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• • •» 


■ • 

Copyrighif 1918^ 
By Marie Corelli 

Printed in the United States of America 




Once upon a time, in earlier and less congested 
days of literary effort, an Author was accustomed to 
address the Public as ''Gentile Reader/' It was a 
civil phrase, involving a pretty piece of flattery. It 
implied three things: first, that if the Reader were 
not ''gentle,'' the Author^s courtesy might persuade 
him or her to become so — secondly, that criticism, 
whether favourable or the reverse, might perhaps be 
g^ierously postponed till the reading of the book 
was finished, — ^and thirdly, that the Author had no 
wish to irritate the Reader's feelings, but rather 
sou^t to pr^are and smooth the way to a friendly 
understanding. Now I am at one with my prede- 
cessors in all these delicate points of understanding, 
and as I am about to relate what every person of 
merely average intellig^ice is likely to regard as an 
incredible narrative, I think it as well to begin po- 
Utely, in the old-fashioned "grand" manner of ap- 
peal, which is half apologetic, and half conciliatory. 
"Gentle Readw," therefore, I pray you to be friends 
with me ! Do not lose either patience or temper while 
following the strange adventures of a very strange 
woman, — ^though in case you should be disappointed 
in seeking for what you will not find, let me say at 
onoe that my story is not of the Sex Problem tjrpe. 
No I My heroine is not perverted from the paths of 
decency and order, or drawn to a bad end ; in fact, 
I cannot bring h^ to an end at all, as she is still y&ry 



much alive and doing uncommonly well for h^- 
self. Any end for Diana May would seem not only 
incongruous, but manifestly impossible. 

life, as we all know, is a curious business. It is 
like a stage mask with two faces, — the one comic, 
the other tragic. The way we look at it depends on 
the way it looks at us. Some of us have seen it 
on botli sides, and are neither edified nor impressed. 

Then, again — life is a series of "sensations." We 
who live now are always describing life. They who 
lived long ago did the same. It seems that none 
of us have ever found, or can ever find, ansrthing 
better to occupy ourselves withal. All through the 
ages the millions of human creatures who once were 
bom and who are now dead, passed their time on 
this planet in experiencing ''sensations," and relat- 
ing tiieir experiences to one another, each telling 
his or her little "tale of woe" in a different way. So 
anxious were they, and so anxious are we, to explain 
the special and individual manner in whidi our 
mental and physical vibrations respond to the par- 
ticular circumstances in which we find ourselves^ 
that aU systems of reUgion, government, science, art 
and philosophy have been, and are, evolved simply 
and solely out of the pains and pleasures of a mass 
of atoms who are "feeling" things and trying to ex- 
press their feelings to each other. These feelings 
they designate by various lofty names, such as 
"faith," "logic," "reason," "opmion," "wisdom," and 
so forth ; and upon them they build temporary fab- 
rics of Law and Order, vastly solid in appearance, 
yet collapsible as a house of cards, and crumbling at 
a touch, while every now and again there comes a 
sudden, imlooked-for interruption to their discus- 
sions and plans — ^a kind of dark pause and sugges- 
tion of chaos, sudi as a great war, a plague or other 
unwelcome "visitation of God," wherein "feelings" 
aJmost cease, of else people are too frightened to talk 


about them. They are chilled into nervous silence 
and wait, afflicted by fear and discouragement, till 
the doud passes and the air dears. Then the per- 
petual buzz of ''feeling^' begins again in the mixed 
bass and treble of complaint and rejoicing, — a kind 
of monotonous noise without harmony. External 
Nature has no part in it, for Man is the only crea- 
ture that ever tries to explain the phenomena of 
ezistaice. It is not in the least comprehensible why 
he alone should thus trouble and perplex himself, — 
or why his incessant consideration and analysis of 
. his own emotions should be allowed to go on, — for, 
whatsoever education may do for us, we shall never 
be educated out of the sense of our own importance. 
Which is an odd fact, moving many thoughtful 
minds to never-ending wonder. 

My heroine, Diana May, wondered. She was al- 
ways wondering. She spent weeks, and months, and 
years^ in a chronic state of wonder. She wondered 
about herself and several other people, because she 
thou^t both herself and those several other people 
so absurd. She found no use for herself in the gen- 
eral scheme of things, and tried, with much patient 
humility, to account for herself. But though she 
read books on science, books on psychology, books 
on natural and spiritual law, and studied complex 
problems of evolution and selection of species till 
her poor dim eyes grew dimmer, and the "lines from 
nose to diin" became ever longer and deeper, she 
oould discover no way through the thick bog of her 
difficultiea She was an awkward numeral in a 
sum; she did not know why she came in or how she 
was to be got out. 

Her father and mother were what are called "very 
well-to-do-people," with a pleasantly suburban rep- 
utation for respectability and regular church altend- 
ance. Mr. James Polydore-May, — thi^was his 
name in fuU, as engraved on his v jilting rard — ^was 


a small man in statm^, but in self-complacency the 
biggest one alive. He had made a considerable for- 
tune in a certain manufacturing business which need 
not here be specified, and he had speculated with it 
in a shrewd and careful manner which was not with- 
out a touch of genius, the happy result being that 
he had always gained and never lost. Now at the 
age of sixty, he was free from all financial care, and 
could rattle gold and silver in his trousers-pockets 
with a sense of pleasure in their clinking sound, — 
they had the sweetoess of church-bells which pro- 
claim the sure nearness of a prosperous town. He 
was not a bad-looking little veteran, — ^he had, as he 
was fond of saying of himself, "sl good chest meas- 
lu^ment," and though his legs were short, they were 
not bandy. Inclined to corpulence, the two lower 
buttons of his waistcoat were generally left undone, 
that he might the more easily stretch himself after 
a full meal. His physiognomy was not so mudi 
intelligent as pugnacious — ^his bushy eyebrows, hair 
and moustache gave him at certain moments the look 
of an irascible old terrier. He had keen small eyes, 
coming close to the bridge of a rather pronounced Is- 
raeliti^ nose, and to these characteristics was added 
a generally assertive air, — ^an air which went before 
him like an advancing atmosphere, heralding his 
approach as a ''somebody^' — ^that sort of atmos- 
phere which invariably accompanies nobodies. His 
admiration of the fair sex was open and not always 
discreet, and from his youth up he had believed 
himself capable of subjugating any and every wom- 
an. He had an agreeable ''first manner" of his own 
on introduction, — ^a manner which was absolutely 
deceptive, giving no clue to the uglier side of his na- 
ture. , His wife could have told whole stories about 
this ''first manner" of his, had she not long ago given 
up the attempt to retain any hold on her own indi- 
viduality. She had been a woman of average intelli- 


genoe when she married him, — commonplace, cer- 
tainly, but good-natured and willing to make the 
best of everything; needless to say that the illusions 
of youth vanished with the first years of wedded 
life (as they are apt to do), and she had gradually 
sunk into a flabby condition of resigned nonentity, 
seeing there was nothing else left for her. The dull, 
tame tenor of her days had once been interrupted 
by the birth of her only child Diana, who as long 
as die was small and young, and while she was being 
educated under the usual system of governesses and 
sdiools, was an object of delight, affection, amuse^ 
ment and interest, and who, when she grew up and 
''came ouV at eighteen as a graceful, pretty girl of 
the freshest type of English beauty, gave her mother 
something to love and to live for, — ^but alas! — Diana 
had proved the bitterest of all her disappointments. 
The "coming-out" business, the balls, the race-meet- 
ings and other matrimonial traps had been set in 
vain; — ^the training, the music, the dancing, the 
"toilettes" — had failed to attract, — ^and Diana had 
not married. She had fallen in love, as most girls 
do before they know much about men, — ^and she had 
engaged herself to an ofiBicer with "expectations" for 
whom, with a romantic devotion as out of date as 
the poems of Chaucer, she had waited for seven long 
years in a resigned condition of alarming constancy, 
—and then, when his "expectations" were realised, 
he had promptly thrown her over for a fairer and 
younger partner. By that time Diana was what is 
called "getting on." All this had tried the temper 
of Mrs. James Polydore May considerably — and she 
took refuge from her many vexations in the pleas- 
ures of the table and the consolations of sleep. The 
result of this mode of procedure was that she became 
corpulent and unwieldy, — ^her original self was swal- 
lowed up in a sort of featherbed of adipose tissue, 
from which she peered out on the world with pro- 


trudingy lustreless ejres, the tip of her small nose 
seeming to protest feebly against the injustice of 
being well-ni^ walled from sight between the mas- 
sive flabby cheeks on either side of its never dassic 
and distinctly parsimonious proportions. With over- 
sleep and over-eating she had matured into a stupid 
and somewhat obstinate woman, with a habit of 
saying unmeaningly nice or nasty things:— she 
would ''gush" affectionately to all and sundry, — ^to 
the maid who fastened her shoes as ardently as to 
a friend of many years standing, — ^yet she would 
mock her own guests bdhind their backs, or unkindly 
criticise the phjrsical and mental defects of the Y&ry 
man or woman she had flattered obsequiously five 
minutes before. So that she was not exactly a 
"safe" acquaintance, — ^you never knew where to 
have her. But, — ^as is often the case with these 
placidly smiling, obese ladies, — everyone seemed to 
be in a conspiracy to call her "sweet," and "dear" 
and "kind," whereas in very truth she was one of 
tiie most selfish souls extant. Her charities were 
always carefully considered and bestowed in quar- 
ters where she was likely to get most credit for 
them, — ^her profusely expressed i^pipathy for other 
people's troubles exhausted itself in a few moments, 
and she would straightway foi^t what form of loss 
or misfortune she had just been commiserating, — 
while, despite her proverbial "dear" and "sweet" at- 
tributes, ^e had a sulky temper which would hold 
her in its grip for dasrs, during which time ^e would 
neither speak nor be spoken to. Her chief interest 
and attention were centred on eatables, and she al- 
ways made a point of going to breakfast in advance 
of her husband, so that she might select for h^^self 
the most succulent morsels out of the regulation dish 
of fried bacon, before he had a chance to look in. 
Husband and wife were always arguing with each 
oth^, and both' were alwasrs wrong in each other's 


opinion. Mrs. James Polydore May considered her 
worser half as something of a wayward and peevish 
child, and he in turn looked upon her as a useful 
domestic female — "perfectly simple and natural," he 
was wont to say, a statement which, if true, would 
have been vastly convenient to him as he could then 
have deceived her more easily. But "deeper than 
ever plummet sounded" was the "simplicity" where- 
with Mrs. James Polydore May was endowed, and 
the "natural" way in which she managed to secure 
her own comfort, convenience and ease while assum- 
ing to be the most guileless and imselfish of women ; 
indeed there were times when she was fairly aston- 
ished at herself for having "arranged things so clev- 
erly," as she expressed it. Whenever a woman of 
hear type admits to having "arranged things clever- 
If^ you may be sure that the most astute lawyer 
^ve could never surpass her in the height or the 
depth of her duplicity. 

Such, briefly outlined, were the characteristics of 
the couple who, in an absent-minded moment, had 
taken upon themselves the responsibility of bring- 
ing a woman into the world for whom apparently ; 
the world had no use. Woinan^. consida;ed4n the I 
roug^ al»tract^ is only the pack-mule of man, — ^his / 
goods^ his chattels, created specially to be Hie 'Ves- ' 
sel" of his passion and humour, — ^and without his 
favour and support she is by universal consent set 
down as a lonely and wandering mistake. Such is 
the Law and the Prophets. Under these circum- 
stances, which have recently shown signs of yield- 
ing to pressure, Diana, the rapidly ageing spinster 
dau^ter of Mr. and Mrs. James Polydore May, was 
in pitiable pli^t No man wanted her, not even 
to serve him as a pack-mule. No man sought to add 
her person to his goods and chattels, and at the time 
this true story opens, she was not fair or fascinating 
or young «iou^ to serve him as a toy for his de- 


light, a plasrthing of his pleasure. Life had been 
very monotonous for her since she had passed the 
turning-point of thirty years, — "nice" people, who 
always say nasty things, remarked "how passee she 
was gettmg," — thereby helping the ageing process 
considerably. She, meanwhile, bore her lot with ex- 
emplary cheerfulness, — she neither grizzled nor com- 
plained, nor showed herself envious of youth or 
youthfiil loveliness. A comforting idea of "duty" 
took possession of her mind, and she devoted her- 
self to the tenderest care of her fat mother and irrit- 
able father, waiting upon them like a slave, and 
saying her prayers for them night and morning aa 
simply as a child, without the faintest suspicion 
that th^ were past prajdng for. The years went 
on, and she took pains to educate herself in all that 
might be useful, — ^she read much and thought more, 
— ^e mastered two or three languages, and spoke 
them with ease and fluency, and she was an admir- 
able musician. She had an abundance of pretty 
light-brown hair, and all her movements were grace- 
ful, but alas! — the unmistakable look of growing 
old was stamped upon her once mobile features, — 
she had become angular and flat-chested, and the 
unbecoming straight line from waist to knee, which 
gave her figure a kind of pitiful masculinity, was 
developing with hard and bony relentlessness. One 
charm she had, which she herself recognised and 
took care to cultivate — ''a low, sweet voice, an ex- 
cellent thing in woman." If one chanced to hear 
her speaking in an adjoining room, the effect was 
remarkable, — one felt that some exquisite creature^ 
of immortal youth and tenderness was expressng 
a heavenly thought in music. 

Mr. James Polydore May, as I have already ven- 
tured to suggest, was nothing if not respectable. He 
was a J.P. This, — ^in English suburban places at 
least, — ^is the hall-mark of an imimpeachable recti- 


tude. Another sign of his good standing and gen- 
eral uprightness was, that at stated seasons he al- 
wajrs went for a change of air. We all know that 
the p&pon who remains in one place the whole year 
round is beyond the pale and cannot be received in 
the best society. Mr. May had a handsome house 
and grounds in the close vicinity of Richmond, with- 
in easy distance of town, but when the London 
"season" ended, he and Mrs. May invariably discov- 
eted their home to be "stuffy," and sighed for more 
expansive breathing and purer oxygen than Rich- 
mond could supply. Th^ had frequently taken a 
footing or fishing in Scotland, but that was in the 
days wh^i there were still matrimonial hopes for 
Diana, and when marriageable men could be in- 
vited, not only to handle rod and gun, but to inspect 
their "one ewe-lamb," which they were over-anx- 
ious to sell to the highest bidder. These happy 
dreams w&e at an end. It was no longer worth 
while to lay in extensive supplies of whisky and 
cigars by way of impetus to timid or hesitating B^i- 
edicts, when tiiey came back from a "day on the 
moors," tired, sleepy and stupid enou^ to drift into 
proposals of marriage almost unconsciously. Mr. 
May seldom invited yoimg men to stay with him 
now, for the very reason that he could not get ihem ; 
they found him a *Tbore," — ^his wife dull, and his 
daughter an "old maid," — a term of depreciation 
still freely used by the golden youth of the day, 
despite the modem and more civil term of "lady 
ba<^elor." So he drew in the horns of his past am- 
bition, and consoled himself with the society of two 
or tiiree portly men of his own age and habits, — 
men who played golf and billiards, and who, if they 
could do notiiing else, smoked continuously. And 
for the necessary "change of air," the seaside offered 
itself as a means of health without too excessive an 
eq>enditure, and instead of "chasing the wild deer 


and following the roe/' a simple hammock chair on 
the sandy beach, and a golf course within easy walk- 
ing distance provided suflBicient relaxation. Not that 
Mr. May was in any sense parsimonious; he did not 
take a cottage by the sea, or cheap lodgings, — on the 
contrary, he was always prepared to "do the thing 
handsomely," and to select what the house-agents 
call an "ideal" residence. 

■* At the particular time I am writing of, he had 
just settled down for the summer in a very special 
"ideal" on the coast of Devon. It was a house which 
had formerly belonged to an artist, but the artist 
had recently died, and his handsome and not incon- 
solable widow stated that she found it dull. She 
was glad to let it for two or three months, in order 
to "get away" with that restless alacrity which dis- 
tinguishes so many people who find anything better 
than their own homes, and Mr. and Mrs. Polydore 
May, though, as they said, it certainly was "a little 
quiet after London," were glad to have it, at quite 
a moderate rental for the charming place it really 
was. The gardens were exquisitely laid out and 
carefully kept ; the smooth velvety lawns ran down 
almost to the sea, where a little white gate opened 
out from the green of the grass to the gold of the 
sand, — the rooms were tastefully furnished, and 
Diana, when she first saw the place, going some days 
in advance of her father and mother, as was her 
wont, in order to make things ready and comfort- 
able for them, thought how happy she could be if 
only such a house and garden were hers to enjoy, 
independently of others. For a week before her re- 
spected and respectable parents came, in the inter- 
vals of unpacking, and arranging matters so that the 
domestic "staff" could assume their ordinary duties 
with smoothness and regularity, she wandered about 
alone, exploring the beauties of her surroundings, 
her thin, flat figure striking a curious note of s^- 


liflflB and solitude, as she sometimes stood in the gar- 
dm among a weisdth of flowers, looking out to the 
tender dove-grey line of the horizon across the sea. 
The servants peeping at her from kitchen and pan- 
try windows, made their own comments. 

"Poor dear!'' said the cook, thoughtfully — ^'^she 
do wear thin!" 

"Ah, it's a sad look-out for 'er!" sighed the upper 
housemaid, who was engaged to a pork-butcher with 
an alarmingly red face, whom one would have 
thought any self-respecting young woman would 
have died rather than wedded. "To be all alone in 
the world like that, impertected, as she will be when 
her^^ and ma have gone!" 

"Well, they won't go in a hiury!" put in the but- 
ler, who was an observing man — ^"Leastways^ Mr. 
May won't; he'll 'old on to life like a cat to a mouse 
-—he wiU! He's that hearty! — ^why, he thinks he's 
about tihirty instead of sixty. The missis, now, — 
if she goes on eating as she do, — she'll drop off sud- 
den Kke a burstin' bean, — ^but he! — ^Ahl I shouldn't 
wonder if hfi outlasted us all!" 

"Lor, Mr. Jonson!" exclaimed the upper house- 
maid— "How you do talk! — ^and you such a young 
man tool" 

Jonson smiled, inwardly flattered. He was well 
over forty, but like his master wished to be consid- 
ered a kind of youth, fit for dancing, tennis and 
other such gamesome occupations. 

"Miss Diana," he now continued, with a judicial 
air— "has lost her chances. It's a pity! — ^for no one 
won't marry her now. There's too many young gels 
about^ — ^no man wants the old 'uns. She'll have to 
take up a 'mission' or something to get noticed at 

Here a quiet-looking woman named Grace Laurie 
interposed. She was the ladies' maid, and she was 
kdd in great respect, for she was engaged to marry 


(at some unoertain and distaat date) an Australian 
fanner with considerable means. 

"Miss Diana is very clever — ^" she said-— "She 
could do almost anything she cared to. She's got 
a great deal more in her than people think. And" 
— here Grace hesitated — ^''she's prettily made, too, 
though she's over thin, — ^when she comes from her 
bath with all her hair hanging down, she looks 
sweet!" A gur^e of half hesitating, half incredu- 
lous laughter greeted this remark 

"WeU, it's few ladies as looks 'sweet' coming from 
the bath I" declared the butler with emphaai& ''I've 
had many a peep at the missis ^" 

Here the laughter Invoke out loudly, with little 
cries of: "Oh I Ohl" — and the kitchen diatter ended. 

It had come to the last day of Diana's free and 
uncontrolled enjoyment of the charming searside 
Eden which her parents had selected as a summer 
retreat, — and regretfully realising this, she strolled 
lingeringly about the garden, mhaJing the sweet 
odours of roses and mignonette with the salty breath 
of the sea. The next mcNming Mr. and Mrs. Poly- 
dore May would arrive in time for luncheon, and 
once more the old domestic jog-trot would com- 
mence, — ^the same routine as that which prevailed 
at Ridimond, with no oth^ change save such aa 
was conveyed in the differing scene and surroimd- 
ings. Breakfast punctually at nine, — ^luncheon at 
one, — ^tea at four-thirty, — dinner at a quarts to 
eight. Dinner at a quarter to ei^t was one of 
Diana's bugbears— why not have it at eight o'clock, 
she thou^t? The "quarter to" was an irritating 
juggling with time for which there was no neces- 
sity. But she had protested in vain ; dinner at quar- 
ter to eight was one of her mother's many domestic 
"fad&" Between the several meals enumerated 
there would be nothing doing, — ^nothing, that is to 
say, of any consequence or use to anybody. Diana 


knew the whole weary, stupid round, — ^Mr. May 
would paas the mommg reading the papers either 
in the gard^i or on the sandy shore, — Mrs. May 
would give a few muddled and contradictory orders 
to the servants, who never obeyed them literally^ 
but only as far as they could be conveniently car^ 
ried out, and then would retire to write letters to 
friends or acquaintances; in the afternoon Mr. May 
would devote himself to golf, while his wife slept 
tin teartime, — then she would take a stroll in the 
garden, and perhaps — only perhaps — ^taJk over a few 
household affairs with her daughter. Then came 
the ''quarter to eight'' dinner with desultory and 
somewhat wrangling conversation, after which Mrs. 
May slept again, and Mr. May played billiards, if he 
could find anyone to play with him, — ^if not, he 
practised "tricky" things alone with the cue. Neith- 
er of them ever thou^t that this sort of life was 
not conducive to cheerfulness so far as their dau^- 
ter Diana was concerned, — ^indeed they never con- 
sidered her at all. When she was young — ^ah yes, 
of course! — ^it was necessary to find such entertain- 
ment and society for her as might "show her off," 
— but now, when she was no longer marriageable in 
the conventionally accepted sense of marriage, she 
was left to bear the brunt of fate as best she mig^t, 
and learn to be contented with the plain feminine 
duty of keeping house for her parents. It must be 
stated that she did this "keeping house" business 
to pa^ection,-H3he controlled expenses without a 
taint of meanness, managed the servants, and made 
the whole commonplace affair of ordinary living run 
smoothly. But whatever she did, she never had a 
word of praise from either her fath^ or mother, 
— they took her careful service as their right, and 
never seemed to realise that most of iheir comforts 
and conveniences were the result of her foretiiiought 
and good sense. Certainly they did not trouble 


themselves as to whether she was happy or the re- 

She thought of this, — ^just a little, but not mo- 
rosely—on tiie last evening she was to spend alone 
at "Rose Lea" as the "ideal" summer residence was 
called, — probably on account of its facing west, and 
gathering on its walls and windows all the brilliant 
flush of the sunset. She was somewhat weary, — 
she had been occupied for hours in arranging her 
mother's bedroom and seeing that all the numerous 
luxuries needed by that placid mass of superfluous 
flesh were in their place and order, and now that 
she had finished everything she had to do, she was 
glad to have the remainder of her time to herself 
in the garden, thinking, and — ^as usual — ^wondering. 
Her wonder was just simply this: — ^How long would 
she have to go on in the same clockwork mechan- 
ism of life as that which now seemed to be her 
destiny? She had made certain variations in the 
dow music of her days by study, — ^yes, that was 
true! — ^but then no one made use of her studies, — 
no one knew the extent of her attainments, and even 
in her music she had no encouragement, — ^no one 
ever asked her to play. All her efforts seemed so 
much wasted out-put of energy. She had certain 
private joys of her own, — ^a great love of Nature, 
which like an open door in Heaven allowed her to 
enter familiarly into some of the marvels and bene- 
dictions of creative intelligence; she loved books» 
and could read them in French and Italian, as well 
as in her native English ; and she had taken to the 
study of Russian with some success. Greek and 
Latin she had learned sufficiently well to understand 
the great authors of the elder world in their own 
script, — ^but all these intellectual diversions were 
organised and followed on her own initiative, 
and as she sometimes said to herself a trifle bit- 


''Nobody knows I can do anjrihing but check the 
tradesmai's books and order the dinner." 

This was a fact, — ^nobody knew. Ordinary peo- 
ple considered her unattractive; what they saw was 
a scraggy woman of medium height wi^ a worn 
face visibly beginning to wrinkle under a profusion 
of brown hair, — a woman who "had been" pretty 
when younger, but who now had a rather restrained 
and nervous manner, and who was seldom inclined 
to speak, — ^yet, who, when spoken to, answered al- 
ways gently, in a sweet voice with a wonderfully 
musical accentuation. No one thought for a mo- 
ment that she might possibly be something of a 
scholar, — ^and certainly no one imagined that above 
all things she was a great student of all matters 
pertainmg to science. Every book she could hear 
of on scientific subjects, whether treating of wire- 
less telegraphy, light-rays, radium, or other mar- 
vellous discoveries of the age, she made it her spe- 
cial business to secure and to study patiently and 
comprehendingly, the result being that her mind 
was richly stored with material for thought on far 
higher planes than the majority of reading folk ever 
attempt to reach. But she never spoke of the things 
in which she was so deeply interested, and as she 
was reserved and almost awkwardly shy in com- 
pany, the occasional callers on her mother scarce- 
ly noticed her, except casually and with a careless 
civility which meant nothing. She was seen to 
knit and to do Jacobean tapestry rather well, and 
people spoke to her of these accomplishments as 
being what tiiey thought she was most likely to un- 
derstand, — ^but they looked askance at her dress^ 
whidi was always a little tasteless and unbecom- 
ing, and opined that ''poor dear Mrs. May must 
be dreadfully disappointed in her daughter!" 

It never occurred to these easy-tongued folk that 
Diana was dreadfully disappointed in herself. This 


was the trouble of it She asked the question daily 
and could find no answer. And yet,— she was use- 
ful to her parents surely? Yes, — ^but in her own 
heart she knew they would have been just as satis- 
fied with a paid ^'companion housekeeper." They 
did not really "love" her, now that she had turned 
out such a failure. Alas, poor Diana! H^ hunger 
for "love" was her misfortune; it was the one thing 
in all the world she craved. It had been this desire 
of love that had charmed her impulsive soul when 
in the heyday of her youth and prettiness, she had 
engaged herself to the man for whom she had waited 
seven years, only to be heartlessly thrown over at 
last. She had returned all his letters in exchange 
for her own at the end of the affair, — ^all, save two, 
—and these two she read every night before she said 
her prayers to keep them well fixed in her memory. 
One of them contained the following passage: 

"How I love you, my own sweet little Diana! 
You are to me the most adorable girl in the world, 
— and if ever I do an unkind thing to you or wrong 
you in any way may God punish me for a treach^ 
erous brute! My one desire in life is to make you 

The other letter, written some years later, was 
rather differently expressed, 

"I am quite sure you will understand that time 
has naturally worked changes, in you as well as in 
myself, and I am obliged to confess that the feel-* 
ings I once had for you no longer exist. But you 
are a sensible woman, and you are old enou^ now 
to realise that we are better apart." 

^You are old enough now," was the phrase that 
jarred upon Diana's inward sense, like the ugly 
sound of a clanking chain in a convict's celL "You 
are old enough now." Well, it was true!— she waa 


"old enou^/' — ^but she had taken this "oldness** 
upon her while faithfully waiting for her lover. And 
he had been the first to punii^ her for her con- 
stancy! It was very strange. Indeed, it was one 
of those many things that had brought her to her 
chronic state of wonderment. The great writers, — 
more notably great poets, themselves the most fickle 
of men, — eulogised fidelity in love as a heavenly 
virtue. Why then, when she had practised it, had 
she been so sorely rewarded? Yet, since the rupture 
of her engagement, and the long and bitter pain she 
had ending over this breaking up of all she had 
held most dear, her many studies and her careful 
reading had gradually calmed and strengthened her 
nature, and she was able to admit to herself that 
th^ie were possibly worse things than the loss of 
a heartless lover who might have proved a still 
more heartless husband. She felt no resentment 
towards him, and his memory now scarcely moved 
her to a thrill of sorrow or regret. She only asked 
herself why it had all happened? Of course th^^e 
was no answer to such a query, — there never is. 
And she was "old enough" — ^yes, quite "old enough" 
to put away all romance and sentimentaJity. Yet, 
as she walked slowly in the garden among the roses, 
and watdied the sea sparkling in the warm after- 
glow of what had been an exceptionally fine sun 
settmg, the old foolish craving stirred in her heart 
again. The scent of the flowers, the delicate breath- 
inp of the summer air, the flash of the sea-gulls' 
white wings skimming over the glittering sand pools, 
—all these expressions of natural beauty saddened 
while they entranced her soul. She longed to be one 
with them, sharing their life, and imparting to 
others something of their joy. 

'They never grow old!" she said, half aloud. "Or 
if they do, it is not perceived. They seem always 
the same — ^always bcMEtutiful and vital" 


H^re Ae paused. A standard rose tree weighted 
with splendid blossom showed among its flowers one 
that had been cramped and spoilt by the over- 
profusion and dose pressure of its companions, — 
it was decaying amid the eager crowd of bursting 
buds that looked almost humanly anxious to be 
relieved of its presence. With soft, deft fingers 
Diana broke it away from the stem and let it drop 
to earth. 

"That is me!" she said. "And that's what ou^t 
to become of me! Notiiing withered or ugly ought 
to live in such a lovely world. I am a blot on 

She looked out to sea agam. The aft^-glow had 
almost faded; only one broad line of dull gold 
showed the parting trail of the sun. 

"No — ^there's no hope!" she murmured, with an 
expressive gestiu^ of her hands. "I must plod on 
day after day in the same old rut of things, doing 
my duty, which is perhaps all I ou^t to ask to do, 
— ^trying to make my mother coinfortable and to 
keep my father in decent humour, — ^and then — ^then 
— ^when they go, I shall be alone in the world. No 
one will care what becomes of me,-^ven as it is 
now no one cares whether I live or die!" 

This is the discordant note in many a life's music, 
— ^*'no one cares." When "no one cares" for us, we 
do not care about ourselves or about anybody dae. 
And in "not caring" we stumble blindly and uncon- 
sciously on our only chance of safety and happi- 
ness. A heartless truth ! — ^but a Uiith all the same. 
For when we have become utterly indiflferent to 
Destiny, Destiny like a spoiled child does all she 
can to attract our notice, and manifests a sudden 
interest in us of whidi we had never dreamed. And 
the less we care, the more she clings! 


DiAKA was ''old enough/' as her recalcitrant 
lover had informed her, to value the blessing of a 
good ni^t's rest. She had a clear conscience,— she 
was, indeed, that rara avis, in these days, a perfectly 
innocent-minded woman, and she slept as calmly 
and peacefully as a child. When she woke to the 
lig^t of a radiant morning, with the sundiine mak- 
ing diamonds of the sea, ^e felt almost young again 
as she tripped to and fro, putting the final touches 
of taste to the pretty drawing-room, and giving to 
every nook and comer that indefinable air of pleas- 
ant occupation which can only be bestowed by the 
hand of a dainty, beauty-loving woman. At the 
appointed hour, the automobile was sent to the sta- 
tion to meet Mr. and Mrs. James Polydore May, 
and punctual to time the worthy couple arrived, 
both husband and wife slightly out of humour with 
the heat of the fine summer's day and the fatigue 
of the journey from London. 

''Well, Diana!" sighed her mother, turning a fat, 
buff-coloured cheek to be kissed, "is tiie house really 
decent and comfortable?" 

"It's lovely!" declared Diana, cheerfully — ^"I'm 
sure you'll be happy here, Mother! The garden is 
perfectly delightful!" 

"Your mother spoke of the house, not the gar- 
den," interposed Mr. May, judicially. "You really 
must be accurate, Diana! Yes — er — ^yes!— tiiat will 
do!" — ^this, as Diana somewhat shrinkingly em- 
braced him. "Your mother is always suspicious — 
and rightly so — of damp in rented country houseSi 



but I think we made ourselves certain that th^re 
was nothing of that kind before we decided to take 
it. And no poultry clucking? — ^no noises of a farm- 
yard close by? No? That's a comfort! Yes — er 
— ^it seems fairly suitable. Is limcheon ready?" 

Diana replied that it was, and the family of three 
were soon seated at table in the dining-room, di^ 
cussing lobster mayonnaise. As Mrs. May bent her 
capacious bosom over her plate, h^ round eyes 
goggUng with sheer greed, and Mr. May ate rapidly 
as was his wont, casting sharp glances about him 
to see if he could find fault with anything, Diana's 
heart sank more and more. It was just tiie same 
sort of luncheon as at home in Richmond, tainted 
by the same sordid atmosphere of commonplace. 
Her parents showed no spark of pleasurable anima- 
tion or interest in the change of scene or the love- 
liness of the garden and sea as glimpsed through 
the open French windows, — everything had nar- 
rowed into the savoury but compressed limit of lob- 
ster mayonnaise. 

'Too much mustard in this, as usual,'' said Mr* 
May, scraping his plate noisily. 

**Not at all," retorted his wife, with placid ob- 
stinacy. ''If there is anything Marsh knows how 
to make with absolute perfection, it is mayonnaise.'' 

Marsh was the cook, and the cause of many a 
matrhnonial wrangle. 

"Oh, of course, Marsh is faultless!" sne«^ Mr. 
May. "This house has been taken solely that Marsh 
shaU have a change of air and extra perquisites!" 

Mrs. May's eyes goggled a little more prominent- 
ly, and protecting her voluminous bust with a din- 
ner-napkin, she took a fresh supply of mayonnaise. 
Diana, who was a small eater and who rather 
grudged the time her parents spent over their meals, 
took no part in this sort of "sparring," which always 
went on between the progenitors of her being. She 


was thankful when luncheon was over and she oould 
escape to her own room. There she found the maid, 
Grace LauriOi with some letters which had just 

"These are for you, miss," said Grace. "I brou^t 
them up out of Ihe hall, as I thought you'd like to 
be quiet for a bit." 

Diana smiled, gratefully. 

'Thank you, Grace. Mother is coming upstairs 
directly to lie down — ^will you see die has all she 

"Yes, miss." Then, after a pause, "It's you that 
should lie down and get a rest. Miss Diana, — ^you've 
been doing ever sudi a lot all these daya You 
should just take it eai^ now." 

Diana smiled agam. There was something of 
kindly compassion in the "take it ea^y" suggestion 
— but she nodded assentingly and the well-meaning 
maid left her. 

There was a long mirror against the wall, and 
Diana suddenly saw her own reflection in it. A hot 
flush of annoyance reddened her face, — ^what a 
scarecrow she looked to herself! So angular and 
bcmy! Her plain navy linen frock hung as straight 
as a man's trousa^; no gracious curves of body 
gave prettiness to its uncompromising folds, — ^and 
as for her poor worn countenance, she could have 
thrown things at it for its doleful pointed chin and 
sharp noee! She looked steadfastly into her own 
eyes, — they were curious in colour, and rather pretty 
with their melting hues of blue and grey, — ^but, oh ! 
— ^thoee crows'-feet at the comers!— oh, the wrin- 
kling of the eyelids!— oh, the tiredness, and dim- 
ness and ache! 

Turning abruptly away, she glanced at the small 
time-piece on her dressing-table. It was three 
o'clock. Then she took off her navy linen gown, — 
one of the "serviceable," ugly sort of things h&c 


father was never tired of recommending for her 
wear,— and sUpped on a plain Uttle white wrapper 
which she had made for herself out of a cheap 
length of nun's veiling. She loosened her hair and 
brushed it out, — ^it fell to her waist in pretty rippling 
waves, and it was full of golden "glints," so much 
so that spiteful persons of her own sex had even 
said — "at her age it can't be natural; it must be 
dyed!" Nevertheless, its curling tendency and its 
brightness were all its own, but Diana took no heed 
of its beauty, and she would have been more than 
incredulous had anyone told her that in this array, 
or, rather, disarray, she had tiie appearance of a 
time-worn picture of some delicate saint in a French 
mediaeval "Book of Hours." But such was her as- 
pect. And witli the worn saint look upon her, she 
drew a reclining chair to the wmdow and lay down, 
stretching herself restfully at full length, and gaz- 
ing out to sea, her unopened letters on her lap. How 
beautiful was that seemingly infinite line of shining 
water, melting into shining sky! — ^how far removed 
from the little troubles and terrors of the world of 

"I wonder 1" she murmured. The old story 

again! — ^she was always wondering! Then, with 
eyes growing almost youthful in their intense long- 
ing for comprehension, she became absorbed in one 
of those vague reveries, which, like the things of 
eternity, have no beginning and no end. She "won- 
dered" — ^yes! — she wondered why, for example, Na- 
ture was so grand and reasonable, and Man so mean 
and petty, when surely he could, if he chose, be 
master of his own fate, — ^master of all the miracles 
of air, fire and water, and supreme sovereign of hia 
own soul ! A passage in a book she had lately been 
reading recurred to her memory. 

"If any man once mastered the secret of govern- 
ing the diemical atoms of which he is composed, be 


would disoover the fruit of the Tree of Life of which, 
as his Creator said, he would 'take, eat and live for 

She sighed, — a sigh of weariness and momentary 
depression, then began turning over her letters and 
glancing indifferentiy at the handwriting on each 
envelope, till one, addressed in a remarkably dear, 
bold caligraphy, made her smile in evidently pleas- 
urable anticipation. 

"PYom Sophy Lansing,'' she said. "Dear little 
Sophy I She's always amusing, with her Suffragette 
enthusiasms, and her vivacious independent ways! 
And she's one of those very few clever women who 
manage to keep womanly and charming in spite of 
their devemess. Oh, what a fat letter!" 

She opened it and read the dashing scrawl, still 


"I suppose you are now settling down Tby 
the sad sea waves' with Pa and Ma! Oh, you poor 
thing! I can see you hard at it like a donkey at 
a wdl, trotting 'in the common round, the daily 
task' of keeping Pa as tolerable in temper as such 
an old curmudgeon can be, and Ma as reposeful 
under h^ burden of superfluous flesh as is at all 
posmble. What a life for you, patient Grizel ! Why 
don't you throw it up? You are really clever, and 
you could do so much. This is Woman's Day, and 
you are a woman of exceptional ability. You know 
Tve adced you over and over again to retire from 
the whole domestic 'show,' and leave those most 
iminteresting and selfish old parents of yours to 
their own devices, with a paid housekeeper to look 
after their food, which is all they really care about. 
Come and live with me in London. We should 
be quite happy together, for I'm good-natured and 
aenable, and so are you, and we're neither of us 


contending for a man, so we shouldn't quarrel. And 
you'd wake up, Diana! — ^you'd wake to find that 
there are many more precious things in life than 
Pa and Ma! I could even find you a few men to 
entertain you, though most of them become bores 
after about an hour — especially the ones that think 
themselves vastly amusing. Like your Pa, you 
know! — ^who, when he teUs a very ancient 'good 
story,' thinks that God Himself ought to give up 
everything else to listen to him! No, don't be 
shocked ! I'm not really irreverent — ^but you know 
it's true. Woe betide the hapless wight, male or 
female, who dares utter a word while Pa Polydore 
is on the story trail! How I've longed to throw 
things at him! and have only refrained for your 
sake ! Well ! God a' mercy on us, as Shakespeare's 
Ophelia says, and defend us from the anecdotal 

"You'U perhaps be interested to hear that a pro- 
posal of marriage was made to me last night. The 
bold adventurer is rather like your Pa, — ^well *on' 
in years, rich, with a prosperous Hum' — and a gen- 
eral aspect of assertive affluence. I said *No,' of 
course, and he asked me if I knew what I was doing? 
Exactly as if he thought I might be drunk, or 
dreaming! I replied that I was quite aware ci 
myself, of him, and the general locality. 'And yet 
you say No?' he almost whispered, in a kind of 
stupefied amazement. I repeated *No' — and 'No,' 
— and clinched the matter by the additional re- 
mark that he was the last sort of man I would ever 
wish to marry. Then he smiled feebly, and said 
'Poor child! — ^you have been sadly led astray! These 

new ideas ' I cut him short by ringing the bell 

and ordering tea, and fortunately just at the mo- 
ment in came Jane Prowser— j/ou know her! — the 
tall, bony woman who goes in for 'Eugenics,' and 
she did the scarecrow business quite efifectively^ As 


soon as she began to talk in her high, rasping voice 
he went! Then I had tea alone with tJie Prowser 
—rather a trying meal, as she would, she would 
describe in detail all the deformities and miseries of 
a child Vot 'adn't no business to be bom/ as my 
housemaid once remarked of a certain domestic up- 
set. However, I got rid of her after she had eaten 
all the cress and tomato sandwiches, and then I 
started to read a batch of letters from abroad. I'm 
so thankful for my foreign correspondents! — they 
write and spell so well, and always have something 
interesting to say. One of my great friends in Paris, 
Blanche de Rouailles, sent me a most curious ad- 
vertisement, which she tells me is appearing in all 
the French papers — I enclose it for you, as you are 
so 'scientific' and it may interest you. It is rather 
curiously worded and sounds 'uncanny!' But it oc- 
cupies nearly half a oolunm in all the principal 
Paris papers and is repeated in five different lan- 
guages, — French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and 
English. I suppose it's a snare or a 'do' of some 
sort. The world is full of scoundrels, even in science! 
Now remember what I tell you ! Come to me at once 
if Pa and Ma kick over the traces and allow their 
mgrained selfishness to break out of bounds. There's 
plenty of room for you in my cosy little flat and we 
can have a real good time together. Don't bother 
about money, — ^with your talent and knowledge of 
languages you can soon earn some, and I'll put you 
in the way of it. You really must do something 
for your own advantage, — surely you don't mean 
to waste your whole life in soothing Pa and mas- 
saging Ma? It may be dutiful but it must be dull! 
I don't think all the massaging in the world wiU 
ever reduce Ma to normal proportions, and certain- 
ly nothing can ever cure Pa of his detestable hu- 
mours which are always liu*king in ambush below 
his surface 'manner/ ready to jump out like litUe 


black devils on the sinalleet provocation. We can 
never be really grateful enough, dear Di^ for our 
single blessedness! Imagine what life would have 
been for us with husbands like Pa! Absolute mis- 
ery! — ^for you and I could never have taken refuge 
in food and fat like Ma! We would have died 
sooner than concentrate our souls on peas and as- 
paragus! — ^we would have gone to the stake like 
martyrs rather than have allowed our bosoms to 
swell with the interior joys of roast pork and stuff- 
ing! Oh yes! — there is much to be thankful for in 
our spinsterhood, — ^we can go to our little beds in 
peace, knowing that no pig-like snoring from the 
'superior' brute will disturb the holy hours of the 
ni^t! — ^and if we are clever enough to make a little 
money, we can spend it as we like, without being 
cross-examined as to why it is that the dress we 
wore four years ago is worn out, and why we must 
have another! I could run on for pages and pages 
concerning the blessings and privileges of unmarried 
women, but I'll restrain my enthusiasm till we meet. 
Let that meeting be soon! — ^and remember that I 
am always at your service as a true friend and that 
I'll do anything in the world to help you out of 
your domestic harness. For the old people who 
'drive' you can't and won't see what a patient, kind, 
helpful clever daughter they've got, and they don't 
deserve to keep you. Let them spend their spare 
cash on a housekeeper, who is sure to cheat them 
(and a good job too!) and take your freedom. Get 
away! — never mind how, or where, or when, — ^but 
don't spend all your life in drudging. You've done 
enough of it — ^get away! This is the best of good 
advice from your loving friend, 

"Sophy Lansing." 

A slight shadow of meditative gravity clouded 
Diana's face as fihe finished reading this lattor. She 


was troubled by her own thou^ts; Sophy's lively 
strictures on her parents were undoubtedly correct 
and deserved^ — ^and yet — "fathw and mother" were 
''father and mother" after all! It is curious how 
these two words still keep their sentimental signifi- 
cance, de^ite ''state" education! "Mother" in the 
lower da^^s is often a drab, and in the hi^er a 
frivolous wastrel; "father" in the slums may beat 
his children blade and blue, and in Mayfair neg- 
lect them to the point of utmost indiffer^ice, — ^but 
"mother and father," totally undeserving as they 
often are, still come in for a diare of their offspring's 
vague consideration and lingering respect. "Educa^- 
tion" of the wrong sort, however, is doing its best 
to deprive them of this r^ard, and it appears likely 
that the younger generation will soon be so highly 
instructed as to be able to ignore "mother and fa- 
ther" as easily as full-fledged cygnets ignore the 
par^t birds who drive them away from tibieir nestr- 
ing haunt& But Diana was "old-fashioned"; she 
bad an affectionate nature, and she took patiietic 
pains to persuade herself that "Pa" and "Ma" 
meant to be kind, and must in their hearts love 
her, their only child. This was piu^e fallacy, but 
it was the only little bit of hope and trust left to 
h^ in a hard world, and she was loth to let it go. 
The smallest expression of tenderness from that 
ruffled old human terri^, her father, would have 
brought her to his feet, an even more willing slave 
to his moods than she already was, — a loving em- 
brace from her mother would have moved her al- 
most to tears of joy and gratitude, and would have 
doubly strengthened her unreasoning and unselfish 
devotion to &e "bogy" of her duty. But she nevw 
received any such sign of affection or encourage- 
ment from yeei^s end to year's end, — and it was 
like a strange dream to her now to recall that when 
she had been young, in the time of her "teens," her 


father had called her his "beautiful girl," and her 
mother had chosen pretty frocks for her "darling 
child!" Youth and the prospects of marriage had 
made this difference in the temperature of parental 
tenderness. Now that she was at that fatal stop- 
gap called "middle-age" and a hopeless spinster, the 
pretty frocks and the "beautiful-girl-darling-child" 
period had vanished with her matrimonial diances. 
There was no help for it. 

At this point in her thoughts she gave a little 
half-unconscious sigh. Mechanically she folded up 
Sophy Lansing's letter, and as she did so, notic^ 
that a slip of printed paper had fallen out of it 
and lay on the floor. She turned herself on her 
reclining chair and stooped for it, — then as she 
picked it up realised that it must be the advertise- 
ment in the five different languages which her friend 
had mentioned. Glancing carel^sly over it at first, 
but afterwards more attentively, her interest was 
aroused by its unusual wording, and then as she 
read it over and over again she found in it a singu- 
lar attraction. It ran as follows: 

*To ANY WOMAN who is alouc in the world wiTHOinf 


"A SCIENTIST, engaged in very important and 
MFFicui/r WORK, requires the assistance and co- 
operation of a Courageous and Determined Woman 
of mature years. She must have a fair knowledge 
of modem science, and must not shrink from dan- 
gerous experiments or be afraid to take risks in the 
pursuit of discoveries which may be beneficial to 
the human race. Every personal care, consideration 
and courtesy will be shown towards her, and she 
will be paid a handsome sum for her services and 
be provided with full board and lodging in an ele- 
gant suite of apartments placed freely at her dis- 


posaL She must be prepared to devote herself for 
one or two years entirely to the study of very m- 
tricate problems in chemistry, concerning which 
she will be expected to maintain the strictest con- 
fidence. She must be well educated, especially in 
languages and literature, and she must have no 
ties of any kind or business which can interrupt or 
distract her attention from the serious course of 
training which it will be necessary for her to pursue. 
This Advertisement cannot be answered by letter. 
Each applicant must present herself personally and 
alone between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. on 
Tuesdays and Fridays only to 

"db. feodor dimitritjs, 
"Chateau Fragonard, 


The more Diana studied this singular announce- 
ment, the more remarkable and fascinating did it 
seenL The very howrs named as the only suitable 
ones for interviewing applicants, between six and 
eight in the morning, were unusual enough, and the 
whole wording of the advertisement implied some- 
thing mysterious and out of the conunon. 

"Though I dare say it is, as Sophy suggests, only a 
snare of some sort," she thought. "And yet to me 
it sounds genuine. But I don't think this Dr. 
Feodor Dimitrius will get the kind of woman he 
wants easily. A handsome salary with board and 
lodging are tempting enough, but few wqpien would 
be inclined to 'take risks' in the inventions and dis- 
coveries of modem science. Some of them are alto- 
getiier too terrible!" 

She read the advertisement carefully through 
again, then rose and locked it away in her desk with 
Sophy Lansing's letter. She glanced through the 
rest of her oorrespondence, which was not exciting, 
— one note asking for the character of a servant, 


another for the pattern of a blouse, and a third 
enclosing a recipe for a special sort of jam, "with 
love to your sweet kind mother!" 

She put them all by, and stretching her arms 
languidly above her head, caught another glimpse 
of herself in the mirror. This time it was more sat- 
isfactory. Her hair, hanging down to her waist, was 
full of a brightness, made brighter just now by the 
sunlight streaming through tiie window, and her 
nun's veiling "rest gown" had a picturesque grace in 
its white fall and flow which softened the tired look 
of her face and eyes into something like actual 
prettiness. The fair ghost of her lost youth peeped 
at her for a moment, awakening a smarting sense 
of r^retful tears. A light tap at the door fortu- 
nately turned the current of her thou^ts, and 
the maid Grace Laiu*ie entered, bearing a dainly 
little tray with a cup of tea invitingly set upon 

"I've just taken some tea to Mrs. May in her bed- 
room," she said. "And I thou^t you'd perhaps 
like a cup." 

"You're a treasure, Grace!" — and Diana sat down 
to the proffered refreshment. '^What shall we all do 
when you go away to be married?" 

Grace laughed and tossed her head. 

"Well, there's time enou^ for that, miss!" she 
replied. *'He ain't in no hurry, nor am 1 1 You see 
when you're married you're just done for, — ^there's 
no more fun. It's drud^, wash, cook and sew for 
the rest of your da)^, and no way of getting out of 

Diana, sipping her tea, looked at her, smiling. 

"If that's the way you think, you shouldn't 
marry," she said. 

"Oh yes, I should!" and Grace lauded again. "A 
woman like me wants a home and a man to work 
for her. I don't care to be in service all my days, 


—I may aa well waah and sew for a man of my 
own as for anybody else." 

"But you love him, don't you?" asked Diana. 

"Well, he isn't much to love!" declared Grace, 
with twinkling eyes. "His looks wouldn't upset 
anyone's peace! I've never thought of love at all 
— ^all I want is to be warm and comfortable in a 
decent house witli plenty to eat, — ^and a good hus- 
band is a man who can do that, and keep it going. 
As for loving, that's all stuff and nonsense! — as I 
always say you should never care more for a man 
with your 'ed than you can kick off with your 'eels." 

This profound utterance had the effect of moving 
Diana to the most deli^tful mirth. She laughed 
and laughed again, — and her laughter was so sweet 
and fresh that it was like a little chime of bells. Her 
voice, as already hinted, was her great charm, and 
whether she laughed or spoke her accents broke the 
air into little bars of music. 

"Oh, Grace, Grace!" she said, at last. "You are 
too funny for words! I must learn that wise say- 
ing of yours by heart! What is it? 'Never care 
more for a man with your 'ed than you can kick 
off with your 'eels'?— Splendid! And you mean 

Grace nodded emphatically. 

"Of course I mean it! It don't do to care too 
mudi for a man, — ^he's always a sort o' spoilt babe, 
and what he gets ea^y he don't care for, and what 
he can't have he's alwajrs crying, crying aft^. 
You'll find that true. Miss Diana!" 

The ^arkle of lau^ter quenched itself in Diana's 
eyes and left her looking weary. 

*Tes — I daresay you are right," she said — ^''quite 
ri^t, Grace!" And looking up, she spoke slowly 
and ra^er sadly. "Perhaps it's true — some people 
say it 18 — that men like bad women better than 
good, — and that if a woman is thorou^ly selfish, 


vain and reckless, treating men with complete in* 
difference and contempt, they admire her much 
more than if she were loving and faithful." 

"Of course!" assented Grace, positively. "Look 
at Mrs. Potter-Barney! — the one the halfpenny 
newspapers call the 'beautiful Mrs. Barney' ! I laiow 
a maid who was told by another maid that die got 
five hundred guineas for a kiss! — and Lady Wast»- 
wick has had thousands of pounds for " 

Diana held up a hand,— she smiled still, but a 
trifle austerely. 

"That wiU do, Grace!" 

Grace coughed discreetly and subsided. 

"Is mother still lying down?" then asked Diana. 

"Yes, miss. She'll be on her bed till the dinner 
dressing bell rings. And Mr. May's asleep over his 
newspaper in the garden." 

Again Diana laughed her clear, pretty lau^. The 
somnolent habits of her parents were so enlivening, 
and made home-life so cheerful! 

"Well, all right, Grace," she said. "If there's 
nothing for me to do I shall go for a walk presently. 
So you'll know what to say if I'm asked for." 

Grace assented, and then departed. Diana fin- 
ished her cup of tea in meditative mood, — ^then, 
resolving to throw her retrospective thoughts to the 
winds, prepared to go out. It was an exceptionally 
fine afternoon, warm and brilliant, and instead of 
her navy linen gown which had seen considerable 
wear and tear, she put on a plain white one whidi 
became her much better than the indigo blue, and, 
completing her costume with a very simple straw 
hat and white parasol, she went downstairs and out 
of the house into the garden. She had meant to 
avoid her father, whom she saw on the lawn, under 
the spreading boughs of a cedar tree, seated in one 
rustic arm-chair, with his short legs comfortably dis- 
posed on another, and the day's newspaper modest- 


ly spread as a oaverlet over his imbuttoned waist- 
ooaty — ^but an inquisitive wasp happening to buzz 
too near his nose he made a dart at it with one 
hand, and op^iing his eyes, perceived her white 
figure moving across the grass. 

'Who's that? What's that?" he called out, sharp- 
ly. "Don't glide about like a ghost I Is it you, 

'Tes, — ^it's me," she replied, and came up beside 

He gave her a casual look, — ^then ffliiffed and 
smiled sardonically. 

"Dear me! How fine we are! I thou^t it was 
some young girl of the neighbourhood leaving cards 
on your mother! Why are you wearing white? 
Going to a wedding?" 

Diana coloured to the roots of her pretty hair. 

"It's one of my washing frocks," she submitted. 

"Oh, is it? Well, I Uke to see you in dark colours 
—they are more suited to — to your age. Only very 
young people should wear white." 

He yawned capaciously. "Only very yoimg peo- 
ple," he repeated, closing his eyes. "Tiy and re- 
member that" 

"Mrs. Ross-Percival wears white," said Diana, 
quietly. "You are always holding her up to admira- 
tion. And she's sixty, if she's a day." 

Mr. Polyd(Mre May opened his eyes and bounced 
up in his chair. 

"Mrs. Ross-P«*civaI is a very beautiful woman!" 
he snapped out. "One of ths beautiful women of 
society. And she's married." 

"Oh, yes, she's a grandmother," murmured Diana, 
smiUng. "But you don't tell her not to wear white." 

"Good God, of course not! It's no business of 
mine! What are you talking about? She's not my 

Diana laughed her pretty soft lau^. 



'*No, indeed! Poor Pa! That would be terrible! 
— Bhe'd make you seem so old if she were! But 
perhaps you wouldn't mind as she's so beautiful!" 

Mr. May stared at her wrathfuUy with the feel- 
ing that he was being made fun of. 

"She is beautiful!" he said, firmly. "Only a jeal- 
ous woman would dare to question it!" 

Diana laughed again. 

"Very well, she is beautiful! Wig and all!" she 
said, and moved away, opening her parasol as she 
passed from the shadow of the cedar bou^s into 
the full sun. 

"She's getting beyond herself!" thought her f la- 
ther, watching her as she went, and noting what he 
was pleased to consider "affectation" in her natmr- 
ally graceful way of walking. "And if she once 
begins that sort of game, she'll be unbearable ! Noth- 
ing can be worse than an old maid who gets beyond 
herself or above herself! She'll be fancjdng some 
man is in love with her next!" 

He gave a snort of scorn and composed himself 
to sleep again; meanwhile Diana had left the gar- 
den and was walking at an easy pace, which was 
swift without seeming hurried, down to the sea 
shore. It was very lovely there at this particular 
afternoon hour, — the tide was coming in, and the 
long shining waves rolled up one after the other in 
smooth lines of silver on sand that shone in wet 
patches like purest gold. The air was soft and warm 
but not oppressive, and as the solitary woman lifted 
her eyes to the peaceful blue sky arched like a shel- 
tering dome above the peaceful blue sea, her soli- 
tude was for the moment more intensified. More 
keenly than ever she felt that there was no one to 
whom she could look for so much as a loving word, 
— ^not in her own home, at any rate. Her friends 
were few ; Sophy Lansing was one of the most inti- 
mate, — ^but Sophy lived such a life of activity, 


her en^gies into so many channdfi, that 
it was not possible to get into veacy close or constant 
companionship with her. 

'While I live," she said to herself, deliberately, 
"I shall have no one to care for me — ^I must make 
up my mind to that. And when I die, — ^if I go to 
heaven Ihere will be no one there who cares for me, 
—and, if I go to hell, no one there either!" She 
lauded at this idea, but there were tears in her 
^es. ''It's curious not to have anyone on earth or 
in heaven or hell who wants you! I wonder if there 
are many like that! And yet — IVe never done any- 
thing wicked or spiteful to deserve being left so un- 

She had come to a small, deep cove, picturesquely 
walled in by high masses of rock whose summits 
were gay with creeping plante, grass and flowers, 
and though the sea was calm, the pressure of the 
incoming tide through the narrow inlet made waves 
that were almost boisterous, aa they rushed in and 
out with a musical splash and roar. It waa hardly 
safe or prudent to walk further on. "Any of those 
waves could carry one off one's feet in a minute," 
she tiiought, and went upwards from the beach 
beyond Ihe hi^est mark left by the fringes of the 
sea, where the fragmente of an old broken boat made 
a very good seat. Here she rested awhile, allowing 
vague ideas of a possible future to drift through her 
min. The prospect of a visit to Sophy Lansing 
seemed agreeable enou^, — ^but she very well knew 
that it would be opposed by her parente, — that her 
mother would say she could not spare her, — ^and 
that her father would demand angrily: 

"What have I taken this seaside house for? Out 
of pure good-nature and unselfij^ness, just to give 
you and your mother a sunmier holiday, and now 
you want to go away! That's the way I'm rewarded 
for my kindness!" 


If anyone had pointed out that he had only thought 
of himself and his own convenience in taking the 
''seaside house/' and that he had chosen it chiefly 
because it was close to the golf links and also to the 
Club, where there was a billiard-room, and that his 
"women folk" were scarcely considered in the matter 
at all, he would have been extremely indignant. He 
never saw himself in any other light but that of 
justice, generosity and nobility of disposition. Diana 
knew his "little ways," and laughed at them though 
she regretted them. 

"Poor Pa!" she would sigh. "He would be so 
much more lovable if he were not quite so selfish. 
But I suppose he can't help it." 

And, on turning all the pros and cons over in her 
mind, she came to the conclusion that it would 
not be fair to leave her mother alone to arrange all 
the details of daily life in a strange house and 
strange neighbourhood where the tradespeople were 
not accustomed to the worthy lady's rather vague 
ideas of domestic management, such as the ordering 
of the dinner two hours before it ought to be cooked, 
and other similar trifles, resulting in kitchen chaos. 

"After all, I ought to be very contented!" and 
lifting her head, she smiled resignedly at the placid 
sea. "It's lovely down here, — and I can always read 
a good deal, — and sew, — I can finish my bit of tapes- 
try, — ^and I can master that wonderful new treatise 
on Etheric Vibration " 

Here something seemed to catch her breath, — she 
felt a curious quickening thrill as though an "etheric 
vibration" had touched her own nerves and set them 
quivering. Some words of the advertisement she 
had lately read sounded on her ears as thou^ spok- 
en by a voice close beside her: 

"She must have a fair knowledge of modem sci- 
ence and must not shrink from dangerous exp^i- 
ments, or be afraid to take risks in tiie pursuit of 


discoveries which may be beneficial to the human 

She rose from her seat a little startled, her cheeks 
flushing with the stir of some inexplicable excite- 
ment in her blood. 

''How strange that I should think of that just 
now!" she said. "I wonder" — ^and she laughed — "I 
wonder whethw I should suit Dr. Feodor Dimit- 

The idea amused her, — it was so new, — so im- 
practicable and absurd! Yet it remained in her 
mind, giving sparkle to her eyes and colour and ani- 
mation to her face as she walked slowly home in 
a sort of visionary reverie. 


Within a very few days of their "settling down" 
at Rose Lea, everybody in the neighbourhood, — 
iJiat is to say, everybody of "county" standing — 
that height of social magnificence — ^had left their 
cards on Mr. and Mrs. Polydore May. They had, 
of course, previously made the usual private "kind 
inquiries," — ^first as to the newcomers' financial po- 
sition, and next as to their respectability, and both 
were found to be unimpeadiable. One of the most 
curious circumstances in this curious world is the 
strictness with which certain little bipeds inquire 
into the reported life and conduct of other little 
bipeds, the inquisitors themselves being generally 
the most doubtful characters. 

"Funny little man, that Mr. May!" said the 
woman leader of the 'hunting set," who played 
bridge all day and as far into the night as she could, 
^'like a retired tradesman! Must have sold dieese 
and butter at some time of his life!" 

"Oh, no!" explained a male intimate, whose physi- 
ognomy strangely resembled that of the fox he 
chased all the winter. "He made his pile in cop- 

''Oh, did he? Then he's quite decent?" 


"That daughter of his ^" 

Here a snigger went round the "county^' company. 
They were discussing the new arrivals at their af- 
ternoon tea. 

"Poor old thing!" 

"Must be forty if she's a day!" 

"Oh, give the dear 'girl' forty-five at least!" said 



a Chivalrous Youth, declining tea, and helping him- 
self to a whisky-soda at the side-board. 

**They say she was jilted." 

''No wonder!" And a bleating laugih followed 
this su^estion. 

''I suppose/' remarked one man of gloomy coun- 
tenance and dyspeptic eye, "I suppose it's really 
unpardonable for a woman to get out of her twen- 
ties and remain unmarried, but if it happens so I 
don't see what's to be done with her." 

''Smotiier her!" said the Chivalrous Youth, drink- 
ing his whisky. 

Everybody laugihed. What a witty boy he was! 
— no wonder his mother was proud of him! 

''We shall have to ask her to one or two tennis 
parties," said the woman who had first spoken. ''We 
can't leave her out altogether." 

"She doesn't play," said the gloomy man. "She 
told me so. She reads Greek." 

A shrill chorus of giggles in falsetto greeted this 

"Reads Greek! How perfectly dreadful! Ablue- 

"No! Really! It's too weird!" exclaimed the 
bridge-and-hunting lady. "I hope she's not an 'art' 


"No." And the gloomy man began to be cheer- 
ful, seeing that his talk had awakened a little in- 
terest "No, not at alL She told me she liked pic- 
tures, but hated artists. I said she couldn't have 
pictures without artists, and she agreed, but ob- 
served that fortiuiately all the finest pictures of 
the world were painted by artists who were dead. 
Curious way of putting it!" 

"Going off it?" queried the Chivalrous Youth, 
having now drained his tumbler of drink. 

"No, I don't think so. The fact is — er — she — ^well, 
she appeared to me to be rather-— er— clever!" 


Clever? Oh, surely not I The "county'^ dames 
almost shuddered. Clever? She couldn't be, you 
know! — not with that spoilt old-young sort of face! 
And her hair! All dyed, of course! And her voice 
was very affected, wasn't it? Yes! — almost as if i^e 
were trying to imitate Sarah Bernhardt! So stupid 
in a woman of her age! She ought to know bet- 

So the little vicious, poisonous, gossiping mouths 
jabbered and hissed about the woman who was 
''left" like a forgotten apple on a bough to wither 
and drop unregarded to the ground. No one had 
anything kind to say of her. It mattered not at all 
that they were not really acquainted witii her per- 
sonally or sufficiently to be able to form an opinion, 
— ^the point with these precious sort of persons was, 
and always is, that an unwanted feminine nonen- 
tity had arrived in the neighbourhood who was su- 
perfluous, and therefore likely to be tiresome. 

"OlJe can always leave her out of a dinner invi- 
tation," said one woman, thoughtfully. ''It will be 
quite enough to ask Mr. and Mrs." 

"Oh, quite!" 

Thus it was settled; meanwhile Diana, happily 
unconscious of any discussion concerning her, went 
on the even tenor of her way, keeping house for 
her parents, reading her favourite authors, study- 
ing her "scientific" subjects, and working at her 
tapestry without any real companionship save that 
of books and her own thoughts, and the constant 
delight she had in the profusion of flowers with 
whidb the gardens of Rose Lea abounded. These 
she arranged with exquisite taste and effect in the 
various rooms, so artistically that on one occasion 
the vicar of the parish, quite a dull, unimaginative 
man, was moved, during an afternoon call, to com- 
pliment Mrs. Polydore May on the remarkable grace 
.witii which some branches of roses were grouped 


in a vaae on the table. Mrs. May looked at them 
sleepily and smiled. 

'*Very pretty, yes I" she murmured. "I used to 
arrange every flower mjrself, but now my dau^ter 
Diana does it for me. You see she can give her 
time to it, — she has nothing else to do.'' 

Tlie vicar smiled the usual smile of polite agree- 
ment to everything which always gives a touch of 
sickliness to the most open countenance, and said 
no more. Diana was not present, so she did not 
hear that her mother considered she "had nothing 
else to do" but arrange flowers. Even if she had 
heard it, she would hardly have contradicted it; it 
was one of those things which she would not have 
Ihou^t worth while arguing about. The fact that 
she governed all tiie domestic working of the house 
80 that it ran like a perfectly-going machine on si- 
lent and well-oiled wheels, required no emphasis, — 
at least, not in her opinion, — and though she knew 
that not one of the servants would have stayed in 
Mrs. May's service or put up with her vague, fusi^, 
and often sulky disposition, unless she, Diana, had 
''managed" them, she took no credit to herself for 
the comfortable and well-ordered condition of things 
under which her selfish old parents enjoyed their 
existence. That she 'liad nothing else to do but 
arrange flowers" was a sort of house tradition with 
"Pa" and "Ma" through which they found all man- 
ner of excuse for saddling her with as much work 
as they could possibly give her in the way of con- 
stant attendance on themselves. But she did not 
mind. She was obsessed by the "Duty" fetish, which 
too often makes prisoners and slaves of those who 
should be free. Like all virtues, devotion to duty 
can become a vice if carried to excess, and it is un- 
questionably a vice when it binds unselfish souls to 
unworthy and tjrrannical taskmasters. 

The summer moved on in shining weeks of sun- 


light aad still air, and Rose Lea lost nothing of its 
charm for Diana, despite the taint of the common- 
place with which the eating and sleeping silkworm- 
lives of her parents invested it. Now and then a 
few visitors came from London, — men and women 
of the usual dull tsrpe, bringing no entertainment 
in themselves, and whose stay only meant a little 
more expenditure and a more lavish display of food. 
One or two portly club friends of James Polydore 
came to play golf and drink whisky with him, and 
they condescended to converse with Diana at meals, 
because, perforce, they thought they must, — but 
meals being over, they gave her no further consider- 
ation, except to remark casually one to another: 
^Tity old Polydore couldn't have got that dau^- 
ter off his hands!" And the long, lovely month of 
August was nearly at its end when an incident hap- 
pened which, like the small displacement of earth 
that loosens an avalanche, swept away all the old 
order of things, giving place to a new heaven and 
a new earth so far as Diana was concerned. 

It had been an exceedingly warm day, and night- 
fall was more than usually welcome after the wide 
glare of the long, sunlit hours. Dinner was over, 
and Mr. and Mrs. Polydore May, fed to repletion 
and stimulated by two or three glasses of excellent 
champagne, were resting in a dolce-far^niente con- 
dition, each cushioned within a deep and luxurious 
arm-chair placed on either side of the open French 
windows of the drawing-room. The lawn in front 
of them was bathed in a lovely light reflected from 
the after-glow of the vanished sun and a pale glim- 
mer from the risen half-moon, which hung in soft 
brilliance over the eastern half of the quiet sea. 
Diana had left her parents to their after-dinner 
somnolence, and was walking alone in the gaiden, 
up and down a grass path between two rose hedj^s. 
€he was within caU should she be wanted by ei&er 


"Pa" or "Ma/^ but they were not aware of her dose 
proximity. Mr. May was smoking an exceptionally 
choice cigar, — ^he was in one of his "juvenile" moods, 
and for once was not inclined to take his usual "cat- 
nap" or waking doze. He had been to a tennis party 
that afternoon and had worn, with a "young man's 
fancy" a young man's flannels, happily unconscious 
of the weird appearance he presented in that un- 
suitable attire, — and, encouraged by the laughter 
and applause of the more youthful players, who 
looked upon him as the "comic man" of the piece, 
he had acquitted himself tolerably well. So that 
for the moment he had cast off the dignity and 
weight of years, and the very air with which he 
smoked his cigar, flicking off the burnt ash now and 
again in the affected style of a "young blood about 
town," expressed the fact that he considered him- 
self more than a merely "well-preserved" man, and 
that if justice were done him he would be admitted 
to be "a violet in the youth of primy nature." 

His better-half was not in quite such pleasant 
humour; she was self-complacent enou^, but the 
heat of the day had caused her to feel stouts and 
more unwieldy than usual, and inclined to wish : 

''Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt. 
Thaw and dissolve itself into a dew!" 

r ' 

When her husband lit his cigar, she had closed her 
eyes, thinking: "Now there will be a little peace!" 
Imowing that a good cigar to an irritable man is like 
the bottle to a screaming baby. But Mr. May waa 
disposed to talk, just as he was disposed to admire 
the contour of his little finger whenever he drew 
his cigar from his mouth or put it back again. 

'There were some smart girls playing tennis to- 
day," he presently remarked. "One of them I 
thought very pretty. She was about seventeen.'' 


His wife yawned expansively. She made no com- 

"She was my partner," went on Mr. May. "As 
skittish as you please!" 

Mrs. May cuddled herself together among her 
cushions. The slightest glimmer of a smile lifted the 
comers of her pursy mouth towards her parsimoni- 
ous nose. Her husband essayed once more the fas- 
cinating "flick" of burnt ash from his cigar. 

"They'd have been as dull as a sermon at tea- 
time if it hadn't been for me," he resiuned. "You 
see, I kept the ball rolling." 

"Naturally! — ^it's tomis," murmured his wife, 

"Don't be a fool, Margaret! I mean I keep peo- 
ple amused." 

"I'm sure you do!" his "Margaret" agreed, as she 
smothered another yawn. 'Tfou're the most amus- 
ing man I know ! " 

"Glad you admit it!" he said, captiously. "Not 
being amusing yourself, you ought to thank God 
you've got an amusing husband!" 

This time Mrs. May emitted a bleating giggle. 

"I do!" 

"Now if it were not for Diana " 

His wife opened her eyes. 

"What about Diana?" 

"Well — Diana — ^put it how you like, but she's 
Diana. She'U never be anything else! Our dau^- 
ter, oh, yes! — I know all that! — hang sentiment! 
Everybody calls her an old maid — and she's in the 

A light-footed figure pacing up and down the grass 
walk, unseen between the two rose hedges close by, 
came to a sudden pause — Glistening. 

"She's in the way," repeated Mr. May, with some- 
what louder emphasis. "Unmarried women of a 
certain age always are, you know. You can't class 


them with young people, and they don^t like being 
parcelled off witih old folks. They're out of it al- 
together unless they've got something to do which 
takes' them away from their homes and saves them 
from becoming a social nuisance. They're superflu- 
ous. 'How is your daughter?' the women here cksk me, 
with a kind of pitying smile, as though she had the 
plague, or was recovering from small-pox. To be a 
spiDster over thirty seems to them a kmd of illness." 

''Well, it's an illness that cannot be cured with 
Diana now!" sighed Mrs. May. "Quite hopelessl" 

"Quite." And her husband gave his chronic snort 
of ill-tempered defiance. "It's a most unfortunate 
thing — especially for me. You see, when I go about 
with a daughter like Diana, it makes me seem so 

"And mel" she interposed. "You talk only of 
yourself, — don't forget me!" 

Mr. May laughed — a short, sardonic laugh. 

''You! My dear Margaret, I don't wish to be 
unkind, but really y(m needn't worry yourself on 
that score! Surely you don't suppose you'll ever 
look young again? Think of your size, Margaret! 
— think of your size!" 

Somewhat roused from her customary inertia by 
this remark, Mrs. May pulled herself up in her chair 
with an assumption of dignity. 

'Tou are very coarse, James,'* she said — "very 
ooarae indeed! I consider that I look as young as 
you do any day, — I ought to, for you are fully eight 
years my senior — ^I daresay more, for I doubt if you 
gave your true age when I married you. You 
want to play the young man, and you only make 
yourself ridiculous, — I have no wish to play the 
young woman, but certainly Diana, with her poor, 
thin face-— getting so many wrinkles, too!— does 
make me seem older than I am. She has aged ter- 
ribly the last three or four years." 


"She'll never see forty again/' said Mr. May, 

MiB. May rolled up her eyes in pained protest. 

'Why say it?" she expostulated. "You only give 
yourself and me away! We are her parents!" 

"I don't say it in public," he repliai. "Catch 
me! But it's true. Let me see! — ^why, Diana was 
bom in " 

His wife gave an angry gesture. 

"Never mind when she was bom ! " she said, with 
a tremble as of tears in her voice. "You needn't re- 
call it! Our only child! — and she has spoilt her 
life and mine too!" 

A faint whimper escaped her, and she put a filmy 
handkerchief to her eyes. 

