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Full text of "Some ladies in haste [microform]"

SOME LADIES 
IN HASTE 








ROBERT W. CHAMBERS 



WORKS OF ROBERT W. CHAMBERS 



THE YOUNGER SET 

THE FIGHTING CHANCE 

THE TREE OP HEAVEN 

THE TRACER OF LOST PERSONS 

THE RECKONING 

IOLE 

Cardigan The Conspirators 

The Maid-at-Anns The Cambric Maik 

Lorraine The Haunts of Men 

Maids of Paradise Outsiders 

Ashes of Empire A Young Man in a Hurry 

Jbe Red Republic Tbe Mystery of Choice 

The King in Yellow In Search of the in- 

A Maker of Moons known 

A King and a Few Dukes In the Quarter 

FOR CH I LDR EN 

Garden-Land Mountain-Land 

Forest-Land Orchard-Land 

River-Land Outdoorland 




SOME LADIES IN HASTE 




"He ... blew his whole love-smitten soul into the fife." 



SOME LADIES 
IN HASTE # % 

'By ROBERT W. CHAMBERS 




D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

NEW YORK MCMVIII 



COPYRIGHT, 1908, BY 

A . II AMBERS 

COPYRIGHT, 1907, BY 
I Hi i (UI1S PUBLISHING COMPANY 




Hay. 




TO MY FRIEND 

ARTH UR DILLON 

IN MEMORY OF THI 

OLD DAVs 

WHEN NOBODY WAS IN 

A HURRY 



912827 




CONTENTS 




CHAPTER 

I. THE MISCHIEF-MAKKR 



PACE 

I 



II. DIANA'S CHASE 25 

III. AN OVERDOSE 59 

IV. A REMEDY 77 

V. A GUILTY MAN 102 

VI. THE ABSENT-MINDED GODDESS 126 

VII. A LADY IN HASTE 162 

VIII. ABSENT TREATMENT 191 

IX. Sui GENERIS 202 

X. Ex MACHINA . 218 



ILLUSTRATIONS^ 




"He . . . blew his whole love-smitten soul into the 
fife" Frontispiece 

4 " \\liat are you doing in my woods? 1 " .... 134 

"' Sweetheart/ he whispered naively, partly because he 

didn't know her other name" 200 

"'I defy you to make me do it!' 1 230 



xiii 




SOME LADIES IN HASTE 



CHAPTER I 



THE MISCHIEF-MAKER 

ANNERS was waiting as Kel- 
vin came in. keeping his ap- 
pointment to the minute. 

They greeted each other 
simply and sincerely, and for 
an instant Manners's lean, attractive feature- 
lighted up. Then the expression of perplex- 
ity returned; he raised his glass, rattled the 
ice in it, found it empty, and glanced across 
at young Kelvin, who nodded. 




Some Ladies in Haste 



" Two more, then," said Manners to the 
dub servant who answered the pressure of 
his walking stick on the electric button. 
And, to Kdvin. "It is a very warm morn- 
ing." lu- remarked politeh. 

" It is more than \\ariu. it is hot/* observed 
Kdvin. And. after a decorous pause: " You 
say you have something nt entirely agree- 
ahle to confide to me. William' 

* I well, it depends on what you consider 
disagreeable. I>\ the \\a\. what on earth 
have \ou stuffed into your coat pockets? 
They're all bulging out of shape." 

Kelvin reddened and muttered something 
unintelligible ; then, \\ith a trace of irritation: 

"What's this unpleasant matter \<m \\i^h 
t di I'm rather in a hurry, William." 

Manners gave a slight start. "CcrtainK." 

aid; " I am going to tell you the whole 

thing. I I hate to do it. but I'll have to, 

<r >r later, because" and the wm 
expression came into his face again " be- 
eauM- it so vitally affects ah several peo- 

" Me? " asked the other anxiously. 
Manners produced a freshly ironed hand- 
kerchief, shook out the folds, and picking up 



The Mischief -Maker 



his single eyeglass from the string where it 
dangled began to polish it. Once or twice 
he held it up to squint through it. 

" I'd better begin at the beginning, hadn't 
I ? " he asked, with a nonchalance plainly as- 
sumed. 

" Naturally, unless you're a Chinaman," 
said Kelvin uneasily. 

" Very well, then ; the whole thing began 
when I went He stopped abruptly. " But 
you didn't know about that, did you?" 

" About what ? " snapped Kelvin. 

" About where I went ? " 

"When?" 

" Th that time- 

" What time ? " demanded Kelvin, in grow- 
ing apprehension. " Look here, William, 
you're getting on my nerves. Are you afraid 
to tell me about this matter which you say 
concerns me ? " 

" No, I'm not afraid I mean, I'm not very 
much afraid of you. So I went there but 
you didn't know about that, did you?" 

" Know about what ? " demanded the other, 
exasperated. 

" Why, about my going to Dr. Duncan's 
Sanatorium." 
2 



Some Ladies in Haste 



' No, I didn't. What did you go for?" 
"I went." said Manners, "because I was 
smoking too much. I tried to break off- 
found it hard, got several kinds of fidgets, and 
then it occurred to me that it would be easier 
for somebody else to take the trouble to cure 
me than for me to bother about curing my- 
self. Of course I'd heard of Dr. Duncan. 
Everybody has. 'Even you have, haven't 
you?" 

" Of course," nuitu -red Kelvin, who had 
heard nothing of the sort. 

" \VrlI. I'd read something about the treat- 
ment of disease by hypnotism and mental 
suggestion. Everybody is discussing it these 
days, though it's an old story in Europe, 
where the most celebrated scientists have 
been for \r.u> reporting marvelous discover- 
ies and amazing cures I I is rising inflection 
made it a question. Kelvin nodded wisely, 
and the other continued: 

You know how it's been here in Amer- 
ica; fear of ridicule and hidebound profes- 
sional conservatism have prevented our phy- 
sicians from experimenting or attempting to 
practice it. Duncan is the only eminent man 
in his profession who has been brave enough 



The Mischief -Maker 



to take it up. Be patient, Eric ; I'm coming 
to your case presently." 

Manners removed his monocle in order to 
see more clearly what expressions were chas- 
ing themselves over Kelvin's disconcerted 
countenance. 

" What do you mean by my case ? " de- 
manded Kelvin. " What have I to do with 
this dinky affair?" 

But Manners ignored the question and an 
offered cigar with a troubled sigh, and, as 
Kelvin set fire to his own cigar, he went on: 

" Dr. Duncan has worked miracles in men- 
tal suggestion. He has cured the intemper- 
ate, he has corrected the moral equilibrium, 
made bad people good, restored to sanity the 
mentally stricken. Think of that, Eric ! " 

"I am. What of it?" 

" This, that, although he performs modern 
iiusteries and miraculous marvels, his magic 
is purely scientific ; he reasons coolly ; he op- 
erates with nothing more occult than com- 
mon sense. Clear, cold reason is Duncan's 
only assistant. There's no use of anybody 
shouting * Mountebank ! ' at him ; he's one of 
the most widely known and most highly re- 
spected physicians in active practice; an au- 



Some Ladles /;/ Haste 



thor of a dozen scientific works which have 
IK m crowned by tlu* French Academy and 
praised by scientists the world over; a lec- 
turer at Oxford, the Sorbonne, and Harvard. 
And, Eric " 

"What?" sullenly pu fling his cigar. 

" He not only cured me of that vile habit 
of smoking, which I notice yon still indulge 
in. Imt he did it by absent treatment." 

You mean he sat in his office and \\.rked 
a sort of mental rabbit foot on you? a kind 
of hoodoo on your smoking while you \\ent 
about town <n \<mr o\\n atTa 

44 Exactly. I. as ym --..lied about. 

not concerning myself with am jart of the 

num. but in a day or two I began to 

find that I didn't like to smoke. That's \\hat 

he did to me." 

" P,\ JUM JIM thinking alx)ut you at so 
much a think;'" asked Kelvin flippantly. 

" rreei-ely. And 1 \\as s > |ilea>el that I 
took another course from him. That was 
\\here trouble hr-an. I had him treat me 
for mental vacuity. And l<nk at me now! 
Why, Eric, my head is full <f thoughts 
simply scanning with all kinds of bright 
idea 



The Mischief -Maker 



" You mean to say that he did this for 
you ? " jeered Kelvin, unconvinced. 

" He certainly did," said Manners mod- 
estly. " The first thing I noticed I began to 
exhibit faint traces of intelligence. About a 
fortnight later I had incubated and hatched 
an original idea, and, when I had found that 
an idea or two relieved the pressure on the 
mental vacuum, I began to wonder about all 
that business of thought transmission and 
mental influence, the same old thing that has 
been thrashed out by everybody even by 
\<>u, it appears." 

He waved his monocle and looked wearily 
at Kelvin. 

"Same old thing," he said apologetically, 
" but vitally interesting to me because I <1 
just been treated. So I got some of Dun- 
can's books and read 'cm; thought a little. 
\vent and got some more books; thought a 
little more, went to Columbia University to 
hear some lectures " 

" You ! " in derision. 

" Ya-as. And one day, sitting in this same 
foolish club window, the knob of my stick 
under my chin, I began to wonder whether I 
couldn't do a few stunts myself particularly 



8 Some Ladies in Haste 

in that matter of mental influence exercised 
upon somebody at a distance. I thought 
what a help I might be to you, for example." 

Kelvin sought his glass with un>tead\ fin- 
gers. " Go on," he said. 

44 So," continued Manners simply. I tried 
it on several people various things on \.m 
ous people 

" Friends?" demanded Kelvin in some 
citement. 

44 Some were friends fellows I km \\ 
Some were ah strangers several pretty 
girls whom I noticed through the windows. 
It was a bright ^pring morning. I saw a 
number of agreeable i;nU>M Fifth Avenue 
one in particular curiously resembled ah a 
charming girl I admire e\rredinij\ 
I >M NMII mean to say that you attempted 

infernal mental experiments on 
eral attractive girls \\ith \\hom you have no 
nal acquaintance?" demanded Kelvin. 
And, as Manners wineed. 'Have you any 
reason to believe you have succeeded ? " he 
insisted 

Probably if I may judge from what my 
mental experiments are now doing to several 
men of my acquaintance." 



The Mischief-Maker 



" W-what what are you making them 
do?" 

" Various things," admitted Manners, fur- 
tively watching his shocked friend. " I 
well such personal qualities as it appeared 
to me they lacked I attempted to instill into 
them. For instance, one energetic but per- 
fectly commonplace young business man I 
thought needed an injection of devil-may-care 
romance to leaven him. So I concentrated 
my intellectual processes on his case ; I gave 
him vigorous absent treatment he was at the 
Stock Exchange at the time. He didn't know 
what was happening to him." 

"And what happened?" said Kelvin. 

Manners shook his head : ** You ought to 
see him now. He's trying to become en- 
gaged to almost any girl he meets." 

" What ! " cried Kelvin, horrified. 

Manners looked nervously around, but 
they were quite alone in the room. Then his 
glance returned to his friend : 

" He's quite dippy on romance. Isn't it 
shocking? Wants to wed almost anything he 
encounters. I I overdid it, you see; the 
treatment was too vigorous. But I didn't 
know; I'd had no experience. Besides, I 



io Some Ladies in Haste 

really hadn't the faintest notion that I pos- 
sessed such a power; and and first 1 knew 
I found I'd suddenly grasped something out 
of nothing; something as unexpected as a 
livr \\ire! And, Eric, there I was amazed, 
pleased \\ith myself, half doubting, blunder- 
ing in my experiments \\ith this stupendous 
living power which 1 never dreamed I pos- 
sessed " 

" Heavens, William." faltered KeKin. " tin, 
is a murderous confession you are ni.ik 

Manner- dipped <ne lank leg over the 
Other, where it hung dangling, and, remov- 
ing the monocle from hi- left eye, examined 
it \\ith <! 

i us phase- of the affair ' 

to be co i to you Do you think you 

can stand any more. I 

"I!"' 1 Kelvin IHTVoUsly. "Oh,/ 

can stand it all right, hut I'm \\ondi-ring how 
these miserable victims of yurs are going 
to stand it ! 

"So am I." said Mann. r^. " I'm Mire I 
don't know what to do for them." 

" < an't you >t.p it 

" Ya-as, I can stop it that i-. 1 can re- 



The Mischief -Maker n 

frain from doing anything ah further in 
that line." 

Kelvin shuddered ; Manners was aware of 
the spasm, and his features became troubled. 

" I can, of course, stop my experiments," 
he went on slowly, " but I can't undo what 
I've done 

"Why not?" 

" Because," replied Manners naively, " I 
don't know how." 

" But what on earth will happen to your 
victims?" demanded Kelvin. "What's hap- 
pening to 'em now ? Manners, you've got to 
do something- 
Manners made a gesture with his monocle. 
"Do something? What," he asked wearily, 
"am I to do? Tell me and I'll do it. I've 
tried the same sort of thing backward, but 
it won't work. I don't seem to be able 
to neutralize or modify what I've already 
done. I've written Dr. Duncan, but he's in 
Japan." 

Kelvin, breathing deeply, said : " I never, 
never supposed you were that sort of a man. 
You don't look it," he added reproachfully. 
" Why, hang it all, Manners, you you're a 
sort of a a monster ! " 



12 Sotnc /.</(//< \\- /';/ Haste 

" D-dnn't say that!" protested the other 
thickly. 

" I what dreadful idea possessed yon to 
try to do such things? I thought I knew you 
pretty well; I nobody ever supposed you 
ever had an original idea. You you didn't 
have to be intellectual, you know ; e\er\body 

liked \"n \\ell enough as you were ' 

Thank- : n - very good of. you," said Man- 
ners, despondently staring out of the window 
into the brilliant Min-hine. 

Kelvin gazed at him for a moment, -t riv- 
ing to realize it all, then hysterically put the 
UP n^ i-nl f 1, -nto hi^ month. 

There \\.t- ->me slight confusion; a servant 
came and mopped up the fragments of bro- 
ken \\lun he had retired Kelvin 
burst nut : 

You tell me these incredible things and 
I try to comprehend them, but it i- d 
nniiMial things to my nerves. I'm jumpy. 
William. And what I want to know imme- 
diately is whether \<>n've experimented on 
anybody besides that Wall Street man. 7 
yo*f" 

' ifes/ 1 -aid Mann. 

Kelvin sank back in his chair. 



The Mischief -Maker 13 

" What else and who else have you done ? " 
he asked. 

" Enough," said Manners sadly. " I began 
with a bunch of five friends of mine. I said 
to myself, ' You are good fellows, good citi- 
zens, commonplace, prevaricating, uninmagi- 
native, everyday young Americans, nimbly 
occupied in acquiring material advantages in 
a material and sordidly unromantic world/ 
That's what I said to myself, Kelvin." 

" And what did you do ? " demanded Kelvin 
in an awful voice. 

" Do? Well, I gave them all absent treat- 
ment. I treated them according to what I 
thought they lacked. Into some I injected a 
mad passion for the unvarnished truth ; into 
some the desire for adventure, the longing for 
the poetry and romance of life and and Na- 
ture- 

" Who," stammered Kelvin, " are these 
five betrayed, deluded, defrauded, abandoned 
friends of yours ? " And as Manners fidgeted 
and attempted to screw his monocle into his 
left eye: "Who are they, William Manners? 
And and " he continued shakily " do I 
know* them? Look at me! Tell me! 
Speak ! " he broke out, squirming in all the 



14 Some Ladies in Haste 

torture of uncertainty. " William ! William ! 
Am / one of those five ? " 

14 Yes," said Manners in the accentless ac- 
quiescence of despair. " Isn't it terrible?" 

For Ti7/(// part have you picked me?" al- 
most shouted Kelvin in his terror and be- 
wilderment. "What have you turned me in 
to? confound you! I I knew darned well 
there was something wron^ \\ith me; 1 \\>n 
dered \\liy I'd l>een growing panties in dinky 
pots ami ehloroforminx butterflies and t< 
in- thosr >illy diekex birds in the park with 
in\ pickets stntted with stale bivad ! I 
thought it might be softening of the brain. 
and and it's y//." 

" Yes, old chap," said Manners, humble in 
uilt. 

" Well good lit -a\ us ! \\rll, ean't you 
turn it off? Can't yn Mop nie reading Na- 
ture I'm writing one, too. Can't \n 
prevent I .n't \ on do something?" in 
sisted Kelvin, almost besidr himself with fury. 
"What business have I turning over stones 
to hunt for beetles and spiders? What do I 
want to dig up daisies for and look at tin- 
useless things through a magnifying glass? 
And Fm doing it all the time. I'm a plain 



The Mischief -Maker 15 

business man ; I make pulp paper in bulk. 
Why," In alnmst snarled, " do I go out to 
thr suburbs and run about with a butterfly 
net instead of attending to my business? I 
like the city ; I don't like the country. But 
I can't keep away from it ! " 

" Is it ruining you?" asked Manners mis- 
erably. 

It no, it isn't. I'm not too feeble-mind- 
ed to make a living in spite of what you've 
done to me. But I tell you, William, it's 
horrible to want to do something sensible and 
be unable to resist an inclination to go to the 
park and feed peanuts to the squirrels. And 
besides, I I there's a girl I once saw, . . . 
and I dorit like the sort of girl she is. ... 
And she's pretty as the mischief. And she 
studies Nature books, and peeps up into trees 
when some infernal tomtit begins to pipe up." 

"Who is she?" asked Manners in despair. 

" I don't know. I don't want to know. 
She's too pretty and intellectual. Can't you 
make me stop looking at her? Can't you 
make her go away ? " he insisted, almost fran- 
tic. 

" Where is she ? " asked Manners blankly. 

" Where is she ? I don't know. But I've 



16 Some Ladies in llustc 

seen her several times when I'm out in the 
confounded outskirts of civilization, with my 
pockets full of ferns and forceps and tin 
boxes crammed with caterpillars. Think of 
it, William, I, a decent, respectable, city-bred, 
city-loving business man ' 

He almost broke do\\n ; Manners, too, was 
deeply affected. 

" That girl," he said unsteadily. " is prob- 
ably one of the agreeable girls 1 >a\\ through 
this \\imli, \\. and whom I chose for my ex- 
periments. I'm awfully sorry, old fellow, but 
/ haven't a notion \\lio she is who any of 
tlum are. All I <li<l. uhen an attractive girl 
came along, was to say to myself : ' Now, you 
are very pretty and delightful to look at, but 
you probably think trivial thoughts most of 
the time, and you have been brought up with 
false notions of the world. Go out and see 
tin- sun HM ! Go listen to the speckled tm 
tit ! Get busy \\ith Nature and the living ro- 
mance of the free world! You dance too 
much : you cultivate too assiduously the com- 
paratively unimportant. Be a real girl a 
charming, frank, natural, fearless, disinterest- 
ed, intelligent girl. Give yourself the sensa- 
tion of an original idea. Take an interest in 



The Mischief-Maker 17 

the resources of those simpler pleasures now 
banned as obsolete by a fretted, pampered, 
overambitious, and intellectually degenerate 
society where wealth is ' " 

" William ! " 

" What ? " he asked guiltily. 

" If if you've done all that to those young 
girls you've done a terrible thing! " 

"Why?" 

" BecaiiM ynu'vi' filK (1 their heads with un- 
conventional notions. You make 'em want 
to go and be dryads in the Bronx and \\V-t 
Chester. And they can't be unless they trans- 
gress every law and rule of feminine training 
and bringing up. How can they? These 
hothouse exotics, brought up under glass in 
the only foreign city in the United States; 
these pretty heiresses of vulgar millions 
whose notions of the country are limited to 
macadamized roads and a touring car, whose 
aspirations are to dominate and sit lightly 
enthroned on the spindrift of the social 
surf He broke off, furious with him- 
self for his own flow of metaphor. " You 
see ! " he cried, mad all through, " your ab- 
sent treatment makes me talk like an ac- 
cursed literary thing, and not like a man, a 



i8 Spine Ladies in Ifu 

paper manufacturer, and a voter! William, 
this is a vile, vile business. Within me. Nell- 
ing up, I feel unsuspected springs of petr\. 
Confound it, I can't even think in decent. 
self-respecting English. I cogitate in rhythm ; 
I become loquacious in alliteration. I'm not 
m\ self. 1 haven't been for a month. And, 
look now ! I haven't anything to do to-day; 
I ought to sit here for a while like a human 
hcintf. then play a i^ame or two of billiards, 
then lunch c >mt"< n'tably upstairs, then take a 
drive in my new six-cylinder tourer, then 
dress and go to see the right sort of woman 
or go to a good play then come here for 
a cocktail and a rubber, then O Lord! 
and n>\\ look at me! I.wk!" 

And he pulled from his bulging poci 
a lot of bottles and boxes and notebooks 
crowded with o! Hi upon the nesting 

habits of the speckled titmouse. "And the 
\\<rst is that I'm now going, William, going 
out to chase butterflies, and rush eagerly after 
every thousand-legged thing that wriggles 
and crawls. And I'm in a hurry, too. Isn't 
that the limit? I'm actually impatient to be 
off, getting my shoes muddy and burs all 
over me. I don't want to like that girl I 



The Mischief -Maker 19 

sometimes see doing the same thing, and I'm 
afraid I'm getting to like to look at her. 
William! William! Can't you do anything 
forme?" 

" Do you know," said Manners earnestly, 
" that it's like some dreadful dream all this 
that I've somehow managed to do? I can't 
really believe it ; I'm palsied by it. I try to 
undo it by negative absent treatment. But 
it doesn't seem to work. Tell me, Kelvin, do 
do you notice any amelioration of your 
condition when I fix my mind on you, and 
give you negative absent treat " 

" Let me alone ! " almost yelled Kelvin. 
" Don't you dare try am thing more; do you 
hear? I'm bad enough as I am, and if you 
experiment further you may turn me into 
almost anything ! " 

For a moment the two men faced each 
other two well-dressed, well-built, attract- 
ive young fellows, confronting one another 
in a corner of one of the most exclusively 
fashionable of the junior clubs in New 
York. 

And as they stared into each other's eyes 
the situation seemed too impossible, too ab- 
surdly grotesque to be real. Here, in the 
3 



20 Sonic Ladles in llustc 

daylight of the twentieth century, within a 
stone's throw of Broadway ; here, in all the 
garish, unshadowed glare of Fifth Avenue, 
in the most modern, most matter-of-fact of 
metropolitan centers, uhere no inhabitant 
admitted romance could exist either in the 
city's magnificence or in its degraded squal- 
or; where the only romance understood was 
the ni-cr. >maiu-\ .! \\eallh and the manipula- 
tion of it ! 

Powerless, inert. Manners sank back into 
In- chair. Kelvin caM one withering glance 
upon his collated friend, thru. Mulling bot- 
tles, boxes, ami notebooks into his pockets, 
rose, crammed the slra\\ hat firmly over his 
and turned toward the d< 

" \\'- \\lu- re are \ on g-goir gasped 

Main 

"Into the country dammit!" snarled 
Kelvin, pan-in- to turn up his carefully 
creased tn u 

"Ericl I )on't go." 

How can I help it? Do you think I 

7C<//I/ tO gO?" 

iall I detain \<ni 1>\ v-violence ? " 
asked Manners anxiously ; '* shall I hold you, 
Eric 



The Mischief -Maker 21 

" If you do I'll probably knock your head 
off." 

" But think think of the danger of b-being 
stung by bees." 

" I do or by that girl." 

" Heavens, Eric ! Don't don't be beguiled 
into wedlock." 

" Oh, it's all very well for you to tell 
me such things now\ Anvthing's likely 
to happen; I may be attacked by a tad- 
pole or chased by a frog or bitten by that 
confounded tomtit. But I've got to go, all 
the same." 

Manners sprang forward to seize him, but 
Kelvin became violent. They stood there, 
confronting one another, breathing hard. 
Then : 

" Me for the Bronx," said Kelvin sullenly. 
" Leggo ! " And he disappeared through the 
portals of the Lenox Club. 

Manners observed his friend's departure 
with profound discouragement. Matters were 
not very well with him these days ; things 
had begun to go wrong in several ways ever 
since that accursed day when, idling at this 
very window, he had, without expecting suc- 
cess, ventured to attempt a mental influence 



22 Some Lcnlics in Haste 

on the first five attractive and unsuspicious 
maidens who blew breezily by through the 
pale April sunshine. 

How could he doubt that IK- had vitall) 
influenced them, judging from the cataclys- 
mic effect of his experiments on hi- UK ml 
Kelvin? Alas! \\hat had he driven these in- 
nocent victims into what mad escapades, 
\\hat mischief, what irrational, unconventional 
situations ! 

Miseralily. e\er\ morning and evening, he 
scanned the nexx sj.ap, i -. fearfnl lest he come 
upon some ca>ualt\ \\hich he must reo> L 

lie dreadful result f his outrageous ex- 
periments. Kvcry time am feminine individ- 
ual did anything reprehensible and the p.v 
reported it. Manners p.. red over the account 
in ni^i mixed douht. 

But so far he had not his ,\\n 

responsibility in the police report! of the mis 
deeds of the frail and fair. 

The greater part of his K-JMire \\as em 
ployed in a vigorous mental endeavor to 
reverse and nullify the mental tions 

\\hich no 'doubt had worked marvelous 
change in half a dozen guileless young girls ; 
the remainder of his leisure was taken up 



The Mischief -Maker 23 

with vain attempts to obtain an interview 
with the very charming and agreeably friv- 
olous girl to whom he had been engaged 
was still engaged to, as he understood it. 
Yet now, for nearly three months, he had 
failed to obtain from her more than the brief- 
est replies to his notes, and only the most 
fugitively formal interviews with her in the 
presence of her family, or at some crowded 
function or other. And he was becoming 
deathly tired of it. 

So that afternoon, beautifully arrayed, he 
sauntered up Fifth Avenue for the purpose of 
bestowing his society upon her. She lived at 
present with a doddering aunt, IHT parent ^ 
being in Europe. And IK* had welcomed the 
situation with pleasure at tir-t ; yet, strangely 
enough, ever since her parents had -ailed, he 
not only had received no replies to notes and 
telephone calls, but he had never been able 
to find her at home, and her decrepit aunt 
never seemed to be able to furnish him with 
any adequate explanation. 

So he was very serious and nervous and 
preoccupied when he rang the bell at her 
door that afternoon, and when the servant at 
the door informed him, as usual, that she was 



24 Some l.udics in Haste 

not at home, a violent desire to yell possessed 
him. 

Baffled, restless, apprehensive, nerves on 
edge, he returned to the Lenox Club. 

If she doesn't stop this sort of thing if 
she doesn't behave more appreciatively to- 
ward me," he muttered, "I I'll try a litiK- 
absent treatment. I'll give that ama 
just one more chance at me, just om ! " 

And as he looked gloomily out of tlu club 
window he thought of his awful power, and 
shuddered. 




CHAPTER II 




DIANA S CHASE 

1HERE rolls the Bronx athwart 
the suburban solitudes of 
Westchester, the traditional 
pedestrian might have been 
perceived pursuing an erratic 
and eccentric course cross lots, and any regu- 
larly enrolled member of any rural constabu- 
lary might have been pardoned for slinking 
after him and hiding behind trees to peep out 
at him, so suspicious were his movements, so 
furtive, so singularly and utterly devoid of 
suburban and common sense. 
25 



26 Some Ladies in Haste 

The classical, isolated pedestrian \\a- 1\< 1 
vin ; tin boxes were slung about his person, 
drooping fronds of uprooted fun- waved 
pendent from his coat pockets ; in one hand he 
carried a burlap bag containing captured gar- 
ter snakes ; in the otlu r lu brandished a green 
gauze bnturlly net; and all over his straw 
hat were stuck defunct butterflies impaled on 
pin-. 

In his thumbs were briers ; upon his shoes 
a deposit of good, thick WestchesU r mud. 
Some co\l\ plaxful thorn had attrmpu-d to 
detain him by the broad u 1 \panse 

of his trousers; thru, plucking him by the 
elbow, had \indhti\rl\ ^ivcii him a parting 
scratch across the nose. 

However, it \\a- rvidi-nt that hr didn't 
care. Unslaked rutlm-ia-m Imnu-d in hi- 
as he laboriously turmd mer Hat stom-s in 
search of beetles and pursued them on all 
fours as they fled through the grass. Now 
he explored the shallows of the Bronx for 
aquatic insects. Now he playfully pounced 
upon a demented tadpole ; anon he gamboled 
in the wake of some fast-flying dragon fly, 
net aloft, boisterously excited. 

And all the while he was astounded at his 



Diana's Chase 27 

own behavior, ashamed, indignant with him- 
self as he crawled or squatted or careered 
about the landscape. And all the while he 
kept one curious and furtive eye upon a mod- 
erately distant figure on the other bank of 
the Bronx the figure of a young girl who 
moved leisurely about, a butterfly net bal- 
anced across her shoulders, a pair of field 
glasses slung to swing at her hip. 

Askance he could see her very plainly 
across the water, an attractive, fresh-skinned, 
dark-eyed maid in a most distractingly pretty 
summer gown. 

She had pinned her straw hat to her gown, 
where it hung against the other hip, balan- 
cing the field glasses; her skirts were short, 
her free-limbed unconscious stride revealed 
small tan shoes and agreeable ankles. 

Whether or not she was aware of his pres- 
ence he could not determine, for she never 
appeared to look at him, which was sufficient 
to convince any cynical outsider like you or 
me. 

At moments she paused, head on one side, 
eyes aloft, listening rapturously to the com- 
plicated song of the speckled tomtit. At mo- 
ments she gazed pensively into the depths of 



28 Sonic /.(/<//V.\- /;/ Haste 

the Bronx almost six inches deep in places 
as though monsters lurked there in aque- 
ous profundity. Several times she ran light- 
footed after the glittering dragon flies that 
sailed and drifted along the reedy reaches un- 
der the willows. 

When she captured a specimen she applied 
chloroform to its nose, then sedately impaled 
it upon a pin. 

And all the while Kelvin prowled, pretend- 
ing not to see her; and all the while she ap- 
peared oblivious to him. 

He muttered to himself: " I don't want to 
look at her, but I can't help it. Why dor -n't 
she go somewhere else and chase dragon 
flies? . . . Besides, she's trespassing on my 
<>\\n i-Mllrriing ground; I discovered this God- 
forsaken region first. I have first right to 
this place. Sooner or later we'll both stum- 
ble on something rare and valuable, and 
therell be a dispute about it ; there'll be 
trouble, sure " 

He broke off short; speech failed him; hi< 
tongue clove to the roof of his mouth. For 
there, fluttering lazily above the \\ater. mid- 
way between him and the young girl on the 
opposite bank, appeared a butterfly. 



