T^ T V
I I'i ,' '' '!
THE LAST FADING BANNER OF THE DAY
EDWIN BATEMAN MORRIS
Author of "Blue Anchor Inn,"
"The Millionaire," etc.
Illustrated by Ralph L. Boyer
THE PENN PUBLISHING
THE LAST FADING BANNER OF THE DAY . Frontispiece
HE LOOKED OVER THE WALL ... 42
" ARE You IN LOVE ? " 124
SHE THOUGHT ONLY OF HIM . 202
MISS JANE HOWELL was conversing.
It is a pity to begin a perfectly well-
meaning story with a bit of tautology like that,
but it is unavoidable. Miss Howell was always
conversing. Talking, with her, was a condition,
a state of mind, a physical function, like the
beating of her heart or the circulation of her
blood. As a conversationalist, she was thor-
ough. Nothing was left to chance. She left
no yearning listener hanging helpless over an
abyss of doubt.
If she mentioned casually that her father had
once been postmaster in the little town of Judas
Iscariot, Arizona, she did not leave that bare,
barren fact to rest on the unsatisfied mind, for-
ever a thorn and a matter of uncertainty. Her
frank nature led her to tell why he was the
postmaster of that particular town, and what
he said on the day of his appointment, and
what his wife said and his brothers and his
sisters and his aunts and his cousin in Pennsyl-
vania. In the end the story she was telling
was a complete work of reference, and if prop-
erly edited and printed would have consisted
of about two lines of text per page and the re-
mainder of exhaustive foot-notes. The word
exhaustive is used advisedly.
Such conversation required concentration.
The chime of plates at Mrs. Prouty's boarding-
house, the manceuvers of the vegetable dishes
marching and countermarching and crisscross-
ing over the table, passed by nimble hands
grown used to such legerdemain, disturbed
Miss Howell not in the least. Her mind was
on the seriousness of her task. She was ob-
livious to such small things.
" Tea or milk, Miss Howell ? " demanded
Mrs. Prouty, wedging in the question at the
point of the former lady's remarks where there
should have been a comma.
" Coffee, please," Miss Howell replies, feeling
herself addressed, not pausing an instant. Her
story marches on.
" And no one," she said, " supposed they
would do it. People have talked about it, cer-
tainly, just as they have talked about breaking
windows and burning houses and pouring ink
in the letter boxes. Though what I can't un-
derstand is why the women don't get caught
doing such daring things as they do in Eng-
land. Some people say that is a proof of the
superior intelligence of women over "
" Now, Miss Howell," observed young Mr.
Derry, " you are talking woman's suffrage, I
know. Don't try to pretend you are not."
The lady laughed in the helpless way she
had when she felt she was being teased. But
the gulf between earnestness and frivolity was
one she could not leap across at so short notice.
" Of course I'm talking woman's suffrage,"
she exclaimed, stoutly. " What else should I
talk about to-day ? Why, a friend I met on
the street said there were three thousand
women outside the hall who couldn't get in.
You know this was the final day of the Equal
Suffrage Convention. Of course you read
about it in the papers. And what happened
this afternoon is going to revolutionize every-
thing. The action of the militants in England
doesn't compare with it in effectiveness. I
really think the women have solved the ques-
tion at last."
" I'm all impatience," cried Mr. Derry.
" What did they do ? Willy, urge the potatoes
this way, please."
"This friend of mine says who was there
right in the hall" she began, by way of reply
" that the principal speaker of the afternoon,
this Mrs. now what is her name ? I thought
I had it right on the tip of my tongue." She
waved her hand up and down helplessly.
"You know, the woman who helped in the
shirt-waist strike. It seems to me her name
began with B. Oh, pshaw 1 "
" Never mind the name," suggested Mrs.
Prouty, wisely. " We are all waiting to hear
" I almost had it then. It is a short name."
" Brown ? " suggested Mr. Derry, at random.
" Barker ? " offered some one.
Miss Howell smiled.
" Barker," she cried, elated at having run
this fact to earth. " Now let me see. Where
was I? Oh, yes. Well, this friend of mine
said that Mrs. Barker made a very impressive
speech. She is absolutely beautiful and wears
the most expensive clothes, and, when she talks,
every one goes wild. She had on a blue net
dress over crepe de chine with real lace at the
wrist and throat, and only one piece of jewelry,
an amethyst pin set in diamonds. She is the
one who advocates that all women in the
country refuse to marry until the men grant
them the ballot. She says that will bring
them to terms quicker than anything else.
And she proposes to tour the country from now
on getting as many women as possible to sign
the pledge of celibacy refusing absolutely to
marry any man."
" Yes," said Mr. Derry, patiently, " and what
happened this afternoon ? "
"She started her crusade," cried Miss Howell,
" and three hundred Washington women signed
their names ! "
Mr. Derry held his head in his hands.
" What chance is there for me ? " he moaned.
A girl entered the room and drew out the
chair between the two speakers.
"What's the matter?" she asked, adjusting
the already faultless lace that hung below her
Miss Howell reached out her hand and laid it
on the girl's arm.
" I was telling them about the action of the
convention this afternoon."
The newcomer nodded.
" You know about it ? " cried the other,
" Yes, I was there."
A gentleman across the table who was called
the " Colonel " cleared his throat.
" Miss Carver," he said, addressing the new-
comer, " I have listened with great attention to
Miss Howell's statement as to the action of the
convention, and I want to ask you frankly, as a
woman of reason, what you think of such a
thing ? "
"Am I a woman of reason?" asked the girl.
" Of course you are," asserted the Colonel,
" And of infinite beauty," observed Mr. Derry,
industriously stirring his coffee.
The girl gazed at the back of the young
man's averted head. She laughed outright.
" That frivolous young man," said the
Colonel, " has unwittingly stumbled upon the
very line of argument I wish to pursue. I
maintain that those three hundred women who
refused to marry until women are allowed to
vote are three hundred women who could not
get married if they wanted to. A handsome,
bright young woman like you if you will
excuse an old man for saying so who could
have her choice of any one in the whole
United States, wouldn't have signed that
The color deepened on Miss Carver's face.
" In a moment, Colonel," she said, " I am
going to blush with confusion."
" The Colonel is right," asserted Derry ; " it's
just a lot of the old standbys who have been on
hand for the past forty years that agreed not to
get married. Of course they agreed. They
had to. The idea had been wished on them
Miss Carver bent over her plate and smiled.
" I should like your frank and unbiased
opinion, Miss Carver," pursued the Colonel.
" I know you have said you favored woman's
suffrage. But do you honestly think that any
young, beautiful woman with a chance to get
married would have signed that paper ? "
" I'd like to hear your opinion on that too,"
exclaimed the young man beside her.
" Come now," cried the Colonel.
Miss Carver looked up, and her eyes shone
" I'm embarrassed at having to say this," she
observed, " but did you say I was ahem
young and beautiful and probably marriage-
able ? "
" I most certainly did," asseverated the
" Well," she said, " I signed the paper."
IN the third floor rear room of Mrs. Prouty's
boarding-house, which Deborah Carver oc-
cupied but which Miss Howell, abiding theoret-
ically in the room adjoining, used as an overflow
for herself, her clothes and her conversation, the
latter was making preparations to go out. If
Deborah Carver had intended to go out on that
mild September evening, she would simply
have put on her hat, taken her gloves and de-
parted. But not so Miss Howell. She had
spent half an hour already trying the effect of
several different waists upon herself, each change
of scene requiring a complete removal and
substitution of more of the beribboned and
belaced strata that lay underneath. She was
not really satisfied now, for the last shirt-waist
showed the mark of the iron in an obscure
place ; but there was no time to change again,
and seizing her white lisle gloves, she left the
room. Deborah, reading in a big comfortable
chair, smiled and wondered if she had really gone.
She returned almost immediately, completely out
of breath from running up the stairs, saying that
she had forgotten to put on suitable evening
shoes. And then, after she had returned once
more, because both the gloves she had were for
the right hand, and again for an umbrella, be-
cause the paper had said there might be rain
that night or the next day, she was finally
Deborah stretched out her arms lazily, and
throwing her book on the bed walked to the
window where she could look out over the vista
of other people's back yards, commanded ap-
parently by a myriad of other third floor back
windows, where she knew lived workers in the
hive like herself. But no face appeared any-
where. The still, hot night had driven them
all out to their separate diversions to the cool
joy of the open street cars, or to the hot, but
exciting interior of the stock company theatre,
or to the dance halls. It seemed as if she were
the only human looking out upon that hollow
square of houses. The air in her room was hot
and still. With the falling of the dusk, the ex-
citement of the day had left her, and in its place
hung about her a slight, intangible melancholy,
such as comes to any one who suddenly realizes
she is twenty-six.
When one is ten, twenty-six seems like a ripe
old age ; when one is fifteen it seems like a point
when one's destination in life will have been
decided on, when the ship will have left port
under full steam with the course plotted on the
chart. If one is to be married, it will have been
done by then. If she is to succeed in some fine
pursuit that is to enrich the world, the indica-
tion of that success will have begun to appear.
But, for Deborah, twenty-six had come and
passed, and neither of these things had hap-
pened. Her ship still lay at the dock.
She turned away from the window, where the
clatter of dishes and the odor of kitchen rose
from below. She wondered if moving the trap-
door in the ceiling of the room would afford an
outlet for the heated, heavy air that surrounded
her. She attempted to dislodge it with a cur-
tain pole, and this proving ineffectual, she de-
corously closed the door and presently the
bureau was surprised to find a pair of white
shod feet resting where the pincushion ought
to have been. From this point of vantage she
was able to reach the wooden trap and slide it
back from its position. Above, all was dark
and exuded the heat of a bake-oven. But the
spirit of adventure was upon her.
Of course, no dignified, aged woman of
twenty-six should have done it. It was an
anachronism. It was the thing she would have
done twelve years ago and been spanked as
a result for being a tomboy, no doubt. She
smiled as she thought of it. At least there was
no one to spank her now. She caught hold of
the sides of the opening and her strong young
arms drew her up into the cavern. What must
Mrs. Prouty have thought had she appeared
then and seen the two feet of an angel, clad in
pumps and silk stockings, disappearing heaven-
ward from the third floor back room just like
Mr. Forbes Robertson in the play !
But no Mrs. Prouty or other deputy Nemesis
appeared. It was dusty in the regions above,
and not very beneficial to white summer clothes.
But a short ladder led upward, at the top of
which was another trap, fastened with a rusty
hook. And when that was finally forced open,
there was the moon shining in the sky.
She stepped out on the pebbly roof. It was
an enchanted garden she stood in. Two long
lines of brick parapet bounded her in, like
parterres of closely trimmed hedge. The heads
of the sidewalk trees protruded above it and
sometimes lapped over, their leaves rustling in
a pastoral whisper. The moon shone pleas-
antly in the sky above. In the distance the
search-light from a hotel roof-garden rested on
the obelisk of the Monument. Turning to the
other side she saw far off the great dome of the
Capitol a silver thimble in the moonlight.
She might have been some pre-Renaissance
Roman duchess leaning on the white marble
balustrade of her formal garden.
All this suggested a metaphor to her. She
had once been asked to make a street corner
speech in favor of woman suffrage, and she had
refused, partly because she had no very con-
vincing public argument and partly because, as
she had said laughing, she "was not man
enough." She thought now if she ever had to
make that speech, she might compare her
room, stuffy, hot, and shut-in to the condition
of the voteless woman and her emergence out
into the free, pure air with the glory of the soft
night about her to the bursting forth of woman
from her cell and chains of bondage she
smiled as she thought of those well-worn
phrases into freedom and power and her
Of course she could make a speech if she
wanted to. The suffrage held out no apparent
advantages to her personally. She had no
selfish interest in it. Its appeal was an ethical
one that roused her enthusiasm. The propa-
ganda was an uplifting effort for the whole
body of women. She could not help compar-
ing it to great movements like the Reformation
and the Renaissance and when she put her
determined shoulder to the wheel, she felt that
she was revolving it in a way to make history
to accomplish something lasting and worth
while. It seemed as if this were a new Re-
naissance an awakening of woman a burst-
ing forth out of mediaeval darkness into light.
She was willing to devote her life, now passed
the mark where she should have picked out her
sphere of usefulness, to such a deserving cause ;
to march to the crusades, carrying a spear that
should help in the beginning of a new era for
woman. Her enthusiasm and her conscience,
stung by what her body had not accomplished,
drove her on. Following the dictates of the
latter, with the fortitude of Spartan women, she
had offered up the thing most dear to her, and
taken a vow of celibacy. She, Deborah Carver,
had doomed herself to be an old maid for a
She laughed and looked over the parapet
into the lighted room of a wing below her
where a dark-haired young man, in his third
floor room, bent over his desk. That young
man, whoever he might be, and every other
man, henceforth had no interest for her. She
might lean over the parapet as she did now,
and look at him, like Moses viewing the prom-
ised land, but she must not endeavor to possess
him. He seemed to be a nice person. She
was interested in the slim fingers which held
the papers he read. His room was furnished
more luxuriously than most third floor rooms.
The flat-topped desk in the middle of the room
where he sat was of mahogany. A brass drop
light with a garnet shade sat on the desk. The
rug caught the light like a real oriental rug,
and the pictures and hangings on the walls
spoke of a height of ease and comfort to which
the average boarding house did not aspire.
She gazed at the Promised Land with much
interest, speculating idly as to what he might
be doing, until presently the Promised Land
rose, slapped his hat on his head and turned
out the light. She was alone then on her
broad white roof with the moon and the stars.
She had always felt that one day she should
be married. Her instincts and emotions all led
her that way. Her life in her school brought
her always in contact with children, whom she
understood and guarded and sympathized with
by virtue of some instinct within her. She had
the hovering wings of a mother. Yet she had
seen no man whom she would marry.
She often found herself being terribly excited
over Bobby Mitchell for five minutes at a
time. But then she realized he was pursuing
her and saw love and devotion in his eyes and
immediately became bored. She liked his
automobile, for that made her go fast and pro-
vided her with excitement. But the man who
was to possess her must control her with an
iron hand. He must be a man to whom, when
she was tired of struggling to arrange her life,
she could turn over the reins and let him drive.
Whereas she controlled Bobby Mitchell and
he was merely typical of them all with more
ease than Bobby controlled the big car which
responded immediately to his touch on the
She heard the newsboys on the street below
crying an extra paper, and when she descended
from her roof she purchased one. It contained
a list of the women who had signed the celibacy
pact. There was her own name near the top.
She snipped it out with her scissors and impaled
it upon her pincushion.
" Lest we forget," she said, smiling, and un-
did the fastening at her throat.
nice, hot sun caressed the street until
the weary asphalt sank under your feet.
Deborah walked along in the narrow shade of
the buildings, aimlessly gazing into their show
windows. Her work over for the day there re-
mained no place to go but her room at Mrs.
Prouty's a place which she religiously avoided
when it was not absolutely necessary for her to
go there. People, when their work is over, like
to go home and find comfort and cheer in sur-
roundings that are familiar to them. But if
you have to climb two flights of stairs to get to
your home, and it is only twelve feet by fifteen
when you arrive, and has the same dejected
appearance that it had when you left, it holds
out few inducements. Deborah did not go
Filled with notions of clothes for the fall, she
slipped with easy nonchalance into an ornate
shop and wandered about until she found long
glass cases in which were expensive gowns
" creations," they called them in that store
fashioned out of bewilderingly soft and costly
fabrics which were draped and turned and
tortured into the very newest designs. It
was an education to any one who in a few
weeks would have to make her own fall
dresses both of them. She looked these over
carefully and made copious mental notes. But
one of the duchesses of the place, observing the
desecration of the hallowed spot where stood
only those with money in their purses who came
to purchase, bore down upon her with haughty
" Did you wish to see something ? " she said,
Deborah looked clear through the disdain.
She smiled pleasantly.
" That smoke-colored one does it hook up
the back ? "
" I don't know. Were you looking for an
evening dress ? "
The other laughed a soft, low laugh.
" Not I," she said, turning to the girl. " But
wouldn't you like to have one like that made of
challis ? The material wouldn't cost more than
Deborah was thoroughly interested in her
scheme. The salesgirl's face lit up for a mo-
ment at the idea. That small second of warmth
volatilized her aloofness and it floated off into
thin air. After that it was impossible to climb
back into the strategic position she had occupied
" I think I'll do it for myself," she said. She
looked about her guardedly. " Would you like
to see the dress ? "
" Of course I should like to see it."
The dress, rustling with tissue paper, came
down from its place, and the two alert vivisec-
tionists noted its anatomy and physiology. In
the course of this the sales duchess, recognizing
a certain unmistakable humanity in Deborah,
was divulging the fact that it was only two
weeks before the such and such dance, for which
she must have a dress. And, never doubting her
companion's interest in the matter, she spoke of
men with a sparkle in her eyes of one in the
midst of the game. When Deborah caught
that look of enthusiasm, accustomed and
hardened as she was to the confidences of chance
people, a lump of lead seemed to drop, uninvited
and unexpected, into her heart. For that was
the enthusiasm that was now denied to her.
Her interest in the dresses soon waned.
Presently she gathered up her bag and gloves
and, thanking the girl, went out into the street
The lump of lead was still in the same place.
She decided to walk to the headquarters of the
Equal Suffrage Association and leave it there if
possible. Mrs. Dobson, secretary of the associa-
tion and chairman of a thousand committees
and sub-committees, bounced up from her desk
and embraced her when she entered. Deborah
adjusted her hat and attire.
" Sit down," cried Mrs. Dobson.
Mrs. Dobson herself never sat down. Some-
times she perched for an instant on the edge
of her swivel chair. But most of the time she
was darting about like the squirrels in the park.
" My dear, I am so glad you are with us,"
she said, running her nimble fingers over a
card-catalogue drawer and pulling out a card.
" I think it's my duty I think it is every
one's duty to help in every way possible,"
Deborah replied, stoutly.
Mrs. Dobson pounced on the fountain pen
that lay on her desk.
" It's the example that counts," she exclaimed,
adding some notation on her card. " It's the
example of noble self-sacrifice. That's the
spirit that is going to win."
She held her pen in her mouth and ran through
another card index, descending upon the proper
card and tattooing it with more hieroglyphics
which only she could read.
" What's that card index for ? " demanded the
" Congressional. We have all the congress-
men written up, showing just where they stand
on the question." She pulled out a card.
" There is the man to beware of," she com-
mented. " He is our most astute foe."
" John Marshall Lea."
" The same," she repeated, tartly. " Remem-
ber that name as of the Black Douglas. He
has done more to block legislation favorable to
us than any five other men in the House. He
is the man who is going to oppose most bitterly
the bill for an equal suffrage amendment in the
House of Representatives when we bring the
question before a committee of the House in
November. If I can beat him I shall consider
that I have gone a long way toward winning
the whole fight."
"Very well, Mother Dobson." The girl
laughed. " Do you realize you've wasted a
whole minute of your precious time standing
" Bless me, so I have." She looked at the
clock and took the receiver off the hook of her
telephone. " Don't go. I can talk to you and
telephone at the same time."
" I believe you could," observed Deborah.
" Remember," cried Mrs. Dobson, " we are
going to ask you to make some speeches for us
A chill crept gently over Deborah. She saw
herself standing on a soap-box, rising to ad-
dress a roaring, turbulent, out-of-doors crowd.
