too much to be feel- 
ing just right about him. It was Bartley this and 
Hartley that, the whole while. She was always 
wanting me to say that I thought she had done right 
to marry him. I did sort of say it, at last, — to please 
her. But I kept thinking that, if she felt sure of it, 
she would n't want to talk it into me so. Now, she 
never mentions him at all, if she can help it. She 
writes to him every day, and she hears from him often 
enough, — postals, mostly ; but she don't talk about 
Bartley, Bartley!" The Squire stretched his lips 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 331 

back from his teeth, and inlialed a long breath, as he 
rubbed his chin. 

" You don't suppose anything *s happened since you 
was up there," said Mrs. Gaylord. 

" Nothing but what 's happened from the stait. 
He '5 happened. He keeps happening right along, I 
guess." 

Mrs. Gaylord found herself upon the point of ex- 
periencing a painful emotion of sympathy, but she 
saved herself by saying: "Well, Mr. Gaylord, I 
don't know as you 've got anybody but yourself to 
thank for it all You got him here, in the first 
place'* She took one of the kerosene lamps from 
the table, and went upstairs, leaving him to follow 
at his will. 

Marcia sometimes went out to the Squire's office 
in the morning, carrying her baby with her, and prop- 
ping her with law-books on a newspaper in the mid- 
dle of the floor, while she dusted the shelves, or sat 
down for one of the desultory talks in the satisfac- 
tory silences which she had with her father. 

He usually found her there when he came up from 
the post-office, with the morning mail in the top of 
his hat: the last evening's Events, — which Bart- 
ley had said must pass for a letter from him when he 
did not write, — and a letter or a postal card from 
him. She read these, and gave her lather any news 
or message that Bartley sent ; and then she sat down 
at his table to answer them. But one morning, after 
she had been at home nearly a month, she received a 
letter for which she postponed Bartley's postal. " It 's 
from Olive Halleck !" she said, with a glance at the 
handwriting on the envelope ; and she tore it open, 
and ran it through. " Yes, and they 11 come here, 
any time I let them know. They 've been at Ni- 
agara, and they 've come down the St. Lawrence to 
Quebec, and they will be at North Conway the last 





332 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

of next week. Now, father, I want to do somet 
for them ! " she cried, feeling an American da 
ter's right to dispose of her father, and all his 
sessions, for the behoof of her friends at any t 
" I want they should come to the house." 

" Well, I guess there won't be any trouble ah:::^^^^^* 
that, if you think they can put up with our wa^^S^ ^ 
living." He smiled at her over his spectacles. 

" Our way of living ! Put up with it 1 I sh 
hope as mz^A / They 're just the kind of people 
will put up with anything, because they've 
everything. And because they're all as sweet 
good as they can be. You don't know them, fatl 
you don't half know them ! Now, just get ri 

away," — she pushed him out of the chair he 1^^ 

taken at the table, — " and let me write to Bartr^^^^^^ 
"this instant. He 's got to come when they 're he^^^^* 
and I '11 invite them to come over at once, before th .^^^^ 
get settled at North Conway." — i-'b 

He gave his dry chuckle to see her so fired wi^^^.^^^^ 
pleasure, and he enjoyed the ardor with which s 
drove him up out of his chair, and dashed off her 
ters. This was her old way ; he would have lik 
the prospect of the Hallecks coming, because it ma 
his girl so happy, if for nothing else. 

" Father, I will tell you about Ben Halleck," sh 
said, jiounding her letter to Olive with the thick 
her hand to make the envelope stick. " You kno 
that lameness of his ? *• 

" Yes." 

" Well, it came from his being thrown down b 
another boy when he was at school. He knew the^ 
boy that did it ; and the boy must have known that^ 
Mr. Halleck knew it, but he never said a word to^ 
show that he was sorry, or did anything to make up> 
for it. He 's a man now, and lives there in Boston,, 
and Ben Halleck often meets him. He says that if 







A MODERN INSTANCE. 333 

C>he man can stand it he can. Don't you think that 's 
grand ? When I heard that, I made up my mind 
bhat I wanted Elavia to belong to Ben Halleck's 
church, — or the church he did belong to ; he doesn't 
belong to any now 1 " 

" He could n't have got any damages for such a 
bhiiig anyway," the Squire said. 

Marcia paid no heed to this legal opinion of the 
::3ase. She .took oflf her father's hat to put the letters 
into it, and, replacing it on his head, " Now don't you 
Ebrget them, father," she cried. 

She gathered up her baby and hurried into tlie 
boase, where she began her preparatioas for her 
j^uests. 

The elder Miss Hallecks had announced with much 
Love, through Olive, that they should not be able to 
3onie to Equity, and Ben was to bring Olive alone. 
Marcia decided that Ben should have the guest-cham- 
ber, and Olive should have her room ; she and Bart- 
Ley could take the little room in the L while their 
quests remained. 

But when the Hallecks came, it appeared that Ben 
had engaged quai-ters for himself at the hotel, and no 
3xpostulation would prevail with him to come to 
Squire G^ylord's house. 

" We have to humor him in such things, Mrs. Hub- 
bard/' Olive explained, to Marcia's distress. "And 
most people get on very well without him." 

This explanation was of course given in Halleck's 
presence. His sister added, behind his back : " Ben 
lias a perfectly morbid dread of giving trouble in a 
lii>use. He won't let us- do anvthing to make him 
comfortable at home, and the idea that you should 
attempt it drove him distracted. You must rit mind 
it. I don't believe he'd have come if his bachelor 
freedom could n't have been respected ; and we both 
^wanted to come very much." 



P 



334 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

The Hallecks arrived in the forenoon, and Bartley 
was due in the evening. But during the afternoon 
Marcia had a telegram saying that he could not come 
till two days later, and asking her to postpone tlie 
picnic she had planned. The Hallecks were only 
going to stay three days, and the suspicion that 
Bartley had delayed in order to leave himself as little 
time as possible with them rankled in her heart so 
that she could not keep it to herself when they met. 

" Was that what made you give me such a cool 
reception ? " he asked, with cynical good-nature. 
" Well, you 're mistaken ; I don't suppose I mind the 
Hallecks any more than they do me. I '11 ^ tell you 
wliy I stayed. Some people dropped down on. With- 
erby, who were a little out of his line, — fashionable 
people that he had asked to let him know if they 
ever came to Boston ; and when they did come and 
let him know, he did n't know what to do about it, 
and he called on me to help him out. I *ve been 
almost boarding with Witherby'for the last three 
days ; and I 've been barouching round all over the 
moral vineyard with his friends : out to Mount Au- 
burn and the Washington Elm, and Bunker Hill, and 
Brookline, and the Art Museum, and Lexington ; 
we 've been down the harbor, and we have n't left a 
monumental stone unturned. They were going north, 
and they came down here with me ; and I got them 
to stop over a day for the picnic." 

" You got them to stop over for the picnic ? Why, 
/ don't want anybody but ourselves, Bartley ! This 
spoils everything." 

"The Hallecks are not ourselves," said Bartley. 
" And these are jolly people ; they '11 help to make it 
go off." 

" Who are they ? " asked Marcia, with provisional 
self-control. 

." Ob, some people that Witherby met in Portland 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 335 

iUett's, who used to have the logging-camp out 

hat Montreal woman !" cried Marcia, with fatal 
ition. ^ 

•tley laughed. ** Yes, Mrs. Macallister and her 
ud. She 's a regular case. She '11 amuse you.'* 
rcia's passionate eyes blazed. " She shall never 
to my picnic in the world ! " 

? " Hartley looked at her in a certain way. 
shall come to mine, then. There will be two 
s. Tlie more the merrier." 

rcia gasped, as if she felt the clut<5h in which 
isband had her tightening on her heart She 
[lat she could only carry her point against him 

cost of disgraceful division before the Hallecks, 
lich he would not care in the least. She moved 
Bad a little from side to side, like one that 
les a stifling air. " Oh, let her come," she said 
V, at' last. 

ow you 're talking business," said Bartley. " I 
I't forgotten the little snub Mrs. Macallister 
ne, and you '11 see me pay her ofi!" 
rcia made no answer, but went downstairs to 
hat face she could upon the matter to Olive, 

she had left alone in the parlor, while she ran 
bh Bartley immediately upon his arrival to de- 
an explanation of him. In her wrathful haste 
id forgotten to kiss him, and she now remem- 
that he had not looked at the baby, which she 

1 the time had in her arms. 

I picnic was tp be in a pretty glen three or 
liles north of the village, where there was shade 
dt of level green, and a spring bubbling out of 
-hung bluff: from which you looked down the 
ver a stretch of the river. Marcia had planned 
aey were to drive thither in a four-seated carr}'- 
it the addition of Hartley's guests disarranged 



336 



A MODERN ISSTANCE. 



6 



" There *s only one way," said Mrs. Macallister, "W^lo 
had driven up with her husband from the hotel ^ 
the Squiie's house in a buggy. "Mr. Halleck tells 
me he does n't know how to drive, and my husband 
does n't know the way. Mr. Hubbard must get i^ 
here with me, and you must take Mr. Macallister 
in your party." She looked authoritatively at tl^e 
others. 

" First rate ! " cried Bartley, climbing to the seat 
which Mr. Macallister left vacant. ** We '11 lead t>^^ 
way." 

Those who followed had difficulty in keeping tti^^^ 
buggy in sight Sometimes Bartley stopped Ic*^"^? 
enough for them to come up, and then, after a w -^'•'^ 
or two of gay banter, was off again. 

They had taken possession of the picnic groui 
and Mrs. Macallister was disposing shawls for r 
and drapery, while Bartley, who had got the horse 
and tethered where he could graze, was pushing 
buggy out of the way by the shafts, when the carry 
came up. 

" Don't we look quite domestic ? " she asked of t 
arriving company, in her neat English tone, and 
rising English inflection. "You know I like thi 
she added, singling Halleck out for her remark, a 
making it as if it were brilliant. " I like being o 
of doors, don't you know. But there 's one thing 
don't like : we were n't able to get a drop of cha 
pagne at that ridiculous hotel They told us thi 
were not allowed to keep * intoxicating liquo 
Now I call that jolly stupid, you know. I don 
know whatever we shall do if you have n't broug 
something." 

" I believe this is a famous spring," said Halleck. 

" How droll you are ! Spring, indeed !" cried Mrs, 
Macallister. " Is that the way you let your brothel ^^^^ 
make game of people, Miss Halleck ? " She directe(t^^ 






A MODERN INSTANCE. 337 

good deal of her rattle at Olive ; she scarcely spoke 
> Marcia, but ishe was nevertheless furtively observ- 
it of her. Mr. Macallister had his rattle too, which, 
'ter trying it uusatrsfactorily upon Marcia, lie plied 
most exclusively for Olive. He made puns ; he 
iked conundrums ; he had all the accomplishments 
hich keep people going in a lively, mirthful, colo- 
al society ; and he had the idea that he must pay 
tentions and promote repartee. His wife and he 
ajed into each other's hands in their jeux iVesprit ; 
id kept Olive's inquiring Boston mind at work in 
e vain endeavor to account for and to place them 
oially. Bai'tley hung about Mrs. Macallister, and 
)^ nearly as obedient as her husband. He felt that 
e Hallecks disapproved his behavior, and that made 
nn enjoy it; he was almost rudely negligent of 

ive. 

The composition of the party left Marcia and Hal- 
-Ic necessarily to each other, and she accepted this 
i^angement in a sort of passive seriousness; but 
^Ueck saw that her thoughts wandered from her 
l^lc with him, and that her eyes were always turning 
th painful anxiety to Bartley. After their lunch, 
^ich left them with the whole afternoon before them, 
^rcia said, in a timid effort to resume her best 
^ership of the affair, " Bartley, don't you think 
^y would like to see the view from the Devil's 
^ckbone ? " 

** Would you like to see the view from the Devil's 
^kbone ?" he asked in turn of Mrs. Macallister. 

"And what is the Devil's Backbone?" she inquired. 

"It's a ridge of rocks on the bluff above here," 
id Bartley, nodding his head vaguely towards the 
Luk. 

" And how do you get to it ? " asked Mrs. Macallis- 
r, pointing her pretty chin at him in lifting her 
sad to look. 

22 



338 A MOPSBN IN3XANCK 

« Walk." 

" Thanks, then ; I shall try to be satisfied with "^^ 
own backbone," said Mrs. Macallister, who had ^^ 
freedom in alluding to her anatomy which marks ^P^ 
superior civilization of Great Britain and its qo\o^^^ 
dependencies. 

" Carry you," suggested Bartley. , , 

" I dare say you 'd be very sure-footed ; but I 
quite enough of donkeys in the hills at home." 

Bartley roared with the resolution of a man ^*^^ 
will enjoy a joke at his own expense. 

Marcia turned away, and referred her invitati<^*' 
with a glance, to Olive. ^ . 

" I don*t believe Miss Hajleck wants to go," a^--^ 
Mr. Macallister. ^ 

" I could n*t," said Olive, regretfully. " I Ve neitl^ 
the feet nor the head for climbing over high ro(? 
places.'' 

Marcia was about to sink down on the grass aga 
from which she had risen, in the hopes that 
proposition would succeed, when Bartley called o 
-* Why don't you show Ben the Devil's Backbon 
The view is worth seeing, Halleck." 

" Would you like to go? " asked Marcia, listlessl 

" Yes, I should, very much," said Halleck, sera 
bling to his feet, " if it won't tire you too much ? " 

" Oh, no," said Marcia, gently, and led the wa^ 

She kept ahead of him in the climb, as she easil^^ 
could, and she answered brieflv to all he said. Whe -^ 

' V _|| — 

they arrived at the top, " There is the view," she sai ^ 
coldly. She waved her hand toward the valley ; sh i 
made a sound in her throat as if she would speaC 
again, but her voice died in one broken sob. • 

Halleck stood with downcast eyes, and trerablecS^^ 
He durst not look at her, not for what he should se 
in her face, but for what she sliould see in his : th 
anguish of intelligence, the helpless pity. He be 





A MODERN mSTAKCE. 339 

the rock at his feet with the ferule of his stick, and 
could not Kfb his head again. When he did, she 
stood tamed from him and drying her eyes on hef 
handkerchief. Their looks met, and she trusted her 
delf-betrayal to him without any attempt at excuse 
or explanation. 

*' I will send Huhbard up to help you down," said 
Halleck. 

" Well," she answered, sadly. 
He clambered down the side of the bluff, and 
Bartley started to his feet in guilty alarm when he 
saw him approach. ** What 's the matter ? ** 

*' Nothing. But I think you had better help Mrs. 
Hubbard down the bluflF." 

"Oh!'* cried Mrs. Macallister. "A panic! how 
^titeresting!" 

Halleck did not respond. He threw himself on 

^he grass, and left her to change or pursue the sub- 

J^ot as she liked.. Bartley showed more mvoir-faire 

^hen he came back with Marcia, after an absence 

^^rifT enou^^h to let her remove the traces of her 

"Pretty rough on your game foot, Halleck. But 
xircia had got it into her head that it was n't safe to 
^^vist you to help her down, even after you had helped 
■^^T up." 

^'Ben," said Olive, when they were seated in the 
y^^^in the next day, " why did you send Marcia's hus- 
^^nd up there to her ? '' She had the effect of not 
■^^ving rested till she could ask him. 

**She was crying," he answered. 

"What do you suppose could have been the 
^^^atter ? " 

" What you do : she was miserable about his co- 
^Tietting witli that woman." 

" Yes. I could see that she hated terribly to have 



340 A MODEHN INSTANCE. 

her come ; and that she ferlt put down by her all the 
time. What kind of person is Mrs. Macallister ? " 
4 "Oh, a fool/' replied Halleck. "All flirts are 
fools." 

" I think she 's moref wicked than foolish." 

" Oh, no, flirts are better than they seem, — perhaps 
because men are better than flirts think. But they 
make misery just the same." 

" Yes," sighed Olive. " Poor Marcia, poor Marcia ! 
But I suppose that, if it were not Mrs. Macallister, it 
would be some one else." 

" Given Bartley Hubbard, — yes." 

"And given Marcia. Well, — I don't like being 
mixed up with other people's unhappiness, Ben. 
It 's dangerous." 

" I don't like it either. But you can't very well 
keep out of people's unhappiness in this world." 

" No," assented Olive, ruefully. 

The talk fell, and Halleck attempted to read a 
newspaper, while Olive looked out of the window. 
She presently turned to him. " Did you ever fancy 
any resemblance between Mrs. Hubbard and the 
photograph of that girl we used to joke about, — your 
lost love ? " 

" Yes," said Halleck. 

" What's become of it, — the photograph ? I can't 
find it any more; I wanted to show it to her one 
day." 

" I destroyed it. I burnt it the first evening after 
I had met Mrs. Hubbard. It seemed to me that it 
was n't right to keep it." 

" Why, you don't think it was her photograph ! " 

" I think it was," said Halleck. He took up his 
paper again, and read on till they left the cars. 

That evening, when Halleck came to his sister's 
room to bid her good night, she threw her arms 
round his neck, and kissed his plain, common face, in 
which she saw a heavenly beauty. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 341 

en, dear," she said, " if you don't turn out the 

est man in the world, I shall say there 's no use 

ng good I " 

erhaps you *d better say that after all I was n't 

' he suggested, with a melancholy smile. 

shall know better," she retorted. 

Thy, what 's the matter, now ? " 

othing. I was only thinking. Good night ! " 

ood night," said Halleck. " You seem to think 

^om is better than my company, good as I am." 

es," she said, laughing in that breathless way 

I means weeping next, with women. Her eyes 

tied, 

rell," said Halleck, limping out of the room, 

're quite good-looking with your hair down, 

» 

.11 girls are," she answered. She leaned out of 
oorway to watch him as he limped down the 
or to his own room. There was something 
tic, something disappointed and weary in the 
rnent of his figure, and when she shut her door, 
an back to her mirror, she could not see the 
looking girl there for her tears. 



I 



342 A MODERN INSXANCK 



XXVIII. 



,umn 
tbe 



into 
ded 



"Hello !" said Bartley, one day after the aut 
had brought back all the summer ^^anderers tc 
city, ** I have n't seen you for a month of Sund^^?f^ 
He had Eicker by the hand, and he pulled him 
a doorway to be a little out of the rush on the cro^ 
pavement, while they chatted. — -n^te 

" That 's because I can't afford to go to the WI^ V^. 
Mountains, and swell round at the aristocratic s^^ t»^ 
mer resorts like some people," returned Eicker. "]^^ 
a homy-handed son of toil, myself/' _,-^ett 

" Pshaw ! '' said Bartley. " Who is n't ? I 've h^^^^^^d 
here hard at it, except for three days at one time £^^ 

five at another." ^.^.r-cotd 

" Well, all I can say is that I saw in the Eecc^^^g^ 
personals, that Mr. Hubbard, of the Events, ''^'^^Vlav? 
spending the summer months with his father-in-la^^ ^un 
Judge Gay lord, among the spurs of the White Moii^-^ '^ 
tains. I supposed you wrote it yourself. You' ^^^ 
full of ideas about journalism/* ^j 

" Oh, come ! I would n't work that joke any mo^^^^^^^,^^ 
Look here, Eicker, I '11 tell you what I want. I was^^ 
you to dine with me." ^ j^, 

" Dines people ! " said Eicker, in an awestrick^ '^ 
aside. ^ 

" No, — T mean business ! You Ve never seen nr-^'^ ^^ 
kid yet: and you've never seen my'house. I wai^-^^^^^ 
you to come. We 've all got back, and we 're in nic^ -^ 
running order. What day are you disengaged ? " ^ 

" Let me see," said Eicker, thoughtfully. " ""^^ 



A MODEftN INSTANCE. 343 

rinany engagements! Wait! I could squeeze your 
ciinner in some time next month, Hubbard.'* 

"All right But suppose we say next Sunday. 
Six is the hour." 

** Six ? Oh> I can't dine in the middle of the fore- 
moon that way ! Make it later ! '* 

** Well, we '11 say one p. m., then. I know your 
dinner hour. We shall expect you." 

" Better not, tUl I come." Bartley knew that this 
^^as Kicker's way of accepting, and he said nothing, 
but he answered his next question with easy joviality. 
* How are you making it with old Witherby ?" 

" Oh, hand over hand ! Witherby and I were 
Ebrmed for each other. By, by ! " 

*' No, hold on ! Why don't you come to the club 
any more?" 

" We-e-11 ! The club is n't what it used to be," 
said Bartley, confidentially. 

•* Why, of course ! It is n't just the thing for a 
gentleman moving in the select circles of Clover 
Street, as you do; but why not come, sometimes, in 
bhe character of distinguished guest, and encourage 
your humble friends ? I was talking with a lot of the 
fellows about you the other night." 
Were they abusing me ? " 

They were speaking the truth about you, and 
3 stopped them. I told them that sort of thing 
^would n't do. Why, you 're getting fat ! " 

" You 're behind the times, Eicker," said Bartley. 
*' I began to get fat six months ago. I don't wonder 
"the Chronicle Abstract is running down on your 
liands. Come round and try my tivoli on Sunday. 
"That 's what gives a man girth, my boy." He tapped 
IRicker lightly on his hollow waistcoat, and left him 
"with a wave of his hand. 

Eicker leaned out of the doorway and followed 
lim down the street with a troubled eye. He had 






344 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

taken stock in Bartley, as the aaying is, and his heart 
misgave him that he should lose on the investment; 
he could not have sold out to any of their friends for *^^' 
twenty cents on the dollar. Nothing that any one ^ 

could lay his finger on heA hflppeBod^ and yet there ^ 

had been a general loss of eotifidence in tlKit particu- 
lar stock. Eicker irirnself had lodt confidence in it, ^ 

and when he lightly mentioned ibat talk nt the club, <• 

with a lot of the fellows, he had a sferious wish to get • 

at Hartley some time, and see wljat It was that was ^ 

beginning to make people mistrust him. The fellows • 

who liked him at mst and wished him well, and be- 
lieved in his talent, had mostly dropped hind. Hart- 
ley's associates were now the most ftalBsh 3et oti the ' 
press, or the green hands ; and eomethipK tftd brought 
this to pass in less than two years, Hicker had be- 
lieved that it was Witherby ; at the cltib he had con- 
tended that it was Hartley's association with With- 
erby that made people doubtful of hitn. As for those 
ideas that Hartley had advanced in their discus&ion 
of journalism, he had considered it all mere young 
man's nonsense that Hartley would outgrow. Hut 
now, as he looked at Hartley's back, h^ had his mis- 
givings; it struck him as the back of a degenerate 
man, and that increasing bulk seemed not to repre- 
sent an increase of wholesoipe substattce, but a corky, 
buoyant tissue, materially responsive to some sort of 
moral drv-rot. 

Hartley pushed on to the Events office in a blitlie 
humor. Witherby had recently advanced his salary ; 
he was giving him fifty dollars a week now ; and 
Hartley had made himself necessary in more ways 
than one. He was not only readily serviceable, 
but since he had volunteered to write those adver- 
tising articles for an advance of pay, he was in pos- 
session of business facts that could be made very 
uncomfortable to Witherby in the event of a dis- 






j^mentu Witherby not only paid him well, but 

kted him well ; he even suffered Bartley to bully 

p a little, and let him foresee the day when 

t must be recognized as the real editor of the 

rents. 

[At home everything went on smoothly. The baby 

ffits well and growing fa3t ; she was beginning to ex- 

^ode airy bubbles on lier pretty lips that a fond 

ttiperstition might interpret as papa and mamma. 

She had passed that stage io which a man regardsl 

^is child with despair; she had passed out of slip- 

jpery and evasive doughiness into a firm tangibiUty 

IShat mAde it some pleasure to hold her. 

Bartley liked to take her ou his lap, to feel the 
spring of her little legs, as she tried to rise on her 
leet; he liked to have her stretch out her arms to 
Iiini from her mother's embrace. The innocent ten- 
derness which he experienced at these moments was 
satisfactory proof to him that he was a very good 
fellow, if not a good man. When he spent an even- 
ing at home, with Flavia in his lap for half an hour 
after dinner, he felt so domestic that be seemed to 
himself to be spending all his evenings at home now. 
Once or twice it had happened, when the housemaid 
was out, that he went to the door with the baby on 
his arm, and answered the ring of Ohve and Ben 
Halleck, or of Olive and one or both of the interme- 
diary sisters. 

The Hallecks were the only people at all apt to 
call in the evening, and Bartley ran so little chance 
of meeting any one else, when he opened the door 
with Flavia on his arm, that probably he would not 
have thought it worth while to put her down, even 
if he had not rather enjoyed meeting them in that 
domestic phase. He had not only long felt how in- 
tensely Olive disliked him, but he had observed that 
somehow it embarrassed Ben Halleck to see him in 



I 
i 



846 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

his character of devoted youiig father. At those 
times he used to rally his old friend upon getting 
maiTied, and laughed at the confusion to which the 
joke put him. He said more than once afterwards, 
that he did not see what fun Ben Halleck got out of 
coming there ; it must bore even such a dull fellow 
as he was to sit a whole evening like that and not 
say twenty words. " Perhaps he 's livelier when I 'm 
not here, though," he suggested. " T always did seem 
to throw a wet blanket on Ben Halleck." He did 
not at all begrudge Halleck's having a better time in 
his absence if he could. 

One night when the bell rung Bartley roSe, and 
saying, " I wonder which of the tribe it is this time," 
went to the door. But when he opened it, instead 
of hearing the well-known voices, Marcia listened 
through a hesitating silence, whicli ended in a loud 
laugh from without, and a cry from her husband of 
" Well, I swear ! Why, you infamous old scoundrel, 
come in out of the wet ! " There ensued, amidst 
Bartley*s voluble greetings, a noise ot* shy shuffling 
about in the hall, as of a man not perfectly master 
of his footing under social pressure, a sound of husky, 
embarrassed whispering, a dispute about doffing an 
overcoat, and question as to the disposition of a liat, 
and then Bartley reappeared, driving before him the 
lank, long figure of a man who blinked in the flash of 
gaslight, as Bartley turned it all up in the chandelier 
overhead, and rubbed his immense hands in cruel 
embarrassment at the beauty of Marcia, set like a 
jewel in the pretty comfort of the little parlor. 

" Mr. Kinney, Mrs. Hubbard," said Bartley ; and 
having accomplished the introduction, he hit Kinney 
a thwack between the shoulders with the flat of his 
hand that drove him stumbling across Marcia*s foot- 
stool into the seat on the sofa to which she had point- 
ed him. " You old fool, where did you come from ? " 



k 



A MODERN INStANCB. 347 

The refined warmth of Bartley's welcome seemed 
to make Kinney feel at home, in spite of his trepida- 
tions at Marcia's presence. He bobbed his head for- 
ward, and stretched his mouth wide, in one of his 
vast, silent laughs. " Better ask where I 'm goin* to." 

*' Well, I '11 ask that, if it '11 be any accommoda- 
tion. Where you goidg ? '* 

" Illinois." 

" For a divorce f " 

" Try again." 

"To get married?" 

" Maybe, after I 've made my pile." Kinney's eyes 
wandered about the room, and took in its evidences 
of prosperity, with simple, uiienvioils admiration ; he 
euded with a furtive glirnpe of Marcia, who seemed 
to be a climax of good luck, too dazzling for contem- 
plation ; he withdrew his glance from her as if hurt, 
by her splendor, and became serious. 

" Well, you 're the tost mati I ever expected to see 
again," said Hartley, sitting down with the baby in 
his lap, and contemplating Kinney With deliberation. 
Kinney was dressed ih a long frock-coat of cheap 
diagonals, black cassimere pantaloons, a blue neck- 
tie, and a celluloid collar. He had evidently had one 
of his encounters with a cheap clothier, in which the 
Jew had triumphed ; but he had not yet visited a 
barber, and his hair and beard were as shaggy as they 
were in the logging-camp ; his hands and face were 
as brown as leather. "But I'm as glad," Bartley 
added, " as if you had telegraphed you were coming. 
Of course, you 're going to put up with us." He had 
observed Kinney's awe of Marcia, and he added this 
touch to let Kinney see that he was master in his 
house, and lord even of that radiant presence. 

Kinney started in tesJ distress. " Oh, no ! I 
could n't do it ! I 've got all my things round at the 
Quincy House." 



348 A MODERN INSTAN€a 

" Trunk or bag ? " asked Bartley. 

" Well, it *s a bag ; but — " 

" All right. We '11 step round and get it together. 
I generally take a little stroll out, after dinner," said 
Bartley, tmnquilly. 

Kinney was beginning again, when Marcia, who had 
been stealing some covert looks at him under her eye- 
lashes, while she put together the sewing she was at 
work on, preparatory to going upstairs with the baby, 
joined Bartley in his invitation. 

" You wont make us the least trouble, Mr. Kin- 
ney,*' she said. " The guest^jhamber is all ready, and 
we shall be glad to have you stay." 

Kinney must have felt the note of sincerity in her 
words. He hesitated, and Bartley clinched his tacit 
assent with a quotation : " ' The chief ornament of a 
house is the guests who frequent it.' Who says 
that?" 

Kinney's little blue eyes twinkled. "Old Emer- 
son." 

" Well, I agree with him. We do n't care anything 
about your company, Kinney ; but we want you for 
decorative purposes." 

Kinney opened his mouth for another noiseless 
laugh, and said, " Well, fix it to suit yourselves." 

" I '11 carry her up for you," said Bartley to Marcia, 
who was stooping forward to take the baby from him, 
" if Mr. Kinney will excuse us a moment." 

*' All right," said Kinney. 

Bartley ventured upon this bold move, because he 
had found that it was always best to have things out 
with Marcia at once, and, if she was going to take his 
hospitality to Kinney in bad part, he wanted to get 
through the trouble. "That was very nice of you, 
Marcia," he said, when they were in their own room. 
" My invitation rather slipped out, and I did n't know 
how you would like it." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 349 

'* Oh, I "01 veiy glad to have him stay. I never for- 

et about his wanting to lend you money that time/' 
said Marcia, opening the baby's crib. 

"You're a mighty good fellow, Marcia!" cried 
IBartley, kissing her over the top of the baby's head 
»s she took it from him. ''And I*m not half good 
enough for you. You never forget a benefit Nor an 
injury either," he added, with a laugh. "And I'm 
afraid that I forget one about as easily as the other." 

Marcia's eyes suffused themselves at this touch of 
self-analysis which, coming from Hartley, had its 
sadness ; but she s^d nothing, and he was eager to 
escape and get back to their guest. He told her lie 
should go out with Kinney, and that she was not to 
sit up, for they might be out lata 

In his pride, he took Kinney down to the Events 
office, and unlocked it, and lit the gas, so as to show 
him the editorial rooms ; and then he passed him into 
one of the theatres, where they saw part of an Offen- 
bach opera ; after that they went to the Parker House, 
and had a New York stew. Kinney said he must be 
off by the Sunday-night train, and Bartley thought 
it well to concentrate as many dazzling effects upon 
him as he could in the single evening at his disposal. 
He only regretted that it was not the club night, for 
he would have liked to take Kinney round, and show 
him some of the fellows. 

" But never mind," he said. " I *m going to have 
one of them dine with us to-morrow, and you 11 see 
about the best of the lot." 

" Well, sir," observed Kinney, when they had got 
back into Bartley's parlor, and he was again drinking 
in its prettiness in the subdued liglit of the shaded 
argand burner, " I hain't seen anything yet that suits 
me much better than this." 

" It is n't bad," said Bartley. He had got up a 
plate of crackers and two bottles of tivoli, and was 



a 



a 
to 



350 A MOt>ERN INSTANCE. 

opening the first. He offered the beaded goblei^^^ 
Kinney. 

" Tliank you/' said Kinney. " Not any. I ne ^^^^^ 
do." 

Hartley quaffed half of it in tdleratit content. " ^ 

always do. Find it takes my nerves down at the e^^^^ 
of a hard week's work. Well, how, tell me dovn^^T 
thing about yourself. What are you going to do ^^ 

ininois ? " 

" Well, sir, I 've got a friend out there that *9 got 
coal mine, and he thinks he can work me in som^ ^:^^' 
how. I guess he can ; I 've tried pretty much ever;;^;*'^^'*^ 
thing. Why don't you oome out there and start 
newspaper ? We Ve got a town that 's bound II 
grow." 

It amused Hartley to hear Kinney bragging already ^::^^y 
of a town that he had never Seen. He winked ; . 

good-natured disdain over the rim of the goblet whict ^^^^1 
he tilted on his lips. "And give up my chances^^^^ 
here ? " he said, as he set the goblet down. 

" Well, that's so !" said Kinney, responding to th^ 
sense of the wink. " I '11 tell you what. Hartley, it 
did n't know as you 'd speak to me when T rung your^ ^^ U 
bell to-night. Hut thinks I to myself, *Dumn it It -ir 
look here! He can't more 'n slam the door in your^^^^^ 
face, anyway. And you 've hankered after him so ^^^ \* 
long, — go and take your chances, you old buzzard!* 'J^ 

And so I got your address at the Events office "'=•*' 
pretty early this morning ; and I went round all day 
screwing my courage up, as old Macbeth says, — or 
Ritchloo, /don't know which it was, — and at last I 
did get myself so that I toed the mark like a little 



I 

UT 



^^*r 



man." 



Hartley laughed so that he could hardly get the 
cork out of the second bottle. 

*' You see," said Kinney, leaning forward, and 
taking Hartley's plump, soft knee between his thumb 



/ 



A HODBRK INSTAKCE. 351 

4iad forefinger, "I felt awfully about the way we 
parted that night. 1 felt had. I had n't acted well, 
just to my own mind, and it cut me to have you 
refuse my money ; it cut me all the worse because I 
saw that you was partly right ; I Imd rCt been quite 
fair with you. But I always did admire you, and 
you know it Some them little things you used to 
get off in the old Free Press — well, I could see 't 
you was smart. And I liked you; and it kind o' 
hurt me when I thought you 'd been makin' fun 
o' me to that woman. Well, I could see 't I was a 
damned old fool, afterwards. And I always wanted 
to tell you so. And I always did hope that I should 
be able to oflFer you that money again, twice over, 
and get you to take it just to show that you did n't 
bear malice." Hartley looked up, with quickened 
interest. " But I can't do it now, sir," added Kinney. 

" Why, what 's happened ? " asked -Bartley, in a 
disappointed tone, pouring out his second glass from 
his second bottle. 

" Well, sir," said Kinney, with a certain reluctance, 
"I undertook to provision the camp on spec, last 
winter, and — well, you know, I always run a Utile 
on food for the brain," — Bartley broke into a remi- 
niscent cackle, and Kiimey smiled forlornly, — " and 
thinks I, 'Dumn it, I '11 give 'em the real thing, every 
time.' And I got hold of a health-food circular ; and 
I sent on for a half a dozen barrels of their crackers 
and half a dozen of their flour, and a lot of cracked 
cocoa, and I put the camp on a health-food basis. I 
calculated to bring those fellows out in the spring 
physically vigorous and mentally enlightened. But 
my goodness ! After the first bakin' o' that flour and 
the first round o' them crackers, it wa« all up ! Fel- 
lows gob so mad that I suppose if I liad n't gone 
back to doughnuts, and sody biscuits, and Japan tea, 
they 'd 'a' burnt the camp down. Of course I yielded. 
But it ruined me, Bartley ; it bu'st me." 