Diana's Chase 29 

It was not a particularly handsome butter- 
fly ; not apparently an insect to cause such 
instant and amazing symptoms of vital ex- 
citement in two young people ; it was a mod- 
erate-sized, smoky-tinted specimen with a 
glimmer of deep blue playing over the sheen 
of the rapidly moving wings. 

But as the two young people became si- 
multaneously aware of the creature, two 
green gauze butterfly nets were whipped 
aloft, two symmetrical pairs of legs wen 
stantly set in motion, two madly desirous 
hearts beat as one, two souls harbored the 
same traditional thought. 

The butterfly, whose name happened to be 
Argynnis Diana, though she didn't suspect it, 
flew gayly along above the little river, up- 
stream, and impartially midway between the 
two banks. 

Along the east bank ran the girl, gracefully 
fleet, head turned, dark eyes following the in- 
sect, which darted on just out of reach of her 
net ; on the west bank galloped Kelvin, his 
tin paraphernalia flopping and jingling, net 
in the air, terribly excited at his first sight 
of the great Southern Diana fritillary, whose 
presence in New York State had never before 



30 Some Ladies in Haste 

been recorded even by a popular writer of 
fiction. 

As for the big clouded Diana, flashin. 
hint of royal azure with every beat of her 
>tnng, fleet wings, she settled down to lead 
those two young, ardent souls a chase wor- 
thy of the goddess after whom she had been 
christened. 

First she swung across to the east hank, 
where the girl instantly put on three speeds 
forward, chasing her \\ith skirts a-tlutter and 
flashing hecK. 

Diana turned; it \\as almost useless hut 
the girl attempted a mid-air net stroke and 
missed; and the butterfly whirled upward in 
alarm, flitting on slanting wings across to 
the west bank. 

Kelvin fancied he heard a faint. l>n>l 
hearted exclamation. !\ more than a 

quick indrawn breath, but he had no tini 
si ntimental inquiry; Diana swept across his 
arc of vision; he leaped forward, net aloft, 
running warily, alert for the psychological 
second which might give him his opportunity. 

And, as he ran, he was aware that across 
the water the girl was speeding over ferns 
and turf, keeping pace with him, a mix- 



liana's Chase 31 

ture of determination and despair in her 
brown eyes, yet prepared for any accident 
which might give her another chance at the 
flying Diana. 

So they ran; and it was evident that they 
both must have been in excellent physical 
condition, for the pace was fast and the sun 
was bright, and it was no boulevard they fol- 
lowed over the uneven country broken with 
clumps of bushes, fern, rocks, and fences. 

As for the fences, the girl took them like 
a slim thoroughbred ; over went her net first, 
then she went over; how, she never after- 
wards understood but over she went, picked 
up her net, and on again with tan-shod feet 
flying. 

Once Kelvin came a cropper ; and as he fell 
his tin collecting boxes banged and dinned so 
that his fall resembled the fall of the White 
Knight; and the girl smothered a half-hys- 
terical laugh and tried to keep her brown 
eyes on the butterfly. 

But Kelvin was off again, and so near to 
the fleeing Diana that he made a net stroke, 
and missed. 

Instantly the butterfly veered, dashed mad- 
ly through the sunshine, up, up, over the top 



32 Some Ladies in Haste 

of a maple tree, then swiftly descended once 
more to the east bank of the stream. And 
Kelvin groaned, but ran on. 

Now his rival, the fleet-footed racer of the 
east bank, had caught her second breath. 
The sun glinted on her curly brown hair ami 
in the depths of IHT dark eyd as she sprang 
forward, brandish in^ her net for the stroke 
that she had so long awaited. Nearer and 
nearer her flying feet brought her to Diana, 
\\lio, low fixing, uas fluttering scarce ten 
paces forward. 

Nearer and nearer drew the flushed pur- 
suer; Krlviii set Ins teeth in de>pair as the 
green net >\\ept level ; then he could have 
yelled in his excitement, for Diana, avoiding 
the stroke, dipped sideways in mid-air, and 
whirled across the water in an ecstasy of 
fright, straightaway in front of him. 

Now it meant a long, grim, dogged test 
of endurance before he could hope for an- 
other chance. 

The butterfly was thoroughly alarmed, : 
ing tirelessly forward across the country, and 
Kelvin settled down into a determined trot. 
confident at any rate that his neighbor across 
the stream had come to her last ditch. 



Diana's Chase 33 

But, after a moment or two, out of the 
corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of flut- 
tering skirts ; and, astonished and slightly 
chagrined, he observed her askance, forg- 
ing lightly ahead into his range of vision, 
pretty face flushed, hair undisciplined, the 
green net aloft and floating in the summer 
wind. 

At first he was irritated; then her gallant 
and silent courage touched him, and he want- 
ed to turn and call across the water to her 
and tell her that she'd probably be ill if she 
didn't stop. But he had no breath to do so ; 
no time, no opportunity to turn. Diana was 
flying fast, and he had all he could do to 
keep her in view. 

There was a little grove of trees just ahead 
where the river narrowed and made a sudden 
bend. If Diana got among the trees he'd 
probably lose sight of her; if Diana went over 
the treetops she'd cross to the east bank 
again, and that swift-limbed rival of his would 
probably get her this time. 

Spurred into one last frantic dash, Kelvin 
shot forward and fairly ran the butterfly 
down ; but Diana darted under his net, 
mounted straight up among the leaves, and 



34 Some Ladles In Ilustc 

vanished. And, though Kelvin ran about dis- 
tractedly hither and thither, he could not espy 
his I )iana of tin- Ilronx. 

And after he had run round and round the 
outside of the clump of trees and had can- 
tered up and down the open fields beyond, 
he st><,,l -till, gasping for breath until his 
breath came hack into his lun^s. Then, wild- 
1 but alert, he stride into the clump of 
trees av^ain. And here lu- became aware of 
his rival, Hushed, breathless, rhanningly di- 
sheveled, sitting upon a mossy stone, eyes 
persixtnitl) ii\i-d on the top 1 of a tall 

oak t 

Her slender tanned \\rists \\i-re bare, her 
sleeves pushed back to her elbows; and she 
sat, clasping her knees in her hands, rhin up- 
tilted, delicate nose in the air. the green but 
tertly net across her lap. 

Kelvin, breathing hard, looked up, too. 
He saw nothing but golden-green leaves 
and branches and the blue sky between. 
Then he looked at the girl, then up in the 
air, then at the girl, then up into the tree 
again. 

Evidently the butterfly had alighted some- 
where high in that oak tree, and she had seen 



Diana's Chase 35 

it and had taken the river at a single jump 
where it narrowed among the trees. 

This was the limit. She had not only had 
the bad taste to chase his butterfly, but now 
she had come over into his territory to con- 
tinue her flagrant conduct. 

He said, speaking firmly and aloud : " I 
wonder where my butterfly went." 

The intruder appeared not to notice him. 
She continued to clasp her knees in her hands 
and look up into the tree. 

Kelvin looked up again, and continued 
looking until his neck ached. Then he 
glanced defiantly at the girl and sat down. 
Presently he forced a pleasant smile. 

" I beg your pardon," he said cheerfully, 
and with a note of surprise in his voice, as 
though for the first time that day he had 
noticed her presence in Westchester. " I am 
wondering whether by any chance you ob- 
served a butterfly around this vicinity be- 
longing to me ? " 

She permitted him a slow, disdainful sweep 
of her eyes. 

" I have seen several butterflies to-day," 
she said. " It did not occur to me they 
might belong to anybody." 
4 



36 Some Ladies in Haste 

" This one the one I have been chasing 
is a dusky bluish one/' he ventured. I 
really must secure that specimen ; it's quite 
necessary for my rather important collection. 
So I wondered whether 1>\ any chance \u 
happened to notice such a butterih." 

She remained silent. 

He repeated his question. 

" Yes, I saw it," she said, flushing up. 
"You know perfectly well that I sau it 

"Where is it now? M he asked, ro Liming 
in his turn. 

" I do not see why I should answer that 
question," she said with M If-posses- 

sion. 

" Why why, I've just explained to you. 
That is Diana's butterfly a tremendously 
rare one. Never before has anybutU ->< -en 
it flying north of Virginia. And, of course, 
as I was fortunate enough to discover it 
it's so to speak my butterth." 

" I think," she said resolutely. " that 1 was 
fortunate in seeing it before you before ;t 
body else noticed it. Under that imprein." 
she added coldly, " I was at some pains and 
inconvenience to follow it." 

" Pains ! " he repeated ; " inconvenience ! 



Diana's Chase 37 

I may say that for myself. Of course, no 
doubt you supposed that you first discov- 
ered it- 

" I know I did." 

" I do not question the sincerity of your 
belief, but, as it happens, it was I who first 
discovered it 

" I cannot admit that," she retorted with a 
quaver in her voice. 

" I'm sorry," he said patiently, " but it's 
a fact. And I would not press the point or 
insist if this butterfly were not so unusual 
if the occurrence of this insect was not abso- 
lutely unique in this latitude." 

" I don't see," she said, with another little 
catch in her voice, " why that makes any 
difference." 

Kelvin spoke impressively: 

" It makes this difference : if it were a com- 
mon or even a rare specimen indigenous to 
Westchester, I, being a man, would naturally 
yield it to you. But this butterfly is too im- 
portant to decorate the collection of a mere 
amateur; science knows no sex or courtesy 
to sex. It is important to science and to the 
world that this specimen of Argynnis Diana 
should be procured and safely cared for by 



38 Some Ladies in Haste 

some man who, like myself, is prepared to 
abandon the hideously commercial pursuits 
he has hitherto blindly indulged in, and de- 
vote the remainder of an all-too-brief career 
to the exacting demands of scien 

When he had delivered himself of this, he 
paused to recover his breath and observe the 
effect on IKT. 

She sat with head obstinate!) lowered, eyes 
bent on the moss at her feet ; but she offered 
no answer, no concession. 

" Will \ou tell me where that butterth -, 
he asked. " I don't <K>ire to appear selfish." 

' You do appear so." 

" I don't mean to 

" It it will be a hideous disappointment 
to me if I lose that butterflx." she said. 1 
I simply ean't endure the thought of it. 
The idea of of anybody taking it away from 
me!" 

" In the interest of science/' he began, but 
she shook her head. 

" I can't help it ; I like the color of that 
butterfly, and 1 want to place it in my collec- 
tion. I " she looked up hopefully " I have 
a very pretty collection all kinds and col- 



Diana's Chase 39 

" That's very praiseworthy," he explained ; 
" but science is different. You merely want 
pretty things in cases to decorate a mantel 
or " 

"Of course I do!" 

" Very well ; then catch a lot of everyday 
butterflies. I I'll help you if you wish." 

" No, I don't wish it thank you." 

" As you please. Only you surely must 
recognize the importance of my securing this 
particular 

*' I do not recognize it." 

There was a pause. 

" Will you tell me where that butterfly is? " 

No answer. 

" Is it up in that oak tree ? " 

No reply. 

He looked at her, but her pretty head 
was averted. Then an obstinate expression 
came over his features ; he sat down on 
the dead leaves about ten feet away from 
her. 

For a while he busied himself with arrang- 
ing his specimens; first he unslung the bag 
of garter snakes, peeped into the neck of it, 
drew the string tight, and placed it on the 
grass. 



40 Some Ladies in l/asfc 

Askance the girl watched tlu- l>ai;. shiver- 
ing slightly when the limp folds undulated 
with the wriggling reptiles inside. 

Then Kelvin spread out his fern-, wrapped 
up their roots in damp eloth, and squinted at 
the fronds through a pocket ina^nifx ing glass. 
After that he removed his hat, unpinned tin- 
butterflies, and placed the speeimens. wings 
closed over their hacks, in little three-cor- 
nered paper envelopes. These he packed 
carefully into a flat tin box which was slung 
over his should* 

He had a few grcwsome caterpillars ; these 
he counted and secured in another lo\ 
punched full of holes. \n< r that he emptied 
his pockets of the remaining . placed 

each in its proper receptacle, and, duty fin- 
ished, looked around inquiringly at his neigh- 
bor. 

She appeared to be immersed in a study of 
the top branches of the oak; he strove to 
make out which particular leaf she was gaz- 
ing at, having no doubt in his mind that I )i- 
ana, wings folded, hung there clasping the 
leaf with delicate limbs. 

It was like looking for a needle in a hay- 
stack, for, unless he had seen the butterfly 



Diana's Chase 41 

alight, it seemed utterly impossible to find it 
up there among a million leaves. 

He studied the foliage until he grew pee- 
vish. Then, suddenly, he remembered that 
over his left shoulder he carried a game bag 
full of alluring luncheon. His entire phys- 
ical being yearned for it. So first of all he' 
went to the river, washed his hands, and 
returned. 

Very* methodically he produced a large, 
freshly ironed handkerchief and spread it out 
on the moss. Upon this he placed several 
species of nourishing sandwiches, some fruit, 
and a patent cooler full of spring water. 

The girl resolutely watched the hidden Di- 
ana, yet, at moments, her brown eyes stole 
toward the single glass of water which he 
had poured. 

" Now," he said coolly, " it being impossi- 
ble for us both to eat together, I will take 
your place on watch while you lunch." 

"Thank you," she said, "but I shall not 
tell you where my Diana is hiding." 

" That is not necessary," he said. " If any- 
thing attempts to fly out of that oak tree I 
can see it. Til simply keep my eye on the 
tree." 



42 Sonic I.mHis in llustc 

She declined with a shake of her head, but 
thanked him. 

" Then I'll bring something to you " 

"Please don't!" 
I must if I am to c 

" I I don't care for anything." 

" But I can't sit there and stuff myself all 
alone." 

She smiled faintly, glancing askance at tin- 
glass of wat 

You are a generous rival, she said. I 
I really am perishing for a sip of water." 

He brought tin- glass to her. 

"Have you plcntx ? " she inquired. 

"Plentv. 

She drank a little slowly, and while she 
was drinking he lni<l his game bag acr<xx hn 
knees. On the flat leather was a clean sheet 
of note paper from hi> held book, and on this 
paper he placed some lettuce and chicken 
sandwiches, two pears, and three peaches. 

She handed him the glass of water, demur- 
ring, but as he refused to touch food unless 
she did, she finally began, daintily. 

" I had some luncheon the packet slipped 
out of my collecting box when I \\a- \\a- 
going over a fence," she explained. 



Diana's Chase 43 

" And you didn't stop to recover it ? " 

" Stop? For a thing like that? " she asked 
disdainfully. 

" Well, that is rather plucky of you," he 
observed. 

" I don't think so. I'd do almost anything 
sacrifice anything almost to capture that 
butterfly." 

He grew grave immediately ; there was a 
silence ; then he said : 

" I didn't suppose you possessed any of the 
qualities one expects to find in a true scien- 
tist. I don't understand how an an amateur, 
who cares only for the mere prettiness of a 
butterfly, could run as fast after one as you 
did, and keep up such a heartbreaking chase 
under a vertical sun 

" It would break my heart if I couldn't get 
that butterfly," she said. 

" It's the same with me," he admitted. 
" But I don't see why it would do anything 
so serious to you." 

" Why not? I've set my heart on it." 

" Have you a serious collection ? " 

" Yes," she said. 

" Do you study butterflies ? " 

" Certainly I do." 



44 Sonic Ladies in Hustc 

i u>ly ? " 

11 Perfectly/ 1 she smiled. 

" Scientifically ? " he persisted. 

She pouted adorably : " No, if you mean to 
ask me whether I know all their names." 
" But what use arc they to you?" 

" They are of a use most important," she 
said with smiling decision. And as his eyes 
grew rounder she laughed. " Of course, you 
think that I probably cook and eat them." 

" I can't understand." he said. " why you 
take such a tremendous lot of trouble to 
chase this butterfly 

I tM \<u; it's the color that attracted 
me. I never saw MU h a delicately original 
combination of smuk\ -i.i\ and blue and 
pearl tint-." 

"And \MU \\ant my rare and wonderful Di- 
ana just becaii-e \ii like the color of her 
wings?" he demanded impatiently. 

"Just for that. In butterflies the com- 
bination of colors is so charmingly original 
that I use them in selecting my hats and 
gowns." 

He looked at her exasperated. She was 
eating a peach, and the delicately delightful 
way she did it would have humbled any or- 



Diana's Chase 45 

dinary man to adoration. Even Kelvin, deep 
in his benighted soul of an entomologist, felt 
several exquisite thrills shooting among his 
ribs, and, between spasms of exasperation, 
he sat rather dazzled by her fresh, youthful 
beauty. 

44 There are some things which are the lim- 
it," he said, partly to himself. 

The girl sipped her glass of water and 
gazed up into the tree. 

" Suppose," he said, " that Diana should 
suddenly take a notion to come to earth ? " 

44 I would run after lu r, >he observr.l 

"So would I," he said promptly. 

" Meanwhile," she nodded gayly, " there is 
no use in speculating as to which one of us is 
to be fortunate." 

Clearly she had every confidence in her 
own quickness of eye and fleetness of limb, 
and her laughing courage (list u rind Kelvin. 

*' In the interests of science," he said sud- 
denly, " I ought to climb that tree." 

" What ? " she exclaimed, paling. 

" I ought to sling my butterfly net around 
my neck and shin up that tree," he repeated. 

" Tha that is unfair horridly unfair 

" And shin up and up," he continued, un- 



46 Sonic Ladies in Haste 

heeding, "until I get to the top. Then 1 M 
easily discover Diana 

" I if you attempt to climb that tree/' she 
exclaimed, " I'll climb it, t< 

You can't/' he jeered, feeling very, very 
mean in his triumph. 

" I can. I'll do it, too if you attempt it." 

" I'm going to in the interest of science/' 
he announced deliberately. And, rising, he 
walked to the foot of the tree. 

Instantly she sprang to her feet, but as 
he easily swung himself into the tirM crotch 
she halted, \\ent \\hite. then red. then, as In- 
turned and looked down at her, the quick 
tears rushed to li 

" Science or not." she faltered, in a choking 
voice, "it i- it i- contemptible!" 

But he was leaning down from the first 
branch, holding out both hands to her, and 
saying: "Of course, I mean to fight you on 
even terms. Catch my hands reach up a 
little higher! Now! Swing clear! I'll lift 
you into the first crotch ! " 

It was done in an instant ; he swung her 
from her feet to a firm footing beside him ; 
and, as she caught a branch and steadied her- 
self, she said : 



Diana's Chase 47 

" I knew you were not that sort. You fight 
fairly. I knew you always would." 

" How did you know? " 

"How? Why, I've made up my mind 
about you ; I made up my mind the first time 
I ever saw you this last spring when you 
first came wandering along the Bronx." 

" And what did you decide ? " he asked, 
affected by her frankness and by the nearness 
of her. For they were crowded rather closely 
together in the crotch of the oak so close 
that he was sensible of the delicately vague 
fragrance of her the faint, fresh odor of her 
hair, her gown, her breath. 

She steadied her slender body, one hand on 
the tree trunk, and looked fearlessly aloft. 

" Come on," she said. " Are you ready to 
start on even terms ? " 

He looked up at the high branches, then at 
her. 

" You can't go up there," he said, with a 
curious sensation of apprehension. 

"Why not?" 

" I it's too too high. Your shoes are 
slippery 

4 There's no more chance of my falling 
than there is of yours, is there ? " 



48 Some Ladies in Ifusfc 

And as he did not reply : " Fair \\arnir 
she said, catching \\ith both sun-tanned hands 
the branch above her head. " I air \\arnm-! 
One, two, three! " and the\ scrambled upward 
together through the thicket of leaves and 
branches. 

They had shortened their butterfly nets, 
and hung them an mud their necks by rubber 
bands. The rings and the netting became 
constantly entangled in the foliage as they 
raced upward, climbing >\\ittl\ toward the 
patches of blue sky on high. 

lie casils outstripped her; her skirts and 
her net seemed to catch continually. Besides, 
her wrists were not as strong as his. and 
her limbs were not so long or so stmd\. 
He used his powerful shoulder inn-des and 
swung up the ladder of branches past her. 
tearing a sk\ward path through the #i 
Already he had distanced her; the precar 
footing did not slacken his pace, nor 
eitlu-r; but his lu-ad was above hers, then 
slowly neck, chest, shoulders ahead of 1 
He glanced down into her determined face, 
caught a glimmer of defiance in the brown 
eyes ; then suddenly the eyes widened under 
a shock of purest fear; he saw the small, 



Diana's Chase 49 

smooth hand slip, clutch at the branch, cling 
and slip; the face below him turned ashy. 
And at the same moment he stooped and 
caught her under her arms. 

For a second she hung there at a dizzy 
height a dead weight in his arms, head fallen 
back. He thought she had fainted, but the 
brown eyes opened, she swung her right leg 
forward and regained the crotch from whence 
it had slipped. 

" Quick ! Around my neck with both 
arms ! " he gasped. " I can hold you ! " 

" W-will I endanger you ? " 

"No, no! Hurry.!" 

Her clasp around his neck nearly tore him 
from the branches, but he hung close, bend- 
ing slowly backward, farther, farther, until 
she was drawn little by little out of the abyss 
and fell forward safe against him among the 
branches. 

Minute after minute throbbed ; again and 
again she strove to recover her self-posses- 
sion, but she only crouched there, trembling, 
eyes closed. 

" You play fairly/' she managed to gasp. 
" Are you waiting to give me another 
chance?" 



50 Some Ladies in Haste 

" You mean that you are willing to try it 
again ? " he demanded incredulously. 

She nodded, breathing fast. " One mo- 
ment to recover my confidence if you don't 
mind." 

"You plucky little thing!" his lips mo- 
tioned, but he made no sound, watching the 
play of golden light and leaf shadow over her 
closed eyes and creamy skin. Then a slight 
color came back into the cheeks, her bn\\n 
eyes opened on his ; she tried to smile. 

" I am ready. I think." she said. 

A slowly growing thrill enveloped him ; he 
made no answer, but his eyes never left hers. 

44 Are you ready ? " she asked, clearing her 
forehead of its hair with unsteady haml. Her 
hand still trembled a little as she grasped the 
lu-xt brancli above her head. And as though 
in simple curiosity he laid his hand over it. 
Her fingers were u \. 

" You are afraid," he said. 

" I know it." 

" But you are still willing to try again ' " 

" Of course." 

His hand over hers began to shake slightly, 
and she noticed it and raised her eyes. 

"Are you afraid?" 



Diana 9 s Chase 51 

" Horribly/' 

" Then I'll wait for you," she said simply, 
leaning forward to steady her body against 
the main trunk. 

" You'll have to wait a long time," he said. 

" I don't mind." 

" Longer than you know." 

" You waited for me. I don't mind." 

" But but it is you I am afraid for, not 
myself." 

She looked up with the pure, direct gaze of 
a child. For a minute they faced each other 
in silence. 

" May I tell you something? " he asked. 

" Yes." 

" Then there's a man a friend of mine 
No, I can't explain it that way. Let me be- 
gin in another way. Did have you noticed 
any particular change in yourself any radi- 
cal change in your temperament and char- 
acter a recently? I mean within the last 
three months? For instance, were you, three 
months ago, particularly devoted to prowling 
about the Bronx and listening to dickey birds 
and chasing butterflies? " 

She shook her pretty head. " I am greatly 
changed," she said. " Three months ago 
5 



52 Some I.uiiics in ffusfc 

nothing on earth could have induced me to 
run wild like this shatter every canon of 
convention and common sense and go roam- 
ing about, KM'-*) -mad. Were yon always so 
devoted to natural histo; 

I? No!" he said, almost violently. I 
was not\ I'm normally a plain business man. 
I make pulp paper! Three months ago I 
began this sort of performance 

"Three month 

" Exactly like yourself. I didn't want to 
do it 1 \ample I detest snakes and 

caterpillars, but I've a box full of 'em down 
there." 

She shuddered. 

44 And here I am," he said, " up a tree 
like an accursed monkey, disputing over a 
butterfly \\ith a girl I I never saw 

44 Did didnt you see me in the begin- 
ning 

" Yes. I did. and I couldn't keep my eyes 
off you. And that is the truth! " 

" Oh," she said faintly. 

44 Yes, the truth! " he continued excitedly ; 
" and the truth is that, somehow, within three 
months I've the most dreadful and shameless 
inclination to tell the absolute truth to any- 



Diana's Chase 53 

body who asks me. It's it's damaging my 
business somewhat ; it's raising the mischief 
with me socially. I'm a changed, trans- 
formed, translated man ; I'm not myself. The 
chances are that I'll never, never again be 
myself after what Manners has done to 
me " 

" Manners! " 

" Oh, he's evidently been meddling with 
you, too, said Kelvin. " You are probably 
one of the agreeable girls he noticed from 
his club window. Tell me were you the usu- 
al frivolous, capricious, fashionable, empty- 
headed opportunist, brought up in terror of 
convention and good taste ? Were you ? " 

"Y-yes," she faltered. " I I hadn't an 
idea outside of the drilled routine I was bred 
to. They think I am crazy at home." 

" Then it's Manners ! " he exclaimed. 

" Manners ? " she faltered. " I don't think 
I understand." 

" Manners is a man William T. Man- 
ners! a mischief-making, meddlesome friend 
of mine! He's given you absent treat- 
ment 

" For what ? " she demanded angrily. 

" Frivolity mental vacancy general use- 



54 Some I. u dies in Haste 

lessness, I suppose ! He gave it to me he's 
filled me full of thoughts ! He's fired me with 
a craze for truth and Nature." 

" I I am afflicted that way, too," she mur- 
mured. " I am most unwilling to say so, but 
the truth is that w-when I first saw you, you 
attracted me v-very m-m-much." 

' You plucky little thing to say so!" he 
cried warmly. 

" No ; it isn't pluck. I can't help it. Do 
you think 1 want to admit such a thing to 
a man whose name I don't even know ? " she 
demanded. "It isn't pluck: for instance. 
/ didn't want to chase that butterfly and 
climb this tree! Can't you understand? 
Please, please understand that I know how 
horrid and common and unconventional I 
appear 

" 1 absolutely deny it. You know I couldn't 
help saying so if you did appear that way. 
lint YMU don't : you are charming and bewil- 
deringly attractive ' 

"Oh, please I don't wish you to say" 

she stopped " I mean that the truth 

is the dreadful, unescapable truth is that 

I do wish to listen to you even up this 

tree." 



Diana's Chase 55 

Her rising color and her emotion were re- 
flected in his face and voice. 

" You are the the most splendid girl I 
ever saw," he said unsteadily. 

" You you oh, must I tell you how 
frightened and happy you make me ! " she 
asked in crimson distress. " I have I was 
engaged to marry a man but he isn't like 
you oh, not at all like you. I think if you 
if I thought you might really ever care for 
me that way that I'd break the engage- 
ment." 

Her hand under his trembled; he impris- 
oned the slim fingers. 

" I do care for you," he said unsteadily ; " I 
I am quite mad about you. Can't you see 
it can't you feel it ? " 

" Y-yes. C-can you see how how per- 
fectly crazy I am about you? I am so so 
dazed that I think we had better climb down 
out of this tree." 

" Not until I give you yield to you the 
dearest and most precious object that I ever 
hope to possess ! " he cried. 

And, before she understood what he con- 
templated, he was madly scrambling upward 
among the branches. 



56 Sonic Ladies in Ilustc 

And now, fearlessly swinging among the 
topmost branches, she saw him extend his 
net, lean far over the tangled maze of gum, 
and beat the foliage. 

Instantly there came a bluish flash of win--. 
a swish of tin- net. a Hutu-ring struggle within 
the gauze prison, a faint taint of chloroform 
in the summer air. 

And a minute later he came climbing down, 
radiant, triumphant, and laid in IKT trembling 
palm the conquered Diana, lovely in pearl and 
cloudy blue. 

For m*\* she Mfced 

For you. I wish I had a thousand to 
give you." 

" I I can't I simply cannot take it. " 

" Do yon wish to make me miserable? " 

The brown eyes were raised to his clear, 
steadfast, pure eyes that did not fait 

" I would rather make you happy than any- 
body in all the world," she said slowly. 

His senses were swimming as he laid the 
butterfly away in a box, put the box into his 
pocket, and turned to her. 

" I am ready to have you help me down, 
she said. 

And, heart racing madly, he managed to 



Dianas Chase 57 

aid her in the descent, down, slowly, from 
branch to branch, guiding her with arm and 
hand within his hand. 

And at last they reached the last crotch, 
and he bent down and swung her free above 
the moss. 

"Shall I let you go?" he asked, looking 
down into her face. 

" Yes ; it is not far. I can easily drop this 
distance/' 

" But I don't want to let go of you." 

"Why?" She looked up, then the color 
flooded her face. For a moment they were 
silent, she swinging from his arms above the 
moss, he bent above her. 

" Brown eyes, brown eyes," he whispered ; 
"shall I let you go?" 

" Gray eyes," she murmured ; " gray eyes ! 
Shall Iletjpttgo?" 

" I love you," he pleaded under his 
breath. 

Hanging there she raised her hands and 
rested them on his arms that held her sus- 
pended an instant, looking up at him. Then, 
her soul in her eyes, she threw her head back ; 
and their lips clung. 



58 Sotnc Ladies in I lust c 

" One thing," she sighed, as they moved 
slowly together through the primrose dusk, 
" and I must do it at once." 

" What ? " he murmured rapturously. 

"Write to that very unfortunate n-</T(/n/ 
fiance of mine and explain." 

Kelvin forced a sigh for the sake of de- 
cenc 

" Poor devil!" lie said. "I'm not really 
sorry for him, of course. \V!i U ! 

Hi- name is William Manners." ^\\ { - said 
softly. "And if he didn't know any better 
than to mistake the girl he was engaged to 
for somebody he'd never seen, that is not my 
fault; is it, beloved?" 




CHAPTER III 

AN OVERDOSE 

IEN, at length, William Man- 
ners realized that he was ac- 
tually able, through the sheer 
I force of mental persuasion, to 
control and influence anybody 
and everybody, whether or not he knew them 
personally, whether or not they were aware 
of what he was up to; and when he under- 
stood that his idle experiments in mental sci- 
ence had really resulted in changing not only 
the character, but even the physical appear- 
ance, of those on whom he had ventured to 
59 




60 Some /.(/(//V.v /;/ Ilnstc 

operate, his amazement, remorse, and alarm 
knew no bounds. 

