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All rights reserved 

COPYRIGHT, 1918 AND 1919, 


Set up aid electrotyped. Published MaicV, 1 

Norfaooti JJheas 

J. S. Cushing Co. Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



Mildred Carver, U.S.A. 


A I extremely pretty girl came through a long win 
dow onto the veranda of a house set high above 
Torexo Park. The house had been built 
long ago by her grandfather, William Carver, a con 
servative gentleman who felt that his wish to live 
where he could look across the green summits of the 
Catskills justified the spending of much money. Many 
new people had come to live in the valley but no one 
could forget that his house vast, dominating, ugly 
had been the first upon the mountain side. To Mildred 
Carver who stood looking down the mist lined valley, 
the roofs of these newer houses were as familiar as the 
dark woods that stood along the hills, or the roads shin 
ing white in the blurred moonlight, as familiar even 
as the lad who followed her through the window and 
over to the edge of the veranda. 

Mildred had seen Nicholas Van Arsdale every day 
during the summer that was just fading; every day of 
the summer before, and of the summer before that; and 
every summer as far back in her eighteen years as she 
could remember. The Van Arsdale cottage had been 
built just over the shoulder of the hill soon after the last 
inconsequent lightning rod was set on the tower of Wil 
liam Carver s mansion. Memories of Nick at every 
height from three feet to five feet nine; in every stage 


of growth from small boy stubbiness to slender, narrow- 
footed, brown youth; in every costume from kilts to the 
smartest of adult attire, were hung thick in Mildred s 
mental gallery. 

Up to this year their friendship had been a happily 
commonplace affair, but now inexplicable things were 
continually happening between them. A year ago they 
would have spent the evening chattering with Ruthie and 
Junior or playing billiards or trying new dance steps with 
as many of the family as they could get to join them, 
instead of sitting together in the far corner of the room 
talking very young talk in tones pitched unconsciously 
below the ears of Mr. and Mrs. Carver talk broken 
by disconcerting silences which neither of them knew 
how to fill. A year ago it wouldn t have occurred to 
Mildred suddenly that the big living room "glared" and 
that she must get out of it into something shadowy and 
dim, it wouldn t have occurred to Nick that to follow 
her to the veranda edge was something overwhelmingly 
important and a very special privilege. 

They stood together now this boy and girl above 
the pulsating valley. They were not thinking much, nor 
were they conscious of any particular feeling. The 
Katydids were calling back and forth below them ; a 
belated whip-poor-will had been wakened into complaint 
by the moonlight; way off somewhere a hunting owl 
cried lonesomely. There was menace in the mist creep 
ing up from the valley and Nick edged closer to Mildred 
in spite of the great house full of servants she seemed 
suddenly to need protection. She leaned out into the 
moonlight and Nick felt a faint prickling of the spine. 
What had happened to make her so different? He knew 
her well, he had known her all his life and yet she was 
utterly strange ! 


A harsh regular noise troubled Nick which, after such 
thought as he was capable of, he discovered to be the 
sound of his own breath rushing in and out. He was 
unable to think out this strange phenomenon because the 
fragrance floating up from a bed of late tuberoses 
troubled him. He could almost taste the perfume ! And 
then the iridescent mist billowing up and down in the 
moonlight made him feel dizzy. He wasn t conscious of 
wanting to say or do anything, of having any impulses 
or intentions, but he heard his voice, very hoarse and 
hard, saying: 

"Mildred, are you cold ?" 

As the girl turned her head to answer, the moonlight 
swept across her hair in tiny rainbows and before Nick 
knew what he was doing, his arms flung themselves 
around her and he kissed her on the lips. 

"Nick!" she cried softly, "Nick oh, Nick!" and 
struggled a little. 

And then her arms, quite on their own initiative, lifted 
and went round his neck and she raised her lips again; 
and the little mist of pearl which had been slowly climb 
ing up through the valley drowning out the tree trunks 
till the leaves seemed floating in a silver sea, overflowed 
the veranda edge and blotted out the young lovers. 


L\TE that night Mildred sat up in bed holding 
both hands close against her hot cheeks. She 
had set her trembling lips and kept her eyelids 
down while Henriette brushed out her long blond hair 
and braided it afresh; she had dipped in and out of her 
great white tub in a daze, and let the maid pull the light 
covers over her and switch off the light almost in silence. 
But when the door had shut softly, she sat up with a 
start, and now she held her flushed cheeks in her hot 
hands and looked into the dark with smiling lips and soft 
wide eyes that saw visions. 

It hadn t felt the same oh, not at all the same ! - 
as the time she had sprained her ankle and he had carried 
her up from the boat house. No, this was quite differ 
ent and much, much nicer. She had been too surprised 
and excited out there on the veranda to feel as happy as 
she really was. To marry Nick ! Well, why not ? Only 
she had never thought of it before. Her cheeks were 
cooling now and she clasped her hands over her knees. 
She could see the mist settling down into the valley 
again, shimmering like mother of pearl with the tree 
tops sticking through. Yes, of course she was going to 
marry Nick it was the most natural thing in the 
world! A half submerged tree out there in the moon 
light looked like a giant horse struggling through a 
river a warrior s horse carrying a knight of the Round 
Table. How she used to imagine herself a lady out of 
the Idylls of the King Elaine usually, only it was 
always Sir Gareth she dreamed about, contrary to the 


precedent of the poem! It might be Sir Gareth on just 
such a charger as the tree seemed to be ! And then her 
power of picturing showed her Nick on Sheridan II; a 
slim, straight figure in London riding clothes and the 
trimmest of boots on a delicate footed bay with nothing 
nearer the caparisoning of the jousts than a light bridle 
and the merest suggestion of a saddle. Nick was a good 
rider but he was not in the least like Sir Gareth, and he 
preferred his motor to all the horses that ever galloped 
over a thousand hills. But of course she couldn t expect 
Sir Gareth there weren t any men like that now. Yes, 
she and Nick would be married. She wondered idly 
whether they would live here or at the Van Arsdale 
house. Nick s mother was dead, so probably they would 
go there. It didn t seem to matter much. 

The mist had sunk further into the valley, and the 
charger plunging through the silver stream turned out 
to be nothing but a quite ordinary oak tree that almost 
always had wormy acorns they d talked of cutting it 
down ! Everybody expected her to marry usually 
girls married soon after they were presented to society - 
most of her cousins had. Only of course there was 
Lucile she hadn t married. But then she had gone 
into the Red Cross during the war and been in France 
in a hospital. It was more interesting to hear her tell 
about it than anything for all she had heard it so many 
times. Why even Aunt Millicent was proud of her 
and usually Aunt Millicent wanted everybody to be ex 
actly like everybody else. And there was Agnes, she 
had married a man that nobody knew. He taught some 
thing somewhere, and she had heard her aunts say that 
of course they must remember that Agnes mouth wasn t 
good and she stooped and involuntarily Mildred 
squared her shoulders. 


She looked through the window again. The moon 
had set and a careless sort of a wind had driven all the 
silver mist out of the valley. But there was a dull glow 
over the hill ! It must be a fire ! She got out of bed and 
ran to the window. It was a fire, she could see the 
flames! It looked like the new house the Arnolds had 
built. And then came the clang and rush of the fire 
engines and at quick intervals the lights of motor cars 
which she knew were carrying the boys of the Universal 
Service up to help fight the fire. A motor started in the 
lower drive below the house and the light sped away 
through the trees. It sounded like Nick s little grey 
racer but of course it couldn t be. 

Mildred s cheeks were quite cool now and her new 
emotion had run down like a clock. She went back to 
bed and pulled up the covers. Certainly there wasn t 
any reason why she should lie awake because she was 
going to marry Nick! And throwing her blond braid 
back on the pillow and tucking her hand under her cheek 
she went placidly to sleep. 


NICHOLAS VAN ARSDALE, in a state of 
serene unconsciousness, had stepped from the 
Carver s veranda into the encircling mist and 
begun to feel his way down the path. To listen to his 
pounding heart beats absorbed all his conscious atten 
tion but he instinctively followed the descending road to 
the lower drive where he bumped into a standing automo 
bile. Walking around this in a beatific trance he felt his 
way onward still with the feel of Mildred s lips on his. 
What a wonderful thing to have happened! If anybody 
had told him even this morning that he was in love with 
Mildred he would have said no, he was not and 
here he had been all the time and no more knowing it than 
if there d be rain next week ! 

So this was being in love ! Nick was eighteen, which 
seemed to him a great number of years in which never to 
have been in love before. Well, it was a great idea 
being in love he had that to say for it at the start. Of 
course, when he had thought of what it would be like, he 
had had a picture of a sort of Spanish girl with a lace 
thing on her head singing or dancing or something 
like that. Great black eyes, you know, and short high- 
heeled slippers like the girls on the stage. But now it 
was Mildred! And he had been in love with her with 
out knowing it at all ! It wasn t a bit like what he d 
expected, but they d be married and do everything to 
gether just as they always had only it would all be 
different, of course being married. And he thought 



of his father and how he d probably give her all the jew 
els his mother had had. Nick had sometimes imagined 
it would be fun to give these things to a little Cinderella 
sort of girl who had never had anything pretty but of 
course Mildred was nicer than anybody else could be 
only it had been pleasant to think of that little Spanish 
Cinderella ! Well, when they were married 

Nick interrupted himself by coming out on a knoll and 
noticing that the mist was driving out of the valley and 
that over toward the upper end of the Park a red glow 
was striking up into the sky. As he stopped to watch 
it, came the clang of the fire engines rushing up from the 
village below. Nick knew that the Universal Service 
boys stationed in Torexo must be tumbling into their 
clothes and getting their cars out to follow. They 
always got a chance to help in any sort of emergency 
duty, even if their regular work was keeping the roads in 
order and distributing the mail and dull things like that. 
But fires were rare in Torexo. He didn t want to miss 
this one even if he wasn t in the Service. He d get his 
car, and then he remembered that he d gone to the 
Carver s house in his motor. Why, that must have been 
it he bumped into in the lower drive ! He stopped short 
in sudden realization of the fact that he hadn t known his 
own car when he saw it hadn t remembered that there 
was such a thing in the world ! 

" Well I should say I am in love! " he cried aloud and 
turning ran back through the clearing air. 

If Mildred and he could go together on this adventure ! 
He peered up at her windows but there was no stir. The 
whole house was dark. A flood of emotion engulfed 
him Mildred ! He loved her and she loved him it 
was the greatest thing in the world! Why, she was 
probably thinking about him at this very minute ! 


He sprang into the car and was about to start the en 
gine when he heard quick steps running down the road 
from the house. Could it by any possibility be Mildred ? 
He waited, his hand on the lever. They were strong 
footsteps beating a rapid tremolo on the hard road. 
Somebody was making good time. Nick s lamps threw 
a steady white river before him and the invisible runner 
blurred the foot beats together in a final burst of speed 
and plunged into the light. It was Wicks, one of the 
Carver s young footmen! 

Nick straightened from the wheel in disappointment. 
He had been sure it must be Mildred because he wanted 
her to come. 

" Oh, is it you, Mr. Nicholas, sir! " the man gasped. 
" I saw the headlight and I thought I might catch it, sir. 
If the fire s in the woods I might help. I did my service 
in the Forestry and learned about fire fighting out west. 
Are you going to it, sir? " 

" Yes, jump in, Wicks." 

They struck down into the valley. The mist was all 
gone now and they followed clear roads in the soft dark 
after moonset and rushed on toward the mounting 

" I didn t know you d been in the Service, Wicks. 
What did you do?" 

" It was two years ago, Mr. Nicholas. I didn t choose 
what I d like to do so they put me in the Forestry. I 
cleared out the dead bushes and trees, sir, and the gang 
boss d tell me how to girdle a tree that ought to come 
down, and we got more kinds of bugs and worms that 
eats trees than you d know there was, and sent em to 
Washington. We done a lot of work trying to find out 
what was killing the chestnuts, and planting other kinds 
specially from China to see if they d get the blight." 


"Did they get it?" 

" I don t know, sir, my year was up before they fo 
out. But when I m off duty at the house I go into 
woods here and see if there s anything more I can 
out about them. I sent a new kind of fungus up to 
Department last week." 

Nick s lips formed themselves into a silent whistli 
he forced his car up a steep grade. 

You seem to have liked the Service." 

"You bet!" 

Nick grinned. It tickled his taste to find that 
man whom he had thought merely a uniformed har 
of plates and opener of doors, was an indepem 
citizen collecting destructive fungi for the governm 
the possible discoverer of the cure for the chestnut bli 
which had so distressed his father and the other resid 
of Torexo Park. 

"If you like it so much why did you come back 
be a footman? " 

" Well, sir, it isn t that I want to. I d have give ; 
thing to have gone into the Forestry regular. But 
mother, she s in New York and she couldn t make 
without me another year. You see I wouldn t be 
ting anything for my first year in the Forestry but 
keep and twenty a month. But some time I m going 1 
to it, you bet." 

Nick shot the car furiously up under the road- 
trees and they tumbled out and ran toward the bun 

It was a modern house trying to look as though it \ 
old. Artificially and needlessly it straggled along 
ground pretending that it had been added to ell b) 
through the generations instead of having been buili 
at once by an expensive and fashionable architect. 


trees overhung the low gables in an affectionate ancestral 
way carefully induced by a landscape gardener, and close 
back of it rose a great white pine. Wicks, dashing on 
ahead of Nick, groaned as he saw the sparks flying to 
ward this tree. They were both stopped by a lad in 
khaki uniform who ordered them back, but Wicks cried 

" I m Forestry Service two years back fought a 
lot of fires better let me help." 

The Service lad relaxed. 

" Sure we need you ! There s the captain report 
to him." 

Nick tried to follow Wicks but the Service boy swung 
out before him. 

" See here, young feller, you get back to the line 

"Confound you I m going to help let me by!" 

You ever been in the Service ? " 

" No, I haven t, but I can carry Mrs. Arnold s chairs 
and tables out of that house as well as the rest of you. 
You let me by ! " 

The Service boy Nick recognized him as a young 
westerner who assisted in the Torexo Post Office 
kept crowding him back and the dispute threatened to 
become a personal conflict when Nick felt his arm caught 
and turning saw his father, who, having been roused 
from his reading, had come up the hill on foot. 

" Hullo, son, how did you get here ? I thought you 
were dining with Mrs. Carver? " 

At the memory, the boy caught his breath. Mildred 
had been sitting on the other side of the table and he 
had never dreamed of being in love with her! But he 
was able to answer his father steadily enough : 

" I was there, sir, but I saw the fire and came in my 


" Pretty good work these young men are doing. 
They re getting a lot of the furniture out but I don t 
think they can save the house. Pity if the fire gets those 
pines ! " 

" O, Lord, I wish they d let me help ! I could carry 
rugs as well as they can! What s the use of their keep 
ing me out because they re in the Service? It isn t fair! 
No, I m not going to butt in " (this to the young west 
erner). Don t you dare wave your hand at me again, 
though! I m as big as you are if you are nineteen and 
I won t stand it ! " 

Mr. Van Arsdale laughed and caught him by the arm 

" Here, you young hot head your turn will come 
next year ! " 

The crowd of neighbors swayed back and forth in the 
light of the burning house. Some of them tried to 
comfort Mrs. Arnold who sat on a little hillock crying 
and clutching her wide-eyed children; for even if you are 
rich enough to own an imitation ancestral home, and 
socially important enough to have it set in Torexo Park, 
you do have an occasional human feeling; and while your 
control over your tear ducts is probably greater than that 
of ordinary mortals, it is still not absolute. It was sur 
prising how many more people there were in Torexo than 
Nick knew and yet his father entertained everybody 
at dinner at least once during the summer! He began 
to recognize faces here and there which he had only seen 
before under maids caps or above servants uniforms. 
His talk with Wicks had somewhat widened the popula 
tion of the place. It now included servants! The 
people were in all sorts of haphazard costumes, but 
blended into harmony by the setting and the light of the 
fire like the peasant chorus in an opera. Here and there 


some one would stand out from the chorus like a " prin 
cipal " and Nick noticed that it was just as likely to be 
somebody s chauffeur as " somebody " himself. 

Nick ranged round the edges of the crowd trying again 
and again to break into the ranks of the fire fighters and 
being repulsed with increasing hauteur by the uniformed 
Service boys lads whom he ordinarily disregarded 
because they were different from himself ; as he had dis 
regarded the boys who went to the public schools, instead 
of having tutors or going to Groton; boys who had bicy 
cles instead of automobiles; boys who worked in stores 
or offices instead of playing polo. Now these boys in 
the Service were disregarding him because they worked 
and he didn t! 

Nick and his father stayed till the house had been 
mostly reduced to red coals. Mr. Van Arsdale would 
have been glad to go earlier but he stayed to restrain his 
son, whose ideas of authority as vested in any one but 
himself were purely rudimentary. When at last Nick 
was content to go, the older man sighed in relief. This 
only child of his was most particularly dear, but life for 
him had settled down into an easy routine which he re 
sented having disturbed the routine of generations of 
rich scholars whose investments, providently made in the 
previous century, had gone on increasing automatically 
in value so that they could pursue learning entirely for its 
own sake. 

" I guess I better take Wicks home too," Nick re 
marked absently as they reached his automobile. 

"Who s Wicks?" 

" He s the Carvers footman. I brought him up with 

"Well, can t he get back by himself? It s not far." 

" But you see, sir, he s been in the Service in the 


Forestry and he s been fighting the fire. They let 
him! " 

Nick ran back for Wicks and his father sat in the 
motor wondering. Did a footman s having been in the 
Universal Service make him any less a footman? Put 
any more obligation on Nick to drive him back in his car ? 
Make it necessary for himself, Henry Van Arsdale, to 
wait when he was anxious to get to bed ? 

" Wicks is going to stay," said Nick, reappearing. 
" He s out there where the wind s blowing too, watching 
to put out sparks. He says he wouldn t feel right to go 
when there s a chance of a forest fire getting started. He 
thinks it s up to him because he worked for the United 
States for a year." 

And Mr. Van Arsdale wondered again at the attitude 
of the footman toward the country and of his son toward 
the footman. 

Nick s little gray racer slid down into the dark of the 
valley, the headlight picking out one tree after another 
in autumn red or brown or deceptive spring-like green. 
The boy was still railing at not having been allowed to 
help at the fire and wholly occupied with his rebuff by the 
Service men. The connection between his mind and the 
event on the veranda seemed broken. 

" Wait till next year, though then I ll be in it my 
self then they can t keep me out just because I m not 
in uniform. Just wait till next year! " 

But suddenly the boy jammed in the brake and brought 
the car to a stop with a jolt that nearly disemboweled it 
and almost threw his father out. 

" Dad," he whispered, turning a white face to his 
father. " Dad, I can t go into the Service I d for 
gotten Mildred and I are going to be married." 

The elder man recovered himself a little testily. Vio 
lence did not appeal to him. 


" What do you mean by nearly breaking my neck 
like this?" 

" Mildred and I are going to be married ! " 

" Well, what of it? Everybody always supposed you 
would be." 

" But I can t go into the Service then." 

The older man looked his son over speculatively. 

" It looks to me as though you ve forgotten that you ve 
got to go into the Service whether you want to or not. 
They don t ask you whether you re going to be married, 
or vaccinated or graduated or anything else they ask 
you if you re eighteen years old and if you are you have 
to go. In your normal frame of mind you know this as 
well as I do. Mildred has got to go into the Service too. 
And you ought to know, if you don t, that the law doesn t 
recognize any marriage between people who haven t 
served their year." 

Nick drummed impatiently on the steering wheel. 

" But I m going to marry Mildred." 

" I haven t the slightest objection to your marrying 
Mildred. She s a fine girl with a good little brain of her 
own, and she wouldn t be marrying you for the money. 
I imagine everybody would be pleased about it. But the 
Universal Service isn t a thing you can dodge, my son. 
Every excuse that can possibly be thought of has been 
tried already and unless you are physically disabled or 
mentally deficient and I m proud to say you re neither 
you ve the choice of going into the Service or going 
into jail, and incidentally losing your citizenship, and so 
has Mildred. Don t be a fool, Nick." 

" But, dad Mildred I asked her to marry me this 
evening! " 

That s all right the most natural thing in the 
world! But after all, Nick, though I believe in early 


marriages, eighteen is a bit too young even from my 
standpoint, and I think Frank and Mary Carver will agree 
with me. I m glad Mildred is willing to marry you. It 
greatly diminishes the chance of your making a fool of 
yourself over some one you couldn t marry but I ll not 
aid or abet any son of mine in being a slacker. If I 
remember the date, both you and my future daughter-in- 
law bless the dear child ! will be drafted in about 
six weeks." 

Nick started his car again and drove home in absolute 
silence. His mind was oscillating between thoughts of 
Mildred so wonderful as he found her under this new 
emotion and thoughts of the Service which he had so 
passionately desired back there at the fire. 


MILDRED would have been glad to oversleep 
the next morning but that was not a thing 
countenanced by her mother. Mrs. Carver 
was busily engaged in training her daughter in the vir 
tues of princesses which seem to be much the same 
whether these fortunate young persons have titles and 
live in Europe or merely have breeding, birth and fortune 
and live in America. So in spite of her new conscious 
ness of importance as a girl who had given her promise 
of marriage and so settled her life in its preordained 
channel, Mildred came to the family table at the usual 
time, ate just as hearty a breakfast as usual, put just as 
much cream on her dish of late peaches and showed just 
as fundamental an objection to oatmeal as she usually 

Mildred watched her mother, serene and trim as one 
who is about to attack competently the country routine 
of consulting her housekeeper, surveying her gardens and 
instructing her secretary. Mrs. Carver was physically 
no great contrast to her eldest daughter, a little darker, 
a little less tall and slender, just a trifle less differenti 
ated from the dead level of the race, as being one joint 
further back on the parent stem. Mildred wondered if 
her mother would be surprised to know she was going to 
marry Nick. What would her father think? He was 
a silent man, tall, blonde and, to the eye, English. A 
shade finer than his wife in the details of culture, but 
c 17 


very like her in type. Mildred looked like both her par 
ents without any conflict of features. 

Mr. Carver was just finishing his eggs in the imper 
turbability born of the conscious ability to follow the com 
mand of taking no thought of what he should eat or what 
he should put on when Wicks came in with the morning 
letters on a tray, a function which he performed in the 
country, Waddell the butler being left in charge of the 
New York house. There was a pile of letters for her 
mother, a few for her father, two for her mother s sec 
retary, Miss Price, a Wellesley girl, one for Junior s 
tutor, Mr. Harmine. After all these had been laid be 
side the plates, Wicks came back around the table, stopped 
for an appreciable moment behind her chair, and then 
with a hand that was not as steady as the hand of the per 
fect footman should be, put beside her a large square 
envelope, redirected from New York, and marked in the 
upper left-hand corner : 

Department of Universal Service 
Washington, D. C. 

Mildred took the envelope uncomprehendingly and 
opened it. A stiff printed announcement, large, for 
midable, summoning her, Mildred Carver, by the 
authority of the President and Congress of the United 
States, as she was eighteen years old to enter the National 
Service on the first day of October and to remain in it 
for twelve months thereafter. She was to indicate on 
the inclosed blanks the division of the Service she pre 
ferred, and be ready for departure when she was notified. 
It was signed by the Secretary of Universal Service. 

Mildred looked up after what seemed to her a long, 
long interval. Her eyes fixed themselves on the painting 
by Constable over the old oak sideboard a scene of 


assured and stable peace, sad-colored trees that had never 
swung in any breeze, still cows immovable for all time 
on the eternally sere grass ! They dropped to the great 
silver urn below it and its rich flanking of serving dishes, 
shifted to the fluttering silk curtains, woven and dyed to 
suit the room; to the old carved chairs brought from 
Holland, and the sunlight sifting over the rich colors of 
the old rug brought from Persia, and in all the costliness 
of her surroundings Mildred found no help. And her 
father and mother were reading their letters as carelessly 
as though nothing had happened! Ruthie and Junior 
were disputing as to whose turn it was to use the tennis 
court ! And here was this thing in her hand ! The only 
difference was her consciousness that Wicks still stood 
behind her chair. She turned and looked at him with 
such frightened, entreating eyes that the footman leaned 
forward instantly. 

" Yes, miss. Can I get you anything, miss ? " and then 
very low, " It won t be so bad as you re afraid of, miss, 
believe me," and drew her chair back as she rose. 

With this first stone in the pathway of true love con 
cealed in the pocket of her sport skirt, Mildred waited all 
the morning for Nick. But Nick wasn t in the habit of 
coming to the house in the forenoon and he didn t now 
even in the young of the established classes habits form 
early and are hard to break. He didn t come in the early 
afternoon either because his Universal Service order had 
been in the same mail with Mildred s and his father and 
he had been thrashing out the matter backward, for 
ward and criss-cross. Mr. Van Arsdale found that the 
old Dutch tenacity was not all dead in his line when he 
tried to adjust his beloved son and heir to an absolute 
command of which he didn t see the use. So that when 
Nick did appear in the Carver house not only was it late 


in the day, but every cell in his brain and every nerve in 
his body was set in resistance. He had caught the spent 
bullet of his last night s emotion as a little ball of leaden 
obstinacy, and came marching up the steps like a defiant 
young Dutch burgher. 

Wicks, an expressionless footman again, instead of a 
fire fighter, led him to the library where tea was set, and 
was still in the doorway as he walked straight to Frank 
Carver, serenely dividing his attention between a cup of 
tea, a cigar and an English magazine, and asked in all 
seriousness for Mildred s hand. 

It was a startling thing to happen in a modern house 
hold. The footman stood gaping; Frank dropped his 
cigar into his tea while his wife came quickly across to 
him. Mildred, aghast, felt herself set back into the line of 
past generations, as though all the successive births, mar 
riages, and deaths of all the successive generations of the 
Carvers, like the cycle of an insect s life from worm to 
cocoon to butterfly to worm again, were an inevitable 
chain that bound her. And yet according to all the ro 
mance of her academic reading this was exactly the 
proper thing for Nick to do. As Mildred looked at her 
parents it struck her that they didn t seem so very much 
surprised after all. Was it just what they had expected 
of her then? 

But her father was drawing her down on the arm of 
his chair and saying exactly what she ought to have 
expected exactly what she did expect down in the 
subconscious part of her that determined things by feel 
ing because it hadn t yet learned to think. Her father, 
with her mother to back him up, told them that they 
were very young a fact that Mildred could see Nick 
resenting as bitterly as she did ; that they hadn t had any 
experience, which they refused to admit; and that they 


hadn t done their year in the Universal Service, which 
hadn t struck either of them as important until the arrival 
of the government orders that day. They must wait at 
least a year for any sort of an engagement. In the mean 
time they were expected to be just good friends as they 
had always been. No, there wasn t any objection to Nick 
he was a dear boy. If they wanted to talk of it 
when they were older but in the meantime 

And so Mildred and Nick went out on the veranda 
again and vowed to each other that they would wait if 
they must an inescapable Service and non-understand 
ing parents interposing temporarily insuperable objec 

In the six weeks before they were called to the Service 
they tried hard to make an adventure of their clandestine 
engagement, and every member of the household 
helped them. 

" Henriette ! Henriette ! " Wicks called frantically 
from the servants door, " Whadda ya want to go that 
way for? Didn t you see Miss Mildred going down that 
path after lunch was through? Ah, come back, girl 
have a heart ! " 

"Weeks, the manners of a gentleman you have not! 
Is it you cannot observe Mr. Nicholas behind the foun 
tain? Till you remove from the door, can he approach 
the tea house where Ma mzelle remains ? I ask you as a 
gentleman? " 

The contrite Wicks hastily followed the observing 
Henriette out of sight and if they turned to see 
through the curtain again, shall any one blame them ? 

Mildred would drift languidly out of the breakfast 
room and vanish with obtrusive carelessness down the 
rhododendron path and there would be Nick waiting for 
her at the seat by the spring. She always went to these 


meetings in high expectation. Did she not know from 
books exactly how she ought to feel ? And since she had 
a well trained imagination she took it for granted that 
she really did feel as she thought she ought, although 
when actually with him in the sentimental role of a be 
loved object, there was nothing to talk of and little to do. 

And the unexpected monotony of being surreptitiously 
engaged to the dearest girl in the world so got on Nick s 
nerves that he became daily more attentive and loverlike 
lest Mildred should suspect his moments of ennui so 
very affectionate in fact that she was eaten with self- 
reproach at being unable to rise to his pitch. And when 
in a fit of desperation he rushed down to New York and 
bought her a ring set with a pink pearl, she cried as much 
in disappointment at her own lack of emotional exaltation 
as with pleasure at the lovely symbol. It was a hard, 
bewildering time for them both. There were no gaps of 
knowledge or experience or circumstance for their talk to 
bridge; even in years they were too equal to strike fire. 
They thought alike, they had done the same things, they 
knew the same people, and now they had concerned them 
selves in the same love affair! Why, they might have 
been married twenty years ! But of course even if their 
engagement did need considerable prodding to come up 
to expectations, their marriage would make up for it. 
Their only new interest was to go over the lists labeled : 
" Open to recruits from cities of 500,000 inhabitants and 
over," and decide which should be their first, second and 
third choice. It was something which lent substance to 
the rather attenuated unrealities of their love affair. 

" You see, Mildred," said Nick rather dolefully, " the 
work that is open to us is mostly in the country or at least 
in the very small towns. There s work in the post offices 
in all the cross roads ; and there s road making and trans- 


portation I suppose that would be fixing tracks and 
sweeping cars and entrancing things like that and for 
estry and agriculture and mines and all this column of 
queer things like geodetics and hydrostatics, that I don t 
know about, and of course there s the army and navy 
and nursing but none of it smiles much to me. Arthur 
Wintermute told me he registered for aviation. I don t 
see how he could run an aeroplane he s never done a 
thing in his life. He never goes anywhere without that 
valet, Mapes, tagging along. I guess he thinks Mapes 
can run the plane for him." 

" I wonder," said Mildred slowly, " what it would be 
like to really work to have to do something whether 
you wanted to or not." 

" Like nothing we know anything of," commented 
Nick shrewdly, looking speculatively about. 

They were sitting on the south veranda a long plane 
sweeping past rows of windows and around the bulging 
circle of the billiard room. Each chair had been set in 
its proper place, each cushion plumped, each rug straight 
ened that day but not by them. Before either of them 
was awake the steps had been washed by some one else. 
Some one else was rolling the tennis court over by the 
road for them to play on ; some one else was bringing veg 
etables up from the garden for them to eat. Nick s car, 
cleaned and polished by some one else, stood in the drive. 
Beside Mildred stood a tea table set with a service of sil 
ver, and it was not necessary for them even to pour their 
own tea for Wicks hovered in the offing to do it if re 
quired. Certainly work was not one of the things they 
knew anything about. 

" Even if we chose the same thing we wouldn t be 
together," said Mildred rather wistfully; "they always 
send the boys and girls on different trains. Why, Alice 
West never saw any one she knew the whole year ! " 


" What did Alice choose? " 

" She couldn t decide so they put her into one of those 
botanical experiment stations and she spent most of her 
time taking care of new sorts of beans and peas, measur 
ing the water she gave them and keeping the temperature 
just right and feeding them a lot of different stuff to see 
what would happen. She told me she was a sort of plant 
nurse. She liked it a lot though, and Tommy West told 
me she was going to some college to learn about plant 
chemistry only her mother doesn t want her to." 

Nick s finger was traveling down the column specu- 

" I d hate to work on a railroad or sort letters in a post 
office. I suppose in the Forestry you d nurse the trees 
the way Alice West did the beans and peas. No now 
that I think of it, Wicks told me what you do in that 
say, Wicks," he called, " come and tell us about the For 
estry Service." 

The footman was much embarrassed. It is one thing 
to talk to a young gentleman, man to man, when you are 
going to a fire with him in the middle of the night, and 
quite another to stand in your distinguishing but not hon 
orable uniform and tell a lovely young girl whom you 
serve, and her quite obviously accepted lover about the 
greatest year in your life and that so small a thing com 
pared with what they may expect for themselves! But 
after a moment Wicks forgot himself in telling what it 
meant for him to be living with boys who had come from 
every other part of the country to have been given the 
sort of academic training he could have got in no other 
way training in the structure of trees, in the cell the 
ory of growth, in the lives of insects and their habits. 

" Why, I just got to see how it was the world was goin 
on trees and insecs and the way the rocks happened, 


too. You can t never feel the same about anything 

And the thing that the footman didn t say in words, 
but which was implied in every syllable and he became 
very much less of a footman as he did it was the great 
difference it made for him not to be working for any one 
individual but for everybody together. 

" Uncle Sam s a great old boss," he said. 

When Wicks had become the footman again and car 
ried away their tea, Nick went on studying the blanks 

"If they d let me run an automobile I d like it well 
enough if the roads were decent." Then he stopped 
suddenly. " I might do that ! " 

"Do what?" " 

" Road making it s got something to do with auto 
mobiles anyway." 

"Oh, Nick!" 

" Well, I would like to know about them why they 
wear out and everything, and from what Wicks says I 
guess they d teach me that." 

" But road making, Nick ! " 

" Well, Mildred, I ve got to choose something, you 

They argued the matter for days and got more fun 
being together because they had something new to talk 
about. They could set their teeth into the fact that they 
had to go into the Service whether they wanted to or not. 
And just at the last moment when the blanks had to be 
returned to the government, Nick did make road making 
his first choice and Mildred registered for agriculture. 


MILDRED stood before the dressing table in her 
New York home fingering the government 
order for her departure. Wicks had already 
carried her bag down to the motor and Henriette stood 
patiently holding out her traveling coat. But Mildred 
was quite deaf to the low voices of her assembled kins 
folk floating up from the lower hall, or to the rattle and 
whirr of the motor trucks hurrying back and forth on the 
north side of Washington Square. She knew it was time 
to start but she was fully occupied in trying to wink the 
tears out of her eyes and swallow the choke out of her 
voice before she faced her relatives. It was with a vis 
ible effort that she raised her firm little chin and let Hen 
riette lay the coat over her shoulders. 

She stopped again at the top of the stairs with her hand 
on the long, curving mahogany rail and looked down. If 
she had merely been going to China these relatives 
wouldn t have been here to bid her good-by this, she 
knew, was much more special. She got a sudden com 
posite impression as though she saw them in perspective 
for the first time. They had always been distinct indi 
viduals to her before, Aunt Millicent, tall, stately and 
a little ponderous, as one who entertains princes has a 
right to be, Great-Uncle Andrew Carver, thin and droopy 
as to mustache and shoulders but with an inevitable sar 
torial perf ectness ; Winthrop, who had served in the army 
in France and carried himself straight and square in spite 
of his limp ; David and Lucille, who had been working in 



a field hospital; beautiful married cousins in their thirties, 
whose dinner tables were eminences to be longed after 
hopelessly by generations of the children of the New- 
rich; stately men cousins who took their wealth as a 
means to a serene life and only made excursions into the 
business world as one might visit the realm of an African 
king Mildred saw them for the first time combined, a 
race of tall, straight, clear-eyed people developed through 
generations of wealth and culture out of the primitive 
Anglo-Saxon race stuff. They were dressed with the 
costly simplicity that is quite indifferent to fashion or dis 
play, and they had the simple ways of those who have 
never had to consider such taken-for-granted things as 
manners. They did not ask if their ways were the best 
ways of living and thinking and passing through the 
world that went as an axiom. Socially and financially 
they were a powerful group which, having been started 
right in the way of investments, bodies, and minds, a 
century or so back, had been so protected by a specially 
developed environment, that they had had little need for 
readjustment since. By the fact that she was going to 
work Mildred felt herself almost as much outside the 
family as Wicks waiting immobile to open the door for 

And the Carvers family looking up, were also aware 
that Mildred was set apart from them. Hitherto she had 
been merely " Frank s oldest girl," now she was the first 
woman of their line to go to work. Her family saw her 
as a slender girl with direct blue eyes under dark brows 
that contrasted sharply with her light hair, a soft full 
little mouth and a short high nose. She might have been 
an English girl, so specialized was her type, so adapted 
to a life where physical exertion was a matter of sport, 
not money earning; to a life where financial security was 


not bought by cleverness or quick thinking, or work, but 
was an inherited attribute; a life which made no special 
personal demands beyond that of conforming to the group 
standards. And she looked like most of her relatives, as 
though the same heredity and environment had produced 
the same result in all of them. The Carvers were alike, 
they liked themselves, they usually married people of their 
own type. 

The Carvers saw Mildred as a family product as inev 
itable as the blossom on a lily, but set subtly away by 
herself. How would this flower bear transplanting? 
Fundamental changes were foreign to the family habit. 
The Carvers did not even follow the fashions in material 
things much less in mental furnishings. They had 
not been drawn out of Washington Square with the re 
ceding tide of fashion. They did not need to depend on 
the cachet of neighborhoods or costly houses. Finan 
cially and socially they were secure. A Carver might do 
as he liked. What did it matter to them that the tene 
ments crawled up toward the Square? They hardly 
noticed the stream of Italian immigrants that flowed out 
of Macdougal Street on bright afternoons or the studios 
of incoming artists that filled the south side of the 
Square. They did not even protest against that last 
brand of a fallen neighborhood the establishment of 
a Social Settlement to uplift it. They felt themselves 
quite detached from personal responsibility outside the 
line of their blood kin. What more could possibly be 
expected of them by the community than that their pink 
magnolias bloomed richly every spring, that their window 
boxes were set early, and the close clinging vines on the 
front of their houses trimmed to advantage ? 

Mildred ran swiftly down the long staircase and they 
closed up around her with all sorts of fluttering bits of 


" I haven t a doubt you ll find some things about it very 
interesting just like being in Egypt or the Argentine." 

" Poor dear, it s a shame ! I shan t vote for this ad 
ministration again ! " 

They certainly ought to use some discrimination in 
the people they conscript. It s absurd to make Mildred 
work just as though Frank weren t willing to make any 
sort of a contribution instead." 

" Do be careful, my dear, and not overdo. Try not 
to break down your health." 

" But you ll soon be back, my dear," cried one of her 
aunts. " Don t take it so hard ! You ll forget that it 
ever happened." 

And the family chorus echoed : 

" You ll forget that it ever happened ! " as she passed 
through the door. 

As the Carver motor drew up at the Grand Central 
Station Nicholas Van Arsdale pushed up to it in a state 
of solemnity not normal to him. 

" I hoped," he cried nervously, " that you d miss the 
train so I could rush Mildred after it in the racer got 
it around the corner on purpose." 

" Hullo, Nick," said Mildred, trying to look uncon 
cerned and dabbing her eyes. 

As they entered the depot, the great iron gates slid 
open, an officer shouted, and scores of girls of eighteen 
began to separate themselves from the crowd and move 
toward the train. They were of every race, every com 
plexion, every degree of prosperity to be found in New 
York City. Mrs. Carver caught her hand to her lips as 
she saw them. And as for the parents the good 
burghers of Hamelin must have looked so, yes and have 
lamented so, too, when the Pied Piper led their darlings 


" You d better let me go with Mildred to the gate," 
suggested Nick. " There s no reason why you should 
get into that crowd, Mrs. Carver." 

Frank Carver caught his daughter to him with almost 
a sob. It was against every tradition and feeling that 
he should let her face an unsoftened world. 

Nick, reaching to take Mildred s bag from the foot 
man, found Wicks staring straight at his young mistress. 

" I hope you ll like the Service as much as I did, miss," 
he said, with his hand to his cap. 

Mildred turned startled. 

Thank you, Wicks," she said, looking into the pleas 
ant eyes of the footman, and then after a moment holding 
out her hand, grateful for her first greeting from a fel 
low servant. 

But Nick looked at the man with dropped jaw. Not 
that there was any fault to be found with him, or with 
his salutation, but it somehow startled him as though a 
wall had fallen down. He caught Mildred by the arm 
and pushed on toward the gate. 

" Oh, if I were only going now instead of next week ! " 
he said. 

He flung a protecting arm around her shoulders as 
though he could not bear to have the motley crowd press 
against her, and as they moved forward, he whispered : 

" Only a year and we ll both be back again only a 
year to wait! " 

And at the gate, quite oblivious to the self-restraint 
customary to a Van Arsdale in the presence of the popu 
lace, he kissed her softly and let her go. 


"T" WISH," said Aunt Millicent, very reproachfully, 
to the younger members of her family whom she 

A. blamed with the present subversive state of the 
government, " I wish it had been her wedding! " 

" Why ? " inquired her nephew David with apparent 

" Why ? In spite of the way you excuse all these 
new things, David and just because they re new 
usually you know as well as I do that girls like Mil 
dred are brought up to be married. The pass things are 
getting to! I m always relieved when one of our girls 
is suitably disposed of ! I had believed that when Henry 
Van Arsdale and his boy took to spending all their sum 
mers at Torexo, something would come of it ! And now 
look at this absurd Service ! " 

" Now, why shouldn t she have a chance to work ? 
Lucille liked her work in the Red Cross ! I seem to re 
member that she preferred it to playing about with her 

" That s patriotic service it s entirely different." 

Winthrop Carver, another of her nephews, joined the 

" Well, isn t the Universal Service patriotic, Aunt Mil 

"What! Being a telephone girl or something like 
that? It s nothing but a scheme of some of those Social 

Winthrop, considering his aunt thoughtfully, was 



silent. She was magnificently indestructible in an un 
changeable world. He had joined the Officers Reserve 
Corps at the beginning of the war, had been wounded and 
sent to a hospital in France, and then back to the front 
till the finish; but he couldn t face his aunt in an argu 

"Come on, Dave let s walk up," he said to his 

As the two went down the steps, pretty Anne Weston, 
a cousin who married into Standard Oil " and quite 
unnecessarily too," Aunt Millicent had said called to 
them and beckoned her chauffeur : 

" Ought you to walk with your leg? " 

" Oh, I get over the ground all right. I can even 
dance, and David will tell you it ought to be exercised." 

David nodded and laughed. The war had caught him 
when he hadn t been out of college long enough to have 
settled into any of the dilettante occupations sport, 
exploration or travel, that usually attracted the Car 
vers. He had enlisted in one of the first hospital units and 
served as an orderly, carrying stretchers, making beds, 
scrubbing floors ; a beast of burden with a brain that grad 
ually got to working on the problems of hospital organiza 
tion, and which, in the terrible depletion of the staff under 
disease, overwork and occasional shell fire, had raised 
him to the position of unofficial manager and filled him 
with such pride as neither his family, his fortune nor 
his Phi Beta Kappa pin had ever raised in him before. 
The managerial ability with which the first David Carver 
had organized the trade with the " out islanders " in 
spices and precious woods, awoke in his descendant, and 
David passed the latter part of the war getting the biggest 
result out of the intermittent supplies, the insufficient 
hospital helpers, the problematical food, under conditions 


of heartbreaking overcrowding and overwork. There 
were times when he himself had done the cooking with 
no other culinary training than a knowledge of the way 
things ought to taste when they were done; and other 
times when he administered an anaesthetic with his heart 
jumping as high as his collar bone lest he give the victim 
too much. The harassed hospital unit had learned that it 
could always rely on David and had put burdens on him 
accordingly, but long generations of sufficient feeding, 
without overwork and with the most careful protection 
from disease, had developed a reserve force which stead 
ied him through the terrific strain. 

The two young men swung out of the Square 
straight young males of the Carver breed, keen eyed and 
observant as though the unusual things that the general 
keying up of the nation had required of them had de 
veloped all sorts of latent cutting edges. 

" Uncle David said you were going into the mill at 
Northfield what s the idea ? " Winthrop asked his 
cousin as they fell into step. 

" Oh, Ames, who was head of it for twenty years, died 
a while back, and there s no one in line for his place." 

" Going to manage it yourself ? " 

" I thought I d try it out. Cotton cloth is one of the 
things that need to be made." 

"What does your father say?" 

David grinned. 

" He doesn t understand it at all. He thinks the only 
object of business is to make money and he knows I don t 
need to go into it for that." 

At the corner of Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue, Win 
throp looked up at the old brick house with its Gothic 

" Don t you remember seeing Mark Twain come out 


of this house? He used to go plodding up the Avenue 
as though it were a country road. I saw him try to cross 
right in the face of the traffic once, like a perfectly irre 
sponsible child all dressed up for company in his white 
suit. A policeman jerked him out just in time and as he 
set him very carefully down on the pavement I heard him 
say, We can t afford to lose you yet awhile. Somewhere 
he wrote that the man who saw that his country s politi 
cal clothes were worn out and didn t agitate for a new 
suit was a traitor! Well, we re wearing the new politi 
cal suit he wanted right now and I d like to know if he d 
be satisfied with the fit. If he were alive I think I d go 
up those steps and ask him." 

" It takes a war or a humorist to do anything with us 
humans when we reach a fixed type, doesn t it? " 

They went tramping on up the Avenue. After a 
silence David said : 

" It was pretty hard on Aunt Mary and Uncle Frank 
- having Mildred go. They didn t look exactly happy." 

Winthrop looked very grave, for he had a young sis 
ter who would go into the Service in two years more. 

" Quite a family ceremony they made of it," he said. 
" Rather like a confirmation or a graduation or an en 
gagement and when you come to think of it it was a 
little like them all." 

" Speaking of engagements," said David, " didn t we 
hear some unofficial talk about Mildred and the Van 
Arsdale boy? I ve a notion there s an understanding in 
the family about it." 

" I suppose so ! Isn t it just the sort of thing that 
would suit the aunts down to the last shoe button ! But 
I m sorry for those two kids. It isn t fair for the family 
to take a clear case of puppy love and force a marriage 
out of it, no matter how suitable it may seem to them." 


" Well, the boy wasn t there today, anyhow, so perhaps 
there isn t anything in it, and they may have a chance to 
grow up first. They may be quite different people after 
a year of work. I m curious to know what the Service 
will do to a girl like Mildred." 

As they tramped on up the Avenue the traffic tied itself 
into knots and then miraculously untied itself again. The 
great green busses lumbered past with their fresh faced 
young conductors in the uniform of the Universal Serv 
ice, country boys getting their first taste of city life under 
government control. A young letter carrier stopped and 
puzzled at the address on an envelope. Just as they 
were passing he looked up imploringly and asked : 

" Can either of you-all gentlemen make out this lady s 
name f oh me ? Ah m not ahcustomed to all the languages 
you-all have in New York City." 

David looked at the envelope. 

" It s Carvaretti Italian. She s probably in that 
office building on the corner." 

" Ah m obliged to you, suh. I saw by the way you-all 
was walkin that you d been in the ahmy an I knew I 
could ahsk any gentleman in the Service." 

" Sounds like a Virginian accent," Winthrop com 
mented as they went on. " Now, what s happening in 
Prince Edward and Anne Arundel counties when all the 
boys and girls go back there after having spent a year 
with people who haven t any grandfathers, and having 
done a lot of work not, in their code, to be expected of a 
lady or gentleman? I imagine it will alter the atmo 
sphere of the dear Southland very perceptibly." 

" And won t a lot of Seattle and Tacoma youngsters 
sent down there for a year stir the place up like an egg 

Fifth Avenue was peppered here and there with the 


various Service uniforms dodging in and out of tele 
graph stations, riding on the hurrying trucks of the gov 
ernment express and mail wagons, pushing about scrapers 
in the streets, doing all the bits of unskilled labor that a 
community does for itself through its government. The 
work they were doing was in itself essential but with no 
future of advancement or development in it. But it was 
no longer done by the old and decrepit for whom it was 
the last strand in the fraying rope of independence, nor 
by the inefficient or discouraged middle-aged who had 
been crowded into it without hope of escape, nor by the 
unfortunate young forced into it by the immediate need 
to earn money and finding it a blind alley in which they 
were trapped but by well fed, well cared for young 
people to whom it was nothing more than a training 
school. And yet both Winthrop and David realized that 
it was out of those terrible red miles that the world had 
marched to victory in France, that this new Service of 
peace which was filling Fifth Avenue had come as a 
consequence of that terrible upheaval that the ideal that 
all work could be a national service had begun to be real 

North of Twenty-Third Street the flood of garment- 
workers, their day s work done, bore down upon the two 
men. There were literally tens of thousands of them, 
filling the walks in a moving mass, overflowing into the 
streets when the traffic permitted, tramping steadily 
south with toes pointed too sharply out and feet clinging 
flatly to the pavement. As a race they were as thor 
oughly differentiated as the Carver family. But it was 
a different specialization. Instead of being tall and clear- 
skinned from generations of full feeding, care and pro 
tection, they were undersized, sallow and stooping from 
generations of poverty that meant low feeding and the 


grinding indoor toil of the landless. Where the Carver 
family were direct and slow in thought and speech because 
their survival did not depend on quickness or cleverness, 
the garment workers were verbally subtle and mentally 
swift because of the long generations when success, even 
life itself, had depended on quickness and subtlety. To 
these thousands of garment-makers, work was nothing 
better than a hard necessity. From the time they had 
stood at their mothers knees to pull bastings, when they 
rose to be machine operators, pressers, cutters, getting 
good wages and then down the other side of the hill back 
to the bastings again and finally working in dim shadowy 
shops making over second-hand clothes, their object in 
working had been to make money to live. There was no 
thought of cutting and sewing and pressing because to 
make clothes was a public service. They had not had any 
training in democracy except to cast the ballot and that 
was no more than the elder members of the Carver fam 
ily had had ! 

There was a striking absence of young men in the crowd 
or it might have been different. Their sons who had 
spent a year on railroads, or steamers, or in post offices, or 
laboratories, or public hospitals, or agriculture, did not 
look on the job of sitting all day driving parallel edges 
of cloth through a power machine with any degree of 
favor. The adventure of serving the community had 
given them a definite distaste for work which, so far as 
they could see, was being carried on chiefly for the ad 
vantage of some firm. They showed an increasing ten 
dency to go into industries that were better organized, 
new blood was not coming into the garment trades and 
the conditions were distinctly bad. 

But neither was the new blood of the younger gener 
ation of Carvers going into the traditional avocations 


of that family. Their young men and women, like the 
sons and daughters of the needle workers, were being 
driven out of their inherited environments. 