Mr. May took no notice. For women's tears he 
had a sovereign contempt. 

"The fact is," he said, judicially, "we ought to 
have trained her to do something useful. Nursing, 
or doctoring, or dressmaking, or type-writmg. She 
would have had her business to attend to, which 
would have kept her away from Us, — and I — ^we — 
could have gone about free as air. We need never 
have mentioned that we had a daughter." 

Mrs. May looked scrutinizingly at her lace hand- 
kerchief. She remembered it had cost a couple of 
guineas, and now there was a hole in it. She must 
tell Diana to mend it. With this thought upper- 
most in her always chaotic mind, she said between 
two long-drawn sighs: 

"After all, James, poor Diana does her best. She 
is very useful in the house." 

"StufiP and nonsense! She does nothing at all! 
She spoUs the servants, if that is what you mean, — 
allows them to have their own way a great deal 
too much, in my opinion! It amuses her to play 
at housekeeping." 

"She doesn't play at it," remonstrated Mrs. May, 


weakly endeavouring to espouse the cause of justice. 
"She is very earnest and painstaking about it, and 
does it very well. She keeps down exp^ises, and 
saves me a great deal of worry." 

"Hm-m-m ! *' growled her husband. "It would do 
you good to be worried a bit! Take down your 
weight! Of course, what can't be cured must be 
endured, but I've spoken the brutal truth, — Diana, 
at her age, and with h^ looks, and all her dbanoea 
of marriage gone, is in the way. For instance, sup- 
pose I go to a new neighbour's house, and I'm asked 
Bave you any family?' — ^I reply: 'Yes, one daugh- 
ter.' Then some fool of a woman says: 'Oh, do 
bring your girl witii you next time ! ' Well, she's not 
a 'girl' I don't wi£^ to say she's not, but if I do 
take h&r with me 'next time,' everybody is sur- 
prised. You see, when they look at me, they ex- 
pect my daughter to be quite a yoimg person.'' 

Mrs. May sank gradually back in her dbair, as 
though she were slowly pushed by an invisible finger. 

"Do they?" The query was almost inaudible. 

"Of course they do! And upon my soul, it's 
rather taying to a man I You ought to sympathise^ 
but you don't!" 

"Well, I really can't see what's to be done!" she 
mnrmured, closing her eyes in sheer weariness. 
''Diana cannot help getting older, poor thing! — and 
she's our child " 

"Don't I know she's our child?" he snapped out. 
"What do you keep on telling me that for?" 

"Why, I mean that you can't turn her out of the 
house, or say you don't want her, or anything of 
that sort But I'm siu^" — ^here, the round, pale 
eyes opened appealingly over the buff-coloured 
Aeekft— "I'm sure, James, that if you don't wish 
to take her out with you she'd never dream of ex- 
pecting you to do so. She's very unselfish, — ^besides, 
flhe's so happy with her books." 


"Books — books! — ^hang books!" he exclaimed, 
irascibly. "There's another drawback! If there's 
one thing people object to more than another, it's 
a bookish spinster! Any assumption of knowledge 
in a woman is quite enough to keep her out of so- 

His wife vawned 

"I dare say!" she admitted. "But I can't help it." 

"You want to go to sleep, — ^that's what you 
want!" said Mr. May, contemptuously. "Well, sleep! 
—I'm going over to tiie Club." 

She murmured an inward "Thank God!" and set- 
tled down in her chair to her deferred and much de- 
sired doze. Mr. May threw on his cap, — one of a 
jaunty shape, which he fondly imagined gave him 
the look of a dashing sportsman of some thirty 
sununers — and stepped out on to the now fully 
moonlit lawn, crossing it at as "swinging" a pace as 
his little logs would allow him, and making for the 
hi^ road just outside the garden gatea 

Not till he had disappeared did the figure which 
had stayed statuesquely still between the two rose 
hedges show any sign of movement. Then it stirred, 
its dark grey draperies swaying like mist in a light 
wind. The bri^t moonli^t fell on its uplifted 
face, — ^Diana's face, pale always, but paler than ever 
in that ghostly radiance from the i^ies. She had 
heard all, — ^and there was a curious sense of ti^t- 
ening pain in her throat and round her heart, as if 
an overflow of tears or laughter struggled against 
repression. She had stood in such a motionless at- 
titude of strained attention that her limbs felt 
cramped and stiff, so that when she began to walk 
it was almost with difficulty. She turned h^ back 
to the house and went towards the sea, noiselessly 
opening the little white gate that led to the shore. 
She was soon on the smooth soft sand where the 
little wet pools glittered like silver in the moon, and. 


going to the edge of the sea, she stood awhile, watch- 
ing wave after wave glide up in small, fine lines and 
bieak at her feet in a delicate fringe of snowy foam. 
She was not conscious of any particularly keen grief 
or hurt feeling at the verdict of her general tire- 
someness which her parents had passed upon her, 
— her thoughts were not in any way troubled; she 
only felt that the last thing ^e had clung to as 
giving value to life, — ^her affection and duty to- 
wards the old people, — ^was counted as valueless, — 
she was merely "in the way." Watching the waves, 
she smiled, — a pitiful little smile. 

"Poor old dears!" she said, tenderly, — and again: 
"Poor old dears!" 

Then there arose within her another impulse, — 
a suggestion almost wildly beautiful, — ^the idea of 
freedom ! No one wanted her, — ^not even her father 
or her mother. Then was she not at liberty? Could 
she not go where she liked ? Surely I Just as a light 
globe of thistledown is blown by the wind to fall 
where it will, so she could drift with the movement 
of casual things anywhere, — so long as she troubled 
nobody by her existence. 

''The world is widel" she said, half-aloud, stretch- 
ing het arms with an unconscious gesture of appeal 
towards the sea. "I have stayed too long in one 
small comer of it!" 

The little waves plashed one upon the other with 
a musical whisper as though they agreed with her 
thought, — and yet — ^yet there was something appal- 
ling in the utter loneliness of her heart. No one 
loved her, — ^no one wanted her! She was "in the 
way." Smarting tears filled her eyes, — ^but they an- 
gered her by their confession of weakness, and she 
dashed them away with a quick, defiant hand. She 
began to consider her position coldly and critically. 
Her thoughts soon ranged themselves in order like 
obedient soldiers at drill under their commanding 


officer,— each in its place and ready for action. It 
was useless to expect help or sympathy from any- 
one, — she would not get it. She must stand alone. 
It is perhaps a little hard and difficult to stand alone 
when one is a woman ; it used to be considered cruel 
and pitiful, but in these days it has become such a 
matter of course that no one thinks about it or 
cares. The nature and temperament of woman as 
God made her^ have. not altered;, witk ^ her. '^ad- 
va^cement/' she is just as anaatLve, £ia credulous^ aa 
tender, as maternal as-ever^fihe^srsgi^lon^g for 
man's love as her ^'right/' which it is, and becoming 
hardened and embittered when this right is with- 
held from her,— but the rush of the tim^ is too svnft 
and precipitous for any display of masculine chiv- 
alry on her behalf; she has elected to be considered 
co-equal with man, and she is now, after a consid- 
a^le tussle, to be given her ^'chance." What she 
will make of the long-deferred privilege remains a 
matter of conjecture. 

Slowly, and with a vague reluctance, Diana turned 
away from the moonlit sea; the mimnur of the 
little waves followed her, like su^estive whiqKsra 
A curious change had taken place in her mentality 
during the last few minutes. She, who was accus- 
tomed to think only of others, now thou^t closely 
and consistentiy of herself. She moved quietly to- 
wards the house, gliding like a grey ghost across the 
lawn which showed almost white in the spreading 
radiance of the moon, — ^the drawing-room windows 
were still open, and Mrs. May was still comfortably 
ensconced in hec arm-chair, sleeping soundly and 
snoring hideously. Ker dau^ter came up and stood 
beside her, quite unobserved. Nothing could have 
been more unlovely than the aspect she presented, 
sunk among the cushions, a m^re adipose heap, with 
her fat dieeks, small nose and open mouth protrud- 
ing above the folds of a grey woollen shawl which 


was her favourite evening wear, her resemblance to 
a pig being more striking than pleasing. But Di- 
ana's watching face expressed nothing but the gen- 
tlest solicitude. 

"Poor mother!" she si^ed to herself. "She's 
tired! And — and of course, it's natural she should 
be disappointed in me. I've not been a success! 
Poor dear mother! God bless her!" 

She went out of the room noiselessly, and made 
her way upstairs. She met Grace Laurie. 

'I'm going to bed, Grace," she said. "I've got a 
tiresome headache, and shall be better lying down. 
If mother wants to know where I am, will you tell 

"Yes, misa Can I do anything for you?" Grace 
asked, for, as she often said afterwards, she "thought 
Miss Diana looked a bit feverish." 

**No, thanks very much!" Diana answered in her 
sweet-voiced, pleasant manner. "Bed is the best 
place for me. Good-night!" 

"Good-ni^t, miss." And Diana entering her own 
room, locked the door. She was eager to be alone. 
Her window was open, and she went to that and 
looked out. All was silent and calm ; the night was 
beautiful. The sea spread itself out in gently heav- 
ing stretches of mingled light and shade, and above 
it bent a sky in which, the moon's increasing splen- 
dour swamped the sparkling of the stars. The air 
was very still, — not a leaf on any small branch of 
tree or plant stirred. The scent of roses and sweet- 
briar and honeysuckle floated upwards like incense 
from the flower altars of the earth. 

"I am free!" murmured Diana to tiiie hushed 
night. "Free!" 

And then, turning, she saw herself in the mirror, 
as she had aJready seen herself that day, — only with 
a greater sense of shock. The evening gown she wore, 
diosen to please her father's taste, of dull, dowdy- 


grey chiffon, intensified her worn and "ageing" look ; 
the colour of her hair was deadened by contrast with 
it, and in very truth she had at that moment a sad 
and deplorably jaded aspect. 

"Free!" she repeated, in self-scorn. "And what 
is the use of freedom to me at my age! — and with 
my face and figure!" 

She shrank from her own pitiful "double" in the 
glass, — ^it seemed asking her why she was ever bom ! 
Then, she put away all doleful thoughts that mi^t 
weaken her or shake her already formed resolu- 
tion: — "Nothing venture, nothing have!" she said. 
And, shutting her window, she drew the blinds and 
curtains close, so that no glimpse of light from her 
room might be seen by her faiher when he should 
cross the lawn on his return from the Club. She 
had plenty to do, and she began to do it She had a 
clear plan in view, and as she said to herself, a trifle 
bitterly, she "was old enough" to carry it out. And 
when all her preparations were fully made and com- 
pleted, ^e went to bed and slept peacefully till the 
first break of dawn. 


When morning came it brought with it intense 
heat and an almost overpowering glare of sunshine, 
and Mr. James Polydore May, stimulated by the 
warm atmosphere, went down to breakfast in a suit 
of white flannels. Why not? A sportive and youth- 
ful spirit had entered into him with his yesterday's 
experience of tennis, and his ^'skittish-as-you-please'' 
partner of seventeen; and, walking with a jaunly 
step, he felt that there was, and could be, no ob- 
jectbn to the wearing of white, as far as he was 
concerned. But — ^had he not said on the previous 
day to his daughter, "Only very young people should 
wear white?" Ah, yes — ^his dau^ter, as a woman, 
was too old for it! • . . but he, — ^why, if the latest 
sci»tific dictum is correct, namely, that a man is 
only as old as his arteries, then he, James Polydore 
May, was convinced that arterially speaking, he was 
a mere boy! True, his figure was a little "gone" 
from its original slimness, — ^but plenty of golf and 
general ^'bracing-up" would soon put that all right, 
80 that even the "skittish-as-you-please" young 
thii^ mi^t not altogether despise his attentions, 
^'^^hiitling gaily ihe (farming tune of "Believe me 
if an those endearing young charms," he contem- 
plated the well set out breedkfast table with satis- 
faction. He was first in the field that morning, and 
hia better half had not been at the fried bacon be- 
fore him, selecting all the best bits as was her usual 
custom. He sat down to that toothsome dish and 
helped hintiself bountifully ; then, missing the unob- 
trufflve hand which generally placed his cup of tea 
beside him, he called to the parlour-maid: 



'Whtt^'s MisB Diana? Isn't she up?" 

"Oh, yes, sir. She was up very early — ^about six, 
I believe, — and she went down to the cove to bathe, 
so she told the kitchen-maid." 

^T^ot back yet?" 

"No, sff." 

Mr. May pulled out his watch and glanced at it. 
It was half-past nine. At that moment his wife 
entered the room. 

"Oh, you're out of bed at last!" he said. "Well, 
now you can pour out my tea and mind you don't 
fill the cup too full. Diana hasn't got back from 
her dip." 

Mrs. May was still rather sleepy, and, as usual, 
more or less inattentive to her husband's remarks. 
She began turning over the letters the post had just 
brought for her, whereat Mr. May gave a sharp rap 
on tiie table with the handle of a fork. 

"My tea!" he repeated. "D'ye hear? I want my 

Mrs. May rolled her pale eyes at him protestingly 
as she lifted liie teapot. 

"I hear perfectly," she answered with an assump- 
tion of dignity. "And please be civil! You can't 
bully me as you bully Diana." 

"I bully Diana ! I ! " And Mr. May gave a shorty 
scornful lau^. "Come, I like that! Why, the 
woman doesn't know what bullying is! She's had 
a path of roses all her life — proses, I tell you ! Never 
a care, — ^never a worry, — ^no financial difficulties — 
always enough to eat, and a comfortable home to 
live in. What more can she want? Bully, indeed ! 
If she had married that confounded officer for whom 
she wasted the best seven years of her life, then 
she'd have known something about bullying! 
Rather! And I daresay it 'ud have done her good. 
Better than being an old maid, anyhow." 

Mrs. May handed him his tea across the table. 


''I wonder where she is?'' ebe questioned, plain- 
tively. "I've never known her so late before/' 

'"Went out at six/' said Mr. May, with his mouth 
fuU of bacon. "The kitchen-maid saw her go." 

Mrs. May rang a small hand-bell at her side. 

The parlour-maid answered it. 

''Hasn't Miss Diana come in?" 

''No, 'm." 

Mrs. May rubbed her small nose perplexedly. 

"Who saw her go out?" 

"The kitchen-maid, 'm. She was cleaning the 
doorstep when Miss Diana came out, and said ahe 
was going for a sea bath. That was about six 
o'dock, 'm." 

Again Mrs. May rubbed her nosa 

"^nd Grace here." 

"Yes, 'm." 

Another minute, and Grace Laurie appeared. 

"Grace, did you see Miss Diana go out this morn- 

"No, 'm. Last night I met her on the stairs^ and 
she said she had a headache and was going to bed 
early. I haven't seen her since." 

"Good heavens, Margaret, what a fuss you're mak- 
ing!" here exclaimed Mr. May. "One would think 
she'd been carried off in an aeroplane! Surely she's 
old enough to take care of herself! She's prolmbly 
gone for a walk after bathing, and forgotten the 

"That's not like Miss Diana, sir," ventured Grace, 
reqiectfully. "She never forgets anything." 

"Another cup of tea, Margaret, and look sharp!" 
interposed Mr. May, testily. 

Mrs. May sighed, and poured hot water into the 
tea-pot. Then she addressed Grace in a low tone. 

"Ask the kitchen-maid just what Miss Diana 

Graee retired, and returned again quickly. 


^'Misa Diana came down at about six this morn- 
ing," she said. "And Jenny, the kitchen-maid, was 
the only one of us up. She was cleaning the door- 
step, and moved her pail for Miss Diana to pass. 
Miss Diana had on her navy blue serge and black 
straw sailor hat, and she carried what Jenny thought 
were her bathing things hanging over her arm. She 
was very bright and said: ^Good-morning, Jenny! 
I'm going for a dip in the sea before the sun gets 
too hot.' And so die went." 

"And so she went — ^Amen!" said Mr. May, biting 
a hard bit of toast noisily. "And so she'll come back, 
and wonder what all the deuced fuss is about. As if 
a woman of her age couldn't go for a bath and a 
walk without being inquired after as if she were a 
two-year-old! Are you going to have your brecJc- 
fast, Margaret?— or do you prefer to read your let- 
ters first?" 

His wife made no reply. She was watching the 
boiling of an egg in a small, specially constructed 
vessel for the purpose, which Diana had added to 
the conveniences of the breakfast table. She was 
annoyed that Diana herself was not there to attend 
to it. Diana always knew when the egg was done to 
a turn. Grace still lingered in the room. Mrs. 
May, languidly raising her fish-like eyes, saw her. 

"You can go, Grace." 

'Tes, 'm. Shall I just run out to the shore and 
see if Miss Diana is coming?" 

'Tes. And teU her to make haste back — I want 
her to do some shopping in the village for me." 

Grace left the room, closing the door behind her. 
A clock on the mantelpiece gave several little sharp 

"What that?" asked Mrs. May. 

"Ten o'clock," replied her husband, unfolding the 
jjay's newspaper and beginning to read. 

''Dear me! How very extraordinaiy of Diana tp 


be out from six in the morning till now!" And with 
the aid of a spoon she carefully lifted the egg she 
had been watdiing as though it were the most pre- 
cious object in life out of the boiling water, in 
mournful doubt as to whether, after all, it really was 
done perfectly. "It's so unlike her." 

"Well, you may be pretty certain no one has 
run away with her," said Mr. May, ironically. 
"She's safe enou^. The 'dear child' has not 

Mr& May ignored both his words and his man- 
ner. She looked at him meditatively over the lid 
of the silver teapot and permitted herself to smile, 
— ^a small, fat, pursy smile. 

"Those white flannels have got rather tight for 
you, haven't they?" she suggested. 

He flushed indignantly. 

"Tight? CertamlynotI Do they toofc tight?" 

"Well:— just a little! — but of course white always 
makes one appear stout " 

"Stout! For* talk about stoutness? You! Why, 
I'm a paper-knife compared to you! — ^a positive 
paper-knife! I believe you actually grudge my 
wearing white flannels!" 

His wife laughed. 

"Indeed, no!" she declared "It amuses me! I 
rather like it!" 

"I should think you did!" he retorted. "Or, if 
you don't, you oug^t to!" 

She surveyed him pensively with roimd, lack- 
lustre eyes. 

''What a long time it is!" she said — ^"What a bng, 
long time since you were thin! — ^really quite thin, 
James! Do you remember? When you proposed 
to me in father's dining-room and the parlour-maid 
came in and lit tiie gas, just as you were going 
to '' 

"You seem very reminiscent this morning," in- 


temipted her husband, sharply. ''Do white flan- 
nels move you to sentiment?" 

*'0h, no! — ^not at all — ^not now!" she replied, with 
a smaJl giggle. "Only one cannot but think of the 
change between then and now — ^it's almost humor- 
ous " 

"I should think it is!" he agreed. 'It's more than 
humorous! It's comic! What d'ye expect? When 
I think of what you were! — a nice little pink and 
white thing with a small waist, — ^and see you nowT 
— ^here he snorted half contemptuously. "But there! 
— ^we can't all remain young, and you're quite com- 
fortable looking — ^a sort of pillow of ease, — you 
might be worse " 

Here then- mutual personal compliments were in- 
terrupted by the hurried entrance of Grace Laurie, 
looking pale and scared. 

"Oh 'm, I'm afraid some accident has happened 
to Miss Diana!" she said, breathlessly. "I've been 
all the way down to the cove, and — ^and " 

Here she suddenly burst out cr}ring. Mr. May 
bounced up from his diair. 

"Deuce take the woman! — don't stand th^^ griz- 
zling! What's the matter? Speak out!" 

Mrs. May stared feebly, her mouth opening slow- 
ly, like that of a fish on dry land. 

"What — ^what is it, Grace?" she stammered. "You 
frighten me!" 

"Yes 'm, I know, but I can't help it!" Grace an- 
swered, gaspingly. "But — ^but I've been down to 
the cove — and all round in every place, and there's 
Miss Diana's clothes all put together on the rocks, 
with her i^oes and hat and bathing towel, but — 
but — there's no Miss Diana!" Here her emotions 
got the better of her, and she gave a small screanu 
"Oh, oh! I'm sure she's drowned! — oh, Miss Diana, 
poor thing! I'm sure she's drowned! — she's been 
carried off her feet by the waves! — ^there was a hi^ 


tide this morning, and I know ebe's drowned I She's 
drowned, she's drowned!" 

Her Yoioe rose to a high shrill pitch, and she wrung 
her hands. 

Mrs. May struggled weakly out of her chair, and 
then dropped heavily into it again. 

'Drowned! Diana! Don't be foolish, Grace! 
It's not possible!" 

Mr. May seized his cap and threw it on his head. 

''Here, I'll soon put a stop to all this nonsense!" 
be said. "Let me get down to the cove, — ^what's the 
good of a parcel of silly fools of women shrieking 
andcryingbeforetiieylmow what's happened!" He 
marched up to Grace Laurie and grasped her by the 
shoulder. "Now, be calm! Can you be calm?" 

Grace caught her breath, and wriggled herself 
away from the nip of his fingers. 

"Yes, sir." 

"Weil, then, repeat what you said just now, — 
you went down to the cove and saw " 

"Miss Diana's clothes, — ^all put by on the rocks^ 
just as she always puts them out of the way when 
she's going to bathe," said Grace. "And her bath- 
ing towel, — ^that hasn't been used. And her shoes 
and stoddngs. But Miss Diana's gone!" 

"Oh dear, oh dear!" moaned Mrs. May. "What 
dreadful, dreadful things you are saying! What are 
we to do? Oh, I feel so iU! My sweet Diana! — ^my 
onty, only precious child! Oh, James, James!" 

And with her face suddenly working up into all 
sorts of lines and creases as tihough it were an indiar 
rubber mask pulled from behind, she began to weep 
slowly and tricklingly, like a tap with a stoppage 
m its middle. 

"Be quiet!" shouted Mr. May fiercely. "You un- 
nerve me with all this snivelling! — ^and I won't be 
unnerved! I'm going myself to the cove — ^I'U soon 
dear up this business! I don't believe anything has 


happened to Diana, — ^it's a fine morning, and she's 
probably enjoying a swim, — she can swim like a fish 
— ^you Mow she can! — she couldn't drown!" 

And with a half-suppressed oath he trotted out, 
all fuss and feathers, like an angry turkey-cock, his 
whole mentality arrayed against fate and circum- 
stance, resolved to show that he was stronger than 

By this time the ill news had spread, and the serv- 
ants, the gardeners, and a few of the villagers went 
running down to the cove. It was true there had 
been a high tide that morning, — ^there was yet the 
glistening trail of the loftiest wave on the rocks 
where the freshly tossed seaweed clung. Safe out 
of all possible reach of the water, and neatly piled 
together on a ledge of rook, were Diana's sunple 
garments, as Grace had said, — ^with her hat, stock- 
ings and shoes and the unused bathing toweL A 
veteran sailor had joined the group of onlookers, 
and now, drawing his pipe from his mouth, he 
'^What time did the leddy coom down 'ere?" 
Mr. May had by now lost a little of his self-asser- 
tiveness and was feeling distinctly uncomfortable. 
He was not a man of sentiment; though he could 
often feign emotion successfully enough to deceive 
the very elect. But just now he was, as he would 
himself have said, "very much upset." He knew 
that he ou^t to appear to his own servants and 
to the villagers like a fond father distracted with 
anxiety and suspense, and he was aware that hia 
dumpy figure in tight white flannels did not "dress" 
the part. He replied curtly: 

"She was here a little before six, I'm told *^ 

"Ah, poor thing, then she's been carried out of her 
depth!" said the old "salt." "There's a main deal 
o' suction with the sea in this 'ere cove when full tide 
cooms in " 


"She's an exoellent swimmer," said Mr. May, gaz- 
ing at the sea in a vaguely disappointed way, as 
though he thought each wave that swept slowly in 
ought to bring Diana riding triumphantly on top 
of it. 

"Ay, ay! — that may be! — ^but swimmin' winnot 
allers save a woman what's light weight an' ain't got 
the muscles of a man. There's a force o' water 'ere 
sometimes as 'ud sweep a cart an' 'oss off like a bit 
o' straw! Ay, ay! — ^she's gone for sure! an' mebbe 
her poor body'll never come nigh — ^leastways not 
'ere, — ^it might, lower down the coast" 

Kere Grace Laurie, who was with the other serv- 
ants watching, began to cry bitterly. 

"Oh, Miss Diana!" she sobbed. "She was so good 
and kind! Oh, poor, dear Miss Diana!" 

The old sailor patted her gently on the shoulder. 

"Now don't ye fret, don't ye fret, my girl!" he 
said. "We're all swept off our feet sooner or later, 
when the big tide cooms in! — ^some goes first an' 
others last, — ^but 'tis all the same! Now you just 
pull yerself together an' take the poor leddy's clothes 
back 'ome — an' I an' my mates will watch all along 
shore, an' if we hears anythin' or finds anythin' " 

Mr. May coughed noisily. 

"I am the father of the unfortunate lady," he said 
stiffly. '*I cannot yet believe or realise this — ^this 
awful business; but anything you can do will be 
suitably rewarded — of course " 

"Thanky, sir, thanky! I makes no doubt on't! — 
but I'll not worrit ye with the hows an' the whens 
in yer sorrer, for sorrer ye must 'ave, for all ye looks 
80 dry. What we 'ears we'll let ye know an' what 
we finds too——" 

And he subsided into silence, watdiing Grace, 
who, with choked sobs and tears, took up Diana's 
clothes as t^iderly as if they were living objects. 
Some of the other servants wept too^ out of ^ympar 


thy^ and Jonson, the butler, approached his master 
with solemn deference. 

"Will you take my harm, sir?" he said. 

Mr. May stared at him angrily, — then, remember- 
ing the ciroiunstances, assumed a melancholy and re- 
signed air. 

"No, Jonson, thank you!" he answered. "I will 
walk home alone." Then, after a pause. 'Tou and 
Grace had better see to Mrs. May, — ^prepare her a 
little — it will be a terrible blow to her " 

He turned away, and as he went, the group of 
sight-seers went fiJso, slowly dispersing and talking 
about the fatality in hushed voices, as though they 
were afraid the sea would hear. 

The old sailor remained behind, smoking and 
watching the waves. Presently he saw something 
on the surface of the water that attracted his atten- 
tion, and he went to the edge of the breaking surf 
and waited till the object was cast at his feet It 
was a woman's white canvas bathing shoe. 

"Ay! Tother'll mebbe come in presently," he 
said. "Poor soul! — ^they'se washed off her feet, — 
she's gone, for sure! I'll keep this a bit — in case 
'tother comes." 

And shaking it free from the sand and dripping 
water, he put it in his jacket pocket; and resumed 
his smoky meditations. 

Meanwhile at Rose Lea the worst had been told. 
Mrs. May, weeping profusely, and tottering like a 
sack too full to stand upright, had been put to bed 
in a state bordering on collapse. Mr. May occupied 
himself in sending off telegrams and writing letters; 
two representatives of the local press called, asking 
for details of the "Shocking Bathing Fatality," which 
they secured, first from the bereaved Mr. May him- 
self, next from the butler, then from the maid, th^i 
from the cook, and then from the kitchen-maid, "who 
'ad been the last to see the poor dear lady," with the 


result that they had a sufficiently garbled and hi^- 
ly-coloiu^ account to make an ahnost "sensational'' 
column in their profoundly dull weekly newspaper. 
The day wore on, — the house was invested with a 
strange sUence; Diana's presence, Diana's busy feet 
tripping here and there on household business might 
have been considered trifling things; but the fact 
that she was no longer in evidence created a curiQus, 
empty sense of loneliness. Mrs. May remained in 
bed, moaning and weeping drearily, with curtains 
drawn to shut out the aggressively brilliant sun- 
shine; and Mr. May began to take a mysterious 
pleasure in writing the letters which told his friends 
in London and elsewhere of his "tragic and irrepar- 
able loss." He surprised himself by the beautiful 
sentences he managed to compose. "Our only dar- 
ling child, who was so beloved and precious to us 
and to all who knew her" — ^was one. "I shall do 
my best to cheer and support my dear wife, who 
IS quite prostrated by this awful calamity," was an- 
other. 'TTou know how dear she was and how deep- 
ly cherished ! " was a third. Sometimes, while he was 
writing, a small twinge of conscience hurt the men- 
tal leader whereof he was largely composed, and 
he realised his own hypocrusy. He knew he was 
not really sorry for what had happened. And yet 
— memory pointed him backward with something 
of reproach to the day when Diana, a pretty and 
winsome child, with fair hair dancing about her in 
bright curls, had clambered on his knee and ca- 
ressed his ugly face, as though it were an adorable 
object, — ^and to the after time, when as a girl in 
the fine bloom of early youth, she had gone with 
him to her first ball, sweet and fresh as the roses 
which adorned her simple white gown, and had 
dbarmed everyone by her grace, gentleness and ex- 
quisite speaking voice, whidi in its softly modulated 
tones, exercised a potent witchery on all who heard 


it. Tnie^ — ahe had missed all her chanoes/ 
rather all her chances had somehow missed her; and 
she had grown not exactly old, but passee — and — 
it was a pity shehad not married!— but now!— now 
all her failures and shortcommgs were for ever at an 
end! She was drowned; — ^the sea had wedded her 
and set its salty weed among her hair in place of 
the never-granted orange-blossonL Mr. May shiv- 
ered a little at this thought, — after all, the sea was 
a cold and cruel grave for his only child ! And yet 
no tear of human or fatherly emotion generated it- 
self out of his dry brain to moisten his hard little 
eyes. He stiffened himself in his chair and resumed 
the writing of his letters which announced the "sud- 
den and awful bereavement" which had befallen 
him, and was charmed by the ease with which the 
tenderest expressions concerning his dead daughter 
flowed from his pen. 

And, after a long, sobbing, snoring sleep, Mrs. 
May woke up to the practical every-day points of 
the ffltuation and realised that there could be no 
funeral This was an awful blow! Unless — ^unless 
the i)oor body of the drowned woman came ashore 
there could be no black procession winding its dole- 
ful way through the flowering lanes of the little 
Devonshire village, where it would have been pictur- 
esque to make a "show" of mourning. So far, the 
sea had cheated the undertaker. 

"I cannot even put a wreath upon my darling's 
ooflSai!" she moaned. "And she loved flowers!" 

Fresh sobs and tears followed this new phase of 
misfortune. Mrs. May was accustomed to find balm 
in Oilead for the death of any friend by sending 
a wreath for the corpse, — ^and her husband had been 
heard to say that if he died first he would be sure 
to have "a nasty wet wreath laid on his chest be- 
fore he was cold." 

Most of the burden and heat of the day fell on the 


maidy Grace Laurie, who had to take cups of soup, 
glasses of wine, and other strengthening refresh- 
ment to Mrs. May in her bedroom, and to see that 
Mr. May "had everything he wanted," which is the 
usual rule of a house sustained by the presence of a 
man. She was an honest, warm-hearted girl, and 
was genuinely sorry for the loss of Diana, far more 
so than were the "bereaved" parents. Once, during 
the later afternoon, when it was verging towards 
sunset, she went to Diana's room and entered it half 
trembling, moved by a sort of superstitious fear lest 
she should perhaps see the spirit of its late occupant. 
The window was open, and a rosy glow from the sky 
flushed the white muslin ciu'tains with pale pink, 
and gave deeper colour to a posy of flowers in a 
vase on the dressing-table. Everything was scrupu- 
lously tidy ; the servants had made the bed early in 
the morning, before the fatality had become known, 
and the whole room had an attractive air of peace- 
ful expectation as though confident of its owner's 
return. Grace opened the wardrobe, — there were 
all the few dresses Diana possessed, in their usual 
places, with two or three simple country hats. Was 
there anything missing? No sooner did this thought 
enter her head than Grace began to search fever- 
ishly. She opened drawers and boxes and cupboards, 
— ^but, so far as die knew, everything was as it al- 
ways appeared to be. Yet she could not be quite 
sure. She was not Diana's own maid, except by 
occasional service and favour, — ^her duties were, 
strictly speaking, limited to personal attendance on 
Mrs. May. Diana was accustomed to do everything 
for herself, arranging and altering her own clothes, 
and even making them sometimes, so that Grace 
never quite knew what she really had in the way of 
garments. But as she looked through all the things 
hurriedly, they seemed to be just what Diana had 
brought with her from Richmond for the summer. 


and no more. The clothes found on the searshore 
Grace had herself placed on one chair, all folded in 
a sad little heap together. She opened the small 
jewel-box that always stood on the dressing-table, 
and recognised everythmg in it, even to the wrisUet^ 
watch which Diana always left behind when she 
went to bathe; apparently there was nothing miss- 
ing. For one moment a sudden thought had en- 
tered her head, that perhaps Diana had run away? 
— ^but she as quickly realised the absurdity of such 
an idea! 

''How stupid of mel" she said. ''She had no cause 
to run away." 

She looked round once again, sadly and hopelessly, 
— then went out and closed the door softly behind 
her. She felt there was a something mysterious and 
suggestive in that empty room. 

Towards dinner-time Mrs. May struggled out of 
bed and sat up in an armchair, swathed in a volu- 
minous dressing-gown. 

"I cannot go down to dinner!" she wailed, to 
Grace. "The very idea of it is terrible! Tell Mr* 
May I want to speak to him." 

Grace obeyed, and presently Mr. May came in 
obedience to the summons, wearing a curious ex- 
pression of solemn shamefacedness, as if he had done 
a mean trick some time and had just been found 
out. His wife gazed at him with red, watery eyes. 

"James," she said, quaveringly, "it's dreadful to 
have to remember what you said last night about 
poor Diana! — oh, it's dreadful!" 

"What did I say?" he asked^ nervously. "I — ^I 
forget " 

"You said — oh, dear, oh, dear! I hope God may 
forgive you! — ^you said Diana was 'in the way!' You 
did! — Our child! Oh, James, James! Your words 
haimt me! You said she was 'in the way,' and now 
die haa been taken from us! Oh, what a p\miah- 


ment for your wicked words I And you a fathw! 
Oh, how ^all we ever get over it!" 

Mr, Polydore May sat down by his wife's chair 
and looked foolish. He knew he ought to say that 
it was indeed a dreadful thing, and that of course 
they could never get over it, — ^but all the time he 
was perfectly aware that the "getting over it" would 
be an easy matter for them both. He had even 
ah-eady imagined it possible to secure a young and 
pretty "companion housekeeper" to assist Mrs. May 
in the cares of domestic management, and, when re- 
quired, to wait upon James Polydore himself with 
all that deferential docility which i^ould be easy to 
command for a suitable salary. That would be one 
way of "getting over it" quite pleasantly, — ^but in re- 
ply to his wife's melancholy adjuration, he judged it 
wisest to be silent. 

She went on, drearily : 

"Fortunately I have one black dress; it belongjBd 
to my poor sister's set of mourning for her husband^ 
but as she married again and went to Australia 
within the year, it's really as good as new, and she 
sold it to me for a pound. And Grace can alter my 
bonnet; it's black, but it has a pink flower, — I must 
get a crape poppy instead, and black gloves, — Oh, 
James! — and you wore white flannels this morning! 
—I'm glad you've had the decency to change them ! " 

Mr. May had certainly changed them, — ^partly out 
of conviction that such change was necessary, and 
partly because Jonson, the butler, had most urgently 
suggested it. And he was now attired in his "regu- 
lation" Sunday suit, which gave him the proper ap- 
pearance of a respectable J.P. in mourning. All day 
he had practised an air of pious resignation and re- 
served sadness; — ^it was difficult to keep it up be- 
wise his nature was captious and irascible, espe- 
cially when things happened that were opposed to 
his personal convenience and comfort. His efforts 


to look what he was not gave him the aspect of a 
Methodist minister disappointed in the silver col- 

But perhaps on the whole, his wife was a greater 
humbug than he was. She was one of those curious 
but not uncommon characters who imagine them- 
selves to be "full of feeling/' when truly they have 
no feeling at all. Nobody could "gush" with more 
lamentable pathos than ^e over a calamity occur- 
ring to any of her friends or acquaintances, but no 
trouble had ever yet lessened her appetite, or de- 
prived her of sleep. Her one aim itf life was to seem 
all that was conventionally correct, — to seem relig- 
ious, when she was not, to seem sorry, when she was 
not, to seem glad, when she was not, to seem kind, 
when she was not, to seem a£Fectionate, when she 
was not. Her only real passions were avarice, tuft- 
hunting and gluttony, — ^these were the fundamen- 
tal chords of her nature, hidden deep behind the fat, 
urbane mask of flesh which presented itself as a 
woman to the world. There are thousands like her, 
who, unfortunately, represent a large section of the 
matronhood of Britain. 

The news of Diana's sudden and sad end soon 
spread among the old and new friends and nei^- 
bours of the Polydore Mays, arousing languid com- 
ment here and there, such as: "Poor woman! But, 
after all, there wasn't much for her in life — she was 
quite the old maid!" Or, — as at Mr. May's club: 
"Best thing that could have happened for old Poly- 
dore! — he can't trot her round any more, and he'll 
be able to play the man-about-town more success- 

Nobody gave a thought to the quiet virtues of the 
industrious, patient, una£Fected dau^ter who had 
devoted herself to the duty of caring for and at- 
tending upon her utterly selfish parents, — and cer- 
tainly nobody ever remembered that her spinster- 


hood was the result of a too lofty and faithful con- 
ception of love, or that her nature was in very truth 
an exceptionally sweet and gracious one, and her in- 
telligence of a much higher order than is granted to 
the average female. In that particular section of 
himian beings among whom she had lived and 
moved, her^aiaB^r w^^onsidered. ijaeleas .b%p ^ i go. g>i a 
had failed to seciire a mate and settle do wn to be aj 
the burden" and 15ruiif oTTiis^passiOfiis and his will,. 
And so, ~BS she had iievur display eTanySfiEingTal^ 
ent, or thrust herself forward in any capacity, or 
shown any marked characteristic, and as the world 
is over full of women, she was merely one of the 
superfluous^ who, not being missed, was soon for- 


On that same ^ninently tragic afternoon when 
Mr. Polydore May found it necessary to cbange his 
white flannels so soon after putting them on, and 
his wife had to think seriously of a crape poppy for 
her bonnet, two ladies sat in the charmingly ar- 
ranged drawing-room of a particularly charming flat 
in Mayfair enjoying their afternoon tea. One was 
a graceful little woman arrayed in a captivating tear 
gown; the other, a thin, rather worn-looking crea- 
ture with a pale face and bright hair tucked closely 
away under a not very becoming felt hat, garbed 
in a severly plain costume of dark navy serge. The 
butterfly person in the tea-gown was Miss Sophy 
Lansing, a noted Suffragette, and the authoress of a 
brilliantly witty satire entitled ^^Adam and His 
Apple," which, it was rumoured, had made even the 
Dean of St. Paul's laugh. The tired-featured wo- 
man with the air of an intellectual governess out of 
place, was no other than the victim of the morning's 
disastrous "death by drowning," — ^Diana May. Dead 
in Devonshire, she was alive in London, and her 
friend, Sophy Lansing, was sitting beside her, claw- 
ing her hands in a flutter of delight, surprise and 
amusement all commingled. 

"You dear!" she exclaimed. "How ever did you 
manage to get away? I never was so astonished! 
Or so pleased! When I got your note by express 
messenger, I could hardly believe my eyes! What 
time did you arrive in town?" 

"About midday," replied Diana. "I felt comfort- 
ably drowned by that time, — ^and I lunched at the 
Stores " 



"Drowned!'' cried Sophy. "My dear, what do 
3rou mean?'* 

Diana released her hands from her friend's eager 
grasp and took o£F her hat. There was a gleam of 
whimsical humour in her eyes- 

"One moment, and I'll explain everything/' she 
said* "But, first of all, let me tell you why I sent 
you a message in advance, instead of coming to 
you direct. It's because I'm obliged for the present 
to be like a travelling royalty, incog. Your serv- 
ants must not know my real name, — ^to them and to 
everybody else who sees me here, I'm Miss Graham, 
— not Miss May. Miss May is dead! As Pegotty 
says in 'David Copperfield,' she's 'drowndead.' 
'Drowndead' this very morning I" 

She laughed; Sophy Lansing looked as she felt, 
utterly bewildered. 

"You are a positive enigma, Diana!" she said. 
"Of course when I got your note I understood you 
had some reason or other for wishing to be incog., 
and I told my maids that I expected a friend to 
stay with me, a Miss Graham, and that she would 
come this afternoon, — so that's all right! But about 
the drowning business ^" 

"You'll see it mentioned, no doubt, in the papers 
to-morrow," said Diana. "Under various headings: 
'Bathing Fatality' or 'Sad End of a Lady.' And 
you'll probably get a black-bordered letter from Ma, 
or Pa, or both!" 

"Diana!" exclaimed Sophy, vehemently. "You 
are too provoking! Tell me all about it! — straight!" 

"Hiere's not so very much to tell," answered Di- 
ana, in her sweet, mellow accents, thrilled at the 
moment by a note of sadness. "Only that last night 
I had the final disillusion of my life — ^I found 
that my father and mother did not really love 

"Love you!" interrupted Sophy, heatedly. 'Tou 


dear goose! There's no such thing as love in their 

"Maybe not," said Diana. "But if there is, 
they've none to spare for me. You see, dear Sophy, 
it's all the fault of my silly conceit, — I really thou^t 
I was useful, even necessary to the old people, and 
that they cared for me, but when I heard my father 
say most emphatically that I was 'in the way,' and 
my mother rather agreed to that, I made up my 
mind to relieve them of my presence. Which I have 
done. For ever!" 

"For ever!" echoed Sophy. "My poor dear 
Diana " 

"No, I'm not a poor dear Diana," she answered, 
smiling, — "I'm a dead and gone Diana! You will see 
me in the leading obituary columns of the news- 
papers to-morrow I " 

"But how " 

"The how and the when and the why are thus!" 
and Diana played with the silken tassels of the 
girdle which belted in the dainty chiffon and lace 
of her friend's tea-gown. "This very morning, as 
ever was, I went for my usual morning dip in the 
sea at a cove not a quarter of a mile away from the 
house. I knew that at a certain hour there would be 
a high tide, which, of course, on any other day I 
would have avoided, I went to the spot, dressed 
in two of everything " 

"Two of everything?" Sophy murmured bewil- 

"Yes, you pretty little thick-head ! Two of every- 
thing! Don't you see? Being as thin as a clothes'- 
prop, that was easy for me. Two 'combys,' — two 
chemises, two petticoats, two serge gowns, — Shaving 
no figure I wear no corsets, so I didn't have two of 
those. Two pairs of knickers, two pairs of stock- 
ings, — one pair of shoes on, another pair ofj and car- 
ried secretly under my bathing gown along with my 


felt hat^ as to start with I wore a black straw one. 
Then, when I got to the cove, I disrobed myself of 
one set of garments, and put them with my straw 
hat and one pair of shoes all in an orderly heap on 
a rock out of the way of the water, as any sensible 
person preparing to bathe would do. Then I waited 
fOT the high tide. It came swiftly and surely, and 
soon filled the cove, — ^big waves came with it> roll- 
ing in with a splendid dash and roar, and at the 
proper psychological moment, I threw in all my 
batliing tilings, as far out to sea as I could from the 
summit of the rock where I stood — I saw them 
whirled round and round in the whelming flood! — 
in the whelming flood, Sophy! — where my dear Pa 
and Ma believe I also have been whelmed! Then, 
when they had nearly disappeared in the hollow of 
a receding mass of water, I put on my felt hat, and, 
completely clothed in my one set of decent gar- 
ments, I quietly walked away." 

"Walked away? Where to?" 

"Not to the nearest railway station, you may be 
sure!" replied Diana. "I might have been known 
there and traced. I'm a good walker, and it was 
quite early— only a little siter seven, — so I struck 
across some fields and went inland for about six or 
ei^t miles. Then I came upon a little out-of-th&- 
way station connected with a branch line to Lon- 
don — ^happily a train was just due, and I took it. I 
had saved five pounds on the housekeeping last 
month, — ^I had intended to give them back to my 
mother — ^but — considering everything — I felt I 
might take that smaU siun for myself without so 
much as a prick of conscience! So that's my story 
— ^and here I am!" 

"And here you'U stay!" said Sophy eagerly. "Not 
a soul shall know who you are " 

'111 stay for two or three days, but not longer," 
said Diana. *'l want to get abroad as quickly as 


possible. And I'm afraid I shall have to ask you 
to lend me a little money " 

"I'll lend or give you anything you want/' inter- 
rupted Sophy quickly. "Surely you know thatl" 

"Surely I know that you are one of the kindest- 
hearted little women in the world!" said Diana. 
"And your wealthy old bachelor uncle never did a 
wiser thing than when he left you two thousand a 
year! Why you remain single I can never under- 

"That's because you are a sentimental jgoose!" 
declared Sophy. "If you were worldly wise you 
would see that it's just that two thousand that does 
it! The men who propose to me — ^and there are a 
good few of them! — want the two thousand first, 
and me afterwards! Or rather^ let us say, some of 
them would be glad of the two thousand without 
me altogether! All the nonsense in poetry books 
about love and dove, and sigh and die, and moon 
and spoon doesn't count! I've lived till I'm thirty- 
five and I've never met a man yet who was worth 
A trickle of a tear! They are all sensualists and 
money-grubbers, — ^polygamous as monke}^! — ^and 
the only thing to be done with them is to make them 
work to keep the world going, though even that 
seems little use sometimes." 

"Sophy dear, are you becoming a pessimist?" 
asked Diana, half smiling. "Surely it is a beautiful 

"Yes — ^it's beautiful in a natural way — ^but the 
artificiality of human life in it is depressing and dis- 
gusting! Don't let us talk of it! — tell me why you 
are going abroad? What are your plans?" 

Diana took a neat leather case from her pocket 
and drew out of it a folded slip of paper. 

^'You sent me that!" she said. 

"That advertisement!" she exclaimed. "The man 
who wants 'Any woman alone in the world, without 


daims on her time or her affections'? Oh, Diana! 
You don't mean it! You're not really going on such 
a wild-goose chase?" 

''What harm can it do?" said Diana, quietly. "I'm 
old enough jfi take care of myself. And I fulfil all 
the requirements. I am a woman of mature years 
—I'm courageous and determined, and I have a fair 
knowledge of modem science. I'm well educated, 
especially in 'languages and literature,' thanks to 
my solitary studies, — and as I've nothing to look for- 
ward to in the world I'm not afraid to take risks. 
It really seems the very sort of thing for me ! At 
any rate I can but go and present myself, as sug- 
gested, 'personally and alone' to this Dr. Dimitrius 
at Geneva, — and if he turns out an impostor, well! 
--<jeneva isn't the worst of places, and I'm sure I 
could find something to do as a teacher of music, or 
a 'companion housekeeper.' In any case I'm deter- 
mined to go there and investigate tilings for myself, 
—and whatever money you are good enough to lend 
me, dear Sophy, be sure I'll never rest till I pay you 
back every penny!" 

Sophy threw an embracing arm round her and 
kissed her. 

"If you never paid me back a farthing I shouldn't 
mind!" she said, laughing. "Dear Di, I'm not one 
of those 'friends' who measure love by mon^l 
Money and the passion for acquiring it make more 
than half the hsrpocrisy, cruelty and selfishness of 
the age. But all the same I'm not quite sure that 
I approve of this plan of yours " 

"My dear Sophy, why should you disapprove? 
Just think of it! Here am I, past forty, without 
any attraction whatsoever, no looks, no fortune, and 
nothing to look forward to in life except perhaps the 
chance of travel and adventure. I'm fond of stud- 
ies in modem science, and I believe I've read every 
book of note on all the new discoveries, — and here's 


a man who plainly announces in his advertisement 
that he needs the assistance of a woman like me. 
There can be no harm done by my going to see him. 
Very likely by the time I get to Geneva he'll be 
what the servants call 'suited.' Then I'll try some- 
thing else. For now, as long as I live I'm alone in 
the world and must stand on my own." 

"Do you mean to say that you'll never go back 
to the old folks?" asked Sophy. 

"How can I, when I'm dead!!' laughed Diana. 
"No, no ! It would be too awful for them to see me 
turning up again just wh^i I had ceased to be in 
the way!" 

Sophy frowned. 

"Selfish old brutes!" she said. 

Diana demurred. 

"No, don't say that!" she expostulated. "You 
must bear in mind that I've been a terrible disap- 
pointment to them. They wanted me to marry wdl, 
— for money rather than love — and when I wasted 
my youth for love's sake, of course they were an- 
gry. They thou^t me a fool, — ^and really, so I was! 
I don't think there can be anything more foolish 
than to sacrifice the best part of one's life for any 
man. He is never worth it> — ^he never understands 
or appreciates it. To him women are all alike, — 
one as good or as bad as t'other. The mistake we 
make is when we fail to treat him as he treats ils! 
He is a creatine who from very babyhood upwards 
should be whipped rather than spoilt. That is why 
he is frequently more faithful to his mistress than 
his wife. He's afraid of the one, but he can bully 
the other." 

Sophy clapped her handa 

'^ell said, Di! You begin to agree with me at 
last! Once upon a time you were all for believing 
in the chivalrous thought and tenderness of 
men *^ 



'1 wanted to believe/' interrupted Diana, with a 
half amile — ^^'I can't honestly say I did!'' 

''No one can who studies hie ever so superficially/' 
declared Sophy. 'Tarticularly the ordinary matri- 
monial life. A man selects a woman entirely for 
selfish purposes — she may be beautiful and he wishes 
to possess her beauty — or rich, and he wants the use 
of her money, — or well-connected, and he seeks to 
push himself throu^ her relations; or a good oook 
and housekeep^ and he wants his appetite well ca- 
tared for. As for children — ^weU! — sometimes he 
wants them and more often he doesn't I — ^I remem- 
ber what an awful fuss there was in the house of an 
unfortunate friend of mine who had twins. Her hus- 
band was furiou& When he was told of the 'int»- 
esting event' he used the most unedifying language. 
Two more mouths to feed ! ' he groaned. 'Grood Qod, 
what a visitation ! ' From the way he went on, you'd 
have thought that he had had no share at all in the 
business I He didn't mind hurting his wife's feel- 
ings or saying hard things to her, — ^not he I And 
it's the same story everywhere you go. A few months 
of deli^tful courtship, — ^then marriage— then inces- 
sant routine of housekeeping, illness and child-bear- 
ing — and afterwards, when tibe children grow up, the 
long dull days of resigned monotony; toothlessness, 
which is only partially remedied by modem den- 
tistry, and an end of everything vital or pleasurable! 
EsDcept, of course, unless you kick over the traces 
and become a 'fast' matron with your weather-eye 
op^i on all men, — ^but that kind of woman is al- 
ways such bad form. Mairiage is not worth the 
trouble it brings, — even children are not unmixed 
blessingB. I've never seen any I could not do with- 
out! — ^in fact" — and she laughed — ^''a bachelor 
woman with two thousand a year doesn't want a 
man to help her to spend it!" 

''Quite true," said Diana, with a sli^t si^. ''But 


I haven't got two thousand a year, or anything a 
year at all!" 

"Never mind!" and Sophy looked wisely confident 
— "you'll have all you want and more! Yes! — ^some- 
thing tells me you are going to^ make a great suc- 
cess " 

"Sophy, Sophy! In what?" 

"Oh, I don't know!" and the vivacious little lady 
jumped up from her chair and shook out her filmy 
skirts and floating ribbons. "But I feel it! It is one 
of those 'waves' — ^what do you call them? — 'etheric 
vibrations!' Yes, that's it! Don't you feel those 
sort of things ever?" 

Diana had also risen, and as she stood upriglht, 
very still, there was a curious look in her face of 
expectancy and wonder. 

"Yes," die answered, slowly, "I felt one just now!" 

Sophy laughed merrily. 

"Of course ! I imparted it to you ! and you're go- 
ing to be a wonderful creature! — I'm sure of it! 
Your poor brain, — so long atrophied by the domes- 
tic considerations of Pa and Ma, is about to ex- 
pand! — to breathe! — ^to move! — ^to act! Yes, Di- 
ana! — ^Think of it! Cinderella shall go to the 
Prince's Ball!" 

Her bright laughter pealed out again, and Diana 
laughed too. 

"Come and see your room," went on Sophy. 
"You're here at any rate for a day or two, and I'll 
keep you as secretly and preciously as a saint in a 
dirine. You've no luggage? Of course, I forgot! — 
I'll lend you a nightie! — and you must buy a lot of 
clothes to-morrow and a box to pack them in. It 
won't do for you to go abroad witiiout any luggage. 
And I'll help you choose your garments, Di! — ^you 
must have something really becoming! — ^something 
not after the taste of Ta' or 'Ma!' " 

"Am I to make a conquest of Dr. F6odor Dimit- 


rlus?" asked Diana, playfully. "One would think 
you had that sort of thing in view ! " 

"One never knows!" said Sophy, shaking a warn- 
ing finger at her. "Dr. Dimitrius may be hideous — 
or he may be fascinating. And whether hideous or 
fascinating, he may be — amorous! Most men are, 
at moments! — and in such moments they'll make 
love to anything feminine." 

"Not anything feminine of my age," said Diana, 
calmly. "He distinctly advertises for a woman of 
'mature' years." 

**That may be his cunning!" and Sophy looked 
mysterioua "If we are to believe history, Cleo- 
patra was fifty when she enchanted Anthony." 

"Dear old Egyptian days!" sighed Diana, with a 
^imsical uplifting of her eyebrows. "Would I had 
lived in them! With a long plaited black wig and 
darkened lashes, I too, mi^t have found an An- 

"WeU, dress does make a difference," said Sophy 
seriously. "That is, of course, if you know where to 
get it made, and how to put it on, and don't bundle 
it round you in a gathered balloon like 'Ma!' What 
a sight that woman does look, to be sure!" 

"Poor mother ! I tried to make her clothes sit on 
her," murmured Diana, regretfully. "But they 

"Of course they wouldn't! They simply couldrCt! 
Now take Mrs. Ross-Percival, — a real old, old har- 
ridan! — the tCTTor of her grown-up daughters, who 
are always watching her lest her wig of young curls 
should come off, — she gets herself up in such a style 
that I once heard your father — an easily duped old 
thing! — say he thought her 'the most beautiful 
woman in London !' And it was all the dress, with a 
big hat, cosmetics and a complexion veil!" 

Diana laughed. 

"Pa's a very susceptible little man !" she said toler- 


antly. ''He has often amused me very mudii with 
his 'amourettes.' Sometimes it's Mrs. Boss-Percival, 
— then he becomes suddenly violently juvenile and 
pays his devoirs to a girl of seventeen; I think he'd 
die straight off if he couldn't believe himself still 
capable of conquering all hearts! And he'll be able 
to get on in that line much better now that I'm 
drowned. I was 'in the way.' *' 

"SiUy old noodle!" said Sophy. "He'd better not 
come near me! — I should tell him a few plain truths 
of himself which he would not like!" 

"Oh, he wouldn't mind!" Diana assured her. "To 
begin with, he wouldn't listen, and if he did, he 
would grin that funny Uttle grin of his and say you 
were 'over-wrou^t.' That's his great word! You 
can make no impression on Pa if he doesn't want 
to be impressed. He has absolutely no feelings — ^I 
mean real feelings, — ^he has only just 'impulses,' of 
anger or pleasiure, sudii as an animal has — ^and he 
doesn't attempt to control either." 

Tliey had by this time left the drawing-room, and 
were standing together in a charming little bed- 
room, furnished all in white and rose-colour. 

"This is my 'visitor's room,' said Sophy. "And 
you can occupy it as long as you like. And I'll bring 
you one of my Paris tea-gowns to slip on for din- 
ner, — ^it's lovely and you'll look sweet!" 

Diana smiled. 

"I! Dear Sophy, you expect miracles!" 

But Sophy was not so far wrong. That evening, 
Diana, arrayed in a gracefully flowing garment of 
cunningly interwoven soft shades, varying from the 
hue of Neapolitan violets to palest turquoise, and 
wearing her really beautiful bri^t hair artistically 
coiled on the top of her well-shaped head, was avery 
different looking Diana to the weary, worn and an- 
gular woman in severely cut navy serge who had 
presented the appearance of an out-of-place govern- 


but a few hours before. If she could not be called 
ycfung or beautiful, she was distinctly attractive, and 
Sophy Lansing was delighted. 

**My dear, you pay for dressing!'' she said, en- 
thusiastically. "And — you mark my words! — ^you 
don't look 'mature' enou^ for that Dr. Dimitrius!" 


Therb are certain people who take a bland and 
solemn pleasure in the details of death and disaster, 
— ^who are glad to assume an air of what they call 
^'Christian resignation/' and who delight in fun^iJs 
and black-edged note-paper. R^ular church-goers 
are very frequently most particular about this last 
outward sign and token of the heart's incurable sor- 
row ; some choose a narrow black edge as being less 
obtrusive but more subtle,^-others a broad, as em- 
blematic of utter hopelessness. The present writer 
once happened on a cjmical stationer, who had his 
own fixed ideas on this particular department of 
mourning which was so closely connected with his 

"The broader the edge, the less the grief/' he as- 
sured me. "Just as I say of widows, the longer the 
veil, the sooner the second wedding, — ^and the more 
wreaths there are on a hearse, the fewer the friends 
of the deceased. That's my experience." 

But no one should accept these remarks as any- 
thing but the cynical view of a small tradesman 
whose opinion of his clients was somewhat embit- 

A letter with a black border which was neither 
broad nor narrow, but discreetly medium, appeared 
among Sophy Lansing's daily pile of correspondence 
the morning after Diana's arrival at her flat, and, 
recognising the handwriting on the envelope, she 
at once selected it from the rest, and ran into h^r 
friend's room, waving it aloft triumphantly. 

"Look!" she exclaimed. "From your poor, af- 
flicted Pal To announce the sad news!" 



Diana^ fresh from her bath, her hair hanging about 
her and the faint pink of her cheeks contrasting be- 
comingly with the pale blue of her dressing-gown, 
looked up rather wistfully. 

*T)o open it!" she said. *Tm sure it will be a 
beautiful letter! Pa can express himself quite elo- 
quently when he thinks it worth while. I remember 
he wrote a most charming 'gush' of sympathy to a 
woman who had lost her husband suddenly, — she 
was a titled person, and Pa worships titles, — and 
when he had posted it he said: Thank God that's 
done with! It's bad enou^ to write a letter of 
condolence at all, but when you have to express sor- 
row for the death of an old fool who is better out of 
the world than in it, it's a positive curse ! ' " 

She laughed, adding: ^'I know he isn't really 
sorry for my supposed 'death' ; if the real, bare, bru- 
tal truth were told, he's glad!" 

Sophy Lansing paused in the act of opening the 

''Diana!" she exclaimed in a tone of thrilling 
indignation. "If he's such an old brute as 
liiat '' 

"Oh, no, he isn't really an old brute!" Diana 
averred, gently. "He's just a very ordinary sort of 
man. Lots of people pretend to be sorry for the 
deaths of their friends and relatives when they're 
not; and half the mourning in the world is sheer 
hypocrisy! Pa's a bit of a coward, too — ^he hates 
the very thought of death, and when some person 
he has known commits this last indiscretion of dying, 
he forgets it as quickly as possible. I don't blame 
him, I'm sure. Everyone can't feel deeply — some 
people can't feel at all." 

Here Sophy opened the letter and glanced at it. 
Presently ^e looked up. 

"Shall I read it to you?" she asked. 

Diana nodded. With a small, preparatory cou^, 


whidii sounded rather like a suppressed giggle, So- 
phy thereupon read the following effuabn: 


"Dear Miss Lansing, 

"I hardly know how to break to you the news 
of the sudden and awful tragedy which has wrecked 
the happiness of our lives! Our beloved only child, 
our darling daught^ Diana is no more ! I am aware 
what a shock this will be to your feelings, for you 
loved her as a friend, and I wish any words of mine 
could soften the blow. But I am too stunned my- 
self with grief and horror to write more than just 
suffices to tell you of the fatal calamity. The poor 
diild was overtaken by a high tide while bathing 
this morning, and was evidently carried out of h» 
depth. For some hours I have waited and hoped 
against hope that perhaps, as she was a good swim- 
mer, she might have reached some other part of the 
diore, but alas! I hear from persons familiar with 
this coast that the swirl of water in a high tide is so 
strong and often so erratic that it is doubtful 
whether even her poor body will ever be found! A 
sailor has just called here with a melancholy relio — 
her poor Uttle bathing shoes! He picked up one 
this morning, soon after the accident, he says, and 
the other has lately been washed ashore. I cannot 
go on writing, — my heart is too full! My poor wife 
is quite beside herself with sorrow. We can only 
place our trust in God that He^ wiU, with time, help 
us to find consolation for our irreparable loss. We 
shall not forget your affection for our darling, and 
shall hope to send you her little wristlet watd^ aa a 

'^Yours, in the deepest affliction, 

"Jambs Polydobe Mat." 

Diana had listened with close and aJmost fasci- 
nated attention. 


''Of course it isn't true/' she said, when the read- 
ing was finished. 'It can't be true." 

''What can't be true?" queried Sophy, puckering 
her well-arched eyebrows. 

^ "All that!" and Diana waved her hand ezpre(»- 
sivdy. "Pa's not a bit stunned witih grief and hor- 
ror!' You couldn't fancy him in such a condition if 
you tried! And motiher is not in the least 'beside 
herself.' She's probably ordering her mourning. 
Why, they are already parcelling out my trinkets, 
and before I've been 'drowned' twenty-four hours 
they're thinking of sending you my wristlet watch 
by way of an 'In Memoriam.' I hope they will, — 
I should love you to have it! But people who are 
'stunned with grief and horror' and 'beside them- 
sdves' are not able to make all these little arrange- 
ments so quickly! Ah, Sophy! An hour ago I was 
actually fanc^ying that perhaps I had behaved cm- 
dly, — ^tiiere was a stupid, lingering sentiment in my 
mind that su^ested the possible suffering and d&- 
q>air of my father and mother at having lost me I — 
but after that letter I am reassured ! I know I have 
done the right thing." 

Sophy looked at her with a smile. 

*You are a curious creature!" she said. "Surely 
Pa expresses himself very touchingly?" 

"Too touchingly by half!" answered Diana. 
"Had he really felt the grief he professes to feel, he 
could not have written to you or to any other friend 
for several days about it— — ^" 

"Perhaps," interrupted Sophy, "he thought it 
would be in the papers, and that unless he wrote it 
mi^t be taken for someone else ^" 

"He knew it would be in the papers," said Diana, 
"and naturally wished to let his acquaintances know 
that he, and no other man of the name of May, is 
the bereaved father of the domestic melodrama. 
Well!" — ^and she shook bade her hair over her shoul- 


den — ^^'it's finished! I am dead! — and 'bom again,' 
as the Scripture saitfa, — at rather a mature agel — 
but I may yet turn out worth regenerating! — ^who 

She lauded, and turned to the dressing-table to 
complete h^ toilette. Sophy put affectionate arms 
about her. 

'Tou are a dear, strange, clever, lovable thing, 
anj^way!" she said. ''But really, Tve had quite a 
sleepless night thinking about that Dr. Dimitrius! 
He may be a secret investigator or a spy, and if you 
go to him he may want you to do all sorts of dread- 
nil, even criminal things! '' 

"But I shouldn't do them!/' laughed Diana. "So- 
phy, have you no confidence in my mental balance?" 

'7 have, but some people wouldn't," Sophy re- 
plied. "They would say that a woman of your age 
ought to know better tiian to leave a comfortable 
home where you had only the housekeeping to do, 
and give up tiie chance of an ample income at your 
parents' death, just to go away on a wild-goose dxase 
after new adventures, and all because you imagined 
you weren't loved ! Oh, dear! Love is only 'a springe 
to catch woodcocks!' as the venerable Polonius so 
wisely remarks in Hamlet. I know a sneering cymo 
who sajrs that women are always 'asking for love!' " 

Diana paused in the act of brushing out a long 
bright ripple of hair. Her eyes grew sombre — ^al- 
most tragic. 

"So tiiey are!" she said. "They ask for it because 
they know God meant them to have it! They know 
they were created for lover-love, wife-love, mother- 
love, — ^just think what life means to them when 
cheated out of all three through the selfishness and 
treachery of man! Their blood gets poisoned — 
their thoughts share the bitterness of their blood — 
they are no longer real women ; they become ab- 
normal and of no sex, — ^they shriek with the Suffra- 


gettes, and put on trousers to go 'on the land' with 
tiie men — ^they do anytbmg and everjrthing to force 
m^i's attention — forgetting that efforts msde on the 
masculine line completely fail in attraction for the 
male sex. It is the sensual and physical side of a 
woman that subjugates a man, — ^therefore when she 
is past her youth she has little or no 'chance/ as 
they call it. If she happens to be brainless, she 
turns into a sour, grizzlmg, teardrinking nonentity 
and talks nothing but scandal and diseases, — ^if she 
is intellectually brilliant, well! — sometimes she 
funds' on the dogs that have bayed her into soli- 
tude, and, like a wounded animal, springs to her re- 

IThe words came impetuously from her lips, ut- 
tered in that thrillingly sweet voice which was her 
special gift and charm. 

Sophy's bright eyes opened in sheer astonishment. 

"Why, Diana!" she exclaimed. "You talk like a 
tragedy queen!" 

Diana shrugged her shoulders lightly. 

"Do I?" and she slowly resimied the brushing of 
her hair. "There's nothing in what I say but the 
distinctly obvious. Love is the necessity of life to 
a woman, and when that fails " 

"Diana, Diana!" interrupted Sophy, shaking a 
warning finger at her — "you talk of love as if it 
really were the 'ideal' thing described by poets and 
romancists, when it's only the sugar-paper to at- 
tract and kill the flies! We women begin life by 
believing in it; but every married friend of mine 
tells me that all the lioney' of tiie 'moon' is finished 
in a couple of months, never again to be found in the 
pot-au'feu of matrimony! Out of a thousand men 
taken at random perhaps one will really love, in the 
b^ and finest sense; the rest are only swayed by 
animal passion such as is felt by tiie wolf, the bear, 
or even the rabbit! — ^I really think the rabbit is the 


moat exact prototsrpe! How many wives one knows 
whose husbands not only neglect them, but are 
downright rude to them! — ^Why, my dear, your no- 
tion of *love' is a dream, beyond all realisation!" 

"Possibly!" and Diana went on with her hair- 
brushing. "But whatever it is, or whatever I imag- 
ined it to be, I don't want it now. I want—re- 

"Revenge?" Sophy gave a littie start of surprise. 
"You? You, always gentle, patient and adaptable! 
You want 'revenge'? On whom? On what?" 

"On all and eveiything that has set me apart and 
alone as I am!" Diana answered. "Perhaps science 
can show me a way to it! If so, I shall not have 
lived in vain!" 

"Diana ! " exclaimed h^ friend. "One would think 
you were going to bring microbes in a bottle, or some- 
thing awful of that sort, and kill people!" 

"Not I!" and Diana laughed quite merrily. "Kill- 
ing is a common thing — and vulgar. But — ^I have 
strange dreams!" She twisted up her hair dexter- 
ously and coiled it prettily round her small, compact 
head. "Yes! — I have strange dreams!" she went on. 
"In these times we are apt to forget the conquests 
possible to the brain, — we let fools over-ride us when 
we could far more easily over-ride them. In my 
'salad days,' which lasted far too long, I 'asked for 
love' — ^now I ask for vengeance! I gave all my heart 
and soul to a man whose only god was Self, — ^and I 
got nothing back for my faith and truth. So I have 
a long score to settle! — and I shall try to have some 
of my spent joys returned to me — ^with heavy in- 

"But how?" inquired Sophy, perplexed. 'You 
don't expect to get any 'spent joys' out of this Dr. 
Dimitrius, do you?" 

Diana smiled. "No!" 

"And if he proves to be a charlatan, as he prob- 


ably will, you say you'll go as companion or gov- 
erness or housekeeper to somebody out in Geneva 
— well, where are you going to find any joy in such 
a life as-ihat?" 

Diana looked at her, still smiling. 

"My dear, I don't expect anything! Who was it 
that said : 'Blessed are they that expect nothing, for 
they shall not be disappointed'? The chief point I 
have now to dwell upon is, that I am to all intents 
and purposes Dead! and, being dead, I'm free! — ^al- 
most as free as if my spirit had really escaped from 
its mortal prison. Really, there's something quite 
vitalising in the situation ! — ^just now I feel ready for 
anything. I shouldn't mind trying an airship voy- 
age to tibe moon!" 

**With Dr. Dimitrius?" suggested Sophy, lauding. 

''Well, I don't know anything about Dr. Dimitrius 
yet," answered Diana. ''Judging from his advertise- 
ment I imagine he is some wealthy 'crank' who fan- 
cies himself a scientist. There are any amount of 
them wandering about the world at the present time. 
I shall soon be able to teU whether he's a humbug 
or an honest man, — ^whether he's mad or sane — 
meanwhile, dear little Sophy, let's have breakfast 
and then go shopping. We've done with Pa and 
Ma« — ^at any rate / have, bless their dear old hearts! 
— we know they're 'stunned with grief and horror* 
and 'beside themselves' and as happy in their 'mis- 
ery^ as they ever were in their lives. I can see my 
mother getting fitted for her mourning, and 'Pa' 
ai^uing with tiie hatter as to the proper width of 
his hat-band, and all the neighbours calling, and 
proffering 'sympathy^ when they don't care a scrap ! 
It's a curious little humbug of a world, Sophy!— 
but for the remainder of my time I'U try to make it 
of use to me. Only you'll have to lend me some 
money to b^in upon!" 

"Any amoimt you want!" said Sophy, enthusiasr 


tically — '*You must have proper clothes to travel 

"I must'' agreed Diana, with humorously dra- 
matic emphasis. ^'I haven't had any since I was 
^withdrawn' from the matrimonial market for lack 
of bidders. Mother used to spend hundreds on me 
so long as there was any hope — I had the prettiest 
frocks, the daintiest hats, — and in these I 'radiated' 
at all the various shows, — ^Ranelagh, Hurlingham, 
Henley, Ascot, Goodwood, — ^how sick I used to be 
of itl But when these little crowsfeet round my 
eyes bejgan to come" — ^and she touched her temples 
expressively — "then poor, disappointed Ma drew in 
the purse-strings. She found tibat very 'young* hats 
didn't suit me^—deUcate sky-pinks and blues made 
me look sallow, — so she and Pa decided on giving 
me an 'allowance' — too meagre to stand the cost of 
anything but the plainest garments — ^and — so, here 
I am ! Pa says 'only very young people should wear 
white' — ^but the vain old boy got himself up in white 
flannels the other day to play tennis and thought he 
looked splendid! But what's the odds, so long as 
he's happy!" 

She laughed and turned to the mirror to complete 
her toilette, and in less than an hour's time she and 
Sophy Lansing had finished their breakfast and were 
out together in Bond Street, exploring the mysteries 
of the newest Aladdin's palace of elegant garments, 
where the perfect taste and deft fingers of practised 
Parisian fitters soon supplied all that was needed to 
suit Diana's immediate requirements. At one very 
noted establishment, she slipped into a "model" 
gown of the finest navy serge, of a design and cut 
so admirable that the couturier could hardly be said 
to flatter when he declared that "Madame looked a 
princess in it." 

"Do princesses always look well?" she asked, with 
a quaint little uplifting of her eyebrows. 


The great French tailor waved his hands expree- 

''Ah, Madame! It is a figure of speech!" 

Diana laughed, — ^but she purchased the costume^ 
Sophy whispering mysterioudy in her ear: ''Let us 
take it with us in the automobile! One never knows! 
— ^they mi^t change it! And you'll never get any- 
thing to suit you more perfectly." 

Miss Lansing was worldly-wise; she had not gained 
the reputation of being one of the best-dressed 
women in London without learning many little ins 
and outs of ''model" gowns which are hidden from 
the profane. Many and many a time had she been 
"taken in," on this deep question, — many a "modd" 
had she diosen, leaving it to be sent home, and on 
receipt had foimd it to be only a clever "copy** 
which, on being tided on, had proved a misfit. And 
well she knew that complaint was useless, as the 
tailor or modiste who supplied the goods would 
surely prove a veritable Ananias in swearing that 
she had received the "model," and the model only. 
On this occasion she had her way, and, despite the 
deprecating appeal of the couturier that he might be 
allowed to send it, the becoming costume was packed 
and placed safely in the automobile, and she and 
Diana drove off with it. 

"You never could look better in anything!" 
declared Sophy. "Promise me you'll wear it 
when you make your first call on Dr. Dimitri- 

"But, my dear, it may be too much for him!" 
laughed Diana. "He wants 'a courageous and deter* 
mined woman of mature years,' — ^and so charming 
a Paris costume may not 'dress' the part!" 

"Never mind whether it does or not," said Sophy. 
"I can't believe he wants an old frump ! You may 
not believe me, Di, but you look perfectly fascinat- 
ing in that gown — ^almost young again!" 