353 A HODEKN INSTANCK 

Bartley dropped his arms upon the table, and, hii^ .Rid- 
ing his face upon them, laughed and laughed again. — 

"Well, sir," said Kinney, with sad satistactioi^ 
" T 'm glad to see that you don't need any mo 
from me." He had been taking another soiryey 
the parlor and the dining-room beyond " I don 
know as I ever saw anybody much better fixed. 
should say that you was a success } and you desenr"*^ 
it. You 're a smart fellow, Bart, and. you 're a go o ^ ^^ 
fellow. You 're a generous fellow." Kinney's voicp^ 
shook with emotion. 

Bartley, having lifted his wet and flush^ fa 
managed to say: "Oh, there's nothing mean abou^ 
me, Kinney," as he felt blindly for the beer bottles, -^^^' 
which he shook in succession with an evident sur^ — -^^^' 
prise at finding them empty. 

" You 've acted like a brother to me, Bartley Hub "^^ 

bard," continued Kinney, " and I sha'n't forget it in ^^^ -c 



t 



a hurry. I guess it would about broke my heart, if "^^^^ 
you had n't taken it just the way you did to-night ''^J j\ 
I should like to see the man that did n't use you well, ^ ^. 
or the woman, either ! " said Kinney, with vague de- 
fiance. " Though they don't seem to have done so bad 
by you," he added, in recognition of Marcia's merit ''*^. 
" I should say that was the biggest part of your luck. '^ ^t 
She 's a lady, sir, every inch of her. M^hty different ^ j, 

stripe from that Montreal woman that cut up so that 
night." ^^ 

** Oh, Mrs. Macallister was n't such a scamp, after 
all," said Bartley, with magnanimity. ^j 

" Well, sir, you can say so. I ain't going to be too ^ 

strict with a girl ; but I like to see a married woman t 

aet like a married woman. Now, I don't think you 'd 
catch Mrs. Hubbard flirting with a young fellow the 
way that woman went on with you that night ? " 
Bartley grinned. "Well, sir, you're getting along, 
and you 're happy." 



/" 



i 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 353 

erfect dam/' said Bartley. 

uch a poration as joa've got, — auch a house, 

I wife, and such a baby ! Well," said Kinuey, 

, " it 's a little too much for me.'* 

Taut to go to bed ? " asked Bartley. 

es, I guess I better turn iu,'' returned Kinney, 

iringly. 

low you the way." 

•tley tripped up stairs with Kinney's bag, which 

had left standing in the hall^ while Kinney 

3d carefully after him ; and so led the way to 

lest-chamber, and turned up the gaslight, which 

een left burning low. 

iney stood erect, dwarfing the room, and looked 

on the pink chintzing, and sofb carpet, and 

coverleted bed, and lace-hooded dressing-mir- 
dth meek veneration. "Well, I swear 1" He 
lo more, but sat hopelessly down, and began to 
flf his boots. 

was in the same humble mood the next morn- 
vhen, having got up inordinately early, he was 

trying to fix his mind on a newspaper by Bart- 
^ho came down late to the Sunday breakfast, 
3d his guest into the dining-room. Marcia, in 
dtching morning-gown, was already there, hav- 
ut the daintier touches to the meal herself ; and 
•aby, in a fresh white dress, was there tied into 
oa-chair with a napkin, and beating on the table 
a spoon. Bartley's nonchalance amidst all this 
jssed Kinney with a yet more poignant sense of 
lUperiority, and almost deprived him of the 
rs of speech. When after breakfast Bartley 

him out to Cambridge on the horse-cars, and 
ed him the College buildings, and Memorial 

and the Washington Elm, and Mount Auburn, 

ey fell into such a cowed and broken condition, 

something had to be specially done to put him 

23 



354 A MOBERN INSTANCtL 

in repair against Kicker's oomfaig to dinner. Marcia 
luckily thought of asking him if he would like to see 
her kitchen. In this region Kinney found himself 
at home, and praised its neat perfection with profes- 
sional intelligence. Baitley followed them round 
with Flavia on his armj and put in a jocode word here 
and there, when he saw Kinney about to fall a prey 
to his respect for Marcia, and so kept hiin going till 
Ricker rang He contrived to give Bicker a hint of 
the sort of man he had on his hands, and by their 
joint eflbrt they had Kinney talking about himself at 
dinner before he knew what he was about. He 
could not help talking well upon this theme, and he 
had them so vividly interested, as he poured out ad- 
venture after adventure in his straluge (Saredr, that 
Bartley l^egan to be proud of him. 

" Well, sir," said Eicker, when he came to a pause, 
" you 've lived a romance." 

" Yes," replied Xinney, looking at Bartley for his 
approval, " and I Ve always thought that, if I ever 
got run clean ashore, high and dry, I 'd make a stag- 
ger to write it out and do something with it. Do 
you suppose I could ? " 

" I promise to take it for the Sunday edition of 
the Chronicle Abstract, whenever you get it ready," 
said Eidker. 

Bartley laid his hand on his friend's arm. ''It *s 
bought up, old fellow. That nan^ative — ' Confe.ssions 
of an Average American ' — belongs to the Events." 

They had their laugh at this, and then Eicker said 
to Kinney : " But look here, my friend ! What 's to 
prevent our interviewing you on this little personal 
history of yours, and using your material any way 
we like ? It seems to me that you 've put your head 
in the lion's mouth." 

" Oh, I *m amongst gentlemen," said Kinney, with 
an innocent swagger. " I understand that." 



A MODEKN INSTAKCe. 355 

1, 1 don't know about it," said Bicker. '' Hub- 
(re, ia used to all sorts of Imrd names ; but 
^er had that epithet applied to me before." 
ey doubled himself up over the side of his 
recognition of Kicker's jokQ ; and when Bart- 
and asked him if h« would ooroe into the parlor 
e a cigar, he said, with A wink, no, he guessed 
Id stay with the ladies. Qe waited with 
ystary till the folding-doors were closed, and 
had stopped peeping through the crevice be- 
hem, and then he began to disengage from 
^h-chain the golden nugget, shaped to a rude 
which hung there. This done, he asked if he 
ut it on the little necklace •*-* a christening gift 
Lrs. Halleck — which the baby had on, to see 
ooked. It looked very well, like an old Eo- 
la^ though neither KipDe^y nor Marcia knew 
uess well let it stay there," he suggested, 

Kinney ! " cried Maroia, in amaze, " I can't 

1" 

do now, ma'am ! " pleaded the big fellow, sim- 

If you knew how much good it does me, you 

Why, it's been like heaven to me to j^'et 
h a home as this for a day, — it has indeed." 
3 heaven ? " said Marcia, turning pale. " Oh, 

il, I don't mean any harm. What I mean is, 
locked about the world so much, and never 
home of my own, that to see folks as happy 
)e makes me happier than I 've been since I 
low when. Now, you let it stay. It was the 
ice of gold I picked up in Californy when 
out there in '50, and it's about the last; 
t have very good luck. Well, of course ! I 
ain't fit to give it ; but I want to do it. I 
>artley 's about the greatest fellow and he 's 



856 A MODERN INlSTANCE. 

the best fellow this world can show. That 's the v^?"^ 





I feel about him. And I want to do it. She 1 ^ 
thing wa'n't no use to me ! " 

Marcia always gave her maid of all work Sun(]^ -^J 
afternoon, and she would not trespass upon her rc:^^^ 
because she had guests that day. Except for ^^^^\ 
confusion to which Kinney's unexpected gift \\^^^ 
put her, she would have waited for him to join tL '^^' 
others before she began to clear away the dinne 
but now she mechanically began, and Kinney, 
whom these domestic occupations were a second n 
ture, joined her in the work, equally absent-mind 
in the fervor of his petition. 

Bartley suddenly llung open the doors. " My dea 
Mr. Eicker says he must be go—*' He discovere 
Marcia with the dish of potatoes in her hand, an 
Kinney in the act of carrying off the platter of tu 
key. " Look here, Eicker ! ** 

Kinney came to himself, and, opening his mout 
above the platter wide enough to swallow the re— -^^^ 
mains of the turkey, slapped his leg with the hand^^^^^ 
that he released for the purpose, and shouted, " The^^ ^ 
niling passion, Bartley, the ruling passion ! " ^^ ^ 

The men roared; but Marcia, even while she tookt^* 
in the situation, did not see anything so ridiculous in ^^^\ 
it as they. She smiled a little in sympathy with -^^ 
their mirth, and then said, with a look and tone ^"^^ 
which he had not seen or heard in her since the day 
of their picnic at Equity, " Come, see what Mr. Kin- 
ney has given baby, Bartley." 

They sat up talking Kinney over after he was gone ; 
but even at ten o'clock Bartley said he should not 
go to bed ; he felt like writing. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 357 



XXIX. 

TLBY lived well now. He felt that he could 
it, on fifty doUare a week ; and yet somehow he 
ways a sheaf of unpaid bills on hand. Bent 

much, the butcher so much, the grocer so 
these were the great outlays, and he knew 

hat they were ; but the sum total was always 
larger than he expected. At a pinch, he bor- 
; but he did not let Marcia know of this, for 
ould have starved herself to pay the debt; 
was worse, she would have wished him to 
with her. He kept the purse, and he kept the 
its ; he was master in his house, and he meant 

JO. 

pinch always seemed to come in the matter 
bhes, and then Marcia gave up whatever she 
d, and said she must make the old things do. 
y hated this ; in his position he nmst dress 
ind, as there was nothing mean about him, he 

1 Marcia to dress well to. Just at this time he 
Bt his heart on her having a certain sacqiie 

they had noticed in a certain window one day 
they were on Washington Street together. He 
sed her a week later by bringing the sacqiie 
to her, and he surprised himself with a sealskin 
hich he had long coveted : it was coming win- 
»w, and for half a dozen days of the season he 

really need the cap. There would be many 
vhen it would be comfortable, and many others 
it would be tolerable ; and he looked so hand- 



358 A MODliRK INSTAJIfCS. 

some in it that Marcia herself could not quite feel 
that it was an extravagance. She asked him how 
they could afford both of the things at once, but he 
answered with easy* myetery that he had provided 
the funds ; aftd she went gayly round with him to 
call on the Hallecks thftt evening and show off her 
sacque. It was so stylisli and pretty that it won her 
a compliment from Ben Hall'eck, wljich she noticed 
because it was the first compliment, or anything like 
it, that he had ever paid ner. She repeated it to 
Bartley. " He said that I looked like a Hungarian 
princess that he saw in Vienna." 

" Well, I suppose it has a hussar kind of look with 
that fur trimming and that broad brajd. Did any- 
body say anything about my cap?" asked Bartley 
with burlesque eagerness. 

" Oh, poor Bartley ! " she cried in laughing triumph. 
"I don't believe any of them noticed it; ftlid you 
kept twirling it round in your hands all the time to 
make them look." 

" Yes, I did my level best," said Bartley. 

They had a jolly time about that. Marcia was 
proud of her sacque ; when she took it off and held 
it up by the loop in the neck, so as to realize its pret- 
tiness, she said she should make it last three winters 
at least ; and she leaned over and gave Bartley a 
sweet kiss of gratitude and affection, and told him 
not to try to make up for it by extra work, but to 
help her scrimp for it. 

" I 'd rather do the extra work," he protested. In 
fact he already had the extra work done. It was 
something that he felt he had the right to sell out- 
side of the Events, and he carried his manuscript to 
Jlicker and offered it to him for his Sunday edition. 

Ricker read the title and ran his eye down the first 
slip, and then glanced quickly at Hubbard. " You 
don't mean it ? " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 359 

" Yes I do," said Bartley. " Why not ? " 

" I thought he was going to use the material him- 
self some time." 

Bartley laughed. " He use the material ! Why, he 
cau*t write, any more than a hen ; he can make tracks 
on paper, but nobody would print 'em, much less buy 
'em. I know him ; he 's all right. It would n't 
liurt the material for his purpose, any way ;.aiid lie '11 
be tickled to death when he sees it. If he ever does. 
Look here, Kicker!" added Bartley, with a touch of 
anger at the hesitation in his friend's face, " if you 're 
going to spring any conscientious scruples on me, I 
prefer to offer my manuscript elsewhere. I give you 
the first chance at it ; but it need n't go begging. Do 
you suppose I 'd do this if I did n't understand the 
man, and know just how he 'd take it ? " 

" Why, of coursfe, Hubbard ! I beg your pardon. 
If you say it's all right, I am bound to be satisfied. 
What do you want for it ? " 

" Fifty dollars." 

" That 's a good deal, is n't it ? " 

" Yes, it is. But I can't afford to do a dishonorable 
thing for less money," said Bartley, with a wink. 

The next Sunday, when Marcia came home from 
church, she went into the parlor a moment to speak 
to Bartley before she ran upstairs to the baby. He 
was writing, and she put her left hand on his back 
while with her right she held her sacque slung over 
her shoulder by the loop, and leaned forward with a 
wandering eye on the papers that strewed the table. 
In that attitude he felt her pause and grow absorbed, 
and then rigid ; her light caress tightened into a grip. 
" Why, how base ! How shameful ! That man shall 
never enter my doors again ! Why, it 's stealing ! " 

" What 's the matter ? What are you talking 
about ? " Bartley looked up with a frown of prepa- 
ration. 



360 



A MODSBN INSTANCE. 



in 




" This ! " cried Marcia, snatching up the Chroiii^^^ 
Abstract, at which she had been looking. " Hav^^^ 
you seen it ? Here 's Mr. Kinney's life all wri"*^^^^ 
out ! And when he said that he was going to fe^^^P 
it and write it out himself. That thief has stc:^^^^ 
it!" 

" Look out how you talk/* said Bartley. " Kinne^U.^ 
an old fool, and he never could have written it ou 
the world — " 

" That makes no difiTerence. He said that he 
the things because he knew be was among gentlem 
A great gentleman Mr. Eicker is ! And I thou 
he was so nice!" The tears sprang to her e 
which flashed again. ** I want you to break off w 
him, Bartley ; I don't want you to have anything 
do with such a thief! And I shall be proud to 
everybody that you Ve broken ofif with him because 
was a thief. Oh, Bartley — " 

" Hold your tongue ! " shouted her husband. 

" I won't hold my tongue ! And if you defend 

" Don't you say a word against Ricker. It 's — 
right, I tell you. You don't understand such thin^^^^ 

You don't know what you 're talking about. I — I 

I wrote the thing myself." ^ 

He could face her, but she could not face hii<^^ , j£ 
There was a subsidence in her proud attitude, as :: ^g 
her physical strength had snapped with her breakin ^^^^ 

spirit. ^--m- 

"There 's no theft about it," Bartley went oiT^^^^ 
" Kinney would never Avrite it out, and if he dicE^^^ 
I 've put the material in better shape for him herp""^ ' 
than he could ever have given it. Six weeks fro 
now nobody will remember a w^ord of it ; and h 
could tell the same things right over again, and the 
would be just as good as new." He went on to argu 
the point. 

She seemed not to have listened to him. Whe 



a 



aU 



m 
e 



^/2 



i 



A HODEBN ISrSTANCBL 361 

he stopped, she said, in a quiet, pasaionless voice, " I 
suppose you wrote it to get money for this sacqua" 

" Yes ; I did," replied Bartley. 

She dropped it on the floor at his feet. " I shall 
never wear it again,'' she said in the same tone, and 
a little sigh escaped her. 

" Use your pleasure about that,*' said Bartley, sit- 
ting down to his writiiig again, as she tunied and left 
the room. 

She went upstairs and came down immediately, 
with the gold nugget, which she had wrenched from 
the baby's necklace, and laid it on the paper before 
him. " Perhaps you would like to spend it for tivoli 
beer," she suggested. " Flavia shall not wear it." 

" I *11 get it fitted on to my watch-chain." Bartley 
slipped it into his waistcoat pocket. 

The sacque still lay on tlie floor at his feet ; he 
pulled his chair a little forward and put his feet on 
it. He feigned to write awhile longer, and then he 
folded up his papers, and went out, leaving Marcia 
to make her Sunday dinner alone. When he came 
home late at night, he found the sacque where she 
had dropped it, and with a curse he picked it up and 
hung it on the hat-rack in the halL 

He slept in the guest-chamber, and at times during 
tlie night the child cried in Marcia's room and waked 
him ; and then he thought he heard a sound of sob- 
bing which was not the child's. In the morning, 
when he came down to breakfast, Marcia met him 
with swollen eyes. 

" Bartley," she said tremulously, " I wish you would 
tell me how you felt justified in writing out Mr. 
Kinney's life in that way." 

" My dear," said Bartley, with perfect amiability, 
for he had slept off his anger, and he really felt sorry 
to see her so unhappy, " I would tell you almost any- 
thing you want on any other subject ; but I think we 



362 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 



an 

8- 




had better remand that one to the safety of sil^^^^' 
aud go upon the general supposition that I k^^^ 
what I 'm about." 

'* I can% Bartley ! " 

" Can't you ? Well, that 's a pity." He puUedL ^« 
chair to the breakfast-table. "It seems to me '^^^^ 
girl's imagination always fails her on Mondays. ^^\ 
she never give us anything but hash and corn-br:^*^, 
when she 's going to wash ? However, the coffe^^ ^ 
good. ^I suppose you made it ? " 

" Bartley ! " persisted Marcia, " I want to believ^^ ^^ 
everything you do, — I want to be proud of it — ' 

" That will be difficult," suggested Bartley, with 
air of thoughtful impartiality, " for the wife of a ne 
paper man." 

" No, no ! It need n't be ! It must n't be ! If 
will only tell me — " She stopped, as if she fea 
to repeat her often ce. 

Bai-tley leaned back in his chair and looked at 
intense face with a smile. " Tell you that in so 
way I had Kinney's authority to use his facts? W 
I should have done that yesterday if you had let 
In the first place, Kinney 's the most helpless ass 
the world. He could never have used his own fac 
In the second place, there was hardly anything in kr 
rigmarole the other day that he had n't told me do 
there in the lumber camp, with full authority to ut 
it in any way I liked ; and I don't see how he couH 
revoke that authority. That 's the way I reason^^ 
about it." 

"I see, — I see !" said Marcia, with humble eagemes 

"Well, that's all there is about it. What l'\ 
done can't hurt Kinney. If he ever does want 
write his old facts out, he '11 be glad to take my 
port of them, and — spoil it," said Bartley, endin, 
with a laugh. 

" And if — if there had been anything wrong aboii^^^^^ 



t^k-^ 






er 
me 

ell, 
e. 
in 
ts. 
his 
wn 
se 
Id 
^ed 



**ve 
to 



(T 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 363 

it," said Marcia, anxious to justify him to herself, 
*' Mr. Ricker would liave told you so when you ofl'ered 
him the article." 

*' I don't think Mr. Eickei would have ventured on 
any impertinence with me," said Bartley, with gran- 
deur. But he lapsed into his wonted, easy way of 
taking everything. "What are you driving at, Marsh? 
I don't care particularly for what happened yesterday. 
We 've had rows enough before, and I dare say we 
shall have them again. You gave me a bad quarter 
of an hour, and you gave yourself " — he looked at 
her tear-stained eyes — "a bad night, apparently. 
That 's all there is about it." 

" Oh, no, that is n't all ! It is n't like the otlier 
quarrels we Ve had. When I think how I 've felt 
toward you ever since, it scares me. There can't be 
anything sacred in our marriage unless we ti-ust each 
other in everything." 

" Well, / have n't done any of the mistrusting," said 
Bartley, with humorous lightness. " But is n't sacred 
rather a strong word to use in regard to our marriage, 
anyway ? " 

*' Why — why — what do you mean, Bartley ? We 
were married by a minister." 

*' Well, yes, by what was left of one," said Bartley. 
" He could n't seem to shake himself together suffi- 
ciently to ask for the proof that we had declared our 
intention to get married." 

Marcia looked mystified. "Don't you remember 
his saying there was something else, and my suggest- 
ing to him that it was the fee ? " 

Marcia turned white. " Father said the certificate 
was all right — " 

" Oh, he asked to see it, did he ? He is a prudent 
old gentleman. Well, it is all right." 

" And what difference did it make about our not 
proving that we had declared our intention ? " asked 
Marcia, as if only partly reassured. 




364 A MODERN IKSTAKCK 

At 

"No difference to us; and only a difference 
sixty dollars fine to him, if it was ever found out." 

" And you let the poor old man run that risk ? " 

" Well, you see, it could n*t be helped. We had 
declared our intention, and the lady seemed ve 
anxious to be married. Tou needn't be trouble 
We are married, right and tight enough ; but I don 
know that there 's anything sdcred about it." 

" No," Marcia wailed out> " its tainted with franco 
from the beginning." 

" If you like to say so," Hartley assented, puttiuj 
his napkin into its ring. 

Marcia hid her face in her arms on the table ; th 
baby left off drumming with its spoon, and began 
to cry. 

Witherby was reading the Sunday edition of the 
Chronicle-Abstmct, when Bartley got down to the 
Events office ; and he cleared his throat with a pre- 
monitory cough as his assistant swung easily into 
the room. "Good morning, Mr. Hubbard," he said. 
" There is quite an interesting article in yesterday's 
Chronicle-Abstract. Have you seen it ? " 

" Yes," said Bartley. " What article ? " 

" This Confessions of an Average American." With- 
erby held out the paper, where Hartley's article, viv- 
idly head-lined and sub-headed, filled half a page. 
" What is the reason we cannot have something of 
this kind ? " 

" Well, I don't know," Bartley began. 

" Have you any idea who wrote this ? " 

" Oh, yes, I wrote it." 

Witherby had the task before him of transmut- 
ing an expression of rather low cunning into one of 
wounded confidence, mingled with high-minded sur- 
prise. " I thought it had your ear-marks, Mr. Hub- 
bard ; but I preferred not to believe it till I heard 



/ 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 365 

i 

the fact from your own lips. I supposed that our 
contmct covered such contributions as this." 

" I wrote it out of time, and on Sunday night. 
You pay me by the week, and all that I do through- 
out the week belongs to you. The next day after 
that Sunday I did a full day's work on the Events. 
I don't see what you have to complain of. You told 
me when I began that you would not expect more 
than a certain amount of work from me. Have I 
ever done less ? " 

"No, but — " 

" Have n't I always done more ? " 

" Yes, I have never complained of the amount of 
work. But upon this theory of yours, what you did 
in your summer vacation would not belong to the 
Events, or wliat you did on legal holidays." 

" I never have any summer vacation or holidays, 
legal or illegal. Even when I was down at Equity 
last summer I sent you something for the paper 
every day." 

This was true, and Witherby could not gainsay it 
" Very well, sir. If this is to be your interpretation 
of our underatanding for the future, I shall wish to 
revise our contmct," he said pompously. 

" You can tear it up if you like," returned Bartley. 
"I dare say Kicker would jump at a little study of 
the true inwardness of counting-room journalism. 
Unless you insist upon having it for the Events." 
Bartley gave a chuckle of enjoyment as he sat down 
at his desk ; Witherby rose and stalked away. 

He returned in half an hour and said, with an air 
of frank concession, touched with personal grief: 
" Mr. Hubbard, I can see how, from your point of 
view, you were perfectly justifiable in selling your 
article to the Chronicle- Abstract. My point of view 
is different, but I shall not insist upon it ; and I wish 
to withdraw — and — and apologize for — any hasty 
exf)ressions I may have used." 



366 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

*' All right," said Bartley, witli a wicked grin, 
had triumphed; but his triumph was one to lea"^ 
some men with an uneasy feeling, and there was n 
altogether a pleasant taste in Bartley 's mouth. Aft* 
that his position in the Events office was whatev* 
he chose to make it, but he did not abuse his ascen 
dency, and he even made a point of increased de - , 
erence towards Witherby. Many courtesies passe^^"*^ 
between them ; each took some ti-ouble to show th^^^ ' 
other that he had no ill feeling. 

Three or four weeks later Bartley received a lette^^^^^*^ 
with an Illinois postmark which gave him a disagree ^^^^" 
able sensation, at first, for he knew it must be froi ^ ^™ 



Kinney. But the letter was so amusingly character-^^^ "^ . 
istic, so helplessly ill-spelled and ill-constnicted, tha^-^^^. 
he could not help laughing. Kinney gave an accounts ^^t 
of his travels to the mining town, and of his presents^ ^_^ 
situation and future prospects ; he was full of affec- —^^ 



tionate messages and inquiries for Bartley's family, 

and he said he should never forget that Sunday he 

had passed with them. In a postscript he added: "^ ^ 

" They copied that String of lies into our paper, here, "^ \ 

out of the Chron.-Ab. It was pretty well done, but ^^ 

if your friend Mr. Ricker done it, I 'me not goen to 

Insult him soon again by calling him a gentleman." ^ 

This laconic reference to the matter in a postscript -^ 

was delicious to Bartley ; be seemed to hear Kinney ^ 

saying the words, and imagined his air of ineffective % 

sarcasm. He carried the letter about with him, and 
the first time he saw Bicker he showed it to him. ; 

Ricker read it without appearing greatly diverted ; 
when he came to the postscript he flushed, and de- 
manded, " What have you done about it ? " 

" Oh, I have n't done anything. It was n't neces- 
sary. You see, now, what Kinney could have done 
with his facts if we had left them to him. It would 
have been a wicked waste of material. I thought 



/ 



A MODERN INSTANCB. 367 



the sight of some of his literature would help you 
wash up your uncleanly scruples on that point" 

"How long have you had this letter?" pursued 
Ricker. 

" / don't know. A week or ten days." 

Eicker folded it up and returned it to him. " Mr. 
Hubbard," he said, " the next time we meet, will you 
do me the favor to cut my acquaintance ? " 

Bartley stared at him ; he thought he must be 
joking. " Why, Eicker, what *8 the matter ? I did n*t 
suppose you 'd care anything about old Kinney. I 
thought it would amuse you. Why, confound it! 
I 'd just as soon write out and tell him that I did the 
thing." He began to be angry. " But I can cut your 
acquaintance fast enough, or any man's, if you 're 
really on your ear I " 

" I 'm on my ear," said Ricker. He left Bartley 
standing where they had met 

It was peculiarly unfortunate, for Bartley had occa- 
sion within that week to ask Bicker's advice, and he 
was debarred from doing so by this absurd displeas- 
ure. Since their recent perfect understanding, With- 
erby had slighted no opportunity to cement their 
friendship, and to attach Bartley more and more 
firmly to the Events. He now offered him some of 
the Events stock on extremely advantageous terms, 
with the avowed purpose of attaching him to the 
paper. There seemed nothing covert in this, and 
Bartley had never heard any doubts of the pros- 
perity of the Events, but he would have especially 
liked to have Bicker's mind upon this offer of stock, 
Witherby had urged him not to pay for the whole 
outright, but to accept a somewhat lower salary, and 
trust to his dividends to make up the difference. 
The shares had paid fifteen per cent the year before, 
and Bartley could judge for himself of the present 
chances from that showing. Witherby advised him 




368 A MODEKN INSTANCE. 

to borrow only fifteen hundred dollars on the thi 
thousand of stock which he offered him, and to p« 
up the balance in three years by dropping five hur 
dred a year from liis salary. It was certainly a fla^"^^ 
tering proposal; and under his breath, where Bartl^^^^^ 
still did most of his blaspheming, he cursed Kick^ ^^ y! 
for an old fool; and resolved to close with Witherb^i^^^^y 
on his own responsibility. After he had done so li^i 
told Marcia of the step he had taken. 

Since their last quarrel tliere had been an aliena.^^ ^^" 
tion in her behavior toward him, different from an^^^^^^^ 
former resentment. She was submissive and quies ^^^^^" 
cent ; she looked carefully after his comfort, and waa ^^^ 
perfect in her housekeeping ; but she held aloof froin^^^^^ 
him somehow, and left him to a solitude in hpr pres— *'^'^^" 



ence in which he fancied, if he did not divine, bex^*^^. 
contempt. But in this matter of common interest,..^ ^ ' 
something of their community of feeling revived;^ 



they met on a lower level, but they met, for the mo- — ' ^^^ 
ment, and Marcia joined eagerly in the discussion of 
ways and means. 

The notion of dropping five hundred from his sal- 
ary delighted her, because they must now cut down 'iL^ 

their expenses as much ; and she had long grieved ■<- 

over their expenses without being able to niake Bart- ^t 

ley agree to their reduction. She went upstairs at 

once and gave the little nurse-maid a week's warn- ^3 

ing; she told the maid of all work that she must ^ 

take three dollars a week hereafter instead of four, 

or else find another place; she mentally forewent 

new spring dresses for herself and the baby, and 

arranged to do herself all of the wash she had been 

putting out ; she put a note in the mouth of the can 

at the back door, telling the milkman to leave only 

two quarts in future ; and she came radiantly back 

to tell Bartley that she had saved half of the lost 

five hundred a year already. But her countenance 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 369 

fell. " Why, where are you to get the other fifteen 
hundred dollars, Bartley ? " 

" Oh, I Ve thought of that," said Bartley, laughing 
at her swift alternations of triumph and despair. 
" You trust to me for that." 

" You 're not — not going to ask father for it ? " she 
faltered. 

" Not very much," said Bartley, as he took his hat 
to cjo out. 

He meant to make a raise out of Ben Halleck, as 
he phrased it to himself. He knew that Halleck had 
plenty of money ; he could make the stock itself 
over to him as security ; he did not see why Halleck 
should hesitate. But when he entered IJalleck's 
room, having asked Cyrus to show him directly there, 
Halleck gave a start which seemed ominous to Bart- 
ley. He had scarcely the heart to open his business, 
and Halleck listened with changing color, and some- 
thing only too like the embarrassment of a man who 
intends a refusal. He would not look Bartley in the 
face, and when Bartley had made an end he sat for 
a time without speaking. At last he said with a 
quick sigh, as if at the close of an internal conflict, 
" I will lend you the money ! " 

Bartley's heart gave a bound, and he broke out 
into an immense laugh of relief, and clapped Halleck 
on the shoulder. " You looked deucedly as if you 
woutld n't, old man ! By George, you had on such a 
dismal, hang-dog expression that I did n't know but 
you 'd come to borrow money of me, and I 'd made 
up my mind not to let you have it ! But I 'm ever- 
lastingly obliged to you, Halleck, and I promise you 
that you won't regret it." 

"I shall have to speak to my father about this," 
said Halleck, responding coldly to Bartley's robust 
pressure of his hand. 

" Of course, — of course." 

24 



370 K MODERN INfitAKGB. 

" How soon shall you want the money ? '* 

"Well, the sooner the better, now. Bring the 
check round* — can't you ? — to-morrow night, — and 
take dinner with us, you and Olive ; and we '11 cele- 
bfete a little. I know it will please Marcia when 
she finds out who my hard-hearted creditor is ! " 

" Well," assented Halleck with a smile so ghastly 
that Baiiley noticed it even in his joy. 

" Curse nie," he said to himself, " if ever I saw a 
man so ashamed of doing a good action 1 " 



A MODERN JNBIAHCE. 371 



XXX. 

The Presidential canvas of the Bummer which fol- 
lowed upon these events in Bartley's career was not 
very active. Sometimes, in fact, it languished so 
much that people almost foi^ot it, and a good field 
was afforded the Events for the practice of inde- 
pendent journalism. To hold a course of strict im- 
partiality, and yet come out on the winning side, 
was a theory of independent journalism which Bart- 
ley illustrated with cynical enjoyment. He devel- 
oped into something rather artistic the gift which he 
had always shown in iiis newspaper work for ironical 
persiflage. Witherby was not a man to feel this bur- 
lesque himself; but when it was pointed out to him 
by others, he came to Bartley in some alarm from its 
effect upon the fortunes of the paper. "We can't 
afford, Mr. Hubbard," he said, with virtuous trepida- 
tion, " we can't afford to make fun of our friends ! " 

Bartley laughed at Witherby's anxiety. " They 're 
no more our friends than the other fellows are. We 
are independent journalists ; and this way of treat- 
ing the thing leaves us perfectly free hereafter to 
claim, just as we choose, that we were in fun or in 
earnest on any particular question if we 're ever at- 
tacked. See ? " 

" 1 see," said Witherby, with not wholly subdued 
misgiving. But after due time for conviction no 
man enjoyed Bartley's irony more than Witherby 
when once he had mastered an instance of it. Some- 
times it happened that Bartley found him chuckling 



372 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

over a perfectly serious paragraph, but he did not 
mind that ; he enjoyed Witherby's mistake even 
more than his appreciation. 

In these days Bartley was in almost uninteiTupted 
good humor, as he had always expected to be when he 
became fairly prosperous. He was at no time an 
unamiable fellow, as he saw it; he had his sulks, 
he had his moments of anger ; but generally he felt 
good, and he had always believed, and he had prom- 
ised Marcia, that when he got squarely on his legs 
he should feel good perpetually. This sensation he 
now agreeably realized ; and he was also now in that 
position in which he had proposed to himself some 
little moral reforms. He was not much in the habit of 
taking stock ; but no man wholly escapes the contin- 
gencies in which he is confronted with himself, and 
sees certain habits, traits, tendencies, which he would 
like to change for the sake of his peace of mind 
hereafter. To some souls these contingencies are full 
of anguish, of remorse for the past, of despair; but 
Bartley had never yet seen the time when he did not 
feel himself perfectly able to turn over a new leaf 
and blot the old one. There were not many things in 
his life which he really cared to have very different; 
but there were two or three shady little corners which 
he always intended to clean up. He had meant some 
time or other to have a religious belief of some sort, 
he did not nmch care what ; since Marcia had taken 
to the Hallecks' church, he did not see why he should 
not go with her, though he had never yet done so. 
He was not quite sure whether he was always as 
candid with her as he might be, or as kind ; tliough 
he maintained against this question that in all their 
quarrels it was six of one and half a dozen of the 
other. He had never been tipsy but once in his life, 
and he considered that he had repented and atoned 
for that enough, especially as nothing had ever come 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 373 

of it ; but sometimes he thought he might be over- 
doing the beer ; yes, he thought he must cut down 
on the tivoli ; he was getting ridiculously fat. If 
ever he met Kinney again he should tell him that it 
was he and not Ricker who had appropriated his facts ; 
and he intended to make it up with Ricker somehow. 
He had not found just the opportunity yet; but in 
the mean time he did not mind telling the real cause 
of their alienation to good fellows who could enjoy a 
joke. He had his following, though so many of his 
brother journalists had cooled toward him, and those 
of his following considered him as smart as chain- 
lightning and bound to rise. These young men and 
not very wise eldei-s roared over Bartle/s frank decla- 
ration of the situation between himself and Ricker, 
and thev contended that, if Ricker had taken the ar- 
tide for the Chronicle- Abstract, he ought to take 
the consequences. Bartley told them that, of course, 
he should explain the facts to Kinney ; but that he 
meant to let Ricker enjoy his virtuous indignation 
awhile. Once, after a contidence of this kind at the 
club, where Ricker had refused to speak to him, he 
came away with a curious sense of moral decay. It 
did not pain him a great deal, but it certainly sur- 
prised him that now, with all these prosperous condi- 
tions, so favorable for cleaning up, he had so little 
disposition to clean up. He found himself quite 
willing to let the affair with Ricker go, and he sus- 
pected that he had been needlessly virtuous in his 
intentions concerning church-going and beer. As to 
Marcia, it appeared to him that lie coiild not treat a 
woman of her disposition otherwise than as he did. 
At any rate, if he had not done everything he could 
to make her happy, she seemed to be getting along 
well enough, and was probably quite as happy as she 
deserved to be. They were getting on very quietly 
now; there had been no violent outbreak between 



374 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

them since the trouble about Kinney, and then she 
had practically confessed herself in the wrong, as 
Bartley looked at it. She had appeared contented 
with his explanation ; there was what might be called 
a perfect business amity between them. If her life 
witii him was no longer an expression of tlmt intense 
devotion which she used to show him, it was more 
like what married life generally comes to, and he ac- 
cepted her tmctability and what seemed her common- 
sense view of their relations as greatly preferable. 
With his growth in flesh, Bartley liked peace more 
and more. 

