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Published September, 1920 

Reprinted September, October, December, 1920; De 
cember, 1921. 








f / 











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 


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- 


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 
faint interest. 

"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 
you " 

"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 


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 
on " 

"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. 

"Keep off!" 

"How dare you !" he cried. 


"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- 


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 
marry him?" 

"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 


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 
and listened. 

"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." 


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 

And Costellos. 
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. 


"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 ! " 


"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 


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 what?" 

"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. 
"You French?" 


"What s your name?" 



"Farnam what?" 

"Ardita Farnam." 

"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 
past six." 


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." 


"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 
my guess." 

"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 


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 
difference somewhere." 

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 


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." 

Ardita yawned. 

"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." 


"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 


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 


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 


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." 


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. 

"Oh down 

Oh down, 

Mammy wanna take me downa milky way, 
Oh down 

Oh down, 

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. 



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." 

He laughed. 

"You re our Lady Luck. Guess we ll have to 


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 

Ardita nodded. 

"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?" 


"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 
be careless." 

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. 


"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, 
I mean?" 

"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. 


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." 

Ardita roared. 

"How you can tell em!" 

Carlyle grinned. 

"I swear that s the gos " 


"What you going to do when you get to Callao?" 
she interrupted. 

"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 
I wanted." 

"What was it?" 

"A man." 

He started. 

"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," 


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 
chill him. 

"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 
shut up!" 

A pause ensued, a pause which Carlyle found 
rather awkward, but which Ardita seemed not to 


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 
dizzy height. 

"Well go swimming to-night !" she said excitedly. 
"By moonlight." 

"Wouldn t you rather go in at the beach on the 
other end?" 

"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 
St. Augustine." 

"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. 


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. 

She nodded. 

" 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 
army " 

"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 


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- 
looking sea." 

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 


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 
the cigarettes?" 

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 


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. 


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. 

She laughed. 

"Not I!" 

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, 
caressing waves." 

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. 


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 


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." 

She laughed. 

"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." 


"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?" 

"Shall I?" 

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 


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. 


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 


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 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 
ancho d." 

"A ship what kind of a ship?" demanded Car- 
lyie anxiously. 

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?" 

"No, suh." 

"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 


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 ? 


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. 


"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." 


Ardita frowned and then smiled. 

"So that s what you did ! You have got nerve !" 

He bowed. 

"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. 


"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 
high-seas pirate." 

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?" 


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 
last night." 

"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?" 

Carlyle nodded. 

" 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- 


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 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 



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 
dusty air. 

"Good mawninV 

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?" 

"Reckon so." 

"How bout hurryin up?" 

"Sure enough." 

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. 


"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, 


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?" 


"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 persisted. 

"S posellovehim?" 

He shook his head. 

"You couldn t. He d be a lot different from us, 
every way." 

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, 



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." 


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. 



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 
iron gate. 

"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. 


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 
quent date?" 

She drew close to him and an unexpected lump 


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 
Carrol simply. 

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 
Unknown. " 

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 


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." 

"Me, too." 

They waited impatiently for the three bent fig 
ures to move off, and then she kissed him until the 


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." 


"March, Harry." 


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 


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; 


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. 


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 
dared smoke. 

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. 


"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 


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 
tremendous scale." 

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." 


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 
Roger Patton." 

"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?" 


"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 


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 
Dan McGrew." 

"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 
and shiver." 

"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." 



She flushed. 

"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 
any Ibsen?" 

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 
or joy." 

"Without smiles or tears?" 

"Exactly. That s my theory. You see there 


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 
fine man." 

Sally Carrol was moved by an impulse of con 

"I know. I m the sort of person who wants to 


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 
her ear. 


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 


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 


"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. 

"Look! Harry!" 


"That little girl--did you see her face?" 

"Yes, why?" 

"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 


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. 

"Why, Harry!" 

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 
and shiftless." 

"Hush your mouth, Harry!" she cried angrily. 


"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 
the world." 

"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 


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." 

Harry melted. 

"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, Away, 

Away down South in Dixie ! 
Away, away, 

Away down South in Dixie!" 


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 
thought dismal. 

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. 


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 
since eighty-five!" 

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. 


"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 
square yards." 

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 


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 


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 
lights off!" 

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. 


" 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. 



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 


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. 

"Margery Lee." 

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 


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 


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- 
top below. 

"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." 


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, 
and Chemistry. 

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." 



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 


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 
rap sounded. 

"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. 

"The laundry." 


" 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. 


"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." 

Horace considered. 

"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 

"Only seventeen." 

"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 


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 
he grinned. 

"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. 


"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 



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." 

"Please explain." 

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. 

"Please explain." 

Horace turned. 

"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. 


"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 


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 
my show?" 

"What show?" 

"I m a wicked actress from Home James !" 

"Light opera?" 

"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 
day night?" 

