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F. SCOTT FITZGERALD
AUTHOR OF " THIS SIDE OF PARADISE "
CHARLES SCRIBNER S SONS
COPYRIGHT, 1020, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER S SONS
Published September, 1920
Reprinted September, October, December, 1920; De
COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY THE CURTIS PUBLISHING co.
COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY THE SMART SET PUBLISHING CO.
THE SCRIBNER PRESS
NEW YORK, U. S. A.
H THE OFFSHORE PIRATE . 3
THE ICE PALACE 49
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 87 "
-THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 124
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 155
BENEDICTION . 194
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 219
THE FOUR FISTS 245
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE
THIS unlikely story begins on a sea that was a blue
dream, as colorful as blue-silk stockings, and be
neath a sky as blue as the irises of children s eyes.
From the western half of the sky the sun was shy
ing little golden disks at the sea if you gazed in
tently enough you could see them skip from wave
tip to wave tip until they joined a broad collar of
golden coin that was collecting half a mile out and
would eventually be a dazzling sunset. About
half-way between the Florida shore and the golden
collar a white steam-yacht, very young and grace
ful, was riding at anchor and under a blue-and-
white awning aft a yellow-haired girl reclined in a
wicker settee reading The Revolt of the Angels,
by Anatole France.
She was about nineteen, slender and supple, with
a spoiled alluring mouth and quick gray eyes full
of a radiant curiosity. Her feet, stockingless, and
adorned rather than clad in blue-satin slippers
which swung nonchalantly from her toes, were
perched on the arm of a settee adjoining the one
she occupied. And as she read she intermittently
regaled herself by a faint application to her tongue
of a half-lemon that she held in her hand. The
other half, sucked dry, lay on the deck at her feet
4 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
and rocked very gently to and fro at the almost im
perceptible motion of the tide.
The second half -lemon was well-nigh pulpless and
the golden collar had grown astonishing in width,
when suddenly the drowsy silence which enveloped
the yacht was broken by the sound of heavy foot
steps and an elderly man topped with orderly gray
hair and clad in a white-flannel suit appeared at the
head of the companionway. There he paused for a
moment until his eyes became accustomed to the
sun, and then seeing the girl under the awning he
uttered a long even grunt of disapproval.
If he had intended thereby to obtain a rise of
any sort he was doomed to disappointment. The
girl calmly turned over two pages, turned back one,
raised the lemon mechanically to tasting distance,
and then very faintly but quite unmistakably
"Ardita!" said the gray-haired man sternly.
Ardita uttered a small sound indicating nothing.
" Ardita ! " he repeated. " Ardita ! "
Ardita raised the lemon languidly, allowing three
words to slip out before it reached her tongue.
"Oh, shut up. "
"Will you listen to me or will I have to get a
servant to hold you while I talk to you?"
The lemon descended slowly and scornfully.
"Put it in writing."
"Will you have the decency to close that abomina-
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 5
ble book and discard that damn lemon for two
"Oh, can t you lemme alone for a second?"
"Ardita, I have just received a telephone message
from the shore
"Telephone?" She showed for the first time a
"Yes, it was "
"Do you mean to say," she interrupted wonder-
ingly, " at they let you run a wire out here?"
"Yes, and just now
"Won t other boats bump into it?"
" No. It s run along the bottom. Five min "
" Well, I ll be darned ! Gosh ! Science is golden
or something isn t it?"
"Will you let me say what I started to?"
"Well, it seems well, I am up here" He
paused and swallowed several times distractedly.
"Oh, yes. Young woman, Colonel Moreland has
called up again to ask me to be sure to bring you in
to dinner. His son Toby has come all the way
from New York to meet you and he s invited sev
eral other young people. For the last time, will
"No," said Ardita shortly, "I won t. I came
along on this darn cruise with the one idea of going
to Palm Beach, and you knew it, and I absolutely
refuse to meet any darn old colonel or any darn
young Toby or any darn old young people or to
set foot in any other darn old town in this crazy
6 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
state. So you either take me to Palm Beach or else
shut up and go away."
"Very well. This is the last straw. In your in
fatuation for this man a man who is notorious for
his excesses, a man your father would not have al
lowed to so much as mention your name you have
reflected the demi-monde rather than the circles in
which you have presumably grown up. From now
"I know," interrupted Ardita ironically, "from
now on you go your way and I go mine. I ve heard
that story before. You know I d like nothing bet
"From now on," he announced grandiloquently,
"you are no niece of mine. I "
"O-o-o-oh!" The cry was wrung from Ardita
with the agony of a lost soul. "Will you stop
boring me ! Will you go way ! Will you jump
overboard and drown ! Do you want me to throw
this book at you!"
"If you dare do any "
Smack ! The Revolt of the Angels sailed
through the air, missed its target by the length of
a short nose, and bumped cheerfully down the
The gray-haired man made an instinctive step
backward and then two cautious steps forward.
Ardita jumped to her five feet four and stared at
him defiantly, her gray eyes blazing.
"How dare you !" he cried.
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 7
"Because I darn please !"
"You ve grown unbearable! Your disposi-
" YouVe made me that way ! No child ever has
a bad disposition unless it s her family s fault !
Whatever I am, you did it."
Muttering something under his breath her uncle
turned and, walking forward, called in a loud voice
for the launch. Then he returned to the awning,
where Ardita had again seated herself and resumed
her attention to the lemon.
"I am going ashore," he said slowly. "I will be
out again at nine o clock to-night. When I return
we will start back to New York, where I shall turn
you over to your aunt for the rest of your natural,
or rather unnatural, life."
He paused and looked at her, and then all at
once something hi the utter childishness of her
beauty seemed to puncture his anger like an inflated
tire, and render him helpless, uncertain, utterly
"Ardita," he said not unkindly, "I m no fool.
I ve been round. I know men. And, child, con
firmed libertines don t reform until they re tired
and then they re not themselves they re husks of
themselves. He looked at her as if expecting agree
ment, but receiving no sight or sound of it he con
tinued. "Perhaps the man loves you that s pos
sible. He s loved many women and he ll love many
more. Less than a month ago, one month, Ardita,
he was involved in a notorious affair with that red-
8 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
haired woman, Mimi Merril; promised to give her
the diamond bracelet that the Czar of Russia gave
his mother. You know you read the papers."
"Thrilling scandals by an anxious uncle," yawned
Ardita. "Have it filmed. Wicked clubman mak
ing eyes at virtuous flapper. Virtuous flapper con
clusively vamped by his lurid past. Plans to meet
him at Palm Beach. Foiled by anxious uncle."
"Will you tell me why the devil you want to
"I m sure I couldn t say," said Ardita shortly.
"Maybe because he s the only man I know, good or
bad, who has an imagination and the courage of his
convictions. Maybe it s to get away from the
young fools that spend their vacuous hours pursu
ing me around the country. But as for the famous
Russian bracelet, you can set your mind at rest on
that score. He s going to give it to me at Palm
Beach if you ll show a little intelligence."
"How about the red-haired woman?"
"He hasn t seen her for six months," she said
angrily. "Don t you suppose I have enough pride
to see to that? Don t you know by this time that
I can do any darn thing with any darn man I want
She put her chin in the air like the statue of France
Aroused, and then spoiled the pose somewhat by
raising the lemon for action.
"Is it the Russian bracelet that fascinates you?"
"No, I m merely trying to give you the sort of
argument that would appeal to your intelligence.
And I wish you d go way," she said, her temper
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 9
rising again. "You know I never change my mind.
You ve been boring me for three days until I m
about to go crazy. I won t go ashore ! Won t !
Do you hear ? Won t ! "
"Very well," he said, "and you won t go to Palm
Beach either. Of all the selfish, spoiled, uncon
trolled, disagreeable, impossible girls I have "
Splush ! The half-lemon caught him in the neck.
Simultaneously came a hail from over the side.
"The launch is ready, Mr. Farnam."
Too full of words and rage to speak, Mr. Farnam
cast one utterly condemning glance at his niece
and, turning, ran swiftly down the ladder.
Five o clock rolled down from the sun ahd
plumped soundlessly into the sea. The golden
collar widened into a glittering island; and a faint
breeze that had been playing with the edges of the
awning and swaying one of the dangling blue
slippers became suddenly freighted with song. It
was a chorus of men in close harmony and in per
fect rhythm to an accompanying sound of oars
cleaving the blue waters. Ardita lifted her head
"Carrots and peas,
Beans on their knees,
Pigs in the seas,
Lucky fellows !
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
With your bellows."
io FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Ardita s brow wrinkled in astonishment. Sitting
very still she listened eagerly as the chorus took up
a second verse.
"Onions and beans,
Marshalls and Deans,
Goldbergs and Greens
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
Blow us a breeze,
With your bellows. "
With an exclamation she tossed her book to the
desk, where it sprawled at a straddle, and hurried
to the rail. Fifty feet away a large rowboat was
approaching containing seven men, six of them row
ing and one standing up hi the stern keeping time
to their song with an orchestra leader s baton.
"Oysters and rocks,
Sawdust and socks,
Who could make clocks
Out of cellos?"
The leader s eyes suddenly rested on Ardita, who
was leaning over the rail spellbound with curiosity.
He made a quick movement with his baton and the
singing instantly ceased. She saw that he was the
only white man hi the boat the six rowers were
"Narcissus ahoy !" he called politely.
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE II
"What s the idea of all the discord?" demanded
Ardita cheerfully. "Is this the varsity crew from
the county nut farm ? "
By this time the boat was scraping the side of
the yacht and a great hulking negro in the bow
turned round and grasped the ladder. Thereupon
the leader left his position in the stern and before
Ardita had realized his intention he ran up the lad
der and stood breathless before her on the deck.
"The women and children will be spared!" he
said briskly. "All crying babies will be immedi
ately drowned and all males put in double irons !"
Digging her hands excitedly down into the pockets
of her dress Ardita stared at him, speechless with
He was a young man with a scornful mouth and
the bright blue eyes of a healthy baby set in a dark
sensitive face. His hair was pitch black, damp
and curly the hair of a Grecian statue gone bru
nette. He was trimly built, trimly dressed, and
graceful as an agile quarter-back.
"Well, I ll be a son of a gun !" she said dazedly.
They eyed each other coolly.
"Do you surrender the ship?"
"Is this an outburst of wit?" demanded Ardita.
"Are you an idiot or just being initiated to some
"I asked you if you surrendered the ship."
"I thought the country was dry," said Ardita
disdainfully. "Have you been drinking finger-nail
enamel ? You better get off this yacht ! "
12 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"What?" The young man s voice expressed in
" Get off the yacht ! You heard me ! "
He looked at her for a moment as if considering
what she had said.
"No," said his scornful mouth slowly; "no, I
won t get off the yacht. You can get off if you wish."
Going to the rail he gave a curt command and im
mediately the crew of the rowboat scrambled up the
ladder and ranged themselves in line before him, a
coal-black and burly darky at one end and a minia
ture mulatto of four feet nine at the other. They
seemed to be uniformly dressed in some sort of blue
costume ornamented with dust, mud, and tatters;
over the shoulder of each was slung a small, heavy-
looking white sack, and under their arms they car
ried large black cases apparently containing musical
" Ten-shun!" commanded the young man, snap
ping his own heels together crisply. "Right driss !
Front ! Step out here, Babe ! "
The smallest negro took a quick step forward and
"Take command, go down below, catch the crew
and tie em up all except the engineer. Bring
him up to me. Oh, and pile those bags by the rail
Babe saluted again and wheeling about motioned
for tfcc five others to gather about him. Then after
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 13
a short whispered consultation they all filed noise
lessly down the companionway.
"Now," said the young man cheerfully to Ar-
dita, who had witnessed this last scene in wither
ing silence, "if you will swear on your honor as a
flapper which probably isn t worth much that
you ll keep that spoiled little mouth of yours tight
shut for forty-eight hours, you can row yourself
ashore in our rowboat."
"Otherwise you re going to sea in a ship."
With a little sigh as for a crisis well passed, the
young man sank into the settee Ardita had lately
vacated and stretched his arms lazily. The corners
of his mouth relaxed appreciatively as he looked
round at the rich striped awning, the polished brass,
and the luxurious fittings of the deck. His eye fell
on the book, and then on the exhausted lemon.
"Hm," he said, "Stonewall Jackson claimed that
lemon-juice cleared his head. Your head feel pretty
Ardita disdained to answer.
"Because inside of five minutes you ll have to
make a clear decision whether it s go or stay."
He picked up the book and opened it curiously.
"The Revolt of the Angels. Sounds pretty good.
French, eh?" He stared at her with new interest.
"What s your name?"
14 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"Well, Ardita, no use standing up there and chew
ing out the insides of your mouth. You ought to
break those nervous habits while you re young.
Come over here and sit down."
Ardita took a carved jade case from her pocket,
extracted a cigarette and lit it with a conscious
coolness, though she knew her hand was trembling
a little; then she crossed over with her supple,
swinging walk, and sitting down in the other settee
blew a mouthful of smoke at the awning.
"You can t get me off this yacht," she said
steadily; "and you haven t got very much sense
if you think you ll get far with it. My uncle ll have
wirelesses zigzagging all over this ocean by half
She looked quickly at his face, caught anxiety
stamped there plainly in the faintest depression of
the mouth s corners.
"It s all the same to me," she said, shrugging her
shoulders. " Tisn t my yacht. I don t mind going
for a coupla hours cruise. I ll even lend you that
book so you ll have something to read on the rev
enue boat that takes you up to Sing Sing."
He laughed scornfully.
"If that s advice you needn t bother. This is
part of a plan arranged before I ever knew this yacht
existed. If it hadn t been this one it d have been
the next one we passed anchored along the coast."
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 15
"Who are you?" demanded Ardita suddenly.
"And what are you?"
"You ve decided not to go ashore?"
"I never even faintly considered it."
"We re generally known," he said, "all seven of
us, as Curtis Carlyle and his Six Black Buddies,
late of the Winter Garden and the Midnight Frc^c."
"You re singers?"
"We were until to-day. At present, due to those
white bags you see there, we re fugitives from jus
tice, and if the reward offered for our capture hasn t
by this time reached twenty thousand dollars I miss
"What s in the bags?" asked Ardita curiously.
"Well," he said, "for the present we ll call it-
mud Florida mud."
Within ten minutes after Curtis Carlyle s inter
view with a very frightened engineer the yacht Nar
cissus was under way, steaming south through a
balmy tropical twilight. The little mulatto, Babe,
who seemed to have Carlyle s implicit cc ifidence,
took full command of the situation. Mr. Farnam s
valet and the chef, the only member? of the crew on
board except the engineer, having shown fight, were
now reconsidering, strapped securely to their bunks
below. Trombone Mose, the biggest negro, was
set busy with a can of paint obliterating the name
Narcissus from the bow, and substituting the name
1 6 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Hula Hula, and the others congregated aft and be
came intently involved in a game of craps.
Having given orders for a meal to be prepared
and served on deck at seven-thirty, Carlyle rejoined
Ardita, and, sinking back into his settee, half closed
his eyes and fell into a state of profound abstraction.
Ardita scrutinized him carefully and classed him
immediately as a romantic figure. He gave the
effect of towering self-confidence erected on a slight
foundation just under the surface of each of his
decisions she discerned a hesitancy that was in de
cided contrast to the arrogant curl of his lips.
"He s not like me," she thought. " There s a
Being a supreme egotist Ardita frequently thought
about herself; never having had her egotism dis
puted she did it entirely naturally and with no de
traction from her unquestioned charm. Though
she was nineteen she gave the effect of a high-
spirited precocious child, and in the present glow of
her youth and beauty all the men and women she
had known were but driftwood on the ripples of
her temperament. She had met other egotists in
fact she found that selfish people bored her rather
less than unselfish people but as yet there had not
been one she had not eventually defeated and brought
to her feet.
But though she recognized an egotist in the set
tee next to her, she felt none of that usual shutting
of doors in her mind which meant clearing ship for
action; on the contrary her instinct told her that
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 17
this man was somehow completely pregnable and
quite defenseless. When Ardita defied convention
and of late it had been her chief amusement it
was from an intense desire to be herself, and she
felt that this man, on the contrary, was preoccupied
with his own defiance.
She was much more interested in him than she
was in her own situation, which affected her as the
prospect of a matinee might affect a ten-year-old
child. She had implicit confidence in her ability to
take care of herself under any and all circumstances.
The night deepened. A pale new moon smiled
misty-eyed upon the sea, and as the shore faded dimly
out and dark clouds were blown like leaves along
the far horizon a great haze of moonshine suddenly
bathed the yacht and spread an avenue of glittering
mail hi her swift path. From time to time there
was the bright flare of a match as one of them
lighted a cigarette, but except for the low under
tone of the throbbing engines and the even wash
of the waves about the stern the yacht was quiet as
a dream boat star-bound through the heavens.
Round them flowed the smell of the night sea, bring
ing with it an infinite languor.
Carlyle broke the silence at last.
"Lucky girl/ he sighed, "I ve always wanted to
be rich and buy all this beauty."
"I d rather be you," she said frankly.
"You would for about a day. But you do seem
to possess a lot of nerve for a flapper."
l8 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"I wish you wouldn t call me that."
"Beg your pardon."
"As to nerve," she continued slowly, "it s my
one redeeming feature. I m not afraid of anything
in heaven or earth."
"Hm, I am."
"To be afraid," said Ardita, "a person has either
to be very great and strong or else a coward. I m
neither." She paused for a moment, and eager
ness crept into her tone. "But I want to talk about
you. What on earth have you done and how did
you do it?"
"Why?" he demanded cynically. "Going to
write a movie about me?"
"Go on," she urged. "Lie to me by the moon
light. Do a fabulous story."
A negro appeared, switched on a string of small
lights under the awning, and began setting the
wicker table for supper. And while they ate cold
sliced chicken, salad, artichokes, and strawberry jam
from the plentiful larder below, Carlyle began to
talk, hesitatingly at first, but eagerly as he saw she
was interested. Ardita scarcely touched her food
as she watched his dark young face handsome,
ironic, faintly ineffectual.
He began life as a poor kid in a Tennessee town,
he said, so poor that his people were the only white
family in their street. He never remembered any
white children but there were inevitably a dozen
pickaninnies streaming in his trail, passionate ad
mirers whom he kept in tow by the vividness of his
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 19
imagination and the amount of trouble he was al
ways getting them in and out of. And it seemed
that this association diverted a rather unusual mu
sical gift into a strange channel.
There had been a colored woman named Belle
Pope Calhoun who played the piano at parties given
for white children nice white children that would
have passed Curtis Carlyle with a sniff. But the
ragged little "poh white" used to sit beside her
piano by the hour and try to get in an alto with one
of those kazoos that boys hum through. Before he
was thirteen he was picking up a living teasing rag
time out of a battered violin in little cafes round
Nashville. Eight years later the ragtime craze hit
the country, and he took six darkies on the Orpheum
circuit. Five of them were boys he had grown up
with; the other was the little mulatto, Babe Divine,
who was a wharf nigger round New York, and long
before that a plantation hand in Bermuda, until he
stuck an eight-inch stiletto in his master s back.
Almost before Carlyle realized his good fortune he
was on Broadway, with offers of engagements on all
sides, and more money than he had ever dreamed
It was about then that a change began in his
whole attitude, a rather curious, embittering change.
It was when he realized that he was spending the
golden years of his life gibbering round a stage with
a lot of black men. His act was good of its kind-
three trombones, three saxaphones, and Carlyle s
flute and it was his own peculiar sense of rhythm
20 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
that made all the difference; but he began to grow
strangely sensitive about it, began to hate the
thought of appearing, dreaded it from day to day.
They were making money each contract he
signed called for more but when he went to man
agers and told them that he wanted to separate
from his sextet and go on as a regular pianist, they
laughed at him and told him he was crazy it would
be an artistic suicide. He used to laugh afterward
at the phrase " artistic suicide. 7 They all used it.
Half a dozen times they played at private dances
at three thousand dollars a night, and it seemed as
if these crystallized all his distaste for his mode of
livelihood. They took place in clubs and houses
that he couldn t have gone into in the daytime.
After all, he was merely playing the role of the eternal
monkey, a sort of sublimated chorus man. He was
sick of the very smell of the theatre, of powder and
rouge and the chatter of the greenroom, and the
patronizing approval of the boxes. He couldn t
put his heart into it any more. The idea of a slow
approach to the luxury of leisure drove him wild.
He was, of course, progressing toward it, but,
like a child, eating his ice-cream so slowly that he
couldn t taste it at all.
He wanted to have a lot of money and tune, and
opportunity to read and play, and the sort of men
and women round him that he could never have
the kind who, if they thought of him at all, would
have considered him rather contemptible; in short
he wanted all those things which he was beginning
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 21
to lump under the general head of aristocracy, an
aristocracy which it seemed almost any money
could buy except money made as he was making it.
He was twenty-five then, without family or educa
tion or any promise that he would succeed in a busi
ness career. He began speculating wildly, and within
three weeks he had lost every cent he had saved.
Then the war came. He went to Plattsburg, and
even there his profession followed him. A brigadier-
general called him up to headquarters and told him
he could serve the country better as a band leader
so he spent the war entertaining celebrities behind
the line with a headquarters band. It was not so
bad except that when the infantry came limping
back from the trenches he wanted to be one of them.
The sweat and mud they wore seemed only one of
those ineffable symbols of aristocracy that were
forever eluding him.
"It was the private dances that did it. After I
came back from the war the old routine started.
We had an offer from a syndicate of Florida hotels.
It was only a question of tune then."
He broke off and Ardita looked at him expect
antly, but he shook his head.
"No," he said, "I m not going to tell you about
it. I m enjoying it too much, and I m afraid I d
lose a little of that enjoyment if I shared it with
any one else. I want to hang on to those few breath
less, heroic moments when I stood out before them
all and let them know I was more than a damn
bobbing, squawking clown."
22 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
From up forward came suddenly the low sound
of singing. The negroes had gathered together on
the deck and their voices rose together in a haunting
melody that soared in poignant harmonics toward
the moon. And Ardita listened in enchantment.
Mammy wanna take me downa milky way,
Pappy say to-morra-a-a-ah !
But mammy say to-day,
Yes mammy say to-day ! "
Carlyle sighed and was silent for a moment, look
ing up at the gathered host of stars blinking like arc-
lights in the warm sky. The negroes song had died
away to a plaintive humming and it seemed as if
minute by minute the brightness and the great
silence were increasing until he could almost hear
the midnight toilet of the mermaids as they combed
their silver dripping curls under the moon and gos
siped to each other of the fine wrecks they lived in
on the green opalescent avenues below.
"You see," said Carlyle softly, "this is the beauty
I want. Beauty has got to be astonishing, astound
ing it s got to burst in on you like a dream, like
the exquisite eyes of a girl."
He turned to her, but she was silent.
"You see, don t you, Anita I mean, Ardita?"
Again she made no answer. She had been sound
asleep for some time.
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 23
In the dense sun-flooded noon of next day a spot
in the sea before them resolved casually into a
green-and-gray islet, apparently composed of a
great granite cliff at its northern end which slanted
south through a mile of vivid coppice and grass to
a sandy beach melting lazily into the surf. When
Ardita, reading in her favorite seat, came to the
last page of The Revolt of the Angels, and slam
ming the book shut looked up and saw it, she gave
a little cry of delight, and called to Carlyle, who was
standing moodily by the rail.
"Is this it? Is this where you re going?"
Carlyle shrugged his shoulders carelessly.
" You ve got me." He raised his voice and called
up to the acting skipper: "Oh, Babe, is this your
The mulatto s miniature head appeared from
round the corner of the deck-house.
"Yas-suh! This yeah s it."
Carlyle joined Ardita.
"Looks sort of sporting, doesn t it?"
"Yes," she agreed ; " but it doesn t look big enough
to be much of a hiding-place."
"You still putting your faith in those wirelesses
your uncle was going to have zigzagging round?"
"No ; " said Ardita frankly. "I m all for you.
I d really like to see you make a get-away."
"You re our Lady Luck. Guess we ll have to
24 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
keep you with us as a mascot for the present,
"You couldn t very well ask me to swim back/
she said coolly. "If you do I m going to start
writing dime novels founded on that interminable
history of your life you gave me last night."
He flushed and stiffened slightly.
"I m very sorry I bored you."
"Oh, you didn t until just at the end with some
story about how furious you were because you
couldn t dance with the ladies you played music for."
He rose angrily.
"You have got a darn mean little tongue."
"Excuse me," she said, melting into laughter,
"but I m not used to having men regale me with
the story of their life ambitions especially if they ve
lived such deathly platonic lives."
" Why ? What do men usually regale you with ? "
"Oh, they talk about me," she yawned. "They
tell me I m the spirit of youth and .beauty."
"What do you teU them?"
"Oh, I agree quietly."
"Does every man you meet tell you he loves
"Why shouldn t he? All life is just a progres
sion toward, and then a recession from, one phrase
I love you. "
Carlyle laughed and sat down.
"That s very true. That s that s not bad. Did
you make that up?"
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 25
"Yes or rather I found it out. It doesn t mean
anything especially. It s just clever."
"It s the sort of remark," he said gravely, that s
typical of your class."
"Oh," she interrupted impatiently, "don t start
that lecture on aristocracy again! I distrust peo
ple who can be intense at this hour in the morning.
It s a mild form of insanity a sort of breakfast-
food jag. Morning s the time to sleep, swim, and
Ten minutes later they had swung round in a
wide circle as if to approach the island from the
"There s a trick somewhere," commented Ardita
thoughtfully. "He can t mean mst to anchor up
against this cliff."
They were heading straight in now toward the
solid rock, which must have been well over a hun
dred feet tall, and not until they were within fifty
yards of it did Ardita see their objective. Then
she clapped her hands in delight. There was a
break in the cliff entirely hidden by a curious over
lapping of rock, and through this break the yacht
entered and very slowly traversed a narrow channel
of crystal-clear water between high gray walls.
Then they were riding at anchor in a miniature
world of green and gold, a gilded bay smooth as
glass and set round with tiny palms, the whole re
sembling the mirror lakes and twig trees that chil
dren set up in sand piles.
"Not so darned bad!" cried Carlyle excitedly.
26 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"I guess that little coon knows his way round this
corner of the Atlantic."
His exuberance was contagious, and Ardita be
came quite jubilant.
"It s an absolutely sure-fire hiding-place!"
"Lordy, yes! It s the sort of island you read
The rowboat was lowered into the golden lake and
they pulled ashore.
"Come on," said Carlyle as they landed in the
slushy sand, "we ll go exploring."
The fringe of palms was in turn ringed in by a
round mile of flat, sandy country. They followed
it south and brushing through a farther rim of tropi
cal vegetation came out on a pearl-gray virgin beach
where Ardita kicked off her brown golf shoes she
seemed to have permanently abandoned stockings
and went wading. Then they sauntered back to
the yacht, where the indefatigable Babe had luncheon
ready for them. He had posted a lookout on the
high cliff to the north to watch the sea on both sides,
though he doubted if the entrance to the cliff was
generally known he had never even seen a map
on which the island was marked.
"What s its name," asked Ardita "the island,
"No name tall," chuckled Babe. "Reckin she
jus island, at s all."
In the late afternoon they sat with their backs
against great boulders on the highest part of the
cliff and Carlyle sketched for her his vague plans.
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 27
He was sure they were hot after him by this time.
The total proceeds of the coup he had pulled off,
and concerning which he still refused to enlighten
her, he estimated as just under a million dollars.
He counted on lying up here several weeks and then
setting off southward, keeping well outside the usual
channels of travel, rounding the Horn and heading
for Callao, in Peru. The details of coaling and pro
visioning he was leaving entirely to Babe, who, it
seemed, had sailed these seas in every capacity
from cabin-boy aboard a coffee trader to virtual
first mate on a Brazilian pirate craft, whose skipper
had long since been hung.
"If he d been white he d have been king of South
America long ago/ said Carlyle emphatically.
"When it comes to intelligence he makes Booker
T. Washington look like a moron. He s got the
guile of every race and nationality whose blood is
in his veins, and that s half a dozen or I m a liar.
He worships me because I m the only man in the
world who can play better ragtime than he can.
We used to sit together on the wharfs down on the
New York water-front, he with a bassoon and me
with an oboe, and we d blend minor keys in African
harmonics a thousand years old until the rats would
crawl up the posts and sit round groaning and squeak
ing like dogs will in front of a phonograph."
"How you can tell em!"
"I swear that s the gos "
28 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"What you going to do when you get to Callao?"
"Take ship for India. I want to be a rajah. I
mean it. My idea is to go up into Afghanistan
somewhere, buy up a palace and a reputation, and
then after about five years appear in England with
a foreign accent and a mysterious past. But India
first. Do you know, they say that all the gold in
the world drifts very gradually back to India.
Something fascinating about that to me. And I
want leisure to read an immense amount."
"How about after that?"
"Then," he answered defiantly, "comes aristoc
racy. Laugh if you want to but at least you ll
have to admit that I know what I want which I
imagine is more than you do."
"On the contrary," contradicted Ardita, reach
ing in her pocket for her cigarette case, "when I
met you I was in the midst of a great uproar of all
my friends and relatives because I did know what
"What was it?"
"You mean you were engaged?"
"After a fashion. If you hadn t come aboard I
had every intention of slipping ashore yesterday
evening how long ago it seems and meeting him
in Palm Beach. He s waiting there for me with a
bracelet that once belonged to Catharine of Russia.
Now don t mutter anything about aristocracy,"
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 29
she put in quickly. "I liked him simply because
he had had an imagination and the utter courage
of his convictions."
"But your family disapproved, eh?"
"What there is of it only a silly uncle and a
sillier aunt. It seems he got into some scandal with
a red-haired woman named Mimi something it
was frightfully exaggerated, he said, and men don t
lie to me and anyway I didn t care what he d
done; it -was the future that counted. And I d
see to that. When a man s in love with me he
doesn t care for other amusements. I told him to
drop her like a hot cake, and he did."
"I feel rather jealous," said Carlyle, frowning
and then he laughed. "I guess I ll just keep you
along with us until we get to Callao. Then I ll lend
you enough money to get back to the States. By
that time you ll have had a chance to think that
gentleman over a little more."
"Don t talk to me like that!" fired up Ardita.
"I won t tolerate the parental attitude from any
body! Do you understand me?"
He chuckled and then stopped, rather abashed,
as her cold anger seemed to fold him about and
"I m sorry," he offered uncertainly.
Oh, don t apologize! I can t stand men who
say I m sorry hi that manly, reserved tone. Just
A pause ensued, a pause which Carlyle found
rather awkward, but which Ardita seemed not to
30 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
notice at all as she sat contentedly enjoying her
cigarette and gazing out at the shining sea. After
a minute she crawled out on the rock and lay with
her face over the edge looking down. Carlyle,
watching her, reflected how it seemed impossible for
her to assume an ungraceful attitude.
"Oh, look!" she cried. "There s a lot of sort
jf ledges down there. Wide ones of all different
He joined her and together they gazed down the
"Well go swimming to-night !" she said excitedly.
"Wouldn t you rather go in at the beach on the
"Not a chance. I like to dive. You can use
my uncle s bathing-suit, only it ll fit you like a
gunny sack, because he s a very flabby man. I ve
got a one-piece affair that s shocked the natives all
along the Atlantic coast from Biddeford Pool to
"I suppose you re a shark."
"Yes, I m pretty good. And I look cute too.
A sculptor up at Rye last summer told me my
calves were worth five hundred dollars."
There didn t seem to be any answer to this, so
Carlyle was silent, permitting himself only a dis
creet interior smile.
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 31
When the night crept down in shadowy blue and
silver they threaded the shimmering channel in the
rowboat and, tying it to a jutting rock, began climb
ing the cliff together. The first shelf was ten feet
up, wide, and furnishing a natural diving platform.
There they sat down hi the bright moonlight and
watched the faint incessant surge of the waters,
almost stilled now as the tide set seaward.
"Are you happy?" he asked suddenly.
" Always happy near the sea. You know," she
went on, "Fve been thinking all day that you and
I are somewhat alike. We re both rebels only for
different reasons. Two years ago, when I was just
eighteen, and you were "
" well, we were both conventional successes. I
was an utterly devastating debutante and you were
a prosperous musician just commissioned in the
"Gentleman by act of Congress," he put in ironi
"Well, at any rate, we both fitted. If our cor
ners were not rubbed off they were at least pulled
in. But deep in us both was something that made
us require more for happiness. I didn t know what
I wanted. I went from man to man, restless, im
patient, month by month getting less acquiescent
32 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
and more dissatisfied. I used to sit sometimes chew
ing at the insides of my mouth and thinking I was
going crazy I had a frightful sense of transiency.
I wanted things now now now! Here I was
beautiful I am, aren t I?"
"Yes," agreed Carlyle tentatively.
Ardita rose suddenly.
"Wait a second. I want to try this delightful-
She walked to the end of the ledge and shot out
over the sea, doubling up in mid-air and then
straightening out and entering the water straight
as a blade in a perfect jack-knife dive.
In a minute her voice floated up to him.
"You see, I used to read all day and most of the
night. I began to resent society "
"Come on up here," he interrupted. "What on
earth are you doing?"
"Just floating round on my back. I ll be up in
a minute. Let me tell you. The only thing I en
joyed was shocking people; wearing something quite
impossible and quite charming to a fancy-dress party,
going round with the fastest men hi New York, and
getting into some of the most hellish scrapes imag
The sounds of splashing mingled with hr words,
and then he heard her hurried breathing as she be
gan climbing up the side to the ledge.
"Go on in!" she called.
Obediently he rose and dived. When he emerged,
dripping, and made the climb he found that she was
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 33
no longer on the ledge, but after a frightened second
he heard her light laughter from another shelf ten
feet up. There he joined her and they both sat
quietly for a moment, their arms clasped round their
knees, panting a little from the climb.
"The family were wild," she said suddenly.
"They tried to marry me off. And then when I d
begun to feel that after all life was scarcely worth
living I found something " her eyes went skyward
exultantly "I found something!"
Carlyle waited and her words came with a rush.
"Courage just that; courage as a rule of life,
and something to cling to always. I began to build
up this enormous faith in myself. I began to see
that in all my idols in the past some manifestation
of courage had unconsciously been the thing that
attracted me. I began separating courage from the
other things of life. All sorts of courage the beaten,
bloody prize-fighter coming up for more I used to
make men take me to prize-fights; the declasse*
woman sailing through a nest of cats and looking
at them as if they were mud under her feet; the
liking what you like always; the utter disregard for
other people s opinions just to live as I liked always
and to die in my own way Did you bring up
He handed one over and held a match for her
"Still," Ardita continued, "the men kept gather
ing old men and young men, my mental and physi
cal inferiors, most of them, but all intensely desiring
34 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
to have me to own this rather magnificent proud
tradition I d built up round me. Do you see?"
"Sort of. You never were beaten and you never
She sprang to the edge, poised for a moment like
a crucified figure against the sky; then describing
a dark parabola plunked without a slash between
two silver ripples twenty feet below.
Her voice floated up to him again.
"And courage to me meant ploughing through
that dull gray mist that comes down on life not
only overriding people and circumstances but over
riding the bleakness of living. A sort of insistence
on the value of life and the worth of transient things."
She was climbing up now, and at her last words
her head, with the damp yellow hair slicked sym
metrically back, appeared on his level.
"All very well," objected Carlyle. "You can
call it courage, but your courage is really built, after
all, on a pride of birth. You were bred to that
defiant attitude. On my gray days even courage
is one of the things that s gray and lifeless."
She was sitting near the edge, hugging her knees
and gazing abstractedly at the white moon; he was
farther back, crammed like a grotesque god into a
niche in the rock.
"I don t want to sound like Pollyanna," she be
gan, "but you haven t grasped me yet. My cour
age is faith faith in the eternal resilience of me
that joy ll come back, and hope and spontaneity.
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 35
And I feel that till it does I ve got to keep my lips
shut and my chin high, and my eyes wide not
necessarily any silly smiling. Oh, I ve been through
hell without a whine quite often and the female
hell is deadlier than the male."
"But supposing," suggested Carlyle, "that before
joy and hope and all that came back the curtain was
drawn on you for good?"
Ardita rose, and going to the wall climbed with
some difficulty to the next ledge, another ten or
fifteen feet above.
"Why," she called back, "then I d have won!"
He edged out till he could see her.
"Better not dive from there! You ll break your
back," he said quickly.
Slowly she spread her arms and stood there swan-
like, radiating a pride in her young perfection that
lit a warm glow in Carlyle s heart.
"We re going through the black air with our
arms wide," she called, "and our feet straight out
behind like a dolphin s tail, and we re going to think
we ll never hit the silver down there till suddenly
it ll be all warm round us and full of little kissing,
Then she was in the air, and Carlyle involun
tarily held his breath. He had not realized that
the dive was nearly forty feet. It seemed an eter
nity before he heard the swift compact sound as she
reached the sea.
36 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
And it was with his glad sigh of relief when her
light watery laughter curled up the side of the cliff
and into his anxious ears that he knew he loved her.