He had chosen five very imperfect men of 
his acquaintance on whom to attempt these 
practices, and he had also selected, as mar- 
na-ral)lc possibilities for lii> friends, five 
women with whom he was not acquainted 
the first five ornamental young girls he 
chanced to observe on Fifth Avenue, passing 
the club window where he sat all uttrr 
strangers to him, as he believed. For, his 
monocle being in his eye. he had imt recog- 
ni/ed ill one of tlu-M- ladies his own //(/;/, 

Of the five men on whom he had e: 
his uncanny will power all were now exhibit- 
ing symptoms logically consequent upon the 
mental treatment he had given them ; Kelvin 
had left him that morning, hopping mad and 
also Nature mad ; and for weeks now he had 
had Dudley Todd on his hands not tin- 
old, familiar, impossible Todd, not the tol- 
erated but despised Todd. the club affliction 
and general nincompoop in ordinary but a 
brand-new Todd, a popular Todd. a radically 
translated Todd. 

And all might have been well had Todd 
merely developed along the lines of the 



An Overdose 61 

wholesome mental treatment which Manners 
had honestly meant to give him ; but Manners 
was far from judicious in his treatment. He 
considered Todd such a desperate case that 
his mental treatment was a sort of urgency 
treatment as strenuous as first aid to the 
mortally injured, and far more vigorous than 
he realized at the time. And now, when too 
late, utterly unable to reverse treatment or 
modify what he had done, he perceived with 
horror that he had given Todd an overdose. 

And Todd was fast becoming the limit in 
Manhattan town. 

In an agony of contrition Manners had 
gone to Todd and confessed what he had 
done to him, supposing that Todd would take 
a grip on himself and stop, even if he inci- 
dentally destroyed Manners as an act of ab- 
stract justice. 

But Todd, when he recovered from his 
astonishment, seemed rather pleased than an- 
noyed, and admitted frankly that the absent 
treatment given him by Manners had agreed 
with him. 

In vain Manners expostulated. Todd ob- 
stinately insisted that it agreed with him and 
made him very, very happy ; that he felt him- 



62 Some Ladies in Hustc 

self endowed with the energy, imagination, 
and capacity for romantic affection of a dozen 
men all rolled into one. 

But Todd's conduct had now become such 
that Manners, feeling personally responsible 
for the young fellow's amazing behavior, felt 
obliged to follow him about day and ni^lit 

And the antics of Todd, and his sleepless, 
untiring assiduity in the headlong hunt for 
happiness, were wearing Manners to a shad- 
ow in the effort to do police duty. 

Then another blow fell. Eric Kelvin re- 
turned from the Bronx and informal Mm 
ners that he was now engaged to m 
Manure . anl Manners rushed madly 

uptown to expostulate \\ith the object of In- 
adoration. 

But that charming and changed young 
devotee to Nature mrnly admitted that -h<- 
no longer cared for him. but loved Kelvin 
with all her heart ; and Manners rushed home 
again, a prey to sentimental agitation. 

The Lenox Club was his home. He locked 
himself in his bedroom, where for twi 
four hours he maintained a distracted silt 
interrupted at intervals by processions of 
waiters bearing ice, vichy, tonic, and kindly 



An Overdose 63 



inquiring notes from Kelvin, to which he 
deigned no reply. 

By and by, Kelvin himself arrived, but 
Manners refused to open the door. Only his 
voice, hoarse and injured, satisfied Kelvin 
that his friend still lived. 

" Don't do anything terrible, will you ? " 
insisted Kelvin. 

" I may," said Manners ominously, begin- 
ning to enjoy himself. 

So Kelvin, disconcerted, sat down outside 
the door. And, by and by, Manners, being 
low in his mind, sought consolation in a 
mouth organ. 

" Oh, pip ! " muttered Kelvin, jumping up 
and rapping on the door. " Come out, Wil- 
liam ! You are convalescent ! " 

Manners wanted to, but he only blew a sul- 
len blast on his mouth organ. 

" Are you coming out ? " repeated the 
other. ' There are five men waiting for us 
in the card room." 

So Manners came out, scowling, and they 
shook hands. 

" I never, never thought you'd do such a 
thing," said Manners, sulkily lighting the ci- 
gar that Kelvin offered. 



f>4 Some Ladies in Haste 

"She never did like you very much, any- 
way," explained Kelvin. "Come on do\\n 
stairs ; Todd is banking " 

"Todd!" groaned Manners. " I I'm sick 
of the very name of Todd! " And. in a last 
spasm of revolt: "If ever I am ass enou-h 
to fool with mental science ai^ain I deserve 
to marry a Sixth Avenue manicmv ' 
would it inconvenience you to come in every 
morning for a month and disable me with a 
kid 

"William," said Kelvin Mispiri, iisl\ . M i| 
Todd one of your victims' I've \\.rn,! 
what was the matter \\ith him. Is 1 

lint Manners, with a tragic -t -Mure, pushed 
open the door of the card rM,m. and the two 
men \\ere jxilitely greeted and invited to 
in." 

The seance was a gay o i celebrants 

assisting at the ccrcm-nnis; ami the gayest 
of the gay, the cheeriest, the liveliest, was 
Todd. bubbling over with the infernal and 
inexhaustible energy of a d../< n men. 

"Can nothing tire that cn.ttun -" mut- 
tered Manners to himself, between his teeth. 
"He's tuning up for another horrible even- 
ing. He'll be all over the country, and he'll 



An Overdose 65 

get into the newspapers if I don't follow 
him/' 

Todd, unconscious, trolled a merry ditty 
and drew two more kings. 

" Are you tired, old chap ? " asked Man- 
ners. " You look like the last run of jelly- 
fish, dear friend." 

"Who? I? Why, I'm fresh as a daisy," 
said Todd, betting the limit. 

Manners reviewed his hand with a bitter 
smile and stayed out. 

" He does look queer, though," he insisted, 
with a significant nod to Kelvin. " And / 
don't believe he's perfectly well. Todd," he 
added anxiously, " do you feel perfectly well, 
old fellow?" 

" Certainly," said Todd, with a smirk, as 
he gathered up the chips, and shuttled the 
cards for the kitty sweepstake ^. " Is every 
student in ? " glancing around the table. 
" Come, get nimble, Kelvin ; you're shy a 
blue one ! " And, nodding similar admonition 
across at Kelly Jones, he lighted a cigar and 
dealt cold decks all round. 

Kelvin spread his cards face up on the 
table, observed with disgust the single sou- 
brette, and, unable to draw to a kitty clean- 



66 Some Ladles In Haste 

up, admitted he was out. Then he leaned 
over toward Manners. 

" Is Todd one of your victims?" he whis- 
pered. " You've certainly made a man of 
him!" 

" The trouble is," said Manners, " I've 
made about a dozen men of him. Look at 
him now! He's hatching deviltrx ' Un't he 
the saucy Clarence? Look at him with his 
pat hand! When I treated him 1>\ nuntal 
suggestion I inu*t have given him a tern IK 
overdose of everything " 

He broke off short as Todd triumphantly 
spread out his five cards. 

"All pink ! (funds, students, and relatives," 
be observed. " It's only seven o'clock. Shall 
we continue- our votive offerings to the astig- 
matic goddi- 

But sentiment was against him. Several 
men said they were hungry, and everybody 
began to make precise little piles of tlu n 
multicolored chips. Todd, courteous and in- 
defatigable, immediately became very busy 
with his pencil and paper, checking off the 
returns. Manners had no chips to pile up 
symmetrically, and he rose and walked to the 
window. Kelvin joined him, and peered out 



An Overdose 67 

and upward where the last tints of daylight 
were fading from the summer sky and the first 
stars faintly sparkled. 

" Stars out already," observed Manners 
gloomily. " I'm dog tired. I'd like to spend 
a quiet evening dine here alone, read the 
paper, and go to bed. But I can't do it." 

" On account of Todd ? " inquired Kelvin. 

" Yes, on account of that infernal Todd ! 
He's killing me, that's what he's doing 
dragging me about all day and all night witli 
him." 

" And you dare not let him out of your 
sight?" asked Kelvin sympathetically. 

" I should think not ! That man has a ca- 
pacity for putting both feet in it beyond all 
dreams of common sense. You remember 
what a little nincompoop he was a lazy, 
idle, dull-minded, unimaginative, common- 
place peddler of stocks and bonds? 

"Well, I thought he needed mental sug- 
gestion, and I was ass enough to treat him 
for everything he lacked! And look at him! 
Look at him, Kelvin ! Clever, industrious, 
full of poetic fire, imaginative, romantic, and 
yet capable enough to make a fortune for 
himself in Wall Street in three months/ 
6 



68 Some Ladies in Haste 

" Look at him, I tell you ! Why, he's pos- 
itively grown tall and good-looking! and 
and I wish I hadn't treated him for lack of 
imagination and idleness ; I do, indeed ! He's 
full of enterprise and full of a tireless energy 
that's simply killing me, Kelvin. I'm nearU 
dead, trying to keep him out of mischief. 
Why on earth can't he get tired? He works 
like a millionaire all day, and he's all over 
everywhere after five o'clock ! I must have 
been crazy to inject that combination of 
moonstruck romance and devilish energy into 
him. Hark! JIM lixu-n to him mm ! " 

The two men turned from the window to- 
ward the lighted green table, where half a 
dozen men had gathered around Todd as he 
closed their accounts. 

And Todd was saying enthusiastically : 
"Well, we had a corking game, didn't we? 
There's a lot of pure romance in the old-fash- 
ioned national game. There's romance ev 
where and in everything. This rity reeks 
with romance every street is full of it, day 
and night, if only you realize it. Isn't it, 
Manners:* Why. I tell you, fellows, that a 
mere walk in town is to me one endless ten- 
sion of excitement and suspense " 



An Overdose 69 

Billy West laughed, and asked if Todd 
really found a walk on Fifth Avenue partic- 
ularly exciting. 

"Certainly I do!" said Todd; "on Fifth 
Avenue or on any street or lane or alley or 
mews in this wonderful metropolis ! " 

Kelly Jones observed that he, personally, 
never had encountered any inexpensive ro- 
mance in the neighborhood. 

"Nonsense!" said Todd; "town's full of 
it! I never put on my hat and coat and 
take my gloves and my stick but I experi- 
ence a subtle thrill of most delicious suspense. 
I say to myself : * I am going out among sev- 
eral millions of unknown fellow-creatures. I 
am likely at any moment to meet with almost 
any kind of an adventure. I may encounter 
Fate itself around the first corner, or Destiny 
hiding behind a tree/ Who knows? I don't; 
you don't ! And that is the best part of it ! ' 

And Todd smiled so winningly upon those 
about him that they all smiled in return. 
He had become very popular within a few 
weeks. 

Said Todd : " When I set foot out of doors 
my pulses leap; I'm all afire with energy, 
all aquiver with the possibilities before me. 



70 Some Ladles in Haste 

Ever>* street is a vague vista of haunted n 
tery and promise; every lamp-post exijin 
ly M^mtirant ; r\ery electric li.i;ht M-ems to 
wink at me and Uvk.ni me on to perilous 
adventure ! Chance lies before me : all an mini 
me Hazard dogs my >tep: and a most 
hilarating mixture of foreboding, apprehen- 
sion, tin v. and hope sets me trotting 
out into the metropolitan \\ilds ' 

"And int. muttered Manners to 

Hill> West 

** Too had," said inpathetieally 

the in-t expression of anything n->eml)ling 
>\ni|atli\ Maniu-rs had heanl lor ICVentl 
days. He likrd \\'e>t ; he \\a> inelined to like 
\\i-t f": tsons. One \sa> that, far 

away in the back part of his head, he enter- 
tained an < admiration \*>r one of 
I'.ilK Urst's listen nt tin- prrtt\ onr. Hi- 
admiration \\as n,t l>a-rd on a personal 
knowledge of In ti far as he knew, he 
had nev her. I'ut liilly talked of her 
a great deal, and, from her brother's enthusi- 
astic description. Manners had formed a curi- 
ous attachment for the girl, which now. in his 
condition of bereavement, haunted him with 
shy but tender prr-i-tence. And some day 



An Overdose 71 

he felt that he was destined to hear more 
about Billy West's sister not the pretty one. 

Meanwhile Todd, the unspeakable, was still 
holding forth. 

Several men asked : " Well, Toddy, do you 
ever really make good? Do you ever seize 
romance by the coat tails? Do you actually 
have any genuine adventures? Does he, 
Manners? " 

" Plenty/' observed Manners morosely. 
" Ask any desk sergeant in the five bor- 
oughs ! " 

" Of course I do," added Todd joyously. 
" Only Manners, there, has a strange delu- 
sion that I'm always going to get into some 
sort of scrape ; but I never do not serious 
scrapes," he added, linking his arm in Man- 
ners's arm as the men began to file out " I 
say, Kelvin, Manners and I are going out in 
quest of adventures. Will you come ? " 

But Kelvin's evenings were now all taken ; 
Manners looked at him sideways, and under- 
stood. 

So Kelvin blushed becomingly and excused 
himself, and Manners looked after him wist- 
fully. He had not yet recovered from the 
shock of Kelvin's engagement announcement, 



72 me I. tidies in Hustc 

and sometimes his bereavement made him 
\\i-tful and sometimes it merely made him 
mad. 

"Where shall we go to-night?" asked 
Todd restlessly. " We'll probably have some 
most diverting adventure wherever we go and 
\\hatever we do." 

"Why." fumed Manner-. " ran't \u 
in the club to-night and read the papi r and 
go to bed?" 

" Go to bed! " echoed Todd. That \ the 
icment of it. Nobody on earth can tell 
what bed I'll sleep in next if 1 >leej in 
any ! " 

Manners pleaded: "Can't you give me a 
rest for one evening 

What? Miss the possibilities of a whole 
ing?" 

" But I'm tired " 

" You don't have to go," said Todd. 
Yes, I do! I feel responsible for you. " 
Why? Just becatiM \mi gave me al> 
treatment for which I'm eternally obliged?" 

" 1 Can't yon understand that I over- 
did it?" 

" Not for my taste," said Todd serenely. 
" Come on ; get the valet to pack your grip, 



An Overdose 73 

and we'll go down to Oyster Bay, where all 
those jolly girls are 

" Not into good society with you ! " 
snapped Manners. " I've had enough of that 
for a while." 

"Why?" 

" Because, when you go into decent soci- 
ety, you begin paying serious attentions to 
every pretty girl you meet. What do you 
think you are a syndicate? Do you mean 
to be bigamous? Don't you know you over- 
do it? And I have to go around afterwards 
and explain that you are queer 

" Well, you've got to stop that ! " cried 
Todd hotly. 

"Stop it? Why, man, if I don't appear 
regularly and faithfully in the wake of the 
ruin you have wrought, do you know where 
you'd be?" 

" I'd be engaged if you once let me carry 
matters to a finish 

" Yes, engaged every evening from eight 
to half past eleven. You don't realize how 
you compromise yourself whenever you talk 
to a pretty girl. You make every one of 'em 
think you're in love with them " 

"I am!" 



74 Some I.mlics in Haste 

Manners glared, then fumbled for his eye- 
glass. 

" Todd ! " he said with deep emotion. it's 
my fault. I overdosed you. You can't help 
it. You think you're a multiple pcr>onalit\ . 
You don't comprehend how plural \>u In- 
have; you don't reali/e how you overdo it, 
how collectively you make love, what an ass 
you reall) are! You don't understand that 
you are now praotieally on the verge of l>< 
engaged to marry eleven separate girls ' 

"Yes, I do! And I \\aut to!" 

' M.-IMA 'Mil all?" 

"No; be engaged to them. Why don't 
you let me? Why do \oti go round 
I've made a batch of seri.ms proposals and 
tell them that 1 don't mean it that tli 
something hideous the matter \\ith me? If 
>ouM mind \our o\\u business and let me 
select one of them, I'd be at rest, an- 
would you." 

" Idiot ! " retorted Manners ; " that isn't the 
way to get married ! You can't go about 
obtaining options that \\ay. < ireat Heaven-. 
Todd, what have I done to you? What an 
awful overdose I've given you! 1 
this sickening penance a lii ly spent 



An Overdose 75 

in following you around to keep you out of 
the penitentiary- 
He almost broke down. Todd laid a com- 
forting hand on his shoulder. 

" Well, we won't go to Oyster Bay, then," 
he said. " Don't worry, Manners. We'll 
take things easy to-night if you're tired. 
We'll just take a little stroll together." 

" Every time I stroll with you," said 
Manners, " something unexpected happens. 
You're right, Todd ; you do have adventures. 
Nobody else does in New York, but you do ; 
they come flocking after you the moment you 
set foot out of doors. And I get the butt-end 
of 'em, usually." 

" Isn't it fortunate," said Todd rapturously, 
"that I, who, by your method of treatment, 
am so thoroughly equipped for adventures, 
have 'em in such agreeable profusion? I 
know perfectly well that after dinner this 
evening when you and I stroll out no matter 
where I go or which way I turn somewhere 
in the mysterious medley of light and shadow 
I am certain to encounter something or some- 
body most extraordinary." 
Manners groaned. 
" Perhaps," murmured Todd, gazing heav- 



76 Some Ladies in Haste 

onward with rapt eyes " Perhaps I may 
4 even tin- \n\ night catch a glimpse of her 
whom I am destined to make happy some im- 
mortal day ! " 

44 Oh, piffle!" said Manm 

You don't understand/' sighed Todd 
dreamily. " The celestially perfect and still 
invisible. She may be encountered any- 
where! But I shall know her when I see 
her- 

That," said Manners, * i- why \u require 
a police escort. Are you dining with me? 
Very well. then. I'm going to dn 

"So am I." murmured Todd. " I I feel 
curiously and prophetically and strangely like 
a a bridegroom this evening 



usually feel like several," snapped 
Manners. 




CHAPTER IV 




A REMEDY 

[BOUT eleven o'clock that even- 
ing Manners seized Todd by 
the elbow and shook him 
fiercely. 

" Are you ever going to stop 
walking? " he demanded. 

" Why, it's only eleven o'clock," protested 
Todd. " I don't believe we've walked fifteen 
miles yet." 

" We've covered fifty ! Look at me ! " in- 
sisted Manners, mopping the rivulets of per- 
spiration from his face and attempting to 
77 



78 Some Ladies in Haste 

adjust his wilted collar. " Everything I've 
got on is sticking to me like plaster; my 
shoes hurt; I'm thii He choked, ex- 

asperated. 

I, personally," observed Todd. " feel 
agreeably cool and fresh and comfortable, so 
I think Til stroll on a bit farther. But/' he 
added, " you need not feel obliged to accom- 
pany n 

Manners glared at him. then around at the 
dimly illuminated and unfamiliar surround- 
ings. 

Where are we?" he growled. "We 
might as well be in a foreign city. What 
street is tin peering up at a lamp-post. 
" Eighty-sixth Str ' East I Who on earth 
ever heard of East Eight \-i\th Street? 
What's that cross -trm ? East Side Avenue! 
Never heard of it ! I don't want to hear of 
it! I am What's that over there?" 

" A park," said Todd, in pleased surpi 
" What a charmingly strange little park ! And 
what's that beyond? the East River? Isn't 
it fascinating. William? And look at those 
quaint old-time houses! What a funny littK 
cul-de-sac of a court they form! Why, Wil- 
liam, this is perfectly delightful to emerge 



A Remedy 79 

from the reek of things into this unknown 
oasis on the river's midnight edge the 
night's Plutonian shore, so to speak/' 

" Come home ! " said Manners coldly. 

" Home ? And leave this place without 
having had a single extraordinary adven- 
ture ! " He gazed rather blankly at Man- 
ners. " Do you know, William, that this is 
the first time in months I have failed to en- 
counter some sort of an adventure before I 
turned my nose homeward? And this is just 
the place for almost anything to jump out at 
you." 

Manners said he objected to being jumped 
out at. 

" And it's curious, too," mused Todd, look- 
ing hopefully about, " because when I started 
I had the most intense sort of a premonition 
that something most unusual was going to 
happen to me. Why do you suppose nothing 
has stung me ? " 

Manners, too vexed to reply, fanned his 
heated features with his hat. 

" In fact," continued Todd, unheeding him, 
" I felt like a bridegroom like a whole pro- 
cession of bridegrooms when I started out. 
Let's go over into that curious little park and 



8o Some L (idles in Haste 

sit on a bench. Perhaps something will break 
loose within ten minutes." 

Manners said that he had no objection to 
resting for a moment, and they entered the 
park, mounted some stone steps to the left, 
and ascended the dim, winding path under the 
trees. 

As they came out on a sort of terrace the 
fresh river breeze stnuk them, and they 
looked out into a world of darkness. East 
and south myriads of lights twinkled ; the vast 
bulk of the newest bridge towered against the 
stars; and, both to the north and south, tin 
lights of huge municipal institutions glim- 
mered, cities in themselves, so wide was tlu 
territory they covered on the shadowy is- 
lands. 

North lay the masses of Harlem, light i-l 
against the horizon, far as the eye could see. 
\\<M. avi-tiue on avenue cross-striped by 
countless streets, lay the metropolitan wastes. 

Along the river wall below, the poor of 
Yorkville sat huddled, seeking a breath of air 
ere they crept inland to their kennels vague 
masses of humanity, darkening the mas- 
as heaps of seaweed edge the tide mark. 

For a while the two men sat listening to 



A Remedy 81 

the foggy-throated river horns, watching the 
ferryboats pass like floating cages of fire, or 
some big schooner, all sails set, yet scarcely 
drawing, swinging swiftly southward on the 
ebb. 

Suddenly Todd rose from his seat and, 
turning his back to the river, looked eagerly 
inland. 

" What's the matter? " asked Manners mo- 
rosely. " Can't you remain motionless for 
half a second? Are you a combination of 
grasshopper and centipede, or are you a 
man?" 

Todd fairly danced with eagerness and im- 
patience. 

" No, by St. Vitus, you can't sit still, 1 ' said 
Manners. " What makes you do that two- 
step? What are you staring at, Todd? I 
won't stay here if anything's going to hap- 
pen ! " 

" I am only excited by an idea," explained 
Todd. " That curious row of old red-brick 
houses seems to be such a good stage setting 
for an adventure. Look, William, in all that 
strange, quaint, wabbly row of bricks there 
is only one window lighted. Isn't that mys- 
terious ? " 



82 Sonic l.uJics in Haste 

" Wonderful," said Manners scornfully. 
"It reminds me of a plot of Paul de Kock 
not I " 

" Well, that single lighted window ma\ n t 
seem so very my>teriou> t> \.u or to a 
body else, but / consider it strangely, om- 
inously significant, William. I believe there's 
an adventure about to happen to me ! In- 
added so earnestly and with such naive con- 
\irtitm that Mamu-rs turned sharply around. 

"Wh\?" he demanded uneasily. 

" r.ecau>e that romantic feeling begins to 
permeate me. 1 feel bright and confident and 
gay, and I am inclined to song." 

" Well. I'm not. Come on; it's tin- home 
ward trek for < And ho arose and 

grasped Todd firmly by the ell>"u, urging 
him toward the Mn < t 

"l'un>us." inurmurod Todd " Curious 
that nothing happens. I can't undiTMand it. 
\\ illiam. This is not my usual luck " 

And he continued expostulating alternately 
with Fate and with Manners as the latter 
dragged him most unwillingly from the park 
and into the dim street where the quaint old 
row of red-brick houses stood ranged in 
the darkness, all their owlish-eyed windows 



A 'Remedy 83 

closed and sealed save one. But from that 
single window a light streamed out across the 
street. 

Todd halted before the house. Manners 
attempted to drag him onward, but he re- 
sisted. 

"All right!" snapped Manners; "then 
stay here ! " And he dropped Todd's arm 
and walked haughtily toward the corner, but 
without the slightest intention of really aban- 
doning his friend. 

When he got as far as the corner, without 
hearing any sound of repentant feet behind 
him, he swung around, mad all through, and 
shouted : " Todd ! ' 

Echo answered : " Todd ! " 

There was not a soul in the street. Todd 
had evaporated. 

First of all Manners, in an alarming tem- 
per, strode back to the house in front of 
which he had left Todd standing. He went 
into the area, but there was nobody there; 
he ascended the front steps and tried the 
door. It was locked. 

Followed then the obvious theory that 
Todd had run away from him. Where do 
men run when they run guiltily away? Logic 
7 



84 Sonic Ladies in Haste 

answered that they run around blocks; so 
Manners ran around the block in the oppo- 
site direction, then into the park. Then, wor- 
ried, panting and furious, he sat down on a 
bench and fanned his streaming features \\ith 
his hat. 

And all the while Todd was not a dozen 
|| auay from him. standing inside the 
door of the red-brick IIOUM- \\itli the single 
lighted window. 

For Todd, when he had lingered to gaze at 
the house, noticed that the front door stood just 
ajar; and instantly he accepted the accident as 
a belated promise of adventure long overdue. 

So no SOOIKT did Manner* walk off in a 
huff on pretense of abandoning him than 
he sci/cd the opportunity and darted up the 
steps burning with optimism and curiosity. 

^omebody left the front door ajar; rob 
bers may have slipped in," he argued with 
himself, taking a firmer grip on In- slim 
malacca walking stick as he pushed open the 
door and peeped hopefully into the dark hall- 
way. 

Then his name shouted angrily afar by 
Manners startled him, and, stepping inside 
the hallway, he softly closed the door. At 



A Remedy 85 

the same instant, from somewhere above, he 
heard a woman's voice raised in tremulous 
pleading a sweet, thrilling voice, pitifully 
unsteady, yet every word exquisitely distinct ; 
and Todd, frozen to attention, listened, his 
heart in his mouth. 

" O Harry ! Harry ! Don't drive me into 
tin- street!" were the first sad words he 
heard. " You swore to right the wrong you 
did me! How how can you abandon me, 
Harry ? How c-can you fling me aside to die 
under the world's cold scorn ? " 

Todd, in the darkness, turned a fiery red 
and set his teeth in his lower lip. 

" W-what am I to do ? " pleaded the beau- 
tiful voice. " Where can I turn ? where can 
I creep to bury my shame? D-don't cast 
me away don't laugh at me so cruelly 
Harry! Harry! Don't strike me! Help! 
Murder- 

Todd's hair rose straight on end ; then with 
a shout he galloped up the stairs, swung 
around the banisters, flew up the second 
flight, and halted, speechless, confronted by a 
tall young girl who stood on the landing, the 
light from an open door behind throwing her 
young figure into motionless silhouette. 



86 So)nc I .adlcs in Haste 

" W-what are you doing here?" she fal- 
ten 

D-doing?" he repeated breathlessly. 
" There's somebody being murdered in this 
house 1 " 

" What 

"Didn't you hear?" ho demanded, stag- 
gered by her frank astonishment. " I tell 
you that some scoundrel named Harry is 
:trmn- :i \\m;m \\ith violence " 

"11 II -he stammered. Staring at 

him incredulously. u What do you mean? 
1 am the only person in this house." 

Then she took t\\o unstra<l\ steps back 
into her gas-lit room ; he saw her face turn- 
ing from a startled pallor to a vilet rosy 
tint; she caught at the mantel f >r suj)j)ort, 
> \\a\el. t.M.k oiu- last look at Todd, and, 
\\ itli a gesture of abandon, covered her pretty 
face with both hands. lie thought she was 
weeping. 

And for a long while Todd looked at her, 
bewildered, because her voice was certainly 
the voice he had heard in heartbreaking ap- 
peal to Heaven. 

Was she attempting to shield that un- 
speakable Harry? 



A Remedy 87 

Todd inserted his head in the doorway, 
glared about the gas-lit room, stepped in, and 
craned his neck to see whether the ruffian 
might be cowering in the alcove. 

But he saw only a desk there, and piles of 
typewritten manuscript covering it. And on 
the blue covers of the manuscript he noticed 
the words : " Act First." 

The faintest glimmering of the actual sit- 
uation dawned on him. He still clutched his 
stick fiercely ; the light of battle still lingered 
in his eyes ; but his stride had become a walk, 
he sidled toward the door, glanced uncertain- 
ly about, hesitated; then gradually a partial 
solution of the matter overwhelmed him, leav- 
ing him hot with embarrassment. 

She dropped her hands into her lap and 
looked at him, and he looked foolishly at her ; 
then again her hands flew to her face, cov- 
ering it, and she bent forward, resting her 
elbows on her knees. But Todd understood 
that the tears that turned her blue eyes 
starry were not tears of grief. 

Todd stood very still. His ears seemed to 
him to have grown unusually red and hot 
and big. 

Once again she uncovered her face to look 



88 Some Ladies in Haste 

at him ; once again she wildly veiled it be- 
hind ten pretty fingers. And at last Todd 
produced upon his features a spasm intended 
for a smile. 

It was not a very genuine attempt, hut it 
seemed to be sufficient to rcint\vt her. That 
made Todd smile again, and the result 
less forced this time. 

" So it was only part of act first, all that 
line of talk about Harry? " 1 hravely. 

" O-oh, yes only p-p-part of act f-fit 
she managed to reply. " I'm awfully sm 

He looked at her, scar convinced: 
" Then there isn't any ; There IMI'I 
anybody going to be abandoned 

" N no; nobody is going to abandon any- 
bod 

" Exactly. Ah it ah sounded distress- 
ingly real." 

"Did it? I'm awfully sorr 

I never heard such p-pathos in a human 
voice," insisted Todd. " I \\Mi to Heaven 
that there had been a Harry somewhere 
about." 

She dropped her hands and gazed at him 
from the loveliest and brightest blue eyes he 
had ever encountered. 



A Remedy 89 

" How," she asked curiously, " did you get 
into my house ? " 

" Who ? Me ? " he faltered, neglecting 
grammar to gain time. 

" Certainly, you. How do you come to be 
here in this house? And why?" 

" The front door was ajar ; that's how. I 
thought thieves might have taken occasion to 
sneak in ; that's why.' 9 

" O bother," she said ; " I never can get 
used to locking up my own house. I don't 
seem to be able to remember all those details 
having been accustomed to servants. Was 
it actually open ? " 

" It was." 

" And so you thought you'd see whether 
any robbers had crept in to murder me? 
And you came fearlessly to investigate ? " 

" Yes," said Todd, modestly admitting his 
valor ; " and I should like to have had a 
chance at that fellow Harry." 

" I see," she said thoughtfully. " That was 
very civil of you to come upstairs when you 
heard Mary Meeker pleading with Henry St. 
Aubyn for her life." 