Marcia had consented to go down to Equity alone, 
that summer, for he had convinced her that during a 
heated political contest it would not do for him to be 
away from the paper. He promised to go down for 
her when she wished to come home ; and it was easily 
arranged for her to travel as far as the Junction un- 
der Halleck's escort, when he went to join his sistei^ 
in the White Mountains. Bartley missed her and the 
baby at first. But he soon began to adjust himself 
with resignation to his solitude. They had deter- 
mined to keep their maid over this summer, for they 
had so much trouble in replacing her the last time 
after their return ; and Bartley said he should live 
very economically. It was quiet, and the woman 
kept the house cool and clean ; she was a good cook, 
and when Bartley brought a man home to dinner she 
took an interest in serving it well. Bartley let her 
order the things from the grocer and butcher, for she 
knew what they were used to getting, and he had 
heard so much talk from Marcia about bills since he 
bought that Events stock that he was sick of the 
prices of things. There was no extravagance, and 
yet he seemed to live very much better after Marcia 
went. There is no doubt but he lived very much 
more at his ease. One little restriction after another 



A MODEKN INSTANCE. 375 

fell away from him ; he went and came with absolute 
freedom, not only without having to account for liis 
movements, but without having a pang for not doing 
so. He had the sensation of stretching himself after 
a cramping posture ; and he wrote Marcia the cheer- 
fulest letters, charging her not to cut short her visit 
from anxiety on his account. He said that he was 
working hard, but hard work evidently agreed with 
him, for he was never better in his life. In this high 
content he maintained a feeling of loyalty by going 
to the Hallecks, where Mrs. Halleck often had him 
to tea in pity of his loneliness. They were dull 
company, certainly ; but Marcia liked them, and the 
cooking was always good. Other evenings he went 
to the theatres, where there were amusing variety 
bills ; and sometimes he passed the night at Nautas- 
ket, or took a run for a day to Newport; he always 
reported these excursions to Marcia, with expressions 
of regret that Equity was too far away to run down 
to for a day. 

Marcia's letters were longer and more regular than 
his ; but he could have forgiven some want of con- 
stancy for the sake of a less searching anxiety on her 
part She was anxious not only for his welfare, 
which was natural and proper, but she was anxious 
about the housekeeping and the expenses, things 
Hartley could not affoixi to let trouble him, though 
he did what he could in a general way to quiet her 
mind. She wrote fully of the visit which Olive 
Halleck had paid her, but said that they had not 
gone about much, for Ben Halleck had only been able 
to come for a day. She was very well, and so was 
Flavia. 

Bartley realized Flavia's existence with an effort, 
and for the rest this letter lx)red him. What could 
he care about Olive Halleck's coming, or Ben Hal- 
leck's staying away ? All that he asked of Ben 



376 



A MODEBN INSTANCE^ 



Halleck was a little extension of time when his ^^" 
terest fell due. The whole thinsr was disasreeafc:^^^*®'' 



and he resented what he considered Marcia's 
deavor to clap the domestic harness on him 
His thoughts wandered to conditions, to conting^^ 
cies, of which a man does not permit himself even 
think without a degi'ee of moral disintegration, 
these ill-advised reveries he mused upon his life 
might have been if he had never met her, or if th 
had never met after her dismissal of him. As he i 
called the facts, he was at that time in an angry a 
embittered mood, but he was in a mood of entire 
quiescence; and the reconciliation had been of h 
own seeking. He could not blame her for it; si 
was very much in love with him, and he had hee^^ 
fond of her. In fact, he was still very fond of hei: ^ 
when he thought of little ways of hers, it filled hii 
witli tenderness. He did justice to her fine qualitie 
too : her generosity, her trlith fulness, her entire lo 
alty to his best interests ; he smiled to realize that 
himself prefeiTed his second-best interests, and in 
absence he remembered that her virtues were tedious 
and even painful at times. He had his doubts whethe 
there was sufficient compensation in them. He somei=:^ 
times questioned whether he had not made a grea:-^ 
mistake to get married ; he expected now to stick ir 
through ; but this doubt occurred to him. A momeu^^ 
came in which he asked himself, What if he hac 
never come back to Marcia that night when sh 
locked him out of her room ? Might it not have 
been better for both of them ? She would soon have 
reconciled herself to the irreparable ; he even thought 
of her happy in a second marriage ; and the thought 
did not enrage him ; he generously wished Marcia 
well He wished — he hardly knew what he wished. 
He wished nothing at all but to have his wife and 
child back again as soon as possible ; and he put aside 




n- 
in. 
eu- 
to 
lu 
it 
ey 
re- 
md 
,c- 
lier 
ihe 
en 

r; 
im 
_es, 

y- 

he 

s, 
er 

e- 

^t 

it 

ut 

d 

<*t 

^t 

la 






A MODERN mSTANCE. 377 

laugh the fancies which really found no such 
formulation as I have given them; which 
ere vague impulses, arrested mental tenden- 
•aps of undirected revery. Their recurrence 
liing to do with what he felt to be his sane 
king state. But they recurred, and he even 
himself in turning them over. « 



378 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 



XXXT. 



4- 



cia 
itr 
ich 

d. 
he 



Ir. 



^ I 



One morning in September, not long before Ma 
returned, Bartley found Witherby at the office w 
ing for him. Witherby wore a pensive face, wh^ 
had the effect of being studied. " Good morni 
Mr. Hubbard," he said, and when Bartley answer- 
" Good morning," cheerfully ignoring his mood, 
added, "What is this I hear, Mr. Hubbard, abGc:===^^^^ 
a personal misunderstanding between you and 
Eicker ? " 

*'I'm sure I don't know," said Bartley; "but 
suppose that if you have heard anything you know.' 

" I have heard," proceeded Witherby, a little dash 
by Bartley's coolness, " that Mr. Ricker accuses y 
of having used material in that article you sold hi 
which had been intrusted to vou under the seal 
confidence, and that you had left it to be infeiTed hj^ 
the party concerned that Mr. Ricker had written th 
article himself." 

"All right," said Bartley. 




" But, Mr. Hubbard," said Witherby, struggling tc^^^r^i. 



rise into virtuous supremacy, "what am I to thin 
of such a report ? " 

" I can't say ; unless you should think that it was n' 
your affair. That would be the easiest thing." 

"But I cafit think that, Mr. Hubbard I Such a 
report reflects through you upon the Events ; it re- 
flects upon meV Bartley laughed. "I can't approve 
of such a thing. If you admit the report, it appears 
to me that you have — a — done a — a — wrong action, 
Mr. Hubbard." 



yt 



a 



A 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 379 

Bartley turned upon him with a curious look ; at 
the same time he felt a pang, and there was a touch 
of real anguish in the sarcasm of his demand, " Have 
I fallen so low as to be rebuked by you ? " 

"I — I don't know what you mean by such an ex- 
pression as that, Mr. Hubbard," said Witherby. ** I 
don't know what I Ve done to forfeit your esteem, — 
to justify you in using such language to me." 

" I don't suppose you really do," said Bartley. 
" Go on." 

" I have nothing more to say, Mr. Hubbard, except 
— except to add that this has given me a great blow, — 
a great blow. I had begun to have my doubts beforeT 
as to whether we were quite adapted to each other, 
and this has — increased them. I pass no judgment 
upon what you have done, but I will say that it 
has made me anxious and — a — unrestful. It has 
made me ask myself whether upon the whole we 
should not be happier apart. I don't say that we 
should ; but I only feel that nine out often business 
men would consider you, in the position you occupy 
on the Events, — a — a — dangerous person." 

Bartley got up from his desk, and walked toward 
Witherby, with his hands in his pockets ; he halted a 
few paces from him, and looked down on him with a 
sinister smile. " I don't think they 'd consider you 
a dangerous person in any position." 

" May be not, may be not," said Witherby, striving 
to be easy and dignified. In the effort he took up an 
open paper from the desk before him, and, lifting it 
between Bartley and himself, feigned to be reading it. 

Bartley struck it out of his trembling hands. " You 
impudent old scoundrel ! Do you pretend to be read- 
ing when I speak to you ? For half a cent — " 

Witherby, slipping and sliding in his swivel chair, 
contiived to get to his feet. " No violence, Mr. Hub- 
bard, no violence here J " 



380 A MODERN INSTAKCE. m , . 

" Violence 1 " laughed Bartley. " I should have ^ %^ 
totick you ! Come 1 Don't be afraid ! But don't Y^^ 
put on airs of any sort ! I understand your gat^^ 
You want, for some reason, to get rid of me, and ^^ . 
have seized the opportunity with a sharpness tt^^ 
does credit to your cunning. I don't condescend . 
deny this report," — speaking in this loft}'' stra- ^^^' 
Bartley had a momentary sensation of its being- — ^ 
despicable slander, — " but I see that as far as y^^^. 
are concerned it answers all the purposes of trufc^^^^ 
You think that with the chance of having this thir.-^^^^ 




exploited against me I won't expose your nefarioi^^^ 
practices, and you can get rid of me more safely no" '^^ 
than ever you could again. Well, you 're right. , 

dare say you heard of this report a good while ago, an ^^ 
you've waited till you could fill my place without xx^^^^^' 
convenience to yourself. So I can go at once. Dravs^^ 
your check for all you owe me, and pay me back tl 
money I put into your stock, and I '11 clear out a' 
onca" He went about putting together a few per-^ 
sonal effects on his desk. 

" I must protest against any allusion to nefarious 
practices, Mr. Hubbard," said Witherby, •* and I wis] 
you to understand that I part from you without thi 
slightest ill-feeling. I shall always have a high re- 
gard for your ability, and — and — your social quali- 
ties." While he made these expressions he hastened 
to write two checks. 

Bartley, who had paid no attention to what Witherby 
was saying, came up and took the checks.- " This is 
all right," he said of one. But looking at the other, 
he added, " Fifteen hundred dollars ? Where is the 
dividend ? " 

" That is not due till the end of the month," said 
Witherby. " If you withdraw your money now, you 
lose it." 

Bartley looked at the fac6 to which Witherby did 




A MODEBK INSTANCE. 381 

his best to give a high judicial expression. " You 
old thief ! " he said good-huraoredly, almost affection- 
ately. " I have a mind to tweak your nose ! " But 
he went out of the room without saying or doing 
anything more. He wondered a little at his own 
amiability ; but with the decay of whatever was right- 
principled in him, he was aware of growing more and 
more incapable of indignation. Now, his flash of rage 
over, he was not at aH discontented. With these 
checks in his pocket, with his yputh, his health, and 
his practised hand, he could have faced the world, with 
a light heart, if he had not also had to face his wife. 
But when he thought of the inconvenience of explain- 
ing to her, of pacifying her anxiety, of clearing up 
her doubts on a thousand points, and of getting her 
simply to eat or sleep till he found something else to 
do, it dismayed him. " Good Lord ! " he said to him- 
self, "I wish I was dead — or some one." That con- 
clusion made him smile again. 

He decided not to write to Marcia of the change in 
his affairs, but to take the chance of finding something 
better before she returned. There was very little 
time for him to turn round, and he was still without 
a place or any prospect when she came home. It 
had sufficed with his acquaintance when he said that 
he had left the Events because he could not get on 
with Witherby ; but he was very much astonished 
when it seemed to suffice with her. 

** Oh, well," she said, " I am glad of it. You will 
do better by yourself ; and I know you can earn just 
as much by writing on the different papers." 

Bartley knew better than this, but he said, " Yes, I 
shall not be in a hurry to take another engagement 
just yet. But, Marsh," he added, '' I was afraid you 
would blame me, — think I had been reckless, or at 
fault — " 

" No," she answered after a little pause, " I shall 




382 A MODERN INSTANCK 

not do that any raore. I have heen thinking 0^ 
these things over, while I was away from you, aJ^^ 
I 'm going to do differently, after this. I shall belie '^^^ 
that youVe acted for the best, — that you've il^^^ 
meant to do wrong in anything, — and I shall nev^==^^ 
question you or doubt you any more." , 

"Isn't that giving me rather too much ropeT 
asked Bartley, with lightness that masked a vagut-^^ 
alarm lest the old times of exaction should be com 
ing back with the old times of devotion. 

" No ; I see where my mistake has always beei 
I Ve always asked too much, and expected too mud 
even when I did n't ask it. Now, I shall be satisfiet 
with what you don't do, as well as what you do." 

" I shall try to live up to my privileges," said Bart — 
ley, with a sigh of relief. He gave her a kiss, aud^ 
then he unclasped Kinney's nugget from his watch- 
chain, and fastened it on the baby's necklace, which 
lay in a box Marcia had just taken from her trunk. 
She did not speak ; but Bartley felt better to have the 
thing off" him ; Marcia's gentleness, the tinge of sad- 
ness in her tone, made him long to confess himself 
wrong in the whole matter, and justly punished by 
Eicker's contempt and Witherby's dismissal. But he 
did not believe that he could trust her to forgive him, 
and he felt himself unable to go through all that with- 
out the certainty of her forgiveness. 

As she took the things out of her trunk, and laid 
them away in this drawer and that, she spoke of events 
in the village, and told who was dead, who was mar- 
ried, and who had gone away. " I stayed longer than 
I expected, a little, because father seemed to want me 
to. I don't think mother 's so well as she used to be. 
I — I'm afraid she seems to be failing, somehow." 

Her voice dropped to a lower key, and Bartley said, 
" I 'm sorry to hear that. I guess she is n't failing. 
But of course she 's getting on, and every year makes 
a difference." 



A MOBERN INSTANCE. 383 

" Yes, that must be it," she answered, looking at a 
1)undle of collars she had in her hand, as if absorbed 
in the question as to where she should put them. 

Before they slept that night she asked, " Bartley, 
did you hear about Hannah Morrison ? " 
" No. What about her ? " 

** She 's gone — gone away. The last time she was 
seen was in Portland. They don't know what's 
become of her. They say that Henry Bird is about 
heart-broken ; but everybody knows she never cared 
for him. I hated to write to you about it." 

Bartley experienced so disagreeable a sensation that 
lie was silent for a time. Then he gave a short, bitter 
laugh. " Well, that 's what' it was bound to come to, 
sooner or later, I suppose. It 's a piece of good luck 
for Bird." 

Bartley went about picking up work from one 
paper and another, but not securing a basis on any. 
In that curious and unwholesome leniency which cor- 
rupt natures manifest, he and Witherby met at their 
next encounter on quite amicable terms. Bartley re- 
ported some meetings for the Events, and experienced 
no resentment when Witherby at the office introduced 
him to the gentleman with whom he had replaced him. 
Of course Bartley expected that Witherby would in- 
sinuate things to his disadvantage, but he did not 
mind that. He heard of something of the sort being 
done in Bicker's presence, and of Bicker's saying that 
in any question of honor and veracity between With- 
erby and Hubbard he should decide for Hubbard. 
Bartley was not very grateful for this generous de- 
fence ; he thought that if Bicker had not been such an 
ass in the first place there would have been no trouble 
between them, and Witherby would not have had 
that handle against him. 

He was enjoying himself very well, and he felt en- 
titled to the comparative rest which had not been of 



384 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

his seeking. He wished that Halleck would come 
back, for he would like to ask his leave to put that 
money into some other enterprise. His credit was 
good, and he had not touched the money to pay any 
of his accumulated bills; he would have considered 
it dishonorable to do so. But it annoyed him to have 
the money lying idle. In his leisure he studied the 
stock market, and he believed that he had several 
points which were infallible. He put a few hundreds 
— two or three — of Halleck's money into a mining 
stock which was so low that it miist rise. In the 
mean time he tried a new kind of beer, — Norwegian 
beer, which he found a little lighter even than tivoli. 
It was more expensive, but it was very light, and it 
was essential to Hartley to drink the lightest beer he 
could find. 

He stayed a good deal at home, now, for he had 
leisure, and it was a much more comfortable place 
since Marcia had ceased to question or reproach him. 
She did not interfere with some bachelor habits he 
had formed, in her absence, of sleeping far into the 
forenoon ; he now occasionally did night-work on some 
of the morning papers, and the rest was necessary ; he 
had his breakfast whenever he got up, as if he had 
been at a hotel. He wondered upon what new theory 
she was really treating him ; but he had always been 
apt to accept what was comfortable in life without 
much question, and he did not wonder long. He was 
immensely good-natured now. In his frequent leisure 
he went out to walk with Marcia and Flavia, and 
sometimes he took the little girl alone. He even went 
to church with them one Sunday, and called at the 
Hallecks as often as Marcia liked. The young ladies 
had returned, but Ben Halleck was still away. It 
made Bartley smile to hear his wife talking of Hal- 
leck with his mother and sisters, and falling quite into 
the family way of regarding him as if he were some* 
how a saint and martyr. 



Jj 



A MODERN INSTANCK 385 

Bartley was still dabbling in stocks with Hal- 
leck's money ; some of it had lately gone to pay 
an assessment which had unexpectedly occurred in 
place of a dividend. He told Marcia that he was 
h(dding the money ready to return to Halleck when 
be came back, or to put it into some other enter- 
prise where it would help to secure Bartley a new 
basis. They were now together more than they had 
been since the first days of their married life in Bos- 
ton ; but the perfect intimacy of those days was gone; 
he had his reserves, and she her preoccupations, — 
with the house, with the little girl, with her anxiety 
about her mother. Sometimes they sat a whole even- 
ing together, with almost nothing to say to each other, 
he reading and she sewing. After an evening of this 
sort, Bartley felt himself worse bored than if Marcia 
had spent it in taking him to task as she used to do. 
Once he looked at her over the top of his paper, and 
distinctly experienced that he was tired of the whole 
thing. 

But the political canvass was growing more interest- 
ing now. It was almost the end of October, and the 
speech-making had become very lively. The Demo- 
crats were hopeful and the Eepublicans resolute, and 
both parties were active in getting out their whole 
strength, as the saying is, at such times. This was 
done not only by speech-making, but by long noctur- 
nal processions of torch-lights ; by day, as well as 
by night, drums throbbed and horns brayed, and the 
feverish excitement spread its contagion through the 
whole population. But it did not affect Bartley. He 
had cared nothing about the canvass from the begin- 
ning, having an equal contempt for the bloody shirt of 
the Eepublicans and the reform pretensions of the 
Democrats. The only thing that he took an interest 
in was the betting ; he laid his wagers with so much 
apparent science and sagacity that he had a certain 

25 



386 A MODERN INSTANCaS. 

following of young men who bet as Hubbaid did. 
Hubbard, they believed, had a long head ; he disdained 
bets of hats, and of barrels of apples, and ordeals by 
wheelbarrow; he would bet only with people who 
could put up their money, and his followers honored 
him for it ; when asked where he got his money, be- 
ing out of place, and no longer instant to do work 
that fell in his way, they answered from a ready faith 
that he had made a good thing in mining stocks. 

In her heart, Marcia probably did not share this 
faith. But she faithfully forbore to harass Hartley 
with her doubts, and on those evenings when he 
found her such dull company she was silent because if 
she spoke she must express the trouble in her mind. 
Women are more apt to theorize their husbands 
than men in their stupid self-absorption ever realize. 
When a man is married, his wife almost ceases to be 
exterior to his consciousness ; she afflicts or consoles 
him like a condition of health or sickness ; she is 
literally part of him in a spiritual sense, even when 
he is rather indifferent to her ; but the most devoted 
wife has always a corner of her soul in which she 
thinks of her husband as him ; in which she philos- 
ophizes him wholly aloof from herself. In such 
an obscure fastness of her being, Marcia had medi- 
tated a great deal upon Bartley during her absence at 
Equity, — meditated painfully, and in her sort prayer- 
fully, upon him. She perceived that he was not her 
young dream of him ; and since it appeared to her that 
she could not forego that dream and live, she could 
but accuse herself of having somehow had a perverse 
influence upon him. She knew that she had never 
reproached him except for his good, but she saw too 
that she had always made him worse, and not better. 
She recurred to what he said the first night they 
arrived in Boston : " I believe that, if you have faith 
in me, I shall get along ; and when you don't, I shall 




A MODERN INSTANCE. 387 

go to the bad." She could reason to no other effect, 
than that hereafter, no matter what happened, she 
must show perfect faith in him by perfect patience. 
It was hard, far harder than she had thought But 
she did forbear ; she did use patience. 

The election day came and went. Bartley re- 
mained out till the news of Tilden's success could 
no longer be doubted, and then came home jubilant. 
Marcia seemed not to understand. "I did n't know 
you cared so much for Tilden," she said, quietly. 
"Mr. Halleck is for Hayes; and Ben HaUeck was 
coming home to vote." 

" Tliat 's all right : a vote in Massachusetts makes 
no difference. I 'm for Tilden, because I have the 
most money up on him. The success of that noble 
old reformer is worth seven hundred dollars to me in 
bets." Bartley laughed, rubbed her cheeks with his 
chillv hands, and went down into the cellar for some 
beer. He could not have slept without that, in his 
excitement; but he was out very early the next 
morning, and in the raw damp of the rainy November 
day he received a more penetrating chill when he 
saw the bulletins at the newspaper offices intimating 
that a fair count might give the Republicans enough 
Southern States to elect Hayes. This appeared to 
Bartley the most impudent piece of political effront- 
ery in the whole history of the country, and among 
those who went about denouncing Eepublican chi- 
canery at the Democratic club-rooms, no one took a 
loftier tone of moral indignation than he. The 
thought that he might lose so much of Halleck's 
money through the machinations of a parcel of car- 
pet-bagging tricksters filled him with a virtue at 
which he afterwards smiled when he found that peo- 
ple were declaring their bets off. " I laid a wager on 
the popular result, not on the decision of the Return- 
ing Boards," he said in reclaiming his money from 



388 A MODERN INSTANCE^ 

the referees. He had some difficulty in getting it 
back, but he had got it when he walked homeward at 
night, after having teen out all day ; and there now en- 
sued in his soul a struggle as to what he should do with 
this money. He had it all except the three hundred 
he had ventured on the mining stock, which would 
eventually be worth everything he had paid for it 
After his friglitful escape from losing half of it on 
those bets, he had an intense longing to be rid of it, 
to give it back to Halleck, who never would ask him 
for it, and then to go home and tell Marcia every- 
thing, and throw himself on her mercy. Better pov- 
erty, better disgrace before Halleck and her, better 
her condemnation, than this life of temptation that 
he had been leading. He saw how hideous it was 
in the retrospect, and he shuddered ; his good in- 
stincts awoke, and put forth their strength, such as it 
was; tears came into his eyes ; he resolved to write 
to Kinney and exonerate Eicker, he resolved humbly 
to beg Eicker's pardon. He must leave Boston ; but 
if Marcia would forgive him, he would go back with 
her to Equity, and take up the study of the law in 
her father's office again, and fulfil all her wishes. He 
would have a hard time to overcome the old man's 
prejudices, but lie deserved a hard time, and he knew 
he should finally succeed. It would be bitter, re- 
turning to that stupid little town, and he imagined 
the intrusive conjecture and sarcastic comment that 
would attend his return; but he believed that he 
could live this down, and he trusted himself to laugh 
it down. He already saw himself there, settled in 
the Squire's office, reinstated in public opinion, a 
leading lawyer of the place, with Congress open be- 
fore him whenever he chose to turn his face that way. 
He had thought of going first to Halleck, and 
returning the money, but he was willing to give 
himself the encouragement of Marcia's pleasure, of 



A M<H>£BN IKSTANCIi. 889 

her forgiveness and her praise in an affair that had 
its difficulties and would require all his manfulness. 
The maid met him at the door with little Flavia, and 
told hira that Marcia had gone out to the Hallecks', 
but had left word that she would soon return, and 
that then they would have supper together. Her 
absence dashed his warm impulse, but he recovered 
himself, and took the little one from the maid. He 
lighted the gas in the parlor, and had a frolic witli 
Flavia in kindling a fire in the grate, and making the 
room blight and cheerful. He played with the child 
and made her laugh ; he already felt the pleasure of 
a good conscience, though with a faint nether ache 
in his heart which was perhaps only his wish to have 
the disagreeable preliminaries to his better life over 
as soon as possible. He drew two easy-chairs up at 
opposite corners of the hearth, and sat down in one, 
leaving the other for Marcia ; he had Flavia standing 
on his knees, and clinging fast to his fingers, laughing 
and crowing while he danced her up and down, when 
he heard the front door open, and Marcia burst into 
the room. 

She ran to him and plucked the child from him, 
and then went back as far as she could from him in 
the room, crying, " Give me the child I " and facing 
him with the look he knew. Her eyes were dilated, 
and her visage white with the transport that had 
whirled her far beyond the reach of reason. The 
frail structure of his good resolutions dropped to 
ruin at the sight, but he mechanically rose and ad- 
vanced upon her till she forbade him with a muffled 
shriek of " Don't tauch me ! So ! " she went on, gasping 
and catching her breath, " it was you ! I might have 
known it ! I might have guessed it from the first ! 
You ! Was that the reason why you did n't care to 
have me hurry home this summer ? Was that — 
was that — " She choked, and convulsively pressed 



i 



390 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

her face into the neck of the child, which b^n 
to cry. 

Bartley closed the doors, and then, with his hands 
in his pockets, confronted her with a smile of wicked 
coolness. " Will you be good enough to tell me what 
you 're talking about ? " 

" Do you pretend that you don't know ? I met a 
woman at the bottom of the street just now. Do 
you know who?" 

" No ; but it 's very dramatia Go on ! " 

"It was Hannah Morrison! She reeled against 
me ; and when I — such a fool as I was ! — pitied 
her, because I was on ray way home to you, and was 
thinking about you and loving you, and was so happy 
in it, and asked her how she came to that, she strudc 
me, and told me to — to — ask my — husband I *' 

The transport broke in tears; the denunciation 
had turned to entreaty in everything but words ; but 
Bartley had hardened his heart now past all entreaty. 
The idiotic penitent that he had been a few moments 
ago, the soft, well-meaning dolt, was so far from him 
now as to be scarce within the reach of his contempt. 
He was going to have this thing over once for idl; 
he would have no mercy upon himself or upon her ; 
the Devil was in him, and uppermost in himj and the 
Devil is fierce and proud, and knows how to make 
many base emotions feel like a just self-respect. " And 
did you believe a woman like that ? " he sneered. 

" Do I believe a man like this ? " she demanded, 
with a dying flash of her fury. " You — you don't 
dare to deny it." 

" Oh, no, I don't deny it. For one reason, it would 
be of no use. For all practical purposes, I admit it. 
What then ? " 

" What then ? " she asked, bewildered. " Bartley ! 
You don't mean it ! " 

" Yes, I do. I mean it. I don't deny it. Wliat 



A MODERN INSTANCE. S91 

feheu? What are you going to do about^it?" She 
gazed at him in incredulous hoiTor. " Come ! 1 
mean what I say. What will you do?" 

" Oh, merciful God ! what shall I do ? " she prayed 
aloud. 

"That's just what I'm curious to know. When 
you leaped in here, just now, you must have meant 
to do something, if I could n't convince you that the 
woman was lying. Well, you see that I don't try. 
I give you leave to believe whatever she said. What 
then ?" 

*' Bartley ! " she besought him in her despair. " Do 
you drive me from you ? " 

" Oh, no, certainly not. That is n't my way. You 
have driven me from you, and I might claim the right 
to retaliate, but I don't I've no expectation that 
you '11 go away, and I want to see what else you '11 
do. You would have me, before we were maiTied ; 
you were tolerably shameless in getting me; when 
your jealous temper made you throw me away, you 
couldn't live till you got me back again; you ran 
after me. Well, I suppose you've learnt wisdom, 
now. At least you won't try that game again. But 
what will you do ? " He looked at her smiling, while 
he dealt her these stabs one by one. 

She set down the child, and went out to the entry 
where its hat and cloak hung. She had not taken off 
her own things, and now she began to put on the little 
one's garments with shaking hands, kneeling before 
it. " I will never live with you again, Bartley," she 
said. 

"Very well. I doubt it, as far as you're con- 
cerned ; but if you go away now, you certainly won't 
live with me again, for I shall not let you come back. 
Understand that." 

Each had most need of the other's mercy, but 
neither would have mercy. 



392 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"It isn't for what you won't deny. I don't be- 
lieve that. It's for what you've said now." She 
could not make the buttons and the button-holes of 
the child's sack meet with her quivering fingers ; he 
actually stooped down and buttoned the little gar- 
ment for her, as if they had been going to take the 
child out for a walk between them. She caught it up 
in her arms, and, sobbing " Good by, Hartley I " ran out 
of the room. 

" EecoUect that if you go, you don't come back," 
he said. The outer door crashing to behind her was 
his answer. 

He sat down to think, before the fire he had built 
for her. It was blazing brightly now, and the whole 
room had a hideous cosiness. He could not think, he 
must act. He went up to their room, where the gas 
was burning low, as if she had lighted it and then 
frugally turned it down as her wont was. He did 
jiot know what his purpose was, but it developed it- 
self. He began to pack his things in a travelling-bag 
which he took out of the closet, and which he had 
bought for her when she set out for Equity in the 
summer ; it had the perfume of her dresses yet. 

When this was finished, he went down stairs again 
and being now strangely hungry he made a meal of 
such things as he found set out on the tea-table. 
Then he went over the papers in his secretary ; he 
burnt some of them, and put others into his bag. 

Aller all this was done he sat down by the fire 
again, and gave Marcia a quarter of an hour longer 
in which to return. He did not know whether he 
was afraid that she would or would not come. But 
when the time ended, he took up his bag and went 
out of the house. It began to rain, and he went 
back for an umbrella : he gave her that one chance 
more, and he ran up into their room. But she had 
not come back. He went out again, and hunied 



▲ MODBRir nrSTANGE. 39S 

away through the rain to the Albany Depot, where he 
bought a ticket for Chicago. There was as yet noth* 
ing definite in his purpose, beyond the fact tliat he 
was to be rid of her: whether for a long or short 
time, or forever, he did not yet know; whether he 
meant ever to communicate with her, or seek or suffer 
a reconciliation, the locomotive that leaped westward 
into the dark with him knew as well as he. 

Yet all the mute, obscure forc^es of habit, which are 
doubtless the strongest forces in human nature, were 
dragging him back to her. Because their lives had 
been united so long, it seemed impossible to sever 
them, though their union had been, so full of misery 
and discord ; the custom of marriage was so subtile 
and so pervasive, that his heart demanded her sym- 
pathy for what he was suffering in abandoning her. 
The solitude into which he had plunged stretched be- 
fore him so vast, so sterile and hopeless, that he had 
not the courage to realize it ; he insensibly began to 
give it limits : he would return after so many months, 
weeks, days. 

He passed twenty-four hours on the train, and left 
it at Cleveland for the half-hour it stopped for sup- 
per. But he could not eat ; he had to own to him- 
self that he was beaten, and that he must return, 
or throw himself into the lake. He ran hastily to 
the baggage-car, and effected the removal of his bag ; 
then he went to the ticket-office, and waited at the 
end of a long queue for his turn at the window. His 
turn came at last, and he confronted the nervous and 
impatient ticket-agent, without speaking. 

" Well, sir, what do you want ? " demanded the 
agent. Then, with rising temper, "What is it? 
Are you deaf? Are you dumb ? You can't expect 
to stand there all night ! " 

The policeman outside the rail laid his hand on 
Bartley's shoulder : " Move on, my friend." 



394 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

He obeyed, and reeled away in a fashion that coi 
firmed the policeman's suspicions. He searched h -a^ 
pockets again and again ; but his porte-monnaie wa 





in none of them. It had been stolen, and Halleck^^KS 
money with the Test. Now he could not return ^m; 
nothing remained for him but the ruin he hi 
chosen. 



A MODfiBH I5STAKCK 395 



XXXII. 

Halleck prolonged his summer vacation beyond the 
end of October. He had been in town from time to 
time and then had set off again on some new absence ; 
he was so restless and so far from well during the 
last of these flying visits, that the old people were 
glad when he wrote them that he should stay as long 
as the fine weather continued. He spoke of an inter- 
esting man whom he had met at the mountain resort 
where he was staying ; a Spanish-American, attached 
to one of the Legations at Washington, who had a 
scheme for Americanizing popular education in his 
own country. " He lias made a regular set at me," 
Halleck wrote, " and if I had not fooled away so much 
time already on law and on leather, I should like to 
fool away a little moi^ on such a cause as this." He 
did not mention the matter again in his letters ; but 
the first night after his return » when they all sat to- 
gether in the comfort of having him at home again, 
he asked his father, " What should you think of my 
going to South America ? " 

The old man started up from the pleasant after- 
supper drowse into which he was suffering himself 
to fall, content with Halleck's presence, and willing 
to leave the talk to the women folk. " I don*t know 
what you mean, Ben ? " 

"I suppose it's my having the matter so much in 
mind that makes me feel as if we had talked it over. 
I mentioned it in one of my letters." 

" Yes," returned his fether ; " but I presumed you 
were joking." 



396 A MODfi^r INSTANCE. 

Halleck frowned impatiently; he would not meet the 
gaze of his mother and sisters, but he addressed him- 
self again to his father. " I don't know that I was in 
earnest." His mother dropped her eyes to her mend- 
ing, with a faint sigh of relief " But I can't say," he 
added, " that I was joking, exactly. The man himself 
was very serious about it." He stopped, apparently 
to govern an irritable impulse, and then he went on 
to set the project of his Spanish- American acquaint- 
ance before them, explaining it in detail 

At the end, "That's good," said his father, "but 
why need yoic have gone, Ben ? *' 

The question seemed to vex Halleck ; he did not 
answer at once. His mother could not bear to see 
him crossed, and she came to his help against herself 
and his father, since it was only supposing the case. 
" I presume," she said, " that we could have looked 
at it as a missionary work." 

"It isn't a missionary work, mother," answered 
Halleck, severely, " in any sense that you mean. I 
should go down there to teach, and I should be paid 
for it. And I want to say at once that they have no 
yellow-fever nor earthquakes, and that they have not 
had a revolution for six years. The country's per- 
fectly safe every way, and so wholesome that it will 
be a good thing for me. But I should n't expect to 
convert anybody." 

" Of course not, Ben," said his mother, soothingly. 

" I hope you would n't object to it if it were a mis- 
sionary work," said one of the elder sisters. 

" No, Anna," returned Ben. 

" I merely wanted to know," said Anna. 

" Then I hope you 're satisfied, Anna," Olive cut in. 
" Ben won't refuse to convert the Uruguayans if they 
apply in a proper spirit." 

" I think Anna had a right to ask," said Miss Louisa, 
the eldest. 



A MODERN INSTAjrCK. 397 

" Oh, undoubtedly, Miss Halleck," said Olive. " I 
like to see Ben reproved for misbehavior to his mother, 
myself." 

Her father laughed at Olive's prompt defence. 
" Well, it 's a cause that we 've all got to respect ; but 
I don*t see why you should go, Ben, as I said before. 
It would do very well for some young fellow who had 
no settled prospects, but you 've got your duties here. 
I presume you looked at it in that light. As you 
said in your letter, you 've fooled away so much time 
on leather and law — '' 

" I shall never amount to anything in the law ! " Ben 
broke out. His mother looked at him in anxiety ; his 
father kept a steady smile on his face ; Olive sat alert 
for any chance that offei'ed to put down her elder sis- 
ters, who drew in their breath, and grew silently a 
little primmer. " I 'm not well — " 

" Oh, I know you 're not, dear," interrupted his 
mother, glad of another chance to abet him. 