Time, having no axe to grind, showered down
upon them three days of afternoons. When the
sun cleared the port-hole of Ardita s cabin an
hour after dawn she rose cheerily, donned her
bathing-suit, and went up on deck. The negroes
would leave their work when they saw her, and
crowd, chuckling and chattering, to the rail as she
floated, an agile minnow, on and under the surface
of the clear water. Again in the cool of the after
noon she would swim and loll and smoke with
Carlyle upon the cliff; or else they would lie on
their sides in the sands of the southern beach, talk
ing little, but watching the day fade colorfully and
tragically into the infinite languor of a tropical
And with the long, sunny hours Ardita s idea of
the episode as incidental, madcap, a sprig of romance
in a desert of reality, gradually left her. She dreaded
the time when he would strike off southward; she
dreaded all the eventualities that presented them
selves to her; thoughts were suddenly troublesome
and decisions odious. Had prayers found place in
the pagan rituals of her soul she would have asked
of life only to be unmolested for a while, lazily
acquiescent to the ready, naif flow of Carlyle s
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 37
ideas, his vivid boyish imagination, and the vein of
monomania that seemed to run crosswise through
his temperament and colored his every action.
But this is not a story of two on an island, nor
concerned primarily with love bred of isolation. It
is merely the presentation of two personalities, and
its idyllic setting among the palms of the Gulf
Stream is quite incidental. Most of us are content
o^exist and breed and nghtTor the right JULdpJaojh^
aJuLfche dominant idea, the foredoomed attempt to
control one s destiny, is reserved for the fortunate
)T"u;5ortunate few. To me~the interesting thing
ar56Hf~Ardita is the courage that will tarnish with
her beauty and youth.
"Take me with you," she said late one night as
they sat lazily in the grass under the shadowy
spreading palms. The negroes had brought ashore
their musical instruments, and the sound of weird
ragtime was drifting softly over on the warm breath
of the night. "I d love to reappear in ten years as
a fabulously wealthy high-caste Indian lady," she
Carlyle looked at her quickly.
"You can, you know."
"Is it a proposal of marriage? Extra! Ardita
Farnam becomes pirate s bride. Society girl kid
napped by ragtime bank robber."
"It wasn t a bank."
"What was it? Why won t you tell me?"
"I don t want to break down your illusions."
38 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"My dear man, I have no illusions about you."
"I mean your illusions about yourself."
She looked up in surprise.
"About myself! What on earth have I got to
do with whatever stray felonies you ve commit
"That remains to be seen."
She reached over and patted his hand.
"Dear Mr. Curtis Carlyle," she said softly, "are
you in love with me?"
"As if it mattered."
"But it does because I think I m in love with
He looked at her ironically.
"Thus swelling your January total to half a
dozen," he suggested. "Suppose I call your bluff
and ask you to come to India with me?"
He shrugged his shoulders.
"We can get married in Callao."
"What sort of life can you offer me? I don t
mean that unkindly, but seriously; what would
become of me if the people who want that twenty-
thousand-dollar reward ever catch up with you?"
"I thought you weren t afraid."
"I never am but I won t throw my life away
just to show one man I m not."
"I wish you d been poor. Just a little poor girl
dreaming over a fence in a warm cow country."
"Wouldn t it have been nice?"
"I d have enjoyed astonishing you watching
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 39
your eyes open on things. If you only wanted
things ! Don t you see?"
"I know like girls who stare into the windows
of jewelry -stores."
"Yes and want the big oblong watch that s
platinum and has diamonds all round the edge.
Only you d decide it was too expensive and choose
one of white gold for a hundred dollars. Then I d
say: Expensive? I should say not! And we d
go into the store and pretty soon the platinum one
would be gleaming on your wrist."
"That sounds so nice and vulgar and fun, doesn t
it?" murmured Ardita.
"Doesn t it? Can t you see us travelling round
and spending money right and left, and being wor
shipped by bell-boys and waiters? Oh, blessed are
the simple rich, for they inherit the earth !"
"I honestly wish we were that way."
"I love you, Ardita," he said gently.
Her face lost its childish look for a moment and
became oddly grave.
"I love to be with you," she said, "more than
with any man I ve ever met. And I like your looks
and your dark old hair, and the way you go over
the side of the rail when we come ashore. In fact,
Curtis Carlyle, I like all the things you do when
you re perfectly natural. I think you ve got nerve,
and you know how I feel about that. Sometimes
when you re around I ve been tempted to kiss you
suddenly and tell you that you were just an ideal
istic boy with a lot of caste nonsense in his head.
40 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Perhaps if I were just a little bit older and a little
more bored I d go with you. As it is, I think I ll
go back and marry that other man."
Over across the silver lake the figures of the
negroes writhed and squirmed in the moonlight, like
acrobats who, having been too long inactive, must
go through their tricks from sheer surplus energy.
In single file they marched, weaving in concentric
circles, now with their heads thrown back, now bent
over their instruments like piping fauns. And from
trombone and saxaphone ceaselessly whined a
blended melody, sometimes riotous and jubilant,
sometimes haunting and plaintive as a death-dance
from the Congo s heart.
"Let s dance!" cried Ardita. "I can t sit still
with that perfect jazz going on."
Taking her hand he led her out into a broad
stretch of hard sandy soil that the moon flooded
with great splendor. They floated out like drifting
moths under the rich hazy light, and as the fantastic
symphony wept and exulted and wavered and de
spaired Ardita s last sense of reality dropped away,
and she abandoned her imagination to the dreamy
summer scents of tropical flowers and the infinite
starry spaces overhead, feeling that if she opened
her eyes it would be to find herself dancing with a
ghost in a land created by her own fancy.
"This is what I should call an exclusive private
dance," he whispered.
"I feel quite madbut delightfully mad !"
"We re enchanted. The shades of unnumbered
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 41
generations of cannibals are watching us from high
up on the side of the cliff there."
"And Fll bet the cannibal women are saying that
we dance too close, and that it was immodest of
me to come without my nose-ring."
They both laughed softly and then their laughter
died as over across the lake they heard the trom
bones stop in the middle of a bar, and the saxa-
phones give a startled moan and fc.de out.
" What s the matter?" caUed Carlyle.
After a moment s silence they made out the dark
figure of a man rounding the silver lake at a run.
As he came closer they saw it was Babe in a state
of unusual excitement. He drew up before them and
gasped out his news in a breath.
"Ship stan in off sho bout half a mile, suh.
Mose, he uz on watch, he say look s if she s done
"A ship what kind of a ship?" demanded Car-
Dismay was in his voice, and Ardita s heart gave
a sudden wrench as she saw his whole face suddenly
"He say he don t know, suh."
"Are they landing a boat?"
"We ll go up," said Carlyle.
They ascended the hill in silence, Ardita s hand
still resting in Carlyle s as it had when they finished
dancing. She felt it clinch nervously from time to
time as though he were unaware of the contact, but
42 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
though he hurt her she made no attempt to remove
it. It seemed an hour s climb before they reached
the top and crept cautiously across the silhouetted
plateau to the edge of the cliff. After one short look
Carlyle involuntarily gave a little cry. It was a
revenue boat with six-inch guns mounted fore and
"They know!" he said with a short intake of
breath. "Th?y know! They picked up the trail
"Are you sure they know about the channel?
They may be only standing by to take a look at the
island in the morning. From where they are they
couldn t see the opening in the cliff."
"They could with field-glasses," he said hope
lessly. He looked at his wrist- watch. "It s nearly
two now. They won t do anything until dawn,
that s certain. Of course there s always the faint
possibility that they re waiting for some other ship
to join; or for a coaler."
"I suppose we may as well stay right here."
The hours passed and they lay there side by side,
very silently, their chins in their hands like dream
ing children. In back of them squatted the negroes,
patient, resigned, acquiescent, announcing now and
then with sonorous snores that not even the presence
of danger could subdue their unconquerable African
craving for sleep.
Just before five o clock Babe approached Carlyle.
There were half a dozen rifles aboard the Narcissus
be said. Had it been decided to offer no resistance ?
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 43
A pretty good fight might be made, he thought, if
they worked out some plan.
Carlyle laughed and shook his head.
"That isn t a Spic army out there, Babe. That s
a revenue boat. It d be like a bow and arrow try
ing to fight a machine-gun. If you want to bury
those bags somewhere and take a chance on recov
ering them later, go on and do it. But it won t
work they d dig this island over from one end to
the other. It s a lost battle all round, Babe."
Babe inclined his head silently and turned away,
and Carlyle s voice was husky as he turned to Ardita.
"There s the best friend I ever had. He d die
for me, and be proud to, if I d let him."
"You ve given up?"
"I ve no choice. Of course there s always one
way out the sure waybut that can wait. I
wouldn t miss my trial for anything it ll be an
interesting experiment in notoriety. Miss Farnam
testifies that the pirate s attitude to her was at all
times that of a gentleman."
"Don t ! " she said. " I m awfully sorry."
When the color faded from the sky and lustreless
blue changed to leaden gray a commotion was visible
on the ship s deck, and they made out a group of
officers clad in white duck, gathered near the rail.
They had field-glasses in their hands and were at
tentively examining the islet.
"It s all up," said Carlyle grimly.
"Damn !" whispered Ardita. She felt tears gath
ering in her eyes.
44 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"We ll go back to the yacht," he said. "I prefer
that to being hunted out up here like a possum."
Leaving the plateau they descended the hill, and
reaching the lake were rowed out to the yacht by
the silent negroes. Then, pale and weary, they
sank into the settees and waited.
Half an hour later in the dim gray light the nose
of the revenue boat appeared in the channel and
stopped, evidently fearing that the bay might be
too shallow. From the peaceful look of the yacht,
the man and the girl in the settees, and the negroes
lounging curiously against the rail, they evidently
judged that there would be no resistance, for two
boats were lowered casually over the side, one con
taining an officer and six bluejackets, and the other,
four rowers and in the stern two gray-haired men
in yachting flannels. Ardita and Carlyle stood up,
and half unconsciously started toward each other.
Then he paused and putting his hand suddenly into
his pocket he pulled out a round, glittering object
and held it out to her.
"What is it?" she asked wonderingly.
"I m not positive, but I think from the Russian
inscription inside that it s your promised bracelet."
"Where where on earth
"It came out of one of those bags. You see,
Curtis Carlyle and his Six Black Buddies, in the
middle of their performance in the tea-room of the
hotel at Palm Beach, suddenly changed their in
struments for automatics and held up the crowd. I
took this bracelet from a pretty, overrouged woman
with red hair."
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 45
Ardita frowned and then smiled.
"So that s what you did ! You have got nerve !"
"A well-known bourgeois quality," he said.
And then dawn slanted dynamically across the
deck and flung the shadows reeling into gray cor
ners. The dew rose and turned to golden mist,
thin as a dream, enveloping them until they seemed
gossamer relics of the late night, infinitely transient
and already fading. For a moment sea and sky
were breathless, and dawn held a pink hand over
the young mouth of life then from out in the lake
came the complaint of a rowboat and the swish of
Suddenly against the golden furnace low in the
east their two graceful figures melted into one, and
he was kissing her spoiled young mouth.
"It s a sort of glory," he murmured after a
She smiled up at him.
"Happy, are you?"
Her sigh was a benediction an ecstatic surety
that she was youth and beauty now as much as she
would ever know. For another instant life was
radiant and time a phantom and their strength
eternal then there was a bumping, scraping sound
as the rowboat scraped alongside.
Up the ladder scrambled the two gray-haired
men, the officer and two of the sailors with their
hands on their revolvers. Mr. Farnam folded his
arms and stood looking at his niece.
46 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"So," he said, nodding his head slowly.
With a sigh her arms unwound from Carlyle s
neck, and her eyes, transfigured and far away, fell
upon the boarding party. Her uncle saw her upper
lip slowly swell into that arrogant pout he knew so
"So," he repeated savagely. "So this is your
idea of of romance. A runaway affair, with a
Ardita glanced at him carelessly.
"What an old fool you are!" she said quietly.
"Is that the best you can say for yourself?"
"No," she said as if considering. "No, there s
something else. There s that well-known phrase
with which I have ended most of our conversations
for the past few years Shut up ! "
And with that she turned, included the two old
men, the officer, and the two sailors in a curt glance
of contempt, and walked proudly down the com-
But had she waited an instant longer she would
have heard a sound from her uncle quite unfamiliar
in most of their interviews. He gave vent to a
whole-hearted amused chuckle, in which the second
old man joined.
The latter turned briskly to Carlyle, who had
been regarding this scene with an air of cryptic
"Well, Toby," he said genially, "you incurable,
hare-brained, romantic chaser of rainbows, did you
find that she was the person you wanted?"
THE OFFSHORE PIRATE 47
Carlyle smiled confidently.
"Why naturally," he said. "I ve been per
fectly sure ever since I first heard tell of her wild
career. That s why I had Babe send up the rocket
"I m glad you did," said Colonel Moreland
gravely. " We ve been keeping pretty close to you
in case you should have trouble with those six strange
niggers. And we hoped we d find you two in some
such compromising position," he sighed. "Well,
set a crank to catch a crank!"
"Your father and I sat up all night hoping for the
best or perhaps it s the worst. Lord knows you re
welcome to her, my boy. She s run me crazy. Did
you give her the Russian bracelet my detective got
from that Mimi woman?"
" Sh ! " he said. " She s coming on deck."
Ardita appeared at the head of the companion-
way and gave a quick involuntary glance at Carlyle s
wrists. A puzzled look passed across her face. Back
aft the negroes had begun to sing, and the cool lake,
fresh with dawn, echoed serenely to their low voices.
"Ardita," said Carlyle unsteadily.
She swayed a step toward him.
"Ardita," he repeated breathlessly, "I ve got to
tell you the the truth. It was all a plant, Ardita.
My name isn t Carlyle. It s Moreland, Toby
Moreland. The story was invented, Ardita, in
vented out of thin Florida air."
She stared at him, bewildered amazement, dis-
48 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
belief, and anger flowing in quick waves across her
face. The three men held their breaths. More-
land, Senior, took a step toward her; Mr. Farnam s
mouth dropped a little open as he waited, panic-
stricken, for the expected crash.
But it did not come. Ardita s face became sud
denly radiant, and with a little laugh she went
swiftly to young Moreland and looked up at him
without a trace of wrath in her gray eyes.
"Will you swear," she said quietly, "that it was
entirely a product of your own brain ?"
"I swear," said young Moreland eagerly.
She drew his head down and kissed him gently.
"What an imagination!" she said softly and
almost enviously. "I want you to lie to me just
as sweetly as you know how for the rest of my life."
The negroes 7 voices floated drowsily back, mingled
in an air that she had heard them sing before.
"Time is a thief;
Gladness and grief
Cling to the leaf
As it yellows "
"What was in the bags?" she asked softly.
"Florida mud," he answered. "That was one of
the two true things I told you."
"Perhaps I can guess the other one," she said;
and reaching up on her tiptoes she kissed him softly
in the illustration.
THE ICE PALACE
THE sunlight dripped over the house like golden
paint over an art jar, and the freckling shadows
here and there only intensified the rigor of the bath
of light. The Butterworth and Larkin houses
flanking were intrenched behind great stodgy trees;
only the Happer house took the full sun, and all
day long faced the dusty road-street with a tolerant
kindly patience. This was the city of Tarleton in
southernmost Georgia, September afternoon.
Up in her bedroom window Sally Carrol Happer
rested her nineteen-year-old chin on a fifty-two-year-
old sill and watched Clark Darrow s ancient Ford
turn the corner. The car was hot being partly
metallic it retained all the heat it absorbed or evolved
and Clark D arrow sitting bolt upright at the
wheel wore a pained, strained expression as though
he considered himself a spare part, and rather likely
to break. He laboriously crossed two dust ruts, the
wheels squeaking indignantly at the encounter, and
then with a terrifying expression he gave the steer
ing-gear a final wrench and deposited self and car
approximately in front of the Happer steps. There
was a plaintive heaving sound, a death-rattle, fol
lowed by a short silence; and then the air was rent
by a startling whistle.
Sally Carrol gazed down sleepily. She started
50 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
to yawn, but finding this quite impossible unless
she raised her chin from the window-sill, changed
her mind and continued silently to regard the car,
whose owner sat brilliantly if perfunctorily at at
tention as he waited for an answer to his signal.
After a moment the whistle once more split the
With difficulty Clark twisted his tall body round
and bent a distorted glance on the window.
"Tain t mawnin , Sally Carrol."
"Isn t it, sure enough?"
"What you doin ?"
"Eatin n apple."
"Come on go swimmin want to?"
"How bout hurryin up?"
Sally Carrol sighed voluminously and raised her
self with profound inertia from the floor, where she
had been occupied in alternately destroying parts of
a green apple and painting paper dolls for her younger
sister. She approached a mirror, regarded her ex
pression with a pleased and pleasant languor, dabbed
two spots of rouge on her lips and a grain of powder
on her nose, and covered her bobbed corn-colored
hair with a rose-littered sunbonnet. Then she
kicked over the painting water, said, "Oh, damn!"
but let it lay and left the room.
"How you, Clark?" she inquired a minute later
as she slipped nimbly over the side of the car.
THE ICE PALACE * 51
"Mighty fine, Sally Carrol."
"Where we go swimmin ?"
"Out to Walley s Pool. Told Marylyn we d call
by an get her an Joe Ewing."
Clark was dark and lean, and when on foot was
rather inclined to stoop. His eyes were ominous
and his expression somewhat petulant except when
startlingly illuminated by one of his frequent smiles.
Clark had "a income" just enough to keep him
self in ease and his car in gasolene and he had spent
the two years since he graduated from Georgia
Tech in dozing round the lazy streets of his home
town, discussing how he could best invest his capital
for an immediate fortune.
Hanging round he found not at all difficult; a
crowd of little girls had grown up beautifully, the
amazing Sally Carrol foremost among them; and
they enjoyed being swum with and danced with and
made love to in the flower-filled summery evenings
and they all liked Clark immensely. When fem
inine company palled there were half a dozen other
youths who were always just about to do something,
and meanwhile were quite willing to join him in a
few holes of golf, or a game of billiards, or the con
sumption of a quart of "hard yella licker." Every
once in a while one of these contemporaries made a
farewell round of calls before going up to New York
or Philadelphia or Pittsburgh to go into business,
but mostly they just stayed round in this languid
paradise of dreamy skies and firefly evenings and
noisy niggery street fairs and especially of gracious,
52 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
soft-voiced girls, who were brought up on memories
instead of money.
The Ford having been excited into a sort of
restless resentful life Clark and Sally Carrol rolled
and rattled down Valley Avenue into Jefferson
Street, where the dust road became a pavement;
along opiate Millicent Place, where there were half
a dozen prosperous, substantial mansions; and on
into the down-town section. Driving was perilous
here, for it was shopping tune; the population idled
casually across the streets and a drove of low-moan
ing oxen were being urged along in front of a placid
street-car; even the shops seemed only yawning
their doors and blinking their windows in the sun
shine before retiring into a state of utter and finite
"Sally Carrol," said Clark suddenly, "it a fact
that you re engaged ?"
She looked at him quickly.
"Where d you hear that?"
"Sure enough, you engaged?"
" At s a nice question!"
"Girl told me you were engaged to a Yankee
you met up in Asheville last summer."
Sally Carrol sighed.
"Never saw such an old town for rumors."
"Don t marry a Yankee, Sally Carrol. We need
you round here."
Sally Carrol was silent a moment.
"Clark," she demanded suddenly, "who on earth
shall I marry?"
THE ICE PALACE 53
"I offer my services."
"Honey, you couldn t support a wife," she an
swered cheerfully. "Anyway, I know you too well
to fall in love with you."
" At doesn t mean you ought to marry a Yankee,"
He shook his head.
"You couldn t. He d be a lot different from us,
He broke off as he halted the car in front of a
rambling, dilapidated house. Marylyn Wade and
Joe Ewing appeared in the doorway.
" Lo, Sally Carrol."
"Sally Carrol," demanded Marylyn as they
started off again, "you engaged?"
"Lawdy, where d all this start? Can t I look at
a man thout everybody in town engagin me to
Clark stared straight in front of him at a bolt on
the clattering wind-shield.
"Sally CaiTol," he said with a curious intensity,
"don t you like us?"
"Us down here?"
Why, Clark, you know I do. I adore all you
"Then why you gettin engaged to a Yankee?"
" Clark, I don t know. I m not sure what I ll do,
54 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
but well, I want to go places and see people. I
want my mind to grow. I want to live where things
happen on a big scale."
"What you mean?"
"Oh, Clark, I love you, and I love Joe here, and
Ben Arrot, and you-aU, but you ll you ll
"We ll all be failures?"
"Yes. I don t mean only money failures, but
just sort of of ineffectual and sad, and oh, how
can I tell you?"
"You mean because we stay here hi Tarleton?"
"Yes, Clark; and because you like it and never
want to change things or think or go ahead."
He nodded and she reached over and pressed his
"Clark," she said softly, "I wouldn t change you
for the world. You re sweet the way you are. The
things that ll make you fail I ll love always the
living in the past, the lazy days and nights you have,
and all your carelessness and generosity."
"But you re goin away?"
"Yes because I couldn t ever marry you.
You ve a place hi my heart no one else ever could
have, but tied down here I d get restless. I d feel
I was wastin myself. There s two sides to me,
you see. There s the sleepy old side you love; an
there s a sort of energy the feelin that makes me
do wild things. That s the part of me that may
be useful somewhere, that ll last when I m not beau
tiful any more."
THE ICE PALACE 55
She broke off with characteristic suddenness and
sighed, "Oh, sweet cooky!" as her mood changed.
Half closing her eyes and tipping back her head
till it rested on the seat-back she let the savory
breeze fan her eyes and ripple the fluffy curls of her
bobbed hair. They were in the country now,
hurrying between tangled growths of bright-green
coppice and grass and tall trees that sent sprays of
foliage to hang a cool welcome over the road. Here
and there they passed a battered negro cabin, its
oldest white-haired inhabitant smoking a corncob
pipe beside the door, and half a dozen scantily
clothed ^pickaninnies parading tattered dolls on the
wild-grown grass in front. Farther out were lazy
cotton-fields, where even the workers seemed in
tangible shadows lent by the sun to the earth, not
for toil, but to while away some age-old tradition
in the golden September fields. And round the
drowsy picturesqueness, over the trees and shacks
and muddy rivers, flowed the heat, never hostile,
only comforting, like a great warm nourishing bosom
for the infant earth.
"Sally Carrol, we re here!"
"Poor chile s soun asleep."
"Honey, you dead at last outa sheer laziness?"
"Water, Sally Carrol! Cool water waitin for
Her eyes opened sleepily.
"Hi!" she murmured, smiling.
$6 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
In November Harry Bellamy, tall, broad, and
brisk, came down from his Northern city to spend
four days. His intention was^to settle a matter that
had been hanging fire since he and Sally Carrol had
met in Asheville, North Carolina, in midsummer.
The settlement took only a quiet afternoon and an
evening in front of a glowing open fire, for Harry
Bellamy had everything she wanted; and, besides,
she loved him loved him with that side of her she
kept especially for loving. Sally Carrol had several
rather clearly defined sides.
On his last afternoon they walked, and she found
their steps tending half-unconsciously toward one
of her favorite haunts, the cemetery. When it
came in sight, gray-white and golden-green under
the cheerful late sun, she paused, irresolute, by the
"Are you mournful by nature, Harry?" she asked
with a faint smile.
"Mournful? Not I."
"Then let s go in here. It depresses some folks,
but I like it."
They passed through the gateway and followed a
path that led through a wavy valley of graves
dusty-gray and mouldy for the fifties; quaintly
carved with flowers and jars for the seventies; ornate
and hideous for the nineties, with fat marble cherubs
lying in sodden sleep on stone pillows, and great
impossible growths of nameless granite flowers.
THE ICE PALACE 57
Occasionally they saw a kneeling figure with trib
utary flowers, but over most of the graves lay silence
and withered leaves with only the fragrance that
their own shadowy memories could waken in living
They reached the top of a hill where they were
fronted by a tall, round head-stone, freckled with
dark spots of damp and half grown over with
"Marger> Lee," she read; "1844-1873. Wasn t
she nice? She died when she was twenty-nine.
Dear Margery Lee," she added softly. "Can t you
see her, Harry?"
"Yes, Sally Carrol."
He felt a little hand insert itself into his.
"She was dark, I think; and she always wore
her hair with a ribbon in it, and gorgeous hoop-
skirts of alice blue and old rose."
"Oh, she was sweet, Harry! And she was the
sort of girl born to stand on a wide, pillared porch
and welcome folks in. I think perhaps a lot of men
went away to war meanin to come back to her;
but maybe none of em ever did."
He stooped down close to the stone, hunting for
any record of marriage.
"There s nothing here to show."
"Of course not. How could there be anything
there better than just Margery Lee, and that elo
She drew close to him and an unexpected lump
58 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
came into his throat as her yellow hair brushed his
"You see how she was, don t you, Harry?"
"I see," he agreed gently. "I see through your
precious eyes. You re beautiful now, so I know she
must have been."
Silent and close they stood, and he could feel her
shoulders trembling a little. An ambling breeze
swept up the hill and stirred the brim of her floppidy
"Let s go down there!"
She was pointing to a flat stretch on the other side
of the hill where along the green turf were a thou
sand grayish- white crosses stretching in endless,
ordered rows like the stacked arms of a battalion.
"Those are the Confederate dead," said SaUy
They walked along and read the inscriptions,
always only a name and a date, sometimes quite in
"The last row is the saddest see, way over there.
Every cross has just a date on it, and the word
She looked at him and her eyes brimmed with
"I can t tell you how real it is to me, darling if
you don t know."
"How you feel about it is beautiful to me."
"No, no, it s not me, it s them that old time
that I ve tried to have live in me. These were just
men, unimportant evidently or they wouldn t have
THE ICE PALACE 59
been unknown ; but they died for the most beauti
ful thing in the world the dead South. You see,"
she continued, her voice still husky, her eyes glisten
ing with tears, "people have these dreams they
fasten onto things, and I ve always grown up with
that dream. It was so easy because it was all dead
and there weren t any disillusions comin to me.
I ve tried in a way to live up to those past standards
of noblesse oblige there s just the last remnants
of it, you know, like the roses of an old garden dying
all round us streaks of strange courtliness and
chivalry in some of these boys an stories I used to
hear from a Confederate soldier who lived next
door, and a few old darkies. Oh, Harry, there was
something, there was something! I couldn t ever
make you understand, but it was there."
"I understand," he assured her again quietly.
Sally Carrol smiled and dried her eyes on the tip
of a handkerchief protruding from his breast pocket.
"You don t feel depressed, do you, lover? Even
when I cry I m happy here, and I get a sort of
strength from it."
Hand in hand they turned and walked slowly
away. Finding soft grass she drew him down to a
seat beside her with their backs against the rem
nants of a low broken wall.
"Wish those three old women would clear out,"
he complained. "I want to kiss you, Sally Carrol."
They waited impatiently for the three bent fig
ures to move off, and then she kissed him until the
60 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
sky seemed to fade out and all her smiles and tears
to vanish in an ecstasy of eternal seconds.
Afterward they walked slowly back together,
while on the corners twilight played at somnolent
black-and-white checkers with the end of day.
"You ll be up about mid- January," he said, "and
you ve got to stay a month at least. It ll be slick.
There s a winter carnival on, and if youVe never
really seen snow it ll be like fairy-land to you.
There ll be skating and skiing and tobogganing and
sleigh-riding, and all sorts of torchlight parades on
snow-shoes. They haven t had one for years, so
they re going to make it a knock-out."
"Will I be cold, Harry?" she asked suddenly.
"You certainly won t. You may freeze your
nose, but you won t be shivery cold. It s hard and
dry, you know."
"I guess I m a summer child. I don t like any
cold I ve ever seen."
She broke off and they were both silent for a
"Sally Carrol," he said very slowly, "what do
you say to March?"
"I say I love you."
All night in the Pullman it was very cold. She
rang for the porter to ask for another blanket, and
when he couldn t give her one she tried vainly, by
THE ICE PALACE 61
squeezing down into the bottom of her berth and
doubling back the bedclothes, to snatch a few
hours sleep. She wanted to look her best in the
She rose at six and sliding uncomfortably into her
clothes stumbled up to the diner for a cup of coffee.
The snow had filtered into the vestibules and cov
ered the floor with a slippery coating. It was in
triguing, this cold, it crept in everywhere. Her
breath was quite visible and she blew into the air
with a naive enjoyment. Seated in the diner she
stared out the window at white hills and valleys
and scattered pines whose every branch was a green
platter for a cold feast of snow. Sometimes a solitary
farmhouse would fly by, ugly and bleak and lone
on the white waste; and with each one she had an
instant of chill compassion for the souls shut in
there waiting for spring.
As she left the diner and swayed back into the
Pullman she experienced a surging rush of energy
and wondered if she was feeling the bracing air of
which Harry had spoken. This was the North,
tha North her land now !
"Then blow, ye winds, heigho !
A-roving I will go,"
she chanted exultantly to herself.
" What s at?" inquired the porter politely.
" I said : Brush me off. "
The long wires of the telegraph-poles doubled;
62 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
two tracks ran up beside the train three four;
came a succession of white-roofed houses, a glimpse
of a trolley-car with frosted windows, streets more
streets the city.
She stood for a dazed moment in the frosty sta
tion before she saw three fur-bundled figures de
scending upon her.
"There she is!"
"Oh, Sally Carrol!"
Sally Carrol dropped her bag.
A faintly familiar icy-cold face kissed her, and
then she was in a group of faces all apparently emit
ting great clouds of heavy smoke; she was shaking
hands. There were Gordon, a short, eager man of
thirty who looked like an amateur knocked-about
model for Harry, and his wife, Myra, a listless lady
with flaxen hair under a fur automobile cap. Al
most immediately Sally Carrol thought of her as
vaguely Scandinavian. A cheerful chauffeur adopted
her bag, and amid ricochets of half-phrases, excla
mations, and perfunctory listless "my dears" from
Myra, they swept each other from the station.
Then they were in a sedan bound through a
crooked succession of snowy streets where dozens
of little boys were hitching sleds behind grocery
wagons and automobiles.
"Oh," cried Sally Carrol, "I want to do that!
Can we, Harry?"
"That s for kids. But we might "
"It looks like such a circus !" she said regretfully.
THE ICE PALACE 63
Home was a rambling frame house set on a white
lap of snow, and there she met a big, gray-haired
man of whom she approved, and a lady who was
like an egg, and who kissed her these were Harry s
parents. There was a breathless indescribable hour
crammed full of half-sentences, hot water, bacon
and eggs and confusion; and after that she was
alone with Harry in the library, asking him if she
It was a large room with a Madonna over the fire
place and rows upon rows of books in covers of light
gold and dark gold and shiny red. All the chairs
had little lace squares where one s head should rest,
the couch was just comfortable, the books looked as
if they had been read some and Sally Carrol had
an instantaneous vision of the battered old library
at home, with her father s huge medical books, and
the oil-paintings of her three great-uncles, and the
old couch that had been mended up for forty-five
years and was still luxurious to dream in. This
room struck her as being neither attractive nor
particularly otherwise. It was simply a room with
a lot of fairly expensive things in it that all looked
about fifteen years old.
"What do you think of it up here?" demanded
Harry eagerly. "Does it surprise you? Is it what
you expected, I mean?"
"You are, Harry," she said quietly, and reached
out her arms to him.
But after a brief kiss he seemed anxious to extort
enthusiasm from her.
64 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"The town, I mean. Do you like it? Can you
feel the pep in the air?"
"Oh, Harry," she laughed, "you ll have to give
me time. You can t just fling questions at me."
She puffed at her cigarette with a sigh of con
"One thing I want to ask you," he began rather
apologetically; "you Southerners put quite an
emphasis on family, and all that not that it isn t
quite all right, but you ll find it a little different
here. I mean you ll notice a lot of things that ll
seem to you sort of vulgar display at first, Sally
Carrol; but just remember that this is a three-
generation town. Everybody has a father, and
about half of us have grandfathers. Back of that
we don t go."
"Of course," she murmured.
"Our grandfathers, you see, founded the place,
and a lot of them had to take some pretty queer
jobs while they were doing the founding. For in
stance, there s one woman who at present is about
the social model for the town; well, her father was
the first public ash man things like that."
"Why," said Sally Carrol, puzzled, "did you
s pose I was goin to make remarks about people?"
"Not at all," interrupted Harry; "and I m not
apologizing for any one either. It s just that well,
a Southern girl came up here last summer and said
some unfortunate things, and oh, I just thought
I d tell you."
Sally Carrol felt suddenly indignant as though
THE ICE PALACE 65
she had been unjustly spanked but Harry evi
dently considered the subject closed, for he went
on with a great surge of enthusiasm.
"It s carnival time, you know. First in ten years.
And there s an ice palace they re building now that s
the first they ve had since eighty-five. Built out
of blocks of the clearest ice they could find on a
She rose and walking to the window pushed aside
the heavy Turkish portieres and looked out.
"Oh!" she cried suddenly. "There s two little
boys makin a snow man ! Harry, do you reckon
I can go out an help em?"
"You dream! Come here and kiss me."
She left the window rather reluctantly.
"I don t guess this is a very kissable climate, is
it? I mean, it makes you so you don t want to sit
round, doesn t it?"
"We re not going to. I ve got a vacation for the
first week you re here, and there s a dinner-dance
"Oh, Harry," she confessed, subsiding in a heap,
half in his lap, half in the pillows, "I sure do feel
confused. I haven t got an idea whether I ll like
it or not, an I don t know what people expect, or
anythin . You ll have to tell me, honey."
"I ll tell you," he said softly, "if you ll just tell
me you re glad to be here."
"Glad just awful glad!" she whispered, insinu
ating herself into his arms in her own peculiar way.
"Where you are is home for me, Harry."
66 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
And as she said this she had the feeling for almost
the first time in her life that she was acting a part.
That night, amid the gleaming candles of a
dinner-party, where the men seemed to do most of
the talking while the girls sat in a haughty and ex
pensive aloofness, even Harry s presence on her
left failed to make her feel at home.
" They re a good-looking crowd, don t you think ? "
he demanded. "Just look round. There s Spud
Hubbard, tackle at Princeton last year, and Junie
Morton he and the red-haired fellow next to him
were both Yale hockey captains; Junie was in my
class. Why, the best athletes in the world come
from these States round here. This is a man s
country, I tell you. Look at John J. Fishburn !"
"Who s he?" asked Sally Carrol innocently.
"Don t you know?"
"I ve heard the name."
" Greatest wheat man in the Northwest, and one
of the greatest financiers in the country.""
She turned suddenly to a voice on her right.
"I guess they forgot to introduce us. My name s
"My name is Sally Carrol Happer," she said
"Yes, I know. Harry told me you were coming."
"You a relative?"
"No, I m a professor."
"Oh," she laughed.
"At the university. You re from the South,
aren t you?"
THE ICE PALACE 67
"Yes; Tarleton, Georgia."
She liked him immediately a reddish-brown
mustache under watery blue eyes that had some
thing in them that these other eyes lacked, some
quality of appreciation. They exchanged stray
sentences through dinner, and she made up her
mind to see him again.
After coffee she was introduced to numerous good-
looking young men who danced with conscious pre
cision and seemed to take it for granted that she
wanted to talk about nothing except Harry.
"Heavens," she thought, "they talk as if my
being engaged made me older than they are as if
I d tell their mothers on them!"
In the South an engaged girl, even a young mar
ried woman, expected the same amount of half-
affectionate badinage and flattery that would be
accorded a debutante, but here all that seemed
banned. One young man, after getting well started
on the subject of Sally Carrol s eyes, and how they
had allured him ever since she entered the room,
went into a violent confusion when he found she
was visiting the Bellamys was Harry s fiance.
He seemed to feel as though he had made some
risque and inexcusable blunder, became immediately
formal, and left her at the first opportunity.
She was rather glad when Roger Patton cut in
on her and suggested that they sit out a while.
"Well," he inquired, blinking cheerily, "how s
Carmen from the South?"
"Mighty fine. How s how s Dangerous Dan
68 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
McGrew? Sorry, but he s the only Northerner I
know much about."
He seemed to enjoy that.
"Of course," he confessed, "as a professor of
literature I m not supposed to have read Dangerous
"Are you a native?"
"No, I m a Philadelphian. Imported from Har
vard to teach French. But I ve been here ten
"Nine years, three hundred an sixty-four days
longer than me."
"Like it here?"
"Uh-huh. Sure do!"
"Well, why not? Don t I look as if I were
havin a good time?"
"I saw you look out the window a minute ago
"Just my imagination," laughed Sally Carrol.
"I m used to havin every thin quiet outside, an
sometimes I look out an see a flurry of snow, an
it s just as if somethin dead was movin ."
He nodded appreciatively.
"Ever been North before?"
"Spent two Julys in Asheville, North Carolina."
"Nice-looking crowd, aren t they?" suggested
Patton, indicating the swirling floor.
Sally Carrol started. This had been Harry s re
" Sure are ! They re canine."
THE ICE PALACE 69
"I m sorry; that sounded worse than I meant
it. You see I always think of people as feline or
canine, irrespective of sex."
"Which are you?"
"I m feline. So are you. So are most Southern
men an most of these girls here."
" What s Harry?"
"Harry s canine distinctly. All the men IVe
met to-night seem to be canine."
"What does canine imply? A certain conscious |
masculinity as opposed to subtlety?"
"Reckon so. I never analyzed it only I just
look at people an say canine or l feline right off.
It s right absurd, I guess."
