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Full text of "Pray you sir, whose daughter?"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 
OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



>J2 



RflY YOU, SIR, 

- 9 

WHOSE DAUGHTER? 



L<5) ^ ^ , 



HELEN H. GARDENER, 

Author of "Is This Your Son, My Lordf" " Pushed by Unseen Hands, 
M Thoughtless Yes," "Men, Women and Gods," etc., etc. 




BOSTON, MASS.; 

arena ffmblfsbfng Company, 

COPLEY SQUARE, 

1802. 



COPYRIGHT, 1892, 

BY 
HELEN H. GARDENER. 



3S/3 




I saw a woman sleeping. In her sleep she dreampt Life 
stood before her, and held in each hand a gift in the one 
Love, in the other Freedom. And she said to the woman, 
"Choose!" 

And the woman waited long ; and she said : " Freedom ! " 
And Life said, " Thou hast well chosen. If thou hadst said, 
Love, I would have given thee that thou didst ask for; and 
I would have gone from thee, and returned to thee no more. 
Now, the day will come when I shall return. In that day I 
shall bear both gifts in one hand." I heard the woman 
laugh in her sleep. 

Olive Schreener s Dreams. 



DSW 



Befcfcatefc 

With the Jove and admiration of the Author, 

Uo bet Ibusbanfc, 

Who is ever at once her first, most severe, and most sympathetic critic, 

whose encouragement and interest in her work never flags; whose 

abiding belief in human rights, without sex limitations, and in 

equality of opportunity leaves scant room inhis great soul 

to harbor patience with sex domination in a land 

which boasts of freedom for all, and embodies its 

symbol of Liberty in the form of the only 

legally disqualified and unrepresented 

class to be found upon its shores. 



preface* 

In the following story the writer shows us what pov 
erty and dependence are in their revolting outward as 
pects, as well as in their crippling effects on all the ten 
der sentiments of the human soul. Whilst the many suf 
fer for Avant of the decencies of life, the few have no 
knowledge of such conditions. 

They require the poor to keep clean, where water by 
landlords is considered a luxury ; to keep their garments 
whole -where they have naught but rags to stitch together, 
twice and thrice worn threadbare. The improvidence of 
the poor as a valid excuse for ignorance, poverty, and 
vice, is as inadequate as is the providence of the rich, 
for their virtue, luxury, and power. The artificial con 
ditions of society are based on false theories of govern 
ment, religion, and morals, and not upon the decrees of 
a God. 

In this little volume we have a picture, too, of what 
the world would call a happy family, in which a nat 
urally strong, honest woman is shrivelled into a mere echo 
of her husband, and the popular sentiment of the class to 
which she belongs. The daughter having been educated 
in a college with young men, and tasted of the tree of 
knowledge, and, like the Gods, knowing good and evil, 
can no longer square her life by opinions she has out- 



vi preface. 

grown ; hence with her parents there is friction, struggle, 
open revolt, though conscientious and respectful withal. 

Three girls belonging to different classes in society ; 
each illustrates the false philosophy on which woman s 
character is based, and each in a different way, in the 
supreme moment of her life, shows the necessity of self- 
reliance and self-support. 

As the wrongs of society can be more deeply impressed 
on a large class of readers in the form of fiction than 
by essays, sermons, or the facts of science, I hail with 
pleasure all such attempts by the young writers of our 
day. The slave has had his novelist and poet, the 
farmer his, the victims of ignorance and poverty theirs, 
but up to this time the refinements of cruelty suffered by 
intelligent, educated women, have never been painted in 
glowing colors, so that the living picture could be seen 
and understood. It is easy to rouse attention to the 
grosser forms of suffering and injustice, but the humilia 
tions of spirit are not so easily described and appre 
ciated. 

A class of earnest reformers have, for the last fifty 
years, in the press, the pulpit, and on the platform, with 
essays, speeches, and constitutional arguments before leg 
islative assemblies, demanded the complete emancipation 
of women from the political, religious, and social bond 
age she now endures ; but as yet few see clearly the need 
of larger freedom, and the many maintain a stolid indif 
ference to the demand. 

I have long waited and watched for some woman 
to arise to do for her sex what Mrs. Stowe did for 



preface. vii 

the black race in "Uncle Tom s Cabin," a book that did 
more to rouse the national conscience than all the glow 
ing appeals and constitutional arguments that agitated 
our people during half a century. If, from an objective 
point of view, a writer could thus eloquently portray the 
sorrows of a subject race, how much more graphically 
should some woman describe the degradation of sex. 

In Helen Gardener s stories, I see the promise, in 
the near future, of such a work of fiction, that shall 
paint the awful facts of woman s position in living colors 
that all must see and feel. The civil and canon law, 
state and church alike, make the mothers of the race 
a helpless, ostracised class, pariahs of a corrupt civil 
ization. In view of woman s multiplied wrongs, my 
heart oft echoes the Russian poet who said : God 
has forgotten where he hid the key to woman s emanci 
pation." Those who know the sad facts of woman s life, 
so carefully veiled from society at large, will not consider 
the pictures in this story overdrawn. 

The shallow and thoughtless may know nothing of 
their existence, while the helpless victims, not being able 
to trace the causes of their misery, are in no position 
to state their wrongs themselves. 

Nevertheless all the author describes in this sad story, 
and worse still, is realized in every-day life, and the 
dark shadows dim the sunshine in every household. 

The apathy of the public to the wrongs of woman 
is clearly seen at this hour, in propositions now under 
consideration in the Legislature of New York. Though 
two infamous bills have been laid before select com- 



viii IPretace. 

mittees, one to legalize prostitution, and one to lower 
the age of consent, the people have been alike ignorant 
and indifferent to these measures. When it was pro 
posed to take a fragment of Central Park for a race 
course, a great public meeting of protest was called 
at once, and hundreds of men hastened to Albany to 
defeat the measure. 

But the proposed invasion of the personal rights of 
woman, and the wholesale desecration of childhood has 
scarce created a ripple on the surface of society. The 
many do not know what laws their rulers are making, 
and the few do not care, so long as they do not feel 
the iron teeth of the law in their own flesh. Not 
one father in the House or Senate would willingly have 
his wife, sister, or daughter subject to these infamous 
bills proposed for the daughters of the people. Alas ! 
for the degradation of sex, even in this republic. When 
one may barter away all that is precious to pure and 
innocent childhood at the age of ten years, you may 
as well talk of a girl s safety with wild beasts in the 
tangled forests of Africa, as in the present civilizations 
of England and America, the leading nations on the 
globe. 

Some critics say that every one knows and condemns 
these facts in our social life, and that we do not need 
fiction to intensify the public disgust. Others say, Why 
call the attention of the young and the innocent to the 
existence of evils they should never know. The majority 
of people do not watch legislative proceedings. 

To keep our sons and daughters innocent, we must 



preface. ix 

warn them of the dangers that beset their path on every 
side. 

Ignorance under no circumstances ensures safety. 
Honor protected by knowledge, is safer than innocence 
protected by ignorance. 

A few brave women are laboring to-day to secure for 
their less capable, less thoughtful, less imaginative sis 
ters, a recognition of a true womanhood based on indi 
vidual rights. There is just one remedy for the social 
complications based on sex, and that is equality for 
woman in every relation in life. 

Men must learn to respect her as an equal factor in 
civilization, and she must learn to respect herself as 
mother of the race. Womanhood is the great primal 
fact of her existence ; marriage and maternity, its 
incidents. 

This story shows that the very traits of character 
which society (whose opinions are made and modified 
by men) considers most important and charming in 
woman to ensure her success in social life, are the very 
traits that ultimately lead to her failure. 

Self-effacement, self-distrust, dependence and desire to 
please, compliance, deference to the judgment and will 
of another, are what make young women, in the opinion 
of these believers in sex domination, most agreeable ; 
but these are the very traits that lead to her ruin. 

The danger of such training is well illustrated in the 
sad end of Ettie Berton. When the trials and tempta 
tions of life come, then each one must decide for herself, 
and hold in her own hands the reins of action. Edu- 



x preface. 

cated women of the passing generation chafe under the 
old order of things, but, like Mrs. Foster in the present 
volume, are not strong enough to swim up stream. But 
girls like Gertrude, who in the college curriculum have 
measured their powers and capacities with strong young 
men and found themselves their equals, have outgrown 
this superstition of divinely ordained sex domination. 
The divine rights of kings, nobles, popes, and bishops 
have long been questioned, and now that of sex is under 
consideration and from the signs of the times, with all 
other forms of class and caste, it is destined soon to pass 

away. 

ELIZABETH CADY STANTON. 



t Sir, 
Wbose 2>augbter? 



i. 

To say that Mrs. Foster was cruel, that 
she lacked sympathy with the unfortunate, 
or that she was selfish, would be to state 
only the dark half of a truism that has a 
wider application than class or sex could 
give it; a truism whose boundary lines, 
indeed, are set by nothing short of the 
ignorance of human beings hedged in by 
prejudice and handicapped by lack of im 
agination. So when she sat, with dainty 
folded hands whose jeweled softness found 
fitting background on the crimson velvet of 
her trailing gown, and announced that she 
could endure everything associated with, 
and felt deep sympathy for, the poor if 



l!?ou, Sir, Wbosc Daughter? 



it were not for the besetting sin of unclean- 
liness that found its home almost invariably 
where poverty .dwelt, it would be unjust 
to pronounce her hard-hearted or base. 

"It is all nonsense to say that the poor 
need be so dirty," she announced, as she 
held her splendid feather fan in one hand 
and caressed the dainty tips of the white 
plumes with the tips of fingers only less 
dainty and white. 

"I have rarely ever seen a really poor 
man, woman, or child who was at the same 
time really clean looking in person, and 
as to clothes " 

She broke off with an impatient and dis 
gusted little shrug, as if to say what was 
quite true that even the touch of properly 
descriptive words held for her more soilure 
than she cared to bear contact with. 

John Martin laughed. Then he essayed 
to banter his hostess, addressing his re 
marks meanwhile to her daughter. 

"One could not imagine your mamma a 
victim of poverty and hunger, much less 
of dirt, Miss Gertrude," he began slowly; 
"but even that sumptuous velvet gown of 



lou, Sir, TIClbo0e Dausbterl 3 

hers would grow to look more or less let 
us say rusty, in time, I fear, if it were the 
only costume she possessed, and she were 
obliged to eat, cook, wash, iron, sew, and 
market in it." 

The two ladies laughed merrily at the 
droll suggestion, and Miss Gertrude pursed 
up her lips and developed a decided squint 
in her eyes as she turned them upon the 
folds of her mother s robe. Then she took 
up Mr. Martin s description where the laugh 
had broken in upon it. 

"Too true, too true," she drawled; "and 
if she dusted the furniture a week or so 
with that fan, I m afraid it would lose more 
or less of its gloss. Mamma quite prides 
herself upon the delicate peach-fuzz-bloom, 
so to speak, of those feathers. Just look at 
them ! " The girl reached over and took 
the fan from her mother s lap. She spread 
the fine plumes to their fullest capacity, and 
held them under the rays of the brass lamp 
that stood near - their guest. Then she 
made a flourish with it in the direction of 
the music stand, as if she were intent upon 
whisking the last speck of dust from the 



l^ou, Sir, Idbose Daugbtert 

sheets of Tannhaiiser that lay on its top. 
A little cry of alarm and protest escaped 
Mrs. Foster s lips and she stretched out her 
hand to rescue the beloved fan. 

K Gertrude! how can you?" She settled 
back comfortably against the cushions of 
the low divan with her rescued treasure 
once more waving in gentle gracefulness 
before her. 

w Oh, no," she protested. " Of course 
one could not work or live constantly in one 
or two gowns and look fresh, but one 
could look and be clean and and whole. 
A patch is not pretty I admit, but it is a de 
cided improvement upon a bare elbow." 

"I don t agree with you at all," smiled her 
guest ; " I don t believe I ever saw a patch 
in all my life that would be an improvement 
upon upon " He glanced at the lovely 
round white arms before him, and all three 
laughed. Mrs. Foster thought of how many 
Russian baths and massage treatments had 
tended to give the exquisite curve and 
tint to her arm. 

" Then beside," smiled Mr. Martin, " a 
rent or hole may be an immediate accident, 



liable to happen to the best of us. A patch 
looks like premeditated poverty." Gertrude 
laughed brightly, but her mother did not 
appear to have heard. She reverted to the 
previous insinuation. 

"Oh, well; that is not fair! You know 
what I mean. I m talking of elbows that 
burst or wear out not about those that 
never were intended to be in. Then, be 
sides, it is not the elbow I object to; it is 
the hole one sees it through. It tells a tale 
of shiftlessness and personal untidiness that 
saps all sympathy for the poverty that com 
pelled the long wearing of the garment." 

r Why, my dear Mrs. Foster," said Mar 
tin, slowly, " I wonder if you have any idea 
of a grade of poverty that simply can t be 
either whole or clean. Did V " 

"I ll give up the whole, but I won t give 
in on the clean. I can easily see how a 
woman could be too tired, too ill, or too 
busy to mend a garment; I can fancy her 
not knowing how to sew, or not having 
thread, needles, and patches; but, surely, 
surely, Mr. Martin, no one living is too poor 
to keep clean. "Water is free, and it doesn t 



6 Prag 12ou, Sir, Idbose 2>augbter? 

take long to take a bath. Besides " 

Gertrude looked at her mother with a 
smile. Then she said with her sarcastic 
little drawl again : 

"Russian, or Turkish?" 

:? Well, but fun and nonsense aside, Ger 
trude," said her mother, "a plain hot bath 
at home would make a new creature out 
of half the wretches one sees or reads of, 
and" 

"Porcelain lined bath-tub, hot and cold 
water furnished at all hours. Bath-room 
adjoining each sleeping apartment," laughed 
Mr. Martin. "What a delightful idea you 
have of abject poverty, Mrs. Foster. I do 
wish Fred could have heard that last re 
mark of yours. I went with his clerk one 
day to collect rents down in Mulberry 
Street. He had the collection of the rents 
for the Feedour estate on his hands " 

"What s that about the rents of the 
Feedour estate?" inquired the head of the 
house, extending his hand to their guest 
as he entered. Mrs. Foster put out her 
hand and her husband touched the tips of 
her fingers to his lips, while Gertrude 



lou, Sir, Idbose Baugbter? 7 

slipped her arm through her father s and 
drew him to a seat beside her. Her eyes 
were dancing, and she showed a double row 
of the whitest of teeth. 

"Oh, Mr. Martin was just explaining to 
mamma how your clerk collects rent for the 
porcelain bath-tubs in the Feedour property 
down in Mulberry Street. Mamma thinks 
that bath-rooms should be free hot and 
cold water, and all convenient appoint 
ments." 

Fred Foster looked at their guest for 
a moment, and then both men burst into 
a hearty laugh. 

"I don t see anything to laugh at," pro 
tested Mrs. Foster. "Unless you are guy 
ing me for thinking Mr. Martin in earnest 
about the tubs being rented. I suppose, 
of course, the bath-rooms go with the apart 
ments, and one rent covers the whole of it. 
In which case, I still insist that there is 
no reason why the poor can t be clean, and 
if they have only one suit of clothes, they 
can wash them out at night and have them 
dry next morning." 

The men laughed again. 



8 prag ISou, Sir, TKftbose SJaugbtet? 

" Gertrude, has your mamma read her 
essay yet before the Ladies Artistic and 
Ethical Club on the < Self-Inflicted Sorrows 
of the Poor? " asked Mr. Foster, pinching 
his daughter s chin, and allowing a chuckle 
of humorous derision to escape him as he 
glanced at their guest. 

"No," said the girl, a trifle uneasily; 
"Lizzie Feedour read last time. Mamma s 
is next, and she has read her paper to me. 
It is just as good as it can be. Better than 
half the essays used to be at college, not 
excepting Mr. Holt s prize thesis on eco 
nomics. I wish the poor people could hear 
it. She speaks very kindly of their faults 
even while criticising them. You 

"Don t visit the tenement houses of the 
Feedour estate, dear, until after you read 
your paper to the club," laughed her 
husband, "or your essay won t take half 
so well. College theses and cold facts are 
not likely to be more than third cousins ; eh, 
Martin? I m sure the part on cleanliness 
would be easier for her to manage in 
discussion before she visited the Spillmi 
family, for example." 



l?ou, Sir, Uabose Daugbter? 9 

"Which one is that, Fred?" asked Mr. 
Martin, a droll twinkle in his eye. :? The 
family of eight, with Irish mother and 
Italian father, who live in one room and 
take boarders?" 

There was a little explosive "oh" of 
protest from Gertrude, while her mother 
laughed delightedly. 

"Mr. Martin, you are so perfectly absurd. 
Why didn t you say that the room was only 
ten by fifteen feet and had but one win 
dow!" 

"Because I don t think it is quite so big 
as that, and there is no outside window 
at all," said he, quite gravely. "And their 
only bath-tub for the entire crowd is a 
small tin basin also used to wash dishes in." 

"W-h-a-t!" exclaimed Mrs. Foster, as if 
she were beginning to suspect their guest s 
sanity, for she recognized that his mood had 
changed from one of banter. 

The portiere was drawn aside, and other 
guests announced. As Mrs. Foster swept 
forward to meet them, Gertrude grasped her 
father s arm and looked into his eyes with 
something very like terror in her own. 



10 Ipras l?ou, Sir, Idbose 2>augbter? 

"Papa," she said hastily, in an intense 
undertone; "Papa, is he in earnest? Do 
the Feedour girls collect rent from such 
awful poverty as that? Do eight human 
heings eat and sleep live in one room 
anywhere in a Christian country? Does ?" 

Her father took both of her hands in his 
own for a moment and looked steadily into 
her face. 

"Hundreds of them, darling," he said, 
gently. Don t stare at Miss Feedour that 
way. Go speak to her. She is looking 
toward us, and your mother has left her 
with Martin quite long enough. He is in an 
ugly humor to-night. Go no, come," he 
said, slipping her hand in his arm and draw 
ing her forward through the long rooms to 
where the group of guests were greeting 
each other with that easy familiarity which 
told of frequent intercourse and community 
of interests and social information. 



Uou, Sir, Wbose DaugbterT 11 



n. 



Two hours later Gertrude found herself 
near a low window seat upon which sat 
John Martin. She could not remember 
when he had not been her father s closest 
friend, and she had no idea why his moods 
had changed so of late. He was much less 
free and fatherly with her. She wondered 
now if he despised her because she knew so 
little of the real woes of a real world about 
her, while she, in common with those of 
her station, sighed so heavily over the 
needs of a more distant or less repulsive 
human swarm. 

""Will you take me to see the Spillini 
family some day soon, Mr Martin," she 
asked, seating herself by his side. " Papa 
said that you were telling the truth were 
not joking as I thought at first." 

Her eyes were following the graceful 
movements of Lizzie Feedour, as that young 



12 pras 12cm, Sir, Wbose Daughter? 



lady turned the leaves of a handsome vol 
ume that lay on the table before her, and 
a gentleman with whom she was discussing 
its merits and defects. 

"I don t believe the call would be a 
pleasure on either side," said Mr. Martin, 
brusquely, "unless we sent word the day 
before and had some of the family moved 
out and a chair taken in." 

The girl turned her eyes slowly upon 
him, but she did not speak. The color 
began to climb into his face and dye the 
very roots of his hair. She wondered why. 
Her own face was rather paler than usual 
and her eyes were very serious. 

:i! You don t want to take me," she said. 
I wonder why men always try to keep girls 
from knowing things from learning of the 
world as it is and then blame them for 
their ignorance I You naturally think I am 
a very silly, light girl, but " 

A great panic overtook John Martin s 
heart. He could hardly keep back the 
tears. He felt the blood rush to his face 
again, but he did not know just what he 
said,. 



1Pra lou, Sir, IClbose DaugbterT 13 

"I do not I do not! You are I I 
should hate to be the one to introduce you 
to such a view of life. I was an old fool to 
talk as I did this evening. I " 

"Oh, that is it!" exclaimed Gertrude, 
relieved. :? You found me ignorant, and 
content because I was ignorant, and you 
regret that you have struck a chord a 
serious chord where only make-believe or 
merry ones were ever struck between us 
before." 

John Martin fidgeted. 

"Xo, it is not that. I would like to 
strike the first serious chord for you in 
your heart, Gertrude." 

He had called her Gertrude for years. 
Indeed the Miss upon his lips was of very 
recent date, but there was a meaning in the 
name just now as he spoke it that gave the 
girl a distinct shock. She felt that he was 
covering retreat in one direction by a men 
dacious advance in another. She arose 
suddenly. 

"Lizzie Feedour is looking her best to 
night," she said. "She grows handsomer 
every day." 



14 Pras HJou, Sir, lldbose Daughter? 

She had moved forward a step, but he 
caught the hand that hung by her side. 
She faced him with a look of mingled pro 
test and surprise in her face ; but when her 
eyes met his, she understood. 

" Gertrude, darling ! " was all he could 
say. This time the blood dyed her face and 
a mist blinded her for a moment. She re 
membered feeling glad that her back was 
turned to everyone but him, and that the 
window drapery hid his face from the 
others, for the intensity of appeal touched 
with the faintest shimmer of happiness and 
hope told so plain a story that she felt, 
rather than thought, how absurd it would 
look to anyone else. She did not realize 
why it seemed less absurd to her. She 
drew her hand away and the color died out 
of his face. Her own was burning. She 
had turned to leave the room when his dis 
appointed face swam before her.eyes again. 
She put out her hand quickly as if bidding 
him good-night and drew him toward the 
door. He moved beside her as in a dream. 

"After you take me to see the Spillini 
family," she said, trying to appear natural 



i?ou, Sir, Idbose Daughter 1 15 

to any eyes that might be upon her, " we 
I-r-" They had reached the portiere. She 
drew it aside and he stepped beyond. 

"There is no companionship between two 
people who look upon life so unequally. 
Those who know all about the world that 
contains the Spillini family -and those who 
know nothing of such a world are very far 
apart in thought and in development. There 
is no mental comradeship. I feel very far 
from my father to-night for the first time 
mamma and I. I have looked at her all the 
evening in wonder and at him. I wonder 
how they have contrived to live so far apart. 
How could he help sharing his views and 
knowledge of life with her, if he thinks her 
and wishes her to be his real companion and 
comrade. I could not live that way." 

She seemed to have forgotten the newer, 
nearer question, in contemplating the prob 
lem that had startled her earlier in the 
evening. John Martin thought it was all 
a bit of kind-hearted acting to cover his 
retreat. He dropped her hand. A man 
servant was holding his coat. He thrust 
his arms in and took his hat. 



16 pra H?ou, Sir, Whose Daughter? 

" Will you take me to see the Spillini 
family to-morrow f " asked a soft voice from 
the portiere. A great wave of joy rushed 
over John Martin. He did not know why. 

" Yes," he said, in a tone that was *so dis 
tinctly happy that the man-servant stared. 
The folds of the portiere fell together and 
John Martin passed out onto Fifth Avenue, 
in an ecstasy. 

He is willing to share his knowledge of 
life with me of life as he Bees and knows 
it she thought, as snelay awake that night. 
He does not wish to live on one plane and 
have me live on another. That looks like 
real love; Poor mamma! Poor papa! 
How far apart they are. To him life is a 
real thing. He knows its meaning and 
what it holds. She only knows a shell that 
is furbished up and polished to attract the 
eye of children. It is as if he were read 
ing a book to her in a language he under 
stood and she did not. The sound would 
be its entire message to her, while he gath 
ered in and kept to himself all the meaning 
of the words the force of the thoughts. 
How can they bear such isolation. How 



s l!?ou t Sir, IGlbose Daughter! 17 

can they? she thought with a new feeling 
of passionate protest that mingled with her 
dreams. 