Diana's blue eyes clouded with a touch of sadness. 
She sighed a littiia 

"Almost! — ^not quite!" she answered. "But— 
'dress does make a diflFerencel' — ^there's no doubt of 
it! These last few years I'm not ashamed to say 
I've longed for pretty clothes — I suppose it's the dy- 
ing spirit of youth trying to take a last caper! And 
now, with all these vanity purchases, I am horribly 
in your debt. Dear Sophy, how shall I ever repay 

"Don't know and don't care!" said Sophy, reck- 
lessly. "I'm not a grasping creditor. And something 
tells me you are going to be very rich ! — ^perhaps this 
man Dimitrius is a millionaire and wants a clever 
woman for his wife — ^a sort of Madame Curie to 
help him with his experiments " 

"Then I shall not suit him," interrupted Diana^ 
"for I never intend to be wife to any man. First of 
all, I'm too old — ^secondly, if I were young again, I 
wouldn't. It isn't worth while!" 

"But didn't you say you wanted to be loved?" 
queried Sophy. 

"Does marriage always fulfil that need?" counter- 
queried Diana. 

They exchanged glances — smiled — shrugged shoul- 
ders and dropped Sie conversation. 

Two days later Diana left England for Geneva. 


Geneva is one of those many towns in Switzer- 
land which give the impression of neat commonplace 
in the midst of romance, — the same impression 
which is conveyed by a housewife's laying out of 
domestic linen in the centre of a beautiful garden. 
The streets are clean and regular, — the houses well- 
built and characterless, sometimes breaking forth 
into "villas" of fantastic appearance and adornment^ 
which display an entire absence of architectural 
knowledge or taste, — the shops are filled with such 
trifles as are likely to appeal to tourists, but have 
little to offer of original production that cannot be 
purchased more satisfactorily elsewhere, and tiie 
watches that glitter in the chief jeweller's window 
on the Quai des Bergues are nothing better than one 
sees in the similar windows of Bond Street or Re- 
gent Street. There is nothing indeed remarkable 
about Geneva itself beyond its historic associations 
and memories of famous men, such as Calvin and 
Rousseau ; — its chief glory is gained from its natural 
surroundings of blue lake and encircling chain of 
mountainSi with Mont Blanc towering up in the 

''In a wreath of mist, 
By the sunlight kiss'd, 
And a diadem of snow." 

The suburbs are far more attractive than the 
town ; for, beyond ihe radius of the streets and the 
hateful, incessant noise of the electric trams, there 
are many charming residences set among richly 
wooded grounds and brilliant parterres of flowers, 



where the most fastidious lover of loveliness mi^t 
find satisfaction for the eyes and rest for the mind, 
especially on the road towards Mont Saleve and 
Momex. Here one sees dazzling mists streaming off 
the slopes of the mountains, — exquisite tints firing 
the sky at sunrise and sunset, and mirrored in the 
infinite blue of the lake, — ^and even in the heats of 
summer, a delicious breeze blows over tibe fre^ green 
fields with the cold scent of the Alpine snow in its 
breath. And here on a fresh beautiful autumn 
morning Diana May found herself walking swiftly 
along with light and eager steps, her whole being 
alive with interested anticipation. Never had she felt 
so well; health bounded in her pulse and sparkled 
in her eyes, and the happy sense of perfect freedom 
gave to every movement of her thin, supple figure, 
that elasticity and grace which are supposed to be 
the special dower of extreme youth, though, as a 
matter of fact, youth is often ungainly in action 
and cumbersome in build. She had stayed two days 
and nights at a quiet little hotel in Geneva on ar« 
rival, in order to rest well and thoroughly, after her 
journey from England before presenting herself at 
the Chateau Fragonard, the residence of the msrste- 
rioiis Dr. Dimitrius; and she had made a few casual 
yet careful inquiries as to the Chateau and its owner. 
Nobody seemed to know more than that "Monsieur 
le Docteur Dimitrius" was a rich man, and that his 
Chateau had been built for him by a celebrated 
French architect who had spared neither labour nor 
cost. He was understood to be a scientist, very 
deeply absorbed in diflScult matters of research,— 
he was unmarried and lived alone with his mother. 
Just now he had so much to do that he was adver- 
tising in all the papers for "an intellectual elderly 
lady" to assist him. Diana was indebted for this 
last "personal note" to a chatty bookseller in the 
Rue du Mont Blanc. She smiled as she listened. 


turning over some of the cheap fiction on hia 

"He is not suited yet?" she inquired. 

"Ah, no, Madame! It is not likely he wUl be 
suited I For what lady will admit herself to be suf- 
ficiently elderly? Ah, no? It is not possible!" 

Later on, she learned that the Chateau Fragonard 
was situated some distance out of Geneva and well 
off the high road. 

'Madame wishes to see the grounds?" inquired 
the cheery driver of a little carriage plying for hira 
"It would be necessary to ask permission. But they 
are very fine! — ^Ah, wonderful! — ^as fine as those of 
Rothschild ! And if one were not admitted, it is easy 
to take a boat, and view Ihem from the lake! The 
lawns slope to the water^s ^ge." 

'TExquisite ! " murmured Diana to herself. "It will 
be worth while trying to remain in such a para- 

And she questioned the willingly communicative 
cocher as to how long it might take to walk to the 

"About an hoiu*," he replied. "A pleasant walk, 
too, Madame! One sees the lake and mountains 
nearly aU the way." 

This information decided her as to her plans. She 
knew that the eccentric wording of the Dimitrius 
advertisement required any applicant to present her- 
self between six and eight in the morning, which 
was an ideal time for a walk in the bracing, brilliant 
Alpine air. So she determined to go on foot the very 
next day; and before she parted with the friendly 
driver, she had ascertained the exact position of the 
Chateau, and the easiest and quickest way to g^t 

And now, — Shaving risen with the first peep of 
dawn, and attired herself in that becoming navy 
serge "model," which her astute friend Sophy had 


borne triumphantly out of the French tailor's em- 
porium, she was on her way to the scene of her pro- 
posed adventure. She walked at a light, rapid pace 
— the morning was bright and cool, ahnost cold 
when the wind blew downward from the mountains, 
and she was delightfully conscious of that wonder- 
ful exhilaration and ease given to the whole physical 
frame by a clear atmosphere, purified by the con- 
stant presence of ice and snow. As she moved along 
in happiest mood, she thought of many things; — 
she was beginning to be amazed, as well as charmed, 
by the various changes which had, within a week, 
shaken her lately monotonous life into brilliant little 
patterns like those in a kaleidoscope. The web and 
woof of Circumstance was no longer all dull grey, 
like the colour her father had judged most suitable 
for her now that she was no longer young, — ^threads 
of rose and sky blue had found their hopeful way 
into ^e loom. Her days of housekeeping, checking 
tradesmen's bills and flower-arranging seemed a very 
long way o£F; it was hardly credible to her mind 
that but a short time ago she had been responsible 
for the ordering of her parents' lunches and dinners 
and the general management of the summer 
"change" at Rose Lea on the coast of Devon, — that 
fatal coast where she had been so cruelly drowned! 
Before leaving London, she had seen a few casual 
paragraphs in the newspapers concerning this dis- 
aster, headed "Bathing Fatality"— "Sad End of a 
Lady" — or "Drowned while Bathing," but, naturally, 
being a nobody, she had left no gap in society, — 
she was only one of many needless women. And it 
was an altogether new and aspiring Diana May 
that found herself alive on this glorious morning in 
Switzerland; not the resigned, patient, orderly "old 
maid" with a taste for Jacobean embroidery and a 
wholesome dislike of the "snap-snap-snarl" humours 
of her father. 


'1 never seem to have been my own real self till 
now!" she said inwardly. "And now I hardly real- 
ise that I have a father and moth^ at all! What 
a tyrannical bogy I have made of my 'duty* to 
them I And 'love' is another bogy!" 

She glanced at her watch,— one of Sophy Lan- 
sin^s numerous dainty trifles — "Keep it in ex- 
change" Sophy had said, "for yours which yoiir be- 
reaved parents are going to send me as an 'In Me- 
moriam'!" It was ten minutes to seven. Looking 
about her to take note of her bearings, she saw on 
the left-hand side a deep bend in the road, which 
curved towards a fine gateway of wrought iron, sur- 
moimted by a curious device representing two 
crossed spears springing from the centre of a star, — 
and she knew she had arrived at her destination. 
Her heart beat a little more quickly as she ap- 
proached the gateway — there was no keeper's lodge, 
so she pulled at a handle which dimly suggested tiie 
possibility of a bell. There was no audible response, 
— ^but to all appearance the gates noiselessly un- 
barred themselves, and slowly opened. She entered 
at once without hesitation, and they as slowly closed 
behind her. She was in the grounds of the Chateau 
Fragonard. Immense borders of heliotrope in full 
bloom fringed either side of the carriage drive where 
she stood, and the mere lifting of her eyes showed 
masses of flowering shrubs and finely-grown trees 
bending their shadowy branches over velvety 
stretches of rich green grass, or opening in leafy 
archways here and there to disclose enchanting 
glimpses of blue water or dazzling peaks of far-off 
snow. She would have been glad to linger among 
such lovely surroimdings, for she had a keen com- 
pr^ension of and insist into the beauty of Nature 
and all the joys it offers to a devout and discerning 
spirit, but she bethought herself that if Dr. Dimit- 
rius was imything of an exact or punctilious person. 


he would expect an applicant to be rather before 
than, after time. A silver-toned chime, striking 
slowly and musically on the sunlit silence, rang seven 
o'clock as she reached the Chateau, which looked like 
a miniature palace of Greek design, and was sur- 
rounded with a broad white marble loggia, support- 
ed by finely fluted Ionic columns, between two of 
which on each side a fountain played. But Diana 
had scarcely time to look at anything while quickly 
ascending the short flight of steps leading to the 
door of entrance; she saw a bell and was in haste to 
ring it. Her sununons was answered at once by a 
\negro servant dressed in unassuming dark livery. 
^ "Dr. Dimitrius?" she queried. 

The negro touched his lips with an expressive 
movement signifying tiiat he was dumb, — ^but he 
was not deaf, for he nodded an affirmatrve to her 
inquiry, and by a civil gesture invited her to enter. 
In ano^er few seconds she found herself in a spar 
cious library — a finely proportioned room, apparent- 
ly running the full length of the house, with large 
French windows at both ends, commanding mag- 
nificent views. 

Left alone for several minutes, she moved about 
half timidly, half boldly, looking here and there — 
at the great globes, celestial and t^restrial, whidi 
occupied one comer, — ^at the long telescope on its 
stand ready for use and pointed out to the heavens 
— ^and especially at a curious instrument of fine 
steel set on a block of crystal, which swujig slowly 
up and down incessantly, striking off an mfinitesi- 
mal spark of fire as it moved. 

"Some clock-work thing," she said half aloud. 
"But where is its mechanism?" 

"Ah, where!" echoed a deep, rather pleasant voice 
dose at her ear. "That, as Hamlet remarked, is the 

She started and turned quickly with a flush of 


colour mounting to her brows, — a man of sli^t 
build and medium hei^t stood beside her. 

'TTou are Dr. Dimitrius?" i^e said. 

He smiled. "Even so! I am he! And you ?" 

Swiftly she glanced him over. He was not at all 
an alarming, weird, or extraordmary-looking person- 
aga Young? — ^yes, surely young for a man — ^not 
above forty; and very personable, if intelligent fea- 
tures, fine eyes and a good figure can make a man 
agreeable to outward view. And yet there was some- 
thing about him more than mere appearance, — she 
could not tell what it was, and just then she had 
no time to consider. She rushed at once into the 
business of her errand. 

"My name is May> — Diana May," she said, con- 
scious of nervousness in speaking, but mastering 
herself by degrees. "I have come from England in 
answer to yoiu* advertisement. I am interested — 
very deeply interested — in matters of modem sci- 
ence^ and I have gained some little knowledge 
through a good deal of personal, though quite un- 
guided study. I am most anxious to be useful — 
and I am not afraid to take any risks " 

She broke off, a little confused under the steady 
scrutiny of Dr. Dimitrius's eyes. He placed an easy 
chair by the nearest window. "Pray sit down!" he 
said, with a courteous gesture, — then, as she obeyed: 
*You have walked here from Geneva?" 


"When did you arrive from England?" 

"Two days ago." 

"Have you stated to anyone the object of your 

"Only to one person — an intimate woman friend 
who lent me the money for my travelling expenses." 

"I see!" And Dimitrius smiled benevolently. 
*You have not explained yourself or your intentions 
to any good Genevese hotel proprietor?" 


She looked up in quick surprise. 

"No, indeed 1" 

"Wise woman!" Here Dimitrius drew up a chair 
opposite to her and sat down. "My experience has 
occasionally shown me that lone ladies arriving in 
a strange town and strange hotel, throw themselves, 
so to speak, on the bosom of the book-keeper or the 
landlady, and to her impart their whole business. 
It is a mistake! — an error of confiding innocence— 
but it is often made. You have not made it, — and 
that is well! You have never married?" 

Diana coloiu^d — then answered with gentleness: 

"No. I am what is called a spinster, — ^an old 

"The first is by far the prettiest name," said Di- 
mitrius. "It evokes a charming vision of olden 
time when women sat at their spinning wheels, each 
one waiting for Faust, d la Marguerite, unaware of 
the Devil behind him! 'Old maid' is a coarse Eng- 
lish term, — there are coarse English terms! and 
much as I adore England and the English, I en- 
tirely disapprove of their 'horseplay' on women! 
No doubt you know what I mean?" 

"I think I do," replied Diana, slowly. "It is that 
when a woman is neither a man's bound slave nor 
his purchased toy, she is turned into a jest." 

"Precisely! You have expressed it perfectly!" 
and his keen eyes flashed over her comprehensively. 
"But let us keep to business. You are a spinster^ 
and I presume you are, in the terms of my adver- 
tisement, 'alone in the world, without claims on 
your time or your aflfections.' Is that so?" 

Quietly she answered: 

"That is so." 

"Now you will remember I asked for 'a courageous 
and determined woman of mature years.' You do 
not look very 'mature' " 

"I am past forty," said Diana. 


**A frank, but unnecessary admission," he an- 
swered, smiling. "You should never admit to more 
years than your appearance gives you. However, 
I am glad you told me, as it better suits my pur- 
pose. And you consider yourself 'coiu:ageous and 

She looked at him sU^aightly. 

"I think I am — I hope I am," she said. "I have 
had many disillusions and have lost all I once hoped 
to win ; so that I can honestly say even death would 
not matter to me, as I have nothing to live for. Ex- 
cept the love of Nature and its beauty " 

"And its wisdom and mastery of all things," fin- 
ished Dimitrius. "And to feel that unless we match 
its wisdom with our will to be instructed, and its 
mastery with our obedience and worship, we 'i^all 
surely die'!" 

His eyes flashed upon her with a curious expres- 
sion, and just for a passing moment she felt a little 
afraid of him. He went on, speaking with deliber- 
ate emphasis: 

'Yes, — if you are indeed a student of Nature, you 
surely know that! And you know also that the 
greatest, deepest, most amazing, and most enlighten- 
ing discoveries made in science during the last thirty 
years or so are merely the result of cautious and 
sometimes casual probing of one or two of this vast 
Nature's smaller cells of active inteUigence. We 
have done something, — but how much remains to 

He paused, — and Diana gazed at him question- 
ingly. He smiled as he met her eager and inter- 
ested look. 

"We shall have plenty of time to talk of these 
matters," he said — "if I decide that you can be use- 
ful to me. What languages do you know besides 
your own?" 

"French, Italian and a little Russian," she an- 


swered. "The two first quite fluently, — ^Ruasian I 
have studied only quite lately — and I find it rather 
difficult '' 

"Being a Russian myself I can perhaps make it 
easy for you," said Dimitrius, kindly. "To study 
such a language without a teacher shows consid* 
erable ambition and energy on your part." 

She flushed a little at the mere suggestion of praise 
and sat silent. 

"I presume you have quite understood, Miss 
May," he presently resumed, in a more formal tone, 
"that I require the services of an assistant for one 
year at least — ^possibly two years. If I engage you, 
you must sign an agreement with me to that effect. 
Another very special point is that of confidence. 
Nothing that you do, see, or hear while working un- 
der my instructions is ever to pass your lips. You 
must maintain the most inviolable secrecy, and 
when once you are in this house you must neither 
write letters nor receive them. If you are, as I sug- 
gested in my advertisement, 'alone in llie world, 
without any claims on your time or yowr affections,' 
you will not find this a hardship. My experiments 
in chemistry may or may not give such results as I 
hope for, but while I am engaged upon them I want 
na imitative bunglers attempting to get on the same 
line. Therefore I will run no risks of even the small- 
est hint escaping as to the nature of my work." 

Diana bent her head in assent. 

"I understand," she said — "And I am quite willing 
to agree to your rules. I should only wish to write 
one letter, and that I can do from the hotel, — ^just 
to return the money my friend lent me for my ex- 
penses. And I should ask you to advance me that 
sum out of whatever salary you offer. Then I need 
give no further account of myself. Sophy, — ^that is 
my friend — ^would write to acknowledge receipt of 
the money, and then our corre^ondence would end." 


'*This would not vex or worry you?" inquired Di- 

She smiled. '1 am past being vexed or worried 
at anjrthing!" she said. ''life is 'just a mere 'going 
on' for me now, with thankfulness to find even a mo- 
malt of interest in it as I goT' 

Dimitrius rose from his chair and walked up and 
down, his hands clasped behind his back. She 
watched him in fascinated attention, with something 
of suspense and fear lest after all he should decide 
against her. She noted the supple poise of his ath- 
letic figure, clad in a weU-cut, easy summer suit 
of white flannels, — ^his dark, compact head, carried 
with a certain expression of haughtiness, and last, 
but not least, his hands, which in their present care- 
less attitude nevertheless expressed both power and 

Suddenly he wheeled sharply roimd and stood, 
facing her. 

"I think you will do," he said, — and her heart gave 
a quick throb of relief which, unconsciously to her- 
self, suffused her pale face with a flush of happi- 
ness — ''I think I shall find in you obedience, care, 
and loyalty. But there is yet an important point 
to consider, — do you, in your turn, think you can 
put up with mef I am very masterful, not to say 
obstinate ; I will have no 'scamp' work, — ^I am often 
very impatient, and I can be extremely disagree- 
able. You must take all this well into your consid- 
eration, for I am perfectly honest with you when 
I gay I am not easy to serve. And remember!" — 
here he drew a few steps closer to her and looked 
her full in the eyes — "the experiments on which I 
am engaged are highly dangerous, — and, as I stated 
in my advertisement, you must not be 'afraid to 
take risks,' — for if you agree to assist me in the test- 
ing of certain problems in chemistry, it may cost you 
your very life!" 


She smiled. 

"It's very kind of you to prepare me for all the 
difficulties and dangers of my way," she said. "And 
I thank you! But I have no fear. There is really 
nothing to be afraid of, — one can but die once. If 
you wUl take me, I'll do my faithful best to obey 
your instructions in every particular, and so far as 
is humanly possible, you shall have nothing to com* 
plain of." 

He still bent his eyes searchingly upon her. 

"You have a good nerve?" 

"I think so." 

*You must be sure of that! My laboratory is not 
a place for hesitation, qualms, or terrors," he said. 
"The most amazing manifestations occur there some- 
tunes " 

"I have said I am not afraid," interrupted Diana, 
with a touch of pride. "If you doubt my word, let 
me go, — ^but if you are disposed to engage me, please 
accept me at my own valuation." 

He laughed, and his face lightened with kindli- 
ness and humour. 

"I like that!" he said. "I see you have some spirit 1 
Good! Now, to business. I have made up my mind 
that you wiU suit me, — and you have also appar- 
ently made up your mind that / shall suit you. Very 
welL Your salary with me will be a thousand a 
year " 

Diana uttered a little cry, 

"A thou — a thousand a year!" she ejaculated 
"Oh, you mean a thousand francs?" 

"No, I don't. I mean a thousand good British 
pounds sterling, — the risks you will run in working 
with me are quite worth that. You will have your 
own suite of rooms and your own special hours of 
leisure for private reading and study, and all your 
meals will be supplied, though we ^ould like you 
to ^are them with us at our table, if you have no 


objection. And when you are not at work, or other- 
wise engaged, I should be personally very much 
obliged if you would be kind and companionable to 
my mother." 

Diana could scarcely speak ; she was overwhehned 
by what she considered the munificence and gener* 
osity of his offer. 

'*You are too good," she faltered. "You wish to 
give me more than my abilities merit " 

"I must be the best judge of that," he said, and 
moving to a table desk in tihe centre of the room he 
opened a drawer and took out a paper. "Will you 
come here and read this? And then sign it?" 

She went to his side, and taking the paper from 
his hand, read it carefully through. It was an agree- 
ment, simply and briefly worded, which bound her 
as confidential assistant and private secretory to 
Feodor Dimitrius for the time of one year positively, 
with the understanding that this period should be 
extended to two years, if agreeable to both parties. 
Without a moment's hesitation, she took up a pen, 
dipped it in ink, and signed it in a clear and very 
finnly characteristic way. 

"A good signature!" commented Dimitrius. "If 
handwriting expresses anything, you should be pos- 
sessed of a strong will and a good brain. Have you 
ever had occasion to exercise either?" 

Diana thought a moment — ^then laughed. 

*Yes! — ^in a policy of repression!" 

A htunorous sparkle in his eyes responded to her 

"I understand! Well, now" — and he put away the 
signed agreement in a drawer of his desk and locked 
it — ^**you must begin to obey me at once! You will 
first come and have some breakfast, and I'll intro- 
duce you to my mother. Next, you will return to 
your hotel in Geneva, pay your bill, and remove 
your luggage. I can e^ow you a short cut back to 


the town, through these grounds and by the bor- 
der of the lake. By the way, how much do you 
owe your friend in England?'' 

"About a hundred pounds." 

"Here is an English bank-note for that sum/' said 
Dimitrius, taking it from a roll of paper money in 
his desk. "Send it to her in a registered letter. And 
here is an extra fifty pound note for any immediate 
expenses, — ^you will understand you have drawn this 
money in advance of your salary. Now when you 
get to your hotel, have your luggage taken to the 
railway station and left in the Salle des Bagages,— 
they will give you a number for it. Then when all 
this is done, walk quietly back here by the same 
private path throu^ the grounds which you will 
presently become acquainted with, and I will send 
a man I sometimes employ from Momex, to fetch 
your belongings here. In this way the good gossip- 
ing folk of Geneva will be unable to state what haa 
become of you, or where you have chosen to go. 
You follow me?' 

"Quite I" answered Diana — ^*'And I shall obey you 
in every particular." 

"Good! Now come and see my mother." 

He showed her into an apartment situated on 
the other side of the entrance hall — ^a beautiful 
room, lightly and elegantly furnished, where, at a 
tempting-looking breakfast table, spread with snowy 
linen, delicate china and glittering silver, sat one of 
the most picturesque old ladies possible to imagine. 
She rose as her son and Diana entered and advanced 
to meet them with a charming grace— her tall slight 
figure, snow-white hair, and gentle, delicate face, lit 
up with the tenderest of blue eyes, making an at- 
mosphere of attractive influence around her as she 

"Mother," said Dimitrius, "I have at last found 
the lady who is willing to assist me in my work—* 


here she is. She had come from England — let me 
introduce her. Miss Diana May, — Madame Dimitr 

'TTou are very welcome," — ^and Madame Dimit- 
lius held out boHi hands to Diana, with an expres- 
sive kindness which went straight to the solitary 
woman^s heart. ''It is indeed a relief to me to know 
that my son is satisfied ! He has such great ideas! — 
such wonderful schemes! — ^alas, I cannot follow or 
comprehend them! — I am not clever! You have 
walked from Geneva? — and no breakfast? My dear, 
sit down, — the coflfee is just made." 

And in two or three minutes Diana found herself 
chatting away at perfect ease, with two of the most 
intelligent and companionable persons she had ever 
met, — so that the restraint under which she had 
suffered for years gradually relaxed, and her own 
natural wit and vivacity began to- sparkle witli a 
br^tness it had never known since her choleric 
father and adipose mother had "sat upon her" once 
and for all, as a matrimonial failure. Madame Di- 
mitrius encouraged her to talk, and every now and 
then Ae caught the dark, ahnost sombre eyes of 
Dimitrius himself fixed upon her musingly, so that 
oocasionally the old familiar sense of "wonder" arose 
in her, — ^wonder as to how all her new circumstances 
would arrange themselves, — ^what her work would 
be — and what might result from the whole strange 
adventure. But when, after breakfast, she was 
^own the beautiful "suite" of apartments destined 
for her occupation, with windows commanding a 
glorious view of the lake and the Mont Blanc chain 
of mountains, and furnished with every imaginable 
comfort and luxury, she was amazed and bewildered 
at the extraordinary good luck which had befallen 
her, and said so openly without the slightest hesi* 
tation. Madame Dimitrius seemed amused at the 
franknees of her admiration and delight. 


''This is nothing for us to do/' she said, kindly. 
''You will have difficult and intricate work and mudi 
fatigue of brain ; you will need repose and relaxation 
in your own apartments, and we have made them as 
comfortable as we can. There are plenty of books, 
as you see, — and the piano is a 'bijou grand/ very 
sweet in tone. Do you play?" 

"A Uttle/' Diana admitted. 

"Play me something now!" 

Obediently she sat down, and h^ fingers wandered 
as of themselves into a lovely "prelude" of Chopin's 
— ^a tangled maze of delicate tones which crossed 
and recrossed each other like the silken flowers of 
fine tapestry. The instrument she played on was 
delicious in touch and quality, and she became so 
absorbed in the pleasure of playing that she almost 
forgot her listeners. When she stopped she looked 
up, and saw Dimitrius watdiing her. 

"Excellent! You have a rarest!" he said. 'You 
play like an artist and thinker" 

She coloured with a kind of confusion, — she had 
seldom or never been praised for any accomplish- 
ment she possessed. Madame Dimitrius smiled at 
her, witii tears in her eyes. 

"Such music takes me back to my youth," she 
said. "All the old days of hope and promise I . . . 
Ah! . . . you will play to me often?" 

"Whenever you like/' answered Diana, with a 
thrill of tenderness in her always sweet voice, — she 
was beginning to feel an affection for this charming 
and dignified old lady, who had not outlived senti- 
ment so far as to be unmoved by the delicate sor- 
rows of Chopin. 'You have only to ask me." 

"And now," put in Dimitrius, "as you know whare 
you will live, you must go back to Geneva and get 
your luggage, in the way I told you. We'U go to- 
geUia* through the grounds, — ^it's half an hour's 
walk instead of nearly two hours by the road." 


"It did not seem like two hours this morning/' 
said Diana. 

"No, I daresay not. You were eager to get here, 
and walking in Switzerland is always more delist 
than fatigue. But it is actually a two hours' wfiJk. 
Our private way is easier and prettier." 

"Au revoirr smiled Madame Dimitrius. 'You, 
Fdodor, will be in to lundieon, — and you. Miss 
May? '' 

"I give her leave of absence till the afternoon," 
said Dimitrius. "She must return in time for that 
English consoler of trouble — ^tea!" He lauded, and 
with a light parting salute to his mother, preceded 
Diana by a few steps to show the way. She paused 
a moment with a look half shy, half wistful at the 
kindly Madame Dimitrius. 

"Will you try to like me?' she said, softly. "Some- 
how, I have missed being liked I But I don't think 
I'm really a disagreeable person!" 

Madame took her gently by both hands and kissed 

"Have courage, my dear!" she said. "I like you 
already ! You will be a help to my son, — and I feel 
that you will be patient with him! That will 
be enou^ to win more than my liking — ^my 

With a grateful look and smile Diana nodded a 
brief adieu, and followed Dimitrius, who was already 
in the garden waiting for her. 

"Women must always have the last word!" he 
said, with a good-humoured touch of irony. "And 
even when they are enemies, they kiss!" 

She raised her eyes frankly to his. 

"That's true!" die answered. "I've seen a lot of 
it! But your mother and I could never be enemies, 
and I — ^well, I am grateful for even a 'show* of lik- 

He looked surprised. 


''Have you had so little?'' he queried ''And you 
care for it?" 

"Does not everyone care for it?" 

"No. For example, I do not. I have lived too 
long to care. I know what love or liking generally 
mean — ^love especially. It means a certain amount 
of pussy-cat comfort for one's self. Now, though all 
my e£Forts are centred on comfort in the way of 
perfect health and continuous enjojonent of life 
for this 'Self of ours, I do not care for the mere 
pussy-cat pleasure of being fondled to see if I will 
purr. I have no desire to be a purring animaL" 

Diana lauded — a gay, sweet laugh that rang out 
as clearly and youthfully aa a girl's. He gave her a 
quick, astonished glance. 

"I amuse you?" he inquired, with a sli^t toudi 
of irritation. 

"Yes, indeed! But don't be vexed because I 
laugh I You — ^you mustn't imagine that anybody 
wants to make you 'purr!' / don't! I'd rather you 
growled, like a bear!" She laughed again. "We shall 
get on splendidly together, — I know we shall!" 

He walked a few paces in silence. 

"I think you are younger than you profess to be," 
he said, at last. 

"I wish I were!" she answered, fervently. "Alas^ 
alas! it's no use wishing. I cannot 'go like a crab, 
backwards.' Though just now I feel like a mere 
kiddie, ready to run aU over these exquisite gardens 
and look at everything, and find out all the prettiest 
nooks and Comers. What a beautiful place this is! 
— ^and how fortunate I am to have foimd favour in 
your eyes ! It will be perfect happiness for me just 
to live here!" 

Dimitrius looked pleased. 

"I'm glad you like it," he said — ^and taking a key 
from his pocket, he handed it to her. "Hare we are 
coming to the border of the lake, and you can go on 


alone. Follow the private path till you come to a 
gate which this key will open — then turn to the left, 
up a little wmding fli^t of steps, under trees — this 
will bring you out to the hi^ road. I suppose you 
know the way to your hotel when you are once in 
the town?" 

"Yes, — ^and I shall know my way back again to 
the Chateau this afternoon," die assured him. "It's 
kind of you to have come thus far with me. You 
are Ix'eaking your morning's work." 

He smiled. "My morning's work can wait," he 
said. "In fact, most of my work must wait — ^till 
you oomel" 

With these words he raised his hat in courteous 
salutation and left h^, turning back through his 
grounds-^while she went on her way swiftly and 


Abbived at her hotel, Diana gave notice that she 
was leaving that afternoon. Then she packed up 
her one portmanteau and sent it by a porter to the 
station, with instructions to deposit it in the "Salle 
des Bagages," to await her there. He carried out 
this order, and brou^t the printed number entitling 
her to claim her belon^gs at her convenience. 

'^Madame is perhi^ going to Vevy or to Mon- 
treux?^ he suggested, cheerfully. "The journey is 
pleasanter by boat than by the train.'' 

"No doubt! — yes, of course I — ^I am quite sure it 
is!'' murmured the astute Diana with an absti-acted 
smile, giving him a much larger "tip" than he ^t- 
I)ected, whidi caused him to snatch off his cap and 
stand with uncovered head, as in the presence of a 
queen. "But I have not made up my mind where 
I shall go first. Perhaps to Martigny — perhaps only 
to Lausanne. I am travelling for my own amuse- 

*'Ah, oui! Je comprends! Bonne chance, Mor 
dameT and the porter backed reverently away from 
ihe wond^ul Engli^ lady who had given him five 
francs, when he had only hoped for one, — ^and left 
h^ to her own devices. Thereupon die went to h&t 
room, locked the door, and wrote the following let- 
ter to Sophy Lansing: 

"Deabest Sophy, 

"Please find enclosed, as bumiess i)eople say, 
an English bank-note for a hundred pounds^ which I 
think clears me of my debt to you in the way of 




money, though not of gratitude. By my 'paymg up' 
80 soon, you will judge that I have 'fallen on my 
feet'— and that I have accepted 'service' under Dr. 
Dimitrius. What is more, and what will please you 
most, is that I am entirely satisfied with my situ- 
ation, and am likely to be better off and happier 
than I have been for many years. The Doctor does 
not appear to be at all an 'eccentric,' — ^he is evi- 
dently a bona-fide scientist, engaged, as he tells me, 
in working out difficult problems of chemistry, in 
which I hope and believe I may be of some use to 
him by attending to smaller matters of detail only ; 
he has a most beautiful place on the outskirts of 
G^eva, in which I have been allotted a charming 
suite of rooms with the loveliest view of the Alps 
fix)m the windows, — ^and last, by no means least, 
he has a perfectly delightful mother, a sweet old 
lady with snow-white hair and the 'grand manner,' 
who has captivated both my heart and imagination 
at once. So you may realise how fortunate I ami 
Everything is signed and settled ; and there is only 
one stipulation Dr. Dimitrius makes, and this is, 
that while I am working with him, I may neither 
write nor receive letters. Now I have no one I 
really care to write to except you; moreover, it is 
impossible for me to write to anyone, as I am sup- 
posed to be dead! So it all fits in very well as it 
should. You, of course, know nothing about me, 
save that I was unfortunately drowned! — and when 
you see 'Pa' and 'Ma' clothed in their parental 
Inouming, you will, I hope, manage to shed a few 
friendly tears with them over my sudden departure 
from this world. (N.B. A scrap of freshly cut onion 
secreted in your handkerchief would do the trick ! ) 
I confess I should have liked to know your impres- 
sion of my bereaved parents when you see them for 
the first time since my 'death!' — but I must wait. 
Meanwhile, you can be quite easy in your mind 

^«« Tootra ».r 



This letter, with its bank-note enclosure, she 
sealed; and then, taking a leisurely walk along the 
Rue du Mont Blanc to the General Post Office, she 
patiently filled in the various formal items for the 
act of registration which the Swiss postal officials 
make so overwhelmingly tiresome and important, 
and finally got her packet safely dei^atdi^. This 
done, she felt as if the last link binding her to her 
former life was severed. Gone was "Pa" ; gone was 
"Ma!" — ^gone were the few faded sentiments she had 
half unconsciously cherished concerning the man she 
had once loved and who had heartlessly "jilted" her, 
— gone, too, were a number of sad and solitary years, 
— gone, as if they had been a few unimportant num- 
oals wiped o£F a slate, — ^and theirs was the Strang* 
est "going" of all. For she had lived through those 
years, — ^most surely she had lived throu^ them, — 
yet now it did not seem as if they had ever been 
part of her existence. They had suddenly become a 
blank. They counted for nothing except the recol- 
lection of long hours of study. Something new and 
vital touched her inner consciousness, — ^a happiness, 
a li^tness, a fresh breathing-in of strength and self- 
reliance. From the Rue du Mont Blanc she walked 
to the Pont, and stood there, gazing for some time 
at the ravishing view that bridge affords of the lake 
and mountains. The sim shone warmly with that 
mellow golden li^t peculiar to early autunm, and 
the water was blue as a perfect sapphire, flecked by 
tiny occasional ripples of silver, like sudden flash- 
ing reflections of sunbeams in a mirror; one or two 
pleasure-boats with picturesque "lateen" sails looked 
like great sea-birds slowly dimming along on one 
uplifted wing. The scene was indescribably lovely, 
and a keen throb of pinre joy pulsated through her 
whole being, moving her to devout thankfulness for 
simply being alive, and able to comprehend such 


"If I had been really and txruly drowned I think it 
would have been a pity!" she thought, whimsically. 
"Not on account of any grief it might have caused — 
for I have no one to grieve for me, — ^but soldy on 
my own part, for I should have been senseless, s^t- 
less, and tucked away in the earth, instead of being 
here in the blessed sunshine! No! — I shouldn't have 
been tucked away in the earth, unless they had 
found my body and had a first-class funeral with 
Ma's usual wreath lying on the cofl^, — I should 
have been dashed about in the sea, and eaten by 
the fishes. Not half so pleasant as standing on the 
Pont du Mont Blanc and looking at the snowy line 
of the Alpsl When people conunit suicide they 
don't think, poor souls! — ^they don't realise that 
there's more happiness to be got out of the daily 
sunshine than either money, food, houses, or friends 
can ever give! And one can live on very little^ if 
one tries." Here she laughed. "Thou^ I shall have 
no chance to try! A thousand a year for a single 
woman, with a lovely home and 'board' thrown in, 
does not imply mudi effort in managing to keep 
body and soiU together! Of course my work may be 
both puzzling and strenuous — I wonder what it will 
really be?" 

And she started again on her old crusade of "won- 
der." Yet she did not find ansrthing particular to 
wonder at in the appearance, manner, or conv^'sar 
tion of Dr. Dimitrius. She had always "wondered" 
at stupidity, — ^but never at intelligence. Dimitrius 
spoke intell^ently and looked intelligent; he did not 
"pose" as a wizard or a seer, or a prophet. And she 
felt sure that his mother would not limit her con- 
versation to the various items of domestic business; 
she could not fancy her as becoming excited over a 
recipe for jam, or the pattern for a blouse. This 
variety of subjects were the conversational stock-in- 
trade of English suburban misses and matrons whose 


talk on all occasions is little more than a luke-warm 
trickle of words which mean nothing. There would 
be some intellectual stimulus in the Dimilrius 
household,— of that she felt convinced. But in what 
branch of scientific research, or what problem of 
diemistry her services would be required, she could 
not, with all her capacity for wondering, form any 

She walked leisiu*ely back to the hotel, looking at 
the shops on her way, — ^at the little carved wo(^en 
bears carrying pin-cushions, pen-trayB and pipe- 
racks, — ^at the innumerable clocks, with chimes and 
without,— at the "souvenirs" of pressed and mount- 
ed edelweiss, inscribed with tender mottoes suitable 
for lovers to send to one another in absence, — ^and 
before one window full of these she paused, smiling. 

''What nonsense it all is 1" she said to herself. "I 
used to keep the faded petals of any little flower I 
chanced to see in his buttonhole, and put them away 
in envelopes marked with his initials and the date I 
— ^what a fool I was! — as great a fool as that sub- 
lime donkey, Juliette Drouet, who raved over her 
little man', Victor Hugo! And the ally girls who 
send this edelweiss from Switzerland to the men they 
are in love with, ought just to see what those men 
do with it! That would cure them! Like the Pro- 
fessor who totalled up his butcher's bill on the back 
of one of Charlotte Bronte's fervent letters, nine out 
of ten of Ihem are likely to use it as a Vedge' to 
keep a window or door from rattling I" 

Amused with her thoughts, she went on, reached 
her hotel and had luncheon, after whidi she paid 
her bilL "Madame is leaving us?" said the cheery 
dame du comptoir, speaking very voluble French. 
"Alas, we are sorry her stay is so diortl Madame 
goes on to Montreux, no doubt?" 

"Madame" smiled at the amiable woman's friend- 
ly inquisitiveness. 


''No/* 6he answered. — ^"And yet — ^perhapa— yesi I 
am taking a long holiday and hope to see all the 
prettiest places in Switzerland!'' 

"Ah, there is much that is grand — beautiful!" 
declared the proprietreaa **You will occupy much 
time! You will perhaps return here again?" 

"Oh, yes! That is very likely!" replied Diana, 
with a flagrant assumption of candoiur. "I have 
been very comfortable here." 

"Madame is too good to say so ! We are charmed ! 
The lu^age has gone to the station? Yes? That 
is well! Au revoir, Madame!" 

And with many gracious nods and smiles and re- 
peated au revoirs, Diana escaped at last, and went 
towards the station, solely for the benefit of the 
hotel people, servants included, who stood at the 
doorway watching her departure. But once out of 
their sight she turned rapidly down a side street 
which ^e had taken note of in the morning, and 
soon found her way to the close little alley under 
trees with the steps which led to the border of 
the lake, but which was barred to strangers and 
interlopers by an iron gate through which she 
had already passed, and of which she had the key. 
There was no difficulty in unlocking it and locking 
it again behind her, and die drew a long breath of 
relief and satisfaction when she found herself once 
more in tlie groimds of the Chateau Frago- 

"There!" she said half aloud — ^"I have shut away 
the old world ! — ^welcome to the new ! I'm ready for 
anjrthing now — ^life or death ! — ^anjrthing but the old 
jog-trot, loveless days of monotonous commonplace, 
— ^tbere will be something different here. Loveless I 
shall always be— but I'm beginning to think thwe'a 
another way of happiness tiian love! — thou^ old 
Thomas k Kempis says: Nothing is sweeter than 
love, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller and 


better in Heaven and earth' ; but he meant the love 
of God, not the love of man." 

She grew serious and absorbed in thou^t, yet not 
80 entirely abstracted as to be unconscious of the 
beauty of the gardens through which diie was walk- 
ing, — ^the well-kept lawns, the beds and borders of 
flowers, — the graceful pergolas of climbing roses, 
and the shady paths which went winding in and out 
through shrubberies and under trees, here and there 
affording glimpses of the lake, glittering as with sil- 
ver and blue. Presently at a turn in one of these 
paths she had a view of the front of the Chateau 
Fragonard, with its fountains in full play on either 
side, and was enchanted with the classic purity of 
its architectural design, which seemed evidently 
copied from some old-world model of an Athenian 

''I don't think it's possible to see anjrthing love- 
lier P' she said to herself. ^'And what luck it is for 
me to live herel Who could have guessed it! It's 
like a dream of fairyland!" 

She gathered a rose hanging temptingly within 
reach, and fastened it in her bodice. 

"Let me see!" she went on, thinking — ^''It's just a 
week since I was 'drowned' in Devon 1 Such a little 
while! — ^why Ma hasn't had time yet to get her 
mourning properly fitted! And Pa! I wonder how 
he really 'carries' himself, as they say, under his 
affliction! I think it will be a case of 'bearing up 
wonderfully,' for both of them. One week! — and 
my little boat of life, tied so long by a worn rope 
to a weedy shore, has broken adrift and floated away 
by itself to a veritable paradise of new experience. 
But, — am I counting too much on my good fortune, 
I wonder? Perhaps there will be some crushing 
drawbadc, — some terrorizing influence — ^who knows! 
And 3ret— I think not. Anyhow, I have signed, 
sealed, and delivered myself over to my chosen des- 


tiny; — ^it is wiser to hope for the best than imagine 
the worst." 

Arrived at the hall door of the Chateau she found 
it open, and passed in imquestioned, as an admitted 
member of tiie household. She saw a neat maid 
burying herself with the arrangement of some flow- 
ers, and of her she asked the way to her rooms. The 
girl at once preceded her up the wide staircase and 
showed her the passage leading to the beautiful 
suite of apartments she had seen in the morning, 

'^Madame will be quite private here, — ^this passage 
is shut off from the rest of the house, and is an exxtry 
to these rooms only, and if Madame wants any serv- 
ice she will ring and I will come. My name is Rose." 

^Thank you, Rosel" and Diana smiled at h», 
feeling a sense of relief to know that she could have 
the attention of a simple ordinary domestic sudi as 
this pleasant-looking Uttle French femme-de-chain- 
bre, — for somehow she had connected the dumb ne- 
gro who had at first admitted her to the Chateau 
with a whole imagined retinue of mysterious per- 
sons, sworn to silence in the service of Dimitriua 
"I will not trouble you more than I can help — hark ! 
— what is that noise?" 

A low, organ-like sound as of persistent thudding 
and humming echoed around her, — ^it suggested sup- 
pressed thunder. The girl Rose looked quite tm- 

''Oh, that is the machine in the Doctor's labora- 
tory," she said. ''But it does not often make any 
noise. We do not know quite what it is, — we are 
not permitted to see!" She smiled, and added: 
"But Madame will not long be disturbed — ^it will 
soon cease." 

And indeed the thunderous hum died slowly away 
as she spoke, leaving a curious sense of emptiness 
on the air. Diana still listened, vaguely fascinatedi 


— but the silence remained unbroken* Rose nodded 
brightly, in pleased affirmation of her own words, 
and left the room, closing the door behind her. 

Alone, Diana went to the window and looked out. 
What a glorious landscape was spread before hwl 
— ^what a panorama of the Divine handiwork in 
Nature! Tears sprang to her eyes — tears, not of 
sorrow, but of joy. 

"I hope I am grateful enough !" she thought. 'Tor 
now I have every reason to be grateful I tided hard 
to feel grateful for all my blessings at home, — ^yet 
somehow I couldn't be! — there seemed no way out 
of the daily monotony — ^no hope anywhwel — ^but 
now — ^now, with all this unexpected good luck I 
could sing ' Praise God from whom all blessings 
flow!' with more fervour than any Salvationist!'' 

She went into the cosy bedroom which adjoined 
her salon to see if she looked neat and well-arranged 
enough in her dress to go down to tea, — ^th^re was a 
long mirror there, and in it die surveyed herself 
critically. Certainly that navy ''model" gown suited 
her slim figure to perfection — ^"And," she said to 
herseJf, "if people only looked at my hair and my 
too, too scraggy shape, they might almost take me 
for Voung!' But woe's me!" — ^and she touched the 
comers of h^ eyes with the tips of her fingers — 
'Tiere are the wicked crow's-feet! — they won't go! — 
and the 'lines from nose to chin' whidi the beauty 
specialists offer to eradicate and can't, — the ugly 
ruts made by Time's unkind plough and my own too 
sorrowful habit of thought, — they won't go, either! 
However, here it doesn't matter, — the Doctor want- 
ed 'a woman of mature years' — and he's got her!" 
She smiled cheerfully at herself in the mirror which 
reflected a shape that was graceful in its outline if 
somewhat too thin — "distinctly willowy" as she said 
— ^and then she began thinking about clothes, like 
any other feminine creature. She was glad Sophy 


had made her buy two charming tea-gowns, and one 
very dainty evening party fro(£; and she was now 
anxious to give the ^'nimiber" of the luggage die 
had left at the Salle des Bagages to Dr. Dimitrius, 
so that it might be sent for without delay. Mean- 
while she looked at all the el^ancies of her rooms, 
and noted the comfort and convenience with which 
everything was arranged. One novelty attracted and 
pleased her, — this was a small round dial, put up 
against the wall, and marked with the hours at 
which meals were served. A silver arrow, seemingly 
moved by interior clockwork, just now pointed to 
*Tea, five o'clock," and while she was yet looking 
at it, a musical little bell rang very persistently be- 
hind the dial for about a minute, and then ceased. 

'Tea-time, of course!" she said, and glancing at 
her watch she saw it was just five o'clock. ''What 
a capital invention! One of these in each room 
saves aU the ugly gong-beating and bell-ringing 
which is concunon in most houses; I had better go." 

She went at once, runiiing down the broad stair- 
case with light feet as buoyantly as a girl, and re- 
membering her way easily to the room where she 
had breakfasted in the morning. Madame Dimit- 
rius was Ihere alone, knitting placidly, and looking 
the very picture of, contentment. She smiled a wel- 
come as Diana entered. 

"So you have come back to us!" she said. "I am 
very glad! One lady who answered my son's ad- 
vertisement, went to see after her luggage in the 
same manner as you were told to do— and — ran 
awav ! " 

"Ran away!" echoed Diana. "What for?" 

The old Lady laughed. 

"Oh, I think she got iEifraid at tiie last momenti 
Something my son said, or looked, scared her! But 
he was not smprised, — ^he has always given ©very 
applicant a chance to run away!" 


'^ot me I" said Diana, merrily. 'Tor he made 
me fflgn an agreement, and gave me some of my Bal- 
ary in advance — ^he would hardly expect me to run 
away with his money?" 

"Why not?" and Dimitrius himself entered the 
room. "Why not, Miss May? Many a woman and 
many a mlui has been known to make short work 
with an agreement, — ^what is it but 'a scrap of pa- 
per'? And there are any number of Humans who 
would judge it 'clever' to nm off with money con- 
fidingly entrusted to them!" 

'TTou are cjmical," said Diana. "And I don't think 
you mean what you say. You know very well that 
honomr stands first with every right-thinking man 
or woman." 

"Right-thinking! Oh, yes! — I grant you that," — 
and he drew a chair up to the tea-table where his 
mother had just seated herself. "But 'right-think- 
ing' is a compound word big enough to cover a whole 
world of ethics and morals. If 'right-thinking' were 
the rule instead of the exception, we should have 
a real Civilisation instead of a Sham!" 

Diana looked at him more critically and atten- 
tively than she had yet done. His personality was 
undeniably attractive, — 6ome people would have 
considered him handsome. He had wonderful eyes, 
— ^they were his most striking feature— dark, deep, 
and sparkling with a curioudy brilliant intensity. 
He had spoken of his Russian nationality, but there 
was nothing of the Kalmuck about him, — ^much 
more of the picturesque Jew or Arab. An indefin- 
able grace distinguished his movehients, unlike the 
ordinary tjrpe of lumbersome man, who, without 
military or other training, never seems to know 
what to do with his hands or his feet. He noticed 
Diana's intent study of him, and smiled — ^a charm- 
ing smile, indulgent and kindly. 

"I mystify you a little already!" he said. 'Tfes^ 


I am sure I do! — ^but there are so many surprises 
in store for you that I think you had better not be- 
gin putting the pieces of the puzzle together till 
they are all out of the box! Never mind what I 
seem to you, or what I may turn out to be, — enjoy 
for the present the simple safety of the Common- 
place; there's nothing so balancing to the mind as 
a quiet contemplation of the tea-table! By the way, 
did you arrange about your luggage as I told you?" 

Diana nodded a cheerful assent. 

"Here's the number," she said. "And if you are 
going to send for it, would you do so quite soon? 
I want to change my dress for dinner." 

Dimili'ius laughed as he took the number from 
her hand. 

"Of course you do!" he said. ^'Even 'a woman 
of mature years' is never above looking her best! 
Armed with this precious slip of paper, I will send 
for your belongings at once " 

"It's only a portmanteau," put in Diana, meekly. 
"Not a Saratoga trunk." 

He gave her an amused look. 

"Didn't you bring any Paris 'confections'?" 

"I didn't wait in Paris," she replied. "I came 
straight on." 

"A long journey!" said Madame Dimitrius. 

"Yes. But I was anxious to get here as soon as I 

"In haste to rush upon destiny!" observed Di- 
mitrius, rising from the tea-table. "Well! Perhaps 
it is better l^an waiting for destiny to rush upon 
you! I will send for your luggage — ^it will be here 
in half an hour. Meanwhile, when you have quite 
finished your tea, will you join me in the laborar 

He left the room. Madame Dimitrius laid down 
her knitting needles and looked wistfully at Diana. 

"I hope you will not be afraid of my son," she 


said, "or offended at anything he may say. His 
brain is always working — always seeking to pene- 
trate some new mystery, — and sometimes — from 
sheer physical fatigue — ^he may seem brusque, — ^but 
his nature is noble " 

She paused, with a slight trembling of the lip and 
sudden moisture in her kind blue eyes. 

Impulsively, Diana took her thin delicate old hand 
and kissed it. 

"Please don't worry!" she said. "I am not easily 
offended, and I certainly shall not be afraid ! I like 
your son very much, and I think we shall get on 
splendidly together — I do, indeed! I'm simply 
biuming with impatience to be at work for him! 
Be quite satisfied that I shall do my best! I'm off 
to the laboratory now." 

She went with a swift, eager step, and on reach- 
ing the outer hall was unexpectedly confronted by 
the dumb negro who had at first admitted her to 
the Chateau. He made her a sign to follow him, 
and she obeyed. Down a long, winding, rather dark 
passage they went till their further progress was 
stopped by a huge door made of some iridescent 
metal which glowed as with interior fire. It was so 
enormously thick, and wide and lofty, and clamped 
with such weighty bars and mysteriously designed 
fastenings, that it might have been the door imag- 
ined by Dante when he wrote : "All hope abandon, 
ye who enter here." Diana felt her heart beating a 
litUe more quickly, but she kept a good grip on her 
nerves, and looked questioningly at her guide. His 
dark face gave no sign in response; he merely laid 
one hand on the centre panel of the door with a light 

"CJome in!" said the voice of Dimitrius. "Don't 

At tiiat moment the whole door lifted itself as it 
were from a deep socket in the ground and swung 


upwards like the portcullis of an ancient bridge, 
only without any noise, disclosing a vast circular 
space covered in by a dome of glass, or some sub- 
stance clearer than glass, throu^ which the after- 
noon glory of the September sunshine blazed with 
an almost blinding intensity. Immediately under the 
dome, and in the exact centre of the circular floor, 
was a wonderful looking piece of mechanism, a great 
wheel which swept round and round incessantly and 
rapidly, casting from its rim millions and milliona 
of sparks of li^t or fire. 

"Come in !" again called Dimitrius. ''Why do you 
stand waiting there?" 

Diana looked back for a second, — ^the great metal 
door had closed behind her, — ^the n^ro att^idant 
had disappeared, — she was shut within this great 
weird chamber with Dimitrius and that whirling 
Wheel! A sudden giddinesa overcame her — she 
stretched out her hands blindly for supportr-^they 
were instantly caught in a firm, kind grasp. 

"Keep steady! That's right!" This, as she ral- 
lied her forces and tried to look up. "It's not eaay 
to watch any sort of Spherical Motion without wantr- 
ing to go with it among 'the dancing stars!' Therel 

"Indeed, yes! I'm so sorry and ashamed!" she 
said. "Such a stupid weakness! But I have never 
seen anything like it ^" 

"No, I'm sure you have not!" And Dimitrius re- 
leased her hands and stood beside her. "To give 
you greater relief, I would stop the Wheel if I could 
— ^but I cannot!" 

"You cannot?" 

"No. Not till the dayli^t goes. Then it will grad- 
ually cease revolving of itself. It is only a very in- 
adequate man-made exposition of one of the Divine 
mysteries of creation, — ^the force of Light which gen- 
erates Motion, and from Motion, lifa Moses 


touched the central pivot of truth in his Book of 
Genesis' when he wrote: 'The earth was without 
form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of 
the deep . . . And God said, Let tiiere be Light. 
And there was Light.' From that 'Light/ the efful- 
gence of God's own Actual Presence and Intelligence, 
came the Movement which dispelled 'dar^ess.' 
Movement, once begun, shaped all that which be* 
fore was 'without form' and filled all that had been 
Void/ Light is the positive exhalation and pulsa- 
tion of the Divine Existence — ^the Active Personality 
of an Et^nal God; — Light, which enters the sold 
and builds the body of every living organism,— « 
therefore Light is Life." 


DiAi^'A listened to the quiet, emphatic tones of his 
voice in fascinated attention. 

"Li^t is Life," he repeated, slowly. "Light— and 
the twin portion of Li^t, — Fire. The Rosicrucians 
have come nearer than any other religious sect in the 
world to the comprehension of things divine. Dark- 
ness is ChaQS, — not death, for there is no death — 
but confusion, bewilderment and blindness which 
gropes for a glory instinctively felt but unseen. In 
these latter days, science has discovered the begin- 
ning of the wonders of Light, — they have always 
existed, but We have not found them, %ving dark- 
ness rather than light.' I say the 'beginning of won- 
ders,' for with all our advancement we have only 
become dimly conscious of the first vibration of the 
Creator's living presence. Light! — ^which is 'Gk)d 
walking in His garden,' — ^which is colour, sound, 
heat, movement — all the Divine Power in eternal ra- 
diation and luminance! — this is Life; — and. in this 
we live, — in this we may live, and renew our lives, 
— ^ay, and in this we may retain youth beyond age I 
If we only have courage! — courage and tiie will to 

His brilliant dark eyes turned upon her with a 
searching steadfastness, and her heart beat quickly, 
for there was something in his look which silggested 
that it was from her he expected "courage and the 
will to learn." But she made no comment. Sud- 
denly, and with an abrupt movement, he pulled with 
both hands at a lever apparently made of steel, — 
like one of the handles in a signal-box, — and with 



his action the level floor beneath the great revolvmg 
wheel yawned asunder, showing a round pool of 
water, black as ink and seemingly very deep. Diana 
recoiled from it, startled. Dimitrius smiled. 

"Suppose I asked you to jump in?" he said. 

She thought a moment. 

"Well, — I should want to take off my dress first," 
she answered. "It's a new one." 

He laughed. 

"And then?" 

"Then?— Why, then I shouldn't mind!" she said. 
"I can swim." 

^Tfou would not be afraid?" 

She met his eyes bravely. < 

"No — I should not be afraid!" 

"Upon my word, I believe you! You're a plucky 
woman! But then you've nothing to lose by your 
daring, having lost all — so you told me. What do 
you mean by having lost all?" 

"I mean just what I say," she replied quietly. 
"Father, mother, home, lover, youth, beauty and 
hope! Isn't that enough to lose?" 

And, as she spoke, she gazed almost unseeingly at 
the wonderful Wheel as it whirled round and round, 
glittering with a thousand colours which were re- 
flected in the dark mirror of the water below it. The 
sun was sinking, and the light through the over- 
arching glass dome was softer, and with each min- 
ute became more subdued, — and she noted with keen 
interest that the revolution of the wheel was less 
rapid and dizzjdng to the eye. 

"Enough to lose — ^yes!" said Dimitrius. "But the 
loss is quite common. Most of us, as we get on in 
life, lose father and mother, home, and even lover! 
— but that we should lose youth, beauty and hope 
is quite our own affair! We ought to know better!" 
She looked at him in surprise. 

"How should we know better?" she asked. "Age 


must come, — and with age the wrinklmg and spoil* 
ing of all beautiful faces, to say nothing of the aches 
and pains and ailments common to a general break- 
up of the body-cells. We cannot defy the law of 

"That is precisely what we are always doing!" 
said Dimitrius. "And that is why we make such 
trouble for ourselves. We not only defy the law of 
Nature in a bodily sense by over-eating, over-drink- 
ing and over-breeding, but we ignore it altogether 
in a spiritual sense. We forget, — ^and wilfully for- 
get, that the body is only the outward manifestation 
of a Soul-creature, not the Soul-creature itself. So 
we starve the Light and feed the Shadow, and then 
foolishly wonder that, with the perishing light, the 
Shadow is absorbed in darkness." 

He pulled at the steel lever again, and the m]r&- 
terious pool of water became swiftly and noiselessly 
covered as part of the apparently solid ground. 

"One more thing before we go," he resumed, and, 
taking a key from his pocket, he unlocked a tiny 
door no bigger than the door of a child's doll house. 
"C!ome and see!" 

Diana obeyed, and bending down to peer into the 
small aperture disclosed, saw therein a tube or pipe 
no thicker than a straw, from which fell slowly drop 
by drop a glittering liquid into a hollow globe of 
oystal. So brilliant and fiery was the colour of this 
fluid, that it might have been an essence of the very 
simlight. She looked at Dimitiius in silent inquiry. 
He said nothing — and presently she v^itured to ask 
in a half whisper: 

'What is it?" 

His expression, as he turned and faced her, was so 
rapt and transfigured as to be quite extraordinary. 

"It is life, — or it is death!" he answered. "It is 
my Great Experiment of which you will be the prac- 
tical test! Ah, now you look amazed indeed! — ^your 


eyes are almost young in wonder! — and yet I see no 
fear! That is well! Now think and understand! 
All this mechanism, — ^which is far more complex 
than you can imagine, — ^this dome of crystal above 
us, — tiiis revolving wheel moved by Li^t alone, — 
the deep water beneath us throu^ which the con- 
densed and vibrating Light rushes with electric 
speed, — ^these million whirling atoms of fire, — ^all 
this, I say, is merely — ^remember! — ^merely to pro- 
duce these miniature drops, smaller by many degrees 
than a drop of dew, and so slowly are they distUled, 
that it has taken me ten years to draw from these 
restless and opposing elements a sufficient quan- 
tity for my great purpose. Ten years! — and after 
all, who knows? All my thought and labour may 
be wasted ! — I may have taken ti[ie wrong road ! The 
fiery sword turns every way, and even now I may 

His face darkened, — ^the hope and radiance died 
out of it and left it grey and drawn — almost old. 
Diana laid her hand on his arm with a soft, con- 
soling touch. 

"Why should you fail?" she asked, gently. "You 
yourself know the object of your quest and the prob- 
lem you seek to solve, — and I am sure you have 
missed no point that could avail to lead you in the 
rij^t direction. And if, as I now imagine, you need a 
human life to risk itself in the ultimate triumph of 
your work, you have mine entirely at your service. 
As I have told you several times already, I am not 

He took the hand that lay upon his arm and kissed 
it with grave courtesy. 

"I thank you!" he said. "I feel that you are per- 
fectly sincere — and honesty always breeds courage. 
Understand, my mother has never seen this work- 
shop of mine— she would be terrified. The dome 
was built for me by my French architect, ostensibly 


for astronomical purposes — the rest of tiie mechan- 
ism, bit by bit, was sent to me from different parts of 
the world and I put it up myself assisted only by 
Vasho, my negro servant, who is dumb. So my 
secret is, as far as possible, well kept." 

"I shall not betray it," said Diana, simply. 

He smiled. 

"I know you wi!l not," he answered. 

With almost a miser's care he locked the tiny door 
which concealed the mystery of the fi«y-golden 
liquid dropping so slowly, almost reluctantly, into 
its crystal receptacle. The sun had sunk below l^e 
horizon, and shadows began to creep over the clear- 
ness of the dome above them, while the great Wheel 
turned at a slower pace — and ever more slowly as 
the li^t grew dim. 

'^We wiU go now," he said. "One or two ordinary 
people are coming to dine — ^and your luggage will 
have arrived. I want you to live happily here, and 
healthfully — ^your health is a most important con- 
sideration with me. You look thin and delicate " 

"I am thin— to positive scragginess," interrupted 
Diana, "but I am not delicate." 

'Well, that may be; but you must keep strong. 
You will need all your strength in the days to 

They were at liie closed door of the laboratory, 
which by some unseen contrivance, evidently con- 
trolled by the pressure of the hand against a par- 
ticular panel, swung upwards in the same way as it 
had done before, and when they passed out, slid 
downwards again behind them. They were in the 
corridor now, dimly lit by one electric lamp. 

"You are not intimidated by anything I have 
shown you?" said Dimitrius, then. "After all, you 
are a woman and entitled to 'nerves!' " 

"Quite so, — ^nerves properly organised and wdl 
under control," answered Diana^ quietly. "I am full 


of wonder at what I have seen, but I am not intimi- 

"Good!" And a sudden smile lit up his face, giv- 
ing it a wondwful charm. "Now run away and diress 
for dinner I And don't puzzle yourself by thinking 
about anything for the present. If you rrnist think, 
wait till you are alone with night and the stars!" 

He left her, and she went upstairs at once to her 
own rooms. Here repose and beauty were expressed 
in all her surroundings and she looked about her 
with a sigh of comfort and appreciation. Some 
careful hand had set vases of exquisitely arranged 
flowers here and there, — ^and the scent of roses, car- 
nations and autumn violets made the already sweet 
air sweeter. She found her modest luggage in her 
bedroom, and set to work unpacking and arranging 
her clothes. 

"He's quite right, — I mustn't think!" she said to 
herself. "It would never do ! That wheel grinding 
out golden fire! — that mysterious pool of water in 
whidk one might easily be drowned and never heard 
of any more! — ^and those precious drops, locked up 
in a tiny hole! — ^what can all these things mean? 
There! — I'm thinking and I musto't think! But— 
ia he mad, I wonder? Surely not! No madman 
ever put up such a piece of mechanism as that 
Wheel! I'm thinking again! — I mustn't think! — ^I 
mustn't think!" 

She soon had all her garments impacked, shaken 
out> and arranged in their different places, and, aftar 
some cogitation, decided to wear for the evening one 
of the Parisian "rest" or "tea" gowns her friend 
Sophy Lansing had chosen for her, — a marvellous 
admixture of palest rose and lUac hues, with a touch 
or two of pearl glimmerings among lace like moon- 
light on foam. She took some pains to dress har 
pretty hair becomingly, twisting it up high on her 
email, well-shaped head, and when her attire waa 


complete she surveyed herself in the long mirror 
with somewhat less dissatisfaction than she was ac- 
customed to do. 

"Not so bad!" she inwardly commented, approv- 
ing the picturesque fall and flow of the rose and lilac 
m]k and chiffon which clung softly round her slim 
figure. 'TTou are not ^itirely repulsive yet, Diana! 
— not yet! But you will be! — ^never fear! Just 
wait a little! — wait till your cheeks sink in a couple 
of bony hollows and your throat looks like the just- 
wrung neck of a scrawny fowl!" Here she lauded, 
with a quaint amusement at the unpleasant picture 
she was making of herself in the future. "Yes, my 
dear ! Not all the clouds of rosy chiffon in the world 
will hide your blemishes then! — and your hair! — 
oh, your hair will be a sort of grizzled ginger and 
you'll have to hide it! So you'd better enjoy this 
little interval — it won't last long!" Suddenly at 
this point in her soliloquy some words uttered by 
Dimitrius rang back on her memory: "That we 
should lose youth, beauty and hope is quite oiu- own 
affair. We ought to know better." She repeated 
them slowly once or twice. "Strange! — ^a very 
strange thing to say!" she mused. "I wonder what 
he meant by it? I'm sure if it had been my 'own 
affair' to keep youth, beauty and hope, I would 
never have lost them ! Oddly enough I seem to have 
got back a little scrap of one of the losses — hoi)e! 
But I'm thinking again — I mustn't think!" 

She curtsied playfully to her own reflection in the 
mirror, and seeing by the warning "time dial" for 
meals that it was nearly the dinner hour, she de- 
scended to the drawing-room. Three or four people 
were assembled there, talking to Madame Dimitrius, 
who introduced Diana as "Miss May, an English 
friend of ours who is staying with us for the winter" 
— ^an announcement which Diana herself tacitly ao* 
cepted as being no doubt what Dr. Dimitrius wished. 


The persons to whom she was thus presented were 
the Baroness RousiUon, a handsome Frenchwoman 
of possibly fifty-six or sixty, — ^her husband, the Bar- 
on, a stout, cheerful personage with a somewhat 
a^;rayating air of perpetual bonhomie, — Professor 
Chauvet, a very thin Uttle old gentleman with an 
aquiline nose and drooping eyelids from which small, 
sparkling dark eyes gleamed out occasionally like 
needle-points, and a certain Marchese Luigi Far- 
nese, a rather sinister-looking dark young man, with 
a curiously watchful expression, as of one placed on 
guard over some hidden secret treasure. They were 
all exceedingly amiable, and asked Diana the usual 
polite questions, — whether she had had a pleasant 
journey from England? — ^was the Channel rough? 
— ^was the weather fine? — ^was she a good sailor? — 
and 80 on, all of which she answered pleasantly in 
tiiat sweet and musical voice which always attracted 
and charmed her hearers. 

"And you come from England!" said Professor 
Chauvet, blinking at her through his eyelids. ^'Ah I 
it is a strange place!" 

Diana smUed, but said nothing. 

"It is a strange place!" reiterated the Professor, 
with more emphasis. "It is a place of violent con- 
trasts without any intermediate tones. Stupidity 
and good sense, moral cowardice and physical cour- 
age, petty grudging and large generosity, jostle each 
ottier in couples all through English society, yet af- 
ter, and with these drawbacks, it is very attractive!" 

"I'm so glad you like it," said Diana, cheerfully. 
"I expect the same faults can be found in all coun- 
tries and with all nations. We English are not the 
worst people in the world!" 

"By no means!" conceded the Professor, inclin- 
ing his head courteously. 'Tou might almost claim 
to be ihe best — ^if it were not for France, — ^and Italy, 
— and Russia!" 


The Baroness Rousillon smiled. "^ 

"How clever of you, Professor!" she said. 'TTou 
are careful to include all nationalities here present 
in your implied compliment, and so you avoid argu- 

"Madame, I never argue with a lady!" he replied. 
"First, because it is bad manners, and second, be- 
cause it is always useless!" 

They all lauded, with the gentle tolerance of per- 
sons who know an old sajdng by heart. Just &en 
Dr. Dimitrius entered and severally greeted his 
guests. Despite her efforts to seem otiierwise enter- 
tained, Diana found herself watching his every 
movement and trying to hear every word he said. 
Only very few men look well in evening dress, and 
he was one of those few. A singular distinction 
marked his bearing and manner; in any assemblage 
of notable people he would have been assuredly se- 
lected as one of the most attractive and remarkable. 
Once he caught her eyes steadfastly r^arding him, 
and smiled encouragingly. Whereat diie coloured 
deeply and felt ashamed of her close observation of 
him. He took the Baroness Rousillon in to dinner, 
the Baron following with Madame Dimitrius, and 
Diana was left with a choice between two men as her 
escort. She looked in smiling inquiry at both. Pro- 
fessor Chauvet settled the point. 

"Marchese, you had better take Miss May," he 
said, addressing the dark Italian. "I never allow 
myself to go in to dinner with any woman — ^it's my 
habit always to go alone." 

"How social and independent of you!" said Di- 
ana, gaily, accepting the Marchese's instantly prof- 
fered arm. "You like to be original? — or is it only 
to attract attention to yourself?" 

The Professor opened his eyes to their fullest ex- 
tent under their half-shut lids. Here was an Eng- 
lishwoman daring to quiz him! — or, as the English 


themselves would say, "chaff" him! He coughed, 
glared, and tried to look dignified, but failed. — and 
was fain to trot, or rather shuffle, in to the dining- 
room somewhat meekly at the trailing end of Di- 
ana's rose and lilac chiffon train. When they were 
all seated at table, he looked at her with what was, 
for him, unusual curiosity, realising that she was 
not quite an "ordinary" sort of woman. He began 
to wonder about her, and where she came from, — 
it was all very well to say "from England" — ^but 
up to now, all conversation had been carried on in 
fVench, and her French had no trace whatever of 
tiie British accent. She sat opposite to him, and 
he had good opportunity to observe her attentively, 
though fiu*tively. She was talking with much ani- 
mation to the Marchese Famese, — ^her voice had the 
most enchanting modulation of tone, — and, strain- 
ing his ears to hear what she was saying, he foimd 
she was speaking Italian. At this he was fairly non- 
plussed and somewhat annoyed — ^he did not speak 
Italian himself. All his theories respecting the Brit- 
ish female were upset. No British female — ^he said 
this inwardly — no single one of the species in his 
knowledge, talked the French of France, or the Ital- 
ian of Tuscany. He watched her with an almost 
grudging interest. She was not young, — she was not 

''Some man has had the making or the marring of 
herl" he thought, crossly. "No woman ever turned 
herself out with such aplomb and savoir faire!" 

Meanwhile Diana was enjoying her dinner. She 
was cleverly "drawing out" her partner at table, 
young Famese, who proved to be passionately keen 
on all scientific research, and particularly so on the 
mysterious doings of Feodor Dimitrius. Happy to 
find himself next to a woman who spoke his native 
tongue with charm and fluency, he "let himself go" 


"I suppose you have known Dr. Dimitrius for 
some time?" he asked. 

Diana thought for a second, — then replied 

"Oh, yes!" 

"He's a wonderful man ! " said Famese. "Wonder- 
ful ! I have myself witnessed his cures of cases given 
up by all other doctors as hopeless. I have asked 
him to accept me as a student under him, but he 
will not. He has some mystery which he will allow 
no one but himself to penetrate." 

"Really!" and Diana lifted her eyebrows in an 
ardi of surprise. "He has never given me that im- 

"Ah, no ! " and Famese smiled rather darkly. "He 
would not appear in that light to one of your sex. 
He does not care for women. His own mother is 
not really aware of the nature of his studies or the 
object of his work. Nobody has his confidence. As 
you are a friend of his you must know this quite 

"Oh, yes! — ^yes, of course!" murmured Diana, ab- 
sently. "But nobody expects a very clever man to 
explain himself to his friends — or to the public. 
He must always do his work more or less alone." 

"I agree!" said the Marchese. "And this is why 
I cannot understand the action of Dimitrius in ad- 
vertising for an assistant " 

"Oh, has he done so?" inquired Diana^ indiffer- 

"Yes, — for the last couple of months he has put a 
most eccentric advertisement in many of the jour- 
nals, seeking the services of an elderly woman as 
assistant or secretary — I don't know which. It's 
some odd new notion of his, and, I venture to think, 
rather a mistaken one — for if he will not trust a man 
student, how much less can he rely on an old 


'TBccellenza, you are talking to a woman now," 
said Diana, calmly. ''But never mind 1 Go on — ^and 
don't apologise!'' 

Famese's dark olive skin flushed red. 

"But I must!" he stammered, awkwardly. "I ask 
a thousand pardons!" 

She glanced at him sideways with a laughing: 

"You are forgiven!" she said. "Women are quite 
hardened to the ironies and satires of your sex upon 
us, — ^and if we have any cleverness at all we are more 
amused by them than offended. For we know you 
cannot do without us! But certainly it is very odd 
that Dr. Dimitrius should advertise for an old 
woman! I never heard anything quite so funny!" 

"He does not, I think, advertise for an actually 
old woman," said Famese, relieved to find that she 
had taken his clumsy remark so lightly. "The ad- 
vertisement when I saw it mentioned a woman of 
mature years." 

"Oh, well, that's a polite way of saying an old 
woman, isn't it?" smiled Diana. "And— do tell me! 
— hss he got her?" 

**Why no ! — ^not yet. Probably he will not get her 
at alL Even let us suppose a woman offered herself 
who admitted that she was 'of mature years,' that 
very fact would be sufficient proof of her incapac- 

"Indeed!" and Diana lifted her eyebrows again. 

The Marchese smiled a superior smile. 