"Not at all. I m interested. I used to have a
theory about these people. I think they re freezing
"I think they re growing like Swedes Ibsenesque,
you know. Very gradually getting gloomy and
melancholy. It s these long winters. Ever read
She shook her head.
"Well, you find in his characters a certain brood-
injyjjgidit.y:. They re righteous, narrow, and cheer
less, without infinite possibilities for great sorrow
"Without smiles or tears?"
"Exactly. That s my theory. You see there
70 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
are thousands of Swedes up here. They come, I
imagine, because the climate is very much like their
own, and there s been a gradual mingling. There re
probably not half a dozen here to-night, but we ve
had four Swedish governors. Am I boring you?
"I m mighty interested."
"Your future sister-in-law is half Swedish. Per
sonally I like her, but my theory is that Swedes re
act rather badly on us as a whole. Scandinavians,
you know, have the largest suicide rate in the
"Why do you live here if it s st) depressing?"
" Oh, it doesn t get me. I m pretty well cloistered,
and I suppose books mean more than people to me
"But writers all speak about the South being
tragic. You know Spanish senoritas, black hair
and daggers an haunting music."
He shook his head.
"No, the Northern races are the tragic races
they don t indulge in the cheering luxury of tears."
Sally Carrol thought of her graveyard. She sup
posed that that was vaguely what she had meant
when she said it didn t depress her.
"The Italians are about the gayest people in the
world but it s a dull subject," he broke off. " Any
way, I want to tell you you re marrying a pretty
Sally Carrol was moved by an impulse of con
"I know. I m the sort of person who wants to
THE ICE PALACE 71
be taken care of after a certain point, and I feel
sure I will be."
"Shall we dance? You know," he continued as
they rose, "it s encouraging to find a girl who knows
what she s marrying for. Nine-tenths of them
think of it as a sort of walking into a moving-picture
She laughed, and liked him immensely.
Two hours later on the way home she nestled
near Harry in the back seat.
"Oh, Harry," she whispered, "it s so co-old!"
"But it s warm in here, darling girl."
"But outside it s cold; and oh, that howling
She buried her face deep in his fur coat and trem
bled involuntarily as his cold lips kissed the tip of
The first week of her visit passed in a whirl. She
had her promised toboggan-ride at the back of
an automobile through a chill January twilight.
Swathed in furs she put in a morning tobogganing
on the country-club hill; even tried skiing, to sail
through the air for a glorious moment and then
land in a tangled laughing bundle on a soft snow
drift. She liked all the winter sports, except an
afternoon spent snow-shoeing over a glaring plain
under pale yellow sunshine, but she soon realized
that these things were for children that she was
72 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
being humored and that the enjoyment round her
was only a reflection of her own.
At first the Bellamy family puzzled her. The
men were reliable and she liked them; to Mr. Bel
lamy especially, with his iron-gray hair and ener
getic dignity, she took an immediate fancy, once she
found that he was born in Kentucky; this made of
him a link between the old life and the new. But
toward the women she felt a definite hostility.
Myra, her future sister-in-law, seemed the essence
of spiritless conventionality. Her conversation was
so utterly devoid of personality that Sally Carrol,
who came from a country where a certain amount
of charm and assurance could be taken for granted
in the women, was inclined to despise her.
"If those women aren t beautiful," she thought,
"they re nothing. They just fade out when you
look at them. They re glorified domestics. Men
are the centre of every mixed group."
Lastly there was Mrs. Bellamy, whom Sally Car
rol detested. The first day s impression of an egg
had been confirmed an egg with a cracked, veiny
voice and such an ungracious dumpiness of carriage
that Sally Carrol felt that if she once fell she would
surely scramble. In addition, Mrs. Bellamy seemed
to typify the town in being innately hostile to
strangers. She called Sally Carrol "Sally," and
could not be persuaded that the double name was
anything more than a tedious ridiculous nickname.
To Sally Carrol this shortening of her name was like
presenting her to the public half clothed. She loved
THE ICE PALACE 73
"Sally Carrol"; she loathed "Sally." She knew
also that Harry s mother disapproved of her bobbed
hair; and she had never dared smoke down-stairs
after that first day when Mrs. Bellamy had come
into the library sniffing violently.
Of all the men she met she preferred Roger Pat-
ton, who was a frequent visitor at the house. He
never again alluded to the Ibsenesque tendency of
the populace, but when he came in one day and
found her curled upon the sofa bent over "Peer
Gynt" he laughed and told her to forget what he d
said that it was all rot.
And then one afternoon in her second week she
and Harry hovered on the edge of a dangerously
steep quarrel. She considered that he precipitated
it entirely, though the Serbia in the case was an
unknown man who had not had his trousers pressed.
They had been walking homeward between mounds
of high-piled snow and under a sun which Sally Car
rol scarcely recognized. They passed a little girl
done up in gray wool until she resembled a small
Teddy bear, and Sally Carrol could not resist a gasp
of maternal appreciation.
"That little girl--did you see her face?"
"It was red as a little strawberry. Oh, she was
"Why, your own face is almost as red as that
already ! Everybody s healthy here. We re out in
74 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
the cold as soon as we re old enough to walk. Won
derful climate !"
She looked at him and had to agree. He was
mighty healthy-looking; so was his brother. And
she had noticed the new red in her own cheeks
that very morning.
Suddenly their glances were caught and held, and
they stared for a moment at the street-corner ahead
of them. A man was standing there, his knees
bent, his eyes gazing upward with a tense expres
sion as though he were about to make a leap toward
the chilly sky. And then they both exploded into
a shout of laughter, for coming closer they discov
ered it had been a ludicrous momentary illusion pro
duced by the extreme bagginess of the man s trou
"Reckon that s one on us," she laughed.
"He must be a Southerner, judging by those
trousers," suggested Harry mischievously.
Her surprised look must have irritated him.
"Those damn Southerners!"
Sally Carrol s eyes flashed.
"Don t call em that!"
"I m sorry, dear," said Harry, malignantly apolo
getic, " but you know what I think of them. They re
sort of sort of degenerates not at all like the old
Southerners. They ve lived so long down there
with all the colored people that they ve gotten lazy
"Hush your mouth, Harry!" she cried angrily.
THE ICE PALACE 75
"They re not ! They may be lazy anybody would
be in that climate but they re my best friends, an
I don t want to hear em criticised in any such
sweepin way. Some of em are the finest men in
"Oh, I know. They re all right when they come
North to college, but of all the hangdog, ill-dressed,
slovenly lot I ever saw, a bunch of small-town
Southerners are the worst!"
Sally Carrol was clinching her gloved hands and
biting her lip furiously.
"Why," continued Harry, "there was one in my
class at New Haven, and we all thought that at
last we d found the true type of Southern aristocrat*
but it turned out that he wasn t an aristocrat at all
just the son of a Northern carpetbagger, who
owned about all the cotton round Mobile."
"A Southerner wouldn t talk the way you re talk
ing now," she said evenly.
"They haven t the energy!"
"Or the somethin else."
"I m sorry, Sally Carrol, but I ve heard you say
yourself that you d never marry "
"That s quite different. I told you I wouldn t
want to tie my life to any of the boys that are round
Tarleton now, but I never made any sweepin gen
They walked along in silence.
"I probably spread it on a bit thick, Sally Car
rol. I m sorry."
She nodded but made no answer. Five minutes
76 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
later as they stood in the hallway she suddenly
threw her arms round him.
"Oh, Harry," she cried, her eyes brimming with
tears, "let s get married next week. I m afraid of
having fusses like that. I m afraid, Harry. It
wouldn t be that way if we were married."
But Harry, being in the wrong, was still irritated.
"That d be idiotic. We decided on March."
The tears in Sally Carrol s eyes faded; her expres
sion hardened slightly.
"Very well I suppose I shouldn t have said that."
"Dear little nut!" he cried. "Come and kiss
me and let s forget."
That very night at the end of a vaudeville per
formance the orchestra played "Dixie" and Sally
Carrol felt something stronger and more enduring
than her tears and smiles of the day brim up inside
her. She leaned forward gripping the arms of her
chair until her face grew crimson.
"Sort of get you, dear?" whispered Harry.
But she did not hear him. To the spirited throb
of the violins and the inspiring beat of the kettle
drums her own old ghosts were marching by and on
into the darkness, and as fifes whistled and sighed
in the low encore they seemed so nearly out of sight
that she could have waved good-by.
Away down South in Dixie !
Away down South in Dixie!"
THE ICE PALACE 77
It was a particularly cold night. A sudden thaw
had nearly cleared the streets the day before, but
now they were traversed again with a powdery
wraith of loose snow that travelled hi wavy lines
before the feet of the wind, and filled the lower air
with a fine-particled mist. There was no sky-
only a dark, ominous tent that draped hi the tops
of the streets and was in reality a vast approaching
army of snowflakes while over it all, chilling away
the comfort from the brown-and-green glow of
lighted windows and muffling the steady trot of the
horse pulling their sleigh, interminably washed the
north wind. It was a dismal town after all, she
Sometimes at night it had seemed to her as though
no one lived here they had all gone long ago
leaving lighted houses to be covered in time by
tombing heaps of sleet. Oh, if there should be snow
on her grave ! To be beneath great piles of it all
winter long, where even her headstone would be a
light shadow against light shadows. Her grave
a grave that should be flower-strewn and washed
with sun and rain.
She thought again of those isolated country houses
that her train had passed, and of the life there the
long winter through the ceaseless glare through
the windows, the crust forming on the soft drifts
of snow, finally the slow, cheerless melting, and the
harsh spring of which Roger Patton had told her.
78 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Her spring to lose it forever with its lilacs and
the lazy sweetness it stirred in her heart. She was
laying away that spring afterward she would lay
away that sweetness.
With a gradual insistence the storm broke. Sally
Carrol felt a film of flakes melt quickly on her eye
lashes, and Harry reached over a furry arm and drew
down her complicated flannel cap. Then the small
flakes came hi skirmish-line, and the horse bent his
neck patiently as a transparency of white appeared
momentarily on his coat.
"Oh, he s cold, Harry," she said quickly.
"Who? The horse? Oh, no, he isn t. He likes
After another ten minutes they turned a corner
and came hi sight of their destination. On a tall
hill outlined in vivid glaring green against the
wintry sky stood the ice palace. It was three
stories in the air, with battlements and embrasures
and narrow icicled windows, and the innumerable
electric lights inside made a gorgeous transparency
of the great central hall. Sally Carrol clutched
Harry s hand under the fur robe.
"It s beautiful !" he cried excitedly. "My goUy,
it s beautiful, isn t it ! They haven t had one here
Somehow the notion of there not having been
one since eighty-five oppressed her. Ice was a
ghost, and this mansion of it was surely peopled by
those shades of the eighties, with pale faces and
blurred snow-filled hair.
THE ICE PALACE 79
"Come on, dear," said Harry.
She followed him out of the sleigh and waited
while he hitched the horse. A party of four-
Gordon, Myra, Roger Patton, and another girl-
drew up beside them with a mighty jingle of bells.
There were quite a crowd already, bundled in fur
or sheepskin, shouting and calling to each other as
they moved through the snow, which was now so
thick that people could scarcely be distinguished a
few yards away.
"It s a hundred and seventy feet tall," Harry
was saying to a muffled figure beside him as they
trudged toward the entrance; "covers six thousand
She caught snatches of conversation: "One main
hall" "walls twenty to forty inches thick" "and
the ice cave has almost a mile of " "this Canuck
who built it
They found their way inside, and dazed by the
magic of the great crystal walls Sally Carrol found
herself repeating over and over two lines from
" It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice !"
In the great glittering cavern with the dark shut
out she took a seat on a wooden bench, and the
evening s oppression lifted. Harry was right it
was beautiful; and her gaze travelled the smooth
surface of the walls, the blocks for which had been
8o FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
selected for their purity and clearness to obtain this
opalescent, translucent effect.
"Look! Here we go oh, boy!" cried Harry.
A band in a far corner struck up "Hail, Hail, the
Gang s All Here!" which echoed over to them in
wild muddled acoustics, and then the lights suddenly
went out; silence seemed to flow down the icy sides
and sweep over them. Sally Carrol could still see
her white breath in the darkness, and a dim row of
pale faces over on the other side.
The music eased to a sighing complaint, and from
outside drifted in the full-throated resonant chant
of the marching clubs. It grew louder like some
paean of a viking tribe traversing an ancient wild;
it swelled they were coming nearer; then a row
of torches appeared, and another and another, and
keeping tune with their moccasined feet a long
column of gray-mackinawed figures swept in, snow-
shoes slung at their shoulders, torches soaring and
flickering as their voices rose along the great walls.
The gray column ended and another followed, the
light streaming luridly this time over red toboggan
caps and flaming crimson mackinaws, and as they
entered they took up the refrain; then came a long
platoon of blue and white, of green, of white, of
brown and yellow.
"Those white ones are the Wacouta Club," whis
pered Harry eagerly. "Those are the men you ve
met round at dances."
The volume of the voices grew; the great cavern
was a phantasmagoria of torches waving m great
THE ICE PALACE 81
banks of fire, of colors and the rhythm of soft-leather
steps. The leading -column turned and halted, pla
toon deployed in front of platoon until the whole
procession made a solid flag of flame, and then from
thousands of voices burst a mighty shout that filled
the air like a crash of thunder, and sent the torches
wavering. It was magnificent, it was tremendous !
To Sally Carrol it was the North offering sacrifice
on some mighty altar to the gray pagan God of Snow.
As the shout died the band struck up again and
there came more singing, and then long reverberating
cheers by each dub. She sat very quiet listening
while the staccato cries rent the stillness; and then
she started, for there was a volley of explosion, and
great clouds of smoke went up here and there through
the cavern the flash-light photographers at work
and the council was over. With the band at their
head the clubs formed in column once more, took up
their chant, and began to march out.
"Come on!" shouted Harry. "We want to see
the labyrinths down-stairs before they turn the
They all rose and started toward the chute Harry
and Sally Carrol in the lead, her little mitten buried
in his big fur gantlet. At the bottom of the chute
was a long empty room of ice, with the ceiling so
low that they had to stoop and their hands were
parted. Before she realized what he intended Harry
had darted down one of the half-dozen glittering pas
sages that opened into the room and was only a
vague receding blot against the green shimmer.
82 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
" Harry !" she caUed.
"Come on!" he cried back.
She looked round the empty chamber; the rest
of the party had evidently decided to go home,
were already outside somewhere in the blundering
snow. She hesitated and then darted in after
"Harry!" she shouted.
She had reached a turning-point thirty feet down;
she heard a faint muffled answer far to the left,
and with a touch of panic fled toward it. She passed
another turning, two more yawning alleys.
No answer. She started to run straight forward,
and then turned like lightning and sped back the
way she had come, enveloped in a sudden icy terror.
She reached a turn was it here? took the left
and came to what should have been the outlet into
the long, low room, but it was only another glitter
ing passage with darkness at the end. She called
again, but the walls gave back a flat, lifeless echo
with no reverberations. Retracing her steps she
turned another corner, this tune following a wide
passage. It was like the green lane between the
parted waters of the Red Sea, like a damp vault
connecting empty tombs.
She slipped a little now as she walked, for ice
had formed on the bottom of her overshoes; she
had to run her gloves along the half-slippery, half-
sticky walls to keep her balance.
THE ICE PALACE 83
Still no answer. The sound she made bounced
mockingly down to the end of the passage.
Then on an instant the lights went out, and she
was in complete darkness. She gave a small, fright
ened cry, and sank down into a cold little heap on
the ice. She felt her left knee do something as she
fell, but she scarcely noticed it as some deep terror
far greater than any fear of being lost settled upon
her. She was alone with this presence that came
out of the North, the dreary loneliness that rose
from ice-bound whalers in the Arctic seas, from
smokeless, trackless wastes where were strewn the
whitened bones of adventure. It was an icy breath
of death; it was rolling down low across the land to
clutch at her.
With a furious, despairing energy she rose again
and started blindly down the darkness. She must
get out. She might be lost in here for days, freeze
to death and lie embedded hi the ice like corpses
she had read of, kept perfectly preserved until the
melting of a glacier. Harry probably thought she
had left with the others he had gone by now; no
one would know until late next day. She reached
pitifully for the wall. Forty inches thick, they had
said forty inches thick !
On both sides of her along the walls she felt things
creeping, damp souls that haunted this palace, this
town, this North.
"Oh, send somebody send somebody !" she cried
84 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Clark Darrow he would understand; or Joe
Ewing; she couldn t be left here to wander forever
to be frozen, heart, body, and soul. This her
this Sally Carrol! Why, she was a happy thing.
She was a happy little girl. She liked warmth and
summer and Dixie. These things were foreign
"You re not crying," something said aloud.
"You ll never cry any more. Your tears would
just freeze; all tears freeze up here!"
She sprawled full length on the ice.
"Oh, God!" she faltered.
A long single file of minutes went by, and with a
great weariness she felt her eyes closing. Then
some one seemed to sit down near her and take
her face in warm, soft hands. She looked up grate
"Why, it s Margery Lee," she crooned softly to
herself. "I knew you d come." It really was
Margery Lee, and she was just as Sally Carrol had
known she would be, with a young, white brow, and
wide, welcoming eyes, and a hoop-skirt of some soft
material that was quite comforting to rest on.
It was getting darker now and darker all those
tombstones ought to be repainted, sure enough, only
that would spoil em, of course. Still, you ought to
be able to see em.
Then after a succession of moments that went
fast and then slow, but seemed to be ultimately re
solving themselves into a multitude of blurred rays
THE ICE PALACE 85
converging toward a pale-yellow sun, she heard a
great cracking noise break her new-found stillness.
It was the sun, it was a light; a torch, and a
torch beyond that, and another one, and voices; a
face took flesh below the torch, heavy arms raised
her, and she felt something on her cheek it felt wet.
Some one had seized her and was rubbing her face
with snow. How ridiculous with snow !
" Sally Carrol ! Sally Carrol ! "
It was Dangerous Dan McGrew; and two other
faces she didn t know.
"Child, child! We ve been looking for you two
hours ! Harry s half -crazy ! "
Things came rushing back into place the sing
ing, the torches, the great shout of the marching
clubs. She squirmed in Patton s arms and gave a
long low cry.
"Oh, I want to get out of here ! I m going back
home. Take me home" her voice rose to a scream
that sent a chill to Harry s heart as he came racing
down the next passage "to-morrow!" she cried
with delirious, unrestrained passion "To-morrow!
To-morrow ! To-morrow ! "
The wealth of golden sunlight poured a quite
enervating yet oddly comforting heat over the house
where day long it faced the dusty stretch of road.
Two birds were making a great to-do in a cool spot
found among the branches of a tree next door, and
86 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
down the street a colored woman was announcing
herself melodiously as a purveyor of strawberries.
It was April afternoon.
Sally Carrol Happer, resting her chin on her arm,
and her arm on an old window-seat, gazed sleepily
down over the spangled dust whence the heat waves
were rising for the first time this spring. She was
watching a very ancient Ford turn a perilous corner
and rattle and groan to a jolting stop at the end of
the walk. She made no sound, and in a minute a
strident familiar whistle rent the air. Sally Carrol
smiled and blinked.
"Good mawnin ."
A head appeared tortuously from under the car-
"Tain t mawnin , Sally Carrol."
"Sure enough!" she said in affected surprise.
"I guess maybe not."
"What you doin ?"
"Eatin green peach. Spect to die any minute."
Clark twisted himself a last impossible notch to
get a view of her face.
"Water s warm as a kettla steam, Sally Carrol.
Wanta go swimmin ?"
"Hate to move," sighed Sally Carrol lazily, "but
I reckon so."
HEAD AND SHOULDERS
IN 1915 Horace Tarbox was thirteen years old. In
that year he took the examinations for entrance to
Princeton University and received the Grade A
excellent in Caesar, Cicero, Vergil, Xenophon,
Homer, Algebra, Plane Geometry, Solid Geometry,
Two years later, while George M. Cohan was
composing "Over There," Horace was leading the
sophomore class by several lengths and digging out
theses on "The Syllogism as an Obsolete Scholastic
Form," and during the battle of Chateau-Thierry
he was sitting at his desk deciding whether or not
to wait until his seventeenth birthday before begin
ning his series of essays on "The Pragmatic Bias of
the New Realists."
After a while some newsboy told him that the
war was over, and he was glad, because it meant
that Peat Brothers, publishers, would get out their
new edition of "Spinoza s Improvement of the Un
derstanding." Wars were all very well in their
way, made young men self-reliant or something,
but Horace felt that he could never forgive the
President for allowing a brass band to play under
his window on the night of the false armistice, causing
him to leave three important sentences out of his
thesis on "German Idealism."
88 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
The next year he went up to Yale to take his
degree as Master of Arts.
He was seventeen then, tall and slender, with
near-sighted gray eyes and an air of keeping himself
utterly detached from the mere words he let drop.
"I never feel as though I m talking to him,"
expostulated Professor Dillinger to a sympathetic
I colleague. "He makes me feel as though I were
! talking to his representative. I always expect him
to say: Well, I ll ask myself and find out. "
And then, just as nonchalantly as though Horace
Tarbox had been Mr. Beef the butcher or Mr. Hat
the haberdasher, life reached in, seized him, handled
him, stretched him, and unrolled him like a piece
of Irish lace on a Saturday-afternoon bargain -counter.
To move in the literary fashion I should say that
this was all because when way back in colonial days
the hardy pioneers had come to a bald place in
Connecticut and asked of each other, "Now, what
shall we build here?" the hardiest one among em
had answered: "Let s build a town where theatrical
managers can try out musical comedies I" How
afterward they founded Yale College there, to try
the musical comedies on, is a story every one knows.
At any rate one December, "Home James" opened at
the Shubert, and all the students encored Marcia
Meadow, who sang a song about the Blundering
Blimp in the first act and did a shaky, shivery,
celebrated dance in the last.
Marcia was nineteen. She didn t have wings,
but audiences agreed generally that she didn t need
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 89
them. She was a blonde by natural pigment, and
she wore no paint on the streets at high noon. Out
side of that she was no better than most women.
It was Charlie Moon who promised her five thou
sand Pall Malls if she would pay a call on Horace
Tarbox, prodigy extraordinary. Charlie was a
senior in Sheffield, and he and Horace were first
cousins. They liked and pitied each other.
Horace had been particularly busy that night.
The failure of the Frenchman Laurier to appreciate
the significance of the new realists was preying on
his mind. In fact, his only reaction to a low, clear-
cut rap at his study was to make him speculate as
to whether any rap would have actual existence
without an ear there to hear it. He fancied he was
verging more and more toward pragmatism. But
at that moment, though he did not know it, he
was verging with astounding rapidity toward some
thing quite different.
The rap sounded three seconds leaked by the
"Come in," muttered Horace automatically.
He heard the door open and then close, but, bent
over his book in the big armchair before the fire,
he did not look up.
" Leave it on the bed in the other room," he said
"Leave what on the bed in the other room?"
Marcia Meadow had to talk her songs, but her
speaking voice was like byplay on a harp.
90 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
" I can t."
Horace stirred impatiently in his chair.
" Why can t you?"
"Why, because I haven t got it."
"Hm!" he replied testily. "Suppose you go
back and get it."
Across the fire from Horace was another easy-
chair. He was accustomed to change to it in the
course of an evening by way of exercise and variety.
One chair he called Berkeley, the other he called
Hume. He suddenly heard a sound as of a rustling,
diaphanous form sinking into Hume. He glanced
"Well," said Marcia with the sweet smile she used
in Act Two ("Oh, so the Duke liked my dancing !"),
"Well, Omar Khayyam, here I am beside you
singing in the wilderness."
Horace stared at her dazedly. The momentary
suspicion came to him that she existed there only
as a phantom of his imagination. Women didn t
come into men s rooms and sink into men s Humes.
Women brought laundry and took your seat in the
street-car and married you later on when you were
old enough- to know .fetters.
This woman had clearly materialized out of
Hume. The very froth of her brown gauzy dress
was an emanation from Hume s leather arm there !
If he looked long enough he would see Hume right
through her and then he would be alone again in
the room. He passed his fist across his eyes. He
really must take up those trapeze exercises again.
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 91
"For Pete s sake, don t look so critical !" ob
jected the emanation pleasantly. "I feel as if you
were going to wish me away with that patent dome
of yours. And then there wouldn t be anything
left of me except my shadow in your eyes."
Horace coughed. Coughing was one of his two
gestures. When he talked you forgot he had a
body at all. It was like hearing a phonograph
record by a singer who had been dead a long time.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"I want them letters," whined Marcia melodra
matically "them letters of mine you bought from
my grandsire in 1881."
"I haven t got your letters," he said evenly. "I
am only seventeen years old. My father was not
born until March 3, 1879. You evidently have me
confused with some one else."
"You re only seventeen?" repeated Marcia sus
"I knew a girl," said Marcia reminiscently, "who
went on the ten-twenty-thirty when she was sixteen.
She was so stuck on herself that she could never
say * sixteen without putting the only before it.
We got to calling her Only Jessie. And she s just
where she was when she started only worse.
Only is a bad habit, Omar it sounds like an
"My name is not Omar."
"I know," agreed Marcia, nodding "your name s
92 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Horace. I just call you Omar because you remind
me of a smoked cigarette."
"And I haven t your letters. I doubt if I ve
ever met your grandfather. In fact, I think it
very improbable that you yourself were alive in
Marcia stared at him in wonder.
" Me 1881 ? Why sure ! I was second-line stuff
when the Florodora Sextette was still in the con
vent. I was the original nurse to Mrs. Sol Smith s
Juliette. Why, Omar, I was a canteen singer during
the War of 1812."
Horace s mind made a sudden successful leap, and
"Did Charlie Moon put you up to this?"
Marcia regarded him inscrutably.
"Who s Charlie Moon?"
"Small wide nostrils big ears."
She grew several inches and sniffed.
"I m not in the habit of noticing my friends
"Then it was Charlie?"
Marcia bit her lip and then yawned.
"Oh, let s change the subject, Omar. I ll pull a
snore in this chair in a minute."
"Yes," replied Horace gravely, "Hume has often
been considered soporific."
"Who s your friend and will he die?"
Then of a sudden Horace Tarbox rose slenderly
and began to pace the room with his hands in his
pockets. This was his other gesture.
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 93
"I don t care for this," he said as if he were talk
ing to himself "at all. Not that I mind your
being here I don t. You re quite a pretty little
thing, but I don t like Charlie Moon s sending you
up here. Am I a laboratory experiment on which
the janitors as well as the chemists can make experi
ments? Is my intellectual development humorous
in any way? Do I look like the pictures of the
little Boston boy in the comic magazines? Has that
callow ass, Moon, with his eternal tales about his
weeTTin l^aris, any right to " .
"No," interrupted Marcia emphatically. "And
you re a sweet boy. Come here and kiss me."
Horace stopped quickly in front of her.
"Why do you want me to kiss you?" he asked
intently. "Do you just go round kissing people?"
"Why, yes," admitted Marcia, unruffled. " At s
all life is. Just going round kissing people."
"Well," replied Horace emphatically, "I must say
your ideas are horribly garbled ! In the first place
life isn t just that, and in the second place I won t
kiss you. It might get to be a habit and I can t
get rid of habits. This year I ve got in the habit
of lolling in bed until seven-thirty."
Marcia nodded understandingly.
"Do you ever have any fun?" she asked.
"What do you mean by fun?"
"See here," said Marcia sternly, "I like you,
Omar, but I wish you d talk as if you had a line on
what you were saying. You sound as if you were
gargling a lot of words in your mouth and lost a
94 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
bet every time you spilled a few. I asked you if
you ever had any fun."
Horace shook his head.
"Later, perhaps," he answered. "You see I m
a plan. I m an experiment. I don t say that I
don t get tired of it sometimes I do. Yet oh, I
can t explain ! But what you and Charlie Moon
call fun wouldn t be fun to me."
Horace stared at her, started to speak and then,
changing his mind, resumed his walk. After an un
successful attempt to determine whether or not he
was looking at her Marcia smiled at him.
"If I do, will you promise to tell Charlie Moon
that I wasn t in?"
"Very well, then. Here s my history: I was a
why child. I wanted to see lie wheels go round.
My father was a young economics professor at
Princeton. He brought me up on the system of
answering every question I asked him to the best
of his ability. My response to that gave him the
idea of making an experiment in precocity. To
aid hi the massacre I had ear trouble seven opera
tions between the ages of nine and twelve. Of course
this kept me apart from other boys and made me
ripe for forcing. Anyway, while my generation was
laboring through Uncle Remus I was honestly en
joying Catullus in the original.
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 95
"I passed off my college examinations when I
was thirteen because I couldn t help it. My chief
associates were professors, and I took a tremendous
pride in knowing that I had a fine intelligence, for
though I was unusually gifted I was not abnormal
in other ways. When I was sixteen I got tired of
being a freak; I decided that some one had made a
bad mistake. Still as I d gone that far I concluded
to finish it up by taking my degree of Master of
Arts. My chief interest in life is the study of mod
ern philosophy. I am a realist of the School of
Anton Laurier with Bergsonian trimmings and
I ll be eighteen years old in two months. That s
"Whew!" exclaimed Marcia. "That s enough!
You do a neat job with the parts of speech."
"No, you haven t kissed me."
"It s not in my programme," demurred Horace.
"Understand that I don t pretend Ticf be above
physical things. They have their place, but "
"Oh, don t be so darned reasonable!"
"I can t help it."
"I hate these slot-machine people."
"I assure you I " began Horace.
"Oh, shut up!"
"My own rationality "
"I didn t say anything about your nationality.
You re an Amuricun, ar n t you?"
"Well, that s O. K. with me. I got a notion I
96 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
want to see you do something that isn t in your
highbrow programme. I want to see if a what-ch-
call-em with Brazilian trimmings that thing you
said you were can be a little human."
Horace shook his head again.
"I won t kiss you."
"My life is blighted," muttered Marcia tragically.
"I m a beaten woman. I ll go through life without
ever having a kiss with Brazilian trimmings." She
sighed. "Anyways, Omar, will you come and see
"I m a wicked actress from Home James !"
"Yes at a stretch. One of the characters is a
Brazilian rice-planter. That might interest you."
"I saw The Bohemian Girl once," reflected
Horace aloud. "I enjoyed it to some extent."
"Then you ll come?"
"Well, I m I m "
"Oh, I know you ve got to run down to Brazil
for the week-end."
"Not at all. I d be delighted to come."
Marcia clapped her hands.
"Goodyforyou! I ll mail you a ticket Thurs
"Why, I "
" Good ! Thursday night it is."
She stood up and walking close to him laid both
hands on his shoulders.
"I like you, Omar. I m sorry I tried to kid you.
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 97
I thought you d be sort of frozen, but you re a nice
He eyed her sardonically.
"I m several thousand generations older than you
"You carry your age well."
They shook hands gravely.
"My name s Marcia Meadow," she said em
phatically. " Member it Marcia Meadow. And
I won t tell Charlie Moon you were in."
An instant later as she was skimming down the
last flight of stairs three at a time she heard a voice
call over the upper banister: "Oh, say "
She stopped and looked up made out a vague
form leaning over.
"Oh, say!" called the prodigy again. "Can you
"Here s your connection, Omar."
"I hope I haven t given you the impression that
I consider kissing intrinsically irrational."
"Impression? Why, you didn t even give me
the kiss ! Never fret so long."
Two doors near her opened curiously at the
sound of a feminine voice. A tentative cough
sounded from above. Gathering her skirts, Marcia
dived wildly down the last flight, and was swallowed
up in the murky Connecticut air outside.
Up-stairs Horace paced the floor of his study.
From time to time he glanced toward Berkeley wait
ing there in suave dark-red respectability, an open
book lying suggestively on his cushions. And then
g8 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
he found that his circuit of the floor was bringing
him each tune nearer to Hume. There was some
thing about Hume that was strangely and inex
pressibly different. The diaphanous form still
seemed hovering near, and had Horace sat there he
would have felt as if he were sitting on a lady s
lap. And though Horace couldn t have named the
quality of difference, there was such a quality
quite intangible to the speculative mind, but real,
nevertheless. Hume was radiating something that
in all the two hundred years of his influence he had
never radiated before.
Hume was radiating attar of roses.
On Thursday night Horace Tarbox sat in an
aisle seat in the fifth row and witnessed "Home
James." Oddly enough he found that he was en
joying himself . The cynical students near him were
annoyed at his audible appreciation of tune-honored
jokes in the Hammerstein tradition. But Horace
was waiting with anxiety for Marcia Meadow sing
ing her song about a Jazz-bound Blundering Blimp.
When she did appear, radiant under a floppity
flower-faced hat, a warm glow settled over him, and
when the song was over he did not join in the storm
of applause. He felt somewhat numb.
In the intermission after the second act an usher
materialized beside him, demanded to know if he
were Mr. Tarbox, and then handed him a note
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 99
written in a round adolescent hand. Horace read
it in some confusion, while the usher lingered with
withering patience in the aisle.
"DEAR OMAR: After the show I always grow an
awful hunger. If you want to satisfy it for me in
the Taf t Grill just communicate your answer to the
big-timber guide that brought this and oblige.
"TeB her " he coughed " tell her that it will
be quite all right. I ll meet her in front of the
The big-timber guide smiled arrogantly.
"I giss she meant for you to come roun t the
"Where where is it?"
"Ou side. Tunayulef. Down ee alley."
"Ou side. Turn to y left ! Down ee alley !"
The arrogant person withdrew. A freshman be
hind Horace snickered.
Then half an hour later, sitting in the Taft Grill
opposite the hair that was yellow by natural pig
ment, the prodigy was saying an odd thing.
"Do you have to do that dance in the last act?"
he was asking earnestly "I mean, would they dis
miss you if you refused to do it?"
"It s fun to do it. I like to do it."
100 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
And then Horace came out with a faux pas.
"I should think you d detest it," he remarked
succinctly. "The people behind me were making
remarks about your bosom."
Marcia blushed fiery red.
"I can t help that," she said quickly. "The
dance to me is only a sort of acrobatic stunt. Lord,
it s hard enough to do! I rub liniment into my
shoulders for an hour every night."
"Do you have fun while you re on the stage?"
"Uh-huh sure! I got hi the habit of having
people look at me, Omar, and I like it."
"Hm !" Horace sank into a brownish study.
"How s the Brazilian trimmings?"
"Hm!" repeated Horace, and then after a pause:
"Where does the play go from here?"
"For how long?"
"All depends. Winter maybe."
"Coming up to lay eyes on me, Omar, or aren t
you int rested? Not as nice here, is it, as it was
up in your room? I wish we was there now."
"I feel idiotic in this place," confessed Horace,
looking round him nervously.
"Too bad ! We got along pretty well."
At this he looked suddenly so melancholy that
she changed her tone, and reaching over patted his
"Ever take an actress out to supper before?"
"No," said Horace miserably, "and I never will
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 101
again. I don t know why I came to-night. Here
under all these lights and with all these people
laughing and chattering I feel completely out of
my sphere. I don t know what to talk to you
"We ll talk about me. We talked about you
"Well, my name really is Meadow, but my first
name isn t Marcia it s Veronica. I m nineteen.
Question how did the girl make her leap to the
footlights? Answer she was born in Passaic, New
Jersey, and up to a year ago she got the right to
breathe by pushing Nabiscoes in Marcel s tea-room
in Trenton. She started going with a guy named
Robbins, a singer in the Trent House cabaret, and
he got her to try a song and dance with him one
evening. In a month we were filling the supper-
room every night. Then we went to New York with
meet-my-friend letters thick as a pile of napkins.
"In two days we d landed a job at Divinerries ,
and I learned to shimmy from a kid at the Palais
Royal. We stayed at Divinerries six months until
one night Peter Boyce Wendell, the columnist, ate
his milk -toast there. Next morning a poem about
Marvellous Marcia came out in his newspaper, and
within two days I had three vaudeville offers and
a chance at the Midnight Frolic. I wrote Wendell
a thank-you letter, and he printed it in his column
said that the style was like Carlyle s, only more
rugged, and that I ought to quit dancing and do
102 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
North American literature. This got me a coupla
more vaudeville offers and a chance as aixJngenue
in a regular show. I took it and here I am,
When she finished they sat for a moment in silence,
she draping the last skeins of a Welsh rabbit on her
fork and waiting for him to speak.
"Let s get out of here," he said suddenly.
Marcia s eyes hardened.
"What s the idea? Am I making you sick?"
"No, but I don t like it here. I don t like to be
sitting here with you."
Without another word Marcia signalled for the
"What s the check?" she demanded briskly.
"My part the rabbit and the ginger ale."
Horace watched blankly as the waiter figured it.
"See here," he began, "I intended to pay for
yours too. You re my guest."
With a half -sigh Marcia rose from the table and
walked from the room. Horace, his face a docu
ment in bewilderment, laid a bill down and followed
her out, up the stairs and into the lobby. He over
took her in front of the elevator and they faced
"See here," he repeated, "you re my guest. Have
I said something to offend you?"
After an instant of wonder Marcia s eyes soft
"You re a rude fella," she said slowly. "Don t
you know you re rude?"
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 103
"I can t help it," said Horace with a directness
she found quite disarming. " You know I like you."
"You said you didn t like being with me."
"I didn t like it."
Fire blazed suddenly from the gray forests of his
"Because I didn t. I ve formed the habit of
liking you. I ve been thinking of nothing much
else for two days."