" Oh, that was nothing," said Todd, turn- 
ing red. 



90 Some I.inlics in Haste 

They looked at one another. -tru-.-lm- 
against the inevitable ; then they both broke 
into laughter uncontrollable. 

"Did I \\.is it really so convincingly 
done ? " she tried to 

" IVrlVetK ! 1 \\ante-l to k-kill that man. 
I I want to harm him 

"Oh, I am so glad! It is the most splen- 
did test! Do you think somebody will 
the play and produce it? And <!<> \m think 
it \\ill be a ra And <lo yon think that 

some great emotional actress would create tin- 
part? /> 

" Yon could create the part," he said almost 
resentfully. 

" I ? Why. I am not an actress. I am 
only " 

Shr stopp,-,!. i.iixm- l, rr < \es to him \ 
gravel\. " I think. 

"that you iiad brtter tell me who you are. 
Not that I am the slightest bit afraid or 
suspicious; I am not afraid of anything, and 
have not been for three months. So, if you 
please, who are v 

1 Tin only Dudley Todd," he admittr.l. 

" Dudley Todd? ( Hi; my brother knows 
you at the Lenox Club. I am Kvelyn West/' 



A Remedy 91 

'* B-B-Billy West's s-s-sister ! " he stam- 
mered. 

" Yes ; not the pretty one ; the eccentric 
one who has taken up Settlement work and 
* isms/ and is good to the poor and has 
missions, and who has just bought this 
quaint old house here overlooking East River 
Park- 

"You! Billy West's " 

" Yes ; not the pretty one. And I live here 
quite alone, and don't have servants because 
I believe in equality, but can't stand having 
my cook on my visiting list. So here I am, 
and I'm third vice president of a working 
girls' club, and I do neighborhood work, and 
I am going to graduate from the Sloan Ma- 
ternity some day, and, when nobody requires 
me as a trained nurse or spiritual adviser, I 
I " she flushed prettily " I hope to write 
plays to educate the people like this first 
play you heard me reading to myself. I hope 
to reach and arouse the public through the 
medium of the drama." 

" Exactly," he said, fascinated. 

" I am a Socialist," she said firmly ; " I've 
been one for three months. It occurred so 
oddly. I was walking along Fifth Avenue 



92 me Ladies in Haste 

opposite the Lenox Club, and as I walked 
I happened to glance up at the club window 
oh, I am very careful about doing such a 
thing, but my brother is sometimes there, and 
I rather like to see him with the head of his 
walking stick under his chin ; he's so chubby 
and cunning " 

She smiled confidently at Todd ; and Todd 
grew giddy. 

" So I glanced up as I passed," she con- 
tinued ; " but I didn't see my brother, only a 
rather horrid man with a monocle in one eye, 
staring at me " 

"Manners!" breathed Todd, electrified. 
* Very, very had manners," she said un- 
consa<usl\. So I looked straight ahead 
and walked right on. ... But but I be- 
gan to have the queerest sensations a few 
moments later! I " she hesitated, looking 
at Todd " I was a very, very different sort 
of girl three months ago, Mr. Todd. I was 
like other women thoughtless, light-hearted, 
unimaginative, mediocre, devoted to fri- 
volity and. suddenly, as I walked on. I 
began to feel myself changing, my whole 
character changing, and awaking into a 
strangely new and delightsome personality ! 



A Remedy 93 

... I wonder if you believe what I am 
saying? " 

" Yes, yes," muttered Todd ; " I believe it ; 
I know it. Please go on." 

" Thank you. Somehow I knew you would 
believe me. Somehow, the moment I saw 
you I knew I was not afraid of you even 
though you shouted so abruptly and came 
clattering so fiercely upstairs. I it's a curi- 
ous thing an almost incredible thing to ad- 
mit but do you know, Mr. Todd, that some- 
how your coming didn't astonish me very 
much?" 

" D-didn't it ? " stammered Todd raptur- 
ously. 

" No. Not that I was expecting you 
not that I ever even thought of you 
even knew you by sight. Yet it seemed quite 
in order to see you come charging in here 
to my rescue. And when you told me your 
name I had an odd feeling that matters were 
happening as they ought to happen as 
they were bound to happen. ... I wonder 
whether you understand me ? " 

" Perfectly," he murmured, under the spell 
of her sweet sincerity. 

" Very well, then ; I will just say this : that 



94 Some I. tidies in Haste 

three months ago I was another woman, and 
to-day I am my real self fresh from the 
chrysalis of the past, awakened from twenty 
years of emotionless immaturity to emerge 
into the world and bear my part of its sor- 
rows and its burdens, and to do my part 
toward its betterment. And that is all, . . . 
about myself. ... Mr. Todd." 
I'K.iM. please, go on." 

"Why. what more is there to say?" she 
asked laughing i know all about me 

now. You know I am absolutely uncom< n 
tional, unafraid, and and audacious enough 
to offer you a chair at midnight alone \\itli 
me in this h<> 

And she rose and indicated a chair on her 
left with a gesture of delicate auda 

The mixture of Socialism and unconven- 
tionality combined with the charm and fear- 
less poise of a young girl, bred in the world, 
produced an ensemble so sweet, so piquant. 
so adorable, that Todd sat bolt upright on his 
chair beside her, u rapped in a blissfully im- 
becile daze. 

" I don't care what an artificial and self- 
conscious society mi^ht think of this, do you, 
Mr. Todd?" she asked. 



A Remedy 95 

"Not a bit," said Todd. Her eyes were 
very friendly ; her glance wandered over him 
with a confident but thoughtful curiosity. 

" I am very glad you came," she said. 
" Will you come again ? " 

" Yes ! ! ! ! " exclaimed Todd so fervently, 
that she flushed. 

" I wonder whether you'd be interested in 
Settlement work in my work here among the 
poor?" she ventured. 

" I am," said Todd warmly. " I've a lot 
of I well, an uncle of mine left me some 
money. Do you want it ? " 

" Want it ! " she repeated blankly. 

"For the poor!" 

" I why, Mr. Todd I couldn't it is very 
generous 

" But I want to spend it on all these Dagos 
and gutter snipes ! " he said earnestly. " I 
want to convert the yeggmen and be good to 
them with pamphlets and soup. Til give 'em 
anything you say new hats, gum drops, hos- 
pitals, anything you'd like 'em to enjoy." 

His generous emotion set a faint pink fire 
in her cheeks. 

" But it wouldn't do to give indiscriminate- 
ly," she said, leaning a trifle nearer toward 



96 Some I. miles in Haste 

him. " Besides, I don't quite see how I am 
going to accept your financial aid " 

"Please let me," he pleaded. " I I've 
been wandering around loose for the last 
three months, making lots of money and hav- 
ing adventures, but I didn't know what I 
really wanted until I saw you." 

"Me!" the vivid tint spreading on IKT 
lovely face. 

Yes I want want you! but I won't 
speak of that just now; I'll confine my sug- 
gestions to this business of first aid to the 
indigent Dago, and I hope you'll let me build 
a hospital for you 

She lay back in IKT chair, blue eyes starry 
and wide, and the bright color grew and 
faded with every quick-drawn breath as she 
uutchcd him, fascinated, while he spoke with 
all the eager boyish impulsiveness of a young 
man suddenly and hopefully in love. 

r there was no chance to misunderstand ; 
his every feature, every gesture told the story, 
and the light in his eyes betrayed it. and the 
very sound of his voice confessed it, and her 
nun pulse mechanically echoed the avoual, 
beating out unsteadily its irrevocable confir- 
mation. 



A Remedy 97 

Love! To come like this! Suddenly, 
swiftly, irresistibly, like this ! Love ! to come 
so abruptly, filling his heart as he met her 
eyes, dominating him soul and body and 
mind, so that it usurped his own personality 
and enslaved every power of it, using his eyes 
and lips for its own purposes. 

And the purpose of love was to make her 
understand, admit, believe, marvel, and be 
afraid. 

She was afraid. 

Then the love, newborn, looked out at her 
through his eyes while he was talking excit- 
edly about hospitals ; and she heard his words 
as in a dream, but sat spellbound under the 
revelation from his eyes. 

He talked and talked and talked, and 
Heaven knows he was prosy but she did not 
think so, lying back there in her chair, wide- 
eyed, thrilled, tremulous of lid and lip, as 
the undertone of love, sounding persistently 
through his platitudes, swept her like a ca- 
ress, and set the rose fire creeping across 
her cheeks. 

Socialism, equality, freedom, and the un- 
trammeled expression of it, fearless confi- 
dence, the repudiation of all that is artificial : 



g& Some Ladies in Haste 

these had been the vows she had taken. She 
understood, she remembered. 

And now, with all the strength and instinct 
and passion of her young soul and heart, she 
was struggling against the creed she had con- 
fessed struggling, bewildered, rejecting its 
confession from his lips. 

Turmoil in the confessional for her heart 
was that dim sanetuar\ : n volt in mind and 
body, and anathema for the penitent as she 
rose, breathless, cheeks aflame, arms out- 
stretched in a sudden gesture that at the 
same time silenced him and shielded herself 
silenced him for an instant only ; shielded her- 
self very badly. 

For oh, incredible! he had caught her 
hands in his. her soft, white hands. l>,,th of 
them, that twisted fiercely as though to hurt 
him, not to escape. 

" All this talk," he stammered, " means 
only one thing ! " 

" D-don't say it ! " she gasped. 

" Will you not believe it ? " 

" I yes! I know it is so; I know how it 
is with us what has happened. But I can- 
not endure it so quickly to to have you 
take me this way " 



A Remedy 99 

" You are already taken," he whispered, 
mastering her hands. 

" I know it prisoner in my own house." 
. . . Her hands fell limp, she drew a deep, 
sweet breath, and slowly, very slowly, raised 
her eyes to his. 

" Be merciful," she said. " The silk of the 
old regime still clothes me under these red 
rags of emancipation." 

" I know," he said, his soul in his eyes. 

Then, paling, she raised her hands, and he 
drew them close against his lips. 

" Good night," she whispered. 

" To-morrow ? " 

" Y-yes." 

"And always, after that? Always? For- 
ever and ever until 

" Yes." 

About one o'clock that morning, Manners, 
squatting distractedly upon a bench in the 
park, perceived a shadowy form, apparently 
a prey to religious exaltation, wandering 
about under the trees, arms upflung, face 
lifted to heaven. 

" Todd ! " he cried, bounding to his feet. 
Then the desire for battle overwhelmed him, 
8 



ioo Some Ladies in Haste 

and he charged headlong upon Todd and as- 
saulted him. And they had a splendid time 
there all alone under the stars. 

" Beast! " panted Manners, blocking an up- 
per cut and countering. And Todd came 
back joyously on the nose, and they mi\<<l 
it again until, breathless, speechless, and sat- 
isfied, they staggered apart and sat down on 
the same bench. 

" Careful about your nose, old fellow." 
panted Todd ; " don't hold it over my 
knees." 

So Manners held his nose over the ^rass 
like a gentleman, and Todd lent him another 
handkerchief. 

44 That was fine, wasn't it?" said Man- 
ners. " \\ e must do it again with six- 
ounce gloves 

" Certainly." replied Todd affectionately, 
as Manners rose and started toward the street. 
And, linking his arm in his friend's arm. In- 
looked up blissfully at the stars. 

After a long time, during which, from mo- 
ment to moment. Manners furtively pressed 
the borrowed handkerchief to his nose, they 
came into Fifth Avenue and headed south- 
ward toward the Lenox Club. 



A Remedy 101 

" And now," said Manners, " perhaps you 
had better tell me what happened to you." 

But Todd only shook his head dreamily and 
raised his eyes to the star-set sky. 

" No," he murmured, " not until it is an- 
nounced." 

Manners turned perfectly cold. 

" Announced ! " he repeated threateningly. 

" Yes ; to Billy West's sister not the pretty 
one. God bless you, William." 

But Manners was past all speech. 




CHAPTER V 




A GUILTY MAN 

IT was now generally known, 
in the Lenox Club, that M;m 
had suddenly discovered 
himself to be endowed \\ith 
tin- uncanny power of influ- 
encing his tVll<>w -beings through mental sug- 
gestion. 

The strange experiences of Eric Kelvin, the 
amazing adventures of Dudley Todd, were 
new almost the sole topic of conversation in 
the club. 

Outwardly, the attitude and apparently the 

102 



A Guilty Man 103 

friendship of the club members had not 
changed toward Manners ; inwardly he had 
become an object of fearful curiosity to them. 
And the awe of him continued. 

When he entered a room abruptly an agree- 
able sensation of dread seized every man pres- 
ent. 

When he punched the service button with 
the ferrule of his walking stick dozens of 
eyes observed him furtively ; when the ice 
tinkled in his glass, and the contents of the 
siphon fizzed in it, the more timid and callow 
members effervesced in sympathy. 

Yet even the timid ones never became 
frightened enough to avoid Manners, and in 
the hearts of the bolder men grew a curiously 
delightful foreboding which became, at mo- 
ments, a horrid sort of hope that Manners 
might practice his necromancy upon them, 
give them the dreaded mental absent treat- 
ment for their several shortcomings, and com- 
mand for them a few more of the delicate 
and beautiful visions which he had summoned 
out of the vasty metropolitan deep as lovely 
life comrades for Kelvin and Todd. 

For those bidden to the wedding of Kelvin 
wandered back, stunned by the bride's young 



104 Sonic Ladies /;/ Haste 

beauty. Those summoned to rejoice at the 
bridal feast of Todd returned to the club 
maddened with the hope that Manners mi^lit 
meddle with them ; and, as a matter of fact, 
a deputation of five confirmed bachelors did 
actually approach him as he was in the act 
of consuming bis cereal breakfast, with the 
bashful suggestion that he practice ab>ent 
treatment on them while they \\rre d>\\n- 
t<>\\n, and guarantee them a bride apiece. 

But Manners. M n-itive on the subject, be- 
came angry, and the disconcerted deputation 
fled at his fir-t \\onl of rebuke, fearful that 
be infill transform them into a bunch of 
something obnoxious, and entertaining in 
their secret souls no doubt of his ability to 
do so. 

Manners had become M -native on the sub 
ject of his unusual power. What he had done 
to Kelvin and his bride, and what they had 
done to him, had shaken him up. On the 
heels of that had come the denouement of 
Todd's case with Hilly West's sister; and al- 
though these two matters had fortunately left 
nobody miserable except himself, he remem- 
bered remorsefully the practices he had at- 
tempted upon others, and his curiosity as to 



A Guilty Man 105 

what might happen to the attractive but un- 
known maidens whom he had treated men- 
tally without their knowledge amounted at 
moments to a sort of terror. 

Such a moment had come to him a day or 
two before as, according to his custom, he 
sat searching the columns of the newspapers 
for any reports of extraordinary or outra- 
geous conduct on the part of hitherto deco- 
rous young women. 

And he had encountered a paragraph which 
disturbed him greatly an account of the il- 
logical behavior of a youthful orphan maiden, 
whose suddenly developed eccentricities were 
now the gossip of the Berkshires. 

This paragraph he had carefully cut out, 
meaning to show it to young Stephen Gray, 
who had recently acquired a country place in 
the Berkshires near Lenox ; and so when 
Gray arrived, and they met at the club for 
breakfast, Manners took occasion to produce 
the clipping and reread it to himself in the 
faint hope of persuading himself that he had 
no hand in the matter, and that, after all, 
he need not mention it to Gray. Yet, curi- 
ously enough, he was perfectly possessed to 
talk about it to somebody, and once more 



io6 Some Ladies in Haste 

he lay back in his chair and. dropping his 
monocle from his eye, began to devour the 
quarter column of print, leaving his innocent 
cereal untasted. 

Young Gray sipped his coffee and watched 
him. Manners had treated Gray experimen- 
tally, but he didn't know that (iray kneu it. 
He had treated him for a conspicuous absence 
of artistic common sense (iray being in the 
sign and advertising IHIMIK . \\liich covered 
town and country with the disfigurements of 
Glory Soap and Bylou's Hal 

As Manners had noticed no diminution of 
billboard atrocities in town, suburb, or conn 
try. he began to believe that hi> mental 
gestions to (iray had cither failed or, like 
wireless messages, had gone a-tr,i\ and been 
intercepted by somcbod\ for \\honi they were 
not intended; so, seeing no particular mental 
or physical improvement in (iray. he had not 
thought it necessary to confess to him. 

Meanwhile (iray. putting two and two to- 
gether, became suspicious that he had 1 
one of Manners'* victims. His sudden hatred 
for his own vandal business strengthened the 
suspicion ; certainty .settled upon him \\hen he 
found himself the possessor of a farmhouse 



A Guilty Man 107 



studio near Lenox and an unsuspected talent 
for art; and, amazed and, at times, furious 
with himself, he spent every spare moment in 
his new country studio, where he began to 
turn out landscapes in oils, marines in water 
colors, statuettes in clay and wax and marble, 
at a rate calculated to alarm an Art Nouveau 
factory. 

And meanwhile his advertising business was 
being rapidly ruined by his neglect of it, and 
a rival company was taking what remained of 
his business away from him. 

But all these things he kept tucked away in 
the back of his head, making no sign to Man- 
ners or to anybody of what was happening. 
And every week or two he came to town to 
sell his pictures. In vain. 

Now, he sat there, sipping his coffee at in- 
tervals, quietly interested in the growing un- 
easiness which was creeping over Manners's 
handsome features. And, as Manners read 
on, the conviction that he was responsible for 
what he was reading gripped him till he shud- 
dered. 

* Well," asked Gray, " is it the market 
that's upsetting your nerves? " 

" Upsetting who? " demanded Manners with 



io8 Some Ladies in Haste 

a start ; then, attempting to recover his self- 
possession, he leaned one elbow carelessly on 
the table and pretended to yawn. 

" Your elbow's in your oatmeal," observed 
Gray coldly. 

Confused and humiliated, Manners suf- 
fered a servant to remove the traces of mis- 
hap. 

" William," said Gray curiously, " you are 
acting like a criminal in danger of detection 
Besides, you look like one. What's the mat- 
ter? What's that clipping?" 

Suddenly guilt overcame Manners, and with 
it the instinctive and panicky determin.it in 
to conceal his guilt by loquacity to smother 
suspicion by actually inviting a discussion of 
his crime. A mad desire to talk about it 
overcame a cooler judgment ; the scared and 
cicncc-ridden malefactor was predomi- 
nant in him. fascinated by the evil that he had 
wrought, terrified that it had been made pub- 
lic in print. 

And even now, shocked as he had been by 
Gray's apparently innocent inquiry. Manners 
knew that he could not long have refrained 
from calling somebody's attention to the re- 
port in the newspapers ; could not have resist- 



A Guilty Man 109 

ed the mania to drag in the subject that 
haunted his conscience. 

" As a matter of fact," he said frankly, " I 
was a little upset by a very sad occurrence 
which I've been reading about in the paper. 
You know, Stephen, what a sensitive and 
sympathetic nature I have. Any misfortune 
that happens in the world affects me vio- 
lently. It's foolish, it's unmanly, but b-b- 
but- 

" Don't blubber/' said Gray; "I can't un- 
derstand what you're saying." 

" I c-can't help it," repeated Manners, 
dashing the unmanly moisture from his mon- 
ocle, " because I've just been reading the sad- 
dest paragraph in the p-p-paper 

He choked, adding with an effort : " It's 
about such a foolishness " 

"A *of?" 

" It's about a young girl a certain Miss 
Valdes of Lenox " 

"Miss Valdes!" 

" Y-yes. She lives up your way. You 
don't happen to know her, I hope 

" Do you mean that very young girl you 
don't mean Diana Valdes ! " exclaimed Gray. 

" Yes, I do." 



1 10 Some I.mlics in lid 

"William! What has happened to her'" 
cried Gray, half rising to his feet in his ex- 
citement. 

" Do you know her 

" No that is, I've seen her every summer 
for years! Ever since she was a child 

14 Then, if that's all, you're making quite a 
hullabaloo/' returned the other, taking refuge 
from his own growing alarm in the effrontery 
of bad temper. " 1 thought at least you must 
be engaged to her by the way you began 
jumping around the room." 

He paused, but Gray made no observation ; 
and, supposing he had squelched him, Man- 
ners went on : 

"According to this m \\xpaj,, r< it \\mild ap- 
pear that Mi \alilrs h,-^ hern rxhil.- 
symptoms of classical eccentru it\ What's 
the matter, (.ra\ f I >il anything sting y< 

" What symptoms ? " demanded Gray, ig- 
noring the question. 

Why," continued Manners, moistening 
his lips, dry from increasing fright as he be- 
gan to realize Cira\ - personal interest in the 
affair, " she's got into the habit of going off 
l>\ herself for days at a time; hiding hermit 
in the fields and bushes and woods of her 



A Guilty Man in 

big country place there. You've heard that 
she has a huge and beautiful wooded es- 
tate- 

" Yes ; go on ! " 

" W-well, don't shout at me that way, 
Stephen." 

" I'm not shouting. Besides, this dining 
room is empty. Go on ! " 

" You did shout ; and my nerves are not 
what they once were. . . . What are you 
glaring about? I'm going on, I tell you. 
Anybody'd think you were in love with her, 
fidgeting about like that ! I know her as well 
as you do; I've never seen her, but Mrs. Kel- 
vin knows her and has told me all about her. 
So don't get gay with me, Stephen." 

And he waved the newspaper clipping and 
continued, sometimes quoting from the ac- 
count, sometimes delivering a resume of the 
affair in his own language : 

" Her servants became very anxious over 
her repeated and prolonged disappearances, 
scouring the woods and hills of the estate for 
some trace of their beautiful mistress 
And, turning a wavering eye on Gray: 
" What the deuce do you suppose they found 
out she was doing, Stephen ? " 



1 12 Some Ladies in Ilu. 

" Go on," responded Gray between his 
teeth, "or I'll hit you \\itli the toast rack!" 

" I am. You're- in a na>ty temper this A.M. 
Well, then; Miss YaMes. it seems, lias con- 
cluded to become a goddess " 

"A w*a/?" 

" A goddess. Didn't you hear what I said ? 
She insists that it is the only sane, wholesome, 
and logical outdoor life to lead. And so she 
runs about the woods with only a bow and 
arrow, and a half moon stuck in her hair 

" William ! " 

' Well, that's what the paper says," faltered 
Manners. " You can read it yourM li. \>u un- 
mannerly dub! That's what it says 

" Wearing only a b-b-bow and arrow and 
a crescent!" \\himpered Gray, utterly un- 
nerved. 

"Na-aw! Who said that? She v. 
some drapery, of course, and sandals, and she 
chases the dappled deer. A Tribune reporter 
caught sight of her running like fury- 
Do you does that fool newspaper mean 
to make us believe that the indolent, indif- 
ferent, and statuesquely classical Miss Valdes 
goes racing over the Berkshires c-clad in 
cheese cloth and a crescent 



A Guilty Man 113 

" Sure thing/' replied Manners despondent- 
ly. " She's a changed girl ; she tells people 
she's invented a new health idea, and she calls 
it the. Olympian cure; and the way you do 
it is to go out with as little clothing on as 
possible, and chase everything that runs away 
from you." 

"William!" cried Gray distractedly, "do 
you believe she has buzz wheels? Da you?" 

" Nonsense ! " said Manners, paling ; " it's 
only that she now prefers, in her leisure mo- 
ments, to go bounding about like Diana 
instead of taking ornamental siestas in ham- 
mocks, or lolling about all day under a parti- 
colored sunshade. Here, read it yourself," he 
added, thrusting the newspaper clipping at 
Gray, and employing his handkerchief to wipe 
the cold perspiration from his visage. 

Gray took the clipping and read in horri- 
fied silence. Manners watched him, trying 
vainly the while to manage a roll and a cup 
of coffee. Both choked him ; he couldn't eat ; 
his appetite had vanished with his peace of 
mind in the certainty that this unfortunate 
girl was one of his hitherto unknown victims. 

"What do you think about it?" asked 
Manners wretchedly. 



ii4 Some Ladies in Haste 

Think of it?" repeated Gray. 
Sf-yes; what do you think makes her act 
like that? W-w-wheels 

Gray turned red and his eyes began to look 
dangerous, but he said very calmly : " Nix 
for the wheels. If a girl wants to do the un- 
conventional within the walls of her own es- 
tate, I think she might be allowed to without 
all this clamor in the newspapt i 

" S-s-so do I," said Manners with a shiver. 

1 think so, too." 

" If." continued Gray, " Miss Valdes wants 
to wear cheese-cloth skirts and Grecian san- 
dals and go about potting sparrows with a 
bow and arrow, why shouldn't she? The old 
Greek costume is far healthier and far more 
beautiful than the skirts and corsets of to-day. 
And, as for the archery practice, why not? 
It's fashionable to revive the quaint pastimes 
and sports of the past. Tin > are taking up 
falconry in France ; they ride the lists in the 
Cammargue; you've heard of the Marathon 
race, haven't you? And of the Olympian 
games, where they are hurling the discus 
again?" 

" Certainly," nodded Manners hopefully, 
" and even in the time of Nero they played 
Red Lion. 



A Guilty Man 115 

" Well, then," continued Gray, " it's prob- 
ably quite natural and instinctive for Miss 
Valdes to revive in herself the charming and 
graceful pastimes of Diana/' He paused and 
fixed a withering eye upon Manners, who 
promptly began to tremble. " I say it is prob- 
ably natural for Miss Valdes to do this. But 
if it isn't natural if some confounded, im- 
pertinent, mischief-making, idle, and wealthy 
young pup has ventured mentally to suggest 
to this innocent girl any such games and 
practices 

Manners, pale and astounded at the dis- 
covery of his guilt, pushed back his chair 
violently and rose to his feet prepared for 
fight. 

"What's the matter with you?" demanded 
Gray. " Sit <l.\\n ! " 

" D-d-do you c-care for her? " 

" Ya-as," said Gray, "I do ! Sit down or 
I'll attack \ou!" 

" What are you g-going to do about it?" 
stammered Manners, dropping instinctively 
into the popular attitude of self-defense. 

" William ! William ! I don't know what 
I am going to do about it. I want to do 
something primitive throw everything on 
9 






n6 Some I. miles in Haste 

the table at you, for example hut I'm not 
going to; I want to run utter \>u and, at the 
end of a savage and terrihle chase* corner 
you and destroy you. Hut I'm not going to 
do that, either. As for delivering you to the 
police, \N hut's the use? Tlu \ wouldn't believe 
it of you. Wizard! Witch doctor! Con- 
jurer " 

" Besides, they ini^ht believe something 
queerer about you'' retorted Manners \\itli 
dignity. And, becoming irritated : ** See here ; 
I don't mind tin- names you call me. hut. if 
you think of assaulting me. I'll ti^ht \\itli the 
fury of despair. Ask Todd. Besides, I'm 
horribly mortified and sorry for what 1 did 
to Miss Valdes 

What's the good of being sorry and mor- 
tified?" demanded (Iray. hammering on the 
table with doubled fV-t "She's the m..-t at 
tractive Ljirl I ever saw, and you've turned her 
into a side show, und jjiven her the ambitions 
of a spear carrier in the ' P.lark Crook '! 

" But you said yourself that it ua- natural 
for her to act that way 

You put her up to it! You voodoo doc- 
tor 1 

"Well what if I did? Isn't it fashionable 



A Guilty Man 117 

to revive ancient sports and pastimes? Be- 
sides, what have I ever done to you to be 
injuriously described as a voodoo 

" You impudent dabbler in second-hand 
magic ! " shouted Gray in impotent fury. 
" You've ruined my advertising and publicity 
business! That's \\liat you've done to me! 
And you've turned me into a tenth-rate land- 
scape painter! Even this club rejects my 
l>i< tares as gifts 

"\\Vre those awful daubs yours?" ex- 
claimed Manners. 

" Yes, they were! And I stood by and saw 
you laugh at them when the board of gov- 
ernors rejected them ! And now you've taken 
a lovely, scarcely mature orphan maiden, cel- 
ebrated in Lenox for her lazy repose, languid 
beauty, and ab-ent -minded indifference, and 
turned her into a classical tomboy, and set 
her racing madly about the backwoods like a 
demented white rabbit with the pip!" 

Manners stared at him in horror, opened 
his mouth to deny everything; then, as 
though stunned, dropped both arms on the 
table and laid his head between them. 

Gray gazed at him for a moment enraged, 
but after a while his visage softened. 



n8 Some Ladies in Haste 

' I don't mean to be too hard on you/* he 
said. " What can we do about this matter?" 

Manners moaned. 

" Something's got to be done, of course," 
insisted Gray ; " and you'd better begin ! I f 
\u don't. I'll run at you! " 

"I can't!" groaned Manners; 1 don't 
know how to work it backward ; I can't re- 
verse mental suggestion. Great IIra\m. man. 
if I omld. dn't \<m think I \\onld? I > \ >u 
think I'd let you go on painting those auful 
pictures? Do you think I'd permit this 
\uiing tfirl to risk catching cold in her cheese 
cloth, buskins, and crescent?' I'd rather see 
Bylow's Baby Food frescoed all over the new 
public library than ^ r i\i \n the contract to 
decorate it. I thought there was nothing 
u<'rT than I ilnry Snap. Thi 'id you've 

produced it! 1 treated >u for lack of artis- 
tic appreciation, expecting you to clear the 
Hudson Valley of your defacing billboards. 
I'.nt \mi immediately began to produce 
Fourth Avenue Corots, and your technic was 
not Fontainehlean but Hylow - " 



up mi my art." protested Gray, in- 
censed. " It may not be good, but I likr it. 
And I must say it's pretty shabby of you, 



A Guilty Man 119 

William, to set me painting landscapes and 
then never even offer to buy one 

" Gray ! I cant buy one of those things ! I 
can't stand 'em 

" You've got to ! You owe me something. 
My advertising business is utterly ruined. 
It's only fair that you create a market for my 
pictures. I tell you, Manners, you ought to 
begin collecting my landscapes for a private 
gallery of your own ; that's the way to launch 
me ; that's the way to create a public furore 
for my works. Let it be known widely that 
the wealthy and fashionable young connois- 
seur, William Manners, Esquire, has, with 
greatest difficulty, indefatigable patience, and 
lavish expenditure of money, succeeded in 
collecting a hundred of my masterpieces 

"Yours!" 