"Perhaps I had better not explain!" he said. "But 
for a woman to arrive at 'mature years' without 
any interests in life except to offer her probably 
untrained services to a man she knows nothing of 
except through the medium of an advertisement is 
plain evidence that any such woman must be a 


Diana laughed merrily — ^and ha* laughtar waa the 
prettiest ripple of music. 

"Oh, yes! — of course! I see your meaning!" she 
said, '^ou are quite right! But after all perhaps 
the elderly female is only wanted to add up accounts, 
or write down measurements or something of that 
kind — just ordinary routine work. Some lonely old 
spinster witii no claims upon her might be glad of 
such a chance " 

"Are you discussing my advertisement?" inter- 
rupted Dimitrius suddenly, sending a glance and 
amile at Diana from the head of the table. "I have 
withdrawn it." 

"Have you really?" said the Marchese. "That is 
not to say you are suited?" 

"Suited? Oh, no! I shall never be suited! It 
was a foolish quest, — ^and I ought to have blown 
better!" His dark eyes sparkled mirthfully. "You 
see I had rather forgotten the fact that no woman 
cares to admit she is 'of mature years/ — I had also 
forgotten the well-known male formula that 'no 
woman can be trusted.' However, I have only lost 
a few hundred francs in my advertising — so I have 
nothing to regret except my own folly." 

"Had you many applications?" inquired Professor 

Dimitrius lauded. 

"Only one!" he answered, gaily. "And she was a 
I>oor lone lady who had lost all she thought worth 
living for. Of course she was — ^impossible!" 

"Naturally!" and the Professor nodded sagacious- 
ly_"She would be!" 

'What was she like?" asked Diana, with an 
amused look. 

"Like no woman I have ever seen!" replied Di- 
mitrius, smiling quizzically at her. "Mature, and 
fully ripened in her opinions, — fairly obstinate, and 
di£Scult to get rid of." 


^'I congratulate you on having succeeded!" said 

"Succeeded? In what way?'' 

"In having got rid of her!" 

"Oh, yes! But — I don't think she wanted to go!" 

*No woman ever wants to go if there's a good- 
looking bachelor with whom she has any chance to 
stay!" said the Baron Rousillon, expanding his shirt 
front and smiling largely all round the table. "The 
'poor lone lady' must have taken your rejection of 
her services rather badly." 

"That's the way most men would look at it," re- 
plied Dimitrius. "But, my dear Baron, I'm afraid 
we are rather narrow and primitive in our ideas of 
the fair sex — ^not to say conceited. It is quite our 
own notion that all women need us or find us de- 
sirable. Some women would much rather not be 
bored with us at all. One of the prettiest women 
I ever knew remained unmarried because, as she 
frankly said, she did not wish to be a housekeeper 
to any man or be bored by his perpetual company. 
There's something in it, you know ! Every man has 
his own particular 'groove' in which he elects to run 
— and in his 'groove' he's apt to become monotonous 
and tiresome. That is why, when I advertised, I 
asked for a woman 'of mature years,' — someone who 
had 'setUed down,' and who would not find it weari- 
some to trot tamely alongside of my special 'groove,' 
but of course it was very absurd on my part to 
expect to find a woman of that sort who was at the 
same time well-educated and clever." 

Tfou should marry, my dear Dimitrius!— you 
should marry!" said the Baroness Rousillon, with 
a brilliant flash of her fine eyes and an encouraging 

"Never, my dear Baroness! — ^never!" he replied, 
with emphasis. "I am capable of many things, but 
not of that most arrant stupidity ! Were I to marry. 


my work would be ruined — I should become im- 
mersed in the domesticities of the kitchen and the 
nursery, living my life at no higher grade than the 
life of the farmyard or rabbit-warren. In my opin- 
ion, marriage is a mistake, — ^but we must not argue 
auch a point in the presence of a happily married 
couple like yourself and the Baron. Look at our 
excellent friend, Chauvet! He has never married." 

"Thank God!" ejaculated the Professor, devoutly, 
— ^while everybody laughed. "Ah, you may laugh I 
But it is I who laugh last! When I see the unfor- 
tunate husband going out for a slow walk with his 
wife and three or four screaming, jumping children, 
who behave like savages, not knowing what they 
want or where they wish to go, I bless my happy 
fate that I can do my ten miles a day alone, revel- 
ling in the beauty of the mountains and lakes, and 
enjoying my own thoughts in peace. Like Amriel, 
I have not married because I am afraid of disillu- 

"But have you thought of the possible woman in 
the case?" asked Diana, sweetly and suddenly. 
"Might she not also su£Fer from 'disillusion' if you 
were her husband?" 

Laughter again rang round the table, — ^the Pro- 
fessor rose, glass of wine in hand, and made Diana 
a solemn bow. 

"Madame, I stand reproved!" he said. "And I 
drink to your health and to England, your native 
country ! And in reply to your question, I am hon- 
est enough to say that I think any woman who had 
been so unfortunate as to marry me, would have put 
herself out of her misery a month after the wed- 

Renewed merriment rewarded this amende honor- 
able on the part of Chauvet, who sat down well 
pleased wiUi himself — and well pleased, too, with 
Diana, whom he considered quick-witted and clever. 


and whose smile when he had made his little speedi 
had quite won him over. 

Madame Dimitrius, chiefly intent on the hospit- 
able cares of the table, had listened to all the conver- 
sation with an old lady's placid enjoyment, only 
putting in a word now and then, and smiling with 
a£fectionate encouragement at Diana, and dessert 
being presently served, and cigars and cigarettes 
handed round by the negro, Vasho, who was the sole 
attendant, she gave the signal for the ladies to re- 

*Tfou do not smoke?" said the Marchese Famese, 
as Diana moved from her place. 

"No, indeed!" 

"You dislike it?" 

"For women, — ^yes." 

"Then you are old-fashioned!" he commented, 

"Yes. And I am very glad of it!" she answ^^, 
quietly, and followed Madame Dimitrius and the 
Baroness Rousillon out of the room. As she passed 
Dimitrius, who held open the door for their exit, 
he said a few low-toned words in Russian which 
owing to her own study of the language she xmder- 
stood. They were: 

"Excellent! You have kept yom* own counsel 
and mine, most admirably! I thank you with all 
my heart!" 


That first evening in the Chateau Fragonard 
taught Diana exactly what was expected of her. It 
was evident that both Dimitrius and his mother 
chose to assume that she was a friend of theirs, 
staying with them on a visit, and she realised that 
she was not supposed to oflfer any other explanation 
of her presence. The famous advertisement had 
been "withdrawn/' and the Doctor had plainly an- 
nounced that he was "not suited," and that he had 
resigned all further quest of the person he had 
sought. That he had some good reason for disguis- 
ing the real facts of the case Diana felt sure, and 
she was quite satisfied to fall in with his method 
of action. The more so, when she found herself an 
object of interest and curiosity to the Baroness Rou- 
sillon, who spared no eflFort to "draw her out" and 
gain some information as to her English home, her 
surroundings and ordinary associations. The Bar- 
oness had a clever and graceful way of cross-exam- 
ining strangers through an assumption of friendli- 
ness, but Diana was equally clever and graceful in 
the art of "fence" and was not to be "drawn." When 
the men left the dinner-table and came into the 
drawing-room she was placed as it were between two 
fires, — ^Professor Chauvet and the Marchese Far- 
nese, both of whom were undisguisedly inquisitive, 
Famese especially — and Diana was not slow to dis- 
cover that his chief aim in conversing with her was 
to find out something, — ^anything — ^which could 
throw a light on the exact nature of the work in 
which Dimitrius was engaged. Perceiving this, she 



played with him like a shuttlecock, tossing him away 
from his main point whenever he got near it, much 
to his scarcely concealed irritation. Every now and 
again she caught a steel-like flash in the dark eyes 
of Dimitrius, who, though engaged in casual talk 
with the Baron and Baroness Rousillon, glanced at 
her occasionally in fullest comprehension and ap- 
proval, — and somehow it became borne in upon her 
mind that if Famese only knew the way to the sci- 
entist's laboratory, he would have very little scruple 
about breaking into any part of it with the hope of 
solving its hidden problem. 

"Why do you imagine there is any mystery about 
the Doctor's works?" she asked him. ''I Imow of 

"He would never let any woman know," replied 
Famese, with conviction. "But she might find out 
for herself if she were clever! There is a mystery 
without doubt. For instance, what is that great 
dome of glass which catches the sunlight on its roof 
and glitters in the distance, when I look towards the 
Chateau from my sailing boat on the lake ?" 

"Oh, you have a saifing boat on the lake?" ex- 
claimed Diana, clasping her hands in well-affected 
ecsta^. "How enchanting! Like Lord Byron, when 
he Uved at the Villa Diodati!" 

"Ah!" put in Professor Chauvet. "So you know 
your Bjrron! Then you are not one of the *mod- 

Diana smiled. 

"No. I do not prefer Kipling to the author of 
'Childe Harold.' " 

"Then you are lost — irretrievably lost!" said the 
Professor. "In England, at any rate. In England, if 
you are a tnie lover of literature, you must sneer 
at Byron because it's academic to do so— Oxford and 
Cambridge have taken to decrying genius and wor- 
diipping mediocrity. Byron is the only English 


poet known and honoured in other countries thao 
England — your modem verse writers are not under- 
stood in France, Italy or Russia. Half a doz«i of 
Byron'a stanzas would set up all the British lattM*- 
day rhymers with ideas, — only, of coTirse, they would 
never admit it, I'm glad I've met an Englishwoman 
who has sense enou^ to appreciate Byron." 

"Thank you!" said Diana in a small, meek voice. 
"You are most kind!" 

Here Famese rushed in again upon bis argu- 

"That glass dome " 

Diana smothered a tiny yawn. 

"Oh, that's an ast»t>noniical place!" she said, in- 
differently. 'You know Uie kind of thing! Tele- 
scopes, globes, mathematical insbrunentB—all those 
sort of objects." 

The Marchese looked surprised, — thai incredu- 

"An astronomical place?" he r^wated. "Are you 
sure? Have you seen it?" 

"Why, yes, of course!" and she laughed. "Haven't 

"Never! He allows no visitors inside it." 

"Ah, I expect you're too inquisitive!" and ab.e 
looked at him with a bland and compassionate tol- 
erance. "You see, being a woman, I don't care about 
difficult studies, such as astronomy. Women are 
not supposed to understand the sciences, — th^ 
never can grasp anything in the way of mathematics, 


>sed quickly. 

t to my mind th^ cease to be 
do. Th^ become indifferent to 

3?" queried Diana, unfurling a 
ng it slowly to and fro. 


"The emotions of love, — of tenderness,— of pas- 
sion " 

"Ah, yes! You mean the emotions of love, of ten- 
derness, of passion — for what? For man? Well, 
of course! — the most surface knowledge of mathe- 
matics would soon put an end to that sort of thing !'^ 

"Dear English madame, you are pleased to be se- 
vere!" said Chauvet. 'Yet the soft emotions are 
surely Roman's distinguishing charm'?" 

She lauded. 

"Men like to say so," she replied. "Because it flat- 
ters their vanity to rouse these 'soft emotions' and 
translate them into love for themselves. But have 
you had any experience. Professor? If any woman 
had displayed 'soft emotions' towards you, would 
you not have been disposed to nip them in the bud?" 

"Most likely! I am not an object for sentimen- 
tal consideration, — I never was. I should have 
greatly regretted it if one of your charming sex had 
wasted her time or herself on me." 

Just then Madame Dimitrius spoke. 

"Dear Miss May, will you play us something?" 

She readily acquiesced, and seating herself at the 
grand piano, which was open, soon scored a triumph. 
Her pUtying was exquisitely finished, and as her fin- 
gers glided over the keys, the consciousness that she 
was discoursing music to at least one or two per- 
sons who understood and appreciated it gave her 
increased tenderness of toudi and beauty of tone. 
The dreary feeling of utter hopelessness which had 
pervaded her, body and soul, when playing to her 
father and mother, "Ma" asleep on the sofa, and 
"Pa" hidden behind a newspaper, neither of them 
knowing or caring what composer's work she per- 
formed, was changed to a warm, happy sense of the 
power to give pleasure, and the abiUty to succeed — 
and when she had finished a delicately wild little 
sonata of Grieg's, pressing its soft, half-sobbing final 


chord 88 daintily and hushfully as she would have 
folded a child's hands in sleep, a murmur of real 
rapture and surprised admiration came from all h& 

"But you are an artiste ! " exclaimed the Baroness 
Rousillon. 'TTou are a professional mrtuoso, surely?" 

"Spare me such an accusation!'' lauded Diana. 
"I don't think I could play to an audience for 
money, — it would seem like selling my souL" 

"Ah, there I can't follow you," said Chauvet. 
"That's much too high-flown and romantic for me. 
Why not sell anything if you can find buyers?" 

His little eyes glittered ferret-like between his se- 
cretive eyelids, and Diana smiled, seeing that he 
spoke ironically. 

"This is an age of selling," he went on. "The 
devil might buy souls by the bushel if he wanted 
them ! — (and if there were such a person ! ) And aa 
for music! — why, it's as good for sale and barter 
nowadays as a leg of mutton! The professional 
musician is as eager for gain as any other merchant 
in the general market, — and if the spirit of Sappho 
sang him a song from the Elysian fields, he'd sell 
it to a gramophone agency for the highest bid. And 
you talk about 'selling your soul!' dear Madame, 
with a thousand pardons for my hrusquerie, you 
talk nonsense! How do you know you have a soul 
to sell?" 

Before she could reply, Dimitrius interposed, — ^his 
face was shadowed by a stem gravity. 

"No jesting with that subject. Professor!" he said. 
"You know my opinions. Sacred things are not suit- 
ed for ordinary talk, — the issues are too grave, — ^the 
realities too absolutie." 

Chauvet coughed a little cough of embarrassment, 
and took out a pair of spectacles from his pocket, 
polished them and put them back again for want 
of something else to do. The Morchese Famese 


looked up, — his expression was eager and watchful 
— he was on the alert. But nothing came of his 

"Play to us again, Miss May," continued Dimit- 
rius in gentler accents. ^Tou need be under no 
doubt as to the existence of your soul when you 
can express it so harmoniously.'' 

She coloured with pleasure, and turning again to 
the piano played the "Prelude" of Radhmaninoff 
with a verve and passion which surprised herself. 
She could not indeed explain why she, so lately 
conscious of little save the fact that she was a soli- 
tary spinster "in the way" of her would-be juvenile 
father, and with no one to care what became of her, 
now felt herself worthy of attention as a woman 
of talent and individuality, capable of asserting her- 
self as such wherever she might be. The magnifi- 
cent chords of the Russian composer's despairing 
protest against all insignificance and meanness, 
rolled out from under her skilled finger-tips with all 
the pleading of a last appeal, — and everyone in the 
room, even Dimitrius himself, sat, as it were, spell- 
bound and touched by a certain awe. An irresistible 
outburst of applause greeted her as she carried the 
brilliant finale to its close, and she rose, trembling 
a little with the nervous and very novel excitement 
of finding her musical gifts appreciated. Professor 
Chauvet got up slowly from his chair and came to- 
wards her. 

"After that, you may lead me where you like I" 
he said. "I am tame and humble! I shall never dis- 
agree with a woman who can so express the pulsa- 
tions of a poet's brain, — for that is what Rachmani- 
noff has put in his music. Yes, chere Anglaise! — ^I 
never flatter — and you play superbly. May I call 
you chere Anglaise f" 

"If it pleases you to do so!" she answered, smiling. 

"It does please me — it pleases me very much" — 


he went on — "it is a sobriquet of originality and dis- 
tinction. An Englishwoman of real talent is pre- 
cious — therefore rare. And being rare, it follows that 
she is dear — even to me! Chere Anglaise, you are 
charming! — and if both you and I were younger I 
should risk a proposal!" 

Everyone laughed, — ^no one more so than Diana. 

'TTou must have had considerable training to be 
such a proficient on the piano?" inquired Famese, 
with his look of almost aggressive curiosity. 

"Indeed no!" she replied at once. "But I have 
had a good deal of time to myself one way and the 
other, and as I love music, I have always practised 
steadily." ^/ 

"We must really have an 'afternoon' in Geneva," 
said the Baroness Rousillon then. "You must be 
heard, my dear Miss May ! The Genevese are very 
intelligent — they ought to know what an acquisition 
they have to their musical society " 

"Oh, no!" interrupted Diana, anxiously — "Please! 
I could not play before many people " 

"No, — ^like everything which emanates from 
Spirit, music of the finest quality is for the few/^ 
said Dimitrius. " 'Where two or three are gathered 
together there am I in the midst of them' — is the 
utterance of all god-like Presences. Only two or 
three can ever understand." 

Diana thanked him mutely by a look, and con- 
versation now became general. In a very short time 
the little party broke up, and Dimitrius accompar 
nied his guests in turn to the door. The Rousillons 
took Famese with them in their automobile, — Pro- 
fessor Chauvet, putting on a most unbecoming and 
very shabby great-coat, went on his way walking — 
he lived but half-a-mile or so further up the road. 

"In a small cottage, or chalet," — ^he explained — 
"A bachelor's hermitage where I shall be happy to 
see you, Miss May, if you ever care to come. I have 


nothing to show you but books, minerals and a few 
jewels— which perhaps you might like to look at. 
Strange jewels! — ^with histories and qualities and 
characteristics — is it not so, Dimitrius?" 

Dimitrius nodded. 

"They have their own mysteries, like everjrthing 
else," he said. 

Diana murmured her thanks for the invitation 
and bade him good-night, — then, as he went out of 
the room with his host, she turned to Madame Di- 
mitrius and with a gentle, almost affectionate con- 
sideration, asked if she could do anything for her 
before going to bed. 

"No, my dear!" answered tl* ^ old lady, taking her 
hand and patting it caressingly. "It's kind of you 
to think about me — and if I want you I'll ask you 
to come and help an old woman to be more useful 
than she is ! But wait a few minutes — I know Fee- 
der wishes to speak to you." 

"I have not displeased him, I hope, in any way?" 
Diana said, a little anxiously. "I felt so 'at home,' 
as it were, that I'm afraid I spoke a little too frankly 
as a stranger " 

*Tfou spoke charmingly!" Madame assured her — 
"Brightly, and with perfect independence, which we 
admire. And need I say how much both my son 
and I appreciated your quickness of perception and 

She laid a slight emphasis on the last word. Di- 
ana smiled and understood. 

"People arQ very inquisitive," went on Madame. 
"And it is better to let them think you are a friend 
and guest of ours than the person for whom my son 
has been advertising. That advertisement of his 
caused a great deal of comment and curiosity, 
— ^and now that he has said he has withdrawn it and 
that he does not expect to be suited, the gossip will 
graduidly die down. But if any idea had got about 


that you were the result of his search for an assist* 
ant^ you would find yourself in an embarrassing 
position. You would be asked no end of questions, 
and our charming Baroness Rousillon would be one 
of the first to make mischief — but thanks to your 
admirable self-control she is silenced." 

*Will an3rthing silence her?" and Dimitrius, enter- 
ing, stood for a moment looking at his mother and 
Diana with a smile. "I doubt it! But Miss May 
is not at all the kind of woman the Baroness would 
take as suitable for a scientific doctor's assistant, — 
fortunately. She is not old enough." 

'*Not old enough?" and Diana laughed. "Why, 
what age ought I to be?" 

"Sixty at least!" and he laughed with her. "The 
Baroness is a great deal older than you are, but she 
still subjugates the fancy of some men. Her idea 
of a doctor's private secretary or assistant is a kind 
of Macbeth's witch, too severely schooled in tiie 
virtues of ugliness to wear rose-coloured chiffon!" 

Diana flushed a little as he gave a meaning glance 
at her graceful draperies, — ^then he added: 
^ "Come out for a moment in the loggia, — ^moon- 
li^t is often talked about and written about, but 
it seldom gives such an impression of itself as on 
an early autunm night in Switzerland. Come!" 

She obeyed, — and as she followed him to the 
marble loggia where the fountains were still play- 
ing, an irresistible soft cry of rapture broke from 
her Ups. The scene she looked upon was one of 
fairy-like enchantment, — ^the moonlight, pearly pure, 
was spread in long broad wings of white radiance 
over the lawns in front of the Chateau, and reach- 
ing out through the shadows of trees, touched into 
silver ihe misty, scarcely discernible peaks of snow- 
mountains far beyond. A deep silence reigned every- 
where—that strange silence so frequently felt in the 
yicinity of mountains, — so that when the bell of 


the chiming clock set in the turret of the Chateau 
struck eleven, its sound was almost startling. 

"This would be a night for a sail on the lake," 
said Dimitrius. "Some evening you must come." 

She made no reply. Her soul was in her eyes — 
looking, looking wistfully at the beauty of tlie night, 
while all the old, unsatisfied hunger ached at her 
heart — ^the hunger for life at its best and brightest — 
for the things which were worth having and hold- 
ing, — ^and absorbed in a sudden wave of thought she 
hardly remembered for the moment where she was. 

''Millions of people look at this moon to-ni^t 
without seeing it," said Dimitrius, after a pause, 
during which he had watched her attentively. "Mil- 
lions of people live in the world without knowing 
anything about it. They, — themselves, — are to 
them, the universe. Like insects, they gnih for food 
and bodily satisfaction, — ^like insects, they die with- 
out having ever known any higher aim of existence. 
Yet, looking on such loveliness as this to-night, do 
you not feel that something more lasting, more real 
than the usual mode of life was and is intended for 
us? Does it not seem a flaw in the Creator's plan that 
this creation should be invested with such beauty 
and perfection for human beings who do not even 
see it? Do we make the utmost of our capabilities?" 

She tiUTied her eyes away from the moonlit land- 
scape and looked at him with rather a sad smile. 

"I cannot tell — I do not know," she answered. "I 
am not skilled in argument. But what almost seems 
to me to be the hardest thing in life is, that we have 
so little time to leam or to imderstand. As chil- 
dren and as very young people we are too brimful of 
animal spirits to think about anjrtliing, — ^then, when 
we arrive at 'mature years' we find we are 'shelved' 
by our fellow-men and women as old and unwanted. 
Women especially are sneered at for age, as if it were 
a crime to live b^ond one's teens." 


"Only the coarsest minds and tongues sneer at a 
woman's age/' said Dimitrius. "They are the pigs 
of the common stye, and they must grunt. I see you 
have suffered from their grunting! That, of course, 
is because you have not put on the matrimonial 
yoke. You might get as old as the good Abraham's 
wife, Sara, without a sneer, so long as you had be- 
come legitimately aged through waiting on the 
moods and caprices of a husband!" He laughed, 
half ironically, — then drawing nearer to her by a 
step, went on in a lower tone: 

"What would you say if you could win back 
youth? — ^not only the youth of your best dayB, but 
a youth transfigured to a fairness and beauty far 
exceeding any that you have ever known? What 
would you give, if with that youth you could secure 
an increased mental capacity for enjoying it? — ^an 
exquisite vitality? — ^a delight in life so keen that 
every beat of your heart should be one of health and 
joy? — and that you should hold life itself" — ^here 
he paused, and repeated the words slowly — ^"that 
you should hold life itself, I say, in a ceaseless series 
of vibrations as eternal as the making and re-mak- 
ing of universes?" 

His dark eyes were fixed upon her face with an in- 
tensity of meaning, and a thrill ran through her, half 
of fear, half of wonderment. 

"What would I say? — ^what would I give? You 
talk like anolher Mephistopheles to a female Faus- 
tusl" she said, forcing a laugh. "I would not give 
my soul, because I believe I have a soul, and that 
it is what God conunands me to keep, — ^but I would 
give everything else!" 

"Your soul is part of your life," said Dimitrius. 
"And you could not give that without giving your 
life as well. I speak of holding your life, — that is to 
say, keeping it Understand me well! The soul is 
the eternal and indestructible pivot round whidi the 


xnechaniam of the brain revolveB, as the earth re- 
volves round the sun. The soul hnparts all li^ty 
all heat, all creation and fruition to the brain, 
though it is but a speck of radiant energy, invisible 
to the human eye, even through the most powerful 
lens. It is the immortal embryo of endless exist* 
ences, and in whatsoever way it instructs the brain, 
the brain shoidd be in tune to respond. That the 
brain seldom responds truly, is the fault of the pre- 
ponderating animalism of the hiunan race. If you 
can follow me, still listen!" 

She listened indeed, — every sense alert and braced 
with interest. 

'^All ideas, all sentiments, all virtues, all sins, are 
in the cells of the brain," he went on. "The soul 
plays on these cells with vibrating touches of li^ty 
just as you play on the notes of the piano, or as a 
typist fingers the keyboard of the madiine. On the 
quality or characteristic of the soul depends the re- 
sult. Youth is in the cells of the brain. Should the 
ceUs become dry and withered, it is because the soul 
has ceased to charge them with its energy. But 
when this is the case, it is possible — I say it is pos- 
sible! — for science to step in. The spark can be re- 
energised, — the cells can be re-diarged." 

Diana caught her breath. Was he mad? — or sane 
with a sanity that realises a miracle? She gazed at 
him as though plunging her eyes into a well of mys- 

He smiled strangely. "Poor lady of mating 
years!" he said. 'Tfou have heard me, have you 
not? Well, think upon what I have said! I am not 
mad, be assured! — ^I am temperate in reason and 
cool in blood. I am only a scientist, bent on def jring 
that Angel at the gate of Eden with the flaming 
sword who Tceeps the way of the Tree of Life,' lest 
men should take and eat and live for ever ! It would 
not do for men in the aggregate to live for ever^ 


for most of them are little more than mites in a 
cheese, — ^but as the ftophet Esdras was told : 'This 
present world is made for the many, but the world 
to come for the few/ That 'world to come' does not 
mean a world after death — but the world of here and 
now — a world 'for the few' who know how to use it, 
and themselves! — a world where the same moon- 
light as this shines like a robe of woven pearl spread 
over all human ugliness and ignorance, leaving only 
God's beauty and wisdom! Look at it once more! 
— ^make a picture of it in your mind! — and then — - 

She raised her eyes to the dense purple of the sky, 
and let them wander over the lovely gardens^ 
drenched in silvw* glory — ^then extended her hand. 

"Thank you for all you have told me^" she said. 
^'I shall remember it. Good-ni^t!" 


The next day Diana entered upon her work, — 
and for a fortnight following she was kept fully em- 
ployed. But nothing mysterious, nothing alarming 
or confusing to the mind was presented for her con- 
templation or co-operation. Not once was she 
called upon to enter the laboratory where the 
strange wheel whirled at the bidding of the influ- 
ence of light, going faster or slower, according to the 
ascension or declension of the sun; and not once 
did Dimitrius refer to the subject of his discourse 
with her on that first moonlight night of her arrival 
Her knowledge of Latin and Greek stood her in 
good stead, for she was set to translate some musty 
rolls of vellum, on which were inscribed certain ab- 
struse scientific propositions of a thousand years 
old, — ^problems propounded by the Assjrrians, and 
afterwards copied by the Latins, who for the most 
part, had left out some of the original phraseology, 
thereby losing valuable hints and suggestions, which 
Dimitrius was studying to discover and replace. 
Diana was a careful, clever, and devotedly conscien- 
tious worker; nothing escaped her, and she shirked 
no pains to unravel the difficulties, which to less 
interested students, might have seemed insuperable. 
Much as she desired to know more of Dimitrius him- 
self and his own special line of research, she held 
her peace and asked no questions, merely taking his 
instructions and faithfully doing exactly as she was 
told. She worked in the great library where he had 
at first received her, and where the curious steel 
instrument she had noticed on entering, swung to 
and fro continuously, striking off a pin's point of 



fire as it movecL SometimeB in the pauses of her 
olose ecEamination of the faded and diflScult Latin 
script on which all her energies were bent, she would 
lift her eyes and look at this strange object as thou^ 
it were a living companion in the room, and would 
almost mentally ask it to disdoee its meaning; and 
one morning, impelled by a sudden fancy, she put 
her watch open on the table, and measured the in- 
terval betwen one spark of fire and the next. She at 
once foimd that the dots of flame were struck off 
with predaon at every second. They were, in fact^ 
seconds of time. 

''So thaty if one had leisure to watch the thing,'' 
flhe mused, ''one would know that when sixty fire- 
flashes have flown into air, one minute has passed. 
And I wonder what becomes of these glittering par- 

She knew well enou^ that they did not perish, 
but were only absorbed into another elemental or- 
ganism. She had observed, too, that the movement 
of the whole madiine, delicatdy balanced on its 
crystal pedestal, was sharp and emphatic when the 
sun was at the meridian, and more subdued thou^ 
not less precise in the aftamoon. She had vary little 
(^portimity, howevar, to continue a long watching 
of this inexplicable and apparently meaningless con- 
trivance after mid-day, as then her hours of work 
were considered over and die was free to do as she 
liked. Sometimes she remained in her own i^art- 
ments, practising her music, or reading, — ^and more 
often than not she went for a drive out into the 
open country with Madame Dimitrius with the li^t 
victoria and pair, which was a gift from Dimitrius 
to his mother, who could not be persuaded to drive 
in a motor-car. It was a charming turn-out, recog- 
nised in the nei^bourhood as "the Doctor's car- 
riage" — ^for thou^ Geneva and its environs are well 
supplied with many professors of medicine and sur- 


gery, Dimitrius seemed at this period to have gained 
a reputation apart from the rest as ''the" doctor, 
pear excellence. Once Diana asked him whether he 
had a large practice? He laughed. 

"None at all!" he replied. "I tell everybody that 
I have retired from the profession in order to devote 
all my time to scientific research — and this is true. 
But it does not stop people from sending for me at 
a critical moment when all other efforts to save a 
life have failed. And then of course I do my best." 

"And are you alwajrs successful?" she went on. 

"Not always. How can I be? If I am sent for 
to rescue a man who has overfed and over-dnmken 
himself from his youth onwards, and who, as a nat- 
ural consequence, has not a single organ in his body 
free from disease, all my skill is of no avail — ^I can- 
not hinder him from toppling into the unconscious- 
ness of the next embryo, wh^e, it is to be hoped, 
he will lose his diseases with his fleshy particles. I 
can save a child's life generally — and the lives of 
girls and women who have not been touched by man. 
The life-principle is very strong in these, — ^it has not 
been tampered with." 

He closed the conversation abruptly, and she per-- 
ceived that he had no inclination to talk of his own 
healing power or ability. 

After about a month or six weeks at the Chiteau 
IVagonard, Diana b^an to feel very happy, — ^hap- 
pier than she had ever been in her life. Though 
she sometimes thought of her parents, she knew per- 
fectly that they were not people to grieve long about 
any calamity, — ^besides which, her "death" was not 
a calamity so far as they were concerned. They 
would call it such, for convention's sake and in def- 
erence to social and civil observances — but "Ma" 
would console herself with a paid "companion- 
housekeeper" — ^and if that companion-housekeeper 
chanced to be in the least good-looking or youthful, 


"Pa" would blossom out into such a juvenility of 
white and "fancy" waistcoats and general conduct 
as frequently distinguishes elderly gentlemen who 
are loth to lose their reputation for gallantry. And 
Diana wasted no time in what would have been fool- 
ish regret, had she felt it, for her complete and for- 
tunate severance from "home" which was only home 
to her because her duty made her consider it so. A 
great affection had sprung up between her and Ma- 
dame Dimitrius ; the handsome old lady was a most 
lovable personality, simple, pious, unaffected, and 
full of a devotion for her son which was as touching 
as it was warm and deep. She had absolute confi- 
dence in him, and never worried him by any inquisi- 
tiveness concerning the labours which kept him 
nearly all day away from her, shut up in his labor- 
atory, which he alone had the secret of opening or 
closing. Hers was the absolute reliance of "the per- 
fect love which casteth out fear;" all that he did 
was right and miLst be right in her eyes, — ^and when 
she saw how whole-heartedly and eagerly Diana 
threw herself into the tedious and difficult work he 
had put before her to do, she showed towards that 
hitherto lonely and unloved woman a tenderness 
and consideration to which for years she had been 
unaccustomed. Very naturally Diana responded to 
this kindness with impulsive warmth and gratitude, 
and took pleasure in performing little services, such 
aa a daughter might do, for the sweet-natured and 
gentle lady whose friendship and sjonpathy she ap- 
preciated more and more each day. She loved to help 
her in little household duties, — ^to mend an occa- 
sional tiny hole in the fine old lace which Madame 
generally wore with her rich black silk gowns, — to 
see that her arm-chair and foot-stool were placed 
just as she liked them to be, — to wind the wool for 
her knitting, and to make her laugh with some 
quaint or witty story. Diana was an admirable 


racontetise, and she had a wonderful memory, — 
moreover, her impressions of persons and things 
were tinged with tiie gaiety of a perceptive humour. 
Sometimes Dimitrius himself, returning from a walk 
or from a drive in his small open auto-car, would 
find the two sitting together by a cheerful log fire 
in the drawing-room, laughing and chatting like two 
children, Diana busy with her embroidery, her small, 
well-shaped, white hands moving swiftly and grace- 
fully among the fine wools from which she worked 
her "Jacobean'^ designs, and his mother knitting 
comforts for the poor in preparation for the winter 
which was beginning to make itself felt in keen airs 
and gusts of snow. On one of these occasions he 
stood for some minutes on the threshold, looking at 
them as they sat, their backs turned towards him, so 
that they were not at once aware of his presence. 
Diana's head, crowned with its bright twists of hair, 
was for the moment the chief object of his close 
attention, — ^he noted its compact shape, and the line 
of the nape of the neck which carried it — a singu- 
larly strong and perfect line, if judged by classic 
metiiods. It denoted health and power, with some- 
thing of pride, — ^and he studied it anatomically and 
physiologically with all the interest of a scholar. 
Suddenly she turned, and seeing him apparently 
waiting at the door, smiled a greeting. 

"Do you want me?" she asked. 

He advanced into the room. 

"Ought I to want you?" he counter-queried. 
"These are not working hours! If you were a Brit- 
ish workman such an idea as my wanting you 'out 
of time' would never enter your head ! As a British 
working woman, you should stipulate for the same 
privil^es as a British working man." 

He drew a chair to the fire, and as his mother 
looked at him with loving, welcoming eyes, he took 
her hand and kissed it. 


''Winter is at hand," he continued, giving a stir 
with the poker to the blazing logs in the grate. 'It 
is cold to-day — ^with the cold of the glaciers, and I 
hear that the snow blocks all the mountain passes. 
We are at the end of October — ^we must expect some 
bitter weather. But in Switzerland the cold is dry 
and bracing — it strengthens the nerves and muscles 
and improves the health. How do you stand a 
severe winter, Miss May?" 

"I have never thought about it," she answered. 
"All seasons have beauty for me, and I have never 
suffered very much by either the cold or the heat. 
I think I have been more interested in other things." 

He looked at her intently. 

"What other things?" 

She hesitated. A faint colour stole over her 

"Well, — I hardly know how to express it — ^things 
of life and death. I have always been rather a 
suppressed sort of creature — ^with all my aims and 
wishes pent up, — pressed into a bottle, as it were, 
and corked tight!" She laughed, and went on. 
"Perhaps if the cork were drawn there might be an 
explosion! But, wrongly or rightly, I have judged 
myself as an atom of significance made insignifi- 
cant by circumstances and environment, and I have 
longed to make my 'significance,' however small, dis- 
tinct and clear, even though it were only a pin's 
point of meaning. If I said this to ordinary people, 
they would probably exclaim 'How dull!' and laug}i 
at me for such an idea " 

"Of course! — dull people would laugh," agreed 
Dimitrius. "People in the aggregate laugh at most 
things, except lack of money. That makes them 
cry — ^if not outwardly, then inwardly. But I do not 
laugh, — for if you can forget heat and cold and 
rough weather in the dream of seeking to discov^ 
your own significance and meaning in a universe 


where truly nothing eziste without its set plaice and 
purpose^ you are a woman of originality as well as 
intelligence. But that much of you I have already 

She glanced at him brightly. 

'TTou are very kind!" 

'*Now do you mean that seriously or ironically?" 
he queried, with a slight smile. ''I am not really 
'very kind' — ^I consider myself very cruel to have 
kept you chained for more than a montiii to rolls 
of veUiun inscribed with crabbed old Latin charao- 
terSy illegible enough to bewilder the strongest eyes. 
But you have done exceedingly well, — and we have 
all three had time to know each other and to like 
each other, so that a harmony between us is estab- 
lished. Yes — ^you have done more than exceedingly 
well " 

*'I am glad you are pleased," said Diana, simply, 
resting one hand on her embroidery frame and look- 
ing at him with somewhat tired, anxious eyes. ''I 
was rather hoping to see you this evening, thou^ 
it is, as you say, after working hours, for I wanted 
very much to tell you that the manuscript I am now 
deciphering seems to call for your own particular 
attention. I should prefer your reading it with 
me before I go further." 

''You are very conscientious," he said, fixing his 
eyes keenly upon her — ''Is she not, mother mine? 
She is afraid she will learn sometiiing important 
and necessary to my work before I have a chance 
to study it for msrself. Loyal Miss Diana I" 

Madame Dimitrius glanced wistfully from her son 
to Diana, and from Diana back to her son again. 

"Yes, she is loyal, F6odor! You have found a 
treasure in her," she said — ^"I am sure of it. It 
seems a providence that she came to us." 

"Is it not Shakespeare who says, 'There's a spe- 
cial providence in the fall of a sparrow'?" he queried 


lightly. "How much more 'special' then is the com- 
ing of a Diana!" 

It was the first time he had used her Christian 
name without any ceremonious prefix in her pres- 
ence, and she was conscious of a thrill of pleasure, 
for which she instantly reproached herself. "I have 
no business to care what or how he calls me," she 
thought. "He's my employer, — nothing more." 

"Diana," repeated Dimitrius, watching her nar- 
rowly from under his now half-diut eyelids. "Diana 
is a name fraught with beautiful associations — ^the 
divine himtress — the goddess of the moonl Diana, 
the fleet of foot — the lady of the silver bow ! What 
poets' dreams, what delicate illusions, what lovely 
legends are clustered round the name!" 

She looked at him, half amused, half indifferent. 

"Yes, — ^it is a thousand pities I was ever given 
such a name," she said. "If I were a Martha, a 
Deborah or a Sarah, it would suit me much better. 
But Diana! It suggests a beautiful young wom- 

"You were young once!" he suggested, meaningly. 

"Ah, yes, once!" and she sighed. "Once is a long 
time ago!" 

"I never regret youth," said Madame Dimitrius. 
"My age has been much happier and more peace- 
ful. I would not go back to my young days." 

"That is because you have fulfilled your particu- 
lar destiny," interposed her son, — ^"You fell in love 
with my father — ^what happy times they must have 
been when the first glamour of attraction drew you 
both to one another! — ^you married him, — and I am 
the result! Dearest mother, there was nothing more 
for you to do, with your devoted and gentle nature! 
You became the wife of a clever man, — ^he died, hiv- 
ing fulfilled his destiny in giving you — ^may I say 
so? — ^a clever son, — ^myself! What more can any 
woman ask of ordinary nature?" 


He laughed gaily, and putting his arm round his 
mother, fondled her as if she were a child. 

"Yes, beloved! — ^you have done all your duty!" 
he went on. "But you have sacrificed your own 
identity — the thing that Miss Diana calls her 'sig- 
nificance.' You lost that willingly when you mar- 
ried — ^all women lose it when they marry: — ^and you 
have never quite found it again. But you will find 
it! The slow process of evolution will make of you 
a 'fine spirit' when the husk of material life is cast 
off for wider expansion." 

As he spoke, Diana looked at mother and son with 
the odd sense of being an outside spectator of two 
entirely unconnected identities, — the one overpow- 
ering and shadowing the other, but wholly unrelated 
and more or less opposed in temperament. Madame 
Dimitrius was distinguished by an air of soft and 
placid dignity, made sympathetic by a delicate touch 
of lassitude indicative of age and a desire for repose, 
while Feodor Dimitrius himself gave the impression 
of a strong energy restrained and held within bounds 
as a spirited charger is reined and held in by hia 
rider, and, above all, of a man aware of his own 
possibilities and full of set resolve to fulfil them. 

"Is that embroidery of a very pressing nature?" 
he suddenly said, then, with a smile. "Or do you 
think you could spare a few moments away from 


She at once put aside her frame and rose. 

"Did I not ask you when you came in if you 
wanted me?" she queried. "Somehow I was quite 
sure you did! You know I am always ready to 
serve you if I can." 

He still had one arm round his mother, — ^but he 
raised his eyes and fixed them on Diana with an 
expression which was to her new and strange. 

"I know you are!" he said, slowly. "And I shall 
need your service in a difficulty — ^veiy soon! But 


not just now. I have only a few things to say which 
I think should not be put oflf till to-morrow. We'll 
go into the library and talk there." 

He bent down and kissed his mother's snowy and 
still luxuriant hair, adding for her benefit: 

"We shall not be long, dearest of women! Keep 
warm and cosy by the fire, and you will not care for 
the 'significance' of yourself so long as you are 
loved! That is all some women ask for, — ^love." 

"Is it not enough?" said Diana^ conscious of har 
own "asking" in that direction. 

"Enough? No! — not half or quarter enough! 
Not for some women or some men — ^they demand 
more than this (and they have a right to demand 
more) out of the infinite riches of the Universe, 
Love, — or what is generally accepted under that 
name, is a mere temporary physical attraction be- 
tween two persons of opposite sex, which lessens 
with time as it is bound to lessen because of the 
higher claims made on the soul, — ^a painful thing 
to realise! — ^but we must not shiver away from 
truth like a child shivering away from its first dip 
in the sea, or be afraid of it. Lovers forget lovers, 
friends forget friends, husbands forget wives and 
vice versa, — the closest ties are constantly severed 

"You are wrong, F6odor — ^we do not forget!" said 
Madame Dimitrius, with tender reproadi in h^r 
accents. "I do not forget your father — ^he is dear to 
me as lover and husband still. And whether Grod 
shall please to send my soul to heaven or to hell, I 
could never forget my love for you!" 

"Beloved, I know! — I feel all you say — ^but you 
are an exception to the majority — and we will not 
talk personalities! I cannot" — ^here he lauded and 
kissed her hand again — "I cannot have my theories 
upset by a petite Maman!" ^ 

He left the room then and Diana followed Jiim. 


Once in the library he ehut the door and locked it. 

"Now you spoke of something in your translations 
that seemed to call for my attention/' he said. "I 
am ready to hear what it is." 

Diana went to the table desk where she habitually 
worked, and took up some pages of manuscript, 
neatly fastened together in readable form. 

"It is a curious subject," she said. "In the Assyr- 
ian originals it seems to have been called The prob- 
lem of the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh, culminating 
in the Eighth.' Whether the Latin rendering truly 
follows the ancient script, it is, of course, impossible 
to say, — ^but while deciphering the Latin, I came to 
the conclusion that the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh 
were named in the problem as 'rays' or 'tones' of 
light, and the ' proposed culmination of the 
Eighth " 

"Stopl" exclaimed Dimitrius, in a strained, eager 
voice. "Give me your papers! — let me see!" 

She handed them to him at once, and he sat down 
to read. While he was thus occupied, her gaze con- 
stantly wandered to the small, scytiie-like instru- 
ment mowing off the seconds in dots of flame as a 
mower sweeps off the heads of daisies in the grass. 
A curious crimson colour seemed to be diffused 
round the whole piece of mechanism, — an effect she 
had never noticed before, and then she remembered 
it was late in the afternoon and that the sun had 
set. The rosy light emanating from the instrument 
and deeply reflected in the crystal pedestal on which 
it was balanced, seemed like an after-glow from the 
sky, — ^but the actual grey twilight outside was too 
pronounced and cold to admit of such an explana- 

Suddenly Dimitrius looked up. 

"You are right!" he said. "This ancient problem 
d^nands nly Sosest study. And yet it is no prob- 
iemjik all^4>ii^ only an exposition of my inmost 


thought!" He paused, — then: "Come here, Diana 
May 1 " he continued — ^'^I may as well begin with you. 
Come and sit close beside me." 

She obeyed. With his eyes fixed upon her face, 
he went on : 

'TTou, as a woman of superior intelligence, have 
never supposed, I am sure, that I have secured your 
services merely to decipher and copy out old Latin 
script? No ! — I see by your look that you have fully 
realised that such is not all the actual need I have 
of you, I have waited to find out, by a study of 
your character and temperament, when and how I 
coidd state plainly my demands. I think I need not 
wait much longer. Now this ancient treatise on 
'Problems,' obscure and involved in wording as it is, 
helps me to the conviction that I am on the right 
track of discovery. It treats of Light. The prob- 
lem of the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh,' with its *ulti- 
mate culmination of the Eighth' is the clue. Li 
that 'ultimate culmination' is the Great Secret!" 

His eyes flashed, — ^his features were transfigured 
by an inward fervour. 

"Have the patience to follow me but a little," 
he continued. "You have sense and ability and you 
can decipher a meaning from an apparent chaos of 
words. Consider, then, that within the limitations 
of this rolling ball, the earth, we are permitted to 
recognise seven tones of music and seven tones of 
colour. The existing nimabers of the creative sum, 
so far as we can count them, are Seven and Five, 
which added together make Twelve, itself a 'cre- 
ative' number. Man recognises in himself Five 
Senses, Touch, Taste, Sight, Hearing, Smell — ^but as 
a matter of fact he has Seven, for he should include 
Intuition and Instinct, which are more important 
than all the others as the means of communicating 
with his surroundings. Now 'the culmination of the 
Eighth' is neitlier five nor Seven XK)r Twetvft — ^it 



18 the dose or rebound of the Octave — the end of 
the leading Seven — the point where a fresh Seven 
begins. It is enough for humanity to have arrived 
at this for the present — for we have not yet sounded 
the heights or depths of even the first Seven radia- 
tions which we all agree to recognise. We admit 
seven tones of muoic, and seven tones of colour, but 
what of our seven rays of light? We have the Vio- 
let ray/ the 'X ray' — and a newly discovered ray 
showing the working bodily organism of man, — ^but 
there are Seven Rays piercing the density of ether, 
which are intended for the use and benefit of the 
human being, and which are closely connected with 
his personality, his needs and his life. Seven Rays! 
— and it is for us to prove and test them all! — ^whioh 
18 the very problem you have brought to my notice 
in this old Latin document: ^the Fourth, Sixth and 
Seventh, culminating in the Eighth.' " 

He put the papers carefully together on the table 
beside him, and turned to Diana. 

"You have understood me?" 

She bent her head. 


"You recall the incidents of the first day of your 
arrival here? — ^your brief visit to my laboratory, and 
what you saw there?" 

She smiled. 

"Do you think I could ever forget?" 

"Well! — that being so I do not see why I should 
wait," he said, musingly, and speaking more to him- 
self than to her. "There is no reason why I should 
not begin at once the task which is bound to be long 
and difficiUt! My 'subject' is at my disposal — I am 
free to operate!" 

He rose and went to an iron-bound cabinet which 
he unlocked and took from thence a small phial con- 
taining what appeared to be a glittering globule like 
an unset jewel, which moved restlessly to and 


fro in its glass prison. He held it up before h^ 

'^Suppose I ask you to swallow this?" he said. 

For all answer, she stretched out her hand to take 
' the phial. He laughed. 

"Upon my word, you are either very brave or very 
reckless!" he exclaimed — "I hardly know what to 
think of you ! But you shall not be deceived. This 
is a single drop of the liquid you saw in process of 
distillation within its locked-up cell, — ^it has a po- 
tent, ay, a terrific force and may cause you to swoon. 
On the other hand it may have quite the contrary 
effect. It should re-vivify — it may disintegrate, — 
but I cannot guarantee its action. I know its com- 
position, but, mark you ! — I have never tested it on 
any human creature. I cannot try it on myself — 
for if it robbed me of my capacity to work, I have 
no one to carry on my researches, — and I would not 
try it on my mother, — she is too old, and her life is 
too precious to me — ^" 

"Well, my life is precious to nobody," said Diana, 
calmly. "Not even to mjrself. Shall I take your 
'little dram' now?" 

Dimitrius looked at her in amazement that was 
almost admiration. 

"If you would rather wait a few days, or ev&i 
weeks longer, cIo so," he answered. "I will not per- 
suade you to any act of this kind in a hurry. For 
it is only the first test of many to come." 

"And if I survive the first I shall be good for the 
last," said Diana, merrily. "So come. Doctor F6o- 
dor! — ^give me the msrsterious 'drop' of liquid fire!" 

Her face was bright with animation and courage 
— ^but his grew pale and haggard with sudden fear. 
As he still hesitated, she sprang up and took the 
phial from his hand. 

"Diana! Let me hold you!" he cried, in real agi- 
tation — ^and he caught her firmly round the waist — 


''Believe me — there is danger! ^But — ^if you 

vnll '' 

''One^ two, three, and away!'' said she, and taking 
the tmy glass stopper from the phial she swallowed 
its contents. 

"One, two, three, and away!" it was, indeed! — ^for 
she felt herself whirled off into a strange, dark, slip- 
pery vortex of murderous cold — ^which suddenly 
changed to blazing heat — then again to cold,^^e 
saw giant pinnacles of ice, and enormous clouds of 
flame rolling upon her as from a burning sky — then, 
she seemed to be flying along over black chasms 
and striving to escape from a whirlwind which en- 
veloped her as though she were a leaf in a storm, — 
till at last no thought, no personal consciousness 
remained to her, and, giving up all resistance, she 
allowed herself to fall,— down, down ever so far! — 
when, all at once a vital freshness and elasticity 
possessed her as though she had been suddenly en- 
dowed with wings, and she came to herself standing 
upright as before^ with Dimitrius holding her in the 
strong grasp of one arm. 

'*Well!" she said, aware that she trembled violent- 
ly, but otherwise not afraid: "It wasn't bad! Not 
much taste about it!" 

She saw that he was deadly pale— his eyes were 
misty with something like tears in them. 

'Tfou brave woman!" he said, in a low tone — 
'Tfou daring soul! — But — are you sure you are all 
right? — Can you stand alone?" 

She drew away from his hold. 

"Of course! Firm as a rock!" 

He looked at her wonderingly, — almost with a 
kind of terror. 

'Thank God!" he murmured— "thank God I have 
not killed you ! If I had !" 

He dropped into a chair and buried his face in 
his handa 


Still trembling a little as she was, she felt deeply 
touched by his evident emotion, and with that sud- 
den, new and surprising sense of lightness and buoy- 
ancy upon her she ran to him and impulsively knelt 
down beside him. 

'TDon't think of it, please!" she said, entreatingly, 
her always sweet voice striking a soothing note on 
the air — ^"Don't worry ! All is well! I'm as alive as 
I can be. If you had killed me I quite understand 
you would have been very sorry, — ^but it really 
wouldn't have mattered — in the interests of science! 
The only trouble for you would have been to get 
rid of my body, — ^bodies are always such a nuisance! 
But with all your knowledge I daresay you could 
have ground me into a little heap of dust!" And 
she laughed, quite merrily. "Please don't sit in such 
an attitude of despair 1 — ^you're not half cold-hearted 
enough for a scientist!" 

He raised his head and looked at her. 

"That's true!" he said, and smiled. "But — ^I won- 
der what has made you the strange woman you are? 
No fear of the unknown ! — ^No hesitation, even when 
death might be the result of your daring, — surely 
there never was one of your sex like you ! " 

"Oh, yes, I'm sure there have been, and are 
many!" she answered, rising from her knees, and 
smiling in cheerful response to his happier expres- 
sion: 'Women are queer things! — ^and there's a part 
of their 'queemess' which men never understand. 
When they've lost everything — I mean everything 
which they, with their particular nature and senti- 
ment, regard as precious, the chief of these being 
love, which you don't think matters much to any- 
body, they get reckless. Some of them take to drink 
— others to drugs — others to preaching in the streets 
— others to an openly bad life, — or to any crooked 
paths leading away and as far as possible from their 
spoilt womanhood. Men are to blame for it, — en- 


tirely to blame for treating them as toys instead of 
as friends — ^men are like children who break the toys 
they have done with. And a woman who has been 
broken in this way has 'no fear of the unknown' 
because the known is bad enough, — and she does 
not 'hesitate to face death/ being sure it cannot be 
worse than life. At any rate, that's how I feel — 
or, rather, how I have felt; — ^just now I'm extraor- 
dinarily glad to be alive!" 

"That is because you are conscious of a narrow 
escape," he said, with a keen glance at hen "Isn't 
it so?" 

She considered for a moment. 

"No, I don't believe it is!" she replied. "It's some- 
thing quite different to that. I'm not in the least 
aware that I've had a narrow escape! — ^but I do 
know that I feel as happy as a schoolgirl out for 
her first holiday! That's rather an odd sensation 
for a woman 'of mature years!' Oh, I know what 
it is! It's the globule!" 

She laughed, and clapped her hands. 

"That's it! Doctor, you may thank your stars 
that your first test has succeeded ! Here I am, liv- 
ing! — ^and something is dancing about in my veins 
like a new sort of air and a new sort of simshine! 
It's a lovely feeling!" 

He rose from the chair where he had thrown him- 
self in his momentary dejection, and approadiing 
her, took her hand and laid his fingers on her pulse. 
He had entirely recovered his usual air of settled 
and more or less grave composure. , 

**Yes," he said, after a pause, "your pulse is firmer 
— ^and younger. So far, so good! Now, obey me. 
Go and lie down in your own room for a couple of 
hours. Sleep, if you can, — ^but, at any rate, keep in 
a recumbent position. You have a charming view 
from your windows, — and even in a grey autumn 
twilight like this, there is something soothing in the 



BJgbt of the Alpine snow-line. Rest absolutely quiet 
till dinner time. And — ^af terwards — ^you wUl tell me 
how you feel,— or, rather, I shall be able to judge for 
myself.'' He released her hand, but before doing 
so, kissed it with a Russian's usual courtesy. "I 
repeat, — ^you are a brave woman! — as brave as any 
philosopher that ever swallowed hemlock! And, if 
your courage holds out sufficiently to endure the 
whole of my experiment, I shall owe you tiie tri- 
umph and gratitude of a life-time!" 


Once in her own pretty suite of rooms, Diana 
locked the door of the entresol, so that no one might 
enter by chance. She wished to be alone that she 
mi^t collect her thoughts and meditate on tiie 
^'narrow escape" which ^e had experienced without 
actually realising any danger. Her sitting-room was 
grey with the creeping twilight, and ^e went to the 
window and opened it, leaning out to breathe the 
snowy chillness of the air which came direct from 
the scarcely visible mountains. A single pale star 
twinkled tlirough the misty atmosphere, and the 
stillness of approaching ni^t had in it a certain 
heaviness and depression. With arms folded on the 
window-sill she looked as far as her eyes could see-^ 
far enough to discern the glimmering white of the 
Savoy Alps which at the moment presented merely 
an outline, as of foam on the lip of a wave. After 
a few minutes she drew back and shut the window, 
pulling the warm tapestry curtains across it, and 
pressing the button which flooded her room with 
softly-leaded electric light. Then she remembered 
—she had been told to rest in a recumbent position, 
so, in obedience to this order she lay down on the 
comfortable sofa provided for her use, stretching 
herself out indolently with a sense of delightful ease. 
She was not at all in a '^lazing" mood, and though 
i^e tried to go to sleep she could not. 

''I'm broad awake," she said to herself. ''And I 
want to think! It isn't a case of 'mustn't think* 
now — I feel I mitst think!" 

And the first phase of her mental effort was her 



usual one of "wonder/' Why had she so mudi con- 
fidenoe in Dimitrius? How was it that she was 
quite ready to sacrifice herself to his "experiment'*? 

"It seems odd," she argued — "and yet, it isn't 
Because ihe fact is plain that I have nothing to 
live for. if I had any hope of ever being a 'some- 
body' or of doing anything really useful of course 
I should care for my life, but, to be quite honest with 
myself, I know I'm of no use to anyone, except to 
— him ! And I'm getting a thousand a year and food 
and a home — ^a lovely home! — so why shouldn't I 
trust him? If — in tiie end — ^his experiment kills 
me — as he seemed to tliink it might, just now — 
well!— one can only die once! — and so far as the 
indifferent folks at home know or believe, I'm dead 

She laughed, and nestled her head cosily back on 
the silken sofa-cushions. "Oh, I'm all right, I'm 
sure! Whatever happens will be for the best. I'm 
certainly not afraid. And I feel so well!" 

She closed her eyes — then opened them again, like 
a ohild who has been told to go to sleep and who 
gives a mischievous bright glance at its nurse to 
diow that it is wide awake. Moving one little slim 
foot after the other she looked disapprovingly at her 

"Ugly things!" she said. "They were bought in 
the Devonshire village — ^flat and easy to get about 
the house with — ^suitable for a housekeeping woman 
*of mature years!' I don't like them now! They 
don't seem to suit my feet at all! If I had really 
'turned up my toes to tiie daisies' when I swallowed 
that mjrsterious globule these shoes would not have 
added to the grace of my exit!" 

Amused at herself she let her thoughts wander aa 
they would — and it was curious how they flew about 
like butterflies settling only on the brightest flowers 
of fancy. She had grown into a habit of nevw look- 


ing forward to anything — ^but ju8t now she found 
herself keenly anticipating a promised trip to Davos 
during the winter, whither she was to accompany 
Dimitrius and his mother. She was a graceful skater 
— ^and a skating costume seemed suggested — ^why 
not send her measurements to Paris and get the 
latest? A pleasant vision of rich, royal blue cloth 
trinmied with dark fur flitted before her — ^then she 
fancied she could hear her father's rasping voice re- 
marking: ^'Choose something strong and service- 
able — ^Imsey-woolsey or stuff of that kind — ^your 
mother used to buy linsey-woolsey for her petticoats, 
and they never wore out. You ^ould get that sort 
of material — ^never mind how it ioofcs/— only very 
yoimg people go in for mere fashion !'' 

She indulged in a soft little giggle of mirth at 
this reminiscence of "Pa," and then with another 
stretch out of her body, and a sense of warmest, 
deepest comfort, she did fall asleep at last — a sleep 
as sweet and dreamless as that of a child. 

She was roused by a knocking at the door of the 
entresol, and sprang up, remembering she had locked 
it. Running to open it, she found the Jemme-de' 
chambre, Rose, standing outside. 

''I am so sorry to disturb Madame," said the girl, 
smiling. "But there is only now a quarter of an 
hour to dinnertime, and Monsieur Dimitrius sent me 
to tell you this, in case you were asleep." 

"I was asleep!" and Diana twisted up a tress of 
her hair which had become loosened during her 
slumber. "How dreadfully lazy of me ! Thank you. 
Rose! I won't be ten minutes dressing." 

While she spoke she noticed that Rose looked at 
her very curiously and intently, but made no re- 
mark. Passing into the rooms, the maid performed 
her usual duties of drawing blinds, closing shutters 
and turning on the electric lights in' the bedroom,— « 
then, before going, she said : 


''Sleep is a great restorer, Madame! You look 
BO much better for an afternoon's rest!" 

With that she retired, — ^and Diana hurried her 
toilette. She was in such haste to get out of her 
daily working garb into a "rest gown" that she never 
looked in the mirror till she began to arrange her 
hair, and then she became suddenly conscious of 
an alteration in herself that surprised her. What 
was it? It was very slight — ^abnost too subtle to 
be defined, — and she could not in the least imagine 
where the change had occurred, but there was im- 
doubtedly a difference between the face that had 
looked at her from that same mirror some hours 
previously and the one that looked at her now. It 
was no more than the lightest touch given by some 
great painter's brush to a portrait — a touch which 
improves and "lifts" the whole expression. How- 
ever, she had no time to wait and study the mys- 
tery, — ^minutes were flying, and the silver arrow of 
the warning dial pointed to the figure eight, and its 
attendant word "Dinner." Even as she looked, the 
chime struck the hour, — so she almost jumped into 
a gown of pale blue, diosen because it was easy to 
put on, and pinning a few roses from one of the 
vases in her room among the lace at her neck, she 
ran downstairs just in time to see Dimitrius taking 
his mother on his arm, as he jtlways did when there 
were no guests, into the dining-room. She followed 
quickly wifli the murmured apology: 

"I'm so sorry to be late!" 

"Never mind, my dear," said Madame Dimitrius. 
"F^odor tells me you have had some hard work to 
do, and that he wished you to rest. I hope you 

^ut, as she put the question, her eyes opened 
widely in a sudden expression of wonderment, and 
she gazed at Diana as though she were something 
very strange and new. 


'TTes, she must have slept, I think," put m Dimit- 
rius quietly and with marked emphasis. "She looks 
thorou^ly rested." 

But Madame Dimitrius was still preoccupied by 
thoughts that bewildered her. She could hardly 
restrain herself while the servant Vasho was in tlie 
room, and the moment he left it to change the 
courses, she began: 

"Feodor, don't you see a great difference " 

He made her a slight warning sign. 

"Dear Mother, let us defer questions till after 
dinner! Miss Diana! To your health!" And he 
held up his glass of champagne towards her. 'You 
are looking remarkably well! — ^and both my mother 
and I are glad that the air of Switzerland agrees 
with you!" 

Half pleased, half puzzled, Diana fflniled her rec- 
ognition of the friendly toast, but in her own mind, 
wondered what it all meant? Why did dear old 
Madame Dimitrius stare at her so much? Why did 
even Vasho, the negro servant, roU the whites of 
his eyes at her as tiiough she were somebody he had 
never seen before? And taking these things into 
aocount, why did Dimitrius himself maintam such 
an indifferent and uninterested demeanour? 

Nevertheless, whatever the circumstances might 
portend, she was more disposed to mirth'than grav- 
ity, and the delicious timbre of her voice made music 
at table, both in speaking and laughter, — the music 
of mingled wit and eloquence, rare enough in a man, 
but still rarer in a woman. Very few wom-^n have 
the art of conversing intelligently, and at a dinner 
nowadays the chief idea seems to be to keep on 
"safe" ground, avoiding every subject of any real 
interest. But Diana was not particular in this re- 
gard,-— she talked, and talked well. On this eve- 
ning she seemed to throw herself with greater zest 
into the always for her congenial task of keeping 


her mysterious "employer" and his mother amused, 
— and Dimitrius himself began to feel something of 
the glamour of a woman's fascination against which 
he had always been as he boasted — "spirit-proof." 
His was a curious and complex nature. For years 
and years, ever since his early boyhood, he had de- 
voted himself to the indefatigable study of such arts 
and sciences as are even now regarded as only "pos- 
sible," but "non-proven," — ^and he had cut himself 
off from all the ordinary ambitions as well as from 
the social customs and conventions of the world, 
in order to follow up a certain clue which his re- 
searches had placed in his hands. Though his ulti- 
mate intention was to benefit humanity he was so 
fearful of miscalculating one line of the mathemati- 
cal problem he sought to solve, that for the time 
being, humanity weighed as nothing in his scale. 
He would admit of no obstacle in his path, and 
though he was not a cruel man, if he had found that 
he would need a hundred human "subjects" to work 
upon, he would have killed them all without com- 
punction, had killing been necessary to the success 
of his experiments. And yet, — ^he had a heart, which 
occasionally gave him trouble as contending with 
his brain, — for the brain was cool and calculating, 
and the heart was warm and impulsive. He had 
never actually shunned women, because they too, 
as well as men, were needful points of study,— but 
most of tibe many he had met incurred his dislike or 
derision because of what he considered their unset- 
tled fancies and general "vagueness." His moUier 
he adored; but to no other woman had he ever ac- 
corded an atom of really deep or well-considered 
homage. When he advertised for a woman to help 
him in his experimental work, he did so, honestly 
because he judged a woman, especially "of mature 
years," was of no particular use to anybody, or, if 
she did happen to be of use, she could easily be re- 


placed. With an almost brutal frankness, he had 
said to himself: "If the experiment I make upon 
her should prove fatal, she will be the kind of hu- 
man unit that is never missed.'^ 

But Diana was an unexpected sort of "unit." » Her 
independence, clear perception and courage were a 
surprise to him. Her "mature years" did not con- 
ceal from him the fact that she had once been 
charming to look at, — and one point about her which 
gave him especial pleasure was her complete resig- 
nation of any idea that she could have attraction 
for men at her age. He knew how loth even the 
oldest women are to let go this inborn notion of 
captivating or subjugating the male sex, — ^but Diana 
was wholesomely free from any touch of the "volar 
tile spinster," — ^and unlike the immortel Miss Tox 
in "Dombey and Son," was not in the least prone 
to indulge in a dream of marriage with the first man 
who might pay her a kindly compliment. And his 
dread of the possible result of his first experimental 
essay upon her was perfectly genuine, while his re- 
lief at finding her none the worse for it was equally 
sincere. Looking at her now, and listening to her 
bright talk and to the soft ripple of her low, sweet 
laughter, his thoughts were very busy. She was his 
"subject;" a living subject bound by her signed 
agreement to be under his command and as much 
at his disposal as a corpse given over for anatomical 
purposes to a surgeon's laboratory. He did not pro- 
pose to have any pity upon her, even if at any time 
her condition should call for pity. His experiment 
must be carried out at all costs. He did not intend 
to have any more "heart" for her than the vivisector 
has for the poor animal whose throbbing organs he 
mercUessly probes; — but to-night he was conscious 
of a certain attraction about her for which he was 
not prepared. He was in a sense relieved when din- 
n& was over, and when she and his mother left ihe 


room. As soon as they had gone he addressed 

"Did you see?" 

The negro inclined his head, and his black lips 
parted in a smile. 

"It is the beginning!" said Dunitrius, meditative* 
ly. "But the end is far off !" 

Vaaho made rapid signs with his fingers in the 
dumb alphabet. His words were : 

"The Master will perhaps be over-mastared T* 

Dimitrius laughed, and patted the man kindly on 
the shoulder. 

''Vaaho, you are an oracle! How fortunate you 
are dumb! But your ears are keen, — keep them 

Vasho nodded emphatically, and with his right 
hand touched his forehead and then his feet, signify- 
ing that from head to foot he was faithful to duty. 

And Dimitrius thereupon went into the drawing- 
room, there to find Diana seated on a low stool be- 
side his mother's chair, talking animate41y about 
their intended visit to Davos Platz. Madame Di- 
mitrius instantly assailed him with the question she 
had previously started at dinner. 

"Feodor, you put me off just now," she said, "but 
you really must tell me if you see any change in 
Diana! Look at her!" — and she put one hand un- 
der Diana's chin and turned her face more up to the 
light — "Isn't there a very remarkable alteration in 

Dimitrius smiled. 

"Well, no! — ^not a very remarkable one," he an- 
swered, with affected indifference. "A slight one, — 
certainly for the better. All doctors agree in the 
opinion that it is only after a month or two in a 
different climate that one begins to notice an im- 
provement in health and looks " 

"Nonsense!" interrupted his mother, with a sli^t 


touch of impatience. ''It's not that sort of thing 
at all! It's something quite different!" 

"Well, what 18 it?" laughed Diana. "Dear, kind 
Madame Dimitrius! — ^you always see something 
nice in me! — ^which is very flattering but which I 
don't deserve! You are getting used to my appear- 
ance — that's all!" 

'*You are both in league against me!" declared 
the old lady, shaking her head. "Feodor knows and 
you know tiiat you are quite different! — I mean that 
you have a different expression — I don't know what 
it is " 

"I'm sure / don't!" Diana said, still laughing. "I 
feel very well and very happy — ^much better than I 
have felt for a long time — and of course if one jeels 
well one looks weU " 

"Did you feel as well and happy a few hours ago, 
when you left me to go and do some work for 
Feodor?" asked Madame. "You did not look then 
as you look now!" 

Diana glanced at Dimitrius questioningly, mutely 
asking what she should say next. He gave her a 
reassuring smile. 

'Tfou are like a Grand Inquisitor, mother mine!" 
he said. "And sharp as a needle in your scrutiny! 
Periiaps you are right! — ^Miss May is a little altered. 
In fact I think I may acknowledge and admit the 
fact — but I'm sure it is so slight a change that she 
has scarcely noticed it herself. And when she has 
retired and gone to bed, you and I will have a little 
private talk about it. Will that satisfy you?" 

She looked at him trustfully and with a great 

"I am not unsatisfied even now, my son!" she 
answered, gently — ^"I am only curious! I am like 
the lady in the fairy tale of 'Blue Beard' — I want 
to unlock your cupboard of mystery! And you 
von't cut my head off for that, will you?" 


He laughed. 

''I would sooner cut off my own!'' he said, gaily, 
'^e sure of that! You shall know all that is need- 
ful, in good time! Meanwhile, Miss Diana had bet- 
ter leave us for the present" — ^Diana at once rose 
and came towards him to say good-night — ^''I hope 
I am not giving you too abrupt a dismissal," he 
added, '^ut I think, under the circumstances, you 
should get all the rest you can." 

She bent her head in mute obedience, thanking 
him with a smile. As she turned with a softly 
breathed '^good-night" to Madame Dimitrius, the 
old lady drew her close and kissed her. 

"Bless you, my dear!" she said. "If you change 
in your looks, do not change in your heart!" 

"That can hardly be guaranteed," said Dimitrius. 

Diana looked at him. 

"Can it not? But I will be my own guarantee," 
she said. "I shall not change — ^not in love for my 
friends. Good-night!" 

As she left the room titiey botili looked after her, — 
her figure had a supple, swaying grace of movement 
which was new and attractive, and in an impulse 
of something not imlike fear, Madame Dimitrius 
laid her hand entreatingly on her son's arm. 

"What have you done to her, F6odor? What are 
you doing?" 

His eyes glittered with a kind of suppressed men- 

"Nothing!" he answered. "Nothing, as yet! 
What I shall do is another matter! I have begim — 
and I cannot stop. She is my subject, — I am like 
that old-world painter, who, in sheer devotion to his 
art, gave a slave poison, in order that he might be 
able to watch him die and so paint a death-agony 

"F^odor!" She gave a little cry of terror. 

"Do not be afraid, mother mine! My task is an 


agony of birth — ^not death! — the travail of a soul 
reconstituting the atoms of its earthly habitation, 
—recharging with energy the cells of its brain — ^the 
work of a unit whose house of clay is beginning to 
crumble^ and to whom I give the material where- 
with to build it up again ! It all depends, of course^ 
on the unit's own ability, — if you break a spider's 
web, the mending of it depends on the spider's in- 
dus^, tenacity and constructive intelligence, — ^but, 
whatever happens, mark you I — whatever happens, 
I have begun my experiment, and I must go on! 
I must go on to the very end, — ^no matter what that 
end may be!" 

She looked at him in wonder and appeal 

*Trou will not, — ^you cannot be cruel, F6odor?" 
die said, m a voice which trembled with suppressed 
alarm. 'Tou will not injure the poor woman who 
works for you so patiently, and who trusts you?" 

''How can I tell whether I shall or shall not injure 
her?" he demanded, almost fiercely. ''Science ac- 
c^ts no half service. The 'poor woman,' as you 
call her, knows her risks and has accepted them. So 
far, no injury has been done. If I suc(%ied, she will 
have cause to thank me for the secret I have 
wrenched from Nature, — should I fail, she will not 
complain very much of a little more hurried exit 
from a world, where, according to her own state* 
ment, she is alone and unloved." 

Madame Dimitrius clasped and unclasped her del- 
icate old hands nervously, and the diamonds in a ring 
she wore glittered scarcely more than the bright 
tears which suddenly fell from her eyes. Moved by 
a pang of remorse, he fell on his knees beside her. 

"Why, mother!" he murmiu-ed, soothingly — "you 
should not weep! Can you not trust me? This 
woman, Diana May, is a stranger, and nothing to 
you. Certainly she is a kind, bright creature, with 
a great many undeveloi)ed gifts of brain and char-* 


aoter, which make her all the more useful to me. I 
give her as much chanoe as I give mjrself. If I let 
her alone, — ^that is to say, if I ignore all the reasons 
for which I engaged her, and allow her to become a 
mere secretary, or your domestic companion, — she 
goes on in the usual way of a woman of her years, — 
withering slowly — sinking deeper in the ruts of care, 
and fading into a nonentity for whom life is scarcely 
worth the living. On the other hand, if I continue 
my work upon her •" 

''But what work?'' asked his mother, anxiously. 
"What result do you expect?" 

He rose from his kneeling attitude, and straight- 
ened himself to his full height, lifting his head with 
an unconscious air of defiance and pride. 

"I expect Nature to render me obedience!" he 
said. ''I expect the surrend^ of the Flaming Sword! 
It 'turns every way to keep the way of the Tree of 
Life' — ^but the hilt must be given into my hand!" 

'T^odor! Oh, my son! Such arrogance is blas- 

"Blasphemy? Mother, you wrong yomrself and 
me by the thought! Blasphemy is a lie to God, like 
the utterance of the 'Credo' by people who do not 
believe, — ^but there is no blasphemy in searching foe 
a truth as part of God's mind, and devoutly accept- 
ing it when found ! The priest who tells his congre- 
gation that God is to be pleased or pacified by 
sufficient money in the collection plate blasphemes, 
— ^but I who most hiunbly adore His unspeakable 
Beneficence in placing the means of health and life 
in our hands, and who seek to use those means in- 
telligently, do not blaspheme! I praise God with all 
my heart, — ^I believe in Him with all my soul!" 

His attitude at the moment was superb; his ex- 
pression as of one inspired. His mother looked at 
him fondly, but the tears were still in h^ eyes. 