"Well, if you "
"Wait a minute," he interrupted. "I ve got
something to say. It s this: in six weeks I ll be
eighteen years old. When I m eighteen years old
I m coming up to New York to see you. Is there
some place in New York where we can go and not
have a lot of people in the room?"
"Sure!" smiled Marcia. "You can come up to
my partment. Sleep on the couch, if you want to."
"I can t sleep on couches," he said shortly. "But
I want to talk to you."
"Why, sure," repeated Marcia "in my part
In his excitement Horace put his hands in his
"All right just so I can see you alone. I want
to talk to you as we talked up in my room."
"Honey boy," cried Marcia, laughing, "is it that
you want to kiss me?"
"Yes," Horace almost shouted. "I ll kiss you if
you want me to."
104 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
The elevator man was looking at them reproach
fully. Marcia edged toward the grated door.
"I ll drop you a post-card/ she said.
Horace s eyes were quite wild.
"Send me a post-card! I ll come up any time
after January first. I ll be eighteen then."
And as she stepped into the elevator he coughed
enigmatically, yet with a vague challenge, at the
ceiling, and walked quickly away.
He was there again. She saw him when she took
her first glance at the restless Manhattan audience
down in the front row with his head bent a bit
forward and his gray eyes fixed on her. And she
knew that to him they were alone together in a
world where the high-rouged row of ballet faces and
the massed whines of the violins were as imperceiva-
ble as powder on a marble Venus. An instinctive
defiance rose within her.
"Silly boy!" she said to herself hurriedly, and
she didn t take her encore.
"What do they expect for a hundred a week
perpetual motion?" she grumbled to herself hi the
"What s the trouble, Marcia?"
"Guy I don t like down in front."
During the last act as she waited for her specialty
she had an odd attack of stage fright. She had
never sent Horace the promised post-card. Last
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 105
night she had pretended not to see him had hurried
from the theatre immediately after her dance to
pass a sleepless night in her apartment, thinking
as she had so often in the last month of his pale,
rather intent face, his slim, boyish figure, the merci
less, unworldly abstraction that made him charming
And now that he had come she felt vaguely sorry <
as though an unwonted responsibility was being
forced on her.
"Infant prodigy!" she said aloud.
"What?" demanded the negro comedian stand
ing beside her.
"Nothing just talking about myself."
On the stage she felt better. This was her dance
and she always felt that the way she did it wasn t
suggestive any more than to some men every pretty
girl is suggestive. She made it a stunt.
"Uptown, downtown, jelly on a spoon,
After sundown shiver by the moon."
He was not watching her now. She saw that
clearly. He was looking very deliberately at a
castle on the back drop, wearing that expression he
had worn in the Taft Grill. A wave of exasperation
swept over her he was criticising her.
"That s the vibration that thr-ills me,
Funny how affection fi-lls me,
Uptown, downtown "
io6 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Unconquerable revulsion seized her. She was
suddenly and horribly conscious of her audience as
she had never been since her first appearance. Was
that a leer on a pallid face in the front row, a droop
of disgust on one young girl s mouth? These shoul
ders of hers these shoulders shaking were they
hers? Were they real? Surely shoulders weren t
made for this !
"Then you ll see at a glance
I ll need some funeral ushers with St. Vitus dance
At the end of the world I ll "
The bassoon and two cellos crashed into a final
chord. She paused and poised a moment on her
toes with every muscle tense, her young face look
ing out dully at the audience in what one young
girl afterward called "such a curious, puzzled look,"
and then without bowing rushed from the stage.
Into the dressing-room she sped, kicked out of one
dress and into another, and caught a taxi outside.
Her apartment was very warm small, it was,
with a row of professional pictures and sets of Kip
ling and O. Henry which she had bought once from
a blue-eyed agent and read occasionally. And there
were several chairs which matched, but were none of
them comfortable, and a pink-shaded lamp with
blackbirds painted on it and an atmosphere of rather
stifled pink throughout. There were nice things in
it nice things unrelentingly hostile to each other,
offsprings of a vicarious, impatient taste acting in
stray moments. The worst was typified by a great
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 107
picture framed in oak bark of Passaic as seen from
the Erie Railroad altogether a frantic, oddly ex
travagant, oddly jgeniicious attempt to make a cheer
ful room. Marcia knew it was a failure.
Into this room came the prodigy and took her
two hands awkwardly.
"I followed you this tune," he said.
"I want you to marry me," he said.
Her arms went out to him. She kissed his mouth
with a sort of passionate wholesomeness.
"I love you," he said.
She kissed him again and then with a little sigh
flung herself into an armchair and half lay there,
shaken with absurd laughter.
"Why, you infant prodigy!" she cried.
"Very well, call me that if you want to. I once
told you that I was ten thousand years older than
you I am."
She laughed again.
"I don t like to be disapproved of."
"No one s ever going to disapprove of you again."
"Omar," she asked, "why do you want to marry
The prodigy rose and put his hands in his pockets.
"Because I love you, Marcia Meadow."
And then she stopped calling him Omar.
"Dear boy," she said, "you know I sort of love
you. There s something about you I can t tell
what that just puts my heart through the wringer
io8 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
every time I m round you. But, honey " She
"But lots of things. But you re only just eigh
teen, and I m nearly twenty."
"Nonsense!" he interrupted. "Put it this way
that I m in my nineteenth year and you re nine
teen. That makes us pretty close without count
ing that other ten thousand years I mentioned."
"But there are some more buts. Your peo-
"My people!" exclaimed the prodigy ferociously.
"My people tried to make a monstrosity out of me."
His face grew quite crimson at the enormity of what
he was going to say. "My people can go way back
and sit down!"
"My heavens!" cried Marcia in alarm. "All
that? On tacks, I suppose."
"Tacks yes," he agreed wildly "on anything.
The more I think of how they allowed me to become
a little dried-up mummy "
"What makes you think you re that?" asked
Marcia quietly "me?"
"Yes. Every person I ve met on the streets since
I met you has made me jealous because they knew
what love was before I did. I used to call it the
sex impulse. Heavens !
"There s more buts, " said Marcia.
"What are they?"
"How could we live?"
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 109
"I ll make a living."
" You re in college. "
"Do you think I care anything about taking a
Master of Arts degree?"
"You want to be Master of Me, hey?"
"Yes! What? I mean, no!"
Marcia laughed, and crossing swiftly over sat hi
his lap. He put his arm round her wildly and im
planted the vestige of a kiss somewhere near her
"There s something white about you," mused
Marcia, "but it doesn t sound very logical."
"Oh, don t be so darned reasonable!"
"I can t help it," said Marcia.
"I hate these slot-machine people!"
"But we "
"Oh, shut up!"
And as Marcia couldn t talk through her ears
she had to.
Horace and Marcia were married early in Feb
ruary. The sensation in academic circles both at
Yale and Princeton was tremendous. Horace Tar-
box, who at fourteen had been played up in the
Sunday magazines sections of metropolitan news
papers, was throwing over his career, his chance of
being a world authority on American philosophy,
by marrying a chorus girl they made Marcia a
chorus girl. But like all modern stories it was a
four-and-a-half -day wonder.
no FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
They took a flat in Harlem. After two weeks
search, during which his idea of the value of aca
demic knowledge faded unmercifully, Horace took
a position as clerk with a South American export
company some one had told him that exporting was
the coming thing. Marcia was to stay in her show
for a few months anyway until he got on his feet.
He was getting a hundred and twenty-five to start
with, and though of course they told him it was
only a question of months until he would be earn
ing double that, Marcia refused even to consider
giving up the hundred and fifty a week that she was
getting at the time.
"We ll call ourselves Head and Shoulders, dear,"
she said softly, "and the shoulders !! have to keep
shaking a little longer until the old head gets started."
"I hate it," he objected gloomily.
"Well," she replied emphatically, "your salary
wouldn t keep us in a tenement. Don t think I
want to be public I don t. I want to be yours.
But I d be a half-wit to sit in one room and count
the sunflowers on the wall-paper while I waited for
you. When you pull down three hundred a month
I ll quit."
And much as it hurt his pride, Horace had to
admit that hers was the wiser course.
March mellowed into April. May read a gor
geous riot act to the parks and waters of Manhattan,
and they were very happy. Horace, who had no
habits whatsoever he had never had time to form
any proved the most adaptable of husbands, and
HEAD AND SHOULDERS in
as Marcia entirely lacked opinions on the subjeetsi
that engrossed him there were very few joltings andl
bumpings. Their minds moved in different spheres.
Marcia acted as practical factotum, and Horace
lived either hi his old world of abstract ideas or in
a sort of triumphantly earthy worship and adora
tion of his wife. She was a continual source of
astonishment to him the freshness and originality
of her mind, her dynamic, clear-headed energy, and
her unfailing good humor.
And Marcia s co-workers in the nine-o clock show,
whither she had transferred her talents, were im
pressed with her tremendous pride in her husband s
mental powers. Horace they knew only as a very
slim, tight-lipped, and immature-looking young man,
who waited every night to take her home.
" Horace," said Marcia one evening when she
met him as usual at eleven, "you looked like a ghost
standing there against the street lights. You losing
He shook his head vaguely.
"I don t know. They raised me to a hundred
and thirty-five dollars to-day, and "
"I don t care," said Marcia severely. "You re
killing yourself working at night. You read those
big books on economy "
"Economics," corrected Horace.
"Well, you read em every night long after I m
asleep. And you re getting all stooped over like
you were before we were married."
"But, Marcia, I ve got to "
112 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"No, you haven t, dear. I guess I m running
this shop for the present, and I won t let my fella
ruin his health and eyes. You got to get some
"I do. Every morning I "
"Oh, I know! But those dumb-bells of yours
wouldn t give a consumptive two degrees of fever.
I mean real exercise. You ve got to join a gym
nasium. Member you told me you were such a
trick gymnast once that they tried to get you out
for the team in college and they couldn t because
you had a standing date with Herb Spencer?"
"I used to enjoy it," mused Horace, "but it
would take up too much tune now."
"All right," said Marcia. "I ll make a bargain
with you. You join a gym and I ll read one of
those books from the brown row of em."
"Tepys Diary ? Why, that ought to be en
joyable. He s very light."
"Not for me he isn t. It ll be like digesting
plate glass. But you been telling me how much
it d broaden my lookout. Well, you go to a gym
three nights a week and I ll take one big dose of
"Come on, now! You do some giant swings for
me and I ll chase some culture for you."
So Horace finally consented, and all through a
baking summer he spent three and sometimes four
evenings a week experimenting on the trapeze in
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 113
Skipper s Gymnasium. And in August he admitted
to Marcia that it made him capable of more mental
work during the day.
"Mens sana in cor pore sano" he said.
"Don t believe in it," replied Marcia. "I tried
one of those patent medicines once and they re all
bunk. You stick to gymnastics."
One night in early September while he was going
through one of his contortions on the rings in the
nearly deserted room he was addressed by a medi
tative fat man whom he had noticed watching him
for several nights.
"Say, lad, do that stunt you were doin last
Horace grinned at him from his perch.
"I invented it," he said. "I got the idea from
the fourth proposition of Euclid."
"What circus he with?"
"He s dead."
"Well, he must of broke his neck doin that stunt.
I set here last night thinkin sure you was goin to
"Like this!" said Horace, and swinging onto the
trapeze he did his stunt.
"Don t it kill your neck an shoulder muscles?"
"It did at first, but inside of a week I wrote the
quod erat demonstrandum on it."
Horace swung idly on the trapeze.
"Ever think of takin it up professionally?" asked
the fat man.
H4 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Good money in it if you re willin to do stunts
like at an can get away with it."
"Here s another," chirped Horace eagerly, and
the fat man s mouth dropped suddenly agape as he
watched this pink-jerseyed Prometheus again defy
the gods and Isaac Newton.
The night following this encounter Horace got
home from work to find a rather pale Marcia
stretched out on the sofa waiting for him.
"I fainted twice to-day," she began without pre
"Yep. You see baby s due in four months now.
Doctor says I ought to have quit dancing two weeks
Horace sat down and thought it over.
"I m glad, of course," he said pensively "I
mean glad that we re going to have a baby. But
this means a lot of expense."
"I ve got two hundred and fifty in the bank,"
said Marcia hopefully, "and two weeks pay coming."
Horace computed quickly.
"Including my salary, that ll give us nearly four
teen hundred for the next six months."
Marcia looked blue.
"That all? Course I can get a job singing some
where this month. And I can go to work again in
"Of course nothing!" said Horace gruffly.
"You ll stay right here. Let s see now there ll
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 115
be doctor s bills and a nurse, besides the maid.
We ve got to have some more money."
"Well," said Marcia wearily, "I don t know
where it s coming from. It s up to the old head
now. Shoulders is out of business."
Horace rose and pulled on his coat.
"Where are you going?"
"I ve got an idea," he answered. "I ll be right
Ten minutes later as he headed down the street
toward Skipper s Gymnasium he felt a placid won
der, quite unmixed with humor, at what he was
going to do. How he would have gaped at him
self a year before! How every one would have
gaped! But when you opened your door at the
rap of life you let in many things.
The gymnasium was brightly lit, and when his
eyes became accustomed to the glare he found the
meditative fat man seated on a pile of canvas mats
smoking a big cigar.
"Say," began Horace directly, "were you in
earnest last night when you said I could make
money on my trapeze stunts?"
"Why, yes," said the fat man in surprise.
"Well, I ve been thinking it over, and I believe
I d like to try it. I could work at night and on
Saturday afternoons and regularly if the pay is
The fat man looked at his watch.
"Well," he said, "Charlie Paulson s the man to
see. He ll book you inside of four days, once he
n6 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
sees you work out. He won t be in now, but 111
get hold of him for to-morrow night."
The fat man was as good as his word. Charlie
Paulson arrived next night and put in a wondrous
hour watching the prodigy swoop through the air
in amazing parabolas, and on the night following he
brought two large men with him who looked as
though they had been born smoking black cigars
and talking about money in low, passionate voices.
Then on the succeeding Saturday Horace Tarbox s
torso made its first professional appearance in a
gymnastic exhibition at the Coleman Street Gar
dens. But though the audience numbered nearly
five thousand people, Horace felt no nervousness.
From his childhood he had read papers to audi
ences learned that trick of detaching himself.
"Marcia," he said cheerfully later that same
night, "I think we re out of the woods. Paulson
thinks he can get me an opening at the Hippodrome,
and that means an all-winter engagement. The
Hippodrome, you know, is a big "
"Yes, I believe I ve heard of it," interrupted
Marcia, "but I want to know about this stunt you re
doing. It isn t any spectacular suicide, is it?"
"It s nothing," said Horace quietly. "But if you
can think of any nicer way of a man killing himself
than taking a risk for you, why that s the way I
want to die."
Marcia reached up and wound both arms tightly
round his neck.
"Kiss me," she whispered, "and call me dear
heart. I love to hear you say dear heart. And
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 117
bring me a book to read to-morrow. No more
Sam Pepys, but something trick and trashy. IVe
been wild for something to do all day. I felt like
writing letters, but I didn t have anybody to write
"Write to me," said Horace. "I ll read them."
"I wish I could," breathed Marcia. "If I knew
words enough I could write you the longest love-
letter in the world and never get tired."
But after two more months Marcia grew very
tired indeed, and for a row of nights it was a very
anxious, weary-looking young athlete who walked
out before the Hippodrome crowd. Then there
were two days when his place was taken by a young
man who wore pale blue instead of white, and got
very little applause. But after the two days Horace
appeared again, and those who sat close to the stage
remarked an expression of beatific happiness on that
young acrobat s face, even when he was twisting
breathlessly hi the air in the middle of his amazing
and original shoulder swing. After that perform
ance he laughed at the elevator man and dashed up
the stairs to the flat five steps at a time and then
tiptoed very carefully into a quiet room.
"Marcia," he whispered.
"Hello!" She smiled up at him wanly. "Hor
ace, there s something I want you to do. Look hi
my top bureau drawer and you ll find a big stack of
paper. It s a book sort of Horace. I wrote it
down in these last three months while I ve been
laid up. I wish you d take it to that Peter Boyce
Wendell who put my letter in his paper. He could
Ii8 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
tell you whether it d be a good book. I wrote it
just the way I talk, just the way I wrote that letter
to him. It s just a story about a lot of things that
happened to me. Will you take it to him, Horace ? "
He leaned over the bed until his head was beside
her on the pillow, and began stroking back her
" Dearest Marcia," he said softly.
"No," she murmured, "call me what I told you
to call me."
"Dear heart," he whispered passionately "dear
est, dearest heart."
They rested a minute in happy, drowsy content,
while Horace considered.
"We ll call her Marcia Hume Tarbox," he said
"Why the Hume?"
"Because he s the fellow who first introduced us."
"That so?" she murmured, sleepily surprised.
"I thought his name was Moon."
Her eyes closed, and after a moment the slow,
lengthening surge of the bedclothes over her breast
showed that she was asleep.
Horace tiptoed over to the bureau and opening
the top drawer found a heap of closely scrawled,
lead-smeared pages. He looked at the first sheet:
SANDRA PEPYS, SYNCOPATED
BY MARCIA TARBOX
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 119
He smiled. So Samuel Pepys had made an im
pression on her after all. He turned a page and
began to read. His smile deepened he read on.
Half an hour passed and he became aware that
Marcia had waked and was watching him from the
"Honey," came in a whisper.
" Do you like it?"
"I seem to be reading on. It s bright."
"Take it to Peter Boyce Wendell. Tell him you
got the highest marks in Princeton once and that
you ought to know when a book s good. Tell him
this one s a world beater."
"All right, Marcia," said Horace gently.
Her eyes closed again and Horace crossing over
kissed her forehead stood there for a moment with
a look of tender pity. Then he left the room.
All that night the sprawly writing on the pages,
the constant mistakes in spelling and grammar,
and the weird punctuation danced before his eyes.
He woke several times in the night, each time full
of a welling chaotic sympathy for this desire of
Marcia s soul to express itself in words. To him
there was something infinitely pathetic about it,
and for the first time in months he began to turn
over in his mind his own half -forgotten dreams.
He had meant to write a series of books, to pop
ularize the new realism as Schopenhauer had pop
ularized pessimism and William James pragmatism.
120 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
But life hadn t come that way. Life took hold of
people and forced them into flying rings. He laughed
to think of that rap at his door, the diaphanous
shadow in Hume, Marcia s threatened kiss.
"And it s still me," he said aloud in wonder as
he lay awake hi the darkness. "I m the man who
sat in Berkeley with temerity to wonder if that rap
would have had actual existence had my ear not
been there to hear it. I m still that man. I could
be electrocuted for the crimes he committed.
"Poor gauzy souls trying to express ourselves in
something tangible. Marcia with her written book;
I with my unwritten ones. Trying to choose our
mediums and then taking what we get and being
"Sandra Pepys, Syncopated," with an introduc
tion by Peter Boyce Wendell, the columnist, ap
peared serially in Jordan s Magazine, and came out
in book form in March. From its first published
instalment it attracted attention far and wide. A
trite enough subject a girl from a small New Jer
sey town coming to New York to go on the stage
treated simply, with a peculiar vividness of phrasing
and a haunting undertone of sadness in the very
inadequacy of its vocabulary, it made an irresisti
Peter Boyce Wendell, who happened at that time
to be advocating the enrichment of the American
language by the immediate adoption of expressive
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 121
vernacular words, stood as its sponsor and thun-
~dered TSs indorsement over the placid bromides of
the conventional reviewers.
Marcia received three hundred dollars an instal
ment for the serial publication, which came at an
opportune time, for though Horace s monthly salary
at the Hippodrome was now more than Marcia s
had ever been, young Marcia was emitting shrill
cries which they interpreted as a demand for coun
try air. So early April found them installed in a
bungalow in Westchester County, with a place for
a lawn, a place for a garage, and a place for every
thing, including a sound-proof impregnable study,
in which Marcia faithfully promised Mr. Jordan
she would shut herself up when her daughter s de
mands began to be abated, and compose immortally
"It s not half bad," thought Horace one night as
he was on his way from the station to his house.
He was considering several prospects that had opened
up, a four months vaudeville offer in five figures, a
chance to go back to Princeton in charge of all gym
nasium work. Odd ! He had once intended to go
back there in charge of all philosophic work, and
now he had not even been stirred by the arrival in
New York of Anton Laurier, his old idol.
The gravel crunched raucously under his heel.
He saw the lights of his sitting-room gleaming and
noticed a big car standing in the drive. Probably
Mr. Jordan again, come to persuade Marcia to set
tle down to work.
122 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
She had heard the sound of his approach and her
form was silhouetted against the lighted door as
she came out to meet him.
"There s some Frenchman here," she whispered
nervously. "I can t pronounce his name, but he
sounds awful deep. You ll have to jaw with him."
" What Frenchman?"
"You can t prove it by me. He drove up an
hour ago with Mr. Jordan, and said he wanted to
meet Sandra Pepys, and all that sort of thing."
Two men rose from chairs as they went inside.
"Hello, Tarbox," said Jordan. "I ve just been
bringing together two celebrities. I ve brought
M sieur Laurier out with me. M sieur Laurier, let
me present Mr. Tarbox, Mrs. Tarbox s husband."
"Not Anton Laurier!" exclaimed Horace.
"But, yes. I must come. I have to come. I
have read the book of Madame, and I have been
charmed" he fumbled in his pocket "ah, I have
read of you too. In this newspaper which I read
to-day it has your name."
He finally produced a clipping from a magazine.
"Read it!" he said eagerly. "It has about you
Horace s eye skipped down the page.
"A distinct contribution to American dialect lit
erature," it said. "No attempt at literary tone;
the book derives its very quality from this fact, as
did Huckleberry Finn. "
Horace s eyes caught a passage lower down; he
became suddenly aghast read on hurriedly:
HEAD AND SHOULDERS 123
"Marcia Tarbox s connection with the stage is
not only as a spectator but as the wife of a per
former. She was married last year to Horace Tar-
box, who every evening delights the children at the
Hippodrome with his wondrous flying-ring per
formance. It is said that the young couple have
dubbed themselves Head and Shoulders, referring
doubtless to the fact that Mrs. Tarbox supplies the
literary and mental qualities, while the supple and
agile shoulders of her husband contribute their
share to the family fortunes.
"Mrs. Tarbox seems to merit that much-abused
title prodigy. Only twenty "
Horace stopped reading, and with a very odd ex
pression in his eyes gazed intently at Anton Laurier.
"I want to advise you " he began hoarsely.
"About raps. Don t answer them! Let them
alone have a padded door."
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL
THERE was a rough stone age and a smooth stone
age and a bronze age, and many years afterward a
cut-glass age. In the cut-glass age, when young
ladies had persuaded young men with long, curly
mustaches to marry them, they sat down several
months afterward and wrote thank-you notes for
all sorts of cut-glass presents punch-bowls, finger-
bowls, dinner-glasses, wine-glasses, ice-cream dishes,
bonbon dishes, decanters, and vases for, though
cut glass was nothing new in the nineties, it was
then especially busy reflecting the dazzling light of
fashion from the Back Bay to the fastnesses of the
After the wedding the punch-bowls were arranged
on the sideboard with the big bowl in the centre;
the glasses were set up in the china-closet; the can
dlesticks were put at both ends of things and then
the struggle for existence began. The bonbon dish
lost its little handle and became a pin-tray up
stairs; a promenading cat knocked the little bowl
off the sideboard, and the hired girl chipped the
middle-sized one with the sugar-dish; then the
wine-glasses succumbed to leg fractures, and even
the dinner-glasses disappeared one by one like the
ten little niggers, the last one ending up, scarred
and maimed, as a tooth-brush holder among other
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 125
shabby genteels on the bathroom shelf. But by
the time all this had happened the cut-glass age was
It was well past its first glory on the day the
curious Mrs. Roger Fairboalt came to see the
beautiful Mrs. Harold Piper.
"My dear" said the curious Mrs. Roger Fair
boalt, " I love your house. I think it s quite artistic."
"I m so glad," said the beautiful Mrs. Harold
Piper, lights appearing in her young, dark eyes;
"and you must come often. I m almost always alone
in the afternoon."
Mrs. Fairboalt would have liked to remark that
she didn t believe this at all and couldn t see how
she d be expected to it was all over town that Mr.
Freddy Gedney had been dropping in on Mrs. Piper
five afternoons a week for the past six months.
Mrs. Fairboalt was^at that ripe age where she dis
trusted all beautiful women ^
"I love the dining-room most" she said, "all that
marvellous china, and that huge cut-glass bowl."
Mrs. Piper laughed, so prettily that Mrs. Fair-
boalt s lingering reservations about the Freddy
Gedney story quite vanished.
"Oh, that big bowl !" Mrs. Piper s mouth form
ing the words was a vivid rose petal. "There s a
story about that bowl "
"You remember young Carleton Canby? Well,
he was very attentiveCat one tirpeTJand the night
I told him I was going to marry Harold, seven years
126 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
ago, in ninety-two, he drew himself way up and
said: Evylyn, I m going to give a present that s
as hard as you are and as beautiful and as empty
and as easy to see through. He frightened me a
little his eyes were so black. I thought he was
going to deed me a haunted house or something
that would explode when you opened it. That
bowl came, and of course it s beautiful. Its diam
eter or circumference pr^somethJLng is two and a
half feet or perhaps it s three and a half. Anyway,
the sideboard is really too small for it; k sticks
"My dear, wasn t that odd! And he left town
about then, didn t he?" Mrs. Fairboalt was scrib
bling italicized notes on her memory "hard, beau
tiful, empty, and easy to see through."
"Yes, he went West or South or somewhere,"
answered Mrs. Piper, radiating that divine vague
ness that helps to lift beauty out of time.
Mrs. Fairboalt drew on her gloves, approving the
effect of largeness given by the open sweep from the
spacious music-room through the library, disclosing
a part of the dining-room beyond. It was really
the nicest smaller house in town, and Mrs. Piper
had talked of moving to a larger one on Devereaux
Avenue. Harold Piper must be coining money.
As she turned into the sidewalk under the gather
ing autumn dusk she assumed that disapproving,
faintly unpleasant expression that almost all suc
cessful women of forty wear on the street.
If / were Harold Piper, she thought, I d spend a
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 127
little less time on business and a little more time at
home. Some friend, should speak to him.
But if Mrs. Fairboalt had considered it a success
ful afternoon she would have named it a triumph
had she waited two minutes longer. For while she
was still a black receding figure a hundred yards
down the street, a very good-looking distraught
young man turned up the walk to the Piper house.
Mrs. Piper answered the door-bell herself, and with
a rather dismayed expression led him quickly into
"I had to see you," he began wildly; "your note
played the devil with me. Did Harold frighten you
She shook her head.
"Fin through, Fred," she said slowly, and her
lips had never looked to him so much like tearings
from a rose. "He came home last night sick with
it. Jessie Piper s sense of duty was too much for
her, so she went down to his office and told him.
He was hurt and oh, I can t help seeing it his way,
Fred. He says we ve been club gossip all summer
and he didn t know it, and now he understands
snatches of conversation he s caught and veiled
hints people have dropped about me. He s mighty
angry, Fred, and he loves me and I love him
Gedney nodded slowly and half closed his eyes.
"Yes," he said, "yes, my trouble s like yours.
I can see other people s points of view too plainly."
His gray eyes met her dark ones frankly. "The
128 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
blessed thing s over. My God, Evylyn, I ve been
sitting down at the office all day looking at the out
side of your letter, and looking at it and looking
at it "
"You ve got to go, Fred," she said steadily, and
the slight emphasis of hurry in her voice was a new
thrust for him. "I gave him my word of honor I
wouldn t see you. I know just how far I can go
with Harold, and being here with you this evening
is one of the things I can t do."
They were still standing, and as she spoke she
made a little movement toward the door. Gedney
looked at her miserably, trying, here at the end,
to treasure up a last picture of her and then sud
denly both of them were stiffened into marble at
the sound of steps on the walk outside. Instantly
her arm reached out grasping the lapel of his coat
half urged, half swung him through the big door
into the dark dining-room.
Til make him go up-stairs," she whispered close
to his ear; " don t move till you hear him on the
stairs. Then go out the front way."
Then he was alone listening as she greeted her
husband in the hall.
Harold Piper was thirty-six, nine years older than
his wife. He was handsome with marginal notes:
these being eyes that were too close together, and a
certain woodenness when his face was in repose.
His attitude toward this Gedney matter was typical
of all his attitudes. He had told Evylyn that he
considered the subject closed and would never re
proach her nor allude to it in any form; and he told
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 129
himself that this was rather a big way of looking
at it that she was not a little impressed. Yet,
like all men who are preoccupied with their own
broadness, he was exceptionally narrow.
He greeted Evylyn with emphasized cordiality
"You ll have to hurry and dress, Harold," she
said eagerly; "we re going to the Bronsons ."
"It doesn t take me long to dress, dear," and, his
words trailing off, he walked on into the library.
Evylyn s heart clattered loudly.
"Harold " she began, with a little catch in her
voice, and followed him in. He was lighting a
cigarette. "You ll have to hurry, Harold," she
finished, standing in the doorway.
"Why?" he asked, a trifle impatiently; "you re
not dressed yourself yet, Evie."
He stretched out in a Morris chair and unfolded
a newspaper. With a sinking sensation Evylyn
saw that this meant at least ten minutes and Ged-
ney was standing breathless in the next room.
Supposing Harold decided that before he went up
stairs he wanted a drink from the decanter on the
sideboard. Then it occurred to her to forestall this
contingency by bringing him the decanter and a
glass. She dreaded calling his attention to the
dining-room in any way, but she couldn t risk the
But at the same moment Harold rose and, throw
ing his paper down, came toward her.
"Evie, dear," he said, bending and putting his
130 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
arms about her, "I hope you re not thinking about
last night " She moved close to him, trembling.
"I know," he continued, "it was just an imprudent
friendship on your part. We all make mistakes."
Evylyn hardly heard him. She was wondering
if by sheer clinging to him she could draw him out
and up the stairs. She thought of playing sick,
asking to be carried up unfortunately, she knew he
would lay her on the couch and bring her whiskey.
Suddenly her nervous tension moved up a last
impossible notch. She had heard a very faint but
quite unmistakable creak from the floor of the dining-
room. Fred was trying to get out the back way.
Then her heart took a flying leap as a hollow ring
ing note like a gong echoed and re-echoed through
the house. Gedney s arm had struck the big cut-
"What s that !" cried Harold. "Who s there?"
She clung to him but he broke away, and the
room seemed to crash about her ears. She heard
the pantry-door swing open, a scuffle, the rattle of
a tin pan, and in wild despair she rushed into the
kitchen and pulled up the gas. Her husband s arm
slowly unwound from Gedney s neck, and he stood
there very still, first in amazement, then with pain
dawning m his face.
"My golly!" he said hi bewilderment, and then
He turned as if to jump again at Gedney, stopped,
his muscles visibly relaxed, and he gave a bitter little
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 131
"You people you people ; Evylyn s arms
were around him and her eyes were pleading with
him frantically, but he pushed her away and sank
dazed into a kitchen chair, his face like porcelain.
"You ve been doing things to me, Evylyn. Why,
you little devil ! You little devil!"
She had never felt so sorry for him; she had never
loved him so much.
"It wasn t her fault," said Gedney rather humbly.
"I just came." But Piper shook his head, and his
expression when he stared up was as if some physical
accident had jarred his mind into a temporary in
ability to function. His eyes, grown suddenly piti
ful, struck a deep, unsounded chord in Evylyn
and simultaneously a furious anger surged hi her.
She felt her eyelids burning; she stamped her foot
violently; her hands scurried nervously over the
table as if searching for a weapon, and then she
flung herself wildly at Gedney.
"Get out !" she screamed, dark eyes blazing, little
fists beating helplessly on his outstretched arm.
"You did this! Get out of here get out get
out! Get out!"
Concerning Mrs. Harold Piper at thirty-five, opin
ion was divided women said she was still handsome;
men said she was pretty no longer. And this was
probably because the qualities in her beauty that
women had feared and men had followed had van
ished. Her eyes were still as large and as dark
132 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
and as sad, but the mystery had departed; their
sadness was no longer eternal, only human, and she
had developed a habit, when she was startled or
annoyed, of twitching her brows together and
blinking several times. Her mouth also had. lost:
the red had receded and the faint down-turning of
its corners when she smiled, that had added to the
sadness of the eyes and been vaguely mocking and
beautiful, was quite gone. When she smiled now
the corners of her lips turned up. Back in the days
when she revelled in her own beauty Evylyn had
enjoyed that smile of hers she had accentuated
it. When she stopped accentuating it, it faded out
and the last of her mystery with it.
Evylyn had ceased accentuating her smile within
a month after the Freddy Gedney affair. Externally
things had gone on very much as they had before.
But hi those few minutes during which she had dis
covered how much she loved her husband Evylyn
had realized how indelibly she had hurt him. For
a month she struggled against aching silences, wild
reproaches and accusations she pled with him,
made quiet, pitiful little love to him, and he laughed
at her bitterly and then she, too, slipped gradu
ally into silence and a shadowy, unpenetrable bar
rier dropped between them. The surge of love
that had risen in her she lavished on Donald, her
little boy, realizing him almost wonderingly as a
part of her life.
The next year a piling up of mutual interests and
responsibilities and some stray flicker from the past
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 133
brought husband and wife together again but after
a rather pathetic flood of passion Evylyn realized
that her great opportunity was gone. There sim
ply wasn t anything left. She might have been
youth and love for both but that time of silence
had slowly dried up the springs of affection and her
own desire to drink again of them was dead.
She began for the first time to seek women friends,
to prefer books she had read before, to sew a little
where she could watch her two children to whom she
was devoted. She worried about little things if
she saw crumbs on the dinner-table her mind drifted
off the conversation: she was receding gradually
into middle age.
Her thirty-fifth birthday had been an exception
ally busy one, for they were entertaining on short
notice that night, and as she stood in her bedroom
window in the late afternoon she discovered that
she was quite tired. Ten years before she would
have lain down and slept, but now she had a feeling
that things needed watching: maids were cleaning
down-stairs, bric-a-brac was all over the floor, and
there were sure to be grocery-men that had to be
talked to imperatively and then there was a letter
to write Donald, who was fourteen and in his first
year away at school.
She had nearly decided to lie down, nevertheless,
when she heard a sudden familiar signal from little
Julie down-stairs. She compressed her lips, her
brows twitched together, and she blinked.
"Julie!" she called.
134 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"Ah-h-h-ow !" prolonged Julie plaintively. Then
the voice of Hilda, the second maid, floated up the
"She cut herself a little, Mis Piper."
Evylyn flew to her sewing-basket, rummaged un
til she found a torn handkerchief, and hurried down-
stajrs. In a moment Julie was crying in her arms
as she searched for the cut, faint, disparaging evi
dences of which appeared on Julie s dress !
"My fc-umb!" explained Julie. "Oh-h-h-h,
"It was the bowl here, the he one," said Hilda
apologetically. "It was waitin on the floor while
I polished the sideboard, and Julie come along an
went to foolin with it. She yust scratch herself."
Evylyn frowned heavily at Hilda, and twisting
Julie decisively in her lap, began tearing strips off
"Now let s see it, dear."
Julie held it up and Evylyn pounced.
Julie surveyed her swathed thumb doubtfully.
She crooked it; it waggled. A pleased, interested
look appeared in her tear-stained face. She sniffled
and waggled it again.
"You precious!" cried Evylyn and kissed her,
but before she left the room she levelled another
frown at Hilda. Careless! Servants all that way
nowadays. If she could get a good Irishwoman
but you couldn t any more and these Swedes
At five o clock Harold arrived and, coming up
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 135
to her room, threatened in a suspiciously jovial
tone to kiss her thirty-five times for her birthday.
"You ve been drinking," she said shortly, and
then added qualitatively, "a little. You know I
loathe the smeU of it."
"Evie," he said, after a pause, seating himself
in a chair by the window, "I can tell you something
now. I guess you ve known things haven t been
going quite right down- town."
She was standing at the window combing her
hair, but at these words she turned and looked at
"How do you mean? You ve always said there
was room for more than one wholesale hardware
house in town." Her voice expressed some alarm.
"There was" said Harold significantly, "but this
Clarence Ahearn is a smart man."
"I was surprised when you said he was coming
"Evie," he went on, with another slap at his
knee, "after January first The Clarence Ahearn
Company becomes The Ahearn, Piper Company
and Piper Brothers as a company ceases to
Evylyn was startled. The sound of his name in
second place was somehow hostile to her; still he
"I don t understand, Harold."
"Well, Evie, Ahearn has been fooling around
with Marx. If those two had combined we d have
136 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
been the little fellow, struggling along, picking up
smaller orders, hanging back on risks. It s a ques
tion of capital, Evie, and Ahearn and Marx would
have had the business just like l Ahearn and Piper
is going to now/ He paused and coughed and a
little cloud of whiskey floated up to her nostrils.
"Tell you the truth, Evie, I ve suspected that
Ahearn s wife had something to do with it. Am
bitious little lady, I m told. Guess she knew the
Marxes couldn t help her much here."
"Is she common?", asked Evie.
"Never met her, I m sure but I don t doubt it.
Clarence Ahearn s name s been up at the Country
Club five months no action taken." He waved
his hand disparagingly. "Ahearn and I had lunch
together to-day and just about clinched it, so I
thought it d be nice to have him and his wife up
to-night just have nine, mostly family. After all,
it s a big thing for me, and of course we ll have to
see something of them, Evie."
