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Full text of "A woman ventures : a novel"


''Ventures 




Grafiam 
ThWps 





LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF 

CALIFORNIA 

SANTA CRUZ 



SANTA CRUZ 



< 
z 

o 



Gift oi 
Lem C. Brown 




SANTA CRUZ 




EMILY. 



A WOMAN 
VENTURES 

A NOVEL 



BY 

DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS 

AUTHOR OF 

THE FASHIONABLE ADVENTURES OF 
JOSHUA CRAIG. THE HUSBAND'S STORY, ETC. 



WITH FRONTISPIECE BY 
WILLIAM JAMES HURLBUT 



GROSSET & DUNLAP 

PUBLISHERS : : NEW YORK 



COPYRIGHT, 1902, 
BY FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANV 

All rights reserved 






33j 




CONTENTS. 

:HAPTER PAGE 

I. THE SHIPWRECK . . . i 

II. THE DESERT ISLAND . . . 8 

IIL SAIL Ho! ..... 16 

IV. A BLACK FLAG . . . .23 

V. THE PENITENT PIRATE . . .31 

VI. A CHANGED CRUSOE . . .39 

VII. BACK TO THE MAINLAND . . .45 

VIII. AMONG A STRANGE PEOPLE . . .57 
IX. AN ORCHID HUNTER . . .67 

X. FURTHER EXPLORATION . . .79 

XI. SEEN FROM A BARRICADED WINDOW . 93 

XII. A RISE AND A FALL . . . 101 

XIII. A COMPROMISE WITH CONVENTIONALITY . 112 

XIV. " EVERYTHING AWAITS MADAME " . .120 
XV. A FLICKERING FIRE . . .126 

XVI. EMBERS . . . . .138 

XVII. ASHES , . . . .152 

XVIII. "THE REAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE" . . 167 

XIX. EMILY REFUSES CONSOLATION . .176 

XX. BACHELOR GIRLS , . . .185 

XXI. A " MARRIED MAN ". . . .199 

XXII. A PRECIPICE . . . . .213 

XXIII. A " BETTER SELF " . . . .225 

XXIV. To THE TEST . . . . .238 
XXV. MR. GAMMELL PRESUMES . . . 248 



VI 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER 

XXVI. THE TRUTH ABOUT A ROMANCE 

XXVII. "IN MANY MOODS" . 

XXVIII. A FORCED ADVANCE 

XXIX. A MAN AND A " PAST." 

XXX. Two AND A TRIUMPH 

XXXI. WHERE PAIN is PLEASURE 

XXXII. THE HIGHWAY OF HAPPINESS 

XXXIII. LIGHT 



PAGE 

257 

269 

2 7 8 
288 
299 
308 

324 



A Woman Ventures. 



CHAPTER I. 
THE SHIPWRECK. 

WENTWORTH Bromfield was mourned 
by his widow and daughter with a 
depth that would have amazed him. 
For twenty-one years he had been 
an assistant secretary in the Depart 
ment of State at Washington a rather conspicuous 
position, with a salary of four thousand a year. In 
fluential relatives representing Massachusetts in the 
House or in the Senate, and often in both, had en 
abled him to persist through changes of administra 
tion and of party control, and to prevail against the 
"pull" of many an unplaced patriot. Perhaps he 
might have been a person of consequence had he 
exercised his talents in some less insidiously lazy 
occupation. He had begun well at the law ; but in 
return for valuable local services to the party, he got 
the offer of this political office, and, in what he came 
to regard as a fatal moment, he accepted it. His 
wife he had just married said that he was " going 
in for a diplomatic career." He faintly hoped so 
himself, but the warnings of his common sense were 



2 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

soon verified. " Diplomatic career " proved to be 
a sonorous name for a decent burial of energy and 
prospects. 

He had drawn his salary year after year. He had 
gone languidly through his brief daily routine at 
the Department. He had been mildly fluttered at 
each Presidential election, and again after each in 
auguration. He had indulged in futile impulses to 
self-resurrection, in severe attacks of despondency. 
Then, at thirty-seven, he had grasped the truth 
that he would remain an assistant secretary to the 
end of his days. Thenceforth aspirations and de 
pressions had ceased, and his life had set to a cyni 
cal sourness. He read, he sneered, he ate, and slept. 

The Bromfields had a small additional income 
Mrs. Bromfield's twelve hundred a year from her 
father's estate. This was most important, as it rep 
resented a margin above comfort and necessity, a 
margin for luxury and for temptation to extrava 
gance. Mr. Bromfield was fond of good dinners 
and good wines, and he could not enjoy them at 
the expense of his friends without an occasional re 
turn. Mrs. Bromfield had been an invalid after the 
birth of Emily, long enough to form the habit of 
invalidism. After Emily passed the period when 
dress is not a serious item, they went ever more 
deeply into debt. 

While Mrs. Bromfield's craze for doctors and 
drugs was in one view as much an extravagance as 
Mr. Bromfield's club, in another view it was a valu 
able economy. It made entertaining impossible ; it 



THE SHIPWRECK. 3 

enabled Emily to go everywhere without the ne 
cessity for return hospitalities, and to " keep up ap 
pearances " generally. Many of their friends, gave 
Mrs. Bromfield undeserved credit for shrewdness 
and calculation in her hypochondria. 

Emily had admirers, and, in her first season, one 
fairly good chance to marry. The matchmakers 
who were interested in her " for her mother's sake/' 
they said, but in fact from the matchmaking mania, 
were exasperated by her refusal. They remon 
strated with her mother in vain. 

" I know, I know," sighed Mrs. Bromfield. " But 
what can I do ? Emily is so headstrong and I am 
in such feeble health. I am forbidden the agita 
tion of a discussion. I've told Emily that a girl 
without money, and with nothing but family, must 
be careful. But she won't listen to me." 

Mrs. Ainslie, the most genuinely friendly of all 
the women who insured their own welcome by chap 
eroning a clever, pretty, popular girl, pressed the 
matter upon Emily with what seemed to her an 
impertinence to be resented. 

" Don't be offended, child," said Mrs. Ainslie, 
replying to Emily's haughty coldness. " You ought 
to thank me. I only hope you will never regret it. 
A girl without a dot can't afford to trifle. A second 
season is dangerous, especially here in Washington, 
where they bring the babies out of the nursery to 
marry them off." 

*' Why, you yourself used to call Bob Fulton one 
of nature's poor jokes," Emily retorted. " You 



4 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

overlooked these wonderful good qualities in him 
until he began to annoy me." 

" Sarcasm does not change the facts." Mrs. Ains- 
lie was irritated in her even-tempered, indifferent 
fashion. "You think you'll wait and look about 
you. But let me tell you, my dear, precious few 
girls, even the most eligible of them, have more 
than one really good chance to marry. Oh, I know 
what they say. But they exaggerate flirtations 
into proposals. This business yes, business of 
marrying isn't so serious a matter with the men as 
it is with us. And we can't hunt ; we must sit and 
wait. In this day the stupidest men are crafty 
enough to see through the subtlest kind of stalking." 

Emily had no reply. She could think of no argu 
ments except those of the heart. And she felt 
that it would be ridiculous to bring them into the 
battering and bruising of this discussion. 

It was in May that she refused her "good 
chance." In June her father fell sick. In mid-July 
they buried him and drove back from the cemetery 
to face ruin. 

Ruin, in domestic finance, has meanings that 
range from the borderland of comedy to the black- 
ness beyond tragedy. 

The tenement family, thrust into the street and 
stripped of their goods for non-payment of rent, 
find in ruin an old acquaintance. They take a cer 
tain pleasure in the noise and confusion which their 
uproarious bewailing and beratings create through 
out the neighbourhood. They enjoy the passers-by 



THE SHIPWRECK. 5 

pausing to pity them, a ragged and squalid group, 
homeless on the curb. They have been ruined 
many times, will be ruined many times. They are 
sustained by the knowledge that there are other 
tenements, other " easy-payment " merchants. A 
/few hours, a day or two at most, and they are com 
pletely reestablished and are busy making new 
friends among their new neighbours, exchanging 
reminiscences of misfortune and rumours of ideal 
" steady jobs." 

The rich family suddenly ruined has greater 
shock and sorrow. But usually there are breaks in 
the fall. A son or a daughter has married well ; 
the head of the family gets business opportunities 
through rich friends ; there is wreckage enough to 
build up a certain comfort, to make the descent 
into poverty gradual, almost gentle. 

But to such people as the Bromfields the word 
ruin meant ruin. They had not had enough to 
lose to make their catastrophe seem important to 
others ; indeed, the fact that a little was saved made 
their friends feel like congratulating them. But the 
ruin was none the less thorough. They were shorn 
of all their best belongings all the luxury that was 
through habit necessity. They must give up the 
comfortable house in Connecticut Avenue, where 
they had lived for twenty years. They must leave 
their associations, their friends. They must go to 
a New England factory village. And there they 
would have a tiny income, to be increased only by 
the exertions of two women, one a helpless hypo- 



6 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

chondriae, both ignorant of anything for which any 
one would give pay. And this cataclysm was 
wrought within a week. 

" Fate will surely strike the finishing blow/' 
thought Emily, as she wandered drearily through 
the dismantling house. " We shall certainly lose 
the little we have left." And this spectre haunted 
her wakeful nights for weeks. 

Mr. Bromfield was not a " family man." He had 
left his wife and home first to the neglect of ser 
vants, and afterward to the care of his daughter. 
As Emily grew older and able to judge his life-fail 
ure, his vanity, his selfishness the weaknesses of 
which he was keenly conscious, he saw or fancied 
he saw in her clear eyes a look that irritated him 
against himself, against her, and against his home. 
He was there so rarely that the women never took 
him into account. Yet instead of bearing his death 
with that resigned fortitude which usually charac 
terises the practical, self-absorbed human race in its 
dealings with the inevitable, they mourned him day 
fond night. 

After one of his visits of business and consolation, 
General Ainslie returned home with tears in his 
eyes. 

" It is wonderful, wonderful ! " he said in his 
" sentimental " voice a tone which his wife under 
stood and prepared to combat. She liked his senti 
mental side, but she had only too good reason to de 
plore its influence upon his judgment. 

" What now ?" she inquired. 



THE SHIPWRECK. 7 

" I've been to see Wentworth's widow and daugh 
ter. It was most touching, Abigail. He always 
neglected them, yet they mourn him in a way that 
a better man might envy." 

" Mourn him ? Why, he was never at home. 
They hardly knew him." 

" Yet I have never seen such grief." 

" Grief? Of course. But not for him. They 
don't miss him ; they miss his salary his four thou 
sand a year. And that's the kind of grief you can't 
soothe. The real house of mourning is the house 
that's lost its breadwinner." 

General Ainslie looked uncomfortable. 

" Do you remember that Chinese funeral we saw 
at Pekin, George ? " his wife continued. " Do you 
remember the widows in covered cages dragging 
along behind the corpse and the big fellow with 
the prod walking behind each cage ? And when 
ever the widows stopped howling, don't you remem 
ber how those prods were worked until the response 
from inside was satisfactory ? " 

" Yes, but really, I must say, Abbie " 

" Well, George poverty is the prod. No won 
der they mourn Wentworth." 

General Ainslie looked foolish. " I guess I won't 
confess," he said to himself, " that it was this after 
noon I told the Bromfields they had only five hun 
dred a year and the house in Stoughton. It would 
encourage her in her cynicism." 



CHAPTER II. 

THE DESERT ISLAND. 



f ""^HREE months later August, Septem 
ber, and October, the months of 
Stoughton's glory gave Emily Brom- 
JL. field a minute acquaintance with all 

that lay within her new horizon. She 
was as familiar with Stoughton as Crusoe with his 
island and was in a Crusoe-like state of depression. 
She thought she had found the lowest despond of 
which human nature is capable on the day she 
saw the top of the Washington monument disap 
pear, saw the last of the city of her enjoyments and 
her hopes. But now she dropped to a still lower 
depth that depth in which the heart becomes a 
source of physical discomfort, the appetite fails, 
the brain sinks into a stupor and the health begins 
to decline. 

" Don't be so blue, Emmy," Mrs. Ainslie had 
said at the station as they were leaving Washing 
ton. " Nothing is as bad as it seems in advance. 
Even Stoughton will have its consolations though 
I must confess I can't think what they could be at 
this distance." 

But the proverb was wrong and Stoughton as a 
reality was worse than Stoughton as a foreboding. 
At first Emily was occupied in arranging their 



THE DESERT ISLAND. 9 

new home creeper-clad, broad of veranda and 
viewing a long sloping lawn where the sun and the 
moon traced the shadows of century-old trees. She 
began to think that Stoughton was not so bad after 
all. The " best people " had called and had made 
a good impression. Her mother had for the mo 
ment lifted herself out of peevish and tearful grief, 
and had ceased giving double weight to her daugh 
ter's oppressive thoughts by speaking them. But 
illusion and delusion departed with the departing 
sense of novelty. 

Nowhere does nature do a kindlier summer work 
than in Stoughton. In winter the trees and gar 
dens and lawns, worse than naked with their rus 
tling or crumbling reminders of past glory, expose 
the prim rows of prim houses and the stiff and dull 
life that dozes behind their walls. In winter no one 
could be deceived as to what living in Stoughton 
meant living in it in the sense of being forced there 
from a city, forced to remain permanently. 

But in summer, nature charitably lends Stough 
ton a corner of the gorgeous garment with which 
she adorns its country. The sun dries the muddy 
streets and walks, and the town slumbers in com 
fort under huge trees, whose leaves quiver with what 
seems to be the gentle joy of a quiet life. The 
boughs and the creepers conspire to transform hid 
eous little houses into crystallised songs of comfort 
and content. The lawns lie soft and green and 
restful. The gardens dance in the homely beauty 
of lilac and hollyhock and wild rose. Those who 



10 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

then come from the city to Stoughton sigh at the 
contrast of this poetry with the harsh prose of city 
life. They wonder at the sombre faces of the old 
inhabitants, at the dumb and stolid expression of 
youth, at the fierce discontent which smoulders in 
the eyes of a few. 

But if they stay they do not wonder long. For 
the town in the bare winter is the real town the 
year round. The town of summer, tricked out in na 
ture's borrowed finery, is no more changed than was 
the jackdaw by his stolen peacock plumes. The 
smile, the gaiety, is on the surface. The prim, 
solemn old heart of Stoughton is as unmoved as 
when the frost is biting it. 

In the first days of November Emily Bromfield, 
walking through the wretched streets under bare 
black boughs and a gray sky, had the full bitterness 
of her castaway life forced upon her. She felt as if 
she were suffocating. 

She had been used to the gayest and freest soci 
ety in America. Here, to talk as she had been used 
to talking and to hearing others talk, would have 
produced scandal or stupefaction. To act as she 
and her friends acted in Washington, would have 
set the preachers to preaching against her. There 
was no one with whom she could get into touch. 
She had instantly seen that the young men were 
not worth her while. The young women, she felt, 
would meet her advances only in the hope of get 
ting the materials for envious gossip about her. 

" It will be years," she said to herself, " before I 



THE DESERT ISLAND. 11 

shall be able to narrow and slacken myself to fit 
this place. And why should I ? Of what use 
would life be ? " 

She soon felt how deeply Stoughton disapproved 
of her, chiefly, as she thought, because she did not 
conceal her resentment against its prying and peep 
ing inquiry and its narrow judgments. She was 
convinced that but for her bicycle and her books 
she would go mad. Her ever-present idea, con 
scious or sub-conscious, was, " How get away from 
Stoughton ? " A hundred times a day she repeated 
to herself, or aloud in the loneliness of her room, 
" How? how? how?" sometimes in a frenzy ; again, 
stupidly, as if " how " were a word of a complex 
and difficult meaning which she could not grasp. 

But there was never any answer. 

She had formerly wished at times that she were 
a man. Now, she wished it hourly. That seemed 
the only solution of the problem of her life that, 
or marriage. And she felt she might as hopefully 
wish the one as the other. 

Year by year, with a patience as slow and per 
severing as that of a colony of coral insects, Stough 
ton developed a small number of youth of both 
sexes. Year by year the railroads robbed her of her 
best young men, leaving behind only such as were 
stupid or sluggard. Year by year the young women 
found themselves a twelvemonth nearer the fate of 
the leaves which the frost fails to cut off and disin 
tegrate. For a few there was the alternative of 
marrying the blighted young men a desperate 



12 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

adventure in the exchange of single for double or 
multiple burdens. 

Some of the young women rushed about New 
England, visiting its towns, and finding each town a 
reproduction of Stoughton. Some went to the 
cities a visiting, and returned home dazed and 
baffled. A few bettered themselves in their quest ; 
but more only increased their discontent, or, marry 
ing, regretted the ills they had fled. Those who 
married away from home about balanced those who 
were deprived of opportunities to marry, by the 
girl visitors from other towns, who caught with 
their new faces and new man-catching tricks the 
Stoughton eligible-ineligibles. 

At twenty a Stoughton girl began to be anxious. 
At twenty-five, the sickening doubt shot its anguish 
into her soul. At thirty came despair ; and rarely, 
indeed, did despair leave. It was fluttered some 
times, or pretended to be ; but, after a few feeble 
flappings, it roosted again. In Stoughton "soci 
ety " the old maids outnumbered the married 
women. 

Clearly, there was no chance to marry. Emily 
might have overcome the timidity of such young 
men as there were, and might have married almost 
any one of them. But her end would have been 
more remote than ever. It was not marriage in itself 
that she sought, but release from Stoughton. And 
none of these young men was able to make a living 
away from Stoughton, even should she marry him 
and succeed in getting him away. 



THE DESERT ISLAND. 13 

She revolved the idea of visiting her friends in 
Washington. But there poverty barred the way. 
She had never had so very many clothes. Now, 
she could afford only the simplest and cheapest. 
She looked over what she had brought with her 
from Washington. Each bit of finery reminded 
her of pleasures, keen when she enjoyed them, 
cruelly keen in memory. The gowns were of a 
kind that would have made Stoughton open its 
sleepy eyes, but they would not do for Washington 
again. 

The. people she knew there were self-absorbed, 
inclined to snobbishness, to patronising contemptu 
ously those of their own set who were overtaken by 
misfortunes and could not keep the pace. They 
tolerated these reminders of the less luxurious and 
less fortunate phases of life, but well, toleration 
was not a virtue which Emily Bromfield cared to 
have exercised toward herself. She could hear 
Mrs. Ainslie or Mrs. Chesterton or Mrs. Connors- 
Smith whispering : " Yes the poor dear it's so 
sad. I really had to take pity on her. No not a 
penny I even had to send her the railway fares. 
But I felt it was a duty people in our position owe." 

And so her prison had no door. 

Emily kept her thoughts to herself. Her mother 
was almost as content as she had been in Washing 
ton. Did she not still have her diseases? Were 
there not doctors and drug-shops ? Was there not 
a circulating library, mostly light literature of her 
favourite innocuous kind ? And did not the old 



H A WOMAN VENTURES. 

women who called listen far more patiently than 
her Washington friends to tedious recitals of symp 
toms and of the plots and scenes of novels? 

Emily could keep to her room or ride about the 
country on her bicycle. She at least had the free 
dom of her prison, and was not disturbed in her 
companionship with solitude. With the bad 
weather, she hid in her room more and more. She 
would sit there hours on hours in the same position, 
staring out of the window, thinking the same 
thoughts over and over again, and finding fresh 
springs of unhappiness in them each time. 

Occasionally she gave way to storms of grief. 

The day she looked over her dresses under the 
stimulus of the idea of visiting Washington was 
one of her worst days. As she stood with her 
finery about her and a half-hope in her heart, she 
recalled her Washington life her school-days, her 
first season, her flirtations, the confident, arrogant 
way in which she had looked forward on life. 
Then came the thought that all was over, that she 
could not go to Washington, that she must stay in 
Stoughton on and on and on 

She grew hot and cold by turns, sank to the floor, 
buried her face in the heap of cloth and lace and 
silk. If the good people of Stoughton had peeped 
at her they would have thought her possessed of 
an evil spirit. She gnashed her teeth and tore at 
the garments, her slight frame shaking with sobs of 
impotent rage and despair. 

When she came to herself and went downstairs, 



THE DESERT ISLAND. 15 

pale and calm and cold, her mother was talking 
with a woman who had come in to gossip. She 
took up a book and was gone. 

" Your daughter is not looking well," said Mrs. 
Alcott, sourly resentful of Emily's courteous frigid- 
ity. 

" Poor child ! " said Mrs. Bromfield, " she takes 
her father's death so to heart." 



CHAPTER III. 

SAIL HO ! 

WINTER'S swoop upon Stoughton that 
year was early and savage. In her 
desperate loneliness and boredom 
Emily began occasionally to indulge 
in the main distraction of Stough 
ton church. On a Sunday late in March she went 
for the first time since Christmas. Her mother had 
succumbed to the drugs and had been really ill, so 
ill that Emily did not dare let herself admit the 
dread of desolation which menaced. But, the crisis 
past, Mrs. Bromfield had rapidly returned to her 
normal state. The peril of death cowed or digni 
fied her into silence. When she again took up her 
complainings, her daughter was reassured. 

As she walked the half mile to the little church, 
Emily was in better spirits than at any time since 
she had come to Stoughton. The reaction from 
her fears had given her natural spirits of youth their 
first chance to assert themselves. She found herself 
hopeful for no reason, cheerful not because of bene 
fits received or expected, but because of calamities 
averted. " I might be so much worse off," she 
was thinking. " There is mother, and there is the 
income. I feel almost rich and a little ungrateful. 
I'm in quite a church-going mood." 



SAIL--HO! 17 

The walk through the cold air did her good, and 
as she went up the aisle her usually pale face was 
delicately flushed and she was carrying her slender 
but very womanly figure with that erectness and 
elasticity which made its charm in the days when 
people were in the habit of discussing her prospects 
as based upon her title to beauty. Her black dress 
and small black hat brought out the finest effects 
of her red brown hair and violet eyes and rosy white 
skin. She was, above all, most distinguished look 
ing in strong contrast to the stupid faces and ill- 
carried forms in " Sunday best." 

Her coming caused a stir that rustling and 
creaking of garments feminine and starched, which 
in the small town church always arouses the dozers 
for something uncommon. She faintly smiled a 
greeting to Mrs. Cockburn as she entered the pew 
where that old lady was sitting. She had just 
raised her head from the appearance of prayer, when 
Mrs. Cockburn whispered : 

" Have you seen young Mr. Wayland ? " 

Emily could not remember that she had heard of 
him. But Mrs. Cockburn's agitation demanded a 
show of interest, so she whispered : 

" No where is he ? " 

She would have said, " Who is he ? " but that 
would have called for a long explanation. And, as 
Mrs. Cockburn had a wide space between her upper 
front teeth, every time she whispered the letter s 
the congregation rustled and the minister was dis 
concerted. 



18 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

"There," whispered Mrs. Cockburn. " Straight 
across don't look now, for he's looking at us 
straight across to the other side two pews for 
ward." 

When they rose for the hymn, Emily glanced and 
straightway saw the cause of Mrs. Cockburn's 
excitement. He was a commonplace-looking young 
man with a heavy moustache. His hair was parted 
in the middle and brushed back carefully and 
smoothly. He was dressed like a city man, as 
distinguished from the Stoughton man who, little 
as he owed to nature, owed even less to art as 
exploited by the Stoughton tailors. 

Young Mr. Wayland would not have attracted 
Emily's attention in a city because he was in no way 
remarkable. But in Stoughton he seemed to her 
somewhat as an angel might seem to a Peri wander 
ing in outer darkness. When she discovered him 
looking at her a few moments later, and looking 
with polite but interested directness, she felt herself 
colouring. She also felt pleased and hopeful in 
that fantastic way in which the desperate dream of 
desperate chances. 

After the service she stood talking to Mrs. 
Cockburn, affecting an unprecedented interest in a 
woman whom she liked as little if as much as any 
in Stoughton. Her back was toward the aisle but 
she felt her " sail-ho," coming. 

" He's on his way to us," said Mrs. Cockburn 
hoarsely she had been paying no attention to 
what Emily had been saying to her, or to her own 



SAIL HO! 19 

answers. She now pushed eagerly past Emily to 
greet the young man at the door of the pew. 

" Why, I'm so glad to see you again, Mr. Way- 
land," she said with a cordiality that verged on 
hysteria. " It has been a long time. I'm afraid 
you've forgotten an old woman like me/' 

" No, indeed, Mrs. Cockburn," replied Wayland, 
who had just provided himself with her name. " It's 
been only four years, and you've not changed." 

Mrs. Cockburn saw his eyes turn toward Emily 
and introduced him. Emily was not blushing now, 
or apparently interested. She seemed to be simply 
waiting for her path to be cleared. 

" I felt certain it was you," began young Wayland, 
a little embarrassed. He made a gesture as if to 
unbutton his long coat and take something from his 
inside pocket, then seemed to change his mind. 
" I've a note of introduction to you, that is to your 
mother Mrs. Ainslie, you know. But I heard that 
your mother was ill. And I hesitated about com- 
ing." 

" Mother is much better." Emily was friendly, 
but not effusive. " I am sure she both of us will 
be glad to see a friend of Mrs. Ainslie." 

She smiled, shook hands with him, gave him a 
fascinating little nod, submitted to a kiss on the 
cheek from Mrs. Cockburn and went swiftly and 
gracefully down the aisle. Wayland looked after 
her with admiration. He had been in Stoughton 
three weeks and was profoundly bored. 

Mrs. Cockburn was also looking after her, but 



20 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

disapprovingly. " A nice young woman in some 
ways," she said. " But she carries her head too 
high for the plain people here." 

" She's had a good deal of trouble, I've heard," 
Wayland answered, not committing himself. 

The next morning Mrs. Bromfield got a letter 
from Mrs. Ainslie. It was of unusual length for 
Mrs. Ainslie, who was a bird-of-passage that rarely 
paused long enough for extended communica 
tion. 

"I never could get used to that big, angular 
handwriting," said Mrs. Bromfield to her daughter. 
" Won't you read it to me, please ? " 

Emily began at " My Dear Frances " and read 
steadily through, finding in the postscript four 
sentences which should have begun the letter of so 
worldly-wise a woman : " Don't on any account let 
Emily see this. You know how she acted about 
Bob Fulton. She ought to have learned better by 
this time, but I don't trust her. Be careful what 
you say to her." 

Mrs. Ainslie was urging the opportunity offered 
by the sojourn of young Wayland in Stoughton. 
" Emily will have a clear field," she wrote. " He's 
got money in his own right millions when his 
father dies and he's a good deal of a fool dissi 
pated, I hear, but in a prudent, business-like way. 
It's Emily's chance for a resurrection." 

Mrs. Bromfield was made speechless by the post 
script. Emily sat silent, looking at the letter on 
the table before her. 



SAIL HO! 21 

" Don't be prejudiced against him, dear," pleaded 
her mother. 

" I imagine it doesn't matter in the least what I 
think of him," Emily replied. She rose and left the 
room, sending back from the doorway a short, queer 
laugh that made her mother feel how shut out she 
was from what was going on in her daughter's mind. 

If she could have seen into that small, ethereal- 
looking head she would have been astounded at the 
thoughts boiling there. Emily had been bred in an 
atmosphere of mercenary or, rather, " practical " 
ideas. But she was also a woman of sound and 
independent mind, in the habit of thinking for her 
self, and with strong mental and physical self-re 
spect. She would have hesitated to marry unwisely 
for love. But she had been far from that state of 
self-degradation in which a young woman deliber 
ately and consciously closes her heart, locks the 
door and flings the key away. Now however, the 
deepest instinct of the human animal the instinct 
of self-preservation was aroused in her. It seemed 
to her that an imperative command had issued from 
that instinct a command at any cost to flee the 
living death of Stoughton. 

******** 

That same afternoon Mrs. Bromfield learned 
without having to ask a question all that Stough 
ton knew about the Waylands : They were the 
pride of the town and also its chief irritation. It 
gloried in them because it believed that the report 
of their millions was as clamourous throughout the 



22 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

nation as in its own ears. It was exasperated 
against them, because it believed that they ought to 
live in Stoughton and be content with a life which 
it thought, or thought it thought, desirable above 
life in any other place whatsoever. 

So as long as Mrs. Wayland lived, the family had 
spent at least half of each year there ; and Stough 
ton, satisfied on that point, disliked them for other 
reasons, first of all for being richer than any one 
else. When Mrs. Wayland died, leaving an almost 
grown daughter and a son just going into trousers, 
General Wayland had put the girl in school at 
Dobbs Ferry-on-the-Hudson, the boy in Groton, 
had closed the house and made New York his resi 
dence. The girl died two years after the death of 
her mother. The boy went from Groton to Har 
vard, from Harvard to his father's business the 
Cotton Cloth Trust. The Wayland homestead, the 
most considerable in Stoughton with its two wings 
built to the original square house, with its conser 
vatories and its stables, was opened for but a few 
weeks each winter. And then it was opened only 
in part to receive the General on his annual busi 
ness visit to the factories of the Stoughton Cotton 
Mills Company, the largest group in the " combine." 
Sometimes he brought Edgar. But Edgar gave the 
young women of Stoughton no opportunities to 
ensnare him. He kept to his work and departed at 
the earliest possible moment. This year he had 
come alone, as his father had now put him in charge 
of their Stoughton interests. 



CHAPTER IV. 

A BLACK FLAG. 

UNTIL Wayland saw Emily at church he 
had no intention to seize the opportu 
nity which Mrs. Ainslie's disinterested 
kindliness had made for him. Ever 
since he left the restraint of the " prep." 
school for Harvard, with a liberal allowance and 
absolute freedom, women had been an important 
factor in his life ; and they were still second only to 
money-making. But not such women as Emily 
Bromfield. 

In theory he had the severest ideas of woman. 
Practically, his conception of woman's sphere was 
not companionship or love or the family, not either 
mental or sentimental, but frankly physical. And 
something in that element in Emily's personality 
perhaps the warmth of her beauty of form in con 
trast to the coldness of her beauty of face made 
it impossible for this indulgent and self-indulgent 
young man to refrain from seeking her out. He 
was close with his money in every way except where 
his personal comfort or amusement was concerned. 
There he was generous to prodigality. And when 
he learned how poor the Bromfields were and how 



24 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

fiercely discontented Emily was in her Stoughton 
prison-cell, he decided that the only factor in the 
calculation was whether or not on better acquain 
tance his first up-flaring would persist. 

In one respect Washington society is unequalled. 
Nowhere else is a girl able so quickly and at so 
early an age to get so complete an equipment of 
worldly knowledge. Emily's three years under the 
tutelage of cynical Mrs. Ainslie had made her nearly 
as capable to see through men as are acute mar 
ried women. Following the Washington custom of 
her day, she had gone about with men almost as 
freely as do the girls of a Western town. And the 
men whom she had thus intimately known were 
not innocent, idealising, deferential Western youths, 
but men of broad and unscrupulous worldliness. 
Many of them were young diplomats, far from 
home, without any sense of responsibility in respect 
of the women of the country in which they were 
sojourners of a day. They played the game of 
" man and woman" adroitly and boldly. 

Emily understood Wayland only so far as the 
clean can from theoretical experience understand 
the unclean. Thus far she quickly penetrated into 
his intentions toward her and his ideas of her. He 
was the reverse of complex. He had not found it 
necessary to employ in these affairs the craft he was 
beginning to display in business, to the delight of 
his father. His crude and candid method of con 
quest had been successful hitherto. Failure in this 
instance seemed unlikely. And there were no male 



A BLACK FLAG. 25 

relatives who might bring him to an uncomfortable 
accounting. 

Two weeks after he met Emily weeks in which 
he had seen her several times he went to her house 
for dinner. She had been advancing gradually, 
in strict accordance with her plan of campaign. 
Wayland had unwittingly disarmed himself and 
doubly armed her by giving undue weight to her 
appearance of extreme youth and golden inexper- 
ence, and by overestimating his own and his 
money's fascinations. He had not a suspicion that 
there was design or even elaborate preparation in 
the vision which embarrassed and fired him as he 
entered the Bromfields' parlour. She was in a sim 
ple black dinner gown, which displayed her arms 
and her rosy white shoulders. And she had a small 
head and a way of doing her hair that brought out 
the charm of every curve of her delicate face. In 
stead of looking cold this evening, she put into her 
look and smile a seeming of well, more than mere 
liking, he thought. 

It happened to be one of Mrs. Bromfield's good 
days, so she rambled on, covering Wayland's silence. 
Occasionally not too often Emily lifted her 
glance from her plate and gave the young man the 
full benefit of her deep, dark, violet eyes. When 
Mrs. Bromfield spoke apologisingly of the absence 
of wine, he was surprised to note that he had not 
missed it. 

But after dinner, when he was alone in the sitting- 
room with Emily, he regretted that he had had 



26 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

nothing to drink. He could explain his timidity, 
his inability to get near the subject uppermost in his 
mind only on the ground that he had had no stim 
ulus to his courage and his tongue. All that day 
he had been planning what he would say ; yet as he 
went home in his automobile, upon careful review 
of all that had been said and done, he found that he 
had made no progress. The conversation had been 
general and not for an instant personal to her. The 
only personalities had been his own rather full 
account of himself, past, present and future a ram 
bling recital, the joint result of his nervousness and 
her encouragement. 

" At least she understands that I don't intend to 
marry," he thought, remembering one part of the 
conversation. 

" There's nothing in marriage for me," he had 
said, after a clumsy paving of the way. 

" Of course not," she had assented. " I never 
could understand how a young man, situated as you 
are, could be foolish enough to chain himself." 

And then, as he remembered with some satisfac 
tion, she added the only remark she had made which 
threw any light upon her own feelings and ideas : 
" It would be as foolish for you to marry, as it would 
be for me to refuse a chance to get out of this 
dreadful place." 

As he reflected on this he had no suspicion of 
subtlety. It did not occur to him that she hardly 
deserved credit for frankly confessing what could 
not be successfully denied or concealed, or that she 



A BLACK FLAG. 27 

might have confessed in order to put him off his 
guard, to make him think her guilelessly straight 
forward. 

A second and a third call, a drive and several long 
walks ; still he had done nothing to further his 
scheme. He put off his return to New York, seeing 
her every day, each time in a fresh aspect of beauty, 
in a new mood of fascination. One night, a month 
after he met her at church, he found her alone on the 
wide piazza.. She was in an evening dress, white, 
clinging close to her, following her every movement. 
He soon reached his limit of endurance. 

" You are maddening," he said abruptly, stretch 
ing out his arms to seize her. He thrust her wraps 
violently away from her throat and one shoulder. 
He was crushing her against his chest, was kissing 
her savagely. 

She wrenched herself away from him, panting 
with anger, with repulsion. But he thought it was 
a return of his ardour, and she did not undeceive 
him. " You mustn't ! " she said. " You know that 
it is impossible. You must go. Good-night ! " 

She left him and he, after waiting uncertainly a 
few moments, went slowly down the drive, in a rage, 
but a rage in which anger and longing were curi 
ously mingled. When he called the next day, she 
was " not at home." When he called again she could 
not come down, she must stay beside her mother, 
who had had another attack, so the servant 
explained in a stammering, unconvincing manner. 
He wrote that he wished to see her to say good-bye 



28 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

as he was leaving the next day. Then he called and 
she came into the parlour " just for an instant." 
She was wearing a loose gown, open at the throat, 
with sleeves falling away from her arms. Her 
small feet were thrust into a pair of high-heeled red 
slippers and her stockings had openwork over the 
ankles. She seemed so worried about her mother 
that it was impossible for him to re-open the one 
subject and resume progress, as he had hoped to do. 
But it was not impossible for him to think. And 
Emily, anxiously watching him from behind her 
secure entrenchments, noted that he was thinking 
as she wished and hoped. His looks, his voice 
encouraged her to play her game, her only possible 
game, courageously to the last card. 

" If he doesn't come back," she thought, " at 
least I've done my best And I think he will 
come." 

She sent him away regretfully, but immediately, 
standing two steps up the stairway in a final effective 
pose. He set his teeth together and took the train for 
NewYork. There he outdid all his previous impulses 
of extravagant generosity with himself, but he could 
not drive her from his mind. Those who formerly 
amused him, now seemed vulgar, silly, and stale. 
They made her live the more vividly in his imagina 
tion. Business gave him no relief. At his office his 
mind wandered to her, and the memory of that stolen 
kiss made his nerves quiver and hot flushes course 
over and through him. At the end of three weeks, 
he returned to Stoughton. " I've let myself go 



A BLACK FLAG. 29 

crazy," he thought, " I'll see her again and convince 
myself that I'm a fool." 

As he neared her house, his mind became more at 
ease. When he rang the bell he was laughing at 
himself for having got into such a frenzy over 
" nothing but a woman like the rest of 'em." But 
as soon as he saw her, he was drunk again. 

" I love you," he stammered. " I can't do with 
out you. Will you will you marry me, Emily ? " 

There was no triumph either in her face or in her 
mind. She was hearing the hammer smash in the 
thick walls of her prison, but she shrank from the 
sound. As she looked at his commonplace, heavy- 
featured face ; as she listened to his monotonous 
voice, with its hint of tyranny and temper ; as she 
felt his greedy eyes and hot, trembling ringers ; a 
revulsion swept over her and left her sick with 
disgust disgust for her despicable self, loathing for 
him and for his feeling for her his " love." 

" How can I ? " she thought, turning away to hide 
her expression from him. " How can I ? And yet, 
how can I refuse ? " 

" I must have until until this evening," she said 
in a low voice and with an effort. " I I thought 
you had gone for good and alland I tried to put 
you out of my thoughts." 

She was standing near him and he crushed her in 
his arms. "You must, you must," he exclaimed. 
" I must have you." 

She let him kiss her once, then pushed him away, 
hiding her face in no mere pretence of modesty and 



30 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

maidenly repulsion. " This evening," she said, 
almost flying from him. 

She paused at the door of her mother's sitting- 
room. From it came the odor of drugs, and in it 
were all the evidences of the tedious companionship 
of her poverty-stricken prison life the invalid chair 
with its upholstery tattering ; the worn carpet ; the 
wall paper stained, and in one corner giving way be 
cause of a leak which they had no money to repair ; 
the table with its litter of bottles, of drug-boxes, of 
patent-medicine advertisements and trashy novels ; 
in the bed the hypochondriac herself, old, yellow, 
fat in an unhealthy way, with her empty, childish, 
peevish face. 

Emily did not enter, but went on to her own 
room bare, cheerless, proofs of poverty and im 
pending rags and patches threatening to obtrude. 
She looked out through the trees at the glimpses 
of the town every beat of the pulse of her youth 
was a sullen and hateful protest against it. Beyond 
were the tall chimneys of the mills, with the black 
clouds from them smutching the sky there lived 
the work-people, the boredom of the town driving 
them to brutal dissipation. 

" I must ! I must ! " she said, between her set 
teeth, then sank down in the window seat and 
buried her face in her arms. 

That evening she accepted him, and the next 
morning her mother announced the engagement to 
the first caller. 



CHAPTER V. 

THE PENITENT PIRATE. 

WAYLAND had the commercial instinct 
too strongly developed not to fear 
that he was paying an exorbitant 
price for a fancy which would prob 
ably be as passing as it was powerful. 
Whenever Emily was not before his eyes he was 
pushing the bill angrily aside. But in the stubborn 
ness of self-indulgence he refused to permit himself 
to see that he was making a fool of himself. If she 
had not gauged him accurately, or, rather, if she 
had not mentally and visibly shrunk even from the 
contact with him necessary to shaking hands, he 
might quickly have come to his cool-blooded senses. 
But their engagement made no change in their 
relations. Her mother's illness helped her to avoid 
seeing him for more than a few minutes at a time.' 
Her affectation of an extreme of prudery with 
inclination and policy reinforcing each the other 
made her continue to keep herself as elusive, as 
tantalising to him as she had been at that dinner 
when he " fell head over heels in love " so he 
described it to her. And he thoroughly approved 



32 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

of her primness. For, to him there were only two 
classes of women good women, those who knew 
nothing ; bad women, those who knew and, know 
ing, must of necessity feel and act as coarsely 
as himself. The most of the time which he be 
lieved she was devoting to her mother, she was 
passing in her room in arguing the two questions : 
" How can I give him up ? How can I marry 
him?" 

Her acute intelligence did not permit her to 
deceive herself. She knew with just what kind of 
man she was dealing, knew she would continue to 
loathe him after she had married him, knew her 
reason for marrying him was as base, if not baser, 
than his reason for marrying her. " He is at least a 
purchaser," she said to herself contemptuously, 
"while I am merely the thing purchased." And 
her conduct was condemned by her whole nature 
except the one potent instinct of feminine laziness. 
"If only I had been taught to work," she thought 
" or taught not to look down upon work ! Yet now 
could it be so low as this ? " 

She felt that she might not thus degrade herself 
if she had some one to consult, some one to encour 
age her to recover and retain her self-respect. But 
who was there ? She laughed at the idea of consult 
ing her mother that never strong mind, now en 
feebled to imbecility by drugs and novels. And 
even if she had had a capable mother, what would 
have been her advice ? Would it not have been to 
be "sensible" and "practical" and not fling away 



THE PENITENT PIRATE. 33 

a brilliant " chance " wealth and distinction for her- 
self, proper surroundings and education for the chil 
dren that were sure to come? And would not that 
advice be sound ? 

Only arguments of " sentimentality," of super- 
sensitiveness, appeared in opposition to the urgings 
of conventional everyday practice. And was not 
Stoughton worse than Wayland? Could it possi 
bly be more provocative of all that was base in her 
to live with Stoughton than to live with Wayland ? 
Wayland would be one of a great many elements 
in her environment after the few first weeks of 
marriage. If she accepted the alternative, it would 
be her whole environment, in all probability for the 
rest of her life. 

A month after the announcement of the engage 
ment, her mother sank into a stupor and, toward 
the end of the fifth day, died. Just as her father 
had been missed and mourned more than many a 
father who deserved and received love, so now her 
mother, never deserving nor trying to deserve love, 
was missed and mourned as are few mothers who 
have sacrificed everything to their children. This 
fretful, self-absorbed invalid was all that Emily had 
in the world. 

Wayland was startled when Emily threw herself 
into his arms and clinging close to him sobbed and 
wept on his shoulder. Sorrow often quickens into 
sympathy the meanest natures. The bereaved are 
amazed to find the world so strangely gentle for the 
time. And Wayland for the moment was lifted 



34 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

above himself. There were tenderness, affection in 
his voice and in the clasp of his arms about her. 

" I have no one, no one," she moaned. " Oh, my 
good mother, my dear little mother! Ah, God, 
what shall I do?" 

" We will bear it together, dear," he whispered. 
" My dear, my beautiful girl." And for the first 
time he genuinely respected a woman, felt the 
promptings of the honest instincts of manliness. 

His change had a profound effect upon the young 
girl in her mood of loneliness and dependence. She 
reproached herself for having thought so ill of him, 
for having underrated his character. With quick 
generosity she was at the opposite extreme ; she 
treated him with a friendliness which enabled him 
to see her as she really was in all respects except 
the one where desperation was driving her to action 
abhorrent to her normal self. 

As her sweetness and high-minded intelligence 
unfolded before his surprised eyes, he began to 
think of her as a human being instead of thinking 
only of the effect of her beauty upon his senses. 
He grew to like her, to regard her as an ideal 
woman for a wife. But he did not want a wife. 
And as the new feeling developed, the old feeling 
died away. 

Emily had gained a friend. But she had lost a 
lover. 

Two weeks after her mother's funeral, Wayland 
kissed her good-night as calmly as if he had been 
her brother. At the gate he paused and looked 



THE PENITENT PIRATE. 35 

back at the house, already dark except in one 
second-story room, where Emily's aunt was waiting 
up for her. " I am not worthy of her," he said to 
himself. " I am not fit to marry her. I should be 
miserable trying to live up to such a woman. I 
must get out of it." 

But how? He pretended to himself that he was 
hesitating because of his regard for her and her need 
for him. In fact his hesitation arose from doubt 
about the way to escape from this most uncongenial 
atmosphere without betraying to her what a dis 
honourable creature he was. And the more he 
studied the difficulty, the more formidable it 
seemed. This however only increased his eager 
ness to escape, his alarm at the prospect of being 
tied for life to moral and mental superiority. 

He hoped she would give him an excuse. But 
as 'she now liked him, she was the better able to 
conceal the fact that she did not love him ; and had 
he been far less unskilled in reading feminine char 
acter, he would still have been deceived. Emily 
was deceiving herself almost. 

As soon as he felt that he could leave with de 
cency, he told her he must go to New York. She 
had been noting that he no longer spoke of their 
marriage, no longer urged that it be hastened. But 
it occurred to her that he might be restrained by the 
fear of distressing her when her mother had been 
dead so short a time ; and this seemed a satisfactory 
explanation. Three days after he reached New- 
York he sent this letter the result of an effort that 



36 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

half-filled the scrap-basket in a quiet corner of the 
writing-room of his club : 



I have been thinking over our engagement and I am con 
vinced that when you know my mind, you will wish it to come 
to an end. I am not worthy of you. You are mistaken in me. 
I could not make you happy. You are too far above me in 
every way. It would be spoiling your whole life to marry you 
under such false pretences. Looking back over our acquain 
tance, I am ashamed of the motives which led me to make this 
engagement. Forgive me for being so abrupt, but I think the 
truth is best. 

" Pretty raw," he thought, as he read it over. 
" But it's the truth and the truth is best in this case. 
I can't afford to trifle. And what can she do ? " 

When Emily finished reading the letter, she was 
crushed. Her pride, her vanity, her future all 
stabbed in the vitals. Just when she thought her 
self most secure, she was overthrown and trampled. 
She could see Stoughton gloating over her who 
would have thought that Stoughton could ever reach 
and touch her? She could see herself pinioned 
there, or in some similiar Castle Despair, for life. 

To be outwitted by such a man and how? 
She could not explain it. Her experience of ways 
masculine had not been intimate enough to give her 
a clue to the subtle cause of Wayland's changed at 
titude. She paced her room in fury, denouncing 
him as a cur, a traitor, a despicable creature, too 
vile and low for adequate portrayal in any known 
medium of expression. She went over scheme after 



THE PENITENT PIRATE. 37 

scheme for holding him to his promise, for bringing 
him back some of them schemes which made her 
blush when she recalled them in after years. She 
wrote a score of letters long, short ; bitter, plead 
ing ; some appealing to his honour, some filled with 
hypocritical expressions of love and veiling a vague 
threat which she hoped might terrify him, though 
she knew it was meaningless. But she tore them 
up. And after tossing much and sleeping a little 
she sent this answer : 



DEAR EDGAR: 

Certainly, if you feel that way. But you mustn't let any 
nervousness about the past interfere with our friendship. That 
has become very dear to me. The only ill luck I wish you is 
that you'll have to come to Stoughton soon. I won't ask 
you to write to me, because I know you're not fond of writing 
letters and nothing happens here that any one would care to 
hear about. My aunt is staying with me for a few months at 
least. Until I see you, 

EMILY. 

" It's of no use to make a row," she thought. 
"If anything can bring him back, certainly it is not 
tears or reproaches or threats. And how appeal to 
the honour of a man who has no honour? " 
1 Her mind was clear enough, but her feelings were 
in a ferment. She knew that it was in some way 
her fault that she had lost him. " And I deserved 
to lose him," she admitted. ' But that doesn't ex 
cuse him or help me." 

He answered promptly : 



38 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

MY DEAR FRIEND : 

How like you your letter was. If I did not know so well 
how unworthy of you I am, how I would plead for the honour 
of having such a woman as my wife. I wish I could look for 
ward to seeing you soon but I'm going abroad on Saturday 
and I shan't return for some time. As soon as I do, I'll 
let you know. It is good of you to offer me your friendship. 
I am proud to accept it. If you ever need a friend, you will 
find him in 

Yours faithfully, 

EDGAR WAYLAND. 

The expression of Emily's face was anything but 
good, it was the reverse of " lady-like," as she read 
this death-warrant of her last hope. " The coward ! " 
she exclaimed, and, as her eyes fell on the satirical 
formality, " Yours faithfully," she uttered an ugly 
laugh which would have given a severe shock to 
Wayland's new ideas of her. 

" Fooled jilted left-for dead," she thought, de 
spair closing in, thick and black. And she crawled 
into bed, to lie sleepless and tearless, her eyes burn 
ing. 



CHAPTER VI. 
A CHANGED CRUSOE. 

IN the third night Emily had ten hours of the 
sleep of exhausted youth. She awoke in the 
mood of the brilliant July morning which 
was sending sunshine and song and the odour 
of honeysuckles through the rifts in the lat 
tices of her shutters. She was restored to her nor 
mal self. She was able to examine her affairs calmly 
in the light of her keen and courageous mind. 

Ever since she had been old enough to be of act 
ive use, she had had the training of responsibility 
responsibility not only for herself, but also for her 
mother and the household. She had had the duties 
of both woman and man forced upon her and so had 
developed capacity and self-reliance. She had read 
and experienced and thought perhaps beyond the 
average for girls of her age and breeding. Undoubt 
edly she had read and thought more than most 
girls who are, or fancy they are, physically attractive. 
Her father's caustic contempt for shallow culture, 
for ignorance thinly disguised by good manners, had 
been his one strong influence on her. 

" All my own fault," she was saying to herself 
now, as she lay propped on her elbow among her 
pillows. " It was a base plan, unworthy of me. I 



40 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

ought to be glad that the punishment was not worse. 
The only creditable thing about it is that I played 
the game so badly that I lost." And then she smiled, 
wondering how much of her new virtue was real 
and how much was mere making the best of a 
disastrous defeat. 

Why had she lost ? What was the false move ? 
She could not answer, but she felt that it was 
through ignorance of some trick which a worse 
woman would have known. 