18 



in. 

" Sure an I d like to die meself if dyin 
wasn t so costly," remarked Mrs. Spillini, as 
she gazed with tear-stained eyes at the little 
body that occupied the only chair in the dis 
mal room. " Do the best we kin, buryin the 
baby is goin to cost more than we made all 
winter out o all three boarders. Havin the 
baby cost a dreadful lot altogether, an now 
it s dyin s a dreadful pull agin." 

Gertrude Foster opened her Russian 
leather purse and Mrs. Spillini s eyes 
brightened shrewdly. There was no need 
for the hesitancy and choice of words that 
gave the young girl so much care and pain. 
Familiarity with all the mean and gross of 
life from childhood until one is the mother 
of six living and four dead children, does 
not leave the finest edge of sentiment and 
pride upon the poverty-cursed victims of 
fate. 



lt)ou, Sir, TSflboee Baugbtec? 19 

" If you would allow me to leave a mere 
trifle of money for you to use for the baby, 
I don t it is only " began Gertrude ; 
but the ready hand had reached out for the 
money and a quick "Thanky mum; much 
obliged " had ended the transaction. 

"I shall not tell mamma tliat" thought 
Gertrude, and she did not look at John Mar 
tin. It was her first glimpse into a grade 
of life to which all things, even birth and 
death, take on a strictly commercial aspect; 
where not only the edge of sentiment is 
dulled by dire necessity, but where the 
sentiment itself is buried utterly beneath 
the incrustations of an ignorance that is 
too dumb and abject to learn, and a poverty 
that is too insistant to recognize its own 
ignorance and degradation. 

? Won t you set down?" inquired Mrs. 
Spillini, as with a sudden movement she 
slid the small corpse onto the floor undei 
the edge of the table. " I d a ast you be 
fore, but " 

" O, dont ! " exclaimed the girl ; but before 
her natural impulse to stoop and gather up 



20 iprag lout Sir, Whose Bauflbter? 

the small bundle had found action possible, 
John Martin had placed it on the table. 

" Oh, Lord; don t! " exclaimed the woman, 
in sudden dismay. T The boarders d lack if 
they was to see it there. Boarders is differ 
ent from the family. We could ate affen 
the table afther, but boarders boarders d 
kick." 

"Could do you think of anything else 
we could do for you?" inquired Gertrude, 
faintly, as she held open the door and tried 
to think she was not dizzy and sick from 
the dreadful, polluted air, and the shock of 
the revelation, with all that it implied, be 
fore her. 

Four dirty faces, and as many ragged 
bodies, were too close to her for comfort. 
There was a vile stew cooking on the stove. 
The air was heavy and foul with it. Ger 
trude distinctly felt the greasy moisture on 
her kid gloves as they touched each other. 

"]N"o, I don t know s they s anything more 
you can do," replied the passive, hopeless 
wreck of what it was almost sacrilege to 
call womanhood. "I don t know s they s 
anything more you could do unless you 



21 



could let the boarders come in now. They 
ain t got but a little over ten minutes to eat 
in, an dinner s ready," she replied, as 
she lifted the pot of steaming" stuff into 
the middle of the table and laid two tin 
plates, a large knife and a bunch of iron 
forks and spoons beside it. 

* Turn that chair to the wall," she added 
sharply to one of the children, who hastened 
to obey the command. >r They ll all have to 
stand up to it this time. I ain t a goin to 
shift that baby around no more till it s 
buried, now that I kin bury it. Take this 
side of the table, Pete. I don t feel like 
eatin. You kin have my place n the ole 
man ain t here. Let go of that tin cup, you 
triflin young one. All the coffee they is, 
is in that. Have a drink, Mike?" she asked, 
passing the coveted cup to the second 
boarder. Gertrude was half-way down the 
dark hallway, and John Martin held her arm 
firmly lest she step into some unseen trap 
or broken place in the floor. 

When they reached the street door she 
turned to him with wide eyes. 

"Great God," she moaned, "and people 



22 fcrap l^ou, Sir, TJQbose Daughter? 

go to church and pray and thank God 
and collect rent from such as they! Men 
offer premiums to mothers and fathers for 
large families of children to be brought 
up like that! In a world where that is 
possible ! Oh, I think it is wicked, wicked, 
wicked, to allow it any of it all of it! 
How can you?" 

John Martin looked hopeless and helpless. 

"I don t," he said, in pathetic self-defense, 
feeling somehow that the blame was per 
sonal. 

"Oh, I don t mean you!" she exclaimed, 
almost impatiently. "I mean all who know 
it who have known and understood it all 
along. How could men allow it? How 
dared they? And to think of encouraging 
such people to marry to bring into a life 
like that such swarms of helpless children. 
Oh, the sin and shame and outrage of it ! " 

John Martin was dazed that she should 
look upon it as she did. Pie was surprised 
that she spoke so openly. He did not fully 
comprehend the power and force of real 
conviction and feeling overtaken in a sin- 



l)ou, Sir, TWlbose Daughter? 23 

cere and fearlessly frank nature by such 
a knowledge for the first time. 

"I should not have brought you here," he 
said, feebly, as they entered the waiting 
carriage which her mother had insisted she 
should take if she would go "slumming," as 
she had expressed it. 

She turned an indignant face upon him. 

"Why?" she demanded. 

He tried to say something about a shock 
to her nerves, and such sights and know 
ledge being not for women. 

"I had begun to feel that he respected me 
believed in me wanted, in truth and not 
merely in name, to share life with me, " she 
thought, "but he does not: it is all a sham. 
He wants someone who shall not share life 
with him not even his mental life." 

"You would come here with papa, would 
you not?" she asked, presently. "You 
would talk over, look at, think of the prob 
lems of life with him," her voice began to 
tremble. 

"Certainly," he said, "but that is differ 
ent. It" 

"Yes, it is different; quite different. 



24 pra\> J)ou, Sir, Idbose Baugbtcr? 



You love papa, and it would be a pain td 
you to keep your mental books locked up 
from him. You respect papa, and you 
would not be able to live a life of pretense 
with him. You " 

w Gertrude ! Oh, darling ! I love you. 
I love you. You know that, " he said grasp 
ing both her hands and covering them 
with kisses. She snatched them away, and 
covered her face with them to hide the tears 
which were a surprise and shock to herself. 

"I should not have taken her there," he 
thought. "I m a great fool." 

He did not at all comprehend the girl s 
point of view, and she resented nis. He 
could not imagine why, and her twenty 
years of inexperience in handling such a 
view of life as had suddenly grown up with 
in her, made her unable to express quite 
fully why she did resent his assumption that 
she should not be allowed to use her heart 
or brain beyond the limits set for their exer 
cise by conventional theory. She could not 
express in words why she felt insulted and 
outraged in her self-respect that he should 
assume that life was and should be led by 



Jprag lew, Sir, Wbose Daugbter? 25 

her, upon a distinctly different and narrower 
plane than his own. She knew that she 
could not accept his explanation, that it was 
his intense love that wished to shield her 
from knowledge of all that was ugly of all 
the deeper and sadder meanings of human 
experience; but she felt unequal to making 
him understand by any words at her com 
mand how far from her idea of an exalted 
love such an assumption was. 

That he should sincerely believe that as a 
matter of course much that was and should 
be quite common in his own life should be 
kept from, covered up, blurred into indis- 
tinction to her, came to her with a shock 
too sudden and heavy for words. She had 
built an exalted ideal of absolute mental 
companionship between those who loved. 
She had always thought that one day she 
should pass through the portals of some vast 
building by the side of a husband to whom 
all within was new as it would be to her. 
She had fancied that neither spoke; that 
both read the tablets of architecture and 
of human legend on every face so nearly 
alike that by a glance of the eye she could 



26 praB JIJou, Sir, TKttbose Daughter t 

say to him, " I know what you are thinking 
of all this. It stirs such or such a memory. 
It strikes the chord that holds these thoughts 
or those." But she read as plainly now that 
this man who thought he loved her, whom 
she had grown to feel she might one day 
love, had no such conception of a union of 
lives. To him marriage would mean- a phys 
ical possession of a toy more or less valuable, 
more or less to be cherished or to be set un 
der a glass case, whenever his real life, his 
real thoughts, his deeper self were stirred. 
These were to be kept for men his men 
tally developed equals. She understood full 
well that if she could have said this to him 
he would have been shocked, would have re 
sented such a contemptuous interpretation of 
what he truly believed to be a wholly respect 
ful love,off ered upon wholly respectful terms. 
But to her, it seemed the mere tossing down 
of a filbert to a pretty kitten, that it might 
amuse him for a few moments with its grace 
ful antics. "When he tired of the kitten, or 
bethought him of the serious duties of life, 
he could turn the key and count on finding 
the amusing little creature to play with 



J?ou, Sir, IWlbose Daughter? 27 

again next day in case he cared to relax 
himself with a sight of its gambols. She 
resented such a view of the value of her 
life. She was humiliated and indignant. 
The perfectly apparent lack of comprehen 
sion on his part of any lapse of respect in 
attitude toward her, the entire unconscious 
ness of the insult to her whole nature, in his 
assumption of a divine right of individual 
growth and development to which she had 
no claim, stung her beyond all power of 
speech. The very fact that he had no com 
prehension of the affront himself, added to 
it its utterly hopeless feature. The love of 
a man offered on such terms is an insult, she 
said, over and over to herself; but aloud she 
said nothing. 

She had heard, vaguely, through her tu 
mult of feeling, his terms of endearment, 
his appeals to her tenderness and alas! 
unfortunately for him his apologies for 
having taken her to such a place. She be 
came distinctly aware of these latter first 
and it steadied her. They had reached 
Washington Square. 

" Yes, that revelation in Mulberry Street 



28 IPras HJoii, Sir, "GClbose 2>au0bter? 

was a horrible shock to me," she said, look 
ing at him for the first time since they had 
entered the carriage ; " but, do you know, 
I think there are more shocking things than 
even that done in the name of love every 
day things as heartless and offensively 
uncomprehending of what is fine and true in 
life as that wretched woman s conduct with 
the lifeless form of her baby." 

He recognized a hard ring in her voice, 
but her eyes looked kind and gentle. 

" How do you mean? " he asked, touch 
ing her hand as it lay on her empty purse 
in her lap. 

" I don t believe I could ever make you 
understand what I mean, we are so hope 
lessly far apart," she said, a little sadly. 
" That an explanation is necessary that is 
the hopeless part. That that poor woman 
did not comprehend that her conduct and 
callousness were shocking that was the 
hopeless part. To make you understand 
what I mean would be like making her. un 
derstand all the hundreds of awful things 
that her conduct meant to us. If it is not 



lou, Sir, TKHbose 2>augbtec? 29 

in one s nature to comprehend without 
words, then words are useless." 

His vehement protests stirred her sympa 
thy again. 

:? You say that love brings people near to 
gether. Do you know I am beginning 
to think that nothing could be a greater 
calamity than that? Drawn together by a 
love that rests on a physical basis for those 
who refuse to allow it root in a common 
sympathy and a community of thought it 
must fail s ooner or later. A humbled ac 
ceptance of the crumbs of her husband s 
life, or a resentful endurance of it, may re 
sult from the accursed faithfulness or the 
pitiful dependence of wives, but surely 
surely no greater calamity could befall her 
and no worse fate lie in wait for him." 

Her lover stared at her, pained and puz 
zled. When they reached her door he 
grasped her hand. 

" I thought you loved me last night, and 
I went away in an ecstasy of hope. To 
day" 

"Perhaps I do love you," she said; "but 
I do not respect you, because you do not 



30 IPras lou, Sir, Wbose H>augbter? 

respect me." He made a quick sound of 
dissent, but she checked him. You do not 
respect womanhood; you only patronize 
women you only patronize me. I could 
not give you a right to do that for life. 
Good-bye. Don t come in this time. Wait. 
Let us both think." 

" Let us both think," he repeated, as he 
started down the street. f Think ! Think 
what? I had no idea that Gertrude would 
be so utterly unreasonable. It is a girl s 
whim. She ll get over it, but it is deucedly 
uncomfortable while it lasts." 

"Mamma, said Gertrude, when she 
reached her mother s pretty room on the 
third floor. " Mamma, do you suppose if a 
girl really and truly loved a man that she 
would stop to think whether he had a high 
or a low estimate of womanhood?" 

The girl s mother looked up startled. 
She was quite familiar with what she had 
always termed the " superhumanly aged re 
marks " of her daughter, but the new turn 
they had taken surprised her. 

"I don t believe she would, Gertrude. 
Are you imagining yourself in love 



li?ou, Sir, Whose H>au0bter7 31 

with some man who is not chivalrous to 
ward women?" Mrs. Foster smiled at the 
mere idea of her daughter caring much for 
any man. She thought she had observed 
her too closely to make a mistake in the 
matter. 

Gertrude evaded the first question. 

"I once heard a very brilliant man say 
what I did not then understand that chiv 
alry was always the prelude to imposition. 
I believe I don t care very especially for 
chivalry. Fair play is better, don t you 
think so?" She did not pause for a reply, 
but began taking off her long gloves. 

:? Which would you like best from papa, 
flattery or square-toed, honest truth?" 

Her mother laughed. 

" Gertrude, you are perfectly ridiculous. 
The institution of marriage, as now estab 
lished, wouldn t hang together ten minutes 
if your square-toed, honest truth, as you 
call it, were to be tried between husbands 
and wives. Most wives are frightened 
nearly to death for fear they will become 
acquainted with the truth some day. They 
don t want it. They were not built for 



32 praE l!?ou, Sir, TJClbose 5>augbtet? 

it." Gertrude began to move about the 
room impatiently. Her mother smiled at 
her and went on: "Don t you look at it 
that way? Ko? AVell, you are young yet. 
Wait until you ve been married three 
years " 

The girl turned upon her with an indig 
nant face. Then suddenly she threw her 
arms about her mother s neck. 

" Poor mamma, poor mamma," she said. 
" Didn t you find out for three years after? 
How did you bear it? I should have com 
mitted suicide. I " 

" Oh, no you wouldn t ! " said her mother, 
with a bitter little inflection. "They all 
talk that way. Girls all feel so, if they 
know enough to feel at all to think at all. 
They rage and wear out their nerves as 
you are doing now, heaven knows why 
and the beloved husband calls a doctor and 
buys sweets and travels with the precious 
invalid, and never once suspects that he is 
at the bottom of the whole trouble. It 
never dawns upon him that what she is dy 
ing for is a real and loyal companionship, 
such as she had fondly dreamed of, and not 



fou, Sir, Wbose 2>augbter? 33 

at all for sea air. It doesn t enter his mind 
that she feels humiliated because she knows 
that a great part of his life is a sealed book 
to her, and that he wishes to keep it so." 

She paused, and her daughter stroked her 
cheek. This was indeed a revelation to the 
girl. She had been wholly deceived by her 
mother s gay manner all these years. She 
was taking herself sharply to task now. 

J? But by and by when she succeeds in 
killing all her self-respect; when she makes 
up her mind that the case is hopeless, and 
that she must expect absolutely no frank 
ness in life beyond the limits of conven 
tional usage prescribed for purblind babies; 
after she arrives at the point where she dis 
covers that her happiness is a pretty fiction 
built on air foundation well, daughter, 
after that she she strives to murder all 
that is in her beyond and above the petty 
simpleton she passes for and she suc 
ceeds fairly well, doesn t she? " 

There was a cynical smile on her lips, and 
she made an elaborate bow to her daughter. 

w Oh, mamma, I beg your pardon ! " ex 
claimed the girl, almost frightened. "I 



34 IPrag fou, Sir, "Wflboae Daughter? 

truly beg your pardon! It you : I " 

Her mother looked steadily out of the 
window. Then she said, slowly, " How did 
you come to find all this out before you 
were married, child? Have I not done a 
mother s duty by you in keeping you in 
ignorance, so far as I could, of all the 
struggles and facts of life of^-" 

The bitter tone was in her voice again. 
Gertrude was hurt by it, it was so full of 
self-reproach mingled with self-contempt. 
She slipped her arm about her mother s 
waist. 

" Don t, mamma," she said. "Don t blame 
yourself like that. I m sure you have 
always done the best possible the " 

Her mother laughed, but the note was not 
pleasant. 

:f Yes, I always did the lady-like thing, 
nothing. I floated with the tide. Take my 
advice, daughter, float. If you don t, 
you ll only tire yourself trying to swim 
against a tide that is too strong for you and 
and nothing will come of it. Nothing at 
all." 

The girl began to protest with the self- 



lt?ou, Sir, Wbose Daugbter? 35 



confidence of youth, but her mother went 
on. She had taken the bit in her teeth to 
day and meant to run the whole race. 

"Do you suppose I did not know about 
the Spillini family? About the thousands 
of Spillini families? Do you suppose I did 
not know that the rent of ten such families 

their whole earnings for a year would 
be spent on on a pretty inlaid prayer-book 
like this?" She tapped the jeweled cross 
and turned it over on her lap. The girl s 
eyes were wide and almost fear-filled as she 
studied her handsome care-free mother in 
her new mood. 

"Did you really suppose I did not know 
that this gem on the top of the cross is dyed 
with the life-blood of some poor wretch, and 
that this one represents the price of the 
honor of a starving girl?" She shivered, 
and the girl drew back. "Did you fancy 
me as ignorant and as happy as I have 
talked? Don t you know that it is the sole 
duty of a well-bred woman to be ignorant 

and happy? Otherwise she is morbid!" 
She pronounced the word affectedly, and 
then laughed a bitter little laugh. 



36 pras l!}ou, Sir, IKIlbose 2>auflbter? 



"Don t, mamma," said the girl, again. "I 
quite understand now, quite " She laid 
her head on her mother s bosom and was 
silent. Presently she felt a tear drop on 
her hair. She put her hand up to her 
mother s cheek and stroked it. 

:? The game went against you, didn t it, 
mamma?" she said softly. "And you were 
not to blame." She felt a little shiver run 
over her mother s frame and a sob crushed 
back bravely that hurt her like a knife. 
Presently two hands lifted the girl s face. 

:? You don t despise me, daughter? In 
my position the price of a woman s peace is 
the price of her own self-respect. I did not 
lose the game. I gave it up ! " 

Gertrude kissed her on eyes and lips. 

"Poor mamma, poor mamma," she said 
softly, "I wonder if I shall do the same!" 

For the first time since she entered the 
room, the daughter appeared to appeal for, 
rather than to offer, sympathy and strength. 
Her mother was quick to respond. 

" If you never learn to love anyone very 
much, daughter, you may hope to keep your 
self-respect. If you do you will sell it all 



H)ou, Sir, Whose Daugbter? 37 

for his. And and " 

" Lose both at last? " asked the girl, hoarse 
ly. Katherine Foster closed her eyes for a 
moment to shut out her daughter s face. 

T "Will you ever have had his? " she asked, 
with her eyes still closed. "Do men ever 
truly respect their dupes or their inferiors? 
Do you truly respect anyone to whom you 
are willing to deny truth, honor, dignity? 
Is it respect, or only a tender, pitying love 
we offer an intellectual cripple one Avhose 
mental life we know to be, and desire to 
keep, distinctly below our own? Do " 
She opened her eyes and they rested on an 
onyx clock. She laughed. " Come, daugh 
ter," she said, "it is time to dress for the 
Historical Club s annual dinner. You know 
I am one of the guests of honor to-day. 
They honor me so truly that I am not per 
mitted to join the club or be ranked as a 
useful member at all. My work they accept 
flatter me by praising in a lofty way ; but 
I can have no status with them as an histo 
rian I am a woman ! " 

Gertrude sprang to her feet. Her eyes 
flashed fire. 



38 ifrraE l>ou, Sir, "QQbose BaiiQbter? 

" Don t go ! I wouldn t allow them to " 

The door opened softly. Mr. Foster s 
face appeared. 

"Why, dearie, aren t you ready for the 
Historical Club? I wouldn t have you late 
for anything. You know I, as the vice- 
president, am to respond to the toast on, 
Woman: the highest creation, and God s 
dearest gift to mankind. It wouldn t look 
well if you were not there. " 

" No, dear," she said, without glancing at 
Gertrude. "It would not look well. I ll 
be ready in a minute. Will you help me, 
Gertrude?" 

T Yes," said the girl, and her deft fingers 
flew at the task. When the door closed 
behind her mother and the carriage rolled 
away, she threw herself face down on the 
bed and ground her teeth. "Shall I float, 
or try to swim up stream?" she said, to her 
self. :r Will either one pay for what it will 
cost? Shall " 

"Miss Gertrude, dinner is served," said 
the maid; and she went to the table alone. 

? To think that a visit to the Spill ini fam 
ily should have led to all this," she thought, 



l!>ou, Sir, Tixabose 5>augbtet? 39 

and felt that life, as it had been, was over 
for her. 

Aloud she said: 

" James, the berries, please, and then you 
may go." 

And James told Susan that in his opinion 
the man that got Miss Gertrude was going 
to get the sweetest, simplest, yieldingest 
girl he ever saw except one, and Susan 
vowed she could not guess who that one 
was. 

But apparently James did not wholly be 
lieve her, for he essayed to sportively poke 
her under the chin with an index finger that 
very evidently had seen better days prior to 
having come into violent contact with a 
base ball, which, having a mind and a curve 
of its own, had incidentally imparted an ec 
centric crook to the unfortunate member. 

"Don t you dast t touch me with that old 
pot hook, er I ll scream," exclaimed Susan, 
dodging the caress. " I don t see no sense 
in a feller gettin hisself all broke up that a 
way," and Susan, from the opposite side of 
the butler s table, glanced admiringly at her 
own shapely hand, albeit the wrist might 



40 flp>rag iou, Sir, "Cdboae Daughter? 

have impressed fastidious taste as of toO 
robust proportions, and the fingers have 
suggested less of flexibility than is desira 
ble. 

But to James the hand was perfect, and 
Susan, feeling her power, did not scruple to 
use it with brutal directness. She had that 
shivering dislike for deformity which is pos 
sessed by the physically perfect, and she 
took it as a private grievance that James 
should have taken the liberty to break one 
of his fingers without her knowledge and 
consent. Until he had met her, James had 
carried his distorted member as a badge of 
honor. ]STo warrior had worn more proudly 
his battle scars. For, to James, to be a 
catcher in a base ball club was honor 
enough for one man, and he had never 
dreamed of a loftier ambition. He had 
grown to keep that mutilated finger ever to 
the fore as a retired general might carry an 
empty sleeve. It gave distinction and told 
of brave and lofty achievement, so James 
thought. 

Susan had modified his pride in the dis 
located digit, but he had not yet learned to 



l^ou, Sir, Wbose Daughter t 41 

keep it always in the background. It had 
several times before interfered with his love- 
making, and James was humble. 

" Oh, now, Susie, don t you be so hard on 
that there old base-ball finger! I didn t 
know it was a-going to touch your lovely 
dimple," and he held the offending member 
behind his back, as he slowly circled around 
the table towards the haughty Susan. " By 
gum! I b lieve I left a mark on your chin. 
Lemme see." She thought she understood 
the ruse, but when he kissed her she pre 
tended deep indignation and flounced out of 
the room, but the look on her face caused 
James to drop his left eyelid over a twinkling 
orb and shake his sides with satisfaction as he 
removed the dishes after Miss Gertrude had 
withdrawn from the dining room. 