Could she bring herself to do it ? She thought
she would infinitely prefer to stand in front of
the Capitol in a pillory. Her impulse was to
tell Mrs. Dobson so and warn that lady not to
count upon her. But she did nothing of the
sort. She sat with her hands calmly folded
before her, telling herself that all great move-
ments must be accomplished by a series of
sacrifices, and that she would not be the one to
refuse when her turn came. And all she said
was, " Very well, Mrs. Dobson," quite calmly
She did not leave all her low spirits behind
her as she had hoped. And when dusk fell
again, she was once more sitting in her room
full of the realization that she was twenty-six
and trying to forget the idea by reading a
funny story. But who can forget so far-reach-
ing a calamity as that in a mere story ? As it
grew too dark to read, she let the book fall idly
into her lap and watched the scarlet moon rise
over the housetops, silhouetting the chimneys
and dormers and the wooden rails of the apart-
ment house porches. A soft after-glow spread
like a rose haze over all that open square,
transforming with a magic touch the box-clut-
tered yards, and turning the whole scene, sordid
with its kitchens and scullery maids, into a soft
evening picture. She leaned against the
window frame and watched the light gently
fade. She wondered what that scene looked
like from her roof, and gazed speculatively at
the trap in the ceiling. A trap it was indeed.
The lure of it held her lightly in its grasp. It
was like Aladdin's lamp to her. She had but
to touch it, and she was wafted away from her
fifteen-dollar room to priceless Elysian fields.
The door softly closed, two shoes left their im-
press on the bureau scarf, and, with the rustle
of no wings, a white clad angel had disap-
To guide her in her return through the dark
attic, she had brought her tiny electric flash-
light. Virgil, or one of those old fellows who
knew nothing about attics, said " Facilis est
descensus in Averno," but the descent from
the roof into the darkness of this particular
Averno was anything but easy. So she
slipped the little nickel thing into her belt.
She stepped out on the roof, and went to the
In the west, behind the square jagged sky-
line, shone a narrow ribbon of deep red drawn
across the heavy purple of the sky. That was
the last fading banner of the day. The city
had given itself over to night. Haphazard
squares of light appeared on the distant office
buildings. Restless electric signs told their
story over and over again. She saw the mov-
ing picture theatre at the street corner, blaz-
ingly alight, receive its throng of people like an
ant-hill. But on the roof there was almost no
sign of artificial night. The moon shone in
pastoral quiet. The trees hanging over the
parapet wall were like willows hanging over
the banks of a stream. And in the midst of
their thick foliage she imagined she could see
the figure of a lurking man, just as one does in
country fields at night, when all around villain-
ous pine trees lie in wait to murder one and
steal his purse.
She gazed over the top of the rear wall at
the window where she had seen the man the
night before, but all was dark there. The
moon shone in on the floor, illuminating a
small square of the Eastern rug, but no other
thing was visible. She walked along the
length of the roof, stepping over the ridges of
brick wall that protruded above its level, in
accordance with the fire regulations, at the line
of demarkation of each house. She gazed
down into unfamiliar side yards, into window-
boxes filled with ferns, into rooms where people
were surreptitiously cooking things over the gas
burners, and into a window by which a woman
sat shame on her in this modern day rock-
ing her baby to sleep.
And as Deborah turned back by the thick
foliage where she had thought she saw the
figure of a man she started and stood still.
The imaginary figure of a man was holding
a lighted cigarette 1
DEBORAH was properly frightened. The
surprise of it made her suddenly weak at
the knees. She felt as she did in dreams when
she was half-way up the stairs with a murder-
ous robber pursuing her, and her feet refused
to move. But only for an instant. Then she
turned for the trap-door, miles away. All
would have been well had not the nickel-plated
electric flash-light notoriously undependable !
slipped from her belt and fallen on the roof.
That spoiled everything. She could not hope
to clamber safely down the steep, dark ladder
to her home with this fleet-footed man pursu-
ing her. She stooped to recover her light.
But it had fallen in the shadow of a projecting
ridge of brick wall and would not be found.
She heard the footsteps approaching. Then
she straightened up, her eyes flashing a tower
of strength and independence. The man was
upon her. She could hear her heart beating.
He raised his hand. " Will he strike me ? " she
thought, dully. But he only took off his hat.
He spoke. His voice was suave and dignified.
" I must apologize," he said, gravely. " I
know I frightened you, but I really did not see
you in time to give you warning of my pres-
Deborah murmured something in reply.
"You have lost your your powder-puff,"
said the man, still with the same gravity.
" It was an electric flash-light," she informed
He bent over and scanned the pebbled sur-
face of the roof.
" Naturally," he replied, whimsically. " Part
of the regular equipment of the wise virgin of
He spoke in a pleasant, easy, bantering tone,
and yet with a very dignified courtesy, as
though he were endeavoring to tacitly reassure
her of his thorough harmlessness.
Presently his hand struck the trinket, and he
stood up abruptly holding it behind him.
" Those pebbles run into a fellow's knees like
fun," he exclaimed. " I shan't be able to say
my prayers for a week. Would you be able to
identify this article?"
" Certainly. It is nickel-plated."
" Yes. Proceed."
" By pressing a button at the side of it, it
He fumbled with it, and suddenly as his
finger touched the proper spot, a beam of white
light shot across the roof.
" Your description is astoundingly exact," he
said. " Without a doubt the jeweled thing is
He handed it to her.
" I am exceedingly obliged," she assured him.
He bowed. She noticed in the moonlight
that his fingers were long and slender. His
hair was brown.
" Oh," she cried, naively, " you are the man
with the red lamp-shade."
" The very man," he said. " I have inad-
vertently forgotten to bring it with me to-night.
But it is fragile and apt to be broken climbing
up steep ladders."
" The man with the red shade," he repeated.
" A truly romantic soul. How did you know
of my existence?" he asked, abruptly.
" Last night," she confessed, " I peeped into
" From that spot over there," she said, point-
ing, " it is possible to see."
" By all means let's go there then," he ex-
claimed. " I should see myself as others see me."
He looked over the wall.
" An absolute blank I " he cried. " Ah, my-
self ! " he observed, apostrophizing the dark
window. " I have discovered you. Nothing
at all ! "
She leaned on the wall.
" Do you believe that about yourself ? " she
HE LOOKED OVER THE WALL
" Not at all," he affirmed, stoutly.
He turned his back on his room and thrust-
ing his hands in his pockets, leaned with his
elbows on the wall.
" In considering yourself," he said, with a
pleasant air of thinking aloud, " you must for-
get that you have a sense of humor. Of course
you are ridiculously inadequate. Everybody
is. But take yourself seriously. Have confi-
dence in your ability to accomplish the impos-
sible." He thumped himself on the chest.
" That's the way I give myself courage," he
" You have almost the air of an orator," she
" I hope you will excuse me."
She turned away from the wall.
" It is getting late, I am afraid," she said.
He stood beside her.
"May I escort you to your trap-door; or
shall I call a cab?"
She looked about her thoughtfully.
" It's such a fine night," she said. " Suppose
At the door leading down to the depths of
her own house she paused.
"You were speaking of speeches," she ob-
served. " Would you make a speech ? If you
" Right now. Of course. Stand on the closed
trap-door, and I will sit cross-legged before you."
" No, no," she said, smiling. " At some fu-
ture date. A public speech."
" If I wanted to."
" But I shouldn't know how."
He looked at her quizzically.
" The old manner is best," he exclaimed.
"Hair brushed abruptly back from the fore-
head as in the portraits of Webster. The left
hand should be thrust under the skirts of the
coat do women wear coats in making
speeches? Of course they do. The right
hand toying with the fob of one's watch, ex-
cept when gesticulating. And refer to the
sanctity of the hearth."
" You are not serious," she said.
"No," he replied, instantly grave. "I am
not. About the speech, you are the only one
who can tell."
She held out her hand to him.
" Good-night," she said, " and thank you."
He bowed over her hand.
" You must let me light you down the first
stage of your journey," he observed, taking her
light and illuminating the ladder to the attic.
She permitted him to do this. She reached
up for the light, smiling.
" Now please run. You must not view this
" I run," he said.
THE first cold days of October had come.
Football colors decked the town. The
white and yellow badges of the Suffragists ap-
peared here and there on the streets. Speech-
making for " The Cause " had begun on the
broad avenue that connects the White House
with the Capitol, or, more correctly, that sep-
arates the two. Deborah Carver was ap-
proached seriously for this purpose.
"You must," announced Mrs. Dobson,
"really you must. It is your duty. Good
looks hold attention. We need you."
She threw down the telephone book she was
consulting, and, seized with a galvanic impulse,
strode across the room and caught the girl by
the lapels of her coat.
" I'll hold you right here," she said, " until
you say yes."
Deborah looked at the whirlwind lady. In
spite of the terror in her heart a disturbing ex-
citement seized her.
" But what could I talk about ? " she asked,
" About the eternal stars, if you like. Only
" But I must say something."
The old lady released her and darted over to
her chair, perching momentarily on the edge of it.
"Talk of this iniquitous Lea," she cried.
" Speak of these fat, waddling congressmen,
with moist hands and moist collars and celluloid
There was no inspiration in this.
" Is that the sort of person he is ? " she asked,
" Aren't they all that way all those that op-
pose us, I mean?" she added, smiling. She
pulled down her gold-rimmed spectacles from
the place where they rested against her gray-
" Listen I " she cried, taking a book from the
shelf behind her. "Saturday the twelfth, six
thirty o'clock. What could be fairer ? " She
wrote a hasty scrawl on the book. " See Mrs.
Devine. She arranges these things."
Deborah drew in her breath sharply, as
though she had plunged into cold water. But
an enthusiasm, a realization of new responsi-
bility, and a youthful appreciation of action
brought a flush to her face.
" I'm game 1 " she said, steadily. " I sup-
pose no one likes to make these speeches."
Mrs. Dobson reached for her telephone and
gave a number.
41 Like it ! " she cried. " They hate it. They
do it because they think it is their duty.
They're martyrs, bless their souls! Mrs.
Devine," she said on the telephone, " Deborah
Carver will speak at one of your street corner
meetings next Saturday."
And thus was her doom sealed.
" Mrs. Devine is a feather-head," volunteered
Mrs. Dobson, " but she has a large automobile
and infinite leisure. She is the most valuable
bit of machinery of my office."
Deborah dated her life, following this inter-
view, up to Saturday the twelfth of October.
There was no beyond. Sunday morning had
that same dim, shadowy inconsequence to her
that it would have had if on Saturday night
she were going to be merely hanged instead of
to make the street corner speech.
Saturday at noon, Mrs. Devine sent Robert,
her chauffeur, in the machine for Deborah, to
bring her to lunch. Mrs. Devine was not there
when she arrived, but the maid said she would
return shortly. She sat in the library playing
with the little Pomeranian and wishing it were
midnight and the day were over. In spite of
the fact that the fire of battle was in her, she
could not help shrinking from this un-
known conflict. She knew exactly the ideas
she would talk about, and she knew that she
could have made her speech very readily to an
audience of quiet people in that library where
she sat. But what sort of people were these to
be to whom she was to speak ?
Mrs. Devine rustled in.
" Oh, my dear, not that solemn expression.
Be blithe, be blithe ! See the spirit of Chris-
tobel here. Christobel, do you believe in
Woman's Suffrage ? "
Christobel crawled under a table.
" Christobel 1 At once ! Attend to me !
Do you believe in Woman's Suffrage ? "
The dog, seeing the futility of it, emerged,
stood up on his hind feet, waved the front ones
in the air and barked vigorously.
" See," exclaimed his mistress, " how the
movement has spread."
" How did you happen to be a suffragist,
Mrs. Devine?" Deborah asked, feeling she
must say something.
"First I started taking cold baths and then
I got to sleeping out-of-doors, and after that I
just naturally drifted into the other. Come out
to lunch, won't you ?
" You see," she pattered on, "all these things
are the things women are doing now. I want
to be modern. This idea of the woman's intel-
lect being equal to the man's appeals to me.
I have gone so far now that I don't grant man
or masculinity superiority in anything. I
feel that my mind is the equal of any one's.
Don't you feel that way ? "
"Oh, I 1" exclaimed Deborah, with a
start. " I have always thought that. I have
never believed any one was wiser or more re-
sourceful than I. That is a sin of mine."
" Really ! Now I don't go so far as that
at all. When a sturdy, strong-willed person
like Mrs. Dobson tells me to do a thing, I just
do it. I could never struggle against her."
"Yes," said Deborah, politely. "When I
find a man a person, I mean who makes me
feel like that," she added presently, " I shall
have come to an epoch in my life."
At six o'clock the lighted streets were crowded
with people. There had been a football game,
and victorious students surged along the side-
walks. Saturday night crowds with money in
their purses mingled with them. As Mrs.
Devine's automobile, with four ardent suffra-
gists and Deborah sped along the street,
Deborah steeled her heart. She was not
ardent. She was determined. She sat back
in the corner of her seat, her hands folded in
her lap, and watched with a faint smile the
carnival concourse of people. Presently she
raised two fingers and touched the velvet rim
of her hat.
" What was that for? " asked Mrs. Devine.
" Morituri salutamus," murmured Deborah.
" That's Latin, isn't it ? "
" Every word of it. It means ' In God we
An iron-jawed woman sitting by her, who
was also to make a speech, raised herself from
"No need for the gladiatorial spirit," she
said, without expression. " Just talk. The one
rule to be remembered in a street corner
speech is don't look at any particular in-
dividual. Talk to the lamp-post behind the
Deborah remembered this when they set her
down on the sidewalk. Mrs. Devine's scheme
was to have three, or perhaps four meetings, a
block apart, all occurring at once. The idea of
the whole performance was first of all to attract
attention. Mrs. Dobson's strategy was not so
much to convince people by the force of the
arguments of her speakers, as to advertise the
movement, to let the public know there was
activity. Therefore she had said to Deborah,
Deborah was left at a street corner with a
supporter bearing an explanatory banner in
the midst of a strenuous jostling crowd. The
machine had been standing by the curb for fully
five minutes before she alighted, and she had
sat calmly in her seat as though she were not
at all a part of the thing that was to come. A
great phalanx of students, flushed with victory,
had paused at the brink of the fountain in the
parking, disgorged from its midst two freshmen
of their beloved alma mater and driven them,
trembling but elated at the distinction accorded
them, across the shallow water of the basin.
The crowd of citizens gathered about had
laughed indulgently at this sacrifice to the
goddess of good fortune. When the freshmen,
grown twelve months in importance, had stepped
out of the water and the phalanx, thirsting for
something bizarre enough to satisfy its jaded
appetite, had swept by, but while the crowd
still remained, the iron-jawed woman had thrown
open the door.
" This is the psychological moment," she
Deborah nodded. When the door of the
automobile swung shut again, it might have
been the iron clang of the gate shutting her in
the lion's den. But she had now a Daniel's
self-possession. When the machine drove off
she did not regret it. The joy of action was
upon her. She stood up on her box and cried,
with just the ease and egotism the situation
" Look at me ! "
And they all looked. She had absolute con-
fidence in the power of her own personality ;
and in the second of silence that followed those
three words, she caught their attention and held
it in the hollow of her hand. Their curiosity
was aroused. Their interest in the trim girl
standing there a picturesque, slender goddess,
her hands held to her sides, her chin tilted
upward made them wait to hear what she
would say. She was keen enough to see then
that the starting point of her speech must be
the idea that was already in their minds, and
when she spoke she spoke of the freshmen who
had just been made to walk through the basin
of the fountain. Her voice carried across the
crowd. She spoke in short sentences. Once
she made them laugh. Then she deftly drew
a parallel between the students forced to wade
in the fountain against their will while the world
looked on and approved, and woman wading
in the muddy waters of Inferiority. It was a
crude metaphor, hastily thrown together, but
admirably suited for this open-air gathering,
where ideas had to be delivered in bulk.
She felt she was making an impression.
Here and there she was conscious of eyes look-
ing intently upon her. Near by, on her left, was
some one who seemed to have jostled his way
through the crowd, whose eyes she felt did not
leave her ; but, following the warning of the iron-
jawed woman, she looked at no one. Her
speech would have been a tremendous success
had it not happened that, at the very climax of
it, the phalanx of students, roaring like an angry
Roman mob, returned and burst, a human
battering-ram, through the midst of the crowd.
Like Sherman marching to the sea, it divided
the audience in twain ; and so great was its
cry, it was impossible to be heard above it.
These youthful enthusiasts, the freedom of the
city theirs, all their dynamic enthusiasm let
loose, hysterical with excitement, searching
only for some excess more absurd and unreal
than the last, spread everywhere like an ominous
horde of Goths.
Then they saw Deborah on her box.
Theirs not to reason why! Theirs not to
weigh the situation delicately, to consider the
question of courtesy and sanity and advisability.
Theirs not even to imagine what they might
have done in a less hysterical moment.
" To the fountain with the Suffragettes ! "
To the lions with the Christians ! The Roman
mob has tasted blood. Nothing will stop them.
The phalanx turns its head. The crowd is
thrust apart and down the lane sweeps the mob
of avenging spirits, crazy for sacrifice. There
is the fountain, and there are Deborah and her
standard-bearer. The standard-bearer, pale as
a ghost, pulls her sleeve.
" Come away ! " she cries.
But Deborah continues to talk over the heads
of chaos. No word of hers is audible. She is
outwardly calm, but within is a great tumult of
excitement. Her mind is working quickly.
She scarcely gives a thought to her words.
The riot is upon her. For the first time she
glances down at the faces before her. A man
in her audience has stepped to her side, but
she does not need his help.
The onslaught is led by a great flaxen-haired
boy, huge in his college sweater, with mischief
in his eyes. As he reaches the pavement before
her box, she bursts into a radiant smile, and
holds out her hand.
" Who," she cried, " would have thought of
seeing you here ? "
Certainly not Deborah, who had never seen
him at all before. The boy stopped astounded.
He could not remember that face, but he was
confused and rattled and suddenly ashamed.
The color mounted his cheeks. He stood there
backing up the crowd behind him, and took her
" We came," he said, sheepishly, not know-
ing at all what to say, "to congratulate
She smiled, and then the crowd, its inertia
gone, its interest fading, began to flow in an-
(i Bravo ! " cried the voice of the man who
was standing beside her. " Back with your
heathen horde, Ethelwolfe. She beat you to it
The boy smiled, with a diverting mixture of
shamefacedness and interest, and was presently
lost in the crowd.
Mrs. Devine's automobile rolled up to the
curb. The standard-bearer clambered in. Deb-
orah looked curiously at the man who had
spoken. It was her young man of the roof !
" Don't go in that machine," he said. " Come
She smiled and shook her head.
" Hurry, please, Miss Carver," said Mrs. De-
vine, grown suddenly nervous.
A great turning of the crowd swept Deborah
away. Mrs. Devine saw the young man seize
her and shoulder a way through it. When the
girl stood still once more the machine was gone.
my word," said her young man of
the roof, " this is a wild night. One
thousand congratulations," he went on, " for
your strategy. It was Napoleonic."
" It was necessary," she replied.
He looked for the automobile.
" Gone ! " she said.
" Marooned, are you ? Let's strike out for
the mainland, then. I see a bright light ahead."
They started out along the sidewalk, now less
" I am in a delicate position," he observed.
" You refuse to accompany me, and then your
friends thrust you defenseless upon me. I am
a monstrous ogre carrying you off."
" I could take a street car," she assured him,
" Always resourceful. So you could. I am
reassured. If I find you dashing off in the mid-
dle of a sentence, I shall know that you have
taken a street car."
" Where are we going, anyway ? " she asked.
"Are you taking me home? "
He looked at his watch.
" Seven o'clock," he said. " Who ever heard
of going home at seven o'clock ! "
" What then ? " she asked.
" I must ask you an intimate and highly per-
sonal question first," he said.
She looked at him warily.
" Go on," she said, smiling.
" Have you had your dinner ? " he asked.