•* I 'm not strong enough to go on with the line of 
work I Ve marked out, and I feel that I 'm throwing 
away the feeble powers I have." 

His father answered with less surprise than Hal- 
leek had evidently expected, for he had thrown out his 
words with a sort of defiance ; probably the old man 
had watched liiur closely enough to surmise that it 
might come to this with him at last. At any rate, he 
was able to say, without seeming to assent too readily, 
"Well, well, give up the law, then, and come back 
into leather, as you call it. Or take up something 
else. We don't wish to make anything a burden to 
you ; but take up some useful work at home. There 
are plenty of things to be done." 

" Not for me," said Halleck, gloomily. 

" Oh, yes, there are," said the old man. 

" I see you are not willing to have me go," said 
Halleck, rising in uncontrollable irritation. "But I 
wish you would n't all take this tone with me 1 " 



^«an. as o> L ,,a att, 8* -t help ?* 




ixBu ,. oo to^°^ * vine ttV "y^I fet\vet- 

" ^Jkt tbiB iAea^y, 4es?a«. «^ ^est 

^°^%5Sitits. ^^ but ^H Sid ^^ ^*^ , , 

^n^^^Stest. and tb ^ 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 399 

Ameriea, so as to hide what they were doing from 
their mother. 

Olive had left the room by another door, and she 
intercepted Halleck before he reached his own. 

" What is the matter, 5en ? " she whispered. 

" Nothing," he answered, coldly. But he added^ 
•• Come in, Olive." 

She followed him, and hovered near after he turned 
up the gas. 

" I can't stand it here, I must go," he said, turning 
a dull, weary look upon her. 

" Who was at the Elm House that you knew this 
last time ? " she asked, quickly. 

" Laura Dixmore is n't driving me away, if you 
mean that," replied Halleck. 

" I c(mld rCt l)elieve it was she ! I should have 
despised you if it was. But I shall hate her, whoever 
it was." 

Halleck sat down before his table, and his sister 
sank upon the comer of a chair near it, and looked 
^stfuUy at him. " I know there is some one!" 

" If you think I Ve been fool enough to offer my- 
self to any one, Olive, you *re veiy much mistaken." 

"Oh, it needn't have come to that," said Olive, 
with indignant pity. 

" My life 's a failure here,*' cried Halleck, moving his 
head uneasily from side to side. " I feel somehow as 
if I could go out there and pick up the time I Ve lost. 
Great Heaven ! " he cried, " if 1 were only running 
away from some innocent young girl's rejection, what 
a happy man I should be ! " 

" It 's some horrid married thing, then, that *s been 
■flirting with you ! " 

He gave a forlorn laugh. " I 'd almost confess it to 
please you, Olive. But I 'd prefer to get out of the 
matter without lying, if 1 could. Why need you sup- 
pose any reason but the sufficient one I Ve given ? — 



A MODERN INBTAKCE. 401 

oould not resist Ben vrhen any sort of desire showed 
itself through his habitual listlessness, how could she^ 
who understood him best and sympathized with him 
most ? ^ There was something I was going to talk to 
you about, to-night, if you hadn't scared us all with 
this ridiculous scheme, and ask you whether you 
could n't do something." She seemed to suggest the 
change of interest with the hope of winning his 
thoughts away from the direction they had taken; 
but he listened apathetically, and left her to go fur- 
ther or not as she chose. " I think," she added ab- 
ruptly, "that some trouble is hanging over those 
wretched Hubbards." 

" Some new one ? " asked Halleck, with sad sar- 
casm, turning his eyes towards her, as if with the res- 
olution of facing her. 

" You know he 's left his place on that newspaper.** 

" Yes, I heard that when I was at home before." 

" There are some very disagreeable stories about it. 
They say he was turned away by Mr. Witherby for 
behaving badly, — for printing something he ought n't 
to have done." 

That was to have been expected," said Halleck. 
He has n't found any other place, and Marcia says 
he gets very little work to do. He must be running 
into debt, terribly. I feel very anxious about them. 
I don't know what they 're living on." 

" Probably on some money I lent him," said Hal- 
leck, quietly. "I lent him fifteen hundred in the 
spring. It ought to make him quite comfortable for 
the present." 

" Oh, Ben ! Why did you lend him money ? You 
might have known he would n't do any good with it." 

Halleck explained how and why the loan had been 
made, and added : " If he 's supporting his family with 
it, he 's doing some good. I lent it to him for her 
sake." 

26 



ft 

€1 



402 A MODERN mSTAHCE. '~^ 

Halleck looked hardily ioto his sistei^s face, but he 
dropped his eyes when she answered, simply : " Yes, 
of course. But I don't believe she knows anything 
about it ; and I 'm glad of it : it would only add 
to her trouble. She worships you, Ben!" > 

" Does she ? " 

" She seems to think you are perfect., and she never 
comes here but she asks when you 're .to be home. 
I suppose she thinks you have a good influence on 
that miserable husband of hers. He 's going from 
bad to worse, I guess. Father heai*d that he is bet- 
ting on the election. That 's what he 's doing with 
your money." 

" It would be somebody else's money if it was n't 
mine," said Halleck. " Bartley Hubbard must live, 
and he must have the little excitements that make 
Hfe agreeable." 

" Poor thing ! " sighed Olive, " I don't know what 
she would do if she heard that you were going away. 
To hear her talk, you would think she had been 
counting the days and hours till you got back. It 's 
ridiculous^ the way she goes on with mother ; asking 
everything about you, as if she expected to make 
Bartley Hubbard over again on your pattern. I 
should hate to have anybody think me such a saint as 
she does you. But there is n't much dauger, thank 
goodness ! I could laugh, sometimes, at the way 
she questions us all about you, and is so delighted 
when she finds that you and that wretch have any- 
thing in common. But it's all too miserably sad. 
She certainly is the most single-hearted creature 
alive," continued Olive, reflectively. " Sometimes she 
scares me with her innocence. I don't believe that 
even her jealousy ever suggested a wicked idea to 
her : she 's furious because she feels the injustice 
of giving so much more than he does. She has n't 
really a thought for anybody else : I do believe that 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 403 

if she were free to choose from now till doomsday 
she would always choose Bartley Hubbard, bad as 
she knows him to be. And if she were a widow, 
and anybody else proposed to her, she would be 
utterly shocked and astonished." 

" Very likely," said Halleck, absently. 

" I feel very unhappy about her," Olive resumed. 
" I know that she 's anxious and troubled all the time. 
Can't you do something, Ben? Have a talk with 
that disgusting thing, and see if you can't put him 
straight again, somehow ? " 

" No ! " exclaimed Halleck, bursting violently from 
his abstraction. "I shall have nothiug to do with 
them ! Let him go his own way and the sooner he 
goes to the — I won't interfere, — I can't, I must n't ! 
I wonder at you, Olive ! " He pushed away from 
the table, and went limping about the room, searching 
here and there for his hat and stick, which were on 
the desk where he had put them, in jJain view. As 
he laid hand on them at last, he met his sister's as- 
tonished eyes. " If I interfered, I should not inter- XJ 
fere because I cared for him at all ! " he cried. ^ 

" Of course not," said Olive. " But I don't see any- 
thing to make you vxmder at me about that." 

" It would be because I cared for her — " 

" Certainly ! You did n't suppose I expected you 
to interfere from any other motive ? " 

He stood looking at her in stupefaction, with his 
baud on his hat and stick, like a man who doubts 
whether he has heard aright. Presently a shiver 
passed over him, another light came into his eyes, 
and he said quietly, " I 'm going out to see Atherton." 

" To-night ? " said his sister, accepting provisionally, 
as women do, the apparent change of subject. " Don't 
go to-night, Ben ! You 're too tired." 

" I 'm not tired. I intended to see him to-night, 
at any rate. I want to talk over this South Ameri- 



404 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

can scheme with him." He pat on his hat, and moved 
quickly toward the door. 

"Ask him about the Hubbards," said Olive. "Per- 
haps he can tell you something." 

*^ I don't want to know anything. I shall ask him 
nothing." 

She slipped between him and the door. " Ben, you 
haven't heard anything against poor Marcia, have 
you ? " 

"No!" 

" You don't think she 's to blame in any way for 
his going wrong, do you ? 

" How could I ? " 

'* Then I don't understand why you won't do any- 
thing to help her." 

He looked at her again, and opened his lips to 
speak once, but closed them before he said, " I 've 
got my own affairs to worry me. Is n't that reason 
enough for not interfering in theirs ?" 

" Not for you, Ben." 

" Then I don't choose to mix myself up in other 
people's misery. I don't like it, as you once said." 

" But you can't help it sometimes, as you said." 

"I can this time, Olive. Don't you see, — "he 
began. 

" I see there 's something you won't tell me. But 
I shall find it out." She threatened him half play- 
fully. 

"I wish you could," he answered. "Then perhaps 
you 'd let me know." She opened the door tor him 
now, and as he passed out he said gently, "I am 
tired, but I sha'n't begin to rest till I have had this 
talk with Atherton. I had better go." 

" Yes," Olive assented, " you 'd better." She added 
in banter, " You 're altogether too mysterious to be of 
much comfort at home." 

The family heard him close the outside door be- 



A HODEKN INSTANCE. 405 

hind him after Olive came back to them, and she 
explained, " He 's gone out to talk it over with Mr. 
Atherton." 

His father gave a laugh of relief. " Well, if he 
leaves it to Atherton, I guess we needn't worry 
about it/' 

" The child is n't at all well," said his mother. 



16 A MODERN INISTANCE. 



XXXIII. 

Halleck met Atherton at the door of his room with 
his hat and coat on. " Why, Halleck ! I was just 
going to see if you had come home ! " 

" You need n't now," said Halleck, pushing hy him 
into the room. " I want to see you, Atherton, on 
business." 

Atherton took off his hat, and closed the door with 
one hand, while he slipped the other arm out of his 
overcoat sleeve. "Well, to tell the truth, I was 
going to mingle a little business myself with the 
pleasure of seeing you." He turned up the gas in his 
drop-light, and took the chair from which he had 
looked across the table at Halleck, when they talked 
there before. " It 's the old subject," he said, with a 
sense of repetition in the situation. " I learn from 
Witherby that Hubbard has taken that money of 
yours out of the Events, and from what I hear else- 
where he is making ducks and drakes of it on elec- ./ 
tion bets. What shall you do about it ? " f 

" Nothing," said Halleck. f 

'* Oh ! Very well," returned Atherton, with the ef- 
fect of being a little snubbed, but resolved to take 
his snub professionally. He broke out, however, in 
friendly exasperation : " Why in the world did you 
lend the fellow that money ? " f 

Halleck lifted his brooding eyes, and fixed them ? 
half pleadingly, half defiantly upon his friend's face. 
" I did it for his wife's sake." 

" Yes, I know," returned Atherton. " I remember f 
how you felt I could n't share your feeling, but I f 

f 

f 

r 



1 



/ 



/ 



f 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 407 

respected it. However, I doubt if your loan was a 
benefit to either of them. It probably tempted him 
to count upon money that he hadn't earned, and 
that 's always corrupting." 

" Yes," Halleck replied. " But I can't say that, so 
far as he 's concerned, I 'm very sorry. I don't sup- 
pose it would do her any good if I forced him to dis- 
gorge any balance he may have left from his wagers ? " 

" No, hardly." 

" Then I shall let him alone." ' 

The subject was dismissed, and Atherton waited 
for Halleck to speak of the business on which he had 
come. But Halleck only played with the paper 
cutter which his left hand had found on the table near 
him, and, with Iiis chin sunk on his breast, seemed 
lost in an unhappy reverie. 

" I hope you won't accuse yourself of doing him 
an injury," said Atherton, at last, with a smila 

" Injury ? " demanded Halleck, quickly. " What 
injury ? How ? " 

" By lending him that money." 

" Oh ! I had forgotten that ; I was n't thinking of 
it," returned Halleck impatiently. " I was thinking 
of something different. I 'm aware of disliking the 
man so much, that I should be willing to have greater 
harm than that happen to him, — the greatest, for 
what I know. Though I don't know, after all, that it 
would be barm. In another life, if there is one, he 
might start in a new direction ; but that is n't im- 
aginable of him here ; he can only go from bad to 
worse ; he can only make more and more sorrow and 
shame. Why shouldn't one wish him dead, when 
his death could do nothing but good ? " 

" I suppose you don't expect me to answer such a 
question seriously." 

" But suppose I did ? " 

*" Then I should say that no man ever wished any 



408 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

such good as that, except from the worst niotiv^^ 
and the less one has to do with such questions, ev^^ 
as abstraetious, the better." 

" You 'le right," said HaUeck. " But why do yc:^^^ 
call it an abstfaetion ? " 

** Because, in your case, nothing ejae is conceivabl^^=." 

" I told you I was willing the worst should happ^^^ 
to him." 

" And I did n't believe you." 

HaUeck lay back in his chair, and laughed weariL 
"I wish I could convince somebody of n^y wicke 
ness. But it seems to be useless to try, I s 
things that ought to raise the roof, both to you he 
and to Olive at home, and you tell me you don't b 
lieve me, and she tells me that Mrs. Hubbard thin 
me a saint. I suppose now, that if I took you 
the button-hole and informed you confidentially th 
I had stopped long enough at 129 Clover Street to p 
Bartley Hubbard quietly out of the way, you would 
send for a policeman." 

" I should send for a doctor," said Atherton. 

" Sucli is the effect of character ! And yet out 
the fulness of the heart, the mouth speaketh. Oi 
of the heart proceed all those unpleasant thin 
enumerated in Scripture; but if you bottle them u 
there, and keep your label fresh, it 's all that 's r 
quired of you, by your fellow-beings, at least. Wb 
an amusing thing morality would be if it were not 
otherwise. Atherton, do you believe that such a ma 
as Christ ever lived ? " 

" I know you do, HaUeck," said Atherton. --^f 

" Well, that depends upon what you call me, 1' ^^ 
what I was -:- if my well Sunday-scliooled youth — i^ ^^ 
I, I dp. But if 1, poising dubiously on the moaientoxy^il^^ 
present, between the past and future, am I, I 'm afraic^^^^ 
I don't. And yet it seems to me that I liave a fair- 
ish sort of faith. I know that, if Christ never live( 







< 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 409 

on earth, some One lived who imagined him, and 
that One must have been a God. The historical fact 
oughtn't to matter. Christ being imagined, can't you 
see what a comfort, what a rapture, it must have been 
to all these poor souls to come into such a presence 
and be looked through and through ? The relief, tlie 
rest, the complete exposure of Judgment Day — " 

" Every day is Judgment Day," said Atherton. 

" Yes, I know your doctrine. But I mean tlie Last 
Day. We ought to have something in anticipation 
of it, here, in our social system. Character is a su- 
p)erstition, a wretched fetish. Once a year would n't 
be too often to seize upon sinners whose blameless life 
has placed them above suspicion, and turn them in- 
side out before the community, so as to show people 
how the smoke of the Pit had been quietly blacken- 
ing their interior. That would destroy character as 
a cult." He laughed again, " Well, this is n't busi- 
ness, — though it is n't pleasure, either, exactly. 
What I came for was to ask you something. I 've 
finished at the Law School, and I 'm just ready to 
begin here in the office with you. Don't you think 
it would be a good time for me to give up the law ? 
Wait a moment ! " he said, arresting in Atherton an 
impulse to speak. " We will take the decent sur- 
prise, the friendly demur, the conscientious scniple, 
for granted. Now, honestly, do you believe I 've got 
the making of a lawyer in me ? " 

" I don't think you 're very well, Halleck," Ather- 
ton began. 

"Ah, youWe a lawyer! You won't give me a 
direct answer!" 

" I will if you wish," retorted Atherton. 

"Well." 

" Do you want to give it up ? " 

« Yes." 

" Then do it. No man ever prospered in it yet 



I 



410 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

who wanted to leave it. And now, since it 's come 
to this, I '11 tell you what I really have thought, all 
along. I Ve thought that, if your heart was really 
set on the law, you would overcome your natural dis- 
advantages for it; but if the time ever came when 
you were tired of it, your chance was lost : you never 
would make a lawyer. The question is, whether that 
time has come." 

" It has," said Halleck. 

"Then stop, here and now. You've wasted two 
years' time, but you can't get it back by throwing 
more after it. I should n't be your friend, I should n't 
be an honest man, if I let you go on with me, after 
this. A bad lawyer is such a very bad thing. This 
is n't altogether a surprise to me, but it will be a blow 
to your father," he added, with a questioning look at 
Halleck, after a moment. 

" It might have been, if I had n't taken the precau- 
tion to deaden the place by a heavier blow first." 

" Ah ! you 've spoken to him already ? " 

" Yes, I 've had it out in a sneaking, hypothetical 
way. But I could see that, so far as the law was con- 
cerned it was enough ; it served. Not that he 's con- 
sented to the other thing ; there 's where I shall need 
your help, Atherton. I '11 tell you what my plan is." 
He stated it bluntly at first ; and then went over the 
ground and explained it fully, as he had done at home. 
Atherton listened without permitting any sign of sur- 
prise to escape him ; but he listened with increasing 
gravity, as if he heard something not expressed in 
Halleck's slow, somewhat nasal monotone, and at the 
end he said, " I approve of. any plan that will take 
you away for a while. Yes, I '11 speak to your father 
about it." 

"If you think you need any conviction, I could 
use arguments to bring it about in you," said Halleck, 
in recognition of his friend's ready concurrence. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 411 

" No, I don't need any arguments to «onvince me, 
I believe," returned Atherton. 

"Then I wish you'd say something to bring me 
round ! Unless argument is used by somebody, the 
plan always produces a cold chill in me." Halleck 
smiled, but Atherton kept a sober face. "I wish my 
Spanish American was here ! What makes you think 
it's a good plan ? Why should I disappoint my father's 
hopes agaita, and wring my mother's heart by propos- 
ing to leave them for any such uncertain good as this 
scheme promises?" He still challenged his friend 
with a jesting air, but a deeper and stronger feeling of 
some sort trembled in his voice. 

Atherton would not reply to his emotion ; he an- 
swered, with obvious evasion •. " It 's a good cause ; in 
some sort — the best sort — it 's a missionary work." 

" Tltat 's what my mother said to me." 

" And the change will be good for your health." 

" That 's what I said to my mother ! " 

Atherton remained silent, waiting apparently for 
Halleck to continue, or to end the matter there, as he 
chose. 

It was some moments before Halleck went on: 
" You would say, would n't you, that my first duty 
was to my own undertakings, and to those who had a 
right to expect their fulfilment from me ? You would 
say that it was an enormity to tear myself away from 
the affection that clings to me in that home of mine, 
yonder, and that nothing but some supreme motive 
could justify me ? And yet yoa pretend to be satis- 
tied with the reasons I 've given you. You *re not 
dealing honestly with me, Atherton ! " 

" No," said Atherton, keeping the same scrutiny of 
Halleck's face which he had bent upon him throughout, 
but seeming now to hear his thoughts rather than his 
words. " I knew that you would Jiave some supreme 
motive; and if I have pretended to approve your 




412 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

scheme on the reasons you have given me, I haven't> 
dealt honestly with you. But perhaps a little dishon- 
esty is the best thing under the circumstances. Yoi 
have n't told me your real motive, and I can't ask it.' 

" But you imagine it ? " 

« Yes." 

" And what do you imagine ? That I have beei 
disappointed in love ? That I have been rejected 
That the girl who had accepted me has broken hei 

engagement ? Something of that sort ? " demanded 

Halleck, scornfullv. 

Atherton did not answer. 

" Oh, how far you are from the truth ! How blest^ 
and proud and happy I should be if it were th^ 
truth ! " He looked into his friend's eyes, and added. 
bitterly : " You 're not curious, Atherton ; you don'fc 
ask me what my trouble really is ! Do you wish me 
to tell you what it is without asking ? " 

Atherton kept turning a pencil end for end between 
his fingers, while a compassionate smile slightly 
curved his lips. "No," he said, finally, " I think you 
had better not tell me your trouble. I can believe 
very well without knowing it that it's serious — " 

"Oh, tragic ! " said Halleck, self-contemptuously. 

" But I doubt if it would help you to tell it. I 've 
too much respect for your good sense to suppose that 
it 's an unreality ; and I suspect that confession would 
only weaken you. If you told me, you would feel 
that you had made me a partner in your responsibility, 
and you would be tempted to leave the struggle to 
me. If you 're battling with some temptation, some 
self-betrayal, you must make the fight alone: you 
would only turn to an ally to be flattered into dis- 
belief of your danger or your culpability." 

Halleck assented with a slif:jht nod to each point 
that the lawyer ma^e. " You 're right," he said, " but 
a man of your subtlety can't pretend that he does n't 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 413 

know what the trouble is in such a simple case as 



mine." 



" I don't know anything certainly," returned Ath- 
erton, " and as far as I can I refuse to imagine any- 
thing. If your trouble concerns some one besides 
yourself, — and no great trouble can concern one man 
alone, — you 've no right to tell it." 

" Another Daniel come to judgment ! " 

" You must trust to your principles, your self-re- 
spect, to keep you right — " 

Halleck burst into a harsh laugh, and rose from his 
chair : " Ah, there you abdicate the judicial function ! 
Principles, self-respect ! Against tliat f Don't you 
suppose I was approached through my principles and 
self-respect ? Why, the Devil always takes a man on 
the very highest plane. He knows all about our 
principles and self-respect, and what they're made of. 
How the noblest and purest attributes of our na- 
ture, with which we trap each other so easily, must 
amuse him ! Pity, rectitude, moral indignation, a 
blameless life, — he knows that they 're all instru- 
ments for him. No, sir! No more principles and 
self-respect for me, — I 've had enough of them ; 
there 's nothing for me but to run^ and that 's what 
I 'm going to do. But you 're quite right about the 
other thing, Atherton, and I give you a beggar's 
thanks for telling me that my trouble is n't mine alone, 
and I 've no right to confide it to you. It is mine 
in the sense that no other soul is defiled with the 
knowledge of it, and I 'm glad you saved me from the 
ghastly profanation, the sacrilege, of telling it I was 
sneaking round for your sympathy ; I did want some- 
how to shift the responsibility on to you ; to get you — 
God help me ! — to flatter me out of my wholesome 
fear and contempt of myself Well ! That 's past, 
now, and — Good night ! " He abniptly turned 
away from Atherton and swung himself on his cane 
toward the door. 



414 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Atherton took up his hat and coat. "Ill walk 
home with you/* he said. 

"All right," returned Halleck, listlessly. 

" How soon shall you go ? " asked the lawyer, when 
they were in the street. 

" Oh, there 's a ship sailing from New York next 
week," said Halleck, in the same tone of weary in- 
difference. " I shall go in that" 

They talked desultorily of other things. 

When thev came to the foot of Clover Street, Hal- 
leek plucked his hand out of Atherton's arm. " I 'm 
going up through here ! " he said, with sullen obsti- 
nacy. 

" Better not," returned his friend, quietly. 

" Will it hurt her if I stop to look at the outside of 
the house where she lives ? " 

" It will hurt you," said Atherton. 

" I don't wish to spare myself ! " retorted Halleck. 
He shook off the touch that Atherton had laid upon 
his shoulder, and started up the hill ; the other over- 
took him, and, like a man who has attempted to role 
a drunkard by thwarting his freak, and then hopes to 
accomplish his end by humoring it, he passed his arm 
through Halleck's again, and went with him. But 
when they came to the house, Halleck did not stop ; 
he did not even look at it; but Atherton felt the deep 
shudder that passed through him. 

In the week that followed, they met daily, and Hal- 
leck*s broken pride no longer stayed him from the 
shame of open self-pity and wavering purpose. Ather- 
ton found it easier to persuade the clinging reluctance 
of the father and mother, than to keep Halleck's reso- 
lution for him : Halleck could no longer keep it for 
himself " Not much like the behavior of people we 
read of in similar circumstances," he said once. 
" They never falter when they see the path of duty : 
they push forward without looking to either hand ; or 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 416 

else," he added, with a hollow laugh at his own sat- 
ire, " they turn their backs on it, — like men ! Well ! " 

He grew gaunt and visibly feeble. In this strugglop;^ 
the two men changed places. The plan for Halleck's ^ 
flight was ho longer his own, but Atherton's ; and 
when he did not rebel against it, he only passively 
acquiesced. The decent pretence of ignorance on Ath- 
erton's part necessarily disappeared : in all but words 
the trouble stood openly confessed between them, and 
it came to Atherton's saying, in one of Halleck's lapses 
of purpose, from which it had required all the other's 
strength to lift hitn : *' Don't come to me any more, 
Halleck, with the hope that I shall somehow justify 
your evil against your good. I pitied you at first; 
but I blame you now." 

" You 're atrocious," said Halleck, with a puzzled, 
baffled look. " What do you mean ? " 

" I mean that you secretly think you have some- 
how come by your evil virtuously ; and you want me 
to persuade you that it is different from other evils of 
exactlv the same kind, — that it is beautiful and sweet 
and pitiable, and not ugly as hell and bitter as death, 
to be torn out of you mercilessly and flung from you 
with abhorrence. Well, I tell you that you are suf- 
fering guiltily, for no man suffers innocently from 
such a cause. You must go, and you can't go too soon. 
Don't suppose that I find anything noble in your po- 
sition. I should do you a great wrong if I did n't do 
all I could to help you realize that you 're in disgrace, 
and that you 're only making a choice of shames in 
running away. Suppose the truth was known, — sup- > 
pose that those who hold you dear could be persuaded 
of it, — could you hold up your head ? " 

" Do I hold up my head as it is ? " asked Halleck. 
" Did you ever see a more abject dog than I am at 
this moment ? Your wounds are faithful, Atherton ; 
but perhaps you might have spared me this last stab. 



416 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

If you want to know, I can assure you that I don't 
feel any melodramatic vainglory. I know that I 'm 
ninuing away because I 'm beaten, but no other man 
can know the battle I 've fought. Don't you suppose 
I know how hideous this thing is ? No one eLse 
can know it in all its ugliness ! " He covered his face 
with his hands. " You are right," he said, when he 
could find his voice. " I suffer guiltily. I must have 
known it when I seemed to be suffering for pity's 
sake ; I knew it before, and when you said that love 
without marriage was a worse hell than any marriage 
without love, you left me without refuge : I had been 
trying not to face the truth, but I had to face it then. 
I came away in hell, and I have lived in hell ever 
since. I had tried to think it was a crazy fancy, and 
put it on my failing health ; I used to make believe 
that some morning I should wake and find the illu- 
sion gone. I abhorred it from the beginning as I do 
now ; it has been torment to me ; and yet somewhere 
in my lost soul — the blackest depth, I dare say! — 
this shame has been so sweet, — it is so sweet, — the 
one sweetness of life — Ah !" He dashed. the weak 
tears from his eyes, and rose and buttoned his coat 
about him. " Well, I shall go. And I hope I shall 
never come back. Though you need n't mention this 
to my father as an argument for my going when you 
talk me over with him," he added, with a glimmer 
of his wonted irony. He waited a moment, and then 
turned upon his friend, in sad upbraiding : " When I 
came to you a year and a half ago, after I had taken 
that rufl&an home drunk to her — Why did n't you 
warn me then, Atherton ? Did you see any danger ? " 
Atherton hesitated : " I knew that, with your habit 
of suffering for other people, it would make you mis- 
erable ; but I could n't have dreamed this would corae 
of it. But you 've never been out of your own keep- 
ing for a moment. You are responsible, and you are 



A MODERN I^'STANCE. 417 



• 



to blame if you are suffering now, and can find no 
safety for yourself but in running away." 

"That's true/' said Halleck, very humbly, "and I 
won't trouble you any more. I can't go on sinning 
against her belief in me here, and live. I shall go 
on sinning against it there, as long as I live ; but it 
seems to me the harm will be a little less. Yes, I 
will go." 

But the night before he went, he came to Ather- 
ton's lodging to tell him that he should not go; 
Atherton was not at home, and Halleck was spared 
this last dishonor. He returned to his father's house 
through the rain that was beginning to fall lightly, 
and as he let himself in with his key Olive's voice 
said, " It 's Ben ! " and at the same time she laid her 
band upon his arm with a ner\'ous, warning clutch. 
" Hush ! Come in here ! " She drew him from 
the dimly lighted hall into the little reception-room 
near the door. The gas was burning brighter there, 
and in the light he saw Marcia white and still, where 
she sat holding her baby in her arms. They ex- 
changed no greeting: it was apparent that her being 
there transcended all usage, and that they need ob- 
serve none. 

" Ben will go home with you," said Olive, sooth- 
ingly. "Is it raining?" she asked, looking at her 
brother's coat. " I will get my water-proof." 

She left them a moment. "I have been — been 
walking — walking about," Marcia panted. " It has 
got so dark — I 'm — afraid to go home. I hate to — 
take you from them — the last — night." 

Halleck answered nothing; he sat staring at her 
till Olive came back with the water-proof and an um- 
brella. Then, while his sister was putting the water- 
proof over Marcia's shoulders, he said, " Let me take 
the little one," and gathered it, with or without her 
consent, from her arms into his. The baby was sleep- 

27 



418 A MODERN INSTAKCE. 

ing ; it nestled warmly i^ainst him with a laxurioiis 
quiver under the shawl that Olive threw round it. 
" You can carry the umbrella," he said to Marcia. 

They walked fast, when they got out into the rainy 
dark, and it was hard to shelter Halleck as he limped 
rapidly on. Marcia ran forward once, to see if her 
baby were safely kept from the wet, and found that 
Halleck had its little face pressed close between his 
neck and cheet " Don't be afraid," he said. " I 'm 
looking out for it." 

His voice sounded broken and strange, and neither 
of them spoke again tiU they came in sight of 
Marcia's door. Then she tried to stop him. She 
put her hand on his shoulder. "Oh, I'm afraid— 
afraid to go in," she pleaded. 

He halted, and they stood confronted in the light 
of a street lamp ; her face was twisted with weeping. 
" Why are you afraid ? " he demanded, harshly. 

" We had a quarrel, and I — I ran away — I said 
that I would never come back. I left him — " 

" You must go back to him," said HaUeck. " He 's 
your husband ! " He pushed on again, saying over 
and over, as if the words were some spell in which 
he found safety, **You must go back, you must go 
back, you must go back ! " 

He dragged her with him now, for she hung help- 
less on his arm, which she had seized, and moaned to 
herself. At the threshold, " I can't go in ! " she broke 
out. " I 'm afraid to go in I What will he say ? 
What will he do ? Oh, come in with me 1 You are 
good, — and then I shall not be afraid ! " 

"You must go in alone! No man can be your 
refuge from your husband ! Here ! " He released 
himself, and, kissing the warm little face of the sleep- 
ing child, he pressed it into her arms. His fingers 
touched hers under the shawl ; he tore liis hand away 
with a shiver. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 419 

She stood a moment looking at the closed door; 
then she flung it open, and, pausing as if to gather 
her strength, vanished into the brightness within. 

He turned, and ran crookedly down the street, 
waveiing from side to side in his lameness, and fling- 
ing up his arms to save himself from falling as he 
ran, with a gesture that was like a wild and hopeless 
appeal 



420 A MOB£RN INSTANCE. 



XXXIV. 

Marcia pushed into the rogm where she had left 
Bartley. She had no escape from her fate ; she must 
meet it, whatever it was. The room was empty, and 
she began doggedly to search the house for him, up 
stairs and down, carrying the child with her. She 
would not have been afraid now to call him ; but she 
had no voice, and she could not ask the servant any- 
thing when she looked into the kitchen. She saw the 
traces of the meal he had made in the dining-room, 
and when she went a second time to their chamber to 
lay the little girl down in her crib, she saw the draw- 
ers pulled open, and the things as he had tossed them 
about in packing his bag. She looked at the clock 
on the mantel — an extravagance of Bartley's, for 
which she had scolded him — and it was only half 
past eight ; she had thought it must be midnight. 

She sat all night in a chair beside the bed ; in the 
morning she drowsed and dreamed that she was weep- 
ing on Bartley's shoulder, and he was joking her and 
trying to comfort her, as he used to do when they 
were first married ; but it was the little girl, sitting up 
in her crib, and crying loudly for her breakfast. She 
put on the child a pretty frock that Bartley liked, and 
when she had dressed her own tumbled hair she went 
down stairs, feigning to herself that they should find 
him in the parlor. The servant was setting the table 
for breakfast, and the little one ran forward : " Baby's 
chair ; mamma's chair ; papa's chair ! " 

" Yes," answered Marcia, so that the servant might 
hear too. " Papa will soon be home." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 421 

She persuaded herself that he had gone as before 
for the night, and in this pretence she talked with 
the child at the table, and she put aside some of the 
breakfast to be kept warm for Bartley. "I don't 
know just when he may be in," she explained to the 
girl. The utterance of her pretence that she expected 
him encouraged her, and she went about her work 
almost cheerfully. 

At dinner she said, " Mr. Hubbard must have been 
called away, somewhere. We must get his dinner for 
him when he comes : the things dry up so in the oven." 

She put Flavia to bed early, and then trimmed the 
fire, and made the parlor cosey against Bartley's com- 
ing. She did not blame him for staying away the 
night before ; it was a just punishment for her wick- 
edness, and she should tell him so, and tell him that 
she knew he never was to blame for anything about 
Hannah Morrison. She enacted over and over in her 
mind the scene of their reconciliation. In every step 
on the pavement he approached the door ; at last all 
the steps died away, and the second night passed. 

Her head was light, and her brain confused with 
loss of sleep. When the child called her from above, 
and woke her out of her morning drowse, she went to 
the kitchen and begged the servant to give the little 
one its breakfast, saying that she was sick and wanted 
nothing herself She did not say anything about 
Bartley's breakfast, and she would not think anything; 
the girl took the child into the kitchen with her, and 
kept it there all day. 

Olive Halleck came during the forenoon, and Marcia 
told her that Bartley had been unexpectedly called 
away. " To New York," she added, without knowing 
why. 

" Ben sailed from there to-day," said Olive sadly. 

" Yes," assented Marcia. 

" We want you to come and take tea with us this 
evening," Olive began. 



422 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Oh, I can't," Marcia broke in. " I must n*t be 
away when Bartley gets back." The thought was 
something definite in the sea of uncertainty on which 
she was cast away ; she never afterwards lost her hold 
of it; she confirmed herself in it by other inventions; 
she pretended that he had told her where he wtis go- 
ing, and then that he had written to her. She almost 
believed these childish fictions as she uttered them. 
At the same time, in all her longing for his return, 
she had a sickening fear that when he came back 
he would keep his parting threat and drive her away: 
she did not know how he could do it^ but this was 
what she feared. 

She seldom left the house, which at first she kept 
neat and pretty, and then let fall into slatternly ne- 
glect. She ceased to care for her dress or the child's; 
the time came when it seemed as if she could, scarcely 
move in the mystery that beset her life, and she 
yielded to a deadly lethargy which paralyzed all her 
faculties but the instinct of concealment. 

She repelled the kindly approaches of the Hallecks, 
sometimes sending word to the door when they came, 
that she was sick and could not see them ; or when 
she saw any of them, repeating those hopeless Ues 
concerning Bartley *s whereabouts, and her expecta- 
tions of his return. 