'Teodor/' she said at last tremulously— "I— I 


have grown fond of Diana. I shall not be able to 
look on and see her suff^l" 

He bent his brows upon her ahnost sternly. 

''When you do see her suffer it will be time to 
speak'' — ^he answered — ^"'Not before! And whatever 
else you see, having no connection with 'suffering' in 
any way, you must allow to pass without comment 
or inquiry. You love me, I know, — ^well, you will 
never prove your love for me more than by consent- 
ing to this. If at any moment you can tell me 
that Diana May is unhappy or in pain, I promise 
you I will do my beet to spare her. But if noth- 
ing of this sort happens I rely on yoiu* silence and 
discretion. May I do so?" 

She inclined her head gently. 

"You may!" 

He took her hand and kissed its soft, finely wrin- 
kled whiteness. 

"That's my kind mother!" he said, tenderly — 
"Always indulgent to me and my fancies as you have 
been, I know you will not fail me now! And so, — 
whatever change you observe or think you observe 
in my 'subject,' you must accept it as perfectly nat* 
ural (for it will be) and not surprising or disturb- 
ing. And you must tactfully check the comments 
and questions of others. I foresee that Chauvet 
will be tiresome, — ^he has taken a great fancy to 
Diana. And Famese, of course, is a perpetual note 
of interrogation. But these people must be kept at 
a distance. You have grown fond of Diana, you 
say, — fond of this complete stranger in our house! 
— ^but I am glad of it, for she needs some sort of 
tenderness in a life which seems to have been excep- 
tionally lonely. Grow still fonder of her, if you 
like! — indeed, it is probable you will. For thou^ 
she is anything but a child, she has all a child's affeo- 
tion in her which apparently has been wasted, or 
has met with scant return." 


'TTou think so?'* And Madame Dimitrius looked 
up with a smile. 

''I do think so^ assuredly, but because I think so 
it does not follow that any return can come from 
me/' he said. "You are a person of sentiment — ^I 
am not. You are the one to supply her with the 
manna which falls from the heaven of a loving heart. 
And by doing so you will help my experiment." 

"You will not tell me what the experiment really 
is?" she asked. 

"No. Because, if it fails I prefer to ridicule my- 
self ratha* than that you should ridicule me. And 
if I succeed the whole value of my discovery consists 
in keeping it secret." 

"Very well!" And his mother rose and put away 
her knitting. "You ^all do as you will, F6odorI 
— ^you were always a spoilt boy and you will be 
spoilt to the end! My fault, I know!" 

'Yes, yoiu' fault, beloved!" he said — "But a fault 
of instinctive knowledge and wisdom!^ For if you 
had not let me follow my own way I might not have 
stiunbled by chance on another way — a way which 
leads " 

He broke off abruptly with a wonderful "uplifted" 
look in his eyes. She came to him and laid her 
gentle hands upon his [Moulders. 

"A way whidi leads— where, my F6odor? Tell 

He drew her hands down and held them warmly 
clasped together in his. 

"The way to that 'new heaven and new earth' 
where God is with men!" he answered, in a low, rapt 
tone — "'Where there shall be no more death, nor 
crying, neither shall there be any more pain,' and 
where 'the former things are passed away!' Be pa- 
tient wi^ my dream! It may come true!" 


Meantime, Diana, up in her own room, was en- 
gaged in what to her had> of late years, been any- 
thing but an agreeable pastime, — ^namely, looking at 
herself in the mirror. She was keenly curious to 
find out what was the change in her appearance 
which had apparently surprised Madame Dimitrius 
so much that she could hardly be restrained, even 
by her masterful son, from eroressing open wonder- 
ment. She stood before the long cheval glass, gaz- 
ing deeply into it as if it were the magic mirror of 
the ''Lady of Shalott/' and as if she saw 

''The helmet and the plume 
Of bold Sir Lancelot." 

Her face was serious, — calmly contemplative, — ^but 
to herself she could not admit any positive change. 
Perhaps the slightest suggestion of more softness 
and roundness in the ouUine of the cheeks and an 
added brightness in the eyes might be perceived, — 
but this kind of improvement, as she knew, hap- 
pened often as a temporary effect of something in 
^e atmosphere, or of a happier condition of mind, 
and was apt to vanish as rapidly as it occurred. 
Still looking at herself with critical inquisitiveness, 
she slipped out of her pale blue gown and stood 
revealed in an imbecoming gauntness of petticoat 
and camisole, — so gaunt and crude in her own opin- 
ion that she hastened to pull the pins out of her 
hair, so that its waving brightness might fall over 
hff; scraggy shoulders and flat chest and hide the 



unfeminine hardnesB of tiiese proportiona Then, 
with a deep sig^, she picked up her gown from the 
floor whare she had let it fall, shook out its folds and 
hung it up in the wardrobe. 

"It's all nonsense!" she sakL 'Tm just the 
same thin old thin^ as ever! What cUfiference 
MadameDimitriuscanseeiniBeiBamjrstery! And 
he " 

Here, chancing to turn her head rather quickly 
from the wardrobe towards the mirror again, she saw 
the charming profile of — a pretty woman ! — ^a wom- 
an with fair skin and a q>arkling eye that smiled in 
opposition to the gravity of rath^ set lip-lines, — 
and the suddenness of thJa apparition gave her quite 
a nervous start. 

''Who is it?" she half whispered to the sSenoe, — 
then, as she moved her head again and the reflec- 
tion vanished, ''Why, it's me! I do believe it's 

Amazed, she sat down to think about it. Thai, 
with a hand-glass she tried to recapture the vision, 
but in vain! — ^no position in whidi she now turned 
gave just the same effect. 

"It's enough to drive one silly!" she said — ^"I 
won't bother myself any more about it. The plain 
truth is that I'm better in health and happi^ in 
mind that I've ev^ been, and of course I look as 
I feeL Only the dear Madame Dimitrius hasn't no- 
ticed it before — ^and he? — ^well, he never notices any- 
thing about me except that I do his work well, or 
well enough to suit him. If his mysterious 'globule^ 
had killed me, I wonda: whether he would have been 
really sorry?" 

She considered a momoit, — ^then shook her head 
in a playful negative and smiled incredulously. She 
finished undressing, and throwing a warm boudoir 
wrap about her, a pretty garment of pale rose silk 
lined with white fur which had been a parting gfh 


from h^ friend Sophy Laasing, and which, aa die 
had declared^ was ''fit for a princess/' ahe went into 
her sitting-roomy where there was a cheerful wood 
fire burning^ and sat down to read. Among the 
several books arranged for her entertainment on a 
row of shelves within reach of the hand^ was one old 
one bearing the title: "Of the Delusions whereby 
the Wisest are Deluded"— and the date 1584. Tak- 
ing this down she opened it haphazard at a chapter 
h^hded : "Of the Delusion of Love.'' It was written 
in old style English with many quaint forms of ex- 
pression, more pointed and pithy than our modem 
"newspaper slang.'' 

"How many otherwise sober and sane persons 
are there," soliloquised the ancient author — "who 
nevertheless do pitifully allow themselves to be led 
astray by this passion, which considered truly, is 
no more than the animal attraction of male for fe- 
male, and female for male, no whit higher than that 
which prevails in the insect and brute world. For 
call it Love as they will, it is naught but Lust, as 
low an instinct or habit as that of craving for strong 
liquor or any wherewithall to still the insatiate de- 
mands of uncontrolled appetite. Love hath naught 
to do with Lust, — for Love is a Principle, not a 
Passion. For this cause it is comforting to read in 
Holy Scripture that in Heaven there is neither 
marrying nor giving in marriage, for there we are 
as the angela And to be as the angels implyetli 
that we shall live in the Principle and not in the 
Passion. Could we conceive it possible on this earth 
for such an understanding to be arrived at between 
two persons of intelligence that they should love 
eadi other in this hi^est sense, then there would 
be no satiety in their tenderness for one another, 
and the delicacies of the soul would not be out- 
raged by the coarseness of the body. It is indeed 


a deplorable and mournful contemplation^ that we 
8houl4 be forced to descend from the inexpressible 
delights of an imagined ideal to the repulsive condi- 
tion of the material stye, and that the fairest virgin, 
bred up softly, with no rougher composition of 
spirit than that of a rose or a lily, should be per- 
suaded by this delusion of 'love' to yield her beau- 
ties to the deflowering touch which destroys all 
maidenly reserve, grace and modesty. For tiie fa- 
miliarity of married relations doth, as is well known, 
put an end to all illusions of romance, and doth 
abase the finest nature to the gross animal leveL 
And though it is assumed to be necessary that gen- 
erations ^ould be bom without stint to fill an al- 
ready over-filled world, meseemeth the necessity is 
not so great sa it appeareth. Wars, plagues and 
famines are bred from the imwisdom of over-popula- 
tion, for whereas the over-production of mites in a 
cheese do rot the cheese, so doth the over-production 
of human units rot the world. Therefore it is appar- 
ent to the sage and profound that while the mate- 
rial and animal portion of the race may very suitably 
propagate their kind, they having no higher concep- 
tion of their bodies or their souls, the more intelli- 
gent and cleanly minority of purer and finer temper- 
ament may possibly find the way to a nobler and 
more lasting love' than that which is wrongfully 
called by such a name, — a love which shall satisfy 
without satiating, and which shall bmd two sphits 
so harmoniously in one, that from their union shall 
be bom an immortal offspring of such great thoughts 
and deeds as shall benefit generations unborn and 
lead the way back to the lost Paradise!" 

Here Diana let the book fall in her lap, and sat 
meditating, gazing into the hollows of the wood fire. 
Love! It was the thing she had longed for, — ^the 
one joy she had missed ! To be loved, — ^to be "dear 
to someone else" seemed to her the very Bcme of all 


desirable attainment. For with Tennyson's hero 
in "Maud" she felt: 

''If I be dear to some one else 
I should be to myself more dear." 

Her thoughts went 'Tioming^' like doves down the 
air spaces of memory to the days when she had, 
or was fooled into believing she had, a lover whose 
love would last, — a bold, splendid creature, with 
broad shoulders and comely coimtenance, and "eyes 
which looked love to eyes that spake again," — ^and 
when, as the betrothed bride of the Splendid Crea- 
ture, she had thanked God night and morning for 
giving her so much happiness! — when the light in 
the ^es and the flowers in the fields apparently 
took part in the joyous gratitude of her spirit, and 
when the very songs of the birds had seemed for 
her a special wedding chorus I She went oyer the 
incidents of that far-away period of her existence, 
— and presently she began to ask herself what, after 
all, did they amount to? Why, when they were all 
cruelly ended, had she shed such wild tears and 
prayed to God in such desperate agony? Was it 
worth while to have so shaken her physical and spir- 
itual health for any Splendid Creature? For what 
had he done to merit such passionate regret? — such 
weeping and wailing? He had kissed her a great 
deaf (when he was in the mood for kissing), and 
sometimes more than she quite cared for. He had 
embraced her in gusts of brief and eager passion, 
tinged with a certain sensuality which roused in her 
reluctant repulsion — ^he had called her by various 
terms of endearment such as "sweetest," "dearest," 
and 'S^ood-njrmph," a name he had bestowed upon 
her on one occasion when he had met her by chance 
in a diady comer of Kew Gardens, and which he 
thougjit poetical, but which she privately considered 
silly, — but what real meaning could be attached tp 


these expressions? When, all sudd^ly, his re^une&t 
was ordered to India> and she had to part from him, 
he had sworn fidelity, and with many protestations 
of utmost tenderness had told her that "as soon as 
cash would allow/' he would send for her to join him, 
and marry h&r out there, — ^and for this happy con- 
summation she had waited, lovingly and loyally, 
seven years. Meanwhile his letters grew Sorter and 
fewer, — till at last, when his father died and he came 
into a large fortune, he struck the final blow on the 
patient life that had been sacrificed to his humour. 
He wrote a last letter, telling her he was married, 
— and so everything of hope and promise feU away 
from her like the falling leaves of a withering flower, 
though her friend, Sophy Lansing, in hot indigna* 
tion at the callous way in whidi she had been 
treated, advised her to "take on anoth^ man at 
once/' But pocn* Diana could not do this. Hers 
was a loyal and tender spirit, — she was unable to 
transfer her affections from one to another au grand 
galop. She thought of it all now in a half amused 
way, as she sat in her easy chair by the sparkling 
fire, in the charming room which she could for the 
present call her own, surrounded by every comfort 
and luxury, and she looked at her ringless hand, — 
that small, daintily-shaped hand, on which for so 
many wasted years her lover's engagement ring had 
sparkled as a sign of constancy. Poor little hand ! — 
it was shown off with effect at the moment, lying 
with a passive prettiness on the roseate silk of her 
"boudoir wrap" — ^as white as the white fur whidi 
just peeped beneath the palm. Suddenly sihe 
clenched it, 

"I should like to punish him!" she said. "It may 
be small — it may be spiteful — ^but it is human! I 
should like to see him suffer for his treachery 1 I 
should have no pity on him or his fat wife!" Here 
she laughed at herself. "How absimi I am!" idie 


wen€ on — ^"making 'mudi ado about nothing!' The 
fat wife herself is a punishment for him, I'm sure! 
He's rich, and haa a big house in Mayfair and five 
very ugly children, — that ought to be enou^ for 
him! I saw his wife by diance at a bazaar quite 
lately — ^like a moving jeUy ! — ^rather like poor moth- 
er in the fit of h^ cbthes, — and smiling the ghastly 
amile of that placid, ineffable content which marbi 
the fool! If I could do nothing else I'd like to dis« 
turb that smug, self-satisfied constitution of oosing 
oil! — ^yes^ I would! — ^and who knows if I mayn't do 
it yet!" 

She rose, and the antique book ''Of Delusions" fell 
to the floor. Her slim figure, loosely draped in the 
folds of crimson silk and white fur, looked wonder- 
fully graceful and well-poised, and had there been 
a mirror in the sitting-room, as there was in the 
bedroom, she might possibly have seen something 
in her appearance worthy of even men's admiration. 
But her thoughts were far away from herself, — she 
had before her eyes the picture of her old lover 
grown sli^tly broader and heavier in build, with 
ugly furrows of commonplace care engraven on his 
once smooth and handsome face, — "hen-pecked" 
probably by his stout better-half and submitting to 
this frequently inevitable fate with a more or less 
ill grace, and again she laughed, — a laugh of purest 
unforced merrunent. 

''Here I am, like Hamlet, 'exceeding proud and 
revengeful,' and after all I ought to be devoutly 
thankful!" she said. "For, if I analyse myself hon- 
estly, I do not really consider I have lost an}rthing 
in losing a man who would certainly have been an 
unfaithful husband. What I do feel is the slight on 
myself! That he should have callously allowed me 
to wait all those years for him, and then — ^have cast 
me aside like an old shoe, is an injury which I think 
I may justly resent — ^and which, — ^if I ever get the 


chance — ^I may punish!" Here her browa clouded, 
and she sighed. ''What an impossible idea! I talk 
as if I were yoimg, with all the world before me! — 
and with power to realise my dreams! — ^when really 
everything of that sort is over for me, and I have 
only to see how I can best live out the remainder 
of Ufe!" 

Then like a faint whisper stealing through the 
silence, came the words which Dimitrius had spoken 
on the first night of her arrival — that ni^t when 
the moonlight had drenched the garden in a shower 
of pearl and silver, — "What would you give to be 
young t" 

A thrill ran through her nerves as though they 
had been played upon by an electric vibration. Had 
Dimitrius any sudi secret as that which he hinted 
at? — or was he only deluding himself, and was his 
brain, by over much study, slipping oflF the balance? 
She had heard of the wisest scientists who, aft» 
astonishing the world by the brilliancy of their re- 
searches and discoveries, had suddenly sunk from 
their lofty pinnacles of attained knowledge to the 
depth of consulting "mediums," who pretended to 
bring back the spirits of the dead that they might 
converse with then* relatives and friends in bad 
grammar and worse logic, — ^mi^t not Dimitrius be 
just as imfortunate in his own special "scientific" 

Tired at last of thinking, she resolved to go to 
bed, and in her deeping chamber, she found herself 
facing the long mirror again. Something she saw 
there this time appeared really to startle her, for 
she turned abruptly away from it, threw off her 
wrap, slipped into her ni^t-gown, and brushed her 
hair hastily without looking at h^iself for another 
second. And kneeling at her bedside as she said 
her prayers she included an extra petition, utt^ied 
in a strangely earnest whisper: 


''From all delusions of vanity, self-love and proud 
thinking, good Lord, deliver me!" 

The next morning she awoke, filled and fired with 
a new resolve. She had slept well and was strong 
in energy and spirit, and ^e determined, as she 
expressed it to herself, to '*have it out" with Dr. 
Dimitrius. So after breakfast, when he was about 
to go to his laboratory as usual, she stopped him 
on the way. 

"I want to speak to you," she said. "Please give 
me a few momenta of your time." 

''Now?" he queried, with a slight uplifting of his 

She bent her head. 


"In the library, then," he said, and thither they 
went together. 

On entering the room he closed the door bdiind 
them and stood looking at her somewhat quizzically. 


"Weill" she echoed, slightly smiling. "Are you 
wondering what I want to say? You ought not to 
wonder at all, — ^you ought to know!" 

"I know nothing!" he answered — "I may guess — 
but guessing is risky. I prefer to hear." 

"So you shall hear," — and she drew a little closer 
to him — "If I express myself foolishly you must tell 
me, — ^if you think me officious or over-bold, you 
must reprove me — there is only one thing I will not 
bear from you, and that is, want of confidence!" 

He looked at her in something of surprise. 

"Want of confidence? My dear Miss Diana, you 
surely cannot complain on that score! I have 
trusted you more than I have ever trusted any man 
or any woman " 

"Yes," she interrupted him, quickly — ^"I know 
that wherever it is absolutely necessary to trust me 
you have done so. But where you think it is tin- 


neoeBsary, you have not. For example — why don't 
you tell me just straight what you mean to do with 

His dark, lustrous eyes flashed up under their 
drooping lids. 

"What I mean to do with you?'^ he repeated — 
"Why what do you imagine " 

"I imagine nothing," she answered, quietly. "The 
things you teach are beyond all imagination! But 
see! — I have signed myself and my services away 
to you for a certain time, and as you have yourself 
said, you did not engage me merely to copy 61d 
Latin script. What you really want of me is, as I 
begin to understand, just what the vivisector wants 
with the animal he experiments upon. If this is so, 
I oflFer no opposition. I am not afraid of death — 
for I am out of love with life. But I want to know 
your aims — I want to understand the actual thing 
you are striving for. I shall be better able to help 
you if I know. You put me through one test yes- 
terday — ^you saw for yourself that I had no fear of 
the death or life properties of the thing I took from 
your hand without any hesitation — I have not even 
cpoken of the amazing and terrifying sensations it 
gave me — I am ready to take it again at any mo- 
ment. You have a willing servant in me — ^but, as 
I say, I feel I could help you more if I knew the 
ultimate end for which you work, — and you must 
trust me!" 

He listened attentively to every word, — charmed 
with the silvery softness of her voice and its earnest 
yet delicate inflections. 

"I do trust you!" he said, when she had ceased 
speaking. "If I did not, you would not be here a 
day. I trusted you from the moment I saw you. If 
I had not, I should never have engaged you. So 
be satisfied on that score. For the rest — ^well! — I 
confess I have hesitated to tell you more than ( 


you put it) seemed necessary for you to know, — 
the old fear and the narrow miscomprehension of 
woman is still inherent in me, as in all of my sex, 
though I do my best to eliminate it, — ^and I have 
thought that perhaps if I told you all my intentions 
with regard to yoiu-self, you might, at the crucial 
moment, shrink back and fail me " 

"When I shrink from anything you wish me to do, 
or fail in my undertaking to serve you loyally, I 
g^ive you leave to finish me off in any way you 
please I" she said, calmly — "and without warning 1" 

He smiled — ^but his eyee were sombre with 

"Sit down,'' he said, and signed to her to take a 
chair near the window. "I wOl tell you as much as 
I can — ^as much as I myself know. It is briefly 

He watched her closely, as, in obedience to his 
wish, she seated herself, and he noted the new and 
ardent brilliance in her eyes which gave them a look 
of youthful and eager vitality. Then he drew up 
another chair and sat opposite to her. Outside the 
window the garden had a wintry aspect — the flower- 
beds were empty, — ^the trees were leafless, and the 
siunmits of the distant Alps peered white and ^arp 
above a thick, fleece-like fog which stretched below. 

"You say you are out of love with life," he began. 
"And this, only because you have been spared the 
common lot of women — the so-called love' which 
would have tied you to one man to be the drudge of 
his coarse passions till death. Well! — I admit it is 
the usual sort of thing life offers to the female sex, — 
but to be *out of love' with the stupendous and beau- 
tiful work of God because this commonest of com- 
monplace destinies has been denied you, is — pardoA 
my brMqueriey — ^mere folly and unreasoning senti- 
ment. However, I am taking you at your word,— 
you are 'out of love' with life, and you are not afraid 


of death. Therefore, to me you are not a woman — 
you are a 'subject^: — ^you put it very clearly just 
now when you said that I need you as the vivisector 
needs the animal he experiments upon — ^that is per- 
fectly correct. I repeat, that for my purpose, you 
are not a woman, — ^you are simply an electric bat- 

She looked up, amazed — ^then laughed as gaily as 
a child. 

"An electric battcay!" she echoed. "Oh, dear, oh, 
dear I I have imagined myself as many things^ but 
never thatT 

"And yet that is what you really are/' he said, un- 
moved by her laughter. "It is what we all are, men 
and women alike. Our being is composed of mil- 
lions of cells, charged with an electric current whidi 
emanates from purely material sources. We make 
electricity to li^t our houses with — ^and when the 
battery is dry we say the cells need recharging — a 
simple matter. Youth was the light of your house 
of clay — ^but the cells of the battery are dry — they 
must be recharged!" 

She sat silent for a moment, gazing at him as 
though sedking to read his inmost thought. His 
dark, fine eyes met hers without flinching. 

"And you, — ^you propose to recharge them?" she 
said, slowly and wonderingly. 

"I not only propose to do it — I have already be- 
gun the work!" he answered. "You want me to 
be straightforward — come, then ! — ^give me the same 
confidence! Can you honestly say you see no diffw- 
ence and feel no diflference in yourself since yester- 

She gave a quick si^. 

"No, I cannot!" she replied. "I do see and fed a 
change in myself! This morning I was almost terri- 
fied at the sense of happiness which possessed me! — 
happiness for nothing but just the joy of living! — 


it overwhelmed me like a wave!" She stretched out 
her arms with a gesture of indefinable yearning — 
'^Oh, it seemed aa if I had all the world in my hands! 
— the lights the air, the mere facts of breathing and 
moving were sufficient to make me content! — and 
I was ovwcome by the fear of my own joy! That 
is why I determined to ask you plainly what it 
means, and what I am to expect from you!" 

"If all goes well you may expect such gifts as only 
the gods of old time were able to give!" he said, in 
thriflmg accents, — "Those poor gods! They repre- 
sented the powers that have since been put into 
man's hands, — ^their day is done! Now, listen! — ^I 
have told you that I have commenced my work upon 
you, — and you are now the centre of my supreme 
interest. You are precisely the ^subject' I need, — 
for, understand me well! — ^if you had led a 'rackety* 
life, such as our modem women do— if you had been 
obsessed by rabid passions, hysterical sentiments, 
greedy sensualities or disordered health, you would 
have been no use to me. Your 'cells,' speaking of 
you as a battery, would, under such conditions, have 
been worn out, and in a worn-out state could not 
have been recharged. The actual renewal, or per- 
petual germination of cells is a possibility of future 
science, — ^but up to the present we have not arrived 
at the right solution of the problem. Now, per- 
haps, you imderstand why I was to some extent 
stiui;led when you took that first 'charge' from my 
hand yesterday, — ^it was a strong and a dangerous 
test, — ^for if one or any of your 'cells' had been in 
a broken or diseased state it might have killed you 
instantly — ^as instantly as by a flash of light- 

"And if it had," interrupted Diana, with a smile 
— ^"what would you have done?" 

"I should have disposed of your remains," he an- 
swered, coolly, "And I should have arranged things 


80 that no one would have been any the wiser — not 
even my mother/' 

She laughed. 

'Tou really are a first-class scientist!" she said. 
''No pity — ^no remorse — ^no regret !" 

His eyes flashed up in a sort of defiance. 

"Who could feel pity, remorse, or regret for the 
fate of one miserable unit," he exclaimed — "one 
atom among millions, sacrificed in the pursuit of a 
glorious discovery that may fill with hope and re- 
newed power the whole of the hiunan race! Tens 
of thousands of men are slain in war and the useless 
holocaust is called a 'RoU of Honour,' but if one 
superfluous woman were killed in the aid of science 
it would be called murder! Senseless hypocrisy! — 
The only thing to regret would be failure I Failure 
to achieve result, — ^horrible! But success! — ^what 
matter if a hundred thousand women perished, so 
long as we possess the Flaming Sword!" 

He spoke with an almost wild excitation, and 
Diana began to think he must be mad. Mad with a 
dream of science, — ^mad with the overpowering force 
and flow of ideas too vast for the human brain ! 

"Why," she asked, in purposely cold and even 
tones — "have you chosen a woman as your 'sub- 
ject? Why not a man?" 

"A man would attempt to become my rival," he 
answered at once. "And he would not submit to 
coercion without a struggle. It is woman's nature 
instinctively to bend imder the male influence,— one 
cannot controvert natural law. Woman does not 
naturally resist; she yields. I told you I wanted 
obedience and loyalty from you, — ^I knew you would 
give them. You have done so, and now that you 
partially know my aims I know you will do so 

"I shall not fail you," said Diana, quietiy. "But, 
— ^if I may know as much^-Hsuppose you succeed in 


your idea of recharging the 'cells' which make up 
Me, what will be the result to Myself?" 

"TTie result to yourself?" he repeated. "Little can 
you imagine it! — ^little will you believe it even if I 
attempt to describe it! What will it mean to you, 
I wonder, to feel the warmth and vigour of early 
youth once more tingling in your veins? — ^the elas^ 
tidty and suppleness of youth in your limbs? — to 
watdi the delicate and heavenly magic of a perfect 
beauty transfiguring your face to such fairness that 
it shall enchant all beholders! " 

"Stop, — stop!" cried Diana, almost angrily, 
stringing up from her chair and putting her hands 
to her ears. "This is mere folly, Dr. Dimitrius! You 
talk wildly, — and imreasonably ! You must be mad 1 " 

"Of course I am mad!" he answered, rising at the 
same moment and confronting her — "As mad as all 
CHiginal discoverers are! As mad as Galileo, New- 
ton, George Stephenson or Madame Curie! And 
I am one with them in the madness that makes for 
a world's higher sanity! Come, look at me!" and he 
took both her hands firmly in his own — "HonesUy, 
can you say I am mad?" 

His eyes, dark and luminous, were steadfast and 
frank as the eyes of a faithful animal, — ^his expres- 
sion serious, — even noble. As she met his calm gaxe 
the colour flushed her cheeks suddenly, then as 
quickly faded, leaving her vwy pale. 

"No— I cannot!" she said, swiftly and humbly. 
'Torgive me! But you deal with the impossible!'' 

He loosened her hands. 

'Nothing is impossible!" he said. "Whatsoever 
the brain of a man conceives in thought can be bom 
in deed. Otherwise there would be a flaw in the 
mathematics of the Universe, which is a thing utter- 
ly inconceivable." He paused, — ^thea went on. "I 
have told you all that you wished to know. Are 
you satisfied?" 


She looked at him, and a faint smile lifted the 
comers of her moutii. 

"If you are satisfied, I am/' she replied. ''What 
I seem to understand is this, — ^if you succeed in 
your experiment I shall fe^ and look younger than 
I do now, — ^we will leave the ^beauty* part out of it, 
—and if you fail, the 'cells' you have b^;un to charge 
with your mjrsterious compound, will disintegrate, 
and therell be an end of me?" 

"You have put the case with perfect accurapy,'' 
he said. "That is so.'' 

"Very well! I am prepared!" — ^and she went to 
the table desk where she usually worked— "and now 
111 go on deciphering Latin script." 

She seated herself, and, turning over the papers 
she had left, began to write. 

An odd sense of compunction came over him as 
he looked at her and realised her courage, patience, 
and entire submission to his will, and yet — ^his care- 
ful and vigilant eye notM the improved outlines of 
cheek and chin, tiie delicate, almost imperceptible 
softening of the lately thin and angular profile, — 
and the foretaste of a coming scientific triumph was 
stronger in him tiian any other human feeling. Nev- 
ertheless she was a woman, and 

Moved by a sudden impulse, he approached and 
bent over her as she worked. 

"Diana," he said, very softly and kindly — ^"you 
will forgive me if I have seemed to you callous, or 

Her heart beat quickly — ^she was annoyed with 
herself at the nervous tremor which ran through her 
from head to foot. 

"I have nothing to forgive," she answered, simply 
— "I am your paid 'subject,' — ^not a woman at aU 
in your eyes. And being so, I am content to live — 
or die — ^in your service." 

He hesitated another moment, — then possessing 


himself of the small hand that moved steadily across 
the paper on which she was writing, he dexterously 
drew the pen from it and raised it to his lips with 
a grave and coiui^eous gentleness. Then, releasing 
it, without look or word he went from the room, 
toeading softly, and closing the door behind him. 


So she knewt She knew that^ as usual, die was^ 
personally, a valueless oommodity. So far as her- 
self, her own life and feelings were concerned, het 
fate continued to follow her — ^no one was kindly or 
vitally int^'ested in her, — she was just a "subject'' 
for experiment. She had suspected this all aloi^ — 
yet now that she had heard the fact stated coldly 
and dispassionately, die was more or less resentful 
She waited a few minutes, her heart beating quickly 
and the vexed blood rising to her brows and making 
her dieeks bum, — ^waited till she was sure Dimitrius 
would not re-enter, — ^then, sudd^y flinging down 
her pen, die rose and paced the room hurriedly to 
and fro, scarce knowing what she did. Was it not 
hard, — hard! she said to herself, with an involun- 
tary clenching of her hands as she walked up and 
down, that she should never be considered more than 
a passive "thing" to be used for other folks' advan- 
tage or convenience? How had it happened that 
no one in all the world had ever thou^t of putting 
himself (or herself) to "use" for Her sake! The 
calm calculations of Feodor Dimitrius on her possi- 
ble death under his treatm^it had (though she 
would not admit it to herself) inwardly hurt hear. 
Yet, after all, what had she any right to expect? 
She had answered a strange, very strange adver- 
tisement, and through that action had come into 
association with the personality of a more than 
strange man of whose character and reputation she 
knew little or nothing. And, so far, she had "fallen 
on her feet." — ^that is to say, she had secured a com- 
fortable home and handsome competence for the 



aervicea she had pledged herself to render. Then, aa 
ahe had taken the whole thing on trust had dxe any 
cause to complain of the nature of those services? 
No! — and in truth she did not complain, — she only 
felt — felt^ to the core of her soul the callous indif- 
ference which Dimitrius had plainly expressed as 
to her fate in the dangerous "experiment'' he had 
already commenced upon her. Hot tears sprang to 
her eyes, — she struggled with them, ashamed and 

"Children and girls cry!" she said, with self-con- 
traipt. "I, being a woman ^of mature years,' ought 
to know better! But, oh, it is hard! — ^hard!" 

Her thoughts flew to Madame Dimitrius, — ^had 
ahe followed her first feminine impulse, she would 
have run to that kind old lady and asked for a little 
pity, sympathy and affection! — ^but she knew such 
an act would seem weak and absurd. Still walking 
up and down, her steps gradually became more 
meaaured and even, — ^with one hand against her 
eyes, she pressed away the tear drops that hung on 
her lashes — then, pausing, looked again, aa she so 
often looked at ihe never stopping steel instrument 
that struck ofif its little fiery sparks with an almost 
wearisome exactitude and monotony. Stretching 
out her hand, she tried to catch one of the flying 
dots of flame as one would catch a midge or a moth, 
-Hshe at last succeeded, and liie glowing mote shone 
on her open palm like a ruby for about half a min- 
ute—then vanished, leaving no trace but a slight 
tmgling sensation on the flesh it had touched. 

"A mystery!" she said — ^"aa involved and difficult 
to understand as my 'master* himself!" 

She looked through the window at the grey-cold 
winter landscape, and let her eyes travel along the 
distant peaka of the Alpine ranges, where just now 
the faintest gleam of sunshine fell. The world, — 
the natural world — ^waa beautiful! — but how mudi 


more beautiful it would seem if one had the full 
heart and vigour to enjoy its beauty! If, with 
youth to buoy up the senses, one had the trained 
eye and mind to perceive and appreciate the lovely 
thmgs of life! — could one ask for greater happiness? 

"When we are quite young we hardly see Nature," 
she mused. "It is only in later years that we begin 
to find out how much we have missed. Now, if I, 
with my love of beauty, were young " 

Here her meditations came to an abrupt halt. 
Had not Dimitrius promised that if he succeeded in 
his experiment, youth would be hers again? — ^youth, 
united to experience? — ^but would that be a desir- 
able result? She wondered. 

"The old, old story!" she sighed. "The old legend 
of Faust and the devil! — the thirst of mankind for 
a longer extension of youth and life!— only, in my 
case, I have not asked for these things, nor have I 
tned to summon up the devil I am just an un- 
wanted woman,— unwanted so far as the world is 
concerned, but useful just now as a ^subject' for the 
recharging of cells!" 

She gave a half weary, half scornful gesture, and 
resiuned her work, and for an hour or more sat 
patiently translating and writing. But her thoughts 
were rebels and went breaking into all manner of 
unfamiliar places, — ^moreover, she herself felt more 
or less rebellious and disposed to fight against des- 
tiny. At midday the sun, which had been teasing 
the earth with dhy glimpses of glory all the morn- 
ing, dhone out superbly, and set such a coronal of 
light on her hair as she sat at her desk, that if she 
could have seen herself she might have been flat- 
tered at the effect But she was only conscious of 
the brightness that filled the room— a bri^tness 
that equally took possession of her mind and filled 
h^ with dieerfulness. She even allowed herself 
a little run into the realms of fancy. 


''Suppose that he should succeed in his perfectly 
impossible task," she said. "I, — ^his 'subject' — shall 
have him in my power! I never thought of that! 
Yet it's worth thinking about! I shall have given 
him the triimxph of his life ! He will set some value 
upon me then, — and he'll never be able to forget 
me! More than that, according to his own asser- 
tion, I shall be young! — ^and he spoke of beauty too! 
— ^all nonsense, of course — ^but if! — ^if ! — if he makes 
me the crowning success of all his studies, I shall 
hold him in the hollow of my hand!" 

Stimulated by this thought, she sprang up and 
stood proudly erect, a smile on her Ups and radiance 
in her eyes. 

''With all his learning, his calculations and his 
cold-blooded science, — ^yes — ^I shall hold him in the 
hollow of my hand!" 

Recalling herself to her duties, she put all her 
papers and writing materials neatly away in order 
for the next morning's work, and leaving the library, 
went out in the garden for a turn in the fresh air 
before luncheon. The noonday sunshine was at the 
full, and her whole being responded to its warmth 
and brightness. A new outlook had presented itself 
to her view, and all hesitation, vexation, fear and 
depression vanished like a mist blown aside by the 
wind. She was entirely resolved now to go through 
with whatsoever strange ordeals Dimitrius might 
ordain, no matter how much physical or mental suf- 
fering she might have to endure. 

"The die is cast!" she said, gaily — addressing her- 
self to a group of pine trees stS with frost — "I'm all 
for youth and beauty! — or — Death! On, on, 

That afternoon she went off for a walk by her- 
self as it was frequently her custom to do. She was 
allowed perfect freedom of action after the morning 
working hours, — ^she could go and come as she liked. 


— ^and both Dr. Dimitrius and his mother made it 
plainly evident that they trusted her implicitly. She 
avoided Geneva — she instinctively felt that it would 
be wiser not to be seen there, as the people of the 
hotel where she had stayed might recognise her. 
One of her favourite walks was along the Momex 
road to a quaint little villa occupied by Professor 
Chauvet. This somewhat grim and ironical man of 
much learning had taken a great fancy to her, and 
she always made herself charming in his company, 
partly out of real liking for him and partly out of 
compassion for his loneliness. For, apparently, he 
had no one in the world to care whether he lived or 
died, the only person to attend upon him being a 
wrinkled, toothless old woman from the Canton 
Grisons, whose cooking was execrable, while her ex- 
cessive cleanliness was beyond reproach. Diana 
loved to hear the Professor's half-cynical, half- 
kindly talk, — she laughingly encouraged him to "lay 
down the law," as he delisted to do, on all things 
human and divine, and she was never tired.of turn- 
ing over his really unique and wonderful collection 
of unset gems, of which he had enou^ to excite the 
cupidity of any American wife of a millionaire, — 
enough certainly to make him rich, thou^ he lived 
in the style of an exceedingly poor man. 

"You have the saddest fire I ever saw!" she said, 
on this particular afternoon, as she entered his study 
without warning, as she was now quite accustomed 
to do, and found him sitting absorbed over a book, 
regardless of the smouldering wood in the grate 
which threatened to become altogether extinguished. 
"Let me make it cheerful for you!" 

She set to work, while he pushed his spectacles 
up from his eyes to his forehead and regarded her 
with unassisted vision. 

"What have you been doing to yourself?" he 
adced, then. "Are you sure you are quite well?" 


She looked up from the logs she was piling dexter- 
ously together, surprised and smiling. 

"Quite well? Of course I am! Never felt better! 
Do I look ill?" 
y Professor Chauvet got up and stretched his legs. 

'^ot m," he replied,— 'T^o,— but feverish! Sin- 
gularly so I Eyes too bright — ^lips too red, — spiteful 
women would say you had put belladonna in the one 
and carmine on the other! Let me feel your pulse!" 

She laughed, and gave him her hand. He pressed 
his fingers on the cool, firm wrist. 

'TNo— nothing the matter there!" he said, wrin- 
kling his fuzzy brows m a puzzled line. 'It is the 
pulse of youth and strong heart action. Well! What 
is it?" 

*'What is whatf' qumed Diana, merrily, as she 
settled the logs to her satisfaction, and kindled them 
into sparkling flame. "I know of nothing in myself 
that is, or isn't!" 

He smiled a wry smile. 

"There you express the sum and substance of all 
philosopfiy!" he said. "Plato himself could go no 
further ! All the same, there's an IS about you that 
WASN'T! What do you make of t/wt/ And if you 
haven't been doing anything to yourself what has 
our friend Feodor Dimitrius been doing to you?" 

The question, though put suddenly, did not throw 
her off her guard. She met it with clear, upraised 
eyes and a look of wonder. 

"Why, what on earth should he do?" she asked, 
lightly. "He's giving me quite a pleasant time in 
Switzerland — ^that's all!" 

"Oh! That's all, eh?" repeated Chauvet, baffled 
for the moment. "Well, I'm glad you are having a 
pleasant time. Judging by your looks, Switzerland 
agrees with you. But Dimitrius is a queer fellow. 
It's no use falling in love with him, you know!" 

She laughed very merrily. 


*'My dear Professor! You talk as if I were a girl, 
likely to 'moon' and sentimentalise over the first 
man that comes in my way ! I'm not young enough 
for that sort of thing." 

The Professor stuck his hands deep in his pockets 
and appeared to meditate. 

"No — ^perhaps not," he said. "But experience has 
taught me that people fall in love at the most un- 
expected ages. I have seen a child of four,— a girl, 
—coquetting witii a boy of seven, — ^and I have also 
seen an old gentleman of seventy odd making him- 
self exceedingly unpleasant by his too rabid admira* 
tion of a married lady of forty. These things will 

"But that's not love!" laughed Diana, seating her- 
self in a deep easy diair opposite to him. "Come, 
come, Professor! You know it isn't! It's nonsense! 
— and in the case of the old gentleman, very dis- 
tressing nonsense! Now, show me that jewel you 
spoke of the other day — one that I've never seen — 
it's called the Eye of something or somebody ^" 

"The Eye of Rajuna," said Chauvet, solenmly, "a 
jewel with the history of a perished world behind it. 
Now, Miss May, you must not look at this remark- 
able stone in a spirit of trifling — ^it carries, com- 
pressed within its lustre, the soul's despair of a great 

He paused, as if thinking, — ^then went to an iron- 
bound safe which stood in one comer of the room, 
and unlocked it. Fumbling for a minute or two in 
its interior recesses, he presently produced a curious 
case made of rough hide and fastened with a band 
of gold. Opening it, a sudden flash of light sparkled 
from within — and Diana raised herself in her chair 
to look, with a little exclamation of wonderment. 
Tlie extraordinary brilliancy of the jewel disclosed 
was like nothing she had ever seen — the stone ap- 
peared to be of a deep rose colour, but in its centre 


there was a moving point, as of blood-red liquid. 
This floating drop glittered with an unearthly lustre, 
and now and again seemed to emit rays as of living 

''What a marvellous gem!" Diana murmured. 
"And how beautiful! What do you call it? — ^a ruby 
or a coloured diamond?" 

''Neither," answered Chauvet. "It does not be- 
long to any class of known gems. It is the 'Eye of 
Rajima' — and in ages past it was set in the centre 
of the forehead of the statue of an Assyrian queen. 
She was a strange person in her day — of strong and 
imperious primitive passions, — and she had rather 
a violent way of revenging herself for a wrong. She 
had a lover — ^all good-looking queens have lovers — 
it is only the ugly ones who are virtuous — and he 
grew tired of her in due course, as lovers generally 
tire " 

"Do they?" put m Diana. 

"Of course they do ! That's why the bond of mar- 
riage was invented — to tie a man fast up to family 
duties so that he should not wander where he listeth 
— ^thou^ he wanders just as much — ^but marriage is 
the only safeguard for his children. Rajuna, the 
Queen, however, did not approve of her lover's wan- 
dering — and being, in her day, a great ruler, she 
oould of course do as ^e liked with him. So she had 
him brought before her in chains, and slowly hacked 
to pieces in her presence — ^a little bit here and a 
little bit there, keeping him alive as long as possible 
so tiiat he might, see himself cut up — and finally 
when the psychological moment came, she had her- 
self robed and crowned in full imperial style, and, 
taking a sharp knife in her own fair hands, cut out 
his heart herself and threw it to her dogs in the 
palace courtyard below ! This was one of the many 
jewels she wore on that historic occasion! — ^and it 
was afterwards placed in the forehead of the statue 


which her people erected to the memory of their 
*good and great Queen Rajunal' " 

Diana listened with fascinated interest — her eyes 
fastened on the weird jewel, and her whole expres- 
sion one of complete absorption in the horror of the 
story she had heard. She was silent so long that 
Chauvet grew impatient. 

"Well! What do you thmk of it aU?" he de- 

^ "I think she — that As^oian queen — ^was quite 
right!" she answered, slowly. "She gave her false 
lover, physically, what he had given her morally. He 
had hacked her to pieces, — ^bit by bit! — ^he had 
taken her ideals, her hopes and confidences, and cut 
them all to shreds — and he had torn her heart out 
from its place! Yes! — she was quite right! — ^a 
traitor deserves a traitor's death! — ^I would have 
done the same myself!" 

He stared and glowered frowningly. 

"You? You, — a gentle Engli^ woman? — you 
would have done the same?" 

She took the jewel from its case and held it up 
to the light, its red brillknoe making her slender 
fingers rosy-tipped. 

"Yes, I would!" and she smiled strangely. "I 
think women are all made in much the same mould, 
whether English or Assyrian ! There is nothing they 
resent so deeply as treadiery in love." 

"Yet they are treacherous themselves pretty 
often!" said the Professor. 

"When they are they are not real women," de- 
clared Diana. "They are pussy-cats, — ^toys! A true 
woman loves once and loves always!" 

He looked at her askance. 

"I think you have been bitten, my dear lady!" he 
said. ^Tour eloquence is the result of sad experi- 

'Tfou are right!" she answered, quietly, still hold- 


ing the ''Eye of Rajuna" and dangling it against the 
li^t. "Perfectly so! I have been 'bitten' as you 
put it — ^but — it is long ago." 

"Yet you cherish the idea of vengeance?" 

She laughed a little. 

"I don't know! I cannot say! But when one has 
had life spoilt for one all undeservedly, one may 
wish to see the spoiler morally 'hung, drawn and 
quartered' in a sort of good old Tudor way ! Yet my 
story is quite a common one, — I was engaged to a 
man who threw me over after I had waited for him 
seven years — ^lots of women could tell the same tale, 
I dare say! — ^he's married, and has a very fat wife 
and five hideous children " 

"And are you not suflSciently avenged?" exclaimed 
Chauvet, melodramatically, with uplifted hands. "A 
fat wife and five hideous children ! Surely far worse 
than the Eye of Rajuna!" 

Her face was clear and radiant now as she put the 
jewel back in its case. 

"Yes, possibly! But I sometimes fancy I should 
like to make sure that it is worse! I'm wickedly 
human enough to wish to see him suffer!" 

"And yet he's not worth such an expenditure of 
nerve force!" said Chauvet, smiling kindly. "Why 
not spare yourself for somebody else?" 

She looked at him with something of pathos in 
her eyes. 

"Somebody else? My dear Professor, there's not 
a soul in all the world that cares for me!" 

"You are wrong, — I care!" he replied, with an 
emphasis that startled her — ^"I care so much that I'll 
marry you to-morrow if you'll have me!" 

She was so amazed that for the moment she could 
not speak. He, perfectly calm and collected, con- 
tinued with a kind of oratorical fervour: 

"I will many you, I say! I find you diarming 
and intelligent. Charm in woman is common — ^in* 


telligence is rare. You are a happy combination of 
the two. You are not a girl — ^neither am I a boy. 
But if you take me, you will not take a poor man. 
I am rich — ^much richer than anybody knows. I 
have become interested in you — ^more than this, I 
have grown fond of you. I would try my best — ^for 
the rest of my life — which cannot be very long — ^to 
make you happy. I would give you a pretty house 
in Paris — ^and all the luxuries which dainty women 
appreciate. And I promise I would not bore you. 
And at my death I would leave you all I possess — 
even the 'Eye of Rajuna!' Stop now, before you 
Cfpeaki Think it over! I wish to give you plenty 
of time" — ^here his voice trembled a little — "for it 
will be a great blow — ^yes, a very great blow to me if 
you refuse!" 

Taken by surprise as she was, Diana could not 
but appreciate the quiet and chivalrous manner of 
the Professor, as after having made his declaration 
and proposal, he stood "at attention" as it were, 
waiting for her first word. 

She rose from her chair and laid one hand on 
his arm. 

"Dear Professor " she began, hesitatingly. 

'Yes — that's good!" he said. " 'Dear Professor' is 
very good ! And after that, what next?" 

"After that, just this," said Diana. "That I thank 
you for your kind and generous offer with all my 
heart! Still more do I thank you for saying you 
have grown fond of me ! Nobody has said that for 
years ! But I will not do you such wrong as to take 
advantage of your goodness to a woman you know 
nothing of — ^not, at any rate, till you know some- 
thing more! And, — ^to be quite honest with you — 
I don't think I have it in my heart to love any man 

The Professor took the hand that rested on hia 
ann and patted it encouragingly. 


"My dear lady, I am not asking for love!" he said. 
''I would not do such an absurd thing for the world! 
Love is the greatest delusion of the ages, — one of 
the 'springes to catch woodcocks/ as your Shake- 
speare says. I don't want it, — I never had it, and 
don't expect it. I merely ask for permission to take 
care of you and make you as happy as I can for the 
rest of my life. I should like to do that! — ^I should 
indeed! The stupid and . conventional world will 
not allow me to do it without scandal, unless I marry 
you — ^therefore I ask you to go through this form 
with me. I would not be selfish, — I would req)ect 
you in every way " 

He broke off — and to close an embarrassing sen- 
tence gently kissed the hand he held. 

Tears stood in Diana's eyes. 

"Oh, you are good, you are good!" she murmured. 
"And I feel so ungrateful because I cannot please 
3rou by at once saying ^es!' But I should feel worse 
than ungrateful if I did — ^because it would be unfair 
to you! — ^it would, really! And yet " 

"Don't say an absolute 'No,' my dear!" inter- 
rupted the Professor, hastily. "Take time! I'll give 
3^u as long as you like — and live in hope!" 

She smiled, though her eyes were wet. Her 
thoughts were all in a whirl. How had it chanced 
that she, so long content to be considered "an old 
maid," should now receive an offer of marriage? 
Had she a right to refuse it? Professor Chauvet 
was a distinguished man of science, well known in 
Paris; his wife would occupy a position of dignity 
and distinction. Her salon would be filled with men 
of mark and women of high social standing. And 
he "had grown fond of her" he said. That was the 
best and most wonderful thing of all! That anyone 
fl&ould be "fond" of her seemed to poor, lonely 
Diana the opening of the gates of Paradise. 

"May I — ^may I " she faltered, presently. 


'Tfou may do anything!" replied Chauvet, eooth- 
irgly. 'Tf ou may even box my ears, if it will rdieve 
your feelings!" 

She laughed, and looked up at him. It was a 
kind, rugged, clever face she saw — ^plain, but shrewd, 
and though marked like a map with lines of thought 
and care, not without character and impressiveness. 

"I was rude to you the first night we met!" she 
said, irrelevantly. 

"So was I to you," he responded. "And you got 
the better of me. That's probably why I like you I" 

She hesitated again. Then: 

"May I wait " 

"Of course!" he said. "Any time! Not too long 
— I want to settle it before I die!" 

"Will it do when I have finished my visit to 
Madame Dimitrius?" she asked. "She wishes me to 
stay with her for some months — she likes my com* 
pany " 

"I should think she does!" interposed Chauvet. 
"So should I!" 

She laughed again. 

"You really are very nice!" she said. 'Tfou ou^t 
to have married long ago!" 

"That's neither here nor there,'* he answered. 
"I'm glad I didn't — I might have had a fat wife and 
five hideous children, like your old lover — ^and my 
life wouldn't have been worth a sou!" 

"Wouldn't it?" She was quite playful by this 
time, and taking a knot of violets from her own 
dress, pinned them in his buttonhole, much to his 

"Of course not! with a fat wife and five children 
what would have become of my work? I should 
never have done anything. As it is the world may 
have to thank me for a few useful discoveries, — 
Hiough I dare say it will have to thank F^odor Di« 
mitrius more." 


Sjst heart gave a quick throb. 

**Do you think him very clever?" she asked. 

"Clever? Clever as the devil! There never was 
such a man for bold experiment! I wonder he hasn't 
killed himself before now with his exploits in chem- 
istry. However, let us keep to the point. As I un- 
derstand it, you give me a little hope. You will 
not say 'yes' or 'no' till your time with Madame 
Dimitrius is expired — till your visit to the Ch&teau 
Fragonard is ended. Is that so?" 

She bent her head. 

''And may I walk on air — ^buoyed up by hope — ^till 

She looked a little troubled. 

'1)ear Professor, I cannot promise anything!" she 
said. ''You see I am taken altogether by surprise— 
and— and gratitude — ^^ve me time to think!" 

"I will!" he said, kindly. "And meanwhile, we 
will keep our own confidence— and the subject shall 
be closed till you yourself reopen it. There! You 
can rely upon me. But think it all over well, rea- 
sonably, and clearly — ^a husband who would care 
much for you, ten thousand a year, a house in Paris 
and every comfort and luxury you could wish for 
is not an absolutely melancholy prospect! Bless 
you, my dear! .And. now I'll lock up the 'Eye of 
Rajuna' — ^it has looked upon us and has seen noth- 
ing of falsehood or treachery to warrant the shed- 
ding of blood!" 

He moved away from her to place the jewel in 
his safe, and as he did so, said: 

"I have an aqua-marine here which is the colour 
of a Sicilian sea in full sunmier — ^and I should like 
to give it to you now, — ^I intend it for you — but the 
hawk eye of Dimitrius would notice it if you wore 
it, and you would suffer the cross-examination of a 
Torquemadal However, you shall have it very soon 
— ^as soon as I can invent a little fable to give cover 


to its presentation. And, — ^let me see! ** h&ce 

he turned round, smiling. — ^''Well, upon my word, 
you have made up the fire capitally! Quite brij^t 
and cheery! — and full of hope!" 


That evening Diana for the first time saw Di* 
mitrius in a somewhat irritable mood. He was sharp 
and peremptory of speech and impatient in manner. 

''Where have you been all the afternoon?" he de- 
manded^ at dinner, fixing his eyes upon her with a 
piercing intensity. 

"Witih Professor Chauvet," she answered. "I 
wanted to see a famous Assyrian jewel he has — ^it is 
called The Eye of Rajuna.' " 

Dimitrius' i^rugged his shoulders. 

"And you are interested in that kind of thing?" 
he queried, with a touch of disdain. "A stolen gem, 
and therefore an unlucky one — ^'looted' by a French 
officer from the forehead of a mutilated statue some- 
where in the East. It's not a thing I should care 
to have." 

"Nor I," agreed Diana, amicably. "But it's worth 

"The Professor is a ^reat authority on precious 
stones," said Madame Dimitrius. "You know, F6o- 
dor, you have fdways credited him with very excep- 
tional knowledge on the subject." 

"Of course!" he replied. "But I was not aware 
that Miss May had any hankerings after jewels." 

Diana lauded. She was amused to see him more 
or less in a kind of suppressed temper. 

"I haven't!" she declared, gaily. "It would be no 
use if I had! Jewels are, and always have been, 
beyond my reach. But I like to know positively 
from the Professor that they are living thmgs, feel- 
ing heat and cold just as we do, and that some of 



them shrink from diseased persons and lose their 
lustre, and are brilliant and happy with healthy 
ones. It is very fascinating 1" 

"The Professor is not!'' remarked Dimitrius, iron- 

She raised her eyes, smilingly. 


"He's a very worthy man," put in Madame Dim- 
itrius, gently. "And very distinguished in his way. 
He's certainly not handsome." 

"No men are, nowadays," said Dimitrius. "The 
greed of money has written itself all over human 
physiognomy. Beauty is at a discount, — there wen 
never so many downri^t ugly human beings as 
there are to-day. The Mark of the Beast is on every 

"I don't see it anywhere on yours!" said Diana, 

A reluctant half-smile brightened his features for 
a moment, — then he gave a disdainful gesture. 

"I dare say it's there all the same!" he replied, 
shortly. "Or it may be branded too deeply for you 
to see!" He paused — ^and with an abrupt change of 
tone, said: "Mother, can you be ready to go to 
Davos this week?" 

She looked up, placidly smiling. 

"Certainly! I shall be very glad to go. Diana 
will like it too, I'm sure." 

"Good! Then we'll start the day after to-m<Mr- 
row. I have engaged rooms. There are one or two 
things I must settle before leaving — not very impor- 
tant." Here he rose from the table, dinner being 
concluded, and addressed Diana. "I want you for a 
few moments," he said, rather peremptorily. "Join 
me, please, in the laboratory." 

He left the room. His mother and Diana looked 
at one another in smiling perplexity. Diana laughed. 

"He's cross!" she declared. "Chere Madame, he's 


cross I It is a positive miracle! The cool scientist 
and calm philosopher is in a bit of a temper!" 

Madame Dimitrius gave a rather regretful and 
unwilling assent. Truth to tell, the gentle old lady 
WBB more bewildered than satisfied with certain 
things that were happening, and which perplexed 
and puzzled her. As, for example, when Diana took 
her arm and affectionately escorted her from the 
dining-room to the drawing-room, she could not re- 
firain from wondering at the singular grace and ele- 
gance of the once plain and angular woman, — she 
might almost be another person, so different was she 
to the one who had arrived at the Chateau Frag- 
onard in answer to her son's advertisement. But 
she had promised to say nothing, and she 
kept her word, thou^ she thought none the less 
of the '^Flaming Sword" and the terrific problem her 
son had apparently determined to solve. Mean- 
while, Diana, having settled her cosily by the fire 
with her knitting, ran quickly off to obey the com- 
mand of Dimitrius. She had never been asked to 
go near the laboratory since her first visit there, and 
she hardly knew how to find the corridor leading 
to it. She looked for the negro, Vasho, but though 
he had waited upon them at dinner he was now 
nowhere to be seen. So, trusting to memory and 
chance she groped her way down a long passage 
BO dark that she had to feel the walls on botii sides 
to steady her steps as she went, and she was begin- 
ning to think she had taken an entirely wrong direc- 
tion, when a dull, coppery glitter struck a dhaft of 
light through the gloom and she knew she was near 
her goal. A few more cautious steps, and she stood 
opposite the great door, which glowed mysteriously 
red and golden, as thou^ secret fire were mixing 
living flame with its metal. It was shut. How could 
she open it? — or make her presence outside it 
known? Recollecting that Vasho had merely laid 


his hand upon it, she presently ventured to do the 
same, and soon had the rather terrifying satisfaction 
of seeing the huge portal swing upwards yawning- 
ly, disclosing the interior of the vast dome and the 
monstrous Wheel But what a different scene was 
now presented to her eyes! When first she had en- 
tered this mysterious "laboratory" it had been in 
broad dayli^t, and the sun had poured its full glory 
through the over-arching roof of crystal, — ^but now 
it was night and instead of sunshine there was a 
cloud of fire! Or, rather, it might be described as 
a luminous mist of the deep, ridb hue of a dama^ 
rose. Through this vaporous veil could be seen the 
revolving Wheel, which now had the appearance of 
a rainbow circle. Every inch of space was full of 
the radiant rose haze, and it was so dazzling and 
confusing to the sight that for a moment Diana 
could not move. With a vague sense of terror she 
dimly felt that the door had closed behind her, — 
but steadying her nerves she waited, confident that 
Dimitrius would soon appear. And she was ri^t 
He stepped suddenly out of the rosy mist with a 
casual air, as if there were nothing unusual in the 
"Well!" he said. — ^"CJourageous as ever?" 
"Is there anything to be afraid of?" die asked. 
"To me it looks wonderful! — ^beautiful!" 

"Yes — ^it is the essence of all wonder and all beau- 
ty," he answered. "It is a form of condensed light, 
— ^the condensation which, when imprisoned by nat- 
ural forces within a mine xmder certain conditions, 
gives you rubies, diamonds and other precious 
stones. And in the water beneath, which you can- 
not see just now, owing to the vapour, there is suffi- 
cient radium to make me ten times a millionaire." 
"And you will not part with any of it?" 
"I do part with some of it when I find it useful 
to do so," he said. "But very seldom. I am grad- 


ually testing its real properties. The scientists will 
perhaps be five hundred years at work discussing 
and questioning what I may prove in a single day ! 
But I do not wish to enter upon these matters with 
you, — ^you are my 'subject/ as you know, and I want 
to prepare you. The time has come when you must 
be ready for anything " 

''I am!'' she interrupted, quickly. 

'TTou respond eagerly!" — and he fixed his eyes 
upon her with a strange, piercing look. ''But that 
is because you are strong and defiant of fate. You 
are beginning to experience that saving vanity 
which deems itself indestructible!" 

She made no answer. She lifted her eyes to the 
highest point of the slowly turning wheel, and its 
opaline flare falling throu^ the rose mist gave her 
face an unearthly lustre. 

'^We are going to Davos Platz," he continued, "be- 
cause it will not do to remain here through the win- 
ter. I want the finest, clearest air, rarefied and puri- 
fied by the constant presence of ice and snow, to 
aid me in my experiment, — ^moreover, certain 
changes in you will soon become too apparent to 
escape notice, and people will talk. Already Baron- 
ess Rousillon is beginning to ask questions " 

"About me?" asked Diana, amused. 

"About you. Tell me, have you looked in your 
mirror lately?" 

"Only just to do my hair," she answered. "I avoid 
looking at my own face as much as possible." 


She hesitated. 

"Well I I don't want to be deluded into imagining 
myself good-looking when I'm not." 

He smiled. 

"Resolute woman! Now listen! From this day 
forward I shall give you one measure of what you 
call my 'golden fire' every fortnight. You have ex- 


perienced its first effect. What future effects it may 
have I cannot tell you. But as the subject of my 
experiment you must submit to the test. If you 
suffer bodily pain or mental confusion from its ac- 
tion tell me at once, and I will do my best to spare 
you unnecessary suffering. You imderstand?" 

She had grown very pale, even to the lips, — but 
she answer^, quietly: 

^'I imderstand ! You have t^ver asked me exactly 
what I did feel the first time I took it. I may as weU 
confess now that I thought I was djdng." 

''You will think so again and yet again," he said, 
coolly. ''And you may die I That's all I have to say 
about it!" 

She stood immovable, bathed, as it were, in the 
rosy radiance exhaled by the slow and now ahnost 
solenm movement of the great Wheel. She thought 
of the kindliness of Professor Chauvet, — ^his plain 
and unadorned proposal of marriage, — ^his simple 
admission that he had "grown fond" of her, — ^his 
offer of his name and position united to a house in 
Paris and ten thousand a year! — and contrasted all 
this with the deliberate, calculating callousness of 
the man beside her, lost to every consideration but 
the success or failure of his "experiment," — ^and a 
passionate resentment began to bum in her soul. But 
she said nothing. She had rushed upon her own 
fate, — ^there was no way out of it now. 

He moved away from her to unlock the tiny fairy- 
like shrine, which concealed the slow dropping of 
the precious liquid msrsteriously distilled by the un- 
known process which apparently involved so much 
vast mechanism, and, placing a small phial under 
the delicate tube from which the drops fell at long, 
dow intervals, waited till one, glittering like a rare 
jewel, was imprisoned within it. She watched him, 
with more disdain than fear, — and her eyes were 
brilliant and almost scornful as he raised himself 


from his stooping position and faced her. The pale 
blue dress she wore was transformed by the ro^ 
li^t around her into a rich purple, and as she stood 
fixedly regarding him there was something so proud 
and regal in her aspect that he paused, vagudy as- 

''What is the matter with you?" he asked. ''Are 
you angry?" 

"Who am I that I should be angry?" she retorted. 
"I am only your slave!" 

He frowned. 

"Are you going to play the capricious woman at 
this late hour and show tempar?" he said, impatient- 
ly. "I am in no humour for reproaches. You prom- 
ised loyalty " 

"Have I broken my promise?" she demanded. 

"No— not yet! But you look as if you mi^t 
break it!" 

She gave a slight, yet expressive gesture of con- 

"What a poor thing you are as a man, after all!" 
she exclaimed. "Here, in the presence of the vast 
forces you have bent to jrour use, — ^here, with your 
'subject,' a mere woman, entirely at your disposal, 
you doubt! — ^you disbelieve in my sworn word, 
which is as strong as all your science, perhaps strong- 
er! Ck)me! — ^you look like a conspirator who has 
extracted poison from some mysterious substance, 
and who is longing to try it on a victim! Do you 
want me to take it now?" 

He gazed at her with a sudden sense of fear. Al- 
most her courage overmastered his will. There was 
something austere and angelic in that slight figure 
with the rosy waves of vapour playing about it and 
turning its azure draperies to royal purple, and for 
the first time he wondered whether there was not 
someliiing deliberately brutal in his treatment of 
her. Rallying his self-possession he answered: 


''When we are outside this place you can take it^ 
if you wiU " 

"Why not mside?" she asked. ''Here^ where the 
vapours of your witches' cauldron sinuner and 
steam — ^where I can feel your melting fires pricking 
every vein and nerve!" and she stretched out her 
arms towards the Wheel of strange opalescent light 
which now revolved almost at a snail's pace. "Make 
short work of me^ Dr. DimitriusI — ^this is the place 
for it!" 

On a sudden impulse he sprang to her side and 
seized her hand. 

"Diana! You think me a pitiless murderer!" 

She looked sti^ghtinto his eyes. 

"No, I don't. I think you simply a man without 
any feeling except for yourself and your own aima 
There are thousands, — aye, millions of your sex like 
you, — ^you are not extraordinary." 

"If I succeed you will have cause to thank 

"Possibly!" she Bnsw&redf (with a slight smila 
"But you know gratitude sometimes takes curious 
and unexpected forms! One of the commonest is 
hatred of the person who has done you a kindness! 
Come, give me that fire-drop, — ^it is restless in its 
prison! We are fighting a strange duel, you and I 
— you are all for self, and your own ultimate tri- 
umph — I am selfless, having nothing to lose or to 
wm " 

"Nothing?" he repeated. "Foolish woman ! — ^you 
cannot foresee — ^you cannot project yourself into the 
future. Suppose I gave you youth? — suppose with 
youth I gave you beauty? — ^Would you then call me 

*'Why, yes, of course!" she answered, composedly. 
'Hf ou would not give such gifts to me because you 
had any desire to make me happy — ^nor would you 
give them if you could secure them for youraelf 


\^ithout endangering your life I If you succeed in 
your attempts they would fall to my lot naturally 
as part of your 'experiment/ and would prove your 
triumph. But as far as my personality is concerned, 
you would not care what became of me, though 
with youth and beauty I might turn the tables on 
you!'' She laughed, — then said again: "Give me 
my dose!" 

"I told you before that it would be better to take 
it when we go outside the laboratory," he answered. 
''Suppose you became insensible! I could not leave 
you here." 

'Why not?" she demanded, recklessly. "It would 
not matter to you. Please give it to me! — ^Whether 
I live or die I like doing things quickly!" 

With a certain sense of mingled compassion, ad- 
miration and reluctance, he handed her the phiaL 
She looked with intent interest at the shining drop 
pent within, which glowed like a fine topaz, now 
fiery orange, now red, now pale amber, and moved 
up and down as rapidly and restlessly as quicksilver. 

"How pretty it is!" she said. "If it would only 
condense and harden into a gem one would like to 
wear it in a ring! It would outshine all Professor 
Chauvet's jewels. Well, Dr. Dimitrius, good-night! 
If I fall into your dark pool don't trouble to fish me 
out! — ^but if not, don't leave me here till morning!" 

And, smiling, she put the phial to her lips and 
swallowed its contents. 

Dinditrius stood, silently watching. Would she 
swoon, as ^e almost did the last time? — or would 
she be convulsed? No! — she remained erect, — ^un- 
swerving: — ^but, as if by some automatic movement, 
she lift^ her arms slowly and clasped her hands 
flJbove her head in an attitude of prayer. Her eyes 
dosed — ^her breathing war scarcely perceptible — ^and 
so she remained as though frozen into stone. Moved 
b^ond his usual calm by wonderment at this unex- 


pected transformation of a living woman into a 
statue, he called her, — but she gave no answer. And 
then another remarkable thing happened. An aure- 
ole of white light began to form round her figure, 
beginning from the head and falling in brilliant rays 
to the feet, — ^her dress seemed a woven tissue of 
marvellous colours such as one finds painted for the 
robes of saints in antique missals, and her features, 
outlined against the roseate mist that filled the lab- 
oratory, were pure and almost transparent as ala- 
baster. Thrilled with excitement, he could not 
speak — he dared not move, — he could only look, 
look, as though all his forces were concentrated in 
his eyes. How many minutes passed he could not 
determine, but he presently saw the light begin to 
pale, — one ray after another disappeared, quite 
slowly and as though each one were absorbed by 
some mysterious means into the motionless figure 
which had seemingly projected them, — then, with 
equal slowness, Diana's upraised hands relaxed and 
her arms dropped to her sides — ^her eyes opened, 
brilliant and inquiring. 

He went to her side. '^Diana!" he said, in care* 
fuUy hushed tones. "Diana '' 

*Why did you wake me?" she asked plaintively, 
in a voice of melting sweetness. "Why take me away 
from the garden I had found? It was all mine! — 
and there were many friends — ^they said they had 
not seen me for centuries! I should have liked to 
stay with them a little longer!" 

He listened, in something of alarm. Had she lost 
her senses? He knew it was possible that tiie potent 
force of his mysterious distillation might so attack 
the centres of the brain as to reverse their normal 
condition. He toudied her hand, — it was warm and 
soft as velvet. 

"Still dreaming, Diana?" he said, as g^itly as he 
could. "Will you not come with me now?" 


She turned her eyes upon him. There waa no 
sign of brain trouble in those clear orbs of vision — 
they were calm mirrors of sweet expression. 

Oh, it is you!" she said in more natural tones. 
I really thought I had gone away from you alto- 
gether! It was a delightful experience!" 

He was a trifle vexed. He hardly cared to hear 
that going away from him altogether was ^'a de- 
li^tful experience." She was rapidly recovering 
from her trance-like condition^ and swept back her 
hair from her brows with a relieved^ yet puzzled 

"So it's all over!" she said. "I'm here just the 
same as ever! I was sure I had gone away!" 

"Where?" he asked. 

"Oh, ever so far!" she answ^:^. "I was carried 
off by people I couldn't see — ^but they were kind 
and careful, and it was quite easy going. And then 
I came to a garden — oh! — such an exquisite place, 
full of the loveliest flowers — somebody said it was 
mine! I wish it were!" 

"You were dreaming," he said, impatiently. 
"There's nothing in dreams! The chief point to me 
is that you have not suffered any pain. You have 
nothing to complain of?" 

She thought a minute, trying to recall her sen- 

"No," she answered, truthfully, "nothing." 

"Good ! Then I can proceed without fear," he said 
"Enough for to-ni^t — ^we will go." 

Her eyes were fixed on the revolving Wheel. 

"It goes slowly because the sunshine has gone, I 
suppose?" she asked. "And all the light it produces 
now is from the interior stores it has gath^ed up 
in the day?" 

He was surprised at the quickness of her percep- 

'Tes— that is so," he said. 


'Then it never stops absolutely dead?" 


She smiled. 

'Wonderful Dimitrius! You have built up a little 
mechanical universe of your own and you are the 
god of it! You must be very pleased with your- 

"I am equally pleased with you/' he said. "You 
surpass all my expectations." 

''Thanks so mudi!" and she curtsied to him play- 
fully. "May I say good-ni^t? Will not your moth- 
er wonder where we are?" 

"My mother is too sensible a woman to question 
my movements^" he replied. "Come ! You are sure 
you feel strong and well?" ^ 

"Quite sure!" die said, then paused, surprised at 
the intense way he looked at her. 

"£[ave you ever heard ihe^ lines?" he asked, 

"Oy she doth teach the torches to bum bright ! 
Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night. 

Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's 

Beauty too rich for use, for earth too deai^!" 

Diana smiled happily. 

"Of course! Shakespeare's utterance! Who else 
has ever written or could write such lines?" 

"I'm glad you know them!" he said, musingly. 
"They occurred to me just now — ^when ^" 

He broke off abruptiy. 

"Come!" he repeated. "We shall not see this 
place again for a couple of months — ^perhaps long^. 
And — ^e sooner we get away the better!" 

'Why?" asked Diana, surprised. 

"Why?" and a curious half-frowning expression 
darkened his brows. "You must wait to know why! 
You will not have to wait long!" 

He signed to her to keep close bdiind him; and 


together they moved like phantom figures through 
the roi^ mist that enveloped them, till, at the touch 
of his wizard hand, the door swung upwards to give 
them egress and descended again noiselessly as &ey 
passed out. The corridor, previously dark, was now 
dimly lit, but it was more a matter of groping than 
seeing, and Diana was glad when they reached the 
pleasantly warm and well-illumined hall of the 
house. There he turned and faced her. 

"Now, not a word!" he said, with imperative 
sharpness. ''Not a word of what you have seen, or 
—dreamed — to my mother 1 Say good-night to hec, 
and go!'' 

She lifted her eyes to his in something of wonder 
and protest, — ^but obeyed his gesture and went 
straight into the drawing-room where Madame 
Dimitrius sat as usual, quietly knitting. 

''I am to bid you good-night!" she said, smiling, 
as she knelt down for a moment by the old lady's 
chair. "Dear, your son is very cross! — ^and I'm go- 
ing to bed!" 

Madame Dimitrius gazed upon her in utter 
amazement and something of fear. The face up- 
lifted to hers was so radiant and fair that for a 
moment she was speechless, and the old hands that 
held the knitting trembled. Remembering her son's 
command in good time, she made a strong effort 
to control herself, and forced a smile. 

"That's right, my dear!" she said. "Bed is the 
best place when you're tired. I don't think Feodor 
means to be cross " 

"Oh, no!" agreed Diana, springing up from her 
kneeling attitude, and kissing Madame's pale cheek. 
"He doesn't *mean' to be anything— but he is/ 
Good-night, dearest lady ! You are always kind and 
sweet to me — and I'm grateful!" 

With those words and an affectionate wave of her 
hand, she went, — ^and the moment she had left the 


room Dimitrius entered it. His mother rose from 
her chair, and made a gesture with her hands as 
though she were afraid and sought to repel him. 
He took those nervous, wavering hands and held 
them tenderly in his own. 

"What's the matter, mother mine?" he asked, 
playfully. "You have seen her?" 

"Feodor! F^odor! You are dealing with strange 
poj^ers! — perhaps powers of evil! Oh, my son! be 
(Mtfeful, be careful what you do!" she implored, al- 
most tearfully. "You may not go too far 1 " 

"Too far, too far!" he echoed, lightly. "There is 
no too far or farthest where Nature and Science 
lead! The Flaming Sword! — it turns every way to 
keep the Tree of Life! — ^but I see the blossom und^ 
the blade!" 