" If I should propose to you that we stop at
this twelve story wayside inn, and call roundly
for our suppers, would you inform me that you
did not know me well enough, or would you in-
sist on my procuring from the thin air a dull,
toothless chaperon ? "
" Neither," she replied, with bewildering di-
rectness. " I should say ' yes,' quickly."
His face brightened, and presently they en-
tered the inn, ablaze with lights and people.
" As a suffragist and a feminist and all those
iniquitous things," she explained, when they
were seated at a table and he was glancing at
the card with the air of a poet about to com-
pose a sonnet, " I am supposed to take care of
myself without the aid of a chaperon. Haven't
you heard that woman is the intellectual equal
of man ? "
" Yes, I knew it had been so decided. Tell
me," he added when he had arranged the
various formalities that would assure them of
their dinner, " how did they get you ? "
" Why not ? " she asked, amused.
" You are that unusual type of woman who
possesses femininity. People would have
recognized you for a woman in eighteen
She put her elbows on the table.
"You are delicious," she said. "It isn't
only the masculine woman that is backing the
equal suffrage movement."
He shook his head doubtfully.
" The whole thing is upside down," he as-
serted. " Here is a multitude of women and
men who bring forth the doctrine that woman
is indistinguishable from man and possessed of
all masculine attributes and call their propa-
ganda the feminist movement It is the non-
feminist movement. They say no such thing
as woman exists."
" I feel somehow," she said, pleasantly, " that
you do not sympathize with women in their
" Sympathize with them I My heart goes
out to them. I pray for them with tears in my
She laughed and then grew suddenly serious.
" Why shouldn't women have the ballot ? "
He waved his hand.
" It wouldn't be interesting to hear me rehash
" Certainly it would. Take this theorem.
If women are intellectually the equals of men,
why shouldn't they vote ? "
" But, my dear woman, what has intellectu-
ality to do with the ballot ? The ballot is a
thing of brawn not brain. It has been passed
up, so to speak, by women during the years
because it is symbolic of brawling man. It
isn't a man's intellect that makes us respect his
vote. It's his biceps."
" I don't think I understand."
He gazed at her thoughtfully.
" This is an age," he said, " of substitutes.
When I buy a city house for one hundred thou-
sand dollars this is all pure fable, of course
I don't pay for it in gold florins. I give a
check a check absolutely worthless except for
what it represents. Well. In the olden days
when there was a ruler to be chosen, each side
got together its voters and provided them with
spears in place of ballots. Sometimes a wise
head would win with a minority by means of
strategy just as at the polls to-day. But in
general the majority prevailed, after their op-
ponents had sampled the quality of their spears.
In our wise civilization, the piece of paper called
the ballot simply represents a man with a spear
or a Winchester rifle, as the case may be. It
does not represent intellect."
She looked at him keenly, but did not reply.
" One thing which most people fail to con-
sider," he went on, " is the fact that had it not
been for the efforts and the finer feelings of
men, the propaganda of equal suffrage would
not even have been possible. Our civilization
accords woman a consideration, which the
strength God gave her would be powerless to
exact. There was no such civilization three or
four centuries ago. In those days a man would
stretch a lady on the rack with the same care-
free spirit with which he now rises to give her
his seat on the street car. Those were times of
absolute equality of the sexes, when she must
expect to be treated just as if she were a man.
Imagine her then chaining herself to a seat in
Parliament and screaming at the speakers, or
conducting a hunger strike. The militant suf-
fragist is a person who seeks to defeat man by
virtue of his own consideration for her. She
exists as a result of the civilization he has per-
fected. She shouts for equality of the sexes ;
and what she really wants is a little more in-
equality. She does not go about her crusade
frankly. If she would bend her energies to
proving that all women, or most women, want
the ballot, men in this country at least would
undoubtedly grant it to her. But I sometimes
feel that in her heart she does not find much
excitement in having it merely granted. She
wants to believe that she forced it."
Her eyes had not left his face. She smiled.
" Is that last an argument," she said, " against
He spread out his hands.
" I forgot myself," he replied, with a whim-
sical smile. " It is useless for a man a mere
man to argue on the subject of woman's suf-
frage. It is a woman's fight. Her greatest
trouble is to convince, not men, but her fellow
" Are you a mere man ? " she asked.
" It's all one word," he replied, smiling.
" Man is simply the abbreviation from your
point of view."
While her companion had been talking, he
had looked around him, and spoken to several
people scattered here and there about the room.
She could not help wondering about him. He
had the confident bearing of a man who accom-
plished things. The people who spoke to him
did so with a certain amount of deference, and
she imagined afterward that they were talking
about him. It was a strange thing for her to be
dining with him here when she did not even
know his name. It added to the excitement of
it. When she had tried to fathom him a little
more she would ask him about himself and per-
haps let him tell her his name. She felt satis-
fied as to his decency of feeling, which was
credentials enough for the present. As to the
rest, it lent interest to the situation to have a
few things undetermined.
" Tell me something about yourself, won't
you ? " he asked, as if in evidence that he had
been pursuing a counter line of thought.
" In the words of the women who write to the
newspapers," she said, " I am a young brunette
of an earnest disposition except that in my
case I have lost the bloom of youth."
" Is it possible ? " he cried.
" I am twenty-six."
" Ah me ! " he sighed. " It is the heyday of
" But," she said, " I have accomplished noth-
ing. I am a prim old maid school-teacher."
" Few of us really accomplish things. Once
in a decade some one invents a sewing-machine
or a telephone. But that is grand-stand play.
If I could go to Heaven with a certificate stat-
ing that out of every two opportunities to help
the people around me I had accepted one, I
would have an even chance with the sewing-
machine man and the telephone man."
She looked at him with a warm kindliness in
" If you are a school-teacher," he said, " and
every day put one fine idea into a small mind,
you have accomplished a wonderful thing.
Think of a school-teacher sighing for more
worlds to conquer I " he exclaimed. " Why,
an old professor of mine, living along now on
nothing at all a year, as he always has, I look back
upon as the guiding star of my life. He was in-
spiration and incentive to me. And his reward
in life was to realize that every once in a while
he succeeded in sending a man out into the
She smiled appreciatively.
" And," she asked, with a new-born liking for
him, " were you one of them ? "
" You must not catch me up so quickly," he
replied. " I try very hard to be one of them.
But I am thirty-two which is twice as old as
twenty-six and have accomplished very little
of what I had expected to accomplish. So I
may not be one of them."
The man put dishes before them, and they
were busy for a while with the aroma and the
first taste of much-desired food.
" I find myself groping about," he said, at
length, " for something to call you. Have you
a name ? " he asked, laughing.
" Two," she replied.
" What is the proper way to go about know-
ing them, I wonder? "
" You have adopted it."
She told him then.
" Deborah Carver," he repeated. " I think I
like that name."
She bowed to him. A tremendous curiosity
tugged at her. She wanted to know his name,
yet she scarcely wanted to ask him so quickly
on the heels of his own similar question. The
mystery of him entertained her.
But presently some men rose and passed their
table. One of them, a round jolly man with
that air of intimate familiarity with all the
crowned heads of Olympus and elsewhere, that
characterizes your newspaper correspondent,
stopped by their table* and addressed her com-
panion with an air of simply wishing to say
" When is that bill," he said, " coming out of
your committee ? "
There was a silence after that gentleman had
gone. She looked at him with a renewed in-
" Are you in Congress ? " she asked, quietly.
" For my sins," he said.
" And which one are you ? "
" Fifth row, third from the aisle. Name, Lea.
John Marshall Lea."
HE looked at her in amusement, quite well
aware of what she was thinking.
" I am the ogre," he said, smiling.
She hesitated. She had the unconvinced air
of a person into whose mind there is no space
to fit an unexpected fact. The fact was unex-
pected and unbelievable. It was certainly ridic-
ulous for her, an avowed and active suffra-
gist, to dine and converse pleasantly with this
strenuous opponent of woman's suffrage.
" Of course it's ridiculous," he asserted, when
she said something to that effect presently.
" But differences of opinion are very unimpor-
tant things. My opinion on this question is
part of my profession. Yours is the result of
philanthropic impulse. In our moments of re-
laxation we leave those things behind us.
There is nothing incongruous in your dining
with me here to-night, and then throwing a
bomb at me on the street in the morning. In
fact, it would show that you did the thing on
principle and not from personal motives."
" I have no intention of throwing a bomb at
you," she said. " The trouble is if I am seen
making a suffrage speech in the afternoon, and
then trailing around in the most comfortable
way in the world with you in the evening, it
will cause comment."
" True enough," he cried ; " we must hurry to
shelter before that newspaper man returns and
takes a flash-light picture of us."
They rose from the table.
" I see that the only way for me to enjoy a
little of your society," he said, later, as they
approached the house where she lived, " is to
dash up in a cab, thrust you in it and hustle
you off to dinner against your will. Then no
one could doubt your sincerity."
" In that case," she said, smiling, " the rules
require a hunger and thirst strike."
" You give me no chance."
" Unless," she observed, mischievously, " you
change your opinions."
" A bribe ! " he exclaimed. " Madam," he
went on, thrusting his hand into the breast of
his coat, " all congressmen are incorruptible.
If you don't believe it, read the ' Congressional
" Then good-bye," she said, holding out her
" Good-bye. You know," he added, thought-
fully, " there is a great deal of very fine ozone
to be breathed on the housetops nowadays."
She gazed at him understandingly.
" But it is growing too cold," she said, her
lips firmly set.
He looked at her keenly, and then taking off
his hat, bowed pleasantly, and walked down
the street. She did not look after him, but went
immediately into the house.
This gentleman was an ideal person to let
alone. He possessed almost every characteris-
tic to render him objectionable. He opposed the
crusade to which she had resolutely decided to
devote her life ; and she could not run with the
hare and hunt with the hounds. Moreover, he
was entertaining and companionable and con-
genial, which barred him entirely from her
sight. Those were faults in a man which she
nun that she was ! could not overlook. She
had nothing to do now with men that appealed
to her and interested her. All that was behind
her. She smiled as she glanced at her reflec-
tion in the hallway mirror. She was a martyr.
Like old Saint Simeon Stylites, she sat forever
on the top of a high column and watched the
world of men pass by beneath her. They were
not for her. There was no love and marriage
on the top of the column ; nothing but the
storm and sleet of continued spinsterhood. The
whole situation was indeed grotesquely im-
But she had joined in a serious movement
with serious-minded women, and she must carry
out her part. As a famous suffrage speaker had
said, the beginnings of all great reforms were
ludicrous and excited the ridicule of the world.
Mr. Lea himself had told her that she must not
view her own ambitions with a sense of humor,
for that destroyed the essential element of confi-
dence. She looked at her trim, well-dressed
figure in the glass.
" You don't look like a martyr, my dear," she
said, " but I think you had best continue to be
She stumbled up the dark staircase. The gas
lights in the hall above burned like pin points.
Miss Howell met her in the third floor hall.
" Deborah," she exclaimed, in an elaborate
stage whisper that could be heard all over the
house, " Mrs. Dobson has been here nearly an
hour waiting for you. She is almost wild. I
never saw such a fidgety woman. She paces
the room like a lioness."
"Surplus energy," the other commented.
" Where is that girl ? " cried a voice suddenly.
Mrs. Dobson burst out of their room, and to
Deborah's immeasurable astonishment and con-
fusion, kissed her right on the mouth.
" Come in and sit down," she said, when she
" I hope I never have to sit down again," the
lady ejaculated. "I sat in that chair twelve
months waiting for you to-night."
" Sorry I was so late," the girl replied, peni-
" Never mind. I would have waited two
hours more. I made up my mind I was not
going to leave this room until I had told you
how splendid you were. I heard all about your
speech and the way you put the college boys to
rout. You have real resourcefulness. I need
you. I admire you. I adore you."
Deborah blushed rose-red.
" My dear Mrs. Dobson," she protested.
Mrs. Dobson sat down on the edge of the bed
for a moment and then bounced excitedly to her
" I mean every word of it, and I want you to
help us in our hearings before the Congressional
Committee. You can help us."
" But," Deborah exclaimed, awed by this new
responsibility, "I should make a very poor
" Why ? " shot out the visitor.
" I haven't the poise, the sangfroid"
" Bosh ! " exclaimed Mrs. Dobson. She
reached for her umbrella.
" Well," she said, " think it over. I will not
rest until I get you. But the hearings are a
month off. I simply wanted to let you know
to-night that you are a doomed woman."
She started toward the door, and then coming
back looked at Deborah searchingly.
" Has anything happened to make you regret
that you signed that paper? "
" Why do you ask ? " the girl demanded, sur-
" I have an intuition about things sometimes,"
she responded. " If you have changed your
mind, I can have the pledge you took re-
Astonishment was in Deborah's eyes.
" I am sure I have no such desire," she as-
" Good 1 Then think over what I asked you
She presently departed, a majestic figure.
Her skirt rode at an angle with the floor. Wisps
of her hair, unrestrained, blew about her uncom-
fortably, so that you wanted to take affairs in
your own hands and put them in place. But
in her bright eyes, shining through the gold-
bowed spectacles, was the light of determina-
tion. And when that foot, clad in its square-
toed, common-sense shoe, planted itself firmly,
it had the immovable air of a house builded on
"Of course she's efficient," Deborah ex-
claimed. " She has one idea, and she drives at
that. All her impulses are masculine. Imagine
her in a home superintending the dusting and
cleaning of woodwork, and the preparation of
hash from yesterday's beefsteak. She couldn't
" I think she is a tremendous argument in
favor of woman suffrage. Women like that
ought to have an interest in public affairs."
" If all women were like that there wouldn't
be any need of argument. They would march
up to the Capitol and run every one out of it.
But they aren't all like that"
" Sometimes I hardly know whether you favor
woman's suffrage or not, Deborah."
Deborah laughed softly.
"I am always a woman," she said, enig-
ONE day two or three weeks later, Deborah
walked into the Capitol. It was a very un-
residential thing to do. She had not been within
those walls for many a day. She had passed by
its glorious dome daily, and given but little
thought to what happened beneath it, except to
note that of late years Congress sat there almost
continually. The long session dragged on until
it merged into the short session ; and in the nine
months when there should have been a recess
for the welfare of the country, they sat in special
session until it was time to convene again.
To-day some impulse led her up the broad
steps and into the rotunda. The place was
filled with tourists trotting amiably in compact
masses after their respective guides. She did
not know why she came. She was like the
girl in the fairy-story who followed an invisible
thread in her hand, which led her on to un-
known places. The thread that led Deborah
was invisible and intangible, but it had a tract-
ive power. It led on through that circular
storehouse for statues, by the busy telegraph
desks, by the doorkeeper at his post, keeping
all but the elect from the sacred floor beyond,
up marble stairs, paused to allow a diplomatic
exchange of conversation with another door-
keeper, and terminated finally in a secluded
spot in the corner of the Members' Gallery. No
one could have been more surprised in the end
than was Deborah herself.
Under that dome is a diverting show. The
Speaker pounds the wooden top of his marble
desk, until the place resounds like a carpen-
ter shop. Conversation continues. Gentlemen
make speeches some audible, some inaudible.
The chosen representatives of a great people
lose their tempers and invite each other out-
side, pugilistic encounters not being furnished
on the floor of the House for the entertainment
of the galleries. A lull. A man rises, and
before you know it, he has launched into a
real speech which ends in a flurry of applause.
In the morning the newspapers will repeat it,
and perhaps fifty years from now your grand-
children may read a sentence or two of it in
When Deborah entered the gallery, the floor
of the House sounded like the drone of the
mob in Julius Caesar, A gentleman was mak-
ing a speech in a confidential tone to the offi-
cial stenographer, who sat in the seat directly
in front of him driving his pencil earnestly
across his paper. The House buzzed with con-
versation. But the man on the floor was not
talking to them; he was addressing his con-
stituents through the medium of the " Congres-
sional Record." The Speaker listened in a state
of coma. Deborah's eyes wandered over the
chamber. At length they stopped and fixed
themselves on one spot almost with the air of
being surprised at what they saw. John Mar-
shall Lea sat at his desk. She watched him
impersonally. If any excitement or interest
was aroused in her heart, she showed none
of it in her face. By leaning forward she could
have seen more of him than just his head. But
she did not lean forward.
Presently the man on the floor finished his
task and subsided into his seat. The stenog-
rapher, thrusting carelessly under his arm the
only existing record of the recent winged words,
rose, thirsting for more words. The clerk at
the desk adjusted his glasses, and with a poise
that was absolute, sang a short selection to the
The song, which like grand opera in Eng-
lish was more or less indistinguishable, had
something to do with the limit of cost of a
certain Federal building which the bill in the
clerk's hands proposed to raise from such and
such a figure to such and such a figure. All
this was as unimportant to Deborah as it ap-
peared to be to every one else in the chamber.
The place this Federal building was to adorn
she had never heard of before. She wondered
what was to happen next.
The Speaker seized his gavel and delivered
a muscular blow upon the desk.
" The gentleman from Kentucky," he cried.
" The House will be in order. Gentlemen will
He glared about the chamber. Bang. Bang.
The gavel fell again. The contented murmur
died down a trifle.
" The gentleman from Kentucky."
Deborah did not know who the gentleman
from Kentucky might be. She glanced at the
clock, wondering whether to stay longer.
She made a tentative move, preparatory to
rising. And then the sound of a firm, clear
voice, a familiar voice, reached her ear. She
did not have to look down upon the floor of
the House to know that it was John Marshall
Lea who had been elected from the State of
But she did look down upon the floor of
the House. Her eyes sought the speaker. A
tremor of excitement ran through her. He ad-
dressed the House of Representatives in the
same even, dispassionate tone that he had
used when he had talked to her. A whimsical
choosing of his words, a crispness to his
sentences, and the carrying power of his
voice mowed down the conversation about
him. He used no flowers of speech. He
was asking for the increase in appropriation
carried by the bill that had just been read
at the desk. He did not ask for it in the
name of the forty-eight stars and the thirteen
stripes. He asked for it by virtue of cer-
tain statistics which he read and followed
by a logical, concise statement. The whole
speech took two minutes by the clock over
the Speaker's desk. But she noted with a
feeling that might almost have been called
pride that all about the House the mem-
bers were listening. However, it availed him
After he had finished, a gentleman sitting
near the Speaker's desk rose impressively and
replied in a colorless speech that referred to a
certain goddess by the name of Economy, that
great name to conjure with when all other
deities fail. It was plain from his speech that
he was saying, though not in so many words,
that the House of Representatives was not in-
terested in the needs of the town in Kentucky,
that the money might be better used for build-
ings in Maine or California or whatever state it
was the respective members had been chosen
from. What is patriotism in one's own state is
extravagance in another man's state. The
vote was taken and the bill was, with a certain
air of nonchalance, voted down. Lea had not
touched deep enough. He was thinking, per-
haps, at that moment that to put through a bill
so special in its appeal, he must hold in his
hand a great lever to pry the House out of its
He called immediately for a division and de-
layed the decision long enough to send out for
his friends who were in the cloak-rooms. But
many were in the committee rooms which were
in the House Office Building across the street ;
and it is a long journey even by the under-
ground passage, so that he could not get his
majority. Deborah was as chagrined and cast
down as if it had been her own bill that was
But John Lea was not idle. He left the cham-
ber for a moment and returned presently to his
seat. Something in the resolute set of his mouth
prompted Deborah to remain. In a short time
a score of members who had not been there
before entered and took their seats. Lea
rose. She wondered. It would have been im-
possible to get the House of Representatives
under ordinary circumstances to reconsider his
" Why does the gentleman rise ? " demanded
There was a strange light in the gentleman's
" Mr. Speaker," he said, gravely and impress-
ively, " I rise to a question of the highest per-
The House held its breath. This meant ex-
" This question affects the right of a member
to his seat in the House."
