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" Tt would be nice to be married," Marie Louise re- 


fleeted, "if one could stay single at the same time." 



A Novel of Cities and Shipyards 


Author of 







Copyright, 1919, by Harper & Brothers 

Printed in the United States of America 

Published May. 1919 



"// would be nice to be married" Marie Louise reflected, "if 

one could stay single at the same time." Frontispiece 

He tried to swing her to the pommel, but she fought herself free 

and came to the ground and was almost trampled. . . Facing p. 3 

" This is the life for me. I ve been a heroine and a war-worker 

about as long as I can." " 77 

" It s beautiful overhead if you re going that way, " Davidge 
quoted. He set out briskly, but Marie Louise hung back. 
"Aren t you afraid to push on when you can t see where 
you re going?" she demanded 93 

There was something hallowed and awesome about it all. It 

had a cathedral majesty 169 

How quaint a custom it is for people who know each other well 
and see each other in plain clothes every day to get them 
selves up with meticulous skill in the evening like Christmas 
parcels for each other s examination 239 

"So I have already done something more for Germany. That s 
splendid. Now tell me what else I can do." Nicky was 
too intoxicated with his success to see through her thin 
disguise 275 

Nobody recognized the lily-like beauty of Miss Webling in the 

smutty-faced passer-boy crouching at Sntton s elbow. . . 287 




re tried to swing her to the pommel, but she fought 
herself free and came to the ground and was almost 




"T HEN the big door swung back as if of itself. Marie 
1 Louise had felt that she would scream if she were kept 
a moment outside. The luxury of simply wishing the gate 
ajar gave her a fairy-book delight enhanced by the pleasant 
deference of the footman, whose face seemed to be hung on 
the door like a Japanese mask. 

Marie Louise rejoiced in the dull splendor of the hall. 
The obsolete gorgeousness of the London home had never 
been in good taste, but had grown as lovable with years as 
do the gaudy frumperies of a rich old relative. All the good, 
comfortable shelter of wealth won her blessing now as never 
before. The stairway had something of the grand manner, 
too, but it condescended graciously to escort her up to her 
own room; and there, she knew, was a solitude where she 
could cry as hard as she wanted to, and therefore usually did 
not want to. Besides, her mood now was past crying for. 

She was afraid of the world, afraid of the light. She felt 
the cave-impulse to steal into a deep nook and cower there 
till her heart should be replenished with courage automati 
cally, as ponds are fed from above. 

Marie Louise wanted walls about her, and stillness, and 
people shut out. She was in one of the moods when the 
soul longs to gather its faculties together in a family, making 
one self of all its selves. Marie Louise had known privation 
and homelessness and the perils they bring a young woman, 
and now she had riches and a father and mother who were 
great people in a great land, and who had adopted her into 
their own hearts, their lives, their name. But to-day she 
asked nothing more than a deep cranny in a dark cave. 


She would have said that no human voice or presence 
could be anything but a torture to her. And yet, when 
she hurried up the steps, she was suddenly miraculously 
restored to cheerfulness by the tiny explosion of a child s 
laughter instantly quenched. She knew that she was about 
to be ambushed as usual. She must pretend to be com 
pletely surprised once more, and altogether terrified with her 
perfect regularity. 

Her soul had been so utterly surprised and terrified in the 
outer world that this infantile parody was curiously welcome, 
^ince nothing keeps the mind in balance on the tight-rope of 
sanity like the counterweight that comedy furnishes to 
tragedy, farce to frenzy, and puerility to solemnity. 

The children called her "Auntie," but they were not hers 
except through the adoption of a love that had to claim some 
kinship. They looked like her children, though so much so, 
indeed, that strangers thought that she was their young 
mother. But it was because she looked like their mother, 
who had died, that the American girl was a member of this 
British household, inheriting some of its wealth and much 
of its perilous destiny. 

She had been ambuscaded in the street to-day by demons 
not of faery, but of fact, that had leaped out at her from 
nowhere. It solaced her somehow to burlesque the terror 
that had whelmed her, and, now that she was assailed by 
ruthless thugs of five and seven years, the shrieks she had 
not dared to release in the street she gave forth with vigor, 
as two nightgowned tots flung themselves at her with milk- 
curdling cries of: 


Holding up pink fat hands for pistols, they snapped their 
thumbs at her and said: 

"Bang! Bang!" 

And she emitted most amusing squeals of anguish and 
staggered back, stammering: 

"Oh, p-p-please, Mr. Robbobber and Miss Burgurgular, 
take my 1-1-life but spare my m-m-money." 

She had been so genuinely scared before that she marred 
the sacred text now, and the First Murderer, who had all 
the conservative instincts of childhood, had to correct her 
misquotation of the sacred formula: 


" No, no, Auntie, Say, Take my money but spare my life ! 
Now we dot to do it all over." 

"I beg your pardon humbly," she said, and went back to 
be ambushed again. This time the boy had an inspiration. 
To murder and robbery he would add scalping. 

But Marie Louise was tired. She had had enough of 
fright, real or feigned, and refused to be scalped. Besides, 
she had been to the hairdresser s, and she explained that 
she really could not afford to be scalped. The boy was bit 
terly disappointed, and he grew furious when the untimely 
maid came for him and for his ruthless sister and demanded 
that they come to bed at once or be reported. 

As the warriors were dragged off to shameful captivity, 
Marie Louise, watching them, was suddenly shocked by 
the thought of how early in life humanity begins to revel 
in slaughter. The most innocent babes must be taught not 
to torture animals. Cruelty comes with them like a caul, 
or a habit brought in from a previous existence. They always 
almost murder their mothers and sometimes quite slay them 
when they are born. Their first pastimes are killing games, 
playing dead, stories of witches, cannibalistic ogres. The 
American Indian is the international nursery pet because of 
his traditional fiendishness. 

It seemed inconsistent, but it was historically natural 
that the boy interrupted in his massacre of his beloved aunt 
should hang back to squall that he would say his prayers 
only to her. Marie Louise glanced at her watch. She had 
barely time to dress for dinner, but the children had to be 
obeyed. She made one weak protest. 
Fraulein hears your prayers." 
But she s wented out." 
Well, I ll hear them, then." 
Dot to tell us fairy- tory, too," said the girl. 
All right, one fairy- tory 

She went to the nursery, and the cherubs swarmed up to 
her lap demanding "somefin bluggy." 

Invention failed her completely. She hunted through her 
memory among the Grimms fairy-tales. She could recall 
nothing that seemed sweet and guileless enough for these 
two lambs. 

All that she could think of seemed to be made up of ghoulish 


plots; of children being mistreated by harsh stepmothers; 
of their being turned over to peasants to slay; of their being 
changed into animals or birds; of their being seized by wolves, 
or by giants that drank blood and crunched children s bones 
as if they were reed birds; of hags that cut them up into bits 
or thrust them into ovens and cooked them for gingerbread. 
It occurred to her that all the German fairy-stories were 
murderously cruel. She felt a revulsion against each of the 
legends. But her mind could not find substitutes. 

After a period of that fearful ordeal when children tyran 
nize for romances that will not come, her mind grew mu 
tinous and balked. She confessed her poverty of ideas. 

The girl, Bettina, sulked; the boy screamed: 

"Aw, botheration! We might as well say our prayers and 
go to bed." 

In the least pious of moods they dropped from her knees 
to their own and put their clasped hands across her lap. 
They became in a way hallowed by their attitude, and the 
world seemed good to her again as she looked down at the 
two children, beautiful as only children can be, innocent 
of wile, of hardship and of crime, safe at home and pray 
ing to their heavenly Father from whose presence they had 
so recently come. 

But as she brooded over them motherly and took strength 
from them as mothers do, she thought of other children in 
other countries orphaned in swarms, starving in multi 
tudes, waiting for food like flocks of lambs in the blizzard 
of the war. She thought still more vividly of children flung 
into the ocean. She had seen these children at her knees 
fighting against bitter medicines, choking on them and 
blurting them out at mouth and nose and almost, it seemed, 
at eyes. So it was very vivid to her how children thrown 
into the sea must have gagged with terror at the bitter medicine 
of death, strangled and smothered as they drowned. 

She heard the prayers mumbled through, but at the hasty 
"Amen" she protested. 

"You didn t thank God for anything. Haven t you any 
thing to thank God for?" 

If they had expressed any doubt, she would have told them 
of dozens of special mercies, but almost instantly they an 
swered, "Oh yes!" They looked at each other, understood, 


nodded, clapped their hands, and chuckled with pride. Then 
they bent their heads, gabled their finger-tips, and the boy said: 

"We t ank Dee, O Dod, for making sink dat old Lusitania. 1 
And the girl said, " A-men!" 

Marie Louise gave a start as if she had been stabbed. 
It was the loss of the Lusitania that had first terrified her. 
She had just seen it announced on the placards of news 
boys in London streets, and had fled home to escape from 
the vision, only to hear the children thank Heaven for it! 
She rose so suddenly that she flung the children back from 
their knees to their haunches. They stared up at her in 
wondering fear. She stepped outside the baleful circle and 
went striding up and down the room, fighting herself back to 
self-control, telling herself that the children were not to 
blame, yet finding them the more repulsive for their very 
innocence. The purer the lips, the viler the blasphemy. 

She was not able to restrain herself from denouncing them 
with all her ferocity. She towered over them and cried 
out upon them: "You wicked, wicked little beasts, how dare 
you put such loathsome words into a prayer ! God must have 
gasped with horror in heaven at the shame of it. Wherever 
did you get so hateful an idea?" 

"Wicked your own self!" the boy snapped back. "Frau- 
lein read it in the paper about the old boat, and she walked 
up and down the room like what you do, and she said, "Ach, 
unser Dott how dood you are to us, to make sink dat 

He was going on to describe her ecstasy, but Marie Louise 
broke in: "It s Fraulein s work, is it? I might have known 
that! Oh, the fiend, the harpy!" 

The boy did not know what a harpy was, but he knew 
that his beloved Fraulein was being called something, and 
he struck at Marie Louise fiercely, kicked at her shins and 
tried to bite her hands, screaming: "You shall not call our 
own precious Fraulein names. Harpy, your own self!" 

And the little girl struck and scratched and made a curdled 
face and echoed, "Harpy, your own self!" 

It hurt Marie Louise so extravagantly to be hated by 
these irascible cherubs that her anger vanished in regret. 
She pleaded: "But, my darlings, you don t know what you 
are saying. The Lusitania was a beautiful ship " 


The boy, Victor, was loyal always to his own: "She wasn t 
as beautiful as my yacht what I sail in the Round Pond." 

Marie Louise condescended to argue: "Oh yes, she was! 
She was a great ship, noble like Saint Paul s Cathedral, and 
she was loaded with passengers, men and women and children : 
and then suddenly she was ripped open and sunk, and little 
children like you were thrown into the water, into the deep, 
deep, deep ocean. And the big waves tore them from their 
mothers arms and ran off with them, choking and strangling 
them and dragging them down and down forever down." 

She was dizzied by the horde of visions mobbing her brain. 
Then the onrush of horror was checked abruptly as she saw 
the supercilious lad regarding her frenzy calmly. His com 
ment was: 

"It served em jolly well right for bein on at old boat." 

Marie Louise almost swooned with dread of such a soul. 
She shrank from the boy and groaned, "Oh, you toad, you 
little toad!" 

He was frightened a little by her disgust, and he took 
refuge in a higher authority. "Fraulein told us. And she 

The bit lassiky stormed to his support: "She does so!" and 
drove it home with the last nail of feminine argument: "So 
there now!" 

Marie Louise retorted, weakly: "We ll see! We ll soon 
see!" And she rushed out of the room, like another little 
girl, straight to the door of Sir Joseph, where she knocked im 
patiently. His man appeared and murmured through a 
crevice: "Sorry, miss, but Seh Joseph is dressing." 

Marie Louise went to Lady Webling s door, and a maid 
came to whisper: " She is in her teb. We re having dinner 
at tome to-night, miss." 

Marie Louise nodded. Dinner must be served, and on 
time. It was the one remaining solemnity that must not 
be forgotten or delayed. 

She went to her own room. Her maid was in a stew 
about the hour, and the gown that was to be put on. Marie 
Louise felt that black was the only wear on such a Barthol 
omew s night. But Sir Joseph hated black so well that he 
had put a clause in his will against its appearance even at 
his own funeral. Marie Louise loved him dearly, but she 


feared his prejudices. She had an abject terror of offending 
him, because she felt that she owed everything she had, and 
was, to the whim of his good grace. Gratitude was a passion 
with her, and it doomed her, as all passions do, good or bad, 
to the penalties human beings pay for every excess of virtue 
or vice if, indeed, vice is anything but an immoderate, 
untimely virtue. 


MARIE LOUISE let her maid select the gown. She 
was an exquisite picture as she stood before the long 
mirror and watched the buckling on of her armor, her armor 
of taffeta and velvet with the colors of sunlit leaves and noon- 
warmed flowers in carefully elected wrinkles assured with 
many a hook and eye. Her image was radiant and pliant 
and altogether love-worthy, but her thoughts were sad and 

She was resolved that Fraulein should not remain in the 
house another night. She wondered that Sir Joseph had 
not ousted her from the family at the first crash of war. 
The old crone ! She could have posed for one of the Grimms 
most vulturine witches. But she had kept a civil tongue in 
her head till now; the children adored her, and Sir Joseph 
had influence enough to save her from being interned or 

Hitherto, Marie Louise had felt sorry for her in her dilemma 
of being forced to live at peace in the country her own country 
was locked in war with. Now she saw that the woman s 
oily diplomacy was only for public use, and that all the while 
she was imbruing the minds of the little children with the dye 
of her own thoughts. The innocents naturally accepted 
everything she told them as the essence of truth. 

Marie Louise hoped to settle the affair before dinner, but 
by the time she was gowned and primped, the first pre 
mature guest had arrived like the rathest primrose, shy, 
surprised, and surprising. Sir Joseph had gone below already. 
Lady Webling was hull down on the stairway. 

Marie Louise saw that her protest must wait till after the 
dinner, and she followed to do her duty to the laws of 

Sir Joseph liked to give these great affairs. He loved to 
eat and to see others eat. "The more the merrier," was his 


motto one of the most truthless of the old saws. Little 
dinners at Sir Joseph s what he called "on fameals" 
would have been big dinners elsewhere. A big dinner was 
like a Lord Mayor s banquet. He needed only a crier at his 
back and a Petronius to immortalize his gourmandise. 

To-night he had great folk and small fry. Nobody pre 
tended to know the names of everybody. Sir Joseph himself 
leaned heavily on the man who sang out the labels of the 
guests, and even then his wife whispered them to him as they 
came forward, and for a precaution, kept slipping them into 
the conversation as reminders. 

There were several Americans present: a Doctor and Mrs. 
Clinton Worthing who had come over with a special shipload 
of nurses. The ship had been fitted out by Mrs. Worthing, 
who had been Muriel Schuyler, daughter of the giant plutocrat, 
Jacob Schuyler, who was lending England millions of money 
weekly. A little American millionaire, Willie Enslee, living 
in England now on account of some scandal in his past, was 
there. He did not look romantic. 

Marie Louise had no genius for names, or faces, either. 
To-night she was frightened, and she made some horrible 
blunders, greeting the grisly Mr. Verrinder by the name 
of Mr. Hilary. The association was clear, for Mr. Hilary 
had called Mr. Verrinder atrocious names in Parliament; 
but it was like calling "Mr.Capulet" "Mr. Montague." Marie 
Louise tried to redeem her blunder by putting on an extra 
effusiveness for the sake of Mr. and Mrs. Norcross. Mrs. 
Norcross had only recently shaken off the name of Mrs. 
Patchett after a resounding divorce. So Marie Louise called 
her new husband by the name of her old, which made it very 

Her wits were so badly dispersed that she gave up the 
attempt to take in the name of an American whom Lady 
Webling passed along to her as "Mr. Davidge, of the States." 
And he must have been somebody of importance, for even 
Sir Joseph got his name right. Marie Louise, however, dis 
liked him cordially at once for two reasons: first, she hated 
herself so much that she could not like anybody just then; 
next, this American was entirely too American. He was awk 
ward and indifferent, but not at all with the easy amble 
and patrician unconcern of an English aristocrat. 


Marie Louise was American-born herself, and humbly 
born, at that, but she liked extreme Americanism never the 
more. Perhaps she was a bit of a snob, though fate was get 
ting ready to beat the snobbery out of her. And hers was 
an unintentional, superficial snobbery, at worst. Some 
people said she was affected and that she aped the swagger 
dialect. But she had a habit of taking on the accent and 
color of her environments. She had not been in England a 
month before she spoke Piccadilly almost impeccably. She 
had caught French and German intonations with equal speed 
and had picked up music by ear with the same amazing 
facility in the days when certain kinds of music were her 

In one respect her Englishness of accent was less an imita 
tion or an affectation than a certain form of politeness and 
modesty. When an Englishwoman said, "Cahn t you?" it 
seemed tactless to answer, "No, I cann t." To respond to 
"Good mawning" with "Good morrning" had the effect of 
a contradiction or a correction. She had none of the shib 
boleth spirit that leads certain people to die or slay for a 
pronunciation. The pronunciation of the people she was 
talking to was good enough for her. She conformed also 
because she hated to see people listening less to what she said 
than to the Yankee way she said it. 

This man Davidge had a superb brow and a look of success, 
but he bored her before he reached her. She made ready 
for flight to some other group. Then he startled her by 
being startled as he caught sight of her. When Lady Webling 
transmitted him with a murmur of his name and a tender, 
"My daughter," Davidge stopped short and mumbled: 

"I ve had the pleasure of meeting you before, somewhere, 
haven t I?" 

Marie Louise snubbed him flatly. "I think not." 

He took the slap with a smile. "Did I hear Lady Webling 
call you her daughter?" 

Marie Louise did not explain, but answered, curtly, "Yes," 
with the aristocratic English parsimony that makes it almost 

"Then you re right and I m wrong. I beg your pardon." 

"Daon t mention it," said Marie Louise, and drew closer 
to Lady Webling and the oncoming guest. She had the 


decency to reproach herself for being beastly to the stranger, 
but his name slipped at once through the sieve of her 

Destiny is the grandiose title we give to the grand total 
of a long column of accidents when we stop to tot up the 
figures. So we wait till that strange sum of accidents which 
we call a baby is added up into a living child of determined 
sex before we fasten a name that changes an it to a him or a 

The accidents that result in a love-affair, too, we look back 
on and outline into a definite road, and we call that Fate. 
We are great for giving names to selected fragments of the 
chaos of life. 

In after years Marie Louise and this man Davidge would 
see something mystic and intended in the meeting that was 
to be the detached prologue of their after conflicts. They 
would quite misremember what really happened which was, 
that she retained no impression of him at all, and that he 
called himself a fool for mixing her with a girl he had met years 
and years before for just a moment, and had never forgotten 
because he had not known her well enough to forget her. 

He had reason enough to distrust his sanity for staring at 
a resplendent creature in a London drawing-room and imagin 
ing for a moment that she was a long-lost, long-sought girl 
of old dreams a girl he had seen in a cheap vaudeville 
theater in a Western state. She was one of a musical team 
that played all sorts of instruments xylophones, saxophones, 
trombones, accordions, cornets, comical instruments con 
cealed in hats and umbrellas. This girl had played each of 
them in turn, in solo or with the rest of the group. The 
other mummers were coarse and vaude-vulgar, but she had 
captivated Davidge with her wild beauty, her magnetism, 
and the strange cry she put into her music. 

When she played the trombone she looked to him like 
one of the angels on a cathedral trumpeting an apocalyptic 
summons to the dead to bloom from their graves. When 
she played the cornet it was with a superhuman tone that 
shook his emotions almost insufferably. She had sung, too, 
in four voices in an imitation of a bass, a tenor, a contralto, 
and finally as a lyric soprano, then skipping from one to the 
other. They called her "Mamise, the Quartet in One." 


Davidge had thought her marvelous and had asked the 
manager of the theater to introduce him. The manager 
thought him a young fool, and Davidge had felt himself 
one when he went back to the dingy stage, where he found 
Mamise among a troupe of trained animals waiting to go on. 
She was teasing a chittering, cigar-smoking trained ape on a 
bicycle, and she proved to be an extraordinarily ordinary, 
painfully plebeian girl, common in voice and diction, awkward 
and rather contemptuous of the stage-door Johnnie. Davidge 
had never ceased to blush, and blushed again now, when he 
recalled his labored compliment, "I expect to see your name 
in the electric lights some of these days or nights, Miss 

She had grumbled, "Much ubbliged!" and returned to the 
ape, while Davidge slunk away, ashamed. 

He had not forgotten that name, though the public had. 
He had never seen "Mamise" in the electric lights. He 
had never found the name in any dictionary. He had sup 
posed her to be a foreigner Spanish, Polish, Czech, French, 
or something. He had not been able to judge her nation 
ality from the two gruff words, but he had often wondered 
what had happened to her. She might have been killed in a 
train wreck or been married to the ape-trainer or gone to 
some other horrible conclusion. He had pretty well buried 
her among his forgotten admirations and torments, when 
lo and behold! she emerged from a crowd of peeresses and 
plutocrats in London. 

He had sprung toward her with a wild look of recognition 
before he had had time to think it over. He had been re 
buffed by a cold glance and then by an English intonation 
and a fashionable phrase. He decided that his memory 
had made a fool of him, and he stood off, humble and con 

But his eyes quarreled with his ears, and kept telling 
him that this tall beauty who ignored him so perfectly, so 
haughtily, was really his lost Mamise. 

If men would trust their intuitions oftener they would 
not go wrong so often, perhaps, since their best reasoning 
is only guesswork, after all. It was not going to be destiny 
that brought Davidge and Marie Louise together again so 
much as the man s hatred of leaving anything unfinished 


even a dream or a vague desire. There was no shaking 
Davidge off a thing he determined on except as you shake off 
a snapping-turtle, by severing its body from its head. 

A little later Sir Joseph sought the man out and treated 
him respectfully, and Marie Louise knew he must be some 
body. She found him staring at her over Sir Joseph s shoulder 
and puzzling about her. And this made her wretchedly un 
comfortable, for perhaps, after all, she fretted, he had indeed 
met her somewhere before, somewhere in one of those odious 
strata she had passed through on her way up to the estate of 
being called daughter by Lady Webling. 

She forgot her misgivings and was restored to equanimity 
by the incursion of Polly Widdicombe and her husband. 
Polly was one of the best-dressed women in the world. Her 
husband had the look of the husband of the best-dressed 
woman in the world. Polly had a wiry voice, and made no 
effort to soften it, but she was tremendously smart. She 
giggled all the time and set people off in her vicinity, though 
her talk was rarely witty on its own account. 

Laughter rippled all through her life. She talked of her 
griefs in a plucky, riant way, making eternal fun of herself 
as a giddy fool. She carried a delightful jocundity wherever 
she went. She was aristocratic, too, in the postgraduate de 
gree of being careless, reckless, superior even to good manners. 
She had a good heart and amiable feelings; these made 
manners enough. 

She had lineage as well, for her all-American family ran 
straight back into the sixteen hundreds, which was farther 
than many a duke dared trace his line. She had traveled the 
world; she had danced with kings, and had made two popes 
laugh and tweak her pointed chin. She wasn t afraid of 
anybody, not even of peasants and servants, or of being 
friendly with them, or angry with them. 

Marie Louise adored her. She felt that it would make no 
difference to Polly s affection if she found out all there was to 
find out about Marie Louise. And yet Polly s friendship 
did not have the dull certainty of indestructibility. Marie 
Louise knew that one word wrong or one act out of key might 
end it forever, and then Polly would be her loud and ardent 
enemy, and laugh at her instead of for her. Polly could 
hate as briskly as she could love. 


She was in one of her vitriolic moods now because of the 

"I shouldn t have come to-night," she said, "except that 
I want to talk to a lot of people about Germany. I want to 
tell everybody I know how much I loathe em all. The 
Hymn of Hate is a lullaby to what I feel." 

Polly was also conducting a glorious war with Lady Clif ton- 
Wyatt. Lady C.-W. had bullied everybody in London so 
successfully that she went straight up against Polly Widdi- 
combe without a tremor. She got what-for, and everybody 
was delighted. The two were devoted enemies from then on, 
and it was beautiful to see them come together. 

Lady Clifton- Wyatt followed Polly up the receiving line to 
night and invited a duel, but Polly was in no humor for a 
fight with anybody but Germans. She turned her full-orbed 
back on Lady C.-W. and, so to speak, gnashed her shoulder- 
blades at her. Lady C.-W. passed by without a word, and 
Marie Louise was glad to hide behind Polly, for Marie Louise 
was mortally afraid of Lady C.-W. 

She saw the American greet her as if he had met her before. 
Lady Clifton- Wyatt was positively polite to him. He must 
be a very great man. 

She heard Lady Clifton-Wyatt say something about, "How 
is the new ship coming on?" and the American said, "She s 
doing as well as could be expected." 

So he was a ship-builder. Marie Louise thought that his 
must be a heartbreaking business in these days when ships 
were being slaughtered in such numbers. She asked Polly 
and her husband if they knew him or his name. 

Widdicombe shook his head. Polly laughed at her husband. 
"How do you know? He might be your own mother, for all 
you can tell. Put on your distance-glasses, you poor fish." 
She turned to Marie Louise. "You know how near-sighted 
Tom is." 

"An excellent fault in a man," said Marie Louise. 

"Oh, I don t know," said Polly. "You can t trust even 
the blind ones. And you ll notice that when Tom comes to 
one of these decollete dinners, he wears his reading-glasses." 

All this time Widdicombe was taking out his distance- 
glasses, taking off his reading-glasses and pouching them and 
putting them away, and putting on his distance-glasses, and 


from force of habit putting their pouch away. Then he stared 
at Davidge, took off his distance-glasses, found the case with 
difficulty, put them up, pocketed them, and stood blearing 
into space while he searched for his reading-glasses, found 
them, put the case back in his pocket and saddled his nose 
with the lenses. 

Polly waited in a mockery of patience and said: 

"Well, after all that, what?" 

"I don t know him," said Widdicombe. 

It was a good deal of an anticlimax to so much work. 

Polly said: "That proves nothing. Tom s got a near- 
memory, too. The man s a pest. If he didn t make so much 
money, I d abandon him on a door-step." 

That was Polly s form of baby-talk. Everybody knew how 
she doted on Tom: she called him names as one scolds a pet 
dog. Widdicombe had the helpless manner of one, and was 
always at heel with Polly. But he was a Titan financially, 
and he was signing his name now to munitions-contracts as 
big as national debts. 

Marie Louise was summoned from the presence of the 
Widdicombes by one of Lady Webling s most mysterious 
glances, to meet a new-comer whom Lady Webling evidently 
regarded as a special treasure. Lady Webling was as wide as 
a screen, and she could always form a sort of alcove in front 
of her by turning her back on the company. She made such 
a nook now and, taking Marie Louise s hand in hers, put it 
in the hand of the tall and staring man whose very look 
Marie Louise found invasive. His handclasp was somehow 
like an illicit caress. 

How strange it is that with so much modesty going about, 
people should be allowed to wear their hands naked! The 
fashion of the last few years compelling the leaving off of 
gloves was not really very nice. Marie Louise realized it for 
the first time. Her fastidious right hand tried to escape 
from the embrace of the stranger s fingers, but they clung 
devil-fishily, and Lady Webling s soft cushion palm was there 
conniving in the abduction. And her voice had a wheedling 

"This is my dear Nicky I have spoken of so much Mr. 
Easton, you know." 

"Oh yes," said Marie Louise. 


"Be very nice to him," said Lady Webling. "He is taking 
you out to dinner." 

At that moment the butler appeared, solemn as a long- 
awaited priest, and there was such a slow crystallization as 
follows a cry of "Fall in!" to weary soldiers. The guests 
were soon in double file and on the march to the battle 
field with the cooks. 

Nicky Easton still had Marie Louise s hand; he had carried 
it up into the crook of his right arm and kept his left hand 
over it for guard. A lady can hardly wrench loose from such 
an attention, but Marie Louise abhorred it. 

Nicky treated her as a sort of possession, and she resented 
his courtesies. He began too soon with compliments. One 
hates to have even a bunch of violets jabbed into one s nose 
with the command, "Smell!" 

She disliked his accent, too. There was a Germanic some 
thing in it as faint as the odor of high game. It was a time 
when the least hint of Teutonism carried the stench of death 
to British nostrils. 

Lady Webling and Sir Joseph were known to be of German 
birth, and their phrases carried the tang, but Sir Joseph 
had become a naturalized citizen ages ago and had won 
respect and affection a decade back. His lavish use of his 
money for charities and for great industries had won him his 
knighthood, and while there was a certain sniff of suspicion 
in certain fanatic quarters at the mention of his name, those 
who knew him well had so long ago forgotten his alien birth 
that they forgave it him now. 

As for Marie Louise, she no longer heeded the Prussic acid 
of his speech. She was as used to it as to his other little 
mannerisms. She did not think of the old couple as fat and 
awkward. She did not analyze their attributes or think of 
their features in detail. She thought of them simply as them. 
But Easton was new ; he brought in a subtle whiff of the hated 
Germany that had done the Lusitania to death. 

The fate of the ship made the dinner resemble a solemn 
wake. The triumphs of the chef were but funeral baked meats. 
The feast was brilliant and large and long, and it seemed 
criminal to see such waste of provender when so much of the 
world was hungry. The talk was almost all of the Lusitania 
and the deep damnation of her taking off. Many of the 


guests had crossed the sea in her graceful shell, and they 
felt a personal loss as well as a bitterness of rage at the worst 
of the German sea crimes. 

Davidge was seated remotely from Marie Louise, far down 
the flowery lane of the table. She could not see him at all, 
for the candles and the roses. Just once she heard his voice 
in a lull. Its twang carried it all the way up the alley: 

"A man that would kill a passenger-ship would shoot a 
baby in its cradle. When you think how long it takes to 
build a ship, how much work she represents, how sweet she 
is when she rides out and all that by Gosh! there s no 
word mean enough for the sk-oundrels. There s nothing 
they won t do now absolutely nothing." 

She heard no more of him, and she did not see him again 
that night. She forgot him utterly. Even the little wince 
of distress he gave her by his provincialism was forgotten in 
the anguish her foster-parents caused her. 

For Marie Louise had a strange, an odious sensation that 
Sir Joseph and Lady Webling were not quite sincere in their 
expressions of horror and grief over the finished epic, the 
Lusitania. It was not for lack of language; they used the 
strongest words they could find. But there was missing the 
subtile somewhat of intonation and gesture that actors call 
sincerity. Marie Louise knew how hard it is even for a 
great actor to express his simplest thoughts with conviction. 
No, it was when he expressed them best that he was least 
convincing, since an emotion that can be adequately presented 
is not a very big emotion ; at least it does not overwhelm the 
soul. Inadequacy, helplessness, gaucherie, prove that the 
feelings are bigger than the eloquence. They "get across the 
footlights" between each player on the human stage and his 

Yes, that was it: Sir Joseph and Lady Webling were pro 
testing too well and too much. Marie Louise hated herself 
for even the disloyalty of such a criticism of them, but she 
was repelled somehow by such rhetoric, and she liked far 
better the dour silence of old Mr. Verrinder. He looked 
a bishop who had got into a layman s evening dress by mis 
take. He was something very impressive and influential in 
the government, nobody knew just what. 

Marie Louise liked still better than Verrinder s silence 


the distracted muttering and stammering of a young English 
aviator, the Marquess of Strathdene, who was recuperating 
from wounds and was going up in the air rapidly on the 
Webling champagne. He was maltreating his bread and 
throwing in champagne with an apparent eagerness for the 
inevitable result. Before he grew quite too thick to be 
understood, he groaned to himself, but loudly enough to 
be heard the whole length and breadth of the table: "I 
remember readin about old Greek witch name Circe 
changed human beings into shape of swine. I wonder 
who turned those German swine into the shape of human 

Marie Louise noted that Lady Webling was shocked by 
the vulgarity, no doubt. "Swine" do not belong in dining- 
room language only in the platters or the chairs. Marie 
Louise caught an angry look also in the eye of Nicholas Easton, 
though he, too, had been incisive in his comments on the theme 
of the dinner. His English had been uncannily correct, 
his phrases formal with the exactitude of a book on syntax 
or the dialogue of a gentleman in a novel. But he also was 
drinking too much, and as his lips fuddled he had trouble 
with a very formal "without which." It resulted first as 
"veetowit veech," then as "whidthout witch." He made it 
on the third trial. 

Marie Louise, turning her eyes his way in wonder, encoun 
tered two other glances moving in the same direction. Lady 
Webling looked anxious, alarmed. Mr. Verrinder s gaze was 
merely studious. Marie Louise felt an odd impression that 
Lady Webling was sending a kind of heliographic warning, 
while the look of Mr. Verrinder was like a search-light that 
studies and registers, then moves away. 

Marie Louise disliked Easton more and more, but Lady 
Webling kept recommending him with her solicitous manner 
toward him. She made several efforts, too, to shift the 
conversation from the Lusitania; but it swung always back. 
Much bewilderment was expressed because the ship was 
not protected by a convoy. Many wondered why she was 
where she was when she was struck, and how she came to take 
that course at all. 

Lady Clifton- Wyatt, who had several friends on board and 
was uncertain of their fate, was unusually fierce in blaming 


the government. She always blamed it for everything, when 
it was Liberal. And now she said: 

"It was nothing short of murder to have left the poor ship 
to steal in by herself without protection. Whatever was the 
Admiralty thinking of? If the Cabinet doesn t fall for this, 
we might as well give up." 

The Liberals present acknowledged her notorious preju 
dices with a sigh of resignation. But the Marquess of 
Strathdene rolled a foggy eye and a foggy tongue in 

"Darlling llady, there must have been war-ships waitin 
to convoy the Lusitania; but she didn t come to rendezvous 
because why? Because some filthy Zherman gave her a 
false wireless and led her into a trap." 

This amazing theory with its drunken inspiration of plausi 
bility startled the whole throng. It set eyeballs rolling in 
all directions like a break in a game of pool. Everybody stared 
at Strathdene, then at somebody else. Marie Louise s racing 
gaze noted that Mr. Verrinder s eyes went slowly about again, 
studying everybody except Strathdene. 

Lady Clifton- Wyatt s eyes as they ran simply expressed a 
disgust that she put into words with her usual frankness : 

"Don t be more idiotic than necess ry, my dear boy; there 
are secret codes, you know." 

" S-secret codes I know? Secret codes the Germans know 
that s what you mean, sweetheart. I don t know one little 
secret, but Huns Do you know how many thousand 
Germans there are loose in England do you?" 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt shook her head impatiently. "I 
haven t the faintest notion. Far more than I wish, I m 

"I hope so, unless you wish fifty thousand. And God 
knows how many more. And I m not alluthing to Germans in 
disguise, naturalized Germans quinine pills with a little coat 
ing. I m not referring to you, of course, Sir Joseph. Greates 
respect for you. Ever body has. You have done all you 
could to overcome the fatal error of your parents. You re a 
splen id gen l man. Your xception proves rule. Even Ger 
mans can t all be perf ly rotten." 

"Thank you, Marquess, thank you," said Sir Joseph, with 
a natural embarrassment. 


Marie Louise noted the slight difference between the 
English "Thank you" and Sir Joseph s "Thang gyou." 

Then Lady Webling s eyes went around the table, catching 
up the women s eyes and forms, and she led them in a troop 
from the embarrassing scene. She brought the embarrass 
ment with her to the drawing-room, where the women sat 
about smoking miserably and waiting for the men to come 
forth and take them home. 


"THERE must have been embarrassment enough left to 

1 go round the dining-table, too, for in an unusually brief 

while the men flocked into the drawing-room. And they 

began to plead engagements in offices or homes or Parliament. 

It was not yet ten o clock when the last of the guests had 
gone, except Nicholas Easton. And Sir Joseph took him into 
his own study. Easton walked a trifle too solemnly straight, 
as if he had set himself an imaginary chalk-line to follow. 
He jostled against the door, and as he closed it, swung with 
it uncertainly. 

Lady Webling asked almost at once, with a nod of the 
head in the direction of the study door : 

"Well, my dear child, what do you think of Nicky?" 

"Oh, I don t know. He s nice, but 

"We re very fond of him, Sir Joseph and I and we do hope 
you will be." 

Marie Louise wondered if they were going to select a hus 
band for her. It was a dreadful situation, because there was 
no compulsion except the compulsion of obligation. They 
never gave her a chance to do anything for them; they were 
always doing things for her. What an ingrate she would 
be to rebuff their first real desire! And yet to marry a man 
she felt such antipathy for surely there could be some less 
hateful way of obliging her benefactors. She felt like a cast 
away on a desert, and there was something of the wilderness 
in the immensity of the drawing-room with its crowds of 
untenanted divans and of empty chairs drawn into groups 
as the departed guests had left them. 

Lady Webling stood close to Marie Louise and pressed 
for an answer. 

"You don t really dislike Nicky, do you?" 

"N-o-o. I ve not known him long enough to dislike him 
very well." 


She tried to soften the rebuff with a laugh, but Lady 
Webling sighed profoundly and smothered her disappointment 
in a fond "Good night." She smothered the great child, too, 
in a hugely buxom embrace. When Marie emerged she was 
suddenly reminded that she had not yet spoken to Lady 
Webling of Fraulein Ernst s attack on the children s souls. 
She spoke now. 

"There s one thing, mamma, I ve been wanting to tell you 
all evening. Please don t let it distress you, but really I m 
afraid you ll have to get rid of Fraulein." 

Lady Webling s voluminous yawn was stricken midway 
into a gasp. Marie Louise told her the story of the diabolical 
prayer. Lady Webling took the blow without reeling. She 
expressed shock, but again expressed it too perfectly. 

She promised to "reprimand the foolish old soul." 

"To reprimand her!" Marie Louise cried. "You won t 
send her away?" 

"Send her away where, my child? Where should we send 
the poor thing? But I ll speak to her very sharply. It was 
outrageous of her. What if the children should say such 
things before other people? It would be frightful! Thank 
you for telling me, my dear. And now I m for bed! And 
you should be. You look quite worn out. Coming up?" 

Lady Webling laughed and glanced at the study door, 
implying and rejoicing in the implication that Marie Louise 
was lingering for a last word with Easton. 

Really she was trying to avoid climbing the long stairs 
with Lady Webling s arm about her. For the first time in her 
life she distrusted the perfection of the old soul s motives. 
She felt like a Judas when Lady Webling offered her cheek 
for another good-night kiss. Then she pretended to read 
a book while she listened for Lady Webling s last puff as 
she made the top step. 

At once she poised for flight. But the study door opened 
and Easton came out. He was bending down to murmur 
into Sir Joseph s downcast countenance. Easton was saying, 
with a tremulous emotion, "This is the beginning of the end 
of England s control of the sea." 

Marie Louise almost felt that there was a quiver of eager 
ness rather than of dread in his tone, or that the dread was the 
awe of a horrible hope. 


Sir Joseph was brooding and shaking his head. He seemed 
to start as he saw Marie Louise. But he smiled on her 
dotingly and said: 

"You are not gone to bed yet?" 

She shook her head and sorrowed over him with a sudden 
rush of gratitude to his defense. She did not reward Easton s 
smile with any favor, though he widened his eyes in admiration. 

Sir Joseph said: "Good night, Nicky. It is long before 
I see you some more." 

Nicholas nodded. "But I shall see Miss Marie Louise 
quite soon now." 

This puzzled Marie Louise. She pondered it while Nicky 
bent and kissed her hand, heaved a guttural, gluttonous 
"Ah!" and went his way. 

It was nearly a week later before she had a clue to the 
riddle. Then Sir Joseph came home to luncheon unexpectedly. 
He had an envelop with him, sealed with great red buttons 
of wax. He asked Marie Louise into his office and said, with 
an almost stealthy importance: 

"My darling, I have a little favor to ask of you. Some 
times, you see, when I am having a big dealing on the Stock 
Exchange I do not like that everybody knows my business. 
Too many people wish to know all I do, so they can be doing 
the same. What everybody knows helps nobody. It is 
my wish to get this envelop to a man without somebody 
finding out something. Understand?" 

"Yes, papa!" Marie Louise answered with the utmost 
confidence that what he did was good and wise and straight. 
She experienced a qualm when Sir Joseph explained that 
Nicky was the man. She wondered why he did not come to 
the house. Then she rebuked herself for presuming to 
question Sir Joseph s motives. He had never been anything 
but good to her, and he had been so whole-heartedly good 
that for her to give thought-room to a suspicion of him 
was heinous. 

He had business secrets and stratagems of tremendous 
financial moment. She had known him to work up great 
drives on the market and to use all sorts of people to prepare 
his attacks. She did not understand big business methods. 
She regarded them all with childlike bewilderment. When, 
then, Sir Joseph asked her to meet Nicky, as if casually, in 


Regent s Park, and convey the envelop from her hand to 
Nicky s without any one s witnessing the transfer, she felt 
the elation of a child intrusted with an important errand. 
So she walked all the way to Regent s Park with the long 
strides of a young woman out for a constitutional. She 
found a bench where she was told to, and sat down to bask 
in the spring air, and wait. 

By and by Easton sauntered along, lifted his hat to Marie 
Louise, and made a great show of surprise. She rose and gave 
him her hand. She had taken the precaution to wear gloves 
also she had the envelop in her hand. She left it in 
Nicky s. He smuggled it into his coat pocket, and murmuring, 
"So sorry I can t stop," lifted his hat and hurried off. 

Marie Louise sat down again and after a time resumed her 

Sir Joseph was full of thanks when she saw him at night. 

Some days later he asked Marie Louise to meet Nicky 
outside a Bond Street shop. She was to have a small parcel 
and drop it. Nicky would stoop and pick it up and hand her 
in its stead another of similar wrapper. She was to thank 
him and come home. 

Another day Marie Louise received from Sir Joseph a letter 
and a request to take the children with her for a long walk, 
ending at the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens. The 
children carried their private navies with them and squatted 
at the brim of the huge basin, poking their reluctant yachts to 
sea. The boy Victor perfected a wonderful scheme for using 
a long stick as a submarine. He thrust his arm under water 
and from a distance knocked his sister s sailboat about till 
its canvas was afloat and it filled and sank. All the while he 
wore the most distant of expressions, but canny little Bettina 
soon realized who had caused this catastrophe and how, and 
she went for Victor of the U-stick with finger-nails and feet 
and nearly rounded him into the toy ocean. It evidentlv 
made a difference whose ship was gored. 

Marie Louise darted forward to save Victor from a ducking as 
well as a trouncing, and nearly ran over a man who was passing. 

It was Ross Davidge, whiling away an hour between ap 
pointments. He thought he recognized Marie Louise, but 
he was not sure. Women in the morning look so unlike their 
evening selves. He dared not speak. 


Davidge lingered around trying to get up the courage to 
speak, but Marie Louise was too distraught with the feud 
even to see him when she looked at him. She would not have 
known him, anyway. 

Davidge was confirmed in his guess at her identity by the 
appearance of the man he had seen at her side at the dinner. 
But the confirmation was Davidge s exile, for the fellow lifted 
his hat with a look of great surprise and said to Marie Louise, 
"Fancy finding you heah!" 

"Blah!" said Davidge to himself, and went on about his 

Marie Louise did not pretend surprise at seeing Easton, but 
went on scolding Victor and Bettina. 

"If any of these other boys catch you playing submarine 
they ll submarine you!" 

And she brought the proud Bettina to book with a, "You 
were so glad the Lusitania was sunk, you see now how it 

She felt the puerile incongruity of the rebuke, but it suf 
ficed to send Bettina into a cyclone of grief. She was already 
one of those who are infinitely indifferent to the sufferings of 
others and infinitesimally sensitive to their own. 

When Nicky heard the story he gave Marie Louise a curious 
look of disapproval and took Bettina into his lap. She was 
also already one of those ladies who find a man s lap an ex 
cellent consolation. He got rid of her adroitly and when 
she and Victor were once more. engaged in navigation Nicky 
took up the business he had come for. 

"May I stop a moment?" he said, and sat down. 

"I have a letter for you," said Marie Louise. 

His roving eyes showed him that the coast was clear, and 
he slipped a letter into her hand-bag which she opened, and 
from it he took the letter she cautiously disclosed. He 
chatted awhile and moved away. 

This sort of meeting took place several times in several 
places. When the crowds were too great or a bobby loitered 
about, Nicky would murmur to Marie Louise that she had 
better start home. He would take her arm familiarly and 
the transfer of the parcel would be deftly achieved. 

This messenger service went on for several weeks. Sir 
Joseph apologized for the trouble he gave Marie Louise. He 


seemed to be sincerely unhappy about it, and his little eyes 
in their fat, watery bags peered at her with a tender regret 
and an ulterior regret as well. 

He explained a dozen times that he sent her because it was 
such an important business and he had no one else to trust. 
And Marie Louise, for all her anxiety, was sadly glad of his 
confidence, regarded it as sacred, and would not violate it so 
much as to make the least effort to learn what messages she 
was carrying. Nothing, of course, would have been easier 
than to pry open one of these envelops. Sometimes the 
lapel was hardly sealed. But she would as soon have peeked 
into a bathroom. 

Late in June the Weblings left town and settled in the great 
country seat Sir Joseph had bought from a bankrupt American 
who had bought it from nobility gone back to humility. 
Here life was life. There were forests and surreptitious 
pheasants, deer that would almost but never quite come to 
call, unseen nightingales that sang from lofty nave and 
transept like cherubim all wings and voice. 

The house was usually full of guests, but they were careful 
not to intrude upon their hosts nor their hosts upon them. 
The life was like life at a big hotel. There was always a 
little gambling to be had, tennis, golf, or music, or a quiet 
chat, gardens to stroll and sniff or grub in, horses to ride, 
motors at beck and call, solitude or company. 

Lady Clifton- Wyatt came down for a week-end and struck 
up a great friendship with the majestic Mrs. Prothero from 
Washington, D. C., so grand a lady that even Lady C.-W. 
was a bit in awe of her, so gracious a personage that even 
Lady C.-W. could not pick a quarrel with her. 

Mrs. Prothero gathered Marie Louise under her wing and 
urged her to visit her when she came to America. But Polly 
Widdicombe had already pledged Marie Louise to make 
her home her own on that side of the sea. Polly came down, 
too, and had "the time of her young life" in doing a bit of 
the women s war work that became the beautiful fashion 
of the time. The justification of it was that it released men 
for the trenches, but Polly insisted that it was shamefully 
good sport. 

She and Marie Louise went about in breeches and shirts 
and worked like hostlers around the stables and in the pad- 


docks, breaking colts and mucking out stalls. They donned 
the blouses and boots of peasants, and worked in the fields 
with rake and hoe and harrow. They even tried the plow, 
but they followed it too literally, and the scallopy furrows 
they drew across the fields made the yokels laugh or grieve, 
according to their natures. 

The photographers were alive to the piquancy of these 
revelations, and portraits of Marie Louise in knickers and 
puttees, and armed with agricultural weapons, appeared in 
the pages of all the weeklies along with other aristocrats and 
commoners. Some of these even reached America. 

There was just one flaw for Rosalind in this "As You 
Like It" life and that was the persistence of the secret as 
sociation with Nicky. It was the strangest of clandestine 

Marie Louise had always liked to get out alone in a saddle 
or behind the wheel of a runabout, and Sir Joseph, when he 
came up from town, fell into the habit of asking her once 
in a while to take another little note to Nicky. 

She found him in out-of-the-way places. He would step 
from a clump of bushes by the road and hail her car, or she 
would overtake him and offer him a lift to his inn, or she 
would take horse and gallop across country and find him 
awaiting her in some lonely avenue or in the twist of a ravine. 

He was usually so preoccupied and furtive that he made no 
proffer of courtship; but once when he seemed peculiarly 
triumphant he rode so close to her that their knees grided 
and their spurs clashed, and he tried to clip her in his arms. 
She gathered her horse and let him go, and he plunged ahead 
so abruptly that the clinging Nicky dragged Marie Louise 
from her saddle backward. He tried to swing her to the 
pommel of his own, but she fought herself free and came to 
the ground and was almost trampled. She was so rumpled 
and so furious, and he so frightened, that he left her and 
spurred after her horse, brought him back, and bothered her 
no more that day. 

"If you ever annoy me again, she said, "it ll be the 
last you ll see of me." 

She was too useful to be treated as a mere beauty, and she 
had him cowed. 

It was inevitable that Marie Louise, being silently urged 


to love Nicky, should helplessly resist the various appeals in 
his behalf. 

There is no worse enemy to love than recommendation. 
There is something froward about the passion. It hangs back 
like a fretful child, loathing what is held out for its temptation, 
longing for the forbidden, the sharp, the perilous. 

Next to being asked to love, trying to love is the gravest 
impediment. Marie Louise kept telling herself that she ought 
to marry Nicky, and herself kept refusing to obey. 

From very perversity her heart turned to other interests. 
She was desperately in love with soldiers en masse and in 
dividually. There was safety in numbers and a canceling 
rivalry between those who were going out perhaps to death 
and those who had come back from the jaws of death vari 
ously the worse for the experience. 

The blind would have been irresistible in their groping 
need of comfort, if there had not been the maimed of body 
or mind putting out their incessant pleas for a gramercy of 
love. Those whose wounds were hideous took on an uncanny 
beauty from their sacrifice. 

She busied herself about them and suffered ecstasies of 

She wanted to go to France and get near to danger, to help 
the freshly wounded, to stanch the spouting arteries, to lend 
courage to the souls dismayed by the first horror of the 
understanding that thenceforth they must go through life 

But whenever she made application she met some vague 
rebuff. Her appeals were passed on and on and the blame 
for their failure was referred always to some remote personage 
impossible to reach. 

Eventually it dawned on her that there was actually an 
official intention to keep her out of France. This stupefied 
her for a time. One day it came over her that she was 
herself suspect. This seemed ridiculous beyond words in 
in view of her abhorrence of the German cause in large and in 
detail. Ransacking her soul for an explanation, she ran upon 
the idea that it was because of her association with the 

She was ashamed to have given such a thought passage 
through her mind. But it came back as often as she drove 


it out and then the thought began to hover about her that 
perhaps the suspicion was not so insane as she believed. 
The public is generally unreasonable, but its intuitions, like 
a woman s, are the resultants of such complex instincts that 
they are above analysis. 

But the note-carrying went on, and she could not escape 
from the suspicion or its shadow of disgrace. Like a hateful 
buzzard it was always somewhere in her sky. 

Once the suspicion had domiciled itself in her world, it was 
incessantly confirmed by the minutiae of e very-day existence. 
The interchange of messages with Nicky Easton grew unex- 
plainable on any other ground. The theory of secret financial 
dealings looked ludicrous; or if the dealings were financial, 
they must be some of the trading with the enemy that was 
so much discussed in the papers. 

She felt that she had been conniving in one of the spy-plots 
that all the Empire was talking about. She grew afraid 
to the last degree of fear. She saw herself on the scaffold. 
She resolved to carry no more messages. 

But the next request of Sir Joseph s found her complying 
automatically. It had come to be her habit to do what 
he asked her to do, and to take pride in the service as 
a small instalment on her infinite debt. And every time 
her resentment rose to an overboiling point, Sir Joseph 
or Lady Webling would show her some exquisite kindness 
or do some great public service that won commendation 
from on high. 

One day when she was keyed up to protest Lady Webling 
discharged Fraulein Ernst for her pro-Germanism and en 
gaged an English nurse. Another day Lady Webling asked 
her to go on a visit to a hospital. There she lavished tender 
ness on the British wounded and ignored the German. How 
could Marie Louise suspect her of being anti-British? An 
other time when Marie Louise was almost ready to rebel 
she saw Sir Joseph s name heading a war subscription, and 
that night he made, at a public meeting, a speech denouncing 
Germany in terms of vitriol. 

Alter all, Marie Louise was not English. And America was 
still neutral. The President had wrung from Germany a 
promise of better behavior, and in a sneaking way the promise 
was kept, with many a violation quickly apologized for. 



Still, England wrestled for her life. There seemed to be 
hardly room in the papers for the mere names of the dead 
and the wounded, and those still more pitiable ones, the 

Marie Louise lost many a friend, and all of her friends lost 
and lost. She wore herself out in suffering for others, in visit 
ing the sick, the forlorn, the anxious, the newly bereaved. 

The strain on Marie Louise s heart was the more exhausting 
because she had a craven feeling all the while that perhaps she 
was being used somehow as a tool for the destruction of Eng 
lish plans and men. She tried to get the courage to open 
one of those messages, but she was afraid that she might find 
confirmation. She made up her mind again and again to 
put the question point-blank to Sir Joseph, but her tongue 
faltered. If he were guilty, he would deny it; if he were 
innocent, the accusation would break his heart. She hated 
Nicky too much to ask him. He would lie in any case. 

She was nagged incessantly by a gadfly of conscience that 
buzzed in her ears the counsel to tell the police. Sometimes 
on her way to a tryst with Easton a spirit in her feet led her 
toward a police station, but another spirit carried her past, 
for she would visualize the sure consequences of such an 
exposure. If her suspicions were false, she would be exposed 
as a combination of dastard and dolt. If they were true, 
she would be sending Sir Joseph and Lady Webling perhaps 
to the gallows. 

To betray those who had been so angelic to her was simply 

Irresolution and meditation made her a very Hamlet of 
postponement and inaction. Hamlet had only a ghost for 
counselor, and a mother to be the first victim of his rashness. 
No wonder he hesitated. And Marie Louise had only hyster 
ical suspicion to account for her thoughts; and the victims 
of her first step would be the only father and mother she 
had ever really known. America itself was another Hamlet 
of debate and indecision, weighing evidences, pondering 
theories, deferring the sword, hoping that Germany would 
throw away the baser half. And all the while time slid away, 
lives slid away, nations fell. 

In the autumn the town house was opened again. There 
was much thinly veiled indignation in the papers and in the 



circulation of gossip because of Sir Joseph s prominence in 
English life. The Germans were so relentless and so various 
in their outrages upon even the cruel usages of combat that 
the sound of a German name grew almost unbearable. People 
were calling for Sir Joseph s arrest. Others scoffed at the 
cruelty and cowardice of such hysteria. 

A once-loved prince of German blood had been frozen 
out of the navy, and the internment camps were growing 
like boom towns. Yet other Germans somehow were granted 
an almost untrammeled freedom, and thousands who had 
avoided evil activity were tolerated throughout the war. 

Sir Joseph kept retorting to suspicion with subscription. 
He took enormous quantities of the government loans. His 
contributions to the Red Cross and the multitudinous charities 
were more like endowments than gifts. How could Marie 
Louise be vile enough to suspect him? 

Yet in spite of herself she resolved at last to refuse further 
messenger service. Then she learned that Nicky had left 
England and gone to America on most important financial 
business of a most confidential nature. 

Marie Louise was too glad of her release to ask questions. 
She rejoiced that she had not insulted her foster-parents 
with mutiny, and she drudged at whatever war work the 
committees found for her. They found nothing very pict 
uresque, but the more toilsome her labor was the more it 
served for absolution of any evil she might have done. 

And now that the dilemma of loyalty was taken from 
her soul, her body surrendered weakly. She had time to fall 
ill. It was enough that she got her feet wet. Her conva 
lescence was slow even in the high hills of Matlock. 

The winter had passed, and the summer of 1916 had come 
before Marie Louise was herself. The Weblings had moved 
out to the country again; the flowers were back in the gardens; 
the deer and the birds were in their summer garb and mood. 
But now the house guests were all wounded soldiers and 
nurses. Sir Joseph had turned over his estate for a war 

Lady Webling went among her visitors like a queen making 
her rounds. Sir Joseph squandered money on his distinguished 
company. Marie Louise joined them and took what comfort 
she could in such diminution of pain and such contributions 


of war power as were permitted her. Those were the only 
legitimate happinesses in the world. 

The tennis-courts were peopled now with players glad of 
one arm or one eye or even a demodeled face. On the golf- 
links crutched men hobbled. The horses in the stables bore 
only partial riders. The card-parties were squared by players 
using hands made by hand.^ The music-room resounded 
with five-finger improvisations and with vocalists who had 
little but their voices left. They howled, "Keep your head 
down, Fritzie boy," or, "We gave them hell at Neuve Chapelle, 
and here we are and here we are again," or moaned love-songs 
with a sardonic irony. 

And the guests at tea ! And the guests who could not come 
to tea! 

Young Hawdon was there. "Well, Marie Louise," he had 
said, "I m back from France, but not in toto. Fact is, I m 
neither here nor there. Quite a sketchy party you have. 
But we ll charge it all to Germany, and some day we ll collect. 
Some day! Some day!" And he burst into song. 

The wonder was that there was so much bravery. At times 
there was hilarity, but it was always close to tears. 

The Weblings went back to London early and took Marie 
Louise with them. She wanted to stay with the poor soldiers, 
but Sir Joseph said that there was just as much for her to 
do in town. There was no lack of poor soldiers anywhere. 
Besides, he needed her, he said. This set her heart to plung 
ing with the old fear. But he was querulous and irascible now 
adays, and Lady Webling begged her not to excite him, for 
she was afraid of a paralysis. He had the look of a Damocles 
living under the sword. 

The news from America was more encouraging to England 
and to the Americans in England. German spies were being 
arrested with amazing frequence. Ambassadors were flounder 
ing in hot water and setting up a large traffic in return- 
tickets. Even the trunks of certain "Americans" were 
searched men and women who were amazed to learn that 
curious German documents had got mixed up in their own 
effects. Some most peculiar checks and receipts turned up. 

It was shortly after a cloudy account of one of these trunk- 
raids had been published in the London papers that Sir 
Joseph had his first stroke of paralysis. 


Sir Joseph was in pitiful case. His devotion to Marie 
Louise was heartbreaking. Her sympathy had not been ex 
hausted, but schooled rather by its prolonged exercise, and 
she gave the forlorn old wretch a love and a tenderness that 
had been wrought to a fine art without losing any of its 
spontaneous reality. 

At first he could move only a bit of the great bulk, sprawled 
like a snowdrift under the sheet. He was helpless as a shat 
tered soldier, but slowly he won back his faculties and his 
members. The doors that were shut between his brain and 
his powers opened one by one, and he became a man again. 

The first thing he wrote with his rediscovered right hand 
was his signature to a document his lawyer brought him after 
a consultation. It was a transfer of twenty thousand pounds 
in British war bonds, "for services rendered and other valuable 
considerations," to his dear daughter Marie Louise Webling. 

When the warrant was handed to her with the bundle of 
securities, Marie Louise was puzzled, then shocked as the old 
man explained with his still uncertain lips. When she under 
stood, she rejected the gift with horror. Sir Joseph pleaded 
with her in a thick speech that had relapsed to an earlier 

"I am theenkink how close I been by dyink. Du bist 
zhoo are in my vwill, of coorse, but a man says, I vwill, and 
some heirs says, You vwon t yet! Better I should make 
sure of somethink." 

"But I don t want money, papa not like this. And I 
won t have you speak of wills and such odious things." 

"You have been like our own daughter only more obeyink 
as poor Hedwig. You should not make me sick by to 

She could only quiet him by accepting the wealth and 
bringing him the receipt for its deposit in a safe of her own. 

When he was once more able to hoist his massive body to 
its feet and to walk to his own door, he said: 

"Mein my Gott! Look at the calendar once. It is nine 
teen seventeen already." 

He ceased to be that simple, primitive thing, a sick man; 
he became again the financier. She heard of him anew on 
war-industry boards. She saw his name on lists of big 


He began to talk anew of Nicky, and he spoke with unusual 
anxiety of U-boats. He hoped that they would have a bad 
week. There was no questioning his sincerity in this. 

And one evening he came home in a womanish flurry. He 
pinched the ear of Marie Louise and whispered to her: 

"Nicky is here in England safe after the sea voyage. 
Be a nize girl, and you shall see him soon now." 


next morning Marie Louise, waking, found her win- 
dows opaque with fog. The gardens she usually looked 
over, glistening green all winter through, were gone, and in 
their place was a vast bale of sooty cotton packed so tight 
against the glass that her eyes could not pierce to the sill. 

Marie Louise went down to breakfast in a room like a smoky 
tunnel where the lights burned sickly. She was in a murky 
and suffocating humor, but Sir Joseph was strangely content 
for the hour and the air. He ate with the zest of a boy on a 
holi-morn, and beckoned her into his study, where he con 
fided to her great news: 

"Nicky telephoned me. He brings wonderful news out of 
America. Big business he has done. He cannot come yet by 
our house, ior even servants must not see him here. So you 
shall go and meet him. You take your own little car, and go 
most careful till you find Hyde Park gate. Inside you stop 
and get out to see if something is matter with the engine. 
A man is there Nicky. He steps in the car. You get in 
and drive slowly so slowly. Give him this letter put in 
bosom of dress not to lose. He tells you maybe something, 
and he gives you envelop. Then he gets out, and you come 
home but carefully. Don t let one of those buses run 
you over in the fog. I should not risk you if not most 

Marie Louise pleaded illness, and fear of never finding the 
place. But Sir Joseph stared at her with such wonder and 
pain that she yielded hastily, took the envelop, folded it 
small, thrust it into her chest pocket and went out to the 
garage, where she could hardly bully the chauffeur into letting 
her take her own car. He put all the curtains on, and she 
pushed forth into obfuscation like a one-man submarine. 
There was something of the effect of moving along the floor 


of the sea. The air was translucent, a little like water-depths, 
but everything was blur. 

Luck was with her. She neither ran over nor was run over. 
But she was so tardy in finding the gate, and Nicky was so 
damp, so chilled, and so uneasy with the apparitions and the 
voices that had haunted him in the fog that he said nothing 
more cordial than: 

"At last! So you come!" 

He climbed in, shivering with cold or fear. And she ran 
the car a little farther into the nebulous depths. She gave 
him the letter from Sir Joseph and took from him another. 

Nicky did not care to tarry. 

"I should get back to my house with this devil s cold I ve 
caught," he said. "Do you still have no sun in this be- 
damned England?" 

The "you" struck Marie Louise as odd coming from a pro 
fessed Englishman, even if he did lay the blame for his accent 
on years spent in German banking-houses. 

"How did you find the United States?" Marie Louise asked, 
with a sudden qualm of homesickness. 

"Those United States! Ha! United about what? Money!" 

"I think you can get along better afoot," said Marie Louise, 
as she made a turn and slipped through the pillars of the gate. 

"Au refoir!" said Nicky, and he dived out, slamming the 
door back of him. 

That night there was one of Sir Joseph s dinners. But 
almost nobody came, except Lieutenant Hawdon and old 
Mr. Verrinder. Sir Joseph and Lady Webling seemed more 
frightened than insulted by the last-moment regrets of the 
guests. Was it an omen? 

It was not many days before Sir Joseph asked Marie Louise 
to carry another envelop to Nicky. She went out alone, 
shuddering in the wet and edged air. She found the bench 
agreed on, and sat waiting, craven and mutinous. Nicky 
did not come, but another man passed her, looked searchingly, 
turned and came back to murmur under his lifted hat: 

"Miss Webling?" 

She gave him her stingiest "Yis." 

"Mr. Easton asked me to meet you in his place, and 

"He is not coming?" 


"He can t. He is ill. A bad cold only. He has a letter 
for you. Have you one for him?" 

Marie Louise liked this man even less than she would have 
liked Nicky himself. She was alarmed, and showed it. The 
stranger said: 

"I am Mr. von Groner, a frient of of Nicky s." 

Marie Louise vibrated between shame and terror. But 
von Groner s credentials were good; it was surely Nicky s 
hand that had penned the lines on the envelop. She took it 
reluctantly and gave him the letter she carried. 

She hastened home. Sir Joseph was in a sad flurry, but he 
accepted the testimony of Nicky s autograph. 

The next day Marie Louise must go on another errand. 
This time her envelop bore the name of Nicky and the added 
line, "Kindness of Mr. von Groner" 

Von Groner tried to question Marie Louise, but her wits 
were in an absolute maelstrom of terror. She was afraid of 
him, afraid that he represented Nicky, afraid that he did not, 
afraid that he was a real German, afraid that he was a pre 
tended spy, or an English secret-service man. She was afraid 
of Sir Joseph and his wife, afraid to oSey them or disobey 
them, to love them or hate them, betray them or be betrayed. 
She had lost all sense of direction, of impetus, of desire. 

She saw that Sir Joseph and Lady Webling were in a state 
of panic, too. They smiled at her with a wan pity and fear. 
She caught them whispering often. She saw them cling to 
gether with a devotion that would have been a burlesque in a 
picture seen by strangers. It would have been almost as 
grotesque as a view of a hippopotamus and his mate cowering 
hugely together and nuzzling each other under the menace 
of a lightning-storm. 

Marie Louise came upon them once comparing the envelop 
she had just brought with other letters of Nicky s. Sir 
Joseph slipped them into a book, then took one of them out 
cautiously and showed it to Marie Louise. 

"Does that look really like the writink from Nicky?" 

"Yes," she said, then, "No," then, "Of course," then, 
"I don t know." 

Lady Webling said, "Sit down once, my child, and tell me 
just how this man von Groner does, acts, speaks." 

She told them. They quizzed her. She was afraid that 


they would take her into their confidence, but they exchanged 
querying looks and signaled caution. 

Sir Joseph said: "Strange how long Nicky stays sick, and 
his memory little things he mixes up. I wonder is he dead 
yet. Who knows?" 

"Dead?" Marie Louise cried. "Dead, and sends you 

"Yes, but such a funny letter this last one is. I think I 
write him once more and ask him is he dead or crazy, maybe. 
Anyway, I think I don t feel so very good now mamma and 
I take maybe a little journey. You come along with, yes?" 

A rush of desperate gratitude to the only real people in 
her world led her to say: 

"Whatever you want me to do is what I want to do or 
wherever to go." 

Lady Webling drew her to her breast, and Sir Joseph held 
her hand in one of his and patted it with the flabby other, 

"Yes, but what is it we want you to do?" 

From his eyes came a scurry of tears that ran in panic 
among the folds of his cheeks. He shook them off and smiled, 
nodding and still patting her hand as he said: 

"Better I write one letter more for Mr. von Groner. I esk 
him to come himself after dark to-night now." 

Marie Louise waited in her room, watching the sunlight 
die out of the west. She felt somehow as if she were a prisoner 
in the Tower, a princess waiting for the morrow s little visit 
to the scaffold. Or did the English shoot women, as Edith 
Cavell had been shot? 

There was a knock at the door, but it was not the turnkey. 
It was the butler to murmur, "Dinner, please." She went 
down and joined mamma and papa at the table. There were 
no guests except Terror and Suspense, and both of them wore 
smiling masks and made no visible sign of their presence. 

After dinner Marie Louise had her car brought round to the 
door. There was nothing surprising about that. Women 
had given up the ancient pretense that their respectability 
was something that must be policed by a male relative or 
squire except in broad daylight. Neither vice nor malaria 
was believed any longer to come from exposure to the night air ; 
nor was virtue regarded like a sum of money that must not be 


risked by being carried about alone after dark. It had been 
easy enough to lose under the old regime. 

So Marie Louise launched out in her car much as a son of 
the family might have done. She drove to a little square too 
dingily middle class to require a policeman. She sounded her 
horn three squawks and swung open the door, and a man 
waiting under an appointed tree stepped from its shadow 
and into the shadow of the car before it stopped. She dropped 
into high speed and whisked out of the square. 

"You have for me a message," said Mr. von Groner. 

"Yes. Sir Joseph wants to see you." 


"Yes at the house. We ll go tnere at once if you please." 

"Certainly. Delighted. But Nicky I ought to telephone 
him I shall be gone." 

"Nicky is well enough to telephone?" 

"Not to come to the telephone, but there is a servant. If 
you will please stop somewhere. I shall be a moment only." 

Marie Louise felt that she ought not to stop, but she could 
hardly kidnap the man. So she drew up at a shop and von 
Groner left her, her heart shaking her with a faint tremor 
like that of the engine of her car. 

Von Groner returned promptly, but he said: "I think we 
should not go too straight to your father s house. Might 
be we are followed. We can tell soon. Go in the park, please, 
and suddenly stop, turn round, and I look at what cars follow." 

She let him command her. She was letting everybody 
command her; she had no destination, no North Star in her 
life. Von Groner kept her dodging about Regent s Park till 
she grew angry. 

"This seems rather silly, doesn t it? I am going home. 
Sir Joseph has worries enough without " 

"Ah, he has worries?" 

She did not answer. The eagerness in his voice did not 
please her. He kept up a rain of questions, too, but she 
answered them all by referring him to Sir Joseph. 

At last they reached the house. As they got out, two men 
closed in on the car and peered into their faces. Von Groner 
snapped at them, and they fell back. 

Marie Louise had taken along her latchkey. She opened 
the door herself and led von Groner to Sir Joseph s room. 


As she lifted her hand to knock she heard Lady Webling 
weeping frantically, crying out something incoherent. Marie 
Louise fell back and motioned von Groner away, but he pushed 
the door open and, taking her by the elbow, thrust her 

Lady Webling stopped short with a wail. Sir Joseph, 
who had been trying to quiet her by patting her hand, paused 
with his palm uplifted. 

Before Marie Louise could speak she saw that the old 
couple was not alone. By the mantel stood Mr. Verrinder. 
By the door, almost touching Marie Louise, was a tall, grim 
person she had not seen. He closed the door behind von 
Groner and Marie Louise. 

Mr. Verrinder said, "Be good enough to sit down." To 
von Groner he said, "How are you, Bickford?" 


SIR JOSEPH was staring at the new-comer, and his 
German nativity told him what Marie Louise had not 
been sure of, that von Groner was no German. When 
Verrinder gave him an English name it shook Marie Louise 
with a new dismay. Sir Joseph turned from the man to 
Marie Louise and demanded: 

" Marie Louise, you ditt not theenk this man is a Cherman?" 

This one more shame crushed Marie Louise. She dropped 
into a chair, appealing feebly to the man she had retrieved : 

"Your name is not von Groner?" 

Bickford grinned. "Well, in a manner of speakin . You 
might say it s my pen-name. Not that I ve ever been in the 
pen except with Nicky." 

" Nicky is in the He s not ill?" 

"Well, he s a bit sick. He was a bit seasick to start with, 
and when we gave him the collar well, he doesn t like his 

"But his letters " Marie Louise pleaded, her fears racing 
ahead of her questions. 

"I was always a hand at forgery, but I thought best to 
turn it to the aid of me country. I m proud if you liked me 
work. The last ones were not up to the mark. I was hur 
ried, and Nicky was ugly. He refused to answer any more 
questions. I had to do it all on me own. Ahfterwards I 
found I had made a few mistakes." 