" Exactly," said Gray calmly. " That's how 
you can make partial reparation. I've got to 
go on painting; I can't help it as long as 
ydu are unable to reverse your mental treat- 
ment ; and as long as I go on painting you 
ought to go on buying my pictures, unless 
you can create a healthy market for me. 
How else am I to live, now that you've ruined 
my sign business? " 



120 Some Ladies in Haste 

Manners, very pale, mopped the starting 
pi rspiration from his forehead. 

" It's horrible," he said under his breath. 

*' The public will think I'm cra/y " 

" Not after you have bought a hundred 
or two of my pictures," said ( iray cheerfully. 
" As soon as the public reads about it. I'll In- 
all right. And, William, perhaps yu had 
better begin to acquire my works immedi 
atcls. I've nearly thirty upstairs tlu- ones 
that the elnb \\mldn't accept as a gift- 
Manners convulsively covered his eyes with 
his hands. 

" He a man!" said Gray kindly. "I'mnr 
upstairs and let me explain them to you. Bc- 
-iii by purchasing t \\ < . < >r tin... l-'.asy does 
it. (let the habit. And by and by you may 
tin<l it rather interesting t ac|uire 
llu\ rr nt so bad to look at when you 
-tomcd to them. It's pnrelv a matter 
of habit. / like them ; I really do. Cheer 
up ; you may come to care for them some 

Manners lifted a haggard fa 

" I I suppose it's <>nly fair." he said. I 
didn't know I'd ruined your s,- n business, 
Stephen. If I have it's only decent for me to 



A Guilty Man 121 

do what I can. H-how many pictures did 
you say you had left unsold ? " 

" They're all unsold," replied Gray. " I've 
simply got to sell some to make a living. Of 
course, if you feel the way you do, I hate to 
have you make a collection 

" I'll do it! I'll try my best to make you 
popular and fashionable if it's possible. I'll 
ask Kelvin and Todd and Billy West and 
Krlly Jones to buy 'em, too! I'll engage a 
press agent for you. I'll do anything only, 
you won't mind if I I dispose of my gallery 
after you're famous, will you, Stephen? It 
would kill me to live very long with those 
things; it really wouM." 

So it was arranged between them that a 
campaign be started immediately to alleviate 
the financial condition of Stephen Gray; and 
they adjourned to Gray's room to agree upon 
the plan and try to accustom Manners to the 
sight of the thirty pictures. 

About noon they lunched together that is, 
Stephen lunched but it was empty form for 
Manners to sit at the table, as his mind was 
distracted with his dreadful responsibility for 
the classical antics of Miss Valdes, and also 
upset by an inspection of Gray's pictures. 



122 Sonic Liniics in Haste 

"Awful, isn't it?" lu- repeated a-ain and 
again to Gray. " Nobody will ever care to 
marry such a girl as that! She'll never find 
a man who can stand for that sort of tiling. 
I I suppose, in decency, I ought to go up 
there to Lenox and dress up in billy-goat 
skins and pretend t<> be Pan. and offer to 
marry her 

" You don't have to," observed < .ray coldly. 

"But it's the only reparation 1 can 

make 

" I'll do any repairing nece> ^aid 

Gray firmly. 

rtainly." 

"What are you going to do? You prob- 
ably won't be able to -et near her if she's 
ranging the woods unless you dre tip like 
a faun or a water nymph " 

Gray dropped knife and fork. " Do you 
think so?" he a.' ked, agitated. 

I'm afraid so. You see, when I noticed 
that indolent-eyed, languid young girl rolling 
past the club window in her victoria. I gave 
her a vigorous dose of mental persuasion. 
All the fuss and feathery furbelow and non- 
sense that decorated her I suggested that she 



A Guilty Man 123 

shed in favor of classical simplicity. * Go out 
and range the fragrant woods and fields ! ' I 
insisted. ' Kick off those French heels, and 
be as unconventional and free-limbed as Di- 
ana ! ' O Stephen, I didn't mean to be lit- 
eral ! I didn't intend to have her act the way 
she's acting. I my intentions were of the 
best the purest, the most chaste Stephen, 
you know that Diana was chaste 

Gray gazed at his omelet. " She got stuck 
on Endymion," he observed gloomily. " See 
here, William, the thing for us to do is to 
go up there to the Berkshires, call upon Miss 
Valdes, confess frankly the horrible wrong 
you have done her 

"What good will it do?" demanded Man- 
ners, aghast. " I I'm perfectly willing to 
endure her scorn and reproach and hatred, 
but all that won't prevent her from continu- 
ing to behave like a goddess " 

" Don't you think so?" 

" No, I don't. I don't know any antidote 
for what I've done. If I could reverse treat- 
ment I would, but I can't, and there are no 
anti-goddess pills that I ever heard of. Only 
cold weather can make her dress warmly 
again, I fear." 



124 M* l.adics in Haste 



"Thru." xaid Gray resolutely. " I'll marry 
her, an\\\ay. if I can if she'll have me. 
What do I care whether she chooses to roam 
free and untrammeled in a classical costume 
of cheese cloth \\lun the weather permits? It 
will always be inside private grounds, ami. 
besides, I, personally, like ( i redan costume 
and customs. Why not? the\'rc artiMic. 
and as art is about all I live for now it will 
suit me perfectly. So I'm goinsj up to Lenox 
to-night. And you must come, too." 

I don't want to," said Manners in a voice 
which approached a whimper. 

h. v'ti've got to go to her and ex- 
plain," insisted Gl It can do no harm 

and it may. perhaps, do some good. So tell 
the valet to pack your suit case and trunk. 
. . . After all. I'm not so VIM \..u did 

this to us. If you hadn't I probably would 
never have gathered enough courage to ask 
Miss Valdes to mam- a man who had only 
known her by sight f- and whose busi- 

ness was as low d<>wn as mine was. As it K 
I think I can venture to ask her to consider 
the respectful advances of an artist - " 

" D-don't let her see your pictures," mut- 
tered Manners. 



A Guilty Man 125 



" I most certainly shall," returned Gray 
very haughtily. " I'll sail under no false oil 
colors; I'll practice no deceptions. If she 
takes me she takes me with all my faults 
and pictures. She will know exactly what 
she's getting; she won't plunge blindly into 
matrimony. . . . And, William, I am won- 
dering wlu-t IKT my pictures are as bad as they 
are painted ? After all, you don't know every- 
thing, do you? Suppose, after all, I've been 
founding a new school which nobody yet ap- 
preciates or understands?" 

" Perhaps," groaned Manners, collapsing 
in his chair. 




CHAPTER VI 

THE ABSENT-MINDED GODDESS 

X a hrautit'ul summer after- 
noon two ynuni; mm ap- 
proached the great door of a 
stately country mansion a few 
miles from Lenox. Both 
young men carried suit cases. One wore a 
frock coat, silk hat, an old-fashioned string tie, 
and a false beard. 

To their formal inquiries the sepulchral 
servant at the door replied, in a voice like 
the sound of a half-gulped sob, that Miss Val- 
des was not at home. 

120 




The Absent-Minded Goddess 127 

" Might we see the park and the gardens? " 
inquired one of, the young men. " I would 
like to have Dr. Manners become familiar 
with the ah environments 

The butler said that visitors were permitted 
until five. 

A parlor maid conducted them to the ter- 
race. Her eyes were red as though she had 
been weeping. Another maid appeared and 
piloted them through the summer conserva- 
tories. Her eyes were red. 

Then a gardener came to take them 
through the graperies; and his eyes were 
red. 

" What's the matter with everybody ? " ven- 
tured Gray at last. 

" Doin's," said the gardener briefly. 

The ganKmr's wife received them at her 
cottage door and conducted them through the 
celebrated vegetable garden. She had been 
weeping. 

" I suppose," suggested Manners, wagging 
his big, false beard, " that you've been cry- 
ing on account of the doin's, haven't you?" 

" Y-yes," sniffed the woman ; " but how do 
you know? " 

" Friends of the family physicians/' mut- 



128 Some I.iiilics in I lust c 

tered (iray. " I mean that I am not exactly. 
!>ut this medical gentleman is old Dr. Man- 
ners 1 

"Oh, sir!" broke in the woman, clasping 
her hands, "perhaps you can tell me. then, 
if they have found my dear yoimi; mistress! 
\\ e are all so frightened: Miss Yaldes has 
been gone three days this time, and if she 
hadn't told us she'd dismiss ux if we both- 
ered her again we'd have went for the tn\sn 
constable and the t'ambly dctr." 

Manners began to shake; Gray wagged his 
head. 

So she is still in the woods?" he asked 
gravels. 

Yes. xj r< u< suppose so judging from the 
state of the pantry last ni^ht." 

" Sad. 1. 1. " he obsei Hut 

old Dr. Manners and I are extinndx In .peiul 
ah I may say almost sanguine, that V 
\ aides may return this evening. I hat is 
\\liy \\e are here: but you are not to say 
anything, do you understand' " 

' Yes. sir."" 

" Are those the woods Miss Valdes usu- 
ally haunts?" 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 129 

" Those umbrageous solitudes over there 
on the hill is that where your mistress is 
accustomed to seclude herself?" 

" She goes into them woods, doctor yes, 
sir." 

" Quite so. Thank you." And, turning 
gravely to Manners : " Now, doctor, if you 
are ready." 

And very solemnly, arm in arm, the two 
young men set off across the fields, carrying 
their suit cases. The sun was hot; perspira- 
tion bedewed Manners's countenance. 

" This beard and this accursed silk hat are 
fierce," he said, " and my black frock coat 
weighs tons. I don't think it is necessary for 
me to 

" Yes, it is. You look the part. Besides, 
she'll be more likely to listen to you if you 
look like that. Do you remember what you 
are to say when you meet her?" 

" Yes," said Manners sulkily ; " I'm to say 
that I'm old Dr. Manners, specialist on all 
kinds of feminine fidgets, and that if she 
doesn't go back home and stop behaving 
like a goddess, I'll commit her to my sana- 
torium." 

" Well, try to put it more medically, 



130 Some Ladies in Haste 

William. Whew ! This shade is refresh- 
ing!" as they entered the woods. ''Isn't 
this stunning? these fine old trees and 
rocks 

Manners was down on all fours drinking 
out of a brook that came rippling through the 
woodland silence ; and as he eagerly lapped 
up the icy water his silk hat fell off and 
danced roguishK a\\a\ d>\\ n>treani. Gray 
brought it back. 

When we sight her," he said, " I'll hide, 
and you advance and try to reason with In r ; 
and if there's nothing doing then I'll put on 
these pink tights and the billy-goat coat, and 
tie a ribbon across my forehead, and begin 
to play on my fife, and let her discover me by 
the brook." 

Yu ought to have had a reed pipe," said 
Manners doubtfully. But Gray seemed confi- 
dent that his fife was just as classical. Be- 
sides, he could play " Rally Around the Flag " 
on the fitV. 

When Manners had drunk his fill and re- 
moved the irv drops that twinkled on his 
nose and on the point of his false beard, they 
moved forward, rapidly at first, then cau- 
tiously, listening, alert, wary as men ought to 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 131 

be who were liable at any moment to encoun- 
ter a goddess in the next thicket. 

"Any signs?" whispered Manners, pick- 
ing up his silk hat which 'a young tree had 
playfully snatched from his head and deftly 
punctured. 

" No; did you hear anything?" questioned 
Gray with trembling lips, peering forward. 

Manners, after vainly attempting to smooth 
the nap of his hat, crammed it firmly on his 
head. 

" She's probably camping along this brook 
somewhere," he said. " You find game along 
water courses, and probably it's the same \\ith 
goddesses. Hark ! " 

" Hark ! " repeated Gray in a whisper. 

Very far away a twig had snapped sharply ; 
then the woodland silence fell over all a 
stillness the more profound for the ceaseless 
sound of the shallow brook slipping swiftly 
over silver sands. 

" Hush ! " breathed Manners through his 
false beard, hand to ear, as though intent 
on listening to something off stage. Gray 
glanced at him with artistic disapproval ; the 
attitude was admirable, but the top hat 
clashed with the background. 
10 



132 Some Lit dies in Haste 

It actually hurts me to look at you/' he 
said. " Come on; I can't hear anybody mak- 
ing a noise like a goddess." 

They stole stealthily forward, Indian file, 
Manners leading through the fragrant tangle 
and holding on his hat with one hand. 

A rabbit, bouncing up and hopping noisily 
away over the dead leaves, almost paralyzed 
them; the thundering whir of a partridge 
halted them again with a shock. 

If if those little creatures make all that 
noise, " panted Manners, " \\ \\hat sort of an 
uproar do you suppose a scared goddess \\ill 
make? She'll go off like a regiment of cav- 
alry. I suppose 

" S-s-st ! " cautioned < ira\ . listening off 
stage in his turn. A distant crashing sounded 
far in the dim forest depths, nearer. I.ud-r. 
suddenly lost, then startling in its distinctness. 

" S-s-something's coming on a jump! " fal- 
tered Manners. "\V-\\hich uay had we bet- 
ter run, Stephen ? " 

Before Gray could reply, a deer crossed the 
brook at full speed, flag up, and continued on- 
ward, taking most prodigious bounds into the 
leafy thickets beyond. 

Manners recovered his speech after a sec- 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 133 

ond or two. " I just hate to be startled," he 
said fretfully. " Everything in nature seems 
to delight in jarring you." 

Gray, who had been watching a low wood- 
ed crest to the right, suddenly squatted be- 
hind a barrier of low fir trees. 

" There she is ! " he hissed. " She'll cross 
the brook above us, where that deer crossed ! 
Quick, Manners! It's up to you to do what 
you can ! " 

Manners gaped vacantly at a swiftly speed- 
ing ^limnuT of white emerging from the dis- 
tant foliage on the hill. Gray muttered : 
" Run upstream, idiot ! " and gave him a vio- 
lent shove ; and Manners, following the direc- 
tion in which he had been unceremoniously 
projected, cramnu-d his silk hat over his ears 
and cantered on, suit case in one hand, long, 
black coat flapping. And the next moment 
he saw the goddess in full chase. 

She was a tall, lithe girl, clothed in the 
white, heavily plaited body blouse and short 
skirt of the classical Grecian huntress. Arms 
and neck flashed like polished ivory, and 
above her big, gray eyes a heavy mass of 
bronze hair whipped the wind. 

Hopping hopefully upstream, Manners 



134 Some Ladies in Haste 



emerged into view, and. as she caught sight 
of him, he attempted to bow ; but that was a 
difficult matter \\hile running, for his hat was 
jammed on hard. 

The girl halted in a flash, eyes widening, 
scarlet lips parted; and as Manners \\mulud 
off his hat with a conciliators flourish, and 
dropped hi- >uit case, panting, she stood for 
an instant like a slender silver bin i 
among the shaggy giants of the pii. 

Then a swift frown bent her delicate, 
^traight brows inuard; and she whipped an 
arrow from the quiver and fitted the nock to 
the string of the bent bou . 

"Good Heavens! " panted Manuel - ; " \ on 
are not going to slu>< 

"\\hat arc \ .n doino m m \ u.MKls? 11 she 
asked in a clear, menacing \ Are you 

a tramp 

I I'm a doctor old Dr. Manm-i 

M A c/( 

"Certain!)." >aid Manner^, summoning all 
his dignity. "I have eome lu n n-.m New 
N rk, profoundly int< .1 b\ tin- 
pathological aspects of \,,ur evident condi- 
tion " 

- \\ ha: 




44 What are you doing in my woods?' 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 135 

" I say I have ventured to take a personal 
and scientific interest in you." 

A bright flush mounted to her cheeks. 

" This is abominable ! " she said, stamping 
her sandaled foot. " If you please, you will 
instantly leave." 

" If you insist," he said soothingly, 4 M will 
reluctantly do as you request. Hut first, Miss 
Valdes, it is absolutely important that I make 
plain to you in the interest of science arid 
of humanity 

" What do you mean ? " she asked impa- 
tiently, moving a pace nearer. 

" Miss Valdes, I am a physician. The 
mission of a physician in this sad world is 
sacred. Pathos and pathology are closely 
linked in a 

"Pathos and pathology!" sl u > repeated 
coldly. " Do you mean bathos and biolo- 
gy ? " And, in swiftly mounting scorn and 
vexation : " I understand, I think. Some 
meddler has sent for you to interfere with me 
because I choose to amuse myself in my own 
fashion on my own estate. Please let me at 
once assure you that I am not in need of a 
physician 

" You arc \ " said Manners firmly. 



136 Some Ladies in ffostc 

She flushed crimson. " I beg your par- 
don 

" You ore. Miss Yaldes." ho repeated. " It 
is only right that you should know that your 
present lamentable mode of life is not caused 
h\ any fault of your own. That is why I 1 
come here to warn you to admit to confess 
that that it is ;;/y fault." 

She stared at him without a word. 

" I did it," he said gloomily. " throe months 
ago. It is a dreadful and humiliating cm 
sion for me to come here and make. I am 
perfectly overwhelmed with horror at myself. 
But, if there is any remedy at all for this 
classical mythological mania no\\ . 
\"ti. it perhaps lj t -s in my confession of guilt." 

"Three months ago." she repeated; " I 
I don't understand ' 

"Throe months ago." he said solemnly. 
u were a perfectly ordinary girl idle, 
luxurious, indifferent, vain. s r lh\hl\ absorbed. 
and physically and mentally indolent, with the 
intellect of a canary, and the ambition of a 
Persian kitten 

" W-what ! " 

" Thon," he continued, moving a little 
nearer to where she stood, " on an evil day 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 137 

I saw you, rolling along in your victoria 
on Fifth Avenue, all aflutter with lace and 
furbelows and knickknacks and beribboned 
whatnots. What you were was perfectly ap- 
parent to me in your face and figure and at- 
titude and dress. And I thought it a pity ; 
and and I fixed my eyes on you and 
and- 

"W-what?" she faltered. 

" Changed you ! " he said, still cautiously 
approaching her. " I concentrated upon you 
the powerful, intellectual batteries of my 
mind ! I altered you by hurling after you 
wave after wave of mental suggestion. I 
willed that you become vigorous and active 
and athletic ! I unfortunately urged you to 
an emulation of the classical ladies of Greek 
mythology. I didn't mean to have you influ- 
enced so morally and literally, Miss Val- 
des 

"You did this to tm!!!" 

" Alas ! " he sighed, continuing his way 
toward her. 

" To me ! ! " gazing at him in slowly 
flushed wonder. " This insolence this shame 
Stand still ! Stand where you are ! " 

Suddenly the gray lightning flashed in her 



138 Some I. ailics in Hustc 

eyes ; she whipped the arrow across the string. 
drew it to its head, and deliberately opened 
fire at him. 

Leave these woods! " she cried. " Leave 
instantly!" And a blunt arrow rapped him 
smartly across the ribs and rebounded rat- 
tling on the stones of the brook. 

Manners grasped hU Miit rase and with one 
frantic bound cleared the brook. 1 '.hinted ar- 
rows rattled a lively tattoo all over him as 
he fled; Gray, from his hiding place in th 
thicket, saw his friend pass at a maddened 
gallop, the air around him singing thirk with 
arro\\ I, 

"Good Lord!" he thought, appalled; 
" what a very unusual sort of a girl ^lu 

He had seeing how matters were turning 
-concluded that Manner's mission would In- 
useless. There remained only one way to 
make amends to Miss Valdes. as he under- 
stood it, and that was to offer himself, hand 
and heart, to this beautiful but eccentric girl. 
barred by her eccentricity from the fan 
chance of matrimony with a normal man of 
her own caste. 

To that end, and during Manners's com 
sion of guilt, he had hurriedly divested him- 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 139 

self of his fashionable apparel, drawn on the 
pink silk tights and sandals, and swathing his 
figure in a goatskin rug, he secreted his suit 
case in the bushes and seated himself on the 
moss, fingering his fife and watching the out- 
come of Manners's mission. 

But the abrupt termination of the parley 
and the shocking manner of his friend's re- 
treat frightened him. A flight of arrows 
rebounding from his own pink silk attire did 
not seem very attractive ; he sat quite still on 
the moss, fife inserted between his lips, hesi- 
tating, and peeping nervously through the 
foliage where his goddess stood, a rosy- 
cheeked vision in white, speeding the last ar- 
row in the wake of the crashing but now 
invisible Manner- 

When she sent the last feathered messen- 
ger of vengeance into the golden gloom of 
the trees, she stood for a moment rijjid, erect, 
a statuesque and charming miracle, left arm 
outstretched clutching the bow, right arm 
drawn back, her slender white fingers, from 
which she had just loosed the bowstring, 
brushing the little close-set ear. 

Then the snowy vision o dead ages slowly 
dissolved, and out of it emerged a very lovely 



140 Some Ladies in Haste 

and very modern young girl, graceful, re- 
laxed, laughing now, now listening, the smile 
tremulous on lid and lip. 

The distant racket of Manners's flight died 
away; again the silence filled with the low 
murmur of the stream, and the girl came for- 
\\anl and looked down into the \\aur. and 
stood so, thoughtfully, her head bent, the 
curve of her neck dazzling under the bronze 
crown of silky hair. 

Slim, distractingly pretty in her white tunic, 
which fell in close folds below her knees, she 
seemed absolutely without blemish there in 
the warm, green-gold glow of the leaves. 

Head, shoulders, arms, the straight young 
limbs, all were of one exquisite and symmet- 
rical cnscmhlc. pure, serene, flawless as the 
marble out of which she might well have 
steppol. so Greek, so perfect, so divine she 
ied. 

Then the spell broke; from the white doe- 
skin pouch at her si<U- she slowly drew some- 
thing flat and square, and pensively pressed it 
to her delicate red lips. It was a ham sand- 
wich. 

Except for that anachronistic intrusion of 
modern realism the abrupt transformation 



The .Ihscnt-Mindcd Goddess 141 



from the celestial to the human Gray under- 
stood that he would never have dared hope, 
or speak of hope to himself, much less to his 
divinity. 

But the magic had faded into a more won- 
derful and delightful actuality ; with a thrill 
he beheld his pagan gddess rating a sand- 
wich a wholesome, health-giving sandwich 
constructed of home-made bread and the rose- 
tinted residue of the domestic pig. From 
Olympia she had come fluttering down to the 
world, alighting daintily upon the same earth 
that he inhabited. And, if it pleased her 
divinity to set her small, white teeth in a ham 
sandwich, perhaps perhaps, she might not 
drive a living specimen of the human kind 
from her with accurate arrows ! 

l ; ir>t," lie said to himself, " I'll naively 
di -rover my whereabouts through the music 
of my fife. Then I'll admit that I'm a fellow- 
victim of mythological obsession. And then 
then we'll see 

And, grasping his fife with determination, 
and watching her askance through the leaves, 
he produced a loud, shrill toot. 

The effect upon the goddess was electrical. 
For a second she sat absolutely motionless, 



142 Some Ladies in Haste 

stiffened to a statue, the half-bitten sanduuh 
suspended in mid-air; then, as he blew hope- 
fully into his fife, she sprang erect, incredu- 
lous, astounded. 

Gurgling tootles continued to proceed from 
the fir thicket. Like a wild doe at gaze, >he 
stared at the spot, string nothing. And all 
the while Gray, laboring faithfully, elicit <<! 
from the fife his version of " Rally Around the 
Flag, Boys," and kept a furtive eye on her. 
determined to seize his secreted suit case and 
fly if his goddess approached him with ar- 
rows instead of curiosity and <|u<-ti>nv 

She was approaching now, on tiptoe, no 
lessly, gracefully as a curious <lr\al, one fin- 
ger classically raised and pressed flat across 
her lips. 

lu-t like a Greuze picture." thought 
Gray, captivated; hut he continued to toot, 
and his goddess continued to advance over 
the moss with noiseless steps, bow in hainl 

At length Gray realized with a dcli< 
thrill that she stood close behind him look- 
ing down at him over the low evergn < -n 
hedge ; and his fingers danced madly over 
the stops, and he puffed out his cheeks and 
blew his whole love-smitten soul into the fife, 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 143 

not knowing whether he was going to receive 
a blunt arrow in the neck, or a civil greeting. 

" In about a minute," he thought to him- 
self, " I'll turn carelessly around and become 
transfixed with wonder at seeing her there." 

And in about a minute he did and so nat- 
urally that the wonder and delight in his at- 
tractive face were too real to doubt, and really 
were absolutely genuine, so wholly beautiful 
was the engaging and youthful face gazing 
down at him over the hemlocks. 

" What in the world are you doing in my 
woods ? " she asked softly, the pretty aston- 
ishment in her face deepening. 

He stood up, fife in hand, the goatskin 
falling classically over him from his shoul- 
ders. 

" The stupidity of civilization bores me," 
he said, smiling. " I heard that you were 
sensible enough to revert to the old simplic- 
ity of the Golden Age, and you gave me the 
courage to be myself. So I came into these 
woods to listen to the stream and play on 
my fife meaning no harm. Do you mind ? " 

" N-no, I don't mind. Who are you?" 

" I am an artist, Stephen Gray." 

"An artist!" 



144 Some Luilics in 



" Yes." 

" Oh," she said, nodding IUT head, " I can 
understand artists doing anything. And I 
don't think I mind your coming into my 
woods. . . . You you .are dressed like a 
faun. Why 

" I feel like one sometimes." lu >aid. un- 
consciously touching the tips of his ears as 
though to find out \vhether they had i;n>\\n 
pointed and hairy. 

" Do you ? Do you really feel pagan at 
moment 

"Very, Do yoi 

"Every now and then I do periodically," 
she admitted frankly. "And. ulu-n I <l>. I 
come out into my own fresh, x \\ret \\oods, 
and and I behave like the mischief, I >np 
pose according to omvi nti.mal ideas. 
Do you know my n,n 

" I Hana." lie said very gently, and \\ith a 
faint accent of caress. For the gray eyes into 
which he looked were bewitching him. and 
her voice was stealing his senses f r , , m him. 
and the delicate lips, resting so sensitively 
upon one another, were most eloquent \\hen 
dumb, calling him, calling to him in the old- 
est language in the world. 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 145 

He, too, seemed to fascinate her with an in- 
nocent curiosity. She stepped through the 
aromatic evergreen barrier that separated 
them and confronted him with clear, direct 
gray eyes. 

" Tell me," she said, " where did you hear 
about me ? " 

" In Lenox." 

"Do you live there?" 

" Near there." 

"You have a studio?" 

" Yes a sort of one." 

"And and did you ever before see me?" 

" Yes often ever since you were a child." 

She was silent, gazing searchingly into his 
eyes. Then she laughed : 

" I think I like you. Shall I sit down?" 

She seated herself with the unconscious 
grace of a child ; he stood a moment ; then 
she looked up confidently, and he dropped be- 
side her on the thick, green moss. 

" Isn't it delicious to escape from the com- 
monplace ? " she asked frankly. " To escape 
from noise, and ugliness, and the vulgarity of 
ostentation into this? It is strange that the 
remedy never occurred to me until this 
spring. I was indolent, languid, mentally dis- 



146 Sonic /.(/<//r\ /;/ Iltistc 

satisfied, and all I knew was that 1 was bored 
with the world in which I had not figured very 

long- 
Then suddenly it occurred to me that I 
had a right to escape. It was as though a 
voice had abruptly awakened me from the 
dull inertia of mere existence. A strong, 
\\holi-soim-. overwhelming desire for freedom 
seized me the desire for untrammeled free- 
dom of soul and body the longing for 
the freedom that wild things have, to range 
the open unhindered; the determination t< 
learn the meaning of libeit\ f mind in some 
soft sylvan fastness which the world had over- 
looked in its half-cra/ed crusade of destnu 
ti"ii! . . . Does all this interest you?" 

" Yes." 

She looked up at him, smiled, and, balan- 
cing the gilded bow across her knees, went 
on thoughtfully : 

44 The world, whose life mission seems to 
consist in meddling with other people's pri- 
vacy, held up its centipede arms in horror. 
Gossip started like fire in dry grass; report- 
ers came poking impudent noses into my 
house and gardens; friends arrived in pro- 
cession to remonstrate; busybodies even in- 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 147 

duced my servants to follow me. But I 
stopped that. And now, what do you suppose 
happened ? " 

"What?" asked Gray, wincing. 

" Why, a perfectly horrid old doctor came 
after me into these woods and pretended he 
had made me do all this sort of thing! As 
though it were not of my own mind and of 
my own free will! And so I became vexed, 
and I was rude enough to shoot some of my 
arrows at him 

She broke into a bewitching ripple of 
laughter. " Oh," she said, " if you had only 
seen him run! I I know it was horridly 
rude of me unpardonable but I was so 
so indignant." 

He was laughing, too ; he tried not to, out 
of some instinct of loyalty to the unfortunate 
Manners, but the vision of Manners in head- 
long flight came suddenly before his eyes, 
and he leaned back against a beech tree and 
laughed and laughed till the woods rang with 
their gay duet. 

" Oh," she said breathlessly, " you are per- 
fectly delightful ! You seem to understand- 
to be part of this free, unhampered, pagan life 
I am leading. I am so glad you came into 
11 



148 Some /.c/(//V\ /;/ Haste 

it. Don't mind what I said about these 
woods being mine; they are as free to \<m 
as to me. Indeed, I love to see you in that 
shaggy goatskin cloak and sandals, stretched 
out on the moss like a laughing, mocking 
faun. It was the one touch needed." 

He laughed, then a shadow of perplex it \ 
gathered on his brow. 

" One thing," he said : " I I think it's jolly 
good fun to live this way from time to time 
far more fun than motoring or golfing or 
driving or polo but but I don't exactly sec 
how you keep it up." 

" Keep what up ? " she asked, puzzled. 

l< The ah the whole business. H-how do 
you find anything to eat out here ? M 

She Unshed " I'll have to confess," she 
said, "that I've orderol my servants to leave 
the pantry \\in<!<u unlocked. And, in the 
moonlight, I go stealing down through the 
meadow when everybody is abed, and I climb 
into the pantry window and take everything 
I \\ant." And. as he looked at her in blank 
amazement : " It's such fun." she pleaded. 
" I I know it isn't very classical a goddess 
climbing into a pantry window but I tried 
so hard to live on berries and nuts and things, 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 149 

and the berries were unsatisfactory when they 
were not green, and the nuts were last year's 
and moldy ' 

" Your bow and arrow," he hinted severely. 

" Why why, you didn't think I could ever 
have the cruelty to kill anything, did you ? " 
she asked. 

" Don't you chase the deer?" 

" Oh, yes, I run after the big, fat things, 
and shoot my blunt arrows at them, but I 
never hit them, and it wouldn't hurt them if 
I did." 

He raised himself from the moss and sat 
erect, crosslegged, and she did the same, con- 
fronting him. 