" Never again, never again," she thought, " will 
I take that road. What I get I must get by direct 
means. Either I'm not crafty enough or not mean 
enough to win in the other way." 

She was singing as she went downstairs to join 
her aunt. The old woman, her father's sister who 
had never married, was knitting in the shady cor 
ner of the front porch, screened from the sun by a 
great overhanging tree, and from the drive and the 
road beyond, by the curtain of honeysuckles and 
climbing roses. As Emily came into view, she 
dropped the knitting and looked at her with dis 
approval upon her thin old face. 

" But why, auntie ? " said the girl, answering the 
look. " I feel like singing. I feel so young and 
well and hopeful. You don't wish me to play the 
hypocrite and look glum and sad ? Besides, the 
battle must begin soon, and good spirits may be 
half of it." 

Her aunt sighed and looked at her with the 
unoffending pity of sympathy. " Perhaps you're 



A CHANGED CRUSOE. 41 

right, Emmy," she said. " God knows, life is cruel 
enough without our fighting to prolong its miseries. 
And it does seem as if you'd had more than your 
share of them thus far." She was admiring her 
beautiful niece and thinking how ill that fragile fine 
ness seemed fitted for the struggle which there 
seemed no way of averting. " You're almost 
twenty-one," she said aloud. " You ought to have 
had a good hnsband and everything you wanted by 
this time." 

Emily winced at this unconscious stab into the 
unhealed wound. " Isn't there anything in life for a 
woman on her own account ? " she asked impatiently. 
"Is her only hope through some man? Isn't it 
possible for her to make her own happiness, work 
out her own salvation ? Must she wait until a man 
condescends to ask her to marry him ? " 

"I'd like to say no," replied her aunt, "but I 
can't. As the world is made now, a woman's 
happiness comes through home and children. And 
that means a husband. Even if her idea of happi 
ness were not home and children, still she's got to 
have a husband." 

"But why? Why do you say * as the world is 
made now? ' Aren't there thousands, tens of thou 
sands of women who make their own lives, working 
in all sorts of ways from teaching school to prac 
tising medicine or law or writing or acting?" 

" Yes but they're still only women. They may 
lie about it. But with a few exceptions, abnormal 
women, who are hardly women at all, they're simply 



42 A WOMAN VENTURES 

filling a gap in their lives perhaps trying to find 
husbands in unusual ways. Everybody must have 
an object, to be in the least happy. And children 
is the object the world has fixed for us women. 
Whether we're conscious of it or not, we pursue it. 
And if we're thwarted in it, we're well, we're not 
happy." 

The old woman was staring out sadly into space. 
The cheerfulness had faded from the girl's face. 
But presently she shook her head defiantly and 
broke the silence. 

" I -refuse to believe it," she said with energy. 
" Oh, I don't deny that I feel just as you describe. 
And why shouldn't I ? Why shouldn't we all ? 
Aren't we brought up that way ? Are we ever taught 
anything else? It's the way women have been 
trained from the beginning. But that doesn't 
make it so." 

" No, it doesn't," replied her aunt. " And prob 
ably it isn't so. But don't make the mistake, child, 
of thinking that the world is run on a basis of 
what's so. It isn't. It's run on a basis of think-so 
and believe-so and hope-so." 

Emily stood up beside her aunt and looked out 
absently through the leaves. " I don't care what 
any one says or what every one says," she said. 
" I don't say that I don't want love and home and 
all that. I do want it. But I think I want it as a 
man wants it. I want it as my very own, not as the 
property of some man which he graciously or 
grudgingly permits me to share. And I purpose to 



A CHANGED CRUSOE. 43 

try to make my own life. If I marry, it will be as 
a man marries when I'm pleased and not before. 
No, don't look frightened, auntie. I'm not going 
to do anything shocking. I understand that the 
game must be played according to the rules, or one 
is likely to be excluded." 

" Well, youVe got to make your living at least 
for the present/' replied her aunt. " And it doesn't 
matter much what your theory is. The question 
is, what can you do ; and if you can do something, 
how are you to get the chance to do it. I can't 
advise you. I'm only a useless old maid waiting in 
a corner for death, already forgotten." 

Emily put on an expression of amused disbelief 
that was more flattering than true, and full of 
vague but potent consolation. " I don't think I 
need advice," she said, " so much as I need courage. 
And there you can help me, auntie dear can, and 
will." 

" I ? " The old woman was pleased and touched. 
" What can I say or do ? I can only tell you what 
you already know though I must say I didn't when 
I was your age can only tell you that there's 
nothing to be afraid of in all this wide world except 
false pride." 

She looked thoughtfully at her knitting, then 
anxiously at the resolute face of her niece. " In 
our country," she went on, " it's been certain from 
the start, it seems to me, that what you've been 
saying would be the gospel of the women as well 
as of the men. But it takes women a loner time 



44 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

to get over false pride. You are going to be a 
working-woman. If only you can see that all hon 
est work is honourable ! If only you can remember 
that your life must be made by yourself, that to 
look timidly at others and dread what they will say 
about you is cowardly and contemptible ! How I 
wish I had your chance ! How I wish I'd had the 
courage to take my own chance ! " 



CHAPTER VII. 

BACK TO THE MAINLAND. 

WITHIN a month old Miss Bromfield 
was again with her sister at Stock- 
bridge ; the house in Stoughton was 
sold ; there were twenty-two hundred 
dollars to Emily's credit in the 
Stoughton National Bank her whole capital ex 
cept a hundred and fifty dollars which she had with 
her ; and she herself was standing at the exit from 
the Grand Central Station in New York City, facing 
with a sinking heart and frightened eyes the row of 
squalid cabs and clamourous cabmen. One of these 
took her to the boarding-house in East Thirty-first 
Street near Madison Avenue where her friend, 
Theresa Duncan, lived. 

" Of course there's a chance," Theresa had written. 
" Come straight on here. Something is sure to 
turn up. And there's nothing like being on the 
spot." 

Of the women of her acquaintance who made 
their own living, Theresa alone was in an indepen 
dent position with her time her own, and with no 
suggestion of domestic service in her employment. 
They had been friends at school and had kept up 
the friendship by correspondence. Before Mr. 



46 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Bromfield died, Theresa's father had been swept 
under by a Wall Street tidal wave and, when it re 
ceded, had been found on the shore with empty 
pockets and a bullet in his brain. Emily wrote to 
her at once, but the answer did not come until six 
months had passed. Then Theresa announced 
that she was established in a small but sufficient 
commission business. " I shop for busy New York 
women and have a growing out-of-town trade," she 
wrote. " And I am almost happy. It is fine to be 
free." 

At the boarding-house Emily looked twice at the 
number to assure herself that she was not mistaken. 
She had expected nothing so imposing as this man 
sion-like exterior. When a man-servant opened the 
door and she saw high ceilings and heavy mould 
ings, she inquired for Miss Duncan in the tone of 
one who is sure there is a mistake. But before the 
man answered, her illusion vanished. He was a 
slattern creature in a greasy evening coat, a day 
waistcoat, a stained red satin tie, its flaming colour 
fighting for precedence with a huge blue glass scarf 
pin. And Emily now saw that the splendours of 
what had been a fine house in New York's modest 
days were overlaid with cheap trappings and with 
grime and stain and other evidences of slovenly 
housekeeping. 

The air was saturated with an odour of inferior 
food, cooking in poor butter and worse lard. It 
was one of the Houses of the Seem-to-be. The 
carpets seemed to be Turkish or Persian, but were 



BACK TO THE MAINLAND. 47 

made in Newark and made cheaply. The furniture 
seemed to be French, but was Fourteenth street. 
The paper seemed to be brocade, but was from the 
masses of poor stuff tossed upon the counters of 
second-class department stores for the fumblings 
of noisome bargain-day crowds. The paintings 
seemed to be pictures, but were such daubs as the 
Nassau street dealers auction off to swindle-seeking 
clerks at the lunch hour. In a corner of the 
" salon " stood what seemed-to-be a cabinet for 
bric-a-brac but was a dilapidated folding bed. 

"Dare I sit?" thought Emily. "What seems 
to be a chair may really be some hollow sham that 
will collapse at the touch." 

" A vile hole, isn't it ? " was one of Theresa's first 
remarks, after an enthusiastic greeting and a com 
petent apology for not meeting her at the station. 
" We may be able to take a flat together. I would 
have done it long ago, if I'd not been alone." 

" Yes," said Emily, " and I may persuade Aunt 
Ann to come and live with us as chaperon." 

" Oh, that will be so nice," replied Theresa in a 
doubtful, reluctant tone, with a quizzical look in 
her handsome brown eyes. " If there is a prime 
necessity for a working-woman, it is a chaperon." 

"You're laughing at me," said Emily, flushing 
but good-humoured. " I meant simply that my 
aunt could look after the flat while we're away. 
You don't know her. She'd never bother us. 
She understands how to mind her own business." 

" Well, the flat and the chaperon are still in the 



48 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

future. The first question is, what are you going 
into ? You used to write such good essays at 
school and your letters are clever. Why not news 
paper work ? " 

"But what could I do?" 

" Get a trial as a reporter." 

Before Emily's mind came a vision of a ball she 
had attended in Washington less than two years 
before the lofty entrance, the fashionable guests 
incrowding from their carriages ; at one side, a 
dingy group, two seedy-looking men and a homely, 
dowdy woman, taking notes of names and costumes. 
She shuddered. 

Theresa noted the shudder, and laid her hand on 
Emily's arm. " You must drop that, my dear 
you must, must, must." 

Emily coloured. " I will, will, will," she said with 
a guilty laugh. " But, Theresa, you understand, 
don't you ? " 

" Oh, yes, I remember. But I've left all that be- 
hind at least I've tried to. You've got to be just 
like a man when he makes the start. As Mr. Mar 
lowe was saying the other night, it's no worse than 
being a bank messenger and presenting notes to 
men who can't pay ; or being a lawyer's clerk and 
handing people dreadful papers that they throw in 
your face. No matter where you start there are 
hard knocks. And " 

" I know it, I expect it, and I'm not sorry that it 
is so. It's part of the price of learning to live. I'm 
not complaining." 



BACK TO THE MAINLAND. 49 

" I hope you'll be able to say that a year from 
now. I confess I did, and do, complain. I can't 
get over my resentment at the injustice of it. Why 
doesn't everybody see that we're all in the same 
boat and that snubbing and sneering only make it 
harder all round ? " 

Emily had expected to find the Theresa of school 
days developed along the lines that were promising. 
Instead, she found the Theresa of school days 
changed chiefly by deterioration. She was undeni 
ably attractive a handsome, magnetic, shrewd 
young woman full of animal spirits. But her dress 
was just beyond the line of good taste, and on in 
spection revealed tawdriness and lapses ; her man 
ners were a little too pronounced in their freedom ; 
her speech barely escaped license. Her effort to 
show hostility to conventions was impudent rather 
than courageous. Worst of all, she had lost that 
finish of refinement which makes merits shine and 
dims even serious defects. She had cultivated a 
shallow cynicism of the concert hall and the 
" society " play. It took all the brightness of her 
eyes, all the brilliance of her teeth, all her physical 
charm to overcome the impression of this gloze of 
reckless smartness. 

In her room were many copies of a weekly 
journal of gossip and scandal, filled with items about 
people whom it called "the Four Hundred" and 
" the Mighty Few " and of whom it spoke with 
familiarity, yet with the deference of pretended dis 
dain. Emily noticed that Theresa and her acquain- 



50 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

tances in the boarding-house talked much of these 
persons, in a way which made it clear that they did 
not know them and regarded the fact as greatly to 
their own discredit. 

The one subject which Theresa would not discuss 
was her shopping business. Emily was eager to 
hear about it, and, as far as politeness permitted, en 
couraged her to talk of it, but Theresa always 
sheered off. Nor did she seem to be under the 
necessity of giving it close or regular attention. 

" It looks after itself," she said, with an uneasy 
laugh. " Let's talk of your affairs. We're going to 
dine Thursday night with Frank Demorest and a 
man we think can help you a man named Marlowe. 
He writes for the Democrat. He goes everywhere 
getting news of politics and wars. I see his name 
signed every once in a while. He's clever, much 
cleverer to talk with than he is as a writer. 
Usually writers are such stupid talkers. Frank says 
they save all their good wares to sell." 

On Thursday at half-past seven the two men 
came. Demorest was tall and thin, with a languid 
air which Emily knew at once was carefully studied 
from the best models in fiction and in the class 
that poses. One could see at a glance that he was 
spending his life in doing deliberately useless things. 
His way of speaking to admiring Theresa was after 
the pattern of well-bred insolence. Marlowe was not 
so tall, but his personality seemed to her as vivid and 
sincere as Demorest's seemed colourless and false. 
He had the self-possession of one who is well ac- 



BACK TO THE MAINLAND. 51 

quainted with the human race. His eyes were gray- 
green, keen, rather small and too restless Emily 
did not like them. He spoke swiftly yet distinctly. 
Demorest seemed a man of the world, Marlowe a 
citizen of the world. 

They got into Demorest's open automobile, Mar 
lowe and Emily in the back seat, and set out for 
Clairmont. For the first time in nearly two years 
Emily was experiencing a sensation akin to happi 
ness. The city looked vast and splendid and 
friendly. Wherever her eyes turned there were 
good-humoured faces the faces of well-dressed, 
healthy women and men who were out under that 
soft, glowing summer sky in a determined search 
for pleasure. She saw that Marlowe was smiling as 
he looked at her. 

" Why are you laughing at me ? " she asked, as 
the automobile slowed down in a press of cabs and 
carriages. 

" Not at you, but with you," he replied. 

" But why ? " 

" Because I'm as glad to be here as you are. And 
you are very glad indeed, and are showing it so 
delightfully." He looked frank but polite admira 
tion of her sweet, delicate face she liked his 
expression as much as she had disliked the way in 
which Demorest had examined her face and figure 
and dress. 

She sighed. " But it won't last long," she said, 
pensively rather than sadly. She was thinking of 
to-morrow and the days thereafter the days in 



52 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

which she would be facing a very different aspect of 
the city. 

"But it will last if you resolve that it shall," he 

said. " Why make up your mind to the worst ? 

Why not the best? Just keep your eyes on the 

Jpresent until it frowns. Then the future will be 

bright by contrast, and you can look at it." 

" This city makes me feel painfully small and 
weak." Emily hid her earnestness in a light tone 
and smile. " And I'm not able to take myself so 
very seriously." 

" You should be glad of that. It seems to me 
absurd for one to take himself seriously. It inter 
feres with one's work. But one ought always to 
take his work seriously, I think, and sacrifice every 
thing to it. Do you remember what Caesar said to 
the pilot?" 

" No what was it ? " 

" The pilot said, ' It's too stormy to cross the 
Adriatic to-night. You will be drowned. ' And 
Caesar answered : ' It is not important whether I 
live or die. But it is important that, if I'm alive 
to-morrow morning, I shall be on the other shore. 
Let us start ! ' I read that story many years ago 
almost as many as you've lived. It has stood me in 
good stead several times." 

At the next slowing down, Marlowe went 
on : 

" You're certain to win. All that one needs to do 
is to keep calm and not try to hurry destiny. He's 
sure to come into his own." He hesitated, then 



BACK TO THE MAINLAND. 53 

added . " And I think your ' own ' is going to be 
worth while." 

They swung into the Riverside Drive the sun 
was making the crest of the wooded Palisades look 
as if a forest fire were raging there ; the Hudson, 
broad and smooth and still, was slowly darkening 
the breeze mingled the freshness of the water and 
the fragrance of the trees. And Emily felt a 
burden, like an oppressively heavy garment, falling 
from her. 

"What are you thinking?" asked Marlowe. 

" Of Stoughton and this," she replied. 

" Was Stoughton very bad, as bad as those towns 
usually are to impatient young persons who wish to 
live before they die ? " 

" Worse than you can imagine a nightmare. It 
seems to me that hereafter, whenever I feel low in 
my mind, I'll say ' Well, at least this is not Stough 
ton,' and be cheerful again." 

They were at Clairmont, and as Emily saw the inn 
and its broad porches and the tables where women 
and men in parties and in couples were enjoying 
themselves, as she drank in the lively, happy scene 
of the summer and the city and the open air, she 
felt like one who is taking his first outing after an ill 
ness that thrust him down to death's door. They 
went round the porch and out into the gravelled 
open, to a table that had been reserved for them 
under the big tree at the edge of the bluff. 

There was enough light from the electric lamps 
of the inn and pavilions to make the table clearly 



54 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

visible, but not enough to blot out the river and 
the Palisades. It was not an especially good dinner 
and was slowly served, so Frank complained. But 
Emily found everything perfect, and astonished 
Theresa and delighted the men with her flow of 
high spirits. Theresa drank more, and Emily less, 
than her share of the champagne. As Emily had 
nothing in her mind which the frankness of wine 
could unpleasantly reveal, the contrast between her 
and Theresa became strongly, perhaps unjustly, 
marked with the progress of the "party," as Theresa 
called it ; for Theresa, who affected and fairly well 
carried off a man-to-man frankness of speech, began 
to make remarks at which Demorest laughed loudly, 
Marlowe politely, and which Emily pretended not 
to hear. Demorest drank far too much and 
presently showed it by outdoing Theresa. Marlowe 
saw that Emily was annoyed, and insisted that he 
could stay no longer. This forced the return home. 

As they were entering the automobile, Demorest 
made a politely insolent observation to Theresa on 
"her prim friend from New England," which Emily 
could not help overhearing. She flushed ; Marlowe 
frowned contemptuously at Demorest's back. 

" Don't think about him," said he to Emily, when 
they were under way. " He's too insignificant for 
such a triumph as spoiling your evening." 

Emily laughed gaily. " Oh, it is a compliment 
to be called prim by some men," she said, " though 
I'd not like to be thought prim by those capable of 
judging." 



BACK TO THE MAINLAND. 55 

" Only low-minded or ignorant people are prim," 
replied Marlowe. 

" There's one thing worse," said Emily. 

" And what is that ? " 

" Why y the mask off a mind that is usually 
masked by primness. I like deception when it pro 
tects me from the sight of offensive things." 

At the boarding-house Marlowe got out. " Frank 
and I are going to supper," said Theresa to Emily. 
" You're coming ?" 

" Thanks, no," answered Emily. " I'm tired to 
night." 

Marlowe accompanied her up the steps and asked 
her to wait until he had returned from giving 
the key to Theresa. When he rejoined her, he 
said : 

" If you'll come to my office to-morrow at two, I 
think I can get you a chance to show what you 
can or can't do. " 

Emily's eyes shone and her voice was a little 
uncertain as she said, after a silence : 

" If you ever had to make a start and suddenly 
got help from some one, as I'm getting it from you, 
you'll know how I feel." 

" I'm really not doing you a favour. If you get 
on, I shall have done the paper a service. If you 
don't, I'll simply have delayed you on your way 
to the work that's surely waiting for you some 
where." 

" I shall insist upon being grateful," said Emily, 
as she gave him her hand. She was pleased that he 



56 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

held it a little longer and a little more tightly than 
was necessary. 

" I don't like his eyes," she thought," but I do like 
the way he can look out of them. They must 
belie 1dm." 



CHAPTER VIII. 

AMONG A STRANGE PEOPLE. 

AS the office boy, after inquiry, showed 
Emily into Marlowe's office on the 
third floor of the Democrat building, 
he was putting on his coat to receive 
her. 

" Good morning," he said, in a business tone. 
" You'll forgive me. I'm in a rush to get away to 
Saratoga this evening for the Republican conven 
tion. Let's go to the City Editor at once, if you 
please." 

They went down a long hall to a door marked 
" News Room Morning Edition." Marlowe held 
open the door and she found herself in a large room 
filled with desks, at many of which were men in 
their shirt sleeves writing. They crossed to a 
door marked, " City Editor." Marlowe knocked. 
" Come in," an irritated voice responded," if you 
must. But don't stay long." 

" What a bear/'said Marlowe cheerfully, not low- 
ering his voice. " It's a lady, Bobbie. So you must 
sheathe your claws." 

" Bobbie" or Mr. Stilson rose, an apology in 
his strong-featured, melancholy face. 



58 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Pardon me, Miss Bromfield," he said, when he 
had got her name. " They've been knocking at that 
door all day long, and coming in and driving me 
half mad with their nonsense." 

" Excuse me," said Marlowe, " I must get away. 
This is the young woman I talked to you about. 
Don't mind his manner, Miss Bromfield. He's a 
' soft one ' in reality, and puts on the burrs to shield 
himself. Good-bye, good luck." And he was 
gone, Emily noted vaguely that his manner to 
ward " Bobbie" was a curious mixture of affection, 
admiration, and audacity " like the little dog wkh 
the big one," she thought. 

Emily seated herself in a chair with newspapers 
in it but less occupied in that way than any other 
horizontal part of the little office. Stilson was 
apparently examining her with disapproval. But 
as she looked directly into his eyes, she saw that 
Marlowe had told the truth. They were beautiful 
with an expression of manly gentleness. And she 
detected the same quality in his voice, beneath a 
surface tone of abruptness. 

" I can't give you a salary," he said. " We start 
our beginners on space. We pay seven and a half 
a column. You'll make little at first. I hope Mar 
lowe warned you against this business." 

" No," replied Emily, doing her best to make her 
manner and voice pleasing. " On the contrary, he 
was enthusiastic." 

" He ought to be ashamed of himself. However, 
I suppose you've got to make a living. And if a 



AMONG A STRANGE PEOPLE. 59 

woman must work, or thinks she must, she can't 
discover the superiority of matrimony at its worst 
more quickly in any other business." 

Stilson pressed an electric button and said to the 
boy who came : " Tell Mr. Coleman I wish to speak 
to him." 

A fat young man, not well shaved, his shirt sleeves 
rolled up and exposing a pair of muscular, hairy 
arms to the elbows and above, appeared in the 
doorway with a " Yes, sir," spoken apologetically. 

" Miss Bromfield, Mr. Coleman. Here is the 
man who makes the assignments. He'll give you 
something to do. Let her have the desk in the 
second row next to the window, Coleman," Stil 
son nodded, opened a newspaper and gave it 
absorbed attention. 

Emily was irritated because he had not risen or 
spoken the commonplaces of courtesy ; but she 
told herself that such details of manners could not 
be kept up in the rush of business. She followed 
Coleman dejectedly to the table desk assigned her. 
He called a poorly preserved young woman of per- 
haps twenty-five, sitting a few rows away, and intro 
duced her as " Miss Farwell, one of the society 
reporters." Emily looked at her with the same 
covert but searching curiosity with which she was 
examining Emily. 

" You are new ? " Miss Farwell asked. 

" Very new and very frightened." 

K It is terrible for us women, isn't it ? " Miss 
Farwell's plaintive smile uncovered irregular teeth 



60 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

heavily picked out with gold. " But you'll find it 
not so unpleasant here after you catch on. They 
try to make it as easy as they can for women." 

Emily's thoughts were painful as she studied 
her fellow-journalist, " Why do women get them 
selves up in such rubbish ? " she said to herself as she 
noted Miss Farwell's slovenly imitation of an im 
ported model. " And why don't they make them 
selves clean and neat ? and why do they let them 
selves get fat and pasty ? " Miss Farwell's hair was 
in strings and thin behind the ears. Her hands 
were not well looked after. Her face had a shine 
that was glossiest on her nose and chin. Her dress, 
with its many loose ends of ruffle and puff, was far 
from fresh. She looked a discouraged young 
woman of the educated class. And her querulous 
voice, a slight stoop in her shoulders, and soft, pro 
jecting, pathetic eyes combined to give her the air 
of one who feels that she is out of her station, but 
strives to bear meekly a doom of being down 
trodden and put upon. " If ever she marries," 
thought Emily, " she will be humbly grateful at first, 
and afterwards a nagger." 

In the hope of seeing a less depressing object, 
Emily sent her glance straying about the room. 
The men had suspended work and were watching 
her with interest and frank pleasure. " No wonder," 
she thought, as she remembered her own neatness, 
the freshness and simplicity of her blue linen gown 
she had been able to get it at a fashionable shop 
for fifty dollars because it was a model and the sell- 



AMONG A STRANGE PEOPLE. 61 

ing season was ended. In the far corner sat another 
woman. Miss Farwell, noting on whom Emily's 
glance paused, said : " That is Miss Gresham. She's 
a Vassar girl who came on the paper last year. She's 
a favorite with Mr. Stilson, so she gets on." 

Miss Gresham looked up from her writing and 
Miss Farwell beckoned. Emily's spirits rose as 
Miss Gresham came. " This," she thought, " is nearer 
my ideal of an intelligent, self-respecting working 
woman," Miss Gresham was dressed simply but 
fitly a properly made shirt waist, white and clean 
and completed at the neck with a French collar ; a 
short plain black skirt that revealed presentable 
feet in presentable boots. She shook hands in a 
friendly business-like way, and Emily thought ; " She 
would be pretty if her hair were not so severely 
brushed back. As it is, she is handsome and so 
clean." 

" I was just going out to lunch. Won't you come 
with me ? " asked Miss Gresham. 

" I don't know what I'm permitted to do." Emily 
looked toward Mr. Coleman's desk. He was watch 
ing her and now called her. As she approached, 
his grin became faintly flirtatious. 

" Here is a little assignment fo/ you," he said 
graciously, extending one of his unpleasant looking 
arms with a cutting from the Evening Journal held 
in the large, plump hand. As he spoke the door of 
Mr. Stilson's office immediately behind him opened, 
and Mr. Stilson appeared. 

" What are you doing there? " he demanded. 



62 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Coleman jumped guiltily. " I was just going to 
start Miss Bromfield." His voice was a sort of 
wheedling whine, like that of a man persuading a 
fractious horse on which he is mounted and of which 
he is afraid. 

"Let me see." Stilson took the cutting. "Won't 
do. Send her with Miss Gresham." And he turned 
away without looking at Emily or seeming conscious 
of her presence. But she sent a grateful glance 
after him. " How much more sensible," she 
thought, " than turning me out to wander helplessly 
about alone." 

Miss Gresham's assignment was a national con 
vention of women's clubs " A tame affair," said 
she, " unless the delegates get into a wrangle. If 
men squabble and lose their tempers and make fools 
of themselves, it's taken as a matter of course. But 
if women do the very same thing in the very same 
circumstances, it's regarded as proof of their folly 
and lack of capacity." 

" I suppose the men delight in seeing the women 
writhe under criticism," said Emily. 

" Well, it isn't easy to endure criticism," replied 
Miss Gresham. " But it must be borne, and it does 
one good, whether it's just or unjust. It teaches 
one to realise that this world is not a hothouse." 

" I wish it were sometimes," confessed Emily. 
The near approach of " the struggle for existence " 
made her faint-hearted. 

Miss Gresham could not resist a smile as she 
looked at Emily, in face, in dress, in manner, the 



AMONG A STRANGE PEOPLE. 63 

"hothouse" woman. "It could be for you, if 
you wished it." 

" But I don't," said Emily, with sudden energy 
and a change of expression that brought out the 
strong lines of her mouth and chin, And Miss 
Gresham began to suspect that there were phases to 
her character other than sweetness and a fondness 
for the things immemorially feminine. " I purpose 
to learn to like the open air," she said, and looked 
it. 

Miss Gresham nodded approvingly. "The open 
air is best, in the end. It develops every plant 
according to its nature. The hothouses stunt the 
best plants, and disguise lots of rank weeds." 

As they were coming away from the convention, 
Miss Gresham said : " Instead of handing in your 
story to the City Desk, keep it, and we'll go over it 
together this evening, after I'm through." 

" Thank you it's so good of you to take the 
trouble. Yes, I'll try." Emily hesitated and grew 
red. 

" What is it ? " asked Miss Gresham, encourag 
ingly. 

" I was thinking about this evening. I never 
thought of it before do you write at night ? And 
how do you get home ? " 

" Certainly I write at night. And I go home as 
other business people do. I take the car as far as 
it will take me, then I walk." 

" I shall be frightened horribly frightened." 

" For a few evenings, but you'll soon be used to it. 



64 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

You don't know what a relief it will be to feel free 
to go about alone. Of course, they're careful at 
the office what kind of night-assignments they give 
women. But I make it a point not to let them 
think of my sex any more than is absolutely 
necessary. It's a poor game to play in the end to 
shirk on the plea of sex. I think most of the 
unpleasant experiences working-women have are 
due to that folly dragging their sex into their 
business." 

Emily felt and looked dismal as she sat at her 
desk, struggling to put on paper her idea of what 
the newspaper would want of what she had seen 
and heard. She wasted so many sheets of paper 
in trying to begin that she was ashamed to look at 
the heap they made on the floor beside her. Also, 
she felt that every one was watching her and se 
cretly laughing at her. After three hours of 
wretchedness she had produced seven loosely writ 
ten pages " enough to fill columns," she thought, 
but in reality a scant half-column. " I begin to un 
derstand why Miss Farwell looks so mussy," she 
said to herself, miserably eyeing her stained hands 
and wilted dress, and thinking of her hair, fiercely 
bent upon hanging out and down. She was so 
nervous that if she had been alone she would have 
cried. 

" It is impossible," she thought. " I can never 
do it. I'm of no account. What a weak, foolish 
creature I am." 

She looked round, with an idea of escaping, to 



AMONG A STRANGE PEOPLE. 65 

hide herself and never return. But Miss Gresham 
was between her and the door. Besides, had she 
not burned her bridges behind her? She simply 
must, must, must make the fight. 

She remembered Marlowe's story of Caesar and 
the pilot " I can't more than fail and die,'* she 
groaned, " and if I am to live, I must work." Then 
she laughed at herself for taking herself so seriously. 
She thought of Marlowe " What would he say if 
he could see me now?" She went through her 
list of acquaintances, picturing to herself how each 
would look and what each would say at sight of her 
sitting there a working-girl, begrimed by toil. 
She thought of Wayland the contrast between her 
present position and what it would have been had 
she married him. Then she recalled the night he 
seized her and kissed her her sensation of loathing, 
how she had taken a bath afterward and had gone 
to bed in the dark with her neck where he had 
kissed her smarting like a poisoned sore. 

" You take the Madison Avenue car?" Miss 
Gresham interrupted, startling her so that she leaped 
in her chair. " We'll go together and read what 
you've written." 

Miss Gresham went through it without changing^ 
expression. At the end she nodded reassuringly. 
" It's a fairly good essay. Of course you couldn't 
be expected to know the newspaper style." 

And she went on to point out the crudities how 
it might have been begun, where there might have 
been a few lines of description, why certain para- 



66 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

graphs were too stilted, "too much like magazine 
literature." She gave Emily a long slip of paper 
on which was about a newspaper column of print. 
" Here's a proof of my story. I wrote it before 
dinner and it was set up early. Of course, it's not 
a model. But after you leave me you can read it 
over, and perhaps it may give you some points. 
Then you might try not to-night, but to-morrow 
morning to write your story again. That's the 
easiest and quickest way to catch on." 

At Emily's corner Miss Gresham said, " I'll take 
you home this once," and left the car with her. As 
they went through the silent, empty street, their 
footsteps lightly echoing from house wall to house 
wall, Emily forgot her article and her other worri- 
ments in the foreboding of these midnight journeys 
alone. " It seems to me that I simply can't," she 
thought. " And yet I simply must and of course 
I will. If only I had been doing it for a month, 
or even a week, instead of having to look forward 
to the first time." 

Miss Gresham took her to her door, then strode 
away down the street an erect, resolute figure, 
business-like from head to heels. Emily looked 
after her with rising courage, "What a brave, fine 
girl she is," she thought, " how intelligent, how 
capable. She is the kind of woman I have dreamt 
about." 

And she went in with a lightening heart. 



1 



CHAPTER IX. 

AN ORCHID HUNTER. 



first night that Emily ventured home 
alone a man spoke to her before she had 
got twenty feet from the car tracks. 
She had thought that if this should hap 
pen she would faint. But when he said, 
" It's a pleasant evening," she put her head down 
and walked steadily on and told herself she was not 
in the least frightened. It was not until she was 
inside her door that her legs trembled and her 
heart beat fast. She sank down on the stairs in the 
dark and had a nervous chill. And it was a very 
unhappy, discouraged, self-distrustful girl that pres 
ently crept shakily up to bed. 

On the second night-journey she thought she 
heard some one close and stealthy behind her. She 
broke into a run, arriving at the door out of breath 
and ashamed of herself. "You might have been 
arrested," said Miss Gresham whan Emily confessed 
to her. " If a policeman had seen you, he'd have 
thought you were flying from the scene of your 
crime." 

A few nights afterwards a policeman did stop 
her. "You've got to keep out of this street," he 
began roughly. " I've noticed you several times 
now." 



68 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Instead of being humiliated or frightened, Emily 
became angry. " I'm a newspaper woman on the 
Democrat" she said haughtily, and just then he got 
a full view of her face and of the look in her eyes. 

He took off his helmet. "Beg pardon, miss," he 
said humbly, and with sincerity of regret. " I'm 
very sorry. I didn't see you distinctly. I've got 
a sister that does night work. I ought to a knowed 
better." 

Emily made no reply, but went on. She was 
never afraid again, and after a month wondered 
how it had been possible for her to be afraid, and 
pitied women who were as timid and helpless as she 
had been. Whenever the policeman passed her he 
touched his hat. She soon noticed that it was not 
always the same policeman and understood that the 
first one had warned the entire force at the station 
house. Often when there were many loungers in the 
street the policeman turned and followed her at a 
respectful distance until she was home ; and one 
rainy night he asked her to wait in the shelter of a 
deep doorway at the corner while he went across to 
a saloon and borrowed an umbrella. He gave it to 
her and dropped behind, coming up to get it at her 
door. 

' Thus what threatened to be her greatest trial 
proved no trial at all. 

On the last day of her first week, Mr. Stilson sent 
for her and gave her an order on the cashier for 
twelve dollars. " Are they treating you well ? " he 
asked, his eyes kind and encouraging. 



AN ORCHID HUNTER. 69 

" Yes, you are treating me well." 

Stilson coloured. 

" And I honestly don't think I've earned so much 
money," she went on. 

" I'm not in the habit of swindling the owners of 
/the Democrat" he interrupted curtly. 

Emily turned away, humiliated and hurt. " He is 
insulting," she said to herself with flashing eyes 
and quivering lips. " Oh, if I did not have to en 
dure it, I'd say things he'd not forget." 

She was sitting at her desk, still fuming, when he 
came out of his office and looked round. As he 
walked toward her, she saw that he was limping 
painfully. " Pardon me, Miss Bromfield," he said. 
" I'm suffering the tortures of hell from this in 
fernal rheumatism." And he was gone without 
looking at her or giving her a chance to reply. 

" So, it's only rheumatism," she thought, molli 
fied as to the rudeness, but disappointed as to the 
office romance of the City Editor's " secret sorrow." 
She did not tell Miss Gresham of the apology, but 
could not refrain from saying : " I have heard that 
Mr. Stilson is rude because he is rheumatic." 

" That may have something to do with it. I 
remember when he got it. He was a writer then, 
and went down to the Oil River floods. The cor 
respondents had to sleep on the wet ground, and 
endure all sorts of hardships. He was in a hospital 
in Pittsburg for two months. But there's some 
thing else besides rheumatism in his case. Long 
before that, I saw " 



70 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Miss Gresham stopped short, seemed irritated 
against herself, and changed the subject abruptly. 

Emily timidly joined the crowd at the cashier's 
window and, when her turn came, was much discon 
certed by the sharp, suspicious look which the man 
within cast at her. She signed and handed in her 
order. He searched through the long rows of en 
velopes in the pay drawer searched in vain. An 
other suspicious look at her and he began again. 
" I'm not to get it after all " she thought with a 
sick, sinking feeling how often afterward she 
remembered those anxious moments and laughed at 
herself. The cashier's man searched on and pres 
ently drew out an envelope. Again that sharp look 
and he handed her the money. She could not re 
strain a deep sigh of relief. 

She went home in triumph to Theresa and dis 
played the ten dollar bill and the two ones as if they 
were the proofs of a miracle. " It's a thrilling sen 
sation, " she said, " to find that I can really do 
something for which somebody will pay." She 
remembered Stilson's rudeness. " It was not so bad 
after all," she thought. " He convinced me that I 
had really earned the money. If he'd been polite 
I should have feared he was giving it to me out of 
good-nature." 

" Oh, you're getting on all right," said Theresa. 
" I saw Marlowe last night at Delmonico's. Frank 
and I were dining there, and he stopped to speak to 
us. I asked him about you, and shall I tell you 
just what he said ? " 



AN ORCHID HUNTER. 71 

" I want to know the worst." 

" Well, he said of course, I asked about you the 
first thing and he said that he and your City Editor 
had been dining at the Lotos Club Mr. Stilson, 
isn't it ? And Mr. Stilson said : ' If she wasn't so 
good-looking, there might be a chance of her becom 
ing a real person.' Marlowe says that's a high com 
pliment for Mr. Stilson, because he is mad on the 
subject of idle, useless women and men. And, Mr. 
Stilson went on to say that you had judgment and 
weren't vain, and that you had as much patience 
and persistence as Miss I forget her name " 

" Was it Gresham ? " asked Emily. 

'* No that wasn't the name. Was it Tarheel or 
Farheel or Farville no it was " 

" Oh." Emily looked disappointed and foolish. 
She had seen Miss Farwell an hour before patient 
and persevering indeed, but frowzier and more " put 
upon " than ever. 

" Yes Miss Farwell. Who is she ? " 

" One of the women down at the office," Emily 
said, and hurried on with : " What else did Mar 
lowe say ? " 

"That's all, except that he wanted us four to 
dine together soon. When can you go on a 
Sunday ?" 

" No, Monday that's my free day. I took it 
because it is also Miss Gresham's day off. She's 
the only friend I've made down town thus far." 

Marlowe came to Emily's desk one morning in 
her third week on the Democrat. " What did you 



72 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

have in the paper to-day ? " he asked, after he had 
explained that he was just returned from Washing 
ton and Chicago. 

" A few paragraphs," she replied, drawing a space 
slip from a drawer and displaying three small items 
pasted one under the other. 

" Not startling, are they ? " was Marlowe's com 
ment. " I've asked Miss Duncan to bring you to 
dine with Demorest and me the postponed dinner. 
But I'd rather dine with you alone. I don't think 
Demorest shines in your society ; then, too, we can 
talk shop. I've a great deal to say to you, and I 
think I can be of some use. We could dine in the 
open air up at the Casino don't you like dining in 
the open air? " 

Emily had been brought up under the cha-peron 
system. While she had no intention of clinging to 
it, she hesitated now that the occasion for beginning 
the break had come. Also, she remembered what 
Marlowe had said to her at her door. She wished 
that she were going unchaperoned with some other 
man first. 

" There's a prejudice against the Casino among 
some conventional people," he said. " But that 
does not apply to us." 

" Oh, I wasn't thinking of that," and she ac 
cepted. 

She asked Miss Gresham about him a few hours 
afterward. 

" You've met Mr. Marlowe ? " she said, in a cor 
dial tone. " Don't you think him clever? You 



AN ORCHID HUNTER. 73 

may hear some gossip about him and women. 
He's good looking, and and much like all men in 
one respect. He's the sort of man that is suspected 
of affairs, but whose name is never coupled with 
any particular woman's. That's a good sign, don't 
you think? It shows that the gossip isn't started 
or encouraged by him." 

" Is it proper for me to go to dinner with him 
alone ? " 

" Why not ? Of course, if they see you, they 
may talk about you. But what does that matter ? 
It would be different if you were waiting with 
folded hands for some man to come along and un 
dertake to support you for life. Then gossip might 
damage your principal asset. But now your prin 
cipal asset isn't reputation for conventionality, but 
brains. And you don't have to ask favours of any 
body." 

Marlowe and Emily had a table at the end of the 
walk parallel with the entrance-drive. The main 
subject of conversation was Emily what she had 
done, what she could do, and how she could do it. 
"All that I'm saying is general," he said. "I'll 
help you to apply it, if I may. There's no reason 
why you should not be doing well making at least 
forty dollars a week within six months. We'll get 
up some Sunday specials together to help you on 
faster. The main point is a new way of looking at 
whatever you're writing about. Your good taste 
will always save you from being flat or silly, even 
when you're not brilliant." 



74 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

While Marlowe talked, Emily observed, as accu 
rately as it is possible for a young person to observe 
when the person under observation is good-looking, 
young, of the opposite sex, and when both are, con 
sciously and unconsciously, doing their utmost to 
think well each of the other. He had a low, agree 
able voice, and an unusually attractive mouth. His 
miad was quick, his manner simple and direct. Al 
though he was clearly younger than thirty-five, his 
hair was sprinkled with gray at the temples, and 
there were wrinkles in his forehead and at the 
corners of his eyes. He made many gestures, and 
she liked to watch his hands the hands of an ath 
lete, but well-shaped. 

" I ride and swim almost every day," he said inci 
dentally to some discussion about the sedentary 
life. And she knew why he looked in perfect 
health. Emily admired him, liked him, with the 
quick confidence of youth trusted him, before 
they had been talking two hours. And it pleased 
her to see admiration of her in his eyes, and to feel 
that he was physically and mentally glad to be near 
her. 

As they were drinking champagne (slightly modi 
fied by apollinaris), the acquaintance progressed 
swiftly. It would have been all but impossible for 
her to resist the contagion of his open-mindedness, 
had she been so inclined. But she herself had 
rapidly changed in her month in New York. She 
felt that she was able to meet a man on his own 
ground now, and that she understood men far 



AN ORCHID HUNTER. 75 

better, and she seemed to herself to be seeing life in a 
wholly new aspect its aspect to the self-reliant and 
free. She helped him to hasten through those ante 
rooms to close acquaintance, where, as he put it, 
" stupid people waste most of their time and all 
their chances for happiness." 

He had a way of complimenting her which was 
peculiarly insidious. He was talking earnestly 
about her work, his mind apparently absorbed. 
Abruptly he interrupted himself with, " Don't mind 
my talking so much. It's happiness. One is not 
often happy. And I feel to-night " this with 
raillery in his voice " like an orchid hunter who 
has been dragging himself through jungles for days 
and is at last rewarded with the sight of a new and 
wonderful specimen high up in a difficult tree, but 
still, perhaps, accessible." And then he went on to 
discuss orchids with her and told a story of an 
acquaintance, a half-mad orchid-hunter all with no 
further reference to her personality. 

It was not until they were strolling through the 
Park toward Fifty-ninth street that the subject 
which is sure to appear sooner or later in such cir 
cumstances and conjunctions started from cover and 
fluttered into the open. 

He glanced at the moon. " It would be impossi 
ble to improve upon that nice old lady up there as 
a chaperon, wouldn't it? " 

" I'm not sure that I'd give my daughter into her 
charge," said Emily. 

" Why do you say that ?" 



76 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Oh, I think it all depends upon the woman." 

" Any woman who couldn't be trusted with the 
moon as a chaperon, either wouldn't be safe with 
any chaperon or wouldn't be worth saving from the 
consequences of her own folly." 

" Possibly. But I confess I wouldn't trust even 
myself implicitly to that old lady up there, as you 
call her." 

" But you are doing so this evening." 

" Mercy, no. I've two other guardians myself 
and you." 

" Thank you for including me. I'm afraid I 
don't deserve it." 

" Then I'll try to arrange it so that I sha'n't have 
to call you in to help me." 

" Would you think me very absurd if I told you, 
in the presence of your chaperon, that " His look 
made her's waver for an instant " I must have my 
orchid ? " 

" Not absurd," replied Emily. " But abrupt 
and " 

" And what ? " 

" And "She laughed. " And interesting." 

" There's only a short time to live," he answered, 
" and I'm no longer so young as I once was. But 
I don't wish to hurry you. I don't expect any 
answer now it would be highly improper, even if 
your answer were ready." He looked at her with 
a very agreeable audacity. " And I'm not sure that 
it isn't ready. But I can wait. I simply spoke my 
own mind, as soon as I saw that it would not be 
disagreeable to you to hear it." 



AN ORCHID HUNTER. 77 

" How did you know that ? " 

" Instinct, pure instinct. No sensitive man ever 
failed to know whether a woman found him tolera 
ble or intolerable." 

" Don't think," said Emily, seriously but not 
truthfully, " that I'm taking your remark as a 
tribute to myself. I understand that you are 
striving to do what is expected of a man on such a 
night as this." 

" Does one have to tear his hair, and foam at the 
mouth, in order to convince you ? " asked Marlowe, 
his eyes laughing, yet earnest too. 

" Yes," said Emily calmly. " Begin please." 

" No I've said enough, for the evening." He 
was walking close to her, and there was no raillery 
in either his tone or his eyes. " It's so new and 
wonderful a sensation to me, that as yet, just the 
pleasure of it is all that I ask." 

" But you don't fit in with my plans not at all," 
she said, in a way that must have been encouraging 
since it was not in the least discouraging. " I'm 
a working woman, and must not bother with with 
orchid hunters." 

"Your plans? Oh!" He laughed, " Let me 
help you revise them." He saw her face change. 
" Or rather," he quickly corrected, " let me help 
you realise them." 

They were to join Theresa and Frank at the 
New York roof-garden. Just before they entered 
the street doors, he said : " I think there are only 
two things in the world worth living for work and 



7 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

love. And I think neither is perfect without the 
other. Perhaps who knows ? " 

Her answering look was not directed toward him, 
but it was none the less an answer. It made him 
feel that they were both happy in the anticipation 
of greater happiness imminent. 



CHAPTER X. 

FURTHER EXPLORATION. 

WHEN Emily came into the sitting-room 
the next morning at ten she found 
that Theresa had ordered breakfast 
for both sent there, and was waiting. 
She was in a dressing-gown, her hair 
twisted in a careless knot, her eyes tired and cloud 
ed. The air was tainted with the sweet, stale, heavy 
perfume which was an inseparable part of her per 
sonality. " I wish Theresa wouldn't use that scent," 
thought Emily her first thought always when she 
came near Theresa or into any place where Theresa 
had recently been. 

" How well you have slept," began Theresa, look 
ing with good-natured envy at Emily's fresh face 
and fresh French shirt-waist. 

" Not very," replied Emily. " I was awake until 
nearly daylight." 

" Did you hear me come in?" 
" I heard you moving about your room just as I 
was going to sleep." Emily knew Theresa's mode 
of life. But she avoided seeming to know, and ig 
nored Theresa's frequent attempts to open the sub 
ject of herself and Frank. She thought she had 
gone far enough when she made it clear that she 
was not sitting in judgment upon her. 



8o A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" I'm blue desperately blue," continued Theresa. 
" I don't know which way to turn." There was a 
long pause, then with a flush she looked at Emily 
and dropped her uneasy eyes. " How " 

" I think it most unwise," interrupted Emily, " to 
confide one's private affairs to any other, and I know 
it's most impertinent for any other to peer into 
them." 

" You're right but I've got to talk it over with 
some one." 

" I hope you won't tell me more than is absolutely 
necessary, Theresa." 

" Well I'm up against it 'to use the kind of 
language that fits such a vulgar muddle. And I've 
neglected my business until there's nothing left of 
it." A long pause, then in a strained voice : " I've 
been planning all along to marry Frank Demorest 
and I find not only that he wouldn't marry me if 
he could, but couldn't if he would. He's going to 
marry money. He's got to. He told me frankly 
last night. He's down to less than ten thousand a 
year, about a third of what it costs him to live. 
And he's living up his principal." 

" This is the saddest tale of privation and poverty 
I ever heard," said Emily. Then more seriously : 
" You're not in love with him ? " 

" Well he's good looking ; he knows the world ; 
he has the right sort of manners, and goes with the 
right sort of people, and he comes of a splendid old 
family." 

" His father kept a drygoods shop, didn't he ? " 



FURTHER EXPLORATION. 81 

" Yes but that was when Frank was a young 
man. And it was a big shop wholesale, you know 
not retail. He never worked in it or anyv/here 
else. You could tell that he'd never worked, but 
had always been a gentleman, and only looked after 
the property." 

" I understand," Emily nodded with great solem 
nity. " We'll concede that he's a gentleman. What 
next ? " 

"Well, I wanted to marry him. It would have 
been satisfactory in every way. I'd have got back 
my position in society that we had to give up when 
father lost everything and and died and mother 
wanted to drag me off to live in Blue Mountain. 
Just think of it Blue Mountain, Vermont ! " 

" I am thinking of it or, rather, of Stoughton," 
said Emily, with a shiver. 

" And I simply wouldn't go. I went to work 
instead. But well I'm too lazy to work. I 
couldn't and I can't. I can talk about it and pre 
tend about it but I can't do it. And now I've got 
to choose between work and Blue Mountain once 
more." 

" But you had that choice before, and you didn't 
go to Blue Mountain. Why are you so cut up 
now?" 

" I've been skating on thin ice these last four 
years. And I've begun to think about the future." 

" How could I advise you ? I can only say that 
you do well to think seriously about what you're to 
do if you won't work." 



82 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" I can't, I simply can't, work. It's so common, 
so Oh, I don't see it as you do, as I was trying to 
make believe I saw it when I first talked to you. I 
feel degraded because I am not as we used to be. 
I want a big house and lots of servants and social 
position. You don't know how low I feel in a street 
car. You don't know how wretched I am when 
I am in the Waldorf or Sherry's or driving in the 
Park in a hired hansom, or when I see the carriages 
in the evening with the women on their way to 
swell dinners or balls. You don't know how I de 
spise myself, how I have despised myself for the 
last four years. No wonder Frank wouldn't marry 
me. He'd have been a fool to." The tears were 
rolling down Theresa's face. 

It was impossible for Emily not to sympathize 
with a grief so genuine. " Poor girl," she thought, 
" she can no more help being a snob than she can 
help being a brunette." And she said aloud in a 
gentle voice : " What have you thought of doing ? " 

" I've got to marry," answered Theresa. "And 
marry quick. And marry money." 