"Yes," said Evie thoughtfully, "I suppose we
Evylyn was not disturbed over the social end of
it but the idea of "Piper Brothers" becoming
"The Ahearn, Piper Company" startled her. It
seemed like going down in the world.
Half an hour later, as she began to dress for din
ner, she heard his voice from down-stairs.
"Oh, Evie, come down!"
She went out into the hall and called over the
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 137
"What is it ?"
"I want you to help me make some of that
punch before dinner."
Hurriedly rehooking her dress, she descended the
stairs and found him grouping the essentials on the
dining-room table. She went to the sideboard and,
lifting one of the bowls, carried it over.
"Oh, no," he protested, "let s use the big one.
There ll be Ahearn and his wife and you and I and
Milton, that s five, and Tom and Jessie, that s
seven, and your sister and Joe Ambler, that s nine.
You don t know how quick that stuff goes when
you make it."
"We ll use this bowl," she insisted. "It ll hold
plenty. You know how Tom is."
Tom Lowrie, husband to Jessie, Harold s first
cousin, was rather inclined to finish anything in a
liquid way that he began.
Harold shook his head.
"Don t be foolish. That one holds only about
three quarts and there s nine of us, and the ser-
vants ll want some and it isn t strong punch. It s
so much more cheerful to have a lot, Evie; we don t
have to drink all of it."
"I say the small one."
Again he shook his head obstinately.
"No; be reasonable."
"I am reasonable," she said shortly. "I don t
want any drunken men in the house."
"Who said you did?"
"Then use the small bowl."
138 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
He grasped the smaller bowl to lift it back. In
stantly her hands were on it, holding it down.
There was a momentary struggle, and then, with a
little exasperated grunt, he raised his side, slipped
it from her fingers, and carried it to the sideboard.
She looked at him and tried to make her expres
sion contemptuous, but he only laughed. Acknowl
edging her defeat but disclaiming all future interest
in the punch, she left the room.
At seven-thirty, her cheeks glowing and her high-
piled hair gleaming with a suspicion of brilliantine,
Evylyn descended the stairs. Mrs. Ahearn, a little
woman concealing a slight nervousness under red
hair and an extreme Empire gown, greeted her vol
ubly. Evylyn disliked her on the spot, but the
husband she rather approved of. He had keen
blue eyes and a natural gift of pleasing people that
might have made him, socially, had he not so ob
viously committed the blunder of marrying too
early in his career.
"I m glad to know Piper s wife," he said simply.
"It looks as though your husband and I are going
to see a lot of each other in the future."
She bowed, smiled graciously, and turned to greet
the others: Milton Piper, Harold s quiet, unasser
tive younger brother; the two Lowries, Jessie and
Tom; Irene, her own unmarried sister; and finally
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 139
Joe Ambler, a confirmed bachelor and Irene s per
Harold led the way into dinner.
"We re having a punch evening/ he announced
jovially Evylyn saw that he had already sampled
his concoction "so there won t be any cocktails
except the punch. It s m wife s greatest achieve
ment, Mrs. Ahearn; she ll give you the recipe if you
want it; but owing to a slight " he caught his wife s
eye and paused "to a slight indisposition, I m re
sponsible for this batch. Here s how!"
All through dinner there was punch, and Evylyn,
noticing that Ahearn and Milton Piper and aU the
women were shaking their heads negatively at the
maid, knew she had been right about the bowl; it
was still half full. She resolved to caution Harold
directly afterward, but when the women left the
table Mrs. Ahearn cornered her, and she found
herself talking cities and dressmakers with a polite
show of interest.
"We ve moved around a lot," chattered Mrs.
Ahearn, her red head nodding violently. "Oh, yes,
we ve never stayed so long in a town before but I
do hope we re here for good. I like it here; don t
"Well, you see, I ve always lived here, so, nat-
"Oh, that s true," said Mrs. Ahearn and laughed.
"Clarence always used to tell me he had to have a
wife he could come home to and say: Well, we re
going to Chicago to-morrow to live, so pack up.
140 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
I got so I never expected to live anywhere. " She
laughed her little laugh again; Evylyn suspected
that it was her society laugh.
"Your husband is a very able man, I imagine."
"Oh, yes," Mrs. Ahearn assured her eagerly.
"He s brainy, Clarence is. Ideas and enthusiasm,
you know. Finds out what he wants and then goes
and gets it."
Evylyn nodded. She was wondering if the men
were still drinking punch back in the dining-room.
Mrs. Ahearn s history kept unfolding jerkily, but
Evylyn had ceased to listen. The first odor of massed
cigars began to drift in. It wasn t really a large
house, she reflected; on an evening like this the
library sometimes grew blue with smoke, and next
day one had to leave the windows open for hours to
air the heavy staleness out of the curtains. Per
haps this partnership might . . . she began to spec
ulate on a new house . . .
Mrs. Ahearn s voice drifted in on her:
"I really would like the recipe if you have it
written down somewhere "
Then there was a sound of chairs in the dining-
room and the men strolled in. Evylyn saw at once
that her worst fears were realized. Harold s face
was flushed and his words ran together at the ends
of sentences, while Tom Lowrie lurched when he
walked and narrowly missed Irene s lap when he
tried to sink onto the couch beside her. He sat
there blinking dazedly at the company. Evylyn
found herself blinking back at him, but she saw no
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 141
humor in it. Joe Ambler was smiling contentedly
and purring on his cigar. Only Ahearn and Milton
Piper seemed unaffected.
"It s a pretty fine town, Ahearn," said Ambler,
"you ll find that."
"I ve found it so," said Ahearn pleasantly.
"You find it more, Ahearn," said Harold, nod
ding emphatically, " f I ve an thin do th it."
He soared into a eulogy of the city, and Evylyn
wondered uncomfortably if it bored every one as it
bored her. Apparently not. They were all listen
ing attentively. Evylyn broke in at the first gap.
" Where Ve you been living, Mr. Ahearn?" she
asked interestedly. Then she remembered that
Mrs. Ahearn had told her, but it didn t matter.
Harold mustn t talk so much. He was such an ass
when he d been drinking. But he plopped directly
"Tell you, Ahearn. Firs you wanna get a house
up here on the hill. Get Stearne house or Ridge-
way house. Wanna have it so people say: There s
Ahearn house. Solid, you know, tha s effec it
Evylyn flushed. This didn t sound right at all.
Still Ahearn didn t seem to notice anything amiss,
only nodded gravely.
"Have you been looking " But her words
trailed off unheard as Harold s voice boomed on.
"Get house tha s start. Then you get know
people. Snobbish town first toward outsider, but
not long not after know you. People like you"
142 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
he indicated Ahearn and his wife with a sweeping
gesture "all right. Cordial as an thin once get
by first barrer-bar-barrer " He swallowed, and
then said "barrier," repeated it masterfully.
Evylyn looked appealingly at her brother-in-law,
but before he could intercede a thick mumble had
come crowding out of Tom Lowrie, hindered by
the dead cigar which he gripped firmly with his
"Huma uma ho huma ahdy um "
"What?" demanded Harold earnestly.
Resignedly and with difficulty Tom removed the
cigar that is, he removed part of it, and then blew
the remainder with a whut sound across the room,
where it landed liquidly and limply in Mrs. Ahearn s
"Beg pardon," he mumbled, and rose with the
vague intention of going after it. Milton s hand on
his coat collapsed him in time, and Mrs. Ahearn not
ungracefully flounced the tobacco from her skirt to
the floor, never once looking at it.
"I was sayin ," continued Tom thickly, " fore
at happened" he waved his hand apologetically
toward Mrs. Ahearn "I was sayin I heard all
truth that Country Club matter."
Milton leaned and whispered something to him.
"Lemme lone," he said petulantly; "know what
I m doin . At s what they came for."
Evylyn sat there in a panic, trying to make her
mouth form words. She saw her sister s sardonic
expression and Mrs. Ahearn s face turning a vivid
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 143
red. Ahearn was looking down at his watch-chain,
"I heard who s been keepin y out, an* he s not a
bit better n you. I can fix whole damn thing up.
Would ve before, but I didn t know you. HaroP
tol me you felt bad about the thing "
Milton Piper rose suddenly and awkwardly to his
feet. In a second every one was standing tensely
and Milton was saying something very hurriedly
about having to go early, and the Ahearns were
listening with eager intentness. Then Mrs. Ahearn
swallowed and turned with a forced smile toward
Jessie. Evylyn saw Tom lurch forward and put
his hand on Ahearn s shoulder and suddenly she
was listening to a new, anxious voice at her elbow,
and, turning, found Hilda, the second maid.
"Please, Mis Piper, I tank Yulie got her hand
poisoned. It s all swole up and her cheeks is hot
and she s moanin an groanin
"Julie is?" Evylyn asked sharply. The party
suddenly receded. She turned quickly, sought with
her eyes for Mrs. Ahearn, slipped toward her.
"If you ll excuse me, Mrs. She had momen
tarily forgotten the name, but she went right on:
" My little girl s been taken sick. I ll be down when
I can." She turned and ran quickly up the stairs,
retaining a confused picture of rays of cigar smoke
and a loud discussion in the centre of the room that
seemed to be developing into an argument.
Switching on the light in the nursery, she found
Julie tossing feverishly and giving out odd little
144 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
cries. She put her hand against the cheeks. They
were burning. With an exclamation she followed
the arm down under the cover until she found the
hand. Hilda was right. The whole thumb was
swollen to the wrist and in the centre was a little in
flamed sore. Blood-poisoning! her mind cried in
terror. The bandage had come off the cut and
she d gotten something hi it. She d cut it at three
o clock it was now nearly eleven. Eight hours.
Blood-poisoning couldn t possibly develop so soon.
She rushed to the phone.
Doctor Martin across the street was out. Doctor
Foulke, their family physician, didn t answer. She
racked her brains and in desperation called her throat
specialist, and bit her lip furiously while he looked
up the numbers of two physicians. During that in
terminable moment she thought she heard loud
voices down-stairs but she seemed to be hi another
world now. After fifteen minutes she located a
physician who sounded angry and sulky at being
called out of bed. She ran back to the nursery and,
looking at the hand, found it was somewhat more
"Oh, God!" she cried, and kneeling beside the
bed began smoothing back Julie s hair over and
over. With a vague idea of getting some hot water,
she rose and started toward the door, but the lace
of her dress caught in the bed-rail and she fell for
ward on her hands and knees. She struggled up
and jerked frantically at the lace. The bed moved
and Julie groaned. Then more quietly but with
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 145
suddenly fumbling fingers she found the pleat in
front, tore the whole pannier completely off, and
rushed from the room.
Out in the hall she heard a single loud, insistent
voice,\ but as she reached the head of the stairs it
ceased and an outer door banged.
The music-room came into view. Only Harold
and Milton were there, the former leaning against
a chair, his face very pale, his collar open, and his
mouth moving loosely.
"What s the matter?"
Milton looked at her anxiously.
"There was a little trouble "
Then Harold saw her and, straightening up with
an effort, began to speak.
" Suit m own cousin m own house. God damn
common nouveau rish. Suit m own cousin "
"Tom had trouble with Ahearn and Harold in
terfered," said Milton.
"My Lord, Milton," cried Evylyn, "couldn t
you have done something?"
"I tried; I "
"Julie s sick," she interrupted; "she s poisoned
herself. Get him to bed if you can."
Harold looked up.
Paying no attention, Evylyn brushed by through
the dining-room, catching sight, with a burst of
horror, of the big punch-bowl still on the table, the
liquid from melted ice in its bottom. She heard
steps on the front stairs it was Milton helping
146 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Harold up and then a mumble: "Why, Julie s
a righ ."
" Don t let him go into the nursery !" she shouted.
The hours blurred into a nightmare. The doctor
arrived just before midnight and within a half-hour
had lanced the wound. He left at two after giving
her the addresses of two nurses to call up and prom
ising to return at half past six. It was blood-
At four, leaving Hilda by the bedside, she went to
her room, and slipping with a shudder out of her
evening dress, kicked it into a corner. She put on
a house dress and returned to the nursery while
Hilda went to make coffee.
Not until noon could she bring herself to look
into Harold s room, but when she did it was to find
him awake and staring very miserably at the ceiling.
He turned blood-shot hollow eyes upon her. For a
minute she hated him, couldn t speak. A husky
voice came from the bed.
"What time is it?"
"I made a damn fool "
"It doesn t matter," she said sharply. "Julie s
got blood-poisoning. They may" she choked over
the words "they think she ll have to lose her hand."
"She cut herself on that that bowl."
"Oh, what does it matter?" she cried; "she s got
blood-poisoning. Can t you hear?"
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 147
He looked at her bewildered sat half-way up in
"I ll get dressed," he said.
Her anger subsided and a great wave of weariness
and pity for him rolled over her. After all, it was
his trouble, too.
"Yes," she answered listlessly, "I suppose you d
If Evylyn s beauty had hesitated in her early
thirties it came to an abrupt decision just after
ward and completely left her. A tentative outlay
of wrinkles on her face suddenly deepened and flesh
collected rapidly on her legs and hips and arms.
Her mannerism of drawing her brows together had
become an expression it was habitual when she
was reading or speaking and even while she slept.
She was forty-six.
As in most families whose fortunes have gone down
rather than up, she and Harold had drifted into a
colorless antagonism. In repose they looked at each
other with the toleration they might have felt for
broken old chairs; Evylyn worried a little when he
was sick and did her best to be cheerful under the
wearying depression of living with a disappointed
Family bridge was over for the evening and she
sighed with relief. She had made more mistakes
than usual this evening and she didn t care. Irene
shouldn t have made that remark about the infantry
148 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
being particularly dangerous. There had been no
letter for three weeks now, and, while this was
nothing out of the ordinary, it never failed to make
her nervous; naturally she hadn t known how many
clubs were out.
Harold had gone up-stairs, so she stepped out on
the porch for a breath of fresh air. There was a
bright glamour of moonlight diffusing on the side
walks and lawns, and with a little half yawn, half
laugh, she remembered one long moonlight affair of
her youth. It was astonishing to think that life
had once been the sum of her current love-affairs.
It was now the sum of her current problems.
There was the problem of Julie Julie was thir
teen, and lately she was growing more and more
sensitive about her deformity and preferred to stay
always in her room reading. A few years before
she had been frightened at the idea of going to
school, and Evylyn could not bring herself to send
her, so she grew up in her mother s shadow, a pitiful
little figure with the artificial hand that she made
no attempt to use but kept forlornly in her pocket.
Lately she had been taking lessons in using it be
cause Evylyn had feared she would cease to lift the
arm altogether, but after the lessons, unless she
made a move with it in listless obedience to her
mother, the little hand would creep back to the
pocket of her dress. For a while her dresses were
made without pockets, but Julie had moped around
the house so miserably at a loss all one month that
Evylyn weakened and never tried the experiment
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 149
The problem of Donald had been different from
the start. She had attempted vainly to keep him
near her as she had tried to teach Julie to lean less
on her lately the problem of Donald had been
snatched out of her hands; his division had been
abroad for three months.
She yawned again life was a thing for youth.
What a happy youth she must have had ! She re
membered her pony, Bijou, and the trip to Europe
with her mother when she was eighteen
"Very, very complicated," she said aloud and
severely to the moon, and, stepping inside, was
about to close the door when she heard a noise in
the library and started.
It was Martha, the middle-aged servant: they
kept only one now.
"Why, Martha!" she said in surprise.
Martha turned quickly.
" Oh, I thought you was up-stairs. I was jist J
"Is anything the matter?"
"No; I" She stood there fidgeting. "It was
a letter, Mrs. Piper, that I put somewhere."
"A letter? Your own letter?" asked Evylyn,
switching on the light.
"No, it was to you. Twas this afternoon, Mrs.
Piper, in the last mail. The postman give it to me
and then the back door-bell rang. I had it in my
hand, so I must have stuck it somewhere. I thought
I d just slip in now and find it."
"What sort of a letter? From Mr. Donald?"
150 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"No, it was an advertisement, maybe, or a busi
ness letter. It was a long, narrow one, I remember/ 4
They began a search through the music-room,
looking on trays and mantelpieces, and then
through the library, feeling on the tops of rows of
books. Martha paused in despair.
"I can t think where. I went straight to the
kitchen. The dining-room, maybe. " She started
hopefully for the dining-room, but turned suddenly
at the sound of a gasp behind her. Evylyn had sat
down heavily in a Morris chair, her brows drawn
very close together, eyes blinking furiously.
"Are you sick?"
For a minute there was no answer. Evylyn sat
there very still and Martha could see the very quick
rise and fall of her bosom.
"Are you sick?" she repeated.
"No," said Evylyn slowly, "but I know where
the letter is. Go way, Martha. I know."
Wonderingly, Martha withdrew, and still Evylyn
sat there, only the muscles around her eyes moving
contracting and relaxing and contracting again.
She knew now where the letter was she knew as
well as it she had put it there herself. And she felt
instinctively and unquestionably what the letter
was. It was long and narrow like an advertisement,
but up in the corner in large letters it said "War
Department" and, in smaller letters below, "Official
Business." She knew it lay there in the big bowl
with her name in ink on the outside and her soul s
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 151
Rising uncertainly, she walked toward the dining-
room, feeling her way along the bookcases and
through the doorway. After a moment she found
the light and switched it on.
There was the bowl, reflecting the electric light
in crimson squares edged with black and yellow
squares edged with blue, ponderous and glittering,
grotesquely and triumphantly ominous. She took
a step forward and paused again; another step and
she would see over the top and into the inside
another step and she would see an edge of white
another step her hands fell on the rough, cold sur
In a moment she was tearing it open, fumbling
with an obstinate fold, holding it before her while
the typewritten page glared out and struck at her.
Then it fluttered like a bird to the floor. The house
that had seemed whirring, buzzing a moment since,
was suddenly very quiet; a breath of air crept in
through the open front door carrying the noise of
a passing motor; she heard faint sounds from up
stairs and then a grinding racket in the pipe behind
the bookcases her husband turning off a water-
And in that instant it was as if this were not,
after all, Donald s hour except in so far as he was a
marker in the insidious contest that had gone on in
sudden surges and long, listless interludes between
Evylyn and this cold, malignant thing of beauty, a
gift of enmity from a man whose face she had long
since forgotten. With its massive, brooding pas.
152 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
sivity it lay there in the centre of her house as it
had lain for years, throwing out the ice-like beams
of a thousand eyes, perverse glitterings merging
each into each, never aging, never changing.
Evylyn sat down on the edge of the table and
stared at it fascinated. It seemed to be smiling
now, a very cruel smile, as if to say:
"You see, this time I didn t have to hurt you di
rectly. I didn t bother. You know it was I who
took your son away. You know how cold I am
and how hard and how beautiful, because once you
were just as cold and hard and beautiful."
The bowl seemed suddenly to turn itself over and
then to distend and swell until it became a great
canopy that glittered and trembled over the room,
over the house, and, as the walls melted slowly into
mist, Evylyn saw that it was still moving out, out
and far away from her, shutting off far horizons and
suns and moons and stars except as inky blots seen
faintly through it. And under it walked all the
people, and the light that came through to them
was refracted and twisted until shadow seemed light
and light seemed shadow until the whole panorama
of the world became changed and distorted under
the twinkling heaven of the bowl.
Then there came a far-away, booming voice like
a low, clear bell. It came from the centre of the
bowl and down the great sides to the ground and
then bounced toward her eagerly.
"You see, I am fate," it shouted, "and stronger
than your puny plans; and I am how-things-turn-
THE CUT-GLASS BOWL 153
out and I am different from your little dreams, and
I am the flight of time and the end of beauty and
unfulfilled desire; all the accidents and impercep-
tions and the little minutes that shape the crucial
hours are mine. I am the exception that proves no
rules, the limits of your control, the condiment in
the dish of life."
The booming sound stopped; the echoes rolled
away over the wide land to the edge of the bowl
that bounded the world and up the great sides and
back to the centre where they hummed for a mo
ment and died. Then the great walls began slowly
to bear down upon her, growing smaller and smaller,
coming closer and closer as if to crush her; and as
she clinched her hands and waited for the swift
bruise of the cold glass, the bowl gave a sudden
wrench and turned over and lay there on the side
board, shining and inscrutable, reflecting in a hun
dred prisms, myriad, many-colored glints and gleams
and crossings and interfacings of light.
The cold wind blew in again through the front
door, and with a desperate, frantic energy Evylyn
stretched both her arms around the bowl. She must
be quick she must be strong. She tightened her
arms until they ached, tauted the thin strips of muscle
under her soft flesh, and with a mighty effort raised
it and held it. She felt the wind blow cold on her
back where her dress had come apart from the strain
of her effort, and as she felt it she turned toward it
and staggered under the great weight out through
the library and on toward the front door. She must
154 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
be quick she must be strong. The blood in her
arms throbbed dully and her knees kept giving way
under her, but the feel of the cool glass was good.
Out the front door she tottered and over to the
stone steps, and there, summoning every fibre of
her soul and body for a last effort, swung herself
half around for a second, as she tried to loose her
hold, her numb fingers clung to the rough surface,
and in that second she slipped and, losing balance,
toppled forward with a despairing cry, her arms still
around the bowl . . . down . . .
Over the way lights went on; far down the block
the crash was heard, and pedestrians rushed up
wonderingly; up-stairs a tired man awoke from the
edge of sleep and a little girl whimpered in a haunted
doze. And all over the moonlit sidewalk around the
still, black form, hundreds of prisms and cubes and
splinters of glass reflected the light in little gleams
of blue, and black edged with yellow, and yellow,
and crimson edged with black.
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR
AFTER dark on Saturday night one could stand on
the first tee of the golf-course and see the country-
club windows as a yellow expanse over a very black
and wavy ocean. The waves of this ocean, so to
speak, were the heads of many curious caddies, a
few of the more ingenious chauffeurs, the golf pro
fessional s deaf sister and there were usually sev
eral stray, diffident waves who might have rolled
inside had they so desired. This was the gallery.
The balcony was inside. It consisted of the circle
of wicker chairs that lined the wall of the combina
tion clubroom and ballroom. At these Saturday-
night dances it was largely feminine; a great babel
of middle-aged ladies with sharp eyes and icy hearts
behind lorgnettes and large bosoms. The main
function of the balcony was critical. It occasionally
showed grudging admiration, but never approval,
for it is well known among ladies over thirty-five
that when the younger set dance in the summer-time
it is with the very worst intentions in the world,
and if they are not bombarded with stony eyes stray
couples will dance weird barbaric interludes in the
corners, and the more popular, more dangerous, girls
will sometimes be kissed in the parked limousines
of unsuspecting dowagers.
But, after all, this critical circle is not close enough
to the stage to see the actors faces and catch the
1,56 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
subtler byplay. It can only frown and lean, ask
questions and make satisfactory deductions from its
set of postulates, such as the one which states that
every young man with a large income leads the life
of a hunted partridge. It never really appreciates
the drama of the shifting, semicruel world of ado
lescence. No; boxes, orchestra-circle, principals, and
chorus are represented by the medley of faces and
voices that sway to the plaintive African rhythm
of Dyer s dance orchestra.
From sixteen-year-old Otis Ormonde, who has
two more years at Hill School, to G. Reece Stoddard,
over whose bureau at home hangs a Harvard law
diploma; from little Madeleine Hogue, whose hair
still feels strange and uncomfortable on top of her
head, to Bessie MacRae, who has been the life of
the party a little too long more than ten years
the medley is not only the centre of the stage but
contains the only people capable of getting an un
obstructed view of it.
With a flourish and a bang the music stops. The
couples exchange artificial, effortless smiles, fa
cetiously repeat "la-de-da-da dum-dum," and then
the clatter of young feminine voices soars over the
burst of clapping.
A few disappointed stags caught in midfloor as
they had been about to cut in subsided listlessly
back to the walls, because this was not like the
riotous Christmas dances these summer hops were
considered just pleasantly warm and exciting, where
even the younger marrieds rose and performed an-
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 157
cient waltzes and terrifying fox trots to the tolerant
amusement of their younger brothers and sisters.
Warren Mclntyre, who casually attended Yale,
being one of the unfortunate stags, felt hi his dinner-
coat pocket for a cigarette and strolled out onto
the wide, semidark veranda, where couples were
scattered at tables, filling the lantern-hung night
with vague words and hazy laughter. He nodded
here and there at the less absorbed and as he passed
each couple some half-forgotten fragment of a story
played in his mind, for it was not a large city and
every one was Who s Who to every one else s past.
There, for example, were Jim Strain and Ethel
Demorest, who had been privately engaged for three
years. Every one knew that as soon as Jim man
aged to hold a job for more than two months she
would marry him. Yet how bored they both looked,
and how wearily Ethel regarded Jim sometimes, as
if she wondered why she had trained the vines of
her affection on such a wind-shaken poplar.
Warren was nineteen and rather pitying with
those of his friends who hadn t gone East to college.
But, like most boys, he bragged tremendously about
the girls of his city when he was away from it.
There was Genevieve Ormonde, who regularly made
the rounds of dances, house-parties, and football
games at Princeton, Yale, Williams, and Cornell;
there was black-eyed Roberta Dillon, who was quite
as famous to her own generation as Hiram Johnson
or Ty Cobb; and, of course, there was Marjorie
Harvey, who besides having a fairylike face and a
158 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
dazzling, bewildering tongue was already justly
celebrated for having turned five cart-wheels in suc
cession during the last pump-and-slipper dance at
Warren, who had grown up across the street from
Marjorie, had long been " crazy about her." Some
times she seemed to reciprocate his feeling with a
faint gratitude, but she had tried him by her inf alli-
ble test and informed him gravely that she did not
love him. Her test was that when she was away
from hun she forgot him and had affairs with other
boys. Warren found this discouraging, especially as
Marjorie had been making little trips all summer,
and for the first two or three days after each arrival
home he saw great heaps of mail on the Harveys
hall table addressed to her in various masculine
handwritings. To make matters worse, all during
the month of August she had been visited by her
cousin Bernice from Eau Claire, and it seemed im
possible to see her alone. It was always necessary
to hunt round and find some one to take care of Ber
nice. As August waned this was becoming more and
Much as Warren worshipped Marjorie, he had to
admit that Cousin Bernice was sorta Iftppeless. She
was pretty, with dark hair and high color, but she
was no fun on a party. Every Saturday night he
danced a long arduous duty dance with her to please
Marjorie, but he had never been anything but bored
in her -company.
" Warren" a soft voice at his elbow broke in
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 159
upon his thoughts, and he turned to see Marjorie,
flushed and radiant as usual. She laid a hand on
his shoulder and a glow settled almost impercep
tibly over him.
"Warren," she whispered, "do something for me
dance with Bernice. She s been stuck with little
Otis Ormonde for almost an hour."
Warren s glow faded.
"Why sure," he answered half-heartedly.
"You don t mind, do you? I ll see that you
don t get stuck."
" Sail right."
Marjorie smiled that smile that was thanks
"You re an angel, and I m obliged loads."
With a sigh the angel glanced round the veranda,
but Bernice and Otis were not in sight. He wan
dered back inside, and there in front of the women s
dressing-room he found Otis in the centre of a group
of young men who were convulsed with laughter.
Otis was brandishing a piece of timber he had
picked up, and discoursing volubly.
"She s gone in to fix her hair," he announced
wildly. "I m waiting to dance another hour with
Their laughter was renewed.
"Why don t some of you cut in?" cried Otis re
sentfully. "She likes more variety."
"Why, Otis," suggested a friend, "you ve just
barely got used to her."
"Why the two-by-four, Otis?" inquired Warren,
160 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"The two-by-four? Oh, this? This is a club.
When she comes out I ll hit her on the head and
knock her in again."
Warren collapsed on a settee and howled with
"Never mind, Otis/ he articulated finally. "I m
relieving you this tune."
Otis simulated a sudden fainting attack and
handed the stick to Warren.
"If you need it, old man/ he said hoarsely.
No matter how beautiful or brilliant a girl may
be, the reputation of not being frequently cut in
on makes her position at a dance unfortunate.
Perhaps boys prefer her company to that of the
butterflies with whom they dance a dozen times an
evening, but youth hi this jazz-nourished generation
is temperamentally restless, and the idea of fox
trotting more than one full fox trot with the same
girl is distasteful, not to say odious. When it comes
to several dances and the intermissions between she
can be quite sure that a young man, once relieved,
will never tread on her wayward toes again.
Warren danced the next full dance with Bernice,
and finally, thankful for the intermission, he led
her to a table on the veranda. There was a mo
ment s silence while she did unimpressive things
with her fan.
"It s hotter here than in Eau Claire," she said.
Warren stifled a sigh and nodded. It might be
for all he knew or cared. He wondered idly whether
she was a poor conversationalist because she got no
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 161
attention or got no attention because she was a
"You going to be here much longer?" he asked,
and then turned rather red. She might suspect
his reasons for asking.
"Another week," she answered, and stared at
him as if to lunge at his next remark when it left
Warren fidgeted. Then with a sudden charitable
impulse he decided to try part of his line on her.
He turned and looked at her eyes.
"You ve got an awfully kissable mouth," he began
This was a remark that he sometimes made to
girls at college proms when they were talking in just
such half dark as this. Bernice distinctly jumped.
She turned an ungraceful red and became clumsy
with her fan. No one had ever made such a re
mark to her before.
"Fresh!" the word had slipped out before she
realized it, and she bit her lip. Too late she de
cided to be amused, and offered him a flustered
Warren was annoyed. Though not accustomed to
have that remark taken seriously, still it usually
provoked a laugh or a paragraph of sentimental
banter. And he hated to be called fresh, except in
a joking way. His charitable impulse died and
he switched the topic.
"Jim Strain and Ethel Demorest sitting out as
usual," he commented.
162 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
This was more in Bernice s line, but a faint re
gret mingled with her relief as the subject changed.
Men did not talk to her about kissable mouths, but
she knew that they talked in some such way to
" Oh, yes," she said, and laughed. " I hear they Ve
been mooning round for years without a red penny.
Isn t it silly?"
Warren s disgust increased. Jim Strain was a
close friend of his brother s, and anyway he con
sidered it bad form to sneer at people for not having
money. But Bernice had had no intention of sneer
ing. She was merely nervous.
When Marjorie and Bernice reached home at
half after midnight they said good night at the top
of the stairs. Though cousins, they were not in
timates. As a matter of fact Marjorie had no female
intimates she considered girls stupid. Bernice on
the contrary all through this parent-arranged visit
had rather longed to exchange those confidences
flavored with giggles and tears that she considered
an indispensable factor in all feminine intercourse.
But in this respect she found Marjorie rather cold;
felt somehow the same difficulty in talking to her
that she had in talking to men. Marjorie never
giggled, was never frightened, seldom embarrassed,
and in fact had very few of the qualities which Ber
nice considered appropriately and blessedly feminine.
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 163
As Bernice busied herself with tooth-brush and
paste this night she wondered for the hundredth
time why she never had any attention when she
was away from home. That her family were the
wealthiest in Eau Claire; that her mother enter
tained tremendously, gave little dinners for her
daughter before all dances and bought her a car of
her own to drive round in, never occurred to her as
factors in her home-town social success. Like most
girls she had been brought up on the warm milk
prepared by Annie Fellows Johnston and on novels
in which the female was beloved because of certain
mysterious womanly qualities, always mentioned
but never displayed.
Bernice felt a vague pain that she was not at
present engaged in being popular. She did not
know that had it not been for Marjorie s campaign
ing she would have danced the entire evening with
one man; but she knew that even in Eau Claire
other girls with less position and less pulchritude
were given a much bigger rush. She attributed this
to something subtly unscrupulous in those girls.
It had never worried her, and if it had her mother
would have assured her that the other girls cheap :
ened themselves and that men really respected girls
She turned out the light in her bathroom, and on
an impulse decided to go in and chat for a moment
with her aunt Josephine, whose light was still on.
Her soft slippers bore her noiselessly down the car
peted hall, but hearing voices inside she stopped
1 64 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
near the partly opened door. Then she caught her
own name, and without any definite intention of
eavesdropping lingered and the thread of the con-
t versation going on inside pierced her consciousness
J sharply as if it had been drawn through with a needle.
"She s absolutely hopeless!" It was Marjorie s
voice. "Oh, I know what you re going to say ! So
many people have told you how pretty and sweet
she is, and how she can cook ! What of it ? She
has a bum time. Men don t like her."
"What s a little cheap popularity?"
Mrs. Harvey sounded annoyed.
"It s everything when you re eighteen," said Mar-
jorie emphatically. "I ve done my best. I ve been
polite and I ve made men dance with her, but they
just won t stand being bored. When I think of that
gorgeous coloring wasted on such a ninny, and think
what Martha Carey could do with it oh ! "
"There s no courtesy these days."
Mrs. Harvey s voice implied that modern situa
tions were too much for her. When she was a girl
all young ladies who belonged to nice families had
"Well," said Marjorie, "no girl can permanently
bolster up a lame-duck visitor, because these days
it s every girl for herself. I ve even tried to drop
her hints about clothes and things, and she s been
furious given me the funniest looks. She s sen
sitive enough to know she s not getting away with
much, but I ll bet she consoles herself by thinking
that she s very virtuous and that I m too gay and
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 165
fickle and will come to a bad end. All unpopular
girls think that way. Sour grapes ! Sarah Hopkins
refers to Genevieve and Roberta and me as gar
denia girls ! I ll bet she d give ten years of her life
and her European education to be a gardenia girl
and have three or four men in love with her and be
cut in on every few feet at dances. "
"It seems to me," interrupted Mrs. Harvey rather
wearily, "that you ought to be able to do something
for Bernice. I know she s not very vivacious."
"Vivacious! Good grief! I ve never heard her
say anything to a boy except that it s hot or the
floor s crowded or that she s going to school in New
York next year. Sometimes she asks them what
kind of car they have and tells them the kind she
There was a short silence, and then Mrs. Harvey
took up her refrain:
"All I know is that other girls not half so sweet
and attractive get partners. Martha Carey, for
instance, is stout and loud, and her mother is dis
tinctly common. Roberta Dillon is so thin this
year that she looks as though Arizona were the place
for her. She s dancing herself to death."
"But, mother," objected Marjorie impatiently,
"Martha is cheerful and awfully witty and an aw
fully slick girl, and Roberta s a marvellous dancer.
She s been popular for ages !"
Mrs. Harvey yawned.
"I think it s that crazy Indian blood in Bernice,"
1 66 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
continued Marjorie. "Maybe she s a reversion to
type. Indian women all just sat round and never
said any thing. "
"Go to bed, you silly child/ laughed Mrs. Har
vey. "I wouldn t have told you that if I d thought
you were going to remember it. And I think most
of your ideas are perfectly idiotic," she finished
There was another silence, while Marjorie con
sidered whether or not convincing her mother was
worth the trouble. People over forty can seldom
be permanently convinced of anything. At eighteen
our convictions are hills from which weTogk; at
forty. fivfr~>hpy q f rp ra.vps "^J^j^h wf * hi^f*
Having decided this, Marjorie said good night.
When she came out into the hall it was quite empty.
While Marjorie was breakfasting late next day
Bernice came into the room with a rather formal
good morning, sat down opposite, stared intently
over and slightly moistened her lips.
"What s on your mind?" inquired Marjorie,
Bernice paused before she threw her hand-grenade.
"I heard what you said abou;t me to your mother
Marjorie was startled, but she showed only a
faintly heightened color and her voice was quite
even when shejspoke.
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 167
"Where were you?"
"In the hall. I didn t mean to listen at first."
After an involuntary look of contempt Marjorie
dropped her eyes and became very interested in
balancing a stray corn-flake on her finger.
"I guess I d better go back to Eau Claire if I m
such a nuisance." Bernice s lower lip was trembling
violently and she continued on a wavering note:
"I ve tried to be nice, and and I ve been first
neglected and then insulted. No one ever visited
me and got such treatment."
Marjorie was silent.
"But I m in the way, I see. I m a drag on you.
Your friends don t like me." She paused, and then
remembered another one of her grievances. "Of
course I was furious last week when you tried to
hint to me that that dress was unbecoming. Don t
you think I know how to dress myself?"
"No," murmured Marjorie less than half-aloud.
"I didn t hint anything," said Marjorie succinctly.
" I said, as I remember, that it was better to wear a
becoming dress three times straight than to alter
nate it with two frights."
" Do you think that was a very nice thing to say ? "
"I wasn t trying to be nice." Then after a
pause: "When do you want to go?"
Bernice drew in her breath sharply.
"Oh!" It was a little half-cry.
Marjorie looked up in surprise.
"Didn t you say you were going?"
1 68 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"Yes, but "
"Oh, you were only bluffing!"
They stared at each other across the breakfast-
table for a moment. Misty waves were passing be
fore Bernice s eyes, while Marjorie s face wore that
rather hard expression that she used when slightly
intoxicated undergraduates were making love to her.
"So you were bluffing," she repeated as if it were
what she might have expected.
Bernice admitted it by bursting into tears. Mar
jorie s eyes showed boredom.
"You re my cousin," sobbed Bernice. "I m
v-v-visiting you. I was to stay a month, and if I
go home my mother will know and she ll wah-
Marjorie waited until the shower of broken words
collapsed into little sniffles.
"I ll give you my month s allowance," she said
coldly, " and you can spend this last week anywhere
you want. There s a very nice hotel
Bernice s sobs rose to a flute note, and rising of a
sudden she fled from the room.