42 iPras i?ou, Sir, TlClbose Daughter 1 



TV. 

The visit to the Spillini family had, in 
deed, led to strange complications and far- 
reaching results. No one who had known 
young Selden Avery and his social life 
would ever have suspected him, or any mem 
ber of his set, of a desire to take part in 
what, by theif club friends or favorite re 
views, was usually alluded to as the "dirty 
pool of politics." For the past decade 
political advancement, at least in ~New York, 
had grown to be looked upon by many as a 
mere matter of purchase and sale, and as 
quite beneath the dignity of the more 
Defined and cultured men. It had been 
heralded as a vast joke, therefore, when 
young Selden Avery, the representative of 
one of the most cultured families and the 
honored son of an. honored ancestry, had 
suddenly announced himself as a candidate 
for the Assembly. His club friends guyed 



lou, Sir, Whose 5>au0bter? 43 

him unmercifully. !? We never did believe 
that you were half as good as you pretended 
to be, Avery," said one of them, the first 
time he appeared at the club after his nomi 
nation, "but I don t believe a man of us 
ever suspected you of the depths of de 
pravity that this implies. What ever did 
put such a ridiculous idea into such a level 
and self-respecting head? Out with it!" 

Banter of this nature met him on every 
hand. He realized more fully than ever 
how changed the point of view had grown 
to be from the historical days of Washing 
ton or even of Lincoln. He recalled the 
time when in his own boyhood his honored 
father had served in the Legislature of his 
native state, and had not felt it other than 
a crowning distinction. 2sor had it been so 
looked upon then by his associates. 

Nevertheless the constant jokes and gibes, 
which held something of a real sting, had 
become so frequent that young Avery felt 
like resenting his friends humorous thrusts. 

"I can t see that I need be ashamed "to 
follow in the footsteps of my father," he 
said, a little hotly. " Some of the noblest of 



44 Pra l!?ou t Sir, TUHbose Daugbter? 

men those upon whom the history of this 
country depends for lustre held seats in 
the Assembly, and helped shape the laws of 
their states. I don t see why I need apolo 
gize for a desire to do the same." 

"It used to be an association of gentle 
men up at the state capital, my boy. To 
day it is Lord! you know what it is, I 
guess. But if you don t, just peruse 1 this 
sacred volume," laughed his friend, sarcasti 
cally, producing a small pamphlet. 

"Looks to me as if you d be rather out 
of your element with your colleagues. 
M-m-m! Yes, here is the list. Hunted 
this up after I heard you were going to 
stand for your district." 

The English form of expression was no 
affectation, for the speaker was far more 
familiar with political nomenclature abroad 
than at home. He would have felt it an 
honor to a man to be called upon to " stand " 
for his constituency in London, but to " run" 
for it in ~New York was far less dignified. 
Standing gave an idea of repose; running 
was vulgar. Then, too, the State Legisla 
ture did not bear the proportionate rela- 



lent, Sir, Wboac 2>augbtet? 45 

tionship to Congress that the Commons did 
to Parliament, and it was always in con 
nection with that latter body that he had 
associated the term. 

"Let me see. One, two, three, four, 
teen steen yes, I thought I was right! 
Just exactly nineteen of your nearest col 
leagues are saloon keepers. One used to 
keep that disorderly house on Prince Street, 
four are butchers, one was returned because 
he had won fame as a base-ballist and but 
why go further? Here, Martin, I m trying 
to convince Avery that it will be a trifle 
trying on his nerves to hobnob with the new 
set he s making for. Don t you think it 
is rather an anti-climax from the Union to 
the lower house at Albany? Ye gods!" 
and he laughed, half in scorn and half in 
real amusement. 

John Martin had extended his hand for 
the small pamphlet of statistics. He ran his 
eye over the list, and then turned an amused 
face upon Avery. 

"Think you ll like it?" he asked, dryly. 
Or are you taking it as my French friend 
here says his countrymen take heaven?" 



46 pras lou, Sir, Tldbose SDaugbter? 

"How s that?" queried Aveiy, smiling. 
"In broken doses or not at all?" 

The French gentleman stood with that 
poise which belongs to the successful man. 
He glanced from one to the other and spread 
his hands to either side. 

"All Frenchmen desire to go to ze heaven, 
zhentlemen. "Why? Ah, zere air two at- 
traczions which to effrey French zhentle- 
man air irresisteble. Ze angels zey air 
women and I suppose zat ze God weal 
also be an attraczion. Ees eet not so?" 

Every one in the group laughed and he 
went gravely on. 

" I zink zat eet ees true ees eet not? zat 
loafly woman will always be vara much ob- 
searved even in ze heaven eef we zhentlemen 
are zere. Eef? " He cast up the corners 
of his eyes, and made another elaborate 
movement of his hands. 

The others all laughed again. 

:? Yes, zhentlemen, ze true Frenchman 
cares for two zings: a new sensation 
somesing zey haf not before experienced, 
and zat ees God ; and for zat which zey 



feu, Sir, Wbosc Daughter 1 47 

haf obscarved, but of which zey can naavear 
obsearve enough loafly woman ! " 

The explosion of laughter that greeted 
this sally brought about them a number of 
other gentlemen, and the talk drifted into 
different channels Presently young Avery 
glanced at his watch and started, with rather 
a sore heart, toward the door. He remem 
bered that he had promised the managers 
of his campaign that he would be seen that 
evening at a certain open-air garden fre 
quented by the humbler portion of his con 
stituency. He concluded to go alone the 
first time that he might the better observe 
without attracting too much attention. This 
plan was thought wise to enable him to meet 
the exigencies of the coming campaign when 
he should be called upon to speak to this ele 
ment of his supporters. 

Once outside the club house, he took a 
card from his pocket and glanced at the 
directions he had jotted upon it. 

"I ll walk across to the elevated," he 
thought, "and make my connection for 
Grady s place that way. It will save time 
and look more democratic. 



48 ff>rag Uou, Sir, Wbose H>au0bter? 



Y. 

The infinite pathos of life was never 
better illustrated, perhaps, than in the 
merry-making that night at Grady s Pavil 
ion. The easy camaradarie between con 
scious and unconscious vice; the so-evident 
struggle the young girls had made to be 
beautiful and stylish, and the ghastly result 
of their cheap and incongruous finery; 
their ignorant acceptance of leers that 
meant to them honest admiration or affec 
tion, and to others meant far different 
things; their jolly, thoughtless, eager effort 
to get something joyful out of their narrow 
lives; the brilliant tints in which they saw 
the future, and the ghastly light in which 
it stood revealed to older and more experi 
enced eyes, would have combined to depress 
a heart less tender and a vision less clear 
than could have been attributed to Seldcn 
Avery. ISTot that Grady s Pavilion was a 



lou, Sir, "Qftbose Daugbter? 49 

bad place. Many of the girls present would 
not have been there had it been known 
as anything short of quite respectable; but 
it was a free and easy place, where vice 
meets ignorance without having first made 
an appointment, where opportunity shakes 
the ungloved hand of youth and leaves a 
stain upon the tender palm too deep and 
dark for future tears to wash away. 

"I wonder if I am growing morbid," 
mused Avery, as he sighed for the third 
time while looking at the face of a girl 
not over eighteen years old, but already 
marked by lines that told of a vaguely 
dawning comprehension of what the future 
held for her. Her round-eyed companion, 
a girl with a childish mind and face, sat 
beside her, but all the world was bright 
to her. Life held a prince, a fortune and 
a career which would be hers one day. She 
had only to wait, look pretty, and be ready 
when the apple of fortune fell. Her part 
was to hold out a pretty apron to break 
its descent. 

" Oh, the infinite pathos of youth ! " mut 
tered Avery, feeling himself very old with 



50 prag l^ou, Sir, Wbose 2>augbter7 

his thirty years of wider experience as his 
eyes turned from one girl to the other. " It 
is hard to tell which is the sadder sight; the 
disillusioned one or the one who will be even 
more roughly awakened to-morrow." 

His heart ached whenever he studied the 
face of a young girl. ? There is nothing so 
sad in all the wretched world," he sometimes 
said, " as the birth of a girl in this grade of 
life. I am not sure that the nations we look 
upon as barbarous because they strangle the 
little things before they are able to think I 
am not at all sure that they are not more 
civilized than we after all. We only maim 
them with ignorance and utter dependence, 
and then turn them out into a life where 
either of these alone is an incalculable curse, 
and the combination is as fatal as fire in a 
field of ripened grain." 

The younger girl was looking at him. 
Her wide expectant eyes rested on his face 
with a frankness and interest that touched 
his mood anew. 

"Poor little- thing," he said, half aloud; 
" if I were to see her bound hand and foot 
and cast into a den of wolves, I might hope 



l!?ou t Sir, Idbose Baugbter? 51 

to rescue her; but from this, for such as she 
there is absolutely no escape. How dare 
people bring into the world those who must 
suffer? " 

"Huh?" said a voice beside him. He had 
spoken in a semi-audible tone, and his neigh 
bor had responded after his habitual fashion, 
to what he looked upon as an overture to 
conversation. 

"I did not intend to speak aloud," said 
Avery, turning to glance at the man beside 
him ; " but I was just wondering how people 
dared to have children girls particularly." 

The man beside him turned his full face 
upon him and examined him critically from 
head to foot. Then he laughed. It was 
the first time he had ever heard it hinted 
that it was not a wholly commendable thing 
to bring as many children into the world as 
nature would permit. His first thought had 
been that Avery was insane, but after look 
ing at him he decided that he was only 
a grim joker. 

"I reckon they don t spend no great deal 
of time prayin over the subject," he said, 
laughing again. Then he crossed his legs 



52 prag l^ou, Sir, Wbose Bauabter? 

and added, "an I don t suppose they get 
any telegrams tellin them they re goin 
to be girls, neither. If they did, a good 
many men would lick the boy that brought 
the despatch, for God knows most of us 
would a darn sight rather have boys." 

The laugh had died out of his voice, and 
there was a ring of disappointment and 
aggrieved trouble in it. Selden Avery 
shifted his position. 

"I was not looking at it from the point of 
view of the parents of unwelcome girls," he 
said, presently, w but from the outlook of the 
girls of unwelcome parents. The reckon 
ing from that side looks to me a good deal 
longer than the other." His voice was 
pleasant, but his eyes looked perplexed and 
determined. His neighbor began to re 
adjust his opinion of Avery s sanity, and 
moved his chair a little farther away before 
he spoke. 

"Got any childern of your own?" he 
inquired, succintly. Avery shook his head. 
The man drew down the corners of his 
mouth in a contemptuous grimace. "I 
thought not. If you had, you d take it a 



10ou, Sf^TJQbose Dausbter? 53 

darn sight easiev. Childern are an ungrat- 
ful lot. They re never satisfied or next to 
never. They think you re made for their 
comfort instead of their bein for yours. 
I ve got nine, and I know what I m talkin 
about. If you ve got any sympathy to 
throw away don t waste it on childern. 
Parents, in these days of degenerate young 
sters, are passin around the hat for sympa 
thy. In my day it was just the other way. 
If one of the young ones went wrong, 
people pitied the father and blamed the 
child. Now-a-days they blame the father 
and weep over the young one that makes 
the mischief. It makes me mad." 

He shut his teeth with a suddenness that 
suggested a snap, and flashed a defiant look 
about the room. 

Avery glanced at his heavy, stubborn face, 
and decided not to reply. He was in no 
mood for controversy. And what good 
could it do, he said to himself, to argue with 
a mere lump of selfish egotism? 

" That is an unusually pretty girl over by 
the piano," he said, in a tone of mild indiff er- 



54 fcras 12ou, Sir, TlClbose Daughter? 

ence which he hoped would serve as a period 
to the conversation. 

" She s Tom Berton s girl," was the quick 
reply. " Berton s up to Albany most o the 
time, with me. I represent our district. 
She s a nice little thing. She ll do anything 
you ask her to. I never see her equal for 
that. It s easier for her to do your way than 
it is to do her own. She likes to; so every 
body likes her. I wish I had one like her; 
but my girls are as stubborn as mules. 
They won t drive, and they won t lead, and 
they d ruther kick than eat. I don t know 
Avhere they got it. Their mother wasn t half 
so bad that way, and the Lord knows it ain t 
in my family. The girl she s with is one o 
mine. She looks like she could eat tenpenny 
nails. She might be just as pretty an just 
as much liked as Ettie Berton, but she ain t. 
She s always growlin about somethin . I ll 
bet a dollar she ll growl about this when we 
get home. Ettie will think it was splendid. 
She d have a good time at a funeral; but 
that girl of mine 11 get me to spend a dollar 
to come here and then she ll go home dissat 
isfied. It won t be up to what she expected. 



UJou, Sir, TKHbose Daughter 1 55 

Things never are. She s always lookin to 
find things some other way. ^ow, what 
would you do with a girl like that?" he 
asked suddenly. Then without waiting for 
a reply, he added, " I give her a good tongue 
lashin , an as she always knows it s comin , 
she s got so she don t kick quite so much as 
she used to, but she just sets an looks sul 
len like that. It makes me so mad I 
could " 

He did not finish his remark, but got up 
and strolled away without the formality of 
an adieu. 

Avery watched his possible future col 
league until he was lost in the crowd, and 
then he walked deliberately over to where 
the two girls stood. 

"I have been talking with your father," 
he said, smiling and bowing to the older 
girl, "and although he did not say that I 
might come and talk to you, he told me who 
you were, and I think he would not object." 

"Oh, no; he wouldn t object," said the 
younger girl, eagerly. ? Would he Fan? 
Everybody talks here. He told me so before 
we came. It s the first time we ve been; 



56 



but he s been before. I think it s splendid, 
don t yon?" 

The older girl had not spoken. She was 
looking at Selden Avery with half sup 
pressed interest and embryonic suspicion. 
She still knew too little of life to have 
formed even a clearly denned doubt as to 
him or his intentions in speaking to them. 
She was less happy than she had expected 
to be when she dressed to come, with her 
ever-dawning hope for a real pleasure. She 
thought there must be something wrong 
with her because things never seemed to 
come up to her expectations. She supposed 
this must be " society," and that when she 
got used to it, she would enjoy it more. But 
somehow she had wanted to resent it the first 
time a man spoke to her, and then, afterward, 
she was glad she did not, for he had danced 
with Ettie twice, and Ettie had said it was 
a lovely dance. She had made up her mind 
to accept the next offer she had, but when it 
came, the eyes of the man were so beady- 
black, and the odor of bay rum radiated 
so insistently from him that she declined. 
She hated bay rum because the worst 



li?ou, Sir, Wbo0e Dausbter? 57 

scolding her father ever gave her was 
when she had emptied his cherished bottle 
upon her own head. The odor always 
brought back the heart-ache and resentment 
of that day, and so she did not think she 
cared to dance just then. 

Selden Avery looked at Ettie. He did 
not want to tell her what he did think and 
he had not the heart to dampen her ardor, 
so he simply smiled, and said: 

" It is my first visit here, too ; and I don t 
know a soul. I noticed you two young 
ladies a while ago, and spoke of you to the 
gentleman next to me and it chanced 
to be your father" he turned to the older 
girl again "so that was what gave me 
courage to come over here. If I had 
thought of it before he left me, I d have 
asked him to introduce me, but I m rather 
slow to think. My name is Selden Avery." 

"Did father tell you mine?" she asked, 
looking at him steadily, with eyes that held 
floating ends of thoughts that were never 
formed in full. 

"J^o, he didn t," replied Avery, laughing 
a little. " He told me yours, though," turn- 



58 pras l!?ou, Sir, tClbosc Daugbter? 

ing to the merry child at his side. "Ettie 
Berton, Tom Berton s daughter." 

Ettie laughed, and clapped her hands 
together twice. 

"Got it right the first time! But what 
did he give me away for and not her? She 
is Francis King. That is, her father s 
name s King, but she is so awfully particu 
lar about things and so hard to suit she 
ought to be named Queen, I tell her, so 
I call her Queen Fan mostly." There was 
a little laugh all around, and Avery said : 

"Very good, very good, indeed;" but 
Francis looked uncomfortable and so he 
changed the subject. Presently she looked 
at him and asked : 

"Do you think things are ever like they 
are in books? Do you think this is? She 
waved her hand toward the music and the 
lights. "In the books I have read and 
the story papers it all seems nicer than 
this and and different. It is because I 
say that, that they all make fun of me 
and call me Queen Fan, and father says " 
she paused, and a cold light gathered in her 
eyes. "He don t like it, so I don t say it 



lou, Sir, Idboee Daugbter? 59 

much, now. He says it s all put on; but 
it ain t. Everything does seem to turn out 
so different from what you expected from 
the way you read about. I ve not felt like I 
thought maybe I should to-night because 
because " She stopped again. 

"Because why?" asked Avery, laughing 
a little. "Because I m not a bit like the 
usual story-book prince you ought to have 
met and ?" 

She smiled, and Ettie made a droll little 
grimace. 

"No, it wasn t that at all. I ve been 
thinking most all evening that it wasn t 
worth that " 

"Oh, she s worried," put in Ettie, "be 
cause she got her father to spend a dollar to 
bring her. She s afraid he ll throw it up to 
her afterward, and she thinks it won t pay 
for that, so it spoils the whole thing before 
he does it just being afraid he will. But I 
tell her he won t, this time. I " Francis 
eyes had filled with tears of mortification, 
and Avery pretended not to have heard. He 
affected a deep interest in the music. 

" Do you know what it is they are playing 



60 fcras i!)ou, Sir, Wbose Baugbter? 

now?" he asked, with his eyes fixed upon 
the musicians. W I thought at first that it 
was going to be ~No, it is Pon my word 
I can t recall it, and I ought to know what it 
is, too. The first time I ever heard it, I 
remember " 

He turned toward where Francis had 
stood, but she was gone. ? "Why, what has 
become of Miss King?" he asked of the 
other girl. Ettie looked all about, laughed 
and wondered and chattered as gaily as a 
bird. 

"I expect she s gone home. She s the 
queerest you ever saw. I guess she didn t 
want me to say that about her pa. But it ll 
make him madder than anything if she has 
gone that way. He won t like it at all an 
I can t blame him. What s the use to be so 
different from other folks? " she inquired, 
sagely, and then she added, laughing: "I 
don t know as she is so different, either. We 
all hate things, but we pretend we don t. 
Don t you think it s better to pretend to like 
things, whether you do or not?" 

"No," replied Avery, beginning to look 
with surprise upon this small philosopher 



few, Sir, Whose DauQbter? 61 

who had no conception of the worldly wis 
dom of her own philosophy. 

w I do," she said, laughing again. " It 
goes down better. Everybody likes you 
better. I ve found that out already, and so 
I pretend to like everything. Of course I do 
like some of em, and some I don t, but it s 
just as easy to say you like em all." She 
laughed again, and kept time with her toe 
on the floor. 

v Just what don t you like? " asked Avery, 
smiling. :r "Won t you tell me, truly? I won t 
tell anyone, and I d like to be sure of one 
thing you object to on principle." 

"Well, tob Do you smoke?" she 
asked. 

He shook his head, and pursed up his lips 
negatively. 

" I thought not," she said, gaily. * You 
look like you didn t. Well, I hate- hate 
hate hate smoke. When I go 011 a 
ferry-boat, and the air is so nice and cool 
and different from at home, and seems so 
clean, I just love it, and then " 

"Some one sits near you and smokes," 
put in Avery, consolingly. 



62 pras lou, Sir, Idbose SDaugbter 1 ! 

r? Yes, they do; and I just most pray that 
he ll fall over and get drownded but he 
never does ; and if he asks me if I object to 
smoke, I say, " oh ! not at all ! " and then he 
thinks I m such a nice, sensible girl. Fan 
tells em right out that she don t like it. It 
makes her deadly sick, and the boys all hate 

her for it. Her father says it s da I was 

going to say his cuss word, but I guess I 
won t. Anyhow, he says it s all nonsense 
and put on. I guess I better go. There is 
her father looking for us. Poor Fan ll catch 
it when we get home! Good-night. I ve 
had a lovely time, haven t you?" She 
waved her hand. Then she retraced the 
step she had taken. " Don t tell that I don t 
like tobacco," she said, and started away 
laughing. He followed her a few steps. 

"How is any fellow to know what you 
really do like?" he asked, smiling, "if you 
do that way?" 

"Fan says nobody wants to know," she 
said, slyly. "She says they want to know 
that I like what they want me to like, and 
think what they think I think." She laughed 
again, "And of course I do," she added, 



pra*> U>ou, Sir, TKHbose Daugbter? 63 

and bowed in mock submission. "ISTow, Fan 
don t. That s where she misses it; and if 
she don t reform," she said, lowering" her 
voice, as she neared that young 1 lady s 
father, " she is going to see trouble that is 
trouble. I ll bet a cent on it. Don t you?" 
she asked, as she bestowed a bright smile 
upon Mr. King. 

"Yes," said Avery, and lifting his hat, 
turned on his heel and was lost in the 
crowd. 

"Where s Fan?" inquired that young 
lady s father in a tone which indicated that, 
as a matter of course, she was up to some 
devilment again. 

" She got a headache and went home 
quite a while ago," said that young lady s 
loyal little friend. "She enjoyed it quite a 
lot till she did get a headache." As they 
neared the street where both lived, Ettie 
said: c That man talked to her, and I think 
she liked him." 

"Humph!" said Mr. King. "I wouldn t 
be surprised. She d be likely to take to a 
lunatic. I thought he was about the damned 
est fool I ever saw; didn t you? " 



64 pra lt)ou, Sir, TJQbose Daughter? 

Yes," said Ettie, laughing, " and I liked 
him for it." 

Mr. King burst into a roar of laughter. 
"Of course you did! You d like the devil. 
You re that easy to please. I wish to the 
Lord Fan was," and with a hearty " good 
night," he left her at her father s door, and 
crossed the street. 

Once outside the garden, Avery drew 
from his pocket the little pamphlet which 
his club friend had given him, and ran his 
finger down the list. 

" King, member the ah, ha ! one end of 
his ward joins mine! M-m-m; yes, I see. 
He is one of the butchers. I suspected as 
much. Let me see; yes, he votes my ticket, 
too. If I m elected we ll be comrades-in 
arms, so to speak. I suppose I ought to 
have told him who I was ; but if I m elected 
he ll find out soon enough, and if I m beaten 
well, I can t say that I m anxious to ex 
tend the acquaintance." He replaced the 
book in his pocket as the guard called out, 
< Thirty-Fourth Street! strain for Arlem! 
and left the train, musing as he strolled 
along. Yes, Gertrude was quite right 



lew, Sir, TKibose Daughter? 65 

quite. We fortunate ones have no right to 
allow all this sort of thing to go on. We 
have no right to leave it entirely to such 
men as that to make the laws. I don t care 
if the fellows up at the club do guy me. 
Gertrude " He drew from his breast 
pocket a little note, and read it for the tenth 
time. 