"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. 


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 
hear me?" 

"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 


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 


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. 
Your friend, 


"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 
stage door." 

"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?" 

Marcia grinned. 

"It s fun to do it. I like to do it." 


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?" 

"New York." 

"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 


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 
last time." 

"Very well." 

"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 


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 
each other. 

"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?" 


"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." 

"Why not?" 

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." 


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 


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 
to her. 

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 " 


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 


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 


every time I m round you. But, honey " She 

"But what?" 

"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." 

Marcia laughed. 

"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?" 


"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. 


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 


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 " 


"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 

Horace hesitated. 

"Well " 

"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 


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 
break yours." 

"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. 


"Not I." 

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 


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 
high enough." 

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 


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 


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 


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 ? " 

"Yes, darling." 

He leaned over the bed until his head was beside 
her on the pillow, and began stroking back her 
yellow hair. 

" 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." 

"What llwecallher?" 

They rested a minute in happy, drowsy content, 
while Horace considered. 

"We ll call her Marcia Hume Tarbox," he said 
at length. 

"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: 



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. 

"What, Marcia?" 

" Do you like it?" 

Horace coughed. 

"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. 


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 
ble appeal. 

Peter Boyce Wendell, who happened at that time 
to be advocating the enrichment of the American 
language by the immediate adoption of expressive 


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 
illiterate literature. 

"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. 


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: 


"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." 


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 
Middle West. 

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 



shabby genteels on the bathroom shelf. But by 
the time all this had happened the cut-glass age was 
over, anyway. 

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 " 

"Oh " 

"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 


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 
way out." 

"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 


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 
the library. 

"I had to see you," he began wildly; "your note 
played the devil with me. Did Harold frighten you 
into this?" 

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 


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 


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 
this evening. 

"You ll have to hurry and dress, Harold," she 
said eagerly; "we re going to the Bronsons ." 

He nodded. 

"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 
other chance. 

But at the same moment Harold rose and, throw 
ing his paper down, came toward her. 

"Evie, dear," he said, bending and putting his 


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- 
glass bowl. 

"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 
repeated: "Myg0%/" 

He turned as if to jump again at Gedney, stopped, 
his muscles visibly relaxed, and he gave a bitter little 


"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 


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 


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. 


"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, 
t urts." 

"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 
the handkerchief. 

"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 


to her room, threatened in a suspiciously jovial 
tone to kiss her thirty-five times for her birthday. 
Evylyn resisted. 

"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 
to dinner." 

"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 
appeared jubilant. 

"I don t understand, Harold." 

"Well, Evie, Ahearn has been fooling around 
with Marx. If those two had combined we d have 


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 
banister : 


"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." 


"Now, Evie- 

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 


Joe Ambler, a confirmed bachelor and Irene s per 
ennial beau. 

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. 


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 


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 
back in. 

"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" 


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 


red. Ahearn was looking down at his watch-chain, 
fingering it. 

"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 


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 


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. 

"Julie sick?" 

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 


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." 

"Last night?" 

"Oh, what does it matter?" she cried; "she s got 
blood-poisoning. Can t you hear?" 


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 


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 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?" 

Martha hesitated. 

"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?" 


"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 
death within. 


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. 


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- 


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 


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. 


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 



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- 


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 


dazzling, bewildering tongue was already justly 
celebrated for having turned five cart-wheels in suc 
cession during the last pump-and-slipper dance at 
New Haven. 

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 
more difficult. 

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 


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, 


"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 


attention or got no attention because she was a 
poor conversationalist. 

"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 
his lips. 

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. 


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 
other girls. 

" 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. 


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 
like Bernice. 

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 


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 
glorious times. 

"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 


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." 

Marjorie groaned. 

"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 
has. Thrilling!" 

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," 


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, 
rather puzzled. 

Bernice paused before she threw her hand-grenade. 

"I heard what you said abou;t me to your mother 
last night." 

Marjorie was startled, but she showed only a 
faintly heightened color and her voice was quite 
even when shejspoke. 


"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?" 


"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- 
wonder " 

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. 


"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." 

Marjorie laughed. 

" 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." 

Marjorie laughed. 


"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 
voice rose. 

"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 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 
her bedroom. 

"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- 


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 
with it." 

"What else?" 

"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. 


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 
to see." 

"And finally," concluded Marjorie, "poise and 
charm will just come. You ll wake up some morn- 


ing knowing you ve attained it, and men will know 
it too." 

Bernice rose. 

"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 



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 Paulson?" 

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." 


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 
right now." 

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- 


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. 


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 
compare notes." 

"Men don t," said Marjorie, yawning, "and it 
wouldn t matter if they did they d think you were 
even trickier." 

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." 


"fcood night." 

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 


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 
ing sensation. 

Of all Bernice s conversation perhaps the best 
known and most universally approved was the line 
about the bobbing of her hair. 