She looked up at his dark, strong face in mingled 
fondness and terror. 

"You cannot re-create life, Feodor!" she said. 

^Why not?" he demanded. "To-day our surgeons 
graft new flesh on old and succeed in their design 
— ^why should not fresh cells of life be formed 
through Nature's own genpinating processes to take 
the place of those that perish? It is not an impos- 
sible theory, — I do not waste my time on problems 
that can never be solved. Come, come, Mother! 
Put your superstitious terrors aside — ^and if you 
have the faitlx in God that I have, you will realise 
that there are no ^powers of evil' save man's own 
uncontrolled passions, which he inherits from the 
brute creation, and which it is his business to mas- 
ter! No mere brute beast foraging the world for 
prey can be an astronomer, a scientist, a thinker, 
or a ruler of the powers of life, — ^but a MAN, with 
self-control, reason, and devout faith with humility, 
can! — ^for is not the evolvement of his being only 
'a little lower than the angels'?" 

She si^ed, half incredulous. 

"o more overV^"' "i«>«et mo4?"<' »<> mSSn m 
here J^, -Davos Plaf, ^ reason for wioif; ^^ana 

t/^en wm if K X. . P^eted— It haa only 

S« snxUeH « J °® finished ?" i, • 
liJ?^ottili k^^ «toopiS ki ^J\ another aakerf 


Two or three dasrs later the Chateau Fragonard 
was closed, — ^its windows were shuttered and its 
gates locked. The servants were dismissed, all save 
Vasho, who, with his black face, white teetii, rolling 
eyes and dumb lips, remained as sole custodian. 
The usual callers called in vain, — ^and even the Bar- 
oness Rousillon, a notable and persistent inquirer 
into all matters of small social interest, could learn 
notliing beyond the fact (written neatly on a card 
which Vasho handed to all visitors) that "Dr. and 
Madame Dimitrius had left home for several 
weeks." Of Diana May no information was given. 
Among those who were the most surprised and deep- 
ly chagrined at this turn of events was the Marchese 
Famese, who had himself been compelled to be away 
for some time on business in Paris, but who had 
returned as soon as he could to Geneva in the hope 
of improving his acquaintance with Diana sufficient- 
ly to procure some sort of reliable information as 
to the problems and projects of Dimitrius. His 
disappointment was keen and bitter, for not only 
did he find her gone, but he could obtain no due 
as to her wherealx)uta And even Professor Chauvet 
had been left very much in the dark, for Diana had 
only written him the briefest note, running thus: 

''Dbab Kind Friend! 

"I'm going awuy for a little while with Ma- 
dame Dimitrius, who needs change of air and sc^ie, 
but I will let you know directly I come badL. I 
riiall think of you very often while absent I 

"Affectionately yours, 




Chauvet put by these brief lines very preciously 
in the safe where he kept his jewels, — "Affection- 
ately yours'' was a great consolation, he thought! — 
they almost touched the verge of tenderness I — ^there 
was surely hope for him ! And he amused himself in 
his solitary hours with the drawing of an exquisite 
design for a small coronal to be worn in Diana's 
hair, wherein he purposed having some of his rare- 
est jewels set in a ff^ion of his own. 

Meanwhile the frozen stillness of an exceptionally 
dreary and bitter winter enveloped the Chateau 
Eragonard and its beautiful ga^ens, and no one 
was ever seen to go to it, 6t come from it, though 
there were certain residents on the opposite side of 
the lake who could perceive its roof and chimnqrs 
through the leafless trees and who declared that 
its great glass dome was always more or less illu- 
mined as though a light were constantly kept burn- 
ing within. Riunour was busy at first with all sorts 
of suggestions and contradictions, but as there ap- 
peared to be no foxmdation for any one of them, the 
talk ptulually wore itself out, most people being 
always too much interested in themselves to keep 
up any interest in others for long. 

But, had Rumour a million eyes, as it is said to 
have a nullion tongues, it might weU have had occa- 
sion to use them all during the full swing of that par- 
ticular ''season" at Davos Platz, where, in the "win- 
ter i^orts" and gaieties of the time, Diana was an 
admired "belle" and universal favourite. She, who 
only three or four months previously had been dis- 
tinctly "on the shelf or "in the way/' was now flat- 
tered and sought after by a whole train of male 
admirers, who apparently could never have enough 
of her society. She conversed brilliantly, danced 
exquisitely, and skated perfectly, — so perfectly in« 
deed that one fatuous elderly gentleman nicknamed 
her "the Ice Queen," and anoUier, younger but not 


less eBterprising, addressed her as "Boule de Neiffe" 
conceiving the title prettier in French than in rough 
English as "Snowball/' She accepted the attentions 
lavished upon her with amused indifference, which 
made her still more attractive to men whose ''sport- 
ing'' tendencies are invariably sharpened by ob- 
stacles in the way of securing their game, and, much 
to her own interest, found herself the centre of all 
sorts of rivalries and jealousies. 

"If they only knew my age!" she thought one 
day, when three members of an Alpine Club had 
nearly broken their necks in severally climbing, im- 
known to each other, dangerous ledges of slippery 
rock in search of edelweiss for her careless accept- 
ance. "If they only knew!" 

But they did not know. And it would have been 
quite impossible for them to guess. Thus much 
Diana herself was now forced to concede. Every 
day her mirror showed her a fair, unworn face, with 
the softly rounded outline of youth, and the dear 
eyes which betoken the unconscious joy of perfect 
health and vitally, and the change in her was so 
marked and manifest that she no longer hesitated 
to speak to Madame Dimitrius about it when they 
were alone together. At first the old lady was very 
nervous of the subject, and fearful lest she should 
in some way displease her masterful son, — ^but Di- 
ana reassured her, promising that he should nev^ 
know the nature or extent of their confidences. It 
was a great relief to them both when they entered in- 
to closer mutual relations and decided to talk to each 
other freely — especially to Madame Dimitrius, who 
was anxious to be made certain that Diana was not 
in any physical suffering or mental distress throu^ 
the exercise of Feodor's extraordinary and, as she 
imagined, almost supernatural powers. She was soon 
satii^ed on that score, for Diana could assure her, 
with truth, that she had never felt better or brig}iter. 


''It's I&e a new life/' she said, one day, as she sat 
at the window of their private sitting-room in the 
hotel, which commanded a fine view of the snowy 
mountain summits. *'I feel as/ if I had somehow 
been bom again! All my past years seem rolled 
away like so much rubbish I I've often thought of 
those words: 'Except ye be bom again ye shall not 
enter into the Kingdom of God.' They used to be 
a mystery to me, but they're not so mysterious now ! 
And it is just like ^entering the Kingdom of God' 
to look out on this glorious beauty of the moimtains, 
the snow and the pine trees, and to feel alive to it 
all, grateful for it all, loving it all, — as I do!" 

Madame Dimitrius regarded her earnestly. 

'TTou do not think, then," she suggested, "that my 
son is guilty of any ofiFence against the Almighty 
by his dealings with these strange, unknown 
forces " 

"Dear Madame!" inteniipted Diana, quickly — 
"do not for a moment entertain such an idea! It 
belongs to those foolish times when the Church was 
afraid to know the tmth and tortured people for 
telling it! What offence can there be in exerting 
to the utmost, the intelligent faculties God has given 
us, and in studying to find out the wonderful ad- 
vantages and benefits which may be possessed by 
those who cultivate reason and knowledge! I think 
it is a far greater offence against God, to wilfully 
remain in ignorance of His goodness to us all!" 

"Perhaps!" — ^and the old lady sighed — then 
smiled. "I'm afraid I am one of those who ^dark- 
eneth counsel by words witiiout knowledge!' But, 
after all, the great thing for me is that I see you 
well and happy — ^and greatest marvel of all — ^grow- 
ing younger every day! You see that for yourself, 
don't you? — and you feel it?" 

^Tes." And, as she spoke, a strange, far-away 
look came into Diana's eyes. "But — there is on« 


thing I wish I could explain, even to myself! I 
feel well, happy, keenly alive to all I see and hear, — 
and yet— there is an odd sensation back of it all! — 
a feeling that I have no feeling!" 

''My dear Diana!'' And Madame Dimitiius's 
pale blue eyes opened a little wider. "What a 
strange thing to say! You are full of feeling!'' 

Diana shook her head decisively. 

"No, I'm not! It's all put on!. It is, really! 
That is, so far as human beings and human events 
are concerned. I feel nothing whatever about them! 
The only 'feeling' I have is a sort of suppressed 
ecstasy of delight in beauty — the beauty of the skies, 
the effects of sunlight on the hills and plains, the 
loveliness of a flower or a bit of exquisite natural 
scenery — ^but I have somehow lost the sense of all 
association with hiunanity!" 

"But — ^my dear girl! " began Madame, in per- 

Diana laughed. 

"Ah, now you call me a 'girl,' too!" she exclaimed, 
merrily. "Just as they all do here in this hotel ! I'm 
not a girl at all — I'm a woman of 'mature years^' 
but. nobody would beUeve it! Even Dr. F^odor 
himself is getting puzzled — ^for he addressed me as 
'dear child' l^is very morning!" She laughed again 
— ^her pretty laugh, — ^which was like a musical 

"Yes, dear Madame! — it's a fact! — ^with my re- 
newal of youtii I'm developing youth's happy-go- 
lucky indifference to emotions! People, — ^the crea- 
tures that walk about on two legs and eat and talk 
— ^have absolutely no interest for me! — ^unless they 
do something absurd which they imagine to be clev- 
er — and tihiat makes me laugh, — sometim^, — ^not al- 
ways! Even your wonderful son, with his amazing 
powers and his magnetic eyes which used to send a 
thrill rig}it down my spine, fails to move me now to 


any concern as to my ultimate fate in his handa 
I know that he is, so far, succeeding in his experi- 
ment; but what the final result may be I don't luiow 
— ^and — I don't care!" 

'TTou don't care!" echoed Madame, in bewilder- 
ment "Really and truly? You don't care?" 

''No, not a bit! That's just the worst of it! See 
here, you dear, kind woman! — ^here I am; a bought 
'subject' for Dr. F6odor to try his skill upon. He 
told me plainly enough on one occasion that it 
wouldn't matter and couldn't be helped if I died 
imder his treatment — and I quite agreed with him. 
Up to the present I'm not dead and don't feel like 
djong — ^but I'm hardening! Yes! that's it! Stead- 
ily, slowly hardening! Not in my muscles— not 
in my artmes — ^no! — ^but in my sentiments and 
emotions which are becoming positively nil!" Her 
merry laugh rang out again, and her eyes sparkled 
with amusement. "But what a good thing it is, after 
all! Men are so fond of telling one that they hate 
'emotions' — so it's just as well to be without them! 
Now, for instance, I'm having a splendid time here 
— ^I love all the exercise in l£e open air, the skat- 
ing, tobogganing, and dancing in the evening, — ^it's 
all great fun, but I don't 'feel' that it is as splendid 
as it seems! Men flatter me every day, — ^they say 
'How well you skate!' or 'How well you dance!' 
'How well you play!' or even 'How charming you 
look!' and if such things had been said to me in 
England six months ago I should have been so 
happy and at ease that I should never have been 
afraid and awkward as I generally was in society 
— ^but now! Why now I simply don't care! — I only 
think what fools men are!" 

"But you must remember," said Madame Dimi- 
trius gentiy — ^"you were very different in appear- 
ance six months ago to what you are now " 

"Exactly! That's just it!" And Diana gave a4 


expressive gesture of utter disdain. ^'That's what 
I hate and despise! One is judged by looks only. 
I'm just the same woman as ever — six months ago 
I danced as well, skated as well, and played the 
piano as well as I do now — ^but no one ever gave 
me the smallest encouragement! Now everything I 
do is made the subject of exaggerated compliment, 
by the men of course! — ^not by the women; they 
always hate a successful rival of their own sex! 
Ah, how petty and contemptible it all is! You 
see I'm growing young looks with old experience! 
— ^rather a dangerous combination of forces, / think I 
— ^however, if our souls become angels when we die, 
they will have a vast experience to look back upon, 
dating from the beginning of creation!" 

''And, looking back so far, they will understand 
all," said Madame Dimitrius. "As one of our great 
writers has said : 'To know all is to pardon all.' " 

Diana shrugged her shoulders. 

"Perhaps!" die carelessly conceded. "But that's 
just where I should fail as an angel! I cannot 
'pardon all.' I hold a standing grudge against injus- 
tice, callousness, cruelty and cowardice. I forgive 
none of these things. I loathe a hypocrite— espe- 
cially a pious one! I should take pleasure in re- 
venge of some sort on any such loathsome creatura 
I wdlild rather save a fly from drowning in the 
milk-jug than a treacherous human being from the 

"Dear me!" and Madame smiled — "you speak 
very strongly, Diana! Especially when you assure 
me that you cannot 'feel!' " 

"Oh, I can feel hatred!" said Diana. "That sort 
of feeling seems to have a good grip of me! But 
love, interest, sympathy for other folks — ^no! — ten 
thousand times no ! One might love a man with all 
the ardour and passion of a lifetime, and yet he may 
be capable of boasting of your 'interest' in him at 


his dub and damaging your reputation — (you know 
0ome clubs are like old washerwomen's comers 
where they meet to talk scandal) — and you may 
waste half your time in interest and sympathy for 
other folks and they'll only ask dubiously, 'What 
is it all for?' and Vound' on you at the first oppor- 
tunity, never crediting you with either honesty or 
imselfishness in your words or actions. No, no! 
It's best to 'play' the world's puppets — never to be- 
come one of them!" 

"You are bitter, my dear!" commented Madame. 
''I think it is because you have missed a man's true 

Diana laughed and sprang up from her chair. 

"Maybe ! " she replied. "But — 'a man's true love' 
— as I see it, seems hardly worth the missing! You 
are a dear, sentimental darling! — ^you have lived in 
the 'early Victorian' manner, finding an agreeable 
lover who gave you his heart, after the fa^ion of 
an antique Valentine, and whom you married in the 
proper and conventional style, and in due course 
gave him a baby. That's it! And oh, such a baby! 
F^odor Dimitrius!— Hloctor of sciences and master 
of innumerable- secrets of nature-^yet, after all, only 
your 'baby!' It is a miracle! But I wonder if it 
was worth while! Don't mind my nonsense, dearest 
lady! — just think of me as hardening and shinmg! 
— ]jke bits of the glacier we saw the other day wnich 
move only about an inch in a thousand years ! There's 
a 'sports' ball on the ice to-night — a full moon too ! 
— ^and your wonderful son has agreed to skate with 
me — I widi you would come and look at us!" 

"I'm too old," said Madame Dimitrius, with a 
slight sigh. "I wish F6odor would make me young 
as he is making you!" 

"He's afraid!" and Diana stood, looking at her 
for a moment. "He's afraid of killing you! But 
he's not afraid of killing meT 


With that she went, — ^and Madame, laying down 
her work, folded her hands and prayed silentiy that 
no evil might come to her beloved son through the 
strange mysteries which he was seeking to solve, and 
which to her simple and miinstructed mind appeared 
connected with the powers of darkness rather than 
the powers of light 

That evening Diana scored a triumph as belle of 
the ^'sports'' balL Attired in a becoming skating 
costume of black velvet trimmed with white fur, 
with a charming little ''toque" hat to match, set 
jauntily on her bright hair, and a bunch of edel- 
weiss at her throat, she figured as an extremely 
pretty "girl," and her admirers were many. When 
Dimitrius came to claim his promised ''glissade" 
by her side, she welcomed him smilingly, yet with 
an indifference which piqued him. 

"Are you tired?" he asked. "Would you rather 
not skate any more just now?" 

She gave him an amused look. 

"I am never tired," she said. "I could skate for 
ever, if it were not, like all things, certain to become 
monotonous. And I'm sure it's very good of you 
to skate wiih a woman 'of mature years' when there 
are so many nice girls about." 

"You are the prettiest 'girl' here," he answered, 
with a smile. "Everyone says so!" 

"And what do you say to everyone?" she de- 

"I agree. Naturally!" 

He took her hand, and together they started skim- 
ming easily ov^ the ice, now shining like polished 
crystal in the radiance of the moon and the li|^t 
thrown from torches set round the expanse of the 
skating ground by the hotel purveyors of pleasure 
for their visitors. Diana's lightness and grace of 
movement had from the first been the subject of 
admiring comment in the little world of h\m[ianity, 


gathered for the seaaon on those Swiss mountain 
heights, but this evening she seemed to surpass her- 
self, and, with Dimitrius, executed wonderful steps 
and ''figures" at flying speed with the ease of a bird 
on the wing. Men looked on in glum annoyance 
that Dimitrius should have so much of her com- 
pany, and women eyed her with scarcely concealed 
jealousy. But at the end of an hour she said she 
had 'liad enough of it," and pulling off her skates 
she walked wi& a kind of i^ate submissiveness 
beside Dimitrius away from the gay scene on the 
ice back to the hotel. Their way led throu^ an 
avenue of pine trees, which, stiffly uplifting their 
spear-like points to the frosty skies and bright moon, 
looked like fantastic giant sentinels on guard for 
the night Stopping abruptly in the midst of the 
e^e winter stillness she said suddenly: 

"Dr. F^odor, do you know I've had three pro- 
posals of marriage since I've been here?" 

He smiled indulgently. 

"Ay, indeed! I'm not surprised! And you have 
refused them all?" 

"Of course! What's the good of them?" 

His dark eyes glittered questioningly upon her 
through their veiling, sleepy lids. 

'The good of them? Well, really, that is for you 
to decide! If you want a husband " 

"I don't!" she said, emphatically, with a decisive 
little stamp of her foot on the frozen ground. "I 
diould hate him!" 

"Unhappy wretch! Why?" 

"Oh, because!" — she hesitated, then laughed — 
"because he would be alwasrs about! He'd have the 
ri^t to go with me everjrwhere — such a bore!" 

"Love " began Dimitrius, sententiously. 

"Love!" She flashed a look of utter scorn upon 
him. "You don't believe in it — ^neither do I ! What 
have we to do with love?" 


"Nothing!" he agreed^ quietly. *'But— you are 
really rewarding my studies, Diana! You are grow- 
ing very pretty!" 

She turned from him with a gesture of offended 
impatience and walked on. He cau^t up to her. 

'You don't like my telling you that?" he said. 

'*No. Because the *prettiness' is your forced prod- 
uct. It's not my natural output." 

He seized her hand somewhat roughly and held 
it as in a vice. 

'You talk foolishly!" he said, in a low, stem 
voice. "My 'forced product' as you call it, is not 
mine, except in so far that I have found and made 
use of the forces of regenerative life which are in 
God's life and air and which enter into the work 
of all creation. Your 'prettiness' is God's work! — 
lift up your eyes to the Almighty Power which 
'maketh all things new!' " 

Awed and startled by the impassioned tone of 
his voice and his impressive manner, she stood inert, 
her hand remaining passively in his firm grasp. 

"Men propose to you," he went on, "because they 
find you attractive, and because your face and fig- 
ure excite their passions — there is no real 'love' in 
tiie case, any more tiian there is in most proposals. 
The magnetism of sex is the thing tiiat 'pulls'— but 
you — ^you, my 'subject,' have no sex! That's what 
nobody outside ourselves is likely to understand. 
The 'love' which is piu^ly phjrsical, — ^the mating 
which has for its object the breeding of children, is 
not for you any more than it would be for an angel 
— ^you are removed from its material and sensual 
contact. But the love which should touch your soul 
to immortal issues, and which by its very character 
is expressed through youth and beauty, — ^that may 
come to you! — that may be yours in due time! 
Meanwhile, beware how you talk of my 'forced 
product' — for behind all the powers I am permitted 


to use is the Greatest Power of all, to Whom I am 
but the poorest of servants!" 

A deep sigh broke from him and he released her 
hand as suddenly as he had grasped it. 

^Tfou have felt no ill effects from the treatment?'' 
he then asked, in a matter-of-fact tone. 

"No," she answered. "None at all — except " 


"Oh, well! — ^no very great matter! Only that I 
seem to have lost something out of myself — ^I have 
no interest in persons or events — ^no sympathy with 
human kind. It's curious, isn't it? I feel that I 
belong more to the atmosphere than to the earth, 
and that I love trees, grass, flowers, birds and what 
is called the world of Nature more than the world 
of men. Of course I always loved Nature, — ^but 
what was once a preference has now become a pas- 
sion — and perhaps, when you've done with me, if I 
live, I shall go and be a sort of hermit in the woods, 
away altogether from 'people.' I don't like flesh and 
blood! — there's a kind of coarseness in it!" she con- 
cluded carelessly as she resumed her walk towards 
the hotel. 

He was puzzled and perplexed. He watched her 
as she moved, and noted, as he had done several 
times that evening, the exquisite lightness of her 

"Well, at any rate, you are not, physically speak- 
ing, any the worse for receiving my treatment once 
a fortnight?" he asked. 

"Oh, no! I am very well indeed!" she replied 
at once. "I can truthfully assure you I never felt 
better. Your strange 'fire-drop' never gives me any 
uncanny 'sensations' now — I don't mind it at alL 
It seems to fill me with a sort of brightness and 
buoyancy. But I have no actual 'feeling' about it 
— ^neither pleasure nor pain. That's rather odd, 
isn't it?" 


They w^e at the entnuice door of the hotel, and 
stood on the steps before going in. The moonli^t 
fell slantwise on Diana's face and showed it won- 
derfully fair and calm, like that of a sculptured 
angel in some niche of a cathedral 

'Tfes — ^perhaps it is odd," he answered. "As I 
have already told you, I am not cognisant of the 
possible action of tibe commingled elements I have 
distilled, — I can only test them and watch their 
effect upon you, in order to gain the necessary 
knowledge. But that you have no 'feeling' seems to 
me an exaggerated statement, — ^for instance, you 
must have 'felt' a good deal of pleasure in your 
skating to-ni^t?" 

"Not tiie least in the world!" and the smile she 
gave him was as chill as a moonbeam on snow. "I 
fikated on the ice with the same volition as a bubble 
floats along the air, — ^as unconscious as the bubble 
— ^and as indifferent! The bubble does not care 
when it breaks — ^nor do I! Good-night!" 

She pushed open the swing door of the hotel and 
passed in. 

He remained outside in the moonlight, vexed with 
himself and her, though he could not have told why. 
He lit a dgar and strolled slowly bac^iwards and 
forwards in the front of the hotel, trjdng to soothe 
his inward irritation by smoking, but the effect was 
rather futile. 

"She is wonderfully pretty and attractive now," 
he mused. "If all succeeds she will be beautiful 
And what then? I wonder! With every process 
of age stopped and reversed, and with all the stim- 
ulating forces of creative regeneration working in 
every cell of her body it is impossible to tell how she 
may develop— and yet — her mentality may remain 
the same! This is easily accounted for, because all 
one's experiences of life from childhood make per- 
manent impressions on the brain and stay there. 


fJke the negatives stored in a photographer's dark 
room one cannot alter them. And the puzzle to 
me is, how will her mentality 'carry* with her new 
personality? Will she know how to hold the balance 
between them? I can see already that men are 
quite likely to lose their heads about her — but what 
does that matter! It is not the first time they have 
maddened themselves for women who are set beyond 
the pale of mere sex/' 

He looked up at the still sky, — the frostily spar- 
kling stars, — ^the snowy peaks of the mountains and 
the bright moon. 

"Thank God I have never loved any woman save 
my mother!" he said. "For so I have been spared 
both idleness and worry! To lose one's time and 
peace because a woman smiles or frowns is to prove 
one's self a fool or a madman!" 

And going into the hotel, he finished his cigar in 
the lounge where other men were smoking, aJl un- 
aware that several of them detested the ai^t of his 
handsome face and figure for no other reason ihaa 
that he seemed ostensibly to be the guardian, as 
his mother was the chaperon, of the prettiest "girl" 
of that season at Davos, Diana May, and therefore 
nothing was more likely than that she should fall 
in love with him and he with her. It is always in 
this sort of fashion that the goose-gabble of "soci- 
ety" arranges persons and events to its own satisfao- 
tion, never realising that being only geese they can- 
not see beyond the circle of their own restricted 


It was quite the end of the seaaon at Davoa before 
Dimitrius quitted it and took his mother and Diana 
on to the Rivi^a. Here^ in the warm sunshine of 
the early Southern spring he began to study with 
keener and closer interest the progress of his ''sub- 
ject/' whose manner towards him and general bear- 
ing became more and more perplexing as time wait 
on. She was perfectly docile and amiable^-Hdieer- 
ful and full of thou^tful care and attention for 
Madame Dimitrius, — ^and every fortni^t took his 
mysterious '^potion" in his presence without hesi- 
tation or question, so that he had nothing to com- 
plain of — ^but there was a new individuality about 
her which held her aloof in a way that he was at 
a loss to account for. Wherever ^e went she was 
admired, — ^men stared, talked and sou^t introduc- 
tions, and she received all the social attention of 
an acknowledged "belle" without seeking or desir- 
ing it. 

One evening at a hotel in Cannes she was some- 
what perturbed by seeing a portly elderly man whom 
she recognised as a club fnend of her fath^'s, aad 
one who had been a frequent week-end visitor at 
Rose Lea. She hoped he would not hear her name, 
but she was too much the observed of all observers 
to escape notice, and it was with some trepidation 
that she saw him coming towards her with the roll- 
ing gait suggestive of life-long whisky-sodas — a 
''man-about-town" manner she £aew and detested. 

'Tardon me!'' he said, with aa op^ily admiring 
glance, ''but I have just been wondmng whether 




you are any relation of some friends of mine in 
England named May. Curiously enough, they had 
a daughter called Diana.'' 

"Really!" And Diana smiled — ^a little cold, 
hau^ty smile which was becoming habitual with 
her. "I'm afraid I cannot claim the honour of their 

She spoke in a purposely repellent mann^, wh^^ 
at the bold intruder was rendered awkward and 

''I know I should not address you without an in- 
troduction," he said stammeringly. "I hope you will 
excuse me! But my old friend Polly " 

"Your old friend — ^what?" drawled Diana, care- 
lessly, unfurling a fan and waving it idly to and 

"Polly — ^we call him Polly for fun," he explained. 
His full name is James Polydore May. And his 
daughter, Diana, was drowned last summer — 
drowned while bathing." 

"Dear me, how very sad!" and Diana concealed 
a sli^t yawn behind her fan. "Poor girl!" 

"Oh, she wasn't a girl!" sniggered her informant. 
"She was quite an old maid — over forty by a good 
way. But it was rather an xmfortunate affair." 

"Why?" asked Diana. "I don't see it at all! 
Women over forty who have failed to get married 
shouldn't live! Don't you agree?" 

He sniggered again. 

"Well, — ^perhaps I do! — ^perhaps I do! But we 
mustn't be severe — ^we mustn't be severe! We shall 
get old ourselves some day!" 

'^e shall indeed!" Diana responded, ironically. 
"Even you must have passed your twentieth birth- 

He got up a spasmodic laugh at this, but looked 
very foolish all the same. 

Did you — ^in these pi^chic days — think I ncii^t 



be the drowned old maid reincarnated?" she contin- 
ued, lazily, still pla}ring with her fan. 

This time his laugh was unforced and genuina 

^'Youf My dear yoimg lady! The Miss May I 
knew might be your mother! No, — it was only the 
curious coincidence of names that made me wonder 
if you were any relative." 

"There are many people in the world of \he same 
name," remarked Diana. 

"Quite so! You will excuse me, I'm sure, and 
accept my apologies!" 

She bent her head carelessly and he moved away. 

A few minutes later Dimitrius approached her. 

"Come out on the terrace," he said. "It's quite 
warm and there's a fine moon. Come and tell me 
all about it!" 

She looked at him in surprise. 

"All about it? What do you mean?" 

"Ah about the little podgy man who was talking 
to you! You've met him before, haven't you? Yes? 
Come along! — let's hear the little tale of woe!" 

His manner was so gentle and playful that she 
hardly understood it — it was something quite new. 
She obeyed his smiling gesture and throwing a li^t 
scarf about her shoulders went out with him on the 
terrace which dominated the smooth sloping lawn 
in front of the hotel, where palms lifted their 
fringed heads to the almost violet sky and the soent 
of mimosa filled every channel of the moonlit air. 

"I heard all he said to you," went on Dinaitriua 
"I was sitting behind you, hidden by a big orange 
tree in a tub, — not purposely hidden, I assure you J 
And so you are drowned!" 

He laughed, — then, as he saw she was about to 
speak, held up his hand. 

"Hush ! I can guess it all! Not wanted at home, 
except as a household drudge— unloved and ^one 
in the world, you made an exit — ^not a real exit — 


just a stage one! — ^and came to me! Excellently 
managed ! — ^for now, being drowned and dead, as the 
old Diana, you can live in your own way as tiie 
young one! And you are quite safe! Your own 
father wouldn't know you!" 

She was silent, looking gravely out to sea and 
the scarcely visible line of the Esterel Mountains. 

'You mustn't resent my quickness in guessing!" 
he continued. "I can always put two and two to- 
gether and make four! Our podgy friend has been 
unconsciously a very good tost of the change in 

She turned her head and looked fixedly at him. 

'Yes. Of the outward Aange. But of the in- 
ward, even you know nothing!" 

"Do I not? And will you not tell me?" 

She smiled strangely. 

"It will be difficult. But as your 'subject' I sup- 
pose I am bound to tell " 

He made a slight, deprecatory gesture. 

"Not unless you wish." 

"I have no wishes," she replied. "The matter is^ 
like everything else, quito indifferent to me. You 
have guessed rightly as to the causes of my coming 
to you — ^my father and mother were much disap- 
pointed at my losing aU my 'chances' as the world 
puts it, and failing to establish myself in a respect- 
able married position — I was a drag on their wheel, 
though they are both quito old people, — ^so I re- 
lieved them of my presence in the only way I could 
think of to make them sure they were rid of me 
for ev&r. Then — on the faith of your advertisement 
I came to you. You know all the rest — ^and you 
also know that the 'experiment' for which you 
wanted 'a woman of mature years' is — so far — suc- 
cessful. But " 

"There are no buts," interrupted Dimitrius. "It 
is more than fulfilling my hopes and dreams! — end 


I foresee an ultimate triumph! — a disoovay whidb 
shall revivify and r^gen^rate the human race! You 
too— fiurely you must enjoy the sense of youth — ^tfae 
delist of seeing your own face in the mirnur ?" 

EHana shrugged her shoulders. 

'It leaves me cold!" she said '^t's a pretty face 
—quite charming, in fact! — but it seems to me to 
be the face of somebody else! I don't fed in my- 
self that I possess it! And the 'sense of youth' 
you speak of has the same impression — ^it is some- 
body else's sense of youth!" Her eyes glittered in 
the moonlight, and her voice, low and intensely 
musical, had a curious appealing note in it. 'Teodor 
Dimitrius, it is not humanF* He was vaguely star- 
tled by her look and manner. 

'TNot himian? " he repeated, wonderingly. 

''No — ^not himian ! This beauty, this youth which 
you have recreated in me, are not human! They 
are a portion of the air and Ihe sunlight — of the 
natural elements — ^they make my body buoyant, my 
spirit restless. I long for some means to lift myself 
altogether from Ihe gross earth, away from heavy 
and cloddish hmnanity, for whidi I have not a 
remnant of sjnoipathy! I am not of it! — ^I am 
changed, — and it is you that have changed me. Un- 
derstand me well, if you can!— You have filled me 
with a strange force which in its process of action 
is beyond your knowledge, — ^and by its means I 
have risen so far above you that I hardly know 

She uttered these strange words calmly and de- 
liberately in an even tone of perfect sweetness. 

A sudden and uncontrollable impulse of anger 
seized him. 

"That is not true!" he said, almost fiercely. *You 
know me for your master!" 

She bent her head, showing no offence. 

"Possibly! For the present." And again she 


looked lingmngly, gravely out towards the sea. 
''Shall we go m now?" 

''One moment!" he said, his voice vibrating with 
suppressed passion. "What you feel, or imagine you 
feel, is no actual business of mine. I have set my- 
self to force a secret of Nature from the darkness 
in which it has been concealed for ages — ^a secret 
only dimly guessed at by the sect of the Rosicni- 
cians — ^and I know myself to be on the brink of a 
vast scientific discovery. If you fail me now, all 
is lost " 

"I shall not fail you," she interposed quietly. 

"You may — ^you may!" and he gave a gesture half 
of wrath, half of appeal "Who knows what you 
will do when the final ordeal comes! With these 
stcange ideas of yours — ^born of feminine hysteria^ 
I suppose — ^who can foretell the folly of your ac- 
tions? — or the obedience? And yet you promised 
— ^you promised ^" 

She turned to him with a smile. 

"Ipromised— and I shall fulfil!" she said. "What 
a shaken spirit is yours! — ^You cannot trust — ^you 
cannot believe! I have told you, and I repeat it — 
that I place my life in your hands to do what you 
will witii it — to end it even, if so you decide. But 
if it continues to be a life that lives, on its present 
line of change, it will be a life above you and beyond 
you! That is what I wish you to tmderstand." 

She drew her scarf about her and moved along 
the terrace to re-enter the lounge of the hotel. The 
outline of her figure was the embodiment of grace, 
and the ease of her step suggested an assured dig- 

He followed her, — ^perplexed, and in a manner 
ashamed at having shown anger. Gently she bade 
him "good-night" and went at once to her room. 
Madame Dimitrius had retired quite an hour pre- 


Onoe alone, she sat down to consider herself and 
Ibe position in which she was placed. Before her 
was h^ mirror, and she saw reflected th^^in a 
young face, and the lustre of young eyes darkly blue 
and brilliant, which gave light to the features as the 
sun gives light to the petals of a flower. She saw 
a dazzlingly clear skin as fair as the cup of a lily, 
and she studied each point of p^fection with the 
critical care of an analyst or dissector. Every line 
of age or worry had vanished, — and the bright hair 
of which she had always been pardonably proud, 
had gained a deeper sheen, a richer hue, while it 
had grown much more luxuriant and beautiful. 

"And now," she mused, "now, — ^how is it that 
when I can attract love, I no longer want it? That 
I do not care if I never saw a human being again? 
That human beings bore and disgust me? That 
something else fills me, — desires to which I can give 
no name?" 

She rose from her chair and went to the window. 
It opened out to a small private balcony facing the 
Mediterranean, and she stood there as in a dream, 
looking at the deep splendour of the southern sky. 
One great star, bright as the moon itself, shone just 
opposite to her, like a splendid jewel set on dark 
velvet. She drew a deep breath. 

"To this I belong!" she said, softly— "To this— 
and only this!" 

She made an exquisite picture, had ^e known it, 
— ^and had any one of her numerous admirers been 
there to see her, he might have become, as ecstatic 
as Shakespeare's Romeo. But for herself she had 
no thought, so far as her appearance was concerned, 
-H9ometiiing weird and mystical had ent«^ into 
her being, and it was this new self of hers that occu- 
pied all her thoughts and swayed all her emotions. 

Just before they left Cannes to return to Geneva, 
Dimitrius asked her to an interview with himself 


and his mother alone. They had serious matters to 
discuss, he said, and important details to decide ui>- 
on. She found Madanie Dimitrius pale and nervous, 
with trembling hands and tearful eyes, — ^while Dimi- 
trius himself had a hard, inflexible bearing as of 
one who had a disagreeable duty to perform, 
but who, nevertheless, was determined to see it 

"Now, Miss May," he said, "we have come to a 
point of action in which it is necessary to explain 
a few things to you, so that there shall be no mis- 
understanding or confusion. My mother is now, to 
a very great extent, in my confidence, as her assist- 
ance and co-operation will be necessary. It is near- 
ing the end of April, and we propose to return to 
the Chateau Fragonard immediately. We shall open 
the house and admit our neighbours and acquaint- 
ances to visit us as usual, but — for reasons which 
must be quite apparent to you — you are not to be 
seen. It is to be supposed that you have returned 
to England. You follow me?" 

He spoke with a businesslike formality, and Di- 
ana, smiling, nodded a cheerful acquiescence, — then 
seeing that Madame Dimitrius looked troubled, 
went and sat down by her, taking her hand and hold- 
ing it affectionately in her own. "You will keep 
to your suite of apartments," Dimitrius continued, 
"and Vasho will be your sole attendant, — ^with the 
exception of my mother and myself!" Here a sud- 
den smile lightened his rather stem expression. "I 
^all give myself the pleasure of taking you out 
every day in the fresh air, — ^fortunately, from our 
gardens one can see without being seen." 

Diana, still caressing Madame Dimitrius's fragile 
old hand, sat placidly silent. 

'nfou are quite agreeable to this arrangement?" 
went on Dimitrius — ^"You have nothing to suggest 
on your own behalf?" 


"Nothing whatever!" she answered. "Only — how 
long id it to last?" 

He raised his eyes and fixed them upon her with 
a sU-ange expression. 

"On the twenty-first of June," he said, "I make 
my final test upon you — ^the conclusion of my *ex- 
periment.' After the twenty-fourth you will be 
free. Free to go where you please — to do as you 
like. Like Shakespeare's 'Prospero/ I will give my 
'fine sprite' her liberty!" 

"Thank you!" and she laughed a little, bending 
her head towards Madame Dimitrius. "Do you hear 
that, dear lady? Think of it! What good times 
tiiere are in store for me! If I can only 'feel' that 
they are good ! — or even bad ! — ^it would be quite a 
sensation!" And she flashed a bright look at Dimi- 
trius as he stood watching her almost morosely. 
"Well!" she said, addressing him, "after the twenty- 
fourth of June, if I live, and if you permit it, I 
want to go back to England. Can tiiat be arranged?" 

"Assuredly! I will find you a chaperone ^" 

"A chaperone!" Her eyes opened widely in sur- 
prise and amusement. "Oh, no! I'm quite old 
enough to travel alone!" 

"That will not be apparent to the world" — ^And he 
imiled again in his dark, reluctant way — ^"But — 
we shall see. In any case, if you wish to go to 
England, you shall be properly escorted." 

"And if you go, will you not come back to us?^' 
asdced Madame Dimitrius, rather wistfully. "I do 
not want to part with you altogether!" 

'Tfou shall not, dear Madame! I wiQ come back." 
And she gently kissed the hand she held. "Even 
Professor Chauvet may want to see me again!" 

Dimitrius gave her a sharp glance. 

"That old man is fond of you?" he said, tenter 

"Of course he is!" And she laughed agam. "Wh(> 


would not be fond of me! Excellent Dr. DimitriusI 
Few men are so impervious to woman as your- 

'TTou think me impervious?" 

''I think a rock by the sea or block of stone more 
impressionable!" she replied, merrily. "But that is 
as it lAould be. Men of science must be men with- 
out feeling, — ^they could not do their work if they 
'felV things." 

"I disagree," said Dimitrius, quiddy — ^''it is just 
because men of science 'feel' the brevity and misery 
of human life so keenly that they study to alleviate 
some of its pangs, and spare some of its waste. They 
seek to prove the Why and the Wherefore of the ap- 
parent uselessness of existence——" 

**Nothing is useless, surely!" put in Diana — ^^'Not 
even a grain of dust!" 

"Where is the dust of Carthage?" he retorted — 
"Of Babylon? Of Nineveh? With what elements 
has it commingled to make more men aa wise, as 
foolish, as sane, or as mad as the generations passed 
away? The splendour, the riches, the conquests, the 
glories of these cities were as great or greats* than 
any that modem civilisation can boast of — and yet 
— ^what remains? Dust? And is the dust neces- 
sary and valuable? Who can teU! Who knows!" 

''And with all the mystery and uncertainty, is it 
not better to trust in God?" said Madame Dimitrius, 
gently. "Perhaps the little child who says 'Our 
Father' is nearer to Divine Truth than all the sci- 
ence of the world." 

"Sweetly thou^t and sweetly said, my Mothw!" 
answered Dimitrius. "But, believe me, I can say 
'Our FatJier' with a more perfect and exalted faith 
now than I did when I was a child at your knee. 
And why? Because I know surely that there is 
'Our Father' which is in Heavmi ! — ^and because He 
pennits us to use reason, judgment and a sane com- 


prehension of Nature, even so I seek to learn what 
I am confident He wishes us to know!" 

"At all risks?" his mother hinted, in a low tone. 

"At all risks!" he answered. "A political gov^n- 
ment risks millions of human lives to settle a tem- 
porary national dispute — I risk one life to make mil- 
lions happier! And" — ^here he looked steadily at 
Diana with a certain grave kindness in his eyes — 
"she is brave enou^ to take the risk ! " 

Diana met his look with equal steadiness. 

"I do not even think about it!" she said — ^"It does 
not seem worth while!" 


The strange spirit of complete indiflference, and 
the attitude of finding nothing, apparently, worth 
the trouble of thinking about, stood Diana in such 
good stead, that she found no unpleasantness or 
restriction in being more or less a prisoner in her 
own rooms on her return to the Chateau Fragonard. 
The lovely house was thrown open to the usual call- 
ers and neighbours, — people came and went, — ^the 
gardens, glorious now with a wealth of blossom, were 
the favourite resort of many visitors to Madame 
Dimitrius and her son, — and Diana, looking from 
her pretty salon through one of the windows which 
had so deep an embrasure that she could see every- 
thing without any fear of herself being discovered, 
often watched groups of men and smartly attired 
women strolling over the velvety lawns or down the 
carefully kept paths among the flowers, though al- 
ways with a curious lack of interest. They Beemed 
to have no connection with her own existence. True 
to his promise, Dr. Dimitrius came every day to 
take her out when no other persons were in the 
house or grounds, — and these walks were a vague 
source of pleasure to her, though she felt she would 
have been happier and more at ease had she been 
allowed to take them quite alone. Madame Dimi- 
trius was unwearying in her affectionate regard and 
attention, and always spent the greater part of eajch 
day with her, displaying a tenderness and considera- 
tion for her which six months previously would have 
moved her to passionate gratitude, but which now 
only stirred in her mind a faint sense of surprise. 



All her senaatuHis were as of one, who, by mne 
mystmous means, had been rmnoved from the conh 
pi^ensien of human contact, — ^thouj^ her intimacy 
with what the world is pleased to consider the non- 
reasoning things of creation had become keenly in- 
t^isifiedy and more closely sympathetic. 

There was imconcealed disappointment among 
the few, who, during the past autumn, had met her 
at the Chateau, when they were told she had gone 
back to England. Baroness de Rouaillon was, in 
particular, much axmoyed, for she had made a com- 
pact with the Marchese Famese to enter into dose 
and friendly relations with Diana, and to find out 
from her, if at all possible, the sort of work whidi 
went on in the huge domed laboratory whercdn 
Dimitrius appeared to pass so much of his time 
Famese himself said litUe of his vexation, — ^but he 
left Geneva ahnost immediately on hearing the 
news, and without informing Dimitrius of his inten- 
tion, went strai^t to London, resolved to probe 
what he considered a "mystery'' to its centre. As 
for Professor Chauvet, no words could describe his 
surprise and deep chagrin at Diana's departure; he 
could not bring hinouself to b^eve that ^e had left 
Geneva without saying good-bye to him. So trou- 
bled and perplexed was he, that with his usual 
bluntness he made a dean confession to Dimitrius 
of his proposal of marriaga Dimitrius heard him 
with grave patience and a slight, supercilious uplift- 
ing of his dark eyebrows. 

''I imagined as much!" he said, coldly, when he 
had heard aU. '^But Miss May is not young, and 
I should have thought she would have been glad 
of the chance of marriage you offered her. Did she 
give you any hope?" 

Chauvet looked doubtfully reflective. 

^'She did and she didn't," he at last answered, 
rather ruefully. "And yet— she's not capricious^ 


and I trust her. As you say, she's not young, — 
good heavens, what a heap of nonsense is taU:ed 
about 'young' women! — frequently the most useless 
and stupid creatures! — only thinking of themselves 
from morning till night! — ^Miss May is a fine, intelli- 
gent creature — I should like to pass the few remain- 
ing years of my life in her company." 

Dimitrius glanced him over with an air of dis- 
dainful compassion. 

"I dare say she'll write to you," he said. "She's 
the kind of woman who might prefer to settle that 
sort of thing by letter." 

"Can you give me her address?" at once asked the 
Professor, eagerly. 

"Not at the moment," replied Dimitrius, com- 
posedly. "She has no fixed abode at present, — ^^e's 
travelling with friends. As soon as I hear from 
her, I w3l let you know!" 

Chauvet, though always a trifle suspicious of 
other men's meanings, was disarmed by the open 
frankness with which this promise was given, and 
though more or less uneasy in his own mind, allowed 
the matter to drop. Dimitrius was unkindly amused 
at his discomfiture. 

"Imagine it!" he thought — "That exquisite crea- 
tion of mine wedded to so unsatisfactory a product 
of ill-assorted elements!" 

Meanwhile, Diana, imprisoned in her luxurious 
suite of rooms, had nothing to complain of. She 
read many books, practised her music, worked at 
her tiq)estry, and last^ not least, studied herself. She 
had begun to be worth studying. Looking in her 
miiTor, she saw a loveliness delicate and well-nigh 
unearthly, bathing her in its growing lustre as in 
a mysteriously brilliant atmosphere. Her eyes shone 
with a melting lustre like the ^es of a child appeal- 
ing to be told some strange sweet fairy legend, — 
her oomplexion was so fair as to be almost dazzling, 


the pure ivory white of her skin showing sc^ 
flushes of pale rose with the healthful pulsing of her 
blood — ^her lips w&re of a dewy crimson tint sudi 
as one might see on a red flower-bud newly opened, 
— ^and as ^e gazed at herself and reluctantly smiled 
at her own reflection, she had the curious impression 
that she was seeing the picture of somebody else 
in the glass, — somebody else who was young and 
enchantingly pretty, while she herself remained 
plain and elderly. And yet this was not the right 
view to take of her own personality, for apart alto- 
gether from her outward appearance she was con- 
scious of a new vitality, — an abounding ecstai^ of 
life, — ^a joy and strength which were well-nigh in- 
comprehensible, — ^for tibough these sensations domi- 
nated every fibre of her being, they were not, as 
formerly, connected with any positive human inter- 
est. For one thing, she scarcely thought of Dimi- 
trius at all, except tiiat she had come to regard him 
as a sort of extraneous being — ^an upper servant 
told off to wait upon her after the fashion of Vasho, 
— and when she went out with him, she went merely 
because she needed the fresh air and loved the open 
skies, not because she cared for his company, for 
she hardly spoke to him. Her strange behaviour 
completely puzzled him, but his deepening anx- 
iety for the ultimate success of his "experimwit" de- 
terred him from pressing her too far with ques- 

One evening during the first week in June, when 
the moon was showing a half crescent in the sky, 
and a light wind rufBled the hundreds of roses on 
bush and stem that made the gardens fragrant, he 
went to her rooms to propose a sail on the lake by 
moonlight. He heard her playing the piano, — ^the 
music she drew from the keys was wild and beauti- 
ful and new, — ^but as he entered, she stopped abrupt- 
ly and rose at once, her eyes glancing him over 


carelessly as thou^ he were more of an insect than 
a man. He paused, hesitating. 

'Tfou want me?" she asked. 

"For your own pleasure^ — ^at least, I hope so!" 
he replied, almost humbly. "It's such a beautiful 
evening — ^would you come for a sail on the lake? 
The wind is just ri^t for it and the boat is ready." 

She made no reply, but at once threw a white 
serge cloak across her shoulders, pulling its silk-lined 
hoed over her head, and accompanied him along 
a private passage which led from the upper floor of 
tihe house to the garden. 

'^ou like the idea?" he said, looking at her some- 
what appealingly. She lifted her eyes — ^bright and 
cold as stars on a frosty night. 

''What idea?" 

"This little moonlight trip on the lake?" 

"Certainly," she answered. "It has been very 
warm all day — ^it will be cool on the water." 

Dimitrius bethou^t himself of one of the teach- 
ings of the Rosicrucians: "Whoso is indifferent ob- 
tains all good. The more indifferent you are, the 
purer you are, for to the indifferent, all things are 

Some unusual influence there waa radiating from 
her presence like a fine air filled with suggestions 
of snow. It was cold, yet bracing, and he drew a 
long breatli as of a man who had scaled some peril- 
ous mountain height and now found himself in a 
new atmosphere. She walked beside him with a 
light swiftness that was almost aerial — ^his own 
movements seemed to him by comparison abnor- 
mally heavy and dumi^. Seeking about in his mind 
for some ordinary subject on which to hang a con- 
versation, he could find nothing. His wits had 
become as climisy as his feet. Pushing her hood 
a Utile aside, she looked at him. 

"You had a garden-party to-day?" she queried. 


^TeSy — ^if a few people to tea in the gar ieos is a 
garden-party," he answered. 

"That's what it is usually called;'' aM Diapa^ 
carelessly. "They are generally ven^'^ a ail affairs. 
I thought so, when I watched your gxuii- Uf from my 
window — they did not seem amused." 

"You cannot amuse people if they have no sense 
of amusement," he rejoined. "Nor can you interest 
them if they have no brains. They walked among 
miracles of beauty — I mean the roses and other 
flowers — ^without looking at them; the sunset over 
the Alpine range was gorgeous, but they never saw 
it — their objective was food — that is to say, tea^ 
coffee, cakes and ices — ^anjrthing to put down the 
ever open maw of appetite. What would you? 
They are as they are made I" 

She offered no comment. 

"And you," he continued in a voice that grew 
suddenly eager and impassioned — "You are as you 
are made! — as / have made you!" 

She let her hood fall back and turned her face 
fully upon him. Its fairness, with the moonlight 
illumining it, was of spiritual delicacy, and vet there 
was something austere in it as in the face of a sculp- 
tm^ed angel. 

"As / have made you!" he repeated, with tri- 
umphant emphasis. "The majority of men and 
women are governed chiefly by two passions. Appe- 
tite and Sex. You have neither Appetite nor Sex, — 
therefore you are on a higher plane " 

"Than yours?" she asked. 

The question stung him a little, but he answered 
at once: 


She smiled, — b, little cold smile like the flicks of 
a sim-ray on ice. They had arrived at the border 
of the lake, and a boat witii the picturesque lateen 
sail of Geneva awaited them with Vasho in charge. 


Diana stepped in and seated herself among a pile 
of cushions arranged for her comfort, — Dimitrius 
took the helm, and Vasho settled himself down to 
the management of the ropes. The graceful craft 
was soon skimming easily along the water with a 
fair light wind, and Diana in a half-reclining atti- 
tude, looking up at the splendid sky, found herself 
wishing that she could ssul on thus, away from all 
things present to all things future ! All things past 
seemed so long past! — she scarcely thought of them, 
—and "all Ihmgs future"?— What would they be? 

Dimitrius, seated close beside her at the stem, 
suddenly addressed her in a low, cautious tone. 

"You know that this is the first week in June?'' 


"Your time is drawing very near," he went on. 
"On the evening of the twentieth you will come to 
me in the laboratory. And you will be ready — ^for 

She heard him, apparently iminterested, her face 
still uptiuned to the stars. 

"For anything!" she repeated dreamily — ^"For an 
End, or a new Beginning! Yes» — ^I quite under- 
stand. I shall be ready." 

"Without hesitation or fear?" 

"Have I shown either?" 

He ventured to touch the small hand that lay 
passively outside the folds of her cloak. 

"No, — ^you have been brave, docile, patient, obe- 
dient," he answered. "All four things rare qualities 
in a woman! — or so men say! You would have 
made a cood wife, only your husband would have 
crushed you!" 

She smiled. 

"I quite agree. But what crowds of women have 
been so 'cruished' since the world began!" 

'They have been useful as the mothers of the 
race/' said Dimitrius. 


'The mothers of what race?** she asked. 

"The human race, of course!" 

'Tfes, biiW which section of it?" she persisted with 
a cold little laugh. "For instance, — ^e mothers of 
the Assyrian race seem to have rather wasted their 
energies! What has become of that race which they 
bore, bred and fostered? Where is the glory of liiose 

East peoples? What was the use of them? They 
ave left nothing but burnt bridks and doubtful rec- 

"True! — ^but Destiny has strange methods, and 
their existence may have been necessary." 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

"I fail to see it!" she said. "To me it all seems 
waste — ^wanton, wicked waste. Man lives in some 
wrong, mistaken way — ^the real joy of life must be 
to dwell on earth like a ray of li^t, warming and 
fructifying all things unconsciou^y — coming from 
the sun and returning again to the sun, never losing 
a moment of perfect splendour!" 

"But, to have no consciousness is death," said 
Dimitrius. "A ray of light is indifferent to joy. 
Consciousness with intelligence makes happi- 


She was silent. 

*Tou are well?" he asked, gently. 


"And happy?" 

"I suppose so." 

"You cannot do more than suppose? People will 
hardly understand you if you can only ^suppose* you 
are happy!" 

She flashed a look upon him of disdain which 
he felt rather than saw. 

"Do I expect people to understand me?" she de- 
manded. "Do I wish them to do so? I am as indif- 
ferent to ^people' and their opinions as you are!" 

"That is saying a great deal!" he rejoined. "But^ 


— I am a man — ^you are a woman. Women must 
study conventions " 

"I need not," die interrupted him. "Nor ^ould 
you speak of my sex, since you yourself say I am 

He was silent. She had given him a straight an* 
swer. Some words of a great scientist from whom 
he had gained much of his own knowledge came back 
to his memory: 

'To attain true and lasting life, all passions must 
be subjugated, — ^all animosities of nature destroyed. 
Attraction draws, not only its own to itself, but the 
aura or spirit of other things which it appropriates 
so far as it is able. And this appropriation or 
fusion of elements is either life-giving or destruc- 

He repeated the words "This appropriation or 
fusion of elements is either life-giving or destruc- 
tive" — ^to himself, finding a new force in their mean- 
ing and application. 

''Diana," he said, presently, "I am beginning to 
find you rather a difficult puzzle!" 

"I have found myself so for some time," she an- 
swered. ''But it does not matter. Nothing really 


"Nothing?" he queried. "Not even love? That 
used to be a great matter with you!" 

She laughed, coldly. 

"Love is a delusion," she said. "And no doubt I 
Hised' to think the delusion a reality. I know better 

He turned the helm about, and their boat began 
to run homeward, its lateen sail glistening in the 
moonlight like the uplifted wing of a seargulL 
Above them, the snowy Alpine range showed white 
as tiie tips of frozen waves — ^beneath, the wata: 
rippled blue-black, breaking now and again into 
streaks of silver where the moonbeams fell. 


'I'm afraid you have imbibed some of my oyni- 
cism/' he said, alowly. "It is, perliaps, a pity I For 
now, when you have oome to think love a 'delusion/ 
you will be greatly loved! It is always the way! 
If you have nothing to give to men, it is then they 
clamour for everything!" 

He looked at her as he spoke and saw her smile — 
a cruel little smile. 

"You are lovely now/' he went on, "and you will 
be lovelier. For all I can tell, you may attain an 
ahnost maddening beauty. And a sexless beauty is 
like that of a goddess, — 8la}dng its votaries as with 
li^tning. Supposing this to be so with you, you 
should leam to love! — if only out of pity for those 
whom your indifference mi^t destroy!" 

She raised herself on her elbow and looked at 
him curiously. The moonli^t showed his dark, in- 
scrutable face, and the glitter of the steely eyes 
under the black lashes, and there was a shadow of 
melancholy upon his features. 

"You forget!" she said — ^"You forget that I am 
old! I am not really young in the sense you expect 
me to be. I know myself. Deep in my brain t^e 
marks of lonely years and griefs are imprinted — 
of disappointed hopes, and cruelties inflicted on me 
for no other cause than too much love and constancy 
— those marks are ineffaceable! So it happens that 
beneath the covering of youth which your science 
gives me, and under the maik of this outward love- 
liness, I, the same Diana, live with a world's experi- 
ence, as one in prison, — ^knowing that whatever ad- 
miration or liking I mB,y awaken, it is for my out- 
ward seeming, not for my real self! And vou can 
talk of love ! Love is a divinity of the soul, not of 
the body!" 

"And how many human beings have 'soul,' do you 
think?" he queried, ironically. "Not one in ten mil- 


The boat ran in to shore and they landed, Diana 
looked back wistfully at the rippling nlver light 
on the water. 

''It was a beautiful eail!" she said, more naturally 
than she had expressed herself for many dajrs. 
"Thank you for taking me!" 

She smiled frankly up into his eyes as ^e spoke, 
and her spiritualised loveliness thrilled him with 
suddra surprise, 

'It is I who must thank you for coming/' he an* 
swwed, very gently. "I know how keenly you are 
now attuned to Nature — ^you have the light of the 
sun in your blood and force of the air in your veins^ 
and whether you admit it or not, you enjoy your 
life without consciousness of joy! Strange!— but 
true! — ^yet — Diana — ^believe me, I want you to be 
happy! — not only to 'suppose' yourself happy! 
Your whole being must radiate like the sunlight, of 
which it is now in part composed." 

She made no reply, but walked in her floating,, 
graceful way beside him to the house, where he took 
her to the door of her own apartments, and tiiere 
left her with a kindly "good-night." 

"I shall not see very much of you now till the 
evening of the twentieth," he said. "And then I 
hope you will not only pray for yourself, but — for 


The fated eve, — eve of the longest day in the 
year,^ame in a soft splendour of misty violet skies 
and dimly glittering stars — ^after lovely hours of 
light and warmth which had batiied all nature in 
radiant summer glory from earliest dawn till sun- 
set. Diana had risen with the sun itself in the 
brightest of humours without any forebodings of 
evil or danger resulting from the trial to whi(£ she 
was ready to be subjected, and when Madame Dimi- 
trius came up to spend the afternoon with her as 
usual, she was gayer and more conversational than 
she had been for many a day. It was Madame who 
seemed depressed and anxious, and Diana, looking 
quite charming in her simple gown of white batiste 
with a bunch of heliotrope at her bosom, rather 
rallied her on her low spirits. 

"Ah, my dear!" sighed the old lady— "If I could 
only understand Feodor! — ^but I cannot! He does 
not seem to be my son — ^he grows harsh and imps-' 
tient, — this wicked science of his has robbed him of 
nature ! He is altogether unlike what he used to be 
when he first began these studies — and to-day tl\e 
reason I am sad is that he tells me I am not to come 
to you any more till the afternoon of the twenty- 
fifth ! — five days! — it seems so strange ! It frightens 
me " 

"Dear, why be frightened?" and Diana smiled en- 
couragingly. "You know now what he is trjring to 
do — and you can see for yourself that he has par- 
tially succeeded ! I'm quite pleased to hear that you 
are coming to see me again in five days! — that shows 
he thinks I shall be aBve to receive you!" 



Madame Dimitrius looked at her in a scared way. 

"Alive?- But of course! Surely, oh, surely, you 
have never thought it possible " 

"That Science may kill me?" Diana finished, care- 
lessly. "Very naturally I have thought it possible! 
Science sometimes kills more than it saves, — owing 
to our fumbling ignorance. And I wonder — ^suppos- 
ing Dr. Feodor makes sure of his discovery — ^sup- 
posing he can give youth and beauty to those who 
are willing to go throu^ his experiment — ^I wonder 
whether it is worth while to possess these attrac- 
tions without any emotional satisfaction?" 

"Then you are not satisfied?" asked Madame a 
little sorrowfully. "You are not happy?" 

Diana moved to the open window, and with an 
expressive gesture, point^ to the fair landscape of 
lake and mountain. 

"With this I am happy!" she answered. 'With 
this I am satisfied! I feel that all this is part of 
Me! — ^it is one with me and I with it — my own 
blood cannot be closer to me than this air and light. 
But the pleasure a woman is supposed to take in 
her looks if she is beautiful, — the delight in pretty 
things for one's self, — this does not touch me. I 
have lost all such sensations. When I was a girl 
I rather liked to look at myself in the glass, — to try 
contrasts of colour or wear a dainty jewelled trinket, 
— ^but now when I see in the mirror a lovely face 
that does not belong to me, I am not even inter- 

"But, my dear Diana, the lovely face does belong 
to you!" exclaimed Madame Dimitrius. "You are 
yourself, and no other!" 

Diana loked at her rather wistfully. 

"I am not so sure of that!" she said, '^ow please 
don't think I am losing my senses, for I'm not! I'm 
perfectly sane, and my thoughts are particularly 
clear. But Science is a terrible thing! — it is a real- 


isation more or lees of tlie Egyptian Sphinx — a. sort 
of monster with the face of a spirit and the body 
of an animal. Science, dear Madame — ^please don't 
look so frightened — ^has lately taught m^i more 
about killing each other than curing! It also tells 
us that nothing is, or can be lost; all sights and 
sounds are garnered up in the treasure-houses of 
air and space. The forms and faces of human crea- 
tures long dead are about us, — the aura of their per- 
sonalities remains though their bodies have perished. 
Now / feel just as if I had unconsciously absorbed 
somebody else's outward personality — ^and h&re I 
am, making use of it as a sort of cover to my own. 
My own interior self admires my outward appear- 
ance without any closer connection than that felt 
by anyone looking at a picture. I live within the 
picture — ^and no one seeing the picture could think 
it was I!" 

Poor Madame Dimitrius listened to Diana's 
strange analysis of herself with feelings of mingled 
bewilderment and terror. In her own mind she 
began to be convinced that her son's ^'experiment" 
would destroy his "subject's" mentality. 

"It seems all very dreadful!" she murmured, trem- 
blingly. "And I think, dear Diana, you should say 
something of this to Feodor. For I am afraid he is 
making you suffer, and that you are unhappy." 

"No,— that is not so," and Diana smiled reassur- 
ingly. "I do not suffer — ^I have forgotten what suf- 
fering is like! And I am not unhappy, because 
what is called happiness' has no special meaning 
for me. I exist — that is all! I am conscious of the 
principal things of existence — air, light, movement 
— these keep me living without any real effort or 
desire on my own part to live!" 

She spoke in a dreamy way, with a far-off look in 
her eyes, — then, perceiving that Madame DimiUius 
looked nervously distressed, she brought hersdf 


back from her dreamlaiid as it were with an effort, 
and went on: 

*^Yo\i must not worry about me in the least, dear 
Madame! After all, it may be an excellent thing 
for me that I appear to have done with emotions! 
One has only to think how people constantly dis- 
tress themselves for nothing! People who imagine 
themselves in love, for instance! — ^how they torment 
themselves night and day! — ^if they fail to get let- 
ters from each other! — ^if they quarrel! — if they 
think themselves neglected ! — ^why, it is a perpetual 
turbulence! Then the parents who spend all their 
time looking after their children! — and the children 
grow up and go their own way, — they grow from 
pretty little angels into great awkward men and 
women, and it is as if one had played with charm- 
ing dolls, and then saw them suddenly changed into 
clothes-props! Well, I am free from all these tire- 
some trivialities — I have what I think the gods must 
have, — ^Indifference ! " 

Madame Dimitrius sighed. 

"Ah, Diana, it is a pity you were never made 
a happy wife and mother!" die said, softly. 

"I tiiought so too, — once!" and Diana laughed 
carelessly — "But I'm sure I'm much better off as I 
am ! Now, dear, we'll part for the present. I want 
to rest a little — and to say my prayers — ^before Dn 
Ffodor sends for me." 

Madame at once rose to leave the room. But^ 
before doing so, she took Diana in her arms and 
kissed her tenderly. 

''God bless and guard thee, dear child!" she mur- 
mured. "Thou art brave and loyal, and I have 
grown to love thee! If Feodor should bring thee 
to harm, he is no son of mine!" 

For a moment the solitary-hearted, unloved wom- 
an felt a thrill of pleasure in this simple expression 
of affection, — the real sensation of youth filled her 


veinS; as if she were a confiding girl with her moth- 
er's arms about her, and something like tears ^rang 
to her eyes. But she suppressed the emotion quick- 
ly. Smiling and apparently unmoved, she let the 
gentle old lady go from her, and watched h^ to 
the last as she moved with the careful step of age 
along the entresol and out through the entrance to 
the head of the staircase, where she disappeared. 
Once alone, Diana stood for a few moments lost 
in thought. She knew instinctively that her life 
was at stake, — Dimitrius had reach^ the final test 
of his mjrsterious dealings with ihe innermost secrets 
of Nature, and he had passed the "problem of the 
Fourth, Sixth and Seventh," which according to his 
theories, meant certain refractions and comminglings 
of light. Now he had arrived at "the ultimate 
culmination of ihe Eighth," or, as he described it 
"the close or the rebound of the Octave," — ^and in 
this "rebound" or "culmination" his subject, Diana, 
was to take part as a mote within a sun-ray. She 
did not disguise from herself the danger in which she 
stood, — but she had thought out every argument 
for and against the ordeal which she had volun- 
tarily accepted. She measured the value of her life 
from each standpoint and found it nil, except in so 
far as her love for natural beauty was concerned. 
She would be sorry, she said inwardly, to leave the 
trees, the flowers, the birds, the beautiful things of 
sky and sea, but she would not be sorry at all to 
see the last of human beings! With all her indif- 
ference, which even to her own consciousness, en- 
shrined her as within barriers of ice, her memory was 
keen,— she looked back to the few months of dis- 
tance and time which separated her from the old 
life of t^e dutiful daughter to inconsiderate and self- 
idi parents — ^and beyond that, she went still fur- 
ther and saw herself as a young girl full of hope and 
joy, given up heart and soul to the illusion of love, 


from which she was torn by the rough hand of the 
very man to whom she had consecrated her every 
thought. In all this there was nothing enviable or 
regrettable that she should now be sorry or afraid 
to die — ^and in her life to come — if she lived — ^what 
i^ould there be? Her eyes turned almost without 
her own consent towards the mirror — and there she 
read the answer. She would possess the power to 
rule and sway the hearts of all men, — if she cared! 
But now it had so happened that she did not care. 
Smouldering in her soul like the last spent a^es of 
a once fierce fire, there was just one passion left — 
the strong desire of vengeance on all the forces that 
had spoilt and embittered her natural woman's life. 
She was no longer jptpable of loving, but she knew 
she could hate ! A woman seldom loves deeply and 
truly more than once in her life — she stakes her all 
on the one chance and hope of happiness, and tiie 
man who takes advantage of tliat love and ruth- 
lessly betrays it may well beware. His every mo- 
ment of existence is fraught with danger, for there 
is no destructive power more active and intense than 
love transformed to hate through falsehood and in- 
justice. And Diana admitted to herself, albeit re- 
luctantly, that she could hate deeply and purpose- 
fully. She hated herself for the fact that it was so, 
— ^but rfie was too honest not to acknowledge it. 
Her spirit had been wounded and maltreated by all 
on whom she had set her affections, — and as her way 
of, life had been innocent and harmless, she resented 
the unfairness of her fate. Wrong or right, she 
longed to retaliate in some way on the petty slights, 
the meannesses, the hypocrisies and neglect of those 
who had assisted in spoiling her youth and misjudg- 
ing her character, and though she was willing to 
'%ve her enemies" in a broad and general sense, she 
was not ready to condone the easy callousness and 
cruelty of the persons and circimistances which had 


robbed her of the natural satisfaction and peace of 
happy womanhood. 

For a long time she sat at the open window, lost 
in a reverie — till she saw the sun beginning to sink 
in a splendid panoply of crimson and gold, with 
streaming clouds of fleecy white and pale amber 
q)reading from east to west, from north to south, 
like the unfurling flags of some great fairy's vio- 
torious army, and then a sudden thrill ran througji 
her blood which made her heart beat and her face 
grow pale — ^it was close upon the destined hour when 
— ^ah! — ^she would not stop to think of the "whea" 
or the "where" — ^instinctively she knelt down, and 
with folded hands said her prayers simply as a child, 
though with more than a diild's fervour. She had 
scarcely breathed the last "Amen," when a light tap 
came on her door, and on hw calling "Come in" — 
Vasho entered, carrying a small parcel with a note 
from Dimitrius. Handing it to her, he signified by 
his usual expressive signs that he would wait outside 
for the answer. As soon as he had retiredi she 
opened the note and read as follows: 

'TTou will please disrobe yourself completely, and 
wear only this garment which I send. No otho* 
material must touch any part of your body. Let 
your hair be undone and quite free — ^no hairpins 
must remain in it, and no metal of any sort must 
be upon your person, — ^no ring, bracelet, or an3rthing 
whatsoever. When you are ready, Vasho will bring 
you to me in the laboratory." 

Having mastered these instructions she undid the 
packet which accompanied them, — ^and unfolded a 
plain, long, white robe of the most exquisitely beau- 
tiful texture woven apparently of many double 
strands of silk. It was perfectly opaque — not the 
subtest glimmer of tlie li^t itself could be seen 
through it, yet it shone with a curious l\m:iinanoe 


as though it had been dipped in frosted silver. For 
a DGioment she hesitated. A tremor of natural dread 
shook her nerves, — then, with a determined effort, 
mastering herself, she hurried into her bedroom, and 
there undressing, laid all her clothes neatly folded 
up on the bed. The action reminded her of the way 
she had folded up her clothes with similar neatness 
and left them on the rocks above the sea on the 
morning she had decided to effect a lasting disap- 
pearance by "drowning." 

"And now" — ^she thought — ^*^ow comes a far 
greater plunge into the unknown than ever I could 
have imagined possible!" 

In a few minutes she was "attired for the sacri- 
fice," as she said, addressing these words to herself 
in the mirror, and a very fair victim she looked. 
The strange, white sheeny garment in which she was 
clothed from neck to feet gave her the appearance of 
an angel in a picture, — and the youthful outline of 
her face, the delicacy of her skin, the deep brilliancy 
of her eyes, all set off against a background of ^ori- 
ous amber-brown hair, which rippled in plentiful 
waves over her shoulders and far below her waist^ 
made her look more of a vision than a reality. 

"Good-bye, you poor, lonely Diana!" she said, 
softly. "If you never come back I am glad I saw 
you just like this — for once!" 

She kissed her hand to her own reflection, then 
turned and went swiftly through the rooms, not 
looking back. Vasho, waiting for her in the outer 
hall, could not altogether disguise his wonderment 
at sight of her, — ^but he saluted in his usual passive- 
ly humble Eastern manner, and led the way, sign- 
ing to her to follow. The house was very quiet, — 
they met no one, and very soon arrived at the pon- 
derous door of tlie laboratory, which swung noise^ 
lessly upwards to give them entrance. Within, there 
seemed to be a Rowing furnace of fire; the great 


Wheel emitted such ceaseless and brilliant showos 
of flame in its rotations that the whole place was 
fiUed with light that almost blinded the eyes, and 
Diana could scarcely see Dimitrius, when, like a 
black speck detaching itself from the surrounding 
sea of crimson vapour, he advanced to meet her. He 
was exceedingly pale, and his eyes were feverishly 

"So you have come!" he said. *T[ am such a 
sceptic that at this last moment I doubted whether 
you would!" 

She looked at him steadfastly, but answered noth- 

"You are brave — ^you are magnificent!" he went 
on, his voice sinking to a lower tone — ^"But, Dianar— 
I want you to say one thing before I enter on this 
final task — and that is — ^'I forgive you!'" 

"I will say it if you like," die answered. ''But 
why should I? I have nothing to forgive!" 

"Ah, you will not see, — ^you cannot under- 
stand " 

"I see and understand perfectly!" she said, quick- 
ly. "But, if I live, my life remains my own — ^if I 
die, it will be your affair — ^but there can be no cause 
for grudge either way!" 

"Diana," he repeated, earnestly — ^*'Say just this— 
Teodor, I forgive you!' " 

She smiled — a strange little smile of pity and 
pride commingled, and stretched out both hands to 
him. To her surprise he knelt before her and kissed 

"Feodor, I forgive you!" she said, very sweetly, in 
the penetrating accents^ which were so exclusively 
her own. — 'TNow, Magician, get to your work quick- 
ly! ApoUonius of Tyana and Paracelsus were only 
children playing on the shores of science compared 
to you! ^en you are ready, / am!" 

He sprang up from his kneeling attitude, and for 


a moment looked about him as one half afraid and 
imcertain. His amazing piece of mechanism, the 
great Wheel, was revolving slowly and ever more 
slowly, for outside in the heavens the sun had sunk, 
and the massed light within the laboratory's crystal 
dome was becoming less and less dazzling. Aston- 
ishing reflections of prismatic colour were gathered 
in the dark water below the Wheel, as though mil- 
lions of broken rainbows had been mixed with its 
mysterious blackness. Quietly Diana waited, her 
white-robed figure contrasting singularly with all the 
fire-glow which enveloped her in its burning lustre, 
— ^and her heart beat scarcely one pulse the quicker 
when Dimitrius approached her, holding with ex- 
treme care a small but massive crystal cup. It was 
he who trembled, not she, as she looked at him 
inquiringly. He spoke, striving to steady his voice 
to its usual even tone of composure. 