" I am so gratified to hear that you have 
accepted the nomination," it said. T You 
have the time, and mental and moral equip 
ment to give to the work. Were I a man, 
I should not sleep o nights until some way 
was devised to prevent all the terrible pov 
erty and ignorance and brutishness we were 
talking about the other day. I went to see 
that Spillini family again. I was afraid to 
go alone, so I took with me two girls who 
are in a sewing class, which is, just now, a 
fad at our Church Guild. I thought their 
experience with poverty would enable them 
to think of a way to get at this case; but it 
did not. They appeared to think it was all 
right. It seems to me that ignorance and 
poverty leave no room for thought, or even 
for much feeling. It hurt me like a knife to 



66 pras lew, Sir, Idbose Daughter? 



have those girls laugh over it after we came 
out; at least, one of them laughed, and the 
other seemed scornful. It is not fair to ex 
pect more of them, I know, for we expect so 
little of ourselves. It is thinking of all this 
that makes me write to tell you how glad I 
am that you are to represent your district in 
Albany. Such men are needed, for I know 
you will work for the poor with the skill of 
a trained intellect and a sympathetic heart. 
I am so glad. Sincerely your friend, Ger 
trude Foster." 

Mr. Avery replaced the note in his 
pocket, and smiled contentedly. "I don t 
care a great deal what the fellows at the 
club say," he repeated. "I m satisfied, if 
Gertrude " He had spoken the last few 
words almost audibly, and the name startled 
him. He realized for the first time that he 
had fallen into the habit of thinking of her 
as Gertrude, and it suddenly flashed upon 
him that Miss Foster might be a good deal 
surprised by that fact if she knew it. He 
fell to wondering if she would also be an 
noyed. There was a tinge of anxiety in the 
speculation. Then it occurred to him that 



l>ou, Sir, TiClbose Daugbterl 67 

the sewing class of the Guild might give an 
outlet and a chance for a bit of pleasure to 
that strange girl he had seen at Grady s 
Pavilion, and he made a little memorandum, 
and decided to call upon Gertrude and sug 
gest it to her. He fell asleep that night and 
dreamed of Gertrude Foster, holding out a 
helping hand to a strange, tall girl, with 
dissatisfied eyes, and that Ettie Berton was 
laughing gaily and making everybody com 
fortable, by asserting that she liked every 
thing exactly as she found it. 



68 pras l?ou, Sir, TUJlbose Daughter? 



YI. 

The next evening Avery called upon Ger 
trude to thank her for her letter, and, inci 
dentally, to tell her of the experience at 
Grady s Pavilion, and bespeak the good 
office of the Guild for those two human 
pawns, who had, somehow, weighed upon 
his heart. 

Avery w r as not a Churchman nnnself, but 
he felt very sure that any Guild which 
would throw Gertrude Foster s influence 
about less fortunate girls, would be good, 
so he gave very little thought to the phase 
of it which was not wholly related to the 
personality of the young woman in whose 
eyes he had grown to feel he must appear 
well and worthy, if he retained his self- 
respect. This bar of judgment had come, 
by unconscious degrees, to be the one before 
which he tried his own cases for and against 
himself. 



Jt)ou, Sir, TJdbose Daughter t 69 

* Would Gertrude like it if she should 
know? Would I dislike to have her know 
that I did this or felt that? " was now so 
constantly a part of his mental processes, 
that he had become quite familiar with her 
verdicts, which were most often passed 
from his point of view, and in his own mind 
without the knowledge of the girl herself. 

He had never talked of love to her, except 
in the general and impersonal fashion of 
young creatures who are wont to eagerly 
discuss the profound perplexities of life 
without having come face to face with one 
of them. One day they had talked of love 
in a cottage. The conversation had been 
started by the discussion of a new novel 
they had just read, and Avery told her of a 
strange fellow whom he knew, who had mar 
ried against the wishes of his father, and 
had been disinherited. 

"He lost his grip, somehow," said Avery, 
" and went from one disaster into another. 
First he lost his place, and the little salary 
they had to live on was stopped. It was no 
fault of his. It had been in due course of a 
business change in the firm he worked for. 



70 Pra^ H?ou, Sir, lldbose augbtcrt 

He got another, but not so good a situation, 
but the little debts that had run up while he 
was idle were a constant drag on him. He 
never seemed able to catch up. Then his 
wife s health failed. She needed a change 
of climate, rare and delicate food, a quiet 
mind relieved of anxiety, but he could not 
give her these. His own nerves gave way 
under the strain, and at last sickness over 
took him, and he had to appeal to me for a 
loan." 

It was the letter which his friend had 
written when in that desperate frame of 
mind, which Avery read to Gertrude the 
day they had discussed the novel together. 
It was a strange, desperate letter, and it had 
greatly stirred Gertrude. One passage in it 
had rather shocked her. It was this: 
:? When a fellow is young, and knows little 
enough of life to accept the fictions of fic 
tion as guides, he talks or thinks about it as 
? love in a cottage. After he has tried it a 
while, and suffered in heart and soul because 
of his love of those whom he must see day 
after day handicapped in mind and wrecked 
in body for the need of larger means, he 



l?ou, Sir, Tldbose Daugbter? 71 

begins to speak of it mournfully as f poverty 
with love. But when that awful day comes, 
when sickness or misfortune develops before 
j,iis helpless gaze all the horrors of depend 
ence and agony of mind that the future out 
look shows him, then it is that the fitting 
description comes, and he feels like painting 
above the door he dreads to enter f hell at 
home. Without the love there would be no 
home ; without the poverty no hell. Neither 
lightens the burdens of the other. Each 
multiplies all that is terrible in both." 

Gertrude had listened to the letter with a 
sad heart. When she did not speak, Avery 
felt that he should modify some of its terms 
if he would be fair to his absent acquaint 
ance. 

" Of course he would have worded it a 
little differently if he had known that any 
one else would read it. He was desperate. 
He had gone through such a succession of 
disasters. If anything was going to fall it 
seemed as if he was sure to be under it, so I 
don t much wonder at his language after " 

" I don t wonder at it at all," said Ger 
trude, looking steadily into the fire. <:t What 



72 IPrag ]ou t Sir, Wbose 2>au0btert 

seems wonderful, is the facts which his 
words portray. I can see that they are 
facts; but what I cannot see is is " 

w How he could express them so raspingly 
so V " began Avery, but she turned to 
him quite frankly surprised. 

" Oh, no ! ]N"ot that. But how can it be 
right that it should be so? And if it is not 
right, why do not you men who have the 
power, do something to straighten things 
out? Is this sort of suffering absolutely 
necessary in the world?" 

It was this talk and its suggestions which 
had led Avery to first take seriously into 
consideration the proposition that he run for 
a seat in the Assembly. It seemed to him 
that men like himself, who had both leisure 
and convictions, might do some good work 
there, and he began to realize that the law- 
making of the state was left, for the most 
part, in very dangerous hands, and that a 
law once passed must inevitably help to 
crystalize public opinion in such a way as 
to retard freer or better action. 

? To think of allowing that class of men 
to set the standards about which public 



12ou, Sir, mbosc 2>au0bter? 73 

opinion forms and rallies ! " he thought, as 
the professional politician arose before him, 
and his mind was made up. He would be a 
candidate. So the night after his experi 
ence at Grady s Pavilion he had another 
puzzle to lay before Gertrude. When he 
entered the hallway he was sorry to hear 
voices in the drawing-room. He had hoped 
to find Gertrude and her mother alone. His 
first impulse was to leave his card and call 
at another time, but the servant, recogniz 
ing his hesitation, ventured a bit of informa 
tion. 

"Excuse me, Mr. Avery, but I don t think 
they will be here long. It s a couple of 
They" 

* Thank you, James. Are they not friends 
of Miss Gertrude?" 

James smiled in a manner which dis 
played a large capacity for pity. 

:? Well, sir, I shouldn t say they was ex 
actly friends. iNb, sir, ner yet callers, sir. 
They re some of them Guilders." 

Avery could not guess what Gertrude 
would have gilders in the drawing-room for 
at that hour, but decided to enter. "Mr. 



74 Prag l^ou, Sir, TKflbose Daughter 7 

Avery;" said James, in his most formal and 
perfunctory fashion, as he drew back the 
portiere and announced the new arrival. ~No 
one would have dreamed from the stolid 
front presented by the liveried functionary, 
that he had just exchanged confidences with 
the guest. 

w Let me introduce my friends to you, Mr. 
Avery," began Gertrude, and two figures 
arose, and from one came a gay little laugh, 
a mock courtesy, and " Law me ! It s him ! 
"Well, if this don t beat the Dutch! " 

She extended her hand to him and laughed 
again. * We didn t shake hands last night, 
but now s we re regul rly interduced I guess 
we will," she added. 

Avery took her hand, and then offered 
his to her companion, and bowed and smiled 
again. 

" Really, I shall begin to grow supersti 
tious," he said, in an explanatory tone to 
Gertrude. " I came here to-night to see if 
I could arrange to have you three young 
ladies meet; to learn if there was a chance 
at the Guild to - 

"Oh," smiled Gertrude, beginning to 



JJou, Sir, TKHbose DaugbterT 75 

grasp the situation. " How very nice ! But 
these two are my star girls at the Guild 
now. We were just arranging some work 
for next week, but " 

? Yas, she wants to go down to that Spil- 
lini hole agin," broke in Ettie Berton, and 
Francis King glanced suspiciously from 
Gertrude to Avery. She wondered just 
what these two were thinking. She felt 
very uncomfortable and wished that he had 
not come . in. She had not spoken since 
Avery entered, and he realized her discom 
fort. 

You treated us pretty shabbily last 
night, Miss King," he said, smiling, and 
then he turned to Gertrude. " She left me 
in the middle of a remark. We met at 
Grady s Pavilion, and if I m elected, I learn 
that the fathers of both of these young 
ladies will be my companions-in-arms in the 
Assembly. They " In spite of herself, 
Gertrude s face showed her surprise, but 
Ettie Berton broke in with a gay laugh. 

"Are you in politics? Law me! I d 
never a believed it. I don t see how you re 
agoin to get on unless you get a " 



76 fi>ras l)ou, Sir, Wbose Daughter? 

She realized that her remark was going to 
indicate a belief in certain incapacity in him, 
and she took another cue. 

" My pa says nobody hardly can t get on 
in politics by himself. You see my pa is a 
sort of a starter for Fan s pa in politics, re 
else he d never got on in the world. Fan s 
pa backs him, and he starts things that her 
pa wants started." 

Francis moved uneasily, and Gertrude 
said : T That is natural enough since they 
were friends here, and, I think you told me, 
were in business together, didn t you? " 

Ettie laughed, and clapped her hands 
gaily. T That s good ! In business together ! 
Oh, Lord, I ll tell pa that. He ll roar. Why, 
pa is a prerofessional starter. He ain t in busi 
ness with no particular one only jest while 
the startin s done." 

The girl appeared to think that Avery 
and Gertrude were quite familiar with pro 
fessional starters, and she rattled on gaily. 

"I thought I d die the time he started 
them butcher shops for Fan s pa, though. 
He hadn t never learnt the difference be 
tween a rib roast n a soup bone, n he had 



H?ou, Sir, TtClbose >augbter? 77 

to keep a printed paper hung np inside o ? 
the ice chest so s he d know which kind of a 
piece he got out to sell; but he talked so 
nfce an smooth all the time he was a gettin 
it out, an tole each customer that the piece 
they asked fer was the ? choicest part of the 
animal, but that mighty few folks had sense 
enough to know it oh, it was funny ! I 
used to get where I could hear him, and jest 
die a laughin . He d sell the best in the 
shop for ten cents a pound, an he d cut it 
which ever way they ast him to, an make 
heavy weight. His price list was a holy 
show, but he jest scooped in all the trade 
around there in no time, an the other shops 
had to move. Then you ought t a seen 
Fan s pa come in there an brace things up ! 
Whew ! " She laughed delightedly, and 
Francis s face flushed. 

w He braced prices up so stiff that some o 
the customers left, but most of em stayed 
rather n hunt up a new place to start books 
in. Pa, he d started credit books with all 
of em. 

Pa, he was in the back room the first day 
Fan s pa and the new clerk took the shop, 



78 pras l?ou, Sir, Idbose Baugbter? 

after pa got it good n started. Him an 
me most died laughin at the kickin o the 
people. Every last one of em ast fer pa to 
wait on em, but Fan s pa he told em that 
he d bankrupted hisself and had t sell out 
to him. Pa said he wisht he had somethin 
to bankrupt on. But, law, he ll never make 
no money. He ain t built that way. He s 
a tip-top perfessional starter tho , ain t he, 
Fan? " she concluded with a gleeful reminis 
cent grimace at her friend. Francis shifted 
her position awkwardly, and tried to feel 
that everything was quite as it should be in 
good society, and Gertrude made a little 
attempt to divert the conversation to affairs 
of the Guild, but Ettie Berton, who ap 
peared to look upon her father as a huge 
joke, and to feel herself most at home in 
discussing him, broke in again : 

" But the time he started the ? Stable fer 
Business Horses, was the funniest yet," 
and she laughed until her eyes filled with 
tears, and she dried them with the lower 
part of the palms of her hands, rubbing 
them red. 

" The boss told him not to take anything 



li?ou, Sir, Tldbose Daugbter? 79 

but business horses. "What he meant was, to 
be sure not to let in any fancy high-step 
pers, fer fear they d get hurt or sick, an 
h e d have trouble about em. "Well, pa 
didn t understand at first, an he wouldn t 
take no mules, an most all the business 
horses around there was mules, an when 
drivers d ask him why he wouldn t feed 
em er take em in, he jest had t fix up the 
funniest stories y ever heard. He tole one 
man that he hadn t laid in the kind o feed 
mules eat, n the man told him he was the 
biggest fool to talk he ever see. The mule- 
man he " 

Francis King had arisen, and started 
awkwardly toward Gertrude, with her hand 
extended. 

" I think we ought to go," she said, unea 
sily, her large eyes burning with mortifica 
tion, and an oppressed sense of being at a 
disadvantage. 

" So soon?" said Gertrude, smiling as she 
took her hand, and laid her other arm about 
the shoulders of Ettie, who had hastened to 
place herself in the group. :c I was so en 
tertained that I did not realize that perhaps 



80 P>ras lt)ou, Sir, TKHboee Daughter? 

you ought to go before it grows late oh," 
glancing at a tiny watch in her bracelet, " it 
is late too late for you to go way down 
there alone. I will send James, or " 

"Allow me the pleasure, will you not? " 
asked Avery, bowing first to Gertrude, and 
then toward Francis, and Gertrude said : 

" Oh, thank you, if " but Ettie clapped 
her hands in glee. 

"Well, that s too rich! Just as if we 
didn t go around by ourselves all the time, 
and Lord ! pa says if anybody carries me 
off he d only go as far as the lamp-post, and 
drop me as soon as the light struck me! 
Now Fan s pretty, but * " she laughed, and 
made clawing movements in the air. " No 
body 11 get away with Queen Fan s long s 
she s got finger-nails n teeth." She snapped 
her pretty little white teeth together with 
mock viciousness, and laughed again. " I d 
just pity the fellow that tried any tomfool 
ery with Queen Fan. He d wish he d died 
young! " 

They all laughed a bit at this sally, and 
Avery said he did not want Miss King to be 
forced to extremities in self-protection while 



|pra 2?ou, Sir, "CGlbose Daughter? 81 

he was able to relieve her of the necessity. 

When James closed the door behind the 
laughing group, he glanced at Miss Ger 
trude to see what she thought of it, but he 
remarked to Susan later on, that " Miss 
Gertrude looked as if she was born n 
brought up that way herself. She didn t 
show no amusement ner no sarcasm in her 
face. An as fcr Mr. Avery, it was nothing 
short of astonishing, to see him offer his 
arms to those two Guilders as they started 
down the avenue." 

And Susan ventured it as her present be 
lief, that if Gertrude s father once caught 
any of her Guilders around, he d " make 
short work of the whole business. She 
ought t be ashamed o herself, so she ought. 
Ketch me, if I was in her shoes, a consortin 
with " 

" Anybody but me, Susie," put in the de 
voted James; but alas, for him, the stiff, 
unyielding hooked joint of his injured finger 
came first in contact with the wrist of the 
fair Susan as he essayed to clasp her hand, 
and she evaded the grasp and flung out of 



82 pras l>ou, Sir, TKHbose DauQbter? 

the room with a shiver. "Keep that old 
twisted base ball bat off o me ! " I " 

" Oh, Susie ! " said James, dolefully, to 
himself, as he slowly surrounded the offend 
ing member with the folds of his handker 
chief, which gave it the appearance of being 
in hospital. "Oh, Susie! how kin you?" 

When John Martin, on his way, intending 
to drop in for the last act of the opera, 
passed Gertrude s door just in time to see 
Avery and the two girls come down the 
steps, his lip curled a bit, and his heart per 
formed that strange feat which loving hearts 
have achieved in all the ages past, in spite 
of reason and of natural impulses of kind 
ness. It took on a distinctly hard feeling 
towards Avery, and this feeling was not 
unmixed with resentment. "How dare he 
take girls like that to her house? I was a 
fool to take her to the Spillinis, but I d 
never be idiot enough to take that type of 
girl to her house. Avery s political freak 
has dulled his sense of propriety." 

Mr. Martin wondered vaguely if he ought 
not to say something to Gertrude s father, 
and then he thought it might possibly be 



fou, Sir, Wbose Daughter? 83 

better to touch lightly upon it himself in 
talking to her. 

He had heard some gossip at the opera 
and in the club, which indicated that society 
did not approve altogether of some of the 
things Gertrude had recently said and done ; 
but that it smiled approvingly at what it 
believed to be as good as an engagement 
between the young lady and Selden Avery. 
Martin ground his teeth now as he thought 
of it, and glanced again at the retreating 
forms of Avery and the two girls. 

w It was that visit to the Spillinis, and the 
revelations of life which it gave her, that 
is to blame for it all," he groaned. " I was 
an accursed fool an accursed fool ! " 

That night Gertrude lay thinking how 
charmingly Selden Avery had met the situa 
tion, and how well he had helped carry it off 
with Ettie and Francis. "He seemed to 
look at it all just as I do," she thought. I 
felt that I knew just what he was thinking, 
and he certainly guessed that I wanted him 
to see them home, exactly as if they had 
been girls of our own set. Poor little Ettie! 
I wonder what we can do with, or for, such 



84 Prag Jijou, Sir, Idbosc Daugbtert 

as she? She is so hopelessly happy and 
ignorant." Then she fell asleep, and 
dreamed of rescuing Ettie from the fangs 
of a maddened dog, and Francis stood by 
and looked scornfully at Gertrude s lacer 
ated hands, and then pointed to her little 
friend s mangled body and the smile upon 
her dead lips. 

" She never knew what hurt her, and she 
teased the dog to begin with," she said. 
T You are maimed for life, and may go mad, 
just trying to help her and she never 
knew and she never cared." Gertrude s 
dream had strayed and wandered into vaga 
ries without form or outline, and in the 
morning nothing of it was left but an unrea 
sonably heavy heart, and a restless desire to 
do she knew not what. 



lou, Sir, TKIlbose 2>augbter? 85 



vn. 

"When Avery took his seat in the Assem 
bly he learned that Ettie Berton s father had 
been true to his calling. He still might be 
described as a professional starter. Any 
bill which was in need of some one to either 
introduce or offer a speech in its favor, found 
in John Berton an ever-ready champion. 

Not that he either understood or believed 
in all the bills he presented or advocated. 
Belief and understanding were not for sale ; 
nor, indeed, were they always very much 
within his own grasp. He was in the Leg 
islature to promote, or start, such meas 
ures as stood in need of his peculiar abilities. 
This was very soon understood, and many a 
bill which other men feared or hesitated to 
present, found its way to him and through 
him to a reading. For a while Avery 
watched this process with amusement. He 
wrote to Gertrude, from time to time, some 



86 pra^ few, Sir, Wbose 2>augbter? 

very humorous letters about it ; but finally, 
one day a letter came which so bitterly de 
nounced both King and Berton, that Ger 
trude wondered what could have wrought 
the sudden change. 

" He has introduced a bill which is now 
before my committee," he wrote, "that 
passes all belief. It is infamous beyond 
words to express, and, to my dismay, it finds 
many advocates beside King and Berton. 
That a conscienceless embruted inmate of 
an opium dive in Mott Street might ac 
knowledge to himself in the dark, and when 
he was alone, that he could advocate such 
a measure, seems to me possible; but 
men who are in one sense reputable, 
who many of them look upon them 
selves as respectable ; men who are fathers 
of girls and brothers of women, could even 
consider such a bill, I would not have be 
lieved possible, and yet, I am ashamed to 
say that I learn now for the first time, that 
our state is not the only one where similar 
measures have not only found advocates, 
but where there were enough moral lepers 
with voting power to establish such legisla- 



lou, Sir, Wbose Baugbter? 87 

tion. It makes me heartsick and desperate. 
I am ashamed of the human race. I am 
doubly ashamed that it is to my sex such 
infamous laws are due. 

"You were right, my dear Miss Gertrude; 
you were right. It is outrageous that we 
allow mere conscienceless politicians to leg 
islate for respectable people, and yet my 
position here is neither pleasant, nor will it, I 
fear, be half so profitable as you hope as 
I hoped, before. I came and learned all I now 
know. But, believe me, I shall vote on 
every bill and make every speech, with your 
face before me, and as if I were making that 
particular law to apply particularly to you." 

Gertrude smiled as she re-read that part 
of his letter. 

She wondered what awful bill Ettie s 
father had presented. She had never before 
thought that a legislator might strive to 
enact worse laws than he already found in 
the statute books. She had thought most 
of the trouble was that they did not take 
the time and energy to repeal old, bad laws 
that had come to us from an ignorant or 
brutal past. 



88 pras lou, Sir, Idboee Daughter? 

It struck her as a good idea, that a man 
should never vote on a measure that he did 
not feel he was making a rule of action to 
apply to the woman for whom he cared 
most; she knew now that she was that 
woman for Selden Avery. He had told her 
that the night he came to bring the news 
that he was elected. It had been told in 
a strangely simple way. 

Her father and mother had laughingly 
congratulated him upon his election, and 
Mr. Foster had added, banteringly : " If one 
may congratulate a man upon taking a 
descent like that." 

Gertrude had held one of her father s 
hands in her own, and tried by gentle pres 
sure to check him. Her father laughed, 
and added : r The little woman here is try 
ing to head me off. She appears to 
think" 

"Papa," said Gertrude, extending her 
other hand to Avery, "I do think that Mr. 
Avery is to be congratulated that he has 
the splendid courage to try to do something 
distinctly useful for other people, than sim 
ply for the few of us who are outside or 



lou, Sir, TMbose Daughter? 89 

above most of the horrors of life. I do " 
Avery suddenly lifted her hand to his 
lips, and his eyes told the rest. " Mr. Fos 
ter," he said, still holding the girl s hand, 
and blushing painfully, "there can never 
be but one horror in the world too awful for 
me to face, and that would be to lose the 
full respect and confidence of your daugh 
ter. I know I have those now, and for the 
rest " He glanced again at Gertrude. 
She was pale, arid she was looking with an 
appeal in her eyes to her mother. 

Mrs Foster moved a step nearer, and put 
her arm about the girl. " For the rest, Mr. 
Avery, for the rest later on, later on," she 
said, kindly. " Gertrude has traveled very 
fast these past few months, but she is her 
mother s girl yet." Then she smiled kindly, 
and added: "Gertrude has set a terrible 
standard for the man she will care for. I 
tremble for him and I tremble for her." 

? Tut, tut," said her father, " there are no 
standards in love none whatever. Love 
has its own way, and standards crumble " 
"In the past, perhaps. But in the fu 
ture " began his wife. 



90 prag lew, Sir, TDHbose Daugbter? 