When Marie Louise realized that this man had been calmly 
taking the letters addressed to Nicky and answering them in 
his feigned script to elicit further information from Sir Joseph 
and enmesh him further, she dropped her hands at her sides, 
feeling not only convicted of crime, but of imbecility as well. 

Sir Joseph and Lady Webling spread their hands and drew 
up their shoulders in surrender and gave up hope of bluff. 


Verrinder wanted to be merciful and avoid any more 

"You see it s all up, Sir Joseph, don t you?" he said. 

Sir Joseph drew himself again as high as he could, though 
the burden of his flesh kept pulling him down. He did not 

"Come now, Sir Joseph, be a sport." 

"The Englishman s releechion," sneered Sir Joseph, "to be 
ein Sportmann." 

"Oh, I know you cant understand it," said Verrinder. 
"It seems to be untranslatable into German just as we can t 
seem to understand Germanity except that it is the antonym 
of humanity. You fellows have no boyhood literature, I am 
told, no Henty or Hughes or Scott to fill you with ideas of 
fair play. You have no games to teach you. One really can t 
blame you for being such rotters, any more than one can 
blame a Kaffir for not understanding cricket. 

"But sport aside, use your intelligence, old man. I ve 
laid my cards on the table enough of them, at least. We ve 
trumped every trick, and we ve all the trumps outstanding. 
You have a few high cards up your sleeve. Why not toss them 
on the table and throw yourselves on the mercy of his 

The presence of Marie Louise drove the old couple to a last 
battle for her faith. Lady Webling stormed, "All what you 
accuse us is lies, lies!" 

Verrinder grew stern: 

"Lies, you say? We have you, and your daughter also 
Nicky. We have well, I ll not annoy you with their names. 
Over in the States they have a lot more of you fellows. 

"You and Sir Joseph have lived in this country for years 
and years. You have grown fat I mean to say rich 
upon our bounty. We have loved and trusted you. His 
Majesty has given you both marks of his most gracious favor." 

"We paid well for that," sneered Lady Webling. 

"Yes, I fancy you did but with English pounds and 
pence that you gained with the help of British wits and British 
freedom. You have contributed to charities, yes, and hand 
somely, too, but not entirely without the sweet usages of 
advertisement. You have not hidden that part of your book 
keeping from the public. 


"But the rest of your books you don t show those. We 
know a ghastly lot about them, and it is not pretty, my dear 
lady. I had hoped you would not force us to publish those 
transactions. You have plotted the destruction of the British 
Empire; you have conspired to destroy ships in dock and at 
sea ; you have sent God knows how many lads to their death 
and women and children, too. You have helped to blow up 
munitions-plants, and on your white heads is the blood of 
many and many a poor wretch torn to pieces at his lathe. 
You have made widows of women and orphans of children 
who never heard of you, nor you of them. Nor have you 
cared or dared to inquire. 

"Sir Joseph has been perfecting a great scheme to buy 
up what munitions-plants he could in this country in order 
to commit sabotage and slow up the production of the am 
munition our troops are crying for. He has plotted with 
others to send defective shells that will rip up the guns they 
do not fit, and powders that will explode too soon or not at 
all. God! to think that the lives of our brave men and the 
life of our Empire should be threatened by such people as you ! 

"And in the American field Sir Joseph has connived with a 
syndicate to purchase factories, to stop production at the 
source, since your U-boats and your red-handed diplomatic 
spies cannot stop it otherwise. Your agents have corrupted 
a few of the Yankees, and killed others, and would have 
killed more if the name of your people had not become such a 
horror even in that land where millions of Germans live that 
every proffer is suspect. 

"You see, we know you, Lady Webling and Sir Joseph. 
We have watched you all the while from the very first, and 
we know that you are not innocent even of complicity in the 
supreme infamy of luring the Lusitania to her death." 

He was quivering with the rush of his emotions over the 
broken dam of habitual reticence. 

Lady Webling and Sir Joseph had quivered, too, less under 
the impact of his denunciation than in the confusion of their 
own exposure to themselves and to Marie Louise. 

They had watched her eyes as she heard Mr. Verrinder s 
philippic. They had seen her pass from incredulity to belief. 
They had seen her glance at them and glance away in fear 
of them. 


This broke them utterly, for she was utterly dear to them. 
She was dearer than their own flesh and blood. She had re 
placed their dead. She had been born to them without pain, 
without infancy, born full grown in the prime of youth and 
beauty. They had watched her love grow to a passion, and 
their own had grown with it. 

What would she do now? She was the judge they feared 
above England. They awaited her sentence. 

Her eyes wandered to them and searched them through. 
At first, under the spell of Verrinder s denunciation, she saw 
them as two bloated fiends, their hands dripping blood, their 
lips framed to lies, their brains to cunning and that synonym 
for Germanism, ruthlessness the word the Germans chose, 
as their Kaiser chose Huns for an ideal. 

But she looked again. She saw the pleading in their eyes. 
Their very uncomeliness besought her mercy. After all, 
she had seen none of the things Verrinder described. The 
only real things to her, the only things she knew of her 
own knowledge, were the goodnesses of these two. They 
were her parents. And now for the first time they needed 
her. The mortgage their generosity had imposed on her 
had fallen due. 

How could she at the first unsupported obloquy of a stranger 
turn against them? Her first loyalty was due to them, and 
no other loyalty was under test. Something swept her to her 
feet. She ran to them and, as far as she could, gathered them 
into her arms. They wept like two children whom reproaches 
have hardened into defiance, but whom kindness has melted. 

Verrinder watched the spectacle with some surprise and 
not altogether with scorn. Whatever else Miss Webling was, 
she was a good sport. She stuck to her team in defeat. 

He said, not quite harshly, "So, Miss Webling, you cast 
your lot with them." 

"I do." 

"Do you believe that what I said was true? 


"Really, you should be careful. Those messages you car 
ried incriminate you." 

"I suppose they do, though I never knew what was in 
them. No, I ll take that back. I m not trying to crawl out 
of it." 


"Then since you confess so much, I shall have to ask you 
to come with them." \ 

"To the the Tower of London?" 

"The car is ready." 

Marie Louise was stabbed with fright. She seized the 
doomed twain in a faster embrace. 

"What are you going to do with these poor souls?" 

"Their souls my dear Miss Webling, are outside our 

"With their poor bodies, then?" 

"I am not a judge or a jury, Miss Webling. Everything 
will be done with propriety. They will not be torpedoed in 
midocean without warning. They will have the full advan 
tage of the British law to the last." 

That awful word jarred them all. But Sir Joseph was de 
termined to make a good end. He drew himself up with 
another effort. 

"Excuse, pleass, Mr. Verrinder might it be we should 
take with us a few little things?" 

"Of course." 

" Thang gyou." He bowed and turned to go, taking his wife 
and Marie Louise by the arm, for mutual support. 

"If you don t mind, I ll come along," said Mr. Verrinder. 

Sir Joseph nodded. The three went heavily up the grandiose 
stairway as if a gibbet waited at the top. They went into 
Sir Joseph s room, which adjoined that of his wife. Mr. 
Verrinder paused on the sill somewhat shyly: 

"This is a most unpleasant task, but 

Marie Louise hesitated, smiling gruesomely. 

"My room is across the hall. You can hardly be in both 
places at once, can you?" 

"I fancy I can trust you especially as the house is sur 
rounded. If you don t mind joining us later." 

Marie Louise went to her room. Her maid was there in a 
palsy of fear. The servants had not dared apply themselves 
to the keyholes, but they knew that the master was visited 
by the police and that a cordon was drawn about the house. 

The aspen girl offered her help to Marie Louise, wondering 

if she would compromise herself with the law, but incapable 

of deserting so good a mistress even at such a crisis. Marie 

Louise thanked her and told her to go to bed, compelled her 



to leave. Then she set about the dreary task of selecting a 
few necessaries a nightgown, an extra day gown, some linen, 
some silver, and a few brushes. She felt as if she were laying 
out her own grave-clothes, and that she would need little and 
not need that little long. 

She threw a good-by look, a long, sweeping, caressing glance, 
about her castle, and went across the hall, lugging her hand 
bag. Before she entered Sir Joseph s room she knocked. 

It was Mr. Verrinder that answered, "Come in." 

He was seated in a chair, dejected and making himself as 
inoffensive as possible. Lady Webling had packed her own 
bag and was helping the helpless Sir Joseph find the things 
he was looking for in vain, though they were right before him. 
Marie Louise saw evidences that a larger packing had already 
been done. Verrinder had surprised them, about to flee. 

Sir Joseph was ready at last. He was closing his bag when 
he took a last glance, and said: 

"My toot -brush and powder." 

He went to his bathroom cabinet, and there he saw in the 
little apothecary-shop a bottle of tablets prescribed for him 
during his illness. It was conspicuously labeled "Poison." 

He stood staring at the bottle so long in such fascination 
that Lady Webling came to the door to say: 

"Vat is it you could not find now, papa?" 

She leaned against the edge of the casement, and he pointed 
to the bottle. Their eyes met, and in one long look they 
passed through a brief Gethsemane. No words were ex 
changed. She nodded. He took the bottle from the shelf 
stealthily, unscrewed the top, poured out a heap of tablets 
and gave them to her, then poured another heap into his fat 

Prosit!" he said, and they flung the venom into their 
throats. It was brackish merely from the coating, but they 
could not swallow all the pellets. He filled a glass of water 
at the faucet and handed it to his wife. She quaffed enough 
to get the pellets down her resisting throat, and handed the 
glass to him. 

They remained staring at each other, trying to crowd into 
their eyes an infinity of strange passionate messages, though 
their features were all awry with nausea and the premonition 
of lethal pains. 


Verrinder began to wonder at their delay. He was about 
to rise. Marie Louise went to the door anxiously. Sir 
Joseph mumbled: 

"Look once, my darlink. I find some bong-bongs. Vould 
you like, yes?" 

With a childish canniness he held the bottle so that she 
could see the skull and cross-bones and the word beneath. 

Marie Louise, not realizing that they had already set out 
on the adventure, gave a stifled cry and snatched at the bottle. 
It fell to the floor with a crash, and the tablets leaped here 
and there like tiny white beetles. Some of them ran out into 
the room and caught Verrinder s eye. 

Before he could reach the door Sir Joseph had said, trium 
phantly, to Marie Louise: 

"Mamma and I did eat already. Too bad you do not come 
vit. Ade, Tochterchen. Lebewohl!" 

He was reaching his awkward arms out to clasp her when 
Verrinder burst into the homely scene of their tragedy. He 
caught up the broken bottle and saw the word "Poison." 
Beneath were the directions, but no word of description, no 
mention of the antidote. 

"What is this stuff?" Verrinder demanded, in a frenzy of 
dread and wrath and self-reproach. 

"I don t know," Marie Louise stammered. 

Verrinder repeated his demand of Sir Joseph. 

"Weiss nit" he mumbled, beginning to stagger as the 
serpent struck its fangs into his vitals. 

Verrinder ran out into the hall and shouted down the stairs : 

"Bickford, telephone for a doctor, in God s name the 
nearest one. Send out to the nearest chemist and fetch him 
on the run with every antidote he has. Send somebody 
down to the kitchen for warm water, mustard, coffee." 

There was a panic below, but Marie Louise knew nothing 
except the swirling tempest of her own horror. Sir Joseph 
and Lady Webling, blind with torment, wrung and wrenched 
with spasms of destruction, groped for each other s hands 
and felt their way through clouds of fire to a resting-place. 

Marie Louise could give them no help, but a little guidance 
toward the bed. They fell upon it and after a hideous while 
they died. 


THE physician arrived too late physicians were hard to 
get for civilians. While he was being hunted down and 
brought in, Verrinder fought an unknown poison with what 
antidotes he could improvise, and saw that they merely added 
annoyance to agony. 

His own failure had been unnerving. He had pursued this 
eminent couple for months, trying in vain to confirm suspicion 
by proof and strengthen assurance with evidence, and always 
delaying the blow in the hope of gathering in still more of 
Germany s agents. At last he had thrown the slowly woven 
net about the Weblings and revealed them to themselves as 
prisoners of his cunning. Then their souls slipped out 
through the meshes, leaving their useless empty bodies in his 
care, their bodies and the soul and body of the young woman 
who was involved in their guilt. 

Verrinder did not relish the story the papers would make of 
it. So he and the physician devised a statement for the 
press to the effect that the Weblings died of something 
they had eaten. The stomach of Europe was all deranged, 
and Sir Joseph had been famous for his dinners; there was a 
kind of ironic logic in his epitaph. 

Verrinder left the physician to fabricate and promulgate 
the story and keep him out of it. Then he addressed himself 
to the remaining prisoner, Miss Marie Louise Webling. 

He had no desire to display this minnow as his captive 
after the whales had got away, but he hoped to find her useful 
in solving some of the questions the Weblings had left un 
answered when they bolted into eternity. Besides, he had 
no intention of letting Marie Louise escape to warn the other 
conspirators and to continue her nefarious activities. 

His first difficulty was not one of frightening Miss Webling 
into submission, but of soothing her into coherence. She 
had loved the old couple with a filial passion, and the sight 


of their last throes had driven her into a frenzy of grief. 
She needed the doctor s care before Verrinder could talk to 
her at all. The answers he elicited from her hysteria were full 
of contradiction, of evident ignorance, of inaccuracy, of folly. 
But so he had found all human testimony; for these three 
things are impossible to mankind : to see the truth, to remem 
ber it, and to tell it. 

When first Marie Louise came out of the avalanche of her 
woes, it was she who began the questioning. She went up and 
down the room disheveled, tear-smirched, wringing her hands 
and beating her breast till it hurt Verrinder to watch her 
brutality to that tender flesh. 

"What what does it mean?" she sobbed. "What have 
you done to my poor papa and mamma? Why did you come 

"Surely you must know." 

What do I know ? Only that they were good sweet people . 

"Good sweet spies!" 

"Spies! Those poor old darlings?" 

"Oh, I say really, now, you surely can t have the face, 
the insolence, to " 

"I haven t any insolence. I haven t anything but a broken 

"How many hearts were broken how many hearts were 
stopped, do you suppose, because of your work?" 

"My what?" 

"I refer to the lives that you destroyed." 

"I I destroyed lives? Which one of us is going mad?" 

"Oh, come, now, you knew what you were doing. You 
were glad and proud for every poor fellow you killed." 

"It s you, then, that are mad." She stared at him in 
utter fear. She made a dash for the door. He prevented 
her. She fell back and looked to the window. He took 
her by the arm and twisted her into a chair. He had seen 
hysteria quelled by severity. He stood over her and spoke 
with all the sternness of his stern soul. 

"You will gain nothing by trying to make a fool of me. 
You carried messages for those people. The last messages 
you took you delivered to one of our agents." 

Her soul refused her even self-defense. She could only 
stammer the fact, hardly believing it as she put it forth: 


"I didn t know what was in the letters. I never knew." 

Verrinder was disgusted by such puerile defense: 

"What did you think was in them, then?" 

"I had no idea. Papa Sir Joseph didn t take me into 
his confidence." 

"But you knew that they were secret." 

"He told me that they were-^-that they were business 
messages secret financial transactions." 

"Transactions in British lives oh, they were that! And 
you knew it." 

I did not know it ! I did not know it ! I did not know it !" 

She realized too late that the strength of the retort suf 
fered by its repetition. It became nonsense on the third 
iterance. She grew afraid even to defend herself. 

Seeing how frightened she was at bay, Mr. Verrinder fore- 
bore to drive her to distraction. 

"Very well, you did not know what the messages contained. 
But why did you consent to such sneaking methods? Why 
did you let them use you for such evident deceit?" 

"I was glad to be of use to them. They had been so 
good to me for so long. I was used to doing as I was told. 
I suppose it was gratitude." 

It was then that Mr. Verrinder delivered himself of his 
bitter opinion of gratitude, which has usually been so well 
spoken of and so rarely berated for excess. 

"Gratitude is one of the evils of the world. I fancy that 
few other emotions have done more harm. In moderation it 
has its uses, but in excess it becomes vicious. It is a form 
of voluntary servitude; it absolutely destroys all respect for 
public law; it is the foundation of tyrannies; it is the secret 
of political corruption; it is the thing that holds dynasties 
together, family despotism; it is soul-mortgage, bribery. It 
is a monster of what the Americans call graft. It is chloro 
form to the conscience, to patriotism, to every sense of public 
duty. Scratch my back, and I am your slave that s 

Mr. Verrinder rarely spoke at such length or with such 

Marie Louise was a little more dazed than ever to hear 
gratitude denounced. She was losing all her bearings. Next 
he demanded: 


"But admitting that you were duped by your gratitude, 
how did it happen that your curiosity never led you to inquire 
into the nature of those messages?" 

"I respected Sir Joseph beyond all people. I supposed 
that what he did was right. I never knew it not to be. 
And then well, if I did wonder a little once in a while, I 
thought I d better mind my own business." 

Verrinder had his opinion of this, too. "Minding your 
own business! That s another of those poisonous virtues. 
Minding your own business leads to pacifism, malevolent 
neutrality, selfishness of every sort. It s death to charity 
and public spirit. Suppose the Good Samaritan had minded 
his own business ! But Well, this is getting us no forwarder 
with you. You carried those messages, and never felt even 
a woman s curiosity about them! You met Nicky Easton 
often, and never noted his German accent, never suspected 
that he was not the Englishman he pretended to be. Is that 

He saw by the wild look in her eyes and their escape from 
his own that he had scored a hit. He did not insist upon 
her acknowledging it. 

And your only motive was gratitude?" 
Yes, sir." 

You never asked any pay for it?" 

No, sir." 

You never received anything for it?" 

No, sir." 

We find the record of a transfer to you of securities for 
some twenty thousand pounds. Why was that given you?" 

"It it was just out of generosity. Sir Joseph said he was 
afraid I might be that his will might be broken, and " 

"Ah! you discussed his will with him, then?" 

She was horrified at his implication. She cried, "Oh, I 
begged him not to, but he insisted." 

"He said there were other heirs and they might contest his 
will. Did he mention the heirs?" 

"No, sir. I don t think so. I don t remember that he 

"He did not by any chance refer to the other grandparents 
of the two children? Mf. and Mrs. Oakby, the father and 
mother of the father of Victor and Bettina?" 


"He didn t refer to them, I m sure. Yes, I am quite sure." 

"Did he say that his money would be left in trust for his 


"And he gave you twenty thousand pounds just out of 

"Yes. Yes, Mr. Verrinder." 

"It was a fairish amount of money for messenger fees, 
wasn t it? And it came to you while you were carrying those 
letters to Nicky?" 

"No! Sir Joseph had been ill. He had had a stroke of 

"And you were afraid he might have another?" 


"You were not afraid of that?" 

"Yes, of course I was, but What are you trying to 
make me say that I went to him and demanded the money?" 

"That idea occurs to you, does it?" 

She writhed with disgust at the suggestion. Yet it had a 
clammy plausibility. Mr. Verrinder went on: 

"These messages, you say, concerned a financial trans 

"So papa told me." 

"And you believed him?" 


"You never doubted him?" 

All the tortures of doubt that had assailed her recurred 
to her now and paralyzed her power to utter the ringing 
denial that was needed. He went on: 

"Didn t it strike you as odd that Sir Joseph should be 
willing to pay you twenty thousand pounds just to carry 
messages concerning some mythical business?" 

She did not answer. She was afraid to commit herself to 
anything. Every answer was a trap. Verrinder went on: 
"Twenty thousand pounds is a ten-per-centum commission 
on two hundred thousand pounds. That was rather a 
largish transaction to be carried on through secret letters, 
eh? Nicky Easton was not a millionaire, was he? Now 
I ask you, should you think of him as a Rothschild? Or 
was he, do you think, acting as agent for some one else, per 
haps, and if so, for whom?" 


She answered none of these. They were based on the 
assumption that she had put forward herself. She could 
find nothing to excuse her. Verrinder was simply playing 
tag with her. As soon as he touched her he ran away and 
came at her from another direction. 

"Of course, we know that you were only the adopted 
daughter of Sir Joseph. But where did you first meet him?" 

"In Berlin." 

The sound of that word startled her. That German name 
stood for all the evils of the time. It was the inaccessible 
throne of hell. 

Verrinder was startled by it, too. 

"In Berlin!" he exclaimed, and nodded his head. "Now 
we are getting somewhere. Would you mind telling me the 
circumstances ? 

She blushed a furious scarlet. 

"I I d rather not." 

"I must insist." 

"Please send me to the Tower and have me imprisoned for 
life. I d rather be there than here. Or better yet have 
me shot. It would make me happier than anything you could 

"I m afraid that your happiness is not the main object 
of the moment. Will you be so good as to tell me how you 
met Sir Joseph in in Berlin." 

Marie Louise drew a deep breath. The past that she had 
tried to smother under a new life must be confessed at such 
a time of all times! 

"Well, you know that Sir Joseph had a daughter; the 
two children up-stairs are hers, and and what s to become 
of them, in Heaven s name?" 

"One problem at a time, if you don t mind. Sir Joseph 
had a daughter. That would be Mrs. Oakby." 

"Yes. Her husband died before her second baby was 
born, and she died soon after. And Sir Joseph and Lady 
Webling mourned for her bitterly, and well, a year or 
so later they were traveling on the Continent in Germany, 
they were, and one night they went to the Winter Garten 
in Berlin the big music-hall, you know. Well, they were 
sitting far back, and an American team of musicians came on 
the Musical Mokes, we were called." 



She bent her head in shame. "I was one of them. I 
played a xylophone and a saxophone and an accordion all 
sorts of things. Well, Lady Webling gave a little gasp 
when she saw me, and she looked at Sir Joseph so she told 
me afterward and then they got up and stole way up front 
just as I left the stage to make a quick change, you know. 
I came back in tights, playing a big trombone, prancing 
round and making an awful noise. Lady Webling gave a 
little scream; nobody heard her because I made a loud blat 
on the trombone in the ear of the black-face clown, and he 
gave a shriek and did a funny fall, and " 

"But, pardon me why did Lady Webling scream?" 

"Because I looked like her dead daughter. It was so 
horrible to see her child come out of the grave in in tights, 
blatting a trombone at a clown in that big variety theater." 

"I can quite understand. And then " 

"Well, Sir Joseph came round to the stage door and sent 
in his card. The man who brought it grinned and told 
everybody an old man was smitten on me; and Ben, the black 
face man, said, I ll break his face, but I said I wouldn t 
see him. 

"Well, when I was dressed and leaving the theater with 
the black-face man, you know, Sir Joseph was outside. He 
stopped me and said: My child! My child! and the tears 
ran down his face. I stopped, of course, and said, What s 
the matter now? And he said, Would you come with 
me? and I said, Not in a thousand years, old Creepo Christ 
mas! And he said: My poor wife is in the carriage at the 
curb. She wants to speak to you. And then of course 
I had to go, and she reached out and dragged me in and wept 
all over me. I thought they were both crazy, but finally 
they explained, and they asked me to go to their hotel with 
them. So I told Ben to be on his way, and I went. 

"Well, they asked me a lot of questions, and I told them 
a little not everything, but enough, Heaven knows. And 
they begged me to be their daughter. I thought it would 
be pretty stupid, but they said they couldn t stand the 
thought of their child s image going about as I was, and 
I wasn t so stuck on the job myself odd, how the old lan 
guage comes back, isn t it? I haven t heard any of it for 


so long I d almost forgotten it." She passed her hand 
kerchief across her lips as if to rub away a bad taste. It 
left the taste of tears. She sighed: "Well, they adopted 
me, and I learned to love them. And and that s all." 

"And you learned to love their native country, too, I 

"At first I did like Germany pretty well. They were crazy 
about us in Berlin. I got my first big money and notices 
and attention there. You can imagine it went to my head. 
But then I came to England and tried to be as English as I 
could, so as not to be conspicuous. I never wanted to be 
conspicuous off the stage or on it, for that matter. I even 
took lessons from the man who had the sign up, you remember, 
Americans taught to speak English! I always had a gift 
for foreign languages, and I got to thinking in English, too." 

"One moment, please. Did you say Americans taught? 


"You re not American?" 

"Why, of course!" 

"Damned stupid of me!" 

Verrinder frowned. This complicated matters. He had 
cornered her, only to have her abscond into neutral territory. 
He had known that Marie Louise was an adopted child, but 
had not suspected her Americanism. This required a bit of 
thinking. While he studied it in the back room of his brain 
his forehead self was saying: 

"So Sir Joseph befriended you, and that was what won your 
amazing, unquestioning gratitude?" 

That and a thousand thousand little kindnesses. I loved 
them like mother and father." 

"But your own er mother and father you must have 
had parents of your own what was their nationality?" 

"Oh, they were, as we say, Americans from way back. 
But my father left my mother soon after I was born. We 
weren t much good, I guess. It was when I was a baby. He 
was very restless, they say. I suppose I got my runaway 
nature from him. But I ve outgrown that. Anyway, he left 
my mother with three children. My little brother died. My 
mother was a seamstress in a little town out West an awful 
hole it was. I was a tiny little girl when they took me to 


my mother s funeral. I remember that, but I can t remember 
her. That was my first death. And now this! I ve lost a 
mother and father twice. That hasn t happened to many 
people. So you must forgive me for being so crazy. So 
many of my loved are dead. It s frightful. We lose so 
many as we grow up. Life is like walking through a graveyard, 
with the sextons always busy opening new places. There 
was so much crying and loneliness before, and now this war 
goes on and on as if we needed a war!" 

"God knows, we don t." 

Marie Louise went to the window and raised the curtain. 
A haggard gray light had been piping the edges of the 
shade. Now the full casement let in a flood of warm 
morning radiance. 

The dull street was alive again. Sparrows were hopping. 
Wagons were on the move. Small and early tradesfolk were 
about their business. Servants were opening houses as shops 
were being opened in town. 

The big wheel had rolled London round into the eternal 
day. Doors and windows were being flung ajar. News 
papers and milk were taken in, ashes put out, cats and dogs 
released, front stoops washed, walks swept, gardens watered. 
Brooms were pendulating. In the masters rooms it was still 
night and slumber-time, but humble people were alert. 

The morning after a death is a fearful thing. Those 
papers on the steps across the way were doubtless loaded with 
more tragedies from the front, and among the cruel facts 
was the lie that concealed the truth about the Weblings, 
who were to read no more morning papers, eat no more 
breakfasts, set out on no more journeys. 

Grief came to Marie Louise now with a less brackish taste. 
Her sorrow had the pity of the sunlight on it. She wept not 
now for the terror and hatefulness of the Weblings fate, 
but for the beautiful things that would bless them no more, 
for the roses that would glow unseen, the flowers that would 
climb old walls and lean out unheeded, asking to be admired 
and proffering fragrance in payment of praise. The Weblings 
were henceforth immune to the pleasant rumble of wagons 
in streets, to the cheery good mornings of passers-by, the 
savor of coffee in the air, the luscious colors of fruits piled 
upon silver dishes. 


Then she heard a scamper of bare feet, the squeals of mis 
chief-making children escaping from a pursuing nurse. 

It had been a favorite pastime of Victor and Bettina to 
break in upon Marie Louise of mornings when she forgot to 
lock her door. They loved to steal in barefoot and pounce 
on her with yelps of savage delight and massacre her, pull 
her hair and dance upon her bed and on her as she pleaded 
for mercy. 

She heard them coming now, and she could not reach the 
door before it opened and disclosed the grinning, tousle-curled 
cherubs in their sleeping-suits. 

They darted in, only to fall back in amazement. Marie 
Louise was not in bed. The bed had not been slept in. 
Marie Louise was all dressed, and she had been crying. 
And in a chair sat a strange, formidable old gentleman who 
looked tired and forlorn. 

"Auntie!" they gasped. 

She dropped to her knees, and they ran to her for refuge from 
the strange man. 

She hugged them so hard that they cried, "Don t!" 

Without in the least understanding what it was all about, 
they heard her saying to the man: 

"And now what s to become of these poor lambs?" 

The old stranger passed a slow gray hand across his dismal 
face and pondered. 

The children pointed, then remembered that it is impolite 
to point, and drew back their little index hands and whispered: 

"Auntie, what you up so early for?" and, "Who is that?" 

And she whispered, "S-h-h!" 

Being denied the answer to this charade, they took up a 
new interest. 

"I wonder is grandpapa up, too, and all dressed," said 

"And maybe grandmamma," Bettina shrilled. 

"I ll beat you to their room," said Victor. 

Marie Louise seized them by their hinder garments as they 

"You must not bother them." 

"Why not?" said Victor. 

"Will so!" said Bettina, pawing to be free. 

Marie Louise implored: "Please, please! They ve gone." 



She cast her eyes up at that terrible query, and answered 
it vaguely. 


"They might have told a fellow good-by," Victor brooded. 

"They they forgot, perhaps." 

" I don t think that was very nice of them," Bettina pouted. 

Victor was more cheerful. "Perhaps they did; perhaps 
they kissed us while we was asleep were asleep." 

Bettina accepted with delight. 

"Seems to me I member somebody kissin me. Yes, I 
member now." 

Victor was skeptical. " Maybe you only had -a dream about 

"What else is there?" said Mr. Verrinder, rising and patting 
Victor on the shoulder. "You d better run along to your 
tubs now." 

They recognized the authority in his voice and obeyed. 

The children took their beauty with them, but left their 
destiny to be arranged by higher powers, the gods of Eld. 

"What is to become of them," Louise groaned again, "when 
I go to prison?" 

Verrinder was calm. "Sir Joseph s will doubtless left the 
bulk of his fortune to them. That will provide for their 
finances. And they have two grandparents left. The Oakbys 
will surely be glad to take the children in, especially as they 
will come with such fortunes." 

"You mean that I am to have no more to do with them?" 

"I think it would be best to remove them to a more strictly 
English influence." 

This hurt her horribly. She grew impatient for the finishing 

"And now that they are disposed of, have you decided 
what s to become of me?" 

"It is not for me to decide. By the by, have you any one 
to represent you or intercede for you here, or act as your 
counsel in England?" 

She shook her head. "A good many people have been 
very nice to me, of course. I ve noticed, though, that even 
they grew cold and distant of late. I d rather die than ask 
any of them." 


"But have you no relatives living no one of importance 
in the States who could vouch for you?" 

She shook her head with a doleful humility. 

"None of our family were ever important that I ever heard 
of, though of course one never knows what relatives are 
lurking about. Mine will never claim me; that s certain. 
I did have a sister poor thing! if she s alive. We didn t 
get along very well. I was too wild and restless as a girl. 
She was very good, hard-working, simple, homely as sin or 
homely as virtue. I was all for adventure. I ve had my fill of 
it. But once you begin it, you can t stop when you ve had 
enough. If she s not dead, she s probably married and living 
under another name Heaven knows what name or where. 
But I could find her, perhaps. I d love to go to her. She 
was a very good girl. She s probably married a good man 
and has brought up her children piously, and never mentioned 
me. I d only bring disgrace on her. She d disown me if I 
came home with this cloud of scandal about me." 

"No one shall know of this scandal unless you tell." 

She laughed harshly, with a patronizing superiority. 

"Really, Mr. Verrinder, did you ever know a secret to be 

"This one will be." 

She laughed again at him, then at herself. 

He rose wearily. " I think I shall have to be getting along. 
I haven t had a bath or a shave to-day. I shall ask you to keep 
to your room and deny yourself to all visitors. I won t ask 
you to promise not to escape. If the guard around the house 
is not capable of detaining you, you re welcome to your 
freedom, though I warn you that England is as hard to get 
out of as to get into nowadays. Whatever you do, for your 
own sake, at least, keep this whole matter secret and stick to 
the story we agreed on. Good morning!" 

He bowed himself out. No rattling of chains marked his 
closing of the door, but if he had been a turnkey in Newgate 
he could not have left Marie Louise feeling more a prisoner. 
Her room was her body s jail, but her soul was in a dungeon, 

As Verrinder went down the hall he scattered a covey of 
whispering servants. 

The nurse who had waited to seize the children when they 


came forth had left them to dress themselves while she hastened 
to publish in the servants dining-room the appalling fact 
that she had caught sight of a man in Miss Marie Louise s 
room. The other servants had many other even more 
astounding things to tell to wit: that after mysterious 
excitements about the house, with strange men going and 
coming, and the kitchen torn to pieces for mustard and warm 
milk and warm water and strong coffee, and other things, 
Sir Joseph and Lady Webling were no more, and the whole 
household staff was out of a job. Strange police-like persons 
were in the house, going through all the papers in Sir Joseph s 
room. The servants could hardly wait to get out with the 

And Mr. Verrinder had said that this secret would be kept ! 


SOMEWHERE along about this time, though there is no 
record of the exact date and it was in a shabby home 
in a humble town where dates made little difference a homely 
woman sniffed. 

Her name was Mrs. Nuddle. 

What Mrs. Nuddle was sniffing at was a page of fashion 
cartoons, curious human hieroglyphs that women can read and 
run to buy. Highly improbable garments were sketched on 
utterly impossible figures female eels who could crawl 
through their own garters, eels of strange mottlings, with 
heads like cranberries, feet like thorns, and no spines at all. 

Mrs. Nuddle was as opposite in every way as could be. 
She could not have crawled through her own washtub if she 
had knocked the bottom out of it. She was a caricature made 
by nature and long, hard work, and she laughed at the carica 
tures devised by art in a hurry. 

She was about to cast the paper aside as a final rebuke 
when she caught sight of portraits of real people of fashion. 
They did not look nearly so fashionable as the cartoons, but 
they were at least possible. Some of them were said to be 
prominent in charity; most of them were prominent out of 
their corsages. 

Now Mrs. Nuddle sniffed at character, not at caricature. 
Leaning against her washtub and wringer, both as graceful 
as their engineer, she indulged herself in the pitiful but un 
failing solace of the poor and the ugly, which is to attribute 
to the rich dishonesty and to the beautiful wickedness. 

The surf Mrs. Nuddle had raised in the little private sea 
of her tub had died down, and a froth of soap dried on the 
rawhide of her big forearms as her heifer eyes roamed the 
newspaper-gallery of portraits. One sudsy hand supported 
and suppressed her smile of ridicule. These women, belles 
and swells, were all as glossy as if they had been ironed. 


Mrs. Muddle sneered: "If the hussies would do an honest 
day s work it would be better for their riggers." She was 
mercifully oblivious of the fact that her tub-callisthenics had 
made her no more exquisite than a cow in a kimono. 

Mrs. Nuddle scorned the lily-fingered tulip-fleshed beauties. 
Their sentimental alarms had nothing in common with her 
problem, which was the riddle of a husband who was faithful 
only to the bottle, who was indifferent to the children he got 
so easily, and was poetical only in that he never worked save 
when the mood was on him. 

Again Mrs. Nuddle made to cast aside the paper that had 
come into her home wrapped round a bundle of laundry. 
But now she was startled, and she would have startled anybody 
who might have been watching her, for she stared hard at a 
photographed beauty and gasped: 


She in her disordered garb, unkempt, uncorseted, and 
uncommonly common, greeted with the word "Sister!" the 
photograph of a very young, very beautiful, very gracile 
creature, in a mannish costume that emphasized her femininity, 
in a foreign garden, in a braw hat with curls cascading from 
under it, with a throat lilying out of a flaring collar, with 
hands pocketed in a smart jacket, and below that a pair of 
most fashionable legs in riding-breeches and puttees! She 
carried not a parasol nor a riding-crop, but a great reaping- 
hook swung across her shoulder, and she smiled as impudently, 
as immortally, as if she were Youth and had slain old Time 
and carried off his scythe. 

The picture did not reply to Mrs. Nuddle s cry, but Mrs. 
Muddle s eldest daughter, a precocious little adventuress of 
eleven or so, who was generally called "Sister," turned from 
the young brother whose smutty face she was just smacking 
and snapped: 

"Aw, whatcha want?" 

Little Sister supposed that her irritating mother was going 
to tell her to stop doing something, or to start doing some 
thing either of which behests she always hated and only 
obeyed because her mother was bigger than she was. She 
turned and saw her mother swaying and clutching at the air. 
Sister had a gorgeous hope that mother would fall into the 
tub and be interesting for once. But mother was a born 


disappointer. She shook off the promising swoon, righted 
herself, and began fiercely to scan the paper to find out whose 
name the picture bore. The caption was torn off. 

Being absolutely sure who it was, she wanted to find out 
who it really was. 

In her frantic curiosity she remembered that her husband 
had stripped off a corner of the paper, dipped it in the stove, 
lighted his pipe with it, thrown it flaming on the floor, spat it 
out with practised accuracy, and trodden it as he went away. 
Mrs. Nuddle ran to pick it up. 

On the charred remnant she read: 

The Beautiful Miss 

One of London s reigning beaut 

daughter of Sir Joseph W 

doing farm work on the estate in 

Mrs. Nuddle sniffed no more. She flopped to a backless 
chair and squatted in a curious burlesque of Rodin s statue of 
"The Thinker." One heavy hand pinched her dewlap. Her hair 
was damp with steam and raining about her face. Her old waist 
was half buttoned, and no one would have regretted if it had 
been all buttoned. She was as plebeian as an ash-can and as 
full of old embers. 

* She was still immobilized when her husband came in. Now 
he gasped. His wife was loafing ! sitting down ! in the middle 
of the day ! Thinking was loafing with her. He was supposed 
to do the family thinking. It was doubly necessary that she 
should work now, because he was on a strike. He had been to 
a meeting of other thinkers ground and lofty thinkers who 
believed that they had discovered the true evil of the world 
and its remedy. 

The evil was the possession of money by those who had 
accumulated it. The remedy was to take it away from them. 
Then the poor would be rich, which was right, and the rich 
would be poor, which was lighter still. 

It was well known that the only way to end the bad habit of 
work was to quit working. And the way to insure universal 
prosperity was to burn down the factories and warehouses, 
destroy all machinery and beggar the beasts who invented, 
invested, built, and hired and tried to get rich by getting riches. 


This program would take some little time to perfect, and 
meanwhile Jake was willing that his wife should work. Indeed, 
a sharp fear almost unmanned him what if she should fall 
sick and have to loaf in the horsepital ? What if she should die ? 
O Gord! Her little children would be left motherless and 
fatherless, for he would, of course, be too busy saving the world 
to save his children. He would lose, too, the prestige enjoyed 
only by those who have their money in their wife s name. So 
he spoke to her with more than his wonted gentleness : 

" Whatta hellsa matter wit choo?" 

She felt the unusual concern in his voice, and smiled at him 
as best she could: 

"I got a kind of a jolt. I seen this here pitcher, and I thought 
for a minute it was my sister." 

"Your sister? How d she get her pitcher in the paper? 
Who did she shoot?" 

He snatched the sheet from her and saw the young woman 
in the young-manly garb. 

Jake gloated over the picture: " Some looker! What is she, 
a queen in burlecue?" 

Mrs. Nuddle held out the burned sliver of paper. 

He roared. "London s ranging beaut? And you re what 
thinks she s your sister! The one that ran away? Was she 
a beaut like this?" 

Mrs. Nuddle nodded. He whistled and said, with great tact : 

"Cheese! but I have the rotten luck! Why didn t I see 
her first? Whyn t you tell me more about her? You never 
talk about her none. Why not?" No answer. "All I know 
is she went wrong and flew the coop." 

Mrs. Nuddle flared at this. "Who said she went wrong?" 

"You did!" Jake retorted with vigor. "Usedn t you to keep 
me awake praying for her hollerin at God to forgive her? 
Didn t you, or did you?" No answer. "And you think this 
is her!" The ridiculousness of the fantasy smote him. "Say, 
you must a went plumb nutty ! Bendin over that tub must 
a gave you a rush of brains to the head." 

He laughed uproariously till she wanted to kill him. She 
tried to take back what she had said: 

"Don t you set there tellin me I ever told you nothin 
mean about my pore little sister. She was as good a girl as 
ever lived, Mamise was." 


"You re changin your tune now, ain tcha? Because you 
think she looks like a grand dam in pants! And where dya 
get that Marnise stuff? What was her honestogawd name? 
Maryer? You re tryin to swell her up a little, huh?" 

"No, I ain t. She was named Marie Louise after her gran - 
maw, on y as a baby she couldn t say it right. She said Ma- 
mise. That s what she called her poor little self Mamise. 
Seems like I can see her now, settin on the floor like Sister. 
And where is she now? O Gawd! whatever become of her, 
runnin off thataway a little sixteen-year-ol chile, runnin off 
with a cheap thattical troupe, because her aunt smacked her. 

"She never had no maw and no bringin up, and she was so 
pirty. She had all the beauty of the fambly, folks all said." 

"And that ain t no lie," said Jake, with characteristic gal 
lantry. "There s nothin but monopoly everywheres in the 
world. She got all the looks and I got you. I wonder who got 

Jake sighed as he studied the paper, ransacked it noisily for 
an article about her, but, finding none, looked at the date 
and growled: 

"Aw, this paper s nearly a year old May, 1916, it says." 

This quelled his curiosity a little, and he turned to his din 
ner, flinging it into his jaws like a stoker. His wife went slip- 
slopping from stove to table, ministering to him. 

Jake Nuddle did not look so dangerous as he was. He was 
like an old tomato-can that an anarchist has filled with dyna 
mite and provided with a trigger for the destruction of who 
soever disturbs it. Explosives are useful in place. But Jake 
was of the sort that blow up regardless of the occasion. 

His dynamite was discontent. He hated everybody who 
was richer or better paid, better clothed, better spoken of than 
he was. Yet he had nothing in him of that constructive envy 
which is called emulation and leads to progress, to days of 
toil, nights of thought. His idea of equality was not to climb 
to the peak, but to drag the climbers down. Prating always 
of the sufferings of the poor, he did nothing to soothe them or 
remove them. His only contribution to the improvement of 
wages was to call a strike and get none at all. His contribu 
tion to the war against oppressive capital was to denounce all 
successful men as brutes and tyrants, lumping the benefactors 
with the malefactors. 


Men of his type made up the blood-spillers of the French 
Revolution, and the packs of the earlier Jacquerie, the thugs 
who burned chateaux and shops, and butchered women as 
well as men, growling their ominous refrain: 

" Noo sum zum cum eel zaw " ( Nous sommes hommes comme 
Us sont"). 

The Jake Nuddles are hate personified. They formed secret 
armies of enemies now inside the nation and threatened her 
success in the war. The thing that prevented their triumph 
was that their blunders were greater than their malice, their 
folly more certain than their villainy. As soon as America 
entered the lists against Germany, the Jake Nuddles would be 
gin doing their stupid best to prevent enlistment, to persuade 
desertion, to stop war - production, to wreck factories and 
trains, to ruin sawmills and burn crops. In the name of free 
dom they would betray its most earnest defenders, compel the 
battle-line to face both ways. They were more subtle than 
the snaky spies of Germany, and more venomous. 

As he wolfed his food now, Jake studied the picture of Marie 
Louise. The gentlest influence her beauty exerted upon him 
was a beastly desire. He praised her grace because it tortured 
his wife. But even fiercer than his animal impulse was his rage 
of hatred at the look of cleanliness and comeliness, the en 
vironment of luxury only emphasized by her peasant disguise. 

When he had mopped his plate with his bread, he took up 
the paper again and glared at it with hostile envy. 

"Dammer and her arristocratic ways! Daughter of a Sir 
and a Lady, eh? Just wait till we get through with them Sirs 
and Ladies. We ll mow em down. You ll see. Robbin us 
poor toilers that does all the work ! We ll put an end to their 
peerages and their deer-parks. What Germany leaves of these 
birds we ll finish up. And then we ll take this rotten United 
States, the rottenest tyranny of all. Gawdammit! You just 

His wife just waited till he had smashed the picture in the 
face, knocked the pretty lady s portrait to the floor and walked 
on it as he strode out to his revolution. Incidentally he trod 
on little Sister s hand, and she sent up a caterwaul. Her little 
brother howled in duet. Then father turned on them. 

"Aw, shut up or I ll 

He did not finish his sentence. He rarely finished anything 


except his meals. He left his children crying and his wife 
in a new distress; but then, revolutions cannot pause for 
women and children. 

When he had gone, and Sister s tears had dried on her smutty 
face, Mrs. Muddle picked up the smitten and trampled picture 
of England s reigning beauty and thought how lucky Miss 
W. was to be in England, blissful on Sir and Lady Some- 
body-or-other s estate. 


WHEN Mr. Verrinder left Marie Louise he took from 
her even the props of hostility. She had nothing to 
lean on now, nobody to fight with for life and reputation. 
She had only suspense and confusion. Agitated thoughts fol 
lowed one another in waves across her soul grief for her 
foster-father and mother, memory of their tendernesses, 
remorse for seeming to have deserted them in their last hours, 
remorse for having been the dupe of their schemes, and remorse 
for that remorse, grief at losing the lovable, troublesome chil 
dren, creature distress at giving up the creature comforts of 
the luxurious home, the revulsion of her unfettered mind and 
her restless young body at the prospect of exchanging liberty 
and occupation for the half-death of an idle cell a kind of 
coffin residence fear of being executed as a spy, and fear of 
being released to drag herself through life with the ball and 
chain of guilt forever rolling and clanking at her feet. 

Verrinder s mind was hardly more at rest when he left her 
and walked to his rooms. He carried the regret of a protector 
of England who had bungled his task and let the wards of his 
suspicion break loose. The fault was not his, but he would 
never escape the reproach. He had no taste for taking re 
venge on the young woman. It would not salve his pride to 
visit on her pretty head the thwarted punishments due Sir 
Joseph and his consort in guilt. Besides, in spite of his cyni 
cism, he had been touched by Marie Louise s sincerities. She 
proved them by the very contradictions of her testimony, with 
its history of keen intelligence alternating with curious blind 
ness. He knew how people get themselves all tangled up in 
conflicting duties, how they let evils slide along, putting off 
till to-morrow the severing of the cords and the stepping forth 
with freedom from obligation. He knew that the very best 
people, being those who are most sensitive to gratitude and 


to other people s pains, are incessantly let in for complications 
that never involve selfish or self-righteous persons. 

As an executive of the law, he knew how many laws there 
are unwritten and implied that make obedience to the law an 
experiment in caddishness and ingratitude. There were rea 
sons enough then to believe that Marie Louise had meant 
no harm and had not understood the evil in which she was so 
useful an accomplice. Even if she were guilty and her bewil 
derment feigned, her punishment would be untimely at this 
moment when the Americans who abhorred and distrusted 
Germany had just about persuaded the majority of their 
countrymen that the world would be intolerable if Germany 
triumphed, and that the only hope of defeating her tyranny lay 
in joining hands with England, France, and Italy. 

The enemies of England would be only too glad to make a 
martyr out of Miss Webling if she were disciplined by Eng 
land. She would be advertised, as a counterweight to the 
hideous mistake the Germans made in immortalizing with 
their bullets the poor little nurse, " die Cavell." 

Verrinder was not himself at all till he had bathed, shaved, 
and clothed his person in clean linen and given his inner man 
its tea and toast. Once this restoration was made, his tea 
deferred helped him to the conclusion that the one wise thing 
was to restore Marie Louise quietly to her own country. He 
went with freshened step and determined mind to a conference 
with the eminent men concerned. He made his own confession 
of failure and took more blame than he need have accepted. 
Then he told his plans for Marie Louise and made the council 
agree with him. 

Early in the afternoon he called on Miss Webling and found 
the house a flurry of undertakers, curious relatives, and 
thwarted reporters. The relatives and the reporters he satis 
fied with a few well-chosen lies. Then he sent his name up 
to Marie Louise. The butler thrust the card-tray through the 
door as if he were tossing a bit of meat to some wild animal. 

"I ll be down," said Marie Louise, and she primped herself 
like another Mary Queen of Scots receiving a call from the 
executioner. She was calmed by the hope that she would 
learn her fate, at least, and she cared little what it was, so 
long as it was not unknown. 

Verrinder did not delay to spread his cards on the table. 


" Miss Webling, I begin again with a question: If we should 
offer you freedom and silence, would you go back to America 
and tell no one of what has happened here?" 

The mere hint was like flinging a door open and letting 
the sunlight into a dungeon. The very word "America" 
was itself a rush of fresh air. The long-forgotten love of 
country came back into her heart on a cry of hope. 

"Oh, you don t mean that you might?" 

"We might. In fact, we will, if you will promise " 

She could not wait for his formal conclusion. She broke 
in: "I ll promise anything anything! Oh I don t want 
to be free just for the sake of escaping punishment ! No, no. 
I just want a chance to to expiate the evil I have done. I 
want to do some good to undo all the bad I ve brought about. 
I won t try to shift any blame. I want to confess. It will 
take this awful load off my heart to tell people what a wicked 
fool I ve been." 

Verrinder checked her: "But that is just what you must 
not do. Unless you can assure us that you will cany this 
burden about with you and keep it secret at no matter what 
cost, then we shall have to proceed with the case legally. 
We shall have to exhume Sir Joseph and Lady Webling, as 
it were, and drag the whole thing through the courts. We d 
really rather not, but if you insist " 

"Oh, I ll promise. I ll keep the secret. Let them rest." 

She was driven less by the thought of her own liberty 
than the terror of exposing the dead. The mere thought 
brought back pictures of hideous days when the grave was 
not refuge enough from vengeance, when bodies were dug up, 
gibbeted, haled by a chain along the unwashed cobblestones, 
quartered with a sword in the market-place and then flung 
back to the dark. 

Verrinder may have feared that Marie Louise yielded under 
duress, and that when she was out of reach of the law she 
would forget, so he said 

"Would you swear to keep this inviolate?" 


"Have you a Bible?" 

She thought there must be one, and she searched for it 
among the bookshelves. But first she came across one in 
the German tongue. It fell open easily, as if it had been a 


familiar companion of Sir Joseph s. She abhorred the sight 
of the words that youthful Sunday-school lessons had given 
an unearthly sanctity as she recognized them twisted into the 
German paraphrase and printed in the twisted German type. 
But she said: 

"Will this do?" 

Verrinder shook his head. "I don t know that an oath 
on a German Bible would really count. It might be con 
sidered a mere heap of paper." 

Marie Louise put it aside and brushed its dust off her 
fingers. She found an English Bible after a further search. 
Ita pages had seen the light but seldom. It slipped from 
her hand and fell open. She knelt to pick it up with a tremor 
of fear. 

She rose, and before she closed it glanced at the page 
before her. These words caught her eye: 

For thus saith the Lord God of Israel unto me. Take the winecup 
of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send 
thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad 
because of the sword that I will send among them. 

She showed them to Verrinder. He nodded solemnly, 
took the book from her hand, closed it, and held it before her. 
She put the slim tips of her young fingers near the talon of his 
old thumb and echoed in a timid, silvern voice the broken 
phrases he spoke in a tone of bronze: 

"I solemnly swear that so long as I live I will tell no 
one what I know of the crimes and death of Sir Joseph 
and Lady Webling unless called upon in a court of law. 
This oath is made with no mental reservations and is 
binding under all circumstances whatsoever so help me 

When she had whispered the last invocation he put the 
book away and gripped her hand in his. 

"I must remind you that releasing you is highly illegal 
and perhaps immoral. Our action might be overruled and the 
whole case opened. But I think you are safe, especially if 
you get to America the sooner the better." 

"Thank you!" she said. 

He laughed, somewhat pathetically. 


"Good luck!" 

He did not tell her that England would still be watching 
over her, that her name and her history were already cabled 
to America, that she would be shadowed to the steamer, 
observed aboard the boat, and picked up at the dock by the 
first of a long series of detectives constituting a sort of serial 
guardian angel. 



* T his is the life for me. I ve been a. heroine and a war-worker 
J- about as long as I can." 


TEAVING England quickly was not easy in those days. 
L^ Passenger-steamers were few, irregular, and secret. The 
passport regulations were exceedingly rigorous, and even Mr. 
Verrinder s influence could not speed the matter greatly. 

There was the Webling estate to settle up, also. At Ver 
rinder s suggestion Marie Louise put her affairs into the hands 
of counsel, and he arranged her surrender of all claims on the 
Webling estate. But he insisted that she should keep the 
twenty thousand pounds that had been given to her absolutely. 
He may have been influenced in this by his inability to see 
from what other funds he could collect his fee. 

Eventually he placed her aboard a liner, and her bonds in the 
purser s safe ; and eventually the liner stole out into the ocean, 
through such a gantlet of lurking demons as old superstitions 
peopled it with. 

She had not told the children good-by, but had delivered 
them to the Oakbys and run away. The Oakbys had received 
her with a coldness that startled her. They used the expres 
sion, "Under the circumstances," with a freezing implica 
tion that made her wonder if the secret had already trickled 
through to them. 

On the steamer there was nobody she knew. At the dock 
no friends greeted her. She did not notice that her arrival 
was noted by a certain Mr. Larrey, who had been detailed to 
watch her and saw with some pride how pretty she was. 
" It 11 be a pleasure to keep an eye on her," he told a luckless 
colleague who had a long-haired pacifist professor allotted to 
him. But Marie Louise s mystic squire had not counted on 
her stopping in New York for only a day and then setting 
forth on a long, hot, stupid train-ride of two days to the 
little town of her birth, Wakefield. 

Larrey found it appalling. Marie Louise found it far smaller 


and shabbier than she had imagined. Yet it had grown some, 
too, since her time. 

At least, most of the people she had known had moved away 
to the cities or the cemeteries, and new people had taken their 
place. She had not known many of the better people. Her 
mother had been too humble to sew for them. 

Coming from London and the country life of England, she 
found the town intolerably ugly. It held no associations for 
her. She had been unhappy there, and she said: "Poor me! 
No wonder I ran away." She justified her earlier self with 
a kind of mothering sympathy. She longed for some one to 
mother her present self. 

But her sister was not to be found. The old house where 
they had lived was replaced by a factory that had made 
suspenders and now was turning out cartridge-belts. She 
found no one who knew her sister at all. She did not 
give her own name, for many reasons, and her face was not 
remembered. A few people recalled the family. The town 
marshal vaguely placed her father as a frequent boarder at the 

One sweet old lady, for whom Marie Louise s mother had 
done sewing, had a kind of notion that one of the sisters had 
run away and that the other sister had left town with somebody 
for somewhere sometime after. But that was all that the 
cupboard of her recollection disclosed. 

Anatole France has a short story of Pilate in his old age 
meeting his predecessor as Proconsul in Jerusalem. During 
their senile gossip the elder asks if Pilate had known a certain 
beauty named Mary of Magdala. Pilate shakes his head. 
The other has heard that she took up with a street-preacher 
called Jesus from, the town of Nazareth. Pilate ponders, 
shakes his head again, and confesses, "I don t remember 

It was not strange, then, that Marie Louise s people, who 
had made almost no impression on the life of the town, should 
have lapsed from its memory. But it was discouraging. 
Marie Louise felt as much of an anachronism as old Rip Van 
Winkle, though she looked no more like him than an exquisite, 
fashionable young woman could look like a gray-bearded sot 
who has slept in his clothes for twenty years. 

Her private detective, Larrey, homesick for New York, 


was overjoyed when she went back, but she was disconsolate 
and utterly detached from life. The prodigal had come home, 
but the family had moved away. 

She took a comfortable little nook in an apartment hotel 
and settled down to meditate. The shops interested her, 
and she browsed away among them for furniture and clothes 
and books. 

Marie Louise had not been in her homeless home long when 
the President visited Congress and asked it to declare a state 
of war against Germany. She was exultant over the great 
step, but the wilful few who held Congress back from answer 
ing the summons revealed to her why the nation had been 
so slow in responding to the crisis. Even now, after so much 
insult and outrage, vast numbers of Americans denied that 
there was any cause for war. 

But the patience of the majority had been worn thin. 
The opposition was swept away, and America declared herself 
in the arena in spirit at least. Impatient souls who had 
prophesied how the millions would spring to arms over 
night wondered at the failure to commit a miracle. The 
Germans, who had prepared for forty years, laughed at the 
new enemy and felt guaranteed by five impossibilities: that 
America should raise a real army, or equip it, or know how to 
train it, or be able to get it past the submarine barrier, or 
feed the few that might sneak through. 

America s vast resources were unready, unwieldy, unknown. 
The first embarrassment was the panic of volunteers. 

Marie Louise was only one of the hundred million who sprang 
madly in all directions and landed nowhere. She wanted to 
volunteer, too, but for what? What could she do? Where 
could she get it to do? In the chaos of her impatience she 
did nothing. 

Supping alone at the Biltmore one night, she was seen, 
hailed, and seized by Polly Widdicombe. Marie Louise s de 
tective knew who Polly was. He groaned to note that she 
was the first friend his client had found. 

Polly, giggling adorably, embraced her and kissed her 
before everybody in the big Tudor Room. And Polly s hus 
band greeted her with warmth of hand and voice. 

Marie Louise almost wept, almost cried aloud with joy. 
The prodigal was home, had been welcomed with a kiss. 



Evidently her secret had not crossed the ocean. She could 
take up life again. Some day the past would confront and 
denounce her, perhaps; but for the moment she was en 
franchised anew of human society. 

Polly said that she had read of Sir Joseph s death and his 
wife s, and what a shock it must have been to poor Marie 
Louise, but how well she bore up under it, and how perfectly 
darn beautiful she was, and what a shame that it was almost 
midnight! She and her hub. were going to Washington. 
Everybody was, of course. Why wasn t Marie Louise there? 
And Polly s husband was to be a major think of it ! He was 
going to be all dolled up in olive drab and things and 
"Damn the clock, anyway; if we miss that train we can t 
get on another for days. And what s your address? Write 
it on the edge of that bill of fare and tear it off, and I ll write 
you the minute I get settled, for you must come to us and no 
where else and Good-by, darling child, and All right, 
Tom, I m coming!" 

And she was gone. 

Marie Louise went back to her seclusion much happier 
and yet much lonelier. She had found a friend who had not 
heard of her disgrace. She had lost a friend who still rejoiced 
to see her. 

But her faithful watchman was completely discouraged. 
When he turned in his report he threatened to turn in his 
resignation unless he were relieved of the futile task of record 
ing Marie Louise s blameless and eventless life. 

And then the agent s night was turned to day at least his 
high noon was turned to higher. For a few days later Marie 
Louise was abruptly addressed by Nicky Easton. 

She had been working in the big Red Cross shop on Fifth 
Avenue, rolling bandages and making dressings with a crowd 
of other white-fingered women. A cable had come that there 
was a sudden need for at least ten thousand bandages. These 
were not yet for American soldiers in France, though their 
turn would come, and their wholesale need. But as Marie 
Louise wrought she could imagine the shattered flesh, the 
crying nerves of some poor patriot whose gaping wound this 
linen pack would smother. And her own nerves cried out in 
vicarious crucifixion. At noon she left the factory for a little 
air and a bite of lunch. 


Nicky Easton appeared out of her list of the buried. She 
gasped at sight of him. 

"I thought you were dead." 

He laughed: "If I am it, thees is my Doppelgdnger." And 
he began to hum with a grisly smile Schubert s setting to 
Heine s poem of the man who met his own ghost and double, 
aping his love-sorrow outside the home of his dead sweetheart : 

"Der Mond zeigt mlr meine eig ne Gestalt. 
Du Doppelgdnger, du bleicher Gesellel 
Was dffsl du nach mein Liebesleid, 
Das mich gequdlt auf dieser Stelle 
So manche Nacht in alter Zeit." 

Marie Louise was terrified by the harrowing emotions the 
song always roused in her, but more by the dreadful sensation 
of walking that crowded Avenue with a man humming German 
at her side. 

"Hush! Hush, in Heaven s name!" she pleaded. 

He laughed Teutonically, and asked her to lunch with him. 

"I have another engagement, and I am late," she said. 

"Where are you living?" 

She felt inspired to give him a false address. He insisted 
on walking with her to the Waldorf, where she said her 
engagement was. 

"You don t ask me where I have been?" 

"I was just going to. The last I heard you were in the 
London Tower or somewhere. However did you get out?" 

"The same way like you ditt. I thought you should choin 
me therein, but you also told all you knew and some more 
yet, yes?" 

She saw tnen that he had turned state s evidence. Perhaps 
he had betrayed Sir Joseph. Somehow she found it possible 
to loathe him extra. She lacked the strength to deny his 
odious insinuation about herself. He went on: 

"Now I am in America. I could not dare go to Germany 
now. But here I try to gain back my place in Deutschland. 
These English think they use me for a stool-pitcheon. But 
they will find out, and when Deutschland ist uber alles ach, 
Gottf You shall help me. We do some work togedder. I 
come soon by your house. Auf Goot-py." 


He left her at the hotel door and lifted his hat. She went 
into the labyrinth and lost herself. When her heart had 
ceased fluttering and she grew calm from very fatigue of 
alarm she resolved to steal out of New York. 

She spent an afternoon and an evening of indecision. 
Night brought counsel. Polly Widdicombe had offered her a 
haven, and in the country. It would be an ideal hiding- 
place. She set to work at midnight packing her trunk. 


MARIE LOUISE tried all the next morning to telephone 
from New York to Washington, but it seemed that 
everybody on earth was making the same effort. It was a wire 

Washington was suddenly America in the same way that 
London had long been England; and Paris France. The 
entire population was apparently trying to get into Washing 
ton in order to get out again. People wrote, telegraphed, 
radiographed, telephoned, and traveled thither by all the 
rail- and motor-roads. Washington was the narrow neck of 
the funnel leading to the war, and the sleepy old home of 
debate and administration was suddenly dumfounded to find 
itself treated to all the horrors of a boom-town it was like 
San Francisco in 49. 

Marie Louise, who had not yet recovered her American 
dialect, kept pleading with Long Distance: 

"Oh, I say, cahn t you put me through to Washington? 
It s no end important, really! Rosslyn, seven three one two. 
I want to speak to Mrs. Widdicombe. I am Miss Webling. 
Thank you." 

The obliging central asked her telephone number and 
promised to call her in a moment. Eternity is but a moment 
to some centrals. Marie Louise, being finite and ephemeral, 
never heard from that central again. Later she took up the 
receiver and got another central, who had never heard her tale 
of woe and had to have it all over again. This central also 
asked her name and number and promised to report, then 
vanished into the interstellar limbo where busy centrals go. 

Again and again Marie Louise waited and called, and told 
and retold her prayer till it turned to gibberish and she began 
to doubt her own name and to mix the telephone number 
hopelessly. Then she went into her hand-bag and pawed 
about in the little pocket edition of confusion till she found 


the note that Polly had sent her at once from Washington 
with the address, Grinden Hall, Rosslyn, and the telephone 
number and the message. 

So glad you re on this side of the water, dear. Do run over and 
see us. Perfect barn of a house, and lost in the country, but there s 
always room especially for you, dear. You ll never get in at a hotel. 

Marie Louise propped this against the telephone and tried 

The seventh central dazed her with, "We can take nothing 
but gov ment business till two P.M." 

Marie Louise rose in despair, searched in her bag for her 
watch, gasped, put the watch and the note back in her bag, 
snapped it, and rose to go. 

She decided to send Polly a telegram. She took out the 
note for the address and telephoned a telegram, saying that 
she would arrive at five o clock. The telegraph-operator told 
her that the company could not guarantee delivery, as traffic 
over the wires was very heavy. Marie Louise sighed and 
rose, worn out with telephone-fag. 

She told the maid to ask the hall-boy to get her a taxi, 
and hastily made ready to leave. Her trunks had gone to the 
station an hour ago, and they had been checked through from 
the house. 

Her final pick-up glance about the room did not pick 
up the note she had propped on the telephone-table. She 
left it there and closed the door on another chapter of her life. 

She rode to the station, and, after standing in line for a 
weary while, learned that not a seat was to be had in a parlor- 
car to-day, to-morrow, or any day for two weeks. Berths 
at night were still more unobtainable. 

She decided that she might as well go in a day-coach. 
Scores of people had had the same idea before her. The day- 
coaches were filled. She sidled through the crowded aisles 
and found no seat. She invaded the chair-cars in desperation. 

In one of these she saw a porter bestowing hand-luggage. 
She appealed to him. "You must have one chair left." 

He was hardly polite in his answer. "No, ma am, I ain t. 
I ain t a single chair." 

"But I ve got to sit somewhere," she said. 


The porter did not comment on such a patent fallacy. He 
moved back to the front to repel boarders. Several men stared 
from the depths of their dentist s chairs, but made no proffer 
of their seats. They believed that woman s newfangled 
equality included the privilege of standing up. 

One man, however, gave a start as of recognition, real or 
pretended. Marie Louise did not know him, and said so with 
her eyes. His smile of recognition changed to a smile of 
courtesy. He proffered her his seat with an old-fashioned 
gesture. She declined with a shake of the head and a coldly 
correct smile. 

He insisted academically, as much as to say: "I can see 
that you are a gentlewoman. Please accept me as a gentle 
man and permit me to do my duty." There was a brief, silent 
tug-of-war between his unselfishness and hers. He won. 
Before she realized it, she had dropped wearily into his place. 

"But where will you sit?" she said. 

"Oh, I ll get along." 

He smiled and moved off, lugging his suit-case. He had the 
air of one who would get along. He had shown himself mas 
terful in two combats, and compelled her to take the chair he 
had doubtless engaged with futile providence days before. 

"Rahthah a decentish chap, with a will of his own," she 

The train started, left the station twilight, plunged into the 
tunnel of gloom and made the dip under the Hudson River. 
People felt their ears buzz and smother. Wise ones swallowed 
hard. The train came back to the surface and the sunlight, 
and ran across New Jersey. 

Marie Louise decided to take her luncheon early, to make 
sure of it. Nearly everybody else had decided to do the same 
thing. At this time all the people in America seemed to be 
thinking en masse. When she reached the dining-car every 
seat was taken and there was a long bread-line in the narrow 

The wilful man was at the head. He fished for her eye, 
caught it, and motioned to her to take his place. She shook her 
head. But it seemed to do no good to shake heads at him; 
he came down the corridor and lifted his hat. His voice and 
words were pleading, but his tone was imperative. 

"Please take my place." 


She shook her head, but he still held his hand out, pointing. 
She was angry at being bossed even for her own benefit. 
Worse yet, by the time she got to the head of the line the 
second man had moved up to first. He stared at her as if he 
wondered what she was doing there. She fell back, doubly 
vexed, but That Man advanced and gave the interloper a 
look like a policeman s shove. The fellow backed up on the 
next man s toes. Then the cavalier smiled Miss Webling to 
her place and went back to the foot of the class without wait 
ing for her furious thanks. 

She wanted to stamp her foot. She had always hated to 
be cowed or compelled to take chairs or money. People who 
had tried to move her soul or lend her their experience or their 
advantages had always aroused resentment. 

Before long she had a seat. The man opposite her was just 
thumbing his last morsel of pie. She supposed that when he 
left That Man would take the chair and order her luncheon 
for her. But it was not so to be. She passed him still well 
down the line. He had probably given his place to other 
women in succession. She did not like that. It seemed a trifle 
unfaithful or promiscuous or something. The rescuer owes the 
rescuee a certain fidelity. He did not look at her. He did not 
claim even a glance of gratitude. 

It was so American a gallantry that she resented it. If he 
had seemed to ask for the alms of a smile, she would have 
insulted him. Yet it was not altogether satisfactory to be 
denied the privilege. She fumed. Everything was wrong. She 
sat in her cuckoo s nest and glared at the reeling landscape. 

Suddenly she began pawing through that private chaos, 
looking for Polly Widdicombe s letter. She could not find it. 
She found the checks for her trunks, a handkerchief, a pair of 
gloves, and various other things, but not the letter. This gave 
her a new fright. 

She remembered now that she had left it on the telephone- 
table. She could see it plainly as her remembered glance took 
its last survey of the room. The brain has a way of developing 
occasional photographs very slowly. Something strikes our 
eyes, and we do not really see it till long after. We hear words 
and say, "How s that?" or, "I beg your pardon!" and hear 
them again before they can be repeated. 

This belated feat of memory encouraged Miss Webling to 


hope that she could remember a little farther back to the con 
tents of the letter and the telephone number written there. 
But her memory would not respond. The effort to cudgel it 
seemed to confuse it. She kept on forgetting more and more 

All she could remember was what Polly Widdicombe had 
said about there being no chance to get into a hotel "an 
h6tel," Marie Louise still thought it. 

It grew more and more evident that the train would be hours 
late. People began to worry audibly about the hotels that 
would probably refuse them admission. At length they began 
to stroll toward the dining-car for an early dinner. 

Marie Louise, to make sure of the meal and for lack of 
other employment, went along. There was no queue in 
the corridor now. She did not have to take That Man s 
place. She found one at a little empty table. But by and 
by he appeared, and, though there were other vacant seats, 
he sat down opposite her. 

She could hardly order the conductor to eject him In 
fact, seeing that she owed him for her seat It suddenly smote 
her that he must have paid for it. She owed him money! 
This was unendurable! 

He made no attempt to speak to her, but at length she 
found courage to speak to him. 

"I beg your pardon " 

He looked up and about for the salt or something to pass, 
but she went on: 

"May I ask you how much you paid for the seat you gave 

He laughed outright at this unexpected demand: 

"Why, I don t remember, I m sure." 

"Oh, but you must, and you must let me repay it. It 
just occurred to me that I had cheated you out of your chair, 
and your money, too." 

"That s mighty kind of you," he said. 

He laughed again, but rather tenderly, and she was grateful 
to him for having the tact not to be flamboyant about it 
and not insisting on forgetting it. 

"I ll remember just how much it was in a minute, and if 
you will feel easier about it, I ll ask you for it." 

"I could hardly rob a perfect stranger," she began. 


He broke in: "They say nobody is perfect, and I m not a 
perfect stranger. I ve met you before, Miss Webling." 

"Not rilly! Wherever was it? I m so stupid not to re 
member even your name." 

He rather liked her for not bluffing it through. He could 
understand her haziness the better from the fact that when 
he first saw her in the chair-car and leaped to his feet it was 
because he had identified her once more with the long-lost, long- 
sought beauty of years long gone the girl he had seen in the 
cheap vaudeville theater. This slip of memory had uncov 
ered another memory. He had corrected the palimpsest 
and recalled her as the Miss Webling whom he had met in 
London. She had given him the same start then as now, and, 
as he recalled it, she had snubbed him rather vigorously. 
So he had kept his distance. But the proffer of the money 
for the chair-car chair broke the ice a little. He said at last : 

"My name is Ross Davidge. I met you at your father s 
house in London." 

This seemed to agitate her peculiarly. She trembled and 

"You don t mean it. I Oh yes, of course I remember 

"Please don t lie about it," he pleaded, bluntly, "for of 
course you don t." 

She laughed, but very nervously. 

"Well, we did give very large dinners." 

