Lem C. Brown
DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS
THE FASHIONABLE ADVENTURES OF
JOSHUA CRAIG. THE HUSBAND'S STORY, ETC.
WITH FRONTISPIECE BY
WILLIAM JAMES HURLBUT
GROSSET & DUNLAP
PUBLISHERS : : NEW YORK
BY FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANV
All rights reserved
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
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
2 7 8
A Woman Ventures.
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
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
After one of his visits of business and consolation,
General Ainslie returned home with tears in his
" 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."
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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-
" Poor child ! " said Mrs. Bromfield, " she takes
her father's death so to heart."
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."
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
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
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
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-
" 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
"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
" 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.
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
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
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
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
" At least she understands that I don't intend to
marry," he thought, remembering one part of the
" 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
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
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
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
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,
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.
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
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
Emily had gained a friend. But she had lost a
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 :
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,
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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 ! "
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
" 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
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
"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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
"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
BACK TO THE MAINLAND. 55
" Only low-minded or ignorant people are prim,"
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
" I don't like his eyes," she thought," but I do like
the way he can look out of them. They must
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
" What is it ? " asked Miss Gresham, encourag
" 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
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
" 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
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
And she went in with a lightening heart.
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
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
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
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
' 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."
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
She asked Miss Gresham about him a few hours
" 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
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
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
" But you are doing so this evening."
" Mercy, no. I've two other guardians myself
" 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 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
"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.
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
" 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
" You're right but I've got to talk it over with
" I hope you won't tell me more than is absolutely
" 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
" 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
" 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
" But you had that choice before, and you didn't
go to Blue Mountain. Why are you so cut up
" 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
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
" He'll not marry you. He isn't a marrying
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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.
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
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
",I cannot go," she said coldly. " It's Impos
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
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
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
" 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
" Is this Miss Bromfield ? " he asked.
" Yes," replied Emily, " from the New York Demo
" 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
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.
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
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
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
If there should be trouble to-night, please help Holyoke all
you can. Do not be afraid of duplicating his stuff.
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.
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
" Why are they firing at the hotel ? " was Emily's
"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.
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
"He's a madman!" shrieked Camp. " He can
do nothing ! "
" He's a hero," panted Emily.
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
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.
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
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
" 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.*'
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
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
He made a gesture as if to catch her in his arms.
Instead he took her hands and kissed them passion
" 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
" 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
" 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
"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
" 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
" 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-
" 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
"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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
"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
" I can see that you are getting ready to lead me
a wild life." There was foreboding as well as jest
in his tone.
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
Her trunk and bag were put on the seat with the
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
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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
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
He put his arm round her and his head against
hers. " Don't tell me what you wished," he said,
" 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.
A FLICKERING FIRE.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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,
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
" It's very evident that Stilson likes and ap
preciates you," continued Joan. " He selected
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
" 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
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
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
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
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
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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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.
" 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
" 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
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
" 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.
" 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 "
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
" 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
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
" 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
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,
" 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
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
" 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,
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
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
Marlowe looked depressed. " Very well," he said,
" I can arrange it, I think."
" 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 ! "
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
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
" 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
" 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
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.
" 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
" 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.
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.
" 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.
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
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.
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
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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
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.
" 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
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 :
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
" 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.
" Let's not talk about it, Edgar. Why spoil our
Theresa came the next afternoon and took her
for a drive. " Has Edgar been proposing to you ? "
" 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
" But then there's my work, my independence, my
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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."
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
" 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
" Do you admire strength in a man ? " she once
"Yes I suppose so. I like him to be well, a
" 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
" 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
" 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
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,
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
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
" 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
"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
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
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
" 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
"As you see, I am engaged," Stanhope said,
" Pardon me for interrupting." There was a
covert sting of sarcasm in her voice. " But I must
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
" What are you thinking? " he interrupted.
"Just then? I was beginning to think how pe
culiar you are, and how how " her eyes danced
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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,
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" What do you mean? " he asked.
"You are amusing," she replied. " Your expres
sion of gratitude was overacted. It was was gro
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
" It is ridiculous, impossible. And if it were true,
it would be disgraceful something for you to be
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
" 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
" Good-night." She held out her hand. " Good
bye. I am used to going about alone. I prefer it.
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
" Well, I don't think much of women who in-
trigue, or of men either. It's a sneaky, lying, muddy
' 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-
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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,
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
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
"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
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
"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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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
"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
" 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
" 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
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
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
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?
" 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
" 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
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?
" 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
" 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
Emily was gazing miserably into the fire. Joan
looked at her pityingly. " Oh," she said gently,
dropping the tone of banter. " Yes that might
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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,"
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
" 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
" But don't you ever wish to be free?" she
" 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
" 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
" 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
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
" Come, Mary," said Stilson severely. And he
lifted his hat, but not his eyes, and bowed very
Emily sat staring absently at the point at which
they had disappeared.
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-
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
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
" 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
" What else can I do for you, Aunt Albertina ? "
He spoke loudly as her mind was evidently wan
" 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
" They are destroyed, Aunt Albertina. Is that
"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
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
" 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
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.
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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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
" 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
" Your scneme of life has at least the merit of
directness," said Emily, turning away to go to her
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
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.
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
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
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
" Would you like to go ? It's an odd sort of
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,
" 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
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
"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
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
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
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
" 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.
" 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
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
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
" 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
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
" 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
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
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.
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
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-
"'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
" 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
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
" I got it for you when when I found that you
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
" 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
" 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
" 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.
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
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
"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
" 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
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-
" 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
" 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
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.
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
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
" 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
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
" 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
He sat in a stupor. At last he muttered : " Why
didn't you deceive me? Doubt was better than
" 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
" 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
" 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
" But I blame myself," he went on. " I yes, I,
the immaculate, arraigned you at the bar for trial
" 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
" 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
" 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
" 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
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 [
" 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.
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
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
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
He was not looking at her, but his eyes were
" 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."
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 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
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
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.
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
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
" 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
"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
" 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
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
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
" 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
" 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
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
" 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,
# * * * # * #
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
" 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
" Yes," assented Joan, looking with expanding
eyes at the baby-boy playing on the floor at her
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,
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
" 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
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
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
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
" 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.
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,
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
" 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
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
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
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.
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