"In the future," said Gertrude, as she 
drew nearer to her mother, " In the future 
they may not need to crumble, because, 
because " Her eyes met Avery s, and 
fell. She saw that his muscles were tense, 
and his face was unhappy. 

" Because men will be great enough and 
true enough to rise to the ideals, and not 
need to crumble the ideals to bring them to 
their level." 

Avery bent forward and grasped her hand 
that was within her mother s. 

"Thank you," he said, tremulously. 
? Thank you, oh, darling ! and the rest can 
wait," he said, to Mrs. Foster, and dropping 
both hands, he left the room and the house. 

Gertrude ran up-stairs and locked her 
door. 

Mr. Foster turned to his wife with a half 
amused, half vexed face. "Well, this is a 
pretty kettle of fish. What s to become of 
Martin, I d like to know? " 

"John Martin has never had a ghost of a 
chance at any time never," said his wife, 
slowly trailing her gown over the rug, and 
dragging with it a small stand that had 



lou, Sir, TKHbosc 2>augbtet? 91 

caught its carved claw in the lace. It top 
pled and fell with a crash. The beautiful 
vase it had held was in fragments. 

" Oh, Katharine ! " exclaimed her husband, 
springing forward to disengage her lace. 
"Oh, it is too bad, isn t it? " 

And Katherine Foster burst into tears, 
and with her arms suddenly thrown about 
her husband s neck she sobbed : " Oh, yes, it 
is too bad ! It is too bad ! " But it did not 
seem possible to her husband that the broken 
vase could have so affected her, and surely 
no better match could be asked for Gertrude. 
It could not be that. He was deeply per 
plexed, and Katherine Foster, with a search 
ing look in her face, kissed him sadly as one 
might kiss the dead, and went to her 
daughter s room. 

She tapped lightly and then said, "It is 
I, daughter." 

The girl opened the door and as quickly 
closed and locked it. Instantly their arms 
were around each other and both were close 
to tears. 

"Don t try to talk, darling," whispered 
Mrs. Foster, as they sat down upon the 



92 pras l^ou, Sir, Wbo0e Daughter 1 



couch. "Don t try to talk. I understand 
better than you do yet, and oh, Gertrude, 
your mother loves you ! " 

:? Yes, mamma" said the girl, hoarsely. 
"Dear little mamma poor little mamma, 
we all love you;" and Mrs. Poster sighed. 



prag 11)011, Sir, Wbose Baugbtet? 93 



YIH. 

The clay Gertrude received Avery s letter 
about bill number 408, she asked her father 
what the bill was about. He looked at her 
in surprise, and then at his wife. "I don t 
know anything about it, child, * he said; 
"Why?" 

Gertrude drew from her pocket Avery s 
letter and read that part of it. Her father s 
face clouded. 

!? What business has he to worry you with 
his dirty political work? I infer from what 
he says that it is a bill that I ve only heard 
mentioned once or twice. The sort of thing" 
they do in secret sessions and keep from the 
newspapers in the main. That is, they are 
only barely named in the paper and under a 
number or heading which people don t under 
stand. I m disgusted with Avery per 
fectly!" 

Gertrude wa,s (surprised, but with 



94 Pras J9ou, Sir, TUHbose H>auQbter7 

ignorance and absolute sincerity of youth, 
she appealed to her mother. 

"Mamma, do you see any reason why, 
from that letter, papa should be vexed with 
Mr. Avery? It seemed to me to have just 
the right tone ; but I am sorry he did not 
tell me just what the bill is." 

:? You let me catch him telling you, if it s 
what I think it is," retorted her father, rather 
hotly. "It s not fit for your ears. Good 
women have no business with such know 
ledge and " 

Mrs. Foster held up a warning finger to 
her daughter, but the girl had not been 
convinced. 

"Don t good men know such things, 
papa? Don t such bills deal with people in 
a way which will touch women, too? I 
can t see why you put it that way. If a bill 
is to be passed into a law, and it is of so 
vile a nature as you say and as this letter 
indicates, in whose interest is it to be silent 
or ignorant? Do you want such a bill 
passed? Would mamma or I? 

Her father laughed, and rose from the 
table. "It is in. the interest of nothing 



l?ou, Sir, TJdbose Dauflbter? 95 

good. ~No, I should say if you or your 
mother, or any other respectable mother 
at all, were in the Legislature, no such 
bill would have a ghost of a chance ; but " 

Gertrude s eyes were fixed upon her 
father. They were very wide open and 
perplexed. 

"Then it can be only in the interest of 
the vilest and lowest of the race that good 
men keep silent, and prefer to have good 
women ignorant and helpless in such " 
she began; but her father turned at the 
door and said, nervously and almost sharply, 
" Gertrude, if Avery has no more sense 
than to . start you thinking about such 
things, I advise you to cut his acquaintance. 
Such topics are not fit for women ; I am per 
fectly disgusted with " 

As he was passing out of the dining- 
room, John Martin entered the street door 
and faced him. " Hello, Martin ! Glad to 
see you! The ladies are still at luncheon; 
won t you come right in here and join them 
in a cup of chocolate? " 

He was heartily glad of the interruption, 



96 pras H?ou t Sir, Wbose Daughter? 



and felt that it was very timely indeed that 
Mr. Martin had dropped in. 

" No, I can t take off my top-coat. Get 
yonrs. I want yon to join me in a spin in 
the park. I ve got that new filly outside." 
Mr. Foster ran up-stairs to get ready for the 
drive, and the ladies insisted that a cup of 
hot chocolate was the very thing to prepare 
Mr. Martin for the nipping air. He was a 
trifle ill at ease. He wanted to speak of 
Selden Avery, and he feared if he did so 
that he would say the wrong thing. He 
had come to-day, partly to have a talk with 
his friend Foster about certain gossip he 
had heard. Fate took the reins. 

In rising, Gertrude had dropped Avery s 
letter. John Martin was the first to see it. 
He laughingly offered it to her with the 
query: "Do you sow your love letters about 
that way, Miss Gertrude? " 

" Gertrude s love letters take the form of 
political speeches just now, and bills and 
committee reports and the like," laughed 
her mother. Her father was just showing 
his teeth over that one, He thinks women 
have no " 



H?ou f Sir, Tldboee Daughter? 97 

" Mr. Martin, tell me truly," broke in the 
girl, " tell me truly, don t you think that we 
are all equally interested in having only 
good laws made? And don t you think if 
a proposed measure is too bad for good 
women even to be told what it is, that it is 
bad enough for all good people to protest 
against? " 

"How are they going to protest if they 
don t know what it is?" laughed Martin. 
Well, Miss Gertrude, I believe that is the 
first time I ever suspected you to be of 
Celtic blood. But what dreadful measure 
is Avery advocating now?" he smiled. 
"Really, I shouldn t have believed it of 
Avery! " 

"What! " exclaimed Mr. Foster, entering 
with his top-coat buttoned to the chin, and 
his driving-hat in hand. Gertrude still held 
the letter. " No, nor should I have believed 
it of Avery. It was an outrageous thing 
for him to do. What business has Gertrude 
or Katherine with his disgusting old bills. 
Just before you came in I advised Gertrude 
to cut him entirely, and " 

Mrs. Foster was trying to indicate to her 



98 pras l^ou, Sir, IGlbose 2>augbter? 



husband that he was off the track, and that 
Mr. Martin did not understand him; but he 
had the bit in his teeth and went on. r You 
agree with me now, don t you? What do 
you think of his mentioning such things to 
Gertrude?" He reached over and took the 
letter from his daughter s hand, and read a 
part of the obnoxious paragraph. 

John Martin s face was a study. He 
glanced at the two ladies, and then fixed 
his eyes upon Gertrude s father. 

" Good Gad ! " he said, slowly and almost 
below his breath. " If I were in your place 
I should shoot him. The infamous " He 
checked himself, and the two men withdrew. 
Gertrude and her mother waved at them 
from the window, and then the girl said: 
" I intend to know what that bill is. What 
right have men to make laws that they 
themselves believe are too infamous for 
good women even to know about? Don t 
you believe if all laws or bills had to be 
openly discussed before and with women, it 
would be better, mamma? I do." 

Her mother s cheek was against the cold 
glass of the window. She was watching 



Jt)ou, Sir, Mbose Daughter? 99 

the receding forms. Presently she turned 
slowly to her daughter and said, in a trem 
bling tone : 

"Such bills as this one," she drew a small 
printed slip from her bosom and handed it 
to Gertrude, " such bills as that would never 
be dreamed of by men if they knew they 
must pass the discussion of a pure girl or a 
mother never! Their only chance is 
secret session, and the fact that even men 
like your like Mr. Martin and and " 
she was going to say "your father," but the 
girl pressed her hand and she did not. 
"That even such as they for what reason 
heaven only knows think they are serving 
the best interests of the women they love by 
a silence which fosters and breeds just such 
measures as " 

Gertrude was reading the queer, blind 
phraseology of the bill. Katherine had 
watched her daughter s face as she talked, 
and now the girl s lips were moving and she 
read audibly: "be, and is hereby enacted, 
that henceforth the legal age in the state of 
York whereat a female may give con- 



100 pras H>ou, Sir, HQbosc Baugbter? 

sent to the violation of her own person shall 
be reduced to ten years." 

Gertrude dropped the paper in her lap and 
looked up like a frightened, hunted creature. 
" Great God ! " she exclaimed, with an inten 
sity born of a sudden revelation. "Great 
God ! and they call themselves men ! And 
other men keep silence furnish all the soil 
and nurture for infamy like that! Those 
who keep silence are as guilty as the rest! 
Those who try to prevent women from know 
ing oh, mamma ! " Her eyes were intense. 
She sprang to her feet; "and John Martin, 
who thinks he loves me is one of those men ! 
Knowing such a bill as that is pending, his 
indignation is aroused, not at the bill, not at 
the men who try to smuggle it through, not 
at the awful thing it implies, but that so 
strict a silence is not kept that such as we 
may not know of it! He blames Selden 
Avery for coming to me to us with his 
splendid chivalry, and sharing with us his 
horror, making us the confidants of that 
inner conscience which sees, in the intended 
victims of this awful bill, his little sisters and 
yours and mine!" There were indignant 



IfJou, Sir, THIlbose Daughter? 101 

tears in her eyes. She closed them, and her 
white lips were drawn tense. Presently she 
asked, without opening her eyes : " Mamma, 
do you suppose if you, instead of Mr. Avery, 
were chairman of that committee, that such a 
bill as that would ever have been presented? 
Do you suppose, if any mother on earth held 
the veto power, that such a bill would ever 
disgrace a statute book? Are there enough 
men, even of a class who generally go to 
the Legislature, who, in spite of their father 
hood, in spite of the fact that they have little 
sisters, are such beasts as to pass a bill like 
that? A ten-year-old girl! A mere baby! 
And oh, mamma! it is too hideous to 
believe, even of such a bill could never 
pass. Never on earth ! Surely, Ettie Berton, 
poor little thing, has the only father living 
who is capable of that ! " 

Mrs. Foster opened her lips to say that 
several states already had the law, and that 
one had placed the age at seven; but she 
checked herself. Her daughter s excitement 
was so great, she decided to wait. The 
experience of the past few months had 
awakened the fire in the nature of this strong 



102 t>rag 10ou t Sir, "Odbcse Bausbtcr? 

daughter of licrs. She had seen the cool, 
steady, previously indifferent, well-poised 
girl stirred to the very depths of her nature 
over the awfnl conditions of poverty, igno 
rance, and vice she had, for the first time, 
learned to know. Gertrude had become a 
regular student of some of the problems of 
life, and she had carried her studies into 
practical investigation. It had grown to be 
no new thing for her to take Francis, or Ettie, 
or both, when she went 011 these errands, 
and the study of their points of view of 
the effect of it all upon their ignorance- 
soaked minds, had been one of the most 
touching things to her. Their imaginations 
were so stunted so embryonic, so unde 
veloped that they saw no better way. To 
them, ignorance, poverty, squalor, and vice 
were a necessary part of life. Wealth, com 
fort, happiness, ambition were, naturally and 
rightly, perquisites, some way, some how, of 
the few. 

w God rules, and all is as he wishes it or it 
would not be that way," sagely remarked 
Francis King, one day. It had startled Ger 
trude. Her philosophy, her observation, her 



l?ou, Sir, Wbose Dauflbter? 103 

reason, and her religion were in a state of 
conflict just then. She had alway supposed 
that she was an Episcopalian with all that 
this implied. She was beginning to doubt 
it at times. 

Mrs. Foster looked at her daughter now, 
as she sat there flushed and excited. She 
wondered what would come of it all. She 
had always studied this daughter of hers, 
and tried to follow the girl s moods. Now 
she thought she would cut across them. 
"Gertrude, you may put that bill with your 
letter. Mr. Avery mailed it to me. Of 
course he meant that I should show it to you 
if I thought best. I did think best, but now 
but I don t want you to excite yourself 
too " She broke off suddenly. Her 
daughter s eyes were upon her in surprise. 
Mrs. Foster laughed a little nervously, and 
kissed the girl s hand as it lay in her own. 
"It seems rather droll for your gay little 
mother to caution you against losing control 
of yourself, doesn t it?" she asked. "You 
who were always all balance wheel, as your 
father says. But " 

" Mamma, don t you think Mr. Avery did 



104 

perfectly right to send me that letter and 
this to you?" broke in Gertrude, as if she 
had not heard the admonition of her mother, 
and had followed her own thoughts from 
some more distant point. 

"Perfectly," said her mother. "He was 
evidently deeply disturbed by the bill. He 
felt that you were, and should be, his con 
fidant. He simply did not dream of hiding 
it from you, I believe. It was the sponta 
neous act of one who so loves you that his 
whole life all of that which moves him- 
greatly must, as a matter of course, be open 
to you. 1 thought that all out when the bill 
came addressed to me. He " The girl 
kissed her in silence. 

;? You have such splendid self-respect, 
Gertrude. Most of us most women 
have none. We do not expect, do not 
demand, the least respect that is real from 
men. They have no respect for our opinions, 
and so upon all the real and important things 
of life, they hold out to us the sham of 
silence as more respectful than candor. 
And we most of us are weak enough to 
say we like it. Most of us " 



jjjou, Sir, "Odbose Daugbtert 105 

Gertrude slipped down upon a cushion at 
the feet of her mother, and put her young, 
strong arms about the supple waist. She 
had of late read from time to time so much 
of the unrest and scorn back of the gay and 
compliant face of her mother. "Mamma, 
my real mamma," she said, softly, "I am so 
sorry for papa that he should have missed so 
much, so much that might have been his! 
A mental comrade like you " 

"Men of your father s generation did not 
want mental comrades in their wives, Ger 
trude. They" 

"A telegram, Miss Gertrude," said James, 
drawing aside the portiere. 

"The bill has been rushed through. 
Passed. Nineteen majority. Avery." Ger 
trude read it and handed it to her mother, 
and both women sat as if stunned by a blow. 



106 Iprag lt)ou, Sir, Mbose augbtec? 



IX. 

At the close of the Legislature, John 
Berton, professional starter, and his friend 
and ally, the father of Francis King, had 
returned to the city. Francis had grown, 
so her father thought, more handsome and 
less agreeable than ever. Her eyes were 
more dissatisfied, and she was, if possible, 
less pliant. She and Ettie Berton were 
working now in a store, and Francis said 
that she did not like it at all. The money 
she liked. It helped her to dress more as 
she wished, and then it had always cut 
Francis to the quick to be compelled to ask 
her father for money whenever she needed 
it, even for car fare. 

She had lied a good many times. Her 
whole nature rebelled against lying, but 
even this was easier to her than the status 
of dependence and beggary, so she had lied 
often about the price of shoes, or of a hat 



lou, Sir, Wbose Daugbtec? 107 

or dress, that there might be a trifle left 
over as a margin for her use in other ways. 
Her father was not unusually hard, with her 
about money, only that he demanded a strict 
accounting before he gave it to her. 

* What in thunder do you want of 
money? " he would ask, more as a matter 
of habit than anything else. "How much 
11 it take? Humph! "Well, I guess you ll 
have to have it, but " and so the ungra 
cious manner of giving angered and humili 
ated her. 

" Pa, give me ten cents ; I want it f er car 
fare. Thanks. ~Now fork over six dollars ; 
I got to get a dress after the car gets me to 
the store," was Ettie Berton s method. Her 
father would pretend not to have the money, 
and she would laugh and proceed to rifle his 
pockets. The scuffle would usually end in 
the girl getting more than she asked for, 
and was no unpleasant experience to her, 
and it appeared to amuse her father greatly. 
It was not, therefore, the same motive which 
actuated the two when they decided to try 
their fortunes as shop girls. The desire to 
be with Francis, to be where others were, 



108 prag lew, Sir, TJQbose Baugbtcr? 

for the sight and touch of the pretty things, 
for new faces and for mild excitement, were 
moving causes with Ettie Berton. The 
money she liked, too ; but if she could have 
had the place without the money or the 
money without the place, her choice would 
have been soon made. She would stay at 
the store. That she was a general favorite 
was a matter of course. She would do 
anything for the other girls, and the floor 
walkers and clerks found her always obedi 
ent and gaily willing to accept extra bur 
dens or to change places. For some time 
past, however, she had been on a different 
floor from the one where Francis presided 
over a trimming counter, and the girls saw 
little of each other, except on their way to 
and from the store. 

At last this changed too, for Francis was 
obliged to remain to see that the stock of 
her department was properly put away. At 
first Ettie waited for her, but later on she 
had fallen into the habit of going with a 
child nearer her own age, a little cash girl. 
Ettie was barely fourteen, and her new 
friend a year or two younger. At last 



, Sir, Wbo0e DaugbterT 109 

Francis King found that the motherless 
child had invited her new friends home with 
her, and had gone with them to their homes. 

As spring came on, Ettie went one Sun 
day to Coney Island, and did not tell Fran 
cis until afterward. She said that she had 
had a lovely time, but she appeared rather 
disinclined to talk about it. At the Guild 
one Wednesday evening, after the class 
began again in the fall, Francis King told 
Gertrude this, and asked her advice. She 
said: "It s none o my business, and she 
don t like me much any more, but I thought 
maybe I had ought to tell you, for for 
since I been in the store, I ve learnt a good 
deal about about things; an Ettie she 
don t seem to learn much of anything." 

"Is Ettie still living at her cousin s?" 
asked Gertrude. 

T Yes," said Francis, scornfully, " but she 
bout as well be livin by herself. Her 
cousin s always just gaddin round tryin 
t get married. I never did see such an 
awful fool. Before Et s pa went to the 
Legislature, we all did think he was goin* 
t marry her, but now " 



110 pras l?cw, Sir, THflboee Dauflbter? 

" Legislative honors have turned his head, 
have they? " smiled Gertrude, intent on her 
own thoughts in another direction. She was 
not, therefore, prepared for the sudden 
fling of temper in the strange girl beside 
her. 

? Yes, it has ; n if it don t turn some other 
way before long, I ll break his neck for him. 
I ain t marryin a widower if I do like 
Ettie." 

In spite of herself, Gertrude started a 
little. She looked at Francis quite steadily 
for a moment, and then said: "Could you 
and Ettie come to my house and spend the 
day next Sunday? I m glad you told me of 
Ettie s of about the change in her 
manner toward you." 

"Don t let on that I told you anything," 
said Francis, as they parted. 

Since they had been in the store they had 
not gone regularly to the weekly evening 
Guild meetings, and Gertrude had seen less 
of them. She was surprised, however, on 
the following Sunday, to see the strange, 
mysterious change in Ettie. A part of her 
frank, open, childish manner was gone, and 



lou, Sir, Wbose Daugbter? Ill 

yet nothing more mature had taken its 
place. There would be flashes of her usual 
manner, but long silences, quite foreign 
to the child, would follow. At the dinner 
table she grew deadly ill, and had to be 
taken up stairs. Gertrude tucked a soft 
cover about her on the couch in her own 
room, and gave her smelling salts and a trifle 
of wine. The child drank the wine but 
began to cry. 

"Oh, don t cry, Ettie," said Gertrude, 
stroking her hair gently. :? You ll be over 
it in a little while. I think our dining-room 
is much warmer than yours, and it was very 
hot to-day. Then your trying to eat the 
olives when you don t like them, might easily 
make you sick. You ll be all right after a 
little I m sure. Don t cry." 

"That s the same kind of wine I had 
that day at Coney Island," she said, and 
Gertrude thought how irrelevant the remark 
was, and how purely of physical origin were 
the tears of such a child. 

* Would you like a little more?" asked 
Gertrude, smiling. 

Ettie shivered, and closed her eyes. 



112 prag l)ou, Sir, TJClbose 2>augbter? 



I don t like it. I guess it ain t 
polite to say so, but Oh, of course maybe 
I d like it if I was well, but it made me sick 
that time, an so I don t like it now when I 
am sick." She laughed in a childish way, 
and then she drew Gertrude s face down 
near her own. rr Say, I ll tell you the solemn 
truth. It made me tight that day. He told 
me so afterwards, n I guess it did." 

Here was a revelation, indeed. Gertrude 
stroked the fluffy hair, gently. She was 
trying to think of just the right thing to 
say. It was growing dark in the room. 
Ettie reached up again and drew Gertrude s 
face down. 

" Say," she whispered, " you won t be mad 
at me for that, will you? He told me I 
wasn t to blab to anybody; but it always 
seems as if you wouldn t be mad at me, and" 
she began to weep again. 

" Don t cry," said Gertrude, again, gently. 
" Of course I am not angry with you. I am 
sorry it happened, but Ettie, who is kef" 

Ettie sobbed on, and held her arms close 
about Gertrude s neck. Again the older 
girl said, with lips close to the child s ear: 



H>ou, Sir, Wbose Daugbter? 113 

"Don t you think it would be better to tell 
me who he is? Is he so young as to not 
know better than to advise you that way, 
dear?" 

"He s forty," sobbed Ettie, "an he s rich, 
an 9 he s got a girl of his own as big as me. 
I saw her one day in the store. He s the 
cashier." 

Gertrude shivered, and the child felt the 
movement. 

"Don t you ever, ever tell," she panted, 
" or he ll kill me and so would pa." 

"Oh, he would, would he?" exclaimed 
Francis, who had stolen silently into the 
room and had stood unobserved in the dark 
ness. :? The cashier ! the mean devil ! I 
always hated his beady eyes, and he tried 
his games on me! But I ll kill him before 
he shall go do you any real harm, Ettie ! 
I will! I will! Why didn t you tell me? I 
watched for a while and then I thought I 
thought he had given it up. Oh, Ettie, 
Ettie ! " The tall form of the girl seemed to 
rise even higher in the darkness, and one 
could feel the fire of her great eyes. Her 
hands were clenched and her muscles tense. 



114 Pras 13ou, Sir, Idbose Daugbter? 

Ettie was sobbing anew, and Gertrude, hold 
ing her hand, was stroking the moist fore 
head and trying to quiet her. 

Oh, Fan! Oh, Fan! I didn t want you 
to know," sobbed the child, with pauses be 
tween her words. " He said nobody needn t 
ever know if I d do just s he told me. He 
said but when pa came home I was so 
scared, an I m sick most all the time, an 
an , oh, if I wasn t so awful afraid to die I d 
wisht I was dead! " 

" Dead ! " gasped Francis, grasping Ettie s 
wrist and pulling her hand from her face in 
a frenzy of the new light that was dawning 
upon her half-dazed but intensely stimulated 
mental faculties. She half pulled the smaller 
girl to her feet. 