44 How often do you do this sort of thing? " 
he asked. 

"What sort of thing?" 

" Behave like a goddess ! " 

" About twice or three times a month," she 
said frankly. 

"And the remainder of the time?" 

" Oh, I go about teas, lawn parties, driv- 
ing the usual, my shepherd friend. And I 
don't mind it now; in fact, I rather like it for 
a change. But it is always delicious to get 
back into my white hunting dress, and throw 



150 Sonic I. culics in Haste 

m\>elf. wide armed, into the heart of the 
Is. . . . Tell me about your pictures! 
May I see them some da\ : 

" They are not very good pictures," he 



Her red mouth -ivu M-iiMtive and pitiful. 
"Don't people care for \>ur work?" 

"No, 1 think not" 

11 Well, / do!" -he exclaimed " I kn,.u 
I'll like your pictures. 1 am perfectly sure 
1 \\ill. And I'll tell everybody c 
that they are i^ood ! And then they'll begin 

tO Sell 

"They're beginning to sell now." he said, 
\\incing. " A friend of mine bought thirty 
the other da\. and -..me other friends of mine 
heard of it and they have ordered sevi 
and that means a scramble by the pubh 
an\ thing I do. I it i>n't fear of po\ 
that worries me any longer ; it's it's - ' 

" What ' " she asked, raising her gray eyes. 

" Fear of \on ! 

" Of tin ! " And her eyes were very sweet 
and friendly, and very wide with surprise. 

' Listen." he said. " Is it true that here, 
in this woodland, you have found freedom of 
thought as well as of body ? " 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 151 

" Yes, indeed." 

" Do you think I also might dare to rise 
above the petty artificiality of convention and 
feel my heart and soul enfranchised, here 
under the green trees of your forest ? " 

" Y-yes. Why not ? You have been wise 
enough to come. Why should you feel fet- 
tered in thought, here beside me in the 
forest?" 

" Because I came here here " He fal- 
tered; she looked at him steadily. 

" I am listening," she said. " Are you 
afraid to speak freely to me ? " 

" Yes. But I am going to. It is this : I 
I came here because you were here be- 
cause, for years, since you were a child, I 
have seen you every summer here. And from 
the first I never, never forgot you." 

She spoke coolly, but with heightened 
color : " I knew you by sight. I knew also 
that you had heard I was here. You told me. 
But you didn't come to see me ; you came, 
moved by the same desire for that simple, 
pagan happiness that inspired me to come. 
. . . Didn't you?" 

" No." 

" Y-you didn't come out of of mere curi- 



152 Some Ladies in Haste 

osity!" she stammered, the painful o 
Maining her face and neck. " You didn't <!<> 
that did you? 

" \o." 

"\V-well, then well, then" But lu r 
voice refused to obey her, and she sat there 
with beautiful eyes dilated, staring at him 
fascinated. 

" Before I tell you once more and unini^ 
takably why I cairn-." lu- >aid ^ravrlx. " I 
must be absolutely honest with you coiumi 
ing niysdf." 

" Have you not been?" 

I'artK. But I cannot endure that even 
tlu faintest shadow of evasion or deceit fall 

iH'tUCitl Uv" 

" No, it nni-t n<>t." -lir said calmly. " '\\-\\ 
me what there is to trll." 

"This: that three months ago I was a 
commonplace, rather clever business man 
My business was about the most degraded of 
any you ever heard of " 

"1 won't believe it!" she said, paling a 
trifle. 

You must. I I my business consisted 
in defacing city, suburb, and country with 
signs * 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 153 

"Oh!" she breathed, "don't don't tell 
me She stretched out both white arms as 
though to thrust away the dreadful knowl- 
edge; but he set his jaw and went on 
grimly : 

" That was what I did ; that is what I was. 
I abhor it; I look back on that life with a 
shudder. But, if I am to tell you what I 
have come into these woods to tell you, I 
must go on. ... Shall I go on ? " 

The distress in her eyes almost unnerved 
him for the confession he must make ; he 
could scarcely endure to paint himself in such 
somber and hideous colors for her to see him 
as he was. 

" Shall I go on ? " he asked with an effort. 
" I came here to tell you something but I 
must first make clean confession if I am 
to say anything else. Shall I go on ... 
Diana?" 

" Y-yes," she breathed in a scarcely audi- 
ble voice. 

" Then listen. A man I knew, a friend, 
endowed with strange and capable powers of 
mental suggestion, seeing the sort of thing I 
was, took it upon himself to treat me for all 
those qualities I lacked." 



154 Some l.udics in Haste 

Yes," she whispered, yes. Oh, go on! 
Please go on ! 

" That is all," he said slowly. " He did 
treat me, although I was not aware of it at 
the time. I began to loathe my business : I 
began to live only for art. My business unit 
to smash; I couldn't sell my pictures. Now 
I sec that I am to sell tlu-in ; I see ahead "f 
me success, affluence, happiness." 

' " she whispered. " I see it, too." 

It is for you to prophesy." he said, look- 
ing at her ; " for you alone can decide." 
I Decide- 

" Whether happiness is to be added to suc- 
cess and aftluen 

" H0W- hou could I d. She looked 

suddenly straight into his eyes, thru |pfl 
to her feet and walked to the brook's e 
And after a long while she seated herself on 
a moss-grown bowlder, her elbow on IHT 
knee, soft, round chin cupped in her palm, 
staring absently across the stream. 

He stood erect, watching his absent-minded 
goddess, his heart beating like a hammer. A 
wild idea that recourse to his fife might help 
matters was dismissed as hopeless, because all 
he could play was " Rally Around the I 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 155 

and a mellifluously minor love song was what 
this crisis required. 

" Diana ! " 

" Yes ? " she responded absently. 

" May do you mind if I come over where 
you are ? " 

" N-no." 

He walked across the moss and pebbled 
shore, and stood beside her, looking down at 
her. 

"Diana?" 

She raised her eyes without apparent in- 
terest. 

" Do you despise me for what I once 
was ? " he asked, his voice not under good 
control. 

" No," she said indifferently. 

" Then then as long as I have con- 
fessed, may I go on ? " 

" Was there more to say ? " she asked 
coldly. 

" Yes." 

"To me?" 

" Yes." 

"Why to me?" 

" Because I Her sudden pallor checked 
him. She rose abruptly, stared around her 



156 Some l.udics in Haste 

like a pnson suddenly and unpleasantly 
awakened, then, without looking at him, she 
walked swiftly away into the forest, head low- 
ered, the gilded bow swinging from one small 
hand. 

And Gray hurried back to where he had 
hidden his valise, seized it, and started after 
lu-r. But to his despair she had disappeared 
amid the trees gone, vanished utterly; and, 
valise in hand, he began running distractedly 
about, and finally called to her in a low voice, 
thru louder and persistently, his voice un 
steady with the terror of losing her. 

To and fro among the trees he hurried, up 
hillocks, down into moist, fragrant glades 
full of the late red sunshine of departing day, 
ha-tciiiug blindly forward, \et. like those lost 
iu forests, unconsciously drawn into the in- 
evitable circle. 

The sun had gone out in the woods; here 
and there a high-crested pine glowed ruddy 
against the >ky ; but soon the la^t rays faded 
from the top branches of the tallest forest 
giant, and the purple transparent evening 
li^ht fell over the world like a spell. 

He had been lost for some time, and he 
knew it. And at last, just on the edge of 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 157 

evening, he came out in a tiny clearing where 
the brook ran through ; and he saw her lean- 
ing there against a silver beech tree, looking 
silently at him. 

He halted, scarcely believing his eyes; she 
neither spoke nor stirred, and after a moment 
he started toward her, calling her by name. 
But she made no reply. 

He came up and stood before her; she 
<li<l not move, nor did she answer when he 
spoke again; only her beautiful gray eyes 
watched him under the dark-fringed lids; 
only the rose color came tinting her face, 
faint as the afterglow above them in the 
sky. 

" I had only one more thing to say," he 
stammered, " when you left me so suddenly. 
I've looked for you such a long time every- 
where 

" I saw you," she said. 

" You saw me all the while ? You heard 
me call you ? " 

" Yes. Why should I answer your call ? 
Why should I follow you ? " 

" Not not if you do not desire to," he 
said slowly. 

" One may answer without speaking," she 



158 Some l.udics in Haste 

said unsteadily. " I am IKTI-. I> that n-not 
my ansu 

And as he stood silent : 

"Do you suppose you could ever lia\< 
found me if I had not not permitted 

lie bent forward, striving to read her face 
in the dusk ; her eyelids trembled slightly. 

" Diana ! ' 

"Yes," she whispered; and, as he faltered, 
tongue-tied and abashed: 

'Time is rushing like the wind through 
legends," she murmured. "Can you >tp it 
can you do anything for for us? This is 
all wrong all wrong like the loves of the 
old-time gods MM-cpni- \<n and me to- 
gether. . . . Let me cling to my tree \\hile it 
lasts while the whirl of the vision lasts 

*' Diana my darling ! " 

"I could have escaped,'* she \\ln-p 
"hut but I Uloued- 

" Diana 1 

" A goddess seldom follows a man. But 
b-but when she does " 

He bent swiftly and caught her hands in 
his ; but she freed them and clung desperately 
to her tree. 

" But when she docs" she breathed un- 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 159 

steadily, " it is because she she can't help 
it." 

" Diana, Diana ! " he whispered ; " I have 
loved you so many years so many years 

" And I you years and years in a single 
hour pagan shameless pagan that I am ! 
Oh, you don't know you don't know but 
I know I was made for this fashioned for 
this swift wooing this woodland embrace 
here breathless in your arras my own sym- 
bol, the moon, above us. . . . This moment 
cannot last this twilight madness in your 
arms. Dearest, release me! Have I not told 
you I loved you? Have I not oh-h! not 
my lips not yet ! " 

But he had his way, until at last it became 
her way also; and the moon watched them, 
silvering their bodies with her living celestial 
beauty. 

" In a week," he insisted. 

" A a month," she pleaded tremulously. 
" I am dazed." 

Arm encircling her slim waist, he halted on 
the hill's grassy crest. 

" No, not even a week," he said. " To- 
morrow ! Will you ? " 



160 Sonic I.uJics in Haste 

- Dear!* 1 

To-morrow. Will. you?" 

Y-yes," she sighed adorably. " I wish it, 
too. Oh, why why must you go?" 

44 I I'm not accustomed to this ah cos- 
tume " looking down at his pink tights. 
" Fact is, my darling, that I'm a tntU 
cold " 

44 Oh," she cried, in alarm, " put on your 
hat at once! 

It's a horribly inartistic combination 
derby hat with what I'm wearing," he pro- 
tested. 

44 Put it on ! " she insisted ; and he did. She 
must have been very deeply in love to have 
endured the ensemble. 

For a while they lingered there in the 
moonlight, looking off over the valley. 1 In- 
house stood down there among the ti 
they omld see one dimly lighted window. 

14 The pantry," she said softly. " Shall we 
(limb in? " 

Do you think " 

"Certainly!" she cried, enchanted. "It 
will be the most delicious supper in the 
world ! Take hold of my hand, quick ! Are 
\'ii ival\ ' " 



The Absent-Minded Goddess 161 

" Ready," he said. 

And away they raced together down the 
hill, he in his pink silk tights, clutching his 
suitcase, the derby hat crammed firmly over 
his ears. 

And in this fashion was the flight of 
Stephen Gray and his absent-minded goddess 
into the divine splendors of Olympus. 




CHAPTER VII 

A LADY IN HASTE 

|O you mean to say that 
\"u actually effectr.l this 
radical transformation in 
me through mental persua- 

a-krtl Krlly Jones, 
with misleading mildness. 

He was sitting on the edge of the bed in 
Manners's room at the Lenox Club, hi- -tia\\ 
hat on the hack of his head, his walking 
Mirk balanced vertically between flattened 
palms. From time to time he spun it on its 
U-rrule. 

162 




A Lady in Haste 163 

Manners screwed his monocle into his left 
eye and smiled benignly upon Jones. The 
monocle fell out ; he replaced it and waved 
his hand as though modestly disclaiming 
credit for the regeneration of Jones. 

" Dear friend," he said in a deprecating 
voice, " while perhaps a vainer man than I 
might claim, with reason, some little credit 
for this happy and ah unexpected moral 
development in your character " 

" So you did do it," mused Jones very 
calmly. " Gray and Kelvin and Todd noticed 
how I was acting at a house party the other 
day ; and they all seemed to think it was their 
duty to inform me that you are responsible 
for the sort of citizen I've turned into during 
the last three months." 

" It's very kind of them," replied Manners, 
with a modest cough. " I ah was fortu- 
nate enough to be of some slight service 
to these gentlemen using on them the 
science of mental persuasion which I have 
also employed with such happy effect upon 
you " 

" Oh ! So you did deliberately employ 
mental influence on me? They said you did. 
I couldn't believe it " 
12 



164 Sonie Ladies in Haste 

Manners beamed with pride and affection 
on the cool but now slightly trembling Jones. 
1 did, dear friend; yet I shrink from 
claiming the entire credit, because, at hiM. 1 
had no real belief in my power and al>ilit\ t> 
influence and alter other people's characters 
and natures for the better. It was merely 
out of curiosity just to see whether anything 
could possibly be done to make you less ob- 
jectionable than \<>u were that I concen- 
trated my mind n \\hat at that time served 
you for an intellect. And I gave you the 
most powerful mental treatment I was capa- 
ble of giving. And then, slowly, gradual! >. 
but perceptibly 

What happened? " asked Jones, in a voice 
audibly unste. 

" Why, you began to behave so strangely 
so so decently 

41 Oh, I did, did I ? " his voice ending in a 
partly developed snarl. " Well, what sort t 
a creature do you think you've turned m< 
into you infernal and outrageous meddler? 
What, in the name of ten thousand idiots, did 
you want to interfere for? And I don't know 
now whether to let you live any longer or 
not, or whether to give you a chance of un- 



A Lady in Haste 165 

doing what you've done to me. Personally, 
I prefer to destroy you ! " 

Stiffened to a human gargoyle in his 
amazement and grief, Manners gazed at his 
victim with protruding eyes. 

" D-don't you l-like what I've t-turned you 
into ? " he gasped at last. 

Jones merely barked at him. 

" B-b-but you were such an offensive little 
snob ! " stammered Manners. " Why, Jones, 
don't you remember what an arrogant, in- 
flated ass you were? A narrow-minded nin- 
compoop ! a conceited worshiper of caste 
and fashion, toddling about town from func- 
tion to function, lisping small talk, making 
love to millions, and leading inane cotillons? 
Can you blame me for trying to inject into 
you a vigorous dose of manly democracy an 
unslaked passion for social equality and hu- 
man brotherhood?" 

" I may have been everything you say," 
retorted Jones, turning livid to the ears, " but 
it was none of your business, William. Do 
you know what you've turned me into? Do 
you realize what I'm doing now? I'm drift- 
ing headlong upon the rocks of moral and 
social disaster! I'm driving toward social ex- 



166 Sonic I.mlics in Haste 

tremes which appall even my own servants! 
I'm misbehaving most horridly, William! 1 
was put out of Tuxedo." 

" \\-uln ?" faltered Manners. 

" 1 <r watting kisses at my hostess's French 
maid! " snapped Jones. " And no sooner did 
I find myself in town again than I sci/cd the 
opportunity to issue invitations for a big din- 
ner to introduce our second parlor maid to 
society. Nobody came, ami I understand 
everybody in town, including the parlor maid. 
thinks Fm ^"in- era/y. That's what you've 
done for me with your social equality and 
universal brotherhood ' " 

Manners sat stunned, staring at Jones, who 
glared back, nervously clinching and un- 
clinching his hand. 

"Then." continued Jones, "although I 
seemed to realize it \\as not usual, I invited 
our colored furnaceman, the local policeman, 
and some very honest and efficient members 
of the municipal stnrt-cleaning service to 
meet our butler and the housemaids socially 
at a pink tea. Fortunatel\ . my parents are 
at T.ar Harbor for it was a dreadful scene, 
William they drew the color line at the 
furnaceman, vioh-nth. and many things were 



A Lady in Haste 167 

broken in the drawing-rooms. And now what 
I am afraid of is that, in a moment of so- 
cialistic enthusiasm, I might inadvertently 
lead our estimable and cleanly cook to the 
altar, unless you do something at once to 
check my mania for social equality." 

" Your cook I " shouted Manners, leaping to 
his feet. 

" Yes," said Jones firmly. " She is very 
honest and clean and sober, and she makes 
wonderful entrees 

" Jones. You are crazy ! " 

" Maybe I am," retorted Jones wrathfully, 
" but you made me. Now, what I want to 
know is, whether \Mifre going to do some- 
thing for me before I satisfy my raging so- 
cial appetite for a permanent life below stairs? 
I tell you, I'm perfectly possessed to marry 
my own cook or somebody else's. Confound 
it, William, I'll do it this very afternoon if 
you don't look out ! I'm liable to do it at any 
moment, I tell you 

" N-now ? " stammered Manners aghast 
" Now ? You don't mean note', do you, Kelly ; 
you wouldn't approach your cook with s-s- 
such intentions to-day, would you, Jonesey, 
old friend?" 



i68 Some I.mlics in Haste 

14 iTa-as, I \\ouhl." growled Jones. " Do 
you know what I've been doing thi> morn- 
ing? Well, I've been washing off our side- 
walk and exchanging sociable banter with my 
neighbors' scullions. I invited a trolley grip 
man to lunch with me at the Stuyvesant Club, 
hut he couldn't leave his Hroaduav car; I 
wrote my sister's friend. Mrs. Ma-iulm^ 
Grandcourt, asking her to propose our laun 
dress for the woman's new Commonwealth 
Club." 

" Jones ' 

- What 

" \V-wait a moment; wait until I can g 
between \ mi and the door." said Man 
soothingly. edging around liN friend. 

Jones swung about in his chair. 

" Are \ >u - ing to lock me in ? " he asl 

u'd hetter not, heratiM- I want to go 
home and see how the cook is getting on. 
I've arranged to have her take piano lessons. 
She didn't MTIH to \\;mt to. but I engaged a 
teacher for three o'clock." 

Manne ig in terror 

as he backed toward the door. " Th-that's 
all right, Jones," he managed to say. " I'll 
fix it up for you I'll g-go out and fix it some 



A Lady in Haste 169 

way or other. Only you stay here, Jones 
won't you ? Listen, Jones ; you wouldn't 
sneak out as soon as I'm gone and make 
straight for that c-cook and m-m-marry her 
would you, Jonesey ? " 

" I don't know," said Jones gloomily. " I 
know I ought not to, but I'm likely to do 
almost anything in the culinary line. I tell 
you, I've got a perfect mania for an alliance 
below stairs, the farthest downstairs the bet- 
ter!" 

" W-well, you wait. If you feel that way 
if you've g-got to m-m-marry somebody 
within the next few hours, I'll try to do some- 
thing suitable for you 

" What are you going to do? I refuse to 
marry any suitable girl. How are you going 
to arrange that for me ? " 

" I don't know ; just give me a a moment 
to think it out." 

"Well, hurry, then," said Jones. "That 
cook makes good entrees, and I'd be perfectly 
willing to marry her and pass my examina- 
tions for policeman." 

" Will you wait here for me until I come 
back ? " pleaded Manners, mopping the start- 
ing perspiration from his cold brow. 



1 70 Some Ladies in Haste 

" Yes if you think you can do anything 
for me. I'll give you half an hour, and not 

another minute 1 

" You promise, Jones? Will you give me 
an hour? two I mean three hours? \Yill 
you?" 

Yes yes," with reluctance; "but nt 
another second. I want to go back to tin- 
cook. I tell you that cook is a perfectly good 
cook and I don't mind being a policeman 
for her sake- 
Manners slammed the door, sped to Un- 
cloak room, seized hat, gloves, and \\al kin- 
stick, and ran out into the sunny streets of 
the metropolis, his head in a whirl. 

His fir-t intention had been to rush <li- 
tractedly to some physician, confess the per- 
ilous situation of Jones, and frantirally beg 
medical assistance to wean Jones from his ob- 
session with a strait-jacket. 

Then it occurred to him that his own san- 
ity would instantly be under suspicion, and 
that, if they detained him indefinitely for n 
ical examination, Jones would consider him- 
self free to continue his headlong prou 
kitchenward. And he had but three hours 
before him. 



A Lady in Haste 171 

What in the world could he do? He 
stopped short in full career up Fifth Av- 
enue, and stared vacantly about. What was 
there to do? Time was beating it around 
the world; every double tick of his watch 
seemed to repeat the warning : " Quick - 
quick ! Quick quick ! " Even the minute- 
hand pointed to twenty-three ; and, in the dis- 
tant siren of a motor car, he seemed to hear 
the ominous wail, Skidoo oo oo! 

Whatever he was to accomplish must be 
executed with dispatch. He had only three 
hours! three hours between Jones and a 
declaration to the cook! And in his excite- 
ment he began galloping uptown as though 
driven by Furies. 

It is said by some that the motion of the 
legs incites thought, although the brain is not 
always in the feet. And, as Manners ran, a 
grotesquely forlorn idea took shape that 
some amiable and attractive girl of his ac- 
quaintance, if all the deadly and imminent 
facts of Jones's peril were laid before her, 
might, out of a noble impulse of pity, consent 
to inspect Jones with a view to matrimony. 
For what Jones required was a lady in haste. 

But everybody feminine and possible was 



172 Some Ladies in Haste 

out of town; he drove madly in a hansom 
from house to house, only to be confronted 
with boarded doors and windows and lowered 
shades displaying the round, particolored disk 
of a burglar-insurance company. 

For an hour he scoured the districts where 
some stray girl of his acquaintance might still 
chance to linger in town. It was useless ; 
Fashion had fled the city long since t- 
turn to a hotel for a day, perhaps, in transit 
from one watering place to another frnn 
seaside to mountain, and vice versa but not 
to reopen the big, closed houses in the resi- 
dential district. 

Ami MM\N. as he sat in his cab, baffled. 
IM.IUM. (K-sprratr. he loikel longingly at the 
prettx u>imn passing <linltlrss in town for 
a clay's shopping. And. hoping that among 
them might appear >. me \\oman he kncu. In- 
sat for another hour, his cab drawn up al> n - 
the curb, anxiously scanning the pa 

If Jones had only given him three days in- 
stead of three hours he might have advert 
in the papers: "Wanted! a la<ly in ha~ 
and stood a fair chance of capturing some- 
thing available for Jones in a town where 
am thing can be had by advertising. 



A Lady in Haste 173 

" If somebody I know doesn't appear pretty 
soon," he muttered excitedly to himself, " I've 
a notion to pick out the prettiest girl I can 
find and tell her the whole harrowing situa- 
tion, and beg her to take a look at Jones, 
object matrimony. . . . The most she could 
do would be to call a policeman ; but Heaven 
knows my intentions! Heaven knows them 
to be pure as an unborn kitten's 

" The thing to do," he said, as the sug- 
gestion grew and took hold of him more 
firmly * The tiling to do, at any cost, is to 
save Jones from that cook ! He mustn't wed 
her! I I won't let him I can't! " 

Dark thoughts swarmed about him ; dread- 
ful dreams, unbidden, came crowding upon 
him. 

" No no! " he nuitu-ml, appalled; " I can- 
not do that, even for Jones. I cannot marry 
her to save my friend ! There must be some 
way there must remain some other solution 
of this hideous problem ! " 

He leaned from his hansom, staring stonily 
out at the passers-by. 

" If only I could see a human girl who 
looks as though she wouldn't call a police- 
man ! If only in this passing throng, so self- 



174 Some Lmlics in Haste 

ishly absorbed in its own petty coneern-. I 
could see one kind, mild. nl>le face one 
lofty countenance capable of understanding, 
of pity, of sublimely generous impnUe 
His muttering ceased abruptly, his astonished 
eyes became fixed; then the bright Hush of 
shame mantled his features. 

A '\omij4 g\r\ in a dainty Mark Mimtner 
walking gown was advancing leisim -1\ along 
the avenue, glancing severely and fearlessly 
about her out of a pair of umiMialh intelli- 
gent eyes. Under one arm she carried a 
packet. 

"By Jove!" muttered Manner-; "another 
of my experiment- ' 

For instantly he had ree- m that 

graceful, slender figure and pn-m. al- 
face another of his subject* <>ne .f the 
five unknown and attractive j^irU \\lnnn he 
had observed from the Lenox C'lub window 
that fatal afternoon three months or more 
ago, and on whom, in his idle perversity, he 
had experimented treating -a-h mentally. 
for whatever, in his presumptuous opinion, 
each seemed to lack in chara 

As soon as he recognized her he n -in- 
hered what he had treated her for. He had 



A Lady in Haste 175 

projected toward her an emergency dose of 
unworldly generosity to correct the sensu- 
ously selfish modeling of the chin, and the 
cold, thin, calculating expression of the lips. 
" What you need," he had suggested vindic- 
tively, " is to learn to do your own house- 
work and cooking! Think less about your- 
self; give up your horses and use the feet 
Heaven gave you ! Let your greatest luxury 
be tin- yu-lding to generous impulse! Go and 
revel in emotions, and smile and sigh with the 
great out-\\<>rl<l ! " 

And evrr\ tiling that he had willed for her 
came back to him now the scene itself, that 
fresh, sunny April afternoon, himself at the 
club window, and she, pale, indifferent, over- 
dressed, glancing out upon the young world 
so disdainfully from the comfortable cushions 
of her smartly appointed carriage. 

And now here she was, afoot this time, 
sauntering democratically up Fifth Avenue in 
midsummer, her beautiful dark eyes looking 
out on the dusty world, and with a new and 
pensive intelligence. And Manners noticed 
that her chin and the thin, coldly selfish lips 
had now grown full and sensitive and deli- 
cately rounded. 



176 Sonic I. tulles in lie 

As she passed she glanced up at Mam 
considered him for a second, then her gaze 
quietly shiftrd elsewhere, ami >lu- gassed on 
her \\ay along the sunny avenue, composed, 
unconscious that behind her an excited indi- 
vidual. \\ raring a monocle, was hurriedly set- 
tling obligations with his cabman. determined 
to pursue her and persuade her to overlook 
informality and li-ten to the str. -tory 

that a young girl had ever dreamed of in the 
metropolis of Manhattan. 

As he hastened alter her he dre\\ out his 
\\ateh and glanced at it. He had half an 
hour tweiiu minuh- to j.iiMiade her; ten 
minutes to get back to Jon< 

r a m.nnent his d iiled in full 

nali/ation of the almost hopeless situation. 
Uiit the ver\ sh.H k of it seemed to nerve him 
IO desperation; the i^irl was walking ju-t 
ahead of him. and he took t\\o jniek sti 
foruanl and removed his hat with tri"r \\rit- 
ten on every feature. 

" D-don't run! " ho said hoarseh ; " there's 
no dan-. 

So alarming was the countenance she 
turned to look into that she involuntarily 
halted, alert and startled. 



A Lady in Haste 177 

" D-don't stop, for Heaven's sake ! " stam- 
mered Manners, replacing his hat " Keep 
straight on, please! I only want a lady in 
haste- 

" What is the matter?" she murmured, 
paling a trifle, but hastily moving forward 
again. "Is anything dreadful behind me?" 

" No, only I. Don't call a policeman 
don't cross the street to avoid me. I I don't 
mean to be offensive, but I've simply got to 
tell you something- 
She halted instinctively, a wave of aston- 
ished displeasure crimsoning her pretty face. 

" Oh ! " he cried in an agonized voice ; 
" don't do that ! Don't look at me as though 
you thought me impertinent." 

"You are\" she said under her breath, 
moving swiftly forward to avoid him at the 
same time. 

" N-no, I'm not ! Look at me ! Do I look 
impertinent? I only look half scared out of 
my senses, don't I?" he pleaded, keeping 
step with her. " Can't you tell when a man 
is in desperate need of help? " 

She slackened her pace; her flushed and 
averted face slowly turned part way toward 
him. 



178 Some Ladies in Haste 

"Are you asking for chanty'?" she de- 
manded incredulously. 

" N-not that sort of help." he explained, as 
lur hand mechanically sought her purse, 
while the dark, disdainful eyes looked him 
steadily in the face. 

\\luit is it you wish?" she insisted impa- 
tiently. 

" A lady just a plain, ordinary lady and 

and a few moments' conversation with \m. 

/V;/'/ mistake me! Don't condemn me the 

\"U you are doing! I I'm in a per- 

iVetly ghastly predicament, and I nerd lu-lp." 

' \\!:. t - 

" A predicament. Please, />/. icve 

that only sheerest desperation drove me to 
this unconventional step. I'm a perfectly de- 
o nt man if there was time I'd ask you to 
look me up in the Blue Book and Social Reg- 
ister but there isn't. I I've only half an 
hour to make my appeal to you and get back 
to Jones before he succumbs to his cook 

"Jones!" she repeated, astoni>hed ; M hil 
cook\ 

Y yet. He's the man who is in this ter- 
rible predicament 

You said that you were!" 



A Lady in Haste 179 

" So I am not as badly in as Jones ! Oh, 
help us help us, please 

" Who is Jones ? " she asked, utterly per- 
plexed. 

" K-K-Kelly Jones a f-friend of mine. 
P-perhaps you know him ! " 

" Did you say Kelly Jones ? " 

" Yes. He's in the Blue Book, too, but 
IK- won't be very long unless you do some- 
thing about it ! " 

" I ? " she repeated, helplessly bewildered. 
Then a sudden glimmer of fear grew in her 
dark eyes. Manners saw it growing. He had 
expected it. 

" You think I'm biting crazy?" he said 
sadly; " don't you?" 

She flushed painfully, but the strange little 
glimmer died out. 

" What do you mean ? " she asked, looking 
at him in impatient perplexity. " If you 
really believe that anything justifies your 
speaking to me in this manner, please explain 
it as briefly as possible. You spoke just now 
in behalf of a Mr. Jones Kelly Jones. What 
has happened to this Mr. Jones ? " 

" Do you know him ? " asked Manners 
eagerly. " He's in most hor-r-r-rible danger ! 
13 



180 Some Ladies in Haste 

You alone can aid him! Do you know 
him?" 

"You say he is in danger?" she a- 
with a little quaver in her voice. 