As Winthrop and David passed the Hawarden Club 
they saw their great-uncle Andrew Carver already at the 
window, his perfect hat on his perfect head, his perfect 
but chromatically repressed tie vanishing at exactly the 
proper angle under his quietly distinguished waistcoat, 
his pleasantly quizzical eyes fixed on them. Beside him 
sat David s father, David Senior, and Henry Van Ars- 
dale. The three were often together. Old Andrew had 
been fond of the younger men when they were small boys 
in kilts running about in the gardens at Torexo, fond of 
them when their sons and daughters took their turn in 
the family cradles; he was fond of them now that the 
time when those cradles would be filled with their grand 
children could not be far off. 

" Why don t you put those two lads up for the club? " 
asked Henry Van Arsdale. 

Andrew Carver, drumming absently on his chair arm, 
nodded to the boys through the window. 

" Neither of the boys seems to care about joining." 

" What ! " Henry Van Arsdale turned to his friend in 
consternation, "not want to get into the Hawarden?" 

" I felt just the way you sound about it till I had a talk 
with my son," put in David Senior. " It s the con 
founded Service at the bottom of it all levels off all the 
things we used to care so much about." 

"The Service? Oh, come now! Plenty of young 
men want to get into the club even if our boys don t." 

Andrew turned to them with a smile. " Have you 
noticed the waiting list? " he asked significantly. 

" Not recently." 

They strolled over to the bulletin board eleven 


names ! And there used to be a double column of them 
as long as the board ! Henry Van Arsdale ran his finger 
down the list. 

" Not one under forty unless it s these two I don t 

" Well ? " queried Andrew as they came back. 

"What does it mean?" 

" They tell me that the clubs where engineers and 
chemists and such like men belong are so crowded that 
you can t find room to lunch! " 

It was Apperson Forbes who volunteered the comment. 
He was an elderly young man, as sartorially unexcep 
tionable as Andrew Carver whose disciple he was. But 
Apperson Forbes had inherited the New England 
habit of developing bone, and his superlative clothes had 
something the effect of being hung on a rack. His fea 
tures were interestingly blocked in with vertical and hori 
zontal lines straight up and down nose and chin, 
straight across mouth, eyelids and brow and his hair, 
which was more or less limited, went up square from, 
his ears and across. Apperson Forbes had a theory, on 
which he acted consistently, that there was no particular 
advantage in being rich unless you could have more fun 
than other people. Old Andrew was the only existing 
Carver who appreciated the peculiar variety of fun that 
appealed to Apperson and his subsequent frankness 
about it he had a predilection for talking things out. 
Did it not increase the amusingness of life? 

" I know that David is trying to get into some club of 
medical men and hasn t been able to make it yet," said 
David Senior, as he settled slowly back into his chair. 
" And now he s going into business." 

" Oh, really ? I should think he d hardly started his 
life yet!" 


David Carver shot a look of distaste at the unconscious 
Apperson Forbes and Andrew grinned. 

" I ve told my son," David Senior continued, " that 
there isn t any reason why he should go into business 
even if the income tax has been very much increased all 
the stocks are paying well again. But he acted as though 
I was a child he d got to instruct. Told me that just 
looking at things didn t interest him any more. He in 
sisted that so far as having one exciting thing happen 
after another, nothing could seem dramatic after the war. 
But he admitted that it was going to be more interesting 
than anything ever was in the world before, to tidy up 
the big mess, now the war s done, and get the world go 
ing again. And he seemed to think it was up to him to 
help on that job to take over the Northfield Mill, spe 
cifically. It doesn t sound sane to me, but I guess I m 
growing old." 

Apperson Forbes ran a long rectangular finger across 
his horizontal lips. " What fun does he think he ll get 
out of that? Aren t there plenty of men \vith nothing 
better to do than work? Somebody ought to preserve 
the ah taste for ah entertainment. If a man 
feels he s got to do something, politics is more amusing 
than most here s Senator Train as an example of that." 

"How do you do, Senator," cried Old Andrew, rous 
ing himself. " How is the life of a statesman satisfying 
you these days ? " 

" Badly. Politics isn t the leisure class occupation I 
found it before the war the younger generation keeps 
us awake. How do, Henry Hullo, David Why, I 
was going up the steps of the Capitol last week and there 
was my Madeline using some sort of hydraulic apparatus 
all pipes and sprays and motors, to wash them. I didn t 
know the girl had been sent there, but she d just been pro- 


moted to the District of Columbia Building Cleaning 
Squad and very proud of it too ! Well, when that 
young minx caught sight of me she called out that she d 
been told to get everything off the steps that didn t belong 
there and turned a stream on me that fairly washed me 
off my feet. Fact! I d rescued my hat and was just 
getting up when along came the officer in charge and 
started to march her away for misconduct. Of course I 
told him she was my daughter, so it was all right, and 
begged him to say nothing about it. But he wouldn t! 
He said he hadn t any discretion in the matter and that 
he d be severely reprimanded if he let it pass. Well, I 
couldn t let it go at that, so I went to headquarters and 
explained who I was laid it on so thick that I was 
ashamed of myself, and tried to get her off. They in 
vestigated of course called up everybody from the 
man who invented the hydraulic cleaner to the ghost of 
the architect who built the steps, but there didn t seem to 
be any question about the facts, so they stood by their 
gang boss. Then I got mad told them it was a fine 
country where a father couldn t do the punishing of his 
own daughter if she needed it told them what I 
thought about a senator not having any more influence 
than the chief stair scrubber I m not sure I didn t try 
to bribe everybody in sight, and the only satisfaction I 
could get was the answer that as she wasn t working for 
me but for the United States I had no responsibility in 
the matter. So they disciplined her. But I don t think 
she minded it half so much as I did." 

As soon as the senator could make an excuse he went 
in search of another group to tell his story to. Henry 
Van Arsdale found himself wondering more and more 
about Nick who had been summoned for the following 
week. The boy had never shown any alarming predi- 


lection for work. Of course, he hadn t been encouraged 
in it, but he didn t think he would have any difficulty in 
keeping Nick in the state of idleness to which God seemed 
to have called him. Did he want to keep him there? 
He hesitated a little. The life he himself had led was so 
safe and when Nick married Mildred but would he 
marry her now ? A year of separation at this time might 
stop it all and with Nick s six weeks experience of being 
in love, and a taste for it developed, what other object 
for his affections might he not find in a year ! Oh, that 
the Service \vhich so distressingly multiplied the uncer 
tainty of the future, just when it has settled itself suit 
ably, had never been established ! 

But still the talk went on around them. 

" My son has been in the coast survey and it s got the 
young beggar so he s bound to take up geodetics as a life 

" What do you suppose my daughter is up to? Going 
into the advertising business! When she was working 
in a post office in Utah she couldn t get a lot of things 
she wanted they weren t there at all, and she felt it was 
because they hadn t been properly advertised." 

" And so she s going to see that they re advertised so 
as to hit the bucolic brain? " 

" The specialized bucolic brain of the Utah mountains 
and because the people ought to have the things ! " 

There was some laughter, but a lot of shamefaced pride 
was growing up in these bewildered parents. 

And while David Carver and Henry Van Arsdale 
thought of their sons, old Andrew Carver saw a picture 
of Mildred coming down the same stairs on which he had 
seen her grandmother so many times. He saw her as 
her grandmother had been, one of the luxuries of life, an 
ornament, a grace, a rare flower grown in the hothouse 


of family and tradition, a goldfish in a globe of wealth. 
He could imagine her as she might have been in the sev 
enties, in an open carriage with a tiny parasol to shade 
her eyes, or in the full skirts and great sleeves that came 
later or the little tight dresses of the new century, and 
always beautiful and smart, a lady in the Carver inter 
pretation of the word, a family product absolutely true 
to type. But the companion picture to this showed him 
Mildred pushed up against the hard facts of the world 
that no woman of their line had been permitted to meet 
for five generations, Mildred working just like the girls 
in the shops or the offices or the factories, and it filled 
him with no simple set of emotions. For Andrew Car 
ver had acquaintances among women in various walks 
of life and found that other characteristics besides those 
distinctive of his kinswomen were also good. And 
though part of him revolted at the thought of his grand- 
niece being set into the unspecialized mass of humanity 
that filled most of the world, another part of him could 
see that the result might not be wholly bad. But Andrew 
did not see Mildred s year in the Service as anything 
more significant than an adventure, an experience, as 
Frank might have taken her to Siam or taught her to run 
an aeroplane. He had not sensed the possibility of work 
as a changer of character though he appreciated the ef 
fect of experience as an addition to charm. And as he 
remembered the shadow of Mildred s eyelashes on her 
smooth cheek, the soft upcurve of her lips, the trim little 
brown shoe vanishing into the motor as she went away, 
he concluded that the additional charm of experience was 
quite unnecessary. But still Old Andrew, half somno 
lent in the club window, recognized that while marriage 
and he had heard Millicent speak of the Van Arsdale 
boy would be a safe solution, still, even girls seemed 


to have a taste for adventure, and it was at least a ques 
tion whether parents and relations had the right to pro 
tect them against what they might enjoy so much. 


MILDRED CARVER, climbing up the steps of 
the tourist sleeper, entered a new world. 
From the quiet serenity of the house in 
Washington Square ; from her gracious soft-voiced kins 
folk; from the tempered light and the restrained colors, 
she came into an unshaded glare, striking across bare 
cane seats and uncarpeted aisles, and lighting the gay 
inharmonious clothes of the girls who filled every seat 
from door to door. 

Mildred s individuality, which she had just begun to 
be conscious of as the Service detached her from her 
family, was submerged again when she found herself 
but one of forty girls of eighteen, in a car which was 
itself but a single unit in a train of seven precisely similar 
cars, all filled with precisely similar girls going on exactly 
the same journey for the same purpose. 

There was not much talking in the car. The girls 
were all feeling the wrench of being cut off from the 
various worlds they knew, and the people and things they 
loved. But as the train hurried along the sense of ad 
venture began to wrestle with their homesickness. Like 
polyps cut off from the parent stem, they were set drift 
ing independently in the great current. All the dreams 
and trailing clouds of their childhood had brought them 
to the edge of this adventure. They were taking the 
first step toward what might be the realization of the old 
golden dream of the Fairy Prince and the Magic Palace 
and all the consequent little princelings ; or of the Career 



which must spell itself in Capitals; or of the wealth 
which might be variously interpreted as four-rooms-and- 
a-bath in Harlem or an estate on Long Island with 
relays of automobiles and a landscape gardener imported 
from Holland direct. 

For all of them the tourist sleeper speeding northward 
was the beginning of something and the car fairly quiv 
ered with the expectation and suspense of it all. Thickly 
beset with the weight of adult existence, these rows of 
commonplace girls sat silently in their seats and looked 
furtively about to take stock of their neighbors. 

" Say, ain t it fun going away like this ? " 

Mildred turned with a start to the girl beside her. 

" My Ma she says it s ignorant to cry like the whole 
family was laid in their coffins, but I bet she s doin it 
herself yet. My Ma, she s that fond of me you wouldn t 
believe there s five more she s got." 

The girl straightened her too small white hat with its 
too long black feather, pulled up the collar of her bright 
blue waist and dried her eyes. 

" This I gotta say about it anyway, a grand chance to 
travel like we was livin uptown we got." 

She opened her gay little bag and taking out her mirror 
began quite frankly to whiten her large nose and redden 
her full lips. 

" Some time I guess we gotta keep traveling? " 

" Yes," said Mildred slowly, " it s two days and a night 
to Minneapolis." 

The girl stopped with her powder puff in her hand and 
looked her over carefully. 

" Say, like uptown you talk yourself. Would you tell 
me what your name is ? " 

" Mildred Carver." 

It wasn t an interpretation to the other girl. The 


Carver family antedated the newer holders of the lime 
light in the newspapers and she had never heard of them. 

" Pleased to meet you ! My name s Miss Mamie Ep 
stein. Say, ain t this like the Fourth Avenue? I didn t 
know it ud be the same as goin home at six o clock only 
you get a seat." 

Mamie flattened herself against the window as they 
crossed Harlem River. 

" Up here I m going to live myself sometime. I m 
going to get off the East Side." 

And she looked with envious determination at the 
group of mushroom apartment buildings carrying perma 
nent painted signs, " FOUR ROOMS AND BATH - 

" My Ma she says I should stop knockin Orchard 
Street, but she don t know, for nothing else but Russia 
she ain t never seen. Say, over there before they had 
the Revolution it was fierce ! If the Czar told you a egg 
was black you dassent give him no argument. My father 
said so himself. But I seen how it is uptown. My lady 
friend s sister she married a uptown man. He don t 
admit how one should be a wage slave and you can be 
lieve me or not, my lady friend s sister she s got a whole 
house. I seen it myself. She can talk refined like any 
thing. Ever since I was to see her, I threw a hate on the 
East Side. Leah ! I says, to my lady friend, we 
ain t got to stand for no East Side forever. I guess 
what Mary done we can do. Cheer up, I says, there s 
plenty of rich uptown fellows left; their names is in the 
papers every day. Ain t it, yes ? " 

Mildred Carver was shocked. She was a well brought 
up member of the upper class where if they didn t marry 
for love they at least put up a consistent bluff about it. 


She had never dreamed of such conversational frankness 
as this. Much heralded heiresses might indeed acquire 
titles by way of the altar, but then much heralded heir 
esses weren t considered exactly the proper thing by the 
Carvers to whom money was a taken- for-granted posses 
sion like two legs. To them it seemed as vulgar to talk 
about the fortune one of their daughters might expect, 
as to advertise the number of her teeth. Where every 
body had plenty was it not base to marry for more? 
With Nick s parting kiss still on her lips she could not 
excuse Miss Mamie Epstein s sordid attitude toward 
marriage. Why, marriage was just because you loved 
somebody, and that was kind of a poem you said over 
and over to yourself and never told anybody anything 
about. Of course, merely being engaged was different! 

Mildred was startled by a voice on the other side. A 
girl with bobbed hair and a picture gown was leaning 
across the aisle to her. Her hat with its stenciled band 
was in her lap and her short hair was bound with an or 
ange fillet. 

" Don t you think we should organize a protest against 
the way these windows stick ? I have tried to raise mine 
and I can t make it budge. It s high-handed enough of 
the government to conscript us against our will without 
being suffocated the very first thing ! I don t think they 
have any right to take away our liberty like this ! " 

All that Mildred comprehended was that the girl 
wanted the window open. 

" Let me help you," she said, rising. 

The protesting one s seat mate seemed a silent soul and 
merely moved aside with a murmured, " Yes, ma am," 
as the two girls struggled with the window. 

" Suppose you let me do it." 

A tall, square girl with a rough tweed jacket like a 


boy s bent to get her shoulder under the top of the sash 
and straightening, sent the window up with a bang. Then 
she swung round into the aisle, thrust her hands into her 
jacket pockets and stood balancing herself with her feet 
wide apart. She had strong brown hair which rippled 
away from her broad, low forehead. The heavy eye 
brows above her gray eyes were black. She had a wide 
sweet mouth, and very big, very white teeth. Her hands 
and her feet were large, but there was a deft firmness 
about her long fingers and about her big body, that made 
one think of some great machine. 

" There, that makes me feel free again ! " said the girl 
with the bobbed hair. " Not that I was much too warm, 
but it wasn t right not to have it come open if you wanted 
it to. I suppose outrages like this will happen to us the 
whole way. I know they will under this barbarous mili 
taristic system ! " 

Mamie Epstein leaned forward and spoke across the 

" You listen like you didn t want to come? " 

"Want to? Of course not. Why should I want to 
have my career interrupted like this ? I don t believe in 
governments anyway. Oh, if they carry it much further, 
they will find how powerless they really are when the 
people all rise up as one man and say Stop ! 

" Well, on work I can t say I m any more stuck than 
you are. I been working and I guess I know. But for 
working in the Service nobody ain t goin to look at you 
sarcastic, cause they all got to do it, see ? It don t make 
no difference if you got a million dollars or just ten 
cents, you gotta work just the same." 

The short haired girl shook with rage. 

" It isn t the work at all. I glory in work. Only no 
body ought to be in the position to make me do it. I 


want work that will express me. I d love it. It would 
be the greatest privilege." 

" Humm," said Mamie Epstein conclusively, " to praise 
up work you ain t got no license. Gee, I can t shake 
work too soon to suit myself." 

The short haired girl turned to her window in evident 
despair at making herself understood, and Mamie, quite 
unsubdued, said to Mildred: 

" I bet you ain t never worked? " 

The remark was a question and Mildred hesitated. 

" Well, no, I m afraid I haven t." 

The tall girl lounged against the back of Mildred s seat 
considering the girl in the picture gown thoughtfully. 

" Where in New York do you live? " she asked quietly. 

The picture girl shook her short hair and answered de 
fiantly : 

" I live with my brother he s an artist. We ve got 
a studio apartment on the south side of Washington 
Square. He s Arthur Forsythe, you probably know 
his work." 

" Oh, yes, doesn t he do those perfectly stunning 
girls on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post? " 

" But those are only pot boilers he throws off occa 
sionally," cried Ellen Forsythe quickly. " His real work 
is interpretative color arrangements, everybody is per 
fectly mad about them they re wonderful." 

" Where does he show them? " 

" In the studio. He wouldn t think of letting a dealer 
have them, the atmosphere wouldn t be right. They re 
purely individual expressions." 

" Expressions of what? " 

" Why, of personality, of course ! " 

" What do you do with them ? " 

" Do Oh ! Good Gracious ! Why, surround your- 


self with them of course get inspired by them let 
them permeate your being." 

" But what do they look like ? " 

"Look like! Look like! Well, that shows what the 
bourgeoisie are! Don t you know that what they look 
like depends entirely on how you feel ? " 

Mamie Epstein s mouth had dropped open. Mildred 
felt as though somebody was trying a new serve on her. 
Only the tall girl had the self command not to be cowed 
and asked though not quite so confidently : 

" Are you an artist, too ? " 

" I m going to be when this awful year is over." 

It was Mamie Epstein who came to the rescue. She 
couldn t place Ellen Forsythe in her scheme of the uni 
verse. She knew Washington Square, because in mo 
ments of affluence or during the incipient courtship of 
some "gentleman friend," she occasionally took the bus 
there for a ride uptown and back; she had seen not only 
the awnings run out from the houses on the north side 
but also the Italian-filled benches " like it was Hester 
Street believe me." But she looked at Ellen Forsythe, 
at her clothes of a kind quite unknown to her garment- 
making circle and quite unpurchasable in shops, at her 
short hair done in no fashion advocated by the Woman s 
Page of the Sunday paper, at her flat heelless shoes, and 
felt that she compared very unfavorably from a sartorial 
standpoint with her own cheap smartness and yet her 
accent was distinctly " swell." Mamie turned confi 
dently to the two other girls : 

" I bet you re uptown," she said. 

" I live in Washington Square, too," said Mildred, 
" not very far from Miss Forsythe." 

"We live in 113th Street, up near the University. 
My father s in the science department of Columbia. He s 
Professor Ralph Ansel." 


"Oh!" said Mildred brightening, "then aren t you 
Ruth Ansel ? And isn t it your brother that plays on the 
same hockey team with Nick Van Arsdale? I thought 
I d seen you at the games. I m Mildred Carver." 

To Ruth Ansel the name conveyed all that Mamie Ep 
stein and Ellen Forsythe would have liked to know. But 
she did not show it. She too lived in a little aristocracy 
of her own; not perhaps as exclusive or well established 
as the one where Mildred belonged, but far more amus 
ing. And these two aristocracies were contiguous, 
there was constant intercourse between them, not on 
equal terms Oh no ! Neither would have admitted 
that. Both sides felt that the other must know that they 
condescended both sides admitted it themselves, so it 
must be true. 

The four girls settled into a group and began a tenta 
tive testing out of each other a sort of preliminary 
alignment for what was coming. Already they were be 
ginning to realize that whatever demands might be made 
on them, no family nor friends could piece out their ef 
forts, they must stand on their own feet. 

To Mildred the idea of work was full of terrifying 
allurement. What would it be like? What would they 
find she was able to do ? Thinking over the eighteen 
years of her life she realized her distinct limitations. She 
could play a pretty good game of tennis. Her French 
and Italian were fair. She had a certain amateurish but 
very sincere interest in the little she knew of the physical 
sciences. As for sewing, Henriette had done everything 
of that sort for her. Of course she could drive an auto 
mobile. She was conscious of being able to do that 
excellently well and she knew about most of the things 
that could happen to its interior. She had even helped 
to put on the tires. How far would these acquirements 


take her in the unexplored continent of the Service? 
She had no idea what the dangers and delights of it 
were, but she was perfectly willing to experience them. 
Mildred did not know whether she was enthusiastic about 
work or not, but she knew she was anxious to find out. 

The whole car had begun to buzz. The forty girls 
were becoming conscious of the bond of their new ad 
venture and were eager to talk about it. No one would 
have thought that they had so much in common, 
for there was every sort of face, every sort of dress, and 
every sort of manner. And they were further differen 
tiated from each other by the loving care of their sor 
rowing parents which had decked them with all kinds of 
inappropriate finery for the occasion. Now as they be 
gan to try and impress each other, all their little vanities 
of person or place or possession cropped out. New and 
mostly cheap traveling bags were opened ostentatiously. 
Bracelets clinked, chains and beads were fingered. " My 
father s business " " my married sister " " my rich- 
off cousin " " our victrola " all were talked about 
for the benefit of the car. And then the Universal Serv 
ice sergeant began a slow progress of instruction from 
seat to seat, dinner would be served them on the train, 
the porter would make up the berths at nine o clock 
the girl whose surname came first in the alphabet would 
take the lower berth " hang your skirts on the hooks, 
put your hats and shoes into the nets," a whole series 
of things she told them that came as needed instruction, 
for about three-fourths of the girls had never been in a 
sleeping car before. The sergeant left behind her a trail 
of giggling wonder. 

When Mildred, wrapped in her little silk kimono, was 
ready to slip into her berth she found Mamie Epstein 
standing frightened in the aisle. 


" Up to that little shelf how should I get myself ? Sure 
I think it shuts up on me! In the night if I roll over 
what will I do? Rather I would sleep sitting up, believe 

Mildred was anxious to let Mamie have the lower berth, 
but the car sergeant was rigid in her discipline and Mamie 
was forced to climb up the ladder to her place. But Mil 
dred was conscious, as long as she stayed awake, of two 
feet hanging down over the edge of the berth, and real 
ized that Mamie, too frightened to lie down, was sitting 
on the edge holding on with both hands. 

They breakfasted at Buffalo. Everybody knows the 
long, low Government eating room with lunch counters 
around a great square. The hungry girls, each with her 
government order in her hand, filed in and sat about on 
the high stools. They were served by lads in khaki, also 
in the government service, and Mamie Epstein, who had 
a catholic taste in acquaintance, advanced conversation 
ally upon the one who pushed their food toward them. 
To her it seemed that introductions could just as well be 
made by oneself as by anybody else better in fact be 
cause obviously one knew oneself better. 

" Gee, Charlie, this is fierce coffee cold too ! Say, 
can t you give us eggs that s been nearer the stove than 
what the ice-box is? " 

Mildred blushed with embarrassment that one should 
find fault with what was offered. But the boy turned 
back to them laughing : 

" Well, ma am," he drawled, " Ah reckon youah dispo 
sition would cook most anything you was to apply it to. 
Shall ah serve you a egg raw? " 

After one blank moment, Mamie giggled, then seated 
herself more firmly on the revolving stool. 

" Smarty ! Believe me, it s some little trip from New 


York and we ain t half there yet. , I could travel forever 
just looking out of the window, but my lady friend here 
let me make you acquainted with Miss Carver she 
don t care about it a tall." 

The young man held out his hand gravely to Mildred. 

" It s an honah to meet you, Miss Ca vah. Ah you 
also from New York City ? " 

He lounged his six feet of Southern mountaineer 
across the counter until the officer called him sharply to 
his work; but at the next pause he turned back to talk 
with them again, or rather to listen to Mamie Epstein who 
chattered like a squirrel about everything in the world. 

" Say, ain t he grand ? " cried Mamie when they were 
back on the train. " Ain t his voice just swell ? The 
way he kind of smooths all the words together like there 
\vasn t any stops between them makes you feel like you 
was Mrs. Vanderbilt. Understand me ? " 

These Southerners," said Ellen Forsythe, " are really 
an undeveloped race. They still believe in the subjec 
tion of women. They haven t the slightest understand 
ing of the feminist movement. All they think of is if 
you re pretty or not. I think it s a great disadvantage 
for a woman to be good looking. It just fogs the issue 
all the time. Of course being artistic is entirely differ 
ent. That s everybody s duty but just mere beauty is 
hardly worth having." 

Mamie looked her over carefully from her sloping 
shoulders to her flat-heeled shoes and there was nothing 
but disapproval in her look. 

" You should worry," she said calmly. 

The remark appeared to strain relations for a time 
although it obviously emanated from a difference of 
taste; Mamie striving personally to approach her ideal 
of plump high colored compactness and Ellen Forsythe 


holding up before herself that willowy picturesqueness, 
the apotheosis of a waving corn leaf, which she strove 
to realize. Mildred, on the impulse of a life saver, threw 
herself into the talk with unaccustomed vigor and tried 
to make it seem as though Mamie s clear voiced remark 
was merely an illusion of the ear. It was so evident that 
Miss Mamie Epstein hadn t intended to be rude, but that 
hitherto her social experience hadn t demanded much 

"What did you register for?" Mildred asked Ruth 
Ansel hurriedly. 

" Oh, a whole string of things everything I wanted 
to do all at once so they wouldn t have any excuse to send 
me into an office mining and forestry and transporta 
tion and agriculture were the first four." 

" I registered just for agriculture and transportation. 
What was yours? " she asked Mamie Epstein. 

" When I ain t done any of em anyway, how should I 
know? I just said not working by cloaks and suits or 
kimonos or anything to sew. I ll be working by them all 
my life anyway if I don t get me no up-town feller." 

" I wouldn t register for anything," Ellen Forsythe 
volunteered. "If the Government steals my productive 
labor for a year they can t expect me to help them decide 
what to do with it." 

" Well, we all seem to have drawn agriculture, any 

" But I don t see " Mildred began. 

The train stopped with a disconcerting suddenness and 
the girls pressed against the windows. They had come 
to a repair gang working on the road. As the train 
pulled slowly ahead the lines of workmen smiled up at 
the girls, took off their soft felt hats and called greetings 
and most of the girls laughed and shouted back and tried 


to get the windows open so that they could talk more 
easily, for the railroad gang was largely made up from 
the Universal Service and there was a natural free 
masonry among them. In charge were trained railroad 
makers, under them a group of graduates of the Service 
who had chosen to go on with the work, and in the lowest 
grade a group of raw Service lads doing the unskilled 
work of shoveling gravel and pushing wheelbarrows 
and carrying material back and forth. For this was a 
government road, and the community commanded enough 
unskilled labor temporarily unskilled because it had 
not yet found its place in industry so that the old type 
of permanently unskilled laborer was rarely found ex 
cept in remote uncontrolled industries and showed a ten 
dency to disappear altogether. The big fact of their 
joint service to the State made these boys and girls 
friendly at once. 

" Pretty busy, aren t you ? " called Ruth Ansel, leaning 
through the window she had wrenched open. 

" Sure," came back a rich Irish voice. " Makin the 
road safe for democracy to say nothin of bracin it up 
so you won t get yourselves broke going by." 

" Do you like it? " she called to another as the train 
gathered way. 

" You bet," came the response. 

"Where you-all going?" called a soft voiced, dark 
eyed lad. 

" Going to Minneapolis," shouted Mamie Epstein. 

" That might be the mills," said a young Scandinavian 
understandingly. " Give the city my love, unless 
you d like to keep it yourself." 

Mamie made a face at him. 

" Ain t you got a nerve ! " she cried. 

Ellen Forsythe raised her chin scornfully, and Mil- 


dred felt herself out of the charted coasts of her social 
experience. But at least here was some sort of an anchor 
age. " We re making the road safe for you." Of 
course ! She hadn t thought about work as getting some 
thing done. She was going to do it because the govern 
ment made her, but she hadn t hitherto considered the 
object of the work itself. When poor men worked it 
was, of course, to earn money to live on ; when rich men 
worked it was because they wanted more money than 
they already had; when w r omen worked it was because 
they were so unfortunate as not to have any man to work 
for them. Work was because people had to get money. 
But here was work not to get money but because the 
thing you were doing had to be done ! To Mildred, ut 
terly innocent of any sort of economic theory and know 
ing only the part of the world that spent money instead 
of earning it, it all seemed very wonderful. And as she 
continued to think about it, quite touchingly beautiful 
too, but no more comprehensible than the principles of 
metabolism. She tried to reason about it, but her mind 
didn t focus easily at such a depth; so she turned to 
Mamie Epstein, who was crowded close against the win 
dow, entranced by the hurrying procession of Ohio fields. 

" Do you think we ll know how to do what they want 
us to do ? " she asked tentatively. 

" Well, it s up to them, ain t it? " 

"I I suppose it is. But if it s something that s got 
to be done and we can t do it " 

" The boss ll find that out, you bet ! " 

" Yes, but if it s got to be done right away and we can t 
do it " 

" Then we gotta learn it, and you can get by with a 
lot, too." 

Mildred felt instinctively that Mamie hadn t grasped 


the idea. She hadn t got it clear herself, but she felt 
certain that there was an idea in it, and that she might 
have a chance of grasping it if she once saw it clearly. 
She was quite sure that Nick had not seen it that he 
didn t even know that it was there. Why, she hadn t 
known it was there a day ago herself and now look at 
the way she felt about it ! But Nick, why, when they 
set Nick to some sort of work he would do it because he 
had to, not because it was something that needed to be 
done. He would be perfectly dear about it, and he 
wouldn t shirk or anything, but how he would hate it! 
Hadn t they talked it over together again and again? 
Wasn t work, the Universal Service especially, a hard 
duty, a requisition, a tax, a horrible obstacle set between 
them and what they wanted to do? 

And as Mildred went on with the unaccustomed occu 
pation of trying to think it through, there came to her a 
sort of picture, very faint and blurred as though it hadn t 
been fully developed on the film of her mind, of a whole 
people working together for the things that they all 
needed to have. And just by virtue of this vision, dim 
and misty as it was, the aversion with which she had 
entered the Service vanished and she was filled with 
a tremulous delight in the new adventure in which she 
Mildred Carver, an independent, free swimming human 
being w r as embarked ; and she knew way down in the 
bottom of that soul that she was just beginning to be con 
scious of, that she wouldn t give up the chance of it, 
no, not for anything that the world had yet seen fit to 
offer her, beloved daughter of the rich and great as she 


IT was dark when the girls reached Minneapolis. 
Automobile busses carried them out through the 
bright streets where tiny box trees showed green 
about the tops of the lamp posts ; out beyond the crowded 
part of the city; past a little lake, like a mislaid hand 
mirror, to a group of long two-story buildings. The 
quartermaster of their company met them at the door 
with a manner compounded of that of a school teacher, 
a trained nurse and a shop forelady, and the girls filed in 
with their bags and looked about in every sort of sur 
prise. To not one of them was this great room the sort 
of place they had expected to live in. Dark wood tables 
stood down the middle of it with shaded lamps upon 
them. The dull red curtains blowing strongly on the 
night wind were the same color as the stenciled frieze 
that ran around the top of the gray plaster wall, the same 
color as the cushions on the long seats under the windows, 
and as the covers on the tops of the low bookcases. It 
was comfortable, it was almost beautiful, it was only 
like an institution in that it smelled a little of soap and 
the corners of the floor were rounded so that it could be 
cleaned by the simple process of turning on the hose. But 
it was not like anything that any of them had ever con 
sidered as home. 

Mildred saw it against the living places of the Carver 
family the high stately rooms, the lovely textures, and 
the costly furnishings. Mamie Epstein compared it with 
the four-room home up three flights of stairs which 



housed her father, mother, five brothers and sisters and 
herself a place huddled with imitation brass beds, 
cheap lace curtains, chenille portieres, photographs in 
color which represented to Mamie the last word in Art, 
gilt clocks, vases, ornaments and an insistent cheap pro 
fusion under untempered gaslight. Ellen Forsythe, 
standing critically aloof with an antagonistic eye traveling 
back and forth, was heard to snap the single condemna 
tory word " Bourgeois ! " 

To the girls who were used to cafeterias, the supper 
that night did not seem a strange thing. The practical 
education in table manners of the working girl who 
lunches in restaurants helped them through ; but for those 
who had no experience of eating except in their own 
homes it was a trying occasion. Still to have something 
to do after the long physical inaction of their journey, 
even if it was only to take up their trays and file through 
the kitchen for their food, was a relief to them all. It 
was a relief too for them to get into their white cots and 
find themselves on something stationary with no rumble 
in their ears. 

Mildred went to sleep, after the whispering had died 
down in the dormitory, with the forlorn feeling of an 
unassimilated little atom wandering over the surface of 
the earth by itself. She felt poignantly that she and 
all the other girls were quite unrelated, that their only 
connection was the purely external fact that, happening 
to be the same age, they had come from New York on the 
same train, and were sleeping now in the same room. 
Nothing had yet bound them together. Even their 
clothes were mutually antagonistic. Mildred s little 
French cloak and trim hat hung on the rack at the foot of 
her bed, opposite was Mamie Epstein s bright blue dress, 
and further off the boyish suit of Ruth Ansel, and 


all down the room a very medley of garments, clothes 
not to be worn again for many months. 

The girls were waked in the morning by the clanging of 
a bell, followed by the entrance of the quartermaster, 
saying : 

" Good morning, girls." 

Blonde and brune, they sat up in their beds and an 
swered her. 

" Come to me in the store room that door there 
one at a time and get your uniforms. The girl in the first 
cot may come first." 

The whole dormitory watched as the first girl slipped 
out after the quartermaster. She came back presently 
with an armful of clothes everything from hat to 
shoes, and as she carried them down the room, the other 
girls reached out to stop her, and finger them, and ex 

After breakfast when they were formed in line in the 
courtyard there appeared a new thing in the world, a 
fresh creation the Forty-second Unit of the Eleventh 
Corps of the National Agricultural Service, and 
marched away up the street. They had come there as 
individuals in all the colors of the rainbow; in all the 
fashions that different purses and stages of aesthetic 
development permitted; showing at the first glance all 
sorts of breeding and circumstance, sartorially embodied, 
but they marched down the street that first morning 
as a unit, having taken on the surface democracy of the 
Service uniform, the khaki, the brown frieze, the square 
brown boots and soft felt hats, and so become part of a 
thing which was bigger and better than any of them 
working alone could ever be. 

Mildred, taking her place in the line, had a quick vision 
of another procession in which she would be the chief 


figure, a procession where she would walk up the aisle 
in the little church in Torexo Park with her satin train 
following after and her grandmother s lace veil trailing 
softly. Bridesmaids in blue would be stepping on ahead, 
and there would be the music of the organ and the per 
fume of the flowers, and all the people turning their heads 
to see, and way up ahead the rector and, yes, of course, 
Nick, probably looking frightened and ridiculous, 
waiting for her. All this wedding procession Mildred 
arranged and experienced as they were getting the step, 
left, left, left, but it faded quite obediently away as she 
fell into the rhythm of the company going to work, and 
her steps beat out an insistent questioning, why ? why ? 
why? The underlying motif of all this work eluded her. 
No one in any part of her past life was the interpreter 
she needed. And so, still bewildered, she marched with 
her company out to the great flour mill which the gov 
ernment had taken over in response to the demand of the 
Farmers Non-Partisan League after the food shortage 
of 1918. 

The mill, rising like a tawny brick cliff set on the 
high banks that held in the river, offered long rows 
of clear windows to the east. Inside, the sun laid great 
slow-moving squares of light upon the floors, gilded the 
whirling machines and turned the floating flour dust into 
pyramids and prisms of impalpable gold. The girls were 
formed in line by the sergeant of their unit, a long 
brown-clad row with their likenesses far more evident 
than their differences. Mildred at the far end waited 
nervously. Why did she have to be there? She had 
come because she had been drafted, but what good did it 
do? What was it for? Why had the government 
drafted her ? 

And then the door opened and some one carne in. His 


silhouette showed clear against the window tall and 
thin with small, compact head and marked features. He 
swung toward them, stopped opposite the middle of the 
line and smiled. It was a smile that parted his thin lips 
over his white teeth, that crinkled up the corners of his 
eyes and even seemed to curl the ends of his dark hair, 
a smile so full of sincerity and happiness and appreciation, 
and so comprehendingly sweet, that it would never have 
been possible to any woman of the sheltered old school 
and to very few men, because it was the smile of some 
one who had seen the world as it really is the great 
masses of splendor and progress, and the thin black sedi 
ment of shame and inertia and had found it good. He 
looked down the line of girls and for each one his smile 
was a personal greeting not the greeting of a boss, or 
a brother, certainly not of the potential lover, but of a 
new thing that was just coming into the world between 
men and women the greeting of the fellow servant. 

" Girls," said John Barton, and his voice was an in 
finitely pleasant Yankee drawl, " I m glad to welcome you 
into the Agricultural Service. This may not look like 
agriculture to you, but you are here to help provide bread 
for the people of all the world. It s almost the most im 
portant thing there is to do. The folks that raise the 
wheat, and the ones that ship it, and store it, and sell it, 
and bake it, are all in the same work with you. If any 
of them do their work badly fall down on their jobs 
in any way either there isn t so much bread, or it isn t 
so good, or it doesn t get to the people when they ought 
to have it. And everybody has to have bread ! " 

Mildred caught her breath. Was he going to say the 
thing she had been trying to think out for herself the 
thing she had been waiting for? She felt the color rise 
to her cheeks. 


" And so that you ll be able to do your share in seeing 
that everybody, including yourselves, has bread, you ve 
got to learn to work, and I m here to teach you the best 
and easiest way. There isn t anything about it that s 
too hard for any girl to do, but your share has got to be 
done right every day, not because you will be docked in 
money if it isn t, but because it will interfere with the 
bread that all the people of the United States have got to 

Mildred felt a stirring in the place where her emotions 
slept and a quick burning back of her eyes. It was like 
the way you expected to feel in church and mostly 
didn t! And her rising enthusiasm for the things John 
Barton had said reached out to include the man who had 
said them, and some of the glory she thought she saw in 
them flashed back again over him. 

It was evident that not all of the girls took in the 
meaning of this little prelude. To those who had per 
sonally experienced work as it occurs in the uncontrolled 
world of industry, John Barton s talk was quite unre 
lated to reality. But to Mildred it was a new gospel an 
nounced by a new prophet. 

" And now I ll start you in the sewing room," said the 
foreman. " Over there you ll find your aprons and 

When they were ready he led them to a long, low table, 
pointed each one to a chair and handed out great coarse 
needles, and piles of cotton twine. Then he brought a 
small bag of flour with an open top to the end of the 

" Now this, girls, is what I expect you to do. You 
turn in the top like this see ? Hold it tight together 
with your left hand be sure there s a knot in the end 
of your thread, and begin to sew the top up with six 


stitches, pulling them tight like this see ? and fasten 
the end of the thread with two stitches see ? Now if 
you have all got your needles, each thread hers with a 
piece of twine. Don t mix up your pile of twine, you 
fourth girl from the end (this to Ellen Forsythe), get 
it all straight before you begin. There now, all right! 
I ll give you each a bag and you will see how to do it." 

It was a pretty poor performance, judged from the 
standpoint of getting flour sacks sewed in anything like 
a reasonable time. The girls who had worked in the 
clothing factories did much better than the Wadleigh 
High School girls or Ruth or Mildred or Ellen Forsythe. 
John Barton watched them in silence and walked down 
the table and told each girl what was the matter with her 

" Now all get your hands off the table and we ll try 
it again." 

He pressed a lever, and the part of the table where the 
bags stood tipped, and they slid into a chute beneath 
while unsewed ones came down from above. The second 
bags went a little better but it was still slow work. Over 
and over during their first shift the foreman stood beside 
them teaching them the simple work of sewing the tops 
of flour sacks together over and over again ! Each girl 
had a sandwich and a glass of milk at ten o clock and then 
back to their tables and their flour sacks. 

So that was the reason why she was there, Mildred 
told herself as she struggled with a refractory flour sack, 
so that everybody could have bread ! The idea didn t 
excite her much because she had always taken it for 
granted that they had bread anyway. And besides, her 
connection with it all, through those six stitches in the 
tops of the little flour bags, seemed attenuated and re 
mote. And then came the foreman and took the first ten 


girls on a journey through the mill. Leaning from the 
top window Mildred saw far down below the full cars 
pouring their loads into the mill. 

" They come from all over the country," said the fore 
man, leaning out beside her. " No one kind of wheat 
alone makes the best flour. From as far south as Okla 
homa, west to the Rockies and north to the Canadian 
border the land has been plowed and harrowed and 
planted, and the farmers have watched the sky, and the 
Departments in Washington have experimented with 
ways to get ahead of the weevil and the rust, and the reap 
ers and thrashers have worked, and the train crews have 
brought it all here so that we can make the best flour." 

Mildred turned, her lips a little apart, and looked 
straight into the foreman s eyes, eyes large, long lashed 
and as deeply blue as the horizon edge of the ocean. It 
seemed to her that they must see not only everything that 
was before them but also a great deal that John Barton 
would like to have there even if it wasn t, and that be 
cause he saw it so clearly it was brought nearer to being 
real. Standing beside the wide endless belt that brought 
an endless stream of wheat grains from the storage ele 
vators, John Barton caught up some kernels. 

" See the different kinds." He held his open palm 
toward the girls. " Those grains are Number One North 
ern. We don t get much of that. They probably came 
down from the Red River Valley. And that s Number 
Two Spring, from Iowa or Missouri or Illinois. And 
these that are yellow or brown or reddish come from 
hundreds of miles apart. It takes them all in a fixed 
proportion to make the best flour, and thousands of men 
and women in thousands of places to grow them all." 

He led them down through floor after floor filled with 
hurrying machinery and showed them the progress of the 


wheat from north and south and east and west as it was 
ground together, screened and sifted and bolted, passing 
from one process to another almost without human assist 
ance like a great cosmic process, till it poured itself into 
barrels and sacks and started out over new routes to the 
waiting country, and to the seaboard and the ships bound 
for the five continents and the islands of the sea. Mil 
dred remembered the heavy freighters she had seen 
swinging slowly out into the Atlantic, and those other 
boats laboring into Hull and Rotterdam and the gay ports 
of the Mediterranean; she remembered the little village 
bakeries in France and Germany and the funny Dutch 
children munching wheaten bread on their way to school. 
It might have all come from this very mill ! And if any 
thing went wrong here the boats and the bakeries and the 
children would all have to stop ! 

She sat down to her sewing again a little awed. It 
wasn t so small a thing to sew flour sacks as she had 
thought why, it was important to everybody in the 
world to have them sewed right ! John Barton had told 
them that their part in patriotism was to put in those six 
stitches, drawing them tight and making a knot at the 
end. It was just like being a soldier or a sailor, he said, 
only you didn t have to wait for a war to serve your 

By the end of her first day, Mildred had a curiously 
hushed feeling about her new place in the universe. She 
had inadvertently become a part of a very big thing and 
she wondered if she would be able to do her share. And 
the mystery and romance of it were so overshadowing, 
that she found herself compelled to summon the thought 
of her engagement and the picture of Nick, as a con 
scious matter of duty instead of having them overwhelm 
her with joyous irresistibility. 


When she marched back to the barracks after the 
first six hours of work she had ever done in her life, Mil 
dred had a sensation of almost religious upliftedness, as 
though the sewing up of flour sacks was a great ritual, 
and the mill a cathedral with John Barton as the officiat 
ing priest. 


THE members of the Forty-second Unit settled 
down into their new home like college girls. 
What they were required to learn was widely 
different from college work, but their life was not unlike 
that which the founders of the early women s colleges 
expected those institutions to give the students. It 
trained them through actual work and actual experience, 
and induced a wholesome democracy by the fact that rich 
or poor, wise or foolish, the same things were expected 
of them all. 

There \vere certain fixed demands on them, inescap 
able overhead charges on time and effort, to meet which 
the rest of their lives had to be regulated. To begin with 
there was that awful bell that rang at five in the morning 
and lifted the reluctant girls out of their beds as though 
they were attached to it by wires; and then came the 
quick scramble for the white bath tubs and the scurrying 
into uniforms and the rush down the stairs of those who, 
being on the second shift at the mill and therefore not on 
duty till noon, were required to help get breakfast for the 
others. And after the first shift had marched away, 
there was the clearing of the dishes and setting of the 
house in order, and tramping away to the lecture hall at 
one end of the long rectangle of buildings for the aca 
demic part of their training lectures in good English, 
in simple accounting, in politics and government 
which they shared with all the boys and girls stationed in 



Minneapolis, and for a few special lectures in the prin 
ciples of agriculture. 

This lecture hour had an enchantment all its own, for 
there were the Service boys also, and was it not possible 
to send soft glances across the room and get them re 
turned with interest ? And was there not also a chance to 
talk as they left the class room? And to talk meant to 
make friends, and could not friends come to the big liv 
ing room in the evening and play games and increase the 
joy of life generally? So the by-products of the lectures, 
and incidentally the lectures themselves, were exceedingly 
well liked. 

And after the lectures, the girls marched back to their 
house again for two free hours. Sometimes these were 
devoted to exercise, sometimes to mending the clothes 
which under the assaults of vigorous and lively young 
women developed such rips and tears as kept Mamie 
Epstein, wise in the making of garments, in a continual 
state of complaint. 

" Say, the forelady didn t have no license to leave the 
seams go out not fastened at the ends. If she should 
be working for the United States, the way our boss is, 
she wouldn t dast to do it understand me? Sure 
you gotta take it out of the machine and pull the thread 
through to the other side to make it stay good but all 
the seams of my skirt, ain t I had to fix them over my 
self ? And every time I wear my coat, a button I got 
to sew on. If all the time I gotta sew buttons for my 
self, how can I sew flour sacks for the United States? " 

And after the mending came an early lunch, which 
didn t seem so early to them as it would if they hadn t 
breakfasted before six o clock ; and the march to the fac 
tory where they took the places of the morning shift as 
the clock struck twelve. For the machinery of that gov- 


ernment mill never stopped day or night, and there were 
four six-hour shifts of Service boys and girls, and three 
eight-hour shifts of adult workers. 

In the afternoon, the morning shift had their classes 
and their exercise and their mending and their free time, 
and then all to the kitchen to help the cook, and stirring 
and mixing and putting into ovens and taking out again ! 
For dinner in the Service was a meal elaborated into three 
courses soup, meat and vegetables, and a dessert, 
and this in itself was an adventure to those of the Unit 
who had been used either to the desultory feeding of the 
poor, or to the elaborate menus of the rich, and for them 
all it was a training in what a meal ought to be. After 
dinner was done they settled down to their short evening. 

And all the time they were talking, talking, talking 
together of the things that made up this great new adven 
ture. As they gathered round the low lamps and looked 
at the magazines and papers, Annie McGee and Mamie 
and Ruth and "Winkles," a girl from Syria, and the rest, 
pooled the varying interests and experiences of their short 
lives and handed them about, and exchanged them, and 
thrashed out the things of this world and the next in the 
light of them. And back of all their talk, and in and 
through it all, was the consciousness of the great mill, 
the tangible expression of the work all the people were 
doing together. Through this material thing John Bar 
ton dominated their young minds. Through him, their 
world grew wide around them, and they began con 
sciously to live in the whole universe. 

Mamie Epstein, with the amazing mixture of idealism 
and narrowness that the New York Ghetto breeds, saw 
her little world stretch out over all the farms where the 
" Krists " tilled the land and wore the clothes she had 
seen being made in New York by the people who ate the 
bread made from their wheat. 


" Almost like relations it makes us, only not so much," 
she said thoughtfully. 

Winkles preened herself at the difference between 
America and Syria. 

" In my country there is always the little mill. My 
mother, my grandmother, every woman, sits every day 
to make the flour. Have not I myself turned and turned 
at the handle? Only sometimes in the village is a mill 
and men to grind for all who come. But here is there 
not Mr. John Barton to tell us how to make the flour so 
that even my grandmother and her daughters need no 
more to sit at the mill in my country but may eat of the 
flour of America? " 

Ruth Ansel s world precipitated itself out of something 
like primeval chaos into an ordered series of interlocking 
operations. She considered thoughtfully the way the 
mill machinery was arranged so that the wheat could go 
about on its own responsibility and with only a little 
supervision here and there turn itself into flour and start 
out to the people who needed it. She felt that it ought 
to be possible to make the whole world as automatically 
perfect as the mill. 

Mildred s world began to have fewer things taken for 
granted in it. The people who made the thread she 
sewed the bags with, who made the ominously whirling 
wheels in the engine room, and the bricks in the mill 
walls, might be eating the flour from this mill. She 
looked speculatively at the toe of her brown shoe, 
flour from somewhere had gone to the man who made it. 
Her mind followed the various threads in the weft of 
civilization and found that the warp that held them to 
gether was always food, for everybody had to have bread. 
As she realized how important was the thing she was 
helping to do, self-respect grew in her, together with a 


spirit of responsibility toward her work, and an enormous 
reverence toward John Barton as the source of this new 

All the girls began to feel that life was uncommonly 
good to them and that this new and wonderful experience 
could not be spared out of their lives no, not at the 
cost of marriage or money or success or leisure or any 
thing of which they had yet dreamed. 