"Dead! Ettie Berton, you tell me the 
God s truth or I ll tear him to pieces right 
in the store. You tell me the God s truth ! 
has he done anything awful to you?" A 
young tiger could not have seemed more 
savage, and Ettie clung with her other arm 
to Gertrude. 

" No ! ~No I "No I " she shrieked, and strug 
gled to free herself from the clutch upon 



iJJou, Sir, TIGlbose JDaugbter? 115 

her wrist. Then with the pathetic super 
stition and ignorance of hex type : w Cross 
my heart ! Hope I may die ! " she added, and 
as Francis relaxed her grasp upon the wrist, 
Ettie fell in an unconscious little heap upon 
the floor. 

Francis was upon her knees beside her in 
an instant, and Gertrude was about to ring 
for a light and for her mother when Francis 
moaned: "Oh, send for a doctor, quick. 
Send for a doctor ! She was lying and she 
crossed her heart. She will die ! She will 
die!" 



116 prag Uou, Sir, TJQbOBe 2>au0bter? 



X. 

But Ettie Berton did not die. Perhaps it 
would have been quite as well for her if she 
had died before the impotent and frantic 
rage of her father had still further darkened 
the pathetically appealing, love-hungry little 
heart, whose every beat had been a throb 
bing, eager desire to be liked, to please, to 
acquiesce ; to the end that she should escape 
blame, that she might sail on the smooth 
and pleasant sea of general praise and 
approval. 

Alas, the temperament which had brought 
her the dangerous stimulus of praise, for 
self-effacement, had joined hands with op 
portunity to wreck the child s life and no 
one was more bitter in his denunciation than 
her father s friend and her aforetime ad 
mirer Representative King. "If she was 
a daughter o mine I d kill her," he repeated 
to his own household day after day. " She 



ll)ou t Sfr, mbose Bauabter? 117 

sh d never darken my door agin. That s 
mighty certain. It made me mad the other 
day to hear Berton talk about takin her 
back home. The old fool! What does he 
want of her? An what kind of an ex 
ample s that I d like t know t set t decent 
girls? I told him right then an there if he 
let his soft heart do him that a way I was 
done with him for good an all, n if I ketch 
yon a goin np there t see her agin, you can 
just stay away from here, that s all ! " This 
last had been to Francis, and Francis had 
shut her teeth together very hard, and the 
glitter in her eyes might have indicated to a 
wiser man that it was not chiefly because of 
his presence there that this daughter cared 
to return to her home after her clandestine 
visits to Ettie Berton. A wiser man, too, 
might have guessed that the prohibition 
would ot prohibit, and that poor little Ettie 
Berton would not be deserted by her loyal 
friend because of his displeasure. 

" I have told her that she may live with 
us by and by," said Gertrude to Seldon 
Avery one afternoon; "but that is no solu 
tion of the problem. And besides, it is her 



118 prag Jijou, Sir, TKHbose BaugbterT 

father s duty to care for her and to do it 
without hurting the child s feelings, too. 
Can t you go to him and have a talk with 
him? You say he seems a kindhearted, 
well-meaning, easily-led man. Beside, he 
has no right to blame her. He has done 
more than any one else in this state to make 
the path of the cashier easy and smooth. If 
it were not for poor little Ettie I should be 
heartily glad of it all of the lesson for 
him. Can t you go to him and to that Mr. 
King and make them see the infamy of their 
work, and force them to undo it? Can t 
you? Is there no way? " 

Avery had gone. He argued in vain. 
:f Why do you blame the cashier," he had said 
to Berton. "He has committed no legal 
offence. Our laws say he has done no 
wrong. Then why blame him? Why blame 
Ettie? She is a mere yielding, impulsive 
child, and, surely, if he has done no wrong- 
she has not. If " 

" Now look a-here, Mr. Avery," said John 
Berton, hotly, " I know what you re a-hittin 
at an you can jest save your breath. I 
didn t help pass that law t apply to my girl, 



H>ou t Sir, Wbose H>auQbter? 119 

11 you know it damned well. I ain t in no 
mood just now t have you throw it up to 
me that she was about the first one it 
ketched, neather. How was I a-goin to 
know that? That there bill wasn t intended 
t apply t my girl, I tell you. An then she 
hadn t ought to a said she went with him 
willin ly, either. If she hadn t a said that 
we could a peppered him, but as it is he s 
all right, an " 

" That is what the law contemplates, isn t 
it? for other girls, of course, not for 
yours," began Avery, whose natural im 
pulses of kindness and generosity he was 
holding back. 

w JS^ow you hold on ! " exclaimed Berton, 
feebly groping about for a reply. You 
know I never got up that bill. You know 
mighty well the man that got it up an come 
there an lobbied for it, was one o your own 
kind a silk stocking. 

"You know I only started it n sort o fath 
ered it for him. I ain t no more to blame 
than the others. Go n talk t them. I ve 
had my dose. Go n talk t King. He says 
yet that it s a mighty good bill but I ain t 



120 praE Uou, Sir, Wbose Daughter? 



so damned certain as I was. It don t look 
s reasonable t me s it did last session." 

Avery left him, in the hope that a little 
later on he would conclude that his present 
attitude toward his daughter might under 
go like modification, Avith advantage to all 
concerned. It was early in the evening, and 
Avery concluded to step into a working- 
man s club on his way to his lodgings. He 
had no sooner entered the door, than some 
one recognized him as the candidate of a 
year ago. There was an immediate demand 
that he give them a speech. He had had no 
thought of speaking, but the opening tempted 
him, and the hand clapping was urgent. 
The chairman introduced him as "the only 
kid-glove member in the last Legislature 
who didn t sell his soul, to monopoly, and 
put a mortgage on his heavenly home at the 
behest of Wall Street." 

The applause which met this sally was 
long sustained, and the laughter, while 
hearty, was not altogether pleasant of tone. 
Avery stood until there was silence. Then 
he began with a quiet smile. 

"Mr. Chairman and gentlemen." He 



H)ou, Sir, TUHbose Daugbter? 121 

paused, and looked over the room again. 
"I beg your pardon. I am accustomed to 
face men only. Mr. Chairman, ladies and 
gentlemen." There was a ripple of laughter 
over the room. "Let me say how glad I am 
to make that amendment, and how glad I 
shall be, for one, when I am able to make it 
in the body to which I have the honor to 
belong the Legislature." Some one said: 
"ah, there," but he did not pause. "You 
labor men have taken the right view of it in 
this club. There is not a question, not one, 
in all the domain of labor or legislation which 
does not strike at woman s welfare as vitally 
as it does at man s; not one." There was 
feeble applause. "But I will go further. I 
will say, there is not only not an economic 
question which is not as vital to her, but it 
is far more vital than it is to man. The very 
fact of her present legal status rests upon 
the other awful fact of her absolute financial 
dependence upon men." Someone laughed, 
and Avery fired up. r? This one fact has 
made sex maniacs of men, and peopled this 
world with criminals, lunatics, and liars! 
This one fact! This one fact!" 



122 IPras !>ou, Sir, THIlbose Baugbtet? 



His intensity had at last forced silence, 
and quieted those members who were at first 
inclined to take as a gallant joke his opening 
remarks. "Let me take a text, for what I 
want to say to you on the economic ques 
tion, from the Bible. 

"Oh, give us a rest!" 

"Suffer little children!" 

"Remember the Sabbath day!" and like 
derisive calls, mingled with a laugh and 
distinct hisses. The gavel beat in vain; 
Avery waited. At last there was silence, 
and he said: "I was not joking. The 
fact that you all know me as a free 
thinker misled you; but although I did say 
that I wished to take as a sort of text a 
passage from the Bible, I was in earnest. 
This is the text: The rich man s wealth is 
his strong city; the destruction of the poor 
is their poverty. Again there was a laugh, 
with a different ring to it, and clapping of 
hands. 

" I think that I may assume," he went on, 
" that no audience before which I am likely to 
appear, will suspect me of accepting- the 
Bible as altogether admirable. Some of the 



prag lou, Sir, Wbose Daugbter? 123 

prophets and holy men of old, as I read of 
their doings in the scriptures, always impress 
me as having been long overdue at the peni 
tentiary." 

There was laughter and applause at this 
sally, and the intangible something which 
emanates from an audience which tells a 
speaker that he now has a mental grasp up 
on his hearers, made itself felt. The slight 
air of resentment which arose when he had 
said that he should refer for his authority 
to the Bible subsided, and he went on. 

"But notwithstanding these facts and 
opinions, one sometimes finds in the Bible 
things that are true. Sometimes they are not 
only true, but they are also good. Again 
they are good in fact, in sentiment, and in 
diction. Now when this sort of conjunction 
occurs, I am strongly moved to drop for the 
tune such differences as I may have with 
other portions and sentiments, and give due 
credit where credit is due. 

Therefore, when I find in the tenth chapter 
of Proverbs this : " The rich man s wealth is 
his strong city; the destruction of the poor 
is their poverty," I shake hands with the 



124 fcrag Jj)ou, Sir, Wbose Daugbter? 

author, and travel with him for this trip at 
least. The prophet does not say that their 
destruction is ignorance, or vice, or sin, or 
any of the ordinary blossoms of poverty 
which it is the fashion to refer to as its root. 
He tells us the truth the destruction of 
the poor is their poverty. 

And who are the poor? Are they not 
those who, in spite of their labor, their worth, 
and their value to the state as good citizens 
are still dependent upon the good- will the 
charity, I had almost said of someone else 
who has power over the very food they have 
earned a hundred times over, and the miser 
able rags they are allowed to wear instead of 
the broadcloth they have earned? Are they 
not those who, because of economic condi 
tions, are suppliants where they should be 
sovereign citizens, dependents where they 
should be free and independent and self- 
respecting persons?" 

"Right you are!" 

" Drive it home ! " came with the applause 
from the audience. 

"Are they not those who must obey op 
pressive laws made by those who legislate 



lou, Sir, Wbose Daugbtcr? 125 

against the helpless and in favor of the 
powerful? Are they not those whose voices 
are silenced by subjection, whose wishes and 
needs are trampled beneath the feet of the 
controlling class?" 

The applause was ready now and instant. 
Avery paused. There was silence. " And 
who are these?" he asked, and paused 
again. 

:<r ~What class of people more than any 
other more than all others fits and fills 
each and every one of these queries?" 

K Laboring men ! " shouted several. "All 
of us!" 

!? ]^o," said Aveiy, " you are wrong. To 
all of you to all so-called laboring men 
they do apply; but more than to these, in 
more insidious ways, do they apply to 
laboring women. " To all women, in fact ; for 
no matter how poor a man is, his wife and 
daughters are poorer; no matter how much 
of a dependent he is, the woman is more so, 
for she is the dependent of a dependent, 
the serf of a slave, the chattel of a chat 
tel ! The suppliant, not only for work and 
wage, but the suppliant at the hands of 



126 pra l!?ou t Sir, "Odbose Daugbter? 

sex power for equality with even the man 
who is under the feet and the tyranny of 
wealth. They share together that tyranny 
and poverty, but he thrusts upon her alone 
the added outrage of sex subjugation and 
legal disability." He paused, and held up 
his hand. Then he said, slowly, making 
each word stand alone : 

"And I tell you, gentlemen, with my 
one term s experience in the Legislature and 
what it has taught me I tell you that there 
is no outrage which wealth and power can 
commit upon man that it cannot and does 
not commit doubly upon woman ! There is 
no cruelty upon all this cruel earth half so 
terrible as the tyranny of sex ! And again, I 
tell you that to woman every man is a capi 
talist in wealth and in power, and I reiterate : 
the destruction of the poor is their pov 
erty. It has been doubly woman s destruc 
tion. Her absolute financial dependence 
upon men has given him the power and 
alas, that I should be compelled to say it ! 
the will, to deny her all that is best and 
loftiest in life, and even to crush out of her 
the love of liberty and the dignity of char- 



, Sir, Wbose 2>augbter7 127 

acter which cares for the better things. 
Look at her education! Look at the dis 
graceful ? annexes and side shifts which are 
made to prevent our sisters from acquiring 
even the same, or as good, an education as we 
claim for ourselves. Look " He paused 
and lowered his voice. " Look at the awful, 
the horrible, the beastly laws we pass for 
women, while we carefully keep them in a 
position where they cannot legislate for them 
selves. Do you know there is no law in any 
state and no legislature would dare try to 
pass one which would bind a ten-year-old 
boy to any contract which he might have been 
led, driven, or coaxed into, or have volun 
tarily made, if that contract should hence 
forth deprive him of all that gives to him 
the comforts, joys, or decencies of life! All 
men hold that such a boy is not old enough 
to make such a contract. That any one 
older than he, who leads him into a crime 
or misdemeanor, or the transfer of property, 
or his personal rights and liberty, is guilty of 
legal offence. The boy is without blame, 
and his contract is absolutely void illegal. 
But in more than one state we hold that 



128 pras IJou, Sfr, Wbose Baugbter? 

a little girl of ten may make the most fatal 
contract ever made by or for woman, and 
that she is old enough to be held legally 
responsible for her act and for her judg 
ment. The one who leads her into it, 
though he be forty, fifty, or sixty years old, 
is guiltless before the law. I tell you, 
gentlemen, there is no crime possible to hu 
manity that is as black as that infamous law, 
sought to be re-enacted by our own state at 
this very time, and which has already passed 
one house ! " He explained, as delicately as 
he could, the full scope and meaning of the 
bill. Surprise, consternation, swept over the 
room. Men, a few of whom had heard of 
the bill before, but had given it scant atten 
tion, saw a horror and disgust in the eyes of 
the women which aroused for the first time 
in their minds, a flickering sense of the 
enormity of such a measure. Ko one pres 
ent was willing that any woman should be 
lieve him guilty of approving such legisla 
tion, and yet Avery impressed anew upon 
them that the bill had passed one house 
with a good majority. On his way out of 
the room, a tall girl stepped to his side. 



|?ou f Sir, mbose Daugbtcr? 129 

For the moment he had not recognized her. 
It was Francis King. She looked straight 
at him. 

"Did my father vote for that bill?" she 
asked, without a prelude of greeting. Avery 
hesitated. 

" Oh, is it you, Miss King? " he asked, "I 
did not see you before. Do you come 
here often?" 

" ~Not very," she said, still looking at him, 
and with fire gathering in her eyes. " Did 
my father vote for that bill?" she repeated. 

"Ah I -to tell you the truth," began 
Avery, but she put out her hand and caught 
firm hold of his arm. 

"Did my father vote for that bill?" she 
insisted, and Avery said : 

* Yes, I m sorry to say, he did, Miss King ; 
but so many did, you know. The fact 
is" 

Her fingers grasped his arm like a vice, 
and her lips were drawn. " Did Ettie s pa?" 
she demanded. 

Avery saw the drift of her thought. 

" God forgive him ! yes, " he said, and his 
own eyes grew troubled and sympathetic. 



130 prag J^ou, Sir, Timbose Daugbter? 

" God may forgive him if he s a mind to," 
exclaimed Francis, " but I don t want no 
such God around me, if he does. Any God 
that wants to forgive men for such work as 
that ain t fit to associate with no other kind 
of folks T)ut such men ; but I don t mean to 
allow a good little girl like Ettie to live in 
the same house with a beast if I know it. 
She shan t go home again now, not if her pa 
begs on his knees. He ain t fit to wipe her 
shoes. ^N" my pa ! " she exclaimed, scorn 
fully. "My pa talkin about Ettie being 
bad, and settin bad examples for decent 
girls ! Him a talkin ! Him livin in the same 
house with my little sister n me ! Him ! " 
The girl was wrought to a frenzy of scorn, 
and contempt, and anger. They had passed 
out with the rest into the street. 

"Shall I walk home with you?", asked 
Avery . " Are you alone ? " 

Yes, I m alone," she said, with a little 
dry sob. " I m alone, an I ain t goin home 
any more. ~Not while he lives there. It s 
no decent place for a girl living in the 
house with a man like that. I ain t goin 
home. I m goin to " It rushed over her 



Ion, Sir, "CClbose Daughter 7 131 

brain that she had no other place to go. She 
held her purse in her hand; it had only two 
dollars and a few cents in it. She had 
bought her new dress with the rest. Her 
step faltered, but her eyes were as fiery and 
as hard as ever. 

!? You d better go home," said Avery, 
softly. "It will only be the harder for you, 
if you don t. I m sorry " 

She turned on him like a tigress. They 
were in Union Square now. " Even you 
think it is all right for good girls to be under 
the control and live with men like that! 
Even you think I ought to go home, an let 
him boss me an make rules fer me, an me 
pretend to like it an believe as he does, an 
look up to him, an think his way s right 
an best! Even you!" 

" No, no," said Avery, softly. ? You must 
be fair, Miss King. I don t think it s right; 
but but I said it was best just now, for 
what else can you do?" The girl was 
facing him as they stood near the fountain 
in the middle of the square. 

" That s just what I was meaning to show 
to-night when I said what I did to the club, 



132 

of the financial dependence of women; it 
is their destruction; it destroys their self- 
respect; it forces them to accept a moral 
companionship which they d scorn if they 
dared; it forces them to seem to condone 
and uphold such things themselves; it 
forces them to be the companions and subor 
dinates of degraded moral natures, that hold 
wives and daughters to a code which they 
will not apply to themselves, and which they 
seek to make void for other wives and 
daughters ; it " 

* You told me to go home," she said, stub 
bornly. "I m not goin ! I make money 
enough to live on. I always spent it on on 
things to wear ; but but I can live on it, an 
I m goin to. I ain t goin to live in the 
house with no such a man. He ain t fit to 
live with. I won t tell ma an the girls 
yet; not till " 

She paused, and peered toward the clock 
in the face of the great stone building across 
the street. " Do you think it s too late fer 
me t talk a minute with Miss Gertrude? " 
she asked, with her direct gaze, again. 

" She d let me stay there one night, I 



i)ou, Sir, IClbose DauflbterT 133 

guess, n she d tell me I c d talk to her 
some." 

" If you won t go home," he said, slowly, 
"I suppose it would be best for you to go 
there, but it is rather late. Go home for 
to-night, Miss Francis ! I wish you would. 
Think it over to-night, please. Let me take 
you home to-night. Go to Miss Gertrude 
to-morrow, and talk it over." His tone had 
grown gentle and more tender than he knew. 
He took the hand she had placed on his arm 
in his own, and tried to turn toward her 
street. She held stubbornly back. "For 
my sake, to please me because I think it 
is best won t you go home to-night?" 
She looked at him again, and a haze came 
in her eyes. She did not trust herself to 
speak, but she turned toward her own street, 
and they walked silently down the square. 
His hand still held her own as it lay on 
his arm. 

" Thank you," he said, and pressed her 
fingers more firmly for an instant and then 
released them. He had taken his glove off 
in the hall and had not replaced it. When 
they reached the door of her father s house, 



134 Prag IJou, Sir, Wbose Baugbtcr? 

she suddenly grasped his ungloved hand and 
kissed it, and ran sobbing up the steps and 
into the house without a word. 

"Poor girl," thought Avery, "she is not 
herself to-night. She has never respected 
nor loved her father much, but this was a 
phase of his nature she had not suspected 
before. Poor child! I hope Gertrude " 
and in the selfishness of the love he bore for 
Gertrude, he allowed his thoughts to wander, 
and it did not enter his mind to place any 
thing deeper than a mere emotional signifi 
cance upon the conduct of the intense, tall, 
dark-eyed girl who had just left him. 

He did not dream that at that moment she 
lay face down on her bed sobbing as if her 
heart would break, and yet, that a strange 
little flutter of happiness touched her heart 
as she held her gloved hand against her 
flushed cheek or kissed it in the darkness. 
It was the hand Avery had held so long 
within his own, as it lay upon his arm. At 
last the girl drew the glove off, and going 
to her drawer, took out her finest hand 
kerchief and lay the glove within, wrapping 
it softly and carefully. She was breathing 



H>ou, Sir, Idbose IDaugbter? 135 

hard, and her face was set and pained. 
At two o clock she had fallen asleep, and 
under her tear-stained cheek there was a 
glove folded in a bit of soft cambric. 
Poor Francis King! The world is a sorry 
place for such as you, and even those who 
would be your best friends often deal the 
deadliest wounds. Poor Francis King! 
Has life nothing to offer you but a worn 
glove and a tear-stained bit of cambric? 
Is it true? Need it be true? Is there no 
better way? Have we built your house 
with but one door, and with no window? 
Smile at the fancies of your sleep, child; 
to-morrow will bring memory, reality, 
and tears. You are a woman now. Yes 
terday you were but an unformed, strong- 
willed girl. Poor Francis King! sleep late 
to-morrow, and dream happily if you can. 
Poor Francis King, to-morrow is very near ! 



136 prag l^ou, Sir, TKflbose Daughter? 



XI. 

" Gertrude ! " called out her mother to the 
girl, as she passed the library door. " Ger 
trude! come in, your father and I wish to 
talk with you." 

"Committee meeting?" laughed Gertrude, 
as she took a seat beside her father. It had 
grown to be rather a joke in the family to 
speak of Mr. Avery s calls as committee 
meetings, and Mr. Foster had tried vainly to 
tease his daughter about it. 

"In my time," he would say, "we did not 
go a courting to get advice. We went for 
kisses. I never discussed any more pro 
found topic with my sweetheart than love 
and perhaps poetry and music. Some 
times, as I sit and listen to you two, I can t 
half believe that you are lovers. It s so per 
fectly absurd. You talk about everything 
on earth. It s a deal more like why I 
should have looked upon that sort of thing 



lou, Sir, "Odbose Daughter? 137 

as a species of committee meeting, in my 
day." 

Gertrude had laughed and said something 
about thinking that love ought to enter into 
and run through all the interests of life, and 
not be held merely as a thing apart. All 
women had a life to live. All would not 
have the love. So the first problem was one 
of life and its work. The love was only a 
phase of this. But her father had gone on 
laughing at her about her queer love-making. 

"Committee meeting?" asked she, again, 
as she glanced at her father, smiling dryly. 
Her mother answered first. 

:<r Yes no partly. Your father wanted 
to speak to you about he thinks you should 
not be seen with, or have those girls You 
tell her yourself, dear," she said, appealing 
to her husband. Mr. Foster was fidgeting 
about in his chair; he had not felt comfort 
able before. He was less so now, for Ger 
trude had turned her face full upon him, and 
her hand was on his sleeve. 

"Well, there s nothing to tell, Gertrude," 
he said. "I guess you can understand it 
without a scene. I simply don t want to 



138 iPras l>ou, Sir, lldbose 2>augbter? 

see those girls that King 1 girl and her 
friend about here any more. It won t do. 
It simply won t do at all. You ll be talked 
about. Of course, I know it is all very kind 
of you, and all that, and that you don t mean 
any harm ; but men always have drawn, and 
they always will draw, unpleasant conclu 
sions. They may sympathize with that sort 
of girls, but they simply won t stand having 
their own women folks associate with them. 
The test of the respectability of a woman, 
is whether a man of position will marry her 
or not. A man s respectable if he s out of 
jail. A woman if she is marriageable or 
married. Now, unfortunately, that little 
Berton girl is neither the one nor the other, 
and its going to make talk if you are seen 
with her again. She must stay away from 
here, too." 