The statement was serious and far-reaching.
Deborah could see the members leaning for-
ward in their seats. But they all saw the
glimmer of humor in his eyes. Lea was calm
and self-possessed. He had the situation in his
" The member," he said, amidst an absolute
silence, " is myself."
The House burst into a roar of laughter. He
had touched beneath their skins.
"If I do not get the appropriation for my
custom house," he exclaimed, " under the im-
perative facts I stated a moment ago, my
constituents will not return me to my seat
in this House and I shall not deserve to be
returned. I ask you now to reconsider and
pass my bill."
There was nothing parliamentary in this
unique method of attack. In fact it might
have been said that it was merely a subtly
transparent evasion of parliamentary proce-
dure. But in it was embodied a serene under-
standing of the natures about him.
The leader of his side of the chamber asked
him again as to certain facts he had stated.
The Goddess Economy faded into the misty
distance. Lea pressed his advantage gently
and skilfully. A gentleman rose and made a
brief speech full of legislative humor which ac-
centuated the good spirits of the tired members.
Lea had put rose glasses upon them. And
when the vote was taken again on the bill, it
slipped pleasantly through by a comfortable
Deborah looked at him when it was all over
triumph in her heart. He sat at his desk
just as he had before. And then he looked
up, almost directly at her, as though he felt her
She walked home. Dusk was just beginning
to fall. The sky in the west was a deep rose-
pink and against it stood the black silhouette of
the buildings before her. Lights everywhere
were springing into life. The new moon hung
in the sky. The sidewalks bustled with people
hurrying home. She turned presently into a
quieter street and she heard footsteps resound-
ing behind her.
" Miss Carver," said a voice.
She wheeled about.
11 Mr. Lea."
" I hope you will forgive my sleuthing you,
but I felt that I must see you."
"I sat in the gallery of your place of business
just now," she confessed.
" I know. I saw you there. I have been
endeavoring to have a moment's conversation
with you for some time. But you are more
difficult of access than the President. I prom-
enaded the roof one warm evening a week ago
hoping the starlight would tempt you. But I
think you were not in your room."
" How did you know that?" she demanded.
" Deep deduction. I saw the shadow of the
prim lady who occupies the room adjoining
yours falling on the brick wall beside your
window. You have said she talks readily. As
she was not talking, I assumed there was no
one in the room with her."
She smiled at him.
"Sometimes you are really bright, you
" I value your good opinion above fine
gold," he asserted.
" I wonder if you do," she said. " I am all
curiosity to know what you wanted to see me
" Is it true," he asked, " that you are expect-
ing to appear before our committee in behalf of
" I hardly know," he went on, " how to ask
what I have to ask. I have no right to ask it
as a favor, nor can I give a very good and
sensible reason for it. I want to ask you not
"Why?" she asked, evenly.
" Because," he replied, " your friendship,
your personality, mean too much to me to
have you appear there. To me you are
wonderfully and exquisitely feminine. There
are fundamental things in life for you
womanly things, motherly things, things that
have been important in the world for thousands
of years which are more valuable and dearer
to your heart than the mere matter of voting.
Why drag yourself out of yourself for a bauble
like that ? Your supporters in this movement
will say it is old-fashioned for a man to expect
a woman to remain a woman ; but I do. I
would rather you stayed on your mountain
" I could not change now," she said, in a low
voice, but firmly.
He looked at her keenly.
" You are certain of that ? "
"Very well," he replied, smiling. "I shall
have to forget for the time that you are you."
"I'm very sorry," she returned. "Wouldn't
it be better," she asked, presently, " to simply
come over to our side ? "
"'Again the Devil taketh Him up into an
exceeding high mountain,' " he said.
QOUTHEAST of the Capitol te the low-
*^ lying white marble structure that is the
office building of the House of Representatives.
It and its twin the Senate Office Building
are the last word in refinement and culture.
They are almost supercilious in their propriety,
in their studied correctness, flaunting their
architectural blue-blood in the face of the
sturdy old Capitol as though they would say,
" My wehd, old chap, don't throw out your
chest so. It's crewd, you know. It isn't done
at all, really."
Within are the Turkish baths and the restau-
rants and offices and committee rooms of those
fortunate or unfortunate, according as you
look at it individuals who have been chosen
by the people at home to be statesmen, for
which thankless job they receive a little bit of
money, the privilege of using their signature
instead of a two-cent stamp, the maledictions
of the public press, and railroad fare.
It was toward this white office building of the
House that Deborah, her heart beating at more
than its usual cadence, her eyes bright with
excitement, walked slowly along one sunny
day in November. This was the day she was
to appear before the committee and make her
plea. The leafless trees on the Capitol grounds
stood bare and gaunt in the sunshine. The
little gray squirrels, foreseeing the approach of
winter, scampered over the hard earth search-
ing for food, pausing now and then, alert on
their haunches, enjoying the pretense that they
were wild in the woods and that these humans
who passed were carrying guns for little squir-
rels instead of peanuts.
At the street corner, a girl who had been
waiting for a car ran up to her.
"Why, Deborah Carver," she cried, grasp-
ing both her hands.
"Where are you going?" demanded the
" I am a spinster lady going to make my
testimony before some congressmen on the sub-
ject of woman's suffrage."
" Dear, oh, dear 1 There is such a question,
isn't there ? How do you get time oh, but you
are not married. I am so busy thinking about
babies, and babies' foods and babies' baths and
those flitting evanescent things called chil-
dren's shoes, which are here to-day and to-
morrow are worn to shreds, that I have no time
to think of these advanced ideas."
" The foremost feminists say that's stagnation,
" But I like it. I would go through fire for
my children. Before I was married, I used to
belong to current events clubs and discuss
weighty questions and feel that I was stirring
atoms of intellect that might help some day in
the uplift of woman. The uplift of woman, in-
deed ! Do you realize, my dear, that there can
be nothing more glorious for women than in fol-
lowing out her natural bent and raising fine,
strong children for the world. Beside that the
mere privilege of casting a ballot twice a year
is too insignificant to think about."
" Even," observed Deborah, mildly, " if it
helped to pass legislation that was beneficial to
the fine, strong children ? "
The other hesitated as if that were a phase
of the situation she had not considered.
" The arguments for woman's suffrage," she
said, at length, tracing a pattern on the pave-
ment with her umbrella, " presuppose that all
laws to be advocated by women will be benefi-
cial laws ; that is, that the feminine intellect is
on such a high plane that no combination of
women will support legislation which it will be
necessary for the remainder of us to oppose.
Women will all act together as a unit for the
" Don't you believe that they will ? "
" I believe they are human. I believe they
will sometimes support good legislation and
sometimes bad. I believe that there would
come times when I should have to oppose issues
that other women supported. And opposition
in politics means endless activity. Simply drop-
ping one intelligent vote in the ballot box helps
" But if many women dropped in the intelli-
gent vote, it would help materially."
" Some women could do more. Unmarried
women and married women without children
or who leave the care of their children to nurses
would have an immeasurable advantage over
the rest of us. Winning at the polls is a busi-
ness in which organization and generalship are
the essential things. A woman who wishes to
be efficient in her home cannot properly give
the time to perfecting an organization and lay-
ing plans of battle. She has an organization
under her own roof that requires her to con-
serve her resources and is entitled to her first
consideration. No one has forced the care of
that household upon her. She assumes it will-
ingly no, in the majority of cases she assumes
it with enthusiasm."
Deborah looked at her companion queerly.
She remembered that, by the time she was
twenty-six, she had thought she would have as-
sumed that responsibility certainly with en-
" But," she exclaimed, " you are in the infe-
rior position of having no voice in your own
government. Isn't that a slur on your intel-
" No. I feel that the whole thing is merely
an amicable division of effort. Woman, by
reason of her ability to bear and nurse children,
assumes the responsibility of the home ; man,
by reason of his strength, assumes the responsi-
bility of earning their living and caring for their
political welfare. It is just the same as any
other division of responsibility. When my hus-
band and I were first married and were too
thoroughly poor to afford a maid, he took care
of the furnace and I took care of the kitchen
range. We made that arrangement because it
best suited our respective convenience and
strength. But I did not feel that it was a slur
on my intellect or capacity because I was not
allowed to care for the furnace too."
" But suppose you felt that he could have
done it better with your help ? "
" It would only have ended in the range go-
ing out. Wouldn't I have made a pretty figure,
my dear, explaining that I could do my work
and half of his as well ? "
" I think, Frances, the thing you overlook is
the fact that woman's influence will be always a
power for good."
" Why should it ? " demanded the other
quickly. " Are women any more immune from
error, or mistakes in judgment, or culpability,
than men ? Aren't they the same frail humans,
possessing the same average of faults and
virtues ? You are not introducing a new ele-
ment into politics. You are simply doubling
the present one."
Deborah started to reply and then suddenly
she was struck with the force of the statement.
" That is a new idea for me," she said,
" Then I shall not count this day lost." She
stepped out into the street to board the car that
was approaching. " Remember this, Deborah,"
she said. " God made you a woman, with all
a woman's weakness of body. And God made
them men. That is the fundamental idea to be
borne in mind in this agitation."
Deborah stared after the car as it rumbled
away, and then walked thoughtfully on up the
steep street toward the white building before
The Gommittee room was an ornate room,
and not the bare, bald torture chamber she had
expected. At one end a closely packed audi-
ence sat. They had been standing in line for
hours, and hordes of their disappointed sisters
were even now crowding the corridor, picking
up crumbs of gossip and hoping that something
would happen that would let them too into the
sacred precinct. At the far end of the room
was a long mahogany table, around which sat
ten inquisitors, to use a term that corresponded
with the feeling within her. The chairman,
drowsily awake, sat at the head of it and
directed the proceedings. Mrs. Dobson, her
bonnet sitting at the same angle at which she
had firmly planted it in her haste immediately
after breakfast, her square-toed shoes set res-
olutely on the rug before her, her mouth in a
hard, firm line as if she were a reincarnation of
the Sphinx, dominated the scene, dealing out
the time allotted her to her various supporters
as she saw fit.
Deborah found a seat waiting for her beside
Mrs. Dobson. The hearings had already be-
gun. A woman seated at the end of the long
table opposite the chairman was making an im-
passioned appeal, the feathers in her bonnet
bobbing emphatically as she spoke. There was
enthusiasm and assurance in her voice and in
her eyes the inspired light of a prophet. The
whole question lay before her like a map. She
knew her way around her conception of it
blindfold. There was something inspiring in
her sureness and her unmoved conviction that
she was in the right.
On the opposite side of the table from Deb-
orah sat John Lea. She gazed at him as he
sat there leaning back in his chair, his eyes
fixed on the blotter before him. It was evident
that nothing that was said escaped him. Oc-
casionally he would look up at the speaker as
though something she had said had attracted
his attention and once he leaned forward and
scratched a few words on his pad.
The next speaker was an aggressive young
woman with a tongue like a thin Damascus
blade. Her caustic conversation roused the
committeemen. They gazed at her with inter-
est and once or twice interrupted her to ask a
question, getting in return replies with a sting
that left the questioners discomfited. Lea
sometimes smiled at her sallies. Once, a
humorous gleam in his eyes, he interrupted her
himself, with the exaggerated air of a man about
to enter a den of lions.
" Could you tell me," he asked, pleasantly,
" how many women in the United States favor
woman's suffrage ? "
" All of them."
" Every one ? "
" Except a few old aunts and antis."
" Naturally," he agreed. " And how many
women are enrolled in your organization ? "
" Two hundred and fifty thousand. But with
five thousand Joshua marched round the city of
Jericho and the walls fell."
" Joshua knew the combination," he observed,
smiling, and let her go on with her argument.
The questions he asked now and then of the
women who spoke were direct and for informa-
tion. He did not attempt to " rattle " them or
confuse their testimony. On the contrary, he
was considerate and courteous. Deborah found
that her sympathy was with him. It was not
sympathy with his side of the question, but
sympathy with him as a person. How could
she help bring confusion upon the man's cause
if she looked with favor on him? But Mrs.
Dobson felt no sympathy for him. Every time
he spoke her mouth drew tighter, until it seemed
that it could stand the strain but a little while
longer. Presently she leaned toward Deborah
and said :
" We have just time for one more speaker.
I want you to take the stand."
Deborah sat up straighter in her chair. A
hot fire of excitement burned in her breast.
Her mind and heart were back in her own camp.
She had visited the enemy's outpost, so to
speak, and now she was ready to fight.
The speaker finished Mrs. Dobson rose.
" In yielding," she said, " the last few minutes
of my time to Miss Carver, I wish to say that
she typifies the spirit of the women who are
fighting for equal suffrage. Young, attractive,
with all the charm that could make any woman
lovable, she voluntarily gave up her chance of
marriage to follow in our cause and help us
fight this great fight. Nothing could be more
admirable and touching and forceful than that.
I yield to Miss Carver."
A storm of applause burst out in the room.
Deborah glanced for a fraction of a second at
Lea. A flush had mounted his face. Had he
known before what Mrs. Dobson had said ?
The applause continued. She rose and walked
to her place at the head of the table. A hush
fell upon the room.
She found that she was as cool as if she were
in her own school facing her pupils. She noted
the reflection of the lights on the polished table.
She saw the pattern of the vest on the ample
bosom of the gentleman beside her. Realizing
the value of the silence, she did not hurry with
her beginning, but when she was comfortably
seated, allowed them a moment of expectancy,
and then, catching them on the crest of the
wave, began to talk.
There was no sound in the room but her clear
voice. The voice was not strong, but it had a
quality that made every word distinctly audible
in the far corners of the chamber. She did not
attempt to rise to any height of feeling. Her
whole idea was to present a connected argu-
ment, which should carry itself along by its own
momentum like a proof in geometry. The
arguments she used had all been advanced be-
fore again and again. She merely selected and
arranged and coordinated them. She pre-
sented the whole question from its ethical stand-
point the standpoint of the right of the indi-
vidual woman to the ballot, without respect to
expediency. To her mind this was the strong-
est phase of the question. Discrimination in
the suffrage seemed to her unfair. That was
the citadel of her belief. And backed by that
conviction, she spoke clearly and impressively.
She could feel that she was being listened to.
When she had finished, the room burst into
a thunder of applause, in which some of the
men round the table, notably the gentleman in
the flowered vest, joined. She sat still in her
chair, gazing mildly at her white-gloved hands,
folded before her. The applause died down.
There was a tense silence.
It was broken by John Lea.
" Miss Carver," he said, quietly, " your speech
has been heard with more than usual attention,
and I feel that I speak for the whole committee
when I say we are all indebted to you for your
clear explanation of your case. The question
of suffrage for women," he went on, " depends
wholly on the women. There are twenty-five
million adult women in the United States.
There are two hundred and fifty thousand
women in your association. We will note the
testimony of you and your colleagues, Miss
Carver, as the expression of the views of one
woman in each one hundred."
A murmur broke loose in the room.
Deborah faced Mr. Lea.
" You must remember," she said, " there are
thousands of women not enrolled in our asso-
ciation who favor the suffrage."
" Undoubtedly," returned he, quickly. " I
simply call attention to the fact that no evidence
as to them has been presented to us."
There was no reply to that.
" It is perhaps unnecessary," Lea continued,
" as this is merely a hearing, for me to make a
statement. But I feel that it will perhaps facil-
itate matters during the remainder of the hear-
ings if I do so. I have made the point of the
minority who favor woman's suffrage I believe
it is generally acknowledged to be about one
woman in ten because I feel that it is the pivot
of the whole matter. Woman's suffrage is a
sweepingly revolutionary measure it is not a
thing to be decided offhand, or by virtue of
a theory, or from motives of chivalry. Men
and women are different in their bodies, in their
functions, in their emotions and in their mental
processes. It is for this reason that certain du-
ties of the home have devolved upon the woman
and certain duties of breadwinning and gov-
ernment have devolved upon men. This divi-
sion of responsibilities has been in operation for
centuries and under it the world has moved for-
ward to a high state of civilization. In other
words, it is efficient. That is the point I wish
He paused. Deborah found her eyes fixed
"We are now asked to give up an efficient
system," he went on, " for one that may be
efficient, but has not been proven so ; a system
whose adoption would only be justifiable in
event of its being shown that woman has out-
grown the present one. It will be necessary to
show that they have outgrown it not that
ten per cent, have outgrown it, but that the
whole body of them have ; that the terms
1 masculine ' and ' feminine,' which made male
suffrage possible, have grown synonymous,
that woman, in the average, is no longer willing
to sit peacefully beside the man of her choice
without her hand too on the throttle. The
relation between the majority of men and
women is that of man and wife. That is what
is intended in the scheme of the universe. The
woman's suffrage movement is made possible
by unmarried women, who have attacked the
world from necessity in a man's way, who
labor shoulder to shoulder with men, who try
to think as men think. They feel that their
sex, instead of being a prerogative, is a handi-
cap to them. They wish to establish a condi-
tion for all women to suit their own special
case. I make no criticism of this, but I say
there are other women to be convinced."
Deborah had listened with no thought of
aggression in her. Indignation seized her,
when he had finished, that she had no reply to
his arraignment of her cause. She had still
a minute of her time left. But, instead of argu-
ments martialing themselves in her brain, she
found herself instead struck on a sudden rock
of doubt. Was it true that her duty as a
woman required certain things of her merely
by virtue of her being a woman and that her
cause was not an attack against an artificial
system, but against a deep-rooted fundamental
thing against Providence for having created
her a woman ?
The idea staggered her. She was not
ashamed of being a woman. Her sex was
precious to her. In her heart burned a sting-
ing flame of resentment, of half-formed self-
accusation fired by the charge in Lea's words
the charge against them against her of
masculinity. Until to-day, she had not
thought of it in that way. The question had
not been complex to her. She had been
actuated merely by a desire to have her own
opinion officially recognized. She strove to
enter no alien field. Far above everything
else more important than any civil regulation
was her pride in her own womanliness.
In the midst of her absorption, she heard
the voice of the gentleman, the wearer of the
flowered waistcoat, as if he were speaking from
the far distance.
" Miss Carver," he said, " it has been stated
as an argument that you are so zealous in this
cause that you would rather have the right to
vote than have a husband. Is that actually
true ? It would throw an interesting side-light
on this question."
There was a hush in the room. Then
Deborah felt herself rising to her feet. The
tips of her fingers pressed against the polished
wood of the table. Her intention had been to
refuse to answer to say that the question was
too personal and had no bearing on the subject.
But an irresistible force moved her, put in her
a desire to lay her position accurately before
" The action you refer to," she found herself
saying, in a low voice, but quite distinctly,
" was taken because I thought it would help
the cause. It represented no personal prefer-
ence. I am quite certain, on the contrary,"
she concluded, the blood rushing to her face,
" that I should prefer a husband to the vote."
AFTER the first dazed silence, the room
broke into an uproar. Mrs. Dobson sat
as motionless as if one view of the head of
Medusa had turned her to stone.
" I told you beforehand," asserted Deborah,
reaching for her muff, " that I would have to
The other bounced to her feet.
" Oh, I don't blame you," she cried. " But
that Lea man. He avoids the issue. He
poisons the minds of the congressmen by say-
ing we are only a small minority. Does that
affect the righteousness of our cause ? If one
woman came here and proved that equal
suffrage was righf, Congress ought to pass a
law and make the other women vote whether
they wanted to or not^ If the ballot is a
woman's right, she ought to be made to
Deborah presently escaped from a crowd of
excited women and came out upon the streets,
now lighted with their electric lights. She was
tremendously agitated. She did not want it to
be considered that she was dissatisfied with her
sex. She had no fault to find with the way she
had been created. She was proud that she was
a woman. This new idea that Providence had
endowed man with strength for the purpose of
administering the belligerent functions of life
and woman with gentleness to deal with chil-
dren and her home, gave her pause. If this
were true, was her revolt against the domina-
tion of man, or was it against the decree of
heaven ? If it were true, did not the doctrine of
woman's suffrage become a mere dissatisfaction
with sex ? It was a dissatisfaction with a woman's
restrictions, which were all traceable to the mere
fact that she was a woman.