For the time she was safe against all kindly mis- 
givings ; but there were some of Bartley's creditors 
who grew impatient of his long absence, and refused 
to be satisfied with her fables. She had a few dollars 
left from some money that her father had given her 
at home, and she paid these all out upon the demand 
of the first-comer. Afterwards, as other bills were 
pressed, she could only answer with incoherent prom- 
ises and evasions that scarcely served for the mo- 
ment. The pursuit of these people dismayed her. 
It was nothing that certain of them refused further 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 423 

credit ; she would have known, both for herself and 
her child, how to go hungry and cold ; but there was 
one of them who threatenecl her with the law if she 
did not pay. She did not know what he could do ; 
she had read somewhere that people who did not pay 
their debts were imprisoned, and if that disgrace 
w6re all she would not care. But if the law were 
enforced against her, the truth would come out ; she 
would be put to shame before the woiW as a deserted 
wife; and this when Bartley had not deserted her. 
Tlie pride that had bidden her heart break in secret 
rather than suffer this shame even before itself, was 
baffled : her one blind device had been concealment, 
and this poor refuge was possible no longer. If all 
were not to know, some one must know. 

The law with which she had been threatened 
might be instant in its operation ; she could not tell. 
Her mind wavered from fear to fear. Even while 
the man stood before her, she perceived the necessity 
that was upon her, and when he left her she would 
not allow herself a moment's delay. 

She reached the Events building, in which Mr. 
Atherton had his olBSce, just as a lady drove away in 
her coup^. It was Miss Kingsbury, who made a 
point of transacting all business matters with her 
lawyer at his oifice, and of keeping her social rela- 
tions with him entirely distinct, as she fancied, by 
this means. She was only partially successful, but 
at least she never talked business with him at her 
house, and doubtless she would not have talked any- 
thing else with hira at his oflSce, but for that increas- 
ing dependence upon him in eveiything which she 
certainly would not have permitted herself if she 
had realized it. As it was, she had now come to 
him in a state of nervous exaltation, which was not 
business-like. She had been greatly shocked by 
Ben Halleck's sudden freak ; she had sympathized 



424 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

with his family till she herself felt the need of some 
sort of condolence, and she bad promised herself this 
consolation from Atherton's habitual serenity. She 
did not know what to do when he received her with 
what she considered an impatient manner, and did 
not seem at all glad to see her. There was no reason 
why he should be glad to see a lady calling on business, 
and no doubt he often found her troublesome, but he 
had never shown it before. She felt like crying at 
first; then she passed through an epoch of resent- 
ment, and then through a period of compassion for 
him. She ended by telling him with dignitied sever- 
ity that she wanted some money : they usually made 
some jokes about her destitution when she came upon 
that errand. He looked surprised and vexed, and " I 
have spent what you gave me last mouth/' she 
explained. 

" Then you wish to anticipate the interest on your 
bonds ? " 

" Certainly not," said Clara, rather sharply. " I 
wish to have the interest up to the present time." 

" But I told you," said Atherton, and he could not, 
in spite of himself, help treating her somewhat as a 
child, " I told you then that I was paying you the 
interest. up to the first of November. There is none 
due now. Did n't you understand that ? " 

" No, I did n't understand/' answered Clara. She 
allowed herself to add, " It is very strange ! " Ather- 
ton struggled with his irritation, and made no reply. 
"I can't be left without money," she continued. 
" What am I. to do without it ? ** she demanded with 
an air of unanswerable argument "Why, I must 
have it!" 

" I felt that I ought to understand you fully," said 
Atherton, with cold politeness, " It 's only necessary 
to know what sum you require." 

Clara flung up her veil and confronted him with aa 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 425 

excited face. " Mr. Atherton, I don't wish a loan ; 
I can't permit it ; and you know that my principles 
are entirely against anticipating interest." 

Atherton, from stooping over his table, pencil in 
hand, leaned back in his chair, and looked at her with 
a smile that provoked her : " Then may I ask what 
you wish me to do ? " 

" No ! I can't instruct you. My affairs are in 
your hands. But I must «ay — " She bit her lip, 
however, and did not say it. On the contrary she 
asked, rather feebly, "Is there nothing due on 
anything ? " 

" I went over it with you, last month," said Ather- 
ton patiently, "and explained all the investments. I 
could sell some stocks, but this election trouble has 
disordered ever}'thing, and I should have to sell at a 
heavy loss. There are your mortgages, and there are 
your bonds. You can have any amount of money 
you want, but you will have to borrow it" 

" And that you know I won't do. There should 
always be a sum of money in the bank," said Clara 
decidedly. 

" I do my very best to keep a sum there, knowing 
your theory ; but your practice is against me. You 
draw too many checks," said Atherton, laughing. 

" Very well ! " cried the lady, pulling down her 
veil. " Then I 'm to have nothing ? " 

"You won't allow yourself to have anything," 
Atherton began. But she interrupted him hauglitily. 

" It is certainly very odd that my affairs should be 
in such a state that I can't have all the money of my 
own that I want, whenever I want it." 

Atherton's thin face paled a little more than usual. 
" I shall be glad to resign the charge of your affairs, 
Miss Kingsbury." 

" And I shall accept your resignation," cried Clara> 
magnificently, " whenever you offer it." She swept 



426 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

out of i;he office, and descended to her coup^ like an 
incensed goddess. She drew the curtains and began 
to cry. At her door, she bade the servant deny her 
to everybody, and went to bed, where she was visited 
a little later by Olive Halleck, whom no ban ex- 
cluded. Clara lavishly confessed her sin and sorrow. 
" Why, I vjent there, more than half, to sympathize 
with him about Ben ; I don't need any money, just 
yet ; and the firat thing I knew, I was accusing him 
of neglecting my interests, and I don't know what 
all ! Of course he had to say he would n't have any- 
tliing more to do with them, and I should have de- 
spised him if he had n't. And now I don't care what 
becomes of the property: it's never been anything 
but misery to me ever since I had it, and I always 
knew it would get me into trouble sooner or later." 
She whirled her face over into her pillow, and sobbed, 
" But I did rCt suppose it would ever make me insult 
and outrage the best friend I ever had, — and the 
truest man, — and the noblest gentleman ! Oh, what 
will he think of me ? " 

Olive remained sadly quiet, as if but superficially 
interested in these transports, and Clara lifted her face 
again to say in her handkerchief, "It's a shame, 
Olive, to burden you with all this at a time when 
you 've care enough of your own." 

" Oh, I 'm rather glad of somebody else's care ; it 
helps to take my mind off," said Olive. 

" Then what would you do ? " asked Clara, tempted 
by the apparent sympathy with her in the effect of 
her naughtiness. 

" You might make a party for him, Clara/' sug- 
gested Olive, with lack-lustre irony. 

Clara gave way to a loud burst of grief. "Oh, 
Olive Halleck! I didn't suppose jrou could be so 
cruel ! '' 

Olive rose impatiently. " Then write to him, or go 



A MODERN LN STANCE. 427 

to him and tell him that you 're ashamed of yourself, 
and ask him to take your property back agaia" 

" Never ! " cried Clara, who had listened with fas- 
cination. " What would he think of me ? " 

" Why need you care ? It 's purely a matter of 
business ! " ., 

"Yes.*' 

" And you need n't mind what he thinks. " 

" Of course,** admitted Clara, thoughtfully. 

"He will naturally despise you,'* added Olive, 
"but I suppose he does that, now." 

Clara gave her friend as piercing a glance as her 
soft blue eyes could emit, and, detecting no sign of 
jesting in Olive's sober face, she answered haughtily, 
" I don't see what right Mr. Atherton has to despise 
me!" 

" Oh, no ! He must admire a girl who has behaved 
to him as you 've done." 

Clara's hauteur collapsed, and she began to truckle 
to Olive. " If he were merely a business man, I 
should n't mind it ; but knowing him socially, as I 
do, and as a — friend, and — an acquaintance, tliat 
way, I don't see how I can do it." 

"I wonder you didn't think of that before you 
accused him of fraud and peculation, and all those 
things." 

"I did n't accuse him of fraud and peculation!" 
cried Clara, indignantly. 

" You said you did n't know what all you 'd called 
liim," said Olive, with her hand on the door. 

Clara followed her down stairs. "Well, I shall 
never do it in the world," she said, with reviving 
hope in her voice. 

" Oh, I don't expect you to go to him this morn- 
ing," said Olive dryly. " That would be a little too 
barefaced." 

Her friend kissed her. " Olive Halleck, you 're the 



/ 



428 ^ A, MODERN INSTANCE. 

strang^t girl that ever \Vas. I do believe you 'd joke 
at the point of death ! But I 'm so glad you have 
been perfectly frank with me, and of course it's 
worth worlds to know that you think I Ve behaved 
horridly, and ought to make some reparation." 

" I *m glad you value my opinion, Clara. And if 
you come to me for frankness, you can always have all 
you want ; it 's a drug in the market with me.** She 
meagrely returned Clara's embmce, and left her in a 
reverie of tactless scheming for the restoration of 
peace with Mr. Atherton. 

Marcia came in upon the lawyer before he had 
thought, after parting with Miss Kingsbury, to tell 
the clerk in the outer office to deny him ; but she 
was too full of her own trouble to see the reluctance 
which it tasked all his strength to quell, and she sauk 
into the nearest chair unbidden. At sight of her, 
Atherton became the prey of one of those fantastic 
repulsions in which men visit upon women the blame 
of others' thoughts about them : he censured her for 
Halleck's wrong; but in another instant he recog- 
nized his cruelty, and atoned by relenting a little in 
his intolemnce of her presence. She sat gazing at 
him with a face of blank misery, to which he could 
not refuse the charity of a prompting question : " Is 
there something I can do for you, Mrsi»^ Hubbard ? " 

"Oh, I don't know, — I don't know !" She had a 
folded paper in her hands, which lay helpless in her 
lap. After a moment she resumed, in a hoarse, low 
voice: "They have all begun to come for their 
money, and this one — this one says he will have the 
law of me — I don't know what he means — if I dont 
pay him." 

Marcia could not know how hard Atherton found 
it to govern the professional suspicion which sprung 
up at the question of money. But he overruled his 
suspicion by an effort that was another relief to the 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 429 

struggle in which he was wrenching his mind from 
Miss Kingsbury*s outrageous behavior. " What have 
you got there ? " he asked gravely, and not unkindly, 
and being used to prompt the reluctance of lady 
clients, he put out his hand for the paper she held. 
It was the bill of the threatening creditor, for indefi- 
nitely repeated dozens of tivoli beer. 

" Why do they come to you vfith. this ? " 

"Mr. Hubbard is away." 

"(3h, yes, I Heard. When do you expect him 
home ? " 

" I don't know." 

" Where is he ? " 

She looked at him piteously without speaking. 

Atherton stepped to his door, and gave the order 
forgotten before. Then he closed the door, and came 
back to Marcia. " Don't you know where your hus- 
band is, Mrs. Hubbard ? " 

" Oh, he will come back ! He could v!t leave me ! 
He's dead, — I know he's dead; but he will come 
back ! He only went away for the night, and some- 
thing must have happened to him." 

The whole tragedy of her life for the past fortnight 
was expressed in these wild and inconsistent words; 
she had not been able to reason beyond the pathetic 
absurdities which they involved ; they had the effect 
of assertions confirmed in the belief by incessant 
repetition, and doubtless she had said them to her- 
self a thousand times. Atherton read in them, not 
only the confession of her despair, but a prayer for 
mercy, which it would have been inhuman to deny, 
and for the present he left her to such refuge from 
herself as she had found in them. He said, quietly, 
" You had better give me that paper, Mrs, Hubbard," 
and took the bill from her. " If the others come with 
their accounts again, you must send them to me. 
When did you say Mr. Hubbard left home ? " 



430 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

** The night after the election," said Marcia. 

** And he did n't say how long he should be gone ? " 
pursued the lawyer, in the feint that she had known 
he was going. 

" No/* she answered 

" He took some things with him ? ** 

" Yes." 

" Perhaps you could judge how long he meant to 
be absent from the preparation he made ? '* 

" I Ve never looked to see. I could n't ! " 

Atherton changed the line of his inquiry. " Does 
any one else know of this ? " 

" No/' said Marcia, quickly, " I told Mrs. Halleck 
and all of them that he was in New York, and I said 
that I had heard from him. I came to you because you 
were a lawyer, and you would not tell what I told you." 

"Yes," said Atherton. 

" I want it kept a secret. Oh, do you think be 's 
dead ? " she implored. 

*' No/' returned Atherton, gravely, " I don't think 
he's dead." 

" Sometimes it seems to me I could bear it better 
if I knew he was dead. If he is n't dead, he 's out of 
his mind ! He 's out of his mind, don't you think, 
and he 's wandered off somewhere ? " 

She besought him so pitifully to agree with her, 
bending forward and trying to read the thoughts in 
his face, that he could not help saying, " Perhaps." 

A gush of grateful tears blinded her, but she choked 
down her sobs. 

" I said things to him that night that were -enough 
to drive him crazy. I was always the one in fault, 
but he was always the one to make up first, and he 
never would have gone away from me if he had 
known what he was doing ! But he will come back, 
I know he will," she said, rising. " And oh, you won't 
say anything to anybody, will you ? And he '11 get 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 431 

back before they find out. I will send those men to 
you, and Bartley will see about it as soon as he comes 
home — " 

" Don't go, Mrs. Hubbard," said the lawyer. " I 
want to speak with you a little longer." She droi)ped 
again in her chair, and looked at him inquiringly. 
" Have you written to your father about this ? " 

" Oh, no," she answered quickly, with an effect of 
shrinking back into herself. 

"I think you had better do so. You can't tell 
when your husband will return, and you can't go on 
in this way." 

" I will never tell fatherl^ she replied, closing her 
lips inexorably. 

The lawyer forbore to penetrate the family trouble 
he divined, " Are you all alone in the house ? " he 
asked. 

" The girl is there. And the baby." 

" That won't do, Mrs. Hubbard," said Atherton, with 
a compassionate shake of the head. " You can't go 
on living there alone." 

" Oh, yes, I can. I 'm not afraid to be alone," she 
returned with the air of having thought of this. 

" But he may be absent some time yet," urged the 
lawyer ; " he may be absent indefinitely. You must 
go home to your father and wait for him there." 

" 1 can't do that. He must find me here when he 
comes," she answered firmly. 

" But how will you stay ? " pleaded Atherton ; he 
had to deal with an unreasonable creature who could 
not be driven, and he must plead. " You have no 
money, and how can you live ? " 

"Oh," replied Marcia, with the air of having 
thought of this too, " I will take boarders." 

Atherton smiled at the hopeless practicality, and 
shook his head ; but he did not oppose her directly. 
" Mrs. Hubbard," he said earnestly, " you have done 



432 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

well in coming to me, but lot me convince yon that 
this is a matter which can't be kept. It must be 
known. Before you can begin to help yourself, you 
must let others help you. Either you must go home 
to your father and let your husband find you there — " 

" He must find me here, in our own house." 

"Then you must tell your friends here that you 
don't know where he is, nor when he will return, and 
let them advise together as to what can be done. You 
must tell the Hallecks-^" 

" I will never tell them I " cried Marcia, " Let me 
go ! I can starve there and freeze, and if he finds me 
dead in the house, none of them shall have the right 
to blame him, — to say that he left me, — that he de- 
serted his little child ! Oh ! oh ! oh ! oh ! What shall 
I do?" 

The hapless creature shook with the thick-coming 
sobs that overpowered her now, and Atherton re- 
frained once more. She did not seem ashamed before 
him of the sorrows which he felt it a sacrilege to know, 
and in a blind instinctive way he perceived that in 
proportion as he was a stranger it was possible for her 
to bear her disgrace in his presence. He spoke at 
last from the hint he found in this fact : " Will you 
let me mention the matter to Miss Kingsbury ? " 

She looked at him with sad intensity in the eyes, as 
if trying to fathom any nether thought that he might 
have. It must have seemed to her at first that he 
was mocking her, but his words brought her the 
only relief from her self-upbraiding she had known. 
To sufler kindness from Miss Kingsburv would be in 
some sort an atonement to Bartley for the wrong her 
jealousy had done him ; it would be self-sacrifice for 
his sake ; it would be expiation. " Yes, tell her," she 
answered with a promptness whose obscure motive 
was not illumined by the flash of passionate pride 
with which she added, " I shall not care for Aer." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 433 

She rose again, and Atherton did not detain her ; 
but when she had left him he lost no time in writ- 
ing to her father the facts of the case as her visit 
had revealed them. He spoke of her reluctance to 
have her situation known to her family, but assured 
the Squire that he need have no anxiety about her for 
the present. He promised to keep him fully informed 
in regard to her, and to telegraph the first news of 
Mr. Hubbard. He left the Squire to form his own 
conjectures, and to take whatever action he thought 
best. For his own part, he had no question that 
Hubbard had abandoned his wife, and had stolen Hal- 
leek's money; and the detectives to whom he went 
were clear that it was a case of European travel 



28 



434 A MODERN INSTANCB. 



XXXV. 

Atherton went from the detectives to Miss Kings- 
bury, and boldly resisted the interdict at her door, 
sending up his name with the message that he wished 
to see her immediately on business. She kept him 
waiting while she made a frightened toilet, and leaving 
the letter to him which she had begun half finished 
on her desk, she came down to meet him in a flutter 
of despondent conjecture. He took her mechanically 
yielded hand, and seated himself on the sofa beside 
her. " I sent word that I had come on business," he 
said, " but it is no affair of yours," — she hardly knew 
whether to feel relieved or disappointed, — " except 
as you make all unhappy people's affairs your own." 

" Oh ! " she murmured in meek protest, and at the 
same time she remotely wondered if these aflFairs were 
his. 

"I came to you for help/' he began again, and 
again she interrupted him in deprecation. 

" You are very good, after — after — what I — what 
happened, — I 'm sure." She put up her fan to her 
lips, and turned her head a little aside, ** Of course 
I shall be glad to help you in anything, Mr. Atherton ; 
you know I always am." 

" Yes, and that gave me courage to come to you, 
even after the way in which we parted this morning. 
I knew you would not misunderstand me " ■ — 

" No," said Clara softly, doing her best to under- 
stand him. 

" Or think me wanting in delicacy — " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 435 

" Oh, no, no ! " 

" If I believed that we need not have any embar- 
rassment in meeting in behalf of the poor creature 
who came to see me just after you left me. The fact 
is," he went on, " I felt a little freer to promise your 
interest since I had no longer any business relation 
to you, and could rely on your kindness like — like 
— any other." 

*' Yes," assented Clara, faintly ; and she forbore to 
point out to him, as she might fitly have done, that 
he had never had the right to advise or direct her at 
which he hinted, except as she expressly conferred it 
from time to time. " I shall be only too glad — " 

" And I will have a statement of your affairs drawn 
up to-morrow, and sent to you." Her heart sank; 
she ceased to move the fan which she had been slowly 
waving back and forth before her face. " I was going 
to set about it this morning, but Mrs. Hubbard's 
visit — " 

**Mr8. Hubbard!" cried Clara, and a little air of 
pique qualified her despair. 

"Yes; she is in trouble, — the greatest: her hus- 
band has deserted her." 

" Oh, Mr. Atherton ! " Clara's mind was now far 
away from any concern for lierself The woman 
whose husband has deserted her supremely appeals 
to all other women. *'I can't believe it! What 
makes you think so ?" 

" What she concealed, rather than what she tohl 
me, I believe," answered Atherton. He ran over the 
main points of their intei-view, and summed up his 
own conjectures. " I know from things Halleck has 
let drop that they have n't always lived happily to- 
gether; Hubbard has been speculating with borrowed 
money, and he 's in debt to everybody. She 's been 
alone in her house for a fortnight, and she only came 
to me because people had begun to press her for 



436 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

money. She 's been pretending to the Halleeks that; 
she hears from her husband, and knows where he is." 

" Oh, poor, poor thing ! " said Clam, too shocked to 
say more. " Then they don't know ? " 

"No one knows but ourselves. She catne to me 
because I was a comparative stranger, and it would 
cost her less to confess her trouble to me than to 
them, and she allowed me to speak to you for very 
much the same reason." 

" But I know she dislikes me ! " 

** So much the better ! She can't doubt -your good- 
ness — " 

" Oh ! " 

" And if she dislikes you, she can keep her pride 
better with you." 

Clara let her eyes fall, and fingered the edges of 
her fan. There was reason in this, and she did not 
care that the opportunity of usefulness was personally 
unflattering, since he thought her capable of rising 
above the fact. " What do you want me to do ? " she 
asked, lifting her eyes docilely to his. 

" You must find some one to stay with her, in her 
house, till she can be persuaded to leave it, and you 
must lend her some money till her father can come 
to her or write to her. I Ve just written to him, and 
I Ve told her to send all her bills to me ; but I 'm 
afraid she may be in immediate need." 

"Terrible !" sighed Clara to whom the destitution 
of an acquaintance was appalling after all her charita- 
ble knowledge of want and suffering. " Of course, we 
must n't lose a moment," she added ; but she lingered 
in her corner of the sofa to discuss ways and means 
with him, and to fathom that sad enjoyment which 
comfortable people find in the contemplation of alien 
sorrows. It was not her fault if she felt too kindly 
toward the disaster that had brought Atherton back 
to her on the old terms ; or if she arranged her plans 



A MODEHN INSTANCS. 437 

for befriending Marcia in her desolation with too 
buoyant a cheerfulness. But she took herself to task 
for the radiant smile she found on her face, when she 
ran up stairs and looked into her glass to see how she 
looked in parting with Atherton : she said to herself 
that he would think her perfectly heartless. 

She decided that it would be indecent to drive to 
Marcia's under the circumstances, and she walked ; 
tliough with all the time this gave her for reflection she 
had not wholly banished this smile when she looked 
into Marcia's woe-begone eyes. But she found herself 
incapable of the awkwardnesses she had deliberated, 
and fell back upon the native motherliness of her 
heart, into which she took Marcia with sympathy 
that ignored everything but her need of help and 
pity. Marcia's bruised pride was broken before the 
goodness of the girl she had hated, and she performed 
her sacrifice to Bartley's injured memory, not with the 
haughty self-devotion which she intended should hu- 
miliate Miss Kingsbury, but with the prostration of a 
woman spent witli watching and fasting and despair. 
She held Clara away for a moment of scrutiny, and 
then submitted to the ^mbrace in which they recog- 
nized and confessed all. 

It was scarcely necessary for Clara to say that Mr. 
Atherton had told her ; Marcia already knew that ; 
and Clara became a partisan of her theory of Bart- 
ley's absence almost without an effort, in spite of the 
facts that Atherton had suggested to the contrary. 
" Of course- ! He has wandered off somewhere, and as 
soon as he comes to his senses he will hurry home. 
Why I was reading of such a case only the other day, 
— the case of a minister who wandered off in just 
the same way, and found himself out in Western 
New York somewhere, after he had been gone three 
mouths." 

" Bartley won't be gone three months," protested 
Marcia. 



438 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Certainly not ! " cried Clara, in severe self-rebuke. 
Then she talked of his return for a while as if it might 
be expected any moment. " In the mean time," she 
added, "you must stay here; you 're quite right about 
that, too, but you must n't stay here alone : he *d be 
quite as much shocked at that as if he found you 
gone when he came back. I 'm going to ask you to 
let my friend Miss Strong stay with you ; and she 
must pay her board ; and you must let me lend you all 
the money you need. And, dear," — Clara dropped 
her voice to a lower and gentler note, — "you must n't 
try to keep this from your friends. You must let 
Mr. Atherton write to your father; you must let 
me tell the Hallecks: they'll be hurt if you don't. 
You need n't be troubled ; of course he wandered off 
in a temporary hallucination, and nobody will think 
differently." 

She adopted the fiction of Bartley's aberration with 
so much fervor that she even silenced Atherton's in- 
jurious theories with it when he came in the evening 
to learn the result of her intervention. She had For- 
gotten, or she ignored, the facts as he had stated them 
in the morning ; she was now Bartley's valiant cham- 
pion, as well as the tender protector of Marcia : she 
was the equal friend of the whole exemplary Hubbard 
family. 

Atherton laughed, and she asked what he was 
lautrhinor at. 

"Oh," he answered, "at something Ben Halleck 
once said : a real woman can make righteousness deli- 
cious and virtue piquant." 

Clara reflected. " I don't know whether I like 
that," she said finally. 

" No ? " said Atherton. " Why not ? " 

She was serving him with an after-dinner cup of tea, 
which she had brought into the drawing-room, and in 
putting the second lump of sugar into his saucer she 



A MOBEKN INSTANCE. 439 

paused again, thoughtfully, holding the little cube in 
the tongs. She was rather elaborately dressed for so 
simple an occasion, and her silken train coiled iteelf 
far out over the massy depth of the njoquette carpet; 
the pale blue satin of the furniture, and the delicate 
white and gold of the decorations, l)ecame her won- 
derfully. 

" I can't say, exactly. It seems depreciatory, some- 
how, as a generalization. But a man might say it of 
the woman he was in love with," she concluded. 

" And you would n't approve of a man's saying it 
of the woman his friend was in love with ? " pursued 
Atherton, taking his cup from her. 

"If they were very close friends." She did not 
know why, but she blushed, and then grew a little 
pale. 

"I understand what you mean," he said, "and I 
should n't have liked the speech from another kind 
of maa But Halleck's innocence characterized it." 
He stirred his tea, and then let it stand untasted in 
his abstraction. 

" Yes, he is good," sighed Clara. " If he were not 
so good, it would be hard to forgive him for disap- 
pointing all their hopes in the way he 's done." 

" It 's the best thing he could have done," said 
Atherton gravely, even severely. 

" I know you advised it," asserted Clara. " But 
it's a great blow to them. How strange that Mr. 
Hubbard should have disappeared the last night Ben 
was at home ) I 'm glad that he got away without 
knowing anything about it." 

Atherton drank ofif his tea, and refused a second 
cup with a gesture of his hand. " Yes, so am I," he 
said. " I 'm glad of every league of sea he puts be- 
hind him." He rose, as if eager to leave the subject. 

Clara rose too, with the patient acquiescence of a 
woman, and took his hand proffered in parting. 



440 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

They had certainly talked out, but there seemed no 
reason why he should go. He held her hand, while 
he asked, " How shall I make my peace with you ?'* 

" My peace ? What for ? " She flushed joyfully. 
" I was the one in fault." 

He looked at her mystified. " Why, surely, you 
did n't repeat Halleck's remark ? " 

"Oh!" she cried indignantly, withdrawing her 
hand. " I meant this rrtoming. It does n't matter/' 
she added. " If you still wish to resign the charge 
of my affairs, of course I must submit. But I thought 

— I thought — " She did not go on, she was too deeply 
hurt. Up to this moment she had imagined that she 
had befriended Marcia, and taken all that trouble upon 
herself for goodness' sake ; but now she was ready to 
upbraid him for ingratitude in not seeing that she 
had done it for his sake. " You can send me the 
statement, and then — and then — I don't know what 
I shall do ! Why do you mind what I said ? I Ve 
often said quite as much before, and you know 
that I did n't mean it. I want you to take my prop- 
erty back again, and never to mind anything I say : 
I 'm not worth minding." Her intended upbraiding 
had come to this pitiful effect of self-contempt, and 
her hand somehow was in his again. " Do take it 
back!" ^ 

"If I do that,'* said Atherton, gravely, "I must 
make my conditions," and now they sat down to- 
gether on the sofa from which he had risen. " I 
can't be subjected again to your — disappointments," 

— he arrested with a motion of his hand the profuse 
expression of her penitence and good intentions, — 
" and I Ve felt for a long time that this was no attitude 
for your attorney. You ought to have the right to 
question and censure ; but I confess I can't grant you 
this. I 've allowed myself to make your interests too 
much my own in everything to be able to bear it. I 've 



A MODEIiN INSTANCE. 441 

thought several times that I ought to give up the 
trust ; but it seemed like giving up so much more, that 
I never had the courage to do it in cold blood. This 
morning you gave me my chance to do it in hot 
blood, and if I resume it, I must make my terms." 

It seemed a long speech to Glara, who sometimes 
thought she knew whither it tended, and sometimes 
not. She said in a low voice, " Yes." 

" I must be relieved," continued Atherton, " of the 
sense I 've had that it was indelicate in me to keep 
it, while I felt as I Ve grown to feel — towards you." 
He stopped : " If I take it back, you must come with 
it 1 " he suddenly concluded. 

The inconsistency of accepting these conditions 
ought to have struck a woman who had so long im- 
agined herself the chase of fortune-hunters. But 
Clara apparently found nothing alarming in the de- 
mand of a man who openly acted upon his knowledge 
of what could only have been matter of conjecture 
to many suitors she had snubbed. She found noth- 
ing incongruous in the transaction, and she said, 
with as tremulous breath and as swift a pulse as if the 
question had been solely of herself, " I accept — the 
conditions." 

In the long, happy talk that lasted till midnight, 
they did not fail to recognize that, but for their 
common pity of Marcia, they might have remained 
estranged, and they were decently ashamed of their 
bliss when they thought of misery like hers. When 
Atherton rose to bid Clara good night, Marcia was 
still watching for Bartley, indulging for the last time 
the folly of waiting for him as if she definitely ex- 
pected him that night. 

Every night since he disappeared, she had kept the 
lights burning in the parlor and hall, and drowsed 
before the fire till the dawn drove her to a few hours 
of sleep in bed. But with the coming of the stranger 



442 A MODERN IN8TANCS. 

who was to be her companion, she must deny herself 
even this consolation, and openly accept the fact that 
she no longer expected Bartley at any given time. 
She bitterly rebelled at the loss of her solitude, iu 
which she could be miserable in whatever way liev 
sorrow prompted, and the pangs with which she had 
submitted to Miss Kingsbury's kindness grfew sharper 
hour by hour till she maddened in a frenzy of reseht- 
ment against the cruelty of her expiation. She longed 
for the day to come that she might go to her, ana 
take back her promises and her submission^ and llin^ 
her insulting good- will in her face. She said to her- 
self that no one should enter her door again till Bart- 
ley opened it ; she would die there in the house, she 
and her baby, and as she stood wringing her hands 
and moaning over the sleeping little one, a hideous 
impulse made her brain reel ; she wished to look if 
Bartley had left his pistol in its place ; a cry for help 
against herself broke from her ; she dropped upon her 
knees. 

The day came, and the hope and strength which 
the mere light so sti-angely brings to the sick in spirit 
as well as the sick in body visited Marcia. She 
abhorred the temptation of the night like the remem- 
brance of a wicked dream, and she went about with a 
humble and grateful prayer — to something, to some 
one — in her heart. Her housewifely pride stirred 
again : that girl should not think she was a slattern ; 
and Miss Strong, when she preceded her small trunk 
in the course of the forenoon, found the parlor and 
the guest-chamber, which she was to have, swept, and 
dusted, and set in perfect order by Marcia's hands. 
She had worked with fury, and kept her heart-ache 
still, but it began again at sight of the girl. Fortu- 
nately, the conservatory pupil had embraced with 
even more than Miss Kingsbury's ardor the theory of 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 443 

Baitley's aberration, and she met Marcia with a sym- 
pathy in her voice and eyes that could only have 
come from sincere conviction. She was a simple 
country thing, who would never be a prima donna ; 
but the overflowing sentimentality which enabled her 
to accept herself at the estimate of her enthusiastic 
feUow-villagers made her of far greater comfort to 
Marcia than the sublimest musical genius would have 
done. She worshipped the heroine of so tragic a 
fact, and her heart began to go out to her in honest 
helpfulness from the first. She broke in upon the 
monotony of Marcia*s days with the oflBces and in- 
terests of wholesome commonplace, and exorcised the 
ghostly silence with her first stroke on the piano, — 
which Bartley had bought on the instalment plan 
and had not yet paid for. 

In fine, life adjusted itself with Marcia to the 
new conditions, as it does with women less wofuUy 
widowed by death, who promise themselves reunion 
with their lost in another world, and suffer through 
the first weeks and days in the hope that their part- 
ing will be for but days or weeks, and then gradually 
submit to indefinite delay. She prophesied Hartley's 
return, and fixed it in her own mind for this hour and 
that. " Now, in the morning, I shall wake and find 
him standing by the bed. No, at night he will come 
in and surprise us at dinner." She cheated herself 
with increasing faith at each renewal of her hopes. 
When she ceased to formulate them at last, it was 
because they had served their end, and left* her es- 
tablished, if not comforted, in the superstition by 
which she lived. His return at any hour or any 
moment was the fetish which she let no misgiving 
blaspheme ; everything in her of woman and of wife 
consecmteci^it. She kept the child in continual re- 
membrance of him by talking of him, and by making 
her recognize the photographs in which Bartley had 



444 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

abundantly perpetuated himself; at night, when slie 
folded the little one's hands for prayer, she made liei* 
pray God to take care of poor papa and send him 
home soon to mamma. She was beginning to can- 
onize him. 

Her father came to see her as soon as he thought 
it best after Atherton's letter ; and the old man had 
to endure talk of Bartley to which all her former 
praises were as refreshing shadows of defamation. 
She required him to agree with everything she said, 
and he could not refuse; she reproached him for 
being with herself the cause of all Bartley's erroi-s, 
and he had to bear it without protest. At the end 
he could say nothing but " Better come home with 
me, Marcia," and he suffered in meekness the indig- 
nation with which she rebuked him : " I will stay in 
Bartley's house till he comes back to me. If he is 
dead, I will die here." 

The old man had satisfied himself that Bartley had 
absconded in his own rascally right mind, and he ac- 
cepted with tacit grimness the theory of the detect- 
ives that he had not gone to Europe alone. He paid 
back the money which Bartley had borrowed from 
Halleck, and he set himself as patiently as he could 
to bear with Marcia's obstinacy. It was a mania 
which must be indulged for the time, and he could 
only trust to Atherton to keep him advised concern- 
ing her. When he offered her money at parting, slie 
hesitated. But she finally took it, saying, " Bartley 
will pay it back, every cent, as soon as he gets home. 
And if," she added, " he does n't get back soon, I 
will take some other boarders and pay it myself." 

He could see that she was offended with him for 
asking her to go home. But she was his girl ; he 
only pitied her. He shook hands with her as usual, 
and kissed her with the old stoicism ; but his lips, set 
to fierceness by the life-long habit of sarcasm, trembled 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 445 

as he turned away. She was eager to have him go ; 
for she had given him Miss Strong's room, and had 
taken the girl into her own, and Bartley would not 
like it if he came back and found her there. 

Hartley's disappearance was scarcely a day's won- 
der with people outside his own circle in that time 
of anxiety for a fair count in Louisiana and Florida, 
and long before the Eetuming Boards liad partially 
relieved the tension of the public mind by their de- 
cision he had quite dropped out of it. The reporters 
who called at his house to get the bottom facts in 
the case, adopted Marcia's theory, given them by Miss 
Strong, and whatever were their own suspicions or 
convictions, paragraphed him with merciful brevity as 
having probably wandered away during a temporary 
hallucination. They spoke of the depression of spirits 
which many of his friends had observed in him, and 
of pecuniary losses, as the cause. They mentioned his 
possible suicide only to give the repoit the authori- 
tative denial of his family ; and they added, that the 
case was in the hands of the detectives, who believed 
themselves in possession of important clews. The 
detectives in fact remained constant to their original 
theory, that Bartley had gone to Europe, and they 
were able to name with reasonable confidence the 
person with whom he had eloped. But these were 
matters hushed up among the force and the press. 
In the mean time, Bartley had been simultaneously 
seen at Montreal and Cincinnati, at about the same 
time that an old friend had caught a glimpse of him 
on a train bound westward from Chicago. 