There had come a most unusual tone of 
protest into his voice as he went on, but he 
had looked steadily at a carved paper knife, 
which he held in his hand, and with which 
he cut imaginary leaves upon the table. 
There was a painful silence. Gertrude 
thought she did not remember having ever 



, Sir, Idbose 5>augbter? 139 

before heard her father speak so sharply. 
She glanced at her mother, but Katherine 
Foster had evidently made up her mind to 
leave this matter entirely in the hands of 
her husband. 

"Do you mean, papa, that you wish me to 
tell that child, Ettie Berton, not to come 
here any more, and that I must not befriend 
her?" asked Gertrude, in an unsteady voice. 

"Befriend her all you ve a mind to," 
responded her father, heartily. " Certainly. 
Of course. But don t have her come here, 
and don t you be seen with her, nor the other 
one again. You can send James or Susan 
better not send Susan though send 
James with money or anything you want to 
give her. Your mother tells me you are 
paying the Berton girl s board. That s all 
right if you want to, but your mother has 
told me the whole outrageous story, and that 
cashier ought to be shot, but " 

"But instead of helping make the public 
opinion which would make him less, and 
Ettie more, respectable, you ask me to help 
along the present infamous order of things ! 
Oh, papa! don t ask that of me! I have 



140 pras lou, Sir, Wbose Daugbter! 

never willingly done anything in my life that 
I knew you disapproved. Don t ask me to 
help crush that child now, for I cannot. I 
cannot desert her now. Don t ask that of 
me, papa. "Why do men even you good 
men make it so hard, so almost impossible 
for women to be kind to each other? What 
has Ettie done that such as we should hold 
her to account. She is a mere child. Four 
teen years old in fact, but not over ten in 
feeling or judgment. She has been deceived 
by one who fully understood. She did not. 
And yet even you ask me to hold her respon 
sible ! Oh, papa, don t ! " She slipped onto 
her father s knee and took his face in her 
hands and kissed his forehead. She had 
never in her life stood against her father or 
seemed to criticise him before. It hurt her 
and it vexed him. A little frown came on 
his face. 

" Katherine," he said, turning to his wife, 
"I wish you d make Gertrude understand 
this thing rationally. You always have." 
Mrs. Foster glanced at her daughter and 
then at her husband. She smiled. 

"I always have, what dear?" she asked. 



12ou t Sir, Wbose Daughter ? 141 

"Understood these things as I do as 
everyone does," said her husband. :? You 
never took these freaks that Gertrude is 
growing into, and " 

The daughter winced and sat far back on 
her father s knee. Her mother did not miss 
the action. She smiled at the girl, but her 
voice was steady, and less light than usual. 

"No, I never took freaks, as you say, but 
what I thought of things, or how I may or 
may not have understood them, dear, no one 
ever inquired, no one ever cared to know. 
That I acted like other people, and acquiesced 
in established opinions, went without saying. 
That was expected of me. That I did. 
Gertrude belongs to another generation, 
dear. She cannot be so colorless as we 
women of my time " 

Her husband laughed. 

" Colorless, is good, by Jove ! You color 
less indeed ! " He looked admiringly at his 
wife. " Why, Katherine, you have more col 
or and more sense now than any half dozen 
girls of this generation. Colorless indeed ! " 

Mrs. Foster smiled. " Don t you think my 
cheerful, easy reflection of your own shades 



142 Pra^ H)ou, Sir, Wbose 2>augbter7 

of thought or mind have always passed cur 
rent as my own? Sometimes I fancy that is 
true, and that it is easier and pleasanter 
all around. But " she paused. "It was 
not my color, my thought, my opinions, my 
self. It was an echo, dear; a pleasant echo 
of yourself which has so charmed you. It 
was not I." 

Gertrude felt uneasy, and as if she were 
lifting a curtain which had been long drawn. 
Her father turned his face towards her and 
then toward her mother. 

" In God s name what does all this mean? " 
he asked. " Are you, the most level-headed 
woman in the world, intending to uphold 
Gertrude in this suicidal policy her 
this absurd nonsense about that girl?" 

Gertrude s eyes widened. She slowly 
arose from his knee. The revelation as to 
her father s mental outlook was, to her more 
sensitive and developed nature, much what 
the one had been to Francis King that night 
at the club. 

" Oh, papa," she said softly. " I am so 
sorry for so sorry for us all. We seem 
so far apart, and " 



lou, Sir, TRflbose Daughter? 143 

" John Martin agrees with me perfectly," 
said her father, hotly. " I talked with him 
to-day. He " 

Gertrude glanced at her mother, and there 
was a definite curl upon her lip. " Mr. Mar 
tin," she said slowly, " is not a conscience 
for me. He and I are leagues apart, papa. 



" More s the pity," said her father, as he 
arose from his chair. He moved toward the 
door. 

"I ve said my say, Gertrude. It s per 
fectly incomprehensible to me what you two 
are aiming at. But what I know is this: 
you must do my way in this particular case, 
think whatever you please. You know 
very well I would not ask it except for 
your own good. I don t like to interfere 
with your plans, but you must give that 
girl up." He spoke kindly, but Gertrude 
and her mother sat silent long after he had 
gone. The twilight had passed into dark 
ness. Presently Katherine s voice broke 
the silence: 

" Shall you float with the tide, daughter, 
or shall you try to swim up stream? " She 



144 praE H?ou, Sir, IMbose S>augbter? 

was thinking of the first talk they had ever 
had on these subjects, nearly two years ago 
now, but the girl recognized the old ques 
tion. She stood up slowly and then with 
quick steps came to her mother s side. 

" Don t try to swim with me, mamma. It 
only makes it harder for me to see you hurt 
in the struggle. Don t try to help me any 
more when the eddies come. Float, mamma ; 
I shall swim. I shall! I shall! And while 
my head is above the waves that poor little 
girl shall not sink." 

She was stroking Katherine s hair, and her 
mother s hand drew her own down to a soft 
cheek. 

"Am I right, mother?" she asked, softly. 
" If you say I am right, it is enough. My 
heart will ache to seem to papa to do 
wrong, but I can bear it better than I could 
bear my own self -contempt. Am I right, 
mamma? " 

Her mother drew her hand to her lips, 
and then with a quick action she threw both 
arms about the girl and whispered in her 
ear: "I shall go back to the old way. Swim 
if you can, daughter. You are right. If 



145 

only you are strong enough. That is the 
question. If only you are strong enough. 
I am not. I shall remain in the old way." 

There was a steadiness and calm in her 
voice which matched oddly enough with the 
fire in her eyes and the flush on her cheeks. 

" Little mother, little mother," murmured 
Gertrude, softly, as she stroked her mother s 
hand. Then she kissed her and left the 
room. ? With her splendid spirit, that she 
should be broken on the wheel!" the girl 
said aloud to herself, when she had reached 
her own room. She did not light the gas, 
but sat by the window watching the passers- 
by in the street. 

:? Why should papa have sent me to col 
lege," she was thinking, " where I matched 
my brains and thoughts with men, if I was 
to stifle them later on, and subordinate them 
to brains I found no better than my own? 
Why should my conscience be developed, if 
it must not be used; if I must use as my 
guide the conscience of another? Why 
should I have a separate and distinct nature 
in all things, if I may use only that part of 
it which conforms to those who have not 



146 Eras lou, Sir, TJQbose Daughter? 

the same in type or kind? I will do what 
seems right to myself. I shall not desert " 

She laid her cheek in her hand and sighed. 
A new train of thought was rising. It had 
never come to her before. 

" It is my father s money. lie says I may 
send it, but I may not it is my father s 
money. He has the right to say how it 
may be used, and and " (the blood 
was coming into her face) " I have nothing 
but what he gives me. He wants a pleasant 
home; he pays for it. Susan and James, 
and the rest, he hires to conduct the labor 
of the house. If they do not do it to please 
him if they are not willing to they 
have no right to stay, and then to complain. 
For his social life at home he has mamma 
and me. If he wants " She was walking 
up and down the room now. " Have we a 
right to dictate? We have our places in 
his home. We are not paid wages like 
James and Susan, but but we are given 
what we have; we are dependent. He has 
never refused us anything any sum we 
wanted but he can. It is in his power, 
and really we do not know but that he 



l!?ou, Sir, Ttobose Baugbter? 147 

should. Perhaps we spend too much. We 
do not know. What can he afford? I do 
not know. What can I afford? " She 
spread her hands out before her, palms up, 
in the darkness. She could see them by the 
flicker of the electric light in the street. 

"They are empty," she said, aloud, "and 
they are untrained, and they are helpless. 
They are a pauper s hands. " She smiled a 
little at the conceit, and then, slowly : " It 
sounds absurd, almost funny, but it is true. 
A pauper in lace and gold! I am over 
twenty-two. I am as much a dependent 
and a pauper as if I were in a poorhouse. 
Love and kindness save me! They have 
not saved Ettie, nor Francis. When the 
day came they were compelled to yield ut 
terly, or go. They can work, and I? I 
am a dependent. Have I a right to stand 
against the will and pleasure of my father, 
when by doing so I compel him to seem to 
sustain and support that which he disap 
proves? Have I a right to do that? " 

She was standing close to the window 
now, and she put her hot face against the 
glass. T The problem is easy enough, if all 



148 Eras iou, Sir, Mbose Baugbter? 



think alike if one does not think at all; 
but now? I cannot follow my own con 
science and my father s too. We do not 
think alike. Is it right that I should, to 
buy his approval and smiles, violate my 
own mind, and brain, and heart? But is it 
right for me to violate liis sense of what is 
right, while I live upon the lavish and loving 
bounty which he provides?" And so, with 
her developed conscience, and reason, and 
individuality, Gertrude had come to face 
the same problem, which, in its more brutal 
form, had resulted so sorrowfully for the two 
girls whom she had hoped to befriend. The 
ultimate question of individual domination 
of one by another, with the purse as the 
final appeal and even this strong and for 
tunate girl wavered. " Shall I swim, after 
all? Have I the right to try?" she asked 
herself. 



12ou, Sir, Idbose Daughter? 149 



XII. 

"When Francis King told Mr. Avery that 
she could and would leave her father s home 
and live upon the money she earned, and 
had heretofore looked upon as merely a re 
source to save her pride, she did not take 
into consideration certain very important 
facts, not the least of which was, perhaps, 
that her presence at the store was not wholly 
a pleasant thing for the cashier to contem 
plate under existing circumstances. 

Francis King was not a diplomat. The 
cashier was not a martyr. These two facts, 
added to the girl s scornful eyes, rendered 
the position in the trimming department 
far less secure than she had grown to 
believe. 

So when she came to the little room which 
Gertrude Foster had provided as a tem 
porary home for Ettie Berton, she felt that 



150 Prag 11)011, Sir, TKflbose Daughter? 

she came as a help and protector antl not at 
all as a possible encumbrance. 

" I ve had a terrible blow-oiit with pa," 
she said, bitterly. " I can t go home any 
more if I wanted to and I don t want to. 
I told him what I thought of him, and of 
your and of the kind of men that make 
mean laws they are ashamed to have their 
own folks know about and live by. He was 
awful mad. He said laws was none o my 
business, and he guessed men knew best 
what was right an good for women." 

" Of course they do," said Ettie with her 
ever ready acquiescence. W I reckon you 
didn t want t deny that, did you Fan? You 
n your pa must a shook hands for once 
anyhow," she laughed. "How d it feel? 
Didn t you like agreein with him once? " 

Francis looked at the child this pitiful 
illustration of the theory of yielding acqui 
escence; this legitimate blossom of the tree 
of ignorance and soft-hearted dependence; 
this poor little dwarf of individuality; this 
helpless echo of masculine measures, meth 
ods, and morals and wondered vaguely why 
it was that the more helpless the victim, 



]l)ou, Sir, Whose 2>auabter? 151 

the more complete her disaster, the more 
certain was she to accept, believe in, and 
support the very cause and root of her un 
doing. 

Francis King s own mental processes were 
too disjointed and ill-formulated to enable 
her to express the half-formed thoughts 
that came to her. Her heart ached for her 
little friend to whom to-day was always 
welcome, and to whom to-morrow never ap 
peared a possibility other than that it would 
be sunshiny, and warm, and comfortable. 

Francis saw a certain to-morrow which 
should come to Ettie, far more clearly than 
did the child herself, and seeing, sighed. 
Her impulse was to argue the case hotly 
with Ettie, as she had done with her father; 
but she looked at her face again, and then, 
as a sort of safety-valve for her own emo 
tion, succinctly said: w Ettie Berton, you 
are the biggest fool I ever saw." 

Ettie clapped her hands. 

" Right you are, says Moses ! " she ex 
claimed, laughing gleefully, "and you like 
me for it. Folks with sense like fools. 
Sense makes people so awful uncomfortable. 



152 pras l^ou, Sir, Wbose 2>au0bter? 



Say, where d you get that bird on your hat? 
Out o stock? Did that old mean thing- 
make you pay full price? Goodness! how 
I do wish I could go back t store ! " 

"Ettie, how d you like for me to come 
here an live with you? Do you spose Miss 
Gertrude would care?" 

" Hurrah for Cleveland ! " exclaimed Ettie, 
springing to her feet and throwing her arms 
about Francis. " Hurrah for Grant ! Gra 
cious, but I m glad! I m just so lonesome 
I had to make my teeth ache for company," 
she rattled on. "Miss Gertrude 11 be glad, 
too. She said she wisht I had somebody t 
take care of me. But, gracious ! I don t need 
that. They ain t nothing to do but just set 
still n wait. It s the waitin now that makes 
me so lonesome. I want t hurry 11 get 
back t the store, n " 

She noticed Francis s look of surprise, not 
unmixed with frank scorn; but she did not 
rightly interpret it. 

"My place ain t gone is it, Fan?" she 
asked, in real alarm. " He said he d keep it 
for me." 

"Ettie Berton, you are the biggest fool I 



l^ou, Sir, "HClbose Daugbter? 153 

ever saw," said Francis, again, this time with 
a touch of hopelessness and pathos in her 
voice, and at that moment there was a rap 
at the door. It was one of the cash girls 
from the store. She handed Francis a note, 
and while Ettie and the visitor talked gaily 
of the store, Francis read and covered her 
pale face with her trembling hands. She 
was discharged "owing to certain necessary 
changes to be made in the trimming depart 
ment." She went and stood by the window 
with her back to the two girls. She under 
stood the matter perfectly, and she did not 
dare trust herself to speak. It could not be 
helped, she thought, and why let Ettie know 
that she had brought this disaster upon her 
friend, also. Francis was trying to think. 
She was raging within herself. Then it 
came to her that she had boldly asserted 
that she would help protect and support 
Ettie. !N^ow she was penniless, helpless, 
and homeless herself. There were but two 
faces that stood out before her as the faces 
of those to whom she could go for help and 
counsel, and she was afraid to go to even 



154 IPrag Jtjou, Sir, tClbose 2>augbtert 

these. She was ashamed, humiliated, un 
certain. 

She supposed that Gertrude Foster could 
help her if she would. She had that vague 
miscomprehension of facts which makes the 
less fortunate look upon the daughters of 
wealth and luxury and love as possessed 
of a magic wand which they need but stretch 
forth to compass any end. She did not 
dream that at that very moment Gertrude 
Foster was revolving exactly the same prob 
lem in her own mind, and reaching out 
vainly for a solution. f What shall I do ? 
what ought I to do? what can I do?" 
were questions as real and immediate to 
Gertrude, in the new phase of life and 
thought which had come to her, as they 
were to Francis in her extremity. It is true 
that the greater part of the problem in 
Francis s mind dealt with the physical needs 
of herself and her little friend, and with her 
own proud and fierce anger toward her 
father and the cashier. It is also true that 
these features touched Gertrude but lightly; 
but the highest ideals, beliefs, aspirations, 
and love of her soul were in conflict within 



lL>ou, Sir, TMboae Daughter? 155 

her, and the basis of the conflict was the 
same with both girls. Each had, in follow 
ing the best that was within herself, come 
into violent contact with established preju 
dice and prerogative, and each was beating 
her wings, the one against the bars of 
a gilded cage draped .lovingly in silken 
threads, and the other was feeling her help 
lessness where iron and wrath unite to hold 
their prey. 

The other face that arose before Francis 
brought the blood back to her face. She 
had not seen him since she had kissed his 
hand that night, and she wondered what he 
thought of her. She felt ashamed to go to 
him for help. She had talked so confidently 
to him that night of her own powers, and of 
her determination that Ettie should not 
again live under the same roof, and be sub 
ject to the will of the father whom she in 
sisted was a disgrace to the child. 

" I reckon he could get me another place 
to work in a store," she thought. "But " 
She shook her head, and a fierce light came 
into her eyes. She had learned enough to 
know that a girl who had left home under 



156 prag l^ou, Sic, IGlbose Daugbter? 



the wrath of her father, would best not 
appeal for a situation under the protection 
and recommendation of a young gentleman 
not of her own caste or condition in life. 
She thought of all this and of what it im 
plied, and it seemed to her that her heart 
would burst with shame and rage. 

Was she not a human being? Were there 
not more reasons than one why another 
human unit should be kind to her and help 
her? If she were a boy all this shame would 
be lifted from her shoulders, all these sus 
picions and repression and artificial barriers 
would be gone. She wondered if she could 
not get a suit of men s clothes, and so solve 
the whole trouble. No one would then 
question her own right of individual and 
independent action or thought. ^NTo one 
would then think it commendable for her to 
be a useless atom, subordinating her whole 
individuality to one man, to whose mental 
and moral tone she must bend her own, 
until such time as he should turn her over 
to some other human entity, whereupon she 
would be required to readjust all her mental 
and moral belongings to accommodate the 



fou, Sir, TKHbose Daugbter? 157 

new master. How comfortable it would be, 
she thought, to go right on year after year, 
growing into and out of herself. Expanding 
her own nature, and finding the woman of 
to-morrow the outcome of the girl of yester 
day. She had once heard a teacher explain 
about the chameleon with its capacity to 
adjust itself to and take on the color of 
other objects. It floated into her mind that 
girls were expected to be like chameleons. 
Instead of being John King s daughter, 
with, of course, John King s ideas, status 
and aspirations, or William Jones s wife 
now metamorphosed into a tepid reflex of 
William Jones himself she thought how 
pleasant it would be to continue to be Fran 
cis King, and not feel afraid to say so. The 
idea fascinated her. Yes, she would get a 
suit of men s clothes, and henceforth have 
and feel the dignity of individual responsi 
bility and development. She slipped out of 
the room and into the street. She thought 
she would order the clothes as if " for a 
brother just my size." She could pay for a 
cheap suit. She paused in front of a shop 
window, and the sight of her own face in a 



158 pra^ H?ou, Sir, Wbose Daughter 7 

glass startled her. She groaned aloud. She 
knew as she looked that she was too hand 
some to pass for a man. It was a woman s 
face. Then, too, how could she live with 
and care for Ettie? 

:? No, Til have to go to them for help," 
she said, desperately to herself, and turning, 
faced Selden Avery coining across the 
street. The color flew into her face, but 
she saw at a glance that he did not think of 
their last meeting or, at least, not of its 
ending. "I was just wishing I could see 
you and Miss Gertrude," she said, bluntly, 
her courage coming back when he paused, 
recognizing that she wished to speak further 
with him than a mere greeting. 

Were you?" he said, smiling. "Our 
thoughts were half-way the same then, for I 
was wishing to see her, too." 

She thought how pleasant and soft his 
voice was, and she tried to modify the tones 
of her own. 

"I was goin t ask you her what to 
do about about something," she said, fal- 
teringly. 

" So was I," he smiled back, showing his 



lou, Sir, IKHbose 2>augbter7 159 

perfect teeth. "She will have to be very, 
very wise to advise us both, will she not? 
Shall we go to her now? And together? 
Perhaps our united wisdom may solve both 
your problem and mine. Three people 
ought to be three times as wise as one, 
oughtn t they?" 



1GO Prag lou, Sir, Wbose Daughter? 



XIII. 

When Gertrude came forward to meet 
Selden Aveiy and Francis King, she felt 
the disapproving eyes of her father fixed 
upon her. It was a new and a painful 
sensation. It made her greeting less free 
and frank than usual, and both Avery and 
Francis felt without being able to analyze it. 

"She don t like me to be with him," 
thought Francis, and felt humiliated and 
hurt. 

" Surely Gertrude cannot doubt me," was 
Avery s mental comment, and a sore spot in 
his heart, left by a comment made at the 
club touching Gertrude s friendship for this 
same tall, fiery girl at his side, made itself 
felt again. John Martin exchanged glances 
with Gertrude s father. Avery saw, and 
seeing, resented what he believed to be its 
meaning. 

The three men bowed rather stiffly to each 



l)ou, Sir, TIClbose Daugbter? 161 

other. Francis felt that she was, somehow, 
to blame. She wished that she had not come. 
She longed to go, but did not know what to 
say nor how to start. The situation was 
awkward for all. Gertrude wished for and 
yet dreaded the entrance of her mother. 

Avery felt ashamed to explain, but he be 
gan as if speaking to Gertrude and ended 
with a look of challenge at the two men 
facing him. " I chanced to meet Miss King 
in the street and as both of us stood in need 
of advice from you," he was trying to smile 
unconcernedly, " we came up the avenue 
together." 

There was a distinct look of displeasure 
and disapproval upon Mr. Foster s face, 
while John Martin took scant pains to 
conceal his disgust. He, also, had heard, 
and repeated, the club gossip to Gertrude s 
father. 

"If good advice is what you want par 
ticularly," said Mr. Foster, slowly, "I don t 
know but that I might accommodate you. 
I hardly think Gertrude is in a position to 
to " 

The bell rang sharply and in an instant 



162 pras l^ou, Sir, TJdbose Daughter? 

the little cash girl from the store rushed 
in gasping for breath. 

"Come quick! quick! Ettie is killed! 
She fell down stairs and then oh, some 
thing awful happened! I don t know what 
it was. The doctor is there. He sent me 
here, cause Ettie cried and called for yon ! " 

She was looking at Gertrude, who started 
toward the door. 

" Go back and tell the doctor that Miss 
Foster cannot come," said her father, rising. 

" Certainly not, I should hope," remarked 
John Martin under his breath; "the most 
preposterous idea ! " Gertrude paused. She 
was looking at her father with appeal in her 
face. Then her eyes fell upon the tense 
lips and piercing gaze of Francis King who, 
half way to the street door, had turned and 
was looking first from one to the other. 

"Papa," said Gertrude, "don t say that. 
I must go. It is right that I should, and I 
must." Then with outstretched hands, "I 
want to go, papa ! I need to. Don t " 

* You will do nothing of the kind, Ger 
trude. It is outrageous. What business 
have you got with that kind of girls? I 



Uou, Sir, "CClbose Bausbter? 163 

asked you to stop having 1 them come here, 
and I told yon to let them alone. I am per 
fectly disgusted with Avery, here, for " 
He had thought Francis was gone. The 
drapery where she had turned to hear what 
Gertrude would say hid her from him. 
" With that kind of girls /" was ringing in 
her ears. 

" I hope when yon are married that is not 
the sort of society he is going to surround 
you with. It " Avery saw for the first 
time what the trouble was. He stepped 
quickly to Gertrude s side and slipped one 
ami about her. Then he took the hand she 
still held toward her father. 

" My wife shall have her own choice. She 
is as capable as I to choose. I shall not in 
terfere. She shall not find me a master, but 
a comrade. Gertrude is her own judge and 
my adviser. That is all I ask, and it is all I 
assume for myself as her husband when 
that time comes," he added, with her hand 
to his lips. 