A queer look came into Emily's face at this re 
statement of her own attempted solution of the 
Stoughton problem. Theresa misunderstood the 
look. " You are so unsympathetic," she said, 
lighting a cigarette. 

Emily was putting on her hat. " No not un 
sympathetic," she replied. "Anything but that. 
Only you are healthy and strong and capable, 
Theresa. Why should you sell yourself ? " 



FURTHER EXPLORATION. 83 

" Oh, I know you imagine you think it fine and 
dignified to work for one's living. But in the 
bottom of your heart you know better. You know 
it is not refined and womanly that it means that 
a woman has been beaten, has been unable to 
get a man to support her as a lady should be sup 
ported." 

Emily faced her and, as she put on her gloves, 
said in a simple, good-tempered way : " I admit 
that I'm conventional enough at times and discour 
aged enough at times to feel that it would be a 
temptation if some man not too disagreeable were 
to offer to take care of me for life. But I'm trying 
to outgrow it, trying to come up to a new ideal of 
self-respect. And I believe, Theresa, that the new 
ideal is better for us. Anyhow in the circum 
stances, -it's certainly wiser and and safer." 

" What are you going to do about Marlowe ? " 
Theresa thrust at her with deliberate suddenness 
and some malice. 

Emily kept the colour out of her face, but her 
eyes betrayed to Theresa that the thrust had 
reached. " Well, what about Marlowe ? " She 
decided to drop evasion and was at once free from 
embarrassment. 

" He'll not marry you. He isn't a marrying 
man." 

" And why should he marry me ? And why 
should I marry him ? I have no wish to be tied. 
It was necessity that forced me to be free ; but I 
know more certainly every day that it isn't neces- 



84 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

sity that will keep me free. You see, Theresa, I 
don't hate work, as you do. I feel that every one 
has to work anyhow, and I prefer to work for myself 
and be paid for it, rather than to be some man's* 
housekeeper and get my wages as if they were 
charity." 

" If I married, you may be sure I'd be no man's 
housekeeper," said Theresa, with a toss of the head. 

" I was making the position as dignified as pos 
sible. Suppose you found after marriage that you 
didn't care for your husband ; or suppose you de 
liberately married for money. I should say that 
mere housekeeper would be enviable in compari 
son." 

" There's a good deal of pretence about that, isn't 
there, honestly ? " Theresa was laughing disagree 
ably. " It's a thoroughly womanish remark. But 
it's a remark to make to a man, not when two 
women who understand woman-nature are talking 
quietly, with no man to overhear." 

"Certainly I've known a great many women, 
nice women, who seemed to be living quite com 
fortably and contentedly with husbands they did not 
in the least like. And I am no better, no more 
sensitive than other women. Still I feel as I say. 
Let's call it a masculine quality in me. I doubt if 
there are many husbands who live with wives they 
don't like like a little for the time, at any rate." 

" I've often thought of that. It's the most satis 
factory thing about being a woman and having a 
man in love with one. One knows, as a man never 



FURTHER EXPLORATION. 85 

can know about a woman, that he means at least 
part of it. But you ought to be at your beloved 
office. You don't think I'm so horribly horrid, do 
you ? " 

Emily stood behind Theresa and put her arms 
around her shoulders. " You've a right to feel about 
yourself and do with yourself as you please," she 
said. " And in the ways that are important to me, 
you are the most generous, helpful girl in the 
world." 

" Well, i don't believe I'm mean. But what is a 
woman to do in such a hard world ? " 

" Go to the office," said Emily. She patted 
Theresa's cheek encouragingly. " Put off being 
blue, dear, until the last minute. Then perhaps 
you won't need to be blue or won't have time. 
Good-bye!" 

What was she going to do about Marlowe ? She 
began to think of it as she left the house, and she 
was still debating it as she entered the Democrat 
building and saw him waiting for the elevator. 

" Just whom I wish to see," he began. " No, not 
for that reason altogether," he went on audaciously 
answering her thought, as if she had spoken it or 
looked it, when she had done neither. " This is 
business. I'm going to Pittsburg to get specials on 
the strike. Canfield's sending you along." 

"Why?" Resentment was rising in her. How 
could he, how dare he, advertise her to the Manag 
ing Editor thus falsely ? " Why should he send 
me?" 



86 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Because I asked him. He opposed it, but I 
finally persuaded him. I wanted you for my own 
sake. Incidentally I saw that it was a chance for 
you. I laid it on rather strong about your talents, 
and so you've simply got to give a good account of 
yourself." 

",I cannot go," she said coldly. " It's Impos 
sible." 

They went into the elevator. " Come up to the 
Managing Editor's office with me," he said. He 
motioned her into a seat in Canfield's anteroom 
and sat beside her. " What is the ^matter ? " he 
asked. " Let us never be afraid to tell each other 
the exact truth." 

" How could I go out there alone with you? 
The whole office, everybody we meet there, would be 
talking about us." 

" I see," he said with raillery. "You thought I 
had sacrificed your reputation in my eagerness to 
get you within easy reach of my wiles ? Well, per 
haps I might have done it in some circumstances. 
But in this case that happens not to have been my 
idea. I remembered what you have for the moment 
forgotten that you are on the staff of the Demo 
crat. I got you the assignment to do part of this 
strike. My private reasons for doing so are not in 
the matter at all. You may rest assured that, if I 
had not thought you'd send good despatches and 
make yourself stronger on the paper and justify my 
insistence, I should not have interfered." 

She sat silent, ashamed of the exhibition of vanity 



FURTHER EXPLORATION. 87 

and suspicion into which she had been hurried. " I 
beg your pardon," she said at last, 

" I love you," he answered in a low voice. "And 
those three little words mean more to me than I 
thought they could mean. Let us go in to see 
Canfield." 

u I don't in the least trust Marlowe's judgment 
about you, now that I've seen you," said Mr. Can- 
field polite, pale, thin of face, with a sharp nose ; 
his dark circled eyes betrayed how restlessly and 
sleeplessly his mind prowled through the world in 
the daily search for the newest news. " But my 
own judgment is gone too. So if you please, go 
to Furnaceville for us." He dropped his drawing- 
room tone and poured out a flood of instructions 
" Send us what you see what you really see. If 
you see misery, send it. If not, for heaven's sake, 
don't ' fake ' it. Put humour in your stuff all the 
humour you possibly can ' fake ' that, if necessary. 
But it won't be necessary, if you have real eyes. Go 
to the workmen's houses. Look all through them 
parlours, bedrooms, kitchen. Look at the grocer's 
bills and butcher's. Tell what their clothes cost. 
Describe their children. Talk to their children. 
Make us see just what kind of people these are that 
; are making such a stir. You've a great opportunity. 
Don't miss it. And don't, don't, don't, do ' fine 
writing.' No 'literature' just life men, women, 
children. Here's an order for a hundred dollars. 
If you run short, Marlowe will telegraph you 
more." 



88 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

"Then we don't go together after all? " she said 
to Marlowe, as they left Canfield's office. 

" I'm sorry you're to be disappointed," he replied, 
mockingly. , " I stay in Pittsburg for the present. 
You go out to the mills out to Furnaceville first." 

" Where the militia are ? " 

" Yes they're expecting trouble there next week. 
I'll probably be on in a day or so. But I must see 
several people in Pittsburg first. You'll have the 
artist with you, though. Try to keep him sober. 
But if he will get drunk, turn him adrift. He'U 
only hamper you." 

Emily was in a fever as she cashed the order and 
went up town to pack a small trunk and catch the 
six o'clock train. Going on an important mission 
thus early in her career as a working-woman would 
have been exciting enough, however quiet the oc 
casion. But going among militia and rioters, going 
unchaperoned with two men, going the wildest 
part of the excursion with one man and he an ar 
tist of unsteady habits who would need watching 
she could not grasp it. However, an hour after 
they were settled in the Pullman, she had forgotten 
everything except the work she was to do or fail 
to do. Indeed, it had already begun. Marlowe 
brought with him a big bundle of newspapers, and 
a boy from the Democrat's Philadelphia office came 
to the station there, and gave him another and 
bigger bundle. 

" I'm reading up," said Marlowe, " and it won't 
do you any harm to do the same. Then, when we 



FURTHER EXPLORATION. 89 

arrive, we'll know all that's been going on, and we'll 
be able to step right into it without delay." 

The artist went to the smoking compartment. 
She and Marlowe attacked the papers. Both read 
until dinner, and again after dinner until the berths 
'were made. When they talked it was of the strike. 
Marlowe neither by word nor by look indicated 
that he was conscious of any but a purely profes 
sional bond between them. And she soon felt as 
he acted occasionally hoping that he did not alto 
gether feel as he acted, but was restraining himself 
through fine instinct. 

When they separated at Pittsburg, and she and 
the artist were on the way in the chill morning to 
the train for Furnaceville, she remembered that he 
had not shown the slightest anxiety about the peril 
into which she was going and going by his ar 
rangement. But she was soon deep in the Pitts- 
burg morning papers, her mind absorbed in the 
battle between brain-workers and brawn-workers of 
which she was to be a witness. She was impatient 
to arrive, impatient to carry out the suggestions 
which her imagination had evolved from what she 
had been reading. To her the strike, with its anxi 
eties and perils for thousands, meant only her own 
opportunity, as she noted with some self-reproach. 

" I hope they'll get licked," said the artist. 

"Who?" asked Emily, looking at him more 
carefully than she had thus far, and remembering 
that he had not been introduced to her and that 
she did not know his name. 



90 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" The workingmen, of course," he replied. " I 
know them. My father was one of 'em. I came 
from this neighbourhood." 

" I should think your sympathies would be with 
them." Emily was coldly polite. She did not like 
the young man's look of coarse dissipation dull 
eyes, clouded skin, and unhealthy lips and teeth. 

" That shows you don't know them. They are 
the most unreasonable lot, and if they had the 
chance they'd be brutal tyrants. They have no 
respect for brains." 

" But they might be right in this case. I don't 
say that they are. It's so difficult to judge what is 
right and what wrong." 

" You may be sure they're wrong. My father 
was always wrong. Why, if he and his friends had 
been able to carry out all they used to talk, the 
whole world would be a dead level of savages. 
They used to call everybody who didn't do manual 
labour a * parasite on the toiling masses.' As if the 
toiling masses would have any toiling to do to en 
able them to earn bread and comfortable homes for 
themselves if it were not for the brain-workers*" 

" Oh, it seems to me that we're all toilers together, 
each in his own way. Perhaps it's because I'm too 
stupid to understand it, but I don't think much of 
theories about these things." 

The train stopped, the brakeman shouted, " Fur- 
naceville ! " Emily and the artist descended to the 
station platform, there to be eyed searchingly by a 
crowd of roughly dressed men with scowling faces. 



FURTHER EXPLORATION. 91 

When the train had moved on without discharging 
the load of non-union workers they were expecting, 
their faces relaxed and they became a cheerful crowd 
of Americans. They watched the " lady from the 
city," with respectful, fascinated side-glances. Those 
nearest her looked aimlessly but earnestly about, as 
if hoping to see or to imagine some way of being 
of service to her. Through the crowd pushed a 
young man, whom Emily at once knew was of the 
newspaper profession. 

" Is this Miss Bromfield ? " he asked. 

" Yes," replied Emily, " from the New York Demo 
crat." 

" My name is Holyoke. I'm the Pittsburg cor 
respondent of the Democrat. Mr. Marlowe tele 
graphed me to meet you and see that you did not 
get into any danger, and also to engage rooms for 
you." 

Emily beamed upon Mr. Holyoke. Marlowe had 
thought of her had been anxious about her. 
And instead of saying so, he had acted. " Thank 
you so much," she said. " This gentleman is from 
the Democrat also." 

" My name is Camp," said the artist, making a 
gesture toward the unwieldy bundle of drawing 
sheets wrapped flat which he carried under his arm. 

" I have arranged for you at the Palace Hotel," 
continued Holyoke. " Don't build your hopes too 
high on that name. I took back-rooms on the 
second floor because the hotel is just across an open 
space from the entrance to the mills." 



92 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Emily thought a moment on this location and its 
reason, then grew slightly paler. Holyoke looked 
at her with the deep sympathy which a young man 
must always feel for the emotions of a young and 
good-looking woman. " If there is any trouble, it'll 
be over quickly once it begins," he said, " and you 
can easily keep out of the way." 

They climbed a dreary, rough street, lined with 
monotonous if comfortable cottages. It was a 
depressing town, as harsh as the iron by which all 
of its inhabitants lived. " People ought to be well 
paid to live in such a place as this," said Emily. 

" I don't see how they stand it," Holyoke replied. 
" But the local paper has an editorial against the 
militia this morning, and it speaks of the town as 
* our lovely little city, embowered among the moun 
tains, the home of beauty and refinement.' " 

The Palace was a three-story country-town hotel, 
with the usual group of smoking and chewing 
loungers impeding the entrance. Emily asked 
Holyoke to meet her in the small parlour next to the 
office in half an hour. 



CHAPTER XI. 

SEEN FROM A BARRICADED WINDOW. 

SHE was in the parlour when Holyoke re 
turned. The loungers and her fellow- 
guests had been wandering through the 
room to inspect her " the lady writer 
from New York." She herself was ab 
sorbed in the view of the mills rising above a stock 
ade fence not five hundred feet away, across a 
flagged public square. There were three entrances, 
and up and down in front of each marched a soldier 
with a musket at shoulder-arms. In each entrance 
Emily saw queer-looking little guns on wheels. 
Their tubes and mountings flashed in the sunlight. 
" What kind of cannon are those ? " she asked. 
"They're machine-guns," explained Holyoke. 
" You put in a belt full of cartridges, aim the muz 
zle at the height of a man's middle or calves as the 
case may be. Then you turn the crank and the 
muzzle waggles to and fro across the line of the 
mob and begins to sputter out bullets about fifteen 
hundred a minute. And down go the rioters like 
wheat before a scythe. They're beauties those 
guns." 

Emily looked from Holyoke to the guns, but 
she could not conceive his picture. It seemed 



94 A WOMAN VENTURES 

impossible that this scene of peace, of languor, 
could be shifted to a scene of such terror as some 
of the elements in it ought to suggest. How 
could these men think of killing each other ? Why 
should that soldier from the other end of the State 
leave his home to come and threaten to shoot his 
fellow citizen whom he did not know, whose town 
he had not seen until yesterday, and in whose griev 
ance, real or fancied, he had no interest or part? 
She felt that this was the sentimental, unreasoning, 
narrow view to take. But now that she was face to 
face with the possibility of bloodshed, broad princi 
ples grew vague, unreal ; and the actualities before 
her eyes and filling her horizon seemed all-impor 
tant. 

She and Holyoke wandered about the town, he 
helping her quickly to gather the materials for her 
first " special," her impression of the town and its 
people and their feelings and of the stockaded mills 
with the soldiers and guns her supplement to 
the strictly news account Holyoke would send. 
Camp accompanied them, making sketches. He 
went back to the hotel in advance of them to draw 
several large pictures to be sent by the night mail 
that they might reach New York in time for the 
paper of the next day but one. Toward four 
o'clock Emily shut herself in her room, and began 
her first article. 

An hour of toil passed and she had not yet made 
a beginning. She was wrought to a high pitch of 
nervous terror. "Suppose I should fail utterly? 



A BARRICADED WINDOW. 95 

Can it be possible that I shall be unable to write 
anything at all ? " The floor was strewn with sheets 
of paper, a sentence, a few sentences failed begin 
nings written on each. Her hands were grimed 
with lead dust from sharpened and resharpened 
pencils. There was a streak of black on her left 
cheek. Her hair was coming down as it seemed 
to her, the forewarning of complete mental collapse. 
She rose and paced the floor in what was very 
nearly an agony of despair. 

There was a knock and she opened the door to 
take in a telegram. It was from the Managing 
Editor: 

If there should be trouble to-night, please help Holyoke all 
you can. Do not be afraid of duplicating his stuff. 

The Democrat. 

\ 

This put her in a panic. She began to sob hys 
terically. ' What possessed Marlowe to drag me 
into this scrape ? And they expect me to do a 
man's work ! Oh, how could I have been such a 
fool as to undertake this ? I can't do it ! I shall 
be disgraced ! " 

She washed her face and hands and put her hair 
in order. She was so desperate that her sense of 
humour was not aroused by the sight of her absurdly 
tragic expression. She sat at the table and began 
again. She had just written : 

" The shining muzzles of six machine-guns and the spotless 
new uniforms of the three soldiers that march up and down on 
guard at the mill stockade are the most conspicuous " 



9 6 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

when there was a knock and her door was flung 
open. She started up, her eyes wide with alarm, 
her cheeks blanched, her lips apart, her throat ready 
to release a scream. It was only Holyoke. 

" Beg pardon," he gasped out. " No time for 
ceremony. The company is bringing a gang of 
* scabs ' through the mountains on foot. The strik 
ers are on to it. There'll be a fight sure. Don't 
stir out of your room, no matter what you hear. 
If the hotel's in any danger, I'll let you know. 
Camp'll be looking out for you too and the other 
newspaper boys. As soon as it's over, I'll come. 
Sit tight remember! " 

He rushed away. Emily looked at her chaos of 
failures. Of what use to go on now now, when 
real events were impending? From her window 
she could see several backyards. In one, three 
children were making mud pies and a woman was 
hanging out the wash blue overalls, red flannel, 
and cheap muslin underclothes, polkadot cotton 
slips and dresses in many sizes, yarn stockings and 
socks, white and gray. 

Crack ! 

The woman paused with one ieg of a pair of 
overalls unpinned. The children straightened up, 
feeling for each other with mud-bedaubed hands. 
Emily felt as if her ears were about to burst with 
the strain of the silence. 

Crack! Crack! Crack 1 An answering volley of 
oaths. A scream of derision and rage from a mob. 

The children fled into the house. The woman 



A BARRICADED WINDOW. 97 

gathered in a great armful of clothes from the line 
as if a rain storm had suddenly come. She ran, 
entangled in her burden, her thick legs in drab stock 
ings interfering one with the other. Emily jumped 
to her feet. 

" I cannot stay here," she exclaimed. " I must 
see ! " 

She flew down the hall to the front of the house. 
There was a parlour and Camp's paper and drawing 
materials were scattered about. He was barricad 
ing a window with the bedding from a room to the 
rear. He glanced at her. " Go back ! " he said in a 
loud, harsh voice. " This is no place for a woman." 

" But it's just the place for a reporter," she re- 
plied. " I'll help you." 

They arranged the mattresses so that, sheltered 
by them and the thick brick wall, they could peer 
out of the window from either side. 

The square was empty. The gates in the stock 
ade were closed. In each of the barricaded upper 
windows of the mill appeared the glittering barrels 
of several rifles at different heights, 

" See that long, low building away off there to 
the left?" said Camp. "The 'scabs' and their 
militia guard are behind it. The strikers are in the 
houses along this side of the street.' 

Crack ! A bullet crashed into the mirror hanging 
on the rear wall of their parlour. It had cut a 
clean hole through the window pane without shiver 
ing it and had penetrated the mattresses as if they 
had been a single thickness of paper. 



98 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

"Now will you go back to your room ?" angrily 
shouted Camp, although he was not three feet from 
her. 

" Why are they firing at the hotel ? " was Emily's 
'reply. 

"Bad aim that's all. The strikers aren't here. 
That must have been an answer to a bullet from 
next door. The soldiers shoot whenever a striker 
shows himself to aim." 

Crack ! There was a howl of derision in reply. 
" That's the way they let the soldiers know it was 
a close shot but a miss," said Camp. 

A man ran from behind a building to the right 
and in front of the stockade, and started across the 
open toward where the strikers were entrenched. 
He'was a big, rough-looking fellow. As he came, 
Emily could see his face dark, scowling, set. 

Crack ! 

The man ran more swiftly. There was a howl of 
delight from the strikers. But, a few more leaps 
and he stumbled, flung up his hands, pitched for 
ward, fell, squirmed over so that he lay face upward. 
His legs and arms were drawing convulsively up 
against his body and shooting out to their full 
length again. His face was twisting and grew shiny 
with sweat and froth. A stream of blood oozed 
from under him and crawled in a thin, dark rivulet 
across the flagging to a crack, then went no further. 
He turned his face, a wild appeal for help in it, 
toward the house whence he had come. 

At once from behind that shelter ran a second 



A BARRICADED WINDOW, 99 

man, younger than the first. He had a revolver in 
his right hand. Emily could plainly see his 
clinched jaws, his features distorted with fury. 
His lips were drawn back from his teeth like an 
angry bulldog's. 

"He's a madman!" shrieked Camp. " He can 
do nothing ! " 

" He's a hero," panted Emily. 

Crack ! 

He stopped short. Emily saw his face change in 
expression from fury to wonder, from wonder to 
fear, from fear to a ghastly, green-white pallor of 
pain and hate. He tossed his arms high above his 
head. The revolver flew from his hand. Then, 
within a few feet of the still-twitching body of the 
other, he crashed down. The blood spurted from 
his mouth, drenching his face. He worked himself 
over and around, half rose, wiped his face with his 
sleeve, fell back. Emily saw that he was looking 
toward the shelter, his features calm a look'of love 
and longing, a look of farewell for some one con 
cealed there. 

And now a third figure ran from the shelter into 
that zone of death a boyish figure, lithe and swift. 
As it came nearer she saw that it was a youth, a 
mere lad, smooth faced, with delicate features. He 
too carried a revolver, but the look in his face was 
love and anguish. 

Crack ! 

The boy flung the revolver from him and ran on. 
One arm was swinging limp. Now he was at the 



loo A WOMAN VENTURES. 

side of the second man. He was just kneeling, 
just stretching out his hand toward the dear dead 

Crack! 

He fell forward, his arm convulsively circling the 
head of his beloved. As he fell, his hat slipped 
away and a mass of brown hair uncoiled and show 
ered down, hiding both their faces. 

" Oh ! " Emily drew back, sick and trembling. 
She glanced at Camp. He looked like a maniac. 
His eyes bulged, bloodshot. His nostrils stood 
out stiff. His long yellow teeth were grinding and 
snapping. 

" God damn them ! " he shrieked. " God damn 
the hell-hounds of the capitalists! Murderers! 
Murderers ! killing honest workingmen and women !" 

And as Emily crouched there, too weak to lift her 
self, yet longing to see those corpse-strewn, blood 
stained stones the stage of that triple tragedy of 
courage, self-sacrifice, love and death Camp raved 
on, poured out curses upon capitalists and militia. 
Camp ! who that very morning had been trying to 
impress Emily with his superiority to his origin, his 
contempt of these " mere machines for the use of 
men of brains.*' 



CHAPTER XII. 

A RISE AND A FALL. 

WHEN Emily looked again two of the 
strikers, one waving a white rag at 
the end of a pole, were advancing 
toward the limp bodies in the centre 
of the square. They made three 
trips. Neither shots nor shouts broke the silence. 
Soon the only evidences of the tragedy were the 
pools and streaks of blood on the flagging. 

Camp was once more at his drawing, rapidly out 
lining a big sketch of the scene they had witnessed. 
" Good stuff, wasn't it ? " he said, looking up with 
an apologetic grin and flush. " It couldn't have 
been better if it had been fixed for a theatre." 

" It'll make a good story," replied Emily, strug 
gling with some success to assume the calmly pro 
fessional air and tone. " I'm going to my room. 
If I hear any more shots, I'll come again. When 
Mr. Holyoke returns, please tell him I'd like to see 
him." 

She had rushed through that hall an hour before, 
a panic-stricken girl. She returned a woman, con 
fident of herself. She had seen ; she had felt ; she 
had lived. She sat at her table, and, with little 
hesitation, wrote. When she had been at work an 
hour and a half, Holyoke interrupted her. 



102 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Oh, I see you're busy," he began. 

" I wanted to say," said Emily, " that I shall send 
a little about the trouble a while ago quite inde 
pendently of the news, you know. So, just write 
as if I were not here at all." 

"All right. They'll want every line we can both 
send." Holyoke looked at her with friendly anxiety. 
" You look tired," he said, " as if you'd been under 
a strain. It must have been an awful experience 
for you, sitting here. Don't brother to write any 
thing. I'll sign both our names to my despatch." 

"Thank you, but I couldn't let you do that. 
What were the names of those people who were 
killed out in the square ? " 

" They were a puddler named Jack Farron, and 
his son Tom, and Tom's wife. Tom got married 
only last week. She insisted on going out with 
him. They had been scouting, and had news that 
the militia were moving to take the strikers from 
the rear and rout them out of their position. You 
heard about the shooting?" 

" No I saw it," said Emily. " Mr. Camp and I 
watched from the parlour window. Is there going 
to be more trouble ? " 

" Not for a good many hours. The ' scabs ' re 
treated, and won't come back until they're sure the 
way is clear." 

Emily took up her pencil and looked at her pa 
per. " I'll call again later," said Holyoke, as he de 
parted. " You can file your despatch downstairs. 
The Postal telegraph office is in the hotel." 



A RISE AND A FALL. 103 

She wrote about four thousand words, and went 
over her " copy" carefully three times. It did not 
please her, but she felt that she had told the facts, 
and that she had avoided " slopping over " the 
great offence against which every newspaper man 
and woman who had given her advice had warned 
her. She filed the despatch at nine o'clock. 

" We can put it on the wire at once," said the 
telegraph manager. " We'll get a loop straight into 
the Democrat office. We knew you people would 
be flocking here, and so we provided against a crush. 
We've got plenty of wires and operators." 

Emily ate little of the dinner that had been 
saved for her, and at each sudden crash from the 
kitchen where noisy servants were washing dishes, 
her nerves leaped and the blood beat heavily against 
her temples. She went back to the little reception 
room and stood at the window, looking out into the 
square. In the bright moonlight she saw the soldiers 
marching up and down before the entrance to the 
stockade. The open space between it and her was 
empty, and the soft light flooded round the great 
dark stains which marked the site of the tragedy. 

" Why aren't you in bed ? " It was Marlowe's 
voice, and it so startled her that she gave a low cry 
'and clasped her clinched hands against her breast. 
She had been thinking of him. The death of those 
lovers, its reminder of the uncertainty of life and of 
the necessity of seizing happiness before it should 
escape forever, had brought him, or, rather, love 
with him as the medium, vividly into her mind. 



104 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" You frightened me I'm seeing ghosts to-night,'* 
she said. " How did you reach here when there is 
no train ? " 

" Several of us hired a special and came down 
just an engine and tender. We fancied there might 
be more trouble. But it's all over. The Union 
knows it can't fight the whole State, and the Com 
pany is very apologetic for the killing of those peo 
ple, especially the woman. Still, her death may 
have saved a long and bloody strike. That must 
have been an awful scene this afternoon." He was 
talking absently. His eyes, his thoughts were upon 
her, slender, pale, yet golden. 

Emily briefly described what she had seen. 

" It's a pity you didn't telegraph an account of 
it. Your picture of it would have been better than 
Holyoke's, even if you didn't see the shooting." 

" But I did see it ! " 

Marlowe's look became dazed. " What ? " he 
said. " How ? Where were you ? " 

" Upstairs in the parlour. I was so fascinated that 
I forgot to be afraid. And a bullet came through 
the window." 

He made a gesture as if to catch her in his arms. 
Instead he took her hands and kissed them passion 
ately. 

" I never dreamed you would be actually in 
danger," he said pleadingly. " I was heedless I 
heedless of you you who are everything to me. 
Forgive me, dear." 

She leaned against the casement, her eyes fixed 



A RISE AND A FALL. 105 

dreamily upon the sky, the moonlight making her 
face ethereal. 

" Was I too abrupt?" he asked. "Have I 
offended in saying it again at this time? " His ex 
aggerated, nervous anxiety struck him as absurd, for 
him, but he admitted that his unprecedented fear 
of what a woman might think of him was real. 

" No," she answered. " But I must go. I'm 
very tired. And I'm beginning to feel queer and 
weak." She put out her hand. " Good-night," she 
said, her eyes down and her voice very low. 

When she was in her room she half-staggered to 
the bed. " I'll rest a moment before I undress," 
she thought, and lay down. She did not awaken 
until broad daylight. She looked at her watch. 
"Ten minutes to twelve almost noon !" she ex 
claimed. She had been asleep twelve hours. As 
she took a bath and dressed again, she was in high 
spirits. " It's good to be alive," she said to herself, 
" to be alive, to be young, to be free, to be loved, 
and to to like it." 

Was she in love with Marlowe ? She thought so 
or, at least, she was about to be. But she did 
not linger upon that. The luxury of being loved 
in a way that made her intensely happy was enough. 
She liked to think of his arms clasping her. She 
liked him to touch her. She liked to remember 
that look of exalted passion in his eyes, and to 
know that it was glowing there for her. 

The late afternoon brought news that the strike 
had been settled by a compromise. Within an hour 



io6 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

the New York special correspondents were on the 
way home. At Philadelphia the next morning 
Emily came into the restaurant car. "This way, 
Miss Bromfield," said the steward, with a low bow. 
She wondered how he knew her. She noticed that 
the answering smiles she got as she spoke to the 
newspaper men she had met at Furnaceville were 
broader than the occasion seemed to warrant. She 
glanced at herself in the mirror to see whether 
omission or commission in dressing was the cause. 
Then she took the seat Marlowe had reserved for 
her, opposite himself. 

" There were three of us in the dressing-room 
making it as disagreeable for each other as possible 
after the usual feminine fashion/' she began, and 
her glance fell upon the first page of the Democrat 
of the day before ,which Marlowe was holding up. 
She gasped and stared. "Why!" she exclaimed, 
the red flaring up in her face, " where did they get 
it ? It's disgraceful ! " 

" It " was a large reproduction of a pen and ink 
sketch of herself. Under " it " in big type was the 
line, " Emily Bromfield, the Democrat's Correspond 
ent at the Strike." Beside " it " under a " scare- 
head " was the main story of the strike, and the last 
line of the heading read, " By Emily Bromfield." 
Then followed her account of what she had seen 
from the parlour window. What with astonish 
ment, pleasure, and mortification over this sudden 
brazen blare of publicity for herself and her work, 
she was on the verge of a nervous outburst. 



A RISE AND A FALL. 107 

" Be careful," said Marlowe. " They're all look 
ing at you. What I want. to know is where did 
they get that sketch of you in a dreamy, thought 
ful attitude at a desk covered with papers. It 
looks like an idyll of a woman journalist. All the 
out-of-town papers will be sure to copy that. But 
where did our people get it ? " 

Just then Camp came through on his way to the 
smoking car. " Who drew this, Camp ? " asked 
Marlowe, stopping him. 

Camp looked embarrassed and grinned. " I made 
it one day in the office," he said to Emily. " They 
must have fished it out of my desk in the art room." 

Emily did not wish to hurt his feelings, so she con 
cealed her irritation. Marlowe said : " A splendid 
piece of work ! Lucky they knew about it and got 
it out." 

" Thanks," said Camp, looking appealingly at 
Emily. " You're not offended ? " he asked. 

" It gave me a turn," Emily replied evasively. 
Camp took her smile for approval, thanked her and 
went on. 

"You don't altogether like your fame?" said 
Marlowe with a teasing expression. " But you'll 
soon get used to it, and then you'll be cross if you 
look in the papers and don't find your name or a 
picture of yourself. That's the way 'newspaper 
notoriety ' affects everybody. They first loathe, 
then endure, then pursue." 

" Don't mock at me, please. It's good in a 
business way, isn't it ? And I'm sure the picture 



io8 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

is not bad in fact, it makes me look very intel 
lectual. And as they printed my despatch, that 
can't have been so horribly bad. Altogether I'm 
beginning to be reconciled and shall presently be 
delighted." 

" You can get copies of the paper ready for mail 
ing in the business office a reduction on large 
quantities," said Marlowe. " And you won't need 
to unwrap them to mark where your friends must 
look." 

Emily was glancing at her story with pretended 
indifference. " It makes more than I thought," 
she said carelessly, giving him the paper. 

" Vanity ! vanity ! You know you are dying to 
read every word of it. I'll wager you'll go through 
it a dozen times once you are alone. We always 
do at first." 

" Well, why not ? It's a harmless vanity and it 
ought to be called honest pride. And I owe it to 
you all to you. And I'm glad it is to you that I 
owe it." 

At the office she was the centre of interest for a 
few hours. " Isn't she a perfect picture?" said 
Miss Farwell to Miss Gresham, as they watched her 
receiving congratulations. " And she doesn't ex 
aggerate herself. She probably knows that it was 
her looks and her dresses that got her the assign 
ment and that make them think she's wonderful. 
She really didn't write it so very well. You could 
tell all the way through that it was a beginner, 
couldn't you? " 



A RISE AND A FALL. 109 

" Of course it wasn't a work of genius," admitted 
Miss Gresham. " But it was very good indeed." 

"A story like that simply tells itself." Miss 
Farwell used envy's most judicial tone. " It 
couldn't be spoiled." 

Miss Gresham and Emily went uptown together. 
" I've read my special several times," said Emily, 
" and I don't feel so set up over it as I did at first. 
I suspect they would have rewritten it if it had not 
got into the office late." 

" You did wonderfully well," Miss Gresham as 
sured her. "And you've put yourself in a position 
where your work will be noted and, if it's good, 
recognised. The hardest thing in the world is to 
get disentangled from the crowd so that those above 
are able to see one." 

The routine of petty assignments into which she 
sank again was wearisome and distasteful. She had 
expected a better kind of work. Instead, she got 
the same work as before. As Coleman was giving 
her one of these trifles, he looked cautiously round 
to make sure that no one was within hearing dis 
tance, then said in a low voice : " Don't blame me 
for giving you poor assignments. I have orders 
from Mr. Stilson strict orders." 

Emily did not like Coleman's treachery to his 
superior, but her stronger feeling was anger against 
Stilson. " Why does he dislike me?" she thought. 
" What a mean creature he is. It must be some 
queer sort of jealous envy." She laughed at herself 
for this vanity. But she had more faith in it than 



no A WOMAN VENTURES. 

she thought, and it was with the latent idea of get 
ting it a prop that she repeated to Miss Gresham 
what Coleman had said. " Why do you think Mr. 
Stilson told him that?'* she asked. 

" I don't know, I can't imagine," replied Miss 
Gresham. She reflected a moment and then turned 
her head so that Emily could not see her eyes. 
She thought she had guessed the reason. " Stilson 
is trying to save her from the consequences of her 
vanity," she said to herself, " I had better not tell 
her, as it would do no good and might make her 
dislike me." And, watching Emily more closely, 
she soon discovered that premature triumph had 
been a little too much for her good sense. Emily 
was entertaining an opinion of herself far higher 

than the facts warranted. " Stilson is doing her a 

53 

service," Miss Gresham thought, as Emily com- 

* } j-* r i 

plained from time to time of trifling assignments. 
" He'll restore her point of view presently," 

After a month of this Stilson called her into his 
office. He stood at the window, tall and stern he 
was taller than Marlowe and dark ; and while Mar- 

j iOv I " OL>IOY Y/Ol 5, 

lowe's expression was one of good-humoured, rather 
cynical carelessness, his was grave and haughty. 

Without looking at her he began : " Miss Brom- 
field, we've been giving you a very important kind 
of work the small items. They are the test of a 
newspaper's standard of perfection. I'm afraid you 
don' 



and 




A RISE AND A FALL. 111 

saw that he was suffering acute embarrassment. 
" It isn't easy for me to speak to you," he went on. 
" But it's necessary. At first you did well. Now 
you're not doing well." 

There was a long, a painful silence. Then he 
suddenly looked at her. And in spite of herself, 
his expression melted resentment and obstinacy. 
" You can do well again," he said. " Please try." 

The tone of the " Please try " made her feel his 
fairness and friendliness as she had not felt it before. 
" Thank you," she said impulsively. " I will try." 
She paused at the door and turned. " Thank you," 
she said again, earnestly. He was bending over 
his desk and seemed to be giving his attention to 
his papers. But Emily undersood him well enough 
now to know that he was trying to hide his embar 
rassment. When she was almost hidden from him 
by the closing door, she heard him begin to speak. 
" I beg your pardon," she said, showing her head 
round the edge of the door, "What did you say ? " 

" No matter," he replied, and she thought she 
saw, rather than heard, something very like a sigh. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

A COMPROMISE WITH CONVENTIONALITY. 

MARLOWE was as responsible for 
Emily's self-exaggeration as was 
Emily herself. He had been envel 
oping her in an atmosphere of adula 
tion, through which she could see 
clearly and sensibly neither him nor herself nor her 
affairs. 

When she first appeared he was deeply entangled 
elsewhere. But at once with the adroitness of ex 
perience, he extricated himself and boldly advanced 
into the new and unprecedently attractive net which 
fate was spreading for him. He was of those men 
who do not go far on the journey without a woman, 
or long with the same woman. He abhorred mo 
notony both in work and in love ; a typical im 
pressionist, he soon found one subject, whether for 
his mind or for his heart, exhausted and wearisome. 
Emily in her loneliness and youth, yearning for 
love and companionship, was so frankly attracted 
that he at first thought her as easy a conquest as 
had been the women who dwelt in the many and 
brief chapters of the annals of his conquering career. 
But he, and she also, to her great surprise, discov- 



A COMPROMISE. 113 

ered that, while she had cast aside most convention 
ality in practice and all conventionality in theory, 
there remained an immovable remnant. And this, 
fast anchored in unreasoning inherited instinct, 
stubbornly resisted their joint attack. In former 
instances of somewhat similar discoveries, he had 
winged swiftly, and gracefully, away; now, to his 
astonishment, he found that his wings were snared. 
Without intention on his part, without effort on 
her part, he was fairly caught. Nor was he strug 
gling against the toils. 

They had been together many times since the 
return from Furnaceville. And usually it was just 
he and she, dining in the open air, or taking long 
drives or walks, or sailing the river or the bay. But 
their perplexed state of mind had kept them from 
all but subtle reference to the one subject of which 
both were thinking more and more intently and in 
tensely. One Jiight they were driving in a hansom 
after a dinner on the Savoy balcony he suddenly 
bent and kissed the long sleeve of her thin summer 
dress at the wrist. "You light a flame that goes 
dancing through my veins," he said. " I wish I 
could find new words to put it in. But I've only 
the old ones, Emily I love you and I want your 
love I want you. This is an unconditional surren 
der and I'm begging you to receive it. You won't 
say no, will you, Emily ? " 

Her eyes were brilliant and her cheeks pale. But 
she succeeded in controlling her voice so that she 
could put a little mockery into her tone when she 



114 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

said : " What you ! You, who are notoriously 
opposed to unconditional surrender. I never 
expected to live to see the day when you would 
praise treason and proclaim yourself a traitor." 

" I love you," he said " that's all the answer I 
can make." 

" And only a few days ago some one was repeat 
ing to me a remark of yours let me see, how did 
you put it ? Oh, yes ' love is a bird that does not 
sing well in a cage." 

" I said it and I meant it," he replied. " And I 
love you that's all. I still believe what I said, but 
please, Emily, dear bring the cage ! " 

The mockery in her face gave place to a serious 
look. " I wonder," she said, " does love sing at all 
in a cage ? I've never known an instance, though 
I've read and heard of them. But they're almost all 
a long way off, or a long time ago, or among old- 
fashioned people." 

" But I'm old-fashioned, I find and won't you be, 
dear? And I think we might teach our wild bird 
to sing in a cage, don't you ? " 

Emily made no answer but continued to watch 
the dark trees, that closed in on either side of the 
shining drive. 

"Since I've known you, Emily, I've found a 
new side to my nature one I did not suspect the 
existence of. Perhaps it didn't exist until I knew 
you." 

" It has been so with me," she said. She had been 
surprised and even disquieted by the upbursting of 



A COMPROMISE. 115 

/ 

springs of tenderness and gentleness and longing 
since she had known Marlowe. 

" Do you care a little, dear ? " he asked. 

She nodded. " But what were you going to say ? " 

"I've always disliked the idea of marriage," he 
went on. " There's something in me not peculiar 
to me, I imagine, but in most men as well that 
revolts at the idea of a bond of any kind A man 
falls in love with a woman or a woman with a man. 
And heretofore I've always said to myself, how can 
they know that love will last ? " 

"They can't know it," replied Emily. "And 
when they pledge themselves to keep on loving and 
honouring, they must know, if they are capable of 
thinking, that they've promised something they had 
no right to promise. I hate to be bound. I love 
to be free. Nothing, nothing, could induce me to 
give up my freedom." 

Marlowe had expected that she would gladly 
put aside her idea of freedom the moment he an 
nounced that he was willing to sacrifice his own. 
Her earnestness disconcerted, alarmed him. 
" Emily ! " he said in a low, intense tone, putting 
his hand upon hers. " Tell me " She had 
turned her head and they were now looking each 
into the other's eyes " do you can't you care 
for me ? " He wondered at the appeal in his voice, 
at the anxiety with which he waited for her answer. 
" I cannot live without you, Emily." 

" But if I were tied to you," she said, " if I felt 
compelled, if I felt that you were being compelled, 



ii6 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

to keep on with me well, I'm not sure that 
I could continue to care or to believe that you 
cared." 

" Then " he interrupted. 

" But," she went on, " I'm not great enough or 
wise enough, or perhaps I was too long trained to 
conventionality, or am too recently and incom 
pletely freed, to " 

" It isn't necessary," he began, as she hesitated 
and cast about for a phrase. " Perhaps in some 
circumstances I'd have hoped that it would be 
so. But with you it's different. I can't explain 
myself even to myself. All I know is that my 
theories have gone down the wind and that I 
want you. I want you on the world's terms for 
better or for worse, for ever and a day. Dear, can't 
you care enough for me to take the risk ? " 

He put his arm round her and kissed her. She 
said in a faint voice, hardly more than a murmur, 
" I think so yes." 

" Will you marry me, Emily ? " he asked eagerly, 
and then he smiled with a little self-mockery. " I've 
always loathed that word * marry ' and all other 
words that mean finality. I've always wished to be 
free to change my mind and my course at any mo 
ment. And now " 

She pushed him from her, but left her hand on 
his shoulder. " Yes, dear, but it isn't a finality 
with us. We go through a ceremony because 
say, because it is convenient. But if we either 
of us cease to love, each must feel free to go. If 



A COMPROMISE. 117 

I ever found out that you had kissed me once, 
merely because you thought it was expected of you, 
I'd despise myself and you. If I promise to 
marry you, dear, you must promise to leave me 
free." 

" Since I could not hold you the real you an in 
stant longer than you wished I promise." He 
caught her in his arms and kissed her again and 
again. " But you'll never call on me to redeem 
my promise, will you, dear ? " 

"That's why I ask you to make it. If we're both 
free, we may not ever care to test it," she answered. 
The words came from her mind, but with them came 
a tone and a look from the heart that were an an 
swer to his. 

"We you talk the new wisdom," he said, " but 
" and he kissed her once more " feel the old wis 
dom, or folly which is it ? No matter I love 
you." 

" The road is very bright here and carriages are 
coming," she answered, sitting up and releasing 
herself from him. And then they both laughed at 
their sensitiveness to conventions. 

Marlowe was all for flinging their theories over 
board in the mass and accepting the routine as it is 
marked out for the married. But Emily refused. 
She could not entertain the idea of becoming a de 
pendent upon him, absorbed in his personality. " I 
wish to continue to love him," she said to herself. 
"And also I'd be very foolish to bind him, though 
he wishes to be bound. The chances are, he'd grow 



ii8 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

weary long before I did. A man's life is fuller than 
a woman's, even than a working woman's. And he 
has more temptations to wander." 

" We will marry," she said to him, "but we will 
not ' settle down '." 

" I should hope not" he answered, with energy, 
as before his eyes rose a vision of himself yawning 
in carpet-slippers with a perambulator in the front 
hall. 

" We will compromise with conventionality ' 
she went on. " We will marry, but we won't tell 
anybody. And I'll take an apartment with Joan 
Gresham and will go on with my work. And 
Dearest, I don't wish to become an old story to 
you at least not so long as we're young. I don't 
want you as my husband. I want you to be my 
love/r. And I want to be always, every time we 
meet, new and interesting to you." 

" But why, I'd be little more than a stranger." 

"Do you think so?" She put her arms about 
his neck and looked him full in the eyes. " You 
know it wouldn't be so." 

He thought a moment. " I see what you mean,'* 
he said. " I suppose it is familiarity that drives 
love out of marriage. Whatever you wish, Strange 
Lady anything, everything. We can easily try 
your plan." 

"And if it fails, we can 'settle down* just like 
other people, where, if we ' settled down ' first and 
failed at that, we'd have nothing left to try." 

" You are so so different from any other woman 



A COMPROMISE. 119 

that ever was," he said. " No wonder I love you in 
the way that a man loves only once." 

" And I'm determined that you shall keep on 
loving me." 

" I can see that you are getting ready to lead me 
a wild life." There was foreboding as well as jest 
in his tone. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

" EVERYTHING AWAITS MADAME." 

FRANK wished to see Theresa well pro 
vided for he was most amiable and gen 
erous where serving a friend cost him 
nothing and agreeably filled a few of his 
many vacant hours. He cast shrewdly 
about among the susceptible and eligible widowers 
and bachelors of his club and fixed upon Edgar 
Wayland's father. The old General and " cotton 
baron " was growing lonelier and lonelier. He was 
too rich to afford the luxury of friendship. He 
suspected and shunned sycophants. He dreaded 
being married for his money, yet longed for a home 
with some one therein who would make him com 
fortable, would listen patiently to his reminis 
cences and moralisings. He had led an anything 
but exemplary life, but having reached the age and 
condition where his kinds of self-indulgence are 
either highly dangerous or impossible, he wished to 
become a bulwark of the church and the social 
order. 

" He needs me even more than I need him," said 
Theresa, when she disclosed her scheme to Emily, 
" and that's saying a good deal. He thinks I've 
been living in Blue Mountain, thinks I'm simple 



"MADAME. " 121 

and guileless and I am, in comparison with him. 
I'll make a new and better man of him. If he got 
the sort of woman he thinks he wants, he'd be mis 
erable. As it is, he'll be happy." 

Theresa offered to introduce the General to Em 
ily, but she refused, much to Theresa's relief. " It's 
just as well," she said, with the candour that was the 
chief charm of her character. " You're entirely too 
fascinating with your violet eyes and your wonder 
ful complexion, my dear. But after he's safe, you 
must visit us." 

When the time came for Theresa to go to Blue 
Mountain for her marriage, she begged Emily to go 
with her. " I didn't know how fond I was of you," 
she said, " until now that we're separating. And 
when I look at you, and forget for the moment what 
a sensible, self-reliant girl you are, it seems to me 
that you can't possibly get along without me to 
protect you." 

But Emily could not go to the wedding. She 
was moving into an apartment in Irving Place which 
she and Joan had taken. Also she was marrying. 

The wedding was set for a Thursday, but Mar 
lowe found that he must leave town on Wednesday 
night to go with the President on a short " swing 
round the circle." So on Wednesday afternoon he 
and Emily went to a notary in One Hundred and 
Twenty-fifth street and were married by certificate. 

" Certainly the modern improvements do go far 
toward making marriage painless," said Marlowe as 
they left with the certificates. " I haven't felt it at 



122 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

all. Have you ? " And he stopped at a letter box 
to mail the duplicate for the Board of Health. As 
he balanced it on the movable shelf, he looked at 
her with a queer expression in his eyes. " You can 
still draw back," he said. " If we tear up the papers, 
we're not married. If I mail this one we are." 

She made a movement toward the balancing let 
ter and he hastily let it drop into the box. " Too 
late," he said, in a mock tragic tone. " We are mar 
ried tied bound ! " 

" And now let us forget it," was Emily's reply. 
" No one knows it except us ; and we need never 
think of it." 

They were silent on the journey down town, and 
her slight depression seemed to infect him deeply. 
Two hours after the ceremony he was dining alone 
in the Washington express, and she and Joan were 
having their first dinner in their first " home." 

Two weeks later in the last week of September 
she took the four o'clock boat for Atlantic High 
lands and the train there for Seabright. At the 
edge of the platform of the deserted station she 
found the yellow trap with stripes of red on the 
body and shafts the trap he had described in his 
letter. 

" For Germain's?" she asked the driver, after she 
had looked round carefully, as if she were not going 
to meet her husband. 

" Yes, ma'am," he answered. " They're expecting 
you." 

Her trunk and bag were put on the seat with the 



"MADAME." 123 

driver and they were soon in the Rumson road, gor 
geous with autumn finery. There were the odours 
of the sea and the woods, and the air was tranquil 
yet exhilarating. The trim waggon, the brilliant 
trees arching overhead, the attractive houses and 
lawns on either side it seemed to her that she was 
in a dream. They turned down a lane to the right. 
It led through a thick grove of maples, its foliage 
a tremulous curtain of scarlet and brown lit by the 
declining sun. Another turn and they were at the 
side entrance to an old-fashioned brick house with 
creepers screening verandas and balconies. There 
were tables on the verandas, and tables out in the 
garden under the trees. She could hear only the 
birds and the faint sigh of the distant surf. 

Rapid footsteps, and a small, fat, smooth man 
appeared and bowed profoundly. " Monsieur has 
not arrived yet," he said. " Madame Marlowe, is 
it not?" 

She blushed and answered nervously, " Yes 
that is yes." It was the first time she had heard 
her legal name, or even had definitely recognised 
its existence. 

" Monsieur telegraphed for madame " He had a 
way of saying madame which suggested that it was 
a politeness rather than an actuality " to order 
dinner, and that he will presently come to arrive by 
the Little Silver station from which he will drive. 
He missed his train unhappily. But madame need 
not derange herself. Monsieur comes to arrive 
now." 



