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Full text of "Susan Lenox, her fall and rise ... with a portrait of the author"

SUSAN LENOX: 
HER FALL AND RISE 



By David Graham Phillips 

Lenox: Her Fall and Rise 
The Price She Paid Degarmo's Wife 
George Helm The Conflict 

The Grain of Dust The Hungry Heart 
The Husband's Story White Magic 
The Fashionable Adventures of Joshua Craig 

The Second Generation 

Old Wives for New The Worth of a Woman 
Light-Fingered Gentry The Deluge 
The Social Secretary The Plum Tree 
The Cost The Master Rogue 

Golden Fleece A Woman Ventures 

The Great God Success The Mother Light 




THE LAST PORTRAIT OF 

DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS 



David Graham Phillips 



SUSAN LENOX 

HER FALL AND RISE 



VOLUME I 




WITH A PORTRAIT 
OF THE AUTHOR 



48G035 



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

NEW YORK LONDON 

1917 



fe 

3531 



COPTBIGHT, 1917, BT 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 



COPTBIGHT, 1915, 1910, BT THE INTEBNATIONAL MAGAZINE COMPANY 



Printed in the United States of America 



DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS 

A TRIBUTE 

Even now I cannot realize that he is dead, and often 
in the city streets on Fifth Avenue in particular I find 
myself glancing ahead for a glimpse of the tall, boyish, 
familiar figure experience once again a flash of the old 
happy expectancy. 

I have lived in many lands, and have known men. I 
never knew a finer man than Graham Phillips. 

His were the clearest, bluest, most honest eyes I ever 
saw eyes that scorned untruth eyes that penetrated all 
sham. 

In repose his handsome features were a trifle stern 
and the magic of his smile was the more wonderful such 
a sunny, youthful, engaging smile. 

His mere presence in a room was exhilarating. It 
seemed to freshen the very air with a keen sweetness 
almost pungent. 

He was tall, spare, leisurely, iron-strong; yet figure, 
features and bearing were delightfully boyish. 

Men liked him, women liked him when he liked them. 

He was the most honest man I ever knew, clean in 
mind, clean-cut in body, a little over-serious perhaps, 
except when among intimates; a little prone to hoist the 
burdens of the world on his young shoulders. 

His was a knightly mind; a paladin character. But 



DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS 

he could unbend, and the memory of such hours with 
him hours that can never be again hurts more keenly 
than the memory of calmer and more sober moments. 

We agreed in many matters, he and I; in many we 
differed. To me it was a greater honor to differ in 
opinion with such a man than to find an entire synod of 
my own mind. 

Because and of course this is the opinion of one man 
and worth no more than that I have always thought that 
Graham Phillips was head and shoulders above us all in 
his profession. 

He was to have been really great. He is by his last 
book, "Susan Lenox." 

Not that, when he sometimes discussed the writing of 
it with me, I was in sympathy with it. I was not. We 
always were truthful to each other. 

But when a giant molds a lump of clay into tremen- 
dous masses, lesser men become confused by the huge 
contours^ the vast distances, the terrific spaces, the ma- 
jestic scope of the ensemble. So I. But he went on about 
his business. 

I do not know what the public may think of "Susan 
Lenox." I scarcely know what I think. 

It is a terrible book terrible and true and beautiful. 

Under the depths there are unspeakable things that 
writhe. His plumb-line touches them and they squirm. 
He bends his head from the clouds to do it. Is it worth 
doing? I don't know. 

But this I do know that within the range of all fiction 
of all lands and of all times no character has so over- 
whelmed me as the character of Susan Lenox. 

vi 



DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS 

She is as real as life and as unreal. She is Life. Hers 
was the concentrated nobility of Heaven and Hell. And 
the divinity of the one and the tragedy of the other. For 
she had known both this girl the most pathetic, the 
most human., the most honest character ever drawn by an 
American writer. 

In the presence of his last work, so overwhelming, so 
stupendous, we lesser men are left at a loss. Its mag- 
nitude demands the perspective that time only can lend 
it. Its dignity and austerity and its pitiless truth impose 
upon us that honest and intelligent silence which even the 
quickest minds concede is necessary before an honest 
verdict. 

Truth was his goddess; he wrought honestly and only 
for her. 

He is dead, but he is to have his day in court. And 
whatever the verdict, if it be a true one, were he living 
he would rest content. 

ROBERT W. CHAMBERS. 



BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

A few years ago, as to the most important and most 
interesting subject in the world, the relations of the sexes, 
an author had to choose between silence and telling those 
distorted truths beside which plain lying seems almost 
white and quite harmless. And as no author could afford 
to be silent on the subject that underlies all subjects, our 
literature, in so far as it attempted to deal with the most 
vital phases of human nature, was beneath contempt. The 
authors who knew they were lying sank almost as low as 
the nasty-nice purveyors of fake idealism and candied 
pruriency who fancied they were writing the truth. Now 
it almost seems that the day of lying conscious and uncon- 
scious is about run. "And ye shall know the truth, and the 
truth shall make you free." 

There are three ways of dealing with the sex relations 
of men and women two wrong and one right. 

For lack of more accurate names the two wrong ways 
may be called respectively the Anglo-Saxon and the Con- 
tinental. Both are in essence processes of spicing up and 
coloring up perfectly innocuous facts of nature to make 
themU poisonously attractive to perverted palates. The 
wishy-washy literature and the wishy-washy morality on 
which it is based are not one stage more or less rotten 
than the libertine literature and the libertine morality on 
which it is based. So far as degrading effect is concerned, 

ix 



BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

the "pure, sweet" story or play, false to nature, false to 
true morality, propagandist of indecent emotions disguised 
as idealism, need yield nothing to the so-called "strong" 
story. Both pander to different forms of the same diseased 
craving for the unnatural. Both produce moral atrophy. 
The one tends to encourage the shallow and unthinking in 
ignorance of life and so causes them to suffer the merciless 
penalties of ignorance. The other tends to miseducate the 
shallow and unthinking, to give them a ruinously false 
notion of the delights of vice. The Anglo-Saxon "moral- 
ity" is like a nude figure salaciously draped; the Con- 
tinental "strength" is like a nude figure salaciously dis- 
torted. The Anglo-Saxon article reeks the stench of dis- 
infectants; the Continental reeks the stench of degenerate 
perfume. The Continental shouts "Hypocrisy!" at the 
Anglo-Saxon; the Anglo-Saxon shouts "Filthiness !" at the 
Continental. Both are right; they are twin sisters of the 
same horrid mother. And an author of either allegiance 
has to have many a redeeming grace of style, of character 
drawing, of philosophy, to gain him tolerance in a clean 
mind. 

There is the third and right way of dealing with the 
sex relations of men and women. That is the way of simple 
candor and naturalness. Treat the sex question as you 
would any other question. Don't treat it reverently; don't 
treat it rakishly. Treat it naturally. Don't insult your 
intelligence and lower your moral tone by thinking about 
either the decency or the indecency of matters that are 
familiar, undeniable, and unchangeable facts of life. Don't 
look on woman as mere female, but as human being. Re- 
member that she has a mind and a heart as well as a body. 



BEFORE THE CURTAIN 

In a sentence, don't join in the prurient clamor of "purity" 
hypocrites and "strong" libertines that exaggerates and 
distorts the most commonplace, if the most important fea- 
ture of life. Let us try to be as sensible about sex as we 
are trying to be about all the other phenomena of the uni- 
verse in this more enlightened day. 

Nothing so sweetens a sin or so delights a sinner as get- 
ting big-eyed about it and him. Those of us who are 
naughty aren't nearly so naughty as we like to think; nor 
are those of us who are nice nearly so nice. ? Our virtues 
and our failings are perhaps to an unsuspected degree 
the result of the circumstances in which we are placed. 
The way to improve individuals is to improve these cir- 
cumstances; and the way to start at improving the circum- 
stances is by looking honestly and fearlessly at things as 
they are. We must know our world and ourselves before 
we can know what should be kept and what changed. And 
the beginning of this wisdom is in seeing sex relations 
rationally. Until that fundamental matter is brought under 
the sway of good common sense, improvement in other 
directions will be slow indeed. Let us stop lying to others 
to ourselves. 

D. G. P. 

July, 1908. 



SUSAN LENOX 



Y | ^HE child's dead," said Nora, the nurse. 

It was the upstairs sitting-room in one of the 
pretentious houses of Sutherland, oldest and 
most charming of the towns on the Indiana bank of 
the Ohio. The two big windows were open ; their limp 
and listless draperies showed that there was not the 
least motion in the stifling humid air of the July after- 
noon. At the center of the room stood an oblong table ; 
over it were neatly spread several thicknesses of white 
cotton cloth ; naked upon them lay the body of a new- 
born girl baby. At one side of the table nearer the 
window stood Nora. Hers were the hard features and 
corrugated skin popularly regarded as the result of a 
life of toil, but in fact the result of a life of defiance to 
the laws of health. As additional penalties for that 
same self-indulgence she had an enormous bust and 
hips, thin face and arms, hollow, sinew-striped neck. 
The young man, blond and smooth faced, at the other 
side of the table and facing the light, was Doctor 
Stevens, a recently graduated pupil of the famous 
Schulze of Saint Christopher who as much as any other 
one man is responsible for the rejection of hocus-pocus 
and the injection of common sense into American medi- 
cine. For upwards of an hour young Stevens, coat 

1 



SUSAN LENOX 



off and shirt sleeves rolled to his shoulders, had been 
toiling with the lifeless form on the table. He had 
tried everything his training, his reading and his ex- 
perience suggested all the more or less familiar de- 
vices similar to those indicated for cases of drowning. 
Nora had watched him, at first with interest and hope, 
then with interest alone, finally with swiftly deepening 
disapproval, as her compressed lips and angry eyes 
plainly revealed. It seemed to her his effort was de- 
generating into sacrilege, into defiance of an obvious 
decree of the Almighty. However, she had not ven- 
tured to speak until the young man, with a muttered 
ejaculation suspiciously like an imprecation, straight- 
ened his stocky figure and began to mop the sweat from 
his face, hands and bared arms. 

When she saw that her verdict had not been heard, 
she repeated it more emphatically. "The child's dead," 
said she, "as I told you from the set-out." She made 
the sign of the cross on her forehead and bosom, while 
her fat, dry lips moved in a "Hail, Mary." 

The young man did not rouse from his reverie. He 
continued to gaze with a baffled expression at the tiny 
form, so like a whimsical caricature of humanity. He 
showed that he had heard the woman's remark by 
saying, to himself rather than to her, "Dead? What's 
that? Merely another name for ignorance." But the 
current of his thought did not swerve. It held to the 
one course : What would his master, the dauntless, the 
infinitely resourceful Schulze, do if he were confronted 
by this intolerable obstacle of a perfect machine refus- 
ing to do its duty and pump vital force through an 
eagerly waiting body? "He'd make it go, I'd bet my 
life," the young man muttered. "I'm ashamed of my- 
self." 



SUSAN LENOX 



As if the reproach were just the spur his courage 
and his intelligence had needed, his face suddenly 
glowed with the upshooting fire of an inspiration. He 
thrust the big white handkerchief into his hip pocket, 
laid one large strong hand upon the small, beautifully 
arched chest of the baby. Nora, roused by his ex- 
pression even more than by his gesture, gave an ex- 
clamation of horror. "Don't touch it again," she cried, 
between entreaty and command. "You've done all you 
can and more." 

Stevens was not listening. "Such a fine baby, too," 
he said, hesitating the old woman mistakenly fancied 
it was her words that made him pause. "I feel no good 
at all," he went on, as if reasoning with himself, "no 
good at all, losing both the mother and the child." 

"She didn't want to live," replied Nora. Her glances 
stole somewhat fearfully toward the door of the ad- 
joining room the bedroom where the mother lay dead. 
"There wasn't nothing but disgrace ahead for both of 
them. Everybody'll be glad." 

"Such a fine baby," muttered the abstracted young 
doctor. 

"Love-children always is," said Nora. She was 
looking sadly and tenderly down at the tiny, sym- 
metrical form symmetrical to her and the doctor's 
expert eyes. "Such a deep chest," she sighed. "Such 
pretty hands and feet. A real love-child." There 
she glanced nervously at the doctor; it was meet and 
proper and pious to speak well of the dead, but she 
felt she might be going rather far for a "good woman." 

"I'll try it," cried the young man in a resolute tone. 
"It can't do any harm, and ' 

Without finishing his sentence he laid hold of the 
body by the ankles, swung it clear of the table. As 



SUSAN LENOX 



Nora saw it dangling head downwards like a dressed 
suckling pig on a butcher's hook she vented a scream 
and darted round the table to stop by main force this 
revolting desecration of the dead. Stevens called out 
sternly: "Mind your business, Nora! Push the table 
against the wall and get out of the way. I want all 
the room there is." 

"Oh, Doctor for the blessed Jesus' sake " 

"Push back that table I" 

Nora shrank before his fierce eyes. She thought 
his exertions, his disappointment and the heat had com- 
bined to topple him over into insanity. She retreated 
toward the farther of the open windows. With a curse 
at her stupidity Stevens kicked over the table, used 
his foot vigorously in thrusting it to the wall. "Now !" 
exclaimed he, taking his stand in the center of the 
room and gauging the distance of ceiling, floor and 
walls. 

Nora, her back against the window frame, her fingers 
sunk in her big loose bosom, stared petrified. Stevens, 
like an athlete swinging an Indian club, whirled the 
body round and round his head, at the full length of 
his powerful arms. More and more rapidly he swung 
it, until his breath came and went in gasps and the 
sweat was trickling in streams down his face and neck. 
Round and round between ceiling and floor whirled 
the naked body of the baby round and round for 
minutes that seemed hours to the horrified nurse 
round and round with all the strength and speed the 
young man could put forth round and round until 
the room was a blur before his throbbing eyes, until 
his expression became fully as demoniac as Nora had 
been fancying it. Just as she was recovering from 
her paralysis of horror and was about to fly shrieking 



SUSAN LENOX 



from the room she was halted by a sound that made 
her draw in air until her bosom swelled as if it would 
burst its gingham prison. She craned eagerly toward 
Stevens. He was whirling the body more furiously 
than ever. 

"Was that you?" asked Nora hoarsely. "Or was 
it " She paused, listened. 

The sound came again the sound of a drowning 
person fighting for breath. 

"It's it's " muttered Nora. "What is it, 

Doctor?" 

"Life!" panted Stevens, triumph in his glistening, 
streaming face. "Life!" 

He continued to whirl the little form, but not so 
rapidly or so vigorously. And now the sound was 
louder, or, rather, less faint, less uncertain was a 
cry was the cry of a living thing. "She's alive 
alive!" shrieked the woman, and in time with his move- 
ments she swayed to and fro from side to side, laugh- 
ing, weeping, wringing her hands, patting her bosom, 
her cheeks. She stretched out her arms. "My prayers 
are answered!" she cried. "Don't kill her, you brute! 
Give her to me. You shan't treat a baby that way." 

The unheeding doctor kept on whirling until the 
cry was continuous, a low but lusty wail of angry 
protest. Then he stopped, caught the baby up in 
both arms, burst out laughing. "You little minx!" 
he said or, rather, gasped a tenderness quite mater- 
nal in his eyes. "But I got you! Nora, the table." 

Nora righted the table, spread and smoothed the 
cloths, extended her scrawny eager arms for the baby. 
Stevens with a jerk of the head motioned her aside, 
laid the baby on the table. He felt for the pulse at 
its wrist, bent to listen at the heart. Quite useless. 

5 



SUSAN LENOX 



That strong, rising howl of helpless fury was proof 
enough. Her majesty the baby was mad through and 
through therefore alive through and through. 

"Grand heart action!" said the young man. He 
stood aloof, hands on his hips, head at a proud angle. 
"You never saw a healthier specimen. It'll be many 
a year, bar accidents, before she's that near death 
again." 

But it was Nora's turn not to hear. She was sooth- 
ing and swaddling the outraged baby. "There 
there !" she crooned. "Nora'll take care of you. The 
bad man shan't come near my little precious no, the 
wicked man shan't touch her again." 

The bedroom door opened. At the slight noise su- 
perstitious Nora paled, shriveled within her green and 
white checked gingham. She slowly turned her head 
as if on this day of miracles she expected yet another 
the resurrection of the resurrected baby's mother, 
"poor Miss Lorella." But Lorella Lenox was forever 
tranquil in the sleep that engulfed her and the sor- 
rows in which she had been entangled by an impetuous, 
trusting heart. The apparition in the doorway was 
commonplace the mistress of the house, Lorella's 
elder and married sister Fanny neither fair nor dark, 
neither tall nor short, neither thin nor fat, neither 
pretty nor homely, neither stupid nor bright, neither 
neat nor dowdy one of that multitude of excellent, 
unobtrusive human beings who make the restful 
stretches in a world of agitations and who respond 
to the impetus of circumstance as unresistingly as 
cloud to wind. 

As the wail of the child smote upon Fanny's ears 
she lifted her head, startled, and cried out sharply, 
"What's that?" 

6 



SUSAN LENOX 



"We've saved the baby, Mrs. Warham," replied the 
young doctor, beaming on her through his glasses. 

"Oh !" said Mrs. Warham. And she abruptly seated 
herself on the big chintz-covered sofa beside the door. 

"And it's a lovely child," pleaded Nora. Her 
woman's instinct guided her straight to the secret of 
the conflict raging behind Mrs. Warham's unhappy 
face. 

"The finest girl in the world," cried Stevens, well- 
meaning but tactless. 

"Girl !" exclaimed Fanny, starting up from the sofa. 
"Is it a girl?" 

Nora nodded. The young man looked downcast ; he 
was realizing the practical side of his victory for science 
the consequences to the girl child, to all the relatives. 

"A girl!" moaned Fanny, sinking to the sofa again. 
"God have mercy on us !" 

Louder and angrier rose the wail. Fanny, after a 
brief struggle with herself, hurried to the table, looked 
down at the tiny helplessness. Her face softened. She 
had been a mother four times. Only one had lived 
her fair little two-year-old Ruth and she would never 
have any more children. The tears glistened in her 
eyes. "What ails you, Nora Mulvey?" she demanded. 
"Why aren't you 'tending to this poor little crea- 
ture?" 

Nora sprang into action, but she wrapped the baby 
herself. The doctor in deep embarrassment withdrew 
to the farther window. She fussed over the baby linger- 
ingly, but finally resigned it to the nurse. "Take it 
into the bathroom," she said, "where everything's ready 

to feed it though I never dreamed ' As Nora 

was about to depart, she detained her. "Let me look 
at it again." 

7 



SUSAN LENOX 



The nurse understood that Fanny Warham was 
searching for evidence of the mysterious but sus- 
pected paternity whose secret Lorella, with true Lenox 
obstinacy, had guarded to the end. The two women 
scanned the features. A man would at a glance have 
abandoned hope of discovering anything from a chart 
so vague and confused as that wrinkled, twisted, swol- 
len face of the newborn. Not so a woman. Said Nora: 

"She seems to me to favor the Lenoxes. But I 

think I kind o' think I see a trace of of " 

There she halted, waiting for encouragement. 

"Of Gait?" suggested Fanny, in an undertone. 

"Of Gait," assented Nora, her tone equally discreet. 
"That nose is Gait-like and the set of the ears and 
a kind of something to the neck and shoulders." 

"Maybe so," said Fanny doubtfully. She shook her 
head drearily, sighed. "What's the use? Lorella's 
gone. And this morning General Gait came down to 
see my husband with a letter he'd got from Jimmie. 
Jimmie denies it. Perhaps so. Again, perhaps the 
General wrote him to write that, and threatened him 
if he didn't. But what's the use? We'll never know." 

And they never did. 

When young Stevens was leaving, George Warham 
waylaid him at the front gate, separated from the 
spacious old creeper-clad house by long lawns and an 
avenue of elms. "I hear the child's going to live," said 
he anxiously. 

"I've never seen anything more alive," replied 
Stevens. 

Warham stared gloomily at the ground. He was 
evidently ashamed of his feelings, yet convinced that 
they were human and natural. A moment's silence be- 
tween the men, then Stevens put his hand on the gate 

8 



SUSAN LENOX 



latch. "Did did my wife -" began Warham. 
"Did she say what she calculated to do?" 

"Not a word, George." After a silence. "You 
know how fond she is of babies." 

"Yes, I know," replied Warham. "Fanny is a true 
woman if ever there was one." With a certain 
defiance, "And Lorella she was a sweet, womanly 
girl!" 

"As sweet and good as she was pretty," replied 
Stevens heartily. 

"The way she kept her mouth shut about that hound, 
whoever he is!" Warham's Roman face grew savage, 
revealed in startling apparition a stubborn cruelty of 
which there was not a trace upon the surface. "If I 
ever catch the I'll fill him full of holes." 

"He'd be lynched whoever he is," said Stevens. 

"That's right!" cried Warham. "This is the North, 
but it's near enough to Kentucky to know what to 
do with a wretch of that sort." His face became 
calmer. "That poor little baby! He'll have a hard 
row to hoe." 

Stevens flushed a guilty red. "It's it's a girl," 
he stammered. 

Warham stared. "A girl!" he cried. Then his face 
reddened and in a furious tone he burst out: "Now 
don't that beat the devil for luck ! . . . A girl ! Good 
Lord a girl!" 

"Nobody in this town'll blame her," consoled 
Stevens. 

"You know better than that, Bob! A girl! Why, 
it's downright wicked ... I wonder what Fanny al- 
lows to do?" He showed what fear was in his mind 
by wheeling savagely on Stevens with a stormy, "We 
can't keep her we simply can't!" 

9 



SUSAN LENOX 



"What's to become of her?" protested Stevens 
gently. 

Warham made a wild vague gesture with both arms. 
"Damn if I know! I've got to look out for my own 
daughter. I won't have it. Damn it, I won't have it !" 

Stevens lifted the gate latch. "Well 

"Good-by, George. I'll look in again this evening." 
And knowing the moral ideas of the town, all he could 
muster by way of encouragement was a half-hearted 
"Don't borrow trouble." 

But Warham did not hear. He was moving up the 
tanbark walk toward the house, muttering to him- 
self. When Fanny, unable longer to conceal Lorella's 
plight, had told him, pity and affection for his sweet 
sister-in-law who had made her home with them for 
five years had triumphed over his principles. He had 
himself arranged for Fanny to hide Lorella in New 
York until she could safely return. But just as the 
sisters were about to set out, Lorella, low in body 
and in mind, fell ill. Then George and Fanny, too 
had striven with her to give them the name of her 
betrayer, that he might be compelled to do her justice. 
Lorella refused. "I told him," she said, "and he I 
never want to see him again." They pleaded the dis- 
grace to them, but she replied that he would not marry 
her even if she would marry him; and she held to her 
refusal with the firmness for which the Lenoxes were 
famous. They suspected Jimmie Gait, because he 
had been about the most attentive of the young men 
until two or three months before, and because he had 
abruptly departed for Europe to study architecture. 
Lorella denied that it was he. "If you kill him," 
she said to Warham, "you kill an innocent man." War- 
ham was so exasperated by her obstinacy that he was 

10 



SUSAN LENOX 



at first for taking her at her offer and letting her 
go away. But Fanny would not hear of it, and he 
acquiesced. Now "This child must be sent away off 
somewhere, and never be heard of again," he said to 
himself. "If it'd been a boy, perhaps it might have 
got along. But a girl 

"There's nothing can be done to make things right 
for a girl that's got no father and no name." 

The subject did not come up between him and his 
wife until about a week after Lorella's funeral. But 
he was thinking of nothing else. .At_his big grocery 
store wholesale and retail he laT morosely in his" 
office, brooding over the disgrace and the danger of 
deeper disgrace for he saw what a hold the baby 
already had upon his wife. He was ashamed to ap- 
pear in the streets; he knew what was going on be- 
hind the sympathetic faces, heard the whisperings as 
if they had been trumpetings. And he was as much 
afraid of his own soft heart as of his wife's. But for 
the sake of his daughter he must be firm and just. 

One morning, as he was leaving the house after 
breakfast, he turned back and said abruptly: "Fan, 
don't you think you'd better send the baby away and 
get it over with?" 

"No," said his wife unhesitatingly and he knew his 
worst suspicion was correct. "I've made up my mind 
to keep her." 

"It isn't fair to Ruth." 

"Send it away where?" 

"Anywhere. Get it adopted in Chicago Cincin- 
nati Louisville." 

"Lorella's baby?" 

"When she and Ruth grow up what then?" 

"People ain't so low as some think." 

11 



SUSAN LENOX 



" 'The sins of the parents are visited on the chil- 
dren unto ' " 

"I don't care," interrupted Fanny. "I love her. 
I'm going to keep her. Wait here a minute." 

When she came back she had the baby in her arms. 
"Just look," she said softly. 

George frowned, tried not to look, but was soon 
drawn and held by the sweet, fresh, blooming face, so 
smooth, so winning, so innocent. 

"And think how she was sent back to life from 
beyond the grave. It must have been for some pur- 
pose." 

Warham groaned, "Oh, Lord, I don't know what 
to do ! But it ain't fair to our Ruth." 

"I don't see it that way. . . . Kiss her, George." 

Warham kissed one of the soft cheeks, swelling like 
a ripening apple. The baby opened wide a pair of 
WflSrful jdari.je^esi^^rew up its chubby arms and 
laughed such a laugh! . . . There was no more talk 
of sending her away. 



II 

NOT quite seventeen years later, on a fine June 
morning, Ruth Warham issued hastily from 
the house and started down the long tanbark 
walk from the front veranda to the street gate. She 
was now nineteen nearer twenty and a very pretty 
young woman, indeed, f She had grown up one of 
those small slender blondes, exquisite and doll-like, 
who cannot help seeming fresh and sweet, whatever 
the truth about them, without or within.1 This morning 
she had on a new summer dress of a blue that matched 
her eyes and harmonized with her coloring. She was 
looking her best, and she had the satisfying, confi- 
dence-giving sense that it was so. Like most of the 
unattached girls of small towns, she was always dream- 
ing of the handsome stranger who would fall in love 
the thrilling, love-story kind of love at first sight. 
The weather plays, a conspicuous part in the ro- 
mancings of youth ; she felt that this was precisely the 
kind of day fate would be most likely to select for 
the meeting. Just before dressing she had been read- , c ^^ 
ing about the wonderful him in Robert Chambers' 
latest story and she had spent fimTffteeninmutes -\^V 
of blissful reverie over the accompanying Fisher il- 
lustration. Now she was issuing hopefully forth, as 
hopefully as if adventure were the rule and order of 
life in Sutherland, instead of a desperate monotony 
made the harder to bear by the glory of its scen- 
ery. 

She had got only far enough from the house to be 

13 



SUSAN LENOX 



visible to the second-story windows when a young 
voice called: 

"Ruthie ! Aren't you going to wait for me?" 

Ruth halted; an expression anything but harmoni- 
ous with the pretty blue costume stormed across her 
face. "I won't have her along!" she muttered. "I 
simply won't!" She turned slowly and, as she turned, 
effaced every trace of temper with a dexterity which 
might have given an onlooker a poorer opinion of her 
character than perhaps the facts as to human nature 
justify. The countenance she presently revealed to 
those upper windows was sunny and sweet. No one 
was visible ; but the horizontal slats in one of the only 
closed pair of shutters and a vague suggestion of 
movement rather than form behind them gave the im- 
pression that a woman, not far enough dressed to 
risk being seen from the street, was hidden there. 
Evidently Ruth knew, for it was toward this window 
that she directed her gaze and the remark: "Can't 
wait, dear. I'm in a great hurry. Mamma wants the 
silk right away and I've got to match it." 

"But I'll be only a minute," pleaded the voice a 
much more interesting, more musical voice than Ruth's 
rather shrill and thin high soprano. 

"No I'll meet you up at papa's store." 

"All right." 

Ruth resumed her journey. She smiled to herself. 
"That means," said she, half aloud, "I'll steer clear 
of the store this morning." 

But as she was leaving the gate into the wide, shady, 
sleepy street, who should come driving past in a vil- 
lage cart but Lottie Wright! And Lottie reined her 
pony in to the sidewalk and in the shade of a sym- 
metrical walnut tree proceeded to invite Ruth to a 

14 



SUSAN LENOX 



dance a long story, as Lottie had to tell all about 
it, the decorations, the favors, the food, who would 
be there, what she was going to wear, and so on and 
on. Ruth was intensely interested but kept remem- 
bering something that caused her to glance uneasily 
from time to time up the tanbark walk under the 
arching boughs toward the house. Even if she had 
not been interested, she would hardly have ventured to 
break off; Lottie Wright was the only daughter of 
the richest man in Sutherland and, therefore, social 
arbiter to the younger set. 

Lottie stopped abruptly, said : "Well, I really must 
get on. And there's your cousin coming down the 
walk. I know you've been waiting for her." 

Ruth tried to keep in countenance, but a blush of 
shame and a frown of irritation came in spite of her. 

"I'm sorry I can't ask Susie, too," pursued Lottie, 
in a voice of hypocritical regret. "But there are to 
be exactly eighteen couples and I couldn't." 

"Of course not," said Ruth heartily. "Susan'll un- 
derstand." 

"I wouldn't for the world do anything to hurt her 
feelings," continued Lottie with the self-complacent 
righteousness of a deacon telling the congregation 
how good "grace" has made him. Her prominent com- 
monplace brown eyes were gazing up the walk, an 
expression distressingly like envious anger in them. 
She had a thick, pudgy face, an oily skin, an outcrop- 
ping of dull red pimples on the chin. Many women 
can indulge their passion for sweets at meals and sweets 
between meals without serious injury to complexion; 
Lottie Wright, unluckily, couldn't. 

"I feel sorry for Susie," she went on, in the ludicrous 
patronizing tone that needs no describing to anyone 

15 



SUSAN LENOX 



acquainted with any fashionable set anywhere from 
China to Peru. "And I think the way you all treat 
her is simply beautiful. But, then, everybody feels 
sorry for her and tries to be kind. She knows about 
herself, I mean doesn't she, Ruthie?" 

"I guess so," replied Ruth, almost hanging her head 
in her mortification. "She's very good and sweet." 

"Indeed, she is," said Lottie. "And father says 
she's far and away the prettiest girl in town." 

With this parting shot, which struck precisely where 
she had aimed, Lottie gathered up the reins and drove 
on, calling out a friendly "Hello, Susie dearie," to 
Susan Lenox, who, on her purposely lagging way from 
the house, had nearly reached the gate. 

"What a nasty thing Lottie Wright is !" exclaimed 
Ruth to her cousin. 

"She has a mean tongue," admitted Susan, tall and 
slim and straight, with glorious dark hair and a skin 
healthily pallid and as smooth as clear. "But she's 
got a good heart. She gives a lot away to poor peo- 
ple." 

"Because she likes to patronize and be kowtowed 
to," retorted Ruth. "She's mean, I tell you." Then, 
with a vicious gleam in the blue eyes that hinted a 
deeper and less presentable motive for the telling, she 
added: "Why, she's not going to ask you to her 
party." 

Susan was obviously unmoved. "She has the right 
to ask whom she pleases. And" she laughed "if I 
were giving a party I'd not want to ask her though 
I might do it for fear she'd feel left out." 

"Don't you feel left out?" 

Susan shook her head. "I seem not to care much 
about going to parties lately. The boys don't like 

16 



SUSAN LENOX 






to dance with me, and I get tired of sitting the dances 
out." 

This touched Ruth's impulsively generous heart and 
woman's easy tears filled her eyes; her cousin's re- 
mark was so pathetic, the more pathetic because its 
pathos was absolutely unconscious. Ruth shot a pity- 
ing glance at Susan, but the instant she saw the love- 
liness of the features upon which that expression of 
unconsciousness lay like innocence upon a bed of roses, 
the pity vanished from her eyes to be replaced by a 
disfiguring envy as hateful as an evil emotion can be 
at nineteen. Susan still lacked nearly a month of 
seventeen, but she seemed older than Ruth because 
her mind and her body had developed beyond her years 
or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say be- 
yond the average of growth at seventeen. Also, her 
personality was stronger, far more definite. Ruth 
tried to believe herself the cleverer and the more beauti- 
ful, at times with a certain success. But as she hap- 
pened to be a shrewd young person an inheritance 
from the Warhams she was haunted by misgivings 
and worse. Those whose vanity never suffers from 
these torments will, of course, condemn her; but who- 
ever has known the pain of having to concede superi- 
ority to someone with whom she or he is constantly 
?/ ^trasled will not be altogether without sympathy 
for Ruth in her struggles, often vain struggles, against 
theVmortal sin of jealousy. 

yThe truth is, Susan was beyond question the beauty 
of Sutherland. Her eyes, very dark at birth, had 
changed to a soft, dreamy violet-gray. Hair and 
coloring, lashes and eyebrows remained dark; thus 
her eyes and the intense red of her lips had that 
vicinage of contrast which is necessary to distinction. 

17 



SUSAN LENOX 



To look at her was to be at once fascinated by those 
violet-gray eyes by their color, by their clearness, 
by their regard of calm, grave inquiry, by their mys- 
tery not untouched by a certain sadness. She had a 
thick abundance of wavy hair, not so long as Ruth's 
golden braids, but growing beautifully instead of thinly 
about her low brow, about her delicately modeled ears, 
and at the back of her exquisite neck. Her slim nose 
departed enough from the classic line to prevent the 
suggestion of monotony that is in all purely classic 
faces. Her nostrils had the sensitiveness that more 
than any other outward sign indicates the imaginative 
temperament. Her chin and throat to look at them 
was to know where her lover would choose to kiss her 
first. | When she smiled her large even teeth were 
dazzling. And the smile itself was exceedingly sweet 
and winning, with the violet-gray eyes casting over it 
that seriousness verging on sadness which is the natu- 
ral outlook of a highly intelligent nature. For wh' 1 
stupid vain people are suspicious and easily offencfc 
only the intelligent are truly sensitive keenly su 
ceptible to all sensations. The dull ear is suspicioi 
the acute ear is sensitive. 

The intense red of her lips, at times so vivid th_ 
it seemed artificial, and their sinuous, sensitive curve 
indicated a temperament that was frankly proclaim .-1 
in her figure sensuous, graceful, slender the figure 
of girlhood in its perfection and of perfect womai 
hood, too like those tropical flowers that look ; 
nocent and young and fresh, yet stir in the beholde 
passionate longings and visions. Her walk was worthy 
of face and figure free and firm and graceful, the 
small head carried proudly without haughtiness. 

This physical beauty had as an aureole to illumi- 

18 



SUSAN LENOX 



nate it and to set it off a manner that was wholly 
devoid of mannerisms of those that men and women 
think out and exhibit to give added charm to them- 
selves tricks of cuteness, as lisp and baby stare; 
tricks of dignity, as grave brow and body always 
carried rigidly erect; tricks of sweetness and kindli- 
ness, as the ever ready smile and the warm hand- 
clasp. Susan, the interested in the world about her, 
Susan, the self-unconscious, had none of these tricks. 
She was at all times her own self. Beauty is any- 
thing but rare, likewise intelligence. But this quality 
of naturalness is the greatest of all qualities. It made 
Susan Lenox unique. 

It was not strange nor inexcusable that the girls 
and their parents had begun to pity Susan as soon as 
this beauty developed and this personality had begun 
to exhale its delicious perfume. It was but natural 
that they should start the whole town to "being kind 
to the poor thing." And it was equally the matter 
of course that they should have achieved their object 
should have impressed the conventional masculine 
mind of the town with such a sense of the "poor thing's" 
social isolation and "impossibility" that the boys ceased 
to be her eagerly admiring friends, were afraid to be 
alone with her, to ask her to dance. Women are 
conventional as a business; but* j with men convention- 
ality is a groveling superstition. jThe youths of Suther- 
land longed for, sighed for the alluring, sweet, bright 
Susan; but__Uiey_ dared not, with all the women saying 
"Poor thing! WhaFaT^pity a nice man can't afford 
to have anything to do with her !" J It was an interest- A\ 
ing typical example of the profound snobbishness of 
the male character. Rarely, after Susan was six- 
teen, did any of the boys venture to ask her to dance 

19 



SUSAN LENOX 



and so give himself the joy of encircling that lovely 
form of hers; yet from babyhood her fascination for 
the male sex, regardless of age or temperament, had 
been uncanny "naturally, she being a love-child," 
said the old women. And from fourteen on, it grew 
steadily. 

It would be difficult for one who has not lived in 
a small town to understand exactly the kind of iso- 
lation to which Sutherland consigned the girl with- 
out her realizing it, without their fully realizing it 
themselves. Everyone was friendly with her. A 
stranger would not have noticed any difference in 
the treatment of her and of her cousin Ruth. Yet 
not one of the young men would have thought of marry- 
ing her, would have regarded her as his equal or the 
equal of his sisters. She went to all the general en- 
tertainments. She was invited to all the houses when 
failure to invite her would have seemed pointed but 
only then. She did not think much about herself; she 
was fond of study fonder of reading fondest, per- 
haps, of making dresses and hats, especially for Ruth, 
whom she thought much prettier than herself. Thus, 
she was only vaguely, subconsciously conscious of 
there being something peculiar and mysterious in her 
lot. 

This isolation, rather than her dominant quality of 
self-effacing consideration for others, was the chief 
cause of the extraordinary innocence of her mind. No 
servant, no girl, no audacious boy ever ventured to 
raise with her any question remotely touching onxsex. 
All those questions seemed toyPuritan Sutherland/in 
any circumstances highly indelicate; in relation to Su- 
san they seemed worse than indelicate, dreadful though 
the thought was that there could be anything worse 

20 



SUSAN LENOX 



than indelicacy. At fifteen she remained as unaware 
of even the existence of the mysteries of sex as she 
had been at birth. Nothing definite enough to arouse 
her curiosity had ever been said in her hearing; and 
such references to those matters as she found in her 
reading passed her by, as any matter of which he 
has not the beginnings of knowledge will fail to ar- 
rest the attention of any reader. It was generally 
assumed that she knew all about her origin, that some- 
one had, some time or other, told her. Even her 
Aunt Fanny thought so, thought she was hiding the 
knowledge deep in her heart, explained in that way 
her content with the solitude of books and sewing. 

Susan was the worst possible influence in Ruth's 
life. Our character is ourself, is born with us, clings 
to us as the flesh to our bones, persists unchanged 
until we die. But upon the circumstances that sur- 
round us depends what part of our character shall 
show itself. Ruth was born with perhaps something 
more than the normal tendency to be envious and 
petty. But these qualities might never have shown 
themselves conspicuously had there been no Susan 
for her to envy. The very qualities that made 
Susan lovable reacted upon the pretty, pert blond 
crousin to make her the more unlovable. Again and 
again, when she and Susan were about to start out 
together, and Susan would appear in beauty and grace 
of person and dress, Ruth would excuse herself, would 
fly to her room to lock herself in and weep and rage 
and hate. And at the high school, when Susan scored 
in a recitation or in some dramatic entertainment, 
Ruth would sit with bitten lip and surging bosom, pale 
with jealousy. Susan's isolation, the way the boys 
avoided having with her the friendly relations that 
2 01 



SUSAN LENOX 



spring up naturally among young people these gave 
Ruth a partial revenge. But Susan, seemingly un- 
conscious, rising sweetly and serenely above all pet- 
tiness 

Ruth's hatred deepened, though she hid it from 
everyone, almost from herself. And she depended more 
and more utterly upon Susan to select her clothes for 
her, to dress her, to make her look well; for Susan 
had taste and Ruth had not. 

On that bright June morning as the cousins went 
up Main Street together, Susan gave herself over 
to the delight of sun and air and of the flowering 
gardens before the attractive houses they were pass- 
ing; Ruth, with the day quite dark for her, all its 
j oys gone, was fighting against a hatred of her cousin 
so vicious that it made her afraid. "I'll have no chance 
at all," her angry heart was saying, "so long as Su- 
sie's around, keeping everybody reminded of the fam- 
ily shame." And that was a truth she could not 
downface, mean and ungenerous though thinking it 
might be. The worst of all was that Susan, in a sim- 
ple white dress and an almost untrimmed white straw 
hat with a graceful curve to its brim and set at the right 
angle upon that wavy dark hair, was making the 
beauty of her short blond cousin dim and somehow 
common. 

At the corner of Maple Street Ruth's self-control 
reached its limit. She halted, took -the sample of 
silk from her glove. There was not a hint of her feel- 
ings in her countenance, for shame and the desire to 
seem to be better than she was were fast making her 
an adept in hypocrisy. "You go ahead and match 
it for mamma," said she. "I've got to run in and see 
Bessie Andrews." 



SUSAN LENOX 



"But I promised Uncle George I'd come and help 
him with the monthly bills," objected Susan. 

"You can do both. It'll take you only a minute. 
If mother had known you were going uptown, she'd 
never have trusted me." And Ruth had tucked the 
sample in Susan's belt and was hurrying out Maple 
Street. There was nothing for Susan to do but go 
on alone. 

Two squares, and she was passing the show place 
of Sutherland, the home of the Wrights. She paused 
to regale herself with a glance into the grove of mag- 
nificent elms with lawns and bright gardens beyond 
for the Wright place filled the entire square between 
Broad and Myrtle Streets and from Main to Monroe. 
She was starting on when she saw among the trees 
a young man in striped flannels. At the same instant 
he saw her. 

"HeHo, Susie!" he cried. "I was thinking about 
you." 

Susan halted. "When did you get back, Sam?" she 
asked. "I heard you were going to stay on in the 
East all summer." 

After they had shaken hands across the hedge that 
came almost to their shoulders, Susan began to move 
on. Sam kept pace with her on his side of the care- 
fully trimmed boxwood barrier. "I'm going back East 
in about two weeks," said he. "It's awfully dull here 
after Yale. I^just blew in haven't seen Lottie or 
father yet. Coming to Lottie's party?" 

"No," said Susan. 

"Why not?" 

Susan laughed merrily. "The best reason in the 
world. Lottie has only invited just so many 
couples." 

23 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I'll see about that," cried Sam. "You'll be asked 
all right, all right." 

"No," said Susan. She was one of those whose 
way of saying no gives its full meaning and intent. 
"I'll not be asked, thank you and I'll not go if I am." 

By this time they were at the gate. He opened it, 
came out into the street. He was a tallish, athletic 
youth, dark, and pleasing enough of feature to be 
called handsome. He was dressed with a great deal 
of style of the efflorescent kind called sophomoric. He 
was a Sophomore at Yale. But that was not so largely 
responsible for his self-complacent expression as the 
deference he had got from babyhood through being 
heir apparent to the Wright fortune. He had a 
sophisticated way of inspecting Susan's charms of 
figure no less than charms of face that might have 
made a disagreeable impression upon an experienced 
onlooker. There is a time for feeling without know- 
ing why one feels; and that period ought not to have 
been passed for young Wright for many a year. 

"My, but you're looking fine, Susie!" exclaimed he. 
"I haven't seen anyone that could hold a candle to 
you even in the East." 

Susan laughed and blushed with pleasure. "Go on," 
said she with raillery. "I love it." 

"Come in and sit under the trees and I'll fill all the 
time you'll give me." 

This reminded her. "I must hurry uptown," she 
said. "Good-by." 

"Hold on!" cried he. "What have you got to do?" 
He happened to glance down the street. "Isn't that 
Ruth coming?" 

"So it is," said Susan. "I guess Bessie Andrews 
wasn't at home." 

4 



SUSAN LENOX 



Sam waved at Ruth and called, "Hello! Glad to 
see you." 

Ruth was all sweetness and smiles. She and her 
mother quite privately and with nothing openly said 
on either side had canvassed Sam as a "possibility." 
There had been keen disappointment at the news that 
he was not coming home for the long vacation. "How 
are you, Sam?" said she, as they shook hands. "My, 
Susie, doesn't he look New York?" 

Sam tried to conceal that he was swelling with pride. 
"Oh, this is nothing," said he deprecatingly. 

Ruth's heart was a-flutter. The Fisher picture of 
the Chambers love-maker, thought she, might almost 
be a photograph of Sam. She was glad she had obeyed 
the mysterious impulse to make a toilette of unusual 
elegance that morning. How get rid of Susan? "7'11 
take the sample, Susie," said she. "Then you won't 
have to keep father waiting." 

Susie gave up the sample. Her face was no longer 
so bright and interested. 

"Oh, drop it," cried Sam. "Come in both of you. 
I'll telephone for Joe Andrews and we'll take a drive 
or anything you like." He was looking at Susan. 

"Can't do it," replied Susan. "I promised Uncle 
George." 

"Oh, bother!" urged Sam. "Telephone him. It'll 
be all right won't it, Ruth?" 

"You don't know Susie," said Ruth, with a queer, 
strained laugh. "She'd rather die than break a prom- 
ise." 

"I must go," Susan now said. "Good-by." 

"Come on, Ruth," cried Sam. "Let's walk uptown 
with her." 

"And you can help match the silk," said Ruth. 

25 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Not for me," replied young Wright. Then to Su- 
san, "What've you got to do? Maybe it's something 
I could help at." 

"No. It's for Uncle George and me." 

"Well, I'll go as far as the store. Then we'll see." 

They were now in the business part of Main Street, 
were at Wilson's dry goods store. "You might find it 
here," suggested the innocent Susan to her cousin. 

Ruth colored, veiled her eyes to hide their flash. 
"I've got to go to the store first to get some money," 
she hastily improvised. 

Sam had been walking between the two girls. He 
now changed to the outside and, so, put himself next 
Susan alone, put Susan between him and Ruth. The 
maneuver seemed to be a mere politeness, but Ruth 
knew better. What fate had intended as her lucky 
day was being changed into unlucky by this cousin of 
hers. Ruth walked sullenly along, hot tears in her 
eyes and a choke in her throat, as she listened to Sam's 
flatterings of her cousin, and to Susan's laughing, de- 
lighted replies. She tried to gather herself together, 
to think up something funny or at least interesting with 
which to break into the tete-a-tete and draw Sam to 
herself. She could think nothing but envious, hateful 
thoughts. At the doors of Warham and Company, 
wholesale and retail grocers, the three halted. 

"I guess I'll go to Vandermark's," said Ruth. "I 
really don't need money. Come on, Sam." 

"No I'm going back home.^ I ought to see Lottie 
and father. My, but it's dull in this town !" 

"Well, so long," said Susan. She nodded, sparkling 
of hair and skin and eyes, and went into the store. 

Sam and Ruth watched her as she walked down the 
broad aisle between the counters. From the store came 

26 



SUSAN LENOX 



a mingling of odors of fruit, of spices, of freshly 
ground coffee. "Susan's an awful pretty girl, isn't 
she?" declared Sam with rude enthusiasm. 

"Indeed she is," replied Ruth as heartily and with 
an honest if discouraged effort to feel enthusiastic. 

"What a figure! And she has such a good walk. 
Most women walk horribly." 

"Come on to Vandermark's with me and I'll stroll 
back with you," offered Ruth. Sam was still gazing 
into the store where, far to the rear, Susan could be 
seen; the graceful head, the gently swelling bust, the 
soft lines of the white dress, the pretty ankles revealed 
by the short skirt there was, indeed, a profile worth 
a man's looking at on a fine June day. Ruth's eyes 
were upon Sam, handsome, dressed in the Eastern fash- 
ion, an ideal lover. "Come on, Sam," urged Ruth. 

"No, thanks," he replied absently. "I'll go back. 
Good luck!" And not glancing at her, he lifted his 
straw hat with its band of Yale blue and set out. 

Ruth moved slowly and disconsolately in the op- 
posite direction. She was ashamed of her thoughts; 
but shame never yet withheld anybody from being hu- 
man in thought. As she turned to enter Vandermark's 
she glanced down the street. There was Sam, returned 
and going into her father's store. She hesitated, could 
devise no plan of action, hurried into the dry goods 
store. Sinclair, the head salesman and the beau of 
Sutherland, was an especial friend of hers. The tall, 
slender, hungry-looking young man, devoured with am- 
bition for speedy wealth, had no mind to neglect so 
easy an aid to that ambition as nature gave him in 
making him a lady-charmer. He had resolved to marry 
either Lottie Wright or Ruth Warham Ruth pre- 
ferred, because, while Lottie would have many times 

27 



SUSAN LENOX 



more money, her skin made her a stiff dose for a 
young man brought up to the American tradition that 
the face is the woman. But that morning Sinclair 
exerted his charms in vain. Ruth was in a hurry, was 
distinctly rude, cut short what in other circumstances 
would have been a prolonged and delightful flirtation 
by tossing the sample on the counter and asking him 
to do the matching for her and to send the silk right 
away. Which said, she fairly bolted from the store. 

She arrived barely in time. Young Wright was 
issuing from Warham and Company. He smiled 
friendly enough, but Ruth knew where his thoughts 
were. "Get what you wanted?" inquired he, and went 
on to explain: "I came back to find out if you and 
Susie were to be at home this evening. Thought I'd 
call." 

Ruth paled with angry dismay. She was going to 
a party at the Sinclairs' one to which Susan was 
not invited. "Aren't you going to Sinclairs'?" said 
she. 

"I was. But I thought I'd rather call. Perhaps 
I'll go there later." 

He was coming to call on Susan ! All the way down 
Main Street to the Wright place Ruth fought against 
her mood of angry and depressed silence, tried to make 
the best of her chance to impress Sam. But Sam was 
absent and humiliatingly near to curt. He halted at 
his father's gate. She halted also, searched the 
grounds with anxious eyes for sign of Lottie that 
would give her the excuse for entering. 

"So long," said Sam. 

"Do come to Sinclairs' early. You always did dance 
so well." 

"Oh, dancing bores me," said the blase Sophomore. 

28 



SUSAN LENOX 



"But I'll be round before the shindy's over. I've got 
to take Lot home." 

He lifted the hat again with what both he and Ruth 
regarded as a gesture of most elegant carelessness. 
Ruth strolled reluctantly on, feeling as if her toilet 
had been splashed or crushed. As she entered the front 
door her mother, in a wrapper and curl papers, ap- 
peared at the head of the stairs. "Why!" cried she. 
"Where's the silk? It's for your dress tonight, you 
know." 

"It'll be along," was Ruth's answer, her tone dreary, 
her lip quivering. "I met Sam Wright." 

"Oh!" exclaimed her mother. "He's back, is he?" 

Ruth did not reply. She came on up the stairs, went 
into the sitting-room the room where Doctor Stevens 
seventeen years before had torn the baby Susan from 
the very claws of death. She flung herself down, buried 
her head in her arms upon that same table. She burst 
into a storm of tears. 

"Why, dearie dear," cried her mother, "whatever 
is the matter?" 

"It's wicked and hateful," sobbed the girl, "but 

Oh, mamma, I hate Susan! She was along, and Sam 
hardly noticed me, and he's coming here this evening 
to call." 

"But you'll be at Sinclairs'!" exclaimed Mrs. War- 
ham. 

"Not Susan," sobbed Ruth. "He wants to see only 
her." 

The members of the Second Presbyterian Church, 
of which Fanny Warham was about the most exemplary 
and assiduous female member, would hardly have rec- 
ognized the face encircled by that triple row of curl- 
papered locks, shinily plastered with quince-seed liquor. 

29 



SUSAN LENOX 



She was at woman's second critical age, and the strange 
emotions working in her mind of whose disorder no 
one had an inkling were upon the surface now. She 
ventured this freedom of facial expression because her 
daughter's face was hid. She did not speak. She 
laid a tender defending hand for an instant upon her 
daughter's shoulder like the caress of love and en- 
couragement the lioness gives her cub as she is about 
to give battle for it. Then she left the room. She 
did not know what to do, but she knew she must and 
would do something. 



m 



THE telephone was downstairs, in the rear end 
of the hall which divided the lower floor into 
two equal parts. But hardly had Mrs. Warham 
given the Sinclairs' number to the exchange girl when 
Ruth called from the head of the stairs: 

"What're you doing there, mamma?" 

"I'll tell Mrs. Sinclair you're sick and can't come. 
Then I'll send Susan in your place." 

"Don't!" cried Ruth, in an agitated, angry voice. 
"Ring off quick!" 

"Now, Ruth, let me " 

"Ring off!" ordered Ruth. "You mustn't do that. 
You'll have the whole town talking about how I'm 
throwing myself at Sam's head and that I'm jealous 
of Susan." 

Mrs. Warham said, "Never mind" into the tele- 
phone sender and hung up the receiver. She was 
frightened, but not convinced. Hers was a slow, old- 
fashioned mind, and to it the scheme it had worked 
out seemed a model of skillful duplicity. But Ruth, 
of the younger and subtler generation, realized in- 
stantly how transparent the thing was. Mrs. War- 
ham was abashed but not angered by her daughter's 
curt contempt. 

"It's the only way I can think of," said she. "And 
I still don't see " 

"Of course you don't," cut in Ruth, ruffled by the 
perilously narrow escape from being the laughing 
stock of the town. "People aren't as big fools as they 

81 



SUSAN LENOX 



used to be, mamma. They don't believe nowadays 
everything that's told them. There isn't anybody that 
doesn't know I'm never sick. No we'll have to " 

She reflected a moment, pausing halfway down the 
stairs, while her mother watched her swollen and tear- 
stained face. 

"We might send Susan away for the evening," sug- 
gested the mother. 

"Yes," assented the daughter. "Papa could take 
her with him for a drive to North Sutherland to see 
the Provosts. Then Sam'd come straight on to the 
Sinclairs'." 

"I'll call up your father." 

"No !" cried Ruth, stamping her foot. "Call up Mr. 
Provost, and tell him papa's coming. Then you can 
talk with papa when he gets home to dinner." 

"But maybe " 

"If that doesn't work out we can do something else 
this afternoon." 

The mother and the daughter avoided each other's 
eyes. Both felt mean and small, guilty toward Susan; 
but neither was for that reason disposed to draw 
back. As Mrs. Warham was trying the new dress on 
her daughter, she said: 

"Anyhow, Sam'd be wasting time on Susan. He'd 
hang round her for no good. She'd simply get talked 
about. The poor child can't be lively or smile but 
what people begin to wonder if she's going the way of 
of Lorella." 

"That's so," agreed Ruth, and both felt better. 
"Was Aunt Lorella very pretty, mamma?" 

"Lovely!" replied Fanny, and her eyes grew tender, 
for she had adored Lorella. "You never saw such 
a complexion like Susan's, only snow-white." Nerv- 



SUSAN LENOX 



ously and hastily, "Most as fine as yours, Ruthie." 

Ruth gazed complacently into the mirror. "I'm 
glad I'm fair, and not big," said she. 

"Yes, indeed! I like the womanly woman. And so 
do men." 

"Don't you think we ought to send Susan away to 
visit somewhere?" asked Ruth at the next opportunity 
for talk the fitting gave. "It's getting more and 
more pointed the way people act. And she's so 
sweet and good, I'd hate to have her feelings hurt." 
In a burst of generosity, "She's the most considerate 
human being I ever knew. She'd give up anything 
rather than see someone else put out. She's too much 
that way." 

"We can't be too much that way," said Mrs. War- 
ham in mechanical Christian reproof. 

"Oh, I know," retorted Ruth, "that's all very well 
for church and Sundays. But I guess if you want to 
get along you've got to look out for Number One. . . . 
Yes, she ought to visit somewhere." 

"I've been trying to think," said her mother. "She 
couldn't go any place but your Uncle Zeke's. But it's 
so lonesome out there I haven't the heart to send her. 
Besides, she wouldn't know what to make of it." 

"What'd father say?" 

"That's another thing." Mrs. Warham had lat- 
terly grown jealous not without reason of her hus- 
band's partiality for Susan. 

Ruth sighed. "Oh, dear !" cried she. "I don't know 
what to do. How's she ever going to get married!" 

"If she'd only been a boy!" said Mrs. Warham, 
on her knees, taking the unevenness out of the front 
of the skirt. "A girl has to suffer for her mother's 
sins." 

33 



SUSAN LENOX 



Ruth made no reply. She smiled to herself the 
comment of the younger generation upon the older. 
Sin it might have been; but, worse than that, it was 
a stupidity to let a man make a fool of her. Lorella 
must have been a poor weak-minded creature. 

By dinner time Ruth had completely soothed and 
smoothed her vanity. Sam had been caught by Su- 
san simply because he had seen Susan before he saw 
her. 

All that would be necessary was a good chance at 
him, and he would never look at Susan again. He 
had been in the East, where the admired type was 
her own refined, ladylike, the woman of the dainty 
appearance and manners and tastes. A brief undis- 
turbed exposure to her charms and Susan would seem 
coarse and countrified to him. There was no denying 
that Susan had style, but it was fully effective only 
when applied to a sunny fairy-like beauty such as 
hers. 

But at midday, when Susan came in with Warham, 
Ruth's jealousy opened all her inward-bleeding wounds 
again. Susan's merry eyes, her laughing mouth, her 
funny way of saying even commonplace things how 
could quiet, unobtrusive, ladylike charms such as 
Ruth's have a chance if Susan were about? She waited, 
silent and anxious, while her mother was having the 
talk with her father in the sitting-room. Warham, 
mere man, was amused by his wife's scheming. 

"Don't put yourself out, Fanny," said he. "If the 
boy wants Ruth and she wants him, why, well and good. 
But you'll only make a mess interfering. Let the 
young people alone." 

"I'm surprised, George Warham," cried Fanny, 
"that you can show so little sense and heart." 



SUSAN LENOX 



"To hear you talk, I'd think marriage was a busi- 
ness, like groceries." 

Mrs. Warham thought it was, in a sense. But she 
would never have dared say so aloud, even to her hus- 
band or, rather, especially to her husband. In mat- 
ters of men and women he was thoroughly innocent, 
with the simplicity of the old-time man of the small 
town and the country ; he fancied that, while in grocery 
matters and the like the world was full of guile, in 
matters of the heart it was idyllic, Arcadian, with 
never a thought of duplicity, except among a few 
obviously wicked and designing people. 

"I guess we both want to see Ruth married well," 
was all she could venture. 

"I'd rather the girls stayed with us," declared War- 
ham. "I'd hate to give them up." 

"Of course," hastily agreed Fanny. "Still it's the 
regular order of nature." 

"Oh, Ruth'll marry only too soon," said Warham. 
"And marry well. I'm not so sure, though, that marry- 
ing any of old Wright's breed would be marrying 
what ought to be called well. Money isn't everything 
not by a long sight though, of course, it's com- 
fortable." 

"I never heard anything against Sam," protested 
Mrs. Warham. 

"You've heard what I've heard that he's wild and 
loose. But then you women like that in a man." 

"We've got to put up with it, you mean," cried 
Fanny, indignant. 

"Women like it," persisted Warham. "And I guess 
Sam's only sowing the usual wild oats, getting ready to 
settle. No, mother, you let Ruth alone. If she wants 
him, she'll get him she or Susan." 

35 



SUSAN LENOX 



Mrs. Warham compressed her lips and lowered her 
eyes. Ruth or Susan as if it didn't matter which! 
"Susan isn't ours/ 9 she could not refrain from saying. 

"Indeed, she is!" retorted George warmly. "Why, 
she couldn't be more our own " 

"Yes, certainly," interrupted Fanny. 

She moved toward the door. She saw that with- 
out revealing her entire scheme hers and Ruth's 
she could make no headway with George. And if she 
did reveal it he would sternly veto it. So she gave 
up that direction. She went upstairs; George took 
his hat from the front hall rack and pushed open 
the screen door. As he appeared on the veranda Susan 
was picking dead leaves from one of the hanging 
baskets; Ruth, seated in the hammock, hands in lap, 
her whole attitude intensely still, was watching her with 
narrowed eyes. 

"What's this I hear," cried Warham, laughing,, 
"about you two girls setting your caps for Sam 
Wright?" And his good-humored brown eyes glanced 
at Ruth, passed on to Susan's wealth of wavy dark 
hair and long, rounded form, and lingered there. 

Ruth lowered her eyes and compressed her lips, a 
trick she had borrowed from her mother along with 
the peculiarities of her mother's disposition that it 
fitted. Susan flung a laughing glance over her shoul- 
der at her uncle. "Not Ruth," said she. "Only me. 
I saw him first, so he's mine. He's coming to see me 
this evening." 

"So I hear. Well, the moon's full and your aunt 
and I'll not interrupt at least not till ten o'clock. 
No callers on a child like you after ten." 

"Oh, I don't think I'U be able to hold him that 
long." 

36 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Don't you fret, Brownie. But I mustn't make you 
vain. Coming along to the store?" 

"No. Tomorrow," said Susan. "I can finish 
in the morning. I'm going to wear my white dress with 
embroidery, and it's got to be pressed and that means 
I must do it myself." 

"Poor Sam! And I suppose, when he calls, you'll 
come down as if you'd put on any old thing and didn't 
care whether he came or not. And you'll have primped 
for an hour and he, too shaving and combing and 
trying different ties." 

Susan sparkled at the idea of a young man, and 
such a young man, taking trouble for her. Ruth, pale, 
kept her eyes down and her lips compressed. She 
was picturing the gallant appearance the young 
Sophomore from Yale, away off in the gorgeous fash- 
ionable East, would make as he came in at that gate 
yonder and up the walk and seated himself on the 
veranda with Susan! Evidently her mother had 
failed; Susan was not to be taken away. 

When Warham departed down the walk Ruth rose; 
she could not bear being alone with her triumphant 
rival triumphant because unconscious. She knew 
that to get Sam to herself all she would have to do 
would be to hint to Susan, the generous, what she 
wanted. But pride forbade that. As her hand was 
on the knob of the screen door, Susan said: "Why 
don't you like Sam?" 

"Oh, I think he's stuck-up. He's been spoiled in 
the East." 

"Why, I don't see any sign of it." 

"You were too flattered by his talking to you," said 
Ruth, with a sweet-sour little laugh an asp of a sneer 
hid in a basket of flowers. 

37 



SUSAN LENOX 



Susan felt the sting; but, seeing only the flowers, 
did not dream whence it had come. "It was nice, wasn't 
it?" said she, gayly. "Maybe you're right about him, 
but I can't help liking him. You must admit he's hand- 
some." 

"He has a bad look in his eyes," replied Ruth. Such 
rage against Susan was swelling within her that it 
seemed to her she would faint if she did not release at 
least part of it. "You want to look out for him, Susie," 
said she, calmly and evenly. "You don't want to take 
what he says seriously." 

"Of course not," said Susan, quite honestly, though 
she, no more than the next human being, could avoid 
taking seriously whatever was pleasantly flattering. 

"He'd never think of marrying you." Ruth trem- 
bled before and after delivering this venomous shaft. 

"Marrying!" cried Susan, again quite honestly. 
"Why, I'm only seventeen." 

Ruth drew a breath of relief. The shaft had glanced 
off the armor of innocence without making the faintest 
dent. She rushed into the house. She did not dare 
trust herself with her cousin. What might the demon 
within her tempt her to say next? 

"Come up, Ruth !" called her mother. "The dress is 
ready for the last try-on. I think it's going to hang 
beautifully." 

Ruth dragged herself up the stairs, lagged into the 
sitting-room, gazed at the dress with a scowl. "What 
did father say?" she asked. 

"It's no use trying to do anything with your father." 

Ruth flung herself in a corner of the sofa. 

"The only thing I can think of," said her mother, 
humbly and timidly, "is i)hone the Sinclairs as I origi- 
nally set out to do." 

38 



SUSAN LENOX 



"And have the whole town laughing at me. . . . Oh, 
what do I care, anyhow!" 

"Arthur Sinclair's taller and a sight handsomer. 
Right in the face, Sam's as plain as Dick's hatband. 
His looks is all clothes and polish and mighty poor 
polish, I think. Arthur's got rise in him, too, while 
Sam well, I don't know what'd become of him if old 
Wright lost his money." 

But Arthur, a mere promise, seemed poor indeed 
beside Sam, the actually arrived. To marry Sam would 
be to step at once into grandeur; to marry Arthur 
would mean years of struggle. Besides, Arthur was 
heavy, at least seemed heavy to light Ruth, while Sam 
was her ideal of gay elegance. "I detest Arthur Sin- 
clair," she now announced. 

"You can get Sam if you want him," said her 
mother confidently. "One evening with a mere child 
like Susie isn't going to amount to much." 

Ruth winced. "Do you suppose I don't know that?" 
cried she. "What makes me so mad is his impudence 
coming here to see her when he wouldn't marry her 
or take her any place. It's insulting to us all." 

"Oh, I don't think it's as bad as all that, Ruthie," 
soothed her mother, too simple-minded to accept imme- 
diately this clever subtlety of self-deception. 

"You know this town how people talk. Why, his 

sister ' and she related their conversation at the 

gate that morning. 

"You ought to have sat on her hard, Ruth," said 
Mrs. Warham, with dangerously sparkling eyes. "No 
matter what we may think privately, it gives people a 
low opinion of us to " 

"Don't I know that !" shrilled Ruth. She began to 
weep. "I'm ashamed of myself." 

39 



SUSAN LENOX 



"But we must try the dress on." Mrs. Warham 
spread the skirt, using herself as form. "Isn't it too 
lovely !" 

Ruth dried her eyes as she gazed. The dress was 
indeed lovely. But her pleasure in it was shadowed 
by the remembrance that most of the loveliness was 
due to Susan's suggestions. Still, she tried it on, and 
felt better. She would linger until Sam came, would 
exhibit herself to him; and surely he would not tarry 
long with Susan. This project improved the situation 
greatly. She began her toilet for the evening at once, 
though it was only three o'clock. Susan finished her 
pressing and started to dress at five because she knew 
Ruth would be appealing to her to come in and help 
put the finishing touches to the toilet for the party. 
And, sure enough, at half-past five, before she had 
nearly finished, Ruth, with a sneaking humility, begged 
her to come "for half a minute if you don't mind 
and have got time." 

Susan did Ruth's hair over, made her change to an- 
other color of stockings and slippers, put the dress 
on her, did nearly an hour's refitting and redraping. 
Both were late for supper ; and after supper Susan had 
to make certain final amendments to the wonderful 
toilet, and then get herself ready. So it was Ruth alone 
who went down when Sam Wright came. "My, but 
you do look all to the good, Ruth!" cried Sam. And 
his eyes no less than his tone showed that he meant 
it. He hadn't realized what a soft white neck the 
blond cousin had, or how perfectly her shoulders 
rounded into her slim arms. As Ruth moved to de- 
part, he said: "Don't be in such a rush. Wait till 
Susie finishes her primping and comes down." 

"She had to help me," said Ruth, with a righteous- 

40 



SUSAN LENOX 



ness she could justly plume herself upon. "That's why 
she's late. No, I must get along." She was wise 
enough to resist the temptation to improve upon an 
already splendid impression. "Come as soon as you 
can." 

"I'll be there in a few minutes," Sam assured her 
convincingly. "Save some dances for me." 

Ruth went away happy. At the gate she glanced 
furtively back. Sam was looking after her. She 
marched down the street with light step. "I must 
wear low-necked dresses more in the evenings," she said 
to herself. "It's foolish for a girl to hide a good 
neck." 

Sam, at the edge of the veranda, regretting his 
promise to call on Susan, was roused by her voice: 
"Did you ever see anything as lovely as Ruth?" 

Sam's regret vanished the instant he looked at her, 
and the greedy expression came into his sensual, con- 
fident young face. "She's a corker," said he. "But 
I'm content to be where I am." 

Susan's dress was not cut out in the neck, was sim- 
ply of the collarless kind girls of her age wear. It 
revealed the smooth, voluptuous yet slender column of 
her throat. And her arms, bare to just above the 
elbows, were exquisite. But Susan's fascination did not 
lie in any or in all of her charms, but in that subtlety 
of magnetism which accounts for all the sensational 
phenomena of the relations of men and women. She 
was a clever girl clever beyond her years, perhaps 
though in this day/ seven teen7is not far from fully 
developed womanhood, .but even had she been silly, 
men would have been glad to linger on and on under 
the spell of the sex call which nature had subtly 
woven into the texture of her voice, into the glance 

41 



SUSAN LENOX 



of her eyes, into the delicate emanations of her 
skin. 

They talked of all manner of things games and 
college East and West the wonders of New York 
the weather, finally. Sam was every moment of the 
time puzzling how to bring up the one subject that 
interested both above all others, that interested him 
to the exclusion of all others. He was an ardent stu- 
dent of the game of man and woman, had made con- 
siderable progress at it remarkable progress, in view 
of his bare twenty years. He had devised as many 
"openings" as an expert chess player. None seemed 
to fit this difficult case how to make love to a girl 
of his own class whom his conventional, socially am- 
bitious nature forbade him to consider marrying. As 
he observed her in the moonlight, he said to himself: 
"I've got to look out or I'll make a damn fool of my- 
self with her." For his heady passion was fast get- 
ting the better of those prudent instincts he had in- 
herited from a father who almost breathed by calcu- 
lation. 

While he was still struggling for an "opening," Su- 
san eager to help him but not knowing how, there came 
from the far interior of the house three distant raps. 
"Gracious !" exclaimed Susan. "That's Uncle George. 
It must be ten o'clock." With frank regret, "I'm so 
sorry*. I thought it was early." 

"Yes, it did seem as if I'd just come," said Sam. 
Her shy innocence was contagious. He felt an awk- 
ward country lout. "Well, I suppose I must go." 

"But you'll come again sometime?" she asked wist- 
fully. It was her first real beau the first that had 
interested her and what a dream lover of a beau he 
looked, standing before her in that wonderful light! 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Come? Rather!" exclaimed he in a tone of enthu- 
siasm that could not but flatter her into a sort of in- 
toxication. "I'd have hard work staying away. But 
Ruth she'll always be here." 

"Oh, she goes out a lot and I don't." 

"Will you telephone me next time she's to be out?" 

' Yes/' agreed she with a hesitation that was ex- 
plained when she added: "But don't think you've got 
to come. . . . Oh, I must go in !" 

"Good night Susie." Sam held out his hand. She 
took it with a queer reluctance. She felt nervous, 
afraid, as if there were something uncanny lurking 
somewhere in those moonlight shadows. She gently 
tried to draw her hand away, but he would not let 
her. She made a faint struggle, then yielded. It was 
so wonderful, the sense of the touch of his hand. "Su- 
sie!" he said hoarsely. And she knew he felt as she 
did. Before she realized it his arms were round her, 
and his lips had met hers. ,^You drive me crazv^ghe 
whispered. 

Both were trembling; she had become quite cold 
her cheeks, her hand, her body even. "You mustn't," 
she murmured, drawing gently away. 

"You set me crazy," he repeated. "Do you love 
me a little?" 

"Oh, I must go !" she pleaded. Tears were glistening 
in her long^dark lashes. The sight of them maddened 
hinir^"Do youSusie?" lie-pTeadea7~- 

"I'm I'm very young," she stammered. 

"Yes yes I know," he assented eagerly. "But not 
too young to love, Susie? No. Because you do don't 
you?" 

The moonlit world seemed a fairyland. "Yes," she 
said softly. "I guess so. I must go. I must." 

43 



SUSAN LENOX 



And moved beyond her power to control herself, 
she broke from his detaining hand and fled into the 
house. She darted up to her room, paused in the mid- 
dle of the floor, her hands clasped over her wildly 
beating heart. When she could move she threw open 
the shutters and went out on the balcony. She leaned 
against the window frame and gazed up at the stars, 
instinctively seeking the companionship of the infinite. 
Curiously enough, she thought little about Sam. She 
was awed and wonderstruck before the strange mys- 
terious event within her, the opening up, the flowering 
of her soul. These vast emotions, where did they come 
from? What were they? Why did she long to burst 
into laughter, to burst into tears? Why did she do 
neither, but simply stand motionless, with the stars 
blazing and reeling in the sky and her heart beating 
like mad and her blood surging and ebbing? Was this 
love? Yes it must be love. Oh, how wonderful 
love was and how sad and how happy beyond all 
laughter and how sweet! She felt an enormous ten- 
derness for everybody and for everything, for all the 
world an overwhelming sense of beauty and goodness. 
Her lips were moving. She was amazed to find she 
was repeating the one prayer she knew, the one Aunt 
Fanny had taught her in babyhood. Why should she 
find herself praying? Love love love! She was a 
woman and she loved ! So this was what it meant to 
be a woman ; it meant to love ! 

She was roused by the sound of Ruth saying good 
night to someone at the gate, invisible because of the 
intervening foliage. Why, it must be dreadfully late. 
The Dipper had moved away round to the south, and 
the heat of the day was all gone, and the air was 
full of the cool, scented breath of leaves and flowers 

44 



SUSAN LENOX 



and grass. Ruth's lights shone out upoji the bal- 
cony. Susan turned to slip into her own room. But 
Ruth heard, called out peevishly: 

" Who's there?" 

"Only me," cried Susan. 

She longed to go in and embrace Ruth, and kiss 
her. She would have liked to ask Ruth to let her 
sleep with her, but she felt Ruth wouldn't understand. 

"What are you doing out there?" demanded Ruth. 
"It's 'way after one." 

"Oh dear I must go to bed," cried Susan. Ruth's 
voice somehow seemed to be knocking and tumbling 
her new dream-world. 

"What time did Sam Wright leave here?" asked 
Ruth. 

She was standing in her window now. Susan saw 
that her face looked tired and worn, almost homely. 

"At ten," she replied. "Uncle George knocked on 
the banister." 

"Are you sure it was ten?" said Ruth sharply. 

"I guess so. Yes it was ten. Why?" 

Oh nothing." 

"Was he at Sinclairs'?" 

"He came as it was over. He and Lottie brought 
me home." Ruth was eyeing her cousin evilly. "How 
did you two get on?" 

Susan flushed from head to foot. "Oh so-so," she 
answered, in an uncertain voice. 

"I don't know why he didn't come to Sinclairs'," 
snapped Ruth. 

Susan flushed again a delicious warmth from head 
to foot. She knew why. So he, too, had been dreaming 
alone. Love ! Love ! 

"What are you smiling at?" cried Ruth crossly. 

45 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Was I smiling? . . . Do you want me to help you 
undress ?" 

"No," was the curt answer. "Good night." 

"Please let me unhook it, at least," urged Susan, 
following Ruth into her room. 

Ruth submitted. 

"Did you have a good time ?" asked Susan. 

"Of course," snapped Ruth. "What made you think 
I didn't?" 

"Don't be a silly, dear. I didn't think so." 

"I had an awful time awful!" 

Ruth began to sob, turned fiercely on Susan. "Leave 
me alone!" she cried. "I hate to have you touch 
me." The dress was, of course, entirely unfastened in 
the back. 

"You had a quarrel with Arthur?" asked Susan with 
sympathy. "But you know he can't keep away from 
you. Tomorrow " 

"Be careful, Susan, how you let Sam Wright hang 
around you," cried Ruth, with blazing eyes and trem- 
bling lips. "You be careful that's all I've got to 
say." 

"Why, what do you mean?" asked Susan wonder- 
ingly. 

"Be careful! He'd never think for a minute of 
marrying you." 

The words meant nothing to Susan ; but the tone 
stabbed into her heart. "Why not?" she said. 

Ruth looked at her cousin, hung her head in shame. 
"Go go !" she begged. "Please go. Pm a bad girl 
bad bad! Go!" And, crying hysterically, she 
pushed amazed Susan through the connecting door, 
closed and bolted it. 



IV 



WHEN Fanny Warham was young her mother 
compelled by her father roused "routed 
out" the children at half-past six on week 
days and at seven on Sundays for prayers and break- 
fast, no matter what time they had gone to bed the 
night before. The horror of this made such an im- 
pression upon her that she never permitted Ruth and 
Susan to be awakened; always they slept until they 
had "had their sleep out." Regularity was no doubt 
an excellent thing for health and for moral disci- 
pline; but the best rule could be carried to foolish 
extremes. Until the last year Mrs. Warham had made 
her two girls live a life of the strictest simplicity and 
regularity, with the result that they were the most 
amazingly, soundly, healthy girls in Sutherland. And 
the regimen still held, except when they had company 
in the evening or went out and Mrs. Warham saw to 
it that there was not too much of that sort of thing. 
In all her life thus far Susan had never slept less than 
ten hours, rarely less than twelve. 

It lacked less than a minute of ten o'clock the morn- 
ing after Sam's call when Susan's eyes opened upon her 
simple, pale-gray bedroom, neat and fresh. She looked 
sleepily at the little clock on the night stand. 

"Mercy me!" she cried. And her bare feet were on 
the floor and she was stretching her lithe young body, 
weak from the relaxation of her profound sleep. 

She heard someone stirring in Ruth's room ; instantly 
Ruth's remark, "He'd never think for a minute of 

47 



SUSAN LENOX 



marrying you," popped into her head. It still meant 
nothing to her. She could not have explained why it 
came back or why she fell to puzzling over it as if it 
held some mysterious meaning. Perhaps the reason 
was that from early childhood there had been accu- 
mulating in some dusky chamber of her mind stray 
happenings and remarks, all bearing upon the unsus- 
pected secret of her birth and the unsuspected strange- 
ness of her position in the world where everyone else 
was definitely placed and ticketed. She was wondering 
about Ruth's queer hysterical outburst, evidently the 
result of a quarrel with Arthur Sinclair. "I guess 
Ruth cares more for him than she lets on," thought 
she. This love that had come to her so suddenly 
and miraculously made her alert for signs of love else- 
where. 

She went to the bolted connecting door; she could 
not remember when it had ever been bolted before, 
and she felt forlorn and shut out. "Ruth !" she called. 
"Is that you?" 

A brief silence, then a faint "Yes." 

"May I come in?" 

"You'd better take your bath and get downstairs." 

This reminded her that she was hungry. She gath- 
ered her underclothes together, and with the bundle 
in her arms darted across the hall into the bathroom. 
The cold water acted as champagne promises to act 
but doesn't. She felt giddy with health and happi- 
ness. And the bright sun was flooding the bathroom, 
and the odors from the big bed of hyacinths in the 
side lawn scented the warm breeze from the open win- 
dow. When she dashed back to her room she was 
singing, and her singing voice was as charming as her 
speaking voice promised. A few minutes and her hair 

48 



SUSAN LENOX 



had gone up in careless grace and she was clad in a 
fresh dress of tan linen, full in the blouse. This, 
with her tan stockings and tan slippers and the radiant 
youth of her face, gave her a look of utter cleanness 
and freshness that was exceedingly good to see. 

"I'm ready," she called. 

There was no answer; doubtless Ruth had already 
descended. She rushed downstairs and into the dining- 
room. No one was at the little table set in one of 
the windows in readiness for the late breakf asters. 
Molly came, bringing cocoa, a cereal, hot biscuit and 
crab-apple preserves, all attractively arranged on a 
large tray. 

"I didn't bring much, Miss Susie," she apologized. 
"It's so late, and I don't want you to spoil your din- 
ner. We're going to have the grandest chicken that 
ever came out of an egg." 

Susan surveyed the tray with delighted eyes. 
"That's plenty," she said, "if you don't talk too much 
about the chicken. Where's Ruth?" 

"She ain't coming down. She's got a headache. It 
was that salad for supper over to Sinclairs' last night. 
Salad ain't fit for a dog to eat, nohow that's my 
opinion. And at night it's sure to bust your face 
out or give you the headache or both." 

Susan ate with her usual enthusiasm, thinking the 
while of Sam and wondering how she could contrive 
to see him. She remembered her promise to her uncle. 
She had not eaten nearly so much as she wanted. But 
up she sprang and in fifteen minutes was on her way 
to the store. She had seen neither Ruth nor her aunt, 
"/fe'll be waiting for me to pass," she thought. And 
she was not disappointed. There he stood, at the foot- 
path gate into his father's place. He had arrayed 

49 



SUSAN LENOX 



himself in a blue and white flannel suit, white hat 
and shoes; a big expensive-looking cigarette adorned 
his lips. The Martins, the Delevans, the Castles and 
the Bowens, neighbors across the way, were watching 
him admiringly through the meshes of lace window 
curtains. She expected that he would come forward 
eagerly. Instead, he continued to lean indolently on 
the gate, as if unaware of her approach. And when 
she was close at hand, his bow and smile were, so it 
seemed to her, almost coldly polite. Into her eyes 
came a confused, hurt expression. 

"Susie sweetheart," he said, the voice in as as- 
tonishing contrast as the words to his air of friendly 
indifference. "They're watching us from the windows 
all around here." 

"Oh yes," assented she, as if she understood. But 
she didn't. In Sutherland the young people were not 
so mindful of gossip, which it was impossible to escape, 
anyhow. Still off there in the East, no doubt, they 
had more refined ways ; without a doubt, whatever Sam 
did was the correct thing. 

"Do you still care as you did last night ?" he asked. 
The effect of his words upon her was so obvious that 
he glanced nervously round. It was delightful to be 
able to evoke a love like this; but he did wish others 
weren't looking. 

"I'm going to Uncle's store," she said. "I'm late." 

"I'll walk part of the way with you," he volunteered, 
and they started on. "That that kiss," he stammered. 
"I can feel it yet." 

She blushed deeply, happily. Her beauty made him 
tingle. "So can I," she said. 

They walked in silence several squares. "When will 
I see you again?" he asked. "Tonight?" 

50 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Yes do come down. But Ruth'll be there. I 
believe Artie Sinclair's coming." 

"Oh, that counter-jumper?" 

She looked at him in surprise. "He's an awfully 
nice fellow," said she. "About the nicest in town." 

"Of course," replied Sam elaborately. "I beg your 
pardon. They think differently about those things in 
the East." 

"What things?" 

"No matter." 

Sam, whose secret dream was to marry some fash- 
ionable Eastern woman and cut a dash in Fifth Avenue 
life, had no intention of explaining what was what to 
one who would not understand, would not approve, 
and would be made suspicious of him. "I suppose 
Ruth and Sinclair'll pair off and give us a chance." 

"You'll come?" 

"Right after din supper, I mean. In the East we 
have dinner in the evening." 

"Isn't that queer!" exclaimed Susan. But she was 
thinking of the joys in store for her at the close of 
the day. 

"I must go back now," said Sam. Far up the street 
he saw his sister's pony cart coming. 

"You might as well walk to the store." It seemed 
to her that they both had ever so much to say to each 
other, and had said nothing. 

"No. I can't go any further. Good-by that is, 
till tonight." 

He was red and stammering. As they shook hands 
emotion made them speechless. He stumbled awk- 
wardly as he turned to leave, became still more hotly 
self-conscious when he saw the grin on the faces of 
the group of loungers at a packing case near the curb. 

51 



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Susan did not see the loafers, did not see anything 
distinctly. Her feet sought the uneven brick side- 
walk uncertainly, and the blood was pouring into her 
cheeks, was steaming in her brain, making a red mist 
before her eyes. She was glad he had left her. The 
joy of being with him was so keen that it was pain. 
Now she could breathe freely and could dream dream 
dream. She made blunder after blunder in working 
over the accounts with her uncle, and he began to 
tease her. 

"You sure are in love, Brownie," declared he. 

Her painful but happy blush delighted him. 

"Tell me all about it?" 

She shook her head, bending it low to hide her color. 

"No? . . . Sometime?" 

She nodded. She was glancing shyly and merrily 
at him now. 

"Well, some hold that first love's best. Maybe so. 
But it seems to me any time's good enough. Still 
the first time's mighty fine eh?" He sighed. "My, 
but it's good to be young!" And he patted her thick 
wavy hair. 

It did not leak out until supper that Sam was com- 
ing. Warham said to Susan, "While Ruth's looking 
out for Artie, you and I'll have a game or so of 
chess, Brownie." Susan colored violently. "What?" 
laughed Warham. "Are you going to have a beau 
too?" 

Susan felt two pairs of feminine eyes pounce hos- 
tile eyes, savagely curious. She paled with fright as 
queer, as unprecedented, as those hostile glances. It 
seemed to her that she had done or was about to do 
something criminal. She could not speak. 

An awful silence, then her aunt she no longer 



SUSAN LENOX 



seemed her loving aunt asked in an ominous voice: 
"Is someone coming to see you, Susan?" 

"Sam Wright" stammered Susan "I saw him this 
morning he was at their gate and he said I think 
he's coming." 

A dead silence Warham silent because he was eat- 
ing, but the two others not for that reason. 

Susan felt horribly guilty, and for no reason. "I'd 
have spoken of it before," she said, "but there didn't 
seem to be any chance." She had the instinct of fine 
shy nature to veil the soul; she found it hard to speak 
of anything as sacred as this love of hers and what- 
ever related to it. 

"I can't allow this, Susie," said her aunt, with lips 
tightly drawn against the teeth. "You are too 
young." 

"Oh, come now, mother," cried Warham, good-hu- 
moredly. "That's foolishness. Let the young folks 
have a good time. You didn't think you were too 
young at Susie's age." 

"You don't understand, George," said Fanny after 
she had given him a private frown. Susie's gaze was 
on the tablecloth. "I can't permit Sam to come here 
to see Susie." 

Ruth's eyes were down also. About her lips was 
a twitching that meant a struggle to hide a pleased 
smile. 

"I've no objection to Susie's having boys of her 
own age come to see her," continued Mrs. Warham in 
the same precise, restrained manner. "But Sam is too 
old." 

"Now, mother " 

Mrs. Warham met his eyes steadily. "I must pro- 
tect my sister's child, George," she said. At last she 
3 53 



SUSAN LENOX 



had found what she felt was a just reason for keep- 
ing Sam away from Susan, so her tone was honest 
and strong. 

Warham lowered his gaze. He understood. "Oh 
as you think best, Fan; I didn't mean to interfere," 
said he awkwardly. He turned on Susan with his af- 
fection in his eyes. "Well, Brownie, it looks like chess 
with your old uncle, doesn't it?" 

Susan's bosom was swelling, her lip trembling. "I 
I " she began. She choked back the sobs, fal- 
tered out: "I don't think I could, Uncle," and rushed 
from the room. 

There was an uncomfortable pause. Then Warham 
said, "I must say, Fan, I think if you had to do it 
you might have spared the girl's feelings." 

Mrs. Warham felt miserable about it also. "Susie 
took me by surprise," she apologized. Then, defiantly, 
"And what else can I do? You know he doesn't come 
for any good." 

Warham stared in amazement. "Now, what does 
that mean?" he demanded. 

"You know very well what it means," retorted his 
wife. 

Her tone made him understand. He reddened, and 
with too blustering anger brought his fist down on the 
table. 

"Susan's our daughter. She's Ruth's sister." 

Ruth pushed back her chair and stood up. Her 
expression made her look much older than she was. 
"I wish you could induce the rest of the town to think 
that, papa," said she. "It'd make my position less 
painful." And she, too, left the room. 

"What's she talking about?" asked Warham. 

"It's true, George," replied Fanny with trembling 

54 



SUSAN LENOX 



lip. "It's all my fault insisting on keeping her. I 
might have known !" 

"I think you and Ruth must be crazy. I've seen no 
sign." 

"Have you seen any of the boys calling on Susan 
since she shot up from a child to a girl? Haven't you 
noticed she isn't invited any more except when it 
can't be avoided?" 

Warham's face was fiery with rage. He looked 
helplessly, furiously about. But he said nothing. To 
fight public sentiment would be like trying to thrust 
back with one's fists an oncreeping fog. Finally he 
cried, "It's too outrageous to talk about." 

"If I only knew what to do!" moaned Fanny. 

A long silence, while Warham was grasping the full- 
ness of the meaning, the frightful meaning, in these 
revelations so astounding to him. At last he said: 

"Does she realize?" 

"I guess so ... I don't know ... I don't believe 
she does. She's the most innocent child that ever 
grew up." 

"If I had a chance, I'd sell out and move away." 

"Where?" said his wife. "Where would people ac- 
cepther?" 

Warham became suddenly angry again. "I don't be- 
lieve it!" he cried, his look and tone contradicting his 
words. "You've been making a mountain out of a 
molehill." 

And he strode from the room, flung on his hat and 
went for a walk. As Mrs. Warham came from the 
dining-room a few minutes later, Ruth appeared in 
the side veranda doorway. "I think I'll telephone Ar- 
thur to come tomorrow evening instead," said she. 
"He'd not like it, with Sam here too." 

55 



SUSAN LENOX 



"That would be better," assented her mother. "Yes, 
I'd telephone him if I were you." 

Thus it came about that Susan, descending the stairs 
to the library to get a book, heard Ruth say into the 
telephone in her sweetest voice, "Yes tomorrow even- 
ing, Arthur. Some others are coming the Wrights. 
You'd have to talk to Lottie ... I don't blame you. 
. . . Tomorrow evening, then. So sorry. Good-by." 

The girl on the stairway stopped short, shrank 
against the wall. A moment, and she hastily reascended, 
entered her room, closed the door. Love had awak- 
ened the woman ; and the woman was not so unsus- 
pecting, so easily deceived as the child had been. She 
understood what her cousin and her aunt were about; 
they were trying to take her lover from her! She un- 
derstood her aunt's looks and tones, her cousin's tem- 
per and hysteria. She sat down upon the floor and 
cried with a breaking heart. The injustice of it! 
The meanness of it ! The wickedness of a world where 
even her sweet cousin, even her loving aunt were wicked ! 
She sat there on the floor a long time, abandoned to 
the misery of a first shattered illusion, a misery the 
more cruel because never before had either cousin or 
aunt said or done anything to cause her real pain. 
The sound of voices coming through the open window 
from below made her start up and go out on the bal- 
cony. She leaned over the rail. She could not see 
the veranda for the masses of creeper, but the voices 
were now quite plain in the stillness. Ruth's voice gay 
and incessant. Presently a man's voice his and 
laughing! Then his voice speaking then the two 
voices mingled both talking at once, so eager were 
they! Her lover and Ruth was stealing him from 
her! Oh, the baseness, the treachery! And her aunt 

56 



SUSAN LENOX 



was helping! . . . Sore of heart, utterly forlorn, she 
sat in the balcony hammock, aching with love and 
jealousy. Every now and then she ran in and looked 
at the clock. He was staying on and on, though he 
must have learned she was not coming down. She 
heard her uncle and aunt come up to bed. Now the 
piano in the parlor was going. First it was Ruth 
singing one of her pretty love songs in that clear small 
voice of hers. Then Sam played and sang how his 
voice thrilled her! Again it was Ruthie singing 
"Sweet Dream Faces" Susan began to sob afresh. 
She could see Ruth at the piano, how beautiful she 
looked and that song it would be impossible for him 
not to be impressed. She felt the jealousy of despair. 
. . . Ten o'clock half-past eleven o'clock! She 
heard them at the edge of the veranda so, at last he 
was going. She was able to hear their words now : 

"You'll be up for the tennis in the morning?" he 
was saying. 

"At ten," replied Ruth. 

"Of course Susie's asked, too," he said and his voice 
sounded careless, not at all earnest. 

"Certainly," was her cousin's reply. "But I'm not 
sure she can come." 

It was all the girl at the balcony rail could do to 
refrain from crying out a protest. But Sam was say- 
ing to Ruth: 

"Well good night. Haven't had so much fun in 
a long time. May I come again?" 

"If you don't, I'll think you were bored." 

"Bored !" He laughed. "That's too ridiculous. See 
you in the morning. Good night. . . . Give my love to 
Susie, and tell her I was sorry not to see her." 

Susan was all in a glow as her cousin answered, "I'll 

57 



SUSAN LENOX 



tell her." Doubtless Sam didn't note it, but Susan 
heard the constraint, the hypocrisy in that sweet voice. 

She watched him stroll down to the gate under the 
arch of boughs dimly lit by the moon. She stretched 
her arms passionately toward him. Then she went in 
to go to bed. But at the sound of Ruth humming gayly 
in the next room, she realized that she could not sleep 
with her heart full of evil thoughts. She must have 
it out with her cousin. She knocked on the still bolted 
door. 

"What is it?" asked Ruth coldly. 

"Let me in," answered Susan. "I've got to see you." 

"Go to bed, Susie. It's late." 

"You must let me in." 

The bolt shot back. "All right. And please un- 
hook my dress there's a dear." 

Susan opened the door, stood on the threshold, all 
her dark passion in her face. "Ruth !" she cried. 