" Ter-r-r-rible ! " he insisted anxiou>l\ 
" Do you know him? " 

I was once at boarding school with a sis- 
ter of a Mr. Kelly Jones Kelly De Lan 
Jones and I believe he came down to Fern- 
dale once or twice. He probably wouldn't 
remember me She broke off, surprised at 
the evident delight breaking out on Man 
ners's face innocent, guileless delight; and 
even she recogni/ed the naive harmlessness 
of the joy now illuminating the features of 
Mr. Manners until they fairly exuded a sort 
of unctuous benevolcnre. 

" The gods/* he said brokenly. " are oc- 
casionally good to the Irish My grandfather 
came from Roscommon, and my name is 
William Manner " 

" Are you that amazing man ! " she ex- 
claimed in dismay, shrinking back a pace. 
" Are you the the Mr. Manners the one 
who who changes people into 

" Which victim of mine do you know?" he 
asked calmly. "Kelvin? Gray? Todd 



A Lady in Haste 181 

" Mrs. Todd," she admitted, her beautiful 
dark eyes reflecting her astonishment and 
curiosity. 

"Oh!" he said bitterly. "So you know 
what I was idiot enough to do to the Todds ? 
Well, what I did to the Todds and Grays and 
Kelvins isn't a circumstance to what I've 
managed to do to Kelly Jones and y He 
bit the pronoun off short on the very instant 
of self-betrayal. 

"\V-\\hut have you done?" she breathed 
excitedly, " and why do you speak so bitterly 
about it? It it is certainly a terrible and 
fearful power you have and yet and yet 
you have made Mr. and Mrs. Todd very, very 
happy." 

" That may be," he muttered ; " but you 
don't know what I've been through. By 
Jove! When I think of the agony I've en- 
dured! And now I'm distracted over Kelly 
Jones- 

" Is is Mr. Jones i^hat did you do to Mr. 
Jones?" she ventured. 

" I injected a lot of imbecile ideas into him ! 
I dosed him full of democracy ! I figuratively 
turned a mental hose on him and soaked 
him all over with the milk of human brother- 



182 Some Ladies in Haste 

hood! He was a snob, and I hurled waves 
of social equality at him ! \Yhat an ass I 
was ! " And Manners fairly writhed as he 
walked. 

" But but was not that rather helpful to 
Mr. Jones?" she asked, intensely interested. 

" Helpful! Do you know \\hat he's trying 
to accomplish ? " 

* \\ uhat?" 

" M ' With his family cook!" 

-he Slid faintly. "" Wh> 

" Because I didn't kn<\\ ho\\ to \\ork those 
\\a\< .mrd Manner-; " an.l because I 

don't kno\\ how to stop 'em! Now he's so 
full of Mu-ial demu-rary that he \\ants to be 
a pnlirnnaii ! " 

- Mr. Manner^ 

" He does I That's uhv. driven to despair, 
I dared risk speaking to \n." 

r.nt." she said, confuse. 1. ' I don't yet un- 
derMand ' 

-hall I tell you the startling truth? hut 
I'\e NJinpls i^ot to tell you, an\ua\ ; and all I 
ask \oii to promise, in the beginning, is not 
to run aua\." 

I certainly shall not run in any direction," 
she said, with heightened color. 



A Lady in Haste 183 

" W-well, don't make me run. Will you 
promise ? " 

She continued walking in self-possessed si- 
lence for a minute or two. Presently she 
glanced up at him as though awaiting further 
enlightenment. 

" As a matter of indisputable fact," began 
Manners solemnly, " Kelly Jones is at this 
moment in my room at the Lenox Club, de- 
termined to return to his house and make the 
family cook his bride." 

The girl shuddered, but kept her eyes on 
Manners. 

[< Three hours," he continued, " were al- 
lowed me to find some remedy, some alterna- 
tive, to his expressed determination. Two 
and three quarters of those fatal hours are 
now over. Poor Jones! Poor, unfortunate 
Jones! in the clutches of a mania which is 
no fault of his ; mad on the subject of assorted 
scullions; his judgment befuddled with the 
complexities of social democracy; driving 
headlong upon the rocks of social extinc- 
tion- 

" Oh-h ! " breathed the girl pitifully ; " yod 
must do something ! " 

" Think of it ! " insisted Manners ; " think 



184 Some Ladies in Haste 

of this handsome but wretched young man 
driven helplessly kitchenward in spite of him- 
1 a most attractive, intellectual, orna- 
mental young man 

" This is actually w-wicked. Mr. Man- 
ners! " -aid the girl hotly. " This is the most 
shameful 

" It certainly is!" said Manner- nii-craM\. 
" I'm at my wits' end to know \\hat in do. 
That's why I ventured to speak to yu 
And," he added solemnly, M so l"ti^ a- I 
have spoken to you nothing now remains 
In-tween that unfortunate voting man and 
the soup to speak metaphorically e.\ 
you ! " 

" I ? What do vou mean. Mr. Mamin 

The hot color crept into lu-r cheeks again. 

Why do you come to me? What do you 
expect I could do in this very cruel and 
shocking mat 

I expect you'd tell me how to get Jones 
out of it." 

/ ': she repeated 44 I ? How can I miti- 
gate this perfectly dreadful thing you have 

done to him " 

It's not half so dreadful a thing as what 
he'll do in about ten more minutes," said 



A Lady in Haste 185 

Manners, dejectedly inspecting his watch, 
" unless you prevent it." 

" What is he going to do in about t-ten 
more minutes ?" asked the girl tremulously. 

" I told you," he replied, " that he has hon- 
orable designs on the family cook." 

" Oh ! " she exclaimed, revolted ; " you 
have got to do something ! You must ! " 

* What?" he asked vacantly. 

" Get rid of that cook ! " she said with 
spirit. " Why not ? You must get rid of her 
instantly and forever ! " 

"I? How am I to get rid of her?" he 
asked aghast. " M-m-murder her do you 
mean? And h-hide her m-m-mortal remains 
in the t-t-tubs 

" Don't talk that way," said the girl nerv- 
ously ; " even in jest. There must be some 
way some other way of getting rid of 
her- 

" What way ? We've got about nine min- 
utes left." 

The girl halted, standing stock-still. Then, 
looking up : 

" Where does Mr. Jones live? " 

" In Fifty-eighth Street the next block." 

" You know the hbuse, of course ? " 



i86 Sonic I.udics in Haste 

Manners admitted that lie did. 

14 Then," she said with determination, "it 
will be easy enough to get rid of that cook. 
All that is necessary is for you to go t 
ask what wages she's getting, offer her double 
to leave the hou>e in eight minutes, and take 
her away with you 

" But what am I to do with a cook? " asked 
Manners. 

"Why, take her into \mr own service, of 
course 

" How can I when I live at the clu; 

"YOU IUUM take her, an\wa\!" -aid the 
girl warmly. " It doe-n't makr am particular 
difference to me what you do with her. I In- 
main thing is to get her out of Mr. Joi 

house before he can " 

. I kn\v. Hut what would I he ' 
with a female cook? I couldn't put her 
the club. \ou know. I \<>u du't exped me 
to pass my entire time in walking about the 
streets with a cook, do you?" 

"Mr. Manners! Yon must get that cook 
out of Mr. Jones's housr this in-tant ! It's 
wicked and shameful and outrageously selfish 
of you to leave her there another moment ! " 

" Great Heaven! " said Manners; *' do you 



A Lady in Haste 187 

expect me to adopt her? How can I pay her 
double wages when I haven't any kitchen for 
her? If I take that unfortunate woman out of 
the house there's apparently nothing left for 
me to do but start on a wedding tour with 
her!" 

" What a horridly selfish man you are ! " 
she said. 

Manners breathed harder. 

" Oh ! " she exclaimed impatiently ; " are 
you going to stand there when every monu nt 
is perilous? Are you going to do nothing? 
Are you afraid?" And, flushing with a gen- 
erous impulse of pity, she said : " Show me 
that house! I cannot stand by and let such 
a thing happen to anybody ! " 

Manners started forward with alacrity. 
" That's the very thing," he said. " A woman 
understands how to manage cooks and things. 
Here's the house. I I'd better not go in, I 
think- 

" You must ! " she said. 

He stood at the door, hesitating, but she 
leaned forward and touched the electric but- 
ton. 

"Anyway, all the servants have left," he 
muttered. 



1 88 Some I. u dies in //(/ 

Why?" she asked blankly. 

" Because Jones gave a pink tea yesterday, 
and invited the colored furnaceman, and they 
drew the color line with violence." 

Then then is there nobody to let OS 
she asked, appalled. 

" Only the cook He stopped short as 
the door was opened. Then he attempted to 
back away, but the girl, reckless of appear- 
ances laid her hand on his arm so that he was 
practically forced to enter the house with her 
and confront a mature Hibernian of female 
persuasion, who returned their scrutiny out 
of two small, greenish and strabismatic eyes. 

"Are you the cook?" asked the girl 
calmly. 

I am thatl" replied the woman emphat- 
ically. 

The girl turned and bade Manners remain 
where he \\as in a voice of surh remarkaMr 
decision that he stood a moment transti 
then, as the girl and the cook disappeared into 
the drawing-room, he feebly protruded one 
arm to sustain himself, found nothing to sup- 
port him, and collapsed upon a gilded hall 
seat, his hat on hi> knees. 

For exactly two minutes the girl and the 



A Lady in Haste 189 

cook remained invisible ; then the cook ap- 
peared, laboriously waddling toward the serv- 
ants' stairway in the rear, and, in an incredibly 
short space of time, reappeared enveloped in 
an imitation India shawl, carrying a bag in 
one fist and vigorously pushing her prehis- 
toric bonnet straight with the other. 

At the same moment the girl walked swiftly 
into the hallway and threw open the front 
door. 

" This is the gentleman, Maggie," said the 
girl cruelly. " He will, I hope, be very, very 
kind to you, and very generous. Perhaps he 
may continue to raise your wages from 
month to month. . . . Are you ready, Mr. 
Manners? " 

Manners, dazed, stood up and gazed fear- 
fully upon the cook. As in a horrid sort of 
dream he slowly realized that the cook was 
not sober. Tlu-n lie heard the girl behind him 
saying : " Hurry, Mr. Manners ; you are al- 
ready a little late." Then he found himself 
on the sidewalk, the Irish nightmare wad- 
dling at his elbow, and he halted, casting back 
one wild glance at the open door behind him. 

From the doorstep the girl was looking at 
him, and in his exasperated eyes she detected 



Sonic Ladies in Haste 



the nascent frenzy. With a sudden nervous 
movement she forestalled the bolt for free- 
dom, shut the door, and sank down on the 
hall seat, almost hysterical with laughter. 

And through the diamond sidelights she 
saw Mr. Manners wandering down the stint 
as though Miipehcd, and at his elbow a com- 
placently befuddled cook, steadying her step- 
with great dignity beside his, and continually 
attempting to straighten the bonnet, which 
had a tendency u> >lip down over her right 
eye. 




CHAPTER VIII 




ABSENT TREATMENT 

]OR a minute or two the young 
girl behind the door watched 
the amazing progress of Man- 
ners and his cook, giving them 
a full three minutes to disap- 
pear into the jungles of Sixth Avenue; then, 
weak with laughter, she rose and laid her 
hand on the door, ready to make her own 
escape. 

At the same instant a man's shadowy figure 
darkened the glass from the outside, and she 
heard the impatient fumbling of a latchkey 
in the lock. 

191 



Some /.(/<//V.N /'// 



"Jones!" she whispered with whitening 
lips. u \\'hat on earth am I to d 

< dancing right and left in pallid despera- 
tion she shrank back ; and as the heavy glass 
and wrought-iron door began to open, she 
turned and fairly took to her heels, nmnint; 
s\\iftly. blindK. \ rt with some occult instinct, 
too, for in a moment more she found herself 
in the laundry. 

The same instinct also, perhap-. M-I her 
rapidly unpinning her hat an<l tiu -kini^ it ami 
her gloves and pur-e a\\ay in the depths of an 
ironing table. 

I rtunately she was dressed in bl.i 

lily laundered caps and aprons lay in a 
clothes basket near by rclic>. m iloul.- 
the departed maid>. She luard a M( j . m the 
kitchen st.-m .m,l |mm-(l it . m 

her dark hair, threw on a ruftled apr.m. and. 
frightened almost to death, tnrmd t confront 
him. 

44 M he-an |.'iir. \\alkini: -loulv 

from the kitchen to\\ard the laundry. " thi> i^ 
a very solemn moment in your life and in 
mine. Kind hearts are more than coronets, 
Maggie, and beauty i> but skin deep. All 
human beings are born free and equal, and 



Absent Treatment 193 

your present condition of servitude, Maggie, 
is an outrageous anachronism. Tyrannical 
society and the despotism of wealth, em- 
bodied in me, Maggie, have come into your 
humble kitchen to offer you reparation 

1 1 c stopped suddenly as he arrived at the 
launch -\ door and blinked in mild surprise. 

" Where's Maggie?" he asked, inspecting 
the strange, youthful figure in cap and apron, 
backed up fearfully against the tubs. 

" M-Maggie, the cook ? " she asked faintly. 
" I think she went away." 

"What?" 

" Y-yes ; with a gentleman." 

"What gentleman?" 

" The the one who brought me here Mr. 
Manners." 

" Manners ! Manners ! " exclaimed Jones. 
" You tell me that William Manners has been 
here and gone off with my cook ? " 

" Y-yes." 

Profoundly astonished, Jones sat down on 
the clothes basket. 

" Do you mean to tell me that he's actu- 
ally taken her away ? " he murmured. 

" Yes for good." 

Jones drew a long, deep breath of relief. 



194 Sonic Ladies in Haste 

" It was high time/' he said, with a shud- 
der. "I've had a narrow escape! She was 
not not physically very attractive. I am 
glad yon are." 

"W-what?" 

" I am glad that you are physically at- 
tractive, because it will be easier for me to 
offer you marriage. You see, I'm determined 
to marry somebody's cook, and it might as 
wi-11 l>r my own. Have \ * u any to\\n refer- 
ence 

" N-no," she gasped. 

"That makes n difference." he said kind- 
ly. " Perhaps you've just come off the Maud. 
but I don't mind. You see. m\ - the 

simple i i vrd of brotherly love and e.|ualit\. 
I he artificial social codes and laws \\hich put 
\.u behind the bars " 

' I'.ut 1 hurcnt been in prison!" she said 
hysterically. 

" It's all the same to me," observed Jones 
mildly. " Sin should be its own punishment. 
l\< taliation is barbarous. I remembered that 
\\heii 1 wanted to assault Manners this a; 
noon." 

lie shuddered again and looked up into the 
face of the ^irl by the window. 



Absent Treatment 195 

" I'm glad Maggie has gone," he said, " be- 
cause I should not have avoided my duty had 
she remained. And now the decision remains 
with you." 

"What decision?" 

" About marrying me. Will you ? " 

" Mr. Jones ! Would you actually marry a 
a cook ? " 

Jones did not answer immediately. He sat 
on the edge of the clothes hamper, a curious 
expression on his face. Suddenly a ghastly 
pallor whitened it; he rose unsteadily to his 
feet. 

" It's odd," he muttered; " something seems 
to be happening to me all over ! " And he 
began to move blindly toward the door, sway- 
ing as he progressed. 

Dismayed, the girl looked after him ; then, 
as he began to stumble up the stairway, she 
followed swiftly, saw him almost fall twice, re- 
cover, and start dizzily toward the drawing- 
room. 

" Are you very ill ? " she asked, stepping 
up beside him. 

" No something rather agreeable than 
otherwise seems to be happening to me." He 
reeled, and she caught him. 
14 



196 Some l.mlics in lid 

"Thank you; if I could roach a a 

ourage!" she said, resoluuh control- 
ling IUT own dismay, and supporting him 
to the nearest lounge, where he sank do\\n 
on the brocaded cushions limp, astonished 
at his own condition, hut curiously contented. 

"Something is surely happening to me." 
he repeated. ' I believe I believe that Man- 
ners is giving me some more absent treatment 
powerful, concentrated, emergency ti 
ment in relation to you." 

"To wir!" slu- repeaud. startled. 

" Yes yes, I am sure of it now ! 
How b-b-beautiful you are ! " he sighed sen- 
timentally. "How exquisitely attractive is 
that cap and apron! And your divimK dark 
I, and \oiir lovely mouth, and " 

" Mr. Jon< 

I can't help it; he's making me adore 
you! 

"What!" she crie -crated. 

The telephone upstairs began to ring vio- 
lently. 

"Would you mind answering?" he asked 
appealingly. *' I'm still rather di 

She straightened up. turned, and mounted 



Absent Treatment 197 

the stairs with wrath in her eyes. The next 
moment the whir of the telephone bell ceased ; 
Jones heard her voice, scornfully level and 
even in tone, then silence, then a startled ex- 
clamation. And now her voice became ani- 
mated, expostulatory, indignant, pleading by 
turns : 

" Mr. Manners ! I refuse to understand 
you." 

" Of course, I hope you will be able to shift 
Mr. Jones's affections to a worthier 

" You say that you are now giving Mr. 
Jones this new treatment ? " 

" Yes ; Mr. Jones is apparently already af- 
fected by something ! " 

[t Yes, you certainly have proved that you 
are able to give absent mental treatment." 

"What!!!" 



" Mr. Manners, that is the most outra- 
geously impudent threat " 



198 Some Ladies in Haste 

"What!!! To revenge yourself for what 
you suffered with that cook! It certainly was 
not my fault 

Yes, I did laugh, but I couldn't help it." 

"Mr. Mannrr-! Y<m simply dare not at- 
tempt such a tiling on Mr. Jones and me, 
even if von did promise him a lady in haste." 

" I can't help it; 1 am very sorry for Mr. 
Jones, hut I certainly do not wish to learn to 
care for him " 

" Make me love Mr. Jones ! 

. . . . . 

"What! Yon ^iv \,,n are making me fall 
in love with Mr. Jones? Noivf Mr. Man- 

. you exa-prratr m< ! You are the \\ 
edest mischief-maker in the \\orld-or would 
be if you could be! But 1 def\ you to force 
iiu- t> <lo any " 

You're making him care for i; 

I don't believe it! You can't do it! 
H-Heaven won't allow you to do such things 



Absent Treatment 199 

to Kelly ! Oh-h ! You've made me call him 
Kelly already! You you are frightening 
me, Mr. Manners ! I I admit that you can 
do these terrible things I confess your aw- 
ful power! But don't, Mr. Manners, please, 
please don't m-make me care for him ! " 

" Oh, you arc ! You are making me care 
for him now\ Care more for him every sec- 
ond ! You are making me care for him most 
excessively ! " 

" No!! I I don't want you to stop now! 
I It's too late; you've made me b-b-begin 
to love him ! " 

" Yes, I do love him ! I don't care what 
you do to us now, because I am perfectly 
mad about him." 

" Yes, I do forgive you. I am too happy 
not to. I It certainly was perfectly dear of 
you to make me so celestially happy. . . . 
And he's downstairs. And I can't endure this 
separation from him another instant! So. 
good-by " 



200 me I. tnlics in 



" Yes, it is heavenly to be so thoroughly in 
love ! Good-by - " 

"Oh, what?" 

" I don't care what anybody says!" 

Yes, I am willing to be his lady in 
hast. 

. 

"All right, if you think we ought to have 
a clergyman this afternoon." 

" Oh, thank you ! Bring any clergyman 
convenient. Ill tell Krlly how kind you are. 
Good-by 

And then she rang off, flushed, radiant, 
wonder-eyed in the dazzling beauty of a world 
transformed miraculously into Paradise in as 
many minutes as her young life could count 
in y< 

Then listening, alert, she heanl. \\ith an 
cited flutter in her heart, tlu- furtive step of 
Jones upon the stair, and she sprang to her 
feet, trembling in delicious trepidation as he 
entered the room. They stared at one an- 
other, spellbound, fascinated. 




44 Sweetheart,' he whispered naively, partly because he didn't 
know her other name." 



Absent Treatment . 201 

" Sweetheart," he whispered naively, partly 
because he didn't know her other name. 

And she forgot to tell him, surrendering to 
him her slender, fragrant hands as he knelt 
there at her feet ; and, desperately in love, she 
gazed down at him, tremulous, half fearful, 
adoring the adoration in his upturned ana 
worshiping eyes. 

So came to Jones his Lady in Haste. 




CHAPTER IX 

SUI GENERIS 

MM R the nose of William 
Manners the lid of Pandora's 
Box had now been twitched 
wide open ly tin- demon of no- 
toriety ; around William V 
ners plagues and troubles of various species 
were swarming thick and fast. For no sooner 
did the metropolitan public awake to the fact 
that there existed on the island of Manhattan 
a man who, through mental suggestion, was 
able to influence, mold, and change the char- 
acter and fortune of any individual to suit hi^ 

202 




Siti Generis 203 



own whim and fancy, than that same public 
arose and rushed upon Manners, confident of 
the millennium as advertised, and determined 
to secure large slices at bargain prices before 
it was all gone. 

Apparently, everybody in New York de- 
sired to interview this young man who, they 
believed, was not only able to turn them all 
into whatever they desired to be, but who 
also might be persuaded to transform other 
people into other things for their benefit. 

Hundreds and hundreds of letters poured 
into the club for Manners, many containing 
money or clucks \\ith requests for a course 
of absent mental treatment. Some desired to 
be endowed with beauty, some with an educa- 
tion, some with love, a few with common 
sense, and all with the ability to make for- 
tunes within the week. 

At first Manners attempted to return mon- 
ey and checks with a polite note of refusal 
for every applicant, but the letters continued 
to arrive by thousands ; the club servants 
stacked them up in piles on the floor of his 
room ; the club authorities, astonished and ir- 
ritated, sent word to Manners that a club was 
no place in which to conduct private business. 



204 Some Ladies in Haste 

But Manners could neither stop the ava- 
lanche of letters nor return their contents. 
People began to call at the club to inquire 
for him odd-looking people types from the 
Rialto, Third and Sixth Avenues, " profes- 
sors " of various " sciences," fat females elab- 
orately overdecorated, palmists, astrolo^ 
\M-ird flotsam from the reeking gridiron west 
of Long Acre, shabby curb brokers, book- 
makers, seedy touts from Forty-second Street, 
and bright-eyed, bright-check r<l yumg per- 
sons, amply endowed with unduloux h. 
and diamond ing small toy dogs and a 

heavy scent of vioK 

Up rose the governors <>f tlu- rlub in their 
indignation, ri'|iu>ting Manners to consider 
himself suspended. Then the post-office au- 
thorities seized his letters, carted them off on 
a truck, and threatened to proceed against 
him for improper use of the mails; two po- 
licemen were stationed to watch the club as 
a suspicious resort, and a committee of very 
young clergymen \\aited upon the mayor to 
protest against Manners as a public menace 
to morals. 

Manners packed his belongings and fled, 
but Destiny ran after him and whacked him 



Generis 205 



again for good measure ; and the next morn- 
ing's papers announced the failure of the Pine 
Barrens Irrigation Company, William Man- 
ners president and principal stockholder. 
Thus did blind Justice redress the balance; 
thus did the normal kick the abnormal ; thus 
did an old-fashioned, everyday, commonplace 
world bump William Manners to rebuke him 
for bringing into it what belonged somewhere 
between Avernus and Harlem. 

Too long had a respectable and unimagina- 
tive planet put up with mediums and table 
tippings and Columbia University ; William 
Manners and his absent treatment were too 
much. So the world reared on its hind legs 
and butted him hard. And a month later 
William Manners might have been seen seated 
thoughtfully upon a rail fence, contemplat- 
ing the rural scenery of northern New York 
State. 

There was scarcely anything there except 
scenery, unless a tumble-down farmhouse 
might be included. But even that was a sight 
in itself. 

Pines and oaks and elms ; uplands covered 
with sweet fern and wild grass ; distant fields 
of buckwheat and oats ; distant pastures where 



206 Sonic l.mlics in Haste 

cattle stood looking like the newly painted 
inmates of Noah's Ark these, and a d 
road, seemed to be the only noticeable adorn- 
ments of the immediate landscape. Beyond 
the low hills he did not know what la\. 1I< 
had rented this lonely little farm with part 
<>t the few dollars remaining to him after 
the crash in Pine Barrens Irrigation stock; 
and now he sat down for a few moments to 
catch his breath and recover hi> M- If posses- 
sion. It was all he could hope to recover 
and possess. 

The outskirts of Coon Corners appeared to 
be peculiarly fashioned for the retirement, 
self-effacement, and spiritual meditation of 
man. With the aid of a scant quart of milk, 
which he managed occasionally to wring from 
his cow, he supplied himself with nourishing 
drink and e A crossroads store at 

Coon Corners, two miles away, furnished him 
with moldy groceries; a small garden with 
recreation, vegetables and weeds, also bait for 
fishing. 

To mitigate the blow and accustom himself 
gradually to his altered circumstances in life, 
he always dressed for dinner and served him- 
self with milk, potatoes, bacon, and carrots 



Sui Generis 207 



in courses. Between courses he played on his 
harmonica, because, in town, he had been ac- 
customed to restaurant music. The music 
also served to fill voids voids of all sorts 
as, for example, when he couldn't bring 
himself to swallow his own cooking, or when 
the stillness around him got hold of his nerves 
and clawed them. 

After dinner he always removed his even- 
ing clothes, tied on an apron, and performed 
household rites. Then he would dress again 
and sit on the porch and watch fireflies and 
listen intently to his cow bell. 

This had now continued for a month ; he 
lived mechanically, moved and breathed and 
had his being automatically; for he was still 
partly stupefied by the suddenness of the 
overwhelming calamity which had befallen 
him. 

Little by little, however, the mental numb- 
ness began to leave him, and the raw wound 
began to sting. 

One dreadful day and night of despair 
capped the climax, but that was the worst ; 
he at last fully realized the situation, accepted 
it pro tern., and seated himself upon the hard 
top rail of experience, a grass stem between 



208 Sotnc /.(/(//r.c in Haste 

his lips, his eyes fixed absently upon his cow, 
\\lio returned his stare, placidly cheum-. 

" William," he said to himsdf. " this is not 
Hell: it is only Purgatory; and you de- 
it. For you might have wrought much evil 
with your spells, William; and the laws of 
natural phenomena neither govern such an- 
tics as you once chose to indulge in, nor do 
they permit you a place or an existence in a 
planet where only the normal is consistently 
possible. Nature, which specifically abhors a 
vanillin, isn't going to tolerate any other 
kinds of unnatural phenomena. You pro- 
duced several, and here you are! You piti- 
ful, tenth-rate sorcerer! William, you disgust 
mi 

He reached up, twistol >tT a twig of sweet 
birch, chewed it, and meditat 

" t'ninvited and unsuspected, you gave ab- 
-riit mental treatment to ten people five 
nun. friends of yours ; five unknown and or- 
namental maidens whom you did not know. 
You saw these innocent youn^ tfirls passing 
the club window; out of idle and devilish per- 
versity, you sent impudent mental waves in 
their direction. Fortunatelx . of your ten vic- 
tims, a kindly Fate has accounted for eight. 



Sui Generis 209 



They are married and happy. But, William, 
there are two remaining unaccounted for. 
You directed a powerful current of mental 
suggestion at Billy West, with the intention 
of instilling into that mild and inert youth a 
passion for pernicious activity mental and 
physical. 

" Now, that current evidently went astray, 
because Billy West remains unchanged. It 
must have missed its object and been inter- 
cepted by somebody else. Who?" 

Manners chewed his birch twig thought- 
fully. 

" Who ? What person in the world do you 
hear of as exhibiting irritatingly strenuous 
activities in matters which do not concern 
him? To begin at the top, there's the Kaiser. 
That powerful mental current may have been 
intercepted by him, or by by our own 
great- 
Horror contorted Manners's features. 
" Heavens ! " he gasped ; " is that the ex- 
planation ? Does that account for it all ? Has 
the greatest of all patriots and moralists and 
naturalists intercepted that errant current 
which I directed at Billy West? And has it 
double charged him with an explosively Jove- 



2io Sonic Ladies in Haste 

like and omniscient energy which pervades 
every subject discussed on top of this intel 
Krtual hemisphere, from railroads to runii 
nants, from eels to Ethiopians, from sagas to 
cinnamons, from trusts to the nesting habits 
of tlu- sprekled tomtit ? " 

And, as he sat there on the top rail, tin- 
poisonous conviction settled upon him like 
a horsefly on a colt that the greatest states- 
man who ever existed in America had re- 
1 the full impart of tlu- errant mental 
current which he had hurled at Hilly \\ Vt. 
. that part of the great ma; taetl 

i-tly due to the reception and bottling 
up of this pouerfnllv strenuous and stimulat- 
ing current ; what this human marvel had 
uas as nothing compared to \\hat he 
\\ould \et le. and do. and say. Railroads 
should tumble, ambassadors tremble. n,v 
should be afraid, tomtits no longer nn'sr, 
seuted in sru-ntitie fiction, and the Ethiopian 
should be exalted! 

Manners 9 ! i\es filled with devout and 
thankful tea 

Heaven i- -till good to the Irish-Ameri- 
cans of Dutch descent." he murmured. ' \ 
other man could have endured ami assimilated 



Sui Generis 211 



that current ; the country would have toler- 
ated no rival. To him that hath shall be 
given. It is all right. The country is as safe 
as ever. The faker is doomed ! " 

Vastly, humbly, profoundly relieved by the 
solution of this anxious problem, Manners, in 
his relief and joy, slid from the top rail and 
frisked about the pasture. 

He was very, very happy; he wove a gar- 
land of meadow flowers and hung it around 
the neck of his cow. He went and got his 
harmonica and played on it, and the cow 
thrust her large, furry ears forward, listening 
in bovine amazement to her first serenade. 

Manners talked to her he had only him- 
self and the cow to converse with, and he ex- 
plained to her excitedly that he was now al- 
most free from sin that of the ten crimes 
committed by him only one still remained un- 
accounted and unatoned for. 

" It was a girl," he continued vaguely, lay- 
ing his harmonica aside on the grass "a 
slim, freckled, gray-eyed, sweet-lipped young 
thing, coming out of her house, evidently on 
her way to the country for the summer. A 
legion of maids and butlers and second men 
and footmen danced attendance about her; 



212 Some Ladies in Ho 

some carried bundles, some satchels, some pet 
dogs and birds, some robes and traveling- 
rugs. And, looking at her, so pretty and 
freckled, and thin and helpless to do anything 
for herself, I sent a good, strong mental wave 
straight at her. 