124 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Emily seated herself on the veranda at its farthest 
table from the entrance. " How guilty and queer 
and happy I feel," she thought. 

Monsieur Germain brought the dinner card. 
" I'm sure we can trust to you for the dinner," she 
said. 

" Bien, madame. It will be a pleasure. And 
will madame have a refreshing drink while she 
passes the time ? " 

" Yes a little perhaps a little brandy ? " she 
said tentatively. 

" Excellent." And Germain himself brought a 
" pony " of brandy, a tall empty glass and a bottle 
of soda. He opened the soda and went away. She 
drank the brandy from the little glass, and then 
some of the soda. Almost instantly she felt her 
timidity flying before a warm courage that spread 
through her veins and sparkled in her eyes. " It is 
even more beautiful here than I imagined it would 
be," she thought, as she looked round. " And I'm 
glad I got here first and had a chance to get the 
brandy." 

When her husband came he found her leaning 
against a pillar of the veranda looking out into 
space, an attitude that was characteristic of her. 
She greeted him with a blush, with downcast eyes, 
with mischievous radiance. 

" I just saw my first star," she said, " and I made 
a wish." 

He put his arm round her and his head against 
hers. " Don't tell me what you wished," he said, 



"MADAME." 125- 

" for I we want it to come true. It must come 
true. And it will, won't it ? " 

" I'm very, very happy thus far," she answered. 

They stood in silence, watching Germain and the 
waiter set a table under the trees the linen, the 
silver and glass and china, the candlesticks. And 
then Germain came to the walk below them and 
beamed up at them. 

" Everything awaits madame," he said. 



CHAPTER XV. 

A FLICKERING FIRE. 



1 



made several journeys to Monsieur 
Germain that fall, as he did not close his 
inn and return to Philadelphia until the 
second week in December. He had the 
instinctive French passion for the roman 
tically unconventional ; and, while he was a severely 
proper person in his own domestic relations, the 
mystery of the quiet visits of this handsome young 
couple delighted him. He made them very com 
fortable indeed, and his big smooth face shone like 
a sun upon their happiness. 

As Marlowe had always been most irregular in his 
appearances at the office, Emily's absences did not 
connect her with him in the minds of their acquain 
tances. Even Joan suspected nothing. She saw 
that Marlowe was devoted to her beautiful friend 
and she believed that Emily loved him, but she had 
seen love go too often to be much affected by its 
coming. 

After three months of this prolonged and pecu 
liar honeymoon, Marlowe showed the first faint 
signs of impatience. It was a new part to him, this 
of being the eluded instead of the eluder, the un- 



A FLICKERING FIRE. 127 

certain, not the creator of uncertainty. And it was 
a part that baffled his love and irritated his vanity. 
He thought much upon ways and means of convert 
ing his Spartan marriage into one in which his 
authority, his headship would be recognized, and at 
last hit upon a plan of action which he ventured to 
hope might bring her to terms. He stayed away 
from her for two weeks, then went to Chicago for a 
month, writing her only an occasional brief note. 

Before he left for Chicago, Emily was exceeding 
sick at heart. She kept up appearances at the 
office, but at home went about with a long and sad 
face. "They've quarrelled," thought Joan, "and 
she's taking it hard." Emily was tempted to do 
many foolish things for example, she wrote a 
dozen notes at least, each more or less ingeniously 
disguising its real purpose. But she sent none of 
them. "If he doesn't care," she reflected, "it 
would be humiliating myself to no purpose. And 
if he does care, he has a good reason which he'll 
tell when he can." 

Then came his almost curt note announcing his 
departure for Chicago. She was angry "he's 
treating his wife as he wouldn't treat a girl he'd 
been merely attentive to." But, worse than angry, 
she was wounded, in the mortal spot in her love 
for him her unquestioning confidence in him. 

This might be called her introduction to the real 
Marlowe, the beginning of her acquaintance with 
the man she had married after a look at the outside 
of him and a distorted glimpse of such parts of 



128 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

the inside man as are shown by one bent upon 
making the most favourable impression. 

When he had been in Chicago three weeks, came 
a long letter from him " Forgive me. I was not 
content as we were living. I want you all of you, 
all of the time. I want you as my very own. And 
I thought to win you to my way of thinking. But 
you seem to be stronger than I." And so on 
through many pages, filled with passionate out 
pourings extravagant compliments, alternations of 
pride and humility, all the eloquence of a lover 
with an emotional nature and a gift for writing. It 
was to her an irresistible appeal, so intensely did 
she long for him. But there drifted through her 
mind, to find lodgment in an obscure corner, the 
thought : " Why is he dissatisfied with a happiness 
that satisfies me ? Why do I feel none of this de 
sire to abandon my independence and submerge 
myself?" At the moment her answer was, that if 
she were to do as he wished he would remain free, 
while she would become his dependent. After 
ward that answer did not satisfy her. 

He came back, and their life went on as before 
until 

She overheard two men at the office talking of 
an adventure he had had while he was in Chicago. 
She did not hear all, and she got no details, but 
there was enough to let her see that he had not 
lived up to their compact. " Now I understand 
his letter," she said. "It was the result of re 
morse." And with a confused mingling of jeal- 



A FLICKERING FIRE. 129 

ousy and indignation, she reviewed his actions 
toward her immediately after his return. She now 
saw that they were planned deliberately to make it 
impossible for her to think him capable of such a 
lapse. She could follow the processes of his mind 
as it worked out the scheme, gauging her credulity 
and his own adroitness. When she had done, she 
had found him guilty of actions that concerned their 
most sacred relations, and that were tainted with 
the basest essence of hypocrisy. 

" I shouldn't care what he had done," she said 
to herself bitterly, " if he had been honest with me 
- honestly silent or honestly outspoken. I cannot, 
shall not, ever trust him again. And such needless 
deception ! He acted as if I were the ordinary 
silly woman who won't make allowances and can't 
generously forgive. I love him, but " 

" I love him, but " that is always the beginning 
of a change which at least points in the direction of 
the end. At first she was for having it out with 
him. But she decided that he would only think her 
vulgarly jealous ; and so, with unconscious incon 
sistency, she resolved to violate her own fundamental 
principle of absolute frankness. 

A few weeks and these wounds to her love, in-j 
flicted by him and aggravated by herself, seemed to 
have healed. They were again together almost 
every day and were apparently like lovers in the 
first ecstasy of engagement. But while he was 
completely under her spell, her attitude toward 
him was slightly critical. She admired his looks, 



130 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

his physical strength, his brilliant quickness of mind, 
as much as ever. At the same time she began to 
see and to measure his weaknesses. 

She was often, in the very course of laughter or 
admiration at his cleverness, brought to a sudden 
halt by the discovery that he was not telling the 
truth. Like many men of rapid and epigrammatic 
speech, he would sacrifice anything, from a fact of 
history to the reputation of a friend, for the sake 
of scoring a momentary triumph. And whenever 
she caught him in one of these carelessly uttered 
falsehoods she was reminded of his falsehood to 
her that rankling, cankerous double falsehood of 
unfaithfulness and deceit. 

Another hastener of the mortal process of de-ideal 
isation was the discovery that his sparkle was 
hiding a shallowness which was so lacking in depth 
that it offended even her, a woman and women 
are not easily offended by pretence in men. His 
mind was indeed quick, but quick only to see and 
seize upon that which had been discovered and 
' shown to him by some one else. And so for 
getful or so used to borrowing without any sort of 
credit was he, that he would even exhibit to Emily 
as original with himself the ideas which she had ex 
pressed to him only a few days before. He had a 
genius for putting everything in the show-window ; 
but he could not conceal from her penetrating, and 
'now critical and suspicious eyes, the empty-shelved 
I shop behind, with him, full of vanity and eagerness 
to attract any wayfarer, and peering out to note what 



A FLICKERING FIRE. 131 

effect he was producing. She discovered that one 
of the main sources of his education was Stilson 
that it was to an amazing, a ridiculous, a pitiful ex 
tent Stilson's views and ideas and knowledge and 
sardonic wit which he bore away and diluted and 
served up as his own. Comparison is the life and 
also the death of love. As soon as she began to 
compare him with Stilson and to admit that he was 
the lesser, she began to neglect love, to leave it to 
the alternating excessive heat and cold of passion. 

But all these causes of a curious decline were 
subordinate to one great cause she discovered that 
he was a coward, that he was afraid of her. The 
quality which she admired in a man above every 
other was courage. She had thought Marlowe had 
it. And he was physically brave ; but, when she 
knew him well and had got used to that cheapest 
form of courage which dazzles the mob and de 
ceives the unthinking, she saw a coward lurking 
beneath. He wrote things he did not believe ; 
he shirked issues both in his profession and in his 
private life ; he lied habitually, not because people 
intruded upon his affairs and so compelled and ex 
cused misrepresentation, but because he was afraid 
to face the consequences of truth. 

In February she was saying sadly to herself : 
" If he'd been brave, he would have made me come 
to him, could have made me do as he wished. 

Instead " She was not proud, yet neither was 

she ashamed, of the conspicuous tyranny she had 
established over him. 



132 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" It seems to me," she said to Joan at breakfast 
one morning, to draw her out, " that the only way 
to be married, is for each to live his own life. Then 
at least there can be none of that degrading famil 
iarity and monotony." 

Joan shook her head in vigorous dissent. 

" Why not ? " asked Emily. 

" Because it is certain to end in failure abso 
lutely certain." 

Emily looked uncomfortable. " I don't see why," 
she said, somewhat irritably. " Don't you think 
people can get too much of each other ? " 

" Certainly and in marriage they always do ; 
but if it's to be a marriage, if there's to be any 
thing permanent about it, they must live together, 
see each other constantly, become completely 
united in the same current of life ; all their inter 
ests [must be in common, and they must have a 
common destiny and must never forget it." 

" But that isn't love," objected Emily. 

" No, it isn't love love of the kind we're all 
crazy about nowadays. But it is married love and 
that's the kind we're talking about. If I were mar. 
ried I shouldn't let my husband out of my sight for 
a minute, except when it was necessary. I'd see to 
it that we became one. If he were the stronger, 
he'd be the one. If I were the stronger, I'd be the 
one but I'd try to be generous." 

Emily laughed at this picture of tyranny, sc* 
directly opposed to her own ideas and to her own 
.tyranny over her husband. She mocked Joan for 



A FLICKERING FIRE. 133 

entertaining such " barbaric notions." But later in 
the day, she caught herself saying, with a sigh she'd 
have liked to believe was not regret, " It's too late 
now." 

There were days when she liked him, hours when 
she wrought herself into an exaltation which was a 
feeble but deceptive imitation of his adoration of 
her and how he did adore her then, how he did 
strain to clasp her more tightly, believing her still 
his, and not heeding instinctive, subtle warnings 
that she was slipping from him. But in contrast to 
these days of liking and hours of loving were her 
longer periods of indifference and, occasionally, of 
weariness. 

Early in the summer, there was a revival of her 
interest a six weeks' separation from him ; an at 
tack of the " blues," of loneliness ; a sudden appre 
ciation of the strength and comfort of the habit 
which a husband had become with her. 

On a Friday evening in June he was coming to 
dine, and Miss Gresham was dining out. He arrived 
twenty minutes late. " I've been making my ar 
rangements to sail to-morrow," he explained. 
" You can come on the Wednesday or Saturday 
steamer if you can arrange to leave on such short 
notice." 

She looked surprised she was no longer as 
tonished at the newspaper world's rapid shifts. 

" They're sending me to reorganise the foreign 
service. They also wish to send a woman to Paris, 
and didn't know whom to ask. I suggested you, 



134 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

and reminded them that you speak French. They 
soon consented. My headquarters will be London, 
but I'll be free to go where I wish. Will you come ? 
Won't you come ? " 

Evidently he was assuming that she would ; but 
she said, " I'll have to think it over." 

He looked at her nervously. " Why, I may 
be away several years," he said. "And over 
there 

"You forget I'm tied up with Joan. We have 
a lease. But that might be arranged. Do you 
know what salary they'll give me ? " 

" Sixty a week and your travelling expenses." 

"Yes," said Emily, after a moment's silent cast 
ing up of figures. " Yes the lease can be taken 
care of. Then, there is my work what are the ad 
vantages ? " 

" Experience a change of scene a chance to do 
more individual work and last, and, of course, 
least in your eyes, lady-with-a-career-to-make, the 
inestimable advantages of " 

The servant was out of the room. He went be 
hind her chair, and bent over and kissed her. " We 
shall be happy as never before, dear happy though 
we have been, haven't we ? Think what we can do 
together how free we shall be, how many beauti 
ful places we can visit." 

She was looking at him tenderly and dreamily 
when he was sitting opposite her again. " Yes, we 
shall be happy," she said, and to herself she added, 
" again." 



A FLICKERING FIRE. 135 

The next morning, at about the hour when Mar 
lowe's boat was dropping down the bay, Joan went 
into Emily's room and awakened her. " I can't 
wait any longer," she said. " Did you know you 
were going abroad ? " 

" Yes," said Emily, sleepily rubbing her eyes, 
" Marlowe was dining here last night, and he told 
me." 

" It's very evident that Stilson likes and ap 
preciates you," continued Joan. " He selected 
you." 

Emily smiled faintly she was remembering what 
Marlowe had said. 

"1 happened to be in Stilson's office," continued 
Joan, " when he was deciding. It seems the Lon 
don man suddenly resigned and something had to 
be done at once. You know Stilson is acting Man 
aging Editor. He asked me if you spoke French. 
He said : 'I'm just sending for Marlowe to come 
down, as I wish him to go to London for us ; and 
if Miss Bromfield can speak French, I'll send her to 
Paris.' I told him that you spoke it almost like a 
native. ' That settles it,' he said, * I'll tell her to- 
morrow but I don't mind if you tell her first. 
You live together, don't you ? ' And you were 
asleep when I came last night, and I'm so disap 
pointed that I'm not the first to tell you." 

Emily had sunk back into her pillow and was 
concealing her face from Joan. " I wish they'd 
sent you," she said presently, in a strained voice. 

"Oh, I couldn't have gone. The fact is I've 



136 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

written a play and had it accepted. It's, to be pro- 
duced at the Lyceum in six weeks." 

"But why didn't you tell me?" Emily could 
not uncover her face, could not put interest in her 
tone she could think only of Marlowe, of his 
petty, futile, vainglorious lie to her. A few hours 
before it seemed but a few minutes they had 
been so happy together. She had fancied that the 
best was come again. Her nerves were still vibrat 
ing to his caresses. And now this adder-like re 
minder of all his lies, deceptions, hypocrisies. 

" I thought I'd surprise you," replied Joan. 
" Besides, it's not a very good play. And when 
you're in Paris, you might watch the papers for the 
notices of the first night of ' Love the Liar, by 
Harriette Stone ' that will be my play and I." 

" Love the Liar," Emily repeated, and then Joan 
saw her shoulders shaking. 

" Laughing at me ? I don't wonder ; it's very 
sentimental but then, you know, I have a streak of 
sentiment in me." 

When Joan left her, Emily brushed the tears from 
her eyes and slowly rose. " I ought to be used to 
him by this time," she said. " But oh, why did 
he spoil it ! Why does he always spoil it ! " 

At the office, she was apparently bright again, 
certainly was looking very lovely and a little mis 
chievous as she went in to see Stilson. " I'd thank 
you, if I dared," she said, " but I know that you'd 
cut me short with some remark about my thanks 
being an insinuation that you were cheating the pro- 



A FLICKERING FIRE. 137 

prietors of the Democrat by showing favouritism." 
She was no longer in the least afraid of him. " Per 
haps you'd like it better if I told you I was angry 
about it." 

" And why angry, pray ? " There was a twinkle 
deep down in his sombre sardonic eyes. 

" Because you're sending me away to get rid of 
me." 

He winced and flushed a deep red. He rose 
abruptly and bowed. " No thanks are necessary," 
he said, and he was standing at the window with his 
back to her. 

" I beg your pardon," she said to his strong, un 
compromising shoulders. " I did not mean to of 
fend you you must know that." 

" Offend me?" He turned his face toward her 
but did not let her see his eyes. He put out his 
hand and just touched hers before drawing it away. 
" My manner is unfortunate. But that is not im 
portant. Success to you, if I don't see you before 
you sail." 

As she left his office she could see his face, his 
eyes, in profile. His expression was more than sad 
it was devoid of hope. 

''Where have I seen an expression like that be 
fore ? " she wondered. But she could not then re 
member. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

EMBERS. 

ON the way across the Atlantic her pain 
ful thoughts faded; and, after the mid- 
ocean period when the worlds on 
either side of those infinite waters 
dwindle into unreality, she found her 
imagination looking forward to her new world as 
a place where there would be a new beginning 
in her work and in her love. At Cherbourg Mar 
lowe came out on the lighter. " How handsome he 
is," she was saying to herself, as she leaned against 
the rail, watching his eyes search for her. "And 
how well he wears his clothes. His head is set 
upon his shoulders just right what a strong, grace 
ful figure he has." And she again felt something 
resembling her initial interest and pride in him, her 
mind once more, as at first, interpreting his charac 
ter through his appearance, instead of reading into 
his appearance the man as she knew him. 

When their eyes met she welcomed and returned 
the thought he sent her in his look. 

They were soon together, bubbling over with the 
joy of living like two children let out into the sun 
shine to play after a long imprisonment with les 
sons. They had a compartment to themselves down 



EMBERS. 139 

to Paris and sat very near each to the other, with 
I illustrated papers as the excuse for prolonging the 
enormous pleasure of the physical sensation of 
nearness. They repeated again and again the I 
commonplaces which all human beings use as 
public coaches to carry their inarticulate selves a 
visiting each other. 

She went to sleep for a few minutes, leaning 
against him ; and a breeze teased his nerves into an 
ecstasy of happiness with a stray of her fine 
red-brown hair. " I've never been so happy," she 
thought as she awakened, " I could never be 
happier." She did not move until it became im 
possible for her to refrain from some outward ex 
pression of her emotions. Then she only looked 
up at him. And his answer showed that his mood 
was hers. As they sank back in the little victoria 
outside the station, she gave a long look round the 
busy, fascinating scene strange, infectious of 
gaiety and good-humour. " Paris ! " she said, with 
a sigh of content in her dream realised. 

" Paris and Emily," he replied. 

They went to a small hotel in the Avenue Mon 
taigne " Modern enough," he said, " but very 
French and not yet discovered by foreigners." At 
sunset they drove to d'Armenonville to dine under 
the trees and to watch the most interesting groups 
in the world those groups of the civilised through 
and through, in dress, in manners, in thought. 
After two days he was called back to London. 
When he returned at the end of two weeks she had 



140 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

transformed herself. A new gown, a new hat, a 
new way of wearing her hair, an adaptation of her 
graces of form and manner to the fashion of the 
moment, and she seemed a Parisienne. 

"You have had your eyes open," he said, as he 
noted one detail after another, finally reaching the 
face which bloomed so delicately beneath the 
sweeping brim of her hat. "And what a gorgeous 
hat ! And put on at the miraculous angle how 
few women know how to put on a hat." Of his 
many tricks in the art at which he excelled the 
art of superficially pleasing women none was more 
effective than his intelligent appreciation of their 
dress. 

They staid at her pretty little apartment in a 
maison meublee in the Rue des Capucines ; in a 
few days they went down into Switzerland, and 
then, after a short pause at Paris, to Trouville. In 
all they were together about a month, he neglecting 
his work in spite of her remonstrances and her ex 
ample. For she did her work conscientiously and 
she had never written so well. He tried to stay on 
with her at Paris, but she insisted on his going. 

" I believe you wish to be rid of me," he said, 
irritation close beneath the surface of his jesting 
manner. 

" This morning's is the third complaining cable 
you've had from the office," she answered. 

He looked at her, suspecting an evasion, but he 
went back to London. The unpleasant truth was 
that he had worn out his welcome. She had never 



EMBERS. 141 

before been with him continuously for so much as a 
week. Now, in the crowded and consecutive 
impressions of these thirty uninterrupted days, all 
the qualities which repelled her stood out, stripped 
of the shimmer and glamour of novelty. And as 
she was having more and more difficulty in deceiv 
ing herself and in spreading out the decreasing area 
of her liking for him over the increasing gap where 
her love for him had been, he, in the ironical per 
versity of the law of contraries, became more and 
more demonstrative and even importunate. Many 
times in her effort to escape him and the now ever- 
impending danger of open rupture, she was driven to 
devices which ought not to have deceived him, per 
haps did not really deceive him. 

When he was gone she sat herself down to a 
" good cry " an expression of overwrought nerves 
rather than of grief. 

But after a few weeks she began to be lonely. 
The men she met were of two kinds those she did 
not like, all of whom were willing to be friends with 
her on her terms ; those she did like more or less, 
none of whom was willing to be with her on any 
but his own terms. And so she found herself often 
spending the most attractive part of the day the 
evening dismally shut up at home, alone or with 
some not very interesting girl. She had never been 
so free, yet never had she felt so bound. With joy 
all about her, with joy beckoning her from the 
crowded, fascinating boulevards, she was a prisoner. 
She needed Marlowe, and she sent for him. 



142 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

She was puzzled by the change in him. She had 
only too good reason to know that he loved her as 
insistently as ever, but there was a strain in his 
manner and speech, as if he were concealing some 
thing from her. She caught him looking at her in 
a peculiar way as if he were angry or resentful or 
possibly were suspecting her changed and changing 
feelings toward him. And he had never been less 
interesting she had never before heard him talk 
stupidities and lifeless commonplaces or break long 
silences with obvious attempts to rouse himself to 
4l make conversation." 

She was not sorry when he went he stayed four 
days longer than he had intended ; but she was also 
glad to get a message from him ten days later, 
announcing a week-end visit. The telegram reached 
her at dejeuner and afterward, in a better mood, 
she drove to the Continental Hotel, where she 
sometimes heard news worth sending. She sat at a 
long window in the empty drawing-rooms and 
watched a light and lazy snow drift down. 

As it slowly chilled her to a sense of loneliness, of 
disappointment in the past,of dread of the future, she 
became conscious that a man was pointedly studying 
her. She looked at him with the calm, close, yet 
repelling, stare which experience gives a woman as 
a secure outlook upon the world of strange men. 
This strange man was not ungracefully sprawled in 
a deep chair, his top hat in a lap made by the loose 
crossing of his extremely long and extremely strong 
legs. His feet and hands were proportionate to 



EMBERS. 143 

his magnitude. His hands were white-and the fin- 
gers in some way suggested to her a public speaker. 
He had big shoulders and a great deal of coat a 
vast overcoat over a frock coat, all made in the loos 
est English fashion. She had now reached his head 
a large head with an aggressive forehead and 
chin, the hair dark brown, thin on top and at the 
temples, the skin pallid but healthy. His eyes 
were bold and keen, and honest. He looked a tre 
mendous man, and when he rose and advanced 
toward her she wondered how such bulk could be 
managed with so much grace. " An idealist," she 
thought, " of the kind that has the energy to be 
very useful or very dangerous." 

" You are alone, mademoiselle," he said, in French 
that was fluent but American, " and I am alone. 
Let us have an adventure." 

Emily's glance started up his form with the 
proper expression of icy oblivion. But by the time 
it reached the lofty place from which his eyes were 
looking down at her it was hardly more than an 
expression of bewilderment. To give him an icy 
stare would have seemed as futile as for the valley 
to try to look scorn upon the peak. Before Emily 
could drop her glance, she had seen in his eyes an 
irresistible winning smile, as confiding as a boy's, 
respectful, a little nervous, delightfully human and 
friendly. 

" I can see what you are," he continued in 
French, " and it may be that you see that I am not 
untrustworthy. I am lonely and shall be more so 



144 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

if you fail me. It seemed to me that pardon me, 
if I intrude you looked lonely also and sad. 
Why should we be held from helping each the 
other by a convention that sensible people laugh at 
even when they must obey it ? " 

His voice pleaded his cause as words could not ; 
and there was a certain compulsion in it also. 
Emily felt that she wished to yield, that it would 
be at once unkind and absurd not to yield, and 
that she must yield. The impression of master 
ing strength was new and, to her surprise, agree 
able. 

" Why not ? " she said slowly in French, regard 
ing him with unmistakable straightforwardness and 
simplicity. " I am depressed. I am alone. I have 
been looking inside too much. Let us see. What 
do you propose? " 

"We might go to the Louvre. It is near, and 
perhaps we can think of something while we are 
there." 

They walked to the Louvre, he talking apprecia 
tively of France and the French people. He 
showed that he thought her a Frenchwoman and 
she did not undeceive him. She could not decide 
what his occupation was, but felt that he must be 
successful, probably famous, in it. " He is not so 
tall after all," she said to herself, " not much above 
six feet. And he must be about forty-five." 

As they went through the long rooms, she found 
that he knew the paintings and statuary. " You 
paint ?" she asked. 



EMBERS. 145 

" No," he replied with an impatient shrug. " I 
only talk talk, talk, talk, until I am sick of my 
self. Again, I am compelled to listen listen to 
the outpourings of vanity and self-excuse and self- 
complacence until I loathe my kind. It seems to 
me that it is only in France that one finds any 
great number of people with a true sense of 
proportion." 

" But France is the oldest, you know. It in 
herited from Greece and Rome when the rest of 
Europe was a wilderness." 

"And we inherited a little from France," he 
' said. " But, unfortunately, more from England. I 
think the strongest desire I have is to see my coun- 
j try shake off the English influence the self-right- 
; eousness, the snobbishness. In England if a man 
of brains compels recognition, they hasten to give 
him a title. Their sense of cpnsistency in snobbish 
ness must not be violated. They put snobbishness 
into their church service and create a snob-god 
who calls some Englishmen to be lords, and others 
to be servants." 

" But there is nothing like that in America ? " 

" Not officially, and perhaps not among the mass 
of the people. But in New York, in one class with 
which my my business compels me to have much 
to do, the craze for imitating England is rampant. It 
is absurd, how they try to erect snobbishness into 
a virtue." 

Emily shrugged her shoulders. " What does it 
matter ? " she said. " Caste is never made by the 



146 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

man who looks down, but always by the man who 
looks up." 

" But it is evil. It is a sin against God. It " 

" I do not wish to dispute with you," inter 
rupted Emily. " But let us not disturb God in his 
heaven. We are talking of earth." 

' You do not believe in God ? " He looked at 
her in astonishment. 

"Do you?" 

" I I think I do. I assume God. Without Him, 
life would be monstrous." 

" Yet the most of the human race lives without 
Him. And of those who profess to believe in Him, 
no two have the same* idea of Him. Your God is 
a democrat. The Englishman's God is an autocrat 
and a snob." 

" And your God ? " 

Emily's face grew sad. " Mine? The God that 
I see behind all the mischance and stupidity and 
misery of this world is " She shook her head. 
" I don't know" she ende/d vaguely. 

" It seems strange that a woman so womanly 
looking as you do, should feel and talk thus." 

" My mode of life has made me see much, has com 
pelled me to do my own thinking. Besides, I am a 
child of this generation. We suspect everything 
that has come down to us from the ignorant past. 
Even so ardent a believer as you, when asked, ' Do 
you believe?' stammers, ' I think I do.' " 

" I am used to one-sided arguments," said the 
stranger with a laugh. " Usually, I lay down the 
law and others listen in silence " 



EMBERS. 147 

Emily looked at him curiously. Could he be a 
minister ? No, it was impossible, He was too 
masculine, too powerful. 

" Oh, I was not arguing," she answered lightly. 
" I was only trying to suggest that you might be 
more charitable." 

" I confess," he said, " that I am always talking 
to convince myself. I do not know what is right 
or what is wrong, but I wish to know. I doubt, 
but I wish to believe. I despair, but I wish to 
hope." 

She had no answer and they were silent for a few 
minutes. Then he began : 

" I have an impulse to tell you what I would 
not tell my oldest and dearest friend perhaps be 
cause we are two utter strangers whose paths have 
crossed in their wanderings through infinity and 
will never cross again. Do you mind if I speak of 
myself?" 

" No." Emily intensely wished to hear. " But 
I warn you that our paths wpy cross again." 

" That does not matter.' I am obeying an in 
stinct. It is always well to obey instincts. I think 
now that the instinct which made me speak to you 
in the first place was this instinct to tell you. But 
it is not a tragic story or even exciting. I am 
rather well known in the community where I live. 
I am what we call in America a self-made man. I 
come from the people not from ignorance and 
crime and sensuality, but from the real people who 
think, who aspire, who advance, who work and take 



148 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

pleasure and pride in their work, the people who 
have built our republic which will perish if they de 
cline." 

He hesitated, then went on with increasing en 
ergy : " I am a clergyman. I went into the min 
istry because I ardently believed in it, saw in it an 
opportunity to be a leader of men in the paths 
which I hoped it would help me to follow. I have 
been a clergyman for twenty-five years. And I 
have ceased to believe that which I teach. Louder 
than I can shout to my congregation, louder than 
my conscience can shout to me, a voice continually 
gives me the lie." He threw out his arm with a ges 
ture that suggested a torrent flinging aside a dam. 
"I preach the goodness of God, and I never make a 
tour among the poor of my parish that I do not 
doubt it. I preach the immortality of the soul, and 
I never look out upon a congregation and remem 
ber what an infinite multitude of those same com 
monplace, imperfect types there have been, that I 
do not think : ' It is ridiculous to say that man, the 
weak, the insignificant, the deformity, is an immortal 
being, each individual worth preserving through eter 
nity/ I preach the conventional code of morals, 
and " 

" You ought not to tell me these things," said 
Emily, as he paused. She felt guilty because she 
was permitting him to think her a Frenchwoman, 
when she was of his own country and city. 

" Well I have said enough. And how much 
good it has done me to confess ! You_-could not 



EMBERS. 149 

possibly have a baser opinion of me than I deserve. 
Telling such things is nothing in comparison with 
living them. I have lied and lied and lied so long 
that the joy of telling the truth intoxicates me. I 
am like a man crawling up out of years in a slimy 
dungeon to the light. Do you suppose it would 
disturb his enjoyment to note that spectators were 
commenting upon his unlovely appearance?" 

" After all, what you tell me is the commonplace 
of life. Who doesn't live lies, cheating himself and 
others ? " 

" But I do not wish the commonplace, the false, 
the vulgar. There is something in me that calls for 
higher things. I demand a good God. I demand 
an immortal soul. I demand a right that is clear 
and absolute. And I long for real love ennobling, 
inspiring. Why have I all these instincts when I 
am compelled to live the petty, swindling, cringing 
life of a brute dominated by the passion for self- 
preservation ? " 

Emily thought a moment, then with a twinkle of 
mockery in her eyes, yet with seriousness too, 
quoted : " Seek, and ye shall find ; knock, and it 
shall be opened unto you." 

He smiled as the waters of his own fountain thus 
unexpectedly struck him in the face. " But my 
legs are weary, and my knuckles sore," he replied. 
" Still what is there to do but to persist ? One 
must persist." 

" Work and hope," said Emily, musingly. And 
she remembered Marlowe's " work and love " ; love 



150 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

had gone, but hope she felt a sudden fresh up- 
springing of it in her heart. 

When they set out from the hotel she had been 
in a reckless mood of despondency. She had lost 
interest in her work, she had lost faith in her future 
was not the heart-interest the central interest of 
life, and what had become of her heart-interest ? 
This stranger to whose power she had impulsively 
yielded in the first instance, had a magical effect 
upon her. His pessimism was not disturbing, for 
beneath it lay a tremendous belief in men and in 
destiny. It was his energy, his outgiving of a com 
pelling masculine force, that aroused her to courage 
again. She looked at him gratefully and at once 
began to compare him with Marlowe. " What a 
child this man makes him seem," she thought. 
" This is the sort of man who would inspire one. 
And what inspiration to do or to be am I getting 
from my husband ? " 

" You are disgusted with me." The stranger was 
studying her face. 

" No I was thinking of some one else," she re 
plied " of my own troubles." And then she 
flushed guiltily, as if she had let him into her confi 
dence " a traitor's speech " she thought. Aloud 
she said : " I must go. I thank you for the good 
you have done me. I can't tell you how or why, 
but She ended abruptly and presently added, 
" I mustn't say that I hope we shall meet again. 
You see, I have your awful secret." 

He laughed there was boyishness in his laugh, 



EMBERS. 151 

but it was not boisterous. " You terrify me," he 
exclaimed. Then, reflectively, " I have an instinct 
that we shall meet again." 

" Perhaps. Why not ? It would be far stranger 
if we did not than if we did ? " 

He went with her to a cab and, with polite con 
sideration, left her before she could give her address 
to the cabman. " I wish he had asked to see me 
again," she thought, looking after his tower-like 
figure as he strode away. " But I suspect it was 
best not. There are some men whom it is not wise 
to see too much of, when one is in a certain mood. 
And I must do my duty." She made a wry face 
an exaggeration, but the instinct to make it was 
genuine. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

ASHES. 

EMILY'S "adventure" lingered with in- 
creasing vagueness for a few days, then 
vanished under a sudden pressure of 
work. When she was once more at lei 
sure Marlowe came, and she was surprised 
by the vividness and persistence with which her 
stranger returned. She struggled in vain against 
the comparisons that were forced upon her. Mar 
lowe seemed to her a clever "understudy" "a 
natural, born, incurable understudy," she thought, 
" and now that I'm experienced enough to be able 
to discriminate, how can I help seeing it?" She 
was weary of the tricks and the looks of a man 
whom she now regarded as a trafficker in stolen bits 
of other men's individualities and his tricks and 
his looks were all there was left of him for her. 

" Some people two I want you to meet, came 
with me that is, at the same time," he said. 
" Let's dine with them at Larue's to-morrow night." 
" Why not to-night ? I've an engagement to-mor 
row night. You did not warn me that you were 
coming." 

Marlowe looked depressed. " Very well," he said, 
" I can arrange it, I think." 



ASHES. 153 

" Are they Americans these friends of yours ? " 

There was a strain in his voice as he answered, 
which did not escape Emily's supersensitive ears. 
" No English," he said. " Lord Kilboggan and 
Miss Fenton the actress. You may have heard 
of her. She has been making a hit in the play 
everyone over there is talking about and running 
to see * The Morals of the Marchioness.' " 

" Oh, yes the play with the title role left out." 

" It is pretty ' thick' and Miss Fenton was the 
marchioness. But she's not a bit like that in pri 
vate life. Even Kilboggan gives her a certificate 
of good character." 

" Even Kilboggan ? " 

" He's such a scoundrel. He blackguards every, 
one. But he'll amuse you. He's witty and good- 
looking and one of those fascinating financial mys 
teries. He has no known source of income, yet he's 
always idle, always well dressed, and always in funds. 
He would have been a famous adventurer if he'd 
lived a hundred years ago." 

" But as he lives in this practical age, he comes 
dangerously near to being a plain ' dead beat ' is 
that it ? " Emily said this carelessly enough, but 
something in her manner made Marlowe wince. 

" Oh, wait until you see him. We can't carry 
our American ideas among these English. They 
look upon work as a greater disgrace than having a 
mysterious income. Kilboggan is liked by every 
one, except women with daughters to marry off and 
husbands whose vanity is tempered by misgivings." 



154 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" And what is your friend doing in Miss Fentons' 
train ? " 

" Well at first I didn't know what to make of it. 
But afterward I saw that I was probably mistaken. 
I suppose she tolerates him because he's an earl. 
It's in the blood." 

" And why do you tolerate him ? " Emily's tone 
was teasing, but it made Marlowe wince again. 

" I don't. I went with Denby the theatrical 
man over in New York several times to see Miss 
Fenton. He has engaged her for next season. And 
Kilboggan was there or joined us at dinner or supper. 
They were coming over to Paris at the same time. 
I thought it might amuse you to meet them." 

Marlowe's look and speech were frank, yet in 
stinctively Emily paused curiously upon his eager 
certificate of good character to Miss Fenton in face 
of circumstances which a man of his experience 
would regard as conclusive. Also she was puzzled 
by the elaborateness of his explanation. She 
wished to sec; Miss Fenton. 

They met that evening at Larue's and dined 
downstairs. Emily instantly noted that Marlowe's 
description of Kilboggan was accurate. " How can 
any one be fooled by these frauds ? " she thought. 
" He carries his character in his face, as they all do. 
I suppose the reason they get on is because the 
first impression wears away." Then she passed to 
her real interest in the party Miss Fenton. Her 
first thought was " How beautiful ! " Her second 
thought " How shallow and stupid ! " 



ASHES. 155 

Victoria Fenton was tall and thin obtrusively 
thin. Her arms and legs were long, and they and 
her narrow hips and the great distance from her 
chin to the swell of her bosom combined to give 
her an appearance of snake-like grace uncanny, 
sensuous, morbidly fascinating. Her features were 
perfectly regular, her skin like an Amsterdam baby's, 
her eyes deep brown, and her hair heavy ropes of 
gold. Her eyes seemed to be brilliant ; but when 
Emily looked again, she saw that they were dull, 
and that it was the colouring of her cheeks which 
made them seem bright. In the mindless expres 
sion of her eyes, in her coarse, wide mouth and long 
white teeth, Emily found the real woman. And 
she understood why Miss Fenton could say little, 
and eat and drink greedily, and still could shine. 

But, before Miss Fenton began to exhibit her 
appetite, Emily had made another discovery. As 
she and Marlowe entered Larue's, Victoria gave him 
a look of greeting which a less sagacious woman 
than she would not have misunderstood. It was 
unmistakably the look of potential proprietorship. 

Emily glanced swiftly but stealthily at Marlowe 
by way of the mirror behind the table. He was 
wearing the expression of patient and bored indif 
ference which had become habitual with him since 
he had been associating with Englishmen. Their 
eyes met in the mirror " He is trying to see how 
I took that woman's look at him," she thought, 
contemptuously. " But he must have known in 
advance that she would betray herself and him. 



156 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

He must have brought me here deliberately to see 
it or brought her here to see me or both." A 
little further reflection, and suspicion became cer 
tainty, and her eyelids hid a look of scorn. 

She made herself agreeable to Kilboggan, who 
proved to be amusing. As soon as the food and 
drink came, Victoria neglected Marlowe. He, 
after struggling to draw her out and succeeding in 
getting only dull or silly commonplaces, became 
silent and ill-at-ease. He felt that so far as rousing 
Emily's jealousy was concerned, he had failed dis 
mally, " Victoria is at her worst to-night," he 
thought. " She couldn't make anybody jealous.'* 
But he had not the acuteness to see that Emily had 
penetrated his plan if he had been thus acute, he 
would not have tried such a scheme, desperate 
though he was. 

All he had accomplished was to bring the two 
women before his eyes and mind in the sharpest 
possible contrast, and so increase his own infatua 
tion for Emily. The climax of his discomfiture 
came when Victoria, sated by what she had eaten 
and inflamed by what she had drunk, began to 
scowl jealously at Emily and Kilboggan. But Mar 
lowe did not observe this ; his whole mind was 
absorbed in Emily. He was not disturbed by her 
politeness to Kilboggan ; he hardly noted it. He 
was revolving her fascinations, her capriciousness, 
her unreachableness. " I have laughed at married 
men," he said to himself. "They are revenged. 
Of all husbands I am the most ridiculous." And 



ASHES. 157 

he began to see the merits of the system of lock 
ing women away in harems. 

He and she drove to her apartment in silence. 
He sent away the cab and joined her at the outside 
door which the concierge had opened. " Good 
night." She spoke distantly, standing in the door 
way as if she expected him to leave. " I'm afraid 
I can't see you to-morrow. Theresa and her Gen 
eral arrived at the Ritz to-night from Egypt, and 
I've engaged to lunch and drive and dine with 
them." 

" I will go up with you," he said, as if she had 
not spoken. There was sullen resolve in his tone, 
and so busy was he with his internal commotion 
that he did not note the danger fire in her eyes. 
But she decided that it would not be wise to oppose 
him there. When they were in her tiny salon, she 
seated herself, after a significant glance at the clock. 
He lit a cigarette and leaned against the mantel 
shelf. He could look down at her if she had been 
standing also, their eyes would have been upon a 
level. 

" How repellent he looks," she thought, as she 
watched him expectantly. "And just when he 
needs to appear at his best." 

" Emily," he began with forced calmness, " the 
time has come when we must have a plain talk, 
It can't be put off any longer." 

She was sitting with her arms and her loosely- 
clasped, still gloved hands upon the table, staring 
across it into the fire. " I must not anger him," 



158 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

she was saying to herself. "The time has passed 
when a plain talk would do any good." Aloud she 
said : ' I'm tired, George and not in a good 
humour. Can't you " 

Her impatience to be rid of him made him des 
perate. " I must speak, Emily, I must," he replied. 
" For many months in fact for nearly a year of 
our year and four months I've seen that our plan 
was a failure. We're neither bound nor free, neither 
married nor single. We I, at least am exposed 
to all sorts of temptations. I need you your 
sympathy, your companionship all the time. I 
see you only often enough to tantalise me, to keep 
me in a turmoil that makes happiness impossible. 
And," he looked at her uneasily, appealingly, 
""each time I see you, I find or seem to find that 
you have drifted further away from me." 

She did not break the silence she did not know 
what to say. To be frank was to anger him. To 
evade was impossible. 

" Emily," he went on, " you know that I love you. 
I wish you to be happy and I know that you don't 
wish me to be miserable. I ask you to give up, or 
at least put aside for the time, these ideas of yours. 
Let us announce our marriage and try to work out 
our lives in the way that the experience of the 
world has found best. Let us be happy again as 
we were in the beginning." 

His voice vibrated with emotion. She sighed 
and there were tears in her eyes and her voice was 
trembling as she answered : " There isn't anything 



ASHES. 159 

I wouldn't do, George, to bring back the happiness 
we had. But " she shook her head mournfully, 
" it is gone, dear." A tear escaped and rolled 
down her cheek. " It's gone." 

He was deceived by her manner and by his hopes 
and longings into believing that he was not appeal 
ing in vain ; and there came back to him some of 
the self-confidence that had so often won for him 
with women. " Not if we both wish it, and will it, 
and try for it, Emily." 

" It's gone," she repeated, " gone. We can't 
call it back." 

" Why do you say that, dear? " 

" Don't ask me. I can't be untruthful with you, 
and telling the truth would only rouse the worst 
in us both. You know, George, that I wouldn't be 
hopeless about it, if there were any hope. We've 
drifted apart. We can go on as we are now 
friends. Or we can can drift still further apart. 
But we can't come together again." 

" Those are very serious words, my dear," he 
said, trying to hide his anger. " Don't you think 
you owe me an explanation? " 

" Please, George let me write it to you, if you 
must have it. Spare me. It is so hard to speak! 
honestly. Please ! " 

" If you can find the courage to speak, I can find 
the patience to listen," he said with sarcasm. " As 
we are both intelligent and sensible, I don't think 
you need be alarmed about there being a ' scene.' 
What is the matter, Emily ? Let us clear the air." 



160 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

"We've changed that's all. I'm not regretting 
what we did. I wouldn't give it up for anything. 
But we've changed." 

"/have not changed. I'm the same now as then, 
except that I appreciate you more than I did at 
first. Month by month you've grown dearer to me. 
And " 

" Well, then, it is I who have changed," she in 
terrupted, desperately. " It's not strange, is it, 
George? I was, in a way, inexperienced when we 
were married, though I didn't think so. And life 
looks very different to me now." She could not go 
on without telling him that she had found him out, 
without telling him how he had shrivelled and 
shrunk until the garb of the ideal in which she had 
once clothed him was now a giant's suit upon a 
pigmy pitiful, ridiculous. " How can I help it 
that my mind has changed ? I thought so and so 
I no longer think so and so, Put yourself in my 
place, dear the same thing might have happened 
to you about me." 

Many times the very same ideas had formed in 
his mind as he had exhausted his interest in one 
woman after another. They were familiar to him 
these ideas. And how they mocked him now ! It 
seemed incredible that he, hitherto always the one 
who had broken it off, should be in this humiliating 
position. 

" It's all due to that absurd plan of ours," he 
said bitterly. " If we had gone about marriage 
in a sensible way, we should have grown together. 



ASHES. 161 

As it is, you've exaggerated trifles into mountains 
and are letting them crush our happiness to death." 
His tone became an appeal. " Emily my dear 
my wife you must not ! " 

She did not answer. " If we'd lived together I'd 
have found him out just the same more quickly," 
she thought. " And either I'd have degraded my 
self through timidity and dependence, or else I'd 
have left him." 

" You admit that our plan has been a failure ? " 
he went on. 
She nodded. 

" Then we must take the alternative." 
She grew pale and looked at him with dread in 
her eyes the universal human dread of finalities. 
" We must try my plan," he said. " We must try 
married life in the way that has succeeded at least 
in some fashion far oftener than it has failed." 
" Oh ! " She felt relieved, but also she regretted 
that he had not spoken as she feared he would 
speak. She paused to gather courage, turned her 
face almost humbly up to him, and said : " I wish 
I could, George. But don't urge me to do that. 
Let us go on as we are, until until Let us wait. 
Let us- 
He threw back his head haughtily. The patience 
of his vanity was worn through. " No," he said. 
" That would be folly. It must be settled one way 
or the other, Emily." He looked at her, his 
courage quailing before the boldness of his words. 
But he saw that she was white and trembling, and 



i&2 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

misunderstood it. He said to himself : " She 
must be firmly dealt with. She's giving in a 
woman always does in the last ditch." 

" No," he repeated. " The door must be either 
open or shut. Either I am your husband, or I go 
/'out of your life." 

"You can't mean that, George?" She was so 
agitated that she rose and came round the table to 
face him. " Why shouldn't we wait and hope ? 
We still care each for the other, and it hurts, oh, 
how it hurts even to think of you as out of my 
life." 

He believed that she was yielding. He put his 
hand on her arm. " Dearest, there has been too 
much indecision already, You must choose be 
tween your theories and our happiness. Which 
will you take ? You must choose here and now. 
Shall I go or stay ? " 

She went slowly back to her chair and sat down 
and again stared into the fire. " To-morrow," she 
said at last. " I will decide to-morrow." 

" No to-night now." He went to her and sat 
beside her. He put his arm around her. " I love 
you I love you, " he said in a low tone, kissing 
her. " You my dearest how can you be so 
cruel ? Love is best. Let us be happy." 

At the clasp of his arm and the touch of his lips, 
once so potent to thrill her, she grew cold all over. 

What he had thought would be the triumphant 
climax of his appeal made every nerve in her body 
cry out in protest against a future spent with him. 



ASHES. 163 

She would have pushed him away, if she had not 
pitied him and wished not to offend him. " Don't 
ask me to decide to-night," she pleaded. " Please ! " 

" But you have decided, dearest. We shall be 
happy. We shall " 

She gradually drew away from him, and to the 
surface of her expression rose that iron inflexibility, 
usually so completely concealed by her beauty and 
gentleness and sweetness. " If I must decide if 
you force me to decide, then George, my heart is 
aching with the past, aching with the loneliness 
that stares horribly from the future. But I can 
not, I cannot do as you ask." And she burst into- 
tears, sobbing as if her heart were breaking. " I 
cannot," she repeated. " I must not." 

All the ugliness which years of unbridled indul 
gence of his vanity had bred in him was roused by 
her words. Such insolence from a woman, one of 
the sex that had been his willing, yielding instrument 
to amusement, and that woman his wife ! But he 
had talked so freely to her of his alleged beliefs in 
the equality of the sexes, he had urged and boasted 
and professed so earnestly, that he did not dare un 
mask himself. Instead, with an effort at self-con 
trol that whitened his lips, he said: "You no 
doubt have reasons for this this remarkable atti 
tude. Might I venture to inquire what they are ? 
I do not fancy the idea of being condemned un 
heard." 

" Unheard? 7 condemn you unheard ! George,, 
do not be unjust to me. You know vou must 



164 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

know that there was not a moment when my 
heart was not pleading your cause. Do you think 
I have not suffered as I saw my love being mur 
dered my love wh-ich I held sacred while you 
were outraging and desecrating it." 
. " It is incredible ! " he exclaimed. " Emily, who 
has been lying to you about me ? Who has been 
poisoning your mind against me? " 

" You George." She said it quietly, sadly. 
" No one else in all this world could have destroyed 
you with me." 

" I do not understand," he protested. But his 
eyes shifted rapidly, then turned away from her 
full gaze, fixed upon him without resentment or 
anger, with only sorrow and a desire to spare him 
pain. 

" I could remind you of several things you 
remember them, do you not? But they were not 
the real cause. It was, I think, the little things 
it always is the little things, like drops of water 
wearing away the stone. And they wore away the 
feeling I had for you carried it away grain by grain. 
Forgive me, George ." The tears were streaming 
down her face. " I loved you you were my life 
'I have lost you. And I'm alone and a woman. 
No, no don't misunderstand my crying my love 
is dead. Sometimes I think I ought to hate you 
for killing it. But I don't." 

" Thank you," he said, springing to his feet. His 
lips were drawn back in a sneer and he was shaking 
with anger. He took up his hat and coat. " I shall 



ASHES. 165 

not intrude longer." He bowed with mock respect. 
" Good night good-bye." 

" George ! " She started up. " We must not 
part, with you in anger against me.'* 

He gave her a furious look and left the apartment. 
" What a marriage ! " he said to himself. " Bah ! 
She'll send me a note in the morning." But this 
prophecy was instantly faced with the memory of 
her expression as she gave her decision. 

And Emily did not send for him. She tore up 
in the morning the note she rose in the night to 
write. 

The next evening while she and the Waylands 
were dining at the Ritz, Victoria Fenton came in 
with Kilboggan and sat where Emily could study 
her at leisure. 

"Isn't that a beautiful woman?" she said to 
Theresa. 

" Yes a gorgeous animal," Theresa replied, after 
a critical survey. " And how she does love food ! " 

Emily was grateful. 