Mrs. Foster entered attired for the street. 
The unhappy face of Francis King with wide 
eyes staring at Gertrude met her gaze. She 



164 pras H?ou, Sir, Wbosc >augbter? 

had heard what went before. " Get your 
hat, Gertrude," she said. I will go with 
you. It might take too long to get a car 
riage. Francis, come with me; Gertrude 
will follow us. Come with her, my son," 
she said, to Selden Avery, and a spasm of 
happiness swept over his face. She had 
never called him that before. He stooped 
and kissed her, and there were tears in the 
young man s eyes as Mrs. Foster led Fran 
cis King away. 

r? I suppose it was all my fault to begin 
with," said John Martin, when the door had 
closed behind them. "It all started from 
that visit to the Spillinis. The only way to 
keep the girls of this age in " he was go 
ing to say "in their place," but he changed 
to " f where they belong, is not to let them 
find out the facts of life. Charity and re 
ligion did well enough to appease the con 
sciences of women before they had colleges, 
and all that. I didn t tell you so at the time, 
but I always did think it was a mistake to 
send Gertrude to a college where she could 
measure her wits with men. She ll never 
give it up. She don t know where to stop. 



n 



lL)ou, Sir, Idbose Daughter? 165 

Mr. Foster lighted a cigar a thing he sel 
dom did in the drawing-room. He handed 
one to John Martin. 

"I gness you re right, John," he said, 
slowly. " She can t seem to see that gradu 
ation day ended all that. It was Katherine s 
idea, sending her there, though. I wanted 
her to go to Vassar or some girl s school 
like that. I don t know what to make of 
Katherine lately; when I come to think of 
it, I don t know what to make of her all 
along. She seems to have laid this plan 
from the first, college and all; but I never 
saw it. Sometimes I m afraid sometimes 
I almost think " He tapped his forehead 
and shook his head, and John Martin nodded 
contemplatively, and said: "I shouldn t 
wonder if you are right, Fred. Too much 
study is a dangerous thing for w r omen. The 
structure of their brains won t stand it. It 
is sad, very sad;" and they smoked in sym 
pathetic silence, while James had hastened 
below stairs to assure Susan that he thought 
he d catch himself allowing his sweetheart 
or wife to demean herself and disgrace him 
by having anything to do with a person in 



166 frras H>ou, Sir, TKlbose Daughter? 

the position of Ettie Berton. And Susan 
had little doubt that James was quite right, 
albeit Susan felt moderately sure that in a 
contest of wits after the happy day she 
could be depended upon to get her own way 
by hook or by crook, and Susan had no vast 
fund of scruple to allay as to method or 
motive. Deception was not wholly out of 
Susan s line. Its necessity did not disturb 
her slumbers. 



lou, Sir, TKIlbose Daughter? 167 



XIY. 

Some one had sent for Ettie s father. 
They told him that she was dying, and he 
had come at once. Mr. King had gone with 
him. The latter gentleman did not much 
approve of his colleague s soft-heartedness 
in going. * lie did not know where his own 
daughter was, and he did not care. She had 
faced him in her fiery way, and angered him 
beyond endurance the morning after she had 
learned of the awful bill which he had not 
really originated, but which he had induced 
Mr. Berton to present, at the earnest behest 
of a social lion whose wont it was to roar 
mightily in the interest of virtue, but who 
was at the present moment engaged in lob 
bying vigorously in the interest of vice. 

When Francis entered the sick-room with 
Mrs. Foster, and found the two men there, 
she gave one glance at the pallid, uncon 
scious figure on the bed, and then demanded, 



168 Eras l^ou, Sir, tldbose Daughter 1 

fiercely: T "Where is the cashier? Why 
didn t you bring him and and the rest of 
you who help make laws to keep him where 
he is, an an to put Ettie where she is? 
Why didn t y bring all of your kind that 
helped along the job?" 

Mrs. Foster had been bending over the 
child on the bed. She turned. 

" Don t, Francis," she said, trying to draw 
the girl away. .She was standing before 
the two men, who were near the window. 
"Don t, Francis. That can do no good. They 
did not intend " 

" No m," began Berton, awkwardly ; " no m, 
I didn t once think o my girl, n " He 
glanced uneasily at his colleague and then 
at the face on the bed. 

" Or you would never have wanted such 
a law passed, I am sure," said Katherine. 

"No m, I wouldn t," he said, doggedly, 
not looking at his colleague. 

"Don t tell me!" exclaimed Francis. 
* You don t none of you care for her. He 
only cares because it is his girl an disgraces 
him. What did he do? Care for her? 
he drove her off. That shows who 



1P>rag 12ou, Sir, TKIlbose Dauflbter? 169 

he s a-carin for. He ain t sorry because 
it hurts or murders her. He never tried 
to make it easy for her an say he was a 
lot more to blame an an a big sight 
worse every way than she was. He s a- 
howling now about bein sorry; but he s 
only sorry for himself. He d a let her 
starve an so d lie" she said, pointing to 
her father. She was trembling with rage 
and excitement. "I hope there is a hell! 
I jest hope there is! I ll be willin to go 
to it myself jest t see " 

The door opened softly and Gertrude 
entered, and behind her stood Selden Avery. 

:? That kind of girls" floated anew into 
Francis s brain, and the sting of the words 
she had heard Gertrude s father utter drove 
her on. "I wish to God, every man that 
ever lived could be torn to pieces an an 
put under Ettie s feet. They wouldn t be 
fit for her to walk on none of em ! She 
never did no harm on purpose ner when she 
understood; an men men jest love to be 
mean! " 

She felt the utter inadequacy of her words, 
and a great wave of feeling and a sense of 



170 IPras l>ou t Sir, TlClbose Daughter 7 

baffled resentment swept over her, and she 
burst into tears. Gertrude tried to draw 
her out of the room. At the door she 
sobbed: "Even her father s jest like the 
rest, only only he says it easier. He " 

"Francis, Francis," said Gertrude, almost 
sternly, when they were outside the sick 
room. ? You must not act so. It does no 
good, and and you are partly wrong, be 
sides. If " 

"I didn t mean him" said the girl, with 
her handkerchief to her eyes. " I didn t 
mean him. I know what he thinks about it. 
I heard him talk one night at the club. He 
talked square, an I reckon he is square. 
But I wouldn t take no chances. I wouldn t 
marry the Angel Gabriel an give him a 
chance to lord it over me ! " 

Gertrude smiled in spite of herself, and 
glanced within through the open door. 
There was a movement towards where the 
sick girl lay. " If you go in, you must be 
quiet," she said to Francis, and entered. 
Ettie had been stirring uneasily. She 
opened her great blue eyes, and when she 
saw the faces about her, began to sob aloud. 



prag l?ou, Sir, TlBlbose 2>augbter? 171 

"Don t let pa scold me. I ll do his way. 
I ll do anything anybody wants. I like 
to. The store " She gave a great shriek 
of agony. She had tried to move and fell 
back in a convulsion. She was only partly 
conscious of her suffering, but the sight was 
terrible enough to sympathetic hearts, and 
there was but one pair of dry eyes in the 
room. The same beady, stern, hard glitter 
held its place in the eyes of Mr. King. 

"Serves her right," he was thinking. 
" And a mighty good lesson. Bringin dis 
grace on a good man s name ! " 

The tenacity with which Mr. King ad 
hered to the belief in, and solicitude for, a 
good name, would have been touching had 
it not been noticeable to the least observant 
that his theory was, that the custody of that 
desirable belonging was vested entirely in 
the female members of a family. Nothing 
short of the most austere morals could pre 
serve the family scutcheon if he was con 
templating one side. Nothing short of a 
long-continued, open, varied, and obtrusive 
dishonesty and profligacy of a male member 
could even dull its lustre. It was a com- 



172 iprap ijjou, Sir, Wbose Daughter? 

fortable code for a part of its adherents. 

Had his poor, colorless, inane wife ever 
dared to deviate from the beaten path of 
social observance, Mr. King would have 
talked about and felt that " his honor " was 
tarnished. Were he to follow far less 
strictly the code, he would not only be sure 
that his own honor was intact, but if any 
one were to suggest to him the contrary, or 
that he was compromising her honor, he 
would have looked upon that person as 
lacking in what he was pleased to call " com 
mon horse-sense." He was in 110 manner a 
hypocrite. His sincerity was undoubted. 
He followed the beaten track. Was it not 
the masculine reason and logic of the ages, 
and was not that final? Was not all other 
reason and logic merely a spurious emotion 
alism? morbid? unwholesome? irrational? 

~No one would gainsay that unless it were 
a lunatic or a woman, which was much 
the same thing and since the opinion of 
neither of these was valuable, why discuss 
or waste time with them? That was Mr. 
King s point of view, and he was of the opin 
ion that he had a pretty good voting majority 



12ou, Sir, Wbose H>au0bter? 173 

with him, and a voting majority was the 
measure of value and ethics with Represen 
tative King when the voting majority 
was on his side. 

When the last awful agony came to poor 
little Ettie Berton, and she yielded up, in 
pathetic terror and reluctant despair, the 
life which had been moulded for her with 
such a result almost as inevitable as the 
death itself, a wave of tenderness and re 
morse swept over her father. He buried 
his face in the pillow beside the poor, pretty, 
weak, white face that would win favor and 
praise by its cheerful ready acquiescence no 
more, and wept aloud. This impressed 
Representative King as reasonable enough, 
under all the circumstances, but when 
Ettie s father intimated later to Francis 
that he had been to blame, and that, perhaps, 
after all, Ettie was only the legitimate 
result of her training and the social and 
legal conditions which he had helped to 
make and sustain, Representative King 
curled his lip scornfully and remarked that 
in his opinion Tom Berton never could be 
relied on to be anything but a damned fool 



174 prag U>ou, Sir, Idbose Daughter 7 

in the long run. He was a splendid "starter." 
Always opened up well in any line; but 
unless someone else held the reins after that 
the devil would be to pay and no mistake. 

Francis heard ; and, hearing, shut tight her 
lips and with her tear-swollen eyes upon the 
face of her dead friend, swore anew that to 
be disgraced by the presence of a father 
like that was more than she could bear. 
She could work or she could die; but 
there was nothing on this earth, she felt, 
that would be so impossible, so disgraceful, 
as for her to ever again acknowledge his 
authority as her guide. 

" Come home with me to-night, Francis," 
said Mrs. Foster. :? We will think of a 
plan " 

"I m goin to stay right here," said the 
girl, with a sob and a shiver; for she had 
all the horror and fear of the dead that is 
common to her type and her inexperience. 
"I m goin to stay right here. I can t go 
home, an I m discharged at the store. Ettie 
told me her rent was paid for this month. 
I ll take her place here an an try to 
find another place to work." 



prag feu, Sir, IClbose Baugbter? 175 

Mrs. Foster realized that to stay in that 
room would fill the girl with terror, but she 
felt, too, that she understood why Francis 
would not go home with her. :? That kind of 
girls " from Mr. Foster s lips had stung this 
fierce, sensitive creature to the quick. A 
week ago she would have been glad indeed 
to accept Katherine Foster s offer. Now 
she would prefer even this chamber of death, 
where the odors made her ill, and the 
thoughts and imaginings would insure to 
her sleepless nights of unreasoning fear. 
Her father did not ask her to go home. 
Representative King believed in represent 
ing. Was not his family a unit? And was 
he not the figure which stood for it? It 
had never been his custom to ask the mem 
bers of his household to do things. He told 
them that he wanted certain lines of action 
followed. That was enough. The thought 
and the will of that ideal unit, " the family," 
vested in the person of Mr. King and he 
proposed to represent it in all things. 

If by any perverse and unaccountable 
mental process there was developed a 
personality other than and different from 



176 pra Jt)ou t Sir, IKHboee 2>augbter? 

his own, Representative King did not pro 
pose to be disturbed in his home-life as he 
persisted in calling the portion of his ex 
istence where he was able to hold the iron 
hand of power ever upon the throat of 
submission to the extent of having such 
unseemly personality near him. 

In her present mood he did not want 
Francis at home. Representative King was 
a staunch advocate of harmony and unity in 
the family life. He was of opinion that 
where timidity and dependence say "yes" to 
all that power suggests, that there dwelt 
unity and harmony. That is to say, he 
held to this idea where it touched the sexes 
and their relation to each other in what he 
designated an. ideal domestic life. In all 
other relations he held far otherwise unless 
he chanced to be on the side of power 
and had a fair voting majority. Represent 
ative King was an enthusiastic admirer of 
submission for other people. He thought 
that there was nothing like self-denial to 
develop the character and beauty of a nature. 
It is true that his scorn was deep when he 
contempleted the fact that John Berton 



t?ou, Sir, Wbose Daughter? 177 

"had no head of his own," but then, John 
Berton was a man, and a man ought to have 
some self-respect. He ought to develop his 
powers and come to something definite. 
A definite woman was a horror. Her attrac 
tiveness depended upon her vagueness, 
so Representative King thought; and if a 
large voting majority was not with him in 
open expression, he felt reasonably sure that 
he could depend upon them in secret session, 
so to speak. Representative King was not 
a linguist, but he could read between the 
social and legal lines very cleverly indeed, 
and finer lines of thought than these were 
not for Representative King. 

And so he did not ask Francis to go 
home. :? When she. gets ready to go my 
way and says so, she can come," he thought. 

" When that dress gets shabby and she s 
a little hungry, she ll conclude that my way 
is good enough for her." He smiled at the 
vision of the future "unity and harmony" 
which should thus be ushered into his home 
by means of a little judiciously applied dis 
cipline, and Francis took her dead friend s 



178 IPrag j^ou, Sir, Wbose 2>augbter? 

place as a lodger and tried to think, between 
her spasms of loneliness and fears, what she 
should do on the morrow. 



lou, Sir, TlClbose 2>auabter? 179 



XV. 

" Francis told me once at the Guild that 
she can make delicious bread and pastry," 
said Gertrude, as they drove home. "I 
wonder if we could not start her in a little 
shop of her own. She has the energy and 
vim to build herself a business. I doubt if 
she will every marry with her expe 
rience one can hardly wonder and there is 
a long life before her. Her salvation will 
be work; a career, success." 

"A career in a pastry shop seems droll 
enough," smiled her mother, but " 

"I think I might influence the club to 
take a good deal of her stuff. We ve a 
miserable pastry cook now," said Avery. 
"That would help her to get a start, and the 
start is always the hard part, I suppose, in a 
thing like that." 

" That would be a splendid chance. If 
the members liked her things, perhaps they 



180 iprag l)ou, Sir, tdbose Daugbtert 

would get their wives to patronize her, too," 
said Gertrude, gaily. " I m so glad you 
thought of that, but then you always think 
of the right thing," she added, tenderly. 
They all three laughed a little, and Avery 
slipped his arm about her. 

"Do I?" he asked in a voice tremulous 
with happiness. "Do I, Darling? I m so glad 
you said that, for I ve just been thinking 
that that I don t want to go back to 
Albany without you, and and the new 
session begins in ten weeks. Darling, will 
you go with me? May she, my mother?" 
he asked, catching Mrs. Foster s hand in his 
own. The two young people were facing 
her. She sat alone on the back seat of the 
closed carriage. The street lights were 
beginning to blossom and flicker. The rays 
fell upon the mother s face as they drove. 
Her eyes were closed, and tears were on 
her cheeks. 

"Forgive me,, mother," said Avery, 
tenderly. "Forgive me! You have gone 
through so much to-day. I should have 
waited; but but I love her so. I need 



H?ou t Sir, IBlbose 2>augbter? 181 

her so I need her to help me think right. 
Can you understand?" 

Mrs. Foster moved to one side and held 
out both arms to her daughter. 

"Sit by me," she said, huskily, and Ger 
trude gathered her in her young, strong 
arms. 

"Can I understand?" half sobbed Kather- 
ine from her daughter s shoulder. "Can 
I understand? Oh, I do! I do! and I 
am so happy for you both; but she she is 
my daughter, and it is so hard to let her 
go even to you! It is so hard!" 

Gertrude could not speak. She tried to 
look at her lover, but tears filled her eyes. 
She was holding her mother s hand to her 
lips. 

"Dear little mamma," she whispered; 
"dear little mamma, I shall never go if 
it makes you unhappy never, if it breaks 
my heart. But mamma, I love you more 
because I love him; and " 

"I know, I know," said Katherine, trying 
to struggle out of her heartache which held 
back and beyond itself a tender joy for 
these two. "But love is so selfish. I am 



H)ou, Sir, Wbose 2>au0bter? 

glad. I am glad for you both but oh, 
my daughter, I love you, I love you ! " she 
said, and choked down a sob to smile in 
the girl s eyes. 

Mr. Foster was waiting for them in the 
library. They were late. He had been 
thinking. 

"Well, I m tremendously glad you re 
back," he said brightly, kissing his wife, and 
then he took Gertrude in his arms. "Sweet 
heart," he said, smiling down into her eyes, 
"if I seemed harsh to-day, I m sorry. I 
only did it because I thought it was for 
your own good. You know that." 

"Why, papa," she said, with her cheek 
against his own; "of course I know. Of 
course I understand. We all did. You 
don t mind if we did not see your way? 
You" 

The girl is dead, dear," said Mrs. Foster, 
touching her husband s arm, "and let us 
not talk of that now, to to these, our 
children. They want your they want to 
ask they are going to be married in ten 
weeks?" 

" The dickens ! " exclaimed her father, and 



l!)ou, Sir, Wbose DauflbterT 183 

held Gertrude at arm s length. "Is that so, 
Sweetheart?" There was a twinkle in his 
eyes, and he lifted her chin with one finger 
and then kissed her. * The dickens ! Well, 
all I ve got to say is, I m sorry for old 
Martin and the rest of us," and he grasped 
Selden Avery s hand. "I hope you ll give 
up that legislative foolishness pretty soon 
and come back to town, and live with civil 
ized people in a civilized way. It ll be 
horribly lonely in New York without Ger 
trude, but oh, well, its nature s way. 
We re all a lot of robbers. I stole this little 
woman away from her father, and I m 
an unrepentent thief yet, am I not?" and 
he kissed his wife with the air of a man 
who feels that life is well worth living, no 
matter what its penalties, so long as she 
might be not the least of them ( 



JUST OUT. 



A BOOK THAT IS BOUND TO CREATE A 
GENUINE SENSATION. 

Dr. MAX KORDAU 

Writes enthusiastically of the "splendid 
and noble morality " of this unique wor, 




Price, post-paid, 500. 



on 

ub^hing (o. 

For Sale by the Trade 



"A THOUGHTLESS YES." 

BY HELEN H. GARDENER. 
SOME PRESS COnnENTS. 

New York Tribune. 

Marked by a quaint philosophy, shrewd, sometimes pungent reflection, 
each one possesses enough purely literary merit to make its way and hold 
its own. "The Lady of the Club" is indeed a terrible study of social 
abuses and problems, and most of the others suggest more in the same 
direction. 

Pittsburg Bulletin. 

All the stories are distinguished by a remarkable strength, both of thought 
and language. 

Boston Transcript. 

Will do considerable to stir up thought, and breed a " divine discontent" 
with vested wrong and intrenched injustice. The stories are written in a 
bright, vivacious style. 

Boston Herald. 

She appreciates humor and makes others appreciate it. All of the stories, 
whether humorous or pathetic, have a touch of realism, and are written 
clearly and forcibly. 

New York Independent. 

Bright and light, gloomy and strange, cleverly imagined, fairly amusing, 
tragic and interesting, by turns. 

Chicago Times. 
Thoughtfully conceived, and beautifully written. 

San Francisco Call. 
Each story is a literary gem. 

Portland {Me.) Transcript. 

Full of wit and epigram; very enjoyable and profitable reading. Just 
long enough to induce the wish that they were a little longer an excellent 
feature in a story. 

Unity (Chicago). 

Helen Gardener puts moral earnestness and enthusiasm for humanity into 
her stories. Even her pessimism is better than the nerveless superficiality 
of her rivals. 

Charleston (S. (7.) News. 
Illustrate the indubitable fact that the times are out of joint. 

Arena. 

Exceptionally excellent. Convey a moral lesson in a manner always 
^Jvid, invariably forcible, sometimes startling. 

N. Y. Herald. 

The author is not morbid ; she is honestly thoughtful. The mystery and 
consequences of heredity is the motive of some of the strongest. 

Milwaukee Journal. 

With a terseness and originality positively refreshing. On subjects to 
suit the thoughtful, sad, or gay. 

N. Y. Truth. 

Have made their mark as new, original, and strong. She could not write 
ungracefully if she tried, and this book is like a varied string of pearls, 
opals, and diamonds. 

Price, Paper, 50 Cents; Cloth, $1.00. 

THE COMflONWEALTH CO., 

121 FOURTH AVE., NEW YORK. 



46 Pushed by Unseen Hands." 

PRESS NOTICES OF FIRST EDITION. 

BY HELEN H. GARDENER. 

Boston Traveller. 

Must add to her already enviable reputation. These stories have the 
marks of a brilliant genius; they are original in style and design, and are a 
new thing in literature. Realistic in the extreme, they are at the same time 
delightfully artistic. 

New York Times. 
The book is clever, dramatic, and in a literary sense has much merit. 

Kansas City Times. 

Helen Gardener is the most fearless motive fictionist of these times, and 
has given time, thought and revelation to some phases of society hitherto 
clothed. ... all her writings are wholesome and profitable reading. . . . 

Omaha Bee. 

Highly commended from a scientific point of view by recognized sci 
entific authority. . . . charming method of giving to her readers pleasure 
with profit. 

The Baltimore American. 

The terseness of expression, the delicacy of humor, and clever dramatic 
ability that have characterized some of her earlier efforts, are equally strik 
ing in this later work, which quickens the reader s thoughts toward a 
channel of science yearly receiving more and more attention. 

Boston Globe. 

So realistic as to leave no doubt of their actuality. . . . The stories are told 
with no apparent purpose to adorn a moral, and are the very best fiction, 
yet no intelligent person can finish the book without wishing to relieve the 
evils which surround high and low alike. 

St. Louis Republic. 
Bright, pointed, and full of interest. A book such as this. . . . is welcome. 

Grand Rapids (Mich.) Eagle. 

A book destined to meet a large audience, not only because of its author s 
fame, but because it has merit. 

Chicago Times. 

Vivid and artistic. The author is a woman of remarkable gifts and of 
superb courage. 

New Orleans Picayune. 

Fascinating to the imagination. Miss Gardener s touch is very exquisite, 
and she draws her mental pictures with the hand of a master, showing in a 
few rapid lines more sharp and attractive characteristics than many authors 
can in labored pages. 

Inter-Ocean (Chicago). 

The stories are aboundingly interesting, both from the manner of telling, 
and from their suggestive thoughts. The author seems always to write for 
some definite purpose, and that purpose to defend the right, protect the 
weak and helpless, and make the world wiser and better. Great wrongs 
could scarcely be more keenly rebuked, or great truths more forcibly stated, 
than by these terse stories. They are graphic in their style, elegant in their 
literary construction, and convey moral lessons full of health and life. 

Price, Paper, 50 Cents; Cloth, $1.00. 

THE COMMONWEALTH CO., 

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Just out A Powerful Realistic Novel of Western 
Life, by Mr. Garland. 



JASON EDWARDS 



An Average Man, 

A Story of To-day, 



HAMLIN GARLAND, 

Author of "A Spoil of 
Office," "Main Trav 
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" I two r that the builder no longer 
To me >liall be leit thin the plan, 

Henceforward be guerdon and glory 
And lite for the average man." 

HAMLIN GARLAND. 




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