For the first time, doubt crossed her mind.
And she felt vaguely that the doubt was there
because a new element had entered into her
being. She tried to prove to herself that her
passing interest in John Lea was an incidental
thing, that she thought of him merely with the
same friendly lukewarmness she reserved for
Jane. She pretended there was no pursuit, that
his interest awakened in her no refreshed pride
in her good looks and her personal charms.
She pretended, in a word, that her satisfaction
that she was a woman was not augmented by
his presence on the scene ; that no primary emo-
tion stirred in her heart, threatening to drive all
other considerations from it. But it was only a
As she walked up Pennsylvania Avenue she
felt as if she wanted something to take her mind
off the subject that she had been thinking about
for the past week. She wanted to fill her head
up with anything that would adulterate the
strong solution of woman's suffrage that clogged
the convolutions of her brain. A bright light
burned in the building before her a bright
light that marked the open door to a wonderful
land of fancy a place of magic carpets which
whirled one in an instant to the far East and the
far West, to the mysteries of the dimmest past,
to the still deeper mysteries of the present.
When you say this palace of wonder was noth-
ing but a moving-picture show, you have de-
scribed it exactly. But you have described the
greatest gripping force of our modern civiliza-
tion ; the force that has changed the manners
and customs of our people, that has furnished
them with a non-toxic outlet for their desire to
be passively entertained, that has been mildly
diverting, that has stirred their fancy, that has
sometimes educated them. It is a relaxer, that
sweeps a man's own life out of his brain for a
while, and returns him again to earth recreated.
Deborah felt that it was a somewhat unintellec-
tual thing to turn her mind over to this anaes-
thetic, but there was a certain luxury about it
on that account. She approached the beautiful
female in the glass enclosure with a five cent
piece in her hand.
Within, to her unaccustomed eyes, it was
dark as the pit. There was a brass rail some-
where, and then, in the dimness, an aisle. She
groped her way to a seat close to the rear. On
the screen was a square of light where people in
the moonlight were doing unintelligible things,
which she comprehended no more than a con-
versation of which she might hear the last few
words. But there was a soothing quiet here.
The darkness was comforting and restful. The
tension to which her body and nerves had been
put all day relaxed slowly, with a luxurious
sense of passing responsibility. She watched
the screen idly. Of course she did not care
whether the gentleman in evening clothes kissed
the lady in the silk dress. But then she did not
object to it. It was pleasant to relax thor-
oughly, amid silence and darkness, and have
even the current of her thoughts directed for her.
It was diverting not to have to take sides
not to feel that she must either sympathize or
condemn. Therefore when the gentleman in
the evening clothes and his silk lady had pres-
ently faded away and gone back again into the
archives of the gentleman over her head, she
was rather pleased than dismayed to, find the
title of the next picture was none other than
"Stolen for Wedlock." It tasted of melodrama
and of emotions delivered to the consumer as
the raw product, but that was perfectly satisfac-
tory to her. In fact she was a little disappointed
when it turned out not to be painted in the pri-
mary colors that the title suggested. It was,
instead, one of those painstaking harkings back
to the far past that seem to be carried out no-
where so minutely as before the cinematograph.
The story was the story of the Sabine women.
Costume and setting and the archaeology of the
subject were treated with an almost too respect-
ful deference an almost too apparent striving
for metallic accuracy that instead of creating
an illusion dispelled it. But the romance of the
story was there. That is, indeed an indestruc-
There was of course embroidered into it a
special love story. There was the one girl,
more beautiful, naturally, than all the rest, who
escaped the throng of Roman youths who
swept down upon them, and hid in an obscure
spot, where they all passed her by. All save
one. And this one was a great muscular fel-
low, of the proportions of an Achilles, who up
to this time had found no wife to suit him He
discovered her, hiding, and, deciding that she
was satisfactory, carried her off with him, holding
her lithe, slender body in his sturdy arms as if
she were but a child. She was terror-stricken.
" Do you suppose," exclaimed a damsel be-
hind Deborah, suddenly, " I'd let a man carry
me off like that ? I'd slap him."
Whereupon the Sabine girl, almost as if
stung into action by this comment, struggled
valiantly for freedom. But the man simply
held her firmly in his arms and gazed at her
calmly, until she saw the futility of resistance
and lay there quiet and exhausted. Then he
carried her off.
The sequel of the story was that she lived
with him as his wife. She was forced to. His
strength left no alternative. But he was kind
to her ; and, in the end, she learned to love
him for his power and for his domination over
her, as well as for his fine character. After
the picture was finished, Deborah sat for a few
moments. Then she rose and went out upon
" Most women are like that," she said, " espe-
cially I myself. I am a true Sabine."
She sat in her room half an hour later. Miss
Howell came bustling in, loaded down with an
armful of tiny packages, which gave her the
appearance of having bought twenty spools
of cotton and had them wrapped separately.
These packages she set down absently in vari-
ous obscure places. Her hat and coat and
gloves she took off and threw down with per-
fect abandon. In the morning she would
doubtless wonder why one glove would be
discovered inside a pillow-case and the other
in the bottom bureau drawer. Like a presti-
digitator she talked all the time as if with the
purpose of distracting your attention from these
little feats of legerdemain.
" Oh," she cried, suddenly, " I forgot all
about it. How did your hearing come off ? "
" Fine," returned Deborah. " Listen to me,
Jane. Were these Sabine women you read
about in history real people, or was that a
fable ? "
" What a question. Why, they were real."
"You don't think it was meant as an alle-
gory?" observed the other, thoughtfully. "You
know what I mean, typifying the fact that
sooner or later some great, big, strong man is
coming along for every woman to carry her off."
" I never heard it spoken of that way. What
are you driving at anyway, Deborah ? "
" I'm striving to get your opinion," returned
Deborah, smiling. "You know I have been
thinking a great deal about the sphere of
woman lately. And sometimes I come to the
conclusion that there is only one sphere for
woman and that's to be contented to be a
" Every one is isn't she ? " Miss Howell
was a little bewildered.
Deborah shook her head.
" No. I have it dinned into me that woman
is indistinguishable from man, that she must
live like him, and have all his privileges. For
this some of them even go so far as to say
they will be willing to give up the privileges
they now possess as women."
" Now, I had a cousin in Michigan "
Deborah put an arm around her shoulder.
"Just a moment, Jane, before this biography
begins. I have something on my mind."
Jane looked at her full in the eyes.
" Deborah, are you in love ? "
" It is impossible for me to be in love. I
signed a paper saying I wouldn't."
"But suppose this great, strong man you
say comes into every woman's life comes into
yours. What are you going to do ? "
The other stretched out her arms.
"That's it What was the answer to that
old problem of an irresistible force meeting an
immovable object ? "
She looked amusedly at her companion and
going over to the closet began to rummage
ARE YOU IN LOVE
amidst a terminal moraine composed of Jane's
shoe-trees, bedroom slippers, overshoes, polish-
ing outfit, old letters and a score of things that
lady had been hunting for for the past week, in
search of a pair of pumps.
"What is it that is on your mind?" de-
" Nothing, nothing 1 " replied Deborah, on
her knees in the closet. " But did you ever
feel, Jane, as though you were going two ways
at once ? "
" That's one of the symptoms of intoxication,
isn't it?" demanded the other, seriously.
Her companion laughed, and dragged out
" Not quite," she said, slipping her feet into
the soft leather things. " It's the difference be-
tween what your mind wants to do and what
the atom inside you wants to do. You can
figure a thing out very minutely and thor-
oughly in your mind and decide on the direc-
tion you intend to go, but suddenly you find
there is something in your nature that holds
your feet to the ground so you cannot take a
step. I have been trying to make myself view
the world as if I were a man and I find in the
end I am a woman."
" Why, Deborah, are you going to turn anti-
suffrage ? "
Deborah fumbled absently among the things
in her bureau drawer.
" I am going to turn nothing," she said. " I
intend to go through to the finish as I started
out. If there is something stronger in me that
takes my own personal interest out of the cause,
that is no reason to back water. The cause is
the same and I am in it to stay."
Jane looked at her companion with transpar-
" Do you regret your celibacy pledge?" she
Deborah laughed and took from the drawer
a cascade of lace to put at her throat.
" Why should I ? " she asked.
Jane glanced at her watch, and forgot the
" Mercy ! " she exclaimed, " if I am going out
to-night, I must hurry to dinner. Where is my
pocketbook? I have to pay Mrs. Prouty."
" Right there in the waste paper basket, to-
gether with the rest of the things you just
threw into it," sighed Deborah.
Jane smiled happily and stewed about with
an air of great haste, gathering together all the
things she thought she might need, like a man
preparing for a dash to the Pole. Finally, the
door closed behind her, and she seemed to be
gone. But that was a mere figment of the im-
agination. In a moment there she stood again
in the doorway. Perhaps it was her astral self
projected there by some miraculous piece of
metaphysics. But no.
" I have forgotten my pocketbook after all,"
It was the real, flesh and blood Jane 1
" Do you know, Deborah," she cried, look-
ing in the purse anxiously, "there ought to
be six dollars in here instead of five. I'll tell
you why. When I bought my green veil yes-
terday you know the ones we saw in the win-
dow for ninety-eight cents the girl gave me a
five dollar bill, three ones, a fifty cent piece, a
quarter, two ten cent pieces, a nickel and two
pennies. Then I went into Stein's and gave the
man a dollar and one of the fifty cent pieces
and the change he gave me "
Deborah arose quickly.
" If you start to tell me about all the change
you were given yesterday, Jane dear, you will
never get your dinner."
"But I wanted to explain why I ought to
have another dollar," objected the other, wor-
" Go get your dinner," counseled Deborah.
" It will all come to you as an inspiration."
Finally she was gone. Deborah sat in her
chair by the window. She would go to her
dinner later. She did not feel that she could
listen to the pompous compliments of the
Colonel or the idle chatter of Mr. Derry. She
would go down when they had gone. It is true
that her coffee would be cold then, as would be
the tiny scraps of vegetables in the dishes ; and
perhaps the meat would be entirely gone. But
sometimes one has to sacrifice bodily comfort to
peace of mind. It occurred to her that what
she would really like would be a dinner some-
where where there was a stiff white cloth on the
table with the folds straight and sharp as a knife
edge, candles on the table, music far enough off
not to interfere with the pleasure of eating yet
audible enough to give the idea of festivity.
Perhaps it would be advisable to have them
play Shubert's Serenade. Oysters flavored with
Shubert have more the feeling of lyrical cry,
more that touch of subtle melancholy which is
part of the nature of the animal. Then there
would be food brought in under great silver
covers, preserving the air of mystery as to its
identity the air of uncertainty that piques the
palate. If you allow yourself to reflect that the
personage masquerading under the alias of the
Duke of Filet Mignon Rudesheimer is no one
but plain old Mr. Tenderloin, it spoils the whole
setting. All this Deborah reflected would be
much more satisfactory than sitting at Mrs.
Prouty's table, where the napkin she had used
yesterday at dinner lay at her place clutched in
a clothes-pin on which was written her name,
where on the wall opposite her was a lithograph
of a basket of fruit, wrinkled in its frame as if it
had been exposed to the weather or defective
plumbing pipes, and where her plate careened
like a vessel at sea because her place was just
at that subtle point where the tables which
formed Mrs. Prouty's festive board joined. Per-
haps it would be more enjoyable to-night for
her to get her dinner at a little restaurant down-
She reached for her book, and putting her
feet upon the chair before her, in an unladylike
but thoroughly comfortable manner, settled her-
self to read. The glint of the rising moon fell
on the window sill. She read no word in the
book, but let it lay comfortably in her lap, a
treasure-house to be consulted when the spirit
moved her. She gazed out upon the white
circle in the sky ; and as she looked she saw the
shadow of her own head cast by the gas light
on the brick wall opposite. She smiled won-
dering if a certain gentleman could have recog-
nized her by that silhouette.
Suddenly she sat rigid, still listening.
Of course it could not be a footstep on the
roof crunching the pebbles. It would have been
impossible for her to have heard such a thing
through the thickness of the roof and height of
the attic space. Besides, it was quite imma-
terial to her if it were the crunching of a foot-
step. If they were the footsteps of Mr. John
Lea, he was beyond her horizon. He repre-
sented several things she was sailing with all
speed away from. Her duty and self-respect
her manhood, she was about to tell herself re-
quired her to put space between her and this
man. He was the gulf stream that carried her
out of her course. Farewell, Mr. Lea.
She took up her book. There was a strange
tapping at the window where she sat. She lis-
tened. The tapping continued. She raised
the window and there, hanging by a string,
suspended from heaven, was a white piece of
paper rolled into a little cylinder and swinging
against the glass.
" Dear Miss Carver," it said, " to-night the
moon is full."
TO-NIGHT the moon was full !
She held the paper in her hand. She
had never seen his handwriting before, with its
small upright characters carefully made, and the
whole sentence arranged neatly on the sheet.
It was an exciting event. But suppose the
moon were full ?
She rose and went to the palsied table that
served her as a desk. With her pencil in her
hand she stood irresolute, and her eye wandered
to the tightly-closed trap-door over her bureau.
She shook her head and leaning over the table
wrote beneath his sentence.
" Isn't it beautiful ? " she wrote. " I love to sit
in this warm spot and watch it."
She fastened this to the dangling string,
whereupon it disappeared immediately. She
settled herself again in her chair and propped
her feet upon the one before her.
" I shall not take them down," she asserted,
" until he has gone from the roof."
She read a page of print that is, her eyes
performed that duty for her. But had there
been any great message of truth on that page
as there must be on every page of every
really important book, since Mr. H. G. Wells
has brought forth the theorem that it is sinful
to write a book which amuses people it was
lost upon her ; and probably she will never
again have a chance to make up that loss.
Her mind whose nimble feet rested on no re-
straining chair was on the roof in the moon-
A long pause. She heard no sound above as
of footsteps retreating. Then again the swing-
ing thing appeared and tapped upon her window
pane. She watched it interestedly as it swung
there, her hands folded in her lap. After a
little while she reached out and took it in her
" Try a coat," said the paper. " Will you
come ? "
" No," she wrote beneath it and tied it again
to the string.
She waited for him to go away. He did not
go away. The string descended again.
" Dinner together," it suggested. " I know
of a warm place with an artificial moon in the
" Thank you, no," she wrote. " I have been
brought up to hate artificial moons."
It is impossible to estimate what pangs that
reply cost her. Here was her chance to have
white table-cloths and Shubert's Serenade with
oysters. But her two feet moved not an inch
upon the chair before her.
Again the string descended.
" I will wait for you by the street corner," it
said. " You may choose your own moon."
She returned it without comment.
His retreating footsteps crunched upon the
gravel. He was gone. It rather accentuated
the humor of the situation that he should be
waiting for her at the street corner. That made
it possible for her to exhibit her control by re-
straining her impulses for half an hour longer.
It would be too late then to go to dinner.
What did that matter ? She would do without
dinner. She would put temptation behind her.
She kicked off her pumps and unfastened the
hooks of her dress, which presently lay in a circle
about her feet. It had been many a day since
she had been sent to bed without her supper.
She thought grimly that it was the best discipline
" If I am dressed for bed," she said, as she
hung her clothes in the closet, " I shall certainly
meet no man on the street corner to-night."
She thrust her bare feet into slippers and drew
on her kimono. She felt safe now.
Mrs. Prouty appears at the door.
" Are you ill, Miss Carver ? " she exclaims.
" You did not come down to your dinner. I
am worried about you. You are sure you are
" Perfectly sure."
" Though I don't know why you are not ill.
Think of a girl signing a pledge not to get
married. I am a plain woman " this was un-
doubtedly true, Mrs. Prouty's face not having
been designed as a decoration " but / say that
a woman's place in life is to marry and have chil-
dren. All these suffragists, and feminists and
old-maidists are not natural. I believe in a
woman being advanced in her thoughts, but I
say she oughtn't to turn her back on the duties
the Lord laid down for her."
" You are not modern enough, Mrs. Prouty.
The Lord laid down some duties for some
women and other duties for others. I am help-
ing in a great movement for the benefit of all
" Don't tell me ! " said Mrs. Prouty. " The
greatest advantage about the suffrage is the ex-
citement of getting it."
"When my youngest son," went on Mrs.
Prouty, " was a boy, he always harped on getting
a rocking-horse. Nothing would do but he
must have a rocking-horse. It was rocking-
horse, rocking-horse, day and night until he got
it. And then he rocked on it a few times and
at the end of a week he would have nothing to
do with it. That's the way I say the women
are going to be with this suffrage question."
Mrs. Prouty at length disappeared, as all
Mrs. Prouty s will in the course of time. Deb-
orah thought of the man outside. The clock
on her bureau said half-past seven. How long
would he wait on the street corner? It had
been a half hour now since he had left the roof.
Surely he would not wait much longer.
Presently one of the other boarders in the
house rapped on the door and said some one
wanted to speak to her on the telephone. Her
heart gave a bound. But he could not be tele-
phoning, for he did not know Mrs. Prouty's
name. The telephone was in the dark space at
the foot of the stair. She pattered down, her
heart full of excitement. But it was not John
Lea. Instead it was Bobby Mitchell.
" Listen, Debby," said he, " what are you do-
There was a caress in every sentence Bobby
spoke to a girl. He stroked her with his con-
" Principally nothing," responded Deborah,
not feeling it advisable to tell him exactly.
" Let's go somewhere."
" I can't," she cried. " I I haven't had my
This was a good excuse.
"That's me. We'll go together," replied
" Bobby, one dinner is enough for you."
" I can get along with it, but two is better for
" You're perfectly silly."
" How about that ? Is it a go ? "
" I have to eat," she said at length. " Well,
" Bully. I'll be there in thirteen minutes."
Deborah hung up her receiver.
" I wish I hadn't done that," she said.
She went up to her room and tore into her
clothes. There hung the string dangling be-
side her window. Why hadn't she gone with
him when he had asked her ? It was her pride.
She had been afraid to acknowledge that she
was a Sabine. She had been afraid to acknowl-
edge that she had wanted to go with him. That
act would not have brought confusion upon the
whole suffragist cause. Nor would it have
proved what she feared in her heart, that for
once she had found a person whose wish she
was only too willing to follow.
She turned low her light and stumbled down
the dark stairs. It was almost time for Bobby
to arrive. She sat on the hall-seat in the dim,
" I hope he doesn't come," she said.
She went out upon the front steps to look for
him. No machine was in sight. The streets to
north and south were empty, except She
stood perfectly rigid on the steps. Beneath the
lamp at the street corner, his cane tucked un-
der his arm, his hands thrust deep into his
pockets, his head bent, paced John Marshall
Lea, with true Mohammedan patience, waiting.
She stared at him. Her eyes filled. She stood
for a moment hesitating and then ran into the
" Mrs. Prouty," she said to that person com-
ing down the stairs, " if Mr. Mitchell comes,
tell him I couldn't wait. I will explain to him
She closed the door and ran lightly down the
steps. She hurried along the sidewalk to the
corner and laying her fingers on the soft woolly
fabric of his coat sleeve, said :
" And where shall we go ? "
HE turned toward her. An expression of
surprised wonder lit up his face. He
held out his hand and she felt his slender fingers
clasp hers in a firm grip.
" The same moon," he observed, waving his
other hand with a smile toward the sky, " that
we were speaking of."
She looked up at the circle thoughtfully.