There were bright days when they would take their 
hours out of barracks and their princely earnings of a 
dollar and a half a week and go to the little shop around 
the corner from the court house, where slim young 
waiters brought them delectable imitations of French 
pasties for ten cents, and ice creams for fifteen cents 
more, and then if it were crisp and cold as well as sun 
shiny, chocolate, very hot, with a summer cloud of 
whipped cream on top. And if it were early in the week, 
and their pay still intact in their pockets, they would have 
another pasty, so rich and sweet and so sauced and 
flavored, that they couldn t tell if it were peach or plum 
or berry, and certainly didn t care. And into that shop 
would come other Service girls and boys too, with all the 
accents of all the world. I wonder if they still come 
there or if another little shop with quite other little cakes 
has taken its place! And then if it wasn t too dark and 
they still felt energetic, they might go for a tramp beside 
the Mississippi just as the aerial mail drove by overhead. 
This air service which had come during their lifetime gave 
them a sort of proprietary joy. The morning mail, wing 
ing down from Blue Earth and Fargo and Moose Jaw, 
was too early for them to see, so they usually watched for 
this twilight return. Ruth was always trying to make 
out a cousin of hers who had been a bombing pilot during 
the war and still drove a battle plane converted to this 


service of peace. Mildred wondered if by any chance 
Arthur Wintermute had worked hard enough to be ad 
mitted into the flying corps yet. Winkles and Mamie 
had no more personal concern in the airplanes than as 
though they were giant wild geese driving north, dimin 
ishing to the size of pigeons, then to swallows and van 
ishing away as the tiniest of gnats. But for all of them 
there was the romantic appeal of this hazardous calling 
and the sense of comradeship, for as Mamie said : 

"If we ain t making flour how can they get bread so 
they can fly understand me ? " 

The girls would stop and watch the river and dream 
quite wonderful and unrelated things, and try to put 
them into words, and fail utterly. And turning back as 
the sun got low and the river went black in its bed, still 
talking on and on of work and play and not a little of men 
and love and marriage. And Mamie would tell of Max 
Ulman who was " almost like a gentleman friend, under 
stand me? " and Ellen spoke with elaborate carelessness 
of an artist who had asked her to " sit to him for the 
hands " and Annie McGee boasted of a boot and shoe 
clerk who called her " Peaches and Cream " and was 
" crazy" about her, but from Mildred, though she was the 
only one who considered herself engaged to be married, 
there came not one mention of Nick Van Arsdale. And 
if it were an emotional, red sunset Ellen would grow 
sentimental over the river. 

" It does exactly what it wants to do it goes where 
it likes and nobody makes it." 

" When you don t ask it how do you know if it goes 
where it likes ? And, anyway, where does it go ? " 

Mamie was always inquiring and accurate, and Ruth 
Ansel s academic training usually helped her to answer. 

" St. Paul is the first place and pretty soon it gets to 


Red Wing and down where they raise wheat, and on 
through the corn belt and the rice fields into the Gulf of 

" Raising things to eat all the way it goes down, do 
they do it?" 

" Everybody eats such a lot they have to. But it isn t 
only us, it s everybody everywhere. That League of 
Nations man keeps saying how they need more wheat in 
Greece or rice in India or something, and everybody keeps 
growing more all the time." 

" Don t you remember how there used to be posters 
saying how food would win the war and asking us not 
to waste wheat? Mr. Barton says there won t be much 
of anything to have wars about now that everybody in the 
world is eating together." 

This philosophy of Mildred s was a somewhat garbled 
account of what John Barton had said to her during the 
noon hour. 

" You notice the world started its get-together cam 
paign after the great war, on food. It didn t matter so 
much the things the delegates did or didn t do at the 
Peace Table. They had shared their wheat loaf with a 
great part of the world, as the President said, and they 
weren t going to go back on it let the lawyers and sen 
ators and business men say what they liked. It was more 
powerful than anything else food was to bind them 
together. So when you re working to make food you re 
doing a lot more to hold up the League of Nations than 
the diplomats that are making international laws and the 
international police force that tries to make people keep 

These girls walking beside the Mississippi felt the 
weight of responsibility, but it was a proud burden and 
they stood straight under it. It made that river bank at 


that particular time the most interesting place in the 
whole world. But they were still young and burdens sat 
feather light. On afternoons when they still had money 
in their pockets they were pretty sure to go to a moving 
picture show, and sit snuggled against each other s shoul 
ders while equestrian heroes rode horses more swift than 
Lochinvar s. And here they saw news of the day as it 
really happened, ships sailing, presidents speaking, 
bases being run, -- and began to philosophize and 
work out new world policies just as though they 
knew all about it and nobody had ever done it before! 
And then out through the door on the sudden memory of 
barracks and back, running through the streets, just in 
time to eat the good filling stew and the stomach-expand 
ing vegetable and bread in quantity to deplete the wheat 
crop, and enough butter to disconcert the most industrious 
cow just as though all the sweets and ices of the after 
noon were still unserved to them by the slim young wait 

And if the evening were fine some of the girls would 
drift over to other barracks where they had made friends, 
and girls and boys, and sometimes people from outside, 
would come to see them. Then the games would come 
out and there would be everything from cards to crambo ; 
or if it were a cool night and everybody specially ener 
getic, the victrola would be started, the tables moved 
back, and there would be dancing. Once when they be 
gan to sing, it was discovered that Ellen Forsythe had a 
clear little voice of such piercing sweetness as brought 
the heart to the throat and the tears to the eyes, and that 
whether she sang the new unrhythmical ballads that were 
good form in the studios of Greenwich Village, or the 
old songs that everybody loves because they can hum 
them, or even the airs from a popular musical show, it 


was all the same, for no one could remember, while she 
sang, anything but the sound of her voice; and the fact 
that she shirked her work, protested at everything and 
every one and stood as much like a rock as she could 
against the submergence of her own rather trying per 
sonality in the group, absolutely faded away. 

When real winter came to Minneapolis, the little lakes 
which polka-dot the city froze like thick white china 
plates and all Scandinavia put steel to its feet and flung 
out on the ice. Tall, big-boned boys and girls with the 
pale hair and light eyes of the north had their cheeks 
whipped to red as they circled and circled and swung. 
The young Service recruits such of them as could 
skate spent every possible moment on the lakes. There 
was a sort of freemasonry of the ice which included not 
only the boys and the girls of the Service but everybody 
on the pond as well. Mildred, swinging away from Ruth 
Ansel, found her hand caught by a tall, smiling lad, who, 
after he had swung her quickly about, asked if he might 
skate with her. She caught her breath, she wasn t used 
to such simple .social ways but then everything was dif 
ferent in the Service anyway and why shouldn t she ? 

" I ll be very glad to skate with you," she answered a 
little tremulously, but with all the formality she could 

He caught her other hand and flew down the pond with 
long, sure strokes. 

" I saw you were in the Service," he explained as 
though that \vere an introduction and a claim to consider 
ation all in one. 

Another boy called to them : 

" Come on and crack the whip." 

Quickly they were part of a lengthening line speeding 
up the ice again. Down toward the middle of the row, 


Mildred saw Ruth, laughing like a boy, pulling the whole 
line forward, and fairly dragging a slender lad who held 
her left hand, off his feet. The Service uniforms made 
up only a small part of the line; most of the skaters wore 
the gay sweaters and flying scarfs and many colored 
clothes of civilian life. It was not so smart a group as 
might have skated in Central Park, not perhaps so amus 
ing, but it was far more candidly friendly. The line 
swung forward at top speed, the other skaters scurrying 
to the edges of the pond to let them by, and then a group 
of strong boys at one end checked suddenly, and it 
wound round and round and round them like a ribbon on 
a bobbin, and those at the end made the last circle at a 
terrifying speed and were shot into the central mass 
with shouts of glee. It was a rough sport and there was 
a good deal of tumbling about on the ice and screams of 
laughter. Mildred lost her partner in the confusion and 
before he found her again they were all up and hold 
ing handsi and sweeping back down the lake. And so 
again and again till the Service recruits had to dash back 
to barracks amid the jeers of those who were younger or 
older than the draft age. 

" Oh don t you wish you could stay !" " We re going 
to build a bonfire ! a bonfire ! a bonfire ! " 

" You don t know what a good time we re going to 

" We don t have to go until we get good and ready 
we don t." 

"We ll be back to-morrow," Mildred called gayly, turn 
ing and waving to the group still on the ice. 

As she started reluctantly on, still keeping longing eyes 
over her shoulder, she bumped fair and square into John 

" Oh, I m very sorry," she cried flushing. " I didn t 
see you." 


" I saw you," he said slowly, eying her curiously. 
" I ve been seeing you for quite some time." 

" We ve had a lot of fun," said Mildred, feeling 
strangely embarrassed and beginning to walk on. 

The foreman was walking beside her. 

" You really enjoyed it, did you? " 

" Oh, I love to skate. Father taught me when I 
couldn t much more than walk. I remember yet how I 
tumbled around on the ice when we went to the country 
for Christmas. Nick Van Arsdale and I have skated 
every pond and creek in Greene County." 

" Who is Nick Van Arsdale? " 

" He s the boy who lives next door." 

Never was a literally true and innocent remark more 
calculated to deceive! Mildred s mind swept suddenly 
away after Nick s trim figure flying up the river ahead of 
her. What fun if he had been here today! Nick was 
part of things like this. 

" I wish we didn t have to stop so soon," she said wist 
fully, looking back. 

" But you have to be ready for the mill in the morning 
- that s the first thing." 

Mildred came back with a start. 

" Oh, I know." 

She was conscious of a faint shadowy resentment as 
they walked on in silence. But then John Barton began 
to talk of quite grown up and serious things, and Mildred 
felt that after all he didn t hold it against her that she had 
wanted to go on skating, in spite of the fact that she was 
due at the mill at six the next morning. She resolved to 
be more worthy of his confidence in the future and by the 
time they reached the barracks she was again caught up 
into the heaven of enthusiasm for the work she was help 
ing to do and the man who was directing it. 


A the Forty-second Unit began to know itself and 
understand its own habits and ways, it took it 
for granted that men and boys always tended 
to circle around Mildred Carver. It was not because she 
was more beautiful than the other girls. There was a 
timid little Italian with the face of a Bouguereau ma 
donna, and a red-haired girl with flaming beauty like a 
conflagration. It was not because of her wit, for that 
faded timidly away before Mamie Epstein s sudden sallies. 
But she had that nameless attraction that is the indefin 
able, ineradicable difference between a siren and an ordi 
nary woman. It was a dangerous birthright, and 
Mildred was to get harm and joy of it all her life. 

One day in the mill she was slow in letting go of her 
flour sack as it slid down the chute. There was a cry, a 
little spurt of blood, and then the machinery was stopped 
suddenly as she held up a bleeding left hand. John Bar 
ton came running, smothered her hand in cotton waste, 
and half carried her down to the office where it was 
bandaged. It wasn t a serious hurt. Mildred protested 
that she could go right back to her work she was back 
at it the next day. But John Barton was surprisingly 
concerned. He came and watched her, explaining that 
if it pained at all she must stop, and at recess he sat down 
beside her and after a mere perfunctory question about 
her hand, stayed talking idly till work began. The fol 
lowing day he came again on the same pretense and 
talked on with no pretense at all, so that the observing 

G 8l 


Mamie Epstein remarked to Ellen as they ate their mid- 
morning sandwiches : 

" A crush on Mildred the boss has got all right ! " 

" That Barton ? How do you know ? " 

" The front of your face instead of the back of it to 
them, shows you ! " 

Ellen turned calmly and studied the two. 

" Grand wages all right don t you bet he gets ? " 

" How should I know ? I suppose it s on the Civil 
Service list if you want to look it up." 

" Her chance to get married maybe it could be. She 
should worry about work if he got engaged to her ! " 

" I don t see how you can be thinking all the time about 
getting married! It s the last thing I think of. I 
wouldn t give up my liberty for any man." 

" Say, honest you don t want to get married ? " 

"Decidedly not!" 

" But what ll you do? Ain t you got to work? " 

" Do you think I d give up my Career and be a para 
site and let a man support me? " 

Ruth Ansel joined them, her sandwich in her hand. 

" To Ellen I been saying, a crush on Mildred Mr. 
Barton he has all right." 

Ruth swung around and looked at the two as Ellen had 

" I don t see it." 

" Well you can take it from me. I noticed it before. 
Maybe she ll get engaged to him." 

"Oh, no!" 

" Grand wages he gets, don t he ? In a flour mill there 
ain t no slack season, is there? You can believe me or 
not, all the time I bet he works." 

" That wouldn t matter." 

" Say, I guess you don t know ! And it s grand he s 
the boss too ! " 


" It isn t a question," said Ellen languidly, "of being 
the boss or being a mere hireling. It s the idea of his 
being in this sort of work at all. I couldn t stand it. 
And of living in a new place like Minneapolis that hasn t 
any atmosphere. Besides, I don t think there s anything 
in it. She did hurt her hand." 

Ruth, who had been watching them with the corners 
of her mouth twitching, grinned wickedly : 

" Girls," she announced, " there s no more chance of 
Mildred Carver s marrying that man than there is of her 
marrying me." 

" Has she got a gentleman friend, already? " 

" Not that I know of, and I guess it would get into 
the papers if she had." 

" Such a fool she should not be as to let a grand man, 
like Mr. Barton is, not marry her! " 

They went back to their work, but there was a little 
furtive eyeing of Mildred who sat pensively picturing a 
world full of beautiful idealized industry, operated by 
purely altruistic workers, and supervised by Mr. John 
Barton, foreman of the mill. 

As the newness of the mill work wore off, and the 
grind and monotony began to appear, when her back 
ached and her eyes were tired and there was no charm in 
holding the top of a cotton flour sack together with the 
left hand while she put in six firm stitches with the right, 
Mildred found herself turning for consolation not to the 
gay figure of Nick, which made all this seem doubly dull 
by contrast, but to the inspiring picture of John Barton, 
which gave to the thing she had to do all the elements of 
a great drama. 

To Mamie Epstein, John Barton was merely the boss 
of the mill. He was not different in kind from any 
foreman in a cloak-making factory on Twenty-eighth 


Street. To Ruth Ansel he was a sort of human lubri 
cant which smoothed the operations of the mill. To 
Ellen Forsythe he was an adverse potentate under whose 
relentless eye she was compelled to sew flour sacks when 
her temperament demanded that she go out on the river 
bank and invite her soul in immaterial solitude. But to 
Mildred, John Barton was a beneficent contemporary 
Prometheus, holding in his hand the processes through 
which the people were fed. If he failed the wheat would 
have been grown in vain and men and women would go 
hungry; there would come the disorder and dissension 
that must arise among hungry people and the small strife 
that meant suffering and the big strife that meant war. 
But it was plain to Mildred that he did not fail. 

The day Mamie had announced her discovery to Ellen 
and Ruth, she came and sat on Mildred s bed at night, 
evidently bent on talk. 

" Say, ain t the boss elegant ! " she began. 

Mildred, who was getting used to Mamie s vocabulary, 
agreed that he was. 

"I bet you like him?" 

Mildred agreed to that, too. 

" To get acquainted with a man like that, ain t it 

Mildred felt deeply that it was and began to join in 
Mamie s paean of praise, and extend it, and widen it out 
all around, and amplify it with excerpts from the doctrine 
he had preached to them. And by just the amount that 
she got beyond Mamie s depth, did Mamie measure Mil 
dred s interest in John Barton so that she felt her sur 
mises confirmed and certainty grew within her as Mildred 
talked on. She would have been more certain still, if 
when the lights were out and the whispering had died 
down, she could have dropped with Mildred over the edge 


of sleep and found her going through again a little scene 
of the day before. The foreman had told Ellen Forsythe 
that if she didn t make the last two stitches tighter, the 
flour would leak out at the corner and whoever bought 
it would get less than they paid for. 

" And the people who buy these small bags are usually 
the ones who can t afford to buy big ones, so it s harder 
for them to lose it than as if they had more money to 
spend for what they eat." 

Mamie herself had picked up the bag she had just fin 
ished and examined both corners with care, but Ellen had 
lifted her chin and drooped her lids resentfully as though 
there ought to be flour enough for everybody anyway 
whether it leaked out at the corners or not, and if there 
wasn t, it was somebody s fault and a " Movement " 
ought to be started about it. 

John Barton, as the source of all this ethical light, took, 
in Mildred s dream, some of the characteristics of the 
Sun God, and as she dropped off to sleep she was dazzled 
by her vision of him. 

Mamie was almost right in her reading of the situation. 
The long breeding of the Carvers for health and beauty, 
their training in culture and kindliness, had resulted in a 
girl as attractive in a mill as in a drawing-room just 
as lovable in an apron as in a ball gown. So the Sun God 
shone with unusual warmth in the days that followed, and 
Mildred flowered responsively. All sorts of tendrils of 
appreciation went groping out toward him, and her 
little unawakened soul was filled with the sight and 
sound of the foreman of the mill as of a godlike prophet, 
a bringer of light, a Theseus and Sir Launcelot and 
Joshua rolled into one. He appealed to the religious en 
thusiasm which is hid in the heart of every young girl, 
the fanaticism that can develop either into hero worship or 


passionate self-sacrifice, and can fill convents as easily as 
cradles. And all the wisdom of all the sages cannot tell 
it from the love of a maid for a man until afterward ! 
John Barton was to Mildred the sum of all the wonderful 
new ideas he talked about, while Nick, who had never 
talked about anything she didn t know already, was 
merely a person. 

Nick s letters had not told her much of what he was 
doing, still less of what he was thinking. If the 
Service meant anything to him comparable to what John 
Barton had made it mean to her, they did not show it. 
Instead, they were full of the sort of things she had 
cared for before she went into the Service, about the 
theater and who was singing and painting pictures and 
what her friends were doing. Mildred thought sadly 
that he didn t seem to have any idea what the Service was 
all about, and tried to hand on some of the inspiration 
she had acquired by filling her letters with John Barton, 
what he said, how he ran the mill, and how wonderful 
it was when he came to the barracks in the evening. But 
she wasn t yet able to set down abstractions with her pen 
and Nick got a vivid sense of John Barton as a person 
ality set in the overwhelming vantage post of foreman, 
and felt very small indeed by comparison. 

As for John Barton, he saw Mildred as a singularly 
lovely and intelligent young American girl of the sort 
that New England produces so in excess of the demand 
that they wither in the parental gardens everywhere, or 
get shunted into genteel employments which are not 
much better than this wistful withering; but who in for 
tunate exceptions, are carried away into some more emo 
tionally succulent field, where life gives them experience 
and love, and where they bloom into the best that this 
country or any other can produce. This was the sort of 


girl that John Barton thought Mildred was, and he let 
his good sturdy working-class dreams of an American 
home and children fix themselves upon her. 


MILDRED S letters to her mother greatly dis 
quieted that lady. She had thought of this 
daughter of hers as a little female Joseph 
sold into an urban, Scandinavian, Egypt. Her heart 
ached at the trials and sufferings, hardships and unpleas 
antnesses that Mildred would have to undergo. She had 
expected that the girl s letters would be full of inevitable 
complaints and was prepared to administer epistolary 
consolation. But nothing of the sort had been called 
for! Mildred s work engrossed her; the other girls de 
lighted her ; the mill rose, not as a prison house where she 
toiled unwillingly, but as a sort of religious center from 
which all sorts of beneficences appeared to emanate. And 
what was this talk of being responsible for the breakfast 
rolls of the whole United States? The girl was merely 
sewing the tops of flour sacks together! And all this 
about a Mr. Barton who seemed to hold some position in 
the mill, a sort of taskmaster under whom the girls 
performed their forced labor. Mildred seemed to see 
him outside the mill. Probably some man inclined to 
presume! Were the girls allowed to run about in the 
city where men like that could talk to them? She had 
thought they would be subject to galling restrictions, but 
it was their extraordinary freedom that alarmed her. 

And then one day she saw the old street cleaner on 
Washington Square marching at the head of a squad of 
lads in Service uniforms. They carried scrapers and 
brooms and set to work promptly picking up papers and 



putting quite a super-polish on the pavement that Mrs. 
Carver admitted had not been usual before the Service 
was established, though she told herself resentfully that 
men could have been hired to do it just as well if the 
Board of Estimate had voted the money. Her eyes had 
followed the gang strung along the block until a voice 
spoke at her elbow and she turned to look into the face 
of Nick Van Arsdale. 

He was grinning like a naughty boy and Mrs. Carver 
felt herself quite out of the supply of social tact which 
was her special asset. 

"What what are you doing here?" she demanded 

The boy continued to grin. 

" I registered for road making, you know, and street 
cleaning seems to be the kindergarten stage of it. They 
are sending me south pretty soon to work in the red clay 

" Oh, Nick what will your father say ! " 

" He hasn t said much of anything yet doesn t seem 
to have any remarks on hand to fit the situation." 

" I shouldn t think he would! " 

" He s been down twice to see me do it, though, and he 
objects to my method. The last time he pointed out a 
cigar stump I d missed." 

" Oh, my poor boy! " 

" Oh, not at all, Mrs. Carver. I m liking it as far as 
I ve got." 

" Nick, I can t believe it ! But will you come for 
dinner tomorrow night? We re having people you 

The young street cleaner stood with his Service helmet 
in one hand and his broom in the other. 

They don t let me out of barracks at dinner time. 


They see to it personally that I am fed what will make 
me a good street cleaner stew mostly! But I ll be 
through here about four might I come for tea? " 

Waddell, the Carvers old butler, relieved Nick of his 
helmet in a state of bristling disapproval. That a butler 
should be expected to serve a street cleaner! He had 
known Nick since he was a boy, but if one s social stand 
ing is not determined by one s occupation, the foundation 
of the universe must be toppling. And to have him talk 
about his work quite openly ! Waddell was used enough 
to gentlemen who did things for their living that he could 
not socially approve, but he expected them to maintain a 
graceful reticence on the subject. And here was this 
young Mr. Van Arsdale boasting of what he was 

" No, it isn t hard work not half so hard as polo," 
said Nick, taking more sugar. " I get six hours in the 
street and an hour of setting-up drill military, you 
know and an hour of regular school work every day. 
- No, I don t mind that part of it at all. What do I 
mind ? Well, I have to make my bed in the morning. 
Do you know, it s some trick to make a bed so you can 
sleep in it afterward? I ve had more trouble learning to 
do that than anything else so far. Oh, I say, Mrs. Carver, 
is Mildred getting on all right? Her letters are jolly 
enough, but they re not the way I thought they d be. Of 
course I know she hates it only she won t say so." 

" I don t think she hates it, Nick. She doesn t write 
to me as though she did. There s a man named Barton 
who seems to be talking to her a great deal keeping her 
amused and interested." 

" She s written to me about him, too. I guess he s 
the foreman in her mill." 

" Just what has she said? " 


" Oh, I don t know exactly. It s kind of mixed to me. 
He seems to be around all the time." 

Mrs. Carver covered her anxiety by swinging back to 
Nick s experiences. 

" Oh, yes, Mrs. Carver, I have to do other housework, 
too. I m learning to wash dishes and wait at table. I 
wish you d just write and tell Mildred that. Any little 
points in favor of my usefulness, you know." 

" Why not write her yourself ? " 

"I have! Do you think I d let a chance like that 
slip? But I d like you to back me up." 

Waddell, in a state of theoretic immobility, was never 
theless detected in a sniff and Mrs. Carver looked up at 
him speculatively. He was an imported English product 
and she saw that when a street cleaner was not only in 
vited to tea but could take such an attitude toward the 
daughter of the house, his world must be in process of 
dislocation. Later, in the spirit of humanity, she spoke 
to him about the Service. 

Thank you, madam, that Service, if you ll excuse me, 
madam, ain t no good. There s Wicks, the second foot 
man you may not have noticed him, madam. He 
went into the Service in order that he could vote 
something to do with cutting trees; or not cutting of em 
it may have been, and since he come out, he s not 
taking to the work. He enters into conversations, 
madam. I caught him advisin of Mr. Carver s own 
nephew, friendly like, to go into the forestry, which it 
was a grand work, madam. And I m only keeping him 
on because since the Service was set up, footmen is almost 
impossible to come by." 

Mary Carver had a quick vision of what it would be 
when footmen were not to be come by at all nor maids 
either ! But then, no such state of things ever had been 


and of course it never would be. Was not Aunt Millicent 
a comforting proof of permanence? The life to which 
she was accustomed was founded on the fact that other 
people did the rough work of the world. Her resent 
ment against a too socialized government grew as she 
brooded over the matter. So many different sorts of 
things might happen, most of which she felt justified in 
objecting to, that she gave way to an impulse, quite out 
of the family custom, and took the train for Minneapolis 
without letting Mildred know that she was coming. 

Mrs. Carver, minus her maid and with only a porter- 
borne traveling bag by way of impedimenta, settled her 
self just as the train started over the same road the troop 
train had taken. Same tunnels, same palisades beyond 
the river, same little boats bustling up and down! But 
the people in this train were not starting on the great 
adventure of life; they were merely swinging round and 
round in the eddies where chance had swept them. Two 
traveling salesmen talked loudly of the commissions they 
had made and the amount they were able to charge up to 
expenses. Further down the car was a mother and her 
faded daughter, obviously middle class. They were 
knitting steadily, having apparently acquired the habit 
during the war and being unable to overcome it now. 
There was an elderly gray man in a clerical collar, who 
seized the opportunity of travel to enjoy a little nap, a 
trim husband and wife and a subdued child, a limp busi 
ness woman doing her accounts a whole earful of 
people for whom life had settled into grooves. No 
" right-about-face " would ever be called to them now. 
They had no expectation that rainbow possibilities were 
waiting round the corner. Sober certainties filled most of 
their world. Mary Carver watched them distastefully. 

By contrast to her traveling companions, she found the 


girls of the Forty-second Unit comforting. She stood at 
the door of the sewing room, searching the rows of girls 
for Mildred and was much heartened to find them far 
more attractive than she had dared to hope. At last she 
discovered her daughter at the far end. Her hair was 
covered with a white cap and she wore a coarse apron 
from her throat to her ankles. Her eyebrows were full 
of the white dust, it lay smoothly over her little perky 
nose and under her blue eyes, and there was quite a de 
posit of it beneath her under lip. 

But if Mrs. Carver could not classify the girls as she 
stood silently watching them, she herself in her irre 
proachable broadcloth and furs with just one jewel at her 
throat, was a person they could approximately pigeon 
hole at once. It was evident, however, that Mrs. Car 
ver s appearance explained nothing to John Barton who 
stood silently beside her that to him ready-made 
clothes or English-tailored, were all the same; and that 
jewels might be bought at the ten-cent store for all the 
difference he could see. Mamie Epstein s startled " Oh 
Gawd " at last made Mildred look up from her work. 

When she saw her mother she jumped up and hugged 
her in a floury shower, and choked and cried a little, for 
she was very young and suddenly rather lonesome. The 
foreman, significantly sympathetic, gave her half an hour 
off and they went out by the Mississippi. 

"Do you know what I am, Mother dear?" Mildred 
asked mischievously, when she had brushed the flour 
from her face and the tears from her eyes, " I m an un 
skilled laborer the kind you read about in strikes. And 
I m here to dilute skilled labor. That is what Mr. Bar 
ton told me. The engineers who run the machines stay 
right along Mr. Barton s been here for four years 
but they only keep us rookies three months." 


" Who is Mr. Barton? " asked Mrs. Carver cannily. 

" Why, he s the foreman ! He brought you in. He 
came from Maine and it just fits him like a fiddle." 

Mary Carver felt that her daughter must have bor 
rowed that phrase from the man himself. 

" And in the barracks, too, Mother," Mildred went on, 
" we rookies are just one step above the vacuum cleaner 
and the machine that mixes the bread. It embarrasses 
me not to be more important, but it kind of uplifts me to 
be paid a dollar and a half a week for doing work. It s 
quite different from when father sends me money. Do 
I have any fun? Why, I have two hours out of barracks 
twice a week when I can do anything I like! " 

And this girl had been used to doing as she liked about 
nine-tenths of the time ! 

"Have you seen Nick?" asked Mildred with a little 
self-reproachful anxiety. 

" Oh, yes did he write you he was cleaning streets ? " 

" Yes poor thing how he must hate it." 

" I was surprised to find that he didn t seem to feel 
that way about it at all." 

Mildred looked at her mother pityingly. 

" Oh, he wouldn t make a fuss of course, he d laugh 
and be funny, but I know he was just pretending. There s 
nothing in the world Nicholas Van Arsdale hates like 
getting dirty and having to do as he s told. And then 
he doesn t know what it s all for." 

Mildred spoke with the conviction of superior knowl 
edge, and Mrs. Carver enjoyed her assumption of pro 

" No," said Mildred with thoughtful conviction, " work 
wouldn t suit Nick at all." 

" He asked me to tell you that they re teaching him to 
peel vegetables and make beds and mend his clothes 


he said he felt you d be glad to know that he was getting 
trained in housekeeping so that he d be useful in the 

"Oh, did he?" 

Mildred was so startlingly noncommittal that Mary 
Carver stared. Had the girl lost her sense of humor? 
Had any misunderstanding come between her and Nick? 
Certainly nothing was further from her intention than to 
let a mere technical refusal to recognize an engagement, 
break off so desirable a match ! But she spied the thin 
gold chain on Mildred s neck from which depended the 
pink pearl ring and comforted herself. 

Mrs. Carver came to the barracks that evening after 
dinner. She wanted to see for herself how her daughter 
lived and to discover what she could do to mitigate her 
hard lot. But just as Mildred was beginning to tell her 
about the details of the Service all the important little 
things that a girl of eighteen wouldn t think of putting 
into a letter the foreman of the mill sauntered in and 
with elaborate carelessness joined them in their corner. 
On being formally presented to Mrs. Carver he assured 
her that he was glad to make her acquaintance. 

The talk between them was simple enough, for Mrs. 
Carver after arranging several pauses in which he might 
gracefully have withdrawn, resorted to a rapid fire of 
direct questions about things she wanted to know, and 
being a social expert she got a good deal of information 
that the foreman didn t know he had given her. For 
Mary Carver had noticed the significant looks passing 
between the girls as John Barton settled beside Mildred, 
had surprised on his face a proprietary glance as though 
he were inspecting a precious possession, and seeing in 
Mildred s eyes the dazzled gaze of one who looks at the 
light, she was taken with a horrid fear. This was worse 


than the worst she had dreaded, and there was no use 
pretending security, for such things had happened ! She 
rose suddenly a little breathless. 

" I m sure Mr. Barton will excuse us, my dear. I 
should like to walk around that courtyard which you 
wrote me about the one where you drill." 

John Barton rose as though to go with them, but Mrs. 
Carver held out her hand with an insistently friendly: 

" Good night, Mr. Barton," and before he could gather 
himself to meet so much manner, she was vanishing 
through the door with her daughter. 

Mildred was too unconscious of any reason why her 
mother should wish to separate her from John Barton to 
know she had done it ; but she was distinctly sorry not to 
share with her mother the wonderful things which the 
foreman might say at any moment, the things he was 
almost certain to say if you waited, about what the 
Service meant and why everybody ought to work. 

Other girls were walking about in the long galleries 
that surrounded the courtyard like a medieval cloister. 
Bits of gossip floated from them to Mary Carver. 
Strange accents amused and distressed her, and not the 
least of these was the accent of Mamie Epstein, who came 
running to them in unembarrassed certainty that she must 
be welcome wherever she chose to go. 

" That your Mamma should come to see you, it s some 
thing grand! Say, I wouldn t hate to see my Mamma 
right away, you bet ! " and then as the vision of Frau Ep 
stein, beshawled, bewigged and bent, came in contrast 
with Mrs. Carver, " Only it ain t like she was like your 
Mamma understand me ? so young looking, and 
beautiful yet! A gentleman friend she could get as easy 
as nothing a tall ! " 

Mrs. Carver felt herself blushing in the moonlight - 


a thing out of her experience for many years and 
laughing a little nervously, but there was no use being 
offended with Mamie, her sincere admiration was too 
evident. And when she bade Mildred good night, she 
invited Mamie to ride with them the next afternoon, the 
last she was to be in town, when the girls had two hours 
of liberty. 

Mamie had never been in an automobile before. She 
held on till her knuckles turned white and conversed in 
gasps although the chauffeur was an extra cautious 
.Swede. Mrs. Carver took them to a cafe in a tiny Greek 
temple beside a little lake. There was an orchestra, and 
Mamie, though she was quite carried away by the sensu 
ous beauty, could only express her feelings by calling it 
" swell " and " grand." Mildred cuddled up beside her 
mother, more like a little girl listening to a fairy story 
than a citizen in the service of her government or a mar 
riageable young lady beset by an ineligible suitor, and 
they were all very happy until a bell rang in the distance 
and both girls jumped. 

" Oh, we re late and what will Mr. Barton say ! " 

" Oh, we gotta be back at six sharp or next week we 
don t get no time off ! " 

Mrs. Carver was not greatly disturbed. She was not 
used to regulations and couldn t see what difference an 
hour more spent with her a practiced chaperone, could 
possibly make to anybody. 

" I m sure it will be quite all right. I shall take pains 
to explain it to the person in charge," she remarked tran 

" You don t understand, Mother. We re under orders !" 
insisted Mildred. " No one could explain it but us. We 
can only stay out if the quartermaster lets us you see 
we re working for the United States." 


Duty to the nation had been made a direct personal 
relation for them and the immediate application of it was 
the need to be back in barracks on time. What could 
even the most dignified of mothers do but scuttle for the 
waiting automobile and scramble in while Mildred called 
to the deliberate chauffeur : 

" We ve got to be back in twenty minutes. Put on all 
the speed you ve got or here, let me run her! " 

Before he had got his protest ready, Mildred had slid 
behind the wheel, started the engine and begun a rush 
that broke every speed law a city ever had. Policemen 
scurried into the street but she swerved around their 
extended clubs shouting " Service " as she flew by. 
Her uniform checked them for just the instant it took her 
to pass. Mrs. Carver, moved by some instinct of the 
solidarity of the family that overcame her visible pro 
test, leaned forward and assured the driver that she would 
pay any fines or damages so long as he didn t interfere. 
Mamie Epstein, pale and gasping, was so much more 
frightened at the idea of being late than she was at the 
way they turned corners on two wheels that she didn t 
even scream. 

It was evident even through her family reserve, that 
Mary Carver was accumulating feeling to be launched up 
on her daughter at the end of the run, but they only made 
it by a hair and the girls rushed into the barracks before 
she could loose it. 

Mrs. Carver went back to New York with a different 
sort of uneasiness than she had brought with her. Her 
mind was relieved about the work that Mildred was ex 
pected to do. It was distasteful of course, but it couldn t 
be of any permanent injury to the child; even if it made 
her a little round shouldered, she would straighten up 
again. And neither did the girls in the Unit seem a 


serious menace most of them were so very different 
from Mildred that she wouldn t be affected by them. But 
the whole life was subversive. The distinctions which 
people of her class had built up around themselves 
through the generations and had stood by rigidly, were 
being disregarded. The bars seemed to have gone down, 
with the startling result that though other people were 
not coming into the sacred precincts, their own carefully 
protected young were rushing out. The limitations of 
the Service had sunk to unimportance, but its liberations 
appalled her. John Barton as a personal menace, she 
was inclined to disregard. Mildred would not be long in 
Minneapolis and then he would simply fade from her 
mind. But the state of mind that could place the fore 
man of a mill as the center of the universe was a terri 
fying thing. It was not what Mildred did that troubled 
her, but what she was becoming. 


THE Forty-second Unit of the Eleventh Corps 
of the National Agricultural Service had a 
week off with transportation home at Christ 
mas. The dormitory fairly pulsated with excitement 
during the last few days. Interests that had been sub 
merged by the hurrying rush of the adventure of work 
shot up to the surface again and there was a drawing 
back from their common concerns. The old civilization 
into which all of them had been born rose up and claimed 
its own. What would they do at Christmas time ? What 
would they eat? What would they put on? Dances in 
great houses or walks in the ghetto; rides in limousines 
or on the Fifth Avenue bus; boys who belonged to their 
pre-service acquaintance pictured just as they had left 
them, not changed as they themselves had changed. 
The mill, great in its overpowering significance, grew 

Mildred on the homeward journey found herself think 
ing a good deal more about Nick Van Arsdale than she 
had for the last three months. Of course she had had 
letters from him, but they didn t say anything about what 
he was doing in the Service, only about their lives 
before they had been drafted, and that to Mildred had 
grown a little dim. Nick had been set into the back 
ground of her thoughts, and when he suddenly emerged, 
pushing through the crowd at the Grand Central Station, 
she flushed with embarrassment, for she knew that Mamie 
Epstein saw him give her the officer s salute with his 



slender brown hand; that Ruth s intelligent eyes recog 
nized him; that Annie McGee noticed how his brown 
khaki arm slipped round her brown khaki waist; and 
that Ellen Forsythe was not five feet away when he threw 
Van Arsdale tradition to the winds and kissed her. .She 
tried to make it seem to the girls like a casual meeting, 
the merest accident; tried to shift out of the telltale curve 
of his arm, and get out of the depot before the girls made 
certain of what they must already suspect. Tucked into 
the limousine with Wicks and the chauffeur seated in 
front, she found herself suddenly as shy and trembling 
as though the pink pearl ring were not still hanging from 
her neck and Nick her parentally prohibited suitor; as if 
the evening on the veranda had never been. 

" How how did you happen to come for me ? " 
she faltered, countering feebly. 

; Your mother let me. Of course, I told her I was 
going to anyway, and she laughed and said I d better 
take her motor. Oh, Mildred, I m so " 

" When did you get back? " 

Yesterday I ve hardly been away just down to 
Virginia to work in the clay soils a little." 

" Poor Nick." 

" Oh, not at all I haven t found it bad and you 
ought to see me with a shovel I m prepared to be your 
gardener Mildred dear " 

But there really isn t any privacy in a limousine making 
its way down Fifth Avenue in the middle of the morning 
stopped by the traffic policemen, crowded up against 
busses full of staring passengers, taking the wake of 
vituperative delivery drivers, dodging under the noses 
of formidable trucks lumbering like land whales with 
their loads of boxes and surreptitious small boys. Mil 
dred laughed a little at Nick s pretended chafing under 


the restraint of being able to do nothing more than hold 
her hand beneath the dark fur robe, but she was con 
scious that she wasn t altogether sorry about it. It might 
be the latent instinct of coyness that hadn t had time to 
develop before their sudden passion came upon them; or 
it might be just a touch of self -consciousness that her 
first experience of independent living had given her, or 
perhaps a suspicion of resentment that her old life 
should try so soon to shut out her new experiences, but 
anyway she kept in an impersonal world till the car set 
them down at her door, and there was the sudden 
scramble of Ruthie and Junior past Waddell standing 
stately but smiling at the door. There had been no mo 
ment with Nick alone, and when she saw him again it 
was in the midst of other people and overlapping excite 

For gayeties and pleasures and frolics came crowding 
on each other s heels, and over them and through them 
and between them, she and all the young people were 
talking, talking, talking, about the things they had seen 
and done and the people they had met ; telling those who 
hadn t yet gone into the Service all about it as though 
they were college sophomores, instructing their elders and 
their youngers in a highly superior way, and getting much 
joy and much credit with themselves in the process. 

And what the young of the Carvers and the Van Ars- 
dales and the Wests and the Hopes and the Wintermutes 
did for their families, Mamie did for the family in Or 
chard Street, till the prolific circles of the Epsteins and the 
Berkovitches heard how " grand " this Service was and 
how you might be sitting on the same seat with Mrs. 
Astor understand me ? and never know a thing ! 
And they learned how there was a lot of the United 
States besides the New York Ghetto into which they had 


crowded straight from Ellis Island, and other things to 
do besides " working by suits," and possibly other rea 
sons for working than just to make a living but not 
much of this last doctrine, for John Barton, who had put 
it into words in Minneapolis, had not been so much of a 
Sun God to Mamie Epstein as to Mildred Carver. And 
there was the talking, talking, talking in the circles where 
Ruth Ansel went, circles in which the theory of the 
Service was indeed apprehended intellectually but only 
so far as it concerned material things. And the individ 
ualistic temperamental groups of Greenwich Village 
heard it; and the daughters of Tammany Hall told of the 
same things in their different way. Conflicts with paren 
tal ideas were sharp and flat all along the line for shall 
one encourage the young to demolish the order in which 
one has learned to live even if one does not like it? to 
cast reflections on the generation which might have been 
expected to demolish it for itself? Many startled fam 
ilies took measures to counteract the insidious evil 
measures ranging from the strong arm and the upraised 
voice, to silent prayer. Mrs. Carver, casting about des 
perately for some defense worthy of her position, hit 
upon the idea of a dinner dance to which Mildred could 
ask her Service friends. What if Mildred wasn t out 
yet she was eighteen ! 

Mrs. Carver planned it as the sort of party she had 
been brought up to the only kind of party the Car 
ver family countenanced. It would be very beautiful 
and very stately and very costly. There would be a won 
derful dinner, and the most fashionable Hungarian or 
chestra in a flower-filled ball-room, and afterward there 
would be a supper served delicately. 

Several things at once Mary Carver expected to ac 
complish, by this dinner dance. She wanted first of all 


to show her own daughter by a vivid object lesson just 
what the life she had been born to really meant, in beauty 
and delight and the possibility of self-gratification, as 
compared with the life in the Service of which she seemed 
transiently enamored ; and second, to show her how very 
ill this heterogeneous mass of Service acquaintances fitted 
into the circle of the Carvers who, after all, had dis 
covered the one perfect way of living. Mrs. Carver s 
inner consciousness was wickedly and comfortably aware 
that that sort of entertainment, rigidly persisted in, was 
not likely to show the majority of the Service girls 
and she remembered Mamie Epstein poignantly in 
the most attractive light. 

Waddell, standing importantly at the drawing room 
door on the evening of the dance was greeted confidently 
as " Mr. Carver " by Mamie Epstein in a green gauze 
costume purchased entire out of a Grand Street window. 
The memory of Mrs. Carver s clothes in Minneapolis had 
induced certainty as to the financial position of the fam 
ily, and didn t Miss Epstein know, from the Sunday 
papers, that a dinner dance among the millionaires called 
for a low necked, short sleeved gown? So Mamie ap 
peared with a coiffure studied from a hair dresser s 
window and practiced on for two days, a rather too high 
complexion, and a calm conviction that her appearance 
was all that could be expected of any one. Perfect and 
serene, she entered the door, followed by a young man 
in an obviously hired dress suit, whom she presented to 
Waddell with much impressiveness as " my gentleman 
friend." The butler was only revived by the sight of 
Alice West and Sylvia Hope coming up the stairs in 
simple pre-debutante gowns. It was with plaintive grat 
itude that he escorted Arthur Wintermute to where Wicks 
waited to take his coat. Waddell could catalogue a 


Wintermute or a West or a Hope, but Epsteins and Mc- 
Gees and Cappilarris, like the Smiths and Joneses, were 
beyond his experience. He suffered acutely throughout 
the evening. Think of his having to announce at the 
drawing-room door the name of Mamie Epstein s gentle 
man friend after he had seen him shaking hands with 
Wicks as a comrade in the forestry service ! Except for 
the torturing knowledge that such an experience might 
now be expected in any American home, Waddell would 
have given notice on the spot. 

At Mildred standing by her mother s side in the draw 
ing-room, Mamie gave a gasp of disappointment, for 
she was dressed in the simplest of white dresses and with 
no more coiffure than the twisting of her blond hair into 
a knot at the back of her neck. Mrs. Carver, however, 
was more satisfying. Here was such a gown as the 
papers described as a " dinner dress," here was satin, 
here were shoulders and a string of what Mamie hoped 
feverishly were " real pearls " because she wanted to be 
sure that she had seen such things. 

The dinner started as Mrs. Carver hoped it would. 
Out of uniform the differences between the young people 
were disconcertingly evident. Looking around her great 
dinner table, she was filled with self-congratulation. Mil 
dred was too young to be counted on conversationally. 
Her husband would be courteously attentive but not 
necessarily exciting to the girls on either side of him. 
David and Winthrop, whom she had especially enlisted, 
were bred in the limitations of the Carver ideals. Annie 
McGee in a " one-piece " dress of navy silk with a large 
lace collar was not easy in the partnership of Arthur 
Wintermute, dark, slender and faultlessly clothed, with 
the kindest of hearts, the most democratic of intentions, 
but no conversational ability to make them evident. El- 


len Forsythe in a dull red garment cut on the lines of a 
garden smock and with what looked like a band of petri 
fied entomological specimens around her head, was ob 
viously disconcerting to Nick Van Arsdale. Winthrop 
Carver, older and socially experienced, was evidently en 
joying the companionship of Mamie Epstein. Mildred 
had elected to sit by the " gentleman friend," whose name 
proved to be Ulman, as probably the most difficult social 
problem in the group. Mary Carver felt that things 
were starting as badly as she hoped. 

Waddell, circling the table at the head of his viand- 
bearing corps, was conscious that some of the guests 
did not wait until he presented the dishes at their left 
before helping themselves. Others suffered from an em 
barrassment so acute as to prevent their taking any food 
at all. Constraint apparently emanated from every fork 
and spoon, and though at first it merely paralyzed their 
feeding muscles, it quickly rose and tied their tongues. 
To Mary Carver the situation seemed an interesting vin 
dication of her theory. 

And then Mildred leaned forward and spoke to Mamie 
Epstein down the table. 

" Do you think this bread is made of our flour? " she 

Mrs. Carver was conscious of a reluctant and exasper 
ated admiration of her daughter. She hadn t reckoned 
on the child s changing so much in three months. There 
couldn t have been a more tactful remark more loosen 
ing to the ducts of speech. She might have had twenty 
years of experience as a hostess ! For here was a sub 
ject on which all of them stood on absolute equality - 
on which they need have no reticences or concealments. 

The " gentleman friend " swung round in his chair 
and concentrated an elaborately courteous manner on 


Mildred a manner which gradually changed as he saw 
her not as the " Miss Million-bucks " of the cartoonists, 
but as a young girl with lovely direct eyes and a simplic 
ity he had never supposed an attribute of the " swells." 
Suddenly Mr. Ulman became an Othello, anxious to do 
something that would please and get attention, and with 
his experience in the forestry service as the only possible 
field of narration for his position in the bookkeeping 
department of the City Gas Company didn t present any 
elements of romantic interest he began to tell Mildred 
about finding a deserted cabin in the woods. 

" And say, the things that were living there you 
wouldn t believe it ! There was squirrels, of course, and 
a hole where a woodchuck came in and there was a 
wild-cat and kittens. Say, Jim, how many kittens did 
that wild-cat have? " 

The question was put to Wicks, busily engaged in pass 
ing a conserve on the opposite side of the table. The 
embarrassed footman reddened and pretended not to hear, 
then as the question was repeated, he straightened up and 
out of the servant class, and as Waddell stood petrified 
with horror, answered clearly : 

Three at first; one got away." 

David, hurrying to the rescue of the beleaguered foot 
man, asked what became of the kittens. 

" I believe they were sent to the Bronx, sir. There s 
two up there that come from that way." 

And Ruth Ansel with a sudden tolerance which the 
intellectual aristocracy does not always exhibit, said that 
they must be the ones she had seen there last summer ; and 
Alice West wished she had seen them ; and Arthur Win- 
termute said he would go and see them, and under the pro 
tection of a general buzz of interest in those wild-cat 
kittens, Wicks went on passing the conserve, Waddell 


resumed mobility, and the trying incident was snowed 

But it had raised in the mind of Mary Carver fresh and 
more disconcerting possibilities of companionship for 
her daughter. Not that Wicks wasn t an exceptional 
young man of upright character and an efficient foot 
man; and a cat may look at a king yes, but not at a 
princess ! 

Mamie s eyes kept circling the table ceaselessly the 
people, the flowers, the dishes, the silver, the relays of 
delicate, unaccustomed foods, nothing escaped her at the 
same time that she held up her end of the conversation 
with Winthrop Carver. 

" Say, who s that swell gentleman sitting next to Annie 
McGee? Like a fish in the face he looks." 

" His name is Wintermute Arthur Wintermute." 

" My Gawd ! To a English Lord is it his sister got 
married, last year that all the papers had it about her 
trousseau? " 

" Yes, Edith married Lord Percy Elton. They re 
visiting here now." 

Mamie studied Arthur minutely. 

" Her picture, I seen in the paper. She don t look 
like him. Even if her father wasn t a millionaire, I 
guess she could get married." 

" I guess most girls could," laughed Winthrop. 

" Well, it ain t so easy if you live on the East Side. 
And you gotta be awful good looking if you want to 
get an uptown feller." 

" Do most girls want to marry uptown men? " 

" On the East Side I guess you ain t never been, to 
think they wouldn t! Maybe you think it ain t so bad. 
But I m part of it I m in the show, and I m going to 
get out of it. Before I was in the Service I thought I d 


have to try and get me an uptown feller like some of the 
girls had done. But you gotta get a millionaire or it 
don t do you no good. You can t get away with no re 
finement that s as good as the genuine, if you don t marry 
a real swell." 

" And is that what you re planning to do ? " 

The girl s frank scorn tore the mask from Winthrop s 

" I beg your pardon, Miss Epstein," he said quickly. 

" You can believe me or not, I ain t thinking about that 
like I did! Being in the Service I seen lots of ways I 
don t have to work by shirtwaists and live on the East 
Side. And I got all the rest of the year when I work for 
the United States like everybody else does. Why, Mil 
dred Carver ain t got nothing on me that way, has she? " 

" None of us have anything on anybody while we re in 
the Service." 

" But you wasn t in it, was you? You look too old." 

" I was in the army through the war. That s work 
ing for the United States, too." 

" Would you of done it if it hadn t been the war? " 

" Miss Epstein, I don t know. I m afraid not. You 
see, there wasn t any way for me to find out about it be 
forehand as there is for you." 

And he tried to tell her a little of what the army service 
had meant to him. 

Ellen Forsythe, further down the table, felt that she 
must somehow overcome the disadvantages that were 
descending upon her in this unsympathetic, bourgeois en 
vironment. The resentment with which she had entered 
the Service had not all vanished and she wanted to get 
back to spheres of influence where she felt more at home, 
so she turned to Nick Van Arsdale and with a slight clink 
ing of the entomological specimens, inquired casually: 

" Do you deep breathe ? " 


Nick jumped. He had been talking round the curve 
of the table with Ruth Ansel s brother on whose hockey 
team he had played. 

"I beg your pardon? " he said blankly. 