Ruth had turned her back, in readiness for the ser- 
vice the need of which had alone caused her to unbolt 
the door. At that swift, fierce ejaculation she started, 
wheeled round. At sight of that wild anger she paled. 
"Why, Susie!" she gasped. 

"I've found you out!" raged Susan. "You're try- 
ing to steal him from me you and Aunt Fanny. It 
isn't fair! I'll not stand it!" 

"What are you talking about?" cried Ruth. "You 
must have lost your senses." 

"I'll not stand it," Susan repeated, advancing 
threateningly. "He loves me and I love him." 

Ruth laughed. "You foolish girl! Why, he cares 
nothing about you. The idea of your having your 
head turned by a little politeness !" 

"He loves me he told me so. And I love him. I 

58 



SUSAN LENOX 



told him so. He's mine! You shan't take him from 
me!" 

"He told you he loved you?" 

Ruth's eyes were gleaming and her voice was shrill 
with hate. "He told you that?' 9 

"Yes he did!" 

"I don't believe you." 

"We love each other," cried the dark girl. "He came 
to see me. You've got Arthur Sinclair. You shan't 
take him away!" 

The two girls, shaking with fury, were facing each 
other, were looking into each other's eyes. "If Sam 
Wright told you he loved you," said Ruth, with the 
icy deliberateness of a cold-hearted anger, "he was try- 
ing to to make a fool of you. You ought to be 
ashamed of yourself. TFtf're trying to save you." 

"He and I are engaged!" declared Susan. "You 
shan't take him and you can't! He loves me!" 

"Engaged!" jeered Ruth. "Engaged!" she laughed, 
pretending not to believe, yet believing. She was be- 
side herself with jealous anger. "Yes we'll save you 
from yourself. You're like your mother. You'd dis- 
grace us as she did." 

"Don't you dare talk that way, Ruth Warham. It's 
false false! My mother is dead and you're a wicked 
girl." 

"It's time you knew the truth," said Ruth softly. 
Her eyes were half shut now and sparkling devilishly. 
"You haven't got any name. You haven't got any 
father. And no man of any position would marry you. 

As for Sam ' She laughed contemptuously. "Do 

you suppose Sam Wright would, marry a girl without 
a name?" 

Susan had shrunk against the door jamb. She un- 

59 



SUSAN LENOX 



derstood only dimly, but things understood dimly are 
worse than things that are clear. "Me?" she mut- 
tered. "Me? Oh, Ruth, you don't mean that." 

"It's true," said Ruth, calmly. "And the sooner you 
realize it the less likely you are to go the way your 
mother did." 

Susan stood as if petrified. 

"If Sam Wright comes hanging round you any more, 
you'll know how to treat him," Ruth went on. "You'll 
appreciate that he hasn't any respect for you that he 
thinks you're someone to be trifled with. And if he 
talked engagement, it was only a pretense. Do you 
understand ?" 

The girl leaning in the doorway gazed into vacancy. 
After a while she answered dully, "I guess so." 

Ruth began to fuss with the things on her bureau. 
Susan went into her room, sat on the edge of the bed. 
A few minutes, and Ruth, somewhat cooled down and 
not a little frightened, entered. She looked uneasily 
at the motionless figure. Finally she said, 

"Susie!" 

No answer. 

More sharply, "Susie!" 

"Yes," said Susan, without moving. 

"You understand that I told you for your own 
good? And you'll not say anything to mother or 
father? They feel terribly about it, and don't want 
it ever mentioned. You won't let on that you know?" 

"I'll not tell," said Susan. 

"You know we're fond of you and want to do 
everything for you?" 

No answer. 

"It wasn't true what you said about Sam's making 
love to you?" 

60 



SUSAN LENOX 



"That's all over. I don't want to talk about it." 

"You're not angry with me, Susie? I admit I was 
angry, but it was best for you to know wasn't it?" 

"Yes," said Susan. 

"You're not angry with me?" 

"No." 

Ruth, still more uneasy, turned back into her own 
room because there was nothing else to do. She did 
not shut the door between. When she was in her night- 
gown she glanced in at her cousin. The girl was sitting 
on the edge of the bed in the same position. "It's after 
midnight," said Ruth. "You'd better get undressed." 

Susan moved a little. "I will," she said. 

Ruth went to bed and soon fell asleep. After an 
hour or so she awakened. Light was streaming through 
the open connecting door. She ran to it, looked in. 
Susan's clothes were in a heap beside the bed. Susan 
herself, with the pillows propping her, was staring 
wide-eyed at the ceiling. It was impossible for Ruth 
to realize any part of the effect upon her cousin of 
a thing she herself had known for years and had taken 
always as a matter of course; she simply felt mildly 
sorry for unfortunate Susan. 

"Susie, dear," she said gently, "do you want me to 
turn out the light?" 

"Yes," said Susan. 

Ruth switched off the light and went back to bed, 
better content. She felt that now Susan would stop 
her staring and would go to sleep. Sam's call had 
been very satisfactory. Ruth felt she had shown off 
to the best advantage, felt that he admired her, would 
come to see her next time. And now that she had so 
arranged it that Susan would avoid him, everything 
would turn out as she wished. "I'll use Arthur to 

61 



SUSAN LENOX 



make him jealous after a while and then I'll have 
things my own way." As she fell asleep she was select- 
ing the rooms Sam and she would occupy in the big 
Wright mansion "when we're not in the East or in 
Europe." 



RUTH had forgotten to close her shutters, so 
toward seven o'clock the light which had been 
beating against her eyelids for three hours 
succeeded in lifting them. She stretched herself and 
yawned noisily. Susan appeared in the connecting 
doorway. 

"Are you awake?" she said softly. 

"What time is it?" asked Ruth, too lazy to turn 
over and look at her clock. 

"Ten to seven." 

"Do close my shutters for me. I'll sleep an hour 
or two." She hazily made out the figure in the door- 
way. "You're dressed, aren't you?" she inquired 
sleepily. 

"Yes," replied Susan. "I've been waiting for you 
to wake." 

Something in the tone made Ruth forget about sleep 
and rub her fingers over her eyes to clear them for a 
view of her cousin. Susan seemed about as usual 
perhaps a little serious, but then she had the habit of 
strange moods of seriousness. "What did you want?" 
said Ruth. 

Susan came into the room, sat at the foot of the 
bed there was room, as the bed was long and Ruth 
short. "I want you to tell me what my mother did." 

"Did?" echoed Ruth feebly. 

"Did, to disgrace you and me." 

"Oh, I couldn't explain not in a few words. I'm 
so sleepy. Don't bother about it, Susan." And she 

63 



SUSAN LENOX 



thrust her head deeper into the pillow. "Close the 
shutters." 

"Then I'll have to ask Aunt Fanny or Uncle 
George or everybody till I find out." 

"But you mustn't do that," protested Ruth, flinging 
herself from left to right impatiently. "What is it 
you want to know?" 

"About my mother and what she did. And why I 
have no father why I'm not like you and the other 
girls." 

"Oh it's nothing. I can't explain. Don't bother 
about it. It's no use. It can't be helped. And it 
doesn't really matter." 

"I've been thinking," said Susan. "I understand a 
great many things I didn't know I'd noticed ever 

since I was a baby. But what I don't understand 

She drew a long breath, a cautious breath, as if there 
were danger of awakening a pain. "What I don't 
understand is why. And you must tell me all about 
it. ... Was my mother bad?" 

"Not exactly bad," Ruth answered uncertainly. 
"But she did one thing that was wicked at least that 
a woman never can be forgiven for, if it's found out." 

"Did she did she take something that didn't belong 
to her?" 

"No nothing like that. No, she was, they say, as 

nice and sweet as she could be except She wasn't 

married to your father." 

Susan sat in a brown study. "I can't understand," 
she said at last. "Why she must have been married, 
or or there wouldn't have been me." 

Ruth smiled uneasily. "Not at all. Don't you 
really understand?" 

Susan shook her head. 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"He he betrayed her and left her and then 
everybody knew because you came." 

Susan's violet-gray eyes rested a grave, inquiring 
glance upon her cousin's face. "But if he betrayed 

her What does 'betray' mean? Doesn't it mean 

he promised to marry her and didn't?" 

"Something like that," said Ruth. "Yes something 
like that." 

"Then he was the disgrace," said the dark cousin, 
after reflecting. "No you're not telling me, Ruth. 
What did my mother do?" 

"She had you without being married." 

Again Susan sat in silence, trying to puzzle it out. 
Ruth lifted herself, put the pillows behind her back. 
"You don't understand anything do you? Well, 
I'll try to explain though I don't know much 
about it." 

And hesitatingly, choosing words she thought fitted 
to those innocent ears, hunting about for expressions 
she thought comprehensible to that innocent mind, 
Ruth explained the relations of the sexes an inac-> 
curate, often absurd, explanation, for she herself knew 
only what she had picked up from other girls the 
fantastic hodgepodge of pruriency, physiology and 
sheer nonsense which under our system of education 
distorts and either alarms or inflames the imaginations 
of girls and boys where the clean, simple truth would 
at least enlighten them. Susan listened with increas- 
ing amazement. 

"Well, do you understand?" Ruth ended. "How we 
come into the world and what marriage means?" 

"I don't believe it," declared Susan. "It's awful !" 
And she shivered with disgust. 

"I tell you it's true," insisted Ruth. "I thought it 

65 



SUSAN LENOX 



was awful when I first heard when Lottie Wright took 
me out in their orchard, where nobody could listen, and 
told me what their cook had told her. But I've got kind 
of used to it." 

"But it it's so, then; my mother did marry my 
father," said, Susan. 

"No. She let him betray her. And when a woman 
lets a man betray her without being married by the 
preacher or somebody, why, she's ruined forever." 

"But doesn't marriage mean where two people prom- 
ise to love each other and then betray each other?" 

"If they're married, it isn't betraying," explained 
Ruth. "If they're not, it is betraying." 

Susan reflected, nodded slowly. "I guess I under- 
stand. But don't you see it was my father who was 
the disgrace? He was the one that promised to marry 
and didn't." 

"How foolish you are !" cried Ruth. "I never knew 
you to be stupid." 

"But isn't it so?" persisted Susan. 

"Yes in a way," her cousin admitted. "Only the 
woman must keep herself pure until the ceremony has 
been performed." 

"But if he said so to her, wasn't that saying so to 
God just as much as if the preacher had been there?" 

"No, it wasn't," said Ruth with irritation. "And 
it's wicked to think such things. All I know is, God 
says a woman must be married before she before she 
has any children. And your mother wasn't." 

Susan shook her head. "I guess you don't under- 
stand any better than I do really." 

"No, I don't," confessed Ruth. "But I'd like to see 
any man more than kiss me or put his arm round me 
without our having been married." 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"But," urged Susan, "if he kissed you, wouldn't that 
be like marriage?" 

"Some say so," admitted Ruth. "But I'm not so 
strict. A little kissing and that often leads a man to 
propose." 

Susan reflected again. "It all sounds low and sneak- 
ing to me," was her final verdict. "I don't want to 
have anything to do with it. But I'm sure my mother 
was a good woman. It wasn't her fault if she was lied 
to, when she loved and believed. And anybody who 
blames her is low and bad. I'm glad I haven't got any 
father, if fathers have to be made to promise before 
everybody or else they'll not keep their word." 

"Well, I'll not argue about it," said Ruth. "I'm 
telling you the way things are. The woman has to 
take all the blame." 

Susan lifted her head haughtily. "I'd be glad to be 
blamed by anybody who was wicked enough to be that 
unjust. I'd not have anything to do with such people." 

"Then you'd live alone." 

"No, I shouldn't. There are lots of people who are 
good and " 

"That's wicked, Susan," interrupted Ruth. "All 
good people think as I tell you they do." 

"Do Aunt Fanny and Uncle George blame my 
mother?" 

"Of course. How could they help it, when she " 

Ruth was checked by the gathering lightnings in those 
violet-gray eyes. 

"But," pursued Susan, after a pause, "even if they 
were wicked enough to blame my mother, they couldn't 
blame me." 

"Of course not," declared Ruth warmly. "Hasn't 
everybody always been sweet and kind to you?" 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"But last night you said " 

Ruth hid her face. "I'm ashamed of what I said 
last night," she murmured. "I've got, Oh, such a nasty 
disposition, Susie." 

"But what you said wasn't it so?" 

Ruth turned away her head. 

Susan drew a long sigh, so quietly that Ruth could 
not have heard. 

"You understand," Ruth said gently, "everybody 
feels sorry for you and " 

Susan frowned stormily. "They'd better feel sorry 
for themselves." 

"Oh, Susie, dear," cried Ruth, impulsively catching 
her hand, "we all love you, and mother and father and 
I we'll stand up for you through everything " 

"Don't you dare feel sorry for me!" Susan cried, 
wrenching her hand away. 

Ruth's eyes filled with tears. 

"You can't blame us because everybody You 

know, God says, 'The sins of the fathers shall be visited 
on the children ' " 

"I'm done with everybody," cried Susan, rising and 
lifting her proud head, "I'm done with God." 

Ruth gave a low scream and shuddered. Susan 
looked round defiantly, as if she expected a bolt from 
the blue to come hurtling through the open window. 
But the sky remained serene, and the quiet, scented 
breeze continued to play with the lace curtains, and 
the birds on the balcony did not suspend their chatter- 
ing courtship. This lack of immediate effect from her 
declaration of war upon man and God was encouraging. 
The last of the crushed, cowed feeling Ruth had in- 
spired the night before disappeared. With a soul 
haughtily plumed and looking defiance from the violet- 

68 



SUSAN LENOX 



gray eyes, Susan left her cousin and betook herself 
down to breakfast. 

In common with most children, she had always 
dreamed of a mysterious fate for herself, different from 
the commonplace routine around her. Ruth's revela- 
tions, far from daunting her, far from making her feel 
like cringing before the world in gratitude for its toler- 
ance of her bar sinister, seemed a fascinatingly tragic 
confirmation of her romantic longings and beliefs. No 
doubt it was the difference from the common lot that 
had attracted Sam to her; and this aift'erence would 
make their love wholly unlike the commonplace Suther- 
land wooing and wedding. (Yes, hers had been a mys- 
terious fate, and would continue to be. Nora, an old 
woman now, had often related in her presence how 
Doctor Stevens had brought her to life when she lay 
apparently, indeed really, dead upon the upstairs sit- 
ting-room table Doctor Stevens and Nora's own 
prayers. An extraordinary birth, in defiance of the 
laws of God and man; an extraordinary resurrection, 
in defiance of the laws of nature yes, hers would be 
a life superbly different from the common. I And when 
she and Sam married, how gracious and forgiving she 
would be to all those bad-hearted people ; how she would 
shame them for their evil thoughts against her mother 
and herself! 

The Susan Lenox who sat alone at the little table 
in the dining-room window, eating bread and butter 
and honey in the comb, was apparently the same Susan 
Lenox who had taken three meals a day in that room 
all those years was, indeed, actually the same, for 
character is not an overnight creation. Yet it was 
an amazingly different Susan Lenox, too. The first 
crisis had come; she had been put to the test; and 

69 



SUSAN LENOX 



she had not collapsed in weakness but had stood erect 
in strength. 

After breakfast she went down Main Street and at 
Crooked Creek Avenue took the turning for the ceme- 
tery. She sought the Warham plot, on the western 
slope near the quiet brook. There was a clump of 
cedars at each corner of the plot; near the largest of 
them were three little graves the three dead children 
of George and Fanny. In the shadow of the clump and 
nearest the brook was a fourth grave apart and, to 
the girl, now thrillingly mysterious : 

LOREI/LA LENOX 
BORN MAY 9, 1859 
DIED JULY 17, 1879 

Twenty years old! Susan's tears scalded her eyes. 
Only a little older than her cousin Ruth was now 
Ruth who often seemed to her, and to everybody, 
younger than herself. "And she was good I know 
she was good !" thought Susan. "He was bad, and the 
people who took his part against her were bad. But 
she was good !" 

She started as Sam's voice, gay and light, sounded 
directly behind her. "What are you doing in a grave- 
yard?" cried he. 

"How did you find me?" she asked, paling and flush- 
ing and paling again. 

"I've been following you ever since you left home." 

He might have added that he did not try to overtake 
her until they were where people would be least likely 
to see. 

"Whose graves are those?" he went on, cutting 
across a plot and stepping on several graves to join 
her. 

70 



SUSAN LENOX 



She was gazing at her mother's simple headstone. 
His glance followed hers, he read. 

"Oh beg pardon," he said confusedly. "I didn't 
see." 

She turned her serious gaze from the headstone to 
his face, which her young imagiriation transfigured. 
"You know about her?" she asked. 

"I I I've heard," he confessed. "But Susie, it 
doesn't amount to anything. It happened a long time 

ago and everybody's forgotten and " His 

stammering falsehoods died away before her steady 
look. "How did you find out?" 

"Someone just told me," replied she. "And they 
said you'd never respect or marry a girl who had no 
father. No don't deny please! I didn't believe it 
not after what we had said to each other." 

Sam, red and shifting uneasily, could not even keep 
his downcast eyes upon the same spot of ground. 

"You see," she went on, sweet and grave, "they don't 
understand what love means- do they?" 

"I guess not," muttered he, completely unnerved. 

Why, how seriously the girl had taken him and his 
words such a few words and not at all definite! No, 
he decided, it was the kiss. He had heard of girls so 
innocent that they thought a kiss meant the same as 
being married. He got himself together as well as he 
could and looked at her. 

"But, Susie," he said, "you're too young for any- 
thing definite and I'm not halfway through college." 

"I understand," said she. "But you need not be 
afraid I'll change." 

She was so sweet, so magnetic, so compelling that in 
spite of the frowns of prudence he seized her hand. At 
her touch he flung prudence to the winds. "I love 

71 



SUSAN LENOX 



you," he cried; and putting his arm around her, he 
tried to kiss her. She gently but strongly repulsed him. 
"Why not, dear?" he pleaded. "You love me don't 
you?" 

"Yes," she replied, her honest eyes shining upon his. 
"But we must wait until we're married. I don't care 
so much for the others, but I'd not want Uncle George 
to feel I had disgraced him." 

"Why, there's no harm in a kiss," pleaded he. 

"Kissing you is different," she replied. "It's it's 
marriage." 

He understood her innocence that frankly assumed 
marriage where a sophisticated girl would, in the guilt 
of designing thoughts, have shrunk in shame from 
however vaguely suggesting such a thing. He realized 
to the full his peril. "I'm a damn fool," he said to 
himself, "to hang about her. But somehow I can't 
help it I can't!" And the truth was, he loved her 
as much as a boy of his age is capable of loving, and 
he would have gone on and married her but for the 
snobbishness smeared on him by the provincialism of 
the small town and burned in by the toadyism of his 
fashionable college set. As he looked at her he saw 
beauty beyond any he had ever seen elsewhere and a 
sweetness and honesty that made him ashamed before 
her. "No, I couldn't harm her," he told himself. "I'm 
not such a dog as that. But there's no harm in loving 
her and kissing her and making her as happy as it's 
right to be." 

"Don't be mean, Susan," he begged, tears in his 
eyes. "If you love me, you'll let me kiss you." 

And she yielded, and the shock of the kiss set both 
to trembling. It appealed to his vanity, it heightened 
his own agitations to see how pale she had grown and 

72 



SUSAN LENOX 



how her rounded bosom rose and fell in the wild tumult 
of her emotions. "Oh, I can't do without seeing you," 
she cried. "And Au$t Fanny has forbidden me." 

"I thought so!" exclaimed he. "I did what I could 
last night to throw them off the track. If Ruth had 
only known what I was thinking about all the time. 
Where were you?" 

"Upstairs on the balcony." 

"I felt it," he declared. "And when she sang love 
songs I could hardly keep from rushing up to you. 
Susie, we must see each other." 

"I can come here, almost any day." 

"But people'd soon find out and they'd say all 
sorts of things. And your uncle and aunt would hear." 

There was no disputing anything so obvious. 

"Couldn't you come down tonight, after the others 
are in bed and the house is quiet?" he suggested. 

She hesitated before the deception, though she felt 
that her family had forfeited the right to control her. 
But love, being the supreme necessity, conquered. "For 
a few minutes," she conceded. 

She had been absorbed; but his eyes, kept alert by 
his conventional soul, had seen several people at a dis- 
tance observing without seeming to do so. "We must 
separate," he now said. "You see, Susie, we mustn't 
be gossiped about. You know how determined they 
are to keep us apart." 

"Yes yes," she eagerly agreed. "Will you go first, 
or shall I?" 

"You go the way you came. I'll jump the brook 
down where it's narrow and cut across and into our 
place by the back way. What time tonight?" 

"Arthur's coming," reflected Susie aloud. "Ruth'll 
not let him stay late. She'll be sleepy and will go 

73 



SUSAN LENOX 



straight to bed. About half past ten. If I'm not on 
the front veranda no, the side veranda by eleven, 
you'll know something has prevented." 

"But you'll surely come?" 

"I'll come." And it both thrilled and alarmed him 
to see how much in earnest she was. But he looked love 
into her loving eyes and went away, too intoxicated to 
care whither this adventure was leading him. 

At dinner she felt she was no longer a part of this 
family. Were they not all pitying and looking down 
on her in their hearts? She was like a deformed per- 
son who has always imagined the consideration he has 
had was natural and equal, and suddenly discovers that 
it is pity for his deformity. She now acutely felt her 
aunt's, her cousin's, dislike; and her uncle's gentleness 
was not less galling. In her softly rounded youthful 
face there was revealed definitely for the first time an 
underlying expression of strength, of what is often 
confused with its feeble counterfeit, obstinacy that 
power to resist circumstances which makes the unusual 
and the firm character. The young mobility of her 
features suggested the easy swaying of the baby sap- 
ling in the gentlest breeze. Singularly at variance 
with it was this^expression of tenacity. Such an ex- 
pression in the face of the young infallibly forecasts 
an agitated and agitating life. It seemed amazingly 
out of place in Susan because theretofore she had never 
been put to the test in any but unnoted trifles and so 
had given the impression that she was as docile as she 
was fearful of giving annoyance or pain and indifferent 
to having her own way. Those who have this tempera- 
ment of strength encased in gentleness are invariably 
misunderstood. When they assert themselves, though 
they are in the particular instance wholly right, they 

74 



SUSAN LENOX 



are regarded as wholly and outrageously wrong. Life 
deals hardly with them, punishes them for the mistaken 
notion of themselves they have through forbearance 
and gentleness of heart permitted an unobservant world 
to form. 

Susan spent the afternoon on the balcony before her 
window, reading and sewing or, rather, dreaming over 
first a book, then a dress. When she entered the din- 
ing-room at supper time the others were already seated. 
She saw instantly that something had occurred some- 
thing ominous for her. Mrs. Warham gave her a pene- 
trating, severe look and lowered her eyes; Ruth was 
gazing sullenly at her plate. Warham's glance was 
stern and reproachful. She took her place opposite 
Ruth, and the meal was eaten in silence. Ruth left 
the table first. Next Mrs. Warham rose and saying, 
"Susan, when you've finished, I wish to see you in the 
sitting-room upstairs," swept in solemn dignity from 
the room. Susan rose at once to follow. As she was 
passing her uncle he put out his hand and detained her. 

"I hope it was only a foolish girl's piece of non- 
sense," said he with an attempt at his wonted kindli- 
ness. "And I know it won't occur again. But when 
your aunt says things you won't like to hear, remem- 
ber that you brought this on yourself and that she 
loves you as we all do and is thinking only of your 
good." 

"What is it, Uncle George?" cried Susan, amazed. 
"What have I done?" 

Warham looked sternly grieved. "Brownie," he re- 
proached, "you mustn't deceive. Go to your aunt." 

She found her aunt seated stiffly in the living-room, 
her hands folded upon her stomach. So gradual had 
been the crucial middle-life change in Fanny that no 

75 



SUSAN LENOX 



one had noted it. This evening Susan, become morbidly 
acute, suddenly realized the contrast between the severe, 
uncertain-tempered aunt of today and the amiable, al- 
together and always gentle aunt of two years before. 

"What is it, aunt?" she said, feeling as if she were 
before a stranger and an enemy. 

"The whole town is talking about your disgraceful 
doings this morning," Ruth's mother replied in a hard 
voice. 

The color leaped in Susan's cheeks. 

"Yesterday I forbade you to see Sam Wright again. 
And already you disobey." 

"I did not say I would not see him again," replied 
Susan. 

"I thought you were an honest, obedient girl," cried 
Fanny, the high shrill notes in her voice rasping upon 
the sensitive, the now morbidly sensitive, Susan. "In- 
stead you slip away from the house and meet a young 
man and permit him to take liberties with you." 

Susan braced herself. "I did not go to the cemetery 
to meet him," she replied; and that new or, rather, 
newly revived tenacity was strong in her eyes, in the 
set of her sweet mouth. "He saw me on the way and 
followed. I did let him kiss me once. But I had the 
right to." 

"You have disgraced yourself and us all." 

"We are going to be married." 

"I don't want to hear such foolish talk !" cried Mrs. 
Warham violently. "If you had any sense, you'd know 
better." 

"He and I do not feel as you do about my mother," 
said the girl with quiet dignity. 

Mrs. Warham shivered before this fling. "Who told 
you?" she demanded. 

76 



SUSAN LENOX 



"It doesn't matter; I know." 

"Well, miss, since you know, then I can tell you that 
your uncle and I realize you're going the way your 
mother went. And the whole town thinks you've gone 
already. They're all saying, *I told you so! I told 
you so ! Like her mother !' " Mrs. Warham was 
weeping hysterical tears of fury. "The whole town! 
And it'll reflect on my Ruth. Oh, you miserable girl! 
Whatever possessed me to take pity on you !" 

Susan's hands clutched until the nails sunk into the 
palms. She shut her teeth together, turned to fly. 

"Wait!" commanded Mrs. Warham. "Wait, I tell 
you !" 

Susan halted in the doorway, but did not turn. 

"Your uncle and I have talked it over." 

"Oh!" cried Susan. 

Mrs. Warham's eyes glistened. "Yes, he has 
wakened up at last. There's one thing he isn't soft 
about " 

"You've turned him against me!" cried the girl 
despairingly. 

"You mean you have turned him against you," re- 
torted her aunt. "Anyhow, you can't wheedle him this 
time. He's as bent as I am. And you must promise 
us that you won't see Sam again." 

A pause. Then Susan said, "I can't." 

"Then we'll send you away to your Uncle Zeke's. 
It's quiet out there and you'll have a chance to think 
things over. And I reckon he'll watch you. He's never 
forgiven your mother. Now, will you promise?" 

"No," said Susan calmly. "You have wicked 
thoughts about my mother, and you are being wicked 
to me you and Ruth. Oh, I understand!" 

"Don't you dare stand there and lie that way!" 

77 



SUSAN LENOX 



raved Mrs. Warham. "I'll give you tonight to think 
about it. If you don't promise, you leave this house. 
Your uncle has been weak where you were concerned, 
but this caper of yours has brought him to his senses. 
We'll not have you a loose character and your 
cousin's life spoiled by it. First thing we know, no 
respectable man'll marry her, either." 

From between the girl's shut teeth issued a cry. 
She darted across the hall, locked herself in her room. 



VI 



SAM did not wait until Arthur Sinclair left, but, 
all ardor and impatience, stole in at the War- 
hams' front gate at ten o'clock. He dropped 
to the grass behind a clump of lilacs, and to calm his 
nerves and to make the time pass more quickly, smoked 
a cigarette, keeping its lighted end carefully hidden 
in the hollow of his hand. He was not twenty feet 
away, was seeing and hearing, when Arthur kissed Ruth 
good night. He laughed to himself. "How disap- 
pointed she looked Jast night when she saw I wasn't 
going to do thatl'i What a charmer Susie must be 
when the thought of her made the idea of kissing as 
pretty a girl as Ruth uninteresting, almost distaste- 

folJ .(LJ jvlwv^ 

Sinclair departed ; the lignts in parlor and hall went 

out; presently light appeared through the chinks in 
some of the second-story shutters. Then followed 
three-quarters of an hour of increasing tension. The 
tension would have b^en even greater had he seen the 
young lady going leisurely about her preparations for 
bed. For Ruth was of the orderly, precise women 
who are created to foster the virtue of patience in 
those about them. It took her nearly as long to dress 
for bed as for a party. She did her hair up in curl 
papers with the utmost care; she washed and rinsed 
and greased her face and neck and gave them a thor- 
ough massage. She shook out and carefully hung or 
folded or put to air each separate garment. She ex- 
amined her silk stockings for holes, found one, darned 

79 



SUSAN LENOX 



it with a neatness rivaling that of a stoppeur. She 
removed from her dressing table and put away in 
drawers everything that was out of place. She closed 
each drawer tightly, closed and locked the closets, 
looked under the bed, turned off the lights over the 
dressing table. She completed her toilet with a slow 
washing of her teeth, a long spraying of her throat, 
and a deliberate, thoroughgoing dripping of boracic 
acid into each eye to keep and improve its clearness 
and brilliancy. She sat on the bed, reflected on what 
she had done, to assure herself that nothing had been 
omitted. After a slow look around she drew off her 
bedroom slippers, set them carefully side by side near 
the head of the bed. She folded her nightgown neatly 
about her legs, thrust them down into the bed. Again 
she looked slowly, searchingly, about the room to make 
absolutely sure she had forgotten nothing, had put 
everything in perfect order. Once in bed, she hated 
to get out; yet if she should recall any omission, how- 
ever slight, she would be unable to sleep until she had 
corrected it. Finally, sure as fallible humanity can 
be, she turned out the last light, lay down went in- 
stantly to sleep. 

It was hardly a quarter of an hour after the van- 
ishing of that last ray when Sam, standing now with 
heart beating fast and a lump of expectancy, perhaps 
of trepidation, too, in his throat, saw a figure issue 
from the front door and move round to the side veranda. 
He made a detour on the lawn, so as to keep out of 
view both from house and street, came up to the ve- 
randa, called to her softly. 

"Can you get over the rail?" asked she in the same 
low tone. 

"Let's go back to the summer house," urged he. 

80 



SUSAN LENOX 



"No. Come up here," she insisted. "Be careful. 
The windows above are open." 

He climbed the rail noiselessly and made an impetu- 
ous move for her hand. She drew back. "No, Sam 
dear," she said. "I know it's foolish. But I've an 
instinct against it and we mustn't." 

She spoke so gently that he persisted and pleaded. 
It was some time before he realized how much firm- 
ness there was under her gentleness. She was so afraid 
of making him cross ; yet he also saw that she would 
withstand at any cost. He placed himself beside her 
on the wicker lounge, sitting close, his cheek almost 
against hers, that they might hear each other with- 
out speaking above a whisper. After one of those 
silences which are the peculiar delight of lovers, she 
drew a long breath and said: "I've got to go away, 
Sam. I shan't see you again for a long time." 

"They heard about this morning? They're send- 
ing you away?" 

"No I'm going. They feel that I'm a disgrace 
and a drag. So I can't stay." 

"But you've got to stay !" protested Sam. In wild 
alarm he suspected she was preparing to make him 
elope with her and he did not know to what length 
of folly his infatuation might whirl him. "You've no 
place to go," he urged. 

"I'll find a place," said she. 

"You mustn't you mustn't, Susie! Why, you're 
only seventeen and have no experience." 

"I'll get experience," said she. "Nothing could be 
so bad as staying here. Can't you see that?" 

He could not. Like so many of the children of 
the rich, he had no trace of overnice sense of self- 
respect, having been lying and toadying all his life 

81 



SUSAN LENOX 



to a father who used the power of his wealth at home 
no less, rather more, than abroad. But he vaguely re- 
alized what delicacy of feeling lay behind her statement 
of her position; and he did not dare express his real 
opinion. He returned to the main point. "You've 
simply got to put up with it for the present, Susie," 
he insisted. "But, then, of course, you're not serious." 

"Yes. I am going." 

"You'll think it over, and see I'm right, dear." 

"I'm going tonight." 

"Tonight!" he cried. 

"Sh-h!" 

Sam looked apprehensively around. Both breathed 
softly and listened with straining ears. His exclama- 
tion had not been loud, but the silence was profound. 
"I guess nobody heard," he finally whispered. "You 
mustn't go, Susie." He caught her hand and held it. 
"I love you, and I forbid it." 

"I must go, dear," answered she. "I've decided to 
take the midnight boat for Cincinnati." 

In the half darkness he gazed in stupefaction at her 
this girl of only seventeen calmly resolving upon 
and planning an adventure so daring, so impossible. 
As he had been born and bred in that western coun- 
try where the very children have more independence 
than the carefully tamed grown people of the East, 
he ought to have been prepared for almost anything. 
But his father had undermined his courage and inde- 
pendence; also his year in the East had given him 
somewhat different ideas of women. Susan's announce- 
ment seemed incredible. He was gathering himself 
for pouring out a fresh protest when it flashed through 
his mind Why not? She would go to Cincinnati. 
He could follow in a few days or a week and then 

82 



SUSAN LENOX 



Well, at least they would be free and could have 
many happy days together. 

"Why, how could you get to Cincinnati?" he said. 
"You haven't any money." 

"I've a twenty-dollar gold piece Uncle gave me as 
a keepsake. And I've got seventeen dollars in other 
money, and several dollars in change," explained she. 
"I've got two hundred and forty-three dollars and 
fifty cents in the bank, but I can't get that not now. 
They'll send it to me when I find a place and am set- 
tled and let them know." 

"You can't do it, Susie! You can't and you 
mustn't." 

"If you knew what they said to me! Oh, I couldn't 
stay, Sam. I've got some of my clothes a little bun- 
dle behind the front door. As soon as I'm settled 
I'll let you know." 

A silence, then he, hesitatingly, "Don't you do you 
hadn't I better go with you?" 

She thrilled at this generosity, this new proof of 
love. But she said: "No, I wouldn't let you do that. 
They'd blame you. And I want them to know it's all 
my own doing." 

"You're right, Susie," said the young man, relieved 
and emphatic. "If I went with you, it'd only get both 
of us into deeper trouble." Again silence, with Sam 
feeling a kind of awe as he studied the resolute, mys- 
terious profile of the girl, which he could now see 
clearly. At last he said: "And after you get there, 
Susie what will you do?" 

"Find a boarding house, and then look for a place." 

"What kind of a place?" 

"In a store or making dresses or any kind of 
sewing. Or I could do housework." 



SUSAN LENOX 



The sex impulse is prolific of generous impulses. 
He, sitting so close to her and breathing in through 
his skin the emanations of her young magnetism, was 
moved to the depths by the picture her words con- 
jured. This beautiful girl, a mere child, born and 
bred in the lady class, wandering away penniless and 
alone, to be a prey to the world's buffetings which, 
severe enough in reality, seem savage beyond endur- 
ance to the children of wealth. 

As he pictured it his heart impulsively expanded. 
It was at his lips to offer to marry her. But his real 
self and one's real self is vastly different from one's 
impulses his real self forbade the words passage. Not 
even the sex impulse, intoxicating him as it then was, 
could dethrone snobbish calculation. He was young; 
so while he did not speak, he felt ashamed of him- 
self for not speaking. He felt that she must be ex- 
pecting him to speak, that she had the right to ex- 
pect it. He drew a little away from her, and kept 
silent. 

"The time will soon pass," said she absently. 

"The time? Then you intend to come back?" 

"I mean the time until you're through college and 
we can be together." 

She spoke as one speaks of a dream as to which one 
has never a doubt but that it will come true. It was 
so preposterous, this idea that he would marry her, 
especially after she had been a servant or God knows 
what for several years it was so absurd that he burst 
into a sweat of nervous terror. And he hastily drew 
further away. 

She felt the change, for she was of those who are 
born sensitive. But she was far too young and in- 
experienced to have learned to interpret aright the 

84 



SUSAN LENOX 



subtle warnings of the nerves. "You are displeased 
with me?" she asked timidly. 

"No Oh, no, Susie," he stammered. "I I was 
thinking. Do put off going for a day or two. There's 
no need of hurrying." 

But she felt that by disobeying her aunt and com- 
ing down to see him she had forfeited the right to 
shelter under that roof. "I can't go back," said she. 
"There's a reason." She would not tell him the rea- 
son; it would make him feel as if he were to blame. 
"When I get a place in Cincinnati," she went on, "I'll 
write to you." 

"Not here," he objected. "That wouldn't do at all. 
No, send me a line to the Gibson House in Cincinnati, 
giving me your address." 

"The Gibson House," she repeated. "I'll not forget 
that name. Gibson House." 

"Send it as soon as you get a place. I may be in 
Cincinnati soon. But this is all nonsense. You're 
not going. You'd be afraid." 

She laughed softly. "You don't know me. Now 
that I've got to go, I'm glad." 

And he realized that she was not talking to give 
herself courage, that her words were literally true. 
This made him admire her, and fear her, too. There 
must be something wild and unwomanly in her na- 
ture. "I guess she inherits it from her mother and 
perhaps her father, whoever he was." Probably she 
was simply doing a little early what she'd have been 
sure to do sooner or later, no matter what had hap- 
pened. On the whole, it was just as well that she was 
going. "I can take her on East in the fall. As soon 
as she has a little knowledge of the world she'll not 
expect me to marry her. She can get something to 
4 85 



SUSAN LENOX 



do. I'll help her." And now he felt in conceit with 
himself again felt that he was going to be a good, 
generous friend to her. 

"Perhaps you'll be better off once you get started," 
said he. 

"I don't see how I could be worse off. What is 
there here for me?" 

He wondered at the good sense of this from a mere 
child. It was most unlikely that any man of the class 
she had been brought up in would marry her; and 
how could she endure marriage with a man of the 
class in which she might possibly find a husband? As 
for reputation 

She, an illegitimate child, never could have a repu- 
tation, at least not so long as she had her looks. After 
supper, to kill time, he had dropped in at Willett's 
drug store, where the young fellows loafed and gos- 
siped in the evenings; all the time he was there the 
conversation had been made up of sly digs and hints 
about graveyard trysts, each thrust causing the kind 
of laughter that is the wake of the prurient and the 
obscene. Yes, she was right. There could be "noth- 
ing in it" for her in Sutherland. He was filled with 
pity for her. "Poor child! What a shame!" There 
must be something wrong with a world that permitted 
such iniquities. 

The clock struck twelve. "You must go," she said. 
"Sometimes the boat comes as early as half-past." And 
she stood up. 

As he faced her the generous impulse surged again. 
He caught her in his arms, she not resisting. He 
kissed her again and again, murmuring disconnected 
words of endearment and fighting back the offer to 
marry her. "I mustn't! I mustn't!" he said to him- 

86 



SUSAN LENOX 



self. "What'd become of us?" If his passions had been 
as virgin, as inexperienced, as hers, no power could have 
held him from going with her and marrying her. But 
experience had taught him the abysmal difference be- 
tween before and after; and he found strength to be 
sensible, even in the height of his passionate longing 
for her. 

She clasped her arms about his neck. "Oh, my 
dear love !" she murmured. "I'd do anything for you. 
I feel that you love me as I love you." 

"Yes yes." And he pressed his lips to hers. An 
instant and she drew away, shaking and panting. He 
tried to clasp her again, but she would not have it. 
"I can't stand it!" he murmured. "I must go with 
you I must !" 

"No!" she replied. "It wouldn't do unless we were 
really married." Wistfully, "And we can't be that yet 
can we? There isn't any way?" 

His passion cooled instantly. 

"There isn't any way," he said regretfully. "I'd 
not dare tell my father." 

"Yes, we must wait till you're of age, and have 

your education, and are free. Then " She drew 

a long breath, looked at him with a brave smile. The 
large moon was shining upon them. "We'll think of 
that, and not let ourselves be unhappy won't we?" 

"Yes," he said. "But I must go." 

"I forgot for the minute. Good-by, dearest." She 
put up her lips. He kissed her, but without passion 
now. 

"You might go with me as far as the wharf," she 
suggested. 

"No someone might see and that would ruin 

everything. I'd like to I'd " 

87 



SUSAN LENOX 



"It wouldn't do," she interrupted. "I wouldn't let 
you come." 

With sudden agitation she kissed him he felt that 
her lips were cold. He pressed her hands they, too, 
were cold. "Good-by, my darling," he murmured, 
vaulted lightly over the rail and disappeared in the 
deep shadows of the shrubbery. When he was clear 
of the grounds he paused to light a cigarette. His 
hand was shaking so that the match almost dropped 
from his fingers. "I've been making a damn fool of 
myself," he said half aloud. "A double damn fool! 
I've got to stop that talk about marrying, somehow 
or keep away from her. But I can't keep away. I 
must have her ! Why in the devil can't she realize that 
a man in my position couldn't marry her? If it wasn't 
for this marrying talk, I'd make her happy. I've sim- 
ply got to stop this marrying talk. It gets worse and 
worse." 

Her calmness deceived her into thinking herself per- 
fectly sane and sober, perfectly aware of what she 
was about. She had left her hat and her bundle be- 
hind the door. She put on the hat in the darkness 
of the hall with steady fingers, took up the well-filled 
shawl strap and went forth, closing the door behind 
her. In the morning they would find the door unlocked 
but that would not cause much talk, as Sutherland 
people were all rather careless about locking up. They 
would not knock at the door of her room until noon, 
perhaps. Then they would find on the pincushion 
the letter she had written to her uncle, saying good-by 
and explaining that she had decided to remove for- 
ever the taint of her mother and herself from their 
house and their lives a somewhat theatrical letter, 

88 



SUSAN LENOX 



modeled upon Ouida, whom she thought the greatest 
writer that had ever lived, Victor Hugo and two or 
three poets perhaps excepted. 

Her bundle was not light, but she hardly felt it 
as she moved swiftly through the deserted, moonlit 
streets toward the river. The wharf boat for the 
Cincinnati and Louisville mail steamers was anchored 
at the foot of Pine Street. On the levee before it 
were piled the boxes, bags, cases, crates, barrels to be 
loaded upon the "up boat." She was descending the 
gentle slope toward this mass of freight when her 
blood tingled at a deep, hoarse, mournful whistle from 
far away; she knew it was the up boat, rounding the 
bend and sighting the town. The sound echoed mu- 
sically back and forth between the Kentucky and the 
Indiana bluffs, died lingeringly away. Again the whistle 
boomed, again the dark forest-clad steeps sent the 
echoes to and fro across the broad silver river. And 
now she could see the steamer, at the bend a dark 
mass picked out with brilliant dots of light; the big 
funnels, the two thick pennants of black smoke. And 
she could hear the faint pleasant stroke of the paddles 
of the big side wheels upon the water. 

At the wharf boat there had not been a sign of 
life. But with the dying away of the second whistle 
lights the lights of lanterns appeared on the levee 
close to the water's edge and on the wharf boat itself. 
And, behind her, the doors of the Sutherland Hotel 
opened and its office lit up, in preparation for any 
chance arrivals. She turned abruptly out of the beaten 
path down the gravel levee, made for the lower and 
darker end of the wharf boat. There would be Suther- 
land people going up the river. But they would be 
more than prompt; everyone came early to boats and 

89 



SUSAN LENOX 



trains to begin the sweet draught of the excitement 
of journeying. So she would wait in the darkness 
and go aboard when the steamer was about to draw 
in its planks. At the upper end of the wharf boat 
there was the broad gangway to the levee for passen- 
gers and freight; at the lower and dark and deserted 
end a narrow beam extended from boat to shore, to 
hold the boat steady. Susan, balancing herself with 
her bundle, went up to the beam, sat down upon a 
low stanchion in the darkness where she could see the 
river. 

Louder and louder grew the regular musical beat of 
engine and paddle. The searchlight on the forward 
deck of the General Lytle, after peering uncertainly, 
suspiciously, at the entire levee, and at the river, and at 
the Kentucky shore, abruptly focused upon the wharf 
boat. The General Lytle now seemed a blaze of lights 
from lower deck, from saloon deck, from pilot house 
deck, and forward and astern. A hundred interesting 
sounds came from her tinkling of bells, calls from 
deck to deck, whistlings, creaking of pulleys, lowing 
of cattle, grunting of swine, plaint of agitated sheep, 
the resigned duckings of many chickens. Along the 
rail of the middle or saloon deck were seated a few 
passengers who had not yet gone to bed. On the 
lower deck was a swarm of black roustabouts, their 
sooty animal faces, their uncannily contrasting white 
teeth and eyeballs, their strange and varied rags lit 
up by the torches blazing where a gangplank lay ready 
for running out. And high and clear in the lovely June 
night sailed the moon, spreading a faint benign light 
upon hills and shores and glistening river, upon the 
graceful, stately mail steamer, now advancing ma- 
jestically upon the wharf boat. Susan watched all, 

90 



SUSAN LENOX 



saw all, with quick beating heart and quivering in- 
terest. It was the first time that her life had been 
visited by the fascinating sense of event, real event. 
The tall, proud, impetuous child-woman, standing in 
the semi-darkness beside her bundle, was about to cast 
her stake upon the table in a bold game with Destiny. 
Her eyes shone with the wonderful expression that 
is seen only when courage gazes into the bright face 
of danger. 

The steamer touched the edge of the wharf-boat 
with gentle care; the wharf-boat swayed and groaned. 
Even as the gangplanks were pushing out, the ragged, 
fantastic roustabouts, with wild, savage, hilarious cries, 
ran and jumped and scrambled to the wharf-boat like 
a band of escaping lunatics and darted down its shore 
planks to pounce upon the piles of freight. The mate, 
at the steamer edge to superintend the loading, and 
the wharf master on the levee beside the freight re- 
leased each a hoarse torrent of profanity to spur on 
the yelling, laughing roustabouts, more brute than 
man. Torches flared; cow and sheep, pig and chicken, 
uttered each its own cry of dissatisfaction or dismay; 
the mate and wharf master cursed because it was the 
custom to curse ; the roustabouts rushed ashore empty- 
handed, came filing back, stooping under their burdens. 
It was a scene of animation, of excitement, savage, 
grotesque, fascinating. 

Susan, trembling a little, so tense were her nerves, 
waited until the last straggling roustabouts were stag- 
gering on the boat, until the deep whistle sounded, 
warning of approaching departure. Then she took 
up her bundle and put herself in the line of roustabouts, 
between a half-naked negro, black as coal and bearing 
a small barrel of beer, and a half-naked mulatto bear- 

91 



SUSAN LENOX 



ing a bundle of loud-smelling untanned skins. "Get 
out of the way, lady!" yelled the mate, eagerly seizing 
upon a new text for his denunciations. "Get out of 
the way, you black hellions ! Let the lady pass ! Look 
out, lady! You damned sons of hell, what're you 
about! I'll rip out your bowels- 
Susan fled across the deck and darted up the stairs 
to the saloon. The steamer was all white without ex- 
cept the black metal work. Within that is, in the 
long saloon out of which the cabins opened to right 
and left and in which the meals were served at exten- 
sion tables there was the palatial splendor of white 
and gilt. At the forward end near the main entrance 
was the office. Susan, peering in from the darkness 
of the deck, saw that the way was clear. The Suther- 
land passengers had been accommodated. She entered, 
put her bundle down, faced the clerk behind the desk. 
"Why, howdy, Miss Lenox," said he genially, be- 
ginning to twist his narrow, carefully attended blond 
mustache. "Any of the folks with you?" 

She remembered his face but not his name. She 
remembered him as one of the "river characters" re- 
garded as outcast by the Christian respectability of 
Sutherland. But she who could not but be polite to 
everybody smiled pleasantly, though she did not like 
his expression as he looked at her. "No, I'm alone," 
said she. 

"Oh your friends are going to meet you at the 
wharf in the morning," said he, content with his own 
explanation. "Just sign here, please." And, as she 
wrote, he went on: "I've got one room left. Ain't 
that lucky? It's a nice one, too. You'll be very com- 
fortable. Everybody at home well? I ain't been in 
Sutherland for nigh ten years. Every week or so I 

92 



SUSAN LENOX 



think I will, and then somehow I don't. Here's your 
key number 34 right-hand side, well down toward 
the far end, yonder. Two dollars, please. Thank you 
exactly right. Hope you sleep well." 

"Thank you," said Susan. 

She turned away with the key which was thrust 
through one end of a stick about a foot long, to make 
it too bulky for absent-minded passengers to pocket. 
She took up her bundle, walked down the long saloon 
with its gilt decorations, its crystal chandeliers, its 
double array of small doors, each numbered. The clerk 
looked after her, admiration of the fine curve of her 
shoulders, back, and hips written plain upon his in- 
significant features. And it was a free admiration he 
would not have dared show had she not been a daugh- 
ter of illegitimacy a girl whose mother's "looseness" 
raised pleasing if scandalous suggestions and even pos- 
sibilities in the mind of every man with a carnal eye. 
And not unnaturally. To think of her was to think 
of the circumstances surrounding her coming into the 
world ; and to think of those circumstances was to 
think of immorality. 

Susan, all unconscious of that polluted and impu- 
dent gaze, was soon standing before the narrow door 
numbered 34, as she barely made out, for the lamps in 
the saloon chandeliers were turned low. She unlocked 
it, entered the small clean stateroom and deposited 
her bundle on the floor. With just a glance at her 
quarters she hurried to the opposite door the one 
giving upon the promenade. She opened it, stepped 
out, crossed the deserted deck and stood at the rail. 
The General Lytle was drawing slowly away from the 
wharf-boat. As that part of the promenade happened 
to be sheltered from the steamer's lights, she was see- 

93 



SUSAN LENOX 



ing the panorama of Sutherland its long stretch of 
shaded waterfront, its cupolas and steeples, the wide 
leafy streets leading straight from the river by a gen- 
tle slope to the base of the dark towering bluffs behind 
the town all sleeping in peace and beauty in the soft 
light of the moon. That farthest cupola to the left 
it was the Number Two engine house, and the third 
place from it was her uncle's house. Slowly the 
steamer, now in mid-stream, drew away from the town. 
One by one the familiar landmarks the packing house, 
the soap factory, the Geiss brewery, the tall chimney 
of the pumping station, the shorn top of Reservoir Hill 
slipped ghostlily away to the southwest. The sobs 
choked up into her throat and the tears rained from 
her eyes. They all pitied and looked down on her 
there; still, it had "Been home^^fEe^onlyJom^he^ ever. 
had known or ever would know. ^And until these last 
few frightful days, how happy she had been there! 
For the first time she felt desolate, weak, afraid. But 
not daunted. It is strange to see in strong human 
character the strength and the weakness, two flat con- 
tradictions, existing side by side and making weak 
what seems so strong and making strong what seems 
so weak. However, human character is a tangle of 
inconsistencies, as disorderly and inchoate as the tangi- 
ble and visible parts of nature. Susan felt weak, but 
not the kind of weakness that skulks. And there lay 
the difference, the abysmal difference, between courage 
and cowardice. Courage has full as much fear as 
cowardice, often more; but it has a something else 
that cowardice has not. It trembles and shivers but 
goes forward. 

Wiping her eyes she went back to her own cabin. 
She had neglected closing its other door, the one from 

94 



SUSAN LENOX 



the saloon. The clerk was standing smirking in the 
doorway. 

"You must be going away for quite some time," 
said he. And he fixed upon her as greedy and im- 
pudent eyes as ever looked from a common face. It 
was his battle glance. Guileful women, bent on trim- 
ming him for anything from a piece of plated jewelry 
to a saucer of ice cream, had led him to believe that 
before it walls of virtue tottered and fell like Jericho's 
before the trumpets of Joshua. 

"It makes me a little homesick to see the old town 
disappear," hastily explained Susan, recovering her- 
self. The instant anyone was watching, her emotions 
always hid. 

"Wouldn't you like to sit out on deck a while?" pur- 
sued the clerk, bringing up a winning smile to reinforce 
the fetching stare. 

The idea was attractive, for she did not feel like 
sleep. It would be fine to sit out in the open, watch 
the moon and the stars, the mysterious banks gliding 
swiftly by, and new vistas always widening out ahead. 
But not with this puny, sandy little "river character," 
not with anybody that night. "No," replied she. "I 
think I'll go to bed." 

She had hesitated and that was enough to give him 
encouragement. "Now, do come," he urged. "You 
don't know how nice it is. And they say I'm mighty 
good company." 

"No, thanks." Susan nodded a pleasant dismissal. 

The clerk lingered. "Can't I help you in some way? 
Wouldn't you like me to get you something?" 

"No nothing." 

"Going to visit in Cincinnati? I know the town 
from A to Izzard. It's a lot of fun over the Rhine. 

95 



SUSAN LENOX 



I've had mighty good times there the kind a pretty, 
lively girl like you would take to." 

"When do we get to Cincinnati?" 

"About eight maybe half -past seven. Depends on 
the landings we have to make, and the freight." 

"Then I'll not have much time for sleep," said Su- 
san. "Good night." And no more realizing the cold- 
ness of her manner than the reason for his hanging 
about, she faced him, hand on the door to close it. 

"You ain't a bit friendly," wheedled he. 

"I'm sorry you think so. Good night and thank 
you." And he could not but withdraw his form from 
the door. She closed it and forgot him. And she 
did not dream she had passed through one of those 
perilous adventures incident to a female traveling alone 
adventures that even in the telling frighten ladies 
whose nervousness for their safety seems to increase 
in direct proportion to the degree of tranquillity their 
charms create in the male bosom. She decided it would 
be unwise regularly to undress; the boat might catch 
fire or blow up or something. She took off skirt, hat 
and ties, loosened her waist, and lay upon the lower of 
the two plain, hard little berths. The throb of the 
engines, the beat of the huge paddles, made the whole 
boat tremble and shiver. Faintly up from below came 
the sound of quarrels over crap-shooting, of banjos and 
singing from the roustabouts amusing themselves be- 
tween landings. She thought she would not be able 
to sleep in these novel and exciting surroundings. She 
had hardly composed herself before she lost conscious- 
ness, to sleep on and on dreamlessly, without motion. 



vn 



SHE was awakened by a crash so uproarious that 
she sat bolt upright before she had her eyes 
open. Her head struck stunningly against the 
bottom of the upper berth. This further confused 
her thoughts. She leaped from the bed, caught up 
her slippers, reached for her opened-up bundle. The 
crash was still billowing through the boat; she now 
recognized it as a great gong sounding for breakfast. 
She sat down on the bed and rubbed her head and 
laughed merrily. "I am a greenhorn !" she said. "An- 
other minute and I'd have had the whole boat laugh- 
ing at me." 

She felt rested and hungry ravenously hungry. 
She tucked in her blouse, washed as well as she could 
in the tiny bowl on the little washstand. Then before 
the cloudy watermarked mirror she arranged her 
scarcely mussed hair. A charming vision of fresh 
young loveliness, strong, erect, healthy, bright of eye 
and of cheek, she made as, after a furtive look up and 
down the saloon, she stepped from her door a very 
few minutes after the crash of that gong. With much 
scuffling and bustling the passengers, most of them 
country people, were hurrying into places at the ta- 
bles which now had their extension leaves and were 
covered with coarse white tablecloths and with dishes 
of nicked stoneware, white, indeed, but shabbily so. 
But Susan's young eyes were not critical. To her it 
all seemed fine, with the rich flavor of adventure. A 
more experienced traveler might have been filled with 

97 



SUSAN LENOX 



gloomy forebodings by the quality of the odor from 
the cooking. She found it delightful and sympathized 
with the unrestrained eagerness of the homely country 
faces about her, with the children beating their spoons 
on their empty plates. The colored waiters presently 
began to stream in, each wearing a soiled white jacket, 
each bearing aloft a huge tray on which were stacked 
filled dishes and steaming cups. 

Colored people have a keen instinct for class. One 
of the waiters happened to note her, advanced bowing 
and smiling with that good-humored, unservile cour- 
tesy which is the peculiar possession of the American- 
ized colored race. He flourished her into a chair with 
a "Good morning, miss. It's going to be a fine day." 
And as soon as she was seated he began to form round 
her plate a large inclosing arc of side dishes fried 
fish, fried steak, fried eggs, fried potatoes, wheat 
cakes, canned peaches, a cup of coffee. He drew toward 
her a can of syrup, a pitcher of cream, and a bowl of 
granulated sugar. 

"Anything else?" said he, with a show of teeth white 
and sound. 

"No nothing. Thank you so much." 

Her smile stimulated him to further courtesies. 
"Some likes the yeggs biled. Shall I change 'em?" 

"No. I like them this way." She was so hungry 
that the idea of taking away a certainty on the chance 
of getting something out of sight and not yet cooked 
did not attract her. 

"Perhaps a little better piece of steak?" 

"No this looks fine." Her enthusiasm was not mere 
politeness. 

"I clean forgot your hot biscuits." And away he 
darted. 

98 



SUSAN LENOX 



When he came back with a heaping plate of hot 
biscuits, Sally Lunn and cornbread, she was eating 
as heartily as any of her neighbors. It seemed to 
her that never had she tasted such grand food as 
this served in the white and gold saloon with strange- 
ness and interest all about her and the delightful sense 
of motion motion into the fascinating golden un- 
known. The men at the table were eating with their 
knives; each had one protecting forearm and hand 
cast round his arc of small dishes as if to ward off 
probable attempt at seizure. And they swallowed as 
if the boat were afire. The women ate more daintily, 
as became members of the finer sex on public exhi- 
bition. They were wearing fingerless net gloves, and 
their little fingers stood straight out in that gesture 
which every truly elegant woman deems necessary if 
the food is to be daintily and artistically conveyed to 
her lips. The children mussed and gormed themselves, 
their dishes, the tablecloth. Susan loved it all. Her 
eyes sparkled. She ate everything, and regretted that 
lack of capacity made it impossible for her to yield 
to the entreaties of her waiter that she "have a little 
more." 

She rose, went into the nearest passageway between 
saloon and promenade, stealthily took a ten-cent piece 
from her pocketbook. She called her waiter and gave 
it to him. She was blushing deeply, frightened lest 
this the first tip she had ever given or seen given be 
misunderstood and refused. "I'm so much obliged," 
she said. "You were very nice." 

The waiter bowed like a prince, always with his sim- 
ple, friendly smile ; the tip disappeared under his apron. 
"Nobody could help being nice to you, lady." 

She thanked him again and went to the promenade. 

99 



SUSAN LENOX 



It seemed to her that they had almost arrived. Along 
shore stretched a continuous line of houses pretty 
houses with gardens. There were electric cars. Nearer 
the river lay several parallel lines of railway track 
along which train after train was speeding, some of 
them short trains of ordinary day coaches, others long 
trains made up in part of coaches grander and more 
beautiful than any she had ever seen. She knew they 
must be the parlor and dining and sleeping cars she 
had read about. And now they were in the midst of 
a fleet of steamers and barges, and far ahead loomed 
the first of Cincinnati's big suspension bridges, pictures 
of which she had many a time gazed at in wonder. 
There was a mingling of strange loud noises whistles, 
engines, on the water, on shore; there was a multitude 
of what seemed to her feverish activities she who had 
not been out of quiet Sutherland since she was a baby 
too young to note things. 

The river, the shores, grew more and more crowded. 
Susan's eyes darted from one new object to another; 
and eagerly though she looked she felt she was miss- 
ing more than she saw. 

"Why, Susan Lenox!" exclaimed a voice almost in 
her ear. 

She closed her teeth upon a cry; suddenly she was 
back from wonderland to herself. She turned to face 
dumpy, dressy Mrs. Waterbury and her husband with 
the glossy kinky ringlets and the long wavy mustache. 
"How do you do?" she stammered. 

"We didn't know you were aboard," said Mrs. 
Waterbury, a silly, duck-legged woman looking proudly 
uncomfortable in her bead-trimmed black silk. 

"Yes I'm I'm here," confessed Susan. 

"Going to the city to visit?" 
100 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Yes," said Susan. She hesitated, then repeated, 
"Yes." 

"What elegant breakfasts they do serve on these 
boats ! I suppose your friends'll meet you. But Mort 
and I'll look after you till they come." 

"Oh, it isn't necessary," protested Susan. The 
steamer was passing under the bridge. There were 
cities on both shores huge masses of dingy brick, 
streets filled with motion of every kind always mo- 
tion, incessant motion, and change. "WVre about 
there, aren't we?" she asked. 

"The wharf's up beyond the second bridge the 
Covington Bridge," explained Waterbury with the air 
of the old experienced globe-trotter. "There's a third 
one, further up, but you can't see it for the smoke." 
And he went on and on, volubly airing his intimate 
knowledge of the great city which he visited once a 
year for two or three days to buy goods. He ended 
with a scornful, "My, but Cincinnati's a dirty 
place !" 

Dirty it might be, but Susan loved it, dirt and all. 
The smoke, the grime somehow seemed part of it, one 
of its charms, one of the things that made it different 
from, and superior to, monotonous country and coun- 
try town. She edged away from the Waterburys, hid 
in her stateroom watching the panorama through the 
curtained glass of her promenade deck door. She was 
completely carried away. The city! So v this was the 
city! And her dreams of travel, of new sights, new 
faces, were beginning to come true. She forgot her- 
self, forgot what she had left behind, forgot what 
she was to face. All her power of thought and feel- 
ing was used up in absorbing these unfolding wonders. 
And when the June sun suddenly pierced the heavy 

101 



SUSAN LENOX 



clouds of fog and smoke, she clasped her hands and 
gasped, "Lovely ! Oh, how lovely !" 

And now the steamer was at the huge wharf-boat, in 
shape like the one at Sutherland, but in comparative 
size like the real Noah's Ark beside a toy ark. And 
from the whole tremendous scene rose an enormous 
clamor, the stentorian voice of the city. That voice 
is discordant and terrifying to many. To Susan, on 
that day, it was the most splendid burst of music. 
"Awake awake!" it cried. "Awake, and live!" She 
opened her door that she might hear it better rattle 
and rumble and roar, shriek of whistle, clang of bell. 
And the people! Thousands on thousands hurrying 
hither and yon, like bees in a hive. "Awake awake, 
and live!" 

The noises from the saloon reminded her that the 
journey was ended, that she must leave the boat. And 
she did not know where to go she and her bundle. 
She waited until she saw the Waterburys, along with 
the other passengers, moving up the levee. Then she 
issued forth by the promenade deck door so that she 
would not pass the office. But at the head of the com- 
panionway, in the forward part of the deck, there the 
clerk stood, looking even pettier and more offensive by 
daylight. She thought to slip by him. But he stopped 
stroking his mustache and called out to her, "Haven't 
your friends come?" 

She frowned, angry in her nervousness. "I shall get 
on very well," she said curtly. Then she repented, 
smiled politely, added, "Thank you." 

"I'll put you in a carriage," he offered, hastening 
down the stairs to join her. 

She did not know what to say or do. She walked 
silently beside him, he carrying her bundle. They 

102 



SUSAN LENOX 



crossed the wharf-boat. A line of dilapidated looking 
carriages was drawn up near the end of the gangplank. 
The sight of them, the remembrance of what she had 
heard of the expensiveness of city carriages, nerved 
her to desperation. "Give me my things, please," she 
said. "I think I'll walk." 

"Where do you want to go?" 

The question took her breath away. With a quick- 
ness that amazed her, her lips uttered, "The Gibson 
House." 

"Oh! That's a right smart piece. But you can 
take a car. I'll walk with you to the car. There's a 
line a couple of squares up that goes almost by the 
door. You know it isn't far from Fourth Street." 

She was now in a flutter of terror. She went stum- 
bling along beside him, not hearing a word of his volu- 
ble and flirtatious talk. They were in the midst of 
the mad rush and confusion. The noises, no longer 
mingled but individual, smote savagely upon her ears, 
startling her, making her look dazedly round as if ex- 
pecting death to swoop upon her. At the corner of 
Fourth Street the clerk halted. He was clear out of 
humor with her, so dumb, so unappreciative. "There'll 
be a car along soon," said he sourly. 

"You needn't wait," said she timidly. "Thank you 
again." 

"You can't miss it. Good-by." And he lifted his 
hat "tipped" it, rather for he would not have wasted 
a full lift upon such a female. She gave a gasp of 
relief when he departed; then a gasp of terror for 
upon the opposite corner stood the Waterburys. The 
globe-trotter and his wife were so dazed by the city 
that they did not see her, though in their helpless 
glancing round they looked straight at her. She has- 

103 



SUSAN LENOX 



tily ran into a drug store on the corner. A young 
man in shirt sleeves held up by pink garters, and with 
oily black hair carefully parted and plastered, put 
down a pestle and mortar and came forward. He had 
kind brown eyes, but there was something wrong with 
the lower part of his face. Susan did not dare look 
to see what it was, lest he should think her unfeeling. 
He was behind the counter. Susan saw the soda foun- 
tain. As if by inspiration, she said, "Some chocolate 
soda, please." 

"Ice cream?" asked the young man in a peculiar 
voice, like that of one who has a harelip. 

"Please," said Susan. And then she saw the sign, 
"Ice Cream, ten cents," and wished she hadn't. 

The young man mixed the soda, put in a liberal 
helping of ice cream, set it before her with a spoon 
in it, rested the knuckles of his brown hairy hands 
on the counter and said: 

"It is hot." 

"Yes, indeed," assented Susan. "I wonder where I 
could leave my bundle for a while. I'm a stranger and 
I want to look for a boarding house." 

"You might leave it here with me," said the young 
man. "That's about our biggest line of trade that 
and postage stamps and telephone and the directory." 
He laughed heartily. Susan did not see why; she did 
not like the sound, either, for the young man's de- 
formity of lower jaw deformed his laughter as well as 
his speech. However, she smiled politely and ate and 
drank her soda slowly. 

"I'll be glad to take care of your bundle," the young 
man said presently. "Ever been here before?" 

"No," said Susan. "That is, not since I was about 
four years old." 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"I was four," said the young man, "when a horse 
stepped on my mouth in the street." 

"My, how dreadful!" exclaimed Susan. 

"You can see some of the scar yet," the young man 
assured her, and he pointed to his curiously sunken 
mouth. "The doctors said it was the most remark- 
able case of the kind on record," continued he proudly. 
"That was what led me into the medical line. You 
don't seem to have your boarding house picked." 

"I was going to look in the papers." 

"That's dangerous especially for a young lady. 
Some of them boarding houses well, they're no bet- 
ter'n they ought to be." 

"I don't suppose you know of any?" 

"My aunt keeps one. And she's got a vacancy, it 
being summer." 

"I'm afraid it'd be too expensive for me," said Su- 
san, to feel her way. 

The young man was much flattered. But he said, 
"Oh, it ain't so toppy. I think you could make a deal 
with her for five per." 

Susan looked inquiring. 

"Five a week room and board." 

"I might stand that," said Susan reflectively. Then, 
deciding for complete confidence, "I'm looking for work, 
too." 

"What line?" 

"Oh, I never tried anything. I thought maybe dress- 
making or millinery." 

"Mighty poor season for jobs. The times are bad, 
anyhow." He was looking at her with kindly curi- 
osity. "If I was you, I'd go back home and wait." 

Susan shrank within herself. "I can't do that," she 
said. 

105 



SUSAN LENOX 



The young man thought awhile, then said: "If you 
should go to my aunt's, you can say Mr. Ellison sent 
you. No, that ain't me. It's the boss. You see, a 
respectable boarding house asks for references." 

Susan colored deeply and her gaze slowly sank. "I 
didn't know that," she murmured. 

"Don't be afraid. Aunt Kate ain't so particular 
leastways, not in summer when things is slow. And 
I know you're quiet." 

By the time the soda was finished, the young man 
who said his name was Robert Wylie had written 
on the back of Ellison's business card in a Spencerian 
hand: "Mrs. Kate Wylie, 347 West Sixth Street." 
He explained that Susan was to walk up two squares 
and take the car going west; the conductor would 
let her off at the right place. "You'd better leave your 
things here," said Mr. Wylie, holding up the card so 
that they could admire his penmanship together. "You 
may not hit it off with Aunt Kate. Don't think you've 
got to stay there just because of me." 

"I'm sure I'll like it," Susan declared confidently. 
Her spirits were high ; she felt that she was in a strong 
run of luck. 

Wylie lifted her package over the counter and went 
to the door with her to point out the direction. "This 
is Fourth. The next up is Fifth. The next wide one 
is Sixth and you can read it on the lamp-post, too." 

"Isn't that convenient!" exclaimed Susan. "What 
a lovely city this is !" 

"There's worse," said Mr. Wylie, not to seem vain 
of his native town. 

They shook hands most friendly and she set out 
in the direction he had indicated. She was much upset 
by the many vehicles and the confusion, but she did 

106 



SUSAN LENOX 



her best to seem at ease and at home. She watched 
a girl walking ahead of her a shopgirl who seemed 
well-dressed and stylish, especially about the hat and 
hair. Susan tried to walk like her. "I suppose I look 
and act greener than I really am," thought she. "But 
I'll keep my eyes open and catch on." And in this, 
as in all her thoughts and actions since leaving, she 
showed confidence not because she was conceited, but 
because she had not the remotest notion what she was 
actually attempting. How many of us get credit for 
courage as we walk unconcerned through perils, or es- 
say and conquer great obstacles, when in truth we are 
not courageous but simply unaware ! As a rule knowl- 
edge is power or, rather, a source of power, but there 
are times when ignorance is a power and knowledge 
a weakness. If Susan had known, she might perhaps 
have stayed at home and submitted and, with crushed 
spirit, might have sunk under the sense of shame and 
degradation. But she did not know; so Columbus be- 
fore his sailors or Caesar at the Rubicon among his 
soldiers did not seem more tranquil than she really 
was. Wylie, who suspected in the direction of the 
truth, wondered at her. "She's game, she is," he mut- 
tered again and again that morning. "What a nerve 
for a kid and a lady, too!" 

She found the right corner and the right car with- 
out further adventure; and the conductor assured her 
that he would set her down before the very door of 
the address on the card. It was an open car with 
few passengers. She took the middle of the long seat 
nearest the rear platform and looked about her like 
one in a happy dream. On and on and yet on they 
went. With every square they passed more people, so 
it seemed to her, than there were in all Sutherland. 

107 



SUSAN LENOX 



And what huge stores ! And what wonderful displays 
of things to wear! Where would the people be found 
to buy such quantities, and where would they get the 
money to pay? How many restaurants and saloons! 
Why, everybody must be eating and drinking all the 
time. And at each corner she looked up and down the 
cross streets, and there were more and ever more mag- 
nificent buildings, throngs upon throngs of people. 
Was there no end to it? This was Sixth Street, still 
Sixth Street, as she saw at the corner lamp-posts. Then 
there must be five more such streets between this and 
the river; and she could see, up the cross streets, that 
the city was even vaster in the direction of the hills. 
And there were all these cross streets ! It was stupe- 
fying overwhelming incredible. 

She began to be nervous, they were going so far. 
She glanced anxiously at the conductor. He was 
watching her interestedly, understood her glance, an- 
swered it with a reassuring nod. He called out: 

"I'm looking out for you, miss. I've got you on 
my mind. Don't you fret." 

She gave him a bright smile of relief. They were 
passing through a double row of what seemed to her 
stately residences, and there were few people on the 
sidewalks. The air, too, was clearer, though the walls 
were grimy and also the grass in the occasional tiny 
front yards. But the curtains at the windows looked 
clean and fresh, and so did the better class of people 
among those on the sidewalk. It delighted her to see 
so many well-dressed women, wearing their clothes with 
an air which she told herself she must acquire. She 
was startled by the conductor's calling out: 

"Now, miss !" 

She rose as he rang the bell and was ready to get 
108 



SUSAN LENOX 



off when the car stopped, for she was eager to cause 
him as little trouble as possible. 

"The house is right straight before you," said the 
conductor. "The number's in the transom." 

She thanked him, descended, was on the sidewalk be- 
fore Mrs. Wylie's. She looked at the house and her 
heart sank. She thought of the small sum in her purse ; 
it was most unlikely that such a house as this would 
harbor her. For here was a grand stone stairway 
ascending to a deep stone portico, and within it great 
doors, bigger than those of the Wright mansion, the 
palace of Sutherland. However, she recalled the hum- 
ble appearance and mode of speech of her friend the 
drug clerk and plucked up the courage to ascend and 
to ring. 

A slattern, colored maid opened the door. At the 
first glance within, at the first whiff of the interior 
air, Susan felt more at ease. For she was seeing what 
even her bedazzled eyes recognized as cheap dowdiness, 
and the smell that assailed her nostrils was that of a 
house badly and poorly kept the smell of cheap food 
and bad butter cooking, of cats, of undusted rooms, 
of various unrecognizable kinds of staleness. She 
stood in the center of the big dingy parlor, gazing 
round at the grimed chromos until Mrs. Wylie en- 
tered a thin middle-aged woman with small brown 
eyes set wide apart, a perpetual frown, and a chin so 
long and so projected that she was almost jimber- 
jawed. While Susan explained stammeringly what she 
had come for, Mrs. Wylie eyed her with increasing dis- 
favor. When Susan had finished, she unlocked her lips 
for the first time to say: 

"The room's took." 

"Oh!" cried Susan in dismay. 

109 



SUSAN LENOX 



The telephone rang in the back parlor. Mrs. Wylie 
excused herself to answer. After a few words she 
closed the doors between. She was gone fully five min- 
utes; to Susan it seemed an hour. She came back, 
saying : 

"I've been talking to my nephew. He called up. 
Well, I reckon you can have the room. It ain't my 
custom to take in ladies as young as you. But you 
seem to be all right. Your parents allowed you to 
come ?" 

"I haven't any," replied Susan. "I'm here to find a 
place and support myself." 

Mrs. Wylie continued to eye her dubiously. "Well, 
I have no wish to pry into your affairs. 'Mind your 
own business,' that's my rule." She spoke with de- 
fiance, as if the contrary were being asserted by some 
invisible person who might appear and gain hearing 
and belief. She went on: "If Mr. Ellison wants it, 
why I suppose it's all right. But you can't stay out 
later'n ten o'clock." 

"I shan't go out at all of nights," said Susan 
eagerly. 

"You look quiet," said Mrs. Wylie, with the air 
of adding that appearances were rarely other than de- 
ceptive. 

"Oh, I am quiet," declared Susan. It puzzled her, 
this recurrence of the suggestion of noisiness. 

"I can't allow much company none in your room." 

"There won't be any company." She blushed deeply. 
"That is, a a young man from our town he may call 
once. But he'll be off for the East right away." 

Mrs. Wylie reflected on this, Susan the while stand- 
ing uneasily, dreading lest decision would be against 
her. Finally Mrs. Wylie said: 

110 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Robert says you want the five-dollar room. I'll 
show it to you." 

They ascended two flights through increasing shab- 
biness. On the third floor at the rear was a room 
a mere continuation of the narrow hall, partitioned 
off. It contained a small folding bed, a small table, a 
tiny bureau, a washstand hardly as large as that in 
the cabin on the boat, a row of hooks with a curtain 
of flowered chintz before them, a kitchen chair, a 
chromo of "Awake and Asleep," a torn and dirty rag 
carpet. The odor of the room, stale, damp, verging 
on moldy, seemed the fitting exhalation from such an 
assemblage of forbidding objects. 

"It's a nice, comfortable room," said Mrs. Wylie ag- 
gressively. "I couldn't afford to give it and two meals 
for five dollars except till the first of September. After 
that it's eight." 

"I'll be glad to stay, if you'U let me," said Susan. 
Mrs. Wylie's suspicion, so plain in those repellent eyes, 
took all the courage out of her. The great adven- 
ture seemed rapidly to be losing its charms. She could 
not think of herself as content or anything but sad 
and depressed in such surroundings as these. How 
much better it would be if she could live out in the 
open, out where it was attractive! 

"I suppose you've got some baggage," said Mrs. Wy- 
lie, as if she rather expected to hear that she had not. 

"I left it at the drug store," explained Susan. 

"Your trunk?" 

Susan started nervously at that explosive exclama- 
tion. "I I haven't got a trunk only a few things 
in a shawl strap." 

"Well, I never!" 

Mrs. Wylie tossed her head, clucked her tongue dis- 
111 



SUSAN LENOX 



gustedly against the roof of her mouth. "But I sup- 
pose if Mr. Ellison says so, why you can stay." 

"Thank you," said Susan humbly. Even if it would 
not have been basest ingratitude to betray her friend, 
Mr. Wylie, still she would not have had the courage 
to confess the truth about Mr. Ellison and so get her- 
self ordered into the street. "I I think I'll go for my 
things." 

"The custom is to pay in advance," said Mrs. Wylie 
sharply. 

"Oh, yes of course," stammered Susan. 

She seated herself on the wooden chair and opened 
out her purse. She found the five among her few bills, 
extended it with trembling fingers toward Mrs. Wylie. 
At the same time she lifted her eyes. The woman's 
expression as she bored into the pocketbook terrified 
her. Never before had she seen the savage greediness 
that is bred in the city among the people who fight 
against fearful odds to maintain their respectability 
and to save themselves from the ever threatened drop 
to the despised working class. 

"Thank you," said Mrs. Wylie, taking the bill as if 
she were conferring a favor upon Susan. "I make 
everybody pay promptly. The first of the week or 
out they go ! I used to be easy and I came near going 
down." 

"Oh, I shouldn't stay a minute if I couldn't pay," 
said the girl. "I'm going to look for something right 
away." 

"Well, I don't want to discourage you, but there's 
a great many out of work. Still, I suppose you'll be 
able to wheedle some man into giving you a job. But 
I warn you I'm very particular about morals. If I see 
any signs " Mrs. Wylie did not finish her sentence. 



SUSAN LENOX 



Any words would have been weaker than her look. 

Susan colored and trembled. Not at the poisonous 
hint as to how money could be got to keep on paying 
for that room, for the hint passed wide of Susan. She 
was agitated by the thought : if Mrs. Wylie should learn 
that she was not respectable! If Mrs. Wylie should 
learn that she was nameless was born in disgrace so 
deep that, no matter how good she might be, she would 
yet be classed with the wicked. 

"I'm down like a thousand of brick on any woman 
that is at all loose with the men," continued the land- 
lady. "I never could understand how any woman 
could so far forget herself." And the woman whom 
the men had all her life been helping to their uttermost 
not to "forget herself" looked sharp suspicion and 
envy at Susan, the lovely. Why are women of the 
Mrs. Wylie sort so swift to suspect? Can it be that 
in some secret chamber of their never assailed hearts 
there lurks a longing a feeling as to what they would 
do if they had the chance? Mrs. Wylie continued, "I 
hope you have strict Christian principles?" 

"I was brought up Presbyterian," said Susan anx- 
iously. She was far from sure that in Cincinnati and 
by its Mrs. Wylies Presbyterian would be regarded as 
Christian. 

"There's your kind of a church a few squares from 
here," was all Mrs. Wylie deigned to reply. Susan 
suspected a sneer at Presbyterianism in her accent. 

"That'll be nice," she murmured. She was eager to 
escape. "I'll go for my things." 

"You can walk down and take the Fourth Street 
car," suggested her landlady. "Then you can watch 
out and not miss the store. The conductors are very 
impudent and forgetful." 

113 



SUSAN LENOX 



Susan escaped from the house as speedily as her fly- 
ing feet would take her down the two flights. In the 
street once more, her spirits rose. She went south 
to Fourth Street, decided to walk instead of taking 
a car. She now found herself in much more impres- 
sive surroundings than before, and realized that Sixth 
Street was really one of the minor streets. The fur- 
ther uptown she went, the more excited she became. 
After the district of stately mansions with wonderful 
carriages driving up and away and women dressed like 
those in the illustrated story papers, came splendid 
shops and hotels, finer than Susan had believed there 
were anywhere in the world. And most of the people 
the crowds on crowds of people ! looked prosperous 
and cheerful and so delightfully citified! She won- 
dered why so many of the men stared at her. She 
assumed it must be something rural in her appear- 
ance though that ought to have set the women to 
staring, too. But she thought little about this, so 
absorbed was she in seeing all the new things. She 
walked slowly, pausing to inspect the shop windows 
the gorgeous dresses and hats and jewelry, the thou- 
sand costly things scattered in careless profusion. 
And the crowds ! How secure she felt among these 
multitudes of strangers, not one of them knowing or 
suspecting her secret of shame ! She no longer had 
the sense of being outcast, branded. 

When she had gone so far that it seemed to her she 
certainly must have missed the drug store, carefully 
though she had inspected each corner as she went, she 
decided that she must stop someone of this hurrying 
throng and inquire the way. While she was still screw- 
ing her courage to this boldness, she espied the sign 
and hastened joyfully across the street. She and Wylie 



SUSAN LENOX 



welcomed each other like old friends. He was delighted 
when he learned that she had taken the room. 

"You won't mind Aunt Kate after a while," said he. 
"She's sour and nosey, but she's honest and respecta- 
ble and that's the main thing just now with you. And 
I think you'll get a job all right. Aunt Kate's got 
a lady friend that's head saleslady at Shillito's. She'll 
know of something." 

Wylie was so kind and so hopeful that Susan felt 
already settled. As soon as customers came in, she 
took her parcel and went, Wylie saying, "I'll drop 
round after supper and see how things are getting 
on." She took the Sixth Street car back, and felt 
like an old resident. She was critical of Sixth Street 
now, and of the women she had been admiring there 
less than two hours before critical of their manners 
and of their dress. The exterior of the boarding house 
no longer awed her. She was getting a point of view 
as she proudly realized. By the time Sam came 
and surely that wouldn't be many days she would be 
quite transformed. 

She mounted the steps and was about to ring when 
Mrs. Wylie herself, with stormy brow and snapping 
eyes, opened the door. "Go into the parlor," she 
jerked out from between her unpleasant-looking reced- 
ing teeth. 

Susan gave her a glance of frightened wonder and 
obeyed. 



vm 

AT the threshold her bundles dropped to the floor 
and all color fled from her face. Before her 
stood her Uncle George and Sam Wright and 
his father. The two elderly men were glowering at her ; 
Sam, white as his shirt and limp, was hanging his head. 

"So, miss ! You've got back, eh ?" cried her uncle 
in a tone she would not have believed could come from 
him. 

As quickly as fear had seized her she now shook it 
off. "Yes, Uncle," she said calmly, meeting his angry 
eyes without flinching. And back came that expres- 
sion of resolution of stubbornness we call it when it 
is the flag of opposition to our will. 

"What'd have become of you," demanded her un- 
cle, "if I hadn't found out early this morning, and got 
after Sam here and choked the truth out of him?" 

Susan gazed at Sam; but he was such a pitiful fig- 
ure, so mean and frightened, that she glanced quickly 
back to her uncle. She said: 

"But he didn't know where I was." 

"Don't lie to me," cried Warham. "It won't do 
you any good, any more than his lying kept us from 
finding you. We came on the train and saw the Water- 
burys in the street and they'd seen you go into the 
drug store. We'd have caught you there if we'd been 
a few minutes sooner, but we drove, and got here in 
time. Now, tell me, Susan" and his voice was cruelly 
harsh "all about what's been going on between you 
and Sam." 

116 



SUSAN LENOX 



She gazed fearlessly and was silent. 

"Speak up!" commanded Sam's father. 

"Yes and no lies," said her uncle. 

"I don't know what you mean," Susan at last an- 
swered truthfully enough, yet to gain time, too. 

"You can't play that game any longer," cried War- 
ham. "You did make a fool of me, but my eyes are 
open. Your aunt's right about you." 

"Oh, Uncle George!" said the girl, a sob in her 
voice. 

But he gazed pitilessly gazed at the woman he 
was now abhorring as the treacherous, fallen, unsexed 
daughter of fallen Lorella. "Speak out. Crying 
won't help you. What have you and this fellow been 
up to? You disgrace!" 

Susan shrank and shivered, but answered steadfastly, 
"That's between him and me, Uncle." 

Warham gave a snort of fury, turned to the elder 
Wright. "You see, Wright," cried he. "It's as my 
wife and I told you. Your boy's lying. We'll send 
the landlady out for a preacher and marry them." 

"Hold on, George," objected Wright soothingly. "I 
agreed to that only if there'd been something wrong. 
I'm not satisfied yet." He turned to Susan, said in 
his gruff, blunt way: 

"Susan, have you been loose with my boy here?" 

"Loose?" said Susan wonderingly. 

Sam roused himself. "Tell them it isn't so, Susan," 
he pleaded, and his voice was little better than a whine 
of terror. "Your uncle's going to kill me and my 
father'll kick me out." 

Susan's heart grew sick as she looked at him 
looked furtively, for she was ashamed to see him so 
abject. "If you mean did I let him kiss me," she said 
5 117 



SUSAN LENOX 



to Mr. Wright, "why, I did. We kissed several times. 
But we had the right to. We were engaged." 

Sam turned on his father in an agony of terror. 
"That isn't true!" he cried. "I swear it isn't, father. 
We aren't engaged. I only made love to her a little, 
as a fellow does to lots of girls." 

Susan looked at him with wide, horrified eyes. 
"Sam!" she exclaimed breathlessly. "Sam!" 

Sam's eyes dropped, but he managed to turn his 
face in her direction. The situation was too serious 
for him; he did not dare to indulge in such vanities 
as manhdod or manly appearance. "That's the truth, 
Susan," he said sullenly. "You talked a lot about 
marrying but 7 never thought of such a thing." 

"But you said you loved me." 

"I didn't mean anything by it." 

There fell a silence that was interrupted by Mr. 
Wright. "You see there's nothing in it, Warham. 
I'll take my boy and go." 

"Not by a damn sight !" cried Warham. "He's got 
to marry her. Susan, did Sam promise to marry 
you?" 

"When he got through college," replied Susan. 

"I thought so ! And he persuaded you to run away." 

"No," said Susan. "He " 

"I say yes," stormed her uncle. "Don't lie !" 

"Warham! Warham!" remonstrated Mr. Wright. 
"Don't browbeat the girl." 

"He begged me not to go," said Susan. 

"You lying fool!" shouted her uncle. Then to 
Wright, "If he did ask her to stay it was because he 
was afraid it would all come out just as it has." 

"I never promised to marry her!" whined Sam. 
"Honest to God, father, I never did. Honest to God, 

118 



SUSAN LENOX 



Mr. Warham! You know that's so, Susan. It was 
you that did all the marrying talk." 

"Yes," she said slowly. "Yes, I believe it was." 
She looked dazedly at the three men. "I supposed he 
meant marriage because " her voice faltered, but 
she steadied it and went on "because we loved each 
other." 

"I knew it!" cried her uncle. "You hear, Wright? 
She admits he betrayed her." 

Susan remembered the horrible part of her cousin's 
sex revelations. "Oh, no !" she cried. "I wouldn't have 
let him do that even if he had wanted to. No not 
even if we'd been married." 

"You see, Warham !" cried Mr. Wright, in triumph. 

"I see a liar !" was Warham's furious answer. "She's 
trying to defend him and make out a case for herself." 

"I am telling the truth," said Susan. 

Warham gazed unbelievingly at her, speechless with 
fury. Mr. Wright took his silk hat from the corner 
of the piano. "I'm satisfied they're innocent," said 
he. "So I'll take my boy and go." 

"Not if I know it!" retorted Warham. "He's got 
to marry her." 

"But the girl says she's pure, says he never spoke 
of marriage, says he begged her not to run away. Be 
reasonable, Warham." 

"For a good Christian," sneered he at Wright, 
"you're mighty easily convinced by a flimsy lie. In 
your heart you know the boy has wronged her and 
that she's shielding him, just as ; There War- 
ham checked himself; it would be anything but timely 
to remind Wright of the character of the girl's mother. 

"I'll admit," said Mr. Wright smoothly, "that I 
wasn't overanxious for my boy's marriage with a girl 

119 



SUSAN LENOX 



whose mother was unfortunate. But if your charge 
had been true, Warham, I'd have made the boy do 
her justice, she being only seventeen. Come, Sam." 

Sam slunk toward the door. Warham stared fiercely 
at the elder Wright. "And you call yourself a Chris- 
tian !" he sneered. 

At the door Sam had already disappeared Mr. 
Wright paused to say, "I'm going to give Sam a dis- 
cipline he'll remember. The girl's only been foolish. 
Don't be harsh with her." 

"You damned hypocrite!" shouted Warham. "I 
might have known what to expect from a man who cut 
the wages of his hands to pay his church subscription." 

But Wright was far too crafty to be drawn. He 
went on pushing Sam before him. 

As the outer door closed behind them Mrs. Wylie ap- 
peared. "I want you both to get out of my house as 
quick as you can," she snapped. "My boarders'll be 
coming to dinner in a few minutes." 

Warham took his straw hat from the floor beside 
the chair behind him. "I've nothing to do with this 
girl here. Good day, madam." And he strode out 
of the house, slamming the door behind him. 

Mrs. Wylie looked at Susan with storming face 
and bosom. Susan did not see. She was gazing into 
space, her face blanched. "Clear out !" cried Mrs. Wy- 
lie. And she ran to the outer door and opened it. 
"How dare you come into a respectable house !" She 
wished to be so wildly angry that she would forget 
the five dollars which she, as a professing Christian in 
full church standing, would have to pay back if she 
remembered. "Clear out this minute !" she cried shrilly. 
"If you don't, I'll throw your bundle into the street 
and you after it." 

120 ' 



SUSAN LENOX 



Susan took up the bundle mechanically, slowly went 
out on the stoop. The door closed with a slam be- 
hind her. She descended the steps, walked a few yards 
up the street, paused at the edge of the curb and looked 
dazedly about. Her uncle stood beside her. "Now 
where are you going?" he said roughly. 

Susan shook her head. 

"I suppose," he went on, "I've got to look after 
you. You shan't disgrace my daughter any further." 

Susan simply looked at him, her eyes unseeing, her 
brain swept clean of thought by the cyclone that had 
destroyed all her dreams and hopes. She was not 
horrified by his accusations; such things had little 
meaning for one practically in complete ignorance of 
sex relations. Besides, the miserable fiasco of her ro- 
mantic love left her with a feeling of abasement, of 
degradation little different from that which overwhelms 
a woman who believes her virtue is her all and finds 
herself betrayed and abandoned. She now felt indeed 
the outcast, looked down upon by all the world. 

"If you hadn't lied," he fumed on, "you'd have been 
his wife and a respectable woman." 

The girl shivered. 

"Instead, you're a disgrace. Everybody in Suther- 
land'll know you've gone the way your mother went." 

"Go away," said the girl piteously. "Let me alone." 

"Alone? What will become of you?" He addressed 
the question to himself, not to her. 

"It doesn't matter," was her reply in a dreary tone. 
"I've been betrayed, as my mother was. It doesn't 
matter what " 

"I knew it!" cried Warham, with no notion of what 
the girl meant by the word "betrayed." "Why didn't 
you confess the truth while he was here and his father 



SUSAN LENOX 



was ready to marry him to you? I knew you'd been 
loose with him, as your Aunt Fanny said." 

"But I wasn't," said Susan. "I wouldn't do such a 
thing." 

"There you go, lying again !" 

"It doesn't matter," said she. "All I want is for 
you to go away." 

"You do?" sneered he. "And then what? I've got 
to think of Ruthie." He snatched the bundle from 
her hand. "Come on ! I must do all I can to keep 
the disgrace to my family down. As for you, you 
don't deserve anything but the gutter, where you'd 
sink if I left you. Your aunt's right. You're rotten. 
You were born rotten. You're your mother's own 
brat." 

"Yes, I am," she cried. "And I'm proud of it!" 
She turned from him, was walking rapidly away. 

"Come with me!" ordered Warham, following and 
seizing her by the arm. 

"No," said Susan, wrenching herself free. 

"Then I'll call a policeman and have you locked up." 

Uncle and niece stood regarding each other, hatred 
and contempt in his gaze, hatred and fear in hers. 

"You're a child in law though, God knows, you're 
anything but a child in fact. Come along with me. 
You've got to. I'm going to see that you're put out 
of harm's way." 

"You wouldn't take me back to Sutherland!" she 
cried. 

He laughed savagely. "I guess not! You'll not 
show your face there again though I've no doubt 
you'd be brazen enough to brass it out. No you can't 
pollute my home again." 

"I can't go back to Sutherland!" 



SUSAN LENOX 



"You shan't, I say. You ran off because you had 
disgraced yourself." 

"No !" cried Susan. "No!" 