" I thought," she said, " you would have
grown tired and be gone by now."
" And peradventure I should," he returned,
" in the course of another hour or so."
She glanced at him with an unaccustomed
shyness and laughed.
"Your first question to me," he went on,
" which I do not as yet seem to have found
time to answer, was as to where we should go.
Have you any preference ? "
" None at all."
A taxicab turned the corner and rolled down
the street with an air of uninhabited loneliness.
Lea made a sign with his cane and the car
stopped at the curb. Deborah stepped in.
" Congress Hall," he said, addressing the
driver. " I hope you don't mind," he contin-
ued, when he sat beside her, "a hotel away
down there on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.
They have jolly things to eat."
" I prefer it to be a little secluded. I feel as
if I were doing an adventurous thing in appear-
ing coolly in public with you."
" Never mind. I'll wager Molly Pitcher used
to meet Lord Cornwallis for a quiet dinner oc-
casionally when no one was looking. All you
great women of history have to have your fling."
" You did not tell me," she observed, irrele-
vantly, " that there was a circle around our
moon. It is going to snow."
" Let the blizzard come now that you are
" Why did you want to see me ? " she asked,
glancing curiously at him out of the corners of
" Why, indeed ? " he returned. " Isn't a con-
gressman to be allowed sunshine in his life ? I
had to see you. It was a natural law, like the
law of gravitation."
A faint flush came out on her cheeks
" Why was it so imperative just now ? " she
He looked at her smiling.
" All my life," he said, half to himself, " seems
to be just now."
The machine drew up at a porte-cochere.
" The port of entry," he announced, " of the
Within, they sat down at the identical table
she had thought about, with folds in the snowy
cloth straight and sharp. And when the defer-
ential Ganymede, with his book, bent over Mr.
Lea, she was thrilled to hear the exciting mys-
teries he was directed to write on the sheet.
" I am thoroughly excited," she exclaimed.
" One of the greatest pleasures," he said,
" of being 1 young and twenty-six, is the still-re-
maining talent you have to give yourself over
to high spirits."
" Young and twenty-six," she exclaimed, as
though she would call attention to the contrast
of the words. But for the first time in a long
while she felt the blood in her veins was in-
A clock somewhere was striking eight when
the advance guard of their dinner bore down
upon them. If it is ill-bred to be hungry, Deb-
orah was in very bad form that night. She
confessed to him presently that such a dinner
had been the thing she was thinking of when
she should have been sitting at Mrs. Prouty's
" And when I asked her," he exclaimed,
" she cried ' No ' as briskly as she could 1 "
She bent over her plate.
" Don't you know what a woman's ' No ' is
said to mean ? " she murmured, without look-
" Until this moment I didn't. But in the fu-
ture I shall remember it. I may need to re-
member it," he added.
He looked at her steadily. She raised her
eyes until they met his.
" But sometimes," she said, smiling sweetly,
" it means ' No.' "
" Doubtless if a fellow could but determine
Presently a tall, distinguished gentleman,
whose features were strangely familiar to Deb-
orah, perhaps from having seen them repro-
duced in the papers, rose from a table near
them. It was hard to tell in what the distinc-
tion of him lay. There was a carelessness
about his dress, as though that were one of the
smaller things in life he found not quite enough
time to care for. The distinction was perhaps
in the softness of his eye and the firmness of
his mouth, Deborah would have taken him
for a great man anywhere.
He glanced about him, and when his eye fell
upon her companion, he smiled, with a frank
air of pleasure. Deborah's heart beat faster
with a violent pride she could not suppress for
the man before her. The distinguished gentle-
man came to their table, holding out his hand
to Lea. When Lea introduced him to her, she
found he was indeed the great man she had
supposed he was.
" I imagine Mr. Lea is endeavoring to poison
your mind against the doctrine of equal suf-
frage," he said, with a smile that had a frank
and boyish sweetness in it.
Her companion answered for her.
" No," he exclaimed, " a long, bitter ' no.' "
11 1 am of the other persuasion," she said.
" Ah 1 " returned their visitor, " I sympathize
with you. I once said in a speech that women
did not need to vote so much as the country
needed to have them vote."
" There," cried Deborah, darting her com-
panion a look with an air of triumph she could
not help thinking even then was almost con-
jugal. She did not see the Great Man glance
at her keenly, as though he were trying to de-
" See, Miss Carver, he's dumb. He has no
argument against us. What do you think of
it, Lea? Didn't I strike the nail on the head ? "
" Not at all," returned Lea, smiling.
The other drew out a chair and sat down.
" You don't agree with me ?"
" Your statement is too poetic. It throws a
rose-glow over the question, whereas what it
really needs is white daylight. The advocates
of this cause have something to prove. If they
represent it to all women as a duty and a means
of obtaining absolute results, they must prove
that to them. The test of their case is whether
the women themselves support it. Then we can
legislate. At present, what data have I as to
what the women want when I am asked to vote
on an equal suffrage amendment?"
The Great Man smiled. Lea began to laugh.
" There are some things concerning women,"
he went on, " upon which I think Congress
could legislate without such data. They might
with propriety pass a law that no woman's
gown should have more than twenty-four hooks
and eyes up the back, for most congressmen
have to fasten their wives' dresses. All the
data in that case is at their finger-tips, so to
speak. But not so the suffrage."
" Isn't it the duty of Congress, then, to find
out about it ? " asked the Great Man.
Lea's eyes brightened.
" I think so. I have prepared a bill I shall
one day introduce into Congress which provides
that women shall once a year vote upon the
question of the suffrage. When a majority
favors it, the suffrage is to become a law. If no
majority favors it after five votes, the matter
will be dropped and the people in the country
allowed to rest and recuperate."
"He speaks of the question as if it were the
great London plague."
Their visitor rose.
" You and I have to smile, Miss Carver, at
the way it has undermined his reason. How-
ever, upon all other questions I feel he is a re-
markable young man."
He shook hands with them both. Then turn-
ing to her with a quizzical smile, he said :
" I am sure I shouldn't worry about what he
said on the subject of the twenty-four hooks and
eyes. I scarcely think he means it."
He bowed gravely and took his departure.
For some reason Deborah blushed red as the
flowers before her.
WHEN they came out upon the pavement
it was snowing. The white flakes swirled
along the street. The automobiles, drawn up
at the curb, were covered with a thin layer of
white. In the angle of the wall chauffeurs stood,
their fur collars drawn up about their ears.
There was in the air the pleasant silence that
comes with falling snow. As she looked up the
flakes seemed to come suddenly out of nowhere
" We had best go in," said he, " until I can get
But she ran quickly down the steps.
" Oh, no," she cried. " I want to walk a
Out from beneath the shelter of the marquise,
the falling flakes dropped upon her upturned
face and her hair. Her twenty-six years became
thirteen at the touch of it. Will the memory
of that childish ecstasy that was once wont to
appear simultaneously with the first fall of snow
ever vanish entirely from us ?
The white things began industriously to build
a superimposed dome upon Lea's hat. Their
shoulders and the fronts of their coats were
powdered as if they were some baker's products
dusted with sugar. As they walked they kicked
little storms of snow before them.
The office building of the House, cold and
white, with the still whiter high light of the
storm on its balustrades and sills, threw a warm
yellow light from its windows on the lacy
covering that lay without. The Library of
Congress, a-sprinkle with lights behind the net-
work of trees, reared its gilt dome indistinctly
through the flurrying snow. The myriad of
tree branches gathered snow, evergreens thrust
their heads solemnly into white cowls, know-
ing all the while they were no better than just
ordinary trees, the homely copings and posts
of the Capitol grounds took on a coat of ermine
and stood transformed like the ugly duckling
The whitened terraces of the Capitol were as
deserted as if no man's foot had ever trod
there. She stood for a moment looking up at
the west front. The snow clung here and there
in patches to the gray stonework of the end
wing, but found no lodgment on the smoothly-
painted surfaces of the old centre portion, which
shone very white in the diffused light of the
hidden moon. The great dome reared itself to
impossible heights through the falling flakes
until its white-crested statue lost itself against
" All this," she said, " was built so you might
have a seat in there."
He nodded smiling. She stopped by the
broad balustrade and wrote :
John Marshall Lea,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
He laughed good-humoredly.
" The snow," he said, " is more truthful. It
is beginning already to erase the statement."
She looked at the balustrade.
" Do you often," she asked, " come out and
walk on this ? "
" I should be afraid."
She put her hand on his shoulder and raised
herself to the broad, flat surface. He held the
hand as he would a child's and walked beside
her, captivated by her youth. The spirit of it
was contagious. The hand carried a not quite
understood emotion down to him, as though
that contact had completed a circuit that had
long been broken.
She smiled at him. It seemed then as if the
rest of the world had purposely left them alone
there in this place which hundreds of people
crowded daily and which now was left solely to
them. The Capitol of the United States was
their possession for the moment. To him it
seemed, in a fine exhilaration, as if the whole
world was theirs. She appeared to feel what was
in his mind. She stood still, and leaned over,
supporting herself with a hand on his shoulder.
"What were you thinking?" she asked,
He caught the hand both hands in his
"I am thinking now," he said, laughing,
"that I am in possession of you."
" Are you ? " she asked.
He looked up eagerly.
"Didn't you say a moment ago that the god-
dess on the dome was lost in the clouds ? " he
said. " I think she is here."
She smiled down at him.
" I like your conversation," she cried. " I
must come down."
She bore her weight on her arms and
dropped lightly to the pavement beside him.
" It isn't necessary," she continued, sweetly,
looking calmly at him, her face quite near to
him, " to hold my hands now."
" It was not necessity," he returned, calmly,
" that was the mother of this inventioh in the
He placed her hands together before her so
that she had the air of Joan of Arc receiving
the blessing of the angel, and reluctantly with-
drew his own. There was a moment of silence.
She stood there unmoving, as if, as she thought
to herself presently, she felt to move would des-
troy the pleasant memory of his touch. When
she found herself thinking that, she moved im-
mediately and destroyed the picture.
" Apropos of nothing," he asked, " why did
you make that promise ? "
She understood perfectly well the promise he
referred to. So she said :
" What promise ? "
" Had I made such a promise," he asserted,
" it would have driven the thought of all other
promises I might ever have made forever from
" Then I think, man-like, you refer to a cer-
tain promise I made relative to my marriage.
A mere trifle."
She waved her hand with a perfection of non-
chalance, but she did not look at him.
" Look at me," he said.
" It is one of my joys," she returned, bowing
with a mocking smile.
" Look at me and say again what you said
about the promise," he persisted.
She backed up against the balustrade, with
a fascinating air of defending herself. The eyes
that met his held nothing but impudence.
" I told you once," she observed at length.
" But I trust you will pardon me not the
" Look at me again. Was it true ? "
Her elbows rested gently on the balustrade
"I will look at you forever," she mur-
mured, not doing so, " but I answer no ques-
" None at all ? "
With the toe of her shoe she traced a pattern
that went impudently close to him as he stood
" Absolutely none," she said, presently, look-
" I am sorry," he returned, " for I had a very
important one to ask."
She took his cane from him and began more
designs in the snow. But she did not answer.
She did not look up. The snow fell gently,
but she was scarcely aware of it. He gazed at
" I think you know what it is."
" I know what it is ? " she asked, studying in-
tently the head of his cane.
" I wish you would look at me," he said, in a
She tilted her chin up. All the impudence
was suddenly gone. She knew too well what
his question would have been. A subtle un-
derstanding carried the glorious, vibrating
chords of the music in his breast to the very
vaults of her soul. The mist in her eyes drove
all the impudence from them. The red lips,
once smiling, now quivered with tears that
seemed to rise in her throat.
He stood awed by the force of the storm
within him. And then with no word, no futile
human word, to express the great gift of Heaven
that abode within him, solemn and glorious and
wonderful, he closed his arms, like protecting
things, about her.
The wind blew the snow across the silent ter-
races of the Capitol. The noisy, lighted city,
lying spread out there at the foot of the hill,
made no sound behind the muffling blanket of
falling snowflakes. All was quiet. Two living
people inhabited the world.
SHE broke from his embrace like some start-
led animal and ran excitedly along the ter-
race toward the steps that led down to the
street. Her only idea, quickly formed, was to
escape him. She put her wet glove to her face
and brushed away impatiently the moisture
from her eyes. She ran not from the man be-
hind her but from what was in his heart. But
from what was in her own heart she could not
He followed but leisurely, knowing with his
unerring perception what force had broken
loose within her. But she ran on, hoping to
escape, carrying, as she was, all the trouble with
her. Down the long, slippery steps she ran,
scarcely touching the iron rail with her hand.
Two steps on the landing and down the next
flight. At the bottom the world seemed to slip
from under her and she found herself suddenly
sitting in the snow her foot, with electric cur-
rents running through it, bent under her.
Walking with much less than her speed be-
hind her, he saw her fall and fear gave wings to
his feet. He stood by her side.
" Don't touch me," she cried. " Don't touch
me," and burst into tears.
" You're hurt," he said, gently.
" I'm not," she exclaimed, staggering to her
She wavered pathetically and would have
fallen had he not caught her. She held to
" Just when I want to be miles from you and
the sound of your voice," she cried, bitterly,
" here I am, a foolish cripple."
He tore off his coat and spread it on the steps.
" Sit on that," he said, with a roughness that
gave her confidence. She sat upon it.
He bent over her and touched her ankle
" Hurt ? " he said.
" There ? "
He found his handkerchief and bound it
tightly about the place.
" First aid to the injured. Can't make it any
worse," he said.
He stood up and gave the situation thought.
For a moment she felt the luxurious joy of leav-
ing herself and the conduct of the affair entirely
to him. Then her indignation at her helpless-
ness caught up to her and she sat with com-
pressed lips, which he attributed to the pain in
her foot. He frowned.
" Must get you away from here," he rumi-
nated, aloud. " Cabs, taxicabs, street cars don't
run up these steps, though."
Chagrin, anger at herself, mortification, and
a still unquenched tiny fountain of joy that
bubbled into the midst of the sombreness within
her, left her silent sitting there on his coat, re-
belling at the submission of her attitude.
" I must carry you," he said, desperately.
She did not reply.
" Please stand up."
She made no move.
" You can't sit here forever," he cried, " like
the choragic monument of Lysicrates."
Unexpectedly, she laughed. Then grasping
the rail beside her, she stood up.
" Your coat. Put it on. You're cold."
" I'm not. I'm hot with embarrassment."
She laughed again a clear, silvery, suddenly
" At having to carry a lady who doesn't want
She put her arm gently on his shoulder.
" I do," she whispered.
The touch of him froze her to ice. He car-
ried a limp, heavy burden toward the street.
Her lips, so close to his face that he could feel
her warm breath, said no word. He set her
down presently on the coping by the gateway ;
and, putting two fingers to his lips, whistled
into the night.
They waited with the tense air of castaways,
hoping for a passing ship. Again and again he
whistled to the world beyond the falling snow.
They were cold now and wet.
" If a man comes by," he said, " I'll send him
And then out of the storm, like a full-rigged
barkentine coming through a fog, came an an-
cient but honorable night-liner. It was not
much of a cab and it was much less of a horse,
but it moved it felt the breath of life, as it
were. Even they, captious critics that they
were, could see that it moved ; and, being
dirigible as well, it was as a gift from heaven.
He carried her across the sidewalk and put
her comfortably on the cushions of the musty
cabriolet. The door slammed, the driver shook
renewed vigor into his steed and they all
rumbled into motion.
She sat silent in her corner, disgusted with
herself, hating him, fascinated with him, won-
dering at the kaleidoscope of emotions that ran
through her breast, alternating from cold to
fever, siding with him, siding against him, de-
spising herself, encouraging herself, wondering
that she should be so happy. The pain in her
ankle was but a small part of the ills that dis-
turbed her so small a part that she was scarcely
aware of it.
The lights without moved by, shining on the
snow-covered windows. They rode in silence,
she with her foot propped up on the opposite
seat and her hands clasped tightly in her lap,
he with folded arms and clouded brow. Pres-
ently without moving, without looking at her,
he said :
" I respect your promise. I do not ask you
to break it mere trifle though it is."
She wondered what she could say to him.
Her only refuge was in silence. He waited a
" I am in a strange position," he continued,
presently. " I want you with all my soul, but I
want you, many times more, to keep your
pledge, because that is like all the things in you
Tears stung her eyes. But indignation at
them overpowered every other emotion in her.
" You need have no fears," she said, shortly,
" concerning my ability to keep my promise."
" I have none at all that you will dishonor
your ideals," he exclaimed, " but at the same
He stopped. She looked at him wonderingly.
He met her eyes.
" I shall fight till I get you," he said.
She turned her gaze again out through the
" You will waste your efforts," she observed,
coldly. " I could not break my promise under
any circumstances. It would be published all
over the country. And one Benedict Arnold
would do more harm than a thousand sup-
porters could repair. I would rather die than
He disregarded the frigidity in her tone.
" I understand," he said. " I ask no favors.
But I find that when I need a thing very badly
a lever is put into my hands. I shall come and
take you as if you were a Sabine a mere
THE whole story of how and where Deborah
sprained her ankle, who the man was that
brought her home, how he whoever he was
discovered her, whether she had ever seen him
before or would know him again if she saw
him and a thousand other tantalizing details
that the unenlightened members of Mrs.
Prouty's boarding-house thirsted to know
was never given out to the public. The only
information that the curious obtained was Mrs.
Prouty's statement a quite insufficient thing.
All Mrs. Prouty could say was that on that
night about half-past ten or maybe it was
eleven there came a ring at the door and a
very distinguished gentleman very distin-
guished explained that he had found Miss
Carver with a sprained ankle and had brought
her home. Mrs. Prouty was that excited she
had run out in the snow in her second-best
dress that spotted if you looked at it. And in
front of her very eyes didn't the gentleman lift
Miss Carver from the carriage and carry her up
the steps into the house and then right on up to
her room, the flustered landlady following
after. The gentleman was very polite quite
the gentleman all the time. He put Miss
Carver, wet shoes and all, down on the bed on
the coverlet, and then, asking her who her
physician was, stepped to the telephone and told
him to come leaving a five-cent piece on the
table to pay for the call. Then he said good-
night with all the dignity of a United States
Senator. And the next day a huge box of
roses came, and the only thing that was on the
card was, " From an admirer." After that every
time any one at Mrs. Prouty's table discovered
a picture of a senator or a cabinet officer or a
foreign ambassador, he showed it to Mrs.
Prouty and asked her if it looked like the
But as time passed and no one was ever
identified and Miss Carver's recovery and con-
sequent reappearance at the table prevented
discussion on the subject, interest began to turn
to other things. Jane Howell was greatly dis-
tressed that Deborah had not confided in her,
but as she felt that it would be useless to try to
pry the secret from her, she did not attempt to
One evening in the early weeks of December,
Jane burst into the room. Deborah, whose in-
structions were to be careful of her ankle, had
been staying in all the afternoon.
" Deborah," cried Jane, " the bill for the
Equal Suffrage amendment was reported to the
House this afternoon without recommendation.
Every one hoped that the committee would re-
port it favorably."
" Without recommendation, you say ? " de-
"Yes. Now, don't you think that was
strange ? " cried Jane, earnestly. She provided
in her mind for Congress and governors and
presidents and cabinet officers a sort of super-
etherial code of conduct, based upon the con-
victions that grew in her brain ; and when any
one of these powers, for some complex reason
of expediency, failed to coincide with the course
she laid down for him, she knew that it was
due to a wilful and culpable perversity. In
this case she felt that the congressional com-
mittee could very easily have reported favorably
upon the bill, but they just happened not to be
in the humor.