" Do you deep breathe? " 

Nick s mind was full of athletics and he took this to be 
a new phrase on the same subject. 

" Not very, but I think I shall get my chest expansion 
up before the end of the year." 

" Oh," cried Ellen. " It isn t that! It s to get inspi 
ration and concentration! It s psychology really." 

Nick s eyes began to dance. The girl was evidently a 
freak and such a chance and then he caught Mildred s 
look, and collapsing under its entreaty answered Ellen 
with a beautiful consideration that made her feel a little 
goddess of wisdom and fount of inspiration. None of 
her brother s artist friends, nor the maned writers she had 
met in the basement cafes, nor the professional Bohe 
mians of Greenwich Village, nor the high school boys of 
her home town in Ohio, had ever roused such a feeling 
of self-appreciation in her. And she was made content 
again with the Egyptological costume of which she had 
begun to develop doubts, and her content reflected back 
to Nick again, to his slender brown hands and his shining 
brown hair, and his clear brown eyes, and he seemed to 
her to radiate light as though an incandescent soul were 
shining through, and for Ellen Forsythe Nick became 
one with the Sun God. For there are constellations 
many, and Sun Gods many, to furnish forth the world ! 

Little whiffs of music had been drifting in to them dur 
ing dinner and when these were followed to their source, 
there was the ballroom gay with flowers and Christmas 
greens. The music swelled as they came in, and Nick 
swinging Ellen out upon the floor found her dancing with 


a grace and abandon that made him forget the smock- 
like gown, and rise above the distractions of her head 
dress, only hoping desperately that a large, blue, beetle- 
like object opposite his left eye, was really dead. Mamie 
had been disconcerted by the fact that her gentleman 
friend had not been seated next her at dinner and she was 
further confused by the fact that he clutched Mildred in 
an almost frantic embrace and bore her into the dance. 
This was not the accepted conduct east of the Bowery. 
But on Winthrop Carver s asking her quite formally if 
he could have the pleasure of dancing with her, she was 
comforted. And if this " real swell " did not hold her 
so close, nor swing her so fast, nor talk to her so much 
as one of the East Side boys would have done, she still 
got a great and tremulous pleasure out of it. David was 
dancing with Ruth Ansel trying to rather, because 
Ruth was built rather for utility than grace or pliability, 
and their efforts resembled a wrestling match. 

" Oh, poor David ! " cried Mary Carver to Aunt Milli- 
cent who had dropped in to watch. " She is walking all 
over both his feet at once. What an awful time her 
mother will have making her go after she s out ! " 

Aunt Millicent considered Ruth drastically. 

" My dear Mary, that girl is out now as much as she 
will ever be. She s not the sort that goes to anything 
but dances at clubs or hotels or things like that. Except 
for meeting Mildred in the Service she couldn t possibly 
have been here." 

Mrs. Carver s spirits were reviving. The accomplish 
ment of dancing was evidently too full of the pitfalls of 
different methods to be socially smooth. This ought 
to make plain to Mildred what she felt the dinner itself 
had failed to do what she herself had not had the cour 
age to put into words. 


" Well, I think she s having a good time now." 

Aunt Millicent turned at the tone and found her se 
renely smiling. 

" So that s it ! I suppose one may be catty in a good 

Andrew Carver on his way to a later engagement ap 
peared at the ballroom door with Apperson Forbes beside 
him. Mildred ran across to her great-uncle a lovely 
Artemis in a cloud of white and quite casually smiled 
at Apperson Forbes, such a sweet, frank smile, and was so 
overwhelmingly lovely as she did it, that looking into her 
eyes which were almost on a level with his, he felt a cold 
prickling in his long stiff spine. 

Old Andrew s eyes twinkled as they traveled round the 
room. No pleasing eccentricity of costume or pretense 
of elegance escaped him. Even so mild an adventure 
was a delight. 

" I m afraid these young people don t fit their steps very 
well," he chuckled to Aunt Millicent, " but what s that 
they re doing now? " 

David s voice came across the room. 

" A batch of Hungarians that we had in a concentra 
tion camp did it like that it isn t the Czardas exactly - 
more rudimentary and lots more fun. I got them to 
teach me most of the company learned. The advan 
tage is that you can do it without any other music than 
a drum." 

The young people formed about him as he stamped and 
glided and kicked across the floor. And then Ruth An 
sel tried to follow and almost fell over her own feet, and 
Mildred set her hands on her hips and began, and Arthur 
Wintermute and Nick ; and finally Ellen Forsythe slid out 
upon the floor and the steps and the stamps and the glides 
and the strange five-four time seemed things she had 


been born to, and the red smock floated out and the beads 
and the trophies clanked, and she was a new dancer danc 
ing a new dance and quite surprisingly lovely as she did 
it. And they all tried it again and again and the orches 
tra leader who had a soul above the one-step, tucked his 
violin under his chin and evolved out of his inner con 
sciousness a melody in the elusive rhythm or perhaps 
he had brought it from some Hungarian village, and 
came out from behind his screen of palms, a lambent- 
eyed figure who kept the time with a tapping heel. 

It was, he told them, a dance of the peasants in the 
little villages of the Carpathians. A dance around the 
fire in the evening, and danced together by the master and 
the servant, and even by the lord from the castle, some 
times when he was a boy. And they all stamped and 
glided and snapped their fingers in the air as they spun 
around. Mamie Epstein s fat little legs and Ruth An 
sel s long shambling ones, the gentleman friend s rented 
coat tails cutting up the same capers in the air as Nick 
Van Arsdale s superlative clothes. And then the leader 
of the orchestra he seemed hardly to touch the violin to 
make the music come cried exultantly : 

" See it is the morning of the day and the hunters leave 
their sweethearts for the chase see all ! " and he caught 
Mildred round the waist and swung her swiftly in fare 

"See all!" 

And Nick caught the girl nearest him, and David 
valiantly swung Ruth Ansel, and the room was filled with 
whirling skirts. 

" Now," cried the violinist, " it is the music of the 
hunt," and he began a smooth, racing melody which the 
rest of his orchestra, stepping out from behind the palms, 
carried on as he led the men round in the swift rush of 


the syncopated five-four gliding, stamping, step, while 
the girls pressed back against the wall. He changed the 
rhythm and the men stopped, panting. Now, he told 
them, it was the village at the close of the day, and there 
came the song of the mothers to their babies and then way 
off in the distance the return of the hunters. The young 
men stirred again without waiting for the leader as the 
rhythm grew faster. Nick started it and the others fol 
lowed, and as they passed Wicks, stationed immovable 
beside Waddell at the door, he too swung forward with 
the intoxication of it all, till the butler caught him by the 

Old Andrew s dapper little feet stirred in his perfect 
pumps, his old blood quickened in his veins ; he too was 
a young man again in his heart almost in his body 
and past joys rose in him. 

The bonds family tradition had set on him were 
loosed here at their very source the freedom which he 
had evaded the family to enjoy, was here at the fountain 
head. Looking back, Old Andrew thought himself none 
the worse for his catholic enjoyments, so why should 
other people be the worse for them ? 

Apperson Forbes, too, was touched with the intoxica 
tion but his feet stiffened in his boots, his fingers threaded 
themselves stiffly in resistance. In the ordered universe 
which he understood, emotions and freedoms were ex 
pected to stay rigidly in the pigeon homes where they 

The hunting song swelled higher and the returning 
hunters whirled their sweethearts to the quickening beat 
of the music and then on round and round and round the 
imaginary fire in the imaginary village in the imaginary 
hills, till the very Carpathians seemed to rise and shelter 
them and the streams came tumbling over the rocks ; till 


every long corseted impulse of these children of princes 
and peasants were loosed, and each boy s arm was round 
the waist of his real sweetheart, and each girl s hand in 
that of her real lover as the wild music with its unfettered 
rhythm carried them on and on. And then from the 
freedom of the edge of the world, the subtly changed 
beat of the music brought them into the age-old Teutonic 
waltz the same soothing swing that the northern 
hordes carried into Spain and over into Egypt and left 
as a precious gift to their Scandinavian neighbors and 
their Celtic subjects, and the key rose from maddening 
minor cadences up to the serene major, and the wild mel 
ody was tamed, and chained, and faltered and died away, 
and they were all back in Mrs. Carver s ballroom again 
with a still orchestra sitting behind palms! 

Mary Carver bade her guests good-night wearily. As 
an example of how impossible it was to mix young people 
of divergent traditions into a smooth social paste; of how 
much better the Carvers way of life was than any other 
way; of how the democratic ideals of the Service were 
socially inapplicable, the dinner dance had failed. 

And to crown it all, the next morning as Mildred was 
leaving to go back to Minneapolis, she loosed the slender 
chain from her neck on which hung the pink pearl ring. 

" Mother," she said, " will you take care of this, please? 
It s really in the way." 


BEFORE the Minnesota winter had loosened its 
grip, a fresh band of recruits from the Pacific 
Coast came to take the places of the Forty- 
second Unit and Mildred and her friends were sent to 
the field work. They said good-by to the flour mill with 
considerable regret. It had been their introductory par 
agraph in the book of work and they had an affection for 
it. The hurrying belts and wheels, the clanking, roaring 
machines, the flying white dust were all unlovely enough, 
but the big thing that they represented, the girls had found 

John Barton saw them off at the train, an action so 
unusual that Quartermaster Alice Farrington, who had 
taken successive relays of Service girls away from the 
mill, leaned from the car window to watch him specu- 

Straight down the Mississippi Valley they went, out 
of the region of tall Scandinavians, down through the 
farms taken up by the " homesteaders " from New Eng 
land searching for land with a smaller percentage of raw 
rock and a longer " growing season," on through the 
thrifty German settlements along the great waterways, 
through the farms of the " poor white " invasion from the 
hills of Kentucky and Tennessee to an old army can 
tonment on the edge of Oklahoma which had been trans 
formed into an Agricultural Training Camp. 

Here, before the frost was out of the ground, they 


were given their first lessons in the care and handling of 
farm machinery. 

Ruth Ansel standing before a bench in the repair shed 
and carefully wiping with cotton waste the links of a 
chain to be refitted over the sprocket wheel of a tractor, 
looked up suddenly to see Ellen Forsythe drop the oil can 
she was trying to fill and press two small, greasy hands 
over brimming eyes. 

"What s the matter?" she cried, striding around to 
the other side of the work bench and putting a strong arm 
across Ellen s shaking shoulders. 

" I can t get the oil in it won t go the hole is too 
little I ve spilled it over everything I I just 
can t." 

"Oh, bosh!" 

Ruth caught up the can and unscrewed the top. 

" Here, take it apart like this no, turn it the other 
way, a screw doesn t turn like that! Here hold it 
in your right hand and turn it so ! There now use 
that funnel. What s a funnel? Why that thing there 
like a Victrola horn little end in here that s it. 
Now I ll hold it and you pour the oil. Not so fast! 
Oh, Ellen, you ve run it all over the top ! Well, take it 
over to the engineer and I ll sop it up. But what s the 
use of being such a dub you don t think what you re 

" I don t want to think about things like this ! " said 
Ellen resentfully as she carried the oil can over to where 
a tractor with its attendant plows was being overhauled 
under the supervision of the engineer. 

Mildred, in overalls, was polishing the brass fittings, 
her cheeks pink and her lips a little apart with the excite 
ment. Mamie was kneeling on the floor, her quick hands 
moving about the cylinders one girl was struggling 


with a wrench another with some lubricating graphite. 
At the flour mill they had sat sedately on proper seats 
and used that traditionally feminine tool, the needle, en 
countering no worse dirt than flour i,o\v they were 
expected to work with wrenches and pliers, with oil cans 
and lubricants to do ill-smelling jobs with black, greasy 
rags and polishes and cleaners and disconcerting com 
pounds. They blacked their hands and jagged their 
finger nails and acquired the compulsory working class 
habit of wiping their hands on their nether garments and 
rubbing their noses with their wrists for shall one 
smear a real complexion with lubricating graphite ? They 
were no longer fine upstanding human beings they be 
came turners and twisters under wheels and about boilers ; 
headlong divers into the midst of tangles of machinery; 
grovellers under car bodies. It was as though they had 
gone scampering back along the path of evolution, 
through the quadrupedal stage to the age of worms. 

After the " washing up " the first night, Ellen Forsythe 
threw herself into a chair and began to cry. She was a 
humorous little figure much too slender for the overalls 
that had been dealt out to her; with her bobbed hair fall 
ing forward over her ears, and her narrow shoulders 
shaking as she sobbed. 

" Look ! " she cried tragically, taking her hands from 
her face and holding them out, " Just look! " 

They were small hands small and weak. Each fin 
ger was smooth and round and delicately pointed, the 
palms sloped away quite suddenly toward the wrists 
lovely clinging hands, but not much good to work with. 
They had stood her fairly well in the mill, but now as she 
held them out trembling, the narrow nails were black and 
broken, they were bruised and scratched and blisters were 
beginning to rise. Ellen, looking at them, began to sob 


" Well, what of it? " inquired Ruth with a disconcert 
ing young sternness. 

" Is it that they hurt you? " inquired Mamie Epstein 
sympathetically. " Say, I guess if you was to tell the 
doctor " 

" Oh, no I don t mind that! I could stand pain 
it s ennobling but look at them, they ll never be right 
again, never, never! " and she pressed them over her 
streaming eyes. 

" But, Ellen," Mildred began argumentatively, " You 
don t need to get them as bad as that. I only broke one 
nail that was cleaning the chain." 

" Maybe you didn t, but I can t help it everything 
hits me and things drop on me, and the wheels turn 
when I don t think they will ! And everything ! " 

"But Ellen you mustn t let them you must 
watch ! " 

" I can t watch things like that I don t care about 
them; they don t interest me Oh, I hate it all ! " 

The quartermaster seeing some trouble came and patted 
Ellen on the shoulder and put lotion on the bruises and 
court plaster on the scratches and generally did what she 
could, but the girl was disconsolate. And when she was 
given a lesson in running the tractor she fared even worse 
levers and gears and speeds were nothing to her 
she couldn t focus her mind on them. She did every 
thing unfortunate except fall off. It was a nightmare 
week to her. Her helpless hands were the fit expression 
of her helpless mind so far as all machinery was con 
cerned. The instructors instructed and the girls plead in 
vain and so Ellen was transferred from the Agricultural 
camp and sent as assistant to the postmaster of Central 
City, Iowa. 

Mamie herself was not having an easy time. She tried 


conscientiously, but the actual running of the tractor was 
beyond her. 

" It s like this see ? on the lever you push to make 
it go, I gotta get my foot, and I gotta stand up to do it- 
see? I dassent sit on the seat only when I want to stop, 
and then I don t have to sit there see ? " 

But if Mamie couldn t run the tractor in any way that 
seemed to further the food production of the nation; the 
environment she had grown up in had made her a won 
derful cleaner of machinery. When Mamie had cleaned 
a tractor, you could know that it was clean that its 
tanks and oil cups were full and that it was ready to go in 
to the fields the next morning. Hadn t she known what it 
was to keep a power-driven sewing machine with all its 
attachments up to the mark? Yes, Miss Mamie Epstein 
made herself a valuable agriculturist although she was 
hampered by all sorts of scientific ignorances. What 
made a steam engine go she had no more idea of than the 
mother of Robert Fulton. What made gasoline do any 
thing beyond cleaning gloves she had never even con 
sidered. Mildred and Ruth already knew how to run 
automobiles and had no trouble learning to run tractors. 

A week in the Agricultural Training Camp, and they 
were all sent to a great Oklahoma ranch. There were 
sixteen girls in the agricultural unit of fifty workers 
sixteen girls, twenty boys and fourteen professional farm 
laborers, men who had been through the training as re 
cruits and had chosen to go on in this part of the govern 
ment service. 

They got to their barracks early in the day, and looked 
out over a great rolling prairie not yet wakened to the 
faintest film of spring green. 

"If you was to ask me, I d say there was no place for 
so much of anything to come from ! " cried Mamie. 


" God is supposed to have made it," said Mildred, 

She was a little shocked at her own daring in speaking 
of God a merely formal church acquaintance so 

"If Ellen were here, she d object to the mere theory 
of His being concerned in it," commented Ruth. 

" Well, my Mamma says it s ignorant not to believe 
things like that. You can prove it by that, nobody told 
you nothing." 

The girls fell silent. Speculations about religion were 
still for all of them things to be entertained furtively, 
knocking wood the while, lest some offended deity stand 
ready to punish the unspoken thought. 

"Whadda you think we are going to do to it ? " inquired 
Mamie, waving inclusive hands at everything in sight. 

" Plow it, I suppose," answered Ruth slowly. " Don t 
you remember what the man who lectured to us in Min 
neapolis said about subsoiling and fertilizing and harrow 
ing and seed beds ? " 

" Oh, Gawd ! " said Mamie, awestruck. " Have I 
gotta do all that ! " 

Mildred remembered suddenly that Nick must be some 
where in this part of the world he had written that 
they were putting him on the real roadmaking at last and 
sending him to the Southwest. It came over her how 
little she had seen of Nick during her vacation; there 
hadn t been an hour they had had alone. She didn t 
know much of what he had been doing and nothing at 
all of how he felt about it, but she thought she knew. 

Poor Nick ! He didn t see this great business of work 
ing for the United States as she did he couldn t ! No 
body like John Barton had ever explained it to him. It 
was going to be pretty hard to make him understand how 


she saw it even after they got back and were married. 
The prospect appalled her. 

The next morning an automobile bus carried them to 
the field where the tractors waited for them to begin 
work. It is one thing to run a tractor round and round 
the practice field in the cantonment, and quite another 
to start off over the prairies on one s own responsibility 
with the great rumbling machine. 

Mildred found herself on the second tractor in her 
field, following the trained driver; and followed in turn 
by a boy named Wilcox from San Francisco, who had 
joined them from another training camp. She was so 
excited that her hands shook and she wondered if she 
could ever remember which levers did which things and 
how to work them. And as she settled into her seat and 
got her knickerbockered legs free for their work on the 
levers, she had a sudden heartsinking at the thought of 
the first corner and how she was going to turn it square 
and trim, just at the moment when the leader turned it 
ahead of her. She didn t have time to be afraid al 
most automatically she started her motor, threw in the 
clutch and the tractor began to crawl ahead. She said 
over to herself part of a letter she had had from John 
Barton that day. 

" The field work isn t any harder than sewing flour 
sacks when you get used to it. It s all part of the big 
drive to get the people fed the most important thing 
in the world ! " That s what she was going to do 
" The most important thing in the world! " 

Mildred had never been so excited in her life not 
when the canoe capsized with her, not when she was al 
lowed to come in for a moment before dinner and be pre 
sented to the President of the United States, not when 
Nick first kissed her in the moonlight ! That her tractor 


should follow the car ahead evenly and at the proper 
distance seemed " the most important thing in the world." 
Her lips were parted for her hurrying breath, her hands 
held the wheel so tight that they hurt her ; she was shaken 
by an inward trembling. 

Her machine seemed to yaw and gee like a sail boat but 
she kept it following after sometimes she saw that it 
overlapped the trail of the leader and replowed the land 
sometimes it swung to the left and there was an un 
touched strip ! The wheel seemed a living thing, utterly 
perverse; the tractor was a great pachyderm running 
wild. Miles and miles across the prairie she thought 
they must have gone, before the leader looked back and 
gave the signal to turn the corner. Mildred felt the 
sweat start on her forehead as she brought the machine 
about and slowed down to avoid fouling the plowshares. 
Never before had life given to Mildred Carver such an 
intoxicant as came from the first glance she dared to 
take over her shoulder that showed her six plowshares 
safely following her down the second side of the field. 
Her first furrows were indeed twisted and uneven, but 
they were there. She, Mildred Carver, was plowing the 

That first three hours of farm work didn t seem real to 
Mildred they were too full of sensation and effort to 
be of this world. There were the long stretches from 
corner to corner that she tried to make straight the 
turns when to bit her machine into obedience seemed like 
swaying the universe. Not every time did she get round 
the square without fouling the plows, and when she didn t 
- there was the stopping of all three machines and the 
pulling and the hauling and the general righting before 
they could start again on the gradually shortening sides 
of the great field; and finally the ending up with what 


seemed like a swirl of the head tractor in the center. Mil 
dred hadn t had a thought all the time except to keep her 
tractor going what levers she was to pull next, whether 
she had better swerve around that little hollow or go 
through it, just how long she must hold up her machine 
at the corner to let the leader get the proper distance 
ahead. She was too absorbed to notice the ache in her 
muscles, the blisters rising on her hands and her growing 
hunger till the leader called across that it was time to eat. 

And there was lunch coming out of a hamper as they 
reached the farm house not a little lady-like lunch such 
as an elegant young female might permit herself to taste 
in the middle of the forenoon, but good filling sandwiches 
thickly spread with butter and meat, and hot cocoa and 
hard boiled eggs and jam everything that naturally 
belongs with a picnic except the pie ! 

Mildred, looking for a place to wash, discovered the 
pump, and an obliging young girl of fourteen ran out 
from the farm house to work it for her and bring a tin 

" Where do you hail from? " drawled the child softly. 

"I beg your pardon?" queried Mildred, a little be 
wildered, and then suddenly comprehending : 

" Oh, yes ! Why, I live in New York City." 

The girl s mouth and eyes opened wide together. 

" Do you like it? " she asked. 

"Like what?" 

" Livin way off there like that ? " 

Mildred laughed. 

" It isn t way off when you re there it s quite near 

The child watched her soberly. 

" My pap came down from Kansas when they opened 
up the State." 


Evidently this was a claim to consideration and Mil 
dred met it with courtesy though quite uncomprehending. 

" He came when they opened up the State " she re 
peated insistently. " We got a good farm here. We re 
makin out good." 

" That s nice," Mildred repeated vaguely, she didn t 
quite sense the meaning underneath the new phrases. 

" Do you like it in New York City? " 

" Why, yes of course I like it it s my home." 

" Do you think I could get to go to the City, when it s 
my service year ? " 

" I don t see why not you just have to ask for it, 
I guess." 

" I never was to a city." 

Mildred turned and looked at her carefully a red 
dish, blond young thing as most of our native Americans 
still are, showing the Anglo-Saxon, Dutch, Scandinavian 
derivations about the age of Ruth. Never seen a 
city ! that must mean other strange things, too. She 
wore a neat print dress of the cheap ready-made sort that 
the New York factories turn out by the thousands be 
tween seasons and that have almost everywhere super 
seded the traditional homemade calico wrapper, greatly 
to the advantage of the aesthetics. How would she like 
the city? What would it do to her? Mildred was un 
consciously just on the verge of incipient sociological 
speculation when the tractor driver called her and she 
went back for her second three hours on the machine. 

She was still too excited to be really tired when her six 
hour work day was up and the big bus brought the second 
shift of workers, and gathered her up and took her back 
to barracks for though the service recruits had short 
hours under careful supervision, the machines never 
rested while there was daylight to run them. For the 


earth persisted in swinging on round the sun whether the 
farmers were ready for it or not and never since the 
terrible lesson of the war with Germany had the govern 
ment of the United States left the putting in of the crops 
to chance, or individual initiative, or withheld help, or 
labor, or subsidy, when these would help to the full feed 
ing of the nation. 

As the girls got used to their work, they had time to 
see something of the people whose fields they tilled. 

" Not more than a hundred people since they were born 
have they seen ! And land not covered up by cities, only 
in a park, I never seen till I was in the Service. There 
ain t nobody they gotta keep up with. Not since they was 
born did they ever have to do quick anything and I 
ain t never had time to do anything slow. Different al 
together it makes us ! " 

The sixteen girls were lingering over their dinner when 
Mamie launched her philosophy toward the quarter 
master, Alice Farrington, who traveled with them as they 
zigzagged rapidly north into Missouri to keep ahead of 
the spring. 

A black-browed girl down the table showed a gleaming 
row of teeth and a flash of eyes like great black topaz 
with brown lights in them she was from some unpro 
nounceable province on the hither edge of Syria and had a 
name commonly translated " Winkles " by the girls. Her 
accent is not to be set down by the twenty-six letters of 
our alphabet. 

" It was like this in my home," she said, " only we were 
always afraid." 

" Afraid of what? " asked the quartermaster. 

" Of the soldiers sometimes they came and took 
what they chose; or of the wild dogs and wolves that came 
down from the hills; or of the sickness every year, it 


came and if you had it you would die; or of the evil spir 
its that killed the crops by keeping the rain away." 

The girls looked at Winkles in awe. This girl from 
another civilization than theirs never seemed real she 
breathed a combination of the Old Testament and the 
Arabian Nights. Things that they had only read of had 
been part of her experience. 

" Then how was it like this? " asked the literal Ruth 

" In my country there were not many people except 
in the villages and there only a few. And there were 
the same things to grow wheat and barley and corn. 
And the water was from the well or the spring and not in 
the house, just as it is here. Only no man had much 
land, and they do not have machines like these we run to 
make it grow much corn, and they are poor and very, 
very dirty and they die soon in my country." 

There was an awed silence round the table. 

" Was that why your father came away? " asked Mil 
dred gently. 

The girl s teeth and eyes flashed back at her as though 
a light had been turned quickly on and off. 

" Yes to get away from being afraid and poor and 
dirty and sick in America you do not have to have 
these things. My father is now an American citizen and 
I am a soldier for the government." 

Mildred felt a lump rise in her throat, the very same 
lump that came when John Barton had first talked to 
them in the flour mill. Those emotions which had been 
bred down below the surface in her race showed a ten 
dency to well up again when she was deeply stirred by 
something fine and big. 

Winkles was becoming one of the best tractor drivers 
not because she had any previous knowledge of any 


sort of machinery, but because she had great physical 
endurance, a willingness to submit to direction and an 
insistence on learning that was not equaled by any other 
girl in the Unit. It was her first chance to become a part 
of the great thing which made the difference between the 
life her father had fled from, and the Utopia they thought 
they had come into. 

" The men that work for the farmers they are much 
the same as in my country. Only it is we who are dif 
ferent, but we work not for the farmer but for the 
government and not for always, only one year." 

"Say, ain t that a difference?" broke in Mamie Ep 
stein. " I d die being lonesome if I was to have to live 
here! What ud you do after dinner? What d you do 
on Sunday? Who you gotta talk to when you ain t 
workin ? Excuse me! " 

" I think," said Ruth slowly, " I think it could be organ 
ized I think " 

But Mamie broke in again. 

" Some ways it ain t as good as Orchard Street. I 
don t notice it s any easier to keep clean than what it is 
there we got about just as many bath tubs as they got 
and that ain t any so s you d notice em. We get just as 
good food and my Mamma she cooks it a lot better 
than that time Mrs. Linden give me a dinner, cause the 
bus with the lunch was late." 

" They do cook badly," said Quartermaster Earring- 
ton, " but then they haven t the variety we have in the 
city they - 

" Well, that s up to them. Ain t this the kind of place 
things grow that you eat! " 

The farm hands did appall the girls. Not that there 
were many of them for the Service was driving them 
out but still some did exist vestigial remains of an 


unorganized civilization that was passing away. They 
were in startling contrast to the group of industrial 
workers the girls were used to in the cities; physically 
large and strong as was necessary to the work they did 
physically slow as having no need to keep up with the 
motions of hurrying machinery but only with the delib 
erate strides of inevitable nature. No need for them to 
be well informed, or well dressed, or good citizens, for 
there was nothing to be gained for them as farm hands 
by any self-development beyond the physical. There 
were practically no mental or moral demands in their 
calling and small social or financial satisfactions. 

" Gee! If it was me I d rather be workin by infants 
wear in Stanton Street seein what it does to em when 
they get through," commented Mamie. 

But before our Universal Service, the farm hand, even 
the last remnant of him, tends to vanish, and the farms 
themselves to shrink to a size that the owner can operate 
between the stress seasons of seedtime and harvest. And 
already under the organized help to the farmers, the 
acreage under cultivation is slowly increasing and the 
yield per acre going up. 

Mildred loved the work. All her life she had been 
used to being out of doors riding, tramping, playing 
games, getting much joy out of the open air. Now she 
had this same outdoor life in the interests of production 
of industry. She kept telling herself that this was 
the other end of the work John Barton was doing the 
work of giving everybody bread the most important 
thing in the world. 


WORKING back and forth through the endless 
green miles of the corn belt, past the point 
ing white fingers of the scattered churches, 
gradually northward from one little wood-built town to 
another, the tractor teams of the Forty-second Unit be 
came increasingly expert. 

Mildred following after Edward Fox, the professional 
worker who drove the first tractor, and followed closely 
by Sam Wilcox on the third, no longer had any terror of 
the corners of the fields, she knew she could turn them 
safely; she no longer watched her furrows anxiously over 
her shoulder, she knew they were straight. There 
wasn t much chance to talk because the noise of their 
combined engines was like the sound of aeroplanes in 
flight, but there was a lot of time to speculate on all the 
problems that were presenting themselves to her day by 

This speculation would have been inevitable to a girl 
of her type and age, but if she had been a New York 
debutante, as her mother had been, instead of a tractor 
driver in the Mississippi Valley, it would have turned on 
her personal concerns amusements, clothes and par 
ticularly marriage to a far greater extent. 

One day they plowed a great rich tract through the 
middle of which ran a slow, meandering stream, lately 
snowbound. A Service Corps was busy digging and 
trenching along the bank of it and Edward Fox signaled 
to stop. 



" Taking the kinks out of the stream," the gang leader 
told Mildred. " Land here grows too much corn to the 
acre to let any more of it be under water than we can help. 
Of course, it isn t as pretty to look at as it was before, 
I guess we will have to look for beauty somewhere else." 

And his glance at Mildred seemed to indicate where it 
was to be found. 

They tell me it pays well to straighten out the brooks. 
Somebody in the University of Iowa made an estimate on 
the number of acres it saved but I couldn t believe it till 
they put me on this job." 

Mildred went back to her tractor with a half-forgotten 
" golden text " about " making straight His paths " float 
ing in her mind, which drifted off into obscure calcula 
tions of the number of corn bread muffins somebody 
would eat because the curl was taken out of that particu 
lar stream. 

Another day Winkles came back at night full of excite- 

There was a little hill oh, a very little hill and 
the men in the uniforms were putting small trees on the 
top of it a long row of very small trees. Why do you 
plant trees ? I said to them. They told me it was so the 
wind would be kept from the young corn. And that is a 
wonderful thing in this country, that the government 
keeps the wind from the young corn! " 

And that, too, Mildred thought about while she rode 
her tractor. 

One night in Missouri, their barracks was on the 
ground of an Agricultural Experiment Station and the 
recruits stationed there welcomed them with hilarious joy 
and told them about the experiments they were making 
in early varieties of corn, and wheat from China, and new 
fertilizers and ways to circumvent the grasshopper 


these all mixed up with the gossip of the Service, and 
national politics as interpreted in the light of their eight 
een years, and a lot of scattering personalities and some 

" What do you think of being eight miles from the 
movies for four months! Why, I d even be darn glad 
to see those before-the-war films of Charley Chaplin!" 

" We haven t seen any since we left Minneapolis, 
either," said Ruth Ansel. " But if it s any comfort to 
you, I ll tell you about the last ones we saw there." 

After an outraged silence the Experiment Station re 
cruits told Ruth what they really thought of her and har 
mony was restored. 

It was the evening after that or the next but one that 
Mamie said earnestly to Mildred : 

" One more young man gets stuck on you, Mildred. 
Sam Wilcox ain t it so? Off you he don t take his 

Mildred turned in surprise. They were sewing under 
the lamp holes in stockings, rents in skirts, buttons on 
underwear. Mildred was doing it painstakingly but 
exceedingly ill, it irked her more than anything in the 
Service, and she watched enviously the carefree way in 
which Mamie attacked needle and thread. She could 
never get used to Mamie s way of talking things out to 
her disregard of what was commonly taken for granted 
or implied or pretended. 

" What makes you think Sam Wilcox is stuck on me ? " 
Mildred knew it wasn t any use to fence with Mamie but 
ancestral reserve made her try. 

" Well, why wouldn t he be ? All day he sees you on 
the tractor riding, and every evening coming here." 

" Mamie Epstein, what makes you always think 
somebody is stuck on somebody else? It makes me so 
uncomfortable ! It spoils all the fun ! " 


" Fun all right it is for you, but how I worry about 
it you should know ! " 

" Nobody has to marry ! " 

Mamie s shrug was a quick arraignment of the whole 
feminist movement. 

" An old maid you think I should be working by shirt 
waists till I gotta die! Such plans I ain t got for my 

They sewed silently for a while. Ostensibly all Mil 
dred s attention was concentrated upon her rather futile 
efforts to sew a ripped seam ; in reality she was struggling 
with a sudden fit of physical distaste at the idea of Sam 
Wilcox being " stuck on her." There was a certain sleek 
masculinity about Sam, all frank and clear skinned and 
boyish as he was; that repelled her the moment she saw 
him in the light of a possible lover. Mamie s words had 
brought him into quick contrast with Nick and all her 
aesthetically critical senses sprang away from his short 
fingered, clumsy hands, the clumsy, untaught processes 
of his brain; from his vigorous but ungraceful body; 
from his innocent but unlovely manners toward the 
slender figure of Nick with all its perfection of finish in 
physical detail a crisp, definite modeling of the bones 
as they showed through the not too abundant flesh; the 
careful marking of his eyebrows ; the supple adaptability 
of his hands; the bodily control that kept him always 
physically at ease ; the consideration of manner bred into 
him for generations. It all came to Mildred as a wave 
of feeling rather than of thought. Emotionally she 
pushed Sam away with outward facing palms. When 
she brought herself back to the present Mamie was say 

" With you it s different. All those swell uptown 
fellers you got a chance to get married to. I bet your 


father could give a boy a five thousand dollar check and 
never make no difference in the housekeeping." 

" But I m not thinking about getting married not at 

Mildred stopped suddenly of course in a way she 
was thinking of getting married, for there was Nick 
but it all seemed very far away and unimportant. 

" Honest, Mildred, you make me so tired ! Ain t Mr. 
Barton just waiting till it is October and you get out of 
the Service ? Not that I would say you should take him 
understand me with swell fellows coming to your 
house and pearls on your mother s neck like they was sold 
at the ten cent store- that plenty! But Mr. Barton 
from Minneapolis or Sam Wilcox from San Francisco, 
would be different for me." 

Mildred turned on her suddenly. 

" Mamie, you don t mean 

" Sure, I do mean ! Never does a young man come 
along that I don t say to myself, Is that the young man 
you should get married to, Mamie Epstein ? 

" But Sam Wilcox isn t - 

" Sure, I know he s a Krist, but what did my Papa 
come by America for if I ain t gotta right to marry if I 
can get him a young man not working by cloaks and suits 
in New York City?" 

" Of course, you ve the right, Mamie but 

" No rich uptown feller, like some of the girls has got, 
for how would I get away with it, and his Papa and 
Mamma and everybody smiling sarcastic ? And Mr. Bar 
ton from Minneapolis right away it would be every 
thing like his mother did was all the way there was to do 
it understand me ? " 

" Yes," said Mildred slowly she was filled with a 
blind resentment that Mamie should even imply a criti 
cism of her prophet of light. 


" But Sam Wilcox, what is the gents furnishing 
business in San Francisco that I gotta put up any pretense 
of refinement if I got a husband that s in it? Sure, I can 
get away with the gents furnishings all right! " 

Mildred still sewed valiantly at her seam but she had 
lost the power of concentrating upon it. 

" It ain t that you would get married to him yourself, 
Mildred all the grand chances you got. Just enter 
tainment it is, like you was going to the movies." 

Outside there was a loud, keen whistling of an intri 
cate syncopated measure with as elaborate ornamentations 
as the human mouth-parts make possible and Mamie and 
Mildred raised their heads. 

"Ain t I telling you? Every night he comes like it 
was a rubber band that pulled him? " 

" I ll go, Mamie I ll go upstairs in a moment or 

Sam Wilcox strolled over and sat as close to Mildred 
as the mechanical construction of tables and chairs per 

" Well, ain t this a cheering sight for a man that s been 
sewing on his own buttons for six months? " 

" And whose buttons would it be you sew on, if it 
ain t your own buttons," commented Mamie softly. 

Sam Wilcox hardly noticed her. 

" Makes you feel like you was married and got a home 
of your own I guess " 

" Well of all the nerve ! Do you think any girl gets 
married so s to have a license to sew on buttons for noth 
ing? There s more n a hundred places in New York 
City where she gets paid for that kind of pleasure in per 
fectly good money." 

Mildred laughed a little nervously. 

" Say, ain t it some better n running a tractor that s 
liable to balk any minute? " 


" I don t like to sew," said Mildred deliberately. 

" Oh, I say but maybe you wouldn t have to I bet 
I make good money by the time I m twenty-one I - 

Mildred rose hastily and gathered up her unfinished 

" I ll take this upstairs," she said. 

Mamie watched her go comprehendingly. Sam waited 
a while in silence and then turned to Mamie. 

" Ain t it funny she shouldn t like to sew? " 

Mamie was obtrusively diligent with her needle. 

" Oh, not so funny you would notice it. Sam Wilcox, 
do you think it is so nice that a boy should be talking 
about getting married like it was a new kind of work for 
his wife!" 

" Oh I say, Mamie I meant " 

" Well, the girl you talk work to, you gotta pick care 
ful ! Mildred Carver, if you could see the house she lives 
in and her Mamma with real pearls, you wouldn t talk 
sewing on buttons to like it was a great privilege." 

" What s pearls ! My mother s got a diamond pin and 
earrings to wear to church." 

" Say, what s diamonds for church ! I guess Mildred s 
Papa if he should want a church he could buy it all right ! 
Butlers they have and a swell room to dance in like you 
rented a hall in Avenue A." 

It wasn t clear to Sam Wilcox just what Mamie meant. 
The mind can only receive what it is prepared to hold, 
and as far as social distinctions, and financial levels, and 
the relation of the diamond and the pearl to each other in 
the social scale, and such like subtleties, the mind of Mr. 
Sam Wilcox was as unprepared as the unbroken prairie 
for corn. 

" A girl that sews easy before she gets married should 
like to sew on buttons after she gets a husband. Sewing 


I been doing ever since I could make a thread through the 
hole of a needle go ! " 

Mamie was only subtle in her receive her serve was 
direct and square in the court. There was not even the 
suspicion of a cut on it, but it got by Sam. 

Mamie s fingers speeding the needle in and out were 
obvious, they flashed and danced before the eyes of Sam 
Wilcox. The thread mended and buttons flew into place 
like pictures drawing themselves on a movie screen, 
but the boy looked persistently toward the staircase down 
which Mildred might reasonably be expected to return. 

" Your Mamma has some more boys? " Mamie s voice 
was gutturally sweet. 

" No such luck for the old lady, thought when she 
saw what I was like she couldn t make no improvements." 

" Say, you don t hate yourself ! But some girls she s 

" Nope only yours truly ! " 

" Ain t it grand she should have diamond pins and 
everything! " 

" She looks all right when she s dressed up, too. I say 
to her, Ma, look at the fellows watching you, they think 
I got a new girl, just like that." 

" Oh, ain t you sassy by your Mamma! " 

" She likes it, you bet but what s eating Mildred 
ain t she coming back? " 

There was a pause full of Mamie s marshaling of re- 

" Resting after the sewing, I guess she is. If you ain t 
used to sewing on buttons, more than running tractors it 
makes you tired." 

" Well I guess I ll be goin ! I m some done up 

Mamie sewed slowly after Sam had gone sewed 


while she reviewed the situation. There was no sen 
sitiveness in her appreciation of the fact that she ob 
viously hadn t even got the rays of Sam s matrimonial 
headlights deflected in her direction. Sam looked to her 
about like the thing she could get away with. She folded 
her sewing with smart speed and went to join some girls 
under the further lamp. They were poring over the 
fashions in the back of a woman s magazine. 

" Say, ain t it fierce the way somebody else s always 
froze onto anything you want? " she complained. 

"What s the matter, Mamie?" 

" Well, there s those styles in ladies trotteur suits, and 
there s that coat in chinchilla would I be getting them 
do you think? And I bet I marry a gink that works by 
pants in Rivington Street, after all ! " 


THE U. S. A. wears the Corn Belt like a girdle of 
glory with her summer dresses. Every year 
when she has brushed off the white powder 
that she puts on for the winter s gayeties, she looks to 
the resetting and polishing of this chief treasure. Each 
flat, square mile must be made ready for its enameling of 
green, each thoroughfare and by-road must be polished 
smooth to make easy the way of the crops. 

The Forty-second Unit of the Eleventh Corps of the 
Agricultural Service, swinging rapidly north before the 
drive of a luminary, insistently bent on lengthening the 
growing day of the crops -- came into a region of 
new government roads flung down hastily like Sir Wal 
ter s cloak before their rumbling busses. Gangs of husky 
brown boys worked upon them under the supervision of 
trained road-makers and one morning as Mildred climbed 
to the seat of her tractor, Nick Van Arsdale jerked up 
straight from his work ; ran across the meadow and cried : 

" Hullo, Mildred," just as she started the motor. 

There was no stopping then but when Mildred got 
fairly under way she laughed back at him a serene 
young figure in khaki, her blond braid held by a blue rib 
bon and the morning breeze blowing little tendrils of gold 
about her sunburned ears. And Nick felt a tear that 
lodged under the corner of his eyelid spill over at the 
courage of the laugh she sent back. Think of her having 
to work on a farm she, who had always had every 
little thing in the world done for her and ought to have 



been carefully taken care of always ! How she must hate 
it, and yet smiling at him like that ! Work was a differ 
ent thing for a man. As the tractor vanished over a little 
rise in a cloud of dust, Nick walked across to the farm 
house. The farmer s wife was most willing to talk to 
this handsome service lad. 

" They ll be back for lunch about nine. Oh, no, we 
don t feed em. We just give em a place to eat in. See 
those boxes? That s their lunch. It came by the bus 
this morning. When they ve had it, they ll go to work 
again and at half-past twelve the bus ll be along bringing 
them that s to work in the afternoon and takin them 
that s here back. How do we get em to come? Why, 
we have to plant the crops that the government expert 
tells us to. At first some of us stuck out for doing as 
we d always done; but we couldn t get the government 
help for the plowing and harrowing and planting in the 
spring, or the cutting and binding and threshing in the 
summer; and such as had it got way ahead of us. Yes, 
they do pretty fair. There s trained men in charge to 
tell em how. What ? oh, yes, all the machines belong 
to them. Of course, the work don t take much judgment. 
I guess if you know how to run an automobile you can t 
go far wrong on it. But my the difference it makes in 
the crops! Pay? why, of course we pay by the acre 
and they bring as many people and as many machines as 
they need. No, this is the first work this lot has done 
in the county they come over to Kirksville yesterday. 
Isn t that where you re put up ? " 

Nick, tramping over to the barracks where the Forty- 
second Unit was quartered, as soon as he had helped to 
wash the dishes and brush up the crumbs, had a great 
warm feeling around his heart. Mildred and he would 
talk together of the people in New York and he would 


tell her about how they really made roads and the time 
the engine boiler exploded and what it was like to " drag " 
the roads in dry weather, and oh, a lot of things. And 
then it occurred that he would kiss her, of course didn t 
one naturally kiss the girl one was going to marry ? And 
a quick feel of that first kiss of theirs way, way back 
there when they were both so young nearly six months 
ago came to Nick and he hastened his steps. 

But the sitting room of the barracks was full of people 
- not only the girls who lived there, but the boys of the 
Unit and several men from his own section and even from 
Kirksville had made excuses to drop in. Mildred did 
jump up and come running toward him and held out her 
hand but there was nothing particularly satisfying about 
a mere hand. He whispered to her to come out doors 
with him. But there were little hitches she had to in 
form Quartermaster Farrington that she was going out, 
and get her coat, and write her name on the " on leave " 
list before they could slip out through the door by them 
selves. The cold air struck them like a rushing river 
air fresh from the still frozen heights of the Canadian 
border and taking all their extra energy to meet and com 
bat it. So when Nick, safe at last in a protecting shadow, 
slid his arm around Mildred and bent to meet her lips, it 
was in the mid stream of a rushing air current that was 
like the Mississippi in flood. No soft arms went up 
round his neck as they had in the insidious perfume- 
laden summer mist. No ! What he got was a rather un 
satisfactory peck in the midst of wild catches at hat and 
flying hair. And as for its being the soft ending of a 
languorous day that had had nothing much but Mildred in 
it anyway, why it was just something added to a day al 
ready filled with hard physical exertion. They were not 
any longer two young people with nothing to do but fall 


in love in a sense-compelling setting, but extraordinarily 
busy recruits set primarily on the adventure of work. 

To Mildred, Nick had never seemed so attractive. She 
had been all these months with people whose small ways 
were less charming and graceful but a new coquetry 
had developed in her. She could not quite define it in her 
self ; it was as though she were quite ready to admit her 
engagement to him as an academic proposition, but not 
as a working hypothesis. She somehow pushed their re 
lations into a state of quite unaccustomed uncertainty 
bewildering to Nick, for all she was so glad to see him. 
They couldn t stay out doors indefinitely clinging to each 
other under such emotionally adverse conditions. There 
was nothing for it but to come back to the lamp-lit bar 
rack-room and the chattering group around the stove. 

Mildred took it all in good part too good, Nick 
thought, considering that he was ordered away tomor 
row and this was their one evening together. And so 
because he was hurt and disappointed, he threw himself 
into talk with Sam Wilcox and Winkles and a gesticu 
lating, curly-headed young Italian, and talked roads and 
farm machinery and planting; and criticized the food, 
and raged at the regulations, and guyed the officers, and 
altogether showed himself such a charming and normal 
and lovable young man that the whole group could hardly 
let him go when the nine o clock bugle blew. 

And Nick, dull eyed, went back to his barracks and 
made a humble comparison of himself with Sam Wilcox, 
who had shown proprietary symptoms. Was not Sam 
as good looking? As intelligent? Might he not some 
time be as rich or if he were not, did that matter to 
Mildred Carver? And there was this Barton they d 
been talking about that evening as though he were the 
king pin of the whole country. Same man Mildred had 


written about from Minneapolis. That Mamie Epstein 
raved about him too, but not so much as Mildred. You d 
think girls would find something new to talk about! 
Probably he was just another of these men that were in 
love with Mildred ! Feeling shorn of any inherent mer 
its that might make her prefer him after she had a chance 
to choose, he went to bed with the realization of how 
Mildred s matrimonial outlook had widened. Of course 
he knew that almost any girl had a greater choice of 
husbands than a rich girl in society. The men she may 
appropriately marry are within a very narrow circle, the 
greatest pains are taken to see that she meets no one out 
side it, and most of the men in the world are outside. 
Nick knew all these things and cursed the way his partic 
ular section of the universe was constructed as he fell 

And Mildred, combing out her long, blond hair, thought 
how splendid Nick was about work that she knew he 
didn t care for at all. Of course, Nick was part of the 
big job, too for if they didn t have good roads how 
would they get about to plant the crops ? He wasn t im 
portant like Mr. Barton, and after his year he would go 
back to all kinds of things that didn t matter, while Mr. 
Barton would keep right on helping to make flour. Mil 
dred blushed at the mere coupling of the two names in 
her own mind and Mamie Epstein coming across for 
a last good-night gossip, caught the blush and the self- 
conscious look in Mildred s eyes and made a quick mis 

" You and me was saying last week a girl ain t got to 
be in a hurry to get married, but such a young man as Mr. 
Van Arsdale any girl can be lucky to get." 

Mildred, jarred out of her little tender reverie, turned 


" Mamie I won t hear you talk all the time about 
boys and getting married! And I wish you d let me 
alone ! " 

Mamie dropped her lower jaw in surprise, what was 
there about matrimonial probabilities different from any 
of the other affairs of life, that one should not speak 
about them? Why, wasn t it a flattering attention to 
rate another person s chances high in the marriage mar 
ket? She rose in a slow bewilderment. 

" Well, you needn t throw a hate on me because I say 
you got a chance to get married to Mr. Van Arsdale. He 
got such a respect off-a-you, I bet you don t have it just 
friends with him if you don t like it. I - 

Mildred turned again in a sudden flash. 

" Stop ! " she cried. 

And Mamie stopped. 

So the little idyl which fortune flung them in this 
chance meeting, she snatched back again and left nothing 
but a sense of mutual exasperation. 

Mildred lay for a long time enjoying a great variety 
of conflicting and more or less undefined sensations. So 
Mamie thought it was " just friends " between her and 
Nick, did she? Well, that showed how little Mamie 
knew about it ! But then Mamie was usually right about 
such things as personal relationships think of the time 
she knew for a week beforehand how Winkles was mad 
at Miss Farrington, and nobody else even suspected it! 
But of course she didn t know this time. The picture of 
John Barton came slowly on the screen of her mind, but 
she turned it back hastily as though it had no business 
appearing unbidden or in that connection. And then for 
safety from her own emotions, she thought of her work, 
and that was a comforting thing, for she was beginning 
to have ideas on an improvement of the grip handles of 


her control levers and she wanted to talk with the Captain 
of the Unit next day and see if he didn t agree with her, 
and her mind grew hazy, hearing the Captain say : 

" That is a wonderful idea, Miss Carver wonderful ! 
All our engineers together never thought of a thing like 
that! It will revolutionize farm tractors! " 

And very dimly indeed she saw the other girls filled 
with admiration and further off Nick registering awed 
wonder and just as the dark of sleep closed over her, John 
Barton said something about the noble work of feeding 
the world only she was too far away to hear dis 


You know our second vacation week comes 
next month. I want awfully to see you and 
father and Ruthie and Junior, but it s such a terribly long 
way to New York that I d have to be traveling most of 
my vacation if I went home. So couldn t you all come 
to Minneapolis which is just a little way off, and spend 
the vacation there with me ? Please, please do ! You ve 
so much more time than I have. You could be there 
when I came and we d have a whole week together. You 
know you haven t a thing to do and I have to begin the 
harvesting right after vacation. We ll just have the 
best time. All the other girls are going home because 
their mothers and fathers can t come on and they are 
kicking about it like anything, but it s either that or stay 
in barracks and loaf. And there isn t the least reason in 
the world why you can t come So do it, Mother dear, 
oh, Please." 