So far as the world was concerned, the surmise 
with which Marcia saved herself from final despair 
was the only impression that even vaguely remained 
of the affair. Her friends, who had compassionately 
acquiesced in it at first, waited for the moment when 
they could urge her to relinquish it and go home to 



446 A MODERN INSTAl5rCB. 

her father; but while they waited, she gathered 
strength to establish herself immovably in it, and to 
shape her life more and more closely about it. She 
had no idea, no instinct, but to stay where he had 
left her till he came back. She opposed this singly 
and solely against all remonstrance, and treated every 
suggestion to the contrary as an instigation to crime. 
Her father came from time to time during the winter 
to see her, but she would never go home with him 
even for a day. She put her plan in force ; she took 
other boarders : other girl students like Miss Strong, 
whom her friends brought her when they found that it 
was useless to oppose her and so began to abet her ; 
she worked hard, and she actually supported herself at 
last in a frugal independence. Her father consulted 
with Atherton and the Hallecks ; he saw that she 
was with good and faithful friends, and he submitted 
to what he could not help. When the summer came, 
he made a last attempt to induce her to go home with 
him. He told her that her mother wished to see her. 
She would not understand. " 1 11 come," she said, ** if 
mother gets seriously sick. But I can't go home for 
the summer. If I had n*t been at home last summer, 
he would never have got into that way, and it would 
never have happened." 

She went home at last, in obedience to a peremp- 
tory summons ; but her mother was too far gone to 
know her when she came. Her quiet, narrow life 
had grown colder and more inward to the end, and it 
passed without any apparent revival of tenderness for 
those once dear to her ; the funeral publicity that fol- 
lowed seemed a final touch of the fate by which all 
her preferences had been thwarted in the world. 

Marcia stayed only till she could put the house in 
order after they had laid her mother to rest among 
the early reddening sumacs under the hot glare of the 
August sun ; and when she came away, she brought 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 447 

her father with her to Boston, where he spent his 
days as he might, taking long and aimless walks, 
devouring heaps of newspapers, rusting in idleness, 
and aging fast, as men do in the irksomeness of 
disuse. 

Halleck's father was beginning to show his age, 
too ; and Halleck's mother lived only in her thoughts 
of him, and her hopes of his return ; but he did not 
even speak of this in his letters to thein. He said 
very little of himself, and they could merely infer 
tliat the experiment to which he had devoted himself 
was becoming less and less satisfactory. Their sense 
of this added its pang to their unhappiness in his 
absence. 

One day Marcia said to Olive Halleck, " Has any 
one noticed that you are beginning to look like your 
sisters ? " 

" / 've noticed it," answered the girL " I always 
was an old maid, and now I 'm beginning to show it." 

Marcia wondered if she had not hurt Olive's feel- 
inf]js ; but she would never have known how to ex- 
cuse herself; and latterly she had been growing more 
and more like her father in certain traits. Perhaps 
her passion for Bartley had been the one spring of 
tenderness in her nature, and, if ever it were spent, 
she would stiffen into the old man's stern aridity. 



448 A MOD^N INSTANCE. 



XXXVL 

~ It was nearly two years after Atherton'g marriage 
that Halleck one day opened the door of the lawyer's 
private office, and, turning the key in the lock, limped 
forward to where the latter was sitting at his desk. 
Halleck was greatly changed : the full beard that he 
had grown scarcely hid the savage gauntness of his 
face ; but the change was not so much in lines and 
contours as in that expression of qualities which wq 
call looks. 

" Well, Atherton ! " 

"Halleck! You!'' 

The friends looked at each other; and Atherton 
finally broke from his amaze and offered his hand, 
with an effect, even then, of making conditions. But 
it was Halleck who was the first to speak again. 

" How is she ? Is she well ? Is she still here ? 
Have they heard anything from him yet ? " 

"No," said Atherton, answering the last question 
with the same provisional effect as before. 

" Then he is dead. That's what I knew ; that 's 
what I said ! And here I am. The fight is over, 
and that 's the end of it. I 'm beaten." 

" You look it," said Atherton, sadly. 

" Oh, yes ; I look it. That 's the reason I can afford 
to be frank, in coming back to my friends. I knew 
that with this look in my face I should make my own 
welcome ; and it 's cordial even beyond my expecta- 
tions." 

" I 'm not glad to see you, Halleck," said Atherton. 



A MODKRN INSTANCE. 449 

" For your own sake I wish you were at the other end 
of the world." 

" Oh, I know that. How are my people ? Have 
you seen my father lately ? Or my mother ? Or — 
Olive V A pathetic tremor shook his voice. 

"Why, haven't you seen them yet?" demanded 
Atherton. 

Halleck laughed cynically. " My dear friend, my 
steamer arrived this morning, and I *m just off the New 
York train. I *ve hurried to your ofl&ce in all the im- 
patience of friendship. I *m very lucky to find you 
here so late in the day ! You can take me home to 
dinner, and let your domestic happiness preach to me. 
Come, I rather like the notion of that ! " 

" Halleck," said Atherton, without heeding his ban- 
ter, *' I wish you would go away again I No one 
knows you are here, you say, and no one need ever 
know it." 

Halleck set his lips and shook his head, with a 
mocking smile. "I*m surprised at you, Atherton, 
with your knowledge of human nature. I We come 
to stay ; you must know that. You must know that I 
had gone through everything before I gave up, and 
that I have n't the strength to begin the struggle over 
again. I tell you I *ni beaten, and I 'm glad of it ; for 
there is rest in it. You would waste your breath, if 
you talked to me in the old way ; there 's nothing in 
me to appeal to, any more. If I was wrong — But 
I don't admit, any more, that I was wrong: by 
heaven, I was right I " 

" You are beaten, Halleck," said Atherton sorrow- 
fully. He pushed himself back in his chair, and 
clasped his hands together behind his head, as his 
habit was in reasoning with obstinate clients. " What 
do you propose to do ? " 

" I propose to stay." 

" What for ? " 

29 



450 A IfOBERN INSTANCE. 

" What for ? Till I can prove that he is dead." 

" And then ? " 

" Then I shall be free to ask her." He added angrily: 
" You know what I Ve come back for : why do you tor- 
ment me with these questions ? I did what I could; 
I ran away. And the last night I saw her, I thrust 
her back into that hell she called her home, and I 
told her that no man could be her refuge from that 
devil, her husband, — when she had begged me in her 
mortal terror to go in with her, and save her from 
him. That was the recollection I had to comfort me 
when I tried to put her out of my mind, — out of 
my soul ! When I heard that he was gone, I re- 
spected her days of mourning. God knows how I 
endured it, now it 's over ; but I did endure it. I 
waited, and here I am. And you ask me to go away 
again! Ah!" He fetched his breath through his 
set teeth, and struck his fist on his knee. " He is 
dead ! And now, if she will, she can marry me. 
Don't look at me as if I had killed him! There 
has n't been a time in these two infernal years when I 
would n't have given my life to save his — for her 
sake. I know that, and that gives me courage, it 
gives me hope." 

"But if he isn't dead?" 

"Then he has abandoned her, and she has the 
right to be free : she can get a divorce ! " 

"Oh," said Atherton, compassionately, "has that 
poison got into you, Halleck ? You might ask her, if 
she were a widow, to marry you ; but how will you 
ask her, if she 's still a wife, to get a divorce and then 
marry you ? How will you suggest that to a woman 
whose constancy to her mistake has made her sacred 
to you ? " Halleck seemed about to answer ; but he 
only panted, dry-lipped and open-mouthed, and Ath- 
erton continued : " You would have to corrupt her 
soul first. I don't know what change you Ve made in 



A MODERN INSTAIfCE. 451 

yourself during these two years ; you look like a des- 
perate and defeated man, but you don't look like that 
You don't look like one of those scoundrels who lure 
women from their duty, ruin homes, and destroy soci- 
ety, not in the old libertine fashion in which the 
seducer had at least the grace to risk his life, but 
safely, smoothly, under the shelter of our infamous 
laws. Have you really come back here to give your 
father's honest name, and the example of a man of 
your own blameless life, in support of conditions that 
tempt people to marry with a mental reservation, and 
that weaken every marriage bond with the guilty hope 
of escape whenever a fickle mind, or secret lust, or 
wicked will may dictate ? Have you come to join 
yourself to those miserable spectres who go shrinking 
through the world, afraid of their own past, and 
anxious to hide it from those they hold dear ; or do 
you propose to defy the world, to help form within it 
the community of outcasts with whom shame is not 
shame, nor dishonor, dishonor ? How will you like 
the society of those uncertain men, those certain 
women ? " 

" You are very eloquent," said Halleck, '* but I ask 
you to observe that these little abstractions don't in- 
terest me. I 've a concrete purpose, and I can't con- 
template the effect of other people's actions upon 
American civilization. When you ask me to believe 
that I ought n't to try to rescue a woman from the 
misery to which a villain has left her, simply because 
some justice of the peace consecrated his power 
over her, I decline to be such a fool. I use my rea- 
son, and I see who it was that defiled and destroyed 
that marriage, and I know that she is as free in the 
sight of God as if he had never lived. If the world 
does n't like my open shame, let it look to its own 
secret shame, — the marriages made and maintained 
from interest, and ambition, and vanity, and folly. I 



452 A MODBIRil INSTANCE. 

will take my chance with the men and women who 
have been honest enough to own their mistake, and to 
try to repair it, and I will preach by my life that mar* 
riage has no sanctity but what love gives it, and 
that when love ceases marriage ceases, before heaven. 
If the laws have come to recognize that, by whatever 
fiction, so much the better for the laws I " Halleck 
rose. 

" Well, then," cried Atherton, rising, too, " you shall 
meet me on your own ground ! This poor creature is 
constant in every breath she draws to the ruffian who 
has abandoned her. I must believe, since you say it, 
that you are ready to abet her in getting a divorce, 
even one of those divorces that are ' obtained without 
publicity, and for any cause,' " — Halleck winced, — 
" that you are willing to put your sisters to shame 
before the world, to break your mother's heart, and 
your father's pride, — to insult the ideal of goodness 
that she herself has formed of you; but how will you 
begin ? The love on her part, at least, has n't ceased : 
has the marriage ? " 

" She shall tell me," answered Halleck. He left 
Atherton without another word, and in-resentment 
that effaced all friendship between them, though after 
this parting they still kept up its outward forms, and 
the Athertons took part in the rejoicings with which 
the Hallecks celebrated Ben's return. His meet- 
ing with the lawyer was the retiewal of the old con- 
flict on terms of novel and hopeless degradation. He 
had mistaken for peace that exhaustion of spirit which 
comes to a man in battling with his conscience ; he 
had fancied his struggle over, and he was to learn now 
that its anguish had just begun. In that delusion 
his love was to have been a law to itself, able to loose 
and to bind, and potent to beat down all regrets, all 
doubts, all fears, that questioned it ; but the words 
with which Marcia met him struck his passion dumb. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 453 

" Oh, I am so glad you have come back !" she said 
" Now I kuow that we can find him. You were such 
friends with him, and you understood him so well, that 
you will know just what to do. Yes, we shall find 
him now, and we should have found him long ago if 
you had been here. Oh, if you had never gone away ! 
But I can never be grateful enough for what you said 
to me that night when you would not come in with 
me. The words have rung in my ears ever since ; they 
showed that you had faith in him, more faith than I 
had, and I Ve made them my rule and my guide. No 
one has been my refuge from him, and no one ever 
shall be. And I thank you — yes, I thank you on my 
bended knees — for making me go into the house 
alone ; it 's my one comfort that I had the strength to 
come back to him, and let him do anything he would 
to me, after I had treated him so ; but I Ve never 
pretended it was my own strength. I have always 
told everybody that the strength came from you ! " 

Halleck had brought Olive with him; she and 
Marcia's father listened to these words with the 
patience of people who had heard them many times 
before; but at the end Olive glanced at Halleck's 
downcast face with fond pride in the satisfaction she 
imagined they must give him. The old man ruminated 
upon a bit of broom straw, and absently let the little 
girl catch by his hands, as she ran to and fro between 
him and her mother while her mother talked. Hal- 
leck made a formless sound in his throat, for answer, 
and Marcia went on. 

" I Ve got a new plan now, but it seems as if father 
took a pleasure in discouraging all my plans. I know 
that Bartley 's shut up, somewhere, in some asylum, 
and I want them to send detectives to all the asylums 
in the United States and in Canada, — you can't tell 
how far off he would wander in that state, — and in- 
quire if any stray insane person has been brought to 



454 A MODEEN INSTANCE. 

them. Does n't it seem to you as if that . wonid be the 
right way to find him ? I want to talk it all over with 
you, Mr. Halleck, for I know yow can sympathize with 
me ; and if need be I will go to the asylums myself; 
I will walk to them, I will crawl to them on my 
knees ! When I think of him shut up there among 
those raving maniacs, and used as they use people in 
some of the asylums — Oh, oh, oh, oh 1 " 

She broke out into sobs, and caught her little girl 
to her breast. The child must have been accustomed 
to her mother's tears; she twisted her head round, 
and looked at Halleck with a laughing face. 

Marcia dried her eyes, and asked, with quivering 
lips, " Is n't she like him ? " 

" Yes," replied Halleck huskDy. 

" She has his long eyelashes exewtly, and his hair 
and complexion, has n't she ? " 

The old man sat chewing his broom straw in 
silence ; but when Marcia left the room to get Bartley's 
photograph, so that Halleck might see the child's 
resemblance to him, her father looked at Halleck from 
under his beetling brows : " I don't think we need 
trouble the asj/lums much for Bartley Hubbard. But 
if it was to search the States prisons and the jails, 
the rum-holes and the gambling-hells, or if it was to 
dig up the scoundrels who have been hung under 
assumed names during the last two years, I should 
have some hopes of identifying him." 

Marcia came back, and the old man sat in cast-iron 
quiet, as if he had never spoken ; it was clear that 
whatever hate he felt for Bartley he spared her ; and 
that if he discouraged her plans, as she said, it was 
because they were infected by the craze in which she 
canoni^d Bartley. 

" You see how she is," said Olive, when they came 
away. 

" Yes, yes, yes," Halleck desolately assented. 



A MODEfiN INSTANCE. 455 

''Sometimes she seems to me just like a querulous, 
vulgar, middle-aged woman in her talk ; she repeats 
herself in the same scolding sort of way ; and she 's so 
eager to blame somebody besides Bartley for Bartley's 
wickedness that, when she can't punish herself, she 
punishes her father. She 's merciless to that wretched 
old man, and he 's wearing his homesick life out here 
in the city for her sake. You heard her just now, 
about his discouraging her plans ? " 

" Yes," said Halleck, as befora 

" She 's grown commoner and narrower, but it 's 
liardly her fault, poor thing, and it seems terribly 
unjust that she should be made so by what she has 
suffered. But that 's just the way it has happened. 
She 's so undisciplined, that she could n't get any good 
out of her misfortunes ; she *s only got harm : they 've 
made her selfish, and there seems to be nothing left 
of what she was two years ago but her devotion to 
that miserable wretch. You mustn't let it turn 
you against her, Ben ; you must n't forget what she 
might have been. She had a rich nature ; but how 
it 's been wasted, and turned back upon itself ! Poor, 
untrained, impulsive, innocent creature, — my heart 
aches for her ! . It 's been hard to bear with her at 
times, terribly hard, and you '11 find it so, Ben. But 
you must bear with her. The awfulest thing about 
people in trouble is that they are such bores; they 
tire you to death. But you '11 only have to stand her 
praises of what Bartley was, and we had to stand 
them, and her hopes of what you would be if you were 
only at home, besides. I don't know what all she 
expects of you ; but you must try not to disap- 
point her ; she worships the ground you tread on, and 
I really think she believes you can do anything you 
will, just because you 're good." 

Halleck listened in silence. He was indeed helpless 
to be otherwise than constant. With shame and grief 



456 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

iu his heart, he could only vow her there the greater 
fealty because of the chauge he found in her. 

He was doomed at every meeting to hear her glorify 
a man whom he believed a heartless traitor, to plot 
with her for the rescue from imaginary captivity of 
the wretch who had cruelly forsaken her. He actually 
took some of the steps she urged ; he addressed in- 
quiries to the insane asylums, far and near; and in 
these futile endeavors, made only with the desii-e of 
failure, his own reason seemed sometimes to waver. 
She insisted that Atherton should know all the steps 
they wei-e taking; and his sense of his old friend*s 
exact and perfect knowledge of his motives was a 
keener torture than even her father's silent scorn of 
his efibrts, or the worship in which his own family 
held him for them. 



A MODEBN INSTANCE. 457 



XXXVII. 

Halleck had come home in broken health, and 
had promised his family, with the self-contempt that^ 
depraves, not to go away again, since the change had 
done him no good. There was no talk for the present 
of his trying to do anytliing but to get well ; and for 
a while, under the strong excitement, he seemed to be 
better. But suddenly he failed; he kept his room, 
and then he kept his bed ; and the weeks stretched 
into months before he left it. 

When the spring weather came, he was able to go 
out again, and he spent most of his time in the open 
air, feeling every day a fresh accession of strength. 
At the end of one long April afternoon, he walked 
home with a light heart, whose right to rejoice he 
would not let his conscience question. He had met 
Marcia in the Public Garden, where they sat down 
on a bench and talked, while her father and the little 
girl wandered away in the restlessness of age and the 
restlessness of childhood. 

" We are going home to Equity this summer," she 
said, " and perhaps we shall not come back. No, we 
shall not come back. / have given up, I have 
waited, hoping — hoping. But now I know that it is 
no use waiting any longer : he is dead" She spoke 
in tearless resignation, and the peace of accepted 
widowhood seemed to diffuse itself around her. 

Her words repeated themselves to Halleck, as he 
walked homeward. He found the postman at the 
door with a newspaper, which he took from him with 



458 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

a smile at its veteran appearance, and its probable 
adventures in reaching him. The wrapper seemed to 
have been several times slipped off, and then slit up ; 
it was tied with a string, now, and was scribbled with 
rejections in the hands of various Hallocks and Hal- 
letts, one of whom had finally indorsed upon it, " Try 
97 Rumford Street." It was originally addrassed, as 
lie made out, to " Mr. B. Halleck, Boston^ Mass.," ftpd 
he carried it to his room before he ope|)ad it, witj] a 
careless surmise as to its interest fiv him. ]t provj^d 
to he a flimsy, shabbily printei} ccmiitry newspaper, 
with an advertisement masked in one eom^r^ 

State of Indiana, ) 

Tecumseh County > ^^' 

In Tecumseh Circuit Court, April Term, 1879. 

BA.RTLEY J. Hubbard^ 

V8. > Divorce. No, 6793. 

Marcia G. Hubbard. 5 

It appearinjy by affidavit this day filed in the office of the 
Clerk ot the Tecumseh Circuit Court, that Marcia G. Hubbard, 
ildteudaiit iu the above entitled action for divorce on account 
of abandon nient and gross neglect of duty, is a non-resi- 
dent of the State of Indiana, notice of the pendency of such 
action is therefore hereby given said defendant above named, 
and that the same will be called for answer on the 11th day of 
April, 1879, the same being the 3d judicial day of the April 
term of said court, for said year, which said term of rtaid court 
will begin on the first Monday in April, 1879, and will be held 
at the Court House, in the town of Tecumseh, in said County 
and State, said 11th day of April, 1879, being the time fixell 
by said plaintiff by indorsement on his complaint, at which 
said time said defendant is required to answer herein. 

Witness my hand and the seal of the said Court, this 4th day 
of March, 1879. 

.^-K^y Augustus H. Hawkins, 

■j SEAL y Clerk. 



Milikin & Ayres, Att'ys for Plff. 




A MODERN INSTANCE. 459 

Halleck read this advertisement again and again, 
with a dull, mechanical action of the brain. He 
saw the familiar names, but they were hopelessly 
estranged by their present relation to each other ; the 
legal jargon reached no intelligence in him that could 
grasp its purport. 

When his daze began to yield, he took evidence of 
his own reality by some such tests as one might in 
waking froni A long faint. He looked at his hands, 
his feet ; he rose and looked at his face in the glass. 
Turning about, he saw the paper where he had left 
it on the table ; it was no illusion. He picked up 
the cover from the floor, and scanned it anew, 
trying to remember the handwriting on it, to make 
out who had sent this paper to him; and why. Then 
the address seemed to grow into something different 
under his eye : it ceased to be his name ; he saw now 
that the paper was directed to Mrs. B. Hubbard, and 
that by a series of accidents and errors it had failed to 
reach her in its wanderings, and by a fluftl blunder 
had fallen into his hands. 

Once solved, it was a very simple affair, and be 
had now but to carry it to her ; that was very simple, 
too. Or he might destroy it ; this was equally simple. ^ 
Her words repeated themselves once more : " I have 
given up. He is dead." Why should he break the 
peace she had found, and destroy her last sad illusion ? 
Why should he not spare her the knowledge of this 
final wrong, and let the merciful injustice accomplish 
itself? The questions seemed scarcely to have any 
personal concern for Halleck ; his temptation wore a 
heavenly aspect It softly pleaded with him to for- 
bear, like something outside of himself. It was when 
he began to resist it that he found it the breath in 
his nostrils, the blood in his veins. Then the mask 
dropped, and the enemy of souls put forth his power 
against this weak spirit, enfeebled by long strife and 
defeat already acknowledged. 



460 A MODEKN INSTANCE. 

At the end Halleck opened his door, and called, 
" Olive, Olive ! " in a voice that thrilled the girl with 
strange alarm where she sat in her own room. She 
came running, and found him clinging to his door- 
post, pale and tremulous. " I want you — want you 
to help me," he gasped. " I want to show you some- 
thing — Look here ! " 

He gave her the paper, which he had kept behind 
him, clutched fast in his hand as if he feared it might 
somehow escape him at last, and staggered away to a 
chair. 

His sister read the notice. "Oh, Ben I" She 
dropped her hands with the paper in them before her, 
a gesture of helpless horror and pity, and looked fit 
liini. " Does she know it ? Has she seen it ? " 

" No one knows it but you and I. The paper wna 
left here for me by mistake. I opened it before I aaW 
that it was addressed to her." 

He panted fortli these sentences in an exhaustioQ 
tliat would have terrified her, if she had not been too 
full of indigoant compassion for Marcia to know any- 
thing else. She tried to speak. 

"Don't you understand, Olive? This is thfl 
notice that the law requires she shall have to come 
and defend her cause, and it has been sent by the 
clerk of the court, there, to the addi'ess that villain 
must have given in the knowledge that it could reach 
her only by one chance in ten thousand*'* 

" And it has come to you ! Oh, Ben ! Who sent 
it to you t " The brother and sister looked at each 
other, but neither spoke the awestricken thought that 
was in both their hearts. " Ben," she cried in a solemn 
ecstasy of love and pride, " I would rather be you this 
minute than any other man in the world !" 

" Don't ! " pleaded Halleck. His head dropped, and 
then he lifted it by a sudden impulse. "Olive!" — 
But the impulse failed, and he only said, ^ I want you 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 461 

to go to Atheiton ^vith me. We must n't lose time. 
Have Cjrrus get a carriage. Go down and tell them 
we 're going out. 1 11 be ready as soon as you are." 

But when she called to him from below that the 
carriage had come and she was waiting, he would 
have refused to gO with her if he durat. He no 
longer wished to keep back the fact, but he felt an 
invalid's weariness of it, a sick man's inadequacy to 
the farther demands it should make upon him. He 
crept slowly down the stairs, keeping a tremulous 
hold upon the rail ; and he sank witl) a sigh against the 
carriage cushions, answering Olive's eager questions 
and fervid comments with languid monosyllables. 

They found the Athertous at coffee, and Clara 
would have them come to the dining-room and join 
them. Halleck refused the coffee, and while Olive 
told what had happened he looked listlessly about the 
room, aware of a perverse sympathy with Bartley, 
from Hartley's point of view : Bartley might never 
have gone wrong if he had had all that luxury ; and 
why should he not have had it, as well as Atherton ? 
What right had the untempted prosperity of such a 
man to judge the guilt of such men as himself and 
Bartley Hubbard ? 

Olive produced the newspaper from her lapj where 
she kept both hands iipon it, and opened it to the ad- 
vertisement in dramatic corroboration of what she had 
been telling Atherton. He read it and passed it to 
Clara. 

" When did this come to you ? " 

Olive answered for him. "This evening, — just 
now. Did n't I say that ? " 

" No," said Atljerton ; land he added to Halleck, 
gently : " I beg your pardon. Did you notice the 
dates?" 

"Yes," answered Halleck, with cold refusal of 
Atherton's tone of reparation. 



462 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

"The cause is set for hearing on the 11th," said 
Atherton. " This is the 8th. The time is very 
short." 

" It 's long enough " said Halleck, wearily. 

"Oh, telegraph !" cried Clara. "Telegraph them 
instantly that she never dreamt of leaving bim ! 
Abandonment ! Oh, if they only knew how shfe had 
been slaving her fingers off for the last two years to 
keep a home for him to come back to, they 'd jpve 
her the divorce ! " 

Atherton smiled and turned to Hallecfe: *'l)d 
you know what their law is, now ? It wA« dhangdd 
two years ago." 

"Yes," said Halleck, replying to the questioti Ath^ 
erton had asked and the subtler question hd had 
looked, " I have read up the whole subject since t 
came home. The divorce is granted only Upott toroofj 
even when the defendant fails to appear, and if thia 
were to go against us," — he instinctively idebtilied 
himself with Marcia's cause, — "we can have the 
default set aside, and a new trial granted, iot cause 
shown." 

The women listened in awe of the legal phrases ; 
but when Atherton rose, and asked, " Is your carriage 
here ? " his wife sprang to her feet. 

" Why, where are you going ? " she demailded, 
anxiously. 

" Not to Indiana, immediately," answered her hus- 
band. " We 're first going to Clover Street, to see 
Squire Gaylord and Mrs. Hubbanl. Bettet let me 
take the paper, dear," he said, softly withdrawing it 
from her hands. 

"Oh, it's a cruel, cruel law!" she taoatied, de- 
prived of this moral support. " To suppose that such 
a notice as this is sufl&cient I Women could n't have 
made such a law." 

" No, women only profit by such laws after they 're 



A MODERN INSTANCE 463 

made: they work both ways. But it's not such a 
bad law, as divorce laws go. We do worse, now, in 
some New England States." 

They found the Squire alone in the parlor, and, 
with a few words of explanation, Atherton put the 
paper in his hands, and he read the notice in emo- 
tionless quiet. Then be took off his spectacles, and 
shut them in their case, which he put back into his 
waistcoat pocket " This is all right," he said. He 
cleared his throat, and, lifting the fierce glimmer of 
his eyes to Atherton's, he asked, drily, " What is the 
law, at present ? " 

Atherton briefly recapitulated the points as he had 
them from Halleck. 

" That *s good," said the old man. " We will fight 
this, gentlemen." He rose, and from his gaunt height 
looked down on both of them, with his sinuous lips 
set in a bitter smile. " Bartley must have been dis- 
appointed when he found a divorce so hard to get in 
Indiana. He must have thought that the old law 
was still in force there. He 's not the fellow to swear 
to a lie if he could help it ; but I guess he expects to 
get this divorce by peijury." 

Marcia was putting little Flavia to bed. She heard 
the talking below ; she thought she heard Bartley's 
name. She ran to the stairs, and came hesitantly 
down, the old wild hope and wild terror fluttering her 
pulse and taking her breath. At sight of the three 
men, apparently in council, she crept toward them, 
holding out her hands before her like one groping his 
way. "What — what is it?" She looked from 
Atherton's face to her father*s ; the old man stopped, 
and tried to Smile reassuringly ; he tried to speak ; 
Atherton turned away. 

It was Halleck who came forward, and took her 
wandering hands. He held them quivering in his 
own, and said gravely and steadily, using her name 



464 A MODERN INSTAKCB, 

for the first time in the deep pity which oast out all 
fear and shame^ ** Marcia> we have found your hus-* 
band." 

" Dead ? " she made with her lips. 

" He is alive," said Halleck. ^* There is something 
in this paper for you to see, — something you must 



see — 



" I can bear anything if he is not deadw Where — 
what is it ? Show it to me — " The paper shook in 
the hands which Halleck released ; her eyes strayed 
blindly over its columns ; he had to put his finger on 
the place before she could find it. Then her tremor 
ceased, and she seemed witliout breath or pulse 
while she read it through. She fetched a long, deep 
sigh, and passed her hand over her eyes, as if to clear 
them ; staying herself unconsciously against Halleck's 
breast, and laying her trembling arm along his arm 
till her fingers knit themselves among his fingers, she 
read it a second time and a third. Then she dropped 
the paper, and turned to look up at him. "Why!'* 
she cried, as if she had made it out at last, while an 
awful, joyful light of hope flashed into her face. " It is 
a mistalce ! Don't you see ? He thinks that I never 
came back ! He thinks that I meant to abandon him. 
That I — that I — But you know that I came back, 
— you came back with me ! Why, I was n't gone an 
hour, — a 7ta(/-hour, hardly. Oh, Bartley, poor Bart- 
ley! He thought I could leave him, and take his 
child from him ; that I could be so wicked, so heart- 
less — Oh, no, no, no ! Why, I only stayed away that 
little time because I was afraid to go back ! Don't 
you remember how I told you I was afraid, and 
wanted you to come in with me ? " Her exaltation 
broke in a laugh. " But we can explain it now, and it 
will be all right. He will see — he will understand — • 
I will tell him just liow it was — Oh, Flavia, Flavia, 
we 've found papa, we 've found papa ! Quick ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE; 465 

She whirled away toward the stairs, but her father 
caught her by the arm. " Marcia ! " he shouted, ia 
his old raucous voice, " You Ve got to understand I 
This " — he hesitated, as if running over all terms of 
opprobrium in his mind, and he resumed as if he had 
found them each too feeble — " Bartley has n't acted 
under any mistake." 

He set the facts before her with merciless clearness, 
and she listened with an audible catching of the 
breath at times, while she softly smoothed her fore- 
head vnth her left hand. " I don't believe it," she 
said when he had ended. '* Write to him, tell him 
what I say, and you will see." 

The old man uttered something between a groan and 

a curse. " Oh, you poor, crazy child ! Can nothing 

make you understand that Bartley wants to get rid of 

you, and that he 's just as ready for one lie as another? 

He tliinks he can make out a case of abandonment 

with the least trouble, and so he accuses you of that, 

but he 'd just as soon accuse you of anything else. 

Wi^ to him ? You Ve got to ^o to him I You *ve 

got to go out there and figiit him in open court, with 

facts and witnesses. Do you suppose Bartley Hubbard 

wants any explanation from you ? Do you think 

he *s been waiting these two years to hear that you 

did n't really abandon him, but came back to this 

house an hour after you left it, and that you 've waited 

for him here ever since ? When he knows that, will 

he withdraw this suit of his and come home? He '11 

want the proof, and the way to do is to go out 

there and let him have it. If I had him on the stand 

for five minutes," said the old man between his set 

teeth, — ^* just five minutes, — I'd undertake to convince 

him from his own lips that he was wrong about you ! 

But I am afraid he wouldn't mind a letter! You 

think I say so because I hate him ; and you don't be- 
so 



466 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

lieve me. Well, ask either of these gentlemen here 
whether I *m telling you the truth." 

She did not speak, but, with a glance at their avert- 
ed faces, she sank into a chair, and passed one hand 
over the other, while she di^w her breath in long, 
shuddering respirations, and stared at the floor with 
knit brows and starting eyes, like one stifling a deadly 
pang. She made several attempts to speak before she 
could utter any sound ; then she lifted her eyes to her 
father's : " Let us — let us — go — home 1 Oh, let us 
go home I I will give him up. I had given him up 
already ; I told you," she said, turning to Halleck, 
and speaking in a slow, gentle tone, " only an hour 
ago, that he was dead. And this — this that *s hap- 
pened, it makes no difference. Why did you bring 
the paper to me when you knew that I thought he 
was dead ?" 

" God knows I wished to keep it from you." 

"Well, no matter now. Let him go free if he 
wants to. I can't help it.'* 

" You can help it," interrupted her father. ''You Ve 
got the facts on your side, and you Ve got the wit- 
nesses ! " 

" Would you go out with me, and tell him that I 
never meant to leave him ? " she asked simply, turn- 
ing to Halleck. « You — - and Olive ? " 

" We would do anything for you, Marcia ! " 

She sat musing, and drawing her hands one over 
the other again, while her quivering breath came and 
went on the silence. She let her hands fall nerve- 
lessly on her lap. " I can't go ; I *m too weak ; I 
couldn't bear the journey. Kol" She shook her 
head. " I can't go ! " 

"Marcia," began her father, "it's your duty to 



goi 



t" 



" Does it say in the law that I have to go, if I don't 
choose ? " she Asked of Halleck. 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 467 

"No, you certainly need not go, if you don't 
choose ! '* 

" Then I will stay. Do you think it 's my duty to 
go?" she asked, referring her question first to Hal- 
leck and then to Atherton. She turned* from the 
silence by which they tried to leave her free. " I 
don't care for my duty, any more. I don't want to 
keep him, if it's so that he — left me — and — and 
meant it — and he doesn't — care for me any — 
more." 

"Care for you? He nefoer cared for you, Marcial 
And you may be sure he does n't care for you now," 

" Then let him go, and let us go home." 

"Very well!" said the old man. "We will go 
home, then, and before the week 's out Bartley Hub- 
bard wiU be a perjured bigamist." 

" Bigamist ? " Marcia leaped to her feet. 

"Yes, bigamist! Don't you suppose he had his 
eye on some other woman out there before he began 
this suit ? " 

The languor was gone from Marcia's limbs. As she 
confronted her father, the wonderful likeness in the 
outline of their faces appeared. His was dark and 
wrinkled with age, and hers was gray with the anger 
that drove the blood back to her heart, but one im- 
pulse animated those fierce profiles, and the hoarded 
hate in the old man's soul seemed to speak in Marcia's 
thick whisper, " I will go." 



468 A MODEJIN INSTANCB. 



XXXVIIL 

The Athertoiis sat late over their breakfast in the 
luxurious dining-room where the April sun came in 
at the windows overlooking the Back Bay, and com- 
manding at that stage of the tide a long stretch of 
shallow with a flight of white gulls settled upon it. 

They had let Clara's house on the hill, and she had 
bought another on the new land ; she insisted upon 
the change, not only because everybody was leaving 
the hill, but also because, as she said, it would seem 
too much like taking Mr. Atherton to board, if they 
went to housekeeping where she had always lived ; 
she wished to give him the effect before the world of 
having brought her to a house of his own. She had 
even furnished it anew for the most part, and had 
banished as far as possible the things that remind- 
ed her of the time when she was not his wife. He 
humored her in this fantastic self-indulgence, and phi- 
losophized her wish to give him the appearance o( 
having the money, as something orderly in its origin^ 
and not to be deprecated on other grounds, since 
probably it deceived nobody. They lived a very 
tranquil life, and Clara had no grief of her own un- 
less it was that there seemed to be no great things 
she could do for him. One day when she whimsi- 
cally complained of this, he said : " I 'm very glad of 
that. Let 's try to be equal to the little sacrifices we 
must make for each other ; they will be quite enough. 
Many a woman who would be re^y to die for her 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 469 

husband makes him wretched because she won't live 
for him. Don't despise the day of small things." 

" Yes, but when every day seems the day of small 
things ! " she pouted. 

" Every day is the day of small things," said Ather- 
ton, " with people who are happy. We 're never so 
prosperous as when we can't remember what happened 
last Monday." 

*' Oh, but I can't bear to be always living in the 
present." 

" It 's not so spacious, I know, as either the past or 
tlie future, but it 's all we have." 

'' There ! " cried Clara. '* That 's fatalism ! It 's 
worse than fatalism ! " 

" And is fatalism so very bad ? " asked her hus- 
band. 