" She looks rather common too," Theresa con 
tinued. " What a bad face the fellow she's with 
has." 

Emily tried to extract comfort out of these con- 
fVrmations of her opinion of the couple she was 
blaming for Marlowe's forcing the inevitable issue 
at a most inopportune time. But her spirits refused 
to rise. " It's of no use to deny it," she said to her 
self, with a sick and sinking heart. " I shall miss 
him dreadfully. What can take his place ? " 



166 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

She wished to be alone ; the dinner seemed an 
interminable prospect, was an hour and a half of 
counted and lingering minutes. When the coffee 
was served she announced a severe headache, insisted 
on going at once and alone, would permit escort 
only to a cab. As she went she seemed to be pass 
ing, deserted and forlorn^ through a world of com 
rades and lovers men two and two, women two 
and two, men and women together in pairs or in 
parties. Out in the Champs Elysees, stars and soft, 
warm air, and love-inviting shadows among the trees ; 
here and there the sudden dazzling blaze of the 
lights of a cafe chantant, and music ; a multitude of 
cabs rolling by, laughter or a suggestion of romance 
floating in the wake of each. " Hide yourself ! " 
the city and the night were saying to her, " Hide 
your heartache ! Nobody cares, nobody wishes to 
see ! " 

And she hastened to hide herself, to lie stunned 
in the beat of a black and bitter sea. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

" THE REAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE.'* 

MARLOWE had been held above his 
normal self, not by Emily, but by 
an exalting love for her. Except in 
occasional momentary moods of ex 
uberant animalism, he had not been 
low and coarse. Whatever else might be said of 
the love affairs whose tombstones strewed his past, 
it could not be said that they were degrading to 
the parties at interest. But there was in his mind 
a wide remove between all the others and Emily. 
His love for her was as far above him as her love 
for him after she ceased to respect him had been 
beneath her. And her courage and independence 
came to her rescue none too soon. He could not 
much longer have persisted in a state so unnatural 
to his character and habit. Indeed it was unconsci 
ously the desire to get her where he could gradually 
lead her down to his fixed and unchangeable level, 
that forced him on to join that disastrous issue. 

As he journeyed toward London the next night, 
he was industriously preparing to eject love for her 
by a vigorous campaign of consolation. Vanity 
had never ceased to rule him. It had tolerated 



168 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

love so long as love seemed to be cooperating with 
it. It now resumed unchecked sway. 

Before he went to Paris he was much stirred by 
Victoria's beauty. He thought that fear of her 
becoming a menace to his loyalty had caused him 
to appeal to Emily. And naturally he now turned 
toward Victoria, and made ready for a deliberately 
reckless infatuation. He plunged the very after 
noon of his return to London, and he was soon 
succeeding beyond the bounds which his judgment 
had set in the planning. This triumph over a 
humilating defeat was won by many and powerful 
allies resentment against Emily for her wounds to 
his vanity, craving for consolation, a vigorous and 
passionate imagination, the desire to show his 
superiority over the fascinating Kilboggan, and, 
strongest of all, Victoria's fame and extraordinary 
physical charms. If Emily could have looked into 
his mind two weeks after he left her, she would 
have been much chagrined, and would no doubt 
have fallen into the error of fancying that his love 
had not been genuine and, for him, deep. 

He erected Victoria into an idol, put his good 
sense out of commission, fell down and worshipped. 
He found her a reincarnation of some wonderful 
Greek woman who had inspired the sculptors of 
Pericles. He wrote her burning letters. When he 
was with her he gave her no opportunity to show 
him whether she was wise or silly, deep or shallow, 
intelligent or stupid. When she did speak he heard, 
not her words, but only the vibrations of that voice 



REAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE. 169 

which had made her the success of the season the 
voice that entranced all and soon seemed to him to 
strike the chord to which every fibre of his every 
nerve responded. He dreamed of those gold braids, 
unwound and showering about those strange, lean, 
maddening shoulders and arms of hers. 

In that mood, experience, insight into the ways 
and motives of women went for no more than in 
any other mood of any other mode of love. He 
knew that he was in a delirium, incapable of reason 
or judgment. But he had no desire to abate, per- 
haps destroy, his pleasure by sobering and steady 
ing himself. 

He convinced himself that Kilboggan was an un 
satisfied admirer of Victoria. When Kilboggan 
left her to marry the rich wife his mother had at 
last found for him, he believed that the " noble 
man " had been driven away by Victoria because 
she feared her beloved Marlowe disapproved of him. 
And when he found that Victoria would never be 
his until they should marry, he began to cast about 
to free himself. After drafting and discarding 
many letters, and just when he was in despair 
" It's impossible even to begin right " he had what 
seemed to him an inspiration. " The telegraph ! 
One does not have to begin or end a telegram ; and 
it can be abrupt without jar, and terse without 
baldness." He sent away his very first effort : 
EMILY BROMFIELD, 

Boulevard Haussmann, Paris. 

Will you consent to quiet Dakota 
divorce on ground of incompatibility. No danger publicity. 



170 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

You will not need leave Paris or take any trouble whatever. 
Please telegraph answer to Dover Street, Piccadilly. 

MARLOWE. 

He was so bent upon his plan that not until he 
had handed in the telegram did the other side of 
what he was doing come forcibly to him. With a 
sudden explosion there were flung to the surface of 
his mind from deep down where Emily was uneas 
ily buried, a mass of memories, longings, hopes, 
remnants of tenderness and love, regrets, remorse. 
He had no definite impulse to recall the telegram 
but, as he went out into the thronged and choked 
Strand, he forgot where he was and let the crowd 
bump and thump and drift him into a doorway ; and 
he stood there, not thinking, but feeling forlorn, 
acutely sensitive of the loneliness and futility of life. 

" I was just going to ask you to join me at 
luncheon," said a man at his side Blackwell, an 
old acquaintance. " But if you feel as you look, I 
prefer my own thoughts." 

" I was thinking of a paragraph I read in Figaro 
this morning," said Marlowe. " It went on to say 
that the real tragedy of life is not the fall of splen 
did fortunes, nor the death of those who are beloved, 
nor any other of the obvious calamities, but the 
petty, inglorious endings of friendships and loves 
that have seemed eternal." 

When Marlowe went to his lodgings after lunch 
eon, he found Emily's answer : " Certainly, and I 
know I can trust you completely." 

He expected a note from her, but none came. 



REAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE. 171 

He cabled for leave of absence and in the following 
week sailed for New York. He " established a 
residence " one morning at Petersville, an obscure 
county seat in a remote corner of South Dakota, 
engaged a lawyer for himself and another for 
Emily in the afternoon, and in the evening set out 
for New York. At the end of three months, spent 
in New York, he returned to his " residence " a 
bedroom in Petersville. The case was called the 
afternoon of his arrival. Emily "put in an appear 
ance " through her lawyer, and he submitted to the 
court a letter from her in which she authorised him 
to act for her, and declared that she would never 
return to her husband. After a trial which lasted 
a minute and three-quarters consumed in reading 
Emily's letter and in Marlowe's testimony the 
divorce was granted. The only publicity was 
the never-read record of the Petersville court. 

Marlowe reappeared in London after an absence 
of three months and three weeks. When Victoria 
completed her tour of the provinces, they were 
married and went down to the South Coast for the 
honeymoon. 

The climax of a series of thunderclaps in revela 
tion of Victoria as an intimate personality came at 
breakfast the next morning. She was more beauti 
ful than he had ever seen her, and her voice had its 
same searching vibrations. But he could think of 
neither as he watched her " tackle "the only word 
which seemed to him descriptive three enormous 
mutton chops in rapid succession. He noted each 



172 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

time her long white teeth closed upon a mouthful 
of chop and potato ; and as she chewed with now 
one cheek and now the other distended and with 
her glorious eyes bright like a feeding beast's, he 
repeated to himself again and again : " My God, 
what have I done ? " not tragically, but with a 
keen sense of his own absurdity. He turned away 
from her and stood looking out across the channel 
toward France toward Emily. 

" What shall I do ? " he said to himself. " What 
shall I do ? " 

He was compelled to admit that she was not in 
the least to blame. She had made no pretences to 
him. She had simply accepted what he cast at her 
feet, what he fell on his knees to beg her to take. She 
had not deceived him. Her hair, her teeth what 
greedy, gluttonous teeth! her long, slender form, 
her voice, all were precisely as they had promised. 
He went over their conversations. He remembered 
much that she had said brief commonplaces, 
phrases which revealed her, but which he thought 
wonderful as they came to his entranced ears upon 
that shimmering stream of sound. Not an idea ! 
Not an intelligent thought except those repeated 
with full credit from the conversation of others. 

" Fool ! Fool ! " he said to himself. " I am the 
most ridiculous of men. If I tried to speak, I 
should certainly bray." 

He turned and looked at her as she sat with her 
back toward him. Her hair was caught up loosely, 
coil on coil of dull gold. It just reveafed the nape 



REAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE. 173 

of her neck above the lace of her dressing gown. 
" Yes, it is a beautiful neck ! She is a beautiful 
woman." Yet the thought that that beauty was 
his, thrust at him like the red-hot fork of a teasing 
devil. " It is what I deserve," he said. " But that 
makes it the more exasperating. What sJiall I do ? " 

" Why are you so quiet, sweetheart ? " she said, 
throwing her napkin on the table. " Come here 
and kiss me and say some of those pretty things. 
You Americans do have a queer accent. But you 
know how to make love cleverly. No wonder you 
caught poor, foolish me." 

" My wife" he thought. " Good God, what have 
I done ? It must be a ghastly dream." But he 
crossed the room and sat opposite her without look 
ing at her. " I'm not very fit this morning," he said. 

" I thought you weren't." Her spell-casting 
voice was in the proper stage-tone for sympathy. 
" I saw that you didn't eat." 

" Eat ! " He shuddered and closed his eyes to 
prevent her seeing the sullen fury which blazed 
there. He was instantly ashamed of himself. 
Only if she zvould avoid reminding him of the 
chops and potato disappearing behind that gleam 
ing screen of ivory. He was sitting on a little sofa. 
She sat beside him and drew his head down upon 
her shoulder. She let her long, cool fingers slide 
slowly back and forth across his forehead. 

" I do love you." There was a ring of reality in 
her tone beneath the staginess. " We are going to 
be very, very happy. You are so different from 



174 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Englishmen. And I'm afraid you'll weary of your 
stupid English wife. I'm not a bit clever, you 
know, like the American women." 

He was unequal to a hypocritical protest in 
words, so he patted her reassuringly on the arm. 
He was less depressed now that she had stopped 
eating and was at her best. He rose and with 
ashamed self-reproach kissed her hair. " I shall 
try to make you not repent your bargain," he said, 
with intent to conceal the deeper meaning of his 
remark. " But I must send off some telegrams. 
Then we'll go for a drive. I need the air." 

He liked her still better as she came down in a 
becoming costume ; he particularly liked the agita 
tion her appearance created in the lounging rooms. 
They got through the day well, and after a dinner 
with two interesting men a dinner at which he 
drank far more than usual he felt temporarily 
reconciled to his fate. 

But at the end of a week, in which he had so 
managed it that they were alone as little as possible 
he had not one illusion left. He did not love her. 
She did not attract him. She was tiresome through 
and through. Instead of giving life a new mean 
ing and him a new impetus, she was an added bur 
den, another source of irritation. He admitted to 
himself that he had been tricked by his senses, as a 
iboy of twenty might have been. He felt like a 
: professional detective who has yielded to a familiar 
* swindling game. 

She had grown swiftly fonder of him, won by his 



REAL TRAGEDY OF LIFE. 175 

mental superiority, by his gentleness exaggerated 
in his anxiety not basely to make her suffer for his 
folly. " He's a real gentleman," she thought. 
" His manners are not pretence. I've done much 
better than I fancied." And she began further to 
try his nerves by a dog-like obedience. She would 
not put on a dress without first consulting him. 
She had no will but his in any way except one. 
She insisted upon ordering her own meals. There 
she did not care what he thought. 

Once they were back in London, his chain became 
invisible and galled him only in imagination. She 
had an exacting profession, and so had he. When 
they were together, they would talk about her work,, 
and, as he was interested in it and intelligent about 
it and she docile and receptive, he was content. 
While she was of no direct use to him, he found 
that she was of great indirect use. He worked more 
steadily, more ambitiously. The idea woman, which 
had always been distracting and time- wasting, ceased 
to have any part in his life. 

He turned his attention to play-writing and play- 
carpentry. He became a connoisseur of food and 
drink, a dabbler in old furniture and tapestries. 
He did not regret the event of his first venture in 
marriage and only venture in love. " As it is, it's 
a perfect gem," he finally came to sum the matter 
up, " a completed work of art. If I'd had my way, 
still it must have ended some time, and not so 
artistically or so comfortably." When he reflected 
thus, his waist-line was slowly going. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

EMILY REFUSES CONSOLATION. 



f*~ ""^HE Waylands took a small house at 
Neuilly for the summer, and Emily 
spent a great deal of time there. She 
found Theresa less lively but also less jar 

ring than in their boarding-house days. 
Neither ever spoke of those days, or of Demorest 
and Marlowe Theresa, because she had no wish to 
recall that she had been other than the fashionable 
and preeminently respectable personage she had 
rapidly developed into ; Emily, because her heart 
was still sore, and the place where Marlowe had been 
was still an uncomfortable and at times an aching 
void. 

In midsummer came the third member of the 
Wayland family Edgar. Like his father, he had 
changed, had developed into a type of the respect 
able radically different from anything of which she 
had thought him capable. A cleaner mind now 
looked from his commonplace face, and he watched 
with approving interest the pleasing, if monotonous, 
spectacle of his father's domestic solidity. On the 
very day on which Emily received her copy of the 
decree of the Petersville court, he took her out to 
dinner. 



EMILY'S REFUSAL. 177 

She had sat in her little salon with the three 
documents in the case before her the two tangible 
documents, the marriage certificate and the decree 
of divorce ; and the intangible but most powerful 
document, her memory of Marlowe from first scene 
to last. When it was time for her to dress, she 
went to her bedroom window, tore the two papers 
into bits and sent them fluttering away over the 
housetops on the breeze. " The incident is closed/* 
she said, with a queer short laugh that was also a 
sob. She had Wayland take her to a little restau 
rant in the Rue Marivaux, her and Marlowe's favour 
ite dining place a small room, with tasteful dark 
furnishings and rose-coloured lights that made it 
somewhat brighter than clear twilight. 

As they sat there, with the orchestra sending 
down from a plant-screened alcove high in the wall 
the softest and gentlest intimations of melody, 
Emily deliberately gave herself up to the mood that 
had been growing all the afternoon. 

Edgar knew her well enough to leave her to her 
thoughts through the long wait and into the second 
course. Then he remonstrated. " You're not drink 
ing. You're not eating. You're not listening I've 
asked you a question twice." 

" Yes, I was listening," replied Emily " listening 
to a voice I don't like to hear, yet wouldn't silence 
if I could the voice of experience." 

" Well you look as if you'd had a lot of experi 
ence I was going to say, you look sadder, but it 
isn't that. And you're more beautiful than ever, 



178 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Emily. You always did have remarkable eyes, and 
now they're simply wonderful and mysterious." 

Emily laughed. " Oh, they're hiding such secrets 
such secrets ! " 

" Yes, I suppose you have been through a lot. 
You talk more like a married woman than a young 
girl. But of course you don't know life as a man 
knows it. No nice woman can." 

" Can a nice man ? " 

" Oh, there aren't any nice men. At least you'd 
hate a nice man. I think a fellow ought to be ex 
perienced, ought to go around and learn what's what, 
and then he ought to settle down. Don't you?" 

"I'm not sure. I'm afraid a good many of that 
kind of fellows are no more attractive than the ' nice ' 
men. Still, it's surprising how little of you men's, 
badness gets beyond the surface, You come in and 
hold up your dirty hands and faces for us women to 
wash. And we wash them, and you are shiny and 
clean and all ready to be husbands and fathers. I 
think I've seen signs of late that little Edgar Way- 
land wishes to have his hands and face washed." 

The red wine at this restaurant in the Rue Man- 
vaux is mild and smooth, but full of sentiment and 
courage. Edgar had made up for Emily's neglect 
of it, and it enabled him to advance boldly to the 
settlement of a matter which he had long had in 
mind, as Emily would have seen, had she not been 
so intent upon her own affairs. 

"Yes I do want my hands and face washed," he 
said nervously, turning his glass by its stem round 



EMILY'S REFUSAL. 179 

and round upon the table. " And I want you to do 
it, Emmy." 

Emily was grateful to him for proposing to her 
just then. And her courage was so impaired by 
her depression that she could not summarily reject 
a chance to settle herself for life in the way that is 
usually called " well." " Haven't I been making a 
mistake?" she had been saying to herself all that 
day and in vaguer form on many preceding days. 
" Is the game worth the struggle ? Freedom and 
independence haven't brought me happiness. 
Wasn't George right, after all ? Why should I ex 
pect so much in a man, expect so much from life ? " 
It seemed to her at the moment that she had better 
have stopped thinking, had better have cast aside 
her ideals of self-respect and pride, and have sunk 
with Marlowe. " And Edgar would let me alone. 
Why not marry him ? 

She evaded his proposal by teasing him about his 
flight from her two years before " Only two 
years," she thought. " How full and swift life is, if 
one keeps in midstream." 

" Don't talk about that, Emmy, please," begged 
Edgar humbly. " I don't need any reminder that 
I once had a chance and threw it away." 

" But you didn't have a chance," replied Emily. 

" No, I suppose not. I suppose you wouldn't 
have had me, if it had come to the point." 

" I don't mean that. I'd have had you, but you 
wouldn't, couldn't, have had me. The I of those 
days and the I of to-day aren't at all the same per- 



i8o A WOMAN VENTURES. 

son. If I'd married you then, there would have 
been one kind of a me. As it is, there is a different 
kind of a me, as different as as the limits of life 
permit." 

" What has done it love ? " he asked. 

" Chiefly freedom. Freedom ! " Her sensitive 
face was suddenly all in a glow. 

" I know I'm not up to you, Emily," he said. 
" But- 

" Let's not talk about it, Edgar. Why spoil our 
evening?" 

Theresa came the next afternoon and took her 
for a drive. " Has Edgar been proposing to you ? " 
she asked. 

" I think he's feeling more or less sentimental," 
Emily replied, not liking the intimate question. 

" Now, don't think I'm meddling. Edgar told 
me, and has been talking about you all morning. 
He wished me to help him." 

" Well, what do you think ? " 

" Marry him, Emily. He'd make a model hus 
band. He's not very mean about money, and he's 
fond of home and children. I'd like it on my own 
account, of course. It would be just the thing in 
every way." 

" But then there's my work, my independence, my 
freedom." 

" Do be sensible. You can work as hard as ever 
you like, even if you are married. And you'd be 
freer than now and would have a lots better time, 
no matter what your idea of a good time is." 



EMILY'S REFUSAL. 181 

" But I don't love him. I'm not sure that I even 
like him." 

" So much the better. Then you'll be agreeably 

disappointed. If you expect nothing or worse, you 

I get the right kind of a surprise ; whereas, when a 

\ woman loves a man, she idealises him and is sure to 

get the wrong kind of a surprise." 

" You can't possibly know how wise what you've 
just said is, Theresa Dunham," said Emily. " But 
there is one thing wiser and that is, not to marry, 
not to risk. I'm able to make my living. My ex 
travagant tastes are under control. And I'm con 
tent except in ways in which nothing he can give 
me could help." 

Theresa was irritated that Emily's " queer id ens " 
were a force in her life, not a mere mask for disap 
pointment at not having been able to marry well. 
And Emily could not discuss the situation with her. 
Theresa might admit that it was barely possible for 
a woman to refuse to marry except for love. But 
a woman disputing the necessity of marriage for 
any and all women, if they were not to make a dis 
graceful failure of life Emily could see Theresa 
pooh-poohing the idea that such a creature really 
existed among the sane. Further, if Emily 
1 explained her point of view, she would be by impli 
cation assailing Theresa for her marriage. 

" I'm sure," Theresa went on, " that Edgar's 
father would be satisfied. If he didn't know you he 
wouldn't like it. He has such strict ideas on the 
subject of women. He thinks a woman's mission 



182 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

is to be a wife and mother. He says nature plainly 
intended woman to have motherhood as her mis 
sion." 

" Not any more, I should say, than she intended 
man to have fatherhood as his mission." 

" Well, at any rate, he thinks so, and it gives 
him something to talk about. He thinks a woman 
who is not at least a wife ought to be ashamed of 
herself." 

" But if no man will have her ? " 

" Then she ought to sit out of sight, where she will 
offend as little as possible." 

" But if she has to make a living ? " 

" Oh, she can do something quiet and respectable, 
like sewing or housework." 

" But why shouldn't she work at whatever will 
produce the best living?" 

"_She ought to be careful not to be unwomanly." 

" Womanliness, as you call it, won't bring in bread 
or clothes or pay rent," said Emily. " And I can't 
quite see why it should be womanly to make a poor 
living at drudgery and unwomanly to make a good 
living at agreeable work." 

" Oh, well, you know, Emmy, that nature never 
intended women to work." 

" I'm sure I don't know what nature intended. 
Sometimes I've an idea she's like a painter who, 
when they asked him what his canvas was going to 
be, said, ' Oh, as it may happen.' But whatever 
nature's intentions, women do work. I'm not 
thinking about an unimportant little class of women 



EMILY'S REFUSAL. 183 

who spend their time in dressing and simpering at 
one another. I'm thinking of women the race of 
women. They work as the men work. They bear 
more than half the burden. They work side by 
side with the men in the shops and offices and 
schoolrooms, on the farms and in the homes. They 
toil as hard and as intelligently and as usefully as 
the men ; and, if they're married, they usually make 
a bare living. The average husband thinks he's 
doing his wife a favour by letting her live with him. 
And he is furious if she asks what he's doing with 
their joint earnings." 

" You put it well," said Theresa. " You ought 
to say that to Percival. I suppose he could answer 
you." 

" No doubt I'm boring you," said Emily. " But 
it makes me indignant for women to accept men's 
absurd ideas on the subject of themselves to think 
that they've got to submit and play the hypocrite 
in order to fit men's silly so-called ideals of them. 
And the worst of it is " 

Emily stopped and when she began again, talked 
of the faces and clothes in the passing carriages. 
She had intended to go on to denounce herself for 
weakness in being unable to follow reason and alto 
gether shake off ideas which she regarded as false 
and foolish and discreditable. " As if," she thought 
"any toil in making my own living could possibly 
equal the misery of being tied to a commonplace 
fellow like Edgar, with my life one long denial of 
all that I believe honest and true. I his wife, the 



184 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

mother of his children, and listening to his narrow 
prosings day in and day out it's impossible ! " 

She straightened herself and drew in a long breath 
of the bright air of the Bois. 

" Listen to me, Theresa," she said. " Suppose 
you were walking along a road alone not an 
especially pleasant road a little dusty and, at 
times rough but still on the whole not a bad 
road. And suppose you saw a clumsy, heavy mani 
kin, dropped by some showman and lying by the 
wayside. Would you say, ' I am tired. The road 
is rough. I'll pick up this manikin and strap it on 
my back to make the journey lighter? 

" Whatever do you mean ? " asked Theresa. 

" Why, I mean that I'm not going to marry not 
just yet I think." 



CHAPTER XX. 

BACHELOR GIRLS. 

IN September Emily, convinced that she could 
not afford to stay away from her own country 
longer, got herself transferred to the New 
York staff and crossed with the Waylands. 
In the crowd on the White Star pier she 
saw Joan, now a successful playright or " plagiarist " 
as she called herself, because the most of her work 
was translating and adapting. And presently Joan 
and she were journeying in a four-wheeler piled 
high with trunks, toward the San Remo where Joan 
was living. 

" Made in Paris," said Joan, her arm about Emily 
and her eyes delighting in Emily's stylish French 
travelling costume. " You even speak with a Paris 
accent. How you have changed ! " 

" But not so much as you. You are not so thin. 
And you've lost that stern, anxious expression. 
And you have the air what is it ? the air that 
comes to people when their merits have been pub 
licly admitted." 

Joan did indeed look a person who is in the 
habit of being taken into account. She had always 
been good looking, if somewhat severe and business 
like. Now she was handsome. She was not of the 



i86 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

type of woman with whom a man falls ardently in 
love she showed too plainly that she dealt with 
all the facts of life on a purely intellectual basis. 

" I've been expecting news that you were marry 
ing," said Emily. 

" I ? " Joan smiled cynically. " I feel as you do 
about marriage except " 

She paused and reddened as Emily began to 
laugh. "No not that," she went on. "I'm not 
the least in love. But I've made up my mind to 
marry the first intelligent, endurable, self-supporting 
man that asks me. I'm thirty-two years old and 
I want children." 

" Children ! You children ? " 

" Yes I. I've changed my mind now that I can 
afford to think of such things. I like them for 
themselves and they're the only hope one has of 
getting a real object in life. Working for oneself is 
hollow. I once thought I'd be happy if I got 
where I am now mistress of my time and sure of 
an income. But I find that I can't hope to be 
contented going on alone. And that means chil 
dren." 

" You don't know how you surprise me." Emily 
looked thoughtful rather than surprised. " You 
set me to thinking along a new line. I wonder if I 
shall ever feel that way ? " 

" Why, of course. Old age without ties in the 
new generation is a dismal farce for woman or man. 
We human beings live looking to the future if we 
live at all. And unless we have children, we are 



BACHELOR GIRLS. 187 

certain to be alone and facing the past in old age. 
You'll change your mind, as I have. Some day 
you'll begin to feel the longing for children. It 
may be irrational, but it'll be irresistible." 

" Well, I think I'll wait on your experiment. 
How I love the trolley cars and the tall buildings 
they make one feel what a strong, bold race we are, 
don't they? And I'm simply wild to get to the 
office." 

Emily was assigned to the staff of the Sunday 
supplements to read papers and magazines, for 
eign and domestic, and suggest and occasionally ex 
ecute features. She liked the work and it left her 
evenings free ; but it was sedentary. This she cor 
rected by walking the three miles from the office 
to her flat and by swimming at a school in Forty- 
fourth street three times a week. 

She gave much time and thought to her appear 
ance because she was proud of her looks, because 
they were part of her capital, and because she knew 
that only by the greatest care could she keep her 
youth. Joan's interest in personal appearance, so 
far as she herself was concerned, ended with seeing 
to cleanliness and to clothing near enough to the 
fashion to make her a well-dressed woman. It did 
not disturb her that her hair was slightly thinner 
than it used to be, or that there were a few small 
wrinkles at the corners of her eyes. But she was 
not contemptuous of Emily's far-sighted precau 
tions. On the contrary, she looked upon them as 
sensible and would have been worried by any sign 



i88 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

of relaxing vigilance. She delighted in Emily's 
gowns and in the multitude of trifles collarettes, 
pins of different styles, stockings of striking and even 
startling patterns, shoes and boots of many kinds, 
ribbons, gloves, etc. etc. wherewith she made her 
studied simplicity of dress perfect. 

" It's wonderful," she said, as she watched Emily 
unpack. " I don't see how you ever accumulated 
so much." 

" Instinct probably," replied Emily. " I make 
it a rule never to buy anything I don't need, 
and never to need anything I don't have money to 
buy." 

They took a flat in Central Park West, near 
Sixty-sixth street, and Joan insisted upon paying 
two-thirds of the expenses. Emily yielded, because 
Joan's arguments were unanswerable she did use 
the flat more, as she not only worked there and re- 
ceived business callers, but also did much entertain 
ing ; and she could well afford to bear the larger 
part of the expense, as her income was about eight 
thousand a year, and Emily had only three thou 
sand. Joan wished to draw Emily into play- 
writing, but soon gave it up. She had to admit to 
herself that Emily was right in thinking she had 
not the necessary imagination that her mind was 
appreciative rather than constructive. 

" Don't think I'm so dreadfully depressed over 
it," Emily went on. " It is painful to have limita 
tions as narrow as mine, when one appreciates as 
keenly as I do. But we can't all have genius 



BACHELOR GIRLS. 189 

or great talent. Besides, the highest pleasures 
don't come through great achievement or great 
ability." 

" Indeed, they do not." 

Emily's eyes danced, and Joan grew red and 
smiled foolishly. The meaning back of it was Pro 
fessor Reed of Columbia. He had been calling on 
Joan of late frequently, and with significant regu 
larity. He was short and sallow, with a narrow, 
student's face, and brown eyes, that seemed large 
and dreamy through his glasses, as eyes behind 
glasses usually do. He was stiff in manner, because 
he had had little acquaintance with women. He 
was in love with Joan in a solemn, old-fashioned 
way. He was so shy and respectful that if Emily 
had not been most considerate of other people's 
privacy, she would have teased Joan by asking her 
when she was going to propose to him that he pro 
pose to her. 

He was rigid in his ideas of what constituted 
propriety for himself, but not in the least disposed 
to insist upon his standards in others. He felt that 
in wandering so near to Bohemia as Joan and 
Emily he was trenching upon the extreme of per 
missible self-indulgence. If he had been able to 
suspect Joan of " a past," he would probably have 
been secretly delighted. He did not believe that 
she had, when he got beyond the surface of her life 
the atmosphere of the playhouse and the newspa 
per office and saw how matter-of-fact everything 
was. But he still clung to vague imaginings of un- 



190 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

conventionality, so alluring to those who are conven 
tional in thought and action. 

Emily's one objection to him was that he some 
times tried to be witty or humorous. Then he 
became hysterical and not far from silly. But as 
she knew him better she forgave this. Had she 
disliked him she would have been able to see noth 
ing else. 

" Do you admire strength in a man ? " she once 
asked Joan. 

"Yes I suppose so. I like him to be well, a 
man." 

" I like a man to be distinctly masculine strong, 
mentally and physically. I don't like him to domi 
neer, but I like to feel that he would domineer me 
if he dared and could domineer every one except 
me." 

" No, I don't like that. I have my own ideas of 
what I wish to do. And I wish the man who is 
anything to me to be willing to help me to do 
them." 

" You want a man-servant, then ? " 

" No, indeed. But I don't want a master." Joan 
shut her lips together, and a stern, pained ex 
pression came into her face. Emily saw that her 
book of memory had flung open at an unpleasant 
page. " No," she continued in a resolute tone, " I 
want no master. My centre of gravity must remain 
within myself." 

After that conversation Emily understood why 
Joan liked her intelligent, adoring, timid professor. 



BACHELOR GIRLS. 191 

" Joan will make him make her happy," she said to 
herself, amused at, yet admiring, Joan's practical, 
sensible planning. 

****** 

Soon after her return, the Sunday editor called 
her into his office her desk was across the room, 
immediately opposite his door. 

' We want a series of articles on what is doing 
in New York for the poor especially the foreign 
poor of the slums. Now, here's the address of a 
man who can tell you about his own work and also 
what others are doing where to send in order to 
see how it's done, whom it's done for, and so on." 

Emily took the slip. It read " Dr. Stanhope, 
Grand Street." She set out at once, left the Bow 
ery car at Grand street and walked east through its 
crowded dinginess. She passed the great towering 

Church of the Redeemer at the corner of 

street. The next house was the one she was seek 
ing. A maid answered the door. A sickly looking 
curate, his shovel-hat standing out ludicrously over 
a pair of thin, projecting ears, passed her with a 
"professional" smile that made his tiny, dimpled 
chin look its weakest. The maid took her card 
and presently returned to conduct her through sev 
eral handsome rooms, up heavily carpeted stairs, 
under an arch, into a connecting house that was 
furnished with cold and cheap simplicity. The 
maid pushed open a door and Emily entered a 
large, high-ceilinged library, that looked as if were 
the workshop of a toiler of ascetic tastes. At the 



192 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

farther end at a table-desk sat a man, writing. His 
back was toward her a big back, a long, broad, 
powerful back. He was seated upon a strong, re 
volving office-chair, yet it seemed too small and too 
feeble for him. 

" Well, my good girl, what can I do for you ? " 
he called over his shoulder, without ceasing to 
write. 

Emily started. She recognised the voice, then 
the head, neck, shoulders, back. It was the man 
she had " confessed " in Paris. She was so as 
tonished that she could make no reply, and hardly 
noted the abstracted patronising tone, the super- 
cilious words and the uncourteous manner. He 
dropped his pen, laid his great hands on the arms 
of his chair and swung himself round. His ex 
pression changed so swiftly and so tragically that 
Emily forgot her own surprise and with difficulty 
restrained her amusement. 

He leaped from his chair and strode toward her 
bore down upon her. His brilliant, dark eyes ex 
pressed amazement, doubt of his sanity. There 
was a deep flush in his pallid skin just beneath the 
surface. 

" I have come to ask " began Emily. 

" Is it you ? " he said, eagerly. " Is it you ? " 

" I beg your pardon." Emily's face showed no 
recognition and she stood before him, formal and 
business-like. 

"Don't you remember me?" He made an im 
patient gesture, as if to sweep aside a barrier some- 



BACHELOR GIRLS. 193 

one had thrust in front of him. " Did I not meet 
you in Paris ? " 

" I don't think I'm sure that I have not had 
the pleasure of meeting you. The Democrat sent 
me here to see Doctor Stanhope " 

Again he made the sweeping gesture with his 
powerful arm. " I am Doctor Stanhope," he said 
impatiently. Then with earnest directness : " Your 
manner is an evasion. It is useless, unlike unex 
pected in the sort of woman you you look." 

"You cannot ask me to be bound by your con 
clusions or wishes when they do not agree with my 
own,'* said Emily, her tone and look taking the edge 
from her words, as she did not wish to offend him. 

" As you will." He made a gesture of resigna 
tion and bowed toward a chair at the corner of his 
desk. When they were seated, he said, " I am at 
your service, Miss Bromfield." 

He gave her the information she was seeking, 
suggested the phases of poverty and relief of pov 
erty that would be best for description and illustra 
tion. He called in his secretary and dictated notes 
of instruction to several men who could help her. 
He requested them to "give Miss Bromfield all 
possible facilities, as an especial favour to me. I am 
deeply interested in the articles she is preparing for 
the Democrat" 

When the secretary withdrew to write out the 
letters, he leaned back in his chair and looked at 
her appealingly. " Shall we be friends ? " he 
asked. 



194 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

While Emily had been sitting there, so near him, 
hearing his clear, resolute voice, noting his fascinat 
ing mannerisms of strength, gentleness and sim 
plicity, she felt again the charm of power and per 
suasion that had conquered her when first she saw 
him. " He makes me feel that he is important, and 
at the same time that I am important in his eyes," 
she thought, analysing her vanity as she yielded to 
it. 

" Friends? " she said aloud with a smile. " That 
means better opportunities for petty treachery, and 
the chance to assassinate in a crisis. It's a serious 
matter friendship, don't you think ? " 

" Yes," he replied, humour in his eyes. " And 
again it may mean an offensive and defensive alli 
ance against the world." 

" In dreams," she answered, " but not in women's 
dreams of men or in men's dreams of women." 

Just then a voice called from the hall, " Arthur ! " 
a shrill, shrewish voice with a note of habitual 
ill-temper in it, yet a ladylike voice. 

There was a rustling of skirts and into the room 
hurried a small, fair woman, thin, and nervous in 
face, thin and nervous in body, with a sudden bulge 
of breadth and stoutness at the hips. She was in a 
tailor gown, expensive and unbecoming. Her hair 
was light brown, tightly drawn up, with a small 
knot at the crown of her head. There was a wide, 
bald expanse behind each ear. She had cold-blue, 
sensual eyes, the iris looking as if it were a thin 
button pasted to the ball. Yet she was not un- 



BACHELOR GIRLS. 195 

attractive, making up in fire what she lacked in 
beauty. 

"As you see, I am engaged," Stanhope said, 
tranquilly. 

" Pardon me for interrupting." There was a 
covert sting of sarcasm in her voice. " But I must 
see you." 

He rose. "You'll excuse me a moment?" he 
said to Emily. 

He followed his wife into the hall and soon re 
turned to his desk. " Everything begins badly 
with me," he resumed abruptly. " Since I was a 
boy at school, the butt of the other boys because I 
was clumsy and supersensitive, it has been one long 
fight." His tone was matter-of-fact, but something 
it suggested rather than uttered made Emily feel 
as if tears were welling up toward her eyes. " But," 
he continued, " I go straight on. I sometimes 
stumble, sometimes crawl, but always straight on." 

" What a simple, direct man he is," she thought, 
" and how strong ! In another that would have 
seemed a boast. From him it seems the literal 
truth." 

" What are you thinking? " he interrupted. 

"Just then? I was beginning to think how pe 
culiar you are, and how how " her eyes danced 
" indiscreet." 

" Because of what I did and said in Paris ? Be 
cause of what I am saying to you now?" He 
looked at her friendlily. " Oh, no there you mis 
take me. I cannot tell why I feel as I do toward 



196 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

you. But I know that I must be truthful and 
honest with you, that you have a right to demand 
it of me, as had no one else I ever knew. I must 
let you know me as I am." 

* You seem delightfully sure that I wish to know." 

" I do not think of that at all. Much as I have 
thought of you, I have never thought ' what does 
she think of me ? ' Probably you dismissed me 
from your mind when you turned away from me in 
Paris. Probably you will again forget me when you 
have written your article and passed to other work. 
But I cannot resist the instinct that impels me on 
to look upon you as the most important human 
being in the world for me." 

" I believe that you are honest. I don't wish to 
misunderstand your frankness. I'm too impatient 
of conventions myself to insist upon them in others 
that is, in those who respect the real barriers that 
hedge every human being until he or she chooses to 
let them down. But " Emily hesitated and 
looked apologetically at this " giant with the heart 
of a boy," as he seemed to her " you ought not to 
forget that everything in your circumstances makes 
it wrong for you to talk to me thus." 

"It seems so, doesn't it?" He looked at her 
gravely. " It looks as if I were a scoundrel. Yet 
I don't feel in the least as if I were trying to wrong 
you in any way. You seem to me far stronger than 
I. I feel that I am appealing to you for strength." 

The secretary entered, laid the letters before him 
and went away. He signed them mechanically, 



BACHELOR GIRLS. 197 

folded them and put them in the addressed envel. 
opes. As she rose he rose also and handed them to 
her. 

" After I saw you in Paris," he said, looking down 
jat her as she stood before him, " I thought it all over. 
,1 asked myself whether I had been deceived by your 
beauty, or whether it was the peculiar circumstances 
of our meeting, of each of us yielding to an impulse ; 
or whether it was my weariness of all that I am 
familiar with, my desire for the unfamiliar, the new, 
the adventurous. And it may be all of these, but 
there is more beyond them all." 

He paused, then went on in a voice which so 
thrilled her that she hardly heard his words : " Yes, 
a great deal more. I wish something, some one, 
some person to believe in. It is vital to me. I 
doubt everything and everybody God, His crea 
tures, myself most of all. And when my eyes fell 
upon you in Paris, there was that in your face which 
made me believe in you. I said, * She is brave, she 
is honest, she is strong. She could not be petty or 
false, or cruel.' And I do believe in you. That is 
all." 

" If you knew," she said, trying to shake off the 
spell of his voice and his personality, " you would 
iind me a very ordinary kind of sinner. And then, 
you would of course proceed to denounce me as if 
I were a fraud, instead of the innocent cause of your 
deliberate self-deception." 

" I don't know what you have done what par 
ticular courses you have taken at life's university. 



198 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

But I am not so so deceived in you that I do not 
note and understand the signs of experience, of 
yes, of suffering. I know there must be a cause 
when at your age a woman can look a man through 
and through, when she can talk to him sexlessly, 
when she laughs rarely and smiles reluctantly." 

" I am hardly a tragedy," interrupted Emily. 
"Please don't make me out one of those comical 
creatures who go through life fancying themselves 
heroines of melodrama." 

" I don't. You are supremely natural and sen 
sible. But I neither know nor try to guess nor 
care how you came to be the woman you are. But 
I do know that you are one of those to whom all 
experience is a help toward becoming wiser and 
stronger and better." 

It seemed to her as if, in spite of her struggles,, 
she was being drawn toward him irresistibly, toward 
a fate which at once fascinated and frightened her. 
" You are dangerously interesting," she said. " But 
I am staying too long." And with a few words of 
thanks for his assistance to her work, she went away. 

In the street she rapidly recovered herself and 
her point of view. " A minister ! " she thought. 
" And a married man ! And sentimental and mysti 
cal ! " But in defiance of self-mockery and self-warn 
ings her mind persisted in coming back to him, per 
sisted in revolving ideas about him which her judg 
ment condemned. 



CHAPTER XXI. 

A " MARRIED MAN." 

EMILY spent a week in studying "the 
work " of the Redeemer parish the 
activities of its large staff of " workers " 
of different grades, from ministers 
down through deacons, deaconesses, 
teachers, nurses, to unskilled helpers. She attended 
its schools day and night ; its lectures ; its kinder 
gartens and day nurseries ; its clubs for grown peo 
ple, for youths and for children. She examined its 
pawn-shops, its employment-bureaus, its bath 
houses. She was surprised by the many ways in 
which it touched intimately the lives of that quarter 
of a million people of various races, languages and 
religions, having nothing in common except human 
nature, poverty, and ignorance. She was astonished 
at the amount of good accomplished at the actual, 
visible results. 

She had no particular interest in religion or belief 
in the value of speculations about the matters on 
which religion dogmatises. Her father's casual but 
effective teachings, the books she had read, the talk 
of the men and of many of the women she had associ 
ated with, the results of her own observations and 
reflections, had strongly entrenched this disposition 



200 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

in prejudice. Her adventure into the parish was 
therefore the more a revelation. And she found 
also that while everything was done there in the 
name of religion, little, almost nothing, was said 
about religion. " The work," except in the church 
and the chapels at distinctly religious meetings, was 
wholly secular. Here was simply a great plant for 
enlightening and cheering on those who grope or 
sit dumb and blind. 

At first she was rather contemptuous of " the 
workers " and was repelled by certain cheap affecta 
tions of speech, thought and manner, common to 
them all. They were, the most of them, it seemed 
to her, poorly equipped in brains and narrow in 
their views of life. But when she got beneath the 
' surface, she disregarded externals in her admiration 
for their unconscious self-sacrifice, their keen pleas 
ure in helping others and such "others!" their 
limitless patience with dirt, stupidity, shiftlessness, 
and mendacity. She was profoundly moved by the 
spectacle of these homely labourers, sowing and reap 
ing unweariedly the arid sands of the slums for no 
other reward than an occasional blade of sickly grass. 
She was standing at the window of one of the 
women's clubs the one in Allen street near Grand. 
It was late in the afternoon and the crowd was 
homeward-bound from labour. To her it was a for 
bidding-looking crowd. The blight of ignorance 
centuries, innumerable centuries of ignorance was 
upon it. Crossness, dulness, craft, mental and 
physical deformity, streamed monotonously by. 



A MARRIED MAN. 201 

" Depressing, isn't it ? " 

She started and glanced around. Beside her, 
reading her thoughts in her face, was Dr. Stanhope. 
Instead of his baggy, unclerical tweed suit, he was 
wearing the uniform of his order. It sat strangely 
upon him, like a livery; and, she thought, he hasn't 
in the least the look of the liveried, of one who is 
part of any sort of organisation. " He looks as lone, 
as ' unorganised,' as self-sufficient, as a mountain." 

" Depressing ?" she said, shaking her head with 
an expression of distaste. "It's worse it's hope 
less." 

" No, not hopeless. And you ought not to look 
at it with disgust. It's the soil the rotten loam 
from which the grain and the fruit and the flowers 
spring." 

" I don't think so. To me it's simply a part of 
the great stagnant, disease-breeding marsh which 
receives the sewage of society." 

" I sha'n't go on with the analogy. But your 
theory and mine are in the end the same. We all 
sprang from this ; and the top is always flowering 
and dropping back into it to spring up again." 

" I see nothing but ignorance that cannot learn. 
It seems to me nearly all the effort spent upon it 
is wasted. If nature were left alone, she would 
drain, drain, drain, until at last she might drain it 
away." 

" Yours is an unjust view, I think. I won't say 
anything," this with a faint smile, " about the souls 
that are worth saving. But if we by working here 



202 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

open the way for a few, maybe a very few, to rise 
who would otherwise not have risen, we have not 
worked in vain. My chief interest is the children." 

" Yes," she admitted, her face lighting up, " there 
is hope for the children. You don't know how it 
has affected me to see what you and your people are 
doing for them. It's bound to tell. It is telling." 

He looked at her as if she were his queen and had 
bestowed some honour upon him which he had toiled 
long to win. " Thank you," he said. " It means a 
great deal to me to have you say that." 

She gave him a careless glance of derisive incredu 
lity. 

" What do you mean? " he asked. 

"You are amusing," she replied. " Your expres 
sion of gratitude was overacted. It was was gro 
tesque." 

He drew back as if he had received a blow. " You 
are cruel," he said. 

" Because I warn you that you are overestimating 
my vanity ? It seems to me, that is friendly kind 
ness. I'm helping you on." 

" I do not know anything about your vanity. But 
I do know how I feel toward you what every word 
from you means to me." 

There was wonder and some haughtiness in her 
steady gaze, as she said : " I do not understand you 
at all. Your words are the words of an extravagant 
but not very adroit flatterer. Your looks are the 
looks of a man without knowledge of the world and 
without a sense of proportion." 



A MARRIED MAN. 203 

" Why ? " 

She thought a moment, then turned toward him 
with her frank, direct expression. " I have been 
going about in your parish for several days now. 
And everywhere I have heard of you. Your helpers 
and those that are helped all talk of you as if you 
were a sort of god. You are their god. They draw 
their inspiration, their courage, their motive-power 
from you. They work, they strive, because they 
wish to win your praise." 

" I have been here fifteen years," he explained 
with unaffected modesty, " and as I am at the head, 
naturally everything seems to come from me. In 
reality I do little." 

" That is not to my point. I wasn't trying to 
compliment you. What I mean is that I find you 
are a man of influence and power in this community. 
And you must be conscious of this power. And 
since you evidently wield it well, you have it by 
right of merit. Yet you wish me to believe that 
you bow down in this humble fashion before a 
woman of whom you know nothing." She laughed. 

" Well? " he said, looking impassively out of the 
window. 

" It is ridiculous, impossible. And if it were true, 
it would be disgraceful something for you to be 
ashamed of." 

He turned his head slowly until his eyes met hers. 
She felt as if she were being caught up by some 
mighty force, perilous but intoxicating- She tried 
to look away but could not. 



204 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" What a voice you have ! " he said. " It makes 
me think of an evening long ago in England. I was 
walking alone in the moonlight through one of those 
beautiful hedged roads when suddenly I heard a 
nightingale. It foretold your voice you." 

She turned her eyes away and looked upon the 
darkening street. The sense of his nearness thrilled 
through her in waves that made her giddy. 

" Now, do you understand ? " he asked. 

" Yes," she answered in a low voice, " I under 
stand and, for the first time in my life, I'm afraid." 

" Then you know why I, too, am afraid ? " 

" You must not speak of it again." 

They stood there silently for a moment or two, 
then she said : " I must be going." And she was 
saying to herself in a panic, " I am mad. Where is 
my honour my self-respect ? Where is my com 
mon-sense?" 

" I will go with you to the car," he said. " I feel 
that I ought to be ashamed. And it frightens me 
that I am not. Perhaps I am ashamed, but proud 
of it." 

" Good-night." She held out her hand. " Good 
bye. I am used to going about alone. I prefer it. 
Good-bye." 

**#### 

Those were days of restless waiting, of advance 
and retreat, of strong resolves suddenly and weakly 
crumbling into shifting mists. She said to herself 
many times each day, " I shall not, I cannot see him 
acrain." She assured herself that she had herself 



A MARRIED MAN. 205 

under proper control. But there was a voice that 
called mockingly from a subcellar of her mind : " I 
am a prisoner, but I am here." 

One morning at breakfast, after what she thought 
a very adroit " leading up," she ventured to say to 
Joan : " What do you think of a woman who falls 
in love with a married man ? " 

Joan kept her expression steady. To herself she 
said : " I thought so. It isn't in a woman's nature 
to be thoroughly interested in life unless there is 
some one man." Aloud she said : " Why, I think 
she ought to bestir herself to fall out again." 

" But suppose that she didn't wish to." 

" Then I think she is imbecile." 

" You are so uncompromising, Joan," protested 
Emily. 

" Well, I don't think much of women who in- 
trigue, or of men either. It's a sneaky, lying, muddy 
business." 

' But suppose you accidentally fell in love with a 
married man ? " 

" I can't suppose it. I don't believe people fall 
in love accidentally. They're simply in love with 
love, and they have morbid, unhealthy tastes. Be 
sides, married men are drearily unromantic. They 
always look so so married." 

" Well, then, what do you think of a married man 
who falls in love with a girl ? " 

" Very poorly, indeed. And if he tells her of it, 
he ought to be pilloried." 

" You are becoming conventional." 



206 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Not at all. But to fall in love honestly a man 
and a woman must both be free. If either has ties, 
each is bound from the other by them. And if it's 
the man that is tied, there's simply no excuse for 
him if he doesn't heed the first sign of danger." 

"But it might be a terrible temptation to both of 
them. Love is very very compelling, isn't it ? " 

" There's a great deal of nonsense talked about 
love, as you must know by this time. Of course, 
love is alluring, and when indulged in by sensible 
people, not to excess, it's stimulating, like alcohol 
in moderation. But because cocaine could make 
me temporarily happier than anything else in the 
world, does that make it sensible for me to form the 
cocaine habit ? " 

Joan paused, then added with emphasis: "And 
there is a great deal that is called love that is no 
more love than the wolf was Little Red Riding- 
hood's grandmother." 