"Don't lie to me ! Don't speak to me. I'll see what 
I can do to hide this mess. Come along!" 

Susan looked helplessly round the street, saw noth- 
ing, not even eager, curious faces pressed against many 
a window pane, saw only a desolate waste. Then she 
walked along beside her uncle, both of them silent, he 
carrying her bundle, she tightly clutching her little 
purse. 

Perhaps the most amazing, the most stunning, of all 
the blows fate had thus suddenly showered upon her 
was this transformation of her uncle from gentleness 
to ferocity. But many a far older and far wiser woman 
than seventeen-year-old Susan has failed to understand 
how it is with the man who does not regard woman as 
a fellow human being. To such she is either an object 
of adoration, a quintessence of purity and innocence, 
or less than the dust, sheer filth. Warham's anger was 
no gust. He was simply the average man of small in- 
telligence, great vanity, and abject snobbishness or 
terror of public opinion. There could be but one rea- 
son for the flight of Lorella's daughter rottenness. 
The only point to consider now was how to save the 
imperiled family standing, how to protect his own 
daughter, whom his good nature and his wife's weakness 
had thus endangered. The one thing that could have 
appeased his hatred of Susan would have been her mar- 
riage to Sam Wright. Then he would have not, in- 
deed, forgiven or reinstated her but tolerated her. It 
is the dominance of such ideas as his that makes for 
woman the slavery she discovers beneath her queenly 



SUSAN LENOX 



sway if she happens to do something deeply displeasing 
to her masculine subject and adorer. 

They went to the Central Station. The O. and M. 
express which connected with the train on the branch 
line to Sutherland would not leave until a quarter past 
two. It was only a few minutes past one. Warham 
led the way into the station restaurant; with a curt 
nod he indicated a seat at one of the small tables, and 
dropped into the opposite seat. He ordered beefsteak 
and fried potatoes, coffee and apple pie. 

"Sit still!" he said to her roughly and rose to go 
out to buy a paper. 

The girl sat with her hands in her lap and her eyes 
upon them. She looked utterly, pitifully tired. A mo- 
ment and he came back to resume his seat and read 
the paper. When the waiter flopped down the steak 
and the dish of greasily fried potatoes before his plate, 
he stuffed the paper in his pocket, cut a slice of the 
steak and put it on the plate. The waiter noisily ex- 
changed it for the empty plate before Susan. Warham 
cut two slices of the steak for himself, took a liberal 
helping of the potatoes, pushed the dish toward her. 

"Do you want the coffee now, or with the pie ?" asked 
the waiter. 

"Now," said Warham. 

"Coffee for the young lady, too?" 

Warham scowled at her. "Coffee?" he demanded. 

She did not answer ; she did not hear. 

"Yes, she wants coffee," said Warham. "Hustle it!" 

"Yes, sir." And the waiter bustled away with a 
great deal of motion that created a deceptive impres- 
sion of speed. Warham was helping himself to steak 
again when the coffee came a suspicious-looking liquid 
diffusing an odor of staleness reheated again and again, 



SUSAN LENOX 



an under odor of metal pot not too frequently scoured. 

Warham glanced at Susan's plate. She had not dis- 
turbed the knife and fork on either side of it. "Eat!" 
he commanded. And when she gave no sign of having 
heard, he repeatedly sharply, "Eat, I tell you." 

She started, nervously took up the knife and fork, 
cut a morsel off the slice of steak. When she lifted it 
to her lips, she suddenly put it back in the plate. "I 
can't," she said. 

"You've got to," ordered he. "I won't have you act- 
ing this way." 

"I can't," she repeated monotonously. "I feel sick." 
Nature had luckily so made her that it was impossible 
for her to swallow when her nerves were upset or when 
she was tired; thus, she would not have the physical 
woes that aggravate and prolong mental disturbance if 
food is taken at times when it instantly turns to poison. 

He repeated his order in a still more savage tone. 
She put her elbows on the table, rested her head wearily 
upon her hands, shook her head. He desisted. 

When he had eaten all of the steak, except the fat 
and the gristly tail, and nearly all the potatoes, the 
waiter took the used dishes away and brought two 
generous slices of apple pie and set down one before 
each. With the pie went a cube of American cream 
or "rat-trap" cheese. Warham ate his own pie and 
cheese; then, as she had not touched hers, he reached 
for it and ate it also. Now he was watching the clock 
and, between liftings of laden fork to his mouth, veri- 
fying the clock's opinion of the hour by his own watch. 
He called for the bill, paid it, gave the waiter five cents 
a concession to the tipping custom of the effete city 
which, judging by the waiter's expression, might as 
well not have been made. Still, Warham had not made 

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SUSAN LENOX 



it with an idea of promoting good feeling between him- 
self and the waiter, but simply to show that he knew 
the city and its ways. He took up the shawl strap, 
said, "Come on" in the voice which he deemed worthy 
of the fallen creature he must, through Christian duty 
and worldly prudence, for the time associate with. She 
rose and followed him to the ticket office. He had the 
return half of his own ticket. When she heard him 
ask for a ticket to North Sutherland she shivered. 
She knew that her destination was his brother Zeke's 
farm. 

From Cincinnati to North Vernon, where they were 
to change cars, he sat beside her without speech. At 
North Vernon, where they had to occupy a bench 
outside the squat and squalid station for nearly two 
hours, he sat beside her without speech. And without 
a single word on either side they journeyed in the 
poking, no-sooner-well-started-than-stopping accom- 
modation train southbound. Several Sutherland people 
were aboard. He nodded surlily to those who spoke 
to him. He read an Indianapolis paper which he had 
bought at North Vernon. All the way she gazed un- 
seeingly out over the fair June landscape of rolling 
or hilly fields ripening in the sun. 

At North Sutherland he bade her follow him to a 
dilapidated barn a few yards from the railway tracks, 
where was displayed a homemade sign "V. Goslin. 
Livery and Sale Stable." There was dickering and a 
final compromise on four dollars where the proprieter 
had demanded five and Warham had declared two fifty 
liberal. A surrey was hitched with two horses. War- 
ham opened the awkward door to the rear seat and 
ordered Susan to jump in. She obeyed; he put the 
bundle on the floor beside her. He sat with the driver 

126 



SUSAN LENOX 



the proprietor himself. The horses set off at a 
round pace over the smooth turnpike. It was even- 
ing, and a beautiful coolness issued from the woods on 
either side. They skimmed over the long level stretches ; 
they climbed hills, they raced down into valleys. War- 
ham and the ragged, rawboned old proprietor kept 
up a kind of conversation about crops and politics, 
about the ownership, value, and fertility of the farms 
they were passing. Susan sat quiet, motionless most 
of the time. 

The last daylight faded; the stars came out; the 
road wound in and out, up and down, amid cool dark 
silence and mysterious fascinating shadows. The moon 
appeared above the tree tops straight ahead a big 
moon, with a lower arc of the rim clipped off. The 
turnpike ended; they were making equally rapid prog- 
ress over the dirt road which was in perfect condition 
as there had been no rain for several days. The beat 
of the flying hoofs was soft now; the two men's voices 
fell into a lower key; the moon marked out the line of 
the road clearly, made strange spectral minglings of 
light and darkness in the woods, glorified the open 
fields and gave the occasional groups of farm buildings 
an ancient beauty and dignity. The girl slept. 

At nine o'clock the twenty-mile drive ended in a long, 
slow climb up a road so washed out, so full of holes 
and bowlders, that it was no road at all but simply a 
weather-beaten hillside. A mile of this, with the livery- 
man's curses "dod rot it" and "gosh dang it" and 
similar modifications of profanity for Christian use 
and for the presence of "the sex" ringing out at every 
step. Susan soon awakened, rather because the surrey 
was pitching so wildly than because of Goslin's denunci- 
ations. A brief level stretch and they stopped for 

127 



SUSAN LENOX 



Warham to open the outer gate into his brother Zeke's 
big farm. A quarter of a mile through wheat to the 
tops of the wheels and they reached the second gate. 
A descent into a valley, a crossing of a creek, an ascent 
of a steep hill, and they were at the third gate between 
pasture and barnyard. Now they came into view of 
the house, set upon a slope where a spring bubbled 
out. The house was white and a white picket fence 
cut off its lawn from the barnyard. A dog with a 
deep voice began to bark. They drove up to the front 
gate and stopped. The dog barked in a frenzy of 
rage, and they heard his straining and jerking at his 
chain. A clump of cedars brooded to the right of 
the house ; their trunks were whitewashed up to the low- 
est branches. The house had a high stoop with wooden 
steps. 

As Warham descended and hallooed, there came a 
fierce tugging at the front door from the inside. But 
the front door was not in the habit of being opened, 
and stoutly resisted. The assault grew more strenu- 
ous; the door gave way and a tall thin farmer ap- 
peared. 

"Hello, Zeke," called George. He opened the surrey 
door. "Get down," he said to the girl, at the same 
time taking her bundle. He set it on the horse block 
beside the gate, took out his pocketbook and paid over 
the four dollars. "Good-by, Vic," said he pleasantly. 
"That's a good team you've got." 

"Not so coarse," said Vic. "Good-by, Mr. Warham." 
And off he drove. 

Zeke Warham had now descended the steps and was 
opening the front gate, which was evidently as unac- 
customed to use as the front door. "Howdy, George," 
said he. "Ain't that Susie you've got with you?" Like 

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SUSAN LENOX 



George, Zeke had had an elementary education. But 
he had married an ignorant woman, and had lived so 
long among his farm hands and tenants that he used 
their mode of speech. 

"Yes, it's Susie," said George, shaking hands with 
his brother. 

"Howdy, Susie," said Zeke, shaking hands with her. 
"I see you've got your things with you. Come to stay 
awhile?" 

George interrupted. "Susan, go up on the porch 
and take your bundle." 

The girl took up the shawl strap and went to the 
front door. She leaned upon the railing of the stoop 
and watched the two men standing at the gate. George 
was talking to his brother in a low tone. Occasionally 
the brother uttered an ejaculation. She could not hear; 
their heads were so turned that she could not see their 
faces. The moon made it almost as bright as day. 
From the pasture woods came a low, sweet chorus of 
night life frogs and insects and occasionally a night 
bird. From the orchard to the left and the clover fields 
beyond came a wonderful scented breeze. She heard 
a step in the hall; her Aunt Sallie appeared a com- 
fortable, voluble woman, a hard worker and a harder 
eater and showing it in thin hair and wrinkled face. 

"Why, Susie Lenox, ain't that you?" she exclaimed. 

"Yes, Aunt," said Susan. 

Her aunt kissed her, diffusing that earthy odor which 
is the basis of the smell of country persons. At various 
hours of the day this odor would be modified with the 
smell of cow stables, of chickens, of cooking, according 
to immediate occupation. But whatever other smell 
there was, the earthy smell persisted. And it was the 
smell of the house, too. 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"Who's at the gate with your Uncle Zeke?" inquired 
Sallie. "Ain't it George?" 

"Yes," said Susan. 

"Why don't he come in?" She raised her voice. 
"George, ain't you coming in?" 

"Howdy, Sallie," called George. "You take the girl 
in. Zeke and I'll be along." 

"Some business, I reckon," said her aunt to Susan. 
"Come on. Have you had supper?" 

"No," said Susan. She was hungry now. The splen- 
did health of the girl that had calmed her torment of 
soul into a dull ache was clamoring for food food to 
enable her body to carry her strong and enduring 
through whatever might befall. 

"I'll set something out for you," said Sallie. "Come 
right in. You might leave your bundle here by the 
parlor door. We'll put you in the upstairs room." 

They passed the front stairway, went back through 
the hall, through the big low-ceilinged living-room with 
its vast fireplace now covered for the warm season by 
a screen of flowered wallpaper. They were in the plain 
old dining-room with its smaller fireplace and its big 
old-fashioned cupboards built into the wall on either 
side of the projecting chimney-piece. "There ain't 
much," resumed Sallie. "But I reckon you kin make 
out." 

On the gayly patterned table cover she set an array 
of substantial plates and glasses. From various cup- 
boards in dining-room and adjoining kitchen she as- 
sembled a glass pitcher of sweet milk, a glass pitcher 
of buttermilk, a plate of cold cornbread, a platter of 
cold fried chicken, a dish of golden butter, a pan of 
cold fried potatoes, a jar of preserved crab apples 
and another of peach butter. Susan watched with 

ISO 



SUSAN LENOX 



hungry eyes. She was thinking of nothing but food 
now. Her aunt looked at her and smiled. 

"My, but you're shootin' up !" she exclaimed, admir- 
ing the girl's tall, straight figure. "And you don't 
seem to get stringy and bony like so many, but keep 
nice and round. Do set down." 

"I I think I'll wait until Uncle George comes." 

"Nothing of the kind !" She pushed a wooden chair 
before one of the two plates she had laid. "I see you've 
still got that lovely skin. And how tasty you dress! 
Now, do set!" 

Susan seated herself. 

"Pitch right in, child," urged Sallie. "How's yer 
aunt and her Ruth?" 

"They're they're well, thank you." 

"Do eat!" 

"No," said Susan. "I'll wait for Uncle." 

"Never mind your manners. I know you're starved." 
Then seeing that the girl would not eat, she said, "Well, 
I'll go fetch him." 

But Susan stopped her. "Please please don't," she 
entreated. 

Sallie started to oppose; then, arrested by the in- 
tense, appealing expression in those violet-gray eyes, 
so beautifully shaded by dark lashes and brows, she 
kept silent, bustled aimlessly about, boiling with sud- 
denly aroused curiosity. It was nearly half an hour 
by the bag square wooden clock on the chimney-piece 
when Susan heard the steps of her two uncles. Her 
hunger fled ; the deathly sickness surged up again. She 
trembled, grew ghastly in the yellow lamplight. Her 
hands clutched each other in her lap. 

"Why, Susie!" cried her aunt. "Whatever is the 
matter of you!" 

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SUSAN LENOX 



The girl lifted her eyes to her aunt's face the eyes 
of a wounded, suffering, horribly suffering animal. She 
rose, rushed out of the door into the yard, flung her- 
self down on the grass. But still she could not get 
the relief of tears. After a while she sat up and 
listened. She heard faintly the voices of her uncle and 
his relatives. Presently her aunt came out to her. 
She hid her face in her arm and waited for the new 
harshness to strike. 

"Get up and come in, Susie." The voice was kind, 
was pitying not with the pity that galls, but with 
the pity of one who understands and feels and is also 
human, the pity that soothes. At least to this woman 
she was not outcast. 

The girl flung herself down again and sobbed 
poured out upon the bosom of our mother earth all 
the torrents of tears that had been damming up 
within her. And Sallie knelt beside her and patted 
her now and then, with a "That's right. Cry it out, 
sweetie." 

When tears and sobs subsided Sallie lifted her up, 
walked to the house with her arm round her. "Do 
you feel better?" 

"Some," admitted Susan. 

"The men folks have went. So we kin be comfort- 
able. After you've et, you'll feel still better." 

George Warham had made a notable inroad upon 
the food and drink. But there was an abundance left. 
Susan began with a hesitating sipping at a glass of 
milk and nibbling at one of the generous cubes of old- 
fashioned cornbread. Soon she was busy. It delighted 
Sallie to see her eat. She pressed the preserves, the 
chicken, the cornbread upon her. "I haven't eaten 
since early this morning," apologized the girl. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"That means a big hole to fill," observed Sallie. 
"Try this buttermilk." 

But Susan could hold no more. 

"I reckon you're pretty well tired out," observed 
Sallie. 

"I'll help you straighten up," said Susan, rising. 

"No. Let me take you up to bed while the men's 
still outside." 

Susan did not insist. They returned through the 
empty sitting-room and along the hall. Aunt Sallie 
took the bundle, and they ascended to the spare bed- 
room. Sallie showed her into the front room a damp, 
earthy odor; a wallpaper with countless reproductions 
of two little brown girls in a brown swing under a 
brown tree; a lofty bed, white and tomb-like; some 
preposterous artificial flowers under glass on chimney- 
piece and table; three bright chromos on the walls; 
"God Bless Our Home" in pink, blue and yellow wor- 
sted over the door. 

"I'll run down and put the things away," said her 
aunt. "Then I'll come back." 

Susan put her bundle on the sofa, opened it, found 
nightgown and toilet articles on top. She looked un- 
certainly about, rapidly undressed, got into the night- 
gown. "I'll turn down the bed and lie on it until 
Auntie comes," she said to herself. The bed was de- 
lightfully cool; the shuck mattress made soft crackling 
sounds under her and gave out a soothing odor of the 
fields. Hardly had her head touched the pillow when 
she fell sound asleep. In a few minutes her aunt came 
hurrying in, stopped short at sight of that lovely 
childlike face with the lamplight full upon it. One 
of Susan's tapering arms was flung round her dark 
wavy hair. Sallie Warham smiled gently. "Bless the 

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SUSAN LENOX 



baby," she said half aloud. Then her smile faded and 
a look of sadness and pity came. "Poor child!" she 
murmured. "The Warham men's hard. But then all 
the men's hard. Poor child." And gently she kissed 
the girl's flushed cheek. "And she never had no mother, 
nor nothing." She sighed, gradually lowered the flame 
of the little old glass lamp, blew it out, and went noise- 
lessly from the room, closing the door behind her. 



IX 



SUSAN sat up in bed suddenly, rubbing the sleep 
from her eyes. It was broad day, and the birds 
were making a mighty clamor. She gazed round, 
astonished that it was not her own room. Then she 
remembered. But it was as a child remembers; for 
when we have the sense of perfect physical well-being 
we cannot but see our misfortunes with the child's 
sense of unreality and Susan had not only health but 
youth, was still in the child stage of the period between 
childhood and womanhood. She lay down again, with 
the feeling that so long as she could stay in that com- 
fortable bed, with the world shut out, just so long 
would all be well with her. Soon, however, the rest- 
lessness of all nature under the stimulus and heat of 
that brilliant day communicated itself to her vigorous 
young body. For repose and inaction are as foreign 
to healthy life as death itself, of which they are the 
symptoms; and if ever there was an intense and vivid 
life, Susan had it. She got up and dressed, and leaned 
from the window, watching the two-horse reaper in 
the wheat fields across the hollow of the pasture, and 
listening to its faint musical whirr. The cows which 
had just been milked were moving sedately through 
the gate into the pasture, where the bull, under a tree, 
was placidly awaiting them. A boy, in huge straw hat 
and a blue cotton shirt and linsey woolsey trousers 
relied high upon his brown bare legs, was escorting 
the herd. 

Her aunt in fresh, blue, checked calico came in. 
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SUSAN LENOX 



"Wouldn't you like some breakfast?" said she. And 
Susan read in her manner that the men were out of 
the way. 

"No, I don't feel hungry," Susan replied. 

She thought this was true; but when she was at the 
table she ate almost as heartily as she had the night 
before. As Susan ate she gazed out into the back yard 
of the house, where chickens of all sizes, colors and ages 
were peering and picking about. Through the fence 
of the kitchen garden she saw Lew, the farm hand, 
digging potatoes. There were ripening beans on tall 
poles, and in the farther part the forming heads of 
cabbages, the sprouting melon vines, the beautiful fresh 
green of the just springing garden corn. The window 
through which she was looking was framed in morning 
glories and hollyhocks, and over by the garden gate 
were on the one side a clump of elders, on the other 
the hardy graceful stalks of gaudily spreading sun- 
flowers. Bees flew in and out, and one lighted upon 
the dish of honey in the comb that went so well with 
the hot biscuit. 

She rose and wandered out among the chickens, to 
pick up little fluffy youngsters one after another, and 
caress them, to look in the henhouse itself, where sev- 
eral hens were sitting with the pensive expression that 
accompanies the laying of eggs. She thought of those 
other hens, less conventional, who ran away to lay in 
secret places in the weeds, to accumulate a store against 
the time when the setting instinct should possess them. 
She thought of those cannier, less docile hens and 
laughed. She opened a gate into the barnyard, intend- 
ing to go to the barn for a look at the horses, taking 
in the duck pond and perhaps the pigs on the way. 
Her Uncle George's voice arrested her. 

136 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Susan," he cried. "Come here." 

She turned and looked wistfully at him. The same 
harsh, unforgiving countenance mean with anger and 
petty thoughts. As she moved hesitatingly toward 
him he said, "You are not to go out of the yard." And 
he reentered the house. What a mysterious cruel world ! 
Could it be the same world she had lived in so happily 
all the years until a few days ago the same she had 
always found "God's beautiful world," full of gentle- 
ness and kindness? 

And why had it changed? What was this sin that 
after a long sleep in her mother's grave had risen to 
poison everyone against her? And why had it risen? 
It was all beyond her. 

She strolled wretchedly within bounds, with a fore- 
boding of impending evil. She watched Lew in the 
garden ; she got her aunt to let her help with the churn- 
ing drive the dasher monotonously up and down until 
the butter came ; then she helped work the butter, helped 
gather the vegetables for dinner, did everything and 
anything to keep herself from thinking. Toward eleven 
o'clock her Uncle Zeke appeared in the dining-room, 
called his wife from the kitchen. Susan felt that at 
last something was to happen. After a long time her 
aunt returned; there were all the evidences of weeping 
in her face. 

"You'd better go to your room and straighten it 
up," she said without looking at the girl. "The things 
has aired long enough, I reckon. . . . And you'd bet- 
ter stay up there till I call you." 

Susan had finished the room, was about to unpack 
the heavy-laden shawl strap and shake the wrinkles out 
of the skirts, folded away for two days now. She heard 
the sound of a horse's hoofs, went to the window. A 

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SUSAN LENOX 



young man whom she recognized as one of her Uncle 
Zeke's tenants was hitching to the horse block a well- 
set-up young mare drawing a species of broad-seated 
breaking sulky. He had a handsome common face, a 
wavy black mustache. She remembered that his name 
was Ferguson Jeb Ferguson, and that he was work- 
ing on shares what was known as "the creek-bottom 
farm," which began about a mile and a half away, 
straight down the pasture hollow. He glanced up at 
the window, raised his black slouch hat, and nodded 
with the self-conscious, self-assured grin of the desired 
of women. She tried to return this salute with a 
pleasant smile. He entered the gate and she heard 
his boots upon the front steps. 

Now away across the hollow another figure appeared 
a man on horseback coming through the wheat fields. 
He was riding toward the farther gate of the pasture 
at a leisurely dignified pace. She had only made out 
that he had abundant whiskers when the sound of a 
step upon the stairs caused her to turn. As that step 
came nearer her heart beat more and more wildly. Her 
wide eyes fixed upon the open door of the room. It 
was her Uncle George. 

"Sit down," he said as he reached the threshhold. 
"I want to talk to you." 

She seated herself, with hands folded in her lap. Her 
head was aching from the beat of the blood in her 
temples. 

"Zeke and I have talked it over," said Warham. 
"And we've decided that the only thing to do with you 
is to get you settled. So in a few minutes now you're 
going to be married." 

Her lack of expression showed that she did not un- 
derstand. In fact, she could only feel feel the cruel, 

138 



SUSAN LENOX 



contemptuous anger of that voice which all her days 
before had caressed her. 

"We've picked out a good husband for you," War- 
ham continued. "It's Jeb Ferguson." 

Susan quivered. "I I don't want to," she said. 

"It ain't a question of what you want," retorted 
Warham roughly. He was twenty-four hours and a 
night's sleep away from his first fierce outblazing of 
fury away from the influence of his wife and his 
daughter. If it had not been for his brother Zeke, 
narrow and cold, the event might have been different. 
But Zeke was there to keep his "sense of duty" strong. 
And that he might nerve himself and hide and put 
down any tendency to be a "soft-hearted fool" a ten- 
dency that threatened to grow as he looked at the girl 
the child he assumed the roughest manner he could 
muster. 

"It ain't a question of what you want," he re- 
peated. "It's a question of what's got to be done, 
to save my family and you, too from disgrace. We 
ain't going to have any more bastards in this family." 

The word meant nothing to the girl. But the sound 
of it, as her uncle pronounced it, made her feel as 
though the blood were drying up in her veins. 

"We ain't going to take any chances," pursued 
Warham, less roughly; for now that he had looked 
the situation full and frankly in the face, he had no 
nerve to brace himself. The necessity of what he was 
prepared to do and to make her do was too obvious. 
"Ferguson's here, and Zeke saw the preacher we sent 
for riding in from the main road. So I've come to 
tell you. If you'd like to fix up a little, why your Aunt 
Sallie'll be here in a minute. You want to pray God 
to make you a good wife. And you ought to be thank- 

139 



SUSAN LENOX 



ful you have sensible relations to step in and save you 
from yourself." 

Susan tried to speak; her voice died in her throat. 
She made another effort. "I don't want to," she said. 

"Then what do you want to do tell me that!" ex- 
claimed her uncle, rough again. For her manner was 
very moving, the more so because there was none of the 
usual appeal to pity and to mercy. 

She was silent. 

"There isn't anything else for you to do." 

"I want to to stay here." 

"Do you think Zeke'd harbor you when you're 
about certain to up and disgrace us as your mother 
did?" 

"I haven't done anything wrong," said the girl dully. 

"Don't you dare lie about that!" 

"I've seen Ruth do the same with Artie Sinclair 
and all the girls with different boys." 

"You miserable girl!" cried her uncle. 

"I never heard it was so dreadful to let a boy kiss 
you." 

"Don't pretend to be innocent. You know the dif- 
ference between that and what you did !" 

Susan realized that when she had kissed Sam she had 
really loved him. Perhaps that was the fatal differ- 
ence. And her mother the sin there had been that 
she really loved while the man hadn't. Yes, it must be 
so. Ruth's explanation of these mysteries had been 
different; but then Ruth had also admitted that she 
knew little about the matter and Susan most doubted 
the part that Ruth had assured her was certainly true. 
"I didn't know," said Susan to her uncle. "Nobody 
ever told me. I thought we were engaged." 

"A good woman don't need to be told," retorted 
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Warham. "But I'm not going to argue with you. 
You've got to marry." 

"I couldn't do that," said the girl. "No, I couldn't." 

"You'll either take him or you go back to Sutherland 
and I'll have you locked up in the jail till you can be 
sent to the House of Correction. You can take your 
choice." 

Susan sat looking at her slim brown hands and in- 
terlacing her long fingers. The jail! The House of 
Correction was dreadful enough, for though she had 
never seen it she had heard what it was for, what kind 
of boys and girls lived there. But the jail she had 
seen the jail, back behind the courthouse, with its air 
of mystery and of horror. Not Hell itself seemed such 
a frightful thing as that jail. 

"Well which do you choose?" said her uncle in a 
sharp voice. 

The girl shivered. "I don't care what happens to 
me," she said, and her voice was dull and sullen and 
hard. 

"And it doesn't much matter," sneered Warham. 
Every time he looked at her his anger flamed again 
at the outrage to his love, his trust, his honor, and 
the impending danger of more illegitimacy. "Marry- 
ing Jeb will give you a chance to reform and be a good 
woman. He understands so you needn't be afraid 
of what he'U find out." 

"I don't care what happens to me," the girl re- 
peated in the same monotonous voice. 

Warham rose. "I'll send your Aunt Sallie," said 
he. "And when I call, she'll bring you down." 

The girl's silence, her non-resistance the awful ex- 
pression of her still features made him uneasy. He 
went to the window instead of to the door. He glanced 

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furtively at her; but he might have glanced openly as 
there wasn't the least danger of meeting her eyes. 
"You're marrying about as well as you could have 
hoped to, anyhow better, probably," he observed, in 
an argumentative, defensive tone. "Zeke says Jeb's 
about the likeliest young fellow he knows a likelier 
fellow than either Zeke or I was at his age. I've given 
him two thousand dollars in cash. That ought to start 
you off well." And he went out without venturing 
another look at her. Her youth and helplessness, her 
stony misery, were again making it harder for him to 
hold himself to what he and the fanatic Zeke had de- 
cided to be his duty as a Christian, as a father, as a 
guardian. Besides, he did not dare face his wife and 
his daughter until the whole business was settled re- 
spectably and finally. 

His sister-in-law was waiting in the next room. As 
soon as his descent cleared the way she hurried in. 
From the threshold she glanced at the girl; what she 
saw sent her hurrying out to recompose herself. But 
the instant she again saw that expression of mute and 
dazed despair the tears fought for release. The effort 
to suppress outward signs of pity made her plain fat 
face grotesque. She could not speak. With a corner 
of her apron she wiped imaginary dust from the glass 
bells that protected the artificial flowers. The poor 
child! And all for no fault of hers and because she 
had been born out of wedlock. But then, the old woman 
reflected, was it not one of the most familiar of God's 
mysterious ways that people were punished most se- 
verely of all for the things that weren't their fault 
for being born in shame, or in bad or low families, or 
sickly, or for being stupid or ugly or ignorant? She 
envied Zeke his unwavering belief in religion. She 

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SUSAN LENOX 



believed, but her tender heart was always leading her 
into doubts. 

She at last got some sort of control over her voice. 
"It'll turn out for the best," she said, with her back 
to Susan. "It don't make much difference nohow who 
a woman marries, so long as he's steady and a good 
provider. Jeb seems to be a nice feller. He's better 
looking than your Uncle George was before he went 
to town and married a Lenox and got sleeked up. And 
Jeb ain't near so close as some. That's a lot in a 
husband." And in a kind of hysteria, bred of fear 
of silence just then, she rattled on, telling how this 
man lay awake o' nights thinking how to skin a flea 
for its hide and tallow, how that one had said only a 
fool would pay over a quarter for a new hat for his 
wife 

"Will it be long?" asked the girl. 

"I'll go down and see," said Mrs. Warham, glad of 
a real excuse for leaving the room. She began to cry 
as soon as she was in the hall. Two sparrows lit upon 
the window sill near Susan and screamed and pecked 
at each other in a mock fight. She watched them ; but 
her shiver at the faint sound of her aunt's returning 
step far away down the stairs showed where her atten- 
tion was. When Zeke's wife entered she was standing 
and said: 

"Is it time?" 

"Come on, honey. Now don't be afraid." 

Susan advanced with a firm step, preceded her aunt 
down the stairs. The black slouch hat and the straw 
of dignified cut were side by side on the shiny hall table. 
The parlor door was open; the rarely used showroom 
gave forth an earthy, moldy odor like that of a dis- 
turbed grave. Its shutters, for the first time in per- 

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SUSAN LENOX 



haps a year, were open; the mud daubers that had 
built in the crevices between shutters and sills, fancy- 
ing they would never be disturbed, were buzzing crossly 
about their ruined homes. The four men were seated, 
each with his legs crossed, and each wearing the fune- 
real expression befitting a solemn occasion. Susan did 
not lift her eyes. The profusely whiskered man seated 
on the haircloth sofa smoothed his black alpaca coat, 
reset the black tie deep hid by his beard, rose and 
advanced with a clerical smile whose real kindliness 
took somewhat from its offensive unction. "This is 
the young lady, is it?" said he, reaching for Susan's 
rising but listless hand. "She is indeed a you/rig lady !" 

The two Warham men stood, shifting uneasily from 
leg to leg and rubbing their faces from time to time. 
Sallie Warham was standing also, her big unhealthy 
face twitching fantastically. Jeb alone was seated 
chair tilted back, hands in trousers pockets, a bucolic 
grin of embarrassment giving an expression of pain 
to his common features. A strained silence, then Zeke 
Warham said : 

"I reckon we might as well go ahead." 

The preacher took a small black-bound book from 
the inside pocket of his limp and dusty coat, cleared 
his throat, turned over the pages. That rustling, the 
creaking of his collar on his overstarched shirt band, 
and the buzzing of the mud daubers round the windows 
were the only sounds. The preacher found the place, 
cleared his throat again. 

"Mr. Ferguson " 

Jeb, tall, spare, sallow, rose awkwardly. 

" You and Miss Lenox will take your places 
here " and he indicated a position before him. 

Susan was already in place ; Jeb shuffled up to stand 
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SUSAN LENOX 



at her left. Sallie Warham hid her face in her apron. 
The preacher cleared his throat vigorously, began 
"Dearly beloved" and so on and on. When he put 
the questions to Susan and Jeb he told them what 
answer was expected, and they obeyed him, Jeb mut- 
tering, Susan with a mere movement of the lips. When 
he had finished a matter of less than three minutes 
he shook hands warmly first with Susan, then with 
Jeb. "Live in the fear of the Lord," he said. "That's 
all that's necessary." 

Sallie put down her apron. Her face was haggard 
and gray. She kissed Susan tenderly, then led her from 
the room. They went upstairs to the bedroom. "Do 
you want to stay to dinner?" she asked in the hoarse 
undertone of funeral occasions. "Or would you rather 
go right away?" 

"I'd rather go," said the girl. 

"You set down and make yourself comfortable. I'll 
hook up your shawl strap." 

Susan sat by the window, her hands in her lap. The 
hand with the new circlet of gold on it was uppermost. 
Sallie busied herself with the bundle; abruptly she 
threw her apron over her face, knelt by the bed and 
sobbed and uttered inarticulate moans. The girl made 
no sound, did not move, looked unseeingly at her inert 
hands. A few moments and Sallie set to work again. 
She soon had the bundle ready, brought Susan's hat, 
put it on. 

"It's so hot, I reckon you'll carry your jacket. I 
ain't seen as pretty a blue dress as this yet it's plain- 
like, too." She went to the top of the stairs. "She 
wants to go, Jeb," she called loudly. "You'd better 
get the sulky ready." 

The answer from below was the heavy thump of 

145 



SUSAN LENOX 



Jeb's boots on the oilcloth covering of the hall floor. 
Susan, from the window, dully watched the young 
farmer unhitch the mare and lead her up in front of 
the gate. 

"Come on, honey," said Aunt Sallie, taking up the 
bundle. 

The girl she seemed a child now followed her. On 
the front stoop were George and his brother and the 
preacher. The men made room for them to pass. 
Sallie opened the gate; Susan went out. "You'll have 
to hold the bundle," said Sallie. Susan mounted to 
the seat, took the bundle on her knees. Jeb, who had 
the lines, left the mare's head and got up beside his 
bride. 

"Good day, all," he said, nodding at the men on 
the stoop. "Good day, Mrs. Warham." 

"Come and see us real soon," said Sallie. Her fat 
chin was quivering; her tired-looking, washed-out eyes 
gazed mournfully at the girl who was acting and look- 
ing as if she were walking in her sleep. 

"Good day, all," repeated Jeb, and again he made 
the clucking sound. 

"Good-by and God bless you," said the preacher. 
His nostrils were luxuriously sniffing the air which bore 
to them odors of cookery. 

The mare set out. Susan's gaze rested immovably 
upon the heavy bundle in her lap. As the road was 
in wretched repair, Jeb's whole attention was upon his 
driving. At the gate between barnyard and pasture 
he said, "You hold the lines while I get down." 

Susan's fingers closed mechanically upon the strips 
of leather. Jeb led the mare through the gate, closed 
it, resumed his seat. This time the mare went on with- 
out exacting the clucking sound. They were following 

146 



SUSAN LENOX 



the rocky road along the western hillside of the pas- 
ture hollow. As they slowly made their way among 
the deep ruts and bowlders, from frequent moistenings 
of the lips and throats, noises, and twitchings of body 
and hands, it was evident that the young farmer was 
getting ready for conversation. The struggle at last 
broke surface with, "Zeke Warham don't waste no time 
road patchin' does he?" 

Susan did not answer. 

Jeb studied her out of the corner of his eye, the first 
time a fairly good bit of roadway permi^ed. He could 
make nothing of her face except that it was about 
the prettiest he had ever seen. Plainly she was not 
eager to get acquainted; still, acquainted they must 
get. So he tried again: 

"My sister Keziah she keeps house for me she'll 
be mighty surprised when I turn up with a wife. I 
didn't let on to her what I was about, nary a word." 

He laughed and looked expectantly at the girl. Her 
expression was unchanged. Jeb again devoted himself 
to his driving. 

"No, I didn't let on," he presently resumed. "Fact 
is, I wan't sure myself till I seed you at the winder." 
He smiled flirtatiously at her. "Then I decided to go 
ahead. I dunno, but I somehow kinder allow you and 
me'U hit it off purty well don't you?" 

Susan tried to speak. She found that she could not 
that she had nothing to say. 

"You're the kind of a girl I always had my mind set 
on," pursued Jeb, who was an expert love-maker. "I 
like a smooth skin and pouty lips that looks as if they 
wanted to be kissed." He took the reins in one hand, 
put his arm round her, clumsily found her lips with his. 
She shrank slightly, then submitted. But Jeb some- 

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SUSAN LENOX 



how felt no inclination to kiss her again. After a 
moment he let his arm drop away from her waist and 
took the reins in both hands with an elaborate pretense 
that the bad road compelled it. 

A long silence, then he tried again: "It's cool and 
nice under these here trees, ain't it?" 

"Yes," she said. 

"I ain't saw you out here for several years now. 
How long has it been?" 

"Three summers ago." 

"You must^'a' growed some. I don't seem to recol- 
lect you. You like the country?" 

"Yes." 

"Sho! You're just sayin' that. You want to live 
in town. Well, so do I. And as soon as I get things 
settled a little I'm goin' to take what I've got and the 
two thousand from your Uncle George and open up 
a livery stable in town." 

Susan's strange eyes turned upon him. "In Suther- 
land?" she asked breathlessly. 

"Right in Sutherland," replied he complacently. "I 
think I'll buy Jake Antic's place in Jefferson Street." 

Susan was blanched and trembling. "Oh, no," she 
cried. "You mustn't do that!" 

Jeb laughed. "You see if I don't. And we'll live 
in style, and you can keep a gal and stay dolled up all 
the time. Oh, I know how to treat you." 

"I want to stay in the country," cried Susan. "I 
hate Sutherland." 

"Now, don't you be afraid," soothed Jeb. "When 
people see you've got a husband and money they'll not 
be down on you no more. They'll forget all about 
your maw and they won't know nothin' about the 
other things. You treat me right and I'll treat you 

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SUSAN LENOX 



right. I'm not one to rake up the past. There ain't 
arry bit of meanness about me!" 

"But you'll let me stay here in the country ?" pleaded 
Susan. Her imagination was torturing her with pic- 
tures of herself in Sutherland and the people craning 
and whispering and mocking. 

"You go where I go," replied Jeb. "A woman's place 
is with her man. And I'll knock anybody down that 
looks cockeyed at you." 

"Oh!" murmured Susan, sinking back against the 
support. 

"Don't you fret, Susie," ordered Jeb, confident and 
patronizing. "You do what I say and everything 5 !! 
be all right. That's the way to get along with me and 
get nice clothes do what I say. With them that 
crosses me I'm mighty ugly. But you ain't a-goin' to 
cross me. . . . Now, about the house. I reckon I'd 
better send Keziah off right away. You kin cook?" 

"A a little," said Susan. 

Jeb looked relieved. "Then she'd be in the way. 
Two women about always fights and Keziah's got the 
Ferguson temper. She's afraid of me, but now and 
then she fergits and has a tantrum." Jeb looked at 
her with a smile and a frown. "Perk up a little," he 
more than half ordered. "I don't want Keziah jeerin* 
at me." 

Susan made a pitiful effort to smile. He eyed it 
sourly, grunted, gave the mare a cut with the whip 
that caused her to leap forward in a gallop. "Whoa !" 
he yelled. "Whoa damn you !" And he sawed cruelly 
at her mouth until she quieted down. A turning and 
they were before a shallow story-and-a-half frame 
house which squatted like an old roadside beggar be- 
hind a weather-beaten picket fence. The sagging 
6 149 



SUSAN LENOX 



shingle roof sloped abruptly; there were four little 
windows downstairs and two smaller upstairs. The 
door was in the center of the house; a weedy path 
led from its crooked step, between two patches of weedy 
grass, to the gate in the fence. 

"Whoa!" shouted Jeb, with the double purpose of 
stopping the mare and informing the house of his 
arrival. Then to Susan: "You git down and I'll 
drive round to the barn yonder." He nodded toward 
a dilapidated clapboard structure, small and mean, set 
between a dirty lopsided straw heap and a manure 
heap. "Go right in and make yourself at home. Tell 
Keziah who you air. I'll be along, soon as I unhitch 
and feed the mare." 

Susan was staring stupidly at the house at her 
new home. 

"Git down," he said sharply. "You don't act as if 
your hearin' or your manners was much to brag on." 

He felt awkward and embarrassed with this deli- 
cately bred, lovely child-woman in the, to him, wonder- 
fully fine and fashionable dress. To hide his nervous- 
ness and to brave it out, he took the only way he knew, 
the only way shy people usually know the way of 
gruffness. It was not a ferocious gruffness for a man 
of his kind ; but it seemed so to her who had been used 
to gentleness only, until these last few days. His gram- 
mar, his untrained voice, his rough clothes, the odor of 
stale sweat and farm labor he exhaled, made him hor- 
rible to her though she only vaguely knew why she 
felt so wretched and why her body shrank from him. 

She stepped down from the sulky, almost falling 
in her dizziness and blindness. Jeb touched the mare 
with the whip and she was alone before the house a 
sweet forlorn figure, childish, utterly out of place in 

150 






SUSAN LENOX 



those surroundings. On the threshold, in faded and 
patched calico, stood a tall gaunt woman with a family 
likeness to Jeb. She had thin shiny black hair, a hard 
brown skin, high cheekbones and snapping black eyes. 
When her thin lips parted she showed on the left side 
of the mouth three large and glittering gold teeth that 
in the contrast made their gray, not too clean neigh- 
bors seem white. 

"Howdy !" she called in a tone of hostility. 

Susan tried in vain to respond. She stood gazing. 

"What d'ye want?" 

"He he told me to go in," faltered Susan. She had 
no sense of reality. It was a dream only a dream 
and she would awaken in her own clean pretty pale- 
gray bedroom with Ruth gayly calling her to come 
down to breakfast. 

"Who are you?" demanded Keziah for at a glance 
it was the sister. 

"I'm I'm Susan Lenox." 

"Oh Zeke Warham's niece. Come right in." And 
Keziah looked as if she were about to bite and 
claw. 

Susan pushed open the latchless gate, went up the 
short path to the doorstep. "I think I'll wait till he 
comes," she said. 

"No. Come in and sit down, Miss Lenox." And 
Keziah drew a rush-bottomed rocking chair toward the 
doorway. Susan was looking at the interior. The 
lower floor of the house was divided into three small 
rooms. This central room was obviously the parlor 
the calico-covered sofa, the center table, the two dingy 
chromos, and a battered cottage organ made that cer- 
tain. On the floor was a rag carpet ; on the walls, torn 
and dirty paper, with huge^weather stains marking 

151 



SUSAN LENOX 



where water had leaked from the roof down the sup- 
porting beams. Keziah scowled at Susan's frank ex- 
pression of repulsion for the surroundings. Susan 
seated herself on the edge of the chair, put her bundle 
beside her. 

"I allow you'll stay to dinner," said Keziah. 

"Yes," replied Susan. 

"Then I'll go put on some more to cook." 

"Oh, no please don't I couldn't eat anything 
really, I couldn't." The girl spoke hysterically. 

Just then Jeb came round the house and appeared 
in the doorway. He grinned and winked at Susan, 
looked at his sister. "Well, Keziah," said he, "what 
d'ye think of her?" 

"She says she's going to stay to dinner," observed 
Keziah, trying to maintain the veneer of manners she 
had put on for company. 

The young man laughed loudly. "That's a good 
one that is !" he cried, nodding and winking at Susan. 
"So you ain't tole her? Well, Keziah, I've been and 
gone and got married. And there she is." 

"Shut up you fool !" said Keziah. And she looked 
apologetically at their guest. But the expression of 
Susan's face made her catch her breath. "For the 
Lord's sake!" she ejaculated. "She ain't married 
you!" 

"Why not?" demanded Jeb. "Ain't this a free coun- 
try? Ain't I as good as anybody?" 

Keziah blew out her breath in a great gust and seated 
herself on the tattered calico cover of the sofa. Susan 
grew deathly white. Her hands trembled. Then she 
sat quiet upon the edge of the old rush-bottomed 
chair. There was a terrible silence, broken by Jeb's 
saying loudly and fiercely, "Keziah, you go get the 

152 



SUSAN LENOX 



dinner. Then you pack your duds and clear out for 
Uncle Bob's." ' 

Keziah stared at the bride, rose and went to the rear 
door. "I'm goin' now," she answered. "The dinner's 
ready except for putting on the table." 

Through the flimsy partitions they heard her mount- 
ing the uncarpeted stairs, hustling about upon an un- 
carpeted floor above, and presently descending. "I'll 
hoof it," she said, reappearing in the doorway. "I'll 
send for my things this afternoon." 

Jeb, not caring to provoke the "Ferguson temper," 
said nothing. 

"As for this here marryin'," continued Keziah, "I 
never allowed you'd fall so low as to take a baby, and 
a bastard at that." 

She whirled away. Jeb flung his hat on the table, 
flung himself on the sofa. "Well that's settled," said 
he. "You kin get the dinner. It's all in there." And 
he jerked his head toward the door in the partition to 
the left. Susan got up, moved toward the indicated 
door. Jeb laughed. "Don't you think you might take 
off your hat and stay awhile?" said he. 

She removed her hat, put it on top of the bundle 
which she left on the floor beside the rocking chair. 
She went into the kitchen dining-room. It was a squalid 
room, its ceiling and walls smoke-stained from the 
cracked and never polished stove in the corner. The 
air was foul with the strong old onions stewing on the 
stove. In a skillet slices of pork were frying. On the 
back of the stove stood a pan of mashed potatoes and 
a tin coffeepot. On the stained flowered cloth which 
covered the table in the middle of the room had been 
laid coarse, cracked dishes and discolored steel knives 
and forks with black wooden handles. Susan, half 

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SUSAN LENOX 



fainting, dropped into a chair by one of the open 
windows. A multitude of fat flies from the stable 
were running and crawling everywhere, were buzzing 
about her head. She was aroused by Jeb's voice: 
"Why, what the the damnation! You've fell 
asleep !" 

She started up. "In a minute!" she muttered, ner- 
vously. 

And somehow, with Jeb's eyes on her from the door- 
way, she got the evil-smelling messes from the stove 
into table dishes from the shelves and then on the 
table, where the flies descended upon them in troops 
of scores and hundreds. Jeb, in his shirt sleeves now, 
sat down and fell to. She sat opposite him, her hands 
in her lap. He used his knife in preference to his fork, 
heaping the blade high, packing the food firmly upon 
it with fork or 'fingers, then thrusting it into his mouth. 
He ate voraciously, smacking his lips, breathing hard, 
now and then enacting with frank energy and satis- 
faction. 

"My stummick's gassy right smart this year," he 
observed after a huge gulp of coffee. "Some says the 
heavy rains last spring put gas into everything, but 
I dunno. Maybe it's Keziah's cooking. I hope you'll 
do better. Why, you ain't eatin' nothin'!" 

"I'm not hungry," said Susan. Then, as he frowned 
suspiciously, "I had a late breakfast." 

He laughed. "And the marrying, too," he suggested 
with a flirtatious nod and wink. "Women's always 
upset by them kind of things." 

When he had filled himself he pushed his chair back. 
"I'll set with you while you wash up," said he. "But 
you'd better take off them Sunday duds. You'll find 
some calikers that belonged to maw in a box under 

154 



SUSAN LENOX 



the bed in our room." He laughed and winked at her. 

"That's the one on t'other side of the settin'-room. 
Yes that's our'n !" And he winked again. 

The girl, ghastly white, her great eyes staring like 
a sleepwalker's, rose and stood resting one hand on 
the back of the chair to steady her. 

Jeb drew a cigar from his waistcoat pocket and 
lighted it. "Usually," said he, "I take a pipe or a 
chaw. But this bein' a weddin' day " 

He laughed and winked again, rose, took her in his 
arms and kissed her. She made a feeble gesture of 
thrusting him away. Her iiead reeled, her stomach 
turned. 

She got away as soon as he would release her, crossed 
the sitting-room and entered the tiny dingy bedroom. 
The windows were down and the bed had not yet been 
made. The odor was nauseating the staleness left 
by a not too clean sleeper who abhors fresh air. Susan 
saw the box under the bed, knelt to draw it out. But 
instead she buried her face in her hands, burst into 
wild sobs. "Oh, God," she prayed, "stop punishing 
me. I didn't mean to do wrong and I'm sure my 
mother didn't, either. Stop, for Thy Son's sake, amen." 
Now surely she would wake. God must answer that 
prayer. She dared not take her palms from her eyes. 
Suddenly she felt herself caught from behind. She 
gave a wild scream and sprang up. 

Jeb was looking at her with eyes that filled her with 
a fear more awful than the fear of death. "Don't!" 
she cried. "Don't!" 

"Never mind, hon," said he in a voice that was ter- 
rible just because it was soft. "It's only your hus- 
band. My, but you're purty!" And he seized her. 
She fought. He crushed her. He kissed her with 

155 



SUSAN LENOX 



great slobbering smacks and gnawed at the flesh of her 
neck with teeth that craved to bite. 

"Oh, Mr. Ferguson, for pity's sake!" she wailed. 
Then she opened her mouth wide as one gasping for 
breath where there is no air; and pushing at him with 
all her strength she vented a series of maniac shrieks. 



LATE that afternoon Jeb returned to the house 
after several hours of uneasy, aimless pottering 
about at barn and woodshed. He stumped and 
stamped around the kitchen, then in the sitting-room, 
finally he mustered the courage to look into the bed- 
room, from which he had slunk like a criminal three 
hours before. There she lay, apparently in the same 
position. Her waxen color and her absolute stillness 
added fear to his sense of guilt a guilt against which 
he protested, because he felt he had simply done what 
God and man expected of him. He stood in the low 
doorway for some time, stood there peering and cran- 
ing until his fear grew so great that he could no longer 
put off ending or confirming it. 

"Sleepin'P" said he in a hoarse undertone. 

She did not reply; she did not move. He could not 
see that she was breathing. 

"It'll soon be time to git supper," he went on not 
because he was thinking of supper but because he was 
desperately clutching for something that must draw 
a reply from her if she could reply. "Want me to 
clean up the dinner and put the supper things on?" 

She made a feeble effort to rise, sank back again. 
He drew an audible sigh of relief; at least she was not 
what her color had suggested. 

In fact, she was morbidly conscious. The instant she 
had heard him at the outer door she had begun to shiver 
and shake, and not until he moved toward the bedroom 
door did she become quiet. Then a calm had come 

157 



SUSAN LENOX 



into her nerves and her flesh the calm that descends 
upon the brave when the peril actually faces. As he 
stood there her eyes were closed, but the smell of him 
beneath the earthy odor of his clothing the odor 
of the bodies of those who eat strong, coarse food 
stole into her nostrils, into her nerves. Her whole 
body sickened and shrank for to her now that odor 
meant marriage and she would not have believed Hell 
contained or Heaven permitted such a thing as was 
marriage. She understood now why the Bible always 
talked of man as a vile creature born in sin. 

Jeb was stealthily watching her ghastly face, her 
limp body. "Feelin' sickish?" he asked. 

A slight movement of the head in assent. 

"I kin ride over to Beecamp and fetch Doc Christie." 

Another and negative shake of the head, more de- 
termined. The pale lips murmured, "No no, thank 
you." She was not hating him. He existed for her 
only as a symbol, in this hideous dream called life, that 
was coiled like a snake about her and was befouling 
her and stinging her to death. 

"Don't you bother 'bout supper," said he with gruff, 
shamefaced generosity. "I'll look out for myself, this 
onct." 

He withdrew to the kitchen, where she heard him 
clattering dishes and pans. Daylight waned to twi- 
light, twilight to dusk, to darkness. She did not think ; 
she did not feel, except an occasional dull pang from 
some bodily bruise. Her soul, her mind, were abso- 
lutely numb. Suddenly a radiance beat upon her eyes. 
All in an instant, before the lifting of her eyelids, soul 
and body became exquisitely acute; for she thought it 
was he come again, with a lamp. She looked; it was 
the moon whose beams struck full in at the uncurtained 

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window and bathed her face in their mild brightness. 
She closed her eyes again and presently fell asleep 
the utter relaxed sleep of a child that is worn out with 
pain, when nature turns gentle nurse and sets about 
healing and soothing as only nature can. When she 
awoke it was with a scream. No, she was not dream- 
ing; there was an odor in the room his odor, with 
that of a saloon added to it. 

After cooking and eating supper he had taken the 
jug from its concealment behind the woodbox and had 
proceeded to cheer his drooped spirits. The more he 
drank the better content he was with himself, with his 
conduct, and the clearer became his conviction that the 
girl was simply playing woman's familiar game of 
dainty modesty. A proper game it was too; only a 
man must not pay attention to it unless he wished his 
woman to despise him. When this conviction reached 
the point of action he put away the jug, washed the 
glass, ate a liberal mouthful of the left-over stewed 
onions, as he would not for worlds have his bride catch 
him tippling. He put out the lamp and went to the 
bedroom, chuckling to himself like a man about to 
play a particularly clever and extremely good-humored 
practical joke. His preparations for the night were, 
as always, extremely sample merely a flinging off of 
his outer clothes and, in summer, his socks. From time 
to time he cast an admiring amorous glance at the 
lovely childlike face in the full moonlight. As he was 
about to stretch himself on the bed beside her he hap- 
pened to note that she was dressed as when she came. 
That stylish, Sundayish dress was already too much 
mussed and wrinkled. He leaned over to wake her with 
a kiss. It was then that she started up with a scream. 

"Oh oh my God !" she exclaimed, passing her hand 
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over her brow and staring at him with crazed, anguished 
eyes. 

"It's jest me," said he. "Thought you'd want to 
git ready fur bed, like as not." 

"No, thank you, no," she stammered, drawing away 
toward the inner side of the bed. "Please I want to 
be as I am." 

"Now, don't put on, sweetness," he wheedled. "You 
know you're married and 'ave got to git used to it." 

He laid his hand on her arm. She had intended to 
obey, since that was the law of God and man and 
since in all the world there was no other place for 
her, nameless and outcast. But at his touch she 
clenched her teeth, cried: 

"No Mr. Ferguson please please let me be." 

"Now, hon," he pleaded, seizing her with strong 
gentleness. "There ain't no call to be skittish. We're 
married, you know." 

She wrenched herself free. He seized her again. 
"What's the use of puttin' on? I know all about you. 
You little no-name," he cursed, when her teeth sank 
into his hand. For an instant, at that reminder of 
her degradation, her indelible shame that made her 
of the low and the vile, she collapsed in weakness. 
Then with new and fierce strength she fought again. 
When she had exhausted herself utterly she relaxed, 
fell to sobbing and moaning, feebly trying to shelter 
her face from his gluttonous and odorous kisses. And 
upon the scene the moon shone in all that beauty which 
from time immemorial has filled the hearts of lovers 
with ecstasy and of devotees with prayer. 

They lay quietly side by side; he fell into a pro- 
found sleep. He was full upon his back, his broad 

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chest heaving in the gray cotton undershirt, his mouth 
wide open with its upper fringe of hair in disarray 
and agitated by his breath. Soon he began to snore, 
a deafening clamor that set some loose object in the 
dark part of the room to vibrating with a tapping 
sound. Susan stealthily raised herself upon her elbow, 
looked at him. There was neither horror nor fear in 
her haggard face but only eagerness to be sure he would 
not awaken. She, inch by inch, more softly than a 
cat, climbed over the low footboard, was standing on 
the floor. One silent step at a time, with eyes never 
from his face so clear in the moonlight, she made her 
way toward the door. The snoring stopped and her 
heart stopped with it. He gasped, gurgled, gave a 
snort, and sat up. 

"What which " he ejaculated. Then he saw 

her near the door. "Hello whar ye goin' ?" 

"I thought I'd undress," she lied, calmly and 
smoothly. 

"Oh that's right." And he lay down. 

She stood in the darkness, making now and then a 
faint sound suggestive of undressing. The snoring 
began again soft, then deep, then the steady, up- 
roarious intake with the fierce whistling exhalation. She 
went into the sitting-room, felt round in the darkness, 
swift and noiseless. On the sofa she found her bundle, 
tore it open. By feeling alone she snatched her sailor 
hat, a few handkerchiefs, two stockings, a collar her 
fingers chanced upon and a toothbrush. She darted 
to the front door, was outside, was gliding down the 
path, out through the gate into the road. 

To the left would be the way she had come. She 
ran to the right, with never a backward glance ran 
with all the speed in her lithe young body, ran with 

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all the energy of her fear and horror and resolve to die 
rather than be taken. For a few hundred yards the 
road lay between open fields. But after that it entered 
a wood. And in that dimness she felt the first begin- 
nings of a sense of freedom. Half a mile and open 
fields again, with a small house on the right, a road 
southeastward on the left. That would be away from 
her Uncle Zeke's and also away from Sutherland, which 
lay twenty miles to the southwest. When she would 
be followed Jeb would not think of this direction until 
he had exhausted the other two. 

She walked, she ran, she rested; she walked and ran 
and walked again. The moon ascended to the zenith, 
crossed the levels of the upper sky, went down in the 
west; a long bar of dusky gray outlined a cloud low 
upon the horizon in the northeast. She was on the 
verge of collapse. Her skin, the inside of her mouth, 
were hot and dry. She had to walk along at snail's 
pace or her heart would begin to beat as if it were 
about to burst and the blood would choke up into the 
veins of her throat to suffocate her. A terrible pain 
came in her side came and went came and stayed. 
She had passed turning after turning, to the right, to 
the left crossroads leading away in all directions. 
She had kept to the main road because she did not 
wish to lose time, perhaps return upon her path, in 
the confusion of the darkness. Now she began to look 
about her at the country. It was still the hills as round 
Zeke Warham's the hills of southeastern Indiana. But 
they were steeper and higher, for she was moving to- 
ward the river. There was less open ground, more 
and denser undergrowth and forest. She felt that she 
was in a wilderness, was safe. Night still lay too thick 
upon the landscape for her to distinguish anything 

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but outlines. She sat down on the ruined and crum- 
bling panel of a zigzag fence to rest and to wait for 
light. She listened ; a profound hush. She was alone, 
all alone. How far had she come? She could not 
guess; but she knew that she had done well. She 
would have been amazed if she had known how well. 
All the years of her life, thanks to Mrs. Warham's 
good sense about health, she had been steadily adding 
to the vitality and strength that were hers by inheri- 
tance. Thus, the response to this first demand upon 
them had been almost inevitable. It augured well for 
the future, if the future should draw her into hard- 
ships. She knew she had gone far and in what was 
left of the night and with what was left of her strength 
she would put such a distance between her and them 
that they would never believe she had got so far, even 
should they seek in this direction. She was support- 
ing her head upon her hands, her elbows upon her 
knees. Her eyes closed, her head nodded; she fought 
against the impulse, but she slept. 

When she straightened up with a start it was broad 
day. The birds must have finished their morning song, 
for there was only happy, comfortable chirping in 
the branches above her. She rose stiffly. Her legs, 
her whole body, ached; and her feet were burning and 
blistered. But she struck out resolutely. 

After she had gone halfway down a long steep hill, 
she had to turn back because she had left her only 
possessions. It was a weary climb, and her heart 
quaked with terror. But no one appeared, and at last 
she was once more at the ruins of the fence panel. 
There lay her sailor hat, the handkerchiefs, wrapped 
round the toothbrush, the collar and two stockings, 
one black, the other brown. And where was her purse? 

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Not there, certainly. She glanced round in swift 
alarm. No one. Yet she had been absolutely sure 
she had taken her purse from the sitting-room table 
when she came upon it, feeling about in the dark. She 
had forgotten it; she was without a cent! 

But she had no time to waste in self-reproaches or 
forebodings. Though the stockings would be of no 
use to her, she took them along because to leave them 
was to leave a trail. She hastened down the hill. At 
the bottom ran a deep creek without a bridge. The 
road was now a mere cowpath which only the stoutest 
vehicles or a horseman would adventure. To her left 
ran an even wilder trail, following the downward course 
of the creek. She turned out of the road, entered the 
trail. She came to a place where the bowlders over 
which the creek foamed and splashed as it hurried 
southeastward were big and numerous enough to make 
a crossing. She took it, went slowly on down the other 
bank. 

There was no sign of human intrusion. Steeply on 
either side rose a hill, strewn with huge bowlders, many 
of them large as large houses. The sun filtered through 
the foliage to make a bright pattern upon the carpet 
of last year's leaves. The birds twittered and chirped ; 
the creek hummed its drowsy, soothing melody. She 
was wretchedly weary, and Oh, so hungry! A little 
further, and two of the great bowlders, tumbled down 
from the steeps, had cut off part of the creek, had 
formed a pool which their seamed and pitted and fern- 
adorned walls hid from all observation except that of 
the birds and the squirrels in the boughs. 

At once she thought how refreshed she would be if 
she could bathe in those cool waters. She looked 
round, stepped in between the bowlders. She peered 

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out; she listened. She was safe; she drew back into 
her little inclosure. There was a small dry shelf of 
rock. She hurried off her clothes, stood a moment in 
the delicious warmth of the sunshine, stepped into the 
pool. She would have liked to splash about; but she 
dared make no sound that could be heard above the 
noise of the water. Luckily the creek was just there 
rather loud, as it was expressing its extreme annoy- 
ance over the stolid impudence of the interrupting 
bowlders. While she was waiting for the sun to dry 
her she looked at her underclothes. She simply could 
not put them on as they were. She knelt at the edge 
of the shelf and rinsed them out as well as she could. 
Then she spread them on the thick tufts of overhang- 
ing fern where the hot sun would get full swing at 
them. The brown stocking of the two mismates she 
had brought along almost matched the pair she was 
wearing. As there was a hole in the toe of one of 
them, she discarded it, and so had one fresh stocking. 
She dried her feet thoroughly with the stocking she 
was discarding. Then she put her corsets and her 
dress directly upon her body. She could not afford 
to wait until the underclothes dried; she would carry 
them until she found for herself a more remote and 
better hiding place where she could await nightfall. 
She stuffed the stocking with the hole deep into a 
cleft in the rock and laid a small stone upon it so that 
it was concealed. Here where there were no traces, no 
reminders of the human race which had cast her out 
and pursued her with torture of body and soul, here 
in the wilderness her spirits were going up, and her 
young eyes were looking hopefully round and forward. 
The up-piling horrors of those two days and their 
hideous climax seemed a dream which the sun had 

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scattered. Hopefully! That blessed inexperience and 
sheer imagination of youth enabling it to hope in a 
large, vague way when to hope for any definite and 
real thing would be impossible. 

She cleaned her tan low shoes with branches of fern 
and grass, put them on. It is impossible to account 
for the peculiarities of physical vanity. Probably no 
one was ever born who had not physical vanity of 
some kind; Susan's was her feet and ankles. Not her 
eyes, nor her hair, nor her contour, nor her skin, nor 
her figure, though any or all of these might well have 
been her pleasure. Of them she never thought in the 
way of pride or vanity. But of her feet and ankles she 
was both proud and vain in a reserved, wholly unob- 
trusive way, be it said, so quietly that she had passed 
unsuspected. There was reason for this shy, secret 
self-satisfaction, so amusing in one otherwise self-un- 
conscious. Her feet were beautifully formed and the 
curves of her instep and ankle were beautiful. She 
gave more attention now to the look of her shoes and 
of her stockings than to all the rest of this difficult 
woodland toilet. She then put on the sailor hat. fas- 
tened the collar to her garter, slipped the handkerchiefs 
into the legs of her stockings. Carrying her under- 
clothes, ready to roll them into a ball should she meet 
anyone, she resumed her journey into that rocky wil- 
derness. She was sore, she had pains that were the 
memories of the worst horrors of her hideous dream, 
but up in her strong, healthy body, up through her 
strong young Soul, surged joy of freedom and joy of 
hope. Compared with what her lot had been until 
such a few brief days before, this lot of friendless wan- 
derer in the wilderness was dark indeed. But she was 
comparing it with the monstrous dream from which 

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it was the awakening. She was almost happy and 
madly hungry. 

An enormous bowlder, high above her and firmly 
fixed in the spine of the hill, invited as a place where 
she could see without being seen, could hide securely 
until darkness came again. She climbed to the base of 
it, found that she might reach the top by stepping from 
ledge to ledge with the aid of the trees growing so close 
around it that some of their boughs seemed rooted in 
its weather-dented cliffs. She dragged herself upward 
the fifty or sixty feet, glad of the difficulties because 
they would make any pursuer feel certain she had not 
gone that way. After perhaps an hour she came upon 
a fiat surface where soil had formed, where grass and 
wild flowers and several little trees gave shade and a 
place to sleep. And from her eyrie she commanded a 
vast sweep of country hills and valleys, fields, creeks, 
here and there lonely farmhouses, and far away to the 
east the glint of the river! 

To the river ! That was her destination. And some- 
how it would be kind, would take her where she would 
never, never dream those frightful dreams again! 

She went to the side of the bowlder opposite that 
which she had climbed. She drew back hastily, ready to 
cry with vexation. It was not nearly so high or so steep ; 
and on the slope of the hill a short distance away was 
set a little farmhouse, with smoke curling up from its 
rough stone chimney. She dropped to all fours in the 
tall grass and moved cautiously toward the edge. Flat 
upon her breast, she worked her way to the edge and 
looked down. A faintly lined path led from the house 
through a gate in a zigzag fence and up to the base of 
her fortress. The rock had so crumbled on that side 
that a sort of path extended clear up to the top. But 

167 



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her alarm quieted somewhat when she noted how the 
path was grass-grown. 

As nearly as she could judge it was about five o'clock. 
So that smoke meant breakfast! Her eyes fixed hun- 
grily upon the thin column of violet vapor mounting 
straight into the still morning air. When smoke rose 
in that fashion, she remembered, it was sure sign of 
clear weather. And then the thought came, "What if 
it had been raining!" She simply could not have got 
away. 

As she interestedly watched the little house and its 
yard she saw hurrying through the burdock and dog 
fennel toward the base of her rock a determined look- 
ing hen. Susan laughed silently, it was so obvious 
that the hen was on a pressing and secret business 
errand. But almost immediately her attention was 
distracted to observing the movements of a human 
being she could obscurely make out through one of 
the windows just back of the chimney. Soon she saw 
that it was a woman, cleaning up a kitchen after 
breakfast the early breakfast of the farmhouse in 
summer. 

What had they had for breakfast? She sniffed the 
air. "I think I can smell ham and cornbread," she 
said aloud, and laughed, partly at the absurdity of 
her fancy, chiefly at the idea of such attractive food. 
She aggravated her hunger by letting her imagination 
loose upon the glorious possibilities. A stealthy flut- 
tering brought her glance back to the point where the 
hen had disappeared. The hen reappeared, hastened 
down the path and through the weeds, and rejoined 
the flock in the yard with an air which seemed to say, 
"No, indeed, I've been right here all the time." 

"Now, what was she up to?" wondered Susan, and 
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the answer came to her. Eggs ! A nest hidden some- 
where near or in the base of the rock! 

Could she get down to that nest without being seen 
from the house or from any other part of the region 
below? She drew back from the edge, crawled through 
the grass to the place where the path, if path it could 
be called, reached the top. She was delighted to find 
that it made the ascent through a wide cleft and not 
along the outside. She let herself down cautiously as 
the footway was crumbling and rotten and slippery 
with grass. At the lower end of the cleft she peered 
out. Trees and bushes plenty of them, a thick shield 
between her and the valleys. She moved slowly down- 
ward; a misstep might send her through the boughs 
to the hillside forty feet below. She had gone up and 
down several times before her hunger-sharpened eyes 
caught the gleam of white through the ferns growing 
thickly out of the moist mossy cracks which everywhere 
seamed the wall. She pushed the ferns aside. There 
was the nest, the length of her forearm into the dim 
seclusion of a deep hole. She felt round, found the egg 
that was warm. And as she drew it out she laughed 
softly and said half aloud: "Breakfast is ready!" 

No, not quite ready. Hooking one arm round the 
bough of a tree that shot up from the hillside to the 
height of the rock and beyond, she pressed her foot 
firmly against the projecting root of an ancient vine 
of poison ivy. Thus ensconced, she had free hands; 
and she proceeded to remove the thin shell of the egg 
piece by piece. She had difficulty in restraining her- 
self until the end. At last she put the whole egg into 
her mouth. And never had she tasted anything so 
good. 

But one egg was only an appetizer. She reached in 
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SUSAN LENOX 



again. She did not wish to despoil the meritorious hen 
unnecessarily, so she held the egg up in her inclosing 
fingers and looked through it, as she had often seen 
the cook do at home. She was not sure, but the inside 
seemed muddy. She laid it to one side, tried another. 
It was clear and she ate it as she had eaten the first. 
She laid aside the third, the fourth, and the fifth. The 
sixth seemed all right but was not. Fortunately she 
had not been certain enough to feel justified in putting 
the whole egg into her mouth before tasting it. The 
taste, however, was enough to make her reflect that 
perhaps on the whole two eggs were sufficient for break- 
fast, especially as there would be at least dinner and 
supper before she could go further. As she did not 
wish to risk another descent, she continued to sort out 
the eggs. She found four that were, or seemed to be, 
all right. The thirteen that looked doubtful or worse 
when tested by the light she restored with the greatest 
care. It was an interesting illustration of the rare 
quality of consideration which at that period of her 
life dominated her character. 

She put the four eggs in the bosom of her blouse and 
climbed up to her eyrie. All at once she felt the deli- 
cious languor of body and mind which is Nature's fore- 
warning that she is about to put us to sleep, whether 
we will or no. She lost all anxiety about safety, looked 
hastily around for a bed. She found just the place 
in a corner of the little tableland where the grass grew 
tall and thick. She took from her bosom the four eggs 
her dinner and supper and put them between the 
roots of a tree with a cover of broad leaves over them 
to keep them cool. She pulled grass to make a pillow, 
took off her collar and laid herself down to sleep. 
And that day's sun did not shine upon a prettier sight 

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SUSAN LENOX 



than this soundly and sweetly sleeping girl, with her 
oval face suffused by a gentle flush, with her rounded 
young shoulders just moving the bosom of her gray 
silk blouse, with her slim, graceful legs curled up to 
the edge of her carefully smoothed blue serge skirt. 
You would have said never a care, much less a sorrow, 
had shadowed her dawning life. And that is what it 
means to be young and free from the curse of self- 
pity, and ignorant of life's saddest truth, that future 
and past are not two contrasts; one is surely bright 
and the other is sober, but they are parts of a con- 
tinuous fabric woven of the same threads and into the 
same patterns from beginning to end. 

When she awoke, beautifully rested, her eyes clear 
and soft, the shadows which had been long toward the 
southwest were long, though not so long, toward the 
southeast. She sat up and smiled; it was so fine to be 
free! And her woes had not in the least shaken that 
serene optimism which is youth's most delightful if 
most dangerous possession. She crawled through the 
grass to the edge of the rock and looked out through 
the screening leaves of the dense undergrowth. There 
was no smoke from the chimney of the house. The 
woman, in a blue calico, was sitting on the back door- 
step knitting. Farther away, in fields here and there, 
a few men not a dozen in all were at work. From 
a barnyard at the far edge of the western horizon came 
the faint sound of a steam thresher, and she thought 
she could see the men at work around it, but this might 
have been illusion. It was a serene and lovely pano- 
rama of summer and country. Last of all her eyes 
sought the glimpse of distant river. 

She ate two of her four eggs, put on the underclothes 
which were now thoroughly sun-dried, shook out and 

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rebraided her hair. Then she cast about for some way 
to pass the time. 

She explored the whole top of the rock, but that 
did not use up more than fifteen minutes, as it was so 
small that every part was visible from every other 
part. However, she found a great many wild flowers 
and gathered a huge bouquet of the audacious colors 
of nature's gardens, so common yet so effective. She 
did a little botanizing anything to occupy her mind 
and keep it from the ugly visions and fears. But all 
too soon she had exhausted the resources of her hiding 
place. She looked down into the valley to the north 
the valley through which she had come. She might 
go down there and roam; it would be something to 
do, and her young impatience of restraint was making 
her so restless that she felt she could not endure the 
confines of that little rock. It had seemed huge; a 
brief experience of freedom, a few hours between her 
and the night's horrors and terrors, and it had shrunk 
to a tiny prison cell. Surely she would run no risk 
in journeying through that trackless wilderness; she 
need not be idle, she could hasten her destiny by fol- 
lowing the creek in its lonely wanderings, which must 
sooner or later bring it to the river. The river! 

She was about to get the two remaining eggs and 
abandon her stronghold when it occurred to her that 
she would do well to take a last look all around. She 
went back to the side of the rock facing the house. 

The woman had suspended knitting and was gazing 
intently across the hollow to the west, where the road 
from the north entered the landscape. Susan turned 
her eyes in that direction. Two horsemen at a gallop 
were moving southward. The girl was well screened, 
but instinctively she drew still further back behind 

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the bushes but not so far that the two on horseback, 
riding so eagerly? were out of her view. The road 
dipped into the hollow; the galloping horsemen disap- 
peared with it. Susan shifted her gaze to the point 
on the brow of the hill where the road reappeared. She 
was quivering in every nerve. When they came into 
view again she would know. 

The place she was watching swam before her eyes. 
Suddenly the two, still at a gallop, rose upon the crest 
of the hill. Jeb and her Uncle Zeke! Her vision 
cleared, her nerve steadied. 

They did not draw rein until they were at the road 
gate of the little house. The woman rose, put down 
her knitting in the seat of her stiff, rush-bottomed 
rocker, advanced to the fence. The air was still, but 
Susan could not hear a sound, though she craned for- 
ward and strained her ears to the uttermost. She 
shrank as if she had been struck when the three be- 
gan to gaze up at the rock to gaze, it seemed to 
her, at the very spot where she was standing. Was 
her screen less thick than she thought? Had they 
seen if not her, perhaps part of her dress? 

Wildly her heart beat as Jeb dismounted from his 
horse the mare behind which she had made her wed- 
ding journey and stood in the gateway, talking with 
the woman and looking toward the top of the rock. 
Zeke Warham turned his horse and began to ride slowly 
away. He got as far as the brow of the hill, with Jeb 
still in the gateway, hesitating. Then Susan heard: 

"Hold on, Mr. Warham. I reckon you're right." 

Warham halted his horse, Jeb remounted and joined 
him. As the woman returned toward the back door- 
step, the two men rode at a walk down into the hol- 
low. When they reappeared it was on the road by 

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SUSAN LENOX 



which they had come. And the girl knew the pursuit 
in that direction the right direction was over. 
Trembling and with a fluttering in her breast like the 
flapping of a bird's wings, she sank to the ground. 
Presently she burst into a passion of tears. Without 
knowing why, she tore off the wedding ring which 
until then she had forgotten, and flung it out among 
the treetops. A few minutes, and she dried her eyes 
and stood up. The two horsemen were leaving the 
landscape at the point at which they had entered it. 
The girl would not have known, would have been fright- 
ened by, her own face had she seen it as she watched 
them go out of her sight out of her life. She did 
not understand herself, for she was at that age when 
one is no more conscious of the forces locked up within 
his unexplored and untested character than the dyna- 
mite cartridge is of its secrets of power and terror. 



XI 



SHE felt free to go now. She walked toward the 
place where she had left the eggs. It was on 
the side of the rock overlooking the creek. As 
she knelt to remove the leaves, she heard from far be- 
low a man's voice singing. She leaned forward and 
glanced down at the creek. In a moment appeared 
a young man with a fishing rod and a bag slung over 
his shoulder. His gray and white striped flannel 
trousers were rolled to his knees. His fair skin and 
the fair hair waving about his forehead were exposed 
by the flapping-brimmed straw hat set upon the back 
of his head. His voice, a strong and manly tenor, was 
sending up those steeps a song she had never heard 
before a song in Italian. She had not seen what he 
looked like when she remembered herself and hastily fell 
back from view. She dropped to the grass and crawled 
out toward the ledge. When she showed her face 
it so happened that he was looking straight at her. 
"Hello!" he shouted. "That you, Nell?" 
Susan drew back, her blood in a tumult. From be- 
low, after a brief silence, came a burst of laughter. 
She waited a long time, then through a shield of 
bunches of grass looked again. The young man was 
gone. She wished that he had resumed his song, for 
she thought she had never heard one so beautiful. 
Because she did not feel safe in descending until he 
was well out of the way, and because she was so com- 
fortable lying there in the afternoon sunshine watch- 
ing the birds and listening to them, she continued on 

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SUSAN LENOX 



there, glancing now and then at where the creek 
entered and where it left her range of vision, to 
make sure that no one else should come and catch 
her. Suddenly sounded a voice from somewhere be- 
hind her: 

"Hey, Nell! I'm coming!" 

She sprang to her feet, faced about; and Crusoe 
was not more agitated when he saw the print of the 
naked foot on his island's strand. The straw hat with 
the flapping brim was just lifting above the edge of 
the rock at the opposite side, where the path was. 
She could not escape; the shelf offered no hiding 
place. Now the young man was stepping to the level, 
panting loudly. 

"Gee, what a climb for a hot day !" he cried. "Where 
are you?" 

With that he was looking at Susan, less than twenty 
yards away and drawn up defiantly. He stared, took 
off his hat. He had close-cropped wavy hair and 
eyes as gray as Susan's own, but it was a blue-gray 
instead of violet. His skin was fair, too, and his ex- 
pression intelligent and sympathetic. In spite of his 
hat, and his blue cotton shirt, and trousers rolled high 
on bare sunburned legs, there was nothing of the yokel 
about him. 

"I beg your pardon," he exclaimed half humorously. 
"I thought it was my cousin Nell." 

"No," said Susan, disarmed by his courtesy and by 
the frank engaging manner of it. 

"I didn't mean to intrude." He showed white teeth 
in a broad smile. "I see from your face that this is 
your private domain." 

"Oh, no not at all," stammered Susan. 

"Yes, I insist," replied he. "Will you let me stay 
176 



SUSAN LENOX 



and rest a minute? I ran round the rock and climbed 
pretty fast." 

"Yes do," said Susan. 

The young man sat on the grass near where he had 
appeared, and crossed his long legs. The girl, much 
embarrassed, looked uneasily about. "Perhaps you'd 
sit, too?" suggested he, after eyeing her in a friendly 
way that could not cause offense and somehow did 
not cause any great uneasiness. 

Susan hesitated, went to the shadow of a little tree 
not far from him. He was fanning his flushed face 
with his hat. The collar of his shirt was open; be- 
low, where the tan ended abruptly, his skin was beauti- 
fully white. Now that she had been discovered, it was 
as well to be pleasant, she reasoned. "It's a fine day," 
she observed with a grown-up gravity that much 
amused him. 

"Not for fishing," said he. "I caught nothing. You 
are a stranger in these parts?" 

Susan colored and a look of terror flitted into her 
eyes. "Yes," she admitted. "I'm I'm passing 
through." 

The young man had all he could do to conceal his 
amusement. Susan flushed deeply again, not because 
she saw his expression, for she was not looking at him, 
but because her remark seemed to her absurd and 
likely to rouse suspicion. 

"I suppose you came up here to see the view," said 
the man. He glanced round. "It is pretty good. 
You're not visiting down Brooksburg way, by any 
chance ?" 

"No," replied Susan, rather composedly and deter- 
mined to change the subject. "What was that song 
I heard you singing?" 

177 



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"Oh you heard, did you?" laughed he. "It's the 
Duke's song from 'Rigoletto.' ' 

"That's an opera, isn't it like 'Trovatore' ?" 

"Yes an Italian opera. Same author." 

"It's a beautiful song." It was evident that she 
longed to ask him to sing it. She felt at ease with 
him; he was so unaffected and simple, was one of 
those people who seem to be at home wherever they 
are. 

"Do you sing?" he inquired. 

"Not really," replied she. 

"Neither do I. So if you'll sing to me, I'll sing to 
you." 

Susan looked round in alarm. "Oh, dear, no please 
don't," she cried. 

"Why not?" he asked curiously. "There isn't a soul 
about." 

"I know but really, you mustn't." 

"Very well," said he, seeing that her nervousness 
was not at all from being asked to sing. They sat 
quietly, she gazing off at the horizon, he fanning him- 
self and studying her lovely young face. He was 
somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty-five and a 
close observer would have suspected him of an unusual 
amount of experience, even for a good-looking, expan- 
sive youth of that age. 

He broke the long silence. "I'm a newspaper man 
from Cincinnati. I'm on the Commercial there. My 
name's Roderick Spenser. My father's Clayton Spen- 
ser, down at Brooksburg" he pointed to the south- 
east "beyond that hill there, on the river. I'm here 
on my vacation." And he halted, looking at her ex- 
pectantly. 

It seemed to her that there was in courtesy no escape 
178 



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without a return biographical sketch. She hung her 
head, twisted her tapering fingers in her lap, and looked 
childishly embarrassed and unhappy. Another long 
silence ; again he broke it. "You'll pardon my saying 
so, but you're very young, aren't you?" 

"Not so so terribly young. I'm almost seventeen," 
replied she, glancing this way and that, as if think- 
ing of flight. 

"You look like a child, yet you don't," he went on, 
and his frank, honest voice calmed her. "You've had 
some painful experience, I'd say." 

She nodded, her eyes down. 

A pause, then he: "Honest, now aren't you run- 
ning away?" 

She lifted her eyes to his piteously. "Please don't 
ask me," she said. 

"I shouldn't think of it," replied he, with a gen- 
tleness in his persistence that made her feel still more 
like trusting him, "if it wasn't that 

"Well, this world isn't the easiest sort of a place. 
Lots of rough stretches in the road. I've struck sev- 
eral and I've always been glad when somebody has 
given me a lift. And I want to pass it on if you'll 
let me. It's something we owe each other don't you 
think?" 

The words were fine enough; but it was the voice in 
which he said them that went to her heart. She cov- 
ered her face with her hands and released her pent 
emotions. He took a package of tobacco and a sheaf 
of papers from his trousers pocket, rolled and lighted 
a cigarette. After a while she dried her eyes, looked 
at him shamefacedly. But he was all understanding 
and sympathy. 

"Now you feel better, don't you?" 
179 



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"Much," said she. And she laughed. "I guess I'm 
more upset than I let myself realize." 

"Sorry you left home?" 

"I haven't any home," answered she simply. "And 
I wouldn't go back alive to the place I came from." 

There was a quality in the energy she put into her 
words that made him thoughtful. He counseled with 
the end of his cigarette. Finally he inquired: 

"Where are you bound for?" 

"I don't know exactly," confessed she, as if it were 
a small matter. 

He shook his head. "I see you haven't the faintest 
notion what you're up against." 

"Oh, I'll get along. I'm strong, and I can learn." 

He looked at her critically and rather sadly. 

"Yes you are strong," said he. "But I wonder 
if you're strong enough." 

"I never was sick in my life." 

"I don't mean that. . . . I'm not sure I know just 
what I do mean." 

"Is it very hard to get to Chicago?" inquired 
she. 

"It's easier to get to Cincinnati." 

She shook her head positively. "It wouldn't do for 
me to go there." 

"Oh, you come from Cincinnati?" 

"No but I I've been there." 

"Oh, they caught you and brought you back?" 

She nodded. This young man must be very smart 
to understand so quickly. 

"How much money have you got?" he asked 
abruptly. 

But his fear that she would think him impertinent 
came of an underestimate of her innocence. "I haven't 

180 



SUSAN LENOX 



got any," replied she. "I forgot my purse. It had 
thirty dollars in it." 

At once he recognized the absolute child; only utter 
inexperience of the world could speak of so small a 
sum so respectfully. "I don't understand at all," said 
he. "How long have you been here?" 

"All day. I got here early this morning." 

"And you haven't had anything to eat!" 

"Oh, yes! I found some eggs. I've got two left." 

Two eggs and no money and no friends and a 
woman. Yet she was facing the future hopefully! 
He smiled, with tears in his eyes. 

"You mustn't tell anybody you saw me," she went 
on. "No matter what they say, don't think you ought 
to tell on me." 

He looked at her, she at him. When he had satis- 
fied himself he smiled most reassuringly. "I'll not," 
was his answer, and now she knew she could trust 
him. 

She drew a breath of relief, and went on as if talking 
with an old friend. "I've got to get a long ways 
from here. As soon as it's dark I'm going." 

"Where?" 

"Toward the river." And her eyes lit. 

"The river? What's there?" 

"I don't know," said she triumphantly. 

But he understood. He had the spirit of adven- 
ture himself one could see it at a glance the spirit 
that instinctively shuns yesterday and all its works 
and wings eagerly into tomorrow, unknown, different, 
new therefore better. But this girl, this child-woman 
or was she rather woman-child? penniless, with 
nothing but two eggs between her and starvation, alone, 
without plans, without experience 
7 181 



SUSAN LENOX 



What would become of her? . . . "Aren't you 
afraid?" he asked. 

"Of what?" she inquired calmly. 

It was the mere unconscious audacity of ignorance, 
yet he saw in her now not fancied he saw, but saw 
a certain strength of soul, both courage and tenacity. 
No, she might suffer, sink but she would die fight- 
ing, and she would not be afraid. And he admired 
and envied her. 

"Oh, I'll get along somehow," she assured him in the 
same self-reliant tone. Suddenly she felt it would no 
longer give her the horrors to speak of what she had 
been through. "I'm not very old," said she, and hers 
was the face of a woman now. "But I've learned a 
great deal." 

"You are sure you are not making a mistake in 
in running away?" 

"I couldn't do anything else," replied she. "I'm all 
alone in the world. There's no one except 

"I hadn't done anything, and they said I had dis- 
graced them and they " Her voice faltered, her 

eyes sank, the color flooded into her face. "They gave 
me to a man and he I had hardly seen him before 

he " She tried but could not pronounce the 

dreadful word. 

"Married, you mean?" said the young man gently. 

The girl shuddered. "Yes," she answered. "And 
I ran away." 

So strange, so startling, so moving was the expres- 
sion of her face that he could not speak for a moment. 
A chill crept over him as he watched her wide eyes 
gazing into vacancy. What vision of horror was she 
seeing, he wondered. To rouse her he spoke the first 
words he could assemble: 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"When was this?" 

The vision seemed slowly to fade and she looked at 
him in astonishment. "Why, it was last night!" she 
said, as if dazed by the discovery. "Only last night!" 

"Last night ! Then you haven't got far." 

"No. But I must. I will. And I'm not afraid of 
anything except of being taken back." 

"But you don't realize what may be probably is 
waiting for you at the river and beyond." 

"Nothing could be so bad," said she. The words 
were nothing, but the tone and the expression that 
accompanied them somehow convinced him beyond a 
doubt. 

"You'll let me help you?" 

She debated. "You might bring me something to 
eat mightn't you? The eggs'll do for supper. But 
there's tomorrow. I don't want to be seen till I get 
a long ways off." 

He rose at once. "Yes, I'll bring you something 
to eat." He took a knockabout watch from the breast 
pocket of his shirt. "It's now four o'clock. I've got 
three miles to walk. I'll ride back and hitch the horse 
down the creek a little ways down, so it won't attract 
attention to your place up here. I'll be back in about 
an hour and a half. . . . Maybe I'll think of some- 
thing that'll help. Can I bring you anything else? 

"No. That is I'd like a little piece of soap." 

"And a towel?" he suggested. 

"I could take care of a towel," agreed she. "I'll send 
it Sack to you when I get settled." 

"Good heavens!" He laughed at her simplicity. 
"What an honest child you are!" He put out his 
hand, and she took it with charming friendliness. 
"Good-by. I'll hurry." 

183 



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"I'm so glad you caught me," said she. Then, 
apologetically, "I don't want to be any trouble. I 
hate to be troublesome. I've never let anybody wait 
on me." 

"I don't know when I've had as much pleasure as 
this is giving me." And he made a bow that hid its 
seriousness behind a smile of good-humored raillery. 

She watched him descend with a sinking heart. The 
rock the world her life, seemed empty now. He had 
reminded her that there were human beings with good 
hearts. But perhaps if he knew, his kindness would 
turn also. . . . No, she decided not. Men like him, 
women like Aunt Sallie they did not believe those 
dreadful, wicked ideas that people said God had or- 
dained. Still if he knew about her birth branded 
outcast he might change. She must not really hope 
for anything much until she was far, far away in a 
wholly new world where there would be a wholly new 
sort of people, of a kind she had never met. But 
she was sure they would welcome her, and give her 
a chance. 

She returned to the tree against which she had been 
sitting, for there she could look at the place his big 
frame had pressed down in the tall grass, and could 
see him in it, and could recall his friendly eyes and 
voice, and could keep herself assured she had not 
been dreaming. He was a citified man, like Sam but 
how different! A man with a heart like his would 
never marry a woman no, never! He couldn't be a 
brute like that. Still, perhaps nice men married be- 
cause it was supposed to be the right thing to do, 
and was the only way to have children without peo- 
ple thinking you a disgrace and slighting the children 
and then marrying made brutes of them. No wonder 

184 



SUSAN LENOX 



her uncles could treat her so. They were men who 
had married. 

Afar off she heard the manly voice singing the song 
from "Rigoletto." She sprang up and listened, with 
eyes softly shining and head a little on one side. The 
song ended; her heart beat fast. It was not many 
minutes before she, watching at the end of the path, 
saw him appear at the bottom of the huge cleft. And 
the look in his eyes, the merry smile about his ex- 
pressive mouth, delighted her. "I'm so glad to see 
you!" she cried. 

Over his shoulder was flung his fishing bag, and it 
bulged. "Don't be scared by the size of my pack," 
he called up, as he climbed. "We're going to have 
supper together if you'll let me stay. Then you can 
take as much or as little as you like of what's left." 

Arrived at the top, he halted for a long breath. 
They stood facing each other. "My, what a tall girl 
you are for your age!" said he admiringly. 

She laughed up at him. "I'll be as tall as you when 
I get my growth." 

She was so lovely that he could scarcely refrain 
from telling her so. It seemed to him, however, it 
would be taking an unfair advantage to say that sort 
of thing when she was in a way at his mercy. "Where 
shall we spread the table?" said he. "I'm hungry as 
the horseleech's daughter. And you why, you must 
be starved. I'm afraid I didn't bring what you like, 
But I did the best I could. I raided the pantry, took 
everything that was portable." 

He had set down the bag and had loosened its strings. 
First he took out a tablecloth. She laughed. "Gra- 
cious! How stylish we shall be!" 

"I didn't bring napkins. We can use the corners 
185 



SUSAN LENOX 



of the cloth." He had two knives, two forks, and 
a big spoon rolled up in the cloth, and a saltcellar. 
""Now, here's my triumph!" he cried, drawing from 
the bag a pair of roasted chickens. Next came a 
jar of quince jelly; next, a paper bag with cold pota- 
toes and cold string beans in it. Then he fished out 
a huge square of cornbread and a loaf of salt-rising 
bread, a pound of butter 

"What will your folks say?" exclaimed she, in dis- 
may. 

He laughed. "They always have thought I was 
crazy, ever since I went to college and then to the 
city instead of farming." And out of the bag came 
a big glass jar of milk. "I forgot to bring a glass!" 
lie apologized. Then he suspended unpacking to open 
the jar. "Why, you must be half-dead with thirst, 
up here all day with not a drop of water." And 
lie held out the jar to her. "Drink hearty!" he 
cried. 

The milk was rich and cold; she drank nearly a 
fourth of it before she could wrest the jar away from 
her lips. "My, but that was good!" she remarked. 
He had enjoyed watching her drink. "Surely you 
haven't got anything else in that bag?" 

"Not much," replied he. "Here's a towel, wrapped 
round the soap. And here are three cakes of choco- 
late. You could live four or five days on them, if 
you were put to it. So whatever else you leave, don't 
leave them. And Oh, yes, here's a calico slip and 
,a sunbonnet, and a paper of pins. And that's all." 

"What are they for?" 

"I thought you might put them on the slip over 
your dress and you wouldn't look quite so so out 
of place if anybody should see you." 

186 



SUSAN LENOX 



"What a fine idea!" cried Susan, shaking out the 
slip delightedly. 