"This cup," he said — "if it contains anything, con- 
tains the true elixir for which all scientists have 
searched through countless ages. They failed, be- 
cause they never prepared the cells of the human 
body to receive it. I have done all this preparatory 
work with you, and I have done it more success- 
fully than I ever hoped. Every tiniest cell or group 
of cells that goes to form your composition as a 
human entity is now ready to absorb this distilla- 
tion of the particles which generate and shape ex- 
istence. This is the Sacramental Cup of Life! It 
is what early mystics dreamed of as the Holy Grail. 
Do not think tiiat I blaspheme! — no! — ^I seek to 
show the world what Science can give it of true and 
positive conununion with the mind of God ! The 
elements that commingle to make this Universe 
and all that is therein, are the real ^read and 
wine' of God's love! — ^and whoever can and will 
absorb sudx food may well 'preserve body and soul 
unto everlasting Ufe.' Such is the great union, pf 


Spirit with Matter — such is the truth after whidi 
the Churches have been blindly groping in their 
(Symbolic 'holy communion' feebly materialised in 
'bread and wine' as God's *body and blood/ But the 
actual Tbody and blood' of the Divine are the ever- 
changing but never destructible elements of all posi- 
tive Life and Consciousness. And you are prepared 
to receive them." 

A thrill of strange awe ran through Diana as she 
heard. His reasoning was profound, yet lucid, — it 
was true enough, she thought; that God, — that is 
to say, the everlasting spirit of creative power, — is 
everywhere and in everything, — ^yet to the average 
mind it never occurs to inquire deeply as to the 
subtle elements wherewith Divine Intelligence 
causes this "everywhere" and "everything" to be 
made. She remained silent, her eyes fixed on the 
crystal cup, knowing that for her it held destiny. 

"You are prepared," resumed Dimitrius. "I have 
left nothing undone. And yet — ^you are but wom- 
an " 

"Not weaker than man!" she interrupted him, 
quickly. "Though men have sought to make her 
so in order to crush her more easily! Give me the 

He looked at her in undisguised admiration. 

*Wait!" he said. "You shall not lose yourself in 
the infinite profound, without knowing something 
of the means whereby you are moved. This cup, as 
you see, is of purest crystal, hewn rough from rocks 
that may have been fused in the fires of the world's 
foundation. Within it are all the known discover- 
able particles of life's essence, and when I say *dis- 
coverable,' I wish you to understand that many of 
these particles were not discovered or discoverable 
at all till I set my soul to the wcrk of a spy on the 
secrets of Nature. I have already told you that 
this test may be life or death to you — ^if it should 


be death, then I have failed utterly! For, by all 
the closest and most minute mathematical measure- 
ments, it should be life!" 

Smiling, she stretched out her hand: 

"Give me the cup!" she repeated. 

"If it should be death," he went on, speaking 
more to himself than to her — ^"I think it will be more 
your fault than mine. Not voluntarily your fault, 
except that perhaps you may have concealed from 
me details of your personality and experience which 
I ought to have known. And yet I believe you to 
be entirely honest. Success, as I have told you, 
depends on the perfect health and purity of the 
cells — so that if you were an unprincipled woman, 
or if you had led a tainted life — or you were a glut- 
ton, or one who drank and took drugs for imaginary 
ailments — the contents of this cup would kill you 
instantly, because the cells having been weakened 
and lacerated could not stand the inrush of new 
force. But had you been thus self-injured, you 
would have shown signs of it during these months 
of preparation, and so far I have seen nothing that 
should hinder complete victory." 

"Then why delay any longer?" — ^and Diana gave 
a gesture of visible impatience— "It is more tiying 
to me to wait here in suspense on your words than 
to die outright!" 

He looked at her half pleadingly — ^then turned his 
eyes towards the great Wheel, which was now, after 
sunset, going round with an almost sleepy slowness. 
One moment more of hesitation, and then with a 
firm hand he held out the cup. 

"Take it!" he said— "And may God be with you!" 

Witii a smile she accepted it, and putting her 
lips to the crystal rim, drained its contents to the 
last drop. For half or quarter of a second she stood 
upright, — then, as though struck by a flash of light- 
ning, she fell senseless. 


Quickly Dimilaius q>rang to her side, picked up 
the empty cup as it rolled from her hand, and 


Instantly the tall Ethiopian appeared, and obey- 
ing his master's instructions^ assisted him to lift the 
prone figure and lay it on a bench near at hand. 
Then they both set to work to move a number of 
ropes and pulleys which, noiselessly manipulated, 
proved to be an ing^ous device for lowering a 
sort of stretcher or couch, canopied in t^it-like 
fashion and made entirely of the same sort of dou- 
ble stranded silk material in which Diana had 
clothed hoiself for her "sacrifice.'* This stretdier 
was lowered from the very centre of the dome of 
the laboratory, — and upon it the two men, Dimitrius 
and his servant, carefully and almost religiously 
placed the passive form, which now had an i^pear- 
ance of extreme rigidity, like that of a corpse. Di- 
mitrius looked anxiously at the closed eyes^ the 
waxen pallor of the features, and the evident ten- 
sion of the muscles of the neck and throaty — ^then, 
with a kind of reckless swiftness and determination, 
he began to bind ihe apparently lifeless body round 
and round with broad strips of the same luminous 
sheeny stuff which composed the seeming funeral 
couch of his "subject" in the fashion of an Egyptian 
'mimmiy. Vasho, acting imder orders, assisted him 
as before — ^and very soon Diana's form was closely 
swathed from head to foot, only the eyes, mouth 
and ears being left uncov^td. The laboratory was 
now illmnined only by its own mysterious fires — 
outside was a dark summer sky, powdered with faint 
stars, and every lingering reflex of the sunset had 
completely vanished. With the utmost care and 
minutest attention Dimitrius now looked to every 
detail of ihe strange, canopied bier on which the 
insensible subject of his experiment was laid, — ^then, 


giving a sign to Vasho, the ropes and pulleys by 
which it was suspended were once more set in mo- 
tion, and slowly, aerially and without a sound it 
swung away and across tiie dark pool of water to a 
position just under the great Wheel. The Wheel, 
revolving slowly and casting out lambent rays of 
fire, illumined it as a white tent might be illumined 
on the night blackness of a bare field, — it rested 
just about four feet above the level of the water 
and four feet below the turning rim of the WheeL 
When safely and accurately lodged in this position, 
Dimitrius and his servant fastened the ropes and 
pulleys to a projection in the wall, attaching them 
to a padlock of which Dimitrius himself took the 
key. Then, pausing, they looked at each other. 
Vasho's glittering eyes, rolling like dark moon- 
stones under his jetty brows, asked mutely a thou- 
sand questions; he was stricken with awe and ter- 
ror and gazed at his master as beseechingly as one 
might fancy an erring mortal might look at an in- 
carnate devil sent to punish him, but in the set 
white face of Dimitrius there was no sign of response 
or reassurance. Two or three minutes passed, and, 
going to the edge of the pool, Dimitrius looked 
steadily across it at the white pavilion with its 
hidden bmrden swung between fire and water, — 
then slowly, but resolutely, turned away. As he 
did so, Vai^o suddenly fell on his knees, and catch- 
ing at his master's hand, implored him by eloquent 
signs of fear, pity and disb'ess, not to abandon the 
hapless woman, tiius bound and senseless, to a fate 
more strange and p^haps more terrible than any 
human being had yet devised to torture his fellow 
human being. Dimitrius shook o£f his touch impa> 
tiently, and bade him rise from his knees. 

"Do not pray to me!" he said, harshly — ^*'Pray 
to your God, if you have one! / have a God whose 
Intdligence ia so measureless and so true that I 


know He will not punish me for spending the brain 
with which He has endowed me, in an effort to find 
out one of His mynsd secrets. There was a time 
in this world when men knew nothing of the solar 
system, — ^now God has permitted them to know it 
In the same way we know nothing of the secret of 
life, but shall we dare to say that God will never 
permit us to know? That would be blasphemy in- 
deed! We 'suffer fools gladly,' — ^we allow tricksters 
such as 'mediums,' fortune-tellers and the like to 
flourish on their frauds, but we give little help to 
ihe man of spiritual or psychological science, whose 
learning might help us to conquer disease and death i 
No, Vasho! — your fears have no persuasion for me! 
— I am tliankful you are dumb! Thare is no more 
to do — ^we may go!" 

Vasho's moonstone eyes still turned lingeringly 
and compassionately on tiie white pavilion under 
the Wheel of fire. He made expressive signs with 
his fingers, to which his master answered, almost 

"She will die, you think! If so, my toil is wasted 
— ^my supreme experiment is a failure! She must 
live. And I have sufficient faith in the cxcuracies 
of God and Nature as to be almost sure she wHl! 

He took the reluctant Vasho by the arm and led 
him to the mysterious door, whidi swung up in its 
usual mysterious way at his touch. They passed 
out, and as the portal swung down again behind 
them, Dimitrius released a heavy copper bar from 
one side and clamped it across the whole door, fast- 
ening it- with lock and key. 

"I do this in case you ^ould be tenipted to look 
in," he said, with a stem smile to his astonished 
attendant. "You have been faithful and obedient 
so far — ^but you know the secret of opening this 
door when no bar is placed across it, — ^but with it! 


I, my Vasho! — the devil himself may fumble in 

Vasho essayed a feeble grin, — ^but his black skin 
looked a shade less black, as he heard his master's 
words and saw his resolute action. Gone was the 
faint hope the poor blackamoor had entertained of 
being of some use or rescue to the victim prisoned 
in the laboratory, — she was evidently doomed to 
abide her fate. And Dimitrius walked with an im- 
faltering step through the long corridor from the 
laboratory into the haU of his house, and then sent 
Vasho about his usual household business, while he 
himself went into the garden and looked at the 
still beauty of the evening. Everywhere there was 
fragrance and peace— innumerable stars clustered in 
the sky, and the faint outline of the snowy Alps was 
dinoly perceptible. From the lawn, he could see the 
subdu^ glitter of the glass dome of the laboratory ; 
at that moment it had the effect of a crystal sphere 
with the palest of radiance filtering through. 

"And to-morrow is the longest day ! " he said with 
a kind of rapt exultation. "Pray Heaven the sun 
may shine with all its strongest force and utmost 
q;>lendour from its rising to its setting! So shall 
we imprison the eternal fire I'' 


The next morning dawned cloudkesly, and a 
burning sun blazed intense sununer heat throu^ 
all the hours of the longest and loveliest day. Sudi 
persistent warmth brought its own languor and opn 
pression, and though all the doors and windows of 
the Chateau Fragonard were left open, Madame 
Dimitrius found herself quite overwhelmed by the 
almost airless stillness, notwithstanding a certain 
under-wave of freshness which always flowed from 
the mountains like a breathing of the snow. 

"How is Diana?'' she asked of her son, as^ dad 
in a suit of cool white linen, he sauntered in from 
the garden to luncheon. 

"I believe she is very well," he answered, com- 
posedly. "She has not complained." 

"I hope she has nothing to complain of," said 
the old lady, nervously. "You promised me, Feodor, 
that you would not let her suffer." 

"I promised you that if she was unhappy or in 
pain, I would do my best to spare her as much as 
possible," he replied. "But, up to the present, she 
is neither unhappy nor in pain." 

"You are sure?" 


Vasho, who waa In attendance, stared at him in 
something of questioning terror, and his mother 
watched him with a mute fondness of appeal in her 
ejres which, however, he did not or would not see. 
She could not but feel a certain pride in him as she 
looked at his fine, intellectual face, rendered just 
now finer and more attractive by the tension of 



his inward thought. Presently he met her searching^ 
loving gaze with a smile. 

"Do you not think, Mother mine," he said, "that 
I merit some of the compassion you extend so lav- 
ishly to Miss May, who is, after all, a stranger in 
our house? Can you not imagine it possible that I, 
too, may suffer? Permit yourself to remember that 
it is now twenty-five years since I started on this 
quest, and that during that time I have not rested 
day or night without having my brain at work, puz- 
zling out my problem. Now that I have done all 
which seems to me humanly possible, have you no 
thought of me and my utter despair if I fail?" 

"But you will not fail " 

"In every science, for one success there are a mil- 
lion failures," he replied. "And dare I complain 
if I am one of the million? I have been fortunate 
in finding a subject who is obedient, tractable, and 
eminently courageous, — sometimes, indeed, I have 
wondered whether her courage will not prove too 
much for me! She is a woman of character— of 
strong, yet firmly suppressed emotions; and she has 
entered a characterless household " 

"Characterless?" repeated Madame Dimitrius, in 
surprised tones — ^"Can you say that?" 

"Of course! What play of character can be ex- 
pected from people who are as self-centred as you 
and I? You have no thought in life beyond me, 
your erratic and unworthy son, — ^I have no thought 
beyond my scientific work and its results. Neither 
you nor I take interest in human affairs or human 
being^s generally; any writer of books venturing to 
describe us, would find nothing to relate, because 
we form no associations. We let people come and 
go, — ^but we do not really care for them, and if they 
stayed away altogether we should not mind." 

"Well, as far as that goes, Diana tells me she is 
equally indifferent," said Madame. 


"Yes, — ^but her indiflference is hardly of her own 
making," he replied. "She is not aware of its 
source or meaning. Her actual character and tem- 
perament are deep as a deep lake over which a sud- 
den and unusual frost has spread a temporary coat- 
ing of ice. She has emotions and passions — ^rigidly 
and closely controlled. She cares for things, with- 
out knowing she cares. And at any moment she 
may learn her own power " 

"A power which you have given her," interposed 
his mother. 

"True, — and it may be a case of putting a sword 
into the hand that is eager to kill," he answered. 
"However, her strength will be of the psychological 
type, which gross material men laugh at. / do not 
laugh, knowing the terrific force hidden within each 
one of us, behind the veil of flesh and blood. Heav- 
ens! — ^what a world it would be if we all lived accord- 
ing to the spirit rather than the body! — ^if we all 
ceased to be coarse feeders and animal s^isualists, 
and chose only the purest necessaries for existence in 
health and sanity! — ^it would be Paradise regained!" 

"If your experiment succeeds as you hope," said 
Madame Dimitrius, "what will happen then? You 
will let Diana go?" 

"She will go whether I %t' her or not," he re- 
plied. "She will have done all I require of hw." 

His mother was silent, and he, as though weary 
of the conversation, presently rose and left Qie room* 
Stepping out on the lawn in the full blaze of noon- 
day, he looked towards the dome of tiie laboratory, 
but could scarcely fix his eyes upon its extreme bril- 
liancy, which was blinding at every point. He felt 
very keenly that it was indeed the longest day of the 
year; never had hours moved so slowly, — and de- 
spite the summer glory of the day, — so drearily. 
His thoughts dwelt persistently on the bound and 
imprisoned form swung in solitude under the great 


Wheel, which he knew must now be revolvmg at 
almost lightning speed, churning the water beneath 
it into prismatic spray, — ^and every now and then 
a strong temptation beset him to go and unlock 
the door of the prison house, and see whether his 
victim had wakened to the consciousness of her con- 
dition. But he restrained this impulse. 

With evening the slender curve of the new moon 
glided into the sky, looking like the paJe vision of 
a silver sickle, and a delicious calm pervaded the 
air. His thoughts gradually took on a more human 
tendency, — ^he allowed himself to pity his "subject." 
After aU, what an arid sort of fate had been hers I 
The only child of one of those painfully respectable 
British couples who never move out of the conven- 
tional rut, and for whom the smallest expression of 
honest opinion is "bad form," — and herself endowed 
(by some freak of Nature) with exceptional qual- 
ities of brain, what a neutral and sad-coloured exist- 
ence hers had been when love and the hope of mar- 
riage had deserted her I No wonder she had re- 
solved to break away and seek some outlet for her 
cramped and imprisoned mentality. 

"Though marriage is drab-coloured enough!" he 
mused — ^'^Unless husband and wife are prudent, and 
agree to live apart from each other for so many 
months in the year. And now — ^if my experiment 
succeeds she will make a fool or a lunatic of every 
man her eyes rest upon — except myself!" 

The days wore away slowly. As each one passed, 
Madame Dimitrius grew more and more uneasy, and 
more and more her eyes questioned the unrespon- 
sive face of her son. Vasho, too, could not forbear 
gazing with a kind of appealing terror at his mas- 
ter's composed features and easy demeanour; it was 
more than devilish, he thought, that a man could 
comport himself thus indifferently when he had a 
poor human victim shut up within a laboratory 


where the two devouring elements of fire and water 
held the chief sway. However, there was notliing 
to be done. A figure of stone or iron was not more 
immovable than Dimitrius when once bent to the 
resolved execution of a task, no matter how difficult 
such task might be. Looking at the cold, indomit- 
able expression of the man, one felt that he would 
care nothing for the loss of a thousand lives, if by 
such sacrifice he could attain the end in view. But 
though his outward equanimity remained undis- 
turbed, he was inwardly disquieted and restless. He 
saw two alternatives to his possible success. His 
victim might die, — ^in which case her body would 
crumble to ashes in the process to which it was being 
subjected,— or she mi^t lose her senses. Death 
would be kinder than the latter fate, but he was 
powerless to determine either. And even at the 
back of his mind there lurked a dim suggestion of 
some other result which he could not formulate or 
reckon with. 

The longest waiting must have an end, but never 
to his thought did a longer period of time stretch 
itself out between the evening of the twentieth of 
June and that of the twenty-fourth. Midsummer 
Day. The weather remained perfect; intensely 
warm, bright and still. Not a cloud crossed the 
burning blue of the daylight, and at evening, the 
young moon, slightly broadening from a slender 
sickle to the curve of a coracle boat floating whitely 
in the deep ether, shed fairy silver over the lake and 
the Alpine snows above it. During these dajrs, many 
people of note and scientific distinction called at 
the Chateau Fragonard, — ^Feodor Dimitrius was a ^ 
personage to be reckoned with in many departments 
of knowledge, and his exquisite gardens afforded 
coolness and shade to those wanderers from various 
lands who were touring Switzerland in search of 
health and change of scene. Near nei^bours and 


acquaintances also came and went, but such is the 
generally vague attitude of mind assumed by ordi- 
nary folk to other than themselves, that scarcely any 
among the few who had met Diana and accepted' 
her as a chance visitor to Madame Dimitrius, now 
remembered her, except the Baron and Baroness de 
Rousillon, who still kept up a slight show of interest 
as to her whereabouts, though their questions were 
lightly evaded and never fully answered. Professor 
Chauvet, irritated and unhappy at receiving no news 
whatever of the woman for whom he had conceived 
a singular but sincere affection, had taken it into 
his head to go suddenly to Paris, to see after his 
house and garden there, which had long been unoc- 
cupied; a fancy possessed him that if, or when, 
Diana did write to him, he would answer her from 
Paris, so that they might meet there or in London^ 
without the surveillance or comment of Dimitrius, 
Meanwhile, Dimitrius himself, a figure of impene- 
Irable reserve and cold courtesy, let his visitors come 
and go as they listed, apparently living the life 6i 
a scientist absorbed in studies too profound to allow 
himself to be troubled or distracted by the opinions 
of the outer world. 

Midsummer Day, the Feast of St. John, and a 
day of poetic and superstitious observance, came at 
last and drifted along in a stream of gold and azure 
radiance, the sun sinking round as a rose in a sky 
without a cloud. To the last moment of its setting 
Dimitrius waited, watch in hand. All day long he 
had wandered aimlessly in the garden among his 
flowers, talking now and then to his gardeners, and 
stopping at every point where he could see the crys- 
tal dome of his laboratory shine clear like the up- 
lifted minaret of some palace of the East, and it was 
with the greatest difficulty that he compelled himself 
to walk with a slow and indifferent mien when the 
moment arrived for him to return to the Chateau. 


His heart pdloped like a ron-away racehorse, idi3e 
hq forced his feet into a sauntering and languid pace 
as thou^ he were more than oppressed by the heat 
of the day, — ^and he stopped for a moment to speak 
to his mother, whose reclining chair was in the li^ia 
where she could enjoy the view of the gardens and 
the fountains in full play. 

^'I am — " he said, and paused, — ^then went on — 
^*I am going to the laboratory for an hour or two. 
If I am late for dinner, do not wait for me." 

Madame Dimitrius, bu^ with some delicate laoe- 
work, looked up at him inquinn^y. 

'^Are you seeing Diana this evening?" she asked. 

He nodded assent. 

"Give her my love and tell har how ^ad I am 
that her days of solitude are ov^, and that I shall 
come to her to-morrow as soon as you will allow 

He nodded again, and with a tender hand stroked 
the silver bandeaux of the old lady's pretty hair. 

"After all, old age is quite a beautiful thing!" 
he said, and stooping, he kissed her on the brow. 
"It is, perhaps, wrong that we should wish to be 
always young?" 

He passed on then, and, Altering his library, rang 
a bell. Vasho appeared. 

"Vasho, the hour has come!" he said, wh«*eaft 
Vasho, the dumb, uttered an inarticulate animal 
sound of terror. "Either I have succeeded, or I 
have failed. Let us go and see!" 

He paused for a moment, his eyes resting on the 
mysterious steel instrument, which, alwa}rs working 
in its accustomed place on its block of crystal, struck 
off its tiny sparks of fire with unceasing regularity. 

^'You gave me the first clue!" he said, addre^ing 
it. "You were a fluke — sl chance — a stray hint from 
the unseen. And you will go on for ever if notiiing 
disturbs your balance — ^if nothing shakes your exact 


mathematical poise. So will the Universe similarly 
go on for ever, if similarly undisturbed. AU a mat- 
ter of calculation, equality of distribution and exact 
poise — designed by a faultless Intelligence ! An In- 
telligence which we are prone to deny — ^a Divinity 
we dare to doubt! Man perplexes himself with a 
million forms of dogma which he calls 'religions/ 
when there is truly only one religion possible for all 
the world, and that is the intelligent, reasoning, 
devout worship of the true God as made manifest 
in His works. These works none but the few will 
study, preferring to delude themselves with the fan- 
tastic spectres of their own imaginations. Yet, when 
we have learned what in time we must know, — ^the 
words of the Evangelist may be fulfilled: 'I saw a 
new heaven and a new earth, for the first earth and 
the first heaven were passed away. . . . And there [ 
fihaU be no more death, neitiier sorrow nor crying, \ 
neither shall there be any more pain.' So we may 
have a joyous world, where youth and life are eter- \ 
nal, and where never a heart-throb of passion or 
grief breaks the halcyon calm I Shall we care for it, \ 
I wonder? Will it not prove monotonous? — and 
when all is smooth sailing, shall we not long for 
a storm?" 

A quick si^ escaped him, — then remembering i 
Vaaho's presence, he shook off his temporary ab- 

''Come, Vasho!" he said, "I must go and find this 
marvel of my science — living or dead I And don't 
look so terrified! — one would think you were the 
victim! Whatever happens, you are safe!" 

Vai^o made expressive signs of apologetic himiil- 
ity and appeal, to which Dimitrius gave no response 
save an indulgent smile. 

"Come!" he repeated. They left the library, Di- 
mitrius leading the way, and walked throu^ the 
long corridor to the door of the laboratory. Gleams 


of gold and silver shone from the mysterious sub- 
stance of which it was composed, and curious iri- 
descent rays flashed suddenly across their eyes as 
if part of it had become transparent. "The sun's 
flames have had power here," remarked Dimitriua 
"Almost they have pierced the metal." 

Answering to pressure in the usual mann^, the 
portal opened and closed behind them as they en- 
tered. For a moment it was impossible to see any- 
thing, owing to the overwhelming brilliancy of the 
light which filled every part of tibe domed space — 
a light streaked here and there with gold and deep 
rose-coloiu'. The enormous Wheel was revolving 
slowly — and beneath its rim, the canopied white 
stretcher was suspended over the dark water below, 
as it had been left four days previously. The pris- 
oned victim had not stirred. For two or three min- 
utes Dimitrius stood looking eagerly, his eyes peer- 
ing through the waves of light that played upon 
his sense of vision almost as drowningly as the waves 
of ihe sea mi^t have played upon his power of 
breathing. Vaaho, shaken to pieces by his imcon- 
trollable inward terrors, had fallen on his knees and 
hidden his face in his hands. Dimiti^ius roused him 
from this abject attituda 

"Get up, Vasho! Don't play the fool!" he said, 
sternly. "What ails you? Are you afraid? Look 
before you, man ! — there is no change in the outline 
of that figure — ^it is merely in a condition of sus- 
pended animation. If she were dead — ^understand 
me! — she would not be there at all! The stretcher 
would be empty! Come, — I want your help with 
these pulleys." 

Vaaho, striving to steady his trembling limbs, 
went to his imperious master's assistance as the pul- 
leys were unlocked and released. 

"Now, gently!" said Dimitrius. "Let the ropes 
go ea^ — ^and pull evenly!" 


They worked together; and gradually — ^with a 
smooth; swaying; noiseless movement; — ^the cano- 
pied couch with its motionless occupant was swung 
away from the Wheel across the water and laid at 
their feet. The canopy itself sparkled all over as 
with millions of small diamonds, — and as they raised 
and turned it back, curled in their hands and twisted 
like a live thing. A still brighter luminance shone 
from end to end of the closely bound and swathed 
figure beneath it, — sl figure rigid as stone, yet thou^ 
80 rigid; uncannily expressive of hidden life. Di- 
initrius knelt down beside it and began to unfasten 
the close wrappings in which it was so fast impris- 
oned, from the feet upwards, signing to Vasho to 
assist him. Each one of the glistening white silken 
bands was hot to the touch; and as it was \mwound, 
cast out little sparks and pellets of fire. The widest 
of these was folded over and over across the breast^ 
binding in the arms and hands, and as this was un- 
done, the faintest stir of the body was perceptible. 
At la^t Dimitrius imcovered the face and head — ^and 
then — ^both he and Vasho sprang up and started 
back; amazed and awesteuck. Never a lovelier thing 
could be found on earth than the creature which lay 
so passively before them, — a young girl of beauty so 
exquisite that it hardly seemed human. The god- 
dess of a poet's dream inight be so imagined, but 
never a mere thing of flesh and blood. And as they 
stood; staring at the marvel, the alabaster white- 
ness of the flesh began to soften and flush with 
roseate hues, — a faint si^ parted the reddening lips, 
the small, diildlike hands, hitherto lying limp on 
either side, were raised as thou^ searching for 
something in the air, — ^and then, slowly, easefully, 
and with no start of surprise or fear, Diana awoke 
from her long trance and stretched herself lazily, 
SDuled; sat up for a moment, her hair falling about 
her in an amber ehower, and finally stepp^ from 


Ber couch and stood erect, a vision of such ethereal 
fairness and youthful queenliness that all unoon* 
scious of his own action, Dimitrius sank on his knees 
in a tran^ort of admiration, whispering: 

"My triumph! My work! My wonder of the 

She, meanwhile, with the questioning air of one 
whose surroundings are utterly unfamiliar, surv^ed 
him in his kneeling attitude as though he were a 
stranger. Drawing herself up and pushing back the 
wealth of hair that fell about her, she spoke in the 
exquisitely musical voice that was all her own, 
though it seemed to have gained a ridier sweet- 

"Why do you kneel?" she asked. "Are you my 

For one flashing second he was tempted to an- 

"Your master!" 

But there was something in the stateliness of her 
attitude and the dignity of her bearing that checked 
this bold utterance on his lips, and he replied: 

"Your slave! — ^if so you will it!" 

A smile of vague surprise crossed her features. 

"Remind me how I came here," she said. "Tliere 
is something I cannot recall. I have been so much 
in the light and this place is very dark. You are a 
friend, I suppose — are you not?" 

A ddilly touch of dread overcame him. His ex- 
periment had failed, if despite its perfection of 
physical result, the brain organisation was injured 
or destroyed. She talked at random, and with a 
lost air, as if she had no recollection of any previous 

"Surely I am yowc friend!" he said, rising from 
his knees and approaching het more nearly. 'Tfou 
remember me? — Feodor Dimitrius?" 

She passed one hand across her brow. 


"Dimitrius? — Feodor Dimitrius?" she repeated; — 
then suddenly she laughed, — a clear bri^t laugh 
like that of a happy diild — "Of course! I know 
you now — and I know my self. I am Diana May, 
— Diana May who was the poor unloved old spinst^ 
with wrinkles round her eyes and 'feelings' in her 
stupidly warm heart! — ^but she is dead! / live!" 

She lifted her arms, the silver sheen of her mys- 
terious gleaming garment falling back like unfurled 

"I live!" she repeated. "I am the young Diana! 
— the old Diana is dead!" 

Her arms dropped to her sides again, and she 
turned to Dimitrius with a bewitching smile. 

"And you love me!" she said. "You love me as 
all men must love me! — even he loves me!" and 
she pointed playfully to Vasho, cowering in fear as 
far back in a i^adowy comer as he could, out of 
the arrowy glances of her lovely eyes, — ^then, laugh- 
ing softly again, she gathered her robe about her 
with a queenly air. "Come, Dr. Feodor Dimitrius! 
Let us go! I see by the way you look at me that 
you think your experiment has been too much for 
my brain, but you are mistaken. I am quite clear 
in memory and consciousness. You are the scien- 
tist who advertised for *a woman of mature years,' 
— I am Diana May who was 'mature' enough to 
answer you, and came from London to Geneva on 
the chance of suiting you, — ^I have submitted to all 
your commands, and here I am! — ^a success for you, 
I suppose, but a still greater success for myself! I 
do not know what has happened since I came into 
tiiis laboratory a while ago — ^nor am I at all ciuious, 
— ^was that my coflBn!" 

She indicated the stretcher with its white canopy 
from which she had arisen. He was about to an- 
swer her, when she stopped him. 

''No, tell me nothing! Say it is my chrysalis, 


from which I have broken out — a butterfly!" She 
emiled — ^''Look at poor Vasho! How fri^tened he 
seems! Let us leave this place, — surely we have 
had enou^ of it? Come, Dr. Dimitrius! — ^it*s all 
over! You have done with me and I with you. 
Take me to my rooms!" 

Her air and tone of command were not to be 
gainsaid. Amazed and angry at his own sudden sense 
of inferiority and ineflBciency, Dimitrius signed to 
the trembling Vasho to open tiie door of the labora- 
tory, and held out his hand to Diana to guide her. 
She looked at him questioningly. 

"Must I?" die asked. 'TTou are quite enough in 
love with me already! — but if you take my 
hand !" 

Her eyes, brilliant and provocative, flashed dis- 
dainfully into his. He strove to sustain his com- 

'Tfou are talking very foolishly," he said, with 
studied harshness. 'If you wish to convince me that 
you are the same Diana May who has shown such 
resolute courage and modesty, and — ^and — sudi obe- 
dience to my will, you must express yourself more 

Her li^t laugh rippled out again. 

"Oh, but I am not the same Diana May!" she 
answered. "You have altered all that. I was old, 
and a woman, — ^now I am young, and a goddess!" 

He started back, amazed at her voice and atti- 

"A goddess — a goddess!" she repeated, trium- 
phantly. "Young with a youth that shall not 
change — ^alive with a life that shall not die! Out 
of the fire and the air I have absorbed the essence 
of all beauty and power! — ^what shall trouble me? 
Not the things of this little querulous world! — ^not 
its peevish men and women! — I am above them sJl! 
F^dor Dimitrius, your science has gathered strange 


fruit from the Tree of Life, but remember! — the 
Flaming Sword turns every way!" 

He gazed at her in speechless wonderment. She 
had spoken with extraordinary force and passion, 
and now stood confronting him as an angel might 
have stood in the Garden of Paradise. Her beauty 
was overwhelming — almost maddening in its irre- 
sistible attraction, and his brain whirled like a mote 
in a ring of fire. He stretched out his hands appeal- 

"Diana!" he half whispered — "Diana, you are 
mine! — my sole creation!" 

"Not so," she repUed. "You blaspheme! Noth- 
ing is youra You have used the forces of Nature 
to make me what I am, — ^but I am Nature's product, 
and Nature is not always kind ! Let us go ! " 

She moved towards the door. Vasho stood ready 
to open it, his eyes cast down, and his limbs trem- 
bling, — as she approached she smiled kindly at him, 
but the poor negro was too scared to look at her. He 
swung tiie portal upward, and she passed through 
the opening. Dimitrius followed, not venturing to 
offer his hand a second time. He merely gave in- 
structions to Vasho to set the laboratory in order 
and remove every trace of his "experiment," — then 
kept close beside the erect, slight, graceful figure in 
the shining garment that glided along with unerr- 
ing steps through the corridor into the familiar hall, 
where for a moment, Diana paused. 

"Is your mother well?" she asked. 

"Quite well" 

"I am glad. You will prepare her to see me to- 

"I win!" 

She passed on, up the staircase, and went strai^t 
to her own rooms. It was plain ^e had forgotten 
nothing, and that she had all her senses about her. 
As Dimitrius threw open the door of her little solon 


she turned on the threshold and fully confronted 

"Thank you!" die said. "I hope you are satis- 
fied that your experiment has succeeded?" 

He was pale to the lips, and his eyes glowed with 
suppressed fire, — ^but he answered calmly: 

"I am more than satisfied if — if you are well!" 

"I am very well," she replied, smiling. "I shall 
never be iU. You ought to know that if you believe 
in your own discovery. You ought to know that I 
am no longer made of mortal clay, 'subject to all the 
ills that flesh is heir to.' Your science has filled me 
with another and more lasting form of life!" 

He was silent, standing before her with head b^it, 
like some disgraced school-boy. 

"Good-night!" she said, then, in a gentler tone — 
"I do not know how long I have been tiie companion 
of yoiu* 'Ordeal by Fire!' — ^I suppose I ought to be 
hungry and thirsty, but I am not. To breathe has 
been to me sufficient nourishment — ^yet for the sake 
of appearances you had better let Vasho — poor 
frightened Vasho! — ^bring me food as usual I ^all 
be ready for him in an hour." 

She motioned him away, and closed the door. As 
she disappeared, a light seemed to vanish with h» 
and the dark entresol grew even darker. He went 
downstairs in a maze of bewilderment, dazzled by 
her beauty and conscious of her utter indifference, — 
and stood for a moment at the open door of the 
loggia, looking out at the still, dark loveliness of 
the summer evening. 

"And so it is .finidied!" he said to himself. "All 
over! A completed triumph and marvel of science! 
But — ^what have I made of her? She is not a wom- 
an! Then — what is she?" 


While Dimitrius thus perplexed himself with a 
psychological question for which he could find no 
satisfactory answer, Diana was happily free from 
doubts and fears of any kind whatsoever. When 
she found herself alone in her rooms she was con- 
scious of a strange sense of sovereignty and suprem- 
acy which, though it was in a manner new to her, 
yet did not seem unnatural. She was not in the 
least conscious of having passed foiu* days, practi- 
cally, in a state of suspended animation, no more, 
perhaps, than is the Indian fakir who suffers himself 
to be buried in the earth for a sufficient time to 
allow the com to grow over him. She looked about 
her, recognising certain familiar objects whidi were 
her own, and others which belonged to the Dimitrius 
household,— she touched the piano li^tly as she 
passed it, — ^glanced through the open window at the 
dusky, starlit skies, and then went into her bed- 
room, where, turning on the electric burner, she 
confronted herself in the mirror with a smile. Beauty 
smiled back at her in every line and curve, in every 
movement; and she criticised her own appearance 
as she might have criticised a pictiu^e, admiring the 
sheeny softness and sparkle of the mysterious gar- 
ment in which she was arrayed. But aft^ a few 
moments of this quiet self-contemplation, she rec- 
ollected more mundan^ things, and going to the 
wardrobe, took out the rose-pinJk wrap Sophy Lan- 
sing had given her. 

"I wonder," she said, half lauding, ^'what Sophy 
would say to me now! But, after all, what a far- 
away i>er8on Sophy seems!" 



Standing before the mirror she deliberately let 
the shining "robe of ordeal" slip from her body to 
the floor. Nude as a pearl, i^e remained for a 
moment, gazing, as she knew, at the loveliest model 
of feminine perfection ever seen since the sculptor 
of the Venus de Medici wrought his marble divinity. 
Yet she was not surprised or elated; no touch of 
vanity or self-complacency moved her. The aston- 
ishing part of the whole matter was that it seemed 
quite natural to her to be thus beautiful; beauty 
had become part of her existence, like the simple 
act of breathing, and called for no special personal 
notice. She slipped on a few garments, covering aJl 
with her rose-silk wrapper, and twisted up her hair. 
And so she was clothed again as Diana May, — but 
what a different Diana May! She heard Va^o 
moving in the sitting-room, and looking, saw that 
he was setting out a dainty little table with game 
and fruit and wine. He caught sight of her fair 
face watching him from the half-open door which 
diyided bedroom from sitting-room, and paused, 
abated — then made a sort of Eastern salutation, 
full of the most abject humility. 

"Poor Vasho ! " she said, advancing. "How strange 
that you should be so afraid of me! What do you 
take me for? You must not be afraid!" 

No goddess, suddenly descending from the skies 
to earth, could have looked more royally beneficent 
tiian she, and Vasho made rapid signs of entire 
devotion to her service. 

"No," she said — * You are your master's man. He 
will need your help — ^when I am gone!" 

The negro's countenance expressed a sudden dis- 
may — and she laughed. 

'Yes — ^when I am gone!" she repeated, "and that 
will be very soon ! I am made for all the world now I " 

His eyes rolled despairingly, — ^he made eloquent 
and beseeching signs of appeal. 


'*You will be sorry ?'* she said. 'Tee — ^I daresay 
you will! Now go along, — they want you down- 
stairs. It is fooli^ to be sorry for anything.'' 

She smiled at him as he backed from her pre&- 
ence, looking utterly miserable, and disapp^ured. 
Left alone, die touched a glass of wine with h^ 
lips, but quickly set it down. 

'"What a curious taste!" she said. '1 used to 
like it, — I don't like it at all now. ^ I'm not thirsty 
and I'm not hungry. I want nothing. It's enou^ 
for me to breathe!" 

She moved slowly up and down with an exquisite 
floating grace, a perfect vision of imperial beauty, 
her rose-red ''rest^gown" with its white fur lining 
trailing about her; and presently, sitting down by 
the open window, she inhaled the warm summer air, 
and after a while watched the moon rise through a 
foam of white cloud, which seemed to have sprayed 
itself sheer down from the Alpine snows. H^ 
thoughts were clear; her consciousness particularly 
active, — ^and, with a kind of new self-possession and 
intellectuality, she took herself, as it were, mentally 
to pieces, and examined each section of herself as 
under a psychological microscope. 

''Let me be quite sure of my own identity," she 
said, half aloud. ''I am Diana May — ^and yet I am 
not Diana May! I have lost the worn old shell of 
my former personality, and I have found another 
personality which is not my own, and yet some- 
how is the real Me! — the Me for whom I have 
been searching and crying ever since I could search 
and cry! — the Me I have dreamed of as rising in the 
Aape of a Soul from my dead body ! I am clothed 
with a life vesture made of strange and imperishable 
stuff, — I cannot begin to describe or understand it. 
except as an organisation free from all pain ana 
grossness — ^and what is more positive still — ^free firun 
all feeling!" 


She paused here^ interested in the puzzle of b^ 
thoughts. Raising her eyes, she looked out at the 
divine beauty of the night. 

'TTes/' she went on musing — ^"That is the strang- 
est part of it! — I have no feeling. This is the work 
of science — therefore my condition will be within 
reach of all who care to accept it. I look out at 
the garden, — the moonlight, — but not as I used to 
look. They have no feeling, and seem just a natural 
part of myself. They do not move me to any more 
sensation than the recognition that they live as I 
do, vrith me and for me. If I can get hold of myself 
at all surely, I think my chief consciousness is that 
of power, — ^power, with no regard for its exercise or 

She waited again, disentangling her mind from all 
clinging or vague recollections. 

"This man, Feodor Dimitrius, interested me at one 
time," she said. "His utter selfishness and callous 
absorption in his own studies moved me almost to 
pain. Now he does not interest me at alL His 
mother is kind, — ^very simple — ^very stupid and well- 
meaning — ^but I could not stay with her for long. 
Who else must I remember?" 

Suddenly she laughed. 

"Pa and Ma!" she exclaimed — "1 must not for- 
get them! Those dear, respectable parents of mine, 
who only cared for me as long as I waa an interest- 
ing object to themselves, and found me 'in the way* 
when their interest ceased ! Flighty Pa! Wouldn't 
he just love to be rejuvenated and turned out as a 
sort of new Faustus, amorous and reckless of every- 
body's feelings — but his own! Oh, yes, I mustn't 
forget Pa! I'm young enough to wear white now! — 
I'll go and see him as soon as I get back to England 
— before Ma's best mourning gown grows rusty!" 
8he laughed again, the most enchanting dimples 
listening her face as mirth radiated from her lips 


and eyes — then all at once ahe became serious, al- 
most stem, and stood up as though lifted erect by 
some thought which impelled action. One hand 
clenched involuntarily. 

"Captain the Honourable Reginald Cleeve!" she 
said, in slow tones of emphatic scorn — "Especially 
the Honourable! I must not forget him! — or his 
fat wife! — or his appallingly hideous and stupid 
children! I must look at tiiem all! — and not only 
must I look at them — they must look at me !" 

Her hand relaxed, — ^her eyes, limpid and lustrous, 
turned again towards the open window and moonlit 
summer night. 

"Yet — is vengeance worth while?" she mused — 
''Vengeance on a mote — ^a worm — ^a low soul such 
as that of the man I once almost worshipped? Yes! 
— ^the gods know it is worth while to punish a liar 
and traitor! When the world becomes unclean and 
full of falsehood a great war is sent to purge its 
foulness, — ^when a man destroys a life's happiness 
it is just that his own happiness should also be 

She had come to the conclusion of her meditations, 
and seeing the hour was ten o'clock, she opened her 
door and put the untouched little supper-table 
with all its delicacies outside in the entresol 
to be cleared away; then locking herself in for 
the night, prepared to go to bed. It was now that 
a sudden thrill of doubt quivered throusjh her beau- 
tiful "new" organisation, — the nervous idea that per- 
haps she would not be able to pray! She took her- 
self severely to task for this thought. 

"All things are of God!" she said, aloud— "What- 
ever science has made of me I can be nothing with- 
out His will. To Him belong the sun and air, the 
U^t and fire! — to Him also / belong, and to Him I 
may render thanks without fear." 

She knelt down and uttered the familiar "Our 


Father'' in slow, soft tones of humility and devo- 
tion. To anyone who could have watched her pray- 
ing thus, she would have seemed 

''A splendid angel newly diest 
Save wings, for heaven P' 

And when she laid her head on her pillow she fell 
asleep as sweetly as a yoimg child, her breathing 
as li^t, her dreamless unconsciousness as p^ect. 

The morning foimd her refreshed by her slumber, 
stronger and more self-possessed than before; and 
when clad in her ordinary little white batiste gown 
she looked, as indeed she was bodily, if not men- 
tally, a mere slip of a girl, — ^a lovely girl, slender 
as a rod and fair as a lily, radiating in every expres- 
sion and movement with an altogether extraordinary 
beauty. After the breakfast hour came Madame 
Dimitrius, eager, curious, affectionate; — but at first 
sight of her, stood as though rooted to the floor, 
and began to tremble so violently that Diana put 
an arm about her to save her from falling. But, 
with a white, scared face and repelling hand, the 
old woman pushed her aside. 

''Do not touch me, please!" she said, in feeble, 
quavering tones — ^"I — ^I did not expect this! I was 
prepared for much — ^but not this! — ^this is devil's 
work! Oh, my son, my son! He is possessed by 
the powers of evil! — ^may God deliver him! No, 
no!" — ^this, as Diana, with her beautiful smile of 
uplifted sweetness and tolerance, strove to speak — 
''Nothing you can say will alter it! It is impossible 
that such a thing could be done without rebellion 
against the laws of God ! You — ^you are not Diana 
May — you are some other creature, not made of 
flesh and blood!" 

Diana heard her with a gentle patience. 

"Very possibly you are right," she said, quietly. 
"But whatever I am made of must be some of God's 


own material, since there is nothing existent with- 
out Him! Why> even if there is a devil, the devil 
himself cannot exist apart from God!" 

Madame Dimitrius uttered a pained cry, and then 
began to sob hysterically. 

"Oh, do not speak to me, do not ^eak to me!" 
she wailed. "My son, my son! My Feodor! His 
soul is the prey of some evil spirit — and it seems 
to me as if you are that spirit's form and voice! 
You are beautiful — ^but not with merely a woman's 
beauty! — ^his science has called some strange power 
to him — you are that power! — ^you will be his 
doom!" She wrung her hands nervously, and moan- 
ing, "Let me go! — let me go!" turned to leave the 

Diana stood apart, making no effort to detain her. 
A look of wondering compassion filled h^ lovely 

"Poor woman ! " she breathed, softly. "Poor weak, 
worn soul!" 

Then suddenly she spoke aloud in dear, sweet, 
decisive tones. 

"Dear Madame," she said — ^"you distress yourself 
without cause! You need not be afraid of me, — I 
will do you no harm! As for your son, his fate is 
in his own hands; he assumes to be master of it. 
I shall not interfere with him or with you, — ^for 
now I shall leave you both for ever! I have sub- 
mitted myself to his orders, — I have been his paid 
'subject,' and he cannot complain of any want of 
obedience on my part, — ^his experiment has suc- 
ceeded. Nothing therefore now remains for me to 
do h&re^ and he has no further need. of me. I 
promise you I will go as quickly as I can! — ^and if, 
as you say, I am not hmnan, why so much the 
worse for humanity!" 

She smiled, and her attitude and expression were 
loyally triumphant. Madame Dimitrius had reached 


the door of the apartment, and with her hand lean- 
mg against it turned back to look at her in evident 
terror. Then she essayed to speak again. 

"I am sorry," she faltered — "if I seem strange 
and harsh — ^but — ^but you are not Diana May — not 
the woman I knew! She had grown younger and 
prettier under my son's treatment — ^but you! — ^you 
are a mere girl! — and I feel — I know you are not, 
you cannot be human!" 

A light of something like scorn flashed from Di- 
ana's eyes. 

"Is humanity so valuable!" she asked. 

But tiiis question was more than enough for 
Madame Dimitrius. Witii a shuddering exclama- 
tion of something like utter despair, she hurriedly 
opened the door, and stumbled blindly out into the 
corridor, there to be caught in the arms of her son, 
who was coming to Diana's rooms. 

"Why, mother!" he ejaculated— "what is this?" 

Diana stood at her half-open door, looking at them 
both like a young angel at the gate of paradise. 

"Your mother is frightened of me," she explained 
gently. "She says I am not human. I daresay that's 
very likely! But do try and comfort her, and teU 
her that I have no evil intentions towards her or 
you. And that I am going away as soon as you 
will allow me to do so." 

His brows contracted. 

"Mother," he said reproachfully, "is this how you 
keep your promise to me? I gave you my confi- 
dence — ^you see the full success of my great experi- 
ment — ^and yet you reward me thus?" 

She clung to him desperately. 

"Feodor! — Feodor!" die cried — "My son, — my 
only child! You diall not blame me, — ^me, your 
mother! I love you, Feodor! — and love teaches 
many things! Oh, my son! — ^you have drawn from 
your science something that is not of this world! 


— something that has no feeling — ^no emotion! — 
this creature of your making is not Diana!'' 

As she spoke her face grew livid, — she beat the 
air with her feeble old hands, as though she fought 
some invisible foe, and fell ip a dead faint. 

Quickly Dimitrius lifted her in his arms, and laid 
her on the sofa in Diana's sitting-room. Diana 
came to his aid, and deftly and tenderly bathed her 
forehead and hands with cool water. When she i 

showed signs of returning consciousness Diana said 
whisperingly : 

"I will go now! She must not be frightened 
again — she must not see me when she wakes. You 
understand? Poor, dear old lady! She imag- 
ines I am not human, and she has told me I shfjl 
be your doom!" She smiled. "Do you think I 

Her loveliness shone upon him like a light too 
brilliant to endure. His heart beat furioudy, but 
he would not look at her, — he bent his head over 
his mother's passive figure, busying himself with 
restoratives, — and answered nothing. 

She waited a minute, — then added — ^* You will ar- 
range for my leaving here aa soon as poasable? 
After what she has said, it will be best for your 
mother that I should go at once." 

Then, and then only, he lifted his dark eyes, — 
they were sad and strained. 

"I will arrange everything," he said. "No doubt 
the sooner we part, the better!" 

She smiled again, — ^then moved swiftly away into 
her bedroom and locked the door. Slowly Madame 
Dimitrius recovered and looked aroimd her with 
an alarmed expression. 

"She has gone?" 

'Yes," her son replied, with a bitterness he could 
not restrain. "She has gone! — and she will go! 
You have driven away ihe loveliest thing ever seen 


on earth! my cre&tioii! Throng you die will leave 
me altogether — and yet you say you love me!'' 

"I do! I do love you!" cried his mother, weep- 
ing. Teodor, Feodor, I love you as no other can or 
will! I love you, and by my love I daim your 
soul! I claim it from the powers of evil! — ^I daim 
it for God!" 


Thb swiftness atid silence of Diana's departure 
from the Chateau Fragonard was of an ahnost 
uncanny nature. There were no affectionate leav^ 
takings, — ^and she made no attempt to see Madame 
Dimitrius, who, thoroughly unnerved and ill, re- 
mained in her bedroom, — ^nor would she permit of 
any escort to the station, or "seeing off" by way of 
farewell. She simply left the house, having padded 
and labelled her own luggage to be sent after her, — 
and walked quietly with Dr. Dimitrius, through the 
lovely gardens all in their summer beauty, to the 
private gate opening out to the high road, from 
whence it was an easy ten minutes to the station. 
He was very silent, and his usual composure had 
entirely deserted him. 

"I cannot part with you like this," he said, in 
low, nervous tones, as she gave him her hand in 
"good-bye." "As soon as my mother recovers from 
this strange breakdown of hers, I shall follow you. 
I must see you again " 

She smiled. 

"Must you?" 

"Of course I must! I am deeply grateful to you, 
— do not think I can forget your patience — your 

courage " He paused, deeply moved. "I hate 

the idea of your travelling all alone to London 1" 

"Why?" she asked, in an amused tone — "I came 
aU alone!" 

"Yes — ^but it was different " 

'Tou mean I looked 'mature,' then?" she lau^ied. 
"Oh, weU! Nobody will interfere with a girl re- 
turning home from school in Geneva!" 



A pained smile crossed his face. 

^Tfes! — ^you can play that part very well!" he 
admitted. "But you cannot live alone without some- 
one to look after you!" 

She gave a light gesture of indifference. 

"No? Well, I will get some dear old lady 'in re- 
duced circumstances' to do that. There are so many 
of them — ^all with excellent references. Someone 
about my own age would do, — for after all, I'm 
over forty!" 

He uttered an exclamation of impatience. 

'Why will you say that?" 

"Because it's true!" she replied. "According to 
this planet's time. But" — ^here h^r eyes flashed with 
a strange and almost unearthly lustre — ^"tha:^ are 
other planets — other countings! And by these, I am 
— ^well! — ^what I am!" 

He looked at her in mingled doubt and won- 

"Diana!" he said, entreatingly — ^"Will you not 
trust me?" 

"In what way?" she asked, with sudden cold- 
ness — ^"What trust do you seek?" 

"Listen!" he went on eagerly — ^"My science has 
worked its will upon you, with the most amazing 
success — ^but there is something beyond my science 
— something which baffles me, — ^which I caimot fath- 
om! It is in you, yourself — ^you have learned what 
I have failed to learn, — ^you know what I do not 

A smile suddenly irradiated her lovely face, — so 
might an angel smile in giving a benediction. 

"I am glad you realise that!" she said, quietly— 
"For it is true! But what I have learned — ^what 
I know — ^I cannot explain to m]rself or impart to 

He stood amazed, — not so much at h^ words as 
at her manner of uttering them. It was the unap- 


proachable, ethereal dignity of her attitude and 
expression that awed and held him in check. 

^Tfou would not understand or believe it possi- 
ble," she went on, "even if I tried to put into words 
what is truly a wordless existence, apart from you 
altogether, — apart not only from you, but from all 
merely human things " 

"Ah!" he interrupted quickly — "That is just tiie 
point. You say 'merely' human, as if you had 
passed beyond humanity!" 

She looked at him steadily. 

"Humanity thinks too much of itself," she said, 
slowly. "Its petty ambitions, — its miserable wars, 
— ^its greed of gain and love of cruelty! — ^what is 
it worth without the higher soul ! In this universe- 
even in this planet, humanity is not all ! There are 
other forces — other forms — but — ^as I have said, I 
cannot explain myself, and it is time to say good- 
bye. I am glad I have been of use in helping you 
to succeed in what you sought to do; and now I 
suppose you will make millions of money by your 
ability to re-establish life and youth. And will 
that make you happy, I wonder?" 

His face grew stem and impassive. 

"I do not seek happiness," he said — ^"Not for my- 
self. I hope to make happiness for others. Yet 
truly I doubt whether happiness is possible in this 
world, except for children and fools." 

"And sorrow?" she queried. 

"Sorrow waits on us hand and foot," he replied — 
"There is no condition exempt from it." 

'Except mine ! " she said, smiling. "I am relieved 
of both sorrow and joy — I never seem to have known 
either! I am as indifferent to both as a sunbeam! 

He held her hand, and his dark eyes searched her 
lovely face as though looking for a gleam of sjrm- 


"Good-bye!" he rejoined — "But not for longl 
Remember that! Those whom you knew in Eng- 
land wiU not recognise you now,— you wiU have 
many difficulties, and you may need a friend's coun- 
sel — ^I shall follow you very soon!" 

"Why should you?" she asked, lightly. His grasp 
on her hand ti^tened unconsciously. 

"Because I must!" he answered, passionately. 
"Don't you see? You draw me like a magnet! — 
and I cannot resist following my own exquisite creap- 

She released her hand with a decided movement. 

"You mistake!" she said — "I am not your crea- 
tion. You, of yourself, can create nothing. I am 
only a result of your science which you never 
dreamed of! — ^whidi you could not foresee! — ^and 
which you will never master! Good-bye!" 

She left him at once with this word, despite his 
last entreating call, "Diana!" and passing through 
the private gate to the high road, so disappeared. 
Like a man in a trance, he stood watching till the 
last glimpse of her dress had vanished — then, with 
a mist of something like tears in his eyes, he realised 
that a sudden blank loneliness had fallen upon him 
like a cloud. 

"Something I shall never master!" he rei)eated, 
as he went slowly homeward. "If woman I shall I — 
but if not " 

And here he checked his thou^ts, not daring to 
pursue them further. 

So they parted, — ^he more bewildered and troubled 
by the "success" of his experiment than satisfied, — 
while she, quite unconscious of any particular regret 
or emotion, started on her journey to England. 
Never had she received so much attention, and tiie 
eagerness displayed by every man she met to wait 
upon her and assist her in some way or other, 
amused her while it aroused a certain scorn. 


''It is only looks that move them!'' she said to 
herself. "The same old tale! — ^Youth and beauty! 
— and never a care whether I am a good or an evil 
thing! And yet one is asked to 'respect' men!" 

She went on her way without trouble. The chef 
de gdre at Geneva was full of gentle conmiiseration 
at the idea of so yoimg and lovely a creature trav- 
elling alone, and placed her tenderly, as thougih 
she were a hot-house lily to be carried "with care," 
in a first-class compartment of "Dames Seules" 
where a couple of elderly ladies received her gra- 
ciously, with motherly smiles, and remarked tiiat 
she was "very young to travel alone." She depre- 
cated their attention with becoming grace— but said 
very little. She looked at their wrinkles and baggy 
throats, and wondered, whether, if they knew of 
Dr. Dimitrius and went to him, he could ever make 
them young and beautiful again? It seemed im- 
possible, — they were too far gone! They were trav- 
elling to London, however; and she cheerfully ac- 
cept^ their kindly proposal that she should make 
the journey in their company. On the way through 
Paris she wrote a brief letter to Sophy Lansing, 
saying that she would call and see her as soon 
after arrival in London as possible, and adding as 
a postscript: "I have changed very much in my 
appearance, but I hope you will still know me as 
your friend, Diana." 

The two ladies with whom dianoe or fate had 
thrown her in company, turned out to be of the 
"old" English aristocracy, and were very simple, 
gently-mannered women who had for many years 
been intimate friends. They were both widows; 
their children were grown up and married, and 
many reverses of fortune, with loss of kindred, had 
but drawn them more closely together. Every year 
they took little inexpensive holidays abroad, and 
they were returning home now after one of these 


spent at Aix-les-Bains. They were fascmatod by 
the extraordinary beauty of the girl they had vol- 
unteered to chaperon, and, privately to one another, 
thought and said she ought to wear a vdL For no 
man saw her without seeming suddenly ''smitten 
all of a heap/' as the saying is, — ^and, after one or 
two embarrassing experiences at various stations en 
route, where certain of these ''smitten'' had not 
scrupled to walk up and down the platform outside 
their compartment just to look at the fair creature 
within, one of the worthy dames suggested, albeit 
timidly, that perhaps— only perhaps! — a veil mig^t 
be advisable? — ^as they were soon going across the 
sea — ^and the rough salt wind and spray were so bad 
for the complexion I Diana smiled. She understood. 
And for the rest of the journey she tied up her 
beautiful head and face in American fashion with 
an uncompromising dark blue motor veil through 
which hardly the tip of her nose could be seen. 

They crossed the Channel at night, and break- 
fasted together at Dover. Once in the train bound 
for London, Diana's companions sought tactfully to 
find out who she was. Something quite indefinable 
and imusual about her gave them both a touch of 
"nerves." She seemed removed and aloof from 
life's ordinary things, though her manner was per- 
fectly simple and natural She gave her name quite 
frankly and added that she was quite alone in the 

"I have one friend, — Miss Sophy Lansing," she 
said — "You may have heard of her. She is a leading 
Suffragette and a very clever writer. I am going 
to her now." 

The ladies glanced at each other and smiled. 

"Yes, — ^we have heard of her," said one. "Put I 
hope she will not make you a Suffragette I Life has 
much better fortime in store for you than that!" 

"You think so?" — and Diana idirugged her grace- 


fill should^B indifferently — ^''Anjrway^ I am not in- 
terested in political matters at aJL They are always 
small and quarrelsome^ — ^like the buzzing of midges 
on a warm day!'' 

One of her companions now took out her card' 

"Do come and see me in town!" she said kindly 
— ^"I should be very glad if you would. I live a very 
quiet hum-drum life and seldom see any young peo- 

Diana smiled as she accepted the card. 

"Thank you so much!" she murmured, — seeing 
at a glance the name and address "Lady Elswood, 
Chester Square," and thinking how easy it was for 
youth and beauty to find friends — ^''I will certainly 

"And don't forget me.'" said the other lady — ^"I 
live just round the comer,— -only a few steps from 
Lady Elswood's house, so you can come and see 
me also." 

Diana expressed her acknowledgment by a look, 
reading on the second card now proffered: ''Mrs. 
G^vase," and the address indicated. 

''I will!" she said, and yet in her own mind she 
felt that these two good-natured women ware the 
merest shadows to her consciousness, and that she 
had not the remotest idea of going to visit them 
at any time. 

London reached, they parted, — and Diana, taking 
a taxi-cab and claiming her modest luggage from 
the Custom-house officials, was driven straight to 
Sophy Lansing's flat in Majrfair, which she had leSt 
under such d^erent circumstances close on a year 
ago. Miss Lansing was in, said the servant who 
opened the door, — and Diana had hardly waited in 
the drawing-room five minutes, when there was a 
rush of garments and quick feet and Sophy herself 
appeared. But at the door she stopped — ^transfixed. 


"There's some mistake," she said at once — ^'TTou 
must have come to the wrong flat. I expected a 
friend, — ^Miss May. You are not Miss May." 

Diana held out both hands. 

"Sophy, don't you know me?" she said, smiling — 
^*Won't you know me? Surely you recognise my 
voice? I told you in my letter from Paris that I 
was changed — ^I thought you would understand— — ^" 

But Sophy stood mute and bewildered, her back 
against the door by which she had just entered. 
For half a minute she felt she knew the sweet thrill 
of the voice that was Diana's special gift, — ^but 
when she looked at the exquisite girlish beauty of 
the — the "person" who had intruded upon her, as 
die thought, on false pretences, she was imreaaon- 
ably annoyed, her annoyance arising, though she 
would never have admitted it, from a helpless 
consciousness of her own inferiority in attractive- 

"Nonsense!" she said, sharply. 'Whoever you 
are, you can't take me in! My friend is a middle- 
aged woman, — older than I am — ^you are a mere 
girl! Do you think I don't know the difference? 
Please leave my house!" 

At these words, a delightful peaJ of lilting laugh- 
ter broke from Diana's lips, Sophy stared, iniSg- 
nant and speechless, while Diana slipped off a watch 
bracelet from her slender wrist. 

"Very well, dear!" she said. "If you don't want 
to know me, you shan't! Here is the little watch 
you lent me when I went away last year — ^after I 
was drowned, you remember?— in place of my own 
which I'm glad to see you are wearing. You know 
I took up a position with the Dr. F6odor Dimitrius 
whose advertisement you sent me, — ^he wanted me 
to help him in a scientific experiment. Well! — ^I 
did, — ^and I am tiie result of his work. I see 
you don't believe me, so I'll go. I told the taxi- 


man to wait. I'm so sorry you won't have me!" 

Sophy Lansing listened amazed and utterly in- 
ereduloua That voice — that sweet laughter — they 
had a familiar ring; but the youthful features, the 
exquisite complexion of clear cream and rose — these 
were no part of the Diana she had known, and 
she shook her head obstinately. 

'*You may have met my friend in Geneva," she 
said, stiffly. "But how you got my watch from her, 
I am at a loss to imagine — unless she lent it to you 
to travel with. You look to me like a run-away 
schoolgirl playing a practical joke. But whoever 
you are, you are not Diana May." 

Smilingly Diana laid the watch she had taken 
off down on the table. 

'*Very well, I will leave this here," she said. "It 
is yours, — ^and when I am gone it will help you to 
remember and think over all the circumstanoes. 
You had my letter from Paris?" 

"I had a letter," replied Sophy, coldly, "from my 
friend. Miss May." 

Diana laughed again. 

"I wrote it," she said. "How droll it seems tiiat 
you should know my handwriting and not know me! 
And I thought you would be so pleased! — ^you, who 
said I was going to be 'a wonderful creature,' and 
that 'Cinderella should go to the Prince's Ball!' 
And now you won't recognise me! — it's just as if 
you were 'jealous because I'm pretty!' I may as 
well explain before I go, that Dr. Dimitrius, for 
whom I've been working all the year, is one of those 
scientific 'cranks' who think they can restore lost 
youth, create beauty and prolong life — ^like Faust, 
you know! He wanted a subject to practise upon, 
— and as I was no earthly use to anyone, he took me! 
And he's turned me out as you see me — ^all new 
and fresh as the morning! And I believe I shall 
last a long while!" 


But here Sophy Lansing uttered a half suppressed 

"Go away!" she gasped — "You — ^you are a mad 
girll You've escaped from some asylum! — Fm sure 
you have!" 

With swift dignity Diana drew herself up and 
gazed full and pitifully at her quondam friend. 

"Poor Sophy!" she said — "I'm sorry for you! I 
thought you had more character — ^more self-control! 
I am not mad — I am far saner than you are. I 
have told you the truth — and one more thing I can 
tell you — that I have lost all power to be hurt or 
offended or disappointed, so you need not think your 
failure to believe me or your loss of fri^adship 
causes me the least pain! I have gone beyond all 
that. You are keeping the door closed, — will you 
let me pass?" 

Really frightened and trembling violently, Sophy 
Lansing moved cautiously to one side, and as cau- 
tiously opened the door. Her scared eyes followed 
every movement of the graceful, aerial girl-figure 
whidb professed to\be Diana's, and ^e shrank away 
from the brilliant glance of the heavenly dark blue 
eyes that rested upon her with such almost angelic 
compassion. She heard a softly breathed "Good- 
bye!" and a gentle sweep of garments, then — ^a 
pause, and Diana was gone. She rushed to the 
window. Yes, — there was the taxi waiting, — ^an- 
other mmute, and she saw her gkl visitor enter it. 
The vehicle soon disappeared, its noisy grind and 
whir being rapidly lost in the roar of the general 

"It was not — it could not have been Diana!" al- 
most sobbed Sophy to herself. "I felt — oh, yes! — 
I felt it was something not quite human!" 

Then, turning to the table where ihe watch-brace- 
let had been left, she took it up. It was indubitably 
her bracelet, with her monogram in small rubies and 


diamonds on the back of the watch. She had cer- 
tainly lent it — almost given it — to Diana^ and she 
herself was wearing Diana's own watch which Mr. 
and Mrs. Polydore May had given her as "a souve- 
nir of our darling child!'' It was all like a wild 
dream! — ^where bad this girl come from? 

"She is frightfully beautiful ! " exclaimed Sophy at 
last, in an outburst of excited feeling — ^''Simply un- 
eartiily ! Even if she were Diana, I could not have 
her here! — ^with me! — ^never — ^never! She would 
make me look so old! So plain — so unattractive! 
But of ooiu^e she is not Diana! — ^no 'beauty doctor* 
could make a woman over forty look like a girl of 
eighteen or less! She must be an adventiiress of 
some sort! She couldn't be so beautiful unless she 
were. But she won't palm herself off on me! My 
poor old Diana! I wonder what has become of 

Meanwhile ''poor old Diana/' somewhat perplexed 
by the failiire of her friend to accept her changed 
appearance on trust, was thinking out the ways and 
means of her new Ufe. She had plenty of money, 
for Dimitrius had placed two thousand pounds to 
her credit in a London bank, — a sum which she 
had no hesitation in accepting, as the price of her 
life, risked in his service. The thought now struck 
her that she would go to this bank, draw a small 
cheque, and explain that she had arrived alone in 
London, and wished to be recommended to some 
good hotel. This proved to be an excellent idea. 
The manager of the bank received her in his private 
office, and, fairly dazzled by her beauty, placed his 
friendliest services at her disposal, informing her 
that he was a personal friend of Dimitrius, and that 
he held him in the highest esteem and honour. To 
prove his sincerity he personally escorted her to a 
quiet private hotel of the hi^est respectability, 
chiefly patronised by "county^' ladies "above suspi- 


cion/' Here, on his recommendation, die took a 
small suite overlooking the Park. Becoming more 
and more interested in her youth, loveliness and 
loneliness, he listened sympathetically while she 
mentioned her wish to find some middle-aged lady 
of good family who would reside with her as & 
chaperone and companion for a suitable annual sal- 
ary, — and he promised to exert himself in active 
search for a person of quality who would be fitted 
for the post. He was a good-looking man, and 
though married, was susceptible to the charms of 
the fair sex, and it was with undisguised reluctance 
that he at last took his leave of the most beautiful 
creature he had ever seen, with many expressions 
of courtesy, and commiserating her enforced tempo- 
rary solitude. 

"I wish I could stay with you!" he said, regard- 
less of convention. 

"I'm sure you do!" answered Diana, sweetly. 
"Thank you so much! You have been most kind!" 

A look from the lovely eyes accompanied these 
simple words which shot like a quiver of lightmng 
through the nerves of the usually curt, self-possessed 
business man, and caused him to stammer confused- 
ly and move awkwardly as at last he left the room. 
When he was gone Diana laughed. 

"They are all alike!" she said — ^"All worshippers 
of outward show! Suppose that good man knew I 
was over forty? Why, he wouldn't look at mel" 

The manageress of the hotel just then entered, 
bringing Hie book in which all hotel visitors rois- 
tered their names. She was quite a stately person, 
attired in black silk, and addressed Diana with a 
motherly air, having been told by the bank manager, 
for whom she had a great respect, to have ^3od care 
of her. Diana wrote her name in a dashing, free 
hand, putting herself down as a Briti^ subject, 
and naming Geneva as her last place of residence, 


when her attention was arrested by a name three 
or four lines above that on which she was writing— 
and she paused, pen in hand. 

"Are those people stasdng here?" she asked. 

The manageress looked where she pointed. 

"Captain the Honourable Reginald Cleeve, Mra 
Cleeve, two daughters and maid," she said. "Yes— 
they are here, — they always come here during a part 
of the season." 

Diana finished writing her own inscription and 
laid down the pen. She was smiling, and her eyes 
were so densely blue and brilliant that the man- 
ageress was fairly startled. 

"I will dine in my room this evening," she said. 
"I have had a long journey, and am rather tired. 
To-morrow, perhaps, I'll come down to dinner " 

"Don't put yourself out at all about that," said 
the manageress, kindly. "It's not comfortable for 
a girl to dine in a room full of strangers — or per- 
haps you know Mrs. Cleeve and could sit at her 
table ?" 

"No — I do not know Mrs. Cleeve," said Diana, 
decidedly — "I've seen her at a charity bazaar and 
I believe she's very stout — ^but I claim no acquain- 

"She is stout," agreed the manageress with a smile. 
as she left the room. 

Diana stood still, absorbed in thought. Her fea- 
tures were aglow with some internal luminance, — 
her whole form was instinct with a mysteriously 
radiant vitality. 

"So Destiny plays my game!" she said, half aloud 
"On the very first day of my return to the scene 
of my poor earthly sorrows I lose an old friend and 
find an old lover!" 


Destiny having apparently taken sidea with Di- 
ana in her new existence, she lost no time in avail- 
ing herself of the varied and curious entertainment 
thrown in her way. The first thing she did on the 
next day but one of her arrival in London was to 
attempt a visit to her own former old home in 
Richmond, in order to see her '^bereaved" parents. 
A private automobile from the hotel was supplied 
for her use at the hour she named in the afternoon, — 
an hour when she knew by old experience her mother 
would be dozing on the sofa after lunch, and her 
father would be in a semi-somnolent condition over 
the day's newspaper. As she passed througjh the 
hotel lounge on her way to enter the car, she came 
face to face with her quondam lover, Captain the 
Honourable Reginald Cleeve, a heavily-built, fairly 
good-looking man of about fifty or more. She won- 
dered, as ^e saw him, what had become of the 
once rather refined contour of the features she had 
formerly admired, and why the eyes that had "looked 
love into eyes that spake again" were now so small 
and peepy, and half hidden under lids that were 
red and puffy. Dressed with a quiet elegance and 
simplicity, she moved slowly towards him, — he was 
lighting a cigar and preparing to go out, but as he 
cau^t sudden sight of her he dropped the lit match 
with a "By Jove!" stamped its flame out under his 
foot, and hastening to the hotel door of exit, opened 
it, and, lifting his hat, murmured "Allow me!" witii 
a glance of undisguised admiration. She bowed 
di^tly and smiled h^ thanks — ^her smile was most 
enchanting, creating as it were a dazzle of li^t in 



the ^es of those who beheld it, — ^then she passed 
out into the street, where the hotel porter assisted 
her into her automobile, and watched her being 
driven away till she had disappeared. Captain 
Cleeve strolled up to the hotel oflfice where the man- 
ageress sat at her desk, — ^he was on friendly terms 
with her, and could ask any question he liked. 

'Is that young lady staying here?" he now in- 
quired — "The one who has just gone out?" 

"Yes. She came two days ago from abroad. A 
very beautiful girl, is she not?" 

Cleeve nodded. 

"Rather! I never saw anjrthing like her. Do you 
know who she is?" 

"Her name is May, — ^Miss Diana May," replied 
the manageress. "She was reconunended here by, — 
dear me! Is there anything the matter?" 

For Captain the Honourable had gone suddenly 
white, and as suddenly become violently red in the 
face, while he gripped the edge of the counter against 
which he leaned as though afraid of falling. 

"No — ^no!" he answered, impatiently — ^"It's noth- 
ing! Are you sure that's her name? — ^Diana May?" 

"Quite sure! The manager of our bank brought 
her h«*e, e3q)Iaining that she had just arrived from 
Switzerland, where she has been educated — ^I think 
— in the house of one of his own friends who lives 
in Geneva — ^and that she was for the present alone 
in London. He is looking out for a lady chaperone 
and companion for her,— ^e has plenty of money." 

Cleeve pulled at his moustache nervously — ^then 
gave a forced lau^. 

"Curious!" he ejaculated — "I used to know a girl 
named Diana May years ago — ^before — ^before I was 
married. Not like this girl — ^no! — ^though she was 
pretty. I wonder if she's any relation? I must ask 

"She seemed to know your name when she saw 


it in our register/' said the manageress, '%r she 
inquired if you and your family were staying here. 
I said TTes' — and 'did die know Mrs. Cleeve?' — ^but 
she replied that she did not." 

Captain the Honourable had become absent-mind- 
ed, and murmured "Oh!" and "Ah!" as if he were 
not paying very much attention. He strolled away 
and out into the street, with the name "Diana May" 
ringing in his ears, and the vision of that exquisitely 
lovely girl before his eyes. A dull spark of resent- 
ment sprang up in him that he should be a married 
man with a wife too stout to tie her own shoes, 
and the father of children too plain-featured and 
ungraceful to be looked at a second time. 

"We are fools to marry at all!" he inwardly solilo- 
quized. "At fifty-five a man may still be a lover — 
and lover of a girl, too — ^when long before that age 
a woman is done for!" 