" It 's Mahometanism ! '* 

" Well, it is n't necessarily a plurality of wives," re- 
turned Atherton, in subtle anticipation of her next 
point. " And it 's really only another name for resig- 
nation, which is certainly a good thing." 
• " Eesignation ? Oh, I don't know about that ! " 

Atherton laughed, and put his arm round her 
waist : an argument that no woman can answer in a 
man she loves ; it seems to deprive her of her reason- 
ing faculties. In the atmosphere of affection w^hich she 
breathed, she sometimes feared that her mental powers 
were really weakening. As a girl she had lived a life 
full of purposes, which, if somewhat vague, were un- 
questionaWy lai^. She had tlien had great interests, 
— art, music, literature, — the symphony concerts, Mr. 
Hunt's classes, the novels of George Eliot, and Mr. 
Fiske's lectures on the cosmic philosophy; and she 
had always felt that they expanded and elevated ex- 
istence. In her moments of question as to the shape 
which her life had. taken since, she tried to think 
whether the happiness which seemed so little depend- 



470 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

ent on these things was not beneath the demands of 
a spirit which was probably immortal and was cer- 
tainly cultivated. They all continued to be part of 
her life, but only a very small paH ; and she would 
have liked to ask her husband whether his influence 
upon her had been wholly beneficial. She was not 
sure that it had ; but neither was she sure that it had 
not. She had never fully consented to the distinct- 
ness with which he classified all her emotions and 
ideas as those of a woman : in her heart she doubt^ed 
whether a great many of them might not be those of 
a man, though she had never found any of them ex- 
actly like his. She could not complain that he did 
not treat her as an equal ; he deferred to her, and de- 
pended upon her good sense to an extent that some- 
times alarmed her, for she secretly knew that she 
had a very large streak of silliness in her nature. 
He seemed to tell her everything, and to be greatly 
ruled by her advice, especially in matters of business ; 
but she could not help observing that he often kept 
matters involving certain moral questions from her 
till the moment for deciding them was past. When 
she accused him of this, he confessed that it was so ; 
but defended himself by saying that he was afraid her 
conscience might sway him against his judgment. 

Clara now recurred to these words of his as she sat 
looking at him through her tears across the breakfast 
table. "Was that the reason you never told me about 
poor Ben before ? " 

" Yes, and I expect you to justify me. What good 
would it have done to tell you ? " 

" I could have told you, at least, that, if Ben had 
any such feeling as that, it was n't his fault alto- 
gether." 

" But you would n't have believed that, Clara," said 
Atlierton. " You know that, whatever that poor crea- 
ture's faults are, coquetry is n't one of them." 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 471 

Clara only admitted the fact passively. "How did 
lie excuse himself for coming back ? "she asked. 

" He did n't excuse himself ; he defied himself. We 
had a stormy talk, and he ended by denying that he 
had any social duty in the matter." 

" And I think he was quite right ! '* Clara flashed 
out. " It was his own affair." 

" He said he had a concrete purpose, and would n*t 
listen to abstractions. Yes, he talked like a woman. 
But you know he was n't right, Clara, though you talk 
like a woman, too. There are a great many things 
that are not wrong except as they wrong others. I Ve 
no doubt that, as compared with the highest love her 
husband ever felt for her, Ben's passion was as light 
to darkness. But'if he could only hope for its return 
through the perversion of her soul, — through teaching 
her to think of escape from her marriage by a divorce, 

— then it was a crime against her and against so- 
ciety." 

" Ben could n't do such a thing ! " 

" No, he could only dream of doing it. When it 
came to the attempt, everything that was good in him 
revolted against it and conspired to make him help 
her in the efforts that would defeat his hopes if they 
succeeded. It was a ghastly ordeal, but it was sub- 
lime ; and when the climax came, — that paper, 
which he had only to conceal for a few days or weeks, 

— he was equal to the demand upon him. But sup- 
pose a man of his pure training and traditions had 
yielded to temptation, — suppose he had so far de- 
praved himself that he could have set about persuad- 
ing her that she owed no allegiance to her husband, 
and might rightfully get a divorce and marry him, — 
what a ruinous blow it would have been to all who 
knew of it ! It would have disheartened those who 
abhorred it, and encouraged those who wanted to 
profit by such an example. It does n't matter much, 



472 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

socially, what undisciplined people like Bartley and 
Marcia Hubbard do ; but if a man like Ben Halleck 
goes astray, it's calamitous ; it ' confounds the human 
conscience,' as Victor Hugo says. All that careful 
nurture in the right since he could speak, all that life- 
long decency of thought and act, that noble ideal of 
unselfishness and responsibility to others, trampled 
under foot and spit upon, — it 's horrible ! " 

" Yes," answered Clara, deeply moved, even as a 
woman may be in a pretty breakfast-room, *' and such 
a good soul as Ben always was naturally. Will you 
have some more tea ? " 

" Yes, I will take another cup. But as for natural 
goodness — " 

" Wait ! I will ring for some hot water." 

When the maid had appeared, disappeared, reap- 
peared, and finally vanished, Atherton resumed. " The 
natural goodness doesn't count The natural man 
is a wild beast, and his natural goodness is the 
amiability of a beast basking in the sun when his 
stomach is full. The Hubbards were full of natural 
goodness, I dare say, when they did n't happen to 
cross each other's wishes. No, it 's the implanted good- 
ness that saves, — the seed of righteousness treasured 
from generation to generation, and carefully watched 
and tended by disciplined fathers and mothers in the 
hearts where they have dropped it. The flower of 
this implanted goodness is what we call <5ivilization, 
the condition of general uprightness that Halleck 
declared he owed no allegiance to. But he was better 
than his word." 

Atherton lifted, with his slim, delicate hand, the 
cup of translucent china, and drained off the fragrant 
Souchong, sweetened, and tempered with Jersey cream 
to perfection. Something in the sight went like a 
pang to his wife's heart. " Ah ! " she said, " it is easy 
enough for us to condemn. We have everything we 
want ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 473 

" I don't forget that, Clara," said Atherton, gravely. 
" Sometimes when I think of it, I am ready to renounce 
all judgment of others. The consciousness of our 
comfort, our luxury, almost paralyzes me at those 
times, and I am ashamed and afraid even of our hap- 
piness." 

" Yes> what right," pursued Clara, rebelliously, 
"have we to be happy and united, and these wretched 
creatures so — " 

" No right, — none in the world 1 But somehow the 
effects follow their causes. In some sort they chose 
misery for themselves, — we make our own hell in 
this life and the next, — or it was chosen for them by 
undisciplined wills that they inherited. In the long 
run their fate must be a just one." 

" Ah, but I have to look at things in the short run, 
and I can't see any justice in Marcia's husband using 
her so ! *' cried Clara. " Why should n't you use me 
badly ? I don't believe that any woman ever meant 
better by her husband than she did." 

" Oh, the meaning does n't count I It 's our deeds 
that judge us. He is a thoroughly bad fellow, but 
you may be sure she has been to blame. Though I 
don't blame the Hubbards, either of them, so much as 
I blame Halleck. He not only had everything he 
wished, but the training to know what he ought to 
wish." 

" I don't know alx)ut his having everything. I 
think Ben must have been disappointed, some time," 
said Clara, evasively. 

"Oh, that's nothing," replied Atherton, with the 
contented husband's indifference to sentimental griev- 
ances! 

Clara did not speak for some moments, and then 
she summed up a turmoil of thoughts in a profound 
sigh. " Well, I don't like it ! I thought it was bad 
enough having a man, even on the outskirts of my 



\ 



474 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

acquaintance, abandon his wife ; but now Ben Hal- 
leck, who has been like a brother to me, to have him 
mixed up in such an afiair in the way he is, it's in- 
tolerable!'' 

" I agree with you," said Atherton, playing with 
his spoon. " You know how I hate anything that sins 
against order, and this whole thing is disorderly. It *s 
intolerable, as you say. But we must bear our 
share of it We're all bound together. No one 
sins or suflFers to himself in a civilized stat«, — or 
religious state ; it 's the same thing. Every link in 
the chain feels the effect of the violence, more or less 
intimately. We rise or fall together in Christian 
society. It 's strange that it should be so hard to 
realize a thing that every experience of life teaches. 
We keep on thinking of offences against the common 
good as if they were abstractions ! *' 

" Well, one thing," said Clara, " I shall always thiuk 
unnecessarily shocking and disgraceful about it. And 
that is Ben's going out with her on this journey. I 
don't see how you could allow that, Eustace." 

" Yes," said Atherton, after a thoughtful silence, " it 
is shocking. The only consolation is that it is not un- 
necessarily shocking. I 'm afraid that it 's necessarily 
so. When any disease of soul or body has gone far 
enough, it makes its own conditions, and other things 
must adjust themselves to it. Besides, no one knows 
the ugliness of the situation but Halleck himself. I 
don't see how I could have interfered ; and upon the 
whole I don't know that I ought to have interfered, if 
I could. She would be helpless without him ; and he 
can get no harm from it. In fact, it 's part of his 
expiation, which must have begun as soon as he met 
her again after he came home." 

Clara was convinced, but not reconciled. She only 
said," I don't like It." 

Her husband did not reply; he continued mus- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 475 

ingly : " When the old man made that final appeal to 
her jealousy, — all that there is really left, probably, 
of her love for her husband, — and she responded 
with a face as wicked as his, I could n't help looking 
atHalleck— " 

*' Oh, poor Ben I ffow did he take it ? It must 
have scared, it must have disgusted him !" 

" That 's what I had expected. But there was 
nothing in his face but pity. He understood, and he 
pitied her. That was all." 

Clara rose, and turned to the window, where she 
remained looking through her tears at the gulls on 
the shallow. It seemed much more than twenty-four 
hours since she had taken leave of Marcia and the rest at 
the station, and saw them set out on their long journey 
with its uncertain and unimaginable end. She had 
deeply sympathized with them all, but at the same 
time she had felt very keenly the potential scandalous- 
ness of the situation ; she shuddered inwardly when 
she thought what if people knew ; she had always re- 
volted from contact with such social facts as their 
errand involved. She got Olive aside for a moment, 
and asked her, " Don't you lutte it, Olive ? Did you 
ever dream of being mixed up in such a thing? I 
should die, — simply die ! " 

" I shall not think of dying, unless we fail," an- 
swered Olive. " And, as for hating it, I Iiave n't con- 
sulted my feelings a great deal ; but I rather think I 
like it." 

" Like going out to be a witness in an Indiana di- 
vorce case 1 " 

" I don't look at it in that way, Clara. It *s a crur 
sade to me ; it 's a holy war ; it 's the cause of an in- 
nocent woman against a wicked oppression. I knov^ 
how you would feel about it, Clara ; but 1 never was 
as respectable as you are, and I 'm quite satisfied to 
do what Ben, and father, and Mr. Atherton approva 



476 A MODERN INSTx\NCE. 

They think it's my duty, and I am glad to go, and to be 
of all the use I can. But you shall have my heartfelt 
sympathy through aU, Clara, for your involuntary ac- 
quaintance with our proceedings." 

" Olive ! You know that I *m proud of your courage 
and Ben 's goodness, and that I fully appreciate the 
sacrifice you 're making. And I 'm not ashamed of 
your business : I think it's grand and sublime, and I 
would just as soon scream it out at the top of my 
voice, right here in the Albany depot." 

" Don X said Olive. *' It would frighten the child." 
She had Flavia by the hand, and she made the 
little girl her special charge throughout the journey. 
The old Squire seemed anxious to be alone, and he 
restlessly escaped from Marcia's care. He sat all the 
first day apart, chewing upon some ftegraent of wood 
that he had picked up, and now and then putting up 
a lank hand to rasp his bristling jaw ; glancing fur- 
tively at people who passed him, and lapsing into his 
ruminant abstraction. He had been vexed that they 
did not start the night before; and every halt the 
train made visibly afflicted him. He would not leave 
his place to get anything to eat when they stopped 
for refreshment, though he hungrily devoured the 
lunch that Marcia brought into the car for him. 
At New York he was in a tumult of fear lest they 
should lose the connecting train on the Pennsylvania 
Road; and the sigh of relief with which he sank 
into his seat in the sleeping-car expressed the suffer- 
ing he had undergone. He said he was not tired, but 
he went to bed early, as if to sleep away as much of 
the time as he could. 

When Halleck came into their car, the next morn- 
ing, he found Marcia and her father sitting together, 
and looking out of the window at the wooded slopes 
of the AUeghanies through which the train was run- 
ning. The old mans impatience had relaxed; he let 



/ 




A MODERN INSTANCE. 477 

Marcia lay her hand on his, and he answered her with 
quiet submission, when she spoke now and then of 
the difference between these valleys, where the wild 
rhododendrons were growing, and the frozen hollows 
of the hills at home, which must be still choked with 
snow. 

" But, oh ! how much I would rather see them I " 
she said at last, with a homesick throb. 

" Well," he assented, " we can go right back — 
afterwards." 

" Yes," she whispered. 

" Well, sir, good morning," said the old man to 
Halleck, " we are getting along, sir. At this rate, un- 
less our calculations were mistaken, we shall be there 
by midnight. We are on time, the porter tells me." 

-'Yes, we shall soon be at Pittsburg," said Halleck, 
and he looked at Marcia, who turned away her face. 
She had not spoken of the object of the journey to 
him since they had left Boston, and it had not been so 
nearly touched by either of them before. 

He could see that she recoiled from it, but the old 
man, once having approached it, could not leave it. 
" If everything goes well, we shall have our grip on 
that fellow's throat in less than forty-eight hours." 
He looked down mechanically at his withered hands, 
lean and yellow like the talons of a bird, and lifted 
his accipitral profile with a predatory alertness. " I 
did n*t sleep very well the last part of the night, but I 
thought it all out. I sha*n't care whether I get there 
before or after judgment is rendered ; all I want is to 
get there before he has a chance to clear out. I think 
I shall be able to convince Bartley Hubbard that 
there is a God in Israel yet ! Don't you be anxious, 
Marcia ; I We got this thing at my fingers' ends, as clear 
as a bell. I intend to give Bartley a little surprise ! " 

Marcia kept her face averted, and Halleck relin- 
quished his purpose of sitting down with them, and 



478 A MODERN INSTANCE* 

went forward to the atate-room that Marcia and Olive 
had occupied with the little girL He tapped on the 
door, and found his sister dressed, but the child still 
asleep. 

" What is the matter, Ben ? " she asked. " You 
don't look well. You ought n't to have undertaken 
this journey." 

" Oh, I 'm all right. But I We been up a good while, 
with nothing to eat. That old man is terrible, 
Olive ! " 

" Her father ? Yes, he 's a terrible old man ! " 

"It sickened me to hear him talk, just now, — 
throwing out his threats of vengeance against Hubbard. 
It made me feel a sort of sympathy for that poor dog. 
Do you suppose she has the same motive ? I could n't 
forgive her ! " he said, with a kind of passionate weak- 
ness. " I could n't forgive myself ! " 

" We Ve got nothing to do with their motive, Ben. 
We are to be her witnesses for justice against a wicked 
wrong. I don't believe in special providences, of 
course ; but it does seem as if we had been called to 
this work, as mother would say. Your happening to 
go home with her, that night, and then that paper 
happening to come to you, — does n't it look like it ? " 

" It looks like it, yes." 

" We could n't have refused to come. That 's what 
consoles me for being here this minute. I put on a 
bald face with Clara Atherton, yesterday morning at 
the depot ; but I was in a cold chill, all the time. Our 
coming off, in this way, on such an errand, is some- 
thing so different from the rest of our whole life! 
And I do like quiet, and orderly ways, and all that we 
call respectability ! I 've been thinking that the trial 
will be reported by some such interviewing wretch 
as Bartley himself, and that we shall figure in the news- 
papers. But I Ve concluded that we must n't care. 
It 's right, and we must do it. I don't shut my eyes 



A MODEBN INSTAKOE. 479 

to the kind of people we 're mixed up with. I pity 
Marcia, and I love her — poor, helpless, unguided 
thing ! — but that old man is terrible ! He 's as cruel 
as the grave where he thinks he 's been wronged, and 
crueller where he thinks she 's been wronged. You *ve 
forgiven so much, Ben, that you can't understand a 
man who forgives nothing ; but / can, for I 'm a pretty 
good hater, myself And Marcia 's just like her father, 
at times. I Ve seen her look at Clara Atherton as if 
she could kill her ! " 

The little girl stirred in her berth, and then lifted 
herself on her hands, and stared round at them 
through her tangled golden hair. "Is it morning, 
yet ? " she asked sleepily. " Is it to-morrow ? " 

"Yes; it's to-morrow, Flavia," said Olive. "Do 
you want to get up ? " 

And is next day the day after to-morrow ? " 
Yes.'' 

" Then it *s only one day till I shall see papa. That's 
what mamma said. Where is mamma ? " asked the 
child, rising to her knees, and sweeping back her hair 
from her face with either hand. 

" I will go and send her to you," said Halleck. 

At Pittsburg the Squire was eager for his break- 
fast, and made amends for his fast of the day before. 
He ate grossly of the heterogeneous abundance of the 
railroad restaurant, and drank two cups of coffee that 
in his thin, native air would have disordered his pulse 
for a week. But he resumed his journey with a tran- 
quil strength that seemed the physical expression of 
a mind clear and content. He was willing and even 
anxious to tell Halleck what his theories and plans 
were ; but the young man shrank from knowing them. 
He wished only to know whether Marcia were privy 
to them, and this, too, he shrank from knowing. 



it 



480 A MOD£BN INSTAl^CK 



XXXIX. 

They left Pittsburg under the dun pall of smoke 
that hangs perpetually over the city, and ran out of a 
world where the earth seemed turned to slag and cin- 
ders, and the coal grime blackened even the- sheath- 
ing from which the young leaves were unfolding their 
vivid green. Their train twisted along the banks of 
the Ohio, and gave them now and then a reach of 
the stream, forgetful of all the noisy traffic that once 
fretted its waters, and losing itself in almost primitive 
wildness among its softly rounded hills. It is a 
beautiful land, and it had, even to their loath eyes, a 
charm that touched their hearts. They were on the 
borders of the illimitable West, whose lands stretch 
like a sea beyond the hilly Ohio shore ; but as yet this 
vastness, which appalls and wearies all but the born 
Westerner, had not burst upon them ; they were still 
among heights and hollows, and in a milder and softer 
New England. 

" I have a strange feeling about this journey," 
said Marcia, turning from the window at last, and 
facing Halleck on the opposite seat. " I want it to 
be over, and yet I am glad of every little stop. I feel 
like some one that has been called to a death-bed, 
and is hurrying on and holding back with all her 
might, at the same time. I shall have no peace till I 
am there, and then shall I have peace ? '* She fixed 
her eyes imploringly on his. " Say something to me, 
if you can ! What do you think ? " 

" Whether you will — succeed ? " He was con- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 481 

founding what he knew of her father's feeling with 
what he had feared of hers. 

" Do you mean about the lawsuit ? I don't care 
for that ! Do you think he will hate me when he 
sees me ? Do you think he will believe me when I 
tell him that I never meant to leave him, and that 
I 'm sorry for what I did to drive him away ? " 

She seemed to expect him to answer, and he 
answered as well as he could : " He ought to believe 
that, — yes, he must believe it/* 

" Then all the rest may go," she said. " I don't 
care who gains the case. But if he should n't believe 
me, — if he should drive me away from him, as I 
drove him from me — " She held her breath in the 
terror of such a possibility, and an awe of her igno- 
rance crept over Halleck. Apparently she had not 
understood the step that Bartley had t^ken, except 
as a stage in their quarrel from which they could both 
retreat, if they would, as easily as from any other 
dispute ; she had not realized it as a final, an almost 
irrevocable act on his part, which could only be met 
by reprisal on hers. All those points of law which 
had been so sharply enforced upon her must have 
fallen blunted from her longing to be at one with 
him ; she had, perhaps, not imagined her defence in 
open court, except as a sort of public reconciliation. 

But at another time she recurred to her wrongs in 
all the bitterness of her father's vindictive purpose. 
A young couple entered the car at one of the country 
stations, and the bride made haste to take off her 
white bonnet, and lay her cheek on her husband's 
shoulder, while he passed his arm round her silken 
waist, and drew her close to him on the seat, in the 
loving rapture which is no wise inconvenienced by 
publicity on our railroad trains. Indeed, after the first 
general recognition of their condition, no one noticed 
them except Marcia, who seemed fascinated by the 

31 



482 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

spectacle of their unsophisticated happiness ; it must 
have recalled the blissful abandon of her own wed- 
ding journey to her. " Oh, poor fool ! " she said to 
Olive. " Let her wait, and it will not be long before 
she will know that she had better lean on the empty 
air than on him. Some day, he will let her fall to 
the ground, and when she gathers herself up all 
bruised and bleeding — But he has n't got the all- 
believing simpleton to deal with that he used to have ; 
and he shall pay me back for aU — drop by drop, and 
ache for ache ! " 

She was in that strange mental condition into 
which women fall who brood long upon opposing 
purposes and desires. She wished to be reconciled, and 
she wished to be revenged, and she recurred to either 
wish for the time as vehemently as if the other did 
not exist She took Flavia on her knee, and began 
to prattle to her of seeing papa to-morrow, and pres- 
ently she turned to Olive, and said: "I know he 
will find us both a great deal changed. Flavia looks 
so much older, — and so do I. But I shall soon show 
him that I can look young again. I presume he 's 
changed too." 

Marcia held the little girl up at the window. They 
had now left the river hills and the rolling country 
beyond, and had entered the great plain w^hich 
stretches from the Ohio to the Mississippi ; and mile 
by mile, as they ran southward and westward, the 
spring unfolded in the mellow air under the dull, 
warm sun. The willows were in perfect leaf, and 
wore their delicate green like veils caught upon their 
boughs; the may-apples had already pitched their 
tents in the woods, beginning to thicken and darken 
with the young foliage of the oaks and hickories; 
suddenly, as the train dashed from a stretch of forest, 
the peach orchai*ds flushed pink beside the brick 
farmsteads. The child gave a cry of delight, and 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 483 

pointed ; and her mother seemed to forget all that had 
gone before, and abandoned herself to Flavia's joy in 
the blossoms, as if there were no trouble for her in the 
world. 

Halleck rose and went into the other car; he felt 
giddy, as if her fluctuations of mood and motive had 
somehow turned his own brain. He did not come 
back till the train stopped at Columbus for dinner. 
The old Squire showed the same appetite as at break- 
fast : he had the effect of falling upon his food like a 
bird of prey ; and as soon as the meal was despatched 
he went back to his seat in the car, where he lapsed 
into his former silence and immobility, his lank jaws 
working with fresh activity upon the wopden tooth- 
pick he had brought away from the table. While 
they waited for a train from the north which was to 
connect with theirs, Halleck walked up and down 
the vast, noisy station with Olive and Marcia, and 
humored the little girl in her explorations of the place. 
She made friends with a red-bird that sang in its 
cage in the dining-hall, and with an old woman, 
yellow, and wrinkled, and sunken-eyed, sitting on a 
bundle tied up in a quilt beside the door, and smok- 
ing her clay pipe, as placidly as if on her own cabin 
threshold. " Tears like you ain*t much afeard of 
strangers, honey," said the old woman, taking her 
pipe out of her mouth, to fill it. "Where do you 
live at when you 're home ? " 

"Boston," said the child, promptly. "Where do 
you live ? " 

"I used to live in Old Virginny. But my son, 
he 's takin' me out to Illinoy, now. He 's settled out 
there." She treated the child with the serious equal- 
ity which simple old people use with children ; and 
spat neatly aside in resuming her pipe. "Which 
o' til em ladies yender is your maw, honey ? " 

" My mamma ? " 



484 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

The old woman nodded. 

Flavia ran away and laid her hand on Marcia*s 
dress, and then ran back to the old woman. 

" That your paw, with her ? *' Flavia looked blank, 
and the old woman interpreted, " Your father." 

" No ! We 're going out to see papa, — out West. 
We 're going to see him to-morrow, and then he *s 
coming back with us. My grandpa is in that car." 

The old woman now laid her folded arms on her 
knees, and smoked obliviously. The little girl lin- 
gered a moment, and then ran off laughing to her 
mother, and pulled her skirt. " Was n't it funny, 
mamma ? She thought Mr. Halleck was my papa ! " 
She hung forward by the hold she had taken, as chil- 
dren do, and tilted her head back to look into her 
mother's face. " What is Mr. Halleck, mamma ? " 

" What is he ? " The group halted involuntarily. 

*' Yes, what is he ? Is he my uncle, or my cousin, 
or what ? Is Ae going out to see papa, too ? What is 
he going for ? Oh, look, look ! " The child plucked 
away her hand, and ran off to join the circle of idle 
men and half-grown boys who were forming about 
two shining negroes with banjos. The negroes flung 
their hands upon the strings with an ecstatic joy in 
the music, and lifted their black voices in a wild 
plantation strain. The child began to leap and dance, 
and her mother ran after her. 

*' Naughty little girl ! " she cried. " Come into the 
car with me, this minute." 

Halleck did not see Marcia again till the train 
had run far out of the city, and was again sweeping 
through the thick woods, and flashing out upon the 
levels of the fields where the farmers were riding their 
sulky-plows up and down tlie long furrows in the 
pleasant afternoon suu. There was something iu 
this transformation of man's old-time laborious de- 
pendence into a lordly domination over the earth. 



/ 



A .MODERN INSTANCE. 485 

which strikes the westward joumeyer as finally ex- 
pressive of human destiny in the whole mighty region, 
and which penetrated even to Halleck's sore and 
jaded thoughts. A different type of men began to 
show itself in the car, as the Western people gradually 
took the places of his fellow-travellers from the East. 
The men were often slovenly and sometimes uncouth 
in their dress ; but they made themselves at home in 
the exaggerated splendor and opulence of the car, as 
if born to the best in every way ; their faces suggested 
the security of people who trusted the future from 
the past, and had no fears of the life that had always 
used them well ; they had not that eager and intense 
look which the Eastern faces wore ; there was energy 
enough and to spare in them, but it ,was not an ^. 
anxious energy. The sharp accent of the seaboard 
yielded to the rounded, soft, and slurring tones, and 
the prompt address was replaced by a careless and 
confident neighborliness of manner. 

Elavia fretted at her return to captivity in the 
car, and demanded to be released with a teasing per- 
sistence from which nothing she was shown out of 
the window could divert her. A large man leaned 
forward at last from a seat near by, and held out an 
orange. " Come here to me, little Trouble," he said ; 
and Flavia made an eager start toward this unlooked- 
for friend. 

Marcia wished to check her ; but Halleck pleaded 
to have her go. "It will be a relief to you," he 
said. 

" Well, let her go," Marcia consented. " But she 
was no trouble, and she is no relief." She sat looking 
dully at the little girl after the Westerner had gath- 
ered her up into his lap. " Should I have liked to 
tell her," she said, as if thinking aloud, "how we 
were really going to meet her father, and that you 
were coming with me to be my witness against him 



486 A MODERN mSTANpE. 

in a court, ^ to put him down and disgrace him, — 
to fight him, as father says ? " 

" You must n't think of it in that way," said Hal- 
leck, gently, but, as he felt, feebly and inadequately. 

" Oh, I shall not think of it in that way long," she 
answered. '* My head is in a whirl, and I can't hold 
what we 're doing before my mind in any one shape 
for a minute at a time. I don't know what will 
become of me, — I don't know what will become of 
me ! " 

But in another breath she rose from this desolation, 
and was talking with impersonal cheerfulness of the 
sights that the car-window showed. As long as the 
light held, they passed through the same opulent and 
monotonous landscape ; through little towns full of 
signs of material prosperity, and then farms, and farms 
again ; the brick houses set in the midst of evergreens, 
and compassed by vast acreages of corn land, where 
herds of black pigs wandered, and the farmers were 
riding their ploughs, or heaping into vast windrows for 
burning the winter- worn stalks of the last year's crop. 
WJiere they came to a stream the landscape was 
roughened into low hills, from which it sank again 
luxuriously to a plain. If there was any difference 
between Ohio and Indiana, it was that in Indiana 
the spring night, whose breath softly buffeted their 
cheeks through the open window, had gathered over 
those eternal cornfields, where the long crooked wind- 
rows, burning on either hand, seemed a trail of fiery 
serpents writhing away from the train as it roared 
and clamored over the track. 

They were to leave their car at Indianapolis, and 
take another road which would bring them to Tecum- 
seh by daylight the next morning. Olive went away 
with the little girl, and put her to bed on the sofa in 
their state-room, and Marcia suffered them to go 
alone ; it was only by fits that she had cared for the 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 487 

child, or even noticed it " 'N'ow tell me again," she 
said to Halleck, " why we are going." 

" Surely yon knowj 

" Yes, yes, I know ; bnt I can't think, — I don't 
seem to remember. Did n't I give it np once ? Did n't 
I say that I would rather go home, and let Bartley 
get the divorce, if he wanted ? " 

" Yes, you said that, Marcia." 

" I nsed to make him very unhappy ; I was very 
strict with him, when I knew he could n't bear any 
kind of strictness. And he was always so patient 
with me ; though he never really cared for me. Oh, 
yes, I knew that from the first ! He used to try ; but 
he must have been glad to get away. Poor Bartley ! 
It was cruel, cruel, to put that in about my abandon- 
ing him when he knew I would come back ; but per- 
haps the lawyers told him he must ; he had to put in 
something ! Why should n't I let him go ? Father 
said he only wanted to get rid of me, so that he could 
marry some one else — Yes, yes ; it was that that 
made me start ! Father knew it would ! Oh," she 
grieved, with a wild self-pity that tore Halleck's 
heart, " he knew it would ! " She fell wearily back 
against the seat, and did not speak for some minutes. 
Then she said, in a slow, broken utterance : " But 
now I don't seem to mind even that, any more. Why 
should n't he marry some one else that he really likes, 
if he does n't care for me ? " 

Halleck laughed in bitterness of soul as his thought 
recuiTed to Atherton's reasons. " Because," he said, 
" you have a puMic duty in the matter. You must 
keep him bound to you, for fear some other woman, 
whose husband does n't care for her, should let him 
go, too, and society be broken up, and civilization 
destroyed. In a matter like this, which seems to 
concern yourself alone, you are only to regard others." 

His reckless irony did not reach her through her 



488 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

manifold sorrow. "Well," she said, simply, " it must 
be that. But, oh ! how can I bear it ! how can I bear 

it!" 

The time passed; Olive did not return for an hour; 
then she merely said that the little girl had just fallen 
asleep, and that she should go back and lie down 
with her ; that she was sleepy too. 

Marcia did not answer, but Halleck said he would 
call her in good time before they reached Indian- 
apolis. 

The porter made up the berths of such as were 
going through to St. Louis, and Marcia was left sit- 
ting alone with Halleck. " I will go and get your 
father to come here," he said. 

" I don't want him to come ! I want to talk to 
you — to say something — What was it ? I can't 
think ! " She stopped, like one trying to recover a 
faded thought ; he waited, but she did not speak 
again. She had laid a nervous clutch upon his arm, 
to detain him from going for her father, and she kept 
her hand there mechanically ; but after a while he 
felt it relax ; she drooped against him, and fell away 
into a sleep in which she started now and then like a 
frightened child. He could not release himself with- 
out waking her ; but it did not matter ; her sorrow 
had unsexed her; only the tenderness of his love for 
this hapless soul remained in his heart, which ached 
and evermore heavily sank within him. 

He woke her at last when he must go to tell Olive 
that they were running into Indianapolis. Marcia 
struggled to her feet: " Oh, oh ! Are we there ? Are 
we there ? " 

" We are at Indianapolis," said Halleck. 

" I thought it was Tecumseh ! " She shuddered. 
" We can go back ; oh, yes, we can still go back ! " 

They alighted from the train in the chilly mid- 
night air, and found their way through the crowd to 



L 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 489 

the eating-room of the station. The little girl cried 
with broken sleep and the strangeness, and Olive 
tried to quiet her. Marcia clung to Halleck's arm, 
and shivered convulsively. Squire Gaylord stalked 
beside them with a demoniac vigor. " A few more 
hours, a few more hours, sir 1 " he said. He made a 
hearty supper, while the rest scalded their mouths 
with hot tea, which they forced with loathing to their 
lips. 

Some women who were washing the floor of tlie 
ladies' waiting-room told them they must go into the 
men's room, and wait there for their train, which was 
due at one o'clock. They obeyed, and found the room 
full of emigrants, and the air thick with their tobacco 
smoke. There was no choice ; Olive went in first 
and took the child on her lap, where it straightway 
fell asleep ; the Squire found a seat beside them, and 
sat erect, looking round on the emigrants with the 
air of being amused at their outlandish speech, into 
which they burst clamorously from their silence at 
intervals. Marcia stopped Halleck at the threshold. 
" Stay out here with me," she whispered. " I want 
to tell you something," she added, as he turned me- 
chanically and walked away with her up the vast 
lamp-shot darkness of the depot " / am riot going 
on ! I am going back." We will take the train that 
goes to the East ; father will never know till it is too 
late. We need n't speak to him about it — " 

Halleck set himself against this delirious folly : he 
consented to her return ; she could do what she 
would ; but he would not consent to cheat her father. 
" We must go and tell him," he said, for all answei 
to all her entreaties. He dragged her back to the 
waiting-room ; but at the door she started at the fig- 
ure of a man who was bending over a group of emi- 
grant children asleep in the nearest corner, — poor, 
uncouth, stubbed little creatures, in old-mannish 



490 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

clothes, looking like children roughly blocked out of 
wood, and stittly stretched on the floor, or resting 
woodenly against their mother. 

" There ! " said the man, pressing a mug of coflee 
on the woman. " Yeu drink that ! It '11 do you 
good, — every drop of it ! I 've seen the time," lie 
said, turning round with the mug, when she had 
drained it, in his hand, and addressing Marcia and 
Halleck as the most accessible portion of the English- 
speaking public, " when I used to be down on coffee ; 
I thought it was bad for the nerves ; but I tell you, 
when you 're travellin', it 's a brain-food, if ever there 
was a brain — " He dropped the mug, and stumbled 
back into the heap of sleeping children, fixing a 
ghastly stare on Marcia. 

She ran toward him. " Mr. Kinney ! " 

" No, you don't ! — no, you don't I " 

" Wliy, don't you know me ? Mrs. Hubbard ? " 

" He — he — told me you — was dead 1 " roared 
Kinney. 

" He told you I was dead ? " 

" More 'n a year ago ! The last time I seen him ! 
Before I went out to Leadville ! " 

" He told you I was dead," repeated Marcia huskily. 
"He must have wished it!" she whispered. "Oh, 
mercy, mercy, mercy!" She stopped, and then she 
broke into a wild laugh : " Well, you see he was 
wrong. I 'm on my way to him now to show him 
that i 'm alive ! " 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 491 



XL. 



Halleck woke at daybreak from the drowse into 
which he had fallen. The train was creeping slowly- 
over the track, feeling its way, and he heard frag- 
ments of talk among the passengers about a broken 
rail that the conductor had been warned of. He 
turned to ask some question, when the jjuU of rising 
speed came from the locomotive, and at the same mo- 
ment the car stopped with a jolting pitch. It settled 
upon the track again ; but the two cars in front were 
overturned, and the passengers were still climbing 
from their windows, when Halleck got his bewildered 
party to the ground. Children were crying, and a 
woman was led by with her face cut and bleeding 
from the broken glass ; but it was reported that no one 
else was hurt, and the trainmen gave their helpless- 
ness to the inspection of the rotten cross-tie that had 
caused the accident. One of the passengers kicked 
the decayed wood with his boot. " Well," he said, " I 
always like a little accident like this, early ; it makes 
us safe the rest of the day." The sentiment appar- 
ently commended itself to popular acceptance ; Halleck 
went forward with part of the crowd to see what was 
the matter with the locomotive: it had kept the track, 
but seemed to be injured somehow; the engineer was 
working at it, hammer in hand ; he exchanged some 
dry pleasantries with a passenger who asked him 
if there was any chance of hiring a real fast ox-team 
in that neighborhood, in case a man was in a hurry 
to get on to Tecumseh. 