He was spreading the supper on the tablecloth. He 
carved one of the chickens, opened the jelly, placed 
the bread and vegetables and butter. "Now!" he 
cried. "Let's get busy." 

And he set her an example she was not slow to fol- 
low. The sun had slipped down behind the hills of 
the northwest horizon. The birds were tuning for 
their evening song. A breeze sprang up and coquetted: 
with the strays of her wavy dark hair. And they sat 
cross-legged on the grass on opposite sides of the 
tablecloth and joked and laughed and ate, and ate 
and laughed and joked until the stars began to appear 
in the vast paling opal of the sky. They had chosen 
the center of the grassy platform for their banquet; 
thus, from where they sat only the tops of trees and 
the sky were to be seen. And after they had finished 
she leaned on her elbow and listened while he, smoking 
his cigarette, told her of his life as a newspaper man 
in Cincinnati. The twilight faded into dusk, the dusk 
into a scarlet darkness. 

"When the moon comes up we'll start," said he. 
"You can ride behind me on the horse part of the way,. 
anyhow." 

The shadow of the parting, the ending of this hap- 
piness, fell upon her. How lonely it would be when 
he was gone ! "I haven't told you my name," she said; 
I've told you mine Roderick Spenser with an 



"' 



"I remember," said she. "I'll never forget. . . . 
Mine's Susan Lenox." 

"What was it before - " He halted. 
"Before what?" His silence set her to thinking- 
187 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Oh!" she exclaimed, in a tone that made him curse 
his stupidity in reminding her. "My name's Susan 
Lenox and always will be. It was my mother's name." 
She hesitated, decided for frankness at any cost, for 
his kindness forbade her to deceive him in any way. 
Proudly, "My mother never let any man marry her. 
They say she was disgraced, but I understand now. 
She wouldn't stoop to let any man marry her." 

Spenser puzzled over this, but could make nothing 
of it. He felt that he ought not to inquire further. 
He saw her anxious eyes, her expression of one keyed 
up and waiting for a verdict. "I'd have only to look 
at you to know your mother was a fine woman," said 
he. Then, to escape from the neighborhood of the 
dangerous riddle, "Now, about your your going," he 
began. "I've been thinking what to do." 

"You'll help me?" said she, to dispel her last doubt 
a very faint doubt, for his words and his way of 
uttering them had dispelled her real anxiety. 

"Help you?" cried he heartily. "All I can. I've got 
a scheme to propose to you. You say you can't take 
the mail boat?" 

"They know me. I I'm from Sutherland." 

"You trust me don't you?" 

"Indeed I do." 

"Now listen to me as if I were your brother. Will 
you?" 

"Yes." 

"I'm going to take you to Cincinnati with me. I'm 
going to put you in my boarding house as my sister. 
And I'm going to get you a position. Then you 
can start in for yourself." 

"But that'll be a great lot of trouble, won't it?" 

"Not any more than friends of mine took for me 
188 



SUSAN LENOX 



when I was starting out." Then, as she continued 
silent, "What are you thinking? I can't see your 
face in this starlight." 

"I was thinking how good you are," she said simply. 

He laughed uneasily. "I'm not often accused of 
that," he replied. "I'm like most people a mixture 
of good and bad and not very strong either way. 
I'm afraid I'm mostly impulse that winks out. But 
the question is, how to get you to Cincinnati. It's 
simply impossible for me to go tonight. I can't take 
you home for the night. I don't trust my people. 
They'd not think I was good or you, either. And 
while usually they'd be right both ways this is an 
exception." This idea of an exception seemed to 
amuse him. He went on, "I don't dare leave you at 
any farmhouse in the neighborhood. If I did, you 
could be traced." 

"No no," she cried, alarmed at the very suggestion. 
"I mustn't be seen by anybody." 

"We'll go straight to the river, and I'll get a boat 
and row you across to Kentucky over to Carroll- 
ton. There's a little hotel. I can leave you " 

"No not Carrollton," she interrupted. "My uncle 
sells goods there, and they know him. And if any- 
thing is in the Sutherland papers about me, why, they'd 
know." 

"Not with you in that slip and sunbonnet. I'll 
make up a story about our wagon breaking down 
and that I've got to walk back into the hills to get 
another before we can go on. And it's the only plan 
that's at all possible." 

Obviously he was right; but she would not consent. 
By adroit questioning he found that her objection was 
dislike of being so much trouble to him. "That's too 

189 



SUSAN LENOX 



ridiculous," cried he. "Why, I wouldn't have missed 
this adventure for anything in the world." 

His manner was convincing enough, but she did not 
give in until moonrise came without her having thought 
of any other plan. He was to be Bob Peters, she 
his sister Kate, and they were to hail from a farm 
in the Kentucky hills back of Milton. They practiced 
the dialect of the region and found that they could 
talk it well enough to pass the test of a few sentences, 
They packed the fishing bag; she wrapped the two 
eggs in paper and put them in the empty milk bottle. 
They descended by the path a slow journey in the 
darkness of that side of the rock, as there were many 
dangers, including the danger of making a noise that 
might be heard by some restless person at the house. 
After half an hour they were safely at the base of the 
rock; they skirted it, went down to the creek, found 
the horse tied where he had left it. With her seated 
sideways behind him and holding on by an arm half 
round his waist, they made a merry but not very speedy 
advance toward the river, keeping as nearly due south 
as the breaks in the hills permitted. After a while he 
asked: "Do you ever think of the stage?" 

"I've never seen a real stage play," said she. "But 
I want to and I will, the first chance I get." 

"I meant, did you ever think of going on the stage?" 

"No." So daring a flight would have been impos- 
sible for a baby imagination in the cage of the re- 
spectable- family-in-a-small-town. 

"It's one of my dreams to write plays," he went 
on. "Wouldn't it be queer if some day I wrote plays 
for you to act in?" 

When one's fancy is as free as was Susan's then, 
it takes any direction chance may suggest. Susan's 

190 



SUSAN LENOX 



fancy instantly winged along this fascinating route. 
"I've given recitations at school, and in the plays we 
used to have they let me take the best parts that is 
until until a year or so ago." 

He noted the hesitation, had an instinct against ask- 
ing why there had come a time when she no longer 
got good parts. "I'm sure you could learn to act," 
declared he. "And you'll be sure of it, too, after you've 
seen the people who do it." 

"Oh, I don't believe I could," said she, in rebuke 
to her own mounting self-confidence. Then, suddenly 
remembering her birth-brand of shame and overwhelmed 
by it, "No, I can't hope to be to be anything much. 
They wouldn't have me." 

"I know how you feel," replied he, all unaware of 
the real reason for this deep humility. "When I first 
struck town I felt that way. It seemed to me I couldn't 
hope ever to line up with the clever people they had 
there. But I soon saw there was nothing in that 
idea. The fact is, everywhere in the world there's a 
lot more things to do than people who can do them. 
Most of those who get to the top where did they 
start? Where we're starting." 

She was immensely flattered by that "we" and grate- 
ful for it. But she held to her original opinion. "There 
wouldn't be a chance for me," said she. "They 
wouldn't have me." 

"Oh, I understand," said he and he fancied he did. 
He laughed gayly at the idea that in the theater any- 
one would care who she was what kind of past she 
had had or present either, for that matter. Said he, 
"You needn't worry. On the stage they don't ask any 
questions any questions except 'Can you act? Can 
you get it over? Can you get the hand?' ' 

191 



SUSAN LENOX 



Then this stage, it was the world she had dreamed 
of the world where there lived a wholly new kind of 
people people who could make room for her. She 
thrilled, and her heart beat wildly. In a strangely 
quiet, intense voice, she said: 

"I want to try. I'm sure I'll get along there. I'll 
work Oh, so hard. I'll do anything!" 

"That's the talk," cried he. "You've got the stuff 
in you." 

She said little the rest of the journey. Her mind 
was busy with the idea he had by merest accident 
given her. If he could have looked in upon her 
thoughts, he would have been amazed and not a little 
alarmed by the ferment he had' set up. 

Where they reached the river the bank was mud and 
thick willows, the haunt of incredible armies of mos- 
quitoes. "It's a mystery to me," cried he, "why these 
fiends live in lonely places far away from blood, when 
they're so mad about it." After some searching he 
found a clear stretch of sandy gravel where she would 
be not too uncomfortable while he was gone for a 
boat. He left the horse with her and walked up- 
stream in the direction of Brooksburg. As he had 
warned her that he might be gone a long time, he knew 
she would not be alarmed for him and she had al- 
ready proved that timidity about herself was not in 
her nature. But he was alarmed for her this girl 
alone in that lonely darkness with light enough to 
make her visible to any prowler. 

About an hour after he left her he returned in a 
rowboat he had borrowed at the water mill. He hitched 
the horse in the deep shadow of the break in the bank. 
She got into the boat, put on the slip and the sun- 
bonnet, put her sailor hat in the bag. They pushed 

192 



SUSAN LENOX 



off and he began the long hard row across and up- 
stream. The moon was high now and was still near 
enough to its full glory to pour a flood of beautiful 
light upon the broad river the lovely Ohio at its love- 
liest part. 

"Won't you sing?" he asked. 

And without hesitation she began one of the simple 
familiar love songs that were all the music to which 
the Sutherland girls had access. She sang softly, in 
a deep sweet voice, sweeter even than her speaking 
voice. She had the sunbonnet in her lap; the moon 
shone full upon her face. And it seemed to him that 
he was in a dream; there was nowhere a suggestion 
of reality not of its prose, not even of its poetry. 
Only in the land no waking eye has seen could such 
a thing be. The low sweet voice sang of love, the oars* 
clicked rhythmically in the locks and clove the water 
with musical splash; the river, between its steep hills, 
shone in the moonlight, with a breeze like a friendly 
spirit moving upon its surface. He urged her, and 
she sang another song, and another. She sighed when 
she saw the red lantern on the Carrollton wharf; and 
he, turning his head and seeing, echoed her sigh. 

"The first chance, you must sing me that song," 
she said. 

"From 'Rigoletto'? I will. But it tells how fickle 
women are 'like a feather in the wind.' . . . They 
aren't all like that, though don't you think so?" 

"Sometimes I think everybody's like a feather in 
the wind," replied she. "About love and everything." 

He laughed. "Except those people who are where 
there isn't any wind." 



XII 



FOR some time Spenser had been rowing well in 
toward the Kentucky shore, to avoid the swift 
current of the Kentucky River which rushes 
into the Ohio at Carrollton. A few yards below its 
mouth, in the quiet stretch of backwater along shore, 
lay the wharf-boat, little more than a landing stage. 
The hotel was but a hundred feet away, at the top of 
the steep levee. It was midnight, so everyone in the 
village had long been asleep. After several minutes 
of thunderous hammering Roderick succeeded in draw- 
ing to the door a barefooted man with a candle in his 
huge, knotted hand a man of great stature, amazingly 
lean and long of leg, with a monstrous head thatched 
and fronted with coarse, yellow-brown hair. He had 
on a dirty cotton shirt and dirty cotton trousers a 
night dress that served equally well for the day. His 
feet were flat and thick and were hideous with corns 
and bunions. Susan had early been made a critical 
observer of feet by the unusual symmetry of her own. 
She had seen few feet that were fit to be seen; but 
never, she thought, had she seen an exhibition so repel- 
lent. 

"What t'hell " he began. Then, discovering Su- 
san, he growled, "Beg pardon, miss." 

Roderick explained that is, told the prearranged 
story. The man pointed to a grimy register on the 
office desk, and Roderick set down the fishing bag and 
wrote in a cramped, scrawly hand, "Kate Peters, Mil- 
ton, Ky." 

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The man looked at it through his screen of hair and 
beard, said, "Come on, ma'am." 

"Just a minute," said Roderick, and he drew "Kate" 
aside and said to her in a low tone: "I'll be back 
sometime tomorrow, and then we'll start at once. But 
to provide against everything don't be alarmed if 
I don't come. You'll know I couldn't help it. And 
wait." 

Susan nodded, looking at him with trustful, grateful 
eyes. 

"And," he went on hurriedly, "I'll leave this with 
you, to take care of. It's yours as much as mine." 

She saw that it was a pocketbook, instinctively put 
her hands behind her. 

"Don't be silly," he said, with good-humored impa- 
tience. "You'll probably not need it. If you do, 
you'll need it bad. And you'll pay me back when you 
get your place." 

He caught one of her hands and put the pocketbook 
in it. As his argument was unanswerable, she did 
not resist further. She uttered not a word of thanks, 
but simply looked at him, her eyes swimming and about 
her mouth a quiver that meant a great deal in her. 
Impulsively and with flaming cheek he kissed her 
on the cheek. "So long, sis," he said loudly, and strode 
into the night. 

Susan did not flush ; she paled. She gazed after him 
with some such expression as a man lost in a cave 
might have as he watches the flickering out of his only 
light. "This way, ma'am," said the hotel man sourly, 
taking up the fishing bag. She started, followed him 
up the noisy stairs to a plain, neat country bedroom. 
"The price of this here's one fifty a day," said he. 
"We've got 'em as low as a dollar." 

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"I'll take a dollar one, please," said Susan. 

The man hesitated. "Well," he finally snarled, 
"business is slack jes' now. Seein' as you're a lady, 
you kin have this here un fur a dollar." 

"Oh, thank you but if the price is more " 

"The other rooms ain't fit fur a lady," said the hotel 
man. Then he grinned a very human humorous grin 
that straightway made him much less repulsive. "Any- 
how, them two durn boys of mine an' their cousins is 
asleep in 'em. I'd as lief rout out a nest of hornets. 
I'll leave you the candle." 

As soon as he had gone Susan put out the light, 
ran to the window. She saw the rowboat and Spenser, 
a black spot far out on the river, almost gone from 
view to the southwest. Hastily she lighted the candle 
again, stood at the window and waved a white cover 
she snatched from the table. She thought she saw 
one of the oars go up and flourish, but she could not 
be sure. She watched until the boat vanished in the 
darkness at the bend. She found the soap in the bag 
and took a slow but thorough bath in the washbowl. 
Then she unbraided her hair, combed it out as well as 
she could with her fingers, rubbed it thoroughly with 
a towel and braided it again. She put on the calico 
slip as a nightdress, knelt down to say her prayers. 
But instead of prayers there came flooding into her 
mind memories of where she had been last night, of the 
horrors, of the agonies of body and soul. She rose 
from her knees, put out the light, stood again at the 
window. In after years she always looked back upon 
that hour as the one that definitely marked the end 
of girlhood, of the thoughts and beliefs which go with 
the sheltered life, and the beginning of womanhood, 
of self-reliance and of the hardiness so near akin to 

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hardness the hardiness that must come into the char- 
acter before a man or a woman is fit to give and take 
in the combat of life. 

The bed was coarse, but white and clean. She fell 
asleep instantly and did not awaken until, after the 
vague, gradually louder sound of hammering on the 
door, she heard a female voice warning her that break- 
fast was "put nigh over an' done." She got up, partly 
drew on one stocking, then without taking it off tum- 
bled over against the pillow and was asleep. When she 
came to herself again, the lay of the shadows told her 
it must be after twelve o'clock. She dressed, packed 
her serge suit in the bag with the sailor hat, smoothed 
out the pink calico slip and put it on. For more than 
a year she had worn her hair in a braid doubled upon 
itself and tied with a bow at the back of her neck. 
She decided that if she would part it, plait it in two 
braids and bring them round her head, she would look 
older. She tried this and was much pleased with the 
result. She thought the new style not only more 
grown-up, but also more becoming. The pink slip, 
too, seemed to her a success. It came almost to her 
ankles and its strings enabled her to make it look 
something like a dress. Carrying the pink sunbonnet, 
down she went in search of something to eat. 

The hall was full of smoke and its air seemed greasy 
with the odor of frying. She found that dinner was 
about to be served. A girl in blue calico skirt and 
food-smeared, sweat-discolored blue jersey ushered her 
to one of the tables in the dining-room. "There's a 
gentleman comin'," said she. "I'll set him down with 
you. He won't bite, I don't reckon, and there ain't 
no use mussin' up two tables." 

There was no protesting against two such argu- 
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SUSAN LENOX 



ments; so Susan presently had opposite her a fattish 
man with long oily hair and a face like that of a fallen 
and dissipated preacher. She recognized him at once 
as one of those wanderers who visit small towns with 
cheap shows or selling patent medicines and doing jug- 
gling tricks on the street corners in the flare of a 
gasoline lamp. She eyed him furtively until he caught 
her at it he being about the same business himself. 
Thereafter she kept her eyes steadily upon the table- 
cloth, patched and worn thin with much washing. Soon 
the plate of each was encircled by the familiar arc 
of side dishes containing assorted and not very ap- 
petizing messes fried steak, watery peas, stringy 
beans, soggy turnips, lumpy mashed potatoes, a peril- 
ous-looking chicken stew, cornbread with streaks of 
baking soda in it. But neither of the diners was criti- 
cal, and the dinner was eaten with an enthusiasm which 
the best rarely inspires. 

With the prunes and dried-apple pie, the stranger 
expanded. "Warm day, miss," he ventured. 

"Yes, it is a little warm," said Susan. She ven- 
tured a direct look at him. Above the pleasant, kindly 
eyes there was a brow so unusually well shaped that 
it arrested even her young and untrained attention. 
Whatever the man's character or station, there could 
be no question as to his intelligence. 

"The flies are very bothersome," continued he. "But 
nothing like Australia. There the flies have to be 
picked off, and they're big, and they bite take a piece 
right out of you. The natives used to laugh at us 
when we were in the ring and would try to brush 'em 
away." The stranger had the pleasant, easy manner 
of one who through custom of all kinds of people and 
all varieties of fortune, has learned to be patient and 

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good-humored to take the day and the hour as the 
seasoned gambler takes the cards that are dealt 
him. 

Susan said nothing; but she had listened politely. 
The man went on amusing himself with his own con- 
versation. "I was in the show business then. Clown 
was my line, but I was rotten at it simply rotten. 
I'm still in the show business different line, though. 
I've got a show of my own. If you're going to be in 
town perhaps you'll come to see us tonight. Our boat's 
anchored down next to the wharf. You can see it from 
the windows. Come, and bring your folks." 

"Thank you," said Susan she had forgotten her 
role and its accent. "But I'm afraid we'll not be 
here." 

There was an expression in the stranger's face a 
puzzled, curious expression, not impertinent, rather 
covert an expression that made her uneasy. It 
warned her that this man saw she was not what she 
seemed to be, that he was trying to peer into her secret. 
His brown eyes were kind enough, but alarmingly keen. 
With only half her pie eaten, she excused herself and 
hastened to her room. 

At the threshold she remembered the pocketbook 
Spenser had given her. She had left it by the fishing 
bag on the table. There was the bag but not the 
pocketbook. "I must have put it in the bag," she said 
aloud, and the sound and the tone of her voice fright- 
ened her. She searched the bag, then the room which 
had not yet been straightened up. She shook out 
the bed covers, looked in all the drawers, under the 
bed, went over the contents of the bag again. The 
pocketbook was gone stolen. 

She sat down on the edge of the bed, her hands in 
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SUSAN LENOX 



her lap, and stared at the place where she had last 
seen the pocketbook his pocketbook, which he had 
asked her to take care of. How could she face him! 
What would he think of her, so untrustworthy ! What 
a return for his kindness ! She felt weak so weak 
that she lay down. The food she had taken turned to 
poison and her head ached fiercely. What could she 
do? To speak to the proprietor would be to cause a 
great commotion, to attract attention to herself 
and how would that help to bring back the stolen 
pocketbook, taken perhaps by the proprietor himself? 
She recalled that as she hurried through the office from 
the dining-room he had a queer shifting expression, 
gave her a wheedling, cringing good morning not at 
all in keeping with the character he had shown the night 
before. The slovenly girl came to do the room; Susan 
sent her away, sat by the window gazing out over 
the river and downstream. He would soon be here ; 
the thought made her long to fly and hide. He had 
been all generosity; and this was her way of appreci- 
ating it! 

They sent for her to come down to supper. She re- 
fused, saying she was not feeling well. She searched 
the room, the bag, again and again. She would rest 
a few minutes, then up she would spring and tear 
everything out. Then back to the window to sit and 
stare at the river over which the evening shadows were 
beginning to gather. Once, as she was sitting there, 
she happened to see the gaudily painted and decorated 
show boat. A man the stranger of the dinner table 
was standing on the forward end, smoking a cigar. 
She saw that he was observing her, realized he could 
have seen her stirring feverishly about her room. A 
woman came out of the cabin and joined him. As 

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soon as his attention was distracted she closed her 
shutters. And there she sat alone, with the hours 
dragging their wretched minutes slowly away. 

That was one of those nights upon which anyone 
who has had them and who has not? looks back with 
wonder at how they ever lived, how they ever came to 
an end. She slept a little toward dawn for youth 
and health will not let the most despairing heart suf- 
fer in sleeplessness. Her headache went, but the mis- 
ery of soul which had been a maddening pain settled 
down into a throbbing ache. She feared he would come ; 
she feared he would not come. The servants tried to 
persuade her to take breakfast. She could not have 
swallowed food; she would not have dared take food 
for which she could not pay. What would they do 
with her if he did not come? She searched the room 
again, hoping against hope, a hundred times fancying 
she felt the purse under some other things, each time 
suffering sickening disappointment. 

Toward noon the servant came knocking. "A letter 
for you, ma'am." 

Susan rushed to the door, seized the letter, tore it; 
open, read: 

When I got back to the horse and started to mount, 
he kicked me and broke my leg. You can go on south to 
the L. and N. and take a train to Cincinnati. When you 
find a boarding house send your address to me at the 
office. I'll come in a few weeks. I'd write more but I 
can't. Don't worry. Everything'll come out right. You 
are brave and sensible, and I back you to win. 

With the unsigned letter crumpled in her hands she 
sat at the window with scarcely a motion until noon. 
She then went down to the show boat. Several people 

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men and women were on the forward end, quar- 
reling. She looked only at her acquaintance. His 
face was swollen and his eyes bloodshot, but he still 
wore the air of easy and patient good-humor. She 
said, standing on the shore, "Could I speak to you a 
minute ?" 

"Certainly, ma'am," replied he, lifting his dingy 
straw hat with gaudy, stained band. He came down 
the broad plank to the shore. "Why, what's the mat- 
ter?" This in a sympathetic tone. 

"Will you lend me two dollars and take me along 
to work it out?" she asked. 

He eyed her keenly. "For the hotel bill?" he in- 
quired, the cigar tucked away in the corner of his 
mouth. 

She nodded. 

"He didn't show up?" 

"He broke his leg." 

"Oh!" The tone was politely sympathetic, but in- 
credulous. He eyed her critically, thoughtfully. "Can 
you sing?" he finally asked. 

"A little." 

His hands were deep in the pockets of his baggy 
light trousers. He drew one of them out with a two- 
dollar bill in it. "Go and pay him arid bring your 
things. We're about to push off." 

"Thank you," said the girl in the same stolid way. 
She returned to the hotel, brought the bag down from 
her room, stood at the office desk. 

The servant came. "Mr. Gumpus has jes' stepped 
out," said she. 

"Here is the money for my room." And Susan laid 
the two-dollar bill on the register. 

"Ain't you goin' to wait fur yer yer brother?" 



SUSAN LENOX 



"He's not coming," replied the girl. "So I'll go. 
Good-by." 

"Good-by. It's awful, bein' took sick away from 
home." 

"Thank you," said Susan. "Good-by." 

The girl's homely, ignorant face twisted in a grin. 
But Susan did not see, would have been indifferent 
had she seen. Since she accepted the war earth and 
heaven had declared against her, she had ceased from 
the little thought she had once given to what was 
thought of her by those of whom she thought not at all. 
She went down to the show boat. The plank had 
been taken in. Her acquaintance was waiting for her, 
helped her to the deck, jumped aboard himself, and 
was instantly busy helping to guide the boat out into 
mid-stream. Susan looked back at the hotel. Mr. 
Gumpus was in the doorway, amusement in every line 
of his ugly face. Beside him stood the slovenly ser- 
vant. She was crying the more human second 
thought of a heart not altogether corrupted by the 
sordid hardness of her lot. How can faith in the hu- 
man race falter when one considers how much heart 
it has in spite of all it suffers in the struggle upward 
through the dense fogs of ignorance upward, toward 
the truth, toward the light of which it never ceases 
to dream and to hope? 

Susan stood in the same place, with her bag beside 
her, until her acquaintance came. 

"Now," said he, comfortably, as he lighted a fresh 
cigar, "we'll float pleasantly along. I guess you and 
I had better get acquainted. What is your name?" 

Susan flushed. "Kate Peters is the name I gave at 
the hotel. That'll do, won't it?" 

203 



. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Never in the world!" replied he. "You must have 

a good catchy name. Say er er ' He rolled 

his cigar slowly, looking thoughtfully toward the wil- 
lows thick and green along the Indiana shore. "Say 
well, say Lorna Lorna Lorna Sackville ! That's 
a winner. Lorna Sackville ! A stroke of genius ! 
Don't you think so?" 

"Yes," said Susan. "It doesn't matter." 

"But it does," remonstrated he. "You are an artist, 
now, and an artist's name should always arouse pleas- 
ing and romantic anticipations. It's like the odor 
that heralds the dish. You must remember, my dear, 
that you have stepped out of the world of dull reality 
into the world of ideals, of dreams." 

The sound of two harsh voices, one male, the other 
female, came from within the cabin oaths, reproaches. 
Her acquaintance laughed. "That's one on me eh? 
Still, what I say is true or at least ought to be. By the 
way, this is the Burlingham Floating Palace of Thes- 
pians, floating temple to the histrionic art. I am Bur- 
lingham Robert Burlingham." He smiled, extended 
his hand. "Glad to meet you, Miss Lorna Sackville 
don't forget!" 

She could not but reflect a smile so genuine, so good- 
humored. 

"We'll go in and meet the others your fellow stars 
for this is an all-star aggregation." 

Over the broad entrance to the cabin was a chintz 
curtain strung upon a wire. Burlingham drew this 
aside. Susan was looking into a room about thirty 
feet long, about twelve feet wide, and a scant six feet 
high. Across it with an aisle between were narrow 
wooden benches with backs. At the opposite end was 
a stage, with the curtain up and a portable stove oc- 

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SUSAN LENOX 



cupying the center. At the stove a woman in a chemise 
and underskirt, with slippers on her bare feet, was 
toiling over several pots and pans with fork and spoon. 
At the edge of the stage, with legs swinging, sat an- 
other woman, in a blue sailor suit neither fresh nor 
notably clean but somehow coquettish. Two men in 
flannel shirts were seated, one on each of the front 
benches, with their backs to her. 

As Burlingham went down the aisle ahead of her, he 
called out: "Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to present 
the latest valuable addition to our company Miss 
Lorna Sackville, the renowned ballad singer." 

The two men turned lazily and stared at Susan, each 
with an arm hanging over the back of the bench. 

Burlingham looked at the woman bent over the stove 
a fat, middle-aged woman with thin, taffy-yellow hair 
done sleekly over a big rat in front and made into 
a huge coil behind with the aid of one or more false 
braids. She had a fat face, a broad expanse of un- 
pleasant-looking, elderly bosom, big, shapeless white 
arms. Her contour was almost gone. Her teeth were 
a curious mixture of natural, gold, and porcelain. 
"Miss Anstruther Miss Sackville," called Burling- 
ham. "Miss Sackville, Miss Violet Anstruther." 

Miss Anstruther and Susan exchanged bows Su- 
san's timid and frightened, Miss Anstruther's accom- 
panied by a hostile stare and a hardening of the fat, 
decaying face. 

"Miss Connemora Miss Sackville." Burlingham 
was looking at the younger woman she who sat on 
the edge of the little stage. She, too, was a blond, 
but her hair had taken to the chemical somewhat less 
reluctantly than had Miss Anstruther's, with the re- 
sult that Miss Connemora's looked golden. Her face 

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SUSAN LENOX 



of the baby type must have been softly pretty at one 
time not so very distant. Now lines were coming and 
the hard look that is inevitable with dyed hair. Also 
her once fine teeth were rapidly going off, as half a 
dozen gold fillings in front proclaimed. At Susan's 
appealing look and smile Miss Connemora nodded not 
unfriendly. 

"Good God, Bob," said she to Burlingham with a 
laugh, "are you going to get the bunch of us pinched 
for child-stealing?" 

Burlingham started to laugh, suddenly checked him- 
self, looked uneasily and keenly at Susan. "Oh, it's 
all right," he said with a wave of the hand. But his 
tone belied his words. He puffed twice at his cigar, 
then introduced the men Elbert Eshwell and Gregory 
Tempest two of the kind clearly if inelegantly placed 
by the phrase, "greasy hamfats." Mr. Eshwell's black- 
dyed hair was smoothly brushed down from a central 
part, Mr. Tempest's iron-gray hair was greasily 
wild a disarray of romantic ringlets. Eshwell 
was inclined to fat; Tempest was gaunt and had 
the hollow, burning eye that bespeaks the sentimental 
ass. 

"Now, Miss Sackville," said Burlingham, "we'll go 
on the forward deck and canvass the situation. What 
for dinner, Vi?" 

"Same old rot," retorted Miss Anstruther, wiping 
the sweat from her face and shoulders with a towel 
that served also as a dishcloth. "Pork and beans 
potatoes peach pie." 

"Cheer up," said Burlingham. "After tomorrow 
we'll do better." 

"That's been the cry ever since we started," snapped 
Violet. 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"For God's sake, shut up, Vi," groaned Eshwell. 
"You're always kicking." 

The cabin was not quite the full width of the broad 
house boat. Along the outside, between each wall and 
the edge, there was room for one person to pass from 
forward deck to rear. From the cabin roof, over the 
rear deck, into the water extended a big rudder oar. 
When Susan, following Burlingham, reached the rear 
deck, she saw the man at this oar a fat, amiable- 
looking rascal, in linsey woolsey and a blue checked 
shirt open over his chest and revealing a mat of curly 
gray hair. Burlingham hailed him as Pat his only 
known name. But Susan had only a glance for him 
and no ear at all for the chaffing between him and 
the actor-manager. She was gazing at the Indiana 
shore, at a tiny village snuggled among trees and 
ripened fields close to the water's edge. She knew it 
was Brooksburg. She remembered the long covered 
bridge which they had crossed Spenser and she, on 
the horse. To the north of the town, on a knoll, stood 
a large red brick house trimmed with white veranda 
and balconies far and away the most pretentious 
house in the landscape. Before the door was a horse 
and buggy. She could make out that there were sev- 
eral people on the front veranda, one of them a man 
in black the doctor, no doubt. Sobs choked up into 
her throat. She turned quickly away that Burling- 
ham might not see. And under her breath she said, 

"Good-by, dear. Forgive me forgive me." 



XIII 

A WOMAN'S worktable, a rocking chair and an- 
other with a swayback that made it fairly 
comfortable for lounging gave the rear deck 
the air of an outdoor sitting-room, which indeed it 
was. Burlingham, after a comprehensive glance at the 
panorama of summer and fruitfulness through which 
they were drifting, sprawled himself in the swayback 
chair, indicating to Susan that she was to face him 
in the rocker. "Sit down, my dear," said he. "And 
tell me you are at least eighteen and are not running 
away from home. You heard what Miss Connemora 
said." 

"I'm not running away from home," replied Susan, 
blushing violently because she was evading as to the 
more important fact. 

"I don't know anything about you, and I don't 
want to know," pursued Burlingham, alarmed by the 
evidences of a dangerous tendency to candor. "I've 
no desire to have my own past dug into, and turn 
about's fair play. You came to me to get an engage- 
ment. I took you. Understand?" 

Susan nodded. 

4< You said you could sing that is, a little." 

"A very little," said the girl. 

"Enough, no doubt. That has been our weak point 
lack of a ballad singer. Know any ballads? Not 
fancy ones. Nothing fancy! We cater to the plain 
people, and the plain people only like the best that 
is, the simplest the things that reach for the heart- 

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SUSAN LENOX 



strings with ten strong fingers. You don't happen to 
know 'I Stood on the Bridge at Midnight'?" 

"No Ruth sings that," replied Susan, and colored 
violently. 

Burlingham ignored the slip. " 'Blue Alsatian 
Mountains' ?" 

"Yes. But that's very old." 

"Exactly. Nothing is of any use to the stage until 
it's very old. Audiences at theaters don't want to 
hear anything they don't already know by heart. 
They've come to see, not to hear. So it annoys them 
to have to try to hear. Do you understand that?" 

"No," confessed Susan. "I'm sorry. But I'll think 
about it, and try to understand it." She thought she 
was showing her inability to do what was expected of 
her in paying back the two dollars. 

"Don't bother," said Burlingham. "Pat!" 

"Yes, boss," said the man at the oar, without look- 
ing or removing his pipe. 

"Get your fiddle." 

Pat tied the oar fast and went forward along the 
roof of the cabin. While he was gone Burlingham 
explained, "A frightful souse, Pat almost equal to 
Eshwell and far the superior of Tempest or Vi that 
is, of Tempest. But he's steady enough for our pur- 
poses, as a rule. He's the pilot, the orchestra, the 
man-of-all-work, the bill distributor. Oh, he's a won- 
der. Graduate of Trinity College, Dublin yeggman 
panhandler barrel-house bum genius, nearly. Has 
drunk as much booze as there is water in this 
river " 

Pat was back beside the handle of the oar, with 
a violin. Burlingham suggested to Susan that she'd 
better stand while she sang, "and if you've any ten- 

209 



SUSAN LENOX 



dency to stage fright, remember it's your bread and 
butter to get through well. You'll not bother about 
your audience." 

Susan found this thought a potent strengthener 
then and afterward. With surprisingly little embar- 
rassment she stood before her good-natured, sympa- 
thetic employer, and while Pat scraped out an accom- 
paniment sang the pathetic story of the "maiden 
young and fair" and the "stranger in the spring" who 
"lingered near the fountains just to hear the maiden 
sing," and how he departed after winning her love, 
and how "she will never see the stranger where the 
fountains fall again ade, ade, ade." Her voice 
was deliciously young and had the pathetic quality 
that is never absent from anything which has enduring 
charm for us. Tears were in Burlingham's voice 
tears for the fate of the maiden, tears of response to 
the haunting pathos of Susan's sweet contralto, tears 
of joy at the acquisition of such a "number" for his 
program. As her voice died away he beat his plump 
hands together enthusiastically. 

"She'll do eh, Pat? She'll set the hay-tossers 
crazy !" 

Susan's heart was beating fast from nervousness. 
She sat down. Burlingham sprang up and put his 
hands on her shoulders and kissed her. He laughed at 
her shrinking. 

"Don't mind, my dear," he cried. "It's one of our 
ways. Now, what others do you know?" 

She tried to recall, and with his assistance finally 
did discover that she possessed a repertoire of "good 
old stale ones," consisting of "Coming Thro' the Rye," 
"Suwanee River," "Annie Laurie" and "Kathleen Ma- 
vourneen." She knew many other songs, but either 

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SUSAN LENOX 



Pat could not play them or Burlingham declared them 
"above the head of Reub the rotter." 

"Those five are quite enough," said Burlingham. 
"Two regulars, two encores, with a third in case of 
emergency. After dinner Miss Anstruther and I'll 
fit you out with a costume. You'll make a hit at 
Sutherland tonight." 

"Sutherland!" exclaimed Susan, suddenly pale. "I 
can't sing there really, I can't." 

Burlingham made a significant gesture toward Pat 
at the oar above them, and winked at her. "You'll 
not have stage fright, my dear. You'll pull through." 

Susan understood that nothing more was to be said 
before Pat. Soon Burlingham told ' him to tie the 
oar again and retire to the cabin. "I'll stand watch," 
said he. "I want to talk business with Miss Sackville." 

When Pat had gone, Burlingham gave her a sympa- 
thetic look. "No confidences, mind you, my dear," 
he warned. "All I want to know is that it isn't stage 
fright that's keeping you off the program at Suther- 
land." 

"No," replied the girl. "It isn't stage fright. I'm 
I'm sorry I can't begin right away to earn the 
money to pay you back. But I can't." 

"Not even in a velvet and spangle costume Low 
neck, short sleeves, with blond wig and paint and 
powder? You'll not know yourself, my dear really." 

"I couldn't," said Susan. "I'd not be able to open 
my lips." 

"Very well. That's settled." It was evident that 
Burlingham was deeply disappointed. "We were go- 
ing to try to make a killing at Sutherland." He sighed. 
"However, let that pass. If you can't, you can't." 

"I'm afraid you're angry with me," cried she. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I angry !" He laughed. "I've not been angry in 
ten years. I'm such a damn, damn fool that with all 
the knocks life's given me I haven't learned much. 
But at least I've learned not to get angry. No, I un- 
derstand, my dear and will save you for the next 
town below." He leaned forward and gave her hands 
a fatherly pat as they lay in her lap. "Don't give it 
a second thought," he said. "We've got the whole 
length of the river before us." 

Susan showed her gratitude in her face better far 
than she could have expressed it in words. The two 
sat silent. When she saw his eyes upon her with that 
look of smiling wonder in them, she said, "You mustn't 
think I've done anything dreadful. I haven't really, 
I haven't." 

He laughed heartily. "And if you had, you'd not 
need to hang your head in this company, my dear. 
We're all people who have lived and life isn't exactly 
a class meeting with the elders taking turns at praying 
and the organ wheezing out gospel hymns. No, we've 
all been up against it most of our lives which means 
we've done the best we could oftener than we've had 
the chance to do what we ought." He gave her one 
of his keen looks, nodded: "I like you. . . . What do 
they tell oftenest when they're talking about how you 
were as a baby?" 

Susan did not puzzle over the queerness of this 
abrupt question. She fell to searching her memory 
diligently for an answer. "I'm not sure, but I think 
they speak oftenest of how I never used to like any- 
body to take my hand and help me along, even when 
I was barely able to walk. They say I always insisted 
on trudging along by myself." 

Burlingham nodded, slapped his knee. "I can believe 



SUSAN LENOX 



it," he cried. "I always ask everybody that ques- 
tion to see whether I've sized 'em up right. I rather 
think I hit you off to a T as you faced me at dinner 
yesterday in the hotel. Speaking of dinner let's go 
sit in on the one I smell." 

They returned to the cabin where, to make a table, 
a board had been swung between the backs of the sec- 
ond and third benches from the front on the left side 
of the aisle. Thus the three men sat on the front 
bench with their legs thrust through between seat 
and back, while the three women sat in dignity and 
comfort on the fourth bench. Susan thought the din- 
ner by no means justified Miss Anstruther's pessimism. 
It was good in itself, and the better for being in this 
happy-go-lucky way, in this happy-go-lucky company. 
Once they got started, all the grouchiness disappeared. 
Susan, young and optimistic and determined to be 
pleased, soon became accustomed to the looks of her 
new companions that matter of mere exterior about 
which we shallow surface-skimmers make such a mighty 
fuss, though in the test situations of life, great and 
small, it amounts to precious little. They were all 
human beings, and the girl was unspoiled, did not 
think of them as failures, half-wolves, of no social 
position, of no standing in the respectable world. She 
still had much of the natural democracy of children, 
and she admired these new friends who knew so much 
more than she did, who had lived, had suffered, had 
come away from horrible battles covered with wounds, 
the scars of which they would bear into the grave 
battles they had lost; yet they had not given up, but 
had lived on, smiling, courageous, kind of heart. It 
was their kind hearts that most impressed her their 
kind taking in of her whom those she loved had cast 
8 



SUSAN LENOX 



out her, the unknown stranger, helpless and igno- 
rant. And what Spenser had told her about the stage 
and its people made her almost believe that they would 
not cast her out, though they knew the dreadful truth 
about her birth. 

Tempest told a story that was "broad." While 
the others laughed, Susan gazed at him with a puz- 
zled expression. She wished to be polite, to please, to 
enjoy. But what that story meant she could not 
fathom. Miss Anstruther jeered at her. "Look at the 
innocent," she cried. 

"Shut up, Vi," retorted Miss Connemora. "It's no 
use for us to try to be anything but what we are. 
Still, let the baby alone." 

"Yes let her alone," said Burlingham. 

"It'll soak in soon enough," Miss Connemora went 
on. "No use rubbing it in." 

"What?" said Susan, thinking to show her desire 
to be friendly, to be one of them. 

"Dirt," said Burlingham dryly. "And don't ask 
any more questions." 

When the three women had cleared away the dinner 
and had stowed the dishes in one of the many cubby- 
holes along the sides of the cabin, the three men got 
ready for a nap. Susan was delighted to see them 
drop to the tops of the backs of the seats three berths 
which fitted snugly into the walls when not in use. She 
saw now that there were five others of the same kind, 
and that there was a contrivance of wires and cur- 
tains by which each berth could be shut off to itself. 
She had a thrilling sense of being in a kind of Swiss 
Family Robinson storybook come to life. She unpacked 
her bag, contributed the food in it to the common store, 
spread out her serge suit which Miss Anstruther of- 



SUSAN LENOX 



fered to press and insisted on pressing, though Susan 
protested she could do it herself quite well. 

"You'll want to put it on for the arrival at Suther- 
land," said Mabel Connemora. 

"No," replied Susan nervously. "Not till tomor- 
row." 

She saw the curious look in all their eyes at sight 
of that dress, so different from the calico she was wear- 
ing. Mabel took her out on the forward deck where 
there was an awning and a good breeze. They sat there, 
Mabel talking, Susan gazing rapt at land and water 
and at the actress, and listening as to a fairy story 
for the actress had lived through many and strange 
experiences in the ten years since she left her father's 
roof in Columbia, South Carolina. Susan listened and 
absorbed as a dry sponge dropped into a pail of water. 
At her leisure she would think it all out, would under- 
stand, would learn. 

"Now, tell me about ^/o^rself," said Mabel when she 
had exhausted all the reminiscences she could recall at 
the moment all that were fit for a "baby's" ears. 

"I will, some time," said Susan, who was ready for 
the question. "But I can't not yet." 

"It seems to me you're very innocent," said Mabel, 
"even for a well-brought-up girl. I was well brought 
up, too. I wish to God my mother had told me a few 
things. But no not a thing." 

"What do you mean?" inquired Susan. 

That set the actress to probing the girl's innocence 
what she knew and what she did not. It had been 
many a day since Miss Connemora had had so much 
pleasure. "Well!" she finally said. "I never would 
have believed it though I know these things are so. 
Now I'm going to teach you. Innocence may be a 

215 



SUSAN LENOX 



good thing for respectable women who are going to 
marry and settle down with a good husband to look 
after them. But it won't do at all not at all, my 
dear! for a woman who works who has to meet men 
in their own world and on their own terms. It's hard 
enough to get along, if you know. If you don't 
when you're knocked down, you stay knocked down." 

"Yes I want to learn," said Susan eagerly. "I 
want to know everything!" 

"You're not going back?" Mabel pointed toward 
the shore, to a home on a hillside, with a woman sew- 
ing on the front steps and children racing about the 
yard. "Back to that sort of thing?" 

"No," replied Susan. "I've got nothing to go 
back to." 

"Nonsense!" , 

"Nothing," repeated Susan in the same simple, final 
way. "I'm an outcast." 

The ready tears sprang to Mabel's dissipated but 
still bright eyes. Susan's unconscious pathos was so 
touching. "Then I'll educate you. Now don't get hor- 
rified or scandalized at me. When you feel that way, 
remember that Mabel Connemora didn't make the 
.world, but God. At least, so they say though per- 
/sonally I feel as if the devil had charge of things, 
xand the only god was in us poor human creatures fight- 
ing to be decent. I tell you, men and women ain't 
bad not so damn bad excuse me; they will slip out. 
No, it's the things that happen to them or what they're 
afraid'll happen it's those things that compel them 
to be bad and get them in the way of being bad 
hard to each other, and to hate and to lie and to do 
all sorts of things." 

The show boat drifted placidly down with the cur- 



F*. 



SUSAN LENOX 



rent of the broad Ohio. Now it moved toward the left 
bank and now toward the right, as the current was de- 
flected by the bends the beautiful curves that divided 
the river into a series of lovely, lake-like reaches, each 
with its emerald oval of hills and rolling valleys where 
harvests were ripening. And in the shadow of the 
awning Susan heard from those pretty, coarse lips, 
in language softened indeed but still far from refined, 
about all there is to know concerning the causes and 
consequences of the eternal struggle that rages round 
sex. To make her tale vivid, Mabel illustrated it by 
the story of her own life from girlhood to the present 
hour. And she omitted no detail necessary to enforce 
the lesson in life. A few days before Susan would not 
have believed, would not have understood. Now she 
both believed and understood. And nothing that Ma- 
bel told her not the worst of the possibilities in the 
world in which she was adventuring burned deep 
enough to penetrate beyond the wound she had already 
received and to give her a fresh sensation of pain and 
horror. 

"You don't seem to be horrified," said Mabel. 

Susan shook her head. "No," she said. "I feel 
somehow I feel better." 

Mabel eyed her curiously had a sense of a mys- 
tery of suffering which she dared not try to explore. 
She said: "Better? That's queer. You don't take it 
at all as I thought you would." 

Said Susan : "I had about made up my mind it was 
all bad. I see that maybe it isn't." 

"Oh, the world isn't such a bad place in lots of 
ways. You'll get a heap of fun out of it if you don't 
take things or yourself seriously. I wish to God I'd 
had somebody to tell me, instead of having to spell it 

217 



SUSAN LENOX 



out, a letter at a time. I've got just two pieces of 
advice to give you." And she stopped speaking and 
gazed away toward the shore with a look that seemed 
to be piercing the hills. 

"Please do," urged Susan, when Mabel's long mood 
of abstraction tried her patience. 

"Oh yes two pieces of advice. The first is, don't 
drink. There's nothing to it and it'll play hell ex- 
cuse me it'll spoil your looks and your health and 
give you a woozy head when you most need a steady 
one. Don't drink that's the first advice." 

"I won't," said Susan. 

"Oh, yes, you will. But remember my advice all the 
same. The second is, don't sell your body to get a liv- 
ing,, unless you've got to." 

"I couldn't do that," said the girl. 

Mabel laughed queerly. "Oh, yes, you could and 
will. But remember my advice. Don't sell your body 
because it seems to be the easy way to make a living. 
I know most women get their living that way." 

"Oh no no, indeed !" protested Susan. 

"What a child you are!" laughed Mabel. "What's 
marriage but that? . . . Believe your Aunt Betsy, it's 
the poorest way to make a living that ever was in- 
vented marriage or the other thing. Sometimes you'll 
be tempted to. You're pretty, and you'll find yourself 
up against it with no way out. You'll have to give in 
for a time, no doubt. The men run things in this world, 
and they'll compel it one way or another. But fight 
back to your feet again. If I'd taken my own advice, 
my name would be- on every dead wall in New York in 

letters two feet high. Instead " She laughed, 

without much bitterness. "And why? All because I 
never learned to stand alone. I've even supported men 

218 



SUSAN LENOX 



to have something to lean on ! How's that for a poor 
fool?" 

There Violet Anstruther called her. She rose. "You 
won't take my advice," she said by way of conclusion. 
"Nobody'll take advice. Nobody can. We ain't made 
that way. But don't forget what I've said. And when 
you've wobbled way off maybe it'll give you something 
to steer back by." 

Susan sat on there, deep in the deepest of those 
brown studies that had been characteristic of her from 
early childhood. Often perhaps most often abstrac- 
tion means only mental fogginess. But Susan hap- 
pened to be of those who can concentrate can think 
things out. And that afternoon, oblivious of the beauty 
around her, even unconscious of where she was, she 
studied the world of reality that world whose ex- 
istence, even the part of it lying within ourselves, we 
all try to ignore or to evade or to deny, and get 
soundly punished for our folly. Taking advantage of 
the floods of light Mabel Connemora had let in upon 
her full light where there had been a dimness that 
was equal to darkness she drew from the closets of 
memory and examined all the incidents of her life 
all that were typical or for other reasons important. 
One who comes for the first time into new surround- 
ings sees more, learns more about them in a brief 
period than has been seen and known by those who 
have lived there always. After a few hours of recalling 
and reconstructing Susan Lenox understood Suther- 
land probably better than she would have understood 
it had she lived a long eventless life there. And is not 
every Sutherland the world in miniature? 

She also understood her own position why the 
world of respectability had cast her out as soon as she 

219 



SUSAN LENOX 



emerged from childhood why she could not have hoped 
for the lot to which other girls looked forward why 
she belonged with the outcasts, in a world apart and 
must live her life there. She felt that she could not 
hope to be respected, loved, married. She must work 
out her destiny along other lines. She understood it 
all, more clearly than would have been expected of her. 
And it is important to note that she faced her future 
without repining or self-pity, without either joy or 
despondency. She would go on; she would do as best 
she could. And nothing that might befall could equal 
what she had suffered in the throes of the casting out. 

Burlingham roused her from her long reverie. He 
evidently had come straight from his nap stocking 
feet, shirt open at the collar, trousers sagging and face 
shiny with the sweat that accumulates during sleep on 
a hot day. "Round that bend ahead of us is Suther- 
land," said he, pointing forward. 

Up she started in alarm. 

"Now, don't get fractious," cried he cheerfully. 
"We'll not touch shore for an hour, at least. And 
nobody's allowed aboard. You can keep to the cabin. 
I'll see that you're not bothered." 

"And this evening?" 

"You can keep to the dressing-room until the show's 
over and the people've gone ashore. And tomorrow 
morning, bright and early, we'll be off. I promised 
Pat a day for a drunk at Sutherland. He'll have 
to postpone it. I'll give him three at Jeffersonville, 
instead." 

Susan put on her sunbonnet as soon as the show 
boat rounded the bend above town. Thus she felt safe 
in staying on deck and watching the town drift by. 
She did not begin to think of going into the cabin until 

220 



SUSAN LENOX 



Pat was working the boat in toward the landing a 
square above the old familiar wharf-boat. "What day 
is this?" she asked Eshwell. 

"Saturday." 

Only Saturday! And last Monday less than five 
days ago she had left this town for her Cincinnati 
adventure. She felt as if months, years, had passed. 
The town seemed strange to her, and she recalled the 
landmarks as if she were revisiting in age the scenes 
of youth. How small the town seemed, after Cincin- 
nati ! And how squat ! Then 

She saw the cupola of the schoolhouse. Its rooms, 
the playgrounds flashed before her mind's eye the 
teachers she had liked those she had feared the face 
of her uncle, so kind and loving that same face, with 
hate and contempt in it 

She hurried into the cabin, tears blinding her eyes, 
her throat choked with sobs. 

The Burlingham Floating Palace of Thespians tied 
up against the float of Bill Phibbs's boathouse a 
privilege for which Burlingham had to pay two dollars. 
Pat went ashore with a sack of handbills to litter 
through the town. Burlingham followed, to visit the 
offices of the two evening newspapers and by "handing 
them out a line of smooth talk" the one art whereof 
he was master to get free advertising. Also there 
were groceries to buy and odds and ends of elastic, 
fancy crepe, paper muslin and the like for repairing 
the shabby costumes. The others remained on board, 
Eshwell and Tempest to guard the boat against the 
swarms of boys darting and swooping and chattering 
like a huge flock of impudent English sparrows. An ad- 
ditional and the chief reason for Burlingham's keep- 



SUSAN LENOX 



ing the two actors close was that Eshwell was a drunk- 
ard and Tempest a gambler. Neither could be trusted 
where there was the least temptation. Each despised the 
other's vice and despised the other for being slave to 
it. Burlingham could trust Eshwell to watch Tempest* 
could trust Tempest to watch Eshwell. 

Susan helped Mabel with the small and early supper 
cold chicken and ham, fried potatoes and coffee. 
Afterward all dressed in the cabin. Some of the cur- 
tains for dividing off the berths were drawn, out of 
respect to Susan not yet broken to the ways of a mode 
of life which made privacy and personal modesty im- 
possible and when any human custom becomes im- 
possible, it does not take human beings long to dis- 
cover that it is also foolish and useless. The women 
had to provide for a change of costumes. As the dress- 
ing-room behind the stage was only a narrow space 
between the back drop and the forward wall of the 
cabin, dressing in it was impossible, so Mabel and Vi 
put on a costume of tights, and over it a dress. Susan 
was invited to remain and help. The making-up of 
the faces interested her ; she was amazed by the trans- 
formation of Mabel into youthful loveliness, with a 
dairy maid's bloom in place of her pallid pastiness. 
On the other hand, make-up seemed to bring out the 
horrors of Miss Anstruther's big, fat, yet hollow face, 
and to create other and worse horrors as if in cover- 
ing her face it somehow, uncovered her soul. When 
the two women stripped and got into their tights, 
Susan with polite modesty turned away. However, 
catching sight of Miss Anstruther in the mirror that 
had been hung up under one of the side lamps, she was 
so fascinated that she gazed furtively at her by that 
indirect way. 

222 



SUSAN LENOX 



Violet happened to see, laughed. "Look at the 
baby's shocked face, Mabel," she cried. 

But she was mistaken. It was sheer horror that 
held Susan's gaze upon Violet's incredible hips and 
thighs, violently obtruded by the close-reefed corset. 
Mabel had a slender figure, the waist too short and the 
legs too nearly of the same girth from hip to ankle, 
but for all that, attractive. Susan had never before 
seen a woman in tights without any sort of skirt. 

"You would show up well in those things," Violet 
said to her, "that is, for a thin woman. The men don't 
care much for thinness." 

"Not the clodhoppers and roustabouts that come to 
see us," retorted Mabel. "The more a woman looks 
like a cow or a sow, the better they like it. They don't 
believe it's female unless it looks like what they're used 
to in the barnyard and the cattle pen." 

Miss Anstruther was not in the least offended. She 
paraded, jauntily switching her great hips and laugh- 
ing. "Jealous!" she teased. "You poor little broom- 
stick." 

Burlingham was in a white flannel suit that looked 
well enough in those dim lights. The make-up gave 
him an air of rakish youth. Eshwell had got himself 
into an ordinary sack suit. Tempest was in the tat- 
tered and dirty finery of a seventeenth-century cour- 
tier. The paint and black made Eshwell's face fat and 
comic; it gave Tempest distinction, made his hollow 
blazing eyes brilliant and large. All traces of habita- 
tion were effaced from the "auditorium" ; the lamps 
were lighted, a ticket box was set up on the rear deck 
and an iron bar was thrown half across the rear en- 
trance to the cabin, that only one person at a time 
might be able to pass. The curtain was let down a 



SUSAN LENOX 



gaudy smear of a garden scene in a French palace in 
the eighteenth century. Pat, the orchestra, put on a 
dress coat and vest and a "dickey" ; the coat had white 
celluloid cuffs pinned in the sleeves at the wrists. 

As it was still fully an hour and a half from dark, 
Susan hid on the stage ; when it should be time for the 
curtain to go up she would retreat to the dressing- 
room. Through a peephole in the curtain she admired 
the auditorium; and it did look surprisingly well by 
lamplight, with the smutches and faded spots on its 
bright paint softened or concealed. "How many will 
it hold?" she asked Mabel, who was walking up and 
down, carrying her long train. 

"A hundred and twenty comfortably," replied Miss 
Connemora. "A hundred and fifty crowded. It has 
held as high as thirty dollars, but we'll be lucky if we 
get fifteen tonight." 

Susan glanced round at her. She was smoking a 
cigarette, handling it like a man. Susan's expression 
was so curious that Mabel laughed. Susan, distressed, 
cried: "I'm sorry if if I was impolite." 

"Oh, you couldn't be impolite," said Mabel. "You've 
got that to learn, too and mighty important it is. 
We all smoke. Why not? We got out of cigarettes, 
but Bob bought a stock this afternoon." 

Susan turned to the peephole. Pat, ready to take 
tickets, was "barking" vigorously in the direction of 
shore, addressing a crowd which Susan of course could 
not see. Whenever he paused for breath, Burlingham 
leaned from the box and took it up, pouring out a 
stream of eulogies of his show in that easy, lightly 
cynical voice of his. And the audience straggled in 
young fellows and their girls, roughs from along the 
river front, farmers in town for a day's sport. Susan 



SUSAN LENOX 



did not see a single familiar face, and she had supposed 
she knew, by sight at least, everyone in Sutherland. 
From fear lest she should see someone she knew, her 
mind changed to longing. At last she was rewarded. 
Down the aisle swaggered Redney King, son of the 
washerwoman, a big hulking bully who used to tease 
her by pulling her hair during recess and by kicking 
at her shins when they happened to be next each other 
in the class standing in long line against the wall of 
the schoolroom for recitation. From her security she 
smiled at Redney as representative of all she loved in 
the old town. 

And now the four members of the company on the 
stage and in the dressing-room lost their ease and con- 
temptuous indifference. They had been talking sneer- 
ingly about "yokels" and "jays" and "slum bums." 
They dropped all that, as there spread over them the 
mysterious spell of the crowd. As individuals the pro- 
vincials in those seats were ridiculous ; as a mass they 
were an audience, an object of fear and awe. Mabel 
was almost in tears ; Violet talked rapidly, with excited 
gestures and nervous adjustments of various parts of 
her toilet. The two men paced about, Eshwell trem- 
bling, Tempest with sheer fright in his rolling eyes. 
They wet their dry lips with dry tongues. Each again 
and again asked the other anxiously how he was look- 
ing and paced away without waiting for the answer. 
The suspense and nervous terror took hold of Susan; 
she stood in the corner of the dressing-room, pressing 
herself close against the wall, her fingers tightly inter- 
locked and hot and cold tremors chasing up and down 
her body. 

Burlingham left the box and combined Pat's duties 
with his own a small matter, as the audience was 

225 



SUSAN LENOX 



seated and a guard at the door was necessary only to 
keep the loafers on shore from rushing in free. Pat 
advanced to the little space reserved before the stage, 
sat down and fell to tuning his violin with all the noise 
he could make, to create the illusion of a full orchestra. 
Miss Anstruther appeared in one of the forward side 
doors of the auditorium, very dignified in her black 
satin (paper muslin) dress, with many and sparkling 
hair and neck ornaments and rings that seemed alight. 
She bowed to the audience, pulled a little old cottage 
organ from under the stage and seated herself at it. 

After the overture, a pause. Susan, peeping through 
a hole in the drop, saw the curtain go up, drew a long 
breath of terror as the audience was revealed beyond 
the row of footlights, beyond the big, befrizzled blond 
head of Violet and the drink-seared face of Pat. From 
the rear of the auditorium came Burlingham's smooth- 
flowing, faintly amused voice, announcing the begin- 
ning of the performance "a delightful feast through- 
out, ladies and gentlemen, amusing yet elevating, ever 
moral yet with none of the depressing sadness of puri- 
tanism. For, ladies and gentlemen, while we are pious, 
we are not puritan. The first number is a monologue, 
'The Mad Prince,' by that eminent artist, Gregory 
Tempest. He has delivered it before vast audiences 
amid thunders of applause." 

Susan thrilled as Tempest strode forth Tempest 
transformed by the footlights and by her young imagi- 
nation into a true king most wonderfully and romantic- 
ally bereft of reason by the woes that had assailed him 
in horrid phalanxes. If anyone had pointed out to her 
that Tempest's awful voice was simply cheap ranting, 
or that her own woes had been as terrible as any that 
had ever visited a king, or that when people go mad 

226 



SUSAN LENOX 



it is never from grief but from insides unromantically 
addled by foolish eating and drinking if anyone had 
attempted then and there to educate the girl, how 
angry it would have made her, how she would have 
hated that well-meaning person for spoiling her illusion ! 
The spell of the stage seized her with Tempest's 
first line, first elegant despairing gesture. It held her 
through Burlingham and Anstruther's "sketch" of a 
matrimonial quarrel, through Connemora and Eshwell's 
"delicious symphonic romanticism" of a lovers' quarrel 
and making up, through Tempest's recitation of 
"Lasca," dying to shield her cowboy lover from the 
hoofs of the stampeded herd. How the tears did stream 
from Susan's eyes, as Tempest wailed out those last 
lines : 

But I wonder why I do not care for the things that are 

like the things that were? 
Can it be that half my heart lies buried there, in Texas 

down by the Rio Grande? 

She saw the little grave in the desert and the vast 
blue sky and the buzzard sailing lazily to and fro, and 
it seemed to her that Tempest himself had inspired 
such a love, had lost a sweetheart in just that way. 
No wonder he looked gaunt and hollow-eyed and sallow. 
The last part of the performance was Holy Land and 
comic pictures thrown from the rear on a sheet sub- 
stituted for the drop. As Burlingham had to work 
the magic lantern from the dressing-room (while Tem- 
pest, in a kind of monk's robe, used his voice and 
elocutionary powers in describing the pictures, now 
lugubriously and now in "lighter vein"), Susan was 
forced to retreat to the forward deck and missed that 
part of the show. But she watched Burlingham shift- 

227 



SUSAN LENOX 



ing the slides and altering the forms of the lenses, and 
was in another way as much thrilled and spellbound 
as by the acting. 

Nor did the spell vanish when, with the audience 
gone, they all sat down to a late supper, and made 
coarse jests and mocked at their own doings and at 
the people who had applauded. Susan did not hear. 
She felt proud that she was permitted in so distin- 
guished a company. Every disagreeable impression 
vanished. How could she have thought these geniuses 
common and cheap ! How had she dared apply to them 
the standards of the people, the dull, commonplace 
people, among whom she had been brought up ! If she 
could only qualify for membership in this galaxy ! The 
thought made her feel like a worm aspiring to be a 
star. Tempest, whom she had liked least, now filled her 
with admiration. She saw the tragedy of his life plain 
and sad upon his features. She could not look at him 
without her heart's contracting in an ache. 

It was not long before Mr. Tempest, who believed 
himself a lady-killer, noted the ingenuous look in the 
young girl's face, and began to pose. And it was 
hardly three bites of a ham sandwich thereafter when 
Mabel Connemora noted Tempest's shootings of his 
cuffs and rumplings of his oily ringlets and rollings of 
his hollow eyes. And at the sight Miss Mabel's bright 
eyes became bad and her tongue shot satire at him. 
But Susan did not observe this. 

After supper they went straightway to bed. Bur- 
lingham drew the curtains round the berth let down 
for Susan. The others indulged in no such prudery 
on so hot a night. They put out the lamps and got 
ready for bed and into it by the dim light trickling 
in through the big rear doorway and the two small 

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SUSAN LENOX 



side doorways forward. To help on the circulation of 
air Pat raised the stage curtain and drop, and opened 
the little door forward. Each sleeper had a small net- 
ting suspended over him from the ceiling; without that 
netting the dense swarms of savage mosquitoes would 
have made sleep impossible. As it was, the loud sing- 
ing of these baffled thousands kept Susan awake. 

After a while, to calm her brain, excited by the 
evening's thronging impressions and by the new or, 
rather, reviewed ambitions born of them, Susan rose 
and went softly out on deck, in her nightgown of calico 
slip. Because of the breeze the mosquitoes did not 
trouble her there, and she stood a long time watching 
the town's few faint lights watching the stars, the 
thronging stars of the Milky Way dreaming dream- 
ing dreaming. Yesterday had almost faded from her, 
for youth lives only in tomorrow youth in tomorrow, 
age in yesterday, and none of us in today which is all 
we really have. And she, with her wonderful health 
of body meaning youth as long as it lasted, she would 
certainly be young until she was very old would keep 
her youth her dreams her living always in tomor- 
row. She was dreaming of her first real tomorrow, 
now. She would work hard at this wonderful profes- 
sion her profession ! would be humble and attentive ; 
and surely the day must come when she too would feel 
upon her heart the intoxicating beat of those magic 
waves of applause ! 

Susan, more excited than ever, slipped softly into the 
cabin and stole into her curtained berth. Like the 
soughing of the storm above the whimper of the tor- 
tured leaves the stentorian snorings of two of the 
sleepers resounded above the noise of the mosquitoes. 
She had hardly extended herself in her close little bed 



SUSAN LENOX 



when she heard a stealthy step, saw one of her curtains 
drawn aside. 

"Who is it?" she whispered, unsuspiciously, for she 
could see only a vague form darkening the space be- 
tween the parted curtains. 

The answer came in a hoarse undertone: "Ye 
dainty little darling!" She sat up, struck out madly, 
screamed at the top of her lungs. The curtains fell 
back into place, the snoring stopped. Susan, all in a 
sweat and a shiver, lay quiet. Hoarse whispering ; then 
in Burlingham's voice stern and gruff "Get back 

to your bed and let her alone, you rolling-eyed " 

The sentence ended with as foul a spatter of filth as 
man can fling at man. Silence again, and after a few 
minutes the two snores resumed their bass accompani- 
ment to the falsetto of the mosquito chorus. 

Susan got a little troubled sleep, was wide awake 
when Violet came saying, "If you want to bathe, I'll 
bring you a bucket of water and you can put up your 
berth and do it behind your curtains." 

Susan thanked her and got a most refreshing bath. 
When she looked out the men were on deck, Violet was 
getting breakfast, and Connemora was combing her 
short, thinning, yellow hair before a mirror hung up 
near one of the forward doors. In the mirror Conne- 
mora saw her, smiled and nodded. 

"You can fix your hair here," said she. "I'm about 
done. You can use my brush." 

And when Susan was busy at the mirror, Mabel 
lounged on a seat near by smoking a before-breakfast 
cigarette. "I wish to God I had your hair," said she. 
"I never did have such a wonderful crop of grass on 
the knoll, and the way it up and drops out in bunches 
every now and then sets me crazy. It won't be long 

230 



SUSAN LENOX 



before I'll be down to Vi's three hairs and a half. You 
haven't seen her without her wigs? Well, don't, if you 
happen to be feeling a bit off. How Burlingham can " 
There she stopped, blew out a volume of smoke, grinned 
half amusedly, half in sympathy with the innocence 
she was protecting or, rather, was initiating by cau- 
tious degrees. "Who was it raised the row last night?" 
she inquired. 

"I don't know," said Susan, her face hid by the 
mass of wavy hair she was brushing forward from roots 
to ends. 

"You don't? I guess you've got a kind of idea, 
though." 

No answer from the girl. 

"Well, it doesn't matter. It isn't your fault." Mabel 
smoked reflectively. "I'm not jealous of him a woman 
never is. It's the idea of another woman's getting 
away with her property, whether she wants it or not 
that's what sets her mad-spot to humming. No, I 
don't give a a cigarette butt for that greasy bum 
actor. But I've always got to have somebody." She 
laughed. "The idea of his thinking you'd have him! 
What peacocks men are!" 

Susan understood. The fact of this sort of thing 
was no longer a mystery to her. But the why of the 
fact that seemed more amazing than ever. Now that 
she had discovered that her notion of love being incor- 
poreal was as fanciful as Santa Glaus, she could not 
conceive why it should be at all. As she was bringing 
round the braids for the new coiffure she had adopted 
she said to Mabel : 

"You love him?" 

"I?" Mabel laughed immoderately. "You can havo 
him, if you want him." 

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Susan shuddered. "Oh, no," she said. "I suppose 
he's very nice and really he's quite a wonderful actor. 
But I I don't care for men." 

Mabel laughed again curt, bitter. "Wait," she 
said. 

Susan shook her head, with youth's positiveness. 

"What's caring got to do with it?" pursued Mabel, 
ignoring the headshake. "I've been about quite a bit, 
and I've yet to see anybody that really cared for any- 
body else. We care for ourselves. But a man needs 
a woman, and a woman needs a man. They call it 
loving. They might as well call eating loving. Ask 
Burly." 



XIV 



AT breakfast Tempest was precisely as usual, and 
so were the others. Nor was there effort or 
any sort of pretense in this. We understand 
only that to which we are accustomed; the man of 
peace is amazed by the veteran's nonchalance in pres- 
ence of danger and horror, of wound and death. To 
these river wanderers, veterans in the unconventional 
life, where the unusual is the usual, the unexpected the 
expected, whatever might happen was the matter of 
course, to be dealt with and dismissed. Susan natu- 
rally took her cue from them. When Tempest said 
something to her in the course of the careless conver- 
sation round the breakfast table, she answered and 
had no sense of constraint. Thus, an incident that in 
other surroundings would have been in some way harm- 
ful through receiving the exaggeration of undue em- 
phasis, caused less stir than the five huge and fiery 
mosquito bites Eshwell had got in the night. And 
Susan unconsciously absorbed one of those lessons in 
the science and art of living that have decisive weight 
in shaping our destinies. For intelligent living is in 
large part learning to ignore the unprofitable that one 
may concentrate upon the profitable. 

Burlingham announced that they would cast off and 
float down to Bethlehem. There was a chorus of pro- 
tests. "Why, we ought to stay here a week!" cried 
Miss Anstruther. "We certainly caught on last 
night." 

"Didn't we take in seventeen dollars?" demanded 

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SUSAN LENOX 



Eshwell. "We can't do better than that anywhere." 

"Who's managing this show?" asked Burlingham in 
his suave but effective way. "I think I know what 
I'm about." 

He met their grumblings with the utmost good- 
humor and remained inflexible. Susan listened with 
eyes down and burning cheeks. She knew Burlingham 
was "leaving the best cow unmilked," as Connemora put 
it, because he wished to protect her. She told him so 
when they were alone on the forward deck a little later, 
as the boat was floating round the bend below Suther- 
land. 

"Yes," he admitted. "I've great hopes from your 
ballads. I want to get you on." He looked round 
casually, saw that no one was looking, drew a pecu- 
liarly folded copy of the Sutherland Courier from his 
pocket. "Besides" said he, holding out the paper 
"read that." 

Susan read: 

George Warham, Esq., requests us to announce that he 
has increased the reward for information as to the where- 
abouts of Mrs. Susan Ferguson, his young niece, nee Susan 
Lenox, to one thousand dollars. There are grave fears 
that the estimable and lovely young lady, who disappeared 
from her husband's farm the night of her marriage, has, 
doubtless in a moment of insanity, ended her life. We 
hope not. 

Susan lifted her gaze from this paragraph, after 
she had read it until the words ran together in a blur. 
She found Burlingham looking at her. Said he : "As 
I told you before, I don't want to know anything. 
But when I read that, it occurred to me, if some of 
the others saw it they might think it was you and 

234 



SUSAN LENOX 



might do a dirty trick." He sighed, with a cynical 
little smile. "I was tempted, myself. A thousand is 
quite a bunch. You don't know not yet how a 
chance to make some money any old way compels a 
man or a woman when money's as scarce and as 
useful as it is in this world. As you get along, you'll 
notice, my dear, that the people who get moral goose 
flesh at the shady doings of others are always people 
who haven't ever really been up against it. I don't 

know why I didn't " He shrugged his shoulders. 

"Now, my dear, you're in on the secret of why I 
haven't got up in the world." He smiled cheerfully. 
"But I may yet. The game's far from over." 

She realized that he had indeed made an enormous 
sacrifice for her; for, though very ignorant about 
money, a thousand dollars seemed a fortune. She had 
no words; she looked away toward the emerald shore, 
and her eyes filled and her lip quivered. How much 
goodness there was in the world how much generosity 
and affection ! 

"I'm not sure," he went on, "that you oughtn't to 
go back. But it's your own business. I've a kind of 
feeling you know what you're about." 

"No matter what happens to me," said she, "I'll 
never regret what I've done. I'd kill myself before I'd 
spend another day with the man they made me marry." 

"Well I'm not fond of dying," observed Burling- 
ham, in the light, jovial tone that would most quickly 
soothe her agitation, "but I think I'd take my chances 
with the worms rather than with the dry rot of a 
backwoods farm. You may not get your meals so 
regular out in the world, but you certainly do live. 
Yes that backwoods life, for anybody with a spark 
of spunk, is simply being dead and knowing it." He 

235 



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tore the Courier into six pieces, flung them over the 
side. "None of the others saw the paper," said he. 
"So Miss Lorna Sackville is perfectly safe." He 
patted her on the shoulder. "And she owes me a thou- 
sand and two dollars." 

"I'll pay if you'll be patient," said the girl, taking 
his jest gravely. 

"It's a good gamble," said he. Then he laughed. 
"I guess that had something to do with my virtue. 
There's always a practical reason always." 

But the girl was not hearing his philosophies. Once 
more she was overwhelmed and stupefied by the events 
that had dashed in, upon, and over her like swift suc- 
ceeding billows that give the swimmer no pause for 
breath or for clearing the eyes. 

"No you're not dreaming," said Burlingham, 
laughing at her expression. "At least, no more than 
we all are. Sometimes I suspect the whole damn shoot- 
ing-match is nothing but a dream. Well, it's a pretty 
good one eh?" 

And she agreed with him, as she thought how 
smoothly and agreeably they were drifting into the 
unknown, full of the most fascinating possibilities. 
How attractive this life was, how much at home she 
felt among these people, and if anyone should tell him 
about her birth or about how she had been degraded 
by Ferguson, it wouldn't in the least affect their feeling 
toward her, she was sure. "When do do you try 
me?" she asked. 

"Tomorrow night, at Bethlehem a bum little town 
for us. We'll stay there a couple of days. I want you 
to get used to appearing." He nodded at her encour- 
agingly. "You've got stuff in you, real stuff. Don't 
you doubt it. Get self-confidence conceit, if you 

236 



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please. Nobody arrives anywhere without it. You 
want to feel that you can do what you want to do. 
A fool's conceit is that he's it already. A sensible 
man's conceit is that he can be it, if he'll only work 
hard and in the right way. See?" 

"I I think I do," said the girl. "I'm not sure." 

Burlingham smoked his cigar in silence. When he 
spoke, it was with eyes carefully averted. "There's 
another subject the spirit moves me to talk to you 
about. That's the one Miss Connemora opened up with 
you yesterday." As Susan moved uneasily, "Now, 
don't get scared. I'm not letting the woman business 
bother me much nowadays. All I think of is how to 
get on my feet again. I want to have a theater on 
Broadway before the old black-flagger overtakes my 
craft and makes me walk the plank and jump out into 
the Big Guess. So you needn't think I'm going to 
worry you. I'm not." 

"Oh, I didn't think " 

"You ought to have, though," interrupted he. "A 
man like me is a rare exception. I'm a rare exception 
to my ordinary self, to be quite honest. It'll be best 
for you always to assume that every man you run 
across is looking for just one thing. You know 
what?" 

Susan, the flush gone from her cheeks, nodded. 

"I suppose Connemora has put you wise. But there 
are some things even she don't know about that subject. 
Now, I want you to listen to your grandfather. Re- 
member what he says. And think it over until you 
understand it." 

"I will," said Susan. 

"In the life you've come out of, virtue in a woman's 
everything. She's got to be virtuous, or at least to 

237 



SUSAN LENOX 



have the reputation of it or she's nothing. You 
understand that?" 

"Yes," said Susan. "I understand that now." 

"Very well. Now in the life you're going into, virtue 
in a woman is nothing no more than it is in a man 
anywhere. The woman who makes a career becomes 
like the man who makes a career. How is it with a 
man? Some are virtuous, others are not. But no man 
lets virtue bother him and nobody bothers about his 
virtue. That's the way it is with a woman who cuts 
loose from the conventional life of society and home 
and all that. She is virtuous or not, as she happens 
to incline. Her real interest in herself, her real value, 
lies in another direction. If it doesn't, if she continues 
to be agitated about her virtue as if it were all there is 
to her then the sooner she hikes back to respectability, 
to the conventional routine, why the better for her. 
She'll never make a career, any more than she could 
drive an automobile through a crowded street and at 
the same time keep a big picture hat on straight. Do 
you follow me ?" 

"I'm not sure," said the girl. "I'll have to think 
about it." 

"That's right. Don't misunderstand. I'm not talk- 
ing for or against virtue. I'm simply talking practical 
life, and all I mean is that you won't get on there by 
your virtue, and you won't get on, by your lack of 
virtue. Now for my advice." 

Susan's look of unconscious admiration and atten- 
tion was the subtlest flattery. Its frank, ingenuous 
showing of her implicit trust in him so impressed him 
with his responsibility that he hesitated before he said : 

"Never forget this, and don't stop thinking about 
it until you understand it: Make men as men inci- 

238 



SUSAN LENOX 



dental in your life, precisely as men who amount to 
anything make women as women incidental." 

Her first sensation was obviously disappointing. 
She had expected something far more impressive. Said 
she: 

"I don't care anything about men." 

"Be sensible! How are you to know now what you 
care about and what you don't?" was Burlingham's 
laughing rebuke. "And in the line you've taken the 
stage with your emotions always being stirred up, 
with your thoughts always hovering round the relations 
of men and women for that's the only subject of 
plays and music, and with opportunity thrusting at 
you as it never thrusts at conventional people you'll 
probably soon find you care a great deal about men. 
But don't ever let your emotions hinder or hurt or 
destroy you. Use them to help you. I guess I'm shoot- 
ing pretty far over that young head of yours, ain't I?" 

"Not so very far," said the girl. "Anyhow, I'll 
remember." 

"If you live big enough and long enough, you'll go 
through three stages. The first is the one you're in 
now. They've always taught you without realizing it, 
and so you think that only the strong can afford to do 
right. You think doing right makes the ordinary 
person, like yourself, easy prey for those who do wrong. 
You think that good people if they're really good 
have to wait until they get to Heaven before they get 
a chance." 

"Isn't that so?" 

"No. But you'll not realize it until you pass into 
the second stage. There, you'll think you see that only 
the strong can afford to do wrong. You'll think that 
everyone, except the strong, gets it in the neck if he 

239 



SUSAN LENOX 



or she does anything out of the way. You'll think 
you're being punished for your sins, and that, if you 
had behaved yourself, you'd have got on much better. 
That's the stage that's coming; and what you go 
through with there how you come out of the fight 
will decide your fate show whether or not you've got 
the real stuff in you. Do you understand?" 

Susan shook her head. 

"I thought not. You haven't lived long enough yet. 
WeU, I'll finish, anyhow." 

"I'll remember," said Susan. "I'll think about it 
until I do understand." 

"I hope so. The weather and the scenery make me 
feel like philosophizing. Finally, if you come through 
the second stage all right, you'll enter the third stage. 
There, you'll see that you were right at first when you 
thought only the strong could afford to do right. And 
you'll see that you were right in the second stage when 
you thought only the strong could afford to do wrong. 
For you'll have learned that only the strong can afford 
to act at all, and that they can do right or wrong as 
they please because they are strong." 

"Then you don't believe in right, at all!" exclaimed 
the girl, much depressed, but whether for the right or 
for her friend she could not have told. 

"Now, who said that?" demanded he, amused. "What 

,, / did I say? Why if you want to do right, be strong 

V or you'll be crushed ; and if you want to do wrong, take 

'' ^ care again to be strong or you'll be crushed. My 

moral is, be strong! In this world the good weaklings 

and the bad weaklings had better lie low, hide in the 

tall grass. The strong inherit the earth." 

They were silent a long time, she thinking, he observ- 
ing her with sad tenderness. At last he said: 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"You are a nice sweet girl well brought up. But 
that means badly brought up for the life you've got 
to lead the life you've got to learn to lead." 

"I'm beginning to see that," said the girl. Her 
gravity made him feel like laughing, and brought the 
tears to his eyes. The laughter he suppressed. 

"You're going to fight your way up to what's called 
the triumphant class the people on top they have 
all the success, all the money, all the good times. Well, 
the things you've been taught at church in the Sun- 
day School in the nice storybooks you've read those 
things are all for the triumphant class, or for people 
working meekly along in Hhe station to which God has 
appointed them' and handing over their earnings to 
their betters. But those nice moral things you believe 
in they don't apply to people like you fighting their 
way up from the meek working class to the triumphant 
class. You won't believe me now won't understand 
thoroughly. But soon you'll see. Once you've climbed 
up among the successful people you can afford to in- 
dulge in moderation in practicing the good old 
moralities. Any dirty work you may need done you 
can hire done and pretend not to know about it. But 
while you're climbing, no Golden Rule and no turning of 
the cheek. Tooth and claw then not sheathed but 
naked not by proxy but in your own person." 

"But you're not like that," said the girl. 

"The more fool I," repeated he. 

She was surprised that she understood so much of 
what he had said childlike wonder at her wise old 
heart, made wise almost in a night a wedding night. 
When Burlingham lapsed into silence, laughing at him- 
self for having talked so far over the "kiddie's" head, 
she sat puzzling out what he had said. The world 



SUSAN LENOX 



seemed horribly vast and forbidding, and the sky, so 
blue and bright, seemed far, far away. She sighed 
profoundly. "I am so weak," she murmured. "I am 
so ignorant." 

Burlingham nodded and winked. "Yes, but you'll 
grow," said he. "I back you to win." 

The color poured into her cheeks, and she burst 
into tears. Burlingham thought he understood; for 
once his shrewdness went far astray. Excusably, since 
he could not know that he had used the same phrase 
that had closed Spenser's letter to her. 

Late in the afternoon, when the heat had abated 
somewhat and they were floating pleasantly along with 
the washing gently a-flutter from lines on the roof of 
the auditorium, Burlingham put Eshwell at the rudder 
and with Pat and the violin rehearsed her. "The main 
thing, the only thing to worry about," explained he, 
"is beginning right." She was standing in the center 
of the stage, he on the floor of the auditorium beside 
the seated orchestra. "That means," he went on, 
"you've simply got to learn to come in right. We'll 
practice that for a while." 

She went to the wings where there was barely space 
for her to conceal herself by squeezing tightly against 
the wall. At the signal from him she walked out. As 
she had the utmost confidence in his kindness, and as 
she was always too deeply interested in what she and 
others were doing to be uncomfortably self-conscious, 
she was not embarrassed, and thought she made the 
crossing and took her stand very well. He nodded ap- 
provingly. "But," said he, "there's a difference be- 
tween a stage walk and walking anywhere else or 
standing. Nothing is natural on the stage. If it were 



SUSAN LENOX 



it would look unnatural, because the stage itself is 
artificial and whatever is there must be in harmony 
with it. So everything must be done unnaturally in 
such a way that it seems natural. Just as a picture 
boat looks natural though it's painted on a flat surface. 
Now I'll illustrate." 

He gave her his hand to help her jump down; then 
he climbed to the stage. He went to the wings and 
walked out. As he came he called her attention to 
how he poised his body, how he advanced so that there 
would be from the auditorium no unsightly view of 
crossing legs, how he arranged hands, arms, shoulders, 
legs, head, feet for an attitude of complete rest. He 
repeated his illustration again and again, Susan watch- 
ing and listening with open-eyed wonder and admira- 
tion. She had never dreamed that so simple a matter 
could be so complex. When he got her up beside him 
and went through it with her, she soon became as used 
to the new motions as a beginner at the piano to 
stretching an octave. But it was only after more than 
an hour's practice that she moved him to say : 

"That'll do for a beginning. Now, we'll sing." 

She tried "Suwanee River" first and went through 
it fairly well, singing to him as he stood back at the 
rear door. He was enthusiastic cunning Burlingham, 
who knew so well how to get the best out of everyone! 
"Mighty good eh, Pat? Yes, mighty good. You've 
got something better than a great voice, my dear. 
You've got magnetism. The same thing that made me 
engage you the minute you asked me is going to make 
you well, go a long ways a long ways. Now, we'll 
try 'The Last Rose of Summer.' " 

She sang even better. And this improvement con- 
tinued through the other four songs of her repertoire. 

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SUSAN LENOX 



His confidence in her was contagious ; it was so evident 
that he really did believe in her. And Pat, too, wagged 
his head in a way that made her feel good about herself. 
Then Burlingham called in the others whom he had 
sent to the forward deck. Before them the girl went all 
to pieces. She made her entrance badly, she sang 
worse. And the worse she sang, the worse she felt and 
the worse her next attempt was. At last, with nerves 
unstrung, she broke down and sobbed. Burlingham 
climbed up to pat her on the shoulder. 

"That's the best sign yet," said he. "It shows you've 
got temperament. Yes you've got the stuff in you." 

He quieted her, interested her in the purely mechani- 
cal part of what she was doing. "Don't think of who 
you're doing it before, or of how you're doing it, but 
only of getting through each step and each note. If 
your head's full of that, you'll have no room for 
fright." And she was ready to try again. When she 
finished the last notes of "Suwanee River," there was 
an outburst of hearty applause. And the sound 
that pleased her most was Tempest's rich rhetorical 
"Bravo!" As a man she abhorred him; but she re- 
spected the artist. And in unconsciously drawing this 
distinction she gave proof of yet another quality that 
was to count heavily in the coming days. Artist he 
was not. But she thought him an artist. A girl or 
boy without the intelligence that can develop into flower 
and fruit would have seen and felt only Tempest, the 
odious personality. 

Burlingham did not let her off until she was ready 
to drop with exhaustion. And after supper, when they 
were floating slowly on, well out of the channel where 
they might be run down by some passing steamer with 
a flint-hearted captain or pilot, she had to go at it 

244 



SUSAN LENOX 



again. She went to bed early, and she slept without 
a motion or a break until the odor of the cooking break- 
fast awakened her. When she came out, her face was 
bright for the first time. She was smiling, laughing, 
chatting, was delighted with everything and everybody. 
Even the thought of Roderick Spenser laid up with a 
broken leg recurred less often and less vividly. It 
seemed to her that the leg must be about well. The 
imagination of healthy youth is reluctant to admit 
ideas of gloom in any circumstances. In circumstances 
of excitement and adventure, such as Susan's at that 
time, it flatly refuses to admit them. 

They were at anchor before a little town sprawled 
upon the fields between hills and river edge. A few 
loafers were chewing tobacco and inspecting the show 
boat from the shady side of a pile of lumber. Pat had 
already gone forth with the bundle of handbills; he 
was not only waking up the town, but touring the 
country in horse and buggy, was agitating the farmers 
for the show boat was to stay at least two nights at 
Bethlehem. "And we ought to do pretty well," said 
Burlingham. "The wheat's about all threshed, and 
there's a kind of lull. The hayseeds aren't so dead tired 
at night. A couple of weeks ago we couldn't have got 
half a house by paying for it." 

As the afternoon wore away and the sun disappeared 
behind the hills to the southwest, Susan's spirits oozed. 
Burlingham and the others -deliberately paid no at- 
tention to her, acted as if no great, universe-stirring 
event were impending. Immediately after supper Bur- 
lingham said: 

"Now, Vi, get busy and put her into her harness. 
Make her a work of art." 

Never was there a finer display of unselfishness than 
9 245 



SUSAN LENOX 



in their eagerness to help her succeed, in their intense 
nervous anxiety lest she should not make a hit. The 
bad in human nature, as Mabel Connemora had said, 
is indeed almost entirely if not entirely the result of 
the compulsion of circumstances ; the good is the natu- 
ral outcropping of normal instincts, and resumes con- 
trol whenever circumstances permit. These wandering 
players had suffered too much not to have the keenest 
and gentlest sympathy. Susan looked on Tempest as 
a wicked man; yet she could not but be touched by 
his almost hysterical excitement over her debut, when 
the near approach of the hour made it impossible for 
his emotional temperament longer to hide its agitation. 
Every one of them gave or loaned her a talisman Tem- 
pest, a bit of rabbit's foot ; Anstruther, a ring that had 
twice saved her from drowning (at least, it had been 
on her finger each time) ; Connemora, a hunchback's 
tooth on a faded velvet string; Pat, a penny which 
happened to be of the date of her birth year (the pres- 
ence of the penny was regarded by all as a most en- 
couraging sign) ; Eshwell loaned her a miniature silver 
bug he wore on his watch chain; Burlingham's contri- 
bution was a large buckeye "Ever since I've had 

that, I've never been without at least the price of a 
meal in my pocket." 

They had got together for her a kind of evening 
dress, a pale blue chiffon-like drapery that left her 
lovely arms and shoulders bare and clung softly to the 
lines of her figure. They did her hair up in a graceful 
sweep from the brow and a simple coil behind. She 
looked like a woman, yet like a child dressed as a 
woman, too, for there was as always that exuberant 
vitality which made each of the hairs of her head seem 
individual, electric. The rouge gave her color, en- 

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SUSAN LENOX 



hanced into splendor the brilliance of her violet-gray 
eyes eyes so intensely colored and so admirably 
framed that they were noted by the least observant. 
When Anstruther had put the last touches to her 
toilet and paraded her to the others, there was a 
chorus of enthusiasm. The men no less than the 
women viewed her with the professional eye. 

"Didn't I tell you all?" cried Burlingham, as they 
looked her up and down like a group of connoisseurs 
inspecting a statue. "Wasn't I right?" 

" 'It is the dawn, and Juliet is the east,' " orated 
Tempest in rich, romantic tones. 

"A damn shame to waste her on these yaps," said 
Eshwell. 

Connemora embraced her with tearful eyes. "And 
as sweet as you are lovely, you dear !" she cried. "You 
simply can't help winning." 

The two women thought her greatest charms were 
her form and her feet and ankles. The men insisted 
that her charm of charms was her eyes. And certainly, 
much could be said for that view. Susan's violet-gray 
eyes, growing grayer when she was thoughtful, grow- 
ing deeper and clearer and softer shining violet when 
her emotions were touched Susan's eyes were undoubt- 
edly unusual even in a race in which homely eyes are 
the exception. 

When it was her turn and she emerged into the glare 
of the footlights, she came to a full stop and an awful 
wave of weakness leaped up through legs and body to 
blind her eyes and crash upon her brain. She shook 
her head, lifted it high like a swimmer shaking off a 
wave. Her gaze leaped in terror across the blackness 
of the auditorium with its thick-strewn round white 
disks of human faces, sought the eyes of Burlingham 

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standing in full view in the center of the rear doorway 
where he had told her to look for him. She heard 
Pat playing the last of the opening chords; Burling- 
ham lifted his hand like a leader's baton. And natu- 
rally and sweetly the notes, the words of the old darkey 
song of longing for home began to float out through 
the stillness. 

She did not take her gaze from Burlingham. She 
sang her best, sang to please him, to show him how she 
appreciated what he had done for her. And when she 
finished and bowed, the outburst of applause unnerved 
her, sent her dizzy and almost staggering into the 
wings. "Splendid! Splendid!" cried Mabel, and An- 
struther embraced her, and Tempest and Eshwell kissed 
her hands. They all joined in pushing her out again 
for the encore "Blue Alsatian Mountains." She did 
not sing quite so steadily, but got through in good 
form, the tremolo of nervousness in her voice adding 
to the wailing pathos of the song's refrain: 

Ade, ade, ade, such dreams must pass away, 
But the Blue Alsatian Mountains seem to watch and wait 
alway. 

The crowd clapped, stamped, whistled, shouted; but 
Burlingham defied it. "The lady will sing again later," 
he cried. "The next number on the regular program 
is," etc., etc. The crowd yelled; Burlingham stood 
firm, and up went the curtain on Eshwell and Conne- 
mora's sketch. It got no applause. Nor did any other 
numbers on the program. The contrast between 
the others and the beauty of the girl, her delicate 
sweetness, her vital youth, her freshness of the early 
morning flower, was inevitable. 

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The crowd could think only of her. The quality of 
magnetism aside, she had sung neither very well nor 
very badly. But had she sung badly, still her beauty 
would have won her the same triumph. When she came 
on for her second number with a cloud-like azure chif- 
fon flung carelessly over her dark hair as a scarf, 
Spanish fashion, she received a stirring welcome. It 
frightened her, so that Pat had to begin four times 
before her voice faintly took up the tune. Again Bur- 
lingham's encouraging, confident gaze, flung across the 
gap between them like a strong rescuing hand, strength- 
ened her to her task. This time he let the crowd have 
two encores and the show was over; for the astute 
manager, seeing how the girl had caught on, had 
moved her second number to the end. 

Burlingham lingered in the entrance to the audi- 
torium to feast himself on the comments of the crowd 
as it passed out. When he went back he had to search 
for the girl, found her all in a heap in a chair at the 
outer edge of the forward deck. She was sobbing pite- 
ously. "Well, for God's sake !" cried he. "Is this the 
way you take it !" 

She lifted her head. "Did I do very badly?" she 
asked. 

"You swept 'em off their big hulking feet," replied he. 

"When you didn't come, I thought I'd disappointed 
you." 