Mrs. Carver read this letter to her husband at break 
fast after Junior and Ruth had gone to school. 

" How absurd the child is ! As though I had nothing 
to do ! " she commented laughing " and Junior s teeth 
being straightened." 

" It would take most of her time to get here and back 
again," said Frank, laying down his paper and addressing 
himself to his hothouse melon. " Wouldn t you like to 
run out there, Mary? We could go on to the coast if 
you cared to." 



" I can t possibly, Frank. All the things I m inter 
ested in are just finishing up then it s the very end of 
the season and you know I m planning to get a new house 
keeper for Torexo if it were a month later 

"It isn t! I think, Mary, I ll go. There s nothing 
here I can t leave for a fortnight or so Jameson is 
pretty efficient." 

" Oh, that would be nice ! You d have quite a lark 
off there together. I know Mildred would love it. And 
be sure you tell her all you can about Nick for after 
all, Frank, nothing could be more suitable. We may just 
as well face the fact, Frank. Mildred s the type that s 
quite certain to attract men. I could see that it had al 
ready begun when I was in Minneapolis and of course, 
quite awful things could happen with her meeting every 
body like this. Not that bad enough things aren t pos 
sible when perfectly good boys of people we know are as 
dull as Arthur Wintermute. But I m getting to feel as 
though Nick were a sort of life preserver, and I don t 
want him to get out of reach. If things were as they 
were before the war I wouldn t be so much concerned, 
but now people like us seem to be standing on quicksand. 
Be sure you keep Nick in her mind all the time you re 
there will you, Frank ? " 

Frank Carver, planning to give his daughter the hap 
piest sort of vacation, found himself suddenly wonder 
ing what she would like to do. He knew what she had 
liked as a little girl, fishing and riding and games and 
mechanical toys; but something told him that her tastes 
might be changing. Well, anyway, she was probably as 
fond of candy as ever and on his way to the train he 
laid in a stock of the most wonderful sweets New York 
could provide. And then on a sudden shamefaced im 
pulse, born of the fact that the sun glared distressingly 


from the newly sprinkled pavement, he stopped his motor 
before a shop window that displayed parasols, and bought 
a wonderful confection of satin and lace with a handle of 
ivory. He didn t feel that the purchases which his man 
carried into the train after him were at all adequate; he 
was confessedly humble minded about them, but he hadn t 
known what else to bring. 

He sat in the pullman eyeing the parasol box morosely 
and trying to think what Mildred would like to do in 
this vacation week of hers. There were the theaters 
but he wasn t sure whether Minneapolis had any that 
were good. They could get a motor, of course Mil 
dred had always had a car; and there was the river 
and there might be ball games or tennis matches or some 
thing. Frank Carver began to get panicky as the train 
carried him west what was he going to do with this 
girl of his, that he had been a stranger to for half a year? 
There was nothing but the resources of a great city and 
plenty of money to amuse her with, and he began to feel 
helpless. And after all her work she must need amuse 
ment ! He began to consider the parasol box hopelessly. 
If he only knew the town better! Why had she hap 
pened to pick out Minneapolis, anyway? Was it the 
nearest large city? He sent the porter for a railroad 
map. No, it wasn t the nearest to the last address she 
had given not by some inches on the map ! Omaha 
and Kansas City were nearer and Chicago wasn t any 
further away ! What possessed the child to pick out that 
place ! As though she hadn t had enough of it when she 
was working in the flour mill ! Strange thing for her to 
do ! He got the explanation the second day. 

Mildred came down to breakfast with her hat on and 
began to hurry her breakfast. 

" I ll just run over to the mill, father, while you re read 
ing your paper," she remarked casually. 


" What mill ? " he inquired in surprise. 

"Why, the mill I worked in! " she answered with a 
surprise greater than his own could there be more than 
one mill she would want to see ? 

" All right, daughter I ll be ready in a few min 

" Oh, no, father," her consternation was evident. 
" Oh, no ! " and then more gently, " I wouldn t feel com 
fortable to make you go way out there." 

Frank Carver was somewhat disconcerted. In effect 
his daughter had told him that she didn t want him along. 

" Very well ! " he said quietly, " just push the cream 
this way, please thank you I ll wait till you come 
back," and seeing Mildred rise, " Waiter, call a taxi." 

" Oh, father ! A taxi ! I d feel so queer when we al 
ways walked! " 

" I d rather you d take one, my dear and then 
you ll be back sooner. Taxi s here, is it? Thank you." 

He rose and escorted his young recruit through the 
lobby, put her in the cab, as a daughter of the Carvers 
had always been installed in her chariot, and closed the 

" Wait and bring the lady back, driver. What s the 
address, Mildred? Just the government flour mill ? You 
know it, do you, driver? Very well." 

He felt the incongruousness of it a sort of double- 
edged incongruousness. Here was the carefully guarded 
daughter of his house going alone and quite unprotected 
in a mere public conveyance to visit a manufacturing 
plant ; but here was also a recruit in the government serv 
ice wearing the uniform of the United States, being tim 
orously conveyed to the place where she had been 
employed in a privately hired taxicab. Looking after 
her till the cab turned the corner, he was conscious of a 


distressing lack of coordination in his thinking parts. 
Back at his table he sat idly stirring his coffee, discon 
certed and a little hurt. He had intended to give Mildred 
the parasol after breakfast it was just the sort of day 
when he thought a girl would like one to carry but, of 
course, it would have been out of place in a flour mill. 
When she got back 

It was almost noon before she came into their little 
sitting room, showing no consciousness of any particular 
obligation to have returned earlier. 

" Did you have a good time? " there was a certain 
intent of irony in Frank Carver s question, but his daugh 
ter didn t perceive it. 

" Oh, father isn t the way they make things per 
fectly wonderful! There were a lot of things I didn t 
understand about the mill while I was in it ways 
the machines worked, you know, and exactly what they 
did. Of course, I was only sewing up sacks, anyway." 

" Didn t you ever go through it all ? " 

" Lots of times only I didn t understand it. But 
working with the tractor and having to clean the engine 
and all the plows and harrows and things why it makes 
me know a lot about the way machines work ! Mr. Bar 
ton took me all over it again today and told me about ev 
erything and I found I understood much better." 

"Who is Mr. Barton?" 

" Why, he s the foreman ! " 

Frank felt the surprise in her tones. It was as though 
he had asked, " Who is Edison? " 

Mildred curled up in an overstuffed chair, tossed her 
hat on the table and began to talk about farm and mill 
machinery with an unconscious command of the special 
ized vocabulary which left her father gasping. Valves 
and controls and differentials and a whole catalogue of 


terms that he knew by reputation only, not by personal 
introduction, seemed to be the familiars of his blue-eyed 
daughter. He asked her a question now and then just 
to keep her talking, and all the time he was studying the 
new thing she had become in mixed wonder and appre 
ciation. Mildred was just saying: 

" The trouble with the older form of hopper appears 
to be the difficulty of readjusting it quickly. If you have 
to disconnect it 

When he happened to glance through the door of his 
bedroom and see the parasol box ! He remembered how 
the clerk who had sold it to him had floated and serpen 
tined about in her high-heeled boots, fluttering its frills. 
Potentially she stood in ruffled silk beside a lagoon, drop 
ping crumbs to swimming swans! At least he had had 
that sort of a Watteau picture of his daughter when he 
bought the thing. But Mildred sat before him in the 
flesh, dressed in brown khaki buttoned to the throat. Her 
knees were crossed and she swung one thick-booted foot 
back and forth and she talked of lubricating graphite and 
the waste of power in changing gears! It seemed an 
inappropriate moment for parasols and they went to 

The next morning she announced serenely : 

"I m going to dinner with Mr. Barton to-morrow night. 
You won t mind if I leave you, will you, Father? You 
see I haven t seen him for nearly four months." 

Frank Carver was acutely conscious that girls of 
eighteen are not supposed to dine alone in restaurants 
with men; but looking into the clear eyes of his khaki- 
clad girl, he realized, that for a citizen serving her coun 
try, for a girl who had driven a traction engine from the 
30th to the 45th parallel of latitude, who has watched 
the sun rise from the southern bayous to the northern 


hills, chaperones and what they implied were forever ob 

So Mildred dined with the foreman and afterward they 
went to a moving picture show, and at ten o clock he es 
corted her back to the hotel and was met by Frank wait 
ing by seeming accident in the lobby. 

" Glad to make your acquaintance, Mr. Carver. I had 
the pleasure of being introduced to your wife last year," 
said John Barton with amiable condescension. " Your 
daughter here tells me you ve come clear from New York 
to pass the week with her some trip ! " 

" Yes," said Frank Carver feebly. 

" You holding down a job that will wait till you get 

" Yes," repeated Frank, trying to adjust himself to 
the role of somebody s employee. 

"What s your line?" 

The multitudinous magnate made a hasty survey of his 
crowding interests and hazarded : 

" Steel." 

" Didn t know there were any steel mills in New York." 

" Well, no. They aren t exactly in the city." 

" I suppose you can get me a chance to go through them 
when I come to New York ? " 

" I yes, I think so. Are you coming soon? " 

" Well, not exactly what you would call soon, I guess. 
Some time along in the fall if there s anybody there would 
care to see me." 

Mildred, smiling quietly, didn t seem to grasp the full 
significance of the talk, but the men, looking straight into 
each other s eyes, understood perfectly. 

Of course it wasn t to be thought of! Frank Carver 
knew that. This man was a foreman in the flour mill 
with the training that fitted him for that work, and his 


daughter was Miss Carver of New York but suppose, 
just for the sake of argument, that they had been of the 
same social and financial level ! Frank felt and he 
prided himself on a knowledge of men that John Bar 
ton was the type he would have chosen for a son-in-law. 
But it was a question that, of course, he could only con 
sider academically. 

Frank didn t sleep much that night there seemed 
no special need for it. He was too busy thinking out this 
new difficulty to notice how the hours slid by. For the 
foreman was in love with Mildred there was no ques 
tion about that! Did Mildred know it? He wasn t 
sure. But undoubtedly John Barton was the determining 
factor that had drawn her to Minneapolis. Here was 
probably the root of Mildred s interest in machinery. 
Such things weren t natural to girls of her age. And 
then suddenly he saw her married to the foreman, the 
wife of a mechanic! He had many such in his employ. 
The man was paid probably about three thousand dollars 
a year and he would keep on earning it, with good fortune 
and no accidents, till he was past fifty. After that age 
the experience of the companies in which he was inter 
ested showed that a lack of physical alertness made a 
man an unsatisfactory employee in a factory. Of course 
there was the government pension Frank Carver didn t 
remember just how much that was. It wasn t the money 
there was money enough for his daughter no matter 
whom she married. It was a question of the kind of life 
implied by it all. He had a vision of tiny front halls 
with oilcloth in them, wives in gingham aprons, laden 
clothes lines in crowded back yards this was the sort 
of thing John Barton would take for granted. And then 
he thought of the white parasol ! She would carry it 
to church! And she would carry it perpetually without 


regard to changing fashions or suitability simply because 
the duplication of such things in the lifetime of a fore 
man s wife was impossible. And then he thought how 
delightfully the lace fluttered around the edge, and how 
the carved dragon on the handle turned and twisted ; and 
how, lovely as it was, it was as nothing to what his daugh 
ter could have if she chose; and he wondered if all the 
things the parasol represented would together prove a 
lure to this girl who had always had so much that going 
without might seem an adventure. He couldn t let her 
marry the foreman of a mill. It was out of the question 
- but in these three days he had discovered his daughter 
grown into an independent individual. His final con 
clusion was that he had best talk it out with Mildred her 
self in his state of nervous fatigue that seemed a satis 
fying determination and under the wing of it he managed 
to go to sleep. 

He woke with the obligation to talk it out with Mildred 
as strong about him as a prison. Everything in the day 
must be bent to that. He had set the package containing 
the parasol resolutely away in the wardrobe in his 
room. But breakfast didn t seem a good time. 
Mildred was so blue-eyed, red-lipped and golden- 
haired! She ate her grapefruit with such childish 
relish; she deluged her oatmeal with cream in such 
a consciously reprehensible way; she stole his extra 
toast so obviously, and laughed at him so charm 
ingly when he pretended to be surprised at not finding it ; 
and was so altogether bewitching even to a father, that 
Frank Carver decided not to mention it till breakfast was 
over. And then Mildred was just in the mood to keep on 
playing, and they decided to go out to Lake Minnetonka, 
which neither of them had seen, and Mildred hoped it 
would be like Coney Island because she had never been 


there, and Frank hoped it wouldn t because he had. 
And they motored out through the fresh heat of the early 
summer, and that was no time to talk it out, and when the 
chauffeur stopped with the lake spread out before them, 
there, coming to the dock, was a boat with a high double 
deck and the slightly inebriated carriage as of a man likely 
to lose his balance ; and when the boat whistled in a deep 
bass voice quite out of keeping with its size, it visibly lost 
headway from the effort. People were running down 
the pier to get aboard and Mildred wanted to go too, so 
they dashed after the crowd and found places on the after 
deck. And of course it wasn t a good place to talk it out 
with so many people about though Frank thought he 
had made a mistake in not bringing the parasol, for this 
would have been the time to use it. 

Another girl in uniform smiled at Mildred and asked 
what Service she was in. 

" I m in the telegraph," she offered, " and maybe they ll 
put me in the wireless division when I go back." 

" Is it your vacation, too? " 

" Yes, and it seems as if I d just got home and had to 
go right back again ! " 

The freemasonry of the Service kept them talking and 
Frank found himself drawn in, and then some other 
people who were with the telegraph girl came across to 
join them in the simplest, most friendly way and they all 
talked together, nonsense, and personalities and politics 
and told alleged funny stories and tried to guess riddles 
and chewed gum and at last began to sing popular songs 
and eat peanuts and candy, and Mildred brought out a 
box of superlative sweets which she had tucked into the 
motor, and they all exclaimed at it and called it " grand " 
but quite evidently preferred peanut brittle when it came 
to eating, and had altogether a most innocent middle-class 


time, and Frank Carver, joining in the singing and order 
ing relays of pop and ginger ale for the company, enjoyed 
himself hugely, but didn t find it a good time to talk it out 
with Mildred. They landed way up the lake in a grassy 
cove to wait till the boat came back again. And here 
Mildred began to pick wild flowers and led him wander 
ing up a shaded path and into a meadow where two 
friendly rabbits loped off as they came. There was, 
whenever they mounted a little rise, the sense of a lim 
itless land only half tamed to human service. 

" I m glad," said Mildred lightly, " that I don t have to 
plow it all." 

They were alone now and the afternoon sun worked out 
intricate problems in triangulation with the trees. But 
Mildred was still gathering flowers and chattering of this 
and that and it seemed a pity to break her fun by talking 
it out just then. 

The path led them deceitfully back to the boat landing, 
and then it pleased Mildred to sit on the grass and make 
her wildflowers into a wreath, and put it on her father s 
head ; and a slightly bald gentleman in a straggling, tick 
ling wreath is in no position to talk anything out with any 
body. And then the boat whistle was heard around the 
point of the land and Frank, hastily divesting himself of 
his wreath, assumed such dignity as he could at short no 
tice, and followed his frivolous-minded, giggling daugh 
ter across the gang plank. And the crowd going back sang 
the same songs and ate peanuts and drank pop in the same 
hilarious light-heartedness, and Mildred and her father 
again became part of the fun; and they both went almost 
to sleep going home in the motor, and when they got back 
to the hotel they had just energy left to get to bed and 
here was the whole day gone and things hadn t been talked 
out yet ! 


That boat trip was a disconcerting thing for Frank 
Carver. He had met plenty of middle-class and work 
ing people in his life, but not as being one of them. 
Usually they had been people he employed. He had 
rather taken it for granted that he and his kind bore dis 
tinguishing signs subtleties of accent and manner, 
which would inevitably mark them off from other folks, 
but if it was so, these people didn t know it. They simply 
took him and Mildred for granted, and for Mildred this 
did not satisfy him, as how could one know if these were 
all people his daughter ought to meet? But for himself 
he enjoyed it hugely was it not an adventure in the 
middle class ? 

The next morning Frank Carver took himself firmly in 
hand. Here he had hardly mentioned Nick Van Arsdale 
and he had promised Mary that he would keep him con 
tinually in Mildred s mind; he hadn t presented the par 
asol which might be taken as a symbol of the life that 
marriage with Nick implied; he hadn t stood between 
Mildred and her perfectly impossible admirer; he hadn t 
even talked the matter over with his daughter which 
was about the least that a father could expect of himself. 
He told himself that he must do better than this. 

That night he privately arranged to take Mildred to 
St. Paul for what he hoped wouldn t be an any-worse- 
than-usual musical show, and told her about it afterward. 
Just as he was ordering a motor, which he took as much 
for granted as his shoes, Mildred interfered. 

" Oh, Father, let s take the trolley. We always take 
the trolley in the Service and it s such fun." 

Her father didn t think it fun but this was Mildred s 
vacation, not his. And w r hen a violent thunder storm put 
the electric power system temporarily out of business on 
the way home and left them for an hour in the midst of 


sloshing rain, and flashing light, he bore it very well, and 
explained as far as his knowledge went, just what hap 
pened in case of a short circuit and what the electricians 
were probably doing about it at that moment. It might 
have been a good chance to talk it over with Mildred, - 
they were in the comparative privacy of a trolley car with 
only a dozen or so extraneous people but when a man 
is trying to satisfy the bright and inquiring mind of his 
offspring on a subject which he only half understands, he 
is in no position to be impressive. 

And when they finally got back to their hotel they 
found that John Barton had called and left his name 
not his card with the clerk. 

Frank Carver suggested various forms of entertain 
ment for the next evening but Mildred hadn t been able 
to decide which she preferred they were still discussing 
it at their dinner when the boy from the lobby came to 
their table and announced " Mr. Barton calling." 

That evening spent with John Barton in their little ho 
tel sitting room taught Frank Carver several things. He 
saw that not only was the man utterly ignorant of the 
social and financial position of his daughter, but that he 
didn t know the real Mildred at all. Her mind, her dis 
position, her experiences, her tastes, were things with 
which he didn t even concern himself. He loved in her the 
beautiful promise of the intelligent, housekeeping, child- 
raising wife which would fulfill his dream of what life 
should be. Frank Carver was learning that his daughter 
was an elaborately differentiated individual ; John Barton 
saw Mildred only as his particular feminine complement. 
If Mildred could understand this, it might solve his prob 
lem. Decidedly he must talk it out with her. 

It was evident also that Mildred gave John Barton no 
more chance to find out what she thought and felt than 


as though she had been in his congregation in church. 
She listened and she responded, that was all, and there 
was enough of the preacher in John Barton to make him 
content with this. 

The next day was their last in Minneapolis and Frank 
felt that he had discharged his trust from Mary so ill 
that he had better go with Mildred to her first stopping 
place. When she was actually at the field work and out 
of John Barton s sphere of influence, he might really get 
a chance to give her the advice she had a right to have. 
He couldn t go back to New York with that sense of fail 
ure on him. 

And just as they were following the porter with their 
bags out of the door, the chambermaid, intent on collect 
ing a tip, appeared in the offing. Frank put his hand in 
his pocket and then a slow flush rose to his face. He 
stepped quickly up to the girl and spoke very low : 

" There s a package in the closet in my room a- par 
asol it s for you." 


A" midsummer the great wheat harvest stands just 
between full eared perfection and the dropping 
of the dead ripe grain to the ground, which is 
Nature s na ive way of preparing for next year s spring. 
Between Nature and her thriftless intention rush a hun 
dred thousand boys and girls with steam-fed steeds and 
chariots breathing gasoline. 

Frank Carver, following discreetly after the troop bus 
which carried his daughter out to the fields just as the 
sun drove red-hot darts vertically into the baking prairie, 
thought that civilization had still a long way to go before 
farm labor would become an occupation he would choose 
for his daughter. 

When he finally passed through the cloud of dust that 
rose behind the bus like the noonday ghost of drought, he 
saw Mildred trying her levers, making sure that every 
thing worked and then mounting above those unreason 
ably formidable wheels and bars and chains, throw in her 
clutch with the swift certainty of a professional and start 
away across the prairie with a great grain cutting machine 
clanking and clattering at her heels. 

The farm they were to reap was divided into compar 
atively small fields, so instead of their usual three tractor 
team, Mildred and Winkles were sent out together, 
Winkles in the lead and Mildred taking the dust. The 
great machines crawled up and down over the gentle roll 
of the prairie; up and down, on and on toward nothing 
more final than a cobwebby wire fence in the distance and 



some tentative sticks of trees, trying obligingly to accli 
mate themselves where nothing but human preference 
gave them any reason for growing. Not a dreary land 
scape since it was yielding generously under the plow, but 
with all the deadly monotony of assured adventureless 
comfort. The reapers went on till the noise of their en 
gines came to Frank Carver like the buzzing of a blue 
bottle, then turned over a little hill and disappeared. 

Frank Carver got thoughtfully into his car again and 
told the driver to take him back to the barracks. Here 
he sought out Quartermaster Alice Farrington and began 
to ask her questions. She was a square, direct woman 
with clear eyes that met you fairly, a woman would have 
handed her baby to her with certainty that it would be 
content, a man would have given her the keys to his strong 
box if not to his heart; a mother would have welcomed 
her as the bride of an only son can I say more, except 
that the only son probably wouldn t have married her ? 

"When will my daughter be back?" Frank inquired. 

Alice Farrington, taking stock of his gray lounge suit, 
of the gray hat exactly matching it and the soft dust coat 
dropped over a chair arm, listening to the clear, precise 
English where every word was a perfect entity developed 
for a particular purpose and not to be used for any other 
or weakened by careless intermingling; placed him rightly 
as a privileged person. 

" Not till after seven on this shift we get in twelve 
good hours of daylight work now." 

"And then?" 

" Dinner as soon as they ve washed up." 

Frank Carver winced " washed up " was a phrase 
he had heard his mill-hands use. 

" And bed as soon after nine as they can be persuaded 
to go." 



" And between dinner and bed? " 

" Oh, usually some of the boys and men come from 
their barracks or the girls walk out in the evening or 
they sing or dance if they feel like it." 

" Are there guests every evening? " 

" Whenever they care to come." 

" But only those you know only recruits in the 
Service? " 

" Oh, no ! Anybody any of them know people they 
happen to meet, if they choose to ask them." 

Frank Carver heard himself gasp. 

" But young girls ! Are they always people they 
ought to meet ? " 

" How do you mean ? " 

" Well, people you would ask to your home people 
whose character men especially - 

He felt himself floundering distressfully. 

" Oh, that! Well, in the sense you mean probably not. 
But don t you think everybody ought to know every kind 
of people? " 

"But young girls Miss Farrington!" 

" Recruits in the government Service, Mr. Carver ! " 

Frank stirred impatiently. 

" It seems to me," said Alice Farrington, smoothing 
the blue cotton over her knees, " that we are long past 
the stage where the gospel of hush can be preached to 
any of us any more. We ve got to know what kind of 
people and what kind of things actually exist in the world 
we re living in. These girls aren t children. Most of 
them have had a lot of experience already." 

What the quartermaster said filled Frank with a vague 
alarm. He had been bred in the tradition that young girls 
should be shielded and guarded from even a knowledge 
of the unsavory things of life, much more from actual 


personal contact with them. But this unrestricted social 
intercourse had already been going on for more than six 
months and though Mildred was undoubtedly different as 
a result of it, she wasn t changed for the worse. Look 
ing at Alice Farrington he felt reassured as to the out 
come although he profoundly distrusted the means. 

" As a matter of fact," she continued definitely, " we 
have had surprisingly little trouble far less than with 
the same number of girls at home. There isn t much 
temptation to sex irregularities, because they re all so 
busy that there isn t any dullness to relieve in that way; 
and they aren t forced to it to earn a living because that s 
provided for in the Service. Of course, we occasionally 
come upon abnormal types boys and girls both and 
then we send them to the hospital camps for observation. 
No, we have practically no girls becoming mothers while 
they re in the Service. It s good training here it 
works ! " 

Frank felt himself turning sick and cold at the sugges 
tion, even the suggestion that such things could hap 
pen in the same Service where his daughter was ! 

That very day Mildred came back with the story of a 
real adventure. Winkles and she had finished one field 
and were driving their machines across an open space 
arranged for the feeding of steers and hogs to be fattened 
for the Chicago packers. Down the middle of it was a 
sort of giant lunch counter on which the ration for the 
steers was already spread. The girls were running their 
tractors across this empty space toward the next field 
they were to reap when Mildred s machine was taken with 
an internal convulsion and stopped, shuddering. Both 
the girls were down on the ground peering under the balk 
ing engine, when the gates at the further edge of the field 
were opened and a wave of spreading horns and tramp 
ling hoofs started toward them. 


"Quick, Mildred, quick! Go back up, quick!" cried 

They scrambled up desperately to their seats before the 
terrifying charge of the hungry steers and the drove of 
squealing hogs, twice their number, that ran with them. 
Mildred tried to be ashamed of her fright and cheer up 

" Of course, they won t hurt us, Winkles .it s it s 
just because they re so hungry. Oh, keep off ! Stop ! 
Go away, you awful thing! " 

A great roan beast had seemed to think that Mildred s 
tractor was a sort of side table set for his private delec 

" It is true perhaps they do not eat girls, Mildred - 
but there are more ways to die than by eating! Look 
what they do there! " 

The steers crowded around the tables, horning and 
shouldering each other, sometimes getting their hoofs 
upon the table in their eagerness, and kicking and tramp 
ling the squealing hogs who could only get the grain that 
fell from the table. 

" We might get down and run to the fence " sug 
gested Mildred. 

" No they can run faster than we think how 
they came, like stones down the mountain side ! " 

" Oh oh Winkles ! oh, they re eating it all up ! 
Oh, they ll come over here oh ! " 

They did ! They wandered around in seeming abstrac 
tion and the girls came in for a share of their careless 
attention. One enterprising animal with an investigative 
spirit toward machinery caused Winkles to see approach 
ing dissolution and she screamed again and again. 

And then out of the sunset came a figure sitting a great 
white horse a figure haloed with light, vast, shouldered 
like Launcelot and trotted toward them. 


" Say, don be scare ! " he called when he was near 
enough. " Dey don hurt you ! " 

To the girls he was nevertheless a rescuing paladin be 
cause in reality he was a particularly good looking 
Swedish farm hand working on the ranch. 

" Dey don hurt," he repeated with a slow smile. 

His way of hustling the feeding beasts about with a 
stick struck them as a wonderful piece of heroism. 

" Now you go all right," he said after he had cleared 
a path. 

But the girls were too shaken to come down, and be 
sides, the hogs of which he seemed to take no account also 
looked dangerous to them. So after further considera 
tion he dismounted, carried first Winkles and then Mil 
dred to his great white horse and led it to the field where 
the bus waited. To their relieved thanks he responded 
with a slow smile and the cryptic remark : 

" I come." 

The next evening he did come bearing votive offerings 
of orchard fruits. As he entered the barracks Winkles 
looked up at him with obvious delight there was a 
frankness about her that precluded blushes but her 
eyes were like the topaz and the black diamond rolled 
into one. Not one of the boys in the Unit was like him 
a Son of the Morning and great as the gods of the 
hills ! She was no tribe purist this girl from the edge 
of Syria. Her fathers had gladly sold their daughters 
into the harems of the Orient for a thousand years and 
there was family pride if the price was high! She had 
no predilection for squat, swarthy men of her own race 
when she saw something better. 

But unfortunately the big Swede was less cosmopol 
itan. His ideal was buxom with blue eyes and light hair 
like the girls he had known in Sweden. So his eyes trav- 


eled past Winkles to where Mildred sat on the far win 
dow seat with her father, and his slow feet followed his 
quick eyes. 

You vas Svede?" he inquired, quite ignoring her 
introduction to Frank as he seated himself beside her. 
" No ! Your mutter, she vas Svede ? No ! Born dis 
country ? Come now, you make fool mit me ! " 

A great golden giant mounted on a huge steed and with 
the lines of flexing muscles molding the loose shirt that 
covered them to beauty, is quite a different person from a 
huge farm hand in his best clothes, green ready-made tie, 
and shiny yellow shoes. But a little of the glamour of 
the rescuing knight still hung round him and besides 
wasn t he too in the great work of feeding the world? So 
Mildred talked with him so prettily and drew Winkles in 
so tactfully that an immense interest in cattle and hogs 
and corn and wheat and all the other affairs of farming, 
seemed to spring up of itself; and the laborer was made 
to see himself as the focus of a brilliant intellectual ef 
fort, and as sending off quite unprecedented conversa 
tional sparkles. It was a flattering view of himself and 
he evidently enjoyed it. 

The next night he came again. Mildred feeling that 
her previous efforts were all that even a rescuer could 
expect, tried to turn him over to the willing Winkles. 
But he didn t turn ! It was Mildred s blue eyes and blond 
braids that drew him, he had a purely provincial taste 
in girls. 

The third evening when he appeared ruminatively at 
the barracks, Frank Carver took his daughter by the arm 
and led her resolutely into the moonlight. Evidently he 
had got to talk it out with Mildred, and that at once ! 

But the girl seemed so glad to come, so relieved to be 
away from both the towering Swede and Sam Wilcox 


who still pervaded the middle distance in spite of Mamie 
Epstein s efforts, that he felt reassured. She wasn t en 
couraging these men anyway, at least no more than the 
spirit of adventure prompted. But still it ought to be 

" Mildred," he began, conversationally poising himself 
like a boxer, ready to spring either way, " it seems to 
me that a girl in the Service needs to have a pretty steady 
head so many unexpected things happen to her." 

You mean those steers ? I was afraid of them but 
not so afraid as Winkles. You should have heard her 
scream ! But when that man Lindens is his name, 
isn t it? when he came and pushed them about just 
the way I saw a woman shoo chickens in Kansas 
why then I saw they weren t dangerous." 

They re dangerous enough, Mildred, if you don t 
know how to manage them and so are men." 

" Oh, men ! Why, all those I ve met are so interesting. 
Only I keep thinking it s rather conceited, I suppose 
that about a lot of things I know more than they do." 

Frank was somewhat stunned. Had he been warning 
her against the wiles of the cougar only to find her an ac 
complished woodsman? He found himself rejoicing in 
every bit of independence and self -sufficiency which he 
discovered in his daughter, for she had come to the place 
where not the most athletic father could protect her, not 
the richest father could buy her any sort of privilege, not 
the wisest father could safeguard her with counsel. She 
had nothing to depend on but eighteen years of parental 
training and the government of the United States. He 
asked himself, if Mildred was to be unavoidably thrown 
with all the other young people in the country, wasn t 
it important that they have the chance to be the sort of 
people he would be content to have her thrown with? 


And yet Frank admitted that the Swede s intentions were 
undoubtedly honorable. There was no doubt of his be 
ing a good-looking, well-grown man probably able to pro 
vide her with food and clothing by the sweat of his brow 
for the rest of her natural life and so, according to his 
standards, quite in a position to marry. Frank realized 
that his daughter was getting an amount of romantic ad 
venture which she would never have enjoyed without the 
Service, but he was much disquieted. If such things 
were happening to the million and a half girls in the 
Service, wouldn t the human race develop all sorts of 
curious crosses possibly non-advantageous ? 


IT was growing hot oh, very hot indeed ! The air 
was like a dry sponge that drew every last drop of 
moisture out of the reluctant land, and still dry, 
rushed on to drain new acres. The wheat would have 
filled a little more if there had been rain, but full or not 
it was dead ripe and farmers breaking off a head here 
and there found the stalk crisp and hollow. The harvest 
had come all at once with a rush, and there was danger 
that the kernels would drop from the heads before the 
grain could be cut. The farmers watched for the gov 
ernment harvesters as Sister Anne watched from Blue 
Beard s tower, and while they waited, dragged old dis 
carded reapers from their barns, oiled them in desperate 
haste and set out to save a few acres of their crops. The 
Agricultural recruits worked night and day in four 
shifts now, for the moon was full. Extra units and ex 
tra tractors were rushed from regions that could wait, to 
this which was threatened. The smell of gasoline from 
an approaching tractor was sweeter on the wind than any 
breath of spring. The forces of the whole Service were 
focused here to save the wheat. No submarine prowling 
beneath a provision laden ocean could create such poten 
tial hunger as the drought did hour by hour. And the 
heat grew! 

The sun and the flying dust burned even the most 
seasoned skin to brick red. 

" Say, honest, if I had to sit on the back of my neck, 



I d stand up all night, so sore it is," said Mamie Epstein, 
smoothing a layer of cocoa butter over all visible parts 
of herself. 

"Mildred, you re peeling again all across your nose! 
Why didn t you put magnesium on your face before you 
started? If it doesn t blow off, or sweat off, or rub off, 
it s some protection." 

Ruth Ansel, shining under layers of cold cream, stud 
ied Mildred critically. 

" It isn t that it looks bad to be burned like that but 
it hurts! I hate to lie awake all night wishing I d never 
had a skin." 

" I believe that my eyelids are so burned that they re 
swelling can you tell, Ruth?" Mildred thrust a well- 
greased face toward her. 

"I should say they were! Don t they feel funny?" 

Only Winkles took no discomfort from the sun. Ac 
climated to heat since before Asshur-Bani-pal sat his 
throne, before the temple of Bel rose by the Tigris, the 
skin of her race turned the sun aside like armor. She 
watched the other girls in wonder. 

" A little sun, some wind and all this ! " 

" Well, I heard a man to-day tell Mr. Fox while we 
were lunching on his veranda that it was lovely cyclone 
weather do you think he meant there really might be 

" What is cyclone ? " inquired Winkles. 

The girls had grown used to letting Mamie Epstein 
answer all questions not because she always knew, but 
because she had a willing mind. But in the matter of 
" cyclone " she failed them by being ostentatiously occu 
pied in rubbing in cocoa butter and pretending not to 

" It s wind," said Ruth with a slow accuracy, " a great 


deal of wind all at once. It tears up trees and blows 
down houses and it goes round and round." 

" Oh, Ruth, I think it s a hurricane that does that I 
think a cyclone goes straight ahead ! " 

They discussed it back and forth, while Mamie Epstein 
covertly drank in every word, the while slowly rubbing in 

" Cyclone cellars, a fellow in Kirksville said those holes 
with doors by the schoolhouse, were," Mamie contrib 
uted at last. 

" And in the churchyards too don t you remember?" 
said Mildred. 

The next day opened with the same dry wind from the 
southwest, a deadly insistent wind whispering into the 
ears of the farmers : 

" What I didn t do yesterday, I ll do today ! Do to 
day do today ! " 

A horrible recitative ! 

The Unit had finished one district and was being rushed 
to the next which they hoped to reach by afternoon. 

As the bus mounted a little hill, a small biplane circled 
low and made a landing in the road ahead. There was 
a great cheering and a group of Service boys went whoop 
ing toward it. The officer in charge set them to push the 
machine out of the way of the bus and the boy who 
worked hardest at it was Arthur Wintermute ! Arthur, 
without his tutor or his valet, pushing and tugging just 
like anybody else Arthur carrying his shoulders with 
some regard to where shoulders ought to be! He ex 
plained to Mildred that it was an aviation training corps. 

" They haven t let me go up alone yet, but I m going 
today and if I can qualify, I m going to join the regular 
flying corps in Texas when my year is through. Just 
think of being a flyer for the United States ! " 


So even Arthur Wintermute could develop ambition 
when real work was forced upon him! 

It did change people work did. What had it done 
to Nick? And as though Arthur divined what was in 
her mind : 

" Edith writes me that Nick s been sent to the moun 
tains to make roads to some new copper mines the gov 
ernment s opening up. She said he s awfully keen about 
it likes working and everything ! he must be a lot 
different only I d rather fly." 

Mildred was a little hurt that news about Nick must 
come to her so indirectly. Of course she hadn t written 
very often but then Nick must know how busy she was 
with the harvest. And besides, she resented the idea of 
Nick s being different she wanted him to stay just the 
same. But she didn t believe it anyway How should 
Edith Wintermute know ? Why hadn t Nick chosen avi 
ation instead of roadmaking? It would have been so 
much more suitable and he d have had a better time. 

" Oh, I wish I could wait and see you go up! " Mil 
dred called back to Arthur as the bus started on again. 

The regiment to which the flying corps belonged was 
stationed in the next hollow. They were quite raw re 
cruits. Later they would be sent away to the borders or 
the coast defenses, or perhaps to the training ships. 
Those who made superlative records were given a chance 
to enter West Point, so that the officers of our ever- 
changing citizen army won their positions through sheer 

An hour later they had reached their new barracks and 
the afternoon shift was ready to start for the fields when 
Ruth called to Quartermaster Farrington : 

" What makes the sky so queer? " 

They all looked up. The air was frightfully hot and 


absolutely still as though a tight cap had been pinned over 
the edges of the world. The blue in the sky was gone. 
From millions of miles outside the earth the rays of the 
sun seemed to have changed color as by the hand of a 

"Honest, it looks like the wheat was turning green! 
Understand me, not like again it was young, but like it 
was sick. It s got me scared, all right." 

They huddled about the bus watching the cold green 
light growing in the hot, still air. And then along the 
road they had come, rose a low, black wave ; flat as a wall 
of paint, sharp and straight as a knife blade where it met 
the blighted sky. It hugged the ground as it swept 
silently toward them hugged it close like a blanket that 
Earth was pulling over her parched knees. 

Suddenly Annie McGee shrilled high : 

" The Cyclone ! The Cyclone ! " and rushed for the 
door with the rest tumbling after. 

They crowded chattering and sobbing against the win 
dows, Annie crossing herself desperately. They saw the 
distant grain flattening as under the laundress iron and 
then the dark wave came and struck the end of the build 
ing like the solid impact of a river in flood. The walls 
bent, recovered, there was a spatter of rain, and 
the thing was gone ! 

But Mildred tore open the door and dragging Winkles 
by the arm, ran through the cold wind toward the bus, for 
she had seen a great struggling thing, fighting like a giant 
eagle, go down the wind. 

" Quick, Winkles, quick ! we must catch it there 
was some one in it I saw that is, I think there was 

They got the bus started and turned after the cyclone. 
Only the finger tips of it had brushed them but they could 


see the great black formless mass going on ahead. The 
road led in the general direction it had taken, and they 
crowded on every bit of speed the lumbering machine 
could carry and followed after. There was real green 
to be seen now even if the wheat lay tangled and flat 
real green and the sunlight dancing over it. The world 
smiled a little wet, sheepish, smile as though willing to 
make up for its fit of temper. But Mildred and Winkles 
pushed the bus on, peering right and left over the country 
on the chance. Here they saw the tops of trees capri 
ciously picked off as a child pulls the head off a daisy 
here was a house disroofed over by the railroad station 
a great gray corrugated iron grain elevator had been 
resolved into its component plates, as neatly as if by men 
trained to the job. It was a hopeless chase of course 
there wasn t a chance of their finding the aeroplane 
only they did ! 

Not more than two miles away it lay in the corner of a 
field, a mere pile of unrelated odds and ends of steel and 
canvas and wood and, fallen clear of the wreckage, 
Arthur Wintermute lay upon his face. 

They turned him over with trembling, unskilled hands. 
They thought he was breathing, but they didn t quite 
know they thought his heart beat, but they couldn t 
make sure. 

" I can run faster than you, Winkles," gasped Mildred 
and started for a house just in view across the field. 

The farmer s family that came trailing her back found 
Winkles with part of one of the wrecked wings pulled 
loose and ready to be used as a stretcher. 

" I don t think he s dead," said the farmer s wife, " but 
I wouldn t undertake to say for sure. Lift him gentle, 
William, I ll take his feet now you girls slide that 
thing under him while he s up there, that s it. Wil- 


Ham, you take that end if you face the other way you 
can hold on better. Here, Lyman, catch hold right here. 
I ll run ahead and get a place ready and some hot water, 
oh, and the doctor! " 

" Where will I find him? " asked Mildred quickly. 

" Well, I couldn t rightly say if the wires ain t down 
we can use the telephone we d better try that anyway." 

Mildred walked beside Arthur as they carried him up. 
It seemed to her as though he were trying to raise his eye 
lids and she patted his hand and spoke to him : 

" Arthur Arthur Wintermute don t you hear 
me? It s Mildred can you hear me? It s Mildred 
Carver." And all the time thinking how she had just 
been wishing Nick was in the aviation and being more 
tender of Arthur in gratitude that he wasn t Nick. 

" I don t get any answer on the telephone I guess 
some of you ll have to hitch up and go for the doctor," 
said the farmer s wife. And then it was seen that 
Winkles was driving the bus up to the door. They went 
for the doctor in the bus, found him and brought him 
back and waited in agonized silence till he had made his 

" Well, I can t tell just what the damage is he seems 
to be hurt pretty bad but it s mostly inside. There s some 
ribs fractured, of course but it don t seem likely " 

" Wouldn t it be possible to have a consultation or 
something if it s as bad as that? Isn t there a hospital? 
Can t we send for somebody? " 

The country doctor looked at Mildred in slow sur 

" Well, there isn t much of anybody near that you 
could get hold of Not that I wouldn t be willing to call 
in a consultant, of course it s a difficult case and if the 
Mayos " 


" Who are they? " 

"Oh, way up in Wisconsin that s a long way 

" I ll wire anyway," and Mildred, leaving Winkles to 
help the doctor and the farmer s wife, started the bus 
again for the little railroad station she had seen near the 
wrecked grain elevator. 

The wires were down! She got the name and direc 
tion of the nearest town to the east which would probably 
be out of the path of the cyclone and made for that. She 
preempted the wires with a young imperiousness, the con 
sciousness of unlimited money power, and the cachet of 
her Service uniform got her father in New York on 
the telephone and told him to explain to Mrs. Winter- 
mute, and also his promise of a special train \vith the best 
surgeon he could find in New York, also the promise of a 
wire to the Mayos and to some one in Chicago or nearer 
if he could get them. 

It didn t occur to Mildred that the Unit Quartermaster 
must be in some perturbation as to what had become of 
them, so she drove the bus back to the farmhouse and 
took her place with Winkles as the doctor s aide. But 
some time during the night an anxious Alice Farrington 
in a commandeered Ford appeared at the farmhouse and 
took her place with the watching girls. 

Arthur was breathing now harsh, heavy and slow 
but his eyes were closed and he lay inert. A message 
came before dawn that Mrs. Wintermute had left New 
York and that doctors from Chicago were on their way. 
The night wore on and all the next day Arthur lay 
with his chest rising and falling. An hour before the 
train with the doctors got in, his chest went curiously flat. 

The tragedy made a profound impression on the busy, 
happy little Agricultural Unit because of the sheer per 
sonal horror of it all. But in Mildred it bred the feeling 


of being very small and very helpless and very much 
alone! The blessed security of her childhood seemed 
shattered all the years when terrible things happened 
only in books or in newspapers or in places that were very 
far away indeed, were blotted out, and death and horror 
had touched her. Fear, from which she had been 
guarded all her life, had put its finger on her. If she 
could only get back to the place where somebody or some 
thing stood between her and dread ! She longed for her 
own home, her own people. She wanted to be protected 
and taken care of. She was suddenly homesick and 
frightened and alone. 

And all the while the Earth smiled its little wet, green, 
deprecatory smile as though the wheat that lay tangled 
and flat were not the life of the people; as though Arthur 
Wintermute were still to make his first flight in the gov 
ernment service. 

But they were quickly shifted out of the devastated 
region, and sent back and forth, back and forth, following 
the harvest trail northward as the crops ripened, for the 
wheat must be reaped to the last field, and they ended with 
a final rush of all the force that the government could 
muster at the northern border. 

And there was the fall plowing for the winter wheat 
and the seeding but not much of that for the recruits 
who had been called three months after Mildred were now 
experienced workers, and took the brunt of the fall plant 

The Forty-second Unit took its turn helping with the 
thrashing and loading of the wheat harvest, until the 
black frost came and their year was done. 



ONLY when our ideals are made flesh and come 
among us do they bring crucifixions. So long 
as democracy remains embalmed in the Decla 
ration of Independence and the Constitution, can we not 
buy and sell as we choose ? Gather our gains into banks 
and build high walls of privilege about ourselves? But 
the materialization of Democracy is no painless process. 

Frank and Mary Carver waiting in the Grand Central 
Station to receive their daughter, found themselves part 
of the same crowd they had been in a year ago. If there 
were a few more hats where shawls had been before, if 
increasing prosperity had brought more cleanliness and a 
look of better feeding, they did not notice it. For be 
tween these other parents and the Carvers, direct personal 
relation the sacred rites of eating together, of inter 
marriage, of playing the same games, discussing the same 
people simply did not exist. There was a chasm be 
tween them much greater than mere race could dig. The 
Jewish and Italian and Greek parents had much in com 
mon with the Americans and Irish from Harlem and the 
Bronx; all the basic problems of food and housing, of 
bringing up their children and providing for their old 
age, were theirs together. For Mr. and Mrs. Carver 
these problems had vanished through the possession of 
much money for many generations. In all that waiting 
group the experience of real democracy was as foreign 
as reincarnation. But these returning boys and girls had 



gone centuries ahead of their parents in a single year for 
they had been part of the world s first experiment in in 
dustrial democracy. 

They came fairly tumbling now from the steps of the 
tourist sleepers, their ruck-sacks in their hands, their 
thick boots thumping firmly on the platform, their shoul 
ders set square. Being city-born and bred, they had 
been given their Service year in the country. The first 
four cars were filled with boys. There was a sudden 
hush in the waiting crowd as they formed in double lines 
took the 

" LEFT, LEFT, LEFT/ from the captain and came 
marching up the steps brown, hardy, young men of 

The iron gates slid open and the parents pressed against 
the restraining ropes that made a clear aisle to the far end 
of the depot. The lads came through grinning and there 
began to be cries of recognition. 

" There s Eddie ! there, next that tall fellow on the 
other side. Oh, Eddie say Ed ! Ed ! Hi ! poke 
him, mister, will yer? " 

" Oh, Abe ! Honest, Mamma, ain t that him coming 
along? Say, is it your own son you don t know? " 

" Now, my dear, don t cry so just because William is 
here. How the boy will feel to see his mother in tears ! 
No, I m not crying myself ! You re quite mistaken. 
I m only a little hoarse ! There he is ! I see him I 
see him ! Look, Annette ! Look No further down 
that way ! No, I did not pinch you either ! Nonsense 
- you re just excited. Try and keep calm ! Willie 
Willie Willie!" 

It was a roar as of the Chicago wheat pit that rose when 
the boys turned into the waiting crowd for here were 
people whose emotion roused the full force of their lungs; 


people who could only be glad when slapping each other 
on the back ; people who cried and laughed together, and 
that forcibly; a group which manifested its feelings ob 
viously, audibly and through the body almost as naively 
as a herd of deer. The boys were all conquering heroes 
even if they had done nothing but paste labels on bundles 
in a Government Express office, and the crowd absorbed 
them joyously, not realizing what potent yeast they were 
to the old order. 

The boys had all passed before the girls came through 
the gates. Short and tall, fat and thin, they were drawn 
into likeness by their tanned faces and their uniforms. 
Their questioning eyes glanced left and right. Out of 
the democracy of their Service year they were met again 
with all the differences that social stratification implies. 
It came as a blow mixed with the joy of homecoming 
they winced and were happy at once. With what pain 
and what sinkings of the heart did some of them again 
feel the parental arms ! 

Mrs. Carver didn t recognize Mildred at first with her 
brown skin and a strip of adhesive plaster over one eye 
brow. And even when she had discovered her, and felt 
her strong young arms about her, and had lifted her 
shoulders away from the pressing people and taken a 
step toward the door, her daughter slipped away from her 
again. Mildred ran over to a black-browed girl, the center 
of an obviously non-English-speaking group whom Mrs. 
Carver inferred from their appearance were engaged in 
the business of conducting fruit stands; and then she 
stopped by a girl crying joyously in the arms of her po 
liceman father; and then she was swept into a group of 
boys who laughed and wrung her hands and reminded her 
that they were all going to Coney Island next Saturday 
and one got her promise for the first ride in the scenic 


railway, and another begged her to chute the chutes with 
him. And until the crowd finally disintegrated and 
drained away to surface cars, and elevated, and subway, 
Mr. and Mrs. Carver had to stand and wait. 

"Who was the short, dark girl you spoke to?" Mrs. 
Carver inquired when they had settled into the motor. 

" She s one of the two best tractor drivers in our Unit. 
Her name s Winkles and she came from a place you can t 
pronounce in Syria. We never could tell whether it was 
Winkles or Jimmie Cabot of Boston who got the most 
acres out of a gallon of gasoline. Isn t she a dear? " 

"What happened to your forehead?" Mrs. Carver 
countered with quick tactfulness. 

" Oh, that was two weeks ago. I ran into a rock, the 
reaper broke a blade and a belt flew off and hit me in the 
face. I never even saw the rock, and if I had I wouldn t 
have thought so small a rock would have made so big a 

" Well, dear, I imagine you are as glad to get back as 
we are to have you. It must have been a terrible year 
thank God it s over! " 

" Why, Mother ! It was wonderful ! " 


" I m glad to be back because I wanted so awfully to 
see you and Ruthie and Junior and I wish I could do it 

"Oh, my dear!" 

The cry seemed forced from Mrs. Carver and she tried 
to cover it with a cough, but it had sounded nevertheless, 
and the girl set her face as the motor drew up at the door. 