492 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

They were in the midst of a level prairie that 
stretched all round to the horizon, where it was broken 
by patches of timber ; the rising sun slanted across 
the green expanse, and turned its distance to gold ; 
the grass at their feet was full of wild-flowers, upon 
which Flavia flung herself as soon as they got out of the 
car. By the time Halleck returned to them, she was 
running with cries of joy and wonder toward a wind- 
mill that rose beautiful above tlie roofs of a group 
of commonplace houses, at a little distance from the 
track ; it stirred its mighty vans in the thin, sweet 
inland breeze, and took the sun gayly on the light 
gallery that encircled it. 

A vision of Belgian plains swept before Halleck's 
eyes. "There ought to be storks on its roof," he 
said, absently. 

" How strange that it should be here, away out in 
the West ! " said Olive. 

" If it were less strange than we are, here, I could n't 
stand it," he answered. 

A brakeman came up with a flag in his hand, and 
nodded toward Flavia. " She 's on the right track for 
breakfast," he said. " There 's an old Dutchman at that 
mill, and his wife knows how to make coffee like a 
fellow's mother. You 11 have plenty of time. This 
train has come here to stay — till somebody can walk 
back five miles and telegraph for help." 
^ " How far are we from Tecuniseh ? " asked Hal- 
leck. 

" Fifty miles," the brakeman called back over his 
shoulder. 

"Don't you worry any, Marcia," said her father, 
moving off in pursuit of Flavia. " This accident 
makes it all right for us, if we don't get there for a 
week." 

Marcia answered nothing. Halleck began to talk 
to her of that Belgian landscape in which he had first 



A MODERN INSTAXCE. 493 

V 

seen a windmill, and he laughed at the blank unin- 
telligence with which she received his reminiscences 
of travel. For the moment, the torturing stress was 
lifted from his soul ; he wished that the breakfast in 
the miller's house might never come to an end ; he 
explored the mill with Flavia ; he bantered the Squire 
on his saturnine preference for steam power in the 
milling business ; he made the others share his mood ; 
he pushed far from him the series of tragic or squalid 
facts which had continually brought the end to him 
in reveries in which he found himself holding his 
breath, as if he might hold it till the end really came. 

But this respite could not last. A puff of white 
steam showed on the horizon, and after an interval 
the sound of the locomotive whistle reached them, as 
it came backing down a train of empty cars towards 
them. They were quickly on their journey again, and 
a scanty hour before noon they arrived at Tecumseh. 

The pretty town, which in prospect had worn to 
Olive Halleck's imagination the blended hideousness 
of Sodom and Gomorrah, was certainly very much more 
like a New England village in fact. After the brick 
farmsteads and coal-smoked towns of Central Ohio, its 
wooden houses, set back from the street with an ample 
depth of door-yard, were appealingly familiar, and she 
exchanged some homesick whispers with Marcia about 
them, as they drove along under the full-leaved maples 
which shadowed the way. The grass was denser and 
darker than in New England, and, pretty as the town 
was, it wore a more careless and unscrupulous air than 
the true New England village ; the South had touched 
it, and here and there it showed a wavering line of 
fence and a faltering conscientiousness in its paint. 
Presently all aspects of village quiet and seclusion 
ceased, and a section of conventional American city, 
with flat-roofed brick blocks, showy hotel, stores, 
paved street, and stone sidewalks expressed the readi- 



494 A MODERN INSTANCK 

ness of Tecumseh to fulfil the destiny of every West- 
ern town, and become a metropolis at a day's notice, 
if need be. The second-hand omnibus, which re- 
flected the actuality of Tecumseh, set them down at 
the broad steps of the court-house, fronting on an 
avenue which for a city street was not very crowded 
or busy. Such passers as there were had leisure and 
inclination, as they loitered by, to turn and stare at the 
strangers ; and the voice of the sheriff, as he called 
from an upper window of the court-house the names 
of absent-ee litigants or witnesses required to come 
into court, easily made itself heard above all the other 
noises. 

It seemed to Halleck as if the sheriff were call- 
ing them ; he lifted his head and looked at Olive, 
but she would not meet his eye ; she led by the hand 
the little girl, who kept asking, " Is this the house 
where papa lives ? " with the merciless iteration of a 
child. Halleck dragged lamely after the Squire, who 
had mounted the steps with unnatural vigor; he 
promptly found his way to the clerk's office, where he 
examined the docket, and then returned to his party 
triumphant. " We are in time," he said, and he led 
them on up into the court-room. 

A few spectators, scattered about on the rows of 
benching, turned to look at them as they walked up 
the aisle, where the cocoa matting, soaked and dried, 
and soaked again, with perpetual libations of tobacco- 
juice, mercifully silenced their footsteps ; most of the 
faces turned upon them showed a slow and thought- 
ful movement of the jaws, and, as they were dropped 
or averted, a general discharge of tobacco-juice seemed 
to express the general adoption of the new-comers, 
whoever they were, as a necessary element of the 
scene, which it was useless to oppose, and about which 
it was idle to speculate. Before the Squire had found 
his party seats on one of the benches next the bar, the 




A MODERN INSTANCE. 495 

spectators had again given their languid attention to 
the administration of justice, which is everywhere in- 
formal with us, and is only a little more informal in 
the West than in the East. An effect of serene 
disoccupation pervaded the place, such as comes at 
the termination of an interesting affair ; and no one 
seemed to care for what the clerk was reading aloud 
in a set, mechanical tone. The judge was busy with 
his docket ; the lawyers, at their several little tables 
within the bar, lounged in their chairs, or stalked 
about laughing and whispering to each other; the 
prosecuting attorney leaned upon the shoulder of* a 
jolly-looking man, who lifted his face to joke up at 
him, as he tilted his chair back ; a very stout, young- 
ish person, who sat next him, kept his face dropped 
while the clerk proceeded : — 

" And now, on motion of plaintiff, it is ordered by 
the Court that said defendant be now here three times 
called, which is done in open court, and she comes 
not; but wholly makes default herein. And this 
cause is now submitted to the Court for trial, and the 
Court having heard the evidence, and being fully 
advised, find for the plaintiff, — that the allegations of 
his complaint are true, and that he is entitled to a 
divorce. It is therefore considered by the Court, that 
said plaintiff be and he is hereby divorced, and the 
bonds of matrimony heretofore existing between said 
parties are dissolved and held for naught." 

As the clerk closed the large volume before him, 
the jolly lawyer, as if the record had been read at his 
request, nodded to the Court, and said, " The record of 
the decree seems correct, your honor." He leaned for- 
ward, and struck the fat man's expanse of back with 
the flat of his hand. "Congratulate you, my dear 
boy ! " he said in a stage whisper that was heard 
through the room. " Many happy returns of the 
day!"^ 



496 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

A laugh went round, and the judge said severely, 
"Mr. Sheriff, see that order is kept in the court- 
room.'* 

The fat man rose to shake hands with another 
friend, and at the same moment Squire Gaylord 
stretched himself to his full height before stooping 
over to touch the shoulder of one of the lawyers 
within the bar, and his eyes encountered those of 
Bartley Hubbard in mutual recognition. 

It was not the fat on Hartley's ribs only that had 
increased : his broad cheeks stood out and hung down 
with it, and his chin descended by the three succes- 
sive steps to his breast. His complexion was of a 
tender pink, on which his blonde moustache showed 
white; it almost vanished in the tallowy pallor to 
which the pink turned as he saw his father-in-law, 
and then the whole group which the intervening 
spectators had hitherto hidden from him. He dropped 
back into his chair, and intimated to his lawyer, with 
a wave of his hand and a twist of his head, that some 
hopeless turn in his fortunes had taken place. That 
jolly soul turned to him for .explanation, and at the 
same time the lawyer whom Squire Gaylord had 
touched on the shoulder responded to a few whispered 
words from him by beckoning to the prosecuting at- 
torney, who stepped briskly across to where they stood. 
A brief dumb-show ensued, and the prosecutor ended 
by taking the Squire's hand, and inviting him within 
the bar; the other attorney politely made room for 
him at his table, and the prosecutor returned to his 
place near the jury-box, where he remained standing 
for a moment. 

" If it please the Court," he began, in a voice break- 
ing heavily upon the silence that had somehow fallen 
upon the whole room, " I wish to state that the de- 
fendant in the case of Hubbard vs. Hubbard is now 
and here present, having been prevented by an acci- 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 497 

dent on the road between this place and Indianapolis 
from arriving in time to make defence. She desires 
to move the Court to set aside the default." 

The prosecutor retired a few paces, and nodded 
triumphantly at Bartley's lawyer, who could not 
wholly suppress his enjoyment of the joke, though it 
told so heavily against liim and his client. But he 
was instantly on his feet with a technical objection. 

The judge heard him through, and then opened his 
docket, at the case of Hubbard vs. Hubbard. " What 
name shall I enter fqr the defence ? " he inquired 
formally. 

Squire Gaylord turned with an old-fashioned state 
and deliberation which had their effect, and cast a 
glance of professional satisfaction in the situation at 
the attorneys and the spectators. " I ask to be allowed 
to appear for the defence -in this case, if the Court 
please. My friend, Mr. Hathaway, will move my 
admission to. this bar." 

The attorney to whom the Squire had first intro- 
duced himself promptly complied : " Your honor, I 
move the admission of Mr. F. J. Gaylord, of Equity, 
Equity County, Maine, to practise at this bar." 

The judge bowed to the Squire, and directed the 
clerk to administer the usual oath. " I have entered 
your name for the defence, Mr. Gaylord. Do you 
desire to make any motion in the case ? " he pursued, 
the natural courtesy of his manner further qualified 
by a feeling which something pathetic in the old 
Squire's bearing inspired. 

" Yes, your honor, I move to set aside the default, 
and I shall offer in support of this motion my affida- 
vit, setting forth the reasons for the non-appearance 
of the defendant at the calling of the cause." 

" Shall I note your motion as iiled ? " asked the 
judge. 

" Yes, your honor," replied the old man. He made 

32 



498 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

a futile attempt to prepare the paper ; the pen flew 
out of his trembling hand, "/can't write," he said 
in despair that made other hands quick to aid him. 
A young lawyer at the next desk rapidly drew up 
the paper, and the Squire duly offered it to the clerk 
of the Court. The clerk stamped it with the file- 
mark of the Court, and returned it to the Squire, who 
read aloud the motion and affidavit, setting forth the 
facts of the defendant's failure to receive the notice 
in time to prepare for her defence, and of the accident 
which had contributed to delay her appearance, de- 
claring that she had a just defence to the plaintiff's 
bill, and asking to be heard upon the facts. 

Bartley's attorney was prompt to interpose again. 
He protested that the printed advertisement was 
sufficient notice to the defendant, whenever it came 
to her knowledge, or even if it never came to her 
knowledge, and that her plea of failure to receive it 
in time was not a competent excuse. This might be 
alleged in any case, and any delay of travel might 
be brought forward to account for non-appearance as 
plausibly as this trumped-up accident in which no- 
body was hurt. He did his best, which was also his 
worst, and the judge once more addressed the Squire, 
who stood waiting for Bartley's counsel to close. " I 
was about to adjourn the Coui-t," said the judge, in 
that accent which is the gift of the South to some 
parts of the West ; it is curiously soft and gentle, and 
expressive, when the speaker will, of a caressing def- 
erence. " But we have still some minutes before 
noon in which we can hear you in support of your 
motion, if you are ready." 

"I am m-ready, your honor 1" The old man's 
nasals cut across the judge's rounded tones, almost 
before they had ceased. His lips compressed them- 
selves to a waving line, and his high hawk-beak came 
down over them ; the fierce light burned in his cav- 



^ 



A MODEKN INSTAKCE. 499 

ernous eyes, and his grizzled hair erected itself like a 
crest. He swayed slightly back and forth at the 
table, behind which he stood, and paused as if wait- 
ing for his hate to gather head. 

In this interval it struck several of the spectators, 
who had appreciative friends outside, that it was a 
pity they should miss the coming music, and they 
risked the loss of some strains themselves that they 
might step out and inform these dilettanti. One of 
them was stopped by a man at the door. " What 's 
up, now ? " The other impatiently explained ; but 
the inquirer, instead of hurrying in to enjoy the fun, 
turned quickly about, and ran down the stairs. He 
crossed the street, and, by a system of alleys and by- 
ways, modestly made his way to the outlying fields 
of Tecumseh, which he traversed at heightened speed, 
plunging at last into the belt of timber beyond. This 
excursion, which had so much the appearance of a 
chase, was an exigency of the w^itness who had cor- 
roborated on oath the testimony of Bartley in regard 
to his wife's desertion. Such an establishment of 
facts, purely imaginary with the witness, was simple 
enough in the absence of rebutting testimony; but 
confronted with this, it became another affair ; it had 
its embarrassments, its risks. 

"M-ready," repeated Squire Gay lord, "m-ready with 
facts and witnesses ! " The word, in which he exulted 
till it rang and echoed through the room, drew the 
eyes of all to the little group on the bench next the 
bar, where Marcia, heavily veiled in the black which 
she had worn ever since Bartley's disappearance, sat 
with Halleck and Olive. The little girl, spent with 
her long journey, rested her head on her mother's 
lap, and the mother's hand tremulously smoothed her 
hair, and tried to hush the grieving whisper in which 
she incessantly repeated, "Where is papa? I want 
to see papa ! " 



500 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

' Olive looked straight before her, and Halleck's eyes 
were fixed upon the floor. After the first glance at 
them Bartley did not lift his head, but held it bent 
forward where he sat, and showed only a fold of fat 
red neck above his coat-collar. Marcia might have 
seen his face in that moment before it blanched aud 
he sank into his chair ; she did not look toward him 
again. 

" Mr. Sheriff, keep silence in the Court ! " ordered 
the judge, in reprimand of the stir that ensued upon 
the general effort to catch sight of the witnesses. 

" Silence in the Court ! Keep your seats, gentle- 
men ! " cried the sheriff. 

" And I thank the Court," resumed the Squire, " for 
this immediate opportunity to redress an atrocious 
wrong, and to vindicate an innocent and injured 
woman. Sir, I think it will prejudice our cause with 
no one, wlien I say that we are here not only in the 
relation of attorney and client, but in that of father 
and daughter, and that I stand in this place singularly 
and sacredly privileged to demand justice for my own 
child ! " 

" Order, order ! " shouted the sheriff. But he could 
not quell the sensation that followed ; the point had 
been effectively made, and it was some moments 
before the noise of the people beginning to arrive 
from the outside permitted the Squire to continue. 
He waited, with one lean hand hanging at his side, 
and the other resting in a loosely folded fist on the 
table before him. He took this fist up as if it were 
some implement he had laid hold of, and swung it in 
the air. 

" By a chance which / shall not be the last to 
describe as providential," — he paused, and looked 
round the room as if defying any one there to chal- 
lenge the sincerity of his assertion, — "the notice, 
which your law requires to be given by newspaper 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 501 

advertisement to the non-resident defendant in such 
a case as this, came, by one chance in millions, to her 
hand. By one chance more or less, it would not have 
reached her, and a monstrous crime against justice 
would have been irrevocably accomplished. For she 
had mourned this man as dead, — dead to the uni- 
versal frame of things, when he was only dead to 
honor, dead to duty, and dead to her ; and it was that 
newspaper, sent almost at random through the mail, 
and wandering from hand to hand, and everywhere 
rejected, for weeks, before it reached her at last, 
which convinced her that he was still in such life as 
a man may live who has survived his own soul. We 
are therefore here, standing upon our right, and pre- 
pared to prove it God's right, and the everlasting 
truth. Two days ago, a thousand miles and a thou- 
sand uncertainties intervened between us and this 
right, but now we are here to show that the defendant, 
basely defamed by the plea of abandonment, returned 
to her home within an hour after she had parted there 
with the plaintiff, and has remained there day and 
night ever since." He stopped. " Did I say she had 
never absented herself during all this time ? I was 
wrong. I spoke hastily. I forgot.'' He dropped his 
voice. "She did absent herself at one time, — ^for 
three days, — while she could come home to close her 
mother's dying eyes, and help me to lay her in the 
grave ! " He tried to close his lips firmly again, but 
the sinuous line was broken by a convulsive twitch- 
ing. " Perhaps," he resumed with the utmost gentle- 
ness, "the plaintiff returned in this interval, and, 
finding her gone, was confirmed in his belief that she 
had abandoned him." 

He felt blindly about on the table with his 
trembling hands, and his whole figure had a pathos 
that gave the old dress-coat statuesque dignity. 
The spectators quietly changed their places, and 



502 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

occupied the benches near him, till Bartley was left 
sitting alone with his counsel. We are beginning to 
talk here at the East of the decline of oratory ; but it 
is still a passion in the West, and his listeners now 
clustered about the Squire in keen appreciation of his 
power ; it seemed to summon even the loiterers in the 
street, whose ascending tramp on the stairs continu- 
ally made itself heard; the lawyers, the officers of 
the court, the judge, forgot their dinner, and posed 
themselves anew in their chairs to listen. 

No doubt the electrical sphere of sympathy and 
admiration penetrated to the old man's consciousness. 
When he pulled off his black satin stock — the rehc 
of ancient fashion which the piety of his daughter 
kept in repair — and laid it on the table, there was a 
deep inarticulate murmur of satisfaction which he 
could not have mistaken. His voice rose again : — 

" If the plaintiff indeed came at that time, the 
walls of those empty rooms, into which he peered like 
a thief in the night, might have told him — if walla 
had tongues to speak as they have ears to hear — a 
tale that would have melted even his heart with 
remorse and shame. They might have told him of a 
woman waiting in hunger and cold for his return, and 
willing to starve and freeze, rather than own herself 
forsaken, — waiting till she was hunted from her 
door by the creditors whom he had defrauded, and 
forced to confess her disgrace and her despair, in order 
to save herself from the unknown terrors of the law, 
invoked upon her innocent head by his villany. 
This is the history of the first two weeks of those two 
years, during which, as his perjured lips have sworn, 
he was using every effort to secure her return to him. 
I will not enlarge now upon this history, nor upon 
that of the days and weeks and months that followed, 
wringing the heart and all but crazing the brain of 
the wife who would not, in the darkest hours of her 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 503 

desolation, believe herself wilfully abandoned. But 
we have the record, unbroken and irrefragable, which 
shall not only right his victim, but shall bring yonder 
perjurer to justice." 

The words had an iron weight ; they fell like blows. 
Bartley did not stir ; but Marcia moved uneasily in 
her chair, and a low pitiful murmur broke from behind 
her veil. Her father stopped again, panting, and his 
dry lips closed and parted several tinfies before he 
could find his voice again. But at that sound of 
grief he partially recovered himself, and went on 
brokenly. 

" I now ask this Court, for due cause, to set aside 
the default upon which judgment has been rendered 
against the defendant, and I shall then ask leave to 
file her cross-petition for divorce." 

Marcia started half-way from her chair, and then 
fell back again ; she looked round at Halleck as if for 
help, and hid her face in her hands. Her father cast 
a glance at her as if for her approval of this develop- 
ment of his plan. 

" Then, may it please the Court,. upon the rendition 
of judgment in our favor'upon that petition — a result 
of which I have no more doubt than of my own exist- 
ence — I shall demand under your law the indictment 
of )^onder perjurer for his crime, and I shall await in 
security the sentence which shall consign him to a 
felon's cell in a felon's garb — " 

Marcia flung herself upon her father's arm, out- 
stretched toward Bartley. " No ! No ! No ! " she 
cried, with deep, shuddering breaths, in a voice thick 
with horror. " Never ! Let him go I I will not have 
it 1 I did n't understand ! I never meant to harm 
him ! Let him go ! It is my cause, and I say — " 

The old man's arm dropped ; he fixed a ghastly, be- 
wildered look upon his daughter, and fell forward 
across the table at which he stood. The judge started 



504 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

from his chair ; the people leaped over the benches, 
and crushed about the Squire, who fetched his breath 
in convulsive gasps. " Keep back ! " " Give him 
air ! " " Open the window ! " " Get a doctor ! " cried 
those next him. 

Even Hartley's counsel had joined the crowd about 
the Squire, from the midst of which broke the long, 
frightened wail of a child. Tliis was Bartley's oppor- 
tunity. When his counsel turned to look for him, 
and advise his withdrawal from a place where he 
could do no good, and where possibly he might come 
to harm, he found that his advice had been anticipated : 
Bartley's chair was vacant. 



A MODEKN INSTAJNGE. 506 



XLL 

That night when Halleck had left the old man to 
the care ot* Marcia and Olive, for the time, a note was 
brought to him from Bartley's lawyer, begging the 
favor of a few moments' interview on very important 
business. It might be some offer of repamtion or 
advance in Marcia's interest, and Halleck went with 
the bearer of the note. The lawyer met him hos- 
pitably at the door of his office. " How do you do, 
sir ? " he said, shaking hands. Then he indicated a 
bulk withdrawn into a corner of the dimly-lighted 
room ; the blinds were drawn, and he locked the door 
after Halleck's entrance. "Mr. Hubbard, whom I 
think you know," he added. " 1 11 just step into the 
next room, gentlemen, and will be subject to your 
call at any moment." 

The bulk lifted itself and moved some paces toward 
Halleck ; Bartley even raised his hand, with the vague 
expectation of taking Halleck's, but seeing no respon- 
sive gesture on his part, he waved a salutation and 
dropped it again to his side. 

" How d' ye do, Halleck ? Rather a secret, black, 
and midnight interview," he said jocosely. " But I 
could n't very well manage it otherwise. I 'm not 
just in the position to offer you the freedom of the 
city." 

" What do you want, Hubbard ? " asked Halleck, 
bluntly. 

" How is the old Squire ? " 

" The doctor thinks he may rally from the shock." 



506 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

" Paralysis ? " 

" Yes." 

" I have spent the day in the ' tall timber/ as our 
friends out here say, communing with nature; and 
I \'e only just come into town since dark, so I hadn't 
any particulars." He paused, as if expecting that 
Halleck might give them, but upon liis remaining 
silent, he resumed. " Of course, as the case now stands, 
I know very well that the law can't touch me. But 
I did n't know what the popular feejing might ba 
The Squire laid it on pretty hot, and he might have 
made it livelier for me than he intended: he isn't 
aware of the inflammable nature of the material out 
here." He gave a nervous chuckle. **I wanted to 
see you, Halleck, to tell you that I have n't forgotten 
that money I owe you, and that I mean to pay it all 
up, some time, yet. If it had n't been for some ex- 
penses I 've had lately, — doctor's bills, and so forth, ^ 
I have n't been very well, myself," — he made a sort 
of involuntary appeal for HalLeck's sympathy, — " and 
1 've had to pay out a good deal of money, — I should 
be able to pay most of it now. As it is, I can only 
give you five hundred of it." He tugged his poi-te- 
monnaie with difficulty up the slope of his panta- 
loons. " That will leave me just three hundred to 
begin the world with ; for of course I 've got to clear 
out of here. And I 'd got very comfortably settled 
after two years of pretty hard work at the printing 
business, and hard reading at the law. Well, it 's all 
right. And I want to pay you this money, now, and 
I '11 pay you the rest whenever I can. And I want 
you to tell Marcia that I did it. I always meant to 
do it." 

" Hubbard," interrupted Halleck, " you don't owe me 
any money. Your father-in-law paid that debt two 
years ago. But you owe some one else a debt that no 
one can pay for you. We need n't waste words : 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 507 

what are you going to do to repair the wrong you 
have done the woman and the child — " He stopped ; 
the effort had perhaps been too much. 

Bartley saw his emotion, and in his benighted way 
he honored it. "Halleck, you are a good fellow. 
You are such a good fellow that you can't understand 
this thing. But it's played out. I felt badly about 
it myself, at one time ; and if I had n't been robbed of 
that money you lent me on my way here, 1 'd have 
gone back inside of forty-eight hours. I was sorry 
for Marcia ; it almost broke my heart to think of the 
little one; but I knew they were in the hands of 
friends ; and the more time I had to think it over, the 
more I was reconciled to what I had done. That was 
the only way out, for either of us. We had tried it 
for three years, and we could n*t make it go ; we never 
could have made it go ; we were incompatible. Don't 
you suppose I knew Marcia's good qualities? No 
one knows them better, or appreciates them more. 
You might think that I applied for this divorce because 
I had some one else in view. Not any more in mine 
at present ! But I thought we ought to be free, both 
of us ; and if our marriage had become a chain> that 
we ought to break it." Bartley paused, apparently to 
give these facts and reasons time to sink into Halleck's 
mind. " But there 's one thing I should like to have 
you tell her, Halleck : she was wrong about that girl ; 
I never had anything to do with her. Marcia will 
understand." Halleck made no reply, and Bartley 
resumed, in a burst of generosity, which marked his 
fall into the abyss as nothing else could have done. 
" Look here, Halleck I / can't many again for two 
years. But as I understand the law, Marcia isn't 
bound in any way. I know that she always had 
a very high opinion of you, and that she thinks you 
are the best man in the world : why don't you fix it 
up with Marcia?" 



508 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

Bartley was in effect driven into exile by the ac- 
cidents of his suit for divorce which have been de- 
scribed. He was not in bodily danger after the first 
excitement passed off, if he was ever in bodily danger 
at all; but he could not reasonably hope to estab- 
lish himself in a community which had witnessed 
such disagreeable facts concerning him ; before which 
indeed he stiOod attainted of perjury, and only saved 
from the penalty of his crime by the refusal of his 
wife to press her case. 

As soon as her father was strong enough to be re- 
moved, Marcia returned to the East with him, in the 
care of the friends who continued with them. They 
did not go back to Boston, but went directly to Equity, 
where in the first flush of the young and jubilant sum- 
mer they opened the dim old house at the end of the 
village street, and resumed their broken lives. Her 
father, with one side palsy-stricken, wavered out every 
morning to his office, and sat there all day, the tremu- 
lous shadow of his former will. Sometimes his old 
friends came in to see him ; but no one expected now 
to hear the Squire " get going." He no longer got going 
on any topic ; he had become as a little child, — as 
the little child that played about him there in the 
still, warm summer days and built houses with his law- 
books on the floor. He laughed feebly at her pranks, 
and submitted to her rule with pathetic meekness in 
everything where Mai-cia had not charged them both 
to the contrary. He was very obedient to Marcia, 
who looked vigilantly after his welfare, and knew all 
his goings and comings, as she knew those of his little 
commde. Two or three times a day she ran out to see 
that they were safe ; but for the rest she kept herself 
closely housed, and saw no one whom she was not 
forced to see ; only the meat-man and the fish-man 
could speak authoritatively concerning her appear- 
ance and behavior before folks. They reported the 



/^ 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 509 

latter as dry, cold, and iincommunicativei Doubtless 
the bitter experiences of her life had wrought their 
due effect in that passionate heart; but probably it 
was as much a morbid sensitiveness as a hardened in- 
difference that turned her from her kind. The village 
inquisitiveness that invades, also suffers much eccen- 
tricity ; and after it had been well ascertained that 
Marcia was as queer as her mother, she was allowed 
to lead her mother's unmolested life in the old house, 
which had always turned so cold a shoulder to the 
woiid. Toward the end of the summer the lame 
young man and his sister, who had been several times 
in Equity before, paid her a visit ; but stayed only 
a day or two, as was accurately known by persons 
who had noted the opening and closing of the spare- 
chamber blinds. In the winter he came again, but 
this time he' came alone, and stayed at the hotel. 
He remained over a Sunday, and sat in the pulpit of 
the Orthodox church, where the minister extended to 
him the right hand of fellowship, and invited him 
to make the opening prayer. It was considered a 
good prayer, generally speaking, but it was criticised 
as not containing anything attractive to young peo- 
ple. He was understood to be on his way to take 
charge of a backwoods church down in Aroostook 
County, where probably his prayers would be more 
acceptable to the popular taste. 

That winter Squire Gaylord had another stroke of 
paralysis, and late in the following spring he suc- 
cumbed to a third. The old minister who had once 
been Mrs. Gaylord's pastor was now dead ; and the 
Squire was buried by the lame man, who came up to 
Equity for that purpose, at the wish, often expressed, 
of the deceased. This at least was the common re- 
port, and it is certain that Halleck officiated. 

In entering the ministry he had returned to the 
feith which had been taught him almost before he 



510 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

could Speak. He did not defend or justify this course 
on the part of a man who had once thrown off all. 
allegiance to creeds ; he said simply that for him there 
was no other course. He freely granted that he 
had not reasoned back to his old faith ; he had fled 
to it as to a city of refuge. His unbelief had been 
helped, and he no longer suffered himself to doubt ; 
he did not ask if the truth was here or there, any 
more; he onl}' knew that he could not find it for him- 
self, and he rested in his inherited belief. He accepted 
everytliing ; if he took one jot or tittle away from the 
Book, the curse of doubt was on him. He had known 
the terrors of the law, and he preached them to 
his people ; he had kiiown the Divine mercy, and he 
also preached that. 

The Squire's death occurred a few months before 
the news came of another event to which the press of 
the State referred with due recognition, but without 
great fulness of detail. This was the fatal case of 
shooting — penalty or consequence, as we choose to 
consider it, of all that had gone before — which oc- 
curred at Whited Sepulchre, Arizona, where Bartley 
Hubbard pitched his tent, and set up a printing- 
press, after leaving Tecumseh. He began with the 
issue of a Sunday paper, and made it so spicy and so 
indispensable to all the residents of Whited Sepul- 
chre who enjoyed the study of their fellow-citizens' 
affairs, that he was looking hopefully forward to the 
establishment of a daily edition, when he unfortu- 
nately chanced to comment upon the domestic rela- 
tions of " one of Whited Sepulchre's leading citizens." 
The leading citizen promptly took the war-path, as 
an esteemed contemporary expressed it in reporting 
the difficulty with the cynical lightness and the 
profusion of felicitous head-lines with which our 
journalism often alleviates the history of tragic occur- 
rences : the parenthetical touch in the closing state- 



/^ 



A MODEBN lliSTANCE. 611 

menfc, that "Mr. Hubbard leaves a (divorced) wife 
and child somewhere at the East," was quite ia Bart- 
ley's own manner. 

Marcia had been widowed so long before that this 
event could make no outward change in her. What 
inner change, if any, it wrought, is one of those facts 
which fiction must seek in vain to disclose. But if 
love such as hers had been did not deny his end the 
pang of a fresh grief, we may be sure that her sorrow 
was not unmixed with self-accusal as unavailing as it 
was pasaionate, and perhaps as unjust 

One evening, a year later, the Athertons sat talk- 
ing over a letter from Halleck, which Atherton had 
brought from Boston with him : it was summer, and 
they were at their place on the Beverley shore. It 
was a long letter, and Atherton had read parts of it 
several times already, on his way down in the cars, 
and had since read it all to his wife. " It 's a very 
morbid letter," he said, with a perplexed air, when he 
had finished. 

" Yes," she assented. " But it 's a very good letter. 
Poor Ben ! " 

Her husband took it up again, and read here and 
there a passage from it. 

" But I am turning to you now for help in a 
matter on which my own conscience throws such a 
fitful and uncertain light that I cannot trust it. I 
know that you are a good man, Atherton, and I 
humbly beseech you to let me have your judgment 
without mercy : though it slay me, I will abide by 

it Since her father's death, she lives there 

quite alone with her child. I have seen her only 
once, but we write to each other, and there are times 
when it seems to me at last that I have the right to 
ask her to be my wife. The words give me a shock 
as I write them; and the things which I used to 



512 A MODERN INSTANCE. 

think reasons for my right rise up in witness against 
me. Above all, I remember with horror that he ap- 
proved it, that he advised it ! .... It is true that I 
have never, by word or deed, suffered her to know 
what was in my heart 3 but has there ever been a 
moment when I could do so ? It is true that I have 
waited for his death ; but if I have been willing he 
should die, am I not a potential murderer ? " 

" Oh, what ridiculous nonsense 1 " Clara indignantly 
protested. 

Atherton read on : " These are the questions which 
I ask myself in my despair. She is free, now ; but 
am I free ? Am I not rather bound by the past to 
perpetual silence ? There are times when I rebel 
against these tortures ; when I feel a sanction for my 
love of her, an assurance from somewhere that it is 
right and good to love her ; but then I sink again, for if 
I ask whence this assurance comes — I beseech you 
to tell me what you think. Has my offence been so 
great that nothing can atone for it ? Must I sacrifice 
to this fear all my hopes of what I could be to her, 
•and for her ? " 

Atherton folded up the letter, and put it back into 
its envelope, with a frown of exasperation. " I can't 
see what should have infatuated Halleck with that 
woman. I don't believe now that he loves her; I 
believe he only pities her. She is altogether inferior 
to him : passionate, naiTow-minded, jealous, — she 
would make him miserable. He 'd much better stay 
as he is. If it were not pathetic to have him deify- 
ing her in this way, it would be laughable." 

** She had a jealous temperament," said Clara, look- 
ing down. " But all the Hallecks are fond of her. 
They think there is a great deal of good in her. I 
don't suppose Ben himself thinks she is perfect. 
But — " 

" I dare say," interrupted her husband, " that he 



L 



A MODERN INSTANCE. 513 

thinks he's entirely sincere in asking my advica 
But you can see how he wishes to be advised." 

" Of course. He wishes to marry her. It is n't so 
much a question of what a man ought to have, as 
what he wants to have, in marrying, is it ? Even 
the best of men. If she is exacting And quick-tem- 
pered, he is good enough to get on with her. If she 
had a husband that she could thoroughly trust, she 
would be easy enough to get on with. There is no 
woman good enough to get on with a bad man. It 's 
terrible to think of that poor creature living there by 
herself, with no one to look after her and her little 
girl; and if Ben — " 

" What do you mean, Clara ? Don't you see that 
his being in love with her when she was another 
man's wife is what he feek it to be, — an indelible 
stain ? " 

" She never knew it ; and no one ever knew it but 
you. You said it was our deeds that judged us. 
Did n't Ben go away when he realized his feeling for 
her ? " 

" He came back." ^ , 

" But he did everything he could to find that poor 
wretch, and he tried to prevent the divorce. Ben 
is morbid about it; but there is no use in our be- 
ing so." 

" There was a time when he would have been glad 
to profit by a divorce." 

"But he never did. You said the will didn't 
count. And now she is a widow, and any man may 
ask her to marry him." 

" An)'- man but the one who loved her during her 
husband's life. That is, if he is such a man as Hal- 
leck. Of course it is n't a question of gross black 
and white, mere right and wrong ; there are degrees, 
there are shades. There might be redemption for 
another sort of man in such a marriage ; but for Hal- 



514 A MODERN INSTAKCE. 

leek there could only be loss, — deterioration, — lapse 
from the ideal. I should think that he might suffer 
something of this even in her eyes — " 

" Oh, how hard you are I I wish Ben had n't 
asked your advice. Why, you are worse than he is ! 
You 're not going to write that to him ? " 

Atherton flung the letter upon the table, and 
drew a troubled sigh. " Ah, I don't know ! 1 don't 
know ! " 



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