"I'll bet my hand there never was such a hit made 
in a river show boat and they've graduated some of 
the swells of the profession. We'll play here a week 
to crowded houses matinees every day, too. And this 
is a two-night stand usually. I must find some more 
songs." He slapped his thigh. "The very thing!" he 
cried. "We'll ring in some hymns. 'Rock of Ages,' 

249 



SUSAN LENOX 



say and 'Jesus, Lover of my Soul' and you can 
get 'em off in a churchy kind of costume something 
like a surplice. That'll knock 'em stiff. And Anstru- 
ther can dope out the accompaniments on that wheezer. 
What d'you think?" 

"Whatever you want," said the girl. "Oh, I am so 
glad!" 

"I don't see how you got through so well," 
said he. 

"I didn't dare fail," replied Susan. "If I had, I 
couldn't have faced you." And by the light of the 
waning moon he saw the passionate gratitude of her 
sensitive young face. 

"Oh I've done nothing," said he, wiping the tears 
from his eyes for he had his full share of the im- 
pulsive, sentimental temperament of his profession. 
"Pure selfishness." 

Susan gazed at him with eyes of the pure deep violet 
of strongest feeling. "/ know what you did," she said 
in a low voice. "And I'd die for you." 

Burlingham had to use his handkerchief in dealing 
with his eyes now. "This business has given me hys- 
terics," said he with a queer attempt at a laugh. Then, 
after a moment, "God bless you, little girl. You wait 
here a moment. I'll see how supper's getting on." 

He wished to go ahead of her, for he had a shrewd 
suspicion us to the state of mind of the rest of the 
company. And he was right. There they sat in the 
litter of peanut hulls, popcorn, and fruit skins which 
the audience had left. On every countenance was 
jealous gloom. 

"What's wrong?" inquired Burlingham in his cheer- 
ful derisive way. "You are a nice bunch, you are!" 

They shifted uneasily. Mabel snapped out, "Where's 
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SUSAN LENOX 



the infant prodigy? Is she so stuck on herself already 
that she won't associate with us?" 

"You grown-up babies," mocked Burlingham. "I 
found her out there crying in darkness because she 
thought she'd failed. Now you go bring her in, Conny. 
As for the rest of you, I'm disgusted. Here we've hit 
on something that'll land us in Easy Street, and you're 
all filled up with poison." 

They were ashamed of themselves. Burlingham had 
brought back to them vividly the girl's simplicity and 
sweetness that had won their hearts, even the hearts of 
the women in whom jealousy of her young beauty would 
have been more than excusable. Anstruther began to 
get out the supper dishes and Mabel slipped away to- 
ward the forward deck. "When the child comes in," 
pursued Burlingham, "I want to see you people looking 
and acting human." 

"We are a lot of damn fools," admitted Eshwell. 
"That's why we're bum actors instead of doing well at 
some respectable business." 

And his jealousy went the way of Violet's and 
Mabel's. Pat began to remember that he had shared 
in the triumph where would she have been without his 
violin work? But Tempest remained somber. In his 
case better nature was having a particularly hard time 
of it. His vanity had got savage wounds from the 
hoots and the "Oh, bite it off, hamfat," which had 
greeted his impressive lecture on the magic lantern 
pictures. He eyed Burlingham glumly. He exonerated 
the girl, but not Burlingham. He was convinced that 
the manager, in a spirit of mean revenge, had put up 
a job on him. It simply could not be in the ordinary 
course that any audience, without some sly trickery 
of prompting from an old expert of theatrical "double- 

251 



SUSAN LENOX 



crossing," would be impatient for a mere chit of an 
amateur when it might listen to his rich, mellow elo- 
quence. 

Susan came shyly and at the first glance into her 
face her associates despised themselves for their petti- 
ness. It is impossible for envy and jealousy and 
hatred to stand before the light of such a nature as 
Susan's. Away from her these very human friends of 
hers might hate her but in her presence they could 
not resist the charm of her sincerity. 

Everyone's spirits went up with the supper. It 
was Pat who said to Burlingham, "Bob, we're going 
to let the pullet in on the profits equally, aren't we?" 

"Sure," replied Burlingham. "Anybody kicking?" 

The others protested enthusiastically except Tem- 
pest, who shot a glance of fiery scorn at Burlingham 
over a fork laden with potato salad. "Then you're 
elected, Miss Sackville," said Burlingham. 

Susan's puzzled eyes demanded an explanation. 
"Just this," said he. "We divide equally at the end 
of the trip all we've raked in, after the rent of the 
boat and expenses are taken off. You get your equal 
share exactly as if you started with us." 

"But that wouldn't be fair," protested the girl. 
"I must pay what I owe you first." 

"She means two dollars she borrowed of me at Car- 
rollton," explained Burlingham. And they all laughed 
uproariously. 

"I'll only take what's fair," said the girl. 

"I vote we give it all to her," rolled out Tempest in 
tragedy's tone for classic satire. 

Before Mabel could hurl at him the probably coarse 
retort she instantly got her lips ready to make, Bur- 
lingham's cool, peace-compelling tones broke in: 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Miss Sackville's right. She must get only what's 
fair. She shares equally from tonight on less two 
dollars." 

Susan nodded delightedly. She did not know and 
the others did not at the excited moment recall that 
the company was to date eleven dollars less well off 
than when it started from the headwaters of the Ohio 
in early June. But Burlingham knew, and that was 
the cause of the quiet grin to which he treated himself. 



XV 



BURLINGHAM had lived too long, too actively, 
and too intelligently to have left any of his 
large, original stock of the optimism that had 
so often shipwrecked his career in spite of his talents 
and his energy. Out of the bitterness of experience 
he used to say, "A young optimist is a young fool. 
An old optimist is an old ass. A fool may learn, an 
ass can't." And again, "An optimist steams through 
the fog, taking it for granted everything's all right. 
A pessimist steams ahead too, but he gets ready for 
trouble." However, he was wise enough to keep his 
private misgivings and reservations from his associ- 
ates; the leaders of the human race always talk opti- 
mism and think pessimism. He had told the company 
that Susan was sure to make a go ; and after she had 
made a go, he announced the beginning of a season of 
triumph. But he was surprised when his prediction 
came true and they had to turn people away from the 
next afternoon's performance. He began to believe 
they really could stay a week, and hired a man to fill 
the streets of New Washington and other inland vil- 
lages and towns of the county with a handbill head- 
lining Susan. 

The news of the lovely young ballad singer in the 
show boat at Bethlehem spread, as interesting news 
ever does, and down came the people to see and hear, 
and to go away exclaiming. Bethlehem, the sleepy, 
showed that it could wake when there was anything 
worth waking for. Burlingham put on the hymns in 

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the middle of the week, and even the clergy sent their 
families. Every morning Susan, either with Mabel or 
with Burlingham, or with both, took a long walk into 
the country. It was Burlingham, by the way, who 
taught her the necessity of regular and methodical long 
walks for the preservation of her health. When she 
returned there was always a crowd lounging about the 
landing waiting to gape at her and whisper. It was 
intoxicating to her, this delicious draught of the heady 
wine of fame ; and Burlingham was not unprepared for 
the evidences that she thought pretty well of herself, 
felt that she had arrived. He laughed to himself in- 
dulgently. "Let the kiddie enjoy herself," thought he. 
"She needs the self-confidence now to give her a good 
foundation to stand on. Then when she finds out what 
a false alarm this jay excitement was, she'll not be 
swept clean away into despair." 

The chief element in her happiness, he of course 
knew nothing about. Until this success which she, 
having no basis for comparison, could not but exag- 
gerate she had been crushed and abused more deeply 
than she had dared admit to herself by her birth which 
made all the world scorn her and by the series of 
calamities climaxing in that afternoon and night of 
horror at Ferguson's. This success it seemed to her 
to give her the right to have been born, the right to 
live on and hold up her head without effort after Fer- 
guson. "I'll show them all, before I get through," she 
said to herself over and over again. "They'll be proud 
of me. Ruth will be boasting to everyone that I'm her 
cousin. And Sam Wright he'll wonder that he ever 
dared touch such a famous, great woman." She only 
half believed this herself, for she had much common 
sense and small self-confidence. But pretending that 

255 



SUSAN LENOX 



she believed it all gave her the most delicious pleas- 
ure. 

Burlingham took such frank joy in her innocent 
vanity so far as he understood it and so far as she 
exhibited it that the others were good-humored about 
it too all the others except Tempest, whom conceit 
and defeat had long since soured through and through. 
A tithe of Susan's success would have made him un- 
bearable, for like most human beings he had a vanity 
that was Atlantosaurian on starvation rations and 
would have filled the whole earth if it had been fed 
a few crumbs. Small wonder that we are ever eagerly 
on the alert for signs of vanity in others ; we are seek- 
ing the curious comfort there is in the feeling that 
others have our own weakness to a more ridiculous 
degree. Tempest twitched to jeer openly at Susan, 
whose exhibition was really timid and modest and not 
merely excusable but justifiable. But he dared go no 
further than holding haughtily aloof and casting 
vaguely into the air ever and anon a tragic sneer. 
Susan would not have understood if she had seen, and 
did not see. She was treading the heights, her eyes 
upon the sky. She held grave consultation with Bur- 
lingham, with Violet, with Mabel, about improving her 
part. She took it all very, very seriously and Bur- 
lingham was glad of that. "Yes, she does take herself 
seriously," he admitted to Anstruther. "But that won't 
do any harm as she's so young, and as she takes her 
work seriously, too. The trouble about taking oneself 
seriously is it stops growth. She hasn't got that form 
of it." 

"Not yet," said Violet. 

"She'll wake from her little dream, poor child, long 
before the fatal stage." And he heaved a sigh for his 

256 



SUSAN LENOX 



own lost illusions those illusions that had cost him so 
dear. 

Burlingham had intended to make at least one stop 
before Jeffersonville, the first large town on the way 
down. But Susan's capacities as a house-filler decided 
him for pushing straight for it. "We'll go where 
there's a big population to be drawn on," said he. 
But he did not say that in the back of his head there 
was forming a plan to take a small theater at Jeffer- 
sonville if the girl made a hit there. 

Eshwell, to whom he was talking, looked glum. "She's 
going pretty good with these greenies," observed he. 
"But I've my doubts whether city people'll care for 
anything so milk-like." 

Burlingham had his doubts, too; but he retorted 
warmly: "Don't you believe it, Eshie. City's an 
outside. Underneath, there's still the simple, honest, 
grassy-green heart of the country." 

Eshwell laughed. "So you've stopped jeering at 
jays. You've forgotten what a lot of tightwads and 
petty swindlers they are. Well, I don't blame you. 
Now that they're giving down to us so freely, I feel 
better about them myself. It's a pity we can't lower 
the rest of the program to the level of their intellec- 
tuals." 

Burlingham was not tactless enough to disturb Esh- 
well's consoling notion that while Susan was appre- 
ciated by these ignorant country-jakes, the rest of the 
company were too subtle and refined in their art. 
"That's a good idea," replied he. "I'll try to get 
together some simple slop. Perhaps a melodrama, a 
good hot one, would go eh?" 

After ten days the receipts began to drop. On the 
fifteenth day there was only a handful at the matinee, 

257 



SUSAN LENOX 



and in the evening half the benches were empty. 
"About milked dry," said Burlingham at the late sup- 
per. "We'll move on in the morning." 

This pleased everyone. Susan saw visions of bigger 
triumphs; the others felt that they were going where 
dramatic talent, not to say genius, would be at least 
not entirely unappreciated. So the company was at 
its liveliest next morning as the mosquito-infested wil- 
lows of the Bethlehem shore slowly dropped away. 
They had made an unusually early start, for the river 
would be more and more crowded as they neared the 
three close-set cities Louisville, Jeffersonville, and 
New Albany, and the helpless little show boat must give 
the steamers no excuse for not seeing her. All day a 
long, dreamy, summer day they drifted lazily down- 
stream, and, except Tempest, all grew gayer and more 
gay. Burlingham had announced that there were three 
hundred and seventy-eight dollars in the japanned tin 
box he kept shut up in his bag. 

At dusk a tug, for three dollars, nosed them into a 
wharf which adjoined the thickly populated labor quar- 
ter of Jeffersonville. 

Susan was awakened by a scream. Even as she 
opened her eyes a dark cloud, a dull suffocating terri- 
fying pain, descended upon her. When she again be- 
came conscious, she was lying upon a mass of canvas 
on the levee with three strange men bending over 
her. She sat up, instinctively caught together the 
front of the nightdress she had bought in Bethlehem 
the second day there. Then she looked wildly from 
face to face. 

"You're all right, ma'am," said one of the men. 
"Not a scratch only stunned." 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"What was it?" said the girl. "Where are they?" 

As she spoke, she saw Burlingham in his nightshirt 
propped against a big blue oil barrel. He was staring 
stupidly at the ground. And now she noted the others 
scattered about the levee, each with a group around 
him or her. "What was it?" she repeated. 

"A tug butted its tow of barges into you," said some- 
one. "Crushed your boat like an eggshell." 

Burlingham staggered to his feet, stared round, saw 
her. "Thank God!" he cried. "Anyone drowned? 
Anyone hurt?" 

"All saved no bones broken," someone responded. 

"And the boat?" 

"Gone down. Nothing left of her but splinters. The 
barges were full of coal and building stone." 

"The box!" suddenly shouted Burlingham. "The 
box!" 

"What kind of a box ?" asked a boy with lean, dirty, 
and much scratched bare legs. "A little black tin box 
like they keep money in?" 

"That's it. Where is it?" 

"It's all right," said the boy. "One of your people, 
a black actor-looking fellow " 

"Tempest," interjected Burlingham. "Go on." 

"He dressed on the wharf and he had the box." 

"Where is he?" 

"He said he was going for a doctor. Last I seed of 
him he was up to the corner yonder. He was movin' 
fast." 

Burlingham gave a kind of groan. Susan read in his 
face his fear, his suspicion the suspicion he was 
ashamed of himself for having. She noted vaguely that 
he talked with the policeman aside for a few minutes, 
after which the policeman went up the levee. Burling- 

259 



SUSAN LENOX 



ham rejoined his companions and took command. The 
first thing was to get dressed as well as might be from 
such of the trunks as had been knocked out of the cabin 
by the barge and had been picked up. They were all 
dazed. Even Burlingham could not realize just what 
had occurred. They called to one another more or less 
humorous remarks while they were dressing behind piles 
of boxes, crates, barrels and sacks in the wharf-boat. 
And they laughed gayly when they assembled. Susan 
made the best appearance, for her blue serge suit had 
been taken out dry when she herself was lifted from the 
sinking wreck; the nightgown served as a blouse. 
Mabel's trunk had been saved. Violet could wear none 
of her things, as they were many sizes too small, so she 
appeared in a property skirt of black paper muslin, a 
black velvet property basque, a pair of shoes belonging 
to Tempest. Burlingham and Eshwell made a fairly 
respectable showing in clothing from Tempest's trunk. 
Their own trunks had gone down. 

"Why, where's Tempest?" asked Eshwell. 

"He'll be back in a few minutes," replied Burlingham. 
"In fact, he ought to be back now." His glance hap- 
pened to meet Susan's; he hastily shifted his eyes. 

"Where's the box?" asked Violet. 

"Tempest's taking care of it," was the manager's 
answer. 

"Tempest!' exclaimed Mabel. Her shrewd, dissi- 
pated eyes contracted with suspicion. 

"Anybody got any money?" inquired Eshwell, as he 
fished in his pockets. 

No one had a cent. Eshwell searched Tempest's 
trunk, found a two-dollar bill and a one wrapped round 
a silver dollar and wadded in among some ragged un- 
derclothes. Susan heard Burlingham mutter "Won- 

260 



SUSAN LENOX 



der how he happened to overlook that!" But no one 
else heard. 

"Well, we might have breakfast," suggested Mabel. 

They went out on the water deck of the wharf-boat, 
looked down at the splinters of the wreck lying in the 
deep yellow river. "Come on," said Burlingham, and 
he led the way up the levee. There was no attempt at 
j auntiness ; they all realized now. 

"How about Tempest?" said Eshwell, stopping short 
halfway up. 

"Tempest hell !" retorted Mabel. "Come on." 

"What do you mean?" cried Violet, whose left eye 
was almost closed by a bruise. 

"We'll not see him again. Come on." 

"Bob!" shrieked Violet at Burlingham. "Do you 
hear that?" 

"Yes," said he. "Keep calm, and come on." 

"Aren't you going to do anything?" she screamed, 
seizing him by the coat tail. "You must, damn it 
you must !" 

"I got the policeman to telephone headquarters," 
said Burlingham. "What else can be done? Come on." 

And a moment later the bedraggled and dejected 
company filed into a cheap levee restaurant. "Bring 
some coffee," Burlingham said to the waiter. Then to 
the others, "Does anybody want anything else?" No 
one spoke. "Coffee's all," he said to the waiter. 

It came, and they drank it in silence, each one's brain 
busy with the disaster from the standpoint of his own 
resulting ruin. Susan glanced furtively at each face 
in turn. She could not think of her own fate, there was 
such despair in the faces of these others. Mabel looked 
like an old woman. As for Violet, every feature of her 
homeliness, her coarseness, her dissipated premature 



SUSAN LENOX 



old age stood forth in all its horror. Susan's heart 
contracted and her flesh crept as she glanced quickly 
away. But she still saw, and it was many a week before 
she ceased to see whenever Violet's name came into her 
mind. Burlingham, too, looked old and broken. Esh- 
well and Pat, neither of whom had ever had the smallest 
taste of success, were stolid, like cornered curs taking 
their beating and waiting in silence for the blows to 
stop. 

"Here, Eshie," said the manager, "take care of the 
three dollars." And he handed him the bills. "I'll pay 
for the coffee and keep the change. I'm going down to 
the owners of that tug and see what I can do." 

When he had paid they followed him out. At the 
curbstone he said, "Keep together somewhere round the 
wharf-boat. So long." He lifted the battered hat he 
was wearing, smiled at Susan. "Cheer up, Miss Sack- 
ville. We'll down 'em yet!" And away he went a 
strange figure, his burly frame squeezed into a dingy 
old frock suit from among Tempest's costumes. 

A dreary two hours, the last half-hour in a drizzling 
rain from which the narrow eaves of the now closed and 
locked wharf-boat sheltered them only a little. "There 
he comes !" cried Susan ; and sure enough, Burlingham 
separated from the crowd streaming along the street 
at the top of the levee, and began to descend the slope 
toward them. They concentrated on his face, hoping 
to get some indication of what to expect ; but he never 
permitted his face to betray his mind. He strode up 
the plank and joined them. 

"Tempest come?" he asked. 

"Tempest!" cried Mabel. "Haven't I told you he's 
jumped? Don't you suppose / know him?" 

"And you brought him into the company," raged 



SUSAN LENOX 



Violet. "Burlingham didn't want to take him. He 
looked the fool and jackass he is. Why didn't you 
warn us he was a rotten thief, too?" 

"Wasn't it for shoplifting you served six months in 
Joliet?" retorted Mabel. 

"You lie you streetwalker!" screamed Violet. 

"Ladies ! Ladies !" said Eshwell. 

"That's what / say," observed Pat. 

"I'm no lady," replied Mabel. "I'm an actress." 

"An actress he-he!" jeered Violet. "An actress!" 

"Shut up, all of you," commanded Burlingham. "I've 
got some money. I settled for cash." 

"How much?" cried Mabel and Violet in the same 
breath, their quarrel not merely finished but forgotten. 

"Three hundred dollars." 

"For the boat and all?" demanded Eshwell. "Why, 
Bob " 

"They think it was for boat and all," interrupted 
Burlingham with his cynical smile. "They set out to 
bully and cheat me. They knew I couldn't get justice. 
So I let 'em believe I owned the boat and I've got fifty 
apiece for us." 

"Sixty," said Violet. 

"Fifty. There are six of us." 

"You don't count in this little Jonah here, do you?" 
cried Violet, scowling evilly at Susan. 

"No no don't count me in," begged Susan. "I 
didn't lose anything." 

Mabel pinched her arm. "You're right, Mr. Burling- 
ham," said she. "Miss Sackville ought to share. We're 
all in the same box." 

"Miss Sackville will share," said Burlingham. 
"There's going to be no skunking about this, as long as 
I'm in charge." 

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Eshwell and Pat sided with Violet. While the rain 
streamed, the five, with Susan a horrified onlooker, 
fought on and on about the division of the money. Their 
voices grew louder. They hurled the most frightful 
epithets at one another. Violet seized Mabel by the hair, 
and the men interfered, all but coming to blows them- 
selves in the melee. The wharfmaster rushed from his 
office, drove them off to the levee. They continued to 
yell and curse, even Burlingham losing control of him- 
self and releasing all there was of the tough and the 
blackguard in his nature. Two policemen came, calmed 
them with threat of arrest. At last Burlingham took 
from his pocket one at a time three small rolls of bills. 
He flung one at each of the three who were opposing his 
division. "Take that, you dirty curs," he said. "And 
be glad I'm giving you anything at all. Most managers 
wouldn't have come back. Come on, Miss Sackville. 
Come on, Mabel." And the two followed him up the 
levee, leaving the others counting their shares. 

At the street corner they went into a general store 
where Burlingham bought two ninety -eight- cent um- 
brellas. He gave Mabel one, held the other over Susan 
and himself as they walked along. "Well, ladies," said 
he, "we begin life again. A clean slate, a fresh start 
as if nothing had ever happened." 

Susan looked at him to try to give him a grateful 
and sympathetic smile. She was surprised to see that, 
so far as she could judge, he had really meant the 
words he had spoken. 

"Yes, I mean it," said he. "Always look at life as 
it is as a game. With every deal, whether you win or 
lose, your stake grows for your stake's your wits, and 
you add to 'em by learning something with each deal. 
What are you going to do, Mabel?" 

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"Get some clothes. The water wrecked mine and this 
rain has finished my hat." 

"We'll go together," said Burlingham. 

They took a car for Louisville, descended before a 
department store. Burlingham had to fit himself from 
the skin out; Mabel had underclothes, needed a hat, a 
dress, summer shoes. Susan needed underclothes, shoes, 
a hat, for she was bareheaded. They arranged to meet 
at the first entrance down the side street ; Burlingham 
gave Susan and Mabel each their fifty dollars and went 
his way. When they met again in an hour and a half, 
they burst into smiles of delight. Burlingham had 
transformed himself into a jaunty, fashionable young 
middle-aged man, with an air of success achieved and 
prosperity assured. He had put the fine finishing touch 
to his transformation by getting a haircut and a shave. 
Mabel looked like a showy chorus girl, in a striped blue 
and white linen suit, a big beflowered hat, and a fluffy 
blouse of white chiffon. Susan had resisted Mabel's 
entreaties, had got a plain, sensible linen blouse of a 
kind that on a pinch might be washed out and worn 
without ironing. Her new hat was a simple blue sailor 
with a dark blue band that matched her dress. 

"I spent thirty-six dollars," said Burlingham. 

"I only spent twenty-two," declared Mabel. "And 
this child here only parted with seven of her dollars. 
I had no idea she was so thrifty." 

"And now what?" said Burlingham. 

"I'm going round to see a friend of mine," replied 
Mabel. "She's on the stage, too. There's sure to be 
something doing at the summer places. Maybe I can 
ring Miss Sackville in. There ought to be a good living 
in those eyes of hers and those feet and ankles. I'm 
sure I can put her next to something." 

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"Then you can give her your address," said Burling- 
ham. 

"Why, she's going with me," cried Mabel. "You 
don't suppose I'd leave the child adrift ?" 

"No, she's going with me to a boarding house I'll 
find for her," said Burlingham. 

Into Mabel's face flashed the expression of the sus- 
picion such a statement would at once arouse in a mind 
trained as hers had been. Burlingham's look drove the 
expression out of her face, and suspicion at least into 
the background. "She's not going with your friend," 
said Burlingham, a hint of sternness in his voice. 
"That's best isn't it?" 

Miss Connemora's eyes dropped. "Yes, I guess it 
is," replied she. "Well I turn down this way." 

"We'll keep on and go out Chestnut Street," said 
Burlingham. "You can write to her or to me care 
of the General Delivery." 

"That's best. You may hear from Tempest. You 
can write me there, too." Mabel was constrained and 
embarrassed. "Good-by, Miss Sackville." 

Susan embraced and kissed her. Mabel began to 
weep. "Oh, it's all so sudden and frightful," she 
said. "Do try to be good, Lorna. You can trust 
Bob." She looked earnestly, appealingly, at him. 
"Yes, I'm sure you can. And he's right about me. 
Good-by." She hurried away, not before Susan had 
seen the tears falling from her kind, fast-fading 
eyes. 

Susan stood looking after her. And for the first 
time the truth about the catastrophe came to her. She 
turned to Burlingham. "How brave you are!" she 
cried. 

"Oh, what'd be the use in dropping down and howl- 
266 



SUSAN LENOX 



ing like a dog?" replied he. "That wouldn't bring the 
boat back. It wouldn't get me a job." 

"And you shared equally, when you lost the most 
of all." 

They were walking on. "The boat was mine, too," 
said he in a dry reflective tone. "I told 'em it wasn't 
when we started out because I wanted to get a good 
share for rent and so on, without any kicking from 
anybody." 

The loss did not appeal to her; it was the lie he 
had told. She felt her confidence shaking. "You didn't 
mean to to " she faltered, stopped. 

"To cheat them?" suggested he. "Yes, I did. So 
to sort of balance things up I divided equally all I got 
from the tug people. What're you looking so unhappy 
about?" 

"I wish you hadn't told me," she said miserably. "I 
don't see why you did." 

"Because I don't want you making me into a saint. 
I'm like the rest you see about in pants, cheating and 
lying, with or without pretending to themselves that 
they're honest. Don't trust anybody, my dear. The 
sooner you get over the habit, the sooner you'll cease 
to tempt people to be hypocrites. All the serious trou- 
ble I've ever got into has come through trusting or 
being trusted." 

He looked gravely at her, burst out laughing at her 
perplexed, alarmed expression. "Oh, Lord, it isn't as 
bad as all that," said he. "The rain's stopped. Let's 
have breakfast. Then a new deal with everything 
to gain and nothing to lose. It's a great advantage to 
be in a position where you've got nothing to lose!" 



XVI 



BURLINGHAM found for her a comfortable room 
in a flat in West Chestnut Street a respectable 
middle-class neighborhood with three churches 
in full view and the spires of two others visible over 
the housetops. Her landlady was Mrs. Redding, a 
simple-hearted, deaf old widow with bright kind eyes 
beaming guilelessness through steel-framed spectacles. 
Mrs. Redding had only recently been reduced to the 
necessity of letting a room. She stated her moderate 
price seven dollars a week for room and board as if 
she expected to be arrested for attempted extortion. "I 
give good meals," she hastened to add. "I do the cook- 
ing myself and buy the best. I'm no hand for canned 
stuff. As for that there cold storage, it's no better'n 
slow poison, and not so terrible slow at that. Anything 
your daughter wants I'll give her." 

"She's not my daughter," said Burlingham, and it 
was his turn to be red and flustered. "I'm simply look- 
ing after her, as she's alone in the world. I'm going 
to live somewhere else. But I'll come here for meals, if 
you're willing, ma'am." 

"I I'd have to make that extry, I'm afraid," pleaded 
Mrs. Redding. 

"Rather !" exclaimed Burlingham. "I eat like a pair 
of Percherons." 

"How much did you calculate to pay?" inquired the 
widow. Her one effort at price fixing, though entirely 
successful, had exhausted her courage. 

Burlingham was clear out of his class in those idyllic 
268 



SUSAN LENOX 



days of protector of innocence. He proceeded to be 
more than honest. 

"Oh, say five a week." 

"Gracious ! That's too much," protested she. . "I 
hate to charge a body for food, somehow. It don't 
seem to be accordin' to what God tells us. But I don't 
see no way out." 

"I'll come for five not a cent less," insisted Burling- 
ham. "I want to feel free to eat as much as I like." 
And it was so arranged. Away he went to look up his 
acquaintances, while Susan sat listening to the widow 
and trying to convince her that she and Mr. Burling- 
ham didn't want and couldn't possibly eat all the things 
she suggested as suitable for a nice supper. Susan had 
been learning rapidly since she joined the theatrical 
profession. She saw why this fine old woman was get- 
ting poorer steadily, was arranging to spend her last 
years in an almshouse. (What a queer world it was! 
What a strange way for a good God to order things! 
The better you were, the worse off you were. No doubt 
it was Burlingham's lifelong goodness of heart as shown 
in his generosity to her, that had kept him down. It 
was the same way with her dead mother she had been 
loving and trusting, had given generously without 
thought of self, with generous confidence in the man 
she loved and had paid with reputation and life. 

She compelled Burlingham to take what was left of 
her fifty dollars. "You wouldn't like to make me feel 
mean," was the argument she used. "I must put in 
what I've got the same as you do. Now, isn't that 
fair?" And as he was dead broke and had been unable 
to borrow, he did not oppose vigorously. 

She assumed that after a day or two spent in getting 
his bearings he would take her with him as he went look- 

269 



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ing. When she suggested it, he promptly vetoed it. 
"That isn't the way business is done in the profession," 
said he. "The star you're the star keeps in the 
background, and her manager that's me does the 
hustling." 

She had every reason for believing this; but as the 
days passed with no results, sitting about waiting began 
to get upon her nerves. Mrs. Redding had the remnant 
of her dead husband's library, and he had been a man 
of broad taste in literature. But Susan, ardent reader 
though she was, could not often lose herself in books 
now. She was too impatient for realities, too anxious 
about them. 

Burlingham remained equable, neither hopeful nor 
gloomy; he made her feel that he was strong, and it 
gave her strength. Thus she was not depressed when 
on the last day of their week he said: "I think we'd 
better push on to Cincinnati tomorrow. There's noth- 
ing here, and we've got to get placed before our cash 
gives out. In Cincinnati there are a dozen places to 
one in this snide town." 

The idea of going to Cincinnati gave her a qualm of 
fear ; but it passed away when she j&fmderod how she 
had dropped out of the world. "They think I'm dead,'* 
she reflected. "Anyhow, I'd never be looked for among 
the kind of people I'm in with now." The past with 
which she had broken seemed so far away and so dim 
to her that she could not but feel it must seem so to 
those who knew her in her former life. She had such 
a sense of her own insignificance, now that she knew 
something of the vastness and business of the world, 
that she was without a suspicion of the huge scandal 
and excitement her disappearance had caused in Suther- 
land. 

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To Cincinnati they went next day by the L. and N. 
and took two tiny rooms in the dingy old Walnut Street 
House, at a special rate five dollars a week for the 
two, as a concession to the profession. "We'll eat in 
cheap restaurants and spread our capital out," said 
Burlingham. "I want you to get placed right, not 
just placed." He bought a box of blacking and a 
brush, instructed her in the subtle art of making a 
front an art whereof he was past master, as Susan 
had long since learned. "Never let yourself look poor 
or act poor, until you simply have to throw up the 
sponge," said he. "The world judges by appearances. 
Put your first money and your last into clothes. And 
never never tell a hard-luck story. Always seem to 
be doing well and comfortably looking out for a chance 
to do better. The whole world runs from seedy people 
and whimperers." 

"Am I that way?" she asked nervously. 

"Not a bit," declared he. "The day you came up 
to me in Carrollton I knew you were playing in the 
hardest kind of hard luck because of what I had hap- 
pened to see and hear and guess. But you weren't 
looking for pity and that was what I liked. And it 
made me feel you had the stuff in you. I'd not waste 
breath teaching a whiner or a cheap skate. You couldn't 
be cheap if you tried. The reason I talk to you about 
these things is so you'll learn to put the artistic touches 
by instinct into what you do." 

"You've taken too much trouble for me," said the 
girl. 

"Don't you believe it, my dear," laughed he. "If I 
can do with you what I hope I've an instinct that if 
I win out for you, I'll come into my own at last." 

"You've taught me a lot," said she. 



X 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I wonder," replied he. "That is, I wonder how 
much you've learned. Perhaps enough to keep you 
not to keep from being knocked down by fate, but 
to get on your feet afterward. I hope so I hope 
so." 

They dropped coffee, bought milk by the bottle, he 
smuggling it to their rooms disguised as a roll of news- 
papers. They carried in rolls also, and cut down their 
restaurant meals to supper which they got for twenty- 
five cents apiece at a bakery restaurant in Seventh 
Street. There is a way of resorting to these little 
economies a snobbish, self-despairing way that 
makes them sordid and makes the person indulg- 
ing in them sink lower and lower. But Burlingham 
could not have taken that way. He was the adven- 
turer born, was a hardy seasoned campaigner who 
had never looked on life in the snob's way, had never 
felt the impulse to apologize for his defeats or to 
grow haughty over his successes. Susan was an apt 
pupil; and for the career that lay before her his 
instructions were invaluable. He was teaching her how 
to keep the craft afloat and shipshape through the 
worst weather that can sweep the sea of life. 

"How do you make yourself look always neat and 
clean?" he asked. 

She confessed: "I wash out my things at night and 
hang them on the inside of the shutters to dry. They're 
ready to wear again in the morning." 

"Getting on!" cried he, full of admiration. "They 
simply can't down us, and they might as well give up 
trying." 

"But I don't look neat," sighed she. "I can't iron." 

"No that's the devil of it," laughed he. He pulled 
aside his waistcoat and she saw he was wearing a dickey. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"And my cuffs are pinned in," he said. "I have to be 
careful about raising and lowering my arms." 

"Can't I wash out some things for you?" she said, 
then hurried on to put it more strongly. "Yes, give 
them to me when we get back to the hotel." 

"It does help a man to feel he's clean underneath. 
And we've got nothing to waste on laundries." 

"I wish I hadn't spent that fifteen cents to have my 
heels straightened and new steels put in them." She 
had sat in a cobbler's while this repair to the part of 
her person she was most insistent upon had been ef- 
fected. 

He laughed. "A good investment, that," said he. 
"I've been noticing how you always look nice about the 
feet. Keep it up. The surest sign of a sloven and a 
failure, of a moral, mental, and physical no-good is 
down-at-the-heel. Always keep your heels straight, 
Lorna." 

And never had he given her a piece of advice more 
to her liking. She thought she knew now why she had 
always been so particular about her boots and shoes, 
her slippers and her stockings. He had given her a 
new confidence in herself in a strength within her 
somewhere beneath the weakness she was always seeing 
and feeling. 

Not until she thought it out afterward did she realize 
what they were passing through, what frightful days 
of failure he was enduring. [He acted like the steady- 
nerved gambler at life that he was. He was not one 
of those more or less weak losers who have to make 
desperate efforts to conceal a fainting heart. His heart 
was not fainting. He simply played calmly on, feeling 
that the next throw was as likely to be for as against 
She kept close to her room, walking about there 
273 



SUSAN LENOX 



she had never been much of a sitter thinking, prac- 
ticing the new songs he had got for her character 
songs in which he trained her as well as he could with- 
out music or costume or any of the accessories. He 
also had an idea for a church scene, with her in a choir 
boy's costume, singing the most moving of the simple 
religious songs to organ music. She from time to time 
urged him to take her on the rounds with him. But he 
stood firm, giving always the same reason of the custom 
in the profession. Gradually, perhaps by some form of 
that curious process of infiltration that goes on between 
two minds long in intimate contact, the conviction came 
to her that the reason he alleged was not his real rea- 
son; but as she had absolute confidence in him she felt 
that there was some good reason or he would not keep 
her in the background and that his silence about it 
must be respected. So she tried to hide from him how 
weary and heartsick inaction was making her, how hard 
it was for her to stay alone so many hours each day. 

As he watched her closely, it soon dawned on him 
that something was wrong, and after a day or so he 
worked out the explanation. He found a remedy the 
reading room of the public library where she could 
make herself almost content the whole day long. 

He began to have a haggard look, and she saw he 
was sick, was keeping up his strength with whisky. "It's 
only this infernal summer cold I caught in the smash- 
up," he explained. "I can't shake it, but neither can 
it get me down. I'd not dare fall sick. What'd become 
of us?" 

She knew that "us" meant only herself. Her mind 
had been aging rapidly in those long periods of un- 
broken reflection. To develop a human being, leave him 
or her alone most of the time ; it is too much company, 

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SUSAN LENOX 



too little time to digest and assimilate, that keep us 
thoughtless and unformed until life is half over. She 
astonished him by suddenly announcing one evening: 

"I am a drag on you. I'm going to take a place in 
a store." 

He affected an indignation so artistic that it ought 
to have been convincing. "I'm ashamed of you!" he 
cried. "I see you're losing your nerve." 

This was ingenious, but it did not succeed. "You 
can't deceive me any longer," was her steady answer. 
"Tell me honest couldn't you have got something to 
do long ago, if it hadn't been for trying to do some- 
thing for me?" 

"Sure," replied he, too canny to deny the obvious. 
"But what has that to do with it? If I'd had a living 
offer, I'd have taken it. But at my age a man doesn't 
dare take certain kinds of places. It'd settle him for 
life. And I'm playing for a really big stake and I'll 
win. When I get what I want for you, we'll make as 
much money a month as I could make a year. Trust 
me, my dear." 

It was plausible; and her "loss of nerve" was visibly 
aggravating his condition the twitching of hands and 
face, the terrifying brightness of his eyes, of the color 
in the deep hollows under his cheek bones. But she felt 
that she must persist. "How much money have we 
got?" she asked. 

"Oh a great deal enough." 

"You must play square with me," said she. "I'm not 
a baby, but a woman and your partner." 

"Don't worry me, child. We'll talk about it to- 
morrow." 

"How much? You've no right to hide things from 
me. You hurt me." 

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"Eleven dollars and eighty cents when this bill for 
supper's paid and the waitress tipped." 

"I'll try for a place in a store," said she. 

"Don't talk that way or think that way," cried he 
angrily. "There's where so many people fail in life. 
They don't stick to their game. I wish to God I'd had 
sense enough to break straight for Chicago or New 
York. But it's too late now. What I lack is nerve 
nerve to do the big, bold things my brains show me I 
ought." 

His distress was so obvious that she let the subject 
drop. That night she lay awake as she had fallen into 
the habit of doing. But instead of purposeless, rambling 
thoughts, she was trying definitely to plan a search for 
work. Toward three in the morning she heard him 
tossing and muttering for the wall between their 
rooms was merely plastered laths covered with paper. 
She tried his door ; it was locked. She knocked, got no 
answer but incoherent ravings. She roused the office, 
and the night porter forced the door. Burlingham's 
gas was lighted ; he was sitting up in bed a haggard, 
disheveled, insane man, raving on and on names of 
men and women she had never heard oaths, disjointed 
sentences. 

"Brain fever, I reckon," said the porter. "I'll call a 
doctor." 

In a few minutes Susan was gladdened by the sight 
of a young man wearing the familiar pointed beard 
and bearing the familiar black bag. He made a care- 
ful examination, asked her many questions, finally said: 

"Your father has typhoid, I fear. He must be taken 
to a hospital." 

"But we have very little money," said Susan. 

"I understand," replied the doctor, marveling at the 
276 



SUSAN LENOX 



calmness of one so young. "The hospital I mean is 
free. I'll send for an ambulance." 

While fehey were waiting beside - Burlingham, whom 
the doctor had drugged into unconsciousness with a 
hypodermic, Susan said : "Can I go to the hospital and 
take care of him?" 

"No," replied the doctor. "You can only call and 
inquire how he is, until he's well enough to see you." 

"And how long will that be?" 

"I can't say." He hadn't the courage to tell her it 
would be three weeks at least, perhaps six or seven. 

He got leave of the ambulance surgeon for Susan to 
ride to the hospital, and he went along himself. As the 
ambulance sped through the dimly lighted streets with 
clanging bell and heavy pounding of the horse's hoofs 
on the granite pavement, Susan knelt beside Burling- 
ham, holding one of his hot hands. She was remem- 
bering how she had said that she would die for him 
and here it was he that was dying for her. And her 
heart was heavy with a load of guilt, the heaviest she 
was ever to feel in her life. She could not know how^ )( 
misfortune is really the lot of human beings ; it seemed 
to her that a special curse attended her, striking down 
all who befriended her. 

They dashed up to great open doors of the hospital. 
Burlingham was lifted, was carried swiftly into the 
receiving room. Susan with tearless eyes bent over, 
embraced him lingeringly, kissed his fiery brow, his 
wasted cheeks. One of the surgeons in white duck 
touched her on the arm. 

"We can't delay," he said. 

"No indeed," she replied, instantly drawing back. 

She watched the stretcher on wheels go noiselessly 
down the corridor toward the elevator and when it was 
10 277 



SUSAN LENOX 



gone she still continued to look. "You can come at 
any hour to inquire," said the young doctor who had 
accompanied her. "Now we'll go into the office and 
have the slip made out." 

They entered a small room, divided unequally by a 
barrier desk; behind it stood a lean, coffee-sallowed 
young man with a scrawny neck displayed to the utter- 
most by a standing collar scarcely taller than the band 
of a shirt. He directed at Susan one of those ob- 
trusively shrewd glances which shallow people practice 
and affect to create the impression that they have a 
genius for character reading. He drew a pad of blank 
forms toward him, wiped a pen on the mat into which 
his mouse-colored hair was reached above his right tem- 
ple. "Well, miss, what's the patient's name?" 

"Robert Burlingham." 

"Age?" 

"I don't know." 

"About what?" 

"I I don't know. I guess he isn't very young. But 
I don't know." 

"Put down forty, Sim," said the doctor. 

"Very well, Doctor Hamilton." Then to Susan: 
"Color white, I suppose. Nativity?" 

Susan recalled that she had heard him speak of 
Liverpool as his birthplace. "English," said she. 

"Profession?" 

"Actor." 

"Residence?" 

"He hasn't any. It was sunk at Jeffersonville. We 
stop at the Walnut Street House." 

"Walnut Street House. Was he married or single?" 

"Single." Then she recalled some of the disconnected 
ravings. "I I don't know." 

278 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Single," said the clerk. "No, I guess I'll put it 
widower. Next friend or relative?" 

"I am." 

"Daughter. First name?" 

"I am not his daughter." 

"Oh, niece. Full name, please." 

"I am no relation just his his friend." 

Sim the clerk looked up sharply. Hamilton red- 
dened, glowered at him. "I understand," said Sim, leer- 
ing at her. And in a tone that reeked insinuation which 
quite escaped her, he went on, "We'll put your name 
down. What is it?" 

"Lorna Sackville." 

"You don't look English not at all the English 
style of beauty, eh Doctor?" 

"That's all, Miss Sackville," said Hamilton, with a 
scowl at the clerk. Susan and he went out into Twelfth 
Street. Hamilton from time to time stole a glance of 
sympathy and inquiry into the sad young face, as he 
and she walked eastward together. "He's a strong man 
and sure to pull through," said the doctor. "Are you 
alone at the hotel?" 

"I've nobody but him in the world," replied she. 

"I was about to venture to advise that you go to 
a boarding house," pursued the young man. 

"Thank you. I'll see." 

"There's one opposite the hospital a reasonable 
place." 

"I've got to go to work," said the girl, to herself 
rather than to him. 

"Oh, you have a position." 

Susan did not reply, and he assumed that she had. 

"If you don't mind, I'd like to call and see Mr. 
Burlingham. The physicians at the hospital are per- 

279 



SUSAN LENOX 



fectly competent, as good as there are in the city. 
But I'm not very busy, and I'd be glad to go." 

"We haven't any money," said the girl. "And I 
don't know when we shall have. I don't want to deceive 
you." 

"I understand perfectly," said the young man, look- 
ing at her with interested but respectful eyes. "I'm 
poor, myself, and have just started." 

"Will they treat him well, when he's got no money?" 

"As well as if he paid." 

"And you will go and see that everything's all right ?" 

"It'll be a pleasure." 

Under a gas lamp he took out a card and gave it 
to her. She thanked him and put it in the bosom of 
her blouse where lay all the money they had the 
eleven dollars and eighty cents. They walked to the 
hotel, as cars were few at that hour. He did all the 
talking assurances that her "father" could not fail 
to get well, that typhoid wasn't anything like the se- 
rious disease it used to be, and that he probably had 
a light form of it. The girl listened, but her heart 
could not grow less heavy. As he was leaving her at 
the hotel door, he hesitated, then asked if she wouldn't 
let him call and take her to the hospital the next morn- 
ing, or, rather, later that same morning. She accepted 
gratefully; she hoped that, if he were with her, she 
would be admitted to see Burlingham and could assure 
herself that he was well taken care of. 

The night porter tried to detain her for a little chat. 
"Well," said he, "it's a good hospital for you folks 
with money. Of course, for us poor people it's differ- 
ent. You couldn't hire me to go there." 

Susan turned upon him. "Why not?" she asked. 

"Oh, if a man's poor, or can't pay for nice quarters, 
280 



SUSAN LENOX 



they treat him any old way. Yes, they're good doctors 
and all that. But they're like everybody else. They 
don't give a dam for poor people. But your uncle'll 
be all right there." 

For the first time in her life Susan did not close her 
eyes in sleep. 

The young doctor was so moved by her worn appear- 
ance that he impulsively said : "Have you some troubles 
you've said nothing about? Please don't hesitate to 
tell me." 

"Oh, you needn't worry about me," replied she. "I 
simply didn't sleep that's all. Do they treat charity 
patients badly at the hosiptal?" 

"Certainly not," declared he earnestly. "Of course, 
a charity patient can't have a room to himself. But 
that's no disadvantage." 

"How much is a room?" 

"The cheapest are ten dollars a week. That includes 
private attendance : a little better nursing than the 
public patients get perhaps. But, really Miss Sack- 
vffle " 

"He must have a room," said Susan. 

"You are sure you can afford it? The difference 
isn't 

"He must have a room." She held out a ten-dollar 
bill ten dollars of the eleven dollars and eighty cents. 
"This'll pay for the first week. You fix it, won't you?" 

Young Doctor Hamilton hesitatingly took the money. 
"You are quite, quite sure, Miss Sackville? Quite sure 
you can afford this extravagance for it is an extrava- 
gance." 

"He must have the best we can afford," evaded she. 

She waited in the office while Hamilton went up. 
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SUSAN LENOX 



When he came down after perhaps half an hour, he 
had an air of cheerfulness. "Everything going nicely," 
said he. 

Susan's violet-gray eyes gazed straight into his 
brown eyes; and the brown eyes dropped. "You are 
not telling me the truth," said she. 

"I'm not denying he's a very sick man," protested 
Hamilton. 

"Is he " 

She could not pronounce the word. 

"Nothing like that believe me, nothing. He has 
the chances all with him." 

And Susan tried to believe. "He will have a room?" 

"He has a room. That's why I was so long. And 
I'm glad he has for, to be perfectly honest, the attend- 
ance not the treatment, but the attendance is much 
better for private patients." 

Susan was looking at the floor. Presently she drew 
a long breath, rose. "Well, I must be going," said she. 
And she went to the street, he accompanying her. 

"If you're going back to the hotel," said he, "I'm 
walking that way." 

"No, I've got to go this way," replied she, looking 
up Elm Street. 

He saw she wished to be alone, and left her with the 
promise to see Burlingham again that afternoon and 
let her know at the hotel how he was getting on. He 
went east, she north. At the first corner she stopped, 
glanced back to make sure he was not following. From 
her bosom she drew four business cards. She had taken 
the papers from the pockets of Burlingham's clothes 
and from the drawer of the table in his room, to put 
them all together for safety ; she had found these cards, 
the addresses of theatrical agents. As she looked at 



SUSAN LENOX 



them, she remembered Burlingham's having said that 
Blynn Maurice Blynn, at Vine and Ninth Streets 
might give them something at one of the "over the 
Rhine" music halls, as a last resort. She noted the 
address, put away the cards and walked on, looking 
about for a policeman. Soon she came to a bridge over 
a muddy stream a little river, she thought at first, 
then remembered that it must be the canal the Rhine, 
as it was called, because the city's huge German popu- 
lation lived beyond it, keeping up the customs and even 
the language of the fatherland. She stood on the 
bridge, watching the repulsive waters from which arose 
the stench of sewage; watching canal boats dragged 
drearily by mules with harness-worn hides; followed 
with her melancholy eyes the course of the canal under 
bridge after bridge, through a lane of dirty, noisy 
factories pouring out from lofty chimneys immense 
clouds of black smoke. It ought to have been a bright 
summer day, but the sun shone palely through the 
dense clouds; a sticky, sooty moisture saturated the 
air, formed a skin of oily black ooze over everything 
exposed to it. A policeman, a big German, with stupid 
honest face, brutal yet kindly, came lounging along. 

"I beg your pardon," said Susan, "but would you 
mind telling me where " she had forgotten the address, 
fumbled in her bosom for the cards, showed him Blynn's 
card "how I can get to this?" 

The policeman nodded as he read the address. "Keep 
on this way, lady" he pointed his baton south "until 
you've passed four streets. At the fifth street turn 
east. Go one two three four five streets east. 
Understand?" 

"Yes, thank you," said the girl with the politeness of 
deep gratitude. 

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"You'll be at Vine. You'll see the name on the street 
lamp. Blynn's on the southwest corner. Think you 
can find it?" 

"I'm sure I can." 

"I'm going that way,' 9 continued the policeman. 
"But you'd better walk ahead. If you walked with me, 
they'd think you was pinched and we'd have a crowd 
after us." And he laughed with much shaking of his 
fat, tightly belted body. 

Susan contrived to force a smile, though the sugges- 
tion of such a disgraceful scene made her shudder. 
"Thank you so much. I'm sure I'll find it." And she 
hastened on, eager to put distance between herself and 
that awkward company. 

"Don't mention it, lady," the policeman called after 
her, tapping his baton on the rim of his helmet, as a 
mark of elegant courtesy. 

She was not at ease until, looking back, she no longer 
saw the bluecoat for the intervening crowds. After sev- 
eral slight mistakes in the way, she descried ahead of 
her a large sign painted on the wall of a three-story 
brick building: 

MAURICE BLYNN, THEATRICAL AGENT 
ALL KINDS OF TALENT PLACED AND SUPPLIED 

After some investigation she discovered back of the 
saloon which occupied the street floor a grimy and un- 
even wooden staircase leading to the upper stories. At 
the first floor she came face to face with a door on 
the glass of which was painted the same announcement 
she had read from the wall. She knocked timidly, then 
louder. A shrill voice came from the interior: 

"The door's open. Come in." 

She turned the knob and entered a small, low-ceil- 
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SUSAN LENOX 



inged room whose general grime was streaked here and 
there with smears of soot. It contained a small wooden 
table at which sprawled a freckled and undernourished 
office boy, and a wooden bench where fretted a woman 
obviously of "the profession." She was dressed in 
masses of dirty white furbelows. On her head reared 
a big hat, above an incredible quantity of yellow hair ; 
on the hat were badly put together plumes of badly 
curled ostrich feathers. Beneath her skirt was visible 
one of her feet ; it was large and fat, was thrust into a 
tiny slipper with high heel ending under the arch of the 
foot. The face of the actress was young and pertly 
pretty, but worn, overpainted, overpowdered and un- 
derwashed. She eyed Susan insolently. 

"Want to see the boss?" said the boy. 

"If you please," murmured Susan. 

"Business ?" 

"I'm looking for a for a place." 

The boy examined her carefully. "Appointment?" 

"No, sir," replied the girl. 

"Well he'll see you, anyhow," said the boy, rising. 

The mass of plumes and yellow bangs and furbelows 
on the bench became violently agitated. "I'm first," 
cried the actress. 

"Oh, you sit tight, Mame," jeered the boy. He 
opened a solid door behind him. Through the crack 
Susan saw busily writing at a table desk a bald, fat 
man with a pasty skin and a veined and bulbous nose. 

"Lady to see you," said the boy in a tone loud 
enough for both Susan and the actress to hear. 

"Who? What name?" snapped the man, not ceasing 
or looking up. 

"She's young, and a queen," said the boy. "Shall I 
show her in?" 

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"Yep." 

The actress started up. "Mr. Blynn " she be- 
gan in a loud, threatening, elocutionary voice. 

" 'Lo, Mame," said Blynn, still busy. "No time to 
see you. Nothing doing. So long." 

"But, Mr. Blynn " 

"Bite it off, Mame," ordered the boy. "Walk in, 
miss." 

Susan, deeply colored from sympathy with the hu- 
miliated actress and from nervousness in those forbid- 
ding and ominous surroundings, entered the private 
office. The boy closed the door behind her. The pen 
scratched on. Presently the man said: 

"Well, my dear, what's your name?" 

With the last word, the face lifted and Susan saw a 
seamed and pitted skin, small pale blue eyes showing 
the white, or rather the bloodshot yellow all round the 
iris, a heavy mouth and jaw, thick lips; the lower lip 
protruded and was decorated with a blue-black spot 
like a blood boil, as if to indicate where the incessant 
cigar usually rested. At first glance into Susan's sweet, 
young face the small eyes sparkled and danced, traveled 
on to the curves of her form. 

"Do sit down, my dear," said he in a grotesquely 
wheedling voice. She took the chair close to him as it 
was the only one in the little room. 

"What can I do for you ? My, how fresh and pretty 
you are!" 

"Mr. Burlingham " began Susan. 

"Oh you're the girl Bob was talking about." He 
smiled and nodded at her. "No wonder he kept you 
out of sight." He inventoried her charms again with 
his sensual, confident glance. "Bob certainly has got 
good taste." 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"He's in the hospital," said Susan desperately. "So 
I've come to get a place if you can find me one." 

"Hospital? I'm sorry to hear that." And Mr. 
Blynn's tones had that accent of deep sympathy which 
get a man or woman without further evidence credit for 
being "kind-hearted whatever else he is." 

"Yes, he's very ill with typhoid," said the girl. "I 
must do something right away to help him." 

"That's fine fine," said Mr. Blynn in the same ef- 
fective tone. "I see you're as sweet as you are pretty. 
Yes that's fine fine!" And the moisture was in the 
little eyes. "Well, I think I can do something for you. 
I must do something for you. Had much experience? 
Professional, I mean." 

Mr. Blynn laughed at his, to Susan, mysterious joke. 
Susan smiled faintly in polite response. He rubbed his 
hands and smacked his lips, the small eyes dancing. 
The moisture had vanished. 

"Oh, yes, I can place you, if you can do anything 
at all," he went on. "I'd 'a' done it long ago, if Bob 
had let me see you. But he was too foxy. He ought to 
be ashamed of himself, standing in the way of your 
getting on, just out of jealousy. Sing or dance or 
both?" 

"I can sing a little, I think," said Susan. 

"Now, that's modest. Ever worn tights ?" 

Susan shook her head, a piteous look in her violet- 
gray eyes. 

"Oh, you'll soon get used to that. And mighty well 
you'll look in 'em, I'll bet, eh? Where did Bob get 
you? And when?" Before she could answer, he went 
on, "Let's see, I've got a date for this evening, but 
I'll put it off. And she's a peach, too. So you see 
what a hit you've made with me. We'll have a nice 

287 



SUSAN LENOX 



little dinner at the Hotel du Rhine and talk things 
over." 

"Couldn't I go to work right away?" asked the girl. 

"Sure. I'll have you put on at Schaumer's tomorrow 

night " He looked shrewdly, laughingly, at her, 

with contracted eyelids. "// everything goes well. Be- 
fore I do anything for you, I have to see what you can 
do for me." And he nodded and smacked his lips. "Oh, 
we'll have a lovely little dinner !" He looked expectantly 
at her. "You certainly are a queen! What a dainty 
little hand !" He reached out one of his hands puffy 
as if it had been poisoned, very white, with stubby fin- 
gers. Susan reluctantly yielded her hand to his 
close, mushy embrace. "No rings. That's a shame, 

petty " He was talking as if to a baby. "That'll 

have to be fixed yes, it will, my little sweetie. My, 
how nice and fresh you are!" And his great nostrils, 
repulsively hairy within, deeply pitted without, sniffed 
as if over an odorous flower. 

Susan drew her hand away. "What will they give 
me?" she asked. 

"How greedy it is !" he wheedled. "Well, you'll get 
plenty plenty." 

"How much?" said the girl. "Is it a salary?" 

"Of course, there's the regular salary. But that 
won't amount to much. You know how those things 
are." 

"How much?" 

"Oh, say a dollar a night until you make a hit." 

"Six dollars a week." 

" Seven. This is a Sunday town. Sunday's the big 
day. You'll have Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 
matinees, but they don't pay for them." 

"Seven dollars a week." And the hospital wanted 
288 



SUSAN LENOX 



ten. "Couldn't I get about fifteen or fourteen? I 
think I could do on fourteen." 

"Rather! I was talking only of the salary. You'll 
make a good many times fifteen if you play your 
cards right. It's true Schaumer draws only a beer 
crowd. But as soon as the word flies round that you're 
there, the boys with the boodle'll flock in. Oh, you'll 
wear the sparklers all right, pet." 

Rather slowly it was penetrating to Susan what Mr- 
Blynn had in mind. "I'd I'd rather take a regular 
salary," said she. "I must have ten a week for him. I 
can live any old way." 

"Oh, come off!" cried Mr. Blynn with a wink. 
"What's your game? Anyhow, don't play it on me. 
You understand that you can't get something for noth- 
ing. It's all very well to love your friend and be true 
to him. But he can't expect he'll not ask you to queer 
yourself. That sort of thing don't go in the profes- 
sion. . . . Come now, I'm willing to set you on your 
feet, give you a good start, if you'll play fair with me 
show appreciation. Will you or won't you?" 

"You mean ' began Susan, and paused there, 
looking at him with grave questioning eyes. 

His own eyes shifted. "Yes, I mean that. I'm a 
business man, not a sentimentalist. I don't want love. 
I've got no time for it. But when it comes to giving 
a girl of the right sort a square deal and a good time, 
why you'll find I'm as good as there is going." He 
reached for her hands again, his empty, flabby chin 
bags quivering. "I want to help Bob, and I want to 
help you." 

She rose slowly, pushing her chair back. She under- 
stood now why Burlingham had kept her in the back- 
ground, why his quest had been vain, why ?t had fretted 

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SUSAN LENOX 



him into mortal illness. "I couldn't do that," she 
said. "I'm sorry, but I couldn't." 

He looked at her in a puzzled way. "You belong to 
Bob, don't you?" 

"No." 

"You mean you're straight a good girl?" 

"Yes." 

He was half inclined to believe her, so impressive was 
her quiet natural way, in favorable contrast to the 
noisy protests of women posing as virtuous. "Well 
if that's so why you'd better drop out of the profes- 
sion and get away from Bob Burlingham." 

"Can't I have a place without what you said?" 

"Not as pretty a girl as you. And if they ain't 
pretty the public don't want 'em." 

Susan went to the door leading into the office. "No 
the other door," said Blynn hastily. He did not 
wish the office boy to read his defeat in Susan's coun- 
tenance. He got up himself, opened the door into the 
hall. Susan passed out. "Think it over," said he, eyes 
and mouth full of longing. "Come round in a day or 
two, and we'll have another talk." 

"Thank you," said Susan. She felt no anger against 
him. She felt about him as she had about Jeb Fergu- 
son. It was not his fault; it was simply the way life 
was lived part of the general misery and horror of 
the established order like marriage and the rest of it. 

"I'll treat you white," urged Blynn, tenderly. "I've 
got a soft heart that's why I'll never get rich. Any 
of the others'd ask more and give less." 

She looked at him with an expression that haunted 
him for several hours. "Thank you. Good-by," she 
said, and went down the narrow, rickety stairs and 
out into the confused maze of streets full of strangers. 

290 



XVII 

AT the hotel again, she went to Burlingham's room, 
gathered his belongings his suit, his well-worn, 
twice-tapped shoes, his one extra suit of under- 
clothes, a soiled shirt, two dickeys and cuffs, his whisk 
broom, toothbrush, a box of blacking, the blacking 
brush. She made the package as compact as she could 
it was still a formidable bundle both for size and 
weight and carried it into her room. Then she rolled 
into a small parcel her own possessions two blouses, 
an undervest, a pair of stockings, a nightgown re- 
minder of Bethlehem and her brief sip at the cup of 
success a few toilet articles. With the two bundles 
she descended to the office. 

"I came to say," she said calmly to the clerk, "that 
we have no money to pay what we owe. Mr. Burling- 
ham is at the hospital very sick with typhoid. Here 
is a dollar and eighty cents. You can have that, but 
I'd like to keep it, as it's all we've got." 

The clerk called the manager, and to him Susan re- 
peated. She used almost the same words ; she spoke 
in the same calm, monotonous way. When she finished, 
the manager, a small, brisk man with a large brisk 
beard, said : 

"No. Keep the money. I'd like to ask you to stay 
on. But we run this place for a class of people who 
haven't much at best and keep wobbling back and forth 
across the line. If I broke my rule ' 

He made a furious gesture, looked at the girl 
angrily holding her responsible for his being in a posi- 

291 



SUSAN LENOX 



tion where he must do violence to every decent instinct 
"My God, miss, I've got a wife and children to look 
after. If I ran my hotel on sympathy, what'd become 
of them?" 

"I wouldn't take anything I couldn't pay for," said 
Susan. "As soon as I earn some money " 

"Don't worry about that," interrupted the manager. 
He saw now that he was dealing with one who would in 
no circumstances become troublesome; he went on in 
an easier tone: "You can stay till the house fills up." 

"Could you give me a place to wait on table and 
clean up rooms or help cook?" 

"No, I don't need anybody. The town's full of peo- 
ple out of work. You can't ask me to turn away " 

"Please I didn't know," cried the girl. 

"Anyhow, I couldn't give but twelve a month and 
board," continued the manager. "And the work for 
a lady like you " 

A lady ! She dropped her gaze in confusion. If he 
knew about her birth! 

"I'll do anything. I'm not a lady," said she. "But 
I've got to have at least ten a week in cash." 

"No such place here." The manager was glad to 
find the fault of uppish ideas in this girl who was mak- 
ing it hard for him to be businesslike. "No such place 
anywhere for a beginner." 

"I must have it," said the girl. 

"I don't want to discourage you, but " He was 

speaking less curtly, for her expression made him sus- 
pect why she was bent upon that particular amount. 
"I hope you'll succeed. Only don't be depressed if 
you're disappointed." 

She smiled gravely at him; he bowed, avoiding her 
eyes. She took up her bundles and went out into Wal- 



SUSAN LENOX 



nut Street. He moved a few steps in obedience to an 
impulse to follow her, to give her counsel and warning, 
to offer to help her about the larger bundle. But 
checked himself with the frown of his own not too pros- 
perous affairs. 

It was the hottest part of the day, and her way lay 
along unshaded streets. As she had eaten nothing since 
the night before, she felt faint. Her face was ghastly 
when she entered the office of the hospital and left Bur- 
lingham's parcel. The clerk at the desk told her that 
Burlingham was in the same condition "and there'll 
be probably no change one way or the other for several 
days." 

She returned to the street, wandered aimlessly about. 
She knew she ought to eat something, but the idea of 
food revolted her. She was fighting the temptation 
to go to the Commercial office, Roderick Spenser's 
office. She had not a suspicion that his kindness might 
have been impulse, long since repented of, perhaps re- 
pented of as soon as he was away from her. She felt 
that if she went to him he would help her. "But I 
mustn't do it," she said to herself. "Not after what I 
did." No, she must not see him until she could pay 
him back. Also, and deeper, there was a feeling that 
there was a curse upon her; had not everyone who be- 
friended her come to grief? She must not draw anyone 
else into trouble, must not tangle others in the meshes 
of her misfortunes. She did not reason this out, of 
course ; but the feeling was not the less strong because 
the reasons for it were vague in her mind. And there 
was nothing vague about the resolve to which she finally 
came that she would fight her battle herself. 

Her unheeding wanderings led her after an hour or 
so to a big department store. Crowds of shoppers, 




SUSAN LENOX 



mussy, hot, and cross, were pushing rudely in and out 
of the doors. She entered, approached a well-dressed, 
bareheaded old gentleman, whom she rightly placed as 
floorwalker, inquired of him: 

"Where do they ask for work?" 

She had been attracted to him because his was the 
one face within view not suggesting temper or at least 
bad humor. It was more than pleasant, it was benign. 
He inclined toward Susan with an air that invited con- 
fidence and application for balm for a wounded spirit. 
The instant the nature of her inquiry penetrated 
through his pose to the man himself, there was a swift 
change to lofty disdain the familiar attitude of work- 
ers toward fellow-workers of what they regard as a 
lower class. Evidently he resented her having be- 
guiled him by the false air of young lady into wasting 
upon her, mere servility like himself, a display reserved 
exclusively for patrons. It was Susan's first experience 
of this snobbishness; it at once humbled her into the 
dust. She had been put in her place, and that place 
was not among people worthy of civil treatment. A 
girl of his own class would have flashed at him, prob- 
ably would have "jawed" him. Susan meekly submit- 
ted; she was once more reminded that she was an out- 
cast, one for whom the respectable world had no place. 
He made some sort of reply to her question, in the 
tone the usher of a fashionable church would use to a 
stranger obviously not in the same set as the habitues. 
She heard the tone, but not the words ; she turned away 
to seek the street again. | She wandered on through 
the labyrinth of streets, through the crowds on crowds 
of strangers. I 

Ten dollars a week! She knew little about wages, 
but enough to realize the hopelessness of her quest. 

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SUSAN LENOX 



Ten dollars a week and her own keep beside. [The 
faces of the crowds pushing past her and jostling her 
made her heartsick. So much sickness, and harass- 
ment, and discontent so much unhappiness ! Surely 
all these sad hearts ought to be kind to each other. 
Yet they were not ; each soul went sejfishlv alone, think- 
ing only of its own burdenj 

She walked on and on, thinking, in this disconnected 
way characteristic of a good intelligence that has not 
yet developed order and sequence, a theory of life and 
a purpose. It had always been her habit to walk about 
rather than to sit, whether indoors or out. She could 
think better when in motion physically. When she was 
so tired that she began to feel weak, she saw a shaded 
square, with benches under the trees. She entered, sat 
down to rest. She might apply to the young doctor. 
But, no. He was poor and what chance was there of 
her ever making the money to pay back? No, she 
could not take alms ; than alms there was no lower way 
of getting money. She might return to Mr. Blynn and 
accept his offer. The man in all his physical horror 
rose before her. No, she could not do that. At least, 
not yet. She could entertain the idea as a possibility 
now. She remembered her wedding the afternoon, the 
night. Yes, Blynn's offer involved nothing so horrible 
as that and she had lived through that. It would be 
cowardice, treachery, to shrink from anything that 
should prove necessary in doing the square thing by 
the man who had done so much for her. She had said 
she would die for Burlingham ; she owed even that to 
him, if her death would help him. Had she then meant 
nothing but mere lying words of pretended gratitude? 
But Blynn was always there ; something else might turn 
up, and her dollar and eighty cents would last another 

295 



SUSAN LENOX 



day or so, and the ten dollars were not due for six days. 
No, she would not go to Blynn ; she would wait, would 
take his advice "think it over." 

A man was walking up and down the shaded alley, 
passing and repassing the bench where she sat. She 
observed him, saw that he was watching her. He was 
a young man a very young man of middle height, 
strongly built. He had crisp, short dark hair, a 
darkish skin, amiable blue-gray eyes, pleasing features. 
She decided that he was of good family, was home from 
some college on vacation. He was wearing a silk shirt, 
striped flannel trousers, a thin serge coat of an attrac- 
tive shade of blue. She liked his looks, liked the way 
he dressed. It pleased her that such a man should be 
interested in her; he had a frank and friendly air, and 
her sad young heart was horribly lonely. She pre- 
tended not to notice him; but after a while he walked 
up to her, lifting his straw hat. 

"Good afternoon," said he. When he showed his 
strong sharp teeth in an amiable smile, she thought of 
Sam Wright only this man was not weak and mean 
looking, like her last and truest memory picture of 
Sam indeed, the only one she had not lost. 

"Good afternoon," replied she politely. For in spite 
of Burlingham's explanations and cautionings she was 
still the small-town girl, unsuspicious toward courtesy 
from strange men. Also, she longed for someone to 
talk with. It had been weeks since she had talked with 
anyone nearer than Burlingham to her own age and 
breeding. 

"Won't you have lunch with me?" he asked. "I hate 
to eat alone." 

She, faint from hunger, simply could not help obvious 
hesitation before saying, "I don't think I care for any." 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"You haven't had yours have you?" 

"No." 

"May I sit down?" 

She moved along the bench to indicate that he might, 
without definitely committing herself. 

He sat, took off his hat. He had a clean, fresh look 
about the neck that pleased her. She was weary of 
seeing grimy, sweaty people, and of smelling them. 
Also, except the young doctor, since Roderick Spenser 
left her at Carrolltown she had talked with no one of 
her own age and class the class in which she had been 
brought up, the class that, after making her one of 
itself, had cast her out forever with its mark of shame 
upon her. Its mark of shame burning and stinging 
again as she sat beside this young man! 

"You're sad about something?" suggested he, him- 
self nearly as embarrassed as she. 

"My friend's ill. He's got typhoid." 

"That is bad. But he'll get all right. They always 
cure typhoid, nowadays if it's taken in time and the 
nursing's good. Everything depends on the nursing. 
I had it a couple of years ago, and pulled through 
easily." 

Susan brightened. He spoke so confidently that the 
appeal to her young credulity toward good news and 
the hopeful, cheerful thing was irresistible. "Oh, yes 
he'll be over it soon," the young man went on, "espe- 
cially if he's in a hospital where they've got the facilities 
for taking care of sick people. Where is he?" 

"In the hospital up that way." She moved her 
head vaguely in the direction of the northwest. 

"Oh, yes. It's a good one for the pay patients. I 
suppose for the poor devils that can't pay" he 
glanced with careless sympathy at the dozen or so 

297 



SUSAN LENOX 



tramps on benches nearby "it's like all the rest of 
'em like the whole world, for that matter. It must be 
awful not to have money enough to get on with, I 
mean. I'm talking about men." He smiled cheerfully. 
"With a woman if she's pretty it's different, of 
course." 

The girl was so agitated that she did not notice the 
sly, if shy, hint in the remark and its accompanying 
glance. Said she: 

"But it's a good hospital if you pay?" 

"None better. Maybe it's good straight through. 
I've only heard the servants' talk and servants are 
such liars. Still I'd not want to trust myself to a 
hospital unless I could pay. I guess the common people 
have good reason for their horror of free wards. Noth- 
ing free is ever good." 

The girl's face suddenly and startlingly grew almost 
hard, so fierce was the resolve that formed within 
her. The money must be got must! and would. 
She would try every way she could think of between 
now and to-morrow; then if she failed she would go 
to Blynn. 

The young man was saying: "You're a stranger in 
town?" 

"I was with a theatrical company on a show boat. 
It sank." 

His embarrassment vanished. She saw, but she did 
not understand that it was because he thought he had 
"placed" her and that her place was where he had 
hoped. 

"You are up against it !" said he. "Come have some 
lunch. You'll feel better." 

The good sense of this was unanswerable. Susan hesi- 
tated no longer, wondered why she had hesitated at 

298 



SUSAN LENOX 



first. "Well I guess I will." And she rose with a 
frank, childlike alacrity that amused him immensely. 

"You don't look it, but you've been about some 
haven't you?" 

"Rather," replied she. 

"I somehow thought you knew a thing or two." 

They walked west to Race Street. They were about 
the same height. Her costume might have been fresher, 
might have suggested to an expert eye the passed-on 
clothes of a richer relative; but her carriage and the 
fine look of skin and hair and features made the defects 
of dress unimportant. She seemed of his class of the 
class comfortable, well educated, and well-bred. If she 
had been more experienced, she would have seen that 
he was satisfied with her appearance despite the curious 
looking little package, and would have been flattered. 
As it was, her interest was absorbed in things apart 
from herself. He talked about the town the amuse- 
ments, the good times to be had at the over-the-Rhine 
beer halls, at the hilltop gardens, at the dances in the 
pavilion out at the Zoo. He drew a lively and charming 
picture, one that appealed to her healthy youth, to her 
unsatisfied curiosity, to her passionate desire to live the 
gay, free city life of which the small town reads and 
dreams. 

"You and I can go round together, can't we? I 
haven't got much, but I'll not try to take your time 
for nothing, of course. That wouldn't be square. I'm 
sure you'll have no cause to complain. What do you 
say?" 

"Maybe," replied the girl, all at once absentminded. 
Her brain was wildly busy with some ideas started 
there by his significant words, by his flirtatious glances 
at her, by his way of touching her whenever he could 

299 



SUSAN LENOX 



make opportunity. Evidently there was an alternative 
to Blynn. 

"You like a good time, don't you?" said he. 

"Rather!" exclaimed she, the violet eyes suddenly 
very violet indeed and sparkling. Her spirits had sud- 
denly soared. She was acting like one of her age. With 
that blessed happy hopefulness of healthy youth, she 
had put aside her sorrows not because she was frivol- 
ous but for the best of all reasons, because she was 
young and superbly vital. Said she : "I'm crazy about 
dancing and music." 

"I only needed to look at your feet and ankles to 
know that," ventured he the "ankles" being especially 
audacious. 

She was pleased, and in youth's foolish way tried to 
hide her pleasure by saying, "My feet aren't exactly 
small." 

"I should say not !" protested he with energy. "Lit- 
tle feet would look like the mischief on a girl as tall 
as you are. Yes, we can have a lot of fun." 

They went into a large restaurant with fly fans speed- 
ing. Susan thought it very grand and it was the 
grandest restaurant she had ever been in. They sat 
down in a delightfully cool place by a window looking 
out on a little plot of green with a colladium, a foun- 
tain, some oleanders in full and fragrant bloom; the 
young man ordered, with an ease that fascinated her, 
an elaborate lunch soup, a chicken, with salad, ice 
cream, and fresh peaches. Susan had a menu in her 
hand and as he ordered she noted the prices. She was 
dazzled by his extravagance dazzled and frightened 
and, in a curious, vague, unnerving way, fascinated. 
Money the thing she must have for Burlingham in 
whose case "everything depended on the nursing." In 

300 



'SUSAN LENOX 



the brief time this boy and she had been together, he, 
without making an effort to impress, had given her the 
feeling that he was of the best city class, that he knew 
the world the high world. Thus, she felt that she 
must be careful not to show her "greenness." She 
would have liked to protest against his extravagance, 
but she ventured only the timid remonstrance, "Oh, I'm 
not a bit hungry." 

She thought she was speaking the truth, for the 
ideas whirling so fast that they were dim quite took 
away the sense of hunger. But when the food came 
she discovered that she was, on the contrary, ravenous 
and she ate with rising spirits, with a feeling of con- 
tent and hope. He had urged her to drink wine or 
beer, but she refused to take anything but a glass of 
milk; and he ended by taking milk himself. He was 
looking more and more boldly and ardently into her 
eyes, and she received his glances smilingly. She felt 
thoroughly at ease and at home, as if she were back 
once more among her own sort of people with some 
element of disagreeable constraint left out. 

Since she was an outcast, she need not bother about 
the small restraints the girls felt compelled to put 
upon themselves in the company of boys. Nobody re- 
spected a "bastard," as they called her when they spoke 
frankly. So with nothing to lose she could at least 
get what pleasure there was in freedom. She liked it, 
having this handsome, well-dressed young man making 
love to her in this grand restaurant where things were 
so good to eat and so excitingly expensive. He would 
not regard her as fit to associate with his respectable 
mother and sisters. In the castes of respectability, 
her place was with Jeb Ferguson ! She was better off 
clear of the whole unjust and horrible business of re- 

301 



SUSAN LENOX 



spectable life, clear of it and free, frankly in the out- 
cast class. She had not realized and she did not 
realize that association with the players of the show 
boat had made any especial change in her; in fact, it 
had loosened to the sloughing point the whole skin of 
her conventional training that surface skin which 
seems part of the very essence of our being until some- 
thing happens to force us to shed it. Crises, catastro- 
phes, may scratch that skin, or cut clear through it; 
but only the gentle, steady, everywhere-acting prying- 
loose of day and night association can change it from 
a skin to a loose envelope ready to be shed at any 
moment. 

"What are you going to do ?" asked the young man, 
when the acquaintance had become a friendship which 
was before the peaches and ice cream were served. 

"I don't know," said the girl, with the secretive in- 
stinct of self-reliance hiding the unhappiness his abrupt 
question set to throbbing again. 

"Honestly, I've never met anyone that was so con- 
genial. But maybe you don't feel that way?" 

"Then again maybe I do," rejoined she, forcing a 
merry smile. 

His face flushed with embarrassment, but his eyes 
grew more ardent as he said : "What were you looking 
for, when I saw you in Garfield Place?" 

"Was that Garfield Place?" she asked, in evasion. 

"Yes." And he insisted, "What were you looking 
for?" 

"What were you looking for?" 

"For a pretty girl." They both laughed. "And I've 
found her. I'm suited if you are. . . . Don't look so 
serious. You haven't answered my question." 

"I'm looking for work." 
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He smiled as if it were a joke. "You mean for a 
place on the stage. That isn't work. You couldn't 
work. I can see that at a glance." 

"Why not?" 

"Oh, you haven't been brought up to that kind of 
life. You'd hate it in every way. And they don't pay 
women anything for work. My father employs a lot 
of them. Most of his girls live at home. That keeps 
the wages- down, and the others have to piece out 
with" he smiled "one thing and another." 

Susan sat gazing straight before her. "I've not had 
much experience," she finally said, thoughtfully. "I 
guess I don't know what I'm about." 

The young man leaned toward her, his face flushing 
with earnestness. "You don't know how pretty you 
are. I wish my father wasn't so close with me. I'd not 
let you ever speak of work again even on the stage. 
What good times we could have !" 

"I must be going," said she, rising. Her whole body 
was alternately hot and cold. In her brain, less vague 
now, were the ideas Mabel Connemora had opened up 
for her. 

"Oh, bother!" exclaimed he. "Sit down a minute. 
You misunderstood me. I don't mean I'm flat broke." 

Susan hastily reseated herself, showing her confu- 
sion. "I wasn't thinking of that." 

"Then what were you thinking of?" 

"I don't know," she replied truthfully, for she 
could not have put into words anything definite about 
the struggle raging in her like a battle in a fog. "I 
often don't exactly know what I'm thinking about. I 
somehow can't can't fit it together yet." 

"Do you suppose," he went on, as if she had not 
spoken, "do you suppose I don't understand? I know 



SUSAN LENOX 



you can't afford to let me take your time for nothing. 
. . . Don't you like me a little?" 

She looked at him with grave, friendliness. "Yes." 
Then, seized with a terror which her habitual manner 
of calm concealed from him, she rose again. 

"Why shouldn't it be me as well as another? . . . 
At least sit down till I pay the bill." 

She seated herself, stared at her plate. 

"Now what are you thinking about?" he asked. 

"I don't know exactly. Nothing much." 

The waiter brought the bill. The young man merely 
glanced at the total, drew a small roll of money from 
his trousers pocket, put a five-dollar note on the tray 
with the bill. Susan's eyes opened wide when the waiter 
returned with only two quarters and a dime. She 
glanced furtively at the young man, to see if he, too, 
was not disconcerted. He waved the tray carelessly 
aside; the waiter said "Thank you," in a matter-of- 
course way, dropped the sixty cents into his pocket. 
The waiter's tip was by itself almost as much as she 
had ever seen paid out for a meal for two persons. 

"Now, where shall we go?" asked the young man. 

Susan did not lift her eyes. He leaned toward her, 
took her hand. "You're different from the sort a fellow 
usually finds," said he. "And I'm I'm crazy about 
you. Let's go," said he. 

Susan took her bundle, followed him. She glanced 
up the street and down. She had an impulse to say 
she must go away alone; it was not strong enough to 
frame a sentence, much less express her thought. She 
was seeing queer, vivid, apparently disconnected visions 
Burlingham, sick unto death, on the stretcher in the 
hospital reception room Blynn of the hideous face 
and loose, repulsive body the contemptuous old gentle- 

304 



SUSAN LENOX 



man in the shop odds and ends of the things Mabel 
Connemora had told her the roll of bills the young 
man had taken from his pocket when he paid Jeb Fer- 
guson in the climax of the horrors of that wedding day 
and night. They went to Garfield Place, turned west, 
paused after a block or so at a little frame house set 
somewhat back from the street. The young man, who 
had been as silent as she but nervous instead of pre- 
occupied opened the gate in the picket fence. 

"This is a first-class quiet place," said he, embar- 
rassed but trying to appear at ease. 

Susan hesitated. She must somehow nerve herself to 
speak of money, to say to him that she needed ten dol- 
lars that she must have it. If she did not speak if 
she got nothing for Mr. Burlingham or almost noth- 
ing and probably men didn't give women much if she 
were going with him to endure again the horrors and 
the degradation she had suffered from Mr. Ferguson 
if it should be in vain! This nice young man didn't 
suggest Mr. Ferguson in any way. But there was such 
a mystery about men they had a way of changing so 
Sam Wright Uncle George even Mr. Ferguson 
hadn't seemed capable of torturing a helpless girl for 
no reason at all 

"We can't stand here," the young man was saying. 

She tried to speak about the ten dollars. She simply 
could not force out the words. With brain in a whirl, 
with blood beating suffocatingly into her throat and 
lungs, but giving no outward sign of agitation, she 
entered the gate. There was a low, old-fashioned porch 
along the side of the house, with an awning curiously 
placed at the end toward the street. When they 
ascended the steps under the awning, they were screened 
from the street. The young man pulled a knob. A bell 

305 



SUSAN LENOX 



within tinkled faintly ; Susan started, shivered. But the 
young man, looking straight at the door, did not see. 
A colored girl with & pleasant, welcoming face opened, 
stood aside for them to enter. He went straight up 
the stairs directly ahead, and Susan followed. At the 
threshold the trembling girl looked round in terror. She 
expected to see a place like that foul, close little farm 
bedroom for it seemed to her that at such times men 
must seek some dreadful place vile, dim, fitting. She 
was in a small, attractively furnished room, with a bow 
window looking upon the yard and the street. The fur^ 
niture reminded her of her own room at her uncle's in 
Sutherland, except that the brass bed was far finer. He 
closed the door and locked it. 

As he advanced toward her he said: "What are you 
seeing? Please don't look like that." Persuasively, 
"You weren't thinking of me were you?" 

"No Oh, no," replied she, passing her hand over her 
eyes to try to drive away the vision of Ferguson. 

"You look as if you expected to be murdered. Do 
you want to go?" 

She forced herself to seem calm. "What a coward 
I am!" she said to herself. "If I could only die for 
him, instead of this. But I can't. And I must get 
money for him." 

To the young man she said: "No. I I want to 
stay." 

Late in the afternoon, when they were once more in 
the street, he said : "I'd ask you to go to dinner with 
me, but I haven't enough money." 

She stopped short. An awful look came into her 
face. 

"Don't be alarmed," cried he, hurried and nervous, 

306 



SUSAN LENOX 



and blushing furiously. "I put the the present for 
you in that funny little bundle of yours, under one of 
the folds of the nightgown or whatever it is you've got 
wrapped on the outside. I didn't like to hand it to you. 
I've a feeling somehow that you're not regularly that 
kind." 

"Was it ten dollars ?" she said, and for all he could 
see she was absolutely calm. 

"Yes," replied he, with a look of relief followed by 
a smile of amused tenderness. 

"I can't make you out," he went on. "You're a 
queer one. You've had a look in your eyes all after- 
noon well, if I hadn't been sure you were experienced, 
you'd almost have frightened me away." 

"Yes, I've had experience. The the worst," said 
the girl. 

"You you attract me awfully; you've got well, 
everything that's nice about a woman and at the same 

time, there's something in your eyes Are you very 

fond of your friend?" 

"He's all I've got in the world." 

"I suppose it's his being sick that makes you look 
and act so queer?" 

"I don't know what's the matter with me," she said 
slowly. "I don't know." 

"I want to see you again soon. What's your ad- 
dress?" 

"I haven't any. I've got to look for a place to live." 

"Well, you can give me the place you did live. I'll 
write you there, Lorna. You didn't ask me my name 
when I asked you yours. You've hardly said anything. 
Are you always quiet like this?" 

"No not always. At least, I haven't been." 

"No. You weren't, part of the time this afternoon 
307 



SUSAN LENOX 



at the restaurant. Tell me, what are you thinking 
about all the time? You're very secretive. Why don't 
you tell me? Don't you know I like you?" 

"I don't know," said the girl in a slow dazed way. 
"I don't know." 

"I wouldn't take your time for nothing," he went 
on, after a pause. "My father doesn't give me much 
money, but I think I'll have some more day after to- 
morrow. Can I see you then?" 

"I don't know." 

He laughed. "You said that before. Day after to- 
morrow afternoon in the same place. No matter if 
it's raining. I'll be there first at three. Will you 
come ?" 

"If I can." 

She made a movement to go. But still he detained 
her. He colored high again, in the struggle between 
the impulses of his generous youth and the fear of being 
absurd with a girl he had picked up in the street. He 
looked at her searchingly, wistfully. "I know it's your 
life, but I hate to think of it," he went on. "You're 
far too nice. I don't see how you happened to be in 
in this line. Still, what else is there for a girl, when 
she's up against it ? I've often thought of those things 
and I don't feel about them as most people do. . . . 
I'm curious about you. You'll pardon me, won't you? 
I'm afraid I'll fall in love with you, if I see you often. 
You won't fail to come day after tomorrow?" 

"If I can." 

"Don't you want to see me again?" 

She did not speak or lift her eyes. 

"You like me, don't you?" 

Still no answer. 

"You don't want to be questioned?" 
308 



SUSAN LENOX 



"No," said the girl. 

"Where are you going now?" 

"To the hospital." 

"May I walk up there with you? I live in Clifton. I 
can go home that way." 

"I'd rather you didn't." 

"Then good-by till day after tomorrow at 
three." He put out his hand; he had to reach for 
hers and take it. "You're not not angry with me?" 

"No." 

His eyes lingered tenderly upon her. "You are so 
sweet! You don't know how I want to kiss you. Are 
you sorry to go sorry to leave me just a little? . . . 
I forgot. You don't like to be questioned. Well, good- 
by, dear." 

"Good-by," she said; and still without lifting her 
gaze from the ground she turned away, walked slowly 
westward. 

She had not reached the next street to the north 
when she suddenly felt that if she did not sit she would 
drop. She lifted her eyes for an instant to glance 
furtively round. She saw a house with stone steps 
leading up to the front doors; there was a "for rent" 
sign in one of the close-shuttered parlor windows. She 
seated herself, supported the upper part of her weary 
body by resting her elbows on her knees. Her bundle 
had rolled to the sidewalk at her feet. A passing man 
picked it up, handed it to her, with a polite bow. She 
looked at him vaguely, took the bundle as if she were 
not sure it was hers. 

"Heat been too much for you, miss?" asked the 
man. 

She shook her head. He lingered, talking volubly 
about the weather then about how cool it was on the 
11 309 



SUSAN LENOX 



hilltops. "We might go up to the Bellevue," he finally 
suggested, "if you've nothing better to do." 

"No, thank you," she said. 

"I'll go anywhere you like. I've got a little money 
that I don't care to keep." 

She shook her head. 

"I don't mean anything bad," he hastened to sug- 
gest because that would bring up the subject in dis- 
cussable form. 

"I can't go with you," said the girl drearily. "Don't 
bother me, please." 

"Oh excuse me." And the man went on. 

Susan turned the bundle over in her lap, thrust her 
fingers slowly and deliberately into the fold of the 
soiled blouse which was on the outside. She drew out 
the money. A ten and two fives. Enough to keep his 
room at the hospital for two weeks. No, for she must 
live, herself. Enough to give him a room one week 
longer and to enable her to live two weeks at least. . . . 
And day after tomorrow more. Perhaps, soon 
enough to see him through the typhoid. She put the 
money in her bosom, rose and went on toward the hos- 
pital. She no longer felt weary, and the sensation of 
a wound that might ache if she were not so numb 
passed away. 

A clerk she had not seen before was at the barrier 
desk. "I came to ask how Mr. Burlingham is," said 
she. 

The clerk yawned, drew a large book toward him. 
"Burlingham B Bu Bur " he said half to him- 
self, turning over the leaves. "Yes here he is." He 
looked at her. "You his daughter?" 

"No, Tm a friend." 

"Oh then he died at five o'clock an hour ago." 
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SUSAN LENOX 



He looked up saw her eyes only her eyes. They 
were a deep violet now, large, shining with tragic soft- 
ness like the eyes of an angel that has lost its birth- 
right through no fault of its own. He turned hastily 
away, awed, terrified, ashamed of himself. 












xvm 

THE next thing she knew, she felt herself seized 
strongly by the arm. She gazed round in a 
dazed way. She was in the street how she got 
there she had no idea. The grip on her arm it was 
the young doctor, Hamilton. "I called you twice," 
explained he, "but you didn't hear." 

"He is dead," said she. 

Hamilton had a clear view of her face now. There 
was not a trace of the child left. He saw her eyes 
quiet, lonely, violet stars. "You must go and rest 
quietly," he said with gentleness. "You are worn 
out." 

Susan took from her bosom the twenty dollars, 
handed it to him. "It belongs to him," said she. "Give 
it to them, to bury him." And she started on. 

"Where are you going?" asked the young man. 

Susan stopped, looked vaguely at him. "Good-by," 
she said. "You've been very kind." 

"You've found a boarding place?" 

"Oh, I'm all right." 

"You want to see him?" 

"No. Then he'll always be alive to me." 

"You had better keep this money. The city will 
take care of the funeral." 

"It belongs to him. I couldn't keep it for myself. 
I must be going." 

"Shan't I see you again?" 

"I'll not trouble you." 

"Let me walk with you as far as your place." 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I'm not feeling just right. If you don't mind 
please I'd rather be alone." 

"I don't mean to intrude, but " 

"I'm all right," said the girl. "Don't worry about 
me." 

"But you are too young " 

"I've been married. . . . Thank you, but good- 
by." 

He could think of no further excuse for detaining 
her. Her manner disquieted him, yet it seemed com- 
posed and natural. Probably she had run away from 
a good home, was now sobered and chastened, was 
eager to separate herself from the mess she had got 
into and return to her own sort of people. It struck 
him as heartless that she should go away in this 
fashion; but on second thought, he could not associate 
heartlessness with her. Also, he saw how there might 
be something in what she had said about not wishing 
to have to think of her friend as dead. He stood watch- 
ing her straight narrow young figure until it was lost 
to view in the crowd of people going home from work. 

Susan went down Elm Street to Garfield Place, seated 
herself on one of the benches. She was within sight 
of the unobtrusive little house with the awnings; but 
she did not realize it. She had no sense of her sur- 
roundings, of the passing of time, felt no grief, no 
sensation of any kind. She simply sat, her little bundle 
in her lap, her hands folded upon it. 

A man in uniform paused before her. "Closing-up 
time," he said, sharply but in the impartial official way. 
"I'm going to lock the gates." 

She looked at him. 

In a softer, apologetic tone, he said, "I've got to lock 
the gates. That's the law, miss." 

813 



SUSAN LENOX 



She did not clearly understand, but rose and went 
out into Race Street. She walked slowly along, not 
knowing or caring where. She walked walked 
walked. Sometimes her way lay through crowded 
streets, again through streets deserted. Now she was 
stumbling over the uneven sidewalks of a poor quarter; 
again it was the smooth flagstones of the shopping or 
wholesale districts. Several times she saw the river 
with its multitude of boats great and small; several 
times she crossed the canal. Twice she turned back 
because the street was mounting the hills behind the 
city the hills with the cars swiftly ascending and de- 
scending the inclined planes, and at the crests gayly 
lighted pavilions where crowds were drinking and danc- 
ing. Occasionally some man spoke to her, but desisted 
as she walked straight on, apparently not hearing. 
She rested from time to time, on a stoop or on a barrel 
or box left out by some shopkeeper, or leaning upon 
the rail of a canal bridge. She was walking with a 
purpose to try to scatter the dense fog that had 
rolled in and enveloped her mind, and then to try to 
think. 