"It was a very large one the night I was there. I was a 
mile down the street from you, and I said nothing immortal. 
I was only a business acquaintance of Sir Joseph s, anyway. 
It was about ships, of course." 

He saw that her mind was far away and under strange 
excitation. But she murmured, distantly: 

"Oh, so you are interested in ships?" 

"I make em for a living." 

"Rilly! How interesting!" 

This constraint was irksome. He ventured : 

"How is the old boy? Sir Joseph, I mean. He s well, I 

Her eyes widened. "Didn t you know? Didn t you read 
in the papers about their death together?" 

"Theirs? His wife and he died together?" 



"In a submarine attack?" 

" No, at home. It was in all the papers about their dying 
on the same night, from from ptomaine poisoning." 


He put a vast amount of shock and regret in the mumbled 
word. He explained: "I must have been out in the forest 
or in the mines at the time. Forgive me for opening the 
old wound. How long ago was it? I see you re out of 

"Sir Joseph abominated black; and besides, few people wear 
mourning in England during the war." 

"That s so. Poor old England! You poor Englishwomen 
mothers and daughters! My God! what you ve gone 
through! And such pluck!" 

Before he realized what he was doing his hand went across 
and touched hers, and he clenched it for just a moment of 
fierce sympathy. She did not resent the message. Then he 

"I know what it means. I lost my father and mother not 
at once, of course years apart. But to lose them both in 
one night!" 

She made a sharp attempt at self-control: 

"Please! I beg you please don t speak of it." 

He was so sorry that he said nothing more. Marie Louise 
was doubly fascinating to him because she was in sorrow and 
afraid of something or somebody. Besides, she was in 
accessible, and Ross Davidge always felt a challenge from the 
impossible and the inaccessible. 

She called for her check and paid it, and tipped the waiter 
and rose. She smiled wretchedly at him as he rose with her. 
She left the dining-car, and he sat down and cursed himself 
for a brute and a blunderer. 

He kept in the offing, so that if she wanted him she could 
call him, but he thought it the politer politeness not to italicize 
his chivalry. He was so distressed that he forgot that she had 
forgotten to pay him for the chair. 

It was good and dark when the train pulled into Washington 
at last. The dark gave Marie Louise another reason for dis 
may. The appearance of a man who had dined at Sir Joseph s, 
and the necessity for telling him the lie about that death, 
had brought on a crisis of nerves. She was afraid of the dark, 


but more afraid of the man who might ask still more questions. 
She avoided him purposely when she left the train. 

A porter took her hand-baggage and led her to the taxi- 
stand. Polly Widdicombe s car was not waiting. Marie 
Louise went to the front of the building to see if she might 
be there. She was appalled at the thought of Polly s not 
meeting her. She needed her blessed giggle as never before. 

It was a very majestic station. Marie Louise had heard 
people say that it was much too majestic for a railroad 
station. As if America did not owe more to the iron god 
of the rails than to any of her other deities ! 

Before her was the Capitol, lighted from below, its dome 
floating cloudily above the white parapets as if mystically 
sustained. The superb beauty of it clutched her throat. 
She wanted to do something for it and all the holy ideals it 

Evidently Polly was not coming. The telegram had prob 
ably never reached her. The porter asked her, "Was you 
thinkin of a taxi?" and she said, "Yes," only to realize 
that she had no address to give the driver. 



Tt s beautiful overhead if you re going that way, " Davidge 
-* quoted. He set out briskly, but Marie Louise hung 
back. "Aren t you afraid to push on when you can t see 
where you re going? " she demanded. 


SHE went through her hand-bag again, while the porter 
computed how many tips he was missing and the cab- 
starter looked insufferable things about womankind. 

She asked if any of them knew where Grinden Hall might 
be, but they shook their heads. She had a sudden happy 
idea. She would ask the telephone Information for the 
number. She hurried to a booth, followed by the despond 
ent porter. She asked for Information and got her, but that 
was all. 

"Please give me the numba of Mrs. Widdicombe s, in 

A Washington dialect eventually told her that the number 
was a private wire and could not be given. 

Marie Louise implored a special dispensation, but it was 
against the rules. 

She asked for the supervisor who was equally sorry and 
adamant. Marie Louise left the booth in utter defeat. 
There was nothing to do but go to a hotel till the morrow. 

She recalled the stories of the hopelessness of getting a room. 
Yet she had no choice but to make the try. She had got a 
seat on the train where there were none. Perhaps she could 
trust her luck to provide her with a lodging, too. 

"We ll go back to the taxi-stand," she told the porter. 

He did not conceal his joy at being rid of her. 

She tried the Shoreham first, and when the taxicab deposited 
her under the umbrellas of the big trees and she climbed the 
homelike steps to a lobby with the air of a living-room she 
felt welcome and secure. Brilliant clusters were drifting to 
dinner, and the men were more picturesque than the women, 
for many of them were in uniform. Officers of the army and 
navy of the United States and of Great Britain and of France 
gave the throng the look of a costume-party. 


There was a less interesting crowd at the desk, and now 
nobody offered her his place at the head of the line. It 
would have done no good, for the room-clerk was shaking 
his head to all the suppliants. Marie Louise saw women 
turned away, married couples, men alone. But new-comers 
pressed forward and kept trying to convince the deskman 
that he had rooms somewhere, rooms that he had forgotten, 
or was saving for people who would never arrive. 

He stood there shaking his head like a toy in a window. 
People tried to get past him in all the ways people try to 
get through life, in the ways that Saint Peter must grow 
very tired of at the gate of heaven bluff, whine, bribery, 
intimidation, flirtation. 

Some demanded their rights with full confidence and would 
not take no for answer. Some pleaded with hopelessness in 
advance; they were used to rebuffs. They appealed to his 
pity. Some tried corruption; they whispered that they 
would "make it all right," or they managed a sly display 
of money one a one-dollar bill with the " i " folded in, 
another a fifty-dollar bill with the "50" well to the fore. 
Some grew ugly and implied favoritism; they were the 
born strikers and anarchists. Even though they looked 
rich, they had that habit of finding oppression and con 
spiracy everywhere. A few women appealed to his phi 
lanthropy, and a few others tried to play the siren. But 
his head oscillated from side to side, and nobody could 
swing it up and down. 

Marie Louise watched the procession anxiously. There 
seemed to be no end to it. The people who had come here 
first had been turned away into outer darkness long ago 
and had gone to other hotels. The present wretches were 
those who had gone to the other hotels first and made this 
their second, third, or sixth choice. 

Marie Louise did not go to the desk. She could take 
a hint at second hand. She would have been glad of a 
place to sit down, but all the divans were filled with 
gossipers very much at home and somewhat contemptuous 
of the vulgar herd trying to break into their select and 
long-established circle. She heard a man saying, with ami 
able anger: "Ah m mahty sah y Ah can t put you up at 
ouah haouse, but we ve got em hangin on the hat-rack 


in the hall. You infunnal patriots have simply ruined this 
little old taown." 

She heard a pleasant laugh. "Don t worry. I ll get along 

She glanced aside and saw That Man again. She had for 
gotten his name again ; yet she felt curiously less lonely, not 
nearly so hopeless. The other man said: 

"Say, Davidge, are you daown heah looking for one of these 
dollah-a-yeah jobs? Can you earn it?" 

"I m not looking for a job. I m looking for a bed." 

"Not a chance. The government s taken ovah half the 
hotels for office-buildings." 

"I ll go to a Turkish bath, then." 

"Good Lawd! man, I hud a man propose that, and the 
hotel clerk said he had telephoned the Tukkish bath, and a 
man theah said: For God s sake don t send anybody else 
heah! We ve got five hundred cots full naow. 

"There s Baltimore." 

"Baltimer s full up. So s Alexandra. Go on back home 
and write a letta." 

"I ll try a few more hotels first." 

"No use not an openin ." 

"Well, I ve usually found that the best place to look 
for things is where people say they don t grow." 

Marie Louise thought that this was most excellent advice. 
She decided to follow it and keep on trying. 

As she was about to move toward the door the elevator, 
like a great cornucopia, spilled a bevy of men and women 
into the lobby. Leading them all came a woman of charm, 
of distinction, of self-possession. She was smiling over one 
handsome shoulder at a British officer. 

The forlorn Marie Louise saw her, and her eyes rejoiced; 
her face was kindled with haven-beacons. She pressed for 
ward with her hand out, and though she only murmured the 
words, a cry of relief thrilled them. 

"Lady Clifton-Wyatt! What luck to find you!" 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt turned with a smile of welcome in 
advance. Her hand went forward. Her smile ended suddenly. 
Blank amazement passed into contemptuous wrath. Her 
hand went back. With the disgust of a sick eagle in a zoo, 
she drew a film over her eyes. 



The smile on Marie Louise s face also hung unsupported for 
a moment. It faded, then rallied. She spoke with patience, 
underlining the words with an affectionate reproof: 

"My dear Lady Clifton-Wyatt, I am Miss Webling 
Marie Louise. Don t you know me?" 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt answered: "I did. But I don t!" 

Then she turned and moved toward the dining-room door. 

The head waiter bowed with deference and command and 
beckoned Lady Clifton-Wyatt. She obeyed him with meek 


A? she came out of the first hotel of her selection and 
rejection Marie Louise asked the car-starter the name 
of another. He mentioned the New Willard. 

It was not far, and she was there before she had time to 
recover from the staggering effect of Lady Clifton-Wyatt s 
bludgeon-like snub. As timidly as the waif and estray that 
she was, she ventured into the crowded, gorgeous lobby 
with its lofty and ornate ceiling on its big columns. At 
one side a long corridor ran brokenly up a steep hill. It 
was populous with loungers who had just finished their din 
ners or were waiting for a chance to get into the dining- 
rooms. Orchestra music was lilting down the aisle. 

When Marie Louise had threaded the crowd and reached 
the desk a very polite and eager clerk asked her if she had 
a reservation. He seemed to be as regretful as she when she 
said no. He sighed, "We ve turned away a hundred people 
in the last two hours." 

She accepted her dismissal dumbly, then paused to ask, 
"I say, do you by any chance know where Grinden Hall is?" 

He shook his head and turned to another clerk to ask, 
"Do you know of a hotel here named Grinden Hall?" 

The other shook his head, too. There was a vast amount 
of head-shaking going on everywhere in Washington. He 
added, "I m new here." Nearly everybody seemed to be 
new here. It seemed as if the entire populace had moved 
into a ready-made town. 

Marie Louise had barely the strength to explain, "Grinden 
Hall is not an hotel; it is a home, in Rosslyn, wherever that is." 

"Oh, Rosslyn that s across the river in Virginia." 

"Do you know, by any chance, Major Thomas Widdi- 

He shook his head. Major Widdicombe was a big man, 
but the town was fairly swarming with men bigger than he. 


There were shoals of magnates, but giants in their own com 
munities were petty nuisances here pleading with room- 
clerks for cots and with head waiters for bread. The lobby 
was a thicket of prominent men set about like trees. Sev 
eral of them had the Congressional look. Later history 
would record them as the historic statesmen of titanic de 
bates, men by whose eloquence and leadership and committee- 
room toil the Republic would be revolutionized in nearly every 
detail, and billions made to flow like water. 

As Marie Louise collected her porter and her hand-luggage 
for her next exit she saw Ross Davidge just coming in. 
She stepped behind a large politician or something. She 
forgot that she owed Davidge money, and she felt a rather 
pleasurable agitation in this game of hide-and-seek, but 
something made her shy of Davidge. For one thing, it was 
ludicrous to be caught being turned out of a second hotel. 

The politician walked away, and Davidge would have seen 
Marie Louise if he had not stopped short and turned a cold 
shoulder on her, just as the distant orchestra, which had been 
crooning one of Jerome Kern s most insidiously ingratiating 
melodies, began to blare with all its might the sonorities of 
"The Star-spangled Banner." 

Miss Webling saw the people in the alley getting to their 
feet slowly, awkwardly. A number of army and navy offi 
cers faced the music and stood rigid at attention. The 
civilians in the lobby who were already standing began to 
pull their hats off sheepishly like embarrassed peasants. 
People were still as self-conscious as if the song had just 
been written. They would soon learn to feel the tremendous 
importance of that eternal query, the only national anthem, 
perhaps, that ever began with a question and ended with a 
prayer. Americans would soon learn to salute it with eager 
ness and to deal ferociously with men and women, too 
who were slow to rise. 

Marie Louise watched Davidge curiously. He was mani 
festly on fire with patriotism, but he was ashamed to show 
it, ashamed to stand erect and click his heels. He fumbled 
his hat and slouched, and looked as if he had been caught 
in some guilt. He was indeed guilty of a childish fervor. 
He wanted to shout, he wanted to weep, he wanted to fight 
somebody; but he did not know how to express himself with- 


out striking an attitude, and he was incapable of being a 
poseur except as an American posily affects poselessness. 

When the anthem ended, people sank into their chairs 
with sighs of relief ; the officers sharply relaxed ; the civilians 
straightened up and felt at home again. Ross Davidge 
marched to the desk, not noticing Marie Louise, who mo 
tioned to her porter to come along with her luggage and went 
to hunt shelter at the Raleigh Hotel. She kept her taxi 
now and left her hand-baggage in it while she received the 
inevitable rebuff. From there she traveled to hotel after 
hotel, marching in with the dismal assurance that she would 
march right out again. 

The taxi-driver was willing to take her to hotels as long 
as they and her money lasted. Her strength and her pa 
tience gave out first. At the Lafayette she advanced wearily, 
disconsolately to the desk. She saw Ross Davidge stretched 
out in a big chair. He did not see her. His hat was pulled 
over his eyes, and he had the air of angry failure. If he 
despaired, what chance had she? 

She received the usual regrets from the clerk. As she left 
the desk the floor began to wabble. She hurried to an inviting 
divan and dropped down, beaten and distraught. She heard 
some one approach, and her downcast eyes saw a pair of feet 
move up and halt before her. 

Since Lady Clifton-Wyatt s searing glance and words Marie 
Louise had felt branded visibly, and unworthy of human 
kindness and shelter. She was piteously grateful to this man 
for his condescension in saying: 

"You ll have to excuse me for bothering you again. But 
I m afraid you re in worse trouble than I am. Nobody 
seems to be willing to take you in." 

He meant this as a light jocularity, but it gave her a mo 
ment s serious fear that he had overheard Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt s slashing remark. But he went on: 

"Won t you allow me to try to find you a place? Don t 
you know anybody here?" 

"I know numbers of people, but I don t know where any 
of them are." 

She told him of her efforts to get to Rosslyn by telephone, 
by telegraph, by train or taxicab. Little tears added a sparkle 
to laughter, but threatened rain. She ended with, "And 


now that I ve unloaded my riddles on you, aren t you sorry 
you spoke?" 

"Not yet," he said, with a subtle compliment pleasantly 
implying that she was perilous. Everybody likes to be thought 
perilous. He went on: "I don t know Rosslyn, but it can t 
be much of a place for size. If you have a friend there, we ll 
find her if we have to go to every house in Rosslyn." 

"But it s getting rather late, isn t it, to be knocking at all 
the doors all by myself?" 

She had not meant to hint, and it was a mere coincidence 
that he thought to say : 

"Couldn t I go along?" 

"Thank you, but it s out in the country rather far, I m 

"Then I must go along. 

"I couldn t think of troubling you." 

The end of it was that he had his way, or she hers, or 
both theirs. He made no nonsense of adventure or esca 
pade about it, and she was too well used to traveling alone 
to feel ashamed or alarmed. He led her to the taxi, told 
the driver that Grinden Hall was their objective and must be 
found. Then he climbed in with her, and they rode in a dark 
broken with the fitful lightnings of street-lamps and motors. 

The taxi glided out M Street. The little shops of George 
town went sidelong by. The cab turned abruptly to the left 
and clattered across the old aqueduct bridge. On a broad 
reach of the Potomac the new-risen moon spread a vast sheet 
of tin-foil of a crinkled sheen. This was all that was beautiful 
about the sordid neighborhood, but it was very beautiful, 
and tender to a strange degree. 

Once across, the driver stopped and leaned round to call 
in at the door: 

"This is Rosslyn. Where do yew-all want to go next?" 

"Grinden Hall. Ask somebody." 

"Ask who? They ain t a soul tew be saw." 

They waited in the dark awhile; then Davidge got out 
and, seeing a street-car coming down through the hills like 
a dragon in fiery scales, he stopped it to ask the motorman 
of Grinden Hall. He knew nothing, but a sleepy passenger 
said that he reckoned that that was the fancy name of Mr. 
Sawtell s place, and he shouted the directions: 


"Yew go raht along this road ovah the caw tracks, and 
unda a bridge and keep a-goin up a ridge and ova till yew 
come to a shawp tu n to the raht. Big whaht mansion, 
ain t it?" 

"I don t know," said Davidge. "I never saw it." 

"Well, I reckon that s the place. Only Hall I knaow 
about up heah." 

The motorman kicked his bell and started off. 

"Nothing like trying," said Davidge, and clambered in. 
The taxicab went veering and yawing over an unusually 
Virginian bad road. After a little they entered a forest. The 
driver threw on his search-light, and it tore from the darkness 
pictures of forest eerily green in the glare old trees slanting 
out, deep channels blackening into mysterious glades. The 
car swung sharply to the right and growled up a hill, curving 
and swirling and threatening to capsize at every moment. 
The sense of being lost was irresistible. 

Marie Louise fell to pondering; suddenly she grew afraid 
to find Grinden Hall. She knew that Polly knew Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt. They might have met since Polly wrote that letter. 
Lady Clifton- Wyatt had perhaps had doubtless told Polly 
all about Marie Louise. Polly would probably refuse her 
shelter. She knew Polly: there was no middle ground be 
tween her likes and dislikes; she doted or she hated. She 
was capable of smothering her friends with affection and of 
making them ancient enemies in an instant. For her enemies 
she had no use or tolerance. She let them know her wrath. 

The car stopped. The driver got down and went forward 
to a narrow lane opening from the narrow road. There was 
a sign-board there. He read it by the light of the moon and 
a few matches. He came back and said : 

"Here she is. Grinden Hall is what she says on that theah 

Marie Louise was in a flutter. "What time is it?" she 

Davidge held his watch up and lighted a match. 

"A little after one." 

"It s awfully late," she said. 

The car was turning at right angles now, and following a 
narrow track curling through a lawn studded with shrubbery. 
There was a moment s view of all Washington beyond the 


valley of the moon-illumined river. Its lights gleamed in a 
patient vigilance. It had the look of the holy city that it is. 
The Capitol was like a mosque in Mecca, the Mecca of the 
faithful who believe in freedom and equality. The Washing 
ton Monument, picked out from the dark by a search-light, 
was a lofty steeple in a dream-world. 

Davidge caught a quick breath of piety and reverence. 
Marie Louise was too frightened by her own destiny to think 
of the world s anxieties. 

The car raced round the circular road. Her eyes were 
snatched from the drowsy town, small with distance, to the 
imminent majesty of a great Colonial portico with columns 
tall and stately and white, a temple of Parthenonian dignity 
in the radiance of the priestly moon. There was not a light 
in any window, no sign of life. 

The car stopped. But Marie Louise simply dared not 
face Polly and risk a scene in the presence of Davidge. She 
tapped on the glass and motioned the driver to go on. He 
could not believe her gestures. She leaned out and whispered : 

"Go on go on! I ll not stop!" 

Davidge was puzzled, but he said nothing; and Marie 
Louise made no explanation till they were outside again, 
and then she said: 

"Do you think I m insane?" 

"This is not my party," he said. 

She tried to explain: "There wasn t a light to be seen. 
They couldn t have got my telegram. They weren t expecting 
me. They may not have been at home. I hadn t the courage 
to stop and wake the house." 

That was not her real reason, but Davidge asked for no 
other. If he noted that she was strangely excited over a 
trifle like getting a few servants and a hostess out of bed, he 
made no comment. 

When she pleaded, "Do you mind if I go back to Washington 
with you?" he chuckled: "It s certainly better than going 
alone. But what will you do when you get there?" 

"I ll go to the railroad station and sit up," Marie Louise 
announced. "I m no end sorry to have been such a nuisance." 

"Nuisance!" he protested, and left his intonation to convey 
all the compliments he dared not utter. 

The cab dived into another woods and ran clattering down 


a roving hill road. Up the opposite steep it went with a 
weary gait. It crawled to the top with turtle-like labor. 
Davidge knew the symptoms, and he frowned in the shadow, 
yet smiled a little. 

The car went banging down, held by a squealing brake. 
The light grew faint, and in the glimmer there was a close 
shave at the edge of a hazardous bridge over a deep, deep 
ravine. The cab rolled forward on the rough planks under its 
impetus, but it picked up no speed. Half-way across, it 

"Whatever is the matter?" Marie Louise exclaimed. 

Davidge leaned out and called to the driver, "What s the 
matter now?" though he knew full well. 

"Gas is gone, I reckon," the fellow snarled, as he got down. 
After a moment s examination he confirmed his diagnosis. 
"Yep, gas is all gone. I been on the go too long on this one 

"In Heaven s name, where can you get some more gaso 
lene?" said Marie Louise. 

"Nearest garodge is at Rosslyn, I reckon, lady." 

"How far is that?" 

"I d hate to say, lady. Three, fo mahls, most lahkly, and 
prob ly closed naow." 

"Go wake it up at once." 

"No thanky, lady. I got mahty po feet for them hills." 

"What do you propose to do?" 

"Ain t nothin tew dew but wait fo somebody to come 

"When will that be?" 

"Along todes mawnin they ought to be somebody along, 
milkman or somethin ." 

"Cheerful!" said Marie Louise. 

"Batt ries kind o sick, tew, looks lahk. I was engaged 
by the houah, remember," the driver reminded them as he 
clambered back to his place, put his feet up on the dashboard 
and let his head roll into a position of ease. 

The dimming lights waned and did not wax. By and by 
they went where lights go when they go out. There was no 
light now except the moonset, shimmering mistily across the 
tree-tops of the rotunda of the forest, just enough to emphasize 
the black of the well they were in. 


HOW would she take it? 
That was what interested Davidge most. What 
was she really like? And what would she do with this in 
tractable situation? What would the situation do with her? 
For situations make people as well as people situations. 

Now was the time for an acquaintance of souls. An 
almost absolute dark erased them from each other s sight. 
Their eyes were as useless as the useless eyes of fish in sub- 
terrene caverns. Miss Webling could have told Davidge 
the color of his eyes, of course, being a woman. But being a 
man, he could not remember the color of hers, because he had 
noted nothing about her eyes except that they were very 

He would have blundered ridiculously in describing her 
appearance. His information of her character was all to gain. 
He had seen her wandering about Washington homeless 
among the crowds and turned from every door. She had 
borne the ordeal as well as could be asked. She had accepted 
his proffer of protection with neither terror nor assurance. 

He supposed that in a similar plight the old-fashioned 
woman or at least the ubiquitous woman of the special 
eternal type that fictionists call "old-fashioned" would have 
been either a bleating, tremulous gazelle or a brazen siren. 
But Miss Webling behaved like neither of these. She took 
his gallantry with a matter-of-fact reasonableness, much as a 
man would accept the offer of another man s companionship 
on a tiresome journey. She gave none of those multitudinous 
little signals by which a woman indicates that she is either 
afraid that a man will try to hug her or afraid that he will 
not. She was apparently planning neither to flirt nor to faint. 

Davidge asked in a matter-of-fact tone: "Do you think 
you could walk to town? The driver says it s only three-fo 


She sighed : " My feet would never make it. And I have on 
high-heeled boots." 

His "Too bad!" conveyed more sympathy than she ex 
pected. He had another suggestion. 

"You could probably get back to the home of Mrs. Widdi- 
combe. That isn t so far away." 

She answered, bluntly, "I shouldn t think of it!" 

He made another proposal without much enthusiasm. 

"Then I d better walk in to Washington and get a cab 
and come back for you." 

She was even blunter about this: "I shouldn t dream of 
that. You re a wreck, too." 

He lied pluckily, "Oh, I shouldn t mind." 

"Well, I should! And I don t fancy the thought of staying 
here alone with that driver." 

He smiled in the dark at the double-edged compliment of 
implying that she was safer with him than with the driver. 
But she did not hear his smile. 

She apologized, meekly: "I ve got you into an awful mess, 
haven t I? I usually do make a mess of everything I under 
take. You d better beware of me after this." 

His "I ll risk it" was a whole cyclopedia of condensed 

They sat inept for a time, thinking aimlessly, seeing nothing, 
hearing only the bated breath of the night wind groping 
stealthily through the tree-tops, and from far beneath, the 
still , small voice of a brook feeling its way down its unlighted 

At last her voice murmured, "Are you quite too horribly 
uncomfortable for words?" 

His voice was a deep-toned bell somehow articulate: "I 
couldn t be more comfortable except for one thing. I m all 
out of cigars." 

" Oh !" He had a vague sense of her mental struggle before 
she spoke again, timidly: 

"I fancy you don t smoke cigarettes?" 

"When I can t get cigars ; any tobacco is better than none." 

Another blank of troubled silence, then, "I wonder if you d 
say that of mine." 

Her voice was both defiant and trepidate. He laughed. 
"I ll guarantee to." 


A few years before he would have accepted a woman s 
confession that she smoked cigarettes as a confession of 
complete abandonment to all the other vices. A few years 
farther back, indeed, and he would have said that any man 
who smoked cigarettes was worthless. Since then he had seen 
so many burly heroes and so many unimpeachable ladies 
smoke them that he had almost forgotten his old prejudice. 
In some of the United States it was then against the law for 
men (not to say women and children) to sell or give away or 
even to possess cigarettes. After the war crusades would 
start against all forms of tobacco, and at least one clergyman 
would call every man who smoked cigarettes a "drug-addict." 
It is impossible for anybody to be moral enough not to be 
immoral to somebody. 

But intolerances go out of style as suddenly as new creeds 
come in. He knew soldiers who held a lighted stub in one 
hand while they rolled a cigarette with the other. He knew 
Red Cross saints who could puff a forbidden cigarette like 
a prayer. He wondered how he or any one had ever made 
such a fierce taboo of a wisp of aromatic leaves kindled in a 
tiny parcel. Such strange things people choose for their tests 
of virtue tests that have nothing whatever to do with the 
case, whether savage or civilized folk invent them. 

He heard Miss Webling fumbling in a hand-bag. He heard 
the click of her rings against metal. He heard the little 
noise of the portals of a cigarette-case opening. His hands 
and hers stumbled together, and his ringers selected a little 
cylinder from the row. 

He produced a match and held the flame before her. He 
filled his eyes with her vivid features as the glow detached 
her from the dark. Of her eyes he saw only the big lids, 
but he noted her lips, pursed a trifle with the kissing muscles, 
and he sighed as she blew a smoke about her like a goddess 
creating a cloud of vanishment. He lighted his own cigarette 
and threw the match away. They returned to a perfect 
gloom mitigated by the slight increase and decrease in the 
vividness of their tobacco-tips as they puffed. 

She was the first to speak: 

"I have a whole box of fags in my hand-bag. I usually 
have a good supply. When you want another Does it hor 
rify you to see a woman smoke?" 


He was very superior to his old bigotry. "Quite the. 

This was hardly honest enough, so he said: 

"It did once, though. I remember how startled I was 
years ago when I was in England and I saw ladies smoking 
in hotel corridors; and on the steamer coming back, there 
was a countess or something who sat in the balcony and 
puffed away. Of course, at the big dinners in London they 
smoked, too. They did at Sir Joseph s, I remember." 

He did not see her wince at this name. 

"There were some odd fish surrounding old Sir Joseph. 
Some of them I couldn t quite make out. He was just a 
little hard to get at, himself. I got very huffy at the old 
boy once or twice, I m sorry to say. It was about ships. 
I m a crank on ships. Everybody has at least one mania. 
That s mine ships. Sir Joseph and I quarreled about them. 
He wanted to buy all I could make, but he was in no hurry 
to have em finished. I told him he talked more like a 
German trying to stop production than like a Britisher trying 
to speed it up. That made him huffy. I m sorry I did him 
such an injustice. When you insult a man, and he dies 
What a terrible repartee dying is ! He had offered me a big 
price, too, but it s not money I want to make; it s ships. 
And I want to see em at work. Did you ever see a ship 

"No, I never did." 

"There s nothing prettier. Come over to my shipyard and 
I ll show you. We re going to put one over before long. 
I ll let you christen her." 

"That would be wonderful." 

"It s better than that. The civilized world is starting out 
on the most poetic job it ever undertook." 


"Yep. The German sharks are gradually dragging all our 
shipping under water. The inventors don t seem able to 
devise any cure for the submarines except to find em and 
fight em. They re hard to find, and they won t fight. But 
they keep popping up and stabbing our pretty ships to death. 
And now the great game is on, the greatest game that civilized 
men ever fought with hell." 

"What s that?" 


"We re going to try to build ships faster than the Hun 
can sink em. Isn t that a glorious job for you? Was there 
ever a well, a nobler idea? We can t kill the beast; so 
we re going to choke him to death with food." He laughed 
to hide his embarrassing exaltation. 

She was not afraid of it: "It is rather a stupendous in 
spiration, isn t it?" 

"Who was it said he d rather have written Gray s Elegy 
than taken Quebec? I d rather have thought up this thought 
than written the Iliad. Nobody knows who invented the 
idea. He s gone to oblivion already, but he has done more 
for the salvation of freedom than all the poets of time." 

This shocked her, yet thrilled her with its loftiness. She 
thrilled to him suddenly, too. She saw that she was within 
the aura of a fiery spirit a business man aflame. And 
she saw in a white light that the builders of things, even 
of perishable things, are as great as the weavers of immortal 
words not so well remembered, of course, for posterity has 
only the words. Poets and highbrows scorn them, but 
living women who can see the living men are not so foolish. 
They are apt to prefer the maker to the writer. They re 
ward the poet with a smile and a compliment, but give their 
lives to the manufacturers, the machinists, the merchants. 
Then the neglected poets and their toadies the critics grow 
sarcastic about this and think that they have condemned 
women for materialism when they are themselves blind to 
its grandeur. They ignore the divinity that attends the 
mining and smelting and welding and selling of iron things, 
the hewing and sawing and planing of woods, the sowing 
and reaping and distribution of foods. They make a priest 
craft and a ritual of artful language, and are ignorant of their 
own heresy. But since they deal in words, they have a fear 
ful advantage and use it for their own glorification, as priests 
are wont to do. 

Marie Louise had a vague insight into the truth, but was 
not aware of her own wisdom. She knew only that this 
Davidge who had made himself her gallant, her messenger 
and servant, was really a genius, a giant. She felt that the 
roles should be reversed and she should be waiting upon 

In Sir Joseph s house there nad been a bit of statuary 


representing Hercules and Omphale. The mighty one was 
wearing the woman s kirtle and carrying her distaff, and 
the girl was staggering under the lion-skin and leaning on 
the bludgeon. Marie Louise always hated the group. It 
seemed to her to represent just the way so many women 
tried to master the men they infatuated. But Marie Louise 
despised masterable men, and she had no wish to make a toy 
of one. Yet she had wondered if a man and a woman could 
not love each other more perfectly if neither were master or 
mistress, but both on a parity a team, indeed. 

Davidge enjoyed talking to her, at least. That comforted 
her. When she came back from her meditations he was saying : 

"My company is reaching out. We ve bought a big tract 
of swamp, and we re filling it in and clearing it, and we re 
going to lay out a shipyard there and turn out ships stand 
ardized ships as fast as we can. We re steadying the 
ground first, sinking concrete piles in steel casing if you put 
em end to end, they d reach twenty-five miles. They re 
just to hold the ground together. That s what the whole 
country has got to do before it can really begin to begin 
put some solid ground under its feet. When the ship is 
launched she mustn t stick on the ways or in the mud. 

"Of course, I d rather go as a soldier, but I ve got no right 
to. I can ride or walk all day, and shoot straight and stand 
all kinds of weather, and killing Germans would just about 
tickle me to death. But this is a time when every man 
has got to do what he can do better than he can do anything 
else. And I ve spent my life in shipyards. 

"I was a common laborer first swinging a sledge; I had 
an arm then! That was before we had compressed-air 
riveters. I was a union man and went on strike and fought 
scabs and made the bosses eat crow. Now I m one of the 
bosses. I m what they call a capitalist and an oppressor 
of labor. Now I put down strikes and fight the unions not 
that I don t believe in em, not that I don t know where 
labor was before they had unions and where it would be 
without em to-day and to-morrow, but because all these 
things have to be adjusted gradually, and because the main 
thing, after all, is building ships just now, of course, especially. 

"When I was a workman I took pride in my job, and I 
thought I was an artist at it. I wouldn t take anybody s 


lip. Now that I m a boss I have to take everybody s lip, 
because I can t strike. I can t go to my boss and demand 
higher wages and easier hours, because my boss is the market. 
But I don t suppose there s anything on earth that interests 
you less than labor problems." 

"They might if I knew the first thing about them." 

"Well, the first thing is that they are the next war, the big 
war after this one s over. The job is to keep it down till peace 
comes. Then hell will pop if you ll pardon my French. 
I m all for labor getting its rights, but some of the men 
don t want the right to work they want the right to loaf. 
I say let the sky be the limit of any man s opportunity the 
sky and his own limitations and ambitions. But a lot of the 
workmen don t want opportunity; they ve got no ambition; 
they hate to build things. They talk about the terrible 
conditions their families live in, and how gorgeously the 
rich men live. But the rich men were poor once, and the 
poor can be rich if they can and will. 

"The war is going to be the fight between the makers and 
the breakers, the uplifters and the down-draggers, you might 
say. And it s going to be some war! 

"The men on the wrong side what I call the wrong side, 
at least are just as much our enemies as the Germans. 
We ve got to watch em just as close. They d just as soon 
burn an unfinished ship as the Germans would sink her when 
she s on her way. 

"That little ship I m building now! Would you believe it? 
It has to be guarded every minute. Most of our men are all 
right. They d work themselves to death for the ship, and 
they pour out their sweat like prayers. But sneaks get in 
among em, and it only takes a fellow with a bomb one minute 
to undo the six months work of a hundred." 

"Tell me about your ship," she said. 

A ship she could understand. It was personal and real; 
labor theories were as foreign to her as problems in meta 

"Well, it s my first-born, this ship," he said. "Of course 
I ve built a lot of other ships, but they were for other people 
just jobs, for wages or commissions. This one is all my 
own a freighter, ugly as sin and commodious as hell I 
beg your pardon! But the world needs freighters the 


hungry mobs of Europe, they 11 be glad to see my little ship 
come in, if ever she does. If she doesn t I ll But she ll 
last a few trips before they submarine her I guess." 

He fell silent among his visions and left her to her own. 

He saw himself wandering about a shipyard, a poor thing, 
but his own. His mind was like a mold-loft full of designs 
and detail-drawings to scale, blue-prints and models. On the 
way a ship was growing for him. As yet she was a ghastly 
thing all ribs, like the skeleton of some ancient sea-monster 
left ashore at high tide and perished eons back, leaving only 
the bones. 

His fancy saw her transverses taking on their iron flesh. 
He saw the day of her nativity. He heard them knock out 
the blocks that lowered the sliding-ways to the groundways 
and sent her swirling into the sea. 

He saw her ready for her cargo, saw a Niagara of wheat 
cascading into her hold. He saw her go forth into the sea. 

Then he saw the ship stagger, a wound opened in her side, 
from the bullet of a submarine. 

It was all so vivid that he spoke aloud in a frenzy of ire : 

"If the Germans kill my ship I ll kill a German By 
God, I will!" 

He was startled by the sound of his own voice, and he 
begged her pardon humbly. 

She had been away in reverie, too. The word "submarine" 
had sent her back into her haunting remembrances of the 
Lusitania and of her own helpless entanglement in the fate 
of other ships their names as unknown to her as the names 
and faces of the men that died with them, or perished of 
starvation and thirst in the lifeboats sent adrift. The thought 
of these poor anonymities frightened her. She shuddered 
with such violence that Davidge was startled from his own 

"You re having a chill," he said. "I wish you would take 
my coat. You don t want to get sick." 

She shook her head and chattered, "No, no." 

"Then you d better get out and walk up and down this 
bridge awhile. There s not even a lap-robe here." 

"I should like to walk, I think." 

She stepped out, aided by his hand, a strong hand, and 
warm about her icy fingers. Her knees were weak, and he 


set her elbow in the hollow of his arm and guided her. 7 " They 
walked like the blind leading the blind through a sea of 
pitch. The only glimmer was the little scratches of light 
pinked in the dead sky by a few stars. 

"It s beautiful overhead, if you re going that way, " 
Davidge quoted. 

He set out briskly, but Marie Louise hung back timidly. 

"Not so fast! I can t see a thing." 

"That s the best time to keep moving." 

"But aren t you afraid to push on when you can t see 
where you re going?" she demanded. 

"Who can ever tell where he s going? The sunlight is no 
guaranty. We re all bats in the daytime and not cats at 
night. The main thing is to sail on and on and on." 

She caught a little of his recklessness suffered him to 
hurry her to and fro through the inky air till she was panting 
for breath and tired. Then they groped to the rail and peered 
vainly down at the brook, which, like an unbroken child, 
was heard and not seen. They leaned their elbows on the rail 
and stared into the muffling gloom. 

"I think I ll have another of your cigarettes," he said. 

"So will I," said she. 

There was a cozy fireside moment as they took their lights 
from the same match. When he threw the match overboard 
he said : 

"Like a human life, eh? A little spark between dark and 

He was surprised at stumbling into rhyme, and apologized. 
But she said: 

"Do you know, I rather like that. It reminds me of a 
poem about a rain-storm Russell Lowell s, I fancy; it told 
of a flock of sheep scampering down a dusty road and clatter 
ing across a bridge and back to the dust again. He said it 
was like human life, a little noise between two silences. " 

"H m!" was the best Davidge could do. But the agony 
of the brevity of existence seized them both by the hearts, 
and their hearts throbbed and bled like birds crushed in the 
claws of hawks. Their hearts had such capabilities of joy, 
such songs in them, such love and longing, such delight in 
beauty and beauty was so beautiful, so frequent, so thrilling! 
Yet they could spend but a glance, a sigh, a regret, a gratitude, 


and then their eyes were out, their ears still, their lips cold, 
their hearts dust. The ache of it was beyond bearing. 

"Let s walk. I m cold again," she whispered. 

He felt that she needed the sense of hurry, and he went so 
fast that she had to run to keep up with him. There seemed 
to be some comfort in the privilege of motion for its own sake ; 
motion was life; motion was godhood; motion was escape 
from the run-down clock of death. 

Back and forth they kept their promenade, till her body 
refused to answer the whips of restlessness. Her brain began 
to shut up shop. It would do no more thinking this night. 

She stumbled toward the taxicab. Davidge lifted her in, 
and she sank down, completely done. She fell asleep. 

Davidge took his place in the cab and wondered lazily 
at the quaint adventure. He was only slightly concerned 
with wondering at the cause of her uneasiness. He was 
used to minding his own business. 

She slept so well that when the groping search-light of a 
coming automobile began to slash the night and the rubber 
wheels boomed across the bridge she did not waken. If the 
taxi-driver heard its sound, he preferred to pretend not to. 
The passengers in the passing car must have been surprised, 
but they took their wonderment with them. We so often 
imagine mischief when there is innocence and vice versa; 
for opportunity is just as likely to create distaste as interest 
and the lack of it to instigate enterprise. 

Davidge drowsed and smiled contentedly in the dark and 
did not know that he was not awake until at some later time 
he was half aroused by the meteoric glow and whiz of another 
automobile. It had gone before he was quite awake, and he 
sank back into sleep. 

Before he knew it, many black hours had slid by and day 
light was come; the rosy fingers of light were moving about, 
recreating the world to vision, sketching a landscape hazily 
on a black canvas, then stippling in the colors, and finishing, 
swiftly but gradually, the details to an inconceivable minute 
ness of definition, giving each leaf its own sharp contour and 
every rock its every facet. From the brook below a mistlike 
cigarette smoke exhaled. The sky was crimson, then pink, 
then amber, then blue. 

Birds began to twitter, to fashion little crystal stanzas, 


and to hurl themselves about the valley as if catapults pro 
pelled them. One songster perched on the iron rail of the 
bridge and practised a vocal lesson, cocking his head from 
side to side and seeming to approve his own skill. 

A furred caterpillar resumed his march across the Appian 
Way, making of each crack between boards a great abyss to 
be bridged cautiously with his own body. The day s work 
was begun, while Davidge drowsed and smiled contentedly 
at the side of the strange, sleeping woman as if they had been 
married for years. 


r "PHE sky was filled with morning when a noise startled 
I Davidge out of nullity. He was amazed to find a 
strange woman asleep at his elbow. He remembered her 

With a clatter of wheels and cans and hoofs a milkman s 
wagon and team came out of the hills. Davidge stepped down 
from the car and stopped the loud-voiced, wide-mouthed 
driver with a gesture. He spoke in a low voice which the 
milkman did not copy. The taxi-driver woke to the extent 
of one eye and a horrible yawn, while Davidge explained his 

"Gasolene gave out, hey?" said the milkman. 

"It certainly did," said Davidge, "and I d be very much 
obliged if you d get me some more." 

"Wa-all, I m purty busy." 

"I ll pay you anything you ask." 

The milkman was modest in his ambitions. 

"How d two dollars strike ye?" 

"Five would be better if you hurried." 

This looked suspicious, but the milkman consented. 

"Wa-all, all right, but what would I fetch the gasolene in?" 

"One of your milk-cans." 

"They re all fuller melk." 

" I ll buy one, milk and all." 

"Wa-all, I reckon I ll hev to oblige you." 

Here s five dollars on account. There ll be five more when 
you get back." 

"Wa-all, all ri-ight. Get along there, Jawn Henry." 

John Henry got along. Even his cloppety-clop did not 
waken Miss Webling. 

The return of the rattletrap and the racket of filling the 
tank with the elixir finished her sleep, however. She woke 


in confusion, finding herself sitting up, dressed, in her little 
room, with three strange men at work outside. 

When the tank was filled, Davidge entered her compartment 
with a cheery "Good morning," and slammed the door after 
him. The gasolene, like the breath of a god, gave life to the 
dead. The car snarled and jumped, and went roaring across 
the bridge, up the hill and down another, and down that 
and up another. 

Here they caught, through a frame of leaves, a glimpse of 
Washington in the sunrise, a great congregation of marble 
temples and trees and sky-colored waters, the shaft of the 
Monument lighted with the milky radiance of a mountain 
peak on its upper half, the lower part still dusk with valley 
shadow, and across the plateau of roofs the solemn Capitol 
in as mythical a splendor as the stately dome that Kubla 
Khan decreed in Xanadu. 

This sight of Canaan from Pisgah-height was no luxury 
to the taxi-driver, and he hustled his coffee-grinder till he 
reached Rosslyn once more, crossed the Potomac s many- 
tinted stream, and rattled through Georgetown and the shabby, 
sleeping little shops of M Street into the tree-tunnels of 

He paused to say, "Where do we go from here?" 

Davidge and Marie Louise looked their chagrin. They still 
had no place to go. 

"To the Pennsylvania Station," said Davidge. "We can 
at least get breakfast there." 

The streets of Washington are never so beautiful as at this 
still hour when nothing stirs but the wind in the trees and the 
grass on the lawns, and hardly anybody is abroad except the 
generals on their bronze horses fronting their old battles 
with heroic eyes. The station outside was something Olympic 
but unfrequented. Inside, it was a vast cathedral of un- 
tenanted pews. 

Davidge paid the driver a duke s ransom. There was no 
porter about, and he carried Marie Louise s suit-cases to the 
parcel-room. Her baggage had had a long journey. She 
retreated to the women s room for what toilet she could 
make, and came forth with a very much washed face. Som 
nambulistic negroes took their orders at the lunch-counter. 

Marie Louise had weakly decided to return to New York 


again, but the hot coffee was full of defiance, and she said that 
she would make another try at Mrs. Widdicombe as soon as a 
human hour arrived. 

And she showed a tactfulness that won much respect from 
Davidge when she said: 

"Do get your morning paper and read it. I m sure I have 
nothing to say that I haven t said, and if I had, it could 
wait till you find out how the battle goes in Europe." 

He bought her a paper, too, and they sat on a long bench, 
exchanging comments on the news that made almost every 
front page a chapter in world history. 

She heard him groan with rage. When she looked up he 
pointed to the submarine record of that week. 

"Last week the losses took a horrible jump forty ships 
of over sixteen hundred tons. This week it s almost as bad 
thirty-eight ships of over sixteen hundred, thirteen ships 
under, and eight fishing-vessels. Think of it all of em 
merchant-ships ! 

"Pretty soon I ve got to send my ship out to run the 
gantlet. She s like Little Red Riding Hood going through the 
forest to take old Granny Britain some food. And the wolves 
are waiting for her. What a race of people, what a pack of 

Marie Louise had an idea. "I ll tell you a pretty name for 
your ship Little Red Riding Hood. Why don t you give her 

He laughed. "The name would be heavier than the 
cargo. I wonder what the crew would make of it. No, 
this ship, my first one, is to be named after" he lowered 
his voice as one does on entering a church "after my 

"Oh, that s beautiful!" Marie Louise said. "And will she 
be there to christen Oh, I remember, you said 

He nodded three or four times in wretchedness. But the 
grief was his own, and he must not exploit it. He assumed 
an abrupt cheer. 

"I ll name the next ship after you, if you don t mind." 

This was too glorious to be believed. What bouquet or 
jewel could equal it? She clapped her hands like a child 
hearing a Christmas promise. 

"What is your first name, Miss Webling?" 


She suddenly realized that they were not, after all, such 
old friends as the night had seemed to make them. 

"My first two names," she said, "are Marie Louise." 

"Oh! Well, then we ll call the ship Marie Louise." 

She saw that he was a little disappointed in the name, so 
she said: 

"When I was a girl they called me Mamise." 

She was puzzled to see how this startled him. 

He jumped audibly and fastened a searching gaze on her. 
Mamise! He had thought of Mamise when he saw her, and 
now she gave the name. Could she possibly be the Mamise he 
remembered? He started to ask her, but checked himself and 
blushed. A fine thing it would be to ask this splendid young 
princess, "Pardon me, Princess, but were you playing in 
cheap vaudeville a few years ago?" It was an improbable 
coincidence that he should meet her thus, but an almost 
impossible coincidence that she should wear both the name 
and the mien of Mamise and not be Mamise. But he dared 
not ask her. 

She noted his blush and stammer, but she was afraid to 
ask their cause. 

"Mamise it shall be," he said. 

And she answered, "I was never so honored in my life." 

"Of course," he warned her, "the boat isn t built yet. 
In fact, the new yard isn t built yet. There s many a slip 
twixt the keel and the ship. She might never live to 
be launched. Some of these sneaking loafers on our side 
may blow her up before the submarines get a chance at 

There he was, speaking of submarines once more! She 
shivered, and she looked at the clock and got up and said: 

"I think I ll try Mrs. Widdicombe now." 

"Let me go along," said Davidge. 

But she shook her head. "I ve taken enough of your life 
for the present." 

Trying to concoct a felicitous reply, he achieved only an 
eloquent silence. He put her and her luggage aboard a taxi- 
cab, and then she gave him her most cordial hand. 

"I could never hope to thank you enough," she said, "and 
I won t begin to try. Send me your address when you have 
one, and I ll mail you Mrs. Widdicombe s confidential tele- 


phone-number. I do want to see you soon again, unless 
you ve had enough of me for a lifetime." 

He did very handsomely by the lead she gave him: 
"I couldn t have enough not in a lifetime." 
The taxi-driver snipped the strands of their gaze as he 
whisked her away. 

Marie Louise felt a forenoon elation in the cool air and the 
bright streets, thick with men and women in herds hurrying 
to their patriotic tasks, and a multitude of officers and enlisted 
men seeking their desks. She was here to join them, and she 
hoped that it would not be too hard to find some job with a 
little thrill of service in it. 

As she went through Georgetown now M Street was dif 
ferent full of marketers and of briskness. The old bridge 
was crowded. As her car swooped up the hills and skirted the 
curves to Polly Widdicombe s she began to be afraid again. 
But she was committed to the adventure and she was eager 
for the worst of it. She found the house without trouble 
and saw in the white grove of columns Polly herself, bidding 
good-by to her husband, whose car was waiting at the foot 
of the steps. 

Polly hailed Marie Louise with cries of such delight that 
before the cab had made the circle and drawn up at the steps 
the hunted look was gone and youth come back to Marie 
Louise s anxious smile. Polly kissed her and presented her 
husband, pointing to the gold leaves on his shoulders with 
militaristic pride. 

Widdicombe blushed and said: "Fearless desk-fighter has 
to hurry off to battle with ruthless stenographers. Such are 
the horrors of war!" 

He insisted on paying Marie Louise s driver, though she 
said, "Women will never be free so long as men insist on 
paying all their bills." 

Polly said: " Hush, or the brute will set me free! " 
He kissed Polly, waved to Marie Louise, stepped into his 
car, and shot away. 

Polly watched him with devout eyes and said: 

"Poor boy! he s dying to get across into the trenches, but 

they won t take him because he s a little near-sighted, thank 

God! And he works like a dog, day and night." Then she 

returned to the rites of hospitality. "Had your breakfast?" 


"At the station." The truth for once coincided very 
pleasantly with convenience. 

"Then I know what you want," said Polly, "a bath and 
a nap. After that all-night train-trip you ought to be a 

"I am." 

Polly led her to a welcoming room that would have been 
quite pretty enough if it had had only a bed and a chair. 
Marie Louise felt as if she had come out of the wilderness into 
a city of refuge. Polly had an engagement, a committee 
meeting of women war- workers, and would not be back until 
luncheon-time. Marie Louise steeped herself in a hot tub, 
then in a long sweet sleep in a real bed. She was wakened 
by the voices of children, and looked out from her window to 
see the Widdicombe tots drilling in a company of three 
with a drum, a flag, and a wooden gun. The American army 
was not much bigger compared with the European nations in 
arms, but it would grow. 

Polly came home well charged with electricity, the new- 
woman idea that was claiming half of the war, the true 
squaw-spirit that takes up the drudgery at home while the 
braves go out to swap missiles with the enemy. When Marie 
Louise said that she, too, had come to Washington to get 
into harness somewhere, Polly promised her a plethora of 

At luncheon Polly was reminded of the fact that a pho 
tographer was coming over from Washington. He had asked 
for sittings, and she had acceded to his request. 

"I never can get photographs enough of my homely self," 
said Polly. "I m always hoping that by some accident the 
next one will make me look as I want to look make ithers 
see me as I see mysel !" 

When the camera-man arrived Polly insisted that Marie 
Louise must pose, too, and grew so urgent that she consented 
at last, to quiet her. They spent a harrowing afternoon 
striking attitudes all over the place, indoors and out, standing, 
sitting, heads and half-lengths, profile and three-quarters 
and full face. Their muscles ached with the struggle to 
assume and retain beatific expressions on an empty soul. 

The consequences of that afternoon of self-impersonation 
were far-reaching for Marie Louise. 


According to the Washingtonian custom, one of the new 
photographs appeared the following Sunday in each of the four 
newspapers. The Sunday after that Marie Louise s likeness 
appeared with "Dolly Madison s" and Jean Elliott s syn 
dicated letters on "The Week in Washington" in Sunday 
supplements throughout the country. Every now and then 
her likeness popped out at her from Town and Country, Vogue, 
Harper s Bazar, The Spur, what not? 

One of those countless images fell into the hands of Jake 
Nuddle, who had been keeping an incongruous eye on the 
Sunday supplements for some time. This time the double of 
Mamise was not posed as a farmerette in an English land 
scape, but as a woman of fashion in a Colonial drawing-room. 

He hurried to his wife with the picture, and she called it 
"Mamise" with a recrudescent anguish of doubt. 

"She s in this country now, the paper says," said Jake. 
"She s in Washington, and if I was you I d write her a little 
letter astin her is she our sister." 

Mrs. Nuddle was crying too loosely to note that "our." 
The more Jake considered the matter the less he liked the 
thought of waiting for a letter to go and an answer to come. 

"Meet em face to face; that s me!" he declared at last. 
"I think I ll just take a trip to the little old capital m self. 
I can tell the rest the c mittee I m goin to put a few things up 
to some them Senators and Congersmen. That 11 get my 
expenses paid for me." 

There simply was nobody that Jake Nuddle would not 
cheat, if he could. 

His always depressing wife suggested: "Supposin the lady 
says she ain t Mamise, how you goin to prove she is? You 
never seen her." 

Jake snarled at her for a fool, but he knew that she was right. 
He resisted the dismal necessity as long as he could, and then 
extended one of his most cordial invitations: 

"Aw, hell! I reckon I ll have to drag you along." 

He grumbled and cursed his fate and resolved to make 
Mamise pay double for ruining his excursion. 


FOR a time Marie Louise had the solace of being busy 
and of nibbling at the edge of great occasions. The 
nation was reconstituting its whole life, and Washington was 
the capital of all the Allied peoples, their brazen serpent and 
their promise of salvation. Almost everybody was doing 
with his or her might what his or her hand found to do. 
Repetition and contradiction of effort abounded; there was 
every confusion of counsel and of action. But the Republic 
was gathering itself for a mighty leap into the arena. For 
the first time women were being not merely permitted, but 
pleaded with, to lend their aid. 

Marie Louise rolled bandages at a Red Cross room presided 
over by a pleasant widow, Mrs. Perry Merithew, with a son 
in the aviation, who was forever needing bandages. Mamise 
tired of these, bought a car and joined the Women s Motor 
Corps. She had a collision with a reckless wretch named 
"Pet" Bettany, and resigned. She helped with big festivals, 
toiled day and night at sweaters, and finally bought herself 
a knitting-machine and spun out half a dozen pairs of socks 
a day, by keeping a sweatshop pace for sweatshop hours. 
She was trying to find a more useful job. The trouble was 
that everybody wanted to be at something, to get into a 
uniform of some sort, to join the universal mobilization. 

She went out little of evenings, preferring to keep herself 
in the seclusion of the Rosslyn home. Gradually her fears 
subsided and she felt that her welcome was wearing through. 
She began to look for a place to live. Washington was in a 
panic of rentals. Apartments cost more than houses. A 
modest creature who had paid seventy-five dollars a month 
for a little flat let it for five hundred a month for the duration 
of the war. A gorgeous Sultana who had a two-hundred-and- 
fifty-dollar-a-month apartment rented it for a thousand 
dollars a month "for the duration." Marie Louise had money 


enough, but she could hardly find anything that it would 

She planned to secure a clerical post in some of the offices. 
She took up shorthand and poked a typewriter and read books 
on system and efficiency, then gave them up as Greek. 

Once in a while she saw Ross Davidge. He suffered an 
intermittent fever of hope and despondency. He, too, was 
trying to do his bit, but he was lost in the maelstrom swirling 
through the channels of official life. He would come to town 
for a few days, wait about, fuming, and return in disgust to 
his shipyard. It was not altogether patriotism that pulled him 
back to Washington. Marie Louise was there, and he lost 
several appointments with the great folk he came to see, be 
cause their hours clashed with Marie Louise s. 

On one of his voyages he was surprised to find at his hotel 
an invitation to dine at Mrs. Prothero s. Little as he knew 
of the eminent ones of the fashionable world, he knew the 
famous name of Prothero. He had spoken with reverence 
always of her late husband, one of the rebuilders of the 
American navy, a voice crying in the wilderness for a revival 
of the ancient glories of the merchant marine. Davidge had 
never met him or his widow. He felt that he could not 
refuse the unexplained opportunity to pay at least his respects 
to the relict of his idol. 

But he wondered by what means Mrs. Prothero, whom 
everybody had heard of, had heard of him. When he entered 
her door on the designated evening his riddle was answered. 

The butler glanced at his card, then picked from a heap on 
the console a little envelop which he proffered on his tray. 
The envelop was about the size of those that new - born 
parents use to inclose the proclamation of the advent of a new 
born infant. The card inside Davidge s envelop carried the 
legend, "Miss Webling." 

The butler led him to the drawing-room door and announced 
him. There indeed was Marie Louise, arm in arm with a 
majestic granddam in a coronet of white hair. 

Marie Louise put out her hand, and Davidge went to it. 
She clasped his and passed it on to Mrs. Prothero with a 
character : 

"This is the great Mr. Davidge, the shipwright." 

Mrs. Prothero pressed his hand and kept it while she said: 


"It is like Marie Louise to bring youth to cheer up an old 
crone like me." 

Davidge muffed the opening horribly. Instead of saying 
something brilliant about how young Mrs. Prothero looked, 
he said: 

Youth ? I m a hundred years old. 

"You are!" Mrs. Prothero cried. "Then how old does 
that make me, in the Lord s name a million?" 

Davidge could not even recover the foot he had put in it. 
By looking foolish and keeping silent he barely saved himself 
from adding the other foot. Mrs. Prothero smiled at his 

"Don t worry. I m too ancient to be caught by pretty 
speeches or to like the men who have em always ready." 

She pressed his hand again and turned to welcome the 
financial Cyclops, James Dyckman, and his huge wife, and 
Captain Fargeton, a foreign military attache" with service 
chevrons and wound-chevrons and a croix de guerre, and a wife, 
who had been Mildred Tait. 

"All that and an American spouse!" said Davidge to 
Marie Louise. 

"Have you never had an American spouse?" she asked, 

"Not one!" he confessed. 

Major and Polly Widdicombe had come in with Marie 
Louise, and Davidge drifted into their circle. The great room 
filled gradually with men of past or future fame, and the poor 
women who were concerned in enduring its acquisition. 

Marie Louise was radiant in mood and queenly in attire. 
Davidge was startled by the magnificence of her jewelry. 
Some of it was of old workmanship, royal heirloomry. Her 
accent was decidedly English, yet her race was undoubtedly 
American. The many things about her that had puzzled him 
subconsciously began to clamor at least for the attention of 
curiosity. He watched her making the best of herself, as a 
skilful woman does when she is all dressed up in handsome 
scenery among toplofty people. 

Polly was describing the guests as they came in: 

"That s Colonel Harvey Forbes. His name has been sent 
to Congress for approval as a brigadier-general. I knew him 
in the midst of the wildest scandal remind me to tell you. 


He was only a captain then. He ll probably end as a king 
or something. This war is certainly good to some people." 

Davidge watched Marie Louise studying the somber officer. 
He was a bit jealous, shamed by his own civilian clothes. 
Suddenly Marie Louise s smile at Polly s chatter stopped short, 
shriveled, then returned to her face with a look of effort. 
Her muscles seemed to be determined that her lips should 
not droop. 

Davidge heard the butler announce: 

"Lady Clifton-Wyatt and General Sir Hector Havendish." 

Davidge wondered which of the two names could have so 
terrified Marie Louise. Naturally he supposed that it was the 
man s. He turned to study the officer in his British uniform. 
He saw a tall, loose- jointed, jovial man of horsy look and 
carriage, and no hint of mystery one would say an intolerance 
of mystery. 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt was equally amiable. She laughed and 
wrung the hands of Mrs. Prothero. They were like two school 
girls met in another century. 

Davidge noted that Marie Louise turned her back and 
listened with extraordinary interest to Major Widdicombe s 
old story about an Irishman who did or said something or 
other. Davidge heard Mrs. Prothero say to Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt, with all the joy in the world: 

"Who do you suppose is here but our Marie Louise?" 

"Our Marie Louise?" Lady Clifton-Wyatt echoed, with a 
slight chill. 

"Yes, Marie Louise Webling. It was at her house that I 
met you. Where has the child got to? There she is." 

Without raising her voice she focused it between Marie 
Louise s shoulder-blades. 

"Marie Louise, my dear!" 

Marie Louise turned and came up like a wax image on 
casters pulled forward by an invisible window-dresser. Lady 
Clifton-Wyatt s limber attitude grew erect, deadly, ominously 
hostile. She looked as if she would turn Marie Louise to 
stone with a Medusa glare,"but she evidently felt that she had 
no right to commit petrifaction in Mrs. Prothero s home; 
so she bowed and murmured: 

"Ah, yis! How are you?" 

To Davidge s amazement, Miss Webling, instead of meeting 


the rebuff in kind, wavered before it and bowed almost grate 
fully. Then, to Davidge s confusion, Lady Clifton-Wyatt 
marched on him with a gush of cordiality as if she had been 
looking for him around the Seven Seas. She remembered him, 
called him by name and told him that she had seen his pickchah 
in one of the papahs, as one of the creatahs of the new fleet. 

Mrs. Prothero was stunned for a moment by the scene, but 
she had passed through so many women s wars that she had 
learned to ignore them even when especially when her 
drawing-room was the battleground. 

Her mind was drawn from the incident by the materializa 
tion of the butler. 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt, noting that the tide was setting toward 
the dining-room and that absent-minded Sir Hector was 
floating along the current at the elbow of the pretty young 
girl, said to Davidge: 

"Are you taking me out or " 

It was a horrible moment, for all its unimportance, but he 
mumbled : 

"I I am sorry, but er Miss Webling 

"Oh! Ah!" said Lady Clifton-Wyatt. It was a very 
short "Oh!" and a very long "Ah!" a sort of gliding, crushing 
"Ah!" It went over him like a tank, leaving him flat. 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt reached Sir Hector s arm in a few strides 
and unhooked him from the girl also the girl from him. The 
girl was grateful. Sir Hector was used to disappointments. 

Davidge went to Marie Louise, who stood lonely and dis 
traught. He felt ashamed of his word "sorry" and hoped 
she hadn t heard it. Silently and crudely he angled his 
arm, and she took it and went along with him in a somnam 

Davidge, manlike, tried to cheer up his elbow-mate by a 
compliment. A man s first aid to a woman in distress is a 
compliment or a few pats of the hand. He said: 

"This is the second big dinner you and I have attended. 
There were bushels of flowers between us before, but I d 
rather see your face than a ton of roses." 

The compliment fell out like a ton of coal. He did not like 
it at all. She seemed not to have heard him, for she mur 

"Yis, isn t it?" 


Then, as the occultists say, he went into the silence. There 
is nothing busier than a silence at a dinner. The effort 
to think with no outlet in speech kept up such a roaring in 
his head that he could hardly grasp what the rest were saying. 

Lady Clifton- Wyatt sat at Davidge s right and kept invad 
ing his quiet communion with Marie Louise by making 
remarks of the utmost graciousness somehow fermented like 
wine turned vinegar. 

"I wonder if you remember when we met in London, 
Mr. Davidge ? It was just after the poor Lusitania was sunk. 

"So it was," said Davidge. 

"It was at Sir Joseph Webling s. You knew he was dead, 
didn t you? Or did you?" 

"Yes, Miss Webling told me." 

"Oh, did she! I was curious to know." 

She cast a look past him at Marie Louise and saw that the 
girl was about ready to make a scene. She smiled and 
deferred further torture. 

Mrs. Prothero supervened. She had the beautiful theory 
that the way to make her guests happy was to get them to 
talking about themselves. She tried to draw Davidge out 
of his shell. But he talked about her husband instead, and of 
the great work he had done for the navy. He turned the 
tables of graciousness on her. Her nod recognized the 
chivalry; her lips smiled with pride in her husband s praise; 
her eyes glistened with an old regret made new. "He would 
have been useful now," she sighed. 

"He was the man who laid the keel-blocks of our new 
navy," said Davidge. "The thing we haven t got and have 
got to get is a merchant marine." 

He could talk of that, though he could not celebrate himself. 
He was still going strong when the dinner was finished. 

Mrs. Prothero clung to the old custom. She took the women 
away with her to the drawing-room, leaving the men alone. 

Davidge noted that Lady Clifton- Wyatt left the dining- 
room with a kind of eagerness, Marie Louise reluctantly. 
She cast him a look that seemed to cry "Help!" He won 
dered what the feud could be that threw Miss Webling into 
such apparent panic. He could not tolerate the thought that 
she had a yellow streak in her. 


EDY CLIFTON-WYATT, like many another woman, was 
kept in order by the presence of men. She knew that the 
least charming of attributes in masculine eyes are the female 
feline, the gift and art of claws. 

Men can be catty, too torn-catty, yet contemptibly feline 
when they are not on their good behavior. There are times 
when the warning, "Gentlemen, there are ladies present," 
restores them to order as quickly as the entrance of a 
teacher turns a school-room of young savages into an assembly 
of young saints. 

The women in Mrs. Prothero s drawing-room could not 
hear any of the words the men mixed with their smoke, but 
they could hear now and then a muffled explosion of laughter 
of a quality that indicated what had provoked it. 

The women, too, were relieved of a certain constraint by 
their isolation. They seemed to enjoy the release. It was 
like getting their minds out of tight corsets. They were not 
impatient for the men as some of the men may have imagined. 
These women were of an age where they had something else 
to think of besides men. They had careers to make or keep 
among women as well as the men among men. 

The servants kept them on guard till the coffee, tobacco, 
and liqueurs were distributed. Then recess was declared. 
Marie Louise found herself on a huge tapestried divan pro 
vided with deep, soft cushions that held her like a quicksands. 
On one side of her was the mountainous Mrs. Dyckman 
resembling a stack of cushions cased in silk; on the other was 
Mildred Tait Fargeton, whose father had been ambassador 
to France. 

Marie Louise listened to their chatter with a frantic im 
patience. Polly was heliographing ironic messages with her 
eyes. Polly was hemmed in by the wife of a railroad juggler, 
who was furious at the Administration because it did not put 


all its transportation problems in her husband s hands. She 
would not have intrusted him with the buying of a spool of 
thread; but that was different. 

Mrs. Prothero was monopolized by Lady Clifton-Wyatt. 
Marie Louise could see that she herself was the theme of the 
talk, for Mrs. Prothero kept casting startled glances Marie- 
Louise-ward, and Lady Clifton-Wyatt glances of baleful 

Marie Louise had proved often enough that she was no 
coward, but even the brave turn poltroon when they fight 
without a sense of justification. Her pride told her that she 
ought to cross over to Lady Clifton-Wyatt and demand that 
she speak up. But her sense of guilt robbed her of her courage. 
And that oath she had given to Mr. Verrinder without the 
least reluctance now loomed before her as the greatest mistake 
of her life. Her sword and shield were both in pawn. 

She gave herself up for lost and had only one hope, that 
the men would not come in especially that Ross Davidge 
would not come in in time to learn what Lady Clifton-Wyatt 
was so eager to publish. She gave Mrs. Prothero up for lost, 
too, and Polly. But she wanted to keep Ross Davidge fond 
of her. 

Then in a lull Mrs. Prothero spoke up sharply: 

"I simply can t believe it, my dear. I don t know that 
I ever saw a German spy, but that child is not one. I d stake 
my life on it." 

"And now the avalanche!" thought Marie Louise. 

The word "spy" was beginning to have more than an 
academic or fictional interest to Americans, and it caught 
the ear of every person present. 

Mrs. Dyckman and Mme. Fargeton sat up as straight as 
their curves permitted and gasped: 

"A German spy! Who? Where?" 

Polly Widdicombe sprang to her feet and darted to Mrs. 
Prothero s side. 

"Oh, how lovely ! Tell me who she is ! I m dying to shoot 
a spy." 

Marie Louise sickened at the bloodthirstiness of Polly the 

Mrs. Prothero tried to put down the riot of interest by 
saying : 


"Oh, it s nothing. Lady Clifton-Wyatt is just joking." 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt was at bay. She shot a glance at 
Marie Louise and insisted: 

"Indeed I m not! I tell you she is a spy." 

"Who s a spy?" Polly demanded. 

"Miss Webling," said Lady Clifton-Wyatt. 

Polly began to giggle; then she frowned with disappoint 

"Oh, I thought you meant it." 

"I do mean it, and if you ll take my advice you ll be 
warned in time." 

Polly turned, expecting to find Marie Louise showing her 
contemptuous amusement, but the look she saw on Marie 
Louise s face was disconcerting. Polly s loyalty remained 
staunch. She hated Lady Clifton-Wyatt anyway, and the 
thought that she might be telling the truth made her a little 
more hatable. Polly stormed: 

"I won t permit you to slander my best friend." 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt replied, "I don t slahnda hah, and 
if she is yaw best friend well " 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt hated Polly and was glad of the weapon 
against her. Polly felt a sudden terrific need of retorting 
with a blow. Men had never given up the fist on the mouth 
as the simple, direct answer to an insult too complicated for 
any other retort. She wanted to slap Lady Clifton-Wyatt s 
face. But she did not know how to fight. Perhaps women 
will acquire the male prerogative of the smash in the jaw 
along with the other once exclusive masculine privileges. It 
will do them no end of good and help to clarify all life for them. 
But for the present Polly could only groan, "Agh!" and turn 
to throw an arm about Marie Louise and drag her forward. 

"I d believe one word of Marie Louise against a thousand 
of yours," she declared. 

"Very well ahsk hah, then." 

Polly was crying mad, and madder than ever because she 
hated herself for crying when she got mad. She almost 
sobbed now to Marie Louise, "Tell her it s a dirty, rotten lie." 

Marie Louise had been dragged to her feet. She temporized, 
"What has she sai-said?" 

Polly snickered nervously, "Oh, nothing except that you 
were a German spy." 


And now somewhere, somehow, Marie Louise found the 
courage of desperation. She laughed: 

"Lady Clifton-Wyatt is notori famous for her quaint 
sense of humor." 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt sneered, "Could one expect a spy to 
admit it?" 

Marie Louise smiled patiently. "Probably not. But 
surely even you would hardly insist that denying it proves it ?" 

This sophistry was too tangled for Polly. She spoke up: 

"Let s have the details, Lady Clifton-Wyatt if you don t 

"Yes, yes," the chorus murmured. 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt braced herself. Well, in the first place 
Miss Webling is not Miss Webling." 

"Oh, but I am," said Marie Louise. 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt gasped, "You don t mean to pretend 

"Did you read the will?" said Marie Louise. 

"No, of course not, but " 

"It says there that I was their daughter." 

"Well, we ll not quibble. Legally you may have been, but 
actually you were their adopted child." 

"Yis?" said Marie Louise. "And where did they find me? 
Had you heard?" 

"Since you force me to it, I must say that it is generally 
believed that you were the natural daughter of Sir Joseph." 

Marie Louise was tremendously relieved by having some 
thing that she could deny. She laughed with a genuineness 
that swung the credulity all her way. She asked: 

"And who was my mother my natural mother, could you 
tell me? I really ought to know." 

"She is believed to have been a a native of Australia." 

"Good Heavens! You don t mean a kangaroo?" 

"An actress playing in Vienna." 

"Oh, I am relieved! And Sir Joseph was my father yes. 
Do go on." 