Meanwhile Diana was having adventures of a 
sufficiently amusing kind, had she retained the capar 
bility of being amused by anything "merely" human. 
She arrived at her former old home a little on the 
outskirts of Richmond, and bade the driva* of her 
automobile wait at the carriage gate, preferring to 
walk up the short distance of the drive to the house. 
How familiar and yet unfamiliar that wide sweep of 
neatly-rolled gravel was! banked up on each side 
with rhododendrons, through which came occasional 
glimpses of smooth green lawn and beds of summer 
flowers! How often she had weeded and watered 
those beds, when the gardener went oflf on a "booze," 
as had been his frequent custom, pretending he 
had been "called away" by the illness of a near rela- 
tive! Pausing on the doorstep of the house she 
looked around her, — everything was as it used to 
be, — ^the whole place expressing that unctuous pride 
and neatness ordinary to the suburban villa adorned 
by suburban taste. She rang the bell, and a smart 



parlour-maid appeared, — ^not one of the old "staff" 
which had been under Diana's management. 

"Is Mrs. Polydore May in?" she asked. 

The maid perked a saucy head. The dazzling 
beauty of the visitor offended her — she had claims 
to a land of music-hall prettiness herself. 

"Mrs. May is in, but she's resting and doesn't 
wish to be disturbed," she replied — "Unless you've 
some pertikler appointment — — " 

"My business is very urgent," said Diana, calmly. 
I am a relative of hers, just returned from abroad. 
I must see her — or Mr. May ^" 

"Perhaps Miss Preston " suggested the par- 

Diana smiled. Miss Preston I Who was she? A 
new inmate of the household? — a, companion for 
"Ma"— and "young" enough for "Pa"? 

"Yes — ^Miss Preston will do," she said, and forth- 
with she was shown into a shady little morning-- 
room which she well remembered, where she used 
to tot up the tradesmen's books and sort the bills. 
A saucy-looking girl with curly brown hair rose from 
the perusal of a novel and stared at her inquiringly 
and superciliously. 

"I have called to see Mrs. May" — she explained 
on very particular and personal business." 

"What name?" inquired the girl, with a stand- 
offish air. 

"The same as her own. Kindly tell her, please. 
Miss May." 

"I really don't know whether she will see you," 
said the girl, carelessly. "I am her secretary and 
companion " 

"So I imagine ! " and Diana, without being asked, 
sank gracefully into an easy chair, which she remem- 
bered as comfortable — "I was also her secretary and 
companion — for some time! She knows me v^y 




'Oh, in that caae ^But does she expect you?'' 

^THardly!" And Diana smiled. "But I'm sure 
she'll be glad to see me. You are Miss Preston? 
Yes? Well then, Miss Preston, do please go and 
teU her!" 

At that moment, a loud voice called: 

"Lucy! Loo— cee! Where's my pipe?" 

Diana laughed. 

"The same old voice!" she said. "That's Mr. 
May, isn't it? He's calling you — ^and he doesn't 
like being kept waiting, does he?" 

Miss Preston's face had suddenly flushed very red. 

"I'll tell Mrs. May," she stammered, and hur- 
riedly left the room. 

Diana gazed about her on all the little familiar 
things she had so often dusted and arranged in 
their different plases. They were all so vastly re- 
moved now in association that they might have 
been relics of the Stone Age so far as she was con- 
cerned. All at once the door opened and a reddish 
face peered in, adorned with a white terrier mous- 
tache — then a rather squat body followed the face 
and "Pa" stood reveal^. With an afiFable, not to 
say engaging air, he said: 

"I beg your pardon! Are you waiting to see any- 

Diana rose, and her exquisite beauty and el^ance 
swept over his little sensual soul like a simoon. 

"Yes!" she answered, sweetly, while he stared like 
A man hypnotised — "I want to see Mrs. May — and 

"Me!" he responded, eagwly — "I am only too 

"But I had better speak to Mrs. May first," she 
continued — "I have something very strange to tell 
her about her daughter " 

"Her daughter! Our daughter! My poor Di- 
ana!" And Mr. May immediately put on the man- 


ner of a pious grocer selling short weight — ^''Our 
darling was drowned last summer!— drowned! 
Drowned while bathing in a dangerous cove on the 
Devon coast. Terrible — ^terrible! — And she was 

80 " 

''Young?" su^ested Diana, sjrmpathetically. 

''No — er — ^no! — not exactly young! — she was not 
a girl like you! — ^no! — ^but die was so — so useful — 
so adaptable! And you have something strange to 
tell us about her? — ^well, why not begin with me?" 

He approached her more closely wiQi a "conquer- 
ing" smile. She repressed her inclination to laugh, 
and said, seriously: 

"No— I really think I had better explain matters 
to Mrs. May first — and I should like to be quite 
alone, please, — ^without Miss Preston." 

At that moment Miss Preston returned and said : 

"Mrs. May will se^ you." Then, addressing Mr. 
May, die added: "This lady says she is some rela- 
tive of yours — ^her name is May." 

Mr. James PolydoreV small grey-green eyes 
opened as widely as their lids would aJlow. 

"A relative?" he repeated. "Surely you are mis- 
taken?— I hardly think " 

"Please don't perplex yourself!" said Diana, sweet- 
ly. "I will explain everything to Mrs. May — ^she 
will remember! Can I go to her now?" 

"Certainly ! " and Mr. May looked bewildered, but 
was too much overwhelmed by his visitor's queenly 
air and surpassing loveliness to collect his wits, or 
ask any very pressing questions. "Let me show you 
the way!" 

He preceded her along the passage to the drawing- 
room where Mrs. May, newly risen from the sofa, 
stood waiting to receive her mysterious caller, — fat- 
ter and flabbier than ever, and attired in an ill- 
fitting grey gown with "touches" of black about it 
by way of the remainder of a year's mourning. Di- 


ana knew that old grey gown well^ and had often 
deplored its ''cut" and generally hopeless floppi]ie6& 

"Margaret," announced Mr. May, with a jaunly 
air — "Here is a very channing young lady come to 
see you — ^Miss May!" Then to Diana: "As you 
wish to have a private talk, I'll leave you, and re- 
tiun in a few minutes." 

"Thanks very much!" answered Diana, — ^and the 
next moment the door closed, and she was left alone, 
with — ^her mother. No emotion moved her, — ^not a 
shadow of tendemes8,--H3he only just wondaned how 
she ever came to be bom of such a curious-looking 
person ! Mrs. May stared at her with round, unin- 
telligent eyes like those of a codfish just landed. 

"I have not the — ^the pleasure " she b^an. 

Diana advanced a step or two, holding out h^ 
hands. "Don't you know me?" she said, at once — 

Mrs. May sidled feebly backwards like a round 
rickety table on castors, and nearly fell against the 

"Don't you know my voice?" went on Diana — 
"The voice you have heard talking to you for over 
forty years? — ^I am your daughter! — ^your own 
daughter, Diana! I am, indeed. I was not drowned 
though I let you all think I was! — I ran away be- 
cause I was tired of my humdrum life at home! I 
went abroad fDr a year and I have just come back. 
Oh, surely something will tell you I am your own 
child! A mother's instinct, you know!" And she 
laughed, — a little laugh of chilliest satire. "I have 
grown much younger, I know — I will tell you all 
about that and the strange way it was done! — but 
I'm really your Diana! Your dear drowned *girl!'— 
I am waiting for you to put your arms round me 
and tell me how glad you are to have me back alive 
and wen !" 

Mrs. May backed closer up against the wall and 


thrust both her hands out in a defensive attitude. 
Hw gooseberry eyes rolled in her head, — ^her small, 
pursy mouth opened as though gasping for air. Not 
a word did she utter till Diana made a swift, half- 
running step towards her, — ^when she suddenly emit- 
ted a &rill scream like a railway whistle— another 
and yet another. There was a scamper of feet out- 
side, — ^then the door was thrown open and Mr. May 
and Miss Preston rushed in. 

''What's the matter? What on earth is the mat- 
ter?" they cried, simultaneously. 

Mrs. May, cowering against the wall, pointed at 
her beautiful visitor. 

"Take her away I Get hold of her!" she yelled. 
*'Get hold of her quick! Send for the police! She's 
mad! Aa-aah! You've let a lunatic into the house! 
She's run away from some asylum! Lucy Preston, 
you ought to be ashamed of yourself to let her in. 
James, you're a fool! Aa-aah!" Another wild 
scream. ''Look how she's staring at me ! She says 
she's my dau^ter Diana — ^my daughter who was 
drowned last year ! She's stark, raving mad ! James, 
send for a doctor and a policeman to remove her! — 
take care! — she may turn round and bite you! — you 
can never tell Oh, dear, oh, dear! To think that 
with my weak heart, you should let a mad girl into 
the house! Oh, cruel, cruel! And to think she 
should imagine herself to be my daughter Diana!" 

Diana drew herself up like a queen addressing her 

"I am your dau^ter Diana!" she said — ^"Thoug^ 
how I came to be bom of such people I cannot teUI 
For I have nothing in common with you. But I 
have told you the truth. I was not drowned on the 
Devon coast in that cove near Rose Lea as I led 
you to imagine— I was tired of my life with you and 
ran away. I have been in Switzerland for a year 
and have just come back. I thou^t it was my 


duty to show myself to you alive— but I want you 
as little as you want me. I will go. Good-bye! — 
Good-bye you, who were my mother!" 

As she said this Mrs. May uttered another yell, 
and showed signs of collapsing on the floor. Miss 
Preston hurried to her assistance, while Mr. May, his 
knees shaJdng under hhn,— for he was an arrant 
coward, — ^ventured cautiously to approach the beau- 
tiful "escaped lunatic." 

"There, there I " he murmured soothingly, — ^he had 
an idea that "there, tiiere," was a panacea for all the 
emotions of the sex feminino— "Come! — ^now— er — 
come with me, like a good girl! Be reasonable and 
gentle! — I'll take care of you! — ^you know you are 
not allowed to go wandering about by yourself like 
this, with such strange ideas in your head! — Now 
come along quietly, and I'll see what I can do " 

Diana laughed merrily. 

"Oh, Pa! Poor old Pa! Just the same Pa! Don't 
trouble yourself and don't look so frightened! I 
won't ^bite' you! My car is waiting and I have 
to be back at the hotel in time for dinner." And 
she stepped lightly along out of the drawing-room 
without one backward glance at the moaning Mrs. 
May, supported by Miss Preston, while James Poly- 
dore followed her, vaguely wondering whether her 
mention of a car in waiting might not be something 
like crazed Ophelia's call for "Come, my coach!" 

Suddenly dbe said: 

"Is Grace Laurie still with you?" 

He stared, thoroughly taken aback. 

"Grace Laurie? My wife's maid? She married 
and went to Australia six months ago. How could 
you know her?" 

"As your daughter Diana, I knew her, of course!" 
she replied. "Poor Grace! She was a kind girl! 
She would have recognised my voice, I'm sure. Is 
it possible you don't?" 


"I don't, indeed 1** answered "Pa" csautiously, while 
using his best efforts to get her out of the house — 
"Come, come! I'm very sorry for you, — ^you are 
evidently one of those 'lost identity* cases of which 
we so often hear — ^and you are far too pretty to be 
in such a sad condition of mind! You see, you 
don't know yourself, and you don't know what you're 
talking about! My daughter Diana was not like 
you at all, — she was a middle-aged woman — ^Ah ! — 
over forty " 

"So she was — so she isT said Diana — 'Tm over 
forty! But, Pa, why give yourself away? It makes 

She threw him such a smile, and such a glance of 
arrowy brilliancy that his head whirled. 

"Poor child, poor child!" he mumbled, taking her 
daintily-gloved hand and patting it. "Far gone! — 
far gone, indeed! And so beautiful, too! — so very 
beautiful ! " Here he kissed the hand he had grasped. 
'There, there! You are almost normal! Be quite 
good ! Here we are at the door — now, are you sure 
you have a car? Shall I come with you?" 

Diana drew her hand away from her father's hold,^ 
and her laugh, silvery sweet, rang out in a little peal 
of mirth. 

"No, Pa! Fond as you are of the ladies, you can- 
not make love to your own daughter! The Prayer 
Book forbids! Besides, a mad girl is not fit for your 
little gallantries! You poor dear! One year has 
aged you rather badly! Aren't you a leetle old for 
Miss Preston?" 

A quick flush overspread James Polydore's already 
rubicund countenance, and he blinked his eyes in a 
special "manner" which he was accustomed to use 
when feigning great moral rectitude. More than 
ever convinced that his visitor was insane, he con- 
tinued to talk on in blandly soothing accents: 

"Ah, I see your car? And no one with you? 


Dear, dearl I wish I oould escort you to — ^to wher- 
ever you are going " 

''No, you don't — ^not just now!" said Diana, laugh- 
ing. "You're too scared! But perhaps another 
time " 

She swung lightly away from him, and moved with 
her floating grace of step along the drive to the 
carriage gate, where the car waited. The driver 
jiunped down and opened the door for her. She 
sprang in, while James Polydore, panting after her, 
caught the chauffeur by the coat-sleeve. 

"I don't think this young lady knows where she 
is going," he said, cond&dentially. ''Where did you 
find her?" 

The chauffeur stared. 

"She's at our hotel," he answ^:^ — ^"And I'm driv- 
ing her back there." 

Here Diana put her head out of the window, — 
her fair face radiant with smiles. 

"You see, it's all right!" she said— "Don't bother 

about me! You know the Hoteriooking over 

ihe Park? Well, I'm there just now, but not for 

"No, I'm sure not for long!" thought the bewil- 
dered James Polydore. "You'll be put in a 'home* 
for mental cases if you haven't run away from one 
already!" And it was with a great sense of relief 
that he watched the chauffeur "winding up" and 
preparing to move off — the lunatic would have no 
chance to "bite" him, as his wife had suggested! 
But how beautiful she was! For the life of him he 
could not forbear treating her to one of his "conquer- 
ing" smiles. 

"Good-bye, dear child!" he said. "Take care of 
yourself! Be quite good! I — ^I will come and see 
you at your — ^your hotel" 

Diana laughed again. 

"I'm sure you will! Why, Pa dear, you won't be 


able to keep away I The antique Mrs. Ross-Perci- 
val, whom you so much admire, is not 'the' only 
beautiful woman in London! Do remember that! 

The car moved . rapidly off, leaving James Poly- 
dore in a chaotic condition of mind. He was, of 
course, absolutely convinced that the girl who called 
herself his daughter Diana was the victim of a craze, 
but how or when she became thus obsessed was a 
mystery to him. He re-entered his house to struggle 
with the wordy reproaches of his better-half, and to 
talk the matter over privately with the "companion 
secretary," Lucy Preston, whose attention he thou^t 
more safely assured by a feie-d-fete, which appar- 
ently obliged him to put his arm round her waist 
and indulge in sundry other agreeable endearments. 
But the exquisite beauty of the "escaped lunatic" 
haunted him, and he made up his mind to see her 
again at all costs, mad or sane, and make searching 
inquiries concerning her. 

Diana herself, speeding back to her hotel, realised 
afresh the immensity of the solitude into which her 
new existence plunged her. Her own father and 
mother did not recognise her, — ^her most trusted 
friend, Sophy Lansing, refused to acknowledge her 
identity — ^well ! — she was indeed "born again" — ^bom 
of strange elements in which things human played 
no part, and she must needs accept the position. 
The saving grace of it all was that she felt no emo* 
tion, — ^neither sadness nor joy — neither fear nor 
shame; — she was, or she felt herself to be a strange 
personality apart from what is understood as human 
life, yet conscious of a life superior to that of hu- 
manity. If a ray of light hovering above a world 
of shadows could be imagined as an entity, a being, 
such would most accurately have described her curi- 
ous individuality. 

That same evening her banker called upon her, 


bringing with him a pleasant motherly-looking lady 
whom he introduced as Mrs. Beresford, a widow, 
whose straitened circumstance made her v«y anx- 
ious to obtain some position of trust, with an ade- 
quate salary. Her agreeable and kindly manners, 
gentle voice, and imdeniable good breeding im- 
pressed Diana at once in ha* favour, — and then and 
there a settlement between them was effected, mudi 
to the rehef and satisfaction of the worthy banker, 
who, without any hesitation, said that he ''could 
not rest till he felt sure Miss May was under good 
protection and care" — ^at which she laughed a little 
but expressed her gratitude as prettily as any "girl" 
might be expected to do. She invited him and her 
newly-engaged chaperone to dine witii her, and they 
all three went down to the hotel dining-room to- 
gether, where, of course, Diana's amazing beauty 
made her the observed of all observers. Espedally 
did Captain the Honourable Reginald Cleeve, seated 
at a table with an alarmingly stout wife and two 
equally alarmingly plain daughters, stare openly and 
admiringly at tibe fair enchantress with the wonder- 
ful sea-blue eyes and dazzling complexion, and deep- 
ly did he ruminate in his mind as to how he could 
best approach her, and ask whetiier she happened to 
be any relative to the "Diana May" he had once 
known. He made an opportunity after dinner, when 
she passed through the lounge hall with her com- 
panions, and paused for a moment to look at the 
"Programme of Entertainments in London" dis- 
played for the information of visitors. 

"Pray excuse me!" he said — "I chanced to hear 
your name — may I ask " 

"Anything!" Diana answered, smiling, while Mrs. 
Beresford, already alert, came closer. 

"I used to know," went on the Captain, becom- 
ing rather confused and hesitating — ^"a Miss Diana 
May — I wondered if you were any relative ?" 


'Tfes, indeed!" said Diana, cheerfully — "I am! — 
quite a near relative! Do come and see me to-mor- 
row, will you? I have often heard! of Captain 
Cleeve! — and his dear wife! — and his sweet girls! 
Yes! — do come! Mrs. Beresford and I will be so 

Here she took her new chaperone's arm and gave 
it a little suggestive squeeze, by way of assuring 
her that all was as it should be, — and with another 
bewildering smile, and a reiterated ''Do come!" she 
passed on, with her banker (who had become a little 
stiff and standoJ£sh at the approach of Captain 
Cleeve) and Mrs. Beresford, and so disappeared. 

Cleeve tugged vexedly at his moustache. 

"A 'near relative,' is she? Then she knows! Or 
— ^perhaps not! She's too young — not more than 
eighteen at most. And ihe old Diana must be quite 
forty-five! Hang it all! — this girl might be her 
daughter — but old Diana never married — just like 
some old maids 'faitiiful to a memory!' " He laughed. 
"By Jove ! I remember now ! She got drowned last 
year— old Diana did!— drowned somewhere in Dev- 
onshire. I read about it in the papers and tiiought 
what a jolly good thing! Poor old Diana! And 
this little beauty is a 'near relative,' is she? Well — 
well! — ^we'll see! To-morrow!" 

But when to-morrow came, it brought him no elu- 
cidation of tiie mystery. Diana had left the hotel. 
The manageress explained that through Mrs. Beres- 
ford she had heard of a very charming furnished flat 
which she thought would suit her, and which she 
had suddenly decided to take, and she had gone to 
make the final arrangements. 

"She left this note for you," said the manageress, 
handing Cleeve a letter. "She remembered she had 
asked you to call on her this afternoon." 

He took tiie letter with a sudden qualm of 
**nerve8." It was simple enough. 


"Dbar Captain Clebvb" (it ran), 

"So sorry to put you off, but Mrs. B^^ord 
and I are taking a flat and we shall be rather bu^ 
for ,the next few days, putting things in ord^. After 
that will you come and see me at the above address? 

"Yours sincerely, 

"Diana May." 

That wad aU, — ^but while reading it, Captain the 
Honourable's head swam round and round as if he 
were revolving in a wheel. For though the letter 
purported to come from a "yoimg*' Diana, the hand- 
writing — tiie painfully familiar handwriting — ^was 
that of the "old" Diana! 


Gbnitts takes a century or more to become recog- 
nised, — ^but Beauty illumines this mortal scene as 
swiftly as a flash-Ught. Brief it may be, but none 
the less brilliant and blinding ; and men who are for 
the most part themselves unintelligent and care next 
to nothing for intellectuality, go down like b^ten 
curs under the spell of physical loveliness, when it is 
united to a dominating consciousness of charm. Con- 
sciousness of charm is a powerful magnet. A wom- 
an may be beautiful, but if she is of a nervous or 
retiring disposition and sits awkwardly in the back- 
ground twiddling her thumbs she is never a success. 
She must know her own power, and, knowing it, 
must exercise it ^'Old" Diana May had failed to 
learn this lesson in the days of her girlhood,— she 
had believed, with quite a touching filial faith, in 
the pious and excessively hjrpocritical twaddle her 
father talked, about the fascination of '^modest, pret- 
ty girls, who were unconscious of their beautjr" — 
with the result that she had seen him, with other 
men, avoid such ''modest, pretty girls'' altogether, 
and pay devoted court to mmodest, "loud" and im- 
pertinent women, who asserted their "made-up" 
good looks with a frank boldness which "drew" the 
men on like a shoal of herrings in a net, and left the 
"modest, pretty girls" out in the cold. "Old" Diana 
had, by devotion to duty and constancy in love, 
missed all her chances, — but the "young" Diana, 
albeit "of mature years," knew better now than to 
"miss" anything. She was mistress of her own situa- 
tion, so completely that the hackneyed expression of 
"all London at her feet" for once proclaimed a literal 



truth. London is, on the whole, very ready to have 
something to wor^ip, — it is easily led into a "craze." 
It is a sort of Caliban among cities, — ^a monster that 
capers in drink and curses in pain, having, as Shake- 
speare says of his uncouth creation : "A forward voice 
to speaJk well of his friend," and a "backward voice 
to utter foul speeches and detract." But for once 
London was unanimous in giving its verdict for Di- 
ana May as the most beautiful creature it had ever 
seen. Photographers, cinemsrproducers, dressmak- 
ers, tailors, jewellers besieged her; she was like the 
lady of the Breton legend, who lived at the top of 
a brazen tower, too smooth and polished for anyone 
to climb it, or for any ladder to be supported against 
it, and whose face at the window drove all beholders 
inad with longing for ihe unattainable. One society 
versifier made a spurt of fame for himself by describ- 
ing her as "a maiden goddess moulded from a 
dream," whereat other society versifiers were jealous, 
and made a little commotion in the press by way 
of advertisement. But Diana herself, the centre 
of all the stir, showed no sijgn of either knowing or 
appreciating the social excitement concerning her, 
and her complete indifference only made her more 
desirable in the eyes of her ever-increasing crowd 
of admu-ers. 

Once established in her flat with her chaperone, 
Mrs. Beresford, she lived the most curiously re- 
moved life from all the humanity that surged and 
seethed around her. The few appearances she made 
at operas, theatres, restaurants and the like were suf- 
ficient to hft her into the sphere of the recognised 
and triumphant "beauty" of tiie day. Coarse and 
vulgar seemed aU the "faked" portraits of the hsdf- 
nude sirens of stage and music-hall in the pictorial 
press, compared with the rare glimpses of the ether- 
eal, almost divine loveliness which was never per- 
mitted to be copied by any painter or photographer. 


Once only did an eager camera-man press the button 
of his ''snapshot'' machine face to face with Diana 
as she came out of a flower-show, — ^she smiled kind- 
ly as she passed him and he tiiought himself in heav- 
en. But when he came to develop his negative it 
was "fogged," as though it had had the light in front 
of it instead of behind it, as photography demands. 
This accident was a complete mystification, as he 
had been more than usually careful to take up a cor- 
rect position. However, other photographers were 
just as unfortunate, and none were able to obtain so 
much as a faint impression of the fair features which 
dazzled every male beholder who gazed upon them. 
Artists, even the most renowned R.A.'s, were equally 
disappointed, — ^she, the unapproachable, the cold, 
yet enchanting "maiden goddess moulded from a 
dream" would not "sit" to any one of them, — would 
not have anything to do with them at all, in fact — 
and fled from them as though she were a Daphne 
pursued by many Apollos. A very short time suf- 
ficed to surround her with a crowd of adorers and 
would-be lovers, chief and most persistent among 
them being Captain the Honourable Reginald 
Cleeve, and — that antique Adonis, her fatiier, James 
Polydore May. The wortiiy James had all his life 
been in the habit of forming opinions which were 
diametrically opposed to the opinions of everyone 
else, — ^and pursuing this course always to his own 
satisfaction, he had come to the conclusion tiiat this 
"Diana May" who declared herself to be his daugh- 
ter, was an artful demi-mondaine and adventuress 
with a "craze." He had frequently heard of people 
who imagined themselves to be tiie reincarnated 
embodiments of the dead. "Why, God bless my soul, 
I should think so!" he said to a man at the Club 
who rallied him about his openly expressed admira^ 
tion for the "new beauty" who bore the same name 
as that of his "drowned" dau^ter — ^^'I met a woman 


once who told me she was the reincarnation of Cleo- 
patra! Now this girl, just because she happens to 
have my name, sticks to her idea, that ^e is my 
Diana " 

"You'd like her to be, wouldn't you?" chuckled his 
friend. "But if she takes you for her fath^ " 

"She does — poor child, she does!" and James Poly- 
dore May sighed. "You would hardly believe 
it " 

"Why not?" — ^and the friend chuckled again—- 
'You're quite old enough!" 

With this unkind shot from a bent bow of malice 
he went off, leaving James Polydore in an angry 
fume. For he— James — was not "old" — ^he assuml 
himself — ^he was not old, — he would not be old! His 
wife was "old" — ^women age so quickly!— but he — 
why he was "in the prime of life;" all men ov«r six- 
ty are — ^in their own opinion. The beautiful Diana 
had ensnared him, — ^and his sensual soul being of 
gross quality, was sufiSiciently stimulated by h» 
phsrsical charm to make hiin eager to know all he 
could of her. She herself had not been in the least 
surprised when he found out her address and came 
to visit her. The presence of Mrs. Beresford rath^ 
disconcerted him, — that lady's quiet good sense, ^e- 
gant manners and evident affection for the lovely 
"girl" she chaperoned, were a little astonishing to 
him. Such a woman could not be the keeper of a 
lunatic? Diana never entered into the matter of 
her relationship with James Polydore to Mrs. Beres- 
ford, — it entertained her more or less ironical hu- 
mour to see her own father playing the ardent admir- 
er, and whenever Mr. May called, as he often did, she 
always had some laughing remark to make about 
her "old relative," who was, she declared, "rather 
a bore." Mrs. Beresford was discreet enou^ to adk 
no questions, and so James Polydore came and went^ 
getting no "forrader" with the fair one, notwitfa* 


standing all his efforts to make himself agreeable^ 
aiid to dislodge from her mind the strange obses- 
sion which possessed it. 

One day he went to see Sophy Lansing — ^never a 
favourite of his — and tried to find out what she 
thought of the "Diana May" whose name was now 
almost one to conjure with. But Sophy had little 
patience to bestow on him. 

"An adventuress, of course I" she declared. "I am 
surprised you don't take Ihe trouble to prosecute her 
for presuming to pass herself off as your daughterl 
And I'U tell you this much — Diana — your Diana — 
never was drowned!" 

James Polydore's mouth opened, — ^he stared, won- 
dmng if he had heard aright. 

"Never was drowned?" he echoed, feebly. 

"No ! Never was drowned !" repeated Sophy, firm- 
ly. "She ran away from you — and no wonder! You 
were alwa}rs a bore, — ^and she was always being re- 
proached as an 'old maid' and 4n the way.' She 
slaved for you and her mother from morning tiU 
night and never had a kind word or a Ihank-you. / 
advised her to break away from Ihe hum-drum life 
you made her lead, and on that morning when you 
thought her drowned, she came to me! Ah, you 
may stare! She did! She saw an advertisement in 
a French paper of a scientist in Geneva wanting a 
lady assistant to help him in his work, and she went 
there to try for the situation and got it. I rigged her 
out and lent her some money. She's paid it all back, 
and for all I know she's in Geneva stUl, though she's 
under an agreement not to write to anyone or give 
her address. She's been gone a year now." 

Mr. May's dumpy form stiffened visibly. 

"May I ask," he said, pompously — ^"May I ask, 
Miss Lansing, why you have not thou^t proper to 
conmiunicate these — ^these strange circimostances to 
me before?" 


Sophy lauded 

''Because I promiaed Diana I wouldn't," she an- 
swerecL ''She knew and / knew that you and Mrs. 
May would be p^ectly happy without her. She 
has tsken h^* freedom, and I hope shell keep it!'' 

"Then — my daug^t^ is — ^presumably — still 
alive?'' he said. "And instead of dying, she has — 
weD! — deserted us?" 

"Exactly!" replied Sophy. "I would give jrou 
the name of the scientist for whom she is or was 
working, only I suppose you'd write and make trou- 
ble. When I had, as I thought, a letter firom har the 
other day, saying she was returning to London, I 
got everything ready here to receive her — but when 
this artful girl turned up " 

"Oh, the girl came to see you, did she?" Mr. May 
mumbled. "The — ^the adventuress ?" 

"Of course she did ! — and actually brou^t me my 
watch-bracelet — one I had lent to Diana — ^as a sort 
of proof of identity. But of course nothing can 
make a woman of forty a girl of eighteen!" 

Mr. May put his hand to his bewildered head. 

"No — ^no — of course not!-j-I — I must tell Mrs. 
May our daughter is alive — ^it will be a shock — of 
surprise " 

"No doubt!" said Sophy, sharply. "But she's 
dead to you! Remember that! If I didn't fear to 
make trouble for her I'd wire to her employer at 
Geneva about this pretender to her name — only it 
wouldn't do any good, and I'd rather not interfare. 
And I advise you not to go dangling after the 'new 
beauty,' as she's called — you really are too old for 
that sort of thing!" 

Mr. May winced. Then he drew himself up with 
an effort at dignity. 

"I shall endeavour to trace my dau^ter," he said. 
"And I regret I cannot rely on your assistance, Miss 
Lansing! You have deceived us very greaUy ** 


'Twaddle I" interrupted Miss Lansing, defiantly. 
''You made Diana wretched — ^and she'd have gone 
on housekeeping for you till she had lost all pleasure 
in living, — now she^s got a good salary and a situa- 
tion which is satisfactory, and I'll never help you to 
drag her back to the old jog-trot of attending ta 
your food and comfort. ^ So there! As for ihis, *bo- 
gus' Diana^ l^e best tiling you can do is to go and 
tell her you know aU about it, and that she can't 
take you in any more." 

"She's the most beautiful thing ever seen!" he 
said, suddenly and with determination. 

Sophy Lansing gave him an ''all over" glance of 
utter contempt. 

"What's that to you if she is?" she demanded. 
"Will you never recognise your age? She might be 
yoiu* daughter — almost your granddaughter! And 
you want to make love to her? Bah!" 

With a scornful sweep of her garments she left 
him, and he found his way out of the house more 
like a man in a dream than in a reality. He could 
hardly believe that what she had told him was ttue 
— ^that Diana — ^his daughter Diana, was alive after 
all! He wondered what effect the news would have 
on his wife? After so much "mourning" and expres- 
sions of "terrible shock," — the whole (drowning busi- 
ness was turned into something of a comedy! 

"Miss Lansing ought to be ashamed of herself!" 
he thought, indignantly. "A regular hypocrite! 
Why, she wrote a letter of sympathy and 'deep sor- 
row' for the loss of her 'darling Diana!' Disgrace- 
ful! And if the story is true and Diana has really 
run away from us, we should be perfectly justified 
in disowning her!" 

Full of mingled anger and bewilderment he decid- 
ed to go and see the "adventuress" known as Diana 
May and tell her all. She would not, he thou^t, 
pretend any longer to be his daughter if she knew 


that his daughter was living. He found her in the 
loveliest of ''rest gowns," reclining on a sofa with a 
book in her hand, — she scarcely stirred from her at- 
titude of perfect ease as he entered, except to turn 
her head roimd on her satin pillow and smile at him. 
Quite unnerved by that smile, he sat down beside her 
and taking her hand raised it to his lips. 

''What a gallant little Pa it is!" she observed, laz- 
ily. "I wonder what 'Ma* would say if she saw you !" 

He put on an air of mild severity. 

"My dear girl," he said. "I wish you would stop 
all this nonsense and be sensible ! I have heard some 
news to-day which ought to put an end to your pre- 
tending to be what you are not My dau^ter — my 
real daughter Diana — ^is alive." 

Diana laughed. 

"Of course ! Very much so ! I should not be hwe 
if she were not. Do I seem dead?" 

He made a gesture of impatience. 

"Tut, tut! If you wiZi persist " 

"Naturally I will persist!" she sidd, sitting up on 
the sofa, her delicate laces falling about her like a 
cloud and her fair head lifted like that of a pictured 
angel — "I am Diana! I suppose youVe been seeing 
Sophy Lansing — she's the only living being who 
knows my story and even she doesn't recognise me 
now. But I can't help her obstinacy, or yours! I 
am Diana!" 

"Jlf y daughter," said Mr. May, with emphasia— 
"is in Geneva " 

"TTcw," interrupted Diana. "And is — ^here!" 

Mr. May gave a groan of utter deq)air. 

"No use — ^no use!" he said. "One might as well 
argue with the wind as with one of these mentally 
obsessed persons! Perfectly hopeless! — hope- 
less !" 

Diana ^rang off her sofa and stood erect, con- 
fronting him. 


"See here!" she said — "When I lived at home with 
you, eacrificing all my time to you and my mother, 
and only thinking of my duty to you both, you found 
me *in the way.' Why? Merely because I was 
growing old. You never thought there was any 
cruelty in despising me for a fault which seems com- 
mon to all nature. You never cared to consider 
that you yourself were growing old I — ^no, for you 
still seek to play the juvenile and the amorous! 
What you men consider legitimate in your own sex, 
you judge ridiculous in ours. You look upon me 
as *young' — ^when in very truth I am of the age of 
the same Diana whom as your daughter you wearied 
of — ^but youth has been given to my 'mature years' 
in a way which you in your ignorance of all science 
would never dream of. You, like most men, judge 
by outward appearances only. The physical, which 
is perishable, attracts you — and you have no belief 
in the spiritual, which is imperishable. But the 
spiritual wins!" 

Mr. May sat winking and blinking under this out* 
burst, which was to hun entirely mcomprehensible, 
though he was. uncomfortably conscious of the radi- 
ance of eyes that played their glances upon him like 
beams from fiery stars. 

"There, there!" he said at last, nervously, — ^re- 
sorting to his usual soothing formula — ^"You are 
overwrought — a little hysterical — a sudden access 
of this — this unfortunate mistaken identity trouble. 
I will come back and talk to you another day " 

"Why should you come back?" she demanded. 
'*What do you want of me?" 

James Polydore was somewhat confused by this 
straight question. What indeed did he want of her? 
He was too much of a moral coward to formulate the 
answer, even to himself. She was beautiful, and 
he wanted to caress her beauty,— -old as he was, he 
would have liked to kiss that exquisite mouth, curved 


like a rose-petal, and run his wrinkled fingers 
through the warm and lavish gold of the hair Siat 
waved over the white brow and small ears like rip- 
pling sunshine. He waa afflicted by the disease of 
senile amourousness for all women — ^but for ^is one 
in particular he was ready and eager to go to all 
lengths of fatuous foolishness possible to an old man 
in love, if he could only have been sure she was 
not insane! While he stood hesitating, and twitdi- 
ing his eyelids in the peculiar ''mannei^' he affected 
when he had thoughts to conceal, she answered her 
own question for him. 

"You want to make love to me," she said. "As I 
have told you before, that can't be done. I am your 
daughter,— deny it aa you may to the end, notiiing 
can alter the fact. Do you remember the man I was 
engaged to?— Captain Cleeve? — ^the 'Honourable' 
Eeginald Cleeve?" 

At this he was fairly startled and he gave a gasp 
of astonishment. 

"I remember the man my daughter was engaged 
to," he said. "His name was Cleeve. But he is 
married " 

"Very much so!" and Diana smiled. "But that 
doesn't prevent his making love to me — ^and I let 
him do it! You see, he's no relation! — ^and I don't 
consider his fat wife any more than he considered 
me when he married her and threw me over! But 
he's like you — ^he doesn't believe I'm the old Diana!" 

"Of course not!" and Mr. May expanded his diest 
with a long breath of superior wisdom. "I should 
like to see him and talk to him about you and 
your sad condition of mind ^" 

"No doubt you would, but you won't," said Diana 
calmly. "I have forbidden him to go near you for 
the present. He dare not ask any questions about 
-till — ^till I have done with him!" 

What a look there was in her eyes! James Poly* 


dore shrank under it as though it blinded him. 

"Dare not? Done with him?" he echoed stupidly. 

She laughed, quite sweetly. 

"There, poor Pa, do go home! Pay your attentions 
to my mother's companion, Miss Preston — if she 
really likes your endearments, why, then, 'crabbed 
age and youth' may live together! Poor mother! 
She never found out all your little ways! — ^some of 
them she discovered by chance — ^but / knew them 
all! What would you give to be as young as I am 
at jnour age! 'Too late, too late! — ^ye cannot enter 
now!'" Her laughter rang out again, — then ap- 
proaching him, she laid her hands lightly on his 
shoulders and kissed him. "There, that's a true 
daughter's kiss! — ^make the best of it, dear Pa! Go 
home and be a good, nice, moral old man! — sit on 
one side of the fireplace with Ma on the other, and 
settle down into Darby and Joan! — such a nice 
couple! — ^with a dash of Miss Preston between to 
keep up your spirits! And don't come back here 
ever! — ^unless you accept the true position we oc- 
cupy of father and daughter — father growing old, 
and daughter growing young!" 

Standing in the centre of the room, with the soft 
ivory diifFon and lace of her "rest gown" trailing 
about her like the delicate curt floating across a 
summer sky, she appeared like a vision of something 
altogether beyond mere woman, and as the little 
gross, sensual man who had been her father looked 
at her, a sudden unnameable terror overcame him. 
His limbs shook — ^his brain reeled, — ^within himself 
a frightened sense of something supernatural par- 
alysed his will — ^and he made for the door like a man 
groping in the dark. She threw it open for him with 
a queenly gesture of dismissal. 

"Tell my mother " she said, "that her daughter 
is truly alive, and that she has kissed you! — ^not as 
the 'old' but as the young Diana! Don't forget!'^ 


The chaotic condition of mind into whidi Mr. 
Polydore May found himself plunged by what to 
him was the inexplicable and crazy conduct of the 
inexplicable and crazy young woman who so obsti- 
nately maintained her right to consider herself hia 
daughter, was nothing to the well-nigh raving state 
of Captain the Honourable Reginald Cleeve, who 
was faced with a still more intolerable position. He, 
when he had first called upon Diana as she had in- 
vited him to do, experienced something in the nature 
of a thunder-clap, when she explained, with mudi 
gracious, albeit cold composure, tiiat she was his for- 
mer betrothed whom he had "jilted" for a younger 
and wealthier woman. If he had been sudd^ily 
hypnotised by a remorseless conjurer, he could not 
have been more stricken into speechless and incredu- 
lous amazement. He sat in a chair opposite to his 
fair and smiling informant, staring helplessly, while 
she, having had tea brought in, prepared him a cup 
with hospitable ease and condescension. 

"When you got iiie note I left for you at the 
hotel," she said, "surely you recognised my hand- 

Still staring, he moistened his dry lips with his 
tongue and tried to speak. 

"Your handwriting?" he stammered — ^"I — ^I 
thou^t it very like the handwriting of— of anoth^ 
Diana May I used to know " 

'Tes — another Diana May," she said, bending her 
grave dear eyes upon him — ^"A Diana May whose 



life you ruthlessly spoiled, — ^whose trust in men and 
things you murdered — and why! Because you met 
a woman with more money, who was younger than 
I — I, who had aged through waiting patiently for 
you, aa you had asked me to do— l)ecause you 
thought tiiiat by the time you returned from India 
I should be what Society caJls passed And for sudi 
callous and selfish considerations as these you de- 
liberately sacrificed my happiness! But I have been 
given a strange and unexpected vengeance! — ^look 
at your wife and look at me! — ^whic^ now is the 
'younger' of the two?" 

He moved uneasily — there was something in her 
aspect that stabbed him as though with phjnsical 
force and pain. 

^Tfou — ^you must certainly know you are talking 
nonsense!" he said at last, trying to pull himself 
togetlier. "Yours is the queerest craze I ever heard 
of ! Here are you, a beautiful young girl in the very 
dawn of womaiihood, pretending to be a middle-aged 
spinster who was accidentally drowned last year off 
the coast of Devon I I don't know how you've come 
by the same name as hers— or why your handwrit- 
ing should resemble hers, — ^it's mere coincidence, no 
doubt — ^but that you should actually declare your- 
self as one and the same identity with hers, is per- 
fectly ridiculous! I don't deny that you seem to 
have got hold of the other Diana May's story — I was 
engaj^ to her, that's true — ^but I had to be away in 
India longer than was at first intended — seven years 
nearly. And seven years is a long time to keep f aitii 
with a woman who doesn't grow younger — -" 

"Doesn't grow younger— yes — I see!" echoed Di- 
ana, with an enigmatical smile. "And seven yeans 
is a long time for a woman to keep faitli with a 
man und^ the same circumstances. You have not 
grown younger!" 

He reddened. His personal vanity as ''an officer 


and a gentleman'^ was far greats than that of any 

"If we live, we are bound to grow older " he 


"Sometimes," acquiesced Diana, pleasantly. "It 
is not always necessary. In my case, for ex- 
ample '' 

Looking at the fair and youthful outline of h^ 
features, the sense of extreme incongruity betwe^i 
what she actually was and what she resolutely 
avowed herself to be touched his innermost sense of 
humour, and he laughed outright. 

"Of course you are playing!" he said — ^"Playing 
with yourself and me! You must be one of those 
queer psychists who imagine they are re-embodied 
spirits of the past — ^but I don't mind if that sort of 
thing really amuses you ! Only I wonder you don't 
imagine yourself to be the reincarnation of some 
fairy princess — or even the Diana who was the god- 
dess of the moon, rather than an ordinary spinster 
of the British middle-class, who, even in her best 
days, was nothing more than the usual type of pretty 
English girl." 

"To whom you wrote a good deal of *gush' in your 
time — " said Diana composedly — "which she was 
fool enough to believe. Do you remember this let- 

^ From a quaint blue velvet bag hanging at ha: side 
by a Mlver chain, she drew a folded paper and hand- 
ed it to him. 

With eyes that grew hot and dim in giddy per- 
plexity, he read his own writing: 

"How I love you, my own sweet little Dianal You 
are to me the most adorable girl in the world, and if 
ever I do an unkind tiling to you or wrong you in 
any way, may God punish me for a treacherous 
brute! My one desire in life is to make you happy." 



His habd, — the massive, veiny hand of a man ac- 
customed to ^'do himself well/' trembled, and the 
paper shook between his fingers. 

"Where did you get this?" he asked, unsteadily — 
It — ^it was written quite a long time ago!" 

"You sent it to me," replied Diana. "I retiuned 
all your other letters, but I kept that one, — and 

Another note was drawn daintily out from the 
blue velvet bag, and she handed it to him with a 

Again his burning eyes travelled along his own 
familiar scrawl: 

"I am quite sure you will understand that time 
has naturally worked changes in you as well as in 
myself, and I am obliged to confess that the feelings 
I had for you no longer exist. But you are a sen- 
sible woman, and you are old enough now to realise 
that we are better apart." 

He lifted his head and tried to look at her. She 
met his shifting gaze with a clear and level splendour 
of regard that pierced his very soul with a subcon- 
scious sense of humiliation and conviction. Yet it 
was not possible for him to believe her story, — the 
whole suggestion was too fantastic and incredible. 
He gave her back the letters. She took them from 
his hand. 

*Well ! " she said, tentatively. 

"Well!" he rejoined — then forced a difficult smile — 
I wrote these things, certainly, but how you came 
by them I don't know. Though, after all, you might 
easily have met the other Diana May, and she might 
have given you her confidence " 

"And her lover's letters to keep?" said Diana, con- 
temptuously. "So like her! Reginald Cleeve, you 
said just now that I was playing — ^playing with you 
and with myself. Believe me, I never was further 



from 'plajr' in my life! Fm in deadly eAmest! I 

want ^" She paused and laughed— th^i added: 

*1 only want what I can have for the asking — 

He sprang up from his chair and came nearer to 
her, his face s^w with ardour. She motioned him 

'^ot yet!" she said, — and the seductive beauty of 
her face and form smote him as with a whip of steel 
— ^''It isn't love at first aght, you know, like that of 
Romeo and Jidiet! We are old lovers! And you — 
you are married." 

"What does that matter?" he said, defiantly. "No 
man considers himself bound nowadays by the matri- 
monial tie!" 

'T^^o?" she queried, sweetly. *Tm so glad to know 
that! It makes me doubly thankful that I never 
married you!" 

He made a closer step to her side and cau^t both 
her hands in his. 

"Do you still persist," he said, "in your idea that 
you are the old Diana? — ^the woman I was engaged 
to? — ^you, a mere girl?" 

She smiled most entrancingly up into the feverish 
eyes that seardied her face. 

"I still p^^t!" she answ^^— "I have always 
loved telling the truth, no matter how impleasant! 
I am the 'old' Diana to whom you were engaged, 
and whom you heartlessly 'threw over' — her, and no 
other! — as 'old' as ever in years though not in 

His grasp of her tig^t^ned. 

"Then in Heaven's name have your own way, 
you beautiful erased creature!" he said, passionatd^, 
— ^"If that is your obsession or fancy, stick to itj and 
come back to me!" 

She loosened her hands, — he tried to hold them, 
but they seemed to melt from his dasp in the most 


curious and uncanny way like melting snow. Draw- 
ing herself apart, she stood looking at him. 

"Come back to you!" she echoed — ^"I never left 
you! It was you who left me! — for no fault And, 
now I suppose you would leave your wife, — ^also for 
no fault — except perhaps — " and she laughed light- 
ly — "that of too much general weightiness! But 
£^e has given you children— ^are you not proud and 
happy to be 'the father of a family'? Your daugh- 
ters are certainly very plain, — ^but you must not go 
by outward appearances!'' 

Her lovely face dimpled with smiles — ^her brilliant 
eyes, full of a compelling magnetism, filled hini with 
a kind of inward rage— he gave a gesture of mingled 
wrath and pain. 

''You are quite unlike the old Diana," he said, bit- 
terly. "She was the gentlest of creatures, — she 
would never have mockai me!" 

A rippling peal of laughter broke from her — ^laugh- 
ter that was so cold and cutting that its very vibra- 
tion on the air was like the tinkling of ice-drops on 

"True!" she said. "She was too gentle by half! 
She was meek and patient— devoted, submissive and 
loving-Hshe believed in a man's truth, honour and 
chivaJry I Yes — the poor 'old' Diana had feeling and 
emotions — ^but the 'yoimg' Diana has none!" 

The afternoon sunshine pouring through the win- 
dow bathed her figure in a limoinance so dazzling 
and made of her such a radiant vision of exquisite 
perfection that he was fairly dazzled, while the same 
uneasy sense of the "supernatural" troubled him as 
it had troubled Mr. James Polydore May. 

"Well, if you will talk like this," he said, almost 
reproachfully — "I had better not trouble you with 
my company — you said you wanted me " 

"So I do I" she rejoined — ^"I want you very much! 
— ^but not just now! You can go — ^but come again 


soon I However I need not ask you — ^you are sure 
to come! And you need not tell your wife to call 
upon me — I will dispense with that formality! I 
prefer to ignore your 'family!' Au revovrr 

She stretched out her hand — a little, lovely hand 
like that of the marble Psyche — and hardly knowing 
what he did, he covered it with kisses. She smiled. 

"There, that will do!" she said— "Ano1h« 
time " 

She gave him a look that shot like li^tning from, 
her eyes into his brain, and set it in a whirl. 

"Diana!" He uttered the name as if it were a 

"Another time!" she said, in a low, sweet tone — 
"And — quite soon! But — ^go now!" 

He left her reluctantly, his mind disquieted and 
terrorised. Some potent force appeared to have laid 
hold of his entu-e being, drawmg every nerve and 
muscle as if by a strong current of electricity. In 
a dim sort of way he was afraid, — ^but of what? This 
he could not formulate to himself, but when he had 
gone out of her presence he was aware of a strange 
and paralysing weakness and tiredness, — sensations 
new to him, and — ^as he was a great coward whwe 
any sort of illness was concerned — alarming. And 
yet — ^such was the hold her beauty had on him, that 
he had made up his mind to possess it or die in Uie 
attempt. All the men he knew about town were 
infatuated with the mere glimpse of the loveliness 
which flashed upon them like the embodiment of 
light from another and fairer world, and there was 
not one among them who did not secretly indulge 
in the same hope as himself. But the craze of "ob- 
session," or whatever it was that dominated her, as 
he thought, gave him a certain advantage over her 
other admirers. For if she really believed he had 
formerly been her lover, then surely there wa^ some- 
thing in her which would draw her to him through 


the mere fancy of such a possibility. Like all men 
who are largely endowed with complacent self-satis- 
faction, he was encased in a hide of conceit too thick 
to imagine that with the "obsession" (as he consid- 
ered it) which she entertained, might also go the 
memory of his callous treatment of her in the past, 
entailing upon him a possible though indefinable 

She, meanwhile, after he had gone, sat down to 
think. A long mirror facing her gave her the reflec- 
tion of her own exquisite face and figure — but her 
expression for the moment was cold and stem, as 
that of some avenging goddess. She looked at her 
hands — the hands her traitor lover had kissed — and 
opening a quaint jar of perfume on the table beside 
her, she dashed some of its contents over their deli- 
cate whiteness. 

"For he has soiled them!" she said — "They are 
outraged by his touch ! " 

A deep scorn gathered in her eyes like growing 

"Why should I trouble myself with any vengeance 
upon him?" she asked herself inwardly. "A mere 
lump of sensuality ! — a man who considers no prin- 
ciple save that of his own pleasure, and has no ten- 
derness or memory for me as the 'old' spinster whom 
he thou^t (and still thinks) was drowned in Devon! 
— ^what is he to me but an utterly contemptible 
atom! — ^and yet — the only sentiment I seem to be 
capable of now is hate! — undying hate, the antithesis 
of the once undying love I bore him ! The revolt of 
my soul against him is like a revolt of light against 
darkness! Is he not punished enough by the gross 
and commonplace domestic hfe he has made for him- 
self ! No ! — ^not enough ! — ^not enough to hurt him ! " 

She drew a long breath, conscious of the power 
which filled her body and q)irit, — a power whidi 
now for the first time seemed to herself terrific. She 


knew there was pent up within her a lightning force 
whidv was swift to attract and equally swift to 

"Those old Greek stories of gods and goddesses 
whose unveiled glory slew the mortals who dared 
to doubt them were quite true prophecies^" she 
thought — ^*'only they did not penetrate far enou^ 
into the myth to discover the real scientific truth of 
how the mortal could put on inmiortalily. Not even 
now, though the fusion and transmutation of ele- 
ments every day discloses more and more marvels 
of Nature, they have not tested the possibilities of 
change which science may bring about in the compo- 
sition of hmnan bodies — ^that is for the future to 
discover and determine." 

At that moment Mrs. B^resford entered the room 
with a tel^ram; 

"For you, Diana," she said. "It has just come." 

Opening it, Diana read the message it brought 

"Professor Chauvet has died suddenly. Has left 
you his sole heiress. Please meet me in Paris as soon 
as possible to settle business. Your presence neces- 
sary. Reply Hotel Windsor. — ^DiMmuus." 

The paper dropped from her hands. She had for- 
gotten Professor Chauvet altogether! The crusty 
yet kindly old Prof esaoc who had asked her to marry 
him — she had actuslly forgotten him! And now — 
he was dead ! She sat amazed and strick^ till the 
gentle voice of Mrs. Beresford roused her. 

"Anything wrong, my dear?" 

"Oh, no! — ^yet— yes! — ^perhaps a little! A friend 
has died suddenly — ^very suddenly — ^and he has made 
me his heiress." 

Mrs. Beresford smiled a little. 

"Well, isn't that good news?" 

For the first time since her "awakoiingf* imder 


the fiery ordeal of Dimitrius's experiment, she ex- 
perienced a painful thrill of real ^'feeling/' 

"No — I am sorry," she said. "I Ihou^t I should 
never feel sorry for anything — ^but I forgot and neg- 
lected this friend — ^and perhaps — ^if I had remem- 
bered, he might not have died." 

A beautiful softness and tenderness filled her eyes, 
and Mrs. Beresford thought she had never seen or 
imagined any creature half so lovely as she looked. 

"We must go to Paris," she said. "We can earily 
start to-morrow. I will answer this wire — ^and then 

She pencilled a brief reply: 

"Deeply grieved. Will come as soon as possible. — 

— ^and ringing the bell, bade the servant who an- 
swered the summons take it to the tel^;raph office 
and send it off without delay. 

**Yes — I am very sorry!" she said again to Mrs. 
Beresford — "I reproach myself for needless cruelty." 

Mrs. Beresford, mild-eyed and grey-haired, looked 
at her half timidly, half affectionately. 

"I'm afraid, my dear, you are cruel! — ^just a lit- 
tle!" she said. ^Tou make havoc in so many hearts! 
— ^and you do not seem to care!" 

Diana shrugged her shoulders. 

"Why should I care?" she retorted. "The havoc 
you speak of, is merely the selfish desire of men to 
IK)ssess what seems to them attractive — ^it goes no 

Then, noting Mrs. Beresford's rather pained ex- 
pression, she smiled. "I seem hard, don't I? But 
I have had experience—" 

'TTou? My dear, you are so young!" and her 
kindly chaperone took her hand and patted it sooth- 
ingly. "When you are older you will think veiy 
differently! When you love someone *^ 


''When I love!" — and the beautiful eyee shone 
glorious as light-beams — ^"Ah, then! Why then— 
'the sun will grow cold, and the leaves of the Judg- 
ment Book will most certainly be unrolled ! ' *' 

That night she came to a sudden resolve to put 
away all her formerly cherished ideas of revenging 
herself on Reginald Cleeve. Standing before her 
mirror she saw her own beauty transfigured into a 
yet finer delicax^ when this determination became 
crystallized, as it were, in her consciousness. 

"What is my positive mind?" she asked herself. 
''It is a pole of attraction, which has throu^ the 
forces of air, fire and water learned to polarise atoms 
into beautiful forms. It organises itself; but it is 
also a centre which radiates power over a world of 
visible effects. So that if I choose I can vitalise or 
{Revitalise oth^ forms. In this way I could inflict 
punishment on the traitor who spoiled my former 
life — ^but I live another life, now, in which he haa no 
part. This being so, why should I descend to pul- 
verise base clay with pure fire? He will meet his 
gunishment now without any further effort of mine, 
eyond that which I demand of justice!" 

She raised her hand appealingly, as thou^ she 
were a priestess invoking a deity, — then, turning to 
her writing-table, she penned the following lines: 

"To Rbgixald Clehvb. 

"I am summoned unexpectedly to Paris on 
business, — and the chances are that I shall not see 
you again. All that I have told you is absolutely 
true, no matter how much you may disbelieve the 
story. I am the woman you once pretended to love, 
and whose life you spoiled, — ^and I am the woman 
whom you love now, or (to put it roughly) whom 
you desire, but whose life you can nevw spoil again. 
'Out of si^t, out of mind' — and when you read this^ 
it is probable I shall have gone away, which is a good 


thing for your peace, and — safety. You have a wife, 
— ^you are the 'father of a family*— be content with 
the domestic happiness you have chos^i, and fulfil 
the responsibiUties you have accepted. Good-bye! 
— ^and tiiink of me no more except aa the 'old' 


Now when this letter reached Captain the Hon- 
ourable Reginald Cleeve at his club, to which it was 
addressed, and where he had dined on the evening 
of the day it was posted, which was the next but one 
to the day of his interview with Diana, it was 
brought to him in the smoking-room, and as his eyes 
ran over it he uttered an involuntary oath of such 
force that even men inured to violent language 
looked up, amused and inquisitive. 

''What's up?" asked an acquaintance seated near 

"Oh, nothing! A dun!" he answered, — then, 
calming down, he lit a cigar. After a few puffs at 
it he took up a newspaper — read a paragraph or two 
— then laid it down. 

"By the way," he said, to the man who had 
spoken — "the famous beauty — ^Diana May — ^is off to 

These words created a certain stir in the smoking- 
room. Several men looked up. 

"Oh, well! All lovely women go to Paris for their 

"Pardon!" said a dark-visaged young man, com- 
ing forward from a comer where he had been writing 
a letter, and speaking with a foreign accent — "Did 
I hear you mention a lady's name — Diana May?" 

Cleeve glanced him over with military fri^dity. 

"I did mention that name — ^yes." 

"Excuse me! — I am a stranger in London, and a 
friend has made me an honorary member of this 
club for a short time — ^I knew a Miss Diana May in 


Geneva— permit me ^ And he piofiFered hb 

Tiaitmg-cardy on which was inscribed: 

"Marchese Luigi Famese/* 

'1 met Miss May/' he continued, "at the house o! 
a very distinguished Russian scientist, Dr. Feodor 
Dimitrius. She had come from England on a vi^t to 
his mother, so I was informed. But I had an idea 
at the time that she had arrived in answer to an ad- 
vertisement he had put in the Paris newspapers for 
a lady assistant, — of course I may have been wrong. 
She was a very bright^ rather clever middle-aged per- 

'The Miss May I spoke of just now/' interpolated 
Qeeve, ''is quite a young girl — not more than eigh- 
teen or nineteen/' 

"Oh, then!" — ^and Famese made a profoundly 
^)oIogetic bow — ^"it cannot be the same. The lady 
I met was — ^ah! — tiiirty-five or so — perhaps forty. 
She left Geneva veiy suddenly, and I have be^i try- 
ing to trace h^* ever since." 

"May I ask why?" inquired Cleeve. 

"Certainly ! I have for long been interested in the 
scientific investigations of I>. Dimitrius — he is a 
very mysterious person, and I fancied he mi^t be 
trying some experiment on this lady, Miss ^lay. She 
gave me no idea of such a thing — she was quite a 
normal, cheerful person, — still I had my suspicions 
and I was curious about it. She went with him and 
his mother to winter at Davos Platz — ^I was unable 
to follow them there, as I had a pressure of business 
— ^but I heard from a friend that Miss May was the 
'belle' of the season. This rather surprised me, as 
she was not yoimg enough to be a 'belle' unless" — 
here he paused, and uttered ^e next words with 
singular emphasis — "Dimitrius had made her so." 

Cleeve uttered a sharp exclamation and thra 
checked himself. 


^Thia 18 not an age of fairy tales," he eaid curtly. 

*'No— it is not, but it is an age of science, in which 
fairy tales are realised," rejoined Famese. "But 
pray excuse me! — I am detaining you — ^you could 
not by chance give me the address of this young 
lady you speak of? — the Miss Diana May you 

"I do not consider myself entitled to do so," an- 
swered Cleeve, coldly, "without her consent." 

Famese bowed. 

"I entirely understand! If you should see her, 
you will, perhaps, do me tiie kindness to mention my 
name and ask if she has ever heard it before?" 

"I will certainly do that," agreed Cleeve, — ^wher^ 
upon they parted. Captain the Honourable with his 
mind in a giddy whirl, and his passions at fever heat. 
Come what would he must see Diana before she went 
to Paris! He must ask her about this Dimitrius, — 
for the story he had just heard seemed to hang to- 
getiier with her own fantastic "obsession!" But no! 
— ten thousand times no ! — it was not, it could not 
be possible that the "old" Diana could thus have 
been miraculously transformed ! Even Science must 
have its limits! He glanced at his watch. It was 
past nine o'clock, — ^very late for a call — ^yet he would 
risk it. Taking a cab, he was driven with all speed 
to Diana's flat, — the servant who opened the door 
to him looked at him in surprise. 

"Miss May and Mrs. Beresford have gone to 
Paris," she said. "They left this evening by the 
night boat train." 

He retreated, baffled and inwardly furious. For 
one moment he was recklessly moved to follow them 
across Channel next morning — ^then he rememb<»^, 
with rather an angry shock, that he was "the father 
of a family." Convention stepped in and held up a 
warning £uiger. 

'*N(>— it wouldn't do," he ruminated, vezedly. 


"She^' — here he alluded to his fat wife — "ahe would 
make the devil's own row, and I have enough of her 
sulks as it is. I'd better do nothing, — and just wait 
my diance. But — that exquisite Diana! What is 
she? I miLst know! I must be off with the 'old' 
love, before I'm on with the new! But is she the 
'old'? That's the puzzle. Is she the 'old,' or a yoimg 
Diana?" This was a question which was destined 
never to be answered, so far as he was concerned. 
Diana had gone from him, — gone in that swift, ir- 
recoverable way whidi happens when one soul, ad- 
vancing onward to hi^er planes of power, is com- 
pelled to leave another of gross^ make (even 
though that other were lover or friend) to wallow 
in the styes of sensual and material life. She, clothed 
in h«* vesture of fiire and light, as radiant as any 
spirit of l^endary lore, was as far removed from the 
clay man of low desires as the highest star from the 
deepest earth. And though he did not know this, and 
never would have been able, had he known, to 
realise the forceful vitality of her existence, the same 
strange sense of phjrncal weakness, tiredness and 
gene^ incapacity which had before alarmed him 
came upon him now with such ov^whelming wei^t 
that he could hardly drag his limbs across the fa^- 
ionable square in whidbi his own house was situated 
A great helplessness possessed him, — and a t^oug|it> 
bitter as wormwood and E^arp as flame, flashed 
through his brain: 'T am getting old!" It was a 
thought he always put away fnmi him — ^but just 
now it bore down upon him with a kind of thimder- 
ous gloom. Yes — ^he was "getting old," — ^he, who had 
more or less contemptuously considered the "age" 
of the woman he had callously thrown over si&- 
cient cause for the rupture, — ^he, too, was likely to 
be left out in ihe cold by the hurrying tide of warm- 
er, quicker, youthful life. The vision of the radiant 
eyes, the exquisite featiunes, the rose-leaf skin, and 


tiie supple, graceful form of the marvellous Diana 
who so persistently declared herself to be his former 
betrothed, floated before him in tempting, tantalis- 
ing beauty, — ^and as he opened his own house-door 
with his latdi-key to enter that abode of domestic 
blias where his unwieldy wife talked commonplaces 
all day long and bored him to death, he uttered some- 
ihing like a groan. 

''Whatever her fancy or craze may be," he said, 
''she is young! Young and perfectly beautiful! It 
is I who am old!'' 



It was night in Paris, — a heavy ni^t, lad^i with 
the ahnost tropical heat and languor common to the 
end of an unusually warm summer. The street- 
lamps twinkled dimly through vapour which seemed 
to ooze upwards from the ground, like smoke from 
the fissures of a volcano, and men walked along list- 
lessly with heads uncovered to the faint and doubt- 
ful breeze, some few occasionally pausing to glance 
at the sky, the aspect of which was curiously divided 
between stars and clouds, brilliancy and blackness. 
From the southern side of the horizon a sombre mass 
of purple grey shadows crept slowly and stealthily 
onward, blotting out by gradual degrees tiie silvery 
glittering of Orion and drawing a nun-like veil over 
the fuU-orbed beauty of the moon, while at long in- 
tervals a faint roll of thunder suggested tiie possi- 
bility of an approaching storm. But the greater 
part of the visible heavens remained fair and calm, 
some of the larger planets sparkling lustrously with 
strange, flashing fire-gleams of sapphire and gold, 
and seeming to palpitate Uke immense jewels awimg 
pendant in the vast blue dome of air. 

In the spacious marble court of a certain great 
house in the Avenue Bois de Boulogne, the oppres- 
sive sultriness of the night was tempered by the de- 
licious coolness of a fountain in full play which flung 
a quivering colunm of snow-white against the dark- 
ness and tinkled its falling drops into a bronze basin 
below with a musical softness as of far-distant sleigh- 
bells. The court itself was gracefully built after 
Athenian models, — ^its slender Ionic columns sup- 



ported a domed roof which by daylight would have 
shown an exquisite sculptured design, but which 
now was too dimly perceived for even its height to 
be guessed. Beyond the enclosure stretched the 
vague outline of a garden which adjoined the Bois, 
and here there were tall trees and drooping branches 
that moved mysteriously now and then^ as though 
touched by an invisible finger-tip. Within each cor- 
ner of the court great marble vases stood, brimming 
over with growing blossoms, — ^pale light streaming 
from an open window or door in the house died a 
gleam on some statue of a god or goddess half hid- 
den among flowers,— and here in this cool quietness 
of stately and beautiful surroundings sat, or rather 
reclined, Diana, on a cushioned bench, her head 
turned towards her sole companion, Feodor Dimit- 
rius. He sat in a lounge chair opposite to her, and 
his dark and brilliant eyes studied her fair features 
with wistful gravity. 

''I think I have told you all,'' he said, speaking in 
slow, soft tones. "Poor Chauvet's death was sudden, 
but from his written instructions I fancy he was not 
unprepared. He has no relatives, — and he must 
have found great consolation in making his will in 
your favoiu". For he cared very greatly for you, — 
he told me he had asked you to marry him." 

Diana moved a little restlessly. As she did so a 
rosy flash glittered from a great jewel she wore 
round her neck, — the famous "Eye of Rajuna," 
whose tragic history she had heard from Chauvet 

"Yes," she answered — ^'^That is true. But — ^I for- 

'Tou forgot?" he echoed, wonderingly. 'Tou for* 
got a proposal of marriage? And yet — ^when you 
came to me first in Geneva you thought love was 
enough for everything, — ^your heart was hungry for 
love " 


''When I had a heart — ^yes!" she said. ''But now 
I have none. And I do not hung^ for what does 
not exist! I am sorry I forgot the kind Professor. 
But I did, — completely! And that he should have 
left me all he possessed is almost a punishment!'' 

"You should not regard it as such," he answered 
"It is hardly your fault if you forgot. Your thou^ta 
are, perhaps, elsewhere?" He paused, — ^but she said 
nothing. "As I have told you," he went on, "Chau- 
vet has left you an ample fortune, together with this 
house and all it contains — ^its unique library, its pic- 
tures and curios, to say notiiing of his famous col- 
lection of jewels, worth many thousands of pounds 
— and as everything is in perfect order you wUl have 
no trouble. Personally, I had no idea he was such 
a wealthy man." 

She was still silent, looking at him more or leas 
critically. He felt her eyes upon him, and some im- 
pulse stung him into sudden fervour. 

'You look indifferent," he said, "and no doubt 
you are indifferent. Your nature now admits of no 
emotion. But, so far as you are woman, your or- 
cumstances are little changed. You are as you were 
when you first became my 'subject' — ^'of mature 
years, and alone in the world without claims on your 
time or your affections.' Is it not so?" 

A faint, mysterious smile lifted the oomers of her 
lovely mouth. 

"It is so!" she answered. 

'You are alone in the world, — ^alone, alone, alcHie!" 
he repeated with a kind of fierce intensity. "Alone! 
— for I know that neither your father nor your moth- 
er recognise you. Am I right or wrong?" 

Still smiling, she bent her head. 

"Right, of course!" she murmured, with delicate 
irony. "How could you be wrong!" 

"Your own familiar friend will have none of you,'* 
he went on, with almost angry emphasis. "To the 


world you once knew, you are dead I The man who 
was your lover — the man who, as you told me, spoilt 
yoiu" life and on whom you seek to be revenged " 

She lifted one hand with an interrupting gesture. 

''That is finished," she said. ''I seek vengeance no 
longer. No man is worth it! Besides, I am 

She half rose from her reclining attitude, and he 
waited for her next word. 

'1 am avenged!" she went on, in thrilling accents 
— ^''And in a way that satisfies me. My lover that 
was, — never a true lover at best, — is my lover still — 
but with such limitations as are torture to a man 
whose only sense of love is — ^Desire I My beauty fills 
him with longing, — ^the thought of me ravages his 
soul and body — it occupies every thought and every 
dream ! — ^and with this passion comes die conscious- 
ness of age. Age! — the great breakdown! — the end 
of all for him! — I have willed that he shall feel its 
numbing approach each day, — that he shall know 
the time is near when his step shall fail, his si^t 
grow dim, — ^when the rush of youthful life shall pass 
him by and leave him desolate. Yes! — I am 
avenged! — ^he is 'old enou^ now to realise that we 
are better apart!' " ' 

Her eyes glowed like stars, — ^her whole face was 
radiant. Dimitrius gazed at her almost sternly. 

"You are pitiless!" he said. 

She laughed. 

"As he was, — ^yesl" 

And rising to her full height, she stood up like a 
queen. She wore a robe of dull amb^ stuff inter- 
woven with threads of gold, — a small cirelet of dia- 
monds glittered in her nair, and Chauvet's historic 
Eastern jewel, the "Eye of Rajima," flamed like 
fire on her white neck. 

"F6odor Dimitrius," she said, — ^and her voice had 
such a marvellously sweet intonation that he felt it 


penetrate through every nerve — 'TTou say, and you 
say rightly, that 'so far as I am woman' — ^my circum- 
stances are not changed from what they were when 
I first came to you in Geneva. But only 'so far as I 
am woman.' Now — ^how do you know I am woman 
at all?" 

He lifted himself in his chair, gripping both arms 
of it with clenched nervous hands. His dark eyes 
flashed a piercing inquiry into hers. 

'What do you mean ?" he half whispered. ''What 
— ^what would you make me believe?" 

She smiled. 

"Oh, marvellous man of science!" she exclaimed — 
"Must I teach you your own discovery? You, who 
have studied and mastered the fusion of lig^t and air 
with elemental forces and the invisible whirl of elec^ 
trons with perpetually changing forms, must I, your 
subject, explain to you what you have done? You 
have wrested a marvellous secret from Nature — you 
can unmake and remake the human body, freeing 
it from all gross substance, as a sculptor can mould 
and unmould a statue, — and do you not see that 
you have made of me a new creature, no longer of 
mere mortal day, but of an ethereal matter which 
has never walked on earth before? — and with which 
earth has nothing in conamon? What have such as 
I to do with su(^ base trifles as human v^igeanoe 
or love?" 

He sprang up and approached her. 

"Diana," he said slowly — ^"If this is true, — and 
may God be the arbiter! — one thing in your foimer 
circimistances is altered — ^you are not 'without claims 
on your time and your affections' / claim both! 
I have made you as you are! — ^you are mine!" 

She smiled proudly and retreated a step or two. 

"I am no more yours," she said, "than are the 
elements of whidi yoiu* science has composed the 
new and youthful vesture of my undianging Soul! 


I admit no claim. When I served you as your *Bub- 
jectj' you were ready to sacrifice my life to your 
ambition ; now when you are witness to the triiunph 
of your 'experiment/ you would grasp what you con- 
sider as your lawful prize. Self! — ^all Self! But I 
have a Self as well — and it is a Self independent of 
all save its own elements." 

He caught her hands suddenly. 

''Love is in all elements/' he said. "There would 
be no world, no imiverse without love!" 

Her eyes met his as steadily as stars. 

"There is no such thing as Love in all mankind!" 
she said. "The race is cruel, destructive, murderous. 
What men call love is merely sex-attraction — such 
as is common to all the animal world. Children are 
to be bom in order that man may be perpetuated. 
Why, one cannot imagine! His civilisations perish 
— ^he himself is the merest grain of dust in the uni- 
verse, — unless he learns to subdue his passions and 
progresses to a higher order of being on this earth, 
which he never wilL All things truly are possible, 
save man's own voluntary uplifting. And without 
this uplifting there is no such thing as Love." 

He still held her hands. 

"May I not endeavour to reach this height?" he 
asked, and his voice shook a little. "Have patience 
with me, Diana! You have beauty, wealth, 
youth " 

She interrupted him. 

"You forget! 'Mature years' are in my brain and 
heart, — I am not really young." 

"You are/* he rejoined — "Younger than you can 
as yet realise. You see your own outward appear- 
ance, but you have had no time yet to test your in- 
ward emotions ^" 

"I have none!" she said. 
I He dropped her hands. 

"Not even an angel's attribute— mercy?" 


A faint si^ stirred her bosom where the great 
''Eye of Rajuna" shone like a red star. 

"Perhaps! " she said — "I do not know — ^it may 

be possible!" 

To-day in Paris one of the loveliest women in the 
world holds undisputed sway as a reigning b^uity. 
The "old," now the "young" Diana is the envy of 
her sex and the despair of men. Years pass over her 
and leave no change in her fair face or radiant eyes, 
— a creature of light and magnetic force, she lives for 
the most part the life of a student and recluse, and 
any entertaining of society in her house is rare, 
though the men of learning and science who were 
friends of Professor Chauvet are always welcomed 
by their adorable hostess, who to them has become a 
centre of something like worship. So far as she her- 
self is concerned, she is untouched by either admira- 
tion or flattery. Each day finds her further removed 
from the temporary joys and sorrows of humanity, 
and more enwrapt in a strange world of unknown ex- 
perience to which she seems to belong. She is happy, 
because she has forgotten all that might have made 
her otherwise. She feels neither love nor hate: and 
Feodor Dimitrius, now alone in the world, his moth- 
er having passed away suddenly in her sleep, wan- 
ders near her, watchfidly, but more or less aimlessly, 
knowing that his beautiful "experiment" has out- 
mastered him, and that in the mysterious force 
wherewith his science has endowed her, she has gone 
beyond his power. His "claim" upon her lessens day 
by day, rendering him helpless to contend with what 
he imagined he had himself created. The Marchese 
Famese, catching a passing glimpse of her in Paris, 
became so filled with amazement that he spread all 
sorts of rumours respecting her real "age" and tl «^