Emily felt that Joan was talking obvious com- 
mon sense and that she herself agreed with her en 
tirely so far as her reason was concerned. " But," 
'she thought, " the trouble is that reason doesn't 
rule." A few days later she went to dinner at 
Theresa's. As she entered the dining-room the first 
person upon whom her eyes fell was a tall, slender 
girl, fair, handsome through health and high color, 
and with Stanhope's peculiarly courageous yet 
gentle dark eyes " It must be his sister." She 
asked Theresa. 

" It's Evelyn Stanhope," she replied, " the daugh- 



A MARRIED MAN. 207 

ter of our clergyman. He's a tremendously hand 
some man. All the woman are crazy about him." 
Theresa looked at her peculiarly. 

" What is it ? " asked Emily, instantly taking 
fright, though she did not show it. 

" I thought perhaps you'd heard." 

" Heard what ? " 

" All about Miss Stanhope and and Edgar." 

" You don't mean that Edgar has recovered from 
me? How unflattering!" Emily's smile was 
delightfully natural and relieved. 

" He's got love and marriage on the brain, and he's 
broken-hearted, you know. And in those cases 
if it can't be the woman it's bound to be a woman." 

Emily was in the mood to be completely re 
signed to giving up to another that which she did 
not want herself. She studied Miss Stanhope with 
out prejudice against her and found her sweet but 
as yet colourless, a proper young person for Edgar 
to marry, one toward whom she could not possibly 
have felt the usual dog-in-the-manger jealousy. 
After dinner she sat near her and encouraged her 
in the bird-like chatter of the school girl. She was 
listened to with patience and tolerance; because 
she was young and fresh and delighted with every 
thing including herself, amusingly, not offensively. 
She fell in love with Emily and timidly asked if 
she might come to see her. 

"That would be delightful," said Emily with 
enthusiasm, falling through infection into a mode 
of speech and thought long outgrown. " I'm sure 



208 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

we shall be great friends. Theresa will bring you 
on Saturday afternoon. That is my free day. You 
see, I'm a working-woman. I work every day ex 
cept Saturday." 

" Sundays too ? " asked Evelyn. 

" Oh, yes, I prefer " she stopped short. " Sun 
day is a busy day with us," she said instead. 

" Isn't that dreadful ? " 

" Yes it is distressing." Without intention 
Emily put enough irony into her voice to make 
Evelyn look at her sharply. " It keeps me from 
church." 

" Well, sometimes I think I'd like to be kept 
from church." Evelyn said this in a consolatory 
tone. " I'm a clergyman's daughter and I have to 
go often to set a good example." She laughed. 
" Mamma is so nervous that she can only go oc 
casionally and my brother Sam is a perfect heathen. 
But I often copy papa's sermons. He says he likes 
my large round hand as a change from the type 
writing. Then I like to listen and see how many 
changes he makes. You'd be surprised how much 
better it all sounds when it's spoken really quite 
new." 

Papa! Papa's Sermons! And a Sam, probably 
as big as this great girl ! 

" Is your brother younger or older than you ? " 

" A year older. He's at college now or at least, 
he's supposed to be. It's surprising how little he 
has to stay there. He's very gay a little too wild, 
perhaps." 



A MARRIED MAN. 209 

She was proud of Sam's wildness, full as proud 
as she was of her father's sermons. She rattled 
cheerfully on until it was time for her to go and, 
as Emily and she were putting on their wraps at 
the same time, she kissed her impulsively, blushing 
a little, saying "You're so beautiful. You don't, 
mind, do you ? " 

" Mind ? " Emily laughed and kissed her. 
Evelyn wondered why there were tears in the eyes 
of this fascinating woman with the musical voice and 
the expression like a goddess of liberty's. 

******** 

The next morning Dr. Stanhope, at breakfast 
and gloomy, brightened as his daughter came in 
and sat opposite him. 

" I had such a glorious time at the Waylands' ! " 
she said. " The dinner was lovely." 

" Did Edgar take you in ? '' 

"Oh, no." She blushed. "He wasn't there. 
He's in Stoughton, you know. But I met the most 
beautiful woman. She seemed so young, and yet 
she had such a wise, experienced look. And she 
was so unconscious how beautiful she was. You 
never saw such a sweet, pretty mouth ! And her 
teeth were like like " 

" Pearls," suggested her father. " They're always 
spoken of as pearls when they're spoken of at all." 

" No because pearls are blue-white, whereas hers 
were w/^zV^- white." 

" But who was this lady with the teeth ? " 

" I didn't have a chance to ask only her name. 



210 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

She said she was a working-woman. She's a Miss 
Bromfield." 

Stanhope dropped his knife and fork and looked 
at his daughter with an expression of horror. 

" Why, what is it, father ? Is there something 
wrong about her? It can't be. And I I arranged 
to call on her ! " 

" No no," he said hastily. " I was startled by a 
coincidence. She's a nice woman, nice in every 
way. But did she ask you to call ? " 

" No I asked her. But she was very friendly, 
and when I kissed her in the dressing-room she 
kissed me, and she had such a queer, sad expres 
sion. I thought perhaps she had a sister like 
me who had died." 

" Perhaps she had." Stanhope looked pensively 
at his daughter. To himself he said : " Yes, prob 
ably a twin sister the herself of a few years ago." 

"And I'm going to see her next Saturday," 
continued his daughter. " I'm sure Mrs. Wayland 
will take me." 

11 To see whom ? " said Mrs. Stanhope, coming 
into the room. 

Stanhope rose and drew out a chair for her. 
" We were talking of a Miss Bromfield whom 
Evelyn met at the Waylands' last night. You may 
remember she came here one afternoon for the 
Democrat about the church's work." 

" I remember ; she looked at me quite insolently, 
exactly as if I were an intruding servant. What 
was she doing at Wayland's? I'm surprised at 



A MARRIED MAN. 211 

them. But why is Evelyn talking of going to 
see her? I'm astonished at you, Evelyn." 

Evelyn and her father looked steadily at the 
table. Finally Evelyn spoke : " Oh, but you are 
quite mistaken, mother dear. She was a lady/ 
really she was/' * 

" Impossible," said Mrs. Stanhope. " She is 
a working girl. No doubt she's a poor relation 
of the Waylands." 

Stanhope rose, walked to the window, and stood 
staring into the gardens. The veins in his forehead 
were swollen. And he seemed less the minister 
than ever, and more the incarnation of some vast, 
inchoate force, just now a force of dark fury. 
Gradually he whipped his temper down until he was 
standing over it, pale but in control. 

" I wish to speak to your mother, Evelyn," he 
said in an even voice. 

Evelyn left the room, closing the door behind 
her. Stanhope resumed his seat at the table. His 
wife looked at him, then into her plate, her lips 
nervous. 

"Only this," he said. "You will let Evelyn 
go to see Miss Bromfield." His voice was polite, 
gentle. " And I must again beg of you not to 
express before our children those those ideas 
of disrespect for labour and respect for idleness 
which, as you know, are more offensive to me than 
any others of the falsehoods which it is my life work 
to fight." 

She was trembling with anger and fear. Yet in 



212 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

her sullen eyes there was cringing adoration. One 
sees the same look in the eyes of a dog that is being 
beaten by its master, as it shows its teeth yet dares 
not utter a whine of its rage and pain lest it offend 
further. 

"You know we never do agree about social 
distinctions, Arthur," she said, in a soothing tone. 

" I know we agreed long ago not to discuss the 
matter," he replied, kindly but wearily. " And I 
know that we agreed that our children were not to 
hear a suggestion that their father was teaching 
false views." 

" We can't all be as broad as you are, Arthur.'* 

" If I were to speak what is on the tip of my 
tongue," he said good-humouredly, "we should 
reopen the sealed subject. I must go. They are 
waiting for me." 

That afternoon Mrs. Stanhope wrote asking 
Theresa to go with Evelyn to Miss Bromfield's. 
And on Saturday Evelyn went, taking her mother's 
card. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

A PRECIPICE. 

A WEEK after Evelyn's call, the hall boy 
brought Edgar Wayland's card to 
Emily. She was alone in the apart 
ment, Joan having gone to the theatre 
with " her professor." She hesitated, 
looked an apology to her writing spread upon the 
table, then told the boy to show him up. He was 
dressed with unusual care even for him, and his 
face expressed the intensity of tragic determination 
of which the human countenance is capable only at 
or before twenty-eight. 

" I've never seen your apartment." His glance 
was inspecting the room and the partly visible two 
rooms opening out of it. " It is so like you. How 
few people have any taste in getting together 
furniture and and stuff," 

" When one has little to spend, one is more care 
ful and thoughtful perhaps." 

" That's the reason tenement flats are so tasteful.'* 
Edgar's face relaxed at his own humour, then with a 
self-rebuking frown resumed its former mournful 
inflexibility. " But I did not come here to talk 
about furniture. I came to talk about you and me. 
Emmy, was it final? Are you sure you won't 
won't have me ? " 



214 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Emily looked at him with indignant contempt, 
forgetting that Theresa had not said he was actually 
engaged to Evelyn. " I had begun to think you 
incapable of such such baseness now." 

" Baseness ? Don't, please. It isn't as bad as all 
that only persistence. I simply can't give you up, 
it seems to me. And I had to try one last time 
because the fact is, I'm about to ask another girl 
to marry me.'* 

Emily showed her surprise, then remembered and 
looked relieved. " Why I thought you had asked 
her. I must warn you that I know her, and far 
too good she is for you." 

"You know her?" 

" Yes so let's talk no more about it. I'll forget 
what you said." 

" Well, what of it ? " Edgar rose and faced her. 
" You are thinking it dishonourable of me to come to 
you this way. But you wrong me. If she never 
saw me again, she'd forget me in a year or less. 
So I tell you straight out that I'm marrying her 
because I 1 can't get you. I'm desperate and lone 
some and I want to have a home to go to." 

" You couldn't possibly do better than marry 
Evelyn. I know her, Edgar. And I know, as only 
a woman can know another woman, how genuine 
she is." 

But " Edgar's eyes had a look of pain that 
touched her. " I want you, Emmy. I always 
shall. A man wants the best. And you're the 
best in looks, in brains, in every way. You'd 



A PRECIPICE. 215 

have everything and I'd never bother you. And 
you can stop this grind and be like other women 
that is I mean you know I don't mean any 
thing against your work only it is unnatural for a 
woman like you to have to work for a living." 

Emily felt that she need not and must not take 
him seriously. She laughed at his embarrass 
ment. 

" You don't understand and I can't make you 
understand. It isn't that I love work. I like to sit 
in the sunshine and be waited upon as well as 
any one. But " 

" And you could sit in the sunshine or in the 
shade, Emmy." 

" But let me finish please. Whatever one gets 
that's worth while in this life one has to pay for. 
The price of freedom to a woman just the same as a 
man is work, hard work. And if it's natural for a 
woman to be a helpless for-sale, then it's the 
naturalness of so much else that's nature. And 
what are we here for except to improve upon 
nature ? " 

" Well, I don't know much about these theories. 
I hate them they stand between you and me. 
And I want you so, Emmy ! You'll be free. You 
;know father and I both will do everything any 
thing for you and " 

Emily's cheeks flushed and there was impatience 
and scorn in her eyes and in the curve of her 
lips. 

" You mean well, Edgar, but you must not talk 



216 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

to me in that way. It makes me feel as if you 
thought I could be bought as if you were bidding 
for me." 

" I don't care what you call it," he said sullenly. 
" I'd rather have you as just a friend, but always 
near me than there isn't any comparison." 

" And I shall always be your friend, Edgar. You 
will get over this. Honestly now, isn't it more 
than half, nearly all, your hatred of being baffled ? 
If I were throwing myself at you, as I once was, 
you'd fly from me. Six months after you've 
married Evelyn, you'll be thankful you did it. 
You'd not like a woman so full of caprices and sur 
prises as I am. But I will not argue it." 

" I wonder if you'll ever fall in love ? " he said 
wistfully. 

" I don't know, I'm sure. Probably I expect too 
much in a man. Again, I might care only for a 
man who was out of reach." 

" You're too romantic, Emily, for this life. You 
forget that you're more or less human after all, and 
have to deal with human beings." 

11 1 wish I could forget that I'm human." Emily 
sighed. Edgar looked at her suspiciously. " No " 
she went on. ' I'm not happy either, Edgar. Oh, it 
takes so much courage to stand up for one's princi 
ples, one's ideas." 

" But why do it ? Why not accept what 
everybody says is so, and go along comfortably ? " 

" Why not ? I often ask myself. But well, I 
can't." 



A PRECIPICE. 217 

" Emmy, do you think it's right for me to marry 
Evelyn, feeling as I do ? " 

" Do you ? " She answered this difficult question 
in morals by turning it on him, because she wished 
to escape the dilemma. How could she decide for 
janother ? Why should she judge what was right 
for Edgar, what best for Evelyn ? 

"Well not unless I told her. Not too much, 
you know. But enough to " 

" You mustn't talk to me about Evelyn," Emily 
interrupted. " It's not fair to her. You compel me 
to seem to play the traitor to her. I must not know 
anything about your and her affairs. " 

There was a moment's silence, then she went on: 
" She is my friend, and, I hope, always shall be. It 
would pain me terribly if she should suspect ; and 
it would be an unnecessary pain to her. A man 
ought never to tell a woman, or a woman a man, 
anything, no matter how true it is, if it's going to 
rankle on and on, long after it's ceased to be true. 
And your feeling for me isn't important even now. 
If you marry her, resolve to make her happy. And 
if you never create any clouds, there'll never be 
any for her and soon won't be any for you." 

He left her after a few minutes, and his last look 
all around the room, then at her was so genuinely 
unhappy that it saddened her for the evening. 
" Fate is preparing a revenge upon me," she thought 
dejectedly. " I can feel it coming. Why can't I, 
why won't I, put Arthur out of my mind ? " And 
then she scoffed at herself unconvincingly for calling 



218 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Stanhope, Arthur, for permitting herself to be 
swept off her feet by the middle-aged husband of a 
middle-aged wife, the father of grown children. 
" How Evelyn would shrink from me if she knew 

and yet " 

What kind of honour, justice, is it, she thought, 
that binds him to his wife, that holds us apart? 
With one brief life with only a little part of that 
for intense enjoyment and to sacrifice happiness, 
heaven, for a mere notion. " What does God care 
about us wretched little worms?" she said to her 
self. " Everywhere the law of the survival of the 
fittest the best law after all, in spite of its cruelty. 
And /am the fittest for him. He belongs to me. 
He is mine. Why not? Why can't I convince 
myself?" 

******** 

Evelyn asked Emily to go with her to the opera 
the following Saturday afternoon. They met in 
the Broadway lobby of the Metropolitan, and 
Emily at once saw that Evelyn was " engaged." 
She was radiant with triumph and modest impor 
tance. " You're the first one I've told outside the 
family. I haven't even written to Catherine Fol- 
som she's to be my maid of honour, you know. 
We promised each other at school." 

" He will make you happy, I'm sure." Emily was 
amused at Evelyn's child-like excitement, yet there 
were tears near her eyes too. " What an infant she 
is," she was thinking, " and how unjust it is, how 
dangerous that she should have to get her experi- 



A PRECIPICE. 219 

ence of man after she has pledged herself not to 
profit by it." 

" Oh, I'm sure I shall be," said Evelyn. "We'll 
have everything to make us happy. And I shall be 
free. I do hate being watched all the time and 
having to do just what mamma says." 

" Yes, you will be very free ," agreed Emily, com 
menting to herself : " What do these birds bred in 
captivity ever know about freedom ? She has no 
idea that she's only being transferred to a larger 
cage where she'll find a companion whom she may 
or may not like. But they're often happy, these 
caged birds. And I wonder if we wild birds ever 
are?" 

Evelyn was prattling on. " He asked me in such 
a nice way and didn't frighten me. I'd been afraid 
he'd seize me or or something, when the time 
came. And he had such a sad, solemn look. He's 
so experienced ! He hinted something about the 
past, but I hurried him away from that. Sam says 
men all have knowledge of the world, if they're any 
good. But I'm sure Edgar has always been a nice 
man." 

"Don't bother about the past," said Emily. 
" The future will be quite enough to occupy you if 
you look after it properly." 

The opera was La Bohme and Evelyn, busy with 
her great event, gave that lady and her sorrows 
little attention. " It's dreadfully unreal, isn't it ? " 
she chattered. " Of course a man never could 
really care for a woman who had so little self-respect 



220 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

as that, could he ? I'm sure a real man, like Edgar, 
would never act in that way with a woman who 
wasn't married to him, could he?" 

" I'm sure he'd despise all such women from the 
bottom of his heart," said Emily, looking amusedly 
at the " canary, discoursing from its cage-world of 
the great world outside which it probably will never 
see." 

" I've had a lot of experience with that side of 
life," continued the " canary." 

" Goodness gracious ! " exclaimed Emily in mock 
horror. " Do they lead double lives in the nursery 
nowadays ? " 

" Mamma kept us close, you know. We live in 
such a dreadful neighbourhood down in Grand 
Street. I was usually at grandfather's up at Tarry- 
town when I wasn't in school. But I had to come 
home sometimes. And I used to peep into the 
streets from the windows, and then I'd see the 
most awful women going by. It made me really 
sick. It must be dreadful for a woman ever to 
forget herself." 

" Dreadful," assented Emily , resisting with no 
difficulty the feeble temptation to try to broaden 
this narrow young mind. " It would take years," 
she thought, "to educate her. And then she 
probably wouldn't really understand, would only 
be tempted to lower herself." 

The distinction between license and broad- 
mindedness was abysmal, Emily felt ; but she also 
admitted with reluctance that the abyss was so 



A PRECIPICE. 221 

narrow that one might inadvertently step across it, 
if she were not an Emily Bromfield, and, even then, 
very, very watchful. 

She was turning into the Park at Fifth Avenue 
and Fifty-ninth Street a few evenings later, on her 
way home from the office, when Stanhope, driving 
rapidly downtown, saw her, stopped his cab, got out 
and dismissed it. She had been revolving a plan 
for resuming her self-respect and her peace of mind, 
how she would talk with him when she saw him, 
would compel him to aid her in then she saw him 
coming ; and her face, coloured high by the sharp 
wind, flushed a hotter crimson ; and her resolve fled. 

"May I walk through the Park with you?" he 
said abruptly ; and without waiting for her to as 
sent, he set out with her in the direction in which 
she had been going. In a huge, dark overcoat, that 
came to within a few inches of the ground, he 
looked more tremendous than ever. And as Emily 
walked beside him, the blood surged deliriously 
through her veins. " This is the man of all men," 
she thought. " And he loves me, loves me. And I 
was thinking that I must give him up. As if I 
could or would ! " 

" A man might have all the wealth in the world, 
and all the power, and all the adulation," his voice 
acted upon her nerves like the low notes of a violin, 
" and if he were a man if he were a real human 

being and did not have love " He paused and 

looked at her. " Without it life is lonelier than 
the grave." 



222 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Emily was silent. She could see the grave, 
could hear the earth rattling down upon the coffin. 
Was he not stating the truth a truth to shrink 
from? 

He said : " I was born on a farm out West the 
son of a man who was ruined in the East and went 
West to hide himself and to fancy he was trying to 
rebuild. He was sad and silent. And in that sad 
silence I grew up with books and nature for my 
companions. I longed to be a leader of men. I 
admired the great moral teachers of the past. I 
felt rather than understood religion God, a world 
of woe, man working for his salvation through help 
ing others to work out theirs. I cared nothing for 
theology only for religion. I could feel I never 
could reason ; I cannot learn to reason. It isn't 
important how I worked my way upward. It isn't 
important how long the way or how painful. I 
went straight on, caring for nothing except the 
widest chances to help the march upward. You 
know what the parish downtown is what the work 

is, how it has been built. But " He paused, 

and when he spoke it was with an effort. " One by 
one I have lost my inspirations. And when I saw 
you there in Paris I saw as in a flash it was like a 
miracle what was the cause, why I was beaten in 
the very hour of victory." 

Emily had ceased to fight against the emotions 
which surged higher and higher under the invoca 
tion of his presence and his voice. 

" A man of my temperament may not work 



A PRECIPICE. 223 

alone," he went on. " He must have some one a 
woman beside him. And they together must 
keep the faith the faith in the here and the now, 
the faith in mankind and in the journey upward 
through the darkness, the fog, the cold, up the 
precipices, with many a fall and many a fright, but 
always upward and onward." 

He drew a long breath, and, looking down at her, 
saw her looking up at him, her eyes reflecting the 
glow of his enthusiasm. 

" Yes," she said, " by myself I am nothing. But 
with another I could do much, for I, too, love the 
journey upward." 

He stopped and caught both her hands in his. 
" I need you need you," he said. They were 
standing at the turn of the path near the Mall, 
facing the broad, snow-draped lawns. " And 1 
feel that you need me. I am no longer alone. Life 
has a meaning, a purpose." 

" A purpose ? " She drew her hands away and 
suddenly felt the cold and the sharp wind, and saw 
the tangled lines of the bare boughs, black and for 
bidding against the sunset sky. " What purpose? 
You forget." 

" No, I remember ! " He spoke defiantly. " I 
have been permitting that which is dead to cling to 
me and shut out sunlight and air and growth. But 
I shall permit it no longer. I dare not." 

" No, we dare not," she said, dreamily. " You 
are right. The ghosts that wave us back are wav 
ing us not from, but to destruction. But even if 



224 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

it were not so, I'm afraid I'd say, ' Evil, be thou my 
good V 

" It is true true of me also." 

At the entrance to her house they parted, their 
eyes bright with visions of the future. As she 
went up in the elevator, her head began to ache as 
if she were coming from the delirium of an opium 
dream. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

A " BETTER SELF." 

EMILY went directly to her room. "Tell 
Miss Gresham not to wait," she said to 
the maid, " and please save only a very 
little for me." She slept two hours and 
awoke free from the headache, but low- 
spirited. Joan came into the dining-room to keep 
her company while she tried to eat, then they sat in 
the library-drawing-room before the fire. For the 
first time in years Emily felt that she needed advice, 
or, at least, needed to state her case aloud in hope 
of seeing it more clearly. 

" You are not well this evening," Joan said pres 
ently. " Shall I read to you ? " 

" No, let us talk. Or, rather, please encourage 
me to talk about myself. I want to tell you some 
thing, and I don't know how to begin." 

" Don't begin. I'm sure you'll regret it. When 
ever I feel the confidential mood coming, I always 
put it off till to-morrow." 

" Yes- but there are times " 

" Do you wish me to approve something you've 
decided to do, or to dissuade you from doing some 
thing you would not do anyhow?' It's always one 
or the other." 



226 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" I'm not sure which it is." 

Joan lit a cigarette and stretched herself among 
the cushions of the divan. "Well, what is it? 
Money?" 

" No." 

" Then it's not serious. Money troubles and poor 
health are about the only serious calamities." 

" No it's Joan, I've been making an idiot of 
myself. I've lost my head over a married man." 
The words came with a rush. 

" But you practically confessed all that the other 
day. And I told you then what I thought. Either 
get rid of him straight off, or steady your head and 
let him hang about until you are sick of him." 

" But you don't understand. Of course you 
couldn't. No one ever did understand another's 
case." 

" I don't think it's that, my dear. When one is 
in love, he or she thinks it's a peculiar case. And 
the stronger his or her imagination, the more pecu 
liar seems the case. But when it's submitted to an 
outsider, then it is looked at in the clear air, not in 
the fog of self-delusion. And how it does shrink ! " 

" I want him and he wants me," said Emily 
doggedly. " It may be commonplace and ridicu 
lous, but it's the fact." 

" Do you think it would last long enough to 
enable him to get a divorce ? If so, he can do that. 
There's nothing easier nowadays than divorce. 
And what a dreadful blow to intrigue that has been ! 
It doesn't leave either party a leg to stand on. 



A "BETTER SELF." 227 

Just say to him: 'Yes, I love you. You say you 
love me. Go and get a divorce and then perhaps 
I'll marry you. But if not, you'll at least be free 
from daily contact with the wife you say or intimate 
that you loathe.' It's perfectly simple. The chances 
are you'll never see him again, and you can have a 
laugh at yourself, and can congratulate yourself on 
a narrow escape." 

" Good advice, but it doesn't fit the case." 

" Oh, you don't wish to marry him ? " 

" I never thought of it. But I'd rather not discuss 
the sentiment-side, please. Just the practical side." 

" But there isn't any practical side. Why doesn't 
he get a divorce ? " 

" Because he's too conspicuous. There'd be an 
outcry against him. I don't believe he could get 
the divorce." 

Emily was gazing miserably into the fire. Joan 
looked at her pityingly. " Oh," she said gently, 
dropping the tone of banter. " Yes that might 
be." 

" And it seems to me that I can't give him up." 

" But why do you debate it ? Why not follow 
where your instinct leads ? " 

"That's just it where does my instinct lead? 
If the the circumstances I can't explain them 
to you were different with him about about his 
family, I'd probably reason that I was not robbing 
any one and would try to to be happy. But " 

She halted altogether and, when she continued, 
her voice was low and she was looking at her friend, 



228 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

pleadingly yet proudly : " You may be right. We 
may be deceiving ourselves. But I do not think so, 
Joan. I believe and you do too, don't you ? 
that there can be high thoughts in common between 
a man and a woman. I'm sure they can care in 
such away that passion becomes like the fire, fusing 
two metals into one stronger and better than either 
by itself. And I think I feel yes, it seems to 
me I know, that it is so with us. Oh, Joan, he and 
I need each the other." 

Joan threw away her cigarette and rested her 
head upon her arms, GO that her face was concealed 
from Emily. She murmured something. 

" What do you say, Joan ? " 

" Nothing only I see the same old, the eternal 
illusion. And what a fascinating tenacious illusion 
it is, Emmy dear. We no sooner banish it in one 
form than it reappears in another." 

" But tell me, Joan what shall I do ? " 

" I, advise you ? No, my dear. I cannot. I'd 
have to know you better than you know yourself to 
give you advice. You have grown into a certain 
sort of woman, with certain ideas of what you may 
and what you may not do. In this crisis you'll 
Jfollow the path into which your whole past compels 
[you. And while I don't know you well enough to 
give you advice, I do know you well enough to feel 
sure that you'll do what is just and honourable. If 
that means renunciation, you will renounce him. 
If it means defiance, you will defy. If it means a 
compromise, why I don't think you'll make it, 



A "BETTER SELF." 229 

Emily, unless you can carry your secret and still 
feel that the look of no human being could make 
you flinch." 

" Will I ? " Emily's voice was dreary and doubt 
ful. " But, when one is starving, he doesn't look at 
the Ten Commandments before seizing the bread 
that offers." 

" Not at the Ten Commandments no. But at 
the one 'Thou shalt not kill thy self-respect.' 
And don't forget, dear, that if you aren't valuable 
to the world without love, you'll be worth very 
little to it with love." 

" Joan's Professor-" came, and Emily went away 
to bed. 

******* 

On her " lazy day " she went into the Park and 
seated herself under an elm high among the rocks. 
Several squirrels were playing about her and a fat 
robin was hopping round and round in a wide circle, 
pretending to be interested only in the food supply 
but really watching her. The path leading to her 
retreat turned abruptly just before reaching it, then 
turned again for the descent. She did not hear a 
footstep but, looking up as she was shifting her 
glance from one page of her novel to the next, she 
saw a child before her a tall child with slim legs 
and arms, and a body that looked thin but strong 
under a white dress. She had a pink ribbon at her 
throat. Her hair was almost golden and waved 
defiantly around and away from a large pink bow. 
Her eyes were large and gray and solemn. But at 



230 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

each corner of her small mouth there was a fun-lov 
ing line which betrayed possibilities of mischief and 
appreciation of mischief. This suggestion was 
confirmed by her tilted nose. 

Emily smiled at this vision criss-crossed with 
patches of sun and shadow. But the vision did not 
smile in return. 

" Good morning, Princess Pink-and-white," said 
Emily. " Did you come down out of the sky ? " 

" No," answered the child, drawing a little nearer. 
"And my name is not not that, but Mary. Do 
you live here ? " 

" Yes this is my home," answered Emily. " I'm 
the big sister of the squirrels and a cousin to the 
robins." 

The child looked at her carefully, then at the 
squirrels and then at the robin. " You are not 
truthful," she said, her large eyea gazing straight 
into Emily's. " My uncle says that it is dishon'able 
not to tell the truth." 

" Even in fun, while you are trying to make 
friends with Mary, Princess Pink-and-white ? " Emily 
said this with the appearance of anxiety. 

" It's bad not to always tell the truth to young 
people." She came still nearer and stood straight 
and serious, her hands behind her. " My uncle says 
they ought to hear and say only what is true." 

"Well then what does he tell you about 
fairies?" 

" He doesn't tell me about them. Mamma says 
there are fairies, but he says he has never seen any. 



A "BETTER SELF." 231 

He says when I am older I can find out for my 
self." 

" And what do the other children say? " 

" I don't know. There aren't any other children. 
There's just uncle and mamma and nurse. And 
when mamma is ill, I go to stay with nurse. And 
I only go out with uncle or mamma.'* 

" That is very nice," said Emily, taking one of 
the small, slender hands and kissing it. But in 
reality she thought it was the reverse of nice, and 
very lonely and sad. 

" I was going away across the ocean where there 
are lots of children waiting to play with me. But 
mamma she hadn't been sick for a long, long 
time most two years, I think and then she 
was sick again and I'm not to go. But I'm not 
sorry." 

" Why ? " 

" I'm a great comfort to uncle, and he wasn't 
going along. And I'm glad to stay with him. He 
says I'm a great comfort to him. I sing to him 
when he is feeling bad. Would you like for me to 
sing to you ? You look as if you felt bad." 

Emily did feel like tears. It was not what the 
child said, but her air of aloneness, of ignorance of 
the pleasures of childhood and its companionships. 
She seemed never to have been a child and at the 
same time to be far too much a child for her years 
apparently the result of an attempt by grown 
persons to bring her up in a dignified way without 
destroying the innocence of infancy. 



232 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

"Yes, I should like to hear you sing," said 
Emily. 

The child sat, folded her hands in her lap and be 
gan to sing in French a slow, religious chant, low 
and with an intonation of ironic humour. As Emily 
heard the words, she looked at " Princess Pink-and- 
White " in amazement. It was a concert-hall song, 
such as is rarely heard outside the cafes chantants 
of the boulevards a piece of subtle mockery with a 
double meaning. The child sang it through, then 
looked at her for approval. 

" It's in French," was all Emily could say, and 
the child with quick intuition saw that something 
was wrong. 

" You don't like it," she said, offended. 

"You sing beautifully," replied Emily. She 
wished to ask her where she had got the song, but 
felt that it would be prying. 

" Mamma taught it me the last time she was be 
ing taken ill. It was hard to learn because I do not 
speak French. I had to go over it three times. 
She said I wasn't to sing it to uncle. But I thought 
you might like it." 

" No, I shouldn't sing it to uncle, if I were you," 
said Emily. 

Just then the child rose and her face lighted up. 
Emily followed her glance and saw Stilson at the 
turn of the path, standing like a statue. He was 
looking not at the child, but at her. The child ran 
toward him and he put his hand at her neck and 
drew her close to him. 



A "BETTER SELF." 233 

" Why, how d'ye do, Mr. Stilson," said Emily, 
cordially. " This is the first time I've seen you since 
I was leaving for Paris. As soon as I came back I 
asked for you, but you were on vacation. And I 
thought you were still away." 

Stilson advanced reluctantly, a queer light in 
his keen, dark-gray eyes. He shook hands and 
seated himself. Mary occupied the vacant space 
on the bench between him and Emily, spreading 
out her skirts carefully so that they should not be 
mussed. " I am still idling," said Stilson. " I hate 
hotels and I loathe mosquitoes. Besides, I think if 
I ever got beyond the walls of this prison I'd run 
away and never return." 

" So you too grow tired of your work ? " said 
Emily. "Yet you are editor-in-chief now, and 
Oh, I should think it would be fascinating." 

" It would have been a few years ago. But 
everything comes late, One has worked so hard 
for it that one is too exhausted to enjoy it. And 
it means work and care always more and more 
work and care. But, pardon me. I'm in one of my 
depressed moods. And I didn't expect any one 
you to surprise me in it." 

Emily looked at him, her eyes giving, and demand 
ing, sympathy. " I often wish that life would offer 
something worth having, not as a free gift I 
shouldn't ask that, and not at a bargain even, but 
just at a fair price." 

" I'm surprised to find such parsimony in one so 
young it's unnatural." Stilson's expression and 



234 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

tone were good-humoured cynicism. " Why, at your 
age, with your wealth -youth is always rich you 
ought never to look at or think of price marks." 

" But I can't help it. I come from New Eng 
land." 

" Ah ! Then it's stranger still. With the aid of 
a New England conscience you ought to cheat life 
out of the price." 

" I do try, but " Emily sighed " I'm always 
caught and made pay the more heavily." 

Stilson studied her curiously. He was smiling 
with some mockery as he said. " You must be 
cursed with a sense of duty. That sticks to one 
closer than his shadow. The shadow leaves with 
the sunshine. But duty is there, daylight or dark." 

" Especially dark," said Emily. " What a slavery 
it is ! To tramp the dusty, stony highway close 
beside gardens that are open and inviting ; and not 
to be able to enter." 

His strong, handsome face became almost stern. 
" I don't agree with you. Suppose that you entered | 
the gardens, would they seem good if you looked j 
back and saw your better self lying dead in the 
dust ? " He seemed to be talking to himself not to 
her. 

" But don't you ever wish to be free?" she 
asked. 

" I am free absolutely free," he said proudly. 
'' One does not become free by license, by cringing 
before the stupidest, the most foolish impulses there 
are in him. I think he becomes free by refusing 



A "BETTER SELF." 235 

Ito degrade himself and violate the law of his own 
nature." 

" But What is stupid and what isn't ? " 
" No one could answer that in a general way. All 
I can say is " Stilson seemed to her to be looking 
her through and through. " Did you ever have 
any doubt in any particular case ? " 

Emily hesitated, her eyes shifting, a faint flush 
rising to her cheeks. " Yes," she said. 
| " Then that very doubt told you what was foolish 
1 and what intelligent. Didn't it?" 

Stilson was not looking at her now and she 
studied his face mature yet young, haughty yet 
kind. Strong passions, good and bad, had evidently 
contended, were still contending, behind that inter 
esting mask. 

" No," he went on, " if ever you make up your 

mind to do wrong," His voice was very gentle and 

seemed to her to have an undercurrent of personal 

appeal in it " don't lie to yourself. Just look at 

the temptation frankly, and at the price. And, if 

you will or must, why, pay and make off with your 

paste diamonds or gold brick or whatever little 

I luxury of that kind you've gone into Mr. License's 

ishop to buy. What is the use of lying to one's self ? 

We are poor creatures indeed, it seems to me, if 

I there isn't at least one person whom we dare face 

* with the honest truth." 

Emily had always had a profound respect for 
Stilson. She knew his abilities ; and, while Marlowe 
had usually praised his friend with discreet reserva- 



236 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

tions, she had come to know that Marlowe regarded 
him as little, if at all, short of a genius in his power 
of leading and directing men. As he talked to her, 
restating the familiar fundamentals of practical 
morals, she felt a strong force at work upon her. 
Like Stanhope he impressed her with his great per 
sonal power ; but wholly unlike him, Stilson seemed 
to be using that power to an end which attracted 
her without setting the alarm bells of reason and 
prudence to ringing. 

" I'm rather surprised to find you so conven 
tional," said Emily, by way of resenting the effect 
he and his " sermon " were having upon her. 

" Conventional ? " Stilson lifted his eyebrows 
and gave her an amused, satirical look. " Am I ? 
Then the world must have changed suddenly. No, 
I wasn't pleading for any particular code of conduct. 
Make up your code to suit yourself. All I venture 
to insist is that you must live up to your own code, 
whatever it is. Be a law unto yourself ; but, when 
you have been, don't become a law breaker." 

" Do you think mamma will be well enough for 
me to go home to-morrow ? " It was the little girl, 
weary of being unnoticed and bursting into the con 
versation. 

Stilson started as if he had forgotten that she 
was there. " Perhaps yes dear," he said and rose 
at once. "We must be going." 

" Good-bye," said Mary. Emily took her hand 
and kissed it. But the child, with a quaint min 
gling of shyness and determination, put up her face 



A "BETTER SELF." 237 

to be kissed, and adjusted her lips to show where 
she wished the kiss to be placed. " Good-bye," she 
repeated. " I know who you are now. You are the 
Violet Lady Uncle Robert puts in the stories he 
tells me." 

" Come, Mary," said Stilson severely. And he 
lifted his hat, but not his eyes, and bowed very 
formally. 

Emily sat staring absently at the point at which 
they had disappeared. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

TO THE TEST. 

STANHOPE plodded dully through his 
routine listening to reports, directing his 
assistants, arranging services in the 
church and chapels, dictating letters. A 
score of annoying details were thrust at him 
for discussion and settlement details with which 
helpers with a spark of initiative would never have 
bothered him. His wife, out of temper, came to 
nag him about expenditures. His son wrote from 
college for an extra allowance, alleging a necessity 
which his father at once knew was mythical. 
Another letter was from a rich parishioner, taking 
him to task for last Sunday's sermon as " socialistic, 
anarchistic in its tendency, and of the sort which 
makes it increasingly difficult for conservative men 
of property to support your church." At luncheon 
there were two women friends of his wife and they 
sickened him with silly compliments, shot poisoned 
arrows at the reputations of their friends, and talked 
patronisingly of their " worthy poor." After 
luncheon more of the morning's routine, made 
detestable by the self-complacent vanity of one of 
his stupidest curates and by the attempts of the 
homeliest deaconess to flirt with him under the mask 



TO THE TEST. 239 

of seeking " spiritual counsel." And finally, when 
his nerves were unstrung, a demand from a tedious 
old woman that he come to her bedside im 
mediately as she was dying demands of that kind 
his sense of duty forbade him to deny. 

" This is the third time within the month," he 
said peevishly. " Before, she was simply hysteri 
cal." And he scowled at Schaffer, the helper to 
the delicatessen merchant in the basement of the 
tenement where the old woman lived. 

" I think maybe there's a little something in it 
this time," ventured Schaffer, his tone expressing 
far less doubt than his words. 

" I'll follow you in a few minutes," said Stanhope, 
adding to himself, "and I'll soon be out of all this." 

He did not know how or when " after Evelyn is 
married," he thought vaguely but he felt that he 
was practically gone. He would leave his wife all 
the property ; and he and Emily would go away 
somehow and somewhere and begin life not anew, 
but actually begin. " I shall be myself at last," he 
thought, " speaking the truth, earning my living in 
the sweat of my face, instead of in the sweat of my 
soul." As he came out of the house he looked up 
at the church the enormous steepled mass of 
masonry, tapering heavenward. " Pointing to 
empty space," he thought, " tricking the thoughts 
of men away from the street and the soil where 
their brothers are. Yes, I shall no longer court the 
rich to get money for the poor. I shall no longer 
fling the dust of dead beliefs into the eyes of the 



240 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

poor to blind them to injustice." He strode along, 
chin up, eyes only for his dreams. He did not note 
the eager and respectful bows of the people in the 
doorways, block after block. He did not note that 
between the curtains of the dives, where painted 
women lay in wait for a chance to leer and lure, 
forms shrank back and faces softened as he passed. 

Into the miserable Orchard street tenement ; 
through the darkness of the passageway ; into a 
mouldy court, damp and foul even in that winter 
weather; up four ill-smelling stairways with wall 
paper and plastering impatient for summer that 
they might begin to sweat and rot and fall again ; in 
at a low door the entrance to a filthy, unaired den 
where only the human animal of all the animal 
kingdom could long exist. 

The stove was red-hot and two women in tattered, 
grease-bedaubed calico were sitting at it. They 
were young in years, but their abused and neglected 
bodies were already worn out. One held a child 
with mattered eyes and sores hideously revealed 
through its thin hair. The other was about to 
bring into the world a being to fight its way up with 
the rats and the swarming roaches. 

In the corner was a bed which had begun its 
career well up in the social scale and had slowly 
descended until it was now more than ready for the 
kindling-box. Upon it lay a heap of rags swathing 
the skeleton of what had once been a woman, Her 
head was almost bald. Its few silver-white hairs 
were tied tightly into a nut-like knot by a rusty 



TO THE TEST. 241 

black string. Her skin, pale yellow and speckled 
with dull red blotches, was drawn directly over the 
bones and cartilages of her skull and face, and was 
cracked into a network of seams and wrinkles. 
The shapeless infoldings of her mouth were sunk 
deep in the hollow between nose and chin. Her 
hands, laid upon the covers at which her fingers 
picked feebly, had withered to bones and bunches 
of cords thrust into two ill-fitting gloves of worn- 
out parchment. 

As Stanhope entered, the women at the stove 
rose, showed their worse than toothless gums in a 
momentary smile, then resumed the doleful look 
which is humanity's universal counterfeit for use at 
death-beds. They awkwardly withdrew and the 
old woman opened her eyes large eyes, faded and 
dim but, with the well-shaped ears close against her 
head, the sole reminders of the comeliness that had 
been. 

She turned her eyes toward the broken-backed 
chair at the head of her bed. He sat and leaning 
over put his hand big and strong and vital upon 
one of her hands. 

" What can I do, Aunt Albertina ? " he said. 

" I'm leaving, Doctor Stanhope." There was a 
trace of a German accent in that hardly human 
croak. 

" Well, Aunt Albertina, you are ready to go or 
ready to stay. There is nothing to fear either way." 

" Look in that box behind you there. The let 
ters. Yes." He sat again, holding in his hand a 



242 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

package of letters, yellow where they were not 
black. " Destroy them." The old woman was 
looking at them longingly. Then she closed her 
eyes and tried to lift her head. " Under the pil 
low," she muttered. " Take it out." He reached 
under the slimy pillow and drew forth a battered 
embossed-leather case. " Look," she said. 

He opened it. On the one side was the picture 
of a man in an officer's uniform with decorations 
across his breast a handsome man, haughty-look 
ing, cruel-looking. On the other side was the pic 
ture of a woman a round, weak, pretty face, a 
mouth longing for kisses, sentimental eyes, a great 
deal of fair hair, -graceful, rounded shoulders. 

" That was I," croaked the old woman. He 
looked at that head in the bed, that face, that neck 
with the tendons and bones outstanding and mak 
ing darker-brown gullies between. 

" Yes I," she said, " and not thirty years ago." 

She closed her eyes and her ringers picked at the 
covers. " Do you remember," she began again 
" the day you first saw me ? " 

He recalled it. She was wandering along the 
gutter of Essex Street, mumbling to herself, stoop 
ing now and then to pick up a cigar butt, a bit of 
paper, a rag, and slip it into a sack. 

" Yes, Aunt Albertina I remember." 

" You stopped and shook hands with me and 
asked me to come to a meeting, and gave me a 
card. I never came. I was too busy too busy 
drinking myself to death." She paused and mut- 



TO THE TEST. 243 

tered, in German, " Ach, Gott, I thought I would 
never accomplish it. But at last " Then she 
went on in English, " But I remembered you. I 
asked about you. They all knew you. * The giant * 
they call you. You are so strong. They lean on 
you all these people. You do not know them or 
see them or feel them, but they lean on you." 

" But I am weak, Aunt Albertina. I am a giant 
with a pigmy soul a little soul." 

" Yes, I know what pigmy means." The wrinkles 
swirled and crackled in what was meant to be a 
smile. " I had a ' von ' in my name in Germany, 
and perhaps something before it but no matter. 
Yes, you are weak. So was he the man in the 
picture and I also. We tempted each other. He 
left his post, his wife, all. We came to America. 
He died. I was outcast. I danced in a music-hall 
what did I care what became of me when he was 
gone ? Then I sat at the little tables with the men, 
and learned what a good friend drink is. And so 

down, down, down " she paused to shut her eyes 

and pick at the covers. 

" But," she went on, " drink always with me as 
my friend to make me forget, to make me content 
wherever I was the gutter, the station-house, the 
dance-hall. If he could have seen me among the 
sailors, tossing me round, tearing at my clothes, 
putting quarters in my stockings for drinks after- 
wards drinks ! " 

There was a squirming among the rags where her 
old bones were hidden. Stanhope shuddered and 



244 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

the sweat stood in beads on his white face. " But 
that is over, and you've repented long ago," he said 
hurriedly, eager to get away. 

"Repent?" The old woman looked at him with 
jeering smile. " Not I ! Why ? With drink one 
.thing's as good as another, one bed as another, one 
man as another. The idealissmus soon passes. 
Ach, how we used to talk of our souls Gunther 
and I. Souls ! Yes, we were made for each other. 
But he died, and life must be lived. Yes, I know 
what pigmy means. I had a von in my name over 
there and something in front. But no soul just a 
body." 

" What else can I do for you, Aunt Albertina ? " 
He spoke loudly as her mind was evidently wan 
dering. 

" Be strong. They lean on you. No, I mean I 
lean on you. The letters and the pictures destroy 
them. Yes, Gunther and I had von in our names 
but no soul just youth and love " 

He went to the stove, lifted the lid, and tossed 
in the letters and the old case. As he was putting 
the lid on again he could see the case shrivelling, 
and the flame with its black base crawling over 
sheets closely written in a clear, beautiful foreign 
handwriting. 

" They are destroyed, Aunt Albertina. Is that 
all?" 

"All. No religion not to-day, I thank you. 
Yes, you are strong but no soul, only a body." 

He went out and sent the two women. He ex- 



TO THE TEST. 245 

paneled his lungs to the tainted air of Orchard 
Street. It seemed fresh and pure to him. " Horri 
ble ! " he thought, " I shall soon be out of all 
this- 

Out of it ? He stopped short in the street and 
looked wildly around. Out of itl Out of what? 
out of life? If not, how could he escape respon 
sibility, and consequences? Consequences! He 
strode along, the children toddling or crawling 
swiftly aside to escape his tread. And as he strode 
the word "Consequences!" clanged and banged 
against the walls of his brain like the clapper of 
a mighty bell. 

At the steps of his house a woman and a man 
tried to halt him. He brushed them aside, went 
up the steps two at a time, let himself in, and shut 
himself in his study. 

Why had he not seen it before ? To shiver with 
the lightning of lust the great tree of the church, 
the shelter and hope of these people ; to tempt fate 
to vengeance not upon himself, but upon Emily ; to 
cover his children with shame ; to come to her, a 
wreck, a ruin ; to hang a millstone about her neck 
and bid her swim ! " And I called this love ! " 

******* 

At eight o'clock that evening Emily sat waiting 
for him. " Shall I hate him as soon as I see him ? 
Or shall I love him so that I'll not care for shame 
or sin ? " The bell rang and she started up, trem 
bling. The maid was already at the front door. 

" Nancy ! " she called ; then stood rigid and cold, 



246 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

holding the portiere with one hand and averting 
her face. 

"Yes, mum." 

" If it is any one for me " 

She hesitated again. She could see herself in the 
long mirror between the windows. She drew herself 
up and sent a smile, half-triumphant, half-derisive, 
at her image, " Say I'm not at home," she ended. 

The door opened, there was a pause, then it 
closed. Nancy entered, "Only a note, mum." 
She held it out and Emily took it Stanhope's 
writing. She tore it open and read : 

" I have a presentiment that you, too, have seen the truth. 
We may not go the journey together. I have come to my 
senses. If it was love that we offered each the other, then we do 
well to strangle the monster before it strangles us, and tramples 
into the mire all that each of us has done for good thus far. 

I and you, too feel like one who dreams that he is about 
to seize delight and awakens to find that he was leaping from a 
window to destruction. 

This is not renunciation. It is salvation. 

Evelyn tells me she is to see you to-morrow. I am glad that 
you and my daughter are friends. 

She read the note again, and, after a long inter 
val, a third time. Then she bent slowly and laid it 
upon the coals. She sat in a low chair, watched 
the paper curl into a tremulous ash, which presently 
drifted up the chimney. She was not conscious 
that there was any thought in her mind. She was 
conscious only of an enormous physical and mental 
relief. 



TO THE TEST. 247 

" I must go to bed," she said aloud. She hardly 
touched the pillow before she was sound asleep 
the sleep of ^exhaustion, of content, of the battle 
won. After several hours she awakened. " I'm so 
glad my ' better self ' told Nancy to say I wasn't 
at home," she thought. " That makes me know 
that I was what was I ? " But before she could 
answer she was again asleep. 

The next morning Joan at breakfast suddenly 
lifted her eyes from her newspaper and her coffee, 
listened and smiled. Emily was singing at her bath. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

MR. GAMMELL PRESUMES. 

MR. WAKEMAN, under whom she had 
been working comfortably, was now 
displaced by a Mr. Gammell, whom 
she had barely seen and of whom 
she had heard alarming tales. He 
had been made City Editor when Stilson was pro 
moted. Tireless and far-sighted and insatiable as a 
news-gatherer, he drove those under him " as if 
eating and sleeping had been abolished," one of 
them complained. Bnt he made the Democrat's 
local news the best in New York, and this gradually 
impressed the public and raised the circulation. 
Gammell was a sensationalist " the yellowest yet," 
the reporters called him and Stilson despised him. 
But Stilson was too capable a journalist not to 
appreciate his value. He encouraged him and 
watched him closely, taking care to keep from 
print the daily examples of his reckless " overzeal." 
As the Sunday edition ought to be the most 
profitable issue of a big newspaper, the proprietors 
decided to transfer Gammell to it, after cautioning 
him to remember Stilson's training and do nothing 
to destroy the " character " of the paper. Gammell 
began with a " shake-up " of his assistants. Emily, 
just returned from a midsummer vacation, was 



MR. GAMMELL PRESUMES. 249 

opening her desk, when another woman of the 
Sunday staff, Miss Venable, whom she had never 
seen at the office thus early before, began to tell 
her the dire news. " He's good-looking and polite," 
she said, " but he has no respect for feelings and no 
consideration about the quantity of work. He 
treats us as if we were so many machines." 