"Whether Sir Joseph was your father or not, he was born 
in Germany and so was his wife, and they took a false oath 
of allegiance to his Majesty. All the while they were loyal 
only to the Kaiser. They worked for him, spied for him. It is 
said that the Kaiser had promised to make Sir Joseph one 


of the rulers over England when he captured the island. Sir 
Joseph was to have any castle he wanted and untold wealth." 

"What was I to have?" Marie Louise was able to mock 
her. "Wasn t I to have at least Westminster Abbey to live 
in? And one of the crown princes for a husband?" 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt lost her temper and her bearings. 

"Heaven knows what you were promised, but you did your 
best to earn it, whatever it was." 

Mrs. Prothero lost patience. "Really, my dear Lady 
Clifton-Wyatt, this is all getting beyond me." 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt grew scarlet, too. She spoke with the 
wrath of a Tisiphone whipping herself to a frenzy. "I will 
bring you proofs. This creature was a paid secret agent, a 
go-between for Sir Joseph and the Wilhelmstrasse. She car 
ried messages. She went into the slums of Whitechapel dis 
guised as a beggar to meet the conspirators. She carried them 
lists of ships with their cargoes, dates of sailing, destinations. 
She carried great sums of money. She was the paymaster 
of the spies. Her hands are red with the blood of British 
sailors and women and children. She grew so bold that at last 
she attracted the attention of even Scotland Yard. She was 
followed, traced to Sir Joseph s home. It was found that she 
lived at his house. 

"One of the spies, named Easling or Oesten, was her lover. 
He was caught and met his deserts before a firing-squad in the 
Tower. His confession implicated Sir Joseph. The police 
raided his place. A terrific fight ensued. He resisted arrest. 
He tried to shoot one of our police. The bullet went wild and 
killed his wife. Before he could fire again he was shot down 
by one of our men." 

The astonishing transformations the story had undergone 
in its transit from gossip to gossip stunned Marie Louise. The 
memory of the reality saddened her beyond laughter. Her 
distress was real, but she had self-control enough to focus 
it on Lady Clifton-Wyatt and murmur: 

"Poor thing, she is quite mad!" 

There is nothing that so nearly drives one insane as to be 
accused of insanity. 

The prosecutrix almost strangled on her indignation at 
Marie Louise s calm. 

"The effrontery of this woman is unendurable, Mrs. 


Prothero. If you believe her, you must permit me to leave. 
I know what I am saying. I have had what I tell you from 
the best authority. Of course, it may sound insane, but wait 
until you learn what the German secret agents have been doing 
in America for years and what they are doing now." 

There had been publication enough of the sickening duplic 
ity of ambassadors and attaches to lead the Americans to 
believe that Teutonism meant anything revolting. Mrs. 
Prothero was befuddled at this explosion in her quiet home. 
She asked: 

"But surely all this has never been published, has it? 
I think we should have heard of it here." 

"Of course not," said Lady Clifton-Wyatt. "We don t 
publish the accounts of the submarines we sink, do we? No 
more do we tell the Germans what spies of theirs we have 
captured. And, since Sir Joseph and his wife were dead, there 
would have been no profit in publishing broadcast the story 
of the battle. So they agreed to let it be known that they 
died peacefully or rather painfully in their beds, of ptomaine 

"That s true," said Mrs. Prothero. "That s what I read. 
That s what I ve always understood." 

Now, curiously, as often happens in court, the discovery 
that a witness has stumbled on one truth in a pack of lies 
renders all he has said authentic and shifts the guilt to the 
other side. Marie Louise could feel the frost of suspicion 
against her forming in the air. 

Polly made one more onset: "But, tell me, Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt, where was Marie Louise during all this Wild West 
End pistol-play?" 

"In her room with her lover," snarled Lady Clifton-Wyatt. 
"The servants saw her there." 

This threw a more odious light on Marie Louise. She was 
not merely a nice clean spy, but a wanton. 

Polly groaned: "Tell that to Scotland Yard! I d never 
believe it." 

"Scotland Yard knows it without my telling," said Lady 

"But how did Marie Louise come to escape and get to 

"Because England did not want to shoot a woman, especially 


not a young woman of a certain prettiness. So they let her 
go, when she swore that she would never return to England. 
But they did not trust her. She is under observation now! 
Your home is watched, my dear Mrs. Widdicombe, and I 
dare say there is a man on guard outside now, my dear Mrs. 

This sent a chill along every spine. Marie Louise was 
frightened out of her own brief bravado. 

There was a lull in the trial while everybody reveled in 
horror. Then Mrs. Prothero spoke in a judicial tone. 

"And now, Miss Webling, please tell us your side of all this. 
What have you to say in your own behalf?" 

Marie Louise s mouth suddenly turned dry as bark; her 
tongue was like a dead leaf. She was inarticulate with remem 
brance of her oath to Verrinder. She just managed to whisper: 


It sounded like an autumn leaf rasping across a stone. 
Polly cried out in agony: 

"Marie Louise!" 

Marie Louise shook her head and could neither think nor 
speak. There was a hush of waiting. It was broken by the 
voices of the men strolling in together. They were utterly 
unwelcome. They stopped and stared at the women all 
staring at Marie Louise. 

Seeing Davidge about to ask what the tableau stood for, she 
found voice to say: 

" Mr. Davidge, would you be so good as to take me home 
to Mrs. Widdicombe s, that is. I I am a little faint." 

"Delighted! I mean I m sorry I d be glad," he stam 
mered, eager to be at her service, yet embarrassed by the 
sudden appeal. 

"You ll pardon me, Mrs. Prothero, for running away!" 

"Of course," said Mrs. Prothero, still dazed. 

He bowed to her, and all round. Marie Louise nodded and 
whispered, "Good night!" and moved toward the door 
waveringly. Davidge s heart leaped with pity for her. 

Lady Clifton- Wyatt checked him as he hurried past her. 

"Oh, Mr. Davidge, I m stopping at the Shoreham. Won t 
you drop in and have a cup of tea with me to-morrow at 
hahf pahstfah?" 

"Thank you! Yes!" 


HTHE intended victim of Lady Clifton-Wyatt s little lynching- 
1 bee walked away, holding her head high. But she felt the 
noose still about her neck and wondered when the rope would 
draw her back and up. 

Marie Louise marched through Mrs. Prothero s hall in ex 
cellent form, with just the right amount of dizziness to justify 
her escape on tne plea of sudden illness. The butler, like a 
benign destiny, opened the door silently and let her out into 
the open as once before in London a butler had opened a 
door and let her into the welcome refuge of walls. 

She gulped the cool night air thirstily, and it gave her cour 
age. But it gave her no wisdom. She had indeed got away 
from Lady Clifton-Wyatt s direct accusation of being a spy 
and she had brought with her unscathed the only man whose 
good opinion was important to her. But she did not know 
what she wanted to do with him, except that she did not want 
him to fall into Lady Clifton-Wyatt s hands in which she 
had left her reputation. 

Polly Widdicombe would have gone after Marie Louise 
forthwith, but Polly did not intend to leave her pet foewoman 
in possession of the field not that she loved Marie Louise 
more, but that she loved Lady Clifton-Wyatt less. Polly 
was dazed and bewildered by Marie Louise s defection, but 
she would not accept Lady Clifton-Wyatt s version of this 
story or of any other. 

Besides, Polly gleaned that Marie Louise wanted to be 
alone, and she knew that the best gift friendship can be 
stow at times is solitude. The next best gift is defense 
in absence. Polly announced that she would not permit 
her friend to be traduced; and Lady Clifton-Wyatt, seeing 
that the men had flocked in from the dining-room and 
knowing that men always discount one woman s attack on 


another as mere cattiness, assumed her most angelic mien 
and changed the subject. 

As usual in retreats, the first problem was transportation. 
Marie Louise found herself and Davidge outside Mrs. Pro- 
thero s door, with no means of getting to Rosslyn. She had 
come in the Widdicombe car; Davidge had come in a hotel 
cab and sent it away. Luckily at last a taxi returning to the 
railroad terminal whizzed by. Davidge yelled in vain, Then 
he put his two fingers to his mouth and let out a short blast 
that brought the taxi-driver round. In accordance with the 
traffic rules, he had to make the circuit of the big statue- 
crowned circle in front of Mrs. Prothero s home, one of those 
numerous hubs that give Washington the effect of what some 
one called "revolving streets." 

When he drew up at the curb Davidge s first question 

"How s your gasolene supply?" 

"Full up, boss." 

Marie Louise laughed. "You don t want to spend another 
night in a taxi with me, I see." 

Davidge writhed at this deduction. He started to say, 
"I d be glad to spend the rest of my life in a taxi with you." 
That sounded a little too flamboyant, especially with a driver 
listening in. So he said nothing but "Huh!" 

He explained to the driver the route to Grin den Hall, and 
they set forth. 

Marie Louise had a dilemma of her own. Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt had had the last word, and it had been an invitation 
to Davidge to call on her. Worse yet, he had accepted it. 
Lady Clifton-Wyatt s purpose was, of course, to rob Marie 
Louise of this last friend. Perhaps the wretch had a senti 
mental interest in Davidge, too. She was a widow and a man- 
grabber; she still had a tyrannic beauty and a greed of con 
quest. Marie Louise was determined that Davidge should 
not fall into her clutches, but she could hardly exact a promise 
from him to stay away. 

The taxi was crossing the aqueduct bridge before she could 
brave the point. She was brazen enough to say, "You ll 
accept Lady Clifton-Wyatt s invitation to tea, of course?" 

"Oh, I suppose so," said Davidge. "No American woman 


can resist a lord; so how could an American man resist a 


This helpless syllable expressed another defeat for Marie 
Louise.. When they reached the house she bade him good 
night without making any arrangement for a good morrow, 
though Davidge held her hand decidedly longer than ever 

She stood on the portico and watched his cab drive off. 
She gazed toward Washington and did not see the dreamy 
constellation it made with the shaft of the Monument ghostly 
luminous as if with a phosphorescence of its own. She felt 
an outcast indeed. She imagined Polly hurrying back to 
ask questions that could not be dodged any longer. She had 
no right to defend herself offensively from the rightful de 
mands of a friend and hostess. Besides, the laws of hospitality 
would not protect her from Polly s temper. Polly would have 
a perfect right to order her from the house. And she would, 
too, when she knew everything. It would be best to decamp 
before being asked to. 

Marie Louise whirled and sped into the house, rang for the 
maid, and said: 

"My trunks! Please have them brought down or up, 
from wherever they are, will you?" 

"Your trunks, miss!" 

"And a taxicab. I shall have to leave at once." 

"But oh, I am sorry. Shall I help you pack? * 

"Thank you, no yes no!" 

The maid went out with eyes popping, wondering what 
earthquake had sent the guest home alone for such a head 
long exit. 

Things flew in the drowsy house, and Marie Louise s cham 
ber looked like the show-room of a commercial traveler for a 
linen-house when Polly appeared at the door and gasped: 

What in the name of I didn t know you were sick enough 
to be delirious!" 

She came forward through an archipelago of clothes to 
where Marie Louise was bending over a trunk. Polly took 
an armload of things away from her and put them back in the 
highboy. As she set her arms akimbo and stood staring at 
Marie Louise with a lovable and loving insolence, she heard 


the sound of a car rattling round the driveway, and her first 
words were: 

"Who s coming here at this hour?" 

"That s the taxi for me," Marie Louise explained. 

Polly turned to the maid, "Go down and send it away 
no, tell the driver to go to the asylum for a strait-jacket." 

The maid smiled and left. Marie Louise was afraid to 
believe her own hopes. 

"You don t mean you want me to stay, do you not after 
what that woman said?" 

"Do you imagine for a moment," returned Polly, "that I d 
ever believe a word that cat could utter? Good Lord ! if Lady 
Clifton-Wyatt told me it was raining and I could see it was, 
I d know it wasn t and put down my umbrella." 

Marie Louise rejoiced at the trust implied, but she could 
not make a fool of so loyal a friend. She spoke with difficulty : 

"What if what she said was the truth, or, anyway, a kind 
of burlesque of it?" 

"Marie Louise!" Polly gasped, and plounced into a chair. 
"Tell me the truth this minute, the true truth." 

Marie Louise was perishing for a confidante. She had gone 
about as far without one as a normal woman can. She sat 
wondering how to begin, twirling her rings on her fingers. 
"Well, you see you see it is true that I m not Sir Joseph s 
daughter. I was born in a little village in America Wake- 
field out there in the Middle West. I ran away from home, 

She hesitated, blanched, blushed, skipped over the years 
she tried not to think of and managed never to speak of. 
She came down to: 

"Well, anyway, at last I was in Berlin on the stage 

"You were an actress?" Polly gasped. 

Marie Louise confessed, "Well, I d hardly say that." 

She told Polly what she had told Mr. Verrinder of the ap 
pearance of Sir Joseph and Lady Webling, of their thrill at 
her resemblance to their dead daughter, of their plea that she 
leave the stage and enter their family, of her new life, and 
the outbreak of the war. 

Major Widdicombe pounded on the door and said: "Axe 
you girls going to talk all night? I ve got to get up at seven 
and save the country." 


Polly cried to him, "Go away, * and to Marie Louise, "Go 

Marie Louise began again, but just as she reached the first 
suspicions of Sir Joseph s loyalty she remembered the oath 
she had plighted to Verrinder and stopped short. 

"I forgot! I can t!" 

Polly groaned: "Oh, my God! You re not going to stop 
there! I loathe serials." 

Marie Louise shook her head. "If only I could tell you; 
but I just can t! That s all; I can t!" 

Polly turned her eyes up in despair. "Well, I might as 
well go to bed, I suppose. But I sha n t sleep a wink. Tell 
me one thing, though. You weren t really a German spy, 
were you?" 

"No, no! Of course not! I loathe everything German." 

"Well, let the rest rest, then. So long as Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt is a liar I can stand the strain. If you had been a 
spy, I suppose I d have to shoot you or something; but so 
long as you re not, you don t budge out of this house. Is 
that understood?" 

Marie Louise nodded with a pathetic gratitude, and Polly 
stamped a kiss on her brow like a notarial seal. 


""THE next morning s paper announced that spring had offi- 
1 cially arrived and been recognized at the Capitol a cer 
tain Senator had taken off his wig. Washington accepted 
this as the sure sign that the weather was warm. It would 
not be officially autumn till that wig fell back into place. 

There were less formal indications: for instance, the an 
nual flower-duel between the two terraces on Massachusetts 
Avenue. The famous Embassy Terrace forsythias began it, 
and flaunted little fringes of yellow glory. The slopes of the 
Louise Home replied by setting their magnolia-trees on fire 
with flowers like lamps, flowers that hurried out ahead of 
their own leaves and then broke and covered the ground with 
great petals of shattered porcelain. The Embassy Terrace 
put out lamps of its own closer to the ground, but more gor 
geous irises in a row of blue, blue footlights. 

The Louise Home, where gentlewomen of better days, am 
bassadresses of an earlier regime, kept their state, had the last 
word, the word that could not be bettered, for it uttered wis 
taria, wistful lavender clusters weeping from the trellises in 
languorous grace. 

Marie Louise, looking from her open window in Rossi yn, 
felt in the wind a sense of stroking fingers. The trees were 
brisk with hope. The river went its way in a more sparkling 
flow. The air blew from the very fountains of youth with a 
teasing blarney. She thought of Ross Davidge and smiled 
tenderly to remember his amiable earnestness. But she 
frowned to remember his engagement with Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt. She wondered what excuse she could invent to check 
mate that woman. 

Suddenly inspiration came to her. She remembered that 
she had forgotten to pay Davidge for the seat he surrendered 
her in the chair-car. She telephoned him at his hotel. He 
was out. She pursued him by wire travel till she found him 
in an office of the Shipping Board. He talked on the corner of 


a busy man s desk. She heard the busy man say with a 
taunting voice, "A lady for you, Davidge." 

She could hear the embarrassment in his voice. She was 
in for it now, and she felt silly when she explained why she 
bothered him. But she was stubborn, too. When he under 
stood, he laughed with the constraint of a man bandying en 
forced gallantries on another man s telephone. 

"I d hate to be as honest as all that." 

"It s not honesty," she persisted. "It s selfishness. I 
can t rest while the debt is on my mind." 

He was perplexed. "I ve got to see several men on the 
Shipping Board. There s a big fight on between the wooden- 
ship fellows and the steel-ship men, and I m betwixt and be 
tween em. I won t have time to run out to see you." 

"I shouldn t dream of asking you. I was coming in to 
town, anyway." 

"Oh! Well, then well er when can I meet you?" 

"Whenever you say ! The Willard at When shall you be 

"Not before four and then only for half an hour." 

"Four it is." 

"Fine! Thank you ever so much. I ll buy me a lot of 
steel with all that money you owe me." 

Marie Louise put up the receiver. People have got so 
used to the telephone that they can see by it. Marie Louise 
could visualize Davidge angry with embarrassment, confront 
ing the important man whose office he had desecrated with 
this silly hammockese. She felt that she had made herself 
a nuisance and lost a trick. She had taken a deuce with her 
highest trump and had not captured the king. 

Furthermore, to keep Davidge from meeting Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt would be only to-day s battle. There would still be 
to-morrows and the day-afters. Lady Clifton-Wyatt had 
declared herself openly hostile to Marie Louise, and would 
get her sooner or later. Flight from Washington would be 
the only safety. 

But Marie Louise did not want to leave Washington. She 
loved Washington and the opportunities it offered a woman 
to do important work in the cosmopolitan whirl of its popu 
lace. But she could not live on at Polly Widdicombe s 


Marie Louise decided that her hour had struck. She must 
find a nook of her own. And she would have to live in it all 
by herself. Who was there to live with? She felt horribly 
deserted in life. She had looked at numerous houses and 
apartments from time to time. Apartments were costlier and 
fewer than houses. Since she was doomed to live alone, any 
way, she might as well have a house. Her neighbors would 
more easily be kept aloof. 

She sought a real-estate agent, Mr. Hailstorks, of the sort 
known as affable. But the dwellings he had to show were not 
even that. Places she had found not altogether odious before 
were rented now. Places that her heart went out to to-day 
proved to have been rented yesterday. 

Finally she ran across a residence of a sort. She sighed 
to Mr. Hailstorks: 

"Well, a carpenter made it so let it pass for a house. I ll 
take it if it has a floor. I m like Gelett Burgess: I don t so 
much care for a door, but this crawling around without 
touching the ground is getting to be quite a bore. " 

"Yes, ma am," said Mr. Hailstorks, bewilderedly. 

He unlocked the door of somebody s tenantless ex-home 
with its lonely furniture, and Marie Louise intruded, as one 
does, on the chairs, rugs, pictures, and vases that other people 
have been born with, have achieved, or have had thrust upon 
them. She wondered, as one does, what sort of beings they 
could have been that had selected such things to live among, 
and what excuse they had had for them. 

Mr. Hailstorks had a surprise in store for her. He led her 
to the rear of the house and raised a shade. Instead of the 
expectable back yard, Marie Louise was startled to see a noble 
landscape leap into view. The house loomed over a precipi 
tous descent into a great valley. A stream ran far below, and 
then the cliffs rose again opposite in a succession of uplifting 
terraces that reminded her somehow of Richmond Hill superb 
ly built up above the silver Thames. 

"Whatever is all that?" she cried. 

"Rock Creek Park, ma am," said Mr. Hailstorks, who had 
a sincere real-estately affection for parks, since they raised 
the price of adjoining property and made renting easier. 

"And what s the price of all this grandeur?" 

"Only three hundred a month," said Mr. Hailstorks. 


"Only!" gasped Marie Louise. 

"It will be four hundred in a week or two yes ma am," 
said Mr. Hailstorks. 

So Marie Louise seized it before its price rose any farther^ 

She took a last look at Rock Creek Park, henceforth her 
private game-preserve. As she stared, an idea came to her. 
She needed one. The park, it occurred to her, was an excel 
lent wilderness to get lost in with Ross Davidge. 

She was late to her meeting with Davidge not uninten 
tionally. He was waiting on the steps of the hotel, smoking, 
when she drove up in the car she had bought for her Motor 
Corps work. 

He said what she hoped he would say: 

"I didn t know you drove so well." 

She quoted a popular phrase: " You don t know the half 
of it, dearie. Hop in, and I ll show you." 

He thought of Lady Clifton-Wyatt, and Marie Louise knew 
he thought of her. But he was not hero or coward enough to 
tell a woman that he had an engagement with another woman. 
She pretended to have forgotten that he had told her, though 
she could think of little else. She whisked round the corner of 
I Street, or Eye Street, and thence up Sixteenth Street, fast 
and far. 

She was amazed at her own audacity, and Davidge could 
not make her out. She had a scared look that puzzled him. 
She was really thinking that she was the most unconscionable 
kidnapper that ever ran off with some other body s child. He 
could hardly dun her for the money, and she had apparently 
forgotten it again. 

They were well to the north when she said: 

"Do you know Rock Creek Park?" 

"No, I ve never been in it." 

"Would you like a glimpse? I think it s the prettiest park 
in the world." 

She looked at her watch with that twist of the wrist now 
becoming almost universal and gasped : 

"Oh, dear! I must turn back. But it s just about as short 
to go through the park. I mustn t make you late to Lady 
Clifton-Wyatt s tea." 

He could find absolutely nothing to say to that except, 


"It s mighty pretty along here." She turned into Blagdon 
Road and coasted down the long, many-turning dark glade. 
At the end she failed to steer to the south. The creek 
itself crossed the road. She drove the car straight through 
its lilting waters. There was exhilaration in the splashing 
charge across the ford. Then the road wound along the bank, 
curling and writhing with it gracefully through thick forests, 
over bridges and once more right through the bright flood. 
The creek scrambling among its piled-up boulders was too 
gay to suggest any amorous mood, and Marie Louise did 
not quite dare to drive the car down to the water s edge at 
any of the little green plateaus where picnics were being 
celebrated on the grass. 

"I always lose my way in this park," she said. "I expect 
I m lost now." 

She began to regret Davidge s approaching absence, with 
a strange loneliness. He was becoming tenderly necessary to 
her. She sighed, hardly meaning to speak aloud, "Too bad 
you re going away so soon." 

He was startled to find that his departure meant something 
to her. He spoke with an affectionate reassurance. 

She stopped the car on a lofty plateau where several ladies 
and gentlemen were exercising their horses at hurdle-jumping. 
The elan of rush, plunge and recovery could not excite Mamise 

"I ll tell you what we ll do. The next time I come to 
Washington you drive me over to my shipyard and I ll show 
you the new boat and the new yard for the rest of the flock." 

"That would be glorious. I should like to know something 
about ships." 

"I can teach you all I know in a little while." 

"You know all there is to know, don t you?" 

"Lord help us, I should say not! I knew a little about the 
old methods, but they re all done away with. The fabricated 
ship is an absolute novelty. The old lines are gone, and the 
old methods. What few ship-builders we had are trying to 
forget what they know. Everybody is green. We had to 
find out for ourselves and pass it along to the foremen, and 
they hand it out to the laborers. 

"The whole art is in a confusion. There is going to be a 
ghastly lot of mistakes and waste and scandal, but if we win 


out there ll be such a cloudburst that the Germans will think 
it s raining ships. Niagara Falls will be nothing to the cascade 
of iron hulls going overboard. Von Tirpitz with his ruthless 
policy will be like the old woman who tried to sweep the tide 
back with a broom." 

He grew so fervent in his vision of the new creation that he 
hardly saw the riders as they stormed the hurdles. Marie 
Louise took fire from his glow and forgot the petty motive 
that had impelled her to bring him to this place. Suddenly he 
realized how shamelessly eloquent he had been, and sub 
sided with a slump. 

"What a bore I am to tell all this to a woman!" 

She rose at that. "The day has passed when a man can 
apologize for talking business to a woman. I ve been in Eng 
land for years, you know, and the women over there are doing 
all the men s work and getting better wages at it than the men 
ever did. After the war they ll never go back to their tatting 
and prattle. I m going to your shipyard and have a look-in, 
but not the way a pink debutante follows a naval officer over 
a battle-ship, staring at him and not at the works. I m going 
on business, and if I like ship-building, I may take it up." 

"Great!" he laughed, and slapped her hand where it lay on 
the wheel. He apologized again for his roughness. 

"I ll forgive anything except an apology," she said. 

As she looked proudly down at the hand he had honored 
with a blow as with an accolade she saw by her watch that 
it was after six. 

"Great Heavens! it s six and more!" she cried. "Lady 
Clifton-Wyatt will never forgive you or me. I ll take you 
to her at once." 

"Never mind Lady Clifton-Wyatt," he said. "But I ve 
got another engagement for dinner with a man, at half past 
six. I wish I hadn t." 

They were drifting with the twilight into an elegiac mood, 
suffering the sweet sorrow of parting. 

The gloaming steeped the dense woods, and the romance of 
sunset and gathering night saddened the business man s soul, 
but wakened a new and unsuspected woman in Marie Louise. 

Her fierce imaginations were suddenly concerned with con 
quests of ambition, not of love. So fresh a realm was opened 
to her that she was herself renewed and restored to that boyish- 


girlish estate of young womanhood before love has educated it 
to desire and the slaveries of desire. The Aphrodite that lurks 
in every woman had been put to flight by the Diana that is 
also there. 

Davidge on the other hand had warmed toward Marie 
Louise suddenly, as he saw how ardent she could be. He had 
known her till now only in her dejected and terrified, distracted 
humors. Now he saw her on fire, and love began to blaze 
within him. 

He felt his first impulse to throw an arm about her and draw 
her to his breast, but though the solitude was complete and the 
opportunity perfect, he saw that she was in no spirit for 
dalliance. There is no colder chaperon for a woman than a 
new ambition to accomplish something worth while. 

As they drew up at the New Willard she was saying: 

"Telephone the minute you come to town again. Good-by. 
I m late to dinner." 

She meant that she was late to life, late to a career. 

Davidge stared at her in wonderment as she bent to throw 
the lever into first speed. She roughed it in her impatience, 
and the growl of the gear drowned the sound of another man s 
voice calling her name. This man ran toward her, but she 
did not notice him and got away before he could overtake her. 

Davidge was jostled by him as he ran, and noted that he 
called Miss Webling " Mees Vapelink." The Teutonic intona 
tion did not fall pleasantly on the American ear at that time. 
Washington was a forbidden city to Germanic men and soon 
would banish the enemy women, too. 

The stranger took refuge on the sidewalk, and his curses were 
snarly with the Teutonic r. Davidge studied him and began 
to remember him. He had seen him with Marie Louise 
somewhere. Suddenly his mind, ransacking the filing-cabinet 
of his memory, turned up a picture of Nicky Easton at the side 
of Marie Louise at the dinner in Sir Joseph s home. He could 
not remember the name, but a man has a ready label for any 
body he hates. 

He began to worry now. Who was this spick foreigner who 
ran hooting after her ? It was not like Davidge to be either curi 
ous or suspicious. But love was beginning its usual hocus-pocus 
with character and turning a tired business man into a restless 


Davidge resented Eastern s claim on Marie Louise, whatever 
it was, as an invasion of some imagined property right of his 
own, or at least of some option he had secured somehow. He 
was alarmed at the Teutonic accent of the interloper. He 
began to take heed of how little he knew of Marie Louise, 
after all. He recalled Sir Joseph Webling s German accent. 
An icy fear chilled him. 

His important business parley was conducted with an ab 
sent-mindedness that puzzled his host, the eminent iron 
master, Jacob Cruit, who had exchanged an income of a 
million a year and dictatorial powers for a governmental wage 
of one dollar per annum, no authority, no gratitude, and end 
less trouble. 

Davidge s nead was buzzing with thoughts in which Cruit 
had no part: 

"Can she be one of those horrible women who have 
many lovers? Is she a woman of affairs? What is all this 
mystery about her? What was she so afraid of the night she 
would not stop at Mrs. Widdicombe s? Why was she so upset 
by the appearance of Lady Clifton-Wyatt? Why was she in 
such a hurry to get me away from Mrs. Prothero s dinner, 
and to keep me from keeping my engagement with Lady 
Clifton-Wyatt ? Why so much German association ? 

He thought of dozens of explanations, most of them wild, 
but none of them so wild as the truth that Marie Louise was 
cowering under the accusation of being a German agent. 

He resolved that he would forget Marie Louise, discharge 
her from the employment of his thoughts. Yet that night 
as he lay cooking in his hot berth he thought of Marie Louise 
instead of ships. None of his riot of thoughts was so fan 
tastic as the fact that she was even then thinking of ships 
and not of him. 

That night Marie Louise ransacked the library that the 
owner of Grinden Hall had left with the other furniture. Some 
member of the family had been a cadet at Annapolis, and his 
old text-books littered the shelves. Marie Louise selected and 
bore away an armload, not of novels, but of books whose very 
backs had repelled her before. They were the very latest ro 
mance to her now. 

The authors of An Elementary Manual for the Deviation of 
the Compass in Iron Ships, The Marine Steam-engine, and 


An Outline of Ship-building, Theoretical and Practical, could 
hardly have dreamed that their works would one night go up 
stairs in the embrace of a young woman s arms. The books 
would have struck a naval architect as quaintly old-fashioned, 
but to Marie Louise they were as full of news as the latest 
evening extra. The only one she could understand with ease 
was Captain Samuels s From the Forecastle to the Cabin, and 
she was thrilled by his account of the struggles of his youth, 
his mutinies, his champion of the Atlantic, the semi-clipper 
Dreadnought, but most of all, by his glowing picture of the 
decay of American marine glory. 

She read till she could sit up no longer. Then she undressed 
and dressed for sleep, snapped on the reading-lamp, and took 
up another book, Bowditch s American Navigation. It was 
the "Revised Edition of 1883," but it was fresh sensation to 
her. She lay prone like the reading Magdalen in the picture, 
her hair pouring down over her shoulders, her bosom pillowed 
on the volume beneath her eyes. 


"P)ASSENGERS arriving at Washington in the early morn- 
1 ing may keep their cubbyholes until seven, no later. By 
half past seven they must be off the car. Jake Nuddle was an 
ugly riser. He had always regarded the alarm-clock as the 
most hateful of all the inventions of capitalists to enslave the 
poor. Jake had strange ideas of capitalists, none stranger than 
that they are luxurious persons who sleeo late and knock off 
work early. 

Waking Jake was one of the most dangerous of his wife s 
prerogatives. On this morning, if he had been awaker he would 
have bitten off the black hand that reached into his berth and 
twitched the sheet at seven of a non-working day. The voice 
that murmured appealingly through the curtains, "S em 
o clock, please!" did not please Jake at all. 

He cursed his annoying and nudging wife a few times 
heartily, then began to make his acutely unbeautiful toilet. 
In the same small wheeled hotel capitalists, statesmen, ma 
trons, and misses were dressing in quarters just as strait. 
Jake and his wife had always got in each other s way, but 
never more cumbersomely than now. Jake found his wife s 
stockings when he sought his socks. Her corset-strings seemed 
to be everywhere. Whatever he laid hold of brought along 
her corset. He thrust his head and arms into something 
white and came out of it sputtering: 

"That s your damned shimmy. Where s my damned 

Somehow they made it at last, got dressed and washed 
somehow and left the caravansary. Mrs. Nuddle carried the 
heavier baggage. They had breakfast at the lunch-counter; 
then they went out and looked at the Capitol. It inspired in 
Jake s heart no national reverence. He said to his awestruck 

"There s where that gang of robbers, the Congersmen, meet 


and agree on their hold-ups. They re all the hirelings of the 

"They voted for this rotten war without consulting the 
people. They didn t dare consult em. They knew the 
people wasn t in favor of no such crime. But the Congersmen 
get their orders from Wall Street, and them brokers wanted 
the war because they owned so much stock that wouldn t be 
worth the paper it was printed on unless the United States 
joined the Allies and collected for em off Germany." 

It was thus that Jake and his kind regarded the avalanche of 
norrinc woe that German ambition spilled upon the world 
and kept rolling down from the mountain-tops of heaped-up 
munitions. It was thus that they contemplated the mangled 
villages of innocent Belgium, the slavery-drives in the French 
towns, the windrows of British dead, the increasing lust of 
conquest, which grew by what it fed on, till at last America, 
driven frantic by the endless carnage, took up belatedly the 
gigantic task of throwing back the avalanche across the moun 
tain to the other side before it engulfed and ruined the world. 
While Europe agonized in torments unthinkable, immeasur 
able, and yet mysteriously endurable only because there was 
no escape visible, the Jake Nuddles, illiterate and literate, 
croaked their batrachian protest against capital, bewailed the 
lot of imaginary working-men, and belied the life of real 

Staring at the Capitol, which means so much nobility to 
him who has the nobility to understand the dream that raised 
it, he burlesqued its ideals. Cruel, corrupt, lazy, and sloven 
of soul, he found there what he knew best because it was his 
own. Aping a sympathy he could not feel, he grew maudlin: 

"So they drag our poor boys from their homes in droves 
and send em off to the slaughter-house in France all for 
money! Anything to grind down the honest workman into 
the dust, no matter how many mothers hearts they break!" 

Jake was one of those who never express sympathy for any 
body except in the course of a tirade against somebody else. 
He had small use for wives, mothers, or children except as 
clubs to pound rich men with. His wife, who knew him all 
too well, was not impressed by his eloquence. Her typical an 
swer to his typical tirade was, "I wonder how on earth we re 
goin to find Mamise." 


Jake groaned at the anticlimax to his lofty flight, but he 
realized that the main business before the house was what 
his wife propounded. 

He remembered seeing an Information Bureau sign in the 
station. He had learned from the newspaper in which he had 
seen Mamise s picture that she was visiting Major Widdi- 
combe. He had written the name down on the tablets of his 
memory, and his first plan was to find Major Widdicombe. 
Jake had a sort of wolfish cunning in tracing people he wanted 
to meet. He could always find anybody who might lend him 
money. He had mysterious difficulties in tracing some one 
who could give him work. 

He left his wife to simmer in the station while he set forth 
on a scouting expedition. After much travel he found at last 
the office of the Ordnance Department, in which Major Wid 
dicombe toiled, and he appeared at length at Major Widdi- 
combe s desk. 

Jake was cautious. He would not state his purpose. He 
hardly dared to claim relationship with Miss Webling until 
he was positive that she was his sister-in-law. Noting Jake s 
evasiveness, the Major discreetly evaded the request for his 
guest s address. He would say no more than: 

"Miss Webling is coming down to lunch with me at the 
that is with my wife. I ll tell her you re looking for her; if 
she wants to meet you, I ll tell you, if you come back here." 

"All right, mucher bliged," said Jake. Baffled and without 
further recourse, he left the Major s presence, since there 
seemed to be nothing else to do. But once outside, he felt that 
there had been something highly unsatisfactory about the par 
ley. He decided to imitate Mary s little lamb and to hang 
about the building till the Major should appear. In an hour or 
two he was rewarded by seeing Widdicombe leave the door 
and step into an automobile. Jake heard him tell the driver, 
"The Shoreham." 

Jake walked to the notel and saw Marie Louise seated at 
a table by a window. He recognized her by her picture and 
was duly triumphant. He was ready to advance and demand 
recognition. Then he realized that he could make no claim 
on her without his awful wife s corroboration. He took a 
street-car back to the station and found his nominal helpmeet 
sitting just where he had left her. 


Abbie had bought no newspaper, book, or magazine to 
while away the time with. She was not impatient of idleness. 
It was luxury enough just not to be warshin clo es, cookin 
vittles, or wrastlin dishes. She took a dreamy content in 
studying the majesty of the architecture, but her interest 
in it was about that of a lizard basking on a fallen column in 
a Greek peristyle. It was warm and spacious and nobody 
disturbed her drowsy beatitude. 

When Jake came and summoned her she rose like a rheu 
matic old housebound and obeyed her master s voice. 

Jake gave her such a vote of confidence as was implied in 
letting her lug the luggage. It was cheaper for her to carry 
it than for him to store it in the parcel-room. It caused the 
fellow-passengers in the street-car acute inconvenience, but 
Jake was superior to public opinion of his wife. In such a 
homely guise did the fates approach Miss Webling. 


"PHE best place for a view is in one s back yard; then it is 
I one s own. If it is in the front yard, then the house 
is only part of the public s view. 

In London Marie Louise had lived at Sir Joseph Webling s 
home, its gray, fog-stained, smoked-begrimed front flush with 
the pavement. But back of the house was a high-walled gar 
den with a fountain that never played. There was a great rug 
of English-green grass, very green all winter and still greener 
all summer. At an appropriate spot was a tree; a tea-table 
sat under it; in blossom-time it sprinkled pink petals on the 
garden hats of the women; and on the grass they fell, to twist 
Tennyson, softlier than tired eyelids on tired eyes. 

So Marie Louise adored her new home with its unpromising 
entrance and its superb surprise from the rear windows. 
When she broke the news to Polly Widdicombe, that she was 
leaving her, they had a good fight over it. Yet Polly could 
hardly insist that Marie Louise stay with her forever, espe 
cially when Marie Louise had a perfectly good home of her own. 

Polly went along for a morning of reconstruction work. 
There were pictures, chairs, cushions, and knickknacks that 
simply had to be hidden away. The original tenants evi 
dently had the theory that a bare space on a wall or a table 
was as indecent as on a person s person. 

They had taken crude little chromos and boxed them in 
gaudy frames, many of whose atrocities were aggravated by 
panels of plush of a color that could hardly be described by 
any other name than fermented prune. Over the corner of 
these they had thrown "throws" or drapes of malicious 
magenta horribly figured in ruthless incompatibilities. 

Chairs of unexplainable framework were upholstered with 
fabrics of studied delirium. Every mantel was an exhibit 
of models of what not to do. When Henry James said that 
Americans had no end of taste, but most of it was bad, he 


must have based his conclusions on such a conglomerate as 

Polly and Marie Louise found some of the furniture bad 
enough to be amusing. But they toted a vanload of it into 
closets and storerooms. Where the pictures came away they 
left staring spaces of unfaded wall-paper. Still, they were 
preferable to the pictures. 

By noon the women were exhausted. They washed their 
dust-smutted hands and faces and exclaimed upon the black 
water they left. But the exercise had given them appetite, 
and when Marie Louise locked the front door she felt all the 
comfort of a householder. She had a home of her very own 
to lock up, and though she had roamed through pleasures and 
palaces, she agreed that, be it ever so horrible, there s no 
place like home. 

She and Polly were early to their luncheon engagement with 
Major Widdicombe. Their appetites disputed the clock. 
Polly decided to telephone her husband for Heaven s sake to 
come at once to her rescue. 

While Polly was telephoning Marie Louise sat waiting on 
a divan. Her muscles were so tired that she grew nearly as 
placidly animal as her sister in the Pennsylvania Station. 
She was as different in every other way as possible. Her life, 
her environment, her ambitions, had been completely alien 
to anything Mrs. Nuddle had known. She had been educated 
and evolved by entirely different joys and sorrows, fears and 

Mrs. Nuddle had been afraid that her husband would beat 
her again, or kill one of the children in his rage, or get himself 
sent to prison or to the chair; Mrs. Nuddle had been afraid 
that the children would be run over in the street, would pull 
a boilerful of boiling water over onto them, or steal, or go 
wrong in any of the myriad ways that children have of going 
wrong. Mrs. Nuddle s ecstasies were a job well done, a word 
of praise from a customer, a chance to sit down, an interval 
without pain or worry when her children were asleep, or when 
her husband was working and treating her as well as one 
treats an old horse. 

Of such was the kingdom of Mrs. Nuddle. 

Marie Louise had dwelt in a world no more and no less 
harrowing, but infinitely unlike. The two sisters were no 


longer related to each other by any ties except blood kinship. 
Mrs. Nuddle was a good woman gone wrong, Marie Louise a 
goodish woman gone variously; Mrs. Nuddle a poor adver 
tisement of a life spent in honest toil, early rising, early bed 
ding, churchgoing, and rigid economy; Marie Louise a most 
attractive evidence of how much depends on a careful car 
riage, a cultivated taste in clothes, and an elegant 

At last, after years of groping toward each other, the sisters 
were to be brought together. But there was to be an inter 
vention. Even while Marie Louise sat relaxed in a fatigue 
that she would have called contentment trouble was stealing 
toward her. 

The spider who came and sat beside this Miss Muffet was 
Nicky Easton. He frightened her, but he would not let her 
run away. 

As he dropped to her side she rose with a gasp, but he 
pressed her back with a hasty grip on her arm and a mandatory 

"Wait once, pleass." 

The men who had shadowed Marie Louise had months 
before given her up as hopelessly correct. But guardian 
angels were still provided for Nicky Easton; and one of them, 
seeing this meeting, took Marie Louise back into the select 
coterie of the suspects. 

There s no cure for your bodily aches and pains like terror. 
It lifts the paralytic from his bed, makes the lame scurry, 
and gives the blind eyes enough for running. Marie Louise s 
fatigue fell from her like a burden whose straps are slit. 

When Nicky said: "I could not find you in New York. 
Now we are here we can have a little talkink," she stammered: 
"Not here! Not now!" 

"Why not, pleass?" 

"I have an engagement a friend she has just gone to 
telephone a moment." 

"You are ashamed of me, then?" 

She let him have it. " Yes !" 

He winced at the slap in the face. 

She went on: "Besides, she knows you. Her husband is 
an officer in the army. I can t talk to you here." 

"Where, then, and when?" 


"Any time-yany place but here." 

"Any time is no time. You tell me, or I stay now." 

"Come to to my house." 

"You have a howiss, then?" 

"Yes. I just took it to-day. I shall be there this after 
noon at three, if you will go." 

"Very goot. The address is " 

She gave it; he repeated it, mumbled, "At sree o clock I am 
there," and glided away just as Polly returned. 

They were eating a consomme* madrile ne when the Major 
arrived. He dutifully ate what his wife had selected for him, 
and listened amiably to what she had to tell him about her 
morning, though he was bursting to tell her about his. 
Polly made a vivid picture of Marie Louise s newjiome, ending 

"Everything on God s earth in it except a piano and a book." 

This reminded Marie Louise of the books she had read on 
ship-building, and she asked if she might borrow them. Polly 
made a woeful face at this. 

"My dear! When a woman starts to reading up on a sub 
ject a man is interested in, she s lost and so is he. Beware 
of it, my dear." 

Tom demurred: "Go right on, Marie Louise, so that you 
can take an intelligent interest in what your husband is 
working on." 

"My husband!" said Marie Louise. "Aren t you both a 
trifle premature?" 

Polly went glibly on: "Don t listen to Tom, my dear. 
What does he know about what a man wants his wife to take 
an intelligent interest in? Once a woman knows about her 
husband s business, he s finished with her and ready for the 
next. Tom s been trying to tell me for ten years what he s 
working at, and I haven t the faintest idea yet. It always 
gives him something to hope for. When he comes home of 
evenings he can always say, Perhaps to-night s the night 
when she ll listen. But once you listen intelligently and 
really understand, he s through with you, and he ll quit you 
for some pink-cheeked ignoramus who hasn t heard about it 

Marie Louise, being a woman, knew how to get her message 


to another woman; the way seems to be to talk right through 
her talk. The acute creatures have ears to hear with and 
mouths to talk with, and they apparently find no difficulty 
in using both at the same time. Somewhere along about the 
middle of Polly s discourse Marie Louise began to answer it 
before it was finished. Why should she wait when she knew 
what was coming? So she said contemporaneously and co- 
vocally : 

"But I m not going to marry a ship-builder, my dear. 
Don t be absurd! I m not planning to take an intelligent 
interest in Mr. Davidge s business. I m planning to take an 
intelligent interest in my own. I m going to be a ship 
builder myself, and I want to learn the A B C s." 

They finished that argument at the same time and went on 
together down the next stretch in a perfect team: 

"Oh, well of course, if "Mr. Davidge tells me," 
that s the case," asserted Marie Louise explained, "that 
Polly, "then you re quite women are needed in ship- 
crazy unless you re simply building, and that anybody 
hunting for a new sensation, can learn. In fact, every- 
And on that score I ll admit body has to, anyway; so 
that it sounds rather interest- I ve got as good a chance as 
ing. I may take a whack at a man. I m as strong as a 
it myself. I m quite fed up horse. Fine! Come along, 
on bandages and that sort of and we ll build a U-boat 
thing. Get me a job in the chaser together. Mr. Dav- 
same factory or whatever idge would be delighted to 
they call it. Will you?" have you, I m sure." 

This was arrant hubbub to the mere man who was not 
capable of carrying on a conversation except by the slow, 
primitive methods of Greek drama, strophe and antistrophe, 
one talking while the other listened, then vice versa. 

So he had time to remember that he had something to 
remember, and to dig it up. He broke in on the dialogue: 

"By the way, that reminds me, Marie Louise. There s a 
man in town looking for you." 

"Looking for me !" Marie Louise gasped, alert as an antelope 
at once. "What was his name?" 

"I can t seem to recall it. I ll have it in a minute. He 


didn t impress me very favorably, so I didn t tell him you 
were living with us." 

Polly turned on Tom: "Come along, you poor nut! I hate 
riddles, and so does Marie Louise." 

"That s it!" Tom cried. " Riddle Nuddle. His name is 
Nuddle. Do you know a man named Nuddle?" 

The name conveyed nothing to Marie Louise except a sus 
picion that Mr. Verrinder had chosen some pseudonym. 

"What was his nationality?" she asked. "English?" 

"I should say not! He was as Amurrican as a piece of 
pungkin pie." 

Marie Louise felt a little relieved, but still at sea. When 
Widdicombe asked what message he should take back her 
curiosity led her to brave her fate and know the worst: 

"Tell him to come to my house at any time this afternoon 
no, not before five. I have some shopping to do, and the 
servants to engage." 

She did not ask Polly to go with ner, and Polly took the hint 
conveyed in Marie Louise s remark as they left the dining- 
room, "I ve a little telephoning to do." 

Polly went her way, and Marie Louise made a pretext of 

Major Widdicombe did not see Jake Nuddle as he went 
down the steps, for the reason that Jake saw him first and drew 
his wife aside. He wondered what had become of Marie 

Jake and his wife hung about nonplussed for a few minutes, 
till Marie Louise came out. She had waited only to make 
sure that Tom and Polly got away. When she came down the 
steps she cast a casual glance at Jake and her sister, who 
came toward her eagerly. But she assumed that they were 
looking at some one else, for they meant nothing to her eyes. 

She had indeed never seen this sister before. The sister 
who waddled toward her was not the sister she had left in 
Wakefield years before. That sister was young and lean and 
a maid. Marriage and hard work and children had swaddled 
this sister in bundles of strange flesh and drawn the face in 
new lines. 

Marie Louise turned her back on her, but heard across her 
shoulder the poignant call: 



That voice was the same. It had not lost its own peculiar 
cry, and it reverted the years and altered the scene like a 
magician s "Abracadabra!" 

Marie Louise swung round just in time to receive the full 
brunt of her sister s charge. The repeated name identified 
the strange-looking matron as the girl grown old, and Marie 
Louise gathered her into her arms with a fierce homesickness. 
Her loneliness had found what it needed. She had kinfolk 
now, and she sobbed: "Abbie darling! My darling Abbie!" 
while Abbie wept: "Mamise! Oh, my poor little Mamise!" 

A cluster of cab-drivers wondered what it was all about, 
but Jake Muddle felt triumphant. Marie Louise looked good 
to him as he looked her over, and for the nonce he was content 
to have the slim, round fashionable creature enveloped in his 
wife s arms for a sister-in-law. 

Abbie, a little homelier than ever with her face blubbery 
and tear-drenched, turned to introduce what she had drawn 
in the matrimonial lottery. 

Mamise ! she said. I want you should meet my husbin . 

"I m delighted!" said Mamise, before she saw her sister s 
fate. She was thorough- trained if not thorough-born, and 
she took the shock without reeling. 

Jake s hand was not as rough so it ought to have been, 
and his cordiality was sincere as he growled: 

" Pleaster meecher, Mamise." 

He was ready already with her first name, but she had 
nothing to call him by. It never occurred to Abbie that her 
sister would not instinctively know a name so familiar to 
Mrs. Nuddle as Mr. Nuddle, and it was a long while before 
Marie Louise managed to pick it up and piece it together. 

Her embarrassment at meeting Jake was complete. She 

"Where are you living here in Washington?" 

"Laws, no!" said Abbie; and that reminded her of the 
bundles she had dropped at the sight of Mamise. They 
had played havoc with the sidewalk traffic, but she hurried 
to regain them. 

Jake could be the gentleman when there was somebody 

looking who counted. So he checked his wife with amazement 

at the preposterousness of her carrying bundles while Sir 

Walter Raleigh was at hand. He picked them up and brought 



them to Marie Louise s feet, disgusted at the stupid amaze 
ment of his wife, who did not have sense enough to conceal it. 
Marie Louise was growing alarmed at the perfect plebeiance 
of her kith. She was unutterably ashamed of herself for 
noticing such things, but the eye is not to blame for what 
it can t help seeing, nor the ear for what is forced upon it. 
She had a feeling that the first thing to do was to get her 
sister in out of the rain of glances from the passers-by. 

"You must come to me at once," she said. "I ve just 
taken a house. I ve got no servants in yet, and you ll have 
to put up with it as it is." 

Abbie gasped at the "servants." She noted the authority 
with which Marie Louise beckoned a chauffeur and pointed 
to the bundles, which he hastened to seize. 

Abbie was overawed by the grandeur of her first automobile 
and showed it on her face. She saw many palaces on the 
way and expected Marie Louise to stop at any of them. 
When the car drew up at Marie Louise s home Abbie was 
bitterly disappointed; but when she got inside she found her 
dream of paradise. Marie Louise was distressed at Abbie s 
loud praise of the general effect and her unfailing instinct for 
picking out the worst things on the walls or the floors. This 
distress caused a counter-distress of self-rebuke. 

Jake was on his dignity at first, but finally he unbent 
enough to take off his coat, hang it over a chair, and stretch 
himself out on a divan whose ulterior maroon did not disturb 
his repose in the least. 

"This is what I call something like," he said; and then, 
"And now, Mamise, set in and tell us all about yourself." 

This was the last thing Mamise wanted to do, and she 
evaded with a plea: 

"I can wait. I want to hear all about you, Abbie darling. 
How are you, and how long have you been married, and 
where do you live?" 

"Coin* on eight years come next October, and we got three 
childern. I been right poorly lately. Don t seem to take 
as much interest in worshin as I useter." 

"Washing!" Marie Louise exclaimed. "You don t wash, 
do you? That is, I mean to say professionally?" 

"Yes, I worsh. Do right smart of work, too." 

Marie Louise was overwhelmed. She had a hundred 


thousand dollars, and her sister was a washerwoman! It 
was intolerable. She glanced at Jake. 

"But Mr. your husband " 

"Oh, Jake, he works off and on. But he ain t got what 
you might call a hankerin for it. He can take work or let it 
alone. I can t say as much for him when it comes to licker. 
Fact is, some the women say, Why, Mrs. Nuddle, how do 
you ever " 

"Your name isn t it isn t Nuddle, is it?" Marie Louise 
broke in. 

"Sure it is. What did you think it was?" 

So the sleeping brother-in-law was the mysterious inquirer. 
That solved one of her day s puzzles and solved it very tamely. 
So many of life s mysteries, like so many of fiction s, peter 
out at the end. They don t sustain. 

Marie Louise still belonged to the obsolescent generation 
that believed it a husband s duty to support his wife by his 
own labor. The thought of her sister supporting a worthless 
husband by her own toil was odious. The first task was to 
get Jake to work. It was only natural that she should think 
of her own new mania. 

She spoke so eagerly that she woke Jake when she said: 
"I have it! Why doesn t your husband go in for ship 

Marie Louise told him about Davidge and what Davidge 
had said of the need of men. She was sure that she could get 
him a splendid job, and that Mr. Davidge would do anything 
for her. 

Jake was about to rebuke such impudence as it deserved, 
but a thought struck him, and he chewed it over. Among 
the gang of idealists he consorted with, or at least salooned 
with, the dearest ambition of all was to turn America s dream 
of a vast fleet of ships into a nightmare of failure. In order 
to secure "just recognition" for the workman they would 
cause him to be recognized as both a loafer and a traitor 
that was their ideal of labor. 

As Marie Louise with unwitting enthusiasm rhapsodized 
over the shipyard Jake s interest kindled. To get into a ship 
yard just growing, and spread his doctrines among the men 
as they came in, to bring off strikes and to play tricks with 
machinery everywhere, to wreck launching-ways so that hulls 


that escaped all other attacks would crack through and stick 
it was a Golconda of opportunities for this modern conquis 
tador. He could hardly keep his face straight till he heard 
Marie Louise out. He fooled her entirely with his ardor; 
and when he asked, "Do you think your gentleman friend, 
this man Davidge, would really give me a job?" she cried, 
with more enthusiasm than tact: 

"I know he would. He d give anybody a job. Besides, 
I m going to take one myself. And, Abbie honey, what 
would you say to your becoming a ship-builder, too? It 
would be immensely easier and pleasanter than washing 

Before Abbie could recover the breath she lost at the picture 
of herself as a builder of ships the door-bell rang. Abbie 
peeked and whispered: 

"It s a man." 

"Do you suppose it s that feller Davidge?" said Jake. 

"No, it s it s somebody else," said Marie Louise, who 
knew who it was without looking. 

She was at her wit s end now. Nicky Easton was at the 
door, and a sister and a brother-in-law whose existence she 
had not suspected were in the parlor. 


IF anything is anybody s very own, it is surely his past, or 
hers particularly hers. But Nicky Easton was bringing 
one of the most wretched chapters of Marie Louise s past to 
her very door. She did not want to reopen it, especially not 
before her new-found family. One likes to have a few illusions 
left for these reunions. So she said: 

"Abbie darling, would you forgive me if I saw this person 
alone? Besides, you ll be wanting to get settled in your room, 
if Mr. Ja your husband doesn t mind taking your things 

Abbie had not been used to taking dismissals graciously. 
She had never been to court and been permitted to retire. 
Besides, people who know how to take an eviction gracefully 
usually know enough to get out before they are put out. But 
Abbie had to be pushed, and she went, heartbroken, dis 
graced, resentful. Jake sulked after her. They moved 
like a couple of old flea-bitten mongrels spoken to sharply. 

And of course they stole back to the head of the stairs and 

Nicky had his face made up for a butler, or at least a maid. 
When he saw Marie Louise he had to undo his features, change 
his opening oration, and begin all over again. 

"It is zhoo yourself, then," he said. 

"Yes. Come in, do. I have no servants yet." 

"Ah!" he cooed, encouraged at once. 

She squelched his hopes. "My sister and her husband are 
here, however." 

This astounded him so that he spoke in two languages at 
once : Your schwister ! Since how long do you have a sester ? 
And where did you get?" 

"I have always had her. but we haven t seen each other for 

He gasped, "Was Sie nicht sagen!" 


"And if you wouldn t mind not talking German " 

"Recht so. Excuse. Do I come in no?" 

She stepped back, and he went into the drawing-room. He 
smiled at what he saw, and was polite, if cynical. 

"You rent foornished?" 


He waved her to a chair so that he might sit down. 

"Was giebt s neues er what is the noose?" 

"I have none. What is yours?" 

"You mean you do not wish to tell. If I should commence 
once, I should never stop. But we are both alife yet. That 
is always somethink. I was never so nearly not." 

Marie Louise could not withhold the protest: 

"You saved yourself by betraying your friends." 

"Well, I telled I told only what the English knew al 
ready. If they let me go for it, it was no use to kill everybody, 
should I?" 

He was rather miserable about it, for he could see that she 
despised him more for being an informer than for having 
something to inform. He pleaded in extenuation: 

"But I shall show how usefool I can be to my country. 
Those English shall be sorry to let me go, and my people glad. 
And so shall you." 

She studied him, and dreaded him, loathing his claim 
on her, longing to order him never to speak again to her, yet 
strangely interested in his future power for evil. The thought 
occurred to her that if she could learn his new schemes she 
might thwart them. That would be some atonement for 
what she had not prevented before. This inspiration bright 
ened her so suddenly and gave such an eagerness to her man 
ner that he saw the light and grew suspicious a spy has to be, 
for he carries a weapon that has only one cartridge in it. 

Marie Louise waited for him to explain his purpose till the 
suspense began to show; then she said, bluntly: 

"What mischief are you up to now?" 

"Mitschief me?" he asked, all innocently. 

"You said you wanted to see me." 

"I always want to see you. You interest my eyes my 
heart " 

"Please don t." She said it with the effect of slamming a 


She looked him full in the eyes angrily, then remembered 
her curiosity. He saw her gaze waver with a double motive. 

It is strange how people can fence with their glances, as 
if they were emanations from the eyes instead of mere re 
flections of light back and forth. But however it is managed, 
this man and this woman played their stares like two foils 
feeling for an opening. At length he surrendered and re 
solved to appeal: 

How do you feel about about us?" 

Who are us?" 

We Germans." 

We are not Germans. I m American." 

Then England is your greater enemy than Germany." 

She wanted to smile at that, but she said: 


He pleaded for his cause. America ought not to have joined 
the war against the Vaterland. It is only a few Americans 
bankers who lended money to England who wish to fight us." 

Up-stairs Jake s heart bounded. Here was a fellow-spirit. 
He listened for Marie Louise s response; he caught the doubt 
in her tone. She could not stomach such an absurdity: 

"Bosh!" she said. 

It sounded like "Boche!" And Nicky flushed. 

"You have been in this Washington town too long. I 
think I shall go now." 

Marie Louise made no objection. She had not found out 
what he was up to, but she was sick of duplicity, sick of the 
sight of him and all he stood for. She did not even ask him 
to come again. She went to the door with him and stood 
there a moment, long enough for the man who was shadowing 
Nicky to identify her. She watched Nicky go and hoped that 
she had seen the last of him. But up-stairs the great heart 
of Jake Nuddle was seething with excitement. He ran to the 
front window, caught a glimpse of Nicky, and hurried back 
down the stairs. 

Abbie called out, "Where you goin ?" 

Jake did not answer such a meddlesome question, but he 
said to Marie Louise, as he brushed past her on the stairs: 

"I m going to the drug-store to git me some cigars." 

Nicky paused on the curb, looking for a cab. He had dis 
missed his own, hoping to spend a long while with Marie 


Louise. He saw that he was not likely to pick up a cab in 
such a side-street, and so he walked on briskly. 

He was furious with Marie Louise. He had had hopes of 
her, and she had fooled him. These Americans were no 
longer dependable. 

And then he heard footsteps on the walk, quick footsteps 
that spelled hurry. Nicky drew aside to let the speeder pass ; 
but instead he heard a constabular "Hay!" and his shoulder- 
blades winced. 

It was only Jake Nuddle. Jake had no newspaper to sell, 
but he had an idea for a collaboration which would bring him 
some of that easy money the Germans were squandering like 
drunken sailors. 

"You was just talkin to my sister-in-law," said Jake. 

"Ah, you are then the brother of Marie Louise?" 

"Yep, and I couldn t help hearin a little of what passed 
between you." 

Jake s slyness had a detective-like air in Nicky s anxious 
eyes. He warned himself to be on guard. Jake said: 

"I m for Germany unanimous. I think it s a rotten shame 
for America to go into this war. And some of us Americans 
are sayin we won t stand for it. We don t own no Congers- 
men; we re only the protelarriat, as the feller says; but we re 
goin to put this country on the bum, and that s what old 
Kaiser Bill wants we should do, or I miss my guess, hay?" 

Nicky was cautious : 

"How do you propose to help the All Highest?" 


"You interest me," said Nicky. 

They had come to one of the circles that moon the plan of 
Washington. Nicky motioned Jake to a bench, where they 
could command the approach and be, like good children, seen 
and not heard. Jake outlined his plan. 

When Nicky Easton had rung Marie Louise s bell he had not 
imagined how much help Marie Louise would render him in 
giving him the precious privilege of meeting her unprepossess 
ing brother-in-law; nor had she dreamed what peril she was 
preparing for Davidge in planning to secure for him and his 
shipyard the services of this same Jake, as lazy and as 
amiable as any side-winder rattlesnake that ever basked in 
the sunlit sand. 



here was something hallowed and awesome about 
it all. It had a cathedral majesty. 


DAVIDGE despised a man who broke his contracts. He 
broke one with himself and despised himself. He broke 
his contract to ignore the existence of Marie Louise. The 
next time he came to Washington he sought her out. He 
called up the Widdicombe home and learned that she had 
moved. She had no telephone yet, for it took a vast amount 
of time to get any but a governmental telephone installed. 
So he noted her address, and after some hesitation decided 
to call. If she did not want to see him, her butler could 
tell him that she was out. 

He called. Marie Louise had tried in vain to get in servants 
who would stay. Abbie talked to them familiarly and so 
did Jake. The virtuous ones left because of Jake, and the 
others left because of Abbie. 

So Abbie went to the door when Davidge called. He sup 
posed that the butler was having a day off and the cook 
was answering the bell. He offered his card to Abbie. 

She wiped her hand on her apron and took it, then handed 
it back to him, saying: 

"You ll have to read it. I ain t my specs." 

Davidge said, "Please ask Miss Webling if she can see 
Mr. Davidge." 

"You re not Mr. Davidge!" Abbie gasped, remembering 
the importance Marie Louise gave him. 

"Yes," said Davidge, with proper modesty. 

"Well, I want to know!" 

Abbie wiped her hand again and thrust it forward, seizing 
his questioning fingers in a practised clench, and saying, 
"Come right on in and seddown." She haled the befuddled 
Davidge to a chair and regarded him with beaming eyes. He 
regarded her with the eyes of astonishment and the ears, too, 
for the amazing servant, forever wiping her hands, went to 
the stairs and shrieked: 


"Mamee-eese! Oh, Ma-mee-uz! Mist Davidge is shere." 

Poor Mamise! She had to come down upon such a scene, 
and without having had any chance to break the news that 
she had a sister she had to introduce the sister. She had 
no chance to explain her till a fortunate whiff of burning 
pastry led Abbie to groan, "My Lord, them pies!" and flee. 

If ever Marie Louise had been guilty of snobbery, She was 
doing penance for it now. She was too loyal to what her 
family ought to have been and was not to apologize for 
Abbie, but she suffered in a social purgatory. 

Worse yet, she had to ask Davidge to give her brother- 
in-law a job. And Davidge said he would. He said it before 
he saw Jake. And when he saw him, though he did not like 
him, he did not guess what treachery the fellow planned. 
He invited him to come to the shipyard by train. 

He invited Mamise to ride thither in her own car the next 
day to see his laboratory for ships, never dreaming that the 
German menace was already planning its destruction. 

Not only in cheap plays and farces do people continue in 
perplexities that one question and one answer would put an 
end to. In real life we incessantly dread to ask the answers 
to conundrums that we cannot solve, and persist in misery 
for lack of a little frankness. 

For many a smiling mile, on the morrow, Davidge rode in a 
torment. So stout a man, to be fretted by so little a matter! 
Yet he was unable to bring himself to the point of solving 
his curiosity. The car had covered forty miles, perhaps, 
while his thoughts ran back and forth, lacing the road like a 
dog accompanying a carriage. A mental speedometer would 
have run up a hundred miles before he made the plunge and 
popped the subject. 

"Mamise is an unusual name," he remarked. 

Marie Louise was pleasantly startled by the realization that 
his long silence had been devoted to her. 

"Like it?" she asked. 

"You bet." The youthfulness of this embarrassed him and 
made her laugh. He grew solemn for about eleven hundred 
yards of road that went up and down and up and down in 
huge billows. Then he broke out again: 

"It s an unusual name." 


She laughed patiently. "So I ve heard." 

The road shot up a swirling hill into an old, cool grove. 

" I only knew one other er Mamise." 

This sobered her. It was unpleasant not to be unique. 
The chill woods seemed to be rather glum about it, too. 
The road abandoned them and flung into a sun-bathed plain. 
Really? You really knew another er Mamise?" 
Yes. Years ago." 
Was she nice?" 

*Oh!" She was sorry about that, too. The road slipped 
across a loose-planked, bone-racking bridge. With some 
jealousy she asked, "What was she like?" 


"That s odd." A little shabby, topply-tombed graveyard 
glided by, reverting to oblivion. "Tell me about her." 

A big motor charged past so fast that the passengers were 
only blurs, a grim chauffeur-effect with blobs of fat woman 
kind trailing snapping veils. The car trailed a long streamer 
of dust that tasted of the road. When this was penetrated 
they entered upon a stretch of pleasant travel for eyes and 
wheels, on a long, long channel through a fruitful prairie, a 
very allegory of placid opulence. 

"It was funny," said Davidge. "I was younger than I am. 
I went to a show one night. A musical team played that 
everlasting Poet and Peasant on the xylophones. They 
played nearly everything on nearly everything same old 
stuff, accordions, horns, bells; same old jokes by the same fool 
clown and the solemn dubs. But they had a girl with em 
a young thing. She didn t play very well. She had a way 
with her, though seemed kind of disgusted with life and the 
rest of the troupe and the audience. And she had a right 
to be disgusted, for she was as pretty as I don t know what. 
She was just beautiful slim and limber and long what you 
might imagine a nymph would look like if she got loose in a 

"I was crazy about her. If I could ever have written a 
poem about anybody, it would have been about her. She 
struck me as something sort of well, divine. She wore the 
usual, and not much of it low neck, bare arms, and tights. 
But I kind of revered her; she was so clog-on pretty. 


"When the drop fell on that act I was lost. I was an orphan 
for true. I couldn t rest till I saw the manager and asked him 
to take me back and introduce me to her. He gave me a nasty 
grin and said he didn t run that kind of a theater, and I said 
I d knock his face off if he thought I thought he did. Well, 
he gave in finally and took me back. I fell down the side-aisle 
steps and sprawled along the back of the boxes and stumbled 
up the steps to the stage. 

"And then I met Mamise that was her name on the pro 
gram Mamise. She was pretty and young as ever, but she 
wasn t a nymph any longer. She was just a young, painted 
thing, a sulky, disgusted girl. And she was feeding a big 
monkey a chimpanzee or something. It was sitting on a 
bicycle and smoking a cigar getting ready to go on the 

"It was so human and so unhuman and so ugly, and she was 
so graceful, that it seemed like a sort of satire on humanity. 
The manager said, Say, Mamise, this gentleman here wants 
to pays his respecks. She looked up in a sullen way, and the 
chimpanzee showed his teeth at me, and I mumbled some 
thing about expecting to see the name Mamise up in the big 
electric lights. 

"She gave me a look that showed she thought I was a darned 
fool, and I agreed with her then and since. She said.Jj Much 
obliged in a contemptuous contralto and and turned to the 
other monkey. 

"The interview was finished. I backed over a scene-prop, 
knocked down a stand of Indian-clubs, and got out into the 
alley. I was mad at her at first, but afterward I always 
respected her for snubbing me. I never saw her again, never 
saw her name again. As for the big electric lights, I was 
a punk prophet. But her name has stood out in electric 
lights in my my memory. I suppose she left the stage soon 
after. She may be dead now. 

"It hurt me a lot to have her wither me with that one big, 
slow glance of hers, but I was glad of it afterward. It made 
me feel more comfortable about her. If she had welcomed 
every stranger that came along she well, as she didn t, 
she must have been a good girl, don t you suppose?" 

The road still pierced the golden scene, a monotony of 
plenty, an endless-seeming treasure of sheaves of wheat and 


stacks of corn, with pumpkins of yellow metal and twisted 
ingots of squash; but an autumnal sorrow clouded the land 
scape for Marie Louise. 

"What do you call a good girl?" she asked. 

"That s a hard question to answer nowadays." 

"Why nowadays?" 

"Oh, because our ideas of good are so much more merciful 
and our ideas of girls are so much more complicated. Any 
way, as the fellow said, that s my story. And now you know 
all about Mamise that I know. Can you forgive her for 
wearing your name?" 

"I could forgive that Mamise anything," she sighed. "But 
this Mamise I can t forgive at all." 

This puzzled him. "I don t quite get that." 

She let him simmer in his own perplexity through a furlong 
of what helpless writers call "a shady dell"; its tenderness 
won from him a timid confession. 

"You reminded me of her when I first met you. You are 
as different as can be, and yet somehow you remind me of 
each other." 

"Somehow we are eacn other." 

He leaned forward and stared at her, and she spared him 
a hasty glance from the road. She was blushing. 

He was so childishly happy that he nearly said, " It s a small 
world, after all." He nearly swung to the other extreme. 
"Well, I ll be " He settled like a dying pendulum on, 
"Well well!" They both laughed, and he put out his hand. 
"Pleased to meet you again." 

She let go the wheel and pressed his hand an instant. 

The plateau was ended, and the road went overboard in a 
long, steep cascade. She pushed out the clutch and coasted. 
The whir of the engine stopped. The car sailed softly. 

He was eager for news of the years between then and now. 
It was so wonderful that the surly young beginner in vaude 
ville should have evolved into this orchid of the salons. He 
was interested in the working of such social machinery. He 

"Tell me all about yourself." 

"No, thanks." 

"But what happened to you after I saw you? You don t 
remember me, of course." 


"I remember the monkey." 

They both laughed at the unconscious brutality of this. He 
turned solemn and asked: 

"You mean that so many men came back to call on 

"No, not so many too many, but not many. But well, 
the monkey was more unusual, I suppose. He traveled with 
us several weeks. He was very jealous. He had a fight with 
a big trained dog that I petted once. They nearly killed each 
other before they could be separated. And such noises as they 
made! I can hear them yet. The manager of the monkey 
wanted to marry me. I was unhappy with my team, but I 
hated that man he was such a cruel beast with the monkey 
that supported him. He d have beaten me, too, I suppose, and 
made me support him." 

Davidge sighed with relief as if her escape had been just 
a moment before instead of years ago. 

"Lord! I m glad you didn t marry him! But tell me what 
did happen after I saw you." 

The road led them into a sizable town, street-car tracks, 
bad pavements, stupid shops, workmen s little homes in rows 
like chicken-houses, then better streets, better homes, business 
blocks well paved, a hotel, a post-office, a Carnegie library, a 
gawky Civil War statue, then poorer shops, rickety pavements, 
shanties, and the country again. 

Davidge noted that she had not answered his question. He 
repeated it: 

"What happened after you and the monkey-trainer parted ?" 

"Oh, years later I was in Berlin with a team called the 
Musical Mokes, and Sir Joseph and Lady Webling saw me 
and thought I looked like their daughter, and they adopted 
me that s all." 

She had grown a bit weary of her autobiography. Abbie 
had made her tell it over and over, but had tried in vain to 
find out what went on between her stage-beginnings and her 
last appearance in Berlin. 

Davidge was fascinated by her careless summary of such 
great events; for to one in love, all biography of the beloved 
becomes important history. But having seen her as a member 
of Sir Joseph s household, he was more interested in the 


"But between your reaching Berlin and the time I saw you 
what happened?" 