"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, 


significant conversations as to whether or not he 
was sincere. 

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 
hurried out. 

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 


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 
reproachful glance. 

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 
bon mot?" 

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 


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. 

"Any time." 

"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 
you said." 

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 
and contemptuous. 

"Don t worry -she ll back out!" 

"Come on, Bernice!" cried Otis, starting toward 
the door. 


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 


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 


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 


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 
to Warren. 

"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. 

"Why, Bernice!" 

"I ve bobbed it, Aunt Josephine." 

"Why, child!" 

"Do you like it?" 

"Why, Ber-nice!" 

"I suppose I ve shocked you," 

"No, but what ll Mrs. Deyo think to-morrow 


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. 


"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 
matter much." 

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 


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 
be becoming." 

Marjorie smiled. 

"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. 


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 


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 

tme "HOWARD." 



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 

Love "Lois." 

"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 


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- 
tury roofing. 

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- 


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!" 

Lois gasped. 

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." 


He nodded slowly as if he understood. 

"Nervous, well you can tell me about that later. 
Now " 

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. 


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 
resent this. 

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 
like this." 

"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 

man car." 

"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. , 


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?" 

He nodded. 

"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." 

Kieth nodded. 

"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- 


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?" 

He nodded. 

"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 
by human, 

"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." 


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. 

Lois laughed. 

"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 


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 
above it. 

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." 


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 
stretched arms. 


"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 
another half-hour." 

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. 

Kieth smiled. 

"You can t shock a monk. He s a professional 

"Well," she continued, "that s about all. It 


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 
saw it. 

"Oh," she said quickly, "everybody talks about 
everything now." 

"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 
the path. 

"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, 
I think." 

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 
the path. 

"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 
at prayer. 

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 


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, 
Kieth Kieth- 

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 
second clerk: 

"S matter?" 

"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 


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. 


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 
as "depressing." 

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 



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 


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.") 

"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, 
I guess." 

"You ought to push those things." 

"Then there was that engineering expedition, 
but they decided they d have to have a man who 


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." 

Dalyrimple nodded. 

"Your salary won t be much. You ll start by 


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, 
rose awkwardly. 

"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?" 
he muttered. 


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 


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 
your boots." 

Dalyrimple rather resented the presence of the 
store detective as he resented the time-clock, and 


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 
errant, schoolboy. 

"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 
two years." 


"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 
get ahead." 

Charles shook his head sceptically and Mr. 
Macy s answer next day was equally unsatisfactory. 

Dalyrimple had gone to the office just before 
closing time. 

"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 
stay there." 

"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. 


Half unconsciously he turned a page he caught 
sight of his name it was a salary list: 


His eyes stopped 

Everett $60 

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. 


The bookkeeper and the stenographers looked up 
in surprise. 


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 hands. 

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." 


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 
his shoes. 

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. 


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 
himself there. 

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 


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. 



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 


life with the honor? Will it scatter my courage 
and dull my mind? despiritualize me completely 
does it mean eventual barrenness, eventual re 
morse, failure? 

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. 


"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 
mile afterward. 

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 


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, 


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 


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 


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- 
mouthed man. 

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 


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, 


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 


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 


told me you were getting restless, too good for your 
job, hinting around for a raise- - " 

Dalyrimple started. 

" 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 


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 
at first." 

"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. 


He sprang to his feet with clinched hands in a sort 
of triumph. 

"Well, Bryan/ said Mr. Macy stepping through 
the portieres. 

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. 


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. 



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 
a goldfish. 

"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 


"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. 


"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. 
"Yea! Gilly!" 
"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. 


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. 


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 
much room. 

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. 


"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, 


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- 


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 
awfully worried." 

"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. 


"He s frightfully jealous," she announced, laugh 
ingly apologetic. 

"Very well," answered Samuel, rather stiffly. 
"I d better leave you here." 

She thanked him and, waving a good night, he 
left her. 

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 
scurried off. 

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 
the cable-car. 

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." 


She hesitated. 

"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 


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, 
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 


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 
little cosmos. 

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 


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." 


Samuel glanced at Marjorie, tried to get some 
message from her eyes; then he shut his lips and 
went out. 

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. 



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 


"Everything O. K., Samuel?" he asked. 

"Why, yes." 

"I ve been afraid you re getting a bit stale." 

" Stale ? " Samuel was puzzled. 

"You ve done no work outside the office for nearly 
ten years?" 

"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." 


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 
bit more. 

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 


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 


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 
the open. 

"Afternoon," said Mclntyre, standing in the 
open doorway, with his feet apart and his hands on 
his hips. 

"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 
down leisurely. 

"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 


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 
tinued : 

"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 


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 
disagreeable duties. 

"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 
things " 

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!" 


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. 


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 
acted otherwise. 

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 


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. 

TO*- 202 Main Library 








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