Mildred had looked for Nick in the crowd at the sta 
tion looked with a curious combination of eagerness 
and dread which she didn t understand. She hadn t 
heard from him for several weeks and wasn t quite cer- 


tain where his last station was, but she had taken it for 
granted that he would be home to meet her. Well, prob 
ably he had decided to meet her at the house. She knew 
that some of the family would be there to welcome her 
it was the Carver custom. Other and newer people 
might permit indifference, but the Carvers were a closed 
corporation inside which a strong family affection was 
deliberately fostered. But Nick did not run down the 
white stone steps to greet her only Ruth and Junior 
came to hug her hilariously. And then she became con 
scious of the family phalanx inside the door. So still it 
seemed to her after the unrestrained emotion in the de 
pot; so immobile, so subdued! And, yet, she knew they 
would not be here if they were not glad to see her, quite 
as glad as Mamie Epstein s cousin s husband who had 
lifted her from the floor and kissed her loudly on both 

Mildred saw the family group with new eyes. The 
women were just as delicately perfect, the men were just 
as straight and honorably clear-eyed; the cadence of their 
low voices was just as beautifully restful; their clothes 
were just as harmoniously superior to fashion; their ways 
just as kindly and considerate they had in no way 
changed. But Mildred felt like a sailor suddenly set in 
a windless harbor after rounding the cape in a spanking 
breeze there seemed nothing further to do about any 
thing. She looked about furtively for Nick but evi 
dently he hadn t come, and then the family flood closed 
over her. Dutifully she kissed Aunt Millicent s soft old 

" It is a great sacrifice to give a year of your life and I 
hope the government appreciated it! " said that lady with 
considerable condescension toward the world in general 
and the government in particular. 


" Tell me what did you talk with them about? " 

This from a tall, shimmering sort of a cousin addicted 
to sparkling black clothes and educated in France ! 

"Why, we talked about everything, Alice every 
thing there is to talk about, I guess." 

" Who took care of your clothes? " asked pretty Anne 

Mildred twinkled into a laugh. 

" We were supposed to do it for ourselves, Anne, but 
if you really want me to confess, I ll have to say that 
Mamie Epstein did mine most of the time." 

" Mamie Epstein who is she? " 

" Oh, she s one of the girls in our Unit that I like a 
lot she can sew. Everybody in her family makes 
clothes her father and everybody." 

"Oh one of those garment workers!" 

" Yes, Anne." 

" She was probably glad to earn the money ! " 

"What money?" 

" That you paid her for taking care of your clothes." 

" Oh, Anne ! I didn t pay her to do it ! She s my 
friend! She did it for me because she saw I didn t know 
how. There wasn t a thing I could do for her except 
fill the oil cups sometimes." 

Their soft voices kept up the gentlest fire of the most 
unanswerable questions ! 

" Wasn t it hard to sleep in the room with other 
people? " 

" Did you find that the rectors of the country churches 
took a real interest in the young people? " 

"How could you get on with uneducated persons?" 

" It was probably a real privilege for the other girls to 
know you you could help them in so many ways ! " 

Mildred was entirely out of countenance. Had she 


got so far away from them in a year ? Hadn t they any 
idea what it had all been about ? That it meant anything 
more than a visit to the seashore? A shopping trip to 
buy gloves ? How dull was this talk of her lovely kins 
women who acted as though everything must stay the 
same always! How much duller than the talk of Mamie 
and Winkles and Ruth! 

Her mind went back to those long, rainy days in Mis 
souri when they had to wait for the ground to dry before 
they could go on with the plowing days when a flat, 
gray sky almost rested on a flat gray earth with only the 
thin gray fingers of the rain to keep them apart, and 
they had thrashed out the philosophy of the ages in little, 
and plotted out their future in the light of it, Ellen 
Forsythe, and the right of everybody to do as they chose; 
Ruth, and her predilection for a universe ordered like a 
model factory; Winkles with her baffling belief that ev 
erything was all right anyway except in Syria. 

This talk of girls! It has the perpetual freshness of 
successive springs in that it always paints the future. 
Back a few thousand years and their future was the man 
who would take them and if there would be food enough, 
and not too many beatings. And then the centuries 
drifting by and the girls find themselves property and the 
talk is of accomplishments they must acquire to enhance 
the price. Ages later and the first talk of rights to come, 
rights in their own bodies primarily and then in the own 
ership of their children and the spending of their money. 
Another gap, and the talk throws ahead to the desire to 
know, and the future has something in it besides love 
and maternity. And then the schools and colleges taken 
as much for granted as marriage and a home, and the 
professions beckoning. And then, Politics and Work to- 


gether, and these girls of the Universal Service picking 
futures for themselves out of all that civilization offers 

Mildred came back to the immediate present with a 

" Yes, Aunt Millicent, we wore our uniforms all the 
time. We didn t dress for dinner, except to put on clean 
waists and do our hair," she said faintly. 

It all seemed so still; the thick rugs swallowed the 
sound, and the thick curtains, and the rich dresses the 
mechanics of living were smooth running and oiled to the 
last joint. She felt that life was picking her up to set 
her securely in the middle of a satin-covered cushion of 
down and that she would be very small indeed and 
very helpless when she got there. And then she felt a 
strong hand clapped firmly on her shoulder, and spun 
round under it to meet the pleasant eyes of Winthrop. 

"Hullo, Citizen Carver!" he said and held out his 

Mildred pressed both her brown hands tight around his 
and her eyes filled and her throat shut as she tried to 
answer. Winthrop threw a friendly arm across her 
shoulders, and drew her out into the hall just in time to 
meet Andrew Carver coming in. The old man kissed 
her lightly and set his glasses on his nose, the better to 
take her in. He had clearly in his mind the picture of 
the girl at the top of the long stairs with her little, 
square chin and her baby mouth and her surprised, long, 
blue glance that and the pretty brown boot vanishing 
into the motor. And now he looked square into direct 
fearless, blue eyes eyes no more timid or hesitant than 
those of Winthrop, who still stood with his hand on her 
shoulder, the lips were just as full and red, but indefinably 


firmer, and the square shoulders were held low and far 
back and the brown neck rose not like a flower stem but 
like the straight bole of a tree. Old Andrew, looking at 
her speculatively, saw as he had seen before, the lady of 
breeding and character, the lady of position and beauty 
and charm, but he was conscious of something more 
exactly what, he didn t know. He thought again of 
those other women he had known women quite outside 
the clan of Carver oh, very much outside, indeed. He 
had always taken it for granted that their charm came 
from experience that was unthinkable in his family. And 
yet, here was this niece of his straight, clean, fine, 
but with the same subtle charm of wider experience. Old 
Andrew was a connoisseur in women and he knew charm 
when he saw it. 

" Come back into the library you and Winthrop 
and tell me all about it ! " 

There was a gentle wood-fire, the faint perfume of 
which mingled with the scent of a plant hung thick with 
blue bell-like blossoms. Old Andrew picked out a straight 
youthful chair and the two cousins lounged on the big 
Davenport before the fire. 

" It doesn t seem to have hurt you any, my dear." 

Old Andrew looked her over carefully again from the 
patch above her eyebrow to her worn brown boots. 

" No, decidedly not. Quite quite the contrary, in 

Winthrop laughed aloud. 

" Haven t I said, ever since the war, that work would 
be the making of us all ! " 

The old man turned on him sharply. 

" Nephew our family is made already it was 
made a good while before you were born. And as for 
what work would do to our girls neither you nor any- 


body else could tell till it had been tried. Mildred is our 
Government Experiment station." 

Winthrop laughed again; all the younger generation 
loved the old man for a certain carefree posture of the 
mind as natural to him as his accent. 

" I beg your pardon, Uncle Andrew. I didn t mean to 
find fault with the family it s the finest I know and the 
only one I ve got, anyway. I only meant to say that 
work s good for everybody you lose something out of 
life if you don t get it." 

" And you lose a lot out of life if you don t get leisure, 
more, I think. But, that s out of our hands now. The 
new things the government concerns itself with it s no 
less than Socialism." 

He paused, eyeing the toe of his dapper shoe appreci 
atively and only looked up when Winthrop asked Mil 
dred : 

" Did you have a good Quartermaster? " 

Then they plunged into talk of the technical organi 
zation of the Service and the Army a comparison and 
contrast and sifting and sorting of their experiences, and 
the girl found herself and her work taken seriously, not 
as a thing to be recovered from and forgotten and ig 
nored; not as a mere adventure or a lark; but as an im 
portant part of her life, and a serious concern to every 
body else. So Mildred s bruised sensibilities were soothed 
by these two kinsmen, who, even if they were Carvers, 
had had a sufficiently wide experience to rate her wonder 
ful year at its full value, and she grew calm enough to go 
back to the drawingroom. But just as she was inside the 

" My dear," whispered Mrs. Carver s sister, "what has 
happened to Mildred s hands? Look at those broken 
nails and the calluses on her fingers ! " 


" Don t talk about it, Emma. I m fairly overwhelmed 
by the things that must be taken up. The sunburn will 
go, of course, but suppose there s a scar on her forehead ?" 

"When is Mary going to bring her out?" Mildred 
overheard a stately cousin inquire. " I want to give 
something for her before the season gets under way." 

" I imagine that isn t important. You know young 
Van Arsdale isn t back yet and somebody intimated 
Mary herself, I think that there was already what 
amounted to an engagement and no special reason for de 
laying the marriage." 

That s quite satisfactory, I should think. We ve 
always known the Van Arsdales." 

Mildred felt herself turn pale under her tan. So this 
was the life already laid down for her! Well, hadn t 
she wanted it herself, a year ago? One of her cousins 
roused her. 

" What are working people like to live with? " 

Mildred, looking up, caught the eye of Wicks, late of 
the Forestry Service, now engaged in handing salad, and 
laughed nervously. 

" Exactly like us, Cousin Edmund," she said. 

But when she had said it she knew she was wrong. 
They were not in the least like her kinsfolk, these young 
people who had experienced the practical working of 
democracy. Her family represented not the survival of 
the fittest but the survival of the preferred. Wasn t 
there a phrase "preferred stock?" Well, the Carvers 
were preferred stock. She looked at her older cousins 
who had gone ahead of her on the social path who had 
passed from the debutante stage to that of young ma 
trons, borne their modest quota of children and were 
pursuing the life ordained to the Carver women. She 
looked at her mother and her aunts who were at the zenith 


of a Carver career marrying off their sons and daugh 
ters suitably, ordering their household perfectly, enter 
taining distinguished guests in a distinguished fashion, 
occasionally sitting on charitable boards or furthering not 
too radical reforms. She thought of Nick dear Nick, 
who would be coming back soon, expecting to marry her ; 
Nick, who belonged to this old world of hers and would 
expect her to belong to it too, and she felt as though a 
terrible thing were coming nearer, something that would 
close over her and shut out the air, that would bind her 
hands and feet and lay an intolerable burden on her 
shoulders, and unless she had some relief, she knew she 
would scream. Suddenly she turned to her father: 

" Father, you know about steel isn t there some way 
of making the saw-edged blades on reapers harder than 
they are? I had a dreadful time breaking them in Da 
kota. Isn t there something harder to make them of? " 

Frank turned in his chair and faced her. 

" I think there is or rather that there is going to be. 
Would you care to go to the laboratory and look at it ? " 

"Oh, father when?" 

" To-morrow, if you like." 

" But, Frank," protested Mary, " Mildred hasn t any 
thing to wear. I want to get her some clothes to-mor 

" Oh, I can wear my uniform ! " 

There was instant silence in the room. They all rec 
ognized the beginning of the struggle. 


MARY CARVER caught at her daughter s life 
with quick hands. She had no intention of 
permitting any further interference with the 
career so definitely appointed by Providence for her 
daughter. Was not the Service past and the time of 
pleasures at hand? So she took her young agriculturist 
to dressmakers and shoemakers and hatmakers and cor 
set makers and all the other makers of successful de 
butantes. Mildred revelled in clothes for things that she 
had almost forgotten could happen, gowns to dance in, 
and dine in, and go to the theater in, and eat at restau 
rants in, and drive in, and walk in ; and hats and wraps and 
shoes and gloves and veils and fans and furs to go with 
them and all the other lovelinesses that money and taste 
can provide for a young American princess. It was a 
matter for time and effort, for racking thought and anx 
ious consideration, for fittings and drapings and measur- 
ings and for failures and disappointments as well as 
successes. Henriette manicured and hairdressed and ex 
perimented with creams, the dressmakers circled around 
the hems of Mildred s skirts on their knees, their mouths 
full of pins, milliners bent and rebent the brims of her 
hats. Physically it was easy enough to groom her for her 
part ; mentally it was not so easy. For just at that very 
year when it had been the Carver habit to take the awak 
ening mind of the young and set it in stays and 
circumvent it, and balk its explorations and gropings 



and joyous adventures, and smother it with outward 
activities, the Service had thrown the gates wide. Some 
how Mary Carver felt that she must blot out the Service 

" You must remember that that s all past now, daugh 
ter," she said one day. 

But Mildred answered, " It s never going to be past, 
mother. I couldn t get away from it if I tried." 

Mary Carver cursed in the terms allowed on the lips 
of perfect ladies the day when the democratic theories 
of her ancestors began to clothe themselves in industrial 
forms and claim recognition even in the best society, for 
Nick had not come back and, worst of all, Mildred didn t 
seem to care. 

But the preparations for Mildred s coming out went 
briskly on; dresses were finished, dates set, visiting lists 
revised and invitations sent. Mary had not much doubt 
about Mildred s social success because she was beautiful 
and people particularly men liked her. 

Old Andrew reassured and frightened her at the same 

" One of the most charming girls I ever saw, Mary, but 
not the kind of girl we ve had before! The men are 
going to like her," and then after a pause, " All kinds of 
men, Mary. What are you doing to do with her after 
you bring her out? " 

" Why, marry her, Uncle Andrew." 

"And then what?" 

" Oh, the usual thing, I suppose ! " 

" Mary, don t you see that there isn t going to be any 
usual thing about your daughter ? The time is past when 
marriage is the only career for a lady, my dear. Even 
the daughters of princes keep shops. This new business 
of the Service opens more doors than we knew existed. 


Can t you agree with your daughter that there are several 
things she might do with her life? Is it true, something 
somebody said to me, about Henry Van Arsdale s boy and 

Old Andrew could be as direct as Mamie Epstein when 
he chose. 

They wanted to be engaged before they went into the 

" I suppose you and Frank wouldn t let them ? " 

" Well, Uncle Andrew, they were so young! " 

"Where s the boy?" 

" Nick isn t back yet at least we haven t seen him." 

" I expect, Mary, that you re going to have a great deal 
of trouble if you try and bring that match on now, if the 
boy s as much changed as she is. Unless he s changed in 
just the same way, there won t be any use trying." 

" I m going to try it, Uncle Andrew just the same. 
It s a perfect match and exactly what I want for her." 

" You think, my dear Mary, that these girls are all con 
cerned with marriage and men. Well, you re wrong. 
This never was true, in the purely physical sense we re 
afraid to put into cold words. They have been intensely 
interested, and almost exclusively interested in marriage 
because it was the most attractive career open to them 
not because of the men they must marry to achieve it. 
Now that they ve the choice of so many things to 
do, marriage loses its monopoly. It s only one of many 
careers. When they re older it is different; the preoc 
cupation with men comes later." 

So Mary Carver was greatly disturbed for she knew 
that Old Andrew was a psychological barometer, and 
more and more she wished that Nick would come back. 

Mrs. Carver was not the only person distressed at 
Nick s absence. Henry Van Arsdale, having received 


instead of his son a letter from him saying that Nick felt 
he had no right to go home while the Nation needed so 
many new roads in Arizona in order to move the copper 
from the mines to where the country needed it, was much 
disconcerted. Hadn t the boy done what the government 
wanted him to for a whole year? What more did he 
think he ought to do ? There were phrases that puzzled 
him in his son s letter -"The right to good roads" 
" my patriotic obligations " (did the boy think he was a 
soldier then?) "Answering the call for transportation," 
" Being an inland marine for Uncle Sam," " Helping out 
the people s railroads " - what did the boy think he was, 
then a public servant? A member of the Civil Serv 
ice? Didn t he realize that he d done his duty already? 
That he d finished his Service Year and that the country 
had no further claim on him ? Why didn t the boy come 
home ! There wasn t any hint of how long he wanted 
to stay or what his plans were. 

Henry Van Arsdale, looking around his library, was 
conscious of a sudden distaste for his surroundings. The 
low oak bookcases which filled in the spaces between the 
windows and doors struck him as particularly unattrac 
tive. The small bronzes and carved ivories and bits of 
porcelain set on top of them seemed particularly ill chosen. 
His cigar, just lighted, had a rank flavor, and he tossed it 
into the fireplace. Even his great padded chair was un 
comfortable, and he rose sharply from it and strode about 
the room. The deep springs of feeling carefully lidded 
down by his breeding were welling dangerously near the 
top. He wanted his son back, and he was deeply hurt 
that after a year s almost uninterrupted absence, the boy 
should choose to potter about in the Southwest. 

But although Nick did not come back the winter hur 
ried forward and the day came when Mildred, tall and 


rather splendid, stood beside her mother as the guests 
came in. The brown edge of her tanned neck was still 
plain above her white gown and the string of tiny pearls 
that had been her grandmother s. There wasn t anything 
of the timid bud about this girl who had drawn straight 
furrows over half the Mississippi Valley! The Carvers 
had never before presented a young farm hand as a de 
butante. Mary Carver, standing beside her dignified, 
self-possessed young citizen, felt as though she were per 
petrating a joke on society. 

To Mildred it didn t seem a joke but a delectable dissi 
pation a bubbly draught that went to her head and left 
her uncritical. For all these important people had put 
on their loveliest clothes and their brightest jewels just 
to welcome her Mildred Carver ! They had sent her 
flowers, till the whole house was laden with conflicting 
perfumes. For her the orchestra was playing; for her 
the rows of motors blocked Washington Square; for her 
delicate food was set on flower laden tables for her 
for her ! 

And she sparkled and dimpled under her brown skin, 
and laughed in a little quick ascending scale, and so blos 
somed in the sun of favor that her eyes shone with a kind 
and tender gayety, and her rich lips parted in a frank and 
generous smile and the same indefinable charm that had 
drawn John Barton from the flour mill and the Swedish 
farmhand out of the sunset, encircled her now and men 
and women stopped to watch. 

Mr. Apperson Forbes backed into the vantage ground 
of a window and eyed her intently. Andrew Carver, see 
ing him looking at Mildred, settled his glasses on his 
nose and watched him shift his position again and again 
when incoming guests shut off his view of the young girl 
saw his under lip thrust itself forward and his eyes 


narrow, and then when the music from the ball room 
swelled more insistently and the younger people began to 
drift toward it, saw him shake the kinks out of his long 
thin legs and lead Mildred toward the dancing. Old 
Andrew sighed. 

" Almost anything is better than the usual thing 
sometimes ! " he said to his own memory. 

That night or rather that morning before dawn 
Mildred lay high against her pillows living the evening 
through again. The wine of excitement had died out a 
little, but still there was the feel of the soft scented rush 
of the ball, like colored lights on a quick stream with just 
a few things to be remembered, a lady slender and 
elderly, the very greatest lady in the very greatest family 
in all New York, holding her hand for a moment and 
then bending forward with a sudden impulse to kiss her 
lightly on the cheek and whisper with real emotion in her 
tired, handsome eyes : 

" My dear I wish I were in your place ! " 
Her Uncle Andrew, bringing her flowers himself in the 
old fashioned way, and presenting them as he might have 
offered them to a reigning sovereign, flowers that she in 
sisted on holding, though the fashion of that had passed. 
Mr. Van Arsdale, lured from his books and his club to pay 
his respects to the girl who might have been his daughter- 
in-law but with no word of Nick. It seemed to Mil 
dred that Mr. Van Arsdale had made a very special effort 
to be nice to her and that he had not been altogether at 
ease. And then came the picture of Apperson Forbes 
making his plea for a dance, her mother s quick nod of 
acquiescence. His thin, elderly arm had guided her fault 
lessly to the music her first dance at her first ball ! As 
she thought of it now, there had not been a great many 


young men for her to dance with not nearly as many as 
there had been at the school-girl dances when she was six 
teen. She speculated about it there in the warm dark 
some of them were in college, of course, and a good many 
of those she knew had gone straight into business after 
they finished their Service Year. And then those who 
were as old as Winthrop and David those who had 
gone to France so many didn t come back ! She re 
membered that she had danced with several married men, 
and men almost as old as her father, that night. Now, 
when they had danced in the barracks, there had been 
plenty of men. And she considered with rising resent 
ment that her mother hadn t asked any of her Service 
friends not even Ruth Ansel whose people she knew ! 
And then what she had tried to drive below the surface 
of her mind all the evening the fact that Nick wasn t 
there and hadn t even taken the trouble to send her word 
came to the top of her consciousness. Nick had ap 
parently forgotten that he had asked her to marry him 
they were to have insisted on being engaged as soon as 
their year was over ! And to have been married almost 
right away ! He either didn t care for her any more, or 
thought the matter of no consequence, or perhaps had 
found a girl he cared for more. And Mildred found that 
the dregs of the wine of excitement were bitter in the 
mouth when she slid down under blankets and tried to 
go to sleep. 

Her mother and father were talking in their sitting 
room Mary Carver s hair, almost as long and as golden 
as her daughter s, had been brushed and coiled for the 
night, her tired feet were in the softest of slippers and she 
was sitting forward, her chin set into the bowl of her two 
hands, looking anxiously into the fire. 


"Well, Mary, what is it?" Frank asked her at last. 

" It s everything! " 

" Why, it seemed a good enough party as parties go 
was anything wrong? " 

" Frank Carver, I don t believe that you really looked 
at the party from Mildred s standpoint at all you just 
thought it must be all right because the people came and 
enjoyed themselves and it was all so pretty to look at. 
You didn t see the awfulness of it ! " 

" Why, no what do you mean? " 

" Well, you know everybody knows, that there s 
just one reason for bringing a girl out and that s to get 
her married. We may pretend about it, but we know 
that s what it s for!" 

Frank wound his watch slowly and laid it on the table. 

" I suppose that is it though I hate to admit it even 
to myself." 

" I don t ! We want her to marry, so why not say so? 
And we want her to marry the right sort of a man, so 
why not see that she meets him? " 

" I m not as honest as you, Mary. I d rather not put 
it into words when it concerns my own daughter." 

" I realize your limitations, my dear, but whether 
we shall say it or not, isn t the point. What I m blue 
about, is that there was hardly a man here to-night I d 
consider letting her marry." 

Frank swung round from the fireplace. 


" I mean it hardly one ! Just think it over your 
self there were the two Townsends, about the right 
age and of course they re the right kind of people but 
Tom s as solemn as one of those gray cranes we saw on 
the Gulf life would be very dull with him and the 
youngest has been obviously in love with Minnie Martin 


for six years and it begins to look like the sort of grande 
passion that s almost extinct. And there were those two 
from the British Embassy England isn t very bad of 
course, but it isn t New York there were a few others, 
but when you come right down to it, they were a rather 
left over lot. Why, do you know who took her to the 
ball room for the first dance? Apperson Forbes! " 

"Oh, I say!" 

"Yes, he did!" 

" It wasn t so bad as that in the Service those men I 
saw there were at least young and strong not desic 
cated remains, residual legatees of another genera 

" Oh, why isn t Nick Van Arsdale back ! Then we d 
arrange that marriage right away and she d forget all 
about this foreman and the Swede and that terrible Serv 

She ll forget the men anyway, I think but how 
about the work? " 

" Oh, Frank, as though work was a thing anybody 
liked to do!" 

But Frank Carver, remembering the rapt face of his 
daughter above the wheels of the reaping machine, was 
not so sure. 


IT was true that Henry Van Arsdale was offering a 
tacit apology for Nick s absence by his presence at 
Mildred s debutante dance. He was bewildered 
and distressed by the situation. What was this boy 
up to? That Nick was high strung and excitable his 
father knew, what if he had got into some scrape and 
was afraid to tell him about it! Well, suppose he had, 
wasn t it the part of a wise parent to let him fight through 
it alone? Did it not make for strength of character? 
But Henry Van Arsdale could not comfort himself with 
this thought. A picture of all the things that could 
possibly happen to Nick began to keep him awake nights, 
began to steal in through the curtains of his bedroom and 
lie in wait for him in the corners of his library, and in 
trench themselves under the dining room table. He 
might have some crazy idea of prospecting a mine for 
himself silly thing to do when he didn t need the 
money! There was a lot of political filibustering and 
half-baked revolution still going back and forth across 
the Mexican border ; perhaps he was playing D Artagnan 
to some intrigue, that would appeal to his sense of ad 
venture. It might be that he had a touch of malaria or 
something like that ! But anyway the fact that Mildred 
had made her debut ought to have brought him home. 
Henry Van Arsdale dropped his book that might be 
the trouble ! The boy might have fallen in love it had 
been a long time since he had seen Mildred! He had 



heard that those Mexican girls were as lovely as Spanish 
sefioritas ! 

In Henry Van Arsdale the need for action, imme 
diate physical action, had almost entirely lapsed. His 
impulses were mostly born into an unreal world where 
they died without even the intent of fulfillment. But 
this danger to his son upheaved the rock strata of his 

" I wish," he said to Arnold, who answered his bell, 
" that you would have them pack a bag for me, and get a 
check cashed, and will you see when the next train goes 
West and make arrangements for me to go on it? " 

" Thank you, sir. Yes, sir. I am afraid that the bank 
is closed for the day, sir, and I shall have to get the money 
out of your safe." 

" Fix it any way you like, Arnold, only tell them to 
hurry everything." 

And so Henry Van Arsdale, a little tremulous from his 
nervous tumult, found himself on a slow train crawling 
into Arizona. The people about him made up part of his 
distaste for his position. They were thin, and colorless, 
as though the hot sun had bleached them out instead of 
ripening something fine and rich within. They were ill- 
shaped and carried themselves lumberingly. Their shoes 
in particular, and he looked appreciatively at his own 
custom made boots were very trying to the aesthetic 
eye. The women, he thought resentfully, were the type 
that should have been in sunbonnets, but were not. 

When he turned from the people to the dry desert 
about him, he was still more unhappy. It was so deso 
late, so inhuman ! The dry land billowed away from the 
railroad tracks in ill-shaped, ragged waves that seemed 
to beat on the low lines of red rock against the horizon. 
Instead of trees, tall gray cactuses stood about the desert 


as though some prehistoric pile driver had driven them 
in. The only color was in the little spots of green about 
some settler s cabin, or near some infrequent spring. This 
unmitigated barrenness was what his son had preferred 
to New York what was the strong tie that held him ? 

Nicholas Van Arsdale, assistant foreman in a govern 
ment road-making gang working in Arizona, was thor 
oughly enjoying his job. The work of reshaping the 
earth to the uses of man; of blasting and digging and fit 
ting and grading and topping and dragging till the moun 
tain side was ready for burden of wheels, seemed to 
him a great act of creation. And the sense of his duty as 
a citizen which had been born during his year in the Uni 
versal Service was satisfied also, for he could see how the 
road he was helping to build would make it easier for the 
Secretary of Mines to get out the copper. Day by day 
the time drew near when the tiny mine tractors would 
drag their trains of cars up the grade. Nick felt his 
heart pound at the thought of the first load of copper that 
would come down over his road. 

But though the work itself was satisfying the life he 
had to lead was dreary enough. He wondered why any 
thing so indispensable to the welfare of the race as cop 
per should hide away below the surface of the desert 
where nobody he cared about lived ; where Mildred Car 
ver in particular could not possibly be expected to make 
her home. For his mind was full of Mildred these days 
Mildred on the other side of a tennis net, Mildred with 
her shoulder against his in the little gray racer, Mildred on 
the veranda, that wonderful night when the silver, per 
fume-laden mist came up the valley, and Mildred going 
away with his ring on her finger. It wasn t possible to 
bring Mildred to a place like this to have her live in 
the cheap little hotels in the mining towns or to camp 


about from place to place as the road progressed. She 
wasn t the kind of girl that would fit into such a casual 
existence it wouldn t be right to ask her. Why, she s 
just "come out!" Her time was probably filled with 
dances and receptions and theaters and lots of fellows 
would be wanting to marry her. Nick kicked viciously 
at a particularly rich piece of copper-bearing rock as he 
thought about it. He wouldn t have any right to marry 
her and make her unhappy; and he couldn t let himself be 
a slacker and go back on his job, not as a citizen in a 
real democracy he couldn t! No! There was nothing 
for him but work that was a man s job. 

And just as he had settled the matter for the thousandth 
time came his father from New York. The afternoon 
sun was glaring brazenly on the bare, unshaded street ; on 
the square, cheap railroad hotel with the despondent flower 
boxes pulled back into the protecting shade of the shallow 
veranda ; on the two churches fronting each other bellig 
erently across the street; on the stores with their limp 
awnings ; on the abandoned offices of the old mining com 
pany; and on the rows of miners cabins straggling up the 
sides of the canyon on stilts, dreary, flimsy, absolutely 
stereotyped living places baking in the sun, as Henry Van 
Arsdale greeted his son. What a place his boy had chosen 
to live in ! 

After they had dined on the stereotyped, standardized 
food which the remote hotels of the United States keep 
continually on hand, they found places for themselves on 
the hotel veranda beside the drooping plants. It had 
been ninety in the shade most of the day and the street 
had been empty; but now with the drop of the sun the 
desert was losing its heat and a little cold wind came up 
from nowhere and blew upon them. 

The slow, shuffling steps of the Mexican and Spanish 


miners sounded in the dark street and they would sud 
denly emerge into the glare of the arc light as though a 
curtain had been lifted from before them. The high 
laughter of the women who greeted them jarred out of 
the darkness, there was the occasional clatter of a cheap 
automobile and the quick pattering footsteps of the little 
burros as a pack train came back from the mountains. 
But over and through these sounds, which were much the 
same as those which had filled the evenings in that region 
ever since copper was first mined there, came the young, 
fresh laughter of the boys in the Universal Service. 
From them came bursts of song, usually exaggeratedly 
sentimental in intent but inharmoniously matter of fact 
in rendering. They scurried in and out of the picture 
show, and bought the little drug store out of ice cream; 
they skylarked about the streets and engaged in wrestling 
matches on the pavement. The Mexican miners watched 
them in uncomprehending stolidity. Why should not 
all one s leisure be spent in the sensible pursuit of resting? 

It was easy enough to start Nick talking about roads 
and how to make them and where they ought to go 
easy to get him to talk about the town which he had ex 
plored carefully easy to get him to talk about the desert 
which he found wonderful and entrancing in spite of its 
barrenness. Henry Van Arsdale quieted his minor fears 
which related to mining, malaria and sporadic revolution 
almost at once. But the question of the possible inam 
orata hadn t been broached. 

A bold-eyed girl stole cautiously to the veranda and 
peered over at them smiling. Nick turned his shoulder 
with a shrug of distaste. 

" Do you know any of the people who live in the 
town? " his father asked diplomatically. 

" I know the new road contractor. And there s the 


night clerk in the hotel, he s a college man, came from 
Chicago. I ve talked with the two mining engineers who 
are working for the company oh, yes, I know several 
people who live here." 

" I mean don t you know any men who have homes 
here? Any people with families? Any women, or 

The smiling girl stole furtively past again. 

" That s about the only kind of women there are here, 
sir," and his lips curling with distaste for this particular 
characteristic of a mining town. 

" I don t understand exactly what you want to stay out 
here any longer for, Nick. It seems to me that you ve 
gone into this business of making roads a good deal, why 
not study something else? I d like to have you home 
again, and Mildred is back." 

Nick got up and walked to the edge of the veranda 
his hands in his pockets. 

" I know she s back but - I don t want to go home. 
I d rather stay here." 

" But Mildred must be expecting you. Have you 
written her that you are delayed ? " 

" No, sir." 

" You ought to, Nick. She will wonder what has hap 

Nick braced himself against the veranda rail. 

" I don t pretend to misunderstand you, sir. I suppose 
you think I ought to go back and ask Mildred again, but 
I just can t see it. I was an entirely different person a 
year ago and I don t think she would like me now as she 
did then, only she might not know I was different and 
marry me anyway." 

" How do you mean you are different ? " 

" Well, there are such a lot of things I want to do. 


When I went away I just thought that there was college, 
and I would go to that; then there was all the world to 
travel about it, and I would travel about in it; then there 
was Mildred, and I thought we would keep on doing to 
gether just the same sort of things that we had both been 
doing all our lives." 

" But what do you want to do now? " 

" I want to make roads. Why, father, there s a man 
who was head of our gang up in Iowa told me that he 
thought the day of railroads was past. That it wasn t 
enough to lay steel rails just in a few places over the 
surface of the earth and have just a few railroad trains. 
He said, and I don t see any reason why he isn t right, 
that you can build a kind of railroad train that will run 
on any road that is good enough for an automobile. He 
said, and I don t see why it isn t true, that a farmer way 
up in the edge of Dakota should be able to load his own 
wheat crop right on his own farm and then take the car 
down the regular road if it was the right kind of road 
and have it attached to a train and carried on till it is 
hitched on to a longer train and goes on down to the mills 
where it is made into flour. He says that we would 
make over the whole world if we had the proper kind of 
roads everywhere, government and education and al 
most everything and I don t see why he isn t right. 
They would tie all the people of the United States to 
gether, and all the people of the world together, if there 
were enough of them, and they were good enough. It 
seems to me that it s my job to help put these roads 

Henry Van Arsdale smiled a little sadly. So many 
people had thought they had turned a new leaf in the book 
of democracy! He remembered the white-haired gentle 
man who believed that the parcels post was the opening of 


a new door for all the race to pass through, and who pro 
ceeding on that belief, had actually forced his idea upon 
a reluctant Congress and got that one definite bit of pub 
lic service done. He remembered another enthusiast 
who felt that the problems of housing the multitudes of 
the great cities was the most acute the world needed to 
solve, and gave his heart s blood for measures that he 
thought would bring lower rents, lower buildings, more 
sunlight and air and better places to live in. And then 
there was that great group who felt that the Single Tax 
on land was the doorbell to the millennium, and others 
who thought the problem of universal happiness would be 
solved by Socialism, and still other groups who thought 
it would be solved by Bolshevism. And here was this 
son of his, with the seer s light in his eyes feeling that it 
would be solved by good roads ! 

Henry Van Arsdale felt himself very old as he looked 
at his boy. Who was he to stand between him and his 
chance of usefulness? And then came the old code of 
the gentleman bred into his race for many generations. 

" Nick," he said, " this is all very well, but there is 
your very definite personal duty. You have asked a girl 
to marry you, and it is up to you as a gentleman to go 
through with it." 

" Father," said the boy, " I don t think it is. I think 
it is up to me, as a man, and incidentally a gentleman too, 
not to lure her into a marriage where she would not be 

" Well, it is up to you, my son, to make her happy after 
you have married her." 

" Do you think, father, that to make a woman happy is 
the whole duty of man? " 

" I am not sure that it isn t, Nick. At least you could 
be in a worse business than making Mildred Carver 


happy." Henry Van Arsdale was tired, he couldn t pur 
sue the conflict with his son that first night, so he let the 
subject drop. 

The next day he went with Nick over a trail to a newly 
opened mine. The company wanted to make the trail 
into the kind of a road over which they could bring the 
ore down to the smelter without laying a track. Nick 
showed him where the road would have to lift on the out 
side as it turned a sharp curve, and where the grade would 
have to be cut to just the proper number of feet to the 
mile, and how to prevent washouts in the spring and 
freezing and cracking of the roadbed in the winter. It 
was a new kind of interest for Henry Van Arsdale, and 
he got just a little of Nick s enthusiasm for this job. 

But again after dinner they sat on the veranda and 
again Henry Van Arsdale tried to make his son see his 
duty through his father s eyes, and again he failed utterly. 

" It s like this, father. Suppose I went back to New 
York and married Mildred. And then suppose I had to 
be traveling about building roads, first in one place and 
then in another. Would I leave Mildred in New York 
by herself, or would I keep her out here winter and sum 
mer, living in a tent with nobody to talk to but the road 
gangs and nothing to do but watch the same thing being 
done over and over again. No, sir, it isn t any way to 
treat a girl." 

" Well, Nick, of course there is the other alternative. 
You might go back and live in New York." 

" Father, it wouldn t be right ! It s my duty as a cit 
izen to go on with my work just as though I were in the 
army. I am in the army just as much as if I were fight 
ing in the trenches. The Service Year was just a be 
ginning the real thing keeps on all your life. I want 
to marry Mildred more than ever, but you wouldn t want 


me to be a slacker in order to make her happy, would 

Henry Van Arsdale regarded his son with a mixture 
of exasperation and pride. It warmed the very lining of 
his heart to realize how thoroughly the lad meant what 
he said, and yet 

" Do I understand you to say, Nick, that you absolutely 
refuse to stand by your word and marry Mildred? " 

" I wish you wouldn t put it that way, sir, it sounds 
like a thoroughly caddish thing." 

" It is a thoroughly caddish thing. There is no other 
word for it." 

" No, it isn t, only I can t make you see it, sir." 

Another day Henry Van Arsdale stayed in the town, 
another evening he sat on the veranda and plead with his 

" Undoubtedly it won t be long before Mildred marries 
some one else," he said finally. 

Nick jumped to his feet. 

"No," he protested, "Oh no!" 

" Of course she will why shouldn t she? " 

" She doesn t have to marry! We ve got past that! " 

The older man shrugged his shoulders. 

" Well, we don t have to discuss it, anyway. It s you 
are making it quite definitely not your affair." 

Nick turned from him in silent resentment. 

" What I hope," the elder man continued cautiously, 
" is that she doesn t make any horrible matrimonial blun 
der get herself into a tragedy." 

" I don t see why you think there s any such probabil 

" Perhaps there isn t perhaps not. I imagine there 
won t be any lack of applicants! " 

"Don t, father!" 


"Why not?" 

" I can t stand thinking of her marrying anybody else!" 

" There isn t any doubt you ll have to ! " 

The next day Henry Van Arsdale started east again 
feeling that a barrier had grown up between him and his 
son which could never be broken down; a barrier not of 
age or conduct, but of the different ideals which this new 
life had brought to the surface, arid he was filled with a 
bitter resentment that anything should come between him 
and this boy who was the only person he really loved in the 
world. To him it seemed that the high places of chiv 
alry and honor and truth were laid low, and that all the 
finer things that had been bred into his line through the 
generations had been swept away in a murky stream. 
There was a great deal of anger at Nick in this feeling 
too. If he had been a feudal baron he would have cut 
the boy off with a shilling. But what would have been 
the good of that in a modern society ? What would he do 
with his shillings when he came to die? And besides 
Nick had money enough of his own. So there was the 
long journey back through the stifling desert with the dry 
gray cactus rising like daytime ghosts to overpower him. 
There was the long companionship of the dull, washed- 
out people who filled the slow trains. 

But as the train dallied along through the dust, Henry 
Van Arsdale began to get a new picture of his son. He 
had always felt Nick s brilliance and a certain dogged 
quality which might make that brilliance count for a good 
deal. The boy might do some gallant piece of explora 
tion might chart the inchoate region of Hudson Bay 
or follow up the lost riverbeds of Thibet. He had al 
ways recognized a quality of adventure in his boy that 
might lead him to aero racing or to toy revolutions in 
South America. But now ! Had he been mistaken 


in Nick all these years? Blind to the big practical side 
of him? And the idealist side? And the unselfishness? 
It began to grow in his mind that what he had to deal 
with was not a Service boy, but a changed civilization. 
Nick had been inducted into a new age and had left the 
codes and standards of his father as far in the past as the 
decrees of Amenhotep. Henry Van Arsdale felt the 
growing pains of a new respect for the ideas of this later 
world as the train hurried him back to his home empty 
without his son. 


THE obligations and engagements of a debutante 
closed like waves of the incoming tide over 
Mildred. There is no question that she en 
joyed herself. But the social diet palled surprisingly 
soon. It palled also for most of that year s flowering of 
debutantes, and the mothers, who were in the main un 
comprehending, had much difficulty in keeping their 
daughters in hand. More marriages than usual took 
place across the social line, and they were less cried out 
upon than formerly because the supply of eligible hus 
bands inside was so patently inadequate. But Mildred 
didn t formulate her rebellion, even to herself, till Mamie 
Epstein put into words her own envious longings. 

It was a Sunday afternoon and Mildred had brought 
the big car to take Mamie out riding. The chauffeur, 
under the guiding intelligence of Wicks his twin as to 
sombre braid-trimmed uniform had found the way 
down the Bowery, across on Rivington Street, not unused 
to the sight of limousines searching out the Settlements, 
and south on Orchard Street where the social life of the 
Ghetto drifted back and forth on the sidewalks. It was 
cold for New York but Yiddish-e-f raus sat at the door 
ways of the dingy tenements, wrapped in crocheted capes 
above knitted sweaters, their tired feet resting wide apart 
and multitudinous skirts draping down into the vast laps 
that had held many children. The week-day dikes of 
push carts were gone from the curb and the tide of chil 
dren played back and forth from street to sidewalk, so 



that the motor had to bray its way slowly among them. 
The young girls, quite unbelievably smart in their hard 
earned clothes and with the wonderful eyes of the Orient 
looking out into Occidental streets, strolled back and forth 
by twos and threes casting long glances at the groups of 
young men smoking their cigarettes and lounging at the 
corners. It was the great democratic drawing room on 
the day when the New York Ghetto was " at home." 

Wicks after one glance at the doorway where they 
stopped, overstepped the bounds of his duty and followed 
his young mistress silently up the stairs, leaving the chauf 
feur unassisted to repel boarding parties. 

Mamie was ready and waiting in fact she had spent 
the last hour hanging out of the window in company with 
all the Epstein family who were not doing scout duty up 
and down Orchard Street. When the door opened 
Mamie stood out against a gay background of bright 
figured wall paper, large patterned rug, flamboyant sofa 
cushions and gilt framed pictures, in new and startling 
simplicity, a plain serge dress and a plain, dark hat and 
an imitation but modest lace collar and plain black shoes. 
This much sartorial wisdom Mamie had gained since she 
and Mildred found themselves side by side in the troop 
train. Her complexion, however, had taken on all its old 
elaborate frankness. 

As they went down the stairs Mildred was conscious of 
doors carefully pulled ajar and bright, dark eyes watching 
them curiously, and Wicks following in his livery found 
the doors opening wider yet as he passed and a little extra 
flutter and craning of necks after him as the special vis 
ible hall mark of the wealth and position that was passing 
through their building. 

Quite an obstruction had been formed in Orchard 
Street by the crowd gathered around the low bodied, high 


powered car with its liveried chauffeur who looked re 
sentfully at the returning Wicks. Is it any part of the 
duty of a high salaried automobile engineer to wrestle 
personally with the young of the proletariat? 

" Get right in, Mamie. Wicks, is the heater under 
Miss Epstein s feet? " 

The dark fur spread over their knees, the door 
slammed, the crowd of children became vocal. 

" Oh, say Mamie. I know you oh, say, gimme a 
ride " 

" I guess I know her better n you do ain t Izzie Ep 
stein in my room by the school? Ain t he? " 

Their grimy fingers caught at the mud guards, their 
feet tried to stay on the running board as the car began 
to move. As a great moose might shake free from harry 
ing wolves, the sleek automobile freed itself from the 
children and felt its way around into Rivington Street. 

Mamie balked her impulse to catch at the gleaming 
handle of the door as the car at last finished its slow 
threading of the crowded quarters and turned swiftly up 
Fifth Avenue. 

" Lean back, Mamie, you ll be more comfortable." 

" Say, Mildred this is something grand ! Just like 
being in Heaven it must be to go riding in automobiles 
every day." 

" I do like riding, Mamie only I like to run the car 
myself I can almost think it s the tractor again when 
I do." 

: You should worry with two men in grand suits al 
ways to run it for you ! " 

" But I like to do it you didn t do much tractor driv 
ing so you don t know what fun it is to feel the machine 
do what you tell it to." 

" Well, all that s inside them tractors I cleaned it every 


day it ain t so much fun that I should be getting home 
sick if somebody else does it a while now." 

They were sliding along up Fifth Avenue and Mamie s 
quick glance swept from the window displays of the smart 
shops to the Greek temples of the money changers back 
to the towering cathedral, and then settled happily as they 
came abreast of the great houses. 

" Any of them you could stop and see the people in ! 
Now you got an introduction to society ain t it so? " 

"Oh, no, Mamie I don t even know the names of 
ever so many people living along here ! Tell me, Mamie, 
just what is it you do at the Shirt Waist factory? Do 
you sew them or cut them or what ? " 

" Oh, I m an operator I m shop chairlady now." 

Mamie s voice was indifferent as though she didn t 
wish consciously to make the everyday part of life too 
vivid in this moment of exaltation. 

" That s splendid, Mamie let me congratulate you ! 
I suppose a shop chairlady is like a foreman, isn t it? 
Like Mr. Barton?" 

" Well, not so you would notice it ! Say, ain t that 
the house Mr. Astor lives in? I seen it in the paper." 

" Yes that s the house. But, Mamie, what does op 
erator mean? What do you operate? " 

" Oh, it s sewing on the power machines rows of 
stitching with six needles like your gang of plows, I m 
doing now. Ain t that Mrs. West s house that gave the 
dance there was a princess to last Thursday ? " 

" Yes, that s where Mrs. West lives." 

"Were you to it?" 

" The dance ? For a little while I was there was a 

" Honest, did you see her? " 

"See who?" 


" Why, the princess." 

" Yes, I d seen her before." 

"What s she look like?" 

" Why, she s rather tall and very thin and her eyes 
are so big and black that you don t notice much else about 
her. She dances beautifully. I think she isn t very 
young. That must be wonderful, Mamie to sew with 
six needles at once ! I had such an awful time just sew 
ing with one! And to make shirtwaists that everybody 
needs so, it s serving the country to make them ! Isn t 
it exciting to do it? " 

"Exciting? Say, it s something fierce it s that dull! 
All day the same thing over and over it is. You gotta do 
something different all the time from your breakfast till 
the next day you get the excitement, Mildred." 

" Oh, no, Mamie it isn t exciting it s just the 
same thing over and over it isn t nearly as interesting 
as being in the Service." 

" I can tell you, Mildred, when I got a automobile like 
you got, and a house to live in like you got, and a mamma 
with real pearls like you got, working by the machine I 
wouldn t want I should ever do it again! " 

The motor was stopped in the fifties by the cross town 
traffic and Apperson Forbes sauntering slowly south in 
the formal afternoon dress of the perfect gentleman 
stepped to the curb beside it. His glance at Mildred was 
as warm and encircling as he could well make it his 
glance at Mamie in spite of the deferential bow under 
the raised hat was extremely chill. 

" I was just going down to Washington Square to 
beg your mother for a cup of tea." 

" I think she s at home," Mildred told him with mis 
chievous simplicity. 

" But I ve changed my plan." 


" Oh have you when? " 

" Since seeing you going the other way." 

Mildred felt herself blushing not so much at what he 
said and the evident intention of his look, as at having 
Mamie a witness to it. But Mamie was silent until the 
car began nosing itself into the curving ways of Central 

" And beaus rich like millionaires even if they ain t 
so young ! " 

There was no use repudiating Mamie s inference for 
Mildred knew that it was true. She turned again to 
the thing that oppressed her. 

" I wish I were working at something I wish I were 
doing anything that anybody needed to have done as you 
are. I feel guilty all the time a traitor or something 
like that. When there are such a lot of things that people 
need to have done and me doing nothing at all. When 
you make a shirtwaist you know that some one is going 
to wear it. And it s so dull, Mamie! You may think 
I am an idiot to say so, but when I remember that work 
with the Unit- especially when w r e were in the flour 
mill and how there was always something interesting 
and different to do all day long, and people that you liked 
to talk to, and who could tell you things you didn t know 
why I almost cry I m so homesick ! " 

" Well, Mildred Carver, it s ashamed to say it you 
should be, with everything just like it was heaven some 
body told you about! It s if you was working by shirt 
waists you should worry." 

" Oh, Mamie, it s finding every day just like the day 
before and not doing anything that anybody needs and 
not having anything to interest you and nobody to talk 
to who knows about what you like it s those things 
that are so awful ! " 


" Honest, Mildred, you make me mad. With not hav 
ing to get up in the mornings and clothes like every day 
was New Year s going to dances by grand gentlemen 
friends in automobiles every night If you would be 
working by machine operating all day and only dances 
when the Shirtwaist Union gives a Annual Grand Ball, 
and Banquet in Avenue A Casino you could say think 
ing of the Service it makes you lonesome! And the 
grand young man, to come by you in the railroad station 
when at Christmas time we came back and kissing you 
like getting engaged and just as easy you could marry 
him! Ain t it so! " 

"Mamie you re entirely mistaken. I m not en 
gaged to Nick Van Arsdale. I m not and I m not 
going to be! I don t even know where he is! I don t 
want to know! " 

" Just friends you can be if you want to, but such a 
grand young man 

* Please, Mamie, let s not talk about it see, isn t that 
a battleship anchored in the river? " 

They had slid through the Park by now, following its 
swinging curves without a break and over to the river 
edge. The girls leaned forward watching a tiny launch 
leave the companion ladder and turn toward shore. 

" Perhaps they are Service boys coming ashore I 
can t see their uniforms from here can you? " 

" Not so good. A cousin I got in the navy somewhere. 
Last month he went in the Service. Mamie, he says, 
not to working by cloaks and suits do I come back 
again! " 

" I ve a cousin in the navy too he gave his yacht to 
the government during the war and then he liked it so 
much that he enlisted in the navy and stayed right along. 
He s a captain now. They might be in the same ship." 


They sped up Riverside Drive, the river below now 
veiled thinly by the bare branches of trees, now showing 
clear for miles to the north till the last worn down 
rounded billows of the palisades cut it off. The crisp 
wind brought a brighter color than Mamie s to Mildred s 
cheeks. And as the sun began to sink and transmute the 
river into gold, they turned and went back through the 
Sunday afternoon quiet of the middle class respectable 
quarters back through the desert silence of the busi 
ness district, back among the ever crowding, ever noisy, 
ever ailing children of poor food and darkness and bad 
air back to Orchard Street and Mamie s home. 

" Never did I think in an automobile I should ride up 
Fifth Avenue. Every day I would think how great a 
pleasure it would be." 

" Mamie it isn t so much fun every day. It s like 
operating the machine." 

It was a week later that Mildred lunched with Ruth 
Ansel. Ruth s mother was out and the little maid 
brought in the little lunch and set it before the two girls 
in the tiny sun-lit dining room of the apartment over 
looking Columbia University. 