" You know, I don't see how they have the
face to do such a thing," she went on. " Here
are all these women throughout the country
waiting and praying, some of them I actually
heard of a case in Ohio of a woman who took
her husband out on the back lawn and prayed
with him all night long for woman's suffrage ;
and they both caught cold I should think they
would, wouldn't you, just in their night-clothes
and nearly died. I should think when Con-
gress knows people want the vote as much as
that, they would be ashamed not to endorse
the bill with all their body and soul. I should
think they would praise the Lord for the oppor-
" Perhaps they conscientiously feel "
" But you know this isn't conscience. They
just don't want to bother with it. I think they
don't like to pass bills in Congress unless they
happen to think of them of their own accord.
They're jealous. They're just afraid that some-
body else will get the credit of inventing the
bill so they don't pass it at all. I know this
because the bookkeeper at our office, who has
made a great study of politics he knows all
the congressmen and the states they come from
and their first names told me about it in con-
" Did your source of information state, Jane,"
asked her companion, " when the bill was to be
voted on ? "
" My source of information was the evening
paper I heard the boys calling, ' All about the
Suffrage bill,' so I just had to buy a paper,
although usually when they say all about any-
thing there is only a word or two about it.
But it really did have a long account of the
thing to-night I meant to bring the paper
home with me, but I happened to leave it at
the milliner's when I went in to buy a paper of
pins. I left the paper of pins at the post-office
while I was writing to Aunt Caroline I knew
I simply must write to her on her seventy-third
birthday she has been so good to me, sent me
that lovely pair of gilt shoe-trees last Christmas.
But I don't care. I didn't need the pins any-
way I just thought they would be nice to
" Did the paper say anything about when the
vote would be taken ? "
" Oh, yes, that was what I started to tell you.
Why, yes, the paper said that an agreement
had been reached whereby the bill was to come
up for final reading and vote a week from to-
day. They just had to do it, you know. Pres-
sure has been brought upon them from all over
the country. They couldn't afford to delay ;
public opinion is aroused."
" Did your bookkeeper say that ? "
" Yes. He said the congressmen were in a
delicate position ; they didn't want to vote for
the suffrage ; it was inadvisable to vote against
it, unless they justified their position ; and they
did not dare delay."
Mrs. Prouty knocked on the door.
" Some one to see you," she announced, and
ushered in Mrs. Dobson without further for-
mality, in the same way she would have handed
in a package of laundry. Deborah greeted her
visitor with enthusiasm.
" Mercy me," cried Jane. " I had a dinner
engagement at six, and it is now a quarter past."
She rushed to the bed, gathered up her coat,
Deborah's umbrella, one glove and her pocket-
book and dashed from the room.
"Goodness," cried Mrs. Dobson, who had
been fidgeting about standing on one foot, " I
am glad I have more repose of manner than
"What do you think," asked Deborah,
" about the action of the committee ? "
Mrs. Dobson sputtered.
" It's infamous downright infamous and dis-
honorable that's what I think. I have given
out interviews to the papers to-day saying
that's what I think. The congressmen will not
enjoy the interviews either. In addition to
that I have sent out circular letters to every
Equal Suffrage organization in the United
States urging them to pass resolutions censur-
ing the committee for their action. The plain
duty of that committee was to report the bill
" That won't put Congress in a very pleasant
frame of mind, will it ? "
" We are not trying to. We are not asking
favors. We are demanding our rights. The
only diplomacy we propose to use is a great
" I don't understand the policy of antagoniz-
ing them all just now. If it is coming to a vote
in a week, I should think you would want to
rub them the right way."
Mrs. Dobson rose from her chair and stood
up before the fireplace.
" The whole thing," she said, " is all fixed.
We have found out all about it."
" They are going to amend it to death ? "
41 No, not that. They have decided that
would not be advisable. The bill is coming up
for the vote just as it stands. But, as I say, it
is all fixed. The members will want something
to hide behind when they vote against the bill
some very impressive, spectacular justifica-
tion for their action. They wish to keep under
cover until the last minute, run out and vote, and
then point righteously to a string of balderdash
and say, 4 There is my justification.' The bal-
derdash is to be furnished in the shape of a fire-
works oration on the floor of the House and
the orator is to be John Marshall Lea."
Deborah looked fixedly at a spot on the rug
and said nothing. Mrs. Dobson thrust her
glasses up into the region of her hair.
44 This rascal Lea," she continued, 4< knows
just how to frame such a speech. I can hear
him now calling the attention of the House to
the blessed and divine function of woman, the
sanctity of her presence, the glory of her mother-
hood, the inscrutable wonder of the plan God in
His heaven has laid down for her. And he will
caution this distinguished assembly that the
hem of her robe must not be dragged in the
mire of politics as the result of the action of the
House of Representatives. I can first see him.
He is a finished orator. There will not be a
dry eye in the House. The very ink-wells will
weep. The press gallery will be a cohort of
frenzied gloom. The linotype machines of their
papers back home will shake with sobs. And
the evening extras with two-inch high head-
lines will bring tears to every fireside in the
country. In the wake of that the members can
point without nervousness to the fact that they
killed the bill."
Deborah looked helplessly at her companion.
She should have risen to the same heights of
indignation where dwelt Mrs. Dobson. But no
irresistible force carried her there. Instead, the
thought of this compelling speech aroused in
her a thrill of enthusiasm. It was the same
thrill, she told herself, that she used to feel when
she read of the great orations of the old states-
Mrs. Dobson paced the floor.
" Something must be done," she said, solilo-
quizing. " We must win. We must spring a
surprise. We must beat them."
" There is only one way. I have tried to
think of another. But there is no other."
Deborah looked at her keenly.
" What is the way ? " she demanded, faintly.
Mrs. Dobson sank on the bed.
" We must get rid of Mr. Lea." Her eyes
bored into Deborah. " On that day we must
There was a silence in the room. An unex-
pected wave of hostility against Mrs. Dobson
swept over the girl. She felt an impulse to ex-
claim indignantly against the other's scheme.
But she held herself in hand.
" But," she said, for the sake of saying some-
thing, " they would only postpone the vote."
" They can't. They have agreed to vote a
week from to-day. They have promised the
country. They will have to do it. Without
John Marshall Lea there will be no speech. The
wavering members will have nothing to hide be-
hind. Driven out in the open they will vote
Deborah sought for a reply but found none.
" Well," cried her companion, " what do you
think of it?"
" Isn't kidnapping a man difficult ? "
" Nothing is difficult. Nothing is impossible.
Nothing is even improbable in a good cause."
" But," cried Deborah, incredulously, " will
you simply hit him on the head with a sand-
bag and drag him off? "
Mrs. Dobson laughed comfortably.
" Oh, no. Finesse, my dear. There are a
thousand ways. This is one. Listen. On the
night before the vote, it happens that Mrs.
Thingumbob I never can remember these so-
cial women's names is giving a reception at
her country home. Mr. Lea is going in a
taxicab. You see what a system I have. I
know everything. What is to hinder us, under
cover of night on a country road, from whisking
him off to a quiet place of retirement ? "
" Where, for instance ? " asked Deborah,
" Don't ask me details, child. I don't know.
Yes, I do too," she contradicted, suddenly.
" Mrs. Devine has a country house somewhere
there in Maryland. It is unoccupied. It would
make an ideal place for the incarceration of this
She rose and paced the floor. Presently she
paused and stared fixedly at Deborah. The
color rushed to the girl's face. Why was Mrs.
Dobson telling her of these plans ? That lady
did not usually take others into her confidence
to no purpose.
" What we need," said the older lady, firmly,
" is some one to carry this scheme through
some young person whose wits work quickly."
Deborah was hot all over. She could feel
the flush of a miserable embarrassment sting-
ing her face. She wondered what Mrs. Dobson
"Yes," she said, meeting the other's eyes
with an effort.
"This," said Mrs. Dobson, "is the most im-
portant single act in the history of our whole
movement. It is the chance of a lifetime for
some one to make history to write her name
down as the one who almost single-handed
made woman's suffrage possible."
Deborah felt the keen eyes upon her.
"I suppose, Mrs. Dobson," she said, pres-
ently, " you mean me ? "
"Yes, I do."
The girl gazed at her folded hands in her lap.
" What do you wish me to do ? "
" I want you to work out a plan of kid-
napping him and then do it. You can have
all the assistance and money and everything
else you need."
Deborah's handkerchief was rolled up in a
tight ball in her hands. The palms of those
hands were moist and nervously clenched. She
would have liked to flee from the room and
leave Mrs. Dobson and her schemes. She
would have liked to run away from the thing
inside her, all aflame, that she knew was con-
science. It was this conscience that assured
her of her own iniquity. Her wrong-doing
loomed up mountain high before her. Was
she sliding backward, was she failing to keep
faith, in her heart, with Mrs. Dobson and all
her inspired crusade ?
Perhaps she felt that before her lay the old,
old, irresistible pathway of every woman, the
way that God had laid out for her, the way that
led to a man that she loved. Perhaps for a
moment that mirage eclipsed everything, made
the crusade for suffrage seem like something
afar off. But it was only for a moment.
She would not backslide. There was no real
earnest fibre in her that urged that What if
she did proceed against a man whose memory
was a rosy picture, and whose companionship
was pleasant nay, exciting to her? What if
she did attempt to thwart him ? They were on
equal terms. If he must do his duty, she must
also do hers. It seemed like a Spartan remedy,
She arose and threw her crumpled handker-
chief on the bed.
"Very well, Mrs. Dobson," she said. "I will
SIX days later. It was seven o'clock in the
evening. To-morrow was the date of the
vote upon the Equal Suffrage amendment.
The papers had worked the people up to a state
of expectation and excitement over the ques-
tion. It was being discussed on the street
corners, in the shops, everywhere. Even the
sudden death of old Senator Hemmingway, one
of the foremost figures in public life for many
years, failed to furnish a change of topic.
Deborah was more than excited. She could
scarcely wait for the hours to go by. If the
thing were only done and over with! She
knew she feared that at the crucial moment, if
it required quick thought and quick action, her
sympathies would be on the wrong side; and if
the plans miscarried, she would always blame
herself for it. She went into the telephone
booth at the drug store. Her nerves by this
time were on edge, so that the slamming of the
door startled her.
" Mrs. Dobson," she said, presently, when
she got that lady on the telephone, " are you
sure about this man ? "
She could feel the very tension in her voice.
" Just as sure as I am of the existence of the
" He knows the proper place ? "
"Knows it backward, sidewise and front-
ward. Don't worry about him. He will carry
" What does he look like ? "
" Red-headed Irishman."
"Has he his badge?"
" Yes, he has it. Good luck to you. Don't
lose your nerve."
Deborah laughed nervously. She called up
Mrs. Devine and asked her an all-important
^ " Robert will be there at eight o'clock, my
dear," Mrs. Devine assured her, " without fail."
Deborah answered vaguely, and hung up the
receiver. She sat irresolute before the instru-
ment, hesitating like one about to plunge into
cold water. Then with a feverish haste she
took off the receiver and gave a number.
"Taxicab company?" she asked, in a mo-
ment. She could hear her heart beating.
She caught her breath.
" Representative Lea," she began, " has or-
dered a taxi for to-night and "
" Just a moment." There was a pause.
" Yes, to-night at eight"
" Owing to a change in plans," Deborah went
on, with cool deliberation, " we wish that
countermanded. Will that be satisfactory?"
" Perfectly," returned the voice, sweetly.
" We are always willing to make a change if
the service is not needed."
" Then you will cancel it ? "
" Certainly. Very glad to do so, Mrs. Lea."
Deborah drew a long breath.
' Thank you," she said, not referring to the
title by which she had been addressed.
She went back to her room and, with the
feeling of a man about to be executed, laid out
her only evening gown upon the bed. With it
she put her best underclothing and a pair of silk
stockings. When Jane bustled into the room
fifteen minutes later, she found her roommate,
rosy from a lukewarm bath of the usual Prouty
temperature, clad in the silk stockings and
pumps and a bewildering blaze of lace and rib-
bons, just preparing to dive through the skirt
of her gown.
" Mercy, Deborah, where are you going?"
Deborah smiled with inscrutable mystery.
" Sporting," she said.
" With a man ? "
" What a question ! I am a professional old
" You didn't tell me you were going out."
" Are you going on the street cars ? "
" Where are you going ? "
" I wish I knew."
" Deborah, you've gone crazy."
" That," said Deborah, " is certainly true.
Please hook me up in the back."
She was finally dressed. She threw a cloak
over her shoulders and running across to the
drug store once more, again imprisoned herself
in the telephone booth. This time there was no
jauntiness at all in her manner. Her heart beat
with sickening intensity. She could feel the
red-hot flush that flooded her from her face
down to her very toes. She threw off her
cloak, and hunted, with fingers that trembled,
for the number in the book. She hurried, yet
she was in no haste. There was the number.
She gazed at it blankly. She drove herself to
lift the receiver from its hook. She gave the
number in a strange voice that did not seem her
own. A long pause, during which the moan of
furies sang on the wire. Presently a voice a
clear, sympathetic voice answered her. She
wanted to hang up the receiver and fly from
that place. But she caught the telephone in-
strument in a grip of steel.
" Representative Lea ? " she asked, with a
sharpness that surprised her.
" Yes." The voice was brisk, but pleasantly
She set her teeth.
" Taxicab company," she said. " We prom-
ised you a cab to-night."
" Yes. What's the matter ? "
He could not have recognized her. Nervous-
ness and excitement had made her inflections
cold as steel.
" We are short of machines," she replied. " A
lady is very anxious to go to Mrs. Meddows' to-
night it is almost imperative. Would you
mind her going in your machine ? We are
sending a touring car she could sit with the
" Not at all," returned the voice on the wire.
" That is perfectly satisfactory. Of course she
must not sit with the chauffeur. I will do
Her hand against her face was icy cold.
" Thank you, Mr. Lea. We are deeply in-
debted to you. Our machine will stop for the
She hung up the receiver and covered her
face with her hands.
" I am no conspirator," she said. " I feel as
though I had been stretched on the rack for
Twenty minutes later, Mrs. Devine's machine,
driven by Robert, her chauffeur, drew up at Mrs.
"You understand everything," said Deborah
to him. " Mrs. Devine has explained it."
The man nodded.
" Yes, Miss Carver. I understand."
The whole thing seemed ridiculously melo-
dramatic and improbable. She took her seat in
the corner of the tonneau, feeling as if she ought
to have a black mask and a revolver. Robert
drove around the square and drew up presently
before the house in which John Lea lived. He
stepped down and rang the bell. The engine
purred softly. A person answered the bell, and
promised to inform Mr. Lea. Presently Mr. Lea
appeared. Deborah would have given a thou-
sand dollars for the privilege of hiding then
under the seat.
She kept her nerve. She was not one to turn
back, once her hand was on the plough. He
came to the edge of the pavement. She broke
into a merry laugh.
Lea looked at her.
" By the heavens ! " he cried. " You I "
She held out her hand.
" I never knew anything so ridiculous. I
simply had to go and we made this arrange-
ment " she burst into a laugh " I never
knew anything so embarrassing."
" Bless your dear heart," he cried, " I'm
" What can you think of me ? "
" You know very well," he said, gravely,
" what I think of you."
The blood raced in her veins, but she did not
dare to let her mind rest on him. From now
on he was simply her legitimate quarry. He,
being an exalted thing called man, could take
care of himself. Let him. He knew which
side she was on. She would play the game.
The car started. She leaned back against
the cushions. He gazed at her intently, noting
the fine flush of excitement on her cheek, but
not guessing its cause. She turned her face
full upon him and smiled with easy impudence.
The car hurried on, weaving a tortuous course
through the city, passing out of the busier whirl
of down-town to the quiet of the residential dis-
trict, and then to the dim and silent fringe of
"There is about three hours difference in
time between here and down-town," said Lea,
thoughtfully. " There the evening was just be-
ginning. Here the good folk are ready for bed."
" Their day's work is over. Ours is start-
"What is the matter? " he said. "Not in a
very festive humor to-night, are you?"
" Of course I am."
" Why didn't you tell me you were coming,
instead of trying to make it all alone like a
society reporter ? "
" Sh-h-h," she said.
" You're not really doing that kind of work? "
he demanded, quickly.
" Why else should I have come to a party
" I'm sure I don't know." He ruminated a
moment. " Some day you won't have to do
that sort of thing."
" What makes you think I shan't ? "
He looked at her calmly.
" I'm not going to let you," he said, firmly.
A bantering reply came to her lips, but she
found she did not want to utter it.
They stopped presently to put up the top, for
the wind had begun to blow and there were
flakes of snow in the air.
" When I am with you," he said, "it usually
" I hope," she said, idly, " it brings us good
" As it did before."
She made no reply. They were out on ma-
cadam roads now, flying along in the dark.
Their search-light cast a long white finger ahead
of them. At a fork in the road the chauffeur
turned to the left.
" You should have kept right on," said Lea.
" Fixing the road down there, sir," replied
Robert, briskly. " We have to make this de-
" The road isn't very good."
" Won't last long, sir."
It was a dark, narrow road lined with trees.
They went on and on. After some fifteen
minutes of rough riding they came out again
"This doesn't look right to me," observed
Robert touched his hat.
" It's a very long way 'round, sir."
" You had better put on all the speed you
have then. We are a little late now."
In response, the machine shot forward. It
seemed as though they were gliding through
the darkness without touching the ground.
Nothing was visible save the white glare of the
search-light. By shutting her eyes, Deborah
could imagine they were in an aeroplane shoot-
ing speedily through space. It seemed once
that they passed a man on a bicycle, but he
slipped by so quickly it was impossible to tell.
Presently they began to slow down.
" Don't stop ! " cried Lea. " It's nine o'clock
Robert made no reply. Just then they heard,
indeed, the chug of the motorcycle they had
passed. The chauffeur threw off his power and
presently the man drew up beside them.
" Stop the car," he called, briskly.
The light fell on the man. He had red hair
and spoke with a slight brogue. He threw open
his coat and showed his shining badge.
" You were exceeding the speed limit," said
he ; " drive down the road. There is a justice
of the peace here."
" We can't stop now," exclaimed Lea. " Give
them your name, chauffeur, and appear in the
" Against the rules of the county. And you
are responsible, sir."
" But this is a hired car."
" Did you give instructions to go faster? "
" I did. Yes."
" You are responsible then. We will keep
you no longer than is necessary for our pur-
Deborah thought those words were aptly
chosen. She lay back in the corner, not mov-
ing a muscle. She watched the tight lips of
John Lea. His eyes shot lightning, but he con-
trolled himself splendidly.
" All right. Go ahead," he said, shortly.
The man rode on. Robert followed with the
car. They drove half a mile and turned in at
the gateway of a dark, uncertain place. The
drive on which they ran led up to a dark house.
The search-light reflected on the windows.
Under the porte-cochere the machine stopped.
A maid opened the door at the red-haired
man's ring. The maid was Mrs. Devine's
maid. Within, the hall was lighted and the
maid switched on lights on the porch.
" Is the squire in ? "
The woman did not move a muscle.
" He is in the house yonder. I'll telephone
" Very good." The red-headed man turned
to Lea. " Will you and the lady step into the
squire's study for a moment ? "
Lea looked at the man intently.
" Now, don't fuss," said Deborah.
He turned his back on the man and strode
up the steps. At the end of the hall was an
"This way," said the maid, leading them
Lea walked past her. In that moment the
maid just ahead of Deborah held up a card
behind her back. Deborah read on it this
" Rescue party will be here soon."
She smiled contentedly.
She and Lea entered the room. The door
closed behind them. There was conversation
in the hall, under cloak of which Deborah heard
them turn the key of the door.
John Marshall Lea was her prisoner.