Young woman/ I said, ' get rid of all 
those servants and learn to do things for 
yourself if you want your figure to look like 
a woman's and not like a bn\V Tse your 
limbs and muscles! Go out into the fields 
and rake hay. Go and potter about in gar- 
dens, and trim hedges, and milk cattle, and 
feed chirk t-ns. and eat ham and flapjacks \\ith 
maple sirup, and cook 'em, too, occasionally ! 
Go and hoist up water in the old oaken 
bucket! It's full of germs, but they won't 
hurt anybody.' That's what I said," nodded 
Manners to Ins cow f ami I added my advice 
that she ultimately marry a farn 

The cow wa< n ,,\v eating the garland he 
had woven for her ; Manners observed the op- 
eration pensively. 

I believe-." he said aloud to himself, I 
really believe that my exile and isolation and 
social excommunication would cease, auto- 
matically, if only I could be absolved from 



Sni Generis 213 



that last sin of mine if only I could be cer- 
tain that my miserable interference had not 
changed and blighted forever the life of this 
gently bred young girl. 

" Somewhere somewhere this very mo- 
ment she is probably raking hay, barefooted ! 
She may be far too frail to endure such a life 
endure ham and pancakes, and the smells of 
barnyards! Slu may now be sicklied o'er 
with the pale cast of pie ! " 

He dropped his head in his hands; all his 
light-hearted optimism had died out as he re- 
membered what he had done to that girl, 
scarcely nineteen a frail, unformed creature, 
utterly unfitted to endure the fate to which he 
had so flippantly condemned her. 

The cow, having finished the garland, re- 
produced a portion of it in the form of a cud, 
and, gravely chewing it, regarded the dejected 
young man with gratitude. 

" To think," he groaned aloud, " that I de- 
liberately consigned her to this sort of a life! 
Somewhere, at this very moment, half dead 
with indigestion, she is probably frying a 
steak. Somewhere she may be hanging out 
the domestic wash, her slender body racked 
with a hacking cough. Or she may be daw- 



214 Some Ladies in //</ 

dling by the roadside with some frow/y lm 
uho is courting her, or >lu- may be alrcad\ 
married to a rural so\eivi-n \\ith chin \\hi- 
. wh>-e proudest article of apparel con- 
sists of a pair of red braces \\hich he disp' 
at the Sunday dinner tahle." 

The i)ieture evoked overcame Mann 

" It's awful!" he groaned. " 1 deserve all 
this. And. as far as I can see, I'm likcl\ to 
remain in this awful place and milk tin- r 
nal cow unless I can find that girl and atone 
for \\hat I've done by marrying her!" 

He rose to his feet \\earily. 

" But to make her marry a man like me 
wouldn't he any atonement," he added. ' If 
I did that I'd only aggravate in- 
Great Dingums! Will I ever be able to i 
the \\nmg I have done her and get a\\ay 
from that confounded cow and these dinners 
of carrot- and prune 

For a while he pottered sullenly about in 
the garden, picking pea-. Me shelled them 
later, then dragged <ut an ironing board and 
made preparations to iron the few shirts re- 
maining to him. 

It \\as a laborious task; first he usually 
burned himself, then several of the shirts. 



Sui Generis 215 



Starch was a substance which he seemed to 
have no control of, for what, in a shirt, should 
have been soft and flexible, became stark and 
stiff as sheet iron, so that when he wore one 
of his self-ironed garments it was impossible 
for him to sit down. 

He thought he might as well break in one 
for the evening, as he was obliged to stand 
while ironing; so he retired and invested him- 
self in a shirt which seemed in condition to 
defy armor-piercing shells fired from the south 
front. 

However, he rolled up his sleeves, seized a 
hot flatiron from the kitchen stove, and, 
spreading a damp garment across the wabbly 
board, began ironing away with courage and 
determination. 

From time to time through the open door 
he glanced out across the pasture. Some- 
times he saw a dickey bird, sometimes a but- 
terfly, usually nothing at all except the view. 

" Of course," he argued, but with a sinking 
heart, " this is too awful to continue. Some- 
thing's got to happen : I'll either die of indi- 
gestion, or go mad and run into the tall 
grass, or or find that girl." 

He set his flatiron back on the stove, lift- 



2i6 ;;/(' Ladies in Haste 

ed another, tc-tcd it. and began to iron again. 
And as the smooth, hot metal slid over tin 
bosom of the only shirt remaining Mill in- 
tact, he raised his eyes to see if tin TC x\as 
anything to look at outdoors, and beca un- 
aware of something darkening his doorway 
a pink sunbonnet. and two grax eyCS un<l 
and a nose xxith M-vera! adorable frcckK -. and 
the oval of a youthful face, and the 
mouth he had ever beheld all at his kitchen 
door. 

Tli- also a plumply rounded figure in 

a gingham go\\n. and txxo sun tanned hanU 
as fascinating in proportions as the slim 
visible at the edge of the gingham go\\n. 

Meantime his iron had imprinted a l,r 
burnt spot on the IMJMHU of his best shirt, and 
the garment had begun to MII,,: 

Hut what did he O -mg then tran- 

fixed, ecstatically incredulous! The smoke 
from his scorching shirt mounted lik< 
from the ironing board; the sunshine behind 
her sunbonnet spun a glimmering halo, turn- 
ing the pink gingham to an aureole. 

' The goddess r.r tnachimi ! " he whi-p- 
jaw dropping in holy axxe. Then, in the de- 
lirium of reaction, he flung flatiron and shirt 



Sui Generis 217 



into a corner, kicked over the board and the 
chairs supporting it, hurled the pan of freshly 
stripped peas into the pantry, pulled down his 
sleeves, and struggled into his coat. 

Meanwhile the girl in the pink sunbonnet 
was running away. Manners ran after her. 




CHAPTER X 




1 \ M \t IIINA 

1 1 K j^irl u a> rnnnit 

the pasture! She took 
the rail fence \\ ith t1\ ini: 
n fliitti-riii^. 

for it as SOUK- ^lini thorough- 
bred. Mannrrs rose grandly to tl 
clearing the top rail in spite of his 
armor, and away he galloped toward the 
young woodland after her. 

Don't run!" he called out: 1 in not 
mad, even if I was ironing shirts! I I'm 
p-perfectly t-t-taim ! I want to tell you some- 
thing." 

218 






Ex Ma chin a 219 

Whether or not she understood seemed 
doubtful ; she cast one swift, keen glance over 
her shoulder, then, jumping the brook, sped 
up the opposite slope and, with the last rem- 
nant of strength, climbed into a maple tree, 
where she sat among the branches, flushed, 
breathing hard, her resolute eyes on him as 
he came toiling up the bank. 

For a moment they remained mute, strug- 
gling for breath, watching one another. 
She had broken off a dead branch and 
held it tightly, one arm clasping the tree 
trunk. 

" Do you think me quite mad," he gasped 

"just beeause in my joy at seeing you I 
kicked over that ironing board and maltreated 
a pan of shelled peas? Oh, if you had only 
understood how I loathe flatirons and givm 
peas! If you had only understood how long 
I've been obliged to eat my own cooking and 
iron my own shirts you would not have run 
away like this ! " 

She stared at him ; slowly the flicker of fear 
became absorbed in the growing illumination 
of astonishment. 

" Y-you were d-dreadfully abrupt," she 
said. " You did not appear p-perfectly ra- 



220 Sonic I.inlics in 



tional. I had only come to collect the 
rent 

l lu- rent ' 

" Y \ ft. I'm \onr landlady." 
Manners gazed up at her hoprlr^K per- 
plexed 

" 1 rented that ehatenu from somebody 
named I-.. M. I '.arris." he said. " Are yon K. 
M. Harris?" 

lira Millicent Barris. I live at 
The Towers. I my father jjavc me some 
farms to play \\ith on my birthday. I n 

1 to be cha>ed up a tree by mx 
ant- 

Siiddenly. in the nish of relief, she dropped 
her sink. ehiNprd the tree trunk \\ith htli 
arms, and, lax in^ her head a-amM it, closed 
her e 

" 1 )on't ! I don't ! " , \< lainicd 

Mar- 1 -imply cannot endure to see 

an\ xxoinan xxeeping up in a tree like 
that - " 

* I c-ean't lu-lp it." slu- fal' I've got 

to. If if I \\ere not in >ueh p-p-pe? 
health my n-nervi-s emild m-ver have stood 
\xhat xou'x-c d 4 

" Do you mean my running after you, or 



Ex Machina 221 

the sight of me ironing?" he asked, morti- 
fied. 

" B-both. O dear O dear I'm so quiv- 
ery and weak! I I'd better get out of this 
tree before I fall out. I don't know how I 
ever got up here; I feel like a scared and 
whimpering kitten who has climbed too high 
and can't get back." 

She bent her pretty head and peeped down 
at the ground between her swinging feet. 
The ground seemed very far away. 

" O dear, O dear," she said, bewildered ; 
" it is my first tree experience, and I don't 
know how it is done ! Do you ? " 

" A slow slide," he suggested, " is the 
proper method. You first grasp the tree 

"How?" 

He waved his hands as though repeating a 
scientific formula : 

" You first grasp the trunk with both 
arms and both knees ; then, closing both 
eyes and clasping the stem of the tree firmly, 
you descend with a very slow and sedate 
slide." 

" It it isn't very dignified, is it ? " 

" It can be accomplished with dignity," he 
said. 4< Ironing shirts and shelling peas are 



222 Some Ladies in 7/</.v/r 

not the ideals of manly sport, yet I managed 
to engage in both without 'rum 

and self-respect. It dep< upon \\liat 

xou're doini:. Imt upon your mental attitude 
t\\ard x.mr ta>k. If one understands h<>\\ to 
do it, one can stand on one's head \\itlnmt 
loss of dignitx . 

She seemed to be rather impreed l>\ his 
philosophy; she leaned over, looked at the 
trunk, and erossed her ankles. 

" ritimateh." rift -aid. " 1 -hall he obliged 
to descend, and 1 may as xxell do it n\v. 
\\'iild \u mind \\alkini; out 

WCK) 

1 le started at once. 

" B-but who is to cateh me if I f-fall? " she 
added. 

He came back. 

" Hourver. I must take my chances," she 
continued, looking fearfully at the ground; 
and he turned and started toward the <; 

"And if I fall and am dreadfully injured, it 
will not be my fault " 

He hah 

' It will be your fault," she said with tremu- 
lous vindietiveness, "for cha-m- me up a 
And I can't come down as long as 



Machina 223 



you are there ; I wont come down as long as 
you are not there. The problem, then, is how 
to i^et me out of this tree; and / can't solve 
it. Can \ m ? " 

He stared up at her for a moment ; then 
clasped his head in his hands, struggling with 
the problem. 

" The thing to do," he said, " is to use logic. 
Reason, not emotion, solves problems. Let 
us begin at the very beginning, if we are to 
find some sort of a solution 

" The beginning," she said coldly, " was 
when you ran after me ' 

" I beg your pardon. The beginning be- 
gan with your running away from me. I 
couldn't have run after you if you hadn't 
first run 

" No, that is not the beginning/' she in- 
sisted. " First of all I saw you ironing 

" Wait, please! First of all I was ironing, 
even before you saw me. Let us be logical 
and accurate, if we are going back to the 
fountain head of cause and effect." 

" If we are going back as far as that," she 
said, " let us go still farther. To begin, then, 
you rented my cottage 

" One moment," he begged ; " there was a 



224 Some Ladies in 



cause for my renting that cottage; and, ii we 
are going back to the real beginning of 
things, let us begin \\ith that." 

"I don't see." shi- sail. astonished. "why 
\our nmtives for renting that cottage could 
interest me. or have any important bearing on 
the problem of getting me out of tl 

He stood very still, silenced not by her 
logic, but by the Midden impact of a neu : 

Looking down at him she \\aited. s\\ ing- 
ing her crossed feet gently. She was no 
longer afraid of him or of her situation. She 
had. at his fir>t \\ord, recognized in him the 
sort of man she had been accustomed to. It 
had been only the mechanical and mental dif- 
ficulty of stopping her mad stampede that 
had landed her up a tree before she even un- 
derstood how she got there a purely auto- 
matic flight, obeying physical impulse before 
the brain could telegraph like a 

locomotive overrunning the Matum in spite of 
the bral 

Almost from the first, looking down at him 
from her perch, fear had tied, leaving a faint 
reaction. Then calm confidence returned ; she 
examined him leisurely, perfectly convinced 
of her safety. 



Ex Machina 225 

And now she looked down from aloft with 
a smile almost friendly, encouraging him to 
mental effort. 

" How to get me out of this tree," she re- 
peated. " You got me into it. I can't come 
down if you're not here; I won't come down 
while you </;v here. You got me up. Logic 
must help me down. How is it to be done, 
Mr. Manners? Surely not by discussing the 
motives \\hkh iinhuol you to rent my cot- 
tage." 

" Yes," he said, " that is exactly tlu way to 
begin our logic." 

" But that happened before you ever even 
saw UK- 

"No, it didn't." 

She opened her gray eyes wider. 

" Did you ever see me before you glanced 
up from your ironing?" she asked, surprised. 

" Yes." 

"When?" 

" Early this spring." 

"Where, Mr. Manners?" 

" Coming out <>t \<>ur house on Fifth Ave- 
nue, opposite the Lenox Club." 

" O-h ! . . . Yes, I live there. . . . Where 
were you ? " 



226 Some Ladies In Haste 

" In the club window hatching deviltries! " 
he said bitterly. 

" I >-d-deviltrie> ! " she repeated. " \Y-\\hat 
in tin- \\orld do you mean, Mr. Mann* : 

"I've 14 "t to go farther back than that 
>lrinu day to tell you," he said. "Shall I 
do h 

Amazed at the pallor and desperation in his 
-In- took a firmer clasp of tin tree trunk 
ami ^a/i-d do\\n at him. 

M Il it vrr\ awful what you are going to 
till me? " she asked. 
Wry. Shall I?" 

" No. N . 

" No. Yes. I if it becomes too dreadful 
for me to hear I I'll tell you w-when to 

StO] 

Well, then," he said hoarsely, " I'm the 
most terrible kind of a man you ever heard 
of." 

" O-oh ! " she echoed faintly, but expect- 
antly. 

1 I'm horrible, monstrous; I'm a menace 
to decency, a peril to civilization! " 

Y-you don't look it, M-Mr. M-M-Man- 
ners." 



Ex Machina 227 

" That's the sickening part of it. I'm a 
decent-looking fellow. Don't you think so? " 

" Y-yes." 

" With agreeable bearing and presence ? " 

" Oh, yes, indeed." 

" The sort, in fact, to whom you are accus- 
tomed in New York ? " 

" P-perfectly. I anybody would be in- 
diiifd to like you, Mr. Manners." 

" Thank you," he said gloomily. " That is 
the awful phase of it. What I look like is one 
thing ; what I am is this : A man once 
wealthy, now ruined ; once popular, now 
feared; once innocent, now guilty ! " 

" Mr. Manners! IV hat are you guilty of? " 

He said : " Do you believe that it is pos- 
sible for a human being to possess himself of 
infernal powers? Do you believe it possible 
that a man can, by mere exercise of will, 
project mental waves which are capable of 
molding, modifying, changing, completely 
transforming the characters and desires of 
other people ? " 

" No ! " she said breathlessly. 

" Yet the fact remains that I can do and 
have done it. Ten people, on whom I tried 
my first experiments, prove the statement. 
10 



228 Some I.inlics in ffiisfc 

One by one I gave them absent treatment to 
correct deficiencies of character. Thc\ had 
not the slightest idea of \\hat 1 \\as d 
indeed, five of them I did not even kno\\ 1>\ 
sight when I undertook their cases." 

He paused, passing his hand wearily 
his brow. Tlie j^irl looked do\\n at him. 
cinated. 

"Fortunately." he continued, "nine 01: 
my ten victim- come t< no harm 

through my villain* u- middling. Indeed. 
strangely enough, they have found their 
heart -Hilled thnmiji \\hat 1 did for 

them these nine victims of m\ hideou- 
periments. Heaven \vas ind. me. 

even in piiiiishin.i: me 1 
crushed, bewildered, penniless as I am, for I 
have found \vn a^ain ! " 

" Found tnr^ A^ain "" 

" Yes. Listen to me. and \ me that 

you will not fall out of that tre<- in \<>ur amaze- 
ment and indignation. \\'ill you promise. 
Miss Barri 

She instinctivelv clasped the trunk tightly 
with both arm- Yes, go on," she whis- 
pered. 

' Then do you ever rake hay, milk cows, 



Ex Machina 229 

shell peas, fry steaks ? Do you ? Or ever eat 
pancakes and maple sirup ? Speak ! " 

" Y-yes ; I do all those things, Mr. Man- 
ners." 

" Did you ever do them before that day in 
early spring when I saw you entering your 
carriage ? Did you ? " 

" N-no." 

"Do you like to do these things now?" 

" Y-yes." 

" Didn't you actually hate the very idea of 
doing such things before that day in early 
spring? " 

" Y-yes." 

" Then," he demanded solemnly, " why do 
you do 'em now? Why do you like to do 
'em? Why do you now desire pie? Why 
do you digest it? Why are you physically 
healthy and vigorous and mentally wholesome 
and happy? Why are your arms no longer 
as thin as pipe stems, and why are 

" Mr. Manners ! What do you mean to 
convey to me by this very p-p-personal in- 
ventory of my physical and mental charac- 
teristics?" 

" You know," he said gravely. 

" No, I don't know. If if you mean to 



230 Sonic I.utiics in I L: 

try to frighten me into believing that \ u 
are responsible that \>u did this 

" Y,,u kiiou 1 did." 

" I don't! I d.m't! I'm not one of your 
your dreadful nu-ntal experiments. even if I 
have suddenly found p 
pink sunbonnets and g-g-gingham d 
Even if I have found some\shat suddenly 
that it's p-p-plcasant an 
ha\ and set hens and ni-in-milk the l-l-lo 



1 'ink-cheeked. defiant. she clung to her tree 
trunk, facing him with tremulous courage. 

" You didn't do all this to mo!" she re- 
peated. "I am not afraid that you did! 
Y>u couldn't have done it, even if you had 
been wicked enough to try: :Mn't do 

it no\\. r\ni if \MU tried \\ith all \ "iir mi^ht." 

"Tried \\hat?" he asked gently, f..r the 
girl was becoming very nuu h r \rited. 

' \uythinv: tried am tiling . MI me n; 
nit. in m\>elf. >lide down tin- 

for example! I I defy you t make me 
do . 

" Do you really challenge r. 

" Yt*t t dOfl I don't believe in your |> 
I u.-n't believe in them. If you could 




" 'I defy you to make me do it ! ' ' 



Ex Machine 231 

exercise all kinds of powers, you wouldn't 
look so helpless and perplexed when I tell 
you to get me out of this tree." 

" But but you refuse to come down while 
I'm here, and you refuse to come down if I'm 
not here/' 

"Certainly I do!" she said tauntingly; 
" but that ought not to perplex a gentleman 
of such unusual and occult talents as you 
possess. Mr. Manners, the problem remains, 
I believe, to get me out of this tree. You 
have employed logic; you have gone back 
months to begin, logically, at the beginning. 
Now, if you please, either your logic, or your 
ahem ! magic, ought to start me earth- 
ward. Proceed ! " 

He looked up at tin- bright, flushed face 
above; she returned his gaze out of 1u r 
pretty gray eyes. Her mouth was maliciously 
sweet ; the two freckles on her nose adorable. 

" There's a way to get you out of a tree," 
he said. His voice was not quite steady. 

" Thank you " mockingly " I am wait- 
ing to be wafted to earth." 

" I want to ask you a question first" 

" Dozens, Mr. Manners. Begin." 

" You will not be offended? " 



232 Some Ladies in Haste 



" I Impt not* 1 

** I mean if no offense is meant?" 

" No. . . . What is the first question be- 
fore you waft me to earth ? " 

" Are you engaged to be married to to 
a farnu i 

" No. I suppose you do not mean to be 
impertinent." 

" You know I don't," he said, looking IK r 
so straight in the eyes that a deeper tint of 
color crept into her tanned clier! 

" No," she said slo\\l>. " I know you could 
not be rude. What is thr nr\t <|iie>tion? 
You have the |>rivilcge of a do/< 

" Then 7it>///</ you marr\ a tan* 

" I why if I were in love \ 

M A poor on. 

She dismissed tin- fmaneial aspect of love 
with a shrug of her pn tt\ >houlders. 

" I see." lie said with a catch in his breath 
" poor or rich, you'd marry a farmer, if you 
loved him." 

She nodded, surveying him serenely. 

" You ah perhaps, prefer a farmer to a 
man of any other ah profession?" He 
strove to command his voice, but it shook. 

" Perhaps," she said. 



Ex Macliina 233 

"Do you?" 

" Y-yes," very cautiously. 

He waited a moment to control his voice, 
then : " / am a farmer/' he said. 

"Yes?" innocently. 

[< Yes, I am. I have a cow, some accursed 
vegetables, and a stray hen or two. Where 
the hens are now I don't know; but they're 
mine if they're still on earth. Besides that, 
I have some mining shares worth nothing 
now, but which air due to rocket skyward in 
about a year. Other assets are a few dollars, 
unlimited ambition and energy, some badly 
burnt and worse starched shirts, and no debts. 
I I wish to a>k \ on .something." 

" Ask it," she said, dangerously calm. 

He moistened his lips, touched his forehead 
with his handkerchief, and, looking directly at 
her, said : 

" I never before saw a woman whom I 
could care for." And, being truthful, he add- 
ed, " I mean as much as I care for you. I 
could easily fall desperately in love with you. 
You could make me love you without try- 
ing. A smile the first glimmer of friend- 
liness in your gray eyes would do it. It will 
probably happen, anyway." 



234 Some l.inlics in Hustc 

She \\aitol. 

in you ever learn to can t<>r a man 
like me?" he askol. 

- No, Mr. Manin-r 

" If- if \<u could, I'd j^t't you out of that 
tree in a moment. ' 

"Tin 1 prirr is !<> r\ciivr ; 1 prrtYr the 
tree, Mr. Mann* 

" lillt J4)d IlravrllN! If \m don't lll.i! 

r\ inr. a fanm-p /n /;;;., \..u an- lial' 
marry soinr ^rnuiur and drradful ohiu-uhi- 
.amhlin.L; ru 

* Mr. Man: 

" I ran't lu-lp it ! I ktu>:c\ " li. -ncd 

U--p-ratrl\. " I trratrd \ oil for that ; I 
\n alriit tn-atmrnt lr it! I su^^cstcd that 
\>u marr\ a fannrr." 

"That \\a- \n\. M r\ imjunlcnt >f 
slir >aid !i.tl\ ; " Iwt I 1. .idy told you 

that I refuse to believe in your poun- I 
di-fy you to inthu-iHH- mr 1>y inrntal sugges- 
tion ! I I challenge you to make me do one 
single thing through the exercise of mental 
suggestion ! " 

Her angry, beautiful face flushed as she 
spoke ; she bent forward on her perch, brav- 
ing him. 



Macliuia 235 



" I do love you," he said obstinately. 

" I can't help it," she retorted. t4 Besides, 
it's ridiculous to chase a girl up a tree and 
sit at the bottom and make love to her." 

" Ridiculous or not," he said, " I do love 
you. I love you enough to risk being ridicu- 
lous. I love you too much even to think of 
mentally suggesting that you love me a little 
in return." 

" That is perfect nonsense, Mr. Manners ! " 

" N-nonsense ? " 

" Certainly. Just as though you could 
mentally influence me to love you, if you 
tried for a year! " 

" I could do it in a minute!" he exclaimed 
hotly. 

" And I defy you ! " she retorted. " Here 
I am, sitting upon this branch, unable to get 
away. Try it, Mr. Manners ! " 

The bright, excited, and scornful challenge 
stirred him to excitement. 

u You don't know what you are risking," 
he said. " I I could make you care for me 
if I wished to. I could get you out of that 
tree before you knew it, if I wished to. Don't 
challenge me again, unless you wish to risk 
more than you desire to." 



Sonic Ladies in Haste 



She laughed mockingly and swung her feet 
to and fro. 

" I give you full permission to try," she 
said. 

I Ie \\a- >ilrnt. 

" Shame ! " she added, " to let such a chal- 
lenge pa 

Still lu- \\as >ilnit. 

"And, if you can succeed in taking me 
down out of thi> tree \\ithout my consent or 
knowledge." she rmitinurd. "I i^ivr \>u full 
l>rrmissi< m t> make love to me and make 
me fall <K s in love with you des- 

rlv. unrra^. Miin-K. blindly. Beside-. 1 
could not help fallini: violently in love \\ith 
a man \\lm really could do such thin 

"Even \\ith wir?" he asked, look 

straight up at her. 

" Kveii with yon." 

" \ T\ \\ell." he said, turning a trifle pale. 

1 am going to begin. Please place both 
arms rather tightly around the trunk of that 
tre< 

She laughed disdainfully, but compl 
He stood very still, rigid, silent, looking up 
at her. For a f nds she wat. lu <1 him. 

scornfully confident ; then his features seemed 



Ex Machina 237 

to blur a trifle, and she opened her eyes 
wider. But the face and figure below grew 
vague and hazy. 

" Hold very tight," he said gently. And 
she heard his voice and obeyed, dazed. 

" I think I think you are sleeping," he 
said. She did not answer; she no longer 
heard him. 

Then he sprang into the branches and 
climbed swiftly upward, and very, very gently 
unclasped her arms from the tree trunk. She 
was not heavy, but the descent was slow and 
perilous as he climbed lower and lower, step- 
ping from limb to limb, his slumbering bur- 
den clasped tightly in one arm. 

At last he hung by his free arm from the 
lowest branch, looked down coolly, and 
dropped. 

And now she lay back against the base of 
the tree, eyes closed, pink sunbonnet fallen 
back, adorable lips half parted, her tanned 
hands lying limp in her lap. 

Manners stood watching her. 

" I could love you," he murmured, " too 
much to make you care for such a man as I 
am. I I do love you, and I leave your heart 
as free of love as when I first laid eyes on 



238 Sonic Ladies in Haste 

\ou. ... So you may wake now gently 
happily care free, heart five. . . . Wake, 
Ethra!" 

Slowly the gray eyes unclosed. Meeting 
hi* they opened wider, languid. Miiiling. un- 
afraid. Then she raided her body on one arm. 
looked around, upward, then turned her head 
suiltls. eye* dilating and clearing with com- 
prehension. 

The next moment n- to 1 

cast a swift glance up into the hr.nu In -. 
caught her breath, and. facing him, took an 
un>tead> >tcp lackv.ard I 
trunk. 

" You you did do it ! -lu gasped. 
es, You mu>t not be afraid." 

' I I am." 

* ^"oll need not 

"I inn\ I I dared yti to do it. You 
have done it. I d-dared you to m-make me 
love you." 

" I did not do //; 

" O-oh ! I don't know I don't know 
whether you have done that or not!" she 
cried. " You could have; I defied you to; I 
offered to let you. If you did not do it, 
did you not ? " 



Ex Macliina 239 



" Because I love you." 

" Then why didn't you ? " 

" Because I love you." 

" Oh ! " 

She looked at him, still a little dazed, still 
frightened, uncertain. 

He said in a low voice : " Do you now be- 
lieve all that I told you ? " 

Yes oh, yes, I do." 

"All?" 

" Yes, all." 

" About the mental treatment I gave you 
on that fatal day last spring when I saw you 
entering your carriage ? " 

" Yes, I believe it." 

" And and that you still stand in peril of 
marrying a farmer a thing of overalls, whis- 
kers, and pitchforks ! an absurd and revolt- 
ing parody on 

" D-don't let me ! " she stammered, moving 
impulsively toward him. " You you won't 
let me do such a thing, will yoUj^Mr. Man- 
ners ? " still advancing, both little hands out- 
stretched. 

" I can't help it," he said miserably. " I 
can't reverse mental treatment ; I don't know 
how. All I can do is to modify it in a 



240 Sonic Ladies in I In 

measure by directing it more definitely toward 
some designated individual." 

"Then then d-direet it toward s-s-some 
individual. Mr. Manners. Don't leave me 
with this promiscuous rural terror to haunt 
IIH-! Dm'i go away and leave me this indefi- 
nite' llOITOr inenarrd by the mtiiv clodhop- 
ping population of the I'nitt d Sta! 

" What shall I do?" he asked, profoundly 
affeetcd h\ her diMnax. 

" Oh," she pleaded, as he gently took her 
out>tretelu-d and pathetic hand-. " it is the 
horrid uncertainty that 1 cannot endure. You 
have defined me for the h-h-hride of some 
farmer. If I've g-g-got to marry a far 
I want to know what lie's like, whether he 
wears his coat in the house, whether he 
USd a knife for a fork! < >h oh. this is too 
dreadful too too dreadful! I I'm afraid 

afraid! 

She broke down, innocently concealing her 
Mainrd fare in the first convenient nook 
that offered. It ehaneed to be the scorched 
shirt front of Mr. Manners. He thought!- 
put both arms around her. Then they both 
became absent-minded, for he mentioned her 
name several times as " Kthra." and " Sweet- 



Machina 241 



heart," and her arms lay most carelessly 
around his neck, and she offered no explana- 
tion of the phenomenon. 

" D-darling ! " 

" W-what ? " she sobbed, although she had 
never before answered to such an indefinite 
cognomen. 

" D-do you hate me?" 

" N-no." 

" I I didn't know," he faltered. 

" W-well / do, and I don't." 

With which strangely paradoxical observa- 
tion she managed to find her handkerchief 
and dry her tears. Then she raised her head 
and looked up at him. 

A curiously absent-minded expression crept 
into their eyes; their actions, too, were ut- 
terly illogical. However, they said absolutely 
nothing. They couldn't. 

At last her pretty lips found an opportunity. 

" I wonder," she said, " how we can do 
such things ... as though we had been ac- 
customed to them. . . . Dear, you had no 
need to employ your talents on me ; I : I 
wasn't really afraid to come down ; I was only 
afraid you'd go away if I did. . . . And and, 
dearest, I I be I b-b-began to love you up 



242 Some Ladies in Haste 

in the tree a little, just a little. ... I think 
I am a trifle tired. . . . Shall \\e -it lure 
under our blessed, blessed tree?" 

He looked hopeles>l\ int> the j^r.i 

" Darling," he said. "1-1 ean't -it down in 
in this g-g-garment. Don't ask me to go 
into details, only the the starch " 

She gazed at her lover in infinite pity. I 
think 1 understand." she said very softly. 

And together they passed out into the sun- 
shine, his arm around her \vai*t. her lovely 
head nestling against his shoulder. 



TIIK END 



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