" Do you like it, Ruth the scientific management 
you re studying? " Mildred asked wistfully. 

" Oh, I love it ! It s like making a great machine out 
of people, or doing an experiment in physics that s got to 
turn out according to the law if you only know the 
law! It s this way: you take a machine that cuts off 
pieces of iron 

And Ruth launched into a careful description of the 
joys of scientific management as far as she d got with it. 
It was good picturing clear, restrained, thoughtful ; 
her father, the professor of science, would have been grat 
ified, even proud to hear her but Mildred s attention 


slipped gradually away and though she continued to re 
gard her hostess with polite attention, still there was no 
spontaneity nor lift in her response. Ruth was a little 
slow in the uptake, as was natural to one trained in the 
creed that knowledge for its own sake would inevitably 
awaken interest, but at last she stopped short, considered 
Mildred critically, and asked : 

"What s the matter?" 

Mildred looked up with a start. 

" Oh, I beg your pardon, Ruth I seem to be dread 
fully stupid to-day I didn t get much sleep last night ; 
that dance at the Eltons didn t begin till almost mid 
night and I " 

Her voice trailed off into silence. 

Ruth considered her soberly as though she were an im 
personal problem to be solved, and then melting into a 
rather rare tenderness put her hand over Mildred s on the 
table edge. 

"What is it, Mildred?" 

Mildred started to draw her hand away in defense of 
her reserve, and then breaking a little, turned it palm up 
to meet Ruth s. 

" I guess there s nothing the matter but me I guess 
it s because I m a fool and inadequate and everything. 
But it just seems to me that I can t stand it, not to do any 
thing that s worth doing or that anybody needs to have me 
do ! I like to go to dances and the theater and dinners and 
things only I don t like to do it all the time. There 
are just about the same people at everything, too, and 
they re all so much alike and they say the same things 
Now in the Service everybody was a good deal different 
from everybody else it was quite exciting every day 
doing work that was important like helping to grow 


It was a very long and self -revealing speech for Mil 
dred Carver to make. 

" I suppose they want you to marry somebody," Ruth 
said quite impersonally. 

" That s the way everybody acts, though of course they 
don t say so." Mildred was quite as impersonal as Ruth, 
but she felt her color rise. If Mamie had seen Nick kiss 
her at Christmas, Ruth might well have seen it too. And 
here was this awful humiliation that he didn t seem to 
care anything about her. She couldn t let Ruth know 

"Well, why don t you?" 

" It s so awful to have that the only thing expected of 
me and there s no one I want to marry anyway, too 
old, or too dull or something. I don t see why I should 
marry just to get out of the way! " 

" I don t either, Mildred. I wouldn t stand it if I 
were you." 

" What would you do? " 

There was a little mist in Mildred s blue eyes. 

" I d tell them I wouldn t marry till I wanted to and 
nobody could make me." 

" Well, Ruth, what good would that do ? Everything 
would go right along just the same." 

"Don t let it!" 

" It s all very well to say don t let it but what can I 

" You might go out and get a job. Go to work doing 
something that s important. Pretend that your father 
hasn t got all that money and do as almost everybody 
else has to do go to work ! " 

Mildred looked at her wide-eyed, her lips a little apart. 

"How could I find something to do?" she asked 


This was a facer for them both at last Ruth ven 
tured : 

" You might go to an employment agency." 

" I suppose I might ! " Mildred felt a little catch in her 
throat at the possibility, and then : 

" It would be pretty awful for mother! " 

" Well of course if you re going to be sentimental about 
it you ll just let yourself be married to somebody you 
don t care anything about and then you ll be like all the 
prehistoric women that never did anything with their 
lives. Your cousin David says that all the women in 
your family always do what is expected of them anyway 
he says you 

"David Carver?" 

:< Yes I I ve he s been here several times since 
I met him at your Christmas party I Well, Mildred, 
you ve got to break away from it all and be something. 
Come and study scientific management with me it s 
perfectly fascinating! And you d be surprised how im 
portant it is." 

" Oh, Ruth, I don t care anything about scientific man 
agement! That wouldn t help at all. It isn t just to 
find something to do I ve got things to do all day and 
all night, now." 

" But Mildred, something useful " 

"I know that s perfectly all right but I want 
something that interests me something I want to do 
to have done ! And useful besides ! " 

" Well, what do you want to do? " 

" I don t know exactly. I d have it so that every 
body in the world can have all they want to eat I guess 
to help raise things or grind them or something to do 
with them anyway I don t want always to drive a 
tractor or always to work in a flour mill of course but 
something I m interested in." 


" Well, Mildred, you re a perfect fool not to do it a 
perfect fool! You haven t got to stand it at all. It s 
your life you re living, not your father s or mother s. It s 
your own work you ve got to do ! Just go right out and 
do it. Nobody can stop you ! " 

It appeared to Mildred as she thought over what Ruth 
had said, that there wasn t any real reason why she 
couldn t do as she liked, shouldn t at least try the kind of 
life that she wanted to live. Nobody could stop her, of 
course. Ruth had said to her that there was no use being 
rich, and popular and a debutante, if you were just in 
prison all the time. Ruth thought she was missing all 
her chances standing it like this. And besides, what 
right had she not to do her share just as though she were 
a soldier? 

" What s the use of having everything if it doesn t do 
you any good? " she had asked. " It s awfully corking 
to learn something you want to know, the way I m doing, 
and you know yourself what it s like to work and you 
can t do any of it ! Why, if I was as rich as your people 
are, I d work all I wanted to ! I d go where I liked and 
talk with whoever I chose I think sometimes rich 
people are perfect fools." 

Mildred sitting quiescent while Henriette coiled her 
light hair with the elaborate simplicity appropriate for 
the debutante; standing dully while the maid slipped the 
filmy folds of her gown over her shoulders so that she 
might dine with people she didn t care for, and go after 
ward to a musical comedy in which she hadn t the least 
interest, kept repeating to herself Ruth s words: 

" Sometimes rich people are perfect fools ! " 

At the dinner, Apperson Forbes sat beside her, watch 
ing her out of his heavy lidded eyes and flatteringly 
monopolizing her attention. He made this monopoly 


tantamount to extreme devotion, and carefully, subtly, he 
displayed the goods he had to offer. 

" I m running down to New Orleans for the races next 
week got a colt entered for the handicap. I d like to 
have you see him start. Do you think your mother would 
come down in my car ? We could ask a pleasant party 
the youngest Townsend and Minnie Martin, and Van 
Dorn s back got his divorce last week and there s 
that young English actor, Whitehall, clever fellow 
lots of amusing stories. And perhaps Alice DuVal, just 
to give it snap if Mrs. Carver doesn t object." 

Mildred felt herself flush. It sounded so amusing, so 
different from the rather subdued gayety countenanced in 
the breaking in of the young women of the Carvers. 
That kind of thing had a forbidden charm, she wanted 
to see what it was like, the possibility excited her, but she 
answered soberly enough : 

" I m afraid we ve got a pretty full week. I know 
mother is giving two dinners, and there s the Junior 
League play, I m to have a part in. But wouldn t it be 
fun if we could go! " 

"It would be fun if you could come without 
having to consider other people in any way." 

The remark was half a question but Mildred was al 
ready deft enough not to take notice of that fact. 

Apperson Forbes changed the basis of his attack. He 
was in no sense a bird-like person to flit from bough to 
bough he was simply in command of many avenues of 

" I was in Tiffany s the other day they ve got some 
new things made by this Frenchman that s gone in for 
jewelry Dunois, isn t it? showed me some of those 
pale blue sapphires set into a collar with yellow diamonds. 
Rather splendid thing. Be just right on you blue and 


gold. I thought I d buy it would have bought it if 
there d been any chance of it s being worn." 

His intent eyes, trying to look straight into Mildred s 
and being shut out by the protecting droop of her lashes, 
fixed themselves on the rose white of her young shoul 

Now there is a great difference between being finan 
cially able to buy jewels and actually buying them. Mil 
dred s ornaments were the simplest that a young girl with 
all the command of wealth tempered by taste could ex 
pect. Her mother s jewels were rich and sedate. But 
this collar sounded like barbaric splendor, like a revolt 
against limitations, and being in a state of general revolt 
anyway, it drew her. 

" It must be wonderful ! " she exclaimed. 

"If you d drop in there to-morrow perhaps? I d 
like to have them show it to you of course if you hap 
pened to like it " 

There was another tentative pause as his sentence died 
without an ending. And all through the dinner, and at 
the theater afterward when he drew his chair close behind 
hers in the box, there was the persistent suggestion of the 
kind of amusement which would be more exciting than 
the stereotyped social life of the debutante which was 
obviously palling upon her. And Mildred, rising a little 
to the talk, as to something easier to fill her life with than 
the study of scientific management or working in a fac 
tory, and not involving any heart-breaking conflict with 
her family, dimpled and blushed and laughed in her little 
rising scale, and found the comedy not so dull as it might 
have been, and took just a little scared enjoyment in the 
thinly veiled vulgarity of it, and came home to lie high 
against her pillows with a half determination to take this 
way of spicing the flattening flavor of life. Nobody 


expected her to do anything but amuse herself. Nobody 
even thought about her working for the country because 
she was a citizen as Mr. Barton was working in the flour 
mill. It was perfectly evident that Nick didn t care 
about her. She hadn t had a letter from him for two 
months and then only the most impersonal sort of a one 
about nothing in particular. She took her thoughts from 
Nick and put them back on Apperson Forbes, and race 
horses, and people who were said to be very good fun but 
whom some folks would rather not meet; and startling 
jeweled collars. And then drifting to the man himself 
and those long slender hands, and long narrow eyes. 
Suppose it had been he out on the veranda at Torexo last 
year ! Suppose his arms had gone round her, and his lips 
had met hers and 

She slid down from her pillows and pulled the coverlet 
over her head as though she were afraid. 


I WISH," said Mildred at breakfast one morning, 
" that I had something to do ! " Frank looked 
over the top of his paper; Mary stopped with an 
unopened letter in her hand ; Wicks standing immovable 
beside the sideboard jumped. 

" I thought I heard somebody complaining recently 
that she never had any time to herself." 

" Oh, Father that isn t what I mean. I mean work." 

" I should think, dear, you d find what you re doing a 
good deal like work it takes all day and most of the 

" I know it does, Mother, and it doesn t amount to any 
thing when it s done." 

" What," said Frank, slowly, " do you want to do, 
daughter? " 

" I don t know, Father not exactly Ruth Ansel is 
going to be scientific manager and help people run their 
mills; and Mamie Epstein is in a shirtwaist factory and 
they ve made her shop chairlady; but I don t want to be 
either of those things I don t think I could." 

" But, my dear, the conditions are so different ! Mamie 
Epstein has of course to earn her living and I suppose 
that Professor Ansel wouldn t be able to provide his 
daughter with an adequate income either." 

" Oh, Mother, I don t want to work because I want 
money I want to work because I like it it interests 
me, and because the government needs me to help." 



Mary Carver pointed out to her dissatisfied daughter 
how impractical her idea was. Would it not make it 
utterly impossible for her to go on with the things she was 
doing now? And would any sane girl give up these 
things ? 

Mildred listened in the silence of a slow forming de 
termination. After all, nobody could make her keep on 
with it, just because of money ! She didn t have to spend 
her life doing nothing when she knew she ought to work. 
She wouldn t be a fool in the sight of Ruth Ansel or any 
body else! 

And so she began surreptitiously to knock at the doors 
of industry. She didn t know just how to go about 
it. The advertisements " Help Wanted Female " in 
the papers were mostly for nursemaids or stenographers 
or some one to do specialized work that she didn t under 
stand. Besides the advertisements seemed to be for girls 
who were obliged to think first about earning money 
not about doing something that needed to be done. She 
had followed up one or two wrong leads a sample 
clerk, work in a doctor s office which proved to be 
opening the door and dusting the table, an indefinite 
job in Harlem which materialized into taking tickets at a 
moving picture show. All these discoveries she made 
without letting any one know. If the chauffeur and 
Wicks wondered at the strange addresses to which they 
drove their young mistress, no gossip from them ever 
crept above stairs. And then she advertised, carefully 
modeling her advertisement on those in the papers and got 
nothing but offers of work as a clerk or an office girl or a 
" learner " in millinery. And she wanted to really make 
something to create ! to do work that was public 
service. After two discouraging weeks she discovered 
the Public Employment Agency. 


" I haven t," said Mildred to the woman at the desk, 
" ever worked before except when I was in the Service," 
and she held out her " honorable discharge " card. 

" I see you made a good record but it s agricul 
ture. Not much help to you in New York City. Here s 
this time in the flour mill though did you like that ? 
We might get you a place in a factory." 

The woman began to look hastily through a card cata 
logue, and Mildred had a quick vision of Mamie Epstein 
working " by ladies waists." 

" Not in a factory where they make clothes, if you 
please I d rather not sew." 

"Well, I don t blame you I hate it myself only 
there s more girls in that than anything else in the city, 
and since the Service takes so many out, they re always 
short handed." She dipped into another file. " How d 
you like human hair or paper box making? I could place 
you in either of them." 

"I I will you tell me what I d be expected to do ?" 

" You d make switches and wigs and all sorts of fake 
hair here s a place in Sixth Avenue wants a beginner 

they pay five a week to start. It s a pretty good place, 
I guess, we haven t had any complaints from it anyway." 

" I think perhaps the box making " 

The woman filled in two blanks with addresses and 
pushed them toward her. " Try em both," she said 
finally, " I tell you what it is though, you re a nice 
clean looking girl and I think you d learn easy enough. 
If you want a place as waitress or chambermaid in a pri 
vate family you can get better wages than anywhere else 

if you want to do it." 

Mildred gasped a little and felt herself flushing. 

" I think I ll go and see the other places thank you." 

" Well if you don t get either of these come back and 


I ll see if there isn t something else. I m sure we can 
place you." 

Mildred gave the address to Wicks as he opened the 
door of the limousine for her. It turned out to be on 
Sixth Avenue not a mile from her home in Washington 
Square. She climbed two flights before she came to the 
office. The boss, a squat man in shirt sleeves, took her 
slip and seemed glad to see her. 

" Ever done hair? " he asked her. 

Mildred was tempted to say that she didn t even do her 

" Well, it s bad you ain t had the experience but I think 
we take you as a learner. You can come up to the work 
room and I ll make you acquainted with the forelady." 

He preceded her through the door and up two flights 
of dirty, narrow stairs. 

"Miss Cavello ! Say, Miss Cavello!" he called at 
the door of a low ceilinged, dim room. A thin, worn 
woman who looked like an Italian came from the far 

" Here s a new hand I ve brought you, Miss Cavello, 
she s green yet but she looks bright. Whadde ye say to 
putting her on the rolls ? " 

" There ain t no place in there. I gottanough. I m 
short of weft girls. Only it ain t so easy." 

" Well, give her a tryout." 

The forelady looked Mildred over critically. 

" You can come and see the work," she said and led 
her to a little low garret. The roof sloped over the win 
dows, which were small and caked with dirt. Above each 
of the forty girls who sat on either side of the long tables 
was a green shaded gas jet. The gas seemed to have 
been leaking and the room was heavy with the smell, but 
the windows and doors were tight shut lest the long hanks 


of hair should be blown about the room. The forelady 
showed Mildred a seat at the far end of the room before 
a wooden frame with string stretched along the top. On 
the table was a hank of brown hair held in place by a large 
red brick. Miss Cavello showed Mildred how to bunch 
a few of the hairs and knot them into the string close to 
gether until a fringe was formed. 

" When you get a yard done you give it to the finish 
ers up by the door see ? " 

Mildred looked at the brown hair before her with un 
speakable distaste. 

She was trembling and a little sick as she came down 
the long stairs to the office. It was probably important 
that people who needed them had wigs consider Aunt 
Millicent ! it might even be a public service to help 
make them but Mildred couldn t feel that it was her duty. 

" You can come tomorrow," the boss said as she re- 
entered the office, " you get five dollars a week to start. 
If you make good I give you more when you get learned." 

" That s very nice of you," she stammered, " but I 
think I had better not try it it isn t exactly what I was 
looking for. But I m ever so much obliged." 

" Say, whadde you think you can get? I pay my help 
good ! You get steady work and you make good money 
when you get on wigs. If you work hard maybe I give 
you $5.50 after only one week!" 

" Thank you very much, but I think I won t do it." 

" You think you get a better job. Well, that s where 
you make the grand mistake! When you change your 
mind you come back and I take you on." 

The box factory where she went next turned out to be 
a rickety old red brick building in the tangle of Greenwich 
Village. The entrance was flanked by waiting trucks, 
so the chauffeur was forced to stop some distance away 


and Mildred walked to the door. A man in shirtsleeves 
took her slip, looked her over carelessly one blue serge 
suit is very much like another blue serge suit to the 

Ever worked at boxes?" he asked briefly. 

" No, I never have." 

" Finished your Service year? " 

" Yes, I was through in October." 

" What you been working at since then? " 

" I haven t been working at all." 

" All right I guess we can take you on in the pasting; 
five-fifty to start. Report Monday morning. Eight sharp." 

And then calling toward the back of the room : 

" Hey! Jim! Got those invoices ready? Well, bring 
em here, can t you? " 

There seemed nothing further for Mildred to do but to 
go out through the door, past the trucks, and into the 
limousine again. She took her seat trembling a little 
she had a job! She was going to work! "Monday 
morning at eight sharp." It was quite necessary to have 
paper boxes. It was a useful work because there had to 
be something to put things into. Though of course it 
wasn t so important as growing things to eat. She 
looked up suddenly to find herself still in front of the 
box factory with Wicks standing expectant. 

" Oh, I beg your pardon I forgot ! Home please ! " 
and then suddenly on the impulse : " Wicks, I ve got a 

The footman started, then smiled slowly up to his gay 
eyes : 

" Thank you, miss, I hope you like it. I thought 
you d be doing something after the Service." 

And touching his cap, he sprang up beside the chauf 


Mildred thought of it exultantly as Henriette coiled her 
hair afresh and brought her a gold and white dinner dress, 
for it was the night of Mrs. Carver s weekly dinner. 

" The decorations, Mademoiselle Mildred, are of yel 
low. Orchids the most wonderful from the gardener at 
Torexo! This white with the gold, if Mademoiselle 
pleases, will give the effect." 

" Oh, thank you, Henriette it s quite all right it s 
very clever of you to have thought of it." 

After dinner, Apperson Forbes settled himself beside 
Mildred at the coffee table. Mrs. Carver didn t under 
stand just why she asked him so frequently perhaps 
because he was so obviously glad to come. And then 
he was an amusing companion. People seemed glad to 
find themselves beside him. He watched the girl s strong, 
slender hands filling the cups from the silver urn in silence 
for a while he knew how to make a silence count to 
ward what he was going to say. 

" Do you know what I always think of when I see you 
at this coffee table and I come to watch you as often as 
Mrs. Carver will ask me? " 

" It must be monotonous if you always think the same 

During the moment before he answered, she thought 
that her remark was unexpectedly clever and was pleased 
with her own finesse. 

" Not if it s the thing I want to think of all the time." 

Quick recovery on Mildred s part and right about face. 

" Well, I don t like to think the same thing over again 
and again. I ve just decided to do something different." 

Waiting for his reply she felt reintrenched behind her 
indeterminate declaration. 

" What have you decided to do marry ? " 

There was an uncontrollable change in his voice. 


" Oh, not that I m going to work! " 

The man settled himself into the relaxation of relief. 

" Oh, well, if you want to see what it s like, but I should 
think the Universal Service would have given you enough 
already. I never find you with time to spare for me." 

" But all this doesn t count and the Service was just a 
beginning. I m going to really work on something nec 
essary and be paid for it five dollars and a half a 

" My dear girl, what are you going to do? " 

There had been no considering pause before the ques 

" I ve got a job in a paper box factory in the pasting 
department. The boss told me to begin Monday at eight 

The man was silent, trying to recover his conversa 
tional poise. He began two quite unrelated sentences 
and stopped them both. 

" Why are you doing this will you tell me please ? " 
he said at last. 

" I just can t stand everything being so dull ! Nothing 
happens that s different from anything else, nothing ! 
And besides, such a lot of things need to have somebody 
do them ! And I feel as though I were cheating to be do 
ing nothing all the time." 

The coffee was all poured now and the room was full of 
soft talk. Apperson looked hastily about. There was 
no seclusion so he boldly trusted in the privacy of the 

" Things don t have to be dull ! They don t have to be 
always the same. I could put more variety into your life 
than you know there is in the world. You re right about 
too much of this sort of thing getting on the nerves. But 
why have too much of it. Mildred, let me show you how 


much amusement there really is in life if you know how 
to get it. You know I adore you. Marry me and let me 
give you the real good time you ought to have. Mildred 
darling if you knew how I worship you! " 

The girl rose straight out of her low seat and Apperson 
Forbes rose with her, almost forgetful of the people about 
him almost forgetful of himself. She turned a little 
unsteadily and walked toward the library, then as a sound 
of light laughter stopped her, retraced her steps and sat 
down at the table again, face to face with the question she 
had settled so many times ! 

No one seemed to have noticed them, but some one had. 
Old Andrew Carver who had dropped in after dinner, 
pattered across to the table. 

" Well, my dear, you re a niece for an uncle to be 
proud of. Have you coffee there for me? " 

" Oh, Uncle Andrew Uncle Andrew! " the emotion 
was clear in her voice. " But I thought you didn t drink 
coffee at night? " 

" It depends on the provocation," the old man pulled 
a light chair forward and crossed his immaculate trousers, 
so perfect that it seemed impossible for anything so 
human as legs to be inside them. " How do, Forbes. 
That your horse won the Steeplechase ? Yes yes 
thought so! Sounds like a good race. I don t go my 
self but I keep em in mind a little." 

" Uncle Andrew," Mildred began breathlessly, " I ve 
just been telling Mr. Forbes that I m going to work in 
a factory making paper boxes ! " 

"Well, that s interesting. When do you start?" 

" They told me to come Monday morning at eight 

His matter of fact tone relieved the tension. 

Old Andrew stirred his coffee absently. 


" It s a new thing to me thinking of a niece of mine 
as going out into the world and working for wages. I 
have to get adjusted to it. But then I ve spent all my life 
getting adjusted to one thing after another. It s the way 
things go now, that all our girls and boys should work, 
and as for me I don t see why not. We seem to be get 
ting ready to try out democracy a little further and I m 
inclined to believe it s a good thing. But why a box fac 
tory in particular, my dear? Have you an affinity for 
boxes ? " 

" Of course, I don t care any more about boxes than 
lots of other things. I just happened to get a job there, 
and boxes are useful things people do have to have 

" Personally I see no inspiration in boxes. But some 
of these people who can get enthused over anything might 
teach me better. How did you find this opening of a 
career? I m sure Mr. Forbes won t mind if we go into 
this a little further. He ll excuse a certain family inter 

So Mildred told him of her search for work, and how 
the things most people did seemed only valuable to her 
because they could earn money that way. And how 
" human hair " and domestic service and moving picture 
tickets and other things hadn t appealed to her as what 
she wanted to do. Old Andrew, watching Apperson 
Forbes as he listened, hoped that the box factory at eight 
sharp was enough of a barrier. 


MILDRED at " eight sharp " found herself con 
fronted with an intricate combination of 
belts and rods and sliding knives and levers 
not in the least resembling either the machinery of the 
flour mill or the internal workings of a farm tractor, 
From the other side of this machine a pale, blond girl of 
not more than sixteen began to feed a seemingly endless 
strip of thick gray paper in between two rollers. She 
threw back a lever and out toward Mildred moved a suc 
cession of little tack boxes freshly pasted and all done 
except that the flaps at the bottom were not dovetailed 

" What do I do with them? " Mildred screamed above 
the sound of the machine to the pale girl opposite. 

The girl stopped the machine with a jerk. 

" Ain t you ever done ends ? " she asked scornfully. 

The foreman came and showed her how to dovetail 
together the ends of the boxes and then patting her on 
the shoulder told her to " go ahead, dearie! " 

The young girl watched her impatiently as she fitted 
the first boxes slowly together. " Say, get a move on I 
gotta get busy." 

When Mildred had got the pile in front of her some 
what reduced the girl started the lever and the little boxes 
began to move toward her again. Mildred did not find 
it difficult work after she got the knack of it. There 
was plenty of light and air and she didn t seriously ob- 



ject to the smell of the glue. The stool on which she sat 
was the proper height and there was a rest for her feet. 
But the speed and continuity with which the machine 
emitted tack boxes was incredible! Box after box in a 
stream that she could not dam they moved toward her 
box after box ! box after box ! They would pile up be 
fore her and by a spurt of speed she would catch up a 
little on them. But the moment she relaxed, they began 
to accumulate again. There was no getting ahead and 
having a moment of leisure for the machine could no 
more be hurried than it could be retarded steadily, re 
lentlessly for eight hours a day it turned out tack boxes 
of exactly the same size and color and at exactly the same 
rate and for eight hours a day Mildred Carver sat 
dovetailing the bottoms of them ! 

After the first day she brought her lunch as the other 
girls did for the half hour allowed them was not long 
enough for her to go home and back. 

" Oh gee," said the pale child opposite Mildred, pulling 
down the lever and throwing up her arms as the noon 
whistle blew, " Gee, don t I wish it was Saturday instead 
of Monday! " 

" Why? " asked Mildred innocently. 

" Why ? Wouldn t I have my work done and my pay 
coming to me? Ain t I got all the work between now 
and Saturday to do yet before I get it? " 

" But don t you want to work ? " 

"You bettcha life I do! I gotta hold my job until 
they take me into the Universal Service cause the old 
man s on the drunk most of the time." 

They were eating their lunches now, all the girls in the 
factory standing and sitting about in a little space outside 
the washroom. Such meagre little lunches, most of them 
seemed to Mildred, and so unappetizing ! 


" Say, was you in the Service? " asked another young 
girl of Mildred " You look like you might of been - 
that old ! " 

" I finished last October." 

There was silence among the girls. 

"What did you work at?" A tired, middle-aged 
woman had asked the question. 

" I worked in Agriculture on farms you know." 

A dark Italian turned to a staring companion and 
translated, and Mildred quite unthinking joined in their 
talk. She flushed when she saw the others staring. 

You don t look like a Guinney," commented her com 
panion on the machine. 

"I m an American only I learned Italian when I 
was little." 

There were a number of these immigrant girls who had 
come to America when they were just past the draft age; 
about a third of the workers were girls between sixteen 
and eighteen sure to be drafted ; the others were 
older women who had been more than eighteen when the 
Universal Service was established. All of them looked 
on Mildred with considerable wonder. Why should a 
girl who had been in the Service go into box making ? 

"Well, why would you be makin boxes, then?" an 
elderly Irish woman answered her query. You that s 
had the grand chance getting a starut on a real job! 
There ain t nothin to it! I been pasting boxes twenty 
years there ain t a girl in the trade s quicker at it - 
an where am I now? Just ready to paste boxes for 
twenty years more if I got the strenth! Would I be 
doin that if I had a chanst to hold down a grand job in 
the Service ? " 

" But people need boxes things have to be put into 
something! " objected Mildred. 


"Do they now! Well if makin boxes is that cruel 
hard on them that makes em, ain t it up to somebody to 
find somethin else to put things into ? There s the clom 
whistle again ! I gotta start putting them miles of paper 
sthrips over the tops av them thousand boxes ! And do I 
get enough out av it to dress dacent and lay by something 
for me funeral ? Oi do not ! " 

This was the nearest to a philosophy of work that the 
box factory yielded, the idea that if the work of mak 
ing anything was " cruel hard " on the workers, then it 
was "up to somebody " to find a substitute. This was 
discouraging to Mildred ! Here she had gone to work 
because she thought it was her duty to help make some 
thing that people had to have and now she had dis 
covered that in the particular thing she had chosen it was 
more important to find out either how to make it a good 
thing for girls to work in, or how to do away with box- 
making altogether. Just folding in the bottoms of tack 
boxes for eight hours a day wasn t helping much. 

One noon when she and her machine partner had gone 
into the street for a breath of air they found themselves 
walking just ahead of another of the young girls whose 
arm Mr. Jake Fisher was affectionately holding as they 
strolled back and forth. 

" Oh gee," said the child giggling, " don t I wish I 
could believe you but I ain t got the noive ! " 

" It s just like I tell you, dearie. You ain t gotta keep 
on workin if you drather not see? Leave it to me ! " 

And when they had turned at the corner and were 
passing again, the man said : 

" An there ain t goin to be no jobs in box makin much 
longer anyway. I been talkin with a feller s got a new 
process. You take the stuff paper s made of while it s 
soft and sort of pour it out into a mold that s the right 


shape, cover and all, and when it gets dry it s a box. 
There ain t no cutting, nor pasting, nor folding left for 
anybody to do. So if you don t quit your job like I m 
asking you to, it s going to quit you see ? Only keep 
it dark." 

So here was the solution of this part of the problem 
anyway the whole of this " cruel hard " work was to 
be done away with. There would be things to put 
things in without her doing anything about it, and no 
public service in her keeping on. So at the end of the 
week Mr. Jake Fisher received a carefully written note 
with the number at Washington Square North engraved 
at the top. 
" My dear Mr. Fisher : 

" I have decided to resign my position in the pasting 
department of your box making factory. I think I should 
prefer to do some work which is really necessary. It 
was very kind of you to give me the position and I hope 
my leaving will not inconvenience you. 
" Very sincerely, 


" Saturday the tenth." 

Jake Fisher carried the letter over to the dirty window 
and reread it. 

" Well, whadde ye think of that ! What s the game 
anyway ? " he ejaculated. " And she was getting five 
fifty a week, too ! " 


MILDRED felt herself caught again in the 
trap. Here were cards for teas, and invita 
tions to dinner, and to dances; and theaters 
to go to and lovely music to hear and beautiful pictures 
to see, and costly clothes to wear all the sweets of life 
but no bread ! Balanced against them was the making of 
tack boxes, or human hair or some other occupation which 
she could not see as a public service but only as a means 
of earning money. How was she going to give her coun 
try the service due from a loyal citizen? How was she 
going to help in some work essential to the nation ? The 
sense of frustration grew; and the temptation to stop 
trying and go in for the things she knew she could have, 
perpetual, hectic amusement, and Apperson Forbes ! 
almost overwhelmed her. 

And then one day when she was particularly blue, came 
Waddell, still, swift, dignified in his obsequious serving, 
to say that a Mr. Barton wished to see Miss Carver. The 
gentleman had no card. Was Miss Carver in ? 

Mrs. Carver was quite uncomprehending until Mildred 
reminded her softly : 

" She is in, Waddell," she answered after an irresolute 

Following her mother down to the drawing room Mil 
dred was conscious that her heart was riding so high in 
her breast as to interfere with the processes of respira 
tion. She had had occasional letters from John Barton 
carefully written letters telling about the work in the 
E 241 


mill and its relation to the great work of feeding the coun 
try letters which were a distinct compliment to her 
intelligence but which had evidently been produced with 
considerable effort, rather than dashed off as spon 
taneous ebullitions of emotion. They were, from the 
standpoint of the high school, almost literary. There had 
not been anything of real love-making in them, but he had 
said repeatedly that he would be in New York, and there 
was in her a growing sensitiveness to emotional atmos 
pheric pressure, which revealed the unsaid. 

John Barton was seated serenely in the drawing room 
looking out upon bare, brown Washington Square. It is 
doubtful if the quiet curtains, the dim Persian rugs, the 
graceful old furniture seemed so magnificent to him as 
crimson plush, satin damask and more gilt. At the soft 
click of the curtain rings, he rose, his face shining, 
only to have it fall ludicrously at the sight of Mrs. Carver. 
He hadn t asked for her ! He had never called on a mar 
ried woman in his life there must have been a mistake ! 
But Mildred followed her mother before he could fall 
into the error of trying to explain. 

The call was evidently not satisfactory to John Barton, 
and Mildred in a French gown looked quite a different 
person from Mildred in a khaki uniform. Neither did 
Mary Carver, though irreproachably courteous, conduce 
to his conversational ease. But after a few moments he 
gathered his determination together and asked Mildred 
to go walking with him just as though they were in some 
little New England town. Had he come all the way from 
Minnesota to talk with Mildred s mother? And the girl, 
reverting suddenly to the unconventional independence of 
the Service, forgetting that she was a society bud, almost 
forgetting that she had a mother, jumped up delightedly 
and ran for her coat and hat. 


Mrs. Carver felt herself helpless. Obviously Mildred 
was no longer a carefully guarded American Princess, 
unceremoniously approached by a member of the prole 
tariat, but a humble private being honored by the notice 
of a superior officer. It was a revival of the part of her 
daughter s life in which she had no authority, no respon 

"Haven t you a park somewhere? Central Park or 
some name like that? " John Barton asked when they had 
turned up Fifth Avenue. 

" It s ever so far up," Mildred objected. 

" Isn t there a way to ride there? " 

They took a bus, lumbering like a green buffalo and sat 
shoulder to shoulder on the top of it. Mildred tried to 
interest him in the famous thoroughfare but he had never 
been so near her before and couldn t fix his attention on 
anything but her personal loveliness. To him, the trim 
coat, the exquisite little hat, the rich furs, appealed not in 
terms of elegance or cost, but as part of the girl s beauty. 

And when they reached the Park and had followed one 
of its curving walks into the seclusion of mid-afternoon, 
broken only by children and nurse maids, John Barton 
spoke quite suddenly and with awkward sincerity. There 
was no pretence of altruism in it, no attempt to make it 
anything but his wish as a man for her as his wife. But 
to Mildred the romance of the work of giving bread to 
the nation still hung around him ; he personified the great 
est experience of her life; he seemed to stand on a little 
hill and hold out to her her chance of service and patriot 
ism. She did not think of her parents or Apperson 
Forbes. She did not even think of Nick Van Arsdale. 
She did not think of John Barton as a man, but as a very 
big, very impersonal force that would make all the rest 
of her life a service of citizenship. And trembling she 
reached out both her hands. 


" And so I told him that I would be very proud and 
very glad to be his wife." 

Mildred had come back to the house alone and found 
her father and mother in the library. Something told 
her that it would be best for her to tell them what she had 
done before John Barton came to ask them quite formally 
in the morning. And now as she looked into their 
stricken faces she knew she had been wise. 

It came into her mind as she stood there, how much 
better Nick had told them a similar story now so long 
ago. She faltered and stopped as she remembered it, and 
then went resolutely on. 

Mary and Frank didn t dare look at each other when 
she had done. They hardly dared speak. The silence 
didn t break in a storm ; that was not the Carver reaction 
in emergencies. There was rather a tangible heaving and 
resettling of the basis of thought. And even then they 
didn t say much, so great was their fear of saying the 
wrong thing the irrevocable thing. They had had 
their warnings, but their class security had kept them 
blind; neither of them had been able to take the menace 
seriously. Now the thing they thought impossible had 
happened. Still it was a question of gentle argument, of 
reasons and persuasions and tenderness. 

"Are you sure that you love him, Mildred?" her 
mother had asked sadly and got the counter question : 

"How could I help it?" 

Mary Carver thanked God that she and Frank had an 
engagement that evening. She felt that she must get a 
chance to talk with him alone and lay down a plan of cam 

" Very slowly, Ellis," she said as she entered the 
limousine and after the door was shut : " Frank 
Frank what are we going to do ? " 


"I I don t know, Mary but we ve got to do some 
thing we can t very well let it go on." 

" Oh, that such a thing should happen to us ! I was 
sorry enough when Francis boy married that little school 
teacher from Montana and when the Nortons eldest 
girl married that Frenchman, who wasn t anything in the 
world but a traveling salesman, even if he was a count. 
But those are nothing compared to this a workman, 
Frank ! A foreman in a mill ! " 

" It s pretty bad, my dear. We ve got to stop it some 
how, for all I think he s a fine fellow." 

" A fine fellow to try and entrap a girl like that? " 

" Oh, Mary, I don t think there s any entrapping about 
it. He quite evidently didn t know anything about us 
when I saw him in Minneapolis. Don t you remember 
that I told you he asked what my job was ? " 

" I don t believe it, Frank besides now that he s 
been here ! " 

" Well there s the fact that he s never been in New 
York before. To live in a red brick house in a block 
without any grounds wouldn t betoken riches to a man in 
whose home town every one but the very poorest had 
grass and a garden." 

" Oh, Frank, he must know ! " 

" I think not. But if he does we re in a much more 
difficult position than if he doesn t we ve one weapon 
the less." 

The chauffeur at last set them down at the house of 
Mrs. Agatha Porter, which as everybody knows is a very 
old house on upper Fifth Avenue where most of the 
houses are new. Mrs. Porter is a great lady so great 
that she need not consider such things as social lines or 
levels. So very great that even the intellectuals come to 


her, and the great artists and writers and actors ; and the 
little ones too, when they can get a chance, never turn up 
their hungry little noses and call her bourgeoise. So 
great, indeed, that even labor leaders and socialists and 
anarchists who are not at all philosophical, and all sorts 
of other real people never even try to look down upon her, 
but come quite humbly to the wonderful parties that 
have made her famous in that new aristocracy which has 
been slowly circling the globe since the old one, based 
merely on descent and position and money, went down 
under the terrible blows of the war. And a thin trickle 
of the culture of the Orient that is seeping into the newer 
world eddies into this great house ; and little yellow men 
with a sense of humor quite different from ours; and 
brown indefinite gentlemen from the Levant with wit 
like a serpent s tooth ; and tall dark people from the high 
castes of free India with no sense of humor at all are 
to be met in this hospitably democratic and rigidly ex 
clusive house, famous now, wherever the new basis of 
social intercourse is establishing itself. 

Tonight there was to be music such music as is not 
to be had for the asking or for money, but only for love. 
They were met at the door of the drawing room by the 
wonderful little great lady whose creation this special 
manifestation of Democracy is. Agatha Porter s gray 
hair was piled high in the latest mode, her clothes were 
lovely and smart as of one who gives herself the luxury 
of following the fashions; her eyes were full of the beau 
tiful sincerity and generous sweetness that transforms 
her guests into their super-selves by some magic of the 
moment, so that the train of people who come and go in 
her house are always a little better than their best through 
her, and thereby happy and anxious to come again. Even 
Mary and Frank felt themselves lightened of their trouble 


as they took Agatha Porter s hand and passed into her 
drawing room. 

And there just inside the door where he could pursue 
his favorite occupation of watching people and their 
ways and most particularly Mrs. Porter and all her 
little looks and gestures, stood Andrew Carver. No one 
of Mrs. Porter s gatherings but Old Andrew held much 
the same place; and he had held it since out of the tragedy 
of the great war, this new social order began to rise. For 
there were those who said that even Old Andrew was a 
little better than his best in that house, and that if he had 
found his way there a generation earlier if indeed there 
had been such a place then, or such a democracy to foster 
it he would not have been the lonely exquisite he was, 
but a real man in a real world. 

Mary and Frank had no more than time to greet their 
kinsman when there was a great swell of sound from the 
violins, and in the sudden stopping of the talk a voice 
caught the very top of the note and poured out what 
might have been the essence of all the songs that all the 
milk-maids ever sang only much truer and sweeter and 
far more simple than any real milk-maid s song ever was 
because the singer had gone clear through the trammels 
art sets and come out on the other side. And when this 
liquid song stopped as naturally as though the particular 
emotion that had induced it was gone, you realized how 
Amaryllis must have sung to herself by the river and were 
carried back to the times of the Fauns and Dryads and 
such innocence as never was. 

" But," Mary said to Frank as they moved forward 
after the song, " we have put all that out of the world now 
to make way for work!" 

" Now does that mean the girl is a little hard to break 
into harness ? " Old Andrew twinkled at her. " I thought 
she would be I thought so." 


Mary was just answering him when Mrs. West broke 

" What are we to do with our young people, Mrs. 
Carver? Have you heard that Nannie Wintermute has 
run away from home to be of all things! the ad 
vance agent for a public educational lecture bureau ! " 

" Oh, my dear ! What will they do with Arthur s 
death and everything ! " 

" Now you must be talking of the Service girls I think," 
said Lady Nieth. "It is the strangest thing to see your 
debutantes this season ! When I used to be in and out of 
New York before the war, the girls were a docile lot, 
playing about as they were told, and marrying as duti 
fully as a collie goes to heel. But now ! why they 
marry anybody, or nobody, as they choose and they go 
about as though they were anxious to get out on bail ! I 
think we manage them better in England, without the in 
terference of the government at the critical time." 

" Have you heard that young Hope has married a 
Mexican girl he met in Texas when he was serving in the 
mines ? We re more or less used to pretty girls from the 
stage, and even to these brilliant young Russian Jewesses 
from the East Side but Mexicans are new. So there s 
one less man for our girls and the crop short, too! " 

At the door of the smoking room two keen-eyed busi 
ness men greeted each other. 

" I hear you ve put the Talbot boy in as manager of the 
up-state cannery? What s that for? " 

" Had to do it, old man had to do it! One strike 
after another, and the Union organizers hammering away 
at Albany to get more laws passed against us every time 
there was trouble. Old Waldron couldn t seem to get 
used to the idea that you could run a factory and make 
money and be good friends with the hands at the same 


time. He d never been any nearer doing factory work 
himself than keeping the books. So we just sent him out 
to California to enjoy the climate, and put in Talbot. He 
did his Service year in the shipyards. First thing he did 
was to get the men together and ask them how they 
wanted the place run. Put it up to them." 

" Does he make it pay ? " 

" So far he has. He sees to it that there s nothing to 
strike for and so the work isn t interrupted the way it 
used to be." 

The new point of view induced I suppose by the 
fact that every one of these young fellows have done 
work themselves certainly does hit up production." 

; Yes, they take it as a patriotic duty to turn out more 
cans of corn and peas per man per day, and to pay higher 
wages and work shorter hours and sell at a lower price 
than the next factory and so far young Talbot s doing 

" I don t see how they get across with it myself, but 
the facts bear them out so far." 

It was a wonderful mingling. Money magnates chat 
ted with leaders of East Side women s organizations 
famous painters ate ices with oriental diplomats, and so 
ciety women and city politicians and soldiers and inven 
tors ceaselessly wove together the fabric of such a real 
society as the world had never before known. 

But tonight Mary could not feel herself a part of it 
she was too rebellious at what the underlying principle of 
it all had dealt out to her personally. 

" Let us go home, Frank Agatha Porter has so many 
she will not notice." 

" And all I can think to do, Frank, is to keep him here, 
and take him about with us everywhere, and let Mildred 


see how perfectly impossible it is Of course, we could 
get him into something, I suppose 

" Yes, keep him here, Mary. Take him about all you 
can we may do it that way. But if you succeed, I 
think it will be by showing him that Mildred doesn t fit 
into his world rather than by showing her that he is out of 
place in hers ! And Mary, don t bring him to Agatha 
Porter s that is where he would be happy and at home. 
If he thought there were more houses like that 

" There aren t, Frank. And I guess you are right 
about keeping him away." 

They both agreed, and that without saying it, that their 
one chance was to outwardly acquiesce and play for time. 

" Do you realize, Frank," said Mary suddenly, " that 
none of us has even mentioned Nick Van Arsdale ? Oh ! 
if it were only he! " 

" I m not sure," they were at their own door again, 
"that I d feel right about it even if it were. After all, 
Mary, our daughter isn t like the girls of twenty years 
ago and she s in a different world. She s better able 
to choose than you were at her age even if I have no 
fault to find with your decision, my dear." 

Mrs. Carver, lying sleepless as the gray dawn came in, 
was marshaling her forces and planning her campaign! 
Mildred should not marry John Barton that was her 
starting point and the end of her argument. In between 
were her possible defenses, the chief and perfect one 
would be Nick Van Arsdale, if he were only at hand to be 
utilized. Well, why shouldn t he be? Confronted with 
Nick, surely Mildred could not persist in marrying the 
foreman of a mill! A workman! A common laborer! 
Everything else she could do, Mrs. Carver knew, was 
merely in the nature of a feint, a decoy, a diversion. 
There could be no certainty of success in any of them. 


But Nick would be a solid barrier. At intervals all the 
next day Mrs. Carver wrote letters to Nick wrote and 
destroyed them as being either too undiplomatic, too ob 
scure or possible to misunderstand. At last she came 
out flatfootedly and told him that John Barton, the fore 
man of a flour mill, wanted to marry Mildred and that 
the girl was so dazzled and hypnotized that there was 
great danger of her marrying him before she came to 
herself, and so spoiling her life. Mrs. Carver admitted 
that she didn t know what to do about it and that she was 
quite hopeless. Wouldn t Nick just run back to New 
York and see what he could do ? 

Nick went out into the dark after he had read the let 
ter and sitting down with his back to a strong trade wind 
almost steady enough to lean against, began to fight 
through again the same long round of argument he had 
had with his father down in Arizona the same round he 
had gone over so many times by himself. 

He could go back and ask Mildred to marry him, and if 
she did, bring her here. He looked off over the dim 
prairie it was flat and dull and dead, now that the har 
vest was past. The horizon line, do what you would, 
was low, and the only drama was in the black infinity of 
the sky from the outermost confines of which each star 
seemed hung by a quivering invisible thread. No girl 
like Mildred could be content with the drama of nature 
when the human interest was left out. Or he could give 
up all this wonderful new existence that he had come into 
through the Service, could renounce his duty to his coun 
try, and stay in the old life that the sort of people he used 
to know took for granted the life of leisure and travel 
and pleasant social intercourse and the spending of much 
money. But could a man who knew himself a slacker 
make a girl like Mildred happy? 


And yet if she married this mill foreman ! Nick had had 
his attention reluctantly focused on this John Barton be 
fore, Mildred s letters from Minneapolis had been so full 
of him that Nick had got a disconcerting reflection of the 
Sun God s luminosity. And there was the talk he had 
heard about him at the Christmas party, particularly from 
that impossible Miss Epstein, of whom Mildred seemed 
so fond. And they d talked of him in Iowa, when he met ( 
Mildred s Unit in the summer ! 

He sprang up and beat his way against the steady pusKJ 
of the wind back to his lodgings. 

The foreman, sending an exasperated message after 
him the next day, discovered that he was gone. 


TWO days later as John Barton came down 
the Carvers stone steps whose costly white 
ness he was blind to, a young man stepped 
up to him. 

" Is this Mr. Barton? " he asked; " I m Nicholas Van 
Arsdale. If you are going to your hotel, may I walk 
with you ? " 

John Barton had never heard of Nicholas Van Ars 
dale, but he expected surprises in New York and the lad 
did not look formidable. 

Nick had to call on every bit of that Dutch determina 
tion which had held him building roads in the desert be 
cause he thought it was his duty to his country, in order 
to get started on his talk with John Barton. Out of the 
corner of his eye the boy studied the man of whom he had 
heard so much; whom he hated with a fierce, young jeal 
ousy; whom he wanted to persuade. Nick appreciated 
the tall, thin figure, the strong, clean features, and most 
particularly the charm which his age and experience 
might have for Mildred, as he plunged desperately into 
his talk. As they swung up Fifth Avenue through the 
alternate patches of bright light and deep shadow, the city 
was tidying up for the night and putting itself to bed. The 
last rumbling buses went by with their young Service con 
ductors whistling on the back step; Universal Service 
postmen were making their last collections from the 



boxes; burly night policemen had begun their rounds. 
New York was settling slowly upon its pillows. 

" Do you want to marry her yourself? " John Barton 
asked bluntly when Nick had blurted out the case between 
them as he saw it the case which determined Mildred s 
career by her marriage and hung her happiness on the 
man she accepted as a husband. 

Nick was silent while their heels beat out the time for 
half a block. 

" No," he said slowly, " I don t! If it were a question 
of marrying Mildred just that all by itself, its well, 
you know how I feel about that I guess. But I couldn t 
take her out to wherever I might be making roads ; she d 
be miserable! And I couldn t come back to New York 
and just live the way her people do." 

" They seem pretty comfortable to me." 

" They are they re deadly comfortable I couldn t 
stand it." 

" Couldn t stand being comfortable ! " 

" Not that way not giving up the work I know I 
ought to do not stopping helping making roads that 
the government needs to move the crops and the ore and 
the lumber on ! I can t go back on my duty to my coun 
try because I want to marry Mildred! I m not such a 
poor sort as that ! " 

" But you ll be moving about and perhaps you ll get 
into something better than road making. If you waited 
a few years don t you think you d be able to support her 
comfortably? " 

" It isn t that," said Nick, " it isn t being able to support 
her, it is being able to make her happy! That s why I 
am talking to you, Mr. Barton. What I want is to make 
you see the reasons why Mildred ought not to marry me, 
are just exactly the reasons why she ought not to marry 


you. If you care anything like as much as I do, you have 
no right to marry her at all." 

John Barton stopped abruptly and turned on Nick. He 
was obviously angry with the slow white anger of New 
England that turns men speechless. His hands clenched 
themselves in his pockets, his teeth set hard. How dared 
this young whippersnapper try to dictate what he should 
or should not do ! 

Nick faced him bravely. Like two primitive warriors 
they stood opposite each other fixing the destiny of the 
woman they both desired. To them she was a lovely and 
desirable appendage the flower of some man s life 
only they differed widely from their prehistoric ancestors 
in that it mattered desperately to both of them that she 
should be happy. Was not the life they took for granted 
for her the natural life of the fortunate woman? Wasn t 
the choice they conceded to her the choice between 
possible husbands ? Weren t they torn now with the in 
tention of saving her from the contingency of a foolish 
choice? If she was not literally the prize of some man s 
bow and spear she was at least the prize of his powers of 
persuasion. That she might be expected to have plans 
for herself not bounded by marriage had not occurred to 
either of them. At last John Barton turned and walked 
on up the avenue. 

" You don t seem to remember that she has promised 
to be my wife," he said finally. 

" Yes, I m considering that and also the fact that she 
once promised to be mine." 

" What ! " cried the man, turning on him. 

" Oh it was when we were both kids before we went 
into the Service. Nobody would let us be engaged then 
and when our Service year was over I couldn t stop work 
ing for the U. S. just because I didn t have to any more. 
So I didn t come back." 