"That s my business." 

She saw him wince at the abrupt discourtesy of this. She 
apologized : 

"I don t mean to be rude, but well, it wouldn t interest 

"Oh yes, it would. Don t tell me if you don t want to, 


"Oh, nothing!" 

"You mean you ll think that if I don t tell you it s because 
I m ashamed to." 

"Oh no, not at all." 

"Oh yes, at all. Well, what if I were?" 

"I can t imagine your having done anything to be ashamed 

"O Lord! Am I as stupid as that comes to?" 

"No! But I mean, you couldn t have done anything to be 
really ashamed of." 

"That s what I mean. I ve done numberless things I d 
give my right arm not to have done." 

"I mean really wicked things." 

" Such as " 

"Oh well, I mean being bad." 

"Woman-bad or man-bad?" 

"Bad for a woman." 

"So what s bad for one is not bad for another." 

"Well, not exactly, but there is a difference." 

"If I told you that I had been very, very wicked in those 
mysterious years, would it seem important to you?" 

"Of course! Horribly! It couldn t help it, if a man cared 
much for a woman." 

"And if a woman cared a lot for a man, ought it to make 
a difference what he had done before he met her?" 

"Well, of course but that s different." 


"Oh, because it is." 

"Men say Because! too, I see." 

" It s just shorthand with us. It means you know it so well 
there s no need of explaining." 


"Oh! Well, if you I say, if you were very much in love 
with me " 

"Which I" 

"Don t be odiously polite. I m arguing, not fishing. If 
you were deeply in love with me, would it make a good deal of 
difference to you if several years ago I had been oh, loose?" 

" It would break my heart." 

Marie Louise liked him the better for this, but she held 
to her argument. 

"All right. Now, still supposing that we loved each other, 
ought I to inquire of you if the man of my possible choice 
had been perfectly well, spotless, all that time? Ought 
I expect that he was saving himself up for me, feeling him 
self engaged to me, you might say, long before he met me, and 
keeping perfectly true to his future fiancee ought I to expect 

He flushed a little as he mumbled: 


She laughed a trifle bitterly: 

"So we re there already?" 


"At the double standard. What s crime for the goose is 
pastime for the gander." 

He did not intend to give up man s ancient prerogative. 

"Well, it s better to have almost any standard than none, 
isn t it?" 

"I wonder." 

"The single standard is better than the sixteen to one 
silver for men and gold for women." 

"Perhaps! But you men seem to believe in a sixteen to 
none. Mind you, I m not saying I ve been bad." 

"I knew you couldn t have been." 

"Oh yes, I could have been I m not saying I wasn t. I m 
not saying anything at all. I m saying that it s nobody s 
business but my own." 

"Even your future husband has no right to know?" 

"None whatever. He has the least right of all, and he d 
better not try to find out." 

"You women are changing things!" 

"We have to, if we re going to live among men. When 
you re in Rome " 


"You re going to turn the world upside down, I suppose?" 

"We ve always done that more or less, and nobody ever 
could stop us, from the Garden of Eden on. In the future, 
one thing is sure : a lot of women will go wrong, as the saying 
is, under the new conditions, with liberty and their own 
money and all. But, good Lord! millions of women went 
wrong in the old days! The first books of the Bible tell about 
all the kinds of wickedness that we know to-day. Somebody 
complained that with all our modern science we hadn t in 
vented one new deadly sin. We go on using the same old 
seven well, indecencies. It will be the same with women. 
It s bound to be. You can t keep women unfree. You ve 
simply got to let them loose. The old ways were hideous ; and 
it s dishonest and vicious to pretend that people used to be 
better than they were, just as an argument in favor of slavery, 
for fear they will be worse than the imaginary woman they put 
up for an argument. I fancy women were just about as good 
and just about as bad in old Turkey, in the jails they call 
harems, as they are in a three-ringed circus to-day. 

"When the old-fashioned woman went wrong she lied or 
cried or committed suicide or took to the streets or went on 
with her social success, as the case might be. She ll go on do 
ing much the same just as men do. Some men repent, some 
cheat, some kill themselves; others go right along about their 
business, whether it s in a bank, a church, a factory, a city or 
a village or anywhere. 

"But in the new marriage for marriage is really changing, 
though the marrying people are the same old folks in the 
new marriage a man must do what a woman has had to do 
all along: take the partner for better or worse and no ques 
tions asked." 

He humored her heresy because he found it too insane to 
reason with. "In other words, we ll take our women as is." 

"That s the expression as is. A man will take his sweet 
heart as is or leave her. And whichever he does, as you 
always say, oh, she ll get along somehow." 

"The old-fashioned home goes overboard, then?" 

"That depends on what you mean by the old-fashioned 
home. I had one, and it could well be spared. There were all 
kinds of homes in old times and the Middle Ages and now 
adays, and there ll be all kinds forever. But we re wrangling 


like a pair of lovers instead of getting along beautifully like a 
pair of casual acquaintances." 

"Aren t we going to be more than that?" 

"I hope not. I want a place on your pay-roll; I m not 
asking for a job as your wife." 

"You can have it." 

"Thanks, but I have another engagement. When I have 
made my way in the world and can support you in the style 
you re accustomed to, I may come and ask for your hand." 

Her flippancy irked him worse than her appalling ideas, but 
she grew more desirable as she grew more infuriating, for 
the love-game has some resemblances to the fascinating- 
sickening game of golf. She did not often argue abstrusely, 
and she was already fagged out mentally. She broke off the 

"Now let s think of something else, if you don t mind." 

They talked of everything else, but his soul was chiefly 
engaged in alternating vows to give her up and vows to make 
her his own in spite of herself; and he kept on trying to 
guess the conundrum she posed him in refusing to enlighten 
him as to those unmentionable years between his first sight of 
her and his second. 

In making love, as in other popular forms of fiction, the 
element of mystery is an invaluable adjunct to the property 
value. He was still pondering her and wondering what she 
was pondering when they reached the town where his 
shipyard lay. 


FROM a hilltop Marie Louise saw below her in panorama 
an ugly mess of land and riverscape a large steel shed, 
a bewilderment of scaffolding, then a far stretch of muddy 
flats spotted with flies that were probably human beings, 
among a litter of timber, of girders, of machine-shanties, of 
railroad tracks, all spread out along a dirty water. 

A high wire fence surrounded what seemed to need no pro 
tection. In the neighborhood were numbers of workmen s 
huts some finished, and long rows of them in building, as 
much alike and as graceful as a pan of raw biscuits. 

She saw it all as it was, with a stranger s eyes. Davidge 
saw it with the eyes a father sees a son through, blind to 
evident faults, vividly accepting future possibilities as realities. 

Davidge said, with repressed pride: 

Well, thar she blows!" 


My shipyard!" This with depressed pride. 

Oh, rilly! So it is! How wonderful!" This with forced 

You don t like it," he groaned. 

I m crazy about it." 

If you could have seen it when it was only marsh and 
weeds and mud-holes and sluices you d appreciate what we ve 
reclaimed and the work that has been done." 

The motor pitched down a badly bruised road. 

"Where s the ship that s nearly done your mother s ship?" 

Behind the shed, in among all that scaffolding." 

"Don t tell me there s a ship in there!" 

"Yep, and she s just bursting to come out." 

They entered the yard, past a guardian who looked as if 
a bottle of beer would buy him, and a breath strong enough 
to blow off the froth would blow him over. 

Within a great cage of falsework Marie Louise could see the 


ship that Davidge had dedicated to his mother. But he did 
not believe Marie Louise ready to understand it. 

"Let s begin at the beginning," he said. "See those rail 
road tracks over there? Well, that s where the timber comes 
from the forests and the steel from the mills. Now we ll see 
what happens to em in the shop." 

He took her into the shed and showed her the traveling- 
cranes that could pick up a locomotive between their long fin 
gers and carry it across the long room like a captured beetle. 

"Up-stairs is the mold-loft. It s our dressmaking-shop. 
We lay down the design on the floor, and mark out every 
piece of the ship in exact size, and then make templates of 
wood to match those are the patterns. It s something like 
making a gown, I suppose." 

"I see," said Marie Louise. "Then you fit the dress to 
gether out in the yard." 

"Exactly," said Davidge. "You ve mastered the whole 
thing already. It s a long climb up there. Will you try it?" 

"Later, perhaps. I want to see these delightful what-you- 
may-call- ems first." 

She watched the men at work, each group about its own 
machine, like priests at their various altars. Davidge ex 
plained to her the cruncher that manicured thick plates of 
steel sheets as if they were finger-nails, or beveled their edges ; 
the puncher that needled rivet-holes through them as if they 
were silk, the ingenious Lysholm tables with rollers for tops. 

Marie Louise was like a child in a wholesale toy-shop, 
understanding nothing, ecstatic over everything, forbidden 
to touch anything. In her ignorance of technical matters, 
the simplest device was miraculous. The whole place was a 
vast laboratory of mysteries and magic. 

There was a something hallowed and awesome about it all. 
It had a cathedral grandeur, even though it was a temple 
builded with hands for the sake of the things builded with 
hands. The robes of the votaries were grimy and greasy, and 
the prayer they poured out was sweat. They chewed tobacco 
and spat regardless. They eyed her as curiously as she them. 
They swaggered each his own way, one by extra oblivious- 
ness, another with a flourish of gesture. They seemed to want 
to speak, and so did she, but embarrassment caused a common 


On the ground they had cleared and under the roof they had 
established they had fashioned vessels that should carry not 
myrrh and nard to make a sweet smell or to end in a delicate 
smoke, but wheat, milk and coal, clothes and shoes and shells, 
for the feeding and warming of people in need, and for the de 
struction of the god of destruction. 

Marie Louise s response to the mood of the place was con 
version, a passion to take vows of eternal industry, to put 
on the holy vestments of toil and wield the she did not even 
know the names of the tools. She only knew that they were 
sacred implements. 

She was in an almost trancelike state when Davidge led 
her from this world with its own sky of glass to the outer 
world with the same old space-colored sky. He conducted 
her among heaps of material waiting to be assembled, the 
raw stuffs of creation. 

As they drew near the almost finished ship the noise of the 
riveting which had been but a vague palpitation of the air 
became a well-nigh intolerable staccato. 

Men were at work everywhere, Lilliputian against the bulk 
of the hull they were contriving. Davidge escorted Marie 
Louise with caution across tremulous planks, through dark 
caverns into the hold of the ship. 

In these grottoes of steel the clamor of the riveters grew 
maddening in her ears. They were everywhere, holding their 
machine-guns against reverberant metal and hammering steel 
against steel with a superhuman velocity; for man had made 
himself more than man by his own inventions, .had multiplied 
himself by his own machineries. 

"That s the great Sutton," Davidge remarked, presently. 
"He s our prima donna. He s the champion riveter of this 
part of the country. Like to meet him?" 

Marie Louise nodded yes before she noted that the man 
was stripped to the waist. Runnels of sweat ran down his 
flesh and shot from the muscles lea-ping beneath his swart hide. 

Davidge went up to him and, after howling in vain, tapped 
his brawn. Sutton looked up, shut off his noise, and turned 
to Davidge with the impatience of a great tenor interrupted 
in a cadenza by a mere manager. 

Davidge yelled, with unnecessary voltage: 

"Sutton, I want to present you to Miss Webling." 


Sutton realized his nakedness like another Adam, and his 
confusion confused Marie Louise. She nodded. He nodded. 
Perhaps he made his muscles a little tauter. 

Davidge had planned to ask Sutton to let Marie Louise 
try to drive a rivet, just to show her how hopeless her ambition 
was, but he dared not loiter. Marie Louise, feeling silly in 
the silence, asked, stupidly: 

"So that s a riveter?" 

"Yes, ma am," Sutton confessed, "this is a riveter." 

"Oh!" said Marie Louise. 

"Well, I guess we ll move on," said Davidge. As conversa 
tion, it was as unimportant as possible, but it had a negative 
historical value, since it left Marie Louise unconvinced of her 
inability to be a rivetress. 

She said, "Thank you," and moved on. Davidge followed. 
Sutton took up his work again, as a man does after a woman 
has passed by, pretending to be indignant, trying by an added 
ferocity to conceal his delight. 

At a distance Davidge paused to say: "He s a great card, 
Sutton. He gets a lot of money, but he earns it before he 
spends it, and he s my ideal of a workman. His work comes 
first. He hogs all the pay the traffic will bear, but he goes 
on working and he takes a pride in being better than anybody 
else in his line. So many of these infernal laborers have only 
one ideal to do the least possible work and earn enough to 
loaf most of the time." 

Marie Louise thought of some of Jake Nuddle s principles 
and wondered if she had done right in recommending him for 
a place on Davidge s pay-roll. She was afraid he would be a 
slacker, never dreaming that he would be industrious in all 
forms of destruction. Jake never demanded short hours for 
his conspiracies. 

At the top of the unfinished deck Marie Louise forgot 
Jake and gave her mind up to admiring Davidge as the father 
of all this factory. He led her down, out and along the 
bottom-land, through bogs, among heaps of rusty iron, 
to a concrete building-slip. He seemed to be very important 
about something, but she could not imagine what it was. 
She saw nothing but a long girder made up of sections. It 
lay along a flat sheet of perforated steel the homeliest con 
traption imaginable. 


"Whatever is all this," she asked, "the beginning of a 

"Yes and no. It s the beginning of part of the bridge we re 
building across the Atlantic." 

"I don t believe that I quite follow you." 

"This is the keel of a ship." 



"And was the Clara like this once?" 

"No. Clara s an old-fashioned creature like mother. This 
is a newfangled thing like like you." 

"Like me! This isn t " 

"This is to be the Mamise." 

She could not hide her disappointment in her namesake. 

"I must confess she s not very beautiful to start with." 

"Neither were you at first, I suppose. I I beg your 
pardon. I mean " 

He tried to tell her about the new principles of fabricated 
ships, the standardizing of the parts, and their manufacture 
at distances by various steel plants, the absence of curved 
lines, the advantage of all the sacrifice of the old art for the 
new speed. 

In spite of what she had read she could not make his 
information her own. And yet it was thrilling to look at. 
She broke out: 

"I ve just got to learn how to build ships. It s the one 
thing on earth that will make me happy." 

"Then I ll have to get it for you." 

"You mean it?" 

" If anything I could do could make you happy cutting off 
my right arm, or " 

"That s no end nice of you. But I am in earnest. I m 
wretchedly unhappy, doing nothing. We women, I fancy, 
are most of us just where boys are when they have outgrown 
boyhood and haven t reached manhood when they are 
crazy to be at something, and can t even decide where to 
begin. Women have got to come out in the world and get to 
work. Here s my job, and I want it!" 

He looked at the delicate hands she fluttered before him, 
and he smiled. She protested: 

"I always loved physical exercise. In England I did the 


roughest sort of farmwork. I m stronger than I look. 
I think I d rather play one of those rat-tat-tat instruments 
than than a harp in New Jerusalem." 

Davidge shook his head. "I m afraid you re not quite 
strong enough. It takes a lot of power to hold the gun 
against the hull. The compressed air kicks and shoves so 
hard that even men tire quickly. Sutton himself has all he 
can dp to keep alive." 

"Give me a hammer, then, and let me smite something." 

"Don t you think you d rather begin in the office? You 
could learn the business there first. Besides, I don t like the 
thought of your roughing up those beautiful hands of yours." 

" If men would only quit trying to keep women s hands soft 
and clean, the world would be the better for it." 

"Well, come down and learn the business first you d be 
nearer me." 

She sidestepped this sentimental jab and countered with a 
practical left hook: 

"But you d teach me ship-building?" 

"I d rather teach you home-building." 

"If you mean a home on the bounding main, I ll get right 
to work." 

He was stubborn about beginning with office tasks, and 
he took her to the mold-loft. She was fascinated but appalled 
by her own ignorance of what had come to be the most im 
portant of all knowledge. 

She sighed. "I ve always been such a smatterer. I never 
have really known anything about anything. Most women 
are so astonishingly ignorant and indifferent about the 
essentials of men s life." 

She secretly resolved that she would study some of the 
basic principles of male existence bookkeeping, drafting, 
letter-writing, filing, trading. It amused her as a kind of new 
mischief to take a course of business instruction on the sly 
and report for duty not as an ignoramus, but as a past-mistress 
in office practice. It was at least a refreshing novelty in 

She giggled a little at the quaintness of her conspiracy. 
The old song, "Trust Her Not She Is Fooling Thee," oc 
curred to her in a fantastic parody: "Trust her not she is 
fooling thee; she is clandestine at the business college ; she is 


leading a double-entry life. She writes you in longhand, 
but she is studying shorthand. She is getting to be very fast 
on the typewriter." 

Davidge asked her why she snickered, but she would not 
divulge her plot. She was impatient to spring it. She 
wondered if in a week she could learn all she had to learn 
if she worked hard. It would be rather pleasant to sit at his 
desk-leaf and take dictation from him confidential letters 
that he would intrust to no one else, letters written in a 
whisper and full of dark references. She hoped she could 
learn stenographic velocity in a few days. 

As she and Davidge walked back to the car she noted the 
workmen s shanties. 

"If I come here, may I live in one of those cunning new 

"Indeed not! There are some- nice houses in town." 

"I m sick of nice houses. I want to rough it. In the next 
war millions of women will live in tents the way the men 
do. Those shanties would be considered palaces in Belgium 
and northern France. In fact, any number of women are 
over there now building huts for the poor souls." 

Davidge grew more and more wretched. He could not 
understand such a twisted courtship. His sweetheart did not 
want jewels and luxuries and a life of wealthy ease. Her only 
interest in him seemed to be that he would let her live in a 
shanty, wear overalls, and pound steel all day for union 


A^ eloquent contrast with Marie Louise was furnished 
by Jake Nuddle. He was of the ebb type. He was 
degenerating into a shirker, a destroyer, a money-maniac, a 
complainer of other men s successes. His labor was hardly 
more than a foundation for blackmailing. He loved no 
country, had not even a sense of following the crowd. He 
called the Star-spangled Banner a dirty rag, and he wanted 
to wipe his feet on it. He was useless, baneful, doomed. 

Marie Louise was coming into a new Canaan. What she 
wanted was work for the work s sake, to be building something 
and thereby building herself, to be helping her country for 
ward, to be helping mankind, poor and rich. The sight of the 
flag made her heart ache with a rapture of patriotism. She 
had the urge to march with an army. 

Marie Louise was on the up grade, Jake on the down. 
They met at the gate of the shipyard. 

Jake and Abbie had come over by train. Jake was surly 
in his tone to Davidge. His first question was, "Where do 
we live?" 

Marie Louise answered, "In one of those quaint little 

Jake frowned before he looked. He was one of those 
who hate before they see, feel nausea before they taste, 
condemn the unknown, the unheard, the unoffending. 

By the time Jake s eyes had found the row of shanties 
his frown was a splendid thing. 

"Quaint little hog-pens!" he growled. "Is this company 
the same as all the rest treatin its slaves like swine?" 

Davidge knew the type. For the sake of Marie Louise he 
restrained his first impulses and spoke with amiable acidity: 

"There are better houses in town, some of them very 

"Yah but what rent?" 


"Rather expensive. Rather distant, too, but you can 
make it easily in an automobile. 

Where would I git a nautomobile?" 

I can introduce you to the man who sold me mine." 

How would I get the price?" 

Just where I did." 

Whurr s that?" 

Oh, all over the place. I used to be a common unskilled 
laborer like you. And now I own a good part of this business. 
Thousands of men who began poorer than I did are richer 
than I am. The road s just as open to you as to me." 

Jake had plenty of answers for this. He had memorized 
numbers of them from the tracts; but also he had plans that 
would not be furthered by quarreling with Davidge the first 
day. He could do Davidge most harm by obeying him and 
outwardly catering to him. He solaced his pride with a 
thought of what Davidge s business would look like when 
he got through with it. 

He laughed: "All right, boss. I was just beefin , for the 
fun of beefin . Them shanties suit me elegant." 

Then his fool wife had to go and bust in, "Oh, Jake, if 
you would do like Mr. Davidge done, and git rich and live 

Jake gave her a pantomimic rebuke that reduced her to a 
pulpy silence. 

Marie Louise thought to restore Abbie s spirits a little by 
saying that she herself was coming down to work and to live 
in one of those very shanties. But Abbie gave her up as 
hopeless. Why any one should want to leave a house like 
what Mamise had, and money in the bank, and no call to 
lift her hand for nothing except to ring a bell and get some 
body to fetch anything, and leave all that and live like a 
squatter and acturally work well, it did beat all how foolish 
some folks could be in the world nowadays. 

Marie Louise left Abbie and Jake to establish themselves. 
She had to get back to Washington. Davidge had planned 
to go with her, but a long-distance telephone-call, and a visit 
from a group of prospective strikers, and a warning that a 
consignment of long-expected machinery had not yet arrived, 
took him out of the car. He was tempted to go with Marie 
Louise, anyway, but she begged him not to neglect his business 


for her unimportant self, and bade him good-by in an old 
Wakefield phrase, "If I don t see you again, hello!" 

She returned to Washington alone, but not lonely. Her 
thoughts smoked through her brain like a dust-cloud of 
shining particles, each radiant atom a great idea. The road 
home was through the sky; the villages and groves were vague 
pink clouds; the long downward slopes were shafts of sunlight, 
the ridges rainbows. 

It would take her hardly any time to conquer the mysteries 
of stenography. Surely they must be easy, considering some 
of the people that practised the art. She would study ship 
building, and drafting, too. Her water-color landscapes had 
been highly praised by certain young men and old ladies in 
England. She would learn how to keep her own bank-account 
and revamp her arithmetic. She would take up light book 
keeping; and she would build up her strength in a gymnasium 
so that she could swing a sledge as well as the next one. 
She would offer her home in Washington for rent. With the 
mobs pouring in, it would not be untenanted long. 

Her last expectation was realized first. The morning after 
she reached home she visited Mr. Hailstorks and told him she 
would sublet her mansion. Now that she wanted to collect 
rent from it instead of paying rent for it her description of its 
advantages was inevitably altered. With perfect sincerity 
she described its very faults as attractions. 

Thereafter her life was made miserable by the calls of 
people who wanted to look the place over. She had incessant 
offers, but she would not surrender her nest till she was ready 
to go back to the shipyard, and that was always to-morrow 
the movable to-morrow which like the horizon is always just 

She sent herself to school and was dazed by her ignorance. 
In arithmetic she had forgotten what she had gained at the 
age of ten, and it was not easy to recapture it. 

On the typewriter she had to learn the alphabet all over 
again in a new order, and this was fiendishly hard. She 
studied the touch-system with the keyboard covered, and her 
blunders were disheartening. Her deft fingers seemed hardly 
to be her own. They would not obey her will at all. 

Shorthand was baffling. It took her five times as long to 
write in shorthand as in longhand such thrilling literature 


as: "Dear customer, Letter received and contents noted. 
In reply to same would say " 

At first she was a trifle snobbish and stand-offish with some 
of the pert young fellow-pupils, but before long her opinion 
of them increased to a respect verging on awe. 

They could take dictation, chew gum, and fix their back 
hair with the free hand all at once. Their fingers pattered the 
keyboard like rain, and their letters were exquisitely neat. 
They had studied for a long time, and had acquired pro 
ficiency. And it is no easy thing to acquire proficiency in any 
task, from cobbling shoes to polishing sonnets or moving 

Marie Louise was humiliated to find that she really did not 
know how to spell some of the simplest words. When she 
wrote with running pen she never stopped to spell. She just 
sketched the words and let them go. She wrote, "I beleive 
I recieved," so that nobody could tell e from * ; and she put 
the dot where it might apply to either. Her punctuation 
was all dashes. 

The typewriter would not permit anything vague. A word 
stood out in its stark reality, howling "Illiterate!" at her. 
Her punctuation simply would not do. 

Pert young misses who were honored by a wink from an 
ice-cream-soda-counter keeper or by an invitation to a street 
car conductors dance turned out work of a Grecian perfection, 
while Marie Louise bit her lips and blushed with shame under 
the criticisms of her teacher. She was back in school again, 
the dunce of the class, and abject discouragements alternated 
with spurts of zeal. 

In the mean while the United States was also learning the 
rudiments of war and the enormous office-practice it required. 
Before the war was over the army of 118,000 men and 5,000 
officers in February, 1917, would be an army of over 3,000,000, 
and of these over 2,000,000 would have been carried to 
Europe, half of them in British ships; 50,000 of these would 
be killed to Russia s 1,700,000 dead, Germany s 1,600,000, 
France s 1,385,000, England s 706,200, Italy s 406,000, and 
Belgium s 102,000. The wounded Americans would be three 
times the total present army. Everybody was ignorant, 
blunderful. Externally and internally the United States was 
as busy as a trampled ant-hill. 


Everything in those days was done in drives. The armies 
made drives; the financiers made drives; the charities made 
drives. The world-heart was never so driven. And this was 
all on top of the ordinary human suffering, which did not 
abate one jot for all its overload. Teeth ached just as fiercely; 
jealousy was just as sickly green; empires crackled; people 
starved in herds; cities were pounded to gravel; army after 
army was taken prisoner or slaughtered; yet each agitated 
atom in the chaos was still the center of the tormented universe. 

Marie Louise suffered for mankind and for herself. She 
was lonely, love-famished, inept, dissatisfied, and abysmally 
ashamed of her general ineffectiveness. Then one of Wash 
ington s infamous hot weeks supervened. In the daytime the 
heat stung like a cat-o -nine-tails. The nights were suffoca 
tion. She "slept," gasping as a fish flounders on dry land. 
After the long strain of fighting for peace, toiling for rest, 
the mornings would find Marie Louise as wrecked as if she had 
come in from a prolonged spree. Then followed a day of 
drudgery at the loathly necessities of her stupid work. 

Detail and delay are the tests of ambition. Ambition sees 
the mountain-peak blessed with sunlight and cries, "That is 
my goal!" But the feet must cross every ditch, wade every 
swamp, scramble across every ledge. The peak is the harder 
to see the nearer it comes; the last cliffs hide it altogether, 
and when it is reached it is only a rough crag surrounded by 
higher crags. The glory that lights it is glory in distant eyes 

So for poor Mamise. She had run away from a squalid 
home to the gorgeous freedom of stage-life, only to find that 
the stage also is squalid and slavish, and that the will-o -the- 
wisp of gorgeous freedom had jumped back to home life. 
She left the cheap theaters for the expensive luxury of Sir 
Joseph s mansion. But that had its squalors and slaveries, 
too. She had fled from troubled England to joyous America, 
only to find in America a thousand distresses. 

Then her eyes had been caught with the glitter of true 
freedom. She would be a builder of ships cast off the re 
straint of womanhood and be a magnificent builder of ships ! 
And now she was finding that this dream was also a nightmare. 

Everywhere she looked was dismay, futility, failure. The 
hot wave found her an easy victim. A frightened servant 


who did not know the difference between sunstroke and heat 
prostration nearly killed her before a doctor came. 

The doctor sent Marie Louise to bed, and in bed she stayed. 
It was her trained nurse who wrote a letter to Mr. Davidge 
regretting that she could not come to the launching of the 
Clara. Abbie was not present, either. She came up to be 
with Marie Louise. This was not the least of Marie Louise s 

She was quite childish about missing the great event. 
She wept because another hand swung the netted champagne- 
bottle against the bow as it lurched down the toboggan-slide. 

Davidge wrote her about the launching, but it was a business 
man s letter, with the poetry all smothered. He told her that 
there had been an accident or two, and nearly a disaster an 
unexploded infernal-machine had been found. A scheme to 
wreck the launching-ways had been detected on the final 

Marie Louise read the letter aloud to Abbie, and, even 
though she knew the ship was safe, trembled as if it were still 
in jeopardy. Her shaken faith in humanity was still capable 
of feeling bewilderment at the extremes of German savagery. 
She cried out to her sister: 

"How on earth can anybody be fiendish enough to have 
tried to destroy that ship even before it was launched? How 
could a German spy have got into the yard?" 

"It didn t have to have been a German," said Abbie, 

"Who else would have wanted to play such a dastardly 
trick? No American would!" 

"Well, it depends on what you call Amurrican," said 
Abbie. "There s some them Independent workmen so in 
dependent they ain t got any country any more n what 
Cain had." 

"You can t suppose that Mr. Davidge has enemies among 
his own people?" 

"O course he has! Slews of em. Some them workmen 
can t forgive the man that gives em a job." 

"But he pays big wages. Think of what Jake gets." 

"Oh, him! If he got all they was, he d holler he was bein 
cheated. Hollerin and hatin always come easy to Jake. If 
they wasn t easy, he wouldn t do em." 



Marie Louise gasped: "Abbie! In Heaven s name, you 
don t imply " 

"No, I don t!" snapped Abbie. "I never implied in my 
life, and don t you go sayin I did." 

Abbie was at bay now. She had to defend her man from 
outside suspicion. Suspicion of her husband is a wife s 

Marie Louise was too much absorbed in the general vision 
of man s potential villainy to follow up the individual clue. 
She was frightened away from considering Jake as a candidate 
for such infamy. Her wildest imaginings never put him in 
association with Nicky Easton. 

There were so many excursions and alarms in the world 
of 1917 that the riddle of who tried to sink the ship on dry 
land joined a myriad others in the riddle limbo. 

When Marie Louise was well enough to go back to her 
business school she found riddles enough in trying to decide 
where this letter or that had got to on the crazy keyboard, 
or what squirmy shorthand symbol it was that represented 
this syllable or that. 

She had lost the little speed she had had, and it was double 
drudgery regaining the forgotten lore. But she stood the gaff 
and found herself on the dizzy height of graduation from a 
lowly business school. She had traveled a long way from the 
snobbery of her recent years. 

Davidge recognized her face and her voice when she pre 
sented herself before him. But her soul was an utter stranger. 
She did not invite him to call on her or warn him that she 
was coming to call on him. 

She appeared in his anteroom and bribed one of the clerks 
to go to him with a message: 

"A young lady s outside wants a position as a stenog- 

Davidge growled without looking up: 

Why bother me? Send her to the chief clerk." 

She wants to see you specially." 

I m out." 

Said Miss Webling sent her. 

O Lord! show her in." 

Marie Louise entered. Davidge looked up, leaped up. 

She did not come in with the drawing-room, train-dragging 


manner of Miss Webling. She did not wear the insolent 
beauty of Mamise of the Musical Mokes. She was a white- 
waisted, plain-skirted office-woman, a businessette. She had 
a neat little hat and gave him a secretarial bow. 

He rushed to her hand, and they had a good laugh like two 
children playing pretend. Then he said: 

"Why the camouflage?" 

The word was not very new even then, or he would not 
nave used it. 

She explained, with royal simplicity: 

"I want a job." 

She brought out her diploma and a certificate giving her a 
civil-service status. She was quite conceited about it. 

She insisted on displaying her accomplishments. 

"Give me some dictation," she dictated. 

He nodded, pummeled his head for an idea while she took 
from her hand-bag, not a vanity-case, but a stenographer s 
note-book and a sheaf of pencils. 

He noted that she sat down stenographically very con 
cisely. She perched her note-book on the desk of one crossed 
knee and perked her eyes up as alertly as a sparrow. 

All this professionalism sat so quaintly on the two Marie 
Louises he had known that he roared with laughter as at a 
child dressed up. 

She smiled patiently at his uproar till it subsided. Then he 
sobered and began to dictate : 

"Ready? Miss Mamise cross that out Miss Marie 
Louise Webling you know the address; I don t. Dear 
My dear no, just Dear Miss Webling. Reference is had 
to your order of recent date that this house engage you as 
amanuensis. Dictionary in the bookcase outside comma 
no, period. In reply I would I wish to I beg to we beg 
to say that we should I should just as soon engage Mona 
Lisa for a stenographer as you. Period and paragraph 

We have, comma, however, comma, another po 
sition to offer you, comma, that is, as wife to the senior 
member of this firm. Period. The best wages we can we 
can offer you are is the use of one large, comma, 
slightly damaged heart and a million thanks a minute. 
Period. Trusting that we may be favored with a prompt 
and favorable reply, we am I are am yours very sin- 


cerely, truly yours, no, just say yours, and I ll sign it. 
By the way, do you know what the answer will be?" 


"Do you mean it?" 

"I mean that I know the answer." 

"Let me have it." 

"Can t you guess?" 

" Yes ?" 



A long glum pause till she said, "Am I fired? 

"Of course not." 

More pause. She intervened in his silence. 

"What do I do next, please?" 

He said, of habit, "Why, sail on, and on, and on." 

He reached for his basket of unanswered mail. He said: 

"I ve given you a sample of my style, now you give me a 
sample of yours, and then I ll see if I can afford to keep you 
as a stenographer instead of a wife." 

She nodded, went to a typewriter in a corner of his office, 
and seated herself at the musicless instrument. Her heart 
pit-a-patted as fast as her fingers, but she drew up the letter 
in a handsome style while he sat and stared at her and mused 
upon the strange radiance she brought into the office in a 
kind of aureole. 

He grew abruptly serious when Miss Gabus, his regular 
stenographer, entered and stared at the interloper with amaze 
ment, comma, suspicion, comma, and hostility, period. She 
murmured a very rasping "I beg your pardon," and stepped 
out, as Marie Louise rose from the writing-machine and 
brought him an extraordinarily accurate version of his letter. 

And now he had two women on his hands and one on his 
heart. He dared not oust Miss Gabus for the sake of Miss 
Webling. He dared not show his devotion to Marie Louise, 
though as a matter of fact it made him glow like a lighthouse. 

He put Mamise to work in the chief clerk s office. It was 
noted that he made many more trips to that office than ever 
before. Instead of pressing the buzzer for a boy or a stenog 
rapher, he usually came out himself on all sorts of errands. 
His buzzer did not buzz, but the gossip did. 

Mamise was vaguely aware of it, and it distressed her till 


she grew furious. She was so furious at Davidge for not 
being deft enough to conceal his affection that she began 
to resent it as an offense and not a compliment. 

The impossible Mamise insisted on taking up her residence 
in one of the shanties. When he took the liberty of urging 
her to live at a hotel or at some of the more comfortable 
homes she snubbed him bluntly. When he desperately urged 
her to take lunch or dinner with him she drew herself up and 
mocked the virtuous scorn of a movie stenographer and said : 

Sir ! I may be only a poor typist, but no wicked capitalist 
shall loor me to lunch with him. You d probably drug the 

"Then will you" 

"No, I will not go motoring with you. How dare you!" 

"May I call, then?" 

More as a punishment than a hospitality, she said: 

"Yessir the fourteenth house on the left side of the road 
is me." 

The days were still long and the dark tardy when he marched 
up the street. It was a gantlet of eyes and whispers. He felt 
inane to an imbecility. The whole village was eying the 
boss on his way to spark a stenog. His little love-affair 
was as clandestine as Lady Godiva s famous bareback ride. ; 

He cut his call short after an age-long half -hour of enduring 
the ridicule twinkling in Mamise s eyes. He stayed just late 
enough for it to get dark enough to conceal his return through 
that street. He was furious at the situation and at Mamise 
for teasing him so. But she became all the dearer for her 


A7TER the novelty of the joke wore off Mamise grew as 
uncomfortable as he. She was beginning to love him 
more and her job less. But she was determined not to throw 
away her independence. Pride was her duenna, and a ruthless 
one. She tried to feed her pride on her ambition and on an 
occasional visit to the ship that was to wear her name. 

She met Sutton, the prima donna riveter. He was always 
clattering away like a hungry woodpecker, but he always had 
time to stop and discuss his art with her. 

Once or twice he let her try the riveter the "gun," he called 
it; but her thumb was not strong enough to hold the trigger 
against that hundred-and-fif ty-pound pressure per square inch. 

One day Marie Louise came on Jake Nuddle and Sutton in 
a wrangle. She caught enough of the parley to know that 
Jake was sneering at Sutton s waste of energy and enthusiasm, 
his long hours and low pay. Sutton earned a very substantial 
income, but all pay was low pay to Jake, who was spreading 
the gospel of sabotage through the shipyard. 

Meanwhile the good ship Clara, weaned from the dock, 
floated in the basin and received her equipment. And at last 
the day came when she was ready for her trial trip. 

That morning the smoke rolled from her funnels in a twisted 
skein. What had once been ore in many a mine, and trees 
in many a forest, had become an individual, as what has been 
vegetables and fruits and the flesh of animals becomes at last 
a child with a soul, a name, a fate. 

It was impossible to think now that the Clara was merely 
an iron box with an engine to push it about. Clara was some 
body, a personality, a lovable, whimsical, powerful creature. 
She was "she" to everybody. And at last one morning she 
kicked up her heels and took a long white bone in her teeth 
and went her ways. 

The next day Clara came back. There was something 


about her manner of sweeping into the bay, about the proud 
look of her as she came to a halt, that convinced all the 
watchers in the shipyard of her success. 

When they learned that she had exceeded all her contract 
stipulations there was a tumult of rejoicing; for her success 
was the success of every man and lad in the company s 
employ at least so thought all who had any instinct of team- 
play and collective pride. A few soreheads were glum, or 
sneered at the enthusiasm of the others. It was strange that 
Jake Nuddle was associated with all of these groups. 

Clara was not permitted to linger and rest on her laurels. 
She had work to do. Every ship in the world was working 
overtime except the German Kiel Canal boats. Clara was 
gone from the view the next morning. Mamise missed her as 
she looked from the office window. She mentioned this to 
Davidge, for fear he might not know. Somebody might have 
stolen her. He explained: 

"She s going down to Norfolk to take on a cargo of food 
for England wheat for the Allies. I m glad she s going to 
take breadstuffs to people. My mother used to be always 
going about to hungry folks with a basket of food on her 

Mamise had Jake and Abbie in to dinner that night. She 
was all agog about the success of Clara, and hoped that 
Mamise would one day do as well. 

Jake took a sudden interest in the matter. Did the boss 
tell you where the Clara was goin to?" 

"Yes Norfolk." 

Jake considered his unmentionable cigar a few minutes, 
then rose and mumbled: 

"Goin out to get some more cigars." 

Abbie called after him, "Hay, you got a whole half -box 
left." But Jake did not seem to hear the recall. 

He came back later cigarless and asked for the box. 

"I thought you went out to git some," said Abbie, who felt 
it necessary to let no occasion slip for reminding him of some 
blunder he had made. Jake laughed very amiably. 

"Well, so I did, and I went into a cigar-store, at that. 
But I hadda telephone a certain party, long-distance and I 

Abbie broke in, "Who you got to long-distance to?" 


Jake did not answer. 

Two days later Davidge was so proud that he came out 
into the main office and told all the clerks of the new dis 

"They loaded the Clara in record time with wheat for 
England. She sails to-day." 

At his first chance to speak to Marie Louise he said : 

"You compared her to Little Red Riding Hood remember? 
Well, she s starting out through the big woods with a lot of 
victuals for old Granny England. If only the wolves don t 
get her!" 

He felt, and Mamise felt, as lonely and as anxious for her 
as if she were indeed a little red-bonneted forest-farer on an 
errand of mercy. 

Ships have always been dear to humankind because of the 
dangers they run and because of the pluck they show in 
storms and fires, and the unending fights they make against 
wind and wave. But of late they had had unheard-of enemies 
to meet, the submarine and the infernal-machine placed 
inside the cargo. 

Marie Louise spoke of this at the supper-table that night: 

"To think, with so little food in the world and so many 
starving to death, people could sink ships full of wheat!" 

On the second day after the Clara set forth on the ocean 
Marie Louise took dictation for an hour and wrote out her 
letters as fast as she could. In the afternoon she took the 
typewritten transcripts into Davidge s office to drop them 
into his "in" basket. 

,. The telephone rang. His hand went out to it, and she 
heard him say: 

"Mr. Davidge speaking. . . . Hello, Ed. . . . What? 
You re too close to the phone. . . . That s better. . . . You re 
too far away start all over. ... I don t get that. . . . Yes a 
life-boat picked up with what oh, six survivors. Yes from 
what ship? I say, six survivors from what ship? . . . The 
Clara? She s gone? Clara?" 

He reeled and wavered in his chair. "What happened 
many lost? And the boat cargo everything everybody 
but those six! They got her, then! The Germans got her 
on her first voyage ! God damn their guts ! Good-by , Ed. 

He seemed to be calm, but the hand that held up the 


receiver groped for the hook with a pitiful blind man s 

Mamise could not resist that blundering helplessness. She 
ran forward and took his hand and set the receiver in place. 

He was too numb to thank her, but he was grateful. His 
mother was dead. The ship he had named for her was dead. 
He needed mothering. 

Mamise put her hands on his shoulders and gripped them 
as if to hold them together under their burden. She said: 

"I heard. I can t tell you how Oh, what can we do in 
such a world!" 

He laughed foolishly and said, with a stumbling voice: 

"I ll get a German for this somehow!" 


MAMISE shuddered when she heard the blood-cry wrung 
out of Davidge s agony. 

She knew that the ship was more than a ship to him. 
Its death was as the death of many children. It might mean 
the death of many children. She stood over him, weeping 
for him like another Niobe among her slaughtered family. 
The business man in his tragedy had to have some woman at 
hand to do his weeping for him. He did not know how to 
sob his own heart out. 

She felt the vigor of a high anger grip his muscles. When 
she heard him groan, "I ll get a German for this!" somehow 
it horrified her, coming from him; yet it was becoming the 
watchword of the whole nation. 

America had stood by for three years feeding Europe s 
hungry and selling munitions to the only ones that could come 
and get them. America had been forced into the war by the 
idiotic ingenuities of the Germans, who kept frustrating all 
their own achievements, the cruel ones thwarting the clever 
ones; the liars undermining the fighters; the wise, who 
knew so much, not knowing the first thing that torture never 
succeeded, that a reputation for broken faith is the most 
expensive of all reputations, that a policy of terror and 
trickery and megalomania can accomplish nothing but its 
own eventual ruin. 

America was aroused at last. The German rhinoceros in 
its blind charges had wakened and enraged the mammoth. 
A need for German blood was the frank and undeniable pas 
sion of the American Republic. To kill enough Germans fast 
enough to crush them and their power and their glory was the 
acknowledged business of the United States until further 

The strangest people were voicing this demand. Preachers 
were thundering it across their pulpits, professors across their 


desks, women across their cradles, pacifists across their shat 
tered dreams, business men across their counters, "Kill 

It was a frightful crusade; yet who was to blame for it but 
the Germans and their own self -advertised f rightfulness ? The 
world was fighting for its life and health against a plague, a 
new outrush from that new plague-spot whence so many 
floods of barbarism had broken over civilization. 

They came forth now in gray streams like the torrent of rats 
that pursued the wicked Bishop Hatto to his tower. Only the 
world was not Bishop Hatto, and it did not flee. It gathered to 
one vast circular battle, killing and killing rats upon rats in a 
frenzy of loathing that grew with the butchery. 

Countless citizens of German origin fought and died with 
the Americans, but nobody thought of them as Germans now, 
and least of all did they so think of themselves. In the mind 
of the Allied nations, German and vermin were linked in 
rhyme and reason. 

It may be unjust and unsympathetic, but the very best 
people feel it a duty to destroy microbes, insects, and beasts 
of prey without mercy. The Germans themselves had pro 
claimed their own nature with pride. Peaceful Belgium 
invaded, burned, butchered, ravished, dismantled, mulcted, 
deported, enslaved was the first sample of German work. 

Davidge had hated Germany s part in the war from the first, 
for the world s sake, for the sake of the little nations trampled 
and starved and the big nations thrown into desperation, and 
for the insolence and omnipresence of the German menace for 
the land filled with graves, the sea with ships, the air with indis 
criminate slaughter. 

Now it had come straight home to himself. His own ship 
was assassinated; the hill of wheat she carried had been 
spilled into the sterile sea. Nearly all of her crew had 
been murdered or drowned. He had a blood-feud of his 
own with Germany. 

He was startled to find Mamise recoiling from him. He 
looked at her with a sudden demand: 

"Does it shock you to have me hate em?" 

" No ! No, indeed !" she cried. "I wasn t thinking of them, 
but of you. I never saw you before like this. You scared me 
a little. I didn t know you could be so angry." 


" I m not half as angry as I d like to be. Don t you abom 
inate em, too?" 

"Oh yes I wish that Germany were one big ship and all 
the Germans on board, and I had a torpedo big enough to 
blast them all to where they belong." 

This wish seemed to him to prove a sufficient lack of af 
fection for the Germans, and he added, "Amen!" with a little 
nervous reaction into uncouth laughter. 

But this was only another form of his anguish. At such 
times the distraught soul seems to have need of all its 
emotions and expressions, and to run among them like a 
frantic child. 

Davidge s next mood was a passionate regret for the crew, 
the dead engineers and sailors shattered and blasted and 
cast into the sea, the sufferings of the little squad that escaped 
into a life-boat without water or provisions or shelter from 
the sun and the lashing spray. 

Then he pictured the misery of hunger that the ship s cargo 
would have relieved. He had been reading much of late of the 
Armenian what word or words could name that woe so 
multitudinous that, like the number of the stars, the mind 
refused to attempt its comprehension? 

He saw one of those writhing columns winding through a 
rocky wilderness old crones knocked aside to shrivel with 
famine, babies withering like blistered flowers from the 
flattened breasts of their mothers dying with hunger, fatigue, 
blows, violation, and despair. He thought of Poland childless 
and beyond pity; of the Serbian shambles. The talons of 
hunger a millionfold clutched him, and he groaned aloud: 

" L r they d only stolen my wheat and given it to somebody 
to anybody! But to pour it into the sea!" 

He could not linger in that slough and stay sane. His 
struggling soul broke loose from the depths and hunted safety 
in self -ridicule : 

" I might better have left the wheat at home and never have 
built the fool ship." 

He began to laugh again, an imbecile ironic cachinnation. 

"The blithering idiot I ve been ! To go and work and work 
and work, and drive my men and all the machinery for months 
and months to make a ship and put in the engines and send 
it down and load it, and all for some" a gesture expressed 


his unspeakable thought "of a German to blow it to hell 
and gone, with a little clock-bomb in one second!" 

In his abysmal discouragement his ideals were all topsy 
turvy. He burlesqued his own religion as the most earnest 
constantly do, for we all revolve around ourselves as well as 
our suns. 

"What s the use," he maundered "what s the use of 
trying to do anything while they re alive and at work right 
here in our country? They re everywhere! They swarm 
like cockroaches out of every hole as soon as the light gets 
low ! We ve got to blister em all to death with rough-on-rats 
before we can build anything that will last. There s no 
stopping them without wiping em off the earth." 

She did not argue with him. At such times people do not 
want arguments or good counsel or correction. They want 
somebody to stand by in mute fellowship to watch and listen 
and suffer, too. So Mamise helped Davidge through that 
ordeal. He turned from rage at the Germans to contempt 
for himself. 

"It s time I quit out of this and went to work with the army. 
It makes me sick to be here making ships for Germans to sink. 
The thing to do is to kill the Germans first and build the ships 
when the sea is safe for humanity. I m ashamed of myself 
sitting in an office shooting with a telephone and giving out 
plans and contracts and paying wages to a gang of mechanics. 
It s me for a rifle and a bayonet." 

Mamise had to oppose this: 

"Who s going to get you soldiers across the sea or feed you 
when you get there if all the ship-builders turn soldier?" 

"Let somebody else do it." 

"But who can do it as well as you can? The Germans said 
that America could never put an army across or feed it if she 
got it there. If you go on strike you ll prove the truth of 

Then she began to chant his own song to him. A man likes 
to hear his nobler words recalled. Here is one of the best re 
sources a woman has. Mamise was speaking for him as well 
as for herself when she said: 

"Oh, I remember how you thrilled me with your talk of all 
the ships you would build. You said it was the greatest poem 
ever written, the idea of making ships faster than the Germans 


could sink them. It was that that made me want to be a 
ship-builder. It was the first big ambition I ever had. And 
now you tell me it s useless and foolish!" 

He saw the point without further pressure. 

"You re right," he said. "My job s here. It would be 
selfish and showy to knock off this work and grab a gun. I ll 
stick. It s hard, though, to settle down here when everybody 
else is bound for France." 

Mamise was one of those unusual wise persons who do not 
continue to argue a case that has already been won. She added 
only the warm personal note to help out the cold generality. 

"There s my ship to finish, you know. You couldn t leave 
poor Mamise out there on the stocks unfinished." 

The personal note was so warm that he reached out for her. 
He needed her in his arms. He caught her roughly to him and 
knew for the first time the feel of her body against his, the 
sweet compliance of her form to his embrace. 

But there was an anachronism to her in the contact. She 
was in one of those moods of exaltation, of impersonal na 
tionalism, that women were rising to more and more as a new 
religion. She was feeling terribly American, and, though 
she had no anger for him and saw no insult in his violence, 
she seemed to be above and beyond mere hugging and kissing. 
She was in a Joan of Arc humor, so she put his hands away, 
yet squeezed them with fervor, for she knew that she had 
saved him from himself and to himself. She had brought him 
back to his east again, and the morning is always wonderful. 

She had renewed his courage, however, so greatly that he 
did not despair of her. He merely postponed her, as people 
were postponing everything beautiful and lovable "for the 
duration of the war." 

He reached for the buzzer. Already Mamise heard its 
rattlesnake clatter. But his hand paused and went to hers 
as he stammered: 

"We ve gone through this together, and you ve helped me 
I can t tell you how much, honey. Only, I hope we can go 
through a lot more trouble together. There s plenty of it 

She felt proud and meek and dismally happy. She squeezed 
his big hand again in both of hers and sighed, with a smile : 

"I hope so." 


Then he pressed the buzzer, and Miss Gabus was inside the 
door with suspicious promptitude. Davidge said: 

"Mr. Avery, please and the others all the others right 
away. Ask them to come here; and you might come back, 
Miss Gabus." 

Mr. Avery, the chief clerk, and other clerks and stenog 
raphers, gathered, wondering what was about to happen. 
Some of them came grinning, for when they had asked Miss 
Gabus what was up she had guessed: "I reckon he s goin to 
announce his engagement." 

The office force came in like an ill-drilled comic-opera 
chorus. Davidge waited till the last-comer was waiting. 
Then he said: 

"Folks, I ve just had bad news. The Clara they got her! 
The Germans got her. She was blown up by a bomb. She 
was two days out and going like a greyhound when she sank 
with all on board except six of the crew who got away in a life 
boat and were picked up by a tramp." 

There was a shock of silence, then a hubbub of gasps, oaths, 
of incredulous protests. 

Miss Gabus was the first to address Davidge: 

" My Gawd! Mr. Davidge, what you goin to do about it?" 

They thought him a man of iron when he said, quietly: 

"We ll build some more ships. And if they sink those 
we ll build some more." 

He was a man of iron, but iron can bend and break and melt, 
and so can steel. Yet there is a renewal of strength, and, 
thanks to Mamise, Davidge was recalled to himself, though 
he was too shrewd or too tactful to give her the credit for 
redeeming him. 

His resolute words gave the office people back to their own 
characters or their own reactions and their first phrases. Each 
had something to say. One, "She was such a pretty boat!" 
another, "Was she insured, d you suppose?" a third, a fourth, 
and the rest: "The poor engineer and the sailors!" "All 
that work for nothin !" "The money she cost!" "The Bel 
gians could a used that wheat!" "Those Germans! Is there 
anything they won t do?" 

The chief clerk shepherded them back to their tasks. 
Davidge took up the telephone to ask for more steel. Mamise 
renewed the cheerful rap-rap-rap of her typewriter. 


The shock that struck the office had yet to rush through the 
yard. There was no lack of messengers to go among the 
men with the bad word that the first of the Davidge ships 
had been destroyed. It was a personal loss to nearly every 
body, as it had been to Davidge, for nearly everybody had 
put some of his soul and some of his sweat into that slow and 
painful structure so instantly annulled. The mockery of the 
wasted toil embittered every one. The wrath of the workers 
was both loud and ferocious. 

Jake Nuddle was one of the few who did not revile the Ger 
man plague. He was not in the least excited over the dead 
sailors. They did not belong to his union. Besides, Jake 
did not love work or the things it made. He claimed to love 
the workers and the money they made. 

He was tactless enough to say to a furious orator: 

"Ah, what s it to you? The more ships the Germans sink 
the more you got to build and the more they ll have to pay 
you. If Davidge goes broke, so much the better. The sooner 
we bust these capitalists the sooner the workin -man gets his 

The orator retorted : "This is war-times. We got to make 
ships to win the war." 

Jake laughed. " Whose war is it ? The capitalists . You re 
fightin for Morgan and Rockefeller to save their investments 
and to help em to grind you into the dirt. England and 
France and America are all land-grabbers. They re no 
better n Germany." 

The workers wanted a scapegoat, and Jake unwittingly 
volunteered. They welcomed him with a bloodthirsty roar. 
They called him vigorous shipyard names and struck at him. 
He backed off . They followed. He made a crucial mistake ; 
he whirled and ran. They ran after him. Some of them 
threw hammers and bolts. Some of these struck him as he 
fled. Workmen ahead of him were roused by the noise and 
headed him off. 

He darted through an opening in the side of the Mamise. 
The crowd followed him, chased him out on an upper deck. 

"Throw him overboard! Kill him!" they shouted. 

He took refuge behind Sutton the riveter, whose gun had 
made such noise that he had heard none of the clamor. Seeing 
Jake s white face and the mark of a thrown monkey-wrench 


on his brow, Sutton shut off the compressed air and con 
fronted the pursuers. He was naked to the waist, and he had 
no weapon, but he held them at bay while he demanded: 

"What s the big idea? What you playin ? Puss in a 
corner? How many of yous guys does it take to lick this one 

A burly patriot, who forgot that his name and nis accent 
were Teutonic, roared: 

"Der sneagin Sohn off a peach ain t sorry die Clara is by 
dose tarn Chermans gesunken!" 

"What!" Sutton howled. "The Clara sunk? Whatya mean 

Bohlmann told him. Sutton wavered. He had driven 
thousands of rivets into the frame of the ship, and a little 
explosive had opened all the seams and ended her days! 
When at last he understood the Clara s fate and Nuddle s 
comments he turned to Jake with baleful calm: 

"And you thought it was good business, did you? And 
these fellers was thinkin about lynchin you, was they? Well, 
they re all wrong they re all wrong: we d ought to save 
lynchin for real guys. What you need is somethin like 

His terrific fist lashed out and caught Jake in the right eye. 
Jake in a daze of indignation and amazement went over back 
ward; his head struck the steel deck, and his soul went out. 
When it came back he lay still for a while, pretending to be 
unconscious until the gang had dispersed, satisfied, and Sutton 
was making ready to begin riveting again. Then he picked 
himself up and edged round Sutton, growling: 

"I ll fix you for this, you " 

Sutton did not wait to learn what Jake was going to call 
him. His big foot described an upward arc, and Jake a 
parabola, ending in a drop that almost took him through an 
open hatch into the depth of the hold. He saved himself, 
peering over the edge, too weak for words hunched back, 
crawled around the steel abyss, and betook himself to a safe 
hiding-place under the tank-top till the siren should blow 
and disperse his enemies. 


"PHE office force left pretty promptly on the hour. When 
1 Mamise noted that desks were being cleared for inac 
tion she began mechanically to conform. Then she paused. 

On other afternoons she had gone home with the crowd of 
employees, too weary with office routine to be discontent. 
But now she thought of Davidge left alone in his office to 
brood over his lost ship, the brutal mockery of such loving 
toil. It seemed heartless to her as his friend to desert him 
in the depths. But as one of his stenographers, it would look 
shameless to hang round with the boss. She shifted from foot 
to foot and from resolve to resolve. 

Their relations were undergoing as many strains and stresses 
as a ship s frame in the various waves and weathers that con 
front it. She had picked up some knowledge of the amazing 
twists a ship encounters at rest and in motion stresses in 
still water, with cargo and without, hogging and sagging 
stresses, seesaw strains, tensile, compressive, transverse, rack 
ing, pounding; bumps, blows, collisions, oscillations, running 
aground stresses that crumpled steel or scissored the rivets 
in two. 

It was hard to foresee the critical stress that should mean 
life or death to the ship and its people. Some went humbly 
forth and came home with rich cargo; some steamed out in 
pride and never came back; some limped in from the sea 
racked and ruined; some ran stupidly ashore in fogs; some 
fought indomitably through incredible tempests. Some died 
dramatic deaths on cliffs where tidal waves hammered them 
to shreds; some turned turtle at their docks and went down 
in the mud. Some led long and honorable lives, and others, 
beginning with glory, degenerated into cattle-ships or coastal 

People were but ships and bound for as many destinations 
and destinies. Their fates depended as much and yet as 


little on their pilots and engineers, their engines and their 
frames. The test of the ship and of the person was the daily 
drudgery and the unforeseen emergency. 

Davidge believed in preliminary tests of people and boats. 
Before he hired a man or trusted a partner he inquired into his 
past performances. He had been unable to insist on investi 
gation in the recent mad scramble for labor due to the sudden 
withdrawal into the national army of nearly every male 
between twenty-one and thirty-one and of hundreds of 
thousands of volunteers of other ages. 

He had given his heart to Marie Louise Webling, of whom 
he knew little except that she would not tell him much. 
And on her dubious voucher he had taken Jake Nuddle into 
his employ. Now he had to accept them as he had to accept 
steel, taking it as it came and being glad to get any at all. 

Hitherto he had insisted on preliminary proofs. He wanted 
no steel in a ship s hull or in any part of her that had not 
behaved well in the shop tests, in the various machines that 
put the metal under bending stress, cross-breaking, hammer 
ing, drifting, shearing, elongation, contraction, compression, 
deflection, tension, and torsion stresses. The best of the 
steels had their elastic limits; there was none that did not 
finally snap. 

Once this point was found, the individual metal was placed 
according to its quality, the responsibility imposed on it being 
only a tenth of its proved capacity. That ought to have been 
enough of a margin of safety. Yet it did not prevent disasters. 

People could not always be put to such shop tests before 
hand. A reference or two, a snap judgment based on first 
impressions, ushered a man or a woman into a place where 
weakness or malice could do incalculable harm. In every 
institution, as in every structure, these danger-spots exist. 
Davidge, for all his care and knowledge of people, could 
only take the best he could get. 

Jake Nuddle had got past the sentry-line with ludicrous 
ease and had contrived already the ruin of one ship. His 
program, which included all the others, had had a little set 
back, but he could easily regain his lost ground, for the 
mob had vented its rage against him and was appeased. 

Mamise was inside the sentry-lines, too, both of Davidge s 
shop and his heart. Her purposes were loyal, but she was 


drifting toward a supreme stress that should try her inmost 
fiber. And at the moment she felt an almost unbearable 
strain in the petty decision of whether to go with the clerks 
or stop with the boss. 

Mamise was not so much afraid of what the clerks would 
say of her. It was Davidge that she was protecting. She 
did not want to have them talking about him as if anything 
could have stopped them from that! 

While she debated between being unselfish enough to leave 
him unconsoled and being selfish enough to stay, she spent 
so much time that the outer office was empty, anyway. 

Seeing herself alone, she made a quick motion toward the 
door. Miss Gabus came out, stared violently, and said: 

"Was you goin in?" 

"No oh no!" said Mamise. "I left something in my 

She opened her desk, took out a pencil-nub and hurried 
away, ostentatiously passing the other clerks as they struggled 
across the yard to the gate. 

She walked to her shanty and found it all pins and needles. 
She was so desperate that she went to see her sister. 

Marie Louise found Abbie in her kitchen, sewing buttons 
on the extremely personal property of certain bachelors whom 
she washed for in spite of Jake s high earnings from which 
she benefited no more than before. If Jake had come into a 
million, or shattered the world to bits and then rebuilt it 
nearer to his heart s desire, he would not have had enough to 
make much difference to Abbie. Mamise had made many 
handsome presents to Abbie, but somehow they vanished, or 
at least got Abbie no farther along the road to contentment 
or grace. 

Mamise was full of the story of the disaster to the Clara. She 
drew Abbie into the living-room away from the children, who 
were playing in the kitchen because it was full of the savor of 
the forthcoming supper. 

"Abbie dear, have you heard the news?" 

Abbie gasped, "Oh God, is anything happened to Jake 
killed or arrested or anything?" 

"No, no but Clara the Clara " 

"Clara who?" 

"The ship, the first ship we built, she s destroyed." 


"For the land s sake! I want to know! Well, what you 
know about that!" 

Abbie could not rise to very lofty heights of emotion or 
language over anything impersonal. She made hardly so 
much noise over this tragedy as a hen does over the delivery 
of an egg. 

Mamise was distressed by her stolidity. She understood 
with regret why Jake did not find Abbie an ideal inspirational 
companion. She hated to think well of Jake or ill of her 
sister, but one cannot help receiving impressions. 

She did her best to stimulate Abbie to a decent warmth, 
but Abbie was as immune to such appeals as those people were 
who were still wondering why America went to war with 

Abbie was entirely perfunctory in her responses to Mamise s 
pictures of the atrocity. She grew really indignant when she 
looked at the clock and saw that Jake was late to dinner. 
She broke in on Mamise s excitement with a distressful : 

"And we got steak n cab ge for supper." 

"I must hurry back to my own shack," said Mamise, rising. 

"You stay right where you are. You re goin to eat with 

"Not to-night, thanks, dear." 

She kept no servant of her own. She enjoyed the cir 
cumstance of getting her meals. She was camping out in her 
shanty. To-night she wanted to be busy about something 
especially about a kitchen the machine-shop of the woman 
who wants to be puttering at something. 

She was dismally lonely, but she was not equal to a supper 
at Jake s. She would have liked a few children of her own, 
but she was glad that she did not own the Nuddle children, 
especially the elder two. 

The Nuddles had given three hostages to Fortune. Jake 
cared little whether Fortune kept the hostages or not, or 
whether or not she treated them as the Germans treated 
Belgian hostages. 

Little Sister was the oldest of the trio completed by Little 
Brother and a middle-sized bear named Sam. Sis and Sam 
were juvenile anarchists born with those gifts of mischief, 
envy, indolence, and denunciation that Jake and the literary 
press-agents of the same spirit flattered as philosophy or even 


as philanthropy. Little Brother was a quiet, patient gnome 
with quaint instincts of industry and accumulation. He was 
always at work at something. His mud-pie bakery was 
famous for two blocks. He gathered bright pebbles and 
shells. In the marble season he was a plutocrat in taws and 
agates. Being always busy, he always had time to do more 
things. He even volunteered to help his mother. When he 
got an occasional penny he hoarded it in hiding. He had 
need to, for Sam borrowed what he could and stole what he 
could not wheedle. 

Little Brother was not stingy, but he saved; he bought his 
mother petty gifts once in a while when he had enough to pay 
for something. 

Little Sister and Sam were capable in emotional crises of 
sympathy or hatred to express themselves volubly. Little 
Brother had no gifts of speech. He made gifts of pebbles or 
of money awkwardly, shyly, with few words. Mamise, as 
she tried to extricate herself from Abbie s lassoing hospitality, 
paused in the door and studied the children, contrasting them 
with the Webling grandchildren who had been born with 
gold spoons in their mouths and somebody to take them out, 
fill them, and put them in again. But luxury seemed to make 
small difference in character. 

She mused upon the three strange beings that had come 
into the world as a result of the chance union of Jake and 
Abbie. Without that they would never have existed and the 
world would have never known the difference, nor would they. 

Sis and Sam were quarreling vigorously. Little Brother 
was silent upon the hearth. He had collected from the gutter 
many small stones and sticks. They were treasures to him 
and he was as important about them as a miser about his 
shekels. Again and again he counted them, taking a pleasure 
in their arithmetic. Already he was advanced in mathe 
matics beyond the others and he loved to arrange his wealth 
for the sheer delight of arrangement; orderliness was an 
instinct with him already. 

For a time Mamise noted how solemnly he kept at work, 
building a little stone house and painfully making it stand. 
He was a home-builder already. 

Sam h?d paid no heed to the work. But, wondering what 
Mamise was looking at, he turned and saw his brother. A 


grin stretched his mouth. Little Brother grew anxious. He 
knew that when something he had builded interested Sam its 
doom was close. 

"Whass at?" said Sam. 

"None yer business," said Little Brother, as spunky as 
Belgium before the Kaiser. 

" S ouse, ain t it?" 

"You lea me lone, now!" 

"Where d you git it at?" 

"I built it." 

"Gimme t!" 

"You build you one for your own self now." 

" At one s good enough for me." 

"Maw! You make Sam lea my youse alone." 

Mrs. Nuddle moaned: "Sammie, don t bother Little 
Brother now. You go on about your own business." 

Smash ! splash ! Sam had kicked the house into ruins with 
the side of his foot. 

Mamise was so angry that before she knew it she had 
darted at him and smacked him with violence. Instantly 
she was ashamed of herself. Sam began to rub his face and 

"Maw, she gimme a swipe in the snoot! She hurt me, 
so she did." 

Mamise was disgusted. Abbie appeared at the door equally 
disgusted; it was intolerable that any one should slap her 
children but herself. She had accepted too much of Mamise s 
money to be very indignant, but she did rise to a wail: 

"Seems to me, Mamise, you might keep your hands off my 

"I m sorry. I forgot myself. But Sam is so like his father 
I just couldn t help taking a whack at him. The little bully 
knocked over his brother s house just to hear it fall. When 
he grows up he ll be just as much of a nuisance as Jake and 
he ll call it syndicalism or internationalism or something, just 
as Jake does." 

Jake came in on the scene. He brought home his black 
eye and a white story. 

When Abbie gasped, "What on earth s the matter?" he 
growled: "I bumped into a girder. Whatya s pose?" 

Abbie accepted the eye as a fact and the story as a fiction, 


but she knew that, however Jake stood in the yard, as a pugilist 
he was the home champion. 

She called Little Sister to bring from the ice-box a slice of 
the steak she had bought for dinner. On the high wages 
Jake was earning or at least receiving the family was 
eating high. 

Little Sister told her brother Sam, "It s a shame to waste 
good meat on his old black lamp." And Sam s regret was, 
"I wisht I d a gave it to um." 

Little Sister knew better than to let her father hear any 
of this, but it was only another cruel evidence that great 
lovers of the public welfare are apt to be harshly regarded 
at home. It is too much to expect that one who tenderly 
considers mankind in the mass should have time to be kind 
to them in particular. 

Jake was not even appreciated by Mamise, whom he did 
appreciate. Every time he praised her looks or her swell 
clothes she acted as if he made her mad. 

To-night when he found her at the house her first gush of 
anxiety for him was followed by a remark of singular heart- 
lessness : 

"But, oh, did you hear of the destruction of the Clara?" 

"Yes, I heard of the destruction of the Clara," he echoed, 
with a sneer. "If I had my way the whole rotten fleet 
would follow her to the bottom of the ocean!" 

"Why, Jake!" was Abbie s best. 

Jake went on: "And it will, too, or I m a liar. The Ger 
mans will get them boats as fast as they build em." He 
laughed. "I tell you them Kaiser-boys just eats ships." 

"But how were they able to destroy the Clara?" Mamise 

"Easiest thing you know. When she laid up at Norfolk 
they just put a bomb into her." 

"But how did they know she was going to Norfolk to load?" 

"Oh, we they have ways." 

The little slip from "we" to "they" caught Mamise s ear. 
Her first intuition of its meaning was right, and out of her 
amazement the first words that leaped were: 

"Poor Abbie!" 

Thought, like lightning, breaks through the air in a quick 
slash from cloud to ground. Mamise s whole thought was 


from zig to zag in some such procedure as this, but infinitely 

"We they? That means that Jake considers himself a 
part of the German organization for destruction, the will 
to ruin. That means that Jake must have been involved in 
the wreck of the Clara. That means that he deliberately con 
nived at a crime against his country. That means that he is 
a traitor as well as a murderer. That means that my sister 
is the wife of a fiend. Poor Abbie!" 

This thought stunned and blinded Mamise a long moment. 
She heard Jake grumbling: 

"What ya mean poor Abbie! ?" 

Mamise was afraid to say. She cast one glance at Jake, 
and the lightning of understanding struck him. He realized 
what she was thinking or at least he suspected it, because 
he was thinking of his own past. He was realizing that he 
had met Nicky Easton through Mamise, though Mamise 
did not know this that is, he hoped she did not. And yet 
perhaps she did. 

And now Mamise and Jake were mutually afraid of each 
other. Abbie was altogether in the dark, and a little jealous 
of Mamise and her peculiar secrets, but her general mood was 
one of stolid thoughtlessness. 

Jake, suspecting Mamise s suspicion of him, was moved to 
justify himself by one of his tirades against society in general. 
Abbie, who had about as much confidence in the world as an 
old rabbit in a doggy country, had heard Jake thunder so 
often that his denunciations had become as vaguely lulling 
as a continual surf. Generalizations meant nothing to her 
bovine soul. She was thinking of something else, usually, 
throughout all the fiery Jakiads. While he indicted whole 
nations and denounced all success as a crime against unsuccess 
she was hunting through her work-basket for a good thread 
to patch Sam s pants with. 

Abbie was unmoved, but Mamise was appalled. It was 
her first encounter with the abysmal hatred of which some of 
these loud lovers of mankind are capable. Jake s theories 
had been merely absurd or annoying before, but now they 
grew monstrous, for they seemed to be confirmed by an actual 

Mamise felt that she must escape from the presence of 


Jake or attack him. She despised him too well to argue with 
him, and she rose to go. 

Abbie pleaded with her in vain to stay to supper. She 
would not be persuaded. She walked to her own bungalow 
and cooked herself a little meal of her own. She felt stained 
once more with vicarious guilt, and wondered what she had 
done so to be pursued and lassoed by the crimes of others. 

She remembered that she had lost her chance to clear herself 
of Sir Joseph Webling s guilt by keeping his secret. If she 
had gone to the British authorities with her first suspicion of 
Sir Joseph and Nicky Easton she would have escaped from 
sharing their guilt. She would have been branded as an 
informer, but only by the conspirators; and Sir Joseph him 
self and Lady Webling might have been saved from self- 

Now she was in the same situation almost exactly. Again 
she had only suspicion for her guide. But in England she 
had been a foreigner and Sir Joseph was her benefactor. Here 
she was in her own country, and she owed nothing to Jake 
Nuddle, who was a low brute, as ruthless to his wife as to his 

It came to Mamise with a sharp suddenness that her one 
clear duty was to tell Davidge what she knew about Jake. 
It was not a pretty duty, but it was a definite. She resolved 
that the first thing she did in the morning would be to go to 
Davidge with what facts she had. The resolution brought 
her peace, and she sat down to her meager supper with a 
sense of pleasant righteousness. 