She sat, or rather dropped, down from sheer fatigue, 
in that cool hour which precedes the dawn. It hap- 
pened to be the steps of a church. She fell into a doze, 
was startled back to consciousness by the deep boom 
of the bell in the steeple ; it made the stone vibrate under 
her. One two three four ! Toward the east there 
shone a flush of light, not yet strong enough to dim 
the stars. The sky above her was clear. The pall of 
smoke rolled away. The air felt clean and fresh, 
even had in it a reminiscence of the green fields whence 
it had come. She began to revive, like a sleeper shak- 
ing off drowsiness and the spell of a bad dream and 

314 



SUSAN LENOX 



looking forward to the new day. The fog that had 
swathed and stupefied her brain seemed to have lifted. 
At her heart there was numbness and a dull throbbing, 
an ache; but her mind was clear and her body felt in- 
tensely, hopelessly alive and ready, clamorously ready, 
for food. A movement across the narrow street at- 
tracted her attention. A cellar door was rising 
thrust upward by the shoulders of a man. It fell full 
open with a resounding crash, the man revealed by 
the light from beneath a white blouse, a white cap. 
Toward her wafted the delicious odor of baking bread. 
She rose, hesitated only an instant, crossed the street 
directly toward the baker who had come up to the 
surface for cool air. 

"I am hungry," said she to him. "Can't you let me 
have something to eat?" 

The man he had a large, smooth, florid face eyed 
her in amused astonishment. "Where'd you jump 
from?" he demanded. 

"I was resting on the church steps over there. The 
smell came t<? me and I couldn't stand it. I can 
pay." 

"Oh, that's all right," said the man, with a strong 
German accent. "Come down." And he descended the 
steps, she following. It was a large and lofty cellar, 
paved with cement; floor, ceilings, walls, were whitened 
with flour. There were long clean tables for rolling 
the dough ; big wooden bowls ; farther back, the ovens 
and several bakers at work adding to the huge piles 
of loaves the huge baskets of rolls. Susan's eyes glis- 
tened; her white teeth showed in a delightful smile of 
hunger about to be satisfied. 

"Do you want bread or rolls?" asked the German. 
Then without waiting for her to answer, "I guess some 

315 



SUSAN LENOX 



of the 'sweet rolls,' we call 'em, would about suit a 
lady." 

"Yes the sweet rolls," said the girl. 

The baker fumbled about behind a lot of empty 
baskets, found a serving basket, filled it with small 
rolls some crescent in shape, some like lady fingers, 
some oval, some almost like biscuit, all with pulverized 
sugar powdered on them thick as a frosting. He set 
the little basket upon an empty kneading table. "Wait 
yet a minute," he commanded, and bustled up a flight 
of stairs. He reappeared with a bottle of milk and a 
piece of fresh butter. He put these beside the basket 
of rolls, drew a stool up before them. "How's that?" 
asked he, his hands on his hips, his head on one side, 
and his big jolly face beaming upon her. "Pretty 
good, don't it!" 

Susan was laughing with pleasure. He pointed to 
the place well down in the bottle of milk where the 
cream ended. "That's the way it should be always 
not so!" said he. She nodded. Then he shook the 
bottle to remix the separated cream and milk. "So !" 
he cried. Then "Ach, dummer Esel!" he muttered, 
striking his brow a resounding thwack with the flat of 
his hand. "A knife !" And he hastened to repair that 
omission. 

Susan sat at the table, took one of the fresh rolls, 
spread butter upon it. The day will never come for 
her when she cannot distinctly remember the first bite 
of the little sweet buttered roll, eaten in that air per- 
fumed with the aroma of baking bread. The milk was 
as fine as it promised to be she drank it from the 
bottle. 

The German watched her a while, then beckoned to 
his fellow workmen. They stood round, reveling in the 

316 



SUSAN LENOX 



joyful sight of this pretty hungry girl eating so hap- 
pily and so heartily. 

"The pie," whispered one workman to another. 

They brought a small freshly baked peach pie, light 
and crisp and brown. Susan's beautiful eyes danced. 
"But," she said to her first friend among the bakers, 
"I'm afraid I can't afford it." 

At this there was a loud chorus of laughter. "Eat 
it," said her friend. 

And when she had finished her rolls and butter, she 
did eat it. "I never tasted a pie like that," declared 
she. "And I like pies and can make them too." 

Once more they laughed, as if she had said the wit- 
tiest thing in the world. 

As the last mouthful of the pie was disappearing, 
her friend said, "Another!" 

"Goodness, no!" cried the girl. "I couldn't eat a 
bite more." 

"But it's an apple pie." And he brought it, holding 
it on his big florid fat hand and turning it round to 
show her its full beauty. 

She sighed regretfully. "I simply can't," she said. 
"How much is what I've had?" 

Her friend frowned. "Vot you take me for hey?" 
demanded he, with a terrible frown so terrible he felt 
it to be that, fearing he had frightened her, he burst 
out laughing, to reassure. 

"Oh, but I must pay," she pleaded. "I didn't come 
begging." 

"Not a cent !" said her friend firmly. "I'm the boss. 
I won't take it." 

She insisted until she saw she was hurting his feelings. 
Then she tried to thank him; but he would not listen 
to that, either. "Good-by good-by," he said gruffly. 

317 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I must get to work once." But she understood, and 
went with a light heart up into the world again. He 
stood waist deep in the cellar, she hesitated upon the 
sidewalk. "Good-by," she said, with swimming eyes. 
"You don't know how good you've been to me." 

"All right. Luck !" He waved his hand, half turned 
his back on her and looked intently up the street, his 
eyes blinking. 

She went down the street, turned the first corner, 
dropped on a doorstep and sobbed and cried, out of 
the fullness of her heart. When she rose to go on 
again, she felt stronger and gentler than she had felt 
since her troubles began with the quarrel over Sam 
Wright. A little further on she came upon a florist's 
shop in front of which a wagon was unloading the 
supply of flowers for the day's trade. She paused to 
look at the roses and carnations, the lilies and dahlias, 
the violets and verbenas and geraniums. The fast 
brightening air was scented with delicate odors. She 
was attracted to a small geranium with many buds and 
two full-blown crimson flowers. 

"How much for that?" she asked a young man who 
seemed to be in charge. 

He eyed her shrewdly. "Well, I reckon about fifteen 
cents," replied he. 

She took from her bosom the dollar bill wrapped 
round the eighty cents, gave him what he had asked. 
"No, you needn't tie it up," said she, as he moved to 
take it into the store. She went back to the bakeshop. 
The cellar door was open, but no one was in sight. 
Stooping down, she called: "Mr. Baker! Mr. Baker!" 

The big smooth face appeared below. 

She set the plant down on the top step. "For you," 
she said, and hurried away. 

318 



SUSAN LENOX 



On a passing street car she saw the sign "Eden 
Park." She had heard of it of its beauties, of the 
wonderful museum there. She took the next car of the 
same line. A few minutes, and it was being drawn up 
the inclined plane toward the lofty hilltops. She had 
thought the air pure below. She was suddenly lifted 
through a dense vapor the cloud that always lies 
over the lower part of the city. A moment, and she 
was above the cloud, was being carried through the 
wide, clean tree-lined avenue of a beautiful suburb. 
On either side, lawns and gardens and charming houses, 
a hush brooding over them. Behind these walls, in 
comfortable beds, amid the surroundings that come to 
mind with the word "home," lay many girls such as 
she happy, secure, sheltered. Girls like herself. A 
wave of homesickness swept over her, daunting her for 
a little while. But she fought it down, watched what 
was going on around her. "I mustn't look back I 
mustn't! Nothing there for me." At the main gate- 
way of the park she descended. There indeed was the, 
to her, vast building containing the treasures of art; 
but she had not come for that. She struck into the 
first by-path, sought out a grassy slope thickly studded 
with bushes, and laid herself down. She spread her 
skirts carefully so as not to muss them. She put her 
bundle under her head. 

When she awoke the moon was shining upon her 
face shining from a starry sky! 

She sat up, looked round in wonder. Yes it was 
night again very still, very beautiful, and warm, with 
the air fragrant and soft. She felt intensely awake, 
entirely rested and full of hope. It was as if during 
that long dreamless sleep her whole being had been 
renewed and magically borne away from the lands of 

319 



SUSAN LENOX 



shadow and pain where it had been wandering, to a 
land of bright promise. Oh, youth, youth, that bears 
so lightly the burden of the past, that faces so confi- 
dently the mystery of the future ! She listened heard 
a faint sound that moved her to investigate. Peering 
through the dense bushes, she discovered on the grass 
in the shadow of the next clump, a ragged, dirty man 
and woman, both sound asleep and snoring gently. She 
watched them spellbound. The man's face was deeply 
shaded by his battered straw hat. But she could see 
the woman's face plainly the thin, white hair, the 
sunken eyes and mouth, the skeleton look of old features 
over which the dry skin of age is tightly drawn. She 
gazed until the man, moving in his sleep, kicked out 
furiously and uttered a curse. She drew back, crawled 
away until she had put several clumps of bushes be- 
tween her and the pair. Then she sped down and up 
the slopes and did not stop until she was where she 
could see, far below, the friendly lights of the city 
blinking at her through the smoky mist. 

She had forgotten her bundle! She did not know 
how to find the place where she had left it; and, had 
she known, she would not have dared return. This loss, 
however, troubled her little. Not in vain had she dwelt 
with the philosopher Burlingham. 

She seated herself on a bench and made herself com- 
fortable. But she no longer needed sleep. She was 
awake wide awake in every atom of her vigorous 
young body. The minutes dragged. She was impa- 
tient for the dawn to give the signal for the future to 
roll up its curtain. She would have gone down into 
the city to walk about but she was now afraid the 
police would take her in and that probably would 
mean going to a reformatory, for she could not give 

320 



SUSAN LENOX 



a satisfactory account of herself. True, her older way 
of wearing her hair and some slight but telling changes 
in her dress had made her look less the child. But she 
could not hope to pass for a woman full grown. The 
moon set; the starlight was after a long, long time 
succeeded by the dawn of waking birds, and of waking 
city, too for up from below rose an ever louder roar 
like a rising storm. In her restless rovings, she came 
upon a fountain ; she joined the birds making a toilet in 
its basin, and patterned after them washed her face 
and hands, dried them on a handkerchief she by great 
good luck had put into her stocking, smoothed her 
hair, her dress. 

And still the sense of unreality persisted, cast its 
friendly spell over this child-woman suddenly caught 
up from the quietest of quiet lives and whirled into a 
dizzy vortex of strange events without parallel, or 
similitude even, in anything she had ever known. If 
anyone had suddenly asked her who she was and she 
had tried to recall, she would have felt as if trying to 
remember a dream. Sutherland a faint, faint dream, 
and the show boat also. Spenser a romantic dream 
or a first installment of a lovestory read in some stray 
magazine. Burlingham the theatrical agent the 
young man of the previous afternoon the news of the 
death that left her quite alone all a dream, a tumbled, 
jumbled dream, all passed with the night and the 
awakening. In her youth and perfect health, refreshed 
by the long sleep, gladdened by the bright new day, she 
was as irresponsible as the merry birds chattering and 
flinging the water about at the opposite side of the 
fountain's basin. She was now glad she had lost her 
bundle. Without it her hands were free both hands 
free to take whatever might offer next. And she was 

321 



SUSAN LENOX 



eager to see what that would be, and hopeful about it 
no more than hopeful, confident. Burlingham, aided 
by those highly favorable surroundings of the show 
boat, and of the vagabond life thereafter, had developed 
in her that gambler's spirit which had enabled him to 
play year after year of losing hands with unabating 
courage the spirit that animates all the brave souls 
whose deeds awe the docile, conventional, craven masses 
of mankind. 

Leisurely as a truant she tramped back toward the 
city, pausing to observe anything that chanced to 
catch her eye. At the moment of her discovery of the 
difference between her and most girls there had begun 
a cleavage between her and the social system. And 
now she felt as if she were of one race and the rest of 
the world of another and hostile race. She did not 
realize it, but she had taken the first great step along 
the path that leads to distinction or destruction. For 
the world either obeys or tramples into dust those who, 
in whatever way, have a lot apart from the common. 
She was free from the bonds of convention free to 
soar or to sink. 

Her way toward the city lay along a slowly descend- 
ing street that had been, not so very long before, a 
country road. Block after block there were grassy 
fields intersected by streets, as if city had attempted a 
conquest of country and had abandoned it. Again the 
vacant lots were disfigured with the ruins of a shanty 
or by dreary dump heaps. For long stretches the way 
was built up only on one side. The houses were for the 
most part tenement with small and unprosperous shops 
or saloons on the ground floor. Toward the foot of 
the hill, where the line of tenements was continuous on 
either side, she saw a sign "Restaurant" projecting 



SUSAN LENOX 



over the sidewalk. When she reached it, she paused 
and looked in. A narrow window and a narrow open 
door gave a full view of the tiny room with its two 
rows of plain tables. Near the window was a small 
counter with a case containing cakes and pies and rolls. 
With back to the window sat a pretty towheaded girl 
of about her own age, reading. Susan, close to the 
window, saw that the book was Owen Meredith's "Lu- 
cile," one of her own favorites. She could even read 
the words : 

The ways they are many and wide, and seldom are two 
ways the same. 

She entered. The girl glanced up, with eyes slowly 
changing from far-away dreaminess to present and 
practical pleasant blue eyes with lashes and brows of 
the same color as the thick, neatly done yellowish 
hair. 

"Could I get a glass of milk and a roll?" asked 
Susan, a modest demand, indeed, on behalf of a grow- 
ing girl's appetite twenty-four hours unsatisfied. 

The blonde girl smiled, showing a clean mouth with 
excellent teeth. "We sell the milk for five cents, the 
rolls three for a nickel." 

"Then I'll take milk and three rolls," said Susan. 
"May I sit at a table? I'll not spoil it." 

"Sure. Sit down. That's what the tables are for." 
And the girl closed the book, putting a chromo card 
in it to mark her place, and stirred about to serve the 
customer. Susan took the table nearest the door, took 
the seat facing the light. The girl set before her a 
plate, a knife and fork, a little form of butter, a tall 
glass of milk, and three small rolls in a large sau- 

323 



SUSAN LENOX 



cer. "You're up and out early?" she said to Susan. 

On one of those inexplicable impulses of frankness 
Susan replied: "I've been sleeping in the park." 

The girl had made the remark merely to be polite 
and was turning away. As Susan's reply penetrated to 
her inattentive mind she looked sharply at her, eyes 
opening wonderingly. "Did you get lost? Are you a 
stranger in town? Why didn't you ask someone to 
take you in?" 

The girl reflected, realized. "That's so," said she. 
"I never thought of it before. . . . Yes, that is so! 
It must be dreadful not to have any place to go." 
She gazed at Susan with admiring eyes. "Weren't you 
afraid up in the park?" 

"No," replied Susan. "I hadn't anything anybody'd 
want to steal." 

"But some man might have " The girl left it 

to Susan's imagination to finish the sentence. 

"I hadn't anything to steal," repeated Susan, with 
a kind of cynical melancholy remotely suggestive of 
Mabel Connemora. 

The restaurant girl retired behind the counter to 
reflect, while Susan began upon her meager breakfast 
with the deliberation of one who must coax a little to 
go a great ways. Presently the girl said: 

"Where are you going to sleep tonight?" 

"Oh, that's a long ways off," replied the apt pupil 
of the happy-go-lucky houseboat show. "I'll find a 
place, I guess." 

The girl looked thoughtfully toward the street. "I 
was wondering," she said after a while, "what I'd do 
if I was to find myself out in the street, with no money 
and nowhere to go. . . . Are you looking for some- 
thing to do?" 

324 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Do you know of anything?" asked Susan interested 
at once. 

"Nothing worth while. There's a box factory down 
on the next square. Bntoniy -a -girl .that live^at home 
can work there. Pa says the day's coming when 
women'll be like men work at everything and get the 
same wages. But it isn't so now. A girl's got to get 
married." 

Such a strange expression came over Susan's face 
that the waitress looked apologetic and hastened to 
explain herself: "I don't much mind the idea of get- 
ting married," said she. "Only I'm afraid I can never 
get the kind of a man I'd want. The boys round here 
leave school before the girls, so the girls are better 
educated. And then they feel above the boys of their 
own class except those boys that're beginning to get 
up in the world and those kind of boys want some girl 
who's above them and can help them up. It's dreadful 
to be above the people you know and not good enough 
for the people you'd like to know." 

Susan was not impressed; she could not understand 
why the waitress spoke with so much feeling. "Well," 
said she, pausing before beginning on the last roll, "I 
don't care so long as I find something to do." 

"There's another thing," complained the waitress. 
"If you work in a store, you can't get wages enough 
to live on ; and you learn things, and want to live better 
and better all the time. It makes you miserable. And 
you can't marry the men who work at nice refined labor 
because they don't make enough to marry on. And 
if you work in a factory or as a servant, why all but 
the commonest kind of men look down on you. You 
may get wages enough to live on, but you can't marry 
or get up in the world." 

325 



SUSAN LENOX 



"You're very ambitious, aren't you?" 

"Indeed I am. I don't want to be in the working 
class." She was leaning over the counter now, and her 
blond face was expressing deep discontent and scorn. 
"I hate working people. All of them who have any 
sense look down on themselves and wish they could 
get something respectable to do." 

"Oh, you don't mean that," protested Susan. "Any 
kind of work's respectable if it's honest." 

" You can say that," retorted the girl. "You don't 
belong in our class. You were brought up different. 
You are a lady." 

Susan shrank and grew crimson. The other girl did 
not see. She went on crossly: 

"Upper-class people always talk about how fine it 
is to be an honest workingman. But that's all rot. 
Let 'em try it a while. And pa says it'll never be 
straightened out till everybody has to work." 

"What -what does your father do?" 

"He was a cabinetmaker. Then one of the other 
men tipped over a big chest and his right hand was 
crushed smashed to pieces, so he wasn't able to work 
any more. But he's mighty smart in his brains. It's 
the kind you can't make any money out of. He has 
read most everything. The trouble with pa was he 
had too much heart. He wasn't mean enough to try 
and get ahead of the other workmen, and rise to be a 
boss over them, and grind them down to make money 
for the proprietor. So he stayed on at the bench he 
was a first-class cabinetmaker. The better a man is as 
a workman, and the nicer he is as a man, the harder 
it is for him to get up. Pa was too good at his trade 
and too soft-hearted. Won't you have another glass 
of milk?" 



SUSAN LENOX 



"No thank you," said Susan. She was still hun- 
gry, but it alarmed her to think of taking more than 
ten cents from her hoard. 

"Are you going to ask for work at the box factory ?" 

"I'm afraid they wouldn't take me. I don't know 
how to make boxes." 

"Oh, that's nothing," assured the restaurant girl. 
"It's the easiest kind of work. But then an educated 
person can pick up most any trade in a few days, well 
enough to get along. They'll make you a paster, at 
first." 

"How much does that pay?" 

"He'll offer you two fifty a week, but you must make 
him give you three. That's right for beginners. Then, 
if you stay on and work hard, you'll be raised to four 
after six months. The highest pay's five." 

"Three dollars," said Susan. "How much can I 
rent a room for?" 

The restaurant girl looked at her pityingly. "Oh, 
you can't afford a room. You'll have to club in with 
three other girls and take a room together, and cook 
your meals yourselves, turn about." 

Susan tried not to show how gloomy this prospect 
seemed. "I'll try," said she. 

She paid the ten cents ; her new acquaintance went 
with her to the door, pointed out the huge bare wooden 
building displaying in great letters "J. C. Matson, 
Paper Boxes." "You apply at the office," said the 
waitress. "There'll be a fat black-complected man in 
his shirt with his suspenders let down off his shoulders. 
He'll be fresh with you. He used to be a working man 
himself, so he hasn't any respect for working people. 
But he doesn't mean any harm. He isn't like a good 
many; he lets his girls alone." 

327 



SUSAN LENOX 



Susan had not got far when the waitress came run- 
ning after her. "Won't you come back and let me 
know how you made out?" she asked, a little embar- 
rassed. "I hope you don't think I'm fresh." 

"I'll be glad to come," Susan assured her. And their 
eyes met in a friendly glance. 

"If you don't find a place to go, why not come in 
with me? I've got only a very little bit of a room, 
but it's as big and a lot cleaner than any you'll find 
with the factory girls." 

"But I haven't any money," said Susan regretfully. 
"And I couldn't take anything without paying." 

"You could pay two dollars and a half a week and 
eat in with us. We couldn't afford to give you much 
for that, but it'd be better than what you'd get the 
other way." 

"But you can't afford to do that." 

The restaurant girl's mind was aroused, was work- 
ing fast and well. "You can help in the restaurant of 
evenings," she promptly replied. "I'll tell ma you're 
so pretty you'll draw trade. And I'll explain that you 
used to go to school with me and have lost your 
father and mother. My name's Etta Brashear." 

"Mine's Lorna Sackville," said Susan, blushing. 
"I'll come after a while, and we'll talk about what to do. 
I may not get a place." 

"Oh, you'll get it. He has hard work finding girls. 
Factories usually pay more than stores, because the 
work's more looked down on though Lord knows it's 
hard to think how anything could be more looked down 
on than a saleslady." 

"I don't see why you bother about those things. 
What do they matter?" 

"Why, everybody bothers about them. But you 
328 



SUSAN LENOX 



don't understand. You were born a lady, and you'll 
always feel you've got social standing, and people'll 
feel that way too." 

"But I wasn't," said Susan earnestly. "Indeed, I 
wasn't. I was born a a nobody. I can't tell you, 
but I'm just nobody. I haven't even got a name." 

Etta, as romantic as the next young girl, was only 
the more fascinated by the now thrillingly mysterious 
stranger so pretty, so sweet, with such beautiful 
manners and strangely outcast no doubt from some 
family of "high folks." "You'll be sure to come? You 
won't disappoint me?" 

Susan kissed Etta. Etta embraced Susan, her cheeks 
flushed, her eyes brilliant. "'I've taken an awful fancy 
to you," she said. "I haven't ever had an intimate 
lady friend. I don't care for the girls round here. 
They're so fresh and common. Ma brought me up 
refined; she's not like the ordinary working-class 
woman." 

It hurt Susan deeply why, she could not have quite 
explained to hear Etta talk in this fashion. And in 
spite of herself her tone was less friendly as she said, 
"I'll come when I find out." 



XIX 

IN the office of the factory Susan found the man 
Etta described. He was seated, or, rather, was 
sprawled before an open and overflowing rolltop 
desk, his collar and cuffs off, and his coat and waistcoat 
also. His feet broad, thick feet with knots at the 
great toe joints bulging his shoes were hoisted upon 
the leaf of the desk. Susan's charms of person and 
manners so wrought upon him that, during the ex- 
change of preliminary questions and answers, he slowly 
took down first one foot then the other, and readjusted 
his once muscular but now loose and pudgy body into 
a less loaferish posture. He was as unconscious as she 
of the cause and meaning of these movements. Had he 
awakened to what he was doing he would probably 
have been angered against himself and against her; 
and the direction of Susan Lenox's life would certainly 
\/ have been changed. Those who fancy the human ani- 
mal is in the custody of some conscious and prede- 
termining destiny think with their vanity rather than 
with their intelligence. A careful look at any day or 
even hour of any life reveals the inevitable influence of 
sheer accidents, most of them trivial. And these acci- 
dents, often the most trivial, most powerfully de- 
termine not only the direction but also the degree and 
kind of force what characteristics shall develop and 
what shall dwindle. 

"You seem to have a nut on you," said the box manu- 
facturer at the end of the examination. "I'll start 
you at three." 

330 



SUSAN LENOX 



Susan, thus suddenly "placed" in the world and 
ticketed with a real value, was so profoundly excited 
that she could not even make a stammering attempt at 
expressing gratitude. 

"Do your work well," continued Matson, "and you'll 
have a good steady job with me till you get some nice 
young fellow to support you. Stand the boys off. 
Don't let 'em touch you till you're engaged and not 
much then till the preacher's said the word." 

"Thank you," said Susan, trying to look grave. She 
was fascinated by his curious habit of scratching him- 
self as he talked head, ribs, arm, legs, the backs of 
his red hairy hands. 

"Stand 'em off," pursued the box-maker, scratching 
his ribs and nodding his huge head vigorously. "That's 
the way my wife got me. ' It's pull Dick pull devil with 
the gals and the boys. And the gal that's stiff with 
the men gets a home, while her that ain't goes to the 
streets. I always gives my gals a word of good advice. 
And many a one I've saved. There's mighty few 
preachers does as much good as me. When can you 
go to work?" 

Susan reflected. With heightened color and a slight 
stammer she said, "I've got something to do this after- 
noon, if you'll let me. Can I come in the morning?" 

"Seven sharp. We take off a cent a minute up to a 
quarter of an hour. If you're later than that, you 
get docked for the day. And no excuses. I didn't 
climb to the top from spittoon cleaner in a saloon fif- 
teen years ago by being an easy mark for my hands." 

"I'll come at seven in the morning," said Susan. 

"Do you live far?" 

"I'm going to live just up the street." 

"That's right. It adds ten cents a day to your 
331 



SUSAN LENOX 



wages the ten you'll save in carfare. Sixty cents a 
week!" And Matson beamed and scratched as if he 
felt he had done a generous act. "Who are you livin' 
with? Respectable, I hope." 

"With Miss Brashear I think." 

"Oh, yes Tom Brashear's gal. They're nice peo- 
ple. Tom's an honest fellow used to make good money 
till he had his hard luck. Him and me used to work 
together. But he never could seem to learn that it 
ain't workin' for yourself but makin' others work for 
you that climbs a man up. I never was much as a 
worker. I was always thinkin' out ways of makin' 
people work for me. And here I am at the top. And 
where's Tom? Well run along now what's your 
name?" 

"Lorna Sackville." 

"Lorny." He burst into a loud guffaw. "Lord, 
what a name! Sounds like a theayter. Seven sharp, 
Lorny. So long." 

Susan nodded with laughing eyes, thanked him and 
departed. She glanced up the street, saw Etta stand- 
ing in the door of the restaurant. Etta did not move 
from her own doorway, though she was showing every 
sign of anxiety and impatience. "I can't leave even 
for a minute so near the dinner hour," she explained 
when Susan came, "or I'd 'a' been outside the factory. 
And ma's got to stick to the kitchen. I see you got a 
job. How much?" 

"Three," replied Susan. 

"He must have offered it to you," said Etta, laugh- 
ing. "I thought about it after you were gone and I 
knew you'd take whatever he said first. Oh, I've been 
so scared something'd happen, I do want you as my 
lady friend. Was he fresh?" 

332 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Not a bit. He was very nice." 

"Well, he ought to be nice as pa says, getting 
richer and richer, and driving the girls he robs to 
marry men they hate or to pick up a living in the 
gutter." 

Susan felt that she owed her benefactor a strong 
protest. "Maybe I'm ' foolish," said she, "but I'm 
awful glad he's got that place and can give me work." 

Etta was neither convinced nor abashed. "You don't 
understand things in our class," replied she. "Pa says 
it was the kind of grateful thinking and talking you've 
just done that's made him poor in his old age. He 
says you've either got to whip or be whipped, rob or 
be robbed and that the really good honest people are 
the fools who take the losing side. But he says, too, 
he'd rather be a fool and a failure than stoop to stamp- 
ing on his fellow-beings and robbing them. And I 
guess he's right" there Etta laughed "though I'll 
admit I'd hate to be tempted with a chance to get up 
by stepping on somebody." She sighed. "And some- 
times I can't help wishing pa had done some tramping 
and stamping. Why not? That's all most people are 
fit for to be tramped and stamped on. Now, don't 
look so shocked. You don't understand. Wait till 
you've been at work a while." 

Susan changed the subject. "I'm going to work at 
seven in the morning. ... I might as well have gone 
today. I had a kind of an engagement I thought I 
was going to keep, but I've about decided I won't." 

Etta watched with awe and delight the mysterious 
look in Susan's suddenly flushed face and abstracted 
eyes. After a time she ventured to interrupt with: 

"You'll try living with us?" 

"If you're quite sure did you talk to your mother ?" 
333 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Mother'll be crazy about you. She wants anything 
that'll make me more contented. Oh, I do get so lone- 
some !" 

Mrs. Brashear, a spare woman, much bent by mo- 
notonous work which, however, had not bent her cour- 
age or her cheerfulness made Susan feel at home 
immediately in the little flat. The tenement was of 
rather a superior class. But to Susan it seemed full of 
noisome smells, and she was offended by the halls lit- 
tered with evidences of the uncleanness of the tenants. 
She did not then realize that the apparent superior 
cleanness and neatness of the better-off classes was 
really in large part only affected, that their secluded 
back doors and back ways gave them opportunity to 
hide their uncivilized habits from the world that saw 
only the front. However, once inside the Brashear flat, 
she had an instant rise of spirits. 

"Isn't this nice?" exclaimed she as Etta showed her, 
at a glance from the sitting-room, the five small but 
scrupulously clean rooms. "I'll like it here !" 

Etta reddened, glanced at her for signs of mockery, 
saw that she was in earnest. "I'm afraid it's better to 
look at than to live in," she began, then decided against 
saying anything discouraging. "It seems cramped to 
us," said she, "after the house we had till a couple of 
years ago. I guess we'll make out, somehow." 

The family paid twenty dollars a month for the 
flat. The restaurant earned twelve to fifteen a week; 
and the son, Ashbel, stocky, powerful and stupid, had 
a steady job as porter at ten a week. He gave his 
mother seven, as he had a room to himself and an 
enormous appetite. He talked of getting married; if 
he did marry, the family finances would be in disorder. 
But his girl had high ideas, being the daughter of a 

334 



SUSAN LENOX 



grocer who fancied himself still an independent mer- 
chant though he was in fact the even more poorly paid 
selling agent of the various food products trusts. She 
had fixed twenty a week as the least on which she 
would marry; his prospects of any such raise were 
luckily for his family extremely remote; for he had 
nothing but physical strength to sell, and the price 
of physical strength alone was going down, under 
immigrant competition, not only in actual wages like 
any other form of wage labor, but also in nominal 
wages. 

Altogether, the Brashears were in excellent shape 
for a tenement family, were better off than upwards 
of ninety per cent of the families of prosperous and 
typical Cincinnati. While it was true that old Tom 
Brashear drank, it was also true that he carefully 
limited himself to two dollars a week. While it was 
true that he could not work at his trade and ap- 
parently did little but sit round and talk usually high 
above his audience nevertheless he was the actual head 
of the family and its chief bread-winner. It was his 
savings that were invested in the restaurant; he bought 
the supplies and was shrewd and intelligent about that 
vitally important department of the business the de- 
partment whose mismanagement in domestic economy 
is, next to drink, the main cause of failure and pauper- 
ism, of sickness, of premature disability, of those pro- 
found discouragements that lead to despair. Also, old 
Brashear had the sagacity and the nagging habit that 
are necessary to keeping people and things up to the 
mark. He had ideas practical ideas as well as ideals 
far above his station. But for him the housekeeping 
would have been in the familiar tenement fashion of 
slovenliness and filth, and the family would have been 

335 



SUSAN LENOX 



neat only on Sundays, and only on the surface then. 
Because he had the habit of speaking of himself as use- 
less, as done for, as a drag, as one lingering on when 
he ought to be dead, his family and all the neighbor- 
hood thought of him in that way. Although intelli- 
gence, indeed, virtue of every kind, is expected of tene- 
ment house people and is needed by them beyond any 
other condition of humanity they are unfortunately 
merely human, are tainted of all human weaknesses. 
They lack, for instance, discrimination. So, it never 
occurred to them that Tom Brashear was the sole 
reason why the Brashears lived better than any of the 
other families and yielded less to the ferocious and 
incessant downward pressure. 

But for one thing the Brashears would have been 
going up in the world. That thing was old Tom's 
honesty. The restaurant gave good food and honest 
measure. Therefore, the margin of profit was narrow 
too narrow. He knew what was the matter. He 
mocked at himself for being "such a weak fool" when 
everybody else with the opportunity and the intelligence 
was getting on by yielding to the compulsion of the 
iron rule of dishonesty in business. But he remained 

/honest therefore, remained in the working class, in- 

Istead of rising among its exploiters. 

"If I didn't drink, I'd kill myself," said old Tom to 
Susan, when he came to know her well and to feel that 
from her he could get not the mere blind admiration the 
family gave him but understanding and sympathy. 
"Whenever anybody in the working class has any 
imagination," he explained, "he either kicks his way 
out of it into capitalist or into criminal or else he 
takes to drink. I ain't mean enough to be either a 
capitalist or a criminal. So, I've got to drink." 

356 



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Susan only too soon began to appreciate from her 
own experience what he meant. 

In the first few days the novelty pleased her, made 
her think she was going to be contented. The new 
friends and acquaintances, different from any she had 
known, the new sights, the new way of living all this 
interested her, even when it shocked one or many of her 
senses and sensibilities. But the novelty of folding and 
pasting boxes, of the queer new kind of girls who 
worked with her, hardly survived into the second week. 
She saw that she was among a people where the highest 
known standard the mode of life regarded by them as 
the acme of elegance and bliss the best they could 
conceive was far, far below what she had been brought 
up to believe the scantest necessities of respectable and 
civilized living. She saw this life from the inside now 
as the comfortable classes never permit themselves to 
see it if they can avoid. She saw that to be a con- 
tented working girl, to look forward to the prospect 
of being a workingman's wife, a tenement housekeeper 
and mother, a woman must have been born to it and 
born with little brains must have been educated for it, 
and for nothing else. Etta was bitterly discontented; 
yet after all it was a vague endurable discontent. She 
had simply heard of and dreamed of and from afar off 
chiefly through novels and poems and the theater 
had glimpsed a life that was broader, that had comfort 

id luxury, people with refined habits and manners. 

san had not merely heard of such a life; she had 
lived it it, and no other. 

Always of the thoughtful temperament, she had been 
rapidly developed first by Burlingham and now by Tom 
Brashear had been taught not only how to think but 

ro how to gather the things to think about. 



JUrW^ 

= 



SUSAN LENOX 



With a few exceptions the girls at the factory were 
woefully unclean about their persons. Susan did not 
blame them; she only wondered at Etta the more, and 
grew to admire her and the father who held the whole 
family up to the mark. For, in spite of the difficulties 
of getting clean, without bathtub, without any but the 
crudest and cheapest appliances for cleanliness, without 
any leisure time, Etta kept herself in perfect order. 
The show boat and the quarters at the hotel had been 
trying to Susan. But they had seemed an adventure, 
a temporary, passing phase, a sort of somewhat pro- 
longed camping-out lark. Now, she was settled down, 
to live, apparently for the rest of her life, with none 
of the comforts, with few of the decencies. What Etta 
and her people, using all their imagination, would have 
pictured as the pinnacle of luxury would have been for 
Susan a small and imperfect part of what she had been 
bred to regard as "living decently." She suspected 
that but for Etta's example she would be yielding, at 
least in the matter of cleanliness, when the struggle 
against dirt was so unequal, was thankless. Discour- 
agement became her frequent mood ; she wondered if the 
time would not come when it would be her fixed habit, 
as it was with all but a handful of those about her. 

Sometimes she and Etta walked in the quarter at 
the top of the hill where lived the families of prosperous 
merchants establishments a little larger, a little more 
pretentious than her Uncle George's in Sutherland, but 
on the whole much like it the houses of the solid 
middle class which fancies itself grandly luxurious 
where it is in fact merely comfortable in a crude un- 
imaginative way. Susan was one of those who are 
born with the instinct and mental bent for luxurious 
comfort; also, she had the accompanying peculiar 

338 



SUSAN LENOX 



talent for assimilating ideas about food and dress and 
surroundings from books and magazines, from the study 
of well-dressed people in the street, from glances into 
luxurious interiors through windows or open doors as 
she passed by. She saw with even quicker and more 
intelligently critical eyes the new thing, the good idea, 
the improvement on what she already knew. Etta's 
excitement over these commonplace rich people amused 
her. She herself, on the wings of her daring young 
fancy, could soar into a realm of luxury, of beauty 
and exquisite comfort, that made these self-complacent 
mansions seem very ordinary indeed. It was no drag 
upon her fancy, but the reverse, that she was sharing 
a narrow bed and a narrow room in a humble and tiny 
tenement flat. 

On one of these walks Etta confided to her the only 
romance of her life therefore the real cause of her 
deep discontent. It was a young man from one of these 
houses a flirtation lasting about a year. She assured 
Susan it was altogether innocent. Susan perhaps 
chiefly because Etta protested so insistently about her 
unsullied purity had her doubts. 

"Then," said Etta, "when I saw that he didn't care 
anything about me except in one way I didn't see 
him any more. I I've been sorry ever since." 

Susan did not offer the hoped-for sympathy. She 
was silent. 

"Did you ever have anything like that happen to 
you?" inquired Etta. 

"Yes," said Susan. "Something like that." 

"And what did you do?" 

"I didn't want to see him any more." 

"Why?" 

"I don't know exactly. 

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"And you like him?" 

"I think I would have liked him." 

"You're sorry you stopped?" 

"Sometimes," replied she, hesitatingly. 

She was beginning to be afraid that she would soon 
be sorry all the time. Every day the war within burst 
forth afresh. She reproached herself for her growing 
hatred of her life. Ought she not to be grateful that 
she had so much that he was not one of a squalid 
quartette in a foul, vermin-infested back bedroom 
infested instead of only occasionally visited that she 
was not a streetwalker, diseased, prowling in all 
weathers, the prey of the coarse humors of con- 
temptuous and usually drunken beasts; that she was 
not living where everyone about her would, by pity or 
out of spitefulness, tear open the wounds of that 
hideous brand which had been put upon her at birth? 
Above all, she ought to be thankful that she was not 
Jeb Ferguson's wife. 

But her efforts to make herself resigned and con- 
tented, to kill her doubts as to the goodness of "good- 
ness," were not successful. She had Tom Brashear's 
"ungrateful" nature the nature that will not let a 
man or a woman stay in the class of hewers of wood 
and drawers of water but drives him or her out of it 
and up or down. 

"You're one of those that things happen to," the old 
cabinetmaker said to her on a September evening, as 
they sat on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. 
The tenements had discharged their swarms into the 
hot street, and there was that lively panorama of dirt 
and disease and depravity which is fascinating to un- 
accustomed eyes. "Yes," said Tom, "things'll happen 
to you." 

340 



SUSAN LENOX 



"What for instance?" she asked. 

"God only knows. You'll up and do something some 
day. You're settin' here just to grow wings. Some 
day swish ! and off you'll soar. It's a pity you was 
born female. Still there's a lot of females that gets 
up. Come to think of it, I guess sex don't matter. It's 
havin' the soul and mighty few of either sex has it." 

"Oh, I'm like everybody else," said the girl with an 
impatient sigh. "I dream, but it doesn't come to 
anything." 

"No, you ain't like everybody else," retorted he, with 
a positive shake of his finely shaped head, thatched 
superbly with white hair. "You ain't afraid, for in- 
stance. That's the principal sign of a great soul, I 
guess." 

"Oh, but I am afraid," cried Susan. "I've only 
lately found out what a coward I am." 

"You think you are," said the cabinetmaker. 
"There's them that's afraid to do, and don't do. Then 
there's them that's afraid to do, but goes ahead and 
does anyhow. That's you. I don't know where you 
came from oh, I heard Etty's accountin' for you to 
her ma, but that's neither here nor there. I don't 
know where you come from, and I don't know where 
you're going. But you ain't afraid and you have 
imagination and those two signs means something 
doing." 

Susan shook her head dejectedly; it had been a 
cruelly hard day at the factory and the odors from 
the girls working on either side of her had all but over- 
whelmed her. 

Old Tom nodded with stronger emphasis. "You're 
too young, yet," he said. "And not licked into shape. 
But wait a while. You'll get there." 
13 341 



SUSAN LENOX 



Susan hoped so, but doubted it. There was no time 
to work at these large problems of destiny when the 
daily grind was so compelling, so wearing, when the 
problems of bare food, clothing and shelter took all 
there was in her. 

For example, there was the matter of clothes. She 
had come with only what she was wearing. She gave 
the Brashears every Saturday two dollars and a half 
of her three and was ashamed of herself for taking 
so much for so little, when she learned about the cost 
of living and how different was the food the Brashears 
had from that of any other family in those quarters! 
As soon as she had saved four dollars from her wages 
it took nearly two months she bought the' neces- 
sary materials and made herself two plain outer skirts, 
three blouses and three pairs of drawers. Chemises 
and corset covers she could not afford. She bought 
a pair of shoes for a dollar, two pairs of stockings 
for thirty cents, a corset for eighty cents, an umbrella 
for half a dollar, two underwaists for a quarter. She 
bought an untrimmed hat for thirty-five cents and 
trimmed it with the cleaned ribbon from her summer 
sailor and a left over bit of skirt material. She also 
made herself a jacket that had to serve as wrap too 
and the materials for this took the surplus of her 
wages for another month. The cold weather had come, 
and she had to walk fast when she was in the open 
air not to be chilled to the bone. Her Aunt Fanny 
had been one of those women, not top common in 
America, who understand and practice genuine econ- 
omy in the household not the shabby stinginess that 
passes for economy but the laying out of money to 
the best advantage that comes only when one knows 
values. This training stood Susan in good stead now. 

342 



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It saved her from disaster from disintegration. 

She and Etta did some washing every night, hang- 
ing the things on the fire escape to dry. In this way. 
she was able to be clean ; but in appearance she looked 
as poor as she was. She found a cobbler who kept 
her shoes in fair order for a few cents ; but nothing 
was right about them soon except that they were not 
down at the heel. She could recall how she had often 
wondered why the poor girls at Sutherland showed 
so little taste, looked so dowdy. She wondered at 
her own stupidity, at the narrowness of an education, 
such as hers had been, an education that left her igno- 
rant of the conditions of life as it was lived by all 
but a lucky few of her fellow beings. 

How few the lucky ! What an amazing world what 
a strange creation the human race! How was it pos- 
sible that the lucky few, among whom she had been 
born and bred, should know so little, really nothing, 
about the lot of the vast mass of their fellows, living 
all around them, close up against them? "If I had 
only known!" she thought. And then she reflected 
that, if she had known, pleasure would have been im- 
possible. She could see her bureau drawers, her closets 
at home. She had thought herself not any too well 
off. Now, how luxurious, how stuffed with shameful, 
wasteful unnecessaries those drawers and closets 
seemed ! 

And merely to keep herself in underclothes that 
were at least not in tatters she had to spend every 
cent over and above her board. If she had had to 
pay carfare ten cents a day, sixty cents a week! as 
did many of the girls who lived at home, she would 
have been ruined. She understood now why every girl 

343 



SUSAN LENOX 



without a family back of her, and without good pros- 
pect of marriage, was revolving the idea of becoming 
a streetwalker not as a hope, but as a fear. As 
she learned to observe more closely, she found good 
reasons for suspecting that from time to time the girls 
who became too hard pressed relieved the tension by 
taking to the streets on Saturday and Sunday nights. 
She read in the Commercial one noon Mr. Matson 
sometimes left his paper where she could glance through 
it she read an article on working girls, how they 
were seduced to lives of shame by love of finery! Then 
she read that those who did not fall were restrained 
by religion and innate purity. There she laughed 
bitterly. Fear of disease, fear of maternity, yes. But 
where was this religion? Who but the dullest fools 
in the throes of that bare and tortured life ever thought 
of God? As for the purity what about the obscene 
talk that made her shudder because of its sheer filthy 
stupidity? what about the frank shamelessness of the 
efforts to lure their "steadies" into speedy matrimony 
by using every charm of caress and of person to inflame 
passion without satisfying it? She had thought she 
knew about the relations of the sexes when she came 
to live and work in that tenement quarter. Soon her 
knowledge had seemed ignorance beside the knowledge 
of the very babies. 

It was a sad, sad puzzle. If one ought to be good 

j chaste and clean in mind and body then, why was 

I there the most tremendous pressure on all but a few 

/ to make them as foul as the surroundings in which 

\ they were compelled to live? If it was wiser to be 

good, then why were most people imprisoned in a life 

from which they could escape only by being bad? 

What was this thing comfortable people had set up 

344 



SUSAN LENOX 



as good, anyhow and what was bad? She found no 
answer. How could God condemn anyone for any- 
thing they did in the torments of the hell that life 
revealed itself to her as being, after a few weeks of 
its moral, mental and physical horrors ? Etta's father 
was right; those who realized what life really was 
and what it might be, those who were sensitive took 
to drink or went to pieces some other way, if they were 
gentle, and if they were cruel, committed any brutality, 
any crime to try to escape. 

In former days Susan thought well of charity, as 
she had been taught. Old Tom Brashear gave her 
a different point of view. One day he insulted and 
drove from the tenement some pious charitable people 
who had come down from the fashionable hilltop to be 
good and gracious to their "less fashionable fellow- 
beings." After they had gone he explained his harsh- 
ness to Susan: 

"That's the only way you can make them slicked- 
up brutes feel," said he, "they're so thick in the hide 
and satisfied with themselves. What do they come here 
for! To do good! Yes to themselves. To make 
themselves feel how generous and sweet they was. 
Well, they'd better go home and read their Russia- 
leather covered Bibles. They'd find out that when God 
wanted to really do something for man, he didn't have 
himself created a king, or a plutocrat, or a fat, slimy 
church deacon in a fashionable church. No, he had 
himself born a bastard in a manger." 

Susan shivered, for the truth thus put sounded like 
sacrilege. Then a glow a glow of pride and of hope 
swept through her. 

"If you ever get up into another class," went on 
old Tom, "don't come hangin' round the common peo- 

345 



SUSAN LENOX 



pie you'll be livin' off of and helpin' to grind down; 
stick to your own class. That's the only place any- 
body can do any good any real helpin' and lovin', 
man to man, and woman to woman. If you want to 
help anybody that's down, pull him up into your class 
first. Stick to your class. You'll find plenty to do 
there." 

"What, for instance?" asked Susan. She under- 
stood a little of what he had in mind, but was still 
puzzled. 

"Them stall-fed fakers I just threw out," the old 
man went on. "They come here, actin' as if this was 
the Middle Ages and the lord of the castle was doin' 
a fine thing when he went down among the low peasants 
who'd been made by God to work for the lords. But 
this ain't the Middle Ages. What's the truth about it?" 

"I don't know," confessed Susan. 

"Why, the big lower class is poor because the little 
upper class takes away from 'em and eats up all they 
toil and slave to make. Oh, it ain't the upper class's 
fault. They do it because they're ignorant more'n 
because they're bad, just as what goes on down here 
is ignorance more'n badness. But they do it, all the 
same. And they're ignorant and need to be told. Sup- 
posin' you saw a big girl out yonder in the street 
beatin' her baby sister. What would you do? Would 
you go and hold out little pieces of candy to the baby 
and say how sorry you was for her? Or would you first 
grab hold of that big sister and throw her away from 
beatin' of the baby?" 

"I see," said Susan. 

"That's it exactly," exclaimed the old man, in tri- 
umph. "And I say to them pious charity fakers, 'Git 
the hell out of here where you can't do no good. Git 

346 



SUSAN LENOX 



back to yer own class that makes all this misery, 
makes it faster'n all the religion and charity in the 
world could help it. Git back to yer own class and 
work with them, and teach them and make them stop 
robbin' and beatin' the baby.' " 

"Yes," said the girl, "you are right. I see it now. 
But, Mr. Brashear, they meant well." 

"The hell they did," retorted the old man. "If 
they'd 'a' had love in their hearts, they'd have seen 
the truth. Love's one of the greatest teachers in the 
world. If they'd 'a' meant well, they'd 'a' been goin' 
round teachin' and preachin' and prayin' at their 
friends and fathers and brothers, the plutocrats. 
They'd never 'a' come down here, pretendin' they was 
doin' good, killin' one bedbug out of ten million and 
offerin' one pair of good pants where a hundred thou- 
sand pairs is needed. They'd better go read about 
themselves in their Bible what Jesus says. He knew 
'em. He belonged to us and they crucified him." 

The horrors of that by no means lowest tenement 
region, its horrors for a girl bred as Susan had beenl 
Horrors moral, horrors mental, horrors physical 
above all, the physical horrors ; for, worse to her than 
the dull wits and the lack of education, worse than 
vile speech and gesture, was the hopeless battle against 
dirt, against the vermin that could crawl everywhere 
and did. She envied the ignorant and the insensible 
their lack of consciousness of their own plight like 
the disemboweled horse that eats tranquilly on. At first 
she had thought her unhappiness came from her having 
been used to better things, that if she had been born 
to this life she would have been content, gay at times. 
Soon she learned that laughter does not always mean 
mirth; that the ignorant do not lack the power to 

347 



SUSAN LENOX 



suffer simply because they lack the power to appre- 
ciate; that the diseases, the bent bodies, the harrowed 
faces, the drunkenness, quarreling, fighting, were safer 
guides to the real conditions of these people than 
their occasional guffaws and fits of horseplay. 

A woman from the hilltop came in a carriage to see 
about a servant. On her way through the hall she 
cried out : "Gracious ! Why don't these lazy crea- 
tures clean up, when soap costs so little and water 
nothing at all!" Susan heard, was moved to face her 
fiercely, but restrained herself. Of what use? How 
could the woman understand, if she heard, "But, you 
fool, where are we to get the time to clean up? 
and where the courage? and would soap enough to 
clean up and keep clean cost so little, when every penny 
means a drop of blood?" 

"If they only wouldn't drink so much!" said Susan 
to Tom. 

"What, then?" retorted he. "Why, pretty soon 
wages'd be cut faster than they was when street car- 
fares went down from ten cents to five. Whenever the 
workin' people arrange to live cheaper and to try to 
save something, down goes wages. No, they might as 
well drink. It helps 'em bear it and winds 'em up 
sooner. I tell you, it ain't the workin' people's fault 
it's the bosses, now. It's the system the system. 
A new form of slavery, this here wage system and 
it's got to go like the slaveholder that looked so 
copper-riveted and Bible-backed in its day." 

That idea of "the system" was beyond Susan. But 
not what her eyes saw, and her ears heard, and her 
nose smelled, and her sense of touch shrank from. No 
ambition and no reason for ambition. No real knowl- 

348 



SUSAN LENOX 



edge, and no chance to get any neither the leisure 
nor the money nor the teachers. No hope, and nc 
reason for hope. No God and no reason for a God. 

Ideas beyond her years, beyond her comprehension, 
were stirring in her brain, were making her grave and 
thoughtful. She was accumulating a store of knowl- 
edge about life; she was groping for the clew to its 
mystery, for the missing fact or facts which would 
enable her to solve the puzzle, to see what its lessons 
were for her. Sometimes her heavy heart told her that 
the mystery was plain and the lesson easy hopeless- 
ness. For of all the sadness about her, of all the trage- 
dies so sordid and unromantic, the most tragic was 
the hopelessness. It would be impossible to conceive 
people worse off; it would be impossible to conceive 
these people better off. They were such a multitude 
that only they could save themselves and they had 
no intelligence to appreciate, no desire to impel. If 
their miseries miseries to which they had fallen heir 
at birth had made them what they were, it was also 
true that they were what they were hopeless, down to 
the babies playing in the filth. An unscalable cliff; 
at the top, in pleasant lands, lived the comfortable 
classes; at the bottom lived the masses and while 
many came whirling down from the top, how few found 
their way up! 

On a Saturday night Ashbel came home with the 
news that his wages had been cut to seven dollars. And 
the restaurant had been paying steadily less as the 
hard times grew harder and the cost of unadulterated 
and wholesome food mounted higher and higher. As 
the family sat silent and stupefied, old Tom looked 
up from his paper, fixed his keen, mocking eyes on 
Susan. 

349 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I see, here," said he, "that we are so rich that they 
want to raise the President's salary so as he can en- 
tertain decently and to build palaces at foreign 
courts so as our representatives'll live worthy of us!" 



XX 



ON Monday at the lunch hour or, rather, half- 
hour Susan ventured in to see the boss. 
Matson had too recently sprung from the 
working class and was too ignorant of everything out- 
side his business to have made radical changes in his 
habits. He smoked five-cent cigars instead of "two- 
furs"; he ate larger quantities of food, did not stint 
himself in beer or in treating his friends in the evenings 
down at Wielert's beer garden. Also he wore a some- 
what better quality of clothing; but he looked pre- 
cisely what he was. Like all the working class above 
the pauper line, he made a Sunday toilet, the chief 
features of which were the weekly bath and the weekly 
clean white shirt. Thus, it being only Monday morn- 
ing, he was looking notably clean when Susan entered 
and was morally wound up to a higher key than he 
would be as the week wore on. At sight of her his feet 
on the leaf of the desk wavered, then became inert; it 
would not do to put on manners with any of the 
"hands." Thanks to the bath, he was not exuding 
his usual odor that comes from bolting much strong, 
cheap food. 

"Well, Lorny what's the kick?" inquired he with 
his amiable grin. His rise in the world never for an 
instant ceased to be a source of delight to him; it 
and a perfect digestion kept him in a good humor 
all the time. 

"I want to know," stammered Susan, "if you can't 
give me a little more money." 

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SUSAN LENOX 



He laughed, eyeing her approvingly. Her clothing 
was that of the working girl; but in her face was 
the look never found in those born to the modern form 
of slavery-wage servitude. If he had been "cultured" 
he might have compared her to an enslaved princess, 
though in fact that expression of her courageous vio- 
let-gray eyes and sensitive mouth could never have 
been in the face of princess bred to the enslaving rou- 
tine of the most conventional of conventional lives ; it 
could come only from sheer erectness of spirit, the 
exclusive birthright of the sons and daughters of de- 
mocracy. 

"More money !" he chuckled. "You have got a nerve ! 
when factories are shutting down everywhere and 
working people are tramping the streets in droves." 

"I do about one-fourth more than the best hands 
you've got," replied Susan, made audacious by neces- 
sity. "And I'll agree to throw in my lunch time." 

"Let me see, how much do you get?" 

"Three dollars." 

"And you aren't living at home. You must have 

, a hard time. Not much over for diamonds, eh? You 

jb want to hustle round and get married, Lorny. Looks 

aon't last long when a gal works. But you're holdin' 

out better'n them that gads and dances all night." 

"I help at the restaurant in the evening to piece 
out my board. I'm pretty tired when I get a chance 
to go to bed." 

"I'll bet ! . . . So, you want more money. I've been 
watchin' you. I watch all my gals I have to, to keep 
weedin' out the fast ones. I won't have no bad ex- 
amples in my place! As soon as I ketch a gal livin' 
beyond her wages I give her the bounce." 

Susan lowered her eyes and her cheeks burned not 
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SUSAN LENOX 



because Matson was frankly discussing the frivolous 
subject of sex. Another girl might have affected the 
air of distressed modesty, but it would have been af- 
fectation, pure and simple, as in those regions all were 
used to hearing the frankest, vilest things and we 
do not blush at what we are used to hearing. Still, 
the tenement female sex is as full of affectation as is 
the sex elsewhere. But, Susan, the curiously self-un- 
conscious, was incapable of affectation. Her indigna- 
tion arose from her sense of the hideous injustice of 
Matson's discharging girls for doing what his meager 
wages all but compelled. 

"Yes, I've been watching you," he went on, "with a 
kind of a sort of a notion of makin' you a forelady. 
That'd mean six dollars a week. But you ain't fit. 
You've got the brains plenty of 'em. But you 
wouldn't be of no use to me as forelady." 

"Why not?" asked Susan. Six dollars a week! Af- 
fluence ! Wealth ! 

Matson took his feet down, relit his cigar and swung 
himself into an oracular attitude. 

"I'll show you. What's manuf acturin' ? Right down 
at the bottom, I mean." He looked hard at the girl. 
She looked receptively at him. 

"Why, it's gettin' work out of the hands. New ideas 
is nothin'. You can steal 'em the minute the other 
fellow uses 'em. No, it's all in gettin' work out of 
the hands." 

Susan's expression suggested one who sees light and 
wishes to see more of it. He proceeded: 

"You work for me for instance, now, if every day 
you make stuff there's a profit of five dollars on, I get 
five dollars out of you. If I can push you to make 
stuff there's a profit of six dollars on, I get six dollars 

353 



SUSAN LENOX 



dollar more. Clear extra gain, isn't it? Now mul- 
tiply a dollar by the number of hands, and you'll see 
what it amounts to." 

"I see," said Susan, nodding thoughtfully. 

"Well! How did I get up? Because as a foreman 
I knew how to work the hands. I knew how to get 
those extra dollars. And how do I keep up? Be- 
cause I hire forepeople that get work out of the hands." 

Susan understood. But her expression was a com- 
ment that was not missed by the shrewd Matson. 

"Now, listen to me, Lorny. I want to give you a 
plain straight talk because I'd like to see you climb. 
Ever since you've been here I've been laughin' to my- 
self over the way your forelady she's a fox, she is! 
makes you the pacemaker for the other girls. She 
squeezes at least twenty-five cents a day over what 
she used to out of each hand in your room because 
you're above the rest of them dirty, shiftless mutton- 
heads." 

Susan flushed at this fling at her fellow-workers. 

"Dirty, shiftless muttonheads," repeated Matson. 
"Ain't I right? Ain't they dirty? Ain't they shiftless 
so no-account that if they wasn't watched every min- 
ute they'd lay down and let me and the factory that 
supports 'em go to rack and ruin ? And ain't they mut- 
tonheads ? Do you ever find any of 'em saying or doing 
a sensible thing?" 

Susan could not deny. She could think of excuses 
perfect excuses. But the facts were about as he 
brutally put it. 

"Oh, I know 'em. I've dealt with 'em all my life," 
pursued the box manufacturer. "Now, Lorny, you 
ought to be a forelady. You've got to toughen up 
and stop bein' so polite and helpful and all that. 

354 



SUSAN LENOX 



You'll never get on if you don't toughen up. Business 
is business. Be as sentimental as you like away from 
business, and after you've clum to the top. But not in 
business or while you're kickin 9 and scratchin' and 
clawin' your way up." 

Susan shook her head slowly. She felt painfully 
young and inexperienced and unfit for the ferocious 
struggle called life. She felt deathly sick. 

"Of course it's a hard world," said Matson with a 
wave of his cigar. "But did I make it?" 

"No," admitted Susan, as his eyes demanded a reply. 

"Sure not," said he. "And how's anybody to get 
up in it? Is there any other way but by kickin' and 
stampin', eh?" 

"None that I see," conceded Susan reluctantly. 

"None that is," declared he. "Them that says there's 
other ways either lies or don't know nothin' about the 
practical game. Well, then!" Matson puffed tri- 
umphantly at the cigar. "Such bein' the case and as 
long as the crowd down below's got to be kicked in 
the face by them that's on the way up, why shouldn't 
I do the kickin' which is goin' to be done anyhow 
instead of gettin' kicked? Ain't that sense?" 

"Yes," admitted Susan. She sighed. "Yes," she 
repeated. 

"Well toughen up. Meanwhile, I'll raise you, to 
spur the others on. I'll give you four a week." And 
he cut short her thanks with an "Oh, don't mention 
it. I'm only doin' what's square what helps me as 
well as you. I want to encourage you. You don't 
belong down among them cattle. Toughen up, Lorny. 
A girl with a bank account gets the pick of the beaux." 
And he nodded a dismissal. 

Matson, and his hands, bosses and workers, brutal, 
355 



SUSAN LENOX 



brutalizing each other more and more as they acted 
and reacted upon each other. Where would it end? 

She was in dire need of underclothes. Her under- 
shirts were full of holes from the rubbing of her cheap, 
rough corset; her drawers and stockings were patched 
in several places in fact, she could not have worn 
the stockings had not her skirt now been well below 
her shoetops. Also, her shoes, in spite of the money 
she had spent upon them, were about to burst round 
the edges of the soles. But she would not longer 
accept from the Brashears what she regarded as 
charity. 

"You more than pay your share, what with the work 
you do," protested Mrs. Brashear. "I'll not refuse 
the extra dollar because I've simply got to take it. 
But I don't want to pertend." 

The restaurant receipts began to fall with the in- 
creasing hardness of the times among the working peo- 
ple. Soon it was down to practically no profit at all 
that is, nothing toward the rent. Tom Brashear 
was forced to abandon his policy of honesty, to do as 
all the other purveyors were doing to buy cheap stuff 
and to cheapen it still further. He broke abruptly 
with his tradition and his past. It aged him horribly 
all in a few weeks but, at least, ruin was put off. 
Mrs. Brashear had to draw twenty of the sixty-three 
dollars which were in the savings bank against sick- 
ness. Funerals would be taken care of by the burial 
insurance; each member of the family, including Su- 
san, had a policy. But sickness had to have its special 
fund; and it was frequently drawn upon, as the Bra- 
shears knew no more than their neighbors about hy- 
giene, and were constantly catching the colds of foolish 
exposure or indigestion and letting them develop into 

356 



SUSAN LENOX 



fevers, bad attacks of rheumatism, stomach trouble, 
backache all regarded by them as by their neighbors 
as a necessary part of the routine of life. Those tene- 
ment people had no more notion of self-restraint than 
had the "better classes" whose self-indulgences main- 
tain the vast army of doctors and druggists. The only 
thing that saved Susan from all but an occasional cold 
or sore throat from wet feet was eating little through 
being unable to accustom herself to the fare that was 
the best the Brashears could now afford cheap food 
in cheap lard, coarse and poisonous sugar, vilely adul- 
terated coffee, doctored meat and vegetables the food 
which the poor in their ignorance buy and for which 
they in their helplessness pay actually higher prices 
than do intelligent well-to-do people for the better qual- 
ities. And not only were the times hard, but the winter 
also. Snow sleet rain thaw slush noisome, dis- 
ease-laden vapor and, of course, sickness everywhere 
with occasional relief in death, relief for the one 
who died, relief for the living freed from just so much 
of the burden. The sickness on every hand appalled 
Susan. Surely, she said to old Brashear, the like had 
never been before ; on the contrary, said he, the amount 
of illness and death was, if anything, less than usual 
because the hard times gave people less for eating and 
drinking. These ghastly creatures crawling toward 
the hospital or borne out on stretchers to the ambu- 
lance these yet ghastlier creatures tottering feebly 
homeward, discharged as cured these corpses of men, 
of women, of boys and girls, of babies oh, how many 
corpses of babies ! these corpses borne away for 
burial, usually to the public burying ground all these 
stricken ones in the battle ever waging, with curses, 
with hoarse loud laughter, with shrieks and moans, 

357 



SUSAN LENOX 



with dull, drawn faces and jaws set all these stricken 
ones were but the ordinary losses of the battle! 

"And in the churches," said old Tom Brashear, "they 
preach the goodness and mercy of God. And in the 
papers they talk about how rich and prosperous we 
are." 

"I don't care to live! It is too horrible," cried the 
girl. 

"Oh, you mustn't take things so to heart," counseled 
he. "Us that live this life can't afford to take it to 
heart. Leave that to them who come down here from 
the good houses and look on us for a minute and enjoy 
themselves with a little weepin' and sighin' as if it was 
in the theater." 

"It seems worse every day," she said. "I try to 
fool myself, because I've got to stay and " 

"Oh, no, you haven't," interrupted he. 

Susan looked at him with a startled expression. It 
seemed to her that the old man had seen into her secret 
heart where was daily raging the struggle against tak- 
ing the only way out open to a girl in her circum- 
stances. It seemed to her he was hinting that she 
ought to take that way. 

If any such idea was in his mind, he did not dare 
put it into words. He simply repeated: 

"You won't stay. You'll pull out." 

"How?" she asked. 

"Somehow. When the way opens you'll see it, and 
take it." 

There had long since sprung up between these two 
a sympathy, a mutual understanding beyond any neces- 
sity of expression in words or looks. She had never 
had this feeling for anyone, not even for Burlingham. 
This feeling for each other had been like that of a 

358 



SUSAN LENOX 



father and daughter who love each other without either 
understanding the other very well or feeling the need 
of a sympathetic understanding. There was a strong 
resemblance between Burlingham and old Tom. Both 
belonged to the familiar philosopher type. But, unlike 
the actor-manager, the old cabinetmaker had lived his 
philosophy, and a very gentle and tolerant philosophy 
it was. 

After she had looked her request for light upon what 
way she was to take, they sat silent, neither looking 
at the other, yet each seeing the other with the eye 
of the mind. She said: 

"I may not dare take it." 

"You won't have no choice," replied he. "You'll 
have to take it. And you'll get away from here. And 
you mustn't ever come back or look back. Forget 
all this misery. Rememberin' won't do us no good. 
It'd only weaken you." 

"I shan't ever forget," cried the girl. 

"You must," said the old man firmly. He added, 
"And you will. You'll have too much else to think 
about too much that has to be attended to." 

As the first of the year approached and the small 
shopkeepers of the tenements, like the big ones else- 
where, were casting up the year's balances and learning 
how far toward or beyond the verge of ruin the hard 
times had brought them, the sound of the fire engines 
and of the ambulances became a familiar part of 
the daily and nightly noises of the district. Desperate 
shopkeepers, careless of their neighbors' lives and prop- 
erty in fiercely striving for themselves and their fam- 
ilies workingmen out of a job and deep in debt 
landlords with too heavy interest falling due all these 
were trying to save themselves or to lengthen the time 

359 



SUSAN LENOX 



X 



the fact of ruin could be kept secret by setting fire 
to their shops or their flats. The Brashears had been 
burned out twice in their wandering tenement house 
life ; so old Tom was sleeping little ; was constantly 
prowling about the halls of all the tenements in that 
row and into the cellars. 

He told Susan the open secret of the meaning of 
most of these fires. And after he had cursed the fire 
fiends, he apologized for them. "It's the curse of the 
system," explained he. "It's all the curse of the sys- 
tem. These here storekeepers and the farmers the 
same way they think they're independent, but really 
they're nothin' but fooled slaves of the big blood suck- 
ers for the upper class. But these here little store- 
keepers, they're tryin' to escape. How does a man 
escape? Why, by gettin' some hands together to work 
for him so that he can take it out of their wages. 
When you get together enough to hire help that's 
when you pass out of slavery into the master class 

master of slaves." 

^^_ 

Susan nodded understandingly. 

"Now, how can these little storekeepers like me 
get together enough to begin to hire slaves? By a hun- 
dred tricks, every one of them wicked and mean. By 
skimpin' and slavin' themselves and their families, by 
sellin' short weight, by sellin' rotten food, by sellin' 
poison, by burnin' to get the insurance. And, at last, 
if they don't die or get caught and jailed, they get 
together the money to branch out and hire help, and 
begin to get prosperous out of the blood of their 
help. These here arson fellows they're on the 
first rung of the ladder of success. You heard 
about that beautiful ladder in Sunday school, didn't 
you?" 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Yes," said Susan, "that and a great many other 
lies about God and man." 

Susan had all along had great difficulty in getting 
sleep because of the incessant and discordant noises of 
the district. The unhappy people added to their own 
misery by disturbing each other's rest and no small 
part of the bad health everywhere prevailing was due 
to this inability of anybody to get proper sleep be- 
cause somebody was always singing or quarreling, 
shouting or stamping about. But Susan, being young 
and as yet untroubled by the indigestion that openly 
or secretly preyed upon everyone else, did at last grow 
somewhat used to noise, did contrive to get five or six 
hours of broken sleep. With the epidemic of fires she 
was once more restless and wakeful. Every day came 
news of fire somewhere in the tenement districts of 
the city, with one or more, perhaps a dozen, roasted to 
death, or horribly burned. A few weeks, however, 
and even that peril became so familiar that she slept 
like the rest. There were too many actualities of dis- 
comfort, of misery, to harass her all day long every 
time her mind wandered from her work. 

One night she was awakened by a scream. She 
leaped from bed to find the room filling with smoke 
and the street bright as day, but with a flickering 
evil light. Etta was screaming, Ashbel was bawling 
and roaring like a tortured bull. Susan, completely 
dazed by the uproar, seized Etta and dragged her into 
the hall. There were Mr. and Mrs. Brashear, he in 
his nightdress of drawers and undershirt, she in the 
short flannel petticoat and sacque in which she always 
slept. Ashbel burst out of his room, kicking the door 
down instead of turning the knob. 

"Lorny," cried old Tom, "you take mother and Etty 
361 



SUSAN LENOX 



to the escape." And he rushed at his powerful, stupid 
son and began to strike him in the face with his one 
good fist, shrieking, "Shut up, you damn fool! Shut 
up!" 

Dragging Etta and pushing Mrs. Brashear, Susan 
moved toward the end of the hall where the fire escape 
passed their windows. All the way down, the land- 
ings were littered with bedding, pots, pans, drying 
clothes, fire wood, boxes, all manner of rubbish, the 
overflow of the crowded little flats. Over these ob- 
structions and down the ladders were falling and 
stumbling men, women, children, babies, in all degrees 
of nudity for many of the big families that slept 
in one room with windows tight shut so that the stove 
heat would not escape and be wasted when fuel was 
so dear, slept stark naked. Susan contrived to get 
Etta and the old woman to the street; not far behind 
them came Tom and Ashbel, the son's face bleeding 
from the blows his father had struck to quiet him. 

It was a penetrating cold night, with an icy drizzle 
falling. The street was filled with engines, hose, all 
manner of ruined household effects, firemen shouting, 
the tenement people huddling this way and that, bare- 
footed, nearly or quite naked, silent, stupefied. Nobody 
had saved anything worth while. The entire block 
was ablaze, was burning as if it had been saturated with 
coal oil. 

"The owner's done this," said old Tom. "I heard 
he was in trouble. But though he's a church member 
and what they call a philanthropist, I hardly thought 
he'd stoop to hirin' this done. If anybody's caught, 
it'll be some fellow that don't know who he did it for." 

About a hundred families were homeless in the street. 
Half a dozen patrol wagons and five ambulances were 

362 



SUSAN LENOX 



taking the people away to shelter, women and babies 
first. It was an hour an hour of standing in the 
street, with bare feet on the ice, under the ankledeep 
slush before old Tom and his wife got their turn 
to be taken. Then Susan and Etta and Ashbel, es- 
corted by a policeman, set out for the station house. 
As they walked along, someone called out to the po- 
liceman : 

"Anybody killed at the fire, officer?" 

"Six jumped and was smashed," replied the police- 
man. "I seen three dead babies. But they won't 
know for several days how many it'll total." 

And all her life long, whenever Susan Lenox heard 
the clang of a fire engine, there arose before her the 
memory picture of that fire, in all the horror of detail. 
A fire bell to her meant wretched families flung into 
the night, shrieks of mangled and dying, moans of 
babies with life oozing from their blue lips, columns 
of smoke ascending through icy, soaking air, and a 
vast glare of wicked light with flame demons leaping 
for joy in the measureless woe over which they were 
presiding. As the little party was passing the fire 
lines, Ashbel's foot slipped on a freezing ooze of blood 
and slush, and he fell sprawling upon a human body 
battered and trampled until it was like an overturned 
basket of butcher's odds and ends. 

The station house was eleven long squares away. 
But before they started for it they were already at 
the lowest depth of physical wretchedness which human 
nerves can register; thus, they arrived simply a little 
more numb. The big room, heated by a huge, red-hot 
stove to the point where the sweat starts, was crowded 
with abject and pitiful human specimens. Even Su- 
san, the most sensitive person there, gazed about with 

363 



SUSAN LENOX 



stolid eyes. The nakedness of unsightly bodies, gross 
with fat or wasted to emaciation, the dirtiness of limbs 
and torsos long, long unwashed, the foul steam from it 
all and from the water-soaked rags, the groans of 
some, the silent, staring misery of others, and, most 
horrible of all, the laughter of those who yielded like 
animals to the momentary sense of physical well-being 
as the heat thawed them out these sights and sounds 
together made up a truly infernal picture. And, like 
all the tragedies of abject poverty, it was wholly de- 
void of that dignity which is necessary to excite the 
deep pity of respect, was sordid and squalid, moved 
the sensitive to turn away in loathing rather than to 
advance with brotherly sympathy and love. 

Ashbel, his animal instinct roused by the sight of 
the stove, thrust the throng aside rudely as he pushed 
straight for the radiating center. Etta and Susan fol- 
lowed in his wake. The fierce heat soon roused them 
to the sense of their plight. Ashbel began to curse, 
Etta to weep. Susan's mind was staring, without hope 
but also without despair, at the walls of the trap in 
which they were all caught was seeking the spot where 
they could begin to burrow through and escape. 

Beds and covers were gathered in by the police from 
everywhere in that district, were ranged upon the 
floor of the four rooms. The men were put in the cells 
downstairs; the women and the children got the cots. 
Susan and Etta lay upon the same mattress, a horse 
blanket over them. Etta slept; Susan, wide awake, 
lived in brain and nerves the heart-breaking scenes 
through which she had passed numb and stolid. 

About six o'clock a breakfast of coffee, milk and 
bread was served. It was evident that the police did 
not know what to do with these outcasts who had 



SUSAN LENOX 



nothing and no place to go for practically all were 
out of work when the blow came. Ashbel demanded 
shoes, pants and a coat. 

"I've got to get to my job," shouted he, "or else 
I'll lose it. Then where in the hell'd we be!" 

His blustering angered the sergeant, who finally told 
him if he did not quiet down he would be locked in 
a cell. Susan interrupted, explained the situation, got 
Ashbel the necessary clothes and freed Etta and her- 
self of his worse than useless presence. At Susan's 
suggestion such other men as had jobs were also fitted 
out after a fashion and sent away. "You can take 
the addresses of their families if you send them any- 
where during the day, and these men can come back 

here and find out where they've gone " this was 

the plan she proposed to the captain, and he adopted 
it. As soon as the morning papers were about the 
city, aid of every kind began to pour in, with the re- 
sult that before noon many of the families were better 
established than they had been before the fire. 

Susan and Etta got some clothing, enough to keep 
them warm on their way through the streets to the 
hospital to which Brashear and his wife had been 
taken. Mrs. Brashear had died in the ambulance 
of heart disease, the doctors said, but Susan felt it 
was really of the sense that to go on living was im- 
possible. And fond of her though she was, she could 
not but be relieved that there was one less factor in 
the unsolvable problem. 

"She's better off," she said to Etta in the effort 
to console. 

But Etta needed no -consolation. "Ever so much 
better off," she promptly assented. "Mother hasn't 
cared about living since we had to give up our little 

365 



SUSAN LENOX 



home and become tenement house people. And she was 
right." 

As to Brashear, they learned that he was ill; but 
they did not learn until evening that he was dying of 
pneumonia. The two girls and Ashbel were admitted 
to the ward where he lay one of a long line of suf- 
ferers in bare, clean little beds. Screens were drawn 
round his bed because he was dying. He had been 
suffering torments from the savage assaults of the 
pneumonia; but the pain had passed away now, so 
he said, though the dreadful sound of his breathing 
made Susan's heart flutter and her whole body quiver. 

"Do you want a preacher or a priest?" asked the 
nurse. 

"Neither," replied the old man in gasps and whis- 
pers. "If there is a God he'll never let anybody from 
this hell of a world into his presence. They might tell 
him the truth about himself." 

"Oh, father, father!" pleaded Etta, and Ashbel 
burst into a fit of hysterical and terrified crying. 

The old man turned his dying eyes on Susan. He 
rested a few minutes, fixing her gaze upon his with 
a hypnotic stare. Then he began again: 

"You've got somethin' more'n a turnip on your 
shoulders. Listen to me. There was a man named 
Jesus once" gasp gasp "You've heard about him, 
but you don't know about him" gasp gasp "I'll 
tell you listen. He was a low fellow a workin' man 
same trade as mine born without a father born 
in a horse trough in a stable" gasp gasp 

Susan leaned forward. "Born without a father," she 
murmured, her eyes suddenly bright. 

"That's him. Listen" gasp gasp gasp "He 
was a big feller big brain big heart the biggest 

366 



X 



SUSAN LENOX 



man that ever lived" gasp gasp gasp gasp 
"And he looked at this here hell of a world from the 
outside, he being an outcast and a low-down common 
workingman. And he saw he did 

"Yes, he saw!" gasp gasp gasp "And he said 
all men were brothers and that they'd find it out some 
day. He saw that this world was put together for 
the strong and the cruel that they could win out 
and make the rest of us work for 'em for what they 
chose to give like they work a poor ignorant horse 

for his feed and stall in a dirty stable " gasp gasp 

gasp 

"For the strong and the cruel," said Susan. 

"And this feller Jesus he set round the saloons and 
such places publicans, they called 'em" gasp gasp 
gasp "And he says to all the poor ignorant slaves 
and such cattle, he says, 'You're all brothers. Love 
one another 5 ' gasp gasp gasp " 'Love one an- 
other,' he says, 'and learn to help each other and stand 
up for each other,' he says, 'and hate war and fightin' 

and money grabbin' ' ' gasp gasp gasp 

" 'Peace on earth,' he says, 'Know the truth, and the 
truth shall make you free' and he saw there'd be a 
time" the old man raised himself on one elbow "Yes, 
by God there mil be! a time when men'll learn not 
to be beasts and'll be men men, little gal!" 

"Men," echoed Susan, her eyes shining, her bosom 
heaving. 

"It ain't sense and it ain't right that everything 
should be for the few for them with brains and that 
the rest the millions should be tramped down just 
because they ain't so cruel or so 'cute' they and 
their children tramped down in the dirt. And that 
feller Jesus saw it." 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"Yes yes," cried Susan. "He saw it." 

"I'll tell you what he was," said old Tom in a hoarse 
whisper. "He wasn't no god. He was bigger'n that 
bigger'n that, little gal ! He was the first man that 
ever lived. He said, 'Give the weak a chance so as they 
kin git strong.' He says " 

The dying man fell back exhausted. His eyes rolled 
wildly, closed; his mouth twitched, fell wide open; 
there came from his throat a sound Susan had never 
heard before, but she knew what it was, what it meant. 

Etta and Ashbel were overwhelmed afresh by the 
disgrace of having their parents buried in Potter's 
Field for the insurance money went for debts. They 
did not understand when Susan said, "I think your 
father'd have liked to feel that he was going to be 
buried there because then he'll be with with his 
Friend. You know, He was buried in Potter's Field." 
However, their grief was shortlived; there is no time 
in the lives of working people for such luxuries as 
grief no more time than there is at sea when all 
are toiling to keep afloat the storm-racked sinking ship 
and one sailor is swept overboard. In comfortable 
lives a bereavement is a contrast; in the lives of the 
wretched it is but one more in the assailing army of 
woes. 

Etta took a job at the box factory at three dollars 
a week; she and Susan and Ashbel moved into two 
small rooms in a flat in a tenement opposite the fac- 
tory a cheaper and therefore lower house than the 
one that had burned. They bought on the installment 
plan nine dollars' worth of furniture the scant mini- 
mum of necessities. They calculated that, by careful 
saving, they could pay off the debt in a year or so 
unless one or the other fell ill or lost work. "That 

368 



SUSAN LENOX 



means," said Etta, eyeing their flimsy and all but down- 
right worthless purchases, "that means we'll still be 
paying when this furniture'll be gone to pieces and fit 
only for kindling." 

"It's the best we can do," replied Susan. "Maybe 
one of us'll get a better job." 

"You could, I'm sure, if you had the clothes," said 
Etta. "But not in those rags." 

"If I had the clothes? Where?" 

"At Shillito's or one of the other department stores. 
They'd give us both places in one of the men's depart- 
ments. They like pretty girls for those places if 
they're not giddy and don't waste time flirting but use 
flirtation to sell goods. But what's the sense in talking 
about it? You haven't got the clothes. A saleslady's 
got to be counter-dressed. She can look as bad as 
she pleases round the skirt and the feet. But from 
the waist up she has to look natty, if she wants 
wages." 

Susan had seen these girls ; she understood now why 
they looked as if they were the put together upper 
and lower halves of two different persons. She recalled 
that, even though they went into other business, they 
still retained the habit, wore toilets that were counter- 
built. She revolved the problem of getting one of 
these toilets and of securing a store job. But she 
soon saw it was hopeless, for the time. Every cent 
the three had was needed to keep from starving and 
freezing. Also though she did not realize it her 
young enthusiasm was steadily being sapped by the life 
she was leading. It may have been this rather than 
natural gentleness or perhaps it was as much the 
one as the other that kept Susan from taking Mat- 
son's advice and hardening herself into a forelady. 

369 



SUSAN LENOX 



The ruddy glow under her skin had given place to 
pallor; the roundness of her form had gone, and its 
beauty remained only because she had a figure which 
not even emaciation could have deprived of lines of 
alluring grace. But she was no longer quite so straight, 
and her hair, which it was a sheer impossibility to 
care for, was losing its soft vitality. She was still 
pretty, but not the beauty she had been when she was 
ejected from the class in which she was bred. How- 
ever, she gave the change in herself little thought; 
it was the rapid decline of Etta's prettiness and fresh- 
ness that worried her most. 

Not many weeks after the fire and the deeper plunge, 
she began to be annoyed by Ashbel. In his clumsy, 
clownish way he was making advances to her. Several 
times he tried to kiss her. Once, when Etta was out, 
he opened the door of the room where she was taking 
a bath in a wash tub she had borrowed of the janitress, 
leered in at her and very reluctantly obeyed her sharp 
order to close the door. She had long known that 
he was in reality very different from the silent re- 
strained person fear of his father made him seem to 
be. But she thought even the reality was far above 
the rest of the young men growing up among those 
degrading influences. 

The intrusion into her room was on a Sunday ; on the 
following Sunday he came back as soon as Etta went 
out. "Look here, Lorny," said he, with blustering 
tone and gesture, "I want to have a plain talk with 
you. I'm sick and tired of this. There's got to be a 
change." 

"Sick of what?" asked Susan. 

"Of the way you stand me off." He plumped him- 
self sullenly down on the edge of hers and Etta's bed. 

370 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I can't afrord to get married. I've got to stick by 
you two." 

"It strikes me, Ashbel, we all need each other. Who'd 
marry you on seven a week?" She laughed good-hu- 
moredly. "Anyhow, you wouldn't support a wife. It 
takes the hardest kind of work to get your share of 
the expenses out of you. You always try to beat us 
down to letting you off with two fifty a week." 

"That's about all Etta pays." 

"It's about all she gets. And I pay three fifty 
and she and I do all the work and give you two meals 
and a lunch to take with you and you've got a room 
alone and your mending done. I guess you know 
when you're well off." 

"But I ain't well off," he cried. "I'm a grown-up 
man and I've got to have a woman." 

Susan had become used to tenement conditions. She 
said, practically, "Well there's your left over four 
dollars a week." 

"Huh !" retorted he. "Think I'm goin' to run any 
risks? I'm no fool. I take care of my health." 

"Well don't bother me with your troubles at 
least, troubles of that sort." 

"Yes, but I will !" shouted he, in one of those sudden 
furies that seize upon the stupid ignorant. "You 
needn't act so nifty with me. I'm as good as you 
are. I'm willing to marry you." 

"No, thanks," said Susan. "I'm not free to marry 
even if I would." 

"Oh you ain't?" For an instant his curiosity, as 
she thus laid a hand upon the curtain over her past, 
distracted his uncertain attention. But her expres- 
sion, reserved, cold, maddeningly reminding him of a 
class distinction of which he was as sensitively con- 

371 



SUSAN LENOX 



scious as she was unconscious her expression brought 
him back with a jerk. "Then you'll have to live with 
me, anyhow. I can't stand it, and I'm not goin' to. 
If you want me to stay on here, and help out, you've 
got to treat me right. Other fellows that do as I'm 
doing get treated right. And I've got to be, too 
or I'll clear out." And he squirmed, and waggled his 
head and slapped and rubbed his heavy, powerful 
legs. 

"Why, Ashbel," said Susan, patting him on the 
shoulder. "You and I are like brother and sister. 
You might as well talk this way to Etta." 

He gave her a brazen look, uttered a laugh that was 
like the flinging out of a bucket of filth. "Why not? 
Other fellows that have to support the family and 
can't afford to marry gets took care of." Susan 
shrank away. But Ashbel did not notice it. "It ain't 
a question of Etta," he went on. "There's you and I 
don't need to look nowhere else." 

Susan had long since lost power to be shocked by 
any revelation of the doings of people lashed out of 
all civilized feelings by the incessant brutal whips 
of poverty and driven back to the state of nature. She 
had never happened to hear definitely of this habit 
even custom of incestuous relations; now that she 
heard, she instantly accepted it as something of which 
she had really known for some time. At any rate, 
she had no sense of shock. She felt no horror, no 
deep disgust, simply the distaste into which her origi- 
nal sense of horror had been thinned down by constant 
contact with poverty's conditions just as filth no 
longer made her shudder, so long as it did not touch 
her own person. 

"You'd better go and chase yourself round the 
372 



SUSAN LENOX 



square a few times," said she, turning away and taking 
up some mending. 

"You see, there ain't no way out of it," pursued he, 
with an insinuating grin. 

Susan gave him a steady, straight look. "Don't ever 
speak of it again," said she quietly. "You ought to 
be ashamed and you will be when you think it over." 

He laughed loudly. "I've thought it over. I mean 
what I say. If you don't do the square thing by me, 
you drive me out." 

He came hulking up to her, tried to catch her in 
his big powerful arms. She put the table between 
him and her. He kicked it aside and came on. She 
saw that her move had given him a false impression 
a notion that she was afraid of him, was coquetting 
with him. She opened the door leading into the front 
part of the flat where the Quinlan family lived. "If 
you don't behave yourself, I'll call Mr. Quinlan," said 
she, not the least bluster or fear or nervousness in 
her tone. 

"What'd be the use? He'd only laugh. Why, the 
same thing's going on in their family." 

"Still, he'd lynch you if I told him what you were 
trying to do." 

Even Ashbel saw this familiar truth of human na- 
ture. The fact that Quinlan was guilty himself, far 
from staying him from meting out savage justice to 
another, would make him the more relentless and eager. 
"All right," said he. "Then you want me to git 
out?" 

"I want you to behave yourself and stay on. Go 
take a walk, Ashbel." 

And Ashbel went. But his expression was not reas- 
suring; Susan feared he had no intention of accepting 
13 673 



SUSAN LENOX 



his defeat. However, she reasoned that numbskull 
though he was, he yet had wit enough to realize how 
greatly to his disadvantage any change he could make 
would be. She did not speak of the matter to Etta, 
who was therefore taken completely by surprise when 
Ashbel, after a silent supper that evening, burst out 
with his grievance: 

"I'm going to pack up," said he. "I've found a place 
where I'll be treated right." He looked haughtily at 
Susan. "And the daughter's a good looker, too. She's 
got some weight on her. She ain't like a washed out 
string." 

Etta understood at once. "What a low-down thing 
you are !" she cried. "Just like the rest of these filthy 
tenement house animals. I thought you had some 
pride." 

"Oh, shut up!" bawled Ashbel. "You're not such 
a much. What're we, anyhow, to put on airs? We're 
as common as dirt yes, and that sniffy lady friend 
of yours, too. Where'd she come from, anyhow? Some 
dung pile, I'll bet." 

He went into his room, reappeared with his few 
belongings done into a bundle. "So long," said he, 
stalking toward the hall door. 

Etta burst into tears, caught him by the arm. "You 
ain't goin', are you, Ashy?" cried she. 

"Bet your life. Let me loose." And he shook her 
off. "I'm not goin' to be saddled with two women that 
ain't got no gratitude." 

"My God, Lorna!" wailed Etta. "Talk to him. 
Make him stay." 

Susan shook her head, went to the window and gazed 
into the snowy dreary prospect of tenement house 
yards. Ashbel, who had been hesitating through hope, 

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SUSAN LENOX 



vented a jeering laugh. "Ain't she the insultin'est, 
airiest lady!'* sneered he. "Well, so long." 

"But, Ashy, you haven't paid for last week yet," 
pleaded Etta, clinging to his arm. 

"You kin have my share of the furniture for that." 

"The furniture! Oh, my God!" shrieked Etta, re- 
leasing him to throw out her arms in despair. "How'll 
we pay for the furniture if you go ?" 

"Ask your high and mighty lady friend," said her 
brother. And he opened the door, passed into the hall, 
slammed it behind him. Susan waited a moment for 
Etta to speak, then turned to see what she was do*ing. 
She had dropped into one of the flimsy chairs, was 
staring into vacancy. 

"We'll have to give up these rooms right away," said 
Susan. 

Etta roused herself, looked at her friend. And Su- 
san saw what Etta had not the courage to express 
that she blamed her for not having "made the best 
of it" and kept Ashbel. And Susan was by no means 
sure that the reproach in Etta's eyes and heart were 
not justified. "I couldn't do it, Etta," she said with 
a faint suggestion of apology. 

"Men are that way," said Etta sullenly. 

"Oh, I don't blame him," protested Susan. "I un- 
derstand. But I can't do it, Etta I simply can't!" 

"No," said Etta. "You couldn't. I could, but you 
couldn't. I'm not as far down as Ashbel. I'm betwixt 
and between; so I can understand you both." 

"You go and make up with him and let me look 
after myself. I'll get along." 

Etta shook her head. "No," said she without any 
show of sentiment, but like one stating an unalterable 
fact. "I've got to stay on with you. I can't live 

375 



SUSAN LENOX 



without you. I don't want to go down. I want to 
go up." 

"Up!" Susan smiled bitterly. 

Silence fell between them, and Susan planned for the 
new conditions. She did not speak until Etta said, 
"What ever will we do?" 

"We've got to give up the furniture. Thank good- 
ness, we've paid only two-fifty on it." 

"Yes, it's got to go," said Etta. 

"And we've got to pay Mrs. Quinlan the six we owe 
her and get out tonight. We'll go up to the top floor 
up to Mrs. Cassatt. She takes sleepers. Then 
we'll see." 

An hour later they had moved ; for Mrs. Quinlan was 
able to find two lodgers to take the rooms at once. 
They were established with Mrs. Cassatt, had a foul 
and foul-smelling bed and one-half of her back room; 
the other half barely contained two even dirtier and 
more malodorous cots, in one of which slept Mrs. Cas- 
satt's sixteen-year-old daughter Kate, in the other her 
fourteen-year-old son Dan. For these new quarters 
and the right to cook their food on the Cassatt stove 
the girls agreed to pay three dollars and a half a 
week which left them three dollars and a half a week 
for food and clothing and for recreation and for the 
exercise of the virtue of thrift which the comfortable 
so assiduously urge upon the poor. 



XXI 

EACH girl now had with her at all times every- 
thing she possessed in the world a toothbrush, 
a cake of castile soap, the little money left out 
of the week's wages, these three items in the pocket 
of her one skirt, a cheap dark blue cloth much wrin- 
kled and patched; a twenty-five cent felt hat, Susan's 
adorned with a blue ribbon, Etta's with a bunch of 
faded roses; a blue cotton blouse patched under the 
arms with stuff of a different shade ; an old misshapen 
corset that cost forty-nine cents in a bargain sale; 
a suit of gray shoddy-and-wool underwear; a pair of 
fifteen-cent stockings, Susan's brown, Etta's black; a 
pair of worn and torn ties, scuffed and down at the 
heel, bought for a dollar and nine cents ; a dirt-stained 
dark blue jacket, Susan's lacking one button, Etta's 
lacking three and having a patch under the right arm. 
Yet they often laughed and joked with each other, 
with their fellow-workers. You might have said their 
hearts were light ; for so eager are we to believe our 
fellow-beings comfortable, a smile of poverty's face 
convinces us straightway that it is as happy as we, if 
not happier. There would have been to their mirth 
a little more than mere surface and youthful ability 
to find some jest in the most crushing tragedy if only 
they could have kept themselves clean. The lack of 
sufficient food was a severe trial, for both had voracious 
appetites ; Etta was tormented by visions of quantity, 
Susan by visions of quality as well as of quantity. 
But only at meal times, or when they had to omit a 

377 



SUSAN LENOX 



meal entirely, were they keenly distressed by the food 
question. The cold was a still severer trial; but it 
was warm in the factory and it was warm in Mrs. 
Cassatt's flat, whose windows were never opened from 
closing in of winter until spring came round. The 
inability to keep clean was the trial of trials. 