An hour later, while Marjorie was in the library
absorbed in composing one of those non-committal,
marvellously elusive letters that only a young girl
can write, Bernice reappeared, very red-eyed and
consciously calm. She cast no glance at Marjorie
but took a book at random from the shelf and sat
down as if to read. Marjorie seemed absorbed in
her letter and continued writing. When the clock
showed noon Bernice closed her book with a snap.
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 169
"I suppose I d better get my railroad ticket."
This was not the beginning of the speech she had
rehearsed up-stairs, but as Marjorie was not getting
her cues wasn t urging her to be reasonable; it s
all a mistake it was the best opening she could
"Just wait till I finish this letter," said Marjorie
without looking round. "I want to get it off in
the next mail."
After another minute, during which her pen
scratched busily, she turned round and relaxed with
an air of "at your service." Again Bernice had to
"Do you want me to go home?"
"Well," said Marjorie, considering, "I suppose
if you re not having a good time you d better go.
No use being miserable."
"Don t you think common kindness "
"Oh, please don t quote Little Women !" cried
Marjorie impatiently. "That s out of style."
"You think so?"
"Heavens, yes ! What modern girl could live like
those inane females?"
"They were the models for our mothers."
" Yes, they were not ! Besides, our mothers were
all very well hi their way, but they know very little
about their daughters problems."
Bernice drew herself up.
"Please don t talk about my mother."
1 70 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"I don t think I mentioned her."
Bernice felt that she was being led away from her
"Do you think you ve treated me very well?"
"I ve done my best. You re rather hard material
to work with."
The lids of Bernice s eyes reddened.
"I think you re hard and selfish, and you haven t
a feminine quality in you."
"Oh, my Lord!" cried Marjorie in desperation.
"You little nut ! Girls like you are responsible for
all the tiresome colorless marriages; all those ghastly
inefficiencies that pass as feminine qualities. What a
blow it must be when a man with imagination mar
ries the beautiful bundle of clothes that he s been
building ideals round, and finds that she s just a
weak, whining, cowardly mass of affectations!"
Bernice s mouth had slipped half open.
"The womanly woman!" continued Marjorie.
" Her whole early life is occupied in whining criticisms
of girls like me who really do have a good time."
Bernice s jaw descended farther as Marjorie s
"There s some excuse for an ugly girl whining.
If I d been irretrievably ugly I d never have forgiven
my parents for bringing me into the world. But
you re starting life without any handicap Mar
jorie s little fist clinched. "If you expect me to
weep with you you ll be disappointed. Go or stay,
just as you like." And picking up her letters she
left the room.
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 171
Bernice claimed a headache and failed to appear
at luncheon. They had a matinee date for the
afternoon, but the headache persisting, Marjorie
made explanation to a not very downcast boy. But
when she returned late in the afternoon she found
Bernice with a strangely set face waiting for her hi
"I ve decided," began Bernice without prelimi
naries, "that maybe you re right about things pos
sibly not. But if you ll tell me why your friends
aren t aren t interested in me I ll see if I can do
what you want me to."
Marjorie was at the mirror shaking down her hair.
"Do you mean it?"
"Without reservations? Will you do exactly
what I say?"
"Well, I "
"Well nothing! Will you do exactly as I say?"
"If they re sensible things."
"They re not! You re no case for sensible
"Are you going to make to recommend
"Yes, everything. If I tell you to take boxing-
lessons you ll have to do it. Write home and tell
your mother you re going to stay another two
"If you ll tell me-
"All right I ll just give you a few examples
now. First, you have no ease of manner. Why?
Because you re never sure about your personal ap-
172 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
pearance. When a girl feels that she s perfectly
groomed and dressed she can forget that part of
her. That s charm. The more parts of yourself you
can afford to forget the more charm you have."
"Don t I look all right?"
"No; for instance, you never take care of your
eyebrows. They re black and lustrous, but by
leaving them straggly they re a blemish. They d
be beautiful if you d take care of them in one-tenth
the time you take doing nothing. You re going to
brush them so that they ll grow straight."
Bernice raised the brows in question.
"Do you mean to say that men notice eyebrows?"
"Yes subconsciously. And when you go home
you ought to have your teeth straightened a little.
It s almost imperceptible, still "
"But I thought," interrupted Bernice in bewil
derment, "that you despised little dainty feminine
things like that."
"I hate dainty minds," answered Marjorie.
"But a girl has to be dainty in person. If she looks
like a million dollars she can talk about Russia,
ping-pong, or the League of Nations and get away
"Oh, I m just beginning ! There s your dancing."
"Don t I dance all right?"
"No, you don t you lean on a man; yes, you
do ever so slightly. I noticed it when we were
dancing together yesterday. And you dance stand
ing up straight instead of bending over a little.
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 173
Probably some old lady on the side-line once told
you that you looked so dignified that way. But
except with a very small girl it s much harder on
the man, and he s the one that counts."
"Go on." Bernice s brain was reeling.
"Well, youVe got to learn to be nice to men who
are sad birds. You look as if you d been insulted
whenever you re thrown with any except the most
popular boys. Why, Bernice, I m cut in on every
few feet and who does most of it? Why, those
very sad birds. No girl can afford to neglect them.
They re the big part of any crowd. Young boys
too shy to talk are the very best conversational
practice. Clumsy boys are the best dancing prac
tice. If you can follow them and yet look graceful
you can follow a baby tank across a barb-wire
Bernice sighed profoundly, but Marjorie was not
"If you go to a dance and really amuse, say, three
sad birds that dance with you; if you talk so well
to them that they forget they re stuck with you,
you ve done something. They ll come back next
time, and gradually so many sad birds will dance
with you that the attractive boys will see there s
no danger of being stuck then they ll dance with
"Yes," agreed Bernice faintly. "I think I begin
"And finally," concluded Marjorie, "poise and
charm will just come. You ll wake up some morn-
174 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
ing knowing you ve attained it, and men will know
"It s been awfully kind of you but nobody s
ever talked to hie like this before, and I feel sort of
Marjorie made no answer but gazed pensively at
her own image in the mirror.
"You re a peach to help me," continued Bernice.
Still Marjorie did not answer, and Bernice thought
she had seemed too grateful.
"I know you don t like sentiment," she said
Marjorie turned to her quickly.
"Oh, I wasn t thinking about that. I was con
sidering whether we hadn t better bob your hair."
Bernice collapsed backward upon the bed.
On the following Wednesday evening there was a
dinner-dance at the country club. When the guests
strolled in Bernice found her place-card with a slight
feeling of irritation. Though at her right sat G.
Reece Stoddard, a most desirable and distinguished
young bachelor, the all-important left held only
Charley Paulson. Charley lacked height, beauty,
and social shrewdness, and in her new enlighten
ment Bernice decided that his only qualification to
be her partner was that he had never been stuck
with her. But this feeling of irritation left with the
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 175
last of the soup-plates, and Marjorie s specific in
struction came to her. Swallowing her pride she
turned to Charley Paulson and plunged.
"Do you think I ought to bob my hair, Mr.
Charley looked up in surprise.
"Because I m considering it. It s such a sure
and easy way of attracting attention."
Charley smiled pleasantly. He could not know
this had been rehearsed. He replied that he didn t
know much about bobbed hair. But Bernice was
there to tell him.
"I want to be a society vampire, you see," she
announced coolly, and went on to inform him that
bobbed hair was the necessary prelude. She added
that she wanted to ask his advice, because she had
heard he was so critical about girls.
Charley, who knew as much about the psychology 1
of women as he did of the mental states of Buddhist I
contemplatives, felt vaguely flattered.
"So I ve decided," she continued, her voice rising
slightly, "that early next week I m going down to
the Sevier Hotel barber-shop, sit in the first chair,
and get my hair bobbed." She faltered, noticing
that the people near her had paused in their conver
sation and were listening; but after a confused second
Marjorie s coaching told, and she finished her para
graph to the vicinity at large. "Of course I m
charging admission, but if you ll all come down and
encourage me I ll issue passes for the inside seats."
176 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
There was a ripple of appreciative laughter, and
under cover of it G. Reece Stoddard leaned over
quickly and said close to her ear: "I ll take a box
She met his eyes and smiled as if he had said
something surpassingly brilliant.
"Do you believe in bobbed hair?" asked G.
Reece in the same undertone.
"I think it s unmoral," affirmed Bernice gravely.
"But, of course, you ve either got to amuse people
or feed em or shock em." Marjorie had culled
this from Oscar Wilde. It was greeted with a ripple
of laughter from the men and a series of quick, in
tent looks from the girls. And then as though she
had said nothing of wit or moment Bernice turned
again to Charley and spoke confidentially in his ear.
"I want to ask you your opinion of several peo
ple. I imagine you re a wonderful judge of char
Charley thrilled faintly paid her a subtle com
pliment by overturning her water.
Two hours later, while Warren Mclntyre was
standing passively in the stag line abstractedly
watching the dancers and wondering whither and
with whom Marjorie had disappeared, an unrelated
perception began to creep slowly upon him a per
ception that Bernice, cousin to Marjorie, had been
cut in on several times in the past five minutes.
He closed his eyes, opened them and looked again.
Several minutes back she had been dancing with a
visiting boy, a matter easily accounted for; a visit-
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 177
ing boy would know no better. But now she was
dancing with some one else, and there was Charley
Paulson headed for her with enthusiastic determina
tion in his eye. Funny Charley seldom danced
with more than three girls an evening.
Warren was distinctly surprised when the ex
change having been effected the man relieved
proved to be none other than G. Reece Stoddard
himself. And G. Reece seemed not at all jubilant
at being relieved. Next time Bernice danced near,
Warren regarded her intently. Yes, she was pretty,
distinctly pretty; and to-night her face seemed
really vivacious. She had that look that no woman, *
however histrionically proficient, can successfully |
counterfeit she looked as if she were having a good
time. He liked the way she had her hair arranged,
wondered if it was brilliantine that made it glisten
so. And that dress was becoming a dark red that
set off her shadowy eyes and high coloring. He re
membered that he had thought her pretty when she
first came to town, before he had realized that she
was dull. Too bad she was dull dull girls unbear
able certainly pretty though.
His thoughts zigzagged back to Marjorie. This
disappearance would be like other disappearances.
When she reappeared he would demand where she
had been would be told emphatically that it was
none of his business. What a pity she was so sure
of him ! She basked in the knowledge that no other
girl in town interested him; she defied him to fall
in love with Genevieve or Roberta.
1 78 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Warren sighed. The way to Marjorie s affec
tions was a labyrinth indeed. He looked up. Ber-
nice was again dancing with the visiting boy. Half
unconsciously he took a step out from the stag line
in her direction, and hesitated. Then he said to
himself that it was charity. He walked toward her
collided suddenly with G. Reece Stoddard.
"Pardon me," said Warren.
But G. Reece had not stopped to apologize. He
had again cut in on Bernice.
That night at one o clock Marjorie, with one
hand on the electric-light switch in the hall, turned
to take a last look at Bernice s sparkling eyes.
" So it worked ?"
"Oh, Marjorie, yes!" cried Bernice.
"I saw you were having a gay time."
" I did ! The only trouble was that about mid
night I ran short of talk. I had to repeat myself
with different men of course. I hope they won t
"Men don t," said Marjorie, yawning, "and it
wouldn t matter if they did they d think you were
She snapped out the light, and as they started up
the stairs Bernice grasped the banister thankfully.
For the first time in her life she had been danced
"You see," said Marjorie at the top of the stairs,
"one man sees another man cut in and he thinks
there must be something there. Well, we ll fix up
some new stuff to-morrow. Good night."
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 179
As Bernice took down her hair she passed the
evening before her in review. She had followed in
structions exactly. Even when Charley Paulson
cut in for the eighth time she had simulated delight
and had apparently been both interested and flat
tered. She had not talked about the weather or
Eau Claire or automobiles or her school, but had
confined her conversation to me, .yau^nd us.
But a few minutes before she fell asleep a rebel
lious thought was churning drowsily hi her brain
after all, it was she who had done it. Marjorie, to
be sure, had given her her conversation, but then
Marjorie got much of her conversation out of things
she read. Bernice had bought the red dress, though
she had never valued it highly before Marjorie dug
it out of her trunk and her own voice had said the
words, her own lips had smiled, her own feet had
danced. Marjorie nice girl vain, though nice
evening nice boys like Warren Warren Warren
what s-his-name Warren
She fell asleep.
To Bernice the next week was a revelation. With
the feeling that people really enjoyed looking at her
and listening to her came the foundation of self-
confidence. Of course there were numerous mis
takes at first. She did not know, for instance, that
Draycott Deyo was studying for the ministry; she
was unaware that he had cut in on her because he
i8o FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
thought she was a quiet, reserved girl. Had she
known these things she would not have treated him
to the line which began "Hello, Shell Shock!" and
continued with the bathtub story "It takes a
frightful lot of energy to fix my hair in the summer
there s so much of it so I always fix it first and
powder my face and put on my hat; then I get
into the bathtub, and dress afterward. Don t you
think that s the best plan?"
Though Draycott Deyo was in the throes of diffi
culties concerning baptism by immersion and might
possibly have seen a connection, it must be admitted
that he did not. He considered feminine bathing an
unmoral subject, and gave her some of his ideas on
the depravity of modern society.
But to offset that unfortunate occurrence Bernice
had several signal successes to her credit. Little
Otis Ormonde pleaded off from a trip East and elected
instead to follow her with a puppylike devotion, to
the amusement of his crowd and to the irritation of
G. Reece Stoddard, several of whose afternoon calls
Otis completely ruined by the disgusting tenderness
of the glances he bent on Bernice. He even told
her the story of the two-by-four and the dressing-
room to show her how frightfully mistaken he and
every one else had been in their first judgment of her.
Bernice laughed off that incident with a slight sink
Of all Bernice s conversation perhaps the best
known and most universally approved was the line
about the bobbing of her hair.
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 181
"Oh, Bernice, when you goin to get the hair
"Day after to-morrow maybe," she would reply,
laughing. "Will you come and see me? Because
I m counting on you, you know."
"Will we? You know! But you better hurry
Bernice, whose tonsorial intentions were strictly
dishonorable, would laugh again.
"Pretty soon now. You d be surprised."
But perhaps the most significant symbol of her
success was the gray car of the hypercritical Warren
Mclntyre, parked daily in front of the Harvey house.
At first the parlor-maid was distinctly startled when
he asked for Bernice instead of Marjorie; after a
week of it she told the cook that Miss Bernice had
gotta holda Miss Marjorie s best fella.
And Miss Bernice had. Perhaps it began with
Warren s desire to rouse jealousy in Marjorie; per
haps it was the familiar though unrecognized strain
of Marjorie in Bernice s conversation; perhaps it
was both of these and something of sincere attrac
tion besides. But somehow the collective mind of
the younger set knew within a week that Mar-
jorie s most reliable beau had made an amazing
face-about and was giving an indisputable rush to
Marjorie s guest. The question of the moment
was how Marjorie would take it. Warren called
Bernice on the phone twice a day, sent her notes,
and they were frequently seen together in his road
ster, obviously engrossed in one of those tense,
1 82 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
significant conversations as to whether or not he
Marjorie on being twitted only laughed. She
said she was mighty glad that Warren had at last
found some one who appreciated him. So the
younger set laughed, too, and guessed that Mar
jorie didn t care and let it go at that.
One afternoon when there were only three days
left of her visit Bernice was waiting in the hall for
Warren, with whom she was going to a bridge party.
She was in rather a blissful mood, and when Mar
jorie also bound for the party appeared beside
her and began casually to adjust her hat in the
mirror, Bernice was utterly unprepared for anything
in the nature of a clash. Marjorie did her work
very coldly and succinctly in three sentences.
"You may as well get Warren out of your head/
she said coldly.
"What?" Bernice wts utterly astounded.
"You may as well stop making a fool of yourself
over Warren Mclntyre. He doesn t care a snap of
his fingers about you."
For a tense moment they regarded each other
Marjorie scornful, aloof; Bernice astounded, half-
angry, half -afraid. Then two cars drove up in front
of the house and there was a riotous honking. Both
of them gasped faintly, turned, and side by side
All through the bridge party Bernice strove in
vain to master a rising uneasiness. She had offended
Marjorie, the sphinx of sphinxes. With the most
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 183
wholesome and innocent intentions in the world she
had stolen Marjorie s property. She felt suddenly
and horribly guilty. After the bridge game, when
they sat in an informal circle and the conversation
became general, the storm gradually broke. Little
Otis Ormonde inadvertently precipitated it.
"When you going back to kindergarten, Otis?"
some one had asked.
"Me? Day Bernice gets her hair bobbed."
"Then your education s over," said Marjorie
quickly. "That s only a bluff of hers. I should
think you d have realized."
"That a fact?" demanded Otis, giving Bernice a
Bernice s ears burned as she tried to think up an
effectual come-back. In the face of this direct at
tack her imagination was paralyzed.
"There s a lot of bluffs in the world," continued
Marjorie quite pleasantly. "I should think you d
be young enough to know that, Otis."
"Well," said Otis, "maybe so. But gee! With
a line like Bernice s "
"Really ? " yawned Marjorie. "What s her latest
No one seemed to know. In fact, Bernice, hav
ing trifled with her muse s beau, had said nothing
memorable of late.
"Was that really all a line?" asked Roberta curi
Bernice hesitated. She felt that wit in some form
was demanded of her, but under her cousin s
1 84 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
suddenly frigid eyes she was completely incapaci
"I don t know/ she stalled.
" Splush ! " said Marjorie. " Admit it ! "
Bernice saw that Warren s eyes had left a ukulele
he had been tinkering with and were fixed on her
"Oh, I don t know !" she repeated steadily. Her
cheeks were glowing.
"Splush!" remarked Marjorie again.
"Come through, Bernice," urged Otis. "Tell her
where to get off."
Bernice looked round again she seemed unable
to get away from Warren s eyes.
"I like bobbed hair," she said hurriedly, as if he
had asked her a question, "and I intend to bob
"When?" demanded Marjorie.
"No time like the present," suggested Roberta.
Otis jumped to his feet.
"Good stuff!" he cried. "We ll have a summer
bobbing party. Sevier Hotel barber-shop, I think
In an instant all were on their feet. Bernice s
heart throbbed violently.
"What?" she gasped.
Out of the group came Marjorie s voice, very clear
"Don t worry -she ll back out!"
"Come on, Bernice!" cried Otis, starting toward
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 185
Four eyes Warren s and Marjorie s stared at
her, challenged her, defied her. For another second
she wavered wildly.
" All right," she said swiftly, "I don t care if I do."
An eternity of minutes later, riding down-town
through the late afternoon beside Warren, the others
following in Roberta s car close behind, Bernice had
all the sensations of Marie Antoinette bound for the
guillotine hi a tumbrel. Vaguely she wondered
why she did not cry out that it was all a mistake.
It was all she could do to keep from clutching her
hair with both hands to protect it from the suddenly
hostile world. Yet she did neither. Even the
thought of her mother was no deterrent now. This
was the test supreme of her sportsmanship; her right
to walk unchallenged in the starry heaven of popular
Warren was moodily silent, and when they came
to the hotel he drew up at the curb and nodded to
Bernice to precede him out. Roberta s car emptied
a laughing crowd into the shop, which presented
two bold plate-glass windows to the street.
Bernice stood on the curb and looked at the sign,
Sevier Barber-Shop. It was a guillotine indeed,
and the hangman was the first barber, who, attired
in a white coat and smoking a cigarette, leaned non
chalantly against the first chair. He must have
heard of her; he must have been waiting all week,
smoking eternal cigarettes beside that portentous,
too-often-mentioned first chair. Would they blind
fold her? No, but they would tie a white cloth
1 86 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
round her neck lest any of her blood nonsense
hair should get on her clothes.
"All right, Bernice," said Warren quickly.
With her chin in the air she crossed the sidewalk,
pushed open the swinging screen-door, and giving
not a glance to the uproarious, riotous row that
occupied the waiting bench, went up to the first
"I want you to bob my hair."
The first barber s mouth slid somewhat open.
His cigarette dropped to the floor.
"My hair bob it!"
Refusing further preliminaries, Bernice took her
seat on high. A man in the chair next to her turned
on his side and gave her a glance, half lather, half
amazement. One barber started and spoiled little
Willy Schuneman s monthly haircut. Mr. O Reilly
in the last chair grunted and swore musically in
ancient Gaelic as a razor bit into his cheek. Two
bootblacks became wide-eyed and rushed for her
feet. No, Bernice didn t care for a shine.
Outside a passer-by stopped and stared; a couple
joined him; half a dozen small boys noses sprang
into life, flattened against the glass; and snatches
of conversation borne on the summer breeze drifted
in through the screen-door.
"Lookada long hair on a kid !"
" Where d yuh get at stuff ? At s a bearded lady
he just finished shavin ."
But Bernice saw nothing, heard nothing. Her
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 187
only living sense told her that this man in the white
coat had removed one tortoise-shell comb and then
another; that his fingers were fumbling clumsily
with unfamiliar hairpins; that this hair, this wonder
ful hair of hers, was going she would never again
feel its long voluptuous pull as it hung in a dark-
brown glory down her back. For a second she was
near breaking down, and then the picture before
her swam mechanically into her vision Marjorie s
mouth curling in a faint ironic smile as if to say:
" Give up and get down ! You tried to buck me
and I called your bluff. You see you haven t got a
And some last energy rose up in Bernice, for she
clinched her hands under the white cloth, and there
was a curious narrowing of her eyes that Marjorie
remarked on to some one long afterward.
Twenty minutes later the barber swung her
round to face the mirror, and she flinched at the
full extent of the damage that had been wrought.
Her hair was not curly, and now it lay in lank life
less blocks on both sides of her suddenly pale face.
It was ugly as sin she had known it would be ugly
as sin. Her face s chief charm had been a Madonna-
like simplicity. Now that was gone and she was
well, frightfully mediocre not stagy; only ridic
ulous, like a Greenwich Villager who had left her
spectacles at home.
As she climbed down from the chair she tried to
smile failed miserably. She saw two of the girls
exchange glances; noticed Marjorie s mouth curved
1 88 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
in attenuated mockery and that Warren s eyes
were suddenly very cold.
"You see" her words fell into an awkward
pause "I ve done it."
"Yes, youVe done it," admitted Warren.
"Do you like it?"
There was a half-hearted "Sure" from two or
three voices, another awkward pause, and then Mar-
jorie turned swiftly and with serpentlike intensity
"Would you mind running me down to the
cleaners?" she asked. "Fve simply got to get a
dress there before supper. Roberta s driving right
home and she can take the others."
Warren stared abstractedly at some infinite speck
out the window. Then for an instant his eyes rested
coldly on Bernice before they turned to Marjorie.
"Be glad to," he said slowly.
Bernice did not fully realize the outrageous trap
that had been set for her until she met her aunt s
amazed glance just before dinner.
"I ve bobbed it, Aunt Josephine."
"Do you like it?"
"I suppose I ve shocked you,"
"No, but what ll Mrs. Deyo think to-morrow
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 189
night? Bernice, you should have waited until
after the Deyos dance you should have waited if
you wanted to do that."
"It was sudden, Aunt Josephine. Anyway, why
does it matter to Mrs. Deyo particularly?"
"Why, child," cried Mrs. Harvey, "in her paper
on The Foibles of the Younger Generation that
she read at the last meeting of the Thursday Club
she devoted fifteen minutes to bobbed hair. It s her
pet abomination. And the dance is for you and
Marjorie ! "
"I m sorry."
"Oh, Bernice, what U your mother say? She ll
think I let you do it."
"I m sorry."
Dinner was an agony. She had made a hasty
attempt with a curling-iron, and burned her finger
and much hair. She could see that her aunt was
both worried and grieved, and her uncle kept saying,
"Well, I ll be darned !" over and over in a hurt and
faintly hostile tone. And Marjorie sat very quietly,
intrenched behind a faint smile, a faintly mocking
Somehow she got through the evening. Three
boys called; Marjorie disappeared with one of them,
and Bernice made a listless unsuccessful attempt to
entertain the two others sighed thankfully as she
climbed the stairs to her room at half past ten.
What a day !
When she had undressed for the night the door
opened and Marjorie came in.
190 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"Bernice," she said, "I m awfully sorry about
the Deyo dance. I ll give you my word of honor
I d forgotten all about it."
" Sail right," said Bernice shortly. Standing be
fore the mirror she passed her comb slowly through
her short hair.
"I ll take you down-town to-morrow," continued
Marjorie, "and the hairdresser 11 fix it so you ll look
slick. I didn t imagine you d go through with it.
I m really mighty sorry."
"Oh, sail right!"
"Still it s your last night, so I suppose it won t
Then Bernice winced as Marjorie tossed her own
hair over her shoulders and began to twist it slowly
into two long blond braids until in her cream-colored
negligee she looked like a delicate painting of some
Saxon princess. Fascinated, Bernice watched the
braids grow. Heavy and luxurious they were, mov
ing under the supple fingers like restive snakes and
to Bernice remained this relic and the curling-iron
and a to-morrow full of eyes. She could see G.
Reece Stoddard, who liked her, assuming his Har
vard manner and telling his dinner partner that
Bernice shouldn t have been allowed to go to the
movies so much; she could see Draycott Deyo ex
changing glances with his mother and then being
conscientiously charitable to her. But then per
haps by to-morrow Mrs. Deyo would have heard
the news; would send round an icy little note re
questing that she fail to appear and behind her
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 191
back they would all laugh and know that Marjorie
had made a fool of her; that her chance at beauty
had been sacrificed to the jealous whim of a selfish
girl. She sat down suddenly before the mirror,
biting the inside of her cheek.
"I like it," she said with an effort. "I think it ll
"It looks all right. For heaven s sake, don t let
it worry you ! "
"I won t."
"Good night, Bernice."
But as the door closed something snapped within
Bernice. She sprang dynamically to her feet,
clinching her hands, then swiftly and noiselessly
crossed over to her bed and from underneath it
dragged out her suitcase. Into it she tossed toilet
articles and a change of clothing. Then she turned
to her trunk and quickly dumped in two drawerfuls
of lingerie and summer dresses. She moved quietly,
but with deadly efficiency, and in three-quarters of
an hour her trunk was locked and strapped and she
was fully dressed hi a becoming new travelling suit
that Marjorie had helped her pick out.
Sitting down at her desk she wrote a short note
to Mrs. Harvey, in which she briefly outlined her
reasons for going. She sealed it, addressed it, and
laid it on her pillow. She glanced at her watch.
The train left at one, and she knew that if she
walked down to the Marborough Hotel two blocks
away she could easily get a taxicab.
192 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Suddenly she drew in her breath sharply and an
expression flashed into her eyes that a practised
character reader might have connected vaguely with
the set look she had worn in the barber s chair
somehow a development of it. It was quite a new
look for Bernice and it carried consequences.
She went stealthily to the bureau, picked up an
article that lay there, and turning out all the lights
stood quietly until her eyes became accustomed to
the darkness. Softly she pushed open the door to
Marjorie s room. She heard the quiet, even breath
ing of an untroubled conscience asleep.
She was by the bedside now, very deliberate and
calm. She acted swiftly. Bending over she found
one of the braids of Marjorie s hah*, followed it up
with her hand to the point nearest the head, and then
holding it a little slack so that the sleeper would
feel no pull, she reached down with the shears and
severed it. With the pigtail in her hand she held
her breath. Marjorie had muttered something in
her sleep. Bernice deftly amputated the other
braid, paused for an instant, and then flitted swiftly
and silently back to her own room.
Down-stairs she opened the big front door, closed
it carefully behind her, and feeling oddly happy and
exuberant stepped off the porch into the moonlight,
swinging her heavy grip like a shopping-bag. After
a minute s brisk walk she discovered that her left
hand still held the two blond braids. She laughed
unexpectedly had to shut her mouth hard to keep
from emitting an absolute peal. She was passing
BERNICE BOBS HER HAIR 193
Warren s house now, and on the impulse she set
down her baggage, and swinging the braids like
pieces of rope flung them at the wooden porch,
where they landed with a slight thud. She laughed
again, no longer restraining herself.
"Huh!" she giggled wildly. "Scalp the selfish
Then picking up her suitcase she set off at a half-
run down the moonlit street.
THE Baltimore Station was hot and crowded, so
Lois was forced to stand by the telegraph desk for
interminable, sticky seconds while a clerk with big
front teeth counted and recounted a large lady s
day message, to determine whether it contained the
innocuous forty-nine words or the fatal fifty-one.
Lois, waiting, decided she wasn t quite sure of the
address, so she took the letter out of her bag and ran
over it again.
"Darling": it began "I understand and I m
happier than life ever meant me to be. If I could
give you the things you ve always been in tune with
but I can t, Lois; we can t marry and we can t
lose each other and let all this glorious love end in
"Until your letter came, dear, I d been, sitting
here in the half dark thinking and thinking where I
could go and ever forget you; abroad, perhaps, to
drift through Italy or Spain and dream away the
pain of having lost you where the crumbling ruins
of older, mellower civilizations would mirror only
the desolation of my heart and then your letter
"Sweetest, bravest girl, if you ll wire me Fll meet
you in Wilmington till then I ll be here just wait
ing and hoping for every long dream of you to come
She had read the letter so many times that she
knew it word by word, yet it still startled her. In
it she found many faint reflections of the man who
wrote it the mingled sweetness and sadness in his
dark eyes, the furtive, restless excitement she felt
sometimes when he talked to her, his dreamy sen-
suousness that lulled her mind to sleep. Lois was
nineteen and very romantic and curious and cou
The large lady and the clerk having compromised
on fifty words, Lois took a blank and wrote her
telegram. And there were no overtones to the
finality of her decision.
It s just destiny-r-she thought it s just the way
things work out in this damn world. If cowardice
is all that s been holding me back there won t be any
more holding back. So we ll just let things take
their course, and never be sorry.
The clerk scanned her telegram:
"Arrived Baltimore today spend day with my
brother meet me Wilmington three P.M. Wednesday
"Fifty-four cents," said the clerk admiringly.
And never be sorry thought Lois and never be
Trees filtering light onto dappled grass. Trees
like tall, languid ladies with feather fans coquetting
196 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
airily with the ugly roof of the monastery. Trees
like butlers, bending courteously over placid walks
and paths. Trees, trees over the hills on either side
and scattering out in dumps and lines and woods all
through eastern Maryland, delicate lace on the hems
of many yellow fields, dark opaque backgrounds for
flowered bushes or wild climbing gardens.
Some of the trees were very gay and young, but
the monastery trees were older than the monastery
which, by true monastic standards, wasn t very old
at all. And, as a matter of fact, it wasn t technically
called a monastery, but only a seminary; neverthe
less it shall be a monastery here despite its Vic
torian architecture or its Edward VII additions, or
even its Woodrow Wilsonian, patented, last-a-cen-
Out behind was the farm where half a dozen lay
brothers were sweating lustily as they moved with
deadly efficiency around the vegetable-gardens.
To the left, behind a row of elms, was an informal
baseball diamond where three novices were being
batted out by a fourth, amid great chasings and puff
ings and blowings. And in front as a great mellow
bell boomed the half -hour a swarm of black, human
leaves were blown over the checker-board of paths
under the courteous trees.
Some of these black leaves were very old with
cheeks furrowed like the first ripples of a splashed
pool. Then there was a scattering of middle-aged
leaves whose forms when viewed in profile in their
revealing gowns were beginning to be faintly unsym-
metrical. These carried thick volumes of Thomas
Aquinas and Henry James and Cardinal Mercier
and Immanuel Kant and many bulging note-books
filled with lecture data.
But most numerous were the young leaves; blond
boys of nineteen with very stern, conscientious ex
pressions; men in the late twenties with a keen self-
assurance from having taught out in the world for
five years several hundreds of them, from city and
town and country in Maryland and Pennsylvania
and Virginia and West Virginia and Delaware.
There were many Americans and some Irish and
some tough Irish and a few French, and several
Italians and Poles, and they walked informally arm
in arm with each other in twos and threes or in
long rows, almost universally distinguished by the
straight mouth and the considerable chin for this
was the Society of Jesus, founded in Spain five hun
dred years before by a tough-minded soldier who
trained men to hold a breach or a salon, preach a
sermon or write a treaty, and do it and not argue . . .
Lois got out of a bus into the sunshine down by
the outer gate. She was nineteen with yellow hair
and eyes that people were tactful enough not to
call green. When men of talent saw her in a street
car they often furtively produced little stub-pencils
and backs of envelopes and tried to sum up that
profile or the thing that the eyebrows did to her
eyes. Later they looked at their results and usually
tore them up with wondering sighs.
Though Lois was very jauntily attired in an ex-
198 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
pensively appropriate travelling affair, she did not
linger to pat out the dust which covered her clothes,
but started up the central walk with curious glances
at either side. Her face was very eager and ex
pectant, yet she hadn t at all that glorified expres
sion that girls wear when they arrive for a Senior
Prom at Princeton or New Haven; still, as there
were no senior proms here, perhaps it didn t matter.
She was wondering what he would look like,
whether she d possibly know him from his picture.
In the picture, which hung over her mother s bureau
at home, he seemed very young and hollow-cheeked
and rather pitiful, with only a well-developed mouth
and an ill-fitting probationer s gown to show that
he had already made a momentous decision about
his life. Of course he had been only nineteen then
and now he was thirty-six didn t look like that at
all; in recent snap-shots he was much broader and
his hair had grown a little thin but the impression
of her brother she had always retained was that of
the big picture. And so she had always been a
little sorry for him. What a life for a man ! Seven
teen years of preparation and he wasn t even a
priest yet wouldn t be for another year.
Lois had an idea that this was all going to be
rather solemn if she let it be. But she was going to
give her very best imitation of undiluted sunshine,
the imitation she could give even when her head
was splitting or when her mother had a nervous
breakdown or when she was particularly romantic
and curious and courageous. This brother of hers
undoubtedly needed cheering up, and he was going
to be cheered up, whether he liked it or not.
As she drew near the great, homely front door
she saw a man break suddenly away from a group
and, pulling up the skirts of his gown, run toward
her. He was smiling, she noticed, and he looked
very big and and reliable. She stopped and waited,
knew that her heart was beating unusually fast.
"Lois!" he cried, and hi a second she was in his
arms. She was suddenly trembling.
"Lois!" he cried again, "why, this is wonderful!
I can t tell you, Lois, how much I ve looked forward
to this. Why, Lois, you re beautiful!"
His voice, though restrained, was vibrant with
energy and that odd sort of enveloping personality
she had thought that she only of the family pos
"I m mighty glad, too Kieth."
She flushed, but not unhappily, at this first use
of his name.
"Lois Lois: Lois," he repeated in wonder.
"Child, we ll go in here a minute, because I want
you to meet the rector, and then we ll walk around.
I have a thousand things to talk to you about."
His voice became graver. " How s mother ? "
She looked at him for a moment and then said
something that she had not intended to say at all,
the very sort of thing she had resolved to avoid.
"Oh, Kieth she s she s getting worse all the
time, every way."
200 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
He nodded slowly as if he understood.
"Nervous, well you can tell me about that later.
She was in a small study with a large desk, saying
something to a little, jovial, white-haired priest who
retained her hand for some seconds.
"So this is Lois!"
He said it as if he had heard of her for years.
He entreated her to sit down.
Two other priests arrived enthusiastically and
shook hands with her and addressed her as "Kieth s
little sister, " which she found she didn t mind a bit.
How assured they seemed; she had expected a
certain shyness, reserve at least. There were sev
eral jokes unintelligible to her, which seemed to de
light every one, and the little Father Rector referred
to the trio of them as "dim old monks," which she
appreciated, because of course they weren t monks
at all. She had a lightning impression that they
were especially fond of Kieth the Father Rector
had called him "Kieth" and one of the others had
kept a hand on his shoulder all through the con
versation. Then she was shaking hands again and
promising to come back a little later for some ice
cream, and smiling and smiling and being rather ab
surdly happy . . . she told herself that it was be
cause Kieth was so delighted in showing her off.
Then she and Kieth were strolling along a path,
arm in arm, and he was informing her what an ab
solute jewel the Father Rector was.
"Lois," he broke off suddenly, "I want to tell you
before we go any farther how much it means to me
to have you come up here. I think it was mighty
sweet of you. I know what a gay time youVe been
Lois gasped. She was not prepared for this. At
first when she had conceived the plan of taking the
hot journey down to Baltimore, staying the night
with a friend and then coming out to see her brother,
she had felt rather consciously virtuous, hoped he
wouldn t be priggish or resentful about her not hav
ing come before but walking here with him under
the trees seemed such a little thing, and surprisingly
a happy thing.
"Why, Kieth," she said quickly, "you know I
couldn t have waited a day longer. I saw you when
I was five, but of course I didn t remember, and how
could I have gone on without practically ever hav
ing seen my only brother?"
"It was mighty sweet of you, Lois," he repeated.
Lois blushed he did have personality.
"I want you to tell me all about yourself," he
said after a pause. "Of course I have a general
idea what you and mother did in Europe those
fourteen years, and then we were all so worried,
Lois, when you had pneumonia and couldn t come
down with mother let s see, that was two years
ago and then, well, I ve seen your name in the
papers, but it s all been so unsatisfactory. I haven t
known you, Lois."
She found herself analyzing his personality as she
analyzed the personality of every man she met.