Mamise felt so redeemed that she took up a novel, lighted 
a cigarette, and sat down by her lamp to pass a well-earned 
evening of spinsterial respectability. Then the door opened 
and Abbie walked in. Abbie did not think it sisterly to 
knock. She paused to register her formal protest against 
Mamise s wicked addiction to tobacco. 

"I must say, Mamise, I do wisht you d break yourself of 
that horbul habbut." 

Mamise laughed tolerantly. "You were cooking cabbage 
when I was at your house. Why can t I cook this vegetable?" 

"But I wa n t cooking the cabbage in my face." 

"You were cooking it in mine. But let s not argue about 
botany or ethics." 


Abbie was not aware of mentioning either of those things, 
but she had other matters to discuss. She dropped into a 
chair, sighing: 

"Jake s went out to telephone, and I thought I d just 
run over for a few words. You see, I " 

"Where was Jake telephoning?" 

"I d know. He s always long-distancin somebody. But 
what I come for " 

"Doesn t it ever occur to you to wonder?" 

"Long as it ain t some woman or if it is, as long as it s 
long distance why should I worry my head about it? The 
thing I wanted to speak of is " 

"Didn t it rather make your blood run cold to hear Jake 
speak as he did of the lost ship?" 

"Oh, I m so used to his rantin it goes in one ear and out 
the other." 

"You d better keep a little of it in your brain. I m worried 
about your husband, even if you re not, Abbie dear." 

"What call you got to worry?" 

"I have a ghastly feeling that my brother-in-law is mixed 
up in the sinking of the Clara," 

"Don t be foolish!" 

"I m trying not to be. But do you remember the night 
I told you both that the Clara was going to Norfolk to take 
on her cargo? Well, he went out to get cigars, though he had 
a lot, and he let it slip that he had been talking on the long 
distance telephone. When the Clara is sunk, he is not sur 
prised. He says, We they have ways. He prophesies the 
sinking of all the ships Mr. Davidge " 

Abbie seized this name as a weapon of self-defense and 

"Oh, you re speakin for Mr. Davidge now." 

"Perhaps. He s my employer, and Jake s, too. I feel 
under some obligations to him, even though Jake doesn t. 
I feel some obligations to the United States, and Jake doesn t. 
I distrust and abhor Germany, and Jake likes her as well as 
he does us. The background is perfect. When such crimes 
are being done as Germany keeps doing, condoning them is as 
bad as committing them." 

"Big words!" sniffed Abbie. "Can t you talk United 


"All right, my dear. I say that since Jake is glad the 
Clara was sunk and hopes that more ships will be sunk, he 
is as bad as the men that sank her. And what s more, I 
have made up my mind that Jake helped to sink her, and 
that he works in this yard simply for a chance to sink more 
ships. Do you get those words of one syllable?" 

"No," said Abbie. Ideas of one syllable are as hard to 
grasp as words of many. "I don t know what you re 
drivin at a tall." 

"Poor Abbie!" sighed Mamise. "Dream on, if you want 
to. But I m going to tell Mr. Davidge to keep a watch on 
Jake. I m going to warn him that Jake is probably mixed 
up in the sinking of that beautiful ship he named after his 

Even Abbie could not miss the frightful meaning of this. 
She was one of those who never trust experience, one of those 
who think that, in spite of all the horrible facts of the past, 
horrible things are impossible in the future. Higher types of 
the same mind had gone about saying that war was impossible, 
later insisting that it was impossible that the United States 
should be dragged into this war because it was so horrible, 
and next averring that since this war was so horrible there 
could never be another. 

Even Abbie could imagine what would happen if Mamise 
denounced Jake as an accomplice in the sinking of the Clara. 
It would be so terrible that it must be impossible. The proof 
that Jake was innocent was the thought of what would happen 
to him and to her and their children if he were found guilty. 
She summed it all up in a phrase: 

"Mamise, you re plumb crazy!" 

"I hope so, but I m also crazy enough to put Mr. Davidge 
on his guard." 

"And have him fire Jake, or get him arrested?" 


"Ain t you got any sense of decency or dooty a tall?" 

"I m trying to find out." 

"Well, I always knew a woman who d smoke cigarettes 
would do anything." 

"I ll do this." 

"O" course you won t; but if you did, I d why, I d why, 
I just don t know what I d do." 


"Would you give up Jake?" 

"Give up Jake? Divorce him or something?" 

Mamise nodded. 

Abbie gasped: "Why, you re positively immor l! Posi- 
twe-ly\ He s the father of my childern! I ll stick to Jake 
through thick and thin." 

"Through treason and murder, too? You were an Amer 
ican, you know, before you ever met him. And I was an 
American before he became my brother-in-law. And I don t 
intend to let him make me a partner in his guilt just because 
he made you give him a few children." 

"I won t listen to another word," cried Abbie. "You re 
too indecent to talk to." And she slammed the door after her. 

"Poor Abbie!" said Mamise, and closed her book, rubbed 
the light out of her cigarette, and went to bed. 

But not to sleep. Abbie had not argued well, but some 
times that is best for the arguments, for then the judge be 
comes their attorney. Mamise tossed on a grid of perplexities. 
Neither her mind nor her body could find comfort. 

She rose early to escape her thoughts. It was a cold, raw 
morning, and Abbie came dashing through the drizzle with 
her shawl over her head and her cheeks besprent with tears 
and rain. She flung herself on Mamise and sobbed: 

"I ain t slep a wink all night. I been thinkin of Jake and 
the childern. I was mad at you last night, but I m sorry 
for what I said. You re my own sister all I got in the world 
besides the three childern. And I m all you got, and I 
know it ain t in you to go and send the father o my childern 
to jail and ruin my life. I ve had a hard life, and so ve 
you, Mamise honey, but we got to be friends and love one 
another, for we re all that s left of our fambly, and it couldn t 
be that one sister would drive the other to distraction and 
drag the family name in the mud. It couldn t be, could it, 
Mamise? Tell me you was only teasin me! I didn t mean 
what I said last night about you bein indecent, and you 
didn t mean what you said about Jake, did you, Mamise? 
Say you didn t, or I ll just die right here." 

She had left the door open, and a gust of windy rain came 
lashing in. The world outside was cold and wet, and Abbie 
was warm and afraid and irresistibly pitiful. 

Mamise could only hug and kiss her and say: 


"I ll see! I ll see!" 

When people do not know what their chief mysteries, 
themselves, will do they say, "I ll see." 

Mamise thought of Davidge, and she could not promise 
to leave him in ignorance of the menace imminent above 
him. But when at last she tore herself from Abbie s clutching 
hands and hurried away to the office she looked back and saw 
Abbie out in the rain, staring after her in terror and shaking 
her head helplessly. She could not promise herself that she 
would tell Davidge. 


SHE reached the office late in spite of her early start. 
Davidge had gone. He had gone to Pittsburgh to try 
to plead for more steel for more ships. 

The head clerk told her this. He was in an ugly mood, 
sarcastic about Mamise s tardiness, and bitter with the 
knowledge that all the work of building another Clara had 
to be carried through with its endless detail and the chance 
of the same futility. He was as sick about it as a Carlyle 
who must rewrite a burned-up history, an Audubon who 
must repaint all his pictures. 

Davidge had left no good-by for Mamise. This hurt her. 
She wished that she had stopped to tell him good night the 
afternoon before. 

In his prolonged absence Mamise wondered if he were really 
in Pittsburgh or in Washington with Lady Clifton-Wyatt. 
She experienced the first luxury of jealousy; it was aggravated 
by alarm. She was left alone, a prey to the appeals of Abbie, 
who could not persuade her to promise silence. 

But the next night Jake was gone. Abbie explained that 
he had been called out of town to a meeting of a committee 
of his benevolent insurance order. Mamise wondered and 

Jake went to meet Nicky Easton and claim his pay for his 
share in the elimination of the Clara. Nicky paid him so 
handsomely that Jake lost his head and imagined himself 
already a millionaire. Strangely, he did not at once set 
about dividing his wealth among his beloved " protelariat. " 
He made a royal progress from saloon to saloon, growing more 
and more haughty, and pounding on successive bars with a 
vigor that increased as his articulation effervesced. His secret 
would probably have bubbled out of him if he had not been so 
offensive that he was bounced out of every barroom before he 
had time to get to the explanation of his wealth. In one 


"poor man s club" he fell asleep and rolled off his chair to a 
comfortable berth among the spittoons. 

Next morning Jake woke up with his head swollen and his 
purse vanished. He sought out Nicky and demanded another 
fee. Nicky laughed at his claim; but Jake grew threatening, 
and Nicky was frightened into offering him a chance to win 
another fortune by sinking another ship. He staked Jake to 
the fare for his return and promised to motor down some dark 
night and confer with him. Jake rolled home in state. 

On the same train went a much interested sleuth who 
detached himself from the entourage of Nicky and picked up 

Jake had attracted some attention when he first met 
Nicky in Washington, but the sadly overworked Department 
of Justice could not provide a squad of escorts for every Ger 
man or pro-German suspect. Before the war was over the 
secret army under Mr. Bielaski reached a total of two hundred 
and fifty thousand, but the number of suspects reached into 
the millions. From Nicky Easton alone a dozen activities 
radiated; and studying him and his communicants was a 
slow and complex task. 

Mr. Larrey decided that the best way to get a line on Jake 
would be to take a job alongside him and "watch his work." 
It was the easiest thing in the world to get a job at Davidge s 
shipyard ; and it was another of the easiest things in the world 
to meet Jake, for Jake was eager to meet workmen, particu 
larly workmen like Larrey, who would listen to reason, and 
take an interest in the gentle art of slowing up production. 
Larrey was all for sabotage. 

One evening Jake invited him to his house for further 
development. On that evening Mamise dropped in. She 
did not recognize Larrey, but he remembered her perfectly. 

He could hardly believe his camera eyes at first when he 
saw the great Miss Webling enter a workman s shanty and 
accept Jake Nuddle s introduction: 

"Larrey, old scout, this is me sister-in-law. Mamise, shake 
hands with me pal Larrey." 

Larrey had been the first of her shadows in New York, but 
had been called off when she proved unprofitable and before 
she met Easton. And now he found her at work in a ship 
yard where strange things were happening! He was all afire 



with the covey of spies he had flushed. His first impulse was 
to shoot off a wire in code to announce his discovery. Then 
he decided to work this gold-mine himself. It would be 
pleasanter to cultivate this pretty woman than Jake Nuddle, 
and she would probably fall for him like a thousand of brick. 
But when he invited himself to call on her her snub fell on 
him like a thousand of brick. She would not let him see her 
home, and he was furious till Jake explained, "She s sweet 
on the boss." 

Larrey decided that he had better call on Davidge and tip 
him off to the past of his stenographer and get him to place 
her under observation. 

The next day Davidge came back from his protracted 
journey. He had fought a winning battle for an allotment 
of steel. He was boyish with the renewal of battle ardor, 
and boyish in his greeting of Mamise. He made no bones 
of greeting her before all the clerks with a horribly embarrass 
ing enthusiasm: 

"Lord! but I ve been homesick to see you!" 

Miss Gabus was disgusted. Mamise was silly with con 

Those people who are always afraid of new customs have 
dreaded public life for women lest it should destroy modesty 
and rob them of the protection of guardians, duennas, and 
chaperons. But the world seems to have to have a certain 
amount of decency to get along on, at all, and provides for it 
among humans about as well as it provides for the protection 
of other plants and animals, letting many suffer and perish 
and some prosper. 

The anxious conservatives who are always risking their own 
souls in spasms of anxiety over other people s souls would 
have given up Mamise and Davidge for lost, since she lived 
alone and he was an unattached bachelor. But curiously 
enough, their characters chaperoned them, their jobs and 
ambitions excited and fatigued them, and their moods of 
temptation either did not coincide or were frustrated by 
circumstances and crowds. 

Each knew well what it was to suffer an onset of desperate 
emotion, of longing, of reckless, helpless adoration. But in 
office hours these anguishes were as futile as prayers for the 


moon. Outside of office hours there were other obstacles, 
embarrassments, interferences. 

These protections and ambitions would not suffice forever, 
any more than a mother s vigilance, maidenly timidity, con 
vent walls or yashmaks will infallibly prevail. But they man 
aged to kill a good deal of time and very dolefully. 

Mamise was in peculiar peril now. She was beginning to 
feel very sorry for herself, and even sorrier for Davidge. She 
remembered how cruelly he had been bludgeoned by the news 
of the destruction of his first ship, and she kept remembering 
the wild, sweet pangs of her sympathy, the strange ecstasy 
of entering into the grief of another. She remembered how 
she had seized his shoulders and how their hands had wrestled 
together in a common anguish. The remembrance of that 
communion came back to her in flashes of feverish demand 
for a renewal of union, for a consummation of it, indeed. 
She was human, and nothing human was alien to her. 

Davidge had spoken of marriage had told her that he was 
a candidate for her husbandcy. She had laughed at him then, 
for her heart had been full of the new wine of ambition. 
Like other wines, it had its morning after when all that had 
been so alluring looked to be folly. Her own loneliness told 
her that Davidge was lonely, and that two lonelinesses com 
bined would make a festival, as two negatives an affirmative. 

When Davidge came back from his trip the joy in his eyes 
at sight of her kindled her smoldering to flame. She would 
have been glad if he had snatched her to his breast and crushed 
her there. She had that womanly longing to be crushed, and 
he the man s to crush. But fate provided a sentinel. Miss 
Gabus was looking on; the office force stood by, and the day s 
work was waiting to be done. 

Davidge went to his desk tremulous; Mamise to her type 
writer. She hammered out a devil s tattoo on it, and he 
devoured estimates and commercial correspondence, while an 
aromatic haze enveloped them both as truly as if they had 
been faun and nymph in a bosky glade. 

Miss Gabus played Mrs. Grundy all morning and at the noon 
hour made a noble effort to rescue Mamise from any oppor 
tunity to cast an evil spell over poor Mr. Davidge. Women 
have a wonderful pity for men that other women cultivate! 
Yet all that Miss Gabus said to Miss Webling was: 


"Goin 1 to lunch now, Mi Swebling?" 

And all that Miss Webling said was: 

"Not just yet thank you." 

Both were almost swooning with the tremendous significance 
of the moment. 

Miss Webling felt that she was defying all the powers of 
espionage and convention when she made so brave as to linger 
while Miss Gabus left the room in short twitches, with the 
painful reluctance of one who pulls off an adhesive plaster by 
degrees. When at last she was really off, Miss Webling went 
to Davidge s door, feeling as wicked as the maid in Ophelia s 
song, though she said no more than : 

"Well, did you have a successful journey?" 

Davidge whirled in his chair. 

"Bully! Sit down, won t you?" 

He thought that no goddess had ever done so divine a thing 
so ambrosially as she when she smiled and shook her incredibly 
exquisite head. He rose to his feet in awe of her. His rest 
less hands, afraid to lay hold of their quarry, automatically 
extracted his watch from his pocket and held it beneath his 
eyes. He stared at it without recognizing the hour, and 

"Will you lunch with me?" 

"No, thank you!" 

This jolted an "Oh !" out of him. Then he came back with : 

"When am I going to get a chance to talk to you?" 

"You know my address." 

"Yes, but " He thought of that horrible evening when 
he had marched through the double row of staring cottages. 
But he was determined. "Going to be home this evening?" 

"By some strange accident yes." 

"By some strange accident, I might drop round." 


They laughed idiotically, and she turned and glided out. 

She went to the mess-hall and moved about, selecting her 
dishes. Pretending not to see that Miss Gabus was pre 
tending not to see her, she took her collation to another table 
and ate with the relish of a sense of secret guilt the guilt 
of a young woman secretly betrothed. 

Davidge kept away from the office most of the afternoon 
because Mamise was so intolerably sweet and so tantalizingly 


unapproachable. He made a pretext of inspecting the works. 
She had a sugary suspicion of his motive, and munched it with 
strange comfort. 

What might have happened if Davidge had called on her 
in her then mood and his could easily be guessed. But there 
are usually interventions. The chaperon this time was Mr. 
Larrey, the operative of the Department of Justice. He also 
had his secret. 

He arrived at Davidge s home just as Davidge finished the 
composition of his third lawn tie and came down-stairs to go. 
When he saw Larrey he was a trifle curt with his visitor. 
Thinking him a workman and probably an ambassador from 
one of the unions on the usual mission of such ambassadors 
more pay, less hours, or the discharge of some unorganized 
laborer Davidge said : 

"Better come round to the office in the morning." 

"I can t come to your office," said Larrey. 

"Why not? It s open to everybody." 

"Yeh, but I can t afford to be seen goin there." 

"Good Lord! Isn t it respectable enough for you?" 

"Yeh, but well, I think it s my duty to tip you off to a 
little slick work that s goin on in your establishment." 

"Won t it keep till to-morrow evening?" 

"Yeh I guess so. It s only one of your stenographers." 

This checked Davidge. By a quaint coincidence he was 
about to call on one of his stenographers. Larrey amended 
his first statement: "Leastways, I ll say she calls herself a 
stenographer. But that s only her little camouflage. She s 
not on the level." 

Davidge realized that the stenographer he was wooing was 
not on the level. She was in the clouds. But his curiosity 
was piqued. He motioned Larrey to a chair and took another. 

"Shoot," he said. 

"Well, it s this Miss Webling. Know anything about her?" 

"Something," said Davidge. He was too much amused to 
be angry. He thought that Larrey was another of those 
amateur detectives who flattered Germany by crediting her 
with an omnipresence in evil. He was a faithful reader of 
Ellis Parker Butler s famous sleuth, and he grinned at Larrey. 
"Well, Mr. Philo Gubb, go on. Your story interests me." 

Larrey reddened. He spoke earnestly, explained who he 


was, showed his credentials, and told what he knew of Miss 
Webling. He added what he imagined Davidge knew. 

Davidge found the whole thing too preposterous to be 
insolent. His chivalry in Mamise s behalf was not aroused, 
because he thought that the incident would make a good 
story to tell her. He drew Larrey out by affecting amazed 

Larrey explained : "She s an old friend of ours. We got the 
word from the British to pick the lady up when she first 
landed in this country. She was too slick for us, I guess, 
because we never got the goods on her. We gave her up 
after a couple of weeks. Then her trail crossed Nicky 
Easton s once more." 

"And who is Nicky Easton?" 

"He s a German agent she knew in London great friend 
of her adopted father s. The British nabbed him once, but 
he split on the gang, and they let him off. Whilst I was 
trailin him I ran into a feller named Nuddle he come up 
to see Easton. I followed him here, and lo and behold! 
Miss Webling turns up, too! And passin herself off for 
Nuddle s sister-in-law! Nuddle s a bad actor, but she s 
worse. And she pretends to be a poor workin -girl. Cheese! 
You should have seen her in New York all dolled up!" 

Davidge ignored the opportunity to say that he had had the 
privilege of seeing Miss Webling all dolled up. He knew why 
Mamise was living as she did. It was a combination of lark 
and crusade. He nursed Larrey s story along, and asked with 
patient amusement: 

"What s your theory as to her reason for playing such a 

He smiled as he said this, but sobered abruptly when 
Larrey explained : 

"You lost a ship not long ago, didn t you? You got other 
ships on the ways, ain t you? Well, I don t need to tell you 
it s good business for the Huns to slow up or blow up all the 
ships they can. Every boat they stop cuts down the supplies 
of the Allies just so much. This Miss Webling s adopted 
father was in on the sinking of the Lusitania, and this girl 
was, too, probably. She carried messages between old Web 
ling and Easton, and walked right into a little trap the 
British laid for her. She put up a strong fight, and, being an 


American, was let go. But her record got to this country 
before she did. You ask me what she s up to. Well, what 
should she be up to but the Kaiser s work? She s no stenog 
rapher, and she wouldn t be here playin* tunes on a type 
writer unless she had some good business reason. Well, her 
business is she s a ship-wrecker." 

The charge was ridiculous, yet there were confirmations or 
seeming confirmations of it. The mere name of Nicky 
Easton was a thorn in Davidge s soul. He remembered Easton 
in London at Mamise s elbow, and in Washington pursuing 
her car and calling her "Mees Vapelink." 

Davidge promised Larrey that he would look into the 
matter, and bade him good night with mingled respect and 

When he set out at length to call on Mamise he was griev 
ously troubled lest he had lost his heart to a clever adventuress. 
He despised his suspicions, and yet somebody had destroyed 
his ship. He remembered how shocked she had been by the 
news. Yet what else could the worst spy do but pretend to 
be deeply worried? Davidge had never liked Jake Nuddle, 
Mamise s alleged relationship by marriage did not gain 
plausibility on reconsideration. The whim to live in a work 
man s cottage was even less convincing. 

Mr. Larrey had spoiled Davidge s blissful mood and his 
lover s program for the evening. Davidge moved slowly 
toward Mamise s cottage, not as a suitor, but as a student. 

Larrey shadowed him from force of h?bit, and saw him 
going with reluctant feet, pausing now and then, irresolute. 
Davidge was thinking hard, calling himself a fool, now for 
trusting Mamise and now for listening to Larrey. To suspect 
Mamise was to be a traitor to his love: not to suspect her 
was to be a traitor to his common sense and to his beloved 

And the Mamise that awaited the belated Davidge was 
also in a state of tangled wits. She, too, had dressed with a 
finikin care, as Davidge had, neither of them stopping to 
think how quaint a custom it is for people who know each 
other well and see each other in plain clothes every day to 
get themselves up with meticulous skill in the evening like 
Christmas parcels for each other s examination. Nature 
dresses the birds in the mating season. Mankind with the 


aid of the dressmaker and the haberdasher plumes up at 

But as Caesar had his Brutus, Charles I his Cromwell, and 
Davidge his Larrey, so Mamise had her sister Abbie. 

Abbie came in unexpectedly and regarded Mamise s costume 
with no illusions except her own cynical ones: 

"What you all diked up about?" 

Mamise shrugged her eyebrows, her lips, and her shoulders. 

Abbie guessed. "That man comir> ?" 

Mamise repeated her previous business. 

"Kind of low neck, don t you think? And your arms 

Mamise drew over her arms a scarf that gave them color 
rather than concealment. Abbie scorned the subterfuge. 

"Do you think it s proper to dress like that for a man to 
come callin ?" 

"I did think so till you spoke," snapped Mamise in all the 
bitterness of the ancient feud between loveliness unashamed 
and unlovely shame. 

Abbie felt unwelcome. "Well, I just dropped over because 
Jake s went out to some kind of meetin ." 

"With whom? Where?" 

"Oh, some of the workmen a lot of soreheads lookin for 
more wages." 

Mamise was indignant: "The soldiers get thirty dollars 
a month on a twenty-four-hour, seven-day shift. Jake gets 
more than that a week for loafing round the shop about seven 
hours a day. How on earth did you ever tie yourself up to 
such a rotten bounder?" 

Abbie longed for a hot retort, but was merely peevish: 

"Well, I ain t seen you marryin anything better. I guess 
I ll go home. I don t seem to be wanted here." 

This was one of those exact truths that decent people must 
immediately deny. Mamise put her arms about Abbie and 

"Forgive me, dear I m a beast. But Jake is such a 
She felt Abbie wriggling ominously and changed to: "He s 
so unworthy of you. These are such terrible times, and the 
world is in such horrible need of everybody s help and es 
pecially of ships. It breaks my heart to see anybody wasting 
his time and strength interfering with the builders instead of 


joining them. It s like interfering with the soldiers. It s a 
kind of treason. And besides, he does so little for you and 
the children." 

This last Abbie was willing to admit. She shed a few tears 
of self-esteem, but she simply could not rise to the heights of 
suffering for anything as abstract as a cause or a nation or a 
world. She was like so many of the air-ships the United States 
was building then: she could not be induced to leave the 
ground or, if she got up, to glide back safely. 

She tried now to love her country, but she hardly rose before 
she fell. 

"Oh, I know it s tur ble what folks are sufferin , but well, 
the Lord s will be done, I say." 

"And I say it s mainly the devil s will that s being done!" 
said Mamise. 

This terrified Abbie. "I wisht you d be a little careful of 
your language, Mamise. Swearin and cigarettes both is 
pretty much of a load for a lady to git by with." 

"O Lord!" sighed Mamise, in despair. She was capable of 
long, high flights, but she could not carry such a passenger. 

Abbie continued: "And do you think it s right, seein 
men here all by yourself?" 

"I m not seeing men but a man." 

"But all by yourself." 

"I m not all by myself when he s here." 

"You ll get the neighbors talkin you ll see!" 

"A lot I care for their talk!" 

"Why don t you marry him and settle down respectable 
and have childern and " 

"Why don t you go home and take care of your own?" 

"I guess I better." And she departed forthwith. 


"PHE two sisters had managed to fray each other s nerves 
1 raw. The mere fact that Abbie advocated marriage and 
maternity threw Mamise into a cantankerous distaste for her 
own dreams. 

Larrey had delayed Davidge long enough for Mamise to be 
rid of Abbie, but the influence of both Larrey and Abbie was 
manifest in the strained greetings of the caller and the callee. 
Instead of the eagerness to rush into each other s arms that 
both had felt in the morning, Davidge entered Mamise s 
presence with one thought dominant: "Is she really a spy? 
I must be on my guard." And Mamise was thinking, "If he 
should be thinking what Abbie thought, how odious!" 

Thus once more their moods chaperoned them. Love could 
not attune them. She sat; he sat. When their glances met 
they parted at once. 

She mistook his uncertainty for despondency. She as 
sumed that he was brooding over his lost ship. Out of a 
long silence she spoke: 

"I wonder if the world will ever forget and forgive?" 

"Forget and forgive who whom, for what?" 

"Germany for all she s done to this poor world Belgium, 
the Lusitania, the Clara?" 

He smiled sadly. "The Clara was a little slow tub com 
pared to the Lusitania, bu she meant a lot to me." 

"And to me. So did the Lusitania. She nearly cost me 
my life." 

He was startled. "You didn t plan to sail on her?" 

"No, but She paused. She had not meant to open 
this subject. 

But he was aching to hear her version of what Larrey had 

"How do you mean she nearly cost you your life?" 


"Oh, that s one of the dark chapters of my past." 

"You never told me about it." 

"I d rather not." 

"Please!" He said it with a surprising earnestness. He 
had a sudden hope that her confession might be an absolving 

She could not fathom this eagerness, but she felt a desire 
to release that old secret. She began, recklessly: 

"Well, I told you how I ran away from home and went on 
the stage, and Sir Joseph Webling " 

"You told me that much, but not what happened before 
you met him." 

"No, I didn t tell you that, and I m not going to now, but 
well, Sir Joseph was like a father to me; I never had one of 
my own to know and remember. Sir Joseph was German 
born, and perhaps the ruthlessness was contagious, for he 
well, I can t tell you." 


"I swore not to." 

"You gave your oath to a German?" 

"No, to an English officer in the Secret Service. I m always 
forgetting and starting to tell." 

"Why did you take your oath?" 

"I traded secrecy for freedom." 

"You mean you turned state s evidence?" 

"Oh no, I didn t tell on them. I didn t know what they 
were up to when they used me for But I m skidding now. 
I want to tell you terribly. But I simply must not. I 
made an awful mistake that night at Mrs. Prothero s in 
pretending to be ill." 

"You only pretended?" 

"Yes, to get you away. You see, Lady Clifton-Wyatt got 
after me, accused me of being a spy, of carrying messages that 
resulted in the sinking of ships and the killing of men. She 
said that the police came to our house, and Sir Joseph tried 
to kill one of them and killed his own wife and then was shot 
by an officer and that they gave out the story that Sir Joseph 
and Lady Webling died of ptomaine poisoning. She said 
Nicky Easton was shot in the Tower. Oh, an awful story 
she told, and I was afraid she d tell you, so I spirited you 
away on the pretext of illness." 


Davidge was astounded at this confirmation of Larrey s 
story. He said: 

"But it wasn t true what Lady C.-W. told?" 

"Most of it was false, but it was fiction founded on fact, 
and I couldn t explain it without breaking my oath. And 
now I ve pretty nearly broken it, after all. I ve sprained it 

"Don t you want to go on and finish it off?" 

"I want to oh, how I want to! but I ve got to save a few 
shreds of respectability. I kidnapped you the day you were 
going to tea with Lady C.-W. to keep you from her. I wish 
now I d let you go. Then you d have known the worst of 
me or worse than the worst." 

She turned a harrowed glance his way, and saw, to her 
bewilderment, that he was smiling broadly. Then he seized 
her hands and felt a need to gather her home to his arms. 

She was so amazed that she fell back to stare at him. 
Studying his radiant face, she somehow guessed that he had 
known part of her story before and was glad to hear her 
confess it, but her intuition missed fire when she guessed at the 
source of his information. 

"You have been talking to Lady Clifton-Wyatt, after all!" 

"Not since I saw her with you." 

"Then who told you?" 

He laughed now, for it pleased him mightily to have her 
read his heart so true. 

"The main thing is that you told me. And now once more 
I ask you: will you marry me?" 

This startled her indeed. She startled him no less by her 
brusquerie : 

"Certainly not." 

"And why not?" 

"I ll marry no man who is so careless whom he marries 
as you are." 


HHHE whimsical solemnity of this made him roar. But a 
1 man does not love a woman the less for being feminine, 
and when she thwarts him by a womanliness she delights him 

But Mamise was in earnest. She believed in one emotion 
at a time. It offended her to have Davidge suggest that the 
funeral baked meats of her tragedy should coldly furnish 
forth a wedding breakfast. She wanted to revel awhile 
in her elegiac humor and pay full honor to her sorrow, full 
penalty for her guilt. She put aside his amorous impatience 
and returned to her theme. 

"Well, after all the evil I have done, I wanted to make 
some atonement. I was involved in the sinking of I don t 
know how many ships, and I wanted to take some part in 
building others. So when I met you and you told me that 
women could build ships, too, you wakened a great hope in 
me, and an ambition. I wanted to get out in the yards and 
swing a sledge or drive a riveting-gun." 

"With those hands?" He laughed and reached for them. 

She put them out of sight back of her as one removes 
dangerous toys from the clutch of a child, and went on: 

"But you wouldn t let me. So I took up the next best 
thing, office work. I studied that hateful stenography and 
learned to play a typewriter." 

"It keeps you nearer to me." 

"But I don t want to be near you. I want to build ships. 
Please let me go out in the yard. Please give me a real job." 

He could not keep from laughing at her, at such delicacy 
pleading for such toil. His amusement humiliated her and 
baffled her so that at length she said: 

"Please go on home. It s getting late, and I don t like 
you at all." 

"I know you don t like me, but couldn t you love me?" 


"That s more impossible than liking you, since you won t 
let me have my only wish." 

"It s too brutal, I tell you. And it s getting too cold. 
It would simply ruin your perfect skin. I don t want to 
marry a longshoreman, thank you." 

" Then I ll thank you to go on home. I m tired out. I ve 
got to get up in the morning at the screech of dawn and take 
up your ghastly drudgery again." 

"If you ll marry me you won t have to work at all." 

"But work is the one thing I want. So if you ll kindly take 
yourself off I ll be much obliged. You ve no business here, 
anyway, and it s getting so late that you ll have all the 
neighbors talking." 

"A lot I care!" 

"Well, I care a lot," she said, blandly belying her words 
to Abbie. "I ve got to live among them." 

It was a miserable ending to an evening of such promise. 
He felt as sheepish as a cub turned out of his best girl s house 
by a sleepy parent, but he had no choice. He rose drearily, 
fought his way into his overcoat, and growled: 

"Good night!" 

She sighed "Good night!" and wished that she were not 
so cantankerous. The closing of the door shook her whole 
frame, and she made a step forward to call him back, but sank 
into a chair instead, worn out with the general unsatisfac- 
toriness of life, the complicated mathematical problem that 
never comes out even. Marriage is a circle that cannot be 
quite squared. 

She sat droopily in her chair for a long while, pondering 
mankind and womankind and their mutual dependence and 
incompatibility. It would be nice to be married if one could 
stay single at the same time. But it was hopelessly impossible 
to eat your cake and have it, too. 

Abbie, watching from her window and not knowing that 
Davidge had gone, imagined all sorts of things and wished that 
her wild sister would marry and settle down. And yet she 
wished that she herself had stayed single, for the children 
were a torment, and of her husband she could only say that 
she did not know whether he bothered her the more when 
he was away or when he was at home. 

When Davidge left Mamise he looked back at the lonely 


cottage she stubbornly and miserably occupied and longed 
to hale her from it into a palace. As he walked home his 
heart warmed to all the little cottages, most of them dark and 
cheerless, and he longed to change all these to palaces, too. He 
felt sorry for the poor, tired people that lived so humbly there 
and slept now but to rise in the morning to begin moiling again. 

Sometimes from his office window he surveyed the long lines 
at the pay-windows and felt proud that he could pour so 
much treasure into the hands of the poor. If he had not 
schemed and borrowed and organized they would not have 
had their wages at all. 

But now he wished that there might be no poor and no 
wages, but everybody palaced and living on money from home. 
That seemed to be the idea, too, of his more discontented 
working-men, but he could not imagine how everybody could 
have a palace and everybody live at ease. Who was to build 
the palaces? Who was to cut the marble from the mountains 
and haul it, and who to dig the foundations and blast the 
steel and fasten the girders together? It was easy for the 
dreamers and the literary loafers and the irresponsible car 
toonists to denounce the capitalists and draw pictures of them 
as obese swine wallowing in bags of gold while emaciated chil 
dren put out their lean hands in vain. But cartoons were not 
construction, and the men who would revolutionize the world 
could not, as a rule, keep their own books straight. 

Material riches were everywhere, provided one had the 
mental riches to go out and get them. Davidge had been as 
poor as the poorest man at his works, but he had sold muscle 
for money and brains for money. He had dreamed and 
schemed and drawn up tremendous plans while they took their 
pay and went home to their evenings of repose in the bosoms 
of their families or the barrooms of idleness. 

Still there was no convincing them of the realization that 
they could not get capital by slandering capitalists, or ease 
by ease, but only by sweat. And so everybody was saying 
that as soon as this great war was over a greater war was 
coming upon the world. He wondered what could be done 
to stay that universal fury from destroying utterly all that 
the German horror might spare. 

Thinking of such things, he forgot, for the nonce, the pangs 
of love. 



TJow quaint a custom it is for people who know each 
** other well and see each other in plain clothes every 
day to get themselves up with meticulous skill in the eve 
ning like Christmas parcels for each other s examination. 


threat of winter was terrifying the long-suffering 
1 world. People thought of the gales that would harass 
the poor souls in the clammy trenches, the icy winds that 
would flutter the tents of the men in camps, the sleety storms 
that would lash the workers on the docks and on the decks 
of ships and in the shipyards; the final relentless persecution 
of the refugees, crowded upon the towns that had not enough 
for themselves. 

To be cold when one is despondent is a fearsome thing. 
Mamise woke in the chill little cottage and had to leap from 
her snug bed to a cold bathroom, come out chattering to a cold 
kitchen. Just as her house grew a little warm, she had to 
leave it for a long, windy walk to an office not half warm 

The air was full of orphan leaves, and Cossack whirlwinds 
stampeded them down the roads as ruthlessly as Uhlans 
herding Belgian fugitives along. The dour autumn seemed 
to wrench hopes from the heart like shriveled leaves, and to 
fill the air with swirling discouragements. The men at work 
about the ships were numb and often stopped to blow upon 
their aching fingers. The red-hot rivets went in showers that 
threatened to blister, but gave no warmth. 

The ambitions of Mamise congealed along with the other 
stirring things. She was sorely tempted to give up the un 
womanly battle and accept Davidge s offer of a wedding- 
ring. She had, of course, her Webling inheritance to fall 
back upon, but she had come to hate it so as tainted money 
that she would not touch it or its interest. She put it all 
into Liberty Bonds and gave a good many of those to various 
charities. Not the least of her delights in her new career had 
been her emancipation from slavery to the money Mr. Ver- 
rinder had spoken of as her wages for aiding Sir Joseph 


A marriage with Davidge was an altogether different slavery, 
a thoroughly patriotic livelihood. It would permit her to have 
servants to wait on her and build her fires. She would go 
out only when she wished, and sleep late of mornings. She 
would have multitudinous furs and a closed and heated limou 
sine to carry her through the white world. She could salve 
her conscience by taking up some of the more comfortable 
forms of war work. She could manage a Red Cross bandage- 
factory or a knitting-room or serve hot dishes in a cozy canteen. 

At times from sheer creature discomfort she inclined toward 
matrimony, as many another woman has done. These 
craven moods alternated with periods of self -rebuke. She 
told herself that such a marriage would dishonor her and cheat 

Besides, marriage was not all wedding-bells and luxury; it 
had its gall as well as its honey. Even in divorceful America 
marriage still possesses for women a certain finality. Only one 
marriage in nine ended in divorce that year. 

Mamise knew men and women, married, single, and betwixt. 
She was far, indeed, from that more or less imaginary char 
acter so frequent in fiction and so rare in reality, the young 
woman who knows nothing of life and mankind. Like every 
other woman that ever lived, she knew a good deal more 
than she would confess, and had had more experience than she 
would admit under oath. In fact, she did not deny that she 
knew more than she wished she knew, and Davidge had 
found her very tantalizing about just how much her experience 
totaled up. 

She had observed the enormous difference between a man 
and a woman who meet occasionally and the same people 
chained together interminably. Quail is a delicacy for in 
valids and gourmets, but notoriously intolerable as a steady 
diet. On the other hand, bread is forever good. One never 
tires of bread. And a lucky marriage is as perennially re 
freshing as bread and butter. The maddening thing about 
marriage is what makes other lotteries irresistible: after all, 
capital prizes do exist, and some people get them. 

Mamise had seen happy mates, rich and poor. In her 
lonelier hours she coveted their dual blessedness, enriched 
with joys and griefs shared in plenty and in privation. 

Mamise liked Davidge better than she had ever liked any 


other man. She supposed she loved him. Sometimes she 
longed for him with a kind of ferocity. Then she was afraid 
of him, of what he would be like as a husband, of what she 
would be like as a wife. 

Mamise was in an absolute chaos of mind, afraid of every 
thing and everybody, from the weather to wedlock. She had 
been lured into an office by the fascinating advertisements of 
freedom, a career, achievement, doing-your-bit and other 
catchwords. She had found that business has its boredoms 
no less than the prison walls of home, commerce its treadmills 
and its oakum-picking no less than the jail. The cozy little 
cottage and the pleasant chores of solitude began to nag her 

The destruction of the good ship Clara had dealt her a 
heavier blow than she at first realized, for the mind suffers 
from obscure internal injuries as the body does after a great 
shock. She understood what bitter tragedies threaten the 
business man no less than the monarch, the warrior, the poet, 
and the lover, though there has not been many an ^Sschylos 
or Euripides or Dante to make poetry of the Prometheus 
chained to the rocks of trade with the vulture pay-roll gnawing 
at his profits; the CEdipos in the factory who sees everything 
gone horribly awry; or the slow pilgrim through the business 
hell with all the infernal variations of bankruptcy, strikes, 
panics, and competition. 

The blowing up of the Clara had revealed the pitiful truth 
that men may toil like swarming bees upon a painful and 
costly structure, only to see it all annulled at once by a 
careless or a malicious stranger. The Clara served as a warn 
ing that the ship Mamise now on the stocks and growing 
ever so slowly might be never finished, or destroyed as soon 
as done. A pall of discontent was gathering about her. 
It was the turn of that season in her calendar. The weather 
was conspiring with the inner November. 

The infamous winter of 1917-18 was preparing to descend 
upon the blackest year in human annals. Everybody was 
unhappy; there was a frightful shortage of food among all 
nations, a terrifying shortage of coal, and the lowest tem 
perature ever known would be recorded. America, less 
unfortunate than the other peoples, was bitterly disappointed 
in herself. 


There was food in plenty for America, but not for her con 
federates. The prices were appalling. Wages went up and up, 
but never quite caught the expenses. It was necessary to 
send enormous quantities of everything to our allies lest 
they perish before we could arrive with troops. And Germany 
went on fiendishly destroying ships, foodstuffs, and capital, 
displaying in every victory a more insatiable cruelty, a more 
revolting cynicism toward justice, mercy, or truth. 

The Kaiserly contempt for America s importance seemed 
to be justified. People were beginning to remember Rome, 
and to wonder if, after all, Germany might not crush France 
and England with the troops that had demolished Russia. 
And then America would have to fight alone. 

At this time Mamise stumbled upon an old magazine of the 
ancient date of 1914. It was full of prophecies that the 
Kaiser would be dethroned, exiled, hanged, perhaps. The 
irony of it was ghastly. Nothing was more impossible than 
the downfall of the Kaiser who seemed verifying his boasts 
that he took" his crown from God. He was praising the strong 
sword of the unconquerable Germany. He was marshaling 
the millions from his eastern front to throw the British troops 
into the sea and smother the France he had bled white. The 
best that the most hopeful could do was to mutter: "Hurry! 
hurry! We ve got to hurry!" 

Mamise grew fretful about the delay to the ship that was 
to take her name across the sea. She went to Davidge to 
protest : "Can t you hurry up my ship? If she isn t launched 
soon I m going to go mad." 

Davidge threw back his head and emitted a noise between 
laughter and profanity. He picked up a letter and flung it 

"I ve just got orders changing the specifications again. 
This is the third time, and the third time s the charm ; for now 
we ve got to take out all we ve put in, make a new set of 
drawings and a new set of castings and pretty blamed near 
tear down the whole ship and rebuild it." 

"In the name of Heaven, why?" 

"In the name of hades, because we ve got to get a herd of 
railroad locomotives to France, and sending them over in 
pieces won t do. They want em ready to run. So the 
powers that be have ordered me to provide two hatchways 


big enough to lower whole locomotives through, and pigeon 
holes in the hold big enough to carry them. As far as the 
Mamise is concerned, that means we ve just about got to 
rub it out and do it over again. It s a case of back to the 
mold-loft for Mamise." 

"And about how much more delay will this mean?" 

"Oh, about ninety days or thereabouts. If we re lucky 
we ll launch her by spring." 

This was almost worse than the death of the Clara. That 
tragedy had been noble; it dealt a noble blow and woke the 
heart to a noble grief and courage. But deferment made the 
heart sick, and the brain and almost the stomach. 

Davidge liked the disappointment no better than Mamise 
did, but he was used to it. 

"And now aren t you glad you re not a ship-builder? 
How would you feel if you had got your wish to work in the 
yard and had turned your little velvet hands into a pair of 
nutmeg-graters by driving about ten thousand rivets into 
those plates, only to have to cut em all out again and drive 
em into an entirely new set of plates, knowing that maybe 
they d have to come out another time and go back? How d 
you like that?" 

Mamise lifted her shoulders and let them fall. 

Davidge went on: 

"That s a business man s life, my dear eternally making 
things that won t sell, putting his soul and his capital and his 
preparation into a pile of stock that nobody will take off his 
hands. But he has to go right on, borrowing money and 
pledging the past for the future and never knowing whether 
his dreams will turn out to be dollars or junk!" 

Mamise realized for the first time the pathos, the higher 
drama of the manufacturer s world, that world which poets 
and some other literary artists do not describe because they 
are too ignorant, too petty, too bookish. They sneer at the 
noble word commercial as if it were a reproach! 

Mamise, however, looked on Davidge in his swivel-chair 
as a kind of despondent demigod, a Titan weary of the eternal 
strife. She tried to rise beyond a poetical height to the clouds 
of the practical. 

"What will you do with all the workmen who are on that 


Davidge grinned. "They re announcing their monthly 
strike for higher wages threatening to lay off the force. 
It d serve em right to take em at their word for a while. 
But you simply oan t fight a labor union according to Queens- 
bery rules, so I ll give em the raise and put em on another 

"And the Mamise will be idle and neglected for three 

"Just about." 

"The Germans couldn t have done much worse by her, could 

"Not much." 

" I think I ll call it a day and go home," said Mamise. 

"Better call it a quarter and go to New York or Palm 
Beach or somewhere where there s a little gaiety." 

"Are you sick of seeing me round?" 

"Since you won t marry me yes." 

Mamise sniffed at this and set her little desk in order, 
aligned the pencils in the tray, put the carbons back in the 
box and the rubber cover on the typewriter. Then she sank 
it into its well and put on her hat. 

Davidge held her heavy coat for her and could not resist 
the opportunity to fold her into his arms. Just as his arms 
closed about her and he opened his lips to beg her not to 
desert him he saw over her shoulder the door opening. 

He had barely time to release her and pretend to be still 
holding her coat when Miss Gabus entered. His elaborate 
guiltlessness confirmed her bitterest suspicions, and she crossed 
the room to deposit a sheaf of letters in Davidge s "in" basket 
and gather up the letters in his "out" basket. She passed 
across the stage with an effect of absolute refrigeration, like 
one of Richard Ill s ghosts. 

Davidge was furious at Miss Gabus and himself. Mamise 
was furious at them both partly for the awkwardness of the 
incident, partly for the failure of Davidge s enterprise against 
her lips. 

When Miss Gabus was gone the ecstatic momentum was 
lost. Davidge grumbled: 

"Shall I see you to-morrow?" 

"I don t know," said Mamise. 

She gave him her hand. He pressed it in his two palms 


and shook his head. She shook her head. They were both 
rebuking the bad behavior of the fates. 

Mamise trudged homeward or at least houseward. She 
was in another of her irresolute states, and irresolution is the 
most disappointing of all the moods to the irresolute ones 
and all the neighbors. It was irresolution that made "Ham 
let" a five-act play, and only a Shakespeare could have kept 
him endurable. 

Mamise was becoming unendurable to herself. When she 
got to her cottage she found it as dismal as an empty ice 
box. When she had started the fire going she had nothing 
else to do. In sheer desperation she decided to answer a few 
letters. There was an old one from Polly Widdicombe. 
She read it again. It contained the usual invitation to come 
back to reason and Washington. 

Just for something positive to do she resolved to go. There 
was a tonic in the mere act of decision. She wrote a letter. 
She felt that she could not wait so long as its answer would 
require. She resolved to send a telegram. 

This meant hustling out into the cold again, but it was 
something to do, somewhere to go, some excuse for a hope. 

Polly telegraphed: 

Come without fail dying to see you bring along a scuttle of coal if 
you can. 

Mamise showed Davidge the telegram. He was very 
plucky about letting her go. For her sake he was so glad 
that he concealed his own loneliness. That made her under 
estimate it. He confirmed her belief that he was glad to be 
rid of her by making a lark of her departure. He filled an 
old suit-case with coal and insisted on her taking it. The 
porter who lugged it along the platform at Washington gave 
Mamise a curious look. He supposed that this was one of 
those suit-cases full of bottled goods that were coming into 
Washington in such multitudes since the town had been 
decreed absolutely dry. He shook it and was surprised when 
he failed to hear the glug-glug of liquor. 

But Polly welcomed the suit-case as if it had been full of 
that other form of carbon which women wear in rings and 
necklaces. The whole country was underheated. To the 


wheatless, meatless, sweetless days there were added the heat- 
less months. Major Widdicombe took his breakfasts stand 
ing up in his overcoat. Polly and Mamise had theirs in bed, 
and the maids that brought it wore their heaviest clothes. 

There were long lines of petitioners all day at the offices 
of the Fuel Administration. But it did little good. All the 
shops and theaters were kept shut on Mondays. Country 
clubs were closed. Every device to save a lump of coal was 
put into legal effect so that the necessary war factories might 
run and the ships go over the sea. Soon there would be 
gasoleneless Sundays by request, and all the people would 
obey. Bills of fare at home and at hotel would be regulated 
by law. Restaurants would be fined for serving more than 
one meat to one person. Grocers would be fined for selling 
too much sugar to a family. Placards, great billboards, and 
all the newspapers were filled with counsels to save, save, save, 
and buy, buy, buy Bonds, Bonds, Bonds People grew de 
pressed at all this effort, all this sacrifice with so little show 
of accomplishment. 

American troops, except a pitiful few, were still in America 
and apparently doomed to stay. This could easily be proved 
by mathematics, for there were not ships enough to carry 
them and their supplies. The Germans were building up 
reserves in France, and they had every advantage of inner 
lines. They could hurl an avalanche of men at any one of a 
hundred points of the thin Allied line almost without warning, 
and wherever they struck the line would split before the 
reserves could be rushed up to the crevasse. And once 
through, what could stop them? Indeed, the whisper went 
about that the Allies had no reserves worth the name. France 
and England were literally "all in." 

Success and the hope of success did not make the Germans 
meek. They credited God with a share in their achievement 
and pinned an Iron Cross on Him, but they kept mortgaging 
His resources for the future. Those who had protested that 
the war had been forced on a peaceful Germany and that her 
majestic fight was all in self-defense came out now to confess 
or rather to boast that they had planned this triumph all 
along; for thirty years they had built and drilled and stored 
up reserves. And now they were about to sweep the world 
and make it a German planet. 


The peaceful Kaiser admitted that he had toiled for this 
approaching day of glory. His war-weary, hunger-pinched 
subjects were whipped up to further endurance by a brandy 
of fiery promises, the prospects of incalculable loot, vast 
colonies, mountains of food, and indemnities sky-high. They 
were told to be glad that America had come into the war 
openly at last, so that her untouched treasure-chest could 
pay the bills. 

In the whole history of chicken-computation there were 
probably never so many fowls counted before they were 
hatched and in the final outcome never such a crackling and 
such a stench of rotten eggs. 

But no one in those drear days was mad enough to see the 
outcome. The strategical experts protested against the waste 
ful "side-shows" in Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Saloniki, 
and the taking of Jerusalem was counted merely a pretty bit 
of Christmas shopping that could not weigh against the fall 
of Kerensky, the end of Russian resistance in the Bolshevik 
upheaval, and the Italian stampede down their own mountain 

Of all the optimists crazy enough to prophesy a speedy 
German collapse, no one put his finger on Bulgaria as the 
first to break. 

So sublime, indeed, was the German confidence that many 
in America who had been driven to cover because of their 
Teutonic activities before America entered the war began 
to dream that they, too, would reap a great reward for their 
martyrdom on behalf of the Fatherland. 

The premonition of the dawning of Der Tag stirred the 
heart of Nicky Easton, of course. He had led for months the 
life of a fox in a hunt-club county. Every time he put his 
head out he heard the bay of the hounds. He had stolen very 
few chickens, and he expected every moment to be pounced 
on. But new that he felt assured of a German triumph in a 
little while, he began to think of the future. His heart turned 
again to Mamise. 

His life of hiding and stealing about from place to place 
had compelled him to a more ascetic existence than he had 
been used to. His German accent did not help him, and he 
had found that even those heavy persons known as light 
women, though they had no other virtue, had patriotism 


enough to greet his advances with fierce hostility. His dialect 
insulted those who had relinquished the privilege of being 
insulted, and they would not soil their open palms with 
German-stained money. 

In his alliance with Jake Nuddle for the blowing up of the 
Clara, and their later communications looking toward the 
destruction of other ships, he kept informed of Mamise. He 
always asked Jake about her. He was bitterly depressed 
by the news that she was "sweet on" Davidge. He was 
exultant when he learned from Jake that she had given up 
her work in the office and had gone to Washington. Jake 
learned her address from Abbie, and passed it on to Nicky. 

Nicky was tempted to steal into Washington and surprise 
her. But enemy aliens were forbidden to visit the capital, 
and he was afraid to go by train. He had wild visions of 
motoring thither and luring her to a ride with him. He 
wanted to kidnap her. He might force her to marry him by 
threatening to kill her and himself. At least he might make 
her his after the classic manner of his fellow-countrymen in 
Belgium. But he had not force enough to carry out anything 
so masterful. He was a sentimental German, not a warrior. 

In his more emotional moods he began to feel a prophetic 
sorrow for Marie Louise after the Germans had conquered 
the world. She would be regarded as a traitress. She had 
been adopted by Sir Joseph Webling and had helped him, 
only to abandon the cause and go over to the enemy. 

If Nicky could convert her again to loyalty, persuade her 
to do some brave deed for the Fatherland in redemption of 
her blacksliding, then when Der Tag came he could reveal 
what she had done. When in that resurrection day the graves 
opened and all the good German spies and propagandists 
came forth to be crowned by Gott and the Kaiser, Nicky could 
lead Marie Louise to the dual throne, and, describing her 
reconciliation to the cause, claim her as his bride. And the 
Kaiser would say, "Ende gut, alles gut!" 

Never a missionary felt more sanctity in offering salvation 
to a lost soul by way of repentance than Nicky felt when he 
went to the house of an American friend and had Mamise 
called on the long-distance telephone. 

Mamise answered, "Yes, this is Miss Webling," to the 
faint-voiced long-distance operator, and was told to hold the 


wire. She heard: "All ready with Washington. Go ahead " 
Then she heard a timid query : 

"Hallow, hallow! Iss this Miss Vapelink?" 
She was shocked at the familiar dialect. She answered: 
This is Miss Webling, yes. Who is it?" 
You don d know my woice?" 
Yes yes. I know you " 
Pleass to say no names." 
Where are you?" 
In Philadelphia." 
All right. What do you want?" 
To see you." 

You evidently know my address." 
You know I cannot come by Vashington." 
Then how can I see you?" 
You could meet me some place, yes?" 
Certainly not." 

It is important, most important." 
To whom?" 

To you only to you. It is for your sake." 
She laughed at this; yet it set her curiosity on fire, as he 
hoped it would. He could almost hear her pondering. But 
what she asked was: 

"How did you find my address?" 
"From Chake Chake Nuttle." 

He could not see the wild look that threw her eyes and lips 
wide. She had never dreamed of such an acquaintance. The 
mere possibility of it set her brain whirling. It seemed to 
explain many things, explain them with a horrible clarity. 
She dared not reveal her suspicions to Nicky. She said 
nothing till she heard him speak again: 
"Veil, you come, yes?" 

"You could come here best?" 
"No, it s too far." 

"By Baltimore we could meet once?" 
"All right. Where? When?" 

"To-morrow. I do not know Baltimore good. Ve could 
take ride by automobile and talk so. Yes?" 
"All right." This a little anxiously. 
"To-morrow evening. I remember it is a train gets there 


from Vashington about eight. I meet you. Make sure 
nobody sees you take that train, yes?" 


You know people follow people sometimes." 


I trust you alvays, Marie Louise." 

All right. Good-by." 

Goot-py, Marie Louise." 


WHILE Mamise was talking her telephone ear had suf 
fered several sharp and painful rasps, as if angry rattle 
snakes had wakened in the receiver. 

The moment she put it up the bell rang. Supposing that 
Nicky had some postscript to add, she lifted the receiver again. 
Her ear was as bewildered as your tongue when it expects to 
taste one thing and tastes another, for it was Davidge s voice 
that spoke, asking for her. She called him by name, and he 

"Good Lord! is that you? Who was the fascinating stran 
ger who kept me waiting so long?" 

"Don t you wish you knew?" she laughed. "Where are 
you now ? At the shipyard ? 

"No, I m in Washington ran up on business. Can I see 
you to-night?" 

"I hope so unless we re going out as I believe we are. 
Hold the wire, won t you, while I ask." She came back in 
due season to say, "Polly says you are to come to dinner and 
go to a dance with us afterward." 

"A dance? I m not invited." 

"It s a kind of club affair at a hotel. Polly has the right 
to take you no end of big bugs will be there." 

"I m rusty on dancing, but with you " 

"Thanks. We ll expect you, then. Dinner is at eight. 
Wrap up well. It s cold, isn t it?" 

He thought it divine of her to think of his comfort. The 
thought of her in his arms dancing set his heart to rioting. 
He was singing as he dressed, and as he rode out to Grinden 
Hall, singing a specimen of the new musical insanity known 
as "jazz" so pestilential a music that even the fiddlers 
capered and writhed. 

The Potomac was full of tumultuous ice, and the old 
Rosslyn bridge squealed with cold under the motor. It was 


good to see the lights of the Hall at last, and to thaw himself 
out at the huge fireplace. 

"Lucky to get a little wood," said Major Widdicombe. 
"Don t know what we ll do when it s gone. Coal is next to 

Then the women came down, Polly and Mamise and two 
or three other house guests, and some wives of important 
people. They laid off their wraps and then decided to keep 
them on. 

Davidge had been so used to seeing Mamise as a plainly 
clad, discouraged office-hack that when she descended the 
stairs and paused on the landing a few steps from the floor, 
to lift her eyebrows and her lip-corners at him, he was glad 
of the pause. 

"Break it to me gently," he called across the balustrade. 

She descended the rest of the way and advanced, revealed 
in her complete height and all her radiant vesture. He was 
dazed by her unimagined splendor. 

As she gave him her hand and collected with her eyes the 
tribute in his, she said: 

"Break what to you gently?" 

1 You ! " he groaned. Good Lord ! Talk about the glory 
that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome !" 

With amiable reciprocity she returned him a compliment on 
his evening finery. 

"The same to you and many of them. You are quite stun 
ning in de collete . For a pair of common laborers, we are 
certainly gaudy." 

Polly came up and greeted Davidge with, "So you re the 
fascinating brute that keeps Marie Louise down in the peni 
tentiary of that awful ship-factory." 

Davidge indicated her brilliance and answered: "Never 
again. She s fired! We can t afford her." 

"Bully for you," said Polly. "I suppose I m an old- 
fashioned, grandmotherly sort of person, but I ll be damned if 
I can see why a woman that can look as gorgeous as Marie 
Louise here should be pounding typewriter keys in an office. 
Of course, if she had to But even then, I should say that 
it would be her solemn religious duty to sell her soul for a lot 
of glad-rags. 

"A lot of people are predicting that women will never go 


back to the foolish frills and furbelows of before the war; but 
well, I m no prophetess, but all I can say is that if this 
war puts an end to the dressmaker s art, it will certainly put 
civilization on the blink. Now, honestly, what could a woman 
accomplish in the world if she worked in overalls twenty-four 
hours a day for twenty-four years what could she make that 
would be more worth while than getting herself all dressed up 
and looking her best?" 

Davidge said: "You re talking like a French aristocrat 
before the Revolution; but I wish you could convince her 
of it." 

Mamise was trying to take her triumph casually, but she 
was thrilled, thrilled with the supreme pride of a woman in 
her best clothes in and out of her best clothes, and liberally 
illuminated with jewelry. She was now something like a great 
singer singing the highest note of her master-aria in her best 
r61e herself at once the perfect instrument and the perfect 

Marie Louise went in on Davidge s arm. The dining-room 
was in gala attire, the best silver and all of it out flowers 
and candles. But the big vault was cold; the men shivered 
and marveled at the women, who left their wraps on the 
backs of their chairs and sat up in no apparent discomfort 
with shoulders, backs, chests, and arms naked to the chill. 

Polly was moved to explain to the great folk present just 
who Mamise was. She celebrated Mamise in her own way. 

"To look at Miss Webling, would you take her for a perfect 
nut? She is, though the worst ever. Do you know what 
she has done? Taken up stenography and gone into the 
office of a ship-building gang!" 

The other squaws exclaimed upon her with various out 
cries of amazement. 

"What s more," said Mamise, "I live on my salary." 

This was considered incredible in the Washington of then. 
Mamise admitted that it took management. 

Mamise said: "Polly, can you see me living in a shanty 
cooking my own breakfast and dinner and waiting on myself 
and washing my own dishes? And for lunch going to a big 
mess-hall, waiting on myself, too, and eating on the swollen 
arm of a big chair?" 

Polly shook her head in despair of her. "Let those do it 


that have to. Nobody s going to get me to live like a Belgian 
refugee without giving me the same excuse." 

Mamise suddenly felt that her heroism was hardly more 
than a silly affectation, a patriotic pose. In these surround 
ings the memory of her daily life was disgusting, plain stupid 
ity. Here she was in her element, at her superlative. She 
breathed deeply of the atmosphere of luxury, the incense of 
rich food served ceremoniously to resplendent people. 

"I m beginning to agree with you, Polly. I don t think 
I ll ever go back to honest work again." 

She thought she saw in Davidge s eyes a gleam of approval. 
It occurred to her that he was renewing his invitation to her 
to become his wife and live as a lady. She was not insulted 
by the surmise. 

When the women departed for the drawing-room, the men 
sat for a while, talking of the coal famine, the appalling debts 
the country was heaping into mountains the blood-sweating 
taxes, the business end of the war, the prospect for the spring 
campaign on the Western Front, the avalanche of Russia, the 
rise of the Bolsheviki, the story that they were in German 
pay, the terrible toll of American lives it would take to re 
place the Russian armies, and the humiliating delay in getting 
men into uniform, equipped, and ferried across the sea. The 
astounding order had just been promulgated, shutting down 
all industry and business for four days and for the ten suc 
ceeding Mondays in order to eke out coal ; this was regarded 
as worse than the loss of a great battle. Every aspect of 
the war was so depressing that the coroner s inquest broke 
up at once when Major Widdicombe said: 

"I get enough of this in the shop, and I m frozen through. 
Let s go in and jaw the women." 

Concealing their loneliness, the men entered the drawing- 
room with the majestic languor of lions well fed. 

Davidge paused to study Mamise from behind a smoke 
screen that concealed his stare. She was listening politely to 
the wife of Holman, of the War Trade Board. Mrs. Holman s 
stories were always long, and people were always interrupting 
them because they had to or stay mute all night. Davidge 
was glad of her clatter, because it gave him a chance to revel 
in Mamise. She was presented to his eyes in a kind of miti 
gated silhouette against a bright-hued lamp-shade. She was 


seated sidewise on a black Chinese chair. On the back of it 
her upraised arm rested. Davidge s eyes followed the strange 
and marvelous outline described by the lines of that arm, 
running into the sharp rise of a shoulder, like an apple against 
the throat, the bizarre shape of the head in its whimsical 
coiffure, the slope of the other shoulder carrying the caressing 
glance down that arm to the hand clasping a sheaf of out 
spread plumes against her knee, and on along to where one 
quaint impossible slipper with a fantastic high heel emerged 
from a stream of fabric that flowed on out to the train. 

Then with the vision of honorable desire he imagined the 
body of her where it disappeared below the shoulders into the 
possession of the gown ; he imagined with a certain awe what 
she must be like beneath all those long lines, those rounded 
surfaces, those eloquent wrinkles with their curious little 
pockets full of shadow, among the pools of light that satin 
shimmers with. 

In other times and climes men had worn figured silks and 
satins and brocades, had worn long gowns and lace-trimmed 
sleeves, jeweled bonnets and curls, but now the male had 
surrendered to the female his prehistoric right to the fanciful 
plumage. These war days were grown so austere that it be 
gan to seem wrong even for women to dress with much more 
than a masculine sobriety. But the occasion of this ball had 
removed the ban on extravagance. 

The occasion justified the maximum display of jewelry, too, 
and Mamise wore all she had. She had taken her gems from 
their prison in the safe-deposit box in the Trust Company 
cellar. They seemed to be glad to be at home in the light 
again. They reveled in it, winking, laughing, playing a kind 
of game in which light chased light through the deeps of 

The oddity of the feminine passion for precious stones struck 
Davidge sharply. The man who built iron ships to carry 
freight wondered at the curious industry of those who sought 
out pebbles of price, and polished them, shaped them, faceted 
them, and fastened them in metals of studied design, petrified 
jellies that seemed to quiver yet defied steel. 

He contrasted the cranes that would lift a locomotive and 
lower it into the hold of one of his ships with the tiny pincers 
with which a lapidary picked up a diamond fleck and sealed 



it in platinum. He contrasted the pneumatic riveter with 
the tiny hammers of the goldsmith. There seemed to be no 
less vanity about one than the other. The work of the jeweler 
would outlast the iron hull. A diamond as large as a rivet- 
head would cost far more than a ship. Jewels, like sonnets 
and symphonies and flower-gardens, were good for nothing, 
yet somehow worth more than anything useful. 

He wondered what the future would do to these arts and 
their patronesses. The one business of the world now was 
the manufacture, transportation, and efficient delivery of 

He could understand how offensive bejeweled and banqueted 
people were to the humble, who went grimy and weary in 
dirty overalls over their plain clothes to their ugly factories 
and back to their uglier homes. 

It was a consummation devoutly to be wished that nobody 
should spend his life or hers soiled and tired and fagged with 
a monotonous task. It seemed hard that the toiling woman 
and the wife and daughter of the toiler might not alleviate 
their bleak persons with pearl necklaces about their throats, 
with rubies pendant from their ears, and their fingers studded 
with sapphire and topaz. 

Yet it did not look possible, somehow. And it seemed 
better that a few should have them rather than none at all, 
better that beauty should be allowed to reign somewhere than 
nowhere during its brief perfection. 

And after all, what proof was there that the spoliation of 
the rich and the ending of riches would mean the enrichment 
of the poor? When panics came and the rich fasted the poor 
starved. Would the reduction of the opulent and the eleva 
tion of the paupers all to the same plain average make any 
body happier? Would the poor be glad to learn that they 
could never be rich? With nobody to envy, would content 
ment set in? With ambition rated as a crime, the bequeath 
ing of comfort to one s children rendered impossible, the estab 
lishment of one s destiny left to the decision of boards and 
by-laws, would there be satisfaction? The Bolsheviki had 
voted "universal happiness." It would be interesting to see 
how well Russia fared during the next year and how univer 
sally happiness might be distributed. 

He frowned and shook his head as if to free himself from 


these nettlesome riddles and left them to the Bolshevist 
Samaritans to solve in the vast laboratory where the manual 
laborers at last could work out their hearts desires, with the 
upper class destroyed and the even more hateful middle class 
at their mercy. 

It was bitter cold on the way to the ballroom in the Willard 
Hotel, and Davidge in his big coat studied Mamise smothered 
in a voluminous sealskin overcoat. This, too, had meant hard 
ship for the poor. Many men had sailed on a bitter voyage 
to arctic regions and endured every privation of cold and 
hunger and peril that this young woman might ride cozy in 
any chill soever. The fur coat had cost much money, but 
little of it had fallen into the frosted hands of the men who 
clubbed the seal to death on the ice-floes. The sleek furrier 
in the warm city shop, when he sold the finished garment, took 
in far more than the men who went out into the wilderness 
and brought back the pelts. That did not seem right; yet 
he had a heavy rent to pay, and if he did not create the market 
for the furs, the sealers would not get paid at all for their 

A division of the spoils that would rob no one, nor kill the 
industry, was beyond Davidge s imagining. He comforted 
himself with the thought that those loud mouths that adver 
tised solutions of these labor problems were fools or liars or 
both; and their mouths were the tools they worked with most. 

The important immediate thing to contemplate was the 
fascinating head of Mamise, quaintly set on the shapeless bulk 
of a sea-lion. 


"T^vAVIDGE had been a good dancer once, and he had not 
I J entirely neglected the new school of foot improvisation, 
so different from the old set steps. 

Mamise was amazed to find that the strenuous business man 
had so much of the faun in his soul. He had evidently listened 
to the pipes of Pan and could "shake a sugar-heel" with a 
practised skill. There was a startling authority in the 
firmness with which he gathered her in and swept her through 
the kaleidoscopic throng, now dipping, now skipping, now 
limping, now running. 

He gripped the savory body of Mamise close to him and 
found her to his whim, foreseeing it with a mysterious pres 
cience. Holding her thus intimately in the brief wedlock 
of the dance, he began to love her in a way that he could 
think of only one word for terrible. 

She seemed to grow afraid, too, of the spell that was be 
fogging them, and sought rescue in a flippancy. There was 
also a flattering spice of jealousy in what she murmured: 

"You haven t spent all your afternoons and evenings 
building ships, young man !" 


"What cabarets have you graduated from?" 

He quoted her own words, "Don t you wish you knew?" 


"One thing is certain. I ve never found in any of em as 
light a feather as you." 

"Are you referring to my head or my feet ?" 

"Your blessed feet!" 

His arm about her tightened to a suffocation, and he 
whirled her in a delirium of motion. 

"That s unfair!" she protested, affrighted yet delighted by 
the fire of his ecstasy in their union. The music stopped, and 
she clung to him dizzily while he applauded with the other 


dancers till the band renewed the tune. She had regained her 
mental with her bodily equilibrium, and she danced more 
staidly ; yet she had seen into the crater of his heart and was 
not sorry that it existed. 

The reprise of the dance was brief, and he had to surrender 
her from his embrace. He was unwontedly rhapsodic. "I 
wish we could sail on and on and on forever." 

"Forever is a long time," she smiled. 

"May I have the next dance?" 

" Certainly not ! Take Polly round and pay for your supper. 
But don t" 

"Don t what?" 

"I don t know." 

Polly was taken for the next dance, and he was glad of 
it, but he suffered at seeing how perfectly Mamise footed it 
with a young officer who also knew how to compel her to his 
whim. Davidge wondered if Mamise could be responding to 
this fellow as keenly as she responded to himself. The thought 
was intolerable. She could not be so wanton. It would 
amount to a hideous infidelity. Moorish jealousy smoldered 
in his heart, and he cursed public dancing as an infamous, an 
unbelievable promiscuity. Yet when he had Polly Widdi- 
combe for the next dance, her husband had no cause for 
jealousy. Polly was a temperate dancer, all gaiety, estheti- 
cism plus athleticism. 

Davidge kept twisting his head about to see how Mamise 
comported herself. He was being swiftly wrung to that 
desperate condition in which men are made ready to commit 
monogamy. He felt that he could not endure to have Mamise 
free any longer. 

He presented himself to her for the next dance. 

She laughed. "I m booked." 

He blanched at the treacherous heartlessness and sat the 
dance out stood it out, rather, among the superfluous men 
on the side-lines. A morose and ridiculous gloom possessed 
him at seeing still a fourth stranger with his arms about 
Mamise, her breast to his and her procedure obedient to his. 
Worse yet, when a fifth insolent stranger cut in on the twin 
stars, Mamise abandoned her fourth temporary husband for 
another with a levity that amounted to outrageous polyandry. 
Davidge felt no impulse to cut in. He disliked dancing so 


intensely that he wanted to put an end to the abomination, 
reform it altogether. He did not want to dance between those 
white arms so easily forsworn. He wanted to rescue Mamise 
from this place of horror and hale her away to a cave with no 
outlook on mankind. 

It was she who sought him where he glowered. Perhaps she 
understood him. If she did, she was wise enough to enjoy the 
proof of her sway over him and still sane enough to take a joy 
in her triumph. 

She introduced her partner David ge would almost have 
called the brute a paramour. He did not get the man s name 
and was glad of it especially as the hunter deserted her and 
went after his next Sabine. 

"You ve lost your faithful stenographer," was the first 
phrase of Mamise s that Davidge understood. 

"Why so?" he grumbled. 

"Because this is the life for me. I ve been a heroine and 
a war-worker about as long as I can. I m for the fleshpots and 
the cold-cream jars and the light fantastic. Aren t you going 
to dance with me any more?" 