WHEN the key had turned with a barely
distinguishable click and the noise of
conversation in the hall had ceased and at
length the muffled thud of the front door told
of the supposed departure of one or more of
them for the promised justice of the peace, Lea,
assuming a sudden air of calmness, gazed about
him with a spark of interest in his surround-
ings. It was a low-ceilinged, beamed room
with a fireplace at one end. Along the walls
of the main part of the room were shelves of
Pulling aside the heavy drapery at the win-
dows, he looked out through sturdily wrought
iron grilles into the snow of the night. The
clouded-over moon cast a faint glow of light
over the world and in it he could see the thickly
falling flakes swirled past the window by the
rising wind. Already the ground was white.
The curtain fell.
"Snowing ! " he asserted pleasantly.
" Is it? " she said, smiling, from her rigid seat
in a straight-backed chair.
He glanced at a row of books.
" Let's see what the justice enjoys in the way
of literature. Peter Ibbottson, ' The Mill on the
Floss/ ' Sherlock Holmes.' Ah ! True to form.
Detective stories! The proper relaxation for
the legal mind."
He stopped by the door through which they
had entered the only door to the room and
examined its physical appearance carefully.
But somewhat to her surprise he did not try
the knob. Instead, he walked away and seated
himself in a leather-covered chair under the
light on the table. He picked up a paper knife
made in some fantastic design and examined it
idly. His calm disconcerted her.
" You do not converse readily, do you? " she
" You compliment me," he returned. " All
my life people have assured me that I had an
unfortunate sufficiency of conversation."
" That's just soliloquizing thinking out loud
like Hamlet. I mean conversation."
" It takes two to accomplish it. And you are
very quiet to-night." He looked across the
table at her. " What's the matter ? Something
on your mind ? " he asked.
She started. She felt like Lady Macbeth at
the knocking on the gate. But she smiled.
" No," she said, pleasantly.
The little clock on the mantle struck ten.
" Old justice," observed Lea, " must be in
the midst of an exciting game of checkers with
The wind whistled as it rounded the corner.
He raised the hangings of the window again
and looked out at the roaring storm. The
snow had piled up with incredible rapidity and
the wind was carrying it with such force that
the falling flakes and the drifting snow merged
in the swirling clouds that swept by.
" ' St. Agnes' eve. Ah, bitter chill it was/ "
he muttered. " ' The owl for all his feathers
was a-cold.' "
She leaned forward in her chair.
" Say some more of it," she said.
He let the curtain fall in surprise and faced
about with a smile. Without a word he leaned
against the trim of the window and throwing
back his head repeated the whole wonderful
wintry poem not to her, for his eyes rested on
the ceiling ; but just with the simple pleasure
of a person humming an old song. She had
never known him to be more wonderful. He
made the music of it throb with a new, living,
personal reality as of a master 'celloist who
lets forth the wonders of some glorious inter-
mezzo. She forgot the room, the house, the
eternal cause and the rescue party that had not
come. She thought only of him. It was as if
he were admitting her to the inner mansion of
his soul. And when he had finished, there was
a silence in the room as marvelous and strange
as if a celestial procession had passed through
it. They did not look at each other.
"And that," he said, presently, "was just
such a night as this."
He pushed aside the curtain again.
" Rough driving out there," he asserted. " It
is very wild. I wouldn't trust any chauffeur to
keep to the road a night like this."
She followed him to the window.
" This ought not to keep " she checked her-
self " to keep us from going, ought it ? "
" Nothing will stop me to-night," he ob-
She looked at him hard. Then she laughed.
" Old cock-sure I " she said, but there was a
touch of tenderness in her voice.
She sank down into a chair the comfortable
one he had been sitting in. He made the cir-
cuit of the room again, eyeing the furnishings
and fastenings of the room with an air that was
pleasantly curious. There were three windows
and one door. The ornamental wrought iron
grilles that barred the windows were let into
the masonry and leaded into place. The door
was of solid oak. Lea noted all these details
with interest and returned to a seat by the
Deborah, who had been watching the clock
while his back was turned, was too much ex-
cited and perturbed now to trust herself to con-
versation. She seized a magazine at random
and pretended to read. Old campaigner that
he was, and but too well schooled in the para-
mount value of patience, he glanced over the
books on the table and, selecting one, began
actually to read. The clock, viewing this do-
mestic scene, struck eleven in a peremptory
and disapproving manner.
The next hour was not more than usually
long to Lea. He had nothing to worry about
he was following that luxurious idea of let-
ting events take their course. To Deborah it
was months long, expecting as she did the ar-
rival momentarily of a rescue party from Wash-
ington. She read not a word. Her eye was
on the nearly stationary hand of the clock. At
the end of the several months menti9ned, the
hands at last dragged themselves up to the
zenith like two spent explorers crawling to the
pole, and the clock struck twelve.
" Goodness 1 " exclaimed Lea, closing his
book. " Midnight."
There was a scarcely audible tap at the door.
Deborah sat up rigidly. She knew the rescue
party had not come, for they would have made
a tumult of noise. The rap sounded again.
" Miss Carver," said a voice, " how long is
you going to sit up ? "
There was silence in the room, complete and
absolute. She rose, however, with easy dignity.
" What did you want, Martha ? " she asked.
" Did you want me to stay up any longer ? "
All pretense of concealment was useless now.
" Is there any sign of the other people ? "
" No, Miss Carver."
" Wait half an hour more," she said, at
THEY heard the footsteps of the maid re-
treating down the hall. Lea looked at
her with keen eyes.
" Now what ? " he asked.
" I suppose," she returned, " I had better tell
you the whole story."
" Why, yes. It has been gradually dawning
on me," he said, " during the past three hours.
I suppose I have been kidnapped ? "
" That's it," she replied, not looking at him.
" How long is this incarceration to last? "
" We don't want you to be at the House to-
morrow, when the vote is taken. You are such
an important factor," she said, smiling, " that we
felt it best to have you out of the way."
" I feel the compliment deeply," he replied.
" A party of seven or eight are on their way
now to get me and to care for you the rest of
the night and to-morrow."
She strove to say this casually, as though
there were no doubt in the world as to the ar-
rival of the party.
" Ah, yes," -he said, " and if the party does
not come ? "
" I shall make other arrangements."
" What made you suspect," she went on,
changing the subject quickly, " that you were
being that I was running off with you ? "
" First of all," he said, " I took the precaution
to look at the book-plate in several of those
novels, and when I found they all bore a rather
prominent woman's suffrage name, I began to
see it was not for speeding I had been clapped
into this strong-box."
" You have been very mild about it," she
said, wonderingly. " I hoped you would rave
about and tear your hair."
"Not yet," he returned, smiling. "You see,
the game has just begun."
She met his eyes then. He returned her gaze
with a pleasant steadiness. That exchange of
glances each felt was like the preliminary touch
of swords. She waited, studying him carefully.
The clock ticked on methodically, the only
audible thing in the room. She decided on her
course. She rose and held out her hand with
every appearance of graciousness.
" Good-night," she said, with a radiant smile.
He rose too, looking at her in surprise.
" Going ? " he asked, mildly,
" How shall you get out ? "
" I will ring for the maid to unlock the door."
"Splendid idea," he agreed, unexpectedly.
" I will go with you."
" You are not to go," she said, slowly.
He laughed easily.
" I shall have to be restrained by force then.
I fear that the seven or eight in your party of
reinforcements could have overwhelmed me.
But under the present circumstances, I shall be
compelled to take advantage of the non-arrival
of Blucher, so to speak."
She bit her lip.
" But I can't stay here. It is an impossible
situation. Surely you wouldn't think of "
" Not at all. I think your suggestion of hav-
ing the maid unlock the door is best. It will
relieve the impossibility of the situation."
She clasped her hands behind her and squared
" I do not propose to let you go," she cried.
He opened and shut the pocket-knife that lay
in his hand.
" Ah, there spoke Boadicea ! " he said.
" What good will it do you to leave the room ?
You don't know where you are."
" But I do. This is Mrs. Devine's house. I
know the country about here quite well. An
old college friend of mine, a certain Reverend
Richard Dinsmore, lives not more than half a
mile away. I should rouse him up in the dead
of the night, and in the morning he would see
that I reached Washington. You see I am not
The blood slowly mounted to her cheeks.
" But you cannot keep me here in the room
" I leave that to you."
" In twenty-four hours gossip will have car-
ried it everywhere. Surely you cannot let that
happen to any woman."
He stood with his back to the fireplace.
" I suggest," he said, evenly, " that you call
Anger rose in her breast. Her eyes flashed.
" Once," she cried, indignantly, " you told me
you loved me. If that were true, you would
not be willing to submit me to this indignity."
He strode across the room and grasped both
her wrists. Instead of breaking away from him
she looked up at him, round-eyed with wonder.
He gazed down at her, his lips firmly drawn.
44 You have pitted your reputation," he said,
quietly, " against my reputation your honor as
a woman, which I respect as heaven itself be-
cause I do love you, against what I feel is my
honor and duty as a member of the Congress of
these United States. That is something you, if
you cared for me one slight atom, would not ask
me to recede from."
She slowly raised her eyes to his.
" Would you have me recede ? " he asked.
" No," she whispered.
Suddenly his arms went about her and held
her motionless. She did not resist, but lay for
a moment in his embrace. Then she raised
her head and pushed him away from her.
" You are still, however," she announced,
" my prisoner."
" I always have been," he replied, quietly.
" And I have no intention of letting you go."
" Please heaven, no."
" You are speaking in allegories," she said.
" I am severely literal. My duty to hold you
here is as imperative as your duty to go." She
made a step forward and held his wrists between
her thumbs and forefingers. "Would you
have me recede ? " she asked, severely.
He caught her tightly to him.
" A hundred times no I " he exclaimed.
" What are we to do then ? " she asked,
He knitted his brows.
" You will not let me go ? "
" No," she whispered.
"And I will not let you go."
" According to the rules, then," he went on,
" we should both go on a hunger and thirst
She broke away from him.
" You are not serious," she cried.
He followed her and stood above her chair.
" I am very serious now," he said, gravely.
" I have a tremendous suggestion to make."
She leaned forward eagerly.
" What is it ? " she asked.
He seized both her hands and held them in
" You must marry me, Deborah. Now."
She caught her breath. The blood ran hot
and cold in her. She forced a laugh.
" You don't know what you are saying," she
He leaned over and took her face in his
" You cannot stay with me otherwise," he
told her, " and I will not let you leave."
" But," she whispered, turning her flushed
face up to him, " I have promised. I cannot
He strode up and down the room.
"My dearest Deborah" it was the second
time he had used her name " something has
to break. You won't let me go out of this
room. I won't let you go. You can't stay
unless you marry me. And you say you can't
She buried her face in her hands.
" What can I do ? " she exclaimed.
" You have two evils to choose from. You
have either to let me go or marry me. Choose
It was a long five minutes that passed. She
leaned forward with her elbows on the arms of
the chair and her fingers interlaced. There
was no necessity of choosing. She had chosen
long ago. She wanted him. As far as her
heart was concerned she would have let him
carry her off then wherever he wished and marry
her. But there were other considerations. She
raised her shoulders presently with the air of
dismissing the whole subject. He noted the
She glanced at him and caught the serious-
ness in his eyes. She reached up and took the
lapels of his coat in her hands.
"Well, Sir Fixit," she said, gently, "how
could two people be married in the midst of
such a night ? "
" Why did Providence," he cried, " provide
me with my dear friend, Rev. Richard Dinsmore,
but for this identical purpose ? You know," he
went on, presently, "this place to which you
have carried me is in the very heart of the Gretna
Green district, so to speak."
" You wretch ! " she exclaimed.
" Of course, I understand that nothing was
further from your thoughts than "
She bent a look of great severity upon him.
' " Now I shall never marry you," she an-
She stood for a long while by the fireplace
with her foot on the fender.
" We have been talking foolishness," she said,
quietly. " You know why I could not marry
you under any circumstances."
He strode over to her and played his last
and biggest card.
" You promised not to marry, for the purpose
of helping woman's suffrage. You are holding
me here, for the purpose of helping woman's
suffrage. Which is the more important ? "
" How can I decide ? "
" There is a telephone in this house. Call up
your headquarters, or your general-in-chief, and
She started. A light of relief broke upon her
face. It seemed to be the way out.
A knock sounded upon the door.
" Half hour is up, Miss Carver," said the
"Just a moment, Martha." Deborah rose
and turned to Lea. "You are coming with
" Do you promise to come back with me, if
necessary ? "
" I do," he replied.
She swept across the room.
"Unlock the door, Martha," she said.
NO one could have known, from watching
Lea's calm face, the tremendous impor-
tance to him of the outcome of that interview.
He sat upon the sofa in the hall idly fingering
his watch-fob and following with his eye the
moulded plaster pattern on the ceiling. But
each time Deborah cried once more, " Hello,"
patiently waiting to get Mrs. Dobson, he glanced
across at her expectantly. Finally Deborah
" Is this Mrs. Dobson ? "
Pause. He watched her face keenly.
" This," said Deborah, " is Deborah Carver.
.... Quite safe .... Yes .... He is here.
That's you," she observed, putting her handover
the transmitter. There was a long pause.
" You say they did lose their way .... Can't
get any one to come out until the morning.
.... But, Mrs. Dobson, you can see the posi-
tion it puts me in."
There was another long pause. At length
Deborah said :
"Mrs. Dobson, I can't stay here. I must
either let him go or " She hesitated. There
was the buzz in the receiver of some one talk-
ing. She listened. " I know. It would spoil
the whole undertaking .... I understand its
importance but .... Yes, I have another
scheme .... I could do it .... Alone
.... Yes .... Then listen How shall
I say this?" she broke off, turning her flushed
face to him.
" Just tell her."
"Hello, Mrs. Dobson. The scheme is to
marry him. Marry M-a-r-r-y " Deborah
turned to Lea. " She says it doesn't sound like
anything but ' marry ' to her." She spoke again
in the receiver. "That's what I mean ....
Lea stood up like a man about to receive the
verdict of a jury. Deborah spoke again.
"Yes .... It w a sacrifice. But I cannot
stay with him otherwise .... I put the ques-
tion up to you shall I let him go to appear
in the House to-morrow or shall I break my
promise as to marrying ? "
Lea waited. He stood behind her, his hands
" Is this what you said," asked Deborah, in a
second, " Keep him here at any cost ? " Pause.
"I understand. I will keep him here at any
He leaned over and kissed her hair. And
when she stood up, her knees shook.
"Hold me tight. Tight," she cried. "I'm
He held her. The maid sitting in the corner
by the stairs made no difference.
" If you do not want me " he began.
She put her hand over his mouth.
" You are the only thing I want. Hurry,"
He turned to the maid.
" Miss Carver and I," he said, with a calm-
ness he did not feel, " are to be married here in
half an hour or so."
The maid leaped to her feet. Lea seized the
" Dick Dinsmore," he said, into that instru-
ment, after a month of delay. " This is John
Lea. Please come over here and marry me.
Right away .... Bring a license clerk ....
Think of Peary in the arctic zone, man, and this
wind will be but the breath of spring ....
Ride a horse, walk, fly on your angel wings
.... Did you ever hear the story of the good
Samaritan .... Here is your chance ....
I am waiting for you by the wayside ....
Many thanks. If you knew how glorious a mo-
ment this was for me you would not blame me
for making this test of your friendship."
It was a strange wedding ceremony that mar-
ried Deborah Carver not like the orange-blos-
som event she had dreamed about a thousand
times no thought-over dress to preserve with
tender memories, nothing old carefully selected,
nothing new, nothing borrowed, nothing blue ;
no friend of her childhood to pin back her veil,
no organ, no guests, no friend at all save the
man she was to marry. But he was church and
choir for her, and in his heart she knew was
music more sonorous than wedding marches.
That simple ceremony with the deep-voiced
friend of John Lea's college days reading the
service, his eye not on the open book, with only
the maid and the license clerk as guests and
witnesses, with the man who was to be her hus-
band saying his responses in a firm, strong,
happy voice, she could not look upon with any-
thing save pleasure, and wonder and an all-
In a short time it was all over and on her
finger was John Lea's seal ring a strange wed-
ding sign, but becoming on her long, slender
finger. They found that Martha had set a wed-
ding breakfast in the dining-room with candles
on the table and all Mrs. Devine's best linen
and silver. It was not an elaborate menu such
as might have been published with effect in the
papers, but one of quite substantial foods which
were more than welcome to Deborah and Lea,
who, at half-past one in the morning, were fam-
ished from their long fast.
The license clerk, a certain Mr. Dobbs, sat
very stiffly at the board and shot back his cuffs
at intervals, blinking at the light like an owl,
and never opening his mouth save for the pur-
pose of eating or to yawn covertly behind his
hand. A cross section through his brain would
probably have disclosed the word "sleep,"
blazoned in large letters upon it. He was not
what might be called an ideal wedding guest,
but at least he had the virtue of being sincere.
At length Mr. Dinsmore, feeling that the oc-
casion was drawing to a close, or else having
compassion on Mr. Dobbs, rose from the table.
" I am sorry," he said to Deborah, " that you
have no bouquet to throw. Mr. Dobbs would
enjoy catching it. For though he dispenses
marriage licenses daily by the thousand, he is
thoroughly single; starving as it were in the
midst of plenty."
Mr. Dobbs blushed fiery red, as if he had
swallowed something down the wrong throat,
and had to shoot back his cuffs two or three
times to regain his composure.
Deborah smiled at him with something ap-
proaching affection ; for was he not the only
guest at her wedding ? Mr. Dobbs assumed an
attitude of a little more ease and murmured
something about the pleasantness of the occa-
"Good-night, Mrs. Lea," cried Dinsmore,
noting the embarrassment the unexpected title
caused her. " I have known John many years,"
he said, seriously, " and I know of no gentler,
sturdier, more comforting soul than is he. I
trust you will both be happy."
And then to her surprise and confusion, he
kissed her. Mr. Dobbs did not kiss her, but
shook hands with her with one straight motion
like a man shifting the gear lever of an automo-
bile, and then walked after Mr. Dinsmore, his
shoes squeaking impressively. Deborah and
Lea, through the window, watched them mount
their horses and ride off in the snow.
The maid was standing in the hallway.
" Did the chauffeur that brought us and the
red-headed man try to go back?" Lea asked
her as he turned the key in the big lock of the
Martha said they did.
" I hope they didn't run into trouble."
The maid disappeared, leaving them alone.
Deborah, across the hall, stood looking at
"Tired?" he asked.
He strode to her and she dropped contentedly
into his arms.
" Fighting for the suffrage," he said, gently,
" is fatiguing."
"The suffrage." She smiled. "Think of
fighting for that when there was this," putting
her hand over his heart, " to fight for."
He held her tightly to him. She buried the
point of her chin in his shoulder.
"I shall be happy," she said, seriously, "if
the women win their fight for the suffrage to-
morrow, because they have worked for it. But
I shall never be reconciled to having kept my
my husband," she cried, gripping him tightly,
" out of the fight when he wanted to be in the
thick of it."
He did not look at her.
" You are a glorious person," he said, huskily.
" But you need not worry on that score."
She caught his chin and turned his face
" Why ? " she asked, imperiously.
" Because," he said, gravely, " when the
House convenes to-morrow they will immedi-
ately take a recess for the day out of respect to
the memory of Senator Hemmingway, who was
once Speaker of the House. This is not gener-
ally known. It was decided just before I left
She lay perfectly motionless in his arms.
Her surprised eyes gazed at him as if her whole
intelligence refused absolutely to comprehend
the meaning of his words. Then gradually her
mouth broke into a smile and she laughed
aloud. She raised her head and kissed him
upon the lips.
" The reason I love you," she said, " is be-
cause I can't beat you."
i ! ;