" I see. You thought you couldn t give up your work 
and she wouldn t be happy the way you had to live. Well, 
it s different in Minneapolis. I can give her a good home 
there. I guess we d be able to hire help if she needed to. 
I can get a brick house through one of those building and 
loan associations and furnish it up right. I m saving 
money every year. They tell me the schools are first 
class when we get around to need them. The city is 
pretty and the climate is good. I m not going to say how 
much I care for her, because that is a question between 
her and me, but I will make it quite plain to you, young 
man, that I care enough." 

"You don t care enough if you marry her you 
wouldn t marry her if you did. You don t care as much 
as I do, if you don t just let her alone ! " 

The older man kept himself in hand. 

" I look at it this way ; the girl is grown up and she has 
the right to choose what man she ll marry. If she wants 
you, all right. You are young and good looking, and I 
suppose you re well educated. Road making isn t the. job 
I would pick out for myself, because you can t settle down 
and have a home of your own and a woman likes a 
home of her own, and ought to have it; but you look 
smart and I guess you could get into something else easily 
enough. You knew her pretty well before she went into 
the Service, and I have known her pretty well since, and 
I don t see any reason why she wouldn t be happy enough 
if she married me. It all comes back to what she wants 
to do." 

" No," Nick broke in, " she might want to do some 
thing that would make her miserable. I want to save her 
from the chance of making mistakes." 

" And still you don t intend to ask her yourself? " 

" No, I don t. Because I think she oughtn t to marry 


either of us the kind of a girl she is, and the life she s 

" She was a good little worker in the mill," said John 

"I know," said Nick desperately, " it isn t that ! Mil 
dred would work or do anything else she had to do. It s 
the things outside of your work or mine that would make 
the difference. It s the whole life that matters she 
ought to be quite a different kind of a girl." 

" Well," said John Barton slowly, " you haven t con 
vinced me and you haven t persuaded me. I care for 
her and I am going to marry her. You have got the 
right to cut me out, if you can but she s engaged to 
me now and I ll keep her if I can. There is just one 
thing I think that we ought to agree about. That is, not 
to tell her that we talked it over. I should think it would 
make a girl mad to be talked over like this." 

" Yes," said Nick, " I think it would, and if you told 
her that I have been trying to persuade you not to marry 
her, I know just what she would think of me." 

The older man held out his hand and Nick with his 
lips trembling and his brown eyes filling, put his slowly 
into it. 

" I don t think," said John Barton slowly, " she would 
make a mistake in taking either of us." 

" And I think," said Nick unhappily, " that it would be 
just like death for her to marry either you or me." 

To neither of them did it occur that Mildred Carver 
might be anything but the natural " second " in the game 
of some man s career. She had spent her required term 
in the government service, but what of that? Wasn t 
she the same feminine complement she had been before? 

Nick knew that having had a year of work, it was his 
patriotic duty to go on with it. John Barton s work was 


his personal, inseparable religion. But both of them took 
it for granted that the duties of Mildred s citizenship had 
all been paid. 

Nick flung round and started south again and John 
Barton stood watching him. 

" Poor kid he s in love with her all right, but I don t 
see what I can do about it. Besides he probably wouldn t 
be able to support her for a good while." 

John Barton walked on to his hotel, thinking content 
edly of the little home in Minneapolis out in one of 
those new suburbs where he could buy through a building 
and loan association. He d get her an upright piano 
perhaps a Victrola, if Mildred would rather have it 
and they d keep a girl. His mind pictured transiently a 
golden oak dining table with a highly varnished top and 
machine carved chairs and a sideboard to match. He 
seemed to get a flash of bright color from the rug and see 
lace curtains hanging primly at the windows. All these 
dreams of the future were plain to John Barton, but the 
realities of the present were heavily obscured. He could 
see the straight road from the mill where he earned his 
modest salary to the little red brick cottage where he 
meant to spend it, but he never even suspected the devious 
network that led from mines and mills and factories, from 
railroads and public utilities, from government bonds and 
steamship securities, from foreign investments and do 
mestic holdings, to the house on Washington Square. The 
signs of great wealth were not visible to him because they 
manifested themselves in forms he did not know. Had 
Mrs. Carver been bedecked with diamonds instead of 
wearing around her neck a modest string of what looked 
to him like white beads, had she rustled in silk had 
Mildred s arms clinked bracelets and her clothes dripped 
lace he might have understood. But what was a simple 


red brick house facing an imperfectly groomed park that 
it should enlighten him. He intended to have a red brick 
house himself shortly and there were plenty of parks in 
Minneapolis. Of the cash equivalents of pictures and 
draperies, rugs and china he knew nothing. He had 
never bought a chair or a table or a dish in his life. There 
did seem to be a good deal of " help " about, but that was 
probably a New York custom and they did have a 
motor. Well, didn t he hope to buy a Ford when they got 
the house paid for? The Carvers were well off he 
could see that but he was not conscious of any over 
whelming financial disparity between him and Mildred. 
And then his mind settled on something very small and 
soft and warm, being rocked by the fireside, and some 
thing very fat and blond learning to walk, and something 
very active and vigorous, and perhaps a little unruly 
swinging his books by a strap on his way to school. And 
John Barton s eyes crinkled up at the corners and his 
teeth gleamed between his lips as he entered the lobby of 
his modest hotel. 

The next day Nick entering the Carver house just as 
luncheon was over, saw John Barton catch at Mildred s 
hand as they left the dining room. 

" Nick," cried Mildred when she saw him. " Oh, 
Nick!" and then recovering herself, she held out her 
hand quite formally. Mrs. Carver greeted him with a 
little anxious catch of the breath and Ruthie and Junior 
fell upon him in glee. 

Mildred turned to introduce the two men but John 
Barton said gravely : 

" I met Mr. Van Arsdale last night." 

There was something of the condemnatory preacher in 
his tone. 

Mildred looked from one to the other in surprise. 

" We took a walk together and had a talk." 


Yes," said Nick with a quaver in his voice, " we had a 
talk and I want to have another now and Mildred with 

" I don t think that would be necessary and I don t 
see that we have anything to talk over anyway. I 
thought we settled it last night." 

Mildred, the last vestige of color gone from her face, 
turned into the library. 

" Come in here, please," she said in a high little voice. 

Her mother hesitated on the threshold and then let 
the three go in without her. She realized that her work 
on that situation was done. She had written for Nick 
and he was here. The immemorial triangle of two men 
wanting the same woman had been created and they must 
solve it between them. As she went up the long curving 
stairs she was trembling so much hung in the balance 
of the next half hour ! 

Out by the great fireplace Mildred faced the two men, 
though her cheeks were white and her lips trembling. 

" Well ? " she questioned in a clear, light voice, as sober 
as a bell and as insistent. 

They were dumb before her she seemed to them 
both quite suddenly, to be another person from the young 
girl whose happiness they were so concerned in safe 
guarding an individual, an independent human being 
quite able to determine her own life and with plenty of 
characteristics in addition to charm and lovableness. They 
had both thought of her as looking at life through eyes 
only half opened to the things they saw in it. What 
could the obligation to serve the state mean to her now 
that her Service year was done ? But she stood as a new 
thing, a judge set over them. 

" Well? " she questioned insistently. 

John Barton turned to Nick as if to offer him the first 
chance to speak and Nick regarded him resentfully. 


" Mildred, I heard that you were going to marry Mr. 
Barton and I came back to ask you not to ! " 

John Barton interrupted him : 

" He waited for me when I left you last night and tried 
to persuade me not tp marry you I thought we agreed 
not to mention the matter to you but Mr. Van Arsdale 
seems not to have understood it that way." 

" I know that was what we said, but I ve been thinking 
of it ever since and I know we were wrong and that I 
hadn t any right to keep my agreement about it. It s so 
awful anyway that just breaking my word doesn t seem 
to matter. I care so much more about not having you 
miserable than looking like a cad," Nick plunged ahead. 

" I did ask him Mr. Barton, not to marry you. I 
told him he d no right to ask you to live in such a differ 
ent way and among such different people. And the 
things girls like to do just aren t in Minneapolis to be 
done. You d hate it ! You wouldn t be happy and I 
couldn t stand it not to have you happy Mildred ! " 

Nick, growing incoherent, put the weakest side of his 
case foremost. As Mildred looked at him her color 
came back and her eyes began to flash with a light that 
was not at all gentle. 

" I don t see, Nick, how it can matter to you." 

The boy crimsoned. 

" I know Mildred I should think you d feel just that 
way only you know, don t you that s the reason 
I stayed away? I knew you d hate the kind of life out 
there in the desert or anywhere else where there weren t 
any roads and had to be some built. It wouldn t be right 
to take you way out there even if you " 

" Even if I wanted to go? " 

Nick looked at her unhappily. 

" What do you think I want to do, Nick ? " 


" Why, what every other girl does, I suppose, have 
a good time and get married." 

" Well, I don t or at least that s only part of it. I 
want to work! I m a citizen just as much as anybody 
else and I ve got to give my share of patriotic service just 
like any man or any ten men. I ve got to do something 
that needs to be done ! " 

A light began to grow in Nick s eyes and he stepped 
hastily towards her; this was a new Mildred he had never 
dreamed of but she drew near to John Barton s side 
and slipped her hand in his 

" And so I m going to marry the most splendid and 
noble man there could be, Nick. It doesn t matter 
whether I live in Kamchatka or the middle of the Sahara 
Desert it s all the same. I m going to help him to see 
that the flour s made right and packed right, and shipped 
on time; and I couldn t help being happy doing that, could 
I ? I can get along without the concerts and the dances 
and the dinners and the shows we didn t have any of 
these things in the Service and I didn t miss them half as 
much as I miss the Service now. And as for the people 
Why, Nick, I met every kind of people there are while I 
was out there, and now I just meet all the same kind. It s 
so dull. I can t stand it, being so uninterested all the time ! 
And so I m going to be married, Nick, and work and do a 
lot for the country just as though I were in the Service 
all my life. You needn t bother about my being happy 
I couldn t be anything else! " 

Nick stood looking at her, his mouth a little open 
he tried to interrupt her several times and failed. He 
was younger than John Barton and the implications of 
what she said struck him more quickly the real Mil 
dred of the new day was more visible to him. He felt 
that he must define his own changing attitude, but John 


Barton drew Mildred s hand through his arm and stood 
beside her. 

" You said, last night, Mr. Van Arsdale, that if I cared 
for Mildred, I wouldn t marry her because the life she d 
lead would make her unhappy. I guess you can see that 
that wouldn t be so. Of course she won t have to work 
the way she s thinking of. I earn enough to take care of 

"Not work? Why, of course, I ll work. It isn t a 
question of having to ! It s what I want to do ! " 

It was evident that John Barton didn t take her se 
riously. He had got just so far in democracy as the idea 
that it was the patriotic duty of all men to serve their 
country all the time, but he hadn t extended his idea to 
include all women, certainly not to include his pro 
spective wife. 

Nick felt he must try to make her see. 

" But just marrying and going to live in Minneapolis 
isn t all there is to it, Mildred; and just working in 
Minneapolis doesn t make the people or the place any dif 
ferent. If you don t mind the way it is away from New 
York why, you know, it isn t much worse in Arizona 
or Kansas or anywhere else where they re making roads. 
And they re as important roads are as anything ! 
Why, you can t even get the wheat up to the flour mill 
without them! So, if you d go to Minneapolis to live 
why wouldn t you 

Nick was stopped because he couldn t understand why 
Mildred was looking at him from some remote glacial 
epoch. He had no idea what he had done, but he stopped 
abruptly in his certainty that he had done something. 

" Nick," said Mildred at last, very slowly and with 
a dangerous iced intensity, " Nick, suppose you don t go 
on with that. You don t seem to understand that I love 
John Barton." 


The boy looked at her silently, while the new light died 
out of his eyes, and then said hoarsely : 

" No, I didn t understand. I beg your pardon, Mil 
dred. But don t you see that he doesn t understand 
either ? " And turning, he went out through the swishing 
velvet portieres over the silence-compelling rugs. 

Mrs. Carver, watching him down the street, saw the 
droop of his shoulders and the uncertainty of his steps, 
saw how he started to turn automatically up Fifth Av 
enue and then as automatically went south and plunged 
into the mazes of Greenwich Village and realized that her 
attempt at direct action had failed. There was nothing 
for it now but a flank attack. 

Mrs. Carver made her next appeal subtly and indirectly 
to John Barton. The only stipulation she made she 
got Frank to agree to it was that before there was 
any formal engagement Mildred and John Barton should 
have a chance to know each other better. Ostensibly to 
that end, the Carvers began to take him about and intro 
duce him socially as they would if he had been lord of 
an independent dukedom. 

" Does your father put on his glad rags every 
night? " John Barton inquired of Mildred. 

" Why, yes ! " she answered innocently. 

So he betook himself to a ready made clothing store 
that he saw on Broadway, and bought evening clothes 
recommended by the clerk never in his life had he had 
a suit made to order. As a matter of fact it sat well on 
his lank frame better than he thought it did. His 
shoes were not quite right, and his tie was not quite right, 
and his hat and coat were very wrong, indeed but he 
didn t know it. 

The first thing was a dance of the debutante set. John 
Barton danced? Yes, certainly! He waltzed with the 


sure swing of the raw-boned New Englander, in the old- 
fashioned way which so few of the younger people have 
taken the trouble to learn. But he only waltzed. As he 
swung Mildred out upon the floor, she fell in with his 
step with the adaptability of a good dancer. Had they 
been alone in the ballroom she would have been perfectly 
happy. As it was, she felt uncomfortably conspicuous. 
In between the dances John Barton got on very well, so 
long as the talk was impersonal, for the girls had been in 
the Universal Service. But there were older women 
there, and with them John Barton was wholly at a loss. 

He could look at them and admire them, and watch the 
twinkle of their jewels, but there was no basis of common 
experience for talk between them. Occasionally he 
waltzed with Mildred. After he had seen the newer kind 
of dancing, he did not dare try it with any one else. 
For the most part he stood silently looking on, his appre 
ciative eyes following the young girls, their delicate gold 
and silver slippers, their well coiffed heads, their 
fragile, glistening clothes, their flower-white shoulders. 
His eyes followed Mildred about, the Spirit of Felicity 
she seemed to him, as one man after another danced with 
her. There were a few boys of her own age with whom 
she frolicked frankly, some older men, not so acceptable 
in his eyes, and repeatedly Apperson Forbes, whose name 
he did not know, but whose tall, lean frame, an inheri 
tance from pioneer ancestors, was not unlike his own. 
Somehow, John Barton resented his dancing with Mil 

He was looking forward to the ride home as the best 
part of the ball, when Mrs. Carver dropped in from 
where she had been dining. She stood beside him and 
pointed out the people with significant explanations. 

" Ah there is Mrs. Deversey see, in white over by 


the door I didn t know she was in town. And young 
Tommy Sloan dancing with the girl in pink they re the 
Railroad group, you know." 

And so on and on the old names that are interna 
tional and the new names that are coming in. John Bar 
ton had never read the society columns of a newspaper in 
his life, but this sounded to him like a financial rating. 
He was visibly disturbed by it. What his untrained ob 
servations hadn t told him, what his ignorance of society 
values in general and New York conditions in particular, 
had left him ignorant of, Mrs. Carver s seemingly casual 
comments were beating in on his consciousness. But 
were the Carvers necessarily rich because their friends 
had money ! 

The drive home was unsatisfying. How affectionate 
can a diffident man be in the presence of his intended 
mother-in-law ? 

Mildred had caught her foot in the frill of her gown, 
making an ugly rent. 

"Is that the little dress Annette made you?" her 
mother asked her casually. 

" No, mother, it s one of the French ones, and I m 
afraid Henriette can t mend it." 

" Probably not," said Mrs. Carver indifferently. 

This, too, was disconcerting to John Barton. The 
wife of the foreman of a mill could have no such de 
tached attitude toward clothes. 

They took John Barton to the opera and he sat there 
wondering what it was all about, and looking at the lovely 
ladies, some of whom he had seen at the dance, and at 
Mildred in front of him in the box Mildred in quite a 
different dress, of which she was apparently unconscious, 
carried away from the things of this world by music 
which seemed to him to have neither melody, time nor 


meaning. What did he know of this art that gave her 
so much pleasure ? She would never hear opera in Min 
neapolis was she going to miss it much ? There would 
be concerts, of course, and the theater. It would cost 
them let s see, three dollars, every time they went. 
It wouldn t be often they could go. 

And after the opera, the rich limousine and the uni 
formed Wicks seated beside the uniformed chauffeur, and 
stopping for a very wonderful little supper at Sherry s on 
the way home; and there finding people they knew, also 
richly dressed and eating delicate and costly food and 
talking gayly about a great variety of things he under 
stood as little as he had understood the opera. And then 
on again in the motor to his modest hotel. 

John Barton was conscious of extreme exasperation as 
he struggled out of his white tie. He had come to New 
York with a great hope in his heart; he had asked Mildred 
to marry him and she had consented. The most wonder 
ful and still the most natural thing in the world! And 
Mr. and Mrs. Carver had made no real objection that 
they should ask for a chance to know him better before 
there was any talk of immediate marriage was no more 
than reasonable and he was seeing Mildred every day, 
a wonderful thing in itself! But what good did it do 
him ? He was all meshed up with other people and other 
things, clothes and dancing and music, and restaurants 
and jewelry and motor cars and servants and various ex 
traneous affairs, that no sensible human being would thinl; 
had anything to do with his marrying Mildred and which 
yet seemed to form a perfect abatis between her and 

He flung his hated dress coat on the bed and throwing 
himself on a chair, thrust his hands into his pockets as he 
tried to think out this social organization which made the 


love of men and women the slave of up-getting and down- 
sitting, of eating and drinking and talking and riding. It 
seemed to John Barton as though he were in the processes 
of suffocation consequent upon being swallowed. He 
wasn t getting better acquainted with Mildred he was 
simply rinding out how she lived. 

He was beginning slowly to grasp the significance of 
the Carver menage. Waddell and Wicks and the other 
servants, whom he had rather ignored before, began to 
rise before his startled eyes. The bevy of motors, the 
country estate, the talk of travel, could only mean one 
thing. Did he John Barton who earned his living 
by the sweat of his brow and liked the job, want to be 
under the stigma of marrying a rich wife? Money had 
not been mentioned by any one since he came but he be 
gan to know the signs of it. 

They were really pretty well fixed, he thought but 
just what vast stores of wealth, inherited and acquired, 
lay back of them he didn t yet dream. And should he 
let the fact of money come between Mildred and himself? 
Wasn t it just as bad for a girl as for a man to lose the 
one she loved? He wouldn t have let Mildred refuse him 
if she d been poor and he d been rich and since she 
loved him ! 

One night Mrs. Carver gave a dinner, and John Barton 
was full of trepidation at the prospect. This formal eat 
ing, even in the modified form practiced in restaurants, 
disturbed him. 

He found himself next Lady Nieth gorgeous in 
satin that seemed to him to have several colors at once; 
sparkling as though a vast number of jewels had been 
poured upon her haphazard and caught where they fell, 
some in her hair, some on her neck, and many casually 
adhering to the front of her gown. Lady Nieth exhib- 


ited, also, an unexampled amount of very beautiful skin 
at which it embarrassed him to be seen looking. Exactly 
how to address her he didn t know and tried to avoid it by 
circumlocution. And then Mildred was not beside him 
where he could touch her hand, but on the other side of 
the table, dimpling and sparkling between Mr. Apperson 
Forbes and an English diplomat, handsome, flaccid and 
very tired, who seemed to drink in her youth and beauty 
like an elixir, and to defer graciously to her words. John 
Barton saw this in surprise, for to him Mildred was not 
an incipient intellectual force but a lovely young female. 
But he was kept busy trying not to be disconcerted by 
Waddell and the footmen, or to trip over his forks, and 
to conceal the fact that he thought he had finished after 
each course and was surprised when another dish was 
offered him. Mildred, glancing across at him between 
the courtesies of the diplomat and the amorous attentions 
of Apperson Forbes, could not help being conscious of 
these fumblings. And John Barton, struggling distress 
fully, could not avoid seeing that she saw. Mildred felt 
herself flush with embarrassment; not, she told herself, 
that they meant anything or were of the least consequence. 
It \vas so much more important that a prophet should 
prophesy greatly than that his use of table silver should 
accord with the customs of the Carver family. But be 
cause it brought before her a sudden picture of Nick with 
his white lips and hurt eyes and she wanted to put him 
out of her mind. 

And then, some one spoke across the table in a softly 
worded criticism of the policy that had put the control of 
the grain traffic into the hands of the farmers, and the 
answer came back with a gentle stricture on leaving the 
management of business to a government that didn t pro 
ceed on business principles. And John Barton caught 
the quick skipping rope of the talk with a firm hand. 


"It seems to me to be working very well, from the 
standpoint of getting things that the people want done 
as they want them." It was almost the first word he had 
initiated and Lady Nieth hastily took her shoulder out of 
his way as she turned toward him. 

" Yes, but oughtn t they to be done efficiently, if they re 
to go on? " It was the diplomat beside Mildred who had 

" Isn t the first count in efficiency what you re doing 
it for? You see I m the foreman of a government flour 
mill and it s always seemed to me that the basis from 
which all efficiency had to start, in my work, was getting 
fiour milled and shipped to the people." 

Mildred was leaning back in her chair now, smiling 
straight at him. This was the prophet she followed ! 
John Barton saw it and gathered up the skein of the 
talk. Again it was the tongue of flame and the eyes of 
the seer! He would have made a great priest, Frank 
Carver thought as he listened. He painted the picture 
again as Mildred had heard him in the Unit when she had 
thought his head was touched with light and his lips with 
the fire of God. The wheat grew under his words and 
all the world was fed it was the romantic passion of 
a great obsession. The table was his congregation and he 
carried them with him. Even Mary Carver was com 
pelled to admiration, and Frank told himself that this was 
a man of power, of whose kinship he should be proud. 
But then John Barton faltered, and picking up his fork 
he thrust it absently into the table cover and his wine glass 
overturned and the gold of his enthusiasm was trans 
muted into embarrassment. 

And then the blessed end to the eating came and the 
women, in harem-derived custom, floated into the draw 
ing room, leaving the men behind them. 


With the men alone, John Barton was more at ease. 
He answered their questions as to the development of 
the Northwest and the democratization of industry as one 
who had real things to say. A trim, gray-haired man 
moved over beside him to ask just how effective he had 
found the Service boys and girls in the mill; were they 
really good workers in the purely business sense ? Frank 
Carver overheard the query and laughed a little. 

Trying to find out if the boy earned his salt at the 
road making, Van Arsdale ? " 

"Van Arsdale! " So this was the father of the boy 
who hadn t wanted him to marry Mildred! Obviously 
that boy belonged with these people who lived so differ 
ently from the way people did in Minneapolis the way 
he himself intended to live. Not that it was a matter of 
any consequence, of course. 

John Barton showed well as a human being in that brief 
interval before they came into the drawing room, out of 
the smoke of the men s cigars into the smoke of the 
women s cigarettes, and to Mildred at the coffee table in 
the old fashion which still pleased the Carvers. He 
found Mildred a little flushed and rebellious for she had 
heard Lady Nieth ask her mother where she had dis 
covered John Barton, as though here were a new variety 
of garden gourd, and had heard her mother answer 
with truthful but most deceptive unconcern : 

" Oh, it s his mill my daughter worked in last year. 
Mr. Carver met him out there and thought him rather 


And Lady Nieth turned, cigarette in hand, to watch 
him come in as though he were something between a 
trained dog and an African Prince. 


" Didn t you tell me in Minneapolis that you wanted to 
see a steel mill ? " Frank asked John Barton next day. 
"We can motor down, if you care to a small, sub 
sidiary mill, but you ll get the processes." 

Can one refuse a coveted father-in-law ? John Barton 
won so much of grace that Mildred joined the party. 

Here the foreman was on his own ground and there 
was clear man s talk with the workmen in the different 
divisions of the mill a talk between craftsmen in which 
Mildred wanted to join. 

" Show us again that very hard steel they re exper 
imenting with, father, please." 

And they were led into the laboratory. 

"It s for reaper blades Mildred explained. "I 
told father how they broke on my machine in Dakota and 
he s having them try this hard kind of steel for them." 

John Barton stopped abruptly and turned on Frank. 

" Do you own this mill ? " 

" Well well practically I do." 

Then you re the Carver the one in steel? " 

" Yes I that is yes." 

" Oh, God ! Why didn t I know ! " 

The next day was his last in New York and John Bar 
ton had begged that he and Mildred might have it to them 

" I want to see her alone, Mrs. Carver," he said frankly. 
" I want to go somewhere in the morning and take her to 
lunch, and then be by ourselves in the afternoon." 

"If you take the motor 

" No, not the motor," he said firmly, " just Mildred 
and me." 

And they went. 


It was a hard and wonderful day for both of them; 
happy, a little ecstatic, and tragically sad. They had gone 
in mid-morning over to Staten Island and out along that 
beach, dropped like a jewel in the pocket of the town, 
and then turning inland had struck across the frozen 
marshes toward the high land. 

John Barton had waited his whole life for this splendid 
young mate. His heart sang and the blood sped to his 
cheeks as he tramped up the beach beside her. It was 
love of her little hands and trim feet of her blue eyes 
and her gold hair her swift gleaming smile and the 
quick up-scale laugh that followed it the soft red that 
flooded to her low, well set little ears when he kissed her 
suddenly. In between these moments of joy he tried to 
make love to her in words. 

But here he met with difficulty. Mildred wanted him, 
when it came to talking, not to tell her how beautiful she 
was, or how he thought of her night and day, or how 
happy they were going to be in Minneapolis, but of the 
wonderful work of feeding the people and how she was 
going to help him do it. She wanted him to paint her 
future as an assistant priest at the altar. It was a sort 
of religious exaltation she craved from him, a thing that 
neither the church nor any social effort had ever been 
able to give her nothing but John Barton himself 
speaking as the Priest of the Service. She wanted from 
him the same things that earlier generations had got 
from the perfume of ascending incense, from the Per 
petual Adoration and the chanting and the rolling organ ; 
what, earlier still had come through the witch dances and 
the dervishes ; and way, way back in the dim, almost pre 
human stage, from the shaking of the war gourds, the 
sight of the war feathers and the swift rush of the tribe 
on the common foe, this, and a chance to put her de- 


veloping creative instinct into work, a chance to serve 
her country. With John Barton it was the mating in 
stinct, strong, clean and direct. With Mildred it was 
something quite different, more complex, and far more 
difficult to satisfy. She got much more joy out of the 
sound of his voice telling how the farmers of the north 
west organized the Nonpartisan League, than out of the 
touch of his lips on hers. She didn t analyze her own 
sensations, was quite unconscious what they meant; but 
again and again she turned the love talk into talk of the 
things he was doing and that she would do with him ; and 
again and again he turned it back. At last he seemed to 
understand and fell silent. They were climbing up Tode 
Hill Road when they came to a little leafless wood with a 
carpet of fallen oak leaves and the blue bay spread out be 
fore them. Mildred stopped to catch her breath. Her 
cheeks were flushed with the crisp air, her eyes were shin 
ing, her lips were smiling with happiness. Never had she 
looked more beautiful. 

" Will you be too cold if we sit here on this little wall 
for a moment?" he asked very gravely. 

He took her left hand out of her muff pulled off the 
glove finger by finger, and put it gravely to his lips. 

" Mildred, I love you with all the love there is in me 
but I m afraid that you don t love me." 

The girl protested in frightened haste. 

" I know you think you love me, dear it isn t that. 
It s that you don t know." 

It was a very sober hour for both of them when John 
Barton put the case against himself. Honestly and de 
liberately he did it, as an upright man who would not 
take what was not his merely because he could get it. The 
case was two-fold, the first and lesser part, that the 
things she must give up as his wife would make life a 


hardship for her. The second and great part, that she 
didn t care for him as she thought she did. John Bar 
ton said in everything but words that the role of prophet 
wasn t the one he cared to fill. He was a lover and he 
wanted to be loved, not as a leader, but as a man. 

There was one moment when Mildred turned to him, 
holding out her hands. 

"But I can t give it up I can t! Don t leave me 
with nothing in the world to do! Why, it s like being 

Then he caught her to him again, but only for a mo 
ment. He sprang to his feet and tramped resolutely up 
the road and resolutely back. Out of his pocket he took 
a little case and out of it a ring, perfectly conventional 
and set with a little diamond. Catching up her bare left 
hand, he slipped it on the third finger. 

" Mildred, this is a sign that I m not going to marry 
the woman I love more than my own soul will you 
wear it for me ? " 

When they got back to the house in Washington Square 
she was white and drawn as she had never been before. 

" I must see your father and mother before I go." 

John Barton stood bravely before them, his arm around 

" I want to tell you that we are not going to be mar 
ried. I have found that I love your daughter too much 
to take her, even with her own consent, unless I am sure 
that she loves me more than she loves the work I am do 
ing. She has told me that she hasn t anything to do 
any real work that she cares about. I wish that you 
would let her go on working. She made a good record 
in the mill, and in the field, too. I don t suppose you 
knew that what she was really going to marry me for, 
was a job and that s almost as bad as marrying for a 


home. I d just like to say, now that I m at it, that I ap 
preciate the way you ve acted toward me you ve been 
white. I know how you must have felt about Mildred s 
marrying me brought up as she s been and living the 
way you do. You didn t think I cared about the money, 
I know, because I guess it must have been pretty plain I 
didn t know about it. You knew I wasn t a fortune 
hunter, anyway. It s a bad thing when anything has got 
to come between a man and a woman except not loving 
each other when we get the world fixed right, there 
won t. Well, good-bye." 

Frank Carver wrung his hand. 

" John Barton," he said thickly, " I wish my daughter 
did love you." 

Mary, standing by her daughter, victorious, had noth 
ing to say. 

"If I could just speak a word to her alone the 
man faltered a little. 

Frank swept his wife out into the hall. 

Half an hour later Wicks coming to turn on the lights 
found his young mistress crying, alone, on the arm of the 
great leather sofa before the fire and stole noiselessly 


MRS. CARVER had not taken John Barton s 
request that they let Mildred go to work at 
all seriously. Wouldn t a girl of any spirit 
turn against the suggestions of a man who had refused to 
marry her ? Wouldn t she therefore be more susceptible 
to the attentions of some one else? Unfortunately Mrs. 
Carver had no suitor in sight but Apperson Forbes. The 
list of eligibles seemed even smaller than at the time of 
Mildred s debut. So many of those who had seemed to 
escape the infection of the Service at first had succumbed 
to it later and gone into some sort of work that took them 
out of their traditional setting! Mary Carver couldn t 
reconcile herself to Apperson Forbes, and she began mak 
ing plans to take Mildred abroad. Things couldn t be so 
bad in England! 

But Mildred didn t want to go to England or to France 
or the Orient. She wasn t interested in marriage, she 
wanted to work and she would by no means accept the 
practice of philanthropy or uplift as a substitute. Even 
Old Andrew was a Job s comforter. 

" What you doing with the girl, Mary ? " he inquired. 
" Going to let her marry Forbes? " 

" Not if I can help it!" 

" What does she want to do? " 

" She wants to go to work." 

" Well, why not let her? Can t Frank find her a job? 
Frank ! " as his nephew came to greet him, " Why don t 



you give your daughter a job? " and then pattering over 
to his grand niece behind the silver coffee urn, " Mildred, 
I m trying to get your father to set you to work seems 
to me you re a useless ornament. I want Frank to break 
you in at the Long Island Steel Plant." 

" But there aren t any women working there," ob 
jected Frank Carver, " at least I think not." 

" Well, put em in. Perhaps we ve got an industrial 
imagination floating around in this part of the family and 
we don t want any hated rival to get the advantage of 

" Oh, father, would you let me work there on the 
super-steel, you know? " 

" Certainly, Mildred," said Frank, looking into the 
earnest eyes of his daughter and remembering the en 
treaties of the foreman of the mill, his almost son-in-law. 

It is probable that the promise of work on the super- 
steel which Frank Carver had given his daughter so 
lightly might have been laid indefinitely on the table of the 
family council if an official document had not arrived to 
keep it before the house. It was a large formidable doc 
ument very much like the one that had summoned Mil 
dred into the Universal Service, except that it was marked 
" Department of Agriculture " and instead of being a 
command to service, was an offer of work. 

The document stated that her record in the Service had 
been high enough to entitle her to a position as profes 
sional tractor driver and leader of a tractor team in the 
field service. She would be paid her living expenses and 
sixty dollars a month from the beginning of April to the 
last of October with two weeks rest in July. If she 
wished the position she must accept it within a month. 

Mildred showed the document to her parents. 

" That is something that needs to be done," she com- 


mented significantly. " It s a patriotic service helping 
to feed the people of the United States. I d be going on 
with my duty as a citizen. Besides, I like it and I know 

" Mildred, do you want to do it ? Do you want to 
leave us for as long as that ? " 

" No, Mother, I hate to go away from home, but I don t 
want to go back on my job, either. I wouldn t have any 
right to do that, and there doesn t seem to be anything 
here for me to do. The uniforms are almost exactly 
like the ones we wore in the Service only the collars are 
blue and after the first year I get a band on my sleeve. I 
think the place to get them is the Agricultural Commis 
sary down by the river." 

Mrs. Carver thought her determined young daughter 
had never looked so beautiful as now that she held the 
winning cards in the struggle between them. It was the 
leverage of this official offer of work that stirred Frank 
Carver to bring his rival job of work on super-steel into 
quick competition. 

So a square, business-like desk in the little office next 
to the laboratory was the door of the world that finally 
opened to Mildred, and she set her feet joyously and with 
a good deal of confidence in the new country she found 
beyond. Her first interest was to find uses for the new 
super-steel in agriculture. The fact that she had broken 
so many reaper blades in North Dakota was her point of 
departure, and from that bit of sure knowledge acquired 
by original research, she had to find out other directions 
where super-steel could be used. And this led her into 
the realm of mechanics and she sat at the feet of machin 
ists in the mill, and studied trade journals and technical 
papers, and this again led to a study of advertising as a 
means of making the people who ought to use super-steel 


know that such a thing existed. Mildred, provided with 
a stenographer of her own, plunged into all these fields at 

Early, six mornings in the week, Mildred went over to 
the factory office. She arrived there at nine late for 
a factory hand early for Mildred. To be sure this 
promptness required the cooperation of Henriette who in 
a state of moral protest woke her and helped her to dress; 
of the cook who in a state of overt rebellion rose spe 
cially early to get breakfast for her; of Wicks, who in a 
state of wistful exaltation drove her to the railroad sta 
tion in time to catch her train. But though it seriously 
disrupted the smooth running domestic machine in Wash 
ington Square, it accomplished its purpose of getting the 
new super-steel manager to the factory on time. 

All day Mildred worked in the office trying to discover 
new uses for super-steel, or getting in touch with people 
who might use it. Her letters signed " M. Carver " were 
taken to be from a member of the firm and treated with 
respect. But when she called in person on representatives 
of manufacturing plants, the appearance of a lovely young 
girl where they had expected to find a mature business 
man, sometimes created confusion. 

It is not probable that Mildred was the best promoter 
the firm might have commanded how could she be? 
But that was not the reason she was there. Frank Car 
ver gave her that chance, as he would have given her 
necklaces and rings as he had given her dolls in the 
past or would buy her a duke in the future if she wanted 
it. But it is true that some of the qualities that had been 
bred into the Carver line from generations of having what 
they wanted ; the tacit habit of success ; the expectation 
of being listened to; carried her a long way. And then 
there was the old commercial ability latent in the family 


and under these favoring circumstances it began to sprout 
and grow. 

All day Mildred stayed at her work and at five made a 
dash for her train, and as she entered New York was met 
by the motor and took up her old life again. There was 
time to dress for dinner; there were dances and theaters 
to go to ; there was quite as much attention from men as 
she had received before more of it perhaps. Her 
mother thought at first that it would be easy to divert 
her from the factory on occasion, but the year s discipline 
held, and what social life she couldn t get in the evenings 
she seemed willing to do without. 

All but one of her problems were solving themselves. 
She was doing something that she felt needed to be done 
for the country ; something she liked to do and that inter 
ested her! something that John Barton, still her prophet 
of industry, would approve; but 

Well, she sometimes thought of Nick coming back and 
saying how he loved her, and begging her to marry him, 
and of her saying, very stern and noble : 

" No, Nick, the Mildred that you cared for is gone 
It isn t me you love. I have plans that your wife couldn t 
carry out. The world is going to be better fed because 
I have lived." 

And Nick would go on with his life of idle pleasure 
which he had taken up when he tired of road making, but 
always saying with Lord Tennyson in his heart : 

" We needs must love the highest when we see it ! " 

And then another picture showed her Nick being killed 
somewhere in Arizona, where he was supposed to be now 
killed just because he was careless or something, and 
herself going out to his grave on the lonely mesa and 
planting flowers about it, and then coming back saddened 
to her great work for the world. And every year she 


would go there on the same day. And her hair would 
gradually turn white, and people would look at her and 
whisper to each other : 

" See, that s Mildred Carver! She s the one who did 
the great work of introducing super-steel to the world. 
Oh, no, she never married. It is said that she once loved 
a young man, and he died, but of course nobody really 
knows. Such a sad and noble face!" 

And there was another picture of herself cut off by 
an untimely death, brought about in some undefined way 
in the pursuit of her job. And as she lay cold and still, 
Nick came and looked at her and the slow, hot tears ran 
down his cheeks at the thought of what had gone out of 
his life. There was a variant of this picture that brought 
Nick back after many, many years to stand beside the 
grass growing long over her grave. His wife would be 
beside him a wholly unattractive young person as dif 
ferent as possible from herself and he would mentally 
compare them, and think how he had lost the best thing 
out of his life, but all he would say to the young person 
beside him was : 

" She was Mildred Carver, and she died long years 

Mildred was very sorry for herself as she looked at 
these pictures. It had been settled that Ruth Ansel and 
her cousin David were to be married and manage the 
Northfield Mill together, but it was quite clear that she 
must go through life unloved. Only men that she 
wouldn t think of marrying cared for her. John Barton 
had refused to marry her, and Nick had forgotten ! 


NICK wasn t in Arizona as Mildred thought. He 
was helping to lay a road which would 
provide an additional highway on which the 
wheat crop of the Red River Valley could be rushed down 
to Fargo on its way to Minneapolis. It was pleasant 
work, not over difficult there were no great changes 
of level, no serious bridging or excavating or filling in, 
just a straightaway problem of making the best road for 
transport trucks from the materials at hand. But Nick 
was moody about it he didn t see why the expert at the 
head of the gang did as he did when any one of a half 
dozen ways he himself could have suggested would have 
been so much better. He had moments when the whole 
business of covering the country with roads seemed of 
obscure value anyway. Let em pack their traps on their 
backs as the Indians did ! Or let em go live in New York 
City where the roads were made already ! 

And one day when he had flung himself down in the 
dreary little lobby of a dreary little town hotel to wait till 
a heavy rain stopped and the work could go forward, who 
should come stamping in, shaking the water from his rub 
ber coat, but John Barton. Nick jumped to his feet in 
a sudden involuntary spasm of rage. The man seemed 
so to embody all that made life hateful to him. But 
after a moment he turned away, and then after another 
self-conquering pause, turned back and held out his hand 
to the man who he supposed was his successful rival. 
John Barton took it in considerable embarrassment. He 



had been so certain that Mildred loved him had so in 
sisted on that fact to Nick and then had convinced 
himself that she didn t! Could the boy know all this? 
If he did, how amused he must be at the situation! And 
yet he didn t look amused, he looked embarrassed and un 

" I thought you were working in Kansas," commented 
John Barton. 

" I was, but they ve sent me up to help on these roads. 
They tell me they re so bad that they ve fallen down on 
the job of getting the wheat into the mills on time." 

" They have ! That s what I m here to see about. The 
supply was short at the mill and I sent to Fargo to find 
out about it and they told me the trouble was farther 
along they weren t getting the wheat themselves. 
So I came on to look into the business, and I guess it s a 
matter of transportation of roads the trucks don t 
stand the wear and tear. We seem to be on the same job, 
Mr. Van Arsdale. What are the prospects? " 

" I don t think they re very good. The material we ve 
got to make roads of is poor and the rains wash them into 
ruts. It looks to me as much a question of getting bet 
ter built, tougher trucks as of getting better roads. We 
can only build roads up to a certain grade, so we have got 
to get trucks to suit them." 

"You want to synchronize them? Well, can you do 

"As far as I can see you know I m only assistant 
foreman, Mr. Barton it gets right back to the quality 
of the steel. If they can get hard enough, tough enough 
steel for the essential parts of the trucks, we can build 
roads they can travel over." 

" What you need," said John Barton slowly, "is super- 


"What s that?" 

" A new product got out by the Carver Mills that Mil 
dred Carver is trying to put on the market." 

"What do you mean? Where is she? I thought 
she you ! " 

" Come out here, Van Arsdale will you? It s only 
fair to tell you about it if you haven t heard." 

As honestly as he had told the girl he loved why he 
would not marry her, he told Nick what had happened. 

" I guess you were right about her not being happy with 
me but not for the same reason. I hope she ll be happy 
with somebody." 

And that was why Waddell opening the door one Sun 
day afternoon at the end of March ushered Nick Van 
Arsdale into the still, sweet air of the old settled, easy ex 
istence which he thought he had left so far behind him ! 
As the hangings- swung together a wave of perfume rose 
from a bowl of Chinese lilies a rich, heavy, indolent 
perfume, that somehow mingled with the afternoon 
sunlight saturating the silk curtains, and with the quick 
frivolous tick of the French clock, and with the slow soft 
ness of the Persian cat that came stepping toward him. 
It was a world where it was inconceivable that anything 
could happen suddenly or without due consideration, a 
world fixed beyond the thought of change. Nick walked 
over to the white fireplace and set his shoulder defiantly 
against it. The Persian cat, stealing softly after him, 
circled round his feet. 

As Mildred came slowly down the long stairs to re 
ceive him she felt herself dipping into a stream of emotion 
and threw up her chin as though to keep it above water. 
When she stepped through the curtains Nick looked up 
and caught his breath. Her lips were a little apart, her 
color came and went, her eyes were twin blue stars; but 


the light that was in them he didn t understand. He 
didn t think or reason he didn t remember that there 
was such a place as Kansas or such things as roads; he 
forgot that this old life was a suffocating thing which he 
couldn t go back to he forgot everything but Mildred 
as he caught her in his arms and kissed her. But after 
the first moment he felt both her hands pushing against 
him and stepped quickly away. 

" Oh, Nick Nick don t ! " she cried. 

They stood apart from each other these two young 
citizens of the democracy in embarrassed silence, fright 
ened at their own emotion. This was not what they had 
intended. It had done itself. 

Mildred looking at Nick thought that he had never 
seemed so definitely an aristocrat, so far removed from 
any possible understanding of the new kind of things she 
had grown to care for of work, and what it ought to 
mean to everybody to be a citizen. And yet never had he 
seemed so attractive, so personally dear and desirable. 
But she knew she was going to stand by her resolve ! 

" Mildred," said Nick, and there was a new tone of 
assurance in his voice, " Mildred, I ve come back to ask 
you to marry me. I ve tried to make myself believe that 
I could get on without you and I find I can t. I m not 
going to wait while you try and decide whether you love 
me more than anybody else or even if you love me at all. 
I m just going to make you marry me because I love you 
so much." 

The girl colored with resentment. 

" I know I acted like a fool when I was here before, 
when I talked to Mr. Barton. I guess I didn t know how 
sore I was till afterward, and I know I hadn t an idea how 
much I loved you. But you ve just got to forgive me be 
cause I know better now you ve got to." 


Mildred looked down at her fluttering fingers they 
were a little stained with the ink with which she signed 
the firm letters Henriette couldn t get it all off. When 
he paused for breath she began. 

" Nick! " her voice was very low, " Nick, I ve got to 
tell you something right away. It s it s very import 
ant. I I don t think you d like to marry me now 
even if you think you would I m quite different from 
what you think I am from what I used to be I m not 
the kind of a girl you d like any more at all." 

" Not the kind of a girl? Oh, Mildred, there couldn t 
be anybody else in the world I d care for. I know you re 
trying to let me down easy. And I can t bear to think of 
it but but." 


" But I ve got to make you understand." 

Mildred s face was changing, the boy plunged on. 

" You see, Mildred, I just can t go on with the kind of 
thing you re used to not after my Service year, I can t. 
Why, when I think of Torexo and seats under every tree 
and the cut grass; and then of the way it looks in Arizona 
when you re up on a rock at sunrise and the valley below 
gets blue and purple and pink and then you plan out 
where a road ought to go and help to put it there Oh, 
Lord! I got to thinking of that house in Fifty-sixth 
Street father s keeping for me to live in just the same 
sort of a house I ve always seen and even when I 
thought of your being there, I couldn t seem to stand it 
at all. It s beastly to say this to you only it would be 
worse for me not to." 

Nick caught his breath but he didn t look up and forced 
himself to go on. 

" And so, Mildred, that was why I stayed away. I 
didn t think I had any right to ask you to go away from 


everybody you knew and everything you cared for. And 
I knew I hadn t any right to give up my work. I couldn t 
be a slacker, Mildred, even if there wasn t any war. I 
never thought you d feel the same way about it till you 
said how you were going to work with John Barton 
and even then I thought you didn t understand it your 
self. And I was too jealous of him to try and think it 
out anyway. But I met him in North Dakota and he told 
me that you weren t going to be married after all, and 
how you were working on super-steel that I d never heard 
of before. And after that I thought I d never get leave 
to come here, and then that the train would never get in ! " 

Nick stopped literally for lack of breath. Mildred still 
stood fluttering her ink stained fingers. 

"I I was going to tell you too, Nick, that you d be 
disappointed in the way I felt about things you see I 
couldn t tell myself last year what I know now ! But 
it s so dull here ! I like to ride and dance and everything 
only there s nothing else at all ! And when I was driv 
ing a tractor in Minnesota and sometimes not seeing any 
thing but a rabbit for half a day why I was part of 
everything myself ! I was part of the government and I 
was almost as important as the crops themselves. Why, 
it mattered to everybody in the country how I did my 
work ! But it doesn t matter to anybody how I dance or 
dress and that s all I had to do here. I couldn t stand it 
so I m working every day in father s steel mill. They re 
making super-steel for reaper blades because I broke so 
many in Dakota. And I m finding other things that 
ought to be made of steel that won t break, and trying to 
get people to make them of it and then to use the things 
after they re made. Oh, Nick, it s wonderful! And 
that s what I wanted to tell you about I ve got to do 
my work as a citizen too. I can t give it up ! " 


Mildred tried to look at him dispassionately in the 
light of her weakening resolution. She repeated to her 
self that in spite of what he said about his work he hadn t 
cared enough about her to come back all winter and 
was surprised to find that this had become a matter of 
no importance! She called up her intention to devote 
her life to the great work of feeding the world, and 
found that it didn t stand in her way ! How was it that 
the Chinese lilies in the corner smelled so much like the 
late tuberoses at Torexo? What was this sea of riotous 
disquieting perfume that invaded the staid drawing room 
in Washington Square? Mildred trying to lift her chin 
above it, looked straight into the eyes of Nick Van Ars- 
dale. Was he coming toward her or was it her own 
footsteps that were bringing them together? She tried 
to pull herself together and decide what she was to do. 
Then in answer to her own question she heard her voice 
say : 

" Nick, if you think we could do it together " 

Printed in the United States of America. 

following pages contain advertisements of a few of 
the Macmillan books on kindred subjects 

Home Efficiency 




Cloth, ismo, $1.50 

Here is a book that deals in a clear, scientific manner 
with a phase of married life that has been too long neglected 
or treated only in thin sentimentalities. The young wife 
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out any training for her work or knowledge of the problems 
she faces. The authors believe that for the vocation of 
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that modern science can be harnessed to the use of the 
household just as it has been harnessed to the use of a 
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The book is a direct answer to the statement so often 
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complex, intellectual and difficult of professions. 


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue Hew Tork 


Mary Olivier: A Life 


Author of "The Tree of Heaven," etc. 

Cloth, i2mo. Preparing 

No novel of the war period made a more profound impression 
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A woman s life, her thoughts, sensations and emotions directly 
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The period covered is from 1865 when Mary is two years 
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Publisher a 64-66 Fifth Avenue New Tork 


Storm in a Teacup 


Author of "The Spinners," "Old Delabole," "Brunei s Towers," etc. 

Cloth, ismo, Ready shortly 

This carries on Mr. Phillpotts series of novels dealing with the human 
side of the different industries. Here the art of paper making furnishes 
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elopes with a man of high intellectual ability. Finding him, however, 
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The elopement, it might be explained, was purely a nominal one, carried 
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From Father to Son 


Author of "Nathan Burke," "The Rise of Jennie Gushing," "The Board- 
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Cloth, 12 mo. Preparing 

The hero of Mrs. Watts new story is a young man belonging to a very 
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Among these is the hero s sister, who marries a German attach6 at the 
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Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New Tork 


The Rising of the Tide : The Story of 


Cloth, i2mo. 

A great many people will be interested in the announcement that Miss 
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The Jervaise Comedy 


Cloth, izmo. 

This novel is just what its title implies a comedy, a humorous story 
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Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 


Our House 


Cloth, ismo. Preparing 

Mr. Canby, known as a teacher of literature and critic, also as a writer 
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Its central character is a young man facing the world, taking himself perhaps 
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Coming back from college to a sleepy city on the borders of the South, 
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This problem is made intensely practical through the death of his father. 
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All the Brothers Were Valiant 


Cloth, i2mo. Preparing 

This is a stirring story of the sea somewhat suggestive in manner of Jack 
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absorbing. Hidden treasure, mutinies, tropic love, all these are here. The 
book thrills with its incident and arouses admiration for its splendid 
character portrayal. 


Publishers 64-66 Fifth Avenue New York 

University of California 


405 Hiigard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024-1388 

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