"Just as you please," Davidge said, with a singularly boyish 
sulkiness, and wondered why Mamise laughed so mercilessly: 

"Of course I please." 

The music struck up an abandoned jig, but he danced with 
great dignity till his feet ran away with him. Then he made 
off with her again in one of his frenzies, and a laughter filled 
his whole being. 

She heard him growl something. 

"What did you say?" she said. 

"I said, Damn you! " 

She laughed so heartily at this that she had to stop dancing 
for a moment. She astonished him by a brazen question: 

"Do you really love me as much as that?" 

"More," he groaned, and they bobbed and ducked and 
skipped as he muttered a wild anachronism: 

"If you don t marry me I ll murder you." 

"You re murdering me now. May I breathe, please?" 

He was furious at her evasion of so solemn a proposal. 
Yet she was so beautifully alive and aglow that he could not 
exactly hate her. But he said: 

"I won t ask you again. Next time you can ask me." 


"All right; that s a bet. I ll give you fair warning." 

And then that dance was over, and Mamise triumphant in 
all things. She was tumultuously hale and happy, and her 
lover loved her. 

To her that hath for now, whom should Mamise see but 
Lady Clif ton-Wyatt ? Her heart ached with a reminiscent fear 
for a moment; then a malicious hope set it going again. 
Major Widdicombe claimed Mamise for the next dance, and 
extracted her from Davidge s possession. As they danced 
out, leaving Davidge stranded, Mamise noted that Lady 
C.-W. was regarding Davidge with a startled interest. 

The whirl of the dance carried her close to Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt, and she knew that Lady C.-W. had seen her. Broken 
glimpses revealed to her that Lady C.-W. was escorting her 
escort across the ballroom floor toward Davidge. 

She saw the brazen creature tap Davidge s elbow and 
smile, putting out her hand with coquetry. She saw her 
debarrass herself of her companion, a French officer whose 
exquisite horizon-blue uniform was amazingly crossed with the 
wound and service chevrons of three years warfaring. Never 
theless, Lady Clifton- Wyatt dropped him for the civilian 
Davidge. Mamise, flitting here and there, saw that Davidge 
was being led to the punch-altar, thence to a lonely strip of 
chairs, where Lady C.-W. sat herself down and motioned 
him to drop anchor alongside. 

Mamise longed to be near enough to hear what she could 
guess : her enemy s artless prelude followed by gradual modu 
lations to her main theme Mamise s wicked record. 

Mamise wished that she had studied lip-reading to get the 
details. But this was a slight vexation in the exultance of her 
mood. She was serene in the consciousness that Davidge 
already knew the facts about her, and that Lady Clifton- 
Wyatt s gossip would fall with the dreary thud of a story 
heard before. So Mamise s feet flew, and her heart made a 
music of its own to the tune of: 

"Thank God, I told him!" 

She realized, as never before, the tremendous comfort and 
convenience of the truth. She had been by instinct as vera 
cious as a politely bred person may be, but now she under 
stood that the truth is mighty good business. She resolved 
to deal in no other wares. 


This resolution lasted just long enough for her to make a 
hasty exception: she would begin her exclusive use of the 
truth as soon as she had told Polly a neat lie in explanation 
of her inexplicable journey to Baltimore. 

Lady C.-W. was doing Mamise the best turn in her power. 
Davidge was still angry at Mamise s flippancy in the face of 
his ardor. But Lady C.-W. s attack gave the flirt the dignity 
of martyrdom. When Lady C.-W. finished her subtly casual 
account of all that Mamise had done or been accused of doing, 
Davidge crushed her with the quiet remark : 

"So she told me." 

"She told you that!" 

"Yes, and explained it all!" 

"She would!" was the best that Lady Clifton-Wyatt could 
do, but she saw that the case was lost. She saw that Davidge s 
gaze was following Mamise here and there amid the dancers, 
and she was sportswoman enough to concede: 

"She is a beauty, anyway there s no questioning that, at 

It was the canniest thing she could have done to re-establish 
herself in Davidge s eyes. He felt so well reconciled with the 
world that he said: 

"You wouldn t care to finish this dance, I suppose?" 

"Why not?" 

Lady Clifton-Wyatt was democratic in the provinces and 
the States and this was as good a way of changing the sub 
ject as any. She rose promptly and entered the bosom of 
Davidge. The good American who did not believe in aris 
tocracies had just time to be overawed at rinding himself 
hugging a real Lady with a capital L when the music stopped. 

It is an old saw that what is too foolish to be said can be 
sung. Music hallows or denatures whatever it touches. It 
was quite proper, because quite customary, for Davidge and 
Lady Clifton-Wyatt to stand enfolded in each other s em 
brace so long as a dance tune was in the air. The moment 
the musicians quit work the attitude became indecent. 

Amazing and eternal mystery, that custom can make the 
same thing mean everything, or nothing, or all the between- 
things. The ancient Babylonians carried the idea of the per 
missible embrace to the ultimate intimacy in their annual 
festivals, and the good women doubtless thought no more of it 


than a woman of to-day thinks of waltzing with a presentable 
stranger. They went home to their husbands and their house 
work as if they had been to church. Certain Bolsheviki, 
even in the year 1918, put up placards renewing the ancient 
Mesopotamian custom, under the guise of a community 
privilege and a civic duty. 

And yet some people pretend to differentiate between 
fashions and morals! 

But nobody at this dance was foolish enough to philosophize. 
Everybody was out for a good time, and a Scotsman from 
the British embassy came up to claim Lady Clifton-Wyatt s 
hand and body for the next dance. Davidge had been mys 
tically attuned anew to Mamise, and he found her in a mood 
for reconciliation. She liked him so well that when the 
Italian aviator to whom she had pledged the "Tickle Toe" 
came to demand it, she perjured herself calmly and eloped 
with Davidge. And Davidge, instead of being alarmed by 
her easy morals, was completely reassured. 

But he found her unready with another perjury when he 
abruptly asked her: 

"What are you doing to-morrow?" 

"Let me see," she temporized in a flutter, thinking of 
Baltimore and Nicky. 

"If you ve nothing special on, how about a tea-dance? 
I m getting addicted to this." * 

"I m afraid I m booked up for to-morrow," she faltered. 
" Polly keeps the calendar. Yes, I know we have some stupid 
date I can t think just what. How about the day after?" 

The deferment made his amorous heart sick, and to-mor 
row s to-morrow seemed as remote as Judgment Day. Be 
sides, as he explained: 

"I ve got to go back to the shipyard to-morrow evening. 
Couldn t you give me a lunch an early one at twelve-thirty?" 

"Yes, I could do that, In fact, I d love it!" 

"And me too?" 

"That would be telling." 

At this delicious moment an insolent cub in boots and spurs 
cut in and would not be denied. Davidge was tempted to 
use his fists, but Mamise, though she longed to tarry with 
Davidge, knew the value of tantalism, and consented to the 
abduction. For revenge Davidge took up with Polly and 


danced after Mamise, to be near her. He followed so close 
that the disastrous cub, in a sudden pirouette, contrived to 
swipe Polly across the shin and ankle-bones with his spur. 

She almost swooned of agony, and clung to Davidge for 
support, mixing astonishing profanity with her smothered 
groans. The cub showered apologies on her, and reviled 
"Regulations" which compelled him to wear spurs with his 
boots, though he had only a desk job. 

Polly smiled at him murderously, and said it was nothing. 
But Mamise saw her distress, rid herself of the hapless criminal 
and gave Polly her arm, as she limped through the barrage of 
hurtling couples. Polly asked Davidge to retrieve her hus 
band from the sloe-eyed ambassadress who was hypnotizing 
him. She wailed to Mamise: 

"I know I m marked for life. I ought to have a wound- 
chevron for this. I ve got to go home and put my ankle in 
splints. I ll probably have to wear it in a sling for a month. 
I d like to kill the rotten hound that put me out of business. 
And I had the next dance with that beautiful Rumanian 
devil! You stay and dance with your ship-builder!" 

Mamise could not even think of it, and insisted on bidding 
good night to the crestfallen Davidge. He offered to ride 
out home with her, but Polly refused. She wanted to have a 
good cry in the car. 

Davidge bade Mamise good night, reminded her that she 
was plighted to luncheon at twelve-thirty, and went to the 
house of the friend he was stopping with, the hotels being 
booked solid for weeks ahead. He was nursing a stern de 
termination to endure bachelordom no longer. 

Mamise was thinking of Davidge tenderly with one of her 
brains, while another segment condoled with Polly. But 
most of her wits were engaged in hunting a good excuse for 
her Baltimore escapade the next afternoon, and in discard 
ing such implausible excuses as occurred to her. 

Bitter chill it was, and these owls, for all their feathers, were 
a-cold. Major Widdicombe was chattering. 

"I danced myself into a sweat, and now my undershirt is 
all icicles. I know I ll die of pneumonia." 

He shifted his foot, and one of his spurs grazed the ankle 
of Polly, who was snuggling to him for warmth. 


She yowled: "My Gawd! My yankle! You ll not last 
long enough for pneumonia if you touch me again." 

He was filled with remorse, but when he tried to reach 
round to embrace her, she would none of him. 

When they got to the bridge, they were amazed at the lazy 
old Potomac. It was a white torment of broken ice, roaring 
and slashing and battering the piers of the ancient bridge omi 
nously, huge sheets clambering up and falling back split and 
broken, with the uproar of an attack on a walled town. 

The chauffeur went to full speed, and the frosty boards 
shrilled under the flight. 

The house was cold when they reached it, and Mamise s 
room was like a storage-vault. She tore off her light dancing- 
dress and shivered as she stripped and took refuge in a cob 
webby nightgown. She threw on a heavy bathrobe and kept 
it on when she crept into the icy interstice between the all- 
too-snowy sheets. 

She had forgotten to explain to Polly about her Baltimore 
venture, and she shivered so vigorously that sleep was im 
possible to her palsied bones. She grew no warmer from 
besetting visions of the battle-front. She tried to shame 
herself out of her chill by contrasting her opulent bed with 
the dreadful dugouts in France, the observation posts, the 
shell-riddled ruins, where millions somehow existed. Again, 
as at Valley Forge, American soldiers were marching there in 
the snow barefooted, or in rags or in wooden sabots, for lack 
of ships to get new shoes across. 

Yet, in these frozen hells there were not men enough. The 
German offensive must not find the lines so sparsely defended. 
Men must be combed out of every cranny of the nations and 
herded to the slaughter. America was denying herself warmth 
in order to build shells and to shuttle the ships back and forth. 
There was need of more women, too thousands more to nurse 
the men, to run the canteens, to mend the clothes, to warm 
men s hearts via their stomachs, and to take their minds off 
the madness of war a little while. The Salvation Army would 
furnish them hot doughnuts in the trenches and heat up their 
courage. Actors and actresses were playing at all the big 
cantonments now. Later they would be going across to play 
in France one-night stands, two a day in Picardy. 

Suddenly Mamise felt the need to go abroad. In a kind of 


burlesque of the calling of the infant Samuel, she sat up in 
her bed, startled as by a voice calling her to a mission. She 
had been an actress, a wanderer, a performer in cheap theaters, 
a catcher of late trains, a dweller in rickety hotels. She 
knew cold, and she had played half clad in draughty halls. 

She had escaped from the life and had tried to escape the 
memory of it. But now that she was so cold she felt that 
nothing was so pitiful as to be cold. She understood, with a 
congealing vividness, how those poor droves of lads in bitterer 
cold were suffering, scattered along the frontiers of war like 
infinite flocks of sheep caught in a blizzard. She felt ashamed 
to be here shivering in this palatial misery when she might 
be sharing the all-but-unbearable squalor of the soldiers. 

The more she recoiled from the hardships the more she 
felt the impulse. It would be her atonement. 

She would buy a trombone and retire into the wilderness 
to practise it. She would lay her dignity, her aristocracy, her 
pride, on the altar of sacrifice, and go among the despondent 
soldiers as a Sister of Gaiety. Perhaps Bill the Blackface- 
man would be going over if he had not stayed in Germany 
too long and been interned there. To return to the team with 
him, being the final degradation, would be the final atone 
ment. She felt that she was called, called back. There could 
be nothing else she would hate more to do ; therefore she would 
love to do that most of all. 

She would lunch with Davidge to-morrow, tell him her 
plan, bid him farewell, go to Baltimore, learn Nicky s secret, 
thwart it one way or another and then set about her destiny. 

She abhorred the relapse so utterly that she wept. The 
warm tears refreshed her eyes before they froze on her cheeks, 
and she fell asleep in the blissful assurance of a martyrdom. 


THE next morning Mamise woke in her self -warmed bed, 
at the nudge of a colored maid bundled up like an Eskimo, 
who carried a breakfast-tray in mittened hands. 

Mamise said: "Oh, good morning, Martha. I ll bathe 
before breakfast if you ll turn on the hot water, please." 

"Hot water? Humph! Pipes done froze last night, an* 
bus loose this mo nin , and fill the kitchen range with water 
an bus loose again. No plumber here yit. Made this 
breakfuss on the gas-stove. That s half -froze, tew. I tell 
you, ma am, you re lucky to git your coffee nohow. Better 
take it before it freezes, tew." 

Mamise sighed and glanced at the clock. The reproachful 
hands stood at eleven-thirty. 

"Did the clock freeze, too? That can t be the right 

"Yessum, that s the raht tahm." 

"Great heavens!" 

"Yes, ma am." 

Mamise sat up, drew the comforters about her back, and 
breakfasted with speed. She dressed with all the agility she 
could muster. 

She regretted the bath. She missed it, and so must we all. 
In modern history, as in modern fiction, it is not nice in the 
least for the heroine even such a dubious heroine as Mamise 
to have a bathless day. As for heroes, in the polite chronicles 
they get at least two baths a day: one heroic cold shower in 
the morning and one hot tub in the late afternoon before 
getting into the faultless evening attire. This does not apply 
to heroes of Russian masterpieces, of course, for they never 
bathe. ("Why should they," my wife puts in, "since they re 
going to commit suicide, anyway?") 

But the horrors of the Great War included this atrocity, 


that the very politest people came to know the old-fashioned 
luxury of an extra-dry life. There was a time when cleanliness 
was accounted as ungodliness and the Christian saints anathe 
matized the bath as an Oriental pollution. During our war 
of wars there was a vast amount of helpless holy living. 

Exquisite gentlemen kept to their clothes for weeks at a 
time and grew rancid and lousy among the rats that were 
foul enough to share their stinking dens with them. If these 
gentlemen were wounded, perchance, they added stale blood, 
putrefaction, and offal to their abominable fetor. 

And women who had been pretty and soapy and without 
smell, and who had once blanched with shame at the least 
maculation, lived with these slovenly men and vermin and 
dead horses and old dead soldiers and shared their glorious 

The world acquired a strong stomach, and Mamise s one 
skip-bath day must be endured. If the indecency ever oc 
curred again it will be left unmentioned. Heaven knows 
that even this morning she looked pure enough when she was 

Mamise found that Polly was still in bed, giving her damaged 
ankle as an excuse. She stuck it out for Mamise s inspection, 
and Mamise pretended to be appalled at the bruise she could 
almost see. 

Mamise remembered her plan to go abroad and entertain 
the soldiers. Polly tried to dissuade her from an even crazier 
scheme than ship-building, but ended by promising to telephone 
her husband to look into the matter of a passport for her. 

Despite her best efforts, it was already twelve-thirty and 
Mamise had not left the house. She was afraid that Davidge 
would be miffed. Polly suggested telephoning the hotel. 

Those were bad days for telephoners. The wires were as 
crowded as everything else. 

"It will take an hour to get the hotel," said Mamise, 
"another hour to page the man. I ll make a dash for it. 
He ll give me a little grace, I know." 

The car was not ready when she got to the door. The 
engine was balky and bucky with the cold, and the chauf 
feur in a like mood. The roads were sleety and skiddy, and 
required careful driving. 

Best of all, when she reached the bridge at last, she found 


it closed to traffic. The Potomac had been infected by the war 
spirit. In sheer Hunnishness it had ravaged its banks, shear 
ing away boat-houses and piers, and carrying all manner of 
wreckage down to pound the old aqueduct bridge with. 
The bridge was not expected to live. 

It did, but it was not intrusted with traffic till long after the 
distraught Mamise had been told that the only way to get 
to Washin ton was by the Highway Bridge from Alexandria, 
and this meant a de"tour of miles. It gave Mamise her first 
and only grand rounds through Fort Myer and the Arlington 
National Cemetery. She felt sorry for the soldiers about the 
cold barracks, but she was in no mood to respond to the 
marble pages of the Arlington epic. 

The night before she had beheld in a clear vision the living 
hosts in Flanders and France, but here under the snow lay 
sixteen thousand dead, two thousand a hundred and eleven 
heroes under one monument of eternal anonymity dead 
from all our wars, and many of them with their wives and 
daughters privileged to lie beside them. 

But the mood is everything, and Mamise was too fretful 
to rise to this occasion; and when her car had crept the 
uneasy miles and reached the Alexandria bridge and crossed 
it, and wound through Potomac Park, past the Washington 
Monument standing like a stupendous icicle, and reached 
the hotel, she was just one hour late. 

Davidge had given her up in disgust and despair, after 
vain efforts to reach her at various other possible luncheon- 
places. He searched them all on the chance that she might 
have misunderstood the rendezvous. And Mamise spent a 
frantic hour trying to find him at some hotel. He had 
registered nowhere, since a friend had put him up. The sole 
result of this interesting game of two needles hunting each 
other through a haystack was that Davidge went without 
lunch and Mamise ate alone. 

In the late afternoon Davidge made another try. He finally 
got Polly Widdicombe on the telephone and asked for Mamise. 
Polly expressed her amazement. 

"Why, she just telephoned that she was staying in town to 
dine with you and go to the theater." 

"Oh!" said the befuddled Davidge. "Oh, of course! Silly 
of me! Good-by!" 


Now he was indeed in a mental mess. Besides, he had 
another engagement to dinner. He spent a long, exasperating 
hour in a telephone-chase after his host, told a poor lie to 
explain the necessity for breaking the engagement, and spent 
the rest of the evening hunting Mamise in vain. 

When he took the train for his shipyard at last he was in a 
hopeless confusion between rage at Mamise and fear that some 
mishap had befallen her. It would have been hard to tell 
whether he loved her or hated her the more. 

But she, after giving up the pursuit of him, had taken up 
an inquiry into the trains to Baltimore. The time was now too 
short for her to risk a journey out to Grinden Hall and back 
for a suit-case, in view of the Alexandria detour. She must, 
therefore, travel without baggage. Therefore she must return 
the same night. She found, to her immense relief, that this 
could be done. The seven-o clock train to Baltimore reached 
there at eight, and there was a ten-ten train back. 

She had not yet devised a lie to appease Polly with, but 
now an inspiration came to her. She had told Davidge that 
she was dining out with Polly somewhere; consequently it 
would be safe to tell Polly that she was dining out with 
Davidge somewhere. The two would never meet to compare 
notes. Besides, it is pleasanter to lie by telephone. One 
cannot be seen to blush. 

She called up Grinden Hall and was luckily answered by 
what Widdicombe called "the ebony maid with the ivory 
head." Mamise told her not to summon her lame mistress 
to the telephone, but merely to say that Miss Webling was 
dining with Mr. Davidge and going to the theater with him. 
She made the maid repeat this till she had it by heart, then 
rang off. 

This was the message that Polly received and later trans 
mitted to Davidge for his bewilderment. 

To fill the hours that must elapse before her train could 
leave, Mamise went to one of those moving-picture shows 
that keep going without interruption. Public benefactors 
maintain them for the salvation of women who have no homes 
or do not want to go to them yet. 

The moving-picture service included the usual news weekly, 
as usual leading one to marvel why the stupid subjects 
shown were selected from all the fascinating events of the 


time. Then followed a doleful imitation of Mr. Charles 
Chaplin, which proved by its very fiasco the artistry of the 

The cinema de resistance was a long and idiotic vampire 
picture in which a stodgy creature lured impossible males to 
impossible ruin by wiles and attitudes that would have driven 
any actual male to flight, laughter, or a call for the police. 
But the audience seemed to enjoy it, as a substitute, no doubt, 
for the old-fashioned gruesome fairy-stories that one accepts 
because they are so unlike the tiresome realities. Mamise 
wondered if vampirism really succeeded in life. She was 
tempted to try a little of it some time, just as an experiment, 
if ever opportunity offered. 

In any case, the picture served its main purpose. It whiled 
away the dull afternoon till the dinner hour. She took her 
dinner on the train, remembering vividly how her heart 
history with Davidge had begun on a train. She missed him 
now, and his self-effacing gallantry. 

The man opposite her wanted to be cordial, but his motive 
was ill concealed, and Mamise treated him as if he didn t 
quite exist. Suddenly she remembered with a gasp that she 
had never paid Davidge for that chair he gave up to her. 
She vowed again that she would not forget. She felt a deep 
remorse, too, for a day of lies and tricks. She regretted 
especially the necessity of deceiving Davidge. It was her 
privilege to hoodwink Polly and other people, but she had no 
right to deceive Davidge. She was beginning to feel that she 
belonged to him. 

She resolved to atone for these new transgressions, too, 
as well as her old, by getting over to France as soon as pos 
sible and subjecting herself to a self-immolation among hard 
ships. After the war assuming that the war would soon end 
and that she would come out of it alive afterward she 
could settle down and perhaps marry Davidge. 

Reveling in these pleasantly miserable schemes, she was 
startled to find Baltimore already gathering round the train. 
And she had not even begun to organize her stratagems 
against Nicky Easton. She made a hasty exit from the car 
and sought the cab-ranks outside. 

From the shadows a shadowy man semi-detached himself, 
lifted his hat, and motioned her to an open door. She bent 


her head down and her knees up and entered a little room 
on wheels. 

Nicky had evidently given the chauffeur instructions, for 
as soon as Nicky had come in, doubled up, and seated himself 
the limousine moved off into what adventures? Mamise 
was wondering. 



" Oo / have already done something more for Germany. 
*J That s splendid. Now tell me what else I can do." 
Nicky was too intoxicated with his success to see through 
her thin disguise. 


MAMISE remembered her earlier visits to Baltimore as a 
tawdry young vaudevillette. She had probably walked 
from the station, lugging her own valise, to some ghastly 
theatrical boarding-house. Perhaps some lover of hers had 
carried her baggage for her. If so, she had forgotten just 
which one of her experiences he was. 

Now she hoped to be even more obscure and unconsidered 
than she had been then, when a little attention was meat 
and drink, and her name in the paper was a sensation. She 
knew that publicity, like love, flees whoso pursueth and pursues 
who flees it, but she prayed that the rule would be proved 
by an exception to-night, and that she might sneak out as 
anonymously as she had sneaked in. 

Nicky Easton was a more immediate problem. He was 
groping for her hands. When he found them she was glad 
that she had her gloves on. They were chaperoned, too, as 
it were, by their heavy wraps. She was fairly lost in her furs 
and he in a burly overcoat, so that when in a kind of frenzy 
he thrust one cumbrous arm about her the insulation was 
complete. He might as well have been embracing the cab 
she was in. 

But the insolence of the intention enraged her, and she 
struggled against him as a she-bear might rebuff a too familiar 
bruin buffeted his arms away and muttered: 

"You imbecile! Do you want me to knock on the glass 
and tell the driver to let me out?" 

"Nein dock!" 

"Then let me alone or I will." 

Nicky sighed abysmally and sank back. He said nothing 
at all to her, and she said the same to him while long strips 
of Baltimorean marble stoops went by. They turned into 
Charles Street and climbed past its statue-haunted gardens 
and on out to the north. 


They were almost at Druid Hill Park before Mamise realized 
that she was wasting her time and her trip for nothing. She 
spoke angrily: 

"You said you wanted to see me. I m here." 

Nicky fidgeted and sulked : 

"I do not neet to told you now. You have such a hatink 
from me, it is no use." 

"If you had told me you simply wanted to spoon with 
me I could have stayed at home. You said you wanted to 
ask me something." 

"I have my enswer. It is not any neet to esk." 

Mamise was puzzled; her wrath was yielding to curiosity. 
But she could not imagine how to coax him out of silence. 

His disappointment coaxed him. He groaned: 
"Ach Gott, I am so lunly. My own people doand trust me. 
These Yenkees also not. I get no chence to proof how I loaf 
my Voter land. But the time comes soon, and I must make 
patience. Eile mit Weile!" 

"You d better tell me what s on your mind," Mamise sug 
gested, but he shook his head. The car rolled into the gloom 
of the park, a gloom rather punctuated than diminished by 
the street-lamps. Mamise realized that she could not extort 
Nicky s secret from him by asserting her own dignity. 

She wondered how to persuade him, and found no ideas 
except such silly schemes as were suggested by her memory 
of the vampire picture. She hated the very passage of such 
thoughts through her mind, but they kept returning, with 
an insistent idea that a patriotic vampire might accomplish 
something for her country as Delilah and Judith had "vamped " 
for theirs. She had never seen a vampire exercise her fascina 
tions in a fur coat in a dark automobile, but perhaps the dark 
was all the better for her purpose. 

At any rate, she took the dare her wits presented her, and 
after a struggle with her own mutinous muscles she put out 
her hand and sought Nicky s, as she cooed : 

"Come along, Nicky, don t be so cantankerous." 

His hand registered the surprise he felt in the fervor of its 
clutch : 

"But you are so colt!" 

She insinuated, "You couldn t expect me to make love to 
you the very first thing, could you?" 


"You mean you do like me?" 

Her hands wringing his told the lie her tongue refused. And 
he, encouraged and determined to prove his rating with her, 
flung his arm about her again and drew her, resisting only 
in her soul, close to him. 


BUT when his lips hunted hers she hid them in her fur collar; 
and he, imputing it to coquetry, humored her, finding her 
delicate timidity enhancing and inspiring. He chuckled : 

"You shall kiss me yet." 

"Not till you have told me what you sent for me for." 

"No, feerst you must give me one to proof your good fate 
your good face " He was trying to say "good faith." 

She was stubborn, but he was more obstinate still, and he 
had the advantage of the secret. 

And so at last she sighed "All right," and put up her cheek 
to pay the price. His arms tightened about her, and his lips 
were not content with her cheek. He fought to win her lips, 
but she began to tear off her gloves to scratch his eyes out 
if need be for release. 

She was revolted, and she would have marred his beauty if 
he had not let her go. Once freed, she regained her self- 
control, for the sake of her mission, and said, with a mock 
seriousness : 

"Now, be careful, or I won t listen to you at all." 

Sighing with disappointment, but more determined than 
ever to make her his, he said : 

"Feerst I must esk you, how is your feelink about Cher- 

"Just as before." 

"Chust as vich before ? Do you loaf Chermany or 

She was permitted to say only one thing. It came hard: 

"I love her, of course." 

"Ach, behut dich, Gott!" he cried, and would have clasped 
her again, but she insisted on discipline. He began his 

"I did told you how, to safe my life in England, I confessed 
somethings. Many of our people here will not forgive. My 


only vay to get back vere I have been is to make as Americans 
say to make myself skvare by to do some big vork. I have 
done a little, not much, but more can be if you help." 

"What could I do?" 

"Much things, but the greatest listen once : our Chermany 
has no fear of America so long America is on this side of 
the Atlentic Ozean. Americans build ships; Chermany must 
destroy fester as they build. Already I have made one ship 
less for America. I cannot pooblish advertising but my 
people shall one day know, and that day comes soon; Der 
Tag is almost here you shall see! Our army grows alvays, 
in France; and England and France can get no more men. 
Ven all is ready, Chermany moves like a a avalenche down 
a mountain and covers France to the sea. 

"On that day our fleet our glorious ships comes out 
from Kiel Canal, vere man holds them beck like big dogs in 
leash. On those beautiful day, Chermany conquers on lent 
and on sea. France dies, and England s navy goes down into 
the deep and comes never back. 

"Ach Gott, such a day it shall be when old England s em 
pire goes into history, into ancient history vit Roossia and 
Rome and Greece and Bebylonia. 

"England gone, France gone, Italy gone who shall safe 
America and her armies and her unborn ships, and her cannon 
and shell and air-ships not yet so much as begun? 

"Der Tag shall be like the lest day ven Gott makes the 
graves open and the dead come beck to life. The Americans 
shall fall on knees before our Kaiser, and he shall render 
chudgment. Such a payink! 

"Now the Yenkees despise us Chermans. Ve cannot go to 
this city, to that dock. Everywhere is dead-lines and per 
missions and internment camps and persecutions, and all 
who are not in prison are afraid. They change their names 
from Cherman to English now, but soon they shall lift their 
heads and it shall be the Americans who shall know the dead 
lines, the licenses, the internment camps. 

"So, Marie Louise, my sveetheart, if you can show and I 
can show that in the dark night ve did not forget the Vaterland, 
ve shall be proud and safe. 

"It is to make you safe ven comes Der Tag I speak to 
you now. I vish you should share my vork now, so you 


can share my life efterwards. Now do I loaf you, Marie 
Louise? Now do I give you proof?" 

Mamise was all ashudder with the intensity of his con 
viction. She imagined an all-conquering Germany in Amer 
ica. She needed but to multiply the story of Belgium, of 
Serbia, of prostrate Russia. The Kaiser had put in the shop- 
window of the world samples enough of the future as it would 
be made by Germany. 

And in the mood of that day, with defeatism rife in Europe, 
and pessimism miasmatic in America, there was reason 
enough for Nicky to believe in his prophecy and to inspire 
belief in its possibility. The only impossible thing about it 
was that the world should ever endure the dominance of 
Germany. Death would seem better to almost everybody 
than life in such a civilization as she promised. 

Mamise feared the Teutonic might, but she could not for a 
moment consent to accept it. There was only one thing for 
her to do, and that was to lea rn what plans she could, and 
thwart them. Here within her grasp was the long-sought 
opportunity to pay off the debt she had incurred. She could 
be a soldier now, at last. There was no price that Nicky might 
have demanded too great, too costly, too shameful for her to 
pay. To denounce him or defy him would be a criminal waste 
of opportunity. 

She said: "I understand. You are right, of course. Let 
me help in any way I can. I only wish there were something 
big for me to do." 

Nicky was overjoyed. He had triumphed both as patriot 
and as lover. 

"There is a big think for you to do," he said. "You can 
all you vill." 

"Tell me," she pleaded. 

"You are in shipyard. This man Davidge goes on building 
ships. I gave him fair warning. I sinked one ship for him, 
but he makes more." 

"You sank his ship?" Mamise gasped. 

"Sure! The Clara, he called her. I find where she goes to 
take cargo. I go myself. I row up behind the ship in little 
boat, and I fasten by the rudder-post under the water, where no 
one sees, a bomb. It is all innocent till ship moves. Then every 
time the rudder turns a little screw turns in the machine. 


"It turns for two, three days; then boom! It makes ex 
plosion, tears ship to pieces, and down she goes. And so 
goes all the next ships if you help again." 

"Again? What do you mean by again?" 

"It is you, Marie Louise, who sinks the Clara." 

Her laugh of incredulity was hardly more than a shiver 
of dread. 

"/a wohl! You did told Chake Nuttle vat Davidge tells 
you. Chake Nuttle tells me. I go and make sink the ship!" 

"Jake Nuddle! It was Jake that told you!" Mamise fal 
tered, seeing her first vague suspicions damnably confirmed. 

"Sure! Chake Nuttle is my Leutnant. He has had much 
money, He gets more. He shall be rich man after comes 
Der Tag. It might be we make him von Nuttle ! and you shall 
be Grafin von Oesten." 

Mamise was in an abject terror. The thick trees of the 
park were spooky as the dim light of the car elicited from 
the black wall of dark faint details of tree-trunks and naked 
boughs stark with winter. She was in a hurry to learn the 
rest and be gone. She spoke with a poor imitation of pride: 

"So I have already done something more for Germany. 
That s splendid. Now tell me what else I can do, for I want 
to to get busy right away." 

Nicky was too intoxicated with his success to see through 
her thin disguise. 

"You are clos e by Davidge. Chake Nuttle tells me he is 
sveet on you. You have his confidence. You can learn 
what secrets he has. Next time we do not vait for ship to 
be launched and to go for cargo. It might go some place 
ve could not find. 

"So now ve going blow up those ships before they touch 
vater ve blow up his whole yard. You shall go beck and 
take up again your vork, and ven all is right I come down 
and get a job. I dress like vorkman and get into the yard. 
And I bring in enough bombs to blow up all the ships and 
the cranes and the machines. 

"Chake Nuttle tells me Davidge just gets a plate-bending 
machine. Forty-five t ousand dollars it costs him, and long 
time to get. In one minute poof! Ve bend that plate- 

He laughed a great Teutonic laugh and supposed that 


she was laughing, too. When he had subsided a little, 
he said: 

"So now you know vat you are to make! You like to 
do so much for Chermany, yes?" 

"Oh yes! Yes!" said Mamise. 

"You promise to do vat I send you vord?" 

"Yes." She would have promised to blow up the Capitol. 

"Ach, how beautiful you are even in the dark! Kiss me!" 

Remembering Judith, she paid that odious price, wishing 
that she might have the beast s infamous head with a sword. 
It was a kiss of betrayal, but she felt that it was no Judas- 
kiss, since Nicky was no Christ. 

He told her more of his plans in detail, and was so childishly 
proud of his superb achievements, past and future, that she 
could hardly persuade him to take her back to the station. 
He assured her that there was abundant time, but she would 
not trust his watch. She explained how necessary it was for 
her to return to Washington and to Polly Widdicombe s house 
before midnight. And at last he yielded to her entreaties, 
opened the door, and leaned out to tell the driver to turn back. 

Mamise was uneasy till they were out of the park and into 
the lighted streets again. But there was no safety here, for 
as they glided down Charles Street a taxicab going with the 
reckless velocity of taxicabs tried to cut across their path. 

There was a swift fencing for the right of way, and then the 
two cars came together with a clash and much crumpling of 

The drivers descended to wrangle over the blame, and 
Mamise had visions of a trip to the police station, with a con 
sequent exposure. But Nicky was alive to the danger of 
notoriety. He got out and assumed the blame, taking the 
other driver s part and offering to pay the damages. 

The taxicab-driver assessed them liberally at fifty dollars, 
and Nicky filled his palm with bills, ordering his own driver 
to proceed. The car limped along with a twisted steering-gear, 
and Nicky growled thanksgivings over the narrow escape the 
German Empire had had from losing two of its most valuable 

Mamise was sick with terror of what might have been. 
She saw the collision with a fatal result, herself and Nicky 
killed and flung to the street, dead together. It was not the 


fear of dying that froze her soul ; it was the posthumous blow 
she would have given to Davidge s trust in her and all women, 
the pain she would have inflicted on his love. For to his 
dying day he would have believed her false to him, a cheap 
and nasty trickster, sneaking off to another town to a ren 
dezvous with another man. And that man a German! 

The picture of his bitter disillusionment and of her own 
unmerited and eternal disgrace was intolerably real in spite 
of the fact that she knew it to be untrue, for our imaginations 
are far more ancient and more irresistible than our late and 
faltering reliance on the truth ; the heavens and hells we fancy 
have more weight with our credulities than any facts we en 
counter. We can dodge the facts or close our eyes to them, 
but we cannot escape our dreams, whether our eyes are wide 
or sealed. 

Mamise could not free herself of this nightmare till she had 
bidden Nicky good-by the last time and left him in the cab 
outside the station. 

Further nightmares awaited her, for in the waiting-room she 
could not fight off the conviction that the train would never 
arrive. When it came clanging in on grinding wheels and she 
clambered aboard, she knew that it would be wrecked, and 
the finding of her body in the debris, or its disappearance in 
the flames, would break poor Davidge s heart and leave her to 
the same ignominy in his memory. 

While the train swung on toward Washington, she added an 
other torment to her collection : how could she save Davidge 
from Nicky without betraying her sister s husband into the 
hands of justice? What right had she to tell Davidge any 
thing when her sacred duty to her family and her poor sister 
must first be heartlessly violated? 



recognized the lily-like beauty of Miss Webling 
in the smutty-faced passer-boy crouching at Button s 


MAMISE was astounded by the altered aspect of her own 
soul, for people can on occasion accomplish what the 
familiar Irish drillmaster invited his raw recruits to do 
"Step out and take a look at yourselves." 

Also, like the old lady of the nursery rhymes whose skirts 
were cut off while she slept, Mamise regarded herself with 
incredulity and exclaimed: 

"Can this be I?" 

If she had had a little dog at home, it would have barked 
at her in unrecognition and convinced her that she was not 

What astounded her was the realization that the problem 
of disregarding either her love or her duty was no longer a 
difficult problem. In London, when she had dimly suspected 
her benefactors, the Weblings, of betraying the trust that Eng 
land put in them, she had abhorred the thought of mention 
ing her surmise to any one who might harm them. Later, 
at the shipyard, when she had suspected her sister s husband 
of disloyalty, she had put away the thought of action because 
it would involve her sister s ruin. But now, as she left Balti 
more, convinced that her sister s husband was in a plot 
against her lover and her country, she felt hardly so much as 
a brake on her eagerness for the sacrifice of her family or her 
self. The horror had come to be a solemn duty so important 
as to be almost pleasant. She was glad to have something 
at last to give up for her nation. 

The thorough change in her desires was due to a complete 
change in her soul. She had gradually come to love the man 
whose prosperity was threatened by her sister s husband, and 
her vague patriotism had been stirred from dreams to delirium. 
Almost the whole world was undergoing such a war change. 
The altar of freedom so shining white had recently become 
an altar of sacrifice splashed with the blood of its votaries. 


Men were offering themselves, casting from them all the old 
privileges of freedom, the hopes of success in love and busi 
ness, and submitting to discipline, to tyranny, to vile hard 
ships. Wives and mothers were hurrying their men to the 
slaughter; those who had no men to give or men too weak 
for the trenches or unwilling to go were ashamed of themselves 
because they were missing from the beadroll of contributors. 

Mamise had become fanatic with the rest. She had wished 
to build ships, and had been refused more than a stenographer s 
share in the process. Next she had planned to go to the firing- 
line herself and offer what gift she had the poor little gift of 
entertaining the soldiers with the vaudeville stunts she had 
lived down. And while she waited for a passport to join the 
army of women in France, she found at hand an opportunity 
to do a big deed, to thwart the enemy, to save ships and all 
the lives that ships alone could save. The price would be the 
liberty and what little good name her sister s husband had; 
it would mean protests and tears from her poor sister, whom 
life had dealt with harshly enough already. 

But Mamise counted the cost as nothing compared to what 
it would buy. She dared not laugh aloud in the crowded 
chair-car, but her inner being was shaken with joy. She had 
learned to love Davidge and to adore that strange, shapeless 
idea that she called her country. Instead of sacrificing her 
lover to her people, she could serve both by the same deed. 
She was wildly impatient for the moment when she could 
lay before Davidge the splendid information she had secured 
at the expense of a few negligible lies. If they should cost 
her a decade in purgatorial torments, she would feel that they 
were worth it. 

She reached Washington at a little after eleven and Grin- 
den Hall before midnight. Now as she stood on the portico 
and looked across the river at the night-lit city, she felt such 
a pride as she had never known. 

She waved a salutation to the wraith of a town, her mind, 
if not her lips, voicing the words: 

"You owe me something, old capital. You ll never put up 
any statues to me or carve my name on any tablets, but I m 
doing something for you that will mean more than anybody 
will ever realize." 

She turned and found the black maid gaping at her sleepily 


and wondering what invisible lover she was waving at. 
Mamise made no explanation, but went in, feeling a trifle 
foolish, but divinely so. 

Polly got out of bed and came all bundled up to Mamise s 
room to demand an accounting. 

"I was just on the point of telephoning the police to see if 
you had been found in the river." 

Mamise did not bother either to explain her past lies or tell 
any new ones. She majestically answered: 

"Polly darling, I have been engaged in affairs of state, which 
I am not at liberty to divulge to the common public." 

Rot!" said Polly. "I believe the affairs, but not the 
state. " 

Mamise was above insult. "Some day you will know. 
You ve heard of Helen of Troy,_ the lady with the face that 
launched a thousand ships? Well, this face of mine will 
launch at least half a dozen freight-boats." 

Polly yawned. "I ll call my doctor in the morning and 
have you taken away quietly. Your mind s wandering, as 
well as the rest of you." 

Mamise chuckled like a child with a great secret, and Polly 
waddled back to her bed. 

Next morning Mamise woke into a world warm with her 
own importance, though the thermometer was farther down 
than Washington s oldest records. She called Davidge on the 
long-distance telephone, and there was a zero in his voice that 
she had never heard before. 

"This is Mamise," she sang. 

"Yes?" Simply that and nothing more. 

She laughed aloud, glad that he cared enough for her to be 
so angry at her. She forgot the decencies of telephone eti 
quette enough to sing out : 

"Do you really love me so madly?" 

He loathed sentimentalities over the telephone, and she 
knew it, and was always indulging in them. But the fat was 
on the wire now, and he came back at her with a still icier 

"There s only one good excuse for what you ve done. Are 
you telephoning from a hospital?" 

"No, from Polly s." 

"Then I can t imagine any excuse." 


"But you re a business man, not an imaginator," she railed. 
"You evidently don t know me. I m Belle Boyd, the Rebel 
Spy, and also Joan of Arkansas, and a few other patriots. 
I ve got news for you that will melt the icicles off your eye 

"News?" he answered, with no curiosity modifying his 

"War news. May I come down and tell you about it?" 

"This is a free country." 

"Fine! You re simply adorable when you try to sulk. 
What time would be most convenient?" 

"I make no more appointments with you, young woman." 

"All right. Then I ll wait at my shanty till you come." 

"I was going to rent it." 

"You just dare! I am coming back to work. The strike 
is over." 

"You d better come to the office as soon as you get here." 

"All right. Give my love to Miss Gabus." 

She left the telephone and set about packing her things in 
a fury. Polly reminded her that she had appointments for 
fittings at dressmakers . 

"I never keep appointments," said Mamise. "You can 
cancel them for me till this cruel war is over. Have the bills 
sent to me at the shipyard, will you, dear? Sorry to bother 
you, but I ve barely time to catch my train." 

Polly called her a once unmentionable name that was coming 
into fashionable use after a long exile. Women had draped 
themselves in a certain animal s pelt with such freedom and 
grace for so many years that its name had lost enough of its 
impropriety to be spoken, and not too much to express 

"You skunk!" said Polly. And Mamise laughed. Every 
thing made her laugh now; she was so happy that she began 
to cry. 

Why the crocodiles ?" said Polly. Because you re leaving 

"No, I m crying because I didn t realize how unhappy I had 
always been before I am as happy as I am now. I m going 
to be useful at last, Polly. I m going to do something for 
my country." 

She was sharing in that vast national ecstasy which is called 


patriotism and which turns the flames of martyrdom into 

When Mamise reached the end of her journey she found 
Davidge waiting for her at the railroad station with a 

His manner was studiously insulting, but he was helplessly 
glad to see her, and the humiliation he had suffered from her 
failure to keep her engagements with him in Washington was 
canceled by the tribute of her return to him. The knot of his 
frown was solved by the mischief of her smile. He had to say : 

"Why didn t you meet me at luncheon?" 

"How could I prevent the Potomac from putting the old 
bridge out of commission?" she demanded. "I got there in 
time, but they wouldn t let me across, and by the time I 
reached the hotel you had gone, and I didn t know where to 
find you. Heaven knows I tried." 

The simplicity of this explanation deprived him of every 
excuse for further wrath, and he was not inspired to ask any 
further questions. He was capable of nothing better than a 
large and stupid: 


"Wait till you hear what I ve got to tell you." 

But first he disclosed a little plot of his own with a com 
fortable guiltiness: 

"How would you like," he stammered, "since you say you 
have news how would you like instead of going to your 
shanty I ve had a fire built in it but how would you 
like to take a ride in the car out into the country, you know? 
Then you could tell me, and nobody would hear or interrupt." 

She was startled by the similarity of his arrangement to 
that of Nicky Easton, but she approached it with different 

She regretted the broad daylight and the disconcerting 
landscape. In the ride with Nicky she had been enveloped 
in the dark. Now the sky was lined with unbleached wool. 
The air was thick with snow withheld, and the snow on the 
ground took the color of the sky. But the light was searching, 
cynical, and the wayside scenes were revealed with the 
despondent starkness of a Russian novel. In this romance- 
less, colorless dreariness it was not easy for Mamise to gloss 
over the details of her meeting with Nicky Easton. 


There was no escaping this part of the explanation, however, 
and she could see how little comfort Davidge took from the 
news that she had gone so far to be alone with a former 
devotee. A man does not want his sweetheart to take risks 
for him beyond a certain point, and he would rather not be 
saved at all than be saved by her at too high a price. The 
modern man has a hard time living down the heritage from the 
ten-thousand-year habitude of treating his women like children 
who cannot be trusted to take care of themselves. 

Mamise had such poor success with the part of her chronicle 
she wished to publish that she boggled miserably the part she 
wanted to handle with most discretion. As is usual in such 
cases, the most conspicuous thing about her message was her 
inability to conceal the fact that she was concealing some 
thing. Davidge s imagination was consequently so busy that 
he paid hardly any attention to the tremendous facts she so 
awkwardly delivered. 

She might as well have told him flat that Nicky would not 
divulge his plot except with his arms about her and his lips 
at her cheeks. That would not have been easy telling, but 
it was all too easy imagining for Davidge. He was thrown 
into an utter wretchedness by the vision he had of her surrender 
to the opportunity and to the undoubted importunity of her 
companion. He had a morbid desire to make her confess, 
and confessors have a notorious appetite for details. 

"You weren t riding with Easton alone in the dark all that 
time without 

She waited for the question as for a bludgeon. Davidge had 
some trouble in wielding it. He hated the thought so much 
that the words were unspeakable, and he hunted for some para 
phrase. In the sparse thesaurus of his vocabulary he found 
nothing subtle. He groaned: 

"Without his his making love to you?" 

"I wish you wouldn t ask me," said Mamise. 

"I don t need to. You ve answered," Davidge snarled. 
"And so will he." 

Mamise s heart was suddenly a live coal, throbbing with 
fire and keenly painful yet very warm. She had a man who 
loved her well enough to hate for her and to avenge her. 
That was something gained. 

Davidge brooded. It was inconceivably hideous that he 


should have given his heart to this pretty thing at his side 
only to have her ensconce herself in the arms of another man 
and give him the liberty of her cheeks Heaven knew, hell 
knew, what other liberties. He vowed that he would never 
put his lips where another man s had been. 

Mamise seemed to feel soiled and fit only for the waste- 
basket of life. She had delivered her "message to Garcia," 
and Garcia rewarded her with disgust. She waited shame- 
fast for a moment before she could even falter: 

"Did you happen to hear the news I brought you? Or 
doesn t it interest you?" 

Davidge answered with repugnance: 


In her meekness she needed some insult to revive her, and 
this sufficed. She flared instantly: 

"I m sorry I told you. I hope that Nicky blows up your 
whole damned shipyard and you with it; and I d like to help 

Nothing less insane could have served the brilliant effect of 
that outburst. It cleared the sultry air like a crackling thun 
derbolt. A gentle rain followed down her cheeks, while the 
overcharged heart of Davidge roared with Jovian laughter. 

There is no cure for these desperate situations like such an 
explosion. It burns up at once the litter of circumstance and 
leaves hardly an ash. It fuses elements that otherwise resist 
welding, and it annihilates all minor fears in one great terror 
that ends in a joyous relief. 

Mamise was having a noble cry now, and Davidge was sob 
bing with laughter the two forms of recreation most congenial 
to their respective sexes. 

Davidge caught her hands and cooed with such noise that 
the driver outside must have heard the reverberations through 
the glass: 

"You blessed child! I m a low-lived brute, and you re an 

A man loves to call himself a brute, and a woman loves to 
be called an angel, especially when it is untrue in both cases. 

The sky of their being thus cleansed with rain and thunder, 
and all blue peace again, they were calm enough by and by to 
consider the main business of the session what was to be done 
to save the shipyard from destruction? 


Mamise had to repeat most of what she had told, point by 
point : 

Nicky was not going to wait till the ships were launched or 
even finished. He was impatient to strike a resounding blow 
at the American program. Nicky was going to let Mamise 
know just when the blow was to be struck, so that she might 
share in the glory of it when triumphant Germany rewarded 
her faithful servants in America. Jake Nuddle was to take 
part in the ship-slaughter for the double privilege of protesting 
against this capitalistic war and of crippling those cruel capi 
talists to whom he owed all his poverty to hear him tell it. 

When Mamise had finished this inventory of the situation 
Davidge pondered aloud : 

"Of course, we ought to turn the case over to the Depart 
ment of Justice and the Military and Naval Intelligence to 
handle, but" 

"But I d like to shelter my poor sister if I could," said 
Mamise. "Of course, I wouldn t let any tenderness for Jake 
Nuddle stand in the way of my patriotic duty, for Heaven 
knows he s as much of a traitor to my poor sister as he is to 
everything else that s decent, but I d like to keep him out 
of it somehow. Something might happen to make it possible, 
don t you suppose?" 

" I might cripple him and send him to a hospital to save his 
life," said Davidge. 

"Anything to keep him out of it," said Mamise. "If I 
should tell the authorities, though, they d put him in jail 
right away, wouldn t they?" 

"Probably. And they d run your friend Nicky down and 
intern him. Then I d lose my chance to lay hands on him 

"As he did on you," was what he started to say, but he 
stopped in time. 

This being Davidge s fierce desire, ne found plenty of justifi 
cation for it in other arguments. In the first place, there was 
no telling where Nicky might be. He had given Mamise no 
hint of his headquarters. She had neglected to ask where she 
could reach him, and had been instructed simply to wait till he 
gave her the signal. No doubt he could be picked up some 
where in the enormous, ubiquitous net with which America 
had been gradually covered by the secret services and by the 


far-flung line of the American Protective League made up of 
private citizens. But there would be a certain unsatis- 
factoriness about nipping his plot so far from even the bud. 
Prevention is wisdom, but it lacks fascination. 

And supposing that they found Nicky, what evidence had 
they against him, except Mamise s uncorroborated statement 
that he had discussed certain plots with her? Enemy aliens 
could be interned without trial, but that meant a halcyon 
existence for Nicky and every comfort except liberty. This 
was not to be considered. Davidge had a personal grudge, 
too, to satisfy. He owed Nicky punishment for sinking the 
ship named after Davidge s mother and for planning to sink 
the ship he was naming after the woman he hoped to make 
his wife. 

Davidge was eager to seize Nicky in the very act of planting 
his torpedo and hoist him with his own petard. So he coun 
seled a plan of waiting further developments. Mamise was the 
more willing, since it deferred the hateful moment when Jake 
Nuddle would be exposed. She had a hope that things might 
so happen as to leave him out of the denouement entirely. 

And now Davidge and Mamise were in perfect agreement, 
conspirators against a conspiracy. And there was the final 
note of the terrible in their compact : their failure meant the 
demolition of all those growing ships, the nullification of 
Davidge s entire contribution to the war; their success would 
mean perhaps the death of Easton and the blackening of the 
name of Mamise s sister and her sister s children. 

The solemnity of the outlook made impossible any talk of 
love. Davidge left Mamise at her cottage and rode back to 
his office, feeling like the commander of a stockade in the time 
of an Indian uprising. Mamise found that his foresight had 
had the house warmed for her; and there were flowers in a jar. 
She smiled at his tenderness even in his wrath. But the sight 
of the smoke rolling from the chimney had caught the eye 
of her sister, and she found Abbie waiting to welcome her. 

The two rushed to each other with the affection of blood- 
kin, but Mamise felt like a Judas when she kissed the sister 
she was planning to betray. Abbie began at once to recite 
a catalogue of troubles. They were sordid and petty, but 
Mamise shivered to think how real a tragedy impended. She 
wondered how right she was to devastate her sister s life for 


the sake of a cause which, after all, was only the imagined 
welfare of millions of total strangers. She could not see the 
nation for the people, but her sister was her sister, and piti 
fully human. That was the worst wrench of war, the in 
cessant compulsions to tear the heart away from its natural 


DAVIDGE thought it only fair to take the Department of 
Justice operative, Larrey, into his confidence. Larrey 
was perfectly willing to defer reporting to his office chief until 
the more dramatic conclusion; for he had an easily under 
standable ambition to share in the glory of it. It was agreed 
that a closer watch than ever should be kept on the shipyard 
and its approaches. Easton had promised to notify Mamise 
of his arrival, but he might grow suspicious of her and strike 
without warning. 

The period of waiting was as maddening as the suspense of 
the poor insomniac who implored the man next door to drop 
the other shoe." Mamise suffered doubly from her dual 
interest in Abbie and in Davidge. She dared not tell Abbie 
what was in the wind, though she tried to undermine grad 
ually the curious devotion Abbie bore to her worthless hus 
band. But Mamise s criticisms of Jake only spurred Abbie to 
new defenses of him and a more loyal affection. 

Day followed day, and Mamise found the routine of the 
office intolerably monotonous. Time gnawed at her resolu 
tion, and she began to hope to be away when Easton made 
his attempt. It occurred to her that it would be pleasant to 
have an ocean between her and the crisis. She said to 

"I wish Nicky would come soon, for I have applied for a 
passport to France. Major Widdicombe got me the forms to 
fill out, and he promised to expedite them. I ought to go 
the minute they come." 

This information threw Davidge into a complex dismay. 
Here was another of Mamise s long-kept secrets. The suc 
cess of her plan meant the loss of her, or her indefinite post 
ponement. It meant more yet. He groaned. 

"Good Lord! everybody in the United States is going to 
France except me. Even the women are all emigrating. I 


think I ll just turn the shipyard over to the other officers of 
the corporation and go with you. Let Easton blow it up 
then, if he wants to, so long as I get into the uniform and into 
the fighting." 

This new commotion was ended by a shocking and unfore 
seen occurrence. The State Department refused to grant 
Mamise a passport, and dazed Widdicombe by letting him 
know confidentially that Mamise was on the red list of sus 
pects because of her Germanized past. This was news to 
Widdicombe, and he went to Polly in a state of bewilderment. 

Polly had never told him what Mamise had told her, but 
she had to let out a few of the skeletons in Mamise s closet 
now. Widdicombe felt compromised in his own loyalty, but 
Polly browbeat him into submission. She wrote to Mamise 
and broke the news to her as gently as she could, but the 
rebuff was cruel. Mamise took her sorrow to Davidge. 

He was furious and proposed to "go to the mat" with the 
State Department. Mamise, however, shook her head; she 
saw that her only hope of rehabilitation lay in a positive proof 
of her fidelity. 

"I got my name stained in England because I didn t have 
the pluck to do something positive. I was irresolution per 
sonified, and I m paying for it. But for once in my life I 
learned a lesson, and when I learned what Nicky planned I 
ran right to you with it. Now if we catch Nicky red-handed, 
and I turn over my own brother-in-law to justice, that ought 
to redeem me, oughtn t it?" 

Davidge had a better idea for her protection. "Marry me, 
and then they can t say anything." 

"Then they ll suspect you," she said. "Too many good 
Americans have been dragged into hot water by pro-German 
wives, and I m not going to marry you till I can bring you 
some other dower than a spotted reputation." 

"I d take you and be glad to get you if you were as polka- 
dotted as a leopardess," said Davidge. 

"Just as much obliged; but no, thank you," said Mamise. 
"Furthermore, if we were married, the news would reach 
Nicky Easton through Jake Nuddle, and then Nicky would 
lose all trust in me, and come down on us without warning." 

"This makes about the fifteenth rejection I ve had," said 
Davidge. "And I d sworn never to ask you again." 


"I promised to ask you when the time was ripe," said 

"Don t forget. Barkis is always willin and waitin ." 

"While we re both waiting," Mamise went on, "there s 
one thing you ve got to do for me, or I ll never propose to 

"Granted, to the half my shipyard." 

"It s only a job in your shipyard. I can t stand this 
typewriter-tapping any longer. I m going mad. I want to 
swing a hammer or something. You told me that women 
could build a whole ship if they wanted to, and I want to 
build my part of one." 


"If you speak of my hands, I ll prove to you how strong 
they are. Besides, if I were out in the yard at work, I could 
keep a better watch for Nicky, and I could keep you better 
informed as to the troubles always brewing among the work 


"I m strong enough for it, too. I ve been taking a lot of 
exercise recently to get in trim. If you don t believe me, 
feel that muscle." 

She flexed her biceps, and he took hold of it timidly in its 
silken sleeve. It amazed him, for it was like marble. Still, 
he hated to lose her from the neighborliness of the office; 
he hated to send her out among the workmen with their rough 
language and their undoubted readiness to haze her and teach 
her her place. But she was stubborn, and he saw that her 
threat was in earnest when she said: 

"If you don t give me a job, I ll go to some other company." 

Then he yielded and wrote her a note to the superintendent 
of the yard, and said : 

"You can begin to-morrow." 

She smiled in her triumph and made the very womanly 
comment: "But I haven t a thing to wear. Do you know a 
good ladies tailor who can fit me out with overalls, some one 
who has been Breeches-maker to the Queen and can drape 
a baby-blue denim pant modishly?" 

The upshot of it was that she decided to make her own 
trousseau, and she went shopping for materials and patterns. 
She ended by visiting an emporium for "gents furnishings." 


The storekeeper asked her what size her husband wore, and 
she said: 

"Just about my own." 

He gave her the smallest suit in stock, and she held it up 
against her. It was much too brief, and she was heartened 
to know that there were workmen littler than she. 

She bought the garment that came nearest to her own 
dimensions, and hurried home with it joyously. It proved 
to be a perfect misfit, and she worked over it as if it were a 
coming-out gown; and indeed it was her costume for her 
debut into the world of manual labor. 

Abbie dropped in and surprised her in her attitudes and was 
handsomely scandalized : 

"When s the masquerade?" she asked. 

Mamise told her of her new career. 

Abbie was appalled. "It s against the Bible for a woman 
to wear a man s things!" she protested. Abbie could quote 
the Scripture for every discouraging purpose. 

"I d rather wear them than wash them," said Mamise; 
"and if you ll take my advice you ll get a suit of overalls 
yourself and earn an honest living and five times as much 
money as Jake would give you if he ever gave you any." 

But Abbie wailed that Mamise had gone indecent as well 
as crazy, and trembled at the thought of what the gossips 
along the row would do with the family reputation. The 
worst of it was that Mamise had money in the bank and did 
not have to work. 

That was the incomprehensible thing to Jake Nuddle. He 
accepted the familiar theory that all capital is stolen goods, 
and he reproached Mamise with the double theft of poor 
folks money and now of poor folks work. Mamise s con 
tention that there were not enough workmen for the country s 
needs fell on deaf ears, for Jake believed that work was a 
crime against the sacred cause of the laboring-man. His 
ideal of a laboring-man was one who seized the capital from 
the capitalists and then ceased to labor. 

But Jake s too familiar eyes showed that he regarded 
Mamise as a very interesting spectacle. The rest of the work 
men seemed to have the same opinion when she went to the 
yard in her overalls next morning. She was the first woman 
to take up man s work in the neighborhood, and she had to 


endure the most searching stares, grins, frowns, and com 
ments that were meant to be overheard. 

She struck all the men as immodest; some were offended 
and some were delighted. As usual, modesty was but another 
name for conformity. Mamise had to face the glares of the 
conventional wives and daughters in their bodices that fol 
lowed every contour, their light skirts that blew above the 
knees, and their provocative hats and ribbons. They made it 
plain to her that they were outraged by this shapeless passer 
by in the bifurcated potato-sack, with her hair tucked up 
under a vizored cap and her hands in coarse mittens. 

Mamise had studied the styles affected by the workmen 
as if they were fashion-plates from Paris, and she had equipped 
herself with a slouchy cap, heavy brogans, a thick sweater, 
a woolen shirt, and thick flannels underneath. 

She was as well concealed as she could manage, and yet 
her femininity seemed to be emphasized by her very disguise. 
The roundness of bosom and hip and the fineness of shoulder 
differed too much from the masculine outline to be hidden. 
And somehow there was more coquetry in her careful careless 
ness than in all the exaggerated womanishness of the shanty 
belles. She had been a source of constant wonder to the 
community from the first. But now she was regarded as a 
downright menace to the peace and the morals of society. 

Mamise reported to the superintendent and gave him 
Davidge s card. The old man respected Davidge s written 
orders and remembered the private instructions Davidge 
had given him to protect Mamise from annoyance at all 
costs. The superintendent treated her as if she were a child 
playing at salesmanship in a store. And this was the attitude 
of all the men except a few incorrigible gallants, who tried 
to start flirtations and make movie dates with her. 

Sutton, the master riveter, alone received her with just the 
right hospitality. He had no fear that she would steal his 
job or his glory or that any man would. He had talked with 
her often and let her practise at his riveting-gun. He had 
explained that her ambition to be a riveter was hopeless, 
since it would take at least three months apprenticeship 
before she could hope to begin on such a career. But her 
sincere longings to be a builder and not a loafer won his 


When she expressed a shy wish to belong to his riveting- 
gang he said: 

"Right you are, miss or should I say mister?" 

"I d be proud if you d call me bo," said Mamise. 

"Right you are, bo. We ll start you in as a passer-boy. 
I ll be glad to get rid of that sleep-walker. Hay, Snotty!" 
he called to a grimy lad with an old bucket. The youth 
rubbed the back of his greasy glove across the snub of nose 
that had won him his name, and, shifting his precocious quid, 
growled : 

"Ah, what!" 

"Ah, go git your time or change to another gang. Tell 
the supe. I m not fast enough for you. Go on beat it!" 

Mamise saw that she already had an enemy. She pro 
tested against displacing another toiler, but Sutton told her 
that there were jobs enough for the cub. 

He explained the nature of Mamise s duties, talking out 
of one side of his mouth and using the other for ejaculations 
of an apparently inexhaustible supply of tobacco-juice. 
Seeing that Mamise s startled eyes kept following these 
missiles, he laughed: 

"Do you use chewin ?" 

"I don t think so," said Mamise, not quite sure of his 

"Well, you ll have to keep a wad of gum goin , then, for 
you cert n y need a lot of spit in this business." 

Mamise found this true enough, and the next time Davidge 
saw her she kept her grinders milling and used the back of her 
glove with a professional air. For the present, however, she 
had no brain-cells to spare for mastication. Sutton intro 
duced her to his crew. 

"This gink here with the whiskers is Zupnik; he s the 
holder-on; he handles the dolly and hangs on to the rivets 
while I swat em. The pill ovr by the furnace is the heater; 
his name is Pafflow, and his job is warming up the rivets. 
Just before they begin to sizzle he yanks em out with the tongs 
and throws em to you. You ketch em in the bucket I 
hope, and take em out with your tongs and put em in the 
rivet-hole, and then Zupnik and me we do the rest. And what 
do we call you ? Miss Webling is no name for a workin -man." 

"My name is Marie Louise." 


"Moll is enough." 

And Moll she was thenceforth. 

The understanding of Mamise s task was easier than its 
performance. Pafflow sent the rivets to her fast and fleet, 
and they were red-hot. The first one passed her and struck 
Sutton. His language blistered. The second sizzled against 
her hip. The third landed in the pail with a pleasant clink, 
but she was so slow in getting her tongs about it, and fitting 
it into its place, that it was too cold for use. This threw her 
into a state of hopelessness. She was ready to resign. 

"I think I d better go back to crocheting," she sighed. 

Sutton gave her a playful shove that almost sent her off 
the platform: 

"Nah, you don t, Moll. You made me chase Snotty 
off the job, and you re goin t rough wit it. You ain t doin 
no worse n I done meself when I started rivetin . Cheese ! but 
I spoiled so much work I got me tail kicked offen me a dozen 

This was politer language than some that he used. His 
conversation was interspersed with words that no one prints. 
They scorched Mamise s ears like red-hot rivets at first, but 
she learned to accept them as mere emphasis. And, after all, 
blunt Anglo-Saxon never did any harm that Latin paraphrase 
could prevent. 

The main thing was Sutton s rough kindliness, his splendid 
efficiency, and his infinite capacity for taking pains with each 
rivet-head, hammering it home, then taking up his pneumatic 
chipping-tool to trim it neat. That is the genius and the glory 
of the artisan, to perfect each detail ad unguem, like a poet 
truing up a sonnet. 

Sutton was putting in thousands on thousands of rivets 
a month, and every one of them was as important to him as 
every other. He feared the thin knife-blade of the rivet- 
tester as the scrupulous writer dreads the learned critic s 

Mamise was dazed to learn that the ship named after her 
would need nearly half a million rivets, each one of them neces 
sary to the craft s success. The thought of the toil, the noise, 
the sweat, the money involved made the work a sort of temple- 
building, and the thought of Nicky Easton s ability to annul 
all that devout accomplishment in an instant nauseated her 


like a blasphemy. She felt herself a priestess in a holy office 
and renewed her flagging spirits with prayers for strength and 

But few of the laborers had Button s pride or Mamise s 
piety in the work. Just as she began to get the knack of 
catching and placing the rivets Pafflow began to register his 
protest against her sex. He took a low joy in pitching rivets 
wild, and grinned at her dancing lunges after them. 

Mamise would not tattle, but she began again to lose heart. 
Button s restless appetite for rivets noted the new delay, and 
he grasped the cause of it at once. His first comment was 
to walk over to the furnace and smash Pafflow in the nose. 

"You try any of that I. W. W. sabotodge here, you , and 

I ll stuff you in a rivet-hole and turn the gun loose on you." 

Pafflow yielded first to force and later to the irresistible 
power of Mamise s humility. Indeed, her ardor for service 
warmed his indifferent soul at last, and he joined with her to 
make a brilliant team, hurtling the rivets in red arcs from the 
coke to the pail with the precision of a professional baseball 

Mamise eventually acquired a womanly deftness in pluck 
ing up the rivet and setting it in place, and Davidge might 
have seen grounds for uneasiness in her eager submissiveness 
to Sutton as she knelt before him, watched his eye timidly, 
and glowed like coke under the least breath of his approval. 


SUTTON was a mighty man in his way, and earning a wage 
that would have been accounted princely a year before. All 
the workers were receiving immense increase of pay, but the 
champion riveters were lavishly rewarded. 

The whole shipyard industry was on a racing basis. Plans 
were being laid to celebrate the next Fourth of July with an 
unheard-of number of launchings. Every boat-building com 
pany was trying to put overboard an absolute maximum of 
hulls on that day. 

"Hurry-up" Hurley, who had driven the first rivets into 
a steel ship pneumatically, and Charles M. Schwab, of Bethle 
hem, were the inspiring leaders in the rush, and their ambition 
was to multiply the national output by ten. The spirit of 
emulation thrilled all the thrillable workmen, but the riveters 
were the spectacular favorites. Their names appeared in the 
papers as they topped each other s scores, and Sutton kept 
outdoing himself. For special occasions he groomed himself 
like a race-horse, resting the day before the great event and 
then giving himself up to a frenzy of speed. 

On one noble day of nine hours fury he broke the world s 
record temporarily. He drove four thousand eight hundred 
and seventy-five three-quarter-inch rivets into place. Then 
he was carried away to a twenty-four-hour rest, like an ex 
hausted prizefighter. 

That was one of the great days in Mamise s history, for 
she was permitted to assist in the achievement, and she was 
not entirely grateful to Davidge for suppressing the publica 
tion of her name alongside Sutton s. Her photograph ap 
peared with his in many of the supplements, but nobody 
recognized the lilylike beauty of Miss Webling in the smutty- 
faced passer-boy crouching at Sutton s elbow. The publica 
tion of her photograph as an English belle had made history 


for her, in that it brought Jake Nuddle into her life ; but this 
picture had no follow-up except in her own pride. 

This rapture, however, long postdated her first adventure 
into the shipyard. That grim period of eight hours was an 
alternation of shame, awkwardness, stupidity, failure, fatigue, 
and despair. 

She did not even wash up for lunch, but picked her fodder 
from her pail with her companions. She smoked a convivial 
cigarette with the gang and was proud as a boy among grown 
ups. She even wanted to be tough and was tempted to use 
ugly words in a swaggering pride. 

But after her lunch it was almost impossible for her to get 
up and go back to her task, and she would have fainted from 
sheer weariness except that she had forsworn such luxuries 
as swoons. 

The final whistle found her one entire neuralgia. The un 
ending use of the same muscles, the repetition of the same 
rhythmic series, the cranium-shattering clatter of all the 
riveting-guns, the anxiety to be sure of each successive rivet, 
quite burned her out. And she learned that the reward for 
this ordeal was, according to the minimum wage-scale adopted 
by the Emergency Fleet Corporation, thirty cents an hour 
for eight hours, with a ten-per-cent. increase for a six-day 
week. This would amount to all of two dollars and sixty- 
four cents for the day, and fifteen dollars for the week ! 

It was munificent for a passer-boy, but it was ruinous for a 
young woman of independent fortune and an ambition to 
look her best. She gasped with horror when she realized the 
petty reward for such prolonged torment. She was too weary 
to contrast the wage with the prices of food, fuel, and clothing. 
While wages climbed expenses soared. 

She understood as never before, and never after, why labor 
is discontent and why it is so easily stirred to rebellion, 
why it feels itself the exploited slave of imaginary tyrants. 
She went to bed at eight and slept in the deeps of sweat- 
earned repose. 

The next morning, getting up was like scourging a crowd 
of fagged-out children to school. All her limbs and sundry 
muscles whose existence she had never realized before were 
like separate children, each aching and wailing: "I can t! 
I won t!" 


But the lameness vanished when she was at work again, 
and her sinews began to learn their various trades and to 
manage them automatically. She grew strong and lusty, 
and her task grew easy. She began to understand that while 
the employee has troubles enough and to spare, he has none 
of the torments of leadership; he is not responsible for the 
securing of contracts and materials, for borrowings of capital 
from the banks, or for the weekly nightmare of meeting the 
pay-roll. There are two hells in the cosmos of manufacture: 
the dark pit where the laborer fights the tiny worms of expense 
and the dizzy crags where the employer battles with the 
dragons of aggregates. 

Mamise saw that most of the employees were employees 
because they lacked the self-starter of ambition. They were 
lazy-minded, and even their toiling bodies were lazy. For all 
their appearance of effort they did not ordinarily attain an 
efficiency of thirty per cent, of their capabilities. The turn 
over in employment was three times what it should have been. 
Three hundred men were hired for every hundred steadily at 
work, and the men at work did only a third of the work they 
could have done. The total wastefulness of man rivaled the 
ghastly wastefulness of nature with spawn and energy. 