" That isn't strange or startling, is it ? " said 
Emily indifferently. " He's like most successful 
men. I always feared Mr. Wakeman was too easy 
going, too good to last. I'm surprised that there 
hasn't been a change before." 

"Just wait till you've had an experience with 
him. He told me he called me in this morning 
and said with a polite grin what a horrid grin he 
has ! that he was pained that I did not like my 
position on the Sunday staff. And when I pro 
tested that I did, he said, ' It's good of you to say 
so, Miss Venable, but your work tells a truth which 
you are too considerate of me to speak.' And then 
he went on to show that he has been sneaking and 
spying on me about reading novels in office hours 
and staying out too long at lunch time. Think of 
that ! " 

" He may be watching you now," suggested 
Emily. 

" No he's good gracious, there he is ! " and she 
fled to her desk. 

Emily looked round and saw a notably slender, 
pale man of middle height with the stoop of a 
student and restless, light-brown eyes. He was 



250 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

walking rapidly, glancing from side to side and 
nervously swinging his keys by their chain. He 
stopped at her desk and smiled agreeably Emily 
thought. 

" Miss Bromfield?" he said. 

" Yes. And you are Mr. Gammell ? " 

" I am that brute that ogre that Simon Le- 
gree," he replied, with a satirical smile which barely 
altered the . line of his thin, pale lips under his 
small moustache. " Will you come into my office, 
please at your leisure?" Emily thought she had 
never heard a polite phrase sound so cynically 
hollow. 

She rose and followed him. He began at once 
and talked swiftly, now cutting up sheets of blank 
paper with a huge pair of shears, now snapping the 
fingers of one hand against the knuckles of the 
other, now twitching his eyes, now ruffling and 
smoothing his hair. He showed that he had gone 
through her work for several months past and that 
he knew both her strong points and her defects. He 
gave her a clear conception first of what he did not 
want, then of what he did want. 

As they talked she became uncomfortable. She 
admired his ability, but she began to dislike his 
personality. And she soon understood why. He 
was showing more and more interest in her personal 
appearance and less and less interest in her work. 
Like all good-looking women, Emily was too used 
to the sort of glances he was giving her to feel or 
pretend to feel deep resentment. But it made her 



MR. GAMMELL PRESUMES. 251 

uneasy to reflect on what those glances from a man 
in his position and of his audacity portended. " I 
shall have trouble with him," she was thinking, be 
fore they had been together half an hour. And she 
became formal and studied in her courtesy. But 
this seemed to have not this slightest effect upon 
him. 

" However," he said in conclusion, " don't take 
what I've been saying too seriously. You may do 
as you please. I'm sure I'll like whatever you do. 
And if you feel that you have too much work, just 
tell me and I'll turn it over to someone who was 
made to drudge." 

He was at her desk several times during the day. 
The last time he brought a bundle of German and 
French illustrated papers and pointed out to her in 
one of them a doubtful picture and the still more 
doubtful jest printed underneath. He watched her 
closely. She looked and read without a change of 
colour or expression. " I don't think we would 
reprint it," she said indifferently, turning the page. 

As he walked away she had an internal shudder 
of repulsion. " How crude he is ! " she thought. 
" He has evidently been well educated and well 
bred. Yet he can't distinguish among people. He 
thinks they're all cut from the same pattern, each 
for some special use of his. Yes, I shall have 
trouble with him and that soon." 

He hung about her desk, passing and repassing, 
often pausing and getting as near as possible to her, 
compelling her pointedly to move. She soon had 



252 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

his character from his own lips. She was discussing 
with him a " human interest " story from a Colorado 
paper about love and self-sacrifice in a lone 
miner's hut far away among the mountains. " That 
will catch the crowd," he said. " We'll spread it 
for a page with a big, strong picture." 

" Yes, it's a beautiful story," said she. " No one 
could fail to be touched by it." 

" It's easy to make the mob weep," he answered 
with a sneer. " What fools they are ! As n there 
was anything in that sort of slush." 

Emily was simply listening, was not even looking 
comment. 

" I don't suppose that anybody ever unselfishly 
cared for anybody else since the world began," he 
went on. " It's always vanity and self-interest. 
The difference between the mob and the intelligent 
few is that the mob is hypocritical and timid, while 
intelligent people frankly reach out for what they 
want." 

" Your scneme of life has at least the merit of 
directness," said Emily, turning away to go to her 
desk. 

On the plea that he wished to discuss work with 
her he practically compelled her to dine with him 
two or three times a week. While his lips were 
busy with adroit praises of her ability his eyes 
were appealing to her vanity as a woman and he 
was not so unskilful at that mode of attack as he 
had seemed at first. He exploited her articles in 
the Sunday magazine, touching them up himself 



MR. GAMMELL PRESUMES. 253 

and as she could not but see greatly improving 
them. He asked Stilson to raise her salary, and it 
was done. 

She did not discourage him. She was passive, 
maintaining her business-like manner. But after 
leaving him she always had a feeling of depression 
and self-disapproval. She liked the display of her 
work, she liked the sense of professional importance 
which he gave her, she did not dislike his flatteries. 
She tried to force herself to look at the truth, to 
see that all he said and did arose from the basest of 
motives, unredeemed by a single trace of an adorn 
ment of sentiment, But, though she pretended to 
herself that she understood him perfectly, her 
vanity was insidiously aiding her strong sense of the 
politic to draw her on. "What can I do?" she 
pleaded to herself. " I must earn my living. I 
must assume, as long as I possibly can, that every 
thing is all right." 

While she was thus drifting, helpless to act and 
desperately trying to hope that a crisis was not 
coming, she met Stilson one morning in the 
entrance-hall of the Democrat Building. As always, 
his sombre expression lighted and he stopped her. 

" How are you getting on with Gammell ? " he 
asked, in his voice that exactly suited the resolute 
set of his jaw and the aggressive forward thrust of 
his well-shaped head. 

At Gam m ell's name she became embarrassed, 
almost ashamed. No one knew better than she what 
a powerful effect Stilson had upon sensitive people 



254 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

in making them guiltily self-conscious if there was 

reason for it. She could not help dropping her 

eyes, and her confusion was not decreased by the 

fear that he would misconstrue her manner into a 

-'confession worse than the truth. But she was 

jshowing less of her mind than she thought. 

" Oh splendidly," she replied. " I like him much 
better than at first. He makes us work and that 
has been well for me." 

" Urn yes." He looked relieved. " And I think 
it excellent work. Good morning." 

Emily gazed after his tall strong figure with the 
expression that is particularly good to see in eyes 
that are looking unobserved at another's back. " He 
knows Gammell," she thought, " and had an idea he 
might be annoying me. He wished to give me a 
chance to show that I needed aid, if I did. What 
a strange man and how much of a man ! " 

When she saw Gammell half an hour later, she 
unconsciously brought herself up sharply. She was 
as distant as the circumstances of their business 
relations permitted. But Gammell, deceived by her 
former tolerance and by his vanity and his hopes, 
thought she was practising another form of coquetry 
upon him. As she retreated, he pursued. The 
first time they were alone, he put his arm about her 
and kissed her. 

Emily had heard that women working in offices 
with men invariably have some such experience as 
this sooner or later. And now, here she was, face 
to face with the choice between self-respect and the 



MR. GAMMELL PRESUMES. 255 

enmity of the man who could do her the most 
harm in the most serious way her living. And in 
fairness she admitted, perhaps more generously 
than Gammell deserved, that she was herself in part 
responsible for his conduct. 

She straightened up they were bending over 
several drawings spread upon a table and stiffened 
herself. She looked at him with a cold and calm 
dignity that made him feel as futile and foolish as 
if he had found himself embracing a marble statue. 
Anger he could have combated. Appeal he would 
have disregarded. But this frozen tranquillity made 
him drop his arm from her waist and begin con 
fusedly to handle the drawings. Emily's heart beat 
wildly, and she strove in vain to control herself so 
that she could begin to talk of the work in hand as 
if his attempt had not been. His nervousness 
changed to anger. Instead of letting the matter 
drop, he said sneeringly : " Oh, you needn't pretend. 
You understood perfectly all along. You were 
willing to use me. And now " 

" Please don't ! " Emily's voice was choked. 
She had an overpowering sense of degradation. 
" It is my fault, I admit. I did understand in a 
way. But I tried to make myself believe that we 
were just friends, like two men." 

"What trash!" said Gammell contemptuously. 
" You never believed it for an instant. You knew 
that there never was, and never will be, a friendship 
between a young man and a young woman unless 
each is thoroughly unattractive to the other." 



256 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

He was plucking up courage and Emily saw that 
he was mentally arranging a future renewal of his 
attempt. " I must settle it now, once for all, at any 
cost/' she said to herself, with the resoluteness that 
had never failed her in crises. Then aloud, to him : 
'* At any rate, we understand each the other now. 
You know that I have not the faintest interest in 
your plan for mixing sentiment and business." Her 
look and tone were convincing as they cut deep 
into his vanity. She turned to the drawings and 
resumed th'e discussion of them. In a very few 
minutes he left her. " He hates me," she thought, 
" and I can't blame him. I wonder what he'll do to 
revenge himself ? " 

But he gave no sign. When they met again and 
thereafter he treated her with exaggerated courtesy 
and no longer annoyed her. " He's self-absorbed," 
she concluded, " and too cool-headed to waste time 
and energy in revenges." 

But when her articles were no longer displayed, 
were on the contrary " cut " or altogether " side 
tracked," she began to think that probably the 
pinched-in look of his mouth and nose and at the 
back of his neck did not belie him. She felt an 
ominous, elusive insecurity. She debated asking 
Stilson to transfer her to some other department. 

But she hesitated to go to Stilson. For she now 
knew the whole secret of his looks and actions, of 
which she had been thinking curiously ever since 
the morning of their chance meeting in the Park. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE TRUTH ABOUT A ROMANCE. 

ONE half of that mystery had been be- 
trayed by little Mary. The other 
half she might have known long before 
had she not held aloof from her fellow 
workers, except the few who did not 
gossip. 

******** 
He was a Virginian. He had been brought up on 
a farm an only son, carefully sheltered, tutored 
by his father and mother. He had gone up to 
Princeton, religious and reverential of the most 
rigid code of personal morals. His studies in sci 
ence and philosophy had taken away his creed. But 
I he the more firmly anchored himself to his moral 
j code not because he was prim or feeble or timid, 
but because to him his morality was his self respect, 
He graduated from Princeton at twenty and be 
came a reporter on The World. He was released 
to New York young, hot-blooded, romantic, dar 
ing. He rose rapidly and was not laughed at for 
his idealism and his Puritanism, partly because he 
was able, chiefly because he had that arrogant tem 
perament which enforces respect from the irreso 
lute, submissive majority. 



258 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

One night, a few weeks before he was twenty-one, 
he went with Harry Penrose of the Herald to the 
opening of the season at the Gold and Glory. It 
was then in the beginning of its fame as the best 
music-hall in the country if not in the world. As 
they entered, the orchestra was playing one of 
those dashing melodies that seem to make the 
blood flow in their rhythm. The stage was thronged 
with a typical Gold and Glory chorus tall, hand 
some young women with long, slender arms and 
legs. They were dancing madly, their eyes spark 
ling, their hair waving, the straps slipping from their 
young shoulders, their slim legs in heliotrope silk 
marking the time of the music with sinuous strokes 
from the stage to high above their heads and down 
again. Against this background of youth and joy 
and colour two girls were leading the dance. One 
of them was round and sensuous ; the other thin with 
the pleasing angularity of a girl not yet a woman 
grown. 

Instantly Stilson's eyes were for her. He felt 
that he had never even imagined such grace. The 
others were smiling gaily, boldly, into the audience 
in teasing mock-invitation. Her lips were closed. 
Her smile was dreamy, her soul apparently wrap 
ped in the delirium of the dance. Her whole body 
was in constant motion. It seemed to Stilson that 
at every movement of shoulders or hips, of small 
round arms or tapering legs, at every swing of that 
little head crowned with glittering waves of golden 
light, a mysterious, thrilling energy was flung out 



ABOUT A ROMANCE. 259 

from her like an electric current. He who had not 
cared for women of the stage watched this girl as a 
child at its first circus watches the lady in tights 
and tarlatan. When the curtain went down, he felt 
that the lights were being turned off instead of on, 

" Who is she ? " he asked Penrose. 

" Who ? " said Penrose, looking at the women 
near by in the orchestra chairs. " Which one ? " 

"The girl at the end the right end on the 
stage, I mean." 

" Oh Marguerite Feronia. Isn't she a wonder? 
I don't see how any one can compare her with Jen 
nie Jessop, who danced opposite her." 

" Do you know Miss Feronia ? " asked Stilson. 

" Marguerite ? Yes. I've seen her a few times 
in the cork-room. Ever been there ? " 

" No." Stilson had neither time nor inclination 
for dissipation. 

" Would you like to go ? It's an odd sort of 
place." 

They went downstairs, through the public bar 
and lounge and into a long passage. At the end 
Penrose knocked on a door with a small shutter in 
it. Up went the shutter and in its stead there was 
a fierce face low forehead, stubby, close cropped 
hair, huge, sweeping moustache shading a bull-dog 
jaw. The eyes were wicked yet not unkindly. 

" Hello, John. This is a friend of mine from 
the WorMUr. Stilson." 

"Oh, it's you, Mr. Penrose." The shutter re 
placed the face and the door opened. They were 



2 6o A WOMAN VENTURES. 

under the stage, in a room walled and ceilinged 
with champagne corks and broken into many al 
coves and compartments. They sat at a table in 
one of the alcoves and Penrose ordered a bottle of 
champagne. When the waiter brought it he invited 
" John " to have a glass. " John " took it standing 
"Your health, gents best regards" a gulp, the 
glass was empty and the moustache had a deep, 
damp fringe. 

" I have orders not to let nobody in till the end 
of the performance," said "John." "But you 
gents of the press is different." He winked as if 
his remark were a witticism. 

" May I see Marguerite for a minute ? " 

" She's got to change," said " John " doubtfully, 
"and she comes on about five minutes after the 
curtain goes up. But I'll see." 

He went through a door at the far end of the 
"cork-room " and soon reappeared with Marguerite 
close behind him. She was in a yellow and red 
costume the skirt not to her knees, the waist 
barely to the top of her low corset. She put out a 
small hand white of itself, and smeared with rice- 
powder. Her hair was natural golden and Stilson 
thought her as beautiful and as spiritual as she had 
seemed beyond the footlights. " Perhaps not quite 
so young," he said to himself, " possibly twenty." In 
fact she was almost thirty. Her voice was sweet 
and childish, her manner confiding, as became so 
young-looking a person. 

Stilson was unable to speak. He could only look 



ABOUT A ROMANCE. 261 

and long. And he felt guilty for looking she was 
very slightly clad. She and Penrose talked com 
monplaces about the opening, Penrose flattering 
her effectively Stilson thought his compliments 
crude and insulting, felt that she would resent them 
if she really understood them. She soon rose, 
touched the champagne glass to her lips, nodded 
and was gone. The curtain was up they could 
hear the music and the scuffling of many feet on 
the stage overhead. 

" You don't want to miss this, Mr. Penrose," said 
"John." "It's out o'sight." 

They took a second glass of the champagne and 
left the rest for " John." When they were a few 
feet down the passage, Stilson went back to the 
door of the " cork-room." The shutter lifted at his 
knock and he cast his friendliest look into the 
wicked, good-humoured, bull-dog face. " My name 
is Stilson," he said. "You won't forget me if I 
should come again alone ? " 

"I never forget a face," said " John." " That's 
why I keep my job." 

Stilson's infatuation increased with each of 
Marguerite's appearances. The longer he looked, 
the stronger was the spell woven over his senses by 
that innocent face, by those magnetic arms and 
legs. But he would have knocked down any one 
who had suggested that it was a sensuous spell. 

He devoted his account of the performance 
for the World to Marguerite, the marvellous young 
interpreter of- the innermost meaning of music. 



262 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

The copy-reader " toned down " some of the super 
latives, but left his picture in the main untouched. 
And the next day every one in the office was talking 
about " Stilson's story of that girl up at the Gold 
and Glory." It was the best possible advertise 
ment for the hall and for the girl. Penrose called 
him on the telephone and laughed at him. " You 
are a fox," he said. " Old Barclay he's the 
manager down there, you know called me up a 
while ago and asked if I knew who wrote the puff 
of Feronia in the World. I told him it was you. 
Follow it up, old man." 

And Stillson did " follow it up." That very 
night, toward the end of the performance he 
reappeared at the door of the " cork-room," nervous 
but determined, and with all he had left of last 
week's earnings in his pocket. " John " was most 
gracious as he admitted him and escorted him to a 
seat. The room was hazy with the smoke of cigars 
and cigarettes. Many men and several young 
women sat at the tables. A silver bucket contain 
ing ice and a bottle was a part of each group. 
There was a great pounding of feet on the floor 
overhead, the shriek and crash of the orchestra, the 
muffled roar of applause. All the young men were 
in evening clothes except Stilson who had come 
direct from the office. The young woftien were 
dressed for the street. Stilson guessed that they 
were " extras " as at that time the full force of the 
company must be on the stage. 

The music ceased, the pounding of feet above 



ABOUT A ROMANCE. 263 

became irregular instead of regular, and into the 
room streamed a dozen of the chorus girls in tights, 
with bare necks and arms and painted lips and 
cheeks. Their eyes, surrounded by pigment, looked 
strangely large and lustrous. " Just one glass, then 
we must go up and change." And there was much 
" opening of wine " and laughter and holding of 
hands and one covert kiss in the shadow of an al 
cove where "John" could pretend not to see. 
Then the chorus girls rushed away to remove part 
of the powder, paint, and pigment and to put on 
street clothing. After a few minutes, during which 
Stilson watched the scene with a deepening sense 
of how out of place he was in it, the stage-door 
opened and Marguerite came in, dressed for the 
street in a pretty gray summer-silk with a gray hat 
to match. As she advanced through the smoke, 
several men stood, eager to be recognised. She 
smiled sweetly at each and hesitated. Stilson, his 
courage roused, sprang up and advanced boldly. 
" Good evening, Miss Feronia," he said, his eyes 
imploring yet commanding. She looked at him 
vaguely, then remembered him. 

" You are Mr. Penrose's friend ? " she said, polite 
but not at all cordial. 

" Yes my name's Stilson," he answered. " I 
was here last night." 

" Oh Mr. Stilson of the World? " 

Stilson bowed. She was radiant now. " I wrote 
you a note to-day," she said. " It was so good of 
you." 



264 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Would you sit and let me order something for 
you ? " 

" Certainly. I want to thank you " 

" Please don't," he said, earnestly and with a hot 
blush. " I'd I'd rather you didn't remember me 
for that." 

"Something" in the cork-room meant cham 
pagne or a wine equally expensive the manage 
ment forbade frugality under pain of exclusion. 
Miss Feronia was thirsty and Stilson thought he 
had never before seen any one who knew how to 
raise a glass and drink. 

" You were good to me in the paper this morn 
ing," she said. "Why?" 

" Because I love you." 

The smoke, the room, the flaunting reminders of 
coarseness and sensuality and merchandising in 
smiles and sentiment all faded away for him. He 
was worshipping at the shrine of his lady-love. 
And he thought her as pure and poetical as the 
temple of her soul seemed to his enchanted eyes. 
She looked at him over the top of her glass, with 
cynical, tolerant amusement. The rioting bubbles 
were rushing upward through the pale gold liquid 
to where her lips touched it. As she studied him, 
the cynicism slowly gave place to that dreamy ex 
pression which means much or little or nothing at 
all, according to what lies behind. To him it was 
entrancing ; it meant mind, and heart, and soul. 

" What a nice, handsome boy you are," she said, 
in a voice so gentle that he was not offended by its 



ABOUT A ROMANCE. 265 

hint that her experience was pitying his child-like 
inexperience. 

And thus it began. At the end of the week they 
were married he would have it so, and she, puri 
fied for the time by the fire of this boy's romantic 
love, thought it natural that the priest should be 
called in. 

To him it was a dream of romance come true. 
His strength, direct, insistent, inescapable, com 
pelled her. It pleased her thus to be whirled away 
by an impassioned boy, enveloping her in this tem 
pestuous yet respectful love wholly new to her. 
She found it toilsome to live up to his ideal of her ; 
but, with the aid of his blindness, she achieved it for 
two months and deserved the title her former asso 
ciates gave her " Sainte Marguerite." Then 

He came home one morning about two. As he 
opened the door of their flat, he heard heavy snor 
ing from their little parlour. He struck a match 
and held it high. As the light penetrated and his 
eyes grew accustomed, he saw Marguerite his wife 
upon the lounge. Her only covering was a night 
gown and she was half out of it. Her hair was 
tumbled and tangled. There were deep lines in her 
swollen, red face. Her mouth had fallen open and 
her expression was gross, animal, repulsive. She 
was sleeping a drunken sleep, in a room stuffy with 
the fumes of whiskey and of the stale smoke and 
stale stumps of cigarettes. 

The match burned his fingers before he dropped 
it. He stumbled through the darkness to their bed- 



266 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

room, and, falling upon the bed, buried his face in 
the pillow and sobbed like a child that has re 
ceived a blow struck in brutal injustice. Out of 
the corners came a hundred suspicious little circum 
stances which no longer feared him or hid from him. 
They leered and jeered and mocked, shooting 
poisoned darts into that crushed and broken-hearted 
boy. 

He rose and lit the gas. He went to a closet in 
a back room and took down a bottle of whiskey and 
a tumbler. In pyjamas and slippers he seated 
himself at the dining-room table. He poured out a 
brimming glass of the whiskey and drank it down. 
A moment later he drank another, then a third. 
His head reeled, his blood ran thick and hot 
through his veins. He staggered into the parlour 
and stood over his snoring wife. He shook her. 
" Come, wake up ! " he shouted. 

She groaned, murmured, tossed, suddenly sat up, 
catching her hair together with one hand, her 
night-dress with the other. " My God ! " she ex 
claimed, in terror at his wild face, " Don't kill me ! 
I can't help it my father was that way ! " 

"Yes come on!" he shouted. "You don't 
need to sneak away to drink. We'll drink together. 
We'll go to hell together." 

And he kept his word. At the end of the year 
he was dismissed from the World for drunkenness. 
She went back to the stage and supported them 
both she was a periodic drunkard, while he kept 
steadily at it. She left him, returned to him, loved 



ABOUT A ROMANCE. 267 

him, fled from him, divorced him, after an absence 
of nearly a year returned to make another effort to 
undo the crime she felt she had committed. As 
she came into the squalid room in a wretched fur 
nished-room house in East Fifth Street where he had 
found a momentary refuge, he glared at her with 
bleared, bloodshot eyes and uttered a curse. She 
had a bundle in her arms. 

" Look," she said, in a low tone, stooping beside 
the bed on which he lay in his rags. 

He was staring stupidly into the face of a baby, 
copper-coloured, homely, with puffy cheeks and 
watery, empty eyes. He fell back upon the bed 
and covered his head. 

Soon he started up in a fury. " It ought to have 
been strangled/' he said. 

" No ! No ! " she exclaimed, pressing the bundle 
tightly against her bosom. 

He rose and went toward her. His expression 
was reassuring. He looked long into the child's face. 

" Where are you living ? " he asked at last. 
" Don't be afraid to tell me. I'll not come until " 
He paused, then went on : " The road ought to 
lead upward from here." His glance went round 
the squalid room with roaches scuttling along its 
baseboard. He looked down at his grimed tatters, 
his gaping shoes, his dirty hands and black and 
broken nails. 

" It certainly can't lead downward," he muttered. 
For the first time in months he felt ashamed. 
" Leave me alone," he said. 



268 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

That night he wrote his mother for the loan of a 
hundred dollars the first money from home since, 
at the end of his last long vacation, he left for New 
York and a career. In a week he was a civilised 
man again. Marlowe got him a place as reporter 
on the Democrat. It was immediately apparent 
that the road did indeed lead upward. 

In a month he was restored to his former appear 
ance except that his hair was sprinkled with gray 
at the temples and he had several deep lines in his 
young yet sombre face. 



E 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

" IN MANY MOODS." 

MILY was lunching alone at the Astor 
House in the innermost of the upstairs 
dining-rooms. She had just ordered 
when a woman entered obviously a 
woman of the stage, although she was 
quietly dressed. She had a striking figure, small 
but lithe, and her gown was fatted to its every curve. 
As she passed Emily's table, to the left of the door, 
the air became odorous of one of those heavy, 
sweet perfumes whose basis is musk. Her face was 
round, almost fat, babyish at first glance. Her eyes 
were unnaturally sleepy and had many fine wrinkles 
at the corners. She seated herself at the far end of 
the room, so that she was facing the door and 
Emily. 

She called the waiter in a would-be imperious 
way, but before she had finished ordering she was 
laughing and talking with him as if he were a friend. 
Emily noted that she spoke between her shut teeth, 
like a morphine-eater. As the waiter left, her face 
lighted with pleasure and greeting. Emily was 
amazed as she saw the man toward whom this look 
was directed Stilson. He did not see Emily when 
he came in, and, as he seated himself opposite the 



270 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

woman who was awaiting him, could not see her. 
Nor could Emily see his face, only his back and 
now and then one of his hands. As she eagerly 
noted every detail of him and of his companion, she 
suddenly discovered that there was a pain at her 
heart and that she was criticising the woman as if 
they were bitter enemies. " I am jealous of her," 
she thought, startled as she grasped all that was 
implied in jealousy such as she was now feeling. 

When had she come to care especially for Stilson ? 
And why ? Above all, how had she fallen in love 
without knowing what she was doing? By what 
subtle chemistry had sympathy, admiration, trust, 
been combined into this new element undoubtedly 
love, yet wholly unlike any emotion she had felt be 
fore? " Mary must have set me to thinking," she 
said to herself. 

The woman talked volubly, always with her teeth 
together and her eyes half-closed. But Emily could 
see that she was watching Stilson's face closely, lov 
ingly. Stilson seemed to be saying nothing and 
looking absently out of the window. As Emily 
studied the woman, she was forced to confess that 
she was fascinating and that she had the attractive 
remnants of beauty. Her manner toward Stilson 
made her manner toward the waiter a few minutes 
before seem like a real self carefully and habitually 
hidden from some one whom she knew would dis 
approve it. " She tries to live up to him," thought 
Emily. " And how interesting she is to look at 
what a beautiful figure, what graceful gestures 



"IN MANY MOODS." 271 

and I wonder if I shall look as well at at her 
age?" 

She could not eat. " How I wish I hadn't seen 
her with him. Now I shall imagine everything, 
while before this I thought of that side of his life as 
if it didn't exist." She went as quickly as she 
could, for she felt like a spy and feared he would 
turn his head. In the next room, which was filled, 
she met Miss Furnival, the " fashion editor " of the 
Democrat ' s Sunday magazine. Miss Furnival asked 
if there were any tables vacant in the next room and 
hastened on to get the one which Emily had left. 

An hour later Miss Furnival stopped at her desk. 
" Didn't you see Stilson in that room over at the 
Astor House ? " she said, and Emily knew that 
gossip was coming. 

" Was he there ? " she asked. 

" Yes up at the far end of the room with Mar 
guerite Feronia. She used to be his wife, you know 
and she divorced him when he went to pieces. 
And now they live together at least, in the same 
house. Some say that he refused to re-marry her. 
But Mr. Gammell told me it was the other way, 
that she told a friend of his she wasn't fit to be 
Stilson's wife. She said she'd ruined him once and 
would never be a drag on him again." 

" I suppose he's tremendously in love with her ? " 
Emily tried in vain to prevent herself from stooping 
to this question. 

" I don't know," replied Miss Furnival. " Mr. 
Gammell told me he wasn't. He says Stilson is a 



272 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

sentimentalist. It seems there is a child some say 
a boy, some say a girl. She first told Stilson it was 
his, and then that it wasn't. Mr. Gammell says 
Stilson stays on to protect the child from her. 
She's a terror when she goes on one of her sprees 
and she goes oftener and oftener as she grows older. 
You can always tell when she's on the rampage by 
the way Stilson acts. He goes about, looking as if 
somebody had insulted him and he'd been too big 
a coward to resent it." 

Instead of being saddened by this recital, Emily 
was in sudden high spirits and her eyes were dan 
cing. " I ought to be ashamed of myself," she 
thought, " but I can't help it. I wish to feel that 
he loathes her." Then she said aloud in a satirical 
tone, to carry off her cheerful expression : " I had 
no idea we had such a hero among us. And Mr. 
Stilson, of all men ! I'm afraid it's a piece of Park 
Row imagination. Probably the truth is let us 
say, less romantic." 

" You don't know Mr. Gammell," Miss Furnival 
sighed. " He's the last man on earth to indulge in 
romance. He thinks Stilson ridiculous. But / 
think he's fine. He's the best of a few good men 
I've known in New York who weren't good only 
because of not having sense enough to be other 
wise." 

" Good," repeated Emily in a tone that expressed 
strong aversion to the word. 

" Oh, mercy no ! I don't mean that kind of 
good," said Miss Furnival. " He's not the kind of 



"IN MANY MOODS." 273 

good that makes everybody else love and long for 
wickedness." 

After this Emily found herself making trips to 
the news-department on extremely thin pretexts, 
and returning cheerful or depressed according as 
she had succeeded or failed in her real object. And 
she began to think to hope that Stilson came to 
the Sunday department oftener than formerly. 
When he did come and it certainly was oftener 
he merely bowed to her as he passed her desk. But 
whenever she looked up suddenly, she found his 
gaze upon her and she felt that her vanity was not 
dictating her interpretation of it. She had an in 
stinct that if he knew or suspected her secret or 
suspected that she was guessing his secret, she would 
see him no more. 

As the months passed, there grew up between 
them a mutual understanding about which she saw 
that he was deceiving himself. She came to know 
him so well that she read him at sight. Being large 
and broad, he was simple, tricking himself when it 
would have been impossible for him to have tricked 
another. And it made her love him the more to 
see how he thought he was hiding himself from her 
and how unconscious he was of her love for him. 

She had no difficulty in gratifying her longing to* 
hear of him. He was naturally the most conspicu 
ous figure in the office and often a subject of con 
versation. She was delighted by daily evidences of 
the power of his personality and by tributes to it. 
For Park Row liked to gossip about his eccentrici- 



274 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

i ties, he was called eccentric because he had the 
j courage of his individuality ; or about his sagacity as 
) an editor, his sardonic wit, his cynicism concealing 
but never hindering thoughtfulness for others. 
Shrinking from prying eyes, he was always unin 
tentionally provoking curiosity. Hating flattery, 
he was the idol and the pattern of a score of the 
younger men of the profession. His epigrams were 
quoted and his walk was copied, his dress, his way of 
wearing his hair. Even his stenographer, a girl, 
unconsciously and most amusingly imitated his man 
nerisms. All the indistinct and inferior personalities 
about him, in the hope of making themselves less in 
distinct and inferior, copied as closely as they could 
those characteristics which, to them, seemed the 
cause of his standing up and out so vividly. One 
day Emily was passing through an inside room 
of the news-department on her way to the Day 
Telegraph Editor. Stilson was at a desk which he 
sometimes used. He had his back toward her and 
was talking into the portable telephone, She glanced 
at the surface of his desk. With eyes trained to 
take in details swiftly, she saw before she could 
look away an envelope addressed to Boughton and 
Wall, the publishers, a galley proof projecting from 
it, and on the proof in large type: "17 In Many 
Moods." 

" He has written a book," she thought, " and that 
is the title." And she was filled with loving curios 
ity. She speculated about it often in the next six 
weeks ; then she saw it on a table in Brentano's. 



"IN MANY MOODS." 275 

"Yes, it's been selling fairly well for poetry, 
said the clerk. " There's really no demand for new 
poetry. Ninety-one cents. You'll find the verses 
very pretty." 

Poetry verses Stilson a verse-maker! Emily 
was surprised and somewhat amused. There was* 
no author's name on the title-page and it was a 
small volume, about twenty poems, the most of 
them short, each with a mood as a title Anger, 
Parting, Doubt, Jealousy, Courage, Foreboding, 
Passion, Hope, Renunciation at Renunciation she 
paused and read. 

It was a crowded street-car and she bent low over 
the book to hide her face. She had the clue to the 
book. Indeed she presently discovered that it was 
to be found in every poem. Stilson had loved her 
long almost from her first appearance in the office. 
And in these verses, breathing generosity and self- 
sacrifice, and well-aimed for one heart at least, he 
had poured out his love for her. It was sad, intense, 
sincere, a love that made her proud and happy, 
yet humble and melancholy, too. 

As she read she seemed to see him looking at her, 
she felt his heart aching. Now he was holding her 
tight in his arms, raining kisses on her face and 
making her blood race like maddest joy through her 
veins. Again, he was standing afar off, teaching 
her the lesson that the love that can refrain and 
renounce is the truest love. It was a revelation of 
this strange man even to her who had studied him 
long and penetratingly. So absorbed was she in 



276 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

reading and re-reading that when she glanced up the 
car was at One hundred and fourteenth street- 
miles past her house. She walked down to and 
through the Park in an abandon of happiness over 
these love letters so strangely sent, thus acciden 
tally received. " I must never let him see that I 
know," she thought " yet how can I help showing 
it?" 

She met him the very next day almost ran into 
him as she left the elevator at the news-department 
floor where he was waiting to take it on its descent. 
For the first time she betrayed herself, looking at 
him with a burning blush and with eyes shining 
with the emotion she could not instantly conceal. 
She passed on swiftly, conscious that he was gazing 
after her startled. " I acted like a child," she said 
to herself, " and here I am, trembling all over as if 
I were seventeen." And then she wrought herself 
up with thinking what he might think of her. 
" Where is my courage ? " she reassured herself, 
" What a poor love his would be if he misunder 
stood me." Nevertheless she was afraid that she 
had shown too much. " I suppose it's impossible 
to be courageous and restrained when one loves." 

But when she saw him again two days later, in 
the vestibule of the Democrat Building it was her 
turn to be self-possessed and his to betray himself. 
He was swinging along with his head down and 
gloom in his face. He must have recognised her 
by her feet distinctive in their slenderness and in 
the sort of boots that covered them. For he sud- 



"IN MANY MOODS." 277 

denly gave her a flash-like glance which said to her 
as plainly as words : " I am in the depths. If I 
only dared to reach out my hand to you, dear ! " 
Then he recovered himself, reddened slightly, bowed 
almost guiltily and passed on without speaking. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

A FORCED ADVANCE. 

IT was the talk of the Sunday office that Emily 
was being " frozen out." The women said it 
was her own fault her looks had at last 
failed to give her a " pull." The men said it 
was some underhand scheme of GammeH's 
what was more likely in the case of an attractive 
but thoroughly business-like woman such as Emily 
and such a man as Gammell, oriental in his ideas on 
women and of infinite capacity for meanness. Both 
the men and the women reached their conclusions 
by ways of prejudice; the men came nearer to the 
truth, which was that Gammell was bent upon pun 
ishing Emily, and that Emily, discouraged and 
suffering under a sense of injustice, was aiding him 
to justify himself to his superiors. The mere sight 
of her irritated him now. Success had developed 
his natural instinct to tyranny, and she represented 
rebellion intrenched and defiant within his very 
gates. One day he found Stilson waiting in his 
office to look over and revise his Sunday schedule. 
He hated Stilson because Stilson was his superior 
officer, and each week in the interest of the repu 
tation of the paper was compelled to veto the 



A FORCED ADVANCE. 279 

too audacious, too " yellow " projects of the sen 
sational Gammell. 

That day at sight of Stilson he with difficulty 
concealed his hate. He had just passed one of his 
enemies Emily in a new dress and new hat, in 
every way a painful reminder of his discomfiture. 
And now here was his other enemy lying in wait, as 
he instinctively felt, to veto an article in which he 
took especial pride. 

Stilson was not covert in his aversions. Diplo 
matic with no one, he rasped upon Gammell's highly- 
strung nerves like a screech in the ear of a neurotic. 
The wrangle began quietly enough in an exchange 
of veiled sarcasms and angry looks contemptuous 
from Stilson, venomous from Gammell. But the 
double strain of Emily and Stilson was too strong 
for Gammell's discretion. From stealthy sneers, 
he passed to open thrusts. Stilson, as tyrannical 
as Gammell, if that side of his nature was roused, 
grew calm with rage and presently in an arrogant 
tone ordered Gammell to " throw away that vicious 
stuff, and let me hear no more about it." 

" It is a pity, my dear sir," he went on, " that you 
should waste your talents. Why roll in the muck ? 
Why can't you learn not to weary me with this 
weekly inspection of insanity ? " 

Gammell's eyes became pale green, his cheeks an 
unhealthy bluish gray. He cast about desperately 
for a weapon with which to strike and strike home. 
Emily was in his mind and, while he had not the 
faintest notion that Stilson cared for her or she for 



280 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

him, he remembered Stilson's emphatic compliments 
on her work. " Perhaps if I were supplied with a 
more capable staff, we might get together articles 
that would be intelligent as well as striking. But 
what can I do, handicapped by such a staff, by such 
useless ornamentals as well, as your Miss Brom- 
field." 

"'That reminds me." Stilson recovered his out 
ward self-control at once. " I notice she has little 
in the magazine nowadays. Instead of exhausting 
yourself on such character-destroying stuff as this," 
with a disdainful gesture toward the rejected article, 
" you might be arranging for features such as she 
used to do and do very well." 

" She's not of the slightest use here any longer." 
Gammell shrugged his shoulders and lifted his eye 
brows. " She's of no use to the paper. And as the 
present Sunday editor doesn't happen to fancy her, 
why, she's of no use at all now." 

With a movement so swift that Gammell had no 
time to resist or even to understand, Stilson whirled 
him from his chair, and flung him upon the floor as 
if he were some insect that had shown sudden venom 
and must be crushed under the heel without delay. 

" Don't kill me ! " screamed Gammell, in a frenzy 
of physical fear, as he looked up at Stilson's face 
ablaze with the homicidal mania. " For God's 
sake, Stilson, don't murder me ! " 

The door opened and several frightened faces 
appeared there. Stilson, distracted from his pur 
pose, turned on the intruders. " Close that door ! " 



A FORCED ADVANCE. 281 

he commanded. " Back to your work ! " and he 
thrust the door into its frame. " Now, get up ! " 
he said to Gammell. " You are one of those vile 
creatures that are brought into the world I don't 
know how, but I'm sure without the interposition of 
a mother. Get up and brush yourself. And here 
after see that you keep your foul mind from your 
lips and eyes." 

He stalked away, his footsteps ringing through 
the silent Sunday room where all were bending over 
their work in the effort to obliterate themselves. 
Within an hour the story of " the fight " was racing 
up and down Park Row and in and out of every 
newspaper office. But no one could explain it. And 
to this day Emily does not know why Gammell 
gave her late that afternoon the best assignment 
she had had in three months. 

In the following week she received a letter from 
Burnham, general manager of Trescott, Anderson 
and Company, the publishers in Twenty-third 
Street. It was an invitation to call " at your 
earliest convenience in reference to a matter which 
we hope will interest you." She went in the morn 
ing on her way down town. Mr. Burnham was 
most polite a twitching little man, inclined to be 
silly in his embarrassment, talking rapidly and 
catching his breath between sentences. 

" We are making several changes in the conduct 
of our magazines," said he. " We wish to get some 
young blood newspaper blood, in fact, into them. 
We wish to make them less less prosy, more 



282 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

more up-to-date. No not ' yellow ' by no means 
nothing like that. Still, we feel that we ought to be 
a little yes livelier." 

"Closer to the news to current events and 
subjects?" suggested Emily. 

" Yes, precisely you catch my meaning at 
once." Mr. Burnham was looking at her as if she 
were a genius. He was of those men who are 
dazzled when they discover a gleam of intelligence 
in a beautiful woman. " Now, we wish to get you 
to help us with our World of Women. Mrs. Parrott 
is the editor, as you perhaps know. She's been 
with us yes twenty-three years, eighteen years in 
her present position. And after making some 
inquiries, we decided to invite you to join the staff 
as assistant to Mrs. Parrott." 

" I know the magazine," said Emily, " and I 
think I see the directions in which the improve 
ments you suggest could be made. But I'm not 
dissatisfied with my present position. Of course 
if well " She looked at Mr. Burnham with an 
ingenuous expression that hid the business guile 
beneath " Of course, I couldn't refuse an oppor 
tunity to better myself." 

"We that is ' Mr. Burnham looked miserable 
and plucked wildly at his closely-trimmed gray and 
black beard. " May I ask what what financial 
arrangement would be agreeable to you ? " 

"The offer must come from you, mustn't it?" 
said Emily, who had not been earning her own liv 
ing without learning first principles. 



A FORCED ADVANCE. 283 

" Yes of course naturally." Mr. Burnham 
held himself rigid in his chair, as if it required sheer 
force to restrain him from leaping forth and away. 
" Might I ask what you are what what return 
for your services the Democrat makes ? " 

" Sixty-five dollars a week," said Emily. " But 
my position there is less exacting than it would be 
here. I have practically no editorial responsibility. 
And editorial responsibility means gray hair." 

" Yes certainly you would expect compensa 
tion for gray hair dear me, no I beg your par 
don. What were we saying? Yes we could 
hardly afford to pay so much as that at the start, 
you know. I should say sixty would be quite the 
very best. But your hours would be shorter and 
you would have the utmost freedom about writing 
articles, stories, and so forth. And of course you'd 
be paid extra for what you wrote which proved ac 
ceptable to us. Then too, it's a higher class of work 
the magazines, you know gives one character 
and standing." 

" Oh work is work," said Emily. " And I doubt 
if a magazine could give me character. I fear I'd 
have to continue to rely on myself for that." 

" Oh I beg your pardon. I'm very stupid to 
day I didn't mean " 

As he hesitated and looked imploringly at her, 
she said good-humouredly, " To suggest that my 
standing and not the standing of your magazine, 
was what you were trying to help ? " 

They laughed, they became friendly and he had 



284 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

difficulty in keeping his mind upon business. He 
presently insisted upon sending for Mrs. Parrott 
a stout, motherly person with several chins that 
descended through a white neck-cloth into a vast 
bosom quivering behind the dam of a high, old- 
fashioned corset. Emily noted that she was evi 
dently of those women who exaggerate their natu 
ral sweetness into a pose of "womanly " sentiment 
and benevolence. She spoke the precise English 
of those who have heard a great deal of the other 
kind and dread a lapse into it. She was amusingly 
a " literary person," full of the nasty-nice phrases 
current among those literary folk who take them 
selves seriously as custodians of An Art and A 
Language. Emily's manner and dress impressed 
her deeply, and she soon brought in not without 
labour the names of several fashionable New 
Yorkers with whom she asserted acquaintance and 
insinuated intimacy. Emily's eyes twinkled at 
this exhibition of insecurity in one who but the 
moment before was preening herself as a high 
priestess at the highest altar. 

In the hour she spent in the editorial offices of 
Trescott, Anderson and Company, Emily was de 
pressed by what seemed to her an atmosphere of 
dulness, of staleness, of conventionality, of remote 
ness from the life of the day. " They live in a sort 
of cellar," she thought. " I don't believe I could 
endure being cut off from fresh air." After pre 
tending to herself elaborately to argue the matter, 
she decided that she would not make the change. 



A FORCED ADVANCE. 285 

But her real reason, as she was finally compelled 
to admit to herself, was Stilson. Not to see him, 
not to feel that he was near, not to be in daily con 
tact with his life it was unthinkable. She knew 
that she was so unbusinesslike in this respect that, 
if the Democrat cut her salary in half, she would 
still stay on. " I'm only a woman after all," she 
said to herself. " A man wouldn't do as I'm 
doing perhaps." She did not in the least care. 
She was not ashamed of her weakness. She was 
even admitting nowadays a liking for the idea that 
Stilson could and would rule her. And she was 
not at all sure that the reason for this revolutionary 
liking was the reason she gave herself that he 
would not ask her to do anything until he was sure 
she was willing to do it. 

Two days after she wrote her refusal, Stilson sent 
for her. At first glance she saw that he was a 
bearer of evil tidings. And in the next she saw 
what the evil tidings were that he had pene 
trated her secret and his own self-deception, and 
was remorseful, aroused, determined to put himself 
out of her life. 

" You have refused your offer from Burnham ? " 
He drew down his brows and set his jaw, as if he 
expected a struggle. 

" Yes I prefer to stay here. I have reasons." 
She felt reckless. She was eager for an opportunity 
to discuss these " reasons." 

" You must accept." 

" If Must ? " She flushed and put her face up 
haughtily. 



286 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Yes I ask it. The position will soon be an 
advancement. And you cannot stay here." 

" How do you know about this offer so much 
about it?" 

" I got it for you when when I found that you 
must go." 

She looked defiance. She saw an answering look 
of suffering and appeal. 

" Why ? " she said, in a low voice. " Why ? " 

"For two reasons," he replied. "I may tell you 
only one Gammell. He will find a way to injure 
you. I know it. It would be folly for you to stay." 

" And the other reason ? " 

He did not answer, but continued to look steadily 
at her. 

" I I understand," she murmured at last, her 
look falling before his, and the colour coming into 
her face, " I will go." 

" Thank you." He bowed with a courtesy that 
suggested the South in the days before the war. 
He walked beside her to the elevator. His 
shoulders were drooped as if under a heavy burden. 
His face was white and old, and its deep lines were 
like scars. 

" Down, ten ! " he called into the elevator-shaft 
as the car shot past on the up-trip. Soon the 
descending car stopped and the iron door swung 
back with a bang. 

The door closed, she saw him gazing at her; and 
that look through the bars of the elevator door, 
haunted her. She had seen it in his face once before, 



A FORCED ADVANCE. 287 

though not so strongly, when she said good-bye to 
him as she was going away to Paris. But where else 
had she seen it ? Weeks afterward, when she was 
talking to Mrs. Parrott of something very different, 
there suddenly leaped to the surface of her mind a 
memory the public square in a mountain town, a 
man dead upon the stones, another near him, dying 
and turning his face toward the shelter whence he 
had come ; and in his face the look of farewell to the 
woman. 

" What is it, dear? Are you ill this morning?" 
a^ked Mrs. Parrott. 

" Not not very," answered Emily brokenly, and 
she vanished into her office and closed its door. 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

A MAN AND A " PAST." 

HAD Emily and Stilson been idlers or of 
those workers who look upon work 
as a curse, they would have taken one 
of two courses. Either Stilson would 
have repudiated his obligations and 
they would have rushed together to hurry on to 
what would have been for them a moral catas 
trophe, or they would have remained apart to sink 
separately into mental and physical ruin. As it 
was, they worked steadily, earnestly, using their 
daily routine of labour to give them strength for 
the fight against depression and despair. 

Stilson, with the tenacity of purpose that made 
life for him one long battle, fought hopelessly. 
To him hope seemed always only the delusive fore 
shadow of oncoming disappointment, a lying mes 
senger sent ahead by fate in cynical mockery of its 
human prey. And whenever his routine relaxed its 
compulsion, he laid himself on the rack and tor 
tured himself with memories and with dreams. 

Emily was aided by her temperament. She 
loved life and passionately believed in it. She was 
mentally incapable of long accepting an adverse de- 



A MAN AND A "PAST." 289 

cree of destiny as final. But at best it was a wintry 
light that hope shed between storms upon her 
heart. Her chief source of courage was her ideal of 
him the strong, the brave, the inflexible. " For 
give me ! " she would say, humbling herself before 
his image in her mind after her outbursts of 
protest or her attacks of despondency. " I am not 
worthy of you. But oh, I want you need you 
so ! " 

Within a short time it was apparent that from 
the professional standpoint she had done well in 
going to the World of Women. After the newspa 
per, the magazine seemed play. In the Democrat 
office she had not been looked upon as extraordi 
nary. Here they regarded her as a person of 
amazing talent for a woman. They marvelled at 
her energy, at her quickness, at her flow of plans 
for articles and illustrations. And without a hint 
from her they raised her salary to what she 
had been getting, besides accepting proposals 
she made for several articles to be written by her 
self. 

They were especially delighted with her manage 
ment of " the old lady " the only name ever given 
Mrs. Parrott when she was out of hearing. She pat 
ronised Emily in a motherly way, and Emily submit 
ted like a dutiful daughter. She accepted Emily's 
suggestions as her own. " My dear," she said one 
day, " I'm so glad" I've got you here to help me put 
my ideas through. I've been suggesting and sug 
gesting in vain for years." And Emily looked grate- 



290 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

ful and refused to respond to the sly smile from Mr. 
Burnham who had overheard. 

Emily did not under-estimate Mrs. Parrott's use 
fulness to her. In thirty years of experience as a 
writer and an editor, " the old lady " had accumu 
lated much that was of permanent value, as well as 
a mass of antiquated or antiquating trash. Emily 
belonged to the advance guard of a generation that 
had small reverence for the " prim ideals of the past.'* 
Mrs. Parrott knew the " provincial mind," the mag 
azine-reading mind, better than did Emily or at 
least was more respectful of its ideas, more cautious 
of offending its notions of what it believed or 
thought it ought to believe. And often when Emily 
through ignorance or intolerance would have " gone 
too far " for any but a New York constituency, Mrs. 
Parrott interposed with a remonstrance or a sugges 
tion which Emily was acute enough to appreciate. 
She laughed at these "hypocrisies " but she always 
had circulation in mind. She liked to startle, but she 
knew that she must startle in ways that would attract, 
not frighten away. 