From her beginning at the box factory the physical 
uncleanness of the other girls had made Susan suffer 
keenly. And her suffering can be understood only 

iby a clean person who has been through the same or- 
deal. She knew that her fellow-workers were not to 
blame. She even envied them the ignorance and the 
insensibility that enabled them to bear what, she was 
convinced, could never be changed. She wondered some- 
times at the strength and grip of the religious belief 
among the girls even, or, rather, especially, among 
those who had strayed from virtue into the path their 
priests and preachers and rabbis told them was the 
most sinful of all strayings. But she also saw many 
signs that religion was fast losing its hold. One day 
a Lutheran girl, Emma Schmeltz, said during a Mon- 
day morning lunch talk: 

"Well, anyhow, I believe it's all a probation, and 
everything'll be made right hereafter. / believe my 
religion, I do. Yes, we'll be rewarded in the here- 
after." 

Becky Rebecca Lichtenspiel laughed, as did most 
of the girls. Said Becky: 

"And there ain't no hereafter. Did you ever see a 
corpse? Ain't they the dead ones! Don't talk to me 
about no hereafter." 

Everybody laughed. But this was a Monday morn- 
ing conversation, high above the average of the girls' 
talk in intelligence and liveliness. Their minds had 

378 

9 



SUSAN LENOX 



been stimulated by the Sunday rest from the dreary 
and degenerating drudgery of "honest toil." 

It was the physical contacts that most preyed upon 
Susan. She was too gentle, too considerate to show 
her feelings ; in her determined and successful effort 
to conceal them she at times went to the opposite ex- 
treme and not only endured but even courted contacts 
that were little short of loathsome. Tongue could not 
tell what she suffered through the persistent affection- 
ateness of Letty Southard, a sweet and pretty young 
girl of wretchedly poor family who developed an enor- 
mous liking for her. TVttyj-dirty nrH cla^ jjp noisoniQ 
undergarments beneath soiled rj 
always hugging and kissing her^=and not to have sub- 
mitted would have been to stab poor Letty to the heart 
and humiliate all the other girls. So no one, not even 
Etta, suspected what she was going through. 

From her coming to the factory in the morning, to 
hang her hat and jacket in the only possible place, 
along with the soiled and smelling and often vermin- 
infected wraps of the others from early morning un- 
til she left at night she was forced into contacts to 
which custom never in the least blunted her. How- 
ever, so long as she had a home with the Brashears 
there was the nightly respite. But now 

There was little water, and only a cracked and 
filthy basin to wash in. There was no chance to do 
laundry work; for their underclothes must be used as 
night clothes also. To wash their hair was impossible. 

"Does my hair smell as bad as yours?" said Etta. 
"You needn't think yours is clean because it doesn't 
show the dirt like mine." 

"Does my hair smell as bad as the rest of the girls'?" 
said Susan. 

379 






SUSAN LENOX 



"Not quite," was Etta's consoling reply. 

By making desperate efforts they contrived partially 
to wash their bodies once a week, not without inter- 
ruptions of privacy to which, however, they soon grew 
accustomed. In spite of efforts which were literally 
heroic, they could not always keep free from para- 
sites ; for the whole tenement and all persons and things 
in it were infected and how could it be otherwise 
where no one had time or money or any effective means 
whatsoever to combat nature's inflexible determination 
to breed wherever there is a breeding spot? The last 
traces of civilization were slipping from the two girls ; 
they were sinking to a state of nature. 

Even personal pride, powerful in Susan and strong 
in Etta through Susan's example, was deserting them. 
They no longer minded Dan's sleeping in their room. 
They saw him, his father, the other members of the 
family in all stages of nudity and at the most private 
acts; and they were seen by the Cassatts in the same 
way. To avoid this was impossible, as impossible 
as to avoid the parasites swarming in the bed, in the 
woodwork, in cracks of ceiling, walls, floor. 

The Cassatts were an example of how much the peo- 
ple who live in the sheltered and more or less sunny 
nooks owe to their shelter and how little to their own 
boasted superiority of mind and soul. They had been 
a high class artisan family until a few months before. 
The hard times struck them a series of quick, savage 
blows, such as are commonplace enough under our so- 
cial system, intricate because a crude jumble of make- 
shifts, and easily disordered because intricate. They 
were swept without a breathing pause down to the 
bottom. Those who have always been accustomed to 
prosperity have no reserve of experience or courage 

380 



SUSAN LENOX 



to enable them to recuperate from sudden and ex- 
treme adversity. In an amazingly short time the Cas- 
satts had become demoralized a familiar illustration 
of how civilization is merely a wafer-thin veneer over 
most human beings as yet. Over how many is it more ? 
They fought after a fashion; they fought valiantly. 
But how would it have been possible not steadily to 
yield ground against such a ^pitiless, powerful foe as 
poverty? The man had taken to drink, to blunt 
outraged self-respect and to numb his despair before 
the spectacle of his family's downfall. Mrs. Cassatt 
was as poor a manager as the average woman in what- 
ever walk of life, thanks to the habit of educating 
woman in the most slipshod fashion, if at all, in any 
other part of the business but sex-trickery. Thus she 
was helpless before the tenement conditions. She gave 
up, went soddenly about in rags with an incredibly 
greasy and usually dangling tail of hair. 

"Why don't you tie up that tail, ma?" said the son 
Dan, who had ideas about neatness. 

"What's the use?" said Mrs. Cassatt. "What's the 
use of anythMng?" 

"Ma don't want to look stylish and stuck up," said 
the daughter. 

Mrs. Cassatt's haunting terror was lest someone who 
had known them in the days of their prosperity with 
a decently furnished little house of their own should 
run into one of the family now. 

Kate, the sixteen-year-old daughter, had a place as 
saleslady in a big shop in Fifth Street; her six dollars 
a week was the family's entire steady income. She 
had formerly possessed a good deal of finery for a girl 
in her position, though really not much more than 
the daughter of the average prosperous artisan or 

381 



SUSAN LENOX 



small shopkeeper expects, and is expected, to have. 
Being at the shop where finery was all the talk and 
sight and thought from opening until closing had de- 
veloped in her a greedy taste for luxury. She pilfered 
from the stocks of goods within her reach and ex- 
changed her stealings for the stealings of girls who 
happened to be able to get things more to her 
liking or need. But now that the family savings- 
bank account was exhausted, all these pilferings had 
to go at once to the pawnshop. JK&t grew more 
and more ill-tempered as the family sank. Formerly 
she had been noted for her amiability, for her vanity 
easily pleased with a careless compliment from no 
matter whom a jocose, half-drunken ash man, half- 
jeering, half-admiring from his cart seat quite as sat- 
isfactory as anybody./ But poverty was bringing out 
in 'her all those meanest and most selfish and most 
brutish instincts those primal instincts of human na- 
ture that civilization has slowly been subjecting to the 
process of atrophy which has lost us such other primal 
attributes as ? for example, prehensile toes and a cover- 
ing of hair. | 

"Well, riFor one don't have to stay in this slop 
barrel," Kate was always saying. "Some fine morning 
I'll turn up missing and you'll see me in my own turn- 
out." 

She was torturing her mother and father with the 
dread that she would leave the family in the lurch 
and enter a house of prostitution. She recounted with 
the utmost detail how the madam of a /house in Long- 
worth Street came from time to time to her counter 
in the perfumery and soap department and urged her 
to "stop making a fool of yourself and come get good 
money for your looks before you lose 'em drudging 



^ 



SUSAN LENOX 



behind a counter." The idea grew less abhorrent, took 
on allurement as the degradation of tenement life ate 
out respect for conventional restraints for modesty, 
for virtue, for cleanness of speech, and the rest. More 
and more boldly Kate was announcing that she wasn't 
going to be a fool much longer. 

Dan, the fourteen-year-old boy, had attracted the 
attention of what Cassatt called "a fancy lady" who 
lived two floors below them. She made sometimes as 
much as nine or ten dollars a week and slept all day 
or lounged comfortably about in showy, tawdry stuff 
that in those surroundings seemed elegant luxury. She 
was caught by the boy's young beauty and strength, 
and was rapidly training him in every vice and was 
fitting him to become a professional seducer and 
"lover." 

Said Mrs. Cassatt in one of her noisy wailing ap- 
peals to Dan: 

"You better keep away from that there soiled dove. 
They tell me she's a thief has done time has robbed 
drunken men in dark hallways." 

Dan laughed impudently. "She's a cute one. What 
diff does it make how she gets the goods as long as she 
gets it?" 

Mrs. Cassatt confided to everybody that she was 
afraid the woman would make a thief of her boy 
and there was no disputing the justice of her fore- 
bodings. 

| Foul smells and sights everywhere, and foul lan- 
guage; no privacy, no possibility of modesty where 
all must do all in the same room: vermin, parasites, 
bad food vilely cooked in the midst of these and a 
multitude of similar ills how was it possible to main- 
tain a human standard, even if one had by chance ac- 

383 



SUSAN LENOX 



quired a knowledge of what constituted a human stand- 
ard? The Cassatts were sinking into the slime in 
which their neighbors were already wallowing. But 
there was this difference. For the Cassatts it was a 
descent; for many of their neighbors it was an ascent 
for the immigrants notably, who had been worse off 
in their European homes ; in this land not yet com- 
pletely in the grip of the capitalist or wage system 
they were now getting the first notions of decency 
and development, the first views and hope of rising 
in the world. The Cassatts, though they had always 
lived too near the slime to be nauseated by it, still 
found it disagreeable and in spots disgusting. Their 
neighbors 

One of the chief reasons why these people were rising 
so slowly where they were rising at all was that the 
slime seemed to them natural, and to try to get clean 
of it seemed rather a foolish, finicky waste of time and 
effort. People who have come up by accident, or by 
their own force, or by the force of some at once shrewd 
and brutal member of the family have to be far and 
long from the slums before they lose the sense that 
in conforming to the decencies of life they are making 
absurd effeminate concessions. When they go to buy 
a toothbrush they blush and stammer. 

"Look at Lorna and Etta," Mrs. Cassatt was al- 
ways saying to Kate. 

"Well, I see 'em," Kate would reply. "And I don't 
see much." 

"Ain't you ashamed of yourself!" cried the mother. 
"Them two lives straight and decent. And you're 
better off than they are." 

"Don't preach to me, ma," sneered Kate. "When I 
get ready I'll stop making a damn fool of myself." 

384 



SUSAN LENOX 



But the example of the two girls was not without 
its effect. They, struggling on in chastity against 
appalling odds, became the models, not only to Mrs. 
Cassatt, but all the mothers of that row held up to 
their daughters. The mothers all of them by obser- 
vation, not a few by experience knew what the "fancy 
lady's" life really meant. And they strove mightily to 
keep their daughters from it. Not through religion 
or moral feeling, though many pretended perhaps 
fancied that this was their reason; but through the 
plainest kind of practical sense the kind that in the 
broad determines the actions of human beings of what- 
ever class, however lofty the idealistic pretenses may 
be. These mothers knew that the profession of the 
pariah meant a short life and a wretched one, meant 
disease, lower and ever lower wages, the scale swiftly 
descending, meant all the miseries of respectability 
plus a heavy burden of miseries of its own. There were 
many other girls besides Susan and Etta holding up 
their heads girls with prospects of matrimony, girls 
with fairly good wages, girls with fathers and brothers 
at work and able to provide a home. But Susan and 
Etta were peculiarly valuable as examples because they 
were making the fight alone and unaided. 

Thus, they were watched closely. In those neigh- 
borhoods everyone knows everyone's else business down 
to how the last cent is got and spent. If either girl 
had appeared in a new pair of shoes, a new hat, a 
new garment of any kind, at once the report would 
have sped that the wearer had taken a turn in the 
streets. And the scandal would have been justified; 
for where could either have respectably got the money 
for the smallest and cheapest addition to her toilet? 
Matson, too, proudly pointed them out as giving the 

385 



SUSAN LENOX 



lie to the talk about working girls not getting living 
wages, to the muttering against him and his fellow 
employers as practically procurers for the pavement 
and the dive, for the charity hospital's most dreadful 
wards, for the Morgue's most piteous boxes and slabs. 

As their strength declined, as their miseries ate in 
and in, the two girls ceased talking together ; t they 
used to chatter much of the time like two birds on a 
leafy, sunny bough. Now they walked, ate their scanty, 
repulsive meals, dressed, worked, all in silence. When 
their eyes met both glanced guiltily away, each fearing 
the other would discover the thought she was revolving 
the thought of the streets. They slept badly Etta 
sometimes, Susan every night. For a long time after 
she came to the tenements she had not slept well, despite 
her youth and the dull toil that wore her out each 
day. But after many months she had grown some- 
what used to the noisiness to fretting babies, to wail- 
ing children, the mixed ale parties, the quarrelings of 
the ill and the drunk, the incessant restlessness wher- 
ever people are huddled so close together that repose is 
impossible. And she had gradually acquired the habit 
of sleeping well that is, well for the tenement region 
where no one ever gets the rest without which health 
is impossible. Now sleeplessness came again hours 
on hours of listening to the hateful and maddening 
discords of densely crowded humanity, hours on hours 
of thinking thinking in the hopeless circles like those 
of a caged animal, treading with soft swift step round 
and round, nose to the iron wall, eyes gleaming with 
despairing pain. 

One Saturday evening after a supper of scorched 
cornmeal which had been none too fresh when they 
got it at the swindling grocer's on the street floor, 

386 



SUSAN LENOX 



Etta put on the tattered, patched old skirt at which 
she had been toiling. "I can't make it fit to wear," 
said she. "It's too far gone; I think" her eye- 
lids fluttered "I'll go see some of the girls." 

Susan, who was darning seated on the one chair 
yes, it had once been a chair did not look up or 
speak. Etta put on her hat slowly. Then, with a 
stealthy glance at Susan, she moved slidingly toward 
the door. As she reached it Susan's hands dropped 
to her lap; so tense were Etta's nerves that the ges- 
ture made her startle. "Etta!" said Susan in an ap- 
pealing voice. 

Etta's hand dropped from the knob. "Well what 
is it, Lorna?" she asked in a low, nervous tone. 

"Look at me, dear." 

Etta tried to obey, could not. 

"Don't do it yet," said Susan. "Wait a few 
more days." 

"Wait for what?" 

"I don't know. But wait." 

"You get four, I get only three and there's no 
chance of a raise. I work slower instead of faster. 
I'm going to be discharged soon. I'm in rags un- 
derneath. . . . I've got to go before I get sick and 
won't have anything to to sell." 

Susan did not reply. She stared at the remains of 
a cheap stocking in her lap. Yes, there was no doubt 
about it, Etta's health was going. Etta was strong, 
but she had no such store of strength to draw upon 
as had accumulated for Susan during the seventeen 
years of simple, regular life in healthful surround- 
ings. A little while and Etta would be ill would, 
perhaps probably almost certainly die 

Dan Cassatt came in at the other door, sat on the 
387 



SUSAN LENOX 



edge of his bed and changed his trousers for what 
he was pleased to imagine a less disreputable pair. 
Midway the boy stopped and eyed Susan's bare leg 
and foot, a grin of pleasure and amusement on his 
precociously and viciously mature face. 

"My, but you keep clean," he cried. "And you've 
got a mighty pretty foot. Minnie's is ugly as hell." 

Minnie was the "fancy lady" on the floor below 
"my skirt," he called her. Susan evidently did not 
hear his compliment. Dan completed his "sporting 
toilet" with a sleeking down of his long greasy hair, 
took himself away to his girl. Susan was watching 
a bug crawl down the wall toward their bed with its 
stained and malodorous covers of rag. Etta was still 
standing by the door motionless. She sighed, once 
more put her hand on the knob. 

Susan's voice came again. "You've never been out, 
have you?" 

"No," replied Etta. 

Susan began to put on her stocking. "I'll go," said 
she. "I'll go instead." 

"No!" cried Etta, sobbing. "It don't matter about 
me. I'm bound to be sucked under. You've got a 
chance to pull through." 

"Not a ghost of a chance," answered Susan. "I'll 
go. You've never been." 

"I know, but " 

"You've never been," continued Susan, fastening her 
shoe with its ragged string. "You've never been. Well 
I have." 

"You!" exclaimed Etta, horrified though unbeliev- 
ing. "Oh, no, you haven't." 

"Yes," said Susan. "And worse." 

"And worse?" repeated Etta. "Is that what the look 
388 



SUSAN LENOX 



I sometimes see in your eyes when you don't know 
anyone's seeing is that what it means?" 

"I suppose so. I'll go. You stay here." 

"And you out there!" 

"It doesn't mean much to me." 

Etta looked at her with eyes as devoted as a dog's. 
"Then we'll go together," she said. 

Susan, pinning on her weather-stained hat, reflected. 
"Very well," she said finally. "There's nothing lower 
than this." 

They said no more; they went out into the clear, 
cold winter night, out under the brilliant stars. Several 
handsome theater buses were passing on their way 
from the fashionable suburb to the theater. Etta 
looked at them, at the splendid horses, at the men in 
top hats and fur coats clean looking, fine looking, 
amiable looking men at the beautiful fur wraps of the 
delicate women what complexions ! what lovely hair ! 
what jewels ! Etta, her heart bursting, her throat 
choking, glanced at Susan to see whether she too was 
observing. But Susan's eyes were on the tenement they 
had just left. 

"What are you looking at so queer?" asked 
Etta. 

"I was thinking that we'll not come back here." 

Etta started. "Not come back home!" 

Susan gave a strange short laugh. "Home! . . . 
No, we'irnot come back home. There's no use doing 
things halfway. We've made the plunge. We'll go 
the limit." 

Etta shivered. She admired the courage, but it ter- 
rified her. "There's something something awful 
about you, Lorna," she said. "You've changed till 
you're like a different person from what you were when 

389 



SUSAN LENOX 



you came to the restaurant. Sometimes that look in 
your eyes well, it takes my breath away." 

"It takes my breath away, too. Come on." 

At the foot of the hill they took the shortest route 
for Vine Street, the highway of the city's night life. 
Though they were so young and walked briskly, their 
impoverished blood was not vigorous enough to pro- 
duce a reaction against the sharp wind of the zero 
night which nosed through their few thin garments and 
bit into their bodies as if they were naked. They came 
to a vast department store. Each of its great show- 
windows, flooded with light, was a fascinating display 
of clothing for women upon wax models costly jackets 
and cloaks of wonderful furs, white, brown, gray, rich 
and glossy black; underclothes fine and soft, with rib- 
bons and flounces and laces ; silk stockings and grace- 
ful shoes and slippers ; dresses for street, for ball, for 
afternoon, dresses with form, with lines, dresses ele- 
gantly plain, dresses richly embroidered. Despite the 
cold the two girls lingered, going from window to win- 
dow, their freezing faces pinched and purple, their eyes 
gazing hungrily. 

"Now that we've tried 'em all on," said Susan with a 
short and bitter laugh, "let's dress in our dirty rags 
again and go." 

"Oh, I couldn't imagine myself in any of those things 
you?" cried Etta. 







answered husan 
were brought lip 



ngs, I know." 
"But I'm going to have 



Susan shook her head, 
them." 

"When?" said Etta, scenting romance. "Soon?" 
"As soon as I learn," was Susan's absent, unsatis- 
factory reply. 

390 



SUSAN LENOX 



Etta had gone back to her own misery and the con- 
trasts to it. "I get mad through and through," she 
cried, "when I think how all those things go to some 
women women that never did work and never could. 
And they get them because they happen to belong to 
rich fathers and husbands or whoever protects them. 
It isn't fair ! It makes me crazy !" 

Susan gave a disdainful shrug. "What's the use of 
that kind of talk !" said she. "No use at all. The thing 
is, we haven't got what we want, and we've got to get it 
and so we've got to learn how." 

"I can't think of anything but the cold," said Etta. 
"My God, how cold I am! There isn't anything I 
wouldn't do to get warm. There isn't anything 
anybody wouldn't do to get warm, if they were as 
cold as this. It's all very well for warm people to 
talk " 

"Oh, I'm sick of all the lying and faking, anyhow. 
Do you believe in hell, Lorna?" 

"Not in a hot one," said Susan. 

Soon they struck into Vine Street, bright as day al- 
most, and lined with beer halls, concert gardens, res- 
taurants. Through the glass fronts crowds of men 
and women were visible contented faces, well-fed 
bodies, food on the tables or inviting-looking drink. 
Along the sidewalk poured an eager throng, all the 
conspicuous faces in it notable for the expectancy of 
pleasure in the eyes. 

"Isn't this different!" exclaimed Etta. "My God, 
how cold I am and how warm everybody else is but 
us!" 

The sights, the sounds of laughter, of gay music, 
acted upon her like an intoxicant. She tossed her head 
in a reckless gesture. "I don't care what becomes of 

391 



SUSAN LENOX 



me," said she. "I'm ready for anything except dirt 
and starvation." 

Nevertheless, they hurried down Vine Street, avoid- 
ing the glances of the men and behaving as if they 
were two working girls in a rush to get home. As they 
walked, Susan, to delude herself into believing that she 
was not hesitating, with fainting courage talked in- 
cessantly to Etta told her the things Mabel Conne- 
mora had explained to her about how a woman could, 
and must, take care of her health, if she were not to be 
swept under like the great mass of the ignorant, care- 
less women of the pariah class. Susan was astonished 
that she remembered all the actress had told her re- 
membered it easily, as if she had often thought of it, 
had used the knowledge habitually. 

They arrived at Fountain Square, tired from the 
long walk. They were both relieved and depressed that 
nothing had happened. "We might go round the foun- 
tain and then back," suggested Susan. 

They made the tour less rapidly but still keeping 
their heads and their glances timidly down. They 
were numb with the cold now. To the sharp agony 
had succeeded an ache like the steady grinding pain of 
rheumatism. Etta broke the silence with, "Maybe we 
ought to go into a house." 

"A house! Oh you mean a a sporting house." 
At that time professional prostitution had not become 
widespread among the working class ; stationary or fall- 
ing wages, advancing cost of food and developing de- 
mand for comfort and luxury had as yet only begun 
to produce their inevitable results. Thus, prostitution 
as an industry was in the main segregated in certain 
streets and certain houses and the prostitutes were a 
distinct class. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"You haven't been?" inquired Etta. 

"No," said Susan. 

"Dan Cassatt and Kate told me about those places," 
Etta went on. "Kate says they're fine and the girls 
make fifty and sometimes a hundred dollars a week, 
and have everything servants to wait on them, good 
food, bathrooms, lovely clothes, and can drive out. But 
I I think I'd stay in the house." 

"I want to be my own boss," said Susan. 

"There's another side than what Kate says," con- 
tinued Etta as consecutively as her chattering teeth 
would permit. "She heard from a madam that wants 
her to come. But Dan heard from Minnie she used 
to be in one and she says the girls are slaves, that 
they're treated like dogs and have to take anything. 
She says it's something dreadful the way men act 
even the gentlemen. She says the madam fixes things 
so that every girl always owes her money and don't 
own a stitch to her back, and so couldn't leave if she 
wanted to." 

"That sounds more like the truth," said Susan. 

"But we may have to go," pleaded Etta. "It's awful 
cold and if we went, at least we'd have a warm place. 
If we wanted to leave, why, we couldn't be any worse 
off for clothes than we are." 

Susan had no answer for this argument. They went 
several squares up Vine Street in silence. Then Etta 
burst out again: 

"I'm frozen through and through, Lorna, and I'm 
dead tired and hungry. The wind's cutting the flesh 
off my bones. What in the hell does it matter what 
becomes of us? Let's get warm, for God's sake. Let's 
go to a house. They're in Longworth Street the best 



393 



SUSAN LENOX 



And she came to a halt, forcing Susan to halt also. 
It happened to be the corner of Eighth Street. Susan 
saw the iron fence, the leafless trees of Garfield Place. 
"Let's go down this way," said she. "I had luck here 
once." 

"Luck!" said Etta, her curiosity triumphant over 
all. 

Susan's answer was a strange laugh. Ahead of them, 
a woman warmly and showily dressed was sauntering 
along. "That's one of them," said Etta. "Let's see 
how she does it. We've got to learn quick. I can't 
stand this cold much longer." 

The two girls, their rags fluttering about their miser- 
able bodies, kept a few feet behind the woman, watched 
her with hollow eyes of envy and fear. Tears of an- 
guish from the cold were streaming down their cheeks. 
Soon a man alone a youngish man with a lurching 
step came along. They heard the woman say, "Hello, 
dear. Don't be in a hurry." 

He tried to lurch past her, but she seized him by 
the lapel of his overcoat. "Lemme go," said he. 
"You're old enough to be a grandmother, you old hag." 

Susan and Etta halted and, watching so interestedly 
that they forgot themselves, heard her laugh at his 
insult, heard her say wheedlingly, "Come along, dearie, 
I'll treat you right. You're the kind of a lively, joky 
fellow I like." 

"Go to hell, gran'ma," said the man, roughly shaking 
her off and lurching on toward the two girls. He 
stopped before them, eyed them by the light of the 
big electric lamp, grinned good-naturedly. "What've 
we got here?" said he. "This looks better." 

The woman rushed toward the girls, pouring out a 
stream of vileness. "You git out of here !" she shrilled. 

394 



SUSAN LENOX 



"You chippies git off my beat. I'll have you pinched 
I will!" 

"Shut up!" cried the drunken man, lifting his fist. 
"I'll have you pinched. Let these ladies alone, they're 
friends of mine. Do you want me to call the cop?" 

The woman glanced toward the corner where a police- 
man was standing, twirling his club. She turned away, 
cursing horribly. The man laughed. "Dirty old hag 
isn't she?" said he. "Don't look so scared, birdies." 
He caught them each by an arm, stared woozily at Etta. 
"You're a good little looker, you are. Come along 
with me. There's three in it." 

"I I can't leave my lady friend," Etta succeeded in 
chattering. "Please really I can't." 

"Your lady friend?" He turned his drunken head 
in Susan's direction, squinted at her. He was rather 
good-looking. "Oh she means you. Fact is, I'm so 
soused I thought I was seein' double. Why, you're a 
peach. I'll take you." And he released his hold on 
Etta to seize her. "Come right along, my lovey-dovey 
dear." 

Susan drew away ; she was looking at him with terror 
and repulsion. The icy blast swept down the street, 
sawed into her flesh savagely. 

"I'll give you five," said the drunken man. "Come 
along." He grabbed her arm, waved his other hand 
at Etta. "So long, blondie. 'Nother time. Good 
luck." 

Susan heard Etta's gasp of horror. She wrenched 
herself free again. "I guess I'd better go with him," 
said she to Etta. 

Etta began to sob. "Oh, Lorna !" she moaned. "It's 
awful." 

"You go into the restaurant on the corner and get 
395 



SUSAN LENOX 



something to eat, and wait for me. We can afford to 
spend the money. And you'll be warm there." 

"Here! Here!" cried the tipsy man. "What're 
you two whispering about? Come along, skinny. No 
offense. I like 'em slim." And he made coarse and 
pointed remarks about the sluggishness of fat women, 
laughing loudly at his own wit. 

The two girls did not hear. The wind straight from 
the Arctic was plying its hideous lash upon their de- 
fenseless bodies. 

"Come on, lovey!" cried the man. "Let's go in out 
of the cold." 

"Oh, Lorna ! You can't go with a drunken man ! 
I'll I'll take him. I can stand it better'n you. You 
can go when there's a gentleman " 

"You don't know," said Susan. "Didn't I tell you 
I'd been through the worst?" 

"Are you coming?" broke in the man, shaking his 
head to scatter the clouds over his sight. 

The cold was lashing Susan's body ; and she was see- 
ing the tenement she had left the vermin crawling, the 
filth everywhere, the meal bugs in the rotting corn 
meal and Jeb Ferguson. "Wait in the restaurant," 
said she to Etta. "Didn't I tell you I'm a nobody. 
This is what's expected of me." The wind clawed and 
tore at her quivering flesh. "It's cold, Etta. Go get 
warm. Good-by." 

She yielded to the tipsy man's tugging at her arm. 
Etta stood as if paralyzed, watching the two move 
slowly westward. But cold soon triumphed over hor- 
ror. She retraced her steps toward Vine Street. At 
the corner stood an elderly man with an iron-gra}^ 
beard. She merely glanced at him in passing, and so 
was startled when he said in a low voice: 

396 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Go back the way you came. I'll join you." 

She glanced at him again, saw a gleam in his eyes 
that assured her she had not imagined the request. 
Trembling and all at once hot, she kept on across the 
street. But instead of going into the restaurant she 
walked past it and east through dark Eighth Street. 
A few yards, and she heard a quiet step behind her. A 
few yards more, and the lights of Vine Street threw 
a man's shadow upon the sidewalk beside her. From 
sheer fright she halted. The man faced her a man 
old enough to be her father, a most respectable, clean 
looking man with a certain churchly though hardly 
clerical air about him. "Good evening, miss," said 
he. 

"Good evening," she faltered. 

"I'm a stranger in town to buy goods and have a 
little fun," stammered he with a grotesque attempt to 
be easy and familiar. "I thought maybe you could 
help me." 

A little fun ! Etta's lips opened, but no words came. 
The cold was digging its needle-knives into flesh, into 
bone, into nerve. Through the man's thick beard and 
mustache came the gleam of large teeth, the twisting of 
thick raw lips. A little fun ! 

"Would it," continued the man, nervously, "would it 
be very dear?" 

"I I don't know," faltered Etta. 

"I could afford say ' he looked at her dress 
"say two dollars." 

"I I And again Etta could get no further. 

"The room'd be a dollar," pleaded the man. "That'd 
make it three." 

"I I can't," burst out Etta, hysterical. "Oh, 
please let me alone. I I'm a good girl, but I do need 

897 



SUSAN LENOX 



money. But I I can't. Oh, for God's sake I'm so 
cold so cold!" 

The man was much embarrassed. "Oh, I'm sorry," 
he said feelingly. "That's right keep your virtue. 
Go home to your parents." He was at ease now; his 
voice was greasy and his words sleek with the unction 
of an elder. "I thought you were a soiled dove. I'm 
glad you spoke out glad for my sake as well as your 
own. I've got a daughter about your age. Go home, 
my dear, and stay a good girl. I know it's hard some- 
times ; but never give up your purity never !" And 
he lifted his square-topped hard hat and turned 
away. 

Suddenly Etta felt again the fury of the winter night 
and icy wind. As that wind flapped her thin skirt and 
tortured her flesh, she cried, "Wait please. I was 
just just fooling." 

The man had halted, but he was looking at her un- 
certainly. Etta put her hand on his arm and smiled 
pertly up at him smiled as she had seen other street 
girls smile in the days when she despised them. "I'll 
go if you'll give me three." 

"I I don't think I care to go now. You sort of put 
me out of the humor." 

"Well two, then." She gave a reckless laugh. 
"God, how cold it is ! Anybody'd go to hell to get warm 
a night like this." 

"You are a very pretty girl," said the man. He was 
warmly dressed ; his was not the thin blood of poverty. 
He could not have appreciated what she was feeling. 
"You're sure you want to go? You're sure it's your 
your business?" 

"Yes. I'm strange in this part of town. Do you 
know a place?" 

398 



SUSAN LENOX 



An hour later Etta went into the appointed res- 
taurant. Her eyes searched anxiously for Susan, but 
did not find her. She inquired at the counter. No one 
had asked there for a young lady. This both relieved 
her and increased her nervousness ; Susan had not come 
and gone but would she come? Etta was so hungry 
that she could hold out no longer. She sat at a table 
near the door and took up the large sheet on which was 
printed the bill of fare. She was almost alone in the 
place, as it was between dinner and supper. She read 
the bill thoroughly, then ordered black bean soup, a 
sirloin steak and German fried potatoes. This, she had 
calculated, would cost altogether a dollar ; undoubtedly 
an extravagance, but everything at that restaurant 
seemed dear in comparison with the prices to which 
she had been used, and she felt horribly empty. She 
ordered the soup, to stay her while the steak was broil- 
ing. 

As soon as the waiter set down bread and butter she 
began upon it greedily. As the soup came, in walked 
Susan calm and self-possessed, Etta saw at. : first 
glance. "I've been so frightened. You'll have a plate 
of soup?" asked Etta, trying to look and speak in un- 
concerned fashion. 

"No, thank you," replied Susan, seating herself op- 
posite. 

"There's a steak coming a good-sized one, the waiter 
said it'd be." 

"Very well." 

Susan spoke indifferently. 

"Aren't you hungry?" 

"I don't know. I'll see." Susan was gazing straight 
ahead. Her eyes were distinctly gray gray and as 
hard as Susan Lenox's eyes could be. 

399 



SUSAN LENOX 



"What' re you thinking about?" 

"I don't know," she laughed queerly. 

"Was it dreadful?" 

A pause, then: "Nothing is going to be dreadful 
to me any more. It's all in the game, as Mr. Burling- 
ham used to say." 

"Burlingham who's he?" It was Etta's first faint 
clew toward that mysterious past of Susan's into which 
she longed to peer. 

"Oh a man I knew. He's dead." 

A long pause, Etta watching Susan's unreadable 
face. At last she said: 

"You don't seem a bit excited." 

Susan came back to the present. "Don't I? Your 
soup's getting cold." 

Etta ate several spoonfuls, then said with an embar- 
rassed attempt at a laugh, "I I went, too." 

Susan slowly turned upon Etta her gaze the gaze 
of eyes softening, becoming violet. Etta's eyes dropped 
and the color flooded into her fair skin. "He was an 
old i^an forty or maybe fifty," she explained nerv- 
ously. "He gave me two dollars. I nearly didn't get 
him. I lost my nerve and told him I was good and was 
only starting because I needed money." 

\/ f "Never whine," said Susan. "It's no use. Take 
what comes, and wait for a winning hand." 

Etta looked at her in a puzzled way. "How queer 
you talk ! Not a bit like yourself. You sound so much 
older. . . . And your eyes they don't look natural 
at all." 

Indeed they looked supernatural. The last trace of 

Xgray was gone. They were of the purest, deepest violet, 
luminous, mysterious, with that awe-inspiring expres- 
sion oLulter^aJgneness. But as Etta spoke the expres- 

400 
J i 




^ 



SUSAN LENOX 



sion changed. The gray came back and with it a glance 
of irony. Said she: 

"Oh nonsense ! I'm all right." 

"I didn't mind nearly as much as I thought I would. 
Yes, I'll get used to it." 

"You mustn't," said Susan. 

"But I've got to." 

"We've got to do it, but we haven't got to get used 
to it," replied Susan. 

Etta was still puzzling at this when the dinner now 
came a fine, thick broiled steak, the best steak Susan 
had ever seen, and the best food Etta had ever seen. 
They had happened upon one of those famous Cincin- 
nati chop houses where in plain surroundings the high- 
est quality of plain food is served. "You are hungry, 
aren't you, Lorna?" said Etta. 

"Yes I'm hungry," declared Susan. "Cut it 
quick." 

"Draught beer or bottled?" asked the waiter. 

"Bring us draught beer," said Etta. "I haven't 
tasted beer since our restaurant burned." 

"I never tasted it," said Susan. "But I'll try it to- 
night." 

Etta cut two thick slices from the steak, put them 
on Susan's plate with some of the beautifully browned 
fried potatoes. "Gracious, they have good things to 
eat here !" she exclaimed. Then she cut two thick slices 
for herself, and filled her mouth. Her eyes glistened, 
the color came into her pale cheeks. "Isn't it grand!" 
she cried, when there was room for words to pass out. 

"Grand," agreed Susan, a marvelous change of ex- 
pression in her face also. 

The beer came. Etta drank a quarter of the tall 
glass at once. Susan tasted, rather liked the fresh 

401 



SUSAN LENOX 



bitter-sweet odor and flavor. "Is it very intoxicat- 
ing?" she inquired. 

"If you drink enough," said Etta. "But not one 
glass." 

Susan took quite a drink. "I feel a lot less tired 
already," declared she. 

"Me too," said Etta. "My, .what a meal ! I never 
had anything like this in my life. When I think what 
we've been through! Lorna, will it last?" 

"We mustn't think about that," said Susan. 

"Tell me what happened to you." 

"Nothing. He gave me the money, that was all." 

"Then we've got seven dollars seven dollars and 
twenty cents, with what we brought away from home 
with us." 

"Seven dollars and twenty cents," repeated Susan 
thoughtfully. Then a queer smile played around the 
corners of her mouth. "Seven dollars that's a week's 
wages for both of us at Matson's." 

"But I'd go back to honest work tomorrow if I 
could find a good job," Etta said eagerly too eagerly. 
"Wouldn't you, Lorna?" 

"I don't know," replied Susan. She had the ina- 
bility to make pretenses, either to others or to herself, 
which characterizes stupid people and also the large, 
simple natures. 

"Oh, you can't mean that !" protested Etta. 

Instead of replying Susan began to talk of what 
to do next. "We must find a place to sleep, and 
we must buy a few things to make a better appear- 
ance." 

"I don't dare spend anything yet," said Etta. "I've 
got only my two dollars. Not that when this meal's 
paid for." 

402 



SUSAN LENOX 



"We're going to share even," said Susan. "As long 
as either has anything, it belongs to both." 

The tears welled from Etta's eyes. "You are too 
good, Lorna ! You mustn't be. It isn't the way to get 
on. Anyhow, I can't accept anything from you. You 
wouldn't take anything from me." 

"We've got to help each other up," insisted Susan. 
"We share even and let's not talk any more about it. 
Now, what shall we get? How much ought we to lay 
out?" 

The waiter here interrupted. "Beg pardon, young 
ladies," said he. "Over yonder, at the table four down, 
there's a couple of gents that'd like to join you. I 
seen one of 'em flash quite a roll, and they acts too 
like easy spenders." 

As Susan was facing that way, she examined them. 
They were young men, rather blond, with smooth faces, 
good-natured eyes and mouths; they were well dressed 
one, the handsomer, notably so. Susan merely 
glanced ; both men at once smiled at her with an unim- 
pertinent audacity that probably came out of the cham- 
pagne bottle in a silver bucket of ice on their table. 

"Shall I tell 'em to come over?" said the waiter. 

"Yes," replied Susan. 

She was calm, but Etta twitched with nervousness, 
saying, "I wish I'd had your experience. I wish we 
didn't look so dreadful me especially, /'m not pretty 
enough to stand out against these awful clothes." 

The two men were pushing eagerly toward them, the 
taller and less handsome slightly in advance. He said, 
his eyes upon Susan, "We were lonesome, and you 
looked a little that way too. We're much obliged." 
He glanced at the waiter. "Another bottle of the 
same." 

403 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I don't want anything to drink," said Susan. 

"Nor I," chimed in Etta. "No, thank you." 

The young man waved the waiter away with, "Get it 
for my friend and me, then." He smiled agreeably at 
Susan. "You won't mind my friend and me drink- 
ing?" 

"Oh, no." 

"And maybe you'll change your mind," said the 
shorter man to Etta. "You see, if we all drink, we'll 
get acquainted faster. Don't you like champagne?" 

"I never tasted it," Etta confessed. 

"Neither did I," admitted Susan. 

"You're sure to like it," said the taller man to Susan 
his friend presently addressed him as John. "Noth- 
thing equal to it for making friends. I like it for it- 
self, and I like it for the friends it has made me." 

Champagne was not one of the commonplaces of that 
modest chop house. So the waiter opened the bottle 
with much ceremony. Susan and Etta startled when 
the cork popped ceilingward in the way that in such 
places is still regarded as fashionable. They watched 
with interested eyes the pouring of the beautiful pale 
amber liquid, were fascinated when they saw how the 
bubbles surged upward incessantly, imprisoned joys 
thronging to escape. And after the first glass, the four 
began to have the kindliest feelings for each other. 
Sorrow and shame, poverty and foreboding, took wings 
unto themselves and flew away. The girls felt de- 
liciously warm and contented, and thought the young 
men charming a splendid change from the coarse, 
badly dressed youths of the tenement, with their ig- 
norant speech and rough, misshapen hands. They were 
ashamed of their own hands, were painfully self-con- 
scious whenever lifting the glass to the lips brought 

404 



SUSAN LENOX 



them into view. Etta's hands in fact were not so badly 
spoiled as might have been expected, considering her 
long years of rough work ; the nails were in fairly good 
condition and the skin was rougher to the touch than to 
the sight. Susan's hands had not really been spoiled 
as yet. She had been proud of them and had taken 
care of them; still, they were not the hands of a lady, 
but of a working girl. The young men had gentlemen's 
hands strong, evidently exercised only at sports, not 
at degrading and deforming toil. 

The shorter and handsomer youth, who answered to 
the name of Fatty, for obvious but not too obvious rea- 
sons, addressed himself to Etta. John who, it came 
out, was a Chicagoan, visiting Fatty fell to Susan. 
The champagne made him voluble; he was soon telling 
all about himself a senior at Ann Arbor, as was Fatty 
also ; he intended to be a lawyer ; he was fond of a good 
time ; was fond of the girls liked girls who were gay 
rather than respectable ones "because with the prim 
girls you have to quit just as the fun ought really to 
begin." 

After two glasses Susan, warned by a slight dizzi- 
ness, stopped drinking; Etta followed her example. But 
the boys kept on, ordered a second bottle. "This is the 
fourth we've had tonight," said Fatty proudly when 
it came. 

"Don't it make you dizzy?" asked Etta. 

"Not a bit," Fatty assured her. But she noticed 
that his tongue now swung trippingly loose. 

"You haven't been at at this long, have you?" in- 
quired John of Susan. 

"Not long," replied she. 

Etta, somewhat giddied, overheard and put in, "We 
began tonight. We got tired of starving and freezing." 
14 405 



SUSAN LENOX 



John looked deepest sympathy into Susan's calm 
violet-gray eyes. "I don't blame you," said he. "A 
woman does have a a hades of a time !" 

"We were going out to buy some clothes when you 
came," proceeded Etta. "We're in an awful state." 

"I wondered how two girls with faces like yours," 
said John, "came to be dressed so so differently. 
That was what first attracted us." Then, as Etta and 
Fatty were absorbed in each other, he went on to Susan : 
"And your eyes I mustn't forget them. You cer- 
tainly have got a beautiful face. And your mouth 
so sweet and sad but, what a lovely, lovely smile !" 

At this Susan smiled still more broadly with pleasure. 
"I'm glad you're pleased," said she. 

"Why, if you were dressed up 

"You're not a working girl by birth, are you?" 

"I wish I had been," said Susan. 

"Oh, I think a girl's got as good a right as a man 
to have a good time," lied John. 

"Don't say things you don't believe," said Susan. 
"It isn't necessary." 

"I can hand that back to you. You weren't frank, 
yourself, when you said you wished you'd been born in 
the class of your friend and of my friend Fatty, 
too." 

Susan's laugh was confession. The champagne was 
dancing in her blood. She said with a reckless toss of 
the head : 

"I was born nothing. So I'm free to become any- 
thing I please anything except respectable." 

Here Fatty broke in. "I'll tell you what let's do. 
Let's all go shopping. We can help you girls select 
your things." 

Susan laughed. "We're going to buy about three 

406 



SUSAN LENOX 



dollars' worth. There won't be any selecting. We'll 
simply take the cheapest." 

"Then let's go shopping," said John, "and you two 
girls can help Fatty and me select clothes for you." 

"That's the talk!" cried Fatty. And he summoned 
the waiter. "The bill," said he in the manner of a man 
who likes to enjoy the servility of servants. 

"We hadn't paid for our supper," said Susan. "How 
much was it, Etta ?" 

"A dollar twenty-five." 

"We're going to pay for that," said Fatty. "What 
d'ye take us for?" 

"Oh, no. We must pay it," said Susan. 

"Don't be foolish. Of course I'll pay." 

"No," said Susan quietly, ignoring Etta's wink. 
And from her bosom she took a crumpled five-dollar 
bill. 

"I should say you were new," laughed John. "You 
don't even know where to carry your money yet." And 
they all laughed, Susan and Etta because they felt gay 
and assumed the joke whatever it was must be a good 
one. Then John laid his hand over hers and said, "Put 
your money away." 

Susan looked straight at him. "I can't allow it," 
she said. "I'm not that poor yet." 

John colored. "I beg your pardon," he said. And 
when the bill came he compelled Fatty to let her pay 
a dollar and a quarter of it out of her crumpled five. 
The two girls were fascinated by the large roll of bills 
fives, tens, twenties which Fatty took from his 
trousers pocket. They stared open-eyed when he laid 
a twenty on the waiter's plate along with Susan's five. 
And it frightened them when he, after handing Susan 
her change, had left only a two-dollar bill, four silver 

407 



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quarters and a dime. He gave the silver to the waiter. 

"Was that for a tip?" asked Susan. 

"Yes," said Fatty. "I always give about ten per 
cent of the bill unless it runs over ten dollars. In that 
case a quarter a person as a rule. Of course, if the 
bill was very large, I'd give more." He was showing 
his amusement at her inquisitiveness. 

"I wanted to know," explained she. "I'm very ig- 
norant, and I've got to learn." 

"That's right," said John, admiringly with a touch 
of condescension. "Don't be afraid to confess igno- 
rance." 

"I'm not," replied Susan. "I used to be afraid of 
not being respectable and that was all. Now, I 
haven't any fear at all." 

"You are a queer one!" exclaimed John. "You 
oughtn't to be in this life." 

"Where then?" asked she. 

"I don't know," he confessed. 

"Neither do I." Her expression suddenly was ab- 
sent, with a quaint, slight smile hovering about her 
lips. She looked at him merrily. "You see, it's got to 
be something that isn't respectable." 

"What do you mean?" demanded he. 

Her answer was a laugh. 

Fatty declared it too cold to chase about afoot 
"Anyhow, it's late nearly eleven, and unless we're 
quick all the stores'll be closed." The waiter called 
them a carriage; its driver promised to take them to a 
shop that didn't close till midnight on Saturdays. Said 
Fatty, as they drove away: 

"Well, I suppose, Etta, you'll say you've never been 
in a carriage before." 

"Oh, yes, I have," cried Etta. "Twice at funerals." 
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This made everyone laugh this and the champagne 
and the air which no longer seemed cruel to the girls 
but stimulating, a grateful change from the close 
warmth of the room. As the boys were smoking ciga- 
rettes, they had the windows down. The faces of both 
girls were flushed and lively, and their cheeks seemed al- 
ready to have filled out. The four made so much noise 
that the crowds on the sidewalk were looking at them 
looking smilingly, delighted by the sight of such 
gayety. Susan was even gayer than Etta. She sang, 
she took a puff at John's cigarette ; then laughed loudly 
when he seized and kissed her, laughed again as she 
kissed him ; and she and John fell into each other's arms 
and laughed uproariously as they saw Fatty and Etta 
embracing. 

The driver kept his promise; eleven o'clock found 
them bursting into Sternberg's, over the Rhine a 
famous department store for Germans of all classes. 
They had an hour, and they made good use of it. Etta 
was for yielding to Fatty's generous urgings and buy- 
ing right and left. But Susan would not have it. She 
told the men what she and Etta would take a simple 
complete outfit, and no more. Etta wanted furs and 
finery. Susan kept her to plain, serviceable things. 
Only once did she yield. When Etta and Fatty begged 
to be allowed a big showy hat, Susan yielded but gave 
John leave to buy her only the simplest of simple hats. 
"You needn't tell me any yarns about your birth and 
breeding," said he in a low tone so that Etta should 
not hear. 

But that subject did not interest Susan. "Let's 
forget it," said she, almost curtly. "I've cut out 
the past and the future. Today's enough for 
me." 

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"And for me, too," protested he. "I hope you're hav- 
ing as good fun as I am." 

"This is the first time I've really laughed in nearly 
a year," said she. "You don't know what it means to 
be poor and hungry and cold worst of all, cold." 

"You unhappy child," said John tenderly. 

But Susan was laughing again, and making jokes 
about a wonderful German party dress all covered with 
beads and lace and ruffles and embroidery. When they 
reached the shoe department, Susan asked John to take 
Fatty away. He understood that she was ashamed of 
their patched and holed stockings, and hastened to obey. 
They were making these their last purchases when the 
big bell rang for the closing. "I'm glad these poor 
tired shopgirls and clerks are set free," said John. 

It was one of those well-meaning but worthless com- 
monplaces of word-kindness that get for their utter- 
ance perhaps exaggerated credit for "good heart." 
Susan, conscience-stricken, halted. "And I never once 
thought of them!" she exclaimed. "It just shows." 

"Shows what?" 

"Oh, nothing. Come on. I must forget that, for 
I can't be happy again till I do. I understand now 
why the comfortable people can be happy. They keep 
from knowing or they make themselves forget." 

"Why not?" said John. "What's the use in being 
miserable about things that can't be helped?" 

"No use at all," replied the girl. She laughed. "I've 
forgotten." 

The carriage was so filled with their bundles that 
they had some difficulty in making room for themselves 
finally accomplished it by each girl sitting on her 
young man's lap. They drove to a quietly placed, 
scrupulously clean little hotel overlooking Lincoln 

410 



SUSAN LENOX 



Park. "We're going to take rooms here and dress," 
explained Fatty. "Then we'll wander out and have 
some supper." 

By this time Susan and Etta had lost all sense of 
strangeness. The spirit of adventure was rampant in 
them as in a dreaming child. And the life they had been 
living what they had seen and heard and grown ac- 
customed to made it easy for them to strike out at 
once and briskly in the new road, so different from the 
dreary and cruel path along which they had been plod- 
ding. They stood laughing and joking in the parlor 
while the boys registered ; then the four went up to two 
small but comfortable and fascinatingly clean rooms 
with a large bathroom between. "Fatty and I will 
go down to the bar while you two dress," said 
John. 

"Not on your life!" exclaimed Fatty. "We'll have 
the bar brought up to us." 

But John, fortified by Susan's look of gratitude for 
his tactfulness, whispered to his friend what Susan 
could easily guess. And Fatty said, "Oh, I never 
thought of it. Yes, we'll give 'em a chance. Don't be 
long, girls." 

"Thank you," said Susan to John. 

"That's all right. Take your time." 

Susan locked the hall door behind the two men. She 
rushed to the bathroom, turned on the hot water. "Oh, 
Etta !" she cried, tears in her eyes, a hysterical sob in 
her throat. "A bathtub again !" 

Etta too was enthusiastic ; but she had not that in- 
tense hysterical joy which Susan felt a joy that can 
be appreciated only by a person who, clean by instinct 
and by lifelong habit, has been shut out from thorough 
cleanliness for long months of dirt and foul odors and 

411 



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cold. It was no easy matter to become clean again 
after all those months. But there was plenty of soap 
and brushes and towels, and at last the thing was ac- 
complished. Then they tore open the bundles and ar- 
rayed themselves in the fresh new underclothes, in the 
simple attractive costumes of jacket, blouse and skirt. 
Susan had returned to her class, and had brought Etta 
with her. 

"What shall we do with these ?" asked Etta, pointing 
disdainfully with the toe of her new boot to the scatter 
of the garments they had cast off. 

Susan looked down at it in horror. She could not 
believe that she had been wearing such stuff that it 
was the clothing of all her associates of the past six 
months was the kind of attire in which most of her 
fellow-beings went about the beautiful earth. She shud- 
dered. "Isn't life dreadful?" she cried. And she kicked 
together the tattered, patched, stained trash, kicked it 
on to a large piece of heavy wrapping paper she had 
spread out upon the floor. Thus, without touching her 
discarded self, she got it wrapped up and bound with a 
strong string. She rang for the maid, gave her a quar- 
ter and pointed to the bundle. "Please take that and 
throw it away," she said. 

When the maid was gone Etta said: "I'm mighty 
glad to have it out of the room." 

"Out of the room?" cried Susan. "Out of my heart. 
Out of my life." 

They put on their hats, admired themselves in the 
mirror, and descended Susan remembering halfway 
that they had left the lights on and going back to turn 
them off. The door boy summoned the two young men 
to the parlor. They entered and exclaimed in real 
amazement. For they were facing two extremely 



SUSAN LENOX 



pretty young women, one dark, the other fair. The two 
faces were wreathed in pleased and grateful smiles. 

"Don't we look nice?" demanded Etta. 

"Nice!" cried Fatty. "We sure did draw a pair of 
first prizes didn't we, Johnny?" 

John did not reply. He was gazing at Susan. Etta 
had young beauty but it was of the commonplace kind. 
In Susan's face and carriage there was far more than 
beauty. "Where did you come from?" said John to 
her in an undertone. "And where are you going?" 

"Out to supper, I hope," laughed she. 

"Your eyes change don't they? I thought they 
were violet. Now I see they're gray gray as can be." 

(JU&A. 



I 






XXII 

AT lunch, well toward the middle of the following 
afternoon, Fatty his proper name was August 
Gulick said : "John and I don't start for Ann 
Arbor until a week from today. That means seven 
clear days. A lot can be done in that time, with a 
little intelligent hustling. What do you say, girls? 
Do you stick to us?" 

"As long as you'll let us," said Etta, who was de- 
lighting Gulick with her frank and wondering and grate- 
ful appreciation of his munificence. Never before had 
his own private opinion of himself received such a flat- 
teringly sweeping indorsement from anyone who hap- 
pened to impress him as worth while. In the last 
phrase lies the explanation of her success through a 
policy that is always dangerous and usually a failure. 

So it was settled that with the quiet little hotel as 
headquarters the four would spend a week in explor- 
ing Cincinnati as a pleasure ground. Gulick knew the 
town thoroughly. His father was a brewer whose name 
was on many a huge beer wagon drawn about those 
streets by showy Clydesdales. Also he had plenty of 
money ; and, while Redmond for his friend was the son 
of Redmond, well known as a lawyer-politician in Chi- 
cago had nothing like so much as Gulick, still he had 
enough to make a passable pretense at keeping up his 
end. For Etta and Susan the city had meant shabby 
to filthy tenements, toil and weariness and sorrow. 
There was opened to their ravished young eyes "the 
city" what reveals itself to the pleasure-seeker with 

414 



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pocket well filled what we usually think of when we 
pronounce its name, forgetting what its reality is for 
all but a favored few of those within its borders. It 
was a week of music and of laughter music especially 
music whenever they ate or drank, music to dance 
by, music in the beer gardens where they spent the early 
evenings, music at the road houses where they arrived 
in sleighs after the dances to have supper unless you 
choose to call it breakfast. You would have said that 
Susan had slipped out of the tenement life as she had 
out of its garments, that she had retained not a trace 
of it even in memory. But in those days began her 
habit of never passing a beggar without giving some- 
thing. 

Within three or four days this life brought a truly 
amazing transformation in the two girls. You would 
not have recognized in them the pale and wan and 
ragged outcasts of only the Saturday night before. 
"Aren't you happy?" said Etta to Susan, in one of the 
few moments they were alone. "But I don't need to 
ask. I didn't know you could be so gay." 

"I had forgotten how to laugh," replied Susan. 

"I suppose I ought to be ashamed," pursued Etta. 

"Why?" inquired Susan. 

"Oh, you know why. You know how people'd talk 
if they knew." 

"What people?" said Susan. "Anyone who's will- 
ing to give you anything?" 

"No," admitted Etta. "But " There she 
halted. 

Susan went on : "I don't propose to be bothered by 
the other kind. They wouldn't do anything for me if 
they could except sneer and condemn." 

"Still, you know it isn't right, what we're doing." 
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"I know it isn't cold or hunger or rags and dirt 
and bugs," replied Susan. 

Those few words were enough to conjure even to 
Etta's duller fancy the whole picture to its last de- 
tail of loathsome squalor. Into Etta's face came a 
dazed expression. "Was that really us, Lorna?" 

"No," said Susan with a certain fierceness. "It was a 
dream. But we must take care not to have that dream 
again." 

"I'd forgotten how cold I was," said Etta ; "hadn't 
you?" 

"No," said Susan, "I hadn't forgotten anything." 

"Yes, I suppose it was all worse for you than for 
me. You used to be a lady." 

"Don't talk nonsense," said Susan. 

"I don't regret what I'm doing," Etta now declared. 
"It was Gus that made me think about it." She looked 
somewhat sheepish as she went on to explain. "I had a 
little too much to drink last night. And when Gus and 
I were alone, I cried for no reason except the drink. 
He asked me why and I had to say something, and it 
popped into my head to say I was ashamed of the life 
I was leading. As things turned out, I'm glad I said 
it. He was awfully impressed." 

"Of course," said Susan. 

"You never saw anything like it," continued Etta 
with an expression suggesting a feeling that she ought 
to be ashamed but could not help being amused. "He 
acted differently right away. Why don't you try it on 
John?" 

"What for?" 

"Oh, it'll make him make him have more more 
respect for you." 

"Perhaps," said Susan indifferently. 

416 



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"Don't you want John to to respect you?" 

"I've been too busy having a good time to think much 
about him or about anything. I'm tired of thinking. 
I want to rest. Last night was the first time in my 
life I danced as much as I wanted to." 

"Don't you like John?" 

"Certainly." 

"He does know a lot, doesn't he? He's like you. He 

reads and and thinks and He's away ahead of 

Fatty except You don't mind my having the man 

with the most money?" 

"Not in the least," laughed Susan. "Money's an- 
other thing I'm glad to rest from thinking about." 

"But this'll last only a few days longer. And If 
you managed John Redmond right, Lorna 

"Now you must not try to make me think." 

"Lorna are you really happy?" 

"Can't you seel am?" 

"Yes when we're all together. But when when 
you're alone with him " 

Susan's expression stopped her. It was a laughing 
expression ; and yet Said Susan : "I am happy, dear 
very happy. I eat and drink and sleep and I am, 
oh, so glad to be alive." 

"Isn't it good to be alive! if you've got plenty," 
exclaimed Etta. "I never knew before. This is the 
dream, Lorna and I think I'll kill myself if I have 
to wake." 

On Saturday afternoon the four were in one of the 
rooms discussing where the farewell dinner should be 
held and what they would eat and drink. Etta called 
Susan into the other room and shut the door between. 

"Fatty wants me to go along with him and live in 

417 



SUSAN LENOX 



Detroit," said she, blurting it out as if confessing a 
crime. 

"Isn't that splendid!" cried Susan, kissing her. "I 
thought he would. He fell in love with you at first 
sight." 

"That's what he says. But, Lorna I- I don't know 
what to do !" 

"Do? Why, go. What else is there? Go, of 
course." 

"Oh, no, Lorna," protested Etta. "I couldn't leave 
you. I couldn't get along without you." 

"But you must go. Don't you love him?" 

Etta began to weep. "That's the worst of it. I 
do love him so ! And I think he loves me and might 
marry me and make me a good woman again. . . . You 
mustn't ever tell John or anybody about that that 
dreadful man I went with will you, dear?" 

"What do you take me for?" said Susan. 

"I've told Fatty I was a good girl until I met him. 
You haven't told John about yourself?" 

Susan shook her head. 

"I suppose not. You're so secretive. You really 
think I ought to go?" 

"I know it." 

Etta was offended by Susan's positive, practical 
tone. "I don't believe you care." 

"Yes, I care," said Susan. "But you're right to fol- 
low the man you love. Besides, there's nothing so good 
in sight here." 

"What'll you, do? Oh, I can't go, Lorna !" 

"Now, Etta," said Susan calmly, "don't talk non- 
sense. I'll get along all right." 

"You come to Detroit. You could find a job there, 
and we could live together." 

418 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Would Fatty like that?" 

Etta flushed and glanced away. Young Gulick had 
soon decided that Susan was the stronger therefore, 
the less "womanly" of the two girls, and must be the 
evil influence over her whom he had appeared just in 
time to save. When he said this to Etta, she protested 
not very vigorously, because she wished him to think 
her really almost innocent. She wasn't quite easy in her 
mind as to whether she had been loyal to Lorna. But, 
being normally human, she soon almost convinced her- 
self that but for Lorna she never would have made the 
awful venture. Anyhow, since it would help her with 
Gulick and wouldn't do Lorna the least mite of harm, 
why not let him think he was right? 

Said Susan: "Hasn't he been talking to you about 
getting away from from all this?" 

"But I don't care," cried Etta, moved to an out- 
burst of frankness by her sense of security in Susan's 
loyalty and generosity. "He doesn't understand. Men 
are fools about women. He thinks he likes in me what 
I haven't got at all. As a matter of fact if I had been 
what he made me tell him I was, why we'd never have 
met or got acquainted in the way that makes us so 
fond of each other. And I owe it all to you, Lorna. 
I don't care what he says, Lorna or does. I want 

you." 

"Can't go," said Susan, not conscious yet not un- 
aware, either of the curious mixture of heart and art 
in Etta's outburst of apparent eagerness to risk every- 
thing for love of her. "Can't possibly go. I've made 
other plans. The thing for you is to be straight get 
some kind of a job in Detroit make Fatty marry you 
quick !" 

"He would, but his father'd throw him out." 
419 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Not if you were an honest working girl." 

"But " Etta was silent and reflective for a 

moment. "Men are so queer," she finally said. "If 
I'd been an honest working girl he'd never have noticed 
me. It's because I am what I am that I've been able 
to get acquainted with him and fascinate him. And he 
feels it's a sporty thing to do to marry a fast girl. 
If I was to settle down to work, be a regular working 
girl why, I'm afraid he he'd stop loving me. Then, 
too, he likes to believe he's rescuing me from a life of 
shame. I've watched him close. I understand him." 

"No doubt," said Susan drily. 

"Oh, I know you think I'm deceitful. But a woman's 
got to be, with a man. And I care a lot about him 
aside from the fact that he can make me comfortable 
and and protect me from from the streets. If you 
cared for a man No, I guess you wouldn't. You 
oughtn't to be so so honest, Lorna. It'll always do 
you up." 

Susan laughed, shrugged her shoulders. "I am what 
I am," said she. "I can't be any different. If I tried, 
I'd only fail worse." 

"You don't love John do you?" 

"I like him." 

"Then you wouldn't have to do much pretending," 
urged Etta. "And what does a little pretending amount 
to?" 

"That's what I say to myself," replied Susan 
thoughtfully. 

"It isn't nearly as bad as as what we started out 
to do." 

Susan laughed at Etta's little hypocrisy for her re- 
spectability's comfort. "As what we did and are do- 
ing," corrected she. Burlingham had taught her that 

420 



SUSAN LENOX 



it only makes things worse and more difficult to lie to 
oneself about them. 

"John's crazy about you. But he hasn't money 

enough to ask you to come along. And " Etta 

hesitated, eyed Susan doubtfully. "You're sure you 
don't love him?" 

"No. I couldn't love him any more than than I 
could hate him." Susan's strange look drifted across 
her features. "It's very queer, how I feel toward men. 
But I don't love him and I shan't pretend. I want to, 
but somehow I can't." 

Etta felt that she could give herself the pleasure of 
unburdening herself of a secret. "Then I may as well 
tell you, he's engaged to a girl he thinks he ought to 
marry." 

"I suspected so." 

"And you don't mind?" inquired Etta, unable to read 
Susan's queer expression. 

"Except for him and her a little," replied Susan. 
"I guess that's why I haven't liked him better haven't 
trusted him at all." 

"Aren't men dreadful! And he is so nice in many 

ways. . . . Lorna " Etta was weeping again. "I 

can't go I can't. I mustn't leave you." 

"Don't be absurd. You've simply got to do it." 

"And I do love him," said Etta, calmed again by 
Susan's calmness. "And if he married me Oh, how 
grateful I'd be!" 

"I should say!" exclaimed Susan. She kissed Etta 
and petted her. "And he'll have a mighty good wife." 

"Do you think I can marry him?" ~K, 

"If you love him and don't worry about ca 4 
him." .haps to 

Etta shook her head in rejection of this pie "No mat- 
421 



SUSAN LENOX 



istic advice. "But a girl's got to be shrewd. You 
ought to be more so, Lorna." 

"That depends on what a girl wants," said Susan, 
absently. "Upon what she wants," she repeated. 

"What do you want?" inquired Etta curiously. 
P* "I don't know," Susan answered slowly. 

"I wish I knew what was going on in your head!" 
exclaimed Etta. 

"So do I," said Susan, smiling. 

"Do you really mind my going? Really hon- 
estly?" " 

There wasn't a flaw in Susan's look or tone. "If you 
tried to stay with me, I'd run away from you." 

"And if I do get him, I can help you. Once he's 
mine " Etta rounded out her sentence with an ex- 
pression of countenance which it was well her adoring 
rescuer did not see. Not that it lacked womanliness ; 
"womanly" is the word that most exactly describes it 
and always will exactly describe such expressions 
and the thoughts behind so long as men compel women 
to be just women, under penalty of refusing them sup- 
port if they are not so. 

Redmond came in, and Etta left him alone with 
Susan. "Well, has Etta told you?" he asked. 

"Yes," replied the girl. She looked at him simply 
a look, but the violet-gray eyes had an unusual seem- 
ing of seeing into minds and hearts, an expression that 
was perhaps the more disquieting because it was sym- 
pathetic rather than critical. 

His glance shifted. He was a notably handsome 

to citing fellow too young for any display of character 

Susai face, or for any development of it beyond the 

spectabiliv free and easy lover of a jolly good time that 

ing," correc, repeated over and over again among the 



SUSAN LENOX 



youth of the comfortable classes that send their sons 
to college. 

"Are you going with her?" he asked. 

"No," said Susan. 

Redmond's face fell. "I hoped you liked me a little 
better than that," said he. 

"It isn't a question of you." 

"But it's a question of you with me," he cried. "I'm 
in love with you, Lorna. I'm I'm tempted to say all 
sorts of crazy things that I think but haven't the cour- 
age to act on." He kneeled down beside her, put his 
arms round her waist. "I'm crazy about you, Lorna. 
. . . Tell me Were you Had you been before we 
met?" 

"Yes," said Susan. 

"Why don't you deny it ?" he exclaimed. "Why don't 
you fool me, as Etta fooled Gus?" 

"Etta's story is different from mine," said Susan. 
"She's had no experience at all, compared to me." 

"I don't believe it," declared he. "I know she's been 
stuffing Fatty, has made him think that you led her 
away. But I can soon knock those silly ideas out of 
his silly head " 

"It's the truth," interrupted Susan, calmly. 

"No matter. You could be a good woman." Im- 
pulsively, "If you'll settle down and be a good woman, 
I'll marry you." 

Susan smiled gently. "And ruin your prospects?" 

"I don't care for prospects beside you. You are a 
good woman inside. The better I know you the less 
like a fast woman you are. Won't you go to work, 
Lorna, and wait for me?" 

Her smile had a little mockery in it now perhaps to 
hide from him how deeply she was moved. "No mat- 

423 



SUSAN LENOX 



ter what else I did, I'd not wait for you, Johnny. 
You'd never come. You're not a Johnny-on-the-spot." 

"You think I'm weak don't you?" he said. Then, 
as she did not answer, "Well, I am. But I love you, all 
the same." 

For the first time he felt that he had touched her 
heart. The tears sprang to her eyes, which were not 
at all gray now but all violet, as was their wont when 
she was deeply moved. She laid her hands on his shoul- 
ders. "Oh, it's so good to be loved !" she murmured. 

He put his arms around her, and for the moment she 
rested there, content yes, content, as many a woman 
who needed love less and craved it less has been con- 
tent just with being loved, when to make herself content 
she has had to ignore and forget the personality of the 
man who was doing the loving and the kind of love 
it was. Said he: 

"Don't you love me a little enough to be a good 
woman and wait till I set up in the law?" 

She let herself play with the idea, to prolong this 
novel feeling of content. She asked, "How long will 
that be?" 

"I'll be admitted in two years. I'll soon have a prac- 
tice. My father's got influence." 

Susan looked at him sadly, slowly shook her head. 
"Two years and then several years more. And I 
working in a factory or behind a counter from dawn 
till after dark poor, hungry half-naked wearing 

my heart out wearing my body away " She drew 

away from him, laughed. "I was fooling, John about 
marrying. I liked to hear you say those things. I 
couldn't marry you if I would. I'm married already." 

"You!" 

She nodded. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Tell me about it won't you?" 

She looked at him in astonishment, so amazing seemed 
the idea that she could tell anyone that experience. 
It would be like voluntarily showing a hideous, re- 
pulsive scar or wound, for sometimes it was scar, 
and sometimes open wound, and always the thing 
that made whatever befell her endurable by com- 
parison. 

She did not answer his appeal for her confidence but 
went on, "Anyhow, nothing could induce me to go to 
work again. You don't realize what work means the 
only sort of work I can get to do. It's it's selling 
both body and soul. I prefer " 

He kissed her to stop her from finishing her sen- 
tence. "Don't please," he pleaded. "You don't un- 
derstand. In this life you'll soon grow hard and coarse 
and lose your beauty arid your health and become a 
moral and physical wreck." 

She reflected, the grave expression in her eyes the 
expression that gave whoever saw it the feeling of dread 
as before impending tragedy. "Yes I suppose so," 

she said. "But Any sooner than as a working 

girl living in a dirty hole in a tenement? No not so 
soon. And in this life I've got a chance if I'm care- 
ful of my health and and don't let things touch me. 
In that other there's no chance none !" 

"What chance have you got in this life?" 

"I don't know exactly. I'm very ignorant yet. 
At worst, it's simply that I've got no chance in either 
life and this life is more comfortable." 

"Comfortable! With men you don't like frightful 
men ' 

"Were you ever cold?" asked Susan. 

But it made no impression upon him who had no con- 
425 



SUSAN LENOX 



ception of the cold that knows not how it is ever to get 
warm again. He rushed on: 

"Lorna, my God!" He caught hold of her and 
strained her to his breast. "You are lovely and sweet ! 
It's frightful you in this life." 

Her expression made the sobs choke up into his 
throat. She said quietly: "Not worse than dirt and 
vermin and freezing cold and long, long, dull oh, so 
dull hours of working among human beings that don't 
ever wash because they can't." She pushed him gently 
away. "You don't understand. You haven't been 
through it. Comfortable people talk like fools about 
those things. . . . Do you remember my hands that 
first evening?" 

He reddened and his eyes shifted. "I'm ^absurdly 
sensitive about a woman's hands," he muttered. 

She laughed at him. "Oh, I saw how you couldn't 
bear to look at them how they made you shiver. Well, 
the hands were nothing nothing! beside what you 
didn't see." 

"Lorna, do you love someone else?" 

His eyes demanded an honest answer, and it seemed 
to her his feeling for her deserved it. But she could 
not put the answer into words. She lowered her gaze. 

"Then why " he began impetuously. But there 

he halted, for he knew she would not lift the veil over 
herself, over her past. 

"I'm very, very fond of you," she said with depress- 
ing friendliness. Then with a sweet laugh, "You ought 
to be glad I'm not able to take you at your word. And 
you will be glad soon." She sighed. "What a good 
time we've had !" 

"If I only had a decent allowance, like Fatty!" he 
groaned. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"No use talking about that. It's best for us to sep- 
arate best for us both. You've been good to me 
you'll never know how good. And I can't play you a 
mean trick. I wish I could be selfish enough to do it, 
but I can't." 

"You don't love me. That's the reason." 

"Maybe it is. Yes, I guess that's why I've got the 
courage to be square with you. Anyhow, John, you 
can't afford to care for me. And if I cared for you, 
and put off the parting why it'd only put off what 

I've got to go through with before " She did not 

finish; her eyes became dreamy. 

"Before what?" he asked. 

"I don't know," she said, returning with a sigh. 
"Something I see yet don't see in the darkness, 
ahead of me." 

"I can't make you out," cried he. Her expression 
moved him to the same awe she inspired in Etta a 
feeling that gave both of them the sense of having 
known her better, of having been more intimate with 
her when they first met her than they ever had been 
since or ever would be again. 

When Redmond embraced and kissed her for the last 
time, he was in another and less sympathetic mood, was 
busy with his own wounds to vanity and perhaps to 
heart. He thought her heartless good and sweet and 
friendly, but without sentiment. She refused to help 
him make a scene; she refused to say she would write 
to him, and asked him not to write to her. "You know 
we'll probably see each other soon." 

"Not till the long vacation not till nearly 
July." 

"Only three months." 

"Oh, if you look at it that way!" said he, piqued 

427 



SUSAN LENOX 



and sullen. Girls had always been more than kind, more 
than eager, when he had shown interest. 

Etta, leaving on a later train, was even more de- 
pressed about Susan's heart. She wept hysterically, 
wished Susan to do the same ; but Susan stood out firmly 
against a scene, and would not have it that Etta was 
shamefully deserting her, as Etta tearfully accused her- 
self. "You're going to be happy," she said. "And 
I'm not so selfish as to be wretched about it. And 
don't you worry a minute on my account. I'm better 
off in every way than I've ever been. I'll get on all 
right." 

"I know you gave up John to help me with August. 
I know you mean to break off everything. Oh, Lorna, 
you mustn't you mustn't." 

"Don't talk nonsense," was Susan's unsatisfactory 
reply. 

When it came down to the last embrace and the last 
kiss, Etta did feel through Susan's lips and close en- 
circling arms a something that dried up her hysterical 
tears and filled her heart with an awful aching. It did 
not last long. No matter how wildly shallow waters 
are stirred, they soon calm and murmur placidly on 
again. The three who had left her would have been 
amazed could they have seen her a few minutes after 
Etta's train rolled out of the Union Station. The dif- 
ference between strong natures and weak is not that 
the strong are free from cowardice and faint-hearted- 
ness, from doubt and foreboding, from love and affec- 
tion, but that they do not stay down when they are 
crushed down, stagger up and on. 

Susan hurried to the room they had helped her find 
the day before a room in a house where no questions 
were asked or answered. She locked herself in and gave 

428 



SUSAN LENOX 



way to the agonies of her loneliness. And when her grief 
had exhausted her, she lay upon the bed staring at the 
wall with eyes that looked as though her soul had emp- 
tied itself through them of all that makes life endur- 
able, even of hope. For the first time in her life she 
thought of suicide not suicide the vague possibility, 
not suicide the remote way of escape, but suicide the 
close and intimate friend, the healer of all woes, the 
solace of all griefs suicide, the speedy, accurate solver 
of the worst problem destiny can put to man. 

She saw her pocketbook on the floor where she had 
dropped it. "I'll wait till my money's gone," thought 
she. Then she remembered Etta how gentle and lov- 
ing she was, how utterly she gave herself for Susan 
was still far from the profound knowledge of character 
that enables us to disregard outward signs in measuring 
actualities. "If I really weren't harder than Etta," her 
thoughts ran on reproachfully, "I'd not wait until the 
money went. I'd kill myself now, and have it over with." 
The truth was that if the position of the two girls had 
been reversed and Susan had loved Gulick as intensely 
as Etta professed and believed she loved him, still Susan 
would have given him up rather than have left Etta 
alone. And she would have done it without any sense 
of sacrifice. And it must be admitted that, whether 
or not there are those who deserve credit for doing 
right, certainly those who do right simply because they 
cannot do otherwise the only trustworthy people de- 
serve no credit for it. 

She counted her money twenty-three dollars in bills, 
and some change. Redmond had given her fifty dollars 
each time they had gone shopping, and had made her 
keep the balance his indirect way of adjusting the 
financial side. Twenty-three dollars meant perhaps 

429 



SUSAN LENOX 



two weeks' living. Well, she would live those two weeks 
decently and comfortably and then bid life adieu un- 
less something turned up for back to the streets she 
would not go. With Etta gone, with not a friend any- 
where on earth, life was not worth the price she had 
paid for Etta and herself to the drunken man. Her 
streak of good fortune in meeting Redmond had given 
her no illusions; from Mabel Connemora, from what 
she herself had heard and seen and experienced she 
knew the street woman's life, and she could not live 
that life for herself alone. She could talk about it to 
Redmond tranquilly. She could think about it in the 
abstract, could see how other women did it, and how 
those who had intelligence might well survive and lift 
themselves up in it. But do it she could not. So she 
resolved upon suicide, firmly believing in her own re- 
solve. And she was not one to deceive herself or to 
shrink from anything whatsoever. Except the insane, 
only the young make these resolves and act upon them ; 
for the young have not yet learned to value life, have 
not yet fallen under life's sinister spell that makes 
human beings cling more firmly and more cravenly to 
it as they grow older. The young must have some- 
thing some hope, however fanatic and false to live 
for. They will not tarry just to live. And in that hour 
Susan had lost hope. 

She took off her street dress and opened her trunk 
to get a wrapper and bedroom slippers. As she lifted 
the lid, she saw an envelope addressed "Lorna"; she 
remembered that Redmond had locked and strapped the 
trunk. She tore the end from the envelope, looked in. 
Some folded bills ; nothing more. She sat on the floor 
and counted two twenties, five tens, two fives a hun- 
dred dollars ! She looked dazedly at the money gave 

430 



SUSAN LENOX 



a cry of delight sprang to her feet, with a change like 
the startling shift from night to day in the tropics. 

"I can pay !" she cried. "I can pay !" 

Bubbling over with smiles and with little laughs, gay 
as even champagne and the release from the vile pris- 
on of the slums had made her, she with eager hands 
took from the trunk her best clothes the jacket and 
skirt of dark gray check she had bought for thirty dol- 
lars at Shillito's and had had altered to her figure and 
her taste; the blouse of good quality linen with rather 
a fancy collar ; the gray leather belt with a big oxidized 
silver buckle ; her only pair of silk stockings ; the 
pair of high-heeled patent leather shoes the large 
black hat with a gray feather curling attractively 
round and over its brim. The hat had cost only four- 
teen dollars because she had put it together herself; 
if she had bought it made, she would have paid not 
less than thirty dollars. 

All these things she carefully unpacked and care- 
fully laid out. Then she thoroughly brushed her hair 
and did it up in a graceful pompadour that would go 
well with the hat. She washed away the traces of her 
outburst of grief, went over her finger nails, now almost 
recovered from the disasters incident to the life of 
manual labor. She went on to complete her toilet, all 
with the same attention to detail a sure indication, 
in one so young, of a desire to please some specific 
person. When she had the hat set at the satisfactory 
angle and the veil wound upon it and draped over her 
fresh young face coquettishly, she took from her 
slender store of gloves a fresh gray pair and, as she put 
them on, stood before the glass examining herself. 

There was now not a trace of the tenement working 
girl of a week and a day before. Here was beauty in 

431 



SUSAN LENOX 



bloom, fresh and alluring from head to narrow, well- 
booted feet. More than a hint of a fine color sense 
that vital quality, if fashion, the conventional, is to be 
refined and individualized into style, the rare more 
than a hint of color sense showed in the harmony of 
the pearl gray in the big feather, the pearl gray in 
the collar of the blouse, and the pearl white of her skin. 
Susan had indeed returned to her own class. She had 
left it, a small-town girl with more than a suggestion 
of the child in eyes and mouth; she had returned to 
it, a young woman of the city, with that look in her 
face which only experience can give experience that 
has resulted in growth. She locked all her possessions 
away in her trunk all but her money; that she put 
in her stockings seventy-five dollars well down in the 
right leg, the rest of the bills well down in the left leg; 
the two dollars or so in change was all she intrusted 
to the pocketbook she carried. She cast a coquettish 
glance down at her charmingly arrayed feet a harm- 
less glance of coquetry that will be condemned by those 
whose physical vanity happens to center elsewhere. 
After this glance she dropped her skirts and was 
ready. 

By this time dusk had fallen, and it was nearly six 
o'clock. As she came out of the house she glanced 
toward the west the instinctive gesture of people who 
live in rainy climates. Her face brightened ; she saw 
an omen in the long broad streak of reddened evening 
sky. 



XXIII 

SHE went down to Fourth Street, along it to Race, 
to the Commercial building. At the entrance to 
the corridor at the far side of which were eleva- 
tor and stairway, she paused and considered. She 
turned into the business office. 

"Is Mr. Roderick Spenser here?" she asked of a 
heavily built, gray-bearded man in the respectable 
black of the old-fashioned financial employee, showing 
the sobriety and stolidity of his character in his dress. 

"He works upstairs," replied the old man, beaming 
approvingly upon the pretty, stylish young woman. 

"Is he there now?" 

"I'll telephone." He went into the rear office, pres- 
ently returned with the news that Mr. Spenser had that 
moment left, was probably on his way down in the 
elevator. "And you'll catch him if you go to the 
office entrance right away." 

Susan, the inexperienced in the city ways of men 
with women, did not appreciate what a tribute to her 
charms and to her character, as revealed in the honest, 
grave eyes, was the old man's unhesitating assumption 
that Spenser would wish to see her. She lost no time 
in retracing her steps. As she reached the office en- 
trance she saw at the other end of the long hall two 
young men coming out of the elevator. After the habit 
of youth, she had rehearsed speech and manner for 
this meeting; but at sight of him she was straight- 
way trembling so that she feared she would be unable to 
speak at all. The entrance light was dim, but as he 

433 



SUSAN LENOX 



glanced at her in passing he saw her looking at him 
and his hand moved toward his hat. His face had not 
changed the same frank, careless expression, the same 
sympathetic, understanding look out of the eyes. But 
he was the city man in dress now notably the city 
man. 

"Mr. Spenser," said she shyly. 

He halted; his companion went on. He lifted his 
hat, looked inquiringly at her the look of the enthusi- 
ast and connoisseur on the subject of pretty women, 
when he finds a new specimen worthy of his attention. 

"Don't you know me?" 

His expression of puzzled and flirtatious politeness 
gradually cleared away. The lighting up of his eyes, 
the smile round his mouth delighted her; and she grew 
radiant when he exclaimed eagerly, "Why, it's the little 
girl of the rock again! How you've grown in a year 
less than a year !" 

"Yes, I suppose I have," said she, thinking of it for 
the first time. Then, to show him at once what a good 
excuse she had for intruding again, she hastened to 
add, "I've come to pay you that money you loaned me." 

He burst out laughing, drew her into the corridor 
where the light was brighter. "And you've gone back 
to your husband," he said she noted the quick, sharp 
change in his voice. 

"Why do you think that?" she said. 

The way his eyes lingered upon the charming details 
of a toilet that indicated anything but poverty might 
have given her a simple explanation. He offered an- 
other. 

"I can't explain. It's your different expression a 
kind of experienced look." 

The color flamed and flared in Susan's face. 



SUSAN LENOX 



"You are happy?" he asked. 

"I've not seen him," evaded she. "Ever since I left 
Carrollton I've been wandering about." 

"Wandering about?" he repeated absently, his eyes 
busy with her appearance. 

"And now," she went on, nervous and hurried, "I'm 
here in town for a while." 

"Then I may come to see you?" 

"I'd be glad. I'm alone in a furnished room I've 
taken out near Lincoln Park." 

"Alone! You don't mean you're still wandering?" 

"Still wandering." 

He laughed. "Well, it certainly is doing you no 
harm. The reverse." An embarrassed pause, then he 
said with returning politeness: "Maybe you'll dine 
with me this evening?" 

She beamed. "I've been hoping you'd ask me." 

"It won't be as good as the one on the rock." 

"There never will be another dinner like that," de- 
clared she. "Your leg is well?" 

Her question took him by surprise. In his interest 
and wonder as to the new mystery of this mysterious 
young person he had not recalled the excuses he made 
for dropping out of the entanglement in which his im- 
pulses had put him. The color poured into his face. 
"Ages ago," he replied, hurriedly. "I'd have forgotten 
it, if it hadn't been for you. I've never been able to 
get you out of my head." And as a matter of truth 
she had finally dislodged his cousin Nell without 
lingering long or vividly herself. Young Mr. Spenser, 
was too busy and too self-absorbed a man to bother 
long about any one flower in a world that was one 
vast field abloom with open-petaled flowers. 

"Nor I you," said she, as pleased as he had expected, 
465 



SUSAN LENOX 



and showing it with a candor that made her look almost 
the child he had last seen. "You see, I owed you. that 
money, and I wanted to pay it." 

"Oh that was all!" exclaimed he, half jokingly. 
"Wait here a minute." And he went to the door, looked 
up and down the street, then darted across it and dis- 
appeared into the St. Nicholas Hotel. He was not 
gone more than half a minute. 

"I had to see Bayne and tell him," he explained when 
he was with her again. "I was to have dined with him 
and some others over in the cafe. Instead, you and 
I will dine upstairs. You won't mind my not being 
dressed?" 

It seemed to her he was dressed well enough for any 
occasion. "I'd rather you had on the flannel trousers 
rolled up to your knees," said she. "But I can imagine 
them." 

"Wto* a dinner that was !" cried he. "And the ride 
afterward," with an effort at ease that escaped her be- 
dazzled eyes. "Why didn't you ever write?" 

He expected her to say that she did not know his 
address, and was ready with protests and excuses. But 
she replied: 

"I didn't have the money to pay what I owed you." 
They were crossing Fourth Street and ascending the 
steps to the hotel. "Then, too afterward when I 

got to know a little more about life I Oh, no 

matter. Really, the money was the only reason." 

But he had stopped short. In a tone so correctly 
sincere that a suspicious person might perhaps have 
doubted the sincerity of the man using it, he said: 

"What was in your mind? What did you think? 
What did you suspect me of? For I see in that 
honest, telltale face of yours that it was a suspicion." 

436 



SUSAN LENOX 



"I didn't blame you," protested the girl, "even if it 
was so. I thought maybe you got to thinking it over 
and didn't want to be bothered with anyone so trouble- 
some as I had made myself." 

"How could you suspect me of such a thing?" 

"Oh, I really didn't," declared she, with all the 
earnestness of a generous nature, for she read into his 
heightened color and averted eyes the feelings she 
herself would have had before an unjust suspicion. "It 
was merely an idea. And I didn't blame you not in 
the least. It would have been the sensible " 

Next thing, this child-woman, this mysterious mind 
of mixed precocity and innocence, would be showing 
that she had guessed a Cousin Nell. 

"You are far too modest," interrupted he with a 
flirtatious smile. "You didn't realize how strong an 
impression you made. No, I really broke my leg. 
Don't you suppose I knew the twenty-five in the pocket- 
book wouldn't carry you far?" He saw and naturally 
misunderstood her sudden change of expression as he 
spoke of the amount. He went on apologetically, "I 
intended to bring more when I came. I was afraid to 
put money in the note for fear it'd never be delivered, 
if I did. And didn't I tell you to write and didn't I 
give you my address here? Would I have done that, if 
I hadn't meant to stand by you?" 

Susan was convinced, was shamed by these smooth, 
plausible assertions and explanations. "Your father's 
house it's a big brick, with stone trimmings, standing 
all alone outside the little town isn't it?" 

Spenser was again coloring deeply. "Yes," admitted 
he uneasily. 

But Susan didn't notice. "I saw the doctor and 
your family on the veranda," she said. 

15 437 



SUSAN LENOX 



He was now so nervous that she could not but ob- 
serve it. "They gave out that it was only a sprain," 
said he, "because I told them I didn't want it known. 
I didn't want the people at the office to know I was 
going to be laid up so long. I was afraid I'd lose my 
job." 

"I didn't hear anything about it," said she. "I only 
saw as I was going by on a boat." 

He looked disconcerted but not to her eyes. "Well 
it's far in the past now," said he. "Let's forget all 
but the fun." 

"Yes all but the fun." Then very sweetly, "But 
I'll never forget what I owe you. Not the money not 
that, hardly at all but what you did for me. It made 
me able to go on." 

"Don't speak of it," cried he, flushed and shame- 
faced. "I didn't do half what I ought." Like most 
human beings he was aware of his more obvious if 
less dangerous faults and weaknesses. He liked to be 
called generous, but always had qualms when so called 
because he knew he was in fact of the familiar type- 
classed as generous only because human beings are so 
artless in their judgments as to human nature that they 
cannot see that quick impulses quickly die. The only 
deep truth is that there are no generous natures but 
just natures and they are rarely classed as generous 
because their slowly formed resolves have the air of 
prudence and calculation. 

In the hotel she went to the dressing-room, took 
twenty-five dollars from the money in her stocking. 
As soon as they were seated in the restaurant she 
handed it to him. 

"But this makes it you who are having me to dinner 
and more," he protested. 

438 



SUSAN LENOX 



"If you knew what a weight it's been on me, you'd 
not talk that way," said she. 

Her tone compelled him to accept her view of the 
matter. He laughed and put the money in his waistcoat 
pocket, saying: "Then I'll still owe you a dinner." 

During the past week she had been absorbing as only 
a young woman with a good mind and a determination 
to learn the business of living can absorb. The lessons 
before her had been the life that is lived in cities *"by 
those who have money to spend and experience in 
spending it; she had learned out of all proportion to 
opportunity. At a glance she realized that she was 
now in a place far superior to the Bohemian resorts 
which had seemed to her inexperience the best possible. 
From earliest childhood she had shown the delicate 
sense of good taste and of luxury that always goes 
with a practical imagination practical as distinguished 
from the idealistic kind of imagination that is vague, 
erratic, and fond of the dreams which neither could 
nor should come true. And the reading she had done 
the novels, the memoirs, the books of travel, the fashion 
and home magazines had made deep and distinct im- 
pressions upon her, had prepared her as they have 
prepared thousands of Americans in secluded towns 
and rural regions where luxury and even comfort are 
very crude indeed for the possible rise of fortune that 
is the universal American dream and hope. She felt 
these new surroundings exquisitely the subdued color- 
ing, the softened lights, the thick carpets, the quiet 
elegance and comfort of the furniture. She noted the 
good manners of the well-trained waiter; she listened 
admiringly and memorizingly as Spenser ordered the 
dinner a dinner of French good taste small but fine 
oysters, a thick soup, a guinea hen en casserole, a fruit 

439 



SUSAN LENOX 



salad, fresh strawberry ice cream, dry champagne. 
She saw that Spenser knew what he was about, and she 
was delighted with him and proud to be with him and 
glad that he had tastes like her own that is, tastes 
such as she proposed to learn to have. Of the men she 
had known or known about he seemed to her far and 
away the best. It isn't necessary to explain into what 
an attitude of mind and heart this feeling of his high 
superiority immediately put her certainly not for the 
enlightenment of any woman. 

"What are you thinking?" he asked the question 
that was so often thrust at her because, when she 
thought intensely, there was a curiosity-compelling 
expression in her eyes. 

"Oh about all this," replied she. "I like this sort 
of thing so much. I never had it in my life, yet now 
that I see it I feel as if I were part of it, as if it must 
belong to me." Her eyes met his sympathetic gaze. 
"You understand, don't you?" He nodded. "And I 
was wondering" she laughed, as if she expected even 
him to laugh at her "I was wondering how long 
it would be before I should possess it. Do you think 
I'm crazy?" 

He shook his head. "I've got that same feeling," 
said he. "I'm poor don't dare do this often have 
all I can manage in keeping myself decently. Yet I 
have a conviction that I shall shall win. Don't think 
I'm dreaming of being rich not at all. I I don't 
care much about that if I did go into business. But I 
want all my surroundings to be right." 

Her eyes gleamed. "And you'll get it. And so shall 
I. I know it sounds improbable and absurd for me 
to say that about myself. But' I know it." 

"I believe you," said he. "You've got the look in 
440 



SUSAN LENOX 



your face in your eyes. . . . I've never seen anyone 
improve as you have in this less than a year." 

She smiled as she thought in what surroundings she 
had apparently spent practically all that time. "If 
you could have seen me !" she said. "Yes, I was learn- 
ing and I know it. I led a sort of double life. I " 

she hesitated, gave up trying to explain. She had 
not the words and phrases, the clear-cut ideas, to ex- 
press that inner life led by people who have real im- 
agination. With most human beings their immediate 
visible surroundings determine their life; with the im- 
aginative few their horizon is always the whole wide 
world. 

She sighed, "But I'm ignorant. I don't know how 
or where to take hold." 

"I can't help you there, yet," said he. "When we 
know each other better, then I'll know. Not that you 
need me to tell you. You'll find out for yourself. One 
always does." 

She glanced round the attractive room again, then 
looked at him with narrowed eyelids. "Only a few 
hours ago I was thinking of suicide. How absurd 
it seems now ! I'll never do that again. At least, I've 
learned how to profit by a lesson. Mr. Burlingham 
taught me that." 

"Who's he?" 

"That's a long story. I don't feel like telling about 
it now." 