The poor toilers were more reckless, more shiftless, rela 
tively more dissipated, than the idle rich, for the rich ordina 
rily squandered only the interest on their holdings, while the 
laborer wasted his capital in neglecting to make full use of 
his muscle. The risks they took with life and limb were 

On Saturdays great numbers quit work and waited for their 
pay. On Mondays the force was greatly reduced by absentees 
nursing the hang-over from the Sunday drunk, and of those 
that came to work so many were unfit that the Monday 
accident increase was proverbial. 

The excuse of slavery or serfdom was no longer legitimate, 
though it was loudly proclaimed by the agitators, the trade- 
union editors, and the parlor reformers. For, say what they 
would, labor could resign or strike at will ; the laborer had his 
vote and his equality of opportunity. He was free even 
from the ordinary obligations, for nobody expected the 
workman to make or keep a contract for his services after it 
became inconvenient to him. 


There were bad sports among them, as among the rich and 
the classes between. There were unions and individuals 
that were tyrants in power and cry-babies in trouble. There 
was much cruelty, trickery, and despotism inside the unions 
ferocious jealousy of union against union, and mutual de- 

This was, of course, inevitable, and it only proved that 
lying, cheating, and bullying were as natural to the so-called 
"laborer" as to the so-called "capitalist." The folly is in 
making the familiar distinction between them. Mamise saw 
that the majority of manual laborers did not do a third of the 
work they might have done and she knew that many of the 
capitalists did three times as much as they had to. 

It is the individual that tells the story, and Mamise, who 
had known hard-working, firm-muscled men, and devoted 
mothers and pure daughters among the rich, found them also 
among the poor, but intermingled here, as above, with sots, 
degenerates, child-beaters, and wantons. 

Mamise learned to admire and to be fond of many of the 
men and their families. But she had adventures with black 
guards, rakes, and brutes. She was lovingly entreated by 
many a dear woman, but she was snubbed and slandered by 
others who were as extravagant, indolent, and immoral as 
the wives and daughters of the rich. 

But all in all, the ship-builders loafed horribly in spite of 
the poetic inspiration of their calling and the prestige of 
public laudation; in spite of the appeals for hulls to carry 
food to the starving and troops to the anxious battle-front of 
Europe. In spite also of the highest wages ever paid to a 
craft, they kept their efficiency at a lower point than lower 
paid workmen averaged in the listless pre-war days. Yet there 
was no lack of outcry that the workman was throttled and 
enslaved by the greed of capital. There was no lack of outcry 
that profiteers were bleeding the nation to death and making 
martyrs of the poor. 

Most of the capitalists had been workmen themselves and 
had risen from the lethargic mass by the simple expedient of 
using their brains for schemes and making their muscles 
produce more than the average output. The laborers who 
failed failed because when they got their eight-hour day 
they did not turn their leisure to production. And some of 


them dared to claim that the manual toilers alone produced the 
wealth and should alone be permitted to enjoy it, as if it were 
possible or desirable to choke off initiative and adventure or 
to devise a society in which the man whose ambition is to 
avoid work will set the pace for the man who loves it for 
itself and whose discontent goads him on to self -improvement ! 
As if it were possible or desirable for the man who works half 
heartedly eight hours a day to keep down the man who works 
whole-souledly eighteen hours a day ! For time is power. 

Even the benefits the modern laborer enjoys are largely 
the result of intervention in his behalf by successful men of 
enterprise who thrust upon the toiler the comforts, the safe 
guards, and the very privileges he will not or cannot seek for 

During the war the employers of labor, the generals of these 
tremendous armies, were everlastingly alert to find some 
means to stimulate them to do themselves justice. The best 
artists of the country devised eloquent posters, and these were 
stuck up everywhere, reminding the laborer that he was the 
partner of the soldier. Orators visited the yards and ha 
rangued the men. After each appeal there was a brief spurt 
of enthusiasm that showed what miracles could be accom 
plished if they had not lapsed almost at once into the usual 
sullen drudgery. 

There were appeals to thrift also. The government needed 
billions of dollars, needed them so badly that the pennies of 
the poorest man must be sought for. Few of the workmen 
had the faintest idea of saving. The wives of some of them 
were humbly provident, but many of them were debt-runners 
in the shops and wasters in the kitchens. 

A gigantic effort was put forth to teach the American people 
thrift. The idea of making small investments in government 
securities was something new. Bonds were supposed to be 
for bankers and plutocrats. Vast campaigns of education 
were undertaken, and the rich implored the poor to lay aside 
something for a rainy day. The rich invented schemes to 
wheedle the poor to their own salvation. So huge had been 
the wastefulness before that the new fashion produced billions 
upon billions of investments in Liberty Bonds, and hundreds 
of millions in War Savings Stamps. 

Bands of missionaries went everywhere, to the theaters, 


the moving-picture houses, the schools, the shops, the factories, 
preaching the new gospel of good business and putting it 
across in the name of patriotism. 

One of these troupes of crusaders marched upon Davidge s 
shipyard. And with it came Nicky Easton at last. 

Easton had deferred his advent so long that Mamise and 
Davidge had come almost to yearn for him with heartsick 
eagerness. The first inkling of the prodigal s approach was a 
visit that Jake Nuddle paid to Mamise late one evening. She 
had never broached to him the matter of her talk with Easton, 
waiting always for him to speak of it to her. She was amazed 
to see him now, and he brought amazement with him. 

"I just got a call on long distance," he said, "and a certain 
party tells me you was one of us all this time. Why didn t 
you put a feller wise?" 

Mamise was inspired to answer his reproach with a better: 
"Because I don t trust you, Jake. You talk too much." 

This robbed Jake of his bluster and convinced him that 
the elusive Mamise was some tremendous super-spy. He 
became servile at once, and took pride in being the lackey 
of her unexplained and unexplaining majesty. Mamise liked 
him even less in this rdle than the other. 

She took his information with a languid indifference, as if 
the terrifying news were simply a tiresome confirmation of what 
she had long expected. Jake was tremulous with excitement 
and approval. 

"Well, well, who d a thought our little Mamise was one 
of them slouch-hounds you read about? I see now why 
you ve been stringin that Davidge boob along. You got 
him eatin out your hand. And I see now why you put them 
jumpers on and went out into the yards. You just got to 
know everything, ain t you?" 

Mamise nodded and smiled felinely, as she imagined a 
queen of mystery would do. But as soon as she could get rid 
of Jake she was like a child alone in a graveyard. 

Jake had told her that Nicky would be down in a few days, 
and not to be surprised when he appeared. She wanted to 
get the news to Davidge, but she dared not go to his rooms 
so late. And in the morning she was due at her job of passing 
rivets. She crept into bed to rest her dog-tired bones against 
the morrow s problems. Her dreams were all of death and 


destruction, and of steel ships crumpled like balls of paper 
thrown into a waste-basket. 

If she had but known it, Davidge was making the rounds 
of his sentry-line. The guard at one gate was sound asleep. 
He found two others playing cards, and a fourth man dead 

Inside the yards the great hulls rose up to the moon like 
the buttresses of a cliff. Only, they were delicately vulnerable, 
and Europe waited for them. 


T^RUE sleep came to Mamise so late that her alarm-clock 
1 could hardly awaken her. It took all her speed to get 
her to her post. She dared not keep Sutton waiting, and fear 
of the time-clock had become a habit with her. As she caught 
the gleaming rivets and thrust them into their sconces, she 
wondered if all this toil were merely a waste of effort to give 
the sarcastic gods another laugh at human folly. 

She wanted to find Pavidge and took at last the desperate 
expedient of pretended sickness. The passer-boy Snotty was 
found to replace her, and she hurried to Davidge s office. 

Miss Gabus stared at her and laughed. "Tired of your 
rivetin a ready? Come to get your old job back?" 

Mamise shook her head and asked for Davidge. He was 
outr no, not out of town, but out in the yard or the shop or 
up in the mold-loft or somewheres, she reckoned. 

Mamise set out to find him, and on the theory that among 
places to look for anything or anybody the last should be first 
she climbed the long, long stairs to the mold-loft. 

He was not among the acolytes kneeling at the templates; 
nor was he in the cathedral of the shop. She sought him 
among the ships, and came upon him at last talking to Jake 
Nuddle, of all people! 

Nuddle saw Mamise first and winked, implying that he also 
was making a fool of Davidge. Davidge looked sheepish, 
as he always did when he was caught in a benevolent act. 

"I was just talking to your brother-in-law, Miss Webling," 
he said, "trying to drive a few rivets into that loose skull. 
I don t want to fire him, on your account, but I don t see why 
I should pay an I. W. W. or a Bolshevist to poison my 

Davidge had been alarmed by the ^difference of his sen 
tinels. He thought it imbecile to employ men like Nuddle to 


corrupt the men within, while the guards admitted any 
wanderer from without. He was making a last attempt to 
convert Nuddle to industry for Mamise s sake, trying to 
pluck this dingy brand from the burning. 

I was just showing Nuddle a little bookkeeping in patriot 
ism," he said. The Liberty Loan people are coming here, 
and I want the yard to do itself proud. Some of the men 
and women are going without necessities to help the govern 
ment, while Nuddle and some others are working for the 
Kaiser. This is the record of Nuddle and his crew: 

" Wages, six to ten dollars a day guaranteed by the govern 
ment. Investment in Liberty Bonds, nothing; purchases of 
War Savings Stamps, nothing; contributions to Red Cross, 
Y. M. C. A., K. of C., J. W. B., Salvation Army, nothing; 
contributions to relief funds of the Allies, nothing. Time 
spent at drill, none; time spent in helping recruiting, none. 
A clean sheet, and a sheet full of time spent in interfering with 
other men s work, sneering at patriotism, saying the Kaiser is 
no worse than the Allies, pretending that this is a war to please 
the capitalists, and that a soldier is a fool. 

"In other words, Nuddle, you are doing the Germans busi 
ness, and I don t intend to pay you American money any 
longer unless you do more work with your hands and less 
with your jaw." 

Nuddle was stupid enough to swagger. 

"Just as you say, Davidge. You ll change your tune 
before long, because us workin -men, bein the perdoocers, are 
goin to take over all these plants and run em to soot our 

"Fine!" said Davidge. "And will you take over my loans 
at the banks to meet the pay-rolls?" 

"We ll take over the banks!" said Jake, majestically. 
"We ll take over everything and let the workin -men git their 
doos at last." 

"What becomes of us wicked plutocrats?" 

"We ll have you workin for us." 

"Then we ll be the workin -men, and it will be our turn 
to take over things and set you plutocrats to workin for us, 
I suppose. And we ll be just where we are now." 

This was growing too seesawy for Nuddle, and he turned 


"Some of you won t be in no shape to take over 
nothin ." 

Davidge laughed. "It s as bad as that, eh? Well, while 
I can, I ll just take over your button." 

"You mean I m fired?" 

"Exactly," said Davidge, holding out his hand for the 
badge that served as a pass to the yards and the pay-roll. 
"Come with me, and you ll get what money s coming to you." 

This struck through Nuddle s thick wits. He cast a glance 
of dismay at Mamise. If he were discharged, he could not 
help Easton with the grand blow-up. He whined: 

"Ain t you no regard for a family man? I got a wife and 
kids dependent on me." 

"Well, do what Karl Marx did let them starve or live on 
their own money while you prove that capital is as he said, a 
vampire of dead labor sucking the life out of living labor. 
Or feed them on the wind you try to sell me." 

"Aw, have a heart! I talk too much, but I m all right," 
Jake pleaded. 

Davidge relented a little. "If you ll promise to give your 
mouth a holiday and your hands a little work I ll keep you 
to the end of the month. And then, on your way!" 

"All right, boss; much obliged," said Jake, so relieved at 
his respite that he bustled away as if victorious, winking 
shrewdly at Mamise who winked back, with some difficulty. 

She waited till he was a short distance off, then she mur 
mured, quickly: 

"Don t jump but Nicky Easton is coming here in the 
next few days; I don t know just when. He told Jake; 
Jake told me. What shall we do?" 

Davidge took the blow with a smile: 

"Our little guest is coming at last, eh? He promised to 
see you first. I ll have Larrey keep close to you, and the 
first move he makes we ll jump him. In the mean while 
I ll put some new guards on the job and well, that s about 
all we can do but wait." 

"I mustn t be seen speaking to you too friendly. Jake 
thinks I m fooling you." 

"God help me, if you are, for I love you. And I want 
you to be careful. Don t run any risks. I d rather have the 
whole shipyard smashed than your little finger." 


"Thanks, but if I could swap my life for one ship it would 
be the best bargain I ever bought. Good-by." 

As she ran back to her post Davidge smiled at the woman- 
ishness of her gait, and thought of Joan of Arc, never so 
lovably feminine as in her armor. 


DAYS of harrowing restiveness followed, Mamise starting 
at every word spoken to her, leaping to her feet at every 
step that passed her cottage, springing from her sleep with a 
cry, "Who s there!" at every breeze that fumbled a shutter. 

But nothing happened ; nobody came for her. 

The afternoon of the Liberty Loan drive was declared a 
half-holiday. The guards were doubled at the gates, and 
watchmen moved among the crowds; but strangers were ad 
mitted if they looked plausible, and several motor-loads of 
them rolled in. Some of them carried bundles of circulars 
and posters and application blanks. Some of them were of 
foreign aspect, since a large number of the workmen had to 
be addressed in other languages than English. 

Mamise drifted from one audience to another. She en 
countered her team-mate Pafflow and tried to find a speaker 
who was using his language. 

At length a voice of an intonation familiar to him threw 
him into an ecstasy. What was jargon to Mamise was native 
music to him, and she lingered at his elbow, pretending to 
share his thrill in order to increase it. 

She felt a twitch at her sleeve, and turned idly. 

Nicky Easton was at her side. Her mind, all her minds, 
began to convene in alarm like the crew of a ship attacked. 

"Nicky!" she gasped. 

"No names, pleass! But to follow me quick." 

"I m right with you." She turned to follow him. "One 
minute." She stepped back and spoke fiercely to Pafflow. 
"Pafflow, find Mr. Davidge. Tell him Nicky is here. Re 
member, Nicky is here. It s life and death. Find him." 

Pafflow mumbled, "Nicky is here!" and Mamise ran after 
Nicky, who was lugging a large suit-case. He was quivering 
with excitement. 


" I didn t knew you in pentaloons, but Chake Nuttle pointet 
you owit," he laughed. 

Wh- where is Jake ? 

"He goes ahead vit a boondle of bombs. Nobody is on the 
Schijj. Ve could not have so good a chence again." 

Mamise might have, ought to have, seized him and cried 
for help; but she could not somehow throw off the character 
she had assumed with Nicky. She obeyed him in a kind of 
automatism. Her eyes searched the crowd for Larrey, who 
had kept all too close to her of recent days and nights. But 
he had fallen under the hypnotism of some too eloquent spell 

Mamise felt the need of doing a great heroic feat, but she 
could not imagine what it might be. Pending the arrival 
from heaven of some superfeminine inspiration, she simply 
went along to be in at the death. 

Pafflow was a bit stupid and two bits stubborn. He puz 
zled over Mamise s peculiar orders. He wanted to hear the 
rest of that fiery speech. He turned and stared after Mamise 
and noted the way she went, with the foppish stranger carry 
ing the heavy baggage. But he was used to obeying orders 
after a little balking, and in time his slow brain started him 
on the hunt for Davidge. He quickened his pace, and asked 
questions, being put off or directed hither and yon. 

At last he saw the boss sitting on a platform behind whose 
fluttering bunting a white-haired man was hurling noises at 
the upturned faces of the throng. Pafflow supposed that his 
jargon was English. 

Getting to Davidge was not easy. But Pafflow was stub 
born. He pushed as close to the front as he could, and there 
a wall of bodies held him. 

The orator was checked in full career with almost fatal 
results by the sudden bellowing of a voice from the crowd 
below. He supposed that he was being heckled. He paused 
among the ruins of his favorite period, and said: 

"Well, my friend, what is it?" 

Pafflow ignored him and shouted: "Meesta Davutch! 
O-o-h, Meesta Davutch. Neecky is here." 

Davidge, hearing his name bruited, rose and called into the 
mob, "What s that?" 

"Neecky is here." 


When Davidge understood he was staggered. For a mo 
ment he stood in a stupor. Then he apologized to the speaker. 
"An emergency call. Please forgive me and go right on!" 

He bowed to the other distinguished guests and left the 
platform. Pafflow found him and explained. 

"Moll, the passer-boy, my gang, she say find you, life and 
death, and say Neecky is here ! I doan know what she means, 
but now I find you." 

"Which way where did you have you an idea where 
she went?" 

"She go over by new ship Mamise weeth gentleman all 
dressy up." 

Davidge ran toward the scaffolding surrounding the almost 
finished hull. He recognized one or two of his plain-clothes 
guards and stopped just long enough to tell them to get to 
gether and search every ship at once, and to make no excite 
ment about it. 

The scaffolding was like a jungle, and he prowled through 
it with caution and desperate speed, up and down the sway 
ing, cleated planks and in and out of the hull. 

He searched the hold first, expecting that Nicky would 
naturally plant his explosives there. That indeed was his 
scheme, but Mamise had found among her tumbled wits one 
little idea only, and that was to delay Nicky as long as 

She suggested to him that before he began to lay his train 
of wires he ought to get a general view of the string of ships. 
The best point was the top deck, where they were just about 
to hoist the enormous rudder to the stern-post. 

Nicky accepted the suggestion, and Mamise guided him 
through the labyrinth. They had met Jake at the base of 
the false-work, and he came along, leaving his bundle. Nicky 
carried his suit-case with him. He did not intend to be 
separated from it. Jake was always glad to be separated 
from work. 

They made the climb, and Nicky s artistic soul lingered to 
praise the beautiful day for the beautiful deed. In a frenzy 
of talk, Mamise explained to him what she could. She 
pointed to the great hatchway for the locomotives and told 

"The ship would have been in the water now if it weren t 


for that big hatch. It set us the company back ninety 

"And now the ship goes to be in the sky in about nine 
minutes. Come along once." 

"Look down here, how deep it is!" said Mamise, and led 
him to the edge. She was ready to thrust him into the 
pit, but he kept a firm grip on a rope, and she sighed with 

But Davidge, looking up from the depth of the well, saw 
Nicky and Mamise peering over the edge. His face vanished. 

"Who iss?" said Nicky. "Somebody is below dere. Who 

Mamise said she did not know, and Jake had not seen. 

Nicky was in a flurry. The fire in Davidge s eyes told him 
that Davidge was looking for him. There was a dull sound 
in the hitherto silent ship of some one running. 

Nicky grew hysterical with wrath. To be caught at the 
very outset of his elaborate campaign was maddening. He 
opened his suit-case, took out from the protecting wadding 
a small iron death -machine and held it in readiness. A noble 
plan had entered his brain for rescuing his dream. 

Nuddle, glancing over the side, recognized Davidge and 
told Nicky who it was that came. When Davidge reached the 
top deck, he found Nicky smiling with the affability of a 

"Meester Davitch please, one momend. I holt in my 
hant a little machine to blow us all high-sky if you are so 
unkind to be impolite. You move I srow. We all go up 
togedder in much pieces. Better it is you come with me and 
make no trouble, and then I let you safe your life. You agree, 
yes? Or must I srow?" 

Davidge looked at the bomb, at Nicky, at Nuddle, then 
at Mamise. Life was sweet here on this high steel crag, with 
the cheers of the crowds about the stands coming faintly up 
on the delicious breeze. He knew explosives. He had seen 
them work. He could see what that handful of lightning in 
Nicky s grasp would do to this mountain he had built. 

Life was sweet where the limpid river spread its indolent 
floods far and wide. And Mamise was beautiful. The one 
thing not sweet and not beautiful was the triumph of this sar 
donic Hun. 



Davidge pondered, but did not speak. 

With all the superiority of the Kultured German for the 
untutored Yankee, Nicky said, "Veil?" 

Perhaps it was the V that did it. For Davidge, without a 
word, went for him. 


"PHE most tremendous explosives refuse to explode unless 
1 some detonator like fulminate of mercury is set off first. 
Each of us has his own fulminate, and the snap of a little 
cap of it brings on our cataclysm. 

It was a pity, seeing how many Germans were alienated 
from their country by the series of its rulers crimes, and seeing 
how many German names were in the daily lists of our dead, 
that the word and the accent grew so hateful to the American 
people. It was a pity, but the Americans were not to blame 
if the very intonation of a Teutonism made their ears tingle. 

Davidge prized life and had no suicidal inclinations or 
temptations. No imaginable crisis in his affairs could have 
convinced him to self-slaughter. He was brave, but cautious. 

Even now, if Nicky Easton, poising the bombshell with its 
appalling threat, had murmured a sardonic "Well?" Davidge 
would probably have smiled, shrugged, and said: 

"You ve got the bead on me, partner. I m yours." He 
would have gone along as Nicky s prisoner, waiting some 
better chance to recover his freedom. 

But the mal-pronunciation of the shibboleth strikes deep 
centers of racial feeling and makes action spring faster than 
thought. The Sicilians at vespers asked the Frenchmen to 
pronounce "cheecheree," and slew them when they said 
sheesheree. So Easton snapped a fulminate in Davidge when 
his Prussian tongue betrayed him into that impertinent, in 
tolerable alien "Veil?" 

Davidge was helpless in his own frenzy. He leaped. 

Nicky could not believe his eyes. He paused for an in 
stant s consideration. As a football-player hesitates a six 
teenth of a second too long before he passes the ball or punts 
it, and so forfeits his opportunity, so Nicky Easton stood and 
stared for the length of time it takes the eyes to widen. 

That was just too long for him and just long enough for 


Davidge, who went at him football fashion, hurling himself 
through the air like a vast, sprawling tarantula. Nicky s 
grip on the bomb relaxed. It fell from his hand. Davidge 
swiped at it wildly, smacked it, and knocked it out of bounds 
beyond the deck. Then Davidge s hundred-and-eighty- 
pound weight smote the light and wickery frame of Nicky 
and sent him collapsing backward, staggering, wavering, till 
he, too, went overboard. 

Davidge hit the deck like a ball-player sliding for a base, 
and he went slithering to the edge. He would have followed 
Nicky over the hundred-foot steel precipice if Mamise had 
not flung herself on him and caught his heel. He was stopped 
with his right arm dangling out in space and his head at 
the very margin of the deck. 

In this very brief meanwhile Jake Nuddle, who had been 
panic-stricken at the sight of the bomb in Nicky s hand, had 
been backing away slowly. He would have backed into the 
abyss if he had not struck a stanchion and clutched it des 

And now the infernal-machine reached bottom. It lighted 
on the huge blade of the ship s anchor lying on a wharf wait 
ing to be hoisted into place. The shell burst with an all- 
rending roar and sprayed rags of steel in every direction. 
The upward stream caught Nicky in midair and shattered 
him to shreds. 

Nuddle s whole back was obliterated and half a corpse 
fell forward, headless, on the deck. Davidge s right arm was 
ripped from the shoulder and his hat vanished, all but the 

Mamise was untoucned by the bombardment, but the down 
ward rain of fragments tore her flesh as she lay sidelong. 

The bomb, exploding in the open air, lost much of its 
efficiency, but the part of the ship nearest was crumpled like 
an old tomato-can that a boy has placed on a car track to 
be run over. 

The crash with its reverberations threw the throngs about 
the speakers stands into various panics, some running away 
from the volcano, some toward it. Many people were 
knocked down and trampled. 

Larrey and his men were the first to reach the deck. They 
found Davidge and Mamise in a pool of blood rapidly enlarg- 


ing as the torn arteries in Davidge s shoulder spouted his life 
away. A quick application of first aid saved him until the 
surgeon attached to the shipyard could reach him. 

Mamise s injuries were painful and cruel, but not dangerous. 
Of Jake Nuddle there was not enough left to assure Larrey of 
his identification. Of Nicky Easton there was so little trace 
that the first searchers did not know that he had perished. 

Davidge and Mamise were taken to the hospital, and 
when Davidge was restored to consciousness his first words 
were a groan of awful satisfaction: 

"I got a German!" 

When he learned that he had no longer a right arm he 
smiled again and muttered: 

"It s great to be wounded for your country." 

Which was a rather inelegant paraphrase of the classic 
"Duke et decorum," but caught its spirit admirably. 

Of Jake Nuddle he knew nothing and forgot everything 
till some days later, when he was permitted to speak to Ma 
mise, in whose welfare he was more interested than his own, and 
the story of whose unimportant wounds harrowed him more 
than his own. 

Her voice came to him over the bedside telephone. After 
an exchange of the inevitable sympathies and regrets and 
tendernesses, Mamise sighed: 

"Well, we re luckier than poor Jake." 

"We are? What happened to him?" 

"He was killed, horribly. His pitiful wife! Abbie has 
been here and she is inconsolable. He was her idol not a 
very pretty one, but idols are not often pretty. It s too 
terribly bad, isn t it?" 

Davidge s bewildered silence was his epitaph for Jake. 
Even though he were dead, one could hardly praise him, though, 
now that he was dead. Davidge felt suddenly that he must 
have been indeed the first and the eternal victim of his own 

Jake had been a complainer, a cynic, a loafer always from 
his cradle on indeed, his mother used to say that he nearly 
kicked her to death before he was born. 

Mamise had hated and loathed him, but she felt now that 
Abbie had been righter than she in loving the wretch who had 
been dowered with no beauty of soul or body. 


She waited for Davidge to say something. After a long 
silence, she asked : 

"Are you there?" 


"You don t say anything about poor Jake." 

"I I don t know what to say." 

He felt it hateful to withhold praise from the dead, and 
yet a kind of honesty forced him to oppose the habit of laud 
ing all who have just died, since it cheapened the praise of 
the dead who deserve praise or what we call "deserve." 

Mamise spoke in a curiously unnatural tone: "It was 
noble of poor Jake to give his life trying to save the ship, 
wasn t it?" 

"What s that?" said Davidge, and she spoke with labored 

"I say that you and I, who were the only witnesses, feel 
sorry that poor Jake had to be killed in the struggle with 

"Oh, I see! Yes yes," said Davidge, understanding. 

Mamise went on : "Mr. Larrey was here and he didn t know 
who Jake was till I told him how he helped you try to dis 
arm Nicky. It will be a fine thing for poor Abbie and her 
children to remember that, won t it?" 

Davidge s heart ached with a sudden appreciation of the 
sweet purpose of Mamise s falsehood. 

"Yes, yes," he said. "I ll give Abbie a pension on his 

" That s beautiful of you !" 

And so it was done. It pleased a sardonic fate to let Jake 
Nuddle pose in his tomb as the benefactor he had always 
pretended to be. 

The operative, Larrey, had made many adverse reports 
against him, but in the blizzard of reports against hundreds 
of thousands of suspects that turned the Department of 
Justice files into a huge snowdrift these earlier accounts of 
Nuddle s treasonable utterances and deeds were forgotten. 

The self-destruction of Nicky Easton took its brief space in 
the newspapers overcrowded with horrors, and he, too, was 
all but forgotten. 

When, after some further time, Mamise was able to call 
upon Davidge in her wheeled chair, she found him strangely 


lacking in cordiality. She was bitterly hurt at first, until 
she gleaned from his manner that he was trying to remove 
himself gracefully from her heart because of his disability. 

She amazed him by her sudden laughter. He was always 
slow to understand why his most solemn or angry humor gave 
her so much amusement. 

While her nurse and his were talking at a little distance it 
pleased her to lean close to Davidge and tease him excruciat 
ingly with a flirtatious manner. 

"Before very long I m going to take up that bet we made." 

"What bet?" 

"That the next proposal would come from me. I m going 
to propose the first of next week." 

"If you do, I ll refuse you." 

Though she understood him perfectly, it pleased her to 
assume a motive he had never dreamed of. 

"Oh, you mustn t think that I m going to be an invalid for 
life. The doctor says I ll be as well as ever in a little while." 

Davidge could not see how he was to tell her that he didn t 
mean that without telling her just what he did mean. In his 
tormented petulance he turned his back on her and groaned. 

"Oh, go away and let me alone." 

She was laughing beyond the limits called ladylike as she 
began to wheel her chair toward the door. The nurse ran 
after her, asking: 

"What on earth?" 

Mamise assured, "Nothing on earth, but a lot in heaven," 
and would not explain the riddle. 


DAVIDGE was the modern ideal of an executive. He 
appeared never to do any work. He kept an empty 
desk and when he was away no one missed him. He would 
not use a roll-top desk, but sat at a flat table with nothing 
on it but a memorandum-pad, a calendar, an "in" and an 
"out" basket, both empty most of the time. 

He had his work so organized that it went on in his absence 
as if he were there. He insisted that the executives of the 
departments should follow the same rule. If they were 
struck down in battle their places were automatically supplied 
as in the regular army. 

So when Davidge went to the hospital the office machine 
went on as if he had gone to lunch. 

Mamise called on him oftener than he had called on her. 
She left the hospital in a few days after the explosion, but 
she did not step into his office and run the corporation for 
him as a well-regulated heroine of recent fiction would have 
done. She did not feel that she knew enough. And she 
did not know enough. She kept to her job with the riveting- 
gang and expected to be discharged any day for lack of pull 
with the new boss. 

But while she lasted she was one of the gang, and proud of 
it. She was neither masculine nor feminine, but human. 
As Vance Thompson has said, the lioness is a lion all but a 
little of the time, and so Mamise put off sexlessness with her 
overalls and put it on with her petticoats. She put off the 
coarseness at the same time as she scrubbed away the grime. 

The shipyard was still a realm of faery to her. It was an un 
ending experience of miracles, commonplace to the men, but 
wonder-work to her. She had not known what "pneumatic" 
or "hydraulic" really meant. The acetylene flame-knife, the 
incomprehensible ability of levers to give out so much more 
power than was put in them, dazed her. Nothing in the 


Grimms stories could parallel the benevolent ogres of air 
and water and their dumfounding transformations. 

She learned that machinery can be as beautiful as any other 
human structure. Fools and art-snobs had said that ma 
chinery is ugly, and some of it is indeed nearly as ugly as 
some canvases, verses, and cathedrals. Other small -pates 
chattered of how the divine works of nature shamed the 
crudities of man. They spoke of the messages of the moun 
tains, the sublimities of sunsets, and the lessons taught by 
the flowerets. These things are impressive, but it ought to be 
possible to give them praise without slandering man s crea 
tions, for a God that could make a man that could make a 
work of art would have to be a better God than one who 
could merely make a work of art himself. 

But machinery has its messages, too. It enables the 
little cave-dweller to pulverize the mountain; to ship it to 
Mohammed in Medina; to pick it up and shoot it at his 

Mamise, at any rate, was so enraptured by the fine art of 
machinery that when she saw a traveling-crane pick up a 
mass of steel and go down the track with it to its place, 
she thought that no poplar-tree was ever so graceful. And 
the rusty hulls of the new ships showing the sky through the 
steel lace of their rivetless sides were fairer than the sky. 

Surgeons in steel operated on the battered epidermis of the 
Mamise and sewed her up again. It was slow work and it 
had all the discouraging influence of work done twice for one 
result. But the toil went on, and when at last Davidge left 
the hospital he was startled by the change in the vessel. As 
a father who has left a little girl at home comes back to find 
her a grown woman, so he saw an almost finished ship where 
he had left a patchwork of iron plates. 

It thrilled him to be back at work again. The silence of 
the hospital had irked his soul. Here the air was full of the 
pneumatic riveter. They called it the gun that would win 
the war. The shipyard atmosphere was shattered all day long 
as if with machine-gun fire and the riveters were indeed firing 
at Germany. Every red-hot rivet was a bullet s worth. 

The cry grew louder for ships. The submarine was cut 
ting down the world s whole fleet by a third. In February 
the Germans sank the Tuscania, loaded with American sol- 


diers, and 159 of them were lost. Uncle Sam tightened his 
lips and added the Tuscanias dead soldiers to the Lusitania s 
men and women and children on the invoice against Germany. 
He tightened his belt, too, and cut down his food for Europe s 
sake. He loosened his purse-strings and poured out gold and 
bonds and war-savings stamps, borrowing, lending, and 
spending with the desperation of a gambler determined to 
break the bank. 

While Davidge was still in the hospital the German offen 
sive broke. It succeeded beyond the scope of the blackest 
prophecy. It threw the fear of hell into the stoutest hearts. 
All over the country people were putting pins in maps, always 
putting them farther back. Everybody talked strategy, and 
geography became the most dreadful of topics. 

On March 2gth Pershing threw what American troops were 
abroad into the general stock, gave them to Haig and Foch 
to use as they would. 

On the same day the mysterious giant cannon of the Ger 
mans sent a shell into Paris, striking a church and killing 
seventy-five worshipers. And it was on a Good Friday that 
the men of Gott sent this harbinger of good- will. 

The Germans began to talk of the end of Great Britain, 
the erasure of France, and the reduction of America to her 
proper place. 

Spring came to the dismal world again with a sardonic 
smile. In Washington the flower-duel was renewed between 
the Embassy terrace and the Louise Home. The irises made 
a drive and the forsythia sent up its barrage. The wistaria 
and the magnolia counterattacked. The Senator took off 
his wig again to give official sanction to summer and to rub 
his bewildered head the better. 

The roving breezes fluttered tragic newspapers everywhere 
in the parks, on the streets, on the scaffolds of the buildings, 
along the tented lanes, and in the barrack-rooms. 

This wind was a love-zephyr as of old. But the world was 
frosted with a tremendous fear. What if old England fell? 
Empires did fall. Nineveh, Babylon, and before them Ur 
and Nippur, and, after, Persia and Alexander s Greece and 
Rome. Germany was making the great try to renew Rome s 
sway; her Emperor called himself the Caesar. What if he 
should succeed? 


Distraught by so many successes, the Germans grew frantic. 
They were diverted from one prize to another. 

The British set their backs to the wall. The French re 
peated their Verdun watchword, "No thoroughfare," and the 
Americans began to come up. The Allies were driven finally 
to what they had always realized to be necessary, but had 
never consented to a unified command. They put all their 
destinies into the hands of Foch. 

Instantly and melodramatically the omens changed. Foch 
could live up to his own motto now, "Attack, attack, attack." 
He had been like a man gambling his last francs. Now he 
had word that unlimited funds were on the way from his 
Uncle Sam. He did not have to count his money over and 
over. He could squander it regardless. 

In every direction he attacked, attacked, attacked. The 
stupefied world saw the German hordes checked, driven rear 
ward, here, there, the other place. 

Towns were redeemed, rivers regained, prisoners scooped 
up by the ten thousand. The pins began a great forward 
march along the maps. People fought for the privilege of 
placing them. Geography became the most fascinating sport 
ever known. 

Davidge had come from the hospital minus one arm just as 
the bulletins changed from grave to gay. He was afraid now 
that the war would be over before his ships could share the 
glorious part that ships played in all this victory. The 
British had turned all their hulls to the American shores and 
the American troops were pouring into them in unbelievable 

Secrecy lost its military value. The best strategy that 
could be devised was to publish just how many Americans 
were landing in France. 

General March would carry the news to Secretary Baker 
and he would scatter it broadcast through George Creel s 
Committee on Public Information, using telegraph, wireless, 
telephone, cable, post-office, placard, courier. 

Davidge had always said that the war would be over 
as soon as the Germans got the first real jolt. With them war 
was a business and they would withdraw from it the moment 
they foresaw a certain bankruptcy ahead. 

But there was the war after the war to be considered the 


war for commerce, the postponed war with disgruntled labor 
and the impatient varieties of socialists and with the rabid 
Bolshevists frankly proclaiming their intention to destroy 
civilization as it stood. 

Like a prudent skipper, Davidge began to trim his ship for 
the new storm that must follow the old. He took thought 
of the rivalries that would spring up inevitably between the 
late Allies, like brothers now, but doomed to turn upon one 
another with all the greater bitterness after war. For peace 
hath her wickedness no less renowned than war. 

What would labor do when the spell of consecration to the 
war was gone and the pride of war wages must go before a 
fall? The time would come abruptly when the spectacle 
of employers begging men to work at any price would be 
changed to the spectacle of employers having no work for 
men at any price. 

The laborers would not surrender without a battle. They 
had tasted power and big money and they would not be lulled 
by economic explanations. 

Mamise came upon Davidge one day in earnest converse 
with a faithful old toiler who had foreseen the same situation 
and wanted to know what his bo s thought about it. 

Iddings had worked as a mechanic all his life. He had 
worked hard, had lived sober, had turned his wages over to 
his wife, and spent them on his home and his children. 

He was as good a man as could be found. Latterly he had 
been tormented by two things, the bitterness of increasing 
infirmities and dwindling power and the visions held out to 
him by Jake Nuddle and the disciples Jake had formed before 
he was taken away. 

As Mamise came up in her overalls Iddings was saying: 

"It ain t right, boss, and you know it. When a man like 
me works as hard as I done and cuts out all the fun and the 
booze and then sees old age comin on and nothin saved to 
speak of and no chance to save more n a few hundred dollars, 
whilst other men has millions why, I m readin the other 
day of a woman spendin eighty thousand dollars on a fur 
coat, and my old woman slavin like a horse all her life and 
goin round in a plush rag I tell you it ain t right and you 
can t prove it is." 

"I m not going to try to," said Davidge. "I didn t build 


the world and I can t change it much. I see nothing but 
injustice everywhere I look. It s not only among men, but 
among animals and insects and plants. The weeds choke out 
the flowers ; the wolves eat up the sheep unless the dogs fight 
the wolves; the gentle and the kind go under unless they re 
mighty clever. They call it the survival of the fittest, but 
it s really the survival of the fightingest." 

"That s what I m comin to believe," said Iddings. "The 
workman will never get his rights unless he fights for em." 


"And if he wants to get rich he s got to fight the rich." 

"No. He wants to make sure he s fighting his real enemies 
and fighting with weapons that won t be boomerangs." 

"I don t get that last." 

"Look here, Iddings, there are a lot of damned fools filling 
workmen s heads with insanity, telling them that their one 
hope of happiness is to drag down the rich, to blow up the 
factories or take control of em, to bankrupt the bankers and 
turn the government upside down. If they can t get a 
majority at the polls they won t pay any attention to the 
polls or the laws. They ll butcher the police and assassinate 
the big men. But that game can t win. It s been tried again 
and again by discontented idiots who go out and kill instead 
of going out to work. 

"You can t get rich by robbing the rich and dividing up 
their money. If you took all that Rockefeller is said to have 
and divided it up among the citizens of the country you d 
get four or five dollars apiece at most, and you d soon lose 

"Rockefeller started as a laboring-man at wages you 
wouldn t look at to-day. The laboring-men alongside could 
have made just as much as he did if they d a mind to. Some 
body said he could have written Shakespeare s plays if he 
had a mind to, and Lamb said, Yes, if you d a mind to. 
The thing seems to be to be born with a mind to and to 
cultivate a mind to. 

"You take Rockefeller s money away and he ll make more 
while you re fumbling with what you ve got. Take Shake 
speare s plays away and he ll write others while you re scratch 
ing your head. 

"Don t let em fool you, Iddings, into believing that rich 


men get rich by stealing. We all cheat more or less, but no 
man ever built up a big fortune by plain theft. Men make 
money by making it. 

"Karl Marx, who wrote your Workmen s Bible, called 
capital a vampire. Well, there aren t any vampires except 
in the movies. 

"Speaking of vamping wealth, did you ever hear how I 
got where I am? not that it s so very far and not that I 
like to talk about myself but just to show you how true 
your man Marx is. 

" I was a working-man and worked hard. I put by a little 
out of what I made. Of nights I studied. I learned all ends 
of the ship-building business in a way. But I needed money 
to get free. It never occurred to me to claim somebody else s 
money as mine. I thought the rich would help me to get rich 
if I helped them to geb richer. My idea of getting capital was 
to go get it. I was a long time finding where there was any. 

"By and by I heard of an old wreck on the coast a steamer 
had run aground and the hull was abandoned after they took 
out what machinery they could salvage. The hull stood up 
in the storms and the sand began to bury it. It would have 
been dead capital then for sure. 

"The timbers were sound, though, and I found I could 
buy it cheap. I put in all I had saved in all my life, eight 
thousand dollars, for the hull. I got a man to risk something 
with me. 

"We took the hull off the ground, refitted it, stepped in 
six masts, and made a big schooner of her. 

"She cost us sixty thousand dollars all told. Before she 
was ready to sail we sold her for a hundred and twenty 
thousand. The buyers made big money out of her. The 
schooner is carrying food now and giving employment to 

"Who got robbed on that transaction? Where did dead 
labor suck the life out of living labor, as Karl Marx says? 
You could do the same. You could if you would. There s 
plenty of old hulls lying around on the sands of the world." 

Iddings had nothing in him to respond to the poetry of this. 

"That s all very fine," he growled, "but where would I 
get my start? I got no eight thousand or anybody to lend 
me ten dollars." 


"The banks will lend to men who will make money make 
money. It s not the guarantee they want so much as in 
spiration. Pierpont Morgan said he lent on character, not on 
. "Morgan, humph!" 

"The trouble isn t with Morgan, but with you. What 
do you do with your nights? Study? study? beat your 
brains for ideas? No, you go home, tired, play with the 
children, talk with the wife, smoke, go to bed. It s a beautiful 
life, but it s not a money-making life. You can t make 
money by working eight hours a day for another man s money. 
You ve got to get out and find it or dig it up. 

"That business with the old hull put me on my feet, put 
dreams in my head. I looked about for other chances, took 
some of them and wished I hadn t. But I kept on trying. 
The war in Europe came. The world was crazy for ships. 
They couldn t build em fast enough to keep ahead of the 
submarines. On the Great Lakes there was a big steamer 
not doing much work. I heard of her. I went up and saw 
her. The job was to get her to the ocean. I managed it on 
borrowed money, bought her, and brought her up the Saint 
Lawrence to the sea and down to New York. I made a 
fortune on that deal. Then did I retire and smoke my pipe 
of peace? No. I looked for another chance. 

"When our country went into the war she needed ships 
of her own. She had to have shipyards first to build em in. 
My lifelong ambition was to make ships from the keel- 
plate up. I looked for the best place to put a shipyard, 
picked on this spot because other people hadn t found it. 
My partners and I got the land cheap because it was swamp. 
We worked out our plans, sitting up all night over blue 
prints and studying how to save every possible penny and 
every possible waste motion. 

"And now look at the swamp. It s one of the prettiest 
yards in the world. The Germans sank my Clara. Did I 
stop or go to making speeches about German vampires? 
No. I went on building. 

"The Germans tried to get my next boat. I fought for 
her as I ll fight the Germans, the I. W. W., the Bolshe 
vists, or any other sneaking coyotes that try to destroy my 


"I lost this right arm trying to save that ship. And 
now that I m crippled, am I asking for a pension or an ad 
mission to an old folks home? Am I passing the hat to you 
other workers? No. I m as good as ever I was. I made 
my left arm learn my right arm s business. If I lose my left 
arm next I ll teach my feet to write. And if I lose those, 
by God! I ll write with my teeth, or wigwag my ears. 

"The trouble with you, Iddings, and the like of you is 
you brood over your troubles, instead of brooding over ways 
to improve yourself. You spend time and money on quack 
doctors. But I tell you, don t fight your work or your boss. 
Fight nature, fight sleep, fight fatigue, fight the sky, fight 
despair, and if you want money hunt up a place where it s 
to be found." 

If Iddings had had brains enough to understand all this 
he would not have been Iddings working by the day. His 
stubborn response was: 

"Well, I ll say the laboring-man is being bled by the 
capitalists and he ll never get his rights till he grabs em." 

"And I ll say be sure that you re grabbing your rights 
and not grabbing your own throat. 

"I m for all the liberty in the world, for the dignity of 
labor, the voice of labor, the labor-union, the profit-sharing 
basis, the republic of labor. I think the workers ought to 
have a voice in running the work all the share they can 
handle, all the control that won t hurt the business. But 
the business has got to come first, for it s business that makes 
comfort. I ll let any man run this shop who can run it as 
well as I can or better. 

"What I m against is letting somebody run my business 
who can t run his own. Talk won t build ships, old man. 
And complaints and protests won t build ships, or make any 
important money. 

"Poor men are just as good as rich men and ought to have 
just the same rights, votes, privileges. But the first right a 
poor man ought to preserve is the right to become a rich man. 
Riches are beautiful things, Iddings, and they re worth 
working for. And they ve got to be worked for. 

"A laboring-man is a man that labors, whether he labors 
for two dollars a day or a thousand; and a loafer is a loafer, 
whether he has millions or dimes. Well, I ve talked longer 


than I ever did before or ever will again. Do you believe 
anything I say?" 


Davidge had to laugh. "Well, Iddings, I ve got to hand 
it to you for obstinacy; you ve got an old mule skinned to 
death. But old mules can t compete with race-horses. 
Balking and kicking won t get you very far." 

He walked away, and Mamise went along. Davidge was 
in a somber mood. 

"Poor old fellow, he s got no self-starter, no genius, no 
ideas, and he s doomed to be a drudge. It s the rotten cruelty 
of the world that most people are born without enough get- 
up-and-get to bring them and their work together without a 
whistle and a time-clock and an overseer. What scheme could 
ever be invented to keep poor old Iddings up to the level of 
a Sutton or a Sutton down to his?" 

Mamise had heard a vast amount of discontented talk among 
the men. 

"There s an awful lot of trouble brewing." 

"Trouble is no luxury to me," said Davidge. "Blessed 
is he that expects trouble, for he shall get it. Wait till this 
war is over and then you ll see a real war." 

"Shall we all get killed or starved?" 

"Probably. But in the mean while we had better sail on 
and on and on. The storm will find us wherever we are, 
and there s more danger close ashore than out at sea. Let s 
make a tour of the Mamise and see how soon she ll be ready 
to go overboard." 



NICKY E ASTON S attempt to assassinate the ship had 
failed, but the wounds he dealt her had retarded her so 
that she missed by many weeks the chance of being launched 
on the Fourth of July with the other ships that made the 
Big Splash on that holy day. The first boat took her dive 
at one minute after midnight and eighty-one ships followed 
her into the astonished sea. 

While the damaged parts of the Mamise were remade, 
Davidge pushed the work on other portions of the ship s 
anatomy, so that when at length she was ready for the dip 
she was farther advanced than steel ships usually are before 
they are first let into the sea. 

Her upper works were well along, her funnel was in, and 
her mast and bridge. She looked from a distance like a ship 
that had run ashore. 

There was keen rivalry among the building-crews of the 
ships that grew alongside the Mamise, and each gang strove 
to put its boat overboard in record time. The "Mamisers," 
as they called themselves, fought against time and trouble 
to redeem her from the "jinx" that had set her back again 
and again. During the last few days the heat was furious 
and the hot plates made an inferno of the work. Then an 
icy rain set in. The workers would not stop for mean weather, 
hot or cold. 

Mamise, the rivet-passer, stood to her task in a continual 
shower-bath. The furnace was sheltered, but the hot rivets 
must be passed across the rain curtain. Sutton urged her to 
lay off and give way to Snotty or somebody whose health 
didn t matter a damn. Davidge ordered her home, but her 
pride in her sex and her zest for her ship kept her at work. 

And then suddenly she sneezed! 

She sneezed again and again helplessly, and she was stricken 
with a great fear. For in that day a sneeze was not merely 


the little explosion of tickled surfaces or a forewarning of a 
slight cold. It was the alarum of the new Great Death, the 
ravening lion under the sheep s wool of influenza. 

The world that had seen the ancient horror of famine come 
stalking back from the Dark Ages trembled now before the 
plague. The influenza swept the world with recurrent 

Men who had feared to go to the trenches were snatched 
from their offices and from their homes. Men who had tried 
in vain to get into the fight died in their beds. Women 
and children perished innumerably. Hearse-horses were over 
worked. The mysterious, invisible all-enemy did not spare 
the soldiers; it sought them in the dugouts, among the 
reserves, at the ports of embarkation and debarkation, at the 
training-camps. In the hospitals it slew the convalescent 
wounded and killed the nurses. 

From America the influenza took more lives than the war 

It baffled science and carried off the doctors. Masks ap 
peared and people in offices were dressed in gauze muzzles. 
In some of the cities the entire populace went with bandaged 
mouths, and a man who would steal a furtive puff of a ciga 
rette stole up a quiet street and kept his eyes alert for the 

Whole families were stricken down and brave women who 
dared the pestilence found homes where father, mother, and 
children lay writhing and starving in pain and delirium. 

At the shipyard every precaution was taken, and Davidge 
fought the unseen hosts for his men and for their families. 
Mamise had worn herself down gadding the workmen s row 
with medicines and victuals in her basket. And yet the 
death-roll mounted and strength was no protection. 

In Washington and other cities the most desperate experi 
ments in sanitation were attempted. Offices were closed or 
dismissed early. Stenographers took dictation in masks. It 
was forbidden to crowd the street-cars. All places of public 
assembly were closed, churches no less than theaters and 
moving-picture shows. It was as illegal to hold prayer- 
meetings as dances. 

This was the supreme blow at religion. The preachers 
who had confessed that the Church had failed to meet the 


war problems were dazed. Mankind had not recovered from 
the fact that the world had been made a hell by the German 
Emperor, who was the most pious of rulers and claimed to 
take his crown from God direct. The German Protestants 
and priests had used their pulpits for the propaganda of hate. 
The Catholic Emperor of Austria had aligned his priests. 
Catholic and Protestants fought for the Allies in the trenches, 
unfrocked or in their pulpits. The Bishop of London was 
booed as a slacker. The Pope wrung his hands and could 
not decide which way to turn. One British general frivolously 
put it, "I am afraid that the dear old Church has missed the 
bus this trip." 

All religions were split apart and, as Lincoln said of the 
Civil War, both sides sent up their prayers to the same 
God, demanding that He crush the enemy. 

For all the good the Y. M. C. A. accomplished, it ended 
the war with the contempt of most of the soldiers. Individual 
clergymen won love and crosses of war, but as men, not as 

The abandoned world abandoned all its gods, and men 
fought men in the name of mankind. 

Even against the plague the churchfolk were refused per 
mission to pray together. Christian Scientists published full 
pages of advertising protesting against the horrid situation, 
but nobody heeded. 

The ship of state lurched along through the mingled storms, 
mastless, rudderless, pilotless, priestless, and everybody 
wondered which would live the longer, the ship or the storm. 

And then Mamise sneezed. And the tiny at-choo! fright 
ened her to the soul of her soul. It frightened the riveting- 
crew as well. The plague had come among them. 

"Drop them tongs and go home!" said Sutton. 

"I ve got to help finish my ship," Mamise pleaded. 

"Go home, I tell you." 

"But she s to be launched day after to-morrow and I ve 
got to christen her." 

"Go home or I ll carry you," said Sutton, and he ad 
vanced on her. She dropped her tongs and ran through 
the gusty rain, across the yard, out of the gate, and down 
the muddy paths as if a wolf pursued. 

She flung into her cottage, lighted the fires, heated water, 


drank a quart of it, took quinine, and crept into her bed. 
Her tremors shook the covers off. Sweat rained out of her 
pores and turned to ice-water with the following ague. 

The doctor came. Sutton had gone for him and threatened 
to beat him up if he delayed. The doctor had nothing to 
give her but orders to stay in bed and wait. Davidge came, 
and Abbie, and they tried to pretend that they were not in 
a worse panic than Mamise. 

There were no nurses to be spared and Abbie was installed. 
In spite of her malministrations or because of them, Mamise 
grew better. She stayed in bed all that day and the next, 
and when the morning of the launching dawned she felt so 
well that Abbie could not prevent her from getting up and 
putting on her clothes. 

She was to be woman again to-day and to wear the most 
fashionable gown in her wardrobe and the least masculine hat. 

She felt a trifle giddy as she dressed, but she told Abbie 
that she never felt better. Her only alarm was the dif 
ficulty in hooking her frock at the waist. Abbie fought them 
together with all her might and main. 

"If being a workman is going to take away my waist 
line, here s where I quit work," said Mamise. "As Mr. 
Dooley says, I m a pathrite, but I m no bigot." 

Davidge had told her to keep to her room. He had tele 
phoned to Polly Widdicombe to come down and christen the 
ship. Polly was delayed and Davidge was frantic. In fact, 
the Widdicombe motor ran off the road into a slough of despond 
and Polly did not arrive until after the ship was launched 
from the ways and the foolhardy Mamise was in the 

* When Davidge saw Mamise climbing the steps to the launch- 
ing-platform he did not recognize her under her big hat till 
she paused for breath and looked up, counting the remaining 
steep steps and wondering if her tottering legs would nego 
tiate the height. 

He ran down and haled her up, scolding her with fury. 
He had been on the go all night and he was raw with un 

"I m all right," Mamise pleaded. "I got caught in the 
jam at the gate and was nearly crushed. That s all. It s 
glorious up here and I d rather die than miss it." 


It was a sight to see. The shipyard was massed with work 
men and their families, and every roof was crowded. On 
a higher platform in the rear the reporters of the moving- 
picture newspapers were waiting with their cameras. On 
the roof of a low shed a military band was tootling 

And the sky had relented of its rain. The day was a 
masterpiece of good weather. A brilliant throng mounted 
to the platform, an admiral, sea-captains and lieutenants, 
officers of the army, a Senator, Congressmen, judges, capital 
ists, the jubilant officers of the ship-building corporation. 
And Mamise was the queen of the day. She was the sponsor 
for the ship and her name stood out on both sides of the 
prow, high overhead where the launching-crew grinned down 
on her and called her by her nom de guerre, "Moll." 

The moving-picture men yelled at her and asked her to 
pose. She went to the rail and tried to smile, feeling as 
silly as a Sunday-school girl repeating a golden text, and 
looking it. 

Once more she would appear in the Sunday supplements, 
and her childish confusion would make throngs in moving- 
picture theaters laugh with pleasant amusement. Mamise 
was news to-day. 

The air was full of the hubbub of preparation. Under 
neath the upreared belly of the ship gnomes crouched, 
pounding the wedges in to lift the hull so that other gnomes 
could knock the shoring out. 

There was a strange fascination in the racket of the shores 
falling over, the dull clatter of a vast bowling-alley after a 

Painters were at work brushing over the spots where the 
shores had rested. 

Down in the tanks inside the hull were a few luckless 
anonymities with search-lights, put there to watch for leaks 
from loose rivet-heads. They would be in the dark and see 
nothing of the festival. Always there has to be some one in 
the dark at such a time. 

The men who would saw the holding-blocks stood ready, as 
solemn as clergymen. The cross-saws were at hand for their 
sacred office. The sawyers and the other workmen were 
overdoing their unconcern. Mamise caught sight of Sutton, 


lounging in violent indifference, but giving himself away by 
the frenzy of his jaws worrying his quid and spurting tobacco 
juice in all directions. 

There was reason, too, for uneasiness. Sometimes a ship 
would not start when the blocks were sawed through. There 
would be a long delay while hydraulic jacks were sought and 
put to work to force her forward. Such a delay had a super 
stitious meaning. Nobody liked a ship that was afraid of her 
element. They wanted an eagerness in her get-away. Or 
suppose she shot out too impetuously and listed on the 
ways, ripping the scaffolding to pieces like a whale thrashing 
a raft apart. Suppose she careened and stuck or rolled over 
in :he mud. Such things had happened and might happen 
again. The Mamise had suffered so many mishaps that the 
other ship crews called her a hoodoo. 

At last the hour drew close. Davidge was a fanatic on 
schedules. He did not want his ship to be late to her en 

She s named after me, poor thing," said Mamise. "She s 
bound to be late." 

"She ll be on time for once," Davidge growled. 

In the older days with the old-fashioned ships the boats 
had gone to the sea like brides with trousseaux complete. 
The launching-guests had made the journey with her; a 
dinner had been served aboard, and when the festivities were 
ended the waiting tugs had taken the new ship to the old 
sea for the honeymoon. 

But nowadays only hulls were launched, as a rule. The 
mere husk was then brought to the equipping-dock to receive 
her engines and all her equipment. 

The Mamise was farther advanced, but she would have 
to tie up for sixty days at least. The carpenters had her 
furniture all ready and waiting, but she could not put forth 
under her own steam for two months more. 

The more reason for impatience at any further delay. 
Davidge went along the launching-platform rails, like a 
captain on the bridge, eager to move out of the slip. 

"Make ready!" he commanded. "Stand by! Where s 
the bottle? Good Lord! Where s the bottle?"" 

That precious quart of champagne was missing now. The 
bottle had been prepared by an eminent jeweler with silver 


decoration and a silken net. The neck would be a cherished 
souvenir thereafter, made into a vase to hold flowers. 

The bottle was found, a cable was lowered from aloft and 
the bottle fastened to it. 

Davidge explained to Mamise for the tenth time just what 
she was to do. He gave the signal to the sawyers. The 
snarl of the teeth in the holding-blocks was lost in the noise 
of the band. The great whistle on the fabricating-plant 
split the air. The moving - picture camera-men cranked 
their machines. The last inches of the timbers that held 
the ship ashore were gnawed through. The sawyers said 
they could feel the ship straining. She wanted to get to her 
sea. They loved her for it. 

Suddenly she was "sawed off." She was moving. The 
rigid mountain was an avalanche of steel departing down a 
wooden hill. 

Mamise stared, gasped, paralyzed with launch-fright. 
Davidge nudged her. She hurled the bottle at the vanishing 
keel. It broke with a loud report. The wine splashed 
everywhichway. Some of it spattered Mamise s new gown. 

Her muscles went to work in womanly fashion to brush 
off the stain. 

When she looked up, ashamed of her homely misbehavior, 
she cried: 

"O Lord! I forgot to say, I christen thee Mamise " 

"Say it now," said Davidge. 

She shouted the words down the channel opening like an 
abyss as the vast hulk diminished toward the river. Far 
below she could see the water leap back from the shock of the 
new-comer. Great, circling ripples retreated outward. Waves 
fought and threw up bouquets of spume. 

The chute smoked with the heat of the ship s passage 
and a white cloud of steam flew up and followed her into the 

She was launched, beautifully, perfectly. She sailed level. 
She was water-borne. 

People were cheering, the band was pounding all out of 
time, every eye following the ship, the leader forgetting to lead. 

Mamise wept and Davidge s eyes were wet. Something 
surged in him like the throe of the river where the ship went 
in. It was good to have built a good ship. 


Mamise wrung his hand. She would have kissed him, 
but she remembered in time. The camera caught the im 
pulse. People laughed at that in the movie theaters. People 
cheered in distant cities as they assisted weeks after in the 
debut of Mamise. 

The movies took the people everywhere on magic carpets. 
Yet there were curious people who bewailed them as inartistic ! 

Mamise s little body and her little soul were almost blasted 
by the enormity of her emotions. The ship was like a child 
too big for its mother, and the ending of the long travail left 
her wrecked. 

She tried to enter into the hilarity of the guests, but she 
was filled with awe and prostrate as if a god had passed by. 

The crowd began to trickle down the long steps to the 
feast in the mess hall. She dreaded the descent, the long 
walk, the sitting at table. She wanted to go home and cry 
very hard and be good and sick for a long while. 

But she could not desert Davidge at such a time or mar his 
triumph by her hypochondria. She wavered as she climbed 
down. She rode with Davidge to the mess-hall in his car 
and forced herself to voice congratulations too solemn and 
too fervid for words. 

The guests of honor sat at a table disguised with scenery 
as a ship s deck. A thousand people sat at the other tables 
and took part in the banquet. 

Mamise could not eat the food of human caterers. She 
had fed on honey-dew and drunk the milk of paradise. 

She lived through the long procession of dishes and heard 
some of the oratory, the glowing praises of Davidge and 
Uncle Sam, Mr. Schwab, Mr. Hurley, President Wilson, 
the Allies, and everybody else. She heard it proclaimed that 
America was going back to the sea, so long neglected. The 
prodigal was returning home. 

Mamise could think of nothing but a wish to be in bed. 
The room began to blur. People s faces went out of focus. 
Her teeth began to chatter. Her jaw worked ridiculously 
like a riveting-gun. She was furious at it. 

She heard Davidge whispering: "What s the matter, 
honey? You re ill again." 

"I I fancy I I guess I I am," she faltered. 

"0 God!" he groaned, "why did you come out?" 


He rose, lifted her elbow, murmured something to the 
guests. He would have supported her to the door, but she 
pleaded : 

"Don t! They ll think it s too much ch-ch-champagne. 
I m all right!" 

She made the door in excellent control, but it cost her her 
last cent of strength. Outside, she would have fallen, but 
he huddled her in his arms, lifted her, carried her to his car. 
He piled robes on her, but those riveters inside her threatened 
to pound her to death. Burning pains gnawed her chest like 
cross-cut saws. 

When the car stopped she was not in front of her cottage, 
but before the hospital. 

When the doctor finished his inspection she heard him 
mumble to Davidge: 

Pneumonia ! Double pneumonia ! 


ONCE more Mamise had come between Davidge and his 
work. He did not care what happened to his ships or 
his shipyard. He watched Mamise fighting for life, if indeed 
she fought, for he could not get to her through the fog. 

She was often delirious and imagined herself back in her 
cruel times. He learned a few things about that mystic period 
she would never disclose. And he was glad that she had 
never told him more. He fled from her, for eavesdropping 
on a delirium has something of the contemptible quality of 
peeping at a nakedness. 

He supposed that Mamise would die. All the poor women 
with pasts that he had read about, in what few novels he had 
read, had died or it had been found out that they had magical 
ly retained their innocence through years of evil environment. 

He supposed also that Mamise would die, because that was 
the one thing needful to make his life a perfect failure. He 
had not gone to war, yet he had lost his arm. He had never 
really desperately loved before, and now he would lose his 
heart. It was just as well, because if Mamise lived he would 
lose her, anyway. He would not tie her to the crippled 
thing he was. 

While the battalions of disease ravaged the poor Belgium 
of Mamise s body the world outside went on making history. 
The German Empire kept caving in on all sides. Her armies 
held nowhere. Her only pride was in saving a defeat from 
being a disaster. Her confederates were disintegrating. The 
newspapers mentioned now, not cities that surrendered to the 
Allies, but nations. 

And at last Germany added one more to her unforgivable 
assaults upon the patience of mankind. Just as the Allies 
poised for the last tremendous all-satisfying coup de grdce 
the Empire put up her hands and whined the word that had 
become the world-wide synonym for poltroonery, " Kamerad!" 


Foch wept, American soldiers cursed because they could 
not prove their mettle and drive the boche into the Rhine. 
Never was so bitter a disappointment mingled with a triumph 
so magnificent. The world went wild with the news of 
peace. The nations all made carnival over the premature 
rumor and would not be denied their rhapsodies because the 
story was denied. They made another and a wilder carnival 
when the news was confirmed. 

Davidge took the peace without enthusiasm. Mamise had 
been better, but was worse again. She got still better than 
before and not quite so worse again. And so in a climbing 
zigzag she mounted to health at last. 

She had missed the carnival and she woke on the morning 
after. Nearly everybody was surprised to find that ending 
this one war had brought a dozen new wars, a hundred, a 

The danger that had united the nations into a holy crusade 
had ended, and the crusaders were men again. They were 
back in the same old world with the same old sins and sorrows 
and selfishnesses, and unnumbered new ones. And they 
had the habit of battle the gentlest were accustomed to 

It was not the Central Powers alone that had disintegrated. 
The Entente Cordiale was turned into a caldron of toil and 
trouble. No two people in any one nation agreed on the 
best way to keep the peace. Nobody could accept any 
other body s theories. 

Russia, whose collapse had cost the Allies a glimpse of 
destruction and a million lives, was a new plague spot, the 
center of the world s dread. While the people in Russia 
starved or slew one another their terrible missionaries went 
about the world preaching chaos as the new gospel and 
fanning the always smoldering discontent of labor into a 
prairie fire. 

Ships were needed still. Europe must be fed. Hunger was 
the Bolshevists blood-brother. Unemployment was the third 
in the grim fraternity. 

Davidge increased his force daily, adding a hundred men or 
more to his army, choosing mainly from the returning hordes 
of soldiers. 

When Mamise at last had left the hospital she found a new 


ship growing where the Mamise had dwelt. The Mamise 
was at the equipping-dock, all but ready for the sea, about 
to steam out and take on a cargo of food to Poland, the new- 
old country gathering her three selves together under the 
spell of Paderewski s patriotic fire. 

Mamise wanted to go to work again. Her strength was 
back and she was not content to return to crochet-hooks and 
tennis-racquets. She had tasted the joy of machinery, had 
seen it add to her light muscles a giant s strength. She wanted 
to build a ship all by herself, especially the riveting. 

Davidge opposed her with all his might. He pointed out 
that the dream of women laboring with men, each at her job, 
had been postponed, like so many other dreams, lost like so 
many other benefits that mitigated war. 

The horrors of peace were upon the world. Men were 
driving the women back to the kitchen. There were not 
jobs enough for all. 

But Mamise pleaded to be allowed to work at least till her 
own ship was finished. So Davidge yielded to quiet her. 
She put back into her overalls and wielded a monkey-wrench 
in the engine-room. She took flying trips on the lofty cranes. 

One afternoon when the whistle blew she remained aloft 
alone to revel in the wonder view of the world, the wide and 
gleaming river, the peaceful hills, the so-called handiwork of 
God, and everywhere the pitiful beauty of man s efforts to 
work out his destiny and enslave the forces. 

Human power was not the least of these forces. Ingenious 
men had learned how to use not only wind currents, water 
falls, and lightning and the heat stored up in coal, but to use 
also the power stored~up in the muscles of their more slow- 
brained fellows. And these forces broke loose at times with 
the ruinous effect of tornadoes, floods, and thunderbolts. 

The laborers needed merciful and intelligent handling, and 
the better they were the better their work. It was hard to 
say what was heresy and what was wisdom, what was op 
pression and what was helpful discipline. Whichever way 
one turned, there was misunderstanding, protest, revolt. 

Mamise thought that everybody ought to be happy and love 
everybody else. She thought that it ought to be joy enough 
to go on working in that splendid shop and about the flock of 
ships on the ways. 


And yet people would insist on being miserable. She, the 
priestess of unalloyed rapture, also sighed. 

Hearing a step on the crane, she was startled. After all, 
she was only a woman, alone up here, and help could never 
reach her if any one threatened her. She looked over the edge. 

There came the man who most of all threatened her 
Davidge. He endangered her future most of all, whether he 
married her or deserted her. He evidently had no intention 
of marrying her, for she had given him chances enough and 
hints enough. 

He had a telegram in his hand and apologized for following 

"I didn t know but it might be bad news." 

"There s nobody to send me bad news except you and 
Abbie." She opened the telegram. It was an invitation from 
Polly to come back to sanity and a big dance at the Hotel 
Washington. She smiled. "I wonder if I ll ever dance 

Davidge was tired from the climb. He dropped to the seat 
occupied by the chauffeur of the crane. He rose at once with 
an apology and offered his place to Mamise. 

She shook her head, then gave a start : 

"Great Heavens! that reminds me! That seat of yours I 
took on the train from New York. I ve never paid for it." 

"Oh, for the Lord s sake 

" I m going to pay it. That s where all the trouble started. 
How much was it?" 

"I don t remember." 

"About two dollars now." 

"Exactly one then." 

She drove her hand down into the pocket of her breeches 
and dragged up a fistful of small money. 

"To-day was pay-day. Here s your dollar." 

"Want a receipt?" 

"Sure, Mike. I couldn t trust you." 

An odd look crossed his face. He did not play easily, but 
he tried: 

"I can t give you a receipt now, because everybody is 

"Do you mean that you had an idea -of kissing me?" she 



"You reckless devil! Do you think that a plutocrat can 
kiss every poor goil in the shop?" 

"You re the only one here." 

"Well, then, do you think you ll take advantage of my 
womanly helplessness ? 


"Never! Overalls is royal raiment when wore for voitue s 
sake. You ll never kiss me till you put a wedding-ring on 
me finger." 

He looked away, sobered and troubled. 

She stared at him. "Good Heavens! Can t you take a 

"Not that one." 

"Then I insist on your marrying me. You have com 
promised me hopelessly. Everybody says I am working here 
just to be near you, and that s a fact." 

He was a caricature of mental and physical awkwardness. 

She gasped: "And still he doesn t answer me! Must I 
get on my knees to you?" 

She dropped on her knees, a blue denim angel on a cloud, 
praying higher. 

He stormed: "For Heaven s sake, get up! Somebody will 
see you." 

She did not budge. "I ll not rise from my knees till you 
promise to marry me." 

He started to escape, moved toward the steps. She seized 
his knees and moaned : 

"Oh, pity me! pity me!" 

He was excruciated with her burlesque, tried to drag her to 
her feet, but he had only one hand and he could not manage 

" Please get up. I can t make you. I ve only one arm." 

"Let s see if it fits." She rose and, holding his helpless 
hand, whirled round into his arm. " Perfect !" Then she stood 
there and called from her eyrie to the sea-gulls that haunted 
the river, "In the presence of witnesses this man has taken 
me for his affianced fiancee." 

They had a wedding in the village church. Abbie was 
matron of honor and gave her sister away. Her children 


were very dressed up and highly uncomfortable. Abbie drew 
Mamise aside after the signing of the book. 

"Oh, thank Gawd you re marrit at last, Mamise! You ve 
been such a worrit to me. I hope you ll be as happy as poor 
Jake and me was. If he only hadn t a had to gave his life 
for you, you wouldn t a been. But he s watchin you from 
up there and Oh dear! Oh dear!" 

Jake was already a tradition of increasing beauty. So 
may we all of us be ! 

Mamise insisted on dragging Davidge away from the ship 
yard for a brief honeymoon. 

"You re such a great executive, they ll never miss you. 
But I shall. I decline to take my honeymoon or live my 
married life alone." 

They went up to Washington for a while of shopping. 
The city was already reverting to type. The heart had gone 
out of the stay-at-home war-workers and the tide was on 
the ebb save for a new population of returned soldiers, in 
numerably marked with the proofs of sacrifice, not only by 
their service chevrons, their wound stripes, but also by the 
parts of their brave bodies that they had left in France. 

They were shy and afraid of themselves and of the world, 
and especially of their women. But, as Adelaide wrote of 
the new task of rehabilitation, "a merciful Providence sees to 
it that we become, in time, used to anything. If we had all 
been born with one arm or one leg our lives and loves would 
have gone on just the same." 

To many another woman, as to Mamise, was given the 
privilege of adding herself to her wounded lover to complete 

Polly Widdicombe, seeing Mamise and Davidge dancing 
together, smiled through her tears, almost envying her her 
husband. Davidge danced as well with one arm as with 
two, but Mamise, as she clasped that blunt shoulder and 
that pocketed sleeve, was given the final touch of rapture 
made perfect with regret: she had the aching pride of a 
soldier s sweetheart, for she could say: 

" I am his right arm." 


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