But conscientious though she was in her work, 
and careful to have her evenings occupied, she was 
still forlorn. Life was purposeless to her. She 
was working for self alone, and she who had 
never cared to excess for self, now cared nothing at 
all. In her own eyes her one value was her value 
to Stilson. She reproached herself for what seemed 
to her a low, a degradingView, traversing all she had 
theretofore preached and tried to practice. But she 



A MAN AND A "PAST." 291 

had only to pause to have her heart aching for him 
and her thoughts wandering in speculations about 
him or memories of him. 

Her friends Joan, Evelyn, Theresa wondered 
at the radical changes in her, at her abstraction, 
her nervousness, her outbursts of bitterness. She 
shocked Joan and Evelyn, both now married, with 
mockeries at marriage, at love, at every sentiment 
of which they took a serious view. One day at 
Joan's, after a tirade against the cruelty, selfishness, 
and folly of bringing children into the world she 
startled her by snatching up the baby and burying 
her face in its voluminous skirts and bursting into a 
storm of sobs and tears. 

" What is it, Emmy ? " asked Joan, taking away 
the baby as he, recovering from his amazement, set 
up a lusty-lunged protest against such conduct and 
his enforced participation therein. 

Emily dried her eyes and fell to laughing as hys 
terically as she had wept. *' Poor baby," she said. 
" Let me take him again, Joan." And she soon 
had him quiet, and staring at a large heart-shaped 
locket which she slowly swung to and fro just be 
yond the point, or rather, the cap, of his little lump 
of a nose. " I'm in a bad way, Joan," she went on. 
" I can't tell you. Telling would do no good. But 
my life is in a wretched tangle, and I don't see any 
thing ahead but but tangles. And as I can't get 
what I want, I won't take anything at all." 

"You are old enough to know better. Your 
good sense teaches you that if you did get what 
you want, you'd probably wish you hadn't." 



292 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" That's the trouble," said Emily, shaking her 
head sadly at the baby. " My good sense in this 
case teaches me just the reverse. I've seen a man 
a real man this time my man morally, mentally, 
physically. He's a man with a mind, and a heart, 
and what I call a conscience. He's been through 
oh, everything. And error and suffering have 
made him what he is a man. He's a man to look 
up to, a man to lean upon, a man to to care for." 
Her expression impressed Joan's skepticism. " Do 
you wonder?" she said. 

" No." Joan looked away. " But forget put 
him out of your life. You are trying to aren't 
you?" 

"To forget? No I can't even try. It would 
be useless. Besides, who wants to forget ? And 
there's always a chance." 

"At least" Joan spoke with conviction 
"you're not likely to do anything absurd." 

"That's true unfortunately. / couldn't be 
trusted, I'm afraid. But " Emily's laugh was 
short and cynical " my man can." 

" He must be a a sort of prig." Joan felt sus 
picious of a masculine that could stand out against 
'the temptation of such a feminine as her adored 
Emily. 

" See ! Even you couldn't be trusted. But no, 
he's not a prig just plain honourable and decent, 
in an old-fashioned way that exasperates me and 
thrills me. That's why I say he's a man to lean 
upon and believe in." 



A MAN AND A "PAST." 293 

Emily felt better for having talked with some 
one about him and went away almost cheerful. 
But she was soon down again, and time seemed 
only to aggravate her unhappiness. " I must be 
brave," she said. " But why? Why should I go 
on ? He has Mary I have nothing." And the 
great dread formed in her mind the dread that he 
was forgetting her. If not, why did he not seek her 
out, at least reassure himself with his own eyes that 
she was still alive ? And she had to look steadily 
at her memory-pictures, at his eyes, and the set of 
his jaw, to feel at all hopeful that he was remember 
ing, was living his real life for her. 

****** 

Three weeks after Emily's departure, on a Thurs 
day night, Stilson left his assistant in charge and 
went home at eleven. As he entered his house 
in West Seventy-third street near the river he saw 
strange wraps on the table in the entrance hall, 
heard voices in the drawing-room. He went on 
upstairs. As he was hurrying into evening dress he 
suddenly paused, put on a dressing-gown, and went 
along the hall. He gently turned the knob of a 
door at the end and entered. There was a dim 
light, as in the hall, and he could at once make out 
all the objects in the room. 

He crossed to the little bed, and stood looking 
down at Mary her yellow hair in a coil on top of 
her head, one small hand clinched and thrust be 
tween the pillow and her cheek, the other lying 
white and limp upon the coverlid. He stood there 



294 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

several minutes without motion. When he reap 
peared in the bright light of his dressing-room, his 
face was calm, a complete change from its dark and 
drawn expression of a few minutes before. 

He was soon dressed, and descended to the draw 
ing-room. Like the hall, like the whole house, like 
its mistress, this room was rather gaudy, but not 
offensive or tasteless. The most conspicuous ob 
jects in its decoration were two pictures. One was 
a big photograph of a slim, ethereal-looking girl 
the dancer he had loved and married. She was 
dressed to reveal all those charms of youth appar 
ently just emerging from childhood a bouquet of 
budding flowers fresh from the garden in the early 
morning. The other was a portrait of her by a 
distinguished artist the face and form of the 
famous dancer of the day. The face was older and 
bolder, with the sleepy sensuousness and sadness 
that characterised her now. The neck and arms 
were bare ; and the translucent and clinging gown, 
aided by the pose, offered, yet refused, a view of 
every line of her figure. 

Marguerite was sitting almost under the portrait ; 
on the same sofa was Victoria Fenton, looking much 
as when Stilson first met her on her trip to America 
in the autumn in which Emily returned from Paris. 
She still had to the unobservant that charm of " the 
unawakened " as if there were behind her surface- 
beauty not good-natured animalism, but a soul 
awaiting the right conjurer to rouse it to conscious 
life. 



A MAN AND A "PAST." 295 

Marlowe was seated on the arm of a chair, smok 
ing a cigarette. He was dressed carefully as always, 
and in the latest English fashion. He had an air 
of prosperity and contented indifference. His once 
keen face was somewhat fat and, taken with his 
eyes and mouth, suggested that his wife's cardinal 
weakness had infected him. Stilson was late and 
they went at once to supper Marlowe and Miss 
Fenton had been invited for supper because that 
was the only time convenient for all these night- 
workers. 

" You are having a great success ? " said Stilson 
to Victoria. She was exhibiting at the Lyceum in 
one of Joan's plays which had been partly rewrit 
ten by Marlowe. 

" Yes the Americans are good to me so gen 
erous and friendly," replied Victoria. " Of course 
the play is poor. I couldn't have done anything 
with it if George hadn't made it over so cleverly." 

Stilson smiled. Banning, the dramatic critic, had 
told him that her part was beyond Miss Fenton, and 
that only her stage-presence and magnetic voice 
saved her from failure. " You players must have 
a mournful time of it with these stupid playwrights," 
he said with safe sarcasm. 

. "You can't imagine!" Victoria flung out her 
long, narrow white hand in a stage-gesture of de 
spair. " And they are so ungrateful after we have 
created their characters for them and have given 
them reputation and fortune." 

Stilson noted that Marlowe was listening with a 



296 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

faint sneer. His manner towards his wife was a 
surface-politeness that too carelessly concealed his 
estimate of her mental limitations. Stilson's man 
ner toward " Miss Feronia " he called her that 
more often than he called her Marguerite was 
almost distant courtesy, the manner of one who 
tenaciously maintains an impenetrable \vall between 
himself and another whose relations to him would 
naturally be of the closest intimacy. And while 
Victoria was self-absorbed, obviously never ques 
tioning that her husband was her admirer and 
devoted lover, Marguerite was nervously attentive 
to Stilson's words and looks, at once delighted and 
made ill-at-ease by his presence. 

Her eyes were by turns brilliant and stupidly 
dull. Either a stream of words was issuing from 
between her shut teeth or her lids were drooped 
and she seemed to be falling asleep. Marlowe rec 
ognised the morphine-eater and thought he under 
stood why Stilson was gloomy and white. Victoria 
ate, Marguerite talked, and the two men listlessly 
smoked. At the first opportunity they moved to 
gether and Marlowe began asking about the Deuio. 
crat and his acquaintances there. 

" And what has become of Miss Bromfield ? " he 
asked, after many other questions. 

" She's gone to a magazine," replied Stilson, his 
voice straining to be colourless. But Marlowe did 
not note the tone and instantly his wife interrupted : 

" Yes, what has become of Miss Bromfield 
didn't I hear George asking after her? You know, 



A MAN AND A "PAST." 297 

Mr. Stilson, I took George a\vay from her. Poor 
thing, it must have broken her heart to lose him." 
And she vented her empty affected stage-laugh.. 

Colour flared in the faces of both the men, and 
Stilson went to the open fire and began stirring it 
savagely. 

" Pray don't think I encouraged my wife to that 
idea," Marlowe said, apparently to Marguerite. 
" It's one of her fixed delusions." 

Victoria laughed again. " Oh, Kilboggan told 
me all about you two in Paris and down at Monte 
Carlo. He hears everything. I forgot it until you 
spoke her name. 'Pasts' don't interest me." 

Marlowe flushed angrily and his voice was tense 
with convincing indignation as he said, " I beg you, 
Victoria, not to put Miss Bromfield in this false 
light. No one but a a Kilboggan would have 
concocted and spread such a story about such a 
woman." 

His tone forbade further discussion, and there 
was a brief, embarrassed silence. Then Marguerite 
went rattling on again. Stilson came back to the 
table and lit a cigarette with elaborate and delib 
erate care. Marlowe continued to stare to the 
front, his face expressionless, but his eyes taking in 
Stilson's expression without seeming to do so. 
They were talking again presently, but each was 
constrained toward the other. Marlowe knew that 
Stilson was suspecting him, but, beyond being 
flattered by the tribute to his former " gallantry," 
he did not especially care had he not said all that 



298 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

he honourably could say? Emily, not he, had 
insisted upon secrecy. 

As for Stilson, his brain seemed to be submerged 
in a plunge of boiling blood. Circumstances of 
Marlowe's and Emily's relations rose swiftly one 
upon another, all linking into proof. " How can I 
have been so blind ? " he thought. 

The Marlowes did not linger after supper. Mar 
guerite went to bed and Stilson shut himself in his 
own suite. He unlocked and opened a drawer in 
the table in his study. He drew from under 
several bundles of papers the sketch of Emily 
which the Democrat had reproduced with her despatch 
from the Furnaceville strike. He looked contempt 
and hate at the dreamy, strong yet sweet, young 
face. " So you are Marlowe's cast-off ? " he said 
with a sneer. "And I was absurd enough to 
believe in you in any one." 

He flung the picture into the fire. Then he sat in 
the big chair, his form gradually collapsing and his 
face taking on that expression of misery which 
seemed natural to its deep lines and strong features. 

" And when Mary grows up," he said aloud, 
" no doubt she too ' But he did not clearly finish 
the thought. He shrank ashamed from the stain 
with which he in his unreasoning anguish had 
smirched that white innocence. 

After a while he reached into the fireplace and 
took from the dead coals in the corner the cinder of 
the picture. Very carefully he drew it out and 
dropped it into an envelope. That he sealed and 
put away in the drawer. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

TWO AND A TRIUMPH. 

BUT Stilson's image of her was no longer 
clear and fine ; and in certain lights, or, 
rather, shadows, it seemed to have a 
sinister unloveliness. He assured him 
self that he felt toward her as before. 
But he respected her with a reservation ; he loved 
her with a doubt ; he believed in her did he 
believe in her at all? He was continually regilding 
his idol, which persistently refused to retain the 
gilt. 

After many days and many nights of storms he 
went to the Park one morning, and for two hours, 
or, until there was no chance of her coming he 
walked up and down near the Seventy-second street 
entrance. He returned the second morning and 
the third. As he was pacing mechanically, like a 
sentry, he saw her her erect, graceful figure, her 
red-brown hair that grew so beautifully about her 
brow and her ears ; then her face, small and deli 
cate, the skin very smooth and pale circles under 
her violet eyes. At sight of him there came a 
sudden gleam from those eyes, like an electric 
spark, and then a look of intense anxiety. 

"You are ill?" she said, "Or there is some 
trouble ? " 



300 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" I've been very restless of late sleeping badly," 
he replied, evasively. " And you ? " 

They had turned into a side path to a bench 
where they would not be disturbed. They looked 
each at the other, only to look away instantly. 
" Oh, I've worked too hard and I fancy I've been 
too much alone." Emily spoke carelessly, as of 
something in the past that no longer matters. 

"Alone," he repeated. "Alone." When his 
eyes met hers, neither could turn away. And on a 
sudden impulse he caught her in his arms. " My 
dear, my dear love," he exclaimed. And he held 
her close against him and pressed her cheek against 
his. 

" I thought you would never come," she mur 
mured. " How I have reproached you ! " 

He only held her the closer for answer. And 
there was a long pause before he said : " I can't 
let you go. I can't. Oh, Emily, my Emily yes, 
mine, mine I've loved you so long you know it, 
do you not ? You've been the light of the world to 
me the first light I've seen since I was old enough 
to know light from darkness. And when you go, 
the light goes. And in the dark the doubts come." 

" Doubts ? " she said, drawing away far enough 
to look at him. "But how can you doubt? You 
must know." 

11 And I do know when I see you. But when I'm 
in the dark and breathing the poison of my own 
mind Forgive me. Don't ask me to explain, but 
forgive me. Even if I had the right to be here, the 



TWO AND A TRIUMPH. 301 

right to say what I've been saying, still I'd be un 
fit. How you would condemn me, if you knew." 

" I don't wish to know, dear, if you'd rather not 
tell me,'* she said gently. " And you have a right 
to be here. And no matter what you have been or 
are, I'd not condemn you." Her voice sank very 
low. " I'd still love you." 

" You'd have had to live my life to know what 
those last words mean to me," he said, "how happy 
they make me." 

" But I know better than you think," she an 
swered. " For my life has not been sheltered, as 
are the lives of most women. It has had tempta 
tions and defeats." 

He turned his eyes quickly away, but not so 
quickly that she failed to catch the look of fear in 
them. " What are you thinking ? " she asked 
earnestly. " Dear, if there are doubts, may they 
not come again ? I saw in your eyes just then 
what was it ? " 

" Do not ask me. I must fight that alone and 
conquer it." 

" No you must tell me," she said, resolutely. 
" I feel that I have a right to know." 

" It was nothing a lie that I heard. I'd not 
shame myself and insult you by repeating it." 

He looked at her appealingly, saw that she was 
trembling. " You know that I did not believe it ? " 
he said, catching her hand. But she drew away. 

" Was it about me and Marlowe ?" she asked. 

" But I knew that it was false," he protested. 



302 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

She looked at him unflinchingly. " It was true," 
she said. " We were everything each to the 
other." 

He sat in a stupor. At last he muttered : " Why 
didn't you deceive me? Doubt was better than 
than this." 

" But why should I ? I don't regret what I did. 
It has helped to make me what I am." 

" Don't don't," he implored. " I admit that 
that is true. But you are making me suffer hor 
ribly. You forget that I love you." 

" Love ! " There was a strange sparkle in her eyes 
and she raised her head haughtily. " Is that what 
you call love ? " And she decided that she would 
wait before telling him that she had been Marlowe's 
wife. 

" No," he answered, " it is not what I call love. 
But it is a part of love the lesser part, no doubt, 
but still a part. I love you in all the ways a man 
can love a woman. And I love you because you 
are a complete woman, capable of inspiring love in 
every way in which a woman appeals to a man. 
And it hurts me this that you've told me." 

" But you, your life, what you've been through 
I honour you for it, love you the more for it. It has 
made me know how strong you are. I love you 
best for the battles you've lost." 

" Yes," he said. " I know that those who have 
lived and learned and profited are higher and 
stronger than the innocent, the ignorant. But I 
wish " He hesitated, then went on doggedly, " I'd 



TWO AND A TRIUMPH. 303 

be lying to you if I did not say that I wish I did 
not know this." 

" Then you'd rather I had deceived you evaded 
or told a falsehood." 

"No," he said with emphasis, and he looked at 
her steadily and proudly. " I can't imagine you 
telling me a falsehood or making any pretense what 
ever. At least I can honestly say that after the 
first purely physical impulse of anger, I didn't for 
an instant suspect you of any baseness. And when 
ever an ugly thought about you has shown itself in 
my mind, it has been choked to death before it 
had a chance to speak." 

" I know that," she said, " I know it, dear." And 
she put her hand on his. 

" And I wouldn't have you different from what 
you are. You are a certain kind of human being 
my kind the kind I admire through and through 
yes, through and through. And you are the only 
one of the kind in all this world, so far as I have 
seen. I don't care by what processes you became 
what you are. You say you love me for the battles 
I've lost. Honestly, would you like to hear, even 
like to have me tell you, in detail, all that I've been 
through? Aren't you better satisfied just to know 
the results?" 

" Yes," she admitted, and she remembered how 
she had hated Marguerite Feronia that day at the 
Astor House, how she never saw a lithograph of 
her staring from a dead wall or a bill board or a 
shop window that she did not have a pang. 



304 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" Then how can you blame me ? " he urged. 

"I I guess I don't," she said with a little 
smile. 

" But I blame myself," he went on. " I yes, I, 
the immaculate, arraigned you at the bar for trial 
and " 

" Found me guilty and recommended me to the 
mercy of the court?" 

" No not quite so bad as that," he replied. 
" But don't think I'm not conscious of the colossal 
impudence of the performance one human being 
sitting in judgment on another! " 

" It's done every minute," she said cheerfully. 
"And we make good judges of each other. All we 
have to do is to look inside ourselves, and we 
don't need to listen to the evidence before saying 
* Guilty.' But what was the verdict at my 
trial?" 

" It hadn't gone very far before we changed 
places you became the accuser and I went into the 
prisoner's pen. And I could only plead guilty to 
the basest form of that base passion, jealousy. I 
couldn't deny that you were noble and good, that 
it was unthinkable that you could be guilty of any 
thing low. I was compelled to admit that if you 
had been married " 

" Was any evidence admitted on that point ? " 
she asked with a sly smile at the corners of her 
mouth. 

" No," he said, then gave her a quick, eager 
glance. At sight of the quizzical expression in 



TWO AND A TRIUMPH. 305 

her eyes, he blushed furiously but did not look 
away. 

" You know," he said, and he put his arm about 
her shoulders, " that I love you in the way you 
wish to be loved. I don't deny that I'm not very 
consistent. My theory is sound, but I'm only a 
human man, and I'd rather my theory were not put 
to the test in your case." 

" But it has been put to the test," she replied, 
" and it has stood the test." And then she told 
him the whole story. 

He called her brave. " No one but you, only 
you, would have had the courage to end it when 
you did away off there, alone." 

" I thought it was brave myself at the time," she 
said. "Then afterwards I noticed that it would 
have taken more courage to keep on. Any woman 
would have freed herself if she had been indepen 
dent as I was, and with no conventionalities to vio 
late." 

Stilson said thoughtfully after a pause : " It did 
not enter my head that you had been married. 
And even now, the fact only makes the whole 
thing more vague and unreal." 

" It took two minutes to be married," replied 
Emily, " and less to be divorced my lawyer wrote 
proudly that it was a record-breaking case for that 
court, though I believe they've done better else 
where in Dakota." 

" What a mockery ! " 

" Oh, I don't think so. The marriage isn't made 



306 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

by the contract and the divorce isn't made by the , 
court. The mere formalities that recognise the I 
facts may be necessary, but they can't be too [ 
brief." 

" But it sets a bad example, encourages people to 
take flippant views of serious matters." 

"I wonder," said Emily doubtingly, "do the 
divorced people set so bad an example as those who 
live together hating each the other, degrading them 
selves, and teaching their children to quarrel. And 
haven't flippant people always been flippant, and 
won't they always continue to be ? " 

" It may be so, but men and women ought to 
know what they are about before they " Stilson 
paused and suddenly remembered. " I shan't finish 
that sentence," he said, with a short laugh. " I 
don't know what you know about me, and I don't 
want to. I can't talk of my affairs where they con 
cern other people. But I feel that I must " 

" You need not, dear," said Emily. " I think I 
understand how you are situated. And I I 
Well, if the time ever comes when things are dif 
ferent, then " She dropped her serious tone 
" Meanwhile, I'm ' by the grace of God, free and 
independent ' and " 

" I love you," he said, the hot tears standing in 
his eyes as he kissed her hand. " Ever since the 
day you came back from the mines, I've known that 
I loved you. And ever since then, it's been you, 
always you. The first thought in the morning, the 
last thought at night, and all day long whenever 



TWO AND A TRIUMPH. 307 

I looked up you, shining up there where I never 
hope to reach you. Not shining for me, but, thank 
God, shining on me, my Emily." 

" And now I've come down." She was laughing 
at him in a loving way. " I'm no longer your star 
but only a woman." 

" Only a woman ! " He drew a long breath and 
his look made her blood leap and filled her with a 
sudden longing both to laugh and to cry. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

WHERE PAIN IS PLEASURE. 



f ~"^HAT fall and winter Emily and Stilson 

met often in the walk winding through 
the Park from Seventy-second street to 
. the Plaza. Usually it was on Wednes 

day morning his " lazy day " ; always 
it was " by accident." Each time they separated 
they knew they were soon to meet again. But the 
chance character of their meetings once in a while 
they did miss each the other maintained a moral 
fiction which seemed to them none the less vital to 
real morals because it was absurd. 

What with their work and meetings to look for 
ward to and meetings to look back upon, time did 
not linger with them. Often they were happy. 
Rarely were they miserable, and then, instead of 
yielding to despair and luxuriating in grief and woe, 
they fought valiantly to recover the tranquillity 
which would enable them to enjoy what they might 
have and to be mutually helpful. They were not 
sentimental egotists. They would have got little 
sympathy from those who weep in theatres and 
blister the pages of tragic fiction. Neither tried to 
pose before the other or felt called upon to tickle 
his own and the other's vanity with mournful looks 



PAIN IS PLEASURE. 309 

and outbursts. They loved not themselves, but 
each the other. 

They suffered much in a simple, human way 
not the worked-up anguish of the " strong situation," 
but just such lonely heartaches as visit most lives 
and make faces sober and smiles infrequent and 
laughter reluctant, as early youth is left behind. 
And they carefully hid their suffering each from the 
other with the natural considerateness of unselfish 
love. 

Once several weeks passed in which she did not 
"happen" to meet him. She grew rapidly melan 
choly and resentful of the narrowness of the sources 
and limits of her happiness. " He is probably ill 
very ill," she thought, " And how outside of his 
life I am ! I could not go to him, no matter what 
was happening." She called up the Democrat office 
on the telephone at an hour when he was never 
there. The boy who answered said he was out. 
"When will he be in?" " I cannot tell you. He 
has been away for several days." " Is he ill ? " she 
ventured. No, he was not ill just away on busi 
ness. 

She read in the Evening Post the next night that 
Marguerite Feronia was still confined to the house, 
suffering with nervous prostration. " She has been 
ill frequently during the past year," said the Post 
" and it is reported that it will be long before she 
returns to the stage, if ever." Emily at once under 
stood and reproached herself for her selfishness. 
What must Stilson be enduring, shut in with the 



310 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

cause and centre of his wretchedness that unfor 
tunate woman through whom he was expiating, not 
his crimes but his follies. " How wicked life is," 
she thought bitterly. " How intelligent its malice 
seems. To punish folly more severely than crime, 
and ignorance more savagely than either it is 
infamous ! " And as she brooded over his wrecked 
life and her aloneness, her courage failed her. " It 
isn't worth while to go on," she said. " And I ask 
so little such a very little ! " 

When she met him in the Park again, his face 
was as despondent as hers. They went to a bench 
in one of the by-paths. It was spring, and the scene 
was full of the joyous beginnings of grass and leaves 
and flowers and nests. 

" Once there was a coward," he began at last. 
" A selfish coward he was. He had tumbled down 
his life into ruins and was sitting among theiru 
And another human being came that way. She 
was brave and strong and had a true woman's true 
soul generosity, sympathy, a beautiful unconde- 
scending compassion. And this coward seized her 
and tried to chain her among his ruins. He gave 
nothing he had nothing to give. He took every 
thing youth, beauty, a splendid capacity for love 
and happiness." He paused. " Oh, it was base ! " 
he burst out. " But in the end he realised and he 
has come to his senses." 

" But she would not go," said Emily softly. 

" He drove her away," he persisted. " He saw to 
it that she went back to life and hope. And when 



PAIN IS PLEASURE. 311 

she saw that he would have her go, she did not try 
to prevent him from being true to his better self. 
She went for his sake." 

" But listen to me" she said. " Once there was a 
woman, young in years, but compelled to learn a 
great deal very quickly. And fate gave her four 
principal teachers. The first taught her to value 
freedom and self respect taught it by almost cost 
ing her both. The second taught her that love is 
more than being in love with love and that lesson 
almost cost her her happiness for life. The third 
teacher taught her that love is more than a blind, 
; reckless passion. And then, just when she could 
understand it, perhaps just in time to prevent the 
third lesson from costing her her all then came," 
she gave him a swift, vivid glance "her fourth 
teacher. He taught her love, what it really is 
that it is the heart of a life. The heart of her 
life." 

He was not looking at her, but his eyes were 
shining. 

" Then," she went on, " one day this man un 
selfishly but, oh, so blindly told the woman that 
because fate was niggard, he would no longer accept 
what he might have, would no longer let her have 
what meant life to her. He said : ' Go out into 
the dark. Be alone again.' ' 

She paused and turned toward him. " He 
thought he was just and kind," she said. " And he 
was brave ; but not just or kind. He was blind and 
cruel ; yes, very cruel." 



312 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

" It can't be true," he said. " No it is impulse 
pity a sacrifice." 

She saw that his words were addressed to himself 
in reproach for listening to her. " It was unworthy 
of him," she went on, " unworthy of his love for her. 
How could he imagine that only he knew what 
love is the happiness of its pain, almost happier 
than the happiness of its joy ? Why should I have 
sought freedom, independence, if not in order that 
I may use my life as I please, use it to win and 
keep the best ? " 

" I don't know what to think," he said un 
certainly. " You've made it impossible for me to 
do as I intended at present." 

Emily's spirits rose in those days the present 
was her whole horizon. " Don't be selfish," she 
said in a tone of raillery. " Think of me, once in 
a while. And please try to think of me as capable 
of knowing my own mind. I don't need to be told 
what I want." 

" I beg your pardon," he said with mock humil 
ity. " I shall never be so impertinent again." 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

THE HIGHWAY OF HAPPINESS. 

EMILY often rebelled. Her common sense 
was always catching her at demanding, 
with the irrational arrogance of human 
vanity, that the course of the universe 
be altered and adjusted to her personal 
desires. But these moods came only after she and 
Stilson had not been together for a longer time 
than usual. When she saw him again, saw the 
look in his eyes love great enough to deny itself 
the delight of expression and enjoyment she forgot 
her complaints in the happiness of loving such a man, 
of being loved by him. " It might be so much worse, 
unbearably worse," she thought. " I might lose 
what I have. And then how vast it would seem." 
Stilson always felt the inrush of a dreary tide 
when they separated. One day the tide seemed to 
be sweeping away his courage. Unhappiness be 
hind him in the home that was no longer made 
endurable by Mary's presence, now that her 
mother's condition compelled him to keep her at 
the convent ; contention, the necessity of saying 
and doing disagreeable things, ahead of him at the 
office " I have always been a fool," he thought, 
" a sentimental fool. No wonder life lays on the 



314 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

lash." But he gathered a bundle of newspapers 
from the stand at Fifty-ninth Street and Madison 
Avenue and, seating himself in the corner of the 
car, strapped on his mental harness and began to 
tug and strain at his daily task " like a dumb ox," 
he muttered. 

He was outwardly in his worst mood the very 
errand boy knew that it was not a good day to ask 
favours. A man to whom he had loaned money 
came in to pay it and, leaving, said : " God will 
bless you." Stilson sat staring at a newspaper. 
" God will bless me," he repeated bitterly. " I 
shall have some new misfortune before the day is 
over." 

And late that afternoon a boy brought him a note 
he recognised the handwriting of the address as 
Marguerite's. " The misfortune," he thought, tear 
ing it open. He read : 

This won't be delivered to you until I'm out at sea. I'm go 
ing abroad. You'll not see me again. I'm only in the way 
a burden to you and a disgrace to Mary. You'll find out soon 
enough how I've gone, without my telling you. Perhaps I'm 
crazy I never did have much self-control. But I'm gone, 
and gone for good, and you're left free with your beloved 
Mary. 

I know you hate me and I can't stand feeling it any longer. 
I couldn't be any more miserable, no, nor you either. And we 
may both be happier. I never loved anybody but you I sup 
pose I still love you, but I must get away where I won't feel that 
I'm always being condemned. 

Don't think I'm blaming you I'm not so crazy as that. 

Try to think of me as gently as no, don't think of me 



HIGHWAY OF HAPPINESS. 315 

forget me teach Mary to forget me. I'm crying, Robert, as I 
write this. But then I've done a lot of that since I realised 
that not even for your sake could I shake off the curse my father 
put on me before I was born. 

Good-bye, Robert. Good-bye, Mary. I put the ring the one 
you gave me when we were married in the little box in the 
top drawer of your chiffoniere where you keep your scarf-pins. 
I hope I shan't live long, If I had been brave, I'd have killed 
myself long ago. 

Good-bye, 

MARGUERITE. 

One sentence in her letter blazed before his mind 
" You'll find out soon enough how I've gone, 
without my telling you." What did she mean ? In 
her half-crazed condition had she done something 
that would be notorious, would be remembered 
against Mary ? He pressed the electric button. 
" Ask Mr. Vandewater to come here at once, 
please," he said to the boy. Vandewater, the dram 
atic news reporter, hurried in. " I'm about to ask 
a favour of you, Vandewater," he said to him, " and 
I hope you'll not speak of it. Do you know any 
one at the Gold and Glory well, I mean ? " 

" Mayer, the press agent, and I are pretty close." 

" Will you call him up and ask him tell him it's 
personal and private what he knows about Miss 
Feronia's movements lately. Use this telephone 
here." 

At " Miss Feronia," Vandewater looked conscious 
and nervous. Like all the newspaper men, he knew 
of the " romance " in Stilson's life, and, like many 
of the younger men, he admired and envied him be- 



A WOMAN VENTURES. 

cause of the fascinating mystery of his relations 
with the famous dancer. 

The Gold and Glory was soon connected with 
Stilson's branch-telephone and he was impatiently 
listening to Vandewater's part of the conversation. 
Mayer seemed to be saying a great deal, and Vande 
water's questions indicated that it was an account 
of some unusual happening. After ten long min 
utes, Vandewater hung up the receiver and turned 
to Stilson. 

" I I it is hard to tell you, Mr. Stilson," he 
began with mock hesitation. 

" No nonsense, please." Stilson shook his head 
with angry impatience. " I must know every fact 
every fact and quickly." 

" Mayer says she sailed on the Ftirst Bismarck 
to-day that she's she's taken a man named Court- 
leigh, an Englishman a young fellow in the chorus. 
Mayer says she sent a note to the manager, explain 
ing that she was going abroad for good, and that 
Courtleigh came smirking in and told the other 
part. He says Courtleigh is a cheap scoundrel, and 
that her note read as if she were not quite right in 
her head." 

"Yes and what's Mayer doing? Is he telling 
everybody ? Is he going to use it as an advertise 
ment for the house?" 

Vandewater hesitated, then said : " He's not giv 
ing it to the afternoon papers. He's writing it up 
to send out to-night to the morning papers." 

" Um ! " Stilson looked grim, savage. " Go up 



HIGHWAY OF HAPPINESS. 317 

there, please, and do your best to have it sup 
pressed." 

" Yes." Vandewater was swelling with mystery 
and importance. " You may rely on me, Mr. Stil- 
son. And I shall respect your confidence." 

" I assume that you are a gentleman," Stilson 
said sarcastically. He had taken Vandewater into 
his confidence because he had no choice, and he had 
little hope of his being able to hold his tongue. 
" Thank you. Good day." 

As soon as he was alone he seated himself at the 
telephone and began calling up his friends or ac 
quaintances in places of authority on the newspa 
pers, morning and evening. Of each he made the 
same request " If a story comes in about Mar 
guerite Feronia, will you see that it's put as mildly 
as possible, if you must print it ? " And from each 
he got an assurance that the story would be " taken 
care of." When he rose wearily after an hour of 
telephoning, he had done all that could be done to 
close the " avenues of publicity." He locked the 
doorof his office and flung himself down at his desk, 
and buried his face in his arms. 

In a series of mournful pictures the progress of 
Marguerite to destruction flashed across his mind, 
one tragedy fading into the next. Youth, beauty, 
joyousness, sweetness, sensibility, fading, fading, 
fading until at last he saw the wretched, broken, 
half-insane woman fling herself headlong from the 
precipice, with a last despairing glance backward at 
all that her curse had stripped from her. 



318 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

And the tears tore themselves from his eyes. 
The evil in her was blotted out. He could see only 
the Marguerite who had loved him, had saved him, 
who was even now flying because to her diseased 
mind it seemed best for her to go. " Poor girl ! " 
he groaned. " Poor child that you are ! " 

* * % * * ,# 

Emily, on her way down-town the next morning 
in an "L" train, happened to glance at the news 
paper which the man in the next seat was reading. 
It was the Herald, and she saw a two-column pic 
ture of Marguerite. She read the bold headlines : 
" Marguerite Feronia, ill. The Gold and Glory's 
great dancer goes abroad, never to return to the 
stage or the country." 

She left the train at the next station, bought a 
Herald and read : 

Among the passengers on the Fiirst Bismarck yesterday was 
Marguerite Feronia, who for more years than it would be kind 
to enumerate has fascinated the gilded youth that throng the 
Gold and Glory nightly. Miss Feronia has been in failing 
health for more than a year. Again and again she has been 
compelled to disappoint her audiences. At last she realised 
that she was making a hopeless fight against illness and sud 
denly made up her mind to give up. She told no one of her 
plans until the last moment. In a letter from the steamship to 
the manager of the Gold and Glory she declared that she would 
never return and that she did not expect to live long. 

The account was brief out of all proportion to 
the headlines, and to the local importance of the 
subject. Emily went at once to the newspaper 
files when she reached her office. In no other pa- 



HIGHWAY OF HAPPINESS. 319 

per was there so much as in the Herald. She 
could find no clue to the mystery, 

"At least he is free," she thought. "And that 
is the important point. At least he is free we are 
free." 

Although she repeated this again and again and 
tried to rouse herself to a sense of the joy it should 
convey, she continued in a state of groping depres 
sion. 

Toward three o'clock came a telegram from Stil- 
son " Shall you be at home this evening? Most 
anxious to see you. Please answer, Democrat 
office." She telegraphed for him to come, and her 
spirits began to rise. At last the dawn ! At last 
the day ! And her eyes were sparkling and she 
was so gay that her associates noted it, and " the 
old lady " confided to Mr. Burnham that she " had 
been wondering how much longer such a sweet, 
beautiful girl would have to wait before some man 
would have the sense to propose to her." Nor was 
she less gay at heart when Stilson was shown into 
her little drawing-room, although she kept it out of 
her face Marguerite's departure might have been 
sad. 

" I saw it in the Herald" she began. 

" Then I needn't tell you." He seemed old and 
worn and gray nearer fifty than thirty-five. " I've 
come to say good-bye." 

Emily looked at him, stupefied. They sat in si 
lence a long time. At last he spoke : " I may be 
gone who can say how long? Perhaps it will be 



320 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

best to keep her over there. I don't know I don't 
know," he ended drearily. 

Again there was a long silence. She broke it : 
" You are going to to join her?" She could 
hardly force the words from her lips. 

He looked at her in surprise. " Of course. 
What else can I do ? " 

Emily sank back in her chair and covered her 
face. 

" What is it ? " he asked. " What did you why, 
you didn't think I would desert her ? " 

" Oh I " She put her face down into the 
bend of her arm. " I didn't think you'd desert 
me" she murmured. " I I didn't understand." 
She faced him with a swift movement. " How can 
you go ? " she exclaimed. " When fate clears the 
way for you when this woman who had been hang 
ing like a great weight about your neck suddenly 
cuts herself loose then Oh, how can you ? Am 
I nothing in your life? Is my happiness nothing 
to you? Have you been deceiving yourself about 
her and and me ? " She turned away again. " I 
don't know what I'm saying," she said brokenly. 
" I don't mean to reproach you only I had I had 
hoped That's all." 

The French clock on the mantel raised its swift 
little voice until the room seemed to be resound 
ing with a clamorous reminder of flying time and 
flying youth and dying hope. When he spoke, his 
voice came as if from a great distance and out of a 
great silence and calm. 



HIGHWAY OF HAPPINESS. 321 

" It has been eleven years," he said, " since in 
folly and ignorance I threw myself into the depths 
how deep you will never know, you can never ima 
gine. And as I lay there, a thing so vile that all 
who knew me shrank from me with loathing she 
came. And she not only came, but she staid. She 
did her best to lift me. She staid until I drove her 
away with curses and and blows. But she came 
again and again. And at last she brought the 
the little girl- 
He paused to steady his voice. "And I took 
the hand of the child and she held its other hand, 
and together we found the way back for me. And 
now she has gone out among strangers enemies 
gone with her mind all awry. She will be 
robbed, abused, abandoned, she will suffer cold and 
hunger, and she will die miserably if I don't go 
to her." 

He went over and stood beside her. " Look at 
me ! " he commanded, and she obeyed. " Low as 
the depth was from which she brought me up, it 
would be high as heaven in comparison with the 
depth I'd lie in, if I did not go. And I say to you 
that if you gave me the choice, told me you would 
cut me off from you forever if I went I say to 
you that still I would go ! " 

As she faced him, her breath came- fast and her 
eyes seemed to widen until all of her except them 
was blotted out for him. " I understand," she 
said. " Yes you would go nothing could hold 
you. And that's why I love you." 



322 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

He gave a long sigh of relief and joy. " I had 
thought you would say that, when I knew what I 
must do. And then when you protested I was 
afraid. Everything crumbles in my hands. Even 
my dreams die aborning." 

" When do you sail ? " she asked. " To-morrow ? " 

" Yes. I've arranged my affairs. I I look to 
you to take care of Mary. There is no one else to 
do it." 

" If there were, no one else should do it," she 
said, with a gentle smile. 

He gave her a slip of paper on which were the 
necessary memoranda. " And now I must be off." 
He tried to make his tone calm and business-like. 
He put out his hand and, when she gave him hers, 
he held it. For an instant each saw into the depths 
of the other's heart. 

" No matter how long you may be away," she 
said in a low voice, " remember, I shall be " She 
did not finish in words. 

He tried to speak, but could not. He turned and 
was almost at the door before he stopped and came 
back to her. He took her in his arms, and she 
could feel his heart beating as if it were trying to 
burst through his chest. " No matter how long," 
she murmured. "And I shall not be impatient, 
my love." 

# * * * # * # 

She expected a reaction but none came. Instead, 
she continued to feel a puzzling tranquillity. She 
had never loved him so intensely, yet she was 



HIGHWAY OF HAPPINESS. 2 



braving serenely this separation full of uncertainties. 
She tried to explain it to herself, and finally there 
came to her a phrase which she had often heard 
years ago at church " the peace that passeth all 
understanding." 

" This must be what they meant by it," she said 
to herself. " Our love is my religion." 

The next time she was at Joan's they were not 
together long before Joan saw that there had been 
a marvellous change in her. " What is it ? " she 
asked. " Has the tangle straightened ? " 

" No," replied Emily. " It is worse, if anything. 
But I have made a new discovery. I have found 
the secret of happiness." 

" Love ? " 

Emily shook her head. " That's only part of it." 

" Self-sacrifice ? " 

" I shouldn't call it sacrifice." Emily's face was 
more beautiful than Joan had ever before seen it. 
" I think the true name is self forgotten for love's 
sake." 

" Yes," assented Joan, looking with expanding 
eyes at the baby-boy playing on the floor at her 
feet. 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

LIGHT. 

AFTER along and baffling search up and 
down through western Europe he 
learned that Courtleigh had robbed 
her and deserted her, and that she 
was alone, under the name of Mrs. 
Brandon, at a tiny house in Craven street near the 
Strand. He lifted and dropped its knocker, and a 
maid-of-all-work thrust through a crack in the door, 
her huge be-frowzled head with its thin hair drawn 
out at the back over a big wire-frame. 
"How is Mrs. Brandon?" he said. 
" Not so well, thank you, sir," replied the maid, 
looking at him as suspiciously as her respect for the 
upper classes permitted. 

" I wish to see the landlady." 
She instantly appeared, thrusting the maid aside 
and releasing a rush of musty air as she opened the 
door wide. She was fairly trembling with curiosity. 
" I am Mrs. Brandon's next friend," he said, 
remembering and using the phrase which in his 
reporter days he had often seen on the hospital 
entry-cards. " I am the guardian of her child. I've 
come to see what can be done for her." 

His determined, commanding tone and manner, 



LIGHT. 325 

and his appearance of prosperity, convinced Mrs. 
Clocker. " We've done all we could, sir. But the 
poor lady is in great straits, sir. She's been most 
unfortunate." 

" Is there a physician ? " 
" Doctor Wackle, just up the way, sir." 
" Send for him at once. May I see her ? " 
The maid set off up the street and Stilson 
climbed a dingy first flight, a dingier second flight, 
and came to a low door which sagged far from its 
frame at the top. He entered softly " She's 
asleep, sir," whispered Mrs. Clocker. 

It was a miserable room where the last serious at 
tempts to fight decay had been made perhaps half 
a century before. It now presented queer con 
trasts ragged and tottering furniture strewn with 
handsome garments ; silk and lace and chiffon 
and embroidery, the latest Paris devisings, crum 
pled and tossed about upon patch and stain and 
ruin ; several extravagant hats and many hand 
some toilet-articles of silver and gold and cut glass 
spread in a fantastic jumble upon the dirty cover 
ings of a dressing-table and a stand. Against the 
pillow its case was neither new nor clean lay the 
head of Marguerite. Her face was ugly with wrin 
kles and hollows, that displayed in every light and 
shade a skin shiny with sweat, and bluish yellow. 
Her hair was a matted mass from which had rusted 
the chemicals put on to hide the streaks of gray. 
She was in a stupor and was breathing quickly 
and heavily. 



326 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

He had come, filled with pity and even eager to 
see her. He was ashamed of the repulsion which 
swept through him. Her face recalled all that was 
horrible in the past, foreboded new and greater 
horrors. He turned away and left the room. His 
millstone was once more suspended from his neck. 

Dr. Wackle had come a shabby, young-old man 
with thin black whiskers and damp, weak lips. In 
a manner that was a cringing apology for his own 
existence, he explained that Marguerite had pneu 
monia that she was dangerously ill. He had 
given her up, but the prospect of payment galvan 
ised hope. " There is a chance, sir," he said. 
" And with " 

" What is the name and address of the best spe 
cialist in lung diseases ? " he interrupted. 

" There's Doctor Farquhar in Half Moon Street, 
sir. He 'as been called by the royal family, sir." 

" Take a cab and bring him at once." 

While Wackle was away, Stilson arranged Mar 
guerite's account with the landlady and had some 
of his belongings brought from the Carlton and put 
into the vacant suite just under Marguerite's. 
After two hours Dr. Farquhar came ; at his heels 
Wackle, humble but triumphant. Stilson saw at 
one sharp glance that here was a man who knew his 
trade and regarded it as a trade. 

" What is your consultation fee ? " 

Dr. Farquhar's suspicious face relaxed. " Five 
guineas," he said, looking the picture of an English 
middle-class trader. 



LIGHT. 327 

Stilson gave him the money. He carefully placed 
the five-pound note in his pocket-book and the five 
shillings in his change-purse. " Let me see the 
patient," he said, resuming the manner of the small 
soul striving to play the part of " great man." Stil 
son led the way to the sagged, hand-grimed door. 
Farquhar opened it and entered. " This foul air is 
enough to cause death by itself," he said with a 
sneering glance at Wackle. "No let the window 
alone ! " this to Wackle in the tone a brutal master 
would use to his dog. 

Wackle stood as if petrified and Farquhar went 
to the head of the bed. Marguerite opened her 
eyes and closed them without seeing anything. He 
laid his hand upon her forehead, then flung away 
the covers and listened at her chest. " Umph ! " he 
grunted and with powerful hands lifted her by the 
shoulders. Grasping her still more firmly he shook 
her roughly. Again he listened at her chest. 
" Umph ! " he growled. He looked into her face 
which was now livid, then shook her savagely and 
listened again. He let her drop back against the 
pillows and tossed the covers over her. He took 
up his hat which lay upon a silk-and-lace dressing 
gown spread across the foot of the bed. He stalked 
from the room. 

" Well ? " said Stilson, when they were in the hall. 

The great specialist shrugged his shoulders. 
" She may last ten hours but I doubt it. I can do 
nothing. Good day, sir." And he jerked his head 
and went away. 



328 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

Stilson stood in the little hall Wackle, the land 
lady and the maid-of-all-work a respectful group a 
few feet away. His glance wandered helplessly 
round, and there was something in his expression 
that made Wackle feel for his handkerchief and 
Mrs. Clocker and the maid burst into tears. Stilson 
went stolidly back to Marguerite's room. He 
paused at the door, turned and descended. " Can 
you stay? " he said to Wackle. " I will pay you." 

" Gladly, sir. I'll wait here with Mrs. Clocker." 

Stilson reascended, entered the room and again 
stood beside Marguerite. With gentle hands he ar 
ranged her pillow and the covers. Then he seated 
himself. An hour two hours passed he was not 
thinking or feeling ; he was simply waiting. A stir 
in the bed roused him. " Who is there ? " came in 
Marguerite's voice, faintly. " Is it some one ? or 
am I left all alone ? " 

" What can I do, Marguerite ? " Stilson bent over 
her. 

She opened her eyes, without surprise, almost 
without interest. " You ? " she said. " Now they 
won't dare neglect me." 

Her eyelids fell wearily. Without lifting them 
she went on: "How did you find me? Never 
mind. Don't tell me. I'm so tired too tired to 
listen." 

" Are you in pain ? " he asked. 

NO the cough seems to be gone. I'm not go 
ing to get well am I ? " She asked as if she did 
not care to hear the answer. 



LIGHT. 329 

He sat on the edge of the bed and gently stroked 
her forehead. She smiled and looked at him grate 
fully. " I feel so so safe," she said. " It is good 
to have you here. But oh, I'm so, so tired. I 
want to rest and rest and rest." 

" I'll sit here." He took her hand. " You may 
go to sleep. I'll not leave you." 

" I know you won't. You always do what you 
say you'll do." She ended sleepily and her breath 
came in swift, heavy sighs with a rattling in the 
throat. But she soon woke again. " I'm tired," she 
said. " Something I guess it's life seems to 
be oozing out of my veins. I'm so tired, but so 
comfortable. I feel as if I were going to sleep and 
nobody, nothing would ever, ever wake me." 

He thought she was once more asleep, until she 
said suddenly : " I was going to write it, but my 
head whirled so he stole everything but some notes 
I had in my stocking. But I don't care now. I 
don't forgive him I just don't care. What was I 
saying yes about about Mary. She's yours as 
well as mine, Robert really, truly, yours. I 
made you doubt because I don't know partly 
because I thought you'd be better off without us 
then, afterward, I didn't want you to care any 
more for her than you did. You believe me, 
Robert?" 

He nodded. Yes," he said, " I believe you." 

" And you forgive me ? " 

" There's nothing to forgive nothing." 

" It doesn't matter. I only want to rest and 



330 A WOMAN VENTURES. 

stop thinking and and everything. Will it be 
long?" 

" Not long," he said in a choked undertone. 

Presently she coughed and a black fluid oozed 
hideously from her lips and seemed to be threaten 
ing to strangle her. He called the doctor who gave 
her an opiate. 

" Come with me, sir," said Wackle in a hoarse, 
sick-room whisper, " Mrs. docker has spread a nice 
cold lunch for you." 

Stilson waved him away. Alone again, he swept 
the finery from the sofa and stretched himself 
there. Trivial thoughts raced through his burning 
brain the height and width of the candle flames, 
the pattern of the wall paper, the tracery of cracks 
in the ceiling, the number of yards of lace and of 
goods in the dresses heaped on the floor. As his 
thoughts flew from trifle to trifle, his head ached 
fiercely and his skin felt as if it were baking and 
cracking. 

Then came a long sigh and a rattling in the 
throat from the woman in the bed. He started up. 
" Marguerite ! " he called. He looked down at 
her. She sighed again, stretched herself at full 
length, settled her head into the pillow. " Mar 
guerite," he said. And he bent over her. "Are 
you there ? " he whispered. But he knew that she 
was not. 

He took the candle from the night stand and 
held it above his head. The dim flame made his 
living face old and sorrow-seamed, while her dead 



LIGHT. 331 

face looked smooth, almost young. Her expression 
of rest, of peaceful dreams, of care forever fled, 
brought back to him a far scene. He could hear 
the crash of the orchestra, the stirring rhythm of a 
Spanish dance ; he could see the stage of the Gold 
and Glory as he had first seen it the bright back 
ground of slender, girlish faces and forms ; and in 
the foreground, slenderest and most girlish of all, 
Marguerite the embodiment of the motion and 
music of the dance, the epitome of the swift-pulsing 
life of the senses. 

He knelt down beside the bed and took her dead 
hand. " Good-bye, Rita," he sobbed. " Good-bye, 
good-bye ! " 

******* 

Suddenly the day broke and the birds in the 
eaves began to chirp, to twitter, to sing. He rose, 
and with the sombre and clinging shadows of the 
past and the present there was mingled a light 
faint, evasive, as yet itself a shadow. But it was 
light the forerunner of the dawn of anew day upon 
a new land where his heart should sing as in the 
days of his youth. 



THE END. 



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