But the mere suggestion had opened certain doors 
in her memory and crowds of sad and bitter thoughts 
came trooping in. 

"Are you in some sort of trouble?" said he, instantly 
leaning toward her across the table and all aglow with 
the impulsive sympathy that kindles in impressionable 



SUSAN LENOX 



natures as quickly as fire in dry grass. Such natures 
are as perfect conductors of emotion as platinum is 
of heat instantly absorbing it, instantly throwing it 
off, to return to their normal and metallic chill and 
capacity for receptiveness. "Anything you can tell 
me about?" 

"Oh, no nothing especial," replied she. "Just lone- 
liness and a feeling of of discouragement." Strongly, 
"Just a mood. I'm never really discouraged. Some- 
thing always turns up." 

"Please tell me what happened after I left you at 
that wretched hotel." 

"I can't," she said. "At least, not now." 

"There is " He looked sympathetically at her, 

as if to assure her that he would understand, no mat- 
ter what she might confess. "There is someone?" 

"No. I'm all alone. I'm free." It was not in 
the least degree an instinct for deception that made 
her then convey an impression of there having been 
no one. She was simply obeying her innate reticence 
that was part of her unusual self-unconsciousness. 

"And you're not worried about about money mat- 
ters?" he asked. "You see, I'm enough older and more 
experienced to give me excuse for asking. Besides, 
unless a woman has money, she doesn't find it easy to 
get on." 

"I've enough for the present," she assured him, and 
the stimulus of the champagne made her look and 
feel much more self-confident than she really was. 
"More than I've ever had before. So I'm not wor- 
ried. When anyone has been through what I have 
they aren't so scared about the future." 

He looked the admiration he felt and there was 
not a little of the enthusiasm of the champagne both 

442 



SUSAN LENOX 



in the look and in the admiration "I see you've al- 
ready learned to play the game without losing your 
nerve." 

"I begin to hope so," said she. 

"Yes you've got the signs of success in your face. 
Curious about those signs. Once you learn to know 
them, you never miss in sizing up people." 

The dinner had come. Both were hungry, and it 
was as good a dinner as the discussion about it be- 
tween Spenser and the waiter had forecast. As they 
ate the well-cooked, well-served food and drank the 
delicately flavored champagne, mellow as the gorgeous 
autumn its color suggested, there diffused through 
them an extraordinary feeling of quiet intense happi- 
ness happiness of mind and body. Her face took on a 
new and finer beauty; into his face came a tenderness 
that was most becoming to its rather rugged features. 
And he had not talked with her long before he dis- 
covered that he was facing not a child, not a child- 
woman, but a woman grown, one who could under- 
stand and appreciate the things men and women of 
experience say and do. 

"I've always been expecting to hear from you every 
day since we separated," he said and he was honestly 
believing it now. "I've had a feeling that you hadn't 
forgotten me. It didn't seem possible I could feel so 
strongly unless there was real sympathy between us." 

"I came as soon as I could." 

He reflected in silence a moment, then in a tone 
that made her heart leap and her blood tingle, he 
said: "You say you're free?" 

"Free as air. Only I couldn't fly far." 

He hesitated on an instinct of prudence, then ven- 
tured. "Far as New York?" 

443 



SUSAN LENOX 



"What is the railroad fare?" 

"Oh, about twenty-five dollars with sleeper." 

"Yes I can fly that far." 

"Do you mean to say you've no ties of any kind?" 

"None. Not one." Her eyes opened wide and her 
nostrils dilated. "Free !" 

"You love it don't you?" 

"Don't you?" 

"Above everything!" he exclaimed. "Only the free 
live." 

She lifted her head higher in a graceful, attractive 
gesture of confidence and happiness. "Well I am 
ready to live." 

"I'm afraid you don't realize," he said hesitatingly. 
"People wouldn't understand. You've your reputation 
to think of, you know." 

She looked straight at him. "No not even that. 
I'm even free from reputation." Then, as his face 
saddened and his eyes glistened with sympathy, "You 
needn't pity me. See where it's brought me." 

"You're a strong swimmer aren't you?" he said 
tenderly. "But then there isn't any \safe and easy 
crossing to the isles of freedom. It's no wonder most 
people don't get further than gazing and longing." 

"Probably I shouldn't," confessed Susan, "if I hadn't 
been thrown into the water. It was a case of swim or 
drown." 

"But most who try are drowned nearly all the 
women." 

"Oh, I guess there are more survive than is gen- 
erally supposed. So much lying is done about that 
sort of thing." 

"What a shrewd young lady it is ! At any rate, 
you have reached the islands." 

444 



SUSAN LENOX 



"But I'm not queen of them yet," she reminded him. 
"I'm only a poor, naked, out-of-breath castaway lying 
on the beach." 

He laughed appreciatively. Very clever, this ex- 
tremely pretty young woman. "Yes you'll win. 
You'll be queen." He lifted his champagne glass and 
watched the little bubbles pushing gayly and swiftly 
upward. "So you've cast over your reputation." 

"I told you I had reached the beach naked." A 
reckless light in her eyes now. "Fact is, I had none 
to start with. Anybody has a reason for starting^ 
or for being started. That was mine, I guess." 

"I've often thought about that matter of reputation 
in a man or a woman if they're trying to make the 
bold, strong swim. To care about one's reputation 
means fear of what the world says. It's important to 
care about one's character for without character no \/ 
one ever got anywhere worth getting to. But it's 
very, very dangerous to be afraid for one's reputation. 
And I hate to admit it, because I'm hopelessly con- 
ventional at bottom, but it's true reputation fear 
of what the world says has sunk more swimmers, has 
wrecked more characters than it ever helped. So the 
strongest and best swimmers swim naked." 

Susan was looking thoughtfully at him over the rim 
of her glass. She took a sip of the champagne, said: 
"If I hadn't been quite naked, I'd have sunk I'd have 
been at the bottom with the fishes- " 

"Don't!" he cried. "Thank God, you did whatever 
you've done yes, I mean that whatever you've done, 
since it enabled you to swim on." He added, "And I 
know it wasn't anything bad anything unwomanly." 

"I did the best I could nothing I'm ashamed of 
or proud of either. Just what I had to do." 

445 



SUSAN LENOX 



"But you ought to be proud that you arrived." 

"No only glad," said she. "So so frightfully 
glad!" 

In any event, their friendship was bound to flourish; 
aided by that dinner and that wine it sprang up into 
an intimacy, a feeling of mutual trust and of sympathy 
at every point. Like all women she admired strength 
in a man above everything else. She delighted in the 
thick obstinate growth of his fair hair, in the breadth 
of the line of his eyebrows, in the aggressive thrust of 
his large nose and long jawbone. She saw in the way 
his mouth closed evidence of a will against which oppo- 
sition would dash about as dangerously as an egg 
against a stone wall. There was no question of his 
having those birthmarks of success about which he 
talked. She saw them saw nothing of the less ob- 
trusive but not less important marks of weakness 
which might have enabled an expert in the reading of 
faces to reach some rather depressing conclusion as 
to the nature and the degree of that success. 

Finally, he burst out with, "Yes, I've made up my 
mind. I'll do it ! I'm going to New Y<h;k. I've been 
fooling away the last five years here learning a lot, 
but still idling drinking amusing myself in all kinds 
of ways. And about a month ago one night, as I 
was rolling home toward dawn through a driving sleet 
storm do you remember a line in 'Paradise Lost' " 

"I never read it," interrupted Susan. 

"Well it's where the devils have been kicked out of 
Heaven and are lying in agony flat on the burning lake 
and Satan rises up and marches haughtily out 
among them and calls out, 'Awake ! Arise ! Or for- 
ever more be damned!' That's what has happened to 
me several times in my life. When I was a boy, idling 

446 



SUSAN LENOX 



about the farm and wasting myself, that voice came to 
me 'Awake! Arise! Or forever more be damned!' 
And I got a move on me, and insisted on going to col- 
lege. Again at college I became a dawdler poker 
drink dances all the rest of it. And suddenly that 
voice roared in my ears, made me jump like a rabbit 
when a gun goes off. And last month it came again. 
I went to work finished a play I've been pottering 
over for three years. But somehow I couldn't find the 
the whatever I needed to make me break away. 
Well you've given me that. I'll resign from the Com- 
mercial and with all I've got in the world three hun- 
dred dollars and a trunk full of good clothes, I'll break 
into Broadway." 

Susan had listened with bright eyes and quickened 
breath, as intoxicated and as convinced as was he by 
his eloquence. "Isn't that splendid!" she exclaimed in 
a low voice. 

"And you?" he said meaningly. 

"I?" she replied, fearing she was misunderstanding. 

"Will you go?" 

"Do you want me?" she asked, low and breathlessly. 

With a reluctance which suggested but not to her 
that his generosity was winning a hard-fought battle 
with his vanity, he replied: "I need you. I doubt if 
I'd dare, without you to back me up." 

"I've got a trunk full of fairly good clothes and 
about a hundred dollars. But I haven't got any play 
or any art or any trade even. Of course, I'll go." 
Then she hastily added, "I'll not be a drag on you. 
I pay my own way." 

"But you mustn't be suspicious in your independ- 
ence," he warned her. ".You mustn't forget that I'm 
older than you and more experienced and that it's far 

447 



SUSAN LENOX 



easier for a man to get money than for a woman." 

"To get it without lowering himself?" 

"Ah !" he exclaimed, looking strangely at her. "You 
mean, without bowing to some boss? Without selling 
his soul? I had no idea you were so much of a woman 
when I met you that day." 

"I wasn't then," replied she. "And I didn't know 
where I'd got till we began to talk this evening." 

"And you're very young!" 

"Oh, but I've been going to a school where they 
make you learn fast." 

"Indeed I do need you." He touched his glass to 
hers. "On to Broadway !" he cried. 

"Broadway !" echoed she, radiant. 

"Together eh?" 

She nodded. But as she drank the toast a tear 
splashed into her glass. She was remembering how 
some mysterious instinct had restrained her from going 
with John Redmond, though it seemed the only sane 
thing to do. What if she had disobeyed ^at instinct ! 
And then through her mind in swift ghostly march 
past trailed the persons and events of the days just 
gone just gone, yet seeming as far away as a former 
life in another world. Redmond and Gulick Etta 
yes, Etta, too all past and gone forever gone 

"What are you thinking about?" 

She shook her head and the spectral procession van- 
ished into the glooms of memory's vistas. "Thinking? 
of yesterday. I don't understand myself how I 
shake off and forget what's past. Nothing seems real 
to me but the future." 

"Not even the present?" said he with a smile. 

"Not even the present," she answered with grave 
candor. "Nothing seems to touch me the real me. 



SUSAN LENOX 



It's like like looking out of the window of th< 
at the landscape running by. I'm a traveler \ 
through. I wonder if it'll always be that wa not 
wonder if I'll ever arrive where I'll feel that I bel * 

"I think so and soon." 

But she did not respond to his confident smile. "I- c 
I hope so," she said with sad, wistful sweetness. "Then 
again aren't there some people who don't belong any- 
where aren't allowed to settle down and be happy, but 
have to keep going on and on until " 

"Until they pass out into the dark," he finished for 
her. "Yes." He looked at her in a wondering uneasy 
way. "You do suggest that kind," said he. "But," 
smilingly, to hide his earnestness, "I'll try to detain 
you." 

"Please do," she said. "I don't want to go on 
alone." 

He dropped into silence, puzzled and in a way awed 
by the mystery enveloping her a mystery of aloofness 
and stoniness, of complete separation from the contact 
of the world the mystery that incloses all whose real 
life is lived deep within themselves. 



easier 



* 



XXIV 

meg 



1- ~^" days later, on the Eastern Express, they 



F 



were not so confident as they had been over the 
St. Nicholas champagne. As confident about 
the remoter future, it was that annoying little stretch 
near at hand which gave them secret uneasiness. There 
had been nothing but dreaming and sentimentalizing in 
those four days and that disquietingly suggested the 
soldier who with an impressive flourish highly resolves 
to give battle, then sheathes his sword and goes away 
to a revel. Also, like all idlers, they had spent money- 
far more money than total net cash resources of less 
than five hundred dollars warranted. 

"We've spent an awful lot of money," said Susan. 

She was quick to see the faint frown* the warning 
that she was on dangerous ground. Said he : 

"Do you regret?" 

"No, indeed no!" cried she, eager to have that 
cloud vanish, but honest too. 

She no more than he regretted a single moment of 
the dreaming and love-making, a single penny of the 
eighty and odd dollars that had enabled them fittingly 
to embower their romance, to twine myrtle in their hair 
and to provide Cupid's torch-bowls with fragrant in- 
cense. Still with the battle not begun, there gaped 
that deep, wide hollow in the war chest. 

Spenser's newspaper connection got them passes 
over one of the cheaper lines to New York and he 
tried to console himself by setting this down as a saving 
of forty dollars against the eighty dollars of the debit 

450 



SUSAN LENOX 



item. But he couldn't altogether .forget that they 
would have traveled on passes, anyhow. He was not 
regretting that he had indulged in the extravagance of 
a stateroom but he couldn't deny that it was an ex- 
travagance. However, he had only to look at her to 
feel that he had done altogether well in providing for 
her the best, and to believe that he could face with 
courage any fate so long as he had her at his side. 

"Yes, I can face anything with you," he said. "What 
I feel for you is the real thing. The real thing, at 
last." 

She had no disposition to inquire curiously into this. 
Her reply was a flash of a smile that was like a flash of 
glorious light upon the crest of a wave surging straight 
from her happy heart. 

They were opposite each other at breakfast in the 
restaurant car. He delighted in her frank delight in 
the novelty of travel swift and luxurious travel. He 
had never been East before, himself, but he had had 
experience of sleepers and diners; she had not, and 
every moment she was getting some new sensation. 
She especially enjoyed this sitting at breakfast with 
the express train rushing smoothly along through the 
mountains the first mountains either had seen. At 
times they were so intensely happy that they laughed 
with tears in their eyes and touched hands across the 
table to get from physical contact the reassurances of 
reality. 

"How good to eat everything is !" she exclaimed. 
"You'll think me very greedy, I'm afraid. But if 
you'd eaten the stuff I have since we dined on the 
rock !" 

They were always going back to the rock, and neither 
wearied of recalling and reminding each other of the 

451 



SUSAN LENOX 



smallest details. It seemed to them that everything, 
even the least happening, at that sacred spot must be 
remembered, must be recorded indelibly in the book of 
their romance. "I'm glad we were happy together in 
such circumstances," she went on. "It was a test 
wasn't it, Rod?" 

"If two people don't love each other enough to be 
happy anywhere, they could be happy nowhere," de- 
clared he. 

"So, we'll not mind being very, very careful about 
spending money in New York," she ventured for she 
was again bringing up the subject she had been pri- 
vately revolving ever since they had formed the part- 
nership. In her wanderings with Burlingham, in her 
sojourn in the tenements, she had learned a great deal 
about the care and spending of money hkd developed 
that instinct for forehandedness which nature has im- 
planted in all normal women along with the maternal 
instinct and as a necessary supplement to it. This 
instinct is more or less futile in most women because 
they are more or less ignorant of the realities as to 
wise and foolish expenditure. But it is found in the 
most extravagant women no less than in the most 
absurdly and meanly stingy. 

"Of course, we must be careful," assented Rod. 
"But I can't let you be uncomfortable." 

"Now, dear," she remonstrated, "you mustn't treat 
me that way. I'm better fitted for hardship than you. 
I'd mind it less." 

He laughed ; she looked so fine and delicate, with her 
transparent skin and her curves of figure, he felt that 
anything so nearly perfect could not but easily be 
spoiled. And there he showed how little he appreciated 
her iron strength, her almost exhaustless endurance. 

452 



SUSAN LENOX 



He fancied he was the stronger because he could have 
crushed her in his muscular arms. But exposures, pri- 
vations, dissipations that would have done for a muscu- 
larly stronger man than he would have left no trace 
upon her after a few days of rest and sleep. 

"It's the truth," she insisted. "I could prove it, but 
I shan't. I don't want to remember vividly. Rod, we 
must live cheaply in New York until you sell a play and 
I have a place in some company." 

"Yes," he conceded. "But, Susie, not too cheap. 
A cheap way of living makes a cheap man gives a 
man a cheap outlook on life. Besides, don't forget 
if the worst comes to the worst, I can always get a job 
on a newspaper." 

She would not have let him see how uneasy this re- 
mark made her. However, she could not permit it to 
pass without notice. Said she a little nervously : 

"But you've made up your mind to devote yourself 
to plays to stand or fall by that." 

He remembered how he had thrilled her and himself 
with brave talk about the necessity of concentrating, 
of selecting a goal and moving relentlessly for it, letting 
nothing halt him or turn him aside. For his years Rod 
Spenser was as wise in the philosophy of success as 
Burlingham or Tom Brashear. But he had done that 
brave and wise talking before he loved her as he now 
did before he realized how love can be in itself an 
achievement and a possession so great that other am- 
bitions dwarf beside it. True, away back in his facile, 
fickle mind, behind the region where self-excuse and 
somebody-else-always-to-blame reigned supreme, a 
something the something that had set the marks of 
success so strongly upon his face was whispering to 
him the real reason for his now revolving a New York 

453 



SUSAN LENOX 



newspaper job. Real reasons as distinguished from 
alleged reasons and imagined reasons, from the reasons 
self-deception invents and vanity gives out real rea- 
sons are always interesting and worth noting. What 
was Rod's ? Not his love for her ; nothing so superior, 
so superhuman as that. No, it was weak and wobbly 
misgivings as to his own ability to get on independently, 
the misgivings that menace every 'man who has never 
worked for himself but has always drawn pay the 
misgivings that paralyze most men and keep them 
wage or salary slaves all their lives. Rod was no better 
pleased at this sly, unwelcome revelation of his real 
self to himself than the next human being is in similar 
circumstances. The whispering was\ hastily sup- 
pressed; love for her, desire that she should be com- 
fortable those must be the real reasons. But he 
must be careful lest she, the sensitive, should begin to 
brood over a fear that she was already weakening him 
and would become a drag upon him the fear that, he 
knew, would take shape in his own mind if things began 
to go badly. "You may be sure, dearest," he said, 
"I'll do nothing that won't help me on." He tapped 
his forehead with his finger. "This is a machine for 
making plays. Everything that's put into it will be 
grist for it." 

She was impressed but not convinced. He had made 
his point about concentration too clear to her intelli- 
gence. She persisted: 

"But you said if you took a place on a newspaper 
it would make you fight less hard." 

"I say a lot of things," he interrupted laughingly. 
"Don't be frightened about me. What I'm most afraid 
of is that you'll desert me. That would be a real 
knock-out blow." 

454 



SUSAN LENOX 



He said this smilingly; but she could not bear jokes 
on that one subject. 

"What do you mean, Rod?" 

"Now, don't look so funereal, Susie. I simply meant 
that I hate to think of your going on the stage or at 
anything else. I want you to help me. Selfish, isn't it? 
But, dear heart, if I could feel that the plays were 
ours, that we were both concentrated on the one career 
darling. To love each other, to work together not 
separately but together don't you understand?" 

Her expression showed that she understood, but was 
not at all in sympathy. "I've got to earn my living, 
Rod," she objected. "I shan't care anything about 
what I'll be doing. I'll do it simply to keep from being 
a burden to you 

"A burden, Susie! You! Why, you're my wings 
that enable me to fly. It's selfish, but I want all of 
you. Don't you think, dear, that if it were possible, it 
would be better for you to make us a home and hold 
the fort while I go out to give battle to managers and 
bind up my wounds when I come back and send me 
out the next day well again? Don't you think we 
ought to concentrate?" 

The picture appealed to her. All she wanted in life 
now was his success. "But," she objected, "it's useless 
to talk of that until we get on our feet perfectly 
useless." 

"It's true," he admitted with a sigh. 

"And until we do, we must be economical." 

"What a persistent lady it is," laughed he. "I wish 
I were like that." 

In the evening's gathering dusk the train steamed 
into Jersey City ; and Spenser and Susan Lenox, with 
the adventurer's mingling hope and dread, confidence 

455 



SUSAN LENOX 






and doubt, courage and fear, followed the crowd down 
the long platform under the vast train shed, went 
through the huge thronged waiting-room and aboard 
the giant ferryboat which filled both with astonishment 
because of its size and luxuriousness. 

"I am a jay!" said she. "I can hardly keep my 
mouth from dropping open." 

"You haven't any the advantage of me," he assured 
her. "Are you trembling all over?" 

"Yes," she admitted. "And my heart's like lead. I 
suppose there are thousands on thousands like us, from 
all over the country who come here every day feeling 
as we do." 

"Let's go out on the front deck where we can 
see it." 

They went out on the upper front deck and, leaning 
against the forward gates, with their traveling bags 
at their feet, they stood dumb before the most astound- 
ing and most splendid scene in the civilized world. It 
was not quite dark yet; the air was almost July hot, 
as one of those prematurely warm days New York so 
often has in March. The sky, a soft and delicate blue 
shading into opal and crimson behind them, displayed 
a bright crescent moon as it arched over the fairyland 
in the dusk before them. Straight ahead, across the 
broad, swift, sparkling river the broadest water Susan 
had ever seen rose the mighty, the majestic city. 
It rose direct from the water. Endless stretches of 
ethereal-looking structure, reaching higher and higher, 
in masses like mountain ranges, in peaks, in towers and 
domes. And millions of lights, like fairy lamps, like 
resplendent jewels, gave the city a glory beyond that 
of the stars thronging the heavens on a clear summer 
night. 

456 




SUSAN LENOX 



They looked toward the north ; on and on, to the 
far horizon's edge stretched the broad river and the 
lovely city that seemed the newborn offspring of the 
waves ; on and on, the myriad lights, in masses, in fes- 
toons, in great gleaming globes of fire from towers 
rising higher than Susan's and Rod's native hills. They 
looked to the south. There, too, rose city, mile after 
mile, and then beyond it the expanse of the bay; and 
everywhere the lights, the beautiful, soft, starlike 
lights, shedding a radiance as of heaven itself over the 
whole scene. Majesty and strength and beauty. 

"I love it!" murmured the girl. "Already I love 
it." 

"I never dreamed it was like this," said Roderick, 
in an awed tone. 

"The City of the Stars," said she, in the caressing 
tone in which a lover speaks the name of the beloved. 

They moved closer together and clasped hands and 
gazed as if they feared the whole thing river and 
magic city and their own selves would fade away and 
vanish forever. Susan clutched Rod in terror as she 
saw the vision suddenly begin to move, to advance to- 
ward her, like apparitions in a dream before they van- 
ish. Then she exclaimed, "Why, we are moving !" The 
big ferryboat, swift, steady as land, noiseless, had got 
under way. Upon them from the direction of the dis- 
tant and hidden sea blew a cool, fresh breeze. Never 
before had either smelled that perfume, strong and \ 
keen and clean, which comes straight from the un- 
breathed air of the ocean to bathe New York, to put 
life and hope and health into its people. Rod and 
Susan turned their faces southward toward this breeze, 
drank in great draughts of it. They saw a colossal 
statue, vivid as life in the dusk, in the hand at the end 

457 



SUSAN LENOX 






of the high-flung arm a torch which sent a blaze of 
light streaming out over land and water. 

"That must be Liberty," said Roderick. 

Susan slipped her arm through his. She was quiver- 
ing with excitement and joy. "Rod Rod!" she mur- 
mured. "It's the isles of freedom. Kiss me." 

And he bent and kissed her, and his cheek felt the 
tears upon hers. He reached for her hand, with an 
instinct to strengthen her. But when he had it within 
his its firm and vital grasp sent a thrill of strength 
through him. 

A few minutes, and they paused at the exit from 
the ferry house. They almost shrank back, so dazed 
and helpless did they feel before the staggering billows 
of noise that swept savagely down upon them roar 
and crash, shriek and snort ; the air was shuddering 
with it, the ground quaking. The beauty had van- 
ished the beauty that was not the city but a glamour 
to lure them into the city's grasp ; now that city stood 
revealed as a monster about to seize and devour them. 

"God!" He shouted in her ear. "Isn't this 
frightful!" 

She was recovering more quickly than he. The faces 
she saw reassured her. They were human faces ; and 
while they were eager and restless, as if the souls behind 
them sought that which never could be found, they 
were sane and kind faces, too. Where others of her 
own race lived, and lived without fear, she, too, could 
hope to survive. And already she, who had loved this 
mighty offspring of the sea and the sky at first glance, 
saw and felt another magic the magic of the peopled 
solitude. In this vast, this endless solitude she and he 
would be free. They could do as they pleased, live as 
they pleased, without thought of the opinion of others. 

458 



SUSAN LENOX 



Here she could forget the bestial horrors of marriage; 
here she would fear no scornful pointing at her birth- 
brand of shame. She and Rod could be poor without 
shame; they could make their fight in the grateful 
darkness of obscurity. 

"Scared?" he asked. 

"Not a bit," was her prompt answer. "I love it 
more than ever." 

"Well, it frightens me a little. I feel helpless lost 
in the noise and the crowd. How can I do anything 
here!" 

"Others have. Others do." 

"Yes yes ! That's so. We must take hold !" And 
he selected a cabman from the shouting swarm. "We 
want to go, with two trunks, to the Hotel St. Denis," 
said he. 

"All right, sir! Gimme the checks, please." 

Spenser was about to hand them over when Susan 
said in an undertone, "You haven't asked the 
price." 

Spenser hastened to repair this important omission. 
""Ten dollars," replied the cabman as if ten dollars were 
some such trifle as ten cents. 

Spenser laughed at the first experience of the famous 
New York habit of talking in a faint careless way of 
large sums of money other people's money. "You did 
save us a swat," he said to Susan, and beckoned another 
man. The upshot of a long and arduous discussion, 
noisy and profane, was that they got the carriage for 
six dollars a price which the policeman who had been 
drawn into the discussion vouched for as reasonable. 
Spenser knew it was too high, knew the policeman 
would get a dollar or so of the profit, but he was 
weary of the wrangle; and he would not listen to 

459 



SUSAN LENOX 



Susan's suggestion that they have the trunks sent by 
the express company and themselves go in a street car 
for ten cents. At the hotel they got a large comfort- 
able room and a bath for four dollars a day. Spenser 
insisted it was cheap; Susan showed her alarm less 
than an hour in New York and ten dollars gone, not to 
speak of she did not know how much change. For 
Roderick had been scattering tips with what is for 
some mysterious reason called "a princely hand," 
though princes know too well the value of money and 
have too many extravagant tastes ever to go far in 
sheer throwing away. 

They had dinner in the restaurant of the hotel and 
set out to explore the land they purposed to subdue and 
to possess. They walked up Broadway to Fourteenth, 
missed their way in the dazzle and glare of south Union 
Square, discovered the wandering highway again after 
some searching. After the long, rather quiet stretch 
between Union Square and Thirty-fourth Street they 
found themselves at the very heart of the city's night 
life. They gazed in wonder upon the elevated road 
with its trains thundering by high above them. They 
crossed Greeley Square and stood entranced before the 
spectacle a street bright as day with electric signs 
of every color, shape and size; sidewalks jammed with 
people, most of them dressed with as much pretense to 
fashion as the few best in Cincinnati ; one theater after 
another, and at Forty-second Street theaters in every 
direction. Surely surely there would be small diffi- 
culty in placing his play when there were so many 
theaters, all eager for plays. 

They debated going to the theater, decided against 
it, as they were tired from the journey and the excite- 
ment of crowding new sensations. "I've never been to 

460 



SUSAN LENOX 



a real theater in my life," said Susan. "I want to be 
fresh the first time I go." 

"Yes," cried Rod. "That's right. Tomorrow night. 
That will be an experience !" And they read the illumi- 
nated signs, inspected the show windows, and slowly 
strolled back toward the hotel. As they were recross- 
ing Union Square, Spenser said, "Have you noticed 
how many street girls there are? We must have passed 
a thousand. Isn't it frightful?" 

"Yes," said Susan. 

Rod made a gesture of disgust, and said with feeling, 
"How low a woman must have sunk before she could 
take to that life!" 

"Yes," said Susan. 

"So low that there couldn't possibly be left any 
shred of feeling or decency anywhere in her." 

Susan did not reply. 

"It's not a question of morals, but of sensibility," 
pursued he. "Some day I'm going to write a play or 
a story about it. A woman with anything to her, who 
had to choose between that life and death, wouldn't 
hesitate an instant. She couldn't. A streetwalker!" 
And again he made that gesture of disgust. 

"Before you write," said Susan, in a queer, quiet 
voice, "you'll find out all about it. Maybe some of 
these girls most of them all of them are still human 
beings. It's not fair to judge people unless you 
know. And it's so easy to say that someone else ought 
to die rather than do this or that." 

"You can't imagine yourself doing such a thing," 
urged he. 

Susan hesitated, then "Yes," she said. 

Her tone irritated him. "Oh, nonsense ! You don't 
know what you're talking about." 

461 



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"Yes," said Susan. 

"Susie!" he exclaimed, looking reprovingly at her. 

She met his eyes without flinching. "Yes," she said. 
"I have." 

He stopped short and his expression set her bosom 
to heaving. But her gaze was steady upon his. "Why 
did you tell me !" he cried. "Oh, it isn't so it can't be. 
You don't mean exactly that." 

"Yes, I do," said she. 

"Don't tell me! I don't want to know." And he 
strode on, she keeping beside him. 

"I can't let you believe me different from what I 
am," replied she. "Not you. I supposed you guessed." 

"Now I'll always think of it whenever I look at 
you. ... I simply can't believe it. ... You spoke of 
it as if you weren't ashamed." 

"I'm not ashamed," she said. "Not before you. 
There isn't anything I've done that I wouldn't be will- 
ing to have you know. I'd have told you, except that 
I didn't want to recall it. You know that nobody 
can live without getting dirty. The thing is to want 
to be clean and to try to get clean afterward 
isn't it?" 

"Yes," he admitted, as if he had not been hearing. 
"I wish you hadn't told me. I'll always see it and feel 
it when I look at you." 

"I want you to," said she. "I couldn't love you as I 
do if I hadn't gone through a great deal." 

"But it must have left its stains upon you," said he. 
Again he stopped short in the street, faced her at the 
curb, with the crowd hurrying by and jostling them. 
"Tell me about it !" he commanded. 

She shook her head. "I couldn't." To have told 
would have been like tearing open closed and healed 

462 



SUSAN LENOX 



wounds. Also it would have seemed whining and she 
had utter contempt for whining. "I'll answer any 
question, but I can't just go on and tell." 

"You deliberately went and did that?" 

"Yes." 

"Haven't you any excuse, any defense?" 

She might have told him about Burlingham dying 
and the need of money to save him. She might have 
told him about Etta her health going her mind made 
up to take to the streets, with no one to look after her. 
She might have made it all a moving and a true tale 
of self-sacrifice for the two people who had done most 
for her. But it was not in her simple honest nature to 
try to shift blame. So all she said was: 

"No, Rod." 

"And you didn't want to kill yourself first?" 

"No. I wanted to live. I was dirty and I wanted 
to be clean. I was hungry and I wanted food. I 
was cold that was the worst. I was cold, and I 
wanted to get warm. And I had been married but 
I couldn't tell even you about that except after a 
woman's been through what I went through then, 
nothing in life has any real terror or horror for her." 

He looked at her long. "I don't understand," he 
finally said. "Come on. Let's go back to the hotel." 

She walked beside him, making no attempt to break 
his gloomy silence. They went up to their room and 
she sat on the lounge by the window. He lit a cigarette 
and half sat, half lay, upon the bed. After a long time 
he said with a bitter laugh, "And I was so sure you 
were a good woman !" 

"I don't feel bad," she ventured timidly. "Am I?" 

"Do you mean to tell me," he cried, sitting up, "that 
you don't think anything of those things?" 

463 



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"Life can be so hard and cruel, can make one do 
so many " 

"But don't you realize that what you've done is the 
very worst thing a woman can do?" 

"No," said she. "I don't. . . . I'm sorry you didn't 
understand. I thought you did not the details, but 
in a general sort of way. I didn't mean to deceive you. 
That would have seemed to me much worse than any- 
thing I did." 

"I might have known! I might have known!" he 
cried rather theatrically, though sincerely withal 
for Mr. Spenser was a diligent worker with the tools 
of the play-making trade. "I learned who you were 
as soon as I got home the night I left you in Carrolton. 
They had been telephoning about you to the village. 
So I knew about you." 

"About my mother?" asked she. "Is that what you 
mean?" 

"Oh, you need not look so ashamed," said he, gra- 
ciously, pityingly. 

"I am not ashamed," said she. But she did not tell 
him that her look came from an awful fear that he was 
about to make her ashamed of him. 

"No, I suppose you aren't," he went on, incensed by 
this further evidence of her lack of a good woman's 
instincts. "I really ought not to blame you. You 
were born wrong born with the moral sense left out." 

"Yes, I suppose so," said she, wearily. 

"If only you had lied to me told me the one lie!" 
cried he. "Then you wouldn't have destroyed my illu- 
sion. You wouldn't have killed my love." 

She grew deathly white ; that was all. 

"I don't mean that I don't love you still," he hurried 
on. "But not in the same way. That's killed forever." 

464 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Are there different ways of loving?" she asked. 

"How can I give you the love of respect and trust 
now?" 

"Don't you trust me any more?" 

"I couldn't. I simply couldn't. It was hard enough 

before on account of your birth. But now Trust 

a woman who had been a a I can't speak the 
word. Trust you? You don't understand a man." 

"No, I don't." She looked round drearily. Every- 
thing in ruins. Alone again. Outcast. Nowhere to 
go but the streets the life that seemed the only one 
for such as she. "I don't understand people at all. 
. . . Do you want me to go?" 

She had risen as she asked this. He was beside her 
instantly. "Go !" he cried. "Why I couldn't get along 
without you." 

"Then you love me as I love you," said she, putting 
her arms round him. "And that's all I want. I don't 
want what you call respect. I couldn't ever have hoped 
to get that, being born as I was could I? Anyhow, 
it doesn't seem to me to amount to much. I can't help 
it, Rod that's the way I feel. So just love me do 
with me whatever you will, so long as it makes you 
happy. And I don't need to be trusted. I couldn't 
think of anybody but you." 

He felt sure of her again, reascended to the peak 
of the moral mountain. "You understand, we can never 
get married. We can never have any children." 

"I don't mind. I didn't expect that. We can love 
can't we?" 

He took her face between his hands. "What an ex- 
quisite face it is," he said, "soft and smooth ! And 
what clear, honest eyes! Where is it? Where is it? 
It must be there !" 

465 



SUSAN LENOX 



"What, Rod?" 

"The the dirt." 

She did not wince, but there came into her young 
face a deeper pathos and a wan, deprecating, plead- 
ing smile. She said: 

"Maybe love has washed it away if it was there. 
It never seemed to touch me any more than the dirt 
when I had to clean up my room." 

"You mustn't talk that way. Why you are per- 
fectly calm ! You don't cry or feel repentant. You 
don't seem to care." 

"It's so so past and dead. I feel as if it were 
another person. And it was, Rod!" 

He shook his head, frowning. "Let's not talk about 
it," he said harshly. "If only I could stop thinking 
about it !" 

She effaced herself as far as she could, living in the 
same room with him. She avoided the least show of 
the tenderness she felt, of the longing to have her 
wounds soothed. She lay awake the whole night, suffer- 
ing, now and then timidly and softly caressing him when 
she was sure that he slept. In the morning she pre- 
tended to be asleep, let him call her twice before she 
showed that she was awake. A furtive glance at him 
confirmed the impression his voice had given. Behind 
her pale, unrevealing face there was the agonized throb 
of an aching heart, but she had the confidence of her 
honest, utter love ; he would surely soften, would surely 
forgive. As for herself -she had, through loving and 
feeling that she was loved, almost lost the sense of the 
unreality of past and present that made her feel quite 
detached and apart from the life she was leading, from 
the events in which she was taking part, from the 
persons most intimately associated with her. Now that 

466 



SUSAN LENOX 



sense of isolation, of the mere spectator or the traveler 
gazing from the windows of the hurrying train that 
sense returned. But she fought against the feeling it 
gave her. 

That evening they went to the theater to see Mod- 
jeska in "Magda." 

Susan had never been in a real theater. The only 
approach to a playhouse in Sutherland was Masonic 
Hall. It had a sort of stage at one end where from 
time to time wandering players gave poor perform- 
ances of poor plays or a minstrel show or a low vaude- 
ville. But none of the best people of Sutherland went 
at least, none of the women. The notion was strong 
in Sutherland that the theater was of the Devil not 
so strong as in the days before they began to tolerate 
amateur theatricals, but still vigorous enough to give 
Susan now, as she sat in the big, brilliant auditorium, a 
pleasing sense that she, an outcast, was at last com- 
fortably at home. Usually the first sight of anything 
one has dreamed about is pitifully disappointing. 
Neither nature nor life can build so splendidly as a 
vivid fancy. But Susan, in some sort prepared for 
the shortcomings of the stage, was not disappointed. 
From rise to fall of curtain she was so fascinated, so 
absolutely absorbed, that she quite forgot her sur- 
roundings, even Rod. And between the acts she could 
not talk for thinking. Rod, deceived by her silence, 
was chagrined. He had been looking forward to a 
great happiness for himself in seeing her happy, and 
much profit from the study of the viewpoint of an abso- 
lutely fresh mind. It wasn't until they were leaving the 
theater that he got an inkling of the true state of affairs 
with her. 

"Let's go to supper," said he. 
467 



SUSAN LENOX 



"If you don't mind," replied she, "I'd rather go 
home. I'm very tired." 

"You were sound asleep this morning. So you must 
have slept well," said he sarcastically. 

"It's the play," said she. 

"Why didn't you like it?" he asked, irritated. 

She looked at him in wonder. "Like what? The 
play?" She drew a long breath. "I feel as if it had 
almost killed me." 

He understood when they were in their room and 
she could hardly undress before falling into a sleep so 
relaxed, so profound, that it made him a little uneasy. 
It seemed to him the exhaustion of a child worn out 
with the excitement of a spectacle. And her failure to 
go into ecstasies the next day led him further into the 
same error. "Modjeska is very good as Magda," said 
he, carelessly, as one talking without expecting to be 
understood. "But they say there's an Italian woman 
Duse who is the real thing." 

Modjeska Duse Susan seemed indeed not to un- 
derstand. "I hated her father," she said. "He didn't 
deserve to have such a wonderful daughter." 

Spenser had begun to laugh with her first sentence. 
At the second he frowned, said bitterly : "I might have 
known ! You get it all wrong. I suppose you sympa- 
thize with Magda?" 

"I worshiped her," said Susan, her voice low and 
tremulous with the intensity of her feeling. 

Roderick laughed bitterly. "Naturally," he said. 
"You can't understand." 

/ An obvious case, thought he. She was indeed one 
of those instances of absolute lack of moral sense. Just 
as some people have the misfortune to be born without 
arms or without legs, so others are doomed to live bereft 

468 



SUSAN LENOX 



of a moral sense. A sweet disposition, a beautiful body, 
but no soul; not a stained soul, but no soul at all. 
And his whole mental attitude toward her changed ; or, 
rather, it was changed by the iron compulsion of his 
prejudice. The only change in his physical attitude 
that is, in his treatment of her was in the direction 
of bolder passion^ of complete casting aside of all the 
restraint a conventional respecter of conventional 
womanhood feels toward a woman whom he respects. 
So, naturally, Susan, eager to love and to be loved, and 
easily confusing the not easily distinguished spiritual 
and physical, was reassured. Once in a while a look or 
a phrase from him gave her vague uneasiness; but on 
the whole she felt that, in addition to clear conscience 
from straightforwardness, she had a further reason 
for being glad Chance had forced upon her the alterna- 
tive of telling him or lying. She did not inquire into 
the realities beneath the surface of their life neither 
into what he thought of her, nor into what she thought 
of him thought in the bottom of her heart. [ She 
continued to fight against, to ignore, her feeling of 
aloneness, her feeling of impending departure.! 

She was aided in this by her anxiety about their 
finances. In his efforts to place his play he was spend- 
ing what were for them large sums of money treating 
this man and that to dinners, to suppers inviting men 
to lunch with him at expensive Broadway restaurants. 
She assumed that all this was necessary; he said so, 
and he must know. He was equally open-handed when 
they were alone, insisting on ordering the more ex- 
pensive dishes, on having suppers they really did not 
need and drink which she knew she would be better off 
without and, she suspected, he also. It simply was 
not in him, she saw, to be careful about money. She 
16 4(59 



SUSAN LENOX 



liked it, as a trait, for to her as to all the young and 
ihe unthinking carelessness about money seems a sure, 
perhaps the surest, sign of generosity when in fact 
the two qualities are in no way related. Character is 
not a collection of ignorant impulses but a solidly 
woven fabric of deliberate purposes. Carelessness 
about anything most often indicates a tendency to 
carelessness about everything. She admired his open- 
handed way of scattering; she wouldn't have admired 
it in herself, would have thought it dishonest and selfish. 
But Rod was different. He had the "artistic tempera- 
ment," while she was a commonplace nobody, who ought 
to be and was grateful to him for allowing her to 
stay on and for making such use of her as he saw fit. 
Still, even as she admired, she saw danger, grave 
danger, a disturbingly short distance ahead. He de- 
scribed to her the difficulties he was having in getting 
to managers, in having his play read, and the absurdity 
of the reasons given for turning it down. He made 
light of all these; the next manager would see, would 
give him a big advance, would put the play on and 
then, Easy Street! 

But experience had already killed what little opti- 
mism there was in her temperament and there had 
not been much, because George Warham was a suc- 
cessful man in his line, and successful men do not create 
or permit optimistic atmosphere even in their houses. 
Nor had she forgotten Burlingham's lectures on the 
subject with illustrations from his own spoiled career; 
,she understood it all now and everything else he had 
given her to store up in her memory that retained 
everything. With that philippic against optimism in 
mind, she felt what Spenser was rushing toward. She 
made such inquiries about work for herself as her inex- 

470 



SUSAN LENOX 



perience and limited opportunities permitted. She 
asked, she begged him, to let her try to get a place. 
He angrily ordered her to put any such notion out of 
her head. After a time she nerved herself again to 
speak. Then he frankly showed her why he was re- 
fusing. 

"No," said he peremptorily, "I couldn't trust you in 
those temptations. You must stay where I can guard 
you." 

A woman who had deliberately taken to the streets 
why, she thought nothing of virtue ; she would be having 
lovers with the utmost indifference; and while she was 
not a liar yet "at least, I think not" how long would 
that last? With virtue gone, virtue the foundation of 
woman's character the rest could no more stand than 
a house set on sand. 

"As long as you want me to love you, you've got to 
stay with me," he declared. "If you persist, I'll know 
you're simply looking for a chance to go back to your 
old ways." 

And though she continued to think and cautiously 
to inquire about work she said no more to him. She 
spent not a penny, discouraged him from throwing 
money away as much as she could without irritating 
him and waited for the cataclysm. Waited not in 
gloom and tears but as normal healthy youth awaits 
any adversity not definitely scheduled for an hour close 
at hand. It would be far indeed from the truth to 
picture Susan as ever for long a melancholy figure to 
the eye or even wholly melancholy within. Her intelli- 
gence and her too sympathetic heart were together a 
strong force for sadness in her life, as they cannot but 
be in any life. In this world, to understand and to 
sympathize is to be saddened. But there was in her 

471 



SUSAN LENOX 



a force stronger than either or both. She had superb 
health. It made her beautiful, strong body happy; 
and that physical happiness brought her up quickly out 
of any depths made her gay in spite of herself, caused 
her to enjoy even when she felt that it was "almost 
like hard-heartedness to be happy." She loved the 
sun and in this city where the sun shone almost all the 
days, sparkling gloriously upon the tiny salt particles 
filling the air and making it delicious to breathe and 
upon the skin in this City of the Sun as she called it, 
she was gay even when she was heavy-hearted. 

Thus, she was no repellent, aggravating companion 
to Rod as she awaited the cataclysm. 

It came in the third week. He spent the entire day 
away from her; toward midnight he returned, flushed 
with liquor. She had gone to bed. "Get up and dress," 
said he with an irritability toward her which she had 
no difficulty in seeing was really directed at himself. 
"I'm hungry and thirsty. We're going out for some 
supper." 

"Come kiss me first," said she, stretching out her 
arms. Several times this device had shifted his pur- 
pose from spending money on the needless and expensive 
suppers. 

He laughed. "Not a kiss. We're going to have one 
final blow-out. I start to work tomorrow. I've taken 
a place on the Herald on space, guaranty of twenty- 
five a week, good chance to average fifty or sixty." 

He said this hurriedly, carelessly, gayly guiltily. 
She showed then and there what a surpassing wise 
young woman she was, for she did not exclaim or re- 
mind him of his high resolve to do or die as a play- 
wright. "I'll be ready in a minute," was all she said. 

472 



SUSAN LENOX 



She dressed swiftly, he lounging on the sofa and 
watching her. He loved to watch her dress, she did 
it so gracefully, and the motions brought out latent 
charms of her supple figure. "You're not so sure- 
fingered tonight as usual," said he. "I never saw you 
make so many blunders and you've got one stocking 
on wrong side out." 

She smiled into the glass at him. "The skirt'll cover 
that. I guess I was sleepy." 

"Never saw your eyes more wide-awake. What're 
you thinking about?" 

"About supper," declared she. "I'm hungry. I 
didn't feel like eating alone." 

"I can't be here always," said he crossly and she 
knew he was suspecting what she really must be 
thinking. 

"I wasn't complaining," replied she sweetly. "You 
know I understand about business." 

"Yes, I know," said he, with his air of generosity 
that always made her feel grateful. "I always feel 
perfectly free about you." 

"I should say!" laughed she. "You know I don't 
care what happens so long as you succeed." Since 
their talk in Broadway that first evening in New York 
she had instinctively never said "we." 

When they were at the table at Rector's and he had 
taken a few more drinks, he became voluble and plaus- 
ible on the subject of the trifling importance of his 
setback as a playwright. It was the worst possible 
time of year ; the managers were stocked up ; his play 
would have to be rewritten to suit some particular 
star ; a place on a newspaper, especially such an influ- 
ential paper as the Herald, would be of use to him in 
interesting managers. She listened and looked con- 

473 



SUSAN LENOX 



vinced, and strove to convince herself that she believed. 
But there was no gray in her eyes, only the deepest 
hue of violets. 

Next day they took a suite of two rooms and a bath 
in a pretentious old house in West Forty-fourth Street 
near Long Acre Square. She insisted that she pre- 
ferred another much sunnier and quieter suite with 
no bath but only a stationary washstand; it was to 
be had for ten dollars a week. But he laughed at her 
as too economical in her ideas, and decided for the 
eighteen-dollar rooms. Also he went with her to buy 
clothes, made her spend nearly a hundred dollars where 
she would have spent less than twenty-five. "I prefer 
to make most of my things," declared she. "And I've 
all the time in the world." He would not have it. In 
her leisure time she must read and amuse herself and 
keep herself up to the mark, especially physically. 
"I'm proud of your looks," said he. "They belong to 
me, don't they? Well, take care of my property, 
Miss." 

She looked at him vaguely a look of distance, of 
parting, of pain. Then she flung herself into his arms 
with a hysterical cry and shut her eyes tight against 
the beckoning figure calling her away. "No! No!" 
she murmured. "I belong here here!" 

"What are you saying?" he asked. 

"Nothing nothing," she replied. 



XXV 

AT the hotel they had been Mr. and Mrs. Spenser. 
When they moved, he tried to devise some way 
round this ; but it was necessary that they have 
his address at the office, and Mrs. Pershall with the 
glistening old-fashioned false teeth who kept the fur- 
nished-room house was not one in whose withered bosom 
it would be wise to raise a suspicion as to respectability. 
Only in a strenuously respectable house would he live; 
in the other sort, what might not untrustworthy Susan 
be up to? So Mr. and Mrs. Spenser they remained, 
and the truth was suspected by only a few of their 
acquaintances, was known by two or three of his 
intimates whom he told in those bursts of confidence 
to which voluble, careless men are given and for which 
they in resolute self-excuse unjustly blame strong drink. 

One of his favorite remarks to her sometimes made 
laughingly, again ironically, again angrily, again in- 
sultingly, was in this strain: 

"Your face is demure enough. But you look too 
damned attractive about those beautiful feet of yours 
to be respectable at heart and trustable." 

That matter of her untrustworthiness had become 
a fixed idea with him. The more he concentrated upon 
her physical loveliness, the more he revolved the 
dangers, the possibilities of unfaithfulness; for a 
physical infatuation is always jealous. His work on 
the Herald made close guarding out of the question. 
The best he could do was to pop in unexpectedly upon 
her from time to time, to rummage through her belong- 

475 



SUSAN LENOX 



ings, to check up her statements as to her goings and 
comings by questioning the servants and, most impor- 
tant of all, each day to put her through searching and 
skillfully planned cross-examination. She had to tell 
him everything she did every little thing and he 
calculated the time, to make sure she had not found 
half an hour or so in which to deceive him. If she 
had sewed, he must look at the sewing ; if she had read, 
lie must know how many pages and must hear a sum- 
mary of what those pages contained. As she would 
not and could not deceive him in any matter, however 
small, she was compelled to give over a plan quietly to 
look for work and to fit herself for some occupation 
that would pay a living wage if there were such for 
a beginning woman worker. 

At first he was covert in this detective work, being 
ashamed of his own suspicions. But as he drank, as 
he associated again with the same sort of people who 
had wasted his time in Cincinnati, he rapidly became 
franker and more inquisitorial. And she dreaded to 
see the look she knew would come into his eyes, the 
cruel tightening of his mouth, if in her confusion and 
eagerness she should happen not instantly to satisfy 
the doubt behind each question. He tormented her; 
he tormented himself. She suffered from humiliation; 
but she suffered more because she saw how his sus- 
picions were torturing him. And in her humility and 
helplessness and inexperience, she felt no sense of right 
to resist, no impulse to resist. 

And she forced herself to look on his spasms of 
jealousy as the occasional storms which occur even in 
the best climates. She reminded herself that she was 
secure of his love, secure in his love; and in her sad 
mood she reproached herself for not being content 

476 



SUSAN LENOX 



when at bottom everything was all right. After what 
she had been through, to be sad because the man she 
loved loved her too well! It was absurd, ungrateful. 

He pried into every nook and corner of her being 
with that ingenious and tireless persistence human 
beings reserve for searches for what they do not wish 
to find. At last he contrived to find, or to imagine he 
had found, something that justified his labors and vin- 
dicated his disbelief in her. 

They were walking in Fifth Avenue one afternoon, 
at the hour when there is the greatest press of equi- 
pages whose expensively and showily dressed occupants 
are industriously engaged in the occupation of imagin- 
ing they are doing something when in fact they are 
doing nothing. What a world! What a grotesque 
confusing of motion and progress ! What fantastic 
delusions that one is busy when one is merely occupied ! 
They were between Forty-sixth Street and Forty- 
seventh, on the west side, when a small victoria drew 
up at the curb and a woman descended and crossed the 
sidewalk before them to look at the display in a milli- 
ner's window. Susan gave her the swift, seeing glance 
which one woman always gives another the glance of 
competitors at each other's offerings. Instead of 
glancing away, Susan stopped short and gazed. For- 
getting Rod, she herself went up to the millinery dis- 
play that she might have a fuller view of the woman 
who had fascinated her. 

"What's the matter?" cried Spenser. "Come on. 
You don't want any of those hats." 

But Susan insisted that she must see, made him 
linger until the woman returned to her carriage and 
drove away. She said to Rod: 

"Did you see her?" 

477 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Yes. Rather pretty nothing to scream about." 

"But her style!" cried Susan. 

"Oh, she was nicely dressed in a quiet way. You'll 
see thousands a lot more exciting after you've been 
about in this town a while." 

"I've seen scores of beautifully dressed women here 
and in Cincinnati, too," replied Susan. "But that 
woman she was perfect. And that's a thing I've never 
seen before." 

"I'm glad you have such quiet tastes quiet and in- 
expensive." 

"Inexpensive!" exclaimed Susan. "I don't dare 
think how much that woman's clothes cost. You only 
glanced at her, Rod, you didn't look. If you had, 
you'd have seen. Everything she wore was just right." 
Susan's eyes were brilliant. "Oh, it was wonderful! 
The colors the fit the style the making every big 
and little thing. She was a work of art, Rod ! That's 
the first woman I've seen in my life that I through 
and through envied." 

Rod's look was interested now. "You like that sort 
of thing a lot?" he inquired with affected carelessness. 

"Every woman does," replied she, unsuspicious. 
"But I care well, not for merely fine clothes. But 
~v^ for the the kind that show what sort of person is in 
them." She sighed. "I wonder if I'll ever learn and 
have money enough to carry out. It'll take so much 
so much!" She laughed. "I've got terribly extrava- 
gant ideas. But don't be alarmed I keep them 
chained up." 

He was eying her unpleasantly. Suddenly she be- 
came confused. He thought it was because she was 
seeing and understanding his look and was frightened 
at his having caught her at last. In fact, it was be- 

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SUSAN LENOX 



cause it all at once struck her that what she had inno- 
cently and carelessly said sounded like a hint or a re- 
proach to him. He sneered: 

"So you're crazy about finery eh?" 

"Oh, Rod !" she cried. "You know I didn't mean it 
that way. I long for and dream about a whole lot of 
beautiful things, but nothing else in the world's in the 
same class with with what we've got." 

"You needn't try to excuse yourself," said he in a 
tone that silenced her. 

She wished she had not seen the woman who had 
thus put a cloud over their afternoon's happiness. 
But long after she had forgotten his queerness about 
what she said, she continued to remember that "perfect" 
woman to see every detail of her exquisite toilet, so 
rare in a world where expensive-looking finery is re- 
garded as the chief factor in the art of dress. How 
much she would have to learn before she could hope to 
dress like that ! learn not merely about dress but 
about the whole artistic side of life. For that woman 
had happened to cross Susan's vision at just the right 
moment in development and in mood to reveal to 
her clearly a world into which she had never penetrated 
a world of which she had vaguely dreamed as she 
read novels of life in the lands beyond the seas, the 
life of palaces and pictures and statuary, of opera and 
theater, of equipages and servants and food and cloth- 
ing of rare quality. She had rather thought such a 
life did not exist outside of novels and dreams. What 
she had seen of New York the profuse, the gigan- 
tic but also the undiscriminating had tended to 
strengthen the suspicion. But this woman proved her 
mistaken. 

Our great forward strides are made unconsciously, 
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SUSAN LENOX 



are the results of apparently trivial, often unnoted 
impulses. Susan, like all our race, had always had 
vague secret dreams of ambition so vague thus far 
that she never thought of them as impelling purposes 
in her life. Her first long forward stride toward chang- 
ing these dreams from the vague to the definite was 
when Rod, before her on the horse on the way to 
Brooksburg, talked over his shoulder to her of the 
stage and made her feel that it was the life for her, 
the only life open to her where a woman could hope to 
be judged as human being instead of as mere instru- 
ment of sex. Her second long forward movement to- 
ward sharply defined ambition dated from the sight of 
the woman of the milliner's window the woman who 
epitomized to Susan the whole art side of life that 
always gives its highest expression in some personal 
achievement the perfect toilet, the perfect painting 
or sculpture, the perfect novel or play. 

But Rod saw in her enthusiasm only evidence of a 
concealed longing for the money to indulge extrava- 
gant whims. With his narrowing interest in women 
narrowed now almost to sex his contempt for them 
as to their minds and their hearts was so far advancing 
that he hardly took the trouble to veil it with remnants 
of courtesy. If Susan had clearly understood even if 
she had let herself understand what her increasing 
knowledge might have enabled her to understand she 
would have hated him in spite of the hold gratitude 
and habit had given him upon her loyal nature and 
despite the fact that she had, as far as she could see, 
no alternative to living with him but the tenements or 
the streets. 

One day in midsummer she chanced to go into the 
Hotel Astor to buy a magazine. As she had not been 

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SUSAN LENOX 



there before she made a wrong turning and was forced 
to cross one of the restaurants. In a far corner, half 
hidden by a group of palms, she saw Rod at a small 
table with a strikingly pretty woman whose expression 
and dress and manner most energetically proclaimed 
the actress. The woman was leaning toward him, was 
touching his hand and looking into his eyes with that 
show of enthusiasm which raises doubts of sincerity in 
an experienced man and sets him to keeping an eye or 
a hand or both upon his money. Real emotion, even 
a professional expert at display of emotion, is rarely 
so adept at exhibiting itself. 

It may have been jealousy that guided her to this 
swift judgment upon the character of the emotion cor- 
rectly and charmingly expressing itself. If so, jealousy 
was for once a trustworthy guide. She turned swiftly 
and escaped unseen. The idea of trapping him, of con- 
fronting him, never occurred to her. She felt ashamed 
and self-reproachful that she had seen. Instead of the 
anger that fires a vain woman, whether she cares about 
a man or not, there came a profound humiliation. She 
had in some way fallen short; she had not given him 
all he needed; it must be that she hadn't it to give, 
since she had given him all she had. He must not 
know he must not! For if he knew he might dislike 
her, might leave her and she dared not think what life 
would be without him, her only source of companion- 
ship and affection, her only means of support. She 
was puzzled that her discovery, not of his treachery 
he had so broken her spirit with his suspicions and 
his insulting questions that she did not regard herself 
as of the rank and dignity that has the right to exact 
fidelity but of his no longer caring enough to be con- 
tent with her alone, had not stunned her with amaze- 

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SUSAN LENOX 



ment. She did not realize how completely the instinct 
that he was estranged from her had prepared her for 
the thing that always accompanies estrangement. Be- 
tween the perfect accord, that is, the never realized 
ideal for a man and a woman living together, and the in- 
tolerable discord that means complete repulse there is 
a vast range of states of feeling imperceptibly shading 
into each other. Most couples constantly move along 
this range, now toward the one extreme, now toward 
the other. As human beings are not given to self- 
analysis, and usually wander into grotesque error 
whenever they attempt it, no couple knows precisely 
where it is upon the range, until something crucial hap- 
pens to compel them to know. Susan and Rod had 
begun as all couples begin with an imaginary ideal 
accord based upon their ignorance of each other and 
their misunderstanding of what qualities they thought 
they understood in each other. The delusion of accord 
vanished that first evening in New York. What re- 
mained? What came in the place? They knew no 
more about that than does the next couple. They were 
simply "living along." A crisis, drawing them close 
together or flinging them forever apart or forcing 
them to live together, he frankly as keeper and she 
frankly as kept, might come any day, any hour. Again 
it might never come. 

After a few weeks the matter that had been out of 
her mind accidentally and indirectly came to the sur- 
face in a chance remark. She said: 

"Sometimes I half believe a man could be untrue to 
a woman, even though he loved her." 

She did not appreciate the bearings of her remark 
until it was spoken. With a sensation of terror lest 
the dreaded crisis might be about to burst, she felt his 

482 



SUSAN LENOX 



quick, nervous glance. She breathed freely again when 
she felt his reassurance and relief as she successfully 
withstood. 

"Certainly," he said with elaborate carelessness. 
"Men are a rotten, promiscuous lot. That's why it's 
necessary for a woman to be good and straight." 

All this time his cross-examination had grown in 
severity. Evidently he was fearing that she might be 
having a recurrence of the moral disease which was 
fatal in womankind, though only mild indiscretion in a 
man, if not positively a virtue, an evidence of possess- 
ing a normal masculine nature. Her mind began curi- 
ously sadly to revolve the occasional presents of 
money, of books, of things to wear which he gave, 
always quite unexpectedly. At first unconsciously, but 
soon consciously, she began to associate these gifts, 
given always in an embarrassed, shamefaced way, with 
certain small but significant indications of his having 
strayed. And it was not long before she understood; 
she was receiving his expiations for his indiscretions. 
Like an honest man and a loyal masculinely loyal 
lover he was squaring accounts. She never read the 
books she owed to these twinges ; it was thus that she 
got her aversion to Thackeray one of "his "expiations" 
was a set of Thackeray. The things to wear she con- 
trived never to use. The conscience money she either 
spent upon him or put back into his pocket a little at 
a time, sure that he, the most careless of men about 
money, would never detect her. 

His work forced him to keep irregular hours; thus 
she could pretend to herself that his absences were 
certainly because of office duty. Still, whenever he was 
gone overnight, she became unhappy not the crying 
kind of unhappiness ; to that she was little given but 

483 



SUSAN LENOX 



the kind that lies awake and aches and with morbid 
vivid fancy paints the scenes suspicion suggests, and 
stares at them not in anger but in despair. She was 
always urging herself to content herself with what she 
was getting. She recalled and lived again the things 
she had forgotten while Roderick was wholly hers the 
penalties of the birth brand of shame her wedding 
night the miseries of the last period of her wander- 
ings with Burlingham her tenement days the dirt, 
the nakedness, the brutal degradation, the vermin, the 
savage cold. And the instant he returned, no matter 
how low-spirited she had been, she was at once gay, 
often deliriously gay until soon his awakened sus- 
picion as to what she had been up to in his absence 
quieted her. There was little forcing or pretense in 
this gayety; it bubbled and sparkled from the strong 
swift current of her healthy passionate young life 
which, suspended in the icy clutch of fear when he 
was away from her, flowed as freely as the brooks in 
spring as soon as she realized that she still had 
him. 

Did she really love him ? She believed she did. Was 
she right? Love is of many degrees and kinds. And 
strange and confused beyond untangling is the mixture 
of motives and ideas in the mind of any human being 
as to any other being with whom his or her relations 
are many sided. 

Anyone who had not been roughly seized by destiny 
and forced to fight desperately weaponless might have 
found it difficult to understand how this intelligent, 
high-spirited girl could be so reasonable coarsely 
practical, many people would have said. A brave 
soul truly brave with the unconscious courage that 
lives heroically without any taint of heroics such a 

484 



SUSAN LENOX 



soul learns to accept the facts of life, to make the best 
of things, to be grateful for whatever sunshine may 
be and not to shriek and gesticulate at storm. Suffer- 
ing had given this sapling of a girl the strong fiber 
that enables a tree to push majestically up toward the 
open sky. Because she did not cry out was no sign 
that she was not hurt; and because she did not wither 
and die of her wounds was only proof of her strength 
of soul. The weak wail and the weak succumb; the 
strong persist and a world of wailers and weaklings 
calls them hard, insensible, coarse. 

Spenser was fond of exhibiting to his men friends 
to some of them this treasure to which he always re- 
turned the more enamoured for his vagary and its 
opportunity of comparison. Women he would not per- 
mit. In general, he held that all women, the respectable 
no less than the other kind, put mischief in each other's 
heads and egged each other on to carry out the mischief 
already there in embryo. In particular, he would have 
felt that he was committing a gross breach of the pro- 
prieties, not to say the decencies, had he introduced a 
woman of Susan's origin, history and present status 
to the wives and sisters of his friends; and, for rea- 
sons which it was not necessary even to pretend to 
conceal from her, he forbade her having anything to do 
with the kinds of woman who would not have minded, 
had they known all about her. Thus, her only ac- 
quaintances, her only associates, were certain carefully 
selected men. He asked to dinner or to the theater or 
to supper at Jack's or Rector's only such men as he 
could trust. And trustworthy meant physically unat- 
tractive. Having small and dwindling belief in the 
mentality of women, and no belief whatever In mentality 
as a. force in the relations of the sexes, he was satisfied 

485 



SUSAN LENOX 



to have about her any man, however clever, provided 
he was absolutely devoid of physical charm. 

The friend who came oftenest was Drumley, an edi- 
torial writer who had been his chum at college and had 
got him the place on the Herald. Drumley he would 
have trusted alone with her on a desert island ; for 
several reasons, all of his personal convenience, it 
pleased him that Susan liked Drumley and was glad of 
his company, no matter how often he came or how 
long he stayed. Drumley was an emaciated Kentucky 
giant with grotesquely sloping shoulders which not all 
the ingenious padding of his tailor could appreciably 
mitigate. His spare legs were bowed in the calves. 
His skin looked rough and tough, like sandpaper and 
emery board. The thought of touching his face gave 
one the same sensation as a too deeply cut nail. His 
neck was thin and long, and he wore a low collar- 
through that interesting passion of the vain for seeing 
a defect in themselves as a charm and calling attention 
to it. The lower part of his sallow face suggested 
weakness the weakness so often seen in the faces of 
professional men, and explaining why they chose pas- 
sive instead of active careers. His forehead was really 
fine, but the development of the rest of the cranium 
above the protuberant little ears was not altogether 
satisfying to a claim of mental powers. 

Drumley was a good sort not so much through 
positive virtue as through the timidity which too often 
accounts for goodness, that is, for the meek conformity 
which passes as goodness. He was an insatiable reader, 
had incredible stores of knowledge ; and as he had a 
large vocabulary and a ready speech he could dole out 
of those reservoirs an agreeable treacle of common- 
place philosophy or comment thus he had an ideal 

486 



SUSAN LENOX 



equipment 'for editorial writing. He was absolutely 
without physical magnetism. The most he could ever 
expect from any woman was respect ; and that woman 
would have had to be foolish enough not to realize that 
there is as abysmal a difference between knowledge and 
mentality as there is between reputation and character. 
Susan liked him because he knew so much. She had 
developed still further her innate passion for educating 
herself. She now wanted to know all about everything. 
He told her what to read, set her in the way to dis- 
covering and acquiring the art of reading an art he 
was himself capable of acquiring only in its rudiments 
an art the existence of which is entirely unsuspected 
by most persons who regard themselves and are re- 
garded as readers. He knew the histories and biog- 
raphies that are most amusing and least shallow and 
mendacious. He instructed her in the great play- 
wrights and novelists and poets, and gave as his own 
the reasons for their greatness assigned by the 
world's foremost critical writers. He showed her what 
scientific books to read those that do not bore and 
do not hide the simple fascinating facts about the 
universe under pretentious, college-professor phrase- 
ology. 

He was a pedant, but his pedantry was disguised, 
therefore mitigated by his having associated with men 
of the world instead of with the pale and pompous 
capons of the student's closet. His favorite topic was 
beauty and ugliness and his abhorrence for anyone 
who was not good to look at. As he talked this subject, 
his hearers were nervous and embarrassed. He was 
a drastic cure for physical vanity. If this man could 
so far deceive himself that he thought himself hand- 
some, who in all the world could be sure he or she was 

487 



SUSAN LENOX 



not the victim of the same incredible delusion? It 
was this hallucination of physical beauty that caused 
Rod to regard him as the safest of the safe. For it 
made him pitiful and ridiculous. 

At first he came only with Spenser. Afterward, 
Spenser used to send him to dine with Susan and to 
spend the evenings with her when he himself had to be 
or wished to be elsewhere. When she was with 
Drumley he knew she was not "up to any of her old 
tricks." Drumley fell in love with her; but, as in his 
experience the female sex was coldly chaste, he never 
developed even the slight hope necessary to start in a 
man's mind the idea of treachery to his friend about a 
woman. Whenever Drumley heard that a woman other 
than the brazenly out and out disreputables was 
"loose" or was inclined that way, he indignantly denied 
it as a libel upon the empedestaled sex. If proofs 
beyond dispute were furnished, he raved against the 
man with all the venom of the unsuccessful hating the 
successful for their success. He had been sought of 
women, of course, for he had a comfortable and secure 
position and money put by. But the serious women 
who had set snares for him for the sake of a home had 
not attracted him ; as for the better looking and livelier 
women who had come a-courting with alimony in view, 
they had unwisely chosen the method of approach that 
caused him to set them down as nothing but profes- 
sional loose characters. Thus his high ideal of femi- 
nine beauty and his lofty notion of his own deserts, on 
the one hand, and his reverence for womanly pro- 
priety, on the other hand, had kept his charms and his 
income unshared. 

Toward the end of Spenser's first year on the Herald 
it was early summer he fell into a melancholy so 

488 



SUSAN LENOX 



profound and so prolonged that Susan became alarmed. 
She was used to his having those fits of the blues that 
are a part of the nervous, morbidly sensitive nature 
and in the unhealthfulness of an irregular and dissi- 
pated life recur at brief intervals. He spent more and 
more time with her, became as ardent as in their first 
days together, with an added desperation of passionate 
clinging that touched her to the depths. She had early 
learned to ignore his moods, to avoid sympathy which 
aggravates, and to meet his blues with a vigorous coun- 
terirritant of liveliness. After watching the course of 
this acute attack for more than a month, she decided 
that at the first opportunity she would try to find out 
from Drumley what the cause was. Perhaps she could 
cure him if she were not working in the dark. 

One June evening Drumley came to take her to din- 
ner at the Casino in Central Park. She hesitated. 
She still liked Drumley's mind; but latterly he had 
fallen into the way of gazing furtively, with a repulsive 
tremulousness of his loose eyelids, at her form and at 
her ankles especially at her ankles especially at her 
ankles. This furtive debauch gave her a shivery sense 
of intrusion. She distinctly liked the candid, even the 
not too coarse, glances of the usual man. But not this 
shy peeping. However, as there were books she par- 
ticularly wished to talk about with him, she accepted. 

It was an excursion of which she was fond. They 
strolled along Seventh Avenue to the Park, entered 
and followed the lovely walk, quiet and green and odor- 
ous, to the Mall. They sauntered in the fading light 
up the broad Mall, with its roof of boughs of majestic 
trees, with its pale blue vistas of well-kept lawns. At 
the steps leading to the Casino they paused to delight 
in the profusely blooming wistaria and to gaze away 

489 



SUSAN LENOX 



northward into and over what seemed an endless forest 
with towers and cupolas of castle and fortress and 
cathedral rising serene and graceful here and there 
above the sea of green. There was the sound of tinkl- 
ing fountains, the musical chink-chink of harness chains 
of elegant equipages ; on the Mall hundreds of children 
were playing furiously, to enjoy to the uttermost the 
last few moments before being snatched away to bed 
and the birds were in the same hysterical state as they 
got ready for their evening song. The air was satu- 
rated with the fresh odors of spring and early summer 
flowers. Susan, walking beside the homely Drumley, 
was a charming and stylish figure of girlish woman- 
hood. The year and three months in New York had 
wrought the same transformations in her that are 
so noticeable whenever an intelligent and observant 
woman with taste for the luxuries is dipped in the 
magic of city life. She had grown, was now perhaps 
a shade above the medium height for women, looked 
even taller because of the slenderness of her arms, of 
her neck, of the lines of her figure. There was a deeper 
melancholy in her violet-gray eyes. Experience had 
increased the allure of her wide, beautifully curved 
mouth. 

They took a table under the trees, with beds of 
blooming flowers on either hand. Drumley ordered 
the sort of dinner she liked, and a bottle of champagne 
and a bottle of fine burgundy to make his favorite drink 
champagne and burgundy, half and half. He was 
running to poetry that evening Keats and Swinburne. 
Finally, after some hesitation, he produced a poem by 
Dowson "I ran across it today. It's the only thing 
of his worth while, I believe and it's so fine that Swin- 
burne must have been sore when he read it because he 

490 



SUSAN LENOX 



hadn't thought to write it himself. Its moral tone is 
not high, but it's so beautiful, Mrs. Susan, that I'll 
venture to show it to you. It comes nearer to express- 
ing what men mean by the man sort of constancy than 
anything I ever read. Listen to this : 

"I cried for madder music and for stronger wine, 

But when the feast is finished, and the lamps expire, 

Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine; 

And I am desolate and sick of an old passion, 

Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire; 

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara, in my fashion." 

Susan took the paper, read the four stanzas several 
times, handed it back to him without a word. "Don't 
you think it fine?" asked he, a little uneasily he was 
always uneasy with a woman when the conversation 
touched the relations of the sexes uneasy lest he might 
say or might have said something to send a shiver 
through her delicate modesty. 

"Fine," Susan echoed absently. "And true. . . . 
I suppose it is the best a woman can expect to be the 
one he returns to. And isn't that enough?" 

"You are very different from any woman I ever met," 
said Drumley. "Very different from what you were 
last fall wonderfully different. But you were dif- 
ferent then, too." 

"I'd have been a strange sort of person if it weren't 
so. I've led a different life. I've learned because 
I've had to learn." 

"You've been through a great deal suffered a great 
deal for one of your age?" 

Susan shrugged her shoulders slightly. She had her 
impulses to confide, but she had yet to meet the person 

491 



SUSAN LENOX 



who seriously tempted her to yield to them. Not even 
Rod ; no, least of all Rod. 

"You are happy?" 

"Happy and more. I'm content." 

The reply was the truth, as she saw the truth. Per- 
haps it was also the absolute truth ; for when a woman 
has the best she has ever actually possessed, and when 
she knows there is nowhere else on earth for her, she 
is likely to be content. Their destiny of subordination 
has made philosophers of women. 

Drumley seemed to be debating how to disclose some- 
thing he had in mind. But after several glances at 
the sweet, delicate face of the girl, he gave it over. 
In the subdued light from the shaded candles on their 
table, she looked more child-like than he had ever seen. 
Perhaps her big pale-blue hat and graceful pale-blue 
summer dress had something to do with it, also. "How 
old are you?" he asked abruptly. 

"Nearly nineteen." 

"I feel like saying, 'So much !' and also 'So little !' 
How long have you been married?" 

"Why all these questions?" demanded she, smiling. 

He colored with embarrassment. "I didn't mean to 
be impertinent," said he. 

"It isn't impertinence is it? to ask a woman how 
long she's been married." 

But she did not go on to tell him; instead, she pre- 
tended to have her attention distracted by a very old 
man and a very young girl behaving in most lover-like 
fashion, the girl outdoing the man in enthusiastic de- 
termination to convince. She was elegantly and badly 
dressed in new clothes and she seemed as new to that 
kind of clothes as those particular clothes were new to 
her. After dinner they walked down through the Park 

492 



SUSAN LENOX 



by the way they had come ; it did not look like the same 
scene now, with the moonlight upon it, with soft shad- 
ows everywhere and in every shadow a pair of lovers. 
They had nearly reached the entrance when Drumley 
said: "Let's sit on this bench here. I want to have 
a serious talk with you." 

Susan seated herself and waited. He lit a cigar 
with the deliberation of one who is striving to gain 
time. The bench happened to be one of those that are 
divided by iron arms into individual seats. He sat with 
a compartment between them. The moonbeams struck 
across his profile as he turned it toward her; they 
shone full upon her face. He looked, hastily glanced 
away. With a gruffness as if the evening mist had 
got into his throat he said : 

"Let's take another bench." 

"Why?" objected she. "I like this beautiful light." 

He rose. "Please let me have my way." And he led 
her to a bench across which a tree threw a deep shadow ; 
as they sat there, neither could see the other's face ex- 
cept in dimmest outline. After a brief silence he began : 

"You love Rod don't you?" 

She laughed happily. 

"Above everything on earth?" 

"Or in heaven." 

"You'd do anything to "have him succeed?" 

"No one could prevent his succeeding. He's got it 
in him. It's bound to come out." 

"So I'd have said until a year ago that is, about 
a year ago." 

As her face turned quickly toward him, he turned 
profile to her. "What do you mean?" said she, quickly, 
almost imperiously. 

"Yes I mean you" replied he. 

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SUSAN LENOX 



"You mean you think I'm hindering him?" 

When Drumley's voice finally came, it was funereally 
solemn. "You are dragging him down. You are kill- 
ing his ambition." 

"You don't understand," she protested with painful 
expression. "If you did, you wouldn't say that." 

"You mean because he is not true to you?" 

"Isn't he?" said she, loyally trying to pretend sur- 
prise. "If that's so, you've no right to tell me you, 
his friend. If it isn't, you 

"In either case I'd be beneath contempt unless I 
knew that you knew already. Oh, I've known a long 
time that you knew ever since the night you looked 
away when he absentmindedly pulled a woman's veil 
and gloves out of his pocket. I've watched you since 
then, and I know." 

"You are a very dear friend, Mr. Drumley," said 
she. "But you must not talk of him to me." 

"I must," he replied. And he hastened to make 
the self-fooled hypocrite's familiar move to the safety 
of duty's skirts. "It would be a crime to keep 
silent." 

She rose. "I can't listen. It may be your duty to 
speak. It's my duty to refuse to hear." 

"He is overwhelmed with debt. He is about to lose 
his position. It is all because he is degraded because 
he feels he is entangled in an intrigue with a woman 
he is ashamed to love a woman he has struggled in 
vain to put out of his heart." 

- Susan, suddenly weak, had seated herself again. 
From his first words she had been prey to an internal 
struggle her heart fighting against understanding 
things about her relations with Rod, about his feeling 
toward her, which she had long been contriving to hide 

494 



SUSAN LENOX 



from herself. When Drumley began she knew that the 
end of self-deception was at hand if she let him speak. 
But the instant he had spoken, the struggle ended. If 
he had tried to stop she would have compelled him to 
go on. 

"That woman is you," he continued in the same 
solemn measured way. "Rod will not marry you. He 
cannot leave you. And you are dragging him down. 
You are young. You don't know that passionate love 
is a man's worst enemy. It satisfies his ambition why 
struggle when one already has attained the climax of 
desire? It saps his strength, takes from him the energy 
without which achievement is impossible. Passion dies 
poisoned of its own sweets. But passionate love kills 
at least, it kills the man. If you did not love him, I'd 
not be talking to you now. But you do love him. So 
I say, you are killing him. . . . Don't think he has 
told me " 

"I know he didn't," she interrupted curtly. "He does 
not whine." 

She hadn't a doubt of the truth of her loyal defense. 
And Drumley could not have raised a doubt, even if 
she had been seeing the expression of his face. His 
long practice of the modern editorial art of clearness 
and brevity and compact statement had enabled him 
to put into those few sentences more than another 
might have been unable to express in hours of explana- 
tion and appeal. And the ideas were not new to her. 
Rod had often talked them in a general way and she 
had thought much about them. Until now she had 
never seen how they applied to Rod and herself. But 
she was seeing and feeling it now so acutely that if 
she had tried to speak or to move she could not have 
done so. 

495 



SUSAN LENOX 



After a long pause, Drumley said : "Do you compre- 
hend what I mean?" 

She was silent so it was certain that she compre- 
hended. 

"But you don't believe? . . . He began to borrow 
money almost immediately on his arrival here last 
summer. He has been borrowing ever since from 
everybody and anybody. He owes now, as nearly as I 
can find out, upwards of three thousand dollars." 

Susan made a slight but sharp movement. 

"You don't believe me?" 

"Yes. Go on." 

"He has it in him, I'm confident, to write plays 
strong plays. Does he ever write except ephemeral 
space stuff for the paper?" 

"No." 

"And he never will so long as he has you to go home 
to. He lives beyond his means because he will have 
you in comfortable surroundings and dressed to stimu- 
late his passion. If he would marry you, it might be 
a little better though still he would never amount to 
anything as long as his love lasted the kind of love 
you inspire. But he will never marry you. I learned 
that from what I know of his ideas and from what I've 
observed as to your relations not from anything he 
ever said about you." 

If Susan had been of the suspicious temperament, or 
if she had been a few years older, the manner of this 
second protest might have set her to thinking how 
unlike Drumley, the inexpert in matters of love and 
passion, it was to analyze thus and to form such 
judgments. And thence she might have gone on to 
consider that Drumley's speeches sounded strangely 
like paraphrases of Spenser's eloquent outbursts when 

496 



SUSAN LENOX 



he "got going." But she had not a suspicion. Besides, 
her whole being was concentrated upon the idea Drum- 
ley was trying to put into words. She asked : 

"Why are you telling me?" 

"Because I love him," replied Drumley with feeling. 
"We're about the same age, but he's been like my son 
ever since we struck up a friendship in the first term 
of Freshman year." 

"Is that your only reason?" 

"On my honor." And so firmly did he believe it, he 
bore her scrutiny as she peered into his face through 
the dimness. 

She drew back. "Yes," she said in a low voice, half 
to herself. "Yes, I believe it is." There was silence 
for a long time, then she asked quietly: 

"What do you think I ought to do?" 

"Leave him if you love him," replied Drumley. 
"What else can you do? ... Stay on and complete 
his ruin?" 

"And if I go what?" 

"Oh, you can do any one of many things. You 
can " 

"I mean what about him?" 

"He will be like a crazy man for a while. He'll make 
that a fresh excuse for keeping on as he's going now. 
Then he'll brace up, and I'll be watching over him, and 
I'll put him to work in the right direction. He can't 
be saved, he can't even be kept afloat as long as you 
are with him, or within reach. With you gone out of 
his life his strength will return, his self-respect can 
be roused. I've seen the same thing in other cases 
again and again. I could tell you any number of 
stories of " 

"He does not care for me?" 
497 



SUSAN LENOX 



"In one way, a great deal. But you're like drink, 
like a drug to him. It is strange that a woman such as 
you, devoted, single-hearted, utterly loving, should be 
an influence for bad. But it's true of wives also. The 
best wives are often the worst. The philosophers are 
right. A man needs tranquillity at home." 

"I understand," said she. "I understand per- 
fectly." And her voice was unemotional, as always 
when she was so deeply moved that she dared not re- 
lease anything lest all should be released. 

She was like a seated statue. The moon had moved 
so that it shone upon her face. He was astonished by 
its placid calm. He had expected her to rave and 
weep, to protest and plead before denouncing him and 
bidding him mind his own business. Instead, she was 
making it clear that after all she did not care about 
Roderick ; probably she was wondering what would 
become of her, now that her love was ruined. Well, 
wasn't it natural? Wasn't it altogether to her credit 
wasn't it additional proof that she was a fine pure 
woman? How could she have continued deeply to care 
for a man scandalously untrue, and drunk much of 
the time? Certainly, it was in no way her fault that 
Rod made her the object and the victim of the only 
kind of so-called love of which he was capable. No 
doubt one reason he was untrue to her was that she 
was too pure for his debauched fancy. Thus reasoned 
Drumley with that mingling of truth and error char- 
acteristic of those who speculate about matters of 
which they have small and unfixed experience. 

"About yourself," he proceeded. "I have a choice 
of professions for you one with a company on the 
road on the southern circuit with good prospects of 
advancement. I know, from what I have seen of you, 

498 



SUSAN LENOX 



and from talks we have had, that you would do well on 
the stage. But the life might offend your sensibilities. 
I should hesitate to recommend it to a delicate, fine- 
fibered woman like you. The other position is a clerk- 
ship in a business office in Philadelphia with an in- 
crease as soon as you learn stenography and typewrit- 
ing. It is respectable. It is sheltered. It doesn't 
offer anything brilliant. But except the stage and 
literature, nothing brilliant offers for a woman. Lit- 
erature is out of the question, I think certainly for 
the present. The stage isn't really a place for a woman 
of lady-like instincts. So I should recommend the 
office position." 

She remained silent. 

"While my main purpose in talking to you," he con- 
tinued, "was to try to save him, I can honestly say 
that it was hardly less my intention to save you. But 
for that, I'd not have had the courage to speak. He 
is on the way down. He's dragging you with him. 
What future have you with him? You would go on 
down and down, as low as he should sink and lower. 
You've completely merged yourself in him which 
might do very well if you were his wife and a good 
influence in his life or a mere negation like most wives. 
But in the circumstances it means ruin to you. Don't 
you see that?" 

"What did you say?" 

"I was talking about you your future your " 

"Oh, I shall do well enough." She rose. "I must be 
going." 

Her short, indifferent dismissal of what was his real 
object in speaking though he did not permit himself 
to know it cut him to the quick. He felt a sickening 
and to him inexplicable sense of defeat and disgrace. 

499 



SUSAN LENOX 



Because he must talk to distract his mind from himself, 
he began afresh by saying: 
"You'll think it over?" 

"I am thinking it over. ... I wonder that 

With the fingers of one hand she smoothed her glove 
on the fingers of the other "I wonder that I didn't 
think of it long ago. I ought to have thought of it. I 
ought to have seen." 

"I can't tell you how I hate to have been the " 

"Please don't say any more," she requested in a tone 
that made it impossible for a man so timid as he to 
disobey. 

Neither spoke until they were in Fifty-ninth Street ; 
then he, unable to stand the strain of a silent walk of 
fifteen blocks, suggested that they take the car down. 
She assented. In the car the stronger light enabled 
him to see that she was pale in a way quite different 
from her usual clear, healthy pallor, that there was an 
unfamiliar look about her mouth and her eyes a look 
of strain, of repression, of resolve. These signs and 
the contrast of her mute motionlessness with her usual 
vivacity of speech and expression and gesture made him 
uneasy. 

"I'd advise," said he, "that you reflect on it all care- 
fully and consult with me before you do anything if 
you think you ought to do anything." 

She made no reply. At the door of the house he 
had to reach for her hand, and her answer to his good 
night was a vague absent echo of the word. "I've only 
done what I saw was my duty," said he, appealingly. 
"Yes, I suppose so. I must go in." 
"And you'll talk with me before you 
The door had closed behind her; she had not known 
he was speaking. 

500 



SUSAN LENOX 



When Spenser came, about two hours later, and 
turned on the light in their bedroom, she was in the bed, 
apparently asleep. He stood staring with theatric self- 
consciousness at himself in the glass for several min- 
utes, then sat down before the bureau and pulled out 
the third drawer where he kept collars, ties, handker- 
chiefs, gloves and a pistol concealed under the handker- 
chiefs. With the awful solemnity of the youth who 
takes himself and the theater seriously he lifted the 
pistol, eyed it critically, turning it this way and that 
as if interested in the reflections of light from the bright 
cylinder and barrel at different angles. He laid it 
noiselessly back, covered it over with the handker- 
chiefs, sat with his fingers resting on the edge of the 
drawer. Presently he moved uneasily, as a man on 
the stage or in its amusing imitation called civilized 
life among the self-conscious classes moves when he 
feels that someone is behind him in a "crucial mo- 
ment." 

He slowly turned round. She had shifted her posi^ 
tion so that her face was now toward him. But hef 
eyes were closed and her face was tranquil. Still, he 
hoped she had seen the little episode of the pistol, 
which he thought fine and impressive. With his arm 
on the back of the chair and supporting that resolute- 
looking chin of his, he stared at her face from under 
his thick eyebrows, so thick that although they were 
almost as fair as his hair they seemed dark. After a 
while her eyelids fluttered and lifted to disclose eyes; 
that startled him, so intense, so sleepless were they. 

"Kiss me," she said, in her usual sweet, tender way - 
a little shyness, much of passion's sparkle and allure^ 
"Kiss me." 

"I've often thought," said he, "what would I do 
17 501 



SUSAN LENOX 



if I should go smash, reach the end of my string? 
Would I kill you before taking myself off? Or would 
that be cowardly?" 

She had not a doubt that he meant this melodramatic 
twaddle. It did not seem twaddle or melodramatic to 
her or, for that matter, to him. She clasped him 
more closely. "What's the matter, dear?" she asked, 
her head on his breast. 

"Oh, I've had a row at the Herald, and have quit. 
But I'll get another place tomorrow." 

"Of course. I wish you'd fix up that play the way 
Drumley suggested." 

"Maybe I shall. We'll see." 

"Anything else wrong?" 

"Only the same old trouble. I love you too much. 
Too damn much," he added in a tone not intended for 
her ears. "Weak fool that's what I am. Weak fool. 
I've got you, anyhow. Haven't I?" 

"Yes," she said. "I'd do anything for you any- 
thing." 

"As long as I keep my eyes on you," said he, half 
mockingly. "I'm weak, but you're weaker. Aren't 
you?" 

"I guess so. I don't know." And she drew a long 
breath, nestled into his arms, and upon his breast, 
with her perfumed hair drowsing his senses. 

He soon slept ; when he awoke, toward noon, he did 
not disturb her. He shaved and bathed and dressed, 
and was about to go out when she called him. "Oh, I 
thought you were asleep," said he. "I can't wait for 
you to get breakfast. I must get a move on." 

"Still blue?" 

"No, indeed." But his face was not convincing. 
"So long, pet." 

502 



SUSAN LENOX 



"Aren't you going to kiss me good-by?" 

He laughed tenderly, yet in bitter self-mockery too. 
"And waste an hour or so? Not much. What a siren 
you are !" 

She put her hand over her face quickly. 

"Now, perhaps I can risk one kiss." He bent over 
her; his lips touched her hair. She stretched out her 
hand, laid it against his cheek. "Dearest," she mur- 
mured. 

"I must go." 

"Just a minute. No, don't look at me. Turn your 
face so that I can see your profile so!" She had 
turned his head with a hand that gently caressed as it 
pushed. "I like that view best. Yes, you are strong 
and brave. You will succeed! No I'll not keep you 
a minute." She kissed his hand, rested her head for an 
instant on his lap as he sat on the edge of the bed, 
suddenly flung herself to the far side of the bed, with 
her face toward the wall. 

"Go to sleep again, lazy!" cried he. "I'll try to be 
home about dinner-time. See that you behave today! 
Good lord, how hard it is to leave you! Having you 
makes nothing else seem worth while. Good-by !" 

And he was off. She started to a sitting posture, 
listened to the faint sound of his descending footsteps. 
She darted to the window, leaned out, watched him 
until he rounded the corner into Broadway. Then she 
dropped down with elbows on the window sill and hands 
pressing her cheeks ; she stared unseeingly at the oppo- 
site house, at a gilt cage with a canary hopping and 
chirping within. And once more she thought all the 
thoughts that had filled her mind in the sleepless hours 
of that night and morning. Her eyes shifted in color 
from pure gray to pure violet back and forth, as 

503 



SUSAN LENOX 



emotion or thought dominated her mind. She made 
herself coffee in the French machine, heated the milk 
she brought every day from the dairy, drank her cafe 
au lait slowly, reading the newspaper advertisements 
for "help wanted female" a habit she had formed 
when she first came to New York and had never alto- 
gether dropped. When she finished her coffee she took 
the scissors and cut out several of the demands for 
help. 

She bathed and dressed. She moved through the 
routine of life precisely as we all do, whatever may 
be in our minds and hearts. She went out, crossed 
Long Acre and entered the shop of a dealer in women's 
cast-off clothes. She reappeared in the street presently 
with a fat, sloppy looking woman in black. She took 
her to the rooms, offered for sale her entire wardrobe 
except the dress she had on and one other, the simply 
trimmed sailor upon her head, the ties on her feet and 
one pair of boots and a few small articles. After long 
haggling the woman made a final price ninety-five 
dollars for things, most of them almost new, which had 
cost upwards of seven hundred. Susan accepted the 
offer; she knew she could do no better. The woman 
departed, returned with a porter and several huge 
sheets of wrapping paper. The two made three bun- 
dles of the purchases ; the money was paid over ; they 
and Susan's wardrobe departed. 

Next, Susan packed in the traveling bag she had 
brought from Cincinnati the between seasons dress of 
brown serge she had withheld, and some such collection 
of bare necessities as she had taken with her when she 
left George Warham's. Into the bag she put the pistol 
from under Spenser's handkerchiefs in the third bureau 
drawer. When all was ready, she sent for the maid to 

504 



SUSAN LENOX 



straighten the rooms. While the maid was at work, 
she wrote this note: 

DEAREST Mr. Drumley will tell you why I have gone. 
You will find some money under your handkerchiefs in the 
bureau. When you are on your feet again, I may come 
if you want me. It won't be any use for you to look for 
me. I ought to have gone before, but I was selfish and 
blind. Good-by, dear love I wasn't so bad as you always 
suspected. I was true to you, and for the sake of what 
you have been to me and done for me I couldn't be so un- 
grateful as not to go. Don't worry about me. I shall get 
on. And so will you. It's best for us both. Good-by, dear 
heart I was true to you. Good-by. 

She sealed this note, addressed it, fastened it over 
the mantel in the sitting-room where they always put 
notes for each other. And after she had looked in 
each drawer and in the closet at all his clothing, and 
had kissed the pillow on which his head had lain, she 
took her bag and went. She had left for him the 
ninety-five dollars and also eleven dollars of the money 
she had in her purse. She took with her two five-dollar 
bills and a dollar and forty cents in change. 

The violet waned in her eyes, and in its stead came 
the gray of thought and action. 



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