202 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
She wondered if the effect of of intimacy that he
gave was bred by his constant repetition of her
name. He said it as if he loved the word, as if it
had an inherent meaning to him.
"Then you were at school/ he continued.
"Yes, at Farmington. Mother wanted me to go
to a convent but I didn t want to."
She cast a side glance at him to see if he would
But he only nodded slowly.
"Had enough convents abroad, eh?"
"Yes and Kieth, convents are different there
anyway. Here even in the nicest ones there are so
many common girls."
He nodded again.
"Yes," he agreed, "I suppose there are, and I
know how you feel about it. It grated on me here,
at first, Lois, though I wouldn t say that to any one
but you; we re rather sensitive, you and I, to things
"You mean the men here?"
"Yes, some of them of course were fine, the sort
of men I d always been thrown with, but there were
others; a man named Regan, for instance I hated
the fellow, and now he s about the best friend I
have. A wonderful character, Lois; you ll meet
him later. Sort of man you d like to have with you
in a fight."
Lois was thinking that Kieth was the sort of man
she d like to have with her in a fight.
"How did you how did you first happen to do
it?" she asked, rather shyly, "to come here, I mean.
Of course mother told me the story about the Pull
"Oh, that" He looked rather annoyed.
"Tell me that. I d like to hear you tell it."
"Oh, it s nothing, except what you probably
know. It was evening and I d been riding all day
and thinking about about a hundred things, Lois,
and then suddenly I had a sense that some one was
sitting across from me, felt that he d been there for
some time, and had a vague idea that he was another
traveller. All at once he leaned over toward me
and I heard a voice say: I want you to be a priest,
that s what I want. Well, I jumped up and cried
out, Oh, my God, not that! made an idiot of
myself before about twenty people; you see there
wasn t any one sitting there at all. A week after
that I went to the Jesuit College in Philadelphia
and crawled up the last flight of stairs to the rec
tor s office on my hands and knees."
There was another silence and Lois saw that her
brother s eyes wore a far-away look, that he was
staring unseeingly out over the sunny fields. She
was stirred by the modulations of his voice and the
sudden silence that seemed to flow about him when
he finished speaking.
She noticed now that his eyes were of the same
fibre as hers, with the green left out, and that his
mouth was much gentler, really, than in the picture
or was it that the face had grown up to it lately ?
He was getting a little bald just on top of his head. ,
204 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
She wondered if that was from wearing a hat so
much. It seemed awful for a man to grow bald
and no one to care about it.
" Were you pious when you were young, Kieth ? "
she asked. "You know what I mean. Were you
religious? If you don t mind these personal ques
"Yes," he said with his eyes still far away and
she felt that his intense abstraction was as much a
part of his personality as his attention. "Yes, I
suppose I was, when I was sober."
Lois thrilled slightly.
"Did you drink?"
"I was on the way to making a bad hash of
things." He smiled and, turning his gray eyes on
her, changed the subject.
"Child, tell me about mother. I know it s been
awfully hard for you there, lately. I know you ve
had to sacrifice a lot and put up with a great deal,
and I want you to know how fine of you I think it
is. I feel, Lois, that you re sort of taking the place
of both of us there."
Lois thought quickly how little she had sacrificed;
how lately she had constantly avoided her nervous,
half -invalid mother.
"Youth shouldn t be sacrificed to age, Kieth,"
she said steadily.
"I know," he sighed, "and you oughtn t to have
the weight on your shoulders, child. I wish I were
there to help you."
She saw how quickly he had turned her remark
and instantly she knew what this quality was that
he gave off. He was sweet. Her thoughts went off
on a side-track and then she broke the silence with
an odd remark.
"Sweetness is hard," she said suddenly.
"Nothing," she denied in confusion. "I didn t
mean to speak aloud. I was thinking of something
of a conversation with a man named Freddy
"Maury Kebble s brother?"
"Yes," she said, rather surprised to think of him
having known Maury Kebble. Still there was
nothing strange about it. "Well, he and I were
talking about sweetness a few weeks ago. Oh, I
don t know I said that a man named Howard
that a man I knew was sweet, and he didn t agree
with me, and we began talking about what sweet
ness in a man was. He kept telling me I meant a
sort of soppy softness, but I knew I didn t yet I
didn t know exactly how to put it. I see now. I
meant just the opposite. I suppose real sweetness
is a sort of hardness and strength."
"I see what you mean. I ve known old priests
who had it."
"I m talking about young men," she said, rather
They had reached the now deserted baseball dia-
206 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
mond and, pointing her to a wooden bench, he
sprawled full length on the grass.
"Are these young men happy here, Kieth?"
"Don t they look happy, Lois? "
"I suppose so, but those young ones, those two
we just passed have they are they "
"Are they signed up?" he laughed. "No, but
they will be next month."
"Yes unless they break down mentally or physi
cally. Of course in a discipline like ours a lot drop
"But those boys. Are they giving up fine chances
outside like you did?"
"Some of them."
"But, Kieth, they don t know what they re doing.
They haven t had any experience of what they re
"No, I suppose not."
"It doesn t seem fair. Life has just sort of scared
them at first. Do they all come in so young ?"
"No, some of them have knocked around, led
pretty wild lives Regan, for instance."
"I should think that sort would be better," she
said meditatively, "men that had seen life."
"No," said Kieth earnestly, "I m not sure that
knocking about gives a man the sort of experience
he can communicate to others. Some of the broad
est men I ve known have been absolutely rigid about
themselves. And reformed Aibertines\ are a no-
toriously intolerant class. Don t you think so,
She nodded, still meditative, and he continued:
"It seems to me that when one weak person goes
to another, it isn t help they want; it s a sort of
companionship in guilt, Lois. After you were born,
when mother began to get nervous she used to go
and weep with a certain Mrs. Comstock. Lord, it
used to make me shiver. She said it comforted her,
poor old mother. No, I don t think that to help
others you ve got to show yourself at all. Real help
comes from a stronger person whom you respect.
And their sympathy is all the bigger because it s
"But people want human sympathy," objected
Lois. "They want to feel the other person s been
"Lois, in their hearts they want to feel that the
other person s been weak. That s what they mean
"Here in this old monkery, Lois," he continued
with a smile, "they try to get all that self-pity and
pride in our own wills out of us right at the first.
They put us to scrubbing floors and other things.
It s like that idea of saving your life by losing it.
You see we sort of feel that the less human a man
is, in your sense of human, the better servant he
can be to humanity. We carry it out to the end,
too. When one of us dies his family can t even have
him then. He s buried here under a plain wooden
cross with a thousand others."
208 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
His tone changed suddenly and he looked at her
with a great brightness in his gray eyes.
"But way back in a man s heart there are some
things he can t get rid of and one of them is that
I m awfully in love with my little sister."
With a sudden impulse she knelt beside him in
the grass and, leaning over, kissed his forehead.
"You re hard, Kieth," she said, "and I love you
for it and you re sweet."
Back in the reception-room Lois met a half-dozen
more of Kieth s particular friends; there was a
young man named Jarvis, rather pale and delicate-
looking, who, she knew, must be a grandson of old
Mrs. Jarvis at home, and she mentally compared
this ascetic with a brace of his riotous uncles.
And there was Regan with a scarred face and
piercing intent eyes that followed her about the room
and often rested on Kieth with something very like
worship. She knew then what Kieth had meant
about "a good man to have with you in a fight."
He s the missionary type she thought vaguely
China or something.
" I want Kieth s sister to show us what the shimmy
is," demanded one young man with a broad grin.
"I m afraid the Father Rector would send me
shimmying out the gate. Besides, I m not an ex
"I m sure it wouldn t be best for Jimmy s soul
anyway," said Kieth solemnly. "He s inclined to
brood about things like shimmys. They were just
starting to do the maxixe, wasn t it, Jimmy?
when he became a monk, and it haunted him his
whole first year. You d see him when he was peel
ing potatoes, putting his arm around the bucket and
making irreligious motions with his feet."
There was a general laugh in which Lois joined.
" An old lady who comes here to Mass sent Kieth
this ice-cream," whispered Jarvis under cover of
the laugh, "because she d heard you were coming.
It s pretty good, isn t it?"
There were tears trembling in Lois eyes.
Then half an hour later over in the chapel things
suddenly went all wrong. It was several years since
Lois had been at Benediction and at first she was
thrilled by the gleaming monstrance with its cen
tral spot of white, the air rich and heavy with in
cense, and the sun shining through the stained-glass
window of St. Francis Xavier overhead and falling
in warm red tracery on the cassock of the man in
front of her, but at the first notes of the "O Salutaris
Hostia" a heavy weight seemed to descend upon her
soul. Kieth was on her right and young Jarvis
on her left, and she stole uneasy glances at both of
210 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
What s the matter with me? she thought impa
She looked again. Was there a certain coldness
in both their profiles, that she had not noticed be
fore SL pallor about the mouth and a curious set
expression in their eyes? She shivered slightly:
they were like dead men.
She felt her soul recede suddenly from Kieth s.
This was her brother this, this unnatural person.
She caught herself in the act of a little laugh.
"What is the matter with me?"
She passed her hand over her eyes and the weight
increased. The incense sickened her and a stray,
ragged note from one of the tenors in the choir grated
on her ear like the shriek of a slate-pencil. She
fidgeted, and raising her hand to her hair touched
her forehead, found moisture on it.
"It s hot in here, hot as the deuce."
Again she repressed a faint laugh, and then in an
instant the weight upon her heart suddenly diffused
into cold fear. ... It was that candle on the altar.
It was all wrong wrong. Why didn t somebody
see it? There was something in it. There was
something coming out of it, taking form and shape
She tried to fight down her rising panic, told her
self it was the wick. If the wick wasn t straight,
candles did something but they didn t do this!
With incalculable rapidity a force was gathering
within her, a tremendous, assimilative force, draw
ing from every sense, every corner of her brain, and
as it surged up inside her she felt an enormous, terri
fied repulsion. She drew her arms in close to her
side, away from Kieth and Jarvis.
Something in that candle . . . she was leaning
forward in another moment she felt she would go
forward toward it didn t any one see it ? ... any
She felt a space beside her and something told her
that Jarvis had gasped and sat down very suddenly
. . . then she was kneeling and as the flaming mon
strance slowly left the altar in the hands of the
priest, she heard a great rushing noise in her ears
the crash of the bells was like hammer-blows . . .
and then in a moment that seemed eternal a great
torrent rolled over her heart there was a shouting
there and a lashing as of waves . . .
. . . She was calling, felt herself calling for Kieth,
her lips mouthing the words that would not come:
" Kieth! Oh, my God! Kieth!"
Suddenly she became aware of a new presence,
something external, in front of her, consummated
and expressed in warm red tracery. Then she knew.
It was the window of St. Francis Xavier. Her mind
gripped at it, clung to it finally, and she felt herself
calling again endlessly, impotently Kieth Kieth!
Then out of a great stillness came a voice:
" Blessed be God."
With a gradual rumble sounded the response roll
ing heavily through the chapel:
"Blessed be God."
212 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
The words sang instantly in her heart; the in
cense lay mystically and sweetly peaceful upon the
air, and the candle on the altar went out.
"Blessed be His Holy Name."
"Blessed be His Holy Name."
Everything blurred into a swinging mist. With
a sound half-gasp, half-cry she rocked on her feet
and reeled backward into Kieth s suddenly out
"Lie still, child."
She closed her eyes again. She was on the grass
outside, pillowed on Kieth s arm, and Regan was
dabbing her head with a cold towel.
"I m all right," she said quietly.
" I know, but just lie still a minute longer. It was
too hot in there. Jarvis felt it, too."
She laughed as Regan again touched her gingerly
with the towel.
"I m all right," she repeated.
But though a warm peace was filling her mind
and heart she felt oddly broken and chastened, as if
some one had held her stripped soul up and laughed.
Half an hour later she walked leaning on Kieth i
arm down the long central path toward the gate.
"It s been such a short afternoon," he sighed,
"and I m so sorry you were sick, Lois."
"Kieth, I m feeling fine now, really; I wish you
wouldn t worry."
"Poor old child. I didn t realize that Benedic
tion^ be a long service for you after your hot trip
out here and all."
She laughed cheerfully.
"I guess the truth is I m not much used to Bene
diction. Mass is the limit of my religious exertions."
She paused and then continued quickly:
"I don t want to shock you, Kieth, but I can t
tell you how how inconvenient being a Catholic is.
It really doesn t seem to apply any more. As far
as morals go, some of the wildest boys I know are
Catholics. And the brightest boys I mean the
ones who think and read a lot, don t seem to believe
in much of anything any more."
"Tell me about it. The bus won t be here for
They sat down on a bench by the path.
"For instance, Gerald Carter, he s published a
novel. He absolutely roars when people mention
immortality. And then Howa well, another man
I ve known well, lately, who was Phi Beta Kappa
at Harvard, says that no intelligent person can be
lieve in Supernatural Christianity. He says Christ
was a great socialist, though. Am I shocking you ? "
She broke off suddenly.
"You can t shock a monk. He s a professional
"Well," she continued, "that s about all. It
214 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
seems so so narrow. Church schools, for instance.
There s more freedom about things that Catholic
people can t see like birth control."
Kieth winced, almost imperceptibly, but Lois
"Oh," she said quickly, "everybody talks about
"It s probably better that way."
"Oh, yes, much better. Well, that s all, Kieth.
I just wanted to tell you why I m a little luke
warm, at present."
"I m not shocked, Lois. I understand better
than you think. We all go through those times.
But I know it ll come out all right, child. There s
that gift of faith that we have, you and I, that ll
carry us past the bad spots."
He rose as he spoke and they started again down
"I want you to pray for me sometimes, Lois. I
think your prayers would be about what I need.
Because we ve come very close in these few hours,
Her eyes were suddenly shining.
"Oh, we have, we have!" she cried. "I feel
closer to you now than to any one in the world."
He stopped suddenly and indicated the side of
"We might just a minute "
It was a pieta, a life-size statue of the Blessed Vir
gin set within a semicircle of rocks.
Feeling a little self-conscious she dropped on her
knees beside him and made an unsuccessful attempt
She was only half through when he rose. He
took her arm again.
"I wanted to thank Her for letting us have this
day together," he said simply.
Lois felt a sudden lump in her throat and she
wanted to say something that would tell him how
much it had meant to her, too. But she found no
"I ll always remember this," he continued, his
voice trembling a little "this summer day with
you. It s been just what I expected. You re just
what J expected, Lois."
"I m awfully glad, Kieth."
"You see, when you were little they kept sending
me snap-shots of you, first as a baby and then as a
child in socks playing on the beach with a pail and
shovel, and then suddenly as a wistful little girl
with wondering, pure eyes and I used to build
dreams about you. A man has to have something
living to cling to. I think^Lois, it was your little
white soul I tried to keep near me even when life
was at its loudest and every intellectual idea of God
seemed the sheerest mockery, and desire and love
and a million things came up to me and said: Look
here at me! See, I m Life. You re turning your
back on it! All the way through that shadow,
Lois, I could always see your baby soul flitting on
ahead of me, very frail #nd clear and wonderful."
Lois was crying softly. They had reached the
2i6 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
gate and she rested her elbow on it and dabbed furi
ously at her eyes.
"And then later, child, when you were sick I
knelt all one night and asked God to spare you for
me for I knew then that I wanted more; He had
taught me to want more. I wanted to know you
moved and breathed in the same world with me. I
saw you growing up, that white innocence of yours
changing to a flame and burning to give light to
other weaker souls. And then I wanted some day
to take your children on my knee and hear them call
the crabbed old monk Uncle Kieth."
He seemed to be laughing now as he talked.
"Oh, Lois, Lois, I was asking God for more then.
I wanted the letters you d write me and the place
I d have at your table. I wanted an awful lot, Lois,
"YouVe got me, Kieth," she sobbed, "you know
it, say you know it. Oh, I m acting like a baby
but I didn t think you d be this way, and I oh,
He took her hand and patted it softly.
"Here s the bus. You ll come again, won t you ? "
She put her hands on his cheeks, and drawing his
head down, pressed her tear- wet face against his.
"Oh, Kieth, brother, some day I ll tell you some
He helped her in, saw her take down her hand
kerchief and smile bravely at him, as the driver
flicked his whip and the bus rolled off. Then a thick
cloud of dust rose around it and she was gone.
For a few minutes he stood there on the road,
his hand on the gate-post, his lips half parted in a
"Lois," he said aloud in a sort of wonder, "Lois,
Later, some probationers passing noticed him
kneeling before the pieta, and coming back after a
time found him still there. And he was there until
twilight came down and the courteous trees grew
garrulous overhead and the crickets took up their
burden of song in the dusky grass.
The first clerk in the telegraph booth in the Balti
more Station whistled through his buck teeth at the
"See that girl no, the pretty one with the big
black dots on her veil. Too late she s gone. You
missed somep n."
"What about her?"
"Nothing. Cept she s damn good-looking. Came
in here yesterday and sent a wire to some guy to
meet her somewhere. Then a minute ago she came
in with a telegram all written out and was standin
there goin to give it to me when she changed her
mind or somep n and all of a sudden tore it up."
The first clerk came around the counter and pick
ing up the two pieces of paper from the floor put
2i8 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
them together idly. The second clerk read them
over his shoulder and subconsciously counted the
words as he read. There were just thirteen.
"This is hi the way of a permanent goodbye. I
should suggest Italy. "Lois "
"Tore it up, eh?" said the second clerk.
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG
IN the millennium an educational genius will write a
book to be given to every young man on the date of
his disillusion. This work will have the flavor of
Montaigne s essays and Samuel Butler s note-books
and a little of Tolstoi and Marcus Aurelius. It
will be neither cheerful nor pleasant but will con
tain numerous passages of striking humor. Since
first-class minds never believe anything very strongly
until they ve experienced it, its value will be purely
relative ... all people over thirty will refer to it
This prelude belongs to the story of a young man
who lived, as you and I do, before the book.
The generation which numbered Bryan Daly-
rimple drifted out of adolescence to a mighty fan
fare of trumpets. Bryan played the star in an affair
which included a Lewis gun and a nine-day romp
behind the retreating German lines, so luck tri
umphant or sentiment rampant awarded him a row
of medals and on his arrival in the States he was told
that he was second in importance only to General
Pershing and Sergeant York. This was a lot of fun.
The governor of his State, a stray congressman, and
220 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
a citizens committee gave him enormous smiles and
"By God, Sirs/ 7 on the dock at Hoboken; there
were newspaper reporters and photographers who
said "would you mind" and "if you could just";
and back in his home town there were old ladies, the
rims of whose eyes grew red as they talked to him,
and girls who hadn t remembered him so well since
his father s business went blah! in nineteen- twelve.
But when the shouting died he realized that for a
month he had been the house guest of the mayor,
that he had only fourteen dollars in the world, and
that "the name that will live forever in the annals
and legends of this State" was already living there
very quietly and obscurely.
One morning he lay late in bed and just outside
his door he heard the up-stairs maid talking to the
cook. The up-stairs maid said that Mrs. Hawkins,
the mayor s wife, had been trying for a week to
hint Dalyrimple out of the house. He left at eleven
o clock in intolerable confusion, asking that his
trunk be sent to Mrs. Beebe s boarding-house.
Dalyrimple. was twenty- three and he had never
worked. His father had given him two years at the
State University and passed away about the time
of his son s nine-day romp, leaving behind him some
mid- Victorian furniture and a thin packet of folded
papers that turned out to be grocery bills. Young
Dalyrimple had very keen gray eyes, a mind that
delighted the army psychological examiners, a trick
of having read it whatever it was some time be
fore, and a cool hand in a hot situation. But these
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 221
things did not save him a final, unresigned sigh when
he realized that he had to go to work right away.
It was early afternoon when he walked into the
office of Theron G. Macy, who owned the largest
wholesale grocery house in town. Plump, pros
perous, wearing a pleasant but quite unhumorous
smile, Theron G. Macy greeted him warmly.
i Well how do, Bryan ? What s on your mind ?
To Dalyrimple, straining with his admission, his
own words, when they came, sounded like an Arab
beggar s whine for alms.
"Why this question of a job." ("This question
of a job" seemed somehow more clothed than just
"A job?" An almost imperceptible breeze blew
across Mr. Macy s expression.
"You see, Mr. Macy," continued Dalyrimple,
"I feel I m wasting time. I want to get started at
something. I had several chances about a month
ago but they all seem to have gone "
"Let s see," interrupted Mr. Macy. "What were
"Well, just at the first the governor said some
thing about a vacancy on his staff. I was sort of
counting on that for a while, but I hear he s given
it to Allen Gregg, you know, son of G. P. Gregg.
He sort of forgot what he said to me just talking,
"You ought to push those things."
"Then there was that engineering expedition,
but they decided they d have to have a man who
222 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
knew hydraulics, so they couldn t use me unless I
paid my own way."
"You had just a year at the university?"
"Two. But I didn t take any science or mathe
matics. Well, the day the battalion paraded, Mr.
Peter Jordan said something about a vacancy in his
store. I went around there to-day and I found he
meant a sort of floor-walker and then you said
something one day" he paused and waited for the
older man to take him up, but noting only a minute
wince continued "about a position, so I thought
I d come and see you."
"There was a position," confessed Mr. Macy
reluctantly, "but since then we ve filled it." He
cleared his throat again, "You ve waited quite a
"Yes, I suppose I did. Everybody told me there
was no hurry and I d had these various offers."
Mr. Macy delivered a paragraph on present-day
opportunities which Dalyrimple s mind completely
"Have you had any business experience?"
"I worked on a ranch two summers as a rider."
"Oh, well," Mr. Macy disparaged this neatly,
and then continued: "What do you think you re
"I don t know."
"Well, Bryan, I tell you, I m willing to strain a
point and give you a chance."
"Your salary won t be much. You ll start by
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 223
learning the stock. Then you ll come in the office
for a while. Then you ll go on the road. When
could you begin?"
"How about to-morrow?"
"All right. Report to Mr. Hanson in the stock
room. He ll start you off."
He continued to regard Dalyrimple steadily until
the latter, realizing that the interview was over,
"Well, Mr. Macy, I m certainly much obliged."
"That s all right. Glad to help you, Bryan."
After an irresolute moment, Dalyrimple found
himself in the hall. His forehead was covered with
perspiration, and the room had not been hot.
"Why the devil did I thank the son of a gun?"
Next morning Mr. Hanson informed him coldly
of the necessity of punching the time-clock at seven
every morning, and delivered him for instruction
into the hands of a fellow worker, one Charley
Charley was twenty-six, with that faint musk of
weakness hanging about him that is often mistaken
for the scent of evil. It took no psychological ex
aminer to decide that he had drifted into indulgence
and laziness as casually as he had drifted into life,
and was to drift out. He was pale and his clothes
stank of smoke; he enjoyed burlesque shows, bil
liards, and Robert Service, and was always looking
224 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
back upon his last intrigue or forward to his next
one. In his youth his taste had run to loud ties,
but now it seemed to have faded, like his vitality,
and was expressed in pale-lilac four-in-hands and
indeterminate gray collars. Charley was listlessly
struggling that losing struggle against mental, moral,
and physical anaemia that takes place ceaselessly on
the lower fringe of the middle classes.
The first morning he stretched himself on a row
of cereal cartons and carefully went over the limi
tations of the Theron G. Macy Company.
"It s a piker organization. My Gosh! Lookit
what they give me. I m quittin in a coupla months.
Hell ! Me stay with this bunch ! "
The Charley Moores are always going to change
jobs next month. They do, once or twice in their
careers, after which they sit around comparing their
last job with the present one, to the infinite dis
paragement of the latter.
"What do you get?" asked Dalyrimple curiouslyo
"Me? I get sixty." This rather defiantly.
"Did you start at sixty?"
"Me? No, I started at thirty-five. He told me
he d put me on the road after I learned the stock.
That s what he tells em all."
"How long ve you been here?" asked Dalyrimple
with a sinking sensation.
"Me? Four years. My last year, too, you bet
Dalyrimple rather resented the presence of the
store detective as he resented the time-clock, and
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 225
he came into contact with him almost immediately
through the rule against smoking. This rule was a
thorn in his side. He was accustomed to his three
or four cigarettes in a morning, and after three days
without it he followed Charley Moore by a cir
cuitous route up a flight of back stairs to a little
balcony where they indulged in peace. But this was
not for long. One day in his second week the de
tective met him in a nook of the stairs, on his
descent, and told him sternly that next time he d
be reported to Mr. Macy. Dalyrimple felt like an
"llnpleasant facts came to his knowledge. There
were "cave-dwellers" in the basement who had
worked there for ten or fifteen years at sixty dollars
a month, rolling barrels and carrying boxes through
damp, cement- walled corridors, lost in that echoing
half-darkness between seven and five-thirty and,
like himself, compelled several times a month to
work until nine at night.
At the end of a month he stood in line and re
ceived forty dollars. He pawned a cigarette-case
and a pair of field-glasses and managed to live to
eat, sleep, and smoke. It was, however, a narrow
scrape; as the ways and means of economy were a
closed book to him and the second month brought
no increase, he voiced his alarm.
"If youVe got a drag with old Macy, maybe he ll
raise you," was Charley s disheartening reply.
"But he didn t raise me till I d been here nearly
226 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"I ve got to live," said Dalyrimple simply. "I
could get more pay as a laborer on the railroad but,
Golly, I want to feel I m where there s a chance to
Charles shook his head sceptically and Mr.
Macy s answer next day was equally unsatisfactory.
Dalyrimple had gone to the office just before
"Mr. Macy, I d like to speak to you."
"Why yes." The unhumorous smile appeared.
The voice was faintly resentful.
"I want to speak to you in regard to more salary."
Mr. Macy nodded.
"Well," he said doubtfully, "I don t know ex
actly what you re doing. I ll speak to Mr. Hanson."
He knew exactly what Dalyrimple was doing, and
Dalyrimple knew he knew.
"I m in the stock-room and, sir, while I m here
I d like to ask you how much longer I ll have to
"Why I m not sure exactly. Of course it takes
some time to learn the stock."
"You told me two months when I started."
"Yes. Well, I ll speak to Mr. Hanson."
Dalyrimple paused irresolute.
"Thank you, sir."
Two days later he again appeared in the office
with the result of a count that had been asked for
by Mr. Hesse, the bookkeeper. Mr. Hesse was en
gaged and Dalyrimple, waiting, began idly finger
ing a ledger on the stenographer s desk.
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 227
Half unconsciously he turned a page he caught
sight of his name it was a salary list:
His eyes stopped
So Tom Everett, Macy s weak-chinned nephew,
had started at sixty and in three weeks he had
been out of the packing-room and into the office.
So that was it ! He was to sit and see man after
man pushed over him: sons, cousins, sons of friends,
irrespective of their capabilities, while he was cast
for a pawn, with " going on the road" dangled be
fore his eyes put off with the stock remark: "I ll
see; I ll look into it." At forty, perhaps, he would
be a bookkeeper like old Hesse, tired, listless Hesse
with dull routine for his stint and a dull back
ground of boarding-house conversation.
This was a moment when a genii should have
pressed into his hand the book for disillusioned
young men. But the book has not been written.
A great protest swelling into revolt surged up in
him. Ideas half forgotten, chaoticly perceived and
assimilated, filled his mind. Get on that was the
rule of life and that was all. How he did it, didn t
matter but to be Hesse or Charley Moore.
"I won t!" he cried aloud.
228 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
The bookkeeper and the stenographers looked up
For a second Dalyrimple stared then walked
up to the desk.
"Here s that data," he said brusquely. "I can t
wait any longer."
Mr. Hesse s face expressed surprise.
It didn t matter what he did just so he got out
of this rut. In a dream he stepped from the ele
vator into the stock-room, and walking to an un
used aisle, sat down on a box, covering his face with
His brain was whirring with the frightful jar of
discovering a platitude for himself.
"I ve got to get out of this," he said aloud and
then repeated, "I ve got to get out" and he didn t
mean only out of Macy s wholesale house.
When he left at five-thirty it was pouring rain,
but he struck off in the opposite direction from his
boarding-house, feeling, in the first cool moisture
that oozed soggily through his old suit, an odd exul
tation and freshness. He wanted a world that was
like walking through rain, even though he could not
see far ahead of him, but fate had put him in the
world of Mr. Macy s fetid storerooms and corri
dors. At first merely the overwhelming need of
change took him, then half -plans began to formulate
in his imagination.
"I ll go East to a big city meet people bigger
people people who ll help me. Interesting work
somewhere. My God, there must be."
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 229
With sickening truth it occurred to him that his
facility for meeting people was limited. Of all
places it was here in his own town that he should be
known, was known famous before the waters of
oblivion had rolled over him.
You had to cut corners, that was all. Pull rela
tionship wealthy marriages
For several miles the continued reiteration of
this preoccupied him and then he perceived that
the rain had become thicker and more opaque in
the heavy gray of twilight and that the houses were
falling away. The district of full blocks, then of
big houses, then of scattering little ones, passed and
great sweeps of misty country opened out on both
sides. It was hard walking here. The sidewalk
had given place to a dirt road, streaked with furious
brown rivulets that splashed and squashed around
Cutting corners the words began to fall apart,
forming curious phrasings little illuminated pieces
of themselves.- They resolved into sentences, each
of which had a strangely familiar ring.
Cutting corners meant rejecting the old child
hood principles that success came from faithfulness
to duty, that evil was necessarily punished or virtue
necessarily rewarded that honest poverty was hap
pier than corrupt riches.
It meant being hard.
This phrase appealed to him and he repeated it
over and over. It had to do somehow with Mr.
Macy and Charley Moore the attitudes, the
methods of each of them.
230 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
He stopped and felt his clothes. He was drenched
to the skin. He looked about him and, selecting
a place in the fence where a tree sheltered it, perched
In my credulous years he thought they told
me that evil was a sort of dirty hue, just as definite
as a soiled collar, but it seems to me that evil is
only a manner of hard luck, or heredity-and-environ-
ment, or "being found out." It hides in the vacilla
tions of dubs like Charley Moore as certainly as it
does in the intolerance of Macy, and if it ever gets
much more tangible it becomes merely an arbitrary
label to paste on the unpleasant things in other
people s lives.
In fact he concluded it isn t worth worrying
over what s evil and what isn t. Good and evil
aren t any standard to me and they can be a devil
of a bad hindrance when I want something. When
I want something bad enough, common sense tells
me to go and take it and not get caught.
And then suddenly Dalyrimple knew what he
wanted first. He wanted fifteen dollars to pay his
overdue board bill.
With a furious energy he jumped from the fence,
whipped off his coat, and from its black lining cut
with his knife a piece about five inches square. He
made two holes near its edge and then fixed it on
his face, pulling his hat down to hold it in place. It
flapped grotesquely and then dampened and clung
to his forehead and cheeks.
Now . . . The twilight had merged to dripping
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 231
dusk . . . black as pitch. He began to walk
quickly back toward town, not waiting to remove
tie mask but watching the road with difficulty
through the jagged eye-holes. He was not con
scious of any nervousness ... the only tension was
caused by a desire to do the thing as soon as possible.
He reached the first sidewalk, continued on until
he saw a hedge far from any lamp-post, and turned
in behind it. Within a minute he heard several
series of footsteps he waited it was a woman and
he held his breath until she passed . . . and then
a man, a laborer. The next passer, he felt, would
be what he wanted ... the laborer s footfalls died
far up the drenched street . . . other steps grew
near, grew suddenly louder.
Dalyrimple braced himself.
"Put up your hands !"
The man stopped, uttered an absurd little grunt,
and thrust pudgy arms skyward.
Dalyrimple went through the waistcoat.
"Now, you shrimp," he said, setting his hand
suggestively to his own hip pocket, "you run, and
stamp loud ! If I hear your feet stop I ll put a
shot after you!"
Then he stood there in sudden uncontrollable
laughter as audibly frightened footsteps scurried
away into the night.
After a moment he thrust the roll of bills into his
pocket, snatched off his mask, and running quickly
across the street, darted down an alley.
232 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Yet, however Dalyrimple justified himself intel
lectually, he had many bad moments in the weeks
immediately following his decision. The tremen
dous J3ressue_of_sentiment and inherited^ tradition
kept raising riot with ^ JiisltttrtucTe; He felt morally
The noon after his first venture he ate in a little
lunch-room with Charley Moore and, watching him
unspread the paper, waited for a remark about the
hold-up of the day before. But either the hold-up
was not mentioned or Charley wasn t interested.
He turned listlessly to the sporting sheet, read
Doctor Crane s crop of seasoned bromides, took in
an editorial on ambition with his mouth slightly
ajar, and then skipped to Mutt and Jeff.
Poor Charley with his faint aura of evil and his
mind that refused to focus, playing a lifeless soli
taire with cast-off mischief.
Yet Charley belonged on the other side of the
fence. In him could be stirred up all the flamings
and denunciations of righteousness; he would weep
at a stage heroine s lost virtue, he could become
lofty and contemptuous at the idea of dishonor.
On my side, thought Dalyrimple, there aren t
any resting-places; a man who s a strong criminal
is after the weak criminals as well, so it s all guerilla
warfare over here.
What will it all do to me? he thought, with a
persistent weariness. Will it take the color out of
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 233
life with the honor? Will it scatter my courage
and dull my mind? despiritualize me completely
does it mean eventual barrenness, eventual re
With a great surge of anger, he would fling his
mind upon the barrier and stand there with the
flashing bayonet of his pride. Other men who
broke the laws of justice and charity lied to all the
world. He at any rate would not lie to himself.
He was more than Byronic now: not the spiritual
rebel, Don Juan; not the philosophical rebel, Faust;
but a new psychological rebel of his own century
defying the sentimental a priori forms of his own
Happiness was what he wanted a slowly rising I
scale of gratifications of the normal appetites and
he had a strong conviction that the materials, if not I
the inspiration of happiness, could be bought withj
The night came that drew him out upon his second
venture, and as he walked the dark street he felt in
himself a great resemblance to a cat a certain sup
ple, swinging litheness. His muscles were rippling
smoothly and sleekly under his spare, healthy flesh
he had an absurd desire to bound along the street,
to run dodging among trees, to turn "cart-wheels"
over soft grass.
It was not crisp, but in the air lay a faint sugges
tion of acerbity, inspirational rather than chilling.
234 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"The moon is down I have not heard the
He laughed in delight at the line which an early
memory had endowed with a hushed, awesome
He passed a man, and then another a quarter of
He was on Philmore Street now and it was very
dark. He blessed the city council for not having
put in new lamp-posts as a recent budget had recom
mended. Here was the red-brick Sterner residence
which marked the beginning of the avenue; here
was the Jordon house, the Eisenhaurs , the Dents ,
the Markhams , the Erasers , the Hawkins , where
he had been a guest; the Willoughbys , the Everetts ,
colonial and ornate; the little cottage where lived
the Watts old maids between the imposing fronts of
the Macys and the Krupstadts ; the Craigs -
Ah . . . there ! He paused, wavered violently
far up the street was a blot, a man walking, possibly
a policeman. After an eternal second he found
himself following the vague, ragged shadow of a
lamp-post across a lawn, running bent very low.
Then he was standing tense, without breath or need
of it, in the shadow of his limestone prey.
Interminably he listened a mile off a cat howled,
a hundred yards away another took up the hymn
in a demoniacal snarl, and he felt his heart dip
and swoop, acting as shock-absorber for his mind.
There were other sounds; the faintest fragment of
song far away; strident, gossiping laughter from a
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 235
back porch diagonally across the alley; and crickets,
crickets singing in the patched, patterned, moon
lit grass of the yard. Within the house there
seemed to lie an ominous silence. He was glad he
did not know who lived here.
His slight shiver hardened to steel; the steel soft
ened and his nerves became pliable as leather; grip
ping his hands he gratefully found them supple, and
taking out knife and pliers he went to work on the
So sure was he that he was unobserved that,
from the dining-room where in a minute he found
himself, he leaned out and carefully pulled the screen
up into position, balancing it so it would neither
fall by chance nor be a serious obstacle to a sudden
Then he put the open knife in his coat pocket,
took out his pocket-flash, and tiptoed around the
There was nothing here he could use the dining-
room had never been included in his plans, for the
town was too small to permit disposing of silver.
As a matter of fact his plans were of the vaguest.
He had found that with a mind like his, lucrative in
intelligence, intuition, and lightning decision, it was
best to have but the skeleton of a campaign. The
machine-gun episode had taught him that. And
he was afraid that a method preconceived would
give him two points of view in a crisis and two
points of view meant wavering.
He stumbled slightly on a chair, held his breath,
236 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
listened, went on, found the hall, found the stairs,
started up; the seventh stair creaked at his step,
the ninth, the fourteenth. He was counting them
automatically. At the third creak he paused again
for over a minute and in that minute he felt more
alone than he had ever felt before. Between the
lines on patrol, even when alone, he had had behind
him the moral support of half a billion people; now
he was alone, pitted against that same moral pres
sure a bandit. He had never felt this fear, yet
he had never felt this exultation.
The stairs came to an end, a doorway approached;
he went in and listened to regular breathing. His
feet were economical of steps and his body swayed
sometimes at stretching as he felt over the bureau,
pocketing all articles which held promise he could
not have enumerated them ten seconds afterward.
He felt on a chair for possible trousers, found soft
garments, women s lingerie. The corners of his
mouth smiled mechanically.
Another room . . . the same breathing, enlivened
by one ghastly snort that sent his heart again on its
tour of his breast. Round object watch; chain;
roll of bills; stick-pins; two rings he remembered
that he had got rings from the other bureau. He
started out, winced as a faint glow flashed in front
of him, facing him. God ! it was the glow of his
own wrist-watch on his outstretched arm.
Down the stairs. He skipped two creaking steps
but found another. He was all right now, prac
tically safe; as he neared the bottom he felt a slight
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 237
boredom. He reached the dining-room consid
ered the silver again decided against it.
Back in his room at the boarding-house he exam
ined the additions to his personal property:
Sixty-five dollars in bills.
A platinum ring with three medium diamonds,
worth, probably, about seven hundred dollars.
Diamonds were going up.
A cheap gold-plated ring with the initials O. S.
and the date inside 03 probably a class-ring from
school. Worth a few dollars. Unsalable.
A red-cloth case containing a set of. false teeth.
A silver watch.
A gold chain worth more than the watch.
An empty ring-box.
A little ivory Chinese god probably a desk
A dollar and sixty- two cents in small change.
He put the money under his pillow and the other
things in the toe of an infantry boot, stuffing a
stocking in on top of them. Then for two hours
his mind raced like a high-power engine here and
there through his life, past and future, through fear
and laughter. With a vague, inopportune wish
that he were married, he fell into a deep sleep about
half past five.
Though the newspaper account of the burglary
failed to mention the false teeth, they worried him
considerably. The picture of a human waking in
238 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
the cool dawn and groping for them in vain, of a
soft, toothless breakfast, of a strange, hollow, lisp
ing voice calling the police station, of weary, dis
pirited visits to the dentist, roused a great fatherly
pity in him.
Trying to ascertain whether they belonged to a
man or a woman, he took them carefully out of the
case and held them up near his mouth. He moved
his own jaws experimentally; he measured with
his fingers; but he failed to decide: they might be
long either to a large-mouthed woman or a small-
On a warm impulse he wrapped them in brown
paper from the bottom of his army trunk, and
printed FALSE TEETH on the package in clumsy
pencil letters. Then, the next night, he walked
down Philmore Street, and shied the package onto
the lawn so that it would be near the door. Next
day the paper announced that the police had a
clew they knew that the burglar was in town.
However, they didn t mention what the clew was.
At the end of a month "Burglar Bill of the Silver
District" was the nurse-girl s standby for frighten
ing children. Five burglaries were attributed to
him, but though Dalyrimple had only committed
three, he considered that majority had it and appro
priated the title to himself. He had once been seen
-"a large bloated creature with the meanest face
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 239
you ever laid eyes on." Mrs. Henry Coleman,
awaking at two o clock at the beam of an electric
torch flashed in her eye, could not have been ex
pected to recognize Bryan Dalyrimple at whom she
had waved flags last Fourth of July, and whom she
had described as "not at all the daredevil type, do
you think ?"
When Dalyrimple kept his imagination at white
heat he managed to glorify his own attitude, his
emancipation from petty scruples and remorses
but let him once allow his thought to rove unar-
mored, great unexpected horrors and depressions
would overtake him. Then for reassurance he had
to go back to think out the whole thing over again.
He found that it was on the whole better to give up
considering himself as a rebel. It was more con
soling to think of every one else as a fool.
His attitude toward Mr. Macy underwent a
change. He no longer felt a dim animosity and in
feriority in his presence. As his fourth month in
the store ended he found himself regarding his em
ployer in a manner that was almost fraternal. He
had a vague but very assured conviction that Mr.
Macy s innermost soul would have abetted and ap
proved. He no longer worried about his future.
He had the intention of accumulating several thou
sand dollars and then clearing out going east, back
to France, down to South America. Half a dozen
times in the last two months he had been about to
stop work, but a fear of attracting attention to his
being in funds prevented him. So he worked on,
240 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
no longer in listlessness, but with contemptuous
Then with astounding suddenness something hap
pened that changed his plans and put an end to his
Mr. Macy sent for him one afternoon and with a
great show of jovial mystery asked him if he had an
engagement that night. If he hadn t, would he
please call on Mr. Alfred J. Fraser at eight o clock.
Dalyrimple s wonder was mingled with uncertainty.
He debated with himself whether it were not his
cue to take the first train out of town. But an
hour s consideration decided him that his fears were
unfounded and at eight o clock he arrived at the big
Fraser house in Philmore Avenue.
Mr. Fraser was commonly supposed to be the
biggest political influence in the city. His brother
was Senator Fraser, his son-in-law was Congress
man Demming, and his influence, though not wielded
in such a way as to make him an objectionable boss,
was strong nevertheless.
He had a great, huge face, deep-set eyes, and a
barn-door of an upper lip, the melange approaching
a worthy climax in a long professional jaw.
During his conversation with Dalyrimple his ex
pression kept starting toward a smile, reached a
cheerful optimism, and then receded back to im
"How do you do, sir?" he said, holding out his
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 241
hand. "Sit down. I suppose you re wondering
why I wanted you. Sit down."
Dalyrimple sat down.
"Mr. Dalyrimple, how old are you?"
"I m twenty-three."
"You re young. But that doesn t mean you re
foolish. Mr. Dalyrimple, what I ve got to say
won t take long. I m going to make you a proposi
tion. To begin at the beginning, I ve been watch
ing you ever since last Fourth of July when
you made that speech in response to the loving-
Dalyrimple murmured disparagingly, but Fraser
waved him to silence.
"It was a speech I ve remembered. It was a
brainy speech, straight from the shoulder, and it got
to everybody in that crowd. I know. I ve watched
crowds for years." He cleared his throat, as if
tempted to digress on his knowledge of crowds then
continued. "But, Mr. Dalyrimple, I ve seen too
many young men who promised brilliantly go to
pieces, fail through want of steadiness, too many
high-power ideas, and not enough willingness to
work. So I waited. I wanted to see what you d
do. I wanted to see if you d go to work, and if
you d stick to what you started."
Dalyrimple felt a glow settle over him.
"So," continued Fraser, "when Theron Macy
told me you d started down at his place, I kept
watching you, and I followed your record through
him. The first month I was afraid for a while. He
242 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
told me you were getting restless, too good for your
job, hinting around for a raise- - "
" But he said after that you evidently made up
your mind to shut up and stick to it. That s the
stuff I like in a young man ! That s the stuff that
wins out. And don t think I don t understand. I
know how much harder it was for you, after all that
silly flattery a lot of old women had been giving you.
I know what a fight it must have been - 3
Dalyrimple s face was burning brightly. He felt
young and strangely ingenuous.
"Dalyrimple, you ve got brains and you ve got
the stuff in you and that s what I want. I m
going to put you into the State Senate."
"The State Senate. We want a young man who
has got brains, but is solid and not a loafer. And
when I say State Senate I don t stop there. We re
up against it here, Dalyrimple. We ve got to get
some young men into politics you know the old
blood that s been running on the party ticket year
in and year out."
Dalyrimple licked his lips.
"You ll run me for the State Senate?"
"I ll put you in the State Senate."
Mr. Eraser s expression had now reached the
point nearest a smile and Dalyrimple in a happy
frivolity felt himself urging it mentally on but it
stopped, locked, and slid from him. The barn-door
and the jaw were separated by a line straight as a
DALYRIMPLE GOES WRONG 243
nail. Dalyrimple remembered with an effort that
it was a mouth, and talked to it.
"But I m through," he said. "My notoriety s
dead. People are fed up with me."
"Those things," answered Mr. Fraser, "are me
chanical. Linotype is a resuscitator of reputations.
Wait till you see the Herald, beginning next week
that is if you re with us that is," and his voice
hardened slightly, "if you haven t got too many
ideas yourself about how things ought to be run."
"No," said Dalyrimple, looking him frankly in
the eyes. "You ll have to give me a lot of advice
"Very well. I ll take care of your reputation
then. Just keep yourself on the right side of the
Dalyrimple started at this repetition of a phrase
he had thought of so much lately. There was a
sudden ring at the door-bell.
"That s Macy now," observed Fraser, rising.
"I ll go let him in. The servants have gone to
He left Dalyrimple there in a dream. The world
was opening up suddenly The State Senate, the
United States Senate so life was this after all
cutting corners cutting corners common sense,
that was the rule. No more foolish risks now unless
necessity called but it .was being hard^tiiat count
ed Never to let ..remorse OF self-reproach lose him
a night s sleep let his life be. a sword of courage-
there was no payment all that was drivel drivel.
244 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
He sprang to his feet with clinched hands in a sort
"Well, Bryan/ said Mr. Macy stepping through
The two older men smiled their half -smiles at him.
"Well, Bryan," said Mr. Macy again.
Dalyrimple smiled also.
"How do, Mr. Macy?"
He wondered if some telepathy between them
had made this new appreciation possible some in
visible realization. . . .
Mr. Macy held out his hand.
"I m glad we re to be associated in this scheme
I ve been for you all along especially lately. I m
glad we re to be on the same side of the fence."
"I want to thank you, sir," said Dalyrimple sim
ply. He felt a whimsical moisture gathering back
of his eyes.
THE FOUR FISTS
AT the present time no one I know has the slightest
desire to hit Samuel Meredith; possibly this is be
cause a man over fifty is liable to be rather severely
cracked at the impact of a hostile fist, but, for my
part, I am inclined to think that all his hitable
qualities have quite vanished. But it is certain
that at various times in his life hitable qualities
were in his face, as surely as kissable qualities have
ever lurked in a girl s lips.
I m sure every one has met a man like that, been
casually introduced, even made a friend of him, yet
felt he was the sort who aroused passionate dislike
expressed by some in the involuntary clinching of
fists, and in others by mutterings about "takin a
poke" and "landin a swift smash in ee eye." In
the juxtaposition of Samuel Meredith s features this
quality was so strong that it influenced his entire
What was it? Not the shape, certainly, for he
was a pleasant-looking man from earliest youth:
broad-browed, with gray eyes that were frank and
friendly. Yet I ve heard him tell a room full of
reporters angling for a "success" story that he d be
ashamed to tell them the truth, that they wouldn t
believe it, that it wasn t one story but four, that the
public would not want to read about a man who
had been walloped into prominence.
246 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
It all started at Phillips Andover Academy when
he was fourteen. He had been brought up on a
diet of caviar and bell-boys legs in half the capitals
of Europe, and it was pure luck that his mother had
nervous prostration and had to delegate his educa
tion to less tender, less biassed hands.
At Andover he was given a roommate named
Gilly Hood. Gilly was thirteen, undersized, and
rather the school pet. From the September day
when Mr. Meredith s valet stowed Samuel s clothing
in the best bureau and asked, on departing, "hif
there was hany thing helse, Master Samuel?" Gilly
cried out that the faculty had played him false.
He felt like an irate frog in whose bowl has been put
"Good gosh!" he complained to his sympathetic
contemporaries, "he s a damn stuck-up Willie.
He said, Are the crowd here gentlemen? and I
said, No, they re boys, and he said age didn t mat
ter, and I said, Who said it did? Let him get
fresh with me, the ole pieface!"
For three weeks Gilly endured in silence young
Samuel s comments on the clothes and habits of
Gilly s personal friends, endured French phrases in
conversation, endured a hundred half -feminine mean
nesses that show what a nervous mother can do to
a boy, if she keeps close enough to him then a
storm broke in the aquarium.
Samuel was out. A crowd had gathered to hear
Gilly be wrathful about his roommate s latest
THE FOUR FISTS 247
"He said, Oh, I don t like the windows open at
night, he said, except only a little bit, " complained
"Don t let him boss you."
"Boss me? You bet he won t. I open those
windows, I guess, but the darn fool won t take turns
shuttin em in the morning."
"Make him, Gilly, why don t you?"
"I m going to." Gilly nodded his head in fierce
agreement. "Don t you worry. He needn t think
I m any ole butler."
"Le s see you make him."
At this point the darn fool entered in person and
included the crowd in one of his irritating smiles.
Two boys said, " Lo, Mer dith"; the others gave
him a chilly glance and went on talking to Gilly.
But Samuel seemed unsatisfied.
"Would you mind not sitting on my bed?" he
suggested politely to two of Gilly s particulars who
were perched very much at ease.
" My bed. Can t you understand English ? "
This was adding insult to injury. There were
several comments on the bed s sanitary condition
and the evidence within it of animal life.
"S matter with your old bed?" demanded Gilly
"The bed s all right, but-
Gilly interrupted this sentence by rising and walk
ing up to Samuel. He paused several inches away
and eyed him fiercely.
248 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"You an your crazy ole bed/ he began. "You
an your crazy
"Go to it, Gilly," murmured some one.
"Show the darn fool-
Samuel returned the gaze coolly.
"Well," he said finally, "it s my bed "
He got no further, for Gilly hauled off and hit
him succinctly in the nose.
"Show the big bully!"
"Just let him touch you he ll see!"
The group closed in on them and for the first
time in his life Samuel realized the insuperable in
convenience of being passionately detesleoTT He
gazed around helplessly at the glowering, violently
hostile faces. He towered a head taller than his
roommate, so if he hit back he d be called a bully
and have half a dozen more fights on his hands
within five minutes; yet if he didn t he was a
coward. For a moment he stood there facing
Gilly s blazing eyes, and then, with a sudden chok
ing sound, he forced his way through the ring and
rushed from the room.
The month following bracketed the thirty most
miserable days of his life. Every waking moment
he was under the lashing tongues of his contempo
raries; his habits and mannerisms became butts for
intolerable witticisms and, of course, the sensitive
ness of adolescence was a further thorn. He con
sidered that he was a natural pariah; that the un
popularity at school would foUowTnm through life.
THE FOUR FISTS 249
When he went home for the Christmas holidays he
was so despondent that his father sent him to a
nerve specialist. When he returned to Andover he
arranged to arrive late so that he could be alone in
the bus during the drive from station to school.
Of course when he had learned to keep his mouth
shut every one promptly forgot all about him. The
next autumn, with his realization that considera
tion for others was the discreet attitude, he made
good use of the clean start given him by the short
ness of boyhood memory. By the beginning of his
senior year Samuel Meredith was one of the best-
liked boys of his class and no one was any stronger
for him than his first friend and constant com
panion, Gilly Hood.
Samuel became the sort of college student who in
the early nineties drove tandems and coaches and
tallyhos between Princeton and Yale and New York
City to show that they appreciated the social im
portance of football games. He believed passion
ately in good form his choosing of gloves, his tying
of ties, his holding of reins were imitated by impres
sionable freshmen. Outside of his own set he was
considered rather a snob, but as his set was the set,
it never worried him. He played football in the
autumn, drank high-balls in the winter, and rowed
in the spring. Samuel despised all those who were
merely sportsmen without being gentlemen, or
merely gentlemen without being sportsmen.
250 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
He lived in New York and often brought home
several of his friends for the week-end. Those were
the days of the horse-car and in case of a crush it
was, of course, the proper thing for any one of
Samuel s set to rise and deliver his seat to a stand
ing lady with a formal bow. One night in SamueFs
junior year he boarded a car with two of his inti
mates. There were three vacant seats. When
Samuel sat down he noticed a heavy-eyed laboring
man sitting next to him who smelt objectionably of
garlic, sagged slightly against Samuel and, spread
ing a little as a tired man will, took up quite too
The car had gone several blocks when it stopped
for a quartet of young girls, and, of course, the
three men of the world sprang to their feet and prof
fered their seats with due observance of form. Un
fortunately, the laborer, being unacquainted with
the code of neckties and tallyhos, failed to follow
their example, and one young lady was left at an
embarrassed stance. Fourteen eyes glared reproach
fully at the barbarian; seven lips curled slightly;
but the object of scorn stared stolidly into the fore
ground in sturdy unconsciousness of his despicable
conduct. Samuel was the most violently affected.
He was humiliated that any male should so con
duct himself. He spoke aloud.
" There s a lady standing/ he said sternly.
That should have been quite enough, but the
object of scorn only looked up blankly. The stand
ing girl tittered and exchanged nervous glances with
her companions. But Samuel was aroused.
THE FOUR FISTS 251
"There s a lady standing/ he repeated, rather
raspingly. The man seemed to comprehend.
"I pay my fare," he said quietly.
Samuel turned red and his hands clinched, but
the conductor was looking their way, so at a warn
ing nod from his friends he subsided into sullen
They reached their destination and left the car,
but so did the laborer, who followed them, swinging
his little pail. Seeing his chance, Samuel no longer
resisted his aristocratic inclination. He turned
around and, launching a full-featured, dime-novel
sneer, made a loud remark about the right of the
lower animals to ride with human beings.
In a half-second the workman had dropped his
pail and let fly at him. Unprepared, Samuel took
the blow neatly on the jaw and sprawled full length
into the cobblestone gutter.
"Don t laugh at me!" cried his assailant. "I
been workin all day. I m tired as hell!"
As he spoke the sudden anger died out of his eyes
and the mask of weariness dropped again over his
face. He turned and picked up his pail. Samuel s
friends took a quick step in his direction.
"Wait!" Samuel had risen slowly and was mo
tioning them back. Some time, somewhere, he had
been struck like that before. Then he remembered
Gilly Hood. In the silence, as he dusted himself
off, the whole scene in the room at Andover was be
fore his eyes and he knew intuitively that he had
been wrong again. This man s strength, his rest,
252 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
was the protection of his family. He had more use
for his seat in the street-car than any young girl.
"It s all right," said Samuel gruffly. "Don t
touch him. I ve been a damn fool."
Of course it took more than an hour, or a week,
for Samuel to rearrange his ideas on the essential
importance of good form. At first he simply ad
mitted that his wrongness had made him power
less as it had made him powerless against Gilly
but eventually his mistake about the workman in
fluenced his entire attitude. Snobbishness is, after
all, merely good breeding grown dictatorial; so
Samuel s code remained, but the necessity of im
posing it upon others had faded out in a certain
gutter. Within that year his class had somehow
stopped referring to him as a snob.
After a few years Samuel s university decided
that it had shone long enough in the reflected glory
of his neckties, so they declaimed to him in Latin,
charged him ten dollars for the paper which proved
him irretrievably educated, and sent him into the
turmoil with much self-confidence, a few friends,
and the proper assortment of harmless bad habits.
His family had by that time started back to shirt
sleeves, through a sudden decline in the sugar-
market, and it had already unbuttoned its vest, so
to speak, when Samuel went to work. His mind
was that exquisite tabula rasa that a university edu-
THE FOUR FISTS 253
cation sometimes leaves, but he had both energy
and influence, so he used his former ability as a
dodging half-back in twisting through Wall Street
crowds as runner for a bank.
His diversion was women. There were half a
dozen: two or three debutantes, an actress (in a
minor way), a grass- widow, and one sentimental
little brunette who was married and lived in a little
house in Jersey City.
They had met on a ferry-boat. Samuel was
crossing from New York on business (he had been
working several years by this time) and he helped
her look for a package that she had dropped in the
"Do you come over often?" he inquired casually.
"Just to shop," she said shyly. She had great
brown eyes and the pathetic kind of little mouth.
"I ve only been married three months, and we find
it cheaper to live over here."
"Does he does your husband like your being
alone like this?"
She laughed, a cheery young laugh.
"Oh, dear me, no. We were to meet for dinner
but I must have misunderstood the place. He ll be
"Well," said Samuel disapprovingly, "he ought
to be. If you ll allow me I ll see you home."
She accepted his offer thankfully, so they took
the cable-car together. When they walked up the
path to her little house they saw a light there; her
husband had arrived before her.
254 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
"He s frightfully jealous," she announced, laugh
"Very well," answered Samuel, rather stiffly.
"I d better leave you here."
She thanked him and, waving a good night, he
That would have been quite all if they hadn t
met on Fifth Avenue one morning a week later.
She started and blushed and seemed so glad to see
him that they chatted like old friends. She was
going to her dressmaker s, eat lunch alone at Taine s,
shop all afternoon, and meet her husband on the
ferry at five. Samuel told her that her husband
was a very lucky man. She blushed again and
Samuel whistled all the way back to his office,
but about twelve o clock he began to see that pa
thetic, appealing little mouth everywhere and
those brown eyes. He fidgeted when he looked at
the clock; he thought of the grill down-stairs where
he lunched and the heavy male conversation thereof,
and opposed to that picture appeared another: a
little table at Taine s with the brown eyes and the
mouth a few feet away. A few minutes before
twelve-thirty he dashed on his hat and rushed for
She was quite surprised to see him.
"Why hello," she said. Samuel could tell that
she was just pleasantly frightened.
"I thought we might lunch together. It s so dull
eating with a lot of men."
THE FOUR FISTS 255
"Why, I suppose there s no harm in it. How
could there be!"
It occurred to her that her husband should have
taken lunch with her but he was generally so hur
ried at noon. She told Samuel all about him: he
was a little smaller than Samuel, but, oh, much
better-looking. He was a bookkeeper and not
making a lot of money, but they were very happy
and expected to be rich within three or four years.
Samuel s grass-widow had been in a quarrelsome
mood for three or four weeks, and, through contrast,
he took an accentuated pleasure in this meeting;
so fresh was she, and earnest, and faintly adven
turous. Her name was Marjorie.
They made another engagement; in fact, for a
month they lunched together two or three times a
week. When she was sure that her husband would
work late Samuel took her over to New Jersey on
the ferry, leaving her always on the tiny front
porch, after she had gone in and lit the gas to use the
security of his masculine presence outside. This
grew to be a ceremony and it annoyed him.
Whenever the comfortable glow fell out through the
front windows, that was his conge; yet he never
suggested coming in and Marjorie didn t invite him.
Then, when Samuel and Marjorie had reached a
stage in which they sometimes touched each other s
arms gently, just to show that they were very good
friends, Marjorie and her husband had one of those
ultrasensitive, supercritical quarrels that couples
256 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
never indulge in unless they care a great deal about
each other. It started with a cold mutton-chop or
a leak in the gas-jet and one day Samuel found her
in Taine s, with dark shadows under her brown eyes
and a terrifying pout.
By this time Samuel thought he was in love with
Marjorie so he played up the quarrel for all it was
worth. He was her best friend and patted her hand
and leaned down close to her brown curls while
she whispered in little sobs what her husband had
said that morning; and he was a little more than her
best friend when he took her over to the ferry in a
"Marjorie," he said gently, when he left her, as
usual, on the porch, "if at any time you want to
call on me, remember that I am always waiting,
She nodded gravely and put both her hands in his.
"I know," she said. "I know you re my friend,
my best friend."
Then she ran into the house and he watched there
until the gas went on.
For the next week Samuel was in a nervous tur
moil. Some persistently rational strain warned him
that at bottom he and Marjorie had little in common,
but in such cases there is usually so much mud in
the water that one can seldom see to the bottom.
Every dream and desire told him that he loved Mar
jorie, wanted her, had to have her.
The quarrel developed. Marjorie s husband took
to staying in New York until late at night, came home
THE FOUR FISTS 257
several times disagreeably overs timulated, and made
her generally miserable. They must have had too
much pride to talk it out for Marjorie s husband
was, after all, pretty decent so it drifted on from
one misunderstanding to another. Marjorie kept
coming more and more to Samuel; when a woman
can accept masculine sympathy it is much more
satisfactory to her than crying to another girl.
But Marjorie didn t realize how much she had be
gun to rely on him, how much he was part of her
One night, instead of turning away when Mar
jorie went in and lit the gas, Samuel went in, too,
and they sat together on the sofa in the little parlor.
He was very happy. He envied their home, and
he felt that the man who neglected such a posses
sion out of stubborn pride was a fool and unworthy
of his wife. But when he kissed Marjorie for the
first time she cried softly and told him to go. He
sailed home on the wings of desperate excitement,
quite resolved to fan this spark of romance, no mat
ter how big the blaze or who was burned. At the
time he considered that his thoughts were unselfishly
of her; in a later perspective he knew that she had
meant no more than the white screen in a motion
picture: it was just Samuel blind, desirous.
Next day at Taine s, when they met for lunch,
Samuel dropped all pretense and made frank love
to her. He had no plans, no definite intentions,
except to kiss her lips again, to hold her in his arms
and feel that she was very little and pathetic and
258 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
lovable. . . . He took her home, and this time
they kissed until both their hearts beat high words
and phrases formed on his lips.
And then suddenly there were steps on the porch
a hand tried the outside door. Marjorie turned
" Wait !" she whispered to Samuel, in a frightened
voice, but in angry impatience at the interruption
he walked to the front door and threw it open.
Every one has seen such scenes on the stage
seen them so often that when they actually happen
people behave very much like actors. Samuel felt
that he was playing a part and the lines came quite
naturally: he announced that all had a right to lead
their own lives and looked at Marjorie s husband
menacingly, as if daring him to doubt it. Mar-
jorie s husband spoke of the sanctity of the home,
forgetting that it hadn t seemed very holy to him
lately; Samuel continued along the line of "the
right to happiness"; Marjorie s husband mentioned
firearms and the divorce court. Then suddenly he
stopped and scrutinized both of them Marjorie in
pitiful collapse on the sofa, Samuel haranguing the
furniture in a consciously heroic pose.
"Go up-stairs, Marjorie," he said, in a different
"Stay where you are !" Samuel countered quickly.
Marjorie rose, wavered, and sat down, rose again
and moved hesitatingly toward the stairs.
"Come outside," said her husband to Samuel.
"I want to talk to you."
THE FOUR FISTS 259
Samuel glanced at Marjorie, tried to get some
message from her eyes; then he shut his lips and
There was a bright moon and when Marjorie s
husband came down the steps Samuel could see
plainly that he was suffering but he felt no pity for
They stood and looked at each other, a few feet
apart, and the husband cleared his throat as though
it were a bit husky.
" That s my wife," he said quietly, and then a
wild anger surged up inside him. "Damn you!"
he cried and hit Samuel in the face with all his
In that second, as Samuel slumped to the ground,
it flashed to him that he had been hit like that twice
before, and simultaneously the incident altered like
a dream he felt suddenly awake. Mechanically
he sprang to his feet and squared off. The other
man was waiting, fists up, a yard away, but Samuel
knew that though physically he had him by several
inches and many pounds, he wouldn t hit him. The
situation had miraculously and entirely changed a
moment before Samuel had seemed to himself heroic;
now he seemed the cad, the outsider, and Marjorie s
husband, silhouetted against the lights of the little
house, the eternal heroic figure, the defender of his
There was a pause and then Samuel turned quickly
away and went down the path for the last time.
260 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Of course, after the third blow Samuel put in
several weeks at conscientious introspection. The
blow years before at Andover had landed on his
personal unpleasantness; the workman of his col
lege days had jarred the snobbishness out of his
system, and Marjorie s husband had given a severe
jolt to his greedy selfishness. It threw women out
of his ken until a year later, when he met his future
wife; for the only sort of woman worth while seemed
to be the one who could be protected as Marjorie s
husband had protected her. Samuel could not im
agine his grass-widow, Mrs. De Ferriac, causing any-
very righteous blows on her own account.
His early thirties found him well on his feet. He
was associated with old Peter Carhart, who was in
those days a national figure. Carhart s physique
was like a rough model for a statue of Hercules, and
his record was just as solid a pile made for the
pure joy of it, without cheap extortion or shady
scandal. He had been a great friend of SamueFs
father, but he watched the son for six years before
taking him into his own office. Heaven knows how
many things he controlled at that time mines,
railroads, banks, whole cities. Samuel was very close
to him, knew his likes and dislikes, his prejudices,
weaknesses and many strengths.
One day Carhart sent for Samuel and, closing the
door of his inner office, offered him a chair and a
THE FOUR FISTS 261
"Everything O. K., Samuel?" he asked.
"I ve been afraid you re getting a bit stale."
" Stale ? " Samuel was puzzled.
"You ve done no work outside the office for nearly
"But I ve had vacations, in the Adiron "
Carhart waved this aside.
"I mean outside work. Seeing the things move
that we ve always pulled the strings of here."
"No," admitted Samuel; "I haven t."
"So," he said abruptly, "I m going to give you
an outside job that ll take about a month."
Samuel didn t argue. He rather liked the idea
and he made up his mind that, whatever it was, he
would put it through just as Carhart wanted it.
That was his employer s greatest hobby, and the
men around him were as dumb under direct orders
as infantry subalterns.
"You ll go to San Antonio and see Hamil," con
tinued Carhart. "He s got a job on hand and he
wants a man to take charge."
Hamil was in charge of the Carhart interests in
the Southwest, a man who had grown up in the
shadow of his employer, and with whom, though
they had never met, Samuel had had much official
"When do I leave?"
"You d better go to-morrow," answered Carhart,
glancing at the calendar. "That s the ist of May.
I ll expect your report here on the ist of June."
262 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Next morning Samuel left for Chicago, and two
days later he was facing Hamil across a table in the
office of the Merchants Trust in San Antonio. It
didn t take long to get the gist of the thing. It was
a big deal in oil which concerned the buying up of
seventeen huge adjoining ranches. This buying up
had to be done in one week, and it was a pure
squeeze. Forces had been set in motion that put
the seventeen owners between the devil and the
deep sea, and Samuel s part was simply to "handle"
the matter from a little village near Pueblo. With
tact and efficiency the right man could bring it off
without any friction, for it was merely a question of
sitting at the wheel and keeping a firm hold. Hamil,
with an astuteness many times valuable to his chief,
had arranged a situation that would give a much
greater clear gain than any dealing in the open
market. Samuel shook hands with Hamil, arranged
to return in two weeks, and left for San Felipe, New
It occurred to him, of course, that Carhart was
trying him out. Hamil s report on his handling
of this might be a factor in something big for him,
but even without that he would have done his best
to put the thing through. Ten years in New York
hadn t made him sentimental, and he was quite ac
customed to finish everything he began and a little
All went well at first. There was no enthusiasm,
but each one of the seventeen ranchers concerned
knew Samuel s business, knew what he had behind
THE FOUR FISTS 263
him, and chat they had as little chance of holding
out as fhYs on a window-pane. Some of them were
resigned some of them cared like the devil, but
they d talked it over, argued it with lawyers and
couldn t see any possible loophole. Five of the
ranches had oil, the other twelve were part of the
chance, but quite as necessary to HamiTs purpose,
in any event.
Samuel soon saw that the real leader was an early
settler named Mclntyre, a man of perhaps fifty,
gray-haired, clean-shaven, bronzed by forty New
Mexico summers, and with those clear, steady eyes
that Texas and New Mexico weather are apt to
give. His ranch had not as yet shown oil, but it
was in the pool, and if any man hated to lose his
land Mclntyre did. Every one had rather looked
to him at first to avert the big calamity, and he had
hunted all over the territory for the legal means
with which to do it, but he had failed, and he knew
it. He avoided Samuel assiduously, but Samuel
was sure that when the day came for the signatures
he would appear.
It came a baking May day, with hot waves ris
ing off the parched land as far as eyes could see,
and as Samuel sat stewing in his little improvised
office a few chairs, a bench, and a wooden table
he was glad the thing was almost over. He wanted
to get back East the worst way, and join his wife
and children for a week at the seashore.
The meeting was set for four o clock, and he was
rather surprised at three-thirty when the door
264 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHER >
opened and Mclntyre came in. Samuel :ould not
help respecting the man s attitude, and feeling a
bit sorry for him. Mclntyre seemed closely related
to the prairies, and Samuel had the little flicker of
envy that city people feel toward men who live in
"Afternoon," said Mclntyre, standing in the
open doorway, with his feet apart and his hands on
"Hello, Mr. Mclntyre." Samuel rose, but omit
ted the formality of offering his hand. He im
agined the rancher cordially loathed him, and he
hardly blamed him. Mclntyre came in and sat
"You got us," he said suddenly.
This didn t seem to require any answer.
"When I heard Carhart was back of this," he
continued, "I gave up."
"Mr. Carhart is " began Samuel, but Mclntyre
waved him silent.
"Don t talk about the dirty sneak-thief!"
"Mr. Mclntyre," said Samuel briskly, "if this
half-hour is to be devoted to that sort of talk
"Oh, dry up, young man," Mclntyre interrupted,
"you can t abuse a man who d do a thing like this."
Samuel made no answer.
"It s simply a dirty filch. There just are skunks
like him too big to handle."
"You re being paid liberally," offered Samuel.
"Shut up !" roared Mclntyre suddenly. "I want
the privilege of talking." He walked to the door
THE FOUR FISTS 265
and looked out across the land, the sunny, steaming
pasturage that began almost at his feet and ended
with the gray-green of the distant mountains.
When he turned around his mouth was trembling.
"Do you fellows love Wall Street?" he said
hoarsely, "or wherever you do your dirty schem
ing He paused. "I suppose you do. No crit
ter gets so low that he doesn t sort of love the place
he s worked, where he s sweated out the best he s
had in him."
Samuel watched him awkwardly. Mclntyre wiped
his forehead with a huge blue handkerchief, and con
"I reckon this rotten old devil had to have an
other million. I reckon we re just a few of the poor
beggars he s blotted out to buy a couple more car
riages or something." He waved his hand toward
the door. "I built a house out there when I was
seventeen, with these two hands. I took a wife
there at twenty-one, added two wings, and with four
mangy steers I started out. Forty summers I ve
saw the sun come up over those mountains and drop
down red as blood in the evening, before the heat
drifted off and the stars came out. I been happy in
that house. My boy was born there and he died
there, late one spring, in the hottest part of an after
noon like this. Then the wife and I lived there
alone like we d lived before, and sort of tried to have
a home, after all, not a real home but nigh it cause
the boy always seemed around close, somehow, and
we expected a lot of nights to see him runnin up
266 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
the path to supper/ His voice was shaking so he
could hardly speak and he turned again to the door,
his gray eyes contracted.
"That s my land out there," he said, stretching out
his arm, "my land, by God It s all I got in the
world and ever wanted." He dashed his sleeve
across his face, and his tone changed as he turned
slowly and faced Samuel. "But I suppose it s got
to go when they want it it s got to go."
Samuel had to talk. He felt that in a minute
more he would lose his head. So he began, as level-
voiced as he could in the sort of tone he saved for
"It s business, Mr. Mclntyre," he said; "it s in
side the law. Perhaps we couldn t have bought
out two or three of you at any price, but most of
you did have a price. Progress demands some
Never had he felt so inadequate, and it was with
the greatest relief that he heard hoof-beats a few
hundred yards away.
But at his words the grief in Mclntyre s eyes had
changed to fury.
"You and your dirty gang of crooks!" he cried.
"Not one of you has got an honest love for any
thing on God s earth! You re a herd of money-
Samuel rose and Mclntyre took a step toward
"You long-winded dude. You got our land
take that for Peter Carhart!"
THE FOUR FISTS 267
He swung from the shoulder quick as lightning
and down went Samuel in a heap. Dimly he heard
steps hi the doorway and knew that some one was
holding Mclntyre, but there was no need. The
rancher had sunk down in his chair, and dropped his
head in his hands.
Samuel s brain was whirring. He realized that
the fourth fist had hit him, and a great flood of emo
tion cried out that the law that had inexorably
ruled his life was in motion again. In a half -daze he
got up and strode from the room.
The next ten minutes were perhaps the hardest of
his life. People talk of the courage of convictions,
but in actual Me a man s duty to his family may
make a rigid course seem a selfish indulgence of his
own righteousness. Samuel thought mostly of his
family, yet he never really wavered. That jolt had
brought him to.
When he came back hi the room there were a lot
of worried faces waiting for him, but he didn t
waste any time explaining.
"Gentlemen," he said, "Mr. Mclntyre has been
kind enough to convince me that in this matter you
are absolutely right, and the Peter Carhart interests
absolutely wrong. As far as I am concerned you
can keep your ranches to the rest of your days."
He pushed his way through an astounded gather
ing, and within a half-hour he had sent two tele
grams that staggered the operator into complete
unfitness for business; one was to Hamil in San
Antonio; one was to Peter Carhart hi New York.
268 FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Samuel didn t sleep much that night. He knew
that for the first time in his business career he had
made a dismal, miserable failure. But some in
stinct in him, stronger than will, deeper than train
ing, had forced him to do what would probably end
his ambitions and his happiness. But it was done
and it never occurred to him that he could have
Next morning two telegrams were waiting for
him. The first was from Hamil. It contained three
"You blamed idiot!"
The second was from New York:
"Deal off come to New York immediately Car-
Within a week things had happened. Hamil
quarrelled furiously and violently defended his
scheme. He was summoned to New York, and spent
a bad half -hour on the carpet in Peter Carhart s
office. He broke with the Carhart interests in
July, and in August Samuel Meredith, at thirty-
rive years old, was, to all intents, made Carhart s
partner. The fourth fist had done its work.
I suppose that there s a caddish streak in every
man that runs crosswise across his character and dis
position and general outlook. With some men it s
secret and we never know it s there until they strike
us in the dark one night. But Samuel s showed
when it was in action, and the sight of it made people
THE FOUR FISTS 269
see red. He was rather lucky in that, because every
time his little devil came up it met a reception that
sent it scurrying down below in a sickly, feeble con
dition. It was the same devil, the same streak that
made him order Gilly s friends off the bed, that
made him go inside Marjorie s house.
If you could run your hand along Samuel Mere
dith s jaw you d feel a lump. He admits he s never
been sure which fist left it there, but he wouldn t
lose it for anything. He says there s no cad like an
old cad, and that sometimes just before making a
decision, it s a great help to stroke his chin. The
reporters call it a nervous characteristic, but it s
not that. It s so he can feel again the gorgeous clar
ity, the lightning